Nifty little series of articles just beginning at The Futon Critic. Small, but perfectly formed, reviews of the pilots for all the upcoming season's new TV shows - plus a neat little bonus review each day of a pilot that didn't get picked up. In the first installment the Futon Critic previews ABC's picked up Big Shots as well as the unsold pilot for the once much anticipated Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
I recently came across an old beaten up copy of TV Guide’s 1989 Fall Preview issue. I’ve jotted down my hazy recollections of every new show featured in the mag and I’ve come to the conclusion that the ’89 fall schedule’s new offerings were very weak indeed. I’ve been a TV addict since birth and I’m amazed at how little ’of 89’s debuts left any kind of a lasting impression on me. Your mileage may vary but here are my very brief thoughts on the fall of ’89…
Cops: A perennial fave but one I've pretty much stopped
watching these days. There are only so many domestic violence calls, drug
stops, and vice stings you can watch before you’ve pretty much seen it all.
Totally Hidden Video: Candid Camera rip off hosted by Steve "who?" Skrovan
Anything But Love: Richard Lewis & Jamie Lee Curtis and I never watched an episode.
Quantum Leap : Engaging, Sci-Fi soap that still wows them on DVD and cable, thanks mostly to Bakula and Stockwell.
Living Dolls: HalleBerry and Leah Remini star in this Who's the Boss? spin off (Alyssa Milano made a few appearances apparently) Never saw it and I doubt even the Before They Were Stars novelty would keep me more than mildly entertained now.
Life Goes On: Heartwarming family drama was never my thing but the ladies of the house enjoyed it.
Booker: Richard Grieco's spin off from 21 Jump street. Naturally I avoided it like a staph infection.
Free Spirit: Jennifer Beal-alike Corinne Bohrer (in the promo shot at least) starred as a "funky free spirit" housekeeper who just happens to be a witch. I can't even remember this Mary Poppins/Bewitched hybrid.
Sister Kate: An embarrassing footnote on the early resume of
Homeroom: Inner city school sitcom. Never heard of it.
Major Dad: Not as bad as it should have been .
The People Next Door - I seem to recall being mildly disappointed by this Wes Craven created sitcom starring Jeffrey Jones as a Gary Larson-esque cartoonist with psychic abilities, though I'd love to check it out again.
Alien Nation: Another Sci Fi soap opera - held only mild interest for me.
The Famous Teddy Z : Wasn't this Jon Cryer vehicle part of the late Trio's Brilliant but cancelled season? If not it should have been… yep, I just checked and it was.
Rescue 911: Above average Dramatic re enactments, and Bill Shatner, made this a favorite for awhile.
Wolf: Jack Scalia as
a house boat dwelling P.I. I have no recollection of this but it seems just the
sort of thing Sleuth should be unearthing instead of the steady stream of A
Team. Simon and Simon and Knight Rider re-runs that the world's laziest
programmers fill it's slots with.
Chicken Soup: Jackie
Mason and Lynn Redgrave ( and young Katherine Erbe) starred in this schticky
sitcom. I probably checked it out for Mason but it hasn’t left any impression
Island Son: Richard Chamberlain played a sexy Doctor practicing in Hawaii and I clearly was not in the target demographic for this dud.
Peaceable Kingdom: Vet (animal not ‘Nam) drama featuring the Bionic Woman and the dark haired Duke boy. My wife liked it though I don't think it lasted very long.
Doogie Howser M.D: People whose taste I respect loved this. I never watched it.
The Nutt House: People whose taste I respect hated this but I loved every minute of it. Harvey Korman is a genius and it's a crime he wasn't given more chances on the tube post Burnett. Cloris Leachman co-starred. I still have an episode of this on VHS that i trot out every now and again when I want to risk tinkling in my trousers.
The Young Riders: Horse Opera with pretty boys (including
Stephen Baldwin and Josh Brolin). Not my cup of sarsaparilla.
Top of the Hill: Political drama starring William Katt. Never saw it.
Snoops: Mr. and Mrs. Venus Flytrap follow-up the excellent
Frank's Place with this Thin Man inspired stab at urbane mystery. Should have
been quite good but I don’t remember it.
Baywatch: I was apparently the only red blooded American male who didn't watch this beach blanket melodrama with a bottle of lotion and a box of tissues near at hand.
Family Matters: Big hit but family comedies weren't high on my list in those days.
Hardball: There's a motorcycle involved which is pretty much the kiss of death for any slick crime drama.
