While ABC’s the forgotten [Tuesdays, 10/9C] is definitely a procedural, it’s not a glossy police show with all kinds of cool tools and the crème de la crème of forensics talent. Instead, it’s about a group of part-time volunteers who take on John and Jane Doe cases after the talented guys with the cool toys and decent budgets have given up.
Over the course of its first season, Warehouse 13 [Tuesday, Syfy, 9/8C] has become Syfy’s most watched series ever and it’s easy to see why. The oil and water personalities of Agents Pete Lattimer [Eddie McClintock] and Myka Bering [Joanne Kelly] and Warehouse 13 Supervisor/Curator/Cataloguer Artie Nielsen [Saul Rubinek] and kid computer wizard Claudia Donovan [Allison Scagliotti] produces a high ratio of clever banter per episode and allow for a sufficiently diverse group of personality types that pretty every viewer can identify with [or wish they were] one of the four. Add intriguing magical and/pr scientific artifacts that do weird and crazy stuff – and which must, therefore, be removed from easy access and/or nullified, and you have a premise that can go almost anywhere.
To that already intriguing mix, add a carefully built backstory that includes aura-reading Leena [Genelle Williams], the mysterious and dangerous Mrs. Frederic [CCH Pounder], and the ruthless former Warehouse agent, James MacPherson [Roger Rees] and you have the potential for an explosive first-season finale.
The fifth season premiere of Bones [Fox, Thursdays, 8/7C] finds things a bit off kilter for Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan [Emily Deschanel] and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth [David Boreanaz]. It’s six weeks since Booth has come out of his coma [see season four’s finale, The End in the Beginning] and he’s pretty certain he loves Bones – but then, he’s forgotten that he rebels against authority in subtle ways like wearing goofy socks and loud ties. Meanwhile, Bones has been introduced to professed psychic, Avalon Harmonia [Cyndi Lauper], who tells her that many bodies lie beneath a certain fountain.
Sometimes, when you watch a show you loved years ago, you wonder why you loved it so much in the first place. Wiseguy is not one of those shows.
The Stephen J. Cannell series revolved around Vincenzo Terranova [Ken Wahl], an undercover member of the Organized Crime Bureau. Terranova had just come out of eighteen-months of jail time and leveraged his way into a position as a right-hand man to mob boss Sonny Steelgrave [Ray Sharkey]. This, ten years before Donnie Brasco…
Like most of Cannell’s productions, Wiseguy was notable for its solid, frequently brilliant writing and compelling performances. Unlike the majority of Cannell productions, Wiseguy was consistently grittier and nastier than anything else that aired at the time. Whether Vince and Sonny were bare-knuckle boxing [The Pilot], or facing down the attempts of Pat “The Cat” Patrice, the action was harsh, the relationships being juggled were unequalled, and the feel was very real. Even the accountants had attitude!
Another first [or near first] had Vinnie ordered into group therapy because of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome in an ep called Last Rites For Lucci – and ep that showed both the positive ways therapy can help and what can happen if someone refuses to admit he’s got a problem.
The first season of Wiseguy also featured an arc with Vinnie working on a guy named Mel Profit [Kevin Spacey] who was an entirely different species of silky but crazy evil.
Important regular/recurring cast members included Terranova’s boss/handler, Frank McPike [Jonathan Banks]; “Lifeguard” [Jim Byrnes], his phone/emergency contact, and Carlotta Terranova [Elsa Raven], his mother.
The first season of Wiseguy has been out of circulation for awhile, but thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment, it’s back in a very affordable package. Because Mill Creek has picked up the rights to the series for a decent price, in combination with a very basic package [unique box which contains the four DVDs in black paper envelopes with cellophane on the title side of the discs], they can offer the series for a quarter of what it might cost. The picture and sound are very good, suggesting that Mill Creek had access the show’s masters.
There are no bonus features.
Final Grade: A
In the late fifties [1955-60], there was a fair bit of swashbuckling on TV – Zorro, Elfego Baca, The Scarecrow [all courtesy of Walt Disney] and more. Of the lot, none was more popular than the British import, The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Richard Greene [who bore a passing resemblance to Errol Flynn] as Robin and sporting a theme song that was so universally known that Monty Python poked fun at it [along with the whole Robin Hood thing].
The premise was simple: a bunch of kids who play Dungeons & Dragons suddenly find themselves in a world where the roles they’ve played become real – and they gain the abilities of those characters for real.
One of the great things about Mill Creek Entertainment [besides their commitment to make available inexpensive volumes of cult TV shows] is that they also collect and release B-movies… lots and lots of B-movies.
GoreHouse Greats is their latest such collection of horror movies. To review all twelve titles would kill a bit too much bandwidth, so, following the jump, there’s a look at a few of the titles with assessments of the set’s overall quality.
Sanctuary is a science fiction show that postulates that the creatures of legend, myth and nightmare really exist – that “here be monsters” is not hyperbole. It’s an ambitious series, technically, being shot with the RED camera [the current top of the line digital camera] against a great deal of green screen – in the manner of Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City – though not in black & white.
The series follows Dr. Helen Magnus [Amanda Tapping], her daughter, Ashley [Emilie Ullerup]and forensic psychologist Will Zimmerman [Robin Dunne] as they seek out and help – or imprison [depending on their nature] – abnormals. Abnormals are evolutionary splits from humanity and come in a wide range of types, from mermaids and vampires, to shapeshifters and Bigfoot [Dr. Magnus’ butler, and also played by Heyerdahl…].
The usually consistently very good Grey’s Anatomy suffered a major dip in quality in season five because of two poorly thought character arcs – one that went on far too long, and one that was truncated for no really good reason – and a conspicuous by his absence arc for another character.
Maybe it’s because DC Comics has shown sporadic, but not integrated success at developing its properties for film and television; maybe it’s because too many DC projects have been developed without benefit of a single universe, a la Marvel’s interlocked slate of upcoming films.
Whatever the case, Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc. Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, and Alan Horn, President & COO, Warner Bros. today announced the creation of DC Entertainment – a company that will “fully realize the power and value of the DC Comics brand across all media and platforms.” The company will be headed by Diane Nelson, whose previous work includes shepherding some of the biggest film franchises, including the Harry Potter brand, “The Matrix Reloaded,” “The Matrix Revolutions,” “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” “Happy Feet,” “Polar Express” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” among others. Nelson will report to Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, in order to best capitalize on DC Entertainment’s theatrical development and production activities and their importance to drive its overall business with each of the divisions of Warner Bros.
Destination: Truth [Syfy, Wednesday, 10 p.m.] returns for its third season and host Josh Gates, host/explorer/photographer and all round genial nice guy agreed to talk about the show’s premiere – and much, much more – with a number of journalists/bloggers from a unique cross-section of web sites ranging from travel writers to sci-fi bloggers. It turns out that, like his series, Gates is unique – and extremely personable.
Participants included: Ken Gold [Media Blvd], Steve Eramo [Sci Fi TV Talk], Monica Gorsky [Flash News], Jenna Bush [SciFi Wire], Trisha Miller [Travel Writers Exchange], Josh Bozeman [thebluesite.com], Kristen Allen [Singularity – Josh Gates fan site], Aaron Sagers [Tribune], and me.