khaosworks: (Television)
It sounds like the set-up to a bad joke: "A vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share a flat together..."

Being Human review )
khaosworks: (Television)
I have the Complete I Dream of Jeannie DVD set, which comes in a cardboard case shaped like her bottle.

And in answer to your inevitable question: Sexy blonde parading every episode in a harem girl outfit, wants to cater to your every desire, and calls you "Master" all the time. What's not to like?
khaosworks: (Stargate Atlantis)
For those Stargate: Atlantis fans out there, a pre-air version (which seems pretty much complete to me) of the Season 5 opener, "Search and Rescue", is floating around the usual back channels.
khaosworks: (Life On Mars)
In other pre-air pilot news, I just watched the US version of Life on Mars. It's pretty much the same script as the first episode of the UK version, but of course set in 1972 Los Angeles instead of 1973 Manchester.

Given how much I enjoyed the UK version, I don't think I managed to approach it at all objectively, or maybe I'm too used to the original. It's workmanlike, but the performances and the performers had no chemistry at all, and as a result the whole thing seems actually boring and flat - the biggest tragedy of all being that Colm Meany as Gene Hunt is actually unfunny. Meany's a terrific actor, but his Hunt doesn't have the way Phillip Glennister's has of dominating the screen every time he enters it. One of the best things about Life on Mars was seeing the way John Simms and Glennister managed to focus your attention entirely on the relationship between these Sam and Gene: when they were in the same scene, they were the centre of the universe.

Maybe it'd be better received by someone who's never seen the original. I don't know.

But it seems that it's all moot anyway, since this version of the pilot will likely never make it to air as David E. Kelley has left the show and they're not only changing the location from L.A. to New York, but also making changes in the cast. However, given that it's on the Fall schedule, that doesn't give them much time to get their shit together. And it doesn't look like they're going to.
khaosworks: (Television)
Mondays on ABC Family: The Middleman, based on a comic by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, one of the Lost guys. This one actually was pitched as a television pilot years ago, but it was rejected, and Grillo-Marxuach turned it into a comic book. Now it's back as a television show, and it's good campy fun in the tradition of The Tick, Men in Black, and Buckaroo Banzai. The effects aren't spectacular, but it more than makes up for it in terms of surreality. The pilot is still available on the ABC Family website for those in the US or the usual back channel sources for those who aren't.

Basic premise: Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales) is a seemingly ordinary young woman who finds herself recruited by the mysterious Middleman (Matt Keeslar), who receives his orders from a mysterious organization nicknamed OTS2K ("Organization Too Secret To Know"). Their job: to fight evil, so you don't have to. To this end they confront genetically enhanced lifeforms, mad scientists, cursed tubas and so on. Funny and fast paced with snappy dialogue, it's worth a look.

Trust me: quite apart from a hyperintelligent gorilla that quotes from Scarface and The Godfather while trying to take over the mob rackets in the city, anything that is going to involve Kung Fu Mexican Masked Wrestlers is going to be worth your time.
khaosworks: (octoPod)
This song is being used as the title theme for an upcoming HBO vampire series (yeah, another one) called "True Blood", based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries books by Charlaine Harris, with Anna Paquin as the protagonist, telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse. There's a pre-air pilot (with some scenes missing) floating around the BitTorrent ether out there, for those interested. It's definitely more, um, adult than Moonlight or Blood Ties were... it's HBO, after all. Not sure what to make of it as yet: it's executive produced by Alan Ball, who created Six Feet Under. Given the fate of vampire shows lately, I think the zeitgeist has passed this genre by now.

But the song's pretty cool.

Before the night is through, I wanna do bad things with you... )
khaosworks: (Life On Mars)
Halfway through Series 1 now. Thanks to [ profile] telynor for the recommendation. I'd heard good things about the show but never too the plunge to watch it until I bought the DVDs in London. Good stuff.

Take a look at the lawman )

I hear David E. Kelley is doing an American version set in 1970s Los Angeles. I dread this, as I do all American remakes of good British television. There have been exceptions, but they're rare. They should have given it to Rob Thomas — then we could have had "Life On Veronica Mars". No?

I'll get my coat...
khaosworks: (Peepee)
Just got a hold of Get Smart: The Complete Series.

I am reminded once again that Barbara Feldon is hawt.
khaosworks: (Psych)
"There's a mummy out there, and the son of a bitch can drive stick."

Love this show so much.
khaosworks: (Poe)
Last evening, I pitched The Wire to a friend of mine who hadn't heard of the show. Again. I've been pimping this television show ever since I started watching it a couple of years ago, and I've been eagerly waiting the start of its fifth and final season next month, even if it's tinged with sadness at the prospect of saying good-bye to these characters.

