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Home Free (2015)
I wish I'd known about this sooner
Mike Holmes, the Canadian home building hero, hosts a reality competition where deserving families help renovate a series of beat up houses. However, instead of flipping the house for a profit, the houses are given as prizes to the competing families---ALL of them! As each house is is finished, the losing family is left behind with the newly completed project house. By the end of the season, the best "dream" house is given to the finalists in the last episode. Each family has it's own hard luck story, and none of them are aware that each house becomes a prize. I wish I had known about this before. This first season was filmed in the Atlanta suburbs, and I would love to have auditioned for this with my wife and son. I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out.
Rocket City Rednecks (2011)
Funniest Science Show I Have Ever Seen
Simply put, the Rocket City Rednecks put every other Science/entertainment show ever done to shame. Bill Nye, Beakman, the MythBusters and Effin' Science cannot hold a candle to this kind of ingenuity and humor.
The title conjures up images of Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Foxworthy, but the reality is far from that. As a High School Science teacher, I would love to show this in class, except that I would get in trouble because every episode has at least two or three references to drinking beer. Other than that, this show is BRILLIANT! I have read that Travis Taylor has done other science shows, and now I'd like to see them as well. (spoiler) Here's the premise: The principle scientist Travis Taylor is a real-life aerospace engineer at the Marshall Space Center in Huntsville Alabama, and holds multiple advanced degrees in Physics and other Sciences. He is a 2nd generation NASA rocket scientist; his father was a machinist who helped build rockets(we do not learn if his father has a degree, but he is clearly a genius as well)for the Apollo program. Travis' family and friends all consist of genius IQ individuals and his brother in law is also a NASA engineer. So what do a bunch of geniuses in Alabama do on the weekend? Well, they drink a lot of beer, and build a working two-man submarine out of an industrial size fertilizer tank and some beer kegs, and it really works! Then they drink some more beer, and build a real-life Iron Man suit complete with missile launcher out of old car parts. Then they drink some more beer and build a working radio telescope that picks up x-ray emissions from the cosmos. And it just keeps getting better with every episode. This show sparks my imagination, and makes me feel like a kid again, like when my best friend and I tried to recreate Tom Sawyer's river raft using a wood palette and a dozen empty gallon jugs (it sank like a rock, but it didn't stop us from trying). I thank the Taylor family and friends for showing how much fun it is to use your intellect creatively. I hope this show becomes the biggest success the NatGeo channel has ever had. Safety 3rd, folks! (you gotta watch to understand what they mean by that)
Primetime comedy should be this good.
I love any children's show that has a good point but doesn't get preachy. WordGirl is really funny on so many levels, not only teaching vocabulary but also satire, hyperbole, and irony. The silliness is on par with the best old school VeggieTales. The supervillains are hysterical, with equally great villain names, like "Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy" and "Lady Redundant Woman". My son has learned several good vocabulary lessons above his grade level just by watching this treat, and I love watching it with him just because it's so funny. If the "grown-ups" that run Hollywood paid attention to PBS Kids, a lot of primetime comedy shows would be much more intelligent and entertaining
One of the best written of all the Disney TV movies
This one is clever and funny and very well acted. The stories of time travel and and nerds becoming heroes have been done before, but seldom this well. The dialogue is fast-paced and funny, and unlike other teen comedies, is not totally dependent upon pop-culture references for its humor. The teen stars look like real high school students, and are not meant to look model perfect like in "High School Musical" or the "Cheetah Girls". (Okay, Chelsea Staub is the exception, but she's still perfect in her role). Like in real life, the good guys and the bad guys are not 100% good or evil, but are products of their decisions.
But more than anything, this is a very entertaining and fun, smart movie. If Disney had tweaked the special effects just a little, it could have been released in theatres, and I'd bet it would be a box office hit. Who knows? They are making a theatrical sequel to "High School Musical", why not "Minutemen"? I'd pay to see it. Well done.
