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Writing: fanfiction.net/~tharpdevenportMusic maker:
youtube.com/user/tharpdevenportThreads I have started:
(ALL THESE THREADS ARE DEAD, SADLY)
The Dildo Game (GONE):
Rides the Fine Line of Too Silly and Just Silly Enough
Tony Slattery stars of Tiger -- a weird an eccentric rich man who gets drawn into weird matters.
In the pilot for a series that didn't get picked up, Tony tries to get his love back from a Nazi.
It's weird, has comedic timing, funny jokes and oddball humor you'd expect from Tony (especially fans of his too short a time on the original "Whose Line is it Anyway?").
It's really so weird it's hard to give a short review, so I'll just conclude by saying this should have been picked up for a series.
When a series comes back in one form or another, the viewers are left worried of the changes (different hosts, music, look, feel, etc.); I find often they get things wrong. This is not the case with the first episode "Mythbusters, Jr.".
While I personally didn't not care for the "Mythbusters" revival, this was different. From Adam Savage returning, to the same composer for the theme music, to the same cinematographer, to the same editing and FX style as later seasons of th original run of "Mythbusters", this pilot got so many things RIGHT. It looks, sounds, paces, and feels like "Mythbusters". Even the music (no composer credited, so I assume stock music), sounds like "Mythbusters", even a re-use of that harmonica motif.
We even get archival footage of the team from the original run on various duct tape projects (Jamie mustache man himself, Tory, Byron, etc.), and a good healthy dose of Adam throughout the pilot.
In the pilot, duct tape myths are once again tested, this time with the younger crop of co-hosts; pre-teens with aptitudes for fields of science. A couple of them can be engaging, especially the older brunette girl, but even the more boring ones aren't awful, so it's not painful to watch and if you get sick of the kid, don't worry, Adam is not far behind!
If I had to fault it for anything: some the liners given by the kids sound forced, like somebody on the set suggested they say them. And I simply miss Jamie Hyneman and I felt as a co-host (so as to divide duties with Adam and cut Adam some slack) and mentor to the kids, would have been fund to watch. Guest appearances by the trio would work, too. I need my jiggly mustache and hat fix.
The Orville: Primal Urges (2019)
Given that all the reviews are either ridiculous ten star reviews, one star reviews, and even one talking about ads and not the episode, I am forced to write a review that more accurately reflects what it should be rated and talks about the episode and not complain about two Bortus-centric episodes in a row!
The crew of the Orville witness the increasing rapid destruction of a planet by it's sun which is sucking it in. Things, however, take a twist when they discover the planet has a subterranean structure inhabited by life forms. And so a sit-back-and-watch jaunt goes to a periless rescue mission.
Meanwhile, we find that the relationship between Bortus and his life partner is not going so well and that Bortus has been doing some extra curricular activities. The implications of which will affect the crew and ship.
While a marked improvement over the season premiere and certainly not a boring episode, it's still a weak but enjoyable nonetheless. It's got much better jokes than the prior episode, drama, and an ending that doesn't fit the mold of the last-minute happy ending of a "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode (think more like the rescue in the opening of "Star Trek: Generations").
The score by John Debney works well and absolutely has it's moments, but personally I found the big cues from the weak season opener to be more engaging.
Is this a classic? No. Does it deserve ten stars? No. Does it warrant one star reviews? No, that's utterly stupid. Does it engage in the sexual event? No. Is it worth a watch? Yes.
I came into this fro ma Youtube video praising the animated series and how it tapped into the humor of the original film and recommended the viewer check it out.
The pilot is boring. It's predictable.
It's writing is mediocre; none of the humor is even remotely on the same level of the film. At one point the pilot rehashes what we already knew from the original film: the tabloid drags are the hot sheets. And things from the film were oddly different in the series (including the noisy cricket firing a green ball of energy).
The animation is surprisingly bad, especially compared to other animated series of the time.
The musical score is anonymous and does not even approach the same vein as Danny Elfman's score for the film.
