According to Entertainment Weekly, Bryan Fuller (PUSHING DAISIES) is working on a modern-day take on the 1960’s TV sit-com THE MUNSTERS for NBC.
Apparently the network, now a part of Universal, has ordered a pilot. It seems to be a real “re-imagining “, as it’s being described as “MODERN FAMILY meets TRUE BLOOD.”
I’ll let that pass without comment for now, other than the obvious why use the name if you intend to change the basic concept?
Then again, who though a dark, serious BATTLESTAR GALACTICA would be a hit?
Tuesday July 21st’s DVD and Blu-ray releases offer something for cinefantastique fans of every stribe, whether your personal tastes run toward science fiction, fantasy, or horror. The top title of the week, at least in terms of sales figures, is WATCHMEN. The sprawling plotlines of Alan Moore’s well-regarded graphic novel did not translate well to the celluloid form, but the film’s muddled storytelling and slagging pace did not impede ticket sales, which turned WATCHMEN into a science fiction blockbuster. On disc, the film arrives in four iterations: a single-disc widescreen DVD of the theatrical cut, a single-disc full-screen DVD of the theatrical cut, a two-disc special edition DVD of the director’s cut, and a Blu-ray disc with the director’s cut, plus Amazon Digital Bundle, Digital Copy and BD-Live. Did I say four iterations? Well, there is a fifth one, sort of: you can purchase the Blu-ray version housed inside a miniature statue of Night Owl’s floating ship. It’s the perfect gift for the graphic-novel-loving maniac in your family!
Up next is CORALINE, Henry Selick’s darkly enchanting 3-D stop-motion film version of Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel. A fairy tale that may be a touch scary for the little tykes, CORALINE is now available as a single-disc DVD, a two-disc Collector’s Edition DVD, and a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, plus Digital Copy. All three versions include the film in 3-D.
THE MESSENGERS hardly seemed good enough or successful enough to warrant a sequel, but that did not stop Ghost House Productions from unleashing THE MESSENGERS 2: SCARECROW on us. This time, Danish director Martin Barnewitz replaces the Pang Brothers. A prequel, rather than a sequel, MESSENGERS 2 hopes to undermine audience expectations by offering a few unexpected twists. We’ll see if Barnewitz (who helmed the excellent ROOM 205) can pull it off…
For television fans, theres the Complete Second Season of PUSHING DAISES, the vastly over-rated show that died a well-deserved death. If that’s not enough for you there’s also STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS, the ROBOT CHICKEN spoof of STAR WARS: EPISODE II, and an import titled SKELETON CREW, about a film crew that stumbles upon a mental institution where thirty years earlier the mad doctor running the place made a series of snuff films starring his patients.
Not much to get excited about this week. The highest profile fantasy release on home video is the boxed set complete first season of PUSHING DAISIES, the whimsical piece of fluff that inexplicably became a critical darling and a ratings winner. For fans who like their fantasy British and bi-sexual, there’s TORCHWOOD – The Complete Second Season – on DVD, along with the Complete First Season on Blu-ray. And the STAR TREK franchise dips into the archives, offering an interesting collection titled “Star Trek: Alternate Realities.” (The cover image of Spock with and without his “Mirror, Mirror” beard, should give you a good idea of what to expect inside.)
Now for theatrical movies: The box office bomb SPEED RACER arrives on widescreen DVD, full screen DVD, and Blu-ray. CLOVERFIELD comes out in a Spanish-language version, retitled Monstruo. (Why bother when DVD’s allow soundtrack and subtitle options for alternate languages?) BICENTENNIAL MAN and MISSION TO MARS are double-packed; now you can endure double the pain for your money. If you have a taste for Italian exploitation cinema from the ’70s, there a new DVD of BEYOND THE DOOR, the rip-off of THE EXORCIST starring Richard Johnson and Juliette Mills (both of whom deserved better).
Finally, for all you Kevin Sorbo fans, there’s a direct-to-video film titled NEVER CRY WEREWOLF. Wonder what that one’s about?
You can find these DVDs below, or look for them in the Cinefantastique Online Store.
Propelled by strong advance word from critics and by an enticing advertising campaign, ABC’s PUSHING DAISIES made a strong debut on Wednesday, with a 4.2 rating/12 share in the adults 18-49 demographic. With an average of 12.8-million viewers over the course of its opening hour, the show handily one the 8:00pm time slot. So, the show is a critical favorite and it’s popular with audiences, too. That means it must be good, right? Not necessarily.
Once you get past the hype and the pretty colors, the debut episode of PUSHING DAISIES was too precious for words – a fact underlined by the cutesy title “Pie-lette.” (Get it? It sounds like a TV “pilot”; it looks French, which is supposed to be cool; and the leading man bakes pies.) Other writers have already noted the Tim Burtonesque visual qualities in Barry Sonnenfeld’s direction (artificially enhanced colors to create a storybook tone), but the borrowing extends to the script by series creator Bryan Fuller. The childhood era prologue – in which hars topics like death are treated with an off-hand tongue-in-cheek manner – seems deliberately to invoke the children’s fiction of Roald Dahl. There is also an extensive, omniscient voice-over narration a la HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, which pretty much tells the whole story; the main difference is that the HITCHERK narrator was actually funny. Continue reading “Pushing Daisies pilot is TV ratings winner, but does it deliver?”