New favorite TV Pilot of the Day : Marc & Alana Scott Zicree’s SPACE COMMAND

 

Kemmer, The Son:

Now you don’t like Synthetics?

My God, i don’t believe it. You’re missing the good old days.

 

Kemmer, The Father:

Humans weren’t designed to observe, we were built to do.

So yeah… I miss ’em.

Let me tell you something.

Soft lives make soft men.

Soft men… make soft choices.

 

That beautiful exchange 10 minutes in to SPACE COMMAND tells you everything you need to know about why this may be your must watch and must support show of the day. A 3 year in the making pilot, having seen it, it has charm and wit, and has proved itself worthy of the time and effort that went into its forging. With stars such as the great Mira Furlan, Bill Mumy, McClure, Robert Picardo, Bruce Boxleiter and Doug Jones, alongside new faces, such as Ethan McDowell.

With any project, especially one done for love, on virtually no-budget, and no corporate backing, there will be limitations. Generally the younger actors don’t have the comfort or gravitas, the subtlety of the older actors, and with the exception of Ethan McDowell, that disparity comes across. Ethan McDowell however, manages to hold his own alongside actors who were forged in the fires of many years of theater, and television and movies.

But that disparity with most of the younger actors,  is to be expected given the budget limitations, but those limitations aside, I was completely captivated by the one hour pilot. In the age of streaming where content is the new gold rush, if I was a Netflix, or Apple, or Disney, or At&t I would be attempting to acquire content and production teams like this, that have a built in passionate fan-base.

All in all SPACE COMMAND is a worthy addition to the dreams of men named Roddenberry and Straczynski.

 

 

View it here:

Currently Watching : SHADOW South African TV series – One of the Best Shows on Netflix

SHADOW (2019) – Six episodes in and I am still loving this 2019 Johannesburg centered series, starring Pallance Dladla as the titular Shadow, Khathu Ramabulana as the dependable best friend Max, and Amanda DuPont as the absolutely ravishing and riveting Ashley.  Equal parts ‘ROSEWOOD Medical Examiner Police Procedural’ and ‘EQUALIZER Action series’, this is just a fun, well acted, and intelligently written action series.

Toss in beautiful photography, surprisingly cutting edge and compelling and heartwarming stories (loved episode 6), and likeable, enjoyable characters and you have an early contender for one of my favorite shows of 2020. The Brainchild of Phillip and Fred Wolmarans and Nick Keulemans and Gareth Crocker, and executive produced by Chris and Colleen Lawrence, here is hoping Netflix gives this one a 2nd season. Grade: B+

 

Shadow | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix - YouTube

 

If you enjoyed this post, then I would really appreciate if you subscribe, like, and use the links below to support this channel. Thanks!

 

Today’s Blu-Ray Player of the Day!

Today’s Blu-ray Selection of the Day!

The Return of SPENSER FOR HIRE??? – Netflix Movie trailer+Poster

Spenser Confidential (2020)

 

There are a few shows I hold in very high reverence, as television at its finest. Stuff that stands and will stand the test of time. The 1980s SPENSER FOR HIRE is one of those shows.

Starring the great Robert Urich and Avery Brooks (as two very different, but equally imposing 6’1 guys, running around Boston putting people thru windows 🙂 ) and based on a long running series of novels by the prolific Robert B. Parker. The highest acclaim you can give the TV show, is the author himself acclaimed Avery Brooks Hawk as superior to the character in the novels. So I loved that 3 season Boston based series.

Now, it is clear this Mark Wahlberg Netflix movie will have virtually nothing in common with that great 80s series; however it puts that series back in the limelight, and I call that a good thing. And even though the new Netflix movie seems… not very ‘Spenser’ like; despite that… the trailer looked fun and enjoyable. I’m a huge fan of Winston Duke from his work in PERSON OF INTEREST and BLACK PANTHER, so looking forward to checking out this new take on Spenser and Hawk.

It of course will not be the slightly elegiac brilliance of the 1980s series, but it doesn’t have to be. That series thankfully is now available on Dvd. If you have never seen it, it comes with the highest recommendation. It is an unjustly overlooked, often bittersweet and equally haunted and hopeful series, that stands as television at its finest.

Get Season 1 here!

Get all 3 Seasons here!

EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO Netflix Streaming VOD Marathon

 

https://occ-0-465-472.1.nflxso.net/dnm/api/v6/6AYY37jfdO6hpXcMjf9Yu5cnmO0/AAAABd1_WrJGpBF_x0ssWree7x783_KSszo_oH1oBR-5W2oEYLXNoB0YvHod2FMoF3G7R518IPhf-XDaFyalCIaNdZvSLK9f.jpg?r=8f5

EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO Marathon

I’m currently watching the 2nd season of EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO, courtesy of Netflix, and it just gets better with each episode.

Despite the fact that, like most time shows, the logic does not hold up. The rules of what they change, or do not change, does not really stand up from episode to episode, or minute to minute. It can be dissatisfying, if you ponder the holes in the show too closely.

But if you gloss over the issues with the central conceit of the show, the chracters themselves, and the overarching storyline, is entertaining and addictive, and the perfect thing to marathon on a lazy Sunday!

Streaming TV Series of the 1st Week of 2020 and Quite Possibly the Year : NetFlix’s DRACULA

https://occ-0-465-472.1.nflxso.net/dnm/api/v6/6AYY37jfdO6hpXcMjf9Yu5cnmO0/AAAABZBxBccr341eawj1UA0hf34zikLVwUqCiYVDJ5JNY5nU_E3gOjpHytmLrJOIHolYFumHmyBwrgP2ZvHGsduQVULc4Bi2.jpg?r=058

Netflix’s DRACULA – I have been looking forward to this series ever since i saw the first teaser trailer a month or so ago. The series has finally dropped on Netflix, and I have to say… the first episode exceeds my expectations.

Smart. Lavish, Biting, Charming and Ironic and irreverant when it needs to be, and above all dripping with gothic athmosphere and horror, this adaptation of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA is off to a phenomenal start.

I’ve been underwhelmed by most of the new shows recently, 2nd season of JACK RYAN, WITCHER, even the 4th season of THE EXPANSE… not really wowing me yet, but DRACULA… yeah, I’m on board. Looking forward to upcoming episodes, and to see if the 3 episode mini-series sticks the landing.

Grade: A/A+.

The Most Influential TV show of all Time? Breaking Bad? THE WIRE? No… It is…

I am re-watching Michael Straczynski’s seminal BABYLON 5, after a lapse of probably 2 decades, and by the time you hit Season 3 Episode 10 Severed Dreams, and have sat thru the awkward first season, and rough effects (at the time innovative, but now quaintly dated, yet oddly still beautiful) it is clear… this show is what Straczynski intended. The first Novel for Television.

Whereas THE HONEYMOONERS forged the concept of the Sitcom for television, And DRAGNET (following in its Radio Roots) would define the form of episodic tv for decades to come, BABYLON 5 is very much the jumping off point for long form storytelling in television.

Prior to Babylon 5, in television largely the characters, kept showing up week after week and telling the story for that week, with no real vast growth or change for that character from first episode to last. 

Whether BONANZA or THE FUGITIVE or “insert series here”, it may have 2 or 3 part episode, but largely there was no overarching theme or arc for the season or the series.

It was episodic television, monster or crime or issue of the week.

And then enter Michael Straczynski and his idea, of going one step further than STAR TREK’s aborted idea of a 5 Year mission, and try a multiyear story, with a beginning, middle, and end. Where there were stakes, And characters would have arcs, and change. 

Enter BABYLON 5.

An experiment in television, in an age of ‘done and one’ TV.

It holds up.

Despite the meddling of the Networks, the lowball budgets, the always under threat of cancellation seasons, Michael Straczynski’s BABYLON 5 was then, and remains now, one of the best written shows. A grand saga, writ large. With tragedies and triumphs and growth and betrayal and change… and hope. 

And that BABYLON 5 is as good and as coherent as it is, despite the constant meddling and threat of cancellation it endured every year of its existence (which forced writer, cast and crew to always have to gear every season like it was their last, the last couple of seasons clearly suffering because of the the blade that was always over the show’s neck); you have to put it down to Michael Straczynski’s passion and his writing and his fighting for it.

And a team of people around him, from actors to directors to makeup artists to set and wardrobe designers to consultants (the late great Harlan Ellison) all championing this unheard of dream, of a novel for television.

So no, not LOST, not SOPRANOS, not THE WIRE, not GAME OF THRONES, not BREAKING BAD, not BATTLESTAR GALACTICA… though all those shows with their continuing story structure owe a debt of gratitude to BABYLON 5 (which paved the way for TV, to break out of its episode of the week, short form storytelling mode) … none of those shows are TV at its most influential.

