Happy New Year!!!
So what do we do now? How about a look at the start dates for our favorite TV shows? Many are already in progress, like Almost Human, Arrow, Dracula, Grimm, Major Crimes, The Michael J. Fox Show, New Girl, and Sleepy Hollow. Some don’t have new season premiere dates yet, like Bates Motel, Continuum, Doctor Who, Heroes of Cosplay, Mr. Selfridge, and Warehouse 13.
The most anticipated series is very likely the three-episode third season of Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, finally coming back to PBS this month.
The biggest question is whether Haven will get renewed for a fifth season on Syfy. The end of Season 4 was really getting better and Syfy just can’t leave us with that cliffhanger finale.
Update yours DVRs! Here’s what we’re going to be watching in 2014 at borg.com:
Almost Human – Season 1 continues January 6 on Fox
Arrow – Season 2 continues January 15 on CW
Bates Motel – Season 2 begins in March to A&E
Well it’s been one long year, with plenty to do and see, plenty of good and not-so-good to read and watch, and we’re certain we read more and reviewed more content this year than ever before. And that in no less way was true for TV watching. At the same time we waded through all that Hollywood had to offer and honed in on the genre films we thought were worth examining. We went back and looked at it all and pulled together our 25 picks for our annual Best of the Best list. Today we reveal the best content focusing on the moving image, and tomorrow we’ll run through our picks for the best in print and other media. We hope you agree with many of these great creations of the entertainment industries, and wish everyone a great 2014!
Year’s Best Fantasy Fix — The Wizard of Oz in Theaters. It’s a film that has been viewed on TV so many times you might take it for granted. It’s historically been on many movie reviewers’ Top 20 movies of all time. But when you watch The Wizard of Oz on the big screen in the middle of a year of modern blockbusters you realize how it can stand up against anything Hollywood has to offer today, even after 70 years. Remastering the print for a new generation to see it in theaters was a highlight for movie watchers this year.
Year’s Best Sci-Fi Fix — Almost Human, Fox. Like Continuum last year, the new series Almost Human created a future world that is believable and full of extraordinary technologies based in today’s science and touching on social issues of any day. And even putting aside its buddy cop and police procedural brilliance, every episode plunged us into future police grappling with incredible technologies–DNA bombs criminals use to contaminate a crime scene, identity masking technology to avoid facial recognition video monitors–it was the best dose of sci-fi in 2013.
Best TV Series — Orphan Black, BBC America. What rose above everything on TV or film this year was BBC America’s new series, the almost indescribable Orphan Black. From its initial trailers that piqued our interest, to the surprise series consisting of one actress playing multiple roles that dazzled from out of nowhere, magical special effects, and a unique story of clones and X-Files-inspired intrigue propelled Orphan Black to be our clear winner for Best TV Series of 2013.
After its second week in the late Friday time slot following Grimm, NBC’s new Dracula series is off to a very solid start. It’s incredibly polished for an early first season effort, with lavish sets, beautiful costumes, and an expertly cast group of actors. Like Fox’s Monday night similarly dark Sleepy Hollow, Dracula is also an interesting update to a classic with an intriguing story and smart dialogue.
The cast of Dracula is mostly fresh faces, yet each actor could be the doppelgänger for well-known actors. Dracula himself, known to his contemporaries in the series as Alexander Grayson, is played appropriately vampirish by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who played King Henry VIII in the romance heavy The Tudors. Meyers seems to be doing a riff on Jeremy Pivens’ Mr. Selfridge from the popular British series, portraying a Gilded Age businessman from America bringing his ingenuity to the Old World. Meyers also has the determination and charisma–and the same general appearance–of Josh Henderson’s John Ross Ewing from TNT’s Dallas series. Meyers is good, very good in fact, as his Dracula only recently back from the dead, fawning after a woman who looks exactly like his wife, murdered ages ago by the Order of the Dragon.
