The Couch Potato Report

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The Couch Potato Report – November 19th, 2011

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report are a vampire, werewolf and ghost – who are roommates – and some Looney Tunes.

Being that vampires, werewolves and ghosts continue to be hot commodities in books and films, it should come as no surprise that there is a British television series that features all three of them living together, sharing an apartment in modern times, trying to live a “normal” life, working hard to blend in amongst the humans around them.

Yes, to be clear, BEING HUMAN is about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost who are roommates!

The British version of BEING HUMAN has been on the air since 2008, and earlier this year a North American version of the show debuted, and now the complete first season of the made-in-Montreal series is available to own.

The characters in BEING HUMAN are not evil, they are the good kind of vampire, werewolf and ghost…yet from time to time they do have to deal with their evil sides…and that is where some of the drama comes from in the show.

The rest of it is full of mid-twenties melodrama…and those times were the least interesting to me.

But when they are threatened with exposure or persecution, with pressure from other supernatural creatures, then the show works…and works well.

THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of BEING HUMAN is never great, and the Special Effects are very low budget, but it has enough good stuff for me to mildly recommend.

What I don’t recommend, mildly or otherwise, is season one of a Canadian television series called TRIUMPH OF THE WILL…the latest from Kenny Hotz, of KENNY VS. SPENNY fame.

In that show, two “friends” competed against each other to see who could win a variety of contests.

In TRIUMPH OF THE WILL Kenny tries to accomplish things on his own…by any means necessary…but he is still the same jerk that he’s always been.

In this series Kenny tries to get his widowed mother a date, he decides to be a cannibal, tries to get the Jewish community to build a Mosque for Muslims, and tries to stop eating his favourite food, pigs…all of them very good ideas for a show of this sort…but he is the wrong guy to be doing it, he is not a nice or likeable guy…plus, in order to accomplish some of his goals – he steals.

I will admit that there are some laugh out moments in TRIUMPH OF THE WILL…but most of it is only for people who consider themselves huge – AND I MEAN HUGE FANS – of Kenny Hotz.

Otherwise, skip this one, it isn’t worth your time.

If they do a SEASON TWO of TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, I probably won’t waste my time on it…I hope I won’t anyway…but I did want to see SEASON TWO of V!!

V for Visitors, V for Victory, V for Very Entertaining…when it first began.

V originally aired in 1983 and was a two-part science fiction television miniseries about aliens known as “The Visitors” trying to gain control of Earth.

The original V was followed in the 1980s by V: The Final Battle and a short-lived series.

And now, in the twenty-first century, there is new version of the series…and it looks to be short-lived too, although it managed to do something the original never did…get a second season.

But Season Two of the remake of V didn’t lead to a third…and after watching all of that second season this week, I can completely understand why.


V is filmed in and around Vancouver and while SEASON ONE had some unique stories, there are very few of them in the second go ‘round, and the very good cast is wasted…even they look bored at times as they go through the paces.

I loved the original V, and I liked SEASON ONE of this new version, but SEASON TWO was a major disappointment.

As I have said many, many times – I will watch any science fiction films or television shows, good and bad, and as it goes into the history books that is what the remake of V is – SEASON ONE is good, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON is bad.

I won’t use the words “good” or “bad” while talking about the made-in-Vancouver-and-Toronto mystery/anthology series THE HITCHHIKER…the word I’ll use to conclude this review is “dated”.

THE HITCHHIKER aired from 1983 to 1991 and each episode was introduced and concluded by a mysterious wanderer known only as “The Hitchhiker.” Not unlike THE TWLIGHT ZONE or TALES FROM THE CRYPT the show tells stories about the dark side of humankind.

The reason I will use the word “dated” is because horror has become commonplace in the entertainment industry since this show first aired…and so not of the stories here are very shocking.

In its day…yes!! Today, not so much.

It is also “dated” because it is a product of its time…it was shot in the eighties, so it looks like it is from the eighties.

But, if you remember watching and enjoying THE HITCHHIKER when it originally aired, then the six-disc set that features every episode – THE COMPLETE COLLECTION – is a must own.

I personally enjoyed watching them again – dated and all – but it is unlikely that I will ever watch them again.

I can guarantee you that I will never watch the heist picture FLYPAPER again…I am actually shocked I made it all the way through it the first time.

Just like science-fiction films, I will watch any heist picture – good and bad – and FLYPAPER is definitely bad!

It stars Patrick Dempsey from GREY’S ANATOMY as a man who wanders into a bank, just as two – count ‘em – two bank robberies are taking place.

