Category Archives: Television

TELEVISION: Cha$e – The Sci-Fi Channel Brings Video Games to Life!

With Cha$e [Tuesdays, 10/9C], The Sci Fi Channel adapts a highly successful Japanese game show format for American audiences. The rules are simple enough: ten runners must avoid capture by five hunters on a specified game zone for one hour – while finding devices to help avoid, misdirect or otherwise thwart the runners. Even the map of the zone is acquired through a test. Host Trey Farley explains the rules and gives the runners updates on various challenges – and the surprising nature of the fifth hunter – before eventually revealing the mystery exit point. Although runners must work together at times, only one can win – the prize is twenty-five thousand dollars.

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There will be CG effects touches to make the show more closely emulate the feel of a video game. There are graphics that show the locations of the runners and the hunters; the hunters will be CG-enhanced figures [instead of just the already creepy men in black with designer sunglasses that appear on the screener]. Runners are shown in electronic “cards” each of which flashes their basic stats, and the equivalent of power gauging bars appear on the bottom third of the screen to show what devices the various runners have/have used/have failed to obtain. The actual gameplay is not especially exciting, though I expect that when all the CG effects are laid in, that will be an improvement.

What is interesting, though, is the way the runners think before, during and after gameplay. One losing runner says, “I thought I wouldn’t care, but I do” – another is quite expressly angry about having failed. Others are more philosophical.

In fairness, I should probably point out that – while Cha$e is based on the aforementioned successful Japanese game show format – the game should really carry an “inspired by” credit for the late Robert Sheckley, whose short story, The Seventh Victim, was adapted into the hit movie, The 10th Victim. With the exception that Sheckley’s hunters and hunted were a stand-in for large scale war – and the principles of his much more violent game [including being televised] are pretty much present here. Sheckley was right, too. The game makes for intriguing – if not brilliant – television.

Final Grade: B-

Television: SUPERNATURAL "I Know What You Did Last Summer" Teaser Clips

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The hit CW Network/Warner Bros. series Supernatural, which stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as Sam and Dean Winchester: two monster hunting, demon fighting brothers – seems to be really hitting its stride in it’s fourth season with this week’s episode, Wishful Thinking, getting 3.73 overnight rating.

Next week, Supernatural heads into ‘Sweeps Weeks’ with one of two highly anticipated episodes of the fourth season. In this first episode, a tip from Ruby (guest star Genevieve Cortese) sends Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) on the trail of Anna (guest star Julie McNiven – “Mad Men”), a mysterious young woman who is being hunted by both demons and angels.  Fans will also learn the long-awaited answer to the question of what happened to Sam (Jared Padalecki) during the four long months following his brother Dean’s (Jensen Ackles) death.  Additional guest stars include Misha Collins as ‘Castiel,’ Robert Wisdom as ‘Uriel’ and Mark Rolston as ‘Alastair.”  “I Know What You Did Last Summer” was written by Sera Gamble and directed by Charles Beeson.

Check out the two teaser clips provided for us by Warner Bros/The CW Network and then check out Supernatural next week on the CW at 9PM EST.

Television:R2-D2 Takes Center Stage in All-New Episode of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS

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In “Downfall of a Droid,” an all-new episode of the hit animated series STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, premiering at 9 p.m. ET/PT Friday, Nov. 7, on Cartoon Network, R2-D2 is lost during a fierce space battle and Anakin must find him before the Separatists discover the Jedi military secrets locked in the droid’s memory banks.

Directed by Rob Coleman and written by George Krstic, “Downfall of a Droid” is the first episode to feature the beloved astromech droid who has been with the Star Wars Franchise since the very beginning, first appearing the 1977 release of Star Wars: A New Hope. Krstic, the creator of Cartoon Network’s “Megas XLR,” says that R2-D2 is his favorite STAR WARS character.

“Artoo is very childlike and inquisitive, there’s no subterfuge to Artoo,” Krstic says. “He’s got loyalty and bravery and, while he doesn’t speak English, I think everyone understands what he’s saying. The wonderful sound design work and the incredible characterizations for Artoo have made it so that it doesn’t matter what language you speak, or where you’re from — you can relate to Artoo and what he’s about.”

