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Tag Archive: The Lost Room


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Last night the Syfy Channel premiered a new show documenting its 20 years of bringing science fiction and related programming to cable TV.  The Syfy Channel 20th Anniversary Special chronicles the key landmarks of the channel going back to its inception in 1992 as a network of mostly reruns of classic sci-fi series like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and the original Star Trek, as well as collecting and expanding upon series that didn’t make it on other networks, like Sliders and Andromeda.  The 2-hour show is a great way to reminisce about all the good–and bad–TV that has sucked you in, featuring commentary by series creators and cast, and narrated by Lois and Clark star Dean Cain.

Actors Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge and Michael Shanks discuss the first big hit for the network originally called the Sci Fi Channel: the Stargate franchise, including Stargate SG-1, and spinoffs Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe, as well as the made-for-TV movies.

Then there were early series that didn’t last long, like USA Network series that moved to Sci Fi, like Good vs. Evil, The Invisible Man, Welcome to Paradox, and Mission Genesis.

Ben Browder and Claudia Black chat about the four seasons of the Australian production, Farscape, the next big series for the Sci Fi Channel.  The renaissance of science fiction fans fighting for a series to return occurred with Farscape, resulting in Brian Henson bring a 4-hour mini-series event to round out and tie up the loose ends of the series.

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By C.J. Bunce

Yesterday, Elizabeth C. Bunce began Part 1 of our list of the best TV series that started off great but were ended too soon by the networks.  So far that list includes Life, The Riches, Tru Calling, Eleventh Hour, and The Dresden Files.  What is the right number of episodes for a series, the right number of seasons?  One of the best series of all time, the BBC’s Life on Mars, lasted only two seasons, but as with a lot of British series, and unlike a lot of U.S. series, we got a complete story, wrapped up with a solid conclusion.  Veronica Mars lasted three seasons, but as much as we’d like to see more of Veronica, her dad, and her friend Mac, the series didn’t seem to have anywhere left to go, so it probably had the right amount of seasons for its story.  I felt like the Dead Zone could have had more seasons but it actually had a full six seasons, but a lack of a clear ending means we never know what happens to the evil senator-turned president and Johnny’s fate–the goal the story was driving toward in the last seasons.  And then there are series that started out as TV phenoms, but lost momentum from production theatrics, unresolved major plotlines, or writing that just couldn’t keep up with the initial successes.  In this category we put Heroes, Everwood, and Twin Peaks, shows we adored, but ultimately they had their chance and just blew it.  The following series, however, kept up their momentum to the bitter, but premature, end.

Wonderfalls (2004/Fox/14 episodes)

I missed Wonderfalls in its initial run and only learned of it when borg.com contributor Jason McClain loaned me the series several years ago.  I don’t know how I missed it the first time around as it had a lot you want for a good series–good characters, unique story, fun circumstances and a great cast.  Canadian actress Caroline Dhavernas plays Jaye Tyler, an unmotivated college graduate stuck in a dead end job working as a sales clerk under some dim-witted, high school manager-types in the gift shop at Niagara Falls.  She is like  a grown-up cynical, smart, feisty, but frustrated version of Daria from the Daria MTV series.  Jaye is an underachiever, smothered by her well-meaning but overbearing brother, sister and parents.  We get to see Jaye meet up with a love interest (who comes to Niagara Falls with his fiance) and hang out with her best friend in a local bar.  And then souvenir animals in the gift shop start talking to her.  Great fantasy, the animals, including a deformed make-it-yourself orange lion and a talking wall trout, among others, serve as muses to Jaye, giving her cryptic directives that she initially will not listen to.  But they are persistent and the result is light-hearted, endearing, and funny.  

Cupid (1998-1999/ABC/15 episodes)

Before Cupid we only really knew Jeremy Piven from a small role as an annoying friend of Emilio Estevez who gets shot by a young Denis Leary in Judgment Night, and as Spence Kovak, a character that migrated between TV shows like The Drew Carey Show and Grace Under Fire.  His deadpan delivery that helped form his success today in Entourage was only brewing when he starred as Trevor Hale, a psychiatric patient who believes he is the one and only Cupid, sent down by Zeus from Mount Olympus to help 100 couples get together, but without his trademark bow, taken by the Gods as punishment for his wrongdoing.  I remember watching the show eager to see how he would make his love connections over the course of the series.  A premature thought since he only made it through a little over a dozen connections.  Here we also got to know Paula Marshall (Spin City, Veronica Mars, House, M.D.) as his friendly but concerned psychologist.  Was Trevor actually Cupid or just a guy in need of some medical help?  We’ll never know, but we think he really was Cupid.  A remake was tried, but it couldn’t come close to this series.

Journeyman (2007/Fox/13 episodes)

Not many science fiction series take place in the real world and Journeyman‘s genre bending and lack of a niche probably led to its short life.  Journeyman appeared as a standard drama but with a great twist.  Kevin McKidd plays journalist Dan Vasser in an updated Quantum Leap-type role.  Vasser has a wife and a kid, and a nagging brother played by Reed Diamond.  One day he steps into a taxi and finds he is transported to the past–like Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim he is unstuck in time.  We soon learn he can travel back and forth, and he is guided in his travels by the past version of his thought-to-be dead ex-girlfriend.  An early version of the Burn Notice formula as well, Vasser tried to fix the past, learn from it and use it to make the world better, all the while struggling with the trials of everyday life.  Journeyman was a fun ride each week, and then it just vanished.  The bitter wife and brother seemed to detract from the story, and made us hope Vasser could stay in the past.  With only Vasser as a likable guy, it was probably hard to keep viewers coming back despite the idea’s great potential.

