Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Third at Bat

While in LA this past weekend I was able to catch Inception for one final theatrical viewing, this time with the entire Mr. Boy team in tow, and while I've already sung the movie's praises here and here, seeing it again it got me re-energized for whatever auteur extraordinaire Chris Nolan has up his sleeve for the final leg of his Batman movie trilogy. Based on where The Dark Knight left us story-wise, we know that the plot must, of necessity, center on the titular hero trying to reclaim his reputation, and the title of the new film, newly-revealed by Nolan to Geoff Boucher of Hero Complex , would seem to cement this -- The Dark Knight Rises. Very cool.

Nolan is his usual tight-lipped self in the interview, but he does let slip a few choice nuggets, including a confirmation that it won't be in 3-D (thank goodness), and also a firm denial of the villain who many had assumed would be at the center of this installment. That's right, it ain't the Riddler.  And that sound you hear is a big sigh of relief from me. While they had to do the Joker out of a sense of obligation (and did a great job to boot), my preference is for Nolan to follow the path he laid out in Batman Begins, and tackle those villains that haven't already been run into the ground by either the television series or the previous run of Bat-films. We already know that Inception star Tom Hardy has been tapped for baddie duties, and now the waiting game begins to find out which one he'll be playing.

It's good to know that this movie has moved into the realm of active development, but I have a feeling it's going to be an excruciating wait until The Dark Knight Rises makes its debut in two years.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Tote Bag to a Knife Fight

Another quick hit from me with this clip from last night's Daily Show, with Jon Stewart, temporarily relocated to DC in anticipation of Saturday's rally (and also newly-christened as "Most Influential Man of 2010" by AskMen), tackling the Juan Williams/"Muslim garb" flap from last week.  While I thought Williams' comments were moronic, I also think that NPR's handling of the matter couldn't have been much worse. For some reason I'm having some trouble embedding the vid, but you can find it at the link.  As usual, Jon pretty much nails it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gold in Them Thar Hills!

I'm still plugging away on my Big Secret Project, but I thought this was worth a quick post.  Consider it the blogging equivalent of stopping in for a glass of milk before I head back out the door. If there's anything that's become apparent over the last few months, it's that whether the Park51 center, cans of soup, or a new line of superheroes, there are enough people powering the perpetual outrage machine lately to make anti-Muslim pandering a real growth industry in certain circles (hey, at least something is in this economy...).

In my post on the recent New York Times profile of Islamophobia MVP Pam Geller, I expressed some measure of exasperation at how she's managed to make a very comfortable living for herself with her website, which traffics in this stuff day-in and day-out.  But as it happens, Pam isn't the only one who's spun gold from paranoiac yarns about the encroaching Muslim Booga-Booga. Like I said back in August, if it wasn't Muslims, it would be some other group upon which to project their hate, fear, and insecurity.

As this article at The Tennesseean shows, there are plenty of other folks out there getting rich on anti-Muslim vitriol, including usual suspects like Robert Spencer (who my friend Ahmed Rehab also had some choice words for). And while most sensible people can detect bigotry on its face, there's still a rabid fringe that laps this stuff up -- "Sharia law" this and "Jihadists" that -- bereft of context and twisted pretzel-like into as sinister a configuration as possible. It's about as cynical as it gets: Stoke the embers of resentment in the uninformed and ill-informed, and sit back as the dollars start piling up.  Ain't human nature grand?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Breakin'

I'm currently in the midst of a very interesting, very time-consuming project that's going to require the majority of my time and energy if I'm to avoid the pinch of the Dreaded Deadline Doom, and that's going to necessitate me taking a breather from here for the next week or so.  I'll still try to pop up now and again and post interesting stuff when I can, but it's going to be less frequent than we've come to expect.  As to the project in question, while I can't really talk much about it just yet, suffice it to say that it's fun, thought-provoking, and extremely geeky.  You'll love it.  And now, back to work!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Trouble With LOLA

As expected, Law & Order: Los Angeles received a back nine order from NBC yesterday, meaning that despite some precipitous drops in viewership from week-to-week-to-week in its three installments thus far, it'll get at least one full season of twenty-one episodes to find its legs.  While I've found the show mostly agreeable, I'm also ready to admit that for whatever reason things aren't gelling as well I'd have liked.  As I said before, the cast is uniformly good, but there's something that just feels off -- like they're having trouble figuring out how different to be and how similar to be from the Mothership.  Contrast this with Law & Order: UK -- just picked up for another season -- which has been able to navigate that razor's edge with confidence right from the start.

