It's a horror movie that wants to evoke the likes of The Grudge and Dark Water... and it tries hard, but fails.
One daughter moves into an apartment, and right away it gets spooky. (Seriously, not even eight minutes in, and creepy stuff is happening!) And the other people in the apartment building (of which there is... a whole two!) are also weird. Oh, and there's also the ghost... and then, around half an hour into it, the movie changes, and... well, actually it pretty much repeats the first half hour, but takes a whole hour to do it.
This gets a very low rating on IMDB, and I can't say I blame them. This isn't a great movie. I wouldn't say it was that bad, but it doesn't do much with its premise of 'weird apartment with a ghost that kills people'. (If anything, it makes me want to rewatch 1408. If there is one thing to learn, if you are dealing with a ghost infested place, don't have a bad family relationship.)
I can't say anyone stands out performance wise, and the effects aren't much either (they do go an easy route effects-wise with just having people in creepy make up, rather than go all CGI everywhere, which works better, but does mean the scares are less).
It's watchable, but entirely missable.
Monday, 30 September 2013
It's a horror movie that wants to evoke the likes of The Grudge and Dark Water... and it tries hard, but fails.
Sunday, 29 September 2013
I tried to watch a particular animated movie, but it was aggressively generic and rubbish. So instead I went for the quirky fairy tale retake sequel.
Not that this is aggressively original either. Buddy cop movie where one partner screws up, so they need to reconcile, so that's the point of it. But we have that Hansel and Gretel are in trouble unless Granny makes the Truffle of Awesomeness, and Red needs to sort out her issues with Wolf so they can save all the people in trouble.
It's a comedy, so it works well. The movie is pretty self aware and willing to poke fun at its own title (namechecking itself more than once), and never misses an opportunity to run a joke into the ground, but it doesn't care. The actors don't care, and have fun with their roles. And the director doesn't care, and so produces a movie that doesn't care if you are enjoying it or not, it's just having fun. As am I!
This has a rather low rating, and that doesn't shock me entirely. It's too silly in a lot of places... but this is what I needed at the moment, so enjoyed it all.
Saturday, 28 September 2013
- Here's a News Announcement! (For example, just randomly... Valve has launched a new Steam Controller.)
- New item is the worst thing ever! (Well... the comments section of that article.)
- People complaining about people prejudging the new thing as awful before having tried it! (Other comments, see also twitter reactions.)
- People complaining about the whole over-reaction from all sides! (...this blog post...)
Yes, yes, new thing, people want to talk about it, but the reactions are just so bloody predictable, they could just be generic blather like I describe...
[END] Read more!
Friday, 27 September 2013
Reality tv series is, of course, a bane on TV, and there have been a few shows that use the reality show premise and then do something different with it. Siberia is one such show, in which contestants are taken to a place in (guess!) Siberia, and left abandoned to get on with surviving a winter.
However, in the first episode, something kills one of the contestants, and they don't immediately pull the plug... but no-one knows what killed him. And then things get weirder, the sky goes green, winter comes early... and the production crew are killed. Okay. Things are interesting, in that this is getting all Lost and such...
But then we get the people split up, and we spend the rest of the series with one team walking across country, and the other team not, and then suddenly they all manage to meet up in the last episode and it ends on a cliff hanger and...
I really hope this series never sees a season two. It just fell apart in the second half, and loses any sense of tension or even in-show reality. They are trying to build mystery, but can't decide on what they want to show and how they want to show it. And the 'reality' of it being a reality show is completely destroyed when the camera angle changes every ten seconds when there is no way they have that many camera men in the area (and certainly would be catching each other on screen).
This show had potential, and I don't know if the writing team gave up, or they actually intended this and just created rubbish, or what, but no, please no, please stop.
Thursday, 26 September 2013
Madonna's not the first to call for people to stop the intolerance, and I'm not seeing this as the final call that will be made. She has certainly become a lot more political in recent years, and this secret project of hers certainly fits that.
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
[Note: I'm probably going to get all the names wrong.]
We are in the village of Willoughby, although I understand not most of these people and their strange language. I slink around the town, seeing the houses, but the people look at me with suspicion.
