“Why Is There A Watermelon There?”

It’s the final week of the Clarion West Write-a-Thon and, coincidentally, my last week before vacation. Which means you probably won’t see me around much for a little while. Before I go, though, I have my second (and final) WaT reward essay to share. While last week we discussed John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness (a film where Satan is a bunch of green goo in a vat, and bugs are fucking everywhere), today we’ll be shifting gears to talk about The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, a film where a brain surgeon/comic book hero/test pilot/rock star/physicist saves the world with his buddies, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, from hostile aliens.

My friends, this movie is an experience.

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Triple Scoop Reviews: Captain Marvel, Cast a Deadly Spell, and Bad Times at the El Royale

Captain Marvel

First Watch or Rewatch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Other (Theater)
Spoilers: Not really
Grade: Chocolate

Well, I finally did it; I left my house and got my ass down to the movie theater for the first time in, like, a bunch of months. I confess, I don’t know exactly where Captain Marvel fits in my Ultimate Marvel Movie Ranking, but I had a pretty good time: Brie Larson is a joy to watch, she has amazing buddy cop chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson, and I really like her friendship with Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch). I know some people were really into Carol/Maria, though personally, I can’t say I ship it myself. I didn’t quite see that type of chemistry, and besides, I’m (unsurprisingly) ecstatic that Captain Marvel a) features an important friendship between two women, and b) doesn’t waste time on a needless romantic subplot. That all being said, should Carol end up with, say, Nebula or Valkyrie in later films? I’m saying, I could be here for that.

I do feel like Captain Marvel starts a bit rough. I’m not totally sure why, either, just that I wasn’t super engaged with the first, say, 20 minutes of the movie? The second Carol lands on Earth, though, the whole story comes alive. Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson are comedy gold; I particularly enjoy seeing a younger, happier, cat-loving Nick Fury. Obviously, Goose is fantastic, too. And actually, I really like all the supporting players: Ben Mendelsohn steals half the scenes he’s in, Annette Bening’s character, Dr. Lawson, goes in a pretty neat direction, and I always enjoy seeing Agent Coulson pop up. Although. Whatever they did to his eyebrows? No. Just no.

What I really like about this one, I think, is that it’s just a fun movie with a badass female lead. There’s often so much pressure on women-led films to not only be flawless but also Significant; like, if the films themselves aren’t Perfect Feminist Victories, then they’re automatic failures that only prove how this “trend” of gender-flipped and/or women-dominated films are unnecessary, a PC ploy, etc. But that’s crap for a lot of reasons: for one, every damn movie has flaws or things that could be improved; for another, a film can be significant without having to be Significant. And for the most part, Captain Marvel strikes me as a fun, easy-breezy installment in the Marvel machine; it’s another superhero movie that just so happens to have a badass lady at the forefront. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly groundbreaking material; I would say that it’s a lot of fun, and it would’ve meant a lot to me especially if I could’ve seen it as a kid.

A few final notes:

A. Gemma Chan doesn’t have a ton to do here, but I like her and I’m interested in seeing more from her in other films.

B. I’m a 90’s kid, so obviously, I’m all about this soundtrack. Garbage! Hole! No Doubt! TLC! Surely I’d buy it if I didn’t already own a good chunk of the songs.

C. Any superhero who’s dressed in a NIN shirt for half the movie is a superhero I’d like to see more of.

D. I really do like Brie Larson a whole lot in this. I’ve loved her since Envy Adams and Scott Pilgrim vs the World, and I’m eager to see her in Avengers: Endgame . . . even if I’m still not super pumped to see Avengers: Endgame itself.

E. There are lots and lots of great lines in this movie, but without a doubt, the most powerful one for me was “I have nothing to prove to you.” That’s already on a T-shirt, right? I need to buy it immediately.

Cast a Deadly Spell

First Watch or Rewatch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Other (HBO)
Spoilers: Yeah
Grade: Strawberry

Look, I was five, mostly, in 1991, so there were a few things I missed out on. For instance, did you know that HBO made a fantasy-noir TV movie about H.P “Philip” Lovecraft, a private eye who refuses to use magic in a world where everyone else does? It’s true! Fred Ward plays our shamus; meanwhile, Clancy Brown plays a gangster, Julianne Moore plays the femme fatale, and David Warner the rich, shady client. And it’s not just witches and warlocks, either; there are unicorns, gremlins, vampires, werewolves, gargoyles, demons, voodoo zombies, and, of course, the Old Ones. This is full-on urban fantasy, set in a noir backdrop, and I can’t believe I had to wait almost 30 years to discover it.

Of course, that doesn’t mean this movie is any good. Oh God, no. There’s a reason film noir is so easy to parody: hardboiled dialogue is tricky to pull off naturally, and I’m not convinced Fred Ward quite manages it. The script has a number of issues, from problematic queer rep to problematic racist shit to forgetting the basic principles of Chekhov’s magical gun. And the special effects are . . . well, let’s just say HBO has come a long way in 30 years.

