Monday, October 15, 2007
I thought the second episode was fairly bad... worse than the first (where I forgive them for at least trying to hurry and lay groundwork). That part where Jaime agrees to be a spy and asks for weekends off and be home by 6pm. Is that even a joke? I think we are meant to take it seriously. And Michelle Ryan isn't injecting any playfulness in her line readings. Too bad her micronanites or whathaveyous couldn't enhance her personality. Miguel Ferrer is a great actor yet he comes across as so inept when he lets "The Laconic Woman" talk to him like that.
I don't know what they are trying to do with this show.... Jaime is mopey, but then gets faux-empowerment lines... it's dark-realistic, yet contains some shockingly unrealistic government-ish agency protocol (why does Jaime have so much freedom??).
The second episode also featured Isaiah Washington in a completely (so far) useless role that is duplicated by Asian trainer Jae Kim and grumpy mentor Jonas Bledsoe. He gets a strange "trust test" scene in a bookstore that is best forgotten. All I can say is, this private security agency sure does run things all strange-like.
The third episode fairs better, mostly because Sackoff elevates the material. But, it could be a big mistake to make Sarah Corvus so sympathetic so quickly... Is anyone going to care what Jaime is up to, when we've got the much-more-interesting Sarah? When Katee Sackoff is onscreen, the show sparks to life. She's the Bionic Fonzie; Just watch, she'll take over the show.
She'd be better served as a psycho adversary the first season, though. Sarah should have kicked Jaime's ass in episode one, sending her scurrying to Jonas for help -- building up to a Bionic Women rematch mid-season. By season's end, Jaime would be the kick-ass heroine. And in season two, we could delve into Sarah's back story and perhaps ultimate redemption.
Urgh, I'll probably stay with this at least til mid-season but I hope it improves! If they can't salvage Jaime's character, she'd be better off having Katee Sackoff take over as the Bionic lead.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The triad of Ned/Chuck/Emerson works beautifully. I was initially worried about Olive as a character, but she won me over tonight. Random musical numbers? more, please. Ned and Chuck high-fiving using dandilions. What's not to love?
I finally placed the tone of the narration-- VERY Douglas Adams (Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy). Love it! So if you aren't watching it... you should.
"ABC has pacted with scribe Rob Thomas ("Veronica Mars") to develop a new version of "Cupid," the short-lived but well-regarded Jeremy Piven starrer about a man who thinks he's been sent to earth by Zeus to help out romantically challenged souls. Project is one of two scripts Thomas has in the works via a just-inked one-year development deal with ABC Studios."
"Cupid" lasted only 15 episodes during the 1998-99 season, but it attracted a cult aud and helped establish series creator-exec producer Thomas as a TV player. Scribe said he didn't intentionally decide to resurrect his first big series.
"For the last couple years, I've been talking to ABC about how to do an anthological romantic comedy a la 'Cupid' or 'Love Boat,' " Thomas said. "We kept beating around ideas and kept coming back to 'Cupid' as the best of the group. So they said to me, 'Why not go back and do 'Cupid' again?"
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Every episode, Sam is bummed because he has to help the devil as he trips over the box containing this week's vessel. Then we learn of the escaped hellion, who has some gimmick (fire, electricity, bugs). The vessel is some generic electronic device (dirt devil, toaster, remote controlled car). Meanwhile, Sam must juggle his dead-end job at Workbench (where he will ultimately gear himself up to fight the hellion of the week). And in between that, he stammers around gal-pal Andi.
It's three episodes in, and already there's the feeling of a rut. There's not much ingenuity in the hellion-vessel combo. It's like there's a giant wheel in the writer's room to match up the gimmicks of the week. The show needs less gimmicks and more inventiveness.
Positives? Bret Harrsion and Ray Wise are both excellent in their roles. Tyler Labine has managed to not annoy as the slacker-overweight Jack-Black buddy that's becoming a staple. And the jokes are actually funny.
The show is quite fixable. It needs a serious through-line. There should be a build to something; Right now, Sam's situation is hopeless and he's not doing much about it. Is there a way to circumvent his new part-time job? Could Sam try to prevent the devil from doing other evil things? Could Sam become a comedic John Constantine?
