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Top television shows of 2005

To say that 2005 was perhaps the best year of television in the last decade would not be an understatement. Unlike in years past, where the networks seemed to be relying on overused reality concepts (like how many times can there be a riff on the "Who Wants to Marry a …" concept?) this year comedies and dramas were back in top form. It seemed as if the networks finally "got" that they had to put as much emphasis on writing than on the just overall concept.

But it already seems as if the networks are starting to forget what they learned in 2005. Rather than taking chances with shows like Lost or Scrubs, networks seem to be trying to clone hits wherever they can. And when was the last time a cloned hit was anything worth watching?

Still, if the 2004 television season was like a fine meal, then the 2005 season was like an even finer meal with desert, a movie, dancing and a nightcap…

The best show of 2005 – Battlestar Galactica: On one level, Battlestar Galactica works as a traditional sci-fi yarn of "large space-ships" blasting other "large space-ships." But where Battlestar Galactica excels is that it works on a whole other level. Correction, other levels. Like it or not, Battlestar Galactica is a mirror of our times. Good (like the best bits of humanity shining through in times of crisis) or bad (paranoia existing at an almost cellular level) we are them and they are us.



The rest, in alphabetical order:

Arrested Development: Twenty minutes of Arrested Development is sheer bliss. At times watching the show, I would literally laugh to the point of almost choking. But choking in a good way. Now, it looks as if the current season of Arrested Development will be the last. Depressing? Yes. Then again, the best way to cure this type of depression is watching more Arrested Development! (A conundrum – I know.)

Deadwood: Deadwood is the perfect pragmatic drama on television these days. Characters act and behave as they seemingly would and do in real life. I think that's the real strength of Deadwood – it breaks all the rules of the "traditional" Western genera by having the characters behave in a realistic manner rather than a wishful one.

Doctor Who: (Doctor Who has not yet aired in the U.S.) Every bit a reinvention of the Doctor Who franchise as the remake of Battlestar Galactica was to that one, the new Doctor Who took a series that had low production values and decent story and gave it great production values and excellent story. It's the "perfect storm" of a show with writer/creator Russell T. Davies overseeing an excellent writing staff and he himself delivering excellent script after script and new Doctor Christopher Eccleston redefining the character.

Extras: Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant had a hard road to travel with Extras, their follow-up one of the best comedies ever, The Office. Somehow, Gervais and Merchant hit yet another homerun with Extras. Never relying on simple sight gags or jokes, the comedy of Extras comes from the life of the characters. In typical Gervais/Merchant style, one season of Extras consists of just six shows, three hours of television. But what fun spending those three hours with Extras is.

Lost: Has Lost redefined the face of modern television? At least in the short term it has. This season there were no less than four new dramas to "borrow" the technique used in Lost where the story unfolds over the course of the entire season. And one of those shows, Prison Break, is a certified hit. (No comment on the other three.)

Thick of It: (Thick of It has not yet aired in the U.S.) A child to The Office, Thick of It roams the halls of the British government and all that happens there. Sometimes I think we feel that politicians and people with power in general are flawless. But Thick of It reveals that politicians are people too with all the flaws that go along with being human.

Veronica Mars: Blending the typical teen drama (boyfriends and cars) with a hint of reality (being burned alive in a gasoline soaked refrigerator) Veronica Mars bends our expectations of what the teen is and transforms it into what it should be. Somehow, Veronica Mars survived cancellation and is currently airing in its second season on UPN.

Honorable mentions:

Scrubs – Still one of the funniest comedy series even after five seasons.

Justice League Unlimited: Adult themes in a kids cartoon. Paranoia so thick it puts The X-Files to shame.

Mythbusters: Any show where the hosts blow up automobiles for fun is a show for me!

Survivorman: Living off the land can be hard work. Very hard work!

By Bert Ehrmann
12/29/2005


World Trade Center

First look at Oliver Stone's upcoming World Trade Center movie starring Nicolas Cage, Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal.



Larger view and additional photos here.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/29/2005


Sunshine

A few images have appeared online for director Danny Boyle's (28 Days Later) upcoming movie Sunshine. Sunshine is due in theaters next fall.





Larger views here.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/28/2005


Lost

File this under "what a gip" – people wanting to purchase the Lost DVDs playable on region 2 DVD players (Europe, Japan, The Middle East) end up paying TWICE as much for the DVDs than people here in America and Canada with our region 1 DVDs.

For some reason, the region 2 version of the Lost DVDs were released in two sets, each retailing for (approx.) $60, or around $120 for the entire set. Here in America, the entire set can be purchased for (retail) around $60.

Does this make sense to anyone, other than Buena Vista Home Entertainment looking to earn even more from the Lost DVDs overseas than here in the U.S.?

By Bert Ehrmann
12/27/2005


Superman Returns

Check out this very cool photo from the upcoming Superman Returns movie, due in theaters next Summer.



Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/26/2005


Doctor Who

Episode #15: "The Christmas Invasion"

The Doctor: "Did you miss me?"

The Doctor: "No second chances…I'm that sort of a man."

It's been a little less than six months since the last new episode of Doctor Who aired on British television and nearly a decade here in the U.S. (The DVD set of the new Doctor Who series will be making its way stateside early next year.)

The Christmas episode of the series is meant to bridge the gap between season one and the second season. In "The Christmas Invasion," The Doctor is out of commission after regenerating to a new body and it's up to Rose, Jackie and Mickey to deal with an invasion of the Earth by a species of aliens known as the Sycorax whom hold one-third of the Earth's population (around two billion people) hostage.

Though much of the episode runs a bit slow, things do pick up when The Doctor returns to form. Sometime in 2006, season two of Doctor Who will begin airing on BBC. And if this episode is any indication of the quality of the series, season two will be as fun a ride as the first one was.

Don't forget, spin-off series from Doctor Who - Torchwood is set to start airing sometime in '06 as well.







By Bert Ehrmann
12/26/2005


Movie Reviews

Murderball (2005): An interesting look at the sport of Wheelchair Rugby, aka “Murderball.” More a study of the athletes who excel in the sport than the sport itself, Murderball sheds new light on just what it's like to be paraplegic. My only complaint is that the movie is too short for all it trys to accomplish. (8/10)



The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005): In The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson) is on trial for the death of Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter), whom died after a failed exorcism. Lawyer Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) takes the case defending the priest only to advance to a full partner at the law firm she works at, but soon finds that whatever evil thing happened to Emily might be real and after her as well. The Exorcism of Emily Rose suffers from Saw (2004) syndrome– parts of the movie are very good and parts of it are mediocre at best. Plus a lot of what happened in the courtroom seemed to be a bit clichéd and unrealistic. (8/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
12/24/2005


Scrubs

Returning to NBC Tuesday, January 3, is the nearly canceled after one season but oh-so-good Scrubs. Two episodes from the new fifth season will air back-to-back starting at 9:00 P.M. (EST). From NBC.com:

MY INTERN'S EYES - DR. COX PUTS J.D.'S SKILLS AS AN ATTENDING TO THE TEST- J.D. (Zach Braff) struggles with decision-making and responsibility now that he is an attending physician, all the while Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) is testing his skills. And while Elliot (Sarah Chalke) is learning the ropes in her new hospital, she still feels more comfortable hanging out at Sacred Heart. Meanwhile, Carla (Judi Reyes) is ready to have a baby, but Turk (Donald Faison) afraid of moving forward continues to slip her birth control pills.

SECRETS AND LIES - J.D. (Zach Braff) questions the bond he has with his interns when Dr. Kelso (Ken Jenkins) tells him that inevitably he will begin treating them badly, as it has been throughout history at the hospital. The Janitor (Neil Flynn) further complicates matters by telling J.D. that his interns only laugh at his jokes to suck up to him. Meanwhile, Carla (Judy Reyes) visits Elliot (Sarah Chalke) at her new job and inadvertently creates an awkward new nickname for her friend when she tells her colleagues an embarrassing story. Elsewhere, Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) prevents Turk (Donald Faison) from warning Jordan (Christa Miller) about a notorious con man patient (guest star Alexander Chaplin) in hopes that she’ll be mortified and quit.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/24/2005


Trailers

Check out the not-so-scary trailer for the upcoming remake The Hills Have Eyes. How odd is it that most of the stuff depicted in the trailer was in the original movie, released nearly thirty years ago? (And do I detect a bit of the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) in the scene with the refrigerator?)



Also out is a large Quicktime version of the Miami Vice trailer.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/23/2005


Arrested Development

Episode #48 – "Making a Stand"
GOB Bluth
: "I've got this Christian girlfriend now, and she's trying to get me a better man and reconnect with my son… And I'm trying to get her to renounce God and f%$k me."

Buster Bluth: "And that's why you don't use a one-armed person to scare someone."









By Bert Ehrmann
12/22/2005


Battlestar Galactica

Via Zap2It:

With all of the networks rushing to make programming available for iPod viewing, Sci Fi Channel is breaking some iTunes barrier or other with the premiere of "Sci Fi Inside: Battlestar Galactica."

The half-hour special will premiere on iTunes on Thursday, Dec. 22, well ahead of its Jan. 2 first cable airing. The telecast serves as a lead-in for the winter premiere of "Galactica" on Jan. 6.
Download this episode FREE via iTunes now.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/22/2005


The Unit

The web-site for The Unit, set to begin airing on CBS early next year has gone live. There's not much there now, but I would expect that to change. From the site:

From Executive Producers David Mamet and Shawn Ryan, THE UNIT is an action drama that follows a covert team of Special Forces operatives as they risk their lives on undercover missions around the globe, while their families maintain the home front, protecting their husbands’ secrets. Jonas Blane leads the Unit on missions out in the field and is responsible for taking new recruit Bob Brown under his wing. The Unit includes Jonas, Colonel Tom Ryan, Mack Gerhardt, Charles Grey, Keenan Williams and Bob Brown, all highly skilled, trustworthy, brave and dependable soldiers whose ability to rely on each other is what creates their brotherhood. Jonas’ wife, Molly, is the base matriarch who comforts and counsels the other wives as they cope with the fear and uncertainty they experience when their husbands leave home. Molly and Tiffy Gerhardt, a wife hiding her own dark secrets, help Bob’s pregnant wife, Kim, acclimate to the stress of her new secret life.
Mamet is one of the best writers working in the business today, having either written or had a hand in movies like Spartan, Ronin and Glengarry Glen Ross. Shawn Ryan is the creator of the series The Shield. The Unit stars Dennis Haysbert (24) and Scott Foley (Felicity).

By Bert Ehrmann
12/21/2005


Ronald D. Moore

Lots of interesting Ronald D. Moore (creator of the current Battlestar Galactica series) news via the futon critic:

NBC Universal Television Studio has completed a new, two-year overall production deal with writer-producer Ronald D. Moore ("Battlestar Galactica," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine") to develop various projects for the studio…

Moore's new deal will also allow him to continue as one of the show-running executive producers of "Battlestar Galactica" for NBC Universal's SCI FI Channel.…

The NBC pilot "Pen and the Sword" is among one of the two projects currently in development, and Moore will serve as the writer and executive producer of the fantasy drama. For SCI FI Channel, Moore will (…) produce "Warehouse 13," a present-day, science-fiction adventure pilot.

Read the whole story here.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/19/2005


King Kong

There's an interesting article up over at JimHillMedia.com on the current King Kong movie, the 1976 King Kong movie and how everything might relate to ex-Disney chief Michael Eisner:

It took numerous trips to Los Angeles Superior Court to finally sort out all the details. With Universal Studios trumpeting about how their "The Legend of King Kong" would obviously be the superior motion picture. A full-color remake that would retain much of the charm of the original "King Kong" (I.E. The story would still be set in the 1930s, all the monsters featured in the film would still be created by using stop motion animation, etc.) with the added plus of Sensurround.
Read the whole article here.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/19/2005


Aliens

There have been a series of twelve inch figures released from the movie Aliens. (It looks as if these figures are from a company out of Hong Kong.) Characters include Cpl. Hicks, Sgt. Apone and Pvt. Vasquez. All are available for purchase online at Cotswold Collectibles.

Thanks to Tim F. for the heads up.







Click for a photo of the figures presented together.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/18/2005


Miami Vice

The teaser poster has been released for the upcoming Miami Vice movie.


Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/17/2005


King Kong (2005)

The remake King Kong (2005) has been hailed by the critics as one of the best movies of the year. I’d argue that although King Kong is a good movie, it is by no means a great one. Parts of King Kong are brilliant and parts of the movie aren’t so brilliant. But the brilliant parts go a long way to making up for the not so brilliant ones.



King Kong (2005) follows most of the major plot points of the original (1933) – the crew of the ship “Venture” stumbles on a mysterious fog covered uncharted island. There, they find that gigantic creatures including dinosaurs and an ape known as Kong inhabit the island. When one of their crew is kidnapped and offered up as a sacrifice to the ape beast, the crew of the Venture must go into the deadly heart of the island to attempt rescue.

There were a few changes made to the characters. This time, filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black) is in debt up to his eyeballs and sees filming on an uncharted island as the perfect location to finishing a movie he has partially complete and making a little money in the process. Ann Darow (Naomi Watts) is a struggling actress brought on the trip more for her dress size, the same as the previous actress who has dropped out of the picture, than her acting skills. Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) is the writer of Denham’s movie, and only goes on the trip when Denham tricks him into staying on the boat a few minutes too long while casting off in order to finish the script.

The most notable difference between the versions is the relationship between Kong and Darrow. In the original, Kong is a beast who holds onto Darrow as a prize not wanting to give her back. She wants to get escape the beast, but she is no more than a plaything to Kong. In the remake, Kong also kidnaps Darrow but their relationship changes throughout the movie; it evolves to something special, something different. Darrow comes to see the true Kong, a creature who’s the last of his kind all alone in this world, and understands him. Most interesting of all, one thing I thought while watching the remake was that the Kong/Darrow relationship was more in line with The Iron Giant and Hogarth Hughes in The Iron Giant (1999) movie than wild beast/helpless woman of the original.

Peter Jackson’s King Kong has a much darker vision of the world that Kong exists in than the 1933 original. In his version, Darrow is so down on her luck that she considers stripping for money. At one point, a member of Denham’s crew is killed execution style with a club to the head by the island natives. A crewman from the Venture is swallowed alive by a slug-like creature and goes down screaming.

And that’s one of the problems with the movie. It’s almost as if Jackson wants to present the story of King Kong as a fantastical adventure mixed with realism. In the fantasy King Kong, characters run in between the legs of stampeding Brontosaurus while being chased by velociraptor-like dinosaurs. These characters keep up with the stampede delivering on-the-mark perfect machine-gun shots to the dinosaurs chasing them.

Then, though, Jackson seems to want to switch gears showing the “realities” of Skull Island. Characters are so frightened they cry, one of the characters is graphically speared by a native and as Kong searches out Darrow in downtown New York he chases down women matching her “look” and tosses them aside like rag dolls when he does not find her.

I’m not sure these two competing styles work together. At one point we’re to believe in the fantastical, the next the realistic. It’s a tough sell and I’m not sure Jackson is able to pull it off.

But what really hurts King Kong are several rather large plot-holes present throughout the story. These holes do detract greatly from the movie overall and I would chalk these up to either sloppy writing, bad editing or bits of the movie being cut out to cut down on the already long running time. However, even though there are problems with the overall story and mood, the character of Kong is magnificent. He is a joy to watch and acts and looks, for the most part, like a real ape. He becomes a real character. And I think that’s a very important quality here – in the confines of this movie Kong is real. When Kong dies at the end, it is a sad moment and not a relief as in the original. I would expect that by this point people would have become so emotionally involved with Kong that they might cry at his death.

I just wish that Peter Jackson could have delivered more emotional attachment with the rest of King Kong (2005) as he did with the last twenty minutes of the movie. (8/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
12/17/2005


V for Vendetta

The full trailer for the upcoming V for Vendetta movie has been released. I'd say that the visuals of the trailer look interesting, it's the story that I'm worried about.



(Check out the older teaser trailer here.)

By Bert Ehrmann
12/15/2005


Mission Impossible III

The first official image has been released from the upcoming Mission Impossible III movie.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/14/2005


Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader – " Trick question: what time is A Christmas Story on?"

By Bert Ehrmann
12/14/2005


Poseidon

Check out the trailer for the remake of The Poseidon Adventure –  Poseidon, due in theaters next Summer. From the official site:

When a rogue wave capsizes a luxury cruise ship in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, a small group of survivors find themselves unlikely allies in a battle for their lives.
How this Poseidon relates to the made-for-TV movie The Poseidon Adventure which aired on NBC earlier this Fall is anyone's guess.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/13/2005


Mission Impossible III

The teaser poster for this upcoming Mission Impossible III movie was released earlier this week. It's hard to believe that the first Mission Impossible (1996) will be a decade old when the third one is released next Summer. Christ, I feel old.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/13/2005


Arrested Development

Episode #47 – "Prison Break-In"
Narrator: "That would be the happiest moment George Michael would ever experience in his life."







By Bert Ehrmann
12/12/2005


Miami Vice

The teaser trailer for the upcoming Miami Vice movie is available over at the Bacardi web site. (Why the Bacardi web site and not some place like the Apple trailers site is anyone's guess?) Miami Vice the movie is directed by Michael Mann who had a strong hand in the Miami Vice television series as well as having directed Heat (1995) and Collateral (2004).



The official web site describes the movie as:

The cocaine cowboys of the ’80s are gone, but Miami’s Casablanca allure, the undercover cops and the attitudes of Michael Mann’s culturally influential television series have been enhanced by time in the feature film version of Miami Vice.

Ricardo Tubbs (Academy Award® winner Jamie Foxx of Ray, Jarhead) is urbane and dead smart. He lives with Bronx-born intel analyst Trudy, played by British actress Naomie Harris (28 Days Later, upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean II and III), as they work undercover transporting drug loads into South Florida to identify a group responsible for three murders.

Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell of S.W.A.T., The New World) is charismatic and flirtatious until—while undercover working with the supplier of the South Florida group—he gets romantically entangled with Isabella, the Chinese-Cuban wife of an arms and drugs trafficker. Isabella is played by the Chinese actress Gong Li (Raise the Red Lantern, Memoirs of a Geisha).

The best undercover identity is oneself with the volume turned up and restraint unplugged. The intensity of this case pushes Crockett and Tubbs out onto the edge where identity and fabrication become blurred, where cop and player become one—especially for Crockett in his romance with Isabella and for Tubbs in the provocation of an assault on those he loves.

Miami Vice, as a large-scale feature film, liberates what is adult, dangerous and alluring about working deeply undercover…especially when Crockett and Tubbs go to where their badges don’t count…

By Bert Ehrmann
12/12/2005


Syriana

In Syriana, oil is the substance that makes the "world go round," be it the fuel that powers our nation's economy or the gigantic corporations that make billions pulling it from the ground. And the price of loosing a constant supply of oil to our government is so high, that they're willing to look the other way while these gigantic corporations bribe, steal and force their way into new supplies and, in fact, become indirectly involved in U.S. friendly nation building in the Middle East to make sure the tap never runs out.



Syriana was written and directed by Stephen Gaghan. Gaghan also wrote one of the best movies of the last decade, Traffic (2000) , as well as The Alamo (2004) which I liked as well.

Syriana is interesting, though just a bit too complex with a few too many storylines going on all at once. There's the story of Bob Barnes (George Clooney), a CIA agent tracking a missing missile in the Middle East who finds himself at odds with the government that is more interested in maintaining the status quo than making a difference. There's the story of a lawyer (Jeffrey Wright) working for an oil company, Pakistani workers looking for work after they've lost their oil jobs in the Middle East, a prince (Alexander Siddig) wanting to succeed his father to make real change, his American advisor (Matt Damon), the advisor's wife (Amanda Peet)...

Clearly the most interesting story going on there is Clooney's as CIA agent Bob Barnes. Barnes is in the best position to know the realities of the situation in the Middle East having spent years there working as a "spook." Unfortunately for him, his experience doesn't amount to much in the current administration who sees what they'd like to see happening in the Middle East rather than what's really going on. (There's a whole sub plot of members of the oil companies being members of an organization devoted to bringing freedom to Iran as a cover to get in good with the administration, when in fact Barnes knows the likelihood of this happening to be very low.) And it doesn't help Bob that he speaks his mind, he's no "yes man."

One thing I kept thinking while watching Syriana was that a story with the depth and breadth of Syriana might better be served as a multi-episodic television show airing on HBO. Here, at least, these many stories could play out and have some greater depth than they do in a just two hour long movie. (8/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
12/11/2005


Richard Pryor – Dead at 65

Comedy legend Richard Pryor has died at age 65. From CNN:

Just days after his 65th birthday, groundbreaking comedian Richard Pryor died Saturday of a heart attack, his wife told CNN.

Pryor, who had been ill with multiple sclerosis, died at Encino Hospital near Los Angeles at 7:58 a.m. PT. Jennifer Lee Pryor tried to revive him at their home before paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital, she said.

"He enjoyed life right up until the end," she said, adding that Pryor had been laughing a lot and was in good spirits in the two weeks preceding his death. "At the end, there was a smile on his face."

By Bert Ehrmann
12/10/2005


Arrested Development

Justine Bateman, real life sister to Jason Bateman (Michael Bluth), will guest-star on Arrested Development early next year. From Zap2It:

In the show's latest bit of inside-joke casting, Justine Bateman -- the older sister of star Jason Bateman -- will guest-star on the FOX series scheduled for Monday, Jan. 9. She's filming the episode this week. (…) (Justine will) play the far less cringe-inducing role of Michael's long-lost older sister Nellie.

After discovering he has another sister, Michael tracks Nellie down and hires her as a consultant for The Bluth Co. As with most things related to the business, though, the plan doesn't quite work out the way Michael envisioned, and he discovers Nellie might not be who she says she is.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/8/2005


Listen to a Movie

Listen to movies and television shows online free. Cool! (Somehow, I can't see this site lasting that long!)

By Bert Ehrmann
12/7/2005


Arrested Development

Episode # 46 – "The Ocean Walker"
Tobias Bluth: "Why am I not going under water? Dear God, why am I not going under water!?"





By Bert Ehrmann
12/5/2005


X-Men 3

The "Announcement Teaser" trailer has been released for the upcoming X-Men 3 movie. Do I detect a hint of "Days of Future Past" here? Am I the only one to be worried as to the look of The Beast? Correction, really worried?









See the trailer for yourself here.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/5/2005


Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader entitled "Just four, that’s it – no more" on the four types if sitcoms on television these days.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/5/2005


The Ricky Gervais Show

The first episode of The Ricky Gervais Show has been posted to the Guardian Unlimited:

In which Ricky, Steve and Karl discuss ...
the pros and cons of technological invention, leading on to Karl's Malthusian concerns and a possible solution. There's a digression into the extra sensory perception of early hominids. Oh, and some Monkey News of course. Plus strange tales about lethal drinking vessels and stately homes.
Listen to the episode for yourself here – MP3 format, MP4 format.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/5/2005


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

To call Kiss Kiss Bang Bang “brilliant” would be an understatement. To put it simply enough, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of the finest movies to be released in quite some time and one of the funniest as well.



In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, bumbling crook Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) is shot running from a toy store burglary, leaving his partner behind worse for wear in an ally. Harry only escapes police pursuit by ducking into a random door, which happens to be hosting a movie audition. Harry aces the audition, about a crook that leaves his wounded partner behind, by really getting into character, crying and screaming. The producers think he's using "Method Acting" to get into character but in fact he's simply reacting to that night's events.

Harry finds himself out in L.A. to audition for studio executives and meets “Gay” Perry (Val Kilmer), a private detective hired to coach Harry on his upcoming audition who, as his name/nick-name so quaintly says, happens to be gay.

Harry accompanies Perry on a case observing a cabin in the woods where the two stumble across the murder of a woman locked in a trunk of a car driven into a lake. It quickly becomes apparent that the whole thing's a set-up meant to pin the body on Harry and Perry. And when the sister of a woman Harry met at a party whom Harry knew as a child in Indiana turns up dead via suicide, everything starts to make sense. Or does it?

In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, character Harry narrates the movie at times literally stopping the action in its tracks, skipping around in time and scene spouting lines like, “How 'bout it, filmgoer? Have you solved the case of the - the dead people in L.A.?” At other times, Harry breaks the fourth wall commenting on the movie as it plays out on the screen. Harry remarks that he hates tacked on Hollywood endings where people who should be dead from their wounds turn up alive at the end of the movie, and that why doesn't everyone who died in the movie come back? With that, the door of Harry's room opens and every character killed during the preceding two hours walks in as if they were at a family reunion. Then, to cap it all off, an actor wearing a very bad Abe Lincoln costume walks through the door, then Elvis…

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang feels as if the movie Lethal Weapon were written by someone who had worked on the television series Arrested Development – it has that sort of irrelevance for the genre as well as letting the audience in on the joke. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang isn't a send-up of the genre like a Naked Gun or Airplane; it's simply a take on it.

In fact, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was written and directed by Shane Black, writer and creator of the Lethal Weapon franchise. In the movie, Black takes the characters and concepts he first introduced nearly twenty years, dissects and twists them into something new, funny, unique and brilliant. (10/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
12/4/2005


BBC America

The Los Angeles Times has posted an interesting article on BBC America, the shows they air and BBC America's plans for the future. Those plans apparently include original programming. From the article:

It can be difficult to find a broad television audience in the U.S. for contemporary British fare, in which the language can be incomprehensible and the quirky humor might miss the funny bone by a mile. But after seven years, BBC America is still trying — and making inroads — with a newly expanded budget, adjustments in programming, and a plan to create its own original shows.

Original shows!? There are literally THOUSANDS of BBC shows originally aired overseas which have NEVER been seen by an American audience. Why is there any need to make U.S. specific shows for BBC America when, literally, just about everything aired on the various BBC channels is new to an American audience?

Lately I've started to get the feeling that rather than taking chances with its shows, like airing The Office before it was a bonafide Golden Globe winning hit, that BBC America is instead taking British shows that are like American hits and running those instead. If Desperate Housewives is a hit here, then BBC America will start air Footballers Wive$ about, "the ongoing story of our favorite naughty wives and their hubbies (…) where lies, deceit, sex, and scandal are all in a day's work." And if the various CSI franchises pulls in the ratings then BBC America will air Silent Witness, about pathology which BBC America promotes as "Dead men do tell tales."

Occasionally, BBC America does air quality programming. Stuff like The Office, State of Play, Coupling and Shameless give spice to BBC America. But while BBC America airs hours and hours of programming like Mile High, Footballer$ Wives and Cash in the Attic, real gems of British television go unwatched by the American masses. Where are shows like Thick of It, Doctor Who or Spaced? Apparently nowhere when you live in America.

BBC America seems to be trapped between two worlds showing BRITISH shows to an AMERICAN audience. But what they fail to remember is that being a member of the American audience, all we have to do to watch American shows is switch the channel.

We watch BBC American because we're hoping for something different.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/2/2005


Lost

Episode #34 – "What Kate Did"
Locke: "When you say 'beginning' you mean 'beginning.'"

The next episode of Lost airs in early 2006, more than a month away.…Great.







By Bert Ehrmann
11/30/2005


Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant

Starting this Monday (12/5), Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant (The Office, Extras) will be hosting a podcast. Via Guardian Unlimited:

In an industry first, Guardian Unlimited is to podcast twelve exclusive new weekly shows from Ricky Steve and Karl, starting Monday 5 December.

Each week, Ricky and Steve rummage around in the mind of Karl Pilkington to prove he's not just the village idiot, he's beaten off all competition to take the national title.

Join Ricky and Steve as they help Karl wrestle with such burning issues as:

"Jellyfish - do we need them?"

"How could an infinite number of monkeys type the complete works of Shakespeare if they've never read it?"

"Why do you never see an old bloke eating a Twix?"

'The Ricky Gervais Show' on Guardian Unlimited - with all new material - will be available every Monday from www.guardian.co.uk/rickygervais.

According to Ricky, "I want to do a radio show where I can say I want, when I want for as long as I want and that's free for anybody who can be bothered to listen anywhere in the world. We didn't want it to just be the best bits of a radio programme you'd missed so this is a show that is straight-to-Pod-cast. I suppose we're trying to create an exclusive club. We'd prefer this to be a few people's favourite show than a huge samey ineffectual broadcast"

By Bert Ehrmann
11/30/2005


Doctor Who

The new version of Doctor Who will indeed be coming stateside after all, abet not to television screens. Via Sci Fi Wire:

The BBC told SCI FI Wire that it will release the complete first season of the new British SF TV series Doctor Who on DVD in the United States on Feb. 14, 2006, offering Americans their first official look at the hit U.K. show. BBC Video will release Doctor Who: The Complete First Series with all 13 of the first-season episodes, starring Christopher Eccleston as the immortal Timelord and Billie Piper as his sidekick, Rose, as well as more than four hours of extras. The DVD set will carry a suggested retail price of $99.98.



The new Doctor Who series is EXCELLENT to say the least, but $100 for thirteen episodes? Aren't those are HBO prices? The season one DVD of Battlestar Galactica contained fifteen episodes at $60, while the Doctor Who set has thirteen at $100. WTF?

