It’s the team up of the summer, SCOOBY DO MEETS KISS new on DVD and digital video. Among the people along for the fun is Pauley Perrette who talks about the differences in acting and being animated as well as her connections with both off the franchises. Plus radio host Mike Catherwood, fresh from DANCING WITH THE STARS, is helping reboot the 80’s game show CHAIN REACTION and he shares the rules with us.
The May 11th episode of Castle was a fairly typical episode of the show. I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing. A fairly typical episode of Castle is entertaining and doesn’t insult your intelligence over much. A fairly typical episode of Castle, also means New York City homicide detective Kate Beckett and her husband, mystery writer Rick Castle, were investigating a murder.
The episode started with a Jane Doe running through some remote woods in upstate New York then out onto a road, where she was hit by a truck, and died. Someone had carved crosses onto the woman’s face, so the state troopers believed she had been attacked in the woods then chased until she was hit by the truck. The truck driver saw a dark figure wearing a mask emerge from the woods. Based on this, the state troopers classified the case as a homicide. There was a recent receipt from a Manhattan coffee shop on the victim, so the troopers called Beckett hoping she could help them track down the victim’s identity.
Accidental death by truck during a brutal assault, however, is too ordinary a case for a police procedural show like Castle. There had to be a complication. Something to give the case that audience-grabbing oomph just before the show broke away for the opening credits.
There was. First Castle recognized the facial cross carvings and the truck driver’s description of the assailant’s mask. Then Castle gave us that extra oomph.
When he was a boy, Castle chanced upon a murder in progress while walking through some woods. Castle saw the killer had carved crosses onto the victim’s face and that the killer wore a distinctive mask; the same crosses and same mask from the current Jane Doe case. Castle realized that the Jane Doe was the work of a serial killer who had been operating for thirty years.
The detectives determined that their killer du semaine must have hidden his victims’ bodies so none were ever found. They were classified as missing persons. No one knew they murder victims, let alone that there was a TV-styled serial killer involved.
No one, that is, until Castle put the pieces together. When Castle saw the killer the first time, the killer, for reasons known only to no one, didn’t kill the only person who knew about his mask and his penchant for carving facial crosses. The killer simply warned Castle not to tell anyone about what he saw. Because that’s what you want to do if you’re a serial killer who operates in such secrecy that no one even knows you exist; you leave the only person who knows you exist alive to talk to the police. Oops, let me rethink that whole not insulting your intelligence thing.
In the course of their investigation, Castle and Beckett end up interviewing a person and Castle immediately recognized that person’s voice as being the murderer’s voice. So with about ten minutes to go in the episode, Castle and Beckett knew who the murderer was.
Problem was they had no proof.
Then Beckett learned the murderer’s dead parents had owned a remote farm in upstate New York near where the Jane Doe died. The farm was now held in trust now and their suspect was the trustee. Castle and Beckett realized that this remote farm was a perfect place for hiding bodies.
Problem was they still had no proof.
Beckett knew she could never get a warrant to search the farm based solely on Castle’s thirty-year-old voice recognition. “And if I searched it without one, then any evidence I would find would be inadmissible.” Okay, so far so good. Beckett showed an understanding of search and seizure law that was more than good enough to you ace a captains exam.
Then Beckett proved she actually understood search and seizure about as well as Cookie Monster understands good eating habits. “But you’re not [a cop],” Beckett said to Castle. “It would be trespassing. You would be breaking the law. But if you found something… And I know how much this means to you. So whatever you decide, I will back your play.”
Detective Beckett was correct, the Fourth Amendment did prevent her from searching the farm without a warrant. Beckett was also correct that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t cover the actions of private citizens and that if a private citizen searched the farm without a warrant then gave any evidence he found to the police, that evidence would be admissible, because there was no state action involved – state action being actions by any government, either state or federal. It’s called the Silver Platter Doctrine, a term first used in Lustig v. United States, 338 U.S. 74.
Where Beckett went wrong was classifying Castle as a private citizen.
If a private citizen conducts a search while acting as a government agent, then state action does exist. United States v. Jacobsen 466 U.S. 109. If the private citizen is working with the police, than anything the private citizen finds during an illegal search is every bit as inadmissible as evidence found by an actual police officer, because, in essence, the police did find it.
So the question is: Was Castle acting as a private citizen or as a government agent when he searched the farm? The answer is plain. But to make it plainer, let’s look at the test most federal courts use to determine whether a person is acting as a private citizen or a government agent.
