‘Hannibal’: Producers Stoke Fan Support with ‘#SaveHannibal’ Twitter Campaign

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Foundation of a Legend

Legends touts Sean Bean’s return to television and uses his notorious habit of dying in his various projects as hype for the show. The hash tags for the show? #dontkillseanbean

This is a stroke of genius and allows TNT to cash of Game of Thrones by directly referencing to being beheading in their promotional material. It engages fans and makes them invested in the show’s main character. Don’t kill Sean Bean!

zap-legends-season-1-premiere-pilot-photos-201-006How does the pilot live up to the wonderful hype and social media engagement? It’s a little under whelming. Pilots often are because they have to set up for multiple arcs and give you back ground. Legends sets the basic foundation without too much information. We learn Martin is an undercover FBI agent and he has an ex-wife and child. His world is then rocked when someone tells him that he is not who he thinks he is; that his undercover life has completely taken over his real life.

This is where the meat of the story gets interesting though the idea isn’t delved into too deeply. Legends (or their undercover egos) aren’t really explained. I feel like it’s much more than just an uncover identity and see some very Dollhouse-like aspects popping up in the FBI’s program. But the show is vague (I am hoping intentionally vague).

The pilot does help you connect to the character past the original Sean Bean base. Martin wears every man “Lincoln Dittman” who joins a terrorist militia because everything in his life has gone to crap. Martin is easily able to spin his story on the fly and adapt to surrounding making him a kind of super spy even though many of his coworkers don’t like him. This includes the female lead.

Alli Larter plays Crystal an exlover, current coworker who has trouble working with Martin. He goes off script often and will disappear from contact when he goes deep undercover. She is also concerned because he failed all but one psychological exam to be fit for duty. That one he passed? It claimed he was the best candidate for this kind of job.

The writers have no problem finding a way to sexy up Larter. Though she is a gorgeous woman and I am sure the male fans were excited, I felt like it demeaned her role as operative and as a professional woman. Hopefully, the show can create in her character a beautiful, forceful woman without too much gratuitous T&A.

Legends has lots of potential especially as the show expands into Martin’s various personalities and how they bleed into each other and his “real” life.  I look forward to seeing how the next few episodes unfold.

Endless Wonder Remains

Warehouse 13 closed its doors Monday night. Fans sadly said goodbye to Pete, Myka, Artie, Jinks, Claudia and Mrs. Frederic.  While the Warehouse respawns, their adventures are not. In the finale, because of past events, the Warehouse is moving to relocation with a new set of agents.  Before then, Warehouse 13 - Season 5each team member has to record their defining moment on the stone tablet that was the genesis for the King Arthur tales.  These scenes capture something new about each character and are not just a mash-up of past events. In fact, each of this moment could have been expanded to comic, well thought out hour long shows. These sequences captured the magic of the warehouse as well as the personality of the agents. This is a fantastic way to end the show: mini-stories showing viewers something new The writers have Pete become the emotional stand in for the viewers. Like us, he rails against any attempts made at peace. He can’t lose the Warehouse. He tries in vain to keep the Warehouse from moving even referring to the manual (a nice touch). Pete finally comes to the understanding that this ending will be ok. Pete realizes it is not the Warehouse that defines him, he does.  He does have something to keep him distracted though. This is the moment where the show goes wrong. Pete and Myka are thrown together in a whirlwind kiss and a promised of a future. It’s odd that this is the love connection. Fans had no interest in them being together and, in fact, there is a huge population that wanted Myka to be with H.G. I am personally upset because they worked so well together without a romantic relationship. Hollywood has a tendency of saying that men and women can’t be friends or work together without sleeping together. These two are perfect partners-work partners, that is. The only other mistake is the last minute reveal of Artie’s son. The reveal is used to convince Claudia that she has a say about being caretaker. It seems abrupt but I wonder if this was pulled from story idea the creative team had before the show was cancelled. Was each section a story that they would have told? Then Artie’s revelation wouldn’t seem so abrupt, but as it stands it’s more of an absurdity than a plot twist. Overall saying goodbye to the Warehouse was a happy occasion as we saw Jinks find peace and learned that Lena knew her fate and was ok with it. It was fun to see H.G. go against Jack the Ripper in her defining moment. Even the montage (when Pete touches the stone, all his memories go flooding through) seems less repetitive and more like a reunion of friends. Warehouse 13 left us wanting more and still at the top of its game. Bittersweet as that is, it’s good to see he Endless Wonder not grow stale. Besides there is always the hope of a TV movie.

