Category Archives: Television

TELEVISION: Supernatural Season 4 – Review of Lazarus Rising

Sam & Dean Winchester Rise to the Challenge of a New Season of Supernatural
Sam & Dean Winchester Rise to the Challenge of a New Season of Supernatural

I don’t have any problem stating that last year’s 3rd season premiere episode of Supernatural, The Magnificent 7, hands down tops my list of what I consider the three worst episodes of Supernatural ever filmed (number two being Ghost facers and number three being Tall Tales).

The Magnificent 7 stands out as what I consider to be the worst episode of Supernatural for many reasons, but the major one being the way in which the character of Dean Winchester was presented. I understand what the writers, producers and director were trying for with the character I really do. But for me it missed the mark totally and completely and had it not been for the sheer strength of Jensen Ackles as an actor of considerable talent, the character of Dean Winchester would have been totally unsalvageable from the muddled mess this had suddenly turned him into. As for the episode itself over all, for me it would have been a complete disaster if not for the presence of Jim Beaver and if Jared Padalecki had not carried it the majority of it so well on his considerably broad shoulders. 

INTERVIEW: Sam Winchester at War – An Interview With Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki About his Character in Season 4

Jared Padalecki at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con/copyright 2008 M R Reed
Jared Padalecki at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con/copyright 2008 M R Reed

Life gets complicated when your brother comes back from hell!

Jared Padalecki, one of the two hot young stars of the hit Warner Bros/ CW Network Series Supernatural comes striding into the press room of the 2008 San Diego Comic Con on the determined mission to make up for lost time after getting inexplicably hung up in traffic and running late for meetings with the press to promote the upcoming 4th season of Supernatural. Taking his place in the ‘hot seat’ to answer questions, the handsome 26-year-old actor is immediately handing out a heartfelt apology for keeping everyone waiting on him.

INTERVIEW: Traci Takes on Supernatural- An Exclusive Interview with Traci Dinwiddie

Traci Dinwiddie
Traci Dinwiddie

“Whether she’s flirting with the boys or conjuring spirits, she works it unapologetically, with the bold fierceness of a total rocker chick!”
That was Traci Dinwiddie’s response to my question about what drew her to playing the role of psychic Pamela Barnes in the Supernatural season 4 opener ‘Lazarus Rising’ which will be airing on the CW Network Thursday September 18th at 9PM EST.

Supernatural, the hit Warner Bros/ CW Network series now entering its fourth season, stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as Sam and Dean Winchester – two brothers who have spent their lives being trained by their father to save people by hunting down and killing all manner of supernatural entities and creatures while at the same time tracking down the Yellow-Eyed demon that killed their mother when Sam was baby and Dean was four: a demon with plans for Sam, who seems to be endowed with mystical powers of his own, to become the leader of an army of demons released from hell.  Continue reading INTERVIEW: Traci Takes on Supernatural- An Exclusive Interview with Traci Dinwiddie

TELEVISION: Ghost Hunters: The Haunted Former Funeral Home!

Ghost Hunters [Sci Fi, Wednesdays, 9/8C] returns with a genuinely unusual investigation. Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, and their team, TAPS [The Atlantic Paranormal Society, pictured], are asked to investigate Buffalo’s Iron Island Museum [so-called because it’s part of the neighborhood that surrounded on all sides by railroad tracks]. The museum was originally a church, and then for a number of years, it was a funeral home.

The TAPS Team

Employees and visitors to the museum have reported hearing banging noises, seeing apparitions and – in the case of employees – finding locked doors unlocked. One museum employee suspects that the ghost of a young boy named Jimmy is a part of the haunting.

Once the team sets up their cameras and other equipment, they then search through the building for unusual occurrences. And there are unusual occurrences! Even the team’s newest member, Kris Williams, sees something. It’s her first such experience, so even while there’s stuff going on, the rest of the team is happy for her – and she is just thrilled, herself!