TV at its most innovate and influential (post Star Trek the Original Series)… Well that mantle remains 30 years later, still… BABYLON 5; which dragging and screaming, changed the face and scope of what television could be.

You don’t get any of those shows, without Straczynski, actually showing that long form narrative could be done on television.

So if you have never watched BABYLON 5, or have not watched it in a long time, all 5 seasons are available courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Give it a look, the first season is admittedly rough, stick with it. It takes off by the 2nd season and never looks back. And by the 3rd season, it is a hands down masterpiece.

 

Highest  Recommendation.

 

And honestly, it is the type of series that deserves to be owned in physical media, that you do not want to trust to the vagaries of Streaming licenses. It is a series, like HOMICIDE, like GRIMM, like MUSKETEERS, that deserves to always be at your fingertips and available for viewing.

It unfortunately does not yet have a Bluray option, but you can get the complete series on DVD at the link below:

BABYLON 5: THE COMPLETE SERIES WITH MOVIES

 

TV Show of the Day : LUKE CAGE SEASON 2 by Cheo Hodari Coker

Cheo Hodari Coker’s 1st Season of Luke Cage was one of my favorite TV shows of 2016, right up there with the excellent Noah Hawley LEGION. They were each in their own way, game changing and ground breaking TV.

Mike Colter in Luke Cage (2016)

LEGION largely for its visuals and innovative storytelling, and Coker’s LUKE CAGE for in many ways being one of the few shows to offer a multitude of characters of colors in non-stereotypical ways, and with innovative roles, with unfettered storytelling. One of my favorite shots in the 1st season of LUKE CAGE, was four strong, upstanding women of color, captured in one great shot. Not as prostitutes, not as rappers, not as comedians,  but as heroes. Likewise their male counterparts were admirably done.

LUKE CAGE, the series, sings/rewards…  largely because of those conversation of books in the barbershop, those conversations on playwrights and writers. Those things, those conversations, that mostly uninformed people (who mainly know Blacks via the stereotypes they have consumed through mass media), would right off as preachy, or talky, or unrealistic, those are the conversations, that immediately sang for me, and clued me to the greatness of this show.

As someone who grew up in those Barbershops, those conversations are very true, to how many of us escaped the traps of the street, and found our way to something… better.

Always Forward.

If SEINFELD can be acclaimed for being, in places, a show about nothing, we should allow that same latitude to a serious show such as LUKE CAGE, that uses those seemingly frivolous nothings about the writers, and the artist, and the books, and the music; to say profound somethings.

Of All the Netflix shows, it is the only one that says something more profound, than the standard super-hero or for that matter action or drama tropes. It says something about the world outside our door, and how to meet it. Not preachy, not banal, and never losing the joy and beauty we can find, despite the dire days, and the dangerous nights.

It is the balance of crime and charm, violence and virtue, war and wit, that can sing, to those with ears. And it withstands repeated viewings better, because of all those layers you can view it on.

Cheo Hodari Coker’s LUKE CAGE is one of the best written and most innovative and ground breaking shows to come along in years for precisely this reason. It takes you the place all great writing should, beyond your prejudices, your assumptions, your comfort zone.

For my money it is one of the best of the Marvel/Netflix TV shows, right up there with the first season of DAREDEVIL. But edges it out, because I find the characters in LUKE CAGE, especially the protagonists, far more interesting and likable. DAREDEVIL’s main characters are various stages of unlikeable and annoying.

Add to that Coker’s plot has something valuable and timely and timeless to say about our world, that transcends bad guy fights good guy. There is a complexity to the storyline and the conflicts, that rewards repeated viewings.

Ten episodes in and that complexity remains for Season 2 of LUKE CAGE. It is not perfect, I can do with less Alfre Woodard, particularly her and the character of Shades getting intimate, I can really do without. I never really buy Shades attraction to Woodard’s character, and the more they try to sell it, the less it works for me. Also Alfre’s unhinged performance, while I get it.. she is Lady Macbething it up, for me it is too much. She is always in her twitches, and sputterings, always at eleven, always wildly and uncomfortably out of control, which for my own taste would have been better dialed back to 4 or 5. Also the poster for season 2 is absolute garbage, whoever came up with that poster should be fired. It is that inept of a poster. Right up there with the HANCOCK boxart and poster.

But those minor weakness aside, LUKE CAGE season 2, following strongly in the footsteps of Season 1 is crushing it; the story and performances shine, and like season 1 it has the best soundtrack of the year. Ten episodes in and I’m loving it… Grade: B+.

More to come as I watch the last few episodes.