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X-MEN REBOOT: EXILES

X-Cast – Psylocke, Blink, Rogue. You can really have a lot of fun with the cast and shine a different light on the various versions of characters you already know. Imagine a good and pure version of Magneto or Sabertooth, Old Man Logan, an evil Professor X. 

This is the 8th entry into the X-Men Cinematic universe reboot plan. Check out the intro to it all HERE.

In the reboot plan filled with things that will never happen, this one stands out as the least likely of the bunch. But what I’m about to write makes sense and I’m very excited about it. I think this will make an excellent side-adventure to the X-Universe. This one will take place on HBO, or a similar channel. The Exiles are a perfect team for the television format, and I think it needs to not be constrained by regular TV because of it’s potential graphic nature. Obviously it would work on an AMC type channel too, but I like this on premium cable.

For those unfamiliar with the Exiles, they are a team of multidimensional X-Men. Each member is plucked from their univers moments before their death. So in their universe, they are dead as they were meant to be, but they get to continue on here. They live in the Crystal Palace which exists outside of time and space. The mission of the team is to correct things that have gone wrong in different universes (hiccups in time). This allows for many different versions of characters we know and love. It also allows for lots of big deaths because the regular characters in our universe are not involved.

The first episode of this show will begin with Psylocke getting plucked out of our universe right before she dies in X-Men: Shadow King. This will be the big tie-in with the cinematic universe. She will eventually become the leader of the Exiles. I would also love to see Anna Paquin’s Rogue on the team. Both Olivia Munn and Anna Paquin already have ties with HBO if it were to be on that channel. 

The other character that has to be on this show is Blink. Both her an Psylocke will be the two constants as long as the show is running. The rest of the cast will be a revolving door of different lengths.

Each episode will focus on a different universe and the team fixing the time hiccup (with some episodes lasting more than one). The greater mystery of the show is discovering what the Crystal Palace is, who built it, who is in charge, and who is sending them on these missions. The story can take place over a single season or multiple seasons. The story-lines are endless.

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5 WAYS TO IMPROVE NETWORK TELEVISION

It seems that most of the big water cooler television shows are taking place on cable channels these days and it’s becoming harder for shows to survive on network television. I would like to take a network and rebuild in a baseball rebuilding way. This makes no sense right now, but it will, I promise.

Rebuilding can take a couple of years, but the payoff will be a perennial contender (for the playoffs) for the highest ratings. If I were in charge…

1. The first thing I would tackle is to rebuild the trust of the audience. Much of this idea is taken form an earlier post of mine, https://thehollywoodrant.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/tv-shows-trust/

Investing time in a show, especially a serialized show, that gets cancelled at some point during or after the season, leaves all the viewers with an unresolved cliffhanger. Repeated infractions like this has destroyed my trust. I’m to the point that I won’t even watch a new show until I know it’s successful and will return for a second season. To rebuild the trust, I will promise the audience a 1 or 2 hour movie to wrap up the hanging plot threads of all cancelled shows.

2. Many AMC, cable-type shows divide their seasons in half. While this does give us a long break in the middle that we might not want, it gives us fewer reruns. Some shows even go straight through the half season with no reruns. This is great for me because reruns ruin the momentum of a show. Having a mid-season finale and a mid-season premier gives the viewer more “holy shit” episodes per season. So here I would put all shows on this format and have no in-season reruns.

3. Instead of in-season reruns, I would build in four live episodes. These would be placed one week before the season premier, mid-season premier, and 1 to 3 episodes before the season and mid-season finale. These episodes will be like the Talking Dead. Almost a complete ripoff. There will be a live audience and a panel of actors from the show, as well as a host. They will recap what has happened so far, answer questions from callers and the audience as well as tease what is to come. There will be behind-the-scenes information, stories, and clips. This will give current viewers something more exciting than a rerun as well as bring newer viewers up to speed.

4. Fear the Walking Dead bridges the gap between seasons of Walking Dead. More of this! Obviously this can’t be done for every show, or even a few of them, but doing it for the network’s biggest shows (1 or 2 max) is a good idea.

5. Finally, the reason this should compare with a baseball team’s rebuild: patience. Give a few years to slowly build back that audience. Look at the Chicago Cubs, whose rebuild began four years before their Wold Series Championship. You have to allow time for the audience’s trust to grow. Allow the good ideas to build an audience, and give them more seasons.Don’t be so quick to cancel a show that shows promise. Give shows like this a bit more time to grow. Even Seinfeld wasn’t a big hit in its first season. The Grinder was a good idea, and a funny, unique sitcom. There was a cult audience out there that loved this show. It was not the next Seinfeld, but it could’ve definitely grown bigger.