But Christ, I’d love the opportunity to remake the hell out of this. I mean, I’d change a LOT. Our detective absolutely does not need to be named Lovecraft; seriously, fuck that guy. I’m keeping the Old Ones, sure, but HP goes. I’d also prefer our gumshoe had a better reason for abstaining from magic than condescending moral superiority. Everything about the queer couple (the gay guy is fat, sweaty, and pathetic; the trans woman is attacked both verbally and violently by our hero, both die badly, etc.) must fuck right off. It’d really be for the best if all the zombie slaves weren’t black, and if a virgin is going to save the day by losing her virginity before she can be sacrificed, it would help if a) she had more agency, b) wasn’t underage, and c) was actually allowed to be the hero. Instead, it’s the schmucky, adulterous, very adult cop who’s called a “hero” for having sex with her.

Still, if I could write an adult hardboiled noir urban fantasy series with or without Lovecraftian undertones for HBO today? Oh my God, that is the dream. Until then, I’ll just have to console myself with the fact that Hypolite (a witch, Lovecraft’s landlady, and presumed dead meat character) actually lives. Also? There’s a sequel. Starring DENNIS HOPPER.

I take it back. That’s the fucking dream right there.

Bad Times at the El Royale

First Watch or Rewatch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Amazon
Spoilers: ALL OF THEM
Grade: Vanilla

Man. I wanted to like this so bad.

It starts out great. The movie has a fantastic premise, a talented cast, and atmosphere in spades. I like Cynthia Erivo a lot, as well as Lewis Pullman and Jon Hamm. Hamm’s whole section–where he discovers 80 bazillion bugs in his motel room, as well as all the two-way mirrors–is particularly creepy. Unfortunately, the film also starts falling apart shortly after he dies. Specifically, I think it starts falling apart when Chris Hemsworth arrives on scene, which feels sacrilegious to say, I know. But it’s not an acting problem. The third act just desperately falls short of all the movie’s potential.

One problem, I think, is that cult leader Billy Lee (Hemsworth) doesn’t feel important enough to be this film’s chief antagonist. Creepy shirtless dancing aside, his presence and placement in this story feels a bit too random; he should just be one of the strangers at the motel with a secret agenda, not a Big Bad who strolls in thirty minutes before the end of the movie. He is, honestly, a little too boring to hold the whole third act. This story’s real Big Bad ought to be Management; they’re the villains that tie everyone’s stories together, or should, anyway. But Management is only briefly discussed, a vaguely nefarious non-entity who drops out of the movie entirely, presumably because the writers don’t know who or what the hell Management really is.

Or maybe they do know but don’t care–there’s something of a smug “we don’t have to tell you all the answers” vibe to this movie. Who’s on the film reel, for instance, and hey, I actually agree with that: we don’t need to know which famous dead person was filmed. Still, there’s a limit to how many times a movie can cheekily avoid giving you a straight answer before you wanna smack it right in the face, and Bad Times at the El Royale well surpassed that limit. Not to mention, there are just so many dropped plot threads by the end of the movie that you know it can’t all be intentional.

For instance, who murdered bank robber Nick Offerman? The movie sets it up as a mystery–we never see the killer’s face–but presumably it’s the third partner we barely glimpse in flashback, someone who’s only referred to as “the kid.” And wouldn’t you know it, desk clerk Miles (Pullman) certainly fits the bill: he’s roughly the right age, still working at this dodgy ass motel for some reason, and keeps trying to confess something that isn’t all the pervy spy shit to Father Flynn (Jeff Bridges). Except it turns out that Miles is not that guy, considering he’s literally the only character in this movie who actually thinks Flynn’s a priest–and, well, that’s it. The movie sets up a mystery in the opening act and then promptly forgets about it for the rest of the film. Also! Why the hell set a movie in a place where a literal line divides characters in different states if you’re not going to prominently use said line in an interesting way during some awesome climactic scene? Or, shit, at least figure out a way to tie it into some goddamn themes.

At 2 hours and 20 minutes, Bad Times at the El Royale is easily 20 minutes longer than it needs to be, with too much time spent on lengthy or unnecessary flashbacks. (Case in point, Miles’s incredibly last minute Vietnam War scene.) Despite all this, though, the movie is still totally watchable, especially if you, like me, are a sucker for these kinds of stories. Unfortunately, that only makes it more disappointing when what started out so promising turns out to be such a hot mess by the end.

“We Don’t Get To Pick The Things That Fix Us, Red.”

Okay. You’ve probably already read about 600 reviews of Daredevil since Season 2 aired, like, weeks ago, but guess what? Now you have mine! And mine is clearly the best because it comes with way more words and, like, a whole numbering system!