Mancuso F.B.I: Decent Robert Loggia crime vehicle.
New series on cable included the vanity license plate themed
game show Bumper Stumpers, a new
Dinah Shore chat show, Zorro and a Sneak Previews parody on Nick at Nite called On the Television
Clunky political fantasy whose script has so little grounding in reality they might as well have made it a cartoon and, with big names giving decidedly small performances, Commander In Chief is a huge disappointment. Geena Davis and Donald Sutherland. These two names alone would have been enough to bankroll a Hollywood feature once upon a time - now they're reduced to shilling for Hillary Clinton in what essentially amounts to an infomercial for the former First Lady's potential return to the White House. This probably seems like a noble venture - sort of like the the early days of The West Wing - but it comes at a high cost - diluting the series entertainment value.
One silver lining, at least the Clinton's Designing Women buddies aren't in charge - otherwise it'd be Delta Burke in the Oval Office. But if the creators, as some have suggested, are using the series as a way to acclimate the American public to the idea of a woman President shouldn't they have cast the role a bit bit more realistically - I mean, Geena Davis?
Fans of Commander in Chief can take solace in two things: the press is solidly behind the series with fawning reviews coming in fast and furious and the very fact that I was disappointed probably means ABC has a huge hit on their hands -I really liked the "crazy lawyer" series Head Cases and it ended up being this season's first cancellation. I hated Bones and it looks like a hit. I'm King Midas in Reverse...
Tivo Status - None
Defiantly mediocre sitcom featuring useful supporting turns from Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser) and Alyson Hannigan (Buffy sidekick/band camp girl) and absolutely nothing from anyone else, including the romantic leads. I expect it'll be a huge hit - I just won't be watching it.
Tivo Status : One Thumb Down
CBS : Criminal Minds
The premiere episode of new crime drama Criminal Minds does everything just well enough to keep you watching but, in the early goings at least, fails to really connect. Far better than average Criminal Minds may simply be suffering from profiler fatigue - there are just so many ways you can present the whole criminal profiling thing and here we've got a whole team of brooding brain boxes hunting down the bad guys. The series will need to come up with some inventive stories and more compelling lead characters if it's going to survive.
Tivo Status : Season Pass (Low Priority)
Fast paced and well scripted military drama starring counter culture icon Dennis Hopper and former Law & Order star Benjamin Bratt. Just as he revitalized the crime drama Jerry Bruckheimer here remakes the genre in C.S.I.’s image. Well cast, smart, funny and fairly suspenseful E-Ring has the look of a winner. The opening episode also steered clear of obvious partisan politics which made for a nice change. Politics will always have to play an integral part of a series like this but the politics should be driven by the story and not merely the writers or producers pet agendas.
I’ve never been much of a fan of shows like Jag and Navy NCIS but I’ll defiantly continue checking out E-Ring.
Tivo Status: Season Pass
NBC : Surface
Fairly interesting and ambitious marine sci-fi series that infuses some life into a familiar tale of aliens of the deep. Previews of upcoming episodes (including the brilliant statement "The Premiere Was Only the Beginning!") reveal a cliched "Government Cover-up/Angry Villagers" story arc but even so Surface shows great promise, thanks, in part, to it's using an ensemble cast in lieu of relying on the old "Mulder & Sculley/elite government agents" genre tropes.
Tivo Status: Season Pass (Low Priority)
No they don't, they love him. Otherwise critics wouldn't have fallen over themselves proclaiming this mediocre family sitcom - essentially an urban "Wonder Years" - the second coming of every series from I Love Lucy to The Cosby Show. Chris Rock is one of those talented but over rated stars who more wield power within the industry than they probably should (Witness his abysmal and embarrassing performance as Oscar emcee). Former SNL cast members seem make up a fairly large contingent of this group and generally have a green light to make whatever dreck they feel like. Everybody Hates Chris is far from dreck but after the summer of hype and fawning puff pieces the final result is less than brilliant.
Fans of Rock will want to tune in and anyone who grew up in a city back in the early eighties will appreciate the street smart nostalgia the series seeks to invoke but I'll probably only catch it by accident if there's nothing better on.
Tivo status : One Thumb Up
Extremely Illegal Aliens in America courtesy of CBS. This recently premiered Sci-Fi series has some nice creepy moments and a solid supporting cast of Lone Gunmen types led by Peter Dinklage, Brent Spiner and Rob Benedict. The series leads – Carla Gugino, Charles S. Dutton and Robert Patrick - are less convincing. The scripts tend to veer wildly from fairly believable sounding geek speak to the same tired clichés that are the staple of hack TV writing’s sci-fi division (see he collected output of SciFi channel Original Movies and Series for more examples). Luckily the underlying story is fairly compelling, at least in these early stages – in an X-Files/Body Snatchers/The 4400 sort of way - and with such a dearth of above average genre fare on the tube Threshold defiantly deserves further viewing.