It’s a two-prong test, because courts would never make anything so simple that it could be answered with only one prong. The prongs are “ 1) whether the government knew of and acquiesced in the intrusive conduct, and 2) whether the party performing the search intended to assist law enforcement efforts or to further his own ends.” U.S. v. Walther 652 F.2d 788, 791 (9th Cir. 1981).
Here Detective Beckett not only knew of and acquiesced in Castle’s warrantless search, she actually suggested that Castle commit criminal trespass in order to search the farm for the evidence to convict the murderer. Under the Walther test, there wasn’t enough doubt that Castle was acting as a police agent to give Thomas the Apostle pause.
And even Thomas would have stopped doubting when the show came out of commercial break. Castle didn’t drive up to the farm alone. Castle and Beckett drove up to the farm together. Beckett stayed in the car which was parked just on the other side of the farm’s property line and watched through binoculars, while Castle searched the farm’s barn. But Beckett didn’t want Castle “going in alone.” She instructed him to put his cell phone on speaker. Ever the dutiful husband, Castle gave Beckett a step-by-step account of what he found over his cell. At one point, Beckett even told him, “you’re gonna need more than that to call the police. Look around he may have keep trophies from his victims.” Beckett may not have been physically conducting the search, but she was directing it from long distance.
Was there state action? Hell yes! Castle’s search had more state than the 114th Congress. In fact, considering current gridlock, Castle’s search had a more government action than the 114th Congress. A lot more.
Beckett’s suggested plan of attack was one that guaranteed none of the evidence found on the farm would be admissible. Her plan actually jeopardized their chance of catching the killer. Unless, of course, she and Castle planned to lie on the witness stand about how Castle found the evidence.
But they wouldn’t do that, would they? Not even I am so cynical as to suggest that “Effective Perjury” is covered in the captains exam.
Though we still haven’t forgiven ABC for canceling Selfie, we are very encouraged by the shows filling in for Once Upon A Time (8pm, Sundays) and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (9pm, Tuesdays) during their winter breaks. This week we review Galavant, a comedy/musical fairytale series that reminds us a lot of Monty Python’s Spamalot and talk about how super cool it is for Marvel’s Agent Carter to be about a female hero. And of course, Maddy goes on a rant about there not being a Black Widow movie —- because come on, all the boy superheroes seem to need special powers, but girls like Peggy Carter and Natasha Romanoff are just as awesome without them!
This week we get all literary with reviews of two modern adaptations of classic works: the new TV show Selfie (on ABC Tuesday nights at 8pm) based on My Fair Lady and one of our favorite web series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries based on Pride and Prejudice.
It’s just too bad this doesn’t count as homework.
There have been so many titles featuring Wolverine and so many stories told about him that writers find themselves forced time and again to dip into parallel realities or alternate futures to find fresh sources of conflict. There was the well-received Old Man Logan by Mark Millar a little while back and before that, there was Jason Aaron’s Wolverine:” Weapon X storyline “Tomorrow Dies Today”. The latter has been adapted as part of the Marvel Knights line of motion comics, released on DVD this week from Shout! Factory.
The story is adapted from Wolverine: Weapon X #11-15 and predominantly features Captain America with cameos from a variety of X-Men. The primary antagonist is Deathlok, who has been around since 1974 and is only now become well-known thanks to his appearances on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. With Wolverine in X-Men Days of Future Past next week and Agents having its season finale tomorrow, the release is incredibly well-timed.
A major fault in this particular adaptation is that it makes tons of references to previous events in the Marvel Universe comic book continuity without explanation to the non-comic fan. We open with Logan and Steve Rogers going out drinking to celebrate Cap’s return from the dead in the wake of the Civil War storyline. Cap talks about Logan’s role with the Avengers and so on but mass audiences expected to watch this have no clue what is being discussed. More context from the screenwriters would have been nice.
While they’re out drinking, a host of Deathloks has been sent back in time to eliminate targeted people who will either give birth to or grow up to become super-villains that will ruin life as we know it. Roxxon, the ever-present evil corporation whenever Oscorp isn’t available, has been responsible for this and one by one, Marvel’s mightiest heroes have fallen except Wolverine, who still wants to fight despite the loss of his hands. Linking the two eras is Miranda Bayer who has been receiving psychic warnings from her future self.