I’ve read a lot of wildly different opinions about this season, with some people praising the hell out of it and others calling it a sophomore slump. But while there are aspects I liked (the Punisher, for instance), I’ve got to be honest with you: this is not going to be one of the more positive reviews.

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Gender Flipped Recasting – The West Wing

Months ago, a friend of mine mentioned on Facebook that she wanted to see a gender-flipped version of The West Wing. Mekaela and I happened to be playing around with a bunch of different ideas for gender-flipped movie casts at the time, so naturally we abandoned all of them to work on casting The West Wing instead. Of course, that show went on for a fairly long time and I’m a big quitter who gives up on TV when I don’t like the way it’s turning out, so Mek and I mostly just stuck to casting the first couple of seasons. It was a little more manageable that way.

So, Happy Birthday, Kate! Here’s to hoping you don’t hate ALL the casting choices.


I didn’t bother changing anyone’s names. Feel free to do that yourself, if you want. Although, personally, I think you should keep the name ‘Josiah’ either way. I know it’s traditionally a boy’s name, but I kind of like it for a girl.

President Josiah Bartlet

cch pounder

CCH Pounder

I am the Lord, your God. Thou shalt worship no other God before me. Boy, those were the days, huh?

I’ll admit it: I love CCH Pounder without reservation. I generally want to cast her in most things. But I can especially see her being a great Bartlet. She has the voice and the gravitas for the Big Speech Moments, the badass presence for the role of Commander and Chief, the warmth and compassion needed for playing a mentor role. She can also bring the irritation just fine, which is absolutely great. Some of my very favorite moments are when Bartlet’s irritated with somebody.

The only reason I was concerned about casting a black woman in the role was because it affects a pretty fundamental storyline in Season One. Mek and I talked about that, and we’ve devised a way to update it, but I’ll hold off on discussing it further until we come to Charlie.

Leo McGarry

jane lynch

Jane Lynch

I am making a mental list of those who are snickering, and even as I speak, I am preparing appropriate retribution.

I sometimes worry that, after Glee, Jane Lynch will be typecast in only comedically outrageous and ridiculously antagonistic roles, but I feel like she could actually be a pretty great Leo. I’ve always loved Leo, and I was sad as hell when John Spencer died. Lynch, I think, could be a worthy successor. I’m pretty sure she could nail that matter-of-fact delivery. I can see her calling the New York Times about the errors in their crossword puzzles, and I can definitely see her yelling at the top of her voice for Margaret. I also think–mostly based off her guest work on Criminal Minds–that she can handle the kinder, softer moments when necessary, like some of Leo’s scenes with Josh (before the show started needlessly fucking around with that relationship) or some of Leo’s scenes with Bartlet (before the show started needlessly fucking around with that relationship).

Josh Lyman

lauren graham

Lauren Graham

Victory is mine, victory is mine! Great day in the morning, people, victory is mine. I drink from the keg of glory, Donna. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land.

Lauren Graham’s actually one of the very first people we cast, which is interesting because Josh is kind of a hard character. He requires nearly an impossible amount of charm because, when you get right down to it, Josh is kind of an arrogant little shit. But because it’s Bradley Whitford (who is amazing), Josh somehow ended up being my favorite character. (I mean, don’t get me wrong, Josh does have some awesome qualities. But he is smug, like, at least 70% of that time.)

It’s hard to strike lightning twice, though, and it’s certainly true that audiences are generally more willing to forgive an arrogant male character than an arrogant female character. Thank you, Hollywood double standards. I wasn’t sure who had the insane amount of likability to counterbalance Josh’s supreme levels of confidence . . . but then I thought of Lauren Graham, and I was like, “Okay, that’s it. We’ve got a winner.”

Sam Seaborn

maggie lawson

Maggie Lawson

I . . . yes, reluctantly. I think it was clear by the way I ate the crab puff that it was a gesture of protest.

Sam, on the other hand. Sam took forever to cast because he’s got kind of the opposite problem: he’s the puppy. The idealist. As characters go, idealists are often one-note, righteous, and boring. Sam is a rare exception to the rule, but once again, performance matters a lot here, and Mek and I struggled to come up with an actress we liked in the role, one who could balance moral conviction with Sam’s easy, affable manner.

Maggie Lawson’s name came up because one, she’s hilarious, and two, she’s played non-annoying idealists before, namely Juliet from Psych. Admittedly, Juliet was a little silly when she first came on board, but she quickly became one of the show’s best characters. I can see Maggie Lawson passionately arguing about the importance of education. I can see her snagging a defeated bigot’s crab puff. And I can see her blowing up about how she accidentally slept with a prostitute the night before. These were all key moments for me when it came to casting Sam.

Toby Ziegler

Camryn Manheim

Camryn Manheim

I’m going to make a suggestion that might help you out, but I don’t want this to be mistaken for an indication that I like you.

