Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Tomorrow People: The Best TV Show on Netflix With the Worst Title Ever


Number Rolled: 97
TV Show Name/Year: The Tomorrow People (2013-2014)
Genre: TV Show
Length: Approx. 1 hour episodes
Rating: TV-14
Affiliated Companies: Berlanti Productions, CBS Television Studios, Fremantle Media North America, Warner Bros. Television
Executive Producer: Thom Beers, Greg Berlanti, Melissa Kellner Berman, Danny Cannon, Phil Klemmer, Julie Plec, Jeff Rake, Anthony Optican, Roger Damon Price
Director: Dermott Downs, Danny Cannon, Guy Norman Bee, Nick Copus, Rob Bailey, Felix Enriquez Alcala, Nathan Hope, Leslie Libman, Steven A. Adelson, Jace Alexander, John Behring, Eagle Egilsson, Michael Schultz, Oz Scott, Wendey Stanzler
Writer: Greg Berlanti, Phil Klemmer, Julie Plec, Roger Damon Price, Leigh Dana Jackson, Alex Katsnelson, Jeff Rake, Micah Schraft, Grainne Godfree, Ray Utarnachitt, Nicholas Wootton, Pam Veasey, Anderson Mackenzie
Actors: Robbie Amell, Peyton List, Luke Mitchell, Aaron Yoo, Madeleine Mantock, Mark Pellegrino, Jeffrey Pierce, Jacob Kogan, Sarah Clarke, Simon Merrells, Alexa PenaVega, Carly Pope, Meta Golding, Laura Wiggins, Madeleine Arthur, Mitchell Kummen

Stephen is a mostly normal student; normal except for the fact that he’s been diagnosed with behavioral and psychological issues. He hears voices, he wakes up in strange places; not even his meds can help him. Then he meets a group of people who once went through the same thing… when their abilities were awakening. The Tomorrow People teach him that he’s the next evolutionary step in humanity. They teach him about the three T’s: telekinesis, teleportation and telepathy. Finally, they teach him about Ultra, the evil corporation hunting down their kind for experimentation or worse. As they teach him, he learns just how deep his bloodline connections run with them.

I don’t need to tell you I don’t normally cover TV shows. I’ve thought about it. I still think about it from time to time, but then I wonder how fair it is to judge an entire series by single episodes at a time. Even the best TV series has a dud episode now and again. I mean, I’d love to write about Doctor Who, Arrow, Sons of Anarchy, Gilmore Girls, or any of the other amazing TV shows on Netflix, but it’s not really all that feasible. I can’t exactly watch an entire series in three days. For some of the shows, that would be mathematically impossible.

So why does The Tomorrow People make the cut?

Remember once upon a time when Firefly was canceled? Well, I wasn’t familiar with that show at the time. Sure, I am now and it’s awesome. I have the biggest crush on Nathan Fillion (Slither, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog, Much Ado About Nothing) and he’s the whole reason I decided to start watching Castle, but when it was initially canceled I didn’t know enough about it to be upset. That makes The Tomorrow People my Firefly.

As I write this, I’m re-watching the pilot episode. I’m recalling how amazing I found Robbie Amell (Th Flash, Zack Stone is Gonna Be Famous, Struck By Lightning) throughout the series and how Luke Mitchell (7 Minutes, Home And Away, Neighbours), Peyton List (Mad Men, 90210, As the World Turns), and Aaron Yoo (Disturbia, 21, Friday the 13th) brought their characters to life. I recall how spectacularly infuriating the good and evil representations of Jedikiah Price and The Founder’s storylines were. Played by Mark Pellegrino (Being Human, Supernatural, Lost) and Simon Merrells (Spartacus: War of the Damned, The Wolfman, Family Affairs) respectively, they were a huge part of the reason I tuned in to the series every single week for 22 episodes.

I would have watched 7 more seasons of this series, easily. If the writers kept it up and the actors kept caring as much as they did in the first season, I could have watched even more than that.

Instead, the CW canceled it.

They had good reason, I’ll admit to that. Ratings weren’t quite where the network wanted them when The Tomorrow People was on after Arrow every Wednesday. So they moved the show to Mondays and that move effectively alienated a large remainder of the viewers they did have.

The thing is, The Tomorrow People was not original programming. It was a reboot of a British TV series from the 70’s that went by the same name. That version of The Tomorrow People ran for 5 years, making it a relatively successful television series.

Why didn’t this version make it? It was interesting. It was well acted. It was well written. It was well directed and produced. What was the problem?

