Tag Archives: once upon a time

Guest Star of the Month?

Often, when we are watching the myriad shows we follow, you end up spotting the same faces over and over again.  Most of the time this goes in cycles and a few faces will crop up in everything for a time, then they’ll be replaced by a new crop of faces.  So it goes in the Hollywood system.

These people are the guest stars who have the goods.

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Sci-fi and Fantasy TV update…

Fringe

After a few posts about the state of TV Sci-fi and Fantasy shows, I thought I’d do a brief update on where they’re currently at…

Alphas:
This has had a relatively good start, with the first season showing some likeable characters and the usual dose of conspiracy and subterfuge thrown in.  It has come across as an ‘A-Team’ with powers, which hasn’t always worked, but has shown enough promise in these episodes to give it a chance. A grittier angle, if chosen could definitely help proceedings.

Once Upon a Time:
The first of the ‘fairy tale’ shows, this has proven to be solid in the ratings and will definitely see out a full season; this may be due to the overriding ‘frothiness’ of the show, which plays on charm and lightness, lacking any real menace or darkness in its scenarios. Robert Carlyle and Jennifer Morrison are as watchable as ever, but you do get the feeling that the actors are not being stretched, or allowed to express themselves as much as you’d like; Lana Parrilla, for instance,  is clearly better than currently represented.

Grimm:
Much darker than Once Upon a Time, Grimm is angled much more towards the bloody nature of fairy tales and throws in some conspiracy/politics for good measure. This will no doubt have more depth that OUaT in the long run, but needs to find its feet. The main characters have still to gel properly and how each character interacts with David Giuntoli’s main character Nick, has yet to be settled. In some cases it really doesn’t seem to be working, but in others, such as when paired with Silas Weir Mitchell (Eddy) it really does work well. More time is needed, but should come good.

Warehouse 13:
Still strong, this has retained its playful feel, but added in some more depth; unfortunately this comes in the form of the usual conspiracy angle, but it has been handled quite well. The charm of the main cast and ‘steampunk’ technology continues to be exploited well and so far they have avoided all the main hokum pitfalls that could have arisen. The traditional Syfy channel Christmas special was quite successful and had a good balance between fan ‘nods’ and story.

Eureka:
A very good season with Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton guest starring for a large portion, this has been a bittersweet period, with the news that the next season will be the last. Still quite goofy in tone, but the almost Acme  style science still has its charm. The Christmas special was very hit and miss however, with much of it being animated, but the script and story was poor. While the animation worked well and allowed for various jokes, the underlying story was poorly constructed and had far too many ‘life lessons’ for key characters, which came over as saccharine,  preachy and forced.

Haven:
They’ve managed to move this along quite well, while retaining the central core of the idea, and not forcibly maintaining a status quo; this has allowed the depth to come into the characters and it seems they are allowing it to naturally develop. Some slight hiccups in the season arc, with certain characters and plotlines not working 100%, with the writers putting themselves in a awkward place, which they then failed to get out of satisfactorily.

Fringe:
Well, another JJ Abrams related show has changed it all up again, as he tends to do after every couple of seasons. (e.g. Alias etc..) this time however, it has worked quite well and Fringe continues to be one of the best shows on TV. Solid performances all round and an engaging storyline have kept this from going stale. The change this season has raised some new ideas and fresh perspective, so creatively much is possible. I’m eagerly awaiting the next episode after the Christmas hiatus!

Terra Nova:
Still far too much standard storytelling with this one and every episode I am reminded once more of Earth2. The setting is almost irrelevant and not enough is being made of either the sci-fi elements or the pre-historic landscape elements. So much more could be done with the resources of the show, let alone with the concept, that is disappointing that the scope has been so formulaic and standard fare. Must do better!

Supernatural:
While this hasn’t been the strongest or most consistent season storywise so far, it has still been good quality and remains a good show. It has yet to be seen whether the introduction of the Leviathans will be seen as weak or not, but so far their overall arc seems to be too far in the background compared to the brother soap opera. The lack of Castiel has been a loss to this half of the season, so hopefully this will change in the second half. Potential for Sheriff Mills to be a bigger part is quite encouraging if they take that route.

Other stuff I couldn’t give a monkeys about:
Vampire Diaries (whatever…)
The Secret Circle (90210 with Witches)


(Nearly) New TV – Only slightly used…

Ahhhhh!  The new US TV schedules are due to start in September/October and a whole new load of TV shows are set to rise or fall, based mainly on random events, Neilsen boxes, or unknown political machinations.

