Friday, December 12, 2014

Have A Merry Whedon Christmas

Christmas is less than two weeks away, but the average TV viewer will bump into at least one holiday special a day, whether it be Rudolph, Scrooge, George Bailey or the Grinch.

The odds get even better thanks to cable TV offering literally hundreds of Christmas movies, mainly thanks to the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. Their holiday libraries are so big they usually start just after Halloween, and wrap up on New Year's Eve. Through all those movies, it's likely that several members of the Whedonverse may appear.
In fact, there's several movies where we see our favorite actors...

Dear Santa:  Lifetime premiered this movie three years ago. Amy Acker plays a party girl named Crystal, whose parents demand she straighter herself out by Christmas or they'll cut off her credit cards. She gets an idea from a letter to Santa from a seven year old girl, who wants her widowed dad named Derek to get a new wife. He also runs a soup kitchen. Crystal volunteers there, but also has to battle Derek's jealous girlfriend. Acker is really cute in this movie, quite different from her roles on Angel and Person of Interest.

Holiday Wishes:  Also a Lifetime movie, I thought this had one holiday trope too many, but it's still OK. Amber Benson plays woman looks for her missing sister, and gets support from her boyfriend who may not be who he seems (hint: think angel). Then there's a rich girl and an orphan who switches bodies thanks to a magical ornament. With those three typical holiday plots, it's a bit crowded, but the helpful boyfriend does play a part is resolving things before his true identity is revealed.

Call Me Mrs. Miracle:  This was a sequel to a Hallmark Channel movie with Doris Roberts as the angelic helper who gets a job at a department store although no one remembers hiring here. Jewel Staite plays an assistant to a fashion designer, and she'd like to get her nephew a popular toy. Mrs. M comes up with a better idea that helps her and her store, and gives off a Jennifer Aniston vibe. Despite beng well-known to Firefly and Stargate Atlantis fans, it would be great to see her in a rom-com or two. I reviewed it in my other blog.

A Golden Christmas:  This is from Ion Television. Nicholas Brendon is in this story about a lawyer who's upset her family home has been bought by Brendon's character. The story makes her look like a Scrooge when she tries to get the stop the sale, but a dog plays a big part in changing her attitude. It also turns out they knew each other as kids, but she doesn't remember.

Help for the Holidays:  Another cute holiday movie from Hallmark, with Summer Glau as an elf who helps out at a Christmas store. It seems the owners put too much time in their store and not enough on their kids. She also has a purse that is a smaller version than the one Mary Poppins has. She also starts falling for a guy, which threatens her mission. Glau is a great elf, but I said in my review the story had a ton of missed opportunities.

A Christmas Wish:  The original Buffy, Kristy Swanson, is a woman with three kids whose husband leaves her and leaves her penniless. She gets a job waitressing at a diner that may also close down. However, thanks to finding a root beer recipe, thinks will be looking up for them. Swanson is in a new holiday movie on Ion called Merry X-mas, where she plays a woman who's about to divorce her two-timing husband thanks to some misleading photos. He can't get her to hear his side, but he hopes a blizzard could help.

Road To Christmas:  we can't leave out our favorite SHIELD agent, Clark Gregg, from the list. A Lifetime offering from 2006, it's about a fashion photographer who's on her way to a dream wedding, but is held up by bad weather. Gregg is an artist turned teacher with a teenage daughter. He takes in the photographer, and if you suspect she falls for the teacher, then you know your Christmas plots. Seems inevitable, since the photographer is played by Gregg's wife, Jennifer Grey

Snow Bride:  Tom Lenk plays a small role in this Hallmark movie>He's a reporter for a website hoping to get some dirt on a political family about to announce an engagement. A female rival tries to infiltrate the family, and does thanks to an accident. Thing is, this big-shot political family is more down-to-earth than the reporter thought. It doesn't stop the editor of the website from planning to use some info Lenk uncovers, whether it's true or not. Lenk's also sporting a mustache in this movie.

If you click the DVD covers, you will find out when they will air through Christmas. If not, you'll get a link to where you can buy the DVD.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Buffy Movie Page In a New Home

As I am getting older, I am making some changes.
I've looked at my Yahoo home page, and whether I still need it. Since I have two blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr, my homepage is no longer the source of news it used to be. It used to be an update for Whedon shows, and a weekly episode guide, too. However, I could only save my Dollhouse episode guide through this site and Whedonopolis. I really wish I could have saved some of my episode reviews from Buffy and Angel. I never did review Firefly or Serenity, although I did comment on special events. 
So, I will have a new website through Wix that will be the new home for my memorial of The Bronze, and the day Angel was cancelled by the WB. It'll also be the home for some of my favorite cons, including the Flanvention, Wolfram and Hart Revue, Browncoat Ball and other events. 