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How Season 4 of Game of Thrones Season 4 is Angering Book Fans

Game of Thrones brought TV viewers into a rich world book lover had known for ages. As most adaptations, the show changes things to entertain book and TV audiences.  In the case of GoT, the changes have been minimal. But the creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have consulted with author George R.R. Martin (the show will end way before the books ever will) and know what Martin plans to happen.  Evidence of that is popping up in Season 4 as the TV show is starting to give spoilers to book readers.

Taking some liberties with the material is good for the show and to keep book readers on the toes. This is valuable to a point. A Song of Ice and Fire is MASSIVE. There is so much going on those things often have to be cut out or condensed to tell and meaningful story. But it becomes a problem when you add material that did not happen in the books. For example, the story with the return to Craster’s keep. These events did not happen inGoT-S4E4 the books and the writers created a new villain as if there were not a plethora of villains in the text. While giving time to the wildlings as they terrorizes Mole Town can really give a more rounded look for these characters, it doesn’t help to draw out certain stories of over characters (here’s looking at you Bran).

The TV show is pooling things for book readers and this s angering fans of the books. It is known that the creators know where the general story is going and to hint at it, but to outright say “so and so killed Jon Aryan” is news to the reader, a reader who has read through thousands and thousands of pages and, in two seconds, the mystery is solved.  The television viewers are lucky; all is resolves for them and the book fans have become annoyed when their loyalty is not rewarded. Yes, the book and TV readers are somewhat of even footing when it comes to The Others, but should they be?

It also seems that the writers are inherently changing our characters. Jamie’s rape scene never happens. In fact, book readers are so angry at Cerci’s treatment of Jaime, that when he finally (spoiler) breaks away from her, fans cheered. I wish I knew the logic behind this change and why they decided that Jaime is suddenly a rapist (this up there with the logic behind everyone’s love of Stannis). There is a flip side to this. TV’s Margeary is much more innocent and isn’t conniving until her grandmother gets ahold her. In fact, in the show, she is completely innocent in Joffery’s murder helping some fans to appreciate her better.

Season 4 has deviated from the books the most. Previous ones just moved the plot along quicker or consolidated some characters for cast budgeting. But as they reach their end came, they veer further away from the story fans know and love. Will this pay off? The book fans may say no but the TV fans are saying yes.

I Demand A Recount!

How The Governor is Bringing The Walking Dead Back to Life

“Live Bait” is by far one of the best episodes in The Walking Dead’s history. Many fans complain because the episode does not contain a Rick/Daryl prison plot. But this episode returns to what made The Walking Dead so good when it began: it focused on drama and character development.

The Walking Dead has had tumultuous existence going through three show runners in four seasons. Sadly none of the following seasons have lived up the status quo set up from Season 1. Season 2 had pace issues. For as slow as the first half of the season was, the second half was just as fast and there was never a middle ground. Season 3 flipped flopped between stories and alienated many members of the cast from each other. As the viewer watches with omnipresence, not all the character knew what was going on. Season 4 attempts to go back to the character development of Season 1, but the writing has been subpar. Season 1 was the best because it focused on the drive and emotions on the people in it. It focused less on the zombies and more n how the zombie apocalypse changed them and those around them.

Season 4 finally found the right path with “Live Bait.” The episode centers on The Governor after his disappearance in Season 3. The plot follows him as he reacts to his own deeds. You’d think The Governor would be laughing and boasting. Instead, he’s a shell; he’s not the man he once was. We see him interact with someone new showing that he could care about people showing a more timid and meek governor that even before he became a villain deranged by grief. The juiciest part? The excitement of finding out if he will succumb to his evil side or if he can truly change?

