REVIEW: The Finder (FOX – Thursdays, 9:00 p.m.)

From the creator of the hit series BONES comes THE FINDER, a quirky, one-hour procedural centering on a different kind of detective: a remarkable man with the extraordinary ability to help people find the unfindable.

Iraq war veteran WALTER SHERMAN (Geoff Stults) gained a reputation in his army days as being the go-to guy for tracking down insurgents and deserters and finding improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Unfortunately one IED found Walter before he could find it, resulting in severe brain damage with a lasting and unexpected effect. Walter transformed from someone skilled at the standard recovery of people and things to someone much more extraordinary: a Finder.

With this newly discovered “Finder Power,” Walter locates almost anything for just about anyone. Once he’s on a case, there’s no turning back until he’s found exactly what he’s looking for – whether that’s a dead body, a missing father, a guitar pick, a murder weapon or a pair of lucky socks.

After Walter left the military, his reputation as someone able to unearth anything and anyone was passed to generals, politicians and other powerful figures. His first post-military assignment was to find the CIA head honcho’s missing daughter and bring her home. He accomplished that mission successfully, and since then has never been without an assignment.

Walter’s legal advisor and brother-in-arms LEO KNOX (Michael Clarke Duncan) was once an intense and extremely obese lawyer. But after the deaths of his wife and children, Leo transformed himself from a man driven by hate into a gentle giant and philosopher. Leo owns the ramshackle Ends of the Earth bar in Looking Glass Key, FL, which also serves as a makeshift office and home base for Walter. Leo keeps a close eye on unruly teenager WILLA MONDAY (Maddie Hasson). Currently on probation, Willa was raised to be a criminal by her extended family of gypsies. Under Leo’s protection, Willa works at the Ends of the Earth bar where Leo and Walter occasionally use her hard-earned skills in their own work.

Walter has an on-again off-again relationship with DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL ISABEL ZAMBADA (Mercedes Masöhn), a beautiful and ambitious cop-on-the-rise. However, as much as Isabel likes Walter and utilizes him to further her own career, she knows that he may be an impediment to her rise through the ranks. For Walter and Isabel, it’s a constant balancing act between career ambitions and matters of the heart.

Because of his rare skills, Walter is often asked to find a person or a thing that law enforcement either will not or cannot find. Walter’s occasional social ineptitude, general paranoia and case-related tunnel vision make him somewhat difficult to work with, but thanks to the help and guidance of Leo, as well as the grateful friends and connections he has made through his work, he ultimately finds meaning in his own life by finding someone or something other people have lost. – FOX

65 out of 100

Se here we are with yet another procedural with a main character that has a special ability just below that of supernatural status (see: Numb3rs, Unforgettable, and The Mentalist for other examples of this… yeah, it’s like crack to CBS.) and normally we would expect that this ability would be used as nothing more than a gimmick to hide what is just a typical cop drama, but you know what?  It’s not half-bad and the reason why is because it has a very goods mix of lightheartedness and comedy with some decently developed characters who play well off of each other.

And this is why it’s miles better than its predecessor, Bones, because at the end of the day, you don’t feel like punching any of the characters on this show in the face like you do with the snarky twerps on Bones.  If you’re a fan of Bones, we challenge you to tell us that every character on that show doesn’t come off as a completely arrogant douche.

The storylines aren’t particularly deep, but we didn’t expect them to be because we know what this show is.  It’s guilty pleasure filler on a Wednesday night.  This is just a straight-up, fun private detective show with a likable cast of characters.  When’s the last time we had that?  Well, the short-lived Terriers was an example, we guess, but this show isn’t nearly as heavy as that one was, which, all things considered, is a good thing considering how many good hardcore dramas there on TV right now for us to keep up with.  For people like us who generally hate comedies, The Finder is kind of like an alternative form of comic relief… a break from all of the really heavy drama without the necessity of lowering our standards by watching Law & Order: SVU or the dreaded Harry’s Law.

The cast really interacts well with each other and they have established a chemistry usually only seen on shows that have been on the air for at least a season or two.  It’s refreshing because nothing seems forced… except for one minor little problem; Michael Clarke Duncan.

We’re sorry, but we loved The Green Mile but the only reason he was so good in that film was that his lines were incredibly limited and if you haven’t noticed, he hasn’t had that many big roles over the last fifteen years since that film came out.  There’s a reason for that.  The man can’t act his way out of a paper bag and we’re not saying that to be mean or harsh, we’re saying it because it seems like his entire career is based on casting directors being too scared that he might just beat the sh*t out of them if they don’t cast him. His character is very likable and has the potential to either carry the show or bring the whole thing crashing to its knees and we would prefer the former.  That being said, it would behoove the producers to insist that Mr. Duncan get some serious remedial training as this series continues.  He’s providing a very mediocre performance and it’s very noticeable especially with the level of professionalism he’s surrounded by on every episode.

We certainly recommend The Finder, but we have to warn you not to get caught up in the fact that it’s just pointless, entertaining brain candy.

Watch full episodes of The Finder, here.

REVIEW: Sherlock (PBS – Sunday, 10:00 p.m.)

A contemporary take on the classic Arthur Conan Doyle stories, Sherlock is a thrilling, funny, fast-paced adventure series set in present-day London. Co-created by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who, Coupling) and Mark Gatiss, Sherlock stars BAFTA-nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (Hawking, Amazing Grace) as the new Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman (The Office, Love Actually), as his loyal friend, Doctor John Watson. Rupert Graves plays Inspector Lestrade. The iconic details from Conan Doyle’s original books remain–they live at the same address, have the same names and, somewhere out there, Moriarty is waiting for them. And so across three thrilling, scary, action-packed and highly modern-day adventures, Sherlock and John navigate a maze of cryptic clues and lethal killers to get at the truth. – Amazon

100 out of 100 

Sherlock, a new British Television series, really took us by surprise and has us hooked. It is the best drama series to come out of the UK since the impressive Foyle’s War. It is an updated and contemporary re-telling of the exploits of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson and we are thrilled to say that the title characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are in good hands with creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.

