Monday, November 29, 2010

"Strange Days with Bob Saget" Premiere Episode Review

In the Premiere episode of Strange Days with Bob Saget, we find Bob riding with the Iron Order motorcycle club. Sadly, Bob is not the obscene comedian he is famous for being. It would have been brave to have him speak candidly while amongst a comedian’s easy prey, but he is actually quite civil with his biker companions. It shouldn’t really be surprising that Saget can hold back and be family friendly. He has spent most of his career doing just that. But why have him host the show if he doesn’t offers something a little different.

However, you can tell that his lower instincts are bubbling at the surface and just waiting to explode when he encounters some hard to not make fun of people, possibly the Bigfoot hunters. The Iron Order MC aren’t exactly the Sons of Anarchy, so I’m disillusioned. Anyone who is ruined by TV would expect something seedier out of a MC. The club is self described as law abiding and more known for drinking parties, though the way the show depicted them in a generous manner. The show is pretty light, just like any reality series of this kind. There is really nothing negative that can be said about Strange Days with Bob Saget. It delivers what it promises, but there is still room for improvement.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holliday Gift Guide: Top 10 Complete TV Series For TV Nuts

TV Box Sets are great gifts for the TV buff, but why get one season when there is a whole series. It’s incomplete, and if they like the show they have to buy the other seasons and that’s more expensive, and kind of cruel. Why not go all out and get the entire series, if it is available and out there right now. With that spirit of giving in mind, here is a list of the top 10 complete series available to purchase right now. Why aggravate loved ones with only a part of a TV season?

1. Deadwood

Deadwood happens to be one the most insane series in history; it must be seen. It may win the prize for the most vulgar show ever made. Watch the main character Al Swerengen cuss at people in the most creative ways possible and see Timothy Olyphant play the character that was so good he essentially reprised it in Justified.

2. Rome

Cancelled before its time due to the insane cost of production, it has amazing sets and battles. It recounts the rise and fall of Caesar through the lives of two roman soldiers. There are only two seasons but they are some of the best television seasons to date. The storytelling is excellent and the characters are as charming and interesting as they come.

3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer

The un-debatable superior to all other Joss Whedon shows and that’s proven with its success, Buffy The Vampire Slayer enjoyed seven seasons filled with evil fighting, word play jokes and most importantly saving the world. It’s not an opinion that this series is well loved and is enduringly entertaining.

4. The Wire

You just can’t watch one season and not watch the rest. Sacrilege! As one of the most complex television series, it has lasting payoff that can only be gotten from watching the entire series, or maybe just the first three, but still. The series has such memorable and fleshed out characters that the actors who played them are practically now typecast forever. That means you Bubbles!

5. Lost

It’s a TV phenomenon, it is insanely satisfying to watch such a drawn out show all at once, and the box set comes with backgammon.

6. Freaks and Geeks

The dramedy about teen angst played out amongst a group of high school social outcasts. It is Judd Appatow’s television debut and has all the elements that have make his films popular today. Not to mention most of the stars as well.

7. Battlestar Galactica

A vast improvement on a 70’s sci-fi series, Battlestar Galactica produced in its 4 seasons produced stories which rivalled, if not surpassed non sci-fi series in storytelling and characters. And now you can watch this action packed series (but not really that actiony in the last season) in high quality surround sound many times, because it is a very re-watchable series.

8. Arrested Development

Being the funniest comedy to come out of network television in the last decade makes Arrested Development a great pick for any occasion. It had a short run with 3 seasons, but although the series was on the edge of cancellation for its entire run, it never ran out the clock and every episode was hilarious.

9. The Shield

Critically acclaimed but slightly forgotten in its later years, The Shield is a solid series that never lost it touch in the 7 seasons it aired. It is now the template for gritty police drama’s, although most still lack the quality of The Shield delivered. Michael Chicklis is neutered in No Ordinary family, but that was not the case in The Shield as Vick Mackey, the dirty cop and head of the police strike force in California.

10. 24

You could watch 8 days of the epically unkillable Jack Bauer as he kicks, shoots, stabs and tortures hundreds of terrorists and people he doesn’t like “for America’s sake”.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Reboot: Who is Whit Anderson?

News broke today that Warner Bros. is set to make a film reboot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A few names of producers were dropped but the big surprise was the choice of a little known actress named Whit Anderson, as the film’s screenplay writer. The photo used in most of these news articles announcing Anderson as the new Buffy script writer looks like it was pulled from a Dove Body Wash advertising campaign. Now, Anderson doesn’t have any writing credits to her name according to popular site, but she does have some acting credits.  “Through Walls” marks her first credit, a short film where she played a mysterious art dealer.  She also voiced the part of Jill, in the short “Saw Rebirth”, which is a motion comic set in the Saw universe. Her largest claim to fame was a part in “Yes Man” as a Yes Patron. I’m assuming a Yes Patron is one of the screaming extras that you could see in the crowed during one of the motivational speeches given during that film. But will hardcore fans say Yes to Whit’s take on the Buffyverse?    

