Author: Matt Raub

Review: ‘Heroes’ Season 3 Premiere

Those of you who left [[[Heroes]]] after the debauchery that was season two may want to make a return to the show for this season, because if the first two episodes were any indicator, this season is going to be exactly what comic book and TV fans alike have been waiting for.

Where we left off

The virus from the second season was contained by the heroes. Adam (the immortal man) was taken away by Hiro, while Nathan, Peter, and Matt decided that it’s time to tell the world exactly who they are. Right before Nathan’s big “outing”, he was shot by a mysterious man and presumed dead. Sylar escaped the clutches of Elle and the company, only to realize that his powers were coming back. Nikki went on a quest to save her cousin Monica from evil drug dealers when she was trapped in a building when it exploded. Finally reaching Suresh, Maya, the girl with the power to kill people when she cries, begs him to help her get rid of her powers. All this while Noah (HRG) is captured and put into custody by the Company, and Claire is safe in Texas, for now.

What’s changed

Between the backlash that the show received online from the fans, and the untimely writers’ strike, this show went through quite a few last minute changes, cutting the season in half with only 11 episodes. Originally, the plan was to have Sylar off the series for a while, while actor Zachary Quinto worked on J.J. Abrams’ [[[Star Trek]]], but due to the episode cut, they were able to work around his schedule, and have Sylar back in full swing for this season. Many other things were changed due to the negative response the show runners got from the fans.  One big change for this season was a lack of superfluous characters. The “Spanish wonder twins”  —   Maya and her dead brother — were a big problem for the online community, and Maya’s role will take a whole new — and far less whiney —  turn this season. Also, Nikki’s cousin Monica, who had the ability to mimic any action she saw on TV (much like any 11 year old boy) will be completely gone this year, and whether she’s even mentioned in dialogue or not is still unknown (ie. “Boy, things have been quiet here ever since Monica left to fight crime in Ireland”). Along with those changes came new character arcs, which may or may not fall in line with the consistency of the show. For instance; the “my two dads” storyline in which Suresh and Parkman took care of the child Molly, will be abolished. In fact, Suresh goes through a whole new metamorphosis this season, both physically and emotionally.

Finally, the biggest change in the show, and the best element of the two-part premiere; the pacing and revelation of the plot. A major problem with the series in the past was that it took six episodes for anything noteworthy to actually happen. In the first two hours, we get more questions answered and action-packed moments than you could ask for. Of course there will still be bigger questions to be revealed at a later episode, but you can thank the formula of modern hour-dramas for that.


Review: Spaceballs: The Animated Series

Review: Spaceballs: The Animated Series

There was once a time when Mel Brooks was considered a pioneer of comedy, a trendsetter in satire,  even a spoof master, but if the debut of [[[G4’s Spaceballs: The Animated Series]]], that time has long passed. This was a perfect example of how NOT to reinvent a franchise. It was bound to happen with films being made of Broadway shows and Broadway shows being made of his films that Mel Brooks (who is not only attached as Executive Producer, but also reprises his roles as Scrube and Yogurt) would try to reinvent the [[[Spaceballs]]] film with a poorly produced animated series, but whether it was a lack of his own creativity, or the network’s inane intention to hit a demographic, this show was terrible.

The series is supposed to follow the events of the film, provided that the ending never happened, and Lonestar and his band of heroes gets in wacky misadventures every week to foil the plans of Dark Helmet and President Scrube. There are various minor pop culture and [[[Star Wars]]] references, but it’s hard enough to get through the “jokes” as it is.

It’s unknown what legal issues went on during the production, but this show was originally slated to be released sometime in 2007, and then, without mention, disappeared until recently. The series has the feel of a flash-made web series, and is even edited for release on the G4 network. This only hurts the show more because instead of getting the vulgar visual humor, we get cut-and-paste images and voices that were changed in postproduction for the G4 demographic of boys under the age of 17.

The show could actually work, if they didn’t trade in the impeccable timing and vaudevillian dialogue of the movie with boob jokes and outdated Star Wars Episodes 1-3 references. The voicework falls in line with the poor production, as Brooks comes back to voice his characters President Scrube and Yogurt, while Daphne Zuniga comes back for Princess Vespa. The show, as a whole, is just awful and probably won’t last very long. If one day they decide to drop the censor bars and release the series on DVD or the web, it may be worth a watch, but until then; it should probably be avoided. RATING: 0/10

New ‘Red Dwarf’ Specials Announced

New ‘Red Dwarf’ Specials Announced

In celebration of it’s 21st birthday, the cast and crew of the popular British scifi comedy Red Dwarf will be coming back to put together four televised specials. They are being made for UKTV’s new free-to-air channel, Dave (interesting name). Series creator Doug Naylor will be taking the helm for the specials and they will go as follows:

Show One – The Making Of The Specials
A highly entertaining look at what goes on behind the scenes on a Red Dwarf production.

