Tag Archives: television

TV Showcase: ‘Merlin’ entertains, but has yet to enchant

22 Jun


June 22, 2009-

Debuting last Sunday night in the 8 p.m. summer time slot, BBC’s fanciful new import Merlin hearkens to a different era; the world of the family friendly drama program. Created as a revamp of the Arthurian legend, this new Merlin is more indebted to Harry Potter than Le Morte d’Arthur or even the above-average 1998 miniseries that saw Sam Neil don the wizard’s cloak. Continue reading

Movie Review: ‘Land’ gets lost in silliness

18 Jun


Land of the Lost (2009) (PG-13) 101 min.  directed by: Brad Siberling. Starring: Will Ferrell, Ana Friel, Danny McBride, John Boylan. cinematography: Dion Beebe original score: Michael Giacchino.

cinemagrade c-

I wasn’t expecting epic storytelling or thoughtful science when I went into Land of the Lost.  It obviously doesn’t have those things and neither did the original series. What I was hoping for was a reasonably exciting adventure, some good laughs and most importantly a creative use of the prehistoric setting. Unfortunately, what we get instead is a series of Will Ferrel bathroom jokes, out of place sexual references and a ‘plot’ that basically consists of notes taken on a napkin while browsing through an episode of the original series. Continue reading

TV Review: Pushing the last of the ‘Daisies’ (Spoiler Free)

13 Jun


June 13th, 2009-

Sigh. It’s here at last. The final episode of the prematurely dead Pushing Daisies, and while it is a shame that there is no more, the show goes out on top with a completely entertaining episode that not only gives us one more silly mystery but more character interaction(and confrontation) than we have had in a while. Issues between Chuck and Ned bubble to the surface, Lily and Vivian take the spotlight, and Emerson and his reasonably little gumshoe, Olive continue to prove that a spinoff featuring their characters could be just as great as Daisies. Continue reading

Remembering David Carradine and ‘Q: The Winged Serpent’

7 Jun


June 7th, 2009-

There have been a fair number of articles and retrospectives in the past few days looking back over the career of veteran David Carradine, who died last Wednesday in Thailand. One of the most interesting was a eulogy by Carradine’s friend and fellow actor Michael Madsen which you can find HERE. Elsewhere, it’s all Kung-Fu this, and Kwai Chang Caine that and for the younger generation he’s mostly just Bill who Uma killed by edict of Tarantino. Sort of strange to be remembered for so few performances when your filmography contains over 200 acting credits. Continue reading

The rest of ‘Pushing Daisies’ begins airing TONIGHT!!

30 May


The facts are these:

In September of 2007, ABC debuted a new and quirky series called Pushing Daisies. It was both a critical and ratings darling during it’s freshman months. Then the writer’s strike happened, and Daisies finished its first season with a paltry 9 episodes. When it returned, it failed to get the ratings necessary to keep ABC from canceling it and in December of 2008, after two partial seasons, the axe was dropped on Pushing Daises. At the time, ABC didn’t even finish airing the final three episodes. Since that time, ABC has allowed show-runner Fuller to go back and modify the final episode a bit so that it functions more as a series finale than simply a season cap. And now, they are dropping Pushing Daisies in the 10 pm slot on Saturday night for the following three weeks with as little publicity and fanfare as possible.

I don’t think even the Pie-maker can resurrect this one, but its nice to at least get a chance to say our goodbyes.

I didnt come to show when it first aired (as I seem to do with so much television) but caught it when it hit dvd. And it was really something unique. Creating a world that blended storybooks and comic books, Pushing Daisies gave us a wonderful and distinct cast of characters, a sweet and thoughtful love story and some of the best dialogue on television today. It was a zinger for sure, and original, which was itself a major accomplishment for network t.v.

