One of the most unfortunate side effects of the Great Writer’s Strike of 2008 is that a number of really good TV shows were unable to recapture their momentum after it ended – Shows like Dirty Sexy Money and Eli Stone. In the case of Eli Stone, this particularly sad because it was something that people clamoured for – an original, intelligent, and even thoughtful series.
In screening the second season DVD release, it’s easy to see that Eli Stone – both the series and the character – were evolving. Unlike season one, for example, Eli’s [Jonny Lee Miller] visions – once he got his mojo [that’s spelled “aneurism”] back, they were no longer based on the music of George Michael. There were a couple of Beatles’ tunes that made it into the mix – the best one being Loretta Devine’s show-stopping rendition of Help, in the episode of the same name, in which Devine’s office manager, Patty, needs help for her medical student daughter [Taraji Henson].
Of the several television programs that lost momentum and were, in effect, cancelled by the Writers’ Strike, Dirty Sexy Money was the only one that was a grand, over-the-top, old-fashioned primetime soap – we’re talking Dallas, Falcon Crest, Knots Landing, here, folks. Tales of the rich and fabulous – of ethically and morally dubious and, occasionally, sanity-challenged – told by writers who knew how to construct characters of every stripe and intrigues of all sorts.
The final season of Dirty Sexy Money played out the boardroom [and bedroom] chess game between Trip Darling [Donald Sutherland] and Simon Elder [Blair Underwood]; the love story about Jeremy Darling [Seth Gabel] and Nola Lyons [Lucy Liu] – a love that started as a ruse but became real; the disintegration of Darlings’ lawyer, Nick George and his wife Lisa [Zoe Mclennan]; the Lyons/Elder connection; the feeling that Nick and Karen Darling [Natalie Zea] might be fated to be together [if not for that Elder fellow… again] and… so many plot threads, twists and backtracks that it made the classic soap spoof, SOAP, look completely transparent.
Back in 1992, fans of Marvel Comics – and superheroes in general – were delighted to find Marvel’s merry band of mutants on Saturday morning television. The series, which ran for seventy-six episodes, brought Marvel’s unique brand of wit and topicality to kids’ TV and ran for five seasons over six years.
X-Men Vol. 1 introduces us to the X-Men via the plot point of the Mutant Registration Act and young Jubilee Lee, a foster child who turns out to have mutant abilities. When giant robots, called Sentinels, try to kidnap her, her flight leads to the X-Men stepping in to help her. The three-part tale, Night of the Sentinels adapts the original X-Men adventure of the same name to accommodate an updated team comprised of three original X-Men [Beast, Cyclops, and Jean Grey], three “New” X-Men [Rogue, Storm and Wolverine], and a lone wolf type [Gambit] who eventually became one of the most popular X-Men ever – almost as popular as Wolverine. As in the comics, the team was led by the wheelchair-bound Professor Charles Xavier, a man whose physical mobility might have been limited, but whose mental gifts included telepathy and a kind of astral projection.