Posts

Wolverine: The Lost Trail is as Overtly Political As The Best X-Men Stories

Wolverine: The Lost Trail dives into the political allegory that has fueled the best X-Men and comic book stories of the past half-century. A podcast series from Marvel and Stitcher Radio, Wolverine: The Lost Trail picks up where Wolverine: The Long Night left off, telling a new story about Logan (Richard Armitage) on a violent quest of violence and redemption in the Louisiana bayou.

During a roundtable interview with the cast of the series, the stars of Wolverine: The Lost Trail reflected on how the show, like all the best X-Men stories, is based on the political and social anxieties of the present day. Some of the most important X-Men stories of all-time have leaned hard into politics; as early as their inception in the 1960s, X-Men was seen as an analog for the Civil Rights Movement, with the differing philosophies of Professor Xavier and Magneto being compared to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, respectively. The movies, comics, and various animated series are peppered with subtext and overt comparisons to a variety of issues, from gay rights to genocide and the irrepressible “fear of the other” that so frequently is invoked by politicians and hatemongers who seek to consolidate power for themselves.

Related: Wolverine: The Lost Trail Podcast Gets a Trailer

In the real world, the very existence of certain groups of people is political, and there’s no getting around that fact. Hate crimes are committed against people for no reason other than that they exist. In the Marvel universe, mutants are different, and are thus targeted for their otherness. Overt political themes are not something that authors have added on top of the X-Men lore over the decades; political action is woven into the very DNA of the X-Men. The entire X-Men canon is a celebration of diversity. In a world where terrorists target innocent victims based solely on their race or religion, celebrating diversity is nothing short of a political statement, and for an X-Men tale to deliver anything less would be a disservice to nearly sixty years of storytelling.

Wolverine represents a protector of the mutant community; someone who takes action when the innocent are attacked just for being different, but who perhaps contributes to the general public’s fear of mutants. Richard Armitage, who plays Wolverine in the series, explains:

“Every time the word mutant comes up in a pejorative way I get a little kind of flinch. I feel very protective towards them. I don’t think it’s by accident that (this theme) appears in this season. I think there is social relevance to what is going on in the world at the moment. These are people who are desperately in need, and ostracized and rejected by society.”

Further, Armitage is none-too-subtle when he discusses the power of villain Jason Wyngarde, better known to comics fans as Mastermind:

“I think the mutant community, in their search for a safe haven, they are tempted into something malevolent by Jason Wyngard. That’s an allegory in and of itself. I’m really fascinated with Jason Wyngard. Just this idea of somebody who can manipulate the mind of somebody to believe something that isn’t true… To me, that’s an allegory for propaganda, let’s just say. I was thinking, ‘Wow, what an amazing villain,’ and then, realizing… Oh, are we living in that?”

There are factions in the comic book fandom who want comics to steer clear of political timeliness, for these stories to be naught more than good guys in capes fighting bad guys in capes. There are factions who interpret the very presence of a hero of color (Black Panther) or a female hero (Captain Marvel) to be a bridge too far, not realizing that their expression of fear and outrage towards such movements is itself a harshly political stance, completely unaware that they are invoking the same “snowflake” mentality of which they so often accuse their enemies. Actor Rachel Holmes, who plays Maureen in Wolverine: The Lost Trail, states it with a blunt righteousness:

“We’re living in really hard times. That’s cards face up. I don’t need to pretend. If you don’t want to believe that, you need to have a reality check. Don’t tell me these stories don’t matter. My family hails from the Caribbean, from Jamaica. My father just told me that his grandfather lived his most of his life as a slave. There’s an African term, Sankofa. It means looking back to see where you’re headed.”

Wolverine: The Lost Trail is knee-deep in politics, and proudly tells a provocative story about people who are forced to fight for their right to exist in a world which fears and hates them for being different. It’s the same story X-Men has been telling for generations, through comics, movies, television, and – now – podcasts. Any X-Men fan who is surprised or distraught by this knowledge clearly doesn’t understand the fundamental principles of love, respect, and tolerance which inspired Stan Lee and Jack Kirby back in 1963. This political awareness is why X-Men has withstood the test of time and will continue to endure into “the not too distant future” and beyond.

More: 15 Mutants Who Have Led The X-Men

Source: Wolverine Podcast


2019-03-17 09:03:08

Zak Wojnar

Informer Trailer: Amazon Prepares For A Tense Political Thriller

British political thrillers are having a moment on television right now, and Amazon Prime Video is looking to get in while the getting’s good with the trailer for Informer. Like Netflix, Hulu, and even HBO, Amazon has been doing its part in making British television series available to American audiences in a shorter span of time than usual. In addition to this upcoming thriller, the streaming service has brought Agatha Christie’s Ordeal By Innocence and will do the same with the upcoming The ABC Murders, starring John Malkovich. 

Informer is a far more contemporary series, one that seeks to explore the racial divide modern-day London, and how that can feed into and have negative consequences with regard to the ongoing threat of terrorism. And in a welcome change of pace, the series unfolds from the point of view of Raza Star (Nabhaan Rizwan) a Londoner of Pakistani heritage who finds himself an unwitting pawn of a counter terrorism officer played by Paddy Considine. 

More: Tidelands Review: Murder. Mystery. Mermaids?

The series, which isa mercifully brief six episodes, also stars Bel Powley, who has made a name for herself in such movies as The Diary of a Teenage Girl, White Boy Rick, and the upcoming Ashes in the Snow. Take a look at the full trailer and check out a synopsis of the series below:

“Written and created by Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani, and directed by Jonny Campbell, Informer is a sophisticated, character-driven thriller that follows Raza Shar (Nabhaan Rizwan), a young man of Pakistani descent, born and raised in East London. After a series of unfortunate events not coincidentally tied to the color of his skin, Raza is coerced into becoming counter-terrorist officer Gabe’s newest undercover informer. Gabe (Paddy Considine), who has a past he is unwilling to expose, is joined by Holly (Bel Powley), his new and ambitious partner whose endless curiosity becomes threatening to him. As Raza falls deeper into a complex web of bad guys and the clock ticks for Gabe and Holly as the threat to London grows, the stakes for all three will reach a fever pitch.”

