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Category: TV

Joss Whedon on Reboots/Reunions, Binge-Watching & More!

Joss Whedon (Writer – Director – Producer – Actor) makes some interesting observations in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.   Two things that stuck out for me were Whedon’s thoughts on reboots/reunions and binge-watching tv episodes.

Whedon on reboots/reunions…

“I see a little bit of what I call monkey’s paw in these reboots. You bring something back, and even if it’s exactly as good as it was, the experience can’t be. You’ve already experienced it, and part of what was great was going through it for the first time.”

Whedon is on point.  As much as we want to bring back favorite favorites, it is so difficult.  There has to be some growth or we’re getting more of the same and we’ve seen that.  And Whedon is so right — part of what was great was experiencing it for the first time.

 

Whedon on binge-watching tv episodes…

 

“…the more it (television watching) becomes lifestyle instead of experience. It becomes ambient. It loses its power, and we lose something with it…I would not want to do it. I would want people to come back every week and have the experience of watching something at the same time… I loved event television.”

 

Technology has made movie and television watching less of an event.  I love the convenience of being able to record and watch what I want when I want, but when was the last time watching something became an event (not counting live broadcasts)?  When I was a kid, The Wizard of Oz was shown once a year and you’d better be in front of the tube when it was broadcast.  I can still remember the thrill of being allowed to stay up late to watch it, or Hitchcock’s The Birds.  The series finale of The Fugitive was another tv event that was huge.  So was the murder of JR, a new episode of All in the Family.

 

Binge-watching takes away the event feel.  Not only that, because the series is available ANY time you want, there is less of a pull to watch it.  My wife and I tuned in every week for Longmire.  When it switched to Netflix, we followed but now we could watch it whenever.  We have a full season yet to be watched.  Same with Daredevil.  I’ve yet to watch a single episode of House of Cards or Luke Cage.  What’s the rush?  They’ll be there when I’m ready.

 

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15 Revival Series We Want That Will Never Happen

Padraig Cotter and ScreenRant present 15 Revival Series We Want That Will Never Happen.  Using just Cotter’s list, here are my top 3 suggestions…

  • Frazier – I loved the series and it could be fun to revisit the characters to see how they’ve matured.
  • Firefly –  I came to Firefly after it had already been cancelled, but really enjoyed it.  Yeah, I’d tune in if it came back.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – I’d bet they could even get Arnold to guest occasionally now!

Breaking Bad and Seinfeld were two shows that I absolutely loved and they made their wanted revival list.  Not for me though.  For Breaking Bad the story has been told.  And told very well.  Leave it alone.  As for Seinfeld, it is a classic comedy series.  Perhaps the greatest comedy series ever.  The finale is a stain on the memory of Seinfeld and a revival would just look like grumpy middle-agers complaining.

How about these three series that didn’t make the cut, but I’d revive in a heartbeat if given the chance:

  • Justified: There are more stories to tell for Raylan Givens… even if they don’t involve Boyd Crowder… although they could.
  • The Shield: Bring back Vic Mackey!
  • The Twilight Zone:  We need a good anthology.  Twilight Zone was the best.

 

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The 30 best TV Shows Ever

Daniella Lucas and GamesRadar.com present The 30 best TV Shows Ever.  Lucas’ list is a good one, with the understanding that for the most part, we’re looking at dramas.  Otherwise you’d have to include at least one of the following: The Honeymooners, Andy Griffith, Seinfeld, All in the Family, etc.

With that said, it is still tough to limit the list to 30.  Using just their list, here are my top three (in alpha order) and reasons…

  • Breaking Bad – The first time I can ever remember seeing the main character’s arc take them from being a good character to someone so evil.  Also my first binge-watching series.
  • The Shield – I was rooting for the bad guy each week.  Wha-what?
  • The Walking Dead – Love the genre.  Was a huge fan of the comic from the first issue.  AMC took a chance and made the series into a huge hit.

Shows I would have included had they been on the list: The Wild, Wild West and Justified.

 

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11 Nifty Little Visual Details You Never Notices in “Star Trek”

Me-TV presents 11 Nifty Little Visual Details You Never Notices in Star Trek.  Here are three of my favorites…

THE KLINGON’S BELT BUCKLES ARE BUBBLE WRAP.
Yep, that’s just gold-painted bubble wrap. That’s not so strange. Batman’s utility belt was once made out of sponges.

D-DAY HERO JAMES DOOHAN WAS MISSING HIS RIGHT MIDDLE FINGER.

Doohan served in the Canadian Infantry in World War II, landing at Juno Beach on D-Day. After taking down two snipers and holding position on higher ground for the evening, he was hit by six rounds of friendly fire, including one in his right hand. His finger was amputated. As an actor, he tried to conceal this, but you can spot his war wound here and there, like when Scotty carries a platter of Tribbles.

