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Tag Archive: Paul Blackthorne


Grant Gustin as The Flash

Gotham is now two episodes past its pilot, with the premiere for Season Three of Arrow this week along with the pilot for The Flash.  There’s one more DCU series–Constantine–coming later this month.  We’ve seen the first entries of the DC Comics universe on TV for the Fall 2014 season, so how did the first of the season openers fare?

We had low expectations for Gotham.  A series in Gotham with all the Bat-villains and Jim Gordon, but no Batman?  Whose idea was that?  Yet, tight writing and a story that proceeds at a fast pace coupled with a superb supporting cast of characters and actors behind the roles really make this a series we’re looking forward to each week.  That “boy scout” lead role for cop Jim Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie, must be a thankless job, and far less fun to play than all those villains, including the best reason to watch Gotham in Gordon’s partner Harvey Bullock played by Donal Logue.  We reviewed the pilot earlier here at borg.com and we’re still happy with the direction of the series.

Routh on Arrow as Ray Palmer

If the season opener is any indication of the course of Season Three of CW’s Arrow, then consistency is the theme for this series.  We know these characters well now, and the actors all solidly fit in the shoes of our heroes, from Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen to David Ramsey as John Diggle, to Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak and Paul Blackthorne as Captain Lance, Arrow is a proven commodity.

Mix up Diggle’s role in Oliver’s team?  Taunt us with a relationship between Oliver and Felicity?  Kill off a major series hero?  The writers are sure going to keep us on our toes this year.

The highlight of all the DCU series so far is the introduction of Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer–the man who would be The Atom.  It’s not lost on anyone watching that we are seeing the former big screen Superman face off with the Green Arrow right before our eyes.  As we saw with the NBC series Chuck, Routh is one of the best actors to pop in for guest starring roles.  Let’s just not take too much time before we see him transform into The Atom.  Please?

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Colin Firth british spy

We’re always on the lookout for the next James Bond.  Three years ago we here at borg.com nominated Rufus Sewell here and Paul Blackthorne (Arrow, Dresden Files) and Jason Isaacs (Awake, Harry Potter) here.  Fortunately Daniel Craig doesn’t appear to be giving up his Walther PPK or Aston Martin anytime soon.  But what about the British number one heartthrob, Colin Firth?

Now we at least have an idea of what Firth’s Bond might look like with the preview to the 2016 release Kingsman: The Secret Service this week.  Admittedly we first thought this trailer was for a remake of the classic British spy series The Avengers, with Firth as John Steed.  Ralph Fiennes, the newest M in the James Bond franchise, was the latest to don the famous bowler hat and umbrella for that role.  Firth would have been a good choice for that role, but he also seems to be summoning a little foppish Peter Sellers from the original Casino Royale, too.

Kingsman Secret Service

Based on the six issue comic book mini-series Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons and directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass, X-Men: First Class), this latest spy flick has Firth mentoring a street-kid for possible inclusion in a secret spy society.  That mentoring makes this movie give off a vibe like another great coming of age flick of years past, The Freshman, starring Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick.  If Kingsman is half as good as that film, we’ve got something to look forward to.

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City of Heroes

If you haven’t watched last night’s second season premiere episode of CW’s Arrow, “City of Heroes,” then come back after you’ve seen it…

…and once you’re back… WOW!  What a season opener!  We couldn’t ask for more action and drama.  CW really delivered one of the best season two starts in recent memory.

At first… confusion!  John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) in an old plane flying over the island where Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was marooned for five years?  Parachuting to the island and revealing Oliver had used the island as a retreat from the turmoil he left back in Starling City was a great place to begin.  We don’t want Felicity and Oliver as love interests, but we can’t get enough of them working together, and from this episode it looks like she is a full partner in Oliver’s Starling clean-up business.  And she even had a new compound bow custom made for him.

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Arrow Blu-ray combo

Review by C.J. Bunce

When Arrow’s pilot was previewed at San Diego Comic-Con back in 2012 we had our first indication that the series would be a big hit.  The pilot remains one of the best first episodes for any TV series, and on its new Blu-ray release viewers get to see what an incredible looking show this really is.  This Tuesday, September 17, 2013, Arrow will be released on both DVD and in an awesome Blu-ray combo pack that you won’t want to miss, and today’s your last day to pick it up at its discounted pre-order price.  Thanks to Warner Bros. borg.com got an advance preview of the Blu-ray combo pack, and if you missed any of the 23 episodes aired this year, or you haven’t seen the series at all, now is the time to catch the best live action DC Comics effort since 1990’s The Flash.  Check out the “Arrow” tag to the lower right of the borg.com home page for past coverage of our favorite new hit.