After a solid pilot episode many television series fail to measure up to the initial promise, dwindling away after a few episodes. On last night’s fourth episode of Sleepy Hollow, “The Lesser Key of Solomon,” we learn this new series may deserve to be around for the long haul. From the first scene where we catch up with Tom Mison’s Ichabod Crane in a humorous exchange with an OnStar representative to Hessians interrogating a bartender for information on Lieutenant Mills’s sister who has escaped from a psychiatric ward, we knew we were in for a wild ride even before the titles rolled.
If you haven’t climbed aboard the bandwagon for Sleepy Hollow yet, we reviewed the pilot here at borg.com three weeks ago. At its core, the series is the unlikely mash-up of two works, Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, and the biblical Book of Revelations. Here Ichabod Crane takes the role of Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, and the Headless Horseman of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow turns out to be one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The Horseman was beheaded by Ichabod Crane, who is, in turn, felled by the Horseman at the same skirmish, and on Crane’s deathbed his wife–a witch–casts a spell that causes Crane to reappear in the town of Sleepy Hollow in our time.
By Elizabeth C. Bunce
It’s no secret that we at borg.com are big fans of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The longtime writing partners have found success reimagining classic stories from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys to Star Trek. It looks like the two have brought us another hit in a similar vein with Fox’s new spooky drama Sleepy Hollow, which premiered last night.
Featuring a cast of familiar favorites like Clancy Brown (Starship Troopers, The Shawshank Redemption), Orlando Jones (Drumline, Office Space), and John Cho (Star Trek 2009, Hawaii 5-0), along with relative newcomers Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie, Sleepy Hollow brings back to life (ahem) Washington Irving’s classic characters of Ichabod Crane and the headless Hessian horseman, now terrorizing modern day Sleepy Hollow, New York (Salisbury, North Carolina). Mison plays Crane, and in Kurtzman’s and Orci’s hands, Irving’s awkward schoolteacher has become a history professor turned Revolutionary War soldier who shoots and beheads the faceless mercenary in battle, before falling himself. As the show opens, Crane awakes in a cave, claws his way out of his grave, and finds himself dodging traffic on a 2013 highway. It’s a well done nod to the eerie roadway traversed by Crane in the classic story.
Over the next hour, we follow Crane and Sleepy Hollow cop Abbie Mills (Beharie) as they unravel a mystery that begins with the beheading of Mills’s partner, Sheriff August Corbin (Brown, alas) and grows into a centuries-spanning supernatural conspiracy. Beharie shines as the ambitious lieutenant eager to graduate to the big leagues of the FBI, willing to take risks and defy orders to get to the bottom of a mystery that’s plagued her since childhood. But the standout performance is undoubtedly Mison’s. With his worn frock coat and disheveled hair, he just looks the part of a slightly mad time traveler desperately trying to find his feet in an altogether too strange–and ultimately too familiar–new world.
Kansas City’s Planet Comicon announced today that actor and stuntman Ray Park will be one of the headliners of this year’s event April 6-7, 2013 at the Kansas City Convention Center downtown at Bartle Hall. In his short career as actor he has amassed some key, iconic roles across major franchises. And because some of his roles are behind a mask or make-up you might not recognize him at first. But when he moves and performs has trademark wushu spin you just know this Glasgow, Scotland-born second degree black belt martial artist is behind the performance. He’s been a lead contender to play Iron Fist in a future Marvel Comics project and on March 28, 2013 he will reprise his role as Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Let’s check out his major acting and stunt roles so far.
This trailer seemed to come out of nowhere this week with no early hint that a new fairy tale spinoff was in the works. Although it would make a good Halloween film for next month it will not be in theaters until next January. Right on the heels of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, we have a film in a similar vein: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
From a set design standpoint the early part of the movie seems to portray the fairy tale as I’ve seen it in my own mind incredibly well. It has a great look, like Sleepy Hollow, and the action snippets seem to have a feel of the Hercules or Zena TV series, and maybe draw inspiration from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.