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Tag Archive: Starz


It’s time for borg‘s annual look at 2018’s Best Kick-Ass Genre Heroines in film and television.  This year we selected 24 characters that rose to the top.  Again the studios gave us more to cheer about than ever.  We’re highlighting the very best from a slate of fantastic heroines, with characteristics to learn from and cheer on.  Determined, decisive, loyal, brave, smart, fierce, strong (and, okay, sometimes evil), you’ll find no one here timid or weepy, but all rely on their individual skills to beat the odds and overcome any obstacle that comes their way.  Over the years we have expanded the list to include any tough, savvy, gritty character played by a woman, so villains are welcome here, too.  Some may be frazzled, put-upon, war-weary, or human, but all have fought, some against difficult circumstances, others against personal demons (literally, figuratively, or both), and some against gun and laser fire.  And they all showed what a tough, kick-ass character is about.

In 2018 these characters broke new ground, and unlike last year’s great list, this year’s selections would not have worked as well had the characters been swapped for males.  We had a former MI-5 agent, bounty hunters, assassins, doctors, defenders, advanced superhumans, superheroines, warriors, witches, and even a few cyborgs–with a roster evenly split between television and movie characters.

Better yet, here’s something we haven’t said before.  Several of our selections this year were played by women over 50.

These are the Best Kick-Ass Genre Heroines of 2018:

Enfys Nest (Solo: A Star Wars Story).  For the first half of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Enfys Nest was the leader of a band of pirates, a character as cool and ruthless as anyone Han Solo ever faced.  But once she took off her mask,  it became clear how important she was, how significant her mission was–even more so than Han Solo’s own pursuit of mere wealth.  She foreshadowed what Han would later find with Leia, an early glimpse at a rogue and scoundrel who actually had some good in him.  When they joined forces, it made their characters even better.  And she became one of the best warriors in the Star Wars universe since the original trilogy.  (Disney/Lucasfilm)

Okoye (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War).  Is there any woman warrior as powerful and impressive in a fantasy movie this year as Danai Gurira’s Okoye?  We can’t think of any.  A smart commander, a brave soldier, a loyal ally.  Stalwart, devoted, steadfast, strong physically, intimidating and wise, with a keen unwavering ferocity, she represented the best of Wakanda, and fought bravely to defend the world at the last stand against Thanos.  (Disney/Marvel)

Higgins (Magnum PI).  Few television characters are as beloved as Jonathan Higgins in the original Magnum, p.i.  So it was going to be risky having any actor step into the role John Hillerman made famous.  So when the show honored the original character and late actor with such a finely tuned, updated character and actor, we took notice.  Perdita Weeks’s Juliet Higgins is everything Robin Masters was–the character we all thought Higgins was in secret.  We don’t know whether we’ll learn the truth this time around and what that truth will be, but as an ex-British secret service agent, she’s a James Bond for Thomas Magnum to partner with–literally running alongside the show’s star and fighting and shooting her way as an equal.  And the result?  Every episode of the first season was full of great action and fun.  (CBS)
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Odds are, you’re going to find this year to be the best year yet for accessing your favorite Halloween movies in October.  Particularly if you have a DVR and basic cable, you’ll be able to find many staples of the holiday season.  Below we’ve provided hundreds of movies scheduled to air–hundreds to choose from with a mix of classics and brand new shows–our annual compilation of the movies you get with the typical national basic cable packages.  Syfy’s 31 Days of Halloween is back, along with Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween.  AMC’s Fear Fest begins October 14, this year swapping out many movies for reruns of The Walking Dead, leads up to the new season premiere of the series (AMC’s listing below will be updated once they publish their final official schedule).  And TCM is back with monster classics and special theme days.

We’ve bolded some of our recommendations and other notable events in October.  A new Halloween movie will be in theaters and you can watch all the past entries in the series on AMC.  TCM honors the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein with several classic spin-offs.  You won’t want to miss Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, too.  A Stephen King movie marathon, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Bela Legosi, Lon Chaney, Boris Karloff, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, and lots of exorcisms.  Plus lots of animated movies on Freeform, and the Disney channel will be releasing its listings for Monstober later in the month.

