Unexpected

So there’s this woman who has had two men in her life – one down-to-earth, one with Peter Pan syndrome – but neither knows about the pregnancy, about the daughter. Then suddenly the daughter is in the hands of the court, and the lady judge decides that she should be placed in an unusual family structure, giving custody to two people whose history does not make them friends, but they choose to care for the girl. They adjust their life – and the apartment above the spot where the locals go for something to drink and maybe a spot to eat – to accommodate her.

That’s right. The CW is remaking My Two Dads.

Oh, okay. That’s cheap (but fun to do!) Life Unexpected is different from that sitcom (which has, by the way, become ever more relevant over the years; it may have been fluff, but same-sex parenting is clearly more of a visible situation now than then). In this case, there is no question of the parentage of the kid (at least not yet), and the two people who are to take care of her are her biological parents, one o fwhom didn’t know she existed and the other of whom gave her up for adoption at birth. It’s actually a reasonable structure for a drama, leading to questions of what makes a series, to quetions of trust, to questions of cooperation. Complicating matters is that the mother is engaged. Properly, that would be a longer-term complication, as she starts to build a family that may pull her away from her boyfriend. Unfortunately, they choose to go for the immediate cheap unreal complication, having her sleep with the ex-boyfriend on the first episode, a move that slides this drama over into the “showy” drama category rather than the “realistic” category.  Which is a shame, because this is not a story that supports a guilty pleasure sitcom, and that clearly is not their goal, so all they’re left with is cheapened character relationships.

It’s all okay overall. There’s nothing immediately great about it, but it’s the sort of show where setting up and finding the direction it’s going in will take a few episodes. And I may give it to them, because of the personal connection I feel with this show (the pilot of which can currently be watched here). No, I didn’t knock anyone up in high school, but like the lead male here, I bear the name “Nathaniel”.

(Oddly enough, I felt a personal connection to My Two Dads as well, back in the day, although for different reasons.)

Published in: on January 27, 2010 at 10:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Comics confessions

I frequently take part in Tom Spurgeon’s Five For Friday feature on his Comics Reporter blog.. frequently enough that when I miss an itneresting one, I feel I miss something. But when I miss the one calling for people’s comics-related confessions, I feel guilty, as if I’m hiding. So here go my answers:

  1. I stole a copy of New Teen Titans #1 from a library, a couple years after it had been released.
  2. I enjoyed Floyd Farland, but what little I’ve seen of Chris Ware’s comic work since has left me cold.
  3. I still owe something in the neighborhood of $17 to people who subscribed to my minicomic The Life and Loves of the Average Panther a couple decades ago, (my Amiga computer ate the subscription list file which was not properly backed up).
  4. I love the theory of webcomics, but I just don’t enjoy looking at comics on the screen for long periods.
  5. I have dropped a number of series that I liked because, on my now-infrequent trips to the comic book store, I cannot recall which the last issue I read was. (Is that the cover I had? Or did I see it in a “next issue” ad in the issue I had? Or somewhere online? The multiple-cover thing makes this all the worse.)
Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Deep End

The Deep End is, structurally, Scrubs (1.0) for the legal drama crew… the young newby underlings find themselves overworked by the hardened, calloused senior professionals, bond together under the pressure, and care too much for their own good.

Things in its favor: Some cast. I always like to see William Shallert show up; he’s a friendly face with a lot of TV history behind him. And then there’s the gal who played Mac on Veronica Mars.

The bad: That I’ve seen this all before. At least it feels like I have. Yes, the legal world is a viable source of drama, as are the medical war and law enforcement… but given how oversaturated the airwaves have been with each of those categories, you really have to work to make it seem like you have something viably fresh, and this doesn’t achieve it. And the pilot uses silly unlikelihoods for its plot twists: the lawyer who doesn’t know that the opponent in the custody case is the child’s surrogate mother…. or the potential big client who is apparently interested in the law firm because she believes one of the younger lawyers is Jewish, as thought Jewish lawyers are hard to find.

All in all: nothing makes this rise above the generic for me. Will skip in the future.

Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 8:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Human Target

Now, I have to admit that I wanted Human Target to be good, for reasons that have nothing to do with my desires to watch. Y’see, the character is based on a 1970s comic book feature, co-created by a pal of mine, Len Wein (note: I’m not trying to pass him off as a lends-me-money-and-crashes-on-my-couch pal, more of a run-into-each-other-locally-and-say-hi pal.) Now, this is not a rarity for Len; odds are good that if you see some 1970s comic book concept making it to the screen, Len had a hand in it (as with Swamp Thing and Wolverine). And in the case of Human Target, he created it for a publisher that is fairly good about rewarding their creators for other-media use of their work. So for Len, I wish a success, and while a good work doesn’t guarantee this, it makes it more likely.