In fact, it’s very the same kind of tale found in the pilot episode. Lone, bearded man meets a stranger and becomes emotional close to them. He moves on without them, killing poor suffering zombies on his way. Like Rick, this substitute family gives The Governor (now known as Brian) hope.  But unlike Rick, the family sees hope is in this broken man and follows him. The viewers feel that hope as well and ponder if the man can change. The episodes end the same as the pilot with the man facing certain death. Viewers eagerly await what happens next. What worked for Rick clearly works again for The Governor.

More attention to character development and less focus on zombie carnage (don’t worry there is some good, gross stuff) makes “Live Bait” one of the strongest episode by far. The Governor’s arc is setting this Season up as something that creator Frank Darabont would appreciate.

return-of-the-governor

Pretty Much Dead Already

I always have a lot to say about entertainment. I created this blog as an avenue to post reviews and few other fun tidbits. But I have some essays in mind that don’t really fit  the blog. I have set up a Blirt page for these essays (including my defense of Sons of Anarchy post). I’m not sure how I like Blirt but I am going to try it out. You never know, they may just end up living on this blog. So here’s my latest essay to ease you in. Now got to my Blirt page! LoL

Is The Walking Dead ready for its own spin off?

The Walking Dead is highly popular, besting ratings for a basic cable drama. TWD spans the age and gender gap brining in 12.4 million viewers for its Season 3 finale. The source material comes from a long running comic series by Robert Kirkman. Keeping some creative control, Kirkman has helped the show thrive. Now AMC wants to capture that same spirit again and create a spin off about a separate group of survivors with no link to the comic books.

As a fan of both the show and the comic, I think this is premature. Season 1 was a perfect example of using dramatic story telling themes and dressing them up with horror elements. While people complained Season 2 was slow, it stuck with the character developments and the theme that people are the most dangerous aspect of the apocalypse (a big theme from the comics). But Season 3 veers from this quite a bit. Adding more zombies and blood shed may have added more ratings, but it made the characters and story take the back burner thus decreasing the quality of the show. The other major issue with Season 3? The stories of the different groups became more and more segregated separating the prison from Woodbury and breaking up the character development flow and ease of storytelling.

Robert Kirkman
Robert Kirkman (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Besides, TWD has been rife with controversy and issues in its three seasons. Season 4 brings yet another shower runner, Scott Gimple whose past credits include being a staff writer. Frank Darabount was fired in the midst of Season 2 and Glenn Mazara took his place for the rest of the season as well as the next. The high rate of show runner turnover is bothersome and indicates that there is incredible tension between AMC and the cast and crew. Season 2 was haunted by rumors that actors wanted out of their contracts because of AMC’s actions. What will happen when current producers Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert take time to develop this new show? Will the staff be able to maintain a balance that does not injure either show?

Successful spin off have occurred while the current show is still on air. Buffy the Vampire Slayers did not suffer as Joss Wheadon and crew spent time on Angel. Both shows stayed true to the themes and thought provoking look at life Buffy viewers became accustomed to. While Buffy came of age at college, Angel headed down a darker path to redemption. This spin off allowed several of the Buffyverse characters to really expand and become utilized.  Wheadon worked with a trusted team and made the spin off a natural story line expansion for the world he set.

One the flip side, spin offs can go array and cause harm to the original show. One of the most current and notorious examples? Criminal Minds. CBS decided it was time to take Criminal Minds in the same direction of CSI and NCIS, creating another show focusing on another crew of profilers. In setting up the new show, the production company began looking at nonresistant issues and cost cutting efforts for the original show. They essentially fired the two female leads, and replaced them with a different, less costly actress.  Meanwhile, the amazing Kirsten Vangsness was playing double time, appearing in both shows. The story lines faltered as the writers tried to find reasonable ways to remove the current cast members and add the new girl in. These story lines were not in cannon (Seaver questioned Reid and played videogames with Rossi) and the crew purposely styled the new girl’s hair and clothing like that of one of the fired actresses. Fans revolted sending irate letters and refusing to tune in to the spin off. By Season 6’s end, the new girl was fire and the previously released women were brought back-with better pay. And the spin off died.