All month long on Netflix you can watch horror movies including The Sixth Sense, The Lost Boys, The Boy, Cloverfield, Coraline, Children of the Corn, Cult of Chucky, Van Helsing, plus series like Stranger Things, The Twilight Zone, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Requiem, Bates Motel, and The Frankenstein Chronicles.  On Starz you can find a mix of sci-fi and horror movies including John Carpenter’s The Thing, They Live, and Ghosts of Mars, Young Frankenstein, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem, Underworld: Blood Wars, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Zombieland, Life, Scream, Amityville: The Awakening, Sleepy Hollow, Hollow Man, The Craft, and many more.  If all else fails, you can probably grab your favorite ghost story or other horror classic on Vudu and Amazon Prime, where you can buy or rent recommendations like The Fog (both versions), The Birds, The Shining, Orphan, Let Me In, The Others, The Woman in Black, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Ring, Grimm, and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  

So take notes and put your watch list into your DVR now so you don’t miss anything.  (All times listed are Central Time):

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Review by C.J. Bunce

In the realm of cool it’s really hard not to begin with something like Bruce Brown’s 1966 surfing documentary The Endless Summer.  Whether or not you’ve ever tried to surf or even been to the beach, the carefree attitude of these 1960s surfers is infectious.  Brown’s follow-up in 1994, The Endless Summer II, showed us what changed–and what hadn’t changed–in the intervening 30 years.  A documentary airing the rest of this year on Starz provides another perspective on catching waves.  It’s Shorebreak: The Clark Little Story, a highly-praised, multiple film festival pick in 2016 and 2017.

Clark “Turbo” Little is “the award-winning photographer with the largest social media following in the world,” who carved his own niche in the coastal photography market.  While other photographers were clogging beaches trying to get the best shot of the most dangerous waves and those attempting to surf them, Little started taking photographs of a world nobody else was paying any attention to: the shorebreak–that zone where the waves hammer the beach, and the photographer takes repeated poundings to get his perfect image.  In the documentary we watch director Peter King film Little as he films the unique natural formations that occur inside the waves as they slam him into the surf.  The result is a wealth of breathtaking photos that have been featured at international museums including the Smithsonian Institution, in advertisements, in outdoor magazines, and even in a memorable National Geographic Magazine spread.  Now a full-time career for Little, his clients include Apple, Nike, Nikon, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, Toyota, Anheuser Busch, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and more.  Little has filmed both stills and video on the North Shore of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island, California, Japan, and French Polynesia, and published two books, The Shorebreak Art of Clark Little and Shorebreak

Shorebreak: The Clark Little Story, reveals Little’s pathway to creating his photography subject of choice.  It’s a similar kind of mellow ride as found in Bruce Brown’s surfing documentaries–the kind of movie to meditate to or focus in closely with the benefit of quality HD and Little’s beautiful imagery.  Little’s work can cause some sore muscles or even a broken neck if not done properly, but his work doesn’t have that tense risk factor of the big surf crowd.  Yet he seems to be embraced by the community, walking the walk and talking that very cool vocabulary familiar to the beach community.  Little shoots much of his work from nearby his home in Haleiwa, Hawaii.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Do you want to see the best series opener you’ll probably see this year?  If you’re a J.K. Simmons fan–and even if you’re not–set your DVR for tonight’s premiere of Counterpart on Starz.  It’s Dirty Harry meets The Adjustment Bureau as J.K. Simmons plays mild-mannered Howard Silk, a thirty-year veteran of a low-level interface job in a Berlin carryover Cold War installation.  But his world is turned upside down when he learns an experiment back in the 1980s split time apart and created a duplicate world, and he meets his counterpart–the Howard Silk from the other side, a brusque, 007 spy, who has little patience for his genetically-identical, under-achiever self.

Could Counterpart be J.K. Simmons chance at a coveted television role like Tatiany Maslany’s multiple roles in Orphan Black?  We can only hope.  His role is similar to Jason Isaacs’s dual role in the 2012 series Awake.  But will there only be two Howard Silks, or more?  With so many characters in series these days not making it through a single character arc all season, Simmons’ Silk gets plenty of development in his first hour.  It’s clear we’re going to get a season of Simmons vs. Simmons, and the series opener allows for audiences to witness plenty of nicely filmed interactions between the two.