The show should also dump its already-formulaic hellion-vessel plot structure and do different things. Either that, or the hellion plots are going to have to get a lot more interesting.
So.... CHUCK three episodes in... Something about the tone of this show doesn't quite work for me. There's a real sense of danger (kidnapped in helicopter) and then there's the total camp-comedy (knife-wielding spy on the dance floor). Something isn't calibrated correctly in this show. The drama stuff just isn't very engaging. It seems like even the show doesn't know where to go with things. Are we supposed to take Casey (thee excellent Adam Baldwin) seriously while he's working at Buy More? In the pilot, the two spies were working at cross purposes and now they are getting orders together? Huh?
I actually think it would fair much better as a half-hour show. The plots would move along quicker and they could play up the comedy a bit more. This could be a very clever 21st century GET SMART. The cast is great and they would be pretty adept at comedy. It would also make the siller plot mechanics easier to swallow.
As it stands, CHUCK is on the bubble for me.
It's the type of thing we've seen dozens of times before... Lead character plays by his own rules and breaks procedure, while co-workers ha-rumph and gasp at his unorthodox methodology. But wouldn'tyaknowit, the eccentric detective knows exactly what he's doing and uncovers the key piece of evidence while everyone else is playing mental catch-up!
If the phrase CSI: Tibet intrigues you, add LIFE to your TiVo. Me? I'll opt for early parole.
You know you're in for something different by the opening shot: a citrus-colored Norman Rockwell scene with Dr. Suess meets Desperate Housewives narration. By the first commercial, I'm hooked. The show is charming without (yet) being cloying. The story is inventive and engaging. The characters are well-drawn and likable. Lee Pace is a great lead actor. There are moments in this episode that are pure joy - whether it's an odd camera choice, a devilish bit of dialogue or the way the show revels its own fantasy.
I like this show immediately for its insistence on being different. It's not a junk-culture reality show or another procedural crime-drama. It';s unlike anything else on TV. That either means its going to be a wild success or a dismal failure.
My biggest concern is whether or not this series can hold up with weekly installments. It seems like it would have made an excellent indie flick, but a TV series? When your new significant other tells you her/his funny spring break story the first time, you love it. But after hearing it several time, it loses its charm entirely. Here's hoping PUSHING DAISES has enough interesting tales to tell.
In short, PUSHING DAISES is either the most charming show in years or the most pleased-with-itself-cloying show ever. I'll let you know in three weeks.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
While the roster or casting has not been divulged yet, that doesn't stop us fanboys from playing casting agent at titanstower.com. So who should play who? Well, let's assume the cast contains the elements from the classic Wolfman/Perez run of NEW TEEN TITANS. Here at titanstower.com, you won't only see our picks, but you'll see each of them in their "hair and make-up screen test" thanks to photoshop.
Click on the images to enlarge!
Jake Gyllenhaal as Nightwing: Dick Grayson is the most pivotal role in the Teen Titans. Since the movie is going with Nightwing, you'd need a confident and charismatic leader-type. But to play Dick Grayson, the actor needs to be slightly insecure and emotive. Jake Gyllenhaal (DONNIE DARKO, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, ZODIAC) is more than up to the task. He's played everything from a troubled teen as Donnie Darko – to a obsessed detective in ZODIAC. Combine all his experience, and you've got an awesome Nightwing!
Olivia Wilde as Donna Troy: It's not easy finding someone to play Donna Troy. You need an actress that is believable as a gorgeous ass-kicking amazon in one scene – and then a down-to-earth gal next door in the next. Olivia Wilde (THE O.C., THE BLACK DONNELLYS) is stunningly beautiful but she's also a charismatic actress as well. As Alex Kelly, she made Marissa's sapphic storyline sing on The O.C.; And as Jenny, she injected heart on THE BLACK DONNELLYS. She'd be wonderful as Wonder Girl.
