Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pick of the Day: 'Vulture' Tackles "Another Damn Cop Show" 'Minority Report'

Fans had high hopes for "Minority Report," but so far the show has adapted a lot of the glitz and not much of the atmosphere of the original film. Dash (Stark Sands) gives us a likable sweet guy character, but the writing puts him more in the dopey-newb-who-freaks-out-with-painful-visions category than ethereal, sensitive medium who sees scraps of future crimes but is helpless to stop it.

Like we noted with "Blindspot," there seems a reluctance on the part of new series writers to draw anything out and let a mystery build. It's all flash-bang-boom in an effort to keep viewers engaged. With such a phenomenal big screen property as its source, "Minority Report" has to do better. Focusing more on the precogs rather than all the tough cop fanfare would be a good start.

In two entertaining pieces, "Vulture" magazine covers many of the problems inherent in the new series, including creating a future world that doesn't ask the existential questions it should. We can't believe that they never mentioned one of the main characters of the show, however: Meagan Good's cleavage.

As feisty law enforcement officer Lara Vega, Good's sole purpose seems to strut through scenes like a model on a runway, jackets worn specifically to highlight gravity and ninja-warrior-action-defying boobs. Show a little respect, "Minority Report." A woman can be strong and sexy without having to do her job in stupidly inappropriate outfits. Ugh.
"Besides Sands's performance as Dash, a likably frazzled ingenue who hurls himself bravely into action but has no physical skills to speak of, the production design is the best (maybe only) reason to watch "Minority Report." READ MORE HERE.
Also check out the "Vulture" recap of Episode 2.

"Lost" Writers Bringing Jack Ryan To the Small Screen

I admit that "Lost" honcho Carlton Cuse and producer Michael Bay bringing Jack Ryan to the small screen makes me a tad apprehensive. The good news is that veteran Marine Graham Roland is also on the scene for this new project for Amazon. In addition to "Lost," Roland has also written/produced for "Fringe," "The Returned," and "Almost Human," that cancelled-too-soon gem starring Michael Ealy, Karl Urban, and Lili Taylor.

The new series won't follow the books exactly, either, providing a "contemporary" take on the character. This sounds suspiciously like a case of drawing viewers in with an established product but basically giving them an entirely new show with a few characters that have the same names.

Though Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine have all portrayed Jack Ryan on the big screen, Harrison Ford is always the guy I think of when you mention the character. Specifically "Clear and Present Danger," which is chock full of good actors, including an uber blond Willem Dafoe and sexy Joaquim de Almeida. Amazon's going to have to make good casting choices to get me on board.

What do you all think? Will you tune in for the latest incarnation of Jack Ryan?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pick of the Day: "After Gotham" Reviews "Knock, Knock"

"Gotham" episode "Knock, Knock," definitely delved into darker territory this week. As someone who's more a fan of atmospheric psychological drama than scenes of mass murder and gushing blood, it was a little disturbing to see a general reaction to this episode as "Most violent ever = Best episode ever!"

So it was pretty cool to find this online webcast, "After Gotham," that gets three geek guys together to dissect the entire episode and actually explain what made this a strong installment of a show that has struggled to find its exact voice. Deserved props are given to actor Cameron Monaghan as a possible-Joker, and the trio's initial reaction to the mention of Barbara (Erin Richards) hilariously sums up how I've felt about the character.

The webcast also goes over the show's comic book origins, parallels, contrasts, and recs for relevant issues. It's good stuff for "Gotham" fans, and my Night Session webcast partner Courtney Massey will be happy to know that we're not the only ones who have trouble wrapping up an episode.

Plus, there's a Christopher Walken impression. There's no beating that.

If you're looking for more "Gotham" wrap-up goodness, IGN has a good review on this second episode of the season, including an insightful take on why no Penguin this week was a very good thing.

The Trouble with 'Blindspot'

Blindspot pilot Jaimie Alexander as Jane Doe

We're two episodes in to "Blindspot" and it's clear that this new series suffers from the same difficulties that shows like "Castle" and "Scorpion" struggle mightily with. That is, how do you insert a character into a situation they have absolutely no business being in?

Jaimie Alexander stars as Jane Doe, a woman found naked in a duffel bag in the middle of Times Square. She has amnesia, and is covered head-to-toe in mysteriously intricate tattoos. One of these markings spells out the name, "Kurt Weller FBI." This unknown woman is soon paired up with Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) in an effort to solve the clues she has written all over her.

The pilot did a decent job of putting Jane on the scene of an investigation, as her suddenly recalled multilingualism came in handy for interrogating witnesses. We also got a taste of the uber dangerous fighting skills this woman has when she intervened in a domestic abuse situation.

Now she's going to be along for the ride as they pursue every clue, with Weller telling his boss Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) that "It's clear she can handle herself." Well, yes, that's true. Which means she could also kill everyone around her the moment they turn their back on her. Some of the team have reservations about her tagging along, but the resistance is futile. We've got so much kicking ass to do, ain't nobody got time for actual FBI procedure!!

To be fair, Jane sitting in a lab each week, waiting to see what her tattoos reveal probably wouldn't be that riveting. It just seems like there was a bit of a rush in throwing her out in the field, despite her obvious trauma and the lack of evidence of who she really is.

Although that might also be solved lickety-split. Weller's dad was apparently accused of kidnapping and killing a young girl when Weller himself was a kid. This week we find out that Jane might be that long-missing girl. This is a fascinating twist, but if it's the truth, that's really giving up on a big chunk of the mystery awfully quick.

Blindspot Jaimie Alexander Jane Doe Kurt Weller FBI Sullivan Stapleton pics photos screencaps pilot series reviews

Does no one have any patience anymore? The WHOLE PREMISE of this show was all of the mystery surrounding Jane and her origins. But two weeks in and she's already having very clear visions of her past life, the guy who made her a deadly weapon is popping up around town, and we might know her identity next week.

Obviously there are a lot of tattoos still to get through, but this all feels like a rush to just get to a mystery-tattoo-of-the-week format and that would be a real shame with such a juicy premise. Alexander is a wonderful choice for this role, able to convey serious strength and vulnerability all at once, and perfectly capable of seeming dangerous/crazy/deadly. I'd hate for her to be wasted on a show that promises way more than it delivers.

What did you think of "Blindspot"? Are you seeing the flaws, or just enjoying the awesome Girl Power?

"Blindspot" airs on NBC, Mondays at 10/9c.


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