Minor league hockey comedy packs a surprising punch
- Critic's Rating B+
- Readers' Rating B+
Note: I'm taking much of this week off in between Comic-Con and press tour. This is one of a few posts I wrote in advance that should publish this week. If you're wondering why I didn't cover a particular show or story this week, it's because I'm on vacation.
As I've often said in the last couple of years, HitFix has a terrific (and ever-expanding) collection of film writers, and for the most part I leave it to them to cover the cinema. Every now and then, though, a movie is so in my wheelhouse that I feel like I have no choice but to write something about it.
"Goon" happens to be one of those movies. It fed my weakness for underdog sports fiction something fierce, while also being executed well enough that I imagine I would have taken enormous pleasure from it even without the genre bias. (In support of this theory, Drew liked it a lot, and he's not a sucker for these kinds of movies the way I am.)
What did everybody think of the new USA miniseries?
I posted my review of "Political Animals" on Wednesday. Now it's your turn. For those who tuned in, what did you think of Greg Berlanti's soap opera spin on the Clinton family story? Did you prefer the political material, the personal subplots, or even the material on the downfall of the newspaper business? Did you buy Ciaran Hinds as an alt-reality Bill Clinton? Enjoy Sigourney Weaver jousting with Carla Gugino? If you're a fan of the usual USA dramas, how did you feel about something this off-brand? And do you intend to watch the whole miniseries?
Have at it. Because it's airing in such a crowded timeslot, and because I'll be dealing with press tour, etc., for the next few weeks, I'm not going to be doing weekly posts on this one, but will endeavor to check back in after the final installment airs.
Did the strong last 7 minutes redeem the terrible 50 that came before them?
Walt, Jesse and Mike have to pull off another caper to clean up a Gus mess
"Breaking Bad" is back to start the first half of its fifth and final season. I reviewed the early episodes back on Tuesday (and then posted an interview with Aaron Paul and a two-part interview with Bryan Cranston) and I have specific, spoiler-filled thoughts on the season premiere coming up just as soon as I foresee an outcome that involves Miller Time...
Cinemax action series returns August 17
I initially wasn't going to write up the "Strike Back" panel I moderated at Comic-Con on Friday night, not because it didn't go well, but because it's always difficult to recap a panel where I was on stage and couldn't take notes. I did it with the "Wilfred" panel from the day before, but mainly because there was one quote of David Zuckerman's I wanted to use, and as it happened, the entire panel wound up on YouTube and it became easy to transcribe that section. Though we wound up with a good-sized crowd for "Strike Back," there was nobody recording the whole thing — though everyone whipped out their cameras to record Philip Winchester's Cartman impression (you can hear a better version by clicking the behind-the-scenes video link below) — so I was only working off my memories.
But it was a good panel, and I'm looking forward to the return of the series on August 17 — as I said last year, here was a show that could have just been mindless violence and gratuitous sex scenes and fit the Cinemax brand, and wound up being much better, smarter and cooler than it needed to be — so I wanted to write up a few paraphrased highlights before I headed home.
Will splitting time between McKinley and the graduates help or hurt?
"Glee" has been a show that even in its better creative periods (which most fans would agree the third season was not) has struggled with storytelling ADD. It's also about to enter its fourth season, with many of its original characters having graduated high school — a precarious moment in the life of any teen drama.
'Pushing Daisies' creator gets to reimagine Herman Munster and Hannibal Lecter
Through his work on "Wonderfalls," "Dead Like Me," "Pushing Daisies" and even "Heroes" (where he wrote the one episode, "Company Man," that people still look back fondly on), Bryan Fuller has established a reputation as one of the more distinctive, creative voices in the TV business. Yet this season, his two NBC projects aren't original visions, but one reboot and one reinvention of a pair of very familiar concepts.
Will Adam Baldwin now be asked John Casey questions?
If "Firefly" isn't the most beloved Comic-Con TV show of the 21st century, it's easily in the top 2 or 3. Joss Whedon's space cowboy drama (which I revisited a couple of summers ago) had a short run, but has lived on in the hearts and minds of the fans, to the point where some shows featuring "Firefly" alums might as well not have brought any other actors to their panels. Even another Comic-Con institution like "Chuck" annually received one or two "Who'd win in a fight: John Casey or Jayne Cobb?" questions for Adam Baldwin.
So I'm guessing the Ballroom 20 crowd will be going nuts as Baldwin, Nathan Fillion, most of the show's cast and Whedon himself reunite for a 10th anniversary panel, and I'll be live-blogging the whole thing. Remember that the Convention Center wifi is iffy at best, and just because you haven't seen an update in a while doesn't mean I'm not still typing. I will update this thing as often as I can during the hour.
How will Dan Harmon supporters react to Port and Guarascio?
It's time for what could be the most interesting TV panel of Comic-Con, in which "Community" fans are placed in the same room as the NBC comedy's new showrunners, Moses Port and David Guarascio. Will the audience Q&A portion of the hour turn into a non-stop harangue of these men who would dare to fill the shoes of fired creator Dan Harmon? Will Port and Guarascio — who will be joined by stars Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie and Danny Pudi, plus returning writer/producers Megan Ganz and Andy Bobrow — be able to deflect any criticism in advance by pointing out that they had nothing to do with Harmon's exit, and insisting they want to keep making his version of the show? Or will their presence on stage turn out to be a minor sideshow compared to the chance for 4,000 fans to yell their love of the show's stars?
I'm going to be live-blogging the panel, with the caveat that the Convention Center wifi is iffy at best. Remember: just because you haven't seen an update in a while doesn't mean I'm not still typing. I will update this thing as often as I can during the hour.
Producer wonders if getting answers on TV shows is always a good thing
Yesterday at Comic-Con, I moderated the panel for FX's "Wilfred," which began with a screening of an upcoming episode that somehow managed to be even more disturbing than last year's episode (the one with Raffi, "the deepest throat in the stuffed animal kingdom"), and that launched a discussion that at times had me fearing would get us all banned from Comic-Con forever — yes, even Elijah Wood. For those who weren't there, all I will say is that it turns out there are some things you can't even show on FX, as showrunner David Zuckerman explained that one scene in particular will have to be altered before it airs in a few weeks. (It's what I believe is the season's seventh episode, titled "Avoidance.")