“The Cape” is a one-hour drama series starring David Lyons (“ER”) as Vince Faraday, an honest cop on a corrupt police force, who finds himself framed for a series of murders and presumed dead. He is forced into hiding, leaving behind his wife Dana (Jennifer Ferrin, “Life on Mars”) and son, Trip (Ryan Wynott, “Flash Forward”). Fueled by a desire to reunite with his family and to battle the criminal forces that have overtaken Palm City, Vince Faraday becomes “The Cape” – his son’s favorite comic book superhero – and takes the law into his own hands.
Rounding out the cast are James Frain (“The Tudors”) as billionaire Peter Fleming, The Cape’s nemesis who moonlights as the twisted killer Chess; Keith David (“Death at a Funeral”) as Max Milani, the ringleader of a circus gang of bank robbers who mentors Vince Faraday and trains him to be The Cape; Summer Glau (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) as Orwell, an investigative blogger who wages war on crime and corruption in Palm City; Dorian Missick (“Six Degrees”) as Marty Voyt, a former police detective and friend to Faraday; Martin Klebba (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) as Rollo, member and unassuming muscle of the circus gang of bank robbers; and Vinnie Jones (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”) as Scales, resident thug and cohort of The Cape’s nemesis Chess. – NBC
7 out of 10
Let’s us start by saying that the relatively high rating that we’ve given The Cape of a “7” is a very qualified “7” and we kind of had to convince ourselves that it was worth the rating. The problem for us in reviewing The Cape is despite its glaring flaws and no matter how much we wanted to give it a rating of about a 5 or 6, we kept coming back to the fact that we really liked it. That being said, if it starts getting stupid, we reserve to take back that VERY generous rating.
Here’s the thing about The Cape: it’s exciting, it is literally a comic book come-to-life, and it’s very well-produced. The problem is that there is nothing original about it at all.
EVERYTHING is a conglomeration of other comic book/superhero and genre story lines and to make it worse, it rips-off elements from the more modern incarnations (see: Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, Christopher Nolan’s Batman, Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, The Punisher, Robocop, Superman and, yes, even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… to name a few). Now, we’re not suggesting that they use these elements badly, but it’s such an obvious copy-and-paste that you can’t help but notice and cringe… a lot. Hell, they even ripped-off Heroes which would seem like a bad idea considering that NBC just canceled that show.
Now, that’s the biggest issue with The Cape. The other more irksome issue is the absolute ridiculousness of the action sequences and the visual effects. They are way over-the-top and go beyond the level of, “Well, we’ll just have to suspend our disbelief.” We are personally sick and tired of standard bullets from sub-machine guns and pistols causing fuel tanks explode. Has no one in Hollywood watched Mythbusters? The only way to make a fuel tank explode into a massive fireball is with with incendiary rounds…. and a FRAKKIN’mini-gun.
Oh, and one more thing: a human being cannot survive a fall out of a 50 story building by using a car to break their fall. Do you now see why these sequences irk us?
Beyond those problems, though, we hate saying this but this show is a crap-load of fun and has a lot of potential to be one heck of a ride week after week if audiences are patient with it. The characters are pretty are well-developed and the performances are strong and believable and there’s enough complexities with them to flesh out some compelling story lines. It has more the feel of a summer blockbuster than it does a weekly prime-time drama.
What hurts The Cape is the aforementioned lack of originality. On its surface it doesn’t bring anything new to the table and this generation of audience is a fickle lot with genre in prime time. The Cape has a lot of potential to be a great show. Let’s just hope it becomes a great show that people want to tune in to.