The cast is terrific. Lee Pace, also wonderful in the fantastic The Fall, insinuates himself into another fairy-tale world as Ned the pie-maker who has the gift to resurrect dead things when he touches them, but if he touches them a second time they are dead again, forever. The other caveat is that if said dead thing is allowed to re-enter the world and exist for longer than a minute, something else in near proximity will have to die as a result. Anna Friel played his dead lady love, Chuck, who he resurrected but couldn’t bring himself to return to the grave. The two standouts of the show, though, were Chi McBride as the blustery private detective Emerson Cod (one of the most original characters I’ve seen in years) and Kristen Chenowith as the feisty, pining Olive Snook who works as a waitress at Ned’s cafe, charmingly called The Pie Hole. Daisies had begun pairing Cod and Snook together as sluething partners, but the cancellation came just as this storyline began to take off.

Now, for at least three more weeks, Daisies is alive and among us and well. Enjoy it while it lasts. It will be brief.

For everyone who has yet to see Daisies, you can get the first season on DVD and Bluray right now and the second season with the three added eps on July 1st.

Read what little ABC has to say about it HERE.

Grrrrr….Arrrrggh…Buffy heads to big screen without Whedon or Gellar

26 May


May 26th, 2009-

It’s been an interesting coincidence that as several of the new series reboots have been hitting theaters, I’ve been making my way through an old one for the first time. Having more or less yawned my way through the 1992 theatrical film Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and being underwhelmed by the t.v. pilot in winter of 97, I never watched the Joss Whedon helmed t.v. series of the same name. And, as I’ve come to realize in recent months, that was my loss.

Whedon created a strong cast of characters that formed a tight-knit community and as inventive as his monsters and fiends were, they always took a back seat to the woes of teenage high-school life. When the characters moved beyond high-school and took on college and the work-force, the show moved with them. It was constantly changing and shifting–not in tone, only in theme –and it was growing, not violently rearranging itself. What I see now, is that Buffy the Vampire Slayer, despite its groan-inducing title and long running stint on the teen-burial-ground that was the WB, was one of the best shows to ever grace the television screen. And as I watched Terminator and Star Trek get a new lease on life, I wondered if Whedon would ever see fit to give us a big-budget Buffy movie.

And, it looks like part of that wish is coming true, but the rest of it is so off-base I’d just as soon not have heard this. Buffy, it seems is going (back) to the big-screen, with the director of the awful first film at the helm and it’s proceeding forward without Whedon, Gellar, and the rest of the cast. O.k., so it won’t attempt to touch the t.v. series, which is a good thing, but this reboot doesn’t make much sense. I don’ t know if Whedon or Gellar or anyone else were approached about this, or considered it, but I always thought the purpose of a reboot was to improve or jump-start a franchise which had run out of steam. We already HAD the Buffy reboot, back in 97. That’s the version that has fans, not the 92 mess. And Buffy didn’t just fade out with lousy final seasons. It finished strong, and during it’s seven year run, only season 4 was not quite up to snuff. If I didn’t think Whedon couldn’t find another interesting story to tell with the original cast, fine, but I think he easily could. Right now, this sounds not only unnecessary but a heart-breaker for those fans of the show that were holding out hope that one day Buffy and the Scoobies would make their way to the big screen.


Read the Empire Online account of this travesty HERE.


‘V’ remake prepares to make contact–I hope theres a lizard baby!

20 May


May 20th, 2009-

ABC has finally revealed a trailer for the pilot of its upcoming sci-fi series ‘V’, a remake of the 1983 miniseries of the same name. A ratings hit at the time, ‘V’ told the story of visitors from space who showed up in Earth’s atmosphere with their city-size saucers –suck it Independence Day!–and proceeded to aid the human race philanthropically. That was until we realized they were Nazi lizards determined to subjugate and harvest us.

As a child I remember catching bits of the debut and being haunted for weeks by the nasty little reptile baby. Anyone else remember that? The original miniseries hasn’t aged terribly well, but it’s still entertaining and it’s an opportunity to see earlier, less campy appearances by the likes of Marc Singer (Beastmaster!) and Robert “Freddy” Englund.

The new is gathering a bit of a genre cast itself, including Morena Baccarin of Firefly fame and Elizabeth Mitchell fresh from Lost. The production values look great, and the entire thing seems to have potential. I’m not a huge fan of remakes, but heres hoping they have another Battlestar Galactica here and not a Knight Rider or Bionic Woman. From the look of things, the humanoid iguana element is still in. Now I just hope for a rodent eating scene!

See the trailer HERE!