Tivo status : Season Pass
This week saw the premiere of ex-con Martha Stewart’s daily lifestyle chat show - "Martha". Lots of prison jokes and a couple of surprisingly big name guests. Martha should have done a (taped before a) live audience show years ago - she comes off exponentially more likable and almost sincere as she works the crowd.
Tivo Status: Season Pass (but only at my wife and daughter's insistence)
The Showbiz Show with David Spade, who guested this week on Martha, has a new series on Comedy Central which is essentially The Daily Show without politics - in other words funny. The re-worked trailer for the Sam Jackson/Gene Levy disaster The Man was especially good.
Tivo Status : Season Pass (Low Priority)
The President’s Katrina speech interrupted that night's episode of Reunion - a series so benign and forgettable that it had completely slipped my mind that I'd ever seen the pilot. All Stunt, no substance or style. I can’t imagine caring about any of these characters or what may or may not happen to them as each episode drags us through the calendar year by year.
Tivo Status : One Thumb Down
So far this season it seems I've only managed to catch new series on FOX. I had pretty much the opposite expectations for the legal comedy Head Cases as I did for the forensic policier Bones and as with Bones my expectations were shattered. I hated the lazy slip shod Bones despite my Crime Drama fetish and loved the irreverent Head Cases which reminds me a lot of Boston Legal, another show I didn't expect to like.
Adam Goldberg, who shines here, and Chris O'Donnell star as a pair of nutty lawyers thrown together by their therapist. They aren't cute nuts like Monk,they're fairly seriously mis-wired which, naturally, leads to all kinds of wacky hijinks. Luckily the script of the series opener was neither overly twee nor overbearingly earnest so hilarity did in fact ensue on more than one occasion.
Tivo Status : Season Pass
I had wanted to check out the W.B.'s new horror series Supernatural but scheduling difficulties got in the way. With all the little cable channels the big 5 networks own you'd think they'd use them to showcase repeats of new shows more often. I'm going to miss seeing a bunch of new shows once old faves like the CSI and L&O franchises start up again.
Bones seems to be the result of a daring experiment in TV program development. Give a group of second rate writers, directors and show runners a two or three paragraph synopsis of a popular show - in this case CSI - and ask them to create their own variation on the theme but without letting them see a single episode of the target show. The results are, not surprisingly, lackluster at best.
Where to begin? The script is appalling, a cliche riddled mess bursting with cringe worthy dialog and polystyrene characterizations delivered by smugly incompetent actors. This is a level of quality that would be understandable if Bones were being produced for Lifetime or Hallmark but for a major network it's simply not good enough.
I don't expect crime shows to be realistic - I love the original CSI which has a fairly loose tether to the realities of the job, CSI Miami does an okay job of at making fakey police work seem plausible though CSI NY might as well be on the Sci Fi Channel but that's only because I'm a NY'er, I'm sure Vegas and Miami viewers feel the same way about the shows set in their hometown - but this CSI Washington DC wannabe , based loosely on real life forensics queen Kathy Reichs , lacks the chops to pull even the slightest suspension of disbelief off as it's characters perform ninja fighting skills or use holographic crime scene recreation equipment that they must have heisted from the set of Stargate Atlantis.
Sadly though I so love the genre that I'm going to give Bones another chance. Maybe the pilot's merely a rough draft of what the series is capable of. I doubt it but I'm hopeful...
Tivo Status : Recording Next Episode
No work of genius but a solid, entertaining drama that's already up to it's fourth hour. While there's quite a bit of disbelief suspension required this tale of a brothers cunning plan to break his older, wrongly framed, sibling out of Death Row features strong performances and steady pacing. Most of the characters are cliches but they are well chosen and realized cliches that work within the story.
The best thing about Prison Break is the cast: Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, Peter Stomare, Robin Tunney, Amaury Nolasco and Stacy Keach lead a mostly top notch cast.
The only thing that may keep me from following he series through to the end as the competition ramps up is the over ripe Government Conspiracy that is more and more becoming the stories foundation. There's no lazier nor hackneyed plot device and unless there is a more inventive trick up the writer's sleeves it may the factor that boots the series from my Season Pass list.