KIRK AND SPOCK VISITED MAYBERRY A COUPLE TIMES.

As it was a Desilu production, Star Trek often shot outdoors on the studio’s Forty Acres backlot, also home of The Andy Griffith Show. Thus, you can spot the familiar landmarks of Mayberry in “Miri,” “The City on the Edge of Forever,” “The Return of the Archons” and “A Piece of the Action” — but Mayberry can best be seen in the first two.

 

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RIP – Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton died today from complications from surgery.  Mr. Paxton was just 61.

I first took notice of Bill Paxton in his role as Chet in Weird Science.  Not long after that I realized that I’d seen Paxton in small but memorable roles in Streets of Fire and The Terminator.  Paxton followed Weird Science with a small role in Commando.  He then landed his breakout role as Private Hudson in Aliens.

Paxton went on to a have a career that spanned over 40 years appearing tv shows and movies.  A few of my favorite Bill Paxton performances include:

  • Weird Science – Chet
  • Aliens – Private Hudson
  • Near Dark – Severen
  • Tombstone – Morgan Earp
  • True Lies – Simon
  • Twister – Bill
  • A Simple Plan – Hank
  • Frailty – Dad Meiks

Paxton also appeared in Miami Vice, Next of Kin, Navy Seals, Predator 2, One False Move, Trespass, Apollo 13, Titanic, Mighty Joe Young, U-571, Spy Kids 2 & 3, Frasier and so many other shows and movies.  He was currently starring in the tv series Training Day.  Anything Mr. Paxton appeared in, he made better.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bill Paxton’s family, friends and fans.

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11 Things You Never Knew About Khan, the Greatest Star Trek Villain

MeTV presents 11 Things You Never Knew About Khan, the Greatest Star Trek Villain.  Here are three of my favorites…

HE WAS ORIGINALLY AN ANCIENT GREEK, THEN A VIKING SPACE PIRATE.

So, yeah, the “Khan” character was originally a Greek, and obviously not named “Khan.” When Wilber pitched his old idea for Star Trek, he changed the antagonist to a Nordic named Harold or John Ericssen, who is later revealed to be a vicious Viking space pirate named Ragnar Thorwald. Roddenberry was apprehensive about using such outward criminals. Oddly, Lost in Space would air its episode “Space Vikings” (seen here) a week before “Space Seed.”

AFTER CASTING RICARDO MONTALBÁN, THE CHARACTER WAS NAMED SIBAHL AND GOVIN.

Mexican actor Montalbán was hardly a good fit to play a Scandinavian, so the villain was tweaked. However, this being Hollywood in the 1960s, producers figured he could play a Sikh. (That being said, he must not be observant, as he does not wear a Dastar.) Roddenberry and writer Gene Coon changed the name to Sibahl Khan Noonien… until a fact-checking research company noted that “Singh” is a much more appropriate Sikh surname. They suggested the name “Govin Bahadur Singh.” Coon and Roddenberry met them halfway and settled on the canonical Khan Noonien Singh.

CHEKOV IS NOT IN THIS EPISODE — DESPITE THE FACT THAT KHAN RECOGNIZES HIM IN ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN.’

At the beginning of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Chekov encounters a vengeful Khan, who puts that creepy bug in the Starfleet Commander’s ear. Khan immediately recognizes Chekov from the events of “Space Seed.” There is just one major problem: Chekov was not aboard the Enterprise for that first-season episode. In fact, Walter Koenig did not join the cast until season two. Tie-in novels have since tried to explain this plot hole, while Koenig jokes they met in the restroom. Sulu is also not in “Space Seed.”

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Ken Meyer Jr.’s Ink Stains 39: Kane, Byrne, Barr, Black and More!

If you’re a fan of fanzines, then you’ve got to check out Ken Meyer, Jr.’s monthly column Ink Stains.  Each month Ken (who is an amazing artist) posts… well, let’s let Ken explain…

I have a collection of over 200 fanzines from the 60’s-80’s that I plan to scan and talk about, one at a time. I hope to have some of the participants answer a few questions. Many of those participants are established comics professionals now, while some have gone on to other things. I will show a few snippets from each zine and give you a link to download a pdf of the whole thing, which I hope all of you will do!

For Ink Stains 39, Ken took a look at Collector 28 from 1973.   Edited and published by Bill G. Wilson.

Collector 28 is a nice find.  I’d never seen it before reading Ken’s column.  Chock full of the stuff that fanzines were known for this issue features:

  • A color Ken Barr cover
  • Art by Don Rosa, Alan Hanley, Bill Black, a Don Newton portfolio, John Byrne, Gil Kane and more.
  • Articles on Star Trek and The Shadow and more.

Ah, the memories of the glory days of fanzines.  Thanks to Ken Meyer, Jr. for making these available!