THE 3RD ANNUAL NEW SITCOM REVIEW

This year I’m giving a chance to six new sitcoms. It was supposed to be seven, but I forgot about Mulaney and decided not to care.

Unfortunately I’m not seeing a single one that will survive to season two and I expect most of these to be cancelled before the end of season one. I haven’t seen the ratings, so this is all purely my opinion at this point.

Selfie introduced me to Karen Gillan. She is spectacularly hot and I will watch this show to the bitter end just to see her. This show is actually entertaining, but will surely suffer from the same problems as Cougar Town: A decent show with a poorly chosen title.

Black-ish is yet another Hollywood product to feature an advertising executive. If you’ve ever read my blog, you will be well aware of my hatred for this. Prepare for every episode to play out like this: Real life lessons give big idea to big advertising pitch. I’ve watched the first two episodes and have let the rest pile up on my DVR. I haven’t yet given up, but I have a feeling this might be this season’s The Millers, which still to this very day have 15 episodes sitting on my DVR from last season.

I found Cristin Milioti to be much more likable in How I Met Your Mother after episode one of A to Z, but episode two was much better and it keeps improving. I think this one will have a good chance of surviving, and I hope it does. Nothing really new or groundbreaking here, except that it takes a cue from 500 Days of Summer and lets you know the relationship you are watching is doomed.

Bad Judge is just bad. Bad Teacher god cancelled last year and burned off over the summer, and that show was much better.

I’ve read a lot of negative things about the inner dialogue in Manhattan Love Story, and I sort of agree. I don’t think it’s as annoying as everyone is making it out to seem, but this show has every cliche in the book, and this is why it will fail. Analeigh Tipton is cute as a button and I will watch every minute of this show because of her hoping it improves, but knowing it will fail. I just read that this has been the first cancellation of the season and I’m sad. Such a shame. I’ve stuck by this one and it actually has improved. Yes, it’s still completely unoriginal and cliche, and yes, maybe I’m just in love with Ms. Tipton, but dammit…too soon!

Marry Me is good. Of all the new sitcoms, I think this has the best chance of surviving.

To wrap up this year’s sitcom reviews, I found four that I will be watching within 48 hours of taping, which is not bad. But I’m only finding one (Marry Me) that I’m confident will survive, and one (A to Z) that might survive. There’s nothing original or unique this season and nothing laugh-out-loud funny. I’ve discovered two women to fall in love with (Analeigh Tipton & Karen Gillan) that star in sitcoms that will cease to exist. I wonder when TV executives will learn that a bad title will sink a show (Selfie). I wonder when the next group of friends will hang out and get into funny situations sitcom will debut. I wonder why they feel like every new sitcom must have a tired and cliche gimmick.

AGENTS OF SHIELD AND TOMORROW PEOPLE

While it may seem that my television universe is dominated by sitcoms, I do enjoy the hour long format as well. The Walking Dead is my favorite and I think every show should learn from it, but there are a few others I watch as well. Going into the 2013 season, I was looking forward to two new shows that I would be adding to my DVR season pass: Agents of SHIELD and Tomorrow People. So far I’ve stuck with both shows, but my patience is wearing thin. Both shows share one major flaw: No big stories to make me come back next week.

SHIELD is the better of the two, so I’ll start there. I’ve read a lot of reviews and comments on the show that hate on the character Skye, but I’m not one of those people. In fact, I like all of the regular characters on the show. I especially like Fitz and Simmons and their strong friendship. The episode that featured Fitz risking his life for Simmons was very touching. But other than the characters, the show is missing a lot. I feel they need a superhero on the team. Maybe a Luke Cage (Power Man), or even a new super powered hero created just for the show if they don’t want to mess with a potential future film franchise. Don’t give me any bull about budgets because there have been plenty of shows with with super powered characters. But this isn’t the biggest problem I have with Shield.