There’s a lot of fighting and things blow up. We see various heroes come to Wolverine’s aid and all sorts of Deathloks appear indestructible. And of course, the story reaches its climax, another potential future threat is resolved and life goes on as usual. A key problem with these stories is that we have seen so many alternate futures for the mutants, starting with Days and continuing for the last 30 years is that they have lost their sense of urgency. Solve this future and some other dark, deadly future will be presented whenever the writers get stuck for an idea.
Aaron does a fine job in the comics making this work and his pacing is fine. On the other hand, the 64-minute motion adaptation leaves out sub-text, characterization, and just feels written by the numbers. The story arc was illustrated by Ron Garney and was transformed into a motion story by Canada’s Atomic Cartoons. Maybe they were rushed or the budget was cut but the work here is choppier and more static than earlier offerings. Additionally, the same action is shown for several seconds as characters talk to one another, the worst sin even 2-D animation can commit.
The vocal cast is also limited meaning people have to perform multiple roles and it shows, further weakening the storytelling.
The story is accompanied by a bonus feature, 14 minutes of Ron Garney talking about his work on the storyline and seeing it adapted and opening his eyes to the possibilities of motion comics. Interestingly, he admits to talking 5-6 weeks to draw a story which finally explains his inability to remain on a monthly for long. His extolling the virtues of a motion comic also sounds like a testimonial and doesn’t sound entirely convincing.
NBC’s new hostage centered drama, CRISIS, might seem a bit familiar when you compare it to other shows on the air right now. However, series stars RACHEL TAYLOR and LANCE GROSS quickly point out just why their show is not what you are expecting. Plus ABC drops the axe on ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND and it’s going to be a great year for ELFQUEST fans.
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With the return this past week of Once Upon A Time to ABC, our favorite twin geeks discuss all the wicked new developments.
Now if they tie this in with the Marvel one shot villain Crazy Eight, I’ll be impressed.
Marvel Entertainment and ABC Studios are proud to announce REVENGE: THE SECRET ORIGIN OF EMILY THORNE, an all-new graphic novel inspired by ABC’s popular television series, “Revenge.” This 112-page hardcover hits comic shops and bookstores everywhere on September 3rd, 2014.
In “Revenge”, Emily Thorne is a recent addition to the Hamptons social scene – a beautiful, wealthy woman who appears to be nothing more than a good-natured philanthropist. She’s moved next door to the powerful Grayson family, and has begun immersing herself in their world.
But there is more to this girl than meets the eye.
Women’s Lib was perhaps the last great social movement of the 20th Century, a logical outgrowth of a changing society that finally brought equal rights to African-Americans and saw the last wave of Baby Boomers create an identity all their own. Women spoke up, beginning in the 1960s with Betty Freidan’s The Feminist Mystique, coupled with the arrival of birth control pills. By the end of the 1960s, women were increasing playing larger roles in the workplace, mirrored soon thereafter on television. They were competent at work and at home, able to stand on their own without benefit of a man. While CBS quailed at the notion that Mary Richards was happily divorced, they were fine to let her be a successful producer on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a series that ushered in a new era for powerful women.
Dramatic prime time series followed suit, most notably with Angie Dickinson’s Police Woman. It was a no-brainer than to imagine that if one powerful woman would work, more would work better. Fred Silverman, then head of programming at ABC, commissioned Aaron Spelling to create a show about three tough but beautiful women. The successful producer conceived of three women working as private investigators for a mysterious employer in a series to be called The Alley Cats. ABC and Spelling first contacted Kate Jackson, who previously appeared on the network’s The Rookies to be a lead. She refused to audition, was cast anyway, then suggested Angles instead of Alley Cats and so Charlie’s Angels was born.
Today, the show is seen as the beginning of a trend of dumbing down prime time programing, ushering in “jiggle television” that emphasized their breasts over their brains. It’s also the launching pad for the pop culture phenom known as Farrah Fawcett-Majors, whose hair started a trend all its own and her bathing suit poster, with a hint of nipple protruding, made her the decade’s superstar. Initially, though, the series was merely an attempt to entertain at the 8 p.m. hour, appealing to all ages with some action some adventure, and three beautiful women to while away sixty minutes with.
