Not every film needs to be a TV series

Okay, so I think this just has to be addressed with the slew of films and film series inexplicably being turned into TV series, not every single one needs a series as you know and in fact, the vast majority never need to become a series, I mean The Notebook has been announced to be in the works and is coming to the CW in the near future and seriously, The Notebook?

I just don’t quite see the necessity for this to be happening, also coming to the CW is Friday The 13th the series. And slated for this autumn we already have Minority Report on Fox which is less than stellar, Rush Hour the series is coming and Ash Vs Evil Dead is already on Starz, joining Scream which has finished its first season on MTV and is already renewed for season 2. I’m wondering what the reasoning behind commissioning all of these shows is as they’re far from guaranteed success for one and secondly, news of them is always met with a collective “whaaaa” around the internet. I get the idea of people wanting to expand on certain film lore and stories and make series of them but we’re about to cross the threshold of plausibility here and it won’t be long before we start getting series like The Thing and Karate Kid and no, just no, stop it.

The thing with these shows like Scream on MTV is that they don’t bring anything new or exciting to their own universe, the show exists as non-canon in relation to the film which is fair enough but why would you want to watch a show based on a film that you may like but with none of the characters from the film and with a different tone and style to it? It really is a bizarre set up but networks seem to running with the trend and commissioning more and more of the series, I get that the sound of a spin off of a popular and entertaining film may seem good at first but when you really break it down, a lot of premises for TV series of films sort of fall apart.

In slight defense of this recent trend (that doesn’t really work imo), right now can be seen as a golden age for TV with a slew of high profile actors flocking to TV and sometimes staying there, the budgets for TV networks are huge and can  rival movies in special effects and in scope with huge casts and now more than ever, there’s lot of creativity in genres that don’t tend to do well as films these days – horror and fantasy. So I can see why going with a TV series rather than another re-boot or pointless sequel could be an option but it just doesn’t quite work for some films and funnily enough the few films you may actually want as series aren’t the ones getting touched, so the situation does kinda suck. Bates Motel is the big exception to the rule, a successful drama based on Norman Bates and a prequel to Psycho, but even it isn’t exactly a stellar drama and okay I’ll give it to the Fargo series, not my cup of tea but it is fairly highly acclaimed and has good ratings.

But come on Hollywood, you’re not out of ideas just yet, we don’t need a Notebook or Die Hard or Fight Club series and a lot of films stand well enough on their own as they are and don’t need that extra adaptation.

And more to the point, some ideas for films just don’t really work as TV show, hence how you can have a great film but a terrible attempt at a TV show from the same material, this trend may not go away for a while yet but hopefully the big networks don’t go anywhere near the all time classics, Jaws the series? Godfather the series? No thank you.

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Jessica Jones official trailer

The official trailer for Marvels latest TV show – Jessica Jones is out and it’s set to be pretty dark, sort of following in the tone that Daredevil set up, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) will play a fairly important part in the series as we see, as a friend and confidante to Jessica, who will be going through a few things as we can see. Jessica tries to get her life back on track working as a private investigator and it looks like he work brings her in a round about way to finding out the Purple Man is after her.

Marvel really seems to be embracing the idea of more gritty story telling and drama in their TV landscape and it’s pretty welcome, the tone is vastly different from the MCU but I like the change, the teasers we saw before did tease Jessicas reckless behaviour and lack of morals which was funny – but there was barely a humurous moment in the whole trailer.

We also see the Purple Man finally (David Tennant), a character from Marvel that can directly influence and control people, often to some pretty bad effect – a big nemesis of Jessica from this season, who seems to have had influence over and a relationship with her in the past in the shows universe, the Purples man powers are pretty broad in terms of what he can make people and how that can really be a pain in a heroes side but especially Jessica.

She’s not a hero anymore and seems to be coerced into helping people, to fight against the Purple man. We also see Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) who’ll play a close friend to Jessica and we get a snippet of Jeryn Ann-Hogarth played by Carrie-Ann Moss.

Overall the show looks intriguing and I think the casting is pretty great, I wonder if Marvel fans will embrace the continued darker tone in Marvels netflix shows, though everyone seemed to love Daredevil. Jessica Jones is something very different even still, not being about a character turning into a superhero, facing an interesting character – who has powers and is also David Tennant, so yeah that’s pretty neat. Jessica Jones premieres on Netflix on the 20th of November.

Ranking current comic book TV shows

So if you’re read some of my TV posts you already know I’m a big comic book TV fan, I watch pretty much all of the ones airing at the moment and I have my varying opinions on the shows though I generally like pretty much all of them, here’s my ranking of the shows in terms of quality imo. I’ll need to re-do this in a few months after Supergirl and Jessica Jones are both out and finished but for now.

