Tag Archives: fox

TV Review – The Orville (2017- )

Space. It’s big, huge, and a never-ending source of comedic fodder.

BQB here with a review.

I have been meaning to check this show out for a long time and finally have, after noticing it was available through Disney Plus.

I’m six episodes in. My first impressions:

#1 – Critics call it a Star Trek rip-off but it’s an obvious Star Trek parody. Seth MacFarlane, the man behind the raunchy, constantly pop culture lampooning Family Guy, is obviously a big Trekkie, and relishes the chance to cosplay a spaceship captain. If you take Star Trek, then add in the ability to make crude jokes, you’d get this show.

#2 – I get why some might call it a rip-off in that it goes beyond the humor to build adventure of its own. If you stay for the funny, you’ll get plenty of serious. In my binge session thus far, I’ve seen Captain Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) and crew rescue an agrarian society living (unbeknownst to them) in an ecosystem built into a massive spaceship, a historic ship dealer who travels back in time to steal spaceships of the past and sell them to collectors of the future, and a battle to prevent a hostile alien species from getting their hands on an aging device. All of these sound like they could be straight out of Trek, so when you see the Trek like uniforms, the Trek like military organization, the Trek like set up of the ship, it’s hard to not feel like MacFarlane didn’t just hijack Trek, change a few things around, then add in plenty of dirty sex jokes.

#3 – Speaking of sex jokes, while I enjoy it, Disney Plus really isn’t the place for it. I get Fox and Disney are part of the same company now and apparently Disney Plus is breathing new life into the series by offering a sequel New Horizons, which is basically just a continuation of the show. However, young kids shouldn’t be watching it. It’s probably fine for teenagers, but if you’re one of those parents who subscribed to Disney Plus so you could park the kids in front of it while you do housework, eh, take another look.

All in all, Trek is the granddaddy of all space opera. Many would say Star Wars, but SW just changed the game by introducing badass special effects. Trek was the first who challenged us to go where no man has gone before. (There are probably others who would say Lost in Space or other 1950s offerings beat them all.)

At any rate, Trek is a 20th century view of what military style space travel would be like. The Trek ships are set up more or less like a large ocean going vessel, so one might argue that Trek doesn’t really “own” that concept. Then again, when you watch The Orville, when you see the captain, you think Kirk, the science officer, you think Spock, the engineer, you think Scotty. Then again, does Trek own the concept of a captain, a science officer, an engineer and so on?

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Enjoyable. In the end, I don’t think this takes anything away from Trek, and if anything, it’s a humorous love-letter to Trek. Maybe if Trek had been more open minded about captains finding their wives in bed, messing around with blue goo spurting aliens, MacFarlane might have made a deal to create Funny Trek. Ultimately, he did, with just the names changed to protect the innocent. Come for the funny, but stay for the space drama.

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I Miss Al Bundy

Funny how the internet works.

I watched an old Married with Children clip the other day and before I knew it, I was down the Married with Children rabbit hole, watching enough clips to choke a horse. It reminded me of my childhood, when we Gen X kids would gather around the TV Sunday nights and watch Married with Children, The Simpsons, and In Living Color, then recite all the jokes to each other on the playground at school.

Hmm. In retrospect, the adults probably should have changed the channel on us to keep our minds from being warped but hey, I did alright. Not everyone gets to operate their own blog read by 3.5 readers, after all.

At the time, this show was considered the lowest form of comedy. Maybe it is but I’m sorry. It’s funny. And now that I’m older, I get it even more.

To the uninitiated, Al Bundy (Ed O’Neil) in his youth, once scored four touchdowns in a single game playing football Polk High. As he states in one episode, he was about to go pro…then met wife Peg (Katey Segal), got married, had kids and um…that’s it. Football dreams are long gone and he’s been selling shoes ever since.

Al despises selling women’s shoes, as well as the overweight female customers who falsely accuse him of being incompetent because he can’t squeeze their giant feet into the tiny, fashionable shoes they want rather than the large, sensible shoes that they need. Wife and kids treat him like a human ATM machine.