Show Two – Red Dwarf Special: Part One
The cast get back into character, and costume, a decade on…

Show Three – Red Dwarf Special: Part Two
The adventure continues…

Show Four – A Clip Show With a Serious Difference
The cast do it their way. Red Dwarf as you have never, ever seen it before!

The shows are currently planned to air sometime next year, and would mark the first time in 10 years since new Red Dwarf material has aired since the eight season in 1999 (unless you count the 1988 "lost" episode which aired in 2005). And if the newfound popularity of Doctor Who is any indicator, this could prove to be the rebirth of the franchise.

Red Dwarf debuted in 1989 and ran for a total of 52 episodes scattered over eight seasons on the BBC. It spawned an assortment of merchandise including the entire series available on DVD.  Four oruiginal novels were also published. An Americanized version never got past the pilot stage in 1992 and a feature film version was written but never got funded.

A Jihad on Mickey Mouse

Those familiar of Mickey Mouse would usually classify the character as friendly, cheerful, and even funny at times. Well, did you know that he’s also a Soldier of Satan? It also seems that Mickey isn’t held in too-high regard around Saudi Arabia. In a recent interview with Saudi Arabian cleric/diplomat Sheikh Muhammad Munajid he stated that Mickey needs to die. (AP)

A sheik from Saudi Arabia, a former diplomat posted in Washington, has put out a fatwa on Mickey Mouse, calling him the new enemy of Islam. "Mickey Mouse is a soldier of Satan, and everything he touches becomes impure," said Sheik Muhammad al-Munajid.

"Mickey Mouse has become an awesome character, even though according to Islamic law, Mickey Mouse should be killed in all cases. According to sharia law, the mouse is a repugnant and corrupting animal," he said during a show broadcast by Al-Majd television.

It should be mentioned that this has been translated from it’s original language, and "awesome" probably doesn’t have the same meaning we would give it. Munajjid went on to say that under Islamic law, rats and mice are considered "repulsive" and as "soldiers of Satan" which totally explains the adage "give a mouse a cookie, and he’ll want a glass of milk." Now, those of you who aren’t caught up on your Islamic terminology, a "fatwa" is a ruling on a point of Islamic law that is given by a recognized authority. This essentially means that the religion is calling for the head of Mickey Mouse. Last month Mr Munajid also condemned the Beijing Olympics as the "bikini Olympics", claiming that nothing made Satan happier than seeing females athletes dressed in skimpy outfits. You can only imagine his reaction if he saw this image:


minnie bikini

‘Pushing Daisies’ Creator Wants A New Star Trek on TV

‘Pushing Daisies’ Creator Wants A New Star Trek on TV

Trek castAny fan of the ABC series Pushing Daisies is probably aware that creator Bryan Fuller was also the creative mind behind both critically acclaimed, yet short-lived series Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me, but it is not as well known that Fuller is also a full-on Star Trek fan, and in fact has even written 21 episodes for the lore: 2 for Deep Space Nine and 19 for Voyager. Fuller recently sounded off on J.J. Abrams’ new Trek film and his interest on taking the helm for a modern interpretation of the 1960’s hit.

I would love to do another Star Trek series, one where you could go back to the spirit and color of the original Star Trek, because somehow, it got cold over the years. I love Next Generation, but it’s a little cooler and calmer than the ones from the ‘60s, which were so dynamic and passionate. Star Trek has to recreate itself. Otherwise, all the characters start to feel the same. You always have a captain, a doctor, a security officer, and you have the same arguments based on those perspectives. It starts to feel too familiar. So all those paradigms where it takes place on a starship have to be shaken up.

After leaving Voyager, fuller went on to create the aforementioned shows, and also writing for a little show called Heroes. You can check out the full interview over here and fans of Fuller may have to wait to see how the film treats it’s legion of Trekkies before we see a televised revamp.

But until then, you can still enjoy his pie-making necromancer in Pushing Daisies returning to ABC on October 1st.

Frank Miller Quits Comics Forever! Really?

Frank Miller Quits Comics Forever! Really?