The first thing I ever saw Camryn Manheim in was The 10th Kingdom, and I liked her, but I didn’t fall in love with her until watching Person of Interest where she. Is just. AWESOME. Control is very definitely not Toby, but the role gave me a decent sense of Manheim’s range, and I’m pretty sure gruff, passionate, sharp-as-nails speechwriter is within it.

I’m now imagining “17 People” with Camryn Mannheim facing off against CCH Pounder, and I’m just like, “Holy Jesus, give it to me NOW.”

CJ Cregg

alan tudyk

Alan Tudyk

First of all, you’re wrong. Second of all, shut up. Third: I went to Hoynes with your thing, and he said he wasn’t the one who talked to you, and I believe him and he’s really pissed at me and he’s right. And fourth . . . shut up again.

Alan Tudyk has had an interesting career. He gets a lot of outrageous, wacky comedic roles (A Knight’s Tale, Dodgeball, Death at a Funeral), but he excels at all types of comedy, not just broad humor. I keep going back to his performance as Wash on Firefly, and while Wash and CJ really don’t have anything in common as characters–I don’t know, it just works for me. Tudyk can be ridiculously expressive and that would obviously do well for the more dramatic scenes, but I can also see him using this great deadpan during all the press briefings. I would never say he would do a better job than Allison Janney–because ALL HAIL QUEEN ALLISON JANNEY–but I will say that both actors have stellar comedic timing, and I like this casting quite a lot.

Charlie Young

aja naomi king

Aja Naomi King

Well, I’m personal aide to the President, so my supervisor’s a little busy right now looking for a back door to this place to shove you out of. But I’ll let him know you’d like to lodge a complaint.

Okay, so here’s the thing about Charlie: a major storyline in the first season is that terrible racist assholes disapprove of the fact that Charlie, a black man, is dating the President’s daughter, and when I say disapprove, I mean with gunfire. However, that story inevitably changes when you make the President a black woman instead of a white man. I tried to reconcile that, and my solution was to update to a post 9/11 prejudice and make Charlie a Muslim. I then tried casting a Middle Eastern actress, but honestly I could not find anyone I was familiar with in the right age range. And I figured, okay, well if stupid people today are still claiming that President Obama’s Muslim, then we can still have a black actress in the part and maybe that would be better anyway because Charlie is black and I don’t have to feel weird about swapping PoC ethnicities? Anyway, there’s that thought process.

Now. We’ve just sped through How to Get Away with Murder like crazy in the past few months, and while Michaela and Charlie have pretty much nothing in common, we felt that Aja Naomi King has the range to make it work. Figured it might be kind of fun, actually, watching the normally ambitious, high-strung law student become the laid back, eternally patient Presidential aide. Charlie’s got so many quietly hilarious lines, and I can see Aja Naomi King pulling those.

Mandy Hampton

tom cavanagh

Tom Cavanagh

Yeah, so, Mr. President, if you could further see clear to not answer that question like an economics professor with a big old stick up his butt, that would be good too. 

I’m gonna be real with you people: I don’t care about Mandy at all. I have never particularly liked Mandy, probably because Moira Kelly’s performance never did a whole lot for me, but also because the show never quite knew what to do with her. (I suspect she was supposed to be Josh’s love interest, but when Donna and Josh ended up the show’s big OTP instead, the creators never really gave Mandy her own storyline, save the one about the memo.) I’m also, honestly, not sure how exciting it is to gender-flip her role. But she is a main cast member for the first season, and since we’re focusing on characters from Seasons 1 and 2, we figured we had to find someone for her.

So, Tom Cavanagh. Honestly, it’s just a matter of loving him on The Flash and thinking maybe he could make Mandy a lot more fun for me. Her introduction scene (when she’s ignoring a cop to talk on the phone) has always annoyed me, but I put Tom Cavanagh in the same seat, and I think . . . you know, maybe that could work.

Donna Moss

scott foley

Scott Foley

If you were an accident, I wouldn’t stop for red lights.

Donna is an interesting character to gender flip. I love Donna, but she is both a secretary and the voice of of the audience, which means she gets to ask a lot of questions so that everyone watching understands the politics and history involved. It’s definitely a role that we’ve become comfortable giving to women, but men? A little less so, particularly given the nature of Josh and Donna’s relationship. I definitely wanted someone who could do rapid fire banter (admittedly, a quality that any actor on The West Wing should probably have), someone inherently likable, and maybe someone who had experience playing the love interest to an actual strong female lead.

And I found my way to Scott Foley, who has proven on Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal that he’s quite possibly the most charming fucker alive. I can see him handling all the expository questions pretty well, and I’d pay money to watch him and Lauren Graham go back and forth.

Danny Concannon

melissa ponzio1

Melissa Ponzio

CJ, I’m not staying in the penalty box forever. I have covered the White House for eight years, and I’ve done it with the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time Magazine, and the DALLAS MORNING NEWS! And I’m telling you, you can’t mess me around like this!