While Skeet Ulrich and Corey Stoll are doing a serviceable job pulling cop duties and growing more comfortable with one another by the week, the most interesting part of the L&O format for me has always been the courtroom stuff in the back-half.  Part of my problem is the tag-team format for the "order" stuff, which makes it tough to form much of an attachment to either of the show's DDAs, Alfred Molina's Ricardo Morales or Terence Howard's Joe Dekker (though, of the two, I prefer the Molina eps). On the other hand, this article at TV Overmind makes a pretty compelling argument that the problem with Los Angeles may simply be that it's impossible for the brand to ever create a new character who can match up to the long shadow cast by Ben Stone, Jack McCoy, and Michael Cutter, the three EADAs who presided over the original show's run.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Recommended Reading

Fox Newsers Bill O'Reilly and Brian Kilmeade took turns proudly displaying their ignorance (again) this week by trotting out variations of the old chestnut that "Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims."  Given that this type of stuff, tried, worn, and easily-disproven, is deployed with increasing ease and regularity despite all facts to the contrary, it's no great shock that polls are finding an increasing number of Americans holding an unfavorable view of Islam and Muslims. Hamza Yusuf Hanson delves into this phenomenon further, offering some of his own insights on the subject, and also some possible solutions to address it.

Rage of the Party People

In my Friday post about how the legitimate anger at the heart of the Tea Party movement has metastasized into something more ignorant and more ugly, we established how the ignorance is embodied by the O'Donnells and the Angles (and, by extension, the Palins).  The ugliness is exemplified by New York's thuggish gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, also a Tea Party pick, who's managed in just a few short weeks to elevate the art of cartoonish bigotry to astonishing heights.

Paladino's unfiltered bile -- violent, racist, and nativist to the core -- has needed only some vague "other" at which to point to be repeatedly deployed, and the way he's managed to verbally bulldoze through group after group of New York constituents on his Quixotic path to Albany has been sort of breathtaking in its own way.  Still, while Paladino's electoral loss in a few weeks is all but inevitable, Frank Rich makes the case that the formless and shapeless nature of his rage is emblematic of the Tea Party itself, which no longer even has a clear target at which to be directed:
That wave of anger began with the parallel 2008 cataclysms of the economy’s collapse and Barack Obama’s ascension. The mood has not subsided since. But in the final stretch of 2010, the radical right’s anger is becoming less focused, more free-floating — more likely to be aimed at “government” in general, whatever the location or officials in charge. The anger is also more likely to claim minorities like gays, Latinos and Muslims as collateral damage. This is a significant and understandable shift, if hardly a salutary one. The mad-as-hell crowd in America, still not seeing any solid economic recovery on the horizon, will lash out at any convenient scapegoat.
More from Rich at the link.

The Hulk Gets Downsized

In our first inkling of the kind of corporate synergy that we'll likely see a whole lot more of thanks to last year's Marvel-Disney merger, word came out this past week that Disney-owned ABC TV will be bringing Marvel's Jolly Green Giant back to the medium that (arguably) gave him his widest exposure to date.  That's right, The Incredible Hulk is going to be a TV show -- again.  While it's extremely early in the development cycle, The Hollywood Reporter notes that the producers (including Marvel TV honcho Jeph Loeb, who himself penned a recent Hulk comic book run) are already seeking a showrunner, which means that this is at least far enough along to not be just a hypothetical.

I have to admit, given all the time I spent this past summer chronicling the various ups-and-downs of the big screen Hulk franchise, this one came out of left field. In fact, just a few days ago I was a gauging the potential for a sequel starring newly-minted movie Hulk Mark Ruffalo, and based on recent comments concluded that it was fairly likely.  That was before this news broke, of course, and Spinoff echoes my thoughts that this can't help but seem like a demotion for the character.  Indeed, for all of Marvel's efforts to create a unified movie universe via their various Avengers productions, it seems counter-intuitive to trumpet Ruffalo's signing in one breath, and then (implicitly) say the part is so disposable that another actor can play it on TV at the same time with no problem.

If there's anything Bill Bixby demonstrated repeatedly on the '70s-'80s TV show, it's that the Dr. Banner role is a fairly crucial one on which the entire appeal of the Hulk character hangs, and to approach it with a "any warm body will do" philosophy does the property longterm damage.  It might have been worth it to simply hold off on the "big name" they were seeking when first approaching Ruffalo to replace Edward Norton, and instead used whichever actor they end up selecting for the TV show to also play Banner in the Avengers and related flicks.  That would have clarified the series' role as a direct part of the overall Marvel movie-verse, and also allowed for some neat corporate synergy à la Universal's recently-announced, highly-ambitious Dark Tower multimedia platform (based on Stephen King's novel series).