By Bert Ehrmann
11/30/2005


Battlestar Galactica

What's come to be known as "Season 2.0" of Battlestar Galactica is being released on DVD December 20. There's no word of yet as to what extras the set will include.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/29/2005


Randy

Say it ain't so, Duke, say it ain't so… A personal hero of mine has fallen from grace. Via SignOnSanDiego:

Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned from Congress Monday morning after pleading guilty to conspiring to take bribes in exchange for using his influence to help a defense contractor get business.

Via Wikipedia:

Cunningham became the first Navy ace in the Vietnam War, flying an F-4 Phantom from aboard aircraft carriers, and recording five confirmed kills, making him one of two U.S. pilots to "Ace". He allegedly also downed a Vietnamese fighter ace who flew a MiG-17 against him, although whether it was Cunningham's shot which downed the plane and whether a Vietnamese ace was truly aboard the MiG are disputed by some.


By Bert Ehrmann
11/28/2005


Arrested Development

Praise be! Arrested Development returns to Fox next Monday (12/5). (Or at least it's supposed to return. Who knows if this will actually happen.) From the official Fox site:

After Michael announces he’s marrying Rita, George Sr. worries that she’s after their family’s money. But when Rita’s Uncle Trevor tries to stop the wedding by revealing some surprising information about Rita, Michael must decide if he wants to walk down the aisle on “The Ocean Walker” episode of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Monday, Dec. 5 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/28/2005


Not Starring

Check out this site – notstarring.com. Essentially, notstarring.com is one gigantic database of actors and actresses whom COULD have starred in certain movies but, for one reason or another, didn't. For example, did you know that Angelina Jolie was turned down for the role of Call in Alien: Resurrection? Or that Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Al Pacino and Michael Douglas all turned down the role of Judge Wakefield in the movie Traffic, before Michael Douglas reconsidered and finally accepted?

Even in the classic movie The Wild Bunch, actor Robert Blake passed on the role of Angel which finally went to Jaime Sánchez.

Interesting stuff!

By Bert Ehrmann
11/27/2005


Good Night, and Good Luck

Good Night, and Good Luck follows Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) and the staff of the CBS program See It Now as they investigate Senator McCarthy and his hearings on Communism. In the early 1950s, McCarthy saw Communist sympathizers at nearly every level of government and was out to expose each and every one. Except that upon examination by Murrow and the See It Now staff, there was no way to prove these charges because any and all evidence was never released, instead kept in secret.

The hearings were a sort of trial by public opinion, and there was no real way to prove the one’s innocence. The feeling was that anyone brought up McCarthy’s hearings were guilty, or at the very least guilty by association.

Using McCarthy’s own words against him, Murrow slowly unravels McCarthy’s accusations and, in the end, stops the hearings and moves the Senator from the spotlight to the “back row.”

Good Night, and Good Luck is also an examination on the politics of television. From a producer’s point of view, a show like See It Now cost more and made less than a simple game show. And when a television show like See It Now is controversial, television executives start making decisions based on their pocketbook rather than what’s right.

Murrow put his professional “neck” on the line in his battle with McCarthy and this left his career bloodied and battered. See It Now is moved from a highly visible nightly broadcast to a Sunday afternoon one.

Putting his “money where his mouth is,” Good Night, and Good Luck is co-written and directed by George Clooney – it’s plainly obvious to see where Clooney stands politically. Where most actors shun controversy, Clooney seems to gravitate to it. Movies like Three Kings, Fail Safe and (seemingly) the upcoming Syriana also had/have a hint of political controversy within.

If Good Night, and Good Luck suffers from one thing, it’s the length of the movie. Good Night, and Good Luck suddenly ends, without much explanation of what had just occurred, what was to occur in the following years and how what Murrow did affects us today. Still, not all movies can be perfect. (9/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
11/27/2005


Veronica Mars

Episode #30: "Ahoy Mateys!"

Logan Echolls: "Help me Mars Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope."

Yes ladies and gentlemen, that IS Rod Rowland, aka Cooper Hawkes from Space: Above and Beyond, guest starring as "bad guy" Liam Fitzpatrick in this episode of Veronica Mars.







By Bert Ehrmann
11/27/2005


The Ice Harvest

In the opening minutes of The Ice Harvest, slightly dim-witted “mob lawyer” Charlie Arglist (John Cusack) along with strip-club owner Vic Cavanaugh (Billy Bob Thornton) have just stolen over two million dollars of the mob’s money via a bank withdrawal. Being Christmas Eve, Charlie and Vic know that this theft won’t be uncovered for some time and all they have to do is act natural overnight until they leave town in the morning.

What follows is Charlie being incapable of anything even close to keeping a low profile as he deals with a drunken friend Pete (Oliver Platt) married to Charlie’s ex-wife, acts out of character as he buys drinks for people in bars, comps strippers their stage fees and goes on the hunt for a damning photograph for a female strip club owner Renata (Connie Nielsen) that Charlie pines for.

Although The Ice Harvest has some truly funny moments, I wouldn’t call this movie a “comedy” as the commercials, trailers and print material for this movie do. It’s more along the lines of a movie such as Out of Sight, which takes the drama, comedy and romance genera and places them into one movie. (The moral of the story is don’t believe Hollywood marketing materials!)

I never felt as if The Ice Harvest was able to completely get into gear story wise, in that there were simply too many bits and pieces of the plot going on at one time. There’s the story of Charlie and Vic, Charlie and Pete, Charlie and Renata, Charlie and Rusti, Charlie and his kids…

Still, the movie isn’t all that bad and there are several very interesting scenes in the movie, which make it mostly worthwhile. (7/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
11/25/2005


Lost

Episode #33 – "Collision"
Sayid: "What good would it be to kill you…if we're both already dead?"







By Bert Ehrmann
11/23/2005


Deadwood

In a "what are they thinking of" move, HBO has decided to not bring back Deadwood in March, as previously scheduled, but instead June with the Tom Hanks' produced drama Big Love instead filling in the Deadwood gap. Season three of Deadwood would then premiere in June '06. That's more than a year between the end of the second season of Deadwood to the start of the third. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Since Love was a new show, HBO decided it would benefit more from Sopranos as a lead-in at 9 p.m., a network rep says. Deadwood, though loved by critics, has been less loved by viewers.

The June lineup has Deadwood at 9, followed by season three of Entourage and Lucky Louie, a new comedy starring Louis C.K.

As saloon owner Al Swearingen might say, "What the f&*k?"

By Bert Ehrmann
11/23/2005


Lady in the Water

The teaser trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's (The Sixth Sense, Signs) next movie Lady in the Water has been released. IMDB describes the movie as:

The superintendent of an apartment building discovers a sea nymph in the building's pool.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/22/2005


The Break Up

Hi-Larious trailer for the upcoming Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston "romantic comedy" The Break Up. Keep an eye out for "Andrew" in the trailer. That's none other than Peter Billingsley, the actor who played Ralphie in the classic A Christmas Story.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/21/2005


Syriana

Cool looking final (?) poster for the upcoming Syriana movie. This poster has the same "look and feel" of the teaser poster released a few months back.



Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/21/2005


McFarlane's Military - 2nd Tour of Duty

McFarlane Toys has released a second series of their (apparently) popular military series toys, calling them McFarlane's Military 2nd Tour of Duty. The first series of toys were released earlier this year, with the line having an update a few months back. This time around, the series includes an Army Desert Infantry Grenadier, Army Special Forces Sniper, Army Paratrooper, Marine Radioman, Marine and a Navy Seal Commando.



By Bert Ehrmann
11/20/2005


Battlestar Galactica

Finally available – "Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion." This book is (mostly) an episode guide to the mini-series and season one of Battlestar Galactica, with a few interesting trivia nuggets and interviews thrown in for good measure. For example, did you know that although Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell were the original choices for William Adama and Laura Roslin respectively, that Brian Cox (X-Men 2), Chris Cooper (Jarhead), Tom Skerritt (Alien), Sam Elliot (We Were Soldiers) and Powers Boothe (Deadwood) were all considered for Adama and Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise), Alfre Woodard (Star Trek: First Contact) and Kathleen Quinlan (Apollo 13) were all considered for Roslin?

By Bert Ehrmann
11/20/2005


Superman Returns

Check out the super-cool Superman Returns teaser trailer here. Was I the only one to get goose-bumps after seeing this?

By Bert Ehrmann
11/18/2005


2006-2007 Television Pilots

And so it begins – I've started my list of television pilots for the 2006-2007 season. It doesn't seem like it, but shows that will end up cluttering your television dial next fall begin their "lives" now.

See the list for yourself here.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/17/2005


Lost

Episode #32 – "The Other 48 Days"







By Bert Ehrmann
11/16/2005


Battlestar Galactica

Zap2It is reporting that the Sci Fi Channel has given the go-ahead for a third season of Battlestar Galactica. Technically, when the series returns this January, it will be the second half of the second season – also known as "Season 2.5." Season three of Battlestar Galactica will probably begin airing sometime next spring/summer.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/16/2005


V for Vendetta

The very cool final(?) poster for the upcoming movie V for Vendetta has been released. Did I mention that it was cool?



See the poster larger here.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/16/2005


Lost

A word of warning –  in a move destined to upset Tivo owners nationwide…

This week's episode of Lost (airing 11/16) will run five minutes long. Be sure to set your Tivo's, or other DVR device, accordingly.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/15/2005


Night Stalker

The Futon Critic has reported that Night Stalker has been canceled:

ABC has axed its struggling freshman drama "Night Stalker" after six airings.

And Night Stalker executive producer Frank Spotnitz has confirmed the cancellation via his blog:

It is with regret that I confirm "Night Stalker" has been canceled.

The unaired pilot episode of Night Stalker showed promise, but I never felt as if the episodes that after that, including the reedited pilot episode that aired as the first episode, were ever as good as the unaired pilot.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/15/2005


Threads

A DVD of the (scary as all hell) television movie Threads has been released in the U.K. Unfortunately, the disk is only playable in "Europe, Japan, South Africa and the Middle East including Egypt." No word on when (or even if) the DVD will ever make it to the U.S.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/13/2005


Cybermen

BBC has introduced the new and updated version of the Cybermen, due to battle the Doctor in the second season of the revival of Doctor Who. From BBC:

(…) The Doctor and companions battle against a new, more deadly breed of Cybermen who are out to convert humanity into their own kind.



More on Doctor Who at Dangerous Universe.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/13/2005


Arrested Development

Has the day I've dreaded for nearly two years come to fruition? Has Arrested Development been canceled? According to TV Squad, it has:

Say goodbye to FOX's Monday night schedule – though neither has been "officially" cancelled, Variety is reporting that both Arrested Development AND Kitchen Confidential have been taken off the schedule, "effective immediately". (…) Arrested's episode order has been slashed from 22 to 13, and rumors are swirling that Kitchen won't be going back into production at all. Both series have shows in the can, and it's expected that they'll come back in December to close out their runs, as FOX was already planning to shove them aside for new episodes of House in the spring.


Say it ain't so, Fox. Say it ain't so.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/11/2005


Lost

Episode #31 – "Abandoned" (Or) Rain = Bad, VERY Bad!
Ana-Lucia: "Cindy? Cindy? Where's Cindy?"







By Bert Ehrmann
11/9/2005


Remake's Galore

Over the past few weeks, several major remakes have been announced by various Hollywood studios. First up, one of the best movies of all time, The Wild Bunch (1969), is set to be turned into a "a thriller involving heists, drug cartels and the CIA, set in contemporary Mexico" according to Dark Horizons. David Ayer, who wrote the less than cerebrial The Fast and the Furious and S.W.A.T., is set to direct this remake based off of his script.

The original The Wild Bunch followed a group of criminals, running from the law after a failed bank heist and a shoot-out in a town, entering Mexico and agreeing to pull off just one more heist for a Mexican Army General so that they can finally back out of a life of crime. As character Dutch Engstrom puts it, "Back off to what?"

To add insult to injury, CHUD is reporting that a remake of Robocop (1987) is in the works and Joblo says that a remake of Predator (1987) is also on the horizon.

Why? Why do Hollywood studios insist on remaking such classics? Where are all the original ideas? Is this the reason behind the box office slump reported in the media? Ugh.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/9/2005


Scrubs

Season two of Scrubs comes out on DVD next Tuesday (11/ 15). Extras include, from Amazon:

A one-on-one with John C. McGinley, and outtakes and deleted scenes


By Bert Ehrmann
11/8/2005


Arrested Development

Episode 44 and 45 – "Notapusy" and "Mr. F:"

Gob: "I heard the jury's still out on science."

(As George Sr. runs to The Pope Mobile)
Narrator: "George Sr. came across a U.S. Army combat Humvee and The Pope Mobile. And he decided to escape in the bullet-proof one."

(At the Church and State Fair)
George Michael: "I think I'm going to get one of those corn dog crosses…"
Michael: "…with all the cruisifictions."

(About Michael)
Tobias: "He kind of looks like you. Same size, same curly hair."







By Bert Ehrmann
11/7/2005


Full Metal Jacket Diary

Cool as hell book, written by actor Matthew Modine on his experiences on the set of the movie Full Metal Jacket with director Stanley Kubrick. The "Full Metal Jacket Diary" is well designed with a stamped metal cover (how appropriate) and has the content to match. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. From Amazon:

Modine, who starred as Private Joker in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 Vietnam War masterpiece, Full Metal Jacket, gets right to the core of his subject by beginning with the question, "What was Stanley like?" He supplies the answers throughout this diary on the movie's filming, which should provide new insights for Kubrick enthusiasts. (…) The book is filled with Modine's excellent photographs, which powerfully supplement the sometimes sketchy narrative. In the end, the work succeeds in expressing Modine's attitude—"I'm going to make you feel the horror of death." The stainless steel–covered book—each one laser-etched with a serial number—should become a collector's item for fans of the legendary director.


By Bert Ehrmann
11/7/2005


Jarhead

Jarhead is a movie about warriors stuck in an expansive desert with nothing to do.

In Jarhead, Jake Gyllenhaal (The Day After Tomorrow) plays Anthony Swooford aka “Swoof,” a Marine scout sniper who is figuratively the tip of the military spear. When Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait, Swoof is part of the massive military build-up in Saudi Arabia as part of Desert Shield. Swoof wants the military glory of the movies. For Swoof, though, his military experience is little more than sitting in the desert, waiting for the war and trying to stay out of trouble. What is thought to be a two-week excursion turns into a long, boring multi-month stay in the middle of nowhere.

Swoof and his platoon are stuck in-between wars. The war they trained for, fighting Soviets in Europe, bears little resemblance to the ultra-fast Air Force lead war that Desert Storm becomes. The war moves so fast that it leaves these Marines behind.

All that Swoff and his comrades want to do is fight, but his fighting experience is limited to just over four days of walking, being strafed by a coalition aircraft and nearly sniping an Iraqi officer near the end of the war.

Jarhead and The Wild Bunch share much of the same themes of men “in a changing land…out of step (and) out of place” from The Wild Bunch tagline.

When the Marines watch scenes from Apocalypse Now before being deployed to Saudi Arabia, this is what they hope war is like. The war they experience is much different. As Swoof puts it, “Every war is different, every war is the same.”

Jarhead also stars Peter Sarsgaard (Flightplan) as Troy and Jaime Foxx (Collateral) as Staff Sgt. Sykes. (9/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
11/6/2005


Extras

Best lines from episode 6:

Patrick Stewart: "I've seen everything…I've seen it all."

Patrick Stewart: "I will make it so…You've seen Star Trek: The Next Generation?"
Andy: "I haven't. No."
Patrick Stewart: "Why, your wife won't let you have it on?"
Andy: "I'm not married."
Patrick Stewart: "Your girlfriend then?"
Andy: "I haven't got a girlfriend. I live alone."
Patrick Stewart: "You're not married and you haven't got a girlfriend and you've never watched Star Trek?"
Andy: "No."
Patrick Stewart: "Good lord."

Andy's Agent (Discussing Andy's script): "Have you given any thought as to who'll play the main character?"
Andy: "I'm playing the main character."
Andy's Agent: "Really? Are you sure? Because you're sort of a bit of a nobody. I'm not sure they'd cast a nobody in the main role."

Andy's Agent (to Andy): "I'm not sure what it is you can do."

Andy: "I don't want it filmed in front of a live studio audience…"
Andy's Agent (to BBC television execs): "Unless you guys disagree with that. In that case we can change all that and do whatever you want to do."

Andy: "You're like the most grown-up person I know."
Maggie: "I'm sort of like the only person you know."
Andy: "You win by default."

By Bert Ehrmann
11/6/2005


Arrested Development

This Monday (11/7) , Fox will show a one hour block of Arrested Development from 8:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. (EST). It looks to me as if this episode is an hour long rather than two half-hour (normal) episodes back-to-back, though I could be wrong. Fox describes the episode(s) as:

In an effort to prove to Rita he ’s not a wimp, Michael tries to convince George Michael to join him in some manly activities, but George Michael is too busy prepping girlfriend Ann for an “Inner-beauty Pageant.” So Michael and his recently discovered nephew Steve Holt enter a triathlon, only to discover Gob is the one who stumbles at the finish line. Back at work, Michael must deal with a huge mole problem in order to salvage a major real estate deal. But when Gob and Buster team up with George Sr.’s surrogate, Larry, to help Michael save the deal, their plan falls apart in a big way. Meanwhile, Tobias mistakes a CIA agent for a CAA agent and inadvertently betrays the family, and Michael makes Rita a proposal she can’t refuse…


By Bert Ehrmann
11/4/2005


Serenity

With an extremely fast turn around time, the DVD for the feature film Serenity hits store shelves December 20. That's less than three months since the movie opened in theaters.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/3/2005


Deep Space Nine

With the death of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine co-creator Michael Piller yesterday, I was reminded of an article I originally wrote for the Fort Wayne Reader but was ultimately never published. The article, entitled "There's always been a warm place in my heart for Sci Fi," goes in depth with the television show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Read it for yourself here.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/3/2005


Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest column up over at The Fort Wayne Reader entitled "Go tell these movies to the marines."

By Bert Ehrmann
11/2/2005


Arrested Development

Production on Arrested Development has halted while star Jason Bateman has surgery. From Zap2It:

"Arrested Development" will arrest production temporarily while one of its stars recuperates from surgery.

Jason Bateman went under the knife recently to remove a throat polyp, according to his publicist. A polyp is a benign tumor occurring in areas lined with mucous membrane.

Spokesman Cara Tripicchio states that the operation came off without a hitch, and Bateman is recovering nicely.

"Arrested" will take a hiatus from shooting for a few weeks to allow Bateman to recover. A FOX spokesperson says the show has completed eight episodes so far this season, three of which have aired.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/2/2005


Michael Piller

Michael Piller, co-creator of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and executive producer of Star Trek: The Next Generation has died at 57. From Star Trek.com:

Michael Piller, best known to television viewers around the world as the executive producer/co-creator of more than 500 hours of Star Trek, lost his long battle with an aggressive form of head & neck cancer on Tuesday, November 1, 2005 at 4:51 a.m. at his home in Los Angeles. He was 57. He is survived by his wife Sandra, daughter Brent and son Shawn.


By Bert Ehrmann
11/2/2005


The Legendary Trainhoppers

Matt Kelley, sometime contributor to Dangerous Universe, is a member of the band "The Legendary Trainhoppers" and they've just posted a few of their songs to their Myspace.com account. Their stuff is really good.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/2/2005


Day of the Dead

Say it ain't so, Romero's classic Day of the Dead, the first movie to scare the bejesus out of me, is being remade. From Empire:

The remake of Day Of The Dead has found itself a director. Steve Miner, who’s no stranger to horror, having tackled the likes Halloween H20 and Lake Placid.

Ugh…

By Bert Ehrmann
11/1/2005


Pluto

From NASA:

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted two possible new moons orbiting Pluto, the ninth planet in our solar system. If confirmed, the candidate moons could provide new insight into the nature and evolution of the Pluto system and the early Kuiper Belt. The Kuiper Belt is a vast region of icy, rocky bodies beyond Neptune's orbit.


By Bert Ehrmann
10/31/2005


Calvin & Hobbes

The Complete Calvin & Hobbes book is out, and retails for $150.00 – though Amazon has it for $94.50 but this does not include shipping. I saw it at my local Borders where they had one of the books out and available for viewing with the set 20% off. It's a very nice collection, with the strips having plenty of space on the page to breath. The set weighs about eight billion pounds altogether*.

Read my article on Calvin & Hobbes originally published in the Fort Wayne Reader
.

Ricky Gervis - Extras

* Estimated

By Bert Ehrmann
10/30/2005


Extras

Best lines from episode 2 (aka Episode 5 in the U.S.):

Andy's Agent: "If you insist on remaining a "blob," could you maybe at least get a tan?"
Andy: "They're looking for a fat bloke with a tan, are they? What's that for, Oliver Stone's story of Budda?"

Andy: "Before I walk out of here, possibly forever, have you got anything for me at all?"
Andy's Agent: "Loads of stuff. Do you fancy (children's theater) in Guildford with Les Dennis?"
Andy: "No…What, that's it?"
Andy's Agent: "Yeah, I thought you'd go with that one."
Andy: "…What's the role?"
Andy's Agent: "It is the part of the genie in Aladdin."
Andy: "They're out looking for a fat bloke for that, are they?"
Andy's Agent (Reading): "With a tan, ideally."

Director Bunny (To the actors): "And before any of you have me up on sexism charges remember, this is my daughter."
Andy: "His daughter? But he's definitely gay?"
Maggie: "He can't be gay if he's got a daughter."
Andy: "Oscar Wilde was married with two kids."
Maggie: "Well, he couldn't have been gay."
Andy: "I've got to stop hanging around with you."

Les Dennis: "Why don't people want to come out and see Les Dennis?"
Andy: "They do."
Les Dennis: "Why not twice as many?"

Ricky Gervis - Extras

By Bert Ehrmann
10/30/2005


King Kong

Note – I am looking forward to the upcoming movie King Kong and plan on seeing it opening day. Still…

I'm still trying to figure this one out – the original King Kong was 100 minutes long while the new Peter Jackson version will clock in at (nearly) three times the length. Why? I'm hoping that this extra length isn't a bunch of Jackson's patented "sweeping vistas" shots he used over and over again in The Lord of the Rings films or extra time with the Darrow/Denham love story. Although actress Naomi Watts might be the acting star of the film, the real star of the film is Kong.

The original King Kong is one of the most tightly edited 100 minutes of film in existence. There are no needless shots or story in the movie. Nothing is wasted.

According to BBC, this extra running time in the new version of King Kong has pushed the movie $32 million over budget to a total of $207 million. The original King Kong cost an estimated $670,000 to make – $15 million adjusted for inflation.

I can only guess at what that extra $192 million buys.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/28/2005


TV on DVD

The New York Times has published an article on TV shows on DVD, and people who spend days straight watching them. From the article:

Marathon viewing of series is creating a new breed of television aficionados, some say, people with a sharper eye for narrative twists, suspense techniques and character development. Like film buffs they become familiar with the names of the directors and writers of a series, pick up on nuances others may have missed and acquire a deeper appreciation of plotlines. (…)

Seven Rivera, 31, a lawyer, once squeezed five full seasons of "Gilmore Girls" into two months, though he said his most impressive DVD marathon was when a snowstorm caused his office to close and he spent about 22 hours watching the entire first season of "Angel."

By Bert Ehrmann
10/27/2005


Munich

Interesting looking poster for Steven Spielberg's upcoming Munich movie. According to IMBD, the plot of Munich is:

In the tragic aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics, a Mossad agent (Eric Bana) tracks Palestinian terrorists who assassinated Israeli athletes.



Click for a larger view.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/27/2005


Extras

Ricky Gervais has released a special message to the "Internet Nerds" via his site. Extras the DVD is due in Great Britain stores next Monday (10/31) and new episodes begin airing again on HBO this Sunday (10/30) for people living in the U.S.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/26/2005


Doom Movie Review


We finally got in downtime this past weekend, and scrounged up enough pennies to go and pay to see Doom.

Alrighty boys and girls, now gather round for the story of how Universal Studios decided to depict the tale of Doom.(Um... Ugh??)

Story starts out with how Humanity finally made it to Mars, via a portal discovered in Arizona. (Last I checked, everybody was making it there via space ships?) Dubbed "The Ark", the 'blob of Jello' portal is used to transfer various personnel to the surface of Mars, to begin research on the planet, scientific experiments, etc etc. Sounds like fun, right? Till (of course) something goes horribly wrong in the research labs, and the facility is shut down.

Enter our faithful Space Marines(???), with 'The Rock' leading the way as "Sarge", and Karl Urban as "Reaper". The other Marines, well wont go into detail about them, cause they are pretty much just cannon Fodder. Just know that if they were true marines, they would have kicked some ass before getting toasted. The Marines get tasked by their CO to head up to the Mars Olduvai facility via "The Ark" and assess the situation.

After about 30 minutes(!!!!!!) of bumbling, bouncing, and stumbling through the facility, the Marines finally discover that something is amiss. Scientists are either found dead or not found at all. Test animals are found ripped to shreds. Finally, the Marines stumble upon their first baddie, a Scientist apparently mutating into a zombie(?) and eating a test rat. Of course the Marines promptly dispatch him with brutal force.

As the plot progresses, Dr. Samantha Grimm, head of the Archelogical site on Mars, reveals to the marines that an apparent genetic mutation is running rampant, and that these "monsters" the marines are beginning to find all over the complex are former employees.

With that concept in mind, the Marines begin to realise that not everything is kosher at the Mars facility. The genetic mutation is a direct result of an additional genome introduced into some "unwilling" test subjects.

So, with that in mind, the Quarantine is cast out, and "total eradication" is put into effect. However, the marines could only be so lucky, as their numbers dwindle down to 2. Armed with the knowledge that the 'genetic' mutation must not reach Earth, Sarge puts in motion a plan of wiping out every known member of the Olduvai facility. Of course, the Marines dont like the idea of killing innocent bystanders, and revolts against Sarge.

Its at this point, you can tell that Sarge has been infected with the Genome, and is slowly going insane, and that the final battle is sure to come.

I wont spoil it for you, however, I do recommend that you wait for the DVD rental on this one, or catch it on HBO. Not saying that this was a horrific movie (cause well, it wasnt that great either), but i do recommend saving those pennies for another rainy day.

Acting was not the worlds greatest in this movie. Sarge seemed to be the only believeable character, along with John "Reaper" Grimm to be the next in line. Everyone else were pretty much what was intended for them: Cannon Fodder.

Special effects were good. The work on the monsters was excellent, although a lot of the Doom magic was left out of this movie rendition. (IE Imps throwing plasma fireballs, no other weapons involved that made Doom the Game so much more enjoyable ;no shotgun, no plasma rifle). The BFG effects were awesome. Kinda like bottling liquid hot Magma and shooting it at a wall. You get that kind of effect, only blue in color. heh.

A technology that was introduced FOR the movie was the "Nano-walls", which are solid until unlocked, and allow movement of anything from one room to the next (which also included the monsters!)

Best part of the flick has to be the 10 minute sequence where the lead character "Reaper" goes First Person Perspective, and allows us to see the action from his eyes. The fight with the "Pinky" monster and chainsaw is the BEST!

Bad parts of the flick? Where the HELL were the Demons from Hell? The whole game depicts Hell opening up and releasing its spawn on the complex of Mars, thereby terrorizing everyone with its horror! Genetic mutations.. Hasnt that been done already? Oh yeah RESIDENT EVIL. Grrrrr And where were all the kick ass weapons from the game? No shot guns?! COME ON NOW

So anyway, if you got 8 bucks to spare (check them couch cussions), go ahead and see Doom in the theaters. If not, well, there's always a future release to HBO. Overall, I give Doom a 6 out of 10.

Doom the Movie

By Mo Alexander
10/25/2005


David Milch

Deadwood creator David Milch is working on a cop drama for HBO. From ABC News:

The untitled project is based on ("NYPD Blue" collaborator, Bill) Clark's experiences as a rookie undercover officer assigned to keep tabs on the Black Panthers and other countercultural rabble-rousers during the height of New York's radical-chic moment. It was also the era of New York City's Knapp Commission probe that revealed scandalous levels of corruption among New York's finest. (…)

"The post-Vietnam period was a period of enormous moral confusion," Milch said. "It felt very much like a starting-over point, where there was a re-examination of social assumptions about the idea of law enforcement and the social contract." (…)

It will be a tall order to recreate the tension and dark mood of that era in a weekly series, "but if anyone can really make this work," then Milch can, Clark said (…)

The show will be developed under a new two-year production pact that also covers Milch's services on "Deadwood." Milch said he's committed to shepherding his earthy Western saga for the foreseeable future. "It requires some cooperation from God, but if he's willing, I'm willing," Milch said.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/24/2005


Outer Limits

There was an episode of The Outer Limits on this weekend which seemed to share some plot elements with the current season of Lost. Interesting, but I seriously doubt that the two stories have anything to do with one and other:

DEAD MAN'S SWITCH
Ben Conklin (JAMES LE GROS) has been a loner ever since his parents died when he was twelve years old. This is one reason why General James Eiger (DONNELLY RHODES) selected him to spend a year buried in a bunker 11,000 feet below the Artic tundra, manning the controls of a doomsday device set up by world leaders after the Hubble space telescope spotted 11 spaceships heading towards Earth. The device is designed as a last-line deterrent against alien invasion and Conklin's job, shared with four other loners in four other bunkers, is to hit a dead man's switch on the bunkers control panel that prevents the doomsday device from going off and destroying aliens and mankind alike. (…)

Conklin realizes that he carries the weight of the world - and the fate of mankind in the palm of his hand.