Felgard talks to Nadya's children, finds that their house has a Hatch that keeps in clean, and that the daughter Thora was taken. He also goes to the inn and finds a Halfling Rogue called Lidic. [He has this strange aura around him, like that of a PC.] After some shenanigans whereby they try not to pay for their own drinks, they do come back to Nadya's house.
Talking to Nadya about Thora, we find that the white witch of the pale tower took her and Nadya is gathering payment in the form of food and stuffs, what she was carrying when we found her. We arrange to go with her to help her out... and maybe meet up with a witch at the same time. We also talk to Hatch, a domovoi, and learn of his tales of his times at the pale tower, and find some useful information about the tower [a map, and pass phrases for teleporters].
Emil, the bar keeper, invites us to his pub and offers a drink... but then pulls a crossbow on us, and demands that we leave. How rude! He seems to be scared about it, but I still finished my drink first.
We are ready to leave the next morning, but Nadya is surrounded by guards wanting her to go and answer questions. When I hear what they are saying (for I still cannot understand them), I grab my axe and go out to give them my opinion. [Phew, I thought we weren't going to get any combat.] Before they can do anything, we sleep them, and I cut one down.
Felgard and Hogan go to the inn and see their boss, but Hogan is noticed and they are attacked. Felgard flips in and out of the inn, but then is stabbed and lies down on the floor. Hogan does some severe damage, and alerts us to their plight, and nearly takes out the main bad guy [Staggered!... but not down.]
When the rest of us arrive, at last I can swing around my axe! [Finally able to cleave!] I also give the bad guy a severe knock [second Staggered!], but he is still up, and looks into a mirror. Hogan gets in the final blow, and the rest of the guards are not worth talking about.
After gathering their equipment (we now have a lot of cold iron long swords), we quickly get ready to get out of town.
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
No, I'm not talking about blue cats, but unfortunately I will be taking about the movie.
The Nostalgia Critic, or rather Doug Walker, took on the Last Airbender series. Because he was leading up to the movie, so needed to learn the series before hand. And so, to keep this meaning, he vlogged everything. (You'll also see that he's now talking about Korra.) All this so he could properly understand the movie...
To be honest, based on his reviews, it could just be half an hour of him screaming in anger. Alternatively, I could understand half an hour of just sobbing. As it happens, Doug went in with low expectations, so didn't get completely destroyed by it.
But that didn't stop the Nostalgia Critic from ripping into it (although with far less viciousness than he deserved):
And you can also hear him give commentary about this episode, in which he talks about watching the movie and everything.
Monday, 23 September 2013
Quick, off the top of your head, name an anti-religious movie... did you say Sunshine? That is the correct answer!
In the future, the sun is dying, so humanity sends a ship to blow it up... only they suck, so a second ship is sent, and they find the first ship. And that's where things start going wrong, because on that first ship is who remains of the first mission... whatever he now is.
This movie has a lot of problems with physics. But, you know what? I don't care about that. My knowledge, when I saw this, wasn't enough to spot the, apparently, hugely obvious egregious errors, so I'm going to give it a pass on that. Instead, I want to talk about how anti-religious it is. And to do that, I need to talk details about the plot, so... for a movie six years old, spoilers!
When the first ship got near the sun, one of the crew (I'm gonna say.... the captain), looked deep into the sun, went stark raving bonkers, and got himself religion of the sun. And also somehow turned into some sun-containing monster that the camera can never focus on. But the point is, he got religion, and then he wiped out the rest of the crew. Thanks guy.
When the second ship comes along, they see the first ship, go 'hey, let's check it out', then let psycho-captain on board to start screwing their ship up. Thanks religious nut job fanatic! Way to ruin the rest of humanity surviving!
(Not that the rest of the crew is that stable. The psychologist, there to keep them all sane, played by Cliff Curtis, is also more than a little crazy himself.)
I don't mind the movie as much as others, and will probably watch it again some time. But everything that happens is because one guy gets big ideas. Cheers for that.
Sunday, 22 September 2013
It's a TV mini-movie series about an end of the world scenario, because that's new! An AI evolves on the net, and tries to destroy humanity... is this the X-Files?
