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#DCFanDome surprised fans today with a Smallville 20th Anniversary Celebration featuring a conversation with Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum. The full conversation, which includes a number of great behind the scenes stories, can be viewed at the bottom of this story.
As a reminder, Smallville: The Complete Series 20th Anniversary Edition is coming to Blu-ray for the first-time ever on October 19th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The set includes 2 DVD discs with over 28 hours of bonus features originally released on the Smallville Seasons 1-10 DVD sets.
Apple TV+ today debuted the teaser trailer for the new highly anticipated murder-mystery comedy series, The Afterparty from Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award winners Chris Miller and Phil Lord (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street). The eight-episode series will premiere globally in January 2022 on Apple TV+.
"This is one of the most surprising, original and fun projects we’ve ever made," said Lord and Miller. "Our goal was to tell a comedic whodunnit story in a new and exciting way. By giving each episode its own unique style of storytelling, we were able to make what feels like eight distinctly different but interconnected films that highlight how everyone’s personal perspective and biases shape how they see the world."
The Afterparty features a stellar ensemble cast including Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip, Like a Boss), Sam Richardson (Tomorrow War, Veep), Zoë Chao (“Love Life,” “Downhill”), Ben Schwartz (“Space Force,” “House of Lies”), Ike Barinholtz (“The Mindy Project,” “Neighbors”), Ilana Glazer (“Broad City”), Jamie Demetriou (“Fleabag,” “Stath Lets Flats”), Dave Franco (“The Rental,” “The Disaster Artist”) and John Early (“Search Party”).
Created and directed by Miller, The Afterparty centers on a murder mystery at a high school reunion. Each of the eight episodes features a retelling of the same night told through a different character’s perspective, each with its own unique visual style and film genre to match the teller’s personality.
In addition to directing, Miller serves as showrunner and is executive producing alongside Lord through the pair’s production banner, Lord Miller. Tony and Emmy-nominated writer, producer and performer Anthony King (“Search Party,” “Dead to Me”) will also executive produce the series. Lord Miller’s SVP of Television Aubrey Lee is a producer on the series, which was produced for Apple by TriStar TV and Sony Pictures Television as part of Lord and Miller’s expansive five-year overall television deal.
The behind the scenes talent includes director of photography Carl Herse (“The Last Man on Earth,” “Black Monday”), production designer Bruce Hill (“The Last Man on Earth,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), costume designer Trayce Gigi Field (“Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar,” “Dead to Me”), composer Daniel Pemberton (“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”), and editor Joel Negron (“Thor: Ragnarok,” “21 Jump Street”)
As summer winds down and the girls enter eighth grade, the club welcomes two members who will be familiar to fans of Martin’s books. Vivian Watson portrays new baby-sitter Mallory Pike while Anais Lee takes on the role of Jessi Ramsey, who is trying to balance her dreams of being a ballerina with her baby-sitting duties. According to series creator and executive producer Rachel Shukert, the new season will see a maturation of the girls as they continue to grow as individuals while taking on more responsibility.
“They're all a year older and have more experience running a business, deeper friendships, and are growing into a deeper understanding of themselves as people,” Shukert says. “[This season] we also wanted to continue exploring themes that allow young viewers to see themselves represented on screen, while also dealing obliquely with many of the things we've all been through in the past year: loss, change, responsibility, and trying to find joy and meaning in unexpected places.”
Some of the changes in the girls’ lives are the result of their parents, whose own relationships continue to evolve in Season 2. One of the biggest storylines revolves around Mary Anne’s father, Richard (Marc Evan Jackson), and Dawn’s mother, Sharon (Jessica Elaina Eason), moving in together, a decision that affects the girls in different ways. But Richard and Sharon are not the only parents making potentially life-changing decisions this season. Kristy’s mom, Elizabeth (Alicia Silverstone), is considering some major changes of her own after marrying Watson (Mark Feuerstein) in Season 1.
"This season we get to follow Elizabeth's journey now that she's married to Watson, as their families blend and adapt to change,” says Silverstone of her character’s upcoming arc. “She also faces some big personal decisions — and even leans on Kristy for support of her own — as she asks herself… What would it be like to have another baby? To experience bringing more life and love into the world with the right man?”
Through it all, Elizabeth continues to be a rock for Kristy and her brothers. “As she navigates the unknown, there's one thing she — and fans — know for sure, and it's that this mother/daughter duo can get through any and all of life's challenges with one another by their sides,” Silverstone says.