For something that is based heavily on the original film, it's so poor and shoddy. Just look at other animated series from around that time: "Batman: The Animated Series", "Superman: The Animated Series", "Tiny Toons", "Animaniacs" and others. Even at their worst animation moments, they're still superior to this series. The writing is far better and the musical scores are some of the finest to come out of live-action or animated series ever in the history of television. And what's more, while made for Saturday mornings when kids were watching, clearly they were heavily written to appeal to adults with the ideas, subtext, and humor. This animated show is quite frankly a major misfire.
I got to say, I felt not only let down, but insulted by this. I highly recommend skipping it. In my opinion, we don't have a good animated "Men in Black" series yet.
Wild and Convoluted
Seven seasons in and the series is not only still on top of it's game, it's gotten better and more bizarre.
Dr. Venture has invented a teleporter, which brings him to the attention of a secret elite group of baby-eating "Eyes Wide Shut" people who want the device withheld so it doesn't disrupt society.
Meanwhile, The Monarch is made a part of a mission for the Guild to steal the teleporter pads. A mission which has not only angered him since he isn't leading it, but has more going on behind the scenes than he knows.
The plot will give you surprises and leave you with questions.
How a show like this doesn't easily go on for seventeen seasons and not lose steam with all the characters, plots, subplots, and back stories, is hard to fathom as long as the original creators are still behind it and writing it.
Let There Be Light (2017)
Let There Be Okay
Kevin Sorbo plays an angry atheist who takes apart religion (kind of a cross between the anti-religious side of Penn Jillette and the humorless side of James Randi) who's ruined his marriage prior to the film and spends his days drinking over the loss of one of his sons.
A popular figure, his life is changed when he is in a car accident and sees his dead son in a near-death experience that will change his life.
The film has good intentions and efforts were made to make it a good film, but it falls flat in several regards. Examples: everything feels rushed (especially that conversation between Sorbo and the pastor); the accident is generic and unseen, loosing some of the impact of the event; too much fuzzy to clear camera work; mediocre acting abounds from damn near everybody (the oldest son is especially bad); the terrible ear-terrorizing "hip" religious songs are very distracting (especially when you open the film that way!); some of the writing is generic and could have come from almost any feel-good movie; the score, by Marc Vanocur, is generic and completely unremarkable -- it was just there and did nothing to elevate things and if there was a theme, I surely didn't hear it (it's also interchangeable music that could have come from almost anything -- a spiritual drama, a procedural modern cop show, etc.).
I wanted to like it more than this, but the film just needs work. It needs better writing, better acting, a better score, and probably to be thirty minutes longer to flesh some stuff out better.
Is it a waste of your time? No. But don't expect the world from this or you shall be disappointed.
Oh, and what the heck -- you can't even shave for your wedding?
The Orville: Majority Rule (2017)
Vote My Review Up
Or else I will get it.
SPOILERS John, Finn and Kelly go on a mission to an alien planet similar to Earth in the 20th/21st century, to find two scientists who went undercover to study the race.
When they get there they soon find out everybody wears a badge with and "Up" and "Down" vote, much like something you find on message board comments (sometimes a thumbs up or down). Everything can get you a vote; you accidentally say something wrong, you can get down-voted; do something nice, get up-voted.
John ends up doing something inappropriate and it's caught on video and uploaded and soon his down-vote numbers are tumbling and he's arrested.
Faced with the equivalent of a frontal lobotomy to leave him more happy and peaceable, John must try and avoid getting ten million votes -- the number where you get "re-educated", so to speak. Unfortunately, the society is a mob-ocracy, where everybody gets a vote and much like today's online behavior, they don't look into anything and vote on not facts by emotion.
The episode is a little weak and has it's faults, but it's easy to look passed them and find what is a rather nice (though not excellent) example of why the United States has an electoral college and why America is a Constitutional Republic and not a democracy. What happens here is an example of what you get when you have a democracy.
