Category: TV


Relativity

CBS is creating a new pay streaming service like Amazon Prime and Netflix in 2017, called CBS All Access, which will launch with a new Star Trek series to draw in monthly subscribers.  Although the details of the new series have not yet been disclosed, this week CBS announced it selected Hannibal series creator Bryan Fuller as the showrunner and co-creator alongside executive producer Alex Kurtzman, known well for the Star Trek reboot movies.

Fans of Star Trek new and old should be happy–Kurtzman’s eye should keep the Final Frontier fresh and new, and Fuller brings his own Star Trek street cred into the mix.  Not only did he work on some impressive series including Dead Like Me and the awesome but short-lived Wonderfalls among other series, he wrote two stories for Deep Space Nine and twenty for Star Trek Voyager, the series probably most loyal to Gene Roddenberry’s original vision of the future.  The Deep Space Nine episodes aren’t the most remarkable (“Empok Nor” and “The Darkness and the Light”), but his work on Star Trek Voyager shows a breadth of ideas and ability to navigate interesting corners of the Star Trek universe.  Fuller wrote the teleplays for some of the most fun, and memorable, episodes of the series.

Barge of the Dead Sto-vo-kor

Just take a look at the landmark time travel episode “Relativity,” possibly the best episode featuring Seven of Nine.  Temporal incursions, temporal psychosis, and temporal anomalies abound, with a cool timeship helmed by Captain Braxton, and even the on-screen death of Seven herself.  Fuller explored death and the afterlife in the episode “Mortal Coil,” a story where Neelix dies and is revived, yet all he expected in the afterlife does not occur, forcing him to reflect on his place in the universe.  Fuller explored the subject again in “Barge of the Dead,” this time letting B’Elanna Torres explore her own afterlife in Sto-vo-kor–the Klingon afterlife.  Here Fuller showed a side of the Klingons in a way we hadn’t seen since the Vulcan spiritual universe was explored in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. 

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Arnold Mobile Strike

Unless you’re watching the Super Bowl to actually see the game today, you can find all the commercials online today, freeing up your schedule to watch Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XII.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been watching this too-darned-cute puppy outing for twelve years now.  Catch it throughout the day today on Animal Planet.  Get more information, including how the event is helping animals, at the Animal Planet website here.

Many of the ads from today’s game have been released already, so take a peek at a handful of them below.

As with past years, commercials airing during the Super Bowl featuring dogs seem to be the winners, although Kevin Hart has a pretty funny entry in his Hyundai ad, and we could watch Arnold Schwarzenegger Mobile Strike ads all day long.  Snickers is doing their thing again, this time with Willem Dafoe, and look for Christopher Walken in a car ad.  Also come back later for expanded movie trailers from what is previewed below, including one from the fifth Jason Bourne movie.

Puppy Bowl XII

Enjoy your chicken wings, and don’t forget your Tums, Rolaids, Gaviscon, etc.

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Vikings banner season 4

Ragnar.  Lagertha.  Floki.  Rollo.  Helga.  Bjorn.

If you’ve ever dreamed of what the Viking world had been like, if you could spend a week in the world of any of your favorite television shows, MGM and History Channel’s Vikings series should be at the top of your list.  Nobody knows what it was like to live in any period of the past.  We rely on histories passed orally and in writing.  But it’s hard to imagine anyone getting so much more right than what the writers and art directors on Vikings have done.  The fourth season opener, which premieres in two weeks, is a relentless volley of action, excitement, and gritty drama.  After building conflicts, and the bloodiest most realistic battles on TV, it all comes together this season.  We’ve previewed the first four episodes of the season and Vikings could be on its way to be the year’s best drama.

This season History Channel has also added four episodes to its initial 16 episode order.  Beginning February 18, a new episode will air every Thursday for ten weeks with the remaining episodes to air later in the year.  Season three culminated with the battle in Paris, where Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) was victorious but returned to Kattegat nearly dead, leaving the legendary scheming of those around him–his wife Queen Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) and his oldest son, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig).  Meanwhile the driven Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) develops a new relationship with her former lieutenant Kalf (Ben Robson), Rollo (Clive Standen) betrays all by remaining in France and the incredible character Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) must answer for the death of the Christian priest Athelstan.  And King Ecbert (Linus Roache) strategizes to defend Wessex from Ragnar.

Lagertha

New to the cast this year is Peter Franzén (The Gunman) as King Harold Finehair, a man who seeks to be King of Norway and a potential threat to Ragnar, Jasper Pääkkönen (Jet Trash) as Halfdan The Black, King Harold’s younger brother; and Dianne Doan (Descendants) as Yidu, a true newcomer to the world of the Vikings who fascinates both Ragnar and Aslaug.

