Direct Beam Comms #48
Stan Against Evil – Grade: D+
I generally like horror series and even the ones I don’t care for I can see things in them things that other fans may like. However, I didn’t see anything in the new IFC series Stan Against Evil that I liked nor do I see what other horror fans would care for in this show either.
Here, John C. McGinley plays the title character who’s an ex-sheriff forced to resign after he attacked a woman at the funeral for his wife. Enter new sheriff Evie (Janet Varney) who one week into the position learns that every other sheriff before her, minus Stan, was killed on the job. And the rumor is it’s all related to 176 witches burned at the stake centuries earlier by the first town sheriff. Stan only survived his tour because his late-wife was going out nights to do battle with these witch-spirits, and now that she’s gone and Evie’s the new sheriff it’s up to Stan to continue the good fight.
It seems like Stan Against Evil wants to be something like Ash vs. Evil Dead meets 30 Rock. So it’s got some of the gross-out humor of Ash vs. Evil Dead and some of the deadpan humor of 30 Rock which unfortunately aren’t a great fit with each other. It doesn’t help matters that McGinley, whom I genuinely like, is doing a rougher and gruffer, though definitely a version of his Dr. Cox character from Scrubs which is amusing but gets old fast here.
Stan Against Evil seems to be a show that won’t really appeal to either the horror crowd or the comedy crowd and perhaps that’s why IFC premiered it late Halloween night after the horror season’s mostly done? Maybe they see this show as a comedy first horror second show? All of which is disappointing — the creators of Ash vs. Evil Dead make this kind of horror/comedy look easy which from the looks of Stan Against Evil it isn’t.
The Crown – Grade: B+
I seem to be a sucker for dramas written by Peter Morgan. I loved his movie The Queen (2006) about the death of Princess Diana and the reaction of the British royal family to this event, and more specifically how Queen Elizabeth (Helen Mirren) almost lost the monarchy, I think the movie Frost/Nixon is an underrated little gem and now I like his new Netflix series The Crown too.
The Crown starts in the late 1940s with the marriage between Princess Elizabeth (Claire Foy) and Phillip (Matt Smith) and then we quickly jump to the early 1950s where Elizabeth’s a young military wife who’s father King George (Jared Harris) is succumbing to lung cancer which will very soon leave her as the 26 year old Queen of the UK. In many ways, The Crown is the middle story of a trilogy that would have started with The King’s Speech (not written by Morgan but David Seidler) where King George had to overcome his stuttering in order to deliver a speech about Great Britain enduring the second world war, here The Crown as a middle story where power transitions from George’s generation to the next and then The Queen where Elizabeth almost becomes the last monarch of the UK after a few missteps.
What I think works so well in The Crown, and of Morgan’s other dramas mentioned above as well, is that he does a great job of going behind the scenes of events that played out in the public eye and showing them in a new way. In Frost/Nixon it was the behind the scenes preparations of the two Frost and Nixon camps before the interview, in The Queen it showed what was going on behind the curtains of Buckingham Palace the news cameras couldn’t see and here in The Crown that was happening between George, Elizabeth and Phillip might not have been as cozy as the monarchy wanted everyone to believe with all sorts of real human emotions playing out in private.
People of Earth – Grade: B
The new TBS series People of Earth has a lot of potential, however, while the first episode was a disappointment the second was good.
I’m not sure what to make of it but episode of People of Earth are just 15 minutes long. Which almost makes me wonder if the series was originally developed as an Adult Swim series that ended up on TBS instead? The show follows journalist Ozzie Graham (Wyatt Cenac) as he interviews a group of people who’ve been abducted by aliens over the years. And in these interviews he finds that he too might have been abducted in the past so he decides to move closer to the abductees and the common place they were all taken of.
The first episode of People of Earth fell short was all of the jokes seemed telegraphed. I could tell when a lot the jokes were coming and was saying the punchlines before the characters were. And the show also falls into the trope where the lead character Ozzie is the one normal character on the show while the rest of the characters all seem like they’re standard, abet all a bit weird, sitcom characters and not real people.
That being said a lot of these issues were corrected in the second episode where the characters felt toned back a bit, and not as cartoony, and the humor was a bit more naturalistic as well.
One thing I did like and did find intriguing and funny in both episodes were the alien characters. These aren’t your standard scary The X-Files aliens, these are workaday Joes one of whom is the typical “bug eyed monster,” another a reptile and a third a nordic hunk. They complain about their jobs to each other and get on one and other’s nerves and two mercilessly tease the nordic alien.
I’m interested enough to see where this is all going and had enough of a good time with the second episode and watching the alien characters that I’ll probably stick with this one for at least the rest of the season.
Wonder Woman movie trailer
“The closer you get, the more you see the darkness within.”
Life movie trailer
Sort’a looks like Gravity meets The Martian by way of Alien.
Chronicle Collectibles is releasing a 20th Anniversary (!!!) statue of the Tanker Bug from the movie Starship Troopers. The statue is a whopping 25” long, 20” wide and 10” tall and retails for $350. That’s a lot of money, however, when statues of 12” figures regularly retail for $150 and up, $350 doesn’t seem too pricey in comparison.
I have been a Starship Troopers super-fan the last 20 years and am excited that it seems like there might be some sort of recognition/merchandising push for a movie that was so badly slammed/misunderstood when it was first released. Even if there’s reportedly a reboot movie in the works from the writers of the upcoming Baywatch movie.
The Reading & Watch List
- ‘Starship Troopers’ Reboot in the Works (Exclusive)
- The Horror Movie Studio That Scares Hollywood
- Ban War Toys: The ‘80s Anti-War Movement Driven By G.I. Joe
This week in pop-culture history
- 1970: Ethan Hawke of Explorers and Gattaca is born
- 1975: The TV series The New Adventures of Wonder Woman debuts
- 1982: Creepshow opens in theaters
- 1994: The TV series Earth 2 premiers