carabele: (Animated Napoleon)
...why T.V. execs insist on taking a good premise that really has a limited shelf-life and try to make it into a continuing series instead of a limited-run series?

This question comes to mind because I recently watched the premieres of the two new shows BELIEVE and RESURRECTION. Now I have to admit both shows have intriguing premises and the couple of episodes I've watched thus far have been well worth the time. But still, I can't help but wonder how long before:

  • all the running from the bad guys on BELIEVE gets old?

  • the bad guys finally catch up with the telekinetic wunderkin and her "dad" on BELIEVE?

  • the bad guys really are shown to be no threat on BELIEVE because they are just too lame to catch wunderkin and dad despite numerous "close calls"?

  • it is figured out on RESURRECTION just who (or what) these returned dead folks truly are?

  • the confrontation with whatever the returned folks are on RESURRECTION comes to a head and writers have to try and invent a reason to continue the show beyond this logical end?



Both these shows would work best, in my opinion, as limited-run series of predetermined length. (And the length could be predetermined to be one or two T.V. seasons, or just 12 shows. As long as there would be an expected point where the writers know they can conclude a concept that is limited in scope). But as "unlimited continuing" shows, where execs really expect to get at least 100 episodes so to foster a syndication deal on reruns, they are very likely to stall and peter out in quality because beyond a certain logical point there is just nowhere to go.

It happened with LOST (let's be honest). It happened with FRINGE. It's happened with other shows that were far less commercially successful: like that one about the people who lost a certain amount of time from their lives when the world stopped. (Can't even remember the name of that one and it went on to have what is considered one of the worst finales ever in television history.)

Here's another example: the scifi series V. The original was one of the best mini-series of all time. Then they did follow-up mini-series to the original: bad but bearable cause at least they realized there was a limited set of circumstances to draw on and they would have to end when they came to that point. Then they tried a continuing series: it was patently awful and silly as well. Then they recently tried a "reboot" continuing series: again, it just had nowhere to go beyond a fixed point and stalled out big-time in viewer interest (because viewers knew there should be a logical end and yet there wouldn't be).

And then there is the counter-example of UNDER THE DOME, which was a mini-series the execs thought half-way through its initial run it would be cool to expand to a future continuing series. Seriously? It wound up with there being no ending to the original mini-series even though there was no more steam in the story. (It had actually gotten patently ridiculous.)

So what is wrong with taking these very intriguing concepts and just letting them be limited-run series, with a definite beginning and a real end? Why milk these concepts beyond what they can provide in the way of true entertainment value?
carabele: (Animated Napoleon)
Okay, so a new TV season is upon us and that means new episodes of our favorite running shows and entirely new ones on which to possibly become hooked. Yay! But after watching the season premieres and the second eps of a couple of my favs, and considering some new series, I'm in a pondering mood.

HOMELAND
Okay, the first two episodes of the season have been interesting, and I love Saul as the Director of the CIA. But I have to wonder where the hell this series is going. As far as I know this isn't a planned final season of the show, so what the heck are they going to do to somehow "redeem" Carrie? She's nuts as a fruitcake and constantly going off her meds. No way the CIA would ever take her back... again. Heck, in reality they wouldn't have taken her back the first time after learning she was secretly bi-polar. She's a powerkeg constantly exploding in their faces. They just can't retain her as a case operative.

And what exactly did Saul say in that Senate hearing regarding her that wasn't true? Heck, he's covered for her numerous times in the past. He was backed in a corner this time. Especially since she is off her meds... again. It really would be best for her to be out of the CIA entirely as she is obsessed with the job and it is in no way wise for a person with bi-polar disorder to get to focus on an individual obsession.

I am one of the people who think they should have killed off Brody last year. So now what with that character? He goes back to being a terrorist as he is back in his old haunts again?

What would be a great twist is if it turns out that Brody ACTUALLY DID plant that car bomb that blew up the CIA hq at Langley. I was never a fan of the Carrie/Brody romance and time for that to be put to bed permanently. But, like I said at the top, where the hell does this series go with the looneytunes Carrie even in that scenario?

I do like the character of Quinn. Maybe he can become the new focus of the series. [chuckle]

ONCE UPON A TIME
Neverland is intriguing to be sure, but I'm still not sold on a Peter Pan who is a more diabolical villain than even "The Dark One". An evil adolescent just doesn't say fear factor to me.