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13 Things You Didn’t Know About “The Dick Van Dyke Show”

Eddie Deezen and Neatorama present 13 Things You Didn’t Know About The Dick Van Dyke Show.  Here are three of my favorites…

4. The show was not successful in its first season and was actually cancelled by CBS. Producer Danny Thomas had to personally go to the network execs and convince (beg) them to leave the show on the air. The show picked up steam during summer reruns that year, remained on the air and became the “classic” series we all know. Ironically, after star Van Dyke decided to end the series after it’s five-year run in 1966, it was the CBS executives who begged him to stay on.

7. Buddy Sorrel, the wise-cracking joke writer played by Morey Amsterdam, was actually based on Mel Brooks, who was originally a comedy writer and worked with the show’s producer Carl Reiner on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows in the 1950s.

9. The show was usually filmed before a studio audience, but was not on at least three occasions. One was on the day of JFK’s assassination- November 22, 1963. On that day, in the middle of rehearsals, the cast heard about the president’s assassination and decided to go ahead and film the episode “Happy Birthday and Too Many More” anyway. However, it was decided that they would do the episode with no studio audience, figuring no one would be in the mood to laugh at such a time.

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25 Fascinating Facts About “Breaking Bad”

Jennifer Wood and Mental_Floss present 25 Fascinating Facts About Breaking Bad.  Here are three of my favorites…

2. THE NETWORK REALLY WANTED MATTHEW BRODERICK TO STAR.

It’s impossible to imagine Breaking Bad with anyone other than Bryan Cranston in the lead role, but he wasn’t as well known when the series kicked off, and AMC wanted a star. They were particularly interested in casting either Matthew Broderick or John Cusack in the lead.

“We all still had the image of Bryan shaving his body in Malcolm in the Middle,” a former AMC executive told The Hollywood Reporter about their initial reluctance to cast Cranston. “We were like, ‘Really? Isn’t there anybody else?’” But Gilligan had worked with Cranston before, on an episode of The X-Files, and knew he had the chops to navigate the quirks of the part. The network brass watched the episode, and agreed.

“We needed somebody who could be dramatic and scary yet have an underlying humanity so when he dies, you felt sorry for him,” Gilligan said. “Bryan nailed it.”

10. GILLIGAN GOT SOME HELP FROM THE WALKING DEAD CREW FOR FRING’S FINAL EPISODE.

Fring’s final sendoff is one of the most memorable visual images from the entire series—and they were able to enlist the help of some true gore experts. “Indeed we did have great help from the prosthetic effects folks at The Walking Dead,” Gilligan told The New York Times. “And I want to give a shout-out to Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger, and KNB EFX, those two gentlemen and their company, because their shop did that effect. And then that was augmented by the visual effects work of a guy named Bill Powloski and his crew, who digitally married a three-dimensional sculpture that KNB EFX created with the reality of the film scene. So you can actually see into and through Gus’s head in that final reveal. It’s a combination of great makeup and great visual effects. And it took months to do.”

15. HEISENBERG’S SIGNATURE HAT WAS A MATTER A PRACTICALITY.

Heisenberg’s porkpie hat came to identify Walter White’s dark side, but it originated from a very practical place. “Bryan kept asking me, after he shaved his head, ‘Can I have a hat?’ because his head was cold,” Kathleen Detoro, the show’s costume designer, explained. “So I would ask Vince and he kept saying no; Jesse wore the hats. Finally, Vince said, ‘I think there’s a place …’ It was Bryan asking for a hat, me asking Vince, and then Vince figuring out where in the story it makes sense: It’s when he really becomes Heisenberg.” (If you want to buy your own Heisenberg hat, it was made by Goorin.)

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11 Solid Gold Facts About Bonanza

MeTV presents 11 Solid Gold Facts About Bonanza.  Here are three of my favorites…

BLOCKER FOUNDED THE BONANZA RESTAURANTS.

Not only is the popular buffet chain named after the show, it was founded by one of its cast members. Blocker started the chain in 1963, which eventually boasted 600 locations by 1989. Ponderosa restaurants started in Canada in the early 1970s and expanded to the United States in the 1980s. Today, both chains are owned by the same company.

THEY WEAR THE SAME OUTFITS FOR A REASON.

Have you ever noticed how the characters’ clothes don’t change from episode to episode? From the fourth season onwards, the Cartwrights wear the same outfits like cartoon characters. The standardization was made to make it easier to reuse stock footage for action sequences and to make it easier to duplicate the wardrobe for the stunt doubles.

MOST OF THE CAST MEMBERS WORE HAIRPIECES.

During the last few years of the series, Greene, Roberts and Blocker all had to wear hairpieces because their natural hair was thinning. Greene and Roberts started the series wearing hairpieces, while Blocker started wearing a toupee in 1968

 

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