My Top Anticipated TV Events of 2007

January 10, 2007

I was reading this week’s Entertainment Weekly (the bible for pop culture junkies like me) and they had an article on their 20 big events of 2007 as well as a Winter TV preview and it got me thinking of what TV events I’m most looking forward to in 2007. So here, they are:

1. The final season of The Sopranos – After 5 1/2 seasons of therapy Tony and his two families are heading off into the sunset (or more likely for some the morgue and others witness protection). These final 9 episodes starting in April are surely going to cap off a series run that made a TV network the place to bring interesting projects but also cemented the difference between network television and cable. 3 months and counting.

2. Season 8 of Buffy – I’ve written about this before but in March Joss Whedon continues his epic show in comics. It’s been 4 years since we’ve spent time with our old friends from Sunnydale and I can’t wait to find out what’s happened to Xander, Willow, Giles and of course Buffy. If this isn’t enough here’s a summary of part 2:

The destruction of Buffy’s hometown, plus covert and powerful slayer “cells” around the world, add up to a new label for the Scoobies: Terrorist threat. Speaking of Sunnydale, the crater formerly known as, has opened to reveal the witch Amy, and boy is she pissed. Now: Giles, smoochies, a knife to the heart, and a big sleep. Season Eight continues.

Visit your comic store to reserve your copy today.

3. The return of The Shield – It’s been a long year waiting to see the aftermath of last season’s insane finale which killed off the conscience of the Strike Team. What’s going to happen when Shane learns that Lem wasn’t going to turn them in and even more important what’s going to happen when Vic finds out what Shane did.

4. New Babylon 5 on DVD – Just like with Buffy I’m looking forward to a return visit to the B5 universe. Read my earlier posting for details on Babylon 5: The Lost Tales scheduled for release in July.

5. The Simpsons Movie – The last few seasons have been generally forgettable. I still watch every week but there have been very few classics unlike the early days of the show. Still, advance buzz on this one is pretty good so I have high hopes that Groening will make the most of the bigger canvas to make The Simpsons movie the event we expect it to be.

6. Shows finally coming to DVD – As the publishers reach into their catalogues to release more classics TV on DVD here are some of my favourites scheduled to come out in 2007: Picket Fences (Feb), Twin Peaks (April) and WKRP in Cincinnati albeit with music changes (April).

Let me know what your most anticipated TV events for 2007 are.

New York Magazine’s Dead On Advice on “How to Fix Lost”

November 14, 2006

Adam Sternbergh wrote a great article in New York Magazine highlighting how innovative shows that succeed with audiences like Lost are doomed by TV’s business model which forces these shows to stretch their premises out way too long.  He writes:

There is, however, a simple solution: Change the format, or at least reimagine it. When it so-called arc shows, we need something between a mini-series and an open-ended run. We need the TV equivalent of a novella: the limited-run show. Series driven by a central mystery (Twin Peaks, The X-Files) peter out precisely because they have indefinite life spans. The writers are forced to serve up red herrings until the shows choke on their own plot twists.

He’s right.  Rather than use Lost as an example, I want to use Prison Break which I’m watching as I write this.  Talk about a show with a limited life span, the title alone defines the limitation of the show’s central premise.  I’m still watching and generally enjoying the way the story unfolds but I would be much more satisfied if the creators would actually stand up and say it’s a finite show (say 3 years).  The fact that the show could potentially go on forever does affect my interest in sticking around to see the show “choke on its plot twist”.

Here’s a couple of examples of shows that did it right.  Babylon 5 was always intended to be a 5 year story and that’s how long it lasted.  It changed direction as circumstances dictated but it stuck to the basic 5 year plan that its creator had for it.  Sleeper Cell and Wiseguy built their shows around multi-episode arcs which gave the viewers closure if they wanted to stop at any point but definitely didn’t play it safe with their storylines.  I’m sure there are others but I’m stuck on the numerous shows that have done it wrong and disappointed us.  I’m not holding out hope that a chance is imminent but I like Mr. Sternbergh’s thinking.

New Babylon 5 Movie on DVD – Babylon 5: The Lost Tales to be released in 2007

November 14, 2006

I’m a huge Babylon 5 fan and it’s been way too long since the last visit to the Babylon 5 universe. Well that wait is almost over. Warner Home Video today announced that Babylon 5: The Lost Tales starts filming this week.

My first thought when I heard about this was: “Why now?”. It’s been way too long since the show last aired. The press release provided that answer. $44 million in DVD sales is not small change and shows a pretty dedicated fan base. But enough about money, here’s what the press release said about the show:

WHV will be the home entertainment distributor for this made-for-DVD release which will include two new Babylon 5 stories collectively entitled “Voices of the Dark” in one film plus exclusive behind the scenes content. The stories will be written and directed by executive producer and original “Babylon 5” creator J. Michael Straczynski. Executive producer Doug Netter also returns in that role. Actors from the original series that have signed on to participate in the project include Bruce Boxleitner (“President John Sheridan”), Tracy Scoggins (“Captain Elizabeth Lochley”) and Peter Woodward (“Galen”).

Unfortunately since the show ended in 1999, some members of the core cast have passed away most notably Richard Biggs (Dr. Franklin) and Andreas Katsulas (G’Kar). Hopefully Londo, Bester, Delenn and Garibaldi will be able to participate. If it’s just Sheridan, Lochley and Galen that won’t cut it, even with JMS writing.