I usually have no problems with the unusual curves OUAT throws regarding our general perception of various fairytales. But the Peter Pan transformation to me is too large a stretch.

SLEEPY HOLLOW
I've already abandoned watching this show after the first 2 eps. All these critics calling it the "surprise sleeper" that will take the TV season by storm have me scratching my head. The concept is neat, but in translation to actual story, it suffers greatly.

We have a supposedly Revolutionary-era hero who in really short shrift is able to understand a cash register receipt, is comfortable riding in cars, and seems very accepting of modern amendities.

In one show we have him open back up a supposedly hidden series of tunnels between two buildings that existed during his era. Lo and behold, not much deterioration in these tunnels. No signs of cave-ins or previous excavations. And as well the exit point to the adjoining building is through a simple grate that opens with little protest after approximately 240 years! Plus no one ever thought to remove that grate or cement over it as a possible unwanted access-point?

Sorry, my suspension of belief just won't stretch that far!

ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND
It hasn't premiered yet (this Thursday, 10/10, is the premiere), but I am looking forward to this one. The trailers are intriguing.

Once again the OUAT creative team is reworking a fantasy classic, but this reworking really looks to have possibilities.

DRACULA
Again, a new series that hasn't yet premiered. (I think 10/24 is the premiere date.) And I know critics are already panning it. But it's Dracula, so I'll give it a try. [grin]




So what old favs have left you with questions this season? And what new shows have piqued your interest?
carabele: (Animated Napoleon)
Even though I watched all of Season 3 this year, I've never seen Season 1 and 2 of the series.

So this week is "Watchathon Week" on my Xfinity (Comcast) cable provider and I decided to take advantage of what was being offered to watch the past seasons of DOWNTON ABBEY (basically UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS -- a much better show imo by the way -- re-imagined).

I've gotten through the first 5 episodes of Season 1 and you know what struck me? How very useless these upstairs folks are! Man, do they do anything other than get dressed for dinner, have endless boring dinner parties, obsess about inheritances, and make snippy remarks about those "not of their class"?

I guess this didn't hit me so much in Season 3 because the series was basically going from one crisis to another: near financial ruin, tragic death of one major character and then of another. But oh boy, in Season 1, these folks really make me roll my eyes.

Mary is frankly nothing but the b-word. Edith is sad but so envious and spiteful. Sybil just honestly doesn't stand out. Cora is somewhat condescending. And the Dowager is really annoying with her nose-raised-so-high-she-probably-gets-constant-nosebleeds attitude. I do have to say the Earl is the one "upper-crust" character who comes off better in Season 1 than he did in Season 3. He has humanity in Season 1. In Season 3 he all but totally transformed into a snobbish prig.

Now the other characters I mentioned did soften and clarify a bit in Season 3. But while I was watching those Season 1 episodes all I could think again was: "Wow! what pointless fussbudgets!"
carabele: (Default)
...and think it has potential. Not sure if the series will actually pan out, but I watched the pilot and the second episode and found them entertaining. So I will give it at least a few more weeks of viewing to see if I really like it.

I did enjoy the original DALLAS for many years, up until that awful "it was only a dream" decision. Kind of lost my interest at that point and I only watched the show sporadically afterwards.

On another note, I find I'm really enjoying of all things, the new show on Family network, BUNHEADS. Maybe it because I've always had a fascination with ballet. Anyhow that one I will definitely continue watching.
carabele: (Default)
So PAN AM shows an episode yesterday that was distinctly out-of-order and that was distracting. I don't know how they expect to attract people to the series if they do that type of thing. In particular this episode, with its emphasis on Laura trying to decide about losing her virginity, was weird out-of-order as we already know she had a casual one-night stand with a G.I. and frankly she seemed much too relaxed about the whole thing in that scenario for that to have been her "first time". Myself I always assumed her first time was with the past fiance she jilted on their wedding day. [shrug]