Okay, I admit it: half of the reason for this casting is because I adore Melissa Ponzio on Teen Wolf and would like to see her in All the Things, and a quarter of the reason is that because that sometimes Danny wears suspenders, which I’d like to see Melissa Ponzio rock. But also, I just think she’d be a lot of fun in the role. I can see her as a journalist pretty easily, and I’d love to watch her flirt like crazy with Alan Tudyk. That’s kind of enough for me.

Mrs. Landingham

richard jenkins

Richard Jenkins

Aw, Danny. And I was just about to offer you a cookie.

Richard Jenkins is such a great character actor. I love the idea of him as this kind but totally snarky secretary who withholds food from misbehaving staff members. I’m used to seeing him in darker roles, but I honestly think he would just be delightful here.

Dr. Abigail Bartlet

clancy brown

Clancy Brown

Your electrolytes and metabolic panels are within normal limits. Your chest x-ray is clear, and your prostate screens are fine. So we can have sex now.

Okay, hear me out. I know Clancy Brown’s name is almost synonymous with villainy at this point after Highlander, The Shawshank Redemption, any of the Superman cartoons, etc., but he actually does play good guys with some frequency; they just don’t usually make it to the end credits. It’d be nice to see him play a good guy who doesn’t die for a change.

Mostly, Mek and I just really enjoyed the idea of Clancy Brown and CCH Pounder matched up, being all cute together and whatnot. We were thinking especially of the episode where she first comes in after Bartlet has an MS attack. Clancy Brown could be an adorable First Lady, growly voice and all.

Zoey Bartlet

Tyler James Williams

Tyler James Williams

You look like death on a Triscuit!

I’ll be honest: I haven’t seen Tyler James Williams in a whole lot. But I like him. I cracked up at his Evil Telekinetic Urkel in a Key & Peele sketch, and I enjoyed him quite a bit as Noah in The Walking Dead, although we don’t get to spend as much time with him as I would’ve liked. Nothing about Zoey seems outside his range, so I figured it was a nice opportunity to see Williams in something else. (Plus, I like the idea of Zoey as a boy, given the kidnapping plot line that happens later. It’d also be nice if they could make a male Zoey sweet and bookish without parodying him into some stereotypical Hollywood nerd.)

Ainsley Hayes

jensen ackles

Jensen Ackles

Mr. Tribbey? I’d like to do well on this, my first assignment. Any advice you could give me that might point me the way of success would be, by me, appreciated.

Okay. So let’s talk about this.

Gender-swapping a lot of the cast appeals to me because it’s such an interesting exercise in power dynamics. Not that the women in The West Wing aren’t powerful in their own way, but they’re also almost entirely secretaries to male supervisors or are related to male characters. In the first season, CJ and Mandy are really the only exceptions to that, and like I said before, Mandy barely even has her own storylines.

Gender-swapping Ainsley, though, kind of feels like it’s missing the point since her whole character is addressing a very specific stereotype, and if she was a man, no one would blink an eye at the fact that she was attractive. It wouldn’t be some sign that she’s just a pretty face and nothing more. Then again, I kind of like creating this world on TV where this kind of sexism is directed at men for once, so Mek and I tried to focus on the pretty boy angle. And there is no Southern pretty boy like Jensen Ackles.

In full disclosure, I fee like I should admit that I have some reservations about this casting. Ainsley has a very specific manner of speaking, and it’s kind of hard to imagine Jensen Ackles, much as I love him, imitating it. On the other hand, I still like to dream–fondly–that someday Supernatural might actually end, and Ackles will go on to do other projects where he will be as un-Dean-like as possible. And people, I love Dean Winchester. But the guy’s been playing the role for, what, twelve years? He’s got a lot of talent, and I’d like to see him use it to do something else.


sean gunn

Can, can I just say something, you know, for the future? *I* can sign the President’s name. I have his signature down pretty good. 

So, Margaret’s . . . weird. She has always been an oddball character, and I assume she remained so well past the point where I stopped watching the showing. Margaret has a very unique brand of oddness, and the best person I could think to match it was Sean Gunn, who played Kirk in Gilmore Girls. And if you watched Gilmore Girls at all, you know Kirk definitely had his own special brand of oddness.

And finally . . . Ron Butterfield

holly hunter

Holly Hunter

It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t Gina’s fault, it wasn’t Charlie’s fault, it wasn’t anybody’s fault, Toby. It was an act of madmen. You think a tent was going to stop ’em? We got the President in the car. We got Zoey in the car. And at a 150 yards and five stories up, we got the shooters 9.2 seconds after the first shot was fired. I would never let you not let me protect the President. You tell us you don’t like something, we figure something else. It was an act of madmen. Anyway, Secret Service doesn’t comment on procedure.

Ron’s not a huge part in the show. We didn’t have to cast him. But every time I rewatch “In the Shadow of Two Gunmen,” I kind of fall in love with this guy all over, and I could hear Holly Hunter delivering those lines pretty well in that clipped manner of speaking that she has.