The first season consists of three 90-minute episodes that find our sleuths solving cases, getting into trouble and irritating Scotland Yard to no end. The first episode, A Study in Pink, introduces us to John Watson, played brilliantly by Martin Freeman (The Hobbit). Watson is a war vet and has been wounded in battle. After his discharge he returns to London, desperate for room and board and for some company. Well, he does find this and more in the form of a tall, lanky and messy-haired private dick named Sherlock Holmes, played with incredible flexibility by Benedict Cumberbatch. Holmes eventually dissects Watson after meeting up with a mutual friend at a crime lab. This is the first of many wonderful scenes where we watch Sherlock deduce, examine, take apart and observe the world around him. He is arrogant, aloof, methodical and impertinent. He is even a bit unstable and Watson is even warned to stay away from him as he is considered a bit on the dangerous and reckless side.

Holmes and Watson take a trip forward in time... but not this far.

Cumberbatch and Freemanare perfectly cast in the title roles of these classic characters. Cumberbatch’s Holmes is a quick-witted thinker and is always one or two steps ahead of everyone. He and Freeman are incredible to watch since Freeman’s Watson is the more, somewhat “cooler head” and not so spontaneous, quick and less face it… impulsive. Freeman plays Watson as an injured soul who desperately needs action and misses the war. He has seen some atrocities and wants to move ahead with his life but finds it hard to adjust. He is then at the mercy of Holmes who makes Watson’s world a living hell. And there’s where this breezy, smart show turns comical. Watson is always trying to keep up with Holmes and at one point Holmes even allows Watson to get arrested.

Sherlock is very strong in dialogue and rooted in the basic tradition that incorporates the Holmes canon. There is, of course, Holmes’ addictive nature, however, instead of cocaine and many of the other vices the original regularly would partake in, in this verison, our hero is addicted to nicotine patches that he claims “help him think.” So, no traditional pipe. He has a landlady named Mrs Hudson, who is constantly being yelled at by Holmes and they, of course, live at 221B Baker Sreet.

Holmes also butts heads with Inspector Greg Lestrade, played by actor Rupert Graves. Lestrade constantly requires Holmes’ help but can never admit it out loud. He is frustrated by him but admires his ability. Holmes makes it a priority to always insult the Scotland Yard authorities. When things click and mesh between Holmes and Watson (which takes a while) that is when the game is afoot!  (Sorry… but we just couldn’t resist.)

By the second episode, The Blind Banker, Holmes and Watson are settled in with their routine of solving very strange and difficult cases. Cumberbatch is athletic and the camera movements are fun to watch as the show is framed perfectly in order to keep up with the mobility of the characters. London has never looked better. It is bustling, raw and alive. Just the perfect place for mayhem and murder.

What makes the show work besides its great production values, smart scripts that never insult your intelligence and complicated mysteries, is the insanely well-timed chemistry of Cumberbatch and Freeman. They are so much fun to watch. When they argue we can’t help but smile. They are best friends but Holmes’ eccentricities madden Watson. More than once, Watson gets locked out of places that Holmes is in. These small things just endear us to them. Holmes manages to spit out the witty dialogue with machine gun rapidity and at times may even lose the viewer (we often have to turn the subtitles on to catch some of this rapid-fire dialogue) if they do not concentrate on the events at hand.

Sherlock never insults or panders to us. We get totally immersed and involved in the updated world of these two icons. Where the old Holmes may be a bit stiff and rigid, this new Holmes is energized and quick on his feet. It is indeed a new Victorian interpretation for these modern times. What we admire is the respect given to these wonderful characters and Professor Moriarty, played by Andrew Scott, does make his appearance in The Great Game and we are in for some fantastic confrontations between he and Holmes.  Of course Watcon asks the question that we’re all thinking: “Does anyone really ever have a arch-nemesis?” Watch and find out if it’s true between Holmes and Moriarty.

The three episodes of season one are currently airing on PBS (check your local listings, here.) and season two will begin on May 6th.  In the meantime, Netflix customers have the entire first season available in full 1080p HD for streaming at any time.  So watch Sherlock,  and remember, it’s “Elementary.”

REVIEW: Alcatraz (FOX – Monday, 9:00 p.m.)

From executive producer J.J. Abrams (FRINGE, “Lost,” “Star Trek,” and the recent blockbuster “Super 8”) comes ALCATRAZ, a thrilling new series that follows a unique trio investigating the mystifying reappearance of 302 of Alcatraz’s most notorious prisoners and guards, 50 years after they vanished.

When San Francisco Police Department DET. REBECCA MADSEN (Sarah Jones) is assigned to a grisly homicide case, a fingerprint leads her to a seemingly impossible suspect: JACK SYLVANE (guest star Jeffrey Pierce), an Alcatraz inmate who died over 30 years ago. Given her family history – both her grandfather and surrogate uncle, RAY ARCHER (Robert Forster), were guards at the prison – Madsen’s interest is immediately piqued. When the enigmatic, knows-everything-but-tells-nothing government agent EMERSON HAUSER (Sam Neill) tries to impede her investigation, she becomes doggedly committed to it.

Madsen finds herself working with an unlikely partner, Alcatraz expert and comic book enthusiast DR. DIEGO “DOC” SOTO (Jorge Garcia), to help piece together the inexplicable sequence of events. The two discover that Sylvane is not only alive, but he’s loose on the streets of San Francisco, exacting decades-old revenge and leaving bodies in his wake. And strangely, he hasn’t aged a day since 1963, when Alcatraz was ruled by the iron-fisted WARDEN EDWIN JAMES (Jonny Coyne) and the sadistic ASSOCIATE WARDEN E.B. TILLER (Jason Butler Harner).

Detective Madsen and Soto must team with Hauser and his associate, LUCY BANERJEE (Parminder Nagra), to stop Sylvane’s vengeful killing spree. By delving into Alcatraz history, government cover-ups and Rebecca’s own heritage, the team will ultimately discover that Sylvane is only a small part of a much larger, more sinister present-day threat. Because even though he may be the first, it quickly becomes clear that Sylvane won’t be the last to reappear from Alcatraz.