Optimum Quality.  The nine-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes two complete sets of the episodes and features:  the DVD on five discs and the Blu-ray on four discs.  (One to keep and one to loan to friends?)  It also includes a code for Ultraviolet viewing access.  The picture and sound quality are perfect, and watching the episodes straight through you realize the series was designed in a very seamless way compared with so many shows that have repeated scenes at every commercial break.  Not so here.  The navigation menus are the best we’ve seen so far–easy to navigate–and they include a full menu for all the discs on each disc so if you have the wrong disc inserted you’ll always know which one you want.

Arrow season one cast

All 23 Brilliant Episodes.  The series started off with a complex pilot, and that was a movie-quality effort to begin with.  Subsequent episodes never seemed to let up.  Our favorite was the three episode arc featuring Helena Bertinelli’s Huntress, played by Jessica De Gouw, one of the top character retellings in this new Green Arrow universe.  We were surprised how much we didn’t mind Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Marc Guggenheim taking liberties with the 70-year history of the Green Arrow canon.  The set includes great episodes featuring characters unexplored before, including the very modern and realistic tech guru Felicity Smoak, played perfectly by Emily Bett Rickards, and the entirely new character, Oliver’s confidant John Diggle, played by David Ramsey.

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The Dresden Files, Jim Butcher’s popular series of fantasy meets mystery novels about a wizard living in modern day Chicago, has had an incredible run in print, with some 14 books released since 2000, including the November 2012 release Cold DaysIt also was turned into a Syfy Channel (then Sci Fi Channel) TV series (albeit short-lived one) starring Paul Blackthorne as the magic wielding Harry Dresden.  A bit X-Files meets a grown-up Harry Potter, The Dresden Files revolves around a fun lead character.  Dresden has also been turned into a roleplaying game, and four works in comic book form: Welcome to the Jungle (a prequel to the first novel Storm Front), Restoration of Faith (a Free Comic Book Day one-shot), Storm Front (in two volumes) and Fool Moon (in two volumes).  Arriving at your local comic book store next week is The Dresden Files: Ghoul Goblin, Issue #1.

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Beginning with with a nicely designed cover by DC Comics Supergirl artist Ardian Syaf, Ghoul Goblin #1 drops readers into the middle of Dresden’s strange world, with Dresden battling a sea monster he chased into Lake Michigan.  Whether you’re a fan of Butcher’s novels or the TV series, this Dresden and his optimistic and confident cheery inner voice will be familiar to you.  We even get to see Dresden discuss details of the new case with long-time spirit companion Bob, who lives in a skull.  Here Dresden is minus one Karrin Murphy, friend and police department partner in fighting crime, presumably to resurface in later stories.

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First up, John Barrowman, who you may know as the suave Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood, has signed on to play a yet-to-be-revealed character in the opening season of CW Network’s Fall TV series Arrow, centered on the classic DC Comics character, Green Arrow.  We previewed the pilot episode here last month, and it looks to be a great series, full of action and energy, with ample nods to Green Arrow’s established canon.

It seems impossible, but wouldn’t he make a perfect Hal Jordan, aka Green Lantern?

I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

The show’s creators have only released that Barrowman will play a “well-dressed man” (huh?) “as mysterious as he is wealthy” and that he is an “acquaintance of the Queen family and a prominent figure in Starling City.”

  

And now the CW announced that they are adding another familiar DC Comics character to the series in a multiple-episode story arc:  Enter:  Helena Bertinelli, The Huntress.  Part of the classic DC series and trio Birds of Prey (along with Barbara Gordon/Oracle and Dinah Lance/Black Canary), which had its own short-lived TV series, Australian actress Jessica De Gouw will play Helena Bertinelli, a “potential love interest for Oliver Queen; a fellow vigilante, set on destroying her father’s organized crime empire. But Helena’s blind pursuit of revenge will put her on a collision course with the Arrow.”  Perhaps Barrowman will play her father?

