Resin Heroes

2016/17 TV Preview



New series

It’s been a long while since I can remember the last time I was as disinterested in the crop of new TV series that are set to start debuting on network TV this fall. Usually, there’s at least something I can look forward to, some series I can get excited about. But honestly this year looks like it’s going to be mostly a bust on the networks.

The Good Place

The Good Place

All that I’m looking forward to on network TV this fall is the comedy The Good Place on NBC starring Ted Danson and Kristen Bell about a woman that died and accidentally went to “the good place” rather than the hot one and Star Trek: Discovery on CBS. Though this sixth Trek TV series is set to only air once on CBS before it moves to their streaming service.

And there’s a few new shows I’m looking forward to on cable and streaming too, one of which is Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is on BBC America and is based on the Douglas Adams (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) book of the same name. This new TV version of the Adams novel is being written and produced by Max Landis (Chronicle). On Netflix is Marvel’s Luke Cage that’s a sort’a spin-off of the Jessica Jones show about a man, Cage (Mike Colter) who’s super-strong with super-tough skin that brushes aside bullets who decides to clean up the streets of New York.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot more to scoff at on network TV next fall than to look forward to.

If the last few years the networks have been trying to turn as many come books into TV series as they could, then this year it’s all about turning once popular movies into TV series, or rebooting once popular past TV series into modern ones. Which I have no problem with, except that nothing I’ve seen from any of these new shows makes me thing that the networks have anything other than a bunch of creative duds on their hands.

Time After Time

Time After Time

Based on the movie of the same name, Time after Time on ABC features author H.G. Wells (Freddie Stroma) building a time machine in 1893 and traveling to present day 2016 New York City to find Jack the Ripper who’s also travelled to New York City in the same time machine. Convenient, ain’t it? If the movie version was a love story between Wells and a modern day woman, then the TV version seems to be setting the two up as a male/female investigative duo ala Castle, Blindspot, The Blacklist, etc., etc., etc.

Emerald City on NBC is the latest attempt at a network to create a TV version of the Wizard of Oz story that various channels have been trying to do since at least 2002. This version of the Oz story has Dorothy being swept off to a totally reimagined and harder version of Oz that seems to be a mashup of Game of Thrones and Once Upon a Time.

Fox has two shows based on movies set to premier this fall; The Exorcist and Lethal Weapon.

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist looks to be essentially the story of the novel/movie about a girl possessed by a demon — with a little bit of things like The Conjuring thrown in for good measure. My one question about The Exorcist is if the entire season will be about the girl’s possession, or if each episode will be about some other evil forces possessing some other poor souls? It doesn’t help matters that The Exorcist is the second “possession” series on TV with Outcast also about demonic forces already on Starz.

The TV version of Lethal Weapon seems to take the zanier elements of the movie from Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford) having a death wish which makes him practically fearless and his older, world-weary partner Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans Sr.) who has to deal with Riggs and is “too old for this @#$%.” But somehow I’d imagine that if it does take the zanier elements of the Riggs character that it’s not going to use the movie version of him being suicidal and his substance abuse problems. You know, all the stuff that made him seem human and not some cartoon character.

Frequency on The CW, takes the elements of the 2000 movie where someone from the present, here Raimy Sullivan (Peyton List), is able to talk with their father from 20 years in the past via a ham radio. And because she’s able to send information to her father in the past she’s able to change events in her present. But if other time travel movies/TV series have taught us anything, it’s that meddling in the past will being about unintended consequences in the present/future. Time After Time should take note!

MacGyver

MacGyver

On CBS there’s a series based on the movie Training Day and one on the 1980s TV series MacGyver. Much like with the movie, the TV version of Training Day follows a young, idealistic police officer (Drew Van Acker) sent to spy on a seasoned, up to no good, “King Kong ain’t got [email protected]#$ on me” detective (Bill Paxton).

