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Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


November 3, 2011

Review: Grimm 1x1

Posted on November 3, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Grimm on NBC

In the US: Fridays, 9/8c, NBC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Fairy tales are really real. They're part of our world. Now a non-fairy tale character has found out and is having to deal with this strange circumstance.

Yep, it's Once Upon A Time, over on ABC. But it's also Grimm on NBC.

Now, stop me if you've heard this one before, too. "Into each generation a Slayer is born. One in all the world, a Chosen One. One born with the strength and skill to fight the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers."

Yes, that's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Except if you cross out 'Slayer' and replace it with 'Grimm' and cross out vampires and replace it with 'fairy tale monsters', you've got Grimm on NBC.

So already, Grimm is not looking too hot on the old originality front. Add in the fact that the cop gets all his arcane knowledge from books given to him by a librarian, that he has help from a reformed creature of the night and that it doesn't take itself too seriously, and you'd wonder when the first of the copyright suits would arrive - if it weren't for the fact that Jim Kouf (Angel) and David Greenwalt (Buffy and Angel) are the exec producers.

Yet, despite all these inauspicious omens, Grimm isn't half bad - and it's certainly better than Once Upon A Time. Here's an incredibly spoilery trailer - with the wrong music. The Eurythmics' 'Sweet Dreams' was used in the actual episode.

Continue reading "Review: Grimm 1x1"

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October 28, 2011

Lost Gems: Max Headroom (1985-1988)

Posted on October 28, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Max Headroom

Never, in the history of music videos, has so much effort been devoted to giving one VJ a back-story as with Max Headroom.

Picture this: it's 1985. Music videos are big, especially thanks to the relatively shiny and new channel MTV (music television). Computers and computer graphics are also big, thanks to the Apple Mac, arcade games and movies like Tron and The Last Starfighter. So what more natural blend of coolness could there be than a computer-generated VJ?

Unfortunately, computer graphics weren't quite up to the job back then, so Canadian actor Matt Frewer got slathered in prosthetics and make-up to become the world's computer-generated VJ, 'Max Headroom', a stuttering, witty, seemingly plastic American 'shockjock'. And he was very popular. You can still see his influence in Back To The Future 2.

But the arrival of Max Headroom for some reason required an answer to the question, "Who is Max Headroom and where does he come from?"

Bizarrely, the answer was supplied by Channel 4, who decided to cash in on a literary and movie phenomenon, 'cyberpunk', to create an origin movie for Max Headroom that was set '20 minutes into the future'. Surprisingly, it was bloody good, and even more surprisingly, despite its inauspicious British origins, it launched two seasons of one of the most innovative and satirical TV sci-fi shows British and US TV has ever seen.

Here's the start of the British movie:

Continue reading "Lost Gems: Max Headroom (1985-1988)"

October 26, 2011

Review: Once Upon A Time 1x1

Posted on October 26, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Once Upon A Time

In the US: Sundays, 8/7c, ABC
in the UK: Not yet acquired

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a clever man had the idea to make a TV show in which fairy tales were true and still happening in the real world. He made that TV show and it was called Grimm and it'll be on later this week.

Yes, coincidentally, in the same 'strange' way as NBC and ABC both simultaneously deciding to do shows set in the 60s à la Mad Men (The Playboy Club and Pan Am) and CBS and ABC both simultaneously deciding to do shows about the plight of modern men (How to be a Gentleman and Last Man Standing/Man Up!/Work It), ABC has also decided to make a show in which fairy tales are true and still happening in the real world and it's called Once Upon A Time.

How did that happen? Magic, presumably, and definitely not just networks copying each others' ideas.

Anyway, in Once Upon A Time, Jennifer Morrison (Cameron in House) is a bondswoman. Yes, that's plausible, isn't it? She's a single bondswoman who can't get a date and has no friends. Getting more plausible by the minute, isn't it?

But get this - it turns out that 10 years ago, she gave up a child for adoption.

Uh huh.

He finds her on the Internet and asks her to come home with him to save the town where he lives - Storybrooke. Everyone there is really a character from a fairy tale but doesn't know it, thanks to the curse of Snow White's wicked step-mother: the town mayor and the woman who adopted him.

But get this - again. Morrison is really the long-lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, disappeared in a magic wardrobe, but foretold to return on her 28th birthday to save everyone from the wicked step-mother's spell.

So does this review have a happy ending? Let's find out after the trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Once Upon A Time 1x1"

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