But yeah, an AI starts causing problems, making the government sit up and take notice. And, of course, get annoyed that others might be able to control it, and want to destroy it themselves (and, to be fair, the AI does intend to destroy them). At the same time, a group of hackers are taken out because they might have a proper counter solution, and a reporter and other hacker, who wants to be in on that group, track them down and what they wanted to do: create a counter AI. So will they be able to come up with an answer in time, or will the government push the button and end everything?
This is actually more watchable than most end-of-the-world type disasters for one main reason: there's no teenage family member of the main hero who gets stuck in some stupid situation that requires the hero to come and save them! There is a child, but she's just a sub-plot motivation, she's not the focus of anything! Yay! So we get two plots, one the government doing their things, and the other plot following the reporter and hacker. They interweave, but the plot moves along nicely and we don't get bogged down in emotional rubbish. Woo-freaking-zah!
There aren't really big names in this, but we do have Matt Frewer, Blu Mankuma and Seth Green in minor roles. The main "hero" is a young slacker type kid, who moon-eyes over the reporter, and a 'doing what it takes' FBI guy played by Ryan Robbins. This is written by Stargate team Mallozzi and Mulie, who usually do decent scripts. But for some reason, a lot of this movie gets undercut by some really weird shots from director Steve Barron. I think they are supposed to represent the eye of the AI, but they do not make a lot of sense.
Not terrible, but don't go out of your way to see this.
Saturday, 21 September 2013
Hey, have you guessed I like Green Lantern, yet? I'm sure I've never mentioned this before, so this will be shocking new information for you.
As part of that franchise, there is the movie, two animated films, many cartoon shows, but also a dedicated show (that was cancelled after one season, because... tv!). These items drew some discussion, in particular from a particular community that likes to get in and fully discuss the ins and outs... no, not the Overthinkers, but Gonzo.
And so, show 147 is all about the Green Lantern movies and recent show. Find out about the history of Alan Scott, what the good parts of the live action movie were, and why you should give the GL:TAS a go.
And there's a very important part of this audio... an essay by me! All about the colour yellow and its role in the history of Green Lantern. Although I don't read it. Although I did give them a take of me reading it, perhaps too kiwi? Anyway, if you want, you can listen to me Who You Callin' Yellow?
Friday, 20 September 2013
Let's face it. Although Madonna has been in a few movies, there was only one she was any good in. And it involved a lot of singing, so there might be something in that...
Some time ago, a girl grew up in a village before making her way to town and sleeping her way to the top. And then took command of the country and waged war on everyone else, and brought some shoes. Or something. It's not like Andrew Lloyd Webber got the details exactly right, so why should I?
But who cares, this is about the singing! Madonna is great. Antonio Banderas is great! All the songs are great! Well... until after "Waltz for Eva and Che". Movie kinda dragged down from there on out as we spend around twenty minutes or so of Eva slowly dying.
Still, this is one of the few movies that I went to see twice at the theatres. This is a gorgeously shot movie and should be seen on the big screen.
I was thinking about what song to include... so many good ones! Some rather emotional, some funny... and I decided on this one, in which Maddy doesn't even sing:
It starts funny, but by the end...
Thursday, 19 September 2013
Yeah, this is an older movie, but, hey, I watch what I want to, and I had a hankering for this movie. Because it's great!
Deak and Hale are fighter pilots, only Deak is bored with his military career, so decides to steal two nukes and threaten the States with them. Because, hey, he's crazy. But Hale is a 'good guy', and so we get this big back and forth between Deak and his crew and Hale and a park ranger... and that is one of the things I love about this movie. Hale and Carmichael (played by one time couple Slater and Mathis), although there is definite near romantic overtones in their relationship, get through the movie without even kissing, let alone more! Ye gods, a male/female relationship that doesn't end in frantic sex! Take that, Speed!
And this has Travolta is his crazy mode. He doesn't care, just loves the role he's playing, just watch any of the scenes in which he is smoking.