The good news is, it’s good. Last might’s pilot showed a lot of promise. It’s about Christopher Chance, an extreme-situation bodyguard with detective chops (among a wide range of other abilities). Played by Mark Valley of Boston Legal, he has a support team made up of Chi McBride from Boston Public and Jack Earle Haley from Watchmen (which was neither based in Boston nor developed on David E. Kelley… but it was based on a comic book series edited by Len Wein). The pilot was a real action show, largely making good use of a setting – a high-speed train – to make different chases, fights, and escapes. It’s unabashed about being an action show. There’s little sense that it’s going to turn into a truly serial drama; it looks like it will instead make the most of making each episode its own adventure (of course, sometimes pilots mislead.) The ultra-able Chance is well played and worth paying attention to, able to mix playing cool with handling the rough stuff.  The action was taken more seriously than the mystery portion of the episode. Everything was well-handled, well-shot. The action played a lot better than some of the action in major movies, because they’re willing to hold their show or at least show you the set-up so you understand who is where relative to one another.

Well worth a watch (if you can find it: the pilot aired on Sunday at 8, the next episode will air Wednesday at 9, and then after that it moves to Wednesday at 8.)

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 6:57 am  Leave a Comment  

A nomenclature suggestion

Many of you probably now that California used to offer same-sex marriage, but does no longer, although it does offer “domestic partnership” status. Slightly fewer of you may realize that California still recognizes all the same-sex marriages entered into during that period. Even fewer of you are likely to know that California recognizes as marriage all same-sex marriages entered into anywhere before California stopped granting same-sex marriages in November of 2008.
But the point that seems to have eluded many is that as of January 1st, California recognizes same-sex marriages entered into anywhere after it stopped granting such marriages… it just doesn’t recognize them as marriages. A couple who married in, say, Massachusetts in February 2009 and then moved to California would be granted all the state benefits and responsibilities of marriage, it just won’t be called a “marriage”. It won’t be called a “domestic partnership”, either, as that is technically a different relationship under the law.
So what is it called? It isn’t. The law gave no term for describing this status, and I’ve yet to see any such term arise in discussion.
And thus I’m making my bold move: I hereby propose that we call such arrangements “The Relationship Which Dare Not Speak Its Name”.

Published in: on January 6, 2010 at 6:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Old blog in a new home

Since I’ve just moved this blog to WordPress.com, some people might assume that it’s a new blog. Not so. It’s a very old blog, as such things go, it just started elsewhere. It will turn 10 later this year. It started as solely TV reviews in hand-coded HTML, but as blog software became uniquitous, I moved it to that, and expanded it to cover whatever amused me to cover.
As for exactly how old this blog is… well, I’ll never be allowed to really celebrate its anniversary. That’s because the first post went up while the 2001-2002 TV season was just being launched. I stayed up into the wee hours and wrote my first review… then woke up in the morning to learn that airplanes had flown into the Twin Towers. As such, the anniversary of this blog will always be the anniversary of a far darker, far far more important event. So no big blogaversary for me, but I’m proud of how long this thing’s been around.
(My spell checker doesn’t like “blogaversary”; it suspects I mean “oversampling”.)

Published in: on January 6, 2010 at 2:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Our decaying language

The other day, in Wal-Mart, I came across an aisle with a sign indicating that this is where “dictionarys” were available.

Today, I find that Sesame Street, that show that exists primarily for spreading language to our young ones, is running an episode entitled “Bears Tries to Hibernate

Published in: on January 4, 2010 at 8:56 am  Comments (2)  

odd ad placement

So I’m watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition tonight (I’m a sucker for a Muppet guest appearance), and maybe halfway through, there’s an ad for Knott’s Berry Farm – if you watched the show, you may not have seen it, I assume it was a local ad for those in the greater Los Angeles area, within driving distance of Knott’s. And if you don’t live in the area, you may not know that this theme park has a Peanuts-themed kids area and a lot of Peanuts material in their advertising.

First off, the ad placement is a bit odd in itself; it’s not just that Extreme Makeover airs on ABC, owned by Disney, who own Disneyland – the main competition for Knott’s. It’s that this particular series is very much themed around the Disney theme parks. In many episodes, they send the family whose home is being remade on a trip to Disneyland. In this episode, they sent the family on a Disney cruise and gave away dozens of tickets to Disney parks and even having the Muppets guest star serves to promote the parks (the characters have been featured lately in ads for the parks.)

But what truly made it odd was that this ad was specifically promoting their “Charlie Brown Christmas” feature, primarily a Peanuts-and-Christmas-themed parade that goes through the park. And as the ad notes, that particular event runs through January 3rd. In other words, it ended the day the ad aired… and the park closed an hour before the TV show started airing.  So the effect was less “come and see this!” and more “ha-ha! Guess what you just missed!”

Published in: on January 3, 2010 at 11:23 pm  Comments (1)  
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: