Godzilla didn’t manage to hold my attention for a reason I can’t quite place. i was a little put off that Bryan Cranston wasn’t in it for very long, and Kick-Ass/Quicksilver was sort of the real main character. And Elizabeth Olsen was just the wife, she didn’t really do anything but sit at home and worry about her husband. The non-monster portions of the story were just so fucking boring, that I missed the climactic monster fight. I got a little distracted, and when I looked back, everyone was like “well, thank god that’s over,” and then the credits rolled. I didn’t feel any urge to rewind and watch the big fight either.
Technically American Dad started on Sunday, but that was it for a whole week, so I’m calling Sunday the 21st the actual start of the TV season.
As a result, time to figure out what I’m watching.
It looks like I’m becoming a little bit more discriminating. Or TV has gotten worse. Or possibly it’s just weirdly spread out? I didn’t use a third row much, and the ones I did use were pretty sparse.
High Moon was a 2 hour pilot for a SyFy series that they didn’t pick up, but decided to air it anyway as a movie. It’s based on a novel, The Lotus Caves, from 1969, so the bad guys are the Russians, not the Chinese (oddly, the Chinese aren’t even mentioned, the factions on the moon appear to be the US, Japan, Russia, India, a Mexico/Brazil alliance, and some sort of corporation).
I’m disappointed it wasn’t picked up. It would have been at home with shows like Eureka and Warehouse 13. The dialog is campy but oddly charming, it’s a mix of wacky scifi and poltical intrigue in a way that worked quite well. It wasn’t great or anything, but a big step above the last few Syfy original series.
Z Nation stars Harold Perrineau, Tom Everett Scott, DJ Qualls, and a bunch of nobodies in SyFy’s new post-zombie apocalypse series. They kind of lost me with the opening newscast voiceover, “The President is dead. This is an extinction scale event. Do not panic… National governments have fallen. There is no cure.” If you don’t want them to panic, you probably shouldn’t have told them… everything else in that message.
The whole thing has the feel of a SyFy original movie, to be honest. A few actors recognizable as “that guy from that thing,” a low budget despite a concept that requires a lot of special effects, and crappy dialog. Not recommended.
For whatever reason, I didn’t watch The Stand miniseries 20 years ago. Maybe I had something going on? I dunno. It seems like the kind of thing I would have watched. But anyway, I saw it on Netflix so I thought why not. My first impression was that it featured an amazing line-up of C-list actors. Molly Ringwald, Corin Nemec, Kelso from Scrubs, the dad from Alf, Ossie Davis, captain eyepatch from Criminal Intent (but with like Fabio hair, it’s hilarious), Laura San Giacomo, Miguel Ferrer, Matt Frewer, that Joe Bob Briggs guy, Dauber from Coach, Principal DeWitt, Ray Walston, Shawnee Smith, Stephen King who can’t really act, Sam Raimi who also can’t really act, John Landis who also can’t act, and for some reason Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Actual famous people Gary Sinise, Rob Lowe, Ed Harris, and Kathy Bates are also in it, the latter two just barely. Most everyone unless otherwise mentioned is pretty good, except Molly Ringwald, who is pretty atrocious. Well Dauber isn’t too great either, but he’s playing a mentally challenged guy and that’s an acting challenge.
The dated music is a little tough to get used to. It’s like… electric blues guitar solo over ethereal synth. I can’t imagine that was ever cool. Or soprano sax over soothing piano, which sounds like the soundtrack to a 90s soft core porn movie.
I like the whole post-apocalyptic thing, and I was really enjoying the disease outbreak at the beginning, but they sped right past the survival aspect of things in a hurry. It took to the end of part 1 for the disease to kill most everyone, and by the beginning of part 3, they had basically re-established a functioning society with government and electricity and a hospital. Also, unsurprisingly I guess, as the religious stuff started to dominate the story, I lost interest. The captain from L&O:CI but with the Fabio hair plays the devil, or maybe a demon, and this old woman in the most blatant Magical Negro thing ever is an angel or a prophet or something. I was halfway through before it started to lose me, so I figured I’d just finish it. And the climax is really lame, a literal deus ex machina, where the machine in this case is the finest computer a limited budget could buy in 1994. Then they decide to end it with a montage of the dead characters, like the Oscars “in memoriam” thing. Really hokey.
I do finally get the “M-O-O-N, that spells [something that's not 'moon']” references I heard people make a couple decades ago. So there’s that.
I had to stop watching The Guild after about 15 minutes because it was too uncomfortable. The premise, at least early on, is that Felicia Day is an MMORPG addict who’s practically a shut-in. One day, this dude from her guild just shows up on her doorstep. She had not flirted with him, told him her real name or where she lived, or anything, he just stalked the shit out of her to find out where she lives.
From the tone and everything else, they were trying to make me accept this as a wacky sitcom premise, but instead I was practically yelling at the screen for her to call the police or flee in terror or forcibly throw him out of her home. Like, that seems like a thing that probably happens in real life. And probably the best case scenario is that it ends with a restraining order.