It was never meant to be great television or even trend-setting television but it lucked out and became a ratings hit that transformed the cast, anchored by Jackson, but also featuring Fawdfcett0-Majors and model turned actress Jaclyn Smith into celebrities. Mill Creek Entertainment has been vacuuming up rights to some of the most important series across the decades and releasing them in affordable, no-frills season sets including the just out Charlie’s Angels Season 1. Just listening to the music and watching the title credits with those three silhouettes shows how often imitated became, even today.
John Forsythe got pressed into services to voice the never seen Charlie while their onsite handler John Bosley (David Doyle) is there to look serious and congratulate the girls on a job well done.
Spelling’s series rarely allowed his characters depth and this show is no exception despite the pedigree of the writing staff including john D.F. Black. Much of the tone was established by Spelling veteran Edward J. Lakso who wrote seven that season. Directors who helped clinch the look and feel include George McCowan (3) and Georg Stanford Brown (2), Bill Bixby, and Cliff Bole.
The first season (September 22, 1976 to May 4, 1977) has fairly routine plots including the obligatory “Angels in Chains” that not only put the Angels in a women’s jail, but wisely used the great Mary Woronov as the warden and a young Kim Basinger as a fellow inmate. Other noteworthy guest turns include Rene Auberjonois, Fernando Lamas, Ida Lupino, Frank Gorshin, Tom Selleck, and Tommy Lee Jones.
All 23 episodes are included here in standard definition DVD on four discs without any of the extras that appeared on previous collections.
The much anticipated home video release of the 1966-1968 Batman teleivsion series has been confirmed by Warner Home Video. A complete box set of the trend-setting 104 episodes will be out later this year in a date to be determined.
The announcement was made on the Conan O’Brien Show complete with a breaking news tweet.
Last year, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox reached an agreement to allow licensing from the ABC series to begin which spawned action figures, Barbie & Ken Collector’s Set, the well-received comic book Batman ’66 from DC Entertainment, and related merchandise. There were high hopes that the DVD announcement would be made at last summer’s Comic-Con International but it was not to be.
No details have yet been released regarding how this arrangement was completed but it has been long understood that there were legal entanglements between DC, 20th Century Fox, and Greenway Productions, the latter being William Dozier’s production company which actually created the pop series.
Dozier had been asked to turn some comic hero into a television series and after attempts with others failed, they settled on Batman, whose sales had been slipping for years as the static art from co-creator Bob Kane and his ghosts failed to keep up with the maturing look of comic books and the writing had gone down hill, mired in science fiction concepts unbefitting the world’s greatest detective.
He decided to play it as straight as he could and with Lorenzo Semple, Jr. at the typewriter, they came up with an approach that worked. The story would be split in two, with the first thirty minute part concluding on a cliffhanger with Dozier’s own narration promising results if fans merely tuned in “same bat time, same bat channel”. One show split up ion this manner had not been done before but ABC, then a distant third in the ratings, was desperate to try anything.
The series arrived on January 12, 1966 after being in development for less than a year. However, it shattered the ratings charts and became an instant smash success, spawning countless forms of apparel, books, records, and other collectibles. It turned journeyman actor Adam West into a superstar and newcomer Burt Ward into a youthful sex symbol. All manner of actors, actresses, and celebrities clamored to play villains on the series or make cameo appearances during the famed climbs up buildings.
The series arrived at a time when pop culture was enjoying a colorful renaissance, inspired in part by an art movement fronted by Andy Warhol and a renewed interest in super-hero comics. It used odd camera angles, a bright colorful palette (at a time when color TV was still considered something new), and had jazzy music. Kids adored the action sequences while adults cackled at the corny jokes and seemingly ludicrous plots. There was something for everyone.
The show quickly spawned a big budget film which arrived in August 1966, between the first and second seasons, allowing the producers to add a Bat boat and Batcopter to the growing arsenal of bat-themed weapons. It also pitted the Dynamic Duo against a quarter of foes, something heretofore untried on the series.
By that fall, though, the bloom had quickly faded and ABC was scrambling to find ways to sustain interest in the series. They asked DC for a Batgirl and rather than resurrect Kathy Kane, editor Julie Schwartz and art director Carmine Infantino created Barbara Gordon, who was introduced in Detective Comics #369 that November. Yvonne Craig, a dancer turned actress, nabbed the role and became an object of lust for young boys everywhere when she arrived the following September.
Even though ABC reduced the series to a single night, the ratings continued to plummet and the show was canceled, airing its final episode in March 1968. Soon after it went into syndication and it has been playing on some channel, somewhere ever since.