If anything, Informer looks as though it will appeal to fans of Bodyguard and Collateral, two recent UK imports that’s available on Netflix here in the states. However, there is a grittiness to the more procedural aspects of Informer that also makes it look as though it will appeal to fans of HBO’s The Night Of. All those series were hits in their own right, and stand as further evidence of the power of the limited series (or at least very short season). 

Next: Marvel’s Runaways Review: An Aversion To Risk Hamstrings The Series In Season 2

Informer will be available to stream on Friday, January 11, 2019 on Amazon Prime Video.



Source link
2018-12-14 01:12:15

22 July Review: Paul Greengrass Delivers Another Intense Docudrama

Despite some general storytelling issues, Greengrass succeeds in delivering another well-crafted and intelligent docudrama-thriller with 22 July.

In-between his efforts on the Bourne movies, journalist-turned filmmaker Paul Greengrass has spent much of his career making docudrama-thrillers about real-world events, ranging from the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. (United 93) to the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama in 2009 (Captain Phillips). While there’s an inherent risk of exploiting a real-world tragedy that comes with any such project, Greengrass has long been celebrated for his ability to dramatize terrible events on the big screen in a manner that’s intense, yet sensitive and ultimately insightful in its presentation. Thankfully, that remains the case with his Netflix Original 22 July, even if it doesn’t necessarily represent the writer/director at his finest. Despite some general storytelling issues, Greengrass succeeds in delivering another well-crafted and intelligent docudrama-thriller with 22 July.

22 July picks up on July 21, 2011 in Oslo, Norway, as Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie) – a self-declared right wing extremist – prepares to carry out a terrorist attack on the city the next day. He begins his assault by setting off a bomb in a van near the main office of the then-current Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (Ola G. Furuseth), killing eight people in the process. Breivik then proceeds to continue his attack by gunning down 69 members of a summer camp organized by the AUF – the youth division of the Norwegian Labour Party – on the island of Utøya, before he is ultimately apprehended by the police and taken into custody.

Among the members of the summer camp is one Viljar Hanssen (Jonas Strand Gravli), who manages to survive Breivik’s attack despite being shot multiple times and left permanently maimed. As Viljar struggles to recover both physically and psychologically from what happened to him (along with everyone else who survived the Utøya shootings and their loved ones), Breivik works with his chosen lawyer Geir Lippestad (Jon Øigarden) to mount a defense and use his trial as a platform to publicly announce his political agenda (which calls for the immediate deportation of all Muslims and heavier restrictions on immigration to Norway, among other things). When it becomes clear to Viljar what Breivik intends to do, he grows increasingly determined to continue his rehabilitation and testify against him in court for not only himself, but also every other person whose lives were affected by what took place on July 22.

Adapted from the book One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway — and Its Aftermath by Åsne Seierstad, Greengrass’ script for 22 July has a very clear-cut three act structure – with the first act focused on the July 22 attack, the second part set during its immediate aftermath, and the final third centered on Breivik’s trial. The film is strongest during its first and third acts in particular, as those chapters (respectively) play to Greengrass’ strengths as a suspense-thriller storyteller and provide the emotional payoff to Viljar and, thus, Norway’s overarching journey of recovery and survival. It’s the second act where things start to drag and get a little muddled, especially as 22 July splits its focus between not only Viljar’s story thread, but also Lippestad and Breivik’s trial preparation, and the investigation into Stoltenberg’s administration and its failure to prevent a terrorist attack. While there’s nothing in the second act that feels inessential, 22 July struggles to divide its attention evenly between its three plotlines and the film’s pacing suffers for it.

On the whole, however, 22 July does a nice job covering a fair amount of narrative ground, even when taking its pretty substantial runtime into consideration. It helps that Greengrass (as he’s known now for doing, as a director) never fully lifts his foot off the gas pedal and keeps the film’s proceedings feeling on-edge throughout, even during its more purely dramatic portions. The filmmaker, working this time around with DP Pål Ulvik Rokseth (The Snowman) and Oscar-winning Argo editor William Goldenberg, uses essentially the same vérité cinematography and restless editing style that he has on his previous movies, in order to fully immerse viewers in the film’s setting and action. At the same time, Greengrass slows things down a bit here and, in turn, delivers a movie that’s more visually cohesive than some of his weaker efforts in the past (see the last Bourne sequel, in particular). This serves 22 July well, allowing it to effectively work as both a grounded drama and thriller.

Given the sheer amount of information that 22 July strives to cover, though, there’s not a lot of room for the film’s actors to really shine – not in the way that Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks did in Captain Phillips, for example. Even so, the 22 July cast is uniformly strong across the board, with Gravli especially doing an excellent job of portraying Viljar’s struggles with his physical injuries, PTSD, and the sheer amount of emotional baggage that he’s saddled with after barely managing to escape the attack on Utøya with his own life. Actors like Thorbjørn Harr and Isak Bakli Aglen are similarly moving in their smaller roles as members of Viljar’s family, as is Seda Witt as Lara Rashid, a young woman who starts to make a romantic connection with Viljar before both of their lives are shattered by Breivik’s attack. As for Breivik himself: Lie is quite compelling in the role and portrays the terrorist as a fully-developed person – one whose rationalization of his behavior makes him chilling and pathetic in equal measure.