Jessica De Gouw to be the new Huntress

Adding the Huntress opens the possibility of including Batman at some point, because of their long connection, but I’m also not getting my hopes up about that.  Because of the Birds of Prey connection, the Huntress is a natural fit for fleshing out Dinah Laurel Lance’s storyline, allowing her to operate separately from Oliver Queen if the writers want to go in that direction. And how about making her look like Cat Skaggs’s drawing of Huntress in her classic costume shown above?

So we now have Green Arrow, Black Canary (who the creators seemed to indicate would get her fish-net clad supersuit in the first season in their Comic-Con panel interview), the villain and now the Huntress. CW’s Smallville had its own established set of DC characters, so what better place to experiment with a Justice League story than this new series?  If I was writing it, I know I would try to free up as many JLA characters as possible to share a vision of the JLA long overdue, and finally respond to the pleas of DC Comics fans around the world wanting something to match Joss Whedon’s hit 2012 movie, The Avengers.  Unlike Smallville, the pilot revealed that this new series will be a superhero show, not just another CW soap opera.  Moreover, we have established genre character actors in key roles lending some credibility to the series with former Star Trek Voyager Borg Queen Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen and The Dresden File’s Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance.

Arrow premieres on the CW Network Wednesday, October 10, 2012.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Review by C.J. Bunce

The CW Network’s new TV series Arrow will not be aired until the Fall, but the CW previewed the entire pilot for the series last Wednesday and Friday to thousands of attendees at Comic-Con.  The auditorium erupted in cheers to several scenes in the series opener, starting some worthy buzz for this newest DC Comics Justice League superhero to hit the small screen.  Was it good?  Absolutely.  And even for a fan of the traditional character’s story, updates made for TV were well thought out and did little to detract from the core of what makes Green Arrow the unique character that has survived as a key comic book character for 70 years.  The pilot deftly managed to alter far less of the source material than, for example, the Green Lantern movie released in 2011, and in doing so created a truer, more refreshing story with appropriate nods to the past, and one that promises to survive, should it find its fan base.

Oliver Queen, played by Stephen Amell, is son of one of Starling City’s preeminent business magnates and head of Queen Industries, Robert Queen (played by Jamey Sheridan).  Oliver was on a yacht with his father and cheating below deck on his girlfriend Dinah “Laurel” Lance (a legal aid lawyer played by Katie Cassidy) with Laurel’s impressionable younger sister.  A surprise storm sinks the craft, the sister is sucked into the sea and drowns and Oliver, his dad, and a crewmember are left floating in a lifeboat.  Before running out of food Oliver’s dad kills the crewmember and himself to give Oliver a chance at survival.  All of this backstory is interspersed throughout the episode, building up to the revelation that the father and crewmember were dead by his father’s hand.  Oliver stays on the island five years until rescued by natives of another island sailing by.  By then he has become a sort of Grizzly Adams, hairy, physically strong and singularly adept at survival, including impressively wielding a bow and arrow.

When he returns home to Starling City, his mother, played by Susanna Thompson, is now romantically linked with his father’s former business partner and this does not sit well with Oliver.  Despite his numerous apologies, Laurel Lance has no place in her life for Oliver and blames Oliver for her sister’s death.  Oliver has his own sister, Thea (Willa Holland) a misguided youth tempted by parties and the like, and Oliver immediately returns to his role as big brother, irking the girl.  In one of the best updates to the traditional Green Arrow story, Oliver’s nickname for the sister is Speedy.  Green Arrow fans will know Speedy as the long-time sidekick of Green Arrow.  In the Phil Hester, Ande Parks, and Kevin Smith run of the Green Arrow comic book, a wayward girl with HIV named Mia was taken under Oliver’s wing, and she became Speedy, so there is some history with a female Speedy (in my view the best incarnation of his sidekick).  Hopefully the series will survive long enough for this to take on the Speedy story as its own fleshed-out subplot.  The first Speedy had drug issues, and you could see that history seeping into his sister’s character arc.

