To quote the Book of Pythia, “All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.”
In a world where films have endured countless remakes and reboots, so much television. This television season year we are already getting Lethal Weapon, MacGyver, Training Day, and The Exorcist reboots. And we still have reboots coming for The Lost Boys, Varsity Blues, The Departed, and Let The Right One In planned on coming to TV soon enough. With everyone’s nostalgia trapped in the past, it only a matter of time before all the greats get a polished update.
Marvel Studios gets all the glamour with their movie series, but without a doubt, Warner Bros and DC Entertainment presently own the TV side of things. The upcoming television season will feature the return of Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, and iZombie, which will be joined by Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and eventually, Titans. Room to grow? Absolutely! In Hollywood, success breeds opportunity, so why would DC Entertainment stop at just seven series across four networks? To that end, some fascination news today. DC Entertainment has a pilot approved for production at NBC. The hook? It’s a single-camera, work-place comedy a la The Office. Color me intrigued… (more…)
You may have heard about a movie called Clerks. It was the breakthrough film for writer/director Kevin Smith, who funded the simple black and white comedy with a fistful of credit cards and the profits from selling his comic book collection. Well, the film was a genuine success when it was released in 1994, and like a lot of successful movies, the money men behind it wanted to make more money off the brand. And voila, Clerks the sitcom was born. Now you may think we’re referring to the short-lived animated series, but no, there was a live-action attempt to capture the magic of Clerks, and naturally it failed. Thought lost to the waves of history, the internet has returned the Clerks pilot to us in all it’s terrible glory. (more…)
Following-up on last night’s awesome tie-in to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.will be welcoming back a senior member of the now-compromised world security organization for an episode late this month. True, it was reported early this week that Col. Nick Fury in the person of Samuel L. Jackson would be back for S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s season finale, but Maria Hill, and her portrayer, Cobie Smulders, will be back before the end of April. If that’s all you want to know, bail now because Winter Soldier and S.H.I.E.L.D. spoilers follow. (more…)
Here’s some comic book-related news no one should have a problem with. It appears that British director Neil Marshall has been recruited to direct the pilot for NBC’s Constantine pilot, which is based on the long-running DC Comics/Vertigo comic Hellblazer. (more…)
Remember a couple of weeks ago when Gal Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel? I’m sure if there was one actress who could easily relate to the impact of being cast as comic’s number one female hero, it was Adrianne Palicki. Back in 2011, Palicki was cast in David E. Kelly‘s Wonder Woman TV pilot, and after internet backlash vivisected every released detail about the show, NBC eventually decided that they didn’t want it. That’s a shame because Palicki was pretty good in the role, once you get past the pilot’s tremendous narrative issues. But don’t feel too bad for the actress, in her opinion, as the old saying goes, all’s well that ends well. (more…)
Is there a more divisive name in nerdery right now than Damon Lindelof? The Lost co-creator and Prometheus screenwriter has stayed fairly busy lately with a lot of film work, but he made his name on TV, and considering the success of his last show, there would obviously be a lot of interest in his next project if he should have one.
And so he does. Vulture is reporting that HBO has decided to greenlight the pilot for The Leftovers, Lindelof’s next project which is based on the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta (Little Children). The novel focuses on those left behind after “the Sudden Departure,” a Rapture-like event where millions of people suddenly disappear from the Earth. The novel picks up three years after the Sudden Departure as those that remain struggle with the aftermath.
“The fact that there’s this reaping which occurred, and you don’t make the cut, some of us don’t feel worthy, seemed very ripe territory for a cool character drama,” Lindelof tells Vulture.
Lindelof pitched the project just six months ago, so the project seems to be moving through development rather briskly. When will we see the finished series? Excellent question. My guess would be sometime in the summer or fall 2014. HBO has a pretty full plate right now, so maybe the premium cable channel is looking to the future with a plan to fill a whole in the schedule when one opens up.
The whole concept sounds very Lost-y if you ask me. Perhaps Lindelof is looking to do some penance given the way that series ended up in 2010. Or maybe he saw those awful Kirk Cameron Left Behind movies and saw potential. Anyway, are you anxious to see The Leftovers?
Hey, remember a couple of years ago when TV producer David E. Kelley, a man more famous for lawyer dramas like The Practice and Boston Legal, took a stab at producing a new series based on Wonder Woman for NBC? Sure you do, we all know Repressol doesn’t work that well.
Well, Kelley’s talking again about his experience making that Wonder Woman pilot and how he, gulp, might want to do it again. While talking to The Hollywood Reporter, Kelley defended his superhero foray saying that if he had had more time to develop the series, he could have made something fans could have really enjoyed (or at least derided less):
“We made mistakes with ours. My only regret is we were never given a chance to correct them. We had a lot that was right about it and a great cast. In time, we could have fixed what we had done wrong, we just didn’t get that chance. All my series have been a work in progress to a certain extent where you figure them out by episodes three, four or five. This one actually gelled sooner than any that I have had in the past. We would have gotten there and I wish we were afforded a little more time. I do believe in the potential of the series and I wish [the CW] well with it. I think it could be a great success.”
So what were the issues with your show, Dave?
“We produced it at warp speed and it’s a special effects show and it took more time than we were able to give it. We [would have been] able to give it more time and extended it had we been picked up. Just learning the storytelling — the genre was very different for me and I had a lot to learn; my learning curve probably would have gotten better. I’m sad we didn’t get to do it but I do believe it can work for the CW. They’re smart to try it.”
