Category Archives: firefly

The Initiation of Sarah 2006

The Initiation of Sarah ~ The original came at the tail end of the great ABC telemovies of the 1970s. In it, Kay Lenz, who I always mixed up with Susan Dey, plays the Carrie part in this Carrie rip-off. Morgan Fairchild is chief tormentor and Shelley Winters the witchy housemother mentor. There were a few of these Carrie wannabes in the 1970s, The Spell with Susan Meyers from “James at 15” was another, that aped the mousy scapegoat girl, who also happens to have telekinetic powers, flipping out in her tormentors. Sarah took place at a college sorority as opposed to high school.

The 2006 version is a re-imagining of the 1978 movie of the week done for, believe it or not, the ABC Family Channel. Well, at least they’re keeping it in the ‘family.’ Yeah, I know, sorry. Here, Morgan Fairchild returns as the snooty mom of two girls about to enter college, and join her old exclusive sorority. Lindsay, played by a post-“Firefly” Summer Glau and mousey cutter Sarah played by Mika Boorem of Blue Crush, are, as one would expect, polar opposites.

It is essentially the same story, with a decidedly non-fun Jennifer Tilly in the Shelley Winters role, but it has become unnecessarily complicated, almost as if someone was watching nothing but “Buffy” and old soap operas for a couple weeks straight. The warring sororities are the guardians of good and evil, people pretend to be other people to sleep with them, and it gets worse from there.

I wanted to like this one, I really did. It could have been the good old campy fun the original was but just took itself too seriously, and too much ABC Family as well, adding a crapload of teenage melodrama to the mix. Avoid and look for the original.

Arrow: Burned

“Arrow” is back after several weeks of holiday hiatus and we find that Oliver has given up his double identity since his defeat at the hands of the Dark Archer, as played by John Barrowman, six weeks prior. Well, perhaps not given up, but his confidence has certainly been affected as has his performance. Oliver has put his stepfather’s kidnapping ahead of acting out as Arrow. In other words, he’s making excuses. We do get a good dose of Stephen Amell’s bare chest in the opening sequence to make up for it however.

Island flashbacks return as well. More whiny poor list coward Oliver, more Yao Fei, more Deathstroke, and as usual some answers and more questions. Show of hands here, who’d like to see a whole episode on island? I would. Nothing could be wrong with more Deathstroke.

Meanwhile, in the case of the week, Laurel’s best friend and co-worker Jo believes her firefighter brother was murdered by an arsonist, so she calls The Hood for help.

Our villain this week is the Firefly. In the comics the Firefly, alias Garfield Lynns, is a high tech Batman villain who dates back to the 1950s. Here he’s a low tech realistic arsonist with a firefighter outfit, a tattoo, and a kerosene squirt gun. Kinda takes all the fun out of it, especially when you have guys like Deathstroke around in costume. And sadly, this version visually is more Two-Face than Firefly.

Starling City must be some sort of inside joke for the producers. In this episode there was no recognizable part of the Philly skyline used in the night time shots. Are they using different city skylines for day and night?

For the comics fans we got a nice shout out to Stagg Chemical. For the uninitiated, Simon Stagg was the billionaire arch-nemesis of Metamorpho, who could transform his body into any element or chemical substance.

The end was a bit disappointing however. After an entire episode of Oliver doubting himself, feeling sorry for himself, basically being a whiney little b- well, you get the picture. When the time comes to be the hero, fight the bad guy, he does nothing. Firefly takes himself out. Pointless.

Revolution

I recently had the chance to view the pilot episode of “Revolution” via OnDemand. Apparently it’s also on Hulu and NBC.com, so I have to wonder if anyone will watch this when it airs Monday night. After the last few television projects from J.J. Abrams, I was prepared to be unimpressed, but I gotta say, I might give this a shot. It actually seems like it might be fun, conditionally, that is.

The concept of “Revolution” is a world where all the power has gone off. Logic dictates some sort of electromagnetic pulse possibly, but who knows really what it could be in a J.J. Abrams show? Didn’t he make up that island you could drive on “Lost”? So the power goes off, and our story begins fifteen years later. America has devolved into small villages of folks living off the land and warring militia states. Still, nobody has gotten the power back on, or even had the know-how to build a simple generator. Did no one pay attention in high school science class?

Logic aside, it does have its moments that set it slightly above other scifi fare currently on TV. I like our reluctant hero Miles, played by Billy Burke, who is like a mild-mannered badass with a sword. I also like our middle management villain Neville, played by Giancarlo Esposito, Fring from “Breaking Bad.” He plays the baddie with the same quiet deadly charisma of The Operative in Serenity.

“Revolution,” created by Abrams, and with this pilot episode directed by Jon Favreau, also depends a lot on its potential genre nerd cred. One of the best moments in the pilot is when Charlie, played by Tracy Spiridakos, and someone who has lived most of her life without power, reveals her secret stash – in an Empire Strikes Back lunchbox, and we hear a few notes of John Williams movie score. Moments like that elevate this show, and make me want to keep watching.

The only thing that would keep me from watching, and it’s the condition I spoke up at the beginning of this review, is that plot device that the show revolves around. What caused the black out? If that will be the carrot on a stick, that keeps viewers watching, yet never gets revealed, I think I’m out. I don’t want another “Lost,” and I certainly don’t want another “Flash Forward” or “Journeyman” where we never find out what happened.

Now watch the following preview at your own risk. It’s one of those that pretty much tells you everything that happens in the pilot, right in the preview. Stupid television executives…

Head Case

My buddy Q turned me on to this original comedy series from Starz that I have recently caught up with via NetFlix DVD. I really enjoyed it, I just wish that the DVD had been clearer about what order to watch the episodes in. What is featured on the second disc as “bonus shorts” is actually the first season, and what is called the “first season” on the first disc is really the second season. Major suckage ensued after watching it out of order, sort of like watching “Firefly” for the first time after having seen Serenity.

In “Head Case,” Alexandra Wentworth from “In Living Color” plays a therapist to the stars whose unorthodox methods bring the funny. The pseudo-documentary style of the series vanishes after a while and it becomes a real sitcom. It’s a treat to see Steve Landesberg of “Barney Miller” fame on TV again and Michelle Arthur steals the show as the receptionist Lola.

Be warned however, don’t watch on an empty stomach, as Fatburger plays a big role in the series. You’ll be craving fast food sooner than later. Recommended.

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Dr. Horrible on DVD

Now finally on DVD, you can watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog anytime on your TV. For those of you living under a rock for the last year or so, Dr. Horrible is quite possibly the best entertainment to come out in and around 2008. While not exactly a movie or a TV show, it’s a new form of entertainment that is – up until the DVD release – was dependent on the internet.

Available in iTunes, this metahuman drama/musical/online vlog tells the tale of Billy aka Dr. Horrible, a wannabe mad scientist/super-villain out to join the Evil League of Evil, and get the attention of Penny, a girl at the Laundromat he crushing badly on.

Former Dougie Howser and current star of “How I Met Your Mother,” Neil Patrick Harris brilliantly fills the title role, with Felicia Day as Penny, and Nathan Fillion of “Firefly” as Horrible’s arch-nemesis superhero Captain Hammer. Speaking of “Firefly,” the whole shebang is the brainchild of Joss Whedon. If you liked his work with that short-lived series or his “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” you’ll love this. I think this is the best thing Whedon has ever done, and that’s saying a lot.

See it here, with, as they say, ‘limited commercial interruption.’ See it, buy the DVD, live the blog – you’ll love it.