As for the quotes, we start with "I don't know what's scarier, losing nuclear weapons, or that it happens so often there's actually a term for it." And there's the classic "Would you mind not shooting at the thermonuclear weapons?" Then there's the exchange "You're out of your mind." "Yeah. Ain't it cool?"
And I love the theme song. Nice piano tinkering, and heavy guitar strings.
This is a fun movie, definitely one to check out.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
Because one guy rescuing the president from the White House from terrorists is now a genre, we have the other movie that isn't the Olympus one.
John (because he's a white dude) wants to be a Secret Service Agent, and so arranges a terrorist attack on the White House so he can step up, kill them all, and save the President... okay, so someone else arranges the attack, but otherwise that's fairly accurate. Various parts of the House get destroyed, people die in stupid ways, conspiracies are uncovered, and the kid is actually relevant to the plot, unlike in that other movie.
While I like Jamie Foxx as the pres, Channing Tatum... could we have someone else in the hero lead, please? Yes, this movie isn't being entirely serious, but Channing can't pull this off. Too 'dude, brah'. Let's get Gerald Butler from that other movie over in this one. This movie has a better plot, so let's combine the cast and get a really rocking movie happening.
Decent enough, with the main problem being the lead being too goofy.
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
I've seen this ad a few times in cinemas. (Note this is the Australian version, I think in New Zealand the limit is $80. I'm never going to use it myself because I can see this being even easier to rip details from cards from people just wandering nearby someone with a paywave card... but that's not the point of this post.)
What we have it people doing the same thing, walking along in a queue, eating the same sandwich, which is created in the same way. There's that triple shot, which to me epitomises this ad, of the guys flipping the ties over their shoulders before they start eating... and then there's the guy with cash.
Now, watching this, what we see is mass production/standardisation/commercialisation that drains out any sense of creativity or individuality. People are cogs in a machine, don't think, just do the same thing day after day...
And then the guy with cash comes along and upsets everything. Look at the shock on people's faces! They can't believe this! They stop eating! They drop food! Someone is using CASH???
But... this is the guy that isn't going with the crowd, is doing his own thing, is not giving in to the mindless drone mentality. Why is he being portrayed as the bad guy? Hell, in this ad which promotes groupthink, he's the guy we should be rooting for! Break the system! Tear down the rules! Make the person behind the till have to make change!
I'm not sure the people creating this ad quite got the point...
Monday, 16 September 2013
It's like Expendables for old action stars (as opposed to really old action stars)! And you might even recognise some of them!
Remember Frank and Marvin? No? How about Bruce and John? Yeah, there you go. And now Bruce has a new love interest, and they all get mixed up in some old plot resurfacing that has them going on the run, AS EVERY ACTION MOVIE HAS EVENTUALLY, USUALLY AS THE SECOND MOVIE. They go around various part of the world, bringing back some previous characters, bringing in some stars you might know and otherwise...
...being low key and kinda boring. Not that this is a bad movie, but it has a serious case of 'meh'. From what I remember of the original, it was fun, and certainly had big action set pieces. This movie just goes along, has some banter between characters, the set pieces are painfully isolated from any sense of the actual plot, 'hey it's been a while, action time, now back to the story', and the story itself is just dull. They try some twists, but since this movie didn't engage me, I failed to care when various people changed sides.
This movie really seemed to play more on 'hey, it's Bruce Willis' or 'John Malkovich' or 'Catherine Zeta-Jones' or... any of the other stars, rather than 'hey, here's a character we can invest in and really care about their story'. While it isn't G I Joe 2 levels of sequel let down, it definitely didn't try anything interesting.
So, only watch it if you want to see those people, otherwise... meh.
Sunday, 15 September 2013
Ah, I had the best theatre experience with this... I was in the nice Empire theatre... and there was no-one else there! Perfect movie watching! And this was a perfect movie!
Because he never grew up, Gary King wants to return to Newton Haven and complete the drinking quest he never managed to do, a 12 pub crawl. And he takes his mates along with him, who are less interested in reliving the past, but, hey, it's at least a chance to get back together and chat. And that's going well, maudlin tales are told, laughs are had, and people are revealed to be from another world. But that's no reason to not get the next round in!