The real problem with Shield is that it exists in a Science Fiction/geek universe, but is trying to play to a wider CSI/NCIS audience and is going to end up with no audience at all if it keeps it up. Already, its ratings are just above 2.0 and it has lost over half it’s watchers since its premier. From the beginning, I thought this show had the potential to be the new Alias, with an intriguing story arc that builds week after week and actually goes somewhere. So far all we’ve got is ten to fifteen seconds (on some weeks) of Agent Coulson’s mystery. I think he’s a clone, but at this point, I don’t actually care what the mystery ends up being. I care even less about Skye’s parents (I think they were double agents). We need something bigger that the whole team is fighting for. Something that maybe ties together the cases they solve each week. They need a big overarching plot that they spend more than a couple minutes on each week. And if they are planning on going somewhere with the plots that they’re writing now, they need to get there soon and move on because no one will be left watching by the time they actually flesh out.

I saw the trailer for Tomorrow People early in the summer and this held the mantle of the show I was most excited for. Unfortunately, it has disappointed me in every way. Unlike Shield, I don’t like or care about the characters, and because of this, I may not hang in there for much longer. I’ve gotten used to watching the CW’s fast paced Vampire Diaries where major plots that seem like they should wrap up in the season finale, end up being resolved four or five episodes in. Tomorrow People doesn’t have a single major plot I’m invested in and the show doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Stephen’s double agent duty with the Tomorrow People and Ultra should’ve ended long ago. Stephen tried revealing his powers to his friend Astrid in episode one, but many episodes later, she doesn’t seem to remember this when she sees him disappear and then gets mad at him for keeping secrets. The love triangle seems forced and the whole love triangle plot is so played out anyway. I cringe a little each time the characters talk in each others heads. It doesn’t play well and sounds cheesy, and this isn’t the biggest cheesy thing about the show, that award goes to the title of the show, Tomorrow People.

I understand that this is a remake of a 1970’s show from England. And maybe these people being called “Tomorrow People” worked in the 70’s, but now it just sounds plain dumb. I know it’s too late to fix this, but they can avoid it by saying the words “Tomorrow People” as much as possible. And lets get back to the original British version of the show. It ran for 6/7 years there. this means they have a lot of stories and plots to draw from and could easily pick up the pace. We don’t live in the 70’s anymore. We demand more, bigger and faster paced stories. They can easily wrap up the 6/7 years of the original in a couple of seasons. Fill every episode with “holy shit” moments and game changers.

Where will The Walking Dead go next season? Where will the story be set? Which characters will survive and which ones will die? I don’t know and this is what makes that the best show on television right now. This is the show that continues to grow and create more and more buzz. They don’t sit on their butts and wait for the season finale to have an episode of any consequence. They’re not afraid to kill off a character or wrap up a plot thread. This is the kind of show that Shield and Tomorrow People could be and SHOULD be. They are not and if they ever get there, I fear it will be too late because no one will care anymore.

NEW SITCOMS 2013

For this post, I will reference last years new sitcom review that I wrote at my old forum for this blog. You can read it here: http://thehollywoodrant.blogspot.com/2012/09/neighbors-and-other-new-sitcoms-2012.html

I will also reference another rant from this forum, and if you would like to read the whole thing, you can do so here:

http://thehollywoodrant.blogspot.com/2012/11/im-tired-of.html

Last year I reviewed Neighbors, Go On, Animal Practice, The Mindy Project, Partners, and Guys With Kids. Neighbors was my favorite and while I didn’t like The Mindy Project, I felt it had potential. I didn’t like the rest. As it turned out, Neighbors and The Mindy Project are the only two that are returning for a second season.

This year I’m reviewing Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Mom, Dads, Trophy Wife, and The Crazy Ones. (I’m also going to give We Are Men and Super Fun Night a shot, but they have yet to debut).

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: My DVR can only tape two shows at a time, and this time has already been reserved for Agents of SHIELD and The Originals, so I was hoping not to enjoy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but It’s not only the best sitcom of the season, it’s the best of this and last season. I absolutely love this show and every character has already grown on me and I look forward to watching all the crazy shenanigans they get themselves into.

Mom: Anna Faris is one of my favorites. I love her and was going to give this show more than just a fair shot just because of her. And right up to the bitter end of its debut, I was actually enjoying it. I said the following about pregnancies in one of my first rants: I’m tired of babies and all baby related things. I think television is in a baby booming phase because it seems to me that every show has some sort of baby or pregnancy plot. New sitcoms are being made about new parents; old sitcoms are having characters get pregnant, dramas are having the “big dramatic twist” be a pregnancy. I’m just tired of it all.

