Normally, this reviewer covers films, short and feature lengths, but this time and exception was made and a pilot for a hopeful TV series is being reviewed. Why the exception to this old curmudgeon’s habits? The short film “Survivor Type” by the same director was absolutely fantastic so viewing and reviewing more of his work had to happen.
ABC Television’s remake of “Dirty Dancing” is a god awful and ill conceived version of the eighties classic. I don’t say that as a fan of the original, or an eighties kid, but as someone who just can’t abide a truly awful reworking for a film that didn’t need it. Did we forget “Havana Nights” already? ABC goes for an over two and a half hour remake that is just about as listless and ridiculous as you can imagine. For some reason the writers thought it’d be a good idea to add a story frame for the actual story that ensues between Baby and Johnny.
Then there’s a verbatim remake of the original, a goofy melodrama about Baby coming of age, and a musical that stages a bunch of forgettable tunes. Not to mention a relationship drama about Baby’s parents experiencing a crossroads in their marriage. Lest we forget an interracial romance with Baby’s sister falling in love with an African American singer for the country resort, and the steamy torrid love affair between Johnny and a local middle aged resort guest (as played by Katey Segal).
After years of talking about it, Roseanne and John Goodman are finally reviving “Roseanne.” I’m not sure how that’s going to fare, but I am curious if what they’ll do with it. As one of my favorite shows of all time, I usually split the show up in sections. Seasons one through five are great, seasons five to seven are mediocre, season eight is abysmal, while season nine is unwatchable right down to its insulting series finale. Will the revival be mind numbingly dramatic like the final two seasons, or will Roseanne go back to the original premise where the Conners are just trying to get by with good humor?
The hit sitcom from the nineties broke new ground featuring lower middle class characters working every day to make ends meet, all the while centering on two characters that weren’t quite what America thought of as models at the time. The sitcom has its ups and downs during its nine seasons, with some really unique developments, including show runner Roseanne’s discussion of spousal abuse, child abuse, homosexuality, racism, and so much more. Through it all, it’s a hilarious comedy with often compelling turns by Roseanne, Laurie Metcalf and John Goodman. The series remains on my top ten of all time, and if you haven’t checked out the series by now, here are my top five “Roseanne” episodes. It was no easy feat, since the show has so many more memorable episodes worthy of this list.
Let me know your favorite episodes below!
I think there was even some doubt by Joel Hodgson and company on whether or not fans wanted a reboot of MST3K. Sure, the merchandise sells well, but most reboots of nineties properties have either stunk or just failed to deliver, period. Plus it’s not like the show was around for a short time like “Firefly” or “Freaks and Geeks.” It was on ten years and even earned a movie of its own. Surprisingly enough fans proved that the show is just as special to them as it is to Joel Hodgson and his crew of brilliant creators that gave us the original series. Like all the other fans, “MST3K” has a very special place in my heart and I have such a deep bond with its characters and love for its formula. So naturally I was frightened the reboot would be stale.
This time around “V” embraces its science fiction roots more, allowing for a lot more looks in to the rebellion, and the inclusion of new corners of the visitors’ world and the rebels. Most of all, there’s the introduction of a Visitor/Human hybrid that becomes one of the larger symbols of the war, and is pushed back and forth between the resistance and people that think the visitors can stop the invasion and work with Earth. Months after the humans sent out the beacon for other alien species to help them take down the Visitors, nothing has happened and the humans are still trying to stop the Visitors and their plans. Now the Visitors are building new tactics, which includes armor that can deflect bullets, and a form of torture leader Diana has concocted that allows her to convert humans to the side of Visitors for programming.
It’s been said time and time again that if we don’t learn from history that we’re doomed to repeat it, and “V” is a remarkable miniseries that examines what happens when history repeats itself. Set in a not too distant future, Earth is visited by a massive race of anthropomorphic alien beings that looks very human in nature. Though imposing, the alien race presents itself in a charming and docile manner, and interrupts civilization to settle alongside us. Known as the Visitors, they’re a very uniform mass of beings, all of whom proclaim themselves our friends after arriving in a fleet of large ships one day. By garnering help from various governments and influential people to acquire various chemicals and minerals for their ailing world, they agree to give Earth access to their advanced technology which they promise will cure diseases of all kinds. Soon enough, though they begin to insinuating themselves in to the general populace and before long create an environment of unease and tension among some individuals.
If you ever wonder what comic book fans who grew up the nineties mean when they mention there being slim pickings on television by way of superheroes and fantasy, look no further than “Model By Day.” Penned by Jeph Loeb “Model by Day” was about as good as it got in the realm of live action superheroes. Before she became an X-Man, Famke Jannsen took on the role of the hero known as Lady X for this failed television movie and backdoor pilot. Back in 1994, The Fox Network’s big draw was sleazy soap operas, so they endeavored to make their own superhero show by adapting an indie comic that was a weird mixture of “Models, Inc.” and “Batman.”
Even with the success of “Batman” a year prior, director Bill Bixby had a hard time accumulating the budget and network support for what became the final hurrah for the famed seventies series. Apparently “Death” was supposed to be a vehicle for Iron Man and She-Hulk, but the budget just didn’t allow for it. Not to mention around this time Bill Bixby received the unfortunate news that he had prostate cancer, so “Death” was ultimately a swan song for the series as a whole. It’s a mixed blessing, though, since the budget allows for this final film to give the Hulk what is a bittersweet finale. The movie isn’t at all perfect, and completely meanders in the middle of the film, but overall the final scene paired with the classic theme song is gripping and a great testament to Bill Bixby’s commitment as an actor before his untimely death.