I still need a home for my original page talking about the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie from 1992, and my dreams of it being riffed on by this guy and his two robots. Since Rifftrax has targeted Super Mario Brothers and Psycho II, plus both Doctor Who movies with Peter Cushing, there's always a chance. 
So, this is what I said about the original Buffy, with some updated comments:

Since the dawn of Man, the vampires have walked among us...killing...feeding.
The only one with the strength and skill to stop their henious evil is the Slayer.
She who wears the birthmark, the Mark of the Coven.
Trained by the Watcher, one Slayer dies, and the next is Chosen

It's very difficult to turn a good movie into a good TV show (MASH, Dr. Kildare, The Odd Couple, and not much else) or even a good TV show into a good movie (The Fugitive, MST 3000, The X-Files...maybe, South Park)

But turning a bad movie into a great TV show? Our Slayer may be the only character who has done that successfully...but it may have cost her respect and recognition that she so richly deserves.
The movie may be the reason why. Maybe it was a good idea that just wasn't executed as well as it should have.
Several actresses were up for the part, including Drew Barrymore, Allysa Milano and Alicia Silverstone (who was too young).
It was supposed to make Kristy Swanson, who played Buffy, a star. It was supposed to be Luke Perry's breakout role after several years as the male lead in 
Beverly Hills, 90210.Somehow, it didn't turn out that way.
On the other hand, it did have a well-known actor (Donald Sutherland as Merrick, the Watcher), two future Oscar winners (Hillary Swank and Ben Affleck), and a comeback role for Paul Reubens, alias Pee-Wee Herman..who was coming off a sex scandal that destroyed his career as a kids' TV host.
Not only that, it had David Arquette, who went on to fame in the 
Scream movies and telephone commercials, and wound up marrying Courtney Cox (and was a pro wrestling champion for a while).

The movie wasn't the sleeper hit 20th Century Fox had hoped. The major newsmagazines panned it. 
Time blamed the director for not having confidence in the script, while Newsweek blamed the script for not being able to merge the scary and funny bits as well as (and I swear to God this is true) Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

But the director, Fran Rubel Kazui, says the movie just wasn't marketed well, and didn't find its audience until it was released on video. The budget was seven million, but earned nearly 16 point seven million in the theaters. However, some criticized her for her hands-off style of directing. Joss Whedon, who wrote the movie, even admitted the movie didn't meet his vision. He talked about it in an interview with 
The Onion ...

I had major involvement. I was there almost all the way through shooting. I pretty much eventually threw up my hands because I could not be around Donald Sutherland any longer. It didn't turn out to be the movie that I had written. They never do, but that was my first lesson in that. Not that the movie is without merit, but I just watched a lot of stupid wannabe-star behavior and a director with a different vision than mine--which was her right, it was her movie--but it was still frustrating. Eventually, I was like, "I need to be away from here."

Fox executives also wanted the movie to be less funny and more scary, but Kuzui ignored those suggestions. He did have some nice things to say about Paul Reubens as Count Pee Wee, and that Rutger Hauer wasn't as bad in the movie as people thought.  The movie was supposed to end with Buffy setting the gym on fire (probably after she burns Lothos' head). The closest thing to his original script is in the three-part comic series, "Origin". 

There's not much connection between the movie and the TV show. In "Becoming, part one," the first meeting between Buffy and Merrick was MUCH different than in the movie: she met him in the TV show outside her high school, and he didn't look anything like Sutherland (more like Wilford Brimley). In the movie, of course, Merrick meets Buffy at the gym, and tells her about her "birthright." Also, there's no mention of a "Pike" in Buffy's past in the TV show, although there is in a Buffy novel. I suspect that there never really was a Pike, and they just added him for effect.

While the movie didn't make an impression in theaters, at least two of the producers, Gail Berman and Sandy Gallin, decided that Buffy would make a great TV show. If not for that, 
Buffy the Vampire Slayer would have been nothing more than fodder for Mystery Science Theater 3000 (whose first supervising producer was Gallin!)

In fact, I have this dream that the Satellite of Love lands mysteriously in Los Angeles. Buffy and her Slayerettes investigate, and then are surprised to meet Mike, Servo and Crow. Then, they find this movie about a cheerleader who fights vampires, and Buffy says, "Guys, we have got to riff on this!"
And who could blame them?

There were plans for a Buffy movie for a new generation...and but without Joss Whedon or Sarah Michelle Gellar. (Edited to add: since Joss is busy in the Marvel-verse, and the TV cast has aged some, this may be more likely). More people are wondering why anyone should try. After all, more people look for the TV show, not the movie.
If Fran Kuzui wants to make a new Slayer movie, one word of advice:  any name except Buffy.
That way, if a new Slayer movie is done right, the real thing can show up, and give her blessing, which would also be Joss Whedon's.
For we all know, he is the 
one true parent of Buffy Anne Summers. 

