Category: TV


Autobiography spock

Review by C.J. Bunce

A new in-universe book finds that famous Star Trek Vulcan and #1 identifiable character of the franchise, the great Mr. Spock, providing a first-hand account as an elder statesman from his vantage after he became the ambassador to Romulus in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Unification” arc and just before he attempts to take his jellyfish-inspired ship with Red Matter to create a black hole in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 movie, Star TrekThe Autobiography of Mr. Spock: The Life of a Federation Legend is edited by (actually written by) frequent Star Trek in-universe writer Una McCormack, just released by Titan Books.  Readers will learn Spock intended this as a memoir for Jean-Luc Picard, with whom he melded after Picard’s meld with Spock’s father just before his death in the episode, “Sarek.”

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The streaming channel Peacock arrived in a free, ad-supported edition this summer, and it’s pretty much like having a full cable TV line-up for only the one-time price of an Amazon Fire Stick.  The Fire Stick is typically available here at Amazon for between $30 and $50, depending on the options you want, and it’s a great portal to a variety of streaming platforms, from Netflix to YouTube and Disney Plus to HBO Max, as well as all the series and movies on Amazon Prime and the streaming platforms already available via that service.  Named for NBC’s classic trademark logo, the Peacock channel is bigger than it sounds, incorporating the giant NBC network of historic programming, content from channels like Bravo, USA, Syfy, History, Nickelodeon, Fox, The CW, MSNBC, and more.  Even better, right now Peacock has a “Peacocktober” hub that has a stunning number of classic and recent horror TV series and movies, all easily searchable, highlighting Halloween episodes of your favorite TV shows, recommended double feature movies, and a slate of programs you won’t find anywhere else.

Universal Monster vintage poster montage

Binge your favorite horror movie series, like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Chucky, Predator, Gremlins, Psycho (including the remake movie with Vince Vaughn, the originals, and the Bates Motel TV series), Phantasm, The Fly, Men in Black, Sharknado, Hostel, Cabin Fever, The Stepfather, Hellboy, Freddy vs Jason, Jason X, and more.  There are certified classics and odd films you may have forgotten, like American Werewolf in London, John Carpenter’s They Live, Village of the Damned, and Prince of Darkness, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, The Omen, Let Me In, Godzilla, Van Helsing, Alien vs. Predator and Prometheus, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, 1981’s The Fun House (starring Elizabeth Berridge before she starred in Amadeus), Videodrome, 1997’s I Know What You Did Last Summer, Steven Spielberg’s beloved E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, It Came from Outer Space, Darkman, Nanny McPhee, A Series of Unfortunate Events, the original Munsters TV series, Day of the Dead, The Skeleton Key, Ouija, Rings, Prom Night, and a huge slate of dozens of vintage Universal Monster classics like Dracula with Bela Legosi.

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main-the-last-tycoon-lily-collins-matt-bohmer-kelsey-grammer

Review by C.J. Bunce

That’s showbiz.

It sums up every feature on the brilliant Amazon Studios series The Last Tycoon, a loose adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s incomplete final novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon With a nine-episode first season only touching on the threads of Fitzgerald’s original ideas, just as the characters begin to fall apart in the season’s cliffhanger finale, Amazon Studios does what studios do–tightens it belt and cancels the series.  It helps to know this before you watch this one-season-wonder (we’ll add it to the list), because you will get pulled into the world of 1936 Hollywood in a way you could only be reeled in by a genuine 1930s picture.  Even if it was all filmed in Canada in an unthinkably short 65 day production.

The Last Tycoon does it all differently and gets it all right–it’s the series we hoped the film Mank would be.  It’s not an exact adaptation of Fitzgerald’s work, but the bones are there, and creator/writer/executive producer/director Billy Ray (The Hunger Games, Terminator: Dark Fate) creates something perfect, probably better than any Fitzgerald adaptation you’ve ever seen, with some of your favorite genre actors.

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Tomorrow October arrives at last!

Your annual list of scary, ghostly, spooky, creepy, slashery, and generally monstrous films is back.  The goal?  Not to miss your favorite Halloween movies in October, and maybe find some new favorites.  Below we’ve provided hundreds of movies scheduled to air–hundreds to choose from with a mix of classics and modern fare.  Syfy′s “31 Days of Halloween” is back (only the first 10 days of the month have been released so far), along with Freeform′s “31 Nights of Halloween.”  AMC has its “Fear Fest” again, and as with last year you can get caught up on The Walking Dead airing throughout the month.  Disney+ has the new Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales streaming beginning October 1.  Horror streaming service Shudder is… always… horror, although it has a “61 Days of Halloween” event for the season, which seems to reflect the worst of the back of the old video store horror wall.  Luckily TCM is also back with your favorite classics, and if you’ve subscribed to the free Peacock streaming service, you’re really in luck–check out our rundown of their big Halloween movies and shows here.  You’ll find this year all the usual suspects: Stephen King, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Michael Myers, Blumshouse, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Kruger.