While The Walking Dead spin off could go either way, I believe the endeavor will take its toll on the original show. The show already suffers from mismanagement, and separating Kirkman, Hurt and Alpert, even for the short time, will quite possibly kill it. While I can’t even speculate on the quality of the spin off, I know it’s a screwdriver to the eye for TWD.

Waking up in Sleepy Hollow

SLEEPY HOLLOW 22

 

Fox jumps on the fairy tale band wagon with its version of Sleepy Hollow. This incarnation of the Headless Horseman brings the tale to the modern day putting a witchy spin on the original story. Taking cues from Grimm and Once Upon a Time, Sleepy Hollow set out to prove that fairy tales and legends are not just for kids.

“Sleepy Hollow” begins in the American Revolution where Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horse first come face to face. Crane beheads his enemy but finds himself mortally wounded. When he awakes, Crane finds himself in a cave. Confused and unsettled, he adventures out into the world and comes face to face with cars. It seems he has woken hundreds of years later in the present. But he is not the only one that has arisen. The Headless Horseman is wreaking havoc in Sleepy Hallow.  Crane teams up with a young police officer who frees him from a mental institution in order to keep the Horseman from reuniting with the skull.

Sleepy Hollow stands out for two reasons. The first is the new twist on an old tale. The plot is not just a modern take on a classic story. The twist is that Crane and the Headless horsemen are controlled by magic and Biblical prophecy. Crane’s wife is part of a coven of “good” witches who fight for balance in the world against the evil side of magic. She casts a spell on Crane keeping him alive allowing him to awaken only when the Horseman comes back. But the Horseman isn’t control by magic. Instead, he is Death, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. So Crane is not just fighting a foe, he is fighting for the sake of the world.

The second is the casting. Tom Mison as Crane is a casting fall-new-shows-sleepy-hollow2_500x369masterpiece. He plays the character with genuine fervor. One minute Mison is mastering one like quips, the next he is fighting against magical and non-magical beings alike. His portrayal makes Crane seem real. No longer is Crane a scared school teacher; he is trained fighter who is coming face to face with magic. What we learn, he learns. While the character is not on the good side of Crane, it’s good to see Orlando Jones again. It’s interesting to see him take on drama when his most memorial moments are the hilarious miss adventures from Evolution. He works well opposite Nicole Beharie who seems too fresh for her part as the police cadet traumatize by demons, but she has the potential to grow in this role.

In fact, the whole show has potential. It captures you with an old tale with a fresh spin and a protagonist that you truly feel for. It will be interested to see if the show can live up to its potential. We shall see tonight.

In Defense of Sons of Anarchy

Spoilers of the Season 6 Premier

Last night’s Sons of Anarchy premier contained standard SOA fair as well as a shocking ending leaving fans reeling. sons-of-anarchy-season-6-premiere-strawResponsibility dictates that I inform you that this essay contains massive spoilers for the Season 6 premier.  There is a lot of material in the premier episode including Chibs getting straight with Juice, Tig’s remorse about his daughter’s death, and Tara’s transformation in jail. But it is the school shooting that is at the heart of the controversy. Many say the show has gone too far. But I’m going to tell you why the event is just right.

Creator Kurt Sutter did not use the scene as a stunt. If you watched the promo for next week, the shooting has a huge impact on the club and on Jax. It seems the club has indirectly supplied the gun that was used in the shooting. Sutter told Entertainment Weekly, “My desire to do this story just felt very organic to the world: These guys deal guns, and there’s a certain amount of disconnect once you put those guns out on the street not really knowing whose hands they’re gonna end up in and what violence that they create…And to have a father who’s struggling with boys of his own and questioning the violence of his life, and is this right for his kids — it just seemed like a very organic story to tell”

The emotional implications of this are huge for character development as well as the show’s end game. “I knew if we did it, it would really have to be at the end and, ultimately, I realized it was a good way to take us to the end,” Sutter says as the show plans to end after Season 7. “It’s not being done arbitrarily. It ultimately becomes the final straw in their relationship with the gun business and the domino that takes us to a fairly tragic and epic conclusion.” The events move the story; it’s not there just to drop jaws.