Laurel has been friends with Oliver’s best friend Tommy, played by Colin Donnell, since Oliver was presumed dead.  Tommy immediately steps back into a supportive role for his friend.  Another wealthy late-twenty-something guy like Oliver, Tommy surprisingly fit in well in the pilot.  A tad smarmy, he is the only one to really celebrate Oliver’s return and give him the “welcome home” party he deserves.  In his party scenes we see Oliver’s only similarity to Batman’s Bruce Wayne, a little window into the excesses shown by Christian Bale in his stints as the the caped crusader that were echoed in the traditional Oliver Queen.  Despite that slight similarity, series writers/creators Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim have shown Oliver to be a completely different superhero.  And this is best highlighted when Oliver begins cleaning up the streets of his former home, donning a green suede hooded outfit like Robin Hood.  The city is riddled with crime and nasty masked characters who try to kidnap Oliver, only for Oliver to kill them off one by one.  A superhero that kills is definitely against mainstream norms but it also has history with this character, most recently in the superb Justice League Cry for Justice mini-series, which left Oliver murdering the villain Prometheus in part for maiming the original Speedy, now called Red Arrow.

How often have you watched Batman let the Joker live after committing horrible crimes and wondered why he didn’t just end the Joker once and for all?  After Joker killed the second Robin (Jason Todd) in A Death in the Family?  After the Joker assaulted Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) and left her disabled in The Killing Joke?  It’s long overdue that the vigilantism that is the undercurrent of both Batman and Green Arrow comes through in a story.  It didn’t occur in the original Flash TV series, in any Superman movie or in the Green Lantern movie.  So the audience that previewed the new Arrow was introduced to an element never before seen in a major DC Comics character and they loved it.  And Amell, later in the panel, proved that he understands his character, saying, “You couldn’t expect that Oliver was going to undertake something so monumental without there being collateral damage.  You don’t have to agree with his tactics, but you should respect what he’s trying to do.”

The pilot set up a web of subplots that can be handled throughout the first season.  Oliver’s mother seems to be behind his kidnapping upon his return.  Why?  Who is she working with?  How does it relate to some secret Oliver’s father may have disclosed to him on the yacht?  Will Diggle be a friend to Oliver or spy for his mother?

British actor and genre favorite Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files) plays his American accent here as Detective Quentin Lance, Laurel’s father and an angry cop investigating the crime element in the city as well as trying to track the new hooded vigilante killing off local crimelords and their lackeys.  He also can’t move beyond his younger daughter’s death these five years later.  Adding further difficulty to Oliver’s covert superhero doings, after the botched kidnapping, Oliver’s mother hires a full-time bodyguard named John Diggle (played by David Ramsey) to accompany Oliver everywhere.  Initially easily ditched by Oliver, Diggle learns quickly, giving Oliver an extra obstacle to fulfilling his goal of secretly cleaning up the city.  Like Green Arrow in his history of DC Comics stories, his alias is not so expertly hidden and Tommy suspects that it is Oliver who is the new hooded vigilante–yet another future story element to investigate.  The pilot also included a few throwaway characters that probably shouldn’t survive the pilot–typical stereotypes that you’d stuff into a pilot as filler, including Roger R. Cross as Detective Hilton and Brian Markinson as villain Adam Hunt.  Does Detective Lance need a partner?  If there was a downside to the pilot it was too many second tier characters.

Diehard fans of any character or story will always wrestle with any change or update to a character when translated from its original source material.  Changes like updating Star City to Starling City actually help to pull the character from the comic book world into the real world, although my initial reaction was “why change that?” or “why not just place him in Seattle where he lived for decades as written by Mike Grell?”  I asked Neal Adams at Comic-Con to give me his take on the new series, and he’s just not interested.  Adams, along with Denny O’Neil, created the modern, cocky and cool Oliver Queen at the tail end of the 1960s.  The biggest changes to Green Arrow later came from Mike Grell, who really amplified the role of Dinah Lance into Oliver’s story, and made Green Arrow the ultimate urban hunter.  I think Grell would at least like the direction this new Oliver Queen appears to be heading.  Do I wish this was a scene for scene adaptation of Grell’s Longbow Hunters series or his other stories?  You bet.  But since nothing ever matches what you’d envision, this at least gets Green Arrow a long overdue screen adaptation (the rest of the key seven Justice League members: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Green Lantern have had at least their own animated series over the years), keeps Black Canary as his love interest, and features Ollie showing his stuff as urban archer.  If the writers can keep the series interesting and fresh, people will watch and we can see some expanded stories if the series will last.  When I look at series like Supernatural and Smallville, whose early episodes seemed to me to be very thin, it should be a no-brainer for CW to make this series into something just as successful.  Amell later in the panel admitted that he hopes it makes it ten years.  Wishful thinking?

