Showing posts with label Classic TV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Classic TV. Show all posts

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cinerati Christmas Season Movie Marathon

It is no wonder that the commercial aspects of Christmas seem to come earlier every year. No sooner than one has celebrated Thanksgiving with loving family and friends, than one realizes how swiftly one has "gotten behind" in one's annual Christmas Season Movie Marathon. At least that's how things were in the Cinerati household. The other night, we had just finished watching the new Phineas and Ferb: Christmas Special -- which was surprisingly heartfelt -- when we realized that we were significantly behind in our Annual Christmas Season viewing regimen.


Every year, the Cinerati household views a minimum of one Christmas themed film or TV special during each day of December. We consider it our filmic advent calendar. We typically follow this up with a Christmas Season Movie Marathon where we try to increase our viewing level to 2 movies a day from the 18th through the 1st of January. This lets us watch more holiday fare, and lets us include things like the Rudolph New Years special without breaking from the rules of what constitutes a Christmas movie -- at least for those films or shows that take place after Christmas. Our definition of what constitutes a Christmas film is pretty broad, but that's what makes it such a fun tradition. Here is a partial list of the films and shows we typically select from:
  • Die Hard
  • Die Hard 2
  • The Last Boy Scout
  • The Thin Man
  • The Sound of Music
  • -- The one film that breaks our about or take place rule because the movie "feels" so Christmassy and Jody has many fond memories.
  • Lethal Weapon
  • Holiday Inn
  • White Christmas
  • Elf
  • Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • 3 Godfathers
  • The Bishop's Wife
  • Scrooged
  • The Ref
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • Holiday Affair
  • The Shop Around the Corner
  • In the Good Old Summertime
  • Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • -- Harry's Christmas present is important for the whole series and the opening song sounds ├╝ber-Christmassy to us.
  • We're No Angels
  • Joyeux Noel
  • Gremlins
  • Love Actually
  • About a Boy
  • A Christmas Story
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Young Sherlock Holmes -- This movie includes Christmas, but it is also a "Victorian/Edwardian" film and any film that takes place in that era just feels Christmassy. I blame Dickens.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Buck Rogers Web Series Debuting in 2010

The Dille Trust and Cawley Entertainment will be streaming a new Buck Rogers web series in 2010 and have posted a teaser trailer. When they wrote it was a teaser trailer, they meant it was a teaser trailer. One cannot discern much about what the series will be based in the short trailer available, but a couple of things are pretty clear.

First, there WILL be rocket ships. This is a good thing. One of the major flaws of the Syfy Flash Gordon series was its awkward attempt to write around rocket ships as transportation.

Second, Gil Gerard will be involved in some way. Given that the Gil Gerard series had a good cameo by Buster Crabbe, it's nice to see the Dille trust continuing the tradition of "handing off the baton."

Third, this is Buck Rogers. That in and of itself is enough to spark my interest.

Here is a description of what they intend to bring to the monitor next year:

Executive Producer James Cawley will be bringing Buck back to his beginnings telling the story from the perspective of a 22 year old Buck Rogers who leaves World War One and is propelled into the 25th Century. “We will be using the technology we have today, to present The Original version of The First Sci-Fi Hero ever! Previous filmed incarnations never really captured the original Buck from the comic strips, which is what we aim to do” Franchise owner, writer and game designer, Flint Dille will be an Executive Producer and Consultant, and will be instrumental in keeping true to the Buck Rogers mythos. Charles Root & Gary Evans who have been instrumental in the success of “New Voyages” will also be serving as Co-Executive Producers for Retro Film studios.

If it is true that they will be aiming to bring the "Original" version of the character to the monitor, some audience members may be turned off by the Yellow Peril nature of the narrative. The early comic strip stories were heavy with Yellow Peril imagery.

While I love rocketships and the classic time period for Buck, the best Buck adaptations -- the Gerard series, the Crabbe serial, the XXIV roleplaying game -- all contained some elements that updated the narrative for "contemporary" audiences. For example, the Gerard series played off of Cold War nuclear holocaust fears and the XXIV game (written by the talented Mike Pondsmith creator of the Cyberpunk rpg for R. Talsorian) incorporated cyberpunk and steampunk narrative elements. I hope this new version does something similar.

Speaking of Mike of these days I am going to have to do a post on just how influential this man has been in geek culture and how ahead of his time his concepts have been. Cyberpunk, Steampunk, Mecha, and Dragonball Z...he was there early and deep.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hulu Recommendation Friday: The Prisoner

Given that this Sunday is the premiere of the new AMC series "The Prisoner," a site as devoted to geek culture as this one is has only one possible recommendation to make -- "The Prisoner" starring Patrick McGoohan. The show is not "officially" on Hulu, but you can find a link on the Hulu site.

The original "The Prisoner" was nominally a follow up to Patrick McGoohan's popular spy themed show "Danger Man," or as I always new it "Secret Agent." One way that "The Prisoner" can be viewed is as the "deprogramming" of McGoohan's character from the earlier series as he retires from the spy world.

There are many other lenses through which the show can be viewed as the show is a great example of what much of the New Wave SF Writers and the earlier Futurian SF writers where doing in written SF. In the fiction of both the New Wave writers and Futurians shifted the focus of sfnal elements away from the mechanically technical and into the political and social. It is true that earlier SF, like that of Wells and Huxley, had been filled with political and social elements as the primary sfnal elements, but the Hard SF movement championed by John W. Campbell had a greater focus on hard science than earlier SF. The Campbellian writers had political subtexts as well, but one can read much of Heinlein, Vogt, and Asimov without engaging with the political/philosophic content. The fiction of the New Wave and Futurians was a little more radical and overt in its use of political and social elements. One cannot read Behold the Man without engaging with the radicalism of the text. It's no accident that "The Prisoner," with its focus on the collective versus the individual, came into existence at the height of the, largely British, SF New Wave.

It is a common practice among fans of "The Prisoner" to have lengthy conversations about the meanings embedded within the series and it is almost impossible to describe the series itself without revealing one something that one might find to be a spoiler. "The Prisoner" is a show to be experienced tabula rasa, then to be experienced again and again in order to engage with the complexities of the narrative.

It appears that the new AMC show is using Alternate Reality Gaming to expand the experience. Make a little visit to the Summakor website to get an idea of what I mean.