“Sylvane is only a small part of a much larger, more sinister present-day threat”

During the course of the investigation, Madsen and Soto will learn that Hauser has been awaiting the prisoners’ return for nearly 50 years. Soto will witness his life’s work – the history of Alcatraz – come alive, while he and Madsen fight to keep the country safe from history’s most dangerous criminals. – FOX

80 out of 100

Needless, to say, in true Jerry Maguire fashion, they had us at, “From executive producer J.J. Abrams,” and we just automatically assumed Alcatraz was going to be an excellent series and from what we can tell so far it is, but unlike what we originally predicted, it doesn’t look like we’ll be quite getting our Lost fix that we were hoping for (still hoping for this from ABC’s The River).  Abrams recently confirmed that he had nothing to do with the creation or writing of the show and that his role was facilitating its production and bringing it to television.  This is important to note because everyone is expecting that Alcatraz is just going to be a clone of Abrams’ other projects, and even though it’s obvious that the show is inspired by the spirit of Abrams, it is very unique and it is certainly not Lost, even though it might fool you into thinking it is with the Michael Giacchino score that sounds eerily similar to Lost‘s.

Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either, because there’s two things about Lost that make that kind of magic difficult to reproduce.  First, the fact is that Lost is one of the greatest television shows in history and trying to duplicate it would be a huge mistake, destined for failure.  The second problem is that Lost was a very deep and complex serial and as popular as it was, as the seasons progressed, it lost a significant portion of its audience due to the fact that you couldn’t just miss an episode and pick up the series the following week.  It made for great drama but it hurt the series overall as far as revenue was concerned.  On the same note, Lost came in at the tail-end of the era of serial dramas on prime-time television and if it had debuted two years later, it would never have been picked up for a second season.  That being said, networks are very skiddish about bringing serials to prime-time because over the last half-decade-plus, prime-time network viewers have generally turned away from them.

This is why Terra Nova and Alcatraz work.   Both of these shows have big theme/arc premises with mysteries at their core, however, both shows have made a point to have their series revolve around stand-alone, “monster-of-the-week”-type episodes which has proven to be a successful formula in the past… especially on FOX.  The phrase “monster-of-the-week” was a phrase that was often associated with The X-Files and why that show was so successful was that even though there was the alien abduction/mystery theme at its core, two-thirds of the episodes were stand-alone, “monster-of-the-week” episodes. It’s no wonder why The X-Files lasted for nine seasons over the course of two decades and became the longest running science fiction show in American history.  It appealed to everyone and you could pick it up at any time without feeling as if you were missing anything.

We have to give Kevin Reilly (entertainment president) at FOX credit.  He seems to have a handle on what works with television audiences right now and what doesn’t.  He’s admittedly a big fan of Fringe and he’s kept that show going for far longer than we really could have hoped to expect but he, of course, sees the same problems with that show being able to find the magic it had during the first two seasons compared to where it is now.  Fringe went from being very much in the mold of The X-Files in both content and style to being a serial that’s just completely inaccessible, now, to anyone but the most devoted fan.

Reilly must realize this, as well, and it seems to us that the creators of this show have come up with a Fringe v.2.0, effectively rebooting the basic concept of Fringe and repackaging it in a way  that doesn’t alienate audiences.  Yes, this serves to make it a little more vanilla than what the true fans of serialized SciFi would hope for, but it also serves to give it a better chance with general audiences and more importantly, the 18 – 49 crowd that the advertisers covet.

Fanboys and girls, it’s reality time:  if you want good, serialized SciFi on network TV, it’s going to have to be watered down a bit to appeal to everyone, otherwise it ain’t going to last.

Alcatraz has just the right mix of mystery and suspense combined with action, neatly packaged into hour-long segments to make genre fans and general audiences happy and that’s the smart way to go.

Is it a perfect series?  No  and it does have a lot of things that need to be worked on (like the silly dialogue) but overall, Sam Neill is fantastic and Jones and Garcia, while not winning any awards with their performances during the first two episodes, are certainly serviceable.  Again, we think this is a result of the dialogue.  Neill is such a pro that he could recite the back of a tube of toothpaste and it could be nominated for an Oscar, whereas Garcia and Jones just don’t have those kind of acting chops, yet.

Still, though, at the end of the day, all of its problems notwithstanding, this is a very clever and well-produced series and we expect that it will finally be the show that finds success in the old 24 timeslot.

You can watch full episodes of Alcatraz, here.

REVIEW: Are You There, Chelsea? (NBC – Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m.)

Inspired by the best-selling books from actress/comedian Chelsea Handler, “Are You There, Chelsea?” follows the exploits of the twentysomething Chelsea (Laura Prepon, “That ’70s Show”), an opinionated and unapologetic young woman who lives life to the fullest as a cocktail waitress, friend, daughter, sister and sexually dynamic “advanced drinker.”

Chelsea’s life revolves around her work at Jerry’s Ultimate Sports Bar in New Jersey, where she is surrounded by an eclectic group of friends and co-workers, including Rick (Jake McDorman, “Greek”), the handsome bartender; Olivia (Ali Wong, “Breaking In”), a fellow cocktail waitress and Chelsea’s best friend since childhood; and Todd (Mark Povinelli, “Water for Elephants”), the bar back who is always ready with a quick comeback. Chelsea and Olivia have recently moved in with Dee Dee (Lauren Lapkus, “The Middle”), a sweet and somewhat sheltered young woman who could be considered the polar opposite of Chelsea. And then there’s Chelsea’s dad, Melvin (Lenny Clarke, “Rescue Me”), a man with a big personality and a big heart… and all too often – a big mouth.

Chelsea Handler (“Chelsea Lately”) has a recurring role as Chelsea’s born-again Christian sister, Sloane, a married, conservative new mom who has little in common with her carefree sister. – NBC

35 out of 100

Yet, another tough review to do because once again, our prophecies about this show were correct… both of them. Therein lies the problem. Our predictions on this show were completely contradictory. Back in May, we suggested that the show had the potential to be good based on the Chelsea Handler comedy and a couple of weeks ago we suggested that upon further review that it looked like complete sh*t. It did and it is…

*Sigh*

The key to understanding why this show doesn’t work is by simply looking at the different titles the show has gone through. Are You There, Chelsea? was, of course, originally titled, Are You There, Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea., after the book of the same title by Chelsea Handler. This bastardization of the title, much like with $#*! My Dad Says, is the perfect metaphor for the problems associated with trying to adapt a nonfiction book for a television series. When you can’t even stay true to the title, there’s no way to be able to stay true to the source material.

Are You There, Chelsea? is like two different shows in one. On the one hand you have the typical, stupid comedy that suffers from all of the lame problems that they all do: lame writing, ridiculous premises, and jokes written by people who wouldn’t know funny if  Groucho Marx himself came down from Heaven and hit them in the face with a duck with a secret word on it.

And the premise is absolutely awful.