As with his previous films, Greengrass uses 22 July as a means for delivering larger sociopolitical commentary about the state of things in the world, specifically where it concerns the rise of xenophobic and nationalist ideologies in various countries (the U.S. included). While his scripted dialogue can start to become a bit on the nose as its strives to get these points across (especially in the third act), Greengrass largely succeeds in allowing the story here to shine a light on these issues organically, without getting up on his figurative soapbox to drive the point home. If there’s a downside to the filmmaker’s approach, though, it’s that July 22 winds up handling its subject matter in a way that’s more engaging intellectually than emotionally and, thus, lacks the emotional resonance of Greengrass’ best work to date.

All things considered, however, Greengrass does a very good job of bringing the true story behind 22 July to cinematic life. The final result is a film that makes for an enlightening and otherwise respectful documentation of a horrifying real-world event, rather than one that comes off as exploitative or manipulative. 22 July is showing in select theaters now – in order to qualify for next year’s major film awards shows – and it certainly benefits from being seen on the big screen, but can still be appreciated just as much as a Netflix Original on your home TV. While it’s obviously not a light-hearted viewing experience, 22 July is very much worth checking out if you’ve enjoyed Greengrass’ previous non-Bourne efforts and/or would like to know more about Norway’s own infamous modern terrorist attack.

TRAILER

22 July is now available for streaming on Netflix and is playing in select U.S. theaters. It is 143 minutes long and is rated R for disturbing violence, graphic images, and language.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!



Source link
2018-10-10 01:10:22 – Sandy Schaefer

15 Rules The Cast Of Counting Cars Is Forced To Obey

The guys working at Count’s Kustoms may not seem like a the type who are keen on rule-following, and, for the most part, that is true. There really aren’t all that many stated rules in the domain of Danny Koker and crew, but everyone has lines that they would prefer remain uncrossed.

That said, Danny and the crew of Counting Cars do have a few unstated laws that must be adhered to on the set. While the History network may not be as interested in staging dramatics and scenarios as their competitors, that isn’t to say that they haven’t laid out a few orders which need to be followed in order to keep the show interesting for the viewer. It may betray the tough guy bravado of the show, but rules are rules, no matter how many hot rods you’ve restored.

Some of these rules are relatively petty and simple, while others might raise an eyebrow or two and hint at a darker history behind these Las Vegas-based body shop workers. Danny, Mike and company haven’t caused all that many controversies when compared to some other big-name reality TV stars out there, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a couple of skeletons in their closet. Again, there don’t appear to be all that many hard-and-fast rules on the set of Counting Cars, but there are at least a few things that cast members know to keep an eye out for.

Here are the 15 Rules The Cast Of Counting Cars Is Forced To Obey.

15 Only Approach Certain People About Their Cars

A major focal point of many Counting Cars episodes is Danny’s frequent run-ins with random car owners. He’s often been filmed approaching people on the street or following someone home in order to track them down and make a deal for their car. These moments are, as most viewers may have guessed, almost always staged.

This is a pretty important rule for the cast to follow, however, as following hot rod owners home and offering to buy their cars is a pretty good way to creep out your clientele and make viewers think you’re a huge weirdo.

While Danny may have done something like this once or twice in his private life, these instances are commonly pre-arranged for the show. Stalking someone with the intent of bartering for their car is probably illegal anyway, though it does make for some interesting TV. Most of the Counting Cars guys aren’t actors by trade, either, and their performance sort of ruins the facade at times.

14 Get Every Fact Straight

If there’s one rule that Danny Koker does his best to follow, it is this one. Danny and the rest of the Counting Cars crew have frequently been called out and ridiculed by trivia-loving car aficionados for small mistakes they have made on air. Event the smallest of inaccuracies get pointed out, and it may call the integrity of Count’s Kustoms into question for the hardest of the hardcore.

For instance, Danny was once noted to have been incorrect about the year in which Chevy first started producing the Corvette: he said it was 1954, but it was actually 1952. It is a mistake he has yet to live down in some circles, and he’s since been sure to get his facts straight when he’s on camera.

13 Keep an Eye Out

Again, this isn’t necessarily a written rule, and it may seem like common sense for most business owners, but Danny and the rest of the guys working at Count’s Kustoms need to do their best to make sure burglary and theft aren’t taking place under their noses. This may sound like a no-brainer, but these things have happened more than once in the autoshop’s history.

From stolen trailers to ransacked houses and full-on employee embezzlement cases, Counting Cars hasn’t had a totally spotless run.

As a result, the guys at Count’s Kustoms need to keep an eye on their surroundings as well as on their co-workers, which doesn’t exactly create grounds for a healthy work environment.

12 The Customer is Always Right

The guys at Count’s Kustoms have taken on some pretty ludicrous jobs over the years, and this is partially because, as a rule, they try not to refuse any customization requests. This definitely isn’t something that’s been set in stone, as Koker and his employees have certainly turned some people away over the course of the show’s history, but it rarely ever happens.

Though they specialize in motorcycles and cars, the Counting Cars crew has accepted vans, busses, and even boats in the past, which certainly made for some interesting TV. It probably isn’t in Danny’s best interest to take on literally every project which comes through his door, but they certainly seem to try.

11 Keep Them Coming

Time is money, and the crew working behind the scenes at Count’s Kustoms sure like to keep busy. Though Counting Cars never really gets into the inner workings of the shop, Danny has said that they never have fewer than fifteen projects going at one time.

Given that each project is a pretty hefty investment in terms of time and resources, this is a pretty major commitment.

As a result, Count’s Kustoms has taken on a bunch of new employees over the years, and they don’t seem to show any signs of slowing down any time soon. Though the show’s popularity may eventually fade, Danny and his employee’s work probably won’t.

10 Stick to the Budget

Danny Koker is known to be very conservative both politically and fiscally. He is extremely protective of his money despite the fact that he has plenty of it to spare, and he never overspends except in very particular situations. Though it may not be an explicitly laid out rule in his shop, Danny’s employees are doubtlessly aware of the fact that they really need to stick to a budget.