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Baskets

Review by C.J. Bunce

Hardly a beat is skipped before find you yourself wondering if television viewers who may be unfamiliar with Louie Anderson’s brilliant stand-up comedy realize that Zach Galifianakis’s mother on the new FX Networks series Baskets actually is being played by a man.  It’s the brilliance and sincerity of Anderson’s ability to play a mother character that tells you Baskets is one darkly hilarious new series.

Galifianakis–who co-created the show and is a series writer along with comedian Louis C.K. and executive producer Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia, Saturday Night Live)–plays a very serious, committed, “classically-trained” clown named Chip Baskets, stuck now in Bakersfield as an under-appreciated rodeo clown.  Galifianakis also plays the dual role of Chip’s more successful brother Dale.  In the inaugural episode we follow Chip’s traumatic efforts to attend “clown college” in Paris, where the key difficulty is the simple fact that Chip doesn’t speak French, so he can only limp along trying to understand the professor’s French humor lessons.  Ultimately Galifianakis plays the part for all it’s worth.  He’s truly destined to be Emmett Kelly’s perpetually sad Weary Willie.  Opposite Anderson as his doting mother, and Martha Kelly, who plays an infatuated Costco insurance agent who might have stepped out of the Coen Brothers’ Fargo, Galifianakis is at times both funny and oddly depressing.  Baskets the Clown is real in as much as Elliot’s character is real on Mr. Robot–modern young guys stuck in a rut in every part of their lives.  Yet somehow the laughs sneak through.

Baskets Costco Anderson

Sometimes they don’t just sneak through, however.  Anderson explodes with humor in every scene and is a true scene stealer, whether he’s cozying up to Chip’s not-girlfriend Martha, amazed at all of the varieties of Costco’s soda water, or pondering the wonder of Arby’s curly fries.  Baskets’ somewhat mail order/now estranged French wife played by Sabina Sciubba, drops Baskets the Clown (he really wants to be called Renoir the Clown) into one too many unreal, and maybe surreal, melodramas that require you to laugh along at his both hopeful and hopeless predicaments.

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rip-hunter-arthur-darville-legends-of-tomorrow

If you missed the pilot for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow this week you can still catch it now.  Bringing together nine characters from the CW’s Arrow and The Flash, plus the new time traveler Rip Hunter, the CW has provided a venue for a very comic book concept–the weekly team-up.  And other than the Arrow and The Flash themselves, this new series has pulled together probably the best of the secondary characters from those shows.

Doctor Who’s other last companion Arthur Darville leads up this new team.  It’s as if we get to see Darville portray the Doctor himself, at least an American view of the British series.  The Comic Con crowd audience is provided plenty of familiar encounters and situations that reflect classic tropes and scenes.  Seattle’s Space Needle aka Star City is the launch point for this new team composed of Brandon Routh’s Atom, Caity Lotz’s ex-Black Canary now the White Canary, the one-two punch of Victor Garber and Franz Drameh as Firestorm, Falk Hentschel as Hawkman and Ciara Renee as Hawkgirl.  And bad guys Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) play the good side with Arrow and The Flash’s Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) as the series villain.

DC Legends

After about 20 minutes of world building, recruiting and meeting all the players, the show kicks in when the team finds itself in 1975.  Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and White Canary end up in a bar where Canary goes on her own punching spree.  It’s a great play to see the bad guys team-up with a good guy against… anyone else.

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x-files-a     X-files smokin

Finally, fourteen years later The X-Files returns to Fox, with a two-day event this coming Sunday, January 24, and Monday, January 25.  Fox has released several new previews, including the opening scene of Episode 1, and six posters–one for each episode of this limited run series.  The last we saw David Duchovny’s Mulder and Gillian Anderson’s Skully was in The X-Files: I Want to Believe, the second movie in the series back in 2008.

x-files d     x-files f

So what have they been up to, and who is returning?  Of course, Mitch Pileggi is back as Skinner, and William B. Davis as The Cigarette Smoking Man, plus Annabeth Gish as Reyes–even the Lone Gunmen are back.  Newcomers Robbie Amell (The Flash), Lauren Ambrose (Coma), and Joel McHale (The Soup, Community) will have appearances on the show, too.

x-files c     x-files e

Fortunately Mulder, Skully, and Skinner will take center stage, with the subordinate characters only appearing in a few episodes.

Want to see more?  Check out these four previews from Fox:

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Angie Tribeca clip

TBS’s new comedy series Angie Tribeca was released Netflix-style Sunday, January 17, 2016, with an all-at-once binge watch marathon.  Season One provided the flavor of nonstop laughs that we haven’t seen since Leslie Nielsen’s Police Squad! was yucking up the airwaves back in 1982.  That same “I can’t believe this is so funny,” laugh-out-loud, Abrahams, Zucker & Zucker-inspired comedy is back.