Examples of weak spots include: the alien world is basically just Earth with badges slapped on everybody and a little lingo being different; there's no real effort. Some of the modern scoring with synth sounds here and there (thankfully not the majority of the episode score by John Debney) is annoying and distracting, cheapening the on-screen events. It feels like most the actors are going through the motions and not putting real effort into their work; Seth looks tired and un-invested, for example.
Red Dwarf: Timewave (2017)
Criticizing the Episode
While mining a moon, the crew have to leave because of a time wave that could blow them into the future and sweep them into the past.
The timewave drags a ship from the 24th century into their time. A ship from a time when criticism is illegal. However, the ship is on a collision course with the moon, so the crew go to warn them and find themselves arrested for the illegal act of criticizing.
Inferior to the previous two episodes of this season, the episode is really standard and does exactly what you think it would do. There are no surprises.
While not terrible and still watchable, if you happen to miss the episode by accident, don't feel too bad.
Red Dwarf: Siliconia (2017)
The crew encounter a ship of rogue mechanoids who've formed a resistance movement to fight back against being the slaves of humans.
The Red Dwarf crew investigates the ship, only to be taken prisoner and have their minds transferred to mechanoid bodies, where they are punished by doing the assignments they have had Kryten do for them for years.
But like most resistance movements, they turn out to be an elite group of hypocrites who think they're special and above it all and people have to pay at their own unilateral law making decisions.
This season, thus far, and the prior season, are the best we've had from "Red Dwarf" in years. It's not as good as the show's hay day, but as long as they keep making episodes as good as this, I for one will keep watching.
The Orville: Old Wounds (2017)
Mediocre But With Potential
But a number of things need fixing. It has problems all over, from not memorable establishing shots and nothing that particularly stands out or makes you think: hey, that looks like "The Orville" I just tuned into, to even a gimmicky-looking shot of the view screen at quantum warp. It's bland and it's not trying with the cinematography.
The humor, which often falls flat, is too often. In a show like this, it doesn't work like in "Serenity" or "Red Dwarf", here it's very noticeable and when a bad joke it told and there's nothing even any scoring to carry it, it's like you can hear nobody laughing. The banter about their failed relationship was old before the episode ended.
The pacing is often too fast and the editing sometimes doesn't help.
The technology on board the Orville isn't defined enough. I don't even know what some things are. If it wasn't for the borrowing of Bridge ideas from Trek, I still wouldn't know after the pilot what some areas of the Bridge are.
The uniforms have that cheap cheesy 1970's look.
And not all the actors/actresses have characters defined enough. Some kind of run together. Good character actors help defined and shape a character, creating memorably TV characters like Festus Haggen, Thomas Magnum, Sherman Potter, etc. Here it feels like the script is defining them completely. Perhaps not much thought was put into the characters as needed.
And the episode itself is not some event with a big pilot to really showcase the show, it's like something that airs two or three episodes in a mild-ish filler episode.
At least the scoring was right. Can't complain there. Bruce Broughton was a good choice. And the composer line up for the season is also inspired.
In all, it needs a defined look, better writing, less lame comedy attempts, and more world building (maybe an extra character or two; the cat is too small). I think Seth works as a captain and for who the character is and that the show isn't a total mis-fire as some reviewers have written.
Lipshitz Saves the World (2007)
Just five minutes in and you wonder why this didn't get picked up for a series.
Adam Lipshitz is a pushed around nerdy kid in school who thinks he is bound for greater things. However, it's just in his mind until he comes home and finds Leslie Neilson in his living room.
Adam soon finds out Neilson is there to help him since Adam is on a quest to save the world.
Adam's first goal to start saving the world is to get the cute cheerleader to make out with him, feel her right boobie, and take her bra which contains a key, all while avoiding the Man in Red.
It's well done, written well, has great lines and many call backs to passed Leslie Neilson projects.
Wel worth your time if you can find it.
Ray Rayner and His Friends (1964)
So, with a name like "Ray Rayner and His Friends", you think you might have some kind of comedy show, talk show, or at least a kids show along the lines of something on PBS. No. Think again.
