Saturday, March 12, 2011

Brain Dead Saturday - TV

I've been running through back episodes of tv series looking for something to get interested in, and I've only been having limited success.

Outrageous Fortune - this is the Australian original version of the American remake called Scoundrels.  It's centered on a family of small time criminals and how they cope when the head of the family finally has to do some time to pay for his crime.  I kept expecting more when I watched the American version, and I went looking for the original.  After watching half of its first season, I kind of went "meh", and gave up on it.  It's kind of interesting, but when it comes down to it, everyone in the family who is intelligent enough to not be a small-time crook has pretty much turned out normal and has a family that embarrasses them.

Shameless  - I found the British version before the American version got made.  I noticed that the original is up to season 8.  I tried an episode or two, and just couldn't get interested.  I haven't tried the American counterpart.  I know the American version is running on one of the cable networks and is trying to attract viewers by showing skin, but even that really isn't bringing any interest from me.  (Wow, am I getting old, or what?)

Skins - same deal.  Maybe I'm just two old to watch young people acting arrogant and stupid at the same time.

So I've been re-watching The Good Guys.  This 2010 single season series starring Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford as an Odd Couple of police detectives.  Colin Hanks is the by-the-book detective who gets partnered with stuck-in-the-80's Bradley Whitford, and the two solve the dregs of criminal cases together.  GopherDave turned me on to this about half way through the season, and I quickly caught up, and was highly disappointed at its cancellation.

I also ran through Flash Gordon , the 2007 Canadian remake of the classic serial.  Several no-name actors (okay, the title role is played by Eric Johnson who's only other really recognizable credit was the season one Smallville jock/nemesis Whitney Fordham, who's character ended up joining the marines, only to die in combat halfway across the world) do a great job on what looks like a tight special effects budget and costume budget.  There's one episode where you can see Flash's love interest Dale Arden (played by Gina Holden) and guest starring character wearing the exact same sweater.  In order to cover up this costume gaffe, Gina Holden's character wears her sweater backwards for the entire episode.  Wow, looking at the photo to the right, that's the sweater, but in the photo, she's wearing it correctly.)  Anyway, the story flows well throughout the series, and you get some depth out of even the minor characters in the story.  It's another series that deserved more than one season.

I've been slowly plowing (I'm not sure if that's a good word.   I like the series.) through the six season (2002-2007) television adaptation of Stephen King's The Dead Zone.   Anthony Michael Hall (all grown up from Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club) does a creditable job in filling Christopher Walken's shoes as John Smith, a car accident victim who awakens from a six year coma to find that his fiancée is now married and that his child is being raised to call another man dad.  He sees an apocalyptic result as a vision when he shakes the hand of a shady local politician and works to change that result, as well as to fundamentally alter the lives of the people he sees in his visions.  Nicole De Boer (who was left filling Terry Ferrell shoes on Start Trek: Deep Space Nine)  does a great job as his ex-fiancée, and now good friend.  Long time character actor Chris Bruno also excels as Walt Bannerman, Sheriff and father to Anthony Michael Hall's son.  I like the fact that they could have made the Sheriff a jerk, or someone who you would be sympathetic if John wanted to pursue his lost love, but instead they made him a "good man" - a good father, a good husband (despite a short separation with his wife in season 3 while they worked out longstanding issues), a good sheriff, and even a good friend to John Smith, despite the inherent rivalry in their situation.  A good series, and you even get the occasional cameo from AMH's past (like Ally Sheedy showing up for a few episodes).

Quick mention to some of the other shows worth digging out DVD's or AVIs of:  The Middleman ("Fighting Crime So You Don't Have To", Firefly (of course), and Jekyll (BBC modern day rendition of Jekyll and Hyde - truly excellent - damn, now I want to rewatch this one!),

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