So I’ve been watching A&E’s new Bates Motel TV show and I thought I’d share some thoughts on it. The show seems to be getting some popular buzz and if we’re good at anything here at Infinite Hollywood, it’s trying to capitalize on something for our own benefit. Truth be told, I’ve been a bit of a Psycho kick recently, digging out my Big Lots bargain DVD set of the three original Psycho sequels and watching them in the past few weeks. I had planned to review them here, but general laziness supercedes all.
Anyway, coming into A&E’s new take on the old tale of Norman Bates, there’s a lot to compare it to. Frankly, the few other reviews I’ve taken a look at disgust me, because they act as if there was only ever one Psycho film. Look, Hitchcock’s Psycho is a timeless classic, but it’s an absolute disservice to everyone to pretend like that’s the only exposure we ever got to Norman Bates. The following three Psycho sequels are all fine films in their own right and throughout there are some incredible moments (some dumb ones too) but Anthony Perkins was able to craft Norman Bates into a really interesting and misunderstood character, turning in downright fantastic performances in each film.
And that’s probably the biggest problem with Bates Motel, there is no Anthony Perkins. No, I don’t mean the actor (although it’s certainly sad Perkins is no longer with us, I would have loved a Psycho 5) but rather there’s no one who can command the screen quite like him. Perkins’ magic, was that he could make you very interested in what he was doing, even if the movie he was in wasn’t all that great. Nobody does steely eyed lunatic, quite like Perkins did.
Freddy Highmore shouldn’t necessarily be compared to Perkins, despite the obvious reasons to want to, but Highmore has problems of his own to worry about beyond comparisons. In the first episode, Highmore exposes his British accent two or three times. Seriously, how did A&E let that slip? He’s also a tad too babyfaced and generally likeable. I suppose that could work if he eventually does become a ruthless killer, but with a show of this nature you risk turning the audience off by making him suddenly turn on a dime. There does seem to be a bit of a darkside hiding behind those eyes, so maybe he can make it work.
This of course leads us to another problem with the show overall and that’s turning Bates into a hero or a good guy. This is something that plagued the later Psycho sequels, although sometimes it was used to great effect in that Bates couldn’t change his stripes even when he tried. This show doesn’t have that working for them, however, as we’re seeing Norman before he’s a “psycho” and again it starts to put the whole premise into dangerous territory.
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these TV Breakage columns, but with new Fall seasons in full swing it seems like the right time. I actually have a few shows I want to talk about, so why not get into the thick of it? If you have a television show or channel that you’d like to see brought to attention here, feel free to comment and let us know.
Even though I think Donald Trump is scum of the Earth, I am getting excited for NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars, which debuts March 3. Trump himself adds little to the show aside from occasionally firing the wrong person on a whim, just because, but the rest of the dynamic is fun. Penn Jillette had an interesting piece on Trump a while back where he revealed that behind the scenes Trump would spend sometimes hours in the boardroom ranting and raving about bizarre radical right wing things. Of course, despite his critique, Jillette is back for this version of the show.
It’s a strong cast, probably stronger than any before it, but the female lineup is pretty weak. Unfortunately Trump seems to have only ever picked females on the Celebrity Apprentice based on their looks. NBC literally has nothing else going on and aside from some sort of pilot they’re working on about the life of Jessica Simpson in the style of Curb Your Enthusiasm, I can’t imagine I’ll be watching them much. Not that the Jessica show would make me watch anyway. I’m pretty sure her life is just getting pregnant all the time, right?
For the first time in a long time, I gave a show on FOX a shot and I’ve fallen in love with The Mindy Project. I honestly can’t recommend this show enough. If you gave it a shot and didn’t like it for some reason, I suggest trying it again. I caught just a couple minutes of an episode one night and decided to tape it. By the next day I was downloading all the episodes and my girlfriend and I were laughing regularly. It’s rare that a show has laugh out loud moments in it, but The Mindy Project does. The show is sort of a cross between Scrubs and 30 Rock, back when 30 Rock wasn’t just a ridiculous parody of itself, and although it might be a “girls” show, guys shouldn’t have any problem watching it.
Of course, since The Mindy Project is on FOX, it’s in jeopardy of being canceled. The show has done a bit better (but not gangbusters) in the ratings as of late, so I’m hoping it gets a second season. Elsewhere on FOX, it looks like lots of shows are going to be dumped and The Cleveland Show could get the axe too. I must confess I’ve never watched a single episode. The Following is getting a huge hype campaign from FOX and it will debut next Tuesday. I’m going to check it out, only because I like Kevin Bacon.
