Friday, January 20, 2012


Yes, dear readers, I know you’re reading this on Friday, but I’m
writing it on Thursday.  Normally I write these bloggy things two
days before I post them.  That gives me a little bit of lead time
to reconsider what I wrote.  It’s part of my ongoing plan to exude
the wisdom and restraint that should come with a man of my advanced
years.  No smirking, children.  It’s not nice to mock your elders.

I have alluded to stressful situations in my life, situations that
I’m not writing about and which I may never write about.  I wrote
a bloggy thing on Wednesday about one of those situations and then
thought twice about it as I drifted off to an uneasy sleep.  So, come
Thursday morning, I shelved it and replaced it with the blog I had
written for Friday.  My wife thought this was incredibly mature of
me.  Hot chicks dig smart old men.

A situation I can write about is that I’ve been dealing with back
problems.  These seem to be mostly stress-related, so I have also
been forcing myself to spend more times sitting in comfy chairs and
sofas.  Which, this being America and all, are usually facing one
of our TV sets.  Since I was sitting there anyway, I watched three
new shows and a pilot for a show which I’m guessing isn’t going any
further than that pilot.  If I write about them here, I won’t feel
quite so bad about being such a couch potato.


Three Inches aired on the SyFy Channel in late December.  The two-
hour pilot was described as a sitcom, but, while there were several
comedic moments in the movie, it was more street-level super-hero
drama than anything else.

Walter Spackman (Noah Reid) is a young man still trying to discern
his path in life and still living with his mother (Andrea Martin).
He decides to tell the girl next door, his best friend since they
were kids, that he loves her.  She doesn’t feel the same way and,
to add injury to heartbreak, he then gets struck by lightning and
ends up in a coma.

When he comes out of it, he discovers he can move objects with his
mind.  But only three inches and only if he’s within 17 feet of
the object.  He’s recruited by former government intelligence
specialist Troy Hamilton (James Marsters) to join a team of people
with moderately useful super-powers.

The pilot held together pretty well.  It didn’t shy away from some
darker elements, including a client whose concern for basic civil
rights was nonexistent.  Marsters was completely believable as an
older man who had seen terrible things and was committed to finding
a better way for his second-string heroes.  With the exception of
a non-super squad leader, Walter and his fellow heroes jelled well.
The only jarring note was a surprise familial relationship that didn't
ring true.  All in all, not a bad pilot.

My completely unsupported by any actual real knowledge speculation
is that the SyFy Channel looked at Three Inches and Alphas...and
then went with the latter.  That wouldn’t surprise me.  Alphas is
far more traditional street-level super-heroes and Three Inches is
as quirky as they come.  I don’t make the scheduling calls at SyFy,
but I think there’s room for both shows.


I watched the first two episodes of Alcatraz, the new series from
Bad Robot.  Around 250 inmates and 50 guards disappeared from the
prison before it was closed and now some of the inmates have come
back to commit new crimes.  It cribs from The 4400, but that’s not
a deal breaker for me.

The big whopping pluses that will keep watching a little longer are
Sarah Jones as San Francisco homicide detective Rebecca Madsen and
Jorge Garcia as Dr. Diego Soto.  She’s smart, tough, and a surprise
plot twist involving one of her relatives has her even more highly
motivated than usual.  He’s a PhD. in Criminal Justice, an expert
on Alcatraz, a comic-book writer, and the owner of a comics shop.
He’s our entry into this weird world and his reactions are spot-on.
They are unlikely partners and I love them a lot.

The potential minuses start with two opposing shadowy conspiracies,
which will bore of the snot out of me if they remain mysterious for
too many episodes...and the dubious morality of characters played
by Sam Neill and Parminder Nagra.  Both are terrific in the roles,
but I’m reserving judgment for now.     


The Fades made its U.S. debut last Saturday on BBC America.  It’s
a supernatural series with such a jumbled mythology that I found it
both confusing and tedious.  It’s no secret to bloggy thing readers
that I prefer my storytelling to be straightforward.  If you have
a good story, then tell it.

The Fades are the spirits of the dead who’ve been unable to ascend
to Heaven or whatever.  Teenage protagonist Paul, played by Iain de
Caestecker, can see them and also has visions of an extremely dusty
apocalypse.  Apparently, the Apocalypse is not unlike being trapped
in a huge field of asbestos.  It’s a tiresome visual repeated over
and over again.

“Angelics” like Paul can see the Fades.  The Fades get really nasty
because they can’t cross over.  One of the Fades seems to be able
to touch, hurt, and even kill living humans.  After watching this
first episode and the tepid acting that accompanied it, I’m going
to pass on watching the remaining episodes.


One more from the SyFy Channel.

According to Wikipedia, Lost Girl is a Canadian supernatural crime
drama television series that premiered on the Showcase Television
network in September 2010. The series is developed and produced by
Prodigy Pictures. The series follows the life of a succubus named
Bo, played by Anna Silk, as she learns to control her abilities,
help those in need, and discover the truth about her origins. The
show received positive initial reviews, and was renewed for a
second season two months after its premiere. As of December 2011,
the show has been renewed for a third season.

This one is on the bubble for me.  There are two factions of these
supernatural creatures - the Light Fae and the Dark Fae - who live
among us as a society within the human world.  Neither side seems
to have much regard for humans.

The pilot episode had its moments.  I liked several of the actors:
Silk, Ksenia Solo as her human friend Kenzi, and Zoie Palmer as a
human doctor and researcher working with the Light Fae.  I’ll watch
the show for a few more weeks to see if it can win me over.

The comfy chair - or maybe the comfy sofa - is calling to me.  I’ll
be back tomorrow with more stuff. 

© 2012 Tony Isabella

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