The Venture Bros., image courtesy of Jackson Publick
So much good television is on offer for 2013. Given that I didn’t write an arbitrary best-of list for 2012, I thought I’d start out this year with an arbitrary list of things I’m really looking forward to watching in the next year. In no particular order, here are five things to get excited about for 2013 on your screen, be it television or computer or tablet.
1. Hemlock Grove. While the trailer is a little cheesy, the cast and concept are sound. Masks, hidden things, and danger lurking underneath ordinary faces? I’m in. I’ve also been waiting to see Aaron Douglas again since his role on Battlestar Galactica ended. No one can play crazy waiting to burst through a placid exterior like Aaron Douglas. I keep waiting for the role that will let him rip someone’s head off. I hope this show gathers loads of momentum from Netflix watchers, but I’m worried that actual ratings (measured by clicks and views on Netflix) will look small when compared to the made-up Nielsen ratings we’re used to as a metric. Here’s hoping Hemlock Grove delivers the horror and fandom goods and thrives as a show independent of any network.
The latest in our ongoing series on the life and death of linear television, a.k.a. old-style appointment television, TV that only moves forward in time. For previous installments, go here.
The first article in this series highlighted how today’s fans are able to finance production of television content they would like to watch, bypassing traditional network executive control of programming. This article will show examples of how traditional television networks are capitalizing on fan-funded television, and embracing (or sometimes co-opting) content driven by audience rather than business.
By Lisa Anderson
In late 2010, I made a list of the 2011 films that I was most interested in. With many year-end retrospectives going on, I thought I’d go back over the list and report on how these movies compared to my expectations.
Of all the movies on my list, this one probably disappointed me the most. The story was muddled and didn’t make use of folklore and symbolism in the way it could have. The love triangle was not as interesting as it could have been, and there were disappointing performances all around from otherwise amazing people. Last but not least, the script missed the perfect opportunity to have the wolf throw back its head and howl at the moon. Red Riding Hood had its good moments and there were things I liked about it, but overall, you’re better off watching Hanna (reviewed here) for an innovative, feminist take on fairy tales.
As always, I wish I’d had the time and resources available to experience more, but here are some of the things that made 2011 memorable (in alphabetical order, to be fair).
À l’Intérieur (Inside) at TIFF Bell Lightbox, August 20: Though I’d already watched this film three times on DVD, I felt that I needed to see it on the big screen. I’ve probably said this a few times already, but it’s still true: it manages to completely transcend the horror genre to become a bona fide work of cinematic art. It is indescribable and powerful and if you haven’t experienced it yet, you should.
Adam Ant: For all those folks who thought he was a crazy, bloated has-been, recent live performance clips on YouTube will more than prove those half-baked theories wrong. He’s so much more than the guy who did “Goody Two Shoes” and any and all adulation for him is well deserved. His descent into madness, fall from grace, and subsequent return to form (used in the truest, most non-cliched sense ever) are remarkable achievements. He remains, after thirty years, a huge inspiration to me. (more…)
By Paul Casey
Batman: The Animated Series was the cause of my love of Batman, superheroes, and later, comic books. I had seen Tim Burton’s wonderful 1989 adaptation early on and went to the cinema to see the underrated and childishly maligned (though rather too scary for my youth) sequel, Batman Returns. I was also aware of the 1960s Adam West TV show.
Even though I enjoyed these, it was the Noir shadows of The Animated Series which got to me. The vision of Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski, Alan Burnett, and Paul Dini would stay with me. The opening is perhaps the most evocative and perfect definition of who Batman is as a character. Danny Elfman’s score is Batman.
By Matt Keeley
The Hub’s My Little Pony is one of the the best shows on television. I came to it rather late, despite having friends who were already fans, mainly because, well . . . who would ever think that statement could ever be true? But it is. And it’s all thanks to Lauren Faust.
By Ben Sullivan
Few serialized forms of entertainment—let alone television shows—have been so defined by an overt enthusiasm to piss off all elements of their viewing audience as South Park. Presaging the Adult Swim grotesque and Seth McFarland’s ribald flippancy, South Park tossed its cavalier line into every cultural imbroglio, national hypocrisy, or simple question of taste at hand. From paparazzi to PETA to NAMBLA, from hybrid drivers to iPad users to country music listeners, from liberals to conservatives to just about any A, B, or C-list celeb caught in the compromises of fame and exposure, South Park‘s defamatory fangs have never wanted for fresh meat.
By Cait Brennan
Nothing succeeds like success, especially in Hollywood, California, USA. The vast echo chamber that is the Hollywood establishment loves nothing more than to recycle some easily packaged, cloyingly familiar property into remakes, reboots, reimaginings, musicals, ancillary merchandise, and Spider-Man Ham Sandwiches. Although the practice has faded in recent years, for much of TV’s life, enterprising producers have been adapting hit films into television shows—shows that were often less than successful. Here’s a small sampling of the worst film-to-TV adaptations.
By Kai Shuart
At first blush, television seems a grossly distorted lens through which to examine philosophical questions. Every television show that comes through our tablets, computers, and (decreasingly) television sets is so overblown, and, well, downright Hollywood, how can it be the catalyst for examining the deeper questions of life? It’s entertainment; it’s only supposed to hang around between the time the opening credits start and the closing credits end.
Back in the ’80s, USA’s Night Flight, a late-night “variety” show, played a mix of weird videos and cult movies on weekends, essential viewing for kids who thrived on that kind of stuff. It was Night Flight that first introduced me to the wonders of Fantastic Planet (La Planète Sauvage), Smithereens, Ladies and Gentlemen . . . The Fabulous Stains, Urgh! A Music War, and Rock & Rule, an animated, epic sci-fi musical.
I’ve been watching it for more than 20 years now and Rock & Rule is still one of my all-time favorite movies. Here are ten reasons why.