New content out since the pandemic you might have missed includes this year’s Zack Snyder zombie flick Army of the Dead, also on Netflix the new movies There’s Someone Inside the House, and No One Gets Out Alive, Disney Plus’s new Muppet movie Muppets Haunted Mansion, newer series Alice in Borderland and the similar, soon to be reviewed Squid Game, new Australian supernatural series The Gloaming and Glitch, the fantastic, murky Swamp Thing (free on the CW app), the fun supernatural Truth Seekers and the current Syfy series SurrealEstate, and highlights from prior year dark tales like Love and Monsters, the remake of Hitchcock’s Gothic tale Rebecca, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Ratched, the brilliant zombie series Kingdom, the monster-filled October Faction, or The Babysitter, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and Enola Holmes on Netflix, The Vast of Night on Amazon, Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island on Starz and Vudu and Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day and sci-fi/horror sequel Happy Death Day 2U, Freaky, and 2019’s Ready or Not all on Vudu.  If you missed 2018’s Halloween movie with Jamie Lee Curtis, or Get Out, find them streaming on Vudu and other services (and you can catch all the past entries in the Halloween series on AMC), plus the sequel to the 2018 HalloweenHalloween Kills–will be coming straight to Peacock on October 16.  Don’t forget classic horror series on Netflix like iZombie, Haven, and Grimm, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer on various platforms.  Also, if you missed Netflix’s latest seasons of Stranger Things or Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, now’s a great time to catch up, with season 4 of Stranger Things coming next year.

All month long on streaming services and premium channels like Netflix and Starz you can watch horror movies including Shaun of the Dead, Jaws, Rear Window, The Lost Boys, The Boy, Cloverfield, Coraline, Van Helsing, John Carpenter’s The Thing, They Live, and Ghosts of Mars, Young Frankenstein, Resident Evil, House at the End of the Street, Zombieland, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, Sleepy Hollow, Hollow Man, The Craft, and many more, plus series like The Twilight Zone, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Requiem, Bates Motel, and The Frankenstein Chronicles.  1979’s When a Stranger Calls is on Amazon Prime.  Everything you see in AMC’s listings are offered via their on-demand services, so you should be able to watch those whenever you’d like.  If all else fails, you can find your favorite ghost story or other horror classic on Vudu and Amazon Prime, where you can buy or rent our recommendations like The Fog (both versions, with the original on Amazon Prime), Crimson Peak, Attack the Block, The Birds, Let Me In, The Others, Winchester, The Watcher in the Woods, The Woman in Black, The Woman in White, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Ring, and the great family classic, Charles Schulz’s It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  Need even more recommendations?  Check our borg lists of past recommendations here–Halloween doesn’t arrive each year until we’ve watched The Watcher in the Woods and Silver Bullet.

So take notes and put your watch list into your DVR now so you don’t miss anything, especially useful for many of the marathons, which still frequently air in reverse order (?!).  We’ve bolded some of our recommendations.  All times listed are Central Time:

Friday, October 1, 2021

6:00 a.m. – King Kong (1933), TCM
8:00 a.m. – Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, AMC
8:00 a.m. – The Most Dangerous Game (1932), TCM
9:15 a.m. – The Vampire Bat (1933), TCM
10:00 a.m. – The Crooked Man, Syfy
10:30 a.m. – Pet Sematary, AMC
10:30 a.m. – The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, TCM
12:00 p.m. – Shut In, Syfy
12:30 p.m. – The Crazies, AMC
12:45 a.m. – White Zombie (1932), TCM
2:00 p.m. – Leprechaun 4 in Space, Syfy
2:00 p.m. – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932), TCM
3:00 p.m. – Friday the 13th, AMC
3:45 a.m. – Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), TCM
4:00 p.m. – The Addams Family (1991), Freeform
4:00 p.m. – Leprechaun 2, Syfy
5:00 p.m. – John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), AMC
5:15 p.m. – Doctor X (1932), TCM
6:00 p.m. – Addams Family Values, Freeform
6:45 p.m. – Freaks (1932), TCM
7:00 p.m. – Halloween 2 (1981), AMC
8:00 p.m. – Tyler Perry’s Boo 2: A Madea Halloween, Syfy
8:00 p.m. – Hocus Pocus, Freeform
10:00 p.m. – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, AMC
10:02 p.m. – Leprechaun in the Hood, Syfy

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Mystery Road c

Review by C.J. Bunce

Interesting commonality can be found in the first seasons of two supernatural series, Starz’ 2020 supernatural series The Gloaming, set in Tasmania, and the old Australian town-based 2015 Netflix series Glitch, and a third series, the 2018 Australian outback Western Mystery Road, now streaming on Acorn.  Each of these series is anchored by police procedural stories led by male and female leads, and strong leads at that.  Each of these straightforward stories could be spliced into any time period, as components of countless cop shows.  But the real value of each series is the unique setting.  Like the unusual nature of filming a British cop show in the stark, remote north Great Britain in Shetland, here viewers are transported closer to the southern pole.  There viewers will find the commonality of a shared past with England, the common language, and the colonial history that forms an active wrench in the relationships between different peoples still today.  In Mystery Road, it’s illustrated by the obvious physical differences and characteristics of the loose cannon, cowboy hat-wearing, Western style (with Aussie flare), indigenous Detective Jay Swan, played by Aaron Pedersen (also co-star of The Gloaming) and the confident and wise older local cop, Emma James, played by twice Oscar-nominated actress Judy Davis (A Passage to Indie, Ratched, Impromptu). 