Meanwhile, Peg is the world’s worst wife and proud of it, such that she openly teaches other women in the neighborhood how to get away without working, either at a job or at keeping a nice home or taking care of the kids. Al can’t remember the last time he had a decent meal because Peg refuses to cook. Jokes about a woman being a lazy housewife fly today but the irony is Al’s main complaint is he actually does want his wife to work, be it in the home, or in a job to bring extra money to the family, anything.

Kids Kelly and Bud are the worst. Bud (David Faustino) is a nerdy horn dog who repels girls but is constantly scheming to get them. Kelly (Christina Applegate, me and every other Gen X kid had a crush on her) is a ditzy trollop. Jokes about women being ditzy trollops would never fly today either.

Rounding out the show is Al’s foil Marcy First Rhodes and Later D’arcy. The show begins with Marcy and Steve (Amanda Bearse and David Garrison) as newlyweds who believe their young love will conquer all and veteran married couple Al and Peg show them the ropes. Peg teaches Marcy how to avoid housework like the plague while Al teaches Steve how to hide out at the nudey bar to avoid family responsibilities.

Later, Garrison leaves the show and is replaced by Marcy’s new husband, Jefferson (Ted McGinley in a meta joke before there were meta jokes about how Ted McGinley built a career on being the guy who replaces characters on sitcoms whenever an actor leaves the show.)

Like most shows, this one evolves over time. You might be surprised to know Peg’s hair is surprisingly relaxed in the first few seasons and she doesnt get her token red beehive until a few seasons in. Bud and Kelly look like tiny tots in the first few seasons. And while Steve had his moments, I always preferred Jefferson. The middle to late seasons are the best, IMO, with Al starting NO MA’AM (The National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood) i.e. a group of Al’s beer swilling friends who pledge to take over the world and stop the spread of feminism but they usually just end up drinking beer at the nudey bar. Occasionally, one of their schemes takes off only to be foiled by ultra feminist Marcy going undercover as a man in disguise (usually just a fake mustache).

I’ll admit, sometimes I look back at a few of these episodes and cringe. Perhaps there are some things that we as a society decided shouldn’t be joke fodder. Then again, the show was pretty equal in its offensiveness. They say the best comedians find humor and everything and therefore the funniest shows are the ones where nothing is taboo and no subject is off the table.

The show does get zany and at times, unlikely. For example, there’s an episode where little green aliens break into Al’s bedroom and steal his smelly socks to use the stench to power their spaceship. People are so literal today they would never suspend disbelief long enough to go along with such tomfoolery.

There are jokes that don’t even quite make sense if you think about them too long. For example, Peg constantly wants to have sex with Al, who finds it gross and avoids a horny Peg at all costs. In reality, most married men would love it if their wives wanted to dance the wild mambo all the time well into middle age but I get the joke…which is the overall joke of the series. Al truly believes if he hadn’t gotten married and had children, he’d be living a fantastic life, rich successful, any woman he wanted and thus the idea of getting it on with the same woman again and again until he dies grosses him out.

Ironically, the show has rare sweet moments where Al admits he probably couldn’t have done better than Peg and is lucky to have her, defends her honor and so on.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. I wish comedies of today would take more risks like this one did. You’ll probably never see anything like this on TV ever again and I suppose we can debate about whether or not htis is a good thing. I don’t think it is. In my bingwatching session I’ve laughed more at something on TV than I have in a long time.

To the show’s credit, it was, if I’m not mistaken, the first sitcom to suggest that maybe family is not all it’s cracked up to be. To be sure, the Bundy’s love each other in their own messed up way, but while I don’t think it necessarily celebrated it, the show was trying to, for good or ill, make light of the reality that the 1950s perfect family shown on TV where Mom fetched Dad’s slippers and Wally and the Beaver shot marbles are over. Roseanne would go on to tow the dysfunctional sitcom family line but it all started with the Bundys.

SIDENOTE: I remember as a kid being surprised to learn that Ed O’Neil was a serious actor before this, having played hard-boiled detectives like Popeye Doyle prior to this show. While the show made him famous, it led to him being typecast, including a scene where he plays a military prosecutor in the Vietnam flick Flight of the Intruder being cut out of the movie because test audiences laughed thinking of Al Bundy. Ed would go on to get his hard boiled detective cred back in movies like The Bone Collector and while he does comedy in Modern Family, he’s more of a serious character in that. He doesn’t get enough credit as an actor who can play someone as silly as Al yet play it straight in serious roles as well.