To be honest, I think it was the title.

In the 70’s, in England, the title must have been fine, because the series survived. That means people had to have been attracted to it enough to give it a chance in the first place. The CW released it in the US, in the 2010’s; different time, different place. Their target audience isn’t attracted to titles like that. Especially since this series was a reboot, I think they could have benefited from changing the title.

Think about it. Some of the most popular shows at the time that The Tomorrow People aired were: The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones, True Blood, and Teen Wolf. How are those titles different than The Tomorrow People? The ways they relate to the actual shows are obvious even if you’ve never seen them. It gives viewers an idea of what to expect. You hear The Walking Dead and you’re not going to think of anything but zombies. You hear Game of Thrones and you’re going to expect a fantasy involving kings. Maybe you won’t know True Blood refers to a drink in the show, but it pretty clear there’ll be some kind of vampire tone to it. When I think The Tomorrow People, I think of things like Futurama and The Jetsons.

If the title of a show doesn’t draw in viewers, then viewers aren’t going to know how amazing it is, and viewers today seem to want some kind of clarity in their titles.

Reboots are fine, but the producers have to acknowledge the change in times. For the most part, where the story arcs and the script are concerned, they did catch up to the year they released this remake. Why they decided to leave the title in the past is beyond me.

My friends and I joke that it’s the best show with the worst name in existence.

Netflix has been picking up canceled shows and working with them. I believe, with all my heart, if Netflix were to pick up The Tomorrow People, with as much of the same cast as possible, and change the title, the company would be significantly surprised with how well it does.

It’s unlikely, but I can always hope.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 45%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 77%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.9/5
Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Movie Trailer: I felt that a single trailer for an entire series didn't say enough. So I scoured Youtube for the best fan-made music video for the series I could fine. It was created by rhoboat77. Enjoy.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Knights of Badassdom (2013)


Number Rolled: 10
Movie Name/Year: Knights of Badassdom (2013)
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: IndieVest Pictures, North by Northwest Entertainment
Executive Producer: Rich Cowan, Mike Elizalde, Daniel J. Heffner, Ketura Kestin, Rizwan Virk
Director: Joe Lynch
Writer: Kevin Dreyfuss, Matt Wall
Actors: D.R. Anderson, W. Earl Brown, Michael Carpenter, Kevin Connell, Sean Cook, Peter Dinklage, Khanh Doan, Michael Gladis, Summer Glau, Basil Harris, Brett Gipson, Tom Hopper, Ryan Kwanten, Margarita Levieva, Joshua Malina, Brendan McCreary, Brandon Petty, Brian Posehn, Danny Pudi, Jose Rufino, Jimmi Simpson, Kim Stodel, Douglas Tait, Joshua Aaron Van Veen, Steve Zahn

Joe is having a rough day. He gets in trouble at work and then his girlfriend breaks up with him. Luckily, he lives with his best friend, Eric. There’s no way Eric is going to allow Joe to mope the entire weekend. Through peer pressure, and other means, Eric gets Joe to join him on a delightful weekend of LARPing.

If you don’t know what LARP is, it stands for Live-Action Role-Play. It takes table-top role-playing games, throws the players in costume and transports them to a place where thrown bean bags are spells and foam swords act like steel.

If you don’t know what role play is… what’s wrong with you? Get on that. Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, Vampire: the Masquerade, Exalted. Look up those keywords and enjoy.

I digress.

This B-movie does everything really well, provided you go into it knowing you’re about to see a B-movie. Don’t let the familiar names of Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Penelope), Summer Glau (Firefly, Serenity, Arrow) and Ryan Kwanten (True Blood, Not Suitable For Children, Dead Silence) fool you. This IS a B-movie.

A PERFECT B-movie.

That’s right; I used the “P” word. Get your minds out of the gutter, you know what I meant.

I believe this movie was perfect. It was silly and violent and hilarious and I could not look away. It’s everything a good B-movie should be with much better acting. You can absolutely tell that the actors had one hell of a time filming. It’s always easy to get into a story when the actors are too.

Now, as perfect as I believe this movie was, I will acknowledge that it is not for everyone. If you take horror movies too seriously, this is not for you. If you can’t be sympathetic to a bunch of truly nerdy LARPers, this is not for you. If you just plain don’t like fantasy, this is probably not for you.

However, if you’re interested in some geeky, ridiculous, not-so-horror-horror with a twinge a death metal and pinch of epicness – this is definitely for you.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 55%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 39%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 5/5
Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Movie Trailer: