Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"The Office 2" on its way?

This link asserts that NBC is getting set to spin off The Office (likely in the spring), although it sounds like the spinoff will not be stealing any of the mothership's original cast. Read all about it here (you'll need to scroll down to find it...).

How do I feel about this news? Well, happy that Dwight won't be leaving Scranton, for one, and sad that they are diluting the product--which rarely ends well (especially because The Office isn't really the huge hit NBC is acting like it is...). We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"24" Teaser; "Angels & Demons" news

A couple of interesting pieces of news for those of you Jack Bauer and Robert Langdon fans: First of all, Fox has released a teaser for Season 7 of 24 which genuinely looks different than previous seasons of the show. Again, if you don't want to know anything about Season 7, don't watch this link. (Having said that, I bet you anything that Fox will start promoting this like crazy in the next couple of months, so staying completely secret-free is going to be increasingly difficult...).

Personally, I think the 24 trailer is a great one--with plenty of action and new scenery to make it feel new, as well as a few familiar faces to tie us back to former seasons (they even address--twice--the controversial torture issue that has been so abundant in season's past). I really can't wait for the season premiere in January.

Next, Sony announced today that production will begin in February for the film adaptation of Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code prequel, Angels & Demons, again starring Tom Hanks. Ron Howard is returning as the director. No other cast members have been announced. The target release date is December 2008. Read all about it here.

While I wasn't initially as impressed with the film version of The DaVinci Code as I would have liked, a recent repeat viewing left me feeling a little kinder towards the box office hit. I still don't love the albino-monk self-flagellation scenes, and think they could have found a more charismatic heroine, but overall it was a flashy and passable thriller, with some killer locations and a decent score by Hans Zimmer.

I always felt like Angels & Demons was a superior book to The DaVinci Code, even though it's a little gorier and has basically the exact same plot as its successor. Can't wait to hear how they try to film around the Vatican with such a controversial plot.

One more interesting note: although Angels & Demons is officially a prequel to The DaVinci Code, they have written it for the screen as a sequel. Since the two stories stand alone from each other and have very little ties to each other, I don't think it was that difficult for the screenwriter to adapt as a sequel. Still, I hope they'll do a good job with it--I think the story lends itself to be a very thrilling movie.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Amazing Racers

Well, here they are, for our viewing pleasure: the new teams from the next season of The Amazing Race. This time around, our teams include a grandfather/grandson, married ministers, and dating goths (bet you can't guess which ones they are...).

Can't wait!

Monday, October 22, 2007

"The Amazing Race" returns!

Hot on the heels of the season's first big TV failure (Hugh Jackman's Viva Laughlin), CBS has announced that TV's most exciting reality show, The Amazing Race, will return on Nov. 4 in the timeslot it previously occupied last spring (Sundays at 7 p.m.). Details on the racers are yet to come, but producers promise that the race takes us to new countries this time around, including Ireland, Croatia, and Lithuania.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: even in the dullest of seasons (the Family Edition, anyone?), The Amazing Race represents the best of reality TV, mixing interesting players/relationships with exotic, wish-I-could-go-there locations. It's the one reality show I really wish I could be part of.

Judging by the show's most recent Emmy win (the fifth in a row), critics are in love with the show too. If you haven't already become a racer, mark your calendars for Nov. 4!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dumbledore is gay!?!?!

I was shocked to read the following article this weekend:


All I can say is that I'm glad she didn't try to elaborate on this in the books.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

We should all be "Pushing Daisies"

Because of my aforementioned lack of engaging TV shows to watch this fall, I was willing to give one of the newbies a shot because of the overwhelmingly positive reviews I've been seeing for it. The show is ABC's Pushing Daisies, which premiered last night, and I have to say, it's definitely the most interesting pilot (premiere episode) I've seen since Lost three years ago. Not that this show has much else in common with Lost; Pushing Daisies is breezy, romantic, and completely charming.

The premise is the stuff of fairy-tales: a shy pie-maker is magically given the gift (or curse) to bring the dead to life with a single touch. This gift has it's pros (he talks to murder victims so he can solve the crime and collect the bounty) and cons (if he touches the recently revived a second time, they die again, this time forever...). Without giving too much away, the premise certainly shows promise of becoming a quirky and addicting diversion for Wednesday nights; a welcome contrast from the standard soaps and procedurals that dominate the rest of network TV.

The main reason I bring up this show is for all you Twilight fans out there; this show (or at least last night's episode) has the potential to be the charming romantic comedy you've all be waiting for. (Watching it by myself while Wendy was at the church, I stopped it halfway through so I could rewatch it with her...she loved it.) Having said that, it's romantic without being cheesy, witty without being cheap, and quirky but accessible. No, there aren't vampires, but it does involve death, so cheer up.

ABC is reairing the pilot on Friday night. If you missed it last night, set your DVRs to catch Pushing Daisies. For at least one hour, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Boring "Heroes"

In my neverending quest for some engaging television these days, I have continued to watch Heroes this season, even after having a mediocre reaction to last year's first season. Yes, I love the show's concept. Ordinary people with extraordinary powers is always good for some fun stories, even if it's not a completely original idea. Last season had a couple of humdingers, with the Claire/Matt/HRG/Nuclear Man episode (about 3/4 through the season) right up there with some of the best single hours of television I've seen recently. Having said that, the season as a whole was never so consistently addictive as to make me eagerly anticipate the new season. It ended with a whimper, and unfortunately has come back (2 episodes in) just as underwhelmingly.

Here are a couple of my problems with the show, in no particular order:
  • Too gory, especially the Sylar business. I know it's far-fetched, but come on, cutting off the top of a person's head is gross, even if you do it with magical powers.
  • Too many characters. Network serial dramas these days seem to be determined to weave so many stories that the most engaging ones often get the short-shrift, while the more boring ones get overly diluted (anything with Suresh). It's a problem even Lost has faced at times.
  • No rules. This is a problem I've had with the Mystique character in the X-Men movies--she can be anyone, anytime. It makes for sloppy storytelling. Anytime your character is in a bind, just give them a new power that will get them out of it, but the new power only works when it is convenient for the writers. The Peter character in Heroes is a perfect example of this, as is Hiro and his oh-so-finicky time-traveling skills.
I can't say that I've given up on the show completely--there's nothing better to watch on Monday nights--but I have decided once and for all that, unless they resolve some of my above concerns, this show will never be as great as the show that forged the path for its existence, Lost. February can't come soon enough.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Scratching my head

Jackie Chan was apparently quoted recently as saying ""I spent four months making [Rush Hour 3] and I still don't fully understand the humor."

I spent about four minutes in the theater and realized that I wouldn't ever understand the humor. The main difference between me and Jackie is that I didn't get paid millions to pretend like I got the joke.