The Pacific is an epic 10-part miniseries that delivers a realistic portrait of WWII’s Pacific Theatre as seen through the intertwined odysseys of three U.S. Marines – Robert Leckie, John Basilone and Eugene Sledge. The extraordinary experiences of these men and their fellow Marines take them from the first clash with the Japanese in the haunted jungles of Guadalcanal, through the impenetrable rain forests of Cape Gloucester, across the blasted coral strongholds of Peleliu, up the black sand terraces of Iwo Jima, through the killing fields of Okinawa, to the triumphant, yet uneasy, return home after V-J Day. The viewer will be immersed in combat through the intimate perspective of this diverse, relatable group of men pushed to the limit in battle both physically and psychologically against a relentless enemy unlike any encountered before. – HBO
9 out of 10
Well it’s DVR time, folks. HBO is airing all ten episodes of the award-winning and critically acclaimed World War II mini-series, The Pacific on today, Veteran’s Day starting at 11:00 a.m., and it is in your best interest to record it if you haven’t seen it already.
Executive Produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, The Pacific is without a doubt one of the top five events ever aired on television. The number one event would be the Spielberg/Hanks companion World War II mini-series from 2001, Band of Brothers.
The problem I had when I first watched The Pacific is that I expected it to be exactly like Band of Brothers and although, like Band of Brothers, it is extremely combat-heavy and the special effects are amazing and cinema-quality (by the way, this series was MADE for Blu-Ray), it is a much different series.
Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone (1916-1945)
Whereas Band of Brothers focuses on the men of E-Z company as an ensemble but no one specifically, The Pacific focuses on the 1st Marines Division in the aggregate but more specifically on the stories of the three major characters as noted in the description, Eugene Sledge, Robert Leckie and the most famous of all, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, John Basilone, who is one of my personal heroes. That alone distinguishes it from Band of Brothers but as significant is the focus on the non-combat aspects of the lives of these three men and the Marines in The Pacific theater. There are two complete episodes that literally have no combat in them whatsoever, focusing on the personal aspects of the character’s lives and their struggles after returning home.
The whole series is magnificently done from beginning to end and as an American who appreciates the history associated with this era, personally having several family members who served in the Pacific Theater, I applaud Spielberg and Hanks for bringing to life the stories of these men.
Over the years, within the media and popular culture, the Pacific Theater, in my opinion, has been woefully ignored in favor of the stories surrounding the European Theater. By saying this, I don’t mean denigrate the sacrifices made by those brave men and women who served in the European Theater against Hitler’s war machine, but rather, I simply want to highlight that both theaters were equally as important in the scope of the war effort and we should never forget that. Spielberg and Hanks have not.
If I were to have one complaint about The Pacific it would be that it does take a little while for the story to pick up (about four episodes) but when it does, the series is damned near perfect.
Welcome to the TV-Tastic First Annual Fall TV Preview. This is the first of what we hope to be many television season previews. In January we’ll be doing a Mid-Season Replacement Preview and in Summer 2011, we’ll be doing a preview of the cable offerings and random shows that FOX just throws out there June through August to fill up airtime that no one seems to care about (see: The Good Guys). This is a seven part series and today we are covering Monday night television.
We will not be including a preview of every single show that’s in the Fall lineup. We’re only previewing the stuff we care about and of course the new offerings on network and cable. Our rating scale for this will be based on whether we think you should waste your time with it or not and we’ll tell you why. No numbers on this just, simple recommendations like “you have to see this” or “pass on this” or “I think I just puked in my mouth a little bit.” Vic’s been very busy so I’m going solo on this for right now but he will be adding his two-cents later and I’ll update the blog and the subscribers accordingly.
So, without further ado, let the games begin, and by the way, this is one of the best Fall Lineups in years and it mostly is because of NBC (which is a phrase I never thought I would utter).
Shawn: I love House, it’s a “can’t-miss.” You know it and I know it. How many shows can they change the night and timeslot every two weeks and it’s still be successful? There is one reason and one reason only to watch House, and that’s House, himself. I hate medical dramas as they’re all the same tripe. House could be a show set on submarine or in a cannery (or a nunnery) and it would still be great.
NBC: Chuck – September 20, 2010
Shawn: I unfortunately missed all of season 2 and 3 because of scheduling issues but I love this show and I’m glad it got a fourth season. It’s just a fun show that’s got something for everyone. Humor, action, romance and of course, Adam Baldwin. I dare say, what more do you need? I’ll be catching up with Seasons 2 & 3 and saving season 4 for later.