The Count himself has shown his financially conservative nature when haggling, and he has been known to walk away from deals he finds unfair. This doesn’t show up all that often in the show, of course, because most of the drama is scripted and most of the bartering has already been pre-arranged. Those close to Danny, however, will know the truth.

9 Don’t Rush It

Count’s Kustoms may take on no fewer than fifteen projects at a time, but most of these projects take quite a while to complete. This is never really shown on the show, though, as the Counting Cars producers like to expedite things for the sake of viewer interest, but customization jobs are known to take 12 to 24 months to complete on average.

This may sound like an insane amount of time, but there really aren’t many places in the world that offer customization options like Count’s Kustoms.

Though some projects cruise through the shop in as little as ninety days, most employees know not to rush things.

8 Don’t Mention Danny’s Dad

Danny Koker’s father, a well-respected man who taught Danny everything he knows about autobody customization, bequeathed his extensive collection of rare cars to his son when he passed away. These vehicles hold an incredible amount of sentimental value to the Count’s Kustoms owner, and, though he has shown parts of the collection off in recent years, he doesn’t like to work on them.

Danny has said that his father’s passing is still a tough subject for him, and, as a result, most of his employees know better than to bring it up. In fact, even Counting Cars regulars should know better than to mention those cars or suggest working on them. While this may one day change, it remains a point of contention in Danny’s garage.

7 Don’t Bring up the Bandana

This really isn’t an unspoken rule, as Danny’s look has been the subject of occasional workplace antics over the years, but it should be said that Danny doesn’t seem all that keen to reveal what’s going on underneath his iconic bandana.

Many have speculated that he is covering some sort of facial deformity or unsightly tattoo, while others believe that he is abnormally committed to his rock-and-roll look.

The most likely explanation is that he isn’t eager to show off his receding hairline. Though this is little more than speculation, it does explain why Danny is often pretty defensive in regards to his dress. Those close to him might poke fun, but fans may want to avoid the subject.

6 Be Careful When Haggling

Danny Koker has stated on multiple occasions that the success of his show has made haggling at car shows much more difficult. As a typical enthusiast, the Count never seemed to have a problem getting his way on the showroom floor.

However, once his profile was raised, sellers began recognizing him more often and attempting to upsell him. This has become a major headache to the penny-pinching autobody overhauler, and anyone working with him should ensure that they don’t overpay when bartering. Danny is most likely very grateful for all of the good that the show has done his business over the years, though he could almost certainly go without this one annoying quirk.

5 Don’t Mention Danny’s Family

In keeping with his conservative values, Danny Koker typically doesn’t like to reveal all that much about his family or his private life. This is completely fair, and most Counting Cars fans will understand that his reality TV star status doesn’t require him to relay all of his personal matters to the public.

That said, Danny is abnormally protective of his loved ones, and very little is known about his wife and kids.

His wife, Korie Koker, co-owns Count’s Vamp’d Rock Bar & Grill with her husband, though her private life remains largely undisclosed. Counting Cars cast members should almost certainly know better than to go prying into Danny’s personal life while the cameras are rolling.

4 Don’t Break The Fourth Wall

The guys on Counting Cars may seem like larger-than-life celebrities at times, but it is important to remember that they are actually people, and Count’s Kustoms is an actual business that will continue to operate independently of the show once the production crew heads home.

That said, though it may be an actual business, much of the situations covered on the show aren’t genuine. Whether played up for the sake of drama or totally fictional, much of the on-air hijinx covered on Counting Cars is dramatized. The Counting Cars cast is careful not to break the illusion, though, and everyone seems pretty eager to play along. There seems to be a rule against fourth wall breaks while on set, and it seems to have gone pretty much unbroken over the years.

3 Politics Are a No-Go

In today’s radically partisan climate, few shows are all that eager to take sides or show any sort of political bias at all. That said, Counting Cars star Danny Koker was an avid supporter of the current leader of the United States during his campaign in 2016. This should come as no surprise given his conservative background, but it remains a major point of contention among many viewers.

Rather than bring up a potentially costly political debate on-air, the Counting Cars crew is pretty careful to keep their lips sealed concerning the subject.

The time may well come when things of that nature can be discussed more freely, but Count’s Kustoms is better off free of political drama for the time being.

2 Forget About Scott Jones

Scott Jones, the ornery store manager featured in the first and second seasons of Counting Cars, isn’t brought up all that much these days. He was hardly mentioned at all in the third season, and he seems to have been totally absent from every subsequent episode since then.

Fans have speculated that he was actually fired as a result of an embezzlement scheme, while others believe he simply grew tired of the daily grind and returned to his hometown. It’s tough to know exactly what happened to Jones, though none of the Counting Cars cast members seem all that eager to bring it up. This probably isn’t an explicitly stated rule, but most will know better than to bring up Scott on camera.

1 Don’t Deal With Vince Neil

Show lead and shop owner Danny Koker has met quite a few celebrities through his business, and his rock-and-roll band side project has also put him in contact with some pretty interesting characters. Koker has, in one way or another, come to be pretty good friends with ex-Motley Crue vocalist Vince Neil.

Though it started out as a pretty lucrative relationship for Koker and his show, the Counting Cars cast soon decided that their relationship with Neil was detrimental to the show’s good standing.

After that, they by-and-large disbanded any professional connections to the singer, though Koker and Neil are said to have remained friends. Even so, it isn’t likely that the ex-rocker will be making any appearances on the show any time soon. The bottom line is that Vince is bad news, and the cast can’t mention him anymore.

Are there any other rules that the cast of Counting Cars has to follow? Let us know in the comments!



Source link
2018-10-09 05:10:54 – Tanner Fox

15 Sitcoms That Became Massive Hits (And 15 That Completely Flopped)

There are many forms of entertainment, but television is one of the most popular. Watching TV has been a popular pastime ever since the television was created in 1927. Programs can often bring families together or can even give people an escape from reality while they binge-watch their new favorite show. People used to have to pay for cable to watch their favorite shows, but now, watching TV is easier than ever with the mass amount of streaming services that have become available, such as Hulu and Netflix.