Streaming online for each episode of Season One expires today so put aside three or four hours and check it out now at the TBS website here.  Carol Burnett, who called in to the live marathon hosted by the show’s stars in between episodes, surprised the cast, and nailed it, calling the show “the best, most wonderful, stupid hysterical show I’ve seen in a while”.  What was the secret to the show’s success?  As usual it’s the writing.  Top writing, in fact, by the funny husband-wife duo of Steve Carell and Nancy (ex-Saturday Night Live’s Nancy Walls) Carell and their staff, who tapped into something else we haven’t seen in a while–humor that isn’t mean and ugly, just well-paced and all-out fun.

David Hoffman and DJ Tanner

Fans of Peggy Lipton from The Mod Squad and Twin Peaks might not be able to help making comparisons of Lipton to her daughter, series star Rashida Jones, who plays the title character.  Jones makes a great cop–she could easily fold into a dramatic role on any TV police procedural.  But she also has great comedic timing and is a solid series lead.  Plenty can also be said for the rest of the cast.  We already know Jere Burns from his role as the nasty villain Anson Fullerton on Burn Notice (and dozens of appearances on other popular series from Breaking Bad to Justified).  But who would have thought he’d be so endearing (and, yes, funny) as the textbook, loud-mouthed lieutenant (named Chet Atkins)?  Tribeca’s partner is J. Geils (yes, there’s a theme here with the names), played by Hayes MacArthur (How I Met Your Mother, Medium), comedian Deon Cole is cop DJ Tanner (and his partner Officer David Hoffman is played by Jagger the shepherd dog, who Cole communicates with in a very Han Solo and Chewbacca way), with Andree Vermeulen as the medical examiner, Dr. Scholls.  Gravitas and legitimacy is provided by none other than Alfred Molina as coroner Dr. Edelweiss, always in a state of physical torment–or not.

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Kylo Ren SNL

It’s not very often an actor can promote a character he has portrayed in a way that increases fans’ likeability as Adam Driver may have done on Saturday Night Live this weekend.  It’s also rare a studio will allow an actor to take a major character into a skit on SNL whose future is so key to the franchise.  But those characters aren’t Kylo Ren, the whiny, angry, scrappy, spoiled brat, oh, and evil, villain of the new Star Wars trilogy.

In fact a skit on SNL confirmed that the rumors are true, not that Kylo (we go first name basis here at borg.com) is Rey’s cousin or sister, or that Rey is really A-Rey El, the lost ocean planet Disney princess, but that Kylo is apparently the long-lost brother of Napoleon Dynamite.

Okay, that’s not really what the skit was about (but the comparison can’t be ignored).  It’s about Kylo going incognito on an episode of Undercover Boss, sporting a blonde wig and glasses, to see what his Starkiller Base minions think of him.  It’s hard not to like Kylo, and Adam Driver, much more after watching this skit.  If you hated him in the film, you may just like him, sort of, now.

blonde Kylo Ren

So wait no further if you missed it on SNL, Kylo Ren in Undercover Boss:

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Rocinante concept art

It’s National Hobby Month!  Now in its sixth episode, the new sci-fi series The Expanse has already been renewed for a second season and to celebrate the folks at Syfy have given fans the opportunity to make their own ships and props at home for free.  Syfy released digital design plans via Thingaverse for fans to use to print scale models from the series via their own personal 3D printers.

You can print the show’s spaceships The Canterbury, The Rocinante, The Knight, and The Donnager.  When complete The Canterbury will be almost 14 inches long, The Rocinante more than eleven inches, The Knight nearly ten inches, and The Donnager measures 12.5 inches.

model rocinante syfy

The easily downloadable digital files also include designs for station logos and other cool emblems found in the series.  You can also print a non-articulated action figure of a character sporting the show’s spacesuit.

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Orphan Black Season 4 Four

Hello, artist friends! (You know who you are).  It’s time for your to bring it.

Whether or not you’re a member of Clone Club–the fans of BBC America’s Orphan Black–a new contest announced this weekend may be something for you.  One artist’s work will be selected as the new season’s official poster for the show’s international release.  It’s one way to get international fame fast.

Artwork submitted could become Orphan Black’s Season 4 advertising poster.  It’s a chance to win a grand prize of $10,000 and a private screening of the Season 4 premiere for you and your friends.

The selected winning artwork will be featured as part of Orphan Black’s Season 4 marketing campaign, with a print ad in Entertainment Weekly, featured on billboards, and featured on-air and online.

Orphan Black art Bunce

Twenty finalists will also receive a custom print of their artwork signed by the Orphan Black cast.

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