I somehow forgot iZombie and The Walking Dead but I’ve added them now.

The Walking Dead

TWD is the highest rated comic book TV show on air and also one of the most consistently highest rated dramas on TV with a huge and passionate audience and for a good reason, the setting makes for a compelling world and the characters that populate it represent different aspects of humanity in how people try to survive, do you get by being ruthless and closed off or by being democratic and friendly? With a great cast and some strong actors – Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus to name a few, they bring their well written characters to life and importantly grow and change over time and across seasons. Also the Walkers of course, a constant threat and the driving force of the plot which allows the show for big set pieces and a lot of action, though interestingly, people often end up being the biggest threat to each other as time passes. Great show with a great story and a great use of tension and drama.

 

Arrow

The gritty re-imagining of Green Arrow, Arrow is sort of the starting point for this current crop of comic book TV shows and it’s also one of the best of the lot, the CW struck gold with its adaptation and it’s a great show with great action, twists and turns and a host of cool characters from across DC – though there are a fair few Batman related characters but whatever, it’s still Arrow. And even with a shaky 3rd season, Arrow has come back strong in season 4 with good drama, a great set of central characters, its fun crime fighting team dynamic which carried over to The Flash and a new great villain. The crime procedural element to the show makes it a thrilling watch with a grounded take to things, while the show isn’t afraid to expand into the more elaborate world of powers, mysticism and magic which shows how flexible Arrow can be in its style and approach, a show that’s ever evolving and as fun to watch as it was at its best in season 2.

 

Agents of Shield

From the get go, I thought that Marvel had a great show on their hands and Agents is arguably the most improved show of all comic book shows on air now, even though I didn’t hate the first season, it had its flaws for sure with some cliché characters and storylines and no actual powers on the show but season 2 and the inhumans changed this for the better. And now the show is in full stride with its big set pieces, great action sequences and of course powers being a central plot device and regular thing in the world.

Also the writing is brilliant with some great Marvel humour while the characters are fun and their interaction makes up a good chunk of the shows fun. And I’ve always enjoyed the main angle of the show in following various agents working together on missions sent by Coulson, who also joins in every now and then. Pitting them against the other Shield, Hydra and now the government task force, the odds are always against them but it’s fun to watch how they tackle their problems with team work, ingenuity and passion to do good.

 

The Flash

The Flash is close to the epitome of what you imagine when someone says ‘Comic book show’, it’s fun, thrilling, takes you to interesting places with its stories and works with a host of comic book characters, as ambitious or silly as it may seem at first to bring them onto screen from Atom Smasher to Gorilla Grodd of all characters and it’s awesome for comic book fans and non-readers alike. The show runs with the team dynamic that Arrow set up and again it makes things very fun to watch with some unique action sequences and fights that only Flash can because of his powers, it’s a unique feeling show and it really captures the essence of Barry Allen as the Flash with a great cast, fun character interactions within Team Flash and a really entertaining style to the show as a whole.

 

Daredevil 

Daredevil stands as an excellent attempt at bringing Matt Murdoch to the small screen and for an ambitious idea which could have gone either way, it was really pulled off well with Charlie Cox making a great Daredevil and the cast as a whole being great, especially Vincent D’Onofrio brilliantly playing Wilson Fisk aka the Kingpin. The choreography/action in the series was really well done as were the story lines for the season, the plot not shying away from darker themes and graphic deaths, somewhat of a benchmark for Marvel on TV in going to more dark story lines and doing it well.

 

iZombie

iZombie is a funny, entertaining show based on the graphic novel of the same name, centred on human turned zombie Liv who works as a functioning zombie, eating brains to not got go feral, it’s a zombie show with a difference with its light tone, humour and incorporation of zombies into society without society breaking down which is an interesting idea. There’s also a different flavour to the show each weak with Liv taking on the personalities of the persons brains that she eats and her behaviour changing accordingly as she works on homicide cases with her friends Ravi and superior detective Clive. It’s a bit of a hard sell to anyone that’s not a fan of zombies in any capacity or quirky shows like this but it’s definitely a good, entertaining watch nonetheless with some great writing and distinct, memorable characters.

 

Gotham

A police procedural drama set in the craziest fictional city in America, Gotham is just a lot of silly fun, it had its problems with season 1 admittedly with its winking to future villain status but on the whole I like the set up, Ben Mackenie is a fantastic fit for Jim Gordon, as is Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin, Sean Pertwee as a more blunt Alfred and the casting as a whole is pretty spot on. The story lines have definitely improved into season 2 and the over the top, hyper realistic style to the show is really taking centre stage and is fun to watch. This is a gritty crime procedural drama with serialized elements like no other in recent years and if it can run with its unique style, keeping the writing good and not focusing too much on Bruce as a kid while winking at his future, this could develop into a really great show.

So yeah I’m a bit of a fanboy, not disliking any of these shows but it’s a great time to be a comic book fan with so much great stuff out there on both film and TV.

Daredevil season 2 teaser

So we have our first look at Daredevil and its upcoming 2nd season due to air next year, bigger and badder with some new prominent characters including Elektra and Frank Castle aka The Punisher played by Jon Bernthal, we also get a look at Daredevils more traditional red outfit which he’ll be wearing next season.

It seems like season 2 will sort of be Daredevil vs the Punisher, while Daredevil continues getting used to fighting crime, pitting the two characters with drastically different ideals and styles against each other as Daredevil never kills and always wants to save lives and the Punisher freely kills, though he targets criminals. The dynamic should be pretty interesting because the Punisher isn’t a villain either, working more as an anti-hero so seeing how Matt takes him on should be fun, while Elektra also comes into the fray.

Marvel is making some great progress on the TV scene at present with Agents of Shiled and its Netflix shows and Daredevil season 2 looks to be upping the ante, we’ll have to see how the show handles The Punisher but with a wealth of experience and a knack for playing more nasty characters, I think Jon Bernthal will fit right into the role.

2015-16 Autumn TV premiere thoughts

So if you’re an avid TV fan like me, you’re probably in a happy place as our favourite TV shows are back on the small screen and the autumn/fall TV season is in full swing with the returns of some major primetime shows shows alongside some brand new shows of… varying quality, some of which will probably be cancelled by December but hey, here are my thoughts on the shows premieres anyway. I’m also grading the premieres because why not, though I don’t really rate TV on any scale and there will be some spoilers in a few of the shows.

Returning shows

Gotham (season 2)

Grade – B

I’m quite fond of Gotham despite pretty mixed reception for the show all around, the characters are great and Ben Mackenzie is brilliant as Jim Gordon, the set up and premise makes it different from any procedural cop drama and there’s a great style to it, especially shown in the premiere with a focus on the villains in season 2, the season started off fairly strong with a new look to the GCPD with Harvey retired and commissioner Loeb out of the picture. And ending on the maniacs being broken out of Arkham to start the maniacs story, things kicked off at 100mph and it set up an exciting, different feeling season to come.

Agents of Shield (season 3)

Grade – A

Agents of Shield kicked off in a big way, following an equally big and cinematic season 2 finale, we got thrown right into the action with Inhumans and superpowers taking centre stage and we get some great action coupled with some nice dramatic moments, Fitz desperately looking for the lost Simmons and the main SHIELD team down 2 agents with Coulson a bit stressed. The fun team dynamic of past seasons returns and Bobby, Mack and Hunter are great regulars now and of course powers with the Inhumans are a regular occurrence which is great to watch, great season opener.

 

Modern Family (season 7)

Grade – B

Sitcoms staying consistently well written and funny is increasingly hard nowadays I feel with an ever jaded and sensitive, always online community of viewers but against the odds, Modern Family has managed to do that, staying relevant as well and following on from season 6 with Hayley and Andys’ will they – won’t they dynamic, very funny stuff and Adam DeVine as Andy is fantastic as Andy. The jokes are still landing well as are the plot arcs and the show is still on the right tracks.

Black-Ish (season 2)

Grade – B

Black-Ish made its return on a hot and ever relevant subject in regards to a social subject and the show feels funny and fresh as it did with its first season, Anthony Anderson as Andre is an ever funny presence on screen and has a great relationship with his wife Beau, while Laurence Fishburne as Andres father is one of the funniest parts of the show. The story lines don’t shy back from being a bit controversial and depicting certain view points on issues whether they’re right or wrong, but seeing how the show tackles subjects and provides answers (sort of) in its own way is still interesting.

 

The Flash (season 2)

Grade – B

One of my most anticipated shows, The Flash gets off to a bang with its 2nd season with some thrilling action and new changes to Central city as well Team Flash, we get to see a taster of the multi-verse with Atom Smasher and a reference to Zoom along with some cool action. It was a surprisingly emotional episode as well with some nice dramatic moments including Barrys father getting out of prison and Ronnies departure, plus the ending with Jay Garrick directly sets up things to come and leaves us with anticipation for episode 2.