Doctor Who: Midnight (2008)
"A Fall of Moondust"
It's a good episode, but most of it looks familiar. The overall story of a small group of tourists on a sightseeing shuttle being trapped in a remote area of a desert planet is reminiscent of "A Fall of Moondust" by Arthur C. Clarke. Even the cast of characters is familiar: The academic, the overlooked assistant, the loner, the hero(Doctor, of course) the fight attendant, the everyman's family with constant confrontation between parent and child. Of course, the same could be said about "The Poseidon Adventure" and all the "Airport" films. There have been a number of television movies like "Skyway to Death" that follow the same pattern. Even the mob madness bits are a little predictable. Still, as I said, a good episode, but I just needed to add my two cents. Anyone else agree?
Only Larry the Cucumber could get away with.....
....a riff on "ScarFace"! No kidding, I howled with laughter during the climax, when Larry challenges the bad guy with "Say hello to my little friend!" I went to see this new gem from Big Idea with my wife and our five year old son. All of us are die-hard Veggietale fans, and this one does not disappoint. The Pirates start off this time as a hapless trio like the Three Stooges, working in a dinner theater, and get drawn back to the 17th century in a somewhat Narnian way (is that a real word? I don't know). They embark unwittingly on an heroic mission to rescue a young prince and princess from their pirate uncle, kidnapped while their Aslan-like father the king is away. Very well done. And while there is not an OVERT biblical message, the return of the missing King parallels Matthew 28 very nicely, without being pushy about it. There is also a very funny sendup of the B-52's campy dance classic "Rock Lobster". Go see this one, it's great!
Inspector Mom (2006)
charming entertainment on a shoestring
First off, I admit to being biased in my opinion. I was fortunate enough to be a background extra in the pilot movie and a couple of episodes. That much said, it was a lot of fun to watch this little gem with my family when it premiered on Lifetime. A lot must be said about the creative process that goes into a show like this. The budget for each episode was very tight. With not much money, but a lot of imagination, a lot of improvisation and on-the-spot decision making was done in filming this series. The show is filmed in and around Dallas TX,("Prison Break" was being filmed in another part of town at the same time as this show, with a MUCH larger budget; at least that 's what some of the other extras told me) and much of the scenery and location filming was only possible through generosity and goodwill in the community. As an example, a little fun trivia: closely watch the funeral scenes in the first few episodes; they were all filmed in the same little church in Oak Cliff. So apparently, all the murder victims in Dallas are all members of a particular Christian Science congregation! There are a lot of other fun little quirks in this goofy murder-mystery/social message series. It bears more than just a little resemblance to "Murder, She Wrote", but aims at a slightly younger audience. For her part, Ms. McKellar is even nicer in person than her character on the show. Smarter, too--read her bio--she's a total genius in Math. So yes, I am a little biased in favor of this intelligent, funny show, but why shouldn't I be? Check it out for yourself and enjoy; I hope Santa brings me the DVD.
Between the Lions (1999)
it ain't Shakespeare, but.....wait a minute, it IS Shakespeare!
They are entitled to their opinions, but I just cannot agree with david_345 and heavenseeker. They simply have no idea what they are talking about. "Between the Lions" is one of the best shows PBS has cooked up in years and years. The humor is fast-paced, there's just enough intelligent silliness for the adults watching with their kids. The puns are great in the fact that, the worse a pun is, the better it is. It teaches intelligent wordplay, irony, and dry humor as well as good old fashioned goofiness. I mentioned Shakespeare; well, he was famous for using really bad groaner puns to develop characters and push along the story lines. I bet he would have loved this show! I would give this show a 10 except for Arty Smartypants; he's just creepy.
my favorite line so far: "Is mustard supposed to be crunchy?"