But at least Kelley recognizes his faults, and it’s nice that he tried something new and stretched out. It’s also nice to hear him say that if he were to ever try it again that he knows exactly what other fellow TV producer to reach out to for help:
“I would. It’s different for me; it’s a genre that I have a lot to learn about. At this point in your life, everybody should do something that they’re scared of; I was a little scared of it, I remain a little scared of it and be happy to wade into the fear again. If I were going to do a superhero franchise, I’d probably call Joss Whedonand beg him to try and do it with me! (Laughs) He’s pretty good at it.”
At least we can agree on that.
Amazon is currently in development at The CW. We’ll let you know what, if any, progress comes from it.
Last night at Comic-Con, yes even before the festivities really began, the CW premiered the first episode of their newest super hero show, Arrow. We’ve been hearing all about how the show is a modern, more gritty reimagining of DC‘s emerald archer but what did the fans think?
“It was fantastic,” says Gabi, 35, visiting from England. Gabi enthused about star Stephen Amell despite having also loved Smallville‘s Green Arrow played by Justin Hartley. “[Amell’s] really physical and his acting is great.”
“I really liked it; it had really good production values,” says Jamie, 45, who watched the pilot along with Gabriel, 12, who added: “It was really cool; it really kept you into it.”
Shelby, 25, from Arkansas, says she really enjoyed Arrow, though had a slight criticism. “It was action packed, but if I’m being honest, it was just a tiny bit cheesy,” she says. Sounding just like an industry insider, Shelby then added: “I’m pretty sure it was just the pilot working the kinks out.”
Bleeding Cool also has a short review of the pilot up in which writer Abigail Raney says the show’s a bit “predictable” and heavy on the melodrama, but,
There were a few moments that did manage to connect, and the show got what was by my reckoning the biggest cheer of the night when been-stuck-on-an-island-for-five-years Oliver asks “What’s Twilight?”, to which his friend replies “You’re so better off not knowing.”
You’ll always score big with a good dig at Twilight.
This early buzz sounds good, and we can ignore some of the criticisms because this is only the pilot, but I hope they do more to break away from Smallville‘s shadow. Are you excited for Arrow?
Now, here’s a treat for those of us not at Comic-Con who weren’t able to see the pilot screening, a new clip! Definitely check it out as it shows how all that parkour training Amell went through really paid off.
I don’t really see anything too cheesy in this clip. The action’s intense and Amell looks like a badass. Guys, I think I might actually be getting excited about a show airing on the CW.
It’s the same show, the same pilot only in black and white, but it’s also so much more. AMC’s colorless and bare presentation of Frank Darabont‘s masterful Walking Dead premiere takes full advantage of his unique visual sense and style and also recalls Night of the Living Dead.
In essence, this episode feels like it was made to be told without color thanks to Darabont’s classic sensibilities. Moments of tension and emotion are heightened, the silence feels more present, the darkness is darker, and the gory zombies are more humanized without color and graphic detail.
Examine Rick’s awakening and his escape from the hospital. Naturally, there are comparisons to 28 Days Later, but the black and white finish dims that a bit thanks to the enhanced creepiness of the flickering lights and shadows in the hospital corridor.
The stairwell, black from darkness and only occasionally lit up by a single match, is frightening because of the limited color palette and the whiteout effect when Rick opens the door, makes the outside world seem ethereal. It’s as if Rick is exiting hell and entering heaven in that moment, walking out of a nightmare and into a dream, but we know better and soon he does too.
Another masterful point in the pilot is the nearly five minute long struggle by Rick and Morgan (played by Lennie James) to humanely put down both the first moving horror that Rick has seen, and Morgan’s now un-dead wife.
Rick is apologetic and heartfelt as he stands over Bicycle Girl while Morgan shakes and struggles to shoot his wife. It’s gut wrenching, it’s tear inducing, and it is still one of the most affecting moments in the series’ brief history.
From those major moments, to smaller ones like the birds picking at a dead body in Atlanta and the moment Rick turns and discovers his first horde — with those outstanding closeups that seem like they were pulled right out of a classic zombie movie — the show shines brighter thanks to the spare majesty of black and white.
It would be foolish though, to give sole credit for the brilliance of this episode to the look of this retrofit. The pilot has always been, in my view, the strongest episode in the series’ history thanks to not just Darabont’s eye, but his skill as a writer and story teller.
As I said before, the lack of color humanizes the zombies, but it is also Darabont’s interest in them as more than a mindless monster that makes that a possibility. The palpable torture of Bicycle Girl, the struggle of Morgan’s un-dead wife to get back to what she knows as familiar, and the long jawed, Jim Carey-looking walker in Atlanta with his sense of near victory.
These zombies are more terrifying because we can see us within them and we can understand a fear that is based in what we could become more than a fear of being eaten. These zombies are gone now, replaced by a well crafted group of stock characters in what was both something truer to the comic and an anticipated de-evolution, what with the increasing numbness of the human cast of characters, but one that might have have been a bit slower had Darabont remained. That’s the bittersweet part of this episode — remembering Darabont’s skill in crafting this world from Robert Kirkman’s fantastic source material, and the fact that he will not ever be able to continue telling this story.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still an avid fan of the series and it’s amazing cast, but that first season represents the high water mark. Sure, the world is the same and the journey of these characters toward a more bleak future remains an utterly fascinating thing to behold, but without Darabont the show seems to have lost some of it’s soul, depth, and direction — three things on full display during last night’s lovely trip down memory lane.
I give the black and white version of The Walking Dead pilot episode, “Days Gone By” a perfect rating.