Joss Whedon’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

Joss Whedon’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing had its U.S. premiere yesterday at SXSW, and its trailer was also just released. To commemorate, the Much Ado official party bus:

Much-Ado-Party-Bus

I had the opportunity to go to the world premiere of Much Ado at the Toronto International Film Festival, and I can tell you, it is incredible. I have written on it extensively for my own work, but don’t feel like sifting through all those pages to find something short enough and pertinent enough to share with you right now. So instead, I’ll just leave you with the beautifully jazzy trailer and extend an invitation to celebrate with me this wonderful film.

Huzzah!

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‘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 Dan Harmon, the show’s creator and brilliant showrunner for the past three years, has been replaced by veteran sitcom producers David Guarascio and Moses Port (Just Shoot Me!, The IT CrowdAliens in America, Happy Endings).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

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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.

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‘Deception’: Deceptively Intriguing

A new crime investigation show, Deception, premiered on NBC last night, and while the premise seems intriguing enough, I’m not sure how sustainable it will be.

After the scandal of a young socialite’s death, the intrigue of this show centers around the dark secrets of her distinguished family and the tense, complex relationships between them. Deception then deceives us into thinking it is a show about solving a murder, hooking the viewer with a “whodunit”-type mystery, but in fact reveals itself to be more about the characters—exploring their relationships and inner struggles. While the members of this wealthy family could very easily come off as one-dimensional, the secrets they hide give these archetypal rich snobs a certain depth that makes them both intriguing and believable.

However, if the pilot is any indication as to the style of the show, most of the action seems to happen in the past. As secrets continue to be uncovered and as memories begin to resurface, flashbacks are (almost over-)used to help illustrate them. In the present, then, we find the characters spending most of their time simply talking about the past. Granted, as a pilot this episode does have to deal with a lot of exposition, but, especially seeing as this show is so character-driven, it would be all too easy to let action fall by the wayside. To be sure, a lot of action is not necessarily vital to maintaining interest if the characters are compelling enough, as they seem to potentially be, but a focus on the past can keep the story from moving forward.

The pilot then begs the question: where can you go with this? The complex relationships and the many skeletons in the Bowers family closet will certainly provide enough material to last at least until the end of the season, but at some point the murder will have to be solved, thus ending the investigation. While the family’s laundry list of secrets certainly appears to be never-ending, it is doubtful that they could carry the show through multiple seasons. If Deception hopes to have a long life, then, it will have to do more. Especially if it stays mired in the past and the secrets to be found there, the series won’t be able to move into the future.

Did you catch the premiere? Tell me what you thought.

Meagan Good Goes Undercover in ‘Deception’
Liz Medendorp @ PopMatters

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It opens like a standard crime investigation show: late at night, a shadowy figure follows a young woman to her car; by morning, she’s dead. But Deception isn’t just another crime procedural, as it seems to be. Instead, it’s another investigation of the dark secrets of the wealthy, who have a lot to hide.”

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