Some of you may already be aware that the looooooong gestating miniseries based on Stephen King's "Dark Tower" books has finally begun filming (previously) with MeFi favorite Idris Elba in the lead role of Roland (Pictures have already been taken of him on set). As with any beloved piece of literature, fans have their reservations about what changes may occur from the original text. But as any Dark Tower fan will tell you, this is no ordinary book series. And it looks like Stephen King is hinting that the miniseries will follow in kind (Spoilers ahoy).
First Day of Camp: the full trailer for Netflix's 8-episode prequel to the 2001 cult classic Wet Hot American Summer. Here's the promo released last week. Happy summer! [more inside]
As HBO's "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst" airs, the LA district attorney reopens the inquiry into the death of Robert Durst friend Susan Berman [more inside]
Sea of Faith: a six-part documentary television series, presented on BBC television in 1984 by Don Cupitt. [youtube]
"The programme dealt with the history of Christianity in the modern world, focussing especially on how Christianity has responded to challenges such as scientific advances, political atheism and secularisation in general"[more inside]
A Soviet take on Rambo (brief clip; Rutube) is "unique in its violence and anti-Americanism." A Russian point of view on James Bond remarks that "so widespread was the interest in Bond that an official Soviet spy serial ... was released." But the spy novel / miniseries Seventeen Moments of Spring (somewhat digestible in 17 highlights with commentary: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17) is for interesting reasons not a Soviet counterpart to James Bond or Rambo. See also Seventeen Moments fanfic, two pages of jokes about its hero, and how he figures in the present. [more inside]
The BBC mini-series of Mervyn Peake's epic Gormenghast covers the first two novels in the series, and includes amongst its cast Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Christopher Lee, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Zoë Wanamaker, Stephen Fry, and many others. The four-hour, four episode series can be found in its entirety on YouTube in ~10 minute segments. The first episode segment is here, the rest can be found on this page. (Sorry no playlist.) [more inside]
Ken Levine's network notes for Under The Dome, perhaps not the best example of Stephen King's TV work.
Fifteen years ago this month, the WB network premiered what they heralded as the first animated miniseries: Invasion America. [more inside]
In 2005, Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks produced a 6 episode miniseries that spanned the period of expansion of the United States into the American West, from 1825 to 1890. Through fictional and historical characters, the series used two primary symbols--the wagon wheel and the Lakota medicine wheel -- to join the story of two families: one Native American, one White settlers, as they witnessed many of the 19th century's pivotal historical milestones. The award-winning Into The West can now be seen in its entirety on YouTube. [more inside]
From TOR.com: What Everybody Gets Wrong About Jekyll and Hyde: 'And when I say everybody, I mean everybody.' [more inside]
The Last Days of Pompeii, written by the infamous Edward Bulwer-Lytton, was a Titanic size blockbuster novel back in the 1830s--- but it has not aged well. It is most well known for its many film versions-- there was the silent landmark film from 1913, an adaptation in 1935 and a spaghetti peplum with Steve Reeves from 1959-- but perhaps the most memorable (and exhaustive) version was the colossal star-studded miniseries made in 1984. [more inside]
In 1993, in the era of television reinvention following the earthquake of Twin Peaks, ABC aired a 6-hour miniseries executive produced by Oliver Stone and Bruce Wagner -- Wild Palms. Featuring a monster cast (James Belushi, Dana Delaney, Robert Loggia, Angie Dickenson, Kim Cattrall, Ernie Hudson, Nick Mancuso, Bebe Neuwirth and Brad Dourif, just to name a few) and with episodes directed by the likes of Kathryn Bigelow and Phil Joanou, it was a near-future cyberpunkish surreal Television Event that the New York Times described as "nothing so much as an acid freak's fantasy, drenched in paranoia and more pop-culture allusions than a Dennis Miller monologue." [more inside]
HBO's Game of Thrones was a huge hit (with some controversy and rebuttals of same), securing a second season only two days after its debut. Filming of said season finished on December 11th and now the production crew is pulling all the pieces together for the April 2012 start of season 2. A few details have officially and unofficially come out, details after the jump: [more inside]
HBO has a free 15 minute preview up for their adaptation of George R. R. Martin's fantasy series A Game of thrones. The folks over at Westeros.org have seen rough copies of the first six episodes and report on them. In general, reviews are very positive so far. Previously on the Blue. Via this thread at hipinion. Bonus: Next Media Animation briefs you on the subject. All links contain minor-to-major spoilers.