One of the things that makes Ghost Hunters work is that the guys aren’t deadly serious. Their sense of humor is infectious and helps keep the team relaxed and alert. In this case, when one member of the team hasn’t seen or heard anything, they give him permission to be, shall we say, less than polite? Another thing that adds to the show’s atmosphere is the manner in which some segments are shot in grainy black & white, evoking The Blair Witch. Between the humor and the suspense, the show certainly manages to enthral.

Iron Island is a good episode for opening the new season. There’s audio and video evidence that makes one’s spine tingle just a bit, and the team is still having fun checking for things that go bump in the night.

Final Grade: B

TELEVISION: Destination Truth – Big Feet, Mosque Ghosts and Real Weirdness

Josh Gates’ Destination: Truth opens its second season [Sci Fi, Wednesdays, 10/9C] by tackling two intriguing situations. First, Gates and his crew [pictured] travel to Queensland, Australia to investigate sightings of a creature called the Yowle [yow-lee] – a creature whose description is familiar to many different cultures, which have given the creature names like Sasquatch, Bigfoot and/or Yeti. The second investigation in the second season premiere concerns a haunted mosque in Malaysia.

Josh's Team

In each case, Gates and his crew follow their tried and true protocol: journeying to the sight of their subjects; setting up their equipment, and then waiting and watching for something to happen.

On paper that sounds pretty dull, but when members of Gates’ team encounter stuff that shouldn’t be there – like the shredded trees in Queensland, or hear sounds that have no visible source in the Malaysian mosque – it does give the viewer a bit of a jolt.

Unfortunately, the screener Sci Fi sent out was a rough cut that didn’t have the final portion of the episode – the part where they got the results of their collected evidence, so I can’t really say how things play out [not that I’d give spoilers, though knowing the results might have slanted my review differently]. The documentary style of shooting does have the effect of drawing the viewer into this world, though.

While I’m not exactly a fan of reality TV, the two case studies offered here present a certain amount of potential evidence of the existence of something that may not be from the realm of current scientific thought, and it would be interesting to see whether that evidence did support the existence of the Yowle, or the Malaysian mosque ghost.

Final Grade: B-

TELEVISION: And So It Begins… Again

This evening the new fall season of television programming begins with two returning series on The CW [Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill], one on TNT [Steven Bochco’s inept Raising the Bar] and one on Fox [Prison Break]. Overall, the new season looks a lot like the last one. Thanks to the writers’ strike, a number of series that might have been cancelled are reappearing, series like Life, Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, Chuck and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles to name a few. Add to them the few buzzworthy new shows [Fringe, The Mentalist, and Eleventh Hour] and it still doesn’t add up to the anticipation for Fox’s Joss Whedon-created Dollhouse. Which is not to say that there aren’t points of interest on the fall schedule.

Mark Ben Holzberg/FOX

Continue reading TELEVISION: And So It Begins… Again

COMING TO DVD: Supernatural the Complete 3RD Season

DVD Cover For Supernatural Season 3
DVD Cover For Supernatural Season 3

CATCH ALL 16 SPINE-CHILLING EPISODES OF SEASON THREE ON DVD JUST IN TIME FOR THE SEASON FOUR PREMIERE ON THE CW INCLUDES OVER AN HOUR OF SPECIAL FEATURES PLUS A BONUS OFFER FOR A DIGITAL COPY OF THE ENTIRE SEASON!

Supernatural: The Complete Third Season hits shelves just in time for fans to catch up with the Winchester brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) before the spectacular Season Four premieres on the CW on Thursday, September 18th at 9PM EST and the brothers come back together to defend the world against creatures that most people believe only exist in folklore, superstition and nightmares.

Season three of Supernatural is a slam bang, action packed, emotionally driven thrill ride that begins shortly after Azaezel, AKA The Yellow-Eyed Demon was vanquished at the end of season two.