After the preview of the pilot, series stars Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy and writers Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim responded to some well thought out questions from the panel moderator.  During the pilot Amell’s voice seemed very familiar and I had to look away to figure out who I was hearing.  He sounds a lot like a young, cocky Tom Cruise, from around the time of Top Gun.  Amell’s command of the character comes through in his voiceovers and Cruise’s early “immature jerk” roles seem to be reflected albeit not intentionally in Amell’s performance as the cocky side of Oliver.  I know many don’t like voiceovers, but I am one who prefers the Harrison Ford voiceover Blade Runner to the edited version, so I thought the voiceover here was also a good touch.  Amell responded very passionately to questions about playing Oliver Queen.  Amell sounds like he is inside Oliver’s head, both in voice delivery and in the word choice drafted by the writers.

The series features an older cast than Smallville, less teen soap opera, less typical CW, and more adult drama, if maybe at the younger end of the adult set.  Writer Andrew Kreisberg calls the show a crime drama, a family drama and a romance.  But even with that age block the actors appeared youthfully ambitious and eager about their new gig.

When asked whether we’ll see Cassidy’s Laurel Lance turn into action heroine Black Canary, in particular donning the character’s signature fishnet stockings, it seemed clear that both she planned on it saying she is “definitely ready” and Kreisberg and Guggenheim couldn’t say no to the roar from the crowd.  Kreisberg said that fans would see this transpire “not as soon as you want, but a lot sooner than you think.”  The creators didn’t shy away from the fact that they wanted and selected attractive stars for the series, reflecting the attractive characters from the source material.  Amell was the first who auditioned for Oliver and according to the writers, he was immediately selected for the role.

A key scene in one of the trailers, reported here several weeks ago, shows Amell doing a nearly impossible feat climbing a series of workout bars.  Amell said no CGI was used, and he, indeed, did these scenes on his own.  One of the writers added that that was “something you won’t see in Batman.”

CW revealed Kelly Hu will be guest starring in a future episode as the DC villain, China White, first appearing in the 2007 mini-series Green Arrow: Year One.  As I had speculated this past February here, the writers acknowledged relying heavily on the modern origin story in Green Arrow: Year One, illustrated by the artist known as Jock.  Not a classic Green Arrow story by any means, it did seem to serve as backdrop for at least the pilot episode.  A very recent villain like China White seems to me to be DC Comics taking an easy route.  Why not some bigger villains?  At least Deathstroke was disclosed as another villain we can look for in the series.  The writers advised watching each episode for “Easter Eggs,” like this Deathstroke mask found in one of the show’s trailers:

All said, I had trepidations about taking my favorite character into his own series, but I am quite pleased so far and am looking forward to watching the full series in the Fall CW lineup.  The pilot for Arrow premieres to the rest of the world Wednesday, October 10, 2012.

I will feature the actual Arrow costume in a later post, as it was on display at the SDCC DC Comics booth.

One additional benefit to attended the previews of the pilot was a convention exclusive comic book for the series that I was happy to get my hands on, pictured here with a cover by none other than the great Green Arrow artist, Mike Grell:

Full trailers can be found in my earlier post here.

As the #1 Green Arrow fan around, I’ve just got to say I was blown away by the first trailer for Arrow, just greenlighted for the Fall season on the CW Network.  If I can’t have the TV series that I see in my mind, then I’m glad the one that is actually getting to the screen looks this good.  For the first time since the Flash TV series DC Comics is expanding its cinematic reach with a focus beyond the tier 1 Justice League superheroes.  Arrow very well could be DC Comics’ first step toward a future Justice League movie that could try to compete with the enormously successful new multi-superhero Avengers movie.

Check out this great first look at the series:

Stephen Amell looks like a good choice for a young Oliver Queen.  And out of nowhere one of the best genre actors around shows up–Paul Blackthorne–Harry Dresden himself from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.  Blackthorne, who was one of our top picks last year for the next James Bond, appears to be the second lead actor featured in the series, girlfriend Dinah Lance’s father, the man trying to find out who is behind the vigilante hero called Green Arrow.

