TV SCOOP! ‘Dexter’ – Season 5 Trailer!

The season premiere of Dexter is Sunday September 26, 2010 the day before my daughter’s and my birthday and I couldn’t think of a better birthday present than the start of a new season with our favorite serial killer dad.  Nothing says family bonding like killing murderers, chopping them up and dumping their body parts into the ocean.

The season 5 trailer was first shown at ComicCon and is now up on Showtime’s website.  If you’ve never watched the show or didn’t watch Season 4, MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!  Thanks to my cousin Matt Volke over at The Movie Brothers for this update. 

… And to sweeten the pie and, Julie Benz (Rita) will be returning for the premiere episode.

Full story here, but again MAJOR SPOILER ALERT if you’re a newbie or didn’t watch Season 4. 

The Official Dexter Page at sho.com

‘Haven’ (SyFy – Friday, 10:00 p.m.)

 

Syfy’s all-new one-hour drama series Haven, starring Emily Rose (Jericho, Brothers and Sisters) is based on the novella The Colorado Kid from renowned author Stephen King. The series follows the shrewd and confident FBI agent Audrey Parker (Rose) who has a lost past, and arrives in the small town of Haven, Maine on a routine case. Before long, her natural curiosity lands her in the epicenter of activity in this curious enclave, which turns out to be a longtime refuge for people that are affected by a range of supernatural afflictions.  As the townspeople’s dormant abilities begin to express themselves, Audrey helps keep these forces at bay while discovering the many secrets of Haven — including one surrounding her own surprising connections to this extraordinary place. – SyFy

3 out of 10

As noted in the show description, SyFy’s new show Haven is based on a Steven King 184 page novel titled The Colorado Kid.  From what I read at iMDB before I saw the pilot, the title is one of the few things the show and the book actually share in common.  The Colorado Kid was a departure from Stephen King’s normal fare of the supernatural and just a straight-up mystery/crime novel.  Haven is exactly the opposite and apparently it was this way at the direction of King himself who wanted this television version of his story to have a science fiction premise to it.  That’s really all the interesting information I can provide about this show because there really is nothing more interesting about it except for the fact that for some reason, out of all of the Stephen King stories, SyFy chose to make a series out of the one that was universally panned by the critics. 

Haven is what I like to call a poor-man’s attempt at The X-Files except for instead of the cases taking place all over the country, all of these cases take place in small, mythical town of Haven, Maine, which I guess is just one big X-File.  Unlike other attempts to capture the spirit of The X-Files  while still remaining unique (such as FOX’s Fringe or even SyFy’s Warehouse 13) Haven makes absolutely no attempt to be original whatsoever.  I’ve now watched 1.75 episodes (I was so annoyed by the second episode I turned it off early ) and all I’ve seen is poorly recycled and predictable plots from old X-Files episodes, a bunch of supporting characters that don’t do a thing for me and a “who’s-who” of Canadian character actor casting (which is the only reason occasionally one of them sounds like they might actually be from Maine).

Our leads are Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) and Officer (Detective?) Nathan Wournos (Lucas Bryant) and let’s just put it this way:  they’re no Scully and Mulder.  They have absolutely no on-screen chemistry and neither one of their parts is very well-written.  By the time I got halfway through the second episode, Butterfly, I wanted to punch Supercop (and I mean that literally… the character doesn’t feel pain) Nathan right in the face.  I think it’s safe to say that one of the benchmarks for good TV is that you shouldn’t want to punch the protagonist in the face by the second episode, so you can kind of see where all of this is headed.  The only redeeming factor of Butterfly was the absolutely stellar performance by one of my favorite character actors of all-time, Stephen McHattie, who is better known to Star Trek fans as Senator Vreenak from  arguably the best Trek episode ever made, Deep Space Nine‘s In the Pale Moonlight.  But even McHattie’s brilliant performance is not enough to save this dud of a series.  Yes, this series is so bad that I have to throw in a Star Trek reference just to bring some level of excitement to an otherwise awful review experience.

I am very disappointed in Haven.  When I watched the pilot, I wasn’t very impressed but I wanted to give it another chance because there was so much buzz about it and it was so eagerly anticipated by SyFy (and Sci Fi) fans.  Unfortunately, though, it didn’t just not improve from the pilot to the second episode, it actually got much worse.  The writing is lackluster and flat and the audience simply cannot empathize with any of the characters and I have to say that even by SyFy’s standards, these are some of the worst CGI effects I’ve ever seen.  The only reason I even gave it a 3 is because of McHattie.  I’m sorry, but I simply have no time for bad TV.