And . . . well, I guess that’s all for today. Mek and I will have to get back to all of our other abandoned gender-swapped castings. It’s fun to see what, if anything, shifts in your story when you reimagine all the male characters as women. Maybe Ocean’s Eleven next?

Coming Soon-Ish: Mockingjays, Teen Wolves, Regency Zombies, and Kidnapping George Clooney

Hail Caesar

I don’t wholeheartedly adore the Coen Brothers the way that most film nerds do, but I’ve got to admit: this looks pretty delightful. And dude, the cast is ridiculous: when I glanced at IMDB, I recognized 14 out of the first 15 stars listed. We’re talking George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Josh Brolin, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Clancy Brown, and more. (The plot summary is also almost charmingly unhelpful: “A Hollywood fixer in the 1950’s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.” That is somewhat less specific than “George Clooney is kidnapped by The Future.”)

I’m definitely intrigued by this one. And it’s not just to watch Channing Tatum dance, either, although I’ve got to admit, that’s a pretty big plus, and this is coming from someone who hasn’t watched any of the Step Up OR Magic Mike movies.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Yay, it’s finally coming! I’ve been waiting for this one for a long while. I read the book when it first came out, enjoying it for the silly good time that it was, but this is definitely a story just screaming for a film adaptation. I mean, what’s not to love about mixing some Jane Austen with some zombie action? Plus, it’s got Matt Smith as Mr. Collins, Charles Dance as Mr. Bennett, and Lena Headey as Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

Now I just need Night of the Living Trekkies to become a movie, too.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

I’d been avoiding trailers for this movie since almost clicking on one with supposed Big Time Spoilers — but I decided to check this one out, and I think I remain Spoiler Free, as the trailer is mostly just one big speech and a bunch of corresponding action shots. Although there are some totally creepy monster deals that I wasn’t at all expecting, since they look like they’d be more at home in a horror movie like The Descent than a blockbuster YA action franchise. Mind you, that’s not a complaint at all. Bring on the creepy monster deals!

I’m looking forward to watching this. I’ve seen all The Hunger Games movies in theater, and I’m trying to decide what the death toll will be. I’ll always remember talking for hours with Mekaela about who and how many of our favorite characters would die in The Return of the King, and actually being a little disappointed by the relatively low body count. It’s not that I wanted Pippin to die or anything, just, you know. Stakes. Price. All that jazz.

I guess I’ll find out this November. (Let it be Gale. Please let it be Gale.)

Ratchet and Clank

So, this looks cute. Very silly, very much like the video games. Actually, I’ve only played one of the them so far, but I found it pretty enjoyable — although Dr. Nefarious was easily the best character and, unfortunately, he’s not in this trailer very much.

Still. I could totally try this at some point. It seems like a good candidate for an  “I Feel Crappy, I Need Lighthearted Kids Fare” movie marathon. Also, it’s cool they got the original voice cast for the main players, while adding in other Hollywood actors (Rosario Dawson, John Goodman, Paul Giamatti, Armin Shimerman, etc.) for what I presume are supporting roles.

Teen Wolf

Well, this came out earlier than I was expecting. Season 5B returns in January, and for some reason I’d just assume I’d have to wait a little longer for any real footage . . . but I forgot about New York Comic Con. Bless you, New York Comic Con.

Despite a slightly uneven ending, I really enjoyed Season 5A, and this promo looks pretty great. On the downside, Deucalion appears to be back — which is actually probably for the best, considering the massively stupid way his storyline ended, but still, boo, Deucalion. On the upside, Papa Argent is also back, which is far, far more important. Also: Lydia’s continuing to have an especially lousy time at Eichen House, Stiles throws Scott to the ground in pretty spectacular fashion, and Kira continues to be a total badass.

I am pumped for January. Speaking of . . .

Person of Interest

Finally, I had to post this promo because it’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen. Well, for established fans anyway. I’m not sure the actor switcheroo would do much for anyone who’s just considering checking the series out, but for the rest of us die-hards . . . guys, it’s just delightful. I have re-watched this trailer a stupid amount of times. I will never get tired of seeing Michael Emerson and Amy Acker play Reese. Really, I could just watch that all day.

Which Show Would You Actually Want To Revisit?

I recently read that Prison Break is the latest TV show to potentially get the ‘Let’s Revisit This With a Possibly Limited Series’ deal. Other shows with this deal: The X-Files, Twin Peaks, Heroes, and — of course — Coach. Because nothing makes more sense than a revisitation of Coach.

So far, I haven’t been wildly excited about any of these show returns, mostly because the majority of them had pretty decent runs, and if you’re going to bring something back from the dead, why not start with an awesome show that was cancelled ahead of its time? (Also, some of these shows deserve to stay dead. Prison Break was a fun guilty pleasure for a while, but went off the rails pretty fast — SO many resurrections — and don’t even get me started on the giant clusterfuck that was Heroes.)