Friday, October 15, 2010

SMALL Victories

Back in July I spent some time going over why, as a dyed-in-the-wool Superman fan, I've had such a love-hate relationship with Smallville over the years. As I said back then, while I appreciate the show's reinvention of the character's extensive mythology for the current generation, the amount of narrative ground they've covered coupled with the few narrative beats they can't cover has often left me thinking of it as less the adventures of the young Superman then as the misadventures of Clark Kent, dull-witted man-child.

Regardless, I'm the first to admit when I'm wrong, and I'm as shocked as anyone at how much I've been enjoying the current final season. There seems to be a renewed sense of purpose now that the end is very nearly in sight, with the many strands of story coming together reasonably well, and the intermingling of the extended DC Comics universe into the mix paying off in interesting and unexpected ways. Also, after a decade on deck, star Tom Welling has very effectively grown into the part, likely cementing him as the definitive Superman for an entire generation (despite his never suiting up as such -- yet).

Tonight marks Smallville's 200th installment, which is an airy peak for any series to hit, much less a comic book melodrama that should conceivably have died with its original network. The episode, "Homecoming," employs a Christmas Carol framework to look back at some of the show's milestones and offer (possibly) a peek at Clark's future in tights. While it'll probably be just as much of a tease as ever, I'm viewing it with more anticipation than I would have thought possible a year or even six months ago, so that has to count as some kind of victory. In the meantime, TV Guide has a countdown of eight essential Smallville factoids to keep in mind on the occasion of its hitting the double-centennial mark.

Tea Off

While attempting to divine some semblance of meaning from the Tea Party phenomenon, what's become amply clear over the last year is that there's obvious merit to the notion of pushing back against a government that's ceded its responsibility to fairly represent us in favor of a corporate aristocracy whose interests cross all partisan or ideological divides.  That anger is real, and our politicos of either stripe would do well not to dismiss it.

However, any notion of genuine populism has long since been lost to the Tea Party as it exists now -- a vehicle for political astroturf and culture war clashes, where proudly-held ignorance not only survives, but thrives.  Indeed, there's a fundamental hypocrisy at work, either willfully or accidentally, that's exemplified by the crop of Tea Party candidates who are at once decrying government largesse while benefiting from it.  As Matt Taibbi articulated in a recent post:
This whole concept of “good welfare” and “bad welfare” is at the heart of the Tea Party ideology, and it’s something that is believed implicitly across the line. It’s why so many of their political champions, like Miller, and sniveling Kentucky rich kid Rand Paul (a doctor whose patient base is 50% state insured), and Nevada “crazy juice” Senate candidate Sharron Angle (who’s covered by husband Ted’s Federal Employee Health Plan insurance), are so completely unapologetic about taking state aid with one hand and jacking off angry pseudo-libertarian mobs with the other.
They genuinely don’t see the contradiction, much in the same way that some Wall Street people genuinely can’t see the problem with their company, say, taking $13 billion in bonuses in the same year that they accepted $13 billion in state bailouts. You wave a pitchfork at them with little post-its of the relevant figures taped to the ends, and ask them to confess – and they can’t, because they literally don’t see your point.
The mind boggles.  Of course, that cluelessness and complete lack of self-awareness is an inevitable outgrowth of the very mix of social and economic ingredients that's given the Tea Party its juice up 'till now.  If a Joe Miller or Sharron Angle or Christine O'Donnell didn't exist, those same interests would have conjured some other useful idiots from the political ether to gladly advocate against their own interests.  A lot more from Taibbi at the link, much of it hilarious, much of it depressing, and all of it worth a read.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Recommended Reading

A few weeks back I posted an article at Huffington Post about the rampant scare-mongering on the Right about the supposed-rise of Sharia law in America.  The piece got some decent pub across the web, and even led to my being on the receiving end of my very first hate blog, for which I'm quite justifiably proud.  Well, in the interim the scare-mongering has continued unabated, and this time one of my fave authors, Reza Aslan, has chimed in with a piece that covers a lot of the same ground I did, but with far more eloquence and effectiveness than I could ever muster.  Go read it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Soup Nazis