-sons-of-anarchy--seSecondly, the scene was very well done. Sutter kept the depiction of the violence to a minimum. The scene focuses on the child and his mental state. The child is shown looking through a notebook. He rolls back his sleeves breaking the illusion that he is a clean cut boy in a school uniform. He has cuts up and down his arms, probably self-inflicted. The boys pull a gun from his back pack leaving his journal on the bench. The viewers see drawings of a very disturbed mind. The scene cuts to guns shots and flashes through a school window. Viewers never once see him actually shoot anyone. The scene is done tastefully keeping any actual violence shown to a minimum.

The scene depicts real life and this is why it hits so hard to viewers. For those like me, it’s an emotional impact that I know will change every aspect of the show. For others, it’s linked to a personal past experiences that can be very emotional. This is not his first instance that SOA has dealt with such emotional topics. Season 2 dealt with Gemma being raped, a violent affair that happens to thousands of women every day. In Season 3, Jacks son is kidnapped. These three events are all very real but have been used in other shows as plot points. Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer dealt with the issue of schooling shooting but the episode was cut because soon before airing Columbine happened. Criminal Minds has also dealt with the after affects from school shooting victims. It’s not taboo; its real life presented in art.

The events of the premier will resound through the last two seasons changing Jax and bringing the club to its eventual demise. Powerful, tasteful, and though provoking, the shooting is the epicenter of everything that the club does now. Like in the real world, it will change every life it touches.

 

 

Read the original Entertainment Weekly article here.

Where For Art Thou Guardian Angel

Drop Dead Dive Season 5 Premiers

Spoilers

Who am I and why am I in this body? The fairy tale comedy Drop Dead Diva returned with a new twist and a change of cast.

Where Season 4 Left Off

Last season, Grayson began putting some the pieces together about Jane and Deb, and ultimately fell for Jan. Jane, on the other hand, fell for Owen the judge who proposed but then quickly disappeared. Seems he had a heart attack and had to have surgery. Jane forgives him for lying about where he was foxing and not even notify her of the surgery. The two are on the brink of marriage when Jane’s life hits a roadblock: before the wedding Grayson professes his love to Jane. Owen catches those kisses and falls down possibly dead.

Upstairs, the original Jane is ticked off at Deb and the way Deb is running her life. She tricks Fred into letting her hit the return button. It seems she may be inhabiting Owen’s body.

What Happened in the Season 5 Premier

drop-dead-divaSunday’s premier expanded on last season’s cliff hanger getting deeper into Jane’s predicament.

Rushing to the hospital in her wedding gown, Jane finds that Owen has checked himself out of the hospital and is now missing. He’s not returning Jane’s phone calls and is not in his office.  Luke finds her before she can find Owen. He has the misfortune of telling her that “old Jane” is free and that he might be in Owen’s body. Jane does not deal with the idea of Owen’s death well. When Grayson comes to her, she can do nothing but turn away from him because of her guilt.

When not balancing her current case (trying to restore a clinical trial for a dying boy), Jane has to deal with a confrontation with Owen. Though it doesn’t go well, she is overjoyed to find that he is himself and has not died. She’s less excited to learn that she has a new guardian angel.  Paul is the only one who would take her on. His goal is finding “old Jane” but is sidetracked by the world and his own looks.

Before she can even handle these new curve balls, Jane comes face to face with “old Jane.” In a stroke of irony, “old Jane” is in the body of a hot, young Stacy and Deb wannabe.