With that in mind, I’ve decided to come up with a new Monday Morning Blasphemous Poll. On Wednesday.

I’m going to provide some trailers and descriptions of seven shows. None of them lasted longer than three seasons, so you may have missed them. Based on your own experiences (if you have them) and these descriptions, which show would you MOST liked to see come back to television?

1. Carnivale

IMDb’s description: During the Great Depression, an Oklahoma farm boy and a charismatic minister learn that they are key players in a proxy war being fought between Heaven and Hell.

No. of Seasons: Two

Starring Clancy Brown, Nick Stahl, Tim DeKay, Michael J. Anderson, Clea DuVall, Amy Madigan, Adrienne Barbeau

This show is a whirlwind of magic, religion, circuses, and weird imagery. I really feel that if it had come out ten years later, it would’ve been much more successful. Every bit of pure WTF kept you needing to watch more, and this is a show that desperately needs actual resolution. Gorgeous, creepy stuff.

2. Pushing Daisies

IMDb Summary: A pie-maker, with the power to bring dead people back to life, solves murder mysteries with his alive-again childhood sweetheart, a cynical private investigator, and a lovesick waitress.

No of Seasons: 2

Cast: Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride, Ellen Green, Swoosie Kurtz, Kristin Chenoweth

The Facts Are These:

Cheerful, colorful, charming, and very weird — this was something I’d never seen anything like before, and I loved it. There has never been a better mix of pie, romance, and death.

Also, I apologize for the quality of the trailer. It’s the only one I could find for the first season — youtube is not being very helpful today. And I should confess I never watched the second season, though I’ve been meaning to correct that. By the time I finished first season, the show had been cancelled and I was hugely disappointed and didn’t feel up to it. Still, I’d watch the hell out of it if it came back.

3. Harper’s Island

IMDB Summary: Harper’s Island was once the scene of a gruesome series of murders. Now, seven years later, family and friends gather on the island for a wedding, but one by one they begin to die.

No. of Seasons: One

Cast: Elaine Cassidy, Christopher Gorham, Katie Cassidy, Matt Barr, Jim Beaver, Adam Campbell, Callum Keith Rennie, Harry Hamlin

This, my friends. This is the definition of guilty pleasure TV, and I loved it. Admittedly, it got off to a pretty slow start. I was never a fan of the main protagonist, and the creepy child was just stupid. But once it got going, Harper’s Island was unbelievably fun. Giant murder mystery! Overelaborate booby traps! One person dead per episode! At least! (Plus, by the end, some of the deaths went from ridiculous and funny to surprisingly moving and well-done. Don’t worry, though. Not too many. Harper’s Island knew what kind of show it was.)

Obviously, the majority of the characters were dead by the end of the first season, but had Harper’s Island continued, it would have done so American Horror Story style, with a new setting and a new cast (or at least new characters) every season. And people? I’d be all over that premise.

4. The Unusuals

IMDb summary: Darkly comedic drama focusing on the dysfunctional cops and staff of an infamous NYPD precinct.

No. of Seasons: One

Cast: Jeremy Renner, Amber Tamblyn, Harold Perrineau, Adam Goldberg, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Terry Kinney, Joshua Close

Okay, this trailer kills me a little. Please, you absolutely HAVE to ignore the corny announcer guy trying to make this sound like a Very Dramatic Show and focus on the actual scenes. Sure, serious stuff definitely happens, but let’s be clear about tone: this is quirky/dark/wacky/funny, not Generic Cop Bullshit. When you hear Dispatch say, “Be on the lookout for a ninja, or a ninja-like figure,” that’s more of what to expect from The Unusuals. Awesome show, super funny.

5. The Adventures of Brisco County Jr

IMDb Summary: A bounty hunter rides the Old West, fighting bad guys, many with futuristic-type gadgets.

No. of Seasons: One

Cast: Bruce Campbell Jr., Julius Carry, Christian Clemenson, Comet the Horse

C’mon. You know there aren’t enough campy westerns on TV with bounty hunters, SF gadgets, and mystical orbs. It was steampunk before steampunk got huge, and I bet it could look pretty awesome with more modern effects. (Or anyway, not 90’s effects.) Plus, Bruce Campbell! Who doesn’t want more Bruce Campbell?

Sadly, Julius Carry died in 2008, so we couldn’t have Lord Bowler. (Or we’d have to recast him, but I’d prefer just to create a whole new character.) But I’d absolutely watch this again in the seriously unlikely event it ever came back. Feel the camp. FEEL IT.

6. Dark Angel

IMDb Summary: A group of genetically-enhanced children escape from a lab project. Years later we meet Max, one of the escapees who now works for a messenger service in the post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest.