Of course, Elizabeth can’t be by Kristy’s side all the time, as evidenced in this exclusive clip from Season 2, which finds the girls attending a swanky gala alongside Elizabeth, Watson, and Richard. While the younger generation heads off on a mission of their own, the adults are determined to prove they’re still young and cool themselves. Check out what happens in the clip below and be sure to tune in to see what else happens when The Baby-Sitters Club returns.
The Baby-Sitters Club Season 2 arrives on Netflix October 11th.
The 10-episode series from Oscar and two-time Emmy nominee Simon Kinberg (X-Men franchise, The Martian) and Hunters creator David Weil is set across multiple continents, following an alien invasion through different perspectives around the world.
Emmy nominee Jakob Verbruggen (The Alienist) directs, with Sam Neill (Jurassic World: Dominion) starring alongside Shamier Anderson (Bruised), Golshifteh Farahani (Extraction), Firas Nassar (Fauda) and Shioli Kutsuna (Deadpool 2).
Invasion premieres Friday, October 22nd, 2021 on Apple TV+
Director Alonso Ruizpalacios takes us deep into the Mexican police force with the story of Teresa and Montoya, together known as ‘the love patrol.’ In this thoroughly original and unpredictable documentary, Ruizpalacios plays with the boundaries of nonfiction and immerses the audience into the human experience of police work within a dysfunctional system.
A Cop Movie premieres Friday, November 5th, 2021 on Netflix.
An epic adventure begins when a massive sinkhole opens in the middle of Los Angeles, pulling hundreds of people and buildings into its depths. Those who fell in find themselves in a mysterious and dangerous primeval land, where they have no choice but to band together to survive. Meanwhile, the rest of the world desperately seeks to understand what happened. In the search for answers, one family torn apart by this disaster will have to unlock the secrets of this inexplicable event to find a way back to each other.
The cast includes Natalie Zea, Eoin Macken, Jon Seda, Nicholas Gonzalez, Chiké Okonkwo, Karina Logue, Zyra Gorecki, Jack Martin, Veronica St. Clair, Rohan Mirchandaney, Lily Santiago, Josh McKenzie, and Chloe De Los Santos.
La Brea premieres Tuesday, September 28th at 9/8c on NBC.
When Dave starts researching his genealogy, he makes a surprising discovery: he and Calvin are more than just neighbors. Also, Tina offers to help Gemma when she’s overcome with morning sickness, and inadvertently stumbles on a new business idea, on the fourth season premiere of The Neighborhood.
The episode premieres on Monday, September 20th, 2021.
Crackle is the streaming service that always feels as if it's three months away from figuring out its place in the streaming entertainment universe. Originally owned by Sony, it began life as a home for random Sony-owned movies and television shows that didn't have enough value to make them worth licensing to another streaming service. "The Best Of What We Have Leftover" is not a great motto for a streaming service and despite a few attempts at original programming, Sony never quite figured out a content mix that made sense. Even though Crackle 1.0 was ad-supported and free, a random mix of titles combined with a truly awkward UX made the service almost invisible to most TV viewers.
But one thing Crackle always had was a small collection of Sony-owned TV shows that you couldn't find anywhere else. Sometimes they were shows that had only lasted a season. Sometimes they were shows that just didn't have any name recognition in the marketplace. Granted, there were problems that annoyed TV fans. Seasons were incomplete or in some random order. A show would only have five episodes available on Crackle for a month. It would then disappear for a couple of months and five other episodes would randomly appear. It wasn't ideal, but in a streaming world where obscure television is generally ignored by all of the major streamers, it was something.
In 2019, Sony Pictures Television sold off a majority stake in Crackle to Chicken Soup For The Soul Entertainment (CSFTSE) and Crackle was eventually rolled into Crackle Plus, which controlled Crackle as well as a portfolio of other streamers. As part of the deal, CSFTSE retained access to select Sony-owned movies and television shows. So Crackle continued its love of strange and little-known TV.