That being said, if you don’t trust me and want to watch this mess for yourself to decide, SyFy has all of the episodes available to view online for free here.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

GEEK ALERT! CBS Releases Star Trek: The Original Series Communicator App – Nerds Around the World Rejoice

 

 

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/star-trek-original-series/id377296514?mt=8

Not a whole lot to say about this as it kind of speaks for itself but now you can turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a Star Trek Communicator à la the Original Series (TOS) for $1.99.  It’s fully functioning and the animated cover even “flips” open with a flick of the wrist (or by sliding your finger on it).  It can be used for fun or to actually make calls (obviously, only on the iPhone).  It features sound effects and clips from the series. 

Of course, the moment I saw this, I had to have it and the only complaint I have is that the animation on the cover has a serious lag to it when opening it.  Other than that though, it works exactly as advertised and you can’t ask for more fun for $2 if you’re a Trek Dork like me.

‘The Glades’ (A&E – Sunday, 10:00 p.m.)

The Glades stars Australian actor Matt Passmore as Jim Longworth, an attractive, brilliant, yet hard to get along with homicide detective from Chicago who is forced into exile after being wrongfully accused of sleeping with his former captain’s wife. Longworth relocates to the sleepy, middle-of-nowhere town of Palm Glade, Florida, where the sunshine and golf are plentiful and crime is seemingly at a minimum. But this town outside the Florida Everglades isn’t quite as idyllic as he thought, as he finds people keep turning up murdered. Each case pulls Longworth off the golf course and reluctantly into his element as one of the sharpest homicide detectives in the field. (A&E)

8.5 out of 10

I’ve been watching police procedural shows for years and I hate most of them that people seem to drool over.  I gave up on the entire Law & Order franchise years go, I was never a fan of NYPD Blue (although I concede that it was occasionally entertaining) and I absolutely hate the inane CSI franchise and question the intelligence of the millions of fans who think that it’s actually any good.  I could go into my hatred of CSI all day but I’m reserving that for a separate post.  Needless to say, for a police procedural to really get my attention it has to be unique and well-written, but most importantly it has to be character-driven as opposed to event-driven which is what most of the generic police fare is.  A few of the shows that really stand out in this genre and meet those standards over the last decade for me are The Wire (HBO), the short-lived but brilliant Boomtown (NBC), The Shield (FX) and most recently, one of my favorite new shows, Justified (FX, review forthcoming).  Well, add The Glades to that list.

Like its predecessors, The Glades weaves excellent storytelling around and a well-written group of complex supporting characters with a central character that not only brings it all together but stands out as the reason to come back week-to-week. 

Passmore is brilliantly cast as Longworth, which is really no small feat because the truth is that the character could easily come off as the clichéd cocky, big fish/small pond, I’m-smarter-than-all-of-these-small-town-hicks cop who every week learns a little lesson from living in small town America that gives him a greater appreciation for his colleagues. We, of course, have seen this more than once in TV and film and of course we’re bored by it.  Instead, though, Longworth, cocky as he is, is cocky for a reason: he’s a really good cop, knows it, but isn’t arrogant about it.  It’s just kind of a matter-of-fact deal with him but he respects his fellow colleagues who are competent and though he’s tolerant of his unmotivated colleagues like his partner, he recognizes their weaknesses and just goes about his business to make sure that they don’t impede his work.  The point is that unlike other clichéd cops on TV, Longworth isn’t all up in anybody’s face about how good he is and how bad anyone else is, he just does the job and does it well.  The character is witty and sarcastic and as a viewer you appreciate his ability to think outside of the box to bring clues together from unexpected sources.

Another reason why I put The Glades into the category of unique police procedurals is because it does something that most cop shows really don’t do: it makes the town of Palm Glades, Florida as important of a supporting character as anyone else in the cast, as opposed to just a backdrop for the drama.  All of the other shows I mentioned all have this in common.  The Wire with Baltimore, The Shield and Boomtown with Los Angeles and Justified with Leland, Kentucky.  I always appreciate shows that understand that the locale is an integral character to any good story.  It provides a depth to all of the live characters and their perspectives and it acts as a device to truly engage the audience, giving them a sense that they too, truly know what it’s like to be from Baltimore, L.A. or even Leland, Kentucky, even though they may have never even been there before.  This approach has been done in film for decades but it is a relatively new concept in television and almost non-existent on network television.  That being said, it’s entirely refreshing that a central character of The Glades is the Glades itself.