Some of the best shows are even exclusive to streaming services such as these. Even YouTube has expanded to include TV shows that come in a variety of genres. Needless to say, there is now a seemingly endless amount of programming that will entertain anybody and everybody.

Much like movies, there are a wide variety of TV shows and genres to pick from. TV networks seem to come out with a variety of different shows each year including sitcoms. While a network might release a few different sitcoms each year, a lot of them seem to flop and be forever forgotten by viewers. Other sitcoms stick around for several years resulting in many seasons worth of laughs.

Some of these shows have stuck around longer than they probably should have, but others were so terrible that they were canceled after only one season.

 Here are the 15 Sitcoms That Became Massive Hits (And 15 That Completely Flopped). 

30 Massive Hit: The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory may have not launched any of the main actors acting careers, but the show certainly boosted them into the spotlight. The Big Bang Theory came on the air in 2007 thanks to creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. The show centers around a group of geeky and socially awkward friends who hang out with a waitress named Penny.

The show has become incredibly popular during its twelve seasons on the air, with many celebrities making cameos on the show.

The Big Bang Theory became so popular that it even received a spinoff about a young Sheldon Cooper.

29 Flopped: Caveman

The Cavemen were a popular marketing image used by the auto insurance company GEICO starting in 2004. While people don’t see a lot of the Cavemen anymore, they used to be incredibly popular. ABC thought they were so popular that they should launch a sitcom featuring the GEICO Cavemen.

The show was a massive failure with viewers and critics and was therefore canceled after one season. Thirteen episodes were created for the first season; however, only six of them aired in the U.S. Caveman was such a flop that it didn’t even get a DVD release to try and make some money back. 

28 Massive Hit: Friends

Friends was a massive win for NBC and ran for ten years from 1994 to 2004. The show just follows the lives of six friends living in Manhattan, but many people loved the idea of the show.

Friends was, and still is, adored by fans and critics. The show even landed the #24 spot on the Writers Guild of America West’s 101 Best Written TV Series. The sitcom did a lot for all of the actors involved in the series, but is often considered a turning point for Jennifer Aniston’s career. 

27 Flopped: Ferris Bueller

John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off starring Matthew Broderick was a hit back in 1986. Fans still love the movie to this day and even launched a “Ferris Fest” in Chicago to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie. While the film was successful, the TV series was not.

The show titled Ferris Bueller followed Ferris and his friends’ everyday life at high school. What made the first movie fun was that Ferris wasn’t in school, but NBC apparently didn’t get that since they picked up the series in the ‘90s. The show didn’t bring back any of the original cast members and ended after one season. 

26 Massive Hit: That ‘70s Show

When That ‘70s Show first came on the air, there was no guarantee that the show would succeed. The show starred primarily new young actors, with little to no acting experience. That ‘70s Show was even the very first acting job for Ashton Kutcher, Topher Grace, and Laura Prepon. Thankfully, the risk paid off for Fox and became a massive hit.

The series lasted for eight seasons from 1998 to 2006. Besides, Kutcher, Grace, and Prepon, the show also starred Mila Kunis, Danny Masterson, and Wilmer Valderrama. The cast did a phenomenal job for a total of 200 episodes, and then went on to have even more enriching careers in Hollywood. 

25 Flopped: That ‘80s Show

While That ‘70s Show was a massive hit, the success could not be repeated for That ‘80s Show. Even when Fox was still broadcasting new episodes of That ‘70s Show, they created a show about the ‘80s in 2002.

The show isn’t a direct sequel to the first show and the only way it connects to That ‘70s Show is that the main character, Corey Howard, is supposed to be Eric Forman’s cousin.

The show was created because of the popularity of That ‘70s Show, but people just weren’t interested in another show about a different decade. 

24 Massive Hit: The Office

The original The Office debuted on the BBC in 2001 and only stuck around for two seasons and a Christmas special. The concept for the show, however, was adapted eight different times for countries across the world.

One of the more popular versions of The Office came in 2005. The show starred Steve Carell as Michael Scott and John Krasinski as Jim Halpert. These two men have probably had the biggest career after the show ended, but the entire cast made a memorable group of characters that kept fans laughing for nine seasons. 

23 Flopped: George

George Foreman may be known for his impressive boxing career or even the famous George Foreman Grill, but he also got his own TV show in the ‘90s. The show ran for ten episodes, only nine of which actually ended up on the air. The show starred Foreman as a retired boxer who took care of troubled kids after school.

While Foreman’s show may have flopped, there is no doubt denying he was an impressive boxer especially since he won a gold medal in the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics. 

22 Massive Hit: How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother was a romantic comedy that aired on CBS from 2005 to 2014. The show centered around Ted Mosby, who would narrate the adventures that led up to him meeting his wife.

Apart from Ted, played by Josh Radnor, the series had several other memorable characters played by Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, and Alyson Hannigan. While the majority of the series was met with critical acclaim, the final two seasons are often criticized for the way it wrapped up the show. A spinoff titled How I Met Your Dad or How I Met Your Father have been in development before, but the spinoff has had some trouble taking off. 

21 Flopped: 1600 Penn

NBC has had some hits over the years, but 1600 Penn was not one of them. The series was about a dysfunctional family who lived in the White House with their father.

Bill Pullman played the President of the United States starring alongside with Josh Gad, Jenna Elfman, and Martha MacIsaac. The show ultimately didn’t do well with critics who slammed the show for having too many sitcom stereotypes and being a failed parody attempt of The West Wing. The show was canceled after one season and people aren’t really begging NBC to bring it back. 