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In the vein of When a Stranger Calls and I Know What You Did Last Summer, two new Netflix films are borrowing that throwback vibe with titles that have been synonymous with more than a century of American cinema.  Both in the weeks leading up to and during its TUDUM promotional event, Netflix unveiled an unprecedented volume of trailers for coming movies and series.  Here are two that should help get you primed for fall, October, and Halloween season.  First, don’t look now, There’s Someone Inside the House But you might as well take your time, because No One Gets Out Alive (You could write an entire book in movie titles).

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Below check out trailers for these new movies, both with a Stranger Things vibe, coming to your television screen over the next two weeks.

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Back in 2013 we asked after the first few episodes of Vikings, “Why this is only a nine-episode mini-series?”  The History Channel’s first historical fiction mini-series since the acclaimed Hatfields & McCoys fortunately didn’t stop at the first season, and the rest, as they say, is now history.  Vikings took stunning locations, a powerful score, and a fantastic story steeped in Nordic mythology and created an epic production on par with Braveheart, Rob Roy, 300, and Attila, the only time the Vikings have ever been given a worthy live-action TV or movie treatment (and it rated our pick for second best series of the decade here at borg) With season six finished last year and airing in its final markets this year, legions of fans eagerly await what will now be Netflix’s sequel series, Vikings: ValhallaAs part of Netflix’s new TUDUM fan event this weekend, we now have the first trailer.  Check it out below.

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Fraggle Rock BANNER

To celebrate 35 years of the Jim Henson fantasy TV series Fraggle Rock, Insight Editions is taking a look behind the scenes of the show in Fraggle Rock: The Ultimate Visual History.  It follows in the footsteps of three previous chronicles of Jim Henson’s creations, and his family’s prequel series, The Dark Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History, Labyrinth: the Ultimate Visual History, and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance–Inside the Epic Return to Thra.  Take a look at a preview of Fraggle Rock: The Ultimate Visual History below.

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Muppets-Haunted-Mansion gonzo

The ninth big-screen film starring Jim Henson′s wacky, warm, and wonderful Muppets is coming direct to your home next month, and bonus–at last we have a Muppets Halloween movie.  Disney+ released the trailer for Muppets Haunted Mansion, and it looks like a combination of the great, pre-Disney classic movies like The Muppet Christmas Carol–complete with ghost Muppets (or are they Muppet ghosts?), and best of all Disney tapped some original performers, including the legendary Dave Goelz (back as Gonzo, Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, and more), and the brilliant Bill Barretta (back as Pepe, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, and more) and David Rudman (Scooter, Janice, Beaker, and more), plus hundreds of creative production staff.  Muppets Haunted Mansion is directed by Kirk R. Thatcher, who was behind the scenes on major genre hits like Gremlins, Poltergeist, Return of the Jedi, Star Trek III, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Robocop 2, and you probably saw him in front of the camera at least once, like when he played the guy on the San Francisco bus blaring his stereo–the one who Spock puts out of commission–in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.  And the human leading the show, as the Muppets’ host in a haunted house they must stay in overnight, is the smartly cast funnyman Will Arnett (The Lego Batman Movie).

Check out the trailer below.

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Picard Rogue Elements cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Of all the new characters created since Scott Bakula’s Enterprise went off the air and J.J. Abrams and Alex Kurtzman took the reins of the Star Trek franchise, one of the best contributions is Santiago Cabrera’s Cristóbal Rios, captain of the vessel La Sirena, a ship staffed by a motley myriad of holograms that mirror Rios’s image.  In John Jackson Miller’s new Star Trek: Picard tie-in novel Rogue Elements, readers will learn the back story of Rios, how he got his ship, and how he was destined to have a run-in with Jean-Luc Picard, sooner or later.  A familiar brand of space pilot, call him rogue or scoundrel or buckaroo, Rios had encounters before the days of Star Trek: Picard–the series–with several characters you’ll know well from Star Trek: The Next Generation and beyond, including the most ruthless villain the Enterprise-D may have ever faced.  Star Trek: Picard–Rogue Elements is just out, available now here at Amazon and bookstores everywhere.

Nausicaans, dead Ferengi, and dead Klingons?  Oh, my!

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