It’s exciting, smart, dramatic, and even poignant.  Silk’s wife, played by Olivia Williams (The Sixth Sense, The Postman, Rushmore) on this side of the timeline is in a coma, and Silk visits her to read to her each night.  He is confronted by her brother, an unlikeable sort played by Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica, Horatio Hornblower).  Sara Serraiocco plays a badass counterspy.

Check out this trailer for the series:

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Our favorite TV borg in 2016 was Bruce Campbell as he teamed up with on-screen father Lee Majors in the Starz television series Ash vs Evil Dead.  Reprising his role from the Evil Dead film series and Army of Darkness, the chainsaw-armed suave hero Ash is back next month for Season 3 of the dark comedy-meets-horror gore fest.  Starz releases a new teaser for the 2018 episodes this week, a mock beer ad featuring Ash as a smarmy 1980s guy cruising a lounge.

Fake brand Shemps Beer (think the TV-pervasive Morley cigarettes or Magnum’s Old Dusseldorf beer) was featured in the Starz series first seasons.  The “Shemp” in “Shemps Beer” is Campbell’s and Evil Dead and series co-creator Sam Raimi’s term for all the back-up characters they needed to pull in for their low-budget original film Evil Dead, a play on The Three Stooges’ third member of the comedy team who replaced Curly, Shemp Howard, who also died and was replaced but with his previous stand-in–a “fake Shemp.”  Hence “Shemps” as the series fake beer.

Accompanied by Cutting Crew’s memorable radio song, Campbell is back being the Bruce Campbell we loved in the Evil Dead films and series, and as star of Burn Notice, and in Sam Raimi’s Spider-man movies (the best part of those films, actually) and in his series Jack of All Trades, and in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and in Xena: Warrior Princess, and in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and in The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.

Check out this new teaser for Season 3 of Ash vs Evil Dead, and the full preview for this year’s episodes:

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night court

More than fifty years ago Newton Minow, the first FCC commissioner, called television a vast wasteland.  The prospect of 500 channels available and nothing to watch was forecast back in the 1970s and today it sometimes seems like it’s a truism more often than not.  But if you get tired of new programming–and make no mistake plenty of great television shows are airing this year–a few recently added channels to your local line-up may remind fans of classic TV why they jumped onboard in the first place.

Three channels: MeTV, COZI TV and LAFF, are a destination for those who just want to pop in now and then for a dose of the past.  Even pay channel Starz has begun broadcasting classic television series.  No doubt much of the programming may not hold up to current audiences.  Clothes, hairstyles, and stale, formulaic half-hour and hour plots may not keep your 21st century attention.  Yet many shows seem to hold up quite well.  As time goes on two of my favorites, Simon & Simon and Magnum, P.I., seem to drift farther and farther away, yet the comedy of Night Court and Cybill remains laugh-out-loud funny.

Simon & Simon

Classic TV gold, like The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, may be a bit much in big doses.  Only a diehard fan would stream these beginning to end.  Yet, try popping in once in a while and it’s like visiting an old friend.  M*A*S*H and The A-Team hold up quite well.  In particular, the formula established by The A-Team, no doubt based on decades of series that came before it, can be found continuing on to this day in series like Leverage and Burn Notice.  Even series like Wonder Woman and Charlie’s Angels can be fun, if you don’t take their 1970s approach to TV too seriously.  And you may find yourself engrossed in Quantum Leap all over again.

So what’s playing, where, and when?

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ash-vs-evil-dead-bruce-campbell-starz-trailer

The cable network Starz has released a second trailer for the TV series sequel to the classic Evil Dead films, Ash vs. Evil Dead.  If you missed the first trailer, check it out when we previewed the show first here at borg.com.  Whether or not you’ve seen the originals, we see two big reasons to give the show a try.

First, how can you not love Bruce Campbell?  As Ash Williams, he is one of our favorite members of the Borg Hall of Fame.  Although it was Evil Dead that made him known worldwide, we loved him back in his Hercules, The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess days as the Errol Flynn inspired Autolycus.  He reprised his role as Ash in Army of Darkness, but also popped up all over the place in shows from Knots Landing (what?) to The X-Files, from Homicide: Life on the Street to Lois and Clark and Charmed, and from Psych to The Librarians.  His two series with Campbell in the lead, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and Jack of All Trades are the stuff of cult classic legend.  And his pop culture status has only grown through roles in Darkman, Congo, The Hudsucker Proxy, Escape from L.A., McHale’s Navy, The Majestic, Spider-man, and Sky High.   And his best TV is undoubtedly Sam Axe on Burn Notice.