Now, the obvious reason why the title was changed is that NBC wasn’t that comfortable with the cynical and borderline blasphemous and definitely sarcastic take on the children’s book Are You there, God? It’s Me, Margaret?, by Judy Blume. Apparently, there are some lines of decency and innocence that NBC doesn’t want to cross which is a position, as we point out, that just sets this whole thing up for failure. But the thing is that the lines that they are willing to cross are rather distressing.

Now, we like Chelsea Handler and we think that she’s pretty quick-witted and funny but her brand of comedy only works in short doses, in the realm of her stand-up routine and her talk show, Chelsea, Lately. It’s obnoxious and it’s extreme as good stand-up should be, but it’s the kind of fantasy that doesn’t play well in the realm of weekly comedies because the notion behind situation comedies is that they are a reflection of real life, albeit exaggerated. That’s why the more relatable they are to our own life, the better they are. The success of The Office and Modern Family isn’t really much of a secret when you think about it in those terms.

That being said, would you ever expect that either one of those shows would treat a subject of driving while intoxicated so cavalierly as if it’s “no big deal?” The Chelsea character, who by all estimations is an alcoholic, chooses her new apartment based on the fact that she can walk to the bar she works at… and stumble home when she’s loaded. Her father addresses the issue of her D.W.I. conviction with, “Did you learn your lesson?” and doesn’t say another word about it as if the only issue is that she got caught. It’s frankly ludicrous and offensive and considering how much of a stink the LGBT crowd made about the short-lived Work It, we’re surprised that M.A.D.D. hasn’t raised concerns about how this show addresses – no… glorifies – alcohol abuse.

On the other hand, about halfway through – and this is where the concept of “a tale of two comedies” comes into play – they actually start inserting some pretty good jokes. The problem is that they feel incredibly forced, almost as if they were wedged in just to make the show bear some resemblance to the book as opposed to the perversion of the book that this comedy really is. Although, this is a clever ploy and you might fall for it if you’re not paying attention, you need to understand that it is indeed a ploy.

The performances by the entire cast is fine, again, it’s one of those situations where the cast has to work with what they are given… although that brown wig worn by Chelsea Handler herself is kind of embarrassing.

Are You There, Chelsea?, although certainly not as intolerable as $#*! My Dad Says or Whitney, is certainly not a show we can recommend, either.

You can watch episodes of Are You There, Chesea?, here.

REVIEW: Napoleon Dynamite (FOX – Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)

The series is based on the 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite. It follows the adventures of Napoleon Dynamite, and his family and friends, as they navigate small-town life in rural Preston, Idaho. The original cast from the film, Jon Heder, Aaron Ruell, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Sandy Martin, Jon Gries and Diedrich Bader, voice their characters in the series, in addition to the series introducing several new characters.

Napoleon Dynamite is a 16-year-old boy convinced that he is blessed with unlimited “sweet skills.” His hobbies include practicing his ninja moves, dancing, drawing, and bragging about his “girlfriend in Oklahoma.” Napoleon’s brother, Kip, is an unemployed 32-year-old who lives at home, and continually attempts to meet girls online. The two live with their grandmother, who is often found four-wheeling with her friends at the local sand dunes. Napoleon’s friends include Pedro, who has recently been elected class president, and Deb, a girl who sees the good in Napoleon and dreams of someday becoming his girlfriend. Napoleon’s uncle, Rico, lives in an orange van, where he obsesses over his failed high school football career and dreams up ways to become rich and famous.

Guest voices in the debut season include Amy Poehler as Misty, Jennifer Coolidge as Elizabeth Moser, Sam Rockwell as Justive and Jemaine Clement as Dr. Jeff Henry – FOX

65 out of 100

About three or four times we’ve made a point to rip Napoleon Dynamite as a concept that is eight years too late and wasn’t very funny when it was popular to begin with. As usual, we were correct. Napoleon Dynamite is exactly what we thought it would be; a rehash of old jokes that are a little too deadpan for our own good.

Surprisingly enough, though, the show isn’t horrible. Although at times it does seem like one big montage of deleted scenes from the original film, it’s really not just an animated version of its live-action counterpart. If it was, it would be truly awful but what Napoleon Dynamite does is take the well-known themes of the film, amplify and exaggerate them to create ridiculous, albeit endearing, stories that are the mainstay of FOX’s ‘Animation Domination’ block.

The supporting characters at times are way over-the-top, which is a bit tiresome and induces long stretches of eyeball rolling, but overall, the show is rather charming for what it is and appropriate for pretty much anyone over the age of ten, which is a dramatic shift from the usual ‘A.D.’ fare on FOX.

Is Napoleon Dynamite a groundbreaking or fantastic animated show? No, but it’s certainly better than Bob’s Burgers and the most awful piece of animated crap on television in years, Allen Gregory. In fact, we’ve had to reflect a couple of times about this endorsement because we weren’t sure if the show was actually as decent as we thought it was or if it was a case that anything would be better after the recent animated offerings that we’ve had to suffer through. Upon further review, we’ve decided that this is not the case.

Napoleon Dynamite is a keeper and has a very high potential for improvement and unlike every other animated show in recent years on FOX, we actually don’t want to see it canceled.

You can watch full episodes of Napoleon Dynamite, here.

AMC: Season Premiere Dates For ‘Mad Men’ & ‘The Killing’ Announced, ‘The Walking Dead’ Gets Three More Episodes For Season Three

In news that makes us say, “‘Bout flippin’ time…,” AMC announced that the premiere dates for the latest seasons of their hit shows Mad Men and The Killing.  Season five for Mad Men will begin on March 25th and season two of The Killing on April 1st.

AMC also announced that they have ordered 16 episodes of The Walking Dead, which is three more than the current season’s order of 13.  The second half of season two of The Walking Dead premieres on February 12th.

There’s also some information below about a new unscripted series featuring Kevin Smith called Comic Book Men that we’ve seen the trailer for but, to be honest, even as geeky as we are, what we saw didn’t excite us that much.  Comic Book Men will be premiering immediately after the season 2.5 premier of The Walking Dead.

Check out the two press releases below.