Read the whole episode summery here.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/23/2005


Fox

In more scheduling moves not destined to win any awards (or keep their shows on the air)…

After baseball ends this week and Fox returns to it's "normal" fall schedule, the time slot where Arrested Development usually airs, will instead be part of a two hour block of Prison Break. (If only Fox would promote Arrested Development half as much as they do Prison Break…) Arrested Development will return the week of November 7, but once again it seems as if Fox isn't happy unless they're either moving the time Arrested Development airs or not showing it at all. Arrested Development started airing Sunday night's, but sometimes was on Wednesdays before Fox moved the show to Friday nights this summer. Currently, the series is supposed to air Mondays at 8:00 P.M. (EST) but was off an entire month for baseball playoffs and The World Series. Confused about when Arrested Development is on? I bet a lot of people share the same sentiment.

Then, when Fox's winter schedule goes into effect this January, there's no indication that Arrested Development's is anywhere on Fox's schedule. Moreover, Fox is seriously shuffling their schedule around moving shows all around the schedule. House, M.D. takes Arrested Development's time slot Mondays nights. Prison Break, usually on Mondays, is gone and replaced with the return of 24. And also Bones is shifted up an hour on Tuesday nights to 9:00 P.M. (EST ) – the time when House, M.D. usually airs.

Ugh, ugh and double ugh.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/23/2005


A Decade of Underrated Movies

The Onion's A.V. Club has a list of the most underrated movies of the last decade. From the list:

Spartan, Solaris, Pitch Black, Unbreakable, Office Space, Zero Effect, Starship Troopers, That Thing You Do!…

These movies are a bit more than underrated – they're all but forgotten. I wonder why The Way of the Gun didn't make the list? Is there any movie better than The Way of the Gun!?

By Bert Ehrmann
10/20/2005


F.E.A.R Released.


As if on cue from the upcoming Halloween season, Vivendi Universal and Monolith have released FEAR, the First Encounter Assault and Recon First Person Shooter.

FEAR is an intense first person close-quarters combat experience with rich atmosphere and an engaging storyline. The story begins as an unidentified paramilitary force infiltrates a multi-billion dollar aerospace compound. The government responds by sending in Special Forces, but loses contact as an eerie signal interrupts radio communications. When the interference subsides moments later, the team has been literally torn apart. As part of a classified strike team created to deal with threats no one else can handle, your mission is simple: Eliminate the intruders at any cost. Determine the origin of the signal. And contain this crisis before it spirals out of control. [Vivendi Universal]

With that all in mind, I had reviewed the demo a while back (See my previous article on DU back in August), and from it I deemed the game pretty much a typical FPS with a horror twist thrown in here and there.

Now, mind you, apparently a lot of gaming web sites out there suggest that I am on crack for my lack of enthusiasm for this game. However, given the steep Hardware requirements for this game, and some of the blundering done by the AI in the demo, I'm still not convinced that this game is a "highlight" in First Person shooters. Even some of the design for the various levels seemed "repetitive" and dull.

I dunno, maybe I'm being too critical on the game. I've had my hands on several FPS in the past, (Including Half Life 2, and Doom3) and I was astounded by the graphical quality that they possess. Doom3 had me checking behind corners and looking in the shadows with a flashlight, wary of some Demon that wanted to rip out a portion of my ribcage; while Half Life 2 made me feel entirely in another world, dashing back and forth to fight against alien oppression.

As always, there are limits with what one can do with today's technology. But from what I've seen in FEAR, the graphics look somewhat dated, like the game has been sitting on a shelf somewhere at Sierra headquarters, then suddenly pulled and released to the public.

Anyhow, you get to decide. Check out the link below for several reviews on the game. I, for one, think I will hold off on playing it anytime soon.

F.E.A.R

By Mo Alexander
10/20/2005


Lost

Episode #30 – "...And Found."
Hotel Manager: "Do not open the door for people like you."
Echo: "They don't leave tracks."

WTF!? Lost is ALREADY going into reruns after only FOUR new episodes having aired!? Oh no, here we go again. New episodes of Lost won't start airing again until the second week of November. Ugh. Oh well, there's always Veronica Mars.





By Bert Ehrmann
10/19/2005


Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest column over at the Fort Wayne Reader entitled, "Carl Kolchak is the father of modern television."

By Bert Ehrmann
10/18/2005


Torchwood

One time companion to Doctor Who, Captain Jack (John Barrowman) will headline a Doctor Who spin-off series entitled Torchwood. Torchwood will begin airing next summer on BBC and, like Doctor Who, will run thirteen weeks. I happen to like the Captain Jack character. From The Independant:

He (Doctor Who scriptwriter Russell T Davies ) said: "Torchwood will be a dark, clever, wild, sexy, British crime/sci-fi paranoid thriller cop show with a sense of humour - the X Files meets This Life…"

Torchwood will allow Davies to explore relationships a little further. Mr Murphy said of the new series: "The people have affairs with one another. There will be sex and swearing, I assume. I'm quite relaxed about that, it will be post-watershed and Russell can do it in a funny and sexy way."

Describing the idea behind the new show, the BBC controller said: "It's a renegade bunch of investigators who investigate real-life, normal crimes. They also look into alien happenings. They have been charged by the British government to find alien technology that has fallen to Earth and they need to do it without the FBI and UN knowing."


By Bert Ehrmann
10/18/2005


Sunshine

There's an interesting official blog up and running covering the movie (tentatively titled) Sunshine. Sunshine is by the writer and director of 28 Days Later, covered many times here at Dangerous Universe. The movie is described as:

The Sun is dying, and mankind is dying with it. Our last hope: a spaceship and a crew of eight men and women. They carry a device which will breathe new life into the star. But deep into their voyage, out of radio contact with Earth, their mission is starting to unravel. Soon the crew are fighting not only for their lives, but their sanity.

The film once again pairs director Danny Boyle with writer Alex Garland and producer Andrew Macdonald, who previously teamed up for the thinking person’s zombie film, 28 DAYS LATER.

The cast is led by Rose Byrne (TROY), Cliff Curtis (WHALE RIDER), Chris Evans (FANTASTIC FOUR), Troy Garity (AFTER THE SUNSET), Cillian Murphy (28 DAYS LATER), Hiroyuki Sanada (THE LAST SAMURAI), Benedict Wong (DIRTY PRETTY THINGS) and Michelle Yeoh (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON).


Visit the blog for yourself here.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/17/2005



Extras
Best lines from episode 5 (aka Episode 4 in the U.S.):

Danny (who is black): "I mean to be honest, there's not a lot of black faces needed on television."
Maggie: "Crimewatch…The reconstructions on Crimewatch. They always need black actors." (Crimewatch is the British version of America's Most Wanted.)

Maggie (on keeping actors off the extras only lunch bus, overheard by Danny): "We'll stick to our own, you stick to your own and then we're all happy."

Andy: "Please do not ridicule a totally valid African language please."

(Trying to convince Andy's Stalker that the random name on a headstone in a cemetery is that of Andy's mother.)
Andy's Stalker: "I didn't know you were jewish."
Andy: "Yeah, oysh."
Andy's Stalker: "Died in 1953, how old does that make you then?"
Andy (obviously doing the math in his head): "At least 52… 52."
Maggie: "You don't look it one bit."
Andy: "Hard to believe, isn't it? Just like it's hard to believe that we were just passing my dead mother's grave who is jewish."


Ricky Gervis - Extras

By Bert Ehrmann
10/16/2005



Commercial Interruption
Here's an interesting find I've come across on how ABC is handling their commercial breaks this season. Take for example last Thursday night's episode of Night Stalker

I broke down the hour when Night Stalker aired into when the television show's story aired and when commercials were shown. The hour broken down is (approximately) – 13 minutes story, 4 commercial, 7 story, 4 commercial, 5 story, 4 commercial, 5 story, 4 commercial, 5 story, 4 commercial, 6 story, 3 commercial and 3 story. I broken these numbers into the chart below so that you can see the comparison between story, and commercials.

Commercial Interruption

As you can see, ABC clearly tries to hook the audience at the top of the hour with a long stretch of story. Which is fine, except that for the rest of the hour the audience is "treated" to almost equal blocks of story to commercial. Though technically ABC is still airing the same amount of commercials to story as they did last season, after that first long stretch of story the rest of the hour feels like it has many more commercials than the average television drama when the near equal amounts of story to commercial ratio pops-up. Which can't be good for ABC's new batch of shows if people start thinking that they're sitting through hours and hours of commercials. Does ABC really want to turn viewers off to these new shows by upsetting the viewer base just when these shows are at their most vulnerable?

I can only guess that how ABC's handling commercials this year is e a boon for downloading shows off the iTunes Music Store – commercial free of course.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/16/2005



Lost
Episode #29 – Everybody Hates Hugo. (OR) Do you really want to open something sealed in eight feet of concrete?

Buy this episode online via iTunes for $1.99.

Michael: "I thought you said there were 23 of you?"
Libby: "There were."





By Bert Ehrmann
10/12/2005



iTunes Television Video
About two minutes after I found out about the availability for users of the iTunes Music Store to purchase television shows online for $1.99, I found myself purchasing and downloading the first episode of the second season of the show Lost. First off, be sure you have the very latest version of Quicktime (7.0.3) installed as it is the only one which will play these videos. The shows come in "M4V" format, the same format iTunes songs come in. Much like the songs, the videos from iTunes also must be "authorized" to play on each users computer. (I had no problems transferring and authorizing the video from work to home.)

I am very impressed as to the quality of the video – see the example below. Whatever Apple is doing to compress the video (200 meg for 40 minutes) works EXTREMELY well. I was able to view the video at 200% with no real degradation in quality.

The one downside I see is that as of now, there's no way to burn these videos to a CD or DVD for viewing in an DVD player. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that people are hard at work on changing this.

Right now, all episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives, Night Stalker and episodes of two kids shows are online and available for purchase at $1.99 a piece or $34.99 for a whole season. According to Apple, new episodes of these shows will be available online the day after they premiere on television.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/12/2005



Legal Television Show Downloads
You can finally legally download and watch television shows on your computer via iTunes. From Stuff Magazine:

You'll be able to buy TV shows from the iTunes Music Store from ABC and Disney (…). Five shows will be available to watch on iPod or computer: Lost, Desperate Housewives, Nightstalker, The Suite Life and some other Disney thang. $1.99 an episode.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/12/2005



Surface
First, let me start by saying that I like the television show Surface. It's the one "aliens in water" series that I watch – I've given up on both Invasion and Threshold long ago. But it's apparent after the first four episodes of the series that the writers of Surface really have a thing for Steven Spielberg.

Not only does a lot of the action take place in the water where large monsters prey on unsuspecting people (Jaws 1975), but there's also a storyline where a young boy has in his possession an infant "water alien" which can emit light from it's body at will (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982) and a story about a father who sees evidence of the "water aliens" but no one believes him which causes him to choose to seek the truth of the aliens over his family (Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977).

I guess all that's missing from Surface is Richard Dreyfuss.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/11/2005



Veronica Mars
UPN has updated their Veronica Mars site with some really nice content including an excellent episode guide, a who's who of Veronica's world and photos from every episode.

Also on the site is a clip from a video of The Faders song "No Sleep Tonight" starring the cast of Veronica Mars. (To say the video is bizarre would be an understatement, everyone suddenly starts making out.)

By Bert Ehrmann
10/10/2005



Extras
Best lines from episode 2 (aka Episode 3 in the U.S.):

Andy Millman
(to a food server who plopped a plate of food in front of Andy): "Your heart's not in this, is it? Although I see one of your pubes is."

Actor Ross Kemp: "You'd best not get in a fight with me."
Andy Millman: "Or a conversation."

Andy's Agent (On another client): "I go to ITV with Barry, say we want one million pounds or nothing and they chose nothing. Looking back I shouldn't have given them the nothing option. I should have said we want one million pounds or we want 500 pounds."

Andy Millman: "Make sure the phone's on the hook then."
Andy's Agent: "You joke about it but it was unplugged for two days. No one noticed."

Actor Ross Kemp (on the British SAS): "Do you know that stands for?"
Andy Millman: "SAS? Special Air Service."
Actor Ross Kemp: "Doesn't stand for that. I've talked with actual SAS people, they've told me what it stands for."
Andy Millman: "What does it stand for?"
Actor Ross Kemp: "Super Army Soldiers."

By Bert Ehrmann
10/9/2005



DVD Tuesday
Don't forget, out on DVD this Tuesday (10/11) are two of the best seasons of commercial television you're ever going to see – season two of Arrested Development and the complete first season of Veronica Mars.



Extras for the Veronica Mars dvd include an extended version of the pilot with an unaired opening sequence and over 20 minutes of unaired scenes.



Extras for the Arrested Development dvd include commentary on three episodes, deleted and extended scenes, a blooper reel and "The Immaculate Election" campaign videos.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/7/2005



Zodiac
After a (so far) three year absence from making his last movie Panic Room, director David Fincher is (finally) in the process of making his next movie – Zodiac. From a San Francisco Chronicle article:

"Zodiac" is an $80 million movie about the series of killings that has never been solved. To re-create that time, Fincher, the director of the highly stylized "Se7en," Fight Club" and "Panic Room," is taking a more realistic approach -- filming as much as possible in the actual locations where the events took place (San Francisco). (…)

Although "Zodiac" is a retro film, it will be made with cutting-edge technology. One creative choice that is allowing the crew to work faster is Fincher's decision to use the new Grass Valley Viper FilmStream system, a digital video format.

Fincher used the system to shoot a commercial for Hewlett-Packard, and Michael Mann used it to shoot much of "Collateral," the Tom Cruise-Jamie Foxx thriller. But "Zodiac" will be the first Hollywood feature shot entirely on the Viper system.


The last time Dangerous Universe covered director Fincher, he was rumored to have taken the helm of a big screen adaptation of the movie Hard Boiled.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/7/2005



Lost
Episode #28 – Orientation.
"You needed a father figure and I needed a kidney."







By Bert Ehrmann
10/5/2005



Fort Wayne Reader
Check out my column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader entitled, "The House/Holmes Connection." On the similarities between the characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Gregory House from the television series House, M.D. (The original title of the article was in fact "Sherlock House, M.D." but was changed before publication.)

By Bert Ehrmann
10/4/2005



Arrested Development
Episode 43 - Forget Me Now.





By Bert Ehrmann
10/3/2005



A History of Violence
In A History of Violence, Viggo Mortensen stars as Tom Stall, a mild mannered restaurant owner who stops a robbery at his establishment killing the two robbers in the process. (The men are depicted as having killed their way across the country and were planning on killing everyone in the restaurant during the robbery.) Tom is declared a hero and turns up on all the cable news channels in the process. For most people this would be their fifteen minutes of fame, for Tom it's a nightmare in the making.

Tom Stall is really Joey Cusak, a gangster from Philadelphia who relocated to small town Indiana trying to escape his past. And people from his past, like Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris), aren't the forgiving type. In his past life as "Crazy Joey", Tom did some really nasty things like when he once tried to remove one of Carl's eyes with barbed wire.

As a quote from the movie Magnolia goes, "We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us."

A History of Violence depicts the act of violence as a type of cancer/disease that although might be put in remission, still exists stirring under the surface. Although Tom wants his past life as Joey to be over with, he cannot escape the fact that he is and always will be Joey. And that when the situation dictates Tom will turn to his old ways of Joey, killing people in the process.

Everything Tom has done since ceasing to be Joey is (essentially) a lie. As much as Tom would like to deny it, Joey is the real person and Tom is not. Or is he? Is change possible? Can we escape our past if we wish? Can we make a new life simply by choice?

Does anyone truly know who Tom really is? In fact, does anyone know who anyone really is? (9/10)

(As a side note, A History of Violence takes place in fictional Millbrook Indiana. And by the licence plates of the cars driving around Millbrook, it would appear as if Millbrook is somewhere in far north-central Indiana. Of course none of this matters since A History of Violence was in fact shot in Canada, nowhere near Indiana.)

By Bert Ehrmann
10/2/2005



Serenity – Bert's Review
I remember the day it was canceled. Three years ago the series was faltering in the ratings and it was just a matter of time before Fox pulled the plug on one of the best science fiction series of all time. It didn't help that Fox aired the episodes out of order, only airing the first episode after the series had been canceled and not airing some of the episodes at all.

It was a depressing time for science fiction. If a series like Firefly couldn't make it on television what did the future of the genera hold?

But now things have changed. Firefly has been spun into a theatrical feature entitled Serenity. Life is good. Serenity does Firefly proud.

In Serenity, the crew of the Firefly class vessel Serenity live on the edges of space doing whatever it takes to earn an honest (or dishonest) living. The movie opens with Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) leading the crew of the Serenity in a bank heist which is interrupted when the Reivers, a cannibal race of men whom "rape, kill and eat" people though not necessarily in that order, attack the town the bank's located in. To put it mildly, the Reivers are the stuff of nightmare. They have no fear and only wish to hunt down and kill their prey – no matter what the cost. I was horrified at the true nature of the Reivers, whom were only alluded to in the series. They are truly men who have become monsters. They are us and we are them. They make the zombies of the remake Dawn of the Dead look like pushovers.

Meanwhile, a man known only as "The Operative" is tasked on tracking down one of the crew of the Serenity – River (Summer Glau), a person the Alliance, the future government, had manipulated and turned into something more. She knows things that she shouldn't and this makes some very powerful men nervous. And The Operative has no qualms about killing whomever he needs, be it man, woman or child, to get to her.

What follows is the Serenity dodging The Operative and discovering the true nature of the Reivers in the process. (A horrible, horrible nature indeed.)

If there's one thing that I'm a bit concerned with about the movie it's that if people who are unfamiliar with the source material will get/like the movie. I am a Firefly nut and think that Serenity is one of the best science fiction movie to come along in some time. But what about people who don't know Firefly from Cheers? Will they like the movie? I can only hope, I am dying to see a sequel to Serenity. (10/10)

Dangerous Universe has been covering Firefly/Serenity for three and a half years at this point, and only wishes that we can cover the television show/movie for four more.



More on Firefly at Dangerous Universe.
More on Serenity at Dangerous Universe.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/30/2005



Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Out on DVD this Tuesday (10/4) is the television series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. But to own the complete Kolchak, you'll also have to pick up the two made-for-tv Kolchak movies released separately on DVD – The Night Stalker/The Night Strangler (Double Feature).

By Bert Ehrmann
9/30/2005




Serenity is out!

From Writer/Director Joss Whedon: The movie is out tonite folks! Make sure you go check it out!

Serenity

By Mo Alexander
9/30/2005



Night Stalker
I noticed the ending of tonight's Night Stalker was different than the one used on the unaired pilot episode making the rounds on the Internet last summer. It seems as if the original ending had Perri (Gabrielle Union) and Kolchak (Stuart Townsend) becoming friends, while with the new ending it didn't seem as if their relationship has evolved that much. I'd have to say that I prefer the original ending over the one that aired, it seemed more real.

The following contains many spoilers.

THE ORIGINAL ENDING
Previously, Kolchack sprays zinc sulfide outside a girl's school where the creatures were sighted. He later returns with Perri and Jain to the school and using a special light is able to follow the creatures' tracks via their zinc sulfide glow in the light. They are able to follow the tracks all the way to the cave via this glow. Kolchak uses his GPS device and realizes that the cave is near where Emily's body was found before driving his Mustang into the cave. Inside the cave they hear little girl Julie whimpering and find her on the cave's floor. They are confronted by two of the creatures and escape to the car by using the Jain's camera flash disorienting the creatures. The group makes it to the car but are attacked by the creatures. One leaps on the hood and breaks the glass. Another smashes the passenger side window and bites Perri. The creatures are only driven off when the car emerges into the sunlight of early morning.

Later, in the hospital where Perri is recovering from her wounds, there is some discussion about the mark on the hand, neither Perri or the little girl have it. Why? There is no answer but Perry tells Kolchak to keep looking.

THE ENDING THAT AIRED
Kolchak, Perri and Jain are sitting in a cafe. Kolchak is troubled about not being able to find little girl Julie. Perri and Kolchak discuss the story, when Kolchak's GPS device begins beeping. Previously, Kolchak sprayed a "chemical Low Jack" outside the girl's school. Using this, they are able to track these creatures back to the cave via the GPS. Kolchak uses his GPS device and realizes that the cave is near where Emily's body was found before driving his Mustang into the cave. Inside the cave they loose the signal but Kolchak decides to investigate further, pulling two cattle-prods and a light out of his trunk. Jain remarks, "Don't you have like a gun or something?" They hear little girl Julie whimpering somewhere in the cave but there are many nooks and tunnels all around. Jain gets a scare while poking his head into one of these tunnels when a flock of bats comes blasting out and accidentally breaks his cattle-prod. Kolchak delves even deeper into the cave even after hearing the creature growl. They find Julie perched precariously on a ledge over a large drop. Kolchak has the little girl jump across to him all the while the creatures are closing in on the group. The three make a mad dash to the car. Perri gets her foot stuck on a root and thinks it one of the creatures for a moment. On the escape, Jain is grabbed and pulled back but is rescued by Kolchak when he throws his light at the creature. Jain is wounded on the leg but they all make it to the car. One of the creatures leaps on the car's hood and breaks the glass, another smashes the passenger side window and snaps at Perri but is smashed against the cave wall by Kolchak at the wheel. The car makes it out of the cave at night and rockets away.

A few days later in the newspaper office, Perri confronts Kolchak about his story telling him that it doesn't reflect the truth. Perri says that, "The public has a right to know." Kolchak responds, "The public doesn't want to know." But Kolchak tells her that when he finds the answers, he will print them and that the people will have to believe. Perri tells him, "I'm watching you."

By Bert Ehrmann
9/29/2005



Veronica Mars
Is it true? Did Veronica Mars actually do okay ratings-wise vs. Lost? Via Zap2It:

The critically adored UPN series began its second season in front of its largest audience ever -- 3.3 million viewers -- Wednesday (Sept. 28), despite airing in a cutthroat time period dominated by ABC's "Lost." The episode also scored its highest-ever rating among the network's target audience of young women.


Did I mention that the season opener of Veronica Mars was excellent? Especially the ending… Wow!


By Bert Ehrmann
9/29/2005



Renewed
Prison Break has been renewed for a second season and The Office (US) has been renewed for a third. But how exactly can there be a second season of Prison Break? Is there ANOTHER break out of ANOTHER prison, or do they stay in the same prison that's (seemingly) broken out of in the first season? Via Zap2It.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/29/2005



Lost
Here are a few screen caps from tonight's episode of Lost entitled "Adrift." In case you're wondering, the odd looking photo is a contrast enhanced shot of the shark that attacked Walt and Sawyer where you can clearly see a logo on the shark's tail.





By Bert Ehrmann
9/28/2005



Night Stalker
ABC begins airing their new series Night Stalker this Thursday (9/29) at 9:00 P.M. (EST). And guess what, the first episode is pretty good.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/28/2005



House, M.D.
In a move not likely to win any awards, Fox has decided to pull all new episodes of House, M.D. until November – that's four weeks without a new episode. The reason – the baseball playoffs. Ugh. Why does Fox choose to air just three episodes of the series before pulling it for a month!? Is Fox intentionally trying to push viewers to ABC's competing new Commander in Chief!?

By Bert Ehrmann
9/27/2005



Veronica Mars
Don't forget, season two of Veronica Mars begins Wednesday night (9/28) on UPN at 9:00 P.M. (EST). (Of course, the series goes up against ABC's juggernaut Lost, perhaps the kiss of death for one of the best shows on television today.)

By Bert Ehrmann
9/27/2005



Arrested Development
Funniest lines from episode 42 - The British Bombshell:

George Bluth Sr. (on meeting Saddam Hussein years ago): "I thought that was the guy who played the Soup Nazi.  I told him how much I liked his work."

George Bluth Sr. (on renting Andy Griffith aka Matlock for his upcoming trial): "For ten grand, he'll actually sit behind us in court and read the paper. For fifteen he'll actually sit at the defense table. For twenty thousand dollars he'll twice lean forward and whisper something in your ear… White suit is extra."
Michael Bluth: "Boy, that's an awful lot of money for the stupidest idea I've ever heard."

Ron Howard – The Narrator: "No one was making fun of Andy Griffith. I can't emphasis that enough."

George Bluth Sr. (on the evils of British people): "They're polite, and the men all sound gay, but they will rip out your heart… And their breath…"

By Bert Ehrmann
9/26/2005






Dawn of War: Winter Assault

"Lost amongst the ruins of a leveled city lies an Emperor Class Titan, a war vessel of untold power forged in the planet-wide furnaces of Mars, and revered by billions as the epitome of Imperial dominance. The one who controls it will command the power to destroy, or defend, a world. The Imperials will summon it to overcome great evil, Chaos will corrupt it for their own designs, Orks will destroy it in their bloodlust and Eldar will disregard it in their arrogance. The expansion pack to the award winning Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War will build upon the most exciting, visceral, front-line battlefield ever seen in an RTS game. Winter Assault promises to be one of the biggest expansion packs ever."

BRING IT ON!!!!!!!

Dawn of War

By Mo Alexander
9/26/2005



Extras
HBO is running the series Extras a bit out of order. The episode that ran as the first episode was really the third episode of the series. And next week the real first episode will run as the second. My guess is that HBO decided that the funniest of the first three episodes was the third and chose to run that one first. Oh well, I guess even HBO can't be perfect.

Funniest lines from episode 3 of Extras:
Maggie Jacobs: "Do you know what worries me?"
Andy Millman: "I don't know – where do baby ants go to school?"

Andy: "Kate Winslet was just talking dirty to Anne Frank and Joseph Goebbels. Just another normal day."

By Bert Ehrmann
9/25/2005



Flightplan
Flightplan (2005) is a good movie trapped in a terrible ending. In Flightplan, Jodie Foster stars as Kyle, a mother who’s child goes missing during a trans-atlantic flight between Germany and New York. Or does she? Is Kyle’s daughter missing, or did she really die when Kyle’s husband fell, or jumped, from their apartment roof?

The first two thirds of the movie is effective as Kyle questions her sanity as she searches the plane for her daughter, whom seemingly no one else on the flight has seen, but finds only questions. Where the movie falls apart, however, is when we discover the truth about what’s going on. It’s just totally unbelievable.

Die Hard + Panic Room + The Forgotten = Flightplan (6/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
9/25/2005



Extras
Don't forget, the first season of Extras begins airing on HBO this Sunday (9/25). Read our review of the first episode here, and read the funniest line from the episode here.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/23/2005



Lost
If you're interested in what song was being played during last night's episode of Lost, it was (Mama) Cass Elliot's "Make Your Own Kind of Music." Thanks to Jay.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/22/2005



Battlestar Galactica
TV Squad is reporting that the season finale of Battlestar Galactica will run two minutes long tomorrow (9/23) night:

…Next week, the Sept. 23 episode titled Pegasus, will run two minutes longer than its scheduled time. Set your recording device to continue until five minutes after the scheduled end time of the episode to be on the safe side.


By Bert Ehrmann
9/22/2005



Fort Wayne Reader
Check out my latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader: "Americanization, syndications, and the art of making money on TV."

Question: why do Hollywood television producers “Americanize” (recast with American actors and rewrite with American tastes in mind) British television shows? It’s a common enough occurrence. Over the years there’s been some 60 odd shows converted from Queen’s English to American Slang including Three’s Company, Sanford and Son and All in the Family, all based on British television shows.

Short answer: money. Long answer: an insane amount of money.


Read the whole column here.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/21/2005



Television 2005-06 Season Premiers, September, 25–29
Some dates to remember next week.

Sunday
9/25
Monday
9/26
Tuesday
9/27
Wednesday
9/28
Thursday
9/29

HBO
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Season 5

10:00 P.M.
(EST)

HBO
Extras
Series Premiere

10:30 P.M.
(EST)

UPN
Veronica Mars
Season 2

9:00 P.M.
(EST)
ABC
Night Stalker
Series Premiere

9:00 P.M.
(EST)

By Bert Ehrmann
9/21/2005



Quick Reviews
The Constant Gardner (2005): The Constant Gardner is a good movie, though it suffers in its length. I felt as if a half hour of the movie could easily been cut out without it hurting the story. (7/10)

Lord of War (2005): Nicolas Cage plays Yuri Orlov, an arms dealer who doesn’t discriminate when it comes to buyers. As he sees it, he’s not involved in the conflict and is only supplying a good. Even if his “goods” are weapons used to slaughter both soldiers and civilians alike. (9/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
9/20/2005




Saw 2

Saw 2 is coming out , right in time for Halloween. Starring Donnie Wahlberg. And Oh yes, there will be blood.

Saw2

By Mo Alexander
9/20/2005



Arrested Development
I'm Oscar…dot com.



By Bert Ehrmann
9/19/2005



The 57th Annual Emmy Awards
Some notable winners and losers from last night's Emmy awards. Everybody Loves Raymond wins for best comedy – or the "we're so sorry to see you go award"!? Ian McShane shut out two years in a row for lead actor in a drama!? Tony Shalhoub wins for lead in a comedy series – wait a minute –  Monk's a comedy!? Click for the entire list.