This is a great movie. Even before the weird stuff starts happening, the movie draws you in. You know it's coming, but with these characters you are happy to spend time with them, because if it is one thing Wright and Pegg have shown, it's that they know how to give you characters worth watching. And then the weirdness happens, and it is so well done, from an effects point of view. The story is... a little dumb at that point, aside from when it is about them and not about what's happened to the town. And that ending... 'climax' wouldn't be the first word I would go for...
Still, I enjoyed it. Great to see some of them actors back again, of course (and now I want to rewatch Hot Fuzz), and, hey, Pierce Brosnan! Win! If you've seen the other movies, you need to see this. And even if you haven't, you need to see this anyway. And, Sisters of Mercy, sing us out:
Saturday, 14 September 2013
What do you do when the pilot for your new series fails to secure the series? Release it as a TV movie! That, then, ends on a cliff hanger that assumes a series to follow so doesn't have a satisfying conclusion.
A guy blows up New York. So, to fix this, the good guys use a 'random time window' to go back into the past to change events so that this doesn't happen. Quick, no-one mention fixing 9/11 or anything else!
On one hand, they are trying to get time travel a bit more sensible that other shows. They worry about how they change the past, want to make sure they don't create ripples, and even have a last resort measure in case they get trapped. On the other hand, they have a computer that can work out new histories for any situation, and every document from history seems to have been scanned in and easily searchable...
The basic premise is interesting enough. This random time window (a by product of a super collider) is clearly going to be incredibly plot convenient, and just happen to go somewhere close enough. And the ending hints that the random nature isn't as random as some people think. Fortunately the people doing the changing are protected by a 'distortion field' from the impacts, and we are probably to assume that they know best about the time line, so there is potential there. And, of course, there's hints of the inevitable love conflict/triangle, because the main guy is just that hunk of a man that all women want him.
But it will never be. Unless it suddenly gets a greenlight. But with so any other shows around, I'm not seeing this making a return. In a way, that's a shame, but here's hoping for other time travel shows...
Friday, 13 September 2013
One of the things I wondered about X-men 3 was: why didn't Logan use that anti-mutant drug thing on Phoenix? It instantly nullifies mutant powers, and would have been better than his solution of playing knifey time. Would also have negated a lot of this movie.
Wolfy saved this guy back in WW2, so clearly he should now go to Japan when the guy is dying. And then get caught up in saving this Japanese woman because... because that's what he does. And a lot of people die. Just how many people has Logan killed? A lot. Damn yeah, you should be having bad dreams! But no, he's pining over killing Jean, so we obviously are supposed to care about that, despite that being seven years ago and we didn't care then. Anyway, Logan has become immunocompromised, but that doesn't him sleeping around, but then there's a final battle.
A friend described this as 'a love story without the love'. Yeah, I can see that. Certainly, it's a movie without any passion present in any of the characters. Everyone is just going through the motions of acting in front of the camera, and we can see that... yep, people were present on set that day.
I wouldn't label this movie as a 'cash grab' (especially when it's mainly so Sony/Fox keeps the license), when 'phoned it' will serve perfectly well.
Thursday, 12 September 2013
Because little girls swearing is cool, we have another movie! And... it's merely all right.
It's been a few years and Dave has gotten antsy and wants back in on crime fighting. Meanwhile, Hit Girl has been fighting crime, but has to turn it off to be a normal girl. Fortunately, there's a whole superhero gang willing to help out the community... however, there's also a supervillain gang...
And that's about it. There's no real overarching plot worth talking about. The events follow on from the first movie in that most of the characters haven't really grown up and think running about in costumes is a cool idea. And other people join in with that. If they had just not gotten dressed up, this whole movie wouldn't have happened. So... meh. Unless you really care about the characters, it's just some people squabbling amoungst themselves. (And the post-credit scene, while amusing, wasn't that worth waiting for.)
Hit Girl/Mindy tries for an arc of becoming a normal high school student... but it was done better in the Hit Girl comic. For this, we get some low brow humour, because THAT'S FUNNY! Other movies have been derided for going there, but clearly there is where this movie wants to be. (Just cheap and easy, not actually funny.) [Not to mention the "rape is funny" scene.]