The Kids in The Hall are returning to CBC tonight with an 8-part murder mystery miniseries, "Death Comes To Town." Trailer. Death hops off a bus in the small town of Shuckton, Ontario, wearing a codpiece and a vest once worn by The Friendly Giant. Murder, mayhem, and hilarity are sure to ensue. Excellent interview with Scott Thompson on the history of the group, Buddy Cole (Previously on Mefi), and dealing with his own mortality while undergoing chemotherapy during the writing and production of the series. Sorry, non-Canadians, although negotiations are said to be underway, there are no known plans to broadcast the series outside the country.
The making of a D-Day tradition... I immediately get goosebumps when I hear the score of Band of Brothers...I'm not sure why, maybe it was my local connections (Dick Winters, Bill Guanere, Albert Blithe, Babe Heffron, Thomas Meehan, Ralph Spina, Harry Welsh, and Robert Strayer are all from Philadelphia), the surrounding suburbs, or Pennsylvania), or maybe it was because the original airings took place in the shadow of 9/11 (the premiere was September 9th, 2001, with the D-Day drop occuring in the second episode, Day of Days, on 9/16/2001), but this series will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart. Everything is done so beautifully, from the special effects, to the sound, the music, to the dutiful translation from Stephen Ambrose book to the screen. It's certainly worthy of the 9.5 out of 10 that IMDB readers had given it. Every year now since, either HBO (On Demand - you have to subscribe to HBO plus have digital cable) or the History Channel has played Tom Hanks' and Steven Spielberg's masterful WW2 epic. You can think of it as Saving Private Ryan, but 3 times as long. Even if war movies are not your thing, I can almost guarantee that they will see the human side of the soldier and becomely deeply invested in the characters. Follow the men of Easy Company from training and the running of Currahee, to the parachute jump on D-Day, through the liberation of Europe, the horror of a German concentration camp, and eventually to the end of the war, to Hitler's mountaintop retreat. I'm not the only one - check out the numerous fan sites to BoB (forum shorthand for Band of Brothers) here, here, and here, as well as entries on TVTome, Wikipedia, and Television without Pity. If you want to try before you commit to watching the whole thing, I'd recommend the episodes Day of Days, Crossroads, and the Breaking Point.
CBS may cancel 'The Reagans' mini-series over GOP protests. Rep. John Dingall has some thoughts on the matter: As someone who served with President Reagan, and in the interest of historical accuracy, please allow me to share with you some of my recollections of the Reagan years that I hope will make it into the final cut of the mini-series: $640 Pentagon toilets seats; ketchup as a vegetable; union busting; firing striking air traffic controllers; Iran-Contra; selling arms to terrorist nations; trading arms for hostages; retreating from terrorists in Beirut; lying to Congress; financing an illegal war in Nicaragua; visiting Bitburg cemetery; a cozy relationship with Saddam Hussein; shredding documents; Ed Meese; Fawn Hall; Oliver North; James Watt; apartheid apologia; the savings and loan scandal; voodoo economics; record budget deficits; double digit unemployment; farm bankruptcies; trade deficits; astrologers in the White House; Star Wars; and influence peddling.
"V" -- a science-fiction allegory for World War II -- may return to television. NBC has commissioned a three-hour movie script from writer-director Kenneth Johnson (who was responsible for the excellent first miniseries, but not the second miniseries or the dreadful series) that promises "a metaphor for the new millennium." Will Johnson might tackle unilateralism and WMD? And might a letter-writing campaign be in order to encourage production?