Just two days ago I noted how Pam Geller has made a very comfortable living for herself by forever thumping her "Muslims are taking over!" drum, and case in point is Campbell's new line of "halal-certified" soups that conform to Islamic dietary requirements.  Predictably, this news (actually several months old now) prompted Geller's usual braying about "creeping Sharia," "stealth jihad," yadda yadda sis boom bah.  You have to hand it to these folks for consistency, if nothing else.  Anyway, being a firm believer in not swinging for the easy ones, I'll just stand to one side and let Stephen Colbert do the heavy lifting on this and a few related issues.  Take it away, Stephen:


The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
ThreatDown - Muslim Edition
www.colbertnation.com

Monday, October 11, 2010

Recommended Reading

In a few short weeks, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert hit the nation's capital for their dueling rallies, and while the whole thing may have started out as a really elaborate way of taking the piss out of Glenn Beck, the event's Facebook page at least seems to anticipate a pretty big turnout of folks for whom the central message of "Take it down a notch" is resonating.  The question then becomes one of whether Team Stewart, through this very elaborate act of performance art, will so blur the line between parody and parodied that they risk sacrificing their roles as sideline commentators and instead make themselves the message. Marty Kaplan asks the same thing and offers some observations.

Maxed Out?

Last July I spent some time talking up Fury Road, director George Miller's long-in-planning two-part reboot of his legendary Mad Max franchise, to star Inception actor Tom Hardy. Back then, after a twenty-five year layover in the development cycle, it looked like the new Max was actually going to happen, with pre-production proceeding apace, and talent and locations all falling into place. But then came word over the weekend that budgetary concerns have pushed the Fury shoot from a planned fall start all the way into first quarter 2012 -- more than a year away.

Now, a year of inertia is bad under any circumstance, but it's an absolute eternity in film production terms, and as far as I'm concerned the delay is tantamount to admitting that the whole thing is being scuppered. That's not to say it won't end up happening eventually, but I think fans would be well advised not hold their breath waiting. Sadly, given its long, fitful history of starts, stops, starts, and stops, at this point I'm ready to place a hypothetical Mad Max IV into the same "I'll believe it after I've finished watching it" box that I've already gone ahead and filed Ghostbusters 3 into.

Erbe Back to CRIMINAL INTENT

After the announcement from a few weeks ago that original star Vincent D'Onofrio was headed back to Law & Order: Criminal Intent for one final season that will bring the curtain down on its decade-long run, this one may have seemed like a foregone conclusion, but I thought it worth noting here anyway.  As expected, D'Onofrio's Det. Bobby Goren will again be joined by Kathryn Erbe as senior partner Alexandra Eames for the series' last eight episodes.  Quoth USA honcho Jeff Wachtel to Deadline, "We now have the definitive team for the ultimate season of this phenomenal show."

While I'm sad to see Criminal Intent going away, as I think it could still potentially have gone on for several more seasons had Jeff Goldblum not abruptly bolted, I'm glad to know that USA and Universal have sprung to have it go out in style by bringing back the original (and still most popular) detective pairing.  Now all they need is to bring back Jamey Sheridan's Captain Deakins from the forced-retirement the character underwent, and Courtney B. Vance's DA Ron Carver from whatever hole he disappeared into following the series' fifth season.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Portrait of a Hate-Monger

The New York Times has a piece up looking at the life and legend of Pamela Geller, the blogger whose anti-Muslim invective stirred the Park51 project from a municipal zoning issue into the dreaded "Ground Zero Mosque" that threatens singlehandedly to destroy our American way of life.  The fact that someone like Geller (who refers to herself as a “racist-Islamophobic-anti-Muslim-bigot" -- yep, that about says it) is out there isn't especially shocking to me, nor that she's found an audience that's receptive to her particular brand of venom.  After all, history is rife with examples of ignorant people riled into oversimplified "us" versus "them" equations that inevitably lead to one group's dehumanization.  No, what I find irksome is that, according to the article, she makes enough money from donations and ads to her hate site to live very comfortably on.  Now that's depressing.  Seriously, I think I'm in the wrong racket.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Recommended Reading

Looking at the John McCain of '08, pushed to the fringes by the Tea Party crowd, wounded-ego opposition to President Obama setting him against even those issues he at one time supported, it's easy to forget how, just a few short years ago, McCain's "straight talk" reputation made even people on the opposite end of the divide wish wistfully that the Republican primaries had gone his way in 2000.

