Stephen King again

A lot of Stephen King material ends up on the small screen. Some of it is miniseries adaptations of his novels. Some of it is original material for miniseries. In either case, generally get this band of people pitting their weaknesses against some Manifestation Of Pointless Evil. While there are exceptions, miniseries Stephen King tends to repeat the weaknesses of his more repetitive novels without capturing the truly strong aspects of his work, the internal dialogue.

TNT is going a different route with their current King miniseries, Nightmares and Dreamscapes. Instead of adapting a novel, this is a series of one-hour episodes adaptating various King short stories. Short stories is where King throws his concepts rather than worrying about the pathed tale of struggle against the Dark Evil Thingy. This is a good idea. And they’re throwing better production value at this than the last couple of major network King works I’ve seen.

I’ve watched three of the episodes so far, and they all treat the work with respect and artistic intent. That doesn’t mean that they’re all good; the Lovecraft-inspired episodes merely replaces King’s idea of Dark Evil Thingy with Lovecraft, but merely finding that there is Dark Evil out there isn’t that interesting to me. But the tale of the assassin facing attacking to soldiers? Nicely played out, and clearly not cheaply made. And theone where William H. Macy plays a hardboiled detective and a writer (a very King-like writer, but that’s not uncommon in King work) is nicely put together, and features a fun performance to watch.

If you like imaginative short stories, this’n is worth checking out.

Published in: on July 28, 2006 at 12:50 am  Comments (2)  

Angela's Aye-yi-yis

I’m in the mist of watching the pilot for Angela’s Eyes, a new Lifetime series about an FBI investigator who is good at telling when someone is lying. I cannot think when I’ve seen a more blatant example of everyone explaining everything to each other, long-time coworkers speaking in stilted explanatory dialog in precisely the way that people don’t.

I’m posting this review now, before watching the end of the show, so that I don’t feel I need to see any more of this garbage. Almost every line of dialog is painful to hear. If you want to learn what to avoid in dialogue-writing, watch this. Otherwise, don’t.

Published in: on July 28, 2006 at 12:49 am  Leave a Comment  

You reek-a, I reek-a, we all reek-a!

The new SciFi Channel series Eureka has a stro central conceit – a secret little town populated by quirky obsessive inventors, the mad scientists and absent-minded professors of other works.

As with almost any quirky town series,  the tale starts with an outsider entering. Cross the mundaneness of Northern Exposure’s Joel Fleishman with the federal copness of Agen Cooper from Twin Peaks, and you have the federal marshall who stumbles across the town of Eureka, a company town for federal secret projects.

The set-up should be good for a sci-fi Northern Exposure, quirky people doing their quirky things. But the series doesn’t settlein there. Instead, it has an ongoing tale of a big evil scheme. Serious plot, and this doesn’t settle in with the more whimsical aspects. It’s hard to take the big plot seriously in this context.
Watchable, but I’m not convinced that it will hae much point, nor take joy in its pointlesness.

Published in: on July 26, 2006 at 12:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Psych

Psych is a new USA network show about a fake psychic detective. When I first heard this, I thought “hey, it’ll help to expose the psychic detectives as the bottom-feeding loathsome con artists that they are, and perhaps counterbalance in some way the severely unethical support and comfort that some of the big networks are giving to ‘psychic’ con men.” No such luck. This psychic detective really solves crimes, and just uses the psychic claims because they won’t pay attention to his real explanations.

But not fighting for a specific cause is not something to fault, and while it does put a positive spin on those who present themselves as psychic detectives, its divorced enough from any reality or claims of reality that I’m not particularly concerned about it having an impact.

But that said, it ain’t great. It falls into the same pattern as Monk – the mystery is fairly light and not particularly the point of the exercise. This show is really about the character and watching his powers of observations and his antics. Thing is, neither of those are really that interesting, and things grow redundant even within the hour-and-a-half pilot. With Monk, at least you have an interesting central character and a particularly strong performance. Supporting actor Dule Hill as the lead’s business partner exists only to react to the audacity of his life-long friend.

It’s not painful to watch (mostly), but it doesn’t add up to much.

Published in: on July 8, 2006 at 6:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Perhaps they were born that way.

Let’s face it. Some things are just wrong – and the highly advertised Girls Gone Wild series of video releases falls into that category.

After all, you cannot “go wild”. Properly speaking, these should be Girls Gone Feral.

Published in: on July 7, 2006 at 8:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Emmy for who you used to be goes to…

The Emmy nominations have been announced. Let’s take a look at the Best Actress cateogies:

    Drama

  • Frances Conroy for Six Feet Under
  • Geena Davis for Commander in Chief
  • Mariska Hargitay for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
  • Allison Janney for The West Wing
  • Kyra Sedgwick for The Closer
    Comedy

  • Stockard Channing for Out of Practice
  • Jane Kaczmarek for Malcolm in the Middle
  • Lisa Kudrow for The Comeback
  • Debra Messing for Will & Grace
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus for The New Adventures of Old Christine

Question: what interesting thing is true about 7 of these 10 nominees?

Answer: you won’t see them play that role any more, because the series are over. This is not usually the case with Emmys. It sort of kills the publicity advantage of winning one. On the other hand, it also avoids the “same nominees for the same roles, year after year” problem.

Published in: on July 6, 2006 at 8:18 am  Leave a Comment  

How to lose your friends

When you’re part of a kidnapping plot, and you go to get the ransom only to have the police chase you, perhaps your first instinct shouldn’t be to flee to the house where your friends are holding the victim. I suspect this may cost the man some friendships in the long run.

Published in: on July 4, 2006 at 12:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Windbreaking

A bunch of people with the character depth of police chalk outlines win the lottery. Plot happens. Character doesn’t.

It’s got Jason Gedrick in it, and he’s got enough of a track record (Murder One, E-Z Streets, Boomtown) that his presence is a positive indicator… positive, but not definite.

Published in: on July 3, 2006 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

K-Y-L E-X-Y (Why? Because we like you?) A-B-C-Fam-leeeeee

A guy appears with strong abilities but no idea of where he comes from or who he is. That’s the plot of… well, that’s the plot of the short-lived series John Doe, but it’s also the plot of Kyle XY, a new show on the ABC Family channel. If you think of it as John Doe for 13 year old girls, you’re close enough.

I am not a thirteen year old girl.

I’ll let you know if that changes.

Published in: on July 3, 2006 at 10:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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