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Disney/Fox Deal

Hey 3.5 readers.

Disney is buying a large chunk of the Fox entertainment empire, their studio parts mostly.  For movie buffs, that means Marvel characters owned by Fox can now work with characters owned by Disney and that’s already led to talk on the Internet about Wolverine becoming an Avenger, which would be cool.

I’m not sure how well they will fit together though.  Disney is wholesome whereas Fox has been naughty.  Disney is Mickey.  Fox is Bart Simpson.  Disney is Frozen.  Fox is Deadpool banging his prostitute girlfriend.  So, will these two parts be able to work together without ruining each other?  The world needs wholesomeness AND edginess so I worry about these commingling.

What say you, 3.5?

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Lethal Weapon Being Rebooted as a TV Series

Ugh. I don’t know what to make of this.

Lethal Weapon, the series of action movies I loved as a kid (though Aunt Gertie probably should not have let met watch them) is being rebooted as a TV series starring Damon Wayans as Roger Murtaugh and Clayne Crawford as Martin Riggs.

Ehh.  I just don’t know how well the concept will translate to today.

Lethal Weapon 1 and 2 were the best films of the series because they were so 1980’s.

Los Angeles. Cocaine related crime.

Martin Riggs i.e. the mentally unstable Vietnam veteran turned cop whose story  resonated with a lot of people at the time, as Vietnam vets had been asked to win an impossible war, then came home and were spit on for fighting an unpopular war then expected to just fade back into society without any problems or support offered to come to terms with what they experienced.

Even if you haven’t been to Vietnam, if you’ve experienced depression or know someone who has, Riggs’ willingness to throw himself headfirst into insanely dangerous situations (because of his inability to care whether or not he lives or dies) made him a “Lethal Weapon” and a nightmare for criminals used to being able to bribe or threaten cops into submission.

And that made him the perfect foil for Roger “I’m Getting Too Old For This Shit” Murtaugh, the old timer family man who just wanted to get home to his wife and kids safe and sound everyday.

Two partners, one doesn’t care if he dies, the other cares very much and wants to live, it made for a couple of great movies.

Lethal Weapon 3 and 4 were good movies but not as strong.  By then, they hooked Riggs up with Rene Russo and went to work on giving him a happy, respectable life by the end of the series, which ok, good for Riggs, but the happier he gets the less crazy he is.

Joe Pesci, who was introduced in two as the loud mouthed con artist who routinely comes to the duo’s aid was hilariously, and kept the films going in 3 and 4. I don’t see a Leo Goetz character in the series.

And Gary Busey as the villain in the first film. That was back when Gary hadn’t completely lost his mind.

The sad part is I’ll definitely check the show out and I’ll probably give it a chance.

Does it take away from the films? Not for me. They had action. Sadness. Comedy (I still laugh when I think about Murtaugh being stuck for hours sitting on a toilet due to a bomb (an actual bomb) and when his legs go numb, Murtaugh has to help him off.)

The corporate suits know that people my age will tune in for nostalgia purposes, while young people probably haven’t seen the films yet but have heard the name so will check it out due to name recognition.

But with it being on network TV, they won’t be able to engage in half of the activities that got the duo in trouble back in the old days.

Can Murtaugh even say, “I’m getting too old for this shit” on network TV?

I don’t know. I don’t want to root against it until I have seen it but I continue to wonder why an industry filled with the most creative people in the world feels it is necessary to keep rehashing old ideas.