Winners:
Best Drama Series – Lost
Writing, Comedy Series – Mitchell Hurwitz and Jim Valley, Arrested Development episode "The Righteous Brothers"
Writing, Drama Series – David Shore - House episode "Three Stories" FOX
Art Direction, Single-Camera Series – Deadwood HBO
Cinematography, Single-Camera Series – Deadwood episode "Complications" HBO
Costumes, Series – Deadwood episode "Boy The Earth Talks To" HBO
Single-Camera Picture Editing, Drama Series – Lost episodes "Pilot" (Part 1 & Part 2) ABC
Outstanding Mult-Camera Picture Editing, SeriesScrubs episode "My Life In Four Cameras" NBC
Hairstyling, Series – Deadwood episode "Boy The Earth Talks To" HBO
Makeup, Series (Non-Prosthetic) – Deadwood episode "A Lie Agreed Upon", Part I HBO
Music Composition, Series (Dramatic Underscore) – Lost ABC

Losers:
Comedy SeriesArrested Development FOX
Comedy SeriesScrubs NBC
Drama Series – Deadwood HBO
Lead Actor, Drama Series – Hugh Laurie - House FOX
Lead Actor, Drama Series – Ian McShane - Deadwood HBO
Lead Actor, Comedy Series – Jason Bateman - Arrested Development FOX
Lead Actor, Comedy Series –  Zach Braff - Scrubs NBC
Writing, Miniseries or Movie – Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant -The Office Special BBC America
Supporting Actor, Comedy Series – Jeffrey Tambor - Arrested Development FOX
Supporting Actor, Drama Series – Terry O'Quinn - Lost ABC
Supporting Actor, Drama Series – Naveen Andrews - Lost ABC
Supporting Actress, Comedy Series – Jessica Walter - Arrested Development FOX
Directing, Drama Series – Gregg Fienberg - Deadwood episode "Complications" HBO
Directing, Drama Series – J.J. Abrams - Lost episode "Pilot" (Part 1 & Part 2) ABC
Writing, Drama Series – J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Jeffrey Lieber - Lost episode "Pilot" ABC
Writing, Drama Series – David Fury - Lost episode "Walkabout" ABC
Writing, Drama Series – George Pelecanos, David Simon - The Wire episode "Middle Ground" HBO

By Bert Ehrmann
9/19/2005



Arrested Development
Don't forget, season three of Arrested Development starts tonight (9/19) at 8:00 P.M. (EST).

By Bert Ehrmann
9/19/2005



Battlestar Galactica DVD
Out on DVD this Tuesday (9/20) is the first season of Battlesear Galactica. Extras include:

The fifth disc in Battlestar Galactica's season 1 set is highlighted by eight comprehensive featurettes covering all aspects of the series, from its miniseries origins to standard surveys of production design, visual effects, and particulars of plot and character. For hardcore fans and anyone interested in TV production, nine out of 13 episodes, plus the disc 1 miniseries, are accompanied by intelligent and informative commentary originally provided as BG website podcasts, mostly by series developer and writer Ronald D. Moore, who provides tantalizing clues about developments in season 2. The "Series Lowdown" is a cast-and-crew promotional program originally broadcast to attract SciFi Channel viewers who were initially reluctant to embrace a "reimagined" Battlestar Galactica. The strategy worked: First-season ratings left no doubt that the new BG was as good as--and in many ways better than--the original.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/18/2005



House
New episodes of the series House might be absent the entire month of October on Fox. Via The Futon Critic:

With the Major League Baseball playoffs less than three weeks away, FOX has firmed up its air schedule for the period. As is typical for the month of October, several of FOX's series will disappear for as many as four weeks.

Getting the shortest end of the stick - Tuesday dramas "Bones" and "House," both of which will get the boot for the entire month, save for only October 18 should the ALCS finish under six games. Nevertheless, in previous years FOX has opted to show repeats, movies or other specials on unused game dates in order to avoid viewer confusion.


Oh well, there's always The Office airing on NBC the same time as House would usually air.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/16/2005



I Am Legend
Is the I Am Legend movie back on? Via Dark Horizons:

Warner Bros. has officially set "Constantine" helmer Francis Lawrence to direct "I Am Legend", finally putting the long awaited film adaptation of the Richard Matheson novel on a fast track into production reports Variety.
(…)

Set in Los Angeles after a biological war, the pic centers on the sole healthy survivor, a man who finds himself in a battle against nocturnal mutants. Pic will undergo a rewrite under the supervision of Lawrence, who is eyeing a 2006 start date.


Dangerous Universe has been covering the I Am Legend movie for nearly four years now.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/15/2005



Television 2005-06 Season Premiers, September, 19–23
Some dates to remember next week.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

FOX
Arrested Development
Season 3

8:00 P.M.
(EST)

NBC
Surface, Series Premiere
8:00 P.M.
(EST)

NBC
The Office
Season 2

9:30 P.M.
(EST)

ABC
Lost
Season 2

9:00 P.M.
(EST)

ABC
Invasion
Series Premiere

10:00 P.M.
(EST)

   

By Bert Ehrmann
9/14/2005



Land of the Dead
Sweet looking cover art for the upcoming unrated DVD release of Land of the Dead. Via DVDAnswers:

The rated edition (runtime 1 hour 33 minutes) will be available in full frame only, whereas the unrated edition (1 hour 37 minutes) will be presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Each will carry English Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 Surround tracks. Extras wise, both discs will carry an audio commentary with George Romero, producer Peter Grumwald and editor Michael Doherty, an Undead Again: The Making of Land of the Dead featurette, A Day with the Living Dead featurette, deleted scenes and a When Shaun met George featurette. The unrated disc will include all of that, along with a Bringing the Dead to Life featurette, a Scenes of Carnage feature, a feature on the Zombie Effects from Green Screen to Finished Scene, a Bringing the Storyboards to Life feature, and a Scream Tests: Zombie Casting Call feature.

The unrated DVD case features the tagline, "The dead shall inherit the Earth." Look for Land of the Dead in stores October 18.

land of the dead

By Bert Ehrmann
9/14/2005



Superman Returns
I have decided to make a "Fan Trailer" for the upcoming Superman Returns (June 30, 2006) I am in the proccess of building some of the sets. These screen grabs are of the intro scene. A close up of Clark in his black rimmed glasses standing on a brick floor. Camera pans back to and scene rotates 90 degrees and you see Clark is standing on the side of a brick building. Camera pans back further to relieve the "Superman" Logotype built from bricks and mortar.


Click for H.264 Screen Grab


Click for H.264 Screen Grab

What will make this initial scene work (hopefully) is if the viewer does not know who the guy is. Just a normal guy, how happens to have a cleft in his chin. I will try to keep up on the screen grabs as they become available.

By Rob Maldeney
9/14/2005




Burnout

Burnout: Revenge is coming out soon for the Playstation and X-box. Also check out Burnout: Legends on the PSP if you got one.

Its time to trash some CARS!!

Burnout

By Mo Alexander
9/14/2005



Syriana
Cool looking poster to the upcoming Syriana movie. To me, this poster looks like a sibling of the teaser poster to the movie Traffic (2000). Check out the fonts used in the words "Traffic" and "Syriana," they're are dead ringers for one and other.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/12/2005



House, M.D.
The New York Times has an interesting article on Hugh Laurie, the actor who portrays the title character on the series House, M.D.:

In London, Mr. Laurie was known mainly as a comedian who collaborated for decades with his friend Stephen Fry. The two staged well-received comic revues, and eventually wrote and starred in a series based on P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves narratives. These days, Mr. Laurie is as amazed by his quick success on American television as he is by the pace of network production schedules in general. (…)

If there's something anguished and lonely about House, a measure of the same could be said of Mr. Laurie. He hasn't had time to enjoy his success. He is an absentee father to three children, and frets about making time in a few weeks to see his 16-year-old son play Kent in "King Lear." Two of his children are starting new schools, and a few weeks after their monthlong visit this summer, he speaks rather forlornly about them, and how he never planned to be away all for so long.


By Bert Ehrmann
9/12/2005



By Bert Ehrmann
9/11/2005




Aqua Teens Anyone?

My brother gave me a slight sampling of this show a while back, and ever since then, I've loved every minute of 'em. Check them out on Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, or pick up the DVD's from Amazon. If you got a sick twisted sense of humor, you wont be disappointed.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

By Mo Alexander
9/9/2005




Ranting away...

Well, another Friday upon us. For those of you who want some news, Microsoft has finally alloted into getting a movie based on Halo off the ground

"Universal Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox are reported to have agreed to pay Microsoft $5m plus a percentage of ticket sales capped at 10 per cent of the domestic box office. They reportedly haggled Microsoft down from $15m plus 15 per cent" .Wow, as if Microsoft doesn't have enough money?

Now, not to call down the spell of "Doom (No, not the movie.. I still hope that movie is cool)" on the prospect of releasing this flick, a couple of points need to be addressed before releasing another Straight to Home Video movie. First off, who to pick to play the role of Master Chief? Both the Video game and the novels portray the Master Chief as a bad ass who takes no flak, and dishes out some serious pain. Last I checked, a lot of the actor's out there have already been stereo-typed into other roles. So this will probably be a diffucult role to fill.

Next, is who is going to write the script? The novels written by Eric Nylund were superb, with the action and grit that you would expect from a good Sci-Fi genre. If Universal / Fox want to have a GREAT script, that would be the man I would look up for help!

Last I checked, Fox's track record with Sci-Fi movies hasn't been all that stellar (see my AvP review, if you dare..), so hopefully this wont be a total CGI flick. Though seeing the Covenant on the silver screen will be rather KICK ASS!

Halo : Combat Evolved

By Mo Alexander
9/9/2005



Hunter S. Thompson
Rolling Stone has published the final written words of Hunter S. Thompson as well as coverage on his eccentric funeral:

As I left the farm with George McGovern and Anita Thompson to deliver a tape of the ceremony to an Aspen bar where hundreds of Hunter's fans were convened, we stared out the bus window, and there it was, from three miles down the valley -- the green orgiastic fist, lighting up the mountain. Jay Gatsby's green light at the end of the pier had moved west to Hunter S. Thompson Territory. It glowed in the darkness like a long-ago lighthouse on loan from Haight-Ashbury, blinking a sentimental farewell, a bizarre hallucinogenic symbol soon to flicker out forever.

Suddenly, the shuttle bus grew hushed. You could hear the wheels humming down the lonesome Colorado blacktop road. Our transport had become as solemn as an empty church. No human murmurs or casual asides, just stony silence. As the highway turned sharply right, putting the phantasmagoric Gonzo fist out of view, the collective fear of everyone on board was that we had all entered the No More Fun Zone. The Green Light was temporary. The sorcerer was truly gone. The ashes had settled, and only the dark shadow of the valley remained.

Read the whole story here.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/8/2005



Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais needs your help:

Ricky's considering doing a run of new radio shows with Steve and Karl which will be similar to past shows on Xfm but without the music. The shows would be available free of charge and exclusively online - about a half hour of new chat each week

We'd really like to know whether people are into this sort of thing before going ahead so we're hoping you'll be good enough to register your interest (or lack of) in a simple online poll at...

http://www.rickygervais.com/radiovote.php

By Bert Ehrmann
9/7/2005



Television 2005-06 Season Premiers, September, 12–16
Some dates to remember next week.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
  FOX
House, M.D.
Season 2

9:00 P.M. (EST)
    CBS
Threshold Series Premiere
9:00 P.M. (EST)

By Bert Ehrmann
9/7/2005



Fort Wayne Reader
Read my latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader – "The Ultimate Comic Book".

By Bert Ehrmann
9/7/2005



Serenity
Horrible looking international poster for the upcoming Serenity movie. If I didn't already know what the movie was about, I'd guess that it was along the lines of an asian sword movie rather than a sci-fi one.

See the poster larger here.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/6/2005



Veronica Mars
Check out a clip from the premiere episode of season two of Veronica Mars. From the site:

"Normal is the Watchword"
After the summer fireworks caused by a dangerous confrontation with Lilly Kane's murderer and a surprising visitor at her door, Veronica attempts to settle into "normal" life, complete with a new after-school job and a return to the popular fold at Neptune High.


Veronica an Oh-Niner!? Say it ain't so! See the video for yourself here
.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/5/2005



Space: Above and Beyond
Out of nowhere, a DVD of the incredible series Space: Above and Beyond is due to be released in Best Buy this Tuesday (9/6). (Please note, the series is a Best Buy exclusive.) It's been ten years since the series originally premiered on Fox, and I've spent all the time waiting for this, watching the episodes on nearly unwatchable VHS tapes.

Via Best Buy:

FROM "THE X-FILES" PRODUCERS GLEN MORGAN AND JAMES WONG.

It's the year 2063. After 150 years of deep space exploration, people on Earth feel certain they are alone in the universe. Everything changes when news comes that two outposts light-years away from Earth have been attacked by an alien civilization. Now the new young recruits of the United States Marine Corps Space Aviator Calvary are headed for the front lines in the toughest battle the world has ever had to face. Thrust into an intergalactic war, these untested fighter pilots suddenly find themselves waging a life-and-death struggle to protect Earth and to save mankind from total annihilation.

5-Disc Set Includes All 23 Episodes-Including The Double-Length Pilot Episode!


More information here.

This series comes with Dangerous Universe's highest recommendation.

Thanks to Duke.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/4/2005




Donate Please!!

For those of you who have been keeping up with the devastation that Hurricane Katrina has done to the Gulf Region, several agencies including the Department of Homeland Security are reporting that this is a SEVERE emergency and need your donations or assistance by volunteering.

So if you can, please do so, and help out those who are in serious need.

Thanks!

The Dangerous Universe Staff

Red Cross

FEMA Website

FEMA Telephone Number: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)

The Humane Society

By Mo Alexander
9/2/2005



Good Night, And Good Luck
Yahoo has released a debuted the trailer for the interesting looking Good Night, And Good Luck movie, due in theaters October, 7. The movie is described as:

Taking place during the early days of broadcast journalism in 1950's America, the film chronicles the real-life conflict between television newsman Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) and Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Good Night, And Good Luck stars
David Strathairn, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson and Jeff Daniels and is also directed by Clooney.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/1/2005



24
Starting Sunday (9/4) afternoon and continuing through to Monday, A&E will air 24 hours straight of the first season of 24.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/31/2005



Rome
The first episode of Rome was interesting, it just wasn't all that great. In Rome, there's about a dozen different stories going on all at once and none of those stories could be called a secondary/"B" story – every character's story is treated as a main story. In the first season of The Sopranos, Tony Soprano was definitely the "A" story and everything else was the "B" story. In The Wire there were two stories going on, the cops and the robbers. In Entourage there's only really one story going on, the guys.

In Rome there are so many stories and plots going on that I couldn't tell the "A" story from the "B" and the characters, especially the women, looked/dressed so much alike that I had problems telling them apart. Still, I found myself interested in the stories of the Roman soldiers. But I'm not sure that's enough to bring me back week after week. (7/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
8/29/2005




Aeon Flux Site is online

For those of you who watched the Animated Series on MTV, the movie is due out soon. Check it out!

Aeonflux

By Mo Alexander
8/29/2005




Alone in the Dark Review??

Ohhhhhh Boy... Alrighty, first off, Id like to let it be known that I'm writing this little *ahem* review of this so called movie on request by my lovely bride to be Kristin. So with out further ado.. Welcome to the world of BAD ACTING!!

Our story starts off with Christian Slater as Edward Carnby, a paranormal detective on the hunt for various relics from the Abskani, a long forgotten tribe who foretold that demons are coming back to take over the world.

Ok, so the story starts humming along with good ole Edward running into several of the "demons" that have taken over humans as hosts, and now have supernatural abilities. The Demons are after Edward for the artifacts, that apparently open a doorway/staircase/BatCave to their "Alternate Universe". Now, considering every decent young American male in the U.S. has played "Resident Evil" on some gaming platform, you know damn well to aim for the head when trying to kill something that supposively cant be killed, AND you use a shotgun.

Ok, so have I lost you yet? Along the way, Edward runs back into his ex-girlfriend played by Tara "Oops my Boob fell out!" Reid. She apparently is a apprentice museum scientist who has all the answers to Carnby's riddles. Or so we think! Come to find out that early in Edward's life, he was subject to the same experiments that created the superhuman/demons. And now, all of Edwards' old chums from the orphanage where he grew up are coming to hunt him down, trying to get the stupid artifacts.

OK if the movie couldnt get any more worse, along comes Stephen Dorff as "Commander Blake" ( I guess Stephen felt the need to be a good guy this time around, since the last time I saw him acting, it was in the original Blade.) Dorff is head of a para-military outfit charged with monitoring all supernatural activity in the continental U.S.. And of course, he's chums (in a slap you up side your head kinda way) with Carnby. Blake informs Carnby that the "Ectoplasmic activity" (or some BS) is at a high level, and something big is about to go down. He also shows Carnby that the only thing that can kill the "Shadow Demons" (which ill mention later for coolness) is Light Bullets??

*At this point in the movie, I slowly began reaching for the small dip knife we had lying on our coffee table. Kristin was nice enough to remind me that the movie wasn't that bad to take my own life for... CLOSE but not enough..* Anyhow, Carnby, Blake, Tara "Oops it did it again!" discover the hidden underground temple to where the Abskani (Obscure ?? Absent?? Abysmal?!) tribe had their secret portal to the other dimension. The three decide that it would be a good idea to go and visit it while Blake's entourage (assorted Red-shirted Away team members from Star Trek need not apply) guard the area.

Had enough yet?? Well, as the trio make their way down into the temple, the "Shadow Demons" show up and begin storming the front lines of the Military. Of course, the Military gives back what it gets, but in the end, you can't mess with the Shadow Demons. They end up over-running the military and destroying the entire camp setup around the temple's entrance.

Meanwhile, the trio have discovered the entrance to the temple, AND discovered a secret operation room where Carnby and his orphan buddies were taken to to be "Joined" with the Demon bugs. Carnby then discovers the sealed portal to the alternate universe, and decides "Hey the Artifacts can be put together and make a key! Lets open the door to Hell!!" On the heels of this notion comes Blake saying "Hey, maybe we should just blow them all to hell with a little C4.?" Hey, the Plot's reaching, the portal is like 8000 SuperDome's wide... SURE! A little C4 might just make the bad Demons happy!

SO, Doorways Open, they set the charge, and run off.. But WAIT! the Remote to the charge doesnt work, Blake's gotta go back and set the countdown timer on the charge! (Thankfully this ends the acting of Stephen Dorff, cause he either dies or gets eaten by the Shadow Demons). Carnby and Tara "The Milk's Gone Bad!" make their way up a conveniently found ladder to the outside world. They think they are safe... Are they??

After seeing this horrific piece of garbage, I promptly took out the DVD and sacrificed it to the oven. In light of that moment, I also came up with several other good uses for the DVD, (if you had purchased it..): Skeet shooting, Frisbee, Dog Pooh pickeruper, ninja stars..

Acting in this flick was non existant, the characters were horribly portrayed, the plot has more holes in it than AOL's online Security system. The only cool kinda thing that came out of this flick was the Shadow demons, somewhat of a variation to the original Giger Alien, although they couldnt be seen in normal light. Least they did some damage by killing a lot of stupid people off. A shame it isn't for real.. the Gene pool would be in the plus column for a change!

Please, Don't rent this movie. Don't Buy this movie. Don't even LOOK at this movie. Just leave it there, along with the 400 other copies of it at Blockbuster/Wal-Mart/Zip and Go. If you truly want info, please gouge your eye's out after viewing the site link below...

Alone in the Dark

"My eyes...the goggles do nothing!" - Rainier Wolfcastle

By Mo Alexander
8/29/2005



The 40 Year Old Virgin
The 40 Year Old Virgin is a funny movie intended for adult audiences, hence the “R” rating. It’s refreshing to finally see some comedies (at least) returning a to the more hard-edged end of the genera spectrum.

In The 40 Year Old Virgin, Andy Stizer (Steve Carell) has spent the last 40 years not “getting any,” living alone in a toy filled apartment. That is until some of Andy's co-workers discover one night at a poker game that he’s still a virgin and decide to help him out.

What follows is Andy going on some pretty funny dating adventures but finding true love by himself in a woman (Catherine Keener) who just happens to work across the way selling items on eBay.

Much of the comedy from the movie comes from Andy being in embarrassing situations. Be it trying to put a condom on for the first time or going on a speed-dating lunch where he meets a woman named “Gina,” who pronounces the “G” like “J” in “Joke,” who’s spent a lot of time with women in the past but wants to start dating men again. And since she thinks Andy look a bit feminine…

Though the movie is far from perfect, it has some hilarious moments and doesn’t feel as long as it really is.

The 40 Year Old Virgin writer/director/producer Judd Apatow must like casting actors he’s used in the past. For example, one of Andy’s co-worker friends Cal is played by Seth Rogan whom co-starred in Apatow’s television shows Freaks and Geeks (1999) and was a writer on and co-star of another Apatow television show Undeclared (2001). Carla Gallo (Carnivàle) and Loudon Wainwright also co-starred in Undeclared and had bit parts in The 40 Year Old Virgin.

In fact Carell co-starred in Anchorman: The Legend of Run Burgundy (2004), which Apatow produced, alongside Paul Rudd whom plays Andy's friend David in The 40 Year Old Virgin. David Koechner also starred in Anchorman as Champ Kind and turns up in a bit part on The 40 Year Old Virgin.

Not to be outdone, Leslie Mann (The Cable Guy) had a part in the movie and is the real-life wife of Apatow. (8/10)


By Bert Ehrmann
8/28/2005



Fall Television
The 2005-2006 fall television season kicks off next Monday (8/29) with the two-hour premiere of Fox's Prison Break. The show is described as:

MICHAEL SCOFIELD (Wentworth Miller, "The Human Stain") is a desperate man in a desperate situation. His brother, LINCOLN BURROWS (Dominic Purcell, "John Doe," "Blade: Trinity"), is on death row and scheduled to die in a few months for a murder Michael is convinced Lincoln did not commit. With no other options and time winding down, Michael holds up a bank to get himself incarcerated alongside his brother in Fox River State Penitentiary. Once he's inside, we learn that Michael is a structural engineer with the blueprints for the prison and has hatched an elaborate plan to break Lincoln out and prove his innocence.

In my estimation, Prison Break owes much of it's being on the air to ABC's Lost, in that Prison Break is Fox's attempt at having a series where the story slowly unfolds over the course of the season akin to Lost rather that in traditional episodic format. If you miss the premiere of the series next Monday don't worry, Fox will reair the two-hour pilot on Thursday (9/1) while FX will air a marathon of episodes at the end of October. (That is if the series lasts that long.)

By Bert Ehrmann
8/26/2005



Fort Wayne Reader
Read my column up over at the Fort Wayne reader entitled "My date to the nerd prom" on Wizard World Chicago 2005. You can also read last year's column on Wizard World Chicago 2004 entitled "Welcome to a Wizard World that's not ruled by 'Harry Potter'".

By Bert Ehrmann
8/25/2005



Summer Movies
Why have people stopped going to the theater this summer? Could it be the ringing cell phones, talking kids, ridiculous ticket prices*, insane concession prices, busy parking lots, and twenty minutes of commercials followed by twenty minutes of movie trailers? From the New York Times:

Multiples theories for the decline abound: a failure of studio marketing, the rising price of gas, the lure of alternate entertainment, even the prevalence of commercials and pesky cellphones inside once-sacrosanct theaters. But many movie executives and industry experts are beginning to conclude that something more fundamental is at work: Too many Hollywood movies these days, they say, just are not good enough. (…)

overall movie attendance, a figure not affected by inflation, has slid to below where it stood in mid-August 2001. DVD sales, while still robust, are no longer rising exponentially, and some analysts say that a poor box office performance this summer will lead to poor DVD sales this winter. (…)

With billions of dollars at stake, nerves are growing understandably frayed. Last week, John Fithian, the president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, accused Robert A. Iger , the incoming chief executive of Walt Disney, of leveling a "death threat" at theater owners for having suggested that the lesson to be drawn from the slump is that moviegoers want films to be accessible in theaters and on DVD simultaneously. (…)

I actually enjoy going to the movies, I find a night spent in the multiplex enjoyable. What I don't like is all the garbage associated with the trip.

* How does this math work, a ticket for a movie in a theater costs around $7.50 where I live yet I can buy that same movie, and watch it over and over again, for just the price of a couple of tickets if I wait for it to come out on DVD?

By Bert Ehrmann
8/23/2005



Land of the Dead
Look for the Land of the Dead DVD to be released on October, 18. From DVDAnswers:

The rated edition (runtime 1 hour 33 minutes) will be available in full frame only, whereas the unrated edition (1 hour 37 minutes) will be presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. (…) Extras wise, both discs will carry an audio commentary with George Romero, producer Peter Grumwald and editor Michael Doherty, an Undead Again: The Making of Land of the Dead featurette, A Day with the Living Dead featurette, deleted scenes and a When Shaun met George featurette. The unrated disc will include all of that, along with a Bringing the Dead to Life featurette, a Scenes of Carnage feature, a feature on the Zombie Effects from Green Screen to Finished Scene, a Bringing the Storyboards to Life feature, and Scream Tests: Zombie Casting Call.

We here at Dangerous Universe loved Land of the Dead.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/23/2005



Six Feet Under
Kudos to Alan Ball on the last episode of Six Feet Under. I wasn't all that crazy about the episode overall, but the end, where we learn the fates of all the characters, was enlightening/interesting/creepy/cool/innovative all at the same time.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/22/2005



Rome
The New York Times has delivered a mixed/negative review of the series Rome, set to start airing on HBO next Sunday (8/28). From the review:

"Rome" has magnificent sets and delicious small touches (…). But somewhere along the Appian Way, HBO lost its nerve(…).

It's as if the creators felt obliged to keep the pace stately and the characters one-dimensional because they didn't trust their audience to follow the basic plot: aristocrats want to prevent Caesar from seizing power in order to preserve their privileges and corrupt practices. (…)

The success of "The Sopranos," and "Six Feet Under," and more recently, "Deadwood," lies in the way they paint sweeping, deeply layered psychological themes into the most humble, inauspicious frames: a mob family in New Jersey, a family-run funeral parlor in Los Angeles. Even "Deadwood" is just a 19th-century frontier town. (…)

"Rome," takes on an entire civilization and whittles it down to less than its ruins.

Read the review for yourself here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/21/2005



Gervais in New York Times
The New York Times has a nice profile on Ricky Gervais, and information on Extras set to start airing on HBO September 25. From the interview:

He (Gervais) compares his life now with his father's.

"When I start feeling sorry for myself, sitting in an air-conditioned hotel doing two hours' work, I remember he used to get up at 5:30 in the morning and never missed a day's work," Mr. Gervais says. "I think that's why money gives me the creeps. It's embarrassing enough to get paid a thousand times a nurse's wages for just mucking around; the best I can do is take it deadly seriously, the actual work, put everything I can in it."

"The first year I did this I made more money than I ever thought I would and I got offered a million to do this advert in America," Mr. Gervais adds later. "I said no and they came back and said, 'How about $2 million?' I said no, it doesn't matter what it is, because, it just doesn't, how much money do you need?"

Read the whole interview here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/19/2005



Extras
Extras has been officially reviewed for second season of episodes:

The BBC has commissioned a second season of "Extras" -- Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's comedy follow-up to hit satire "The Office."

"Extras," which averages 3.9 million viewers in its Thursday airings on BBC 2, is due to premiere on HBO September 25.

Gervais stars as a background actor with dim hopes of screen stardom, while Merchant plays his bumbling agent. Ben Stiller, Vinnie Jones and Kate Winslet have made cameos.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/18/2005



Gervais = Comedy God

By Bert Ehrmann
8/17/2005



Zap2It Articles
A few interesting articles have appeared on Zap2It today. The first is about Kevin Smith guest starring on Veronica Mars:

(Kevin) Smith (…) has taken a guest role on UPN's "Veronica Mars." He'll appear in the show's second episode this season, which is currently filming and is scheduled to air Wednesday, Oct. 5.

The "Clerks" writer-director will be playing, appropriately enough, a convenience-store clerk named Duane Anders. He meets Veronica (Kristen Bell) when she comes to question him in the course of an investigation -- into what, UPN and producer Warner Bros. TV aren't saying.

The other article is on writer/director Judd Apatow and the release of his series Undeclared on DVD:

"I thought people would like (Undeclared) because it was funny, at least to me," Apatow recalls. "I thought it was well done. I was very excited about it."

"We were supposed to premiere about two weeks after 9/11," says Apatow. "So they had this great ad campaign happening and we were on after 'That '70s Show' and it felt like everything was in place, but suddenly the entire world changed and suddenly our little show didn't seem important at all. It was actually very hard to even want to make the show anymore, because something so much more important was happening. We had to kinda get back in the head of thinking it was important to make jokes."

By Bert Ehrmann
8/16/2005



Message to Mars
Jack Handley has a message to the people of Mars:

People of Mars, you say we are brutes and savages. But let me tell you one thing: if I could get loose from this cage you have me in, I would tear you guys a new Martian asshole. (…) You may kill me, either on purpose or by not making sure that all the surfaces in my cage are safe to lick. But you can’t kill an idea. And that idea is: me chasing you with a big wooden mallet.