As expected, the series is taking a Green Arrow: Year One approach, and Amell looks every bit the marooned Oliver Queen from artist Jock‘s visionary mini-series.  Amell is also reminiscent of artist Phil Hester’s initial Green Arrow tales written byKevin Smith, showing a shaggy bearded version of Ollie.

This second teaser focuses more on Oliver Queen, and gives us a look at Amell and how he plans to portray the character:

Nice arrow work with the tennis ball scene–a great idea for showing his skill.  And the cinematography doesn’t feel like the normal CW soap opera series we’re used to seeing.  I hope that trait carries through to the final product.

And check out his mini-Batcave-like retreat!  No question–I for one am looking forward now to this dark superhero series more than the new The Dark Knight Rises movie.

Finally, this mini-preview is a great snapshot of the show:

I initially didn’t care for the title, but the logo they are using with the target looks great.

Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, Colin Donnell as Tommy, Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Willa Holland as Thea Queen, with Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen and Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance.  Based on the characters appearing in DC Comics, Arrow is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti (Green Lantern), Marc Guggenheim (FlashForward, Eli Stone), Andrew Kreisberg (Warehouse 13, The Vampire Diaries) and David Nutter (Smallville, Supernatural, Game of Thrones).  Melissa Kellner Berman (Eli Stone) is co-executive producer.  The pilot was directed by David Nutter from a teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Marc Guggenheim, story by Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim.

Arrow will begin airing on Wednesday nights at 8 pm on the CW Network this Fall.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

Finishing up our speculation of a future James Bond that began here yesterday, we’ve got two actors who would be good picks, and who are probably not obvious choices for the super-spy shortlist.  These picks are for an older vs a younger Bond, figuring an actor who can look 40-45 is probably in the ideal range.  Then again, Roger Moore played Bond at age 46 and 58, so there really doesn’t need to be any age limit on choosing a good actor to play Bond.  First up, Paul Blackthorne, followed by Jason Isaacs.

Paul Blackthorne may be best known for his portrayal of wizard Harry Dresden in the short-lived but excellent TV adaptation of Jim Butcher’s novels, The Dresden Files.  Blackthorne has had his share of “guest star of the week” appearances on TV shows such as Medium, Monk, Burn Notice, Leverage, Warehouse 13, and White Collar.  If there is any reason he might not get selected in the future as James Bond it is because he is primarily had TV roles, but he is only 42, with plenty of time to get some movies behind him.  And besides, Pierce Brosnan didn’t do much that was notable before GoldenEye other than Remington Steele.

Blackthorne is a British actor that has honed his American accent so well that you would never know his British background.  If the Broccoli family continues with actors like Daniel Craig down the line as Bond, Blackthorne would fit right in.  And if they want him to play up the Brit-speak he could easily play a Bond of the Sean Connery or Timothy Dalton variety.  In fact, Blackthorne looks like a young Connery.  All that aside, as Harry Dresden we got to see Blackthorne as a versatile actor, the role itself a bit X-Files, a bit cop drama, a bit Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  He’s fun to watch and a likeable actor.  And he looks the part.

Forty-eight year old British actor Jason Isaacs may be most famous for his portrayal as the sniveling, white-haired wizard Lucius Malfoy (Draco’s dad) in the Harry Potter movies.  But in this year’s BBC/public television Masterpiece Mystery series Case Histories, we get to see Isaacs in a more down to Earth role, as a soldier turned cop turned private investigator.  More than anything else, Isaacs comes across as a very cool character, the kind of cool required of Bond, with a fair amount of self-effacing scenes that show his capacity for some good humor, something we haven’t seen so much of in recent Bond portrayals.  Maybe it is time to see how an older Roger Moore type Bond would appeal to fans?

Isaacs also has had a fair number of big screen roles, besides the Harry Potter films, including DragonHeart, Event Horizon, Armageddon, Soldier, Black Hawk Down, Resident Evil, and a lot of voice-over work–he’d have the sound of Bond down pretty well, too.  And like Rufus Sewell and Paul Blackthorne, he sort of has that British renegade agent look about him.  And he’s a dead ringer for Timothy Dalton.

So that’s just three recommendations.  Any others?