While many (like Jon Stewart) are asking why the McCain of today has so readily sold out his principles for the sake of political survival, in a lengthy piece for Vanity Fair, Todd Purdum argues that those ballyhood principles were less a genuine expression of purpose then they were convenient props to be positioned for his own personal advantage:
He has never been a party leader, like his old friend Bob Dole, of Kansas, or a wise elder, like his colleague Dick Lugar, of Indiana, or a Republican moderate, like Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, of Maine. He flies solo, first, last, and always, and his paramount cause has always been his own. That is the bracing reality of John McCain. It is the tragedy, too.
More at the link.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Crossing the Streams

A hypothetical third Ghostbusters movie has been been "in discussion" as an abstract for so long that I'm pretty much convinced at this point that it'll never actually happen. Heck, even Bill Murray, without whom the whole conversation is academic anyway, seemed to concur this past July.  But leave it to Dan Aykroyd, the heart of the Ghostbusters, to step into the breach via a chat with Vanity Fair's Susan Michals, in which clarifies that everything is still full steam ahead, and Murray was just funnin':
He [Murray] was talking about the writers from Year One, and I think he was reacting to the box-office success and the general public view of the film, which in my view was a very serviceable comedy, and in the end I think they’ll make their money back. I think he was concerned that the writing on Ghostbusters 3 by these guys would not be up to standard, but I can tell you firsthand, I’m working on the script now and those two—Stupnitsky and Eisenberg, [writer-producers of The Office]—wrote Bill the comic role of a lifetime, and the new Ghostbusters and the old are all well represented in it…we have a strong first draft that Harold [Ramis] and I will take back, and I’m very excited about working on it.
On how he'd play the part again after twenty-plus years:
...it has to evolve. Now [in Ghostbusters 3] my character’s eyesight is shot, I got a bad knee, a bad hip—I can’t drive that caddy anymore or lift that Psychotron Accelerator anymore, it’s too heavy. We need young legs, new minds—new Ghostbusters; so I’m in essence passing the torch to the new regime, and you know what? That’s totally okay with me.
I'm okay with it too, but, y'know, whatever.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Empire Strikes

While we're on the subject of Star Wars and George Lucas, it's pretty well known in industry-circles that the licensing arm of Lucas' moneymaking empire is a tad, how shall we say, overzealous in protecting against any perceived slights to his properties' intellectual (and financial) integrity.  To wit, here's an amusing head-scratcher of an anecdote from comic writer J.M. DeMatteis, one of my faves from his lengthy runs on Justice League and Spider-Man, recounting his brief time in the trenches at Marvel's Star Wars comic in the 1980s, and how the gloved hand of Lucasfilm licensing conspired to prevent the concept of pacifism from taking root in the Star Wars universe (and here's DeMatteis' epilogue to that story).  Both hilarious and instructive.

Lucas Through the Years

In light of last week's announcement that George Lucas plans to release the entire Star Wars saga in 3D annually starting with Episode I in 2012 (which strikes me as both too late and the wrong movie), this made me chuckle:

Ruffalo's Green Dreams

Back when I noted the official hiring of Mark Ruffalo to play Bruce Banner in Joss Whedon's Avengers feature, I mentioned that while no further solo Hulk flicks were on the radar, the prospects of one happening had suddenly improved thanks to the actor's multi-picture contract with Marvel.  Well, in a new interview with Empire mag, Ruffalo all but confirms this is indeed the plan:
"They set up several pictures over a couple of years and possibly there will be a Hulk movie. There'll probably be a couple more Avengers too, which would be fun."
There's more at Empire, including Ruffalo's view on the Shakespearean qualities of the part, and the impact that the Bill Bixby TV show had in his childhood. I have to say, while the way in which the Edward Norton-Marvel breakup went down was far from ideal, I do think that they could have done worse than choose someone like Ruffalo, based both on his talent and his enthusiasm (and thanks to mo-cap technology, he'll be the first actor to actually embody both sides of Hulk-Banner diad).

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Aronofsky's Clawful Problem

This is either really promising or really depressing.

