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Tag Archive: Dallas


jonny-quest-figures

We’ve been raving about the three and three-quarters inch scale Kenner-style action figures from Funko’s ReAction line here at borg.com for a few years now.  If style and nostalgia are your jam but not necessarily screen-accurate sculpts, it’s hard to beat the myriad of licenses that Funko has secured.  What you may not have seen is that Figures Toy Company has been producing a similar series of figures reflecting the larger, eight-inch Mego action figure line also popular in the 1970s.

batcave

Like Funko, Figures Toy Company has secured licenses of brands, movies and TV shows you’d never think would surface again, like Evel Knievel, Dukes of Hazzard, DC Comics, KISS, Shazam, Batman TV series heroes and villains, Super Friends, Scooby Doo, Tarzan, Dallas, The Monkees, The Three Stooges, Gilligan’s Island, and most recently Jonny QuestAlso like Funko, don’t expect Sideshow Toys’ level of detail.  The appeal of these lines is pure nostalgia, and packaging is half of the value.  The company also didn’t forget accessories and playsets, like a great set of Batman weaponsthe Batbus and Batlabclassic style carrying casesGotham GCPD bus, professional wrestling accessories, the Teen Titans bus, and the classic Batcave.

bunce-robin-mego

Your editor with the original Mego Robin figure, and at right the new Figures Toy Company version.

The toy company has also stepped ahead into more recent licenses, creating a line of Mego-style Harry Potter action figures.  Some of Figures Toy Company’s action figure lines are also offered in a 12-inch and 18-inch version.  Many lines were released in limited editions and exclusives, and some can only be found on Amazon and eBay, and many are still available with new figures released frequently.  Not only do many have the Mego-style retro packaging, others have the Kresge Stores-style packages your parents could pick up in the 1970s as point-of-sale purchases at checkout in local dime stores across the country.

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Strategic Operations Bureau

If you aren’t watching this season of Major Crimes, last night you likely missed the best episode of television this year, which made us do a double take as to whether this was a midseason finale special cliffhanger ratings booster.  It wasn’t.  Likewise, it was the best TV pilot we’ve seen in ages (more on that later).  And add to that one of the most satisfying conclusions that The Closer and Major Crimes writers James Duff and Mike Bercham have concocted yet.

Directed by The Closer, Major Crimes, Dallas, and NYPD Blue director Michael M. Robin, the episode “Two Options” took an almost Dragnet approach to a police procedural and crammed more drama into an hour of TV than we thought possible.  And the climax might have caused someone to claim it as the best stand-and-cheer moment since Eowyn killed the Witch-King at the end of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Reviewers write about new seasons and finale episodes all the time, but it takes a great hour of regular programming to cause you to stop in your tracks and tell everyone about it, especially in the week full of press briefings leading up to Comic-Con.

Major Crimes Two Options and SOB

For regulars of the series who haven’t watched the episode yet, we’ll just note that everyone gets his and her moment–Sharon, Louie, Andy, Mike, Julio, Buzz, Amy, Taylor, Rusty, Dr. Joe, Cooper, and even Fritz.  Although if we worked in the actual district attorneys’ office in Los Angeles we’d probably not be too happy with the portrayals of last years’ Deputy D.A. Rios or last night’s D.D.A. Gloria Lim.

That brings us to our prediction.  Allow us to summon the ghost of Carnac the Magnificent.  (Drum roll, please).

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Sherlock season 3 promo

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.

Haven - Season 4

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

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Orphan Black Tatiana Maslany as everyone

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.

Almost Human partners

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.

Sleepy Hollow

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Veronica Mars movie

borg.com readers may remember Veronica Mars as one of our favorite characters of all time.  In its three seasons Veronica Mars became one of the best series on TV.  As borg.com writer Elizabeth C. Bunce wrote, “Complex, smart, independent, and vulnerable–with a kickass cool job–characters don’t come much better than Veronica Mars.”  More than 2 million viewers tuned in each week for its first two seasons on UPN and its last season on the CW Network between 2004 and 2007.  Yesterday the biggest Kickstarter campaign ever resulted in an amazingly fast accumulation of donations–more than $2 million in 11 hours–enough to green light the Veronica Mars big-screen movie, now scheduled to film this summer for an early 2014 release.

Series creator Rob Thomas launched the project.  Series star Kristen Bell has signed on as has Veronica’s dad Keith, played by Enrico Colantoni, and Veronica’s pals Logan (Jason Dohring), Wallace (Percy Daggs III), Weevil (Francis Capra), Mac (Tina Majorino), Dick (Ryan Hansen) and Piz (Chris Lowell), according to the Kickstarter website.  Unlikely to return, unless they come back in flashbacks or as ghosts, are the ill-fated Les Miserables star Amanda Seyfried as Lilly, CW Network’s Cult star Alona Tal as Meg, Jaime Ray Newman as Mindy O’Dell, or Ed Begley, Jr. as Principal O’Dell.  But why not bring back Dallas star Julie Gonzalo as Parker, New Girl star Max Greenfield as Leo, Teddy Dunn as Duncan, The Anchorman’s Paul Rudd as Desmond Fellows, Unstoppable’s Jessy Schram as Hannah, Just Shoot Me’s Laura San Giacomo as Keith’s girlfriend Harmony, Spin City’s Paula Marshall as Keith’s other girlfriend Rebecca, The Following’s Aaron Ashmore as Troy, or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Charisma Carpenter as Dick’s stepmom or Alyson Hannigan as Trina, or director Joss Whedon as the car rental guy or even Clerks’ Kevin Smith as the creepy convenience store clerk?