The pilot was excellent and the writing near flawless, albeit a bit rushed at the end because it’s obvious that they were trying to cram character development/establishment and a complex plot all into one hour (NOTE TO A&E: If a show is as good as The Glades is, a two-hour pilot will keep our attention).  The story takes us on Longworth’s journey to connect clues and if you blink, you might miss something which is of course the true sign of a good mystery.  The twist at the end is brilliant and of the quality you would expect from premium channels like HBO or Showtime (again, I just wished it wasn’t so rushed) and believe me, unlike everyone spoiling Shutter Island by telling you there’s a twist and ergo you expected it (and like me, probably figured it within the first 20 minutes), it is highly unlikely you will expect this particular twist even though you know one is coming.  I just hope that they keep the twists coming like this every week.

You can watch the entire pilot episode right here on A&E’s website if you missed it or don’t have cable (make sure to scroll down and choose Pilot as the latest episode will automatically play when you click the link) and in fact, it looks like you can catch all of the episodes online (yay!).

The A-Team (Film, 2010)

A team

The A-Team follows the exciting and daring exploits of a colorful team of former Special Forces soldiers who were set up for a crime they did not commit. Going “rogue,” they utilize their unique talents to try and clear their names and find the true culprit. (20th Century Fox)

7 out of 10

I need to start off this review by pointing out the film’s biggest flaw.  No, it’s not the fact that it’s another example Hollywood being lazy and rebooting another classic franchise, it’s not the fact that Mr. T is nowhere to be seen, it’s not even the fact that whole movie is just another in a long line of predictable action flicks.  No, the biggest flaw in this movie is one person:  Jessica Biel.

The young lady can’t act, plain and simple and she’s poorly cast in every single film she’s in.  Seriously, is the audience truly supposed to believe that she’s not only an officer in the U.S. Army but a Special Forces-type who they actually put in charge of things?  Now this wouldn’t even be an issue if she were routinely in exceptional films that could withstand her brand of crap or even if she were in truly awful films where should could just blend right into the scenery but she never is.  She’s always in these borderline-good films and she’s always a freakin’ anchor that pushes a decent film into the realm of crap-tastic.  Honestly, the only kind of films that she should be doing are the ones that involve hand-held cameras, minimal dialog and the obligatory pool boy.  The problem she has, though, is that there a thousand other chicks in that particular film industry who look exactly like she does.

That being said,  fortunately you experience 20 minutes of phenomenal frenetic action before we even see her dopey self so the damage she normally causes is mitigated.  Other than Biel, the only two major flaws in this film are Liam Neeson’s inability to pull-off an American accent and of course, the ridiculous “flying tank” scene which is oddly reminiscent of the beyond-retarded F-35 jet scene in Live Free or Die Hard and in both cases I recommend fast-forwarding through them or leaving the room and pretending they never happened.

But, honestly, The A-Team is exactly what you’d expect it to be and surprisingly it doesn’t suck because of that.  It’s obviously a reboot and it’s been modernized for 2010, but the casting was excellent (despite Neeson’s accent issues)  and the characters were written very true to their TV counterparts from the 1980’s, and in fact (and people are going to hate me for saying this) maybe even a little deeper and a little better.

The action sequences in this film are fantastic (albeit a little on the unbelievable side at times) the villains are entertaining and there’s enough classic A-Team nostalgia thrown in to make even those most skeptical fan appreciate this new take (yes, they do go all MacGyver more than once, just like they did regularly on the show).  I think the main reason all of this works is because Stephen J. Cannell is the top-billed producer and it’s obvious he was there to make sure that his baby was taken care of.

The dialog is clever and decently written and the film moves at a very good pace and I could think of a lot less fun ways to spend 117 minutes.  Is it going to win any Oscars?  No, but it is certainly one of the best action films I have seen this year.  I hate to say this, but the way this film was done, with the deference and reverence shown to the source material is very reminiscent of last year’s mega-hit Star Trek and yes,  I would know.  And rest assured, like Star Trek, it was made very clear at the end of this film that this won’t be the last time we’ll be seeing these beloved characters on the big screen.

TV SCOOP! REVIEWniverse: Mike Judge Working on Re-Launch of ‘Beavis and Butt-head’ (30 new episodes)

According to REVIEWniverse, plans to bring Beavis and Butt-Head back to television are currently in the works. An anonymous source is quoted as stating that creator Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Office Space) is currently writing the outlines for 30 new episodes, with the intention of airing them on MTV again where the show originally ran for seven seasons from 1993 – 1997 and yeah… I’m aware that the math on the seasons doesn’t work. Take it up with iMDB:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105950/

…And in the meantime read the entire article from REVIEWniverse about the future of our favorite fart-knockers:

Full Article

Now, my take:

As much as the concept off B & B returning after more than 13 years is exciting, I’m containing my enthusiasm and reserving judgment on the validity of the information as reported by the anonymous source for a few reasons.