Via Press Release:

AMC ANNOUNCES Q1 & Q2 2012 PREMIERE DATES FOR NEW AND RETURNING ORIGINAL SERIES  

  “Mad Men” Season 5 Debuts with Two-Hour Premiere on Sunday, March 25

  “The Killing” Returns with Two-Hour Premiere on Sunday, April 1

Unscripted Series “Comic Book Men,” New Episodes of “The Walking Dead,” Along with Return of Live After Show “Talking Dead,”

Debut February 12

Pasadena, CA – January 14, 2012 – AMC announced today, from the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California, premiere dates for new and returning original series in Q1 and Q2 2012, including the critically acclaimed dramas “Mad Men,” “The Killing” and “The Walking Dead,” as well as its unscripted series “Talking Dead” and “Comic Book Men.”

 Following are additional details on AMC’s early 2012 premieres:

 SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12

The critically acclaimed second season of “The Walking Dead” returns at 9pm ET/PT with the new episode, “Nebraska.” February 12 also marks the return of AMC’s live after show, “Talking Dead,” at midnight ET.

Also, for the first time, “The Walking Dead” fans can participate in a live, interactive experience online while watching new season two episodes on AMC.  “The Walking Dead” StorySync on amctv.com invites viewers to vote in polls, answer trivia questions and relive tense moments via video clips – all timed to coincide with the premiere broadcast of the series’ latest episode. Think Shane should have stayed away from the barn? Vote in StorySync’s “Judgment” poll and see if fellow fans agree. See a particularly gruesome walker kill? Rank it on the “Gore Gauge.” And, as always, a live “Watch & Chat” for each episode lets visitors join the ongoing commentary fueled by fellow rabid fans. (StorySync is optimized for both Internet browsers and tablet devices.)

“The Walking Dead” season two continues to deliver the strongest telecasts for any drama in basic cable history against Adults 18-49.  The series’ international premieres delivered equally impressive results in all major international TV markets, and broke pay-TV ratings’ records across the world. The series is led by a cast that includes Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs and Norman Reedus.

Immediately following “The Walking Dead” is the premiere of AMC’s newest unscripted series, “Comic Book Men,”at 10pm ET/PT.  Executive produced by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy), Charlie Corwin’s Original Media (“LA Ink,” “Storm Chasers”) and Elyse Seiden (Red State), the series (formerly titled “Secret Stash”) is set in Smith’s iconic comic shop Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, and captures the world of the neighborhood comic book store and fanboy culture. The season consists of 6 one-hour episodes.

 SUNDAY, MARCH 25

As one of the most highly anticipated season premieres of the year, the Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning drama “Mad Men” is back with a two-hour season 5 premiere on Sunday, March 25 at 9pm ET/PT. Written by Matthew Weiner and directed by Jennifer Getzinger, the season premiere episode will also be available onamctv.com the Monday after air.

Following the premiere, on Sunday, April 1, “Mad Men” will return to its regular timeslot at 10pm ET/PT with an episode written by Erin Levy and Matthew Weiner and directed by Jon Hamm.

Fans looking to catch up on “Mad Men” can watch the fourth season On Demand, beginning Monday, January 23, or set their DVR every Sunday morning at 6:00am ET/PT when AMC continues to air episodes from seasons one through four (in order) leading up to the season five premiere.

Created by Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Matthew Weiner and produced by Lionsgate, “Mad Men” made history last September as the first basic cable series ever to win the Emmy® for Outstanding Drama Series in four consecutive years. “Mad Men” stars Golden Globe® winner Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, Jared Harris and Kiernan Shipka.

SUNDAY, APRIL 1

AMC’s hit series “The Killing” returns for its second season with a two-hour premiere on Sunday, April 1 at 8pm ET/PT.  Following the premiere, on Sunday, April 8, “The Killing” is back to its regular timeslot at 9pm ET/PT.

For those looking to catch up on the series, all 13 episodes from the Emmy® nominated first season will be available On Demand beginning Monday, March 5.

Based on the Danish television series “Forbrydelson,” “The Killing” follows the police investigation of a young girl’s murder in Seattle and the hunt for her killer. Written and executive produced by Veena Sud, “The Killing” stars Mireille Enos, who garnered Emmy® and Golden Globe® Best Actress nominations for her portrayal of detective Sarah Linden, Joel Kinnaman, Billy Campbell, Michelle Forbes and Brent Sexton.

AMC ANNOUNCES Q1 & Q2 2012 PREMIERE DATES FOR NEW AND RETURNING ORIGINAL SERIES  

 

 “Mad Men” Season 5 Debuts with Two-Hour Premiere on Sunday, March 25

 

 “The Killing” Returns with Two-Hour Premiere on Sunday, April 1

 

Unscripted Series “Comic Book Men,” New Episodes of “The Walking Dead,” Along with Return of Live After Show “Talking Dead,”

Debut February 12

 

Pasadena, CA – January 14, 2012 – AMC announced today, from the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California, premiere dates for new and returning original series in Q1 and Q2 2012, including the critically acclaimed dramas “Mad Men,” “The Killing” and “The Walking Dead,” as well as its unscripted series “Talking Dead” and “Comic Book Men.”

Following are additional details on AMC’s early 2012 premieres:

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12

The critically acclaimed second season of “The Walking Dead” returns at 9pm ET/PT with the new episode, “Nebraska.” February 12 also marks the return of AMC’s live after show, “Talking Dead,” at midnight ET.

Also, for the first time, “The Walking Dead” fans can participate in a live, interactive experience online while watching new season two episodes on AMC.  “The Walking Dead” StorySync on amctv.com invites viewers to vote in polls, answer trivia questions and relive tense moments via video clips – all timed to coincide with the premiere broadcast of the series’ latest episode. Think Shane should have stayed away from the barn? Vote in StorySync’s “Judgment” poll and see if fellow fans agree. See a particularly gruesome walker kill? Rank it on the “Gore Gauge.” And, as always, a live “Watch & Chat” for each episode lets visitors join the ongoing commentary fueled by fellow rabid fans. (StorySync is optimized for both Internet browsers and tablet devices.)

“The Walking Dead” season two continues to deliver the strongest telecasts for any drama in basic cable history against Adults 18-49.  The series’ international premieres delivered equally impressive results in all major international TV markets, and broke pay-TV ratings’ records across the world. The series is led by a cast that includes Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs and Norman Reedus.

Immediately following “The Walking Dead” is the premiere of AMC’s newest unscripted series, “Comic Book Men,”at 10pm ET/PT.  Executive produced by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy), Charlie Corwin’s Original Media (“LA Ink,” “Storm Chasers”) and Elyse Seiden (Red State), the series (formerly titled “Secret Stash”) is set in Smith’s iconic comic shop Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, and captures the world of the neighborhood comic book store and fanboy culture. The season consists of 6 one-hour episodes.

