The Couch Potato Report – June 1st, 2013
There’s a TV show about one family’s arrested development inside this week’s Couch Potato Report, and some airheads.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT ran for three years from 2003 to 2006 and it won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series after its first season. Unfortunately that victory, and the consistent high quality of the show’s jokes and humour, never translated into ratings as it is odd and eclectic and not really for everyone, and so it was cancelled.
But people – like me – who did watch it, we loved it, and so the demand began for more episodes – or even a movie – even before it was officially taken off the air.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT is about the exceptionally dysfunctional Bluth family, a formerly wealthy now bankrupt family, and now, seven years after the brilliant last show aired, we have fifteen new episodes to watch!!
In addition to its tremendous writing, the main reason this show works is because of the cast…simply put it is one of the greatest ensemble casts ever assembled, and it includes Jason Bateman and Canadians Will Arnett and Michael Cera, plus Tony Hale, David Cross Portia de Rossi, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor, and it is all narrated by Hollywood icon Ron Howard.
I was so excited about the return of this show, but I was also so nervous!! Could the fifteen episodes live up to the hype and expectations? Would the writing and acting still be as strong as it was while the series was on the air? Would I still care about the Bluth family after all these years?!
Happily, I do still care, the writing and acting are both still very strong, and it did live up to the hype and my expectations.
What creator Mitchell Hurwitz and his team have done is given us fifteen individual episodes about what the characters have been up to in the years since the show aired, and they have filled each one with other stories, sight gags and jokes that pay off in later episodes.
Added up it is one very entertaining 7.5 hour story that is laugh out loud funny!!
Now, truth be told, if you have watched ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT in the past and didn’t care for it, the new episodes in SEASON FOUR won’t win you over. They are best viewed by people who are already huge fans of the show.
But, if you’ve never seen it, see it, both the original and the new ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT episodes are fun and funny and quirky and odd, and smart and completely moronic all at the same time.
As a HUGE fan, I really enjoyed SEASON FOUR, and look forward to more episodes, or a movie, or whatever the cast and crew decide to do…if anything.
Welcome back Bluth Family!!
Up next is THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the made-in-Toronto supernatural medical drama SAVING HOPE.
This is a show about a highly respected veteran doctor in a coma who meets patients and wanders the hospital halls in “spirit” form. He is also the narrator of what is going on, and so he tells us that he’s not sure if he’s a ghost or a figment of his own imagination.
His fiancée and fellow surgeon Alex works to save him while existing in a constant state of shock, and she is also trying to save other patients as well.
The supernatural side of THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of SAVING HOPE wasn’t ever that interesting…the conversations he had with other patients in their mysterious dream state never won me over, it just seemed like a gimmick…and the medical cases the living doctors were dealing with weren’t always that interesting either.
However, the mostly Canadian cast is very likeable, and so by the end of the season I was rooting for them. Not enough to make me watch SEASON TWO of the show when it airs every week this summer, but enough to mildly recommend SEASON ONE, but only to people who really like medical dramas.
I have a pair of releases to tell you about right now, and I am lumping them both together under the heading “Two To Avoid”.
No matter how much you enjoy or appreciate the genres, the people starring in them, or how good the trailers make them look, they are “Two To Avoid.”
Especially the Tom Cruise action film JACK REACHER. Especially this one!! What a mess!!
Jack Reacher is the protagonist in a series of books by British author Jim Grant, who writes under the pen name of Lee Child.
Jack Reacher – the character – is a drifter and former U.S. Army Military Police Corps officer.
JACK REACHER – the film – is based on the ninth book in the series, ONE SHOT, and it features the title character investigating a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.
But as he digs deeper into what happened, Reacher discovers that maybe it wasn’t random at all.
The book that JACK REACHER is based on is great, in fact all seventeen of them are great and I’m looking forward to the new one that is due this Fall, but the movie is so slow and boring and by the time the characters figure it all out you absolutely will not care…and that is why you should just skip this mess.
Yes, it has a great cast that also features Rosamund Pike from BARNEY’S VERSION, Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins, and Hollywood icon Robert Duvall, and it is based on a great book…but the movie should be avoided at all costs.
And that’s the fact, Jack Reacher!!
You also need to skip, stay away from, ignore and avoid the sci-fi horror flick DARK SKIES. This one is a complete waste of your time.
DARK SKIES is about a family in a quiet little town who have fallen on hard times. The husband has recently lost his job, and is having no luck finding a new one, oh, and aliens may be after them.
I don’t mind the premise of DARK SKIES, and some interesting horrific things do take place, but the majority of what happens doesn’t work…for instance, right after an expert tells them that aliens live among us and are taking kids, aliens come to their home to try and take one of their kids.
Kids, by the way, who have bruises and marks and brands – actual brands – all over their bodies, but the parents never notice them…only strangers do.
And stranger, stranger than that, the father sees some of the weirdest stuff he’s ever seen, stuff that has no earthly explanation, no possible explanation at all, he refuses to accept that it might be aliens.
Oh, oh, and I could go on…but I think I’ve made my point. DARK SKIES is a movie to avoid, at all costs.
I would rather have to deal with the aliens in this movie than have to watch it again.
It is plain awful!!
And there you go. Those are “Two To Avoid!!
Finally this week, is a very stupid comedy from 1994 that I love and is now available on blu-ray. This is AIRHEADS!!
AIRHEADS stars Canadian Brendan Fraser of THE MUMMY as the leader of a band of musicians who are desperate to make it big.
So desperate that they take a radio deejay hostage until he plays their song.
Joe Mantegna plays the deejay and Adam Sandler is also in the band.
AIRHEADS is an over the top, very funny comedy with a great cast – that also includes Steve Buscemi and Chris Farley – and it is jam packed with rock and roll jokes, cameos, comments and questions.
Sadly, the new blu-ray for AIRHEADS doesn’t feature any retrospective features or any special features at all, but the film looks and especially sounds great in high definition…plus it is still one of the most entertaining rock and roll films from the nineties.
All of that adds up to a 92 minute film that I highly recommend!!
The silly but still very funny comedy AIRHEADS, the sci-fi horror flick DARK SKIES, Tom Cruise’s failed turn as JACK REACHER and THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the not great made-in-Toronto series SAVING HOPE are available now, either on disc or on demand.
All fifteen new episodes for SEASON FOUR of the very entertaining show ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT – for fans only – are available now on demand on Netflix.
Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report
The Zombie Comedy WARM BODIES; Bruce Willis is back playing John McClane in the useless sequel A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD; Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy star in the comedy IDENTITY THIEF; and – ahead of June 6th – the six part Canadian television series D-DAY TO VICTORY, with real soldiers telling their story.
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!