A native of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and current resident of Los Angeles, George Krstic has written three episodes for STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS and says his ultimate “nerd moment” came when he discovered there would be merchandising on some of the characters he’s worked on for the series.

“A few of the characters I wrote for on the series are being made into action figures and, as a fan, that’s pretty much the pinnacle of my career,” Krstic said with a laugh. “I can die happy now because it’s not going to get better.”

Dave Filoni is the supervising director of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS. George Lucas is executive producer and creator of the series, and Catherine Winder is producer.

Trademark information for Star Wars: The Clone Wars images:
TM & © 2008 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.

Television: Supernatural Behind the Scenes- Todd Stashwick Talks Episode 4.05 Monster Movie

On Thursday October 30th at 9PM EST the hit Warner Bros/CW Network series Supernatural will air it’s Halloween episode, titled ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester’. As the Winchester’s say, every day is Halloween for them when it comes to dealing with all manner of beasties, demons, ghouls and witches. Plus this season there is even an angel or two thrown in for good measure. Those Winchester boys sure have their work cut out for them! 

In this spooktacular frightfest, which was written by Julie Siege and directed by Charles Beeson, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles): the two monster hunting, demon fighting brothers will be facing off against every type of horrific creature they have every encountered as they investigate some strange Halloween-related deaths that are taking place in a town during the days leading up to the holiday itself. As they begin to solve the mystery, they also learn the real origins of Halloween and find themselves trying to save the entire town itself from a surprising pair of would-be assassins. The episode also guest stars Misha Collins (“24”) as ‘Castiel’ and introduces Robert Wisdom (“The Wire”) as ‘Uriel.’

Continue reading Television: Supernatural Behind the Scenes- Todd Stashwick Talks Episode 4.05 Monster Movie

TELEVISION: The Ghost Hunters do it Live, this Halloween!

As Bill O’Reilly would say, “We’ll do it live, we’ll do it live!” My boys Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, Sci-Fi’s The Ghost Hunters, will actually be in my neck of the woods this weekend doing a live 7 Hour Halloween Hunt at the historical Fort Delaware. This special event will be hosted by Destination Truth’s Josh Gates & Steve Valentine with special guest hunter Amanda Tapping. I’m not quite sure what’s going on with this, Sci-Fi is promoting this as a live event, but I’m pretty sure it’s being taped Wed night (tonight). Because they aren’t letting press attend – not even little ol me.  I was invited to lunch, unfortunately my day job keeps me from going. Either way, I love the Ghost Hunters, the show and the guys, after going on a hunt with them and Amanda a few weeks ago, I’m a believer in all ghostly things. Even ghost farts.

Who knew that I lived an hour and half away from one of the most haunted places in the country  Fort Delaware, commonly referred to as the “Black Hole,” Fort Delaware was used during the Civil War as a POW camp that housed over 33,000 Confederate soldiers. Ravaged by epidemics and torture nearly 2,400 failed to escape and died on the island. The restless spirits have never left.  Join the exclusive seven-hour hunt from home with access to thermal imaging camera feeds and live Q&A with TAPS team members and host Josh Gates. Watch carefully for anything out of the ordinary — you’ll be able to send instant alerts of any sightings you make straight to the Ghost Hunters!  Brace yourself this Halloween when TAPS takes you on the ultimate ghost hunt. The team returns to the Fort Delaware scene of this season’s most jolting and revealing episode.

Television: Supernatural 4.07 It’s the Great Pumpkin Sam Winchester Teaser Clips

Supernatural season four continues to be going great guns in the ratings, with this past week’s episode, Yellow Fever receiving a 3.25 in the overnight ratings.

Now, ALL-NEW CLIPS of next week’s Halloween-themed episode have been made available for Eclipse Magazine readers by Warner Bro. Television. Supernatural stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as Sam and Dean Winchester: two monster hunting, demon fighting brothers. The episode, titled “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester,” will air on Thurs., 10/30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

In the episode, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) investigate some strange Halloween-related deaths that are taking place in a town during the days leading up to the holiday itself.  As they begin to solve the mystery, they also learn the real origins of Halloween and find themselves trying to save the entire town itself from a surprising pair of would-be assassins.  Introducing Robert Wisdom (“The Wire”) as ‘Uriel,’ the episode also guest stars Misha Collins (“24”) as ‘Castiel.’  “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester” was written by Julie Siege and directed by Charles Beeson.