Justin Hartley as Kid Flash: Wally West was always a good-looking corn-fed kid from Blue Valley, Nebraska. Justin Hartley (PASSIONS, SMALLVILLE, AQUAMAN) has that All-American look with a hint of charm. Hartley is no stranger to playing hero, having portrayed both Green Arrow and Aquaman. I think he's got the looks and acting experience to fill Kid Flash's running boots.
Chris Evans as Speedy: The Titans' ace archer is all about attitude – and Chris Evans (FANTASTIC FOUR, CELLULAR, NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE) has got it in spades. His portrayal of hotshot Jonny Storm shows that Evans would make the perfect Roy Harper. Physically, Evans even looks like Arsenal pulled directly from the comic book pages.
Matt Dallas as Aqualad: Hailing from Atlantis, Aqualad was always the sensitive outsider among his more colorful counterparts. Matt Dallas (KYLE XY) has played a similar role as the emo enigma on ABC Family's KYLE XY. Give the guy some purple contacts and you've got your Garth.
Summer Glau as Raven: Raven is distant, moody and has a terrible secret. Summer Glau (FIREFLY, THE 4400) played each of those emotions to perfection as the complex River Tam on FIREFLY. Glau's got the same ballet-dancer build as the empathic Titan, but also can shift from scary to scared in an instant. In short, the perfect Raven.
Jessica Biel as Starfire: Starfire's a super-sexy alien with a bad temper. Jessica Biel (7th HEAVEN, BLADE: TRINITY, THE ILLUSIONIST) already looks the part. And her action-star turn as Abigail Whistler in BLADE: TRINITY shows she has what it takes to play the alien powerhouse.
Gaius Charles as Cyborg: For Cyborg, look no further than actor Gaius Charles (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS), who plays Brian 'Smash' Williams on the NBC drama. He's got the look and acting ability to play the tragic half-teen half-machine.
Shawn Ashmore as Beast Boy: With Beast Boy, it’s not all about the comedy. Underneath the joking exterior, there’s an insecure hero. For that, you need an actor to do the lighthearted stuff and also the weightier stuff. Shawn Ashmore (X-MEN, EARTHSEA) is no stranger to lighthearted heroes, having played Bobby Drake in all three X-MEN movies. His sweet scenes with Kitty Pryde and Rogue also show that he’s got the chops to give the Terra storyline the emotional depth it needs.
Michelle Trachtenberg as Terra: She's the super-powered Lolita that rocked the Titans' world. Michelle Trachtenberg (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, ICE PRINCESS, EUROTRIP) has shown her ability to shift from cute n' cudly to angsty n' confused. To play Terra, the actress needs to be believable as a smart-mouthed ingenue and later, a terrorizing teen tart. I think Trachtenberg would rock as Terra.
Justin Timerlake as Jericho: OK, for the portion of you saying "Wha?", calm down and hear me out. And for the portion of you that know what a great idea this is: are you feelin' me? The traits shared by both Timberlake (ALPHA DOG, BLACK SNAKE MOAN) and the mute Joesph Wilson are many: Both Justin and Joey are sensitive, expressive artists that women find sexy. Timberlake also looks like the Titans' mute hero - look at some older images and you'll see that both guys have the blond afro going on. With some movies under his belt now, the singer-actor would do justice to the Wilson kid that done good. And if you're STILL concerned, just remember that you won't even hear Timberlake utter one line of dialogue.
Adam Baldwin as Deathstroke: Baldwin (FIREFLY, ANGEL, CHUCK) is no stranger playing amoral mercs; He spent a full season as the jerk-merc Jayne on FIREFLY. His turn as the slick Marcus Hamilton in the last season of ANGEL shows that Baldwin can also do cool and cunning as well. Artist George Perez commented that he wanted Slade to be sexy and debonair -- that's something else Baldwin can provide. His seduction of Terra should be believable. The tricky thing with Slade Wilson is that you need to buy him as a sexy-charming-smart-killer. And Baldwin is a rare actor that can do all of that.