SUNDAY, MARCH 25

As one of the most highly anticipated season premieres of the year, the Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning drama “Mad Men” is back with a two-hour season 5 premiere on Sunday, March 25 at 9pm ET/PT. Written by Matthew Weiner and directed by Jennifer Getzinger, the season premiere episode will also be available onamctv.com the Monday after air.

Following the premiere, on Sunday, April 1, “Mad Men” will return to its regular timeslot at 10pm ET/PT with an episode written by Erin Levy and Matthew Weiner and directed by Jon Hamm.

Fans looking to catch up on “Mad Men” can watch the fourth season On Demand, beginning Monday, January 23, or set their DVR every Sunday morning at 6:00am ET/PT when AMC continues to air episodes from seasons one through four (in order) leading up to the season five premiere.

Created by Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Matthew Weiner and produced by Lionsgate, “Mad Men” made history last September as the first basic cable series ever to win the Emmy® for Outstanding Drama Series in four consecutive years. “Mad Men” stars Golden Globe® winner Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, Jared Harris and Kiernan Shipka.

SUNDAY, APRIL 1

AMC’s hit series “The Killing” returns for its second season with a two-hour premiere on Sunday, April 1 at 8pm ET/PT.  Following the premiere, on Sunday, April 8, “The Killing” is back to its regular timeslot at 9pm ET/PT.

For those looking to catch up on the series, all 13 episodes from the Emmy® nominated first season will be available On Demand beginning Monday, March 5.

Based on the Danish television series “Forbrydelson,” “The Killing” follows the police investigation of a young girl’s murder in Seattle and the hunt for her killer. Written and executive produced by Veena Sud, “The Killing” stars Mireille Enos, who garnered Emmy® and Golden Globe® Best Actress nominations for her portrayal of detective Sarah Linden, Joel Kinnaman, Billy Campbell, Michelle Forbes and Brent Sexton.

Via Press Release:

AMC ANNOUNCES 16 EPISODE ORDER FOR

“THE Walking Dead” SEASON 3

 Second Season of the Global Hit Series Continues to Deliver More Adults 18-49

Than Any Other Basic Cable Drama in Television History

Pasadena, CA – January 14, 2012 – AMC announced today from the Television Critics Association (TCA) Press Tour in Pasadena, CA that the third season of “The Walking Dead” will consist of 16 episodes.  Previous season orders were for 13 episodes.  AMC’s international broadcast partner FOX International Channels (FIC) will follow the 16 episode order and structure a similar schedule worldwide. Season two of the critically acclaimed global hit series continues to deliver the strongest telecasts for any drama in basic cable history against Adults 18-49, as well as, top international pay-TV ratings on Fox International Channels’ (FIC) major markets. “The Walking Dead” is based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics.  Glen Mazzara serves as series’ showrunner and executive producer. Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert and Frank Darabont are executive producers with Greg Nicotero as co-executive producer.

“The Walking Dead” has received rave reviews from countless critics, both domestic and international, who heralded the series as “above all else, ‘The Walking Dead’ hasn’t lost the most important ingredient in its strangely successful recipe: it’s thrilling” (The Hollywood Reporter), “…with Dead’s riveting cast of characters, the personal dynamics are almost as potent as the gory thrills” (Us Weekly), “‘The Walking Dead’ is a feast.  Dig in.” (The Guardian, UK),   “It doesn’t even take three minutes to realize that this series is setting standards” (Der Tagesspiegel, Germany).

“The Walking Dead” secured a 2010 Golden Globe®nomination for Best Television Series – Drama and won the 2011 Emmy® Award for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup. The series tells the story of the months and years that follow after a zombie apocalypse. It follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, who travel in search of a safe and secure home.

About AMC

AMC reigns as the only cable network in history to ever win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row, as well as the Golden Globe® Award for Best Television Series – Drama for three consecutive years.  Whether commemorating favorite films from every genre and decade or creating acclaimed original programming, the AMC experience is an uncompromising celebration of great stories.  AMC’s original stories include “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead,” “The Killing” and “Hell On Wheels.”  AMC further demonstrates its commitment to the art of storytelling with its slate of unscripted original series, as well as curated movie franchises like AMC’s Can’t Get Enough and AMC’s Crazy About.  Available in more than 97 million homes (Source: Nielsen Media Research), AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv.  AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile.  AMC: Story Matters HereSM.

About FOX International Channels

FOX International Channels (FIC) is News Corporation’s international multi-media business. We develop, produce and distribute 300+ wholly- and majority-owned entertainment, factual, sports and movie channels across Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa, in 35 languages. These networks and their related mobile, non-linear and high-definition extensions, reach over 400 million subscribing households (1 billion cumulative) worldwide. We also operate a global online advertising unit, .FOX (pronounced “dot-fox”) specialized in online video and display, and four TV production houses. In operation since: August 14, 1993.

REVIEW: House of Lies (Showtime – Sunday, 10:00 p.m.)

Charming, fast talking Marty Kaan and his crack team of MBA-toting management consultants are playing America’s 1 percent for everything they’ve got. They put the con in consulting as they charm smug, unsuspecting corporate fat cats into closing huge deals, and spending a fortune for their services. Twisting the facts, spinning the numbers, and spouting just enough business school jargon to dazzle the clients, there’s no end to what this crew won’t do to and for each other, while laughing all the way to the bank. Starring Academy Award® Nominee Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell, nothing is sacred in HOUSE OF LIES, a hilarious, irreverent send-up of corporate America today. – Showtime

22 out of 100

It’s hard to explain exactly how we knew this show was going to be as bad as it was before it even started, but let’s just say that we had an idea based on the general snarkiness that oozed from the trailers that Showtime was pumping down our throats at the end of each episode of Dexter and Homeland.  And even though we knew it would be distasteful based on what we had seen, being distasteful in and of itself isn’t automatic disqualifer as far as television is concerned, especially for comedies.