What is the "Ray Rayner and His Friends" show? Well, it consists of Ray Rayner standing in a horribly cheap one-room set by himself talking about local events. In a pink shirt. Yes, there's an episode on youtube to be stunned by.
Behind him a painting of poorly done animated TV series characters and for some reason, Batman. Don't know why, doesn't mesh with the other drawings, just Batman. You could say maybe it was that Super Friends show, but no -- this Batman looks nothing like that iteration, while all the others look like their series iterations.
The show begins with out-right theft of the Looney Tunes theme music and a compilation of stills grabbed from various episodes, for no apparent reason other than to get kids' attentions.
He blah blahs on and then at one point opens a book and decides to sing. How appropriate that during that singing, the camera a cuts to the painting, focusing on a scared animal who looks terrified at what he is hearing. Then randomly during that song, it cuts to this Japanese(?)/Chinese(?) woman with a headset singing with him. No clue who she is, she's not introduced, and she's never seen again (not even credited). Just cuts to her. Might has well have cut to a urinal cake -- makes just as much sense.
And in case you are wondering who Ray Rayner's friends are, well, keep wondering -- none of them are seen. I guess the Eastern woman was one, but not enough of a friend to name, see again, or even say good-bye to. Maybe his "friends" were his pink shirt, chalk board, bad painting, and other items around him. Who knows.
And before and after the show, the show gets confused and calls itself "The Ray Raynor Show" as well, showcasing two different names for one show during the show.
After the torturous run, you're treated to not only more theft of the Looney Tunes theme, but the most interesting thing of the show: a couple of the Looney Tunes drawings in the end credits. There were others, but two stood out: one of Bugs Bunny where he looks like he's probably in his late 50's, groggy and perhaps a little drunk, looking at an alarm clock like he's just woken up from a daze and dreading going to work (that's where the assistant director credit went). And how appropriate that Ray Rayner's executive producer credit goes next to the second creepy image: one of Elmer Fudd looking like he's just downed 50 Viagra pills and he's out on the prowl. Or dazed and confused. Either one is particularly bad. During that a cartoonization of what I guess is one of Rayner's friends, that we don't see on screen, shoved in amongst the rest of the Looney Tunes characters, misleading children watching this no doubt. The the "show" goes out on another low by reusing the first image that began the end credits, a second time. Yay.
It's like a really bad local access show.
Tor stumbled upon a blind hunter from another tribe. Unable to see and desperate, the hunter holds Tor against his will to help lead him back to his village. When Tor doesn't show back up, two of the family go on the hunt to find Tor.
It's written well enough (nothing remarkable, mind you), paced decently, and holds your attention just enough to stick with it. For the premiere episode of the series, it was a decent start.
A highlight is the "Planet of the Apes"-esque (film) score, composed by Hoyt Curtin. Though Curtain is credited as a musical director on it, like tons of other shows he worked on, it's little known knowledge outside of film score circles that Hoyt in fact scored all those episodes and was not merely a musical director. If it wasn't for the cheesy synthesizer sound heard in some cues, the score would be perfect for the episode. Drums, angklung, ethnic horn -- it's not your modern TV series with sound design, synth tone and drum patterns -- it's quality music. It's a shame most of Hoyt's career was spent scoring near countless cartoons, instead of more serious work. But with all those shows and many in constant rotation, he no doubt made himself a bazillionaire on just cartoons.
Capping off the episode is narration by Burgess Meredith. While Meredith is a fine actor and a pleasure to listen to, almost all his narration is redundant and not needed, and kind of out of place. I guess the studio thought the audience needed to be lead by the nose with so much quiet in the episode (he also narrates other episodes).
Bob Patterson: Pilot (2001)
Jason Alexander stars as Bob Patteron -- the number three best self-help guru.
Bob's career and life is in a slump, with his wife having left him, his career sagging, his manager is looking for gimmicks, and he's barely written a thing to publish, but things are looking to change as Bob wants to get back into the groove by cranking out pages and date the hot water delivery girl.