MacGyver (Lucas Till) is a younger take on the character but with the overall concept of the original series — solving crimes/rescuing people/stopping terrorists by making whatever’s needed with what’s on hand to get the job done — intact. I was a huge fan of the original MacGyver as a kid, but somehow I doubt that this middle-aged man is going to be a fan of this new version of the show.

returning_tv

Returning series

black-ish

black-ish

If new series this year look crummy at least there’s a slew of great and interesting shows to look forward to.

Out of the gate early this fall are ABC comedies The Goldbergs, black-ish and Fresh off the Boat. While black-ish and Fresh off the Boat get a lot of good press for their diversity and somewhat controversial storylines, I’m more concerned with whether or not the shows are funny or not and these are.

The Goldbergs and black-ish return September 21 and Fresh off the Boat October 11.

Ash vs. Evil Dead

Ash vs. Evil Dead

I was a huge fan of the Starz series Ash vs Evil Dead right up until the very end of the final episode of the first season when things kind’a fell off the rails. That series deals with sad-sack Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) who accidentally released evil spirits from the bound in human skin Book of the Dead. And in Ash vs Evil Dead it’s up to Ash and his two friends Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) to figure out a way to undo what he’s done.

The show was everything I’d ever wanted in an Evil Dead TV series with over-the-top action, comedy and lots of gore. But that ending, it was so out of tone with what had come the previous nine episodes that it really frustrated me. That being said, I’m ready for loads more wise-cracking Ash in a second season of Ash vs Evil Dead which starts back up September 23. As long as they do some ‘splaining about that ending I’ll be back for more gore!

Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars Rebels

Existing alongside the current film franchises, the animated Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD tells the story of what was going on in the galaxy when the evil Empire was consolidating power and trying to wipe a nascent rebellion out. The stories of Rebels can be surprisingly deep and emotional for a series we already know the end to. Hint — none of the characters of Rebels show up in Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope so… Star Wars Rebels returns September 24.

The British series Black Mirror is available on Netflix October 11. This anthology series that originally debuted back in 2001 that’s a bit like The Twilight Zone but updated for modern day originally didn’t have a series run here in the US until Netflix picked it up a few years ago. And boy am I glad they did — this show about what happens when technology and all its uses goes wrong is consistently one of the best things on TV. Black Mirror can be so intense that I’ve yet to be able to go back and watch old episodes again even though I loved them the first time around.

The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle

The alterna-history The Man in the High Castle returns to Amazon Prime December 16. I was surprised as to just how interesting a show High Castle was since I’d never really been interested in any of the other original Prime series. Here, it’s an early 1960s where Germany and Japan won the second world war and now occupy most of the planet, the US included. These two superpowers are engaging in a Cold War of sorts with what’s left of the US set to be the battleground for World War III. Except that events in the first season of High Castle reveal that this may just be one reality of many, one where the allies won the war (ours) and others where Germany or the Soviets won it all.

Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul

Another sci-fi series The Expanse returns to SyFy this January. Based on the book series Leviathan Wakes, The Expanse takes place in a future where mankind has colonized most of the solar system and has brought along all of the problems we have here on the Earth like racism, war, disease, hunger… But all this pales in comparison to what starts happening when something’s released on an asteroid outpost that threatens to consume all of humanity.

Also sometime in January a fourth season of the PBS series Sherlock is set to return with, I’m assuming, four new episodes. The series has been on since 2011 and has so far aired a paltry 13 episodes of TV. They may be “paltry” but they’re also darn good!

And the show I’m looking forward to most returning next season is Better Call Saul on AMC, the third series about how lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) goes from a guy trying to go good to someone who’d have people killed if it would earn him any money which is set to debut sometime early next year.