Stephanie Romanov as Addie Kane: Romanov (ANGEL) spent five years playing icy, sexy, mostly-evil Wolfram & Hart lawyer Lilah Morgan on ANGEL. Her attitude and edge would be perfect to play the tough-as-nails ex-wife of Deathstroke, Adeline Kane. I can imagine her shooting Slade's eye out as I type this... Wow, the comic book Addie never looked so good!
Nick Stahl as Grant Wilson: What's a Teen Titans movie without Deathstroke? And what's a Deathstroke origin without the Wilsons? Grant Wilson is the one that started it all with his ill-advised contract with the evil H.I.V.E. organization. Nick Stahl's (BULLY, TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES) intensity is perfect for the chip-on-his-shoulder Wilson gone wrong. If you don't believe me, just watch the brutal BULLY and you'll see Stahl is perfect as the first Ravager.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
The New York Post Reports: "October 2, 2007 -- LOU Pearlman - the hog-fat, boy-band honcho who created *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys and launched the careers of Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter - was a pervy pedophile who preyed on the young men he mentored, Vanity Fair reports.
"I would absolutely say the guy was a sexual predator. All the talent knew what Lou's game was," Steve Mooney, an aspiring singer who was Pearlman's assistant, told VF's Bryan Burrough. "Some guys joked about it. I remember [one singer] asking me, 'Have you let Lou [fellate] you yet?'
Mooney said he once asked Pearlman, who was known as "Big Poppa," what it would take for him to get into a band. "I'll never forget this as long as I live. He leaned back in his chair, in his white terry cloth robe and white underwear, and spread his legs," Mooney told Burrough. "And then he said, and these were his exact words, 'You're a smart boy. Figure it out.' " Mooney added that a singer groped by Pearlman told him, "Look, if a guy wants to massage me, and I'm getting a million dollars for it, you just go along with it. It's the price you got to pay."" read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Wine and Candlelit Bubble Bath
Causes: Usually after a bad day at the office. Or maybe she's not fitting in.
Depression Level: Sigh.
After hitting the glass ceiling, struggling female exec drowns her troubles in the suds & vino combo. But there's always an awful lot of candles, isn't there? In a cocoon of ambient lighting and Dido music, wistful gal slinks into the tub contemplating her life.
Hagaan Das Therapy
Common Causes: It's usually after a relationship revelation (he's cheating! he's married! he's not committing!) or an unexpected visit from a critical parent.
Depression Level: Freaking Out.
We've all seen it. Down-on-her-luck lady drowning her sorrows in frozen dairy. And these frowny females are so down and out they don't have time for bowls. Nosiree, it's just a big spoon dug into the whole pint. She'll also rant with her mouthful of rocky road to sympathetic gal pal.
Walk of Weariness
Common Causes: He's left you, maybe this time for good.
Depression Level: How will I live without you?
It's time for contemplation, and usually when that happens, it's raining. The rain-soaked walk of the damned with soundtrack by alt-rock female whiner of the month. Walk through the streets and cry it all out, girlfriend! And if it's not raining, try walking on the beach. That works, too.
The Sad Shower
Common Causes: Everyone you've ever loved has lied to you! The parent you trusted is evil! The love of your life is gone, baby, gone! You now have bionic parts!
Depression Level: Basket case.
When you've just been hit with devastating news, daily hygiene may take a bit longer. When you're naked and alone with no one but your loofah sponge, you need to get it all out. So sit in that claw foot bathtub and sob uncontrollably!
Depressing, isn't it?
Monday, October 1, 2007
Season One featured a modern-kewl "year three" Batman and tried to go for a moody action adventure. It was rather generic. Season Two changed the theme song into a punchier surf-riff evoking the 60s TV show and upped the ante on villains. It was quantity over quality with many episodes featuring multiple adversaries. Season Three introduced Batgirl and Comissioner Gordon, rejecting the toon-created cops and the idea of Batman as a loner. Season Four brought in Robin (fresh from the cancelled TEEN TITANS) and the series became "Batman Family." Now, in season five, we've got the whole Justice League teaming up with Bats in "Brave and the Bold" type of adventures.