FOX: Lone Star– September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
Shawn: I’ve already seen the pilot and it is definitely worth watching. See my full review with trailer here. Upon further review my biggest concern for it is it is in the same time-slot as this:
NBC: The Event – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
The Event is an emotional, high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, “The Class”), an everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his would-be fiancée Leila (Sarah Roemer, “Disturbia”), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history.
Sean’s quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including newly elected U.S. President Elias Martinez (Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, “In Treatment”); Sophia Maguire (Emmy Award nominee Laura Innes, “ER”), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Leila’s shadowy father (Scott Patterson, “Gilmore Girls”). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind. – NBC
Shawn: This is by far the most anticipated show of the new year and for good reason. It’s a spy/action/political thriller à la 24 shown from multiple perspectives with a Lost-type/FlashForward-type mystery to it. The cast is amazing and the effects look killer. This is one of those moral imperative shows. You must watch this. I’d comment more on it but the trailer confused the crap out of me and I still haven’t processed all of it.
CBS: Mike & Molly – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
A couple finds love at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting in this multicamera comedy from Chuck Lorre, the force behind Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.
Shawn: Did Kevin James get taller, fatter and less articulate? As a rule, I’m skeptical of sitcoms to begin with because for the most part they are unoriginal and they all recycle the same stupid jokes decade after decade. Even the more original and funny comedies like The Office eventually wind up being copied (see: Parks & Recreation) and eventually run out of steam… waitaminute… The Office was a copy as well. Anyway, the point being is that Mike & Molly is the reason that I hate sitcoms. This is just embarrassing. Seriously who does this simple-minded crap appeal to? What I find humorous is that they brag how this show is from the producers of Two and a Half Men. Hey… newsflash: despite how many people watch it, Two and a Half Men is complete crap as well. I would definitely pass on this.
CBS: Hawaii Five-O – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
When Steve McGarrett’s father is murdered, he decided to return home to Oahu in order to catch the killer. The governor offers him the opportunity to run a new task force where he is able to call the shots. Detective Steve McGarrett brings together his own team, beginning with Chin Ho Kelly; an ex-Honolulu Police Detective and former protégé of McGarrett’s father. Kelly has been assigned to a federal security patrol after being suspected of corruption. Detective Danny “Danno” Williams is a New Jersey cop who recently moved to the island and is raising his 8-year-old daughter. Kono Kalakaua is Kelly’s cousin and a rookie officer, fresh from the academy. McGarrett’s team is giving full backing from the governor and plays only by their own rules. – CBS
Shawn: Way to go CBS for making this show sound like every other dry, formulaic cop show. Thank God for trailers, eh? I have to say, I was just going to recommend the pilot and only the pilot simply for the sake of novelty (and the great cast). Watch it, know it’s probably going to be crap-tastic and forget about it. Then I saw the trailer below. This isn’t Hawaii Five-O, this is friggin’ Alias in Hawaii with cops and it looks great! Back to that great cast, you’ve got Alex O’Loughlin (The Shield) as McGarrett, Scott Caan (Boiler Room and the Ocean’s Eleven films) as “Danno,” Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, 24) and the smoking hot Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica) as Kono Kalakaua. This one of the best casts of any show this season and I’m really glad to see Kim in a more prominent lead-role where he actually speaks his native language for a change… which of course is Eastern Pennsylvania English. Heck, he didn’t even have to move for this show considering his last gig was on Lost for six seasons which is was of course, also filmed in Hawaii. And, by the way, I am well aware that for a cop show the amount of action looks ridiculous. That’s part of the reason why it appeals to me so much. I mean, crap, if you’re going to go camp, go all the way… and we’d better see Wo Fat, too or I’m writing a letter. This is another definite must-watch show.
NBC: Chase – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
From Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“CSI” franchise, “The Amazing Race,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”) and executive producer Jennifer Johnson (“Cold Case,” “Reunion,” “Lost”), “Chase” is a lightning-fast drama that drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. Marshals hunts down America’s most dangerous fugitives.