Tivo Status : Season Pass
I don't know from whose crack addled brain the idea for The War at Home originally came from but they should immediately be banned from pitching pilots for at least the next 5 years. This 21st century Married With Children is as awful as any series the networks have thrown against the wall in years and if it sticks the punishments should extend to the Nielsen families who enable it to continue.
Three words, one of them simply does not fit. Michael | Rapaport | Sitcom. This can't have been a surprise to anyone, that this was a bad idea had to be realized from the very start. These people are professionals after all - if I know a family sitcom, even an "edgy" one, with charisma vacuum Rapaport and his supporting cast of talent vacancies is a tax write off waiting to happen - surely they must have. maybe they were hoping to get a good deal on an apartment in one of his buildings. There has been at least one recent opening.
There is one bright spot - Kyle Sullivan as the authentically dorky oldest son. Sullivan seems to be the only actor in the whole show to have actually shown up to do his job. Hopefully his next project will be watchable.
Tivo Status : Three Thumbs Down
T'riff' coverage of the Network Upfronts. Smart, funny, good stuff....
Seeing Dead People: So here's how CBS' new "Ghost Whisperer" is like "Medium." Jennifer Love Hewitt sees ghosts of dead people even on her wedding day. She helps them reunite with loved ones with whom they have unfinished business. She has bad dreams and her hubby is very comforting.
Here's how it's different: She wears sexy clothes and nice lingerie with lots of cleavage. Sources tell us that the cleavage tested very well with young men. At this morning's press briefing, Moonves emphasized that his show was in development before "Medium."
But still. "Love," as her friends call her, appeared on stage in a red-hot baby doll dress.
Link: Destination: Springfield.
Sort of a 'before they were cartoon stars" for the Simpsons - all 48 Simpsons Shorts from The Tracy Ullman Show.
Amazing resource that will bring tears to the eyws of even the most info-drenched TV geek. One of the neatest features is a collection of 38 "realities", each shared by a number of shows - Here's Lucy, Jake and the Fatman, Mannix, Mission Impossible and Touched By An Angel all share, theoretically , a reality as do MASH, Oz, The White Shadow, Wings, Everyone Loves Raymond, Bob Newhart, Cop Rock and The X-Files.
Along with the Brady Bunch DVD set reviewed in the previous post I picked up the Complete First and Second Seasons of Scooby Doo Where Are You? for my daughter the Scooby scholar. Now, I like Scooby Doo, I grew up with it and have never totally grown out of it. My daughter, on the other hand, better hope she can major in Scoobology in college to justify the amount of it she watches.She watches it all - the original series, the "New Movies", the 13 Ghosts, the made for TV movies, the made for video movies, the new series - she even watches, albeit reluctantly, the "Scooby and Scrappy" stuff. I'm not quite as catholic in my Scooby taste... the original series is the one that counts - the one I can view time and time again.
As with the Brady Bunch set extras are kept to a minimum so you're going to want to be a fan before plunking down your hard earned scooby snacks. Fans will not be disappointed, this is as good as the series has ever looked - though that's not saying much, quality control has never been Hanna-Barberas forte - and the joy of sitting through commercial free marathons is worth the price of admission in itself.
If your not already acquainted with this first incarnation of the now globally exalted characters you may be put off by the undeniably sub par yet oddly appealing animation, the frequently recycled musical cues and predictable storylines. I can't think of too many other shows so essentially flawed that work so darn well. There's just something about Scooby Doo - and it's never been better than in these first installments.
|Scooby Doo, Where Are You! - The Complete First and Second Seasons|
See details at Amazon by G-Tools
I grew up a Brady kid - had the books, the LP's, the lunchbox and the massive crush on Marcia. I was delighted to find, decades later, that my own kids are also huge fans of this domestic fantasy (though, to be fair, the Brady lifestyle was not always that far off from everyday life - except for being locked up in a ghost town jail or menaced by Vincent Price - it was fairly easy to identify with the Brady's - not every family in America is hides catastrophic dysfunction behind it's suburban facade). Using the kids as an
excuse reason I picked up the recently released Season 1 set.
The Brady Bunch is still the Brady Bunch - you love it, you hate it, you couldn't care less - nothing has changed with these DVD's other than improved picture/sound quality and, blessedly, no commercials. Sadly, despite the massive amount of pop culture detritus the show has generated over the years, the extras are fairly weak. A few commentaries, none of which will win any awards, and a so-so featurette. Hopefully future sets will ramp up the supplements to the level the series deserves. The best extra round my house was the cool DVD case over - one of those deals where the image changes as you view it a different angle - darn what is that called - if I had more time I'd Google it but you probably know what I mean.