The problem is, each of the incarnations pales to most anything envisioned by Bruce Timm and company. For over ten years, Timm and his crew brought the DC characters to life with style and flair - sometimes even improving on the source material. I must admit, season four had some sparks of life (injecting some new writers in the mix, I might add) with episodes like "The Everywhere Man", "Strange New World", "Artifacts" and "Seconds" - any of which could stand beside some of the BATMAN" THE ANIMATED SERIES episodes of the 90s. "Seconds" was a particularly unique and moving episode.
Season Five begins with a Batman/Superman team up. Comic fans have seen this done many times before. The episode even echoed the 3-part "World's Finest" episode of SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES in many ways. It was on par with most of what we've seen in season four. That is, the show has become watchable at last. Of course, it doesn't hurt when you have Andrea Romano directing the voices and bringing in George Newburn, Dana Delaney and Clancy Brown to reprise the voices of Superman, Lois & Lex. Good episodes. Good start to season five.
The episode opens with Brainy man-crushing on Superman. He uses holo-sims to ease his lonliness - and I can hear the click-clack of the keyboards burning up the slash-fiction. Seriously, I think they missed an opportunity with Brainy; Instead of the Robo-Pinochio, I'd rather have the prickly ego-genius from the comics. I think that would make the character stand out more - especially with the similarly impish Chameleon Boy now part of the team.
The show has definitely gotten a bit darker this season. Producer James Tucker regards season one as "Silver Age" Legion while season two is "Bronze Age" Legion. I definitely get that vibe. The threat of Imperiex is pretty dire and Triplicate Girl's loss of one of her own was fairly eyebrow raising on a Kids WB! show.
I'm not sold on the idea of the two Supermen. It seems to be something that arose from a focus group. Like, kids today thought the traditional Superman was too boring. So they made a Superman with no cape and 23% more bad-assery. To hedge their bets, they also threw in traditional Supes. But season one Superbo--er, Superman didn't track with the tween set, so they bring back a more experienced Superman. That's three versions of Superman in the span of 15 episodes. By season four, they can change the name to LEGION OF SUPER-MEN.
My super-conerns aside, this is perfectly entertaining animated fare. It's true to Legion-lore and they seem to be using more and more Legionaires as the episodes progress. It's not quite as compelling as the Bruce Timm DCAnimated, but it's better than the uneven THE BATMAN. Here's to looking forward to the future!
MOONLIGHT follows Mick St. John, an immortal vampire and private investigator - and his struggle to exist after he was bitten 60 years ago by his vampire bride on their wedding night. The show takes on a very old school approach; It's a basic late 80s/early 90s style detective show featuring a good-looking loner who helps those in need - with the vampire overlay. Nothing incredibly new here. So really, the show has to rely on smart writing, good acting and a unique style.
The series is evalated by lead vamp, Alex O'Loughlin, who does a neat job as the brooding blooddrinker. Sophia Myles impressed me as Beth; In a lesser actress, the character would seem wafer-thin. Myles, so far, is a decent female lead. Jason Dohring (of VERONICA MARS (?)fame) is passable as Joseph, the vamp who sees humanity as his own personal Starbucks. I'm a big VERONICA MARS fan, but let's be honest... that show will never be known for its stellar acting ensemble. I'm just seeing Logan Echolls as a bloodsucker here.
The writing may be a bit of a problem. I easily pegged the teacher assistant as the murderer about 29 minutes into the episode. I love play-fair mysteries, so I was a bit disappointed at the ease of this one. My much-mourned VERONICA MARS featured clever-twisty done-in-one-episode mysteries. If MOONLIGHT could do that with vampires, It'd easily be a favorite. The backstory faired better, with the past connection between Mick and Beth. Still, that "watching over Beth" for the past 20 years was a tad creepy since she is the new love interest. I had "Celine Dion's creepy old manager now husband" shudders.