Kelli Giddish (“Past Life”) stars as U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, a cowboy boot-wearing deputy whose sharp mind and unique Texas upbringing help her track down violent criminals on the run. Starring as the members of Frost’s elite team are Cole Hauser (“K-Ville”) as Jimmy Godfrey, an East Texas kid who never grew up and is a true American cowboy; Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break”) who plays Marco Martinez, a good intelligence guy who loves to talk; and Rose Rollins (“The L Word”), who portrays Daisy Ogbaa, a weapons/tactical specialist and a woman of few words. Rounding out the cast is Jesse Metcalfe (“Desperate Housewives”), who stars as Luke Watson, the fresh-faced newcomer whose Washington, D.C. upbringing did little to prepare him for the Lone Star State. – NBC
Shawn: Although, seemingly formulaic and reeking suspiciously of U.S. Marshals (I was waiting for Tommy Lee Jones to pop out and start barking orders about finding Richard Kimball in the trailer), the high-energy and the strong cast of Chase makes it certainly worthy of consideration. I’m not jumping out of my pants about it yet but it is a Jerry Bruckheimer production and that definitely makes it worth watching for at least the first three or four episodes. “Cautiously optimistic” is the best way to describe my enthusiasm for Chase.
TV-Tastic is proud to bring you an exclusive first look preview review of the new Monday night series on FOX, Lone Star.
ROBERT/BOB ALLEN (James Wolk) is a charismatic and brilliant schemer who has meticulously constructed two lives in two different parts of the state. He’s juggling two identities and two women in two very different worlds – all under one mountain of lies.
As “Bob,” he lives in Houston and is married to CAT (Adrianne Palicki), the beautiful daughter of CLINT THATCHER (Jon Voight), the patriarch of an ultra-wealthy Texas oil family. More than 400 miles away in the suburban west Texas town of Midland, he’s “Robert,” living a second life with his sweet, naive girlfriend, LINDSAY HOLLOWAY (Eloise Mumford). There he plays the perfect boyfriend while secretly bilking local investors of their savings. While in Houston, he’s a devoted husband, charming Cat and her family to cement his position in the rich family business he aims to clean out.
Bob has lived both lives successfully for years without arousing any suspicions..so far. While one brother-in-law, DREW THATCHER (Bryce Johnson), admires Bob, while his other brother-in-law, TRAMMELL THATCHER (Mark Deklin), is growing suspicious of his motives, and along with his wife, BLAKE (guest star Rosa Blasi), threatens to expose Bob. In this world of cons, everyone has ulterior motives. ALEX (guest star Andie MacDowell), a sharp, sexy, sophisticated East Coast transplant has her eye on only one prize: Clint. Eager to stake her claim, she will do and say anything to get what she wants.
With the cons closing in on him, Bob begins to fear his secret lives may unravel as he becomes divided by his love for two women; his loyalty to his father and mentor, JOHN (David Keith); and his respect for his father-in-law, Clint. Now as he tries to hold his two lives together, while fending off angry investors and the growing suspicions of those around him, Bob puts it all on the line hoping he can beat the odds, leave the schemes behind and keep two separate relationships afloat. – FOX
8 out of 10
One of the disadvantages of being an independent review blog is that the networks don’t send advance copies of the first three episodes of new shows to us like they do the mainstream entertainment media. The upside is that I’m under no contractual agreement to withhold a review of a show within a certain period of time before that show has premiered, which brings us to the first ever in-depth review of Lone Star (one other guy did a review but it was like three sentences). If you’re wondering how I was able to get my hands on a copy of the pilot, I will refer you to this:
That’s me and the little man, Harrison playing in the Embassy Suites in San Diego a few weeks ago when the whole family went to San Diego Zoo, Sea World and Wild Animal Park. Harrison is obsessed with remote controls (gee, I wonder where he gets that from) and shortly after that scene he was playing with the remote in the room and he inadvertently turned on the Hotel’s in-room video service. Well, lo and behold if they didn’t have the pilot episode of Lone Star available for FREE! Needless to say, it was a professional imperative that I watch it so I could let all the good folks out there know ahead of time if it’s worth their time. So let the games begin.
