A short review multimedia extravaganzaaar!
A 6-epsiode mini-series currently running on Space (in Canada) on Wednesdays at 10:00.
The first episode premiered last week, a 2 hour pilot which laid out what the show was going to be about, a pretty generic television sci-fi show that bridges the anthology storytelling style of “the Outer Limits” with the government investigators of “X-Files” and the teenage drama of “Roswell” (or “Smallville”, perhaps).
Over the past 50+ years over 4400 people disappeared and were never seen from again… until now, when a mysterious ball of light flash freezes a lake in the northern United States and releases upon it the 4400 who havn’t aged a day since they were taken. The show regularly follows a handful of those that have returned, displaced from their lives, trying to cope with their new world, and the discovery of new capabilities. Each episode has a “guest star”, a one-off storyline which showcases another of the 4400.
It’s fairly standard drama, but it takes itself and the material seriously and, for the most part, deals with the emotions realistically. It’s better than most. DVD of the mini-series is out in December.
The Best of Triumph The Insult Comic Dog
I used to be a big fan of Conan O’Brien’s Late Night show, staying up until 1:35 in the morning to watch it (because the Detroit NBC affiliate would run an episode of Jenny Jones in between Jay Leno and Conan), but more often taping it. I even have Triumph’s first appearance, and it didn’t take me long to catch onto “For Me To Poop On”. I liked Triumph immediately, but it was his report from the Westminster dog show that solidified Triumph as a true comedic genius.
The best of features 8 of Triumphs best skits from Conan, but it also collects the rest of his skits in the special features, although some are not presented in their entirety (which is a shame, especially the Triumph Christmas Special). But, really, it’s low brow mocking (and puppet-dog-humping) of easy targets from John Tesh to Bon Jovi to Star Wars geeks to prospective American Idol contestants… but utterly hilarious through and through.
An Evening With Kevin Smith
I used to be a big Kevin Smith fan (wow, deja vu), and to some degree I still am, but it was “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” and his overhyped work on “Green Arrow” that tainted the geek-god status with which I used to hold him. And yet, I sat through almost four hours of this 2-DVD set which is, to put it to basics, an egotistical, media-whorish, fanboys-only amalgamation of Smith’s Q&A sessions at a half dozen colleges throughout the US. And you know, I enjoyed every second of it.
Smith has a knack for speaking intelligently and crassly in the same breath. He stands up for his views but also apologizes for them by pretending to be a vulgar idiot. But the guy has purpose, he’s an entertainer and a provocateur… amidst the dick and fart jokes and pot culture he slips in a few messages. He’s a relatable speaker, sly, quick-witted and a damn fine storyteller.
It’s still watchable by fans only, but you don’t have to be a diehard fan…
The Notorious C.H.O.
Female comedians don’t get enough respect… I’ve heard the term “vaginal” used in describing a number of women’s stand-up acts. And all too often the complaint is their stand-up is “by women, for women”. The sexism inherent in comedy (and throughout the globe) is part of what Margaret Cho fights against… not overtly mind you. While she does speak her mind on any number of topics, from the political to the dangers of obsessing over body image, mostly she subverts by pushing all sorts of boundaries. Gay, bi, straight, leftist, right-wing, athiest, religious, Asian, Afro-Carribbean, Caucasian, Native… she pushes all boundaries, but not with insults, and not by observing differences, but instead by accepting the differences and then ignoring them.
She’s a smart comedian with a crass craft. What’s a joke about midget fisting supposed to prove? I dunno, but I feel a lot more tolerant of it now than ever before. Cho works on you, and doesn’t let up. Accept it she says, and move along. “The Notorious C.H.O.” isn’t as funny as her previous live film “I’m The One That I Want” but it still succeeds in bringing the laughs, and you come out of watching it feeling as enlightened as you were entertained.
The One: The Last Word In Superheroics
A 6-issue mini-series from the 1980’s, published by Marvel’s Epic imprint, “the One” is like a less successful version of Alan Moore’s “the Watchmen” (though it does predate Moore’s series). Writer and artist Rick Veitch pushes on a lot of the same buttons, dealing with the threat of nuclear holocaust and the Cold War through the use of super-heroes. After the malfunction of all the world’s warheads, America introduces its genetically altered heroes, pitting them againsts Russia’s mutated lackey. The lines of good and evil are erased, as neither country is presented as particularly glorious, and Veitch struggles with his debate over the validity of both democracy and socialism, and throws in a rather weak heaven and hell and garden of Eden parable in the end.
It’s a decent tale overall if told in a choppy manner, and unlike the timeless quality (and message) that “the Watchmen” had, “the One” seems permanently stuck in the 80’s… like “the Facts of Life”, “Quiet Riot” or “War Games”. The covers are clever, although generally I find Veitch’s art to be brutally ugly.
“The One” is now out in trade paperback from King Hell Press.