20 Massive Hit: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

There has always been an abundance of cop dramas on TV, but not as many cop sitcoms. Brooklyn Nine-Nine stars the singer of the comedy band The Lonely Island Andy Samberg, as well as Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio, and Stephanie Beatriz.

In May, Fox decided to cancel the show, but the very next day, NBC picked it up and renewed it for a sixth season.

So far, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has won two Golden Globes, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and has been nominated for several other awards.

19 Flopped: Dads

The show Dads was created by Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild and premiered on Fox in 2013. Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi starred as two video game developers whose fathers move in with them. Not only was the show canceled after only one season, but it also got ripped apart by critics.

The series became known for depending on offensive gags to get laughs and having an array of unlikable characters. Along with Green and Ribisi, Brenda Song and Vanessa Lachey had recurring roles on the show.

18 Massive Hit: Modern Family

Modern Family is about three different families living in Los Angeles. Much like The Office, Modern Family was created as a mockumentary type sitcom. The series was created in 2009 and is still running on ABC. The show has won an impressive 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, which is partly because of the incredible cast.

Actors such as Ed O’Neil, Sofía Vergara, Ty Burrell, and Eric Stonestreet are some of the many talented people in the cast. While the series has been a massive hit so far, there are rumors that the show could be ending after season 10. 

17 Flopped: My Big Fat Greek Life

It isn’t every day that a romantic comedy will spawn its own TV show, but it certainly happens. My Big Fat Greek Wedding came out in 2002 and starred Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.

The movie revolved around the struggles that Vardalos’ character Toula had by marrying someone who wasn’t Greek. The TV series took place after the first film and starred Vardalos, but Corbett did not return. At first, the series had incredible ratings, but by the second episode, people had started to tune out, which led to CBS canceling the show. 

16 Massive Hit: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was created by Rob McElhenney in 2005 and is currently still running on FXX. The comedy is about five friends who run an Irish Bar in Philadelphia. McElhenney stars in the show alongside fellow comedians Charlie Day, Danny Devito, Kaitlin Olson, and Glenn Howerton. The show began with low ratings, which is why FX forced the show to add a big name actor.

Devito was added to the cast and they haven’t looked back since. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has received critical acclaim since the beginning, and now thirteen seasons later, it has become one of the longest-running live action comedies ever. 

15 Flopped: Joey

Many fans were disappointed to see Friends go off the air in 2004. While most of the cast moved on to other acting roles, one friend stuck around to try and get more laughs for NBC.

After Friends ended, Matt LeBlanc played Joey Tribbiani in the spinoff show titled Joey.

The show saw Joey move on with his life and try to make it big in Hollywood as an actor. The show couldn’t live up to the success that NBC saw with the first series and it was ultimately canceled after two seasons. 

14 Massive Hit: Arrested Development 

Arrested Development has been bringing on the laughs ever since the first episode aired in 2003. The show originally ran for three seasons on Fox but was then later picked up by Netflix. Netflix released season four in 2013 and the first half of season five this year.

The show truly has an ensemble cast, including actors Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi, and Will Arnett. Tony Hale and David Cross also have the fan-favorite roles of Buster Bluth and Tobias Fünke. The entire series can be found on Netflix. 

13 Flopped: Bad Judge

While shows like Judge Judy or The People’s Court may be hilarious already, NBC set out to make an actual sitcom about a judge in 2014.

Kate Walsh stars as Judge Rebecca Wright, who works at the Los Angeles County Circuit Court by day, but is a party animal by night. NBC canceled the show before the season had even gotten halfway through, although the rest of the series came on the air as planned. Most people gave the show negative reviews, mainly criticizing Walsh’s performance and the fact that the show just wasn’t funny. 

12 Massive Hit: Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation, or simply Parks and Rec., was a massive hit for a couple different reasons. Not only was the show a sitcom, but it doubled as political satire and a mockumentary.

The show ran for a total of seven seasons, but for many people, that wasn’t enough. Parks and Rec. had an incredible cast and memorable characters that only got more hilarious as the series continued. This show most notably included Chris Pratt who has recently blown up in Hollywood, starring in many massive summer blockbusters. 

11 Flopped: Mulaney

John Mulaney is no doubt a funny guy. He is a stand-up comedian and even wrote on Saturday Night Live; however, the sitcom he created in 2014 couldn’t grab people’s attention. The show starred Mulaney himself as a comedian in New York. However, people were concerned about the show before it even came on the air.

The show had an obvious resemblance to Seinfeld and concerns were solidified when the show premiered. With Mulaney doing poorly with critics and with not a lot of people tuning in, the show was canceled after only one season.

10 Massive Hit: Community

Community’s premise centers on Jeff Winger, who is a lawyer who lied about having a bachelor’s degree and is forced to attend a community college. Community lasted for six seasons, five of which aired on NBC and the last on Yahoo! Screen.

The show became a massive hit not just because of the impressive writing team, but because of its cast.

Veteran comedian Chevy Chase stars in the show alongside actors like Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, and Donald Glover. The show also succeeded by parodying several television and movie clichés. 

9 Flopped: Rob

Some actors have a certain time in the spotlight before they fall out of it completely. Fans have seen this happen with Adam Sandler, despite his attempt to stay relevant, and also with his friend and co-worker Rob Schneider.

Schneider attempted to make a sitcom back in 2012 simply titled Rob and CBS actually picked it up. The show focused on Rob, a former bachelor who works as a landscape architect with OCD and who recently got married. Rob was canceled after eight episodes once the show was flooded with horrible reviews pointing out the show’s use of Mexican stereotypes and the weak supporting cast. 

8 Massive Hit: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Before Will Smith was a massive Hollywood star, he starred in a show on NBC called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show was a huge hit and spawned a total of six seasons and 148 episodes. Will Smith starred as a fictionalized version of himself who goes to live with his Aunt and Uncle in Bel-Air after he gets into one little fight and his mom gets scared. We all know how the rest of the story goes.