I spent a fair bit of the movie going 'where do I know that actor from?', so that was distracting. Probably the oddest connection I made was recognising Lindy Booth... but only now seeing that this was because she was in Relic Hunter, which I've nearly finished watching all the episodes of.
So, the first movie was good. This one is... a sequel.
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
Leaving behind Bill the Pony, we adventures step forth into the portal and arrive in the land of Arisen to the north, far from Teldor. The cold is biting up here, but we continue on. After not too long, we encounter a group of travellers fighting a giant praying mantis, which would be more at home in the land we left. Rushing in, we set about it, although my attacks are more mighty in swing than harsh in damaging [damn low rolls]. The female leader puts the beast out of our irritating at the end, and also aids our dwarf that the mantis was feeding on.
We have basic introductions, but press on as a vicious snow storm is slowly approaching. That night, we camp, and I am much appreciative of it, as the cold has sapped much of my strength. Our bard tells a strange tell, of how we came up from Teldor by ship and across land, although I know not of what he speaks. When I try to explain about winter attacking Teldor, my words are not heeded. We do learn of the pale tower of which we seek, which is under the command of one of the white witches. Also joining us for an evening by the fire is a half fey / half bestial creature, although she does not stay the night.
The next day, on our way to the village [I cannot remember any names, but, hey, Nanoc isn't interested, so that works], we see a swarm of crows come upon us. We try to hide, but they are able to discern our presence and attack. Before they are put to sleep, they manage to attack the eyes of myself and the cleric. I am tired and now blind, and look forward to resting in town.
The town itself is oddly reminiscent of the town of Heldane where we started this misfortune. While they have a cleric, he is unable to help with our blindness, and so I am away to bed. In the morning, my eyes are better, and my northern heritage has awoken in me and I am ready now to face the cold we will be enduring. [Ding! A new level!]
The pale tower awaits, although it is possible we may yet have more business in this town yet...
Tuesday, 10 September 2013
Before Steven Moffat took over Doctor Who. Before he and Mark Gatiss did Sherlock. And while those are great series, we are still left with the brilliant one season of the series Jekyll. This is a complete retake on the Jekyll and Hyde story, updated to modern day, and stars James Nesbitt and Gina Bellman. (This is main reason that James Nesbitt was suggested as a possible Doctor, assuming Moffat wrote series for later actors, much as RTD did... and James Nesbitt would be a fantastic Doctor!)
This is a completely different take, but a marvellous one. Each episode, and there are only six, draws you in, makes you wonder what is going on, and gives such a delicious air of menace to the unfolding tale. This is one of those series that as soon as you watch one episode, you immediately want the next one, you demand to know what happens next. And, for me at least, I could never tell what was coming next. Several of the twists I completely never saw coming, and this is where Moffat's storytelling comes to the fore.
While Moffat has gone on to other things, and those are good things... there is so much here he could do more with! He set up a great universe, but now we'll never know what happens next. There looks to be a second series written, but it might be too late for that now. But maybe that might escape into the net one day?
Monday, 9 September 2013
Yep, there's that book series that's still on going. But there was also an on-screen telling of The Dresden Files, starring Paul Blackthorne as Harry Dresden, and while I didn't initially like it... yeah, this, to me, is now who I picture when I think of Harry. And Terrance Mann as Bob was a brilliant idea, and excellent casting.
Some of the episodes, mainly the pilot (which didn't actually screen and was later redone as a mid-season episode), were based on the books, otherwise it was 'supernatural horror of the week'. This did have the classic episode title "What About Bob?" (what about Bob?????), and "Things That Go Bump" is a fantastic episode that really ups the creepy factor.
But, and severe demerits for this, Valerie Cruz plays Murphy... a non-blonde! How dare they! Sure, she's tough and great and a terrific Murphy, but there's respect for the source material. And she isn't short.
I'm not sure that I read the books before this, and indeed this might have prompted that. This was a decent alternative take on the series (it wasn't intended to duplicate the books), and just failed to ever get renewed.
