Well, the writer’s strike has certainly made a mess of television, eh? I totally support the screenwriters in this, but it is kind of a bummer. Stuff like the Daily Show will bounce back just fine, but it’s the dramas and other stories that will seriously suffer. Will there ever be more Scrubs? Probably not, since this was the last season anyway. Will Battlestar Galactica get to finish their last season? Who knows? That’s especially frustrating–it would be like if Babylon 5 suddenly ended halfway through the fourth season.
It’ll be most interesting to see how things affect film. Movie companies have hundreds of scripts laying around, so it’ll take a while. But with nothing new being produced, this may be a chance for the independent movies, free of union rules, to shine. We might actually see better movies as a result of the strike. Won’t those guild writer’s faces be red!
Anyway, here’s a few things I’ve watched lately and what I thought of them.
Heroes, season 2: meh. Season 1 barely kept me interested, Season 2 lost me. Adding more characters when you never really developed the ones you have? I missed the final episode, but don’t really care enough to hunt it down. I know a lot of people love Heroes, but for someone who’s been reading comics their whole life, it’s like watching an adaptation of a comic I read twenty years ago, which wasn’t that great back then. The show offered nothing particularly new, and didn’t present it in an interesting fashion.
I actually had some mild hopes for the Origins series they had planned. It was going to be an anthology-type series, written and directed by various famous people (Kevin Smith was slated for one, I believe). But the strike put the kibosh on it, I think.
Despite all that, I would like Heroes to succede. It could pave the way for other shows in the genre. I would give somebody else’s right arm for a good Powers adaptation, or Y: The Last Man. Of course, they’d have to be on HBO to be any good, but still.
Transformers: sigh. Hope’s nephew came over this weekend and brought the Bayformers with him. It was everything I expected it to be, failing on every level but special effects. Way too many of the flesh creatures running around getting too much screen time (most of whom added nothing to the story) and not nearly enough giant robots. And why were the Autobots even in the movie? They weren’t developed at all, and seemed hardly necessary, as the military was able to take the Decepticons down without too much trouble. And don’t get me started on the moral and ethical dilemmas raised by the “All Spark” (gives life to machines, but they immediately grow guns and start destroying everything around them? how did Transformer civilization ever develop to begin with? and nobody raises an eyebrow when psychotic Sector 7 scientists casually create and destroy that life in a little box?). The final battle was even more nonsensical. As far as I could tell between frantic cuts, the good guys were winning, so why did Witwicky sacrifice the All Spark? Just to save himself? He doomed an entire species. Nice going, Ender.
Pushing Daisies: This show is made of pure awesome. I was a big “Dead Like Me” fan, and this was created by the same guy. He didn’t disappoint. I have no idea how it’s doing, ratings-wise, but I hope it returns. That means it probably won’t.
The Killing: NetFlix’d this old Kubrick movie, and it’s fantastic. Classic noir. The ending is a bit predictable, but I think it just suffers because of its age, and the fact that we’ve seen that ending used a lot since then. The whole heist is as tense and exciting as any filmed today.
Zodiac: NetFlix’d this one as well, and it’s great. Visually, some of Fincher’s best work, I think, and great performances from everyone involved.
Tin Man: Overall, I have to say this Sci Fi miniseries was not bad. I was generally entertained. I liked the visuals, though the small budget showed every now and then. The cast is solid. I liked the general artistic look of everything regarding the fashion and the magic/tech mix. Some very creative work done in there.
The biggest problem was the dialog. What wasn’t mediocre was downright bad, with a dash of cringe-worthy thrown in. The acting varied, but suffered as a result of the bad dialog and probably weak directing. I heart me some Zooey Deschanel, but she seemed mostly lost throughout the show. It’s kind of like watching Natalie Portman in Star Wars…you know she’s good, and she’s good in other stuff, but given that material, with that director, she’s not so great.
I also thought the Tin Man (why was the show named for him, anyway?) wasn’t really heartless enough. They could have really made him interesting, but didn’t really go far enough with it. And the poor cowardly lion was relegated to being little more than a plot device.
The ending was a bit sudden. It amused me that nobody bothered to tell the rebels and the Longcoats that everything was cool and they could stop killing each other.
All in all, I enjoyed it, and if they made more I’d probably watch it.
Last night we watched No Direction Home, the Scorcese documentary about Bob Dylan. It’s good stuff, even if you’re not a Dylan fan (Hope isn’t, for example, but still enjoyed the film). The ’60s were such a unique time period that it’s always interesting to see something about that decade.
That’s all I can think of at the moment. I’m looking forward to seeing the Golden Compass sometime soon, and I Am Legend.