If you are a fan of obscure television, Crackle has a mini-treasure trove of dramas available this month. The entire 11-episode run of the 1984 series Blue Thunder (based on the motion picture and weirdly co-starring Dana Carvey); season one of the 1994 syndicated action series High Tide (starring Rick Springfield and Yannick Bisson); the 1966 Burt Reynolds/Gene Hackman series Hawk; the 2009 Adam Goldberg/Amber Tamblyn/Jeremy Renner police detective series The Unusuals; the 2002 Peter Weller series Odyssey 5; the 2008 Lucy Liu series Cashmere Mafia; the 1998 drama The Net (based on the Sandra Bullock movie), the 2008 Julianna Margulies law drama Canterbury's Law; seasons two and three of the mid-1970s acclaimed cop series Police Story, the 1977 sci-fi series Fantastic Journey; seasons one and two of the Aaron Spelling series S.W.A.T and season three of the cheesy syndicated Pamela Anderson series V.I.P.
Looking for rarely-seen comedies? How about the 1972 David Birney/Meredith Baxter comedy Bridget Loves Bernie? Plus both seasons of the 1994 Jon Lovitz animated series The Critic; 2014's Bad Teacher; both seasons of the 1974 Clifton Davis/Susan Dey/Ted Lange comedy That's My Mama; 2003's Nia Vardalos/Andrea Martin series My Big Fat Greek Life; the 1973 comedy The Girl With Something Extra; both seasons of the 1999 Matt Frewer series Doctor, Doctor; 2011's Matthew Perry/Jorge Garcia/Andrea Anders sports comedy Mr. Sunshine; 1986's Melbas Moore sitcom Melba; the 1977 Bewitched spin-off Tabitha; 1999's Jaleel White/Soleil Moon Frye comedy The Grown Ups; 1983's All In The Family spin-off Gloria; all three seasons of the Eddie Murphy stop-action comedy The PJ's; the 1966 business comedy Occasional Wife; season one of the 1995 Tea Leoni/Taylor Holland series The Naked Truth; 1976's Sanford & Son spin-off Grady; and season one of the Thomas Haden Church/Debra Messing/Greg Germann sitcom Ned & Stacey.
There are also obscure animated kids shows, such as seasons three and four of The Jackie Chan Adventures, 1990's The Karate Kid, 1986's The Real Ghostbusters; 1973's Jeannie and 1974's Partridge Family 2200 A.D.
This is a lineup that probably includes as many obscure TV shows as you'll find scattered across all of the other major streaming services combined. Still, there are some weird issues with missing episodes. There are only four random episodes of the 1984 Jason Bateman/Garrett Morris comedy It's Your Move (out of the 18 episode season).
But this is an amazing lineup, even if it's wrapped inside the generally clunky Crackle interface. It's also frustrating, because it makes me wonder why HBO Max or Peacock or Paramount+ have not taken advantage of their large catalogs of content and made an effort to launch a classic/obscure TV vertical. I understand that a lot of shows have music rights issues or other problems that make some shows difficult to stream But the Crackle library - imperfect as it might be - shows there are plenty of shows that can be streamed. And for whatever reason, no one has stepped up to make it happen.
Crackle isn't the ideal home for hard-core obscure TV fans. It's not even a decent experience some of the time. But it does show that there are plenty of TV shows that COULD be available for streaming. If only someone would just step up and take the risk.
If I were consulting with Crackle, I would encourage them to lean into the rare TV genre of streaming. Improve the user experience and become the go-to destination for viewers looking for the TV equivalent of Turner Classic Movies.
Throughout the month of September I have looking back thirty years at the 1991/1992 Primetime Season.
Some of my favorites so far are the look backs at shows such Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures or Walter & Emily. And then there were the allegations that John Wells had plagiarized passages from David Simon's book on Baltimore's homicide detectives.
But I've found some fun. goofy video footage and this piece definitely falls into that category. Someone has put together a collection of openings and theme songs from 29 of the shows that premiered in 1991/1992. How many of them do you remember?
It is extremely rare for plagiarism charges to surface publicly in broadcast television. It's even more unusual when the charges are leveled at a successful writer/producer.
In June 1992, writer David Simon issued a statement through his lawyer claiming that the upcoming CBS drama Polish Hill contained an "astonishing number of similarities" to his 1991 book "Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets."
The book was a non-fiction account of Baltimore murder investigators and he and producer Barry Levinson had been working on a series based on the book. But according to Simon, entire accounts, dialogue and characters were lifted from his book by Polish Hill screenwriter John Wells. Simon said he learned of the similarities when Levinson began searching for a writer to work on the pilot for a proposed series based on his book.
According to Simon, an agent sent Levinson's production company a sample of Wells' work, which turned out to be the Polish Hill pilot.