We enjoy a lot of shows that would be considered distasteful.  F/X’s  Archer is probably one of the most distasteful shows on television and it also happens to be the most brilliant comedy on television.  As far as dramas are concerned, Starz’ Boss couldn’t be any more distasteful but we absolutely love it and of course there’s all of those reality shows that we sheepishly admit that even we enjoy (yes, Celebrity Wife Swap, we’re looking at you). This is what we like to call guilty pleasure programming; we know it’s terrible for us but it’s just soooooooo good. It’s kinda like eating an entire Whitman’s Sampler box in one sitting.

Therein lies the problem with House of Lies.  It’s not a guilty pleasure and we had a funny feeling that it wasn’t going to be because like all of the characters on the show, it just looked too slick for its own good.

Here’s the opening two minutes of the pilot:

An overhead shot of a naked Don Cheadle (Kaan) passed out on a naked Dawn Olivieri (Monica Talbot).  Kaan wakes up in a panic and immediately attempts to revive his “overnight guest” and nothing’s working which seems a little odd for the audience to say the least.  Then the voice-overs and the cutaways begin and Marty explains that naked woman who he is so desperately trying to revive is his prescription medication addicted ex-wife and he dresses her while she’s unconscious and props her in a chair with a laptop because… why?  Get ready for this: he wants his 10 year-old cross-dressing son to think she was doing work.  Charming, isn’t it?

Nope, it’s not and neither is Cheadle’s portrayal of Kaan, or any of the characters on this show or the show itself.  House of Lies is just another in a long line of shows with reprehensible characters behaving reprehensibly under the guise of being charming and clever.  There is nothing charming or clever about this show.

Again, we have no problem with nudity or other adult-audience oriented behavior on premium cable, but it becomes an issue when it’s used gratuitously as a crutch in an effort to hide the fact that the writing on a show is lacking and that’s exactly what’s going on here. House of Lies is using cheap gimmicks to try to hide the fact that it’s not just not a very good show.

HOUSE OF LIES, a hilarious, irreverent send-up of corporate America today.”

No, what House of Lies is is a big fat snooze-fest.  This show is supposed to be a comedy but not only did we not laugh once, it was the longest 35 minutes of TV watching we’ve ever endured.  It was so slow that it honestly felt like over an hour had passed at the 22-minute mark.

Seriously, this is a big fact stinker and we expected a lot more from Cheadle and Kristen Bell.

REVIEW: Skyline (Film – Universal, 2010)

Jarrod and his pregnant girlfriend Elaine travel to Los Angeles to meet his old friend and successful entrepreneur Terry, and his wife Candice. Terry gives a party in his apartment for Jarrod and offers a job position to him in LA. Terry’s assistant and lover Denise (Crystal Reed) and his friend Ray (Neil Hopkins) sleep on the couch in the living room, but in the dawn of the next morning, the group is awakened by mysterious beams of blue light. Ray stares at the light and is taken by the mysterious force. The group of friends try to escape from the alien invaders. – IMdB

Strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth. – Universal

20 out of 100

NOTE:  For the record, we have so little respect for this film, that we’re not even giving spoiler alerts in this review.  There are a couple of spoilers in here, but we’re not particularly worried about ruining anything for you because it’s kind of hard to ruin a film that ruins itself.

We not understand strange spirits projected on wall and concept of metaphor and allegory.

OK, to be completely honest, we fell asleep 15 minutes before the end of Skyline last night because it was all the same thing for the first hour and 15 minutes and it was getting repetitive. Even one of the characters made a point to say, “What does it matter?” Yes, indeed… what does it matter?  Seriously, the whole film was completely devoid of any real plot and to make it absolutely pointless, there was no character development whatsoever.  It was simply a series of running from aliens and getting “consumed” by aliens with every lame movie and Science Fiction cliché thrown in for good measure.  What was worse was that the directors/writers had to insult our intelligence at every turn by regularly spelling out the ridiculous clichés for us… as if we’ve been living in a hut in a tribal village in South America and have never seen a movie before and couldn’t possibly understand all of the subtle and not-so-subtle nuances.

You too can write in Hollywood.

Example: Elaine (Scottie Thompson… the poor man’s Olivia Wilde) is vomiting in the opening scene of the film right after the blue light wakes her up.  Then, we have a flashback to fifteen hours earlier when she is on a plane getting ready to disembark in L.A. when she’s nauseous, as well, and her boyfriend, Jarrod (Eric Balfour… the poor man’s Eric Balfour), comments on her apparent queasiness expressing concern and in obligatory fashion, direct from the Television/Film Writing Mad Libs, she dismisses his concern out-of-hand and everyone in the audience knows somethings’s up.

And how do we know something’s up?  Because, under normal circumstances when Sigourney Weaver isn’t involved and we don’t know about any parasites about to hatch and explode out of someone’s chest, people are generally nauseous in films for one of two reasons: they’re either drunk/hungover or they’re pregnant.

You didn’t have to go to film school to see where this was going.

Well, we didn’t know during the opening scene why she was throwing up (she could have been hungover, it could have been caused by the strange blue light… whatever) but we sure as Hell knew that she wasn’t drunk on the plane and there was no blue light and it was  pretty clear that within the five minutes between the time we see her throwing up in the present and when she’s expressing that she has nausea in the flashback that they want to make a point that her medical condition is significant to the plot.  So, we are left with only one possible explanation for her illness; that being that she’s pregnant.

Dr. Einstein, the correct term is actually, “Duuuuhhhhrrrrr!”

Despite the fact that they couldn’t have made it any clearer that Elaine was pregnant if they had used a chalkboard, an overhead projector and a PowerPoint presentation, what do these directors and writers do?  They hit you over the head with it immediately following the exchange between Elaine and Jarrod about her queasiness and include a wide-shot on the plane of the two of them and another passenger who has a baby and Jarrod is offering the mom assistance with her bag in the overhead compartment. Duhr! Thank you Captain Subtlety! And that’s how the directors/writers treat the audience throughout this entire film… like complete flippin’ idiots.

Like Lord Helmet said….

Oh, and for the record, perhaps the stupidest moment in this film regarding the pregnancy is when Candice (Brittany Daniel… the poor man’s Ali Larter) lights up a cigarette in the kitchen right after she watched her boyfriend/husband (the status of their relationship is never really explained.  Again, as noted, there was no character development so what do you want?) appear to get eaten whole by an alien that’s “mouth” looks like a big vagina.  Elaine has a fit about the cigarette smoke claiming she can’t be there because she’s pregnant.  This was the most puke-inducing scene of the whole film, which is pretty lame considering that this is basically a horror film.