Read the whole hilarious column here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/15/2005



Battlestar Galactica
Ron Moore has updated his "Battlestar Galactica Blog". It's amazing that there are so many little details go into a show such as Battlestar Galactica, and that many of these details are there to build the show rather to be spoon-fed to the audience:

"that thing that adama and starbuck say:
"morning starbuck, whatdya hear?"
"nothin' but the rain."
"Grab your gun and bring the cat in."
my friend and I have made up our own little meaning/interpretation for it, and use it on a pretty regular basis (parts of it). but what does it mean to those characters? and how did the writers come up with it?"

I came up with this in the miniseries, and it's essentially a riff on contemporary marching chants or cadences used in the military called, "jodies." You've seen them in films: the platoon is marching or jogging along and the drill instructor sings out something like, "Up in the morning in the rising sun/Gonna run all day 'til the running's done," and the platoon either repeats the lines or adds the next line in the jodie. (…) In that opening scene, Kara is jogging through the corridors of Galactica and Adama greets her with a line that is a reference to an old jodie that presumably each of them remembers from their own training. So it's kind of an in-joke reference that they share with each other which probably in turn has some even deeper private joke between the two of them. (…)

Read the entire blog entry here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/14/2005



Ricky Gervais
First look at the character Ricky Gervais plays on The Simpsons, set to air sometime next year. Click for a larger view and more details.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/12/2005



Jarhead
An interesting trailer for the upcoming movie Jarhead was released on Yahoo this morning. Jarhead has an all-star cast of Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko), Jamie Foxx (Collateral) and Peter Sarsgaard (Garden State) and is directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition). According to JoBlo:

Jarhead (the self-imposed moniker of the Marines) follows "Swoff" (Gyllenhaal), a third-generation enlistee, from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty, sporting a sniper's rifle and a hundred-pound ruck on his back through Middle East deserts with no cover from intolerable heat or from Iraqi soldiers, always potentially just over the next horizon. Swoff and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy on blazing desert fields in a country they don't understand against an enemy they can't see for a cause they don't fully fathom.

Foxx portrays Sergeant Sykes, a Marine lifer who heads up Swofford's scout/sniper platoon, while Sarsgaard is Swoff's friend and mentor, Troy, a die-hard member of STA-their elite Marine Unit. An irreverent and true account of a war that was antiseptically packaged a decade ago, Jarhead is laced with dark wit, honest inquisition and episodes that are at once surreal and poignant, tragic and absurd.

I can't wait for this one. Jarhead is due in theaters this November. See the trailer for yourself here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/12/2005



Lost translates well to English
From BBC:

TV drama Lost has got off to a successful start in the UK with six million viewers for its first episode on Channel 4, unofficial figures show.

Overnight ratings showed the episode's first part averaged 6.1 million and the second half was seen by 5.9 million.

That made it the channel's most successful debut for a US series. ER opened with five million and Desperate Housewives launched with 4.6 million.

 

By Bert Ehrmann
8/12/2005




F.E.A.R Demo Released

Sierra has released the demo for F.E.A.R (First Encounter Assault Recon), a Hyper-action / Horror First Person Shooter, with kind of an X-files feel to it. I got a chance to try it out Monday night, and from what I got to try out, its not all that great.

Now, mind you, this could be due to my PC being a little *ahem* outdated. However, I still wasn't impressed with the whole gameplay of the demo. Sure, you get to blast stormtrooper-like guards full of holes, the games' aspect of FPS didnt really appeal to me.

You could probably chalk it up to me playing Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 Expansion pak too much, but then again, in comparison, the graphics, the game play, and the overall "zest" of F.E.A.R just does not compare to the other two.

Granted both Doom3 and Half-Life 2 have set a standard PRETTY high, F.E.A.R has been in development (and from what I understand still in development) for quite some time. Using the Monolith gaming engine (its real name eludes me at the moment..), you would think that Sierra would raise the standards bar set by Doom3 and Half-Life 2. Unfortunately, that isnt the case.

I do like the silly antics of the AI, with the crazy Comm Chatter "Im heading for cover!" "WHERE?!", along with their attempts to take new positions to try and attack you. However, squatting down behind the same box I saw you duck behind, then popping back up, doesnt really make for intelligent tactics. It really makes for me to put a bullet in their brain pan.

There also is the capability to slow down time, a Matrix-esque style of fighting, or Max Payne. This does help a little when trying to put new holes in the upholstery, but you can still get tagged in the process. What fun is that?

Anyhow, try it out when you get a chance... And if you got enough horsepower in your PC. Cause it will need it.

F.E.A.R

By Mo Alexander
8/11/2005





I think that says it all...

In Theaters, October 21st. For those of you who havent upgraded their PC's yet to play Doom3, do so now, then play that game BEFORE you check out the flick!

By the way, Ill give a full follow up to the movie once we have seen it.

Doom: The Movie

By Mo Alexander
8/11/2005



Battlestar Galactica
From the Sci Fi Channel:

The first-season premiere episode of Battlestar Galactica, "33", written by Ronald D. Moore and directed by Michael Rymer, has won the 2005 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/10/2005



Jarhead
The poster for the upcoming film Jarhead has appeared online. Is it just me or is the tagline for the film, "Welcome to the suck," a lot like the tagline for Full Metal Jacket (1987), "In Vietnam The Wind Doesn't Blow It Sucks?"

By Bert Ehrmann
8/9/2005



Over There
The first episode of Over There has been released on DVD, which is a bit odd since only the second episode has aired on FX and (I'm supposing) FX will air the first episode many, many, many times over the next few years.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/9/2005



DVDs
Some dates to remember for upcoming DVD releases of television shows:

08/16Undeclared - The Complete Series
08/30House, M.D. - Season One
09/06Lost - The Complete First Season
10/11Arrested Development - Season Two
10/11 Veronica Mars - The Complete First Season

By Bert Ehrmann
8/7/2005



The Office (U.S.)
NBC will be running four episodes from season one of the U.S. version of The Office. (Since the entire season was only six episodes long, why not all of the episodes instead of four?) From The Futon Critic:

NBC will air a mini-marathon of four previously telecast episodes of the critically-acclaimed mockumentary, "The Office," on August 17 (8-10 p.m. ET), hosted by Steve Carell…

"The Office" party will be hosted by Carell who will appear in interstitials to tease his upcoming feature-film comedy, "The 40 Year-Old Virgin."

By Bert Ehrmann
8/4/2005



Newspaper Comic Strips
Check out The Look of Love: The Rise and Fall of the Photo-Realistic Newspaper Strip for some extremely interesting tidbits on newspaper comic strips created by some of the best illustrators to ever work in the business.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/4/2005



Gervis + Simpsons = Drool
From Zap2it:

Gervais, the creator of "The Office" and an avowed fan of "The Simpsons," wrote and will guest star in an episode of the long-running FOX series this season. He says his appearance on the show fulfills a goal he set when he started his career.

The episode, tentatively scheduled for early 2006, will find Gervais playing a character similar to his clueless "Office" manager, David Brent. He and Homer (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) will trade places for a week as part of a "Wife Swap"-style show.

Read the whole article here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/3/2005



Doctor Who
Filming has commenced on the Christmas special and season two of Doctor Who. From BBC:

David Tennant today steps into the role of the tenth Time Lord, as filming commences on the highly anticipated Christmas special and second series of Doctor Who for BBC ONE.

Billie Piper returns as the Doctor's feisty young companion, Rose Tyler, and together they will travel through time and space battling new and returning aliens and monsters.

David Tennant says of his striking new look: "I think we've come up with something distinctive that's both timeless and modern, with a bit of geek chic and of course, a dash of Time Lord!


Read the whole story here.
See photos of the new Doctor here.

Will this series ever air in the U.S.?

By Bert Ehrmann
7/30/2005



Arrested Development
Fox will air four episodes of Arrested Development this Friday (7/29) and each subsequent Friday until August, 26 August, 12 airing every episode from last season. From the Balboa Observer:

7/29 8:00 P.M. (EST) "The One Where Michael Leaves", "The One Where They Build A House", "Amigos", "Good Grief"

8/5 8:00 P.M. (EST) "Sad Sack", "Afternoon Delight", "Switch Hitter", "Queen for a Day"

8/12 8:00 P.M. (EST) "Burning Love", "Ready, Aim, Marry Me", "Out on a Limb", "Hand to God"
Season 3 of Arrested Development starts Monday September 19 at 8:00 P.M. (EST). (Which, of course, Fox in it's ultimate wisdom puts Arrested Development on Fridays after moving it from Sundays before it's final home on Mondays.)

By Bert Ehrmann
7/28/2005



Over There
I happened to notice on last night's premiere episode of Over There once child-actor Patrick Renna was featured as a medic. (Renna is now in his mid-20s and probably doesn't much like being referred to as a "child-actor" anymore.) He starred in movies such as Son in Law (1993) and acted in one of the more memorable episodes of The X-Files.

Why do I notice these things? Even I'm not sure…

By Bert Ehrmann
7/28/2005




Please dont let this movie suck!!

In Theaters, October 21st.

Doom: The Movie

By Mo Alexander
7/27/2005



Fort Wayne Reader
Check out my new column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader – "I remember a Fantastic Four movie that wasn’t all that fantastic."

By Bert Ehrmann
7/26/2005




Manos The Hands of Fate achieves super Cult status from MST3k fans

Saw this as I was snooping around for more MST3k vids online, and to be honest, its SO true. I cant tell you how many times I've seen that movie, and laughed my head off. The movie is indeed horrible, but with the cast of MST3k doing their best work to make fun of it, it has become a classic in my library. I cant tell you how many times Bert and I have cried from laughing at this flick!

Here's an exerpt from the article in the El Paso Times:

Much-maligned 'Manos' gains new following

Erica Molina El Paso Times

In the summer of 1966 a group of El Pasoans gathered at an East Side ranch to make a Hollywood-style horror movie, but their accomplishment went far beyond their intentions.

Thousands love this film today, and not because " 'Manos' The Hands of Fate" was scary. It was frighteningly bad.

"It lived down to my expectations," Las Cruces resident Jeff Berg said recently of the flick made on a bet by El Paso fertilizer salesman Harold "Hal" P. Warren.

The movie was featured in the June 10 issue of Entertainment Weekly as "the worst movie ever made" -- a distinction it received from voters at the Internet Movie Database (www. imdb.com).

"This thing will not die. It just will not die," said Bernie Rosenblum, one of the few who worked on "Manos" still in the area.

A recent check of IMDb.com showed that "Manos" had fallen to number two on its list of worst movies, behind 1996's "Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders" -- an event that shocked both site watchers and Rosenblum...

Here's the link to the rest of the article, if you are interested...

El Paso Times : Manos, the Hands of Fate

Incidentally, if anyone has some extra MST3k tapes lying about, and they either wanna give em away, or want to trade episodes, email me or Bert with the subject titled "MST3k -KEEP CIRCULATING THE TAPES!!"

And for more MST3k news, head on over to here: MST3k Satellite News

By Mo Alexander
7/26/2005



The Island
I must admit the only reason I saw The Island in the first place was because a new theater opened up near my home and I wanted to check out the new facilities. Since there was nothing that I specifically wanted to see, I had a choice of movies I could check out. I could have seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Wedding Crashers or The Island – all new movies I had about equal desire in seeing. About a half hour into The Island, I wished I had made a better choice.

In The Island, Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) and Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson) realize that they're not living in one of the only two protected enclaves left to humanity after an outside apocalypse, but are instead clones being housed for organ donation until the originals on the outside living in a futuristic America call in an order. What follows is Lincoln and Jordan running from mercenaries lead by Albert Laurent (Djimon Hounsou) who will literally stop at nothing until the clones are killed. The public at large believes the clones are "vegetables" with no conscience of their own and (apparently) this secret must be kept at all costs.

Essentially, The Island is a modern day retelling of Logan's Run (1976). Except in The Island, people living within the confines of the community disappear when they win "the lottery" and seemingly go to the last paradise on Earth, "the island", rather than when they turn 30.

Laurent pulls no punches when the hunt commences. His men murder a technician from the facility when he helps the two escaped clones get on a train – rather than, say, detaining him and questioning him about his knowledge of the clones and where they're going.

But these types of nonsensical/dumb-headed moves permeate the soul of The Island. Like why the clones aren't just kept in a state of suspended animation instead of being allowed to form a society before being murdered for parts?* Or why Laurent and his men simply don't try to detain the clones rather than having risky shoot-outs in the middle of downtown L.A. drawing the police? Or where the police go when in the middle of a shoot-out Laurent and his men simply get in their cars and drive off without being chased or even shot at?

I kept getting the feeling that if Laurent and his men had simply tried to capture Lincoln and Jordan they would have been a lot more successful. (And the movie would have been a lot shorter.)

I could go on, and on and on. But if there's a movie this year worse than The Island I will be surprised. (3/10)



*The explanation is so nonsensical (that organs failed if the person housing them didn't experience life) that I literally laughed out loud at the quote.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/24/2005



Extras
The follow-up series to Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais' icon The Office began airing on BBC in the UK last Thursday. This new series, entitled Extras, follows Andy Millman (Gervais) and Maggie Jacobs (Ashley Jenson) as they struggle to make the move from having "extra" parts in movies to full featured speaking roles. (An "extra" is recognized as essentially background actors who have no lines – scene fillers really.)

If the first episode of the series is any indication as to the quality we can expect from the rest of the show, then we're going to be in for a great ride. I laughed throughout the show and cringed at some of the more uncomfortable moments on the set of the faux movie Millman and Jacobs worked on. Only the comedy team of Merchant/Gervais would ever attempt, and succeed really, at poking fun at genocide. My stomach literally sank when Millman called an asian lady "yellow skinned."

In the first episode of Extras, Millman and Jacobs have extras parts in a Ben Stiller movie set during the Bosnian War. Stiller plays the role in a self deprecating manner, spouting off previous box office totals of movies he's starred while also pointing a fake pistol at a child actor's mother's head to get him to stop laughing during a scene. Ben says, "If I shot your mother in the face would I make you laugh?" (I never knew I could laugh so hard at a gun pointed at a child's head.)

The really funny bits of Extras comes from the character's selfish natures. (A jab at the film industry?) Millman wants so bad to have a line in the movie that he's willing to bribe the man the movie's based on with gift certificates if he'll talk to Stiller about getting a line in the movie. This transaction occurs as the man cries over photos of his slain family. Jacobs is infatuated with a man working on the set of the movie, until she discovers via Millman that one of the man's legs is shorter than the other.

Extras runs a paltry six episodes long this season, much like each season of The Office. If Merchant and Gervais have one thing down pat it's the axiom of leaving the audience wanting more. (10/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
7/23/2005



Extras
From last night's premiere episode of Extras:

Ben Stiller on directing a movie about a man who rescues a child during the Bosnian war:

Ben, "If I find a little orphan child in a war-zone hiding in a burnt out building, his parents murdered. Persecuted for his race, his religion… What am I gonna do? Pop on Dodgeball on DVD?"

Man, "It's a funny film."

Ben, "Thanks. And I CAN put on Dodgeball and he's gonna laugh for an hour and thirty-two minutes. You know, escape reality for awhile. But what happens when the film finishes? How do I help him? Put on Dodgeball again? Sure. He's going to laugh again, see things he didn't see the first time around… It's layered like that. But, this can't go on indefinitely."

By Bert Ehrmann
7/22/2005



Land of the Dead Toys
Apparently, there are some interesting looking Land of the Dead toys due out sometime soon. Via Action-Figure:

While still in development, the movie figures will be released under SOTA Toys’ Now Playing lineup of 7” scale figures. Tentatively scheduled are figures of zombie “leader” Big Daddy (Eugene Clark), Blade (Tom Savini) and Cholo (John Leguizamo) with a fourth figure to be announced at a later date.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/20/2005



Night Stalker
The pilot for ABC's revival of the Night Stalker series is not as bad as other reviews are saying. Heck, parts of it were even good.

In Night Stalker, reporter Carl Kolchak (Stuart Townsend) uses his credentials as a crime reporter to investigate a series of murders, including that of his wife, which may or may not be related. One clue seems to be the presence of a lightning-bolt shaped scar on the wrists of some of the victims.

The pilot episode focuses on the murder of a pregnant woman, the attack of her sister in-law and the kidnapping of the sister in-law's daughter. Kolchak and reporter Perri Reed (Gabrielle Union) investigate the murder and kidnapping, but Reed suspects that Kolchak might himself be the attacker with all his inside information on the killings and room in his home full of morgue photos of murder victims at his home. Reed quickly, and painfully, learns that Kolchak really isn't the man behind the murders as they work together to quickly unravel where the kidnapped girl might be.

Night Stalker is shot in Collateral/Robbery Homicide Division style on digital video looking very harsh, overblown and dark at times. (Which I personally like.) Parts of the episode were creepy and, although Night Stalker (2005) bears little resemblance to the original The Night Stalker (1972), I would say that Townsend does a good job in the Kolchak role. Night Stalker "feels" a lot like Millennium (1996) with copious corpses, murders and overall violence. (Almost a decade ago Millennium sparked protests when it first started airing on Fox. I can only imagine in an age of "family values" a show like Night Stalker airing on a "family" network like ABC is bound to also spark protests.)

The pilot episode does suffer from some flaws, though. Some of the writing is was just not up to snuff. Characters act in ways that seem to have more bearing on keeping the story moving rather than their own motivations and the cave location at the end seemed to be a bit too car friendly.

The major weakness of the show is it's almost carbon copy nature to The X Files (1993). Both characters of Kolchak (2005) and Fox Mulder are trying to unravel a mystery surrounding a close family member's deaths/disappearance. Perri Reed and Dana Scully are both logical, thinking foils to the main characters belief in the unknown/paranormal. And, in both The X-Files and Night Stalker a shadowy government agency works against the lead characters to keep whatever is going on a mystery.

Still, it's not as bad as it sounds. When Night Stalker starts airing Thursdays this fall on ABC, I will be watching. (8/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
7/19/2005




Batman Begins

Finally, the movie directed and portrayed like it should be! I finally got a chance to catch "Batman Begins" over the weekend with Kristin, and let me tell you, the first 2 renditions of "Batman" fail in comparison. (I dont even count the last 2 Batman flicks as "entertainment", more like second-hand circus clowns).

Batman Begins starts out with the explanation of how Bruce Wayne began his quest to seek justice, and how he got his overall training. (All I can say is GREAT JOB ON THE NINJAS!!!) After Bruce finds himself, he decides to return to Gotham City in order to save it from the corrupt, Criminal gangsters who already own half the city.

As the story progresses, Bruce begins to develop his own weaponry, along with the idea of a new alter-ego for himself. One that will strike fear in the hearts of his enemies. He begins by taking down one of the prominent mob bosses in town, and also becomes aquainted with Sgt. Gordon, a honest to goodness cop.

We also get introduced to the good Dr. Crane, who's alter ego is actually known as "Scarecrow". Scarecrow begins using his potent hallucinogen to strike fear in the good people of Gotham. However, Scarecrow has something even more sinister up his sleeve for Gotham.

Rather than spoil the rest of the movie for ya (Just go see it, its worth it!!), Ill let you be the judge for yourself. As far as the acting goes, Christian Bale portays Bruce Wayne perfectly. Cillian Murphy is an awesome Scarecrow. Overall, the acting pulled out the stops for this flick!

Check it out while its still in theaters! This will be a must-get DVD for me!

Batman Begins

By Mo Alexander
7/18/2005



Battlestar Galactica
Season two of Battlestar Galactica premiered last Friday (7/15) on the Sci Fi Channel. I am happy to report that season two looks and feels much like the first season – science fiction doesn't get much better than this.

The first episode of season two, "Scattered," begins seconds after the season one finale. Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) has been shot and mortally wounded after a Cylon infiltrator, Boomer (Grace Park), has gotten close enough to strike. Meanwhile, pilots Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) and Helo (Tahmoh Penikett) are stranded on Cylon-occupied Caprica with another copy of the Boomer Cylon whom Starbuck wants to kill while Helo wants to protect since it's carrying his child. On Kobol, the crew of a downed Raptor transport must deal with wounded comrades, Cylon soldiers and Doctor Baltar (James Callis) who speaks with Six, a Cylon only he can see. To top it all off, on The Galactica, Colonial Tigh (Michael Hogan) is forced into command of the ship and entire fleet after President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) was thrown in jail after an attempted power grab while at the same time realizing that when The Galactica jumped to another part of the galaxy to stave off a Cylon attack, they accidentally jumped to different coordinates than every other vessel in the fleet.

If there's one thing that the Battlestar Galactica series is good at it's keeping multiple storylines going all at once. At no point did I feel as if I were being cheated out of a story, while at the same time, if anything, I'd become so engrossed in whatever story was being told that I could hardly be pulled away to see what was going on elsewhere. I was extremely happy that this episode didn't simply tie up all the loose ends of the current story, as so many shows do, to more easily get into telling new ones.

Watching Battlestar Galactica is a bit like being spoiled by great writing. Hopefully, the writing in Battlestar Galactica will cause writers on other shows to take their writing "to the next level."

Which begs the question, is Battlestar Galactica the most important show on television? (9/10)

Visit the official Battlestar Galactica web-site.
Listen to Ronald D. Moore's Podcast on "Shattered."

By Bert Ehrmann
7/17/2005



Battlestar Galactica
There is an interesting article on Battlestar Galactica is up over at The New York Times. It discusses series creator Ronald D. Moore's journey through the ranks of being a writer on various Star Trek series, Richard Hatch's own attempt at reviving the series in the late 1990's ala Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Bryan Singer and Tom DeSanto attempt at Battlestar Galactica over at Fox television around that same time and Moore and David Eick's eventual revival of the series starting in late '01.

What I find most interesting in the article was Battlestar Galactica's parallels to Star Trek Voyager, Ron Moore worked on the show some of the first season, and the Battlestar Galactica fans initial negativity (me included) surrounding his changes to the show.

Having made its debut first as a miniseries in late 2003 and then having its premiere as an original series this past January, ''Battlestar Galactica'' is the most successful original program in the Sci Fi Channel's history. Meanwhile, many of the fan sites that had originally opposed Moore and Eick's vision now actively or passively support it. Discussion of the show has migrated somewhat, from the fan boards to political blogs, where the issues it raises about security, religion and the ethics of android torture inspire heated debate, as well as praise from conservatives and liberals alike.

But there are some remaining diehards. ''I will never support the MooreRon,'' John DiPalermo wrote to me. ''Maybe I'm stubborn and pigheaded, but . . . Starbuck is a MAN!!!!!'' He said he prayed every day that Moore would lose his job, and he said he had also felt angry at his former rebel leader, Hatch. Because after the miniseries was a success and the first season was green-lighted, Moore e-mailed Hatch and again offered him a new role. And this time Hatch accepted.

Read the whole article here.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/17/2005



Zap2it Articles
Two interesting articles have appeared on Zap2it this morning. The first reveals that Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy) will be seen on next season's Veronica Mars.

Carpenter, last seen in several episodes of "Charmed," will have a recurring part on the UPN show's second season. The series has also signed up '80s movie star Steve Guttenberg ("Police Academy," "Three Men and a Baby") for a recurring role.

Both will appear in "Veronica's" second-season premiere this fall; Carpenter has signed for a minimum of six episodes, and Guttenberg will appear in at least seven shows.

Carpenter will play Kendall Casablancas, the trophy-wife stepmother to Dick (Ryan Hansen) and Cassidy "Beaver" Casablancas (Kyle Gallner) -- two of Veronica's (Kristen Bell) tormentors at Neptune High.

Read the whole Veronica Mars article here.



The second article reveals a bit more about ABC's upcoming revival of The Night Stalker – retitled Night Stalker.

When Frank Spotnitz ("The X-Files") took on the task of bringing "The Night Stalker" into the 21st century -- an irony, since "X" creator Chris Carter cited the show as an influence -- he knew that just chasing monsters wasn't enough. In an era of terrorist attacks and a 24-hour-news cycle that runs on child abductions and serial killers, the bar for evil had been set a lot higher.

So in his version of "The Night Stalker," coming to ABC this fall, Spotnitz made his Kolchak younger and more sexy, casting Irish heartthrob Stuart Townsend, as well as darker and more troubled.

Kolchak's wife was the victim, so he says, of supernatural evil (the FBI is more inclined to suspect Kolchak himself), and now he's obsessed with discovering how his personal tragedy fits into a larger picture of mayhem and destruction. And what's up with those jagged red marks on the wrists of Kolchak and many of the victims?

I can't quite imagine anyone but Darren McGavin in the role, let along someone who's "young (and) sexy." Still, revivals of old 1970's shows with a 21st century perspective sometimes do work.

Read the whole The Night Stalker article here.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/15/2005



Land of the Dead
Next month (8/17) IDW Publishing is releasing a Land of the Dead comic book.

Presenting a special five-part adaptation of George Romero’s long-awaited zombie movie, set years in the future after the end of his Dead trilogy. In Land of the Dead, the walking dead roam an uninhabited wasteland and the living try to lead “normal” lives behind the walls of a fortified city. A new society has been built by a handful of enterprising, ruthless opportunists, who live in the towers of a skyscraper, high above the hard-scrabble existence on the streets below. But outside the city walls, an army of the dead is evolving. Inside, anarchy is on the rise. With the very survival of the city at stake, a group of hardened mercenaries is called into action to protect the living from an army of the dead.

Learn more about the book, and buy one, here.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/14/2005



The 2004-2005 Primetime Emmy Award Nominations
The 2005 Emmy Awards were announced this morning, and both the ABC Lost and Desperate Housewives powerhouses were nominated for nine-billion awards each – a new record. Some other interesting shows were nominated for awards too.

In the comedy genera, Arrested Development and Scrubs were nominated for best comedy while Jason Bateman and Zach Braff of those shows respectively got the nods for lead in a comedy series. Jeffery Tambor and Jessica Walter of Arrested Development were nominated for supporting actor and actress too.



For drama series, both Deadwood and Lost were nominated for outstanding drama while Hugh Laurie and Ian McShane of House and Deadwood respectively were nominated for outstanding lead actor in a drama. House was also nominated for casting, makeup, music composition, writing and main title design.



Battlestar Galactica earned two nominations in special visual effects in episodes "33" and "The Hand of God."



In a "man I hope they win again" moment, The Office Special was nominated for made for TV movie. (Which is a bit odd since it was originally broadcast as two separate episodes of a television series.)

Conspicuously absent from the list was Veronica Mars. I can't believe that Kristen Bell didn't get nominated for lead actress, or in fact, almost any of the cast for that matter for acting. I'd even go as far as to say that Veronica Mars deserved a nod for best drama series.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/14/2005



Fort Wayne Reader
Read two of my new columns up over at The Fort Wayne Reader – "Six degrees of 'Can't Hardly Wait'" and "I have a "thing" for Jack Ryan".

By Bert Ehrmann
7/12/2005



Battlestar Galactica
Remember, season two of Battlestar Galactica returns to US television this Friday (7/15). The episode is described as:

"Scattered": With Adama mortally wounded and President Roslin in the brig, Col. Tigh must endure the crucible of command.

Much, much, much more on Battlestar Galactica here at Dangerous Universe.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/11/2005



Fox
Fox has announced premiere dates for their fall shows. The ones I'm following include:

Monday, Aug. 29 – Prison Break
Tuesday, Sept. 13 – House
Monday, Sept. 19 – Arrested Development

Monday nights might just be getting a bit more interesting!

By Bert Ehrmann
7/11/2005



Ricky Gervais
An interesting lengthy article on Ricky Gervais (The Office) has appeared online over at Guardian Unlimited:

Gervais takes pressure off himself by never letting anything out of his control, and by keeping it a cottage industry. 'Ego is a dangerous thing,' he says. 'The day you wake up and think, "Of course I could make a film like The Matrix" is also the day you hope a voice somewhere will still be saying, "Aw, Rick, settle down, what you are good at is very small-scale comedy, stick to that."'

In a way, The Office was a comedy about bad comedy, using up all the cringe-making unfunniness - the obvious impressions, and knee-jerk politics - he had witnessed in his 'years and years standing round a student bar hearing bad comedians getting rounds of applause. If a comedian tells me that sometimes politicians are corrupt or dictators are bad, my reaction will be: no shit, never thought of that before. I have no interest in telling people that George W is not all he might be. For that reason my comedy targets tend to be, you know, Gandhi or Thora Hird.'

If The Office had a message, he says, it's 'for God's sake don't end up here. Be true to yourself. You don't have to change the world, you don't even have to make a difference, but you can try to make as much difference as you possibly can, so at the end of the day you can say º ª you did the best you could with your life.'

He says he is happy with his half a dozen old friends and does not need any new ones (after he accepted his British comedy award he told any potential liggers: 'You don't know me so don't come up and congratulate me afterwards,' and more than half meant it).

In among all of his theories about comedy, one that he won't accept is that it must always come out of a kind of darkness, the tears of a clown. I ask him if there have been times in his life when he has felt down; has he ever not wanted to get out of bed in the mornings?

He looks genuinely appalled at the idea. 'No. No depression. Oh God, no. I mean, when someone dies I cry. But I would never say: "What is the point of life?" I know there is no point to life. The point to life is having a laugh, getting on with everyone. Full stop.' He thinks about this a bit. 'I know how lucky I am. I don't allow stress. Being out of my comfort zone annoys me a bit; you know, if I have to drive a long way or something. Then I go: "Gervais. Your Dad used to hod-carry. Fucking grow up." That always tends to work.' He giggles to himself at this admonishment, at the idea of unhappiness, and, as ever, you cannot help but join in.