Dallas, Part Deux?
First, let me preface this by saying that when I first heard about Lone Star while preparing the forthcoming Fall Preview (coming soon), let’s just say that I was beyond skeptical. The descriptions I saw on various entertainment sites were bland and really made it sound like to was a 2010 version of Dallas using key-phrases such as “Texas,” “oil” and “soap opera.” I can’t imagine at all why someone would come to the conclusion that this show is Dallas: The Next Generation. Speaking of which:
(^^^You’re welcome, by the way.)
After watching the pilot, though, I can say that I was not only pleasantly surprised, but also a little annoyed at the marketing for this show amongst the various media outlets and even by FOX itself. Yes, it’s in Texas, yes it revolves around a family oil company and yes it’s definitely a soap, but there is so much more to this show than this, and unfortunately, it may be its downfall.
I want to apologize for the incredibly long synopsis from the Official Lone Star Page but there really was no way to avoid it. I tried to figure out how I could pare it down and realized that the show has so much going on it that I really couldn’t. Sorry… blame FOX.
As complicated as that synopsis is, it needs to be corrected. As noted, Bob is a con-man living two separate lives, with two different women. But which one is the real Bob? Well, the answer is both and neither because Bob also has two other alter-egos as well: the man he is when he’s with his father and is actually “himself” and the man he is when he’s actually trying to combine the two lives. The fact is that Bob is struggling to find out what his true identity is, even in the pilot and it’s obvious that this will be a main theme throughout the series. Do you see what I mean about this show being complicated? And that’s just our protagonist.
What I like about this story is Bob, himself. I’m not sure if I’m into the identity struggle and I can definitely do without the “con-man-with-a-heart-of-gold” persona which seems to be contrived exclusively because the writers aren’t brave enough to have a protagonist be a true anti-hero or a villain. This is a very weak decision on the writers part in my opinion (well, it may have been a producer’s decision) because it tells me that they don’t have enough faith in the character or the actor, and I don’t understand why.
I like stories about con-men and so does everyone, whether they admit it or not. Con-men are fun. They’re clever and they have a swagger and a bravado they keeps audiences coming back. They’re like spies who are crooks. If I want to see a transformation from a swine to a knight, I sure as heck don’t want to see it in the pilot. If the producers need advice on how to develop the growth of a con-man, I would simply refer them to this guy:
From what I’ve seen so far, the producers are unnecessarily playing it safe with Bob. The character is well-written enough and James Wolk is talented enough to pull-off the “villain-who-we-hate-to-love” without really breaking much of a sweat. Also, if anyone thinks that writing a villain as protagonist doesn’t work I will simply refer you to this guy:
… who shot a fellow cop in the face during the pilot episode of The Shield and that wasn’t even the worst of his misdeeds over the next six seasons and then there’s of course, this guy:
.. and we all know what he does for the sake of fun and sadism.
The point is that the right actor playing the right character can pull off the villain-protagonist and it’s often quite refreshing when they do, and in this case, ours doesn’t even kill anyone.
The other problem with this “heart-of-gold” scenario as that it doesn’t make any sense. In the opening scene of the pilot we are immediately made aware that Bob’s father, John (played brilliantly by David Keith) has been a con-man his whole life and has been teaching Bob how to do it since he was at least 10 years-old, if not younger. That being said, all Bob has ever known is “The Con” and all of a sudden, when he’s on the verge of the biggest score of his life he suddenly finds religion and wants to not only play it straight with his father-in-law’s oil company but also wants to find a way to get all of those people in Midland their money back that he took from them in a Ponzi Scheme? Sure. It’s very hard to swallow to say the least.
