‘Community’ Comes Back Tonight!

I think Community is probably one of the most genius shows ever made. It capitalizes on the intertextuality that so pervades our culture right now and rewards its viewers with sly references and long-running gags. The commentary it makes on pop culture and the state of television today, as well as the historical tradition of the medium, is sharp, witty, and never fails to make me laugh. If you aren’t watching it, you should be. Seriously. To give you a brief sample of its amazingness, here are twelve seconds of delight that make me laugh every time:

This cult hit has a hugely dedicated fan base, a fan base that has been eagerly anticipating the season four premiere, airing tonight, specifically because of a big change. Dan Harmon, the show’s creator and brilliant showrunner for the past three years, has been replaced by veteran sitcom producers David Guarascio and Moses Port (Just Shoot Me!, The IT CrowdAliens in America, Happy Endings). I’m not questioning the ability of these two men, but I do have concerns about how well they will be able to fill the massive shoes left by Harmon, and if their take on the show will ever be able to capture the essence of what Community really is.

So with tonight’s premiere finally upon us, I’d love to know what you think of it. Check out this review, which identifies some of the problems with the episode, but also encourages us to go easy on Guarascio and Port as they undertake this incredibly intimidating project. Let’s just hope they get into their groove and guide us through Six Seasons and a Movie.

‘Community’: The New Regime
Liz Medendorp @ PopMatters

130207-article-community

The new episode, airing 7 February, ends with a general nod to fans’ concerns when Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) announces, “I don’t know why I was so worried about change; this year is gonna be great!” But the episode that precedes, while mostly maintaining the zany antics and genre-bending tendencies so characteristic of the show, seems subdued and ultimately fails to give reason for the dean’s prediction.

Read More >

Advertisements

Why Did Smash Crash and Burn?

Smash had a very promising start, with a great pilot that got us all hooked and excited to see where the show would go. Unfortunately, it didn’t go anywhere. Quickly devolving into uninteresting side plots and melodramatic characterizations, this show simply lost track of what it was meant to be: a story about producing a Broadway show.

Viewers who are interested in the premise of Smash have no desire to see the show be more about the often times ridiculous behaviors of the various characters, but instead about the actual production, about Marilyn Monroe, and about breathing life into her story through song and dance. While some element of the drama behind the drama is of course a necessary part of such a story, Smash has, it seems, totally lost sight of the actual Broadway production.

Check out this great (although somewhat lengthy) article on the various elements of the production of Smash‘s first season that seems to have created the perfect storm, dooming this promising series to becoming a joke.

How “Smash” Became TV’s Biggest Train Wreck
Kate Arthur @ BuzzFeed

130204-article-smash

Smash was supposed to be the show that saved NBC — but people laughed at it instead. How did it all go so wrong?

A year ago, Smash began its first season on NBC, critically praised andexceedingly hyped, with the well-funded backing of the network and its chairman, Robert Greenblatt, who considered the musical drama his pet project. Steven Spielberg had dreamed up the concept, and his DreamWorks TV was behind it.

Read More >

Can Adaptations Be Better Than Their Originals?

Although we are in an era of shocking un-originality, inundated with sequels, spin-offs, and adaptations, sometimes there is some value in the “derivative” practice of adaptation. There are many instances where an adapted work is much more successful than its original, and the article below lists and discusses 14 such examples, complete with clips for demonstration.

The best example, in my opinion, is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Joss Whedon’s original concept was a film that was made in 1992, but was unfortunately skewed from his intentions simply by having the wrong director. Whedon intended the film to be taken seriously, while Fran Rubel Kuzui turned it into a campy, cheesy teen horror flick. When given the opportunity to turn it into a show, then, Whedon indisputably redeemed Buffy, producing the clever, witty, and insightful series that lasted seven seasons and is now in its 9th season in comic book form, continuing to enchant audiences to this day.

What are your favorite examples of adaptations that are better than their originals?

Clear eyes, full hearts, eh, I’ll just wait for the TV show: 14 TV series that usurped their original film versions
Jason Heller, Joel Keller, Noel Murray, Nathan Rabin, Tasha Robinson, and Scott Tobias @ A.V. Club

130201-adaptations

In the hierarchy of entertainment, television adaptations are generally considered poor relations of the films that spawned them. Oftentimes adaptations of films never make it past the pilot stage, like an ill-fated 1997 television version of Fargo starring Edie Falco. Even when television adaptations do make it onto a network schedule, they seldom make it past a single season. But every once in a while, a television adaptation—official, loose, or otherwise—usurps its big-screen version in the public’s imagination.

Read More >