Ricky's new show Extras begins airing in England July 21 on BBC2 and will begin airing here in the US sometime later this year on HBO.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/10/2005



Broken
I recently had the opportunity to check out the short film entitled Broken. To be honest most short films made by aspiring film-makers aren't that good. For every Batman – Dead End there are dozens of poorly made/uninspired films. (Read the Batman Beyond fan made DVD.) I am happy to report that Broken fits squarely with the "inspired" and "very good" short films camp.

In Broken, Bonnie Clayton awakens in a darkened apartment one stormy night to discover that she's not alone. She's kidnapped by a group of mysterious strangers and finds herself strapped to a wheelchair as one of these strangers interrogates her. During the interrogation, Bonnie realizes that these strangers might know something about her that's a mystery to even herself.

What I found most appealing about Broken was that the short seems as if it's lifted directly from a longer movie. The art direction, special effects and production are top notch. Visually, Broken is every bit as good as most Hollywood releases and insanely better than most television shows or made for television movies. To achieve this level visual quality in a short film costing a mere $8,000 is an achievement onto itself.

If you're a movie going fan/visual effects nut like me, I cannot recommend Broken enough. Broken has gone and set the bar a bit higher for all other fan made films out there. If you're planning on filming your own short movie anytime in the future you'd be well advised to check out Broken to see how to make a short movie right!

Visit the Broken web-site to learn more about the film.

Broken the DVD should be available on DVD with two and a half hours of special features and a ton of extra features.

Check out the Broken trailer.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/7/2005



Battlestar Galactica
NBC must be in real ratings trouble if they're forced to broadcast three hours of a show that only airs on one of their "sister" cable networks. This upcoming Saturday (7/9), NBC will air a block of Battlestar Galactica beginning at 8:00 P.M. (EST). From their press release:

The sky's the limit when NBC launches a special three-hour primetime showcase of SCI FI Channel's hit series "Battlestar Galactica" on Saturday, July 9 (8-11 p.m. ET) -- less than one week before the second-season premiere of "Battlestar" that will also include a marathon of the series' first-year episodes.

The three "Battlestar Galactica" episodes to be featured on NBC are "The Hand of God" (8-9 p.m. ET), "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part I" (9-10 p.m. ET) and "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II" (10-11 p.m. ET).

The second season of "Battlestar Galactica" begins on SCI FI with fresh episodes on Friday, July 15 (10-11 p.m. ET). In addition, a marathon of the first season's 13 hour-long segments will run in order on Wednesday, July 6, starting at 10 a.m. (ET).

You can now watch the entire last episode of season one of Battlestar Galactica online over at Sci Fi.com.

Season three of Battlestar Galactica starts Friday, July 15 at 10:00 P.M. (EST).

By Bert Ehrmann
7/6/2005



Traffic
An interesting looking French poster I found on eBay for the movie Traffic.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/6/2005



Live 8
Bob Geldof's spokesman on people pirating the Live 8 show on DVD, "The people that do this are cretins and scum."

Hopefully, he's not referring to the Cretin gang in the movie Class of Nuke 'Em High (1986)… I always knew the Cretins were bad, but pirating DVDs? That's HORRIBLE!

By Bert Ehrmann
7/5/2005



War of the Worlds (2005)
I went into the theater to see War of the Worlds with high expectations - probably too high. War of the Worlds is a good movie, but by no means a great one.

In War of the Worlds, often absent dad Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) is watching his kids for the weekend while his ex-wife (Miranda Otto) takes a trip to visit her parents in Boston. During the weekend, strange storms strike all around the globe, a sort of precursor to an invasion of the Earth by a technologically superior alien species from (we assume) Mars. Witnessing the attack of one of these alien machine “tripods” on his home town, Ray and the kids flee the city and roam the countryside trying to find a way to Boston or, more importantly, anywhere where the Martian tripods aren’t.

Parts of this movie work well. The special effects and sound design are top-notch, while the acting is up to par on other director Steven Spielberg projects. War of the Worlds has some of the most memorable “moments” ever presented in a movie. Such as the Martian “instant cremation” heat ray, the initial attack on the city, the Martian bellow, the bodies in the water, the fiery train, the news crew scavenging for food in the downed airliner, the Martian weed covering the countryside, the roar of screams when the Martians attack the ferry…

On pure visual spectacle War of the Worlds is one of the best movies to come along in some time.

What I found most interesting in the movie was that the focus was squarely on Ray. We see what he sees. When Ray stands below a rise in a hill over which a gigantic battle is taking place between U.S. forces and the tripods we only see what happens on the lip of the rise, what Ray can see – not the actual battle in the valley below. This focus squarely on Ray brings the film down to a more personal level with the audience. We definitely get a sense that the entire world is suffering the fate of Ray and the eastern seaboard of the U.S., but since we only know what Ray does we cannot be sure.

Where the movie falls is in its story. I couldn’t quite understand why Ray, who shows little interest in his kids, would have them for the weekend in the first place if he were so absent. And Ray’s son Robbie (Justin Chatwin) seems hell-bent on joining up with the military and going off to fight the Martians, even if it means certain death.

I also thought the end of the movie was a bit of a letdown and not nearly as good as the 1953 movie of the same name.

War of the Worlds is a good movie, I just wished it was better. (8/10)

Narrator: By the toll of a billion deaths, man has bought his birthright of the earth, and it is his against all comers; it would still be his were the Martians ten times as mighty as they are. For neither do men live nor die in vain.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/4/2005



Matthew Bennett
To the Matthew Bennet contacting me via Dangerous Universe, but whom forgot to include his return e-mail address in the correspondence… Yes, I am the same Bert Ehrmann who attended college at IPFW in the late 1990s. Contact me again, but this time include your e-mail!

By Bert Ehrmann
7/1/2005



Starship Troopers
There seems to be a lot of action lately on the Starship Troopers front, and all this action seems to be stemming from Mongoose Publishing. There are a series of novels, a role playing game and a whole bunch of miniatures now available based on Starship Troopers.

It looks as if most of this new stuff is based off an interesting blend of the book Starship Troopers (1959) and television show Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles (1999). The armor used on the characters is right out of the television show but there are also elements not used on the television show, such as dogs, but present in the books.

Exciting times indeed for Starship Trooper fans!

Learn more about:
Starship Troopers books
Starship Troopers role playing
Starship Troopers miniatures

More on Starship Troopers here at Dangerous Universe.



By Bert Ehrmann
6/30/2005



Land of the Dead
Check out the Land of the Dead reel by Spin, a digital effects company who handled most (if not all) the digital effects in Land of the Dead. The design reel contains a lot of the "neat" scenes in the movie. After watching the reel, I was surprised as to how much of the effects in the were digital – Spin handled/hid them well. Oh, and that "Priest Zombie" still freaks me out.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/29/2005



V for Vendetta
A nice looking teaser poster for the upcoming V for Vendetta movie has been posted on the movie's official site.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/28/2005



King Kong
Even my Tivo's getting in on "The King Kong Trailer is Everywhere" game.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/26/2005



Land of the Dead
Land of the Dead
marks zombie maestro George Romero’s celebrated return to the genera he created nearly forty years ago. In Land of the Dead, the last vestiges of humanity have walled themselves off in fortified city enclaves surrounded by the zombie hoards roaming the countryside in search of human flesh. Enter the armored vehicle “The Dead Reckoning”, a sort of SUV from hell in which fighters from the city take out in order to gather supplies from the outside-infested countryside.

I had read an early version of the Land of the Dead, then entitled Dead Reckoning, last summer and enjoyed it very much. However, there were several problems I had with the characters and story. I am happy to report that these problems were ironed and the finished film is much better than the original version of the script.

In Land of the Dead, the crew of “The Dead Reckoning” is lead by Riley (Simon Baker) who’s on the verge of retirement wanting to leave the city in a vehicle he’s just purchased. Cholo (John Leguizamo) is Riley’s second in command also wants to retire and live in the one occupied building in the city, Fiddler’s Green. The city is controlled by Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) who decides who gets an apartment in Fiddler’s Green and who doesn't. And Kaufman doesn't want a rough character like Cholo anywhere near his high rise full of the rich and wealthy. What follows is Cholo stealing The Dead Reckoning threatening the city with destruction. Kaufman, who has already plotted to keep Riley in the city, strikes a bargain with him – stop Cholo and Kaufman will allow Riley to leave.

Except that no one has anticipated that the zombies outside lead by “Big Daddy” (Eugene Clark), have developed some sort of primitive intelligence. Going from the “mindless hoard” to having the ability to use weapons and to be able to see a way into the city no one had anticipated.

Land of the Dead is one of the most tightly edited movies I’ve ever seen. The movie starts and doesn't let up until the end, some 90 minutes later. In many respects, Land of the Dead reminds me a lot of The Thing from Another World (1951), in that there are no wasted scenes or subplots. And the acting is top notch. With not one of the major characters falling flat or even a minor character loosing a step.

If there’s one problem that I have with the movie it’s that a lot of the usual Romero political commentary we've come to expect from his zombie movies is missing from Land of the Dead. My guess is that in order for the movie to be as tightly edited and fast paced as it is, much of these commentaries were left on the cutting room floor and will (hopefully) appear sometime on DVD. (9/10)

Read my review of the Land of the Dead ( Dead Reckoning) script here.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/26/2005



Justice League
Who knew that the current "Cadmus" storyline in the Justice League cartoon running on Cartoon Network would be one of the most well written shows on television these days? Justice League has always been good, but this season has been GREAT!

More on Justice League at Dangerous Universe.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/25/2005



Extras
Check out three hilarious trailers for the upcoming Extras series here, here and here. Extras premiers on BBC2 in the U.K. this summer, and later here in the States sometime after.

Learn more about the series here.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/21/2005



Global Frequency
I have seen the pilot episode – finally. I've wanted to see the Global Frequency pilot since I first read about it last year and since the show was never picked up by a network, TheWb I believe, the pilot episode has appeared online by an anonymous source. The Global Frequency comic book is one of the best ones out there today.

The Global Frequency pilot is pretty good, taking the story from the first issue of the comic book and modifying it a bit. Here, there is a Russian sleeper agent from the Cold War who is a living psychic bomb with his powers enhanced by a microchip implanted in his brain. But the chip's old and is malfunctioning, slowly drawing him ever closer to an uncontrolled explosion which will obliterate San Francisco. (The comic book dealt with nuclear weapons rather than psychic bombs.)

Most of the episode works in that the story comes (pretty much) directly from the comic. What I would have concerns about is that it looks like the show would focus on two "stock" characters – an ex cop who is more brawn than brain and a brainy, yet beautiful, professor who become partners at the end of the episode.

I always thought the strength of the comic was that the characters switched around each episode (except for Miranda Zero) and that there was uncertainty in their future – members of the Global Frequency could (and sometimes did) die. I can see much of the drama in the comic book being lost in the translation to episodic television.

I've read the series described as Mission Impossible meets The X-Files and would have to agree with that.

Still, the pilot has a lot of good things going for it. It's a shame that the Global Frequency series won't be made. (8/10)

More info on the pilot from the writer of the show.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/20/2005



V for Vendetta
The New York Times has an interesting article on the movie V for Vendetta, due in theaters this fall. From the article (free registration required to read the whole article):

IN a rare concession, authorities here agreed to close down all of Whitehall, between Trafalgar and Parliament Squares, for a three-night film shoot earlier this month. The scene on the third night was wild. Hundreds of crew members and their equipment gathered in Parliament Square, flooded with light against the backdrop of Big Ben and the London Eye. Tanks patrolled the streets. More than 100 extras playing government commandos in army camouflage formed a line in front of Parliament, while some 400 others playing rebels marched en masse down Whitehall.

But the most radical thing about the movie, written and produced by the brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski and based on a 1988 graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, is its climax. This is a story in which a dozy, passive populace wakes up and rises against its government oppressors - and then, in the name of freedom, blows up Parliament.


By Bert Ehrmann
6/19/2005



Doctor Who
The new actor set to play "The Doctor" next season on Doctor Who, David Tennant, was introduced with the season finale of the show last Saturday on BBC. Tennant has big shoes to fill in that (IMHO) Chris Eccleston was the best actor to handle the role "The Doctor"… Ever.

In an interesting twist of fate, there is still no plans on airing the series here in the United States – definitely a loss for us Americans in that this show is leaps and bounds better than most science fiction shows currently airing on U.S. television.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/19/2005



V for Vendetta
Cool looking V for Vendetta photos. V for Vendetta was originally a comic book series of the early 1980s – one of the best comic book series of all time.

More on the V for Vendetta movie here.
More on the comic book here.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/14/2005



Firefly
Firefly returns to television – the series will rerun on Sci Fi beginning next month. From Zap2It:

The Sci Fi Channel has picked up the rights to Joss Whedon's "space Western" -- including three episodes never aired on TV -- and will begin airing it Friday, July 22. It will air at 7 p.m. ET, leading into the cable network's lineup of original series -- the two "Stargate" shows and "Battlestar Galactica," which open their new seasons the previous week.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/14/2005



The Thing
Cool looking cover of an early version of the story The Thing From Another World. View the cover larger here. From the Vintage Paperbacks & Digests site.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/9/2005



Steve Rude
Buy a copy of the 2005 Steve Rude Commissions book, it features drawings/illustrations Steve "The Dude" Rude has done for fans over the years. Most of this stuff has never been seen by the general public! If you preorder a copy now, you have the option of including a number of prints with your order. These prints won't be offered after the books begin shipping.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/8/2005



Collateral
The best movie of 2005 (according to Dangerous Universe at least) Collateral is airing this Saturday night (6/11) on HBO.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/7/2005



Reno 911
New episodes of Reno 911 begin airing Tuesday June, 14 at 10:00 P.M. (EST) on Comedy Central.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/6/2005



Starchaser – The Legend of Orin
Out on DVD June 21 is an animated movie that was "inspired by" (to say the least) the Star Wars movies. Starchaser – The Legend of Orin has everything featured in Star Wars (blond hero, energy swords, robots, rouge spaceship pilots…) and cursing too. I saw the movie on VHS back in the early 1990s and thought it funny that the main robot in the movie was (as I recall) only interested in sex.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/5/2005



Crash
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Crash is "The most unlikely hit of the summer":

Its success can be credited to a bold release plan, an emotional marketing campaign and an aggressive screening program. For "Crash" has been able to do what few movies accomplish nowadays: It has attracted four very distinct demographic groups -- college students, upscale adult audiences, the urban market and females.

The result has been ticket sales of $36 million in just four weeks. The film could gross as much as $50 million -- a number that might exceed the final domestic grosses of the expected summer hits it opened against: 20th Century Fox's "Kingdom of Heaven" and Warner Bros. Pictures' "House of Wax."


Read the whole story here
. Read my review of Crash here.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/3/2005



Land of the Dead
The official Land of the Dead web-site has gone live with photos, wallpapers, trailers, etc. Also check out the Homepage of the Dead for an interesting article on the special effects used in Land of the Dead.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/2/2005



The Fort Wayne Reader
Check out my latest column up over at The Fort Wayne Reader: "The Summer Blockbusters of Yesteryear".

By Bert Ehrmann
6/2/2005



Turner Classic Movies
Every Tuesday in June, Turner Classic Movies will be airing a block of films entitled "Future Shock: Sci-Fi Films from the Cold War Era." Films include: The Thing (from Another World), Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Village of the Damned, The Wild, Wild Planet, Forbidden Planet, From the Earth to the Moon, 20 Million Miles To Earth, The Blob, Soylent Green, Westworld, Logan's Run, 2001: A Space Odyssey, No Blade of Grass, It Came From Outer Space, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Mars Attacks!, The Invisible Boy and the documentary Watch the Skies.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/1/2005




Star Wars Fan Flicks

Found a couple more movies out there from the Fan Base. Mostly from theforce.net, but eh, what the heck. View at your discretion, cause some of them are not all that great. Make sure you have QUICKTIME!!

Star Wars Episode III: A Lost Hope

Duality

Star Wars : Revelations

By Mo Alexander
5/31/2005




Star Wars: Episode III

Ah yes, the lovely 3 day weekend of Memorial Day has come and gone, and my lady and I perchanced fate (once more) and ventured out in search of moviedom. And we stumbled upon a 10 AM showing of Star Wars Episode 3.

Rather than risking the possible mob of Jedi wanna be's running about, we arrived promptly at 925 and took our seats at the back of the theater (stadium style seating is always a plus!)

Our storyline starts out with a all out star ship slug fest over the planet of Coruscant, with our good supreme Chancellor Palpatine captured by the forces of General Grevious. Im sure if Bert saw the flick, he would agree with Kristin and I of it being a bit reminiscence of the current Battlestar TV series. Of course, our two loveable Jedi Knight Hero's gotta show up and save the day.. And promptly hack the place apart to boot! (I wont spoil it for ya, but Anakin gets a glimpse of the dark side in the rescue)

The scene fades to find Anakin and Padme discovering that Padme is pregnant, and that they will have to figure out what all they are gonna do with everyone else finding out about it. All the while, civil distrust runs amok on several Republic planets with the Separatist Droid armies attacking. This forces the Jedi Council to deploy its Jedi to help fight the contested planets, and thereby allowing Chancellor Palpatine to gain further control over the Republic.

As the movie plays out, Palpatine further and further tempts Anakin with the dark side of the Force, thereby leading him down a path of destruction. Anakin does this willingly, only because he believes it is the only way to keep Padme with him for the rest of his life. Little does he know.. heh..

I think you can pretty much figure out the end? If not, please rent Episode 1 and 2 from your local video store, or just order Netflix like the rest of us lazy jokers.

As a review of this movie, several things kinda went askew with this {which of course Kristin blames on me reading the Book prior to seeing the movie. :) }

1.This movie needs more of the WOOK! I cant be more demanding on this part. There were in the movie for like a total of 10 minutes!! This is close to a Two and a half hour movie!! They barely got to fight!!

2.Space battles were too short. Rather than focusing on some kick ass space melee's going on between the capital ships, Lucas chose to make us watch R2D2 take out two SUPER BATTLE DROIDS with an oil slick.

3.What happened to the cool Droid voices?? Instead of the real deep metallic sounding voices, Lucas decided to hire 2 retired chipmunks to do the voices for the droids. Nice...

4.Acting a bit reserved??Not only once, but several times did Kristin and I watch Samuel L. Jackson hold back his former acting persona of SHAFT! as Mace Windu. I know he is supposed to be a reserved Jedi Master, and not show emotions and what not, but COME ON. This is SAMUEL L. JACKSON PEOPLE!! The Cartoon version of Mace Windu did more ass kicking and mouthin off than the movie version! Lucas CLEARLY held him back from giving Mace Windu the full representation he deserved!

5.Obi-Wan is strong with the Force As proved in the final installment, Obi-Wan brings it by taking out several dozen droids, Clone Troopers, and a few others I wont disclose. If you go see the movie, I dont think youll be disappointed with his role in things.

And Finally: 6.Anakin needs some darker days. Granted we only have Two and a half hours to see him go from Good to Evil, but I still think his character focus should have had him show off a bit more of is darker side. Its not till the last 20 minutes of the flick that I feel he truly became evil.

As far as everything else? Good to go. Worth a Matinee viewing, with a wide arrangements of CGI Special effects and lightsaber duels. Yoda gets to throw down, once again, and Palpatine gets turned into a 2 eyed slug. (Oops!) Just kidding...

Star Wars: Episode III

By Mo Alexander
5/31/2005



Battlestar Galactica
GateWorld has details on the first five episodes of season two of Battlestar Galactica, as well as a few photos from the upcoming series. I can't wait! Swipe your mouse below to read descriptions for the first two episodes.

SCATTERED - Chaos is rampant as paramedics try to save Commander Adama's life, and the Galactica is separated from the fleet. Suspicion is cast on even the closest of allies. Part 1 of 2.

VALLEY OF DARKNESS - Cylon Centurions board the Galactica and wreak havoc, and Lee leads a team of Marines to try and stop them. Part 2 of 2.


Learn more here - warning, here there be spoilers.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/31/2005



The Devil's Rejects
Nice, simple poster for Rob Zombie's upcoming movie The Devil's Rejects. See the poster larger here. I like it a lot.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/29/2005



Major Dundee
Sam Peckinpah's second movie Major Dundee is being shown on AMC Saturday morning June, 4 at 11:30 A.M. (EST). Major Dundee was re-released earlier this year in theaters recut to follow more of Peckinpah's vision. That cut is due out on DVD August, 30. I would recommend watching the studio version of Major Dundee this Saturday on AMC, then the recut version August to see which one works more.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/28/2005



The Night Stalker
Dread Central doesn't like the upcoming The Night Stalker television series airing on ABC this fall. From Dread Central:

I guess in a weird way it’s all come full circle. "X-Files" creator Chris Carter has said that "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" was one of the inspirations for his show, and the guy behind the new "Night Stalker" is Frank Spotnitz, who served as writer and producer on "The X-Files", and as has now become apparent, he’s taken "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" and turned it into a blatant clone of "The X-Files". I wish I could get paid millions of dollars for doing stuff that unimaginative.

Now to be fair, there’s always a chance "The Night Stalker" will turn out to be a good series even if does stray way too far from its source material and way too close to a certain other program that has already seen countless copies come and go.


You can check out ABC's promo site for the series here.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/27/2005



War of the Worlds
In the new commercials for the upcoming remake War of the Worlds there's a quick cut (blink and you'll miss) of the Martian tripod war machines. The tripods look like a cross between the classic text version and the 1950's George Pal version.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/24/2005



Deadwood
The season finale of Deadwood was the best. 'Nuff said!

By Bert Ehrmann
5/23/2005



DVDs
Out on DVD now is one of the oddest (and best) series to come out of Nickelodeon: season one of The Adventures of Pete and Pete. Out on DVD August, 16 is the complete series of Undeclared. Covered many times here at Dangerous Universe.



By Bert Ehrmann
5/20/2005



Movie trailers
Check out three new movie trailers released today including, the "more amazing everytime I watch" War of the Worlds, the "looks less interesting everytime I see more of " Fantastic Four and Stealth, a movie that could be good but probably won't.




By Bert Ehrmann
5/19/2005



Fort Wayne Reader
Check out my latest column up over at The Fort Wayne Reader, "Next TV season, it’s not all Desperate Lost Housewives".

By Bert Ehrmann
5/17/2005



Fall television
NBC has renewed the U.S. version of The Office, Fox has renewed Arrested Development for another year (YES!) and NBC has picked up their new drama Fathom for the 2005-2006 season. According to the futon critic:

"FATHOM" -- Ever wonder what life would be like if a new form of sea life began to appear in locales all over the earth? In this expansive drama, those who are about to find out include some naval officers in the South Antarctic Sea, a family in San Diego, scientists from the Oceanographic Institute in Monterey, and fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico. The seemingly innocent creatures they find are beautiful and kids may even want to play with them -- but is there something more to them? One thing's for sure - they're full of surprises as viewers can embark on this unfathomable journey to discover what might be lurking in the sea.

Fathom
sounds interesting, while at the same time I can see a million ways how the show will disappoint. (And Fathom really should send a note of thanks to Lost since there's no way in the world a show like this could have ever gotten a green light without Lost having been a huge hit.)

By Bert Ehrmann
5/16/2005



Syriana
The New York Times has an interesting article on the glut of CIA/FBI movies due out over the next few years, and more specifically the movie Syriana written and directed by Stephen Gaghan the writer of Traffic. From The New York Times:

Just as "Traffic" interwove a wide range of characters, from top government officials to low-level users in the United States and Mexico, "Syriana" juxtaposes diverse characters and perspectives. "There are a lot of people who are a bit on a proscenium, and they have really strong points of view, and their points of view are valid," he said. "All of them. That's what blew me away. They're diametrically opposed, and both accurate."

The conclusion to be drawn from his script - which is fictional but, he says, steeped in fact - is not exactly sanguine. "A friend of mine read it and said, 'Wow, I feel like I'm watching a husband and wife doing the dishes in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius,' " Mr. Gaghan said. He continued: "There's this rumbling, and they're sitting there looking out the window, and one of them's saying, 'You know, that's really loud, I wonder if Vesuvius is going to go off.' And the husband says, 'Oh no, honey, it's a thunderstorm, it always rains this time in the afternoon,' and they just go back to doing dishes."


By Bert Ehrmann
5/15/2005



War of the Worlds
Several cool new interesting photos have made their way online for the remake of War of the Worlds.





By Bert Ehrmann
5/14/2005



Arrested Development
Could it be true? Could Arrested Development be renewed for TWO years? I pray this to be true! From E!:

Hallelujah! Arrested Development fans, brace yourselves. I have some good news and--well, you might want to sit down for this--some mind-blowing, earth-shattering, out-of-this-world, fantastic news.

Earlier this week, a friend here at E! interviewed Jason Bateman at a charity event with his good friend Ben Stiller. When asked the status of Arrested Development, he lit up like a banana stand: "Actually, great. Supergreat. There is a heartbeat. There is no flatline. And there may be twins. I'm going to let Kristin figure out what that means. I can't comment any further, but there will be an announcement next week."

By Bert Ehrmann
5/13/2005



Point Blank
I've always been interested in seeing the movie Point Blank (1967) starring Lee Marvin (The Dirty Dozen, The Big Red One) and directed by John Boorman (Deliverance, Hope and Glory) but up until now the movie hasn't been readily available. But I need not wait much longer, on July, 5 Point Blank will (finally) be released on DVD.

From Amazon.com:
Walker (Lee Marvin) strides through Los Angeles with the steel-eyed stare of a stone-cold killer, or perhaps a ghost. Betrayed by his wife and best friend, who gun him down point-blank and leave him for dead after a successful heist, Walker blasts his way up the criminal food chain in a quest for revenge. Did he survive the shooting or return from the grave, or is it all a dying dream?

By Bert Ehrmann
5/13/2005



Fox Pilots
The Futon Critic has posted a variety of stills from television pilots currently vying for airtime on Fox. Kitchen Confidential (no relation to L.A. Confidential) stars Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) in a show about chefs (Nicolas is in the far left of the photo below). Yeah, he's wearing a scarf. Yeah, it does make him look a bit French.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/11/2005



Into the West
In early June, TNT premier the new series Into the West, a "six week television event." The series, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, is a "dramatic tale of the adventurous exploration of the American wilderness, the clash of two cultures, the rush to riches in a new land and the building of a new civilization." Much like another Spielberg series, in this case Taken, Into the West takes place over an (about) sixty years timeframe. (And I always thought this was a problem with Taken, that this long timescale and new characters each week alienated the audience from the story.)

Is it possible that Into the West could be as good as Deadwood? (Odds of this happening – 99 to 1.)

By Bert Ehrmann
5/7/2005



Huge Apple Trailers
Apple is now offering movie trailers that are HD quality – 1920x816 in size. Check out a full-sized screengrab from one of the trailers here. (QuickTime 7 is required and once again makes Windows Media Player look like a joke in comparison.)

By Bert Ehrmann
5/2/2005



Doctor Who
How perfect is this – Simon Pegg's (Shaun of the Dead, Spaced) in the next episode of Doctor Who!

By Bert Ehrmann
5/1/2005



War of the Worlds
Check out the brand new, just released poster for the upcoming remake. There's also word that the third teaser trailer will premiere online Thursday, May 19 and be shown in theaters before Star Wars: Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/29/2005



Movie trailers
New trailers have been released for summer movies Batman Beginsand George A. Romero's Land of the Dead.



By Bert Ehrmann
4/28/2005



Summer Movies
Several cool photos from upcoming summer movies have been released for Land of the Dead and War of the Worlds. (I think I'm most excited about the War of the Worlds this summer.)





By Bert Ehrmann
4/27/2005




Excellent Graphical Web Site

While always on the quest to find new and impressive artwork, i stumbled upon this CG Forum, and to state the obvious. WOW!!

Creative Computer Graphics Forum

By Mo Alexander
4/26/2005




Star Wars Satire - A Lost Hope

Bounced into this web site a few weeks ago. Ive been laughing ever since. Good Riddance to Jar Jar!!!!

Star Wars Episode III: A Lost Hope

By Mo Alexander
4/26/2005



Superman
The official costume for the upcoming Superman Returns movie was released to the Internet last Friday. Although I have nothing against the costume, my friend Tim felt that the costume was too much a departure from the traditional Superman design. So he took it upon himself to Photoshop the image with a more traditional looking costume design. I must admit that I prefer his design over the one being used in the movie.

(I think the actor portraying Clark Kent/Superman looks too young for the role. Although he'd be perfect as Superboy, he doesn't look enough like a SuperMAN for me. But that's another matter…)

Click for a larger view of the costume images.
Click for more information on the official costume.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/23/2005



Extras
The site for the upcoming BBC series Extras has gone live. If you're unfamiliar with the show, Extras is a comedy series from the creators of The Office, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The series is set to air in the UK this summer and (hopefully) airing here in the U.S. later this year. From the site:

Ricky plays Andy Millman who, having given up his day job to be an actor, finds he just can't land the big parts.

In fact, he rarely gets a speaking role so spends most of his days stuck in a green room with other extras, envying the A-list stars, with his fellow actor, Maggie Jacobs (Ashley Jenson).

Each week Extras has a different setting and cameo appearances from guest artists including Samuel L Jackson, Kate Winslet, Ben Stiller, Ross Kemp, Vinnie Jones and Les Dennis.

Stephen Merchant plays Andy's agent.