Having looked at a few lists of the new shows though, there doesn’t really seem to be much originality as per usual, and there are a few especially tired old ideas.  This years themes appear to be ‘Mad Men’, ‘Memory and Deduction’ and ‘The Supernatural’.

The Mad Men effect:  Two shows are set to appear after the critical success of Mad Men.

1.  Pan Am

Set in the 60s and revolving around Pan Am Stewardesses, this looks likely to be very much ‘Mad Men in the air’.  Promising elements include Christina Ricci in a starring role and direction from Thomas Schlamme, who has ‘West Wing’ and ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’ pedigree.

2.  The Playboy Club

I guess this will be ‘Mad Men with bunny tails, with a bit of crime thrown in’, if the trailer is anything to go by.  Good things?  Amber Heard and a solid cast, including David Krumholtz, who is always quality.

Memory and Deduction: Really???

3.  Unforgettable

First there was ‘Psych’, a comedy based crime drama, which worked exceptionally well and is still going; Psych involves a hyper observant son of a Cop, who can deduce clues about crimes and so he can consult for the Police, pretends to be Psychic.  Several years into the run of Psych, ‘The Mentalist’ appears, which has a consultant to the CBI, who is hyper observant, has excellent deductive reasoning and used to be a fake psychic medium.  Then we got ‘Lie to Me’, which had a group of consultants who used psychology, deduction and facial microexpressions to help law enforcement solve cases.  All three of these series are good, especially Lie to Me, but strangely (or not so strangely I guess), the weakest, most formulaic one, The Mentalist, is the most popular, based on ratings and Lie to Me was recently cancelled.

So now we have Unforgettable – A woman who has hyperthymesia, so has perfect recall and remembers everything; therefore she will use her ability and deductive reasoning to consult with the Police. *sigh*

If there are any positives to take from the available details so far, it is that it does star Poppy Montgomery and Kevin Rankin, as well as other solid actors, so that might make it ok.  I’ll give it a chance based on those two actors, but I do not hold high hopes.

4. Person of Interest

Now this one could be a little better, but could suffer from the J.J. Abrams curse; namely, it could start extremely well, then he could ruin it later on by making it farcical (see Alias, Lost), although he has managed to make Fringe consistently good.  Maybe he has learnt something! 😉

This show involves a billionaire who has invented a method of predicting who will be involved in a violent crime in the near future.  To aid him, he enlists an ex CIA agent to deduce whether the person is victim, perpetrator or witness to try to prevent the crimes from happening.

A bit of a mixture between the Philip K. Dick short story ‘The Minority Report’, Tru Calling and even elements of Quantum Leap, it doesn’t seem that original, but it will no doubt grab a massive audience, even if it is just for the connection to J.J. Abrams.  Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson star, so it has quality leads at least and the trailer actually seems quite interesting; we’ll have to see how it develops and hope it doesn’t become a ‘monster of the week’ type show.

The Supernatural ones:

5.  Grimm

Based on the idea that fantasy creatures from the Grimm fairy tales really do exist and there is a whole other world under the surface of ours, this is sort of like ‘The Lost Girl’, or ‘Neverwhere’, but set in Portland.  A good cast, including Sasha Roiz and the likelihood of good writing gives me hope and I look forward to its debut.

This was created by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, the latter of which has an excellent pedigree including Buffy, Angel, Moonlight, X-Files, Eureka, and In Plain Sight, so if the quality isn’t of a high standard then I will be surprised!

6.  Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time is set in a town where “the magic and mystery of fairy tales may just be real”.  This doesn’t sound the most promising new show and could be quite ‘light’, based on trailers.   Created by Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis, both of whom worked on ‘Lost’, this could be ok, but could be horrific.  The relatively recent addition of Jane Espenson as a producer could help!

A good cast includes Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jessy Schram and Giancarlo Esposito, so that is a good start and we’ll have to see how original it can be; one issue though: It could be infused with Disney schmaltz all the way through…

7.  The Secret Circle

From the online details this sounds like The Vampire Diaries with Witches.  oh dear…

Positives?  It’s good to see Thomas Dekker finding something after ‘Terminator: TSCC’ and Britt Robertson is good, so it has that going for it.  It’ll probably be a hit with the tweens and just be beneath the people involved in making it.  I don’t expect anything of the quality of Buffy for instance…

There are some more bits of news kicking around about new shows, so if I get the urge I’ll put my two pennies worth in on those too… Hopefully, there will be some really original stuff!


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