Simon, a crime reporter for The (Baltimore) Sun, says entire accounts, dialogue and characters were lifted from his book by "Polish Hill" screenwriter John Wells.
"I called CBS and said, `How can you put this on? This is stolen material,"' Simon said in an interview. "Two of his (Wells') three murders are directly out of the book."
In one scene of the "Polish Hill" script, he said, "Every single line of dialogue was copied verbatim - including vernacular."
While CBS (which had ordered the Polish Hill pilot) declined to comment on the allegations, Warner Brothers Television strongly denied the charges:
"We are really stunned by all of these allegations," said Barbara Brogliatti, a Warner spokeswoman. "Our attorneys reviewed the allegations . . . and it was their determination there are no merits to the plagiarism charge."
While the plagiarism charges made news at the time, not every television critic took the claim seriously. Including critic John Carman, who argued that everyone on television is copying everyone else:
Oh, sure, and I suppose you could find some carping, whining idiot who'd try to tell you that NBC concocted I Dream of Jeannie in 1965 because Bewitched was a hit in 1964.
Close examination proves this is a specious claim. Samantha was a witch. Jeannie was a genie. What could a witch show possibly have in common with a genie show? I rest my case.
A few people thought Man From U.N.C.L.E. ripped off James Bond, just because it was about a suave, lady-killing spy, or that The Monkees were copycat Beatles, because they happened to be mop-top musicians who cavorted nonsensically in fast motion. Sheesh.
To the untrained, indiscriminate eye, Mister Ed the talking horse might have resembled Francis the Talking Mule from the movies, especially because the guy who directed the Francis movies created Mister Ed. A double coincidence!
The book "Homicide: Life On The Streets: The Unofficial Companion" has a deeper look at the allegations, which seem fairly serious:
Levinson turned to his representatives as the Creative Artists Agency for advice on finding a writer to adapt Simon's book. CAA sent a copy of the Polish Hill teleplay by John Wells. Levinson was shocked to discover that Wells' script was seemingly a fairly close adaptation to Simon's book already!
For one thing, the first big case is the abduction of a nine-year-old girl, and the prime suspect is the Candy Man. Levinson saw clear parallels t Simon's tale of an eleven-year-old girl and the Fish Man. Furthermore, Polish Hill used a central motif of a case board with open cases listed in red and closed ones in black, something actually used in Baltimore's Police Department, but rarely found anywhere else. After finding lines of dialogue and descriptions borrowed almost word for word, Levinson decided he had seen enough.
Backed by Barry Hirsch, one of Hollywood's most powerful lawyers, Levinson threatened suit against Warner Brothers. Levinson had paid for the rights to Simon's book and was appalled at the seeming plagiarism. Furthermore, Polish Hill would precede Homicide to the airwaves, making the authorized version seem like a knock-off.
But not much more than a week after the initial accusations surfaced, Warner Brothers Television issued a statement through Barbara Brogliatti, senior vice president for Warner Bros. publicity, promotion and public relations. "What began as an 11-page, single-spaced diatribe of allegations has been reduced to claims about the use of one device found in police stations across the country-a caseload board." Brogliatti also said that some minor editing and looping had been done to the pilot to make the so-called "murder board" less prominent.
"Warner Bros. is willing to make minor changes in its use of the board in a goodwill effort to stop these endless, scurrilous and unfounded accusations," Brogliatti also said in a statement.
For its part, Levinson's production company Baltimore Pictures would only confirm at the time that a settlement had been made and "we consider the matter resolved."
It's a weird shift on both sides. While case/murder boards weren't common before "Homicide," they have been used in nearly every procedural cop show since then. So it seems unlikely that the board was the only issue. Particularly given the aggressive stance of the initial complaint. Some sort of out of court settlement seems to have been made, but even after 30 years it's not clear what happened. I attempted to get someone to discuss the story and if there is any agreement after all of these years, it's that all parties would just as soon pretend it never happened.
When John Wells met with TV critics in August 1992, it was the first question he was asked and he quickly took the Fifth: "I apologize, but the matter's been settled and I really can't discuss it." Looking back, it's surprising to me that the allegations didn't have a bigger impact on the career of Wells, who at the time was best known for his work on China Beach.
As for Polish Hill, the plagiarism charges were only the first of its problems. Once that issue was settled, the pilot was apparently extensively reworked and the name changed to Angel Street. The location was shifted from Baltimore to Chicago and several smaller parts were recast.