Let’s talk Changes

This season bring plenty of changes to the veteran series. It had been officially cancelled only to be, like Deb, resurrected with major differences. The first is the absence of Josh Stamberg’s Jay Parker. The character was removed when the budget for the show was decrease-the only way to keep it on the air. The good news about the changes is that Luke is gone. He has been summarily fired after the “old Jane” debacle. I hated Luke; he was smug and annoying. And how could Lifetime loose Fred? Money and recurring role drew Ben Feldman to Mad Men and Fred was lost to us. But now we have Paul who seems like a lot of fun.

season-5-drop-dead-diva-photos-april-bowlby-and-jackson-hurstIt is disjointing to see the changes in the characters when the events of the two episodes are on the same timeline. Some are small like Jane’s hair is lighter or Grayson got a haircut. Then there are the more noticeable changes. Kate Levering is noticeably pregnant, and I’m glad they had already written it into the story line. But what the hell happened to Stacy? I barely recognized her. Not only did her long straight hair gets body and volume it’s now more of a caramel blonde. Even her make up changed to match her new look. I didn’t even recognize her! Hopefully, the character will get some development to go with this new look.

The biggest surprise is the direction the creative team chose to go with “old Jane.” They had set up at the finale for “old Jane” to become Owen. But was that always their into or purposely trying to psych us out. I was thrilled at the deliciousness of the conflict if she had been Owen. Not sure why we need yet another petite, vapid character even if she is embodying “old Jane.”

I just want Jane to get with Grayson and for “old Jane” to transform like “New Deb” did. Not sure where the tension is leading us but the exec better wrap this story up before it gets canceled again.

Strange Things are Afoot in Hemlock Grove

Hemlock Grove

Netflix original, streaming

First it was cable television that gave network TV a run for its money.  Now it’s streaming TV online. Netflix and Amazon Prime have both jumped on this band wagon presenting new material and returning fan favorites. The creepiest so far? Hemlock Grove whose first season is streaming on Netflix.hemlockgrove

Hemlock Grove is based on the novel by Brian McGreevy.  A pair of gypsies move into town and the teen boy is pegged by the local aspiring writer to be a werewolf. But when grisly murders start happening around town, some of the town’s folk give credit to the girl’s theory.  Local girls are torn apart by what looks like animals. But it seems that the upiόr that the Gypsies are chasing may be the cause. The town sheriff as well as representative from the US fish and Wildlife Federation is investigating as well. Many strange things are found in the Pennsylvania little grove including a girl impregnated by an angel.

The show is The Gates combined with American Horror Story with a dash of The Walking Dead thrown. The story combines a supernatural town with the bizarre twists that keep the viewer confused, terrified, and wanting more. Each town member has a secret and not one person is the town is truly normal. McGreevy sinks into years of folklore putting the fear back into werewolves, vampires, and angels.

Any reviews you read about the show focuses on how gory the show is. In reality it’s not insanely gory. What is disgusting is the events and how realistic they look. It’s not The Walking Dead gory with blood and guts everywhere. Greg Nicottero’s FX company uses a more subtle hand here. For example, it’s not gross how the werewolf sheds its skin; it is disturbing when the werewolf at its left over human parts. Only one body looks like a zombie, and even then, Bicycle Girl was scarier. But maybe I’ve just watched too much horror and sci-fi to be bothered by the gore.

The story itself is psychologically disturbing.  The show uses a giant with a deformed face as an allegory for being a teenager as well and a mysterious medical company that brings her back to life. The story sometimes over reaches and the finale is like the worst episodes of The X-files; you have more questions than answers. But more than anything it the characters and the actors that portray them that keep viewer hooked. Viewers will recognize Femke Jemson and Dougray Scoot as the adult stars. Battlestar hemlock_grove_netflixGalatica Fans will be thrilled by the appearance of Kandyse McClure and Aaron Douglas. But it is the two teen boys Landon Liboiron and Bill Skarsgård that give the best performances as they deal with their dual nature.  Their unique bromance captures your attention as they both try to help a girl they love (a love triangle Twilight would never touch!).
The first season follows the original novel and McGreevy is writing second while he had outlines for a third. As an Executive Producer, the show captures his warped version of a town from his childhood and this works for Netflix. Forget who shot JR; I want to know what that thing is inside the box!