This is a slight pet peeve, but I also don't like all the nefangled (newfanged?) vampire stories that play fast and loose with the rules. I can handle one or two exceptions, but this show had quite a few. They don't turn into bats or rodents. They don't fly. Sunlight doesn't kill and they can walk in the daylight. Crosses are a no-go. Garlic is great on pizza but doesn't even give heartburn. I'm not a fan or so MANY exceptions; I mean, it gets to a point of "why do a vampire show?" [sarcasm on/]They kept the teeth and blood-drinking at least.[/sarcasm off]
I think the biggest strike against the show is that it doesn't feel particularly new. A show like BURN NOTICE (which, by the way, check it out on USA) took that "80s detective loner" convention and gave it a modern twist with its style and sarcastic voiceover. MOONLIGHT desperately needs something to set it apart from a stock night-time detective show circa 1992 syndication. Other than the website reporting, you might even think this pilot was sitting on a dusty shelf as a first draft for FOREVER KNIGHT. It needs style. It needs a modern edge. This really is an old school show about (their version) of vampires.
I'll give it 2 more episodes before I decide whether it gets a TiVo season pass. It's well acted and competently written, but I'm not sure if it has anything new to say. And that may result in a ratings-stake through the heart. Forget crosses... are their vampires immune to Nielsons?
They ruined Bizarro. Last year they ruined the Phantom Zone villains and this year they squandered Bizarro. Really, Smallville Producers, this isn't hard. I woulda much preferred "Three Evil Teen Krypto-Criminals" coming to earth rather than "Body Possessing Wraiths." Can you imagine Zod as a 20-year old smarty schemer, Ursa as a gorgeous uber-bitch with design on Clark and Non as a muscle-headed football jock? Man, that coulda been a whole season of teh awesome. Instead, they go with the Krypto-Mystical-blah-dee-blah.
So, Bizarro. Yeah. It would have been cool if Lionel tried to clone Clark and failed (thus, Bizarro). Instead, he's evil wraith that's not quite Bizarro at all. And, he's pretty much Red K Clark, which, y'know, we've seen. That's as bad as making Mister Mxyzptlk a foreign exchange student that runs a gambling ring. Oh, wait...
Then there's Lexie. Every time he edges closer to becoming evil dude, he goes emo on us. I don't want to see Boo-Hoo Prison Lex in the 7th season. I want scheming, evil, murdering Lex. And kill Lionel please. Lionel should have died in that explosion. Things I Learned Watching Smallville #28. "Head trauma is not nearly as serious as I believed it to be." I love all the explosions on SMALLVILLE that leave people slightly bruised and wincing slightly.
And, oh, I need to "call" Jor-El on his surpreme superdickery. All this "tough love" parenting was to prepare Kal-El for this fight we are seeing now? Call Galactic Child Services! He is sooo not getting father of the year.
I always enjoy the SMALLVILLE hospital scenes for their unintentional comedy. Things I Learned Watching Smallville #27. "Listening to doctors is highly optional. People like to leave hospitals without doctor's consent, and often enter rooms when they are told they are restricted." I love how Clark just busts into the room! And I love how Chloe is declared dead and just burns her own death certificate, as if that solves everything. Nah, hospitals don't care about missing dead bodies that have been toe-tagged.
The whole Clark-Bizarro showdown was kewl-fight, but introduced "magic sun rays" previously unseen on SMALLVILLE. They magically heal now? Since when? Oh, since we need it for this scene and then never again? OK! Oh, SMALLVILLE!
I did chuckle (in a good way) at Chloe's line, "He can fly? Clark, you gotta get on that." Chloe has actually become my favorite character on the show. She's usually calling everyone on their smallvilledickery. But then she has a graoner when she calls Bizarro Clark's "Bobbsey Twin." Yes, all the college kids are referencing obscure turn-of-the-century comic strips these days. I blame the schools.
But then I chuckled, in a bad way, at Lana's Shanghai Surprise. Really, we all knew she was alive even though we all wished her dead. And I love how halfway around the world, she find security in a bad Britney Spears wig. Hilarious! Like, Ed Wood level hilarious. She is truly Clark's greatest enemy on the whole show. Just when we think she's gone... It's a slow painful torture, this Lana Lang.
Supergirl looks kinda cool.