Sunday, 8 September 2013
I wonder, wonder why the Wonderfalls... Now this was an off-beat series, before the likes of Dead Like Me or Pushing Daisies. Caroline Dhavernas was Jaye Tyler, permanent slacker that lived in a trailer, had a dead end job, and had to put with a terrible family. And then she got messages from tchotchkes.
(There's discussion that she got a re-occurring power from the ages (a la Buffy), a Joan of Arc power that travelled between females, and gave them visions to help their fellow man. After Jaye, did Tru from Tru Calling get it?)
The episodes were very much 'help person of the week and Jaye learns a lesson', but there were some great episodes here. "Pink Flamingo" was a good one (and really gives William Sandler something to do), "Muffin Buffalo" is hilarious, and "Cocktail Bunny" reveals the big secret of why the animals talk to her...
This was one of those shows that looked like fan effort might get it back... but no. There was definitely episodes planned for the second season, and even a third, but no. Another Fox series, screwed around in the programming, and finally... cancelled.
Saturday, 7 September 2013
Yeah, this one you've probably heard of, and probably even seen episodes of. A spin off from The X-Files, The Lone Gunmen got off to a great start by having their first episode about a plane hijacking threatening the Twin Towers... right before 9/11...
This series went for the comedy like no-one's business. Fine, they were never set up to be the next dramatic leads, but they went wacky and have to get in two stars to be the actual action leads they couldn't be. Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood and Dean Haglund all reprised their roles, and were joined by Stephen Sneddon and Zuleikha Robinson. Despite what they nearly did with Yves Adele Harlow, Jimmy Bond never had any hope.
I enjoyed these episodes, and while they skirted 'wacky hijinks', they did present some decent stories. But... I can't say I'm surprised they didn't get renewed. There was the follow up, tie up episode in The X-Files, and as a send off it was better than the Millennium episode (which went two and a half seasons, and was cancelled right before getting to 2000...).
As a spin off, maybe it doesn't count as a 'one season wonder', but close enough for my list.
Friday, 6 September 2013
This, for me, was the proper sequel to The Avengers, despite what certain movies would have you believe. And despite it being American. Spy Game was about, you may guess, spies. But, and here's the important point, it kept the humour and whimsy of The Avengers (and actually knows what whimsy is, unlike that movie!).
Although there were only 13 episodes (and I'm not sure how many were shown over here), I do remember making sure that I caught each episode when it screened. The Avengers was great... but I didn't have easy access to that. Instead, this scratched that itch, and, hey, a proper cameo by Patrick Macnee! The chemistry between the leads, Linden Ashby and Allison Smith, was great (although I have no idea if there was a 'will they/won't they' dynamic... probably was).
They originally only screened nine of the episodes, although 13 were screened elsewhere. And I haven't seen this on DVD or available anywhere... and I'm not aware of anyone else being aware of this.
If that movie proved anything, it's that this definitely should have gotten another season or two.
Thursday, 5 September 2013
This was a fantastic series. Sheriff Lucas Buck, as played by Gary Cole, was an evil man, possibly the devil, it’s never made clear, but he has such a hold on the town of Trinity in American Gothic… If you are a long time follower of the blog, you'll know I set some Heoric Cthulhu adventures there.
Although there were 22 episodes, in the first run they didn't all get shown, and then some of them were out of order. But the creepy atmosphere of all the episodes, matched by the glee of the Sheriff, is wonderful. (I just love that buttoned up shirt, with no tie, look of his.)
The rest of the cast did try to be good characters, but they had flaws (okay, some didn't try that hard). But the performances of all the actors were great, even Lucas Black as Caleb Temple is appropriately scary at the right times. (And, hey, guest star role by Bruce Campbell!)
Despite being nominated for a number of awards, this go cancelled, although the creator, Shaun Cassidy, did have ideas for season two. And, for some reason, the order of the episodes on the DVD is based on air date, with the out of order ordering, rather than proper order. Also, I've already ruined one DVD set by watching it too much, and had to get a second.
(Strange, I can't find the opening anywhere... have this teaser trailer instead!)