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Top Ten Jokes About X-Files Return to Televison

10.  Cigarette Smoking Man Replaced With Vapor Huffing Man

9.   Scully and Mulder now solve every mystery through Google.

8.  Aliens check out latest Earth news headlines.  Decide they aren’t interested.  Scully and Mulder retire.

7.  Agent Doggett fills in for a season so Duchovny can star in Evolution 2.

6.  The Lone Gunmen provide assistance faster now with Wi-Fi than they ever did with Dial-Up

lone-gunmen_x-files_frohike_thriller_dramatic_television_series_desktop_2492x3250_hd-wallpaper-220773

5.  ADA Skinner is too busy with the Sons of Anarchy

4.  Nerds demand Mulder and Scully arrest Jar Jar Binks on whatever trumped up charges they can come up with.

3.  Today’s average street gangs have more firepower than the aliens, thus rendering efforts to protect the Earth from aliens obsolete.

2.  X-Files/Californication Crossover.  The aliens never wear pants anyway.

1.  The Truth is Out There…Huh?  I said, “The Truth is Out There!”  What?  “THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE, MULDER!  TURN UP YOUR HEARING AID!

Seriously, this is good news. I can’t wait.  I remember watching the original series and the first movie and it honestly feels like it was yesterday.  Maybe Scully and Mulder can solve the mystery of why time flies by so fast.

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Public Domain Horror Fiction – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

When I first heard that FOX was going to put out a Sleepy Hollow TV show, I naturally assumed this would be yet another example of Hollywood hacks scraping the bottom of the barrel to bring us yet another overdone idea rather than go to drawing board and come up with something fresh and original.

I was wrong.  They came up with a fantastic spin on an old legend and I must admit it is one of those shows I now look forward to watching every week.  I particularly enjoy Ichabod’s observations of the modern world around him.

But before it was on FOX, or a Tim Burton movie (which was also excellent), it was a tale written by Washington Irving.

And like the Horseman’s knogan, Mr. Irving’s copyright protections are equally non-existent.

Thanks again Project Gutenberg for preserving classic stories like this one for the ages.

Check it out:

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/41

“I profess not to know how women’s hearts are wooed and won. To me they have always been matters of riddle and admiration. Some seem to have but one vulnerable point, or door of access; while others have a thousand avenues, and may be captured in a thousand different ways. It is a great triumph of skill to gain the former, but a still greater proof of generalship to maintain possession of the latter, for a man must battle for his fortress at every door and window. He who wins a thousand common hearts, is therefore entitled to some renown; but he who keeps undisputed sway over the heart of a coquette, is indeed a hero.” – Washington Irving,  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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Hi I’m Troy McClure…

…and you might remember me from such book blogs as “Bookshelfbattle.com” and “Return to the Valley of Bookshelfbattle.com!”

In honor of the Simpsons Marathon on FXX, “Every Simpsons Ever!” I’m posting the following filmography of everyone’s favorite Hollywood hack, Troy McClure. Voiced by the late, great Phil Hartman, the character was a mockery of celebrities who have fallen from stardom and are forced to take part in lame projects they view as beneath them. In Troy’s case, he was always featured in some movie, film, TV special that was incorporated into the Simpsons’ plot and he’d introduce himself by saying, “Hi I’m Troy McClure! You might remember me from such films as…” and then he’d go on to list two hilariously titled films.

Without further ado:

Hi! I’m Troy McClure! You might remember me from…

1) …such films as “Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die” and “Gladys the Groovy Mule.”

2)…such educational films as “Smoke Yourself Thin!” and “Get Some Confidence, Stupid!”

3) …such films as “The Greatest Story Ever Hula-ed” and “They Came to Burgle Carnegie Hall!”

4) …such driver education films as “Alice’s Adventures through the Windshield Glass” and “The Decapitation of Larry Leadfoot.”

5) …such cartoons as “Christmas Ape” and “Christmas Ape Goes to Summer Camp”

6) …such educational films as “Lead Paint: Delicious But Deadly” and “Here Comes the Metric System!”

7) …such Fox Network Specials as “Alien Nose Job” and “The Five Fabulous Weeks of the Chevy Chase Show!”

8) …such telethons as “Out with Gout 88” and “Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House”

9) …such films as “P is for Psycho” and “The President’s Neck is Missing”

10) …such TV spinoffs as “Son of Sanford and Son” and “After Mannix.”

There’s plenty more where that came from. What’s your favorite Troy McClure movie title? Or, for that matter, what’s your favorite Simpsons quote?

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