Check out the clips and tune into the CW Network Thursday nights at 9PM EST to catch new episodes of the hit series Supernatural. Supernatural.

Television: Supernatural Creator Eric Kripke Clarifies A Comment Made About Dean Winchester in Yellow Fever

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In this past Thursday’s episode of Supernatural titled Yellow Fever, Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) was infected with something called Ghost Sickness. In an exchange between Dean and his brother Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) a comment was made by Sam that the others who had died from this were considered ‘real dicks’. Dean responds ‘so I’m a dick’?

Within minutes of the episode ending, the internet was filled with fans going to Supernatural forums and Live Journals to protest this apparent denigration of the character of Dean Winchester by the writers of Supernatural. Today, Supernatural Creator Eric Kripke has released the following statement to clarify the issue and assure fans that no denigration of Dean Winchester was ever truly intended.

Eric Kripke:

So I’ve never before responded directly to the fandom’s comments about an episode, and I don’t plan to make a habit of it, but I couldn’t resist dropping in a thought about the episode “Yellow Fever.”
Which is this:

Dean is not a dick.

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None of the writers, or anyone on the creative team of Supernatural, think Dean’s ever been a dick, past, present, or future.  He’s a hero.  Dean did NOT contract the ghost sickness because he’s a dick.

Victims contract the illness because they use “fear as a weapon.”  Dean asks Lilith at the episode’s end, “why did I get infected?”  And she cryptically responds, “you know why.  Listen to your heart.” 

We, as the writers, probably should have emphasized this mystery more, I take responsibility for that omission.  But the point is: the reason he was infected is because of a SECRET he’s keeping.  A dark secret that will be revealed in Episode 10.  And not at all because of any dickishness, implied or otherwise.

Thanks, gang. “

Eric Kripke, Creator Supernatural

TELEVISION: The Ex List – Still Unbalanced – And Not In a Good Way!

Tonight’s episode of The Ex List [CBS, 9/8C] – Do You Love Me, Do You, Surfer… Boy” is the fourth of the show’s first [and quite possibly last] season and, despite several ingratiating performances [and a wide variety of ex-boyfriends], it isn’t a substantial improvement over the pilot.

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Bella [Elizabeth Reaser] is following her plan to revisit her past boyfriends as per the fortune teller’s [Anne Bedian] prophecy that her soulmate is someone with whom she’s had a romantic relationship – and that if she hasn’t found him within a year, she’ll never marry. As a result, she’s encountering – in various unexpected ways – past boyfriends by the bucket load. This week it’s Shane [Brian Van Holt], a surf bum who has “grown up” to be famous and surprisingly business savvy.

The episode begins when the two meet cute and begin to see each other. We get a token look at Bella at work and there are arcs involving her engaged sister, Daphne [Rachel Boston], getting some photos done; her roommates, Augie [Adam Rothenberg] and Vivian [Alex Breckenridge] having some relationship problems [a showerhead and little to no imagination are involved], and Cyrus [Amir Talai] trying to scam a free board to teach a gorgeous woman to surf.

Although the subject of Bella’s quest is different, the pattern is pretty much beat for beat the same. The reconnect; they feel the generated chemistry; they learn how each changed over the years, and they fall apart just as things might be getting serious. The only difference here is that Shane has the potential to reappear in her life. Of the rest of the arcs, the only one that works is the showerhead one. Daphne might as well not have appeared in the ep, and Cyrus has gotten really old, really quickly.

In the pilot, written by series creator Diane Ruggerio, there were suggestions that we would see more of Bella’s life than just the fun parts and the ex-boyfriend parts. It seemed like we were going to get to see her at work as well as at play – and that her friends were going to actually be characters. The network, apparently, thought that the show should focus on just the play and romance and not the other [biggest] part of her life. The result is a show that entertains only sporadically, held aloft by the sheer charisma of Reaser and the characters of Augie and Vivian.

Given the potential in the pilot, this simply isn’t good enough. After invoking The Three-Ep rule, I was ready to stop watching, but CBS made a screener of the fourth ep available for review, so I asked for one. Sadly, it shows improvement only insofar as the ex of the week has the possibility of returning. In every other respect, The Ex List has not found the balance it needs to make it worth continued viewing.