Those events also saw the death of Sam Winchester and the release hundreds of demons from Hell into an unsuspecting world and forced a grief-stricken Dean Winchester to make a terrible a deal with a Crossroad Demon –his soul in exchange for Sam’s resurrection.

Supernatural Season 3 brings the Winchester boys to the cold and encreasingly terrifying realization that Dean has just one year to live and one year for Sam to search desperately for some way to save his brother and of course for both of them to fight demonic hordes and other creatures of terror along the way to save the lives of hundreds of innocent people.

Supernatural: The Complete Third Season DVD Special Features Include:
From Legends to Reality: SUPERNATURAL Effects
Impala Featurette: A Look Inside the Classic 1967 Chevrolet Impala
Scene Specifics: Short Segments Showcasing Creative Team Members Discussing Favorite Aspects of Particular Episodes
Ghostfacers! Confessionals Minifeaturette Gallery
Gag Reel

Besides these special features, two retailers will be carrying Supernatural season 3 boxed sets that include special Supernatural collector’s items that can only be found with sets purchased at their stores.

Best Buy has a die-cast ’67 Chevy Impala inspired by Supernatural that is packaged with the DVD.

Target has a full-color 2009 locker calendar featuring Jared and Jensen.

Warner Home Video is also proud to include a digital offer with this TV on DVD release, providing for convenient portability of the Season 3 episodes. A tremendous value, consumers will have the option to download a Digital Copy of the entire season, excluding the special features. This offer is available for both PC and Mac computers and is compatible with the most popular digital formats. The release contains detailed instructions on how to access and download the episodes.

Supernatural the Complete 3rd Season will be availabe on DVD and in stores on September 2nd 2008

Supernatural Season 4 premieres on the CW Network on Thursday, September 18th at 9PM EST.

TELEVISION: ABC Greenlights Five New Series

For the fall season, ABC greenlighted only a handful of new shows: the drama Life on Mars [based on the British, series of the same name]; comedies Scrubs [moving from NBC] and The Goode Family; and two alternative [reality] shows, the Untitlted Ashton Kutcher/Tyra Banks and Opportunity Knocks.

Nathan Fillion

Now the network unveils five new shows: dramas Castle [starring Nathan Fillion, pictured], Cupid and The Unusuals, and comedies Better Off Ted and Single With Parents. Although the announcement of the five new shows comes a bit later than usual, Stephen McPherson, President of ABC Entertainment notes that, “It was worth taking the time to go through the pilot process to really do it right,” said McPherson. “We’re excited about these series and feel they’re perfect additions to our dominant core slate of shows. These are the initial pick-ups, but there are a number of other pilots we feel will also get the go ahead in some form moving forward.”

Details on the new series are as follows:

Dramas

“Castle” is a comedic crime procedural about a famous mystery novelist, Nick Castle, who is bored with his own success. When a real-world copycat murderer starts staging scenes from Nick’s novels, Nick is teamed up with NYPD Detective Kate Beckett and the challenge gets his blood pumping as he steps in to help solve the crime. Nick and Beckett’s styles instantly clash and sparks begin to fly, leading both to danger and a hint of romance. Nick is kept grounded by his Broadway diva mother, quick-witted teenage daughter and his long-suffering ex-wife… who happens to be his editor. “Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Castle, Stana Katic as Beckett, Molly Quinn as Alexis, Susan Sullivan as Martha, Monet Mazur as Gina and Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Capt. Montgomery.

“Cupid” is a romantic dramedy about Trevor, a larger than life character who may or may not be the Roman god of love, Cupid, sent to earth to bring couples together. As fate would have it, Trevor is under the care of famous psychologist and self-help author Dr. Claire Allen, who is also dedicated to helping lonely hearts find their soul mates. While she agrees with his cause, she questions whether he’s crazy or really is Cupid. “Cupid” stars Bobby Cannavale as Trevor, Sarah Paulson as Claire, Rick Gomez as Felix and Camille Guaty as Lita.

“The Unusuals” is a unique comedic procedural set in a New York police precinct. As a cop, it helps to have a twisted sense of humor, because every moment could be your last. Just ask Casey Schraeger, who started her day as an NYPD vice detective before unexpectedly being transferred to the homicide division. She quickly realizes that, not only does everyone in her new department have a distinct sense of humor, but also their own dirty little secrets. “The Unusuals” stars Amber Tamblyn as Det. Casey Schraeger, Jeremy Renner as Det. Joe Walsh, Terry Kinney as Sgt. Harvey Brown, Kai Lennox as Det. Ed Alvarez, Harold Perrineau as Det. Leo Banks, Adam Goldberg as Det. Eric Delahoy, Monique Gabriela Curnen as Det. Allison Beaumont and Joshua Close as Henry Cole.

Comedies

“Better Off Ted” is a satirical office comedy featuring a successful but morally conscious man, Ted, who runs a research and development department at a morally questionable corporation, Veridian Technologies. No achievement is too far fetched and no invention too unorthodox for Veridian. Need a suicidal turkey? Done. Need a metal that is hard as steel but bounces – and is edible? Done and done. Ted loves his seemingly perfect job; he loves his superhuman boss, Veronica, and colleagues Lem, Phil and Linda, but he’s starting to take a closer look at the company’s extremely questionable practices… especially when they try to cryogenically freeze one of Ted’s scientists for testing purposes. Starring Jay Harrington as Ted, Andrea Anders as Linda, Portia de Rossi as Veronica, Jonathan Slavin as Phil and Malcolm Barrett as Lem,.

“Single with Parents” is a comedy about Lou, a woman in her mid-30s who is determined to have her own life despite her crazy blended family getting in the way. She’s thrilled that her divorced parents are leading exciting lives – really she is – except both of them rely on her way too much. Dad needs her as a surrogate parent and Mom counts on her 24/7 as a shrink and confidante. Lou has resolved to finally find a fulfilling life for herself. The series stars Alyssa Milano as Lou, Annie Potts as Elizabeth, Beau Bridges as Joe, Amanda Detmer as Sasha, Meagen Fay as Nancy and Eric Winter as Charlie.

TELEVISION INTERVIEW: There’s a little P#$ in Gabrielle Anwar

Gabrielle Anwar

Years ago she became famous by dancing with Al Pacino, now she’s burning up the TV screen in USA’s hit spy series Burn Notice. I met her last month during a visit to the hot, Miami Set. Earlier we ran interviews with several folks from the show and with it quickly coming to a close it’s time to run the rest of these great interviews. Gabrielle was a lot of fun and she had this dog that was big as horse and just as cute. Participating in this roundtable was IGN, Fanbolt.com, Confessions of a tvwhore.com, and the TVAddict.com.

Do you enjoy working in Miami?

I actually love it. I would much rather be too hot than too cold. I’m perfectly happy melting all day long. Jeffrey has to wear full on suits and ties, poor thing, and Bruce too. Although he gets to wear Hawaiian shirts a lot too. He’s Mr. Tommy Bahama.

How do you handle doing the martial arts and hand to hand combat that Fiona does?

Smoke and mirrors. Jeffrey’s actually incredibly advanced in martial arts. He’s like triple billion black belt or whatever, he’s pretty high up there. Although I don’t know who actually judges that stuff. But I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s basically just choreography. I did dance, so that comes in handy. But as far as hitting the right artery or chopping the right part of the body, I have no idea what I’m doing.  