No. of Seasons: Two

Cast: Jessica Alba, Michael Weatherly, Jensen Ackles, Valarie Rae Miller, Kevin Durand, J.C. MacKenzie

Oh, that trailer. Oh, I’m dying. They actually used Meredith Brook’s song, “Bitch.” DYING.

Okay, so this is one of those shows that I still get bummed out about when I think about its early cancellation. Yeah, second season was a little rough, even if it did give us Jensen Ackles. But this future SF show about kick-ass transgenics sure knew how to change the game when season finales came around, and we left off with a pretty exciting setup for Season Three — transgenics exposed to the world, a huge standoff between our good guys and the cops, Freak Nation built — a season we never got the chance to see. Damn it.

Point of interest, this is probably the last thing I really enjoyed Jessica Alba in.

7. Veronica Mars

IMDb Summary: After her best friend is murdered and her father is removed as county sheriff, Veronica Mars dedicates her life to cracking the toughest mysteries in the affluent town of Neptune.

No. of Seasons: Three (and a movie — it’s NOT CHEATING, Mekaela!)

Cast: Kristen Bell, Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring, Francis Capra, Ryan Hansen, Tina Majorino, Percy Daggs III

Yes, this show did get an enjoyable (if mildly disappointing) movie followup. But said movie followup left us with a perfect setup for the show to come back — Veronica Mars, back to what she does best: being spunky and snooping into other people’s business. The dialogue is witty, the mysteries are fun, and the actors all have such wonderful chemistry with one another. I still could watch Kristen Bell and Enrico Colantoni spar back and forth all day.

All right, everyone that’s it. Leave your votes in the Comments section. And yes, I left Firefly out deliberately. You cannot pick Firefly for the purposes of this poll, or any other write-in (though I’d love to hear other shows you’d like to see revisited – they just won’t be valid nominees).

Poll is open until Monday night. Results should be up next Tuesday.

Coming Soon-Ish: Hobbits, Trains, and Sleepy Hollow — Sans Johnny Depp

The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug

Fair warning: I still haven’t seen the first Hobbit movie yet. I need to. I know I need to. I just can’t get that initial interest back, no matter how hard I try.

But about this trailer: you know, it looks good. Mostly. I’ll admit, the parts with Evangeline Lilly don’t exactly fill me with joy. (This has nothing to do with her playing an original character and everything to do with how much I hated Kate on Lost. Hated, hated HATED her. Although maybe this’ll be the role that turns me around on Lilly. I kind of doubt it, but who knows? It could happen.)

I could see this in theater . . . but I wouldn’t exactly lay money down, at this point.


This is not the best trailer out there . . . the audio is kind of crap . . . but I’ve been interested in this movie since I first heard about it six months ago, and I figured I might as well post it. This is the dystopian class warfare on a train movie, and it stars these people: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Ed Harris, Alison Pill, and Octavia Spencer.

Like I said, this isn’t the best trailer out there. But for this cast, I’m definitely interested.

300: Rise of an Empire

You know, I enjoyed the first 300. It was silly fun. There were things I didn’t like about it — and if you’re thinking it was the total lack of historical accuracy, you’re wrong — but overall, I had a good time watching it in theater. Still, I sighed pretty loudly when I heard that someone was making a sequel because, honestly. Who needs a sequel to 300? All the stylized violence and slow-motion action, that was still sort of fresh back in 2006. Now? Less so. I really have no intention of seeing this movie, unless I feel like writing a particularly snarky review that day.

Still, I’ll give credit where credit’s due: the production value is clearly much better than I thought it was going to be. Not that a pretty trailer means everything . . . Immortals clearly demonstrates that . . . but I was initially anticipating this movie on more of a direct-to-video production scale.

Also, Lena Headey’s in it. But maybe I’ll just watch Game of Thrones reruns instead.

Runner Runner

I clicked on this solely because I misread the title as Run, Runner and thought, Wait, they’re doing a Logan’s Run remake called Run, Runner? This is the best news EVER.

Sadly, it’s just a movie about Justin Timberlake versus Ben Affleck, and there’s online poker and the FBI and getting in over your head and snooooooze. I don’t have the least bit of interest in this.

And finally . . . Sleepy Hollow

Oh, boy.

On one hand, this looks terrible. On the other hand . . . I did snicker at a couple of parts. I liked the girl cop/almost-certain eventual love interest. And I like John Cho, even if he’s clearly a supporting character who probably doesn’t get to do very much. (I still wish that Flash Forward had been a better show, and that he — and not Joseph Fiennes — had been the star.) I’d be even more interested if Clancy Brown made it through the damn trailer, but at least they had the decency to cut off his head, as — clearly — that’s the only way the Kurgan can be killed.

I might try this out, solely to mock it, but honestly, I’m not expecting it to do well. FOX certainly is, for some reason, so I could be wrong. But I think this is that show — not unlike Terra Nova or Alcatraz or Undercover — that everyone says is going to be a hit and flops badly within a year.