The problem is Anderson’s writing chops are going to be compared to those of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode writers such as Jane Espenson, David Fury, Marti Noxon and of course, the creator of the whedonverse – Joss Whedon. Most people say, no Joss Whedon equals no Buffy. Not so. Over the seven seasons, the show had many writers, the best of which were just mentioned, without them Buffy and the Scooby Gang would not have meant as much as they do to people. These writers really knew how to tell the Buffy story. They wrote the words and they were damn good. Unless Anderson is some sort of savant who can simultaneously please all the diehard Buffy fans, while recreating the whole mythos of the story, this film is going to be another Buffy Movie. Everyone remembers Buffy the Vampire Slayer the movie right? The vampires had those crazy ears and they would float around then Ben Affleck gets beaten in basketball by one of them - good times now, but total crap then. Anderson has big some shoes to fill and she must be aware of the fact that critics and fans alike will be unforgiving if her version of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” ever hits theaters.     

Thursday, November 18, 2010

“The Event” Has Slowed to a Crawl

I Haven't Told You Everything [HD]The new fall TV lineup offered many choices for the avid viewer. For the nostalgic cop show lover there is “Hawaii Five-0” or if you are more of a sitcom person there is “Outsourced.” Then there is the “Lost” void, that rather large niche viewer base that required fodder for water cooler talk and has been left in the wind ever since Jack and the gang walked into the light.  One new show has obviously been vying for that empty spot and that is “The Event.”
Initially one of the highlights of the new season, “The Event” with its jarring, flash back riddled storytelling, that is seemingly unrightable to the viewer, but that is the hook. The unknown is what drew in the “Lost” audience among other things, primarily though it was the mystery. “The Event” has mixed that kind of unnecessarily opaque storyline seen in “Lost” with the action of the now retired “24” (not canceled, Jack Bauer can’t be canceled). Strange mysteries, aliens, wormholes and explosions “The Event’s” first episodes were very entertaining, but can they keep that pace?
 If “The Event” wants to survive for a second season it will have to maintain a few core elements.
·        Wormholes are a must. Most people don’t know what to make of them and unless you are a sci-fi aficionado or a fan of Stephen Hawking’s theories, wormholes are as good as magic and just as mysterious.
·        Keeping the aliens in the show lightly defined is key. If you give too much away people will not be as interested in them, remember the oddly quiet man smoking a cigarette in the fedora always draws the most attention from viewers.
·        Keep the action in every episode. There are multiple storylines that are active in the show and at least one of them needs to be action oriented during an episode. If all of the storylines are moving like molasses then you might as well have aired a rerun.   

“Bored to Death” Is the Most Charming Show on Television

Bored to Death: The Complete First SeasonThere are shows on TV that people watch because they have an attachment to them, either because they have been watching for years or because they have an affinity for a cast member. Sometimes it’s just one member of the cast that draws you in but it is rare to find a television series that has a cast that literally makes every episode a delight to watch. Ted Danson, Zach Galifianakis and Jason Schwartzman have a chemistry reserved for shows that have been on the air much longer than a season and a half.
The only draw back to “Bored to Death” is the simplicity of the story or case in each episode. Though the basic nature of the investigations allow the show not to get bogged down in details and lets the cast have the full stage, which in the end is what the show it about -- kinship.  The relationship between the Jonathan Ames and George Christopher’s characters are the heart of the show. Their relationship is along the same lines of Alan Shore and Deny Crane in “Boston Legal;” they are platonic friends with a very close relationship. It is charming to see the two of them play off of one another in scenes, both actors are well known in their own right, but you do get the sense while watching “Bored to Death” that these actors are enjoying themselves, the situations and the dialogue are so playful and amount to a quirky delight for the viewer.
Zach Galifianakis, what a name “it starts with a gal and ends with a kiss.” Enough said.      
Ted Danson’s character George Christopher is the stand out in the show, the decades of experiences on television shines though in every scene. Danson is older now, and the character of George Christopher, a magazine editor whose lust for women and marijuana has not declined with age, has fun with the baby boomer generation and the idea that you can relish and enjoy life even in your 60s.   
Many people say that Jason Schwartzman is an annoying actor; his mannerisms, voice and even his face. Nothing could be further from the truth, Schwartzman plays most of his characters very quirky and a little off putting but that’s what makes him perfect in his role as Jonathan Ames in “Bored to Death.” His character is a dreamer, who has of yet not found his place in the word and most everyone has been in a similar position. This really brings out that relatability of the character, and the same is true for all three main members of the cast. Even though the “Bored to Death” story is rather over the top the likability of the cast out shines any flaws in the storytelling.  