First, Journalism 101.  My cousin Matt Volke over at The Movie Bros. can correct me on this but, if I’m not mistaken, before you run with a story like this, shouldn’t you have the information that your third-party source provides you verified independently first?  The article indicates but one anonymous source.

I don’t know much about EXAMINER.com , the parent site of REVIEWniverse, but it seems to be just a collection of bloggers, so obviously the same journalistic standards wouldn’t normally apply but this story is being picked up by major outlets who are now reporting it verbatim, so you would think that sites like iMDB or AOL TV would want to make sure that the information was verified by at least ONE independent source before publishing.  Apparently, they aren’t nearly as concerned about the integrity of their information as I am, but you all know how flippin’ serious I am about TV.

What’s really funny is that AOL TV has taken the suggestion by REVIEWuniverse that Judge could re-launch the series on the web if MTV doesn’t green-light it and turned it into he already intends to as a fall-back position.  Pathetic. FAIL.

In any event, though, I find this notion that Mike Judge wants B & B back on MTV highly suspect to begin with anyway.  MTV is not the same network that it was in 1992 (when the actual first episode of the show aired) and it’s not even the same network it was in 1997 when the show was cancelled.  Yes, back then MTV used to be the home of Liquid Television and Ren & Stimpy  second runs, but it certainly isn’t friendly to that kind of programming anymore and of course the demographics of that network aren’t the same as they were back then either.

The other issue with this is that Mike Judge isn’t some upstart anymore who can only get a shot on a basic cable network.  He’s got a bit more street cred than that with one of the most successful prime time shows (animated or otherwise) of all time under his belt with King of the Hill and several successful movies (Office Space, Idiocracy, Extract and of course Beavis and Butt-Head Do America).  Sorry, but there is about as much of a chance of Mike Judge doing anything on MTV as there is of J.J. Abrams doing a show on a local public access channel.  As a nod to Office Space I can so only one thing to this possibility: Naga… Naga… Na-gonna happen.

Finally, don’t the details of this article seem all just a little too perfect?  I mean, not only is Judge bringing back B & B but he wants to do it exactly like he did it in 1992 and even on the same network? Holy crap, Santa really DOES exist and he’s finally giving me the Christmas I’ve always wanted.

So, to sum up, I’m not dismissing this story outright, but needless to say,  I remain quite skeptical about the details of it as reported.

What I’m guessing is that Judge does intend to bring back B & B in the near future and is indeed writing up the outlines for the 30 episodes (and in this climate of reboots and re-launches, there would be no better time) but I’m guessing that the details aren’t nearly as fine-tuned and specific as the anonymous source claims that they are.

Still, though, I can’t help but to be excited at the prospect of my favorite idiot head bangers in the 21st Century.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, I present you with the classic B & B episode Vaya Con Cornholio:

Futurama: Season 6

Rebirth: 6.5, In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela: 8

Re-launch Overall: 7.5

As noted in my last entry, On June 24th, Comedy Central re-launched the wildly popular former FOX animated series, Futurama after a seven-year hiatus.   The season 6 premiere, Rebirth, came into this world with a scream but kind of went to bed 30 minutes later with little more than a whimper.

I’m not sure exactly what the problem was.  Maybe I was expecting something a little more grand – y’know, for having been off the air for seven years – or maybe it was just the fact that they spent too much time trying to catch the audience up on where they left off… seven years ago.  After all, the running time of a half hour show is only about 23 minutes so if you’re not rapid-firing jokes left and right then you’re really just wasting time.  Maybe the problem was that there just wasn’t enough Bender.  Hmmm… that very well could be it.

Regardless, some of the jokes were brilliant (the stem cell joke in the first five minutes was the funniest of the whole episode) but a lot of the references that were made seem to be only there to satisfy the most dedicated fans.  I enjoyed the episode, myself, but I certainly wasn’t under any illusions that a new viewer to the series would be jumping out of their pants to come back next week after seeing this.

That being said, thank goodness for the second new episode of the night, In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela which was far funnier and far more in tune with the Futurama comedy genius that fans have grown to know and love.  Not only was it an episode featuring Zapp Brannigan, but there were easily recognizable and hilarious Star Trek and Star Wars references throughout.  That’s Futurama, that’s what I’m talking about.

Overall, the re-launch was good, but not exceptional.  It was certainly refreshing to see a new edginess that comes with being on Comedy Central in the 10:00 p.m. slot that we never got to see on FOX in prime time before, but that’s certainly not enough to carry this series alone.  Fortunately, based on In-A-Gadda, I do expect that future episodes will be a lot less stiff and a lot more funny…. and, oh yeah… have a lot more Bender.