But with an endless stream of people bothering him, including John Tesh and his new assistant, things are not going so well. And then his wife shows back up.
The series concept is sound, Jason Alexander was right for the part, but the show needed a little fine-tuning. The writing could have been better and perhaps there was just a smidge too much happening in the pilot. Plus the actress who plays his wife is annoying and mis-cast.
It's done well enough, there are some good lines, and the clever use of female singers in the musical score singing "Bob, Bob, Bob" here and there bemusing in of itself. It's not a bad way to spend some time if you are bored.
C-16: FBI: Pilot: Part 1 (1997)
One Word: Unremarkable
Two new rookie F.B.I. agents hop into work trying to solve a case as part of a team other other agents.
A boy is kidnapped. Kidnapping is a Federal offense that involves the F.B.I., but here we're told this is a special squad of agents, but why is a special squad investigating a kidnapping? There's no reason for it and it doesn't showcase what the series focused around or its characters.
It's unremarkable, all seems the same and it has no identity -- it looks like it could be interchanged with any other bland cop or governmental agency drama.
There's no style to it, nothing that says "You're watching our show". The cinematography is off, the editing is annoying, the score is unremarkable and present at times where it doesn't even need to be there. And the score is nondescript and has no identity, it's also interchangeable.
They'll all different actors and actresses, but the characters are so unremarkable and bland they kind of all blend together.
F.B.I. agents do real research and detective-like work out on the field, but here they run across a witness who can't remember something for sure, and within minutes one of the rookies is suggesting the tired old cliché of hypnosis. It's insulting to real agents and the viewers.
The whole thing is a struggle to watch, there's no involvement, you feel nothing for the characters or the guest stars, and it becomes obvious why this didn't last passed one season. To make matters worse, this is only part one of the pilot. Yes, it's in two parts.
SeaQuest DSV: Knight of Shadows (1993)
Captain Bridger get attacked by a ghost in his quarters, with another telling him to go to certain coordinates.
Sunken ship, blah, blah, blah, ghosts, blah, blah, blah, love affair, blah, blah, blah. The whole thing is incredibly boring and filled with clichés and story elements that have been done to death.
After the series' opening credits music, as if what to come wasn't enough, we're treated to a second credits piece with a black screen, fake lightning effects, and the clichéd cat scream you hear in any other terrible horror special. In fact, three times we hear it. Had to get it out of the way I guess, since where this takes place, there are no cats.
When I say it's full of every boring story element you've seen in these things before, I mean it, from the "We have to do this but I don't know why, just have a feeling" plot idea, the angry ghost, the good ghost, spirit taking over somebody, blood running down something (in this case a door), go places without a real reason, people calling out if so-and-so is okay but so-and-so doesn't answer when there's no good reason for he or she to not answer, fog for ghosts, somebody faints, and others I can't recall offhand.
It could have been acceptable if the episode tried to do something interesting with all that old stuff or twist it in a new way, or make it work for their characters, but instead it's just the characters written around all this junk. And they appear to be struggling to pull it off. Because of the lack of attempt, what might have been a six-star episode, gets pushed down to five. The user rating for this episode is way, way over what it deserves.
Do yourself a favor and skip this. Or torture yourself with this insultingly bad episode with it's stupid brief ending scene in Bridger's quarters that un-did what happened in the climax.
The only saving grace is John Debney's professional orchestral score. Debney did no wrong during his work on the series.
Big Fish Brother
Before there was the modern snooping NSA, there was Seaman.
Yes, before people filled their houses full of internet connected devices with cameras and microphones, there was Seaman. Seaman was played on a console connected with a cable that supposedly just allowed you to download new games, but who knows when you deal with a game where the gay fish asked you such important questions as: your politics, your religion, and if you are having an affair, amongst other things.
One can only imagine what other things Seaman asked you: Do you own a gun? What kind of gun? Have you ever killed anybody? Do you smoke? Do you eat unhealthily? Who did you vote for? Did you pay your taxes and did you report all the income earned? Have you ever gotten it on with a member of the same sex, as Seaman has? Do you wet the bed? What's your credit card number? What's your social security number? Do you find Seaman sexually appealing?
It's tedious, boring, and ties up the system leaving you unable to use it for another game. Get a real fish. It doesn't ask you questions.
Star Wars: Rebels: Warhead (2017)
Entertaining Enough Filler
The Ghost crew leaves Chopper Base in the hands of Zeb, aided by Chopper.
Wanting something other to do than take inventory with AP-5, Zeb and Chopper go investigate a possible meteor impact and find a mystery droid that is deceptively harmless. But soon the three finds themselves in a battle that may get blown out of proportion.
At this point in the season, already halfway in, as a viewer I expect more, yet we are given another filler episode, with a quick Thrawn tag at the end. The important events of the season can basically be boiled down to an an hour or so. The rest is entertaining enough, but there's barely anything built around it. The show has to build up to the events of not only A New Hope but also Rogue One, and now deal with Thrawn, and it's seems to barely move. And when it does move, at times it feels like we've already covered it in a previous episode.
And what is the big deal about Thrawn? So far his impressive abilities have been mediocre or higher critical thinking skills, and everybody seems to be in awe of what mostly seems like common sense ideas, such as -- in this episode -- narrowing down the search to a smaller group of planets.
It's fun enough and have some good exchanges between Zeb and AP-5, but don't expect much from it.
Long after mysteriously disappearing from "Mythbusters", the trio show up in their very own series.
In the premiere episode, each goes about trying to create something that a superhero might use: Kari wants to control minds (which ends up with a funny scene involving Tory), Grant is goes with the power to freeze things, and Tory wants to be able to throw lightening bolts.
But it doesn't end there as they want more, so Grant wants to have invisibility, Kari wants to fly, and Tory wants super strength as well.
I don't know why Kari had to go with the more expensive idea she's not even allowed to even try out -- there' a cheaper alternative she could get to fly: just go to youtube and search for "Flyboard Air by ZR Naples Florida". Six minutes and thirty-seven seconds of, "I gotta have one of those!".
Overall it's a fun watch and there's almost no filler -- it gets straight to the points while letting us enjoy them a little without constant edits (even though there are at least eight editors credited).
The chemistry is still strong between the three and you can tel they are having fun.
It's not remarkable or as gripping as "Mythbusters", but it's certainly better than the new "Mythbusters" series which has become a reality TV series. Your time is better spent on this series.
There's little to complain about: the theme music sucks, and some of the transitions could be better. And what's with that guy in the restaurant deliberately turning his head to and starring at the brick wall? It doesn't look that fascinating to me!
But I do have to deduct points from the nerd licenses of Grant and Tory -- what super heroes are they talking about that freeze people and use lightening bolts against bad guys? I sure can't name any. Mr. Freeze and that female who ice creating powers that I can't recall the name of, were super villains. I can't think of a single super hero that used lightening or even wielded lightening; in fact, I can't think of a villain off hand that did it either, just Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars, but he draws his powers from the Force, not just being a super villain with freak abilities. And Kari didn't even use mind control, furthermore, I can't think of a superhero off hand who used mind control (though maybe Martian Manhunter comes close); the closet I can think of to controlling minds came from the 1966 "Batman" villain Siren. So, I must deduct a point from Kari's nerd license, too. And I know what you are thinking: "Hey, I read comic books all the time and I cant name ten superheroes who have that power, LOL", well you go ahead and name obscure superheroes the general public doesn't know about. Every well-known superhero, or even the background ones in "Justice League Unlimited", don't use those. And I can't think of a "hero" who would strike down bad guys dead with lightening.
Simply Bad, Watson
You open with an airplane that has an actor pulling off a poor Jerry Lewis impersonation, doing the forgetful Jewish stereotype, that's so boring and annoying you wonder if you should even continue watching it. Underneath you have the terrible underscoring with the music just going DUN DUN ... DUN DUN ... DUN DUN over and over and over again (and this is coming from me -- a film and TV score lover).