Fans must get the set - it's just that simple. If you hate the show and it's goody-goody white bread middle class suburban universe then, no surprise, you'll hate the set. If you're not sure where you stand then catch a re-run or rent a disc - you may find yourself joining the show's legions of fans quicker than you think.
|The Brady Bunch - The Complete First Season|
Paramount Home Video 2005-03-01
Sales Rank : 315
See details at Amazon by G-Tools
New site covers BBC Four's live Quatermass.
There's history, trivia, galleries and interviews with all the main actors - plus the website of the British Experimental Rocket Group itself.
The Quatermass Experiment is on BBC Four on Saturday at 8.20pm
Like so many of us I grew up watching these teen (or maybe even pre-teen i guess) mysteries. I was a huge fan of the Hardy Boys books so I made sure never to miss an episode - my favorite was the one with Paul Williams guest starring - and I probably saw most of the Nancy Drews', if only to see Pamela Sue Martin. I'm sure most of The Hardy Boy's female audiance was there merely to ogle the lads - though Shaun Cassiday was but a shadow of big brother
Keith David in the teen idol department.
The series have aged better than I expected - not well mind you, just better than I had anticipated. The source material's occasionally a bit dodgy and, despite episode titles frequently promising supernatural thrills and chills, the plots and performances feel very much like the NBC Mystery Movies (Columbo, McCloud, McMillan & Wife, The Snoop Sisters) translated into afterschool specials.
Former and future B-list celebrities abound as guest stars - Jamie Lee Curtis, Mark Harmon, Dick Gautier, Bob Crane, Ricky Nelson and so on - and Shaun, for better or worse, starts singing after a few shows.
Extras - none. There's is a cool reproduction poster though.
Those of us who grew up watching these will absolutly want to check this set out - younger folk may not have the same nostalgia filter in place and so are likely to wonder what the fuss is all about.
Behind the scenes at the creation of a new kids show coming soon to Nick Jr...
Link: the wubblog.
Wubby! Wubby! Wubby!
The Wonderful Adventures of Wubby!
Wow! Wow! Wubby!
Wubby A Go-Go! Go
Wuzzleburg! (the place they live)
Wubby and Friends!
Fab site remembering the enormous impact of Color TV...
Link: The Color Television Revolution. via Yahoo Picks
Many Saturday mornings I would race my bike to a nearby department store, arriving just in time to see the peacock in Living Color at the beginning of NBC's "The Howdy Doody Show." The rich, beautiful color was simply overwhelming! The improvement of COLOR over drab black and white TV was even more apparent than today's high definition television when compared to standard definition broadcasts. Even the most casual observer couldn't helped but be impressed by the lifelike color images we take for granted today. The advent of color television was truly a revolution!
While I still have my 60's anorak on from the NME post let me direct you to this collection of Star Trek screen captures (courtesy of lonita's links) ...
Did you love Trio's Pilot Season programming? Do you want to torture yourself reading about cool series that may never get picked up by the networks? Or do you just want to impress your buds with your inside knowledge of what's on the TV radar...
...if any of the above sound cool to you then check out The Futon Critic's charts and daily development updates on all the pilots, pick ups, try outs, castings and wheeling and dealing that will eventually shape the TV we watch next season.
BRIAR & GRAVES (FOX) - Elizabeth Rohm ("Law & Order") and Charles Mesure ("Boogeyman") will play the title roles of Briar and Graves respectively in the drama pilot, about a hard-living priest (Mesure) who partners with a female doctor (Rohm) to investigate unexplained religious phenomena.
THE E-RING (NBC) - Dennis Hopper ("The Last Ride") has joined the cast of the pilot, a behind-the-scenes ensemble drama set at the Pentagon. He'll play Col. McNulty, a former special ops officer in the project, which also stars Benjamin Bratt, Sarah Clarke, Aunjanue Ellis and Leonor Varela.
DIRTBAGS (FOX) - The Melissa Joan Hart-led comedy pilot is set to tape on Friday, April 15 at Fox Studios. The 20th Century Fox Television-based project revolves a group of twentysomething friends in a blue-collar suburb of Boston, some of whom have never left and others who have ventured out and returned.
EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (UPN) - Reggie Hudlin ("Serving Sara," "The Boondocks") has been tapped to direct the Chris Rock-produced comedy pilot, a "Wonder Years"-esque take on the world of an eldest child living in a strict home and attending a predominantly white school in 1982.
Eventually most of these pilots, no matter how great a cast or pedigreed a producer they may have, will bite the dust. The Futon Critic covers these orphaned shows as well... they already have a roundup of the pilots that failed to curry favor last year and the list sounds better than most of what was eventually greenlit.
retroCrush is winding up it's impressive countdown of The 100 Greatest TV Theme Songs - not only are their choices spot-on but each tune gets a clever, infomative and well-linked entry of it's own. Not only can you listen to most of the themes but you'll discover tons of cool sites that will warm the heart of even the most jaded TV geek (like this page of CBS idents or this Jan Smithers fansite - she played Bailey on WKRP in Cincinati).
I'm in love with this idea - the original CSI is essentially a violent dark comedy with a keen sense of the absurd - QT is perfect for the formula. Now if only they could find someone to inject life into the Miami and NYC spin-offs...
Famous movie director Quentin Tarantino has officially signed on to direct the final episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation's fifth season.
"He knows everything there is to know about CSI, and he is into the whole mythology of CSI," executive producer Carol Mendelsohn told the Hollywood Reporter. "Quentin came in a couple of weeks ago. We had a story meeting with the writers. He had a great idea, and it was so much fun to have him in the room. [...] We are positively giddy."
Besides taking the director's chair for the season finale, Tarantino has also come up with the story for the episode, in which one of the main characters will find themselves in great danger. "There will be more bugs and blood this time," Mendelsohn joked.
I'm not a huge fan of Cheap Seats but any show that brings back the MST3K crew for a bit of fun can't be all bad...
MORE ON "CHEAP SEATS"
As we reported earlier, Mike Nelson, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot will make a new appearance on television, riffing on the March 14th episode of ESPN Classic's Cheap Seats with Randy and Jason Sklar.
The episode will air at 10 p.m. Eastern Time. But don't expect a full-blown riffing...Mike and the bots only appear for a few short segments. But as we mentioned before, it's the first new MST3K material since 1999, so get those recording devices ready!
Vintage Brit kids telly that needs to be seen to be believed - and even then you might not believe it...
Rod (to Jane): "Do you want to blow on my pipe while I'm twanging away?"
Jane: "Oh no Rod, I was blowing a lot with Roger last night. But would you
like to play with my maracas?"
Zippy: "No, let's just pluck away with our twangers."
Bungle: "Yes, it doesn't matter what size your twanger is."
Zippy: "I've got a big red one."
George: "I've only got a tiny twanger. But it works well and I like to play with it."
More bad ideas from clueless/greedy TV execs - Futuristic Bugs,Daffy, Road Runner and all the rest - looking positively evil - just what the world needed. Jeez, Taz looks like a frickin' ninja throwing star come to life.
This reminds me of Disney's attempt to give one of it's mainstays a cooler, edgier image - but "Indestructable Robo-Fighter Pooh" was, thankfully, a flop.
LATEST NEWS -- February 2
VOLUME 7: THE LINE-UP
Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Volume 7 due out in April, will contain (hold on to your hat):
* episode 407- THE KILLER SHREWS (with short: JUNIOR RODEO DAREDEVILS)
* episode 408- HERCULES UNCHAINED
* episode 410- HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN
* episode 816- PRINCE OF SPACE
A bonus feature will be ASSIGNMENT: VENEZUELA, the short originally MSTed for the ill-fated CD-ROM project and which was never shown on television. That's all we have for now, more updates as soon as we get them.
This is great news. Sure i have copies of every episode on tape or CD-R but nothing beats a good old fashioned official DVD release - even from Rhino, whose overall handling of the MST3K franchise has often left much to be desired. These are four classic episodes and it'll be nice to have a high quality copy of Assignment Venezuela at last.
I refuse to be the 7,000th blog to point to Fox's new FG blog and exclaim "Freakin' sweet!"... oh dammit...
This website is the only place that you'll be able to see the return of FAMILY GUY every step of the way along the production process.
Remember to check back often for exclusive looks at script pages, guest stars, interviews, table reads, story boards, and much more!
House - Fox TV
I'm not much for medical shows - the only doctors I want in my TV entertainment are coroners and forensics experts - but I gave House a couple of spins since it stars one of my favororite comic thesps Hugh Laurie. The series seems well written and Laurie and his supporting cast do a fine job but the one gnawing, nagging hiccup in the show - for me - was Laurie's obviously fake American accent. I hate bad accents whether it's a Brit mangling an American accent (and even greats like Michael Caine seem to have problems with it) or an American crapping all over Brit dialects (far too many too mention). So Laurie's affected delivery proved to be a significant distraction.