Veronica Mars movie project on Kickstarter Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

A strange thing happened.  I was watching Dallas on TV on a Friday night in 1991, then I fell asleep and it was 2012 and nothing had happened in between.  I flipped on the TV and the Dallas logo swiped across the TV screen.  Was it all a dream?

Quick pacing, conniving characters, a well-balanced cast of new actors, and only a well-tempered dose of nostalgia made Wednesday’s pilot for the new TNT TV series Dallas appear to be a real contender for viewers, 21 years after we last saw J.R., Bobby, and Sue Ellen at Southfork.

The battle again is over control of Southfork Ranch, left to be run by Bobby Ewing by family matriarch Miss Ellie (played in the original series by the late Barbara Bel Geddes, years after she acted alongside Jimmy Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo).  Bobby is sick, and doesn’t want to die and leave son Christopher to spend his life fighting cousin John Ross for the property as he and brother J.R. once did.  John Ross has defied Miss Ellie’s directive and drilled and found a lucrative oil deposit on the land.  And what is left is an all out battle in the shadows by the darker elements to outwit Bobby and Christopher.

There are times when you ask yourself “did they wait a bit too long for this continuation of the series?”  Then Larry Hagman’s J.R. Ewing steps out of a depression induced stupor, like Rip Van Winkle or someone who has been in suspended animation since 1991, and even at 80 years old Hagman plays Ewing as conniving and slithery as ever, and you just know continuing this series is a good move.  Instead of ignoring the age factor of the few original cast members, the series embraces this–Bobby Ewing (played solidly again by Patrick Duffy) has cancer, J.R. suffers from depression.  In a brilliant twist, the walking disaster (made that way by husband J.R.) that was Sue Ellen of 21 years ago is now an exciting and progressive new Sue Ellen (played by Linda Gray), being primed to run for Texas governor.  Brenda Strong plays an even keeled and supportive Annie, trying to let husband Bobby be stalwart while befriending her new daughter-in-law.

J.R., Bobby, and Sue Ellen are not shoved aside any by the scheming new younger set.  What could have been another show rehashing vengeance stories like ABC’s Revenge, Bobby’s son Christopher and J.R.’s son John Ross, played by Jesse Metcalfe and Josh Henderson, respectively, do seem very young for their roles as a seasoned alternate energy wonk and would-be oil baron.  But even their youth is played up against the wisdom of the Ewing brothers with Bobby as the good mentor and J.R. as the old pro who has seen it all before.

And holding her own as far as scheming is concerned, new series star Jordana Brewster (formerly Chuck’s ex-girlfriend Jill on the TV series Chuck) plays Elena Ramos, a former girlfriend to Christopher who left him at the altar in a bit of a a misunderstanding right out of BBC’s As Time Goes By.  Elena is smart and carefully weighing her options as subplots unfold.  Her role is a bit of an archetype for revenge stories, the Cinderella, or daughter of the maid who sat by and wished she were one of the members of the family who owns the estate she grew up on.  Christopher’s new wife Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) at first appeared a weak throwaway character, but by the second hour of the series premiere night we learned she will be another force to be reckoned with in the series, as part of a con game with her brother.

And then there’s the big double cross–the element that made the original series survive 14 seasons, between 1978 and 1991.  J.R. is plotting with a friend’s daughter to take back Southfork when Bobby puts it up for sale.  Meanwhile son John Ross is making the same play.  And all the young women have their own plans for taking the Ewing wealth.

Can the new generation of good folk (Christopher) and bad (John Ross & Co.) outwit the hardened, tried and true original series characters to take over the billions in wealth at stake?  Will one of the Bushes make an appearance?  Will we see any Saudi oil baron plots?  The world in 2012 is very different than 1978, yet much is shared–bad economy, international strife, battles over cheaper energy–you could envision several concepts Dallas’s writers can explore.  Will we get to see Ken Kerchival reprise his role as Cliff Barnes?  Victoria Principal as Pamela Barnes?  Priscilla Presley as Jenna Wade?  Audrey Landers?  Jenilee Harrison?  How about cast from the spin-off Knot’s Landing, like Joan Van Ark or Ted Shackleford?  Recall one of the best episode arcs on that series featured a young Alec Baldwin.  Of course, he was killed, but if the original Dallas was known for anything it was that year that Bobby died, that ended up being just a dream.  So bring on Alec Baldwin!

The negatives of the series opener are few.  John Ross’s strange dialogue seems odd for a modern rich kid in Dallas, even one who worked the ranch.  Everyone must say the name aloud of the person they are speaking with in every scene.  Real people don’t do this.  Try it.  Walk around the office or your home all day and count how many times people call you by name other than when they are trying to get your attention.  I can’t decide if I like the grandiose gesture at the end of the pilot episode–John Ross meets his conspirator on the 50 yard line at the Dallas Cowboys football stadium.  It certainly illustrates that Dallas has designs to be as big as Texas.  Do you need to have seen the original series to jump into this new series?  I don’t think so, although the characters’ motivations probably make more sense if you had seen the original.  Things like the fact that J.R. was once shot by Kristin Shepard (yes, the answer to the big question “Who shot J.R.?”), Shepard was played by Bing Crosby’s daughter Mary, and is the real mother of Bobby’s adopted son Christopher.

One more thing.  The original Dallas theme song is a great tune with powerful brass, but the new arrangement feels somewhat lackluster in comparison (I actually had to crank up the volume to get the right vibe).  It’s incredible how such a song gets stuck in your head so many years later.

But these “negatives” amount to nothing.  Episodes 1 and 2 were engaging enough to add this to the ongoing watch list.  Bobby and J.R.’s dialogue is pretty much perfect and consistent with their characters of decades ago.  Keep an eye out for an appearance by Charlene Tilton, reprising her role as Lucy Ewing Cooper.

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