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

By Elizabeth C. Bunce

Our DVR broke this week.  I won’t go into the trauma of missing the last installment of Zen on Masterpiece Mystery, or of losing the final three (still unwatched) episodes of the now cancelled Men of a Certain Age.  The upside of this technological crisis, however, was that it spurred us to unearth old TV favorites on streaming video from Netflix and break out some DVDs.  There’s always something kind of bittersweet about that, though, especially running across old friends that were cancelled well before their prime, and in some cases even before they quite hit their stride.  And so, in memoriam, tonight borg.com will spotlight a few of our genre favorites that were cancelled too soon.

Life (2007-2009/NBC/21 episodes)
NBC’s short-lived quirky police procedural about a mild-mannered homicide detective wrongfully convicted of murdering his partner’s entire family starred English actor Damian Lewis (Assassin in Love, Showtime’s new series Homeland) and Sarah Shahi (USA’s Fairly Legal).  Its offbeat mix of gruesome murders and weird-but-lovable cast members was probably a little too offbeat for most viewers, but we loved Lewis’s Zen-meditating Charlie Crews and his efforts to fit back into his life and job after eleven years in prison and an undisclosed multimillion dollar settlement with the LAPD.  An intriguing series-long mystery plot (who really killed Crews’s partner?) might have made it more difficult for new viewers to join mid-season (although we had no trouble getting hooked after just one episode), but was thoughtfully resolved in the series finale.  Standout performances by Donal Logue and Adam Arkin only compound our sense of loss for this series.

The Riches (2007-2008/FX/19 episodes)
Before the days of Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, FX broke every rule of tasteless TV in this outrageous series about a family of Travellers trying to make it as “buffers” in an upscale suburban neighborhood, after assuming the identities of a family killed in a car accident.  Starring standup comic Eddie Izzard as title character “Doug Rich,” and Minnie Driver (Phantom of the Opera), The Riches featured scams, drug abuse, murders, robbery, and a host of other illicit goings-on–and that’s just by the heroes!  Alternately appalling and hilarious, ultimately The Riches just couldn’t hold on to its early impressive ratings, and was cancelled after only 19 episodes, leaving loyal viewers without even a semblance of closure to the Riches’ compelling storyline.

Tru Calling (2003-2005/Fox/26 episodes)
Eliza Dushku’s first starring vehicle of her post-Buffy days, Tru Calling had an excellent sci-fi premise, sort of Medium meets Groundhog Day.  Medical student Tru (Dushku) gets a part-time job in the morgue and discovers that the recently deceased can ask for her help, causing her to relive their final days, in the hopes of saving their lives or solving their murders.  Co-starring The Hangover‘s Zach Galafianakis in a wonderful role as Tru’s morgue mentor, and White Collar’s and Chuck’s Matt Bomer as Tru’s love interest, Tru Calling was gearing up for great things, the mysteries surrounding Tru’s power only building, just as the series was unceremoniously axed by Fox.

Eleventh Hour (2008-2009/CBS/18 episodes)
This American adaptation of the even-shorter-lived BBC medical thriller (with Patrick Stewart) starred accomplished English actor Rufus Sewell (Zen, Knight’s Tale, Pillars of the Earth) as Dr. Jacob Hood, FBI consultant solving baffling scientific crimes.  Not an outstanding series by any standards, Eleventh Hour was nevertheless competent and entertaining, and one had the feeling that the performers were better than the material they had to work with.  I firmly believe the show could have gotten even better, but it was trapped in a dead-end timeslot (Thursdays at 10 pm) and ultimately failed to interest the CSI viewership the network hoped would bolster ratings.

The Dresden Files (2007/SyFy/12 episodes)
I’m still stinging from the cancellation of this great adaptation of Jim Butcher’s bestselling urban fantasy series. Starring the always-solid Paul Blackthorne (guest appearances in Burn Notice, Monk, Leverage, Warehouse 13, and others), the show featured excellent writing, engaging paranormal storylines, and an absolutely winning cast, but wasn’t given the same network or fan support of later SyFy hits like Warehouse 13 or Eureka. Fortunately, all twelve episodes are currently available via streaming video on Netflix.

Tomorrow, C.J. Bunce will continue the list with the rest of our list of TV series that ended too soon.