Frank Miller was recently out in Rome promoting this winter’s upcoming travesty/movie The Spirit with a few clips and a Q&A (in Italian!). Most of the clips shown seemed boring and confusing, much like the trailer (all except a gratuitous Eva Mendes butt-shot), but the more interesting part is how Miller explained to the press that he has no intention on going back to comics and that he is very close to starting production on Sin City 2. You can read a part of the interview below (poorly translated for our benefit) or check out the complete piece over here.

I can’t talk about my projects, because I don’t believe a movie is real until I see the title on the screen. There are many things that can go wrong. But I can tell you that I’m very close to begin Sin City 2 with Robert Rodriguez. We have to arrange a few things and we’ll be back in action.

The Spirit hits screens this Christmas and if you weren’t already planning on going, the aforementioned trailer below should help give you the boost you need.




Spaceballs The Animated Series Debuts on G4

Spaceballs The Animated Series Debuts on G4

Starting today, G4 (the channel that brings you daily marathons of Cheaters and Ninja Warrior) will be debuting the animated series based on Mel Brooks’ Star Wars spoof, Spaceballs. The project has been on ice for nearly three years, but is finally in the can and ready for airing.

Brooks, who is still on as executive producer, has also come back to voice his characters from the film, along with Daphne Zuniga reprising her "Princess Vespa." The series is said to be far more mature than the original film, chalf full of sexual innuendo and boobs, which doesn’t exactly stay congruous with the film’s tone. You can check out the NSFW trailer below, and Spaceballs debuts Sunday, September 21, at 3pm ET.

Stephen Chow to Direct ‘Green Hornet’

Feels like it is hard to believe that when you say a name like Green Hornet, the first actor to come to mind is Seth Rogen, but it looks as if that may just become a reality now. Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg have finally serenaded Hong Kong legend Stephen Chow enough in wanting him to don the eye-mask as Kato, Hornet’s driver and not-so-side-kick, that it looks like Chow will also be taking the helm as director.

Stephen Chow is well known globally for his slapstick comedy style in such films like Shaolin Soccer, and Kung Fu Hustle (both also directed by Chow). Those who are familiar with his work know that Chow is a big fan of zany slapstick a-la classic Merry Melodies, and well as being a student of serious Kung Fu. When approached about the new role, Chow had this to say:

I’m excited to be taking on ‘The Green Hornet’ — obviously, I’ve been a huge fan of the show since I was a kid. The idea of stepping into Bruce Lee’s shoes as Kato is both humbling and thrilling, and to get the chance to direct the project as my American movie debut is simply a dream come true. I’m grateful to my friends at Sony, who have shown so much faith in me for so many years. I’m looking forward to working with Seth, Evan, Neal, and the team at Sony, and I’m eager to get started.

You can see the comedy stylings of the next Brett Reid in this year’s Zach and Miri Make a Porno, wirtten and directed by Kevin Smith, who was at one time rumored to pen a Hornet script.


Review: Smallville Season 8 Premiere

Get ready, Superman fans: this first episode back for Smallville certainly made a believer out of anybody who was sick of the constant relationship melodrama and relentless barn-scenes-with-a-bad-soft-contemporary-soundtrack of the past seven seasons, but before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a step back.

Smallville Season 8You can get an in-depth look at what exactly went down over the past seven years here, but for our purposes, all we need to know is this: Lex found out Clark is an alien, went to the Fortress of Solitude to control him, ended up destroying the place with both of them in it. Jimmy Olsen, originally agreeing to be Lex’s spy, betrayed him, which then forced Luthor to call the Department of Domestic Security (dumb name) and have Chloe hauled away, who now has the ability to heal and the brain smarter than a super computer. Lois Lane is currently on the hunt for her cousin, Chloe, and the Justice League (consisting of Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Aquaman) is on the quest for Clark. All caught up? Good.

This season kicks off with LuthorCorp’s newest CEO, Tress Mercer (possibly a hybrid of Lex’s comic bodyguard Mercy and movie girlfriend Ms. Tessmacher) stepping in as the new (evil) face of the company, now that Luthor is missing, and Michael Rosenbaum is only slated for a few guest appearances this season. The Justice League, along with their poor costume choices, are closing in on finding Clark in the Antarctic, who is actually in a prison camp in the heart of Russia (Red Son reference?), both human, and unshaven!! Chloe is under guard at the supposed D.D.S. (dumb initials) base, where scientists are running tests on her to find out the extent of her “super computer brain”.