Trophy Wife: Malin Akerman is also a favorite of mine, so this show was going to be on a longer leash from the start as well, but I did enjoy it. The first episode featured a great gag with Malin Akerman drinking a lot of vodka quickly and that gag provided us with a series of great scenes ( a drunken car ride with the x-wife, a meeting on the front lawn with two x-wives and a great conclusion I won’t reveal). I also enjoyed most of the other scenes in this show. So while I won’t be returning for a second helping of Mom, I have programmed my DVR to tape all episodes of Trophy Wife.

Dads: The first episode was terrible, but I hung on for the second and I’m glad I did. I laughed many times and am now in for the season. I don’t think this show will last too long and definitely won’t make it to season 2, but I’ll gladly enjoy the ride while it lasts.

The Crazy Ones: Sarah Michelle Gellar is yet another favorite of mine. Yes, I know, I do have a lot of favorite actresses, but whatever, I’m allowed to. I had the following to say about advertising agents in an earlier post:

While I’m at it, I’m goddamn tired of advertising agents on TV and in the movies. You would think half the country were advertising agents, because they’re targeting this demographic so often. Yes, I get it, when you have a character whose an advertising agent, it allows the writer to easily have life lessons learned throughout the show or movie give him or her the great idea for the advertising campaign they’re working on. It also allows for new and famous guest stars week in and week out. And no, lets not modernize this by switching to sports agent, Hollywood agent, or any other kind of agent.

And while The Crazy Ones featured every single advertising agent cliche I expected, I still enjoyed it. I hate myself for liking it and I feel like a hypocrite to all of my beliefs, but I love sitcoms and will gladly latch on to any 30 minutes I even remotely enjoy.

TV Shows & Trust

This was my final post at my old blog (thehollywoodrant.blogspot.com) and it’s an issue I’ve always been passionate about. To me, there’s nothing worse than investing my time in a television show that gets cancelled without any closure. Having this happen to me way too many times, I’ve found my trust int networks to do right by me slowly dwindling to the point where I’m not willing to give any new show a chance until I’m sure it won’t be cancelled.

As I age I become more hesitant to watch anything new that comes on my television. Work, love, family; these are just a few real-life factors that force us all to have less time for TV as we get older.

But there’s another factor at play here: TRUST. Years and years of withering trust in the shows I watch to give an ending to building story-lines has made me very unwilling to give a new show a chance. Why should I waste my time on anything if they’re not going to finish the story?

I don’t stand alone here. There’s not a single person out there who hasn’t had this happen to them on multiple occasions. It usually happens in the form of struggling shows filming a huge, game-changing finale, complete with cliffhanger ending, all in the hopes of drawing enough interest to save said show. Then the show gets cancelled. This is infuriating, but usually some time passes, the weather heats up, trips to the beach are taken, and I’ve quickly forgotten about it.

Problem is, that’s all fine and dandy the first few times it happens, but sooner or later, trust in the television industry to do right by me and all of the people who invested their time falls apart completely.

For some reason, when a show is cancelled a few episodes in, it feels even worse. Maybe it’s because there’s no summer to wash away the hurt, I don’t know, but it feels worse nonetheless. Recently, a coworker invested her time in Zero Hour, and I begrudgingly invested my time in Do No Harm. Both of these shows were cancelled after only a couple of episodes. We can quickly and easily look back at the two, three hours we wasted and think of all the things we could’ve done instead, or all the other shows we could’ve put our time into instead. I still have four episodes of Shameless to catch up on. Damn, wish I would’ve done that instead.

I believe all of this is causing anger amongst the fans of television, and I’m pretty sure this is playing a role into lower-than-expected ratings for some of the network’s biggest debuts. The networks were expecting big things from the previously mentioned Zero Hour and Do No Harm as well as the earlier debuts of 666 Park Avenue and Last Resort. All of them failed. But even in failure, at least 10 to 20 million different people invested some of their time in at least one of these shows, and stuck with them past their first and second episodes. That adds up to a lot of pissed off people who want to know what happens next.

To solve this problem, I propose that television networks do the following: first, if a show has failed in a prime spot in your schedule, burn off the remaining episodes on Saturday instead of four to six months later in the summer. Second, if a show gets cancelled without a chance to wrap up story-lines, allow the show to film a two-hour TV movie to please the fans and give them some closure. There is no third. This is simply about building that trust back, and if these two steps are followed, the fans will again have trust that their time won’t be wasted because the stories they decide to invest in will be guaranteed to have an ending.