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Blood Ties, EFC and other TV fare
Since my last proper review blog posting, I've seen a bunch of stuff, so I thought I'd give you a short rundown. I just don't have enough time to write proper reviews of each and every one of them.
My favorite show so far, which is actually already available as a (admittedly extra-less) DVD boxset, is Blood Ties. It's a Canadian vampire TV show based on a series of novels by Tanya Huff. It has a very unique style, likeable characters, and decent acting. It's also filmed in Canada, and has a similar kind of day/night transitioning shots as we had in Forever Knight
There are a few things that I'm usually not too eager about, like that the vampire just happens to also be the son of Henry VIII, and that they have a very strong aspect regarding magic, demons and so forth, but it works in the context of this series, and it's all still at levels where you can believe that the general populace wouldn't notice all this is happening under their noses.
It's a great little show, and I hope they will keep producing a few more good seasons of this, because I really enjoyed it, and essentially watched the whole 22-episode boxset over the course of a weekend (thank Apple for Float on top in DVD Player).
Another vampire show that I got to see a few episodes of was Moonlight. Meh. I first thought this would be good, having Sophia Myles (great in Dr. Who as Madame de Pompadour, competent as the female foil in Underworld), and sounding vaguely more rooted in reality and less in magic.
But in actual broadcast it ... well, it has pretensions, and gets drowned in effects and buzzwords. The voiceovers by the vampire cop are boring and hollow, ripe with fortune-cookie wisdom, and they started it off with an effect where it seemed the vampire got interviewed. And the guy sleeps in a freezer... This show adds nothing worthwhile to the detective, nor the vampire genre, and the rest is too bland to make a difference.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
This one is interesting. What I've seen so far I kinda liked. It's set before T3 (so it can happen, or they may just be ignoring it -- which would be fine with me), honors the mythos of the movies, and plays nicely with expectations. I wouldn't recommend reading much about the show or even looking at too many of the posters or box covers, though. You'll enjoy the first episode much more if you haven't had that one mean spoiler everyone keeps throwing around.
I'm not sure how it fits in continuity-wise. The events from T2 are acknowledged, but on the other hand we only get the T1-style Terminators, and it tells the story of how Sarah Connor and John Connor keep fleeing from the Terminators and she's trying to prepare him for his life as the resistance leader, both of which would fit more into my mental model of the time between T1 and T2. Anyway, who cares?
It's the Terminator universe we loved, the actors are great, and the decisions they made that may be considered to differ from the movies were made for sound storytelling reasons and made the entire story more interesting, and more suitable for a TV series: The flowmetal Terminator is just too powerful to have as a constant enemy, without squandering its impact. And the regular Terminators are robust and "unstoppable enough". They have enough episodes to tell that they can afford having "old-style" Terminators first, and then once they become easily dispatched of, they can always bring back the Robert Patrick version.
I haven't decided whether I think it's great, but it definitely looks promising, and may even work as a new franchise if they take care choosing their stories. Hey, it worked for Stargate, and a Terminator has enough potential for humour, too.
Earth Final Conflict
The last season of EFC never was on in Germany. I now know why. God, this is horrible drivel. The aliens are just so ... I guess "arch" is the word. Over-acted like the Master, and yes, I'm talking of the Eric Roberts version, not any of the previous ones that had the conventions of their decades to hide behind.
The masks are your usual forehead masks with ridges, the aliens are unkillable sex-animal-monsters (in a show that dares not explore that aspect properly, and instead has the Zo'or Atavus stroke its own body). A time millions of years ago (or at least it's supposed to prove the Atavus were here millions of years ago) looks like a monastery from the middle ages. If it's actually supposed to be one, why is there an African-American monk in Europe??? It just doesn't make sense with all its transparently-drawn pseudo-philosophy, and Sandoval's motivations do not make much sense either.
Not to mention constant bad hair days for the two female leads, and completely wasting both the return of William Boone and the main female villain Guylaine St. Onge, who is in about three episodes. All of this reeks of last-minute recasting because the actors didn't want to take part for some reason like, oh, maybe the plot. And in the very last episode, we miraculously get a deus-ex-machina Liam Kincaid and some silly "everything is predestined but it is not"-spiel...
I don't know what happened here, but I bet it triggered investigations by the railway authority and numerous damaged cars.
PS - Probably more worthwhile to buy the "Assignment: Earth" comic book if you need your Roddenberry fix and want to see his Star-Trek spinoff that never was.
Doctor Who: The Movie
Because I mentioned Eric Roberts above: This was a 1996 attempt at restarting Dr. Who with US backing. It has been hollywoodized, and it's nice to see this as the transition from the old series to this decade's very successful relaunch of Doctor Who. Paul McGann is a great Doctor, and it could have been worse, but Doctor Who as a British series just works better.
That doesn't mean I wouldn't like to see more motorcycle chases in Dr. Who, mind you. That kinda feels pretty nice, when you see it. Anyway, it is exactly what it says on the tin. If you're a fan of "New Who" and want to know if you have the stomach to watch the old series, I'd suggest you watch this one, and then try a few right before it (i.e. Sylvester McCoy, whom we get to see regenerate into McGann in this movie). I quite enjoyed Ghost Light, which is very modern, but of course has some rather silly aspects.
This show was on German TV a while ago, but I only caught the last two or so episodes. Watching this in sequence was so much better, and the payoff was worth it. What it is? Well, it's kind of a British "reverse Sliders", where rifts in time and space keep popping up all over the world (well, along a "fault line" in Great Britain), leading into primordial times, and thus causing Gorgonopsides and other neat dinos to suddenly pop up in the present.
Quite a fun show, which apart from nicely-rendered dinos also has a little love-story, a marriage in trouble and other character moments. Of course, being a British show, there are only 6 episodes, but a second batch is scheduled for release next month.
Oh yeah, and wait till you see the Dodos.
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