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Monday, January 12, 2009

A Whole Lotta TV

Wow. I have a whole lotta TV to watch. I've amassed a bunch of dead TV shows on DVD over the past few weeks.

First up, once again, special thanks to my best friend, who got me He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. He got me Season 1: Volume 2, Season 2: Volume 2, and an apology for getting me the back end of each season. But still, it's really cool.

When I first fired it up, I was completely stunned. Watching it on my DVD player, hooked up to my massive TV with component video cables, it is a far cry from when I originally watched these episodes on my parents old 12" colour TV on peasant vision in my childhood. I just can't get over how clear and sharp it is...I've never seen the show this clearly.

He-Man was a really odd cartoon now that I'm sitting down and watching it for the first time in all these years. It was such a unique blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero. What really makes it unique is the brand of fantasy that it drew from is the pulp-fiction, sword-and-sorcery kind that was really popular in the 30's and 40's. Well, that actually shouldn't be too surprising. We have to remember He-Man was created when that brand of fantasy was experiencing a resurgence, thanks to the success of Conan the Barbarian.

I'll probably have more musings on He-Man in the days ahead.

I also finally broke down and bought Pushing Daisies: The Complete First Season. Oh, woe that the show has been canceled! No word yet on when the final three episodes will air...rumour has it in the summer.

And creator Bryan Fuller has said that it may not end, and he's thought about continuing the series as a comic book. In a recent interview, Fuller said that he's currently in meetings with DC Comics about the comic book and that he's also putting together a movie pitch. The comic would be good...I could see it being a nice, quirky addition to DC's Vertigo label. And here's hoping that the sales of the DVDs are strong enough that it does lead to a movie...it'd be really nice if it were the next Firefly/Serenity.

And we already have a celebrity director who could do the movie! As we all know, it's quite common these days for a TV show to line up a celebrity director to film the pilot, maybe a couple episodes in the first season, and then sign on as an executive producer for the show's run. The most successful such collaboration so far has been Bryan Singer and House. Well, Pushing Daisies had it's celebrity director in the form of Barry Sonnenfeld.

Ah, Barry Sonnenfeld...that's a celebrity director who's due for a comeback. He proved he had what it took to do big blockbusters by bringing us The Addams Family films and the Men in Black films. He showed he could win over the critics by doing Get Shorty. Then he made Wild Wild West, which was the cinematic equivalent of shooting himself in the foot.

Sonnenfeld has actually been associated with a lot of "brilliant but canceled" TV. He was responsible for that remake of Fantasy Island in the late-1990s, and he also brought us the live-action version of The Tick.

Come on, Sonnenfeld! You turn your career around! Why not do it with a Pushing Daisies film? A fanboy can dream, can't he?

And finally, while I was doing my Christmas shopping, I finally spied Space: Above and Beyond -- The Complete Series in a discount bin, so I snatched it up. Simply a fantastic sci-fi/war show from the mid-90s, I loved it when I was in that netherworld between high school and college.

Again, it had some great talent behind the scenes. It was created by Glen Morgan and James Wong, who, at the time, were the greatest writers on The X-Files. Their most notable achievment on The X-Files is they are the accredited creators of the characters of the Lone Gunmen. Their fame on X-Files led them to create their own show, which was Space: Above and Beyond. When that joined the heap of brilliant-but-canceled TV, X-Files creator Chris Carter talked them into being the showrunners on his other show Millenium.

And what are Morgan and Wong up to now? The Final Destination franchise and occasional remakes of 1970s horror films.

Here's a thought: I always thought Space: Above and Beyond should be resurrected as a film franchise. How about it, Morgan and Wong?

All in all, I've got a lot of TV to watch.

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