After X-Men Origins: Wolverine took in nearly $400 million worldwide against a $150 production budget, further entries in the (now decade-old!) series were pretty much a foregone conclusion, critical consensus be damned.  While we already know that Matthew Vaughn and Bryan Singer have recently returned to the X-fold with the currently-lensing prequel X-Men: First Class, Deadline broke the news yesterday that director Darren Aronofsky, who's mostly made his bones on the art-film circuit with Pi and Requiem for a Dream, and who directed Mickey Rourke to an Oscar nom in The Wrestler, is in early talks to helm the second installment in Hugh Jackman's solo superhero franchise.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Snyder Helms Supes

After months of relative quiet, things have heated up pretty quickly on the Chris Nolan Superman project, with Deadline first to break word that none other than Zack Snyder, he of Watchmen and 300, has come aboard as director.  As I mentioned when I first heard that Snyder's name was in the mix, I can't say I'm really blown away by his selection, but I fully acknowledge that it could probably be worse.  The weird thing is that for the post part I've liked everything Snyder has done (especially his Dawn of the Dead remake, which I think was far better than it had any right to be), and I still greatly appreciate his efforts on the supposed-to-be-unadaptable Watchmen, but I just wonder how (if?) his particular set of stylistic quirks (ultra-violence, rock-heavy soundtracks, hyper-kinetic editing) will translate to the Man of Steel.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Recommended Reading

The ascension of Delaware senate candidate Christine O'Donnell to the national stage thanks to this year's El Nino-like mix of economic doldrums, populist rage and corporate greed is one of the stranger sideshows to emerge in an election cycle that's fairly rife with sideshows. Now, granted, it's not like she hasn't provided a pretty big target for those on the Left to make sport of (with Bill Maher merrily leading the charge thanks to his weekly helpings of off-kilter clips from O'Donnell's prior appearances with him).  But while that's all well and good (and in some cases well-deserved), Frank Rich echoes my own concerns that to point fingers and poke fun at O'Donnell without seeking out the reasons for her sudden appeal is to fundamentally misread the country's political temperate and in turn allow the Tea Party's corporate benefactors to gain an even greater toe-hold on the political process.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Stephen J. Cannell, RIP

It's been an especially rough few days for Hollywood losses, with Gloria Stuart, Greg Giraldo, Arthur Penn, and Tony Curtis all leaving us in the last week. But this one hits especially close to home for me, and likely anyone else who spent time watching television in the 1970s and '80s. Prolific writer, producer, novelist and sometime-actor Stephen J. Cannell, creator of The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero, and The A-Team, among many, many others, passed away yesterday at age 69 following a lengthy illness.

Even as a kid, Cannell's name was instantly familiar to me based on the sheer volume of his output (as well as the distinctive production logo that capped each of his shows), and literally two days ago I was having a conversation with my brother about how so many of his series have thrived and survived thanks to their continual syndication (and availability online). While unabashedly-'80s productions such as Hunter and Riptide haven't necessarily aged well, the '87-'90 Ken Wahl-starrer Wiseguy was ahead of its time, with its arc-based narrative and reams of moral ambiguity anticipating the modern move towards serialization.  It remains remarkably fresh even twenty years removed from its original airing.

Cannell continued to be productive throughout the '90s, with his 21 Jump Street and The Commish launching the careers of Johnny Depp and Michael Chiklis respectively, and into the aughts even as his output thinned, making regular appearances as himself on ABC's Castle, and offering assistance to director Joe Carnahan in shaping the (underrated) feature adaptation of The A-Team that hit theaters this past summer. Even now the Cannell catalogue continues to be mined, with both Jump Street and Greatest American Hero in the feature pipeline, and NBC still hoping to give a series reboot to The Rockford Files.  All of this ensures that while the man is gone, his legacy will continue to resonate for years to come.

Me, I think I'm going to pop in an episode of Wiseguy.

Zaki's Review: Law & Order: Los Angeles, "Hollywood"

Well, it's certainly been a tumultuous year for the many facets of Dick Wolf's multiplicitous Law & Order brand, from the promise that the Mothership series would be renewed for a record-breaking 21st season, to the show's surprise cancellation, to the question of whether it would get a last minute reprieve -- and that's not even mentioning the tumult surrounding the other shows in the L&O universe.  In the end, like the phoenix, 2010 has been a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth for the franchise, culminating in last Wednesday's premiere of its latest standard-bearer, Law & Order: Los Angeles.

Now, anyone who reads this site with regularity already knows of my seemingly boundless affinity for the late, lamented original, which the Los Angeles model is ostensibly replacing.  Thus, the twin questions the new show had to answer were how much of the original's style and tone it would retain, and also, paradoxically, how much would (or should) it distinguish itself from what's already a crowded field of not only other Law & Order series, but also the many cop shows and procedurals that have been set in and around SoCal over the years.  Well, the answer to both questions is the same: Not too much.