But I've been down this road before with David Simon: I said good-bye years ago to a bunch of equally beloved characters on Homicide: Life on the Street, which was based on Simon's seminal work of police reportage Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, based on the time he spent attached to - the word, I guess now would be "embedded" - with the Baltimore Police Homicide Department in 1988. The book is one I keep returning to like an old friend, ever since I first read it in 1992 while studying for my law degree in London. Its exegesis on the right to silence and the Miranda warning's role in police interrogations is still one of the finest and most entertaining pieces of writing I've ever read.

Homicide was a cop show, but one deeply rooted in reality in its portrayal of the thinking detectives that speak for the dead when nobody else can: their flaws, their intelligence, their ideals, their cynicism, their black and bitter humour, and most of all their humanity. No matter how bleak the subject matter gets, you are compelled to watch because in Simon's world, the characters have their own kind of integrity. Even the immoral ones are fascinating because they stick to their own kind of twisted reality. "A man must have a code," as Bunk Moreland profoundly notes in The Wire.

As good as Homicide was (and far superior to its slicker and more soap-ish cousin NYPD Blue, and I'm willing to take anybody on to prove it), The Wire is so much better because, being on HBO, it allows Simon to take the gloves off. Not all the way, though: if he really held a mirror up to the real situation, it'd be way too depressing. So he pulls back just enough so it's still palatable, but what remains is still resoundingly real. Still, The Wire isn't a ratings success and even though it's critically acclaimed, it's never won an Emmy. Critics describe it the same way they did Homicide, which staggered along for 7 (well, closer to 5.5) seasons: the best show on television you're not watching.

The Wire is a visual novel, each chapter building on itself, until the story threads come together at the end of each season. In this regard, it's one of those shows that are made for DVD, which allows you to take it in hour by hour instead of having to wait week by week. The first season starts off looking like a cop show - about the drug war as waged on the Baltimore streets - but it starts catching your attention because it shows you the battle from both perspectives, the cops as well as the dealers, and the subtle parallels in their organizations start to catch you eye. By the end of the first season you realize that it's not just about the cops, or the drugs, but it's about Baltimore, and in a much larger sense, it's about cities and most of all institutions, and how similar and fucked up they all are, cop or dealer, politician or educator... as Simon puts it, it's "really about the American city, and about how we live together. It's about how institutions have an effect on individuals, and how... whether you're a cop, a longshoreman, a drug dealer, a politician, a judge [or] lawyer, you are ultimately compromised and must contend with whatever institution you've committed to."

Over the next three seasons, the show covers the docks of Baltimore, the politicos and land developers shaping the city, and the broken education system of inner city schools. Next year, they will cover the media. And through it all, the authentic voice of Baltimore, uncompromising, relentless, comes through. The Wire is a show that demands its audience pay attention; it practically requires it if you want to follow it at all. Thankfully, its rich cast of characters and character actors make it easy, even if the crap they go through will break your heart several times each season. It's also one of the most quotable shows in recent memory.

So for those of you who haven't been watching this show - run, don't walk to the Netflix queue or local equivalent. It's only 13 hours each season, and trust me, it's worth it. The DVDs are expensive as a set, but I think it's well worth the price for what you're getting. And if I like you enough, and are within easy reach, I might be persuaded to part with my boxed sets temporarily.

10 more episodes, and The Wire is done. I can't wait to see what Simon comes up with next - a miniseries based on the book Generation Kill, about an embedded reporter's experiences in Iraq - and thereafter a still gestating project about New Orleans and the jazz scene.

For more information on The Wire, check out this good New Yorker article from October about David Simon.

I hope everyone had a happy Christmas and will have an equally joyous New Year.
khaosworks: (Cupid)
Holy crap, I just found this. If this is really happening, it would so make up for the cancellation of Veronica Mars. *crosses fingers* Although, of course, the strike has to end first...

ABC to give 'Cupid' another shot. )
khaosworks: (Television)
I can understand why medically trained people can get annoyed at House. I feel the same way when I watch shows like The Practice or Ally McBeal. It's hard to be able to enjoy hijinks when you know how bad the law is, or in this case, the medicine is. So despite the fact that the medicine (or so I've discovered) in the latest episode of House, "Ugly", is mediocre at best, I still think it's the most hilarious episode yet.

Minor spoilers for House 4x07: Ugly — no real plot spoilers, but a quote from the show. )
khaosworks: (Television)
I finished watching the last episode of The 4400's third season last night. I know that there's one more season that just finished, but it's not out on DVD and I never watched the show until about a month ago. When the series debuted back in 2004, I had a couple of people recommend it, but I didn't want to get invested in yet another television show, especially since I was already wastingspending so much time watching television and had a thesis to figure out. But, having been recommended it once again recently, and realizing that many of the guiding minds behind it were people whose work I had enjoyed — specifically Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who had also worked on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine back in the day — I decided to give it a shot. Also, the fact that the series was divided into bite-sized chunks helped: 6 episodes for the first season and 12 episodes for each season after that.