Fringe will air it’s final episode tonight in a two hour finale. I really liked Fringe, although I got on board a bit late. That said, what I’ve watched of the final season (I’ve only see a few as the rest are on my DVR) hasn’t been my favorite. I liked it when the show was much more of a supernatural police procedural, than whatever the heck this last season has become.
I’ve finally given up on ABC’s Last Man Standing and it’s a total shame too. I actually quite liked the show, even if it was sort of Home Improvement-lite in it’s first season. Season 2 is basically an entirely different show, with major cast changes, plot changes and the total arrangement of the program has shifted. Tim Allen is now Archie Bunker, but the show refuses to go full bore with it, both trying to have their cake and eat it too. Every other line out of Allen’s mouth is anti-Obama and it’s really annoying. I don’t tune into 30 minute sitcoms to hear political crap.
So today I’m going to tell you about my new late night obsession… The Aquabats! Super Show! I’d like to say that I’ve been living under a rock and that’s why I haven’t heard of the Aquabats before now, but truth be told despite the fact that this group has been around since 1994, I don’t know anyone who really knows who these guys are. I’ve seen posts about them on forums and then watched as hundreds of people post in unison responding, “who?” in relation to them.
That means it’s not just me, who hasn’t heard of them. I suppose if you live in So-Cal and are connected to the indie rock hipster scene, you’ve probably heard of these guys. They’re an underground band who do crazy pop rock songs. But let’s just put aside the music for a minute, because the music is irrelevant. Yes, the Aquabats are a real band who perform as superheroes, sort of like Gwar but without the mindless gore and gratuitous sexual repulsion. The Super Show is a much broader expansion of that concept and it’s freaking brilliant.
I think the best way to describe the Aquabats Super Show is Space Ghost meets Scooby Doo meets Josie and the Pussycats meets Pee Wee’s Playhouse meets Adam West’s Batman meets 70′s Sentai. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, check your pulse. Each episode features the band getting into hijinks with villains and monsters, plus a brief cartoon that has the vibe of an old Hanna Barbera superhero toon. There’s also funny fake commercial breaks advertising absurd products interjected in-between.
Seriously, it’s an insane show about this band of superheroes traveling around in their giant superhero tour bus (dubbed the BattleTram and it’s bigger on the inside) fighting giant floating eyes, mummies on motorcycles, ghosts who love burritos and just about everything else awesome you can imagine. It’s in the same vein as the 60′s Batman TV show, done with the same sort of camp, only turned up about 15 notches.
The special effects are actually pretty awesome if you love old school Sentai-type stuff and despite the low budget nature of things, nothing actually looks cheap. As it turns out the leader of the Aquabats, the MC Bat Commander, is also the guy responsible for Yo Gabba Gabba, so the costumes are good and the irreverence is right along that same sort of mentality. Every scene has some kind of new sight gag and ironic homage to everything you loved if you grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons.
It’s just insane, in the most awesome of ways. The show currently airs on The Hub, Hasbro’s TV network. I discovered it late one night by staying up too late and flipping through the channels. I thought it was going to be dumb, you know like kid’s dumb, but instead it turned out to incredibly entertaining. The first season has 12 episodes and I’ve only seen a few so far, but each one is just trippy, awesome and zany.
Apparently there hasn’t been a second season confirmed yet, because Hub isn’t sure on it. This show is a million times better than any of the goofy live action stuff that Adult Swim has produced and is right up there with the Venture Brothers in managing to parody a genre and still be creative and original on it’s own. I almost think the show is missing it’s target audience by being marketed to kids. It’s definitely okay for children, but it’s a show that’s humorous to adults.
Hub, if you have any souls, you’ll renew this show for a second season. It should be paired up with reruns of Batman or something. Seriously, check the show out when it reruns on Saturdays and see if you dig it.
Although the toys are starting to show up in scattered stores across the nation, up until now we haven’t known when the new Nickelodeon version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon will debut. Thankfully an answer has finally surfaced from the sewers. On Saturday, Sept. 29, at 11 a.m. the cartoon with premier on Nickelodeon with two back-to-back episodes. No doubt introducing the Turtles to a whole new batch of youngsters. The first season will run 26 episodes.
Turtlemania is reaching a fever pitch here at Infinite Hollywood and I’m quite excited. Just days ago we were the first website to reveal the Night Shadow Leonardo and it seems as though news continues to come in. Although there’s still two and a half months until the TMNT cartoon debut on Nickelodeon, we expect more exciting developments in the weeks and months ahead. Be sure to check in with InfiniteHollywood.com as we’re you’re official Turtles 2012 source!