The biggest complaint I have about Lone Star is that the plot outside of Bob’s con is very contrived and very clichéd and to be quite honest, so are some of the characters and a lot of it is lazy and does hearken back to Dallas. You’ve got your surly patriarch Jock Ewing-type, Clint Thatcher (even the names are clichéd, for God’s sake) played by Jon Voight (who you can never go wrong with) and Trammell Thatcher (Mark Delkin) the ambitious, scheming son who’s mad that Dad gave the outsider (Bob) the task of turning the family business around and is looking to undermine the new guy and finally, Drew Thatcher (Bryce Johnson), the under-achieving younger brother that no one takes seriously except for the outsider (Bob) and who is desperately seeking approval from both his father and his older, more accomplished brother. Any of this sound familiar? Of course it does because we’ve seen this clichéd family trifecta in 100’s of other films and TV shows over the last 50 years.
Still, although you’re tempted to roll your eyes, the performances carry what is really a simplistic, although compelling subplot. Speaking of performances, thank God for David Keith and Jon Voight. If James Wolk is the engine of this ship, then Keith and Voight are the anchors. Keith’s character is brilliantly written and David Keith was born to play him and yes, I know I criticized the Clint Thatcher character, but Jon Voight saves the character from falling off into the abyss. Honestly, without these two pros in this show it would be an absolute mess, despite the performance of James Wolk.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t mention Bob’s two love interests, Cat Thatcher (Adrianne Palicki) and Lindsay Holloway (Eloise Mumford) as they are obviously integral parts of this saga. The reason is simple (and unfortunate): they aren’t really worth mentioning. I’m not sure if it’s the characters or the actors or a combination of both but whatever it is, neither one of them comes off as very interesting or sympathetic. I’m inclined to believe that it’s the writing because what it seems like is going on here is that the writers spent an awful lot of time concocting this very complicated story and two really complicated characters in the father and son team of John and Bob, but they simply ignored any kind of real development for the rest of the supporting characters in the hopes that the casting would be strong enough to, shall we say, make chicken salad out of chicken spit. This is effective for the other male characters, but it is not effective with the two female leads.
Despite its weaknesses, the pilot of Lone Star is enjoyable and I would recommend it. The main story, though complex, is very compelling, the protagonist and his father are incredibly well-written despite the other characters being rather clichéd and simplistic, and the performances by the supporting cast is excellent for the most part. I do expect that the writers will see how weak the female leads are and will improve the way they are written in the future.
My three major concerns for this show are issues are as follows:
The first is the time slot and the network. This show is the replacement for 24 which just ended after 8 seasons. This is the last show in the world I would have ever expected to replace 24. If there was a show that I would have thought would have gone in the Monday night at 9:00 p.m. slot on FOX, it would have been either Human Target or Fringe. Both are excellent action shows that could easily carry 24’s torch in that slot and to be completely honest, I think this show would be better suited for CBS or ABC. They would seem to have the demographic for it more than FOX.
My second concern is the complexity of this story. I’m sorry, but today’s audiences have pretty short attention-spans and I’m afraid this show may be a little too cerebral for this generation of TV viewers. It’s not a knock on today’s audiences, it’s just a fact. Complex dramas have been on the decline in popularity for the last several years because audiences simply have too much going on with their 300 channels of cable and of course the Internet. A show like this takes dedication and there aren’t that many people willing to dedicate to a serial storyline with a continuous arc anymore. I’m frankly amazed that Lost lasted six seasons and I’m not surprised at all that FlashForward only lasted one (as much as I loved that show).
Finally, the real question I have is, “How long can this show last?” Really, I mean, the show centers around this one con they are running. I’m sorry but I don’t want to see this one con play out for seven seasons and by the same token, if the con plays itself out by the end of the first season, what happens next season… yet, another con? How long can you keep that up? In this regard the show reminds me of Prison Break where we all said at the end of season one, “Well, they’re out. Now what?” and of course the answer for the three seasons that followed was the most convoluted and bizarre twists in a plotline in television history. Now, I liked all 4 seasons of Prison Break, but that was getting nuts at the end and I was glad when they finally put the show out if its misery and I don’t want to see that again with another series… especially one on FOX.
So, I’m going to give this show 6 weeks without any expectation of it surviving the Thanksgiving season cuts. This way I won’t be disappointed if another good show is cancelled which unfortunately, as good as this show is, I do expect to happen.