Besides Smith, the show is known for the talented cast members, the unique story, and the wide range of celebrity cameos.

7 Flopped: AfterMASH

After the show M*A*S*H ended, CBS came out with AfterMASH. Adequately titled, AfterMASH centered around Colonel Potter, Sergeant Klinger, and Father Mulch who end up in a veteran’s hospital after the Korean War ended.

While M*A*S*H did quite well for the eleven seasons it was on the air, AfterMASH only lasted two seasons before getting canceled. AfterMASH just couldn’t capture what made the first show great, but that didn’t stop CBS from trying again. The TV network would try again in 1984 with WALTER, but thankfully that show didn’t even get picked up. 

6 Massive Hit: The Middle

The Middle was just an average show about a lower middle-class family, yet it still became a massive hit. The series was created by Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline, who previously worked on shows like Roseanne and Murphy Brown.

The show was praised for accurately capturing the lives of a middle-class family while still delivering a hilarious story and unique characters. The Middle lasted for nine seasons before going off the air this year. While the show might be over, a spinoff revolving around Eden Sher’s character Sue Heck is currently in the works. 

5 Flopped: Angel From Hell

Those who don’t remember the sitcom Angel From Hell will be forgiven since the show wasn’t really anything to write home about. In the show Angel From Hell, Jane Lynch stars as a guardian angel for a girl named Allison, who was played by Maggie Lawson.

The show came after Lynch starred in the massively popular Glee, yet Angel From Hell didn’t get as big of a fan base.

The show was canceled by CBS after only five episodes at the beginning of 2016. While CBS didn’t initially air the remaining eight episodes, the rest of the season was released starting in July 2016. 

4 Massive Hit: Two and a Half Men

Even though Two and a Half Men often got mixed reviews, it was still a massive hit for CBS. The show ran for twelve seasons before going off the air, but the show started with Jon Cryer, Charlie Sheen, and a young Angus T. Jones.

There was a lot of drama surrounding the show, especially after Sheen’s crazed antics, but the show continued never the less. After a feud with show co-creator Chuck Lorre, Sheen was replaced on the show with Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher stayed on for the rest of the series until the show ended in 2015. 

3 Flopped: I Hate My Teenage Daughter

Another one of Fox’s TV shows that flopped was called I Hate My Teenage Daughter. The show was about a pair of moms, played by Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran, who began to notice that their daughters were turning into the kind of teenagers who had bullied them in high school.

The show began its thirteen episode run in November 2011 and ended it in May 2012. After Fox decided to cancel the show, the remaining six episodes were never released in the U.S., but based on viewership, nobody was really watching anyway.

2 Massive Hit: Seinfeld

Created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the show Seinfeld began in 1989 and lasted for nine seasons. The show was about a fictionalized version of Jerry Seinfeld who lived in New York and spent time with his friends. The show is often called one of the greatest sitcoms ever made and even landed the #2 spot on the Writers Guild of America West’s 101 Best Written TV Series.

Many shows have since tried to copy Seinfeld’s success, but none have been as original as this NBC hit. 

1 Flopped: My Mother the Car

As strange as it sounds, My Mother the Car was an actual sitcom back in the ‘60s. The show follows David Crabtree, who purchases a car that happens to be a reincarnation of his mother who passed away.

The show aired on NBC and starred Dick Van Dyke’s little brother Jerry, but even the Van Dyke gene couldn’t save the show. My Mother the Car was as strange as it was horrible, and not very many people cared for the show. NBC decided to cancel the program after just one season. 

Are there any other sitcoms that should have made the list? Sound off in the comments!



Source link
2018-10-07 04:10:06 – Christopher Fiduccia

SNL Distances Themselves from Kanye West During Weekend Update

The week after Kanye West’s unaired pro-Trump ramblings during the season 44 premiere of Saturday Night Live, a few of the show’s cast members have made their feelings regarding the incident clear. Though Leslie Jones had previously expressed hope that the show might steer away from politics, that definitely wasn’t the case with this episode, which began with Matt Damon guest starring as Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings. And things only got more political from there.

West, who performed as the musical guest for the Adam Driver-hosted episode, donned a “Make America Great Again” hat for his final performance of the night. While performing “Ghost Town” with Kid Cudi and 070 Shake, the rapper invited the SNL members up on stage to close out the night. Though the cameras were off by this point, West apparently took a break from singing to launch into an aimless rant that touched on Donald Trump, slavery, and the media that was captured by audience members like Chris Rock. A week later, the Weekly Update team was joined on air by Pete Davidson to discuss what happened.

Related: SNL Weekend Update Defies Censoring with ‘S-Hole’ Trump Sketch

Davidson began by commenting on West’s mental health and calling West’s speech “one of the worst, most awkward things” he’s ever experienced while working on the show, comparing it to an encounter with Chevy Chase. Davidson refutes West’s claim that he was bullied for wearing the MAGA hat but pointed out that everyone wears “stupid” things, including himself.

The comedian continued, addressing West’s belief that slavery isn’t real, and pointing out how wrong that is. He added that West is “a genius, but like, a musical genius,” thus insinuating that he doesn’t want to hear about politics from the rapper. Davidson then addressed the importance of mental health, albeit in joke form. West expressed that the person he is now is “the real” him, because he isn’t taking prescription medications. Davidson, who has been open about his own struggles with bipolar disorder, encouraged West to reconsider getting on medication, mentioning how well it works for him. He sent his point home with a well-received statement: “Being mentally ill is not an excuse to act like a jacka**.”

This is far from the first time that West has pushed the buttons of his peers in the entertainment community: a reference to the sunken place from Get Out sparked a tweet from the film’s writer and director Jordan Peele. He also hilariously sparked comparisons to Avengers: Infinity War big bad Thanos last month. West has been on SNL in the past, and this probably isn’t enough to earn him a ban, but considering his choice to shut down his social media accounts following the incident, he may not be willing to go back in the future.