In contrast last night's episode of ONCE UPON A TIME was superlative. The ingenious take on Beauty and the Beast with none other than Rumplestilskin/Mr. Gold as the Beast was truly wonderful. And the twist (SPOILER HERE), with "the Beast" in this case not wanting to become human once more because he so valued his power as something other than human yet still finding himself with true feelings for Belle, was unexpectedly heart-wrenching. Rumple/Gold seemingly has more... not likeable, as he is still definitely a villain... but rather more emotionally affecting qualities than the Evil Queen/Mayor. With this episode and the one about his son (and I suspect there is a tale to come about how he ultimately lost that son), he is a villain who is turning into someone "a shade of dark gray" rather than pure black. It makes it possible to understand why he so often demands a first-born child as payment for his services. I do so adore this show and its very dark take on the fairytale world!
carabele: (Default)
You knew it was coming. For any series set in 1960s America, an episode on the assassination of JFK is de rigueur. That moment changed so much about the country. Innocence lost.

So yesterday the ABC TV series PAN AM got to its portrayal of this moment in history. And I have to admit they used the moment well, letting it serve as the ultimate interrupter on a slew of personal stories for the characters that were kind of heading into "hot water" territory.

Since the announcement of JFK being shot being broadcast nationwide was the climax of the episode, we'll see how well the writers work with the aftermath in the next show (if there is a next show, as the series' return is still up-in-the-air).

I really hope PAN AM does return for another season. I do like the show, despite some of the rocky moments it's had. Funny thing is though Christina Ricci was signed as the "star", but her character is honestly the most uninteresting of the bunch: a sort of coffee-shop idealist with incongruous opportunistic qualities. I think, if the show does return, they need to make more sense of that character.
carabele: (Default)
After seeing a preview trailer during last week's TOP CHEF (the chefs had to cook a meal evidencing an "evil" theme for the actress playing the Evil Queen in the film, Charlize Theron), I have to admit to being very intrigued with seeing the movie when it's released this summer.

It really looks like a fine fantasy epic, very much in the style of the THE LORD OF RINGS trilogy of movies.

But you know I have to wonder how much of the original concept for this film was inspired/instigated by the dark fairytale world of the ABC TV series ONCE UPON A TIME (a series I truly adore).
carabele: (Default)
I find I am thoroughly enjoying this series! It's unique and extremely well written.

I don't know that there would be stories sufficient to take this beyond a single season as a TV series, but right now it is just so intriguing! The show has become one of my definite faves of the TV schedule.
carabele: (Default)
I have to admit I stuck through the full two hours, but didn't find much to recommend the show after all the initial hoopla in the media about it.

The visuals were extraordinary (in my mind more so the future dystopia vision than with the dinosaur stuff of the "new beginning"), but the story really plods. And some of it makes no sense.

More under the cut... )
carabele: (Default)
My, but the EMMY AWARDS show was abysmally boring last night. And much of it tasteless as well, with most of the not-only-politically-incorrect but virtually insulting jokes falling flat as pancakes.

That gal from GLEE (whose name I don't even know) was hopeless as emcee. Her jokes were in the main the height of tasteless, and her opening number was really clunky and clumsy and frankly stank.

The silly vocal bit with the Emmy-Tones -- I guess to give that 60s feel since the 60s are so in right now -- was really bad.

The presenters seemed clueless much of the time as they read the poor jokes off the teleprompter, and that beauty-pageant send-up done with the Lead Actress in a Comedy category was particularly a WTF??? moment.

The only thing halfway decent in the whole show was the In Memorium segment.

Geeze, you think people in television would know how to create an awards show that works as television!
carabele: (Default)
Though I find myself still very ambivalent about the proposed new MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. movie (gotten more optimistic on it lately, but still not sure exactly how I feel), I find myself very much looking forward to the new DARK SHADOWS movie.

This one isn't "possible-pie-in-the-sky" (which the new MFU still seems to be in a lot of respects), but is actually filming even as we speak and is due for release in May 2012.

I loved DS as a teen and I'm hoping this movie really is done right. I think Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins is a great casting coup. (He's certainly quirky enough for the part.) And this kind of movie is something right up director Tim Burton's alley.

We'll see what we get in the end, but I really want to see this one succeed.
carabele: (Default)
...I had DVR'd a couple of weeks ago and my sole reaction is WTF?

I hated the whole alternate universe storyline to begin with and now suddenly Peter built a bridge between the two universes but he somehow does not actually exist?

