By Tyler Hodg
It would be hard to find a child born in the early ‘80s who didn’t wake up every Saturday morning to watch Pee-wee Herman squirm around and yell at the top of his lungs. Twenty-three years after its initial run, Pee-wee’s Playhouse finally sees its Blu-ray release, making it easier for the show’s mature fans to revisit their childhood once again. Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series Blu-ray includes all five seasons, the Christmas special, and numerous behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Full disclosure: I have no idea how to review the new, incredibly comprehensive, fully-remastered, nine-disc Monty Python box set, Monty Python’s Total Rubbish: The Complete Collection. I, like any good misfit worth her salt, went through a rather serious Monty Python phase while in high school, and spent every weekend watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus with my best pal Lori (and arguing over who was cuter, Michael Palin or Eric Idle. The answer was yes), imitating the sketches, knotting handkerchiefs for our heads, and being fully immersed in Pythonalia. I have no objectivity when it comes to Monty Python. I love them. Full on. I learned more about world history from Monty Python than I did in high school (of course, if it had been taught in funny voices, I might’ve paid more attention).
Fans of both Hannibal Lecter and Brian Reitzell will be thrilled by the recent release of nearly five hours of music from the soundtrack to what may become known as the most compelling interpretation of Thomas Harris’s iconic character, NBC’s Hannibal. With 27 tracks, one representing each episode from both seasons (and an extra track highlighting some of the music in Season 2′s killer finale), there is much to absorb here. Even those who have never seen the show, or who have perhaps avoided it because they can’t imagine anything living up to Anthony Hopkins’s cinematic portrayal, will be seduced by the exquisite sounds contained within this collection.
The first season of The Walking Dead was nothing short of brilliant (review). It went through some growing pains—literally—in Season 2, figuring out how to deal with a new showrunner as well as twice as many episodes. The criticisms of that season have been discussed to death and don’t need a rehash. Season 3 expanded the show’s scope further with even more new characters and 16 episodes. Amazingly, Season 4 is better than the excellent Season 3 (review); those who gave up on the show after Season 2 should definitely try and catch up, as it is on par with those first six episodes.
IDW’s re-release of The X-Files Classics series is about to reach its conclusion, with the final set of collated issues of The X-Files comic book being set to drop in just over a month. The first few volumes revealed a lot about the time in which the comic was made—mid-’90s Todd Macfarlane-esque splash pages abound—but also about the inventiveness and creativity which permeated the greatest seasons of the television show. In addition, the comic featured its own mythology, revealing shady Pentagon connections, crystal helmets, and hinting at the alien powers that Fox Mulder, among others, would wield in later seasons of the television show.
There are also some missteps. It seemed impossible to accurately draw poor Gillian Anderson’s face in 1995, her glorious visage distorted or squashed depending on the panel one happens to view. Much like the TV show, it was likely that the creators were up against real deadlines, turning out the product as quickly as possible to capitalize on the exponential success of the show.
Given that the comic book is, in essence, a microcosm of the show, it seems like we are more than overdue a proper reevaluation of the television show and films.
I dig the Hatchet series and Wrong Turn 2 and much of what Joe Lynch and Adam Green have brought us. They are obviously huge horror fans and that shows on the screen. When I first heard these two got together to make a sitcom I was a little confused because they didn’t seem like the types. I assumed it would be horror-related but really didn’t have a clue where they would go with a horror-related sitcom.
Holliston is about Joe Lynch and Adam Green, aspiring filmmakers who’ve been working on a film for years called Shinpads (“They score, you die.”) They work at a studio that does commercials. Their boss, Lance Rocket, is played by Dee Snider from Twisted Sister. Joe and Adam host a TV show (and podcast) called Movie Crypt on which they play old horror films.
In its fourth season, Game of Thrones has become an all-conquering behemoth, awaited with baited breath by millions around the world ready to tune into HBO or cheekily pirate it shortly after it airs in order to ravenously devour the sumptuous look, dense plotting, and layered characters.
Most of these millions are, however, Caucasian, with HBO estimating over 75 percent of the show’s viewers being White. There is clearly a market to still be tapped into, despite the runaway success of the program. Hence we now have the latest in a series of pre-season hype-making mix tapes, Catch The Throne. Whilst previous season-priming mixtapes were mixed by the likes of The National or Wilco—shoegazing White indie—this time, HBO has enlisted none other than Big Boi, better known as one half of Outkast, in a blatant attempt to attract Black and Latino viewers with a combination of hip-hop, samples, and quotations from the show.
The result is sporadically brilliant, funny, clever, trivial, and idiotic in equal measure.
Last Friday, faithful fans of NBC’s Hannibal were glued to the screen for the premiere of the show’s highly anticipated second season. The first season of producer Bryan Fuller’s take on the novels of Thomas Harris garnered critical praise and audience appreciation for everything from the masterful performances to the elaborate gourmet dishes prepared by the title character. One thing that stood out for me, however, was the way in which Will Graham, the protagonist and point-of-view character of the first season, undermines an increasingly common trope on television.
By Martin Hollis
Literature had it lucky. Good old Willie Shakespeare knocked out many a soliloquy in his time, not through choice, but necessity. Standing in the bare rooms of The Globe, it was a must for actors to explain in detail to the audience the location, color, and décor of the room, which had now become Denmark, Verona, wherever.
Given 500 years, it’s no surprise then that Nabokov, Danielewski, and even JJ Abrams in his authorial capacity, have all manipulated and played with the concept of the fourth wall, obfuscating, elaborating, or messing with readers’ expectations. Even Alan Moore’s Watchmen played with the fourth wall, using framing, captions, and font among others in order to play with the form.
By Luke Shaw
I’m increasingly wary of new TV recommendations, especially after the all that post-meth cook smoke was blown up so many collective asses that it got tiresome to even be involved in the show’s culture (Disclaimer: I like Breaking Bad but it isn’t the be all and end all of TV drama). It’s also because to even participate in conversations around that show without either being buffeted by so much screeching enthusiasm or labeled a disgruntled naysayer for having one bad word to say about any of its many elements was an absolute impossibility. So I tend to try and distance myself from the new stuff.
However, HBO have gone and put out something that piqued my intrigue so much that I just couldn’t stay away. So I am going to spend the next couple of hundred words blowing smoke up the collective asses of those of you who read this. I love the series format on TV, though I often regret the time investment, especially considering the way it’s frequently so reliant on commissioning and meeting episode quotas. It often feels like creators are wrestling with network and fan expectations and thus things pan out in uneven and bizarre ways. Sometimes this is good (it was great to see Jesse’s character evolved into a fuller role in Breaking Bad than showrunner Vince Gilligan had intended) and sometimes this is bad (cancellation of shows like Deadwood, shows being dragged on past their sell by date like The X-Files and many others). It’s an obstacle that few shows can guarantee that they can surmount.
True Detective is a familiar beast, but of different breeding. It has this prestigious idea of “authorship” behind it. It has a fixed writer with novelist Nic Pizzolatto and a fixed director in Cary Joji Fukunaga. It has brevity, with the first season being only eight episodes long, It has closure and finality; the show adheres to the anthology format so each season will be about a different scenario, with new faces, possible new locations. None of these are entirely new ideas, but the combination of all of these elements into one show is novel, to me at least. I may have missed a show; with millions of hours of TV it is entirely possible that I have, but that’s a task I can set myself later, with American Horror Story looking like an admirable starting point.