Imagine my surprise when I thumbed throgh todays NY Post and read (in the TV section) ....
"Bryan Singer, who directed the pilot, didn't want to see any more English actors [audition for the role of House]," Shore says. "He said, 'House is a prototypical American. We can't have someone faking an accent.'
"The next day, we got Hugh on tape; Brian didn't know who he was and he said, 'This is exactly the kind of guy I'm looking for.' "
Full article here
So, now I'm wondering if I'm just hypersensitive to the whole accent thing - after all I already knew full well Laurie was English - or if these Hollywood types have tin ears.
I also noted that the pilot's dirctor Bryan Singer - the director of X-Men, The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil and so on "...didn't know who he (Laurie) was..." How does a top Hollywood director not know Hugh Laurie?
This reminded me of the year The Usual Suspects was winning Oscars and one of the prime movers - either Singer or the script's author - claimed not to have known that the title of their film was derived from the famous line in Casablanca. Their Oscars should have been revoked in the spot.
Anyway - watch House on Fox Tuesday's if you're at all a fan of well produced medical melodrama.
Terrific look at the new crop of shows complicating our Tivo ToDo lists. There are a bunch of new shows I'll probably never have a chance to see since they're slotted against series I'm already addicted to. Oh well, that blue/grey filter they used in the CSI:NY pilot annoyed me anyway...
Trio, the almost certainly doomed net whose programming ranges wildly between the sublime and the ridiculous, has a new season of Brilliant But Cancelled on offer - Brilliant may be an overstatement but all these series are worth a secong look...
Deadline Oliver Platt plays Wallace Benton, a hardboiled Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist in New York City with an uncanny nose for news...
This critically acclaimed crime show took a unique approach to an over-mined genre by telling a singular story from three different perspectives over the course of the season...
The Invisible Man
Dr. Daniel Westin (David McCallum) was a scientist working with a government think-tank known as the KLAE Corporation who was rendered invisible by a formula he concocted that was supposed to be used for matter transformation...
Based on the historical battle for the Alamo in which 182 American soldiers tried to stop the Mexican army from invading Texas, this sweeping epic marks John Wayne's directorial debut...
Tackling the tricky subject of parenting with an honest look at how complicated family can be. Stars Ed Begley Jr., Leodardo DiCaprio, Thora Birch, David Arquette, and Jayne Atkinson...
plus they have an original series airing at the mo' - "Pilot Season" - inspired by the.. erm.. season of pilots they ran earlier this year. Read the NYT Review
After slamming the piss poor excuse for entertainment that is Growing Uo Gotti I do have to admit to having watched the initail installment of Amish in the City last week and if I watch it again it'll only be to, hopefully, see Mose take an axe and give his "english" flatmates forty whacks for the incredibly biggoted way the 6 "normals" have treated their Amish co-stars. These "regular Americans" are a freak show display of all that's wrong with modern society - from the vegan space cadet who thinks cows are an alien life form (and who lures poor Mose out into deeper than he can handle water before "saving" him from drowning) to the bitchy drama queen.
Can you imagine anyone other than a small Christian sect being treated in such an openly hostile way? Any other group and UPN would be accused of promoting hate crime but since these are simple God-fearing Christian folk they're open targets.
Seek out instead the documentray Devil's Playground, clips of which were seen in the first episode providing glimpses into real teen Amish life - warts (booze, drugs, sex, rock and roll, more drugs) and all.
Living with dolts one more chore for Amish (Toronto Star)
Doctor Who's arch enemies the Daleks are coming back to the series after a lengthy dispute between the BBC and the creator's estate was finally settled.
RHINO ANNOUNCES NEW DVD SET On August 31, Rhino Home Video will release a new 2-DVD set it is calling MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 - THE ESSENTIALS. It will contain two episodes that scored very high on the poll of fans we took several years ago: Episode 321- SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS and episode 424- "MANOS"-THE HANDS OF FATE.
Apparently Rhino is a big Morrissey fan - repackage the old already available on DVD "Manos" and bundle it with the never before available "SCCtM" - after all the fans have nothing better to do with their money - why not make them buy the same product multiple times. It's Moz b-side mania all over again.
It's nice to see the Rhino episode poll finally being used to determine releases - it's only been what, a few years?