You stick with it and instead of being rewarded, you are tortured by a poorly written, poorly delivered, and badly executed scene of a mis-cast United States President talking to advisers. That's six minutes of your life. During the next minute what happened in the opening is finally addressed and the plot is starting to advance. It's painful, it's mental torture, it goes on for almost eight full minutes. But, you stick with it because John Cleese is in it and other reviewers praise it. And he must be in it, because he was seen riding a bicycle during the opening credits music.
FINALLY, thirteen freaking minutes into the fifty-five minutes long special, Cleese actually joins the film already in progress. Oh yes, there's nothing better than seeing one of three people the film is about, not actually do anything but ride a bicycle in the opening credits, until thirteen minutes later. By the way, he doesn't even speak until about fifteen minutes in. After all, the last thing we want to hear is the main star of the film speak words.
Twenty-one minutes in it tells us we've reached the conclusion of Part I, and by that point almost nothing has been accomplished.
Another eleven minutes later and Part II has ended and we know almost nothing more than we learned in the first part.
And when Part III ends, you find out there was no actual serious plot, that the whole thing was filler jokes and skits leading to no resolution of everything we were told and ending in rear-end squeaker.
There is so much un-earned and undeserved padding in this special that you could probably trim it down to ten minutes, and even then it would still be awful and not funny.
There are so many bad jokes and poorly executed ones. Not a single laugh in this whole hour of misfires. The premise was't bad, the idea of Cleese as Sherlock Holmes's grandson (following in Holmes footsteps) hunting his old nemesis in modern times has potential, some of the casting was good, and there were little skits that had the potential to be funny if they had been done right, but overall I found myself struggling to watch it, skimming small parts, and wishing a giant foot would slam down and tell us it was now time for something completely different.
The score is unremarkable and at times boring when even there. I wonder why there was even a score, as it was heard so little and did nothing to enhance the struggling mess.
And there are bad edits, film and sound wise.
This is terrible and deservedly forgotten.
M*A*S*H Without the Humor
I guess with the popularity of "M*A*S*H" a year prior, anybody thought they could throw together a band of character actors, quick jokes and a laugh track and they could ride some coat tales to fame. Anybody was wrong.
Imagine "M*A*S*H" with flat jokes, terrible jokes, un-funny set-ups that just keep going and going and going like the Energizer Bunny, and no Hawkeye, Radar or Blake. That's what you get with "Catch-22", one large waste of time misfire that even manages to to get composer Neal Hefti to phone it in.
It's no surprise almost nobody is credited for their work on this -- I know I'd not want my name on it if I had a hand in it (for a paycheck).
A bomber has flown his thirty missions and he's due to head home. Oh, but there are delays and misunderstanding and hilarity that was supposed to ensue. It does not. This was wisely not picked up for a series and you can also get in on being wise by not watching it -- it's not even a curiosity. Oh man, can you imagine what's worse than the un-funny opening that you'd wish would end? How about that opening going on for over twelve minutes (plus opening credits)!
Poor Dana Eclar -- why was he in this mess?
It's got some good lines that actually sound like they could have come from the series, and a lot of effort was put into the outfits, especially Bender, but it also has its faults: it's obvious the guy in the Zoidberg suit really can't see where he's going, it looks like the Professor's lines are dubbed over, the person playing Amy not only doesn't sound like the series character but also seems pointless here, there are slow and languishing line deliveries, inferior music, and the short wasn't completed due to lack of funds.
Pluses include: an old-school actor portraying Nixon's head (and a good job he does of it), honest to goodness attempts (except Amy) to mimic the voices and deliveries of the series counter parts, computer effects so good they absolutely bury something like "Foodfight!" (2012), and the re-productions of sets from the series to real life. Just look at how well the Professor's head design turned out -- some serious effort was put in.