(Also, the Nerdist website speculated what kind of Buffy movie we'd get if it was made in the 1970's. Actually, the casting's not bad: Cybill Shepherd as Buffy, Peter Cushing as Giles, Kurt Russell as Xander, Susan Dey as Willow, Morgan Fairchild as Darla. Not sure about Leonard Nimoy as the Master, though. This was during a time when he wanted to prove he was more than Spock, but I'm not sure this would be it.)
A blog called 
The Exploding Kinetoscope did a very detailed essay on the movie. It makes my essay look quite lacking. It compares the original Buffy movie to lots of other movies, and praises Sutherland's performance. Well, I had my angle and this blogger has his. Click here, and see for yourself.
AAAANNNDDD...someone found an article in 
Movieline that gives a detailed look at the movie, with a lot of emphasis on how this affects Luke Perry's chances to breaking away from his role on 90210. It didn't, but you wonder if it could have if the movie was closer to Joss' original plan, and people decided this was NOT a kid's movie.

Now, after we have had a flood of vampire genre on TV and the movies...for good and bad...could it be time for an all new version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, based on what Whedon really had in mind? If so, he, or Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tanchareon, should be involved somehow. That way, it will be done right.
Besides, wouldn't Emma Roberts look great mowing down the Hellspawn?

And for the record, my new website that's devoted to the many Buffy-related activities I've attended is

Thursday, April 17, 2014

This Fake Poster Is A Big Fat Spoiler

Consider this a spoof of the poster for Johnny Depp's latest movie, Transcendence. It's also a big fat spoiler from Captain America:  The Winter Soldier. All I can say is, when I saw a certain scene where Cap and Black Widow find a hidden room once owned by SHIELD, it was already better than what Depp can do.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mork and Buffy: A Look At The Crazy Ones

CBS' new advertising sitcom, The Crazy Ones, was promoted as the return of two TV icons, Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar. While Williams decided to go back to his roots after a long movie career, Gellar wants to prove that she's more than someone who battled vampires in the late 1990s. Either she'll be able to keep up with the quick-witted Williams, or wind up as the next Pam Dawber.

It's also the comeback of David E. Kelley, best known for L.A. Law, Boston Legal, and Ally McBeal. This show looks like trying to pack a typical episode from either of these shows in 30 minutes.

It begins with Gellar as ad creative director Sydney Roberts auditioning with her assistant Zach (James
Volk), hoping to find the right kid for a cookie commercial. When she gets back to the office, she discovers that McDonalds wants to fire the agency. Her dad and agency partner Simon Roberts (Williams) should be there to convince them to stay, but he's busy battling a life-sized Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robot. She winds up knocking the robot out, and tries to get Simon to focus and not tell jokes that make the staff laugh. That's supposed to show she's the responsible one.

However, Simon is no fool....all the time. He comes in and tells the McDonalds ad guys about how he and Sydney used to share a Happy Meal when she was young. On the spot, he decides to update the "You Deserve A Break Today" ad. Great idea, and he'll promise a famous voice. OK, the McDonalds people say. He has until tomorrow.

The first half is dominated by Williams and Volk. They try to convince Kelly Clarkson to sing for the new ad, even though she says she doesn't do jingles. She'd like to do a sexy song, and Simon and Zach come up with one. Williams and Volk make a pretty good team, except Gellar is supposed to be the other half of that team. So far, she stands around looking worried. When does she become funny? At least Dawber got in some good jokes on Mork and Mindy. Anyway, Clarkson has her own sexy hamburger song, but when she senses they're really trying to make her do a jingle, she walks out.

Finally we get a scene between Gellar and Williams. Of course, he does the funny stuff (even imitating a tribal elder) while she doesn't. They are the new Mork and Mindy, but Gellar can do more than react to his lines. It also shows Kelley is making a sitcom as a shorter version of one of his dramas. It doesn't work because we're still waiting for Gellar to be funny.

She finally gets that chance when she tries to convince Kelly that "You Deserve a Break Today" isn't a jingle for an idea of a family getting together. Ironically, Sydney does this while Kelly is with her family at a local restaurant. Kelly then dares Sydney to sing the song, once more with feeling. Sydney's singing isn't as smooth but it's sincere, and it convinces Kelly to do the commercial. Sydney is her father's daughter after all.

It is great to see Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar back on TV, but Kelley has to understand how to tell a good and funny story in 30 minutes, not an hour. He should also know Williams is good in drama as well as comedy. He doesn't have to be goofy all the time. That was so 1976. Gellar, again, should be responsible but be able to be off the wall to keep up with WIlliams. We'll give it more time, but the show still needs some work to be so crazy that it works as a successful sitcom.