Direct Beam Comms #24



TV

The Goldbergs, Fresh Off the Boat & black-ish

AJ Michalka and Troy Gentile of The Goldbergs

AJ Michalka and Troy Gentile of The Goldbergs

Last week, the ABC series The Goldbergs and black-ish ended their third and second seasons respectively while Fresh Off the Boat ends its second season this Tuesday. I enjoy watching these shows but honestly, I’m not sure I can point to one single moment last season from any of them that was memorable to me. That’s not criticism of these series since there are usually several times each episode that I literally LOL. But I’m not sure if it’s because there are so many episodes of TV here, between the three of them there’s 72, or if it’s because these shows are really like the lite-sitcoms of the 1980s, but there’s not a single moment in either The Goldbergs or black-ish or Fresh Off the Boat that sticks out to me.

To me, Fresh Off the Boat is an enjoyable show but is most like a 1980s sitcom with the characters being almost over-the-top and it being very heavy on the “situation.” And while I think that The Goldbergs and black-ish are better shows, to me The Goldbergs works best when the creators of that show find their own stories. But I get the sense that they’re being pushed to do more “event” style episodes like ones that pay homage to Dirty Dancing and Risky Business which are a bit contrived.

And while black-ish can, at times, be a much deeper show than either The Goldbergs or Fresh Off the Boat are, it can fall into the tropes that were popular in past sitcoms like the “very special” episode and “someone’s unexpectedly pregnant” that were staples of series past.

Grade: B for all

Robotech

Recently, Crackle began offering all 85 episodes of the classic animated series Robotech streaming via their service. Honestly I can’t remember the last time I watched Robotech from start to finish, but I plan to spend this summer filling some of my TV time catching up on this show that’s one of my favorite of all-time.

With the fall TV season slowly winding down and options for things to watch dwindling by the week, there’s a few new series I want to checkout in May.

Preacher Sunday, May 22 at 10PM (EST) on AMC

The cast of The Preacher

The cast of The Preacher

I hate to admit it, but I’m mostly ignorant on just what the Preacher comic and new AMC TV series is about. Checking out the marketing materials for the show and reading articles on it, Preacher seems to be a version of Hellblazer, except instead of a demonologist the main character is a priest who smokes, drinks and is otherwise self-destructive all while battling the unknown. That being said, having watched some of the promos for the show, Preacher seems to be less supernatural than I’d always assumed the comic was. Like the show really could just be about a hard-drinking preacher where, as it’s put several times in one promo, “anything can happen.”

Which is kind’a a bad thing. If the people involved in the show can’t properly describe what it’s about in a sentence or two, other than to say “anything can happen,” to me that doesn’t bode well for the show as a whole/moving forward. How can you create a compelling show if you’re not sure what it’s about?

DC Comics describes the comic series as:

After merging with a bizarre spiritual force called Genesis, Texan preacher Jesse Custer has become completely disillusioned with the beliefs to which he had dedicated his entire life. Now possessing the power of “the word,” an ability to make people do whatever he utters, Custer begins a violent and riotous journey across the country. Joined by his gun-toting girlfriend Tulip and the hard-drinking Irish vampire Cassidy, Custer loses faith in both God and man as he witnesses dark atrocities and improbable calamities during his exploration of America.

So who knows what the TV version will be about? Still, I’m interested enough in this one to check it out.

Wayward Pines Wednesday, May 25

The cast of Wayward Pines

The cast of Wayward Pines

The first season of this horror/sci-fi show about a small, isolated town in the Northwest US and all the weird goings-on there was interesting enough to me. It had some nice, unexpected, twists and turns and with the story of the first season being told in ten episodes start to finish felt about right. And now comes a new, second season with a new story and new lead actor. The first season featured Matt Dillion while the second has Jason Patric in a different story also set in Wayward Pines.

…the 10-episode, second season will pick up after the shocking events of Season One, with the residents of Wayward Pines battling against the iron-fisted rule of the First Generation.

Which, admittedly, doesn’t make much sense if you haven’t seen the first season of the show. But like I said, the creators of Wayward Pines took the series to some unexpected places and while the show wasn’t great, at times it was a fun one to watch.