Excuse me while I find a barf bag.

And another "over the season break" cliffhanger. Gad! how I hate these things. I really wish more shows tied up their open storylines at the end of a season and took on different stories in a following season.

None of ideologiy in the finale works cause, if Peter never existed, Walter never went to the alternate universe to bring back the son from the other side after his son on this side died. Thus there would never have been a problem of disintegrating universes where "soft spots" developed because of that initial break in the barrier between them. So technically there is nothing anyone has to "fix". It's altready resolved because none of it ever really happened! Cue the Bobby Ewing dream sequence from DALLAS.

Geeze, FRINGE started out with soooooooooooooooooooooooo much better writing than this crap.
carabele: (Default)
Has anyone gotten a chance to take in the new series THE BORGIAS on SHO?

I got rid of the premium cable channels a few years ago since I watched them so seldom, but this show interests me a lot. I have had a fascination with Borgia history since I was thirteen and initially read a novel about the clan, which then lead to reading actual historical biographies. (Cesare Borgia was one intriguing guy!)

From the reviews I understand this series is quite good, but I don't know if I want to add SHO back to my cable subscription just for one show. (Especially since it will likely be available on DVD to rent from Netflix not too long down the road.)

Just soliciting opinions from folks here who may have actually viewed the show.
carabele: (Default)
I was hooked on FRINGE from it debut episode in 2008. It was different, well-paced, well-written and well-acted. I liked the idea of exploring the "fringe edges" of science. Not aliens or anything so humdrum, but the strange possibiltiies within human beings.

But then FRINGE became embroiled in its alternate universe vs. this universe plots and the series became much less intriguing. Sure, there was still plenty of good stuff, but somehow making the show an "us vs. them" rather than a true "us vs. strange us" caused it to lose steam.

Then came the nonsense with "The First People", a civilization of immense intelligence that existed "before the dinosaurs". Ho-hum. SciFi has gone there before. And then the whole silliness of -- for some reason completely unknown and therefore coming across as completely arbitrary to the viewer -- only the mind of Peter Bishop being able to connect with the devastating machine of those First People as a power source. [sigh] Like Abram's LOST, somehow I think FRINGE lost its way.

I continue to watch FRINGE because occasionally it still harkens back to its original concept and because the acting is excellent. The show is still different by the standards of most network television, but it's not as bright a beacon anymore.

Still, I think if this season proves to be FRINGE's last, I doubt I'll shed any tears or even utter an "Oh damn, I'll miss that" in disappointment. As long as everything they started gets wrapped up (cause I hate scattered pieces left all over the place when a show ends), I think it might be time for FRINGE to make its swan-song.
carabele: (Default)
...uses segment titles like the Act titles that were used in MFU.

They don't blast them front and center on the screen like MFU did, but rather use smaller type and have them to the vertical center/horizontal left of the screen when a new segment starts after a commerical break. Still though, it makes me very nostalgic.

I have enjoyed the 3 episodes of THE CAPE that have aired thus far. I find the show very intriguing, with its dark style and odd setup. We'll see if it keeps momentum...
carabele: (Default)
I have to admit I was impressed. And I had initially no intention of watching the show at all. I had been watching DATELINE and, since THE CAPE premiered right after that, I just decided "Hey, why not give it a look?"

I liked the whole concept of all the super-hero stuff really being learned as tricks from a circus troupe. I didn't exactly buy the way the hero used various poisons to set an immunity to them within his own body, but it was great drama for sure. And the major villain was snarky and slimey in a way that made your skin crawl. (Kudos to the cameraman doing those closeups with the uplighting that makes the villain's eyes look like reflective snake-eyes. When in his worse crazed baddie planning mode, the lighting is doing that to his eyes making him look so creepy. And then the guy moves to another position and the effect purposefully disappears as the villain returns to the guise of businessman. Man, is that technique effective!)

The show is dark and moody and quite violent. I will tune in again, though whether I will watch it on a regular basis, I'm still not sure. Violence tends to get to me anymore and I'm already hooked on FRINGE, which can rachet up the violence meter as well.