Wednesday, 4 September 2013
Between MacGuyver and Stargate SG-1, Richard Dean Anderson has done other work. One such show being Legend, a series about a cowboy that aped the popular series The Adventures of Brisco County Jr that had just finished (and got a second season, so that won’t be on this list either). Also between shows, and in this one, is John de Lancie as a mad scientist type. RDA plays Legend, a rather larger than life cowboy, or so he’s portrayed in dime store novels as written by Ernest Pratt… the actual character RDA is playing with Nicodemus Legend as his book hero. However, Ernest soon gets caught up as being his character, and gets into various adventures, with the aforementioned mad scientist Janos Bartok helping him.
The adventures were fun, in the style of Brisco, although without the more over the top science fiction elements. RDA and JdL are clearly having fun as well, although it is the lack of real oomph to this series, indeed too much fun, that spells the doom for it. After low ratings and a change in network management, bye bye.
This did have a companion book series (although I never read them, or indeed even knew about them), so technically it did live beyond it’s one season tv life… but not on screen, so it’s here for only having the one season.
Tuesday, 3 September 2013
This one people probably saw. One of the few live action superhero based tv series (and the other ones I can immediately think of got more than one season), this was based on The Flash, aka the guy who does things quickly. More "inspired by" the comic, rather than directly borrowing from it, the Flash fought rather mundane villains with the odd mad scientist thrown in. The occasional super villain was less than super (this being an approach Arrow seems to be emulating).
The main image you might remember is John Wesley Shipp in that padded red suit. Still, it looks more realistic than certain other outfits I’ve seen (I’m looking at you Thing). But even more than him… Amanda Pays. Ah, I remember being rather enamoured of her as a younger lad. I recall her accent being rather exciting, although coming back to the series, not so much now.
Looking through that guest star list, there is quite a few names there, such as Mark Hamill, Jeffrey Combs, Bill Mumy, Denise Crosby, Jeri Ryan… clearly this one season failure didn’t hurt their career any.
Money and bad tv slots earned this series its axe, although there was a second season planned.
Monday, 2 September 2013
Continuing the space theme with shows created by Doctor Who staff, we have Star Cops, created by Chris Boucher. Now this was another series to kick you in the gut with great characterisation of people, and realistic stories. This is, as the title suggests, more of a cop show, but with the cops in this case operating in space and on the moon. And they don’t have an easy time of it either.
The cast gets quite international. While we have David Caulder leading, and Trevor Cooper for the Brits, we get Erick Ray Evans being American, Linda Newton as an Australian, Sayo Inaba as Japanese and Jonathan Adams for the Russians. The character of Anna Shoun was seen as a hideous mistake by most of the audience, but I rather like her.
Her character was rather emblematic of what happen to the show. Although Chris Boucher started it, other writers were brought in, and the cast expanded over his designs. He had plans for a second season, but, of course, they didn't eventuate.
Also often derided is the theme song "It's Won't Be Easy". However, I like it, and think it is incredibly apt when seen from the viewpoint of Nathan Spring after the events of the first episode.
Sunday, 1 September 2013
As well as helping to create a part of Doctor Who’s history, Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks also did other work. Such as, just after leaving Doctor Who, Moonbase 3. This is set on the moon (shock! surprise! a twist no-one would see!), and is one of several moonbase colonies set up, this one by the British.
One of the best aspects of it is that it is realistic. Sure, okay, it’s on the moon, but there are no aliens, no fantastical mysterious beings, no strange scientific experiments going wrong… okay, that’s not true at all, but what there is is treated in a very down to moon way. The emphasis of each story is on the people, not some invention or discovery.
While only six episodes, there is a decent range of topics covered, from, indeed, the possibility of life (and how people react to that), to the possible destruction of earth (and how people react to that!).
All this is done by brilliant performances by the cast, with Donald Houston leading the team, with Ralph Bates, Fiona Gaunt and the irascible Barry Lowe, whose line in the first episode "Not my pigeon" inspired me to take that on for a while at work (and I now have my own pigeon).
Where do you go after destroying the earth? Not to a second season. With low ratings, and a rather restrictive format for a science show in space, it only had the one season.