Tag Archives: Doctor Who

MacBOOM! MacBANG! Guess who’s back.

I’ll keep this short, but oh so sweet.

They’re bringing back MacGyver!

The show, a delicious piece of iconic escapist claptrap that snagged the imagination of a generation too high most of the time to debate story structure or ask any rational questions, featured Angus McGyver, a secret and very resourceful operative from the Phoenix Foundation who was always jumping over hedges and dangling from helicopters, and who could escape from any dangerous situation, any at all – just give him a roll of duct tape, a set of salad servers, and something long and very thin – ran for seven fabulous seasons on ABC in the late-eighties-early-nineties and made a star of Richard Dean Anderson.

Then, apart from two TV movies, including one where MacGyver found the lost treasure of Atlantis (some might say,But of course he did, you ass – he’s MacGyver!”), it was cancelled, to live on only in parody and in an endless roster of comedy shows, including The Simpsons and, most recently, MacGruber, an extremely unfunny and labored skit on Saturday Night Live.

It was this, the SNL thing, that became the final straw, I suspect. Hollywood loves taking your money way more than it loves entertaining you with movies. And the recurring  MacGyver references in popular culture must have proved to someone somewhere that the American public still has an appetite for crap that makes no sense. So New Line thought, “To hell with this! Enough with comedians mocking our hero and devaluing a potential cash cow, let’s revive this brothersucking franchise right away and make some serious dough, guys.” 

As a result, MacGyver will live again, this time as a full length feature film. If you don’t believe me, go check with someone reliable.

My memories of the show are hazy, I admit. Maybe it’s not as good as I remember it. As with Love Boat and Fantasy Island and Falcon Crest and Dynasty and The Munsters and Jonny Quest (which is also being filmed right now, as is Tintin), these programs hold up far better in the memory, where they’re packaged in a wrapping of fondness and stored in a quiet attic beyond the reach of ruinous modern-day scrutiny, alongside episodes of Get SmartRowan and Martin, the bear that kept falling over on The Andy Williams ShowDoctor Who in black and white, and Bewitched with a Darren you recognize, than they do in real life. 

MacGyver, though, was a great idea that still has legs and could be a hit. First, it had the best TV theme tune EVER…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w-oDZSLUrY  

…and also, despite coming under investigation by the IPIAF, the International Pretending Isn’t Acting Federation, the ludicrous characters and situations were often very engaging.

A recent special episode of Mythbusters kinda gave MacGyver even further credibility. The two host weirdos proved that some of his scientific jiggerpokery actually would work in reality. I mean, how cool is that? The MacGyver writers did research. That makes me so happy.

The only drawback, as far as I can see, to New Line’s plan is the long record of miserable and ghastly-to-horrendous failures when it comes to reviving TV shows as movies. Some have worked: Mission Impossible, South Park, Brady Bunch, X-Files, Star Trek, Batman, even The Addams Family, for example.

But let’s not forget Mod Squad, Bewitched (Nora Ephron and I had dealings with the same agent years ago. “She just doesn’t get it,” he wailed, holding his head at the forthcoming disaster. “It’s awful.”), Thunderbirds (horrrrible! What moron agreed to one frame of this travesty being shot?), The AvengersDukes of Hazzard, Inspector Gadget, Lost in Space, and Scooby Doo

And they’re not done yet. 24‘s going to be a movie soon. As is The A-Team. Which is like MacGyver, only he has a team! And then there’s Dallas. That’s been in the works for ages, with John Travolta as JR, though it never quite showed its face, and Baywatch too, which nobody at all is waiting for, except maybe teenage boys either too small to reach the top shelf or too young to buy anything on it.  The only one they haven’t attempted and failed at yet is The Man from UNCLE. Oh, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which, given the death (actual or imminent) of its cast, is thankfully right off the table. 

So I’m happy today. I think we should welcome the news of MacGyver‘s resurrection with flung hats and open arms.

I won’t go see it, mind. I say I will, but when it finally arrives I’ll probably back out. Same with Transformers 2. I got so badly burnt the first time around that I’m not wasting another second on that overblown, pretentious bilge. All the same, let’s be positive. Let’s encourage New Line to do a good job, lead them into believing there’s a market for a new MacGyver, wait ’til the film’s release in 2011, but then stay away in droves, just to show them who’s boss and who pays their wages.

 

The idea of remaking MacGyver gets five magic carpets out of five.

TV Swami – he say YES.

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When TV hosts attack…Star Wars…Jonas Brothers

I’m going to talk about this feud between Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart that’s all over the news.

First, though, I want to say something else. About blogging.

It’s not hard to tell when somebody is new to something. They’re very, very enthusiastic for the first couple of weeks, right? Positively brimming with fresh ideas that they’re eager to communicate to you. Not only that, but they’re willing to sacrifice a dozen other, less boring activities in order to get down and do this new special thing they’ve discovered. My dad’s passion for bird-watching comes to mind.

But then the initial burst of activity is over. What was, to begin with, fun, stimulating, and a challenge, starts turning into a small chore, and they find that the novelty doesn’t just wear off but turns yellow and gathers traces of mildew on it, like last week’s towels. That’s the critical watershed. It may take a year,  it may take only a few days to reach the damp towel moment, but once it’s happened, there’s no going back. From that point on, every time they embark on what was once such a bright, shiny, exciting new activity suddenly becomes a grind and they want to quit. My dad’s passion for bird-watching comes to mind.