The Flash  (1990-1991/CBS/22 episodes)

It can’t be emphasized enough, the importance of good writing can make or break a show.  But even with a comic book favorite writer like Howard Chaykin, The Flash couldn’t make it work.  John Wesley Shipp, an ex-Guiding Light soap actor with the build for a superhero, to this day is the only actor in a series to successfully pull off the look of a comic book superhero (Lou Ferrigno’s The Incredible Hulk excepted).  The production used lighting, unusual camera angles and quick motion photography to document the comic book look to the story of Barry Allen, a scientist trying to discover the truth behind his amazing power of speed.  Every kid loved the show, it filled a niche that  no other show filled at the time, and is still a fan favorite.  We even got to see Mark Hamill as the Trickster, a post-Star Wars role, but early stage of Hamill in his later long career of voice-over work.

The Lost Room (2006/SciFi/3 episodes)

The Lost Room is a bit difficult to categorize, because it was intended as a mini-series, but the third episode left open the possibility of a full series, and what a great series this could have been.  The Lost Room of the title is in a motel along Route 66, a room that has no place in the normal timeline.  A mysterious “event” takes place in 1961 that causes all the Objects in the room at the time to take on powers of their own.  Peter Krause plays detective Joe Miller, who loses his daughter in the room.  Joe tries to find Objects to help him learn about the mystery of the room, and he encounters Kevin Pollak, a keeper of certain Objects.  The SciFi channel crafted the show well, with the hapless star guiding the viewer through the various puzzling Object encounters.  Peter Jacobson (House, M.D., Law and Order) is especially funny as the keeper of a ticket–tap someone with the ticket and they then appear falling from the sky to a highway in the middle of nowhere.  There was so much that could be done with this series, you wonder why no one gave it more of a try.

Do you have any TV series you would include on this list?  Share your favorite lost series–we love to check out new series we may have missed!

Review by C.J. Bunce

In the hiatus between Season 2 and last night’s Season 3 opener of Warehouse 13, only one question was pecking at viewers’ minds.  Why would Agent Myka Bering, played by Joanne Kelly, co-star and female lead of the show, leave after only two seasons?  Luckily for fans we don’t have to wait all season to find out.

Warehouse 13–the SyFy Channel series that expands upon the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark where the thoughtless government lackeys carted off the Ark in the final scene.  Okay, not that exact warehouse, but something bigger and better–think the nation’s attic meets the X-Files or the short-lived series The Lost Room.  Except with the X-Files you had monsters of the week, and here, like Friday the 13th (the Canadian TV series) or Ray Bradbury Theater, you have an artifact of the week–some seemingly mundane throwaway item that we learn in fact carries some otherworldly power, often causing or created by the famous event or person the artifact is tied to. 

Last night’s episode “The New Guy” started with all the regulars back in their stride (minus the missing Myka), with Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) working a textbook case of the out-of-control, would-be artifact-of-the-week with Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti).  This time the artifact is one of Jimi Hendrix’s guitars (hey, didn’t I see that in the NYC Hard Rock Cafe?), wreaking electric havok, only to be tamed by Claudia’s cool guitar skills, and a little extra playing after she gives it the purple glove treatment–despite being scolded by Warehouse leader Artie Nielsen, played by the top-notch character actor Saul Rubinek (who played my favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation villain Kivas Fajo).  A team of Pete and Claudia!  Great idea!  Even better, Claudia is now the promoted Agent Claudia, long removed from her character’s weaker slacker introduction in Season 1, she now is confident, large-and-in-charge of all Warehouse tech.

But then a rescued hottie flirts with our hero Pete, and he–ignores it.  What?  From there we are spun into uncertainty–like Pete and company, we need Myka back.  Pete is not the same.  The guy who Myka referred to as “Artie, it’s Pete, it’s a win when he doesn’t lick anything” is just not his normal hilarious self.  And as a viewer you start to wonder how grim the show will be without our reliable straight arrow Myka. 

Enter Steve Jinks, played by Aaron Ashmore (Smallville, Veronica Mars, In Plain Sight), an ATF agent who witnesses the strange Hendrix guitar antics, and Pete and Claudia’s resolution, but he can’t believe it.  Steve, who has a perceptive skill to know the difference between someone lying and telling the truth, is pushed away at the ATF and Artie taps him as Myka’s replacement.  Friendly enough, he still is no Myka, and worse yet, he doesn’t get Pete’s jokes.  And Pete drops some great one-liners in this episode.  Steve is now the new guy–a full team member and Pete begrudgingly brings him along to pursue the actual artifact of the week, a certain folio (“it’s not a book, it’s a folio”) of letters with popular lines of antiquity that are killing the people who read them–only these are not actual lines uttered by historical people, more like lines from a play.  Shakespeare?  Wait, Pete knows someone who can help, someone who knows all this “Walter” Shakespeare, the “Bird” of Avon gobbledygook.  Myka?

Everything finally comes together by the end, sort of, and we’re off to another season of sleuthing, with a surprise visit by H.G. Wells (Jaime Murray), who will soon be the star of her own ScyFy Channel spin-off, according to Warehouse actors.  Another interesting idea.  After two seasons Warehouse 13 is picking up steam–the cast is familiar now and play off each other well and with some new guest stars expected this season, including a Star Trek line-up of Rene Auberjonois, Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan, and our favorite Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner as the Warehouse doctor, we have some good TV to look forward to.

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