In 1993, Monstervision on Turner Network Television in America was mostly a program that aired old horror movies and science fiction with the occasional hosting from magicians Penn and Teller. During the early nineties, many cable channels hadn’t yet solidified their formats, so a lot of the time slots were used on syndicated programs and adult programming, with the occasional time slot devoted to a rare original program here and there. Mainly though, the original appeal of cable television was watching old movies and television shows you couldn’t find on network television. To break up the monotony of airing the same movies over and over, they enlisted hosts to riff during commercial breaks.
I don’t need a horror channel to remind me I’m a horror fan. I don’t need a channel to play the same old bullshit movies I have in my collection, and then turn into a quasi-horror channel months later playing music videos, and wrestling programs. A channel doesn’t make me an automatic solid horror fan.
I’ve been one since I was four.
But I wanted a great horror show god damn it. The show I wanted to be great, ended up being one giant dry hump sans the stained pants, while the show I expected to flop, ended up being damn good. I speak of “Dexter” in that last comparison.
“Masters of Horror” is a lot like that really hot chick you met in high school. She was good looking without or without makeup, presented many possibilities, you imagined every such situation, and position, and when you and she were finally alone, she really wasn’t much to talk about. And then you’re left with nothing but disappointment.
Back in 2005 I remember going to the movie theaters to see “Land of the Dead” with my mom an equally rabid horror fanatic, and sitting down to watch the previews. I remember fondly sitting in front of the screen watching the trailer for the upcoming movie “Serenity” and marveled at how interesting it looked. It wasn’t love at first sight, it wasn’t immense curiosity, but just a mild interest that made me think about it and push it in to the back of my mind for a good while.
Months later prior to the unleashing of “Serenity” in to theaters, the Science Fiction channel in America aired a marathon of the entire “Firefly” and when I sat down to watch it from beginning to end it dawned upon me why “Firefly” was cancelled and taken off television so quickly many people didn’t even know it was on. “Firefly,” during the marathon, often began every episode with a brief prologue from Nathan Fillion explaining the basic premise of the series. And then it kind of saddened me that the producers or network simply didn’t have confidence in the show. And worse, they didn’t have confidence that the audience could play catch up.
What we see in “What Lies Ahead” is a group of people trying to prove someone wrong. At the end of the first season they were told by Doctor Jennings from the CDC that there is nothing in the world, and there is simply no hope. Which is why he attempted to commit suicide with the group aboard. But the end of the episode showed that they were all willing to fight for their lives because there was hope. Hope had to mean something to him and to them. What we witness in “What Lies Ahead” is a group on the raggedy edge where they’re now laying witness to the wasteland where all hope is lost. But damned if they’re willing to admit to one another and to themselves that they were perhaps better off dying in a ball of flames at the CDC. What Rick’s dilemma ultimately is in this episode is a man searching for a miracle.
I mean with respect to Gore De Vol and Penny Dreadful, without a doubt my favorite horror host of all time is Joe Bob Brigs, a surly and veritably undeniable force of nature. He was one who didn’t need gimmicks and or a costume to please his audience. Joe Bob Briggs presented the new wave of horror hosting. To where fun individuals like Dreadful and De Vol dressed up and engaged in props and plays for their audience, Briggs always seemed very aware of his mortality.
I am by no means a proponent of MTV. I hate the channel and I hate the institution with a passion. They have turned America’s youth in to mush and exploited it for the sake of increasing their stock. When they’re not chronicling the lives of paper bag brown pieces of Jersey douches, they’re sensationalizing the lives of preteen skanks now in over their heads with kids. Shocking enough most of these girls are Southerners. Then there are shows like Cribs where you’re supposed to feel bad for being poor, Skins where MTV just pushes the line of child porn every single week, Pregnant and 16 the prequel (yay?) to “Teen Mom” where young skanks are pregnant, and it just keeps going on.
I won’t deny that “Batman: The Animated Series” isn’t one of the greatest animated series of all time. As a capsule of the nineties, it was a bold and daring new vision of the Dark Knight free of camp and void of pandering to kids with mature storylines that were never overly violent. Timm paved the way for his version of the DC Universe, and with it the demand for Superman came very soon after. “Superman: The Animated Series” did not last as long as “Batman” nor was it as widely revered, but we prefer it over the former, mainly because Timm’s vision of Superman was also bold and daring. It was light without being joyful, it was dark enough to give Superman an adult edge, and it enlisted some of the most brilliant voice cast of all time from Tim Daly, Dana Delany, Clancy Brown, and Lisa Edelstein. “Superman: The Animated Series” fizzled out once “Batman” ended mainly because DC wanted a younger “Batman” world that became “Batman Beyond” and “Superman” was just not a priority anymore.
After the demand for “Justice League” arrived, “Batman Beyond” also fizzled out, but the imagining of “Justice League” in animated form brought Superman back to the fans where he was allowed to lead a group of super titans in to hell. But for a moment, Superman was granted a moment in the spotlight, and Timm introduced some elements in to the lore that would be used later on. A more suave less geeky Clark Kent, a Lex Luthor who became a corporate tycoon, and the birth of his assistant Mercy Graves, a spitfire bodyguard and chauffeur for the bald baddie. It continues to be one of my favorite animated series of all time, and of the nineties and these are fifteen of my favorite episodes counting down to the best episode of the entire series run. Most of the information and stills for this list were compiled with the help of DCAU Wiki Page.
I think AMC has expressed an enormous amount of faith in Robert Kirkman’s award winning critically acclaimed comic book series “The Walking Dead” by taking it seriously and investing in to it as they would a normal drama or thriller series. Kirkman’s black and white horror comic about the zombie apocalypse and the man trying to find his wife and son in the middle of it is possibly my favorite comic book series ever made, and AMC has treated it with dignity and respect. Any other network may have toned down the violence, and made it much sleeker and action oriented, but director Frank Darabont manages to treat this series with the same character study and emotion as he has with masterpieces like “The Green Mile,” and “The Shawshank Redemption” where the supernatural element is much more secondary to the human story. Deep down “The Walking Dead” is actually a human story with much of the tone from the series transplanted on to a full color epic television scope and while it is different from the series it is also very loyal to Kirkman’s original concept and even lifts some scenes from the original first issue.