Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Television Shows

Human Target: About as much to do with the DC Comics character as the show “Bones” has to do with the characters of Kathy Reich’s novels. Makes you wonder why they bother to pay money for the licensing. They are not keeping the core concept and the character is not popular enough to have resonance outside of a subset of comic fans. Just call him Target and save the money.

I understand the premise of the comic is dicey for the show, that Chance disguises himself as the target. It would mean either having guest-stars would be starring as Chance other than a few scenes and the plots centering around characters that are similar to the main actor’s build. But, that is the whole point of the character’s concept. Otherwise, he’s just a bodyguard. Plus, the show didn’t bother to have him disguise himself at all. Three different missions are shown (though only the middle one is the main story) which translates to three different undercover roles. Not only does he not disguise himself, he does not even bother to change his persona. Look at shows like “Leverage”, “Burn Notice”, "Dollhouse" and “Hustle” where you at least have the leads taking on various personas slipping in and out of their established characters with ease. Or Val Kilmer as “The Saint” at how to handle disguising. But, it requires a strong and convincing actor. John Noble does a wonderful bit of it on a recent episode of "Fringe". Playing the normally mentally unstable Walter Bishop with a childlike glee, he briefly gets all of his mental facilities back and his face and voice undergo a subtle hardening transformation and moments later he shifts back again.

There were a few other missteps The music for the opening was flat, didn’t really match the animation or feel. After all the build-up of the tension of the parachuting out the back of the train (and shown in half the commercials) the actual effect is over so fast, if you blink you’d miss it. I did. The scene with the icecubes was just done in one of the last episodes of “Monk” and what was the deal of leaving a drink suspected of being poison behind for someone else to drink? Lastly, the final extra scene felt flat and waste of a great actor in a small cameo.

What’s left is actually a decent action television show and is at least fun to watch. Mark Valley as Christopher Chance fits comfortably as an action hero and pulls off his scenes competently. He plays the role with a bit of roguish charm. Meanwhile, Jackie Earle Haley steals every scene he’s in as Guerrero, a slight and unassuming character but with an undercurrent of being the most dangerous man in the room. Chi McBride does decent with what little he’s given, but it’s so little, his character and that of Guerrero could have easily been combined into one. If they are cutting costs with production, at least quality actors and guest-stars are gotten. Looking forward to seeing the beautiful Moon Bloodgood in an upcoming episode.

The second episode was a bit more outlandish. The pilot was a train about to crash, now it's a plane. Chi McBride is given more to do than just being a foil for the other characters.

Many series start off a bit weak, taking a couple of episodes, sometimes a season to gel. So, I have hopes for it. Just please change that opening music.

Sanctuary: Late coming to this series, I’ve only seen a handful of episodes. Luckily, one of those was an episode the season finale builds off of. Having been to Mumbai, India, the finale had an added draw. It took me a while to figure what was off with the depiction of the slums. They and the inhabitants were just too clean. Even new and kept-up buildings have grime and soot and litter is everywhere. I loved when Zimmerman broke out in a Bollywood influenced dance to communicate with Kali. A wonderful and fun touch. Needed an actual song though. Callum Blue who has been playing General Zod over in “Smallville” does a great job as a villain here as well. The only thing that really bothered me was just how easy the bad guys are able to track Zimmerman down. We’re not talking a small town. Yet the slums and all the action are apparently within walking distance of the India equivalent of the Sanctuary.

Dollhouse: I tried to get into this show but never could. Doesn’t really surprise me it was cancelled. It suffered from a similar problem that afflicted “My Own Worst Enemy”. Neither show really explains the advantages and whys of all the hoops the mysterious Agency jumps through to mentally warp the main characters. To have mysterious goals and agendas is fine. However, the viewer should still be able to grasp some idea of the payoff, why it’s more beneficial than just hiring the right people for the job. Both shows highlighted the pitfalls but not the gains. With “Dollhouse” it seemed like a lot of effort to create what was used for the most part as an upscale escort agency. Another good example of a show that allowed the main characters to step into different personas each week and making it work though.

BBC has a new show, “Demons”. Sort of a serious English version of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Entertaining way to fill in the time until “Primeval” and “Being Human” return.

Green Hornet: Kevin Smith gives an interview concerning how he came to be doing the Green Hornet. The interviewer didn’t bother to clean up any of his language, if this was on television, the buzzer they use for expletives would have been worn out. He doesn’t even try to come off sounding like a professional but just a fanboy with a mouth. This isn’t the first time that comicbook resources has posted something with strong language without the least bit of warning or advisory. It’s the type of thing that could one day bite them in the posterior regions. No excuse for it, except it shows the same type of unprofessional mentality that Smith is portraying. It also has the opposite effect on me concerning the title that he is supposed to be promoting. Instead of exciting me, it turns me off the whole project. I would like to see someone tackle the Green Hornet that just forgets the Bruce Lee as Kato and remember that it’s the Green Hornet who is the hero, he should be the equivalent of Batman or the Shadow with Kato being his helper and friend. Kato shouldn’t overshadow the Hornet. And, the whole revision of Kato as a woman, just covering the same ground in the decent Now Comics version.

Liberty Company: Started writing creatively again. Liberty Company chronicles the public domain heroes in World War II, least ways starting off. Who knows where it’ll take me.

Gnome Chronicles:
Also started a Fantasy Novel. The beginnings of it are here.

It's nice to exercise those mental muscles again.

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