Second, Lucy Lawless back in a show with Bruce Campbell?  That’s just… neat.

Here is Bruce Campbell in the second trailer for humor-filled gore-fest that is Ash vs Evil Dead:

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Bruce Campbell Starz Ash

If you’re a Bruce Campbell fan like us who still must watch the full introduction to old episodes Burn Notice to get your Campbell fix, this next item may be just for you.  Sam Raimi is continuing the adventures of Ash Williams from the Evil Dead series in a new series from cable pay channel Starz.  Ash vs. Evil Dead who be a larger than life, tongue-in-cheek, gooey, bloody, silly gore fest that, based on its first trailer, appears to amp up all the above compared to the original movies.

Look for Mimi Rogers and Xena herself, Lucy Lawless, who appears in the preview released for Comic-Con weekend.

Bruce Campbell Starz Ash chainsaw

It’s the ultimate blast from the past for cult horror flick fans.  Check out the preview for Ash vs. Evil Dead:

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The Missing Starz

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s difficult to pinpoint the fine line between a run-of-the-mill, contemporary real-life drama and a good thriller.  If it’s dry and boring, we give it the label of “drama” and are happy to skip over it.  But if it has a mystery or action component and something special, then we sometimes take a closer look.  Case in point: The Starz British-produced mini-series The Missing, which was just renewed for a second season.  The “something special” is a handful of actors we’ve seen in great genre film and TV.

If you can get past the dreary sounding plot–a real-life drama about the kidnapping of a British boy vacationing with his parents in France–you’re in for a compelling suspense-thriller on par with the best police procedurals, like the BBC’s Zen or the original Law and Order.

Hobbits dwarves Nesbitt and Stott in The Missing

Another British mini-series, Broadchurch, repackaged for U.S. audiences as Gracepoint, had much in common with The Missing, at least on paper.  Broadchurch starred Doctor Who’s David Tennant and Arthur Darvill, and Attack the Block and Marchlands’ Jodie Whitaker and also followed a crime about a little boy in a small community.  The Missing features two actors who starred as dwarves in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit series, James Nesbitt, who played Bofur, and Ken Stott, who played Balin.  Mr. Selfridge and Timeline’s versatile actress Frances O’Connor plays the mother of the missing son, wife to Nesbitt’s determined and grim father.  A similar crime and genre actors are where the similarities end.  Where Broadchurch settled in as a passable melodrama, The Missing becomes a rich, engrossing, addictive tour of a place no one would want to go in real life.

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Torchwood Miracle Day

After a long wait the Starz 10-episode mini-series Torchwood: Miracle Day has been picked up by BBC America beginning with the first episode last Saturday, September 14, 2013.  Originally airing on pay-cable channel Starz in 2011, it received a lukewarm reaction from some, a hostile reaction from others.  Maybe it’s just the absence of any Torchwood for most of the country since 2008, but finding old friends Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Torchwood agent Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and even hubby Rhys (Kai Owen) back in a “new” series is a welcome sight.

More than that, actor Bill Pullman (Independence Day, Deceived) is a series regular, and we quickly learn he is a serial killer getting the death penalty carried out in the series’ first scene.  True to Torchwood’s roots as a spinoff of Doctor Who, the focus of the new series is a world where only the strange is the norm.  Ripped from the files of The Twilight Zone (specifically the Jason Alexander episode “One Night at Mercy”), it is no longer possible for anyone on Earth to die.

torchwood-miracle-day Gwen Cooper

Torchwood, the agency, is no more, thanks to Torchwood: Children of Men, except for Gwen and Captain Jack.  Gwen and Rhys and baby are living the quiet life away from all the X-Files-esque world.  But the Americans see the word “Torchwood” pop up on their secure networks then it vanishes, prompting a hunt by CIA analyst Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) and partner Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer)–one of the dead that is still alive, and he’s not happy he needs to go all the way to Wales to extradite Jack and Gwen to the U.S.  Two Brits and two Yankees in a buddy cop team-up?  Good idea!  On top of that, the immortality of humans translates to mortality for Jack.

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