Movies

Star Trek Beyond Trailer #2

Everything is a Remix: The Force Awakens

On the Horizon

Currently, I’m working on articles about; animated films of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the movie Independence Day, the weird movies of 1986 and the movie Aliens which isn’t weird but is also from 1986. 😉

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1970: Beneath the Planet of the Apes debuts on screens.
  • 1979: Dawn of the Dead opens in theaters.



2015/16 Fall TV Preview



2015/16 Fall TV - The Man in the High Castle

New series

There’s quite a few new series to look forward to on TV this fall. In fact there are FIVE series/mini-series based on influential novels set to premiere later this year on cable and streaming services and a few other interesting shows to boot!

Unfortunately, the outlook for new series set to debut on network TV doesn’t look good. There’s only a few show there that I’m interested in, and that’s only because they’re a genera series that, truthfully, I don’t have very high hopes for.

Melissa Benoist as Supergirl

Melissa Benoist as Supergirl

Those two network shows are Supergirl on CBS and Minority Report on FOX. Supergirl follows the Man of Steel’s cousin who must balance her life and the fact that she has the same superpowers as the Man of Tomorrow while Minority Report is a sequel of sorts to the 2002 movie where one of the twins from the film who could see crimes in the future goes off with a cop to try and stop more crimes.

I’d have more faith with Supergirl if it were on ANY network other than CBS while Minority Report sounds a lot like another FOX show from a few years ago, Almost Human from 2013, that also took place in the future but partnered a robot with a cop in order to solve crimes. Almost Human only lasted a single season which with how FOX tends to treat its sci-fi series is also probably in store for Minority Report too.

On cable things are a lot more interesting.

On The CW is the superhero Legends of Tomorrow show that takes place in the same universe as their already popular DC Arrow/The Flash series. In Legends, a whole group of superheroes/supervillains from Firestorm, the Atom, Hawkgirl and Captain Cold to name a few team up to try and stop some future world ending event. Legends sounds a bit like Justice League meets Suicide Squad which could be interesting.

A TV version of the Evil Dead film franchise Ash vs Evil Dead is set to take on the Deadites starting Halloween on Starz. The trailer for this one looks to be a crazed blood-spattered gore-filled continuation of the story from the movies with Bruce Campbell returning as Ash in the title role.

What’s got me REALLY excited this fall are those five sci-fi series based on books; Westworld, Childhood’s End, The Expanse and, what I’m looking forward to most next season, The Man in the High Castle.

The Expanse

The Expanse

Based in the Philip K. Dick novel, The Man in the High Castle is produced by Ridley Scott and will stream November 20. The first episode of this alt-history series has already debuted where a post WWII victorious Japan and Germany occupies the United States. Their response to any rebellion is a fiery death and even owning alt-history material in High Castle that tells of a victorious US in WWII is a crime punishable by death.

The first episode of High Castle was so good after watching the first free episode I went out and immediately subscribed to Amazon Prime in order to be able to see the rest.

A mini-series based on the Arthur C. Clarke novel Childhood’s End (1953) premieres on SyFy Monday, December 14. The Childhood’s End story has colossal alien spacecraft arriving at the earth ala V (1983) and the inhabits within, who just so happen to look the stereotypical version of the devil, promising to bring peace and tranquility to the planet. But their gift comes with a very large caveat.

Another Syfy series based on a novel is The Expanse which also debuts December 14. The Expanse takes place several hundred years in the future when mankind has spread out from the Earth, is living all around the solar system and is mining the asteroid belt for resources when a deadly secret is uncovered that puts the future of humanity in doubt.

A TV version of the Michael Crichton novel/film Westworld is set for HBO sometime after the new year. The original Westworld story followed guests at lavish themed resorts staffed by robots that turn on them who have to fight for their lives. Reportedly, in this updated version the robots/beings of Westworld don’t know that they’re living in a simulated reality and think what they’re experiencing is real.