So, let’s get this straight: the world has just ended, this nice young lady who you just met (and by the way, who’s swanky penthouse you’re a guest at) watched her significant other get consumed by a fifty-foot vagina alien, and you want to give her sh*t for lighting up in the one place that she can because you’re concerned about the effects of second-hand smoke on your two week-old fetus?  Somehow, we’re thinking that second-hand smoke would be the least of your concerns but more importantly, with all that’s just happened, poor Candice seriously can’t have a butt?

…Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

To make it worse, Candice actually snuffs out the cigarette!  She literally concedes to this idiotic line of thinking  over the second-hand smoke harming the fetus instead of just saying, “Listen, bitch:  this is my house, everyone in L.A. is dead, I just watched my man get killed and chances are that we’ll ALL be dead within the next eight hours.  Needless to say, I’m not particularly concerned over your misgivings about me lighting up.  If you don’t like it, there’s the door.  Have fun trying your luck with the blue light, vagina monsters on the roof.  Either way, blue light and vagina monsters notwithstanding, I’m having a g*ddamned cigarette. ”  But, again, this is how stupid the directors/writers think the audience is that they’ll just dismiss a scene like this that is in complete contradiction with human nature.

The heir to the ‘Tastic Kingdom c. 2076

This all being said, we decided to watch the last 15 minutes on my iPhone tonight while at  Cici’s Pizza when the kids were doing their damnedest to NOT win an Angry Birds plush toy from the Crane Game despite having it explained to them that that the Angry Birds were far too big for the claw even under the best circumstances.  Y’see, Princess ‘Tastic got lucky on her first attempt ever with a Crane Game a couple of years ago and now she’s like a 70 year-old at a penny video poker machine on Fremont Street with the g*ddamned things.  We’ve lost far more money in Crane Game attempts than that original Dragonball-Z vinyl action figure she initially won was ever worth.

Anyway, the last fifteen minutes are playing and the first thing that comes to mind is, “Can what’s happening in this film here at the end really be what seems to be happening?” As the credits roll, frustration settled in and this thought materialized “Aw sh*t… we’re going to have to go home and watch the whole flippin’ thing over again to make sure we’re getting this.”

Carl WInslow wondering what the f*ck he’s stumbled into… just like we did.

But, then a funny thing happened: the Black Saint, over at Horror News.net referred us to this piece he wrote, The Answer to Skyline’s Ending and it confirmed our worst fears; We were absolutely correct in what we thought happened at the end of this dopey film. What’s funnier is that Black Saint came to all of the same conclusions that we did, EVEN the Republicans vs. Democrats, Red vs. Blue metaphor that we thought of as a little joke and were giggling about because it was just so obvious that the directors/writers thought the audience would be too stupid to figure out who the characters were if they didn’t change the colors up.

Here’s the best part: Black Saint wrote that piece, admittedly, when he was “a little high.” We were stone sober and came to the same conclusions.

Nukes: They f*cking work.

One more note about the lunacy of this film: we’re sick and tired of SciFi films trying to convince us that’s there’s some kind of alien technology that a modern nuclear weapon won’t take out.  Sorry, but that’s just not happening, so enough of the defying of the laws of physics.  We’re not scientists, but if we recall our Astronomy 101 course, that’s how the sun works so we’re pretty damned sure that there isn’t even a possibility of a ship being able to  withstand a direct hit of a nuclear explosion.  The moment they launched the nukes and they hit their targets in this film the credits should have rolled like they did in Independence Day (and even that movie, which we love, subscribes to this same dopey nonsense that the aliens have a “super shield” impervious to nukes externally).  Skyline is by no means the first film guilty of this but they happen to be in our cross-hairs at this moment.

When good SciFi goes bad…

We have to say, the film in and of itself is one of the worst SciFi films we’ve ever seen, now that we know what we know. Seriously, the film was tolerable as a horror/SciFi flick until the last ten minutes but it honestly ended as stupidly as the last ten minutes of the infamous Star Trek: Voyager episode, Threshold. The only thing that was lacking as the icing on the cake was at the end, nobody turned into a giant salamander (but it certainly was g*ddamned close, wasn’t it?).

By the way, Threshold (for those who haven’t seen it) and Skyline have ZERO in common as far as story is concerned. We just always refer to Threshold as the benchmark for poorly-executed SciFi that just completely falls off the rails. Some people think it’s the worst Star Trek episode of all time. It’s not. It’s just a prime example of what happens when writers have a clever idea but have no f*cking clue as to how to wrap up a story. That’s Skyline in a nutshell; a great concept that fails miserably in execution and conclusion and we firmly believe that if you can’t wrap up the story effectively, don’t make the film or television episode.

Not for nothing, this is a beautiful film and we saw it on Netflix streaming in HD on the Mitsubishi 65″ 1080p DLP and not on Blu-ray on the Sammy LED. We imagine it kicks even more ass visually on a higher quality source and display. It really is a testament for what can be done technically on an extremely low-budget with decent CG and that’s the only reason it got the 20 points that it did.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Remastered On Blu-ray NEW SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISON VIDEO!

As the title suggests, below is the most recent video released to showcase the HD treatment for the upcoming release of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray.  This is a sample of a few scenes from the TNG pilot, Encounter at Farpoint, with side-by-side comparisons of the original SD versions and the remastered HD versions.  This episode, along with the episodes Sins of the Father and The Inner Light will be available on a three-episode Blu-ray sampler disc to be released on January 31st, called Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Next Level which can be pre-ordered on Amazon right now. As we’ve noted before, all seven season of the series will be released on Blu-ray with the first season due out later this year.

As far as this latest video is concerned, we are shocked with just how amazing this looks. In fact, there are parts of this that just look too good.  What caught our attention is… well… the dirt when the alien rises from the surface.  The shot is so clean that there’s no room for your brain to suspend your disbelief.  It literally looks like a bunch of dirt thrown down on a 10 foot by 10 foot diorama model on a soundstage as opposed to looking like a landscape of some exotic planet. This is more of an observation than anything else because in 1987 that level was detail was fine for an SD world where the ground looked fuzzy to begin with so it appeared to be as the model builders intended it.  Not so much today.

For more information on the upcoming Blu-ray release of TNG check out our piece, Star Trek: The Next Generation Remastered On Blu-ray in 2012. Press Release And Five Things You Should Know and the second trailer released, here.