Friday, April 27, 2007

Requiem for TV shows too young to die

Before I get into this, I should mention the new release schedule for Rogue Wolf comics. I looked at the stats and, for the most part, y'all are only checking the site once a week anyway. So we're changing our page updates accordingly. Nocturnal Essence is Monday, Redshift is Wednesday.

So... Guh. is spinning the cancellation of Drive like a special event. "Last two episodes this summer". Wh... wha? And then the other day I hear that Dresden Files may not get renewed.

I don't get it. Every show that I really like either disappears before it deserves or gets killed out of the starting gate. I am so out of touch with mainstream audiences.

The phenomenon actually started before I was born. I used to love the syndicated reruns of the old campy Batman show when I was a kid. But then this one episode made me jump up and take notice. That's Bruce Lee kickin' Robin's ass! And this dude in the trenchcoat is freakin cool. Who are these guys?

I eventually came across episodes of The Green Hornet years later and was totally hooked. Only to find out it lasted all of one season. -_- It was decades ahead of its time in its realistic portrayal of superheroes with next to zero camp. It didn't have a prayer.

In the 80's I used to be a fan of Spenser: For Hire, but I didn't watch it for Robert Urich's character. I watched it for his ultra cool "sidekick" who was worlds more interesting than Spenser himself. Avery Brooks played this eloquent, slick as ice, disarmingly soft spoken, stone cold badass who packed a .44 automag and went simply by the name Hawk.

ABC made a mid-season replacement spinoff, A Man Called Hawk. This show was brilliant by detective show standards. We learn that Hawk has this crazy spiritual side. The story took us the east side of Washington DC, a much gritier part of the world than we were used to seeing in these shows. I watched it faithfully.

But in 1989, mainstream America wasn't ready for this strong and stereotype shattering of a black leading character. It lasted its 13 episode to finish the season, but didn't get renewed.

The pattern died down when network television turned out a decade of garbage on prime time. But now that the networks are getting a little more experimental, the trend has returned.

Farscape, axed without warning. John Doe, one season. Over There, half a season. Blade, one season. Day Break, not even half a season. Painkiller Jane, scrapped after the pilot and rewritten into something unwatchable. Dresden Files, may not get renewed. Drive, two freakin episodes!

And yet CHARMED ran for EIGHT! fucking! years!

Alright, technically not "all" my favorite shows die early deaths. Angel had a good five year run. Babylon 5 squeezed out an extra season it probably shouldn't have. Alias got to finish its story before it ended. I'm pretty sure '24' is going to get a day seven.

Still... It is almost a mystery how shows like Lost and Heroes manage to survive. Knock on wood.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Joe... Jimmy... I'm so sorry

A few months back, I praised the Sci-Fi original movie Painkiller Jane. By Sci-Fi standards especially, it was awesome. I went in with trepidation, I kept waiting for it to suck like so many other superhero concepts put on TV, but I was amazed that it was... good. You had a solid character, good acting, a tight story, entertaining action, and a great set up for a new series. And it was especially cool to see a comic book concept be given such great treatment on TV.

So I was stoked when I heard about the PKJ series. I wasn't sure about the cast change, since I liked the original Jane. But I want to give it a shot. Then the commercials aired. I find out that they are rewriting her origin. Why? The setup was already perfect. That was my first red flag, but I remained optimistic because surely it would at least stick with the spirit of the movie.

Ooooooooohhhh Lord was I wrong. If you were curious about this show, don't waste any more brain cells on it. It's not worth it. It was bad. It was 'Elektra' bad. It was 'Nick Fury' bad. ... It was 'Mantis' bad.

Lokken delivers this stilted voiceover that puts you to sleep. She acts more robotic as this "tough as nails" cop than she did in Terminator 3. And the dialogue. Oh good God the dialogue.

The very first line of the show is a voiceover: "Dad always called me his painkiller Jane"

WHY would he do that!? That sounds almost creepy. What kind of demented family did you come from? Not to mention it's beyond lame to force the name of the character into their backstory like that. ... Like in Punisher. -_-

I'd say it was Punisher bad, but Punisher was better.

But that was just the opening line right? I mean not everyone can do good voiceovers. Just ask Harrison Ford. But the dialogue never got better. I've never heard so many terrible and utterly nonsensical one liners in my life. Steven Segal would be confused by what was coming out of these people's mouths.

Okay I want to stop ranting, but I can't. The worst episodes of Birds of Prey were better than this crap.

Okay no they weren't, but it was still garbage.

I want that forty-five minutes of my life back. I want the forty-five minutes I took to write this blog back. Sci Fi owes me an hour and a half dammit. Why are they only capable of airing ONE good show at any given time??

I have a pretty good hunch that the reason the original movie was so good was because Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti's names were in the credits. The actual creators of the character were involved in the creative direction, or at least the production. Concept.

I did not notice their names in the credits this time around. My guess is they just sold the rights and walked away with their check. I'm not saying I blame them. I can't say I wouldn't do the same thing in their shoes.

But is still sucks for consumers of this brand of entertainment. It's another example of what happens when networks who have no love for the source material take over something good.