Just wondered what others thought of this new show.
carabele: (Default)
Today in one of the comments to a [livejournal.com profile] mfu_yumdaily post mention was made of the old TV western THE HIGH CHAPPAREL. I remember watching that show and liking it a lot. And that got me thinking about another TV western I watched during that same timeframe: THE BIG VALLEY.

Googling about on the internet about BV, I found out there is going to be a new movie version released next year!

It's already written and cast, so this isn't one of those nebulous things (I think it has already started filming as well), but man, the old TV shows really are showing up by the bushel basket on the big screen, huh?

I guess it's true what they say: What's old is new again.
carabele: (Default)

Anyone else intrigued by those trailers for the show?

Could turn out to be a dud (like FLASHFORWARD did), but I'm going to give it a couple of weeks trial and see if it appeals.

Oh and FRINGE returns this Thursday!  Now that is a show I really do enjoy.


carabele: (Default)
...and I have to admit I found the ending very disappointing. Not that it wasn't emotionally moving. Heck, the writers squeezed every poignant moment they could manage with the various couples reuniting all over the place.

But honestly not a single question was answered regarding the island. Okay, so maybe the show's creators wanted to leave it open to interpretation (not something I agree with much after six years of build-up), yet it really left a hollow feeling after the tears were spent from Jack's devastating death.

What the heck was this light and, even more to the point, why was it important? Why did people have to die to protect it? Who the heck was the crazy woman who raised Jacob and the Man in Black? Where did she come from? Why exactly did the Man in Black become a smoke monster? How did Jacob find these people to use as candidates? Did he just wander the earth looking for lonely people? What was the significance of the temple? Who the hell were the Others and where did they come from? Who the hell were the nut-jobs who occupied the temple?

Not a single one of these questions was even remotely answered. And yes I know the whole thing was really an allegory, but again it rang very hollow in conclusion.

The death of Jack was extremely touching, as was his final scene on the island with Kate, but again Jack never learned to stop sacrificing himself. He felt he had a purpose in the end, but that seemed rather empty in retrospect. Who was he saving from what exactly? And Locke in the sideways timeline piece saying "I hope someday someone can do for you what you did for me" after Jack the surgeon had restored his ability to walk (and on the island had killed the smoke monster that had absconded with his physical form) really ended up being unbearably sad since that never happened for Jack. In the end he was in some entry to heaven or nirvana or whatever with all the people from the island, but he was long dead, and he died alone (well, accept for the dog who laid down beside him to keep him final company).

And who... or what... was Desmond supposed to be in the sideways timeline? Someone like Death in DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY? And why could he survive the light and supposedly no one else could? (Though technically Jack did, as it really seemed the stab wound to the gut he got courtesy of pseudo-Locke that finally did him in.) Again, no answers. Desmond just gathered people together for that heavenly send-off. Very unsatisfying.

So to summarize: dozens of people died to no purpose other than to satisfy the whim of a nutty guardian on an island that had no real meaning. Somehow I expected a better explanation.
carabele: (Default)
You know watching LOST this season has been a real disappointment.  I'm hanging in til the grande finale cause I've watched the show all these years, so I might as well see the end.  But when it changed from being a possibly reasonable mystery (I liked the whole nuclear bomb under the isle theory) to the now good vs. evil strictly out-there supernatural stuff, the show lost a lot of its credibility with me.

This week's episode was the kicker.  I mean so a completely bonkers woman killed off another pregnant woman after she gave birth to twin boys.  She then kept the boys as her own because she wanted one of them to "guard the light" of the island.  And she constantly lied to both boys: the supposedly "good" twin believed her always and the supposedly "bad" twin did not; yet honestly the "good" twin wound up being rather close-minded and almost as nuts as his adoptive mother.

Let's say I'm less than impressed with this scenario and even less impressed with Jacob (the supposedly "good" twin) after these revelations.  The woman was a complete box of crackers and only the "evil" twin got it.  My response is bully for Mr. Evil man-in-black, and as for Jacob, kid you should have gone and gotten yourself a real life while you still had a chance to do so.

Ah well.  We'll see what's in store in the grande finale, but frankly I'm not too hopeful the ending of this series will be all that satisfying.  I suspect it will end with Jack left to "guard the light" on the stupid island and everyone else wandering back to their real lives, whatever version of those lives (since they have given us two different versions for everyone) the writers decide they like best.

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