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Three Sheets (2006)
Three sheets is the best show that no one without access to HDTV has ever heard of. Zane Lamprey brings a level of dignity and humor to drunkenness that hasn't been seen since, dare I say it: Dean Martin. The Belgium episode is a must-see for any beer geek (like myself) and every episode provides you with an opportunity to drink, learn, be merry, and root Zane on as he journeys through yet another fascinating locale. He gets sauced, banters, zings, and even disturbs, but damn if he isn't the most likable guy you'll ever see on television. You'll never find a better drinking buddy. So grab a drink, get Steve McKenna'd, and enjoy!
Funny, if you get it
This show is really about Adam West. His deadpan delivery and obliviousness to his own shortcomings (or maybe it's denial, tough to tell from just one episode) is really what fuels the comedy here. It's campy and hilarious, but it's mostly a specific type of humor and while there are some jokes that deviate from this basic strategy, the show is not a conventional sitcom (which relies heavily on one-liners). The show is about characterization, specifically that of Lookwell. If you see him interacting with someone for 30 seconds and don't find it funny, it's not for you. If you like West's portrayal as Mayor West on Family Guy, you'll probably find this pilot hilarious and I'd recommend trying to find it online.
Daltry Calhoun (2005)
Bad script, fair movie
Despite good performances and solid direction, this movie leaves you wholly unsatisfied because essentially nothing climactic or surprising happens to tie it all together in the end.
The conflicts between the various characters resolve themselves all too easily, as does the problem Daltry is having with his failing empire. The ending leaves you feeling that once the script hit 100 pages, the screenwriter just decided to finish things off.
Worth seeing for solid performances by Knoxville and newcomer Sophie Traub, but overall it just feels like a good idea that never develops fully.
Good directing saves it
Yes, this is not a great movie. And yes, this is not what most would consider a good film. However, the limited acting of Zahn, MM, and Cruz give this film some life, and the the plot makes it truly live. Sad to say, but Eisner makes this movie move along, and the plot is a good one (Clive Cussler likely deserves most credit on this). As far as the treasure/mystery/comedy genre goes, this is the best in a long while. It's entertaining, bottomline. Like one of Cussler's novels, it keeps you interested for a few hours and, basically, makes you feel like you're working toward something. A solid 7 of 10, rent it and pop some popcorn. Cruz is hot (as always), so enjoy her if nothing else. Among the tops as far as Hollywood tripe goes.
Dark Skies (1996)
Before its time
This show would be a smash hit today, with the state of science fiction being as mainstream as it is. I hated how NBC bounced it around so much; it never had a chance to establish itself (NBC has a habit of this, i.e. the John Larroquette Show).
It was very bold for a television show to link major historical events into a government conspiracy, but I think this show handled it very well and didn't make it seem hokey or dumb. At the core, this show was just thoroughly entertaining, whether you're really into science fiction or not. If you haven't seen it, I think the Sci Fi channel still shows them occasionally.
Family Guy (1999)
The show that changed how television works
For everything that Family Guy is (funny, sharp, fresh, creative, outrageous), perhaps the most important aspect of it is that it has done things that no other show in the history of television has done.
Family Guy is the only show to be resurrected the way it will be in 2005. It was cancelled (most say unfairly) by Fox, only to continue expanding its audience via basic cable broadcasts and a devout cult following. It is one of the first shows to make a huge financial impact with DVD $ales, hitting huge financial heights for any television show, especially a cancelled one.
But that's not all. The Cartoon Network broadcast of banned episode "When You Wish Upon A Weinstein" in November of 2003 was the first (and to my knowledge, only) time that a cable program has beat out one of the big three networks (ABC, NBC, CBS).
The show will be brought back to FOX sometime in early 2005. Although fan support played an integral role in the return of this show, that fan support would not exist if the product they love was not of such high quality.
Seth MacFarlane and Family Guy have persevered and made it a long way not by gimmicks or luck or a sweet timeslot. They made it on something that so many television shows lack: quality. Family Guy is simply a creative and funny show that might be the biggest cult favorite of all time. When it makes its re-debut in 2005, one can only imagine that Fox will have a gigantic hit as the legions of die-hard fans tune in, as well as the casual viewer who just wants to see what all the fuss is about. Family Guy may very well be the show that usurps The Simpsons as the Fox network's ratings juggernaut.
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Don't label it as a "remake"
I went into this movie expecting it to be the sort of cookie-cutter suspense-thriller that Denzel Washington has relegated himself to for quite some time now (think John Q).
What I got instead was an intelligent, sharply written, fast-paced thriller that had great performances from Washington, Streep, and particularly Schreiber, who is an actor who may emerge a great deal after this film.
It's unfair to compare this film much to the original, each clearly has its own merits and contextual importance. In light of the current debates over the role of corporations in wartime, I think this movie strikes a unique cord on premise alone. Add this to the strong acting and directing, and I think it is one of the best films of the year and certainly the best thriller I've seen in a very long time.
Secret World Live (1994)
Gives you chills...
I am not a fan of concert videos at all. I feel they can not provide anywhere near the amount of energy one gets from a live show, and since all concerts are designed for the stimulation of the live audience, most video/dvd concerts fall rather flat.
This, however, is one of those rare viewing experiences that transcends the medium. Gabriel weaves so much stimulation into his concerts that you can't help but be impacted by all the happenings. Etched forever in my mind is his performance of "Come Talk To Me," which might be one of the most intense and passionate performances ever captured on film/video/anything.
If you're not a Peter Gabriel fan, watch this and you will be. If you're a Peter Gabriel fan and you haven't seen this, then you're not the fan you think you are. Almost a religous experience.
The John Larroquette Show (1993)
Unique, funny and pure genius. This show was the perfect forum for Larroquette's abilities and he played extremely well off of the other actors. I still hold a grudge against NBC for changing, then changing, then changing, then cancelling the show. If it had not been constantly tinkered-with and toned down, it might still be running. I mean, how many comedic programs deal with a recovering alcoholic and have a prostitute as a character? With the recent explosion of television programs dealing with darker content, it's easy to see that this show was ahead of its time. I'd love to get the DVDs, though NBC may not release them.
The Ben Stiller Show (1990)
Not as expected
This was a very briefly aired show on Mtv, not Stiller's sketch show on HBO a couple years later. The other comment posted here has the two confused. This show was funny in it's own right, though. Really the start of what Stiller's persona has developed into.