More: Kenan Thompson to Star in New NBC Sitcom, Might Leave SNL

Source: Saturday Night Live





Source link
2018-10-07 01:10:58 – Becca Bleznak

Hillary Clinton’s Madam Secretary Cameo, New Details Revealed

Hillary Clinton will be appearing on an upcoming episode of Madam Secretary, and details have been released ahead of the season 5 premiere. The CBS political drama stars Téa Leoni as Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst who assumes the position of Secretary of State following the mysterious death of her predecessor. The series, which is executive produced by Lori McCreary, has drawn generally positive reviews and has commented on many of the real-life issues facing the U.S. government.

Though Leoni’s Secretary McCord has been compared to Clinton, the 2016 presidential candidate has not appeared on the series before now. Madeleine Albright, who held the position of Secretary of State under Clinton’s husband’s administration, appeared in a season 2 episode of the series. It was first announced in July that Albright, Clinton, and another former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, would make an appearance in this episode. Now, just days before the premiere, some insight into what went on behind-the-scenes has been shared.

Related: ‘Madam Secretary’ Series Premiere Review

TVLine reports that, during a set visit last month, McCreary and stars Keith Carradine and Erich Bergen revealed what it was like to have Clinton and the other former Secretaries of State on set. McCreary recalls that the politicians were giving with their “time and energy,” adding “it was really an honor that they would spend their time with us.” Carradine, who stars on the show as U.S. President Dalton, shared a funny moment with Clinton, in which she referred to him as “Mr. President.” In fact, he says that all of the Secretaries of State referred to him as such, noting their “spirit of play” on set.

But possibly the most intriguing anecdote comes from Bergen, who plays Blake Moran, personal assistant to Secretary McCord. Bergen has a background in musical theater, which also happens to be a passion of Clinton’s. While chatting with the politician on set, Bergen learned that she knew of his role in the show Waitress, and told him she “was a big fan of Smash,” a musical drama that aired on NBC and was canceled after just two seasons.

Though this is Clinton’s first time on this particular show, it’s not her first time playing a version of herself on T. In fact, it’s not even her first time this year. In the first episode of the revival of Murphy Brown, Clinton shared a moment with the eponymous journalist, making a joke about her emails. The episode also featured a fake Twitter conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump. And, in 2016, Clinton made a brief appearance on Broad City, taking a selfie with Abbi and Ilana at her campaign headquarters in New York.

More: Murphy Brown Revival Premiere Includes Hillary Clinton Cameo

Madam Secretary season 5 premieres on Sunday, October 7 on CBS.

Source: TVLine



Source link
2018-10-05 06:10:30 – Becca Bleznak

Busan Film Festival seeks ‘reunion’ after ferry tragedy row



Organizers of Asia’s largest film festival have issued a rallying cry to its supporters as the event emerges from years of starring in its own political drama. The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)…Click To Continue



Source link

Research Finds 50% of Last Jedi Backlash Was Political Trolling

New research finds that about 50 percent of Star Wars: The Last Jedi backlash directed at Rian Johnson was political trolling. As anyone who’s been following the galaxy far, far away for the past year can attest, Johnson’s Episode VIII proved to be quite the polarizing blockbuster when it premiered in December 2017. To this day, fans remain sharply divided on its merits, with some feeling The Last Jedi was a necessary step forward the franchise needed to thrive in the future, and others accusing Johnson of ruining Star Wars and failing to understand what made the series great.

Whenever something as massive as Star Wars is involved, even the filmmakers know they can’t please everyone, but reactions to The Last Jedi were quite heated. Due to constant harassment, actress Kelly Marie Tran left Instagram, and circles of the fan base called for Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to be replaced. The severity of the backlash left many puzzled, and one person attempted to get to the bottom of it all.

Related: Rian Johnson Didn’t Ruin Star Wars – He Celebrated It

On Twitter, Dr. Morten Bay shared a paper he wrote detailing the politicization of Star Wars fandom, particularly with how it relates to The Last Jedi. The study found around 50 percent of the backlash was political trolling, but that the “haters” represented a “small minority.” Johnson retweeted the paper to his followers.

In the wake of The Last Jedi’s release, Johnson maintained that a majority of Star Wars fans were respectful towards him on social media and the most vocal naysayers were not indicative of the fan base at large. While it’s nice to see there’s research backing those claims up, it’s nonetheless disheartening that this has become the norm for Johnson online. This may explain why he deleted an extensive backlog of tweets following James Gunn’s firing from Guardians of the Galaxy 3. If Johnson’s the target of political trolls now that he has a prominent role in shaping the Star Wars franchise, he didn’t want anything out there that could be misconstrued. Gunn was singled out by a right-wing group that uncovered his old, offensive tweets and Johnson wanted to avoid that same fate. To be fair, Johnson is fairly “normal” on Twitter (recent posts of his include tweets on his music videos, his updated website, and the Los Angeles Dodgers), but it’s still a smart move by him.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change for Johnson moving forward. Once he completes his mystery/thriller Knives Out, he’ll resume work on his new Star Wars trilogy, which was announced before The Last Jedi hit theaters. Despite Disney allegedly scrapping more character-based spinoffs and planning a slowdown after Episode IX, the Johnson Trilogy remains in Lucasfilm’s plans. No doubt, viewers will have varying opinions about that narrative, but hopefully the negativity will be toned down by then. Being a separate story from the Skywalker saga, perhaps expectations won’t be as high. Everyone had their own ideas for what happened to Luke Skywalker, but audiences should have less ownership over the new cast Johnson comes up with. Still, since it’s Star Wars, it’ll surely be a roller coaster.

More: Kathleen Kennedy Saved Star Wars

Source: Rian Johnson





Source link
2018-10-01 04:10:47 – Chris Agar