While you're at it, check out the official web-site of Ricky Gervais.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/20/2005



Arrested Development
If last night's episode (4/17) of Arrested Development really was the last episode to air (the series hasn't been picked up yet for season three), then the creators of the show really went out on top. The episode was definitely the best episode of the year and quite possibly the best ever episode of the series.

Please Fox, renew Arrested Development! Tell Fox directly that you want to see more Arrested Development.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/18/2005



Movies of the week
Check out my "Movies of the week" over at The Fort Wayne Reader. This week I review The Crow, Envy, Trekkies and Narc.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/18/2005



Deadwood
Holy cow, is it possible for Deadwood to be any better?

By Bert Ehrmann
4/11/2005



Veronica Mars
It's official, there will be a second season of Veronica Mars! From Yahoo:

There's no mystery about it: UPN has given a vote of confidence to its buzzworthy but ratings-challenged freshman drama "Veronica Mars" by handing the Warner Bros. TV series an early renewal for a second season.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/11/2005



Battlestar Galactica
Last Friday (4/1) saw the final episode of the first season of Battlestar Galactica. But fret not, season two of the series beings in July with ten brand new episodes slated for airing then. Series creator Ron Moore confirmed in a Podcast that the first episode of the second season starts off moments after the shocking events of the previous episode.

Also, season one of the series has been released in the UK on DVD. If this set is any indication of what we can expect being released here in the US, the only extras the DVD set has are deleted scenes.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/4/2005



Lost
In an apparent attempt to alienate loyal viewers and confuse new ones as to the ongoing story, ABC has decided to once again pull new episodes of Lost from their schedule for three upcoming weeks. March '05 featured two new episodes of Lost while April '05 will feature just one new episode. (Not including the "Lost Special Edition Episode" airing later this month which is more of a "clip show" designed to bring new viewers up to speed on Lost and tick off already loyal ones just wanting more Lost.)

For those paying attention, for three weeks in March ABC aired repeats of Lost while two weeks in April will also be (I am assuming) repeats.

C'mon ABC – Lost is a show where people are forced to remember minute details from week to week on each episode's storyline. And when new episodes of Lost air (nearly) months apart, people will forget what's going on and loose interest in the show. ABC seems to be following the Fox formula of how best to kill a great show – here and here.

Read more here on the Lost episode guide.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/1/2005



The Office
The American version of The Office doesn't seem to be doing that great. From BBC:

The second episode of the show, broadcast on NBC, attracted 5.9 million viewers on Tuesday. Its debut was seen by 11.2 million on Thursday 24 March.

The second episode came fourth in its 2130 slot, beaten by Fox medical drama House attracting 18 million viewers in first place. Starring British actor Hugh Laurie, House follows American Idol in the schedules.

Hmmm… What does this remind me of?

By Bert Ehrmann
4/1/2005



Eccleston out as Doctor Who
File this under "Ugh", Eccleston currently plays the best incarnation of Doctor Who in many, many years. From BBC:

Actor Christopher Eccleston has quit as Doctor Who after just one episode of the new series has been screened, the BBC has confirmed.

"The audience's response for the new Doctor Who has been incredible and I am really proud to be part of it and I hope viewers continue to enjoy the series," he said in a statement issued through the BBC.

(A BBC spokesman) said that although talks to make David Tennant the 10th Doctor were taking place, other names may be put forward.

Bill Nighy was also considered for the Eccleston role, while Richard E Grant starred in a BBC web drama version of Doctor Who.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/31/2005



Fort Wayne Reader
Read my latest column up over at The Fort Wayne Reader entitled "What a way to go – Six ways Hollywood teaches us that it really is best to die in bed." Also, check out my movies of the week feature there for reviews on The Thing (1982) and S1m0ne (2002).

By Bert Ehrmann
3/30/2005



Dinner for Five
Deadwood creator David Milch and show star Tim Olyphant (Dreamcatcher) will be guests on Jon Favreau's show Dinner for Five this Friday (4/1) at 10:00 P.M. (EST) on IFC. Learn more here.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/30/2005



Returning shows
Both Lost and Veronica Mars return this week with new episodes. (Finally.) The new Veronica Mars premieres tonight (3/29) while Lost premiers tomorrow night (3/30). From UPN on Veronica Mars:

"Betty and Veronica"
Tuesday, March 29, 9PM ET/PT
Following an emotional reunion with her mother, Veronica is hired to track down Neptune High's beloved mascot, Polly the Parrot, which was apparently kidnapped by a rival school on the eve of a big basketball game.

Meanwhile, with her suspicions about the Kane family rekindled, Veronica attempts to gain access to her father's original interrogation tapes. Later, Veronica's relationship with Deputy Leo heats up, as does Meg's relationship with Duncan.


From ABC on Lost:

Wednesday, March 30, 8/7c
"Deus Ex Machina"
Boone becomes concerned when Locke suffers physical problems while they try to find a way into the mysterious hatch. Meanwhile, Jack is reluctant to help when Sawyer starts to experience excruciating headaches, and Michael and Jin struggle to communicate while working together on the raft.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/28/2005



Tony Wonder

By Bert Ehrmann
3/28/2005



War of the Worlds
Check out the cool looking Japanese poster for the upcoming remake of War of the Worlds.



View the poster larger here.
Check out the official War of the Worlds site here.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/28/2005



Star Wars: Clone Wars
I don't know what's worse – that I watched the latest installment of Star Wars: Clone Wars on Cartoon Network or that I thought the story was more satisfying than the last two Star Wars movies?

By Bert Ehrmann
3/27/2005



Doctor Who
The new version of Doctor Who is off to a good start. (Or) Doctor Who bests Ant. From BBC:

Doctor Who's long-awaited return was a ratings success for the BBC, attracting up to 10.5 million viewers on Saturday.

The Time Lord's comeback was pitted against Ant And Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV1, featuring England captain David Beckham as a special guest. It attracted 7.2m viewers, peaking at 8.5m.

An ITV spokesman said: "The audience for Ant and Dec was up on the show last Easter Saturday, which got 7.1 million viewers, so we have no complaints."


By Bert Ehrmann
3/27/2005



Doctor Who
Luck Brit gits, Doctor Who begins airing in Great Britain this weekend with no immediate plans for the series airing across the pond here in the U.S. I am officially jealous. Read my review of the first episode of the series here.

Learn more about the series here.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/25/2005



The Office
I thought that the first episode of the American version of The Office was good but not great. If the original British version was an A+ then the remake was a solid B. Much like the American version of Coupling, I felt as if the jokes were told waaaay too fast. It was almost as if the people doing the remake wanted to fit in everything that happened in the original half hour into the American 20 minute version. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. There was no pause for laughs. The timing was very bad.

I did think they did a good job of having the "awkward pauses" that made the original so good. Especially in the end.

I've heard that the first episode isn't too good but the rest, which are original scripts and not remakes, are good.

The Office airs Tuesdays at 9:30 P.M. (EST) following Scrubs.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/25/2005




Star Wars Site Gets an Update

Yes indeed. Ole Lucas has pulled out the stops, and got an updated main page for the Star Wars website, in honor of the release of Episode III. Lotsa cool pics and downloadables if you like. Check em out!

Star Wars Episode III

By Mo Alexander
3/24/2005



The Office
The American version of The Office premiers tonight (3/24) on NBC at 9:30 P.M. (EST). Be warned, though, the show's regular timeslot is Tuesdays at 9:30 P.M. (EST) following Scrubs.

Dangerous Universe first started covering The Office back in July '03 and hasn't looked back in anger since.

More on this first episode.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/24/2005




Got Yours Yet??

I could only wish for one!! With the media capabilities of a DVD Player, an IPod (well close enough) and the near-graphical prowess of a Playstation 2, the PlayStation Portable looks to be breaking a few holiday records this year. Check it out!

Sony PSP

By Mo Alexander
3/23/2005



Fever Pitch
So there is this new movie out starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. It's a romantic comedy about a huge Redsox fan and a girl that likes him despite him liking baseball and being Jimmy Fallon.
There are a couple of reasons I don't like this idea.

  • It's already been made. It was a British romantic comedy called Fever Pitch back in '97. It was about a guy that really loved Arsenal (a British soccer team for you ignorant types) and had a girl that liked him despite him liking soccer and being Colin Firth (oh, wait... girls actually like him).
  • It's a Nick Hornby adaptation. Nick Hornby is the brilliant author that brought us High Fidelity, How to Be Good and About a Boy. Now, admittedly About a Boy is a bit of a chick flick, it's good and the book is better.
  • It stars Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore.

    I don't know who should be more upset: Hornby fans, British football fans, Redsox fans for cinema fans in general. I'll explain: Hornby is one of my favorite authors. He's a genius and writes a fantastic book that almost always translates well to film. Football fans have to be upset that "soccer" isn't good enough of a sport to use. Redsox fans have to be very upset because Fallon is the worst representative of a Boston fan ever. In the words of a sports journalist from Boston, Bill Simmons, "50 Cent would be more convincing." Finally, fans of cinema: not only is a movie being remade that doesn't need remade, it's being remade poorly. I've never even seen the first one or read the book and I'm pissed.

    By Alex Faurote
    3/22/2005



  • Battlestar Galactica
    Ron Moore's Podcasts are brilliant.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/22/2005



    Joe Devito
    Illustrator Joe Devito has some very cool paintings and illustrations up over at his web site, as well as some step-by-step instruction material on how he paints. Check it out, your eyes will thank you.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/21/2005



    Movie trailers
    Two new trailers, The Island and Redeye, have been released. It's anyone's guess as to what the movies are about, the trailers don't give a hint at even the basic plot(s).



    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/18/2005



    You have died of dysentery
    World's coolest shirt? You bet.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/18/2005



    Extras
    The first bits of inforamtion on Gervais and Merchant's (The Office) next show – Extras. From Zap2It:

    Set in an actors' green room, Gervais plays Andy Millman, a wannabe star who's having a difficult enough time getting speaking parts. Stephen Merchant, who co-created "The Office" with Gervais, will play Millman's agent.

    "It will be a very different piece from 'The Office,'" BBC 2 Controller Roly Keating tells the Independent newspaper. "It will have a very different dynamic. It's a closed set, so there's an element of mystery around it. The whole set-up means it will move on from 'The Office,' which was filmed as a mock documentary. This is done differently in terms of being a more scripted piece."

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/18/2005



    War of the Worlds
    The extremely cool looking War of the Worlds second teaser trailer has been released, you can see it for yourself here. I am at a loss of words as to describe how cool it looks. Keep watch for a "blink and you'll miss it" glimpse of a Martian war machine tipping a boat about 3/4ths the way through the trailer.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/18/2005



    FX
    During this week's premiere of The Shield, FX was promoting two new interesting looking shows – Over There and Thief. You can learn more about these two upcoming shows here.



    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/18/2005



    Sin City
    It's official, the upcoming Sin City movie looks like the coolest movie to come along in some time. Honestly, the movie looks like the perfect comic book adaptation. (Is it too much to ask that the movie turn out as good as the trailer looks?) Check out the full trailer for the movie here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/17/2005



    Lost
    Details on the DVD for the television show Lost due out in stores this September. From Dark Horizons:

    Each of the episodes will be presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen along with English Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. Extras will include the never-before-seen, extended uncut version of the original pilot, exclusive, in-depth behind-the-scenes looks at the making of the show, backstage with Drive Shaft all-access pass behind the music, the art of Matthew Fox featurette; 'Before They Were Lost' original casting tapes, a blooper reel, rare deleted scenes and multiple filmmaker audio commentaries. Retails around $60.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/17/2005



    War of the Worlds
    The second teaser trailer for the upcoming War of the Worlds remake will premiere online over at the Apple trailers page early Friday (3/18) morning at 12:01 A.M. (EST).

    Visit the official War of the Worlds site here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/16/2005



    Lost
    Lost show creator J.J. Abrams confirms that one of the characters of the series will be killed off this season. From Zap2It:

    "I wasn't really surprised that the death of this character was as hard in real life as it was on the show," Abrams said.

    Showrunner Carlton Cuse added, "We felt that on a story level, we needed to retain the life-and-death stakes," noting, somewhat humorously, that with a bursting-at-the-seams cast of series regulars, ABC wouldn't have minded some additional casualties during the season.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/14/2005



    Battlestar Galactica
    The official Battlestar Galactica web site has been updated with new desktop backgrounds as well as a director's commentary Podcast for last week's episode.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/13/2005



    The Office
    The American version of the Brit hit The Office is set to premiere Thursday, March 24 at 9:30 P.M. (EST). However, this episode will premiere online over at Myspace.com on Wednesday, March 16 at 8:00 P.M. (EST). (I'm guessing that the episode will be in crappy streaming Windows Media format and that you'll have to sign up for a Myspace.com account to watch the episode.)

    NBC describes the episode as:

    WELCOME TO DUNDER MIFFLIN PAPER SUPPLY COMPANY - When a documentary crew comes to the offices of Dunder Mifflin to observe the employees and learn about modern management, manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) tries to paint a happy picture of his domain, but his jokes keep falling flat. Then, worse, his supervisor from the corporate office tells him that his branch may be downsized. Making a characteristically bad leadership decision, Michael decides not to tell his staff, but the information quickly leaks. Meanwhile sales rep Jim (John Krasinski) spars with his irritating nemesis Dwight (Rainn Wilson), and flirts with office receptionist Pam (Jenna Fischer), until they are all forced to consider what their options are if there is downsizing. B.J. Novak also stars.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/12/2005



    Movie Trailers
    Two interesting trailers have been released in the last few days, Will Farrell plays psycho nut-job soccer coach in Kicking and Screaming and Layer Cake introduces us to the Brit criminal underworld.



    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/12/2005



    Fantastic Four
    Fox Studios has released a cool looking teaser poster for the upcoming Fantastic Four movie. Click here for a larger view.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/12/2005



    Battlestar Galactica
    The Iconfactory has released an icon of the emblem from the television show Battlestar Galactica. A PC and Mac version of the icon is available for download.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/11/2005



    Battlestar Galactica
    FYI: Tonight's (3/11) episode of Battlestar Galactica will be on thirty minutes later than usual at 10:30 P.M. instead of 10:00 P.M (EST). Apparently, tonight's episode of Stargate: SG1 is 90 minutes rather than the usual 60. Ugh, I can't understand how someone could even watch ten minutes of that show.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/11/2005



    Star Wars Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith
    The trailer for the upcoming feature Star Wars: Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith aired on The O.C. last night and is available all over the Internet for download.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/11/2005



    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    Check out the two Internet only trailers released a few weeks back and now available on the Apple trailer site here and here for the upcoming movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/10/2005



    Fort Wayne Reader
    Check out my latest column up over at The Fort Wayne reader entitled "The Revenge of the Duies – The second annual Duie awards." (You can also read the first Duie awards here.)

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/9/2005



    Doctor Who
    I've seen the first episode of the revival of BBC's Doctor Who. (I won't divulge who showed it to me.) The show is good, very good. Christopher Eccleston (28 Days Later) as the new Doctor is good. He plays the role with a sort of comedic-swagger only an Englishman could pull off, spouting lines like,

    Doctor, "I'm the Doctor by the way what's your name?"
    Rose, "Rose."
    Doctor, "Nice to meet you Rose. Run for your life."

    Billie Piper as the Doctor's companion Rose Tyler and is also good, holding her own against Eccleston playing the character as a normal everyday person swept up in the action.

    The only few hickups were with some of the visual effects. Still, the effects used in this new version of Doctor Who are light years better than the ones used in the original series.

    It is absolutely a crime that no-one's picked up this show for airing in the U.S. The Sci Fi Channel, are you listening? Dump Stargate and PICK UP DOCTOR WHO! (9/10)

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/8/2005



    Stealth
    Check out the cool looking trailer for the upcoming movie Stealth. (Cool looking does not necessarily equate good movie, though.)



    Dallas 362
    Also, the trailer for the upcoming Dallas 362 is out. It too looks interesting, though a bit like a million other Pulp Fiction inspired movies that have come out in the last ten years.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/8/2005




    Whoops!! Dr. Who Episode Leaked to the Net?

    Im sure Bert already has his copy, but here ya go!!

    Dr. Who

    By Mo Alexander
    3/7/2005



    Arrested Development

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/7/2005



    Deadwood
    Premiering this Sunday (3/6) on HBO is season two of the acclaimed series Deadwood. The tagline for this season seems to be "fortune comes with a price." From the official site:

    The spring of 1877 brings major changes to the teeming outlaw camp of Deadwood, as civilization makes its way to town. New arrivals will usher in an era of power struggles with the camp founders-and power struggles in Deadwood have a way of turning violent…

    Dangerous Universe has been covering Deadwood since January of '04, and has amassed quite a backlog of material. I, for one, can't wait for Sunday.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/4/2005



    Movie Trailers
    View trailers for upcoming Lords of Dogtown and the remake of Bad News Bears. I think Bad News Bears looks interesting, but after seeing the Lords of Dogtown trailer I have absolutely no desire to see that movie. The acting looks to be awful. And I had high hopes for Lords of Dogtown after seeing the Dogtown and Z-Boys documentary last year.



    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/4/2005



    4 8 15 16 23 42

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/3/2005



    The Manchurian Candidate
    This news piece sounds more than a little like the science behind the movie The Manchurian Candidate. From Yahoo:

    A procedure that involves drilling two holes into a person's skull and then implanting electrodes in the brain has shown promise in treating individuals who are severely depressed and resistant to other types of treatment.

    Four of six patients who received this deep brain stimulation showed sustained improvement six months after the procedure took place, scientists report in the March 3 issue of Neuron.


    I suppose next they'll be implanting "bravery" or "courage under" fire into people's skulls. Life does imitate art.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/2/2005



    The Aviator
    Adobe.com has posted an interesting article on some of the visual effects that went into the creation of Scorsese's epic The Aviator. (Note, this is a PDF file – you will need Adobe Acrobat to open this document.)

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/2/2005



    War of the Worlds
    The teaser trailer for the upcoming remake War of the Worlds is due in theaters Friday, March 18. I'm guessing that the trailer will be attached to the upcoming The Ring Two.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/2/2005



    Michael Mann
    And the next movie for Collateral director Michael Mann is…

    (Peter) Berg is also working on a film with fellow Director Michael Mann, director of "Collateral", which Berg had a small acting role in - "The thing with Michael Mann is called The Kingdom, about an American FBI agent who goes to Saudi Arabia to investigate a bombing".

    From Dark Horizons.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    3/2/2005



    No Justice
    King of cool Martin Scorsese is once again denied an Academy Award for best director, this time for The Aviator. Million Dollar Baby was not as good as The Aviator.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/28/2005



    The Amityville Horror
    Check out the full trailer for the upcoming remake The Amityville Horror here. (The trailer looks good, but The Amityville Horror is being produced by Michael Bay. The same Michael Bay who produced the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, one of the worst movies of 2003. I have high hopes yet low expectations for The Amityville Horror.)

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/25/2005



    Still Lost
    More from Michael Summers:

    Boone and his "sister"… I don't think they will go anytime soon. Locke needs a protegee, and Boone appears to be it. Boone is the only connection the audience has with Locke, the only way we have of getting a glimpse into Locke's mind that's denied to the other characters. Boone's sister also might be safe, however annoying. She is chaos. Like Sawyer, she is motivated by her own totally selfish desire, but unlike Sawyer, who at least knows what he wants in any situation (whatever he thinks will benefit him) and is aware of the possible consequences (even if he doesn't care), Boone's "sister" has no idea why she acts the way she does, or that she seems to cause trouble everywhere she goes. This does not necessarily mean she'll make it to season two, but in fiction, such characters rarely "get what is coming to them." Ideally, she would be "taught a lesson," but learning something, especially about your character, requires a little self-reflection, which Boone's sister lacks (Compare this with Sawyer, who seems to realize that he's thrown his lot in with the scumbags of the world, but has convinced himself over time that it's what he needs to do to survive). Her death would not have the resonance the show would need to really scare someone, nor would it be satisfying to the audience. She is much more useful to the show's creators alive, where she can stir up trouble among the survivors.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/25/2005



    Even more Lost
    Let's face it, Lost is a show where anything can and sometimes does happen. It would not surprise me in the least if one of the major characters (like Jack or Kate) doesn't make it to the second season. For instance – on The Sopranos, one of the major characters was unexpectedly killed off in about the same amount of episodes as season one of Lost.

    I would respect the creators of Lost even more than I already do (which would be hard) if they'd take the chance of killing off a highly popular character of the show. (Rumor has it that Jack and pregnant Claire weren't originally supposed to be regulars on the show with Jack being killed off in the pilot (first) episode and Claire soon after.)

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/25/2005



    Lost... some more
    I agree with the previous post, and would like to add. Walt could go, showing how horrific this island is to leave the kid without any parents (and a broken relationship with his father that he'll be unable to resolve (without the help of the mysterious forces on the island)). Boone or his whiny sister could go and no one would miss them. That's about all I have to add.

    By Alex Faurote
    2/24/2005



    Lost
    Who will be the first main character to die on Lost? Whomever it is better pray that the rains stay away. (When it rains it means that someone's going to die on Lost.) From Michael Summers:

    Hurley won't die. Hurley is what they call "5th Business." It's a theater term that means he's the character that doesn't change, so we can measure the growth/changes of the other characters around him. In the Star Wars movies, C-3PO was 5th business. In Lord of the Rings (LOTR), Gimli and the two other hobbits were 5th business. Not every movie or story has a 5th business character, but a lot do, once you start looking.



    Now Charlie… Charlie might die one of these days. Why? Because, it would show the audience the true horror of the castaway's predicament. Charlie is the decent guy who tries to do the right thing, despite his flaws. He tries to change, but in the end, his innate goodness can't overcome the malevolent forces on the island. He's the innocent. Clare, I guess, is the true innocent, but she's the madonna figure. Perhaps more importantly, however, there is NO WAY they're going to kill a pretty girl with a baby.



    Jack is the hero. Sawyer is the anti-Jack, but he's not really the anti-hero, or not the true anti-hero of the story. The real anti-hero of the show is Locke. He's essential to the story, essential to the survivors, but we have no idea where his true loyalties lie, or what his agenda is. (In the first Star Wars, Han Solo was the anti-hero. In The Empire Strikes Back… well, I don't know who it was exactly in The Empire Strikes Back, but I could argue that it's Yoda. In Return of the Jedi, it was Darth Vader).



    Sayid is the classic sidekick. He's not quite Jack's loyal servant, like Sam in LOTR. He's a little like R2 in Star Wars — highly competent, seems to follow his own agenda and initiative sometimes, but you have no doubt that he's with the good guys. Unlike Jack, he does not have to be "the leader," and freed from that responsibility, he just gets done what needs to get done.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/24/2005



    Battlestar Galactica
    Sci Fi Channel is reporting that season two of Battlestar Galactica will begin airing this summer a mere few months after the end of season one. Is this good or bad for the show? Will people become burned out on Battlestar Galactica if there isn't enough of a lag time between seasons? Remember that ABC killed their once hugely popular show Who Wants to be a Millionaire by airing it almost every night. If Sci Fi aires too much Battlestar, will the show suffer the same fate? From Sci Fi Channel:

    SCI FI Channel announced that the second season of its hit original series Battlestar Galactica will premiere this summer, with 20 new episodes.

    Also, you can now watch the first episode of Battlestar Galactica in it's entirety online without commercial interruption. Unfortunately it's in RealPlayer format. Still, if you've yet to see the first episode and have a really fast Internet connection here's your chance.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/24/2005



    Dirty War
    Local PBS stations will air a slightly edited version of Dirty War from 9:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. (EST) tonight – learn more at PBS.org here. Read more about Dirty War here on Dangerous Universe and read my review of Dirty War here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/23/2005



    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    Finally a suitably large trailer for the upcoming movie. And in Quicktime – if that floats your boat.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/22/2005



    War of the Worlds
    Check out the Japanese commercial for the upcoming movie War of the Worlds. It's a bit different than the Super Bowl commercial of a few weeks back and has Tom Cruise saying, "Nothing can touch them."

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/22/2005



    Fort Wayne Reader
    Read two of my columns up over at The Fort Wayne Reader – "Where have you gone, my Calvin & Hobbes?" and "When it comes to Brit television, you don’t know what you’re missing."

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/22/2005



    McFarlane's Military
    Todd McFarlane does military toys. The figures, due out in May, include; U.S. Army Ranger, Navy Seal, Marine Corps Recon Sniper, Marine Corps Recon, Army Desert Infantry, and Air Force Special Operations Command, CCT. Learn more here.



    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/21/2005



    Hunter S. Thompson R.I.P.
    Hunter S. Thompson, famed journalist who's words launched a million drug trips, is dead by his own hand. From The New York Times:

    Hunter S. Thompson, the maverick journalist and author whose savage chronicling of the underbelly of American life and politics embodied a new kind of nonfiction writing he called "gonzo journalism," died yesterday in Colorado. Tricia Louthis, of the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, said Mr. Thompson had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Woody Creek, Colo., yesterday afternoon. He was 65.

    Mr. Thompson, a magazine and newspaper writer who also wrote almost a dozen books, was perhaps best known for his book, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," which became a Hollywood movie in 1998. But he was better known for his hard-driving lifestyle and acerbic eye for truth which he used in the style of first-person reporting that came to be known as "gonzo" in the 1960's, where the usually-anonymous reporter becomes a central character in the story, a conduit of subjectivity.

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is an excellent movie and a better book. Hunter S. Thompson will be missed.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/21/2005



    Starship Troopers
    I'm not sure if this is a comp. poster never produced for the movie Starship Troopers or one that I've just never seen. (And trust me, I think I've seen them all and own quite a few!)

    More information on the poster here.
    More information on Starship Troopers here, here, here and here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/20/2005



    Doctor Who
    The new series hasn't started airing yet, but books based on the series are already in the works.

    See all the covers here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/18/2005



    The Cave
    Check out the trailer for the upcoming movie The Cave. (Man, does this movie look like a copy of Pitch Black, or what?)

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/18/2005



    Toys
    NECA is releasing toys from two exciting upcoming movies; Sin City and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I love toys that tie into movies.



    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/18/2005



    Veronica Mars
    Alyson Hannigan will guest star on next week's Veronica Mars. From Zap2It:

    On Tuesday, Feb. 22, Alyson Hannigan, who spent the final two of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer's" seven seasons on UPN, returns to the network in the first of two episodes of UPN's teen-mystery series "Veronica Mars."

    Hannigan plays Trina Echolls, half-sister of Logan (Jason Dohring), a high-school nemesis of sleuth Veronica (Kristen Bell). Of late, Logan and Veronica have struck up a truce, as she helps him answer questions he has about the supposed suicide of his mother, Lynn Echolls (Lisa Rinna), wife of movie star Aaron Echolls (Harry Hamlin, Rinna's real-life spouse).

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/17/2005



    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    The trailer for the upcoming movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has been released. Unfortunately (for now) it's being hosted on Amazon.com and is only available in a Flash version. (Which sputters and stops on slower connections.) Ugh. Why can't all trailers be released in Quicktime?

    I genuinely liked the trailer and found several parts of it extremely funny. I did catch myself thinking, "That's not how it was like in the television series." But I had to remind myself that this is another format for the story and that I should retain an open mind.

    Or something like that.

    See the trailer for yourself here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/16/2005



    Deadwood
    Al Swearingen looks a bit worse for wear in this grab from a recent Deadwood season 2 teaser trailer on HBO.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/15/2005



    Arrested Development
    So, it's a good thing that Fox is reducing the order of Arrested Development this season to 18 from 22 episodes, pulling it from the May sweeps and not showing a new one for the next three weeks? From the San Francisco Chronicle:

    How screwed up is the TV business? Here's the logic behind the Fox decision: Bad is not bad. Bad is good. Because good could have turned out bad, and that would have been really bad.

    Translation: Cutting back is a business decision that doesn't reflect on the show's creativity. We know you want to be on in May, but if the numbers aren't good against super-stiff sweeps competition, the chances of getting picked up for a third season drop exponentially.

    Part of this counterintuitive TV logic is that May is not only a sweeps month, it's also when the network "upfronts" happen in New York. You don't want to be bleeding viewers when the network is deciding on its fall schedule, which it presents to advertisers and press in May. There have been more than a few legendarily last-second flip-flops in scheduling that have embarrassed producers (and networks). It's a scary, unsure time. And if you're a precious, media-darling series like "Arrested Development" that has all the good ink and even the good hardware (an Emmy, a Golden Globe for Jason Bateman), but not much of an audience, you don't want to stick your neck out.

    So, as illogical as it may sound, Fox is trying to protect the series. At least that's the now compromising position it has taken. The network, reeling from an overdose of failed reality series, is starting to turn things around with scripted midseason shows ("House," "24") and is right this minute choosing pilots for next fall. One of those series, according to a source at Fox, is being picked up solely because it's a good fit with "Arrested Development."

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/14/2005



    Deadwood
    There's a profile of Deadwood writer/creator David Milch in this weeks issue of The New Yorker, February 14 & 21. In it, Milch reveals that the show he initially pitched to HBO was "about the lives of cops in ancient Rome during Nero's reign, before a system of justice had been codified." But since HBO already had a show about Rome in production, learn more here, Milch decided to do a Western instead and the rest is television history.

    Season 2 of Deadwood premiers Sunday, March 6 on HBO.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/13/2005



    Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    More images from the upcoming movie Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This time Ford and Arthur are treated to some Vogon poetry. Brilliant!





