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Direct Beam Comms #86



TV

Midnight, Texas

The new NBC series Midnight, Texas is the latest attempt at a network to bring serious horror out of cable and to broadcast TV. While I thought that Midnight, Texas was lacking, none-the-less I also felt that it’s probably the best that a network show can be right now given all the limitations of broadcast TV.

Based on the series of books of the same name by author Charlaine Harris who also wrote the novels the series True Blood were based on, the town of Midnight, Texas is a sort of safe haven for those things that go bump in the night like witches, vampires and fallen angels. But these aren’t evil witches, vampires and fallen angels, they’re everyday witches, vampires and fallen angels just trying to get along in a world out to get them.

While I thought the characters of Midnight, Texas worked well and I was intrigued in the setting what I wasn’t sure of was the overall story. It seems like much of the series will deal with an outside force attacking the weird Midnight enclave and trying to drive out these misfits. In the first episode there’s a murder by some bikers ala the Sons of Anarchy that seemed like someone decided that since horror is hot right now and TV series like Sons of Anarchy too then why not try and blend the two and make something great? But this comes off a bit overdone for my tastes, if it’s probably right in-line with what the average viewer of broadcast TV expects in terms of story.

What I wasn’t expecting was just how scary some of the moments in Midnight, Texas were.

Manfred Bernardo (François Arnaud) is a psychic who really sees dead people. Really gross looking dead people who are trying to make contact with the living world. Be it a dead husband who looks like he just rolled off the morgue table, Bernardo’s grandma who pays him a visit and looks like she crawled out of a dusty grave or a drowning victim who’s bloated and rotting but when she tries to talk it comes out like waterlogged bile.

If this and the characters were all that Midnight, Texas were about I think I’d be really excited about the show, especially since the last NBC horror series Hannibal was one of my favs. That being said, I am interested in Midnight, Texas and will keep watching the show, if it wouldn’t surprise me that at some point in the season I stop watching and head off looking for a series with the characters of Midnight, Texas if not the story.

People of Earth

The first season of the TBS comedy People of Earth wrapped up last winter with the second having launched last week. I thought the first season of People of Earth was one of the better comedies on TV in 2016 if it took a while for the series to get going.

In the first season, writer Ozzie Graham (Wyatt Cenac) travels to a small down to do a piece on a support group for people who say they’ve been abducted by aliens. And what starts out as a joke evolves into something different when Ozzie realize that he too was abducted in the past and that the entire support group’s been together for decades now since the aliens have been abducting them since they were children.

The aliens doing the abducting are a mix of creatures. One’s a traditional “grey” alien named Jeff (Ken Hall), one’s a dreamboat alien with white hair Don (Bjorn Gustafson) and there’s a reptilian one named Jonathan (Michael Cassidy) too. These are more workaday aliens than monstrous ones who have deadlines, overbearing bosses and monthly quotas to meet.

Think The Office crossed with The X-Files and you’d be close to what People of Earth is.

The second season starts right where the first left off with Wyatt, now a believer trying to find the truth, Jeff dealing with new management in the whole abducting thing breathing down his neck and group member Richard (Brian Huskey) coming to terms that his girlfriend who exploded last season was really an alien robot plant.

After having read that paragraph again I know that must make People of Earth sound like a really weird series and to be honest it is a weird one. But it’s a good kind of weird, the kind of weird we need on TV in 2017.

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This week in pop-culture history

  • 1947: Arnold Schwarzenegger of Terminator, Predator and Total Recall is born
  • 1956: Michael Biehn of Terminator, Aliens and The Abyss is born
  • 1966: Batman the movie premiers
  • 1966: Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. premiers
  • 1971: The Omega Man is released
  • 1983: The TV mini-series V premiers
  • 1985: Weird Science opens
  • 1986: Flight of the Navigator opens in theaters
  • 1986: Howard the Duck debuts
  • 1987: The Lost Boys premiers in theaters
  • 1988: The Blob premiers in theaters
  • 1991: Terminator 2: Judgement Day premiers in theaters
  • 2002: Signs premiers in theaters
  • 2011: Rise of the Planet of the Apes opens in theaters