The character of the dude who showed up needed to be established first, like we needed to see him as harmless and dumb. Again, given the tone, I assume that would happen eventually. But as it was, I was sure he would end up raping and/or murdering her, because he has like every trait of a socially maladjusted dude who would flip out when the woman he’s obsessing over rejects him, but she was like “oh dear, now this guy is sleeping on my couch, what a predicament!” Nobody else seems to think it’s a big deal either.
I’d seen bits and pieces of Moral Orel when it originally aired, and wasn’t too impressed. It seemed very formulaic: adults try to give Orel a religious message, he takes it literally and then does something horrible, then his father beats him. But I’d heard people speak incredibly highly of it, comparing it to the really dark turn that Bojack Horseman took, and the people behind it (Dino “Starburns from Community” Stamatopoulos, and Scott “Pete from 30 Rock” Adsit) are usually pretty good, so I thought I’d give it a more earnest shot. Conveniently, it’s on Adult Swim’s website (the special, even though it’s listed first, goes last).
The first 7 or 8 episodes are sticking with the formula, like a poor man’s South Park dedicated specifically to satirizing religious fundamentalism (and, to a lesser extent, the 50’s sitcom ideal that some Americans strive for). The end of the first season did deal with some larger stuff, which set up the second season that gets more and more into Orel’s family and the town and actual plot and character development. The second season finale and the third season are unbelievably dark. Everything is awful and everyone is miserable and it’s kind of amazing. Possibly the most depressing show I’ve ever seen, which for some reason I consider an endorsement.
Forever is ABC’s upcoming drama where Ioan Gruffudd (the first Reed Richards) is an immortal guy who becomes a New York Medical Examiner, in the bullshit hopes that in studying death he can learn why he doesn’t die. The pilot is on the Hulu Plus, which I don’t have, but I watched it anyway because I’m a terrible person (and I like to catch pilots early while there’s nothing on, rather than when these things actually start and there are 8 shows on every night).
It uses the really tired “not being able to die is a curse” cliche, and I get that there would be huge problems with it, but I wish these immortality things would more often look at the cool parts. Compound interest meaning you’re almost certainly fabulously wealthy, tons of experience with all sorts of stuff, crap like that. Or the practical problems, how do you get a birth certificate or whatever to work at the M.E.’s office? Did he go to college recently with his current identity, or did he fake that too?
His deal is that when he dies of something, he just magically reappears, naked, somewhere in water. Alana de la Garza (Rubirosa from L&O) is a cop who is investigating his most recent death, where a bunch of other people died. Judd Hirsch is his only friend, the one guy who knows he’s immortal. I think it’s supposed to be really sad because Hirsch is super old. His assistant at the ME’s office is that one really morbid squintern from Bones, who is going to get type cast as assistant-to-someone-who-examines-murder-victims.
He’s got Sherlock Holmes observational powers, because virtually all police procedurals has to have one of those people. And he’s kind of a dick about it, because virtually all network dramas have to have an asshole too. I’m wondering if they didn’t borrow a set from Castle, because they had one shot in de la Garza’s precinct, and it looked just like the precinct where Beckett works.
Anyway, it’s nothing special, but actually decent enough to watch. So unless I acquire a life sometime between now and September 22nd, I’ll probably be watching this.
Amazon has a new bunch of pilots that I will probably forget about should they ever go to series (I think I watched some of that Garry Trudeau/John Goodman one about congressmen sharing a house?). Only two seemed reasonably interesting this time.
Really is written/directed/starring Jay Chandrasekhar from Broken Lizard as some guy married to Sarah Chalke with a couple of kids. And they have adult problems that I’m not really grown up enough to give a shit about.
Hand of God stars Ron Perlman’s a judge and Dana Delany’s his wife. Apparently their daughter in law Alona Tal was raped while their son was made to watch, and then the son tried to kill himself, but is now in a coma, possibly brain dead. I find it weird, because upon seeing them together, I thought Alona Tal should be playing Dana Delany’s daughter, because there is a resemblance there. But they’re not related, so maybe the son had some kind of Oedipal thing going on. Perlman’s character is losing his mind, hearing voices from his comatose son, hallucinating, and suddenly becoming super religious. Didn’t hold my interest long enough to even finish it.
Intruders is a new BBC America series that for some reason I had it in my had was X-Files-ish from the half a commercial I’d seen about it. Mostly I just saw John Simm, the guy from the original Life on Mars, and Mira Sorvino and thought I liked both of them so I’d give it a shot. Turns out it’s a vaguely horror-ish series about people who I guess are murdered or something on their birthdays, it sounds like because they’ll turn evil or something if the guy doesn’t kill them? Not really my kind of thing. I find it weird that they hired John Simm but make him play an American, so he has to adopt a somewhat shaky accent.
During this they had a commercial for BBCA’s post-Doctor Who talk show, which is hosted by Chris Hardwick. It would suck to be anyone else who wanted to host a talk show about a TV show that airs after that TV show, because he has completely monopolized that format. Also, they called it “After Who,” which I think was a missed opportunity for “Talk-tor Who.”