    Larger views of the images here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/12/2005



    E-mail
    Interesting e-mail I received the other day from Matt M. Generally, I'd e-mail a personal reply but since Matt didn't include a return address, I guess this'll have to do.

    Matt's referring the an article I wrote for the Fort Wayne Reader entitled "What does New Zealand have to be proud about? (Other than 1 billion in gross ticket sales.)" I wrote, "I (…) found it interesting in that the people who migrated to New Zealand from Great Britain took the American way of settling land disputes with the native populations. They killed them."

    Matt's e-mail went:
    bert what country are you from?how much do you know of new zealand history?,the people of new zealand did not settle land claims,by killing the maori population,land was confiscated by the british government for settlement that led to around 12 years of warfare with british government troops, i suggest a you read james belich the nz land wars and michael king's history of new zealand.

    bert what country are you from? – From a country that takes pride in punctuation.

    how much do you know of new zealand history? – Everything I know about New Zealand I learned from watching Russell Crowe.

    the people of new zealand did not settle land claims,by killing the maori population – Okay. If you say so.

    land was confiscated by the british government for settlement that led to around 12 years of warfare with british government troops, – Ummm, okay. So the British whom eventually became "the people of New Zealand" killed the native populations. Are you arguing semantics here, or was the "warfare" you describe a bloodless one?

    i suggest a you read james belich the nz land wars and michael king's history of new zealand.And I suggest you read The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. It's excellent. Let's make a deal; if you read The Forever War I'll read Mike King's book. Deal?
    But seriously folks, if you're coming to Dangerous Universe for facts on New Zealand, you're coming to the wrong place. Never once have I said that I am an expert on New Zealand. An expert on Arrested Development yes. New Zealand no.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/11/2005



    Who Watches the Watchmen?

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/10/2005



    Lost
    So I was giving in to temptation and checking out what happened on last night's episode of Lost (I'm told someone died, and dammit, but I have to know who) when I found out the DVDs will be released in September. This is good news for my enjoyment and bad news for my wallet. September is a bad month for me considering tuition, books, and rent kick in in August.

    By Alex Faurote
    2/10/2005



    Battlestar Galactica
    It's official, there's going to be a second season of Battlestar Galactica. From Sci Fi Wire:

    SCI FI Channel has ordered a second season of its hit series Battlestar Galactica…

    For the show's second season, creator and executive producer Ronald D. Moore previously told SCI FI Wire that he has already been working on as many as six new scripts to resolve the multiple cliffhangers that will end season one. Moore added that he wants to delve deeper into the show's religious themes and open up the Cylon world a bit more in the coming season.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/9/2005



    Lost
    New Lost returns to ABC tonight after several weeks of repeats. From ABC:

    After the missing Claire returns with no recollection of what has happened since before the doomed flight of Oceanic 815, Jack and Locke formulate a plan of defense against her kidnapper, the mysterious Ethan, who threatens to kill off the other survivors unless Claire is returned to him.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/9/2005



    Underworld: Evolution shots

    Whilst snooping around the web this morning, i spotted some new photos from the up and coming sequel to Underworld, starring Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman.

    ' "Underworld: Evolution" continues the saga of war between the aristocratic Death Dealers and the barbaric Lycans (werewolves). The film traces the beginnings of the ancient feud between the two tribes as Selene (Kate Beckinsale), the beautiful vampire heroine, and Michael (Scott Speedman), the lycan hybrid, try to unlock the secrets of their bloodlines. The fast-paced, modern-day tale of deadly action, ruthless intrigue and forbidden love takes them into the battle to end all wars as the immortals must finally face their retribution.'

    Hit the link and check out the pics. Kinda looks like LOTR??

    Underworld: Evolution

    By Mo Alexander
    2/9/2005



    Battlestar Galactica
    The Sci Fi Channel is airing the first five episodes of Battlestar Galactica back-to-back tonight (2/8) starting at 7:00 P.M. (EST). If you've yet to start watching this series, here's your chance.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/8/2005



    Veronica Mars
    New Veronica Mars returns to UPN tonight after a few weeks of rerun hell. From UPN:

    After being hired by hip-hop heavyweight Percy "Bone" Hamilton (guest star Anthony Anderson) to find his kidnapped daughter, Veronica and Keith look to the music mogul's long list of enemies, family members and the girl's Neptune High social circle for clues on her whereabouts.

    Meanwhile, following Lynn Echolls' apparent suicide, Logan cynically endures his father Aaron's (guest star Harry Hamlin) effusive displays of grief as they prepare for her memorial ceremony.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/8/2005



    Deadwood
    Out on DVD today is the best series of 2003, Deadwood.

    Read more about Deadwood here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/8/2005



    EyeTV
    I recently upgraded my home EyeTV system from the original EyeTV USB to the EyeTV 200. The old EyeTV captured video at 320x240 in MPEG1 format, the new one captures it at a larger 720x480 in MPEG2 format. This new format also captures and saves the closed captioning and can save the video in a multitude of different aspect ratios. Check out the below image for an example of grabs of the two EyeTV formats. The image on the left is from the original EyeTV at 200% while the image on the right is from the new EyeTV at 100%. There's a lot more detail in the new one, just look at how the building on the right disappears on the old version and how the sky is blue in the new version.



    But there's a drawback even with this quality. First off, recording 45 minutes on old EyeTV takes up around 450 MB of disk space while the new takes up over 1.3 GB. (Which translates to roughly 10 MB per minute of recording on the old and around 29 MB on the new.) And whereas I used to be able to burn over seven hours of content saved on the old EyeTV to DVD for viewing, I can only fit two of the new.

    Still, the new EyeTV 200 is loads better than the old and I am very happy for my purchase.

    Read my account of getting my EyeTV USB back in '02.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/7/2005



    War of the Worlds
    Check out the "most awesome" Super Bowl commercial for the upcoming remake War of the Worlds here. One question, what do you think happens to Manny?

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/6/2005



    The Unit
    Spartan the television series? Who could ask for more? From Zap2It:

    "The Unit," which comes from writer-director David Mamet and "The Shield" creator Shawn Ryan. The show, about the lives of special forces soldiers and their families, is based on Eric Haney's 2002 book "Inside Delta Force."

    Mamet ("Glengarry Glen Ross," "State and Main") wrote the pilot script and will executive produce with Ryan, the showbiz trades report. The pilot order comes after CBS gave the show a preliminary okay last fall.

    The Book Inside Delta Force was source material for the movie Spartan. Read more about the current crop of television pilots here. Read my review of Spartan here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/3/2005



    Star Trek
    It's all over. Battered and ignored step-child of the Star Trek family Enterprise has (finally) been canceled – the first Star Trek series to be canceled in over thirty years. (I can't say I ever cared too much for Enterprise and only caught a few episodes. I haven't watched much Star Trek since Deep Space Nine in the late 1990's.) From the official Star Trek site:

    UPN and Paramount Network Television have jointly announced that this will be the final season of Star Trek: Enterprise on UPN. [Production will continue until the end of this season, which will finish shooting in March.] The series finale will air on Friday, May 13, 2005.

    "Star Trek has been an important part of UPN's history, and Enterprise has carried on the tradition of its predecessors with great distinction," said Dawn Ostroff, President, Entertainment, UPN. "We'd like to thank Rick Berman, Brannon Braga and an incredibly talented cast for creating an engaging, new dimension to the Star Trek universe on UPN, and we look forward to working with them, and our partners at Paramount Network Television, on a send-off that salutes its contributions to The Network and satisfies its loyal viewers."


    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/3/2005



    War of the Worlds
    Look for a commercial for the upcoming remake movie War of the Worlds to air during the Super Bowl featuring the first real footage from the movie. This trailer will appear online at 1:00 A.M. (EST). You can view the commercial now over at Latino Review. War of the Worlds opens in theaters June 29.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    2/3/2005



    Fort Wayne Reader
    Check out my reviews on movies I watched over the past week here. I've been posting reviews of all the movies I watch on The Fort Wayne Reader forums for several months now, so there's quite a backlog of material. Since this is a forum you can comment on what you think of these reviews/movies.

    Also, read my latest column entitled "It’s not the TV series; it’s where you look" about the best shows on television.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/31/2005




    A little Shaun of the Dead anyone?

    Hailing from the great people of England, comes a Romantic Comedy. With Zombies.

    I caught this flick last year with my girlfriend, and to be honest, it was one of the funniest/best zombie flicks that has come out in a long time.

    Shaun, a Electronics salesman, is leading a rather boring life, and decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

    This movie just got released out to DVD not too long ago, so if you are in the mood for a good laugh, check it out. You wont be disappointed.

    Shaun of the Dead

    And for those of you who are lazy, like I am, why not check out Netflix and get your rental movies delivered right to your home!! Check it out here, and sign on up!

    Netflix

    By Mo Alexander
    1/28/2005



    Collateral
    An interesting Japanese poster for the movie Collateral I pulled off of eBay the other day. Compare this poster with the American one released last summer.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/27/2005



    Sugary Cereal
    This are all pretty cool, even if I'm too young to recognize some of them. (It doesn't help that the site's in Japanese.) Originally from Cartoon Brew.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/25/2005



    The Academy Awards
    If directors like these can get looked over for the biggest award, is there a compelling reason to watch The Academy Awards? From Yahoo:

    British director Alfred Hitchcock is the best film-maker never to have been handed an Oscar, according to a poll of British movie viewers released a day before the 2005 nominations come out. Hitchcock was nominated as best director at the Academy Awards six times between 1941 and 1961 for classic thrillers like "Psycho" and "Rear Window", but failed to win a single one.

    In a poll of deserving non-Oscar winning directors by British viewers of cable film channel Turner Classic Movies, Hitchcock edged out Martin Scorsese and the late Stanley Kubrick.

    Most deserving directors never to have won an Oscar:

    1. Alfred Hitchcock
    2. Martin Scorsese
    3. Stanley Kubrick
    4. Ridley Scott
    5. Tim Burton
    6. Ingmar Bergman
    7. Spike Lee
    8. Mike Leigh
    9. Howard Hawks
    10. Roberto Rossellini

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/24/2005



    The Office
    The American version of the UK hit The Office has a premiere date:

    "The Office," which stars Steve Carell ("The Daily Show") in an Americanized version of the BBC hit, will air at 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, creating an hour of laugh track-free comedy with "Scrubs."

    Read the whole story here.

    I'm confused – is the title of the American version The Office or The Office: An American Workplace?

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/22/2005



    Battlestar Galactica
    Ron Moore's answering fan questions up on the Battlestar Galactica blog. The best line from one of his answers is, "This show is about our characters, not about the magical technology that they use." I have to agree with him there. I've actually heard several people complaining about the corded phones. Apparently, they can believe that gravity exists in space but not that a phone has a cord:

    Q. "What battlestar was Apollo from? Notice he's never mentioned it or the loss of friends from whatever squad he was assigned to."
    A. In my first draft of the mini, Lee Adama had just been accepted into test pilot school on Caprica and was not currently assigned to any battlestar. Presumably, he had been posted to at least a couple of battlestar air groups in his career, as well as several ground assignments as well. (…) Overall, I'd say Lee was striving (perhaps too hard) to blaze a different path for himself in the fleet from that of his father. I don't think Lee ever saw himself as a battlestar commander and was looking for a different way to make his mark.

    Q. "Will we ever hear anything about other battlestars? Especially Pegasus?"
    A. We have discussed the Pegasus storyline for a couple of years now. It's still tooling around inside my brain, but I haven't settled on a take yet. Call it a strong possibility at this point.

    Q. "Why is everything so low tech when clearly these humans are so advanced? It seems incongruous."
    A. The plot explanation is that following the Cylon Uprising 40 years ago, Colonial society took a giant step backwards to protect itself from the technological nightmare it had unleashed. With their enemies able to hack into virtually any network, the Colonials had to rely on stand-alone technologies that we not connected to other components.

    (…) You don't want to be using cordless phones when the ship is hit by a nuke and power is disrupted to say the least. You want something reliable and solid and preferably with a cord.

    The creative explanation is that high-tech ships with touch screens and computers that talk has been done to death in my opinion. Also, having magical technology that does all the work for you tends to take the human beings out of the dramatic equation. I wanted a lower-tech Galactica so that we could put people back into scifi. This show is about our characters, not about the magical technology that they use.

    Read all of the questions and answers here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/22/2005



    Corpse Bride
    Check out the trailer for Tim Burton's upcoming animated movie Corpse Bride. The movie looks a heck of a lot like The Nightmare Before Christmas and I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing.



    View the trailer here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/21/2005



    Scrubs
    Scrubs series creator Bill Lawrence is planning on shooting an episode of the series like a traditional three-camera sitcom:

    (…)an extended fantasy by J.D. (Zach Braff), who's treating a patient who's a TV writer, will play out on the show as a traditional sitcom, complete with a live audience and laugh track.

    "Basically, it's tweaking sitcoms and an homage at the same time," says "Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence, who's previously worked on traditional sitcoms like "Spin City" (which he co-created) and "Friends." "Zach and and Donald [Faison], on the show, love sitcoms; they're always goofing on 'Sanford and Son' or 'Friends' and all the shows they watch."

    Read the whole story here.

    This could be very cool. I am extremely interested to see how this episode turns out.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/21/2005



    EmptyWorld
    My new favorite site: A site dedicated to fiction and film depicting the end of the world, apocalypse and nuclear war. Plague, famine, drought and war all feature..... Populations decimated, survivors struggling to re-build after the apocalyptic event.......

    EmptyWorld – Apocalyptic and End of the World Fiction, Film and TV

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/20/2005



    Assault on Precinct 13
    Assault on Precinct 13
    the remake is a good film, but nowhere near being great. It's not a hard movie to sit through but I would recommend it on DVD rather that seeing it in theaters.

    The plot follows the original in most respects; a group of police officers and prisoners are trapped inside an abandoned police station by attackers outside who are out to kill them at all costs. Whereas in the original you could imagine why the gang-members were out to attack the police station, their blood oath to their slain leader, in the remake this doesn't make sense since the gang members have been replaced by corrupt cops. (And how do you go about explaining a bunch of dead police officers?)

    There are a few interesting set pieces when the police officers are attacking the building but, in the end, it all turns to the usual Hollywood formulaic movie. It even has the main "good guy" (Ethan Hawk) facing off against the main "bad guy" (Gabriel Byrne) mano-e-mano at the end. If you've seen the original then you'll know just about every twist and turn along the way. You'll also know who lives and who dies by observing their star status.

    One thing that bothers me about the remake was the lack of a strong female lead as in the original. Here, the strong female is relegated to one of the criminal side characters who gets little screen time but does have one cool scene with a Tommy Gun.

    Original Assault on Precinct 13 7/10
    Remake Assault on Precinct 13 5/10

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/20/2005



    Veronica Mars
    Sunnyvale meets Neptune according to Zap2It:

    Former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" star Alyson Hannigan leaves demon-infested Sunnydale behind for the mystery-filled seaside town of Neptune, when she makes a guest appearance on the UPN Tuesday-night cult hit "Veronica Mars." She's currently scheduled for one episode, with a possibility of the role becoming recurring.

    Hannigan plays Trina Echolls, the struggling-actress daughter of town resident and movie star Aaron Echolls (Harry Hamlin), and stepdaughter of his wife, Lynn (Lisa Rinna, Hamlin's real-life spouse). This makes Trina the half-sister of Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), the high-school foe of teen sleuth Veronica (Kristen Bell).

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/19/2005



    Stan Lee
    Stan Lee's about to make the big bucks according to Yahoo:

    NEW YORK - Stan Lee, the legendary cartoon hero creator who gifted Spider-Man with the powerful "spidey-sense," is feeling a tingling of his own — in his wallet. A Manhattan federal judge ruled that Lee is entitled to a potential multimillion payday from Marvel Enterprises of profits generated by the company's television and movie productions — particularly the box-office smash "Spider-Man," which earned more than $800 million worldwide, and its hugely successful sequel.

    "It could be tens of millions of dollars," Howard Graff, attorney for Lee, said Wednesday. "That's no exaggeration."

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/19/2005



    Battlestar Galactica
    Big news about Battlestar Galactica according to the Sci Fi Channel:

    The two-hour Jan. 14 premiere of SCI FI Channel's original series Battlestar Galactica was the number-one cable program on that date in key demographics and ranked as the highest-rated January show in the network's history. Galactica ranked first among adults aged 25-54 and 18-49 and men aged 25-54, 18-49 and 18-34. The show earned a 2.6 household rating (3.1 million viewers), ranking second among all cable programs.

    If you're not watching Battlestar Galactica, you don't know what you're missing. Don't forget to watch Battlestar Galactica every Friday night at 10:00 P.M. EST on the Sci Fi Channel.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/19/2005



    Fantastic Four
    Check out the trailer for the upcoming movie Fantastic Four here. The trailer makes the movie look interesting enough, but I'll hold judgment on the movie for a while. I'll have to admit that the trailer doesn't get me all that excited about seeing the Fantastic Four movie. Still, the original trailer for the first Spider-Man movie was AWFUL, and that movie turned out good enough.



    Also, check out the launch of the Fantastic Four web site here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/18/2005



    Veronica Mars
    This Tuesday (1/18), UPN will be reairing the first/pilot episode of Veronica Mars. If you have yet to start watching Veronica Mars because you've wanted to start watching it from the beginning, here's your chance.

    Also, check out Neptune High >> A Veronica Mars Fansite and NeptuneSite for the best information available on the Internet about the show.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/17/2005



    Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    Check out the teaser poster for the upcoming movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Keep an eye out for the whale, the number "42", the petunia and the towel (don't leave home without it.)


    Larger view here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/14/2005



    Battlestar Galactica
    Read Battlestar Galactica the series creator Ronald Moore's thoughts on the first episode in the official Battlestar Galactica Blog. It's actually pretty funny hinting at one of the major problems with sci fi these days; the dreaded "technobabble."

    Why 33 minutes?
    The truth is, there's no real answer. It's just a random number that felt right when I came up with the idea that our people were under continuous, relentless attack since the end of the pilot. I wanted it to be a short interval, just long enough for them to grab a bite to eat, jump in the shower and maybe try to catch a catnap before dragging themselves back to their duty stations and begin the whole tedious, terrifying ordeal all over again.

    A deeper truth is, I was never interested in coming up with an explanation for Why? Never. I mean, I suppose I could've come up with a sufficiently important-sounding bit of technobabble that would've made sense (you see, the Cylon double-talk sensors tracking the Olympic Carrier's nonsense drive signature needed 15 minutes to relay the made-up data wave through the pretend continuum, then the Cylon navigational hyper silly system needed another 10 minutes to recalculate the flux capacitor, etc.) but what would that have really added to the drama? How does explaining that 33 minute interval help our understanding of Laura's terrible moment of decision, or bring us to any greater knowledge of Dualla's search for her missing family and friends, or yield insight into Baltar's morally shattered psyche?


    Read the rest of Ronald's thoughts here
    .

    Don't forget to watch Battlestar Galactica the series every Friday night at 10:00 9:00 P.M. EST.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/13/2005



    The Bad News Bears
    Check out photos of Billy Bob Thornton playing the coach in the remake of this classic film.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/13/2005



    Battlestar Galactica
    The first season of Battlestar Galactica hasn't even aired in the U.S. and the remake's creator Ronald Moore is already talking about a possible second season:

    The showrunner isn’t saying much about what direction season two would go for Commander Adama and his crew if it actually comes to fruition — we haven’t even seen season one yet, after all — but he does admit that it will be different from what genre fans have come to expect from sci-fi TV.

    “It was fun breaking the first six [episodes], which is essentially the first half of the second season kind of like laid out,” Moore says, while also hinting that season one ends on a cliffhanger. “I sort of knew the direction I wanted to go, though by no means had we really plotted out exactly what the resolution of the cliffhanger [would be ahead of time].”

    Read the whole article here.

    Don't forget to watch the Battlestar Galactica series which premiers on the Sci Fi Channel this Friday (1/14) night at 9:00 P.M. EST.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/12/2005



    Make Mine Mac
    An Apple Mac G4 for under $500!? An iPod for less than $100!? What's the world coming to (and more importantly) how soon can I order?

    Learn more about the Mac Mini and the iPod Shuffle.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/11/2005



    The Fort Wayne Reader
    As promised a few weeks back, a more comprehensive list of my "Darn good movies of 2004" has been released over at The Fort Wayne Reader.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/10/2005



    The Sandbaggers
    Forget the recent return of the spy drama 24 to television. The absolute best-ever television spy drama has to be the The Sandbaggers, which aired on U.K. television in the late 1970's/early 1980's and is available for the rest of us on DVD. Trust me when I say that these old episodes of The Sandbaggers hold their own against any modern television series – HBO series included.

    Heck, season two of The Sandbaggers is better than season one – the mark of a quality show.

    Learn more about The Sandbaggers at The Ops Room
    .

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/9/2005



    The Ring Two
    Samara's back, and she's scarier than ever. Check out the trailer for The Ring Two.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/8/2005



    Land of the Dead
    First official shots from the upcoming film.




    Larger views here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/7/2005



    War of the Worlds
    Poster for the remake due in theaters next summer.


    Larger view here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/6/2005



    Battlestar Galactica
    There have been several updates to the official site for the upcoming Battlestar Galactica series over at Sci Fi.com. First off, there are descriptions and a trailer for the first two episodes of the series, being aired as a two hour block next Friday (1/14), and a new section devoted to the various ships used in the series. For example, did you know that the Cylon Base Ship "dwarfs the Battlestar Galactica (and) overmatch(es) the Galactiva in nearly every tactical respect?" I didn't!

    The official synopsis behind the first two episodes goes, "As the ragtag fleet plays cat-and-mouse with the Cylons, Roslin and Adama face the possibility that one of their ships has been infiltrated by the enemy."

    Interesting stuff if you ask me.

    Check out the site here or go directly to the "Ships" section here.

    Dangerous Universe has covered the Battlestar Galactica mini-series/series extensively in the past, read more about the show here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/6/2005




    Yaaaarr!! Dem Be Pirates!!

    Ah yes, the days of Christmas have come and gone, and My wonderful girlfriend was kind enough to bless me with a classic kick ass PC game from the past, aptly titled PIRATES!

    Now back in the era of my Commodore 64, this game was first released, and I was instantly addicted to playing it. Nowhere else in the Commodore 64 Universe could I lose about 14 hours by just playing one single game, except pirates. Well, our good friends at Atari, under the expressed tutalidge of Sid Meier himself, have updated and released a newer version of pirates for the new Millenia. All I can say is "YAARARRRRR! GIMMIE THE GOLD YA SCURVY CURR!"

    Our little quest begins with the main character (thats you Pirate laddie or Lass) having his family kidnapped by an evil Baron, and you embark to find them, and do a little plundering of the Spanish Main while ye are at it.

    Now mind ye, the Spanish Main is chock full of nationalities vying for colonization of the new world, so while ye be out on yer quest, ye will run into such wonderful people as the English, the French, the Dutch, and of course, the Spanish.

    Right off from the start, ye command a small ship with about 10 cannons and 40 sailors on board. From then on, the game is wide open. Ye can capture and plunder the various merchant ships that pass by, visit nearby outposts/trading posts and speak with their governor, Sack and loot towns, find buried treasure, and attack the various pirates that cruise about the very waters that ye be sailin in.

    Graphically, the Atari team did a wonderful job of updating all the graphics. The ship to ship battles are awesome, where you get the opportunity to fire different types of cannon shot (Chain and Grape are a few), masts snap, people get blown off, and ships break in half explosively when sunk. Ye also get the opportunity to board a ship and either fight to take it over... Or the enemy captain might just surrender ta ye, depending on how much of a scurrvy pirate ye be.

    So, if ye be havin the time, pick up a copy of Pirates! at your local gaming store!

    Check it out here: Pirates!

    By Mo Alexander
    1/6/2005



    House
    Fox has picked up a full season of their medical drama House. From Yahoo:

    The network has ordered five additional episodes of the critically praised drama starring Hugh Laurie ("Blackadder") as a disheveled physician with an apparent distaste for his patients. The first-season tally now stands at 18 episodes.

    Despite airing Tuesdays after the reality flop "The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best," the new drama has held its ground. It built significantly on its lead-in and posted series highs in total viewers (6.9 million) and adults 18-49 (2.9 rating/8 share), respectively, in its two most recent airings.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/5/2005



    V for Vendetta
    Very early teaser poster for the upcoming comic book movie V for Vendetta:



    Larger view of the poster.

    According to the web site JoBlo:

    (Natalie) Portman will star as a young woman "recruited" by a violent freedom fighter in an alternate future where the Germans won WWII… Filming is expected to begin in March with a late 2005 release planned.

    Amazon describes the comic book, and base material for the movie, V for Vendetta as:

    A frightening and powerful story of the loss of freedom and identity in a totalitarian world, V for Vendetta takes place in an alternate future in which Germany wins WWII and Britain becomes a fascist state. A vigilante named "V" stalks the streets of London trying to free England of its ideological chains. Moore's poetic language coupled with Lloyd's eerie, washed-out color art makes this a captivating read sure to stay with you.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/5/2005



    War of the Worlds
    Interesting new photos from the upcoming Steven Spielberg/Tom Cruise remake of War of the Worlds. The movie certainly looks good, and the last time Spielberg directed Cruise in a movie, Minority Report, the results were decent enough. I have high hopes for this movie.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/4/2005



    Veronica Mars
    New Veronica Mars tonight (1/4) on UPN. (Rumor has it that UPN began airing repeats of the show after it deemed future Veronica Mars episodes too controversial for holiday season viewers.)

    Veronica uncovers information that her fellow outcast Mac (guest star Tina Majorino) was switched at birth with a more affluent student, causing Veronica to examine her own questions about whom her real father may be.

    Meanwhile, a serial killer has resurfaced in Neptune forcing Sheriff Lamb to forge a reluctant, tense partnership with Keith. Later, Veronica flirts with a handsome young rookie at the sheriff's department to obtain more information on Lilly's murder.


    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/4/2005



    RIP
    Influential comic book and fantasy illustrator legends (Frank) Kelly Freas and Will Eisner have passed away. (One of the top awards a person working in comic books can win is named "The Eisner Awards" after Will Eisner.)

    Eisner:
    His newspaper connection included creating "The Spirit" insert for Sunday papers from 1940 to 1952.

    Eisner received the 1995 Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award and the 1998 Reuben Award as cartoonist of the year from the National Cartoonists Society.


    Freas:
    "Kelly Freas created the future in his paintings, sleekly delineating a style that has influenced two generations of designers as the technology became available to make his fantasies real," said Paul Levitz, the President of DC Comics, which publishes Mad Magazine. "And with the impish grin he gave Alfred, he winked and warned us not to take it all too seriously."

    His other illustrations included the official patch of NASA's 1973 Skylab 1 orbiting space station, as well as the covers of such Mad paperbacks as "Son of Mad" and "Ides of MAD."

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/4/2005



    New Calendar
    Do we really need a new calendar from some condescending [email protected] scientist? This has to be a joke. Can't we get this guy working on some killer robots or something other than a replacement for a (last time I checked) working calendar!? From New Scientist:

    Henry designed a calendar that uses 364 days, which breaks down evenly into 52 weeks. In his so called "Calendar-and-Time" (C&T) plan, each month contains 30 or 31 days. He decided on each month's length by forbidding the new calendar to differ from the old one by more than five days and by setting Christmas Day, 25 December, to always fall on a Sunday.

    His constraints meant eight months would have different lengths than they do now. March, June, September, and December would each contain 31 days, while the other months would each get 30. To keep the calendar in synchronisation with the seasons, Henry inserted an extra week - which is not part of any month - every five or six years. He named the addition "Newton Week" in honour of his favourite physicist, Isaac Newton.

    "If I had my way, everyone would get Newton Week off as a paid vacation and could spend the time doing physics, or other activities of their choice," he says.
    (Yes folks, that's "Newton Week." First one to joke "Eye of Newton Week" wins the booby prize. – Bert)

    Despite this incentive, Henry says he has encountered resistance to his plan - mainly because people would be "stuck" with a birthday that always falls on a Wednesday, for example. Henry, who is among that group, is not moved by the argument. "You have my permission to celebrate your birthday the preceding or following Saturday," he says.

    And he is not stopping with dates - Henry says the entire world should operate on Greenwich Mean Time. People in the eastern US, for example, would have to get used to eating their midday meals when the clocks read 1700. "People are adaptable if benefits are there," says Henry.
    (And those benefits would be…? – Bert)

    From a person living in a country that's yet to adapt to what the rest of the world uses as measurements, ie. the metric system, all I have to say about changing the calendar is - good luck.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/4/2005



    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    The first real look at the characters from next summer's upcoming The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Remember your towel. Don't panic – larger views of the images here. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will be released into theaters May 6 of this year.

    Previous Hitchhiker's updates here, here and here.



    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/3/2005



    Lost and Alias
    This Wednesday, new episodes of Lost begin airing again on ABC while Alias returns for it's fourth season on the same network. (Lost aires at 8:00 P.M. with Alias starting at 9:00 P.M. – all times EST.) I watched Alias when it was first on in 2001, but quickly gave up when it seemed to me as if the episodes were indistinguishable from one and other. However, there are some people I know that really like the show so I think I'm going to give Alias another try.

    Read some older entries about Alias I made back in 2001 here, here and here.

    By Bert Ehrmann
    1/2/2005