If I had to change anything, I'd get somebody else to do Amy, re-cast Brannigan, and raise funds to hire Christopher Tyng to do the music.
All in all it's not a bad way to spend a some time on a weekend if you are a "Futurama" fan.
Beane's of Boston (1979)
Really Not That Bad
From the creators of the British TV series "Are You Being Served?" (also also both write the pilot, along with two other people), comes an American version. Like other American attempts at pilots based off of British TV shows before, during, and after this, it failed. Be it this, the terrible "Red Dwarf" pilot, or the 2005 "20 Things to do Before You're 30" which didn't even get to air.
A number of the cast members look somewhat like their British counterparts, and the design and layout of the sales floor is just like the British series.
Hillerman was just right for the role and had some good lines. However, the pilot was hampered by two poor performances: that of Tom Poston, whose acting was sub par at best, and Alan Sues playing the infamous Mr. Humphries. Sues tried, but failed -- he just wasn't right for the part.
There's not much to the pilot but it has some good laughs (and some no-laughs, as well as two bad edits), so it's a little baffling why it wasn't picked up -- there was far, far worse on TV at that time. It could have easily fixed itself during a season run.
If you're fans of the original British series, you might find this a way to kill some time on the weekend, but don't expect as much from it as the British series.
And one special note to the short, but pleasant orchestral score by "Knight Rider" composer Don Peake, who shows us even ten second cues can be nice and transition scoring doesn't have to feature a drum kit and electric guitar like so many comedy series of today.
Half a Butterfly Journey Documentary
I came to see the journey of the butterflies, as the title says, but half the documentary was spent not on the journey, but on environmental issues, which is a shame, because while there are real problems pointed out here (rather than the usual environmental propaganda I thought I might get here), it detracts from the story and images. Perhaps a better idea would have been a two-part documentary, one of The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies and another on The Perils of Butterfly Species.
As it is, it needs editing to be more enjoyable, and a score cue or two that have new-agey synth work in them that is pointless and detracts from what is happening on screen rather than helping it, need to go.
It could have been better.
Freedom 2000 (1974)
Propaganda Environmental Film
You know you're in for a load with an animated special that begins with advanced alien life studying a lifeless planet they say was destroyed by the people that used to live there over time from their actions.
Brought to us by the United States Chamber of Commerce (who have been funding GOP Establishment member's favorites in Congressional races after the American people said "NO" and stopped funding the GOP heavily for supporting these wannabe future Establishment members), which shouldn't even be making films like this or spending tax payer money on it, the advance alien life then travels to Earth and the co-pilot describes the history of the United States and it's economic and political system. the description is most accurate with not much off, but since you know how the short opened, you know it was a set up to lead off into environmental propaganda. And sure enough, after the description, the female co-pilot says there must be many problems though, and that's when the environmental bunk comes in. We're polluting the planet, our freedom could lead to us killing the planet, and we'll end up like the dead lifeless planet in the opening. The female co-pilot says they'll return in the Earth year of 2000 to see what has happened. Then they go home.
Well, well, well, guess what? It's 2016 and not only are we not dead, but the planet is dying from pollution. Every single environmental fear mongering hoax perpetrated upon us and come and been debunked; we're not over populated, we have polluted all the rivers and ocean, the second ice age never came, global warming/man made climate change/climate weirding/placeholder for what ever new tern they come up with next isn't happening and the temperature has actually gone down a few degrees, the ice caps haven't melted, Kilimanjaro is still covered in snow, every single oil leak in the ocean has been absorbed and dissipated by the ocean and not killed all the life, there aren't food shortages, hurricanes and bad weather have not increased, and so forth and so on. the only thing that has gotten worse since this propaganda short, is the constant bullying by truth deniers trying to force us with verbal admonition and legal action into believing in yet more fear mongering with the addition of fines and taxation.
Long after the masters for this animation short have deteriorated and dumped in a landfill to pollute it, we'll all still be here and the planet will be fine. Al Gore must have been flying that ship.