Tag Archives: X-Files

Where hokum and bunkum collide.

I’m sorry – what’s that you say? Did I manage to struggle through the remainder of the pilot episode of Warehouse 13, SyFy’s new paranormal drama series? (See yesterday’s post)

Well, strangely, that depends on what you mean when you say ‘rest’.

If you recall, I’d made it to the three-minute mark, then switched off when nothing interesting seemed to be happening. Naked girl in bed, lounging post-coitally, playing with FBI badge – pah, don’t give me that. I have a raw food meal to prepare, I’m not putting up with cheap audience titillation. Goodbye, Warehouse 13, it’s over. Let’s see other people.

But last night, feeling that I’d perhaps been a little dismissive and that it might yet show potential – after all, it’s trying to be the new X Files, and I very much liked the old X-Files – I gave it another go.

Well, immediately after the three-minute mark, it turns out, something does happen. A researcher at a museum gets bitten by one of the ancient artifacts he’s studying: a malevolent-looking stone Aztec head with glass teeth. Uh-oh, that can’t be good. The head, by means unknown, turns the guy into a very sweaty, googly-eyed assassin who then quits researching and tries to murder the US president instead. He’s thwarted by the FBI agent, who has a premonition about such a thing, and some fat guy with a homemade pseudo-scientific gizmo that shoots lightning and, with no real explanation as to how, makes everything right again.

Next thing, this FBI agent and a female one who was on the scene (think Mulder and Scully)  are shipped out to South Dakota to visit a warehouse so big and digitized that even the computer it’s being drawn on can’t quite show it in its entirety.

So why are they transferred to S. Dakota? What is the warehouse? Why are all those thousands of crates and other objects stacked up way into the distance as far as the eye (with the help of a computer) can see?

Actually, I will never know.

Around 12 minutes into the show, even my TiVo became outraged by its preposterous lameness and switched it off for me. I swear.

This is an even bigger mystery than why an Aztec head would suddenly bite someone and want to kill the president.

TiVo hated Warehouse 13 so much, it seems, and thought it so miserably formulaic and desperate, that it spared me the bother of being dumbed down by such generic rip-off nonsense, as well as angry at television for sticking in the same old cynical rut to attract viewers, and simply stopped recording it, something it has never done before.

So the answer to your question is yes, I did see it. And no, I didn’t.

Have a lovely weekend.

Warehouse 13 gets 2 magic carpets out of 5.

TV Swami – he say NO.

www.cashpeters.com

The new book is here.

The movie is here.

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Welcome to Name-Dropping Central.

D’you know why I love living in Hollywood?  Because of the sheer diversity of people and talent you find here, any one of which you might meet at any time.

A perfect example was this weekend. Friday, I went to a birthday party and met a TV producer. But not just any TV producer – Howard Gordon, the guy who executive produces and writes 24 for Fox. He also wrote X-Files episodes and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Nice man. Very talented.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t seated at his table. I got planted between his stepmother, who writes stage musicals, and his fourteen year old son, who plans to the moment he’s old enough.

Then, Saturday, I went for dinner at the home of the guy who runs the Nickelodeon network. Thanks to him we have Spongebob Squarepants.  But he’s also an amazing cook. By the end of the evening we were planning a vacation together in England next year, just him and me. How great is that? Not to say highly improbable.

Finally, last night I had dinner with someone I’ve never heard of – Sandy Martin. But I quickly I discovered she’s an accomplished actress, one that I should have heard of her, to tell you the truth, because she’s really successful, albeit in a bit-part and constantly working kind of way.

SandySandy played “Jimmy” in the Young and the Restless, for instance, and “Selma Green” in Big Love. According to her bio, she also played “Mac’s Mom” in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “woman with cane”  in The Unit, “woman #1” in Desperate Housewives, “grandma” in Napoleon Dynamite, and “Lori” in the movie Marley and Me.

She’s heaps of fun, but she had to rush off. She was shooting a music video today with Dermot Mulrooney. Then she’s making a movie with Samuel L. Jackson. I mean, hell, I was more in awe of her than I was of the guy behind 24.  What a career.   

There’s nothing like meeting people of this caliber to make you realize what a loser you are and that you’ve been nowhere, done nothing, and pretty much wasted your time for the last two decades. Even the fourteen year old son of the guy behind 24 has more on his resume than I do.

Now I have to go. I left my glasses at the home of the Nickelodeon guy, my new travel buddy. He’s taking them to the office today and I  have to pick them up from reception. Terrific.  

www.cashpeters.com

On Twitter @cashpeters.

Cash’s movie, in which he plays himself, not very convincingly, is HERE.

And the new book is HERE.

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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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