BCS_S1_004_L

Returning series

Though it doesn’t always seem that way during slow months, but at times modern TV is an embarrassment of riches. Nowadays there are quality series not only during the fall and winter but spring and summer months too both on television and the various streaming services too. So many so that even though I watched a lot of TV last season there simply wasn’t enough hours and I couldn’t keep up with everything so I was forced to skip quite a few shows I’d normally check out.

There are so many riches that I’ve come to the realization that some series that I think are just alright are really very good. It’s just that when an “alright” show is being judged against future-classics they come off more pale in comparison than they would otherwise.

Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who

Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who

First up this fall is the ninth modern (35th if you include the classic) season of Doctor Who on Saturday, September 19 on BBC America. This second season with Peter Capaldi starring as the title role will run 13 episodes including the traditional Christmas episode. From its reboot a decade ago Doctor Who has been a solid sci-fi show with a lot of heart.

ABC’s comedies Fresh off the Boat and Black-ish return Tuesday, September 22 and The Goldbergs Wednesday, September 23. These comedies aren’t great but they usually funny and sometimes that’s enough.

The second season of The Last Man on Earth premiers Sunday, September 27 on Fox. I thought the first season was good, abet maybe not enough “last man”, but I’m honestly interested in where this one picks up after the events of the first season finale.

The cast of Manhattan

The cast of Manhattan

The drama following the creation of the atomic bomb Manhattan returns to WGN Tuesday, October 13. I’m not sure many watched this show but I genuinely liked a lot of Manhattan where the secrets the people keep who are developing the a-bomb are almost as destructive as the weapon itself.

The second season of The Knick on Cinemax about the hospital of the same name in New York at the turn of the last century, debuts Friday, October 16. The first season was produced and entirely directed by Steven Soderbergh and was one of the best things on TV last year. And Soderbergh’s again returning to the directing chair and is filming each and every episode this season too. The Knick is the rare show that takes a look at a mostly forgotten time on our history where the world was moving to a time of scientific wonders and horrors too.

Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars Rebels

I’m a huge Star Wars fan and am excited about the return of the animated series Star Wars Rebels Wednesday, October 14 to Disney XD. This series takes place between episodes III and IV in a time where the Empire was the unequivocal ruler of the galaxy and the crew of the ship the Ghost are just trying to make a legal if they can, illegal if the must, buck. But as the first season progressed and the rebellion agains the Empire began to spark the question becomes does the crew join up and fight and put their lives on the line or do they play it safe and try and stay small and under the radar of the Empire?

I very nearly included the upcoming reboot of The X-Files as a new series since the show’s been off the air 13 years at this point, but decided that it’s a returning show since it features all the same cast and writers from the classic show returning to this new one on Sunday, January 24. Honestly, I can’t wait for the return of The X-Files even though late in its original run the series became overwrought in trying to maintain its conspiracy storylines and had an unremarkable ending for a remarkable show. Yet the first time I saw Mulder and Scully in the new promos and heard the eerie theme again I got goosebumps.

And sometime after the new year two of the best shows on TV returns; The Americans on FX and Better Call Saul on AMC.

Keri Russell in The Americans

Keri Russell in The Americans

Now in its fourth season, The Americans looks to pick up after the devastating events of the third season that left the Jennings’ family in ruins. Is there hope for the Soviet spies in 1980s Washington DC when members of their own family want to defect to the other (our) side?

Better Call Saul was a revelation to me last winter. I was never one that was able to get into the TV series Breaking Bad. All of my friends who watched that show loved it and I’ve tried watching it several times but for whatever reason I could just never get into it. So I almost didn’t watch Better Call Saul since it’s a prequel of sorts to Breaking Bad but luckily I did. Better Call Saul traces how sad-sack lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) one day becomes ambulance chasing do whatever it takes to win a case/make money law be damned Saul Goodman.

Everything about the first season of Better Call Saul was wonderful and its the rare show that when one episode ended I’d spend the next week waiting with excitement for the next one to start.