The episode marks the feel of this season, which is finally branching outside the walls of Smallville, and going global. Lana’s dead (to us), so we don’t have anymore agonizing drama on that front. There is a moment of dread about 45 minutes into the episode where Clark goes back to his bedroom in the barn, but thankfully its only for him to “finally say goodbye to Smallville”. We get a great cameo from Martain Manhunter and even a nice little nod to former cast members John Schneider and Anette O’Toole. No sign of the “daddy issues with Jor-El” storyline either, which was a big letdown in the past.

This season is said to be more of a throwback to Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, having the duo work together at the Daily Planet, with Clark finding out that he needs to keep his identity secret from those around him, all the while falling slowly for Ms. Lane. This will hopefully end with him donning some sort of costume, instead of the blue shirt/red jacket that has unfortunately become his trademark (when I can buy the same thing at Old Navy, it shouldn’t be considered a superhero costume). We’re also expected to get a Doomsday storyline this season, which could prove promising, given the new writing direction.

This brings us to the biggest improvement by far from the past, which is the writing. Both in dialogue and storylines, there seems to be a newfound enthusiasm from the writer’s room, and it most definitely translates onto the screen. They also seem to have the chemistry between Clark and Lois down to a tee. The nods to comics are still there, including a possible Red Son reference, and even a throw to fans of Green Arrow (I won’t ruin that). They may fall back into their “freak of the week” slump again, but this episode has made the show as a whole worth getting back into, and I recommend it to any true Superman fan. RATING: 9/10

True Blood Gets Renewed For Season 2

True Blood on HBOLooks like the fans of Six Feet Under have more power than they even thought. After several stunning reviews (though this contributor felt differently) HBO explains it all in a press release:

    For Immediate Release


    LOS ANGELES, Sept. 17, 2008 – HBO has renewed the new drama series TRUE BLOOD for a second season, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, Programming Group and West Coast Operations. Created by Alan Ball, the series will begin production of new episodes early next year in Los Angeles, with debut set for summer 2009.

    "We are absolutely thrilled that the critics and our viewers have embraced TRUE BLOOD," noted Lombardo. "Alan Ball has done it again – made an addictive series that is unlike any other."

    "I am thrilled to be able to continue to work with such a talented group of writers, cast and crew to explore the characters and world created by Charlaine Harris in her novels," Ball said. "It really is a joy to go to work every day and I couldn’t be happier to be back home at HBO."

    The Sept. 7 debut episode is proving to be a hit with HBO audiences, attracting more than four million viewers to date, while the debut of the second episode on Sept. 14 posted an unprecedented 24% gain in viewers over the first week’s debut.

    Critics across the country in Detroit, Baltimore, Denver and Orlando have proclaimed TRUE BLOOD one of the best new shows on TV. USA Today called it "wildly imaginative," with "one of the best ensembles of the new series," while the Washington Post found it "audacious, outrageous and playfully grisly." TV Guide hailed the show as "graphically sexy and scary, and often wildly funny," and "a broadly entertaining, deliciously twisted slice of modern Southern Gothic."

    Mixing romance, suspense, mystery and humor, TRUE BLOOD takes place in the not-too-distant future, when vampires have come out of the coffin, thanks to the invention of mass-produced synthetic blood that means they no longer need humans for their fix. Set in a backwoods Louisiana town, the show follows the romance between waitress Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin), who can read minds, and 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton (played by Stephen Moyer). Alan Ball (creator of the Emmy(r)-winning HBO series "Six Feet Under") created and executive produced the show, as well as wrote and directed episodes of the series, which is based on the popular Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.

    The cast also includes Ryan Kwanten as Sookie’s brother Jason, Rutina Wesley as her best friend Tara Thornton, Sam Trammell as Sookie’s good-hearted boss Sam Merlotte and Nelsan Ellis as Lafayette Reynolds, a cook at Merlotte’s

    Season one credits: TRUE BLOOD is created by and executive produced by Alan Ball; based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris; co-executive producer, Brian Buckner; supervising producer, Nancy Oliver; produced by Carol Dunn Trussell; producer, Alexander Woo; co-producer, Raelle Tucker.

    Season one directors: Alan Ball, John Dahl, Nick Gomez, Anthony M. Hemingway, Michael Lehmann, Daniel Minahan, Nancy Oliver, Marcos Siego, Scott Winant. Season one writers: Alan Ball, Brian Buckner, Chris Offutt, Nancy Oliver, Raelle Tucker, Alexander Woo.