At first I wasn’t super excited about the new cartoon as I didn’t care much for the CG animation style, but the first preview looks pretty interesting and I’m just glad to have the Turtles back in any form. Throw in the fact that they’re using a remake/remix of the classic Ninja Turtles theme song and I’m even more intrigued. Plus the solid toys have helped to sell me on the idea of the new show. Ninja Turtles was a big part of my youth and it’s also a huge part of why I collect toys. So I’m rooting for the Green Machine to have a comeback in a big way. Anyone else starting to get excited?
Just the other day I was watching a re-run of Teen Titans on Boomerang, wondering to myself how the 2003 show ever got canceled. The show had just enough DC Universe to be interesting, but mostly focused on teenage and pre-teen issues that garnered the program a huge fanbase of non-traditional fans. In fact, comic fans were the last to flock to this show, instead it was mostly people who never read comics in their life that loved this program. To me, that’s exactly the kind of marketing DC needs. Hooking kids when they’re at that pre-teen age.
Low and behold, DC has announced that Teen Titans will return to the Cartoon Network in a spin-off/sequel/relaunch titled Teen Titans GO! Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the cartoon will share a lot in common with the comic of the same name (which was a slightly more comic-y version of the TV show) but may be a more wacky “comedy show”.
DC Nation, Cartoon Network’s programming block for animated series and original shorts based on characters from DC Comics (Saturdays 10:00–11:00 a.m. ET/PT), will host the new program Teen Titans Go!, a half-hour comedy/action series inspired by the original show. It is said the series will “show the humorous side of being a teenage hero.”
“Character-driven comedy is the order of the day as this new take on the super hero series focuses on the funny business that happens between saving the world and living together as teenagers without adult supervision. They may be super heroes who save the world every day … but somebody still has to do the laundry! With the ability to turn into any animal or detach their robotic limbs, teenage pranks reach a whole new level. And even super heroes have to take Driver’s Ed. to get a license – especially after wrecking the Batmobile on an unauthorized joy ride to impress a girl!”
The series is executive produced by Sam Register (Green Lantern: The Animated Series, The Looney Tunes Show, Teen Titans) and produced by Michael Jelenic (Thundercats, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and Aaron Horvath (MAD, El Tigre). It will premiere on Cartoon Network in 2013.
They’ve already put some little clips up on the DC website and the toon looks to be redesigned into almost Chibi characters. I’m not sure how well that will play out as the designs were already anime in nature. Though I always loved the design for Robin and Cyborg in particular.
The good news is that the full original cast is back including Greg Cipes as Beast Boy, Scott Menville as Robin, Khary Payton as Cyborg, Tara Strong as Raven and Hynden Walch as Starfire. So this is definitely just a new version of the same characters. Hopefully it’ll turn into an entertaining program that can do as good of job as the original at embracing some of that real Teen Titans spirit, as we haven’t had a good DC cartoon since Brave & The Bold went off the air.
Are You Afraid Of The Dark (Season 2)
The Tale of the Midnight Madness
Directed by D.J. MacHale
Starring Eddie Robinson, Melanie Wiesenthal, Christopher Heyerdahl, Aron Tager
Available on DVD
I decided to dig up an old favorite of mine from the Niceklodeon series, “Are you Afraid of the Dark?” which featured iconic horror character, Nosferatu. I remembered watching this episode when it originally aired and thinking it was quite creepy. Largely because of the Nosferatu character which appeared throughout.
The premise is that Count Orlok escaped the film and began terrorizing those who worked in the theater showing his film. Years later when I saw Shadow of the Vampire, I was reminded of the episode. So for the 31 Days of Halloween I decided to track the episode down and see how it stood up to time. Many fans of the show consider this episode one of the best. There are some good and bad elements to it, so let’s take a look!
We begin as always with the Midnight Society, a group of kids who gather around a campfire every week trying to scare each other. I have no idea what it’s like in Canada (where this show was made) but these kids would get their butts kicked in my neighborhood. I love the idea though, who wouldn’t want to do this once a week?
Gary is the leader, but you’d never know that from this episode. He was in like, most every episode and I always thought it was the same kid who played Vinnie Delpino from Doogie Howser, but in glasses. Turns out it’s not him at all. This guy went on to become a “weather personality” in Canada and the Weather Channel. See he’s an old school weatherman, which means he has no meteorological experience and basically just reads a script.
Anyway, some of the kids are about to head to the theater to watch some midnight madness marathon of scary movies. Before they go, they do their meet up and this jackass in the jean jacket says he’ll never go to the theater again after what happened to those other kids… What kids? Well here’s his story, submitted for your approval, the Tale of the Midnight Madness!