He is there to get some change, and because he is secretly in love with a bank teller played by the beautiful Ashley Judd…and they have some good scenes together.

But the film as a whole doesn’t work…this is one of those movies that thinks it is funny, clever and that it will keep you guessing, but you won’t care. It is never involving and ultimately you won’t care who is behind the robberies, and you certainly won’t care anything at all about the robbers.

This FLYPAPER doesn’t stick…skip it!!!

I have never once – not ever once – told anyone that they should skip the Hong Kong action thriller INFERNAL AFFAIRS…and I certainly won’t do that while taking about the new Blu-ray/DVD combo of it that has just come out!!

INFERNAL AFFAIRS was re-made in Hollywood as THE DEPARTED, and that version is fantastic as well, but this one – about a police officer who is undercover as a member of a gang, and a gang member who is a high ranking police officer – is the original…and it is hard to beat the original most times.

INFERNAL AFFAIRS is smart, well made, has some tremendous twists and turns, and if you have never seen it – you absolutely should!!

It is a fantastic action film!!

No matter where you live, its beginning to look a lot like Christmas…ev’rywhere you go. Take a look in the five and ten, glistening once again, with candy canes and silver lanes aglow.

Christmas is now only a little bit more than a month away, and so some of the classic films are starting to be released – and re-released – in high definition on Blu-ray…and that is a great gift for all movie fans…especially when one of those films is the classic IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

Frank Capra’s 1946 film stars Jimmy Stewart as a businessman who is shown what life would be like if he had never been born.

The new IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE 2-DISC COLLECTOR’S EDITION GIFT SET comes with both the original version of the film in glorious black and white and the colourized version, a commemorative booklet and an exclusive Bell Ornament.

Personally, I just need the film – in black and white – but the goodies here are a nice addition. I love this film – more every year, it seems – and I easily and very highly recommend it!

One story told every holiday season is “A Christmas Carol”, written by Charles Dickens. It was first published on December 17th, 1843 and is the story of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge’s ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visits of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim, and so have most film versions…with the possible exception being the 1970 musical starring Albert Finney as Ebenezer Scrooge.

This one is definitely not for everyone – primarily because the songs aren’t that good – but also because with the exception of Finney, the performances are all mostly unforgettable.

SCROOGE has its moments, and if this is the version that you first saw as a kid then you will love how great it looks in HD. Otherwise, skip it. I had never seen it before this week…so I enjoyed it, but I won’t ever sit through it again.

I will – however – sit through another version of Dickens’ story again…and again…and again!! I have already seen the 1988 Bill Murray version about a hundred times, and I could watch it again right now!!

SCROOGED is definitely not for the whole family as Murray’s take is a very sarcastic take on the tale, playing a selfish TV executive who must learn the error of his ways.

But it is for me…I love this film, and the blu-ray looks amazing!! Sadly, there are no Special Features…other than the original theatrical trailer…but I love SCROOGED anyway!!

It my house, THIS is a Christmas classic!!

The final release this week, is the release of the week…a title that is fun, funny, informative, and educational…but also serious at times as it shows us right and wrong, when to fight and when to just let something go.

This release has it all, nicely packaged in a three blu-ray set…and it stars Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Road Runner, and Wile E. Coyote, Tweety, Sylvester, Marvin the Martian, the Tasmanian Devil, and many others…all stars, in their own right!!

This absolutely incredible set features fifty of the greatest Looney Tunes cartoons ever made, along with hours of extras, including over five hours of content saluting animator and director Chuck Jones, and the great Mel Blanc, who voiced most of the characters.

Since they are seventy years old – and older – not all of the cartoons in LOONEY TUNES – PLATINUM COLLECTION – VOLUME ONE are in pristine condition, but they are all still amazing to watch.

This is a set full of pieces of entertainment that will last forever…and I absolutely love it!!

VOLUME ONE of the LOONEY TUNES – PLATINUM COLLECTION, the Christmas films SCROOGED, SCROOGE and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, the great Foreign Film INFERNAL AFFAIRS, the not very good FLYPAPER, THE COMPLETE COLLECTION of THE HITCHHIKER, THE COMPLETE SECOND – and final – SEASON of V, SEASON ONE of Kenny Hotz’s less than entertaining Toronto-made series TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, and THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the North American version of BEING HUMAN are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

The made-in-Montreal comedy STARBUCK, about a man with 534 children, the action film THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE, and the science fiction thriller SUPER 8 about a group of friends in 1979 who are dealing with some unexplained events in their small town following a train crash.

I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in seven days.

For now, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.

Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here again next time on The Couch!