Ratings report: The show clobbered everyone at 9 PM, even Michael J. Fox, Glee and Grey's Anatomy, with more than 15.6 million viewers. However, that was helped by the return of Big Bang Theory, which was number one on the night. Expect those numbers to fall when The Millers take the 8:30 time slot. If it stays close to Grey's, and the shows balances Robin and Sarah better, we will call it a comeback.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Comic-Con At Home: Time Lords at Petco

Before he packed Hall H on the final day of Comic-Con, Matt Smith enjoyed a more intimate meeting of fans at Petco Park with fellow Doctor Who castmate Jenna Coleman and Stephan Moffat.

First off, Nathan Fillion continued his hosting duties, and welcomed his guests. Of course, there were some people who begged Matt not to go, but if he's got to go....

It puts Jenna in an interesting situation: she is the one with the most seniority on the show, since she'll be the first Companion who sees her Doctor change bodies since Rose Tyler in 2005. She's up for it, though.
The first question was the cast being asks where they were when they found out the show had some openings. Matt said his mom texted him about the search for a new Doctor. He got the script for "Eleventh Hour" under top secret conditions, and he had to keep quiet until it was finally official. Jenna, meanwhile, recalled holding an avocado at a supermarket when she was told Amy and Rory would be leaving. Moffat, of course, was writing for the show when Russell Davies asked him to take over.

Moffat also says that each writer that tackles an episode should write as if they owned the show. They basically give their personal stamp to each episode.

The cast were then confronted with the idea of a "bucket list", which isn't as well-known in Britain. Matt said his list would include Jennifer Lawrence, and conquering time travel. Take that what you will.
They also talked about how big the fandom for Who can be. Jenna talked about two people at Heathrow who were talking about building their own TARDISes

A fan asked Matt how it feels to be the youngest man who play the Doctor, and how it's strange since the Doc is about a thousand years old. He says if you think about all the things The Doctor has seen, he has no choice but to move forward in life with youthful enthusiasm, or it'll become too much.
His only advice to the actor who becomes #12? He would just wish that person luck.
But what if that person is Nathan? Matt:  "You're going to have the best time. Please don't be better than me...."

Oh, and a Firefly fan suggested what it would be like if the TARDIS suddenly landed, maybe in the 26th century, near some Big Damn Heroes...

Moffat did admit to being a big fan of Firefly. Personally, one thing would be certain: River would be able to handle the TARDIS almost immediately if she had the chance.

So, here's the panel, a little shorter than the other ones but still chock full of Time Lord goodness

Friday, July 19, 2013

Comic-Con At Home: Clones Welcome at Nerd HQ

Much to my surprise, apparently the Whedonopolis staff couldn't get inside the Nerd HQ panels. However, I could see them live at home. That's how I can cover the Orphan Black panel with Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris (Felix) and Dylan Bruce (Paul).

Right off the bat, the crew talks about how the cast responds differently to all the sides Tatiana expresses from Sarah the troubled mom to Cosima the science geek, Alison the housewife, Beth the cop and Helena the killer. Jordan agrees, but is worried he said that in a wonky way.

Now they're asking what role would they want Tatiana to be. Jordan suggests Carrie While, while Dylan suggests Martina McFly. She does say it's tough playing against her fellow clones because there's no one there except a tennis ball. Still, she does it very well.

She was crying when she read the script for the final episode because she wasn't sure if there would be a season two. Jordan agrees, saying that it was gripping. Dylan was tempted to smoke

Tatiana says she's closer to Cosima because of how she observes and investigates everything. Jordan says none of the clones are cartoons. They are whole people, even if they are copies of one. Jordan, meanwhile, praised the set decorators for creating Felix's loft, and how it's a reflection of himself.

He also talked about how some people did like his portrayal of Felix as a gay man, but heterosexuals did not because they thought he was a cliché.  He argues that Felix doesn't represent all gay people any more than Cam does on Modern Family.

She isn't sure if she has a favorite clone. She loves all of them. She also says season two will provide more information about how they know each other. Dylan hopes for more info about Beth, and why Paul is a jerk.

How about a Felix clone? Jordan isn't sure, but admits anything is possible.

At one point, Alan was looking out into the field, as if he was expecting someone. It's either zombies or a concert.

They also talk about their favorite artists, what kind of clone they'd like to add to the show, how it takes a while for Tatiana to switch personas and their auditions, and there's a surprise cover version of a Taylor Swift song by J-Swift.

Here's the whole thing. Enjoy!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Comic-Con At Home: In Praise of Nerd HQ

Suddenly, I'm not so sad that I can't go to Comic-Con.
If they somehow broadcast more of these panels live, or charged two bucks to see them live, it would be worth it.

Anyway, Zachary Levi has figured out that even if people head to the big con in San Diego, they can't see the panels they want because they sell out real fast.

So, why not have them available?

Here's the panel from Thursday morning featuring Seth Green and his Robot Chicken pals. It also includes two short films that will leave you stunned.