Continue reading TELEVISION INTERVIEW: There’s a little P#$ in Gabrielle Anwar

TELEVISION: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate Universe – Just Some Thoughts

The news came out, this week, that Stargate Atlantis was being cancelled in favor of one or two annual direct-to-DVD movies – the first one to wrap up the series’ final storyline – and where have we heard that one before? Still, the puzzling thing is that the series is being cancelled after its ratings rose this summer – which makes as much sense as the little pig in the straw house moving into his brother’s brick one and having the middle pig take it down with a bulldozer in a fit of envy.

cast_season5

The main reason we’ve been given is that making the series in Vancouver, British Columbia is getting to be too expensive, though I humbly suggest that if the series was being produced in the U.S., its rising ratings would pretty much preclude such a move. So, why then, would MGM and the Atlantis production team go in this direction?

After a quick run through the season’s first six episodes, it’s certainly not because of any loss of quality – a potential reason that was rendered unlikely by the way that more people are watching, on a regular basis. With the franchise maintaining its usual high level of quality – of the six episodes, only Ghost in the Machine – which was hampered by Torri Higginson’s decision to not return] was less than a B effort – the rest ranged from A [The Daedalus Variations] to B- [The Seed]. Certainly, the show’s writing, production, direction, effects and performances have been as good as usual.

The answer is given, and quite clearly, in the press release for the upcoming series, Stargate Universe. In it, Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper are quoted as saying, “In ‘Universe,’ we plan to keep those elements that have made the franchise a success, such as adventure and humour, while breaking new ground in the relationships between mostly young and desperate explorers, thrust together and far from home. Above all, we believe the Stargate self remains an enduring icon with infinite potential as a jumping off point for telling stories.”

It’s the “let’s get a cast of younger, more kick-ass military and civilians – nothing wrong with kick-ass civilizations – and punch up our numbers in the 18-24 demo… and the ‘tween demo.” After all, nobody’s watching the old fogies on Atlantis except, well, more people than did last year – thereby punching a bit of a hole in the typical variety of network thinking.

What’s the big plus, here? It’s that the mainstays of the Stargate creative team remain aboard – even though they aren’t the young pups they were when they convinced Richard Dean Anderson into signing up. Happily, unlike the creative teams of other series, they get to space out their writing in such a way that they are still capable of writing engaging and entertaining episodes – unlike the Star Trek duo of Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, who were completely out of touch with their audience by the time season two of Enterprise came around [not to mention that ghastly series finale].

Stargate has survived big changes in the past. When Michael Shanks left, Corin Nemec stepped in and the show rolled on [and a lot of fans wouldn’t have minded if Nemec had stayed on]; Richard Dean Anderson left – for perfectly good reasons – and was replaced by Ben Browder, whose character injected a fresh enthusiasm to the series that almost made up for the introduction of the Ori. Claudia Black came aboard the SG-1 franchise at the same and her charming thief/con artist fit in – after awhile…

Then there were the changes on Atlantis, where a first-season regular departed after getting a buzz from Wraith venom; Dr. Elizabeth Weir, the leader of the Atlantis Expedition, became a Replicator and was replaced by Col. Samantha Carter – whose successes while in command got her moved out and fussy, protocol-happy Richard Woolsey took over [and discovered that protocol is pretty much just another word in the Pegasus Galaxy].

Throughout the changes – not to mention some of the best humorous eps on any SF series – the quality of the Stargate shows has been kept well above average. Now we’re going to be getting a series that features a younger cast that is stranded even farther away than the Pegasus Galaxy. The chances are that its creative team will be looking for fresh ideas – or at least, fresh spins on ideas – and that it will be worth watching.

It’s just too bad that Atlantis has to suffer cancellation because of it. And that idea for finishing off the final season cliffhanger with a direct-to-DVD movie? Still little more than an blatant cash grab.

TELEVISION: Q and A with Josh Bernstein of Discovery’s Into The Unknown.

Josh Bernstein

Last week I had a chance to participate in a Q and A with Josh Bernstein, the star of the Discovery Channel’s new adventure show Into The Unknown.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make the call, but our friends over at Media Boulevard and Deadbolt.com did the interview. Here’s the full transcript.

Continue reading TELEVISION: Q and A with Josh Bernstein of Discovery’s Into The Unknown.