And so I got the DVDs, and watched it, and it's good. It's very good. On the one hand I regret not getting into the show earlier, but on the other hand I'm glad I'm watching it at one go because it's a very arc-heavy show, and good enough that I would have really hated waiting week after week, let alone between seasons. As it is, I'm wondering what Season 4 would be like, even though I kinda sorta know the story for that season already, and am waiting for an announcement for a Season 4 DVD set.

For those who still haven't watched the show and don't know what it's about, the premise is this: over the last six decades, four thousand, four hundred people are abducted by forces unknown. On a fall day in 2004, a comet streaks towards Earth... except it's not a comet, and instead of whacking into the planet and destroying all life, it slows down, changes course, and heads for a lake in Mount Rainer National Park, Washington. The big glowing ball explodes in a flash of light, leaving behind four thousand, four hundred people, all having not aged a day, with no idea of where they've been all these years. Things start getting complicated when one of the returnees — who are quickly dubbed "the 4400" — develops extra-human abilities. And that's just the beginning.

Spoilers follow, and some reflections on Heroes )

The 4400 vs. Heroes. Semi-spoilers for Season 2 as well. )

Bottom line about The 4400: Great show, good cast, good characterization, and the way ensemble science-fiction shows should be done... which is not surprising, considering who's behind the show. Thank you, Ira Steven Behr. It's not without its flaws: sometimes the arc kind of meanders and you're not always given sensible answers to questions that are raised, and some things are inexplicably dropped without explanation, and sometimes you get the impression of hasty improvisation behind the scenes. But, I still give it a thumbs up. If you haven't watched the show before, I'd suggest getting a hold of Season 1 and seeing if it's your cup of tea before getting a hold of Seasons 2 and 3. But be warned that, as I've said, the show reinvents itself (sort of) every season. But in a good way.
khaosworks: (Television)
New episode of Chuck airs tonight, so I'll be *cough cough* watching it at some point. I have to say that I was sceptical of the premise at the beginning, but this is one of those shows where the actors make a big difference, and they've sucked me in quite effectively. It doesn't hurt that Adam Baldwin is playing what he plays best — a psychotic hardass — and Yvonne Strahovski is smoking hot. If you haven't started watching yet, give it a shot.

In fact, thanks to the scene in the pilot where we see her dressing while Jet's "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" plays, I can't listen to that song anymore without visualising the lovely Ms. Strahovski in her underwear. Which isn't such a bad thing, really...
khaosworks: (Nerdboy)
"All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension.
Transuranic, heavy elements may not be used where there is life.
Medium atomic weights are available.
Gold, Lead, Copper, Jet
Diamond, Radium
Sapphire, Silver and Steel.
Sapphire and Steel have been assigned."

I already have the Region 1 boxed set, but Network in the UK is releasing Sapphire & Steel: The Complete Series on Guy Fawke's Day, for £49.99, for those who've not got that, or the Carlton release some years ago.

For the uninitiated, see here.
khaosworks: (Television)
I downloaded the pilot of Exes and Ohs off of iTunes (it was a freebie) out of sheer curiosity. I hadn't heard of Logo before, but it's apparently a cable channel that caters to the LGBT community.

Exes and Ohs is executive produced by, created by and starring Michelle Paradise, and is based on her short film The Ten Rules: A Lesbian Survival Guide. The set-up is pretty basic and familiar: protagonist is a sentimental romantic as opposed to her promiscuous commitment-phobic best friend. She is also friends with a younger, smart-ass girl and a loving couple. The protagonist also occasionally breaks the fourth wall to talk to the audience, which seems to be de rigeur these days, and it mixes the yuks with emotional matters. The first episode involves Jennifer (Paradise) trying to move on from her ex-lover a year after their break-up, something which isn't made easier by the fact that she's attending said ex-lover's wedding.

In short, there is absolutely nothing remarkable about this sitcom, except that it stars lesbians. I mean, really. I'm all for hot girl on girl action as the next guy, and Michelle Paradise is obviously a talented comedy writer (although her delivery reminds me too much of Ellen DeGeneres), the script has heart, and the direction is pretty decent. But if you swapped out everyone with heterosexuals, it'd disappear into the mix. I'm just not sure what the actual hook is, once you take away the lesbianism. If it offered any insight at all, it's that lesbians go through the same emotional mind-games and travails as everyone else, and I'm not sure that's actually news, nor if it can sustain a series.

My LGBT friends may like it better than I do (which is why I'm mentioning it). As it was, I liked it, I even laughed, but at the end of the day, it was pretty generic. So, not a show I'm going to go out of my way to look, or pay for. Let me know if it does anything different.

Oh, as a side note, avoid The Big Bang Theory like the plague. Because it'll give you plague. Not kidding. I felt so unclean after watching it, and I turned it off after ten minutes.

December 2011

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