Wonder Pets! (2006)
We love this! I'm 43, and I watch this with my 4 yr old son
Before you turn away thinking I'm a total loon, I must qualify that I am a high school Honors Science teacher, and I have taught everything from PreAP Biology to AP Physics, and everything in between for almost 20 years now. I believe that parents need to watch TV with their kids anyway, to make sure the kids do not watch too much TV, and to make sure that what they watch is appropriate for them. Truly, I have come to the conclusion that "grown-up TV" is just no fun anymore. Up to last year, I was a "CSI" and "West Wing" junkie.....ah well....
Now, as for the Wonder Pets:This show is a real breath of fresh air. The show is hard to describe, except to say that every episode is operatic, humorous, and just a little nuts. First of all, this show is completely absurd. Joyfully, beautifully, (perhaps dementedly?) absurd. But it is so cool, and very funny! The Wonder Pets are Lenny, Tuck and Ming-Ming, a guinea pig, a turtle and a duckling, respectively. They lead a double life as classroom pets in an elementary school classroom during the day, but as intrepid animal rescue experts after hours. Every episode has dialogue spoken and sung, just like a middle school operetta, with repeated choruses of what the story and the characters are all about ("What's gonna work? TEAMWORK!") backed up by fully orchestrated music that sounds actually similar to say, a Wagner opera....yes, I did say Wagner. You just have to see it to understand. In fact, make sure you watch at least two full 1/2 hour episodes, because the first time you see this, it will leave you confused. But after you get it, you will, well,.... you'll GET IT! To quote Ming-Ming "This is SEWIOUS!" (Yes, the duckling's trademark line is delivered every episode like an infant Elmer Fudd, but it is just too funny to describe here). The messages of teamwork and looking out for the good of others is presented brilliantly here, not in any form of a preachy way, but in an enthusiastic, comical manner that young children can understand. Unlike other shows about social interaction, this show does not use the worn out technique of making a character do the right thing by making them feel guilty about having done the wrong thing to begin with (for all its good intentions I just can't stand "Franklin"). The Wonder Pets show that they are their brother's keeper in a proactive way. (Hey, that's pretty ironic, their brother's keeper, and they all live in cages in a schoolroom.....but I digress) Well, what can I tell you except that my favorite character is without a doubt Ming-Ming. Don't take my word, see this new gem for yourself. I hope it becomes a long term successful show like it's problem-solving predecessors "Blue's Clues" and "Dora the Explorer" One last word: Ming-Ming RULES! This is SEWIOUS!
one of the best episodes yet... extremely funny!!!
Big Idea has done it again, and it's a very welcome thing after the last few episodes. "Sumo of the Opera" was a letdown, even though it had some cute moments. I'm still wondering why they used the sock puppet character Lutfi, instead of his alter-ego, Khalil. "Princess and the Great Pie War" was just lame, making me think the creators have a difficulty making a strong lead female character funny ("Esther" took itself way too seriously). But hold on to your hat, the fun is back! (wait, it's a Fedora....) As the cover clearly shows, this is a good-hearted parody of "Raiders of the Lost Ark". As a dedicated Spielberg-Lucas fan, every detail that matched the "Indy" movies had me giggling. Really did their homework on this one. Of course, the myriad Monty Python-like asides, running gags, and inside jokes were terrific, right down to the ringtones on Larry's cell phone, and Larry's mugging toward the audience at odd camera angles. And Bob gets a substantial role in this episode, that doesn't happen very often. Check the closing credits for a nod to the "3-2-1 Penguins!" series. And of course, the Big Idea in this episode is tolerance, patience and forgiveness toward bullies. I highly recommend this episode, especially to skeptics who don't know anything about VeggieTales, and dismiss it as just kiddie-religious programming. This is high quality entertainment that just happens to have a decent message attached to it, as are all the VeggieTales ( yes, even "Sumo" and "Princess" ).
One last note: the animation in this episode is the most awesome they have ever done. The computer-generated characters and backgrounds have beautiful, rich texture, very close to 3-D without the goofy glasses. Remember how good the animation was in "Larry Boy and the Rumor Weed" and "Jonah"? The graphics here are way better than either of those. See it for yourself, there's lots to love in this episode!