Final Grade: C

TELEVISION: Dexter – TV’s Peabody Award Winning Serial Killer Renewed For Two More Seasons!

Dexter, the eponymous Showtime series about a serial killer who only targets other serial killers, is going to avoid capture for at least two more seasons. Showtime announced today that the Peabody Award-winning series has been renewed for seasons four and five. The series is in the midst of broadcasting its third season. Season four will begin shooting next spring.

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The series, which is Showtime’s highest rated drama series, is built around the character of Dexter Morgan [Michael C. Hall], a blood spatter expert for the Miami-Dade Police who moonlights as a serial killer who targets serial killers who have avoided capture, or been freed on technicalities.

Based on the first of a series of best-selling novels by Jeff Lindsay, Dexter has taken the novel’s characters into different – if equally intriguing – directions. Besides winning the Peabody Award, the series has also received two Emmy Awards and several other nominations [including Hall for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, this year], four Saturn Award nominations – with Hall winning for Best Actor in a Television Program; two TCA Awards nominations – with Hall taking the award for Individual Achievement in Drama – along with nominations for Alma Awards, Edgar Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Vision Awards. Dexter has also been twice named one of AFI’s top ten television programs.

TELEVISION: Fire & Ice – Duelling Dragons; Stubborn Princess!

Maybe it’s because I saw Max Payne yesterday, but I really enjoyed Fire & Ice. It’s a colorful little B-movie that doesn’t really hang together all that well, but as directed by Pitof [Vidcoq, the unfortunate Catwoman], it is an energetic take on a classic theme – dragons and their attending problems.

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King Augustin’s [Arnold Vosloo] kingdom one of peace and prosperity until it becomes the target of a marauding fire dragon. His daughter, the headstrong Princess Luisa [Amy Acker], decides to enlist the aid of Gabriel [Tom Wisdom], the son of a banished knight who once killed an ice dragon. His plan? To raise an ice dragon to fight the fire dragon – hopefully killing each other. When the ice dragon survives, he must come up with another plan. Complications arise when the corrupt King Quilok [Ovidiu Niculescu] offers to provide sanctuary for Augustin’s people if Augustin surrenders his kingdom. Augustin’s advisor strongly suggests he do just that.

John Rhys-Davies adds a little soul – and humor – to the proceedings as Sangimel, the man who raised Gabriel after his father died. Sangimel is something of an inventor, a plot point which does, indeed, have a payoff.

It seems that every character in Fire & Ice has a different accent, and both the good guys and the guys make some pretty obvious mistakes in their various plans of action. Somehow, though, its panache makes up for a lot. The dragons are very well done for the budget, soaring through the air like super-sized manta rays – though with traditional dragons’ heads – belching fire and ice and generally wreaking havoc.

In fact, unlike the technically superior Max Payne, Fire & Ice has both that panache and more than a little heart – qualities that make it far more of an entertainment. Even so, it’s only marginally above average – but fun is fun, and Fire & Ice is just that.

Final Grade: C+

Television: Supernatural ‘Surprise’ Clip Two

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Season 4 of the hit Warner Bros./ CW Network series Supernatural, which stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as Sam and Dean Winchester: two monster hunting, demon fighting brothers, keeps rolling along the high ratings track. Episode 4.05 Monster Movie, a bold risk taking episode where it was filmed entirely in black and white as a homage to the classic horror movies of yesteryear achieved a 3.06 overnight rating even against such heavy hitting competition like Greys Anatomy. And now it seems Supernatural has a special surprise in store for fans and viewers of the series.

Last week Warner Bros./ The CW Network released a teasing clip for the surprise. Now in keeping with tantalizing fans/viewers with what is to come they have released another teaser clip leading up to the surprise.

According to the publicist for Supernatural all will be revealed on The CW on Thursday 10/23, immediately following the 9 p.m. (ET/PT) broadcast of next week’s Supernatural episode entitled Yellow Fever.  The publicist also says, rather cagily, that  in the meantime fans and viewers can rest assured that this surprise is going to be something unexpected that the fans/viewers are going to LOVE! 

I know I can’t wait.

So check out the latest teaser clip below for the ‘Supernatural Surprise’ and tune into the CW Network on Thursday October 23rd and 9PM EST to catch the newest episode of Supernatural season 4 starring Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles.