Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

The Addams Family, created by David Levy and Donald Saltzman, based on The Addams Family by Charles Addams: a Television Series Review

Synopsis:

The Addams Family is all about the exploits of the eccentric and wealthy Addamses.  The Father, Gomez, is madly in love with his wife, Morticia.  They have two children, Wednesday and Pugsley.  They live in their mansion with Uncle Fester, Grandmama (Morticia’s mother), and two servants- Lurch and Thing.

From going to school for the first time to romances to dancing around the house the stories of this loving but macabre family were created as a contrast to the accepted “normal” American family with its 2.5 children, house in the suburbs and the white picket fence.  They show throughout all of their episodes that the love one has for ones family is not determined by outside appearance but by a person’s heart.

General Information:

-Genre: Black Comedy Sitcom

-Creator: David Levy and Donald Saltzman, based on the cartoons of Charles Addams

-Length: 2 seasons, 64 total episodes, 30 minutes each

-Rating: TV-8+ (morbid and macabre moments, dark comedy, some slight violence and some slight sexual innuendo)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, DVD, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Carolyn Jones, John Astin, Jackie Coogan, Ted Cassidy, Blossom Rock, Lisa Loring, Ken Weatherwax

-Page of Reference in RPO: 177

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

Such a fun show and lovely, well-developed characters right off the bat.  Jones and Astin laid a wonderful foundation for Gomez and Morticia.  They are loving, and kindhearted, and care deeply for their family.  They jump right into the troubles of their children, hate to be parted from each other and their brood. 

The eccentric acts of the family are sweet but interesting enough to keep you entertained. And the writing is amazing.  I’ve been laughing all throughout the season.

Season 2:

The show continues to be delightful.  The main cast is impeccable and I’m floored by the fact that the writers could continue to do such a good job considering the fluctuating group of side characters.   I honestly don’t understand why the show would have been done after a mere two seasons.  I am glad that I was able to watch this show for the first time ever having already fallen in love with the Addams Family.  It made seeing where they came from all the more enjoyable.

Overall the show is quite entertaining and watching it after having fallen in love with the later renditions of the family is definitely unique.  I can see how the actors in the early series laid a very detailed and comprehensive character study for later performances.  They captured the odd but loving couple.  The rather insane and morbid (but not disgusting) pastimes and various moments of chemistry that made later renditions so beautiful.  Its also fun to know that the entire set was bright pink because it was what created the shade of grey they wanted for the set.

And no matter the rendition of Gomez and Morticia they will always be my favorite couple. And their love remains #goals.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Trek

Star Trek: The Next Generation (Full Series), created by Gene Roddenberry: a Television Review

Synopsis:

Set 78 years after Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation series follows the adventures of the new Enterprise (NC-1700-D) and her crew.  Headed by Captain Jean-Luc Picard and a team of accomplished and diverse officers, the show focus on the years following an encounter with an immortal, sentient life force known only as Q.

Throughout the series new characters and life forms are introduced like the Ferengi, the Trill, and the Q.  new adventures, planets and discoveries abound during the seven season run.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Drama

-Creator: Gene Roddenberry

-Length: 7 Seasons, 178 Episodes (average 45 minutes per episode)

-Rating: TV-PG (for Science-Fiction action and violence, some sexual content, some adult themes and mild language)

-Where to Watch: Netflix, Hulu, CBSAllAccess, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube ITunes, DVD, BlueRay, and look for the series at your local library

-Main Cast: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Wil Wheaton, Denise Crosby, Gates McFadden, and John de Lancie

-Page of Reference in RPO: 25

Review (contains spoilers):

Please note this review will be updated as I continue to watch through the whole series….

Season 1:

This season is incredibly rough as are many first seasons of Star Trek.  Some episodes are alright while most are okay at best, horrible at worst.  While this is my favorite of the Star Trek series there is much of the first season that is difficult to get through.  From the questionable introduction of Q (usually the Big Bad of a series isn’t introduced in the first episode…and not as what appears to be a throw away character though incredibly charming and quite vexing), to the childish Ferengi, to the various bigger than their britches Starfleet personnel, this season is shaky at best. Save a few important episodes you can basically just skip to Season 2…

Season 2:

Season 3:

Season 4:

Season 5:

Season 6:

Season 7:

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Firefly, created by Joss Whedon: a Television Review

Synopsis:

The year is 2517 and humanity had worn out the old Earth. So they have terriformed hundreds of other Earth like planets. Some, like the inner allied planets, thrive on technology and the protection that comes with being allied together. Others, such as those on the outer edges, are not so lucky.

For those who have the mind, and want the freedom, they will take just about any job. These rogues run anything from supplies to medicine to people to where ever their money will take you.

The crew of the Serenity (a Firefly class space vessel) is one of these such crews. While on Persephone, a planetary port, they pick up several passengers and a large piece of cargo that is to accompany one of the men. When they head out from port things get dicey for both the crew and their passengers when the contents of the package and the type of jobs the Serenity takes on are revealed.

General Information:

-Genre: Space Western or Science-Fiction Western

-Creator: Joss Whedon

-Length: 14 45 minute episodes with the Pilot running 2 hours with commercials (11 ran on FOX in the US during it’s airing from 2002-2003)

-TV Rating: TV-14 (due to nudity, sexual situations and discussions, violence, and references and flashbacks to war)

-Where to watch: DVD, Blue-ray, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, or check your local library for copies!

-Main Cast: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, Ron Glass

-Page of Reference in RPO: 49

Review (contains spoilers):

I have been watching Firefly regularly over the last 15 years and I must say that when I started this project and sat down to re-watch the series it had been a few years since my last viewing. Sad I know.

I forgot just how good the writing was…but only when watched in the correct order (see Firefly, the Forgotten Fandom for more on that).

While watching through the character developments and the story lines all I can return to is how sad it was that this show got cancelled and we never got to know about so many layers of the characters.

Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) is the guy in charge of the whole operation. He’s commanding, commandeering, a bit rough around the edges. A bit of a rogue and has a swashbuckling presence that wouldn’t be out of place in the days of piracy. Which is perfect. Because that is just what he is…a space pirate. Yet, he has a side that is unlike what he shows to the world. One that is loyal and dedicated to his crew.

Zoe Washburn (Gina Torres) is the hard kicking, straight laced sidekick. Joined by her husband, Hoban “Wash” Washburn (Alan Tudyk), these three form the main base of the crew. Zoe was Mal’s right hand during the war where they fought on the side of the rebellion and lost. Wash is the pilot of the Serenity and pulls off some insanely important moves that save the crew many times over. The relationship between the Washburn’s feels so real, so true. They balance each other well through their devotion to each other and their marriage is stunning throughout all the pressure put on it by being on the edge of the law.

Kaywinnet Lee “Kaylee” Frye (Jewel Staite) is by far one of my favorite characters. She is bright eyed, joyful, loving and innocent in so many ways. Yet she always feels authentic in her enthusiasm and her view on the world. She is obsessed with beautiful things but is almost always covered in grime from fixing her beloved Serenity despite what and how many times the Captain puts the ship in danger. Everyone in the crew (minus maybe Jayne) is very protective of and loves Kaylee deeply.

Which brings us to the last official member of the Serenity crew when we join them on Persephone as they pick up new passengers. Jayne Cobb (Alex Baldwin), is a sharp shooting, man’s man which works well for him in the backwater deep west feel of the outer planets. He’s an avid collector of firearms and always has a fist to spare in a bar fight with Mal. A mercenary by trade everyone knows they are always one good price away from him selling them all down the river which makes him authentic in the wild-card, ne’re-do-well, charming rogue sort of way.

Inara Serra (Morena Baccarin) brings some dignity to the crew. She is a registered Companion which is basically a very legal and very respected high-end escort, seductress, sex worker, societal woman, and discreet assassin rolled into one. A 26th-century Giesha if you will. She rents a shuttle on the Serenity and gives the whole outfit a level of class that allows them to dock in places that would otherwise be off limits to the rag-tag band. She has her own secrets that unfold but that we never truly get to hear the climax of because the show was cancelled.

While in Persephone we see the crew pick up a set of new high paying passengers who all accept the risk of travelling under the radar of the Alliance and the danger that travelling the outer planets can entail.

Shepard Derrial Book (Ron Glass) becomes the spiritual leader to the crew in a round about way. He is the moral compass of the crew, whether they like it or not…and it often brings him in conflict with Mal and Jayne. We never find out where he comes from or how he was trained in combat or why he has an extensive knowledge of Alliance criminal proceedings that he occasionally uses to keep everyone safe. His mysterious past is part of his intrigue.

Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher) is the most reluctant of the “new” crew members. He boards at the beginning of the show with a large piece of property that he watches the loading of with great concern. We quickly learn that this intelligent, well-mannered and quiet doctor is hiding the biggest secret on the ship. His sister, River Tam (Summer Glau). Seemingly law-abiding and tight-laced Simon snuck into the Academy she was sent to and drags her out, trauma and all. River is all but delusional when she appears…naked and in stasis. She struggles with her grip on reality, has insane fighting skills that seem programmed directly into her brain and some psychic abilities that are never truly explained. They find a tenuous place in the crew where Simon begins to fall in love with Kaylee and River starts to become more stable in the fairly unstable world of Serenity.

What we get out of all of this is ONE singular and beyond promising season of brilliant television. And that is it.

We get more questions than answers even with the follow up movie, Serenity.

This is what we walk away with:

Mal is a jerk and it makes for entertaining film particularly when his pig-headed attitude does things like get himself into a gentleman’s duel (with swords) or dressed up as a lady in his “pretty floral bonnet”. Inara’s depth and profession as a Companion are beyond intriguing. Add in a mysterious vial that we can only deduce later may be a medication of some kind and there are so many levels of intrigue within her character. The banter and budding relationship between the two of them remains one of the most irritating parts of the cancellation of the show. We could have seen so much more from this pair.

Shepard Book’s mysterious past may have been explained as would his need to save as many souls in redemption as he can. The biggest question is what happened to make him repent endlessly till his last breath? Jayne and his insane collection of guns would have made for some entertaining television, especially if we ever saw a time when he may have been offered enough to sell out the crew…and if at that time they were enough of a family to make him reconsider.

And speaking of family! Wash and Zoe and their incredible marriage! Would they have gotten their own boat? Or stayed aboard? Or would they have eventually settled down and started a family of their own?

What about River’s trauma and crazy mind powers? Does she ever recover or is she ever able to move on? And the romance that blossomed between Simon and Kaylee was nothing short of perfection. I wish we could have seen so much more of how their little group and their relationships developed.

Overall, a wonderful and delightful show that ended too soon.

It was followed by a single film to “wrap up” the story which will get a separate review (Serenity Review) with my personal thoughts about the ending.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

(would be a full 5 if the series hadn’t been messed up by FOX’s airing schedule because we would have gotten MORE!)

Photo from Google… official DVD cover…