His explosion of interest began the day he bought the book at the store and lasted well into the following week when he got around to reading it and discovered how unremarkable and dull birds are – they hatch, they fly, they make nests, they eat, they crap, they get attacked and eaten by cats, and they die horribly; that’s the average life-cycle. Once he knew that, he never picked the book up again and we gave it to a charity shop.

As you probably guessed, I was about to draw a parallel here between my dad’s shortlived hobbies (remind me to tell you about his clock-making binge) and writing this blog. But actually it’s not quite like that. I’m not bored with it at all. In fact, it’s been quite gratifying on one level to have so many people stop by and read my thoughts every day. It does an ego good to feel wanted and know it serves a purpose.

Or rather, it did. Until I took a look at the blog statistics and spotted something interesting.

People aren’t really coming here for me. I hoped they were, but they’re not. I get the most hits on this site, it turns out, when I mention somebody else. Anybody, it seems, will do. As long as it’s not me.

Rachel Bilson is a good example.

Dropping Bilson’s name, for no other reason than that she’s my neighbor and marrying Hayden Christensen from Star Wars, instantly attracts traffic from fan sites and other blogs around the world, curious to know what I’m saying about the (presumably) happy pair. And look! See what I did just then? I just mentioned Star Wars too. That’s a biggie. I can expect a huge response to that now, I’m sure. In fact, I’d better go doll myself up and put a clean shirt on. This blog’s going to be like Home Depot on a Sunday morning; I need to look my best.

Another sure-fire visitor-count winner is The Simpsons. A passing reference to them got a lot of people very excited the other day. So they stopped by as well, just to see what I was saying about Homer. Which was nothing, it turned out; I’d stuck his name in at the end of something else for no particular reason.

Oh, and let’s not forget Hugh Laurie. For some reason, House fans trawl the web at all hours of the day and night, hunting down any reference to the show or its lead, and their diligence brought them here, to the TV Swami blog, where they became instantly disillusioned to find that there was nothing of any substance about House and Hugh Laurie at all, I’d simply shoe-horned them in for the sake of it. I’m not expecting those people back again. They’re upset. We’re not speaking.

And perhaps I should also mention the Jonas Brothers and Rihannah.Y’know, just because.

The reason I’m telling you this, in case you’re wondering, is because the whole issue of how to gratuitously whip up public interest happened to cross my mind last night as I tuned in for the very public brawl between CNBC’s Jim Cramer and The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart. You probably heard about it. And how the result was not just a bloodbath, but the best TV bloodbath EVER. Or at least the best since Jon Stewart did the exact-same thing in 2004 to Tucker Carlson on CNN’s Crossfire, a show that never recovered and died soon after.

If you don’t know how we got here, let me give you a summary: Jim Cramer’s an ex-hedge fund manager who’s made it big as a crazy-shouting-manic financial advisor on TV. I’ve only followed two of his tips.  Both times I lost what was, for me, a ton of money. So I don’t trust him at all. And now I find I’m not the only one.

Jon Stewart was on fire yesterday. He blamed CNBC and Cramer for being in bed with the very Wall Street criminals they’re reporting on and supposed to be exposing. Caught in the crosshairs, unable to run away, Cramer was high-pitched and helpless. He had nothing rational to say. He was dithery, stuttery, lame. Worse, he’d made the mistake of trying to defend himself on The Today Show and even Martha Stewart earlier in the week, where he dared mock Jon Stewart for being just a comedian and hosting a variety show.

Bad move. TERRIBLE move.

Cramer was booked as a guest on The Daily Show Thursday. He said beforehand that he was nervous. He was right to be. But even then, he didn’t see what was coming. Stewart tore him apart, not only limb from limb, but cell from cell, molecule from molecule. It was horrendous to watch, squirm-making, both funny and sad, diabolical and delightful, all in one.

The bout was also peppered with commercials. More commercials than I ever remember seeing on this show. Why? Because Comedy Central knew they had a winner. The media had chattered so much and for so long about this escalating feud that it became headline news, and people who normally aren’t interested in Jon Stewart and don’t even know who Jim Cramer is, much less invested in Best Buy a couple of years ago on his advice and watched it tank, tuned in to see this contest of heavyweights.

Actually, to be fair, there was only one heavyweight in the match. The pairing wasn’t fair last night. Then again, fairness didn’t come into it. We’re in a deep recession. People have lost their savings and houses and pensions and security. They’re angry. They wanted blood. And they got it.

Now, enough about them. Famous people. Back to me.

In a simple TV blog I can’t do any of that. I can’t give you a bloodbath every day. But clearly, good writing and interesting topics alone are not enough to make this page a magnet to web traffic.

However, what I can do, I now realize, is up the ante by riding on the back of other people’s bloodbaths. I can namedrop like fury whenever the opportunity presents itself, and sprinkle famous people, noteworthy people, newscentric people, throughout the blog – Barack Obama, Katie Couric, Doctor Who; there, see? – to draw in readers.

So that’s it. From now on, this will be my plan.

That way, the blog will stay popular, new people will come constantly, and The TV Swami will stay fresh and alive and exciting, and not go the way of my dad’s momentary fascination with bird-watching. And, later, clock-making. And winemaking. And caravanning. And playing the organ. And, come to think of it, being a father.

The Daily Show showdown gets five magic carpets out of five.

TV Swami – he say YES.

The Cramer/Stewart fight is here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/12/jim-cramer-on-daily-show-_n_174503.html

Stewart’s take-down of Crossfire and Tucker Carlson is here:

http://www.spike.com/video/jon-stewart-on/2652831?cid=YSSP

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