“Sons of Anarchy” Season 3 Not Yet as Good as Season 2

Sons of Anarchy: Season TwoIt’s hard to say that the “Sons of Anarchy’s” third season isn’t good, when it is, just not as good as season 2. For those of you who haven’t been following the show for the past two years, season 2 was epic. The town the Sons of Anarchy motorcycle club Charming, is set in has come under attack by a white hate group who used tactics that ranges from firebombing buildings to rape and even a fine cigar store in trying to take over the small California town. Season two of the “SOA” was the best thing on television while it aired and maybe even for that whole season in general.
The anticipation for season 3 of the show was certainly higher among the devoted fans and people looking to get in on this new show described by some as “Hamlet” with motorcycles.  “The Tragedy of Jax, Prince of Charming” played out at a relentless pace throughout the second season. Every character grew in depth and the way the show ended the overall story arc for that season was fantastic. So going into season 3 there were very high expectations, but it is hard to top an evil group of white supremacists with the extras from “Brave Heart.” And that is exactly where the third season took us to the “SOA’s” Dublin chapter, the hub for the club’s gun trafficking and the location of Jax’s kidnapped son Able.
Even though it was interesting to see the Sons put on their in country attire, which looks an awful lot like something you will be able to buy from the shows online store, the storyline lacked the gravity of season two. There were a number of secrets in season 2 that kept the intrigue alive. What is happening in season 3 seems to be more transparent to all of the characters on screen. But there is one thing that could turn the third season of the “Sons of Anarchy” around and make for a powerhouse of a season ender.
There is still one secret that could come out that will change the hugging, loving relationship Jax has with his mother Gemma and step father Clay, the president of the “SOA.” That is, what happened to John Teller, Jax’s father? It was always implied in earlier episodes that Clay had something to do with John Teller’s death and if it turns out that Clay was the one that killed John, Jax will kill Clay. He has too. If that is what this season was leading up to as a season finale then it will be hard to wait another year for season 4.        

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Strange Days with Bob Saget: Watch a Dirty Comedian Meet Easy Targets

You may know Bob Saget as the future voice of Ted Mosby on How I Met your Mother. To the older audience, he is the loving father from 90s sitcom Full House. And he is recognizable as a caricature of himself in his guest appearances on Entourage. To a much lesser extent, in the documentary film The Aristocrats, he is known as the man with the greatest, most vulgar Aristocrats joke ever. He has turned his sights away from traditional television and is now coming out with his new reality series Strange Days with Bob Saget, which premieres November 30th at 10PM on A&E. The series follows Saget as he immerses himself in the various subcultures of America. He joins fringe communities such as biker gangs, survivalist groups preparing for the end of the world, and Bigfoot hunters.

This formula for a reality series is already well used, perhaps overly used, but this just might be the genius idea that kick starts a revolution in reality television: crazy show, crazy people, crazy place, and crazier host. The most common incarnation of this type of reality series would be the BBC documentaries, which take an academic look at strange cultures with some dry wit mixed in. Their outlook, especially when it comes to American subcultures, seems synonymous with America in general. The real entertainment though is in the reactions of the host rather than his academic observations. Saget seems destined to perfect the role of reality host with his notoriously “salty” humour and character amping up what would have been a run of the mill series. If anyone has ever seen Saget being himself like he does in The Aristocrats, they know that he is much more interesting, much filthier than his TV characters let on. What better idea than to have a person who both personally and professionally is mockingly offensive, gets away with it, and have him enter a group that should be met with diplomacy, especially with those survivalists. Suffice it to say, this series sounds like a winning mix and something that is worth watching.

What is strange is how under advertised this series is. One would expect large amounts of information floating around, but it is actually difficult to find. Perhaps Bob Saget should find better promoters. Let’s blame laziness, the laziness of this show’s promoters.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Hasselhoffs Reality Series: Hoff-Vertising Gone Wrong

“The Hasselhoffs” is set to air on December 5th and if it’s as good as its advertising campaign then there is something to worry about. Previews have been released of the reality series featuring David Hasselhoff as he helps his daughters build their singing careers, which is a premise I personally dislike. Hasselhoff singing is not without its charm, but Hasselhoff becoming a real life guard or crime fighter would be pure entertainment. If the series happens to be a failure, let’s not blame Hasselhoff but rather the people in charge advertising, because the latest ads do a fantastic job at creating disinterest...unimaginatively. Like this one with Baby-Hoff. It’s strange, it doesn’t explain what the show is about, and it’s a bit confusing. The tagline is “Some People Are Born Awesome”, but he’s not born in the scene.

Then there’s this clip. It says I’m the high point of the season and not even that good.

Why couldn’t they give his show as much attention as another reality series that premiere the same time last year, such as Steven Seagal: Lawman? Maybe this is proof that Steven Seagal is more important Hasslehoff, if anyone gets into that argument. Seagal’s ads raised interest while Hasslhoff’s invoked confusion. In any case, based on what we have seen from “The Hasslhoffs” there is nothing that lures viewers to watch it.

Good job, ad men. Consider me disinterested.