I'll certainly be buying it though - of course I'm an addict with nearly every episode on tape, CD-R and/or DVD so I simply can't help myself - it'll be copy #5 of Manos but only #3 of Santa/Martians.
Finally got around to watching the first of the long awaited (here in the US) new episodes of Alan Davies' tongue in cheek magical mystery series Jonathan Creek. I've never been a great fan of the shows scripts from a "mystery" standpoint - very Murder She Wrote-ish - but stars Davies and Caroline Quentin had a certain chemistry and the show ambles along nicely - it's comfort food telly I suppose - amusing and easy on the gray cells. After sitting through the feature leangth "Satan's Chimney" I have to admit a bit of its charm has worn off.
First the story is almost all padding. Second, Julia Sawalha (AbFab's Saffrom) replaces Quentin as Creek's slightly frumpy sidekick and that takes some getting used to. Third, the script is not only dumb but it assumes the viewers are a bunch of idiots - you'd have to be an idiot not to work things out in a fraction of the time it takes Creek. Sub-Hardy Boys plotting, one dimensional supporting characters and offensive and ignorant stereotypes abound. To top it off there's a wonderfully preachy defense of abortion thrown in - the main villain is, after all, that scourge of liberal screenwriters - the born again Christian anti-abortion terrorist - and this one is also supposed to be one of America's top entertainers! If you believed everything you saw on TV you'd think the planet's greatest terrorist threat comes from fly-over fundamentalists. Lazy script tricks make for predictable and insulting television.
While one sour episode won't stop me from watching the further adventures of Jonathan Creek they may well sit on the Tivo for quite a bit longer from now on.
"It sounds like First Look has some hot TV-on-DVD plans baking in the oven, and the ever-popular Unsolved Mysteries is the first batch of treats we'll get fresh from the stove! To recap their plans, you can expect:
* Sep. 7 - "The UFO Files" (to kick it all off)
* Oct. 5 - "Scariest Ghost Stories" (just in time for Halloween)
* Nov. 9 - "Astonishing Miracles" (to raise our spirits for the holiday season)
* 2005 will see "Bizarre Murders," "Mysterious Legends," and "Incredible Psychics and ESP"."
For years I was addicted to Unsolved Mysteries - in the days before there were true crime and unexplained phenomena shows on every night somewhere in cable-land. I never cared much for the long lost loves segments and found it disconcerting to see nonsensical UFO and ghost stories treated with the same earnestness as horrific real-life crimes. There was not a great deal of critical thinking allowed - though they did occasionally expose a particularly inept grifter. (I seem to recall a women who claimed to sweat gold leaf and exhale gems or some such flummery being caught out.)
These might be worth picking up just for the proposed case updates of some of the more baffling crimes. I'd give a kidney to hear Penn and Teller do commentary on the UFO, Ghost and Miracle discs.
Exponentially better than fellow BBC America comedy debut Trailer Park Boys, this Scottish sketch comedy show falls somewhere between The Fast Show and Jam without possessing either the charm of the former or the serious mental illness of the latter.
Not exceptional but certainly worth watching when in need of a slightly subversive chuckle.
Alarmingly bad Canadian comedy foisted upon unwary anglophiles by BBC America. Less convincing than Reno 911 and about as funny as an infomercial. Trailer Park Boys has Clerks wannabe written all over it - and I don't mean that as a compliment.
So why has BBC America spent precious programming space on a load of amateur theatric, I pray it's improvised because it galls me to think someone mught have been paid to write it, tripe?
I blame The Office.
The Office is a squirmy comedy with few out and out jokes that clever people think is riotously funny. BBC America buyer sees TPB and thinks - well, this doesn't make people laugh either so it must be a classic! Thus all dogs are socrates - or some similiar drivel i didn't pay attention to in college.
Hopefully the dreaded cancellation twister will find this trailer park before too long
"The critically-acclaimed drama, created by J.H. Wyman, follows a down-on-his-luck New York City cop, played by Mark Valley ("Pasadena"), who goes to work for Scotland Yard in London after a botched drug bust back home. The series, shot entirely in London, stars Sienna Miller ("Bedtime"), Alexei Sayle ("The Young Ones"), Colin Salmon ("Die Another Day") and Julian Rhind-Tutt ("Tomb Raider"). The series premiered on Fox last summer. Bravo acquired all 13 episodes of the summer series – including six that have never been seen. "
It was a damn shame this got cancelled. Kudos to Bravo for repeating it!