Arrow (season 4)

Grade – B+

Arrow followed hot on the heels of The Flash with a measured premiere with a now changed and more mellow Oliver which is a nice change, now dating Felicity, he comes back to Star city but finds things aren’t quite the same with tension between Diggle and himself as well as Thea, the new team dynamic should be interesting for the rest of the season. While Damien Dahrk wastes no time in introducing himself and his powers, an interesting take on the character, bringing magic to the show, Team Arrows fun escapades return as does the shows high production value and fun action sequences, all in all it’s a solid start to what should be a season of some thrilling action and good drama.

American Horror Story Hotel (season 5)

Grade – B

American Horror Story came into its 5th season with a fair amount of hype over Lady Gaga and the role she’d be playing and Hotel needed to start strong to shake off the memory of the rather lackluster Freakshow and it did, the look and aesthetic of the premiere felt reminiscent of the first season and the first few scenes of Asylum, the story already feels more tight and cinematic than Freak show and things are off to a good start. The characters are effectively quirky as ever, Lady Gaga is decent as the vampiric hotel owner alongside her lover Matt Bomer and Wes Bentley, homicide detective moving into the hotel sets things up nicely in a season that’s already fairly creepy and unsettling, the signs of improvement are there in what should be a good season.

The Vampire Diaries (season 7)

Grade – C-

The Vampire Diaries feels like a show trying to find its feet again now with the departure of longtime and staple character Elena (Nina Dobrev) and I think the show has suffered for it, even having a so-so season last time around with her still on it, the story line with the heretics and Damon and Stefans mom needs a lot of work to say the least but i do like the idea of them all sharing Mystic falls for better or worse. That being said, I struggle to see the heretics as a compelling threat and I’m wondering if we’ll see a major villain yet to come.

 

The Walking Dead (season 6)

Grade – B+

The Walking Dead kicked off to an intriguing start with its mix of flashbacks and present day action, a nice visual nod to the comics and with Morgan back and in Alexandria, we have an interesting set up for some adversarial drama between Rick and Morgan, seeing seeds of that in the premiere. Daryl disagreeing with Rick was also well done and shows not everyone, even Ricks friends may be fully agree with him, the mega herd plot arc was interesting also with an immediate threat to Alexandria and Carters vocal opposition and fate sort of signified what happens to people that can’t really cope in the world on their own. Overall a strong opener with some nice dramatic moments.

 

New debuts

Minority Report 

Grade – D

Maybe I just expected too much from a sci-fi show on Fox, we all know how much that network loves it’s sci-fi…  but yeah, I love the idea of world the show’s set in but it just feels far too predictable and cliché currently despite the ideas and themes the show is based on being interesting. The cast is decent enough but could work with better material for sure, despite the show taking a different take from the film and spinning off into a world without pre-crime.

 

Scream Queens 

Grade – B

Ryan Murphys new show looked like a lot of crazy, silly fun when it was announced earlier in the year and so far it hasn’t failed to deliver, the premiere starts off with some crazy, hyper realistic situations and unashamedly over the top characters, things are so heightened that it’s practically self aware but that’s what makes it fun in a show that embraces tropes and stupid clichés of the genre it resides in. But even with stereotypes and some pretty outrageous lines from characters like Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts), it’s still pretty funny and entertaining nonetheless, Skyler Samuels who plays Grace in the show is also pretty awesome in it, as is Jamie Lee Curtis and the cast in general does a great job in their roles, playing up to and mocking horror/slaher film character tropes.

Heroes Reborn 

Grade – C

Heroes return was somewhat anticipated but it wasn’t exactly setting the internet alight with hype, it returned with some familiar show tropes, stylised writing on screen and some Heroes themed music, the premiere was a double episode introducing us to the main characters, their current situations and powers or motivations, with maybe 2 or 3 genuinely interesting characters and some more clichés. The 2nd episode definitely picked up some steam though and took things in an interesting direction but I was left wondering how long it would take for more of the characters to finally meet up as some individual stories just weren’t that interesting, not terrible but not great.

Quantico

Grade – C

Conspiracy thriller Quantico has a great set up and a… pretty weird layout feeling half Homeland and half Greys Anatomy, following Alex (Priyanka Chopra), a new FBI agent who is found in the rubble of a terrorist attack and becomes a prime suspect – you’ll need keep suspending your disbelief if you’re gonna watch this show, trust me. Going through a non-linear structure and a lot of flashbacks as Alex and a group of other recruits join the FBI and get tasked with counter terrorism training, all the main characters are really attractive and half of them are romantically invlved so it’s a bit hard to believe so yeah, it has room to improve for sure. But the central mystery and premise is interesting with Alex being framed for the attack and not knowing who’s setting her up and why.