The premise of the series centered around the only two female cops on a Chicago homicide squad. One white, one was black and surprisingly, they don't get along.
That friction also apparently extended off-camera and at the time there were reports co-stars Robin Givens and Pamela Ridley had a number of verbal confrontations that more than once led to physical violence.
No one associated with the show denied those charges at the time, "The material is very charged. There were take after take of people yelling at each other. I think there was a lot of tension. It's almost impossible with the intensity of this kind of material for the actors to walk off the set and to carry absolutely none of that with them. It was a very emotionally charged shoot," Wells told critics.
Givens told critics that "Being called a nigger is difficult," and while she didn't specify who called her that, co-star Gidley said that the duo "at first had a bit of a difficult time trying to find a kind of happy medium to be able to work in, live in and talk about these issues and situations."
It's worth noting that Angel Street premiered to quite harsh reviews and was off the schedule by October 1992, after airing only four episodes.
The newly titled Homicide: Life On The Street premiered the following spring on NBC and ran for seven seasons.
Every television season there are shows that appear on your TV screens almost like a ghost. You didn't have much warning they were coming, they don't make much of an impact while they're there and when they're gone, you almost forget they ever existed.
That was certainly the case with the NBC comedy Walter & Emily, a short-lived series that seems to have a lot going for it on paper. But as the case with a lot of television shows, the execution matters more than the individual parts.
Saturday nights were a problem for NBC in the 1991/1992 primetime season. The Golden Girls & Empty Nest had both been top 10 shows in the ratings the previous season, but ratings were slumping and in fact, this would be the last season for The Golden Girls. The search was on to find some compatible comedies to plug into the gaps and the season began with a lineup that included The Golden Girls/The Torkelsons/Empty Nest/Nurses/Sisters.
The upsides for NBC was that Sisters had premiered with a six-episode order the previous May and while it was never a smash hit, it would go on to run for six seasons. Nurses was a also a new show and a spin-off of Empty Nest (which was itself a spin-off of The Golden Girls). The show was also never a smash hit, but it did air for three seasons. But The Torkelsons didn't really mesh with the rest of the night's lineup, although NBC executives liked the show. The Torkelsons was moved to Sundays after ten episodes and would come back the following season as the retooled series Almost Home.
But what to put in that post-Golden Girls timeslot? NBC brought in Walter & Emily, a series that they had passed on when putting together their original fall schedule. The comedy was produced by The Golden Girls team of Witt/Thomas/Harris productions and starred Brian Keith and Cloris Leachman as Walter and Emily Collins, grandparents whose sportswriter son Matt gets divorced and wins custody of his 11-year-old son Zach on the condition that the boy's grandparents are around to help him raise his son.
Aside from the fact that the premise is one of those that is built around something that would likely never happen in real life, the show had a couple of core problems. While The Golden Girls view on aging was mostly positive and optimistic, Walter & Emily Collins were cranky, often unpleasant and as broad as the Atlantic Ocean. Which is an odd creative decision, because while Keith and Leachman were best known to audiences for their surly characters (Keith has previously wrapped up his Hardcastle & McCormick series several years earlier), this comedy pushed that surliness to a point that was often unpleasant to watch.
When I interviewed Cloris Leachman in 2005 while she appearing on Malcom In The Middle, we discussed a number of her previous roles and her memories of Walter & Emily weren't the fondest ones. "I don't think anyone ever figured out the show, " she told me. "When you're working on a show, you can usually tell pretty quickly when they have things dialed in. There was a fair amount of chaos and poor Brian (Keith) was really unhappy. I don't think it was what he was promised and he was too much of a professional to have a meltdown. I'm never happy when a show ends and the work is over. But in this case, I wasn't unhappy, either."
Looking back at the press coverage at the time, there doesn't seem to have been much attention paid to Walter & Emily before it premiered. But the reviews of the series once it debuted were uniformly brutal.
The Baltimore Evening Sun's Michael Hill described it this way:
"Walter and Emily" takes another page from "The Golden Girls" how-to-succeed handbook -- cast talented older actors so that even if they are saddled with a mediocre script, they can wring every possible laugh out of it.
In this case, it's Brian Keith and Cloris Leachman as our bickering, battling, but loveable, duo. They've been married 38 years and their divorced son has moved back in with them so they can care for his son since his job as a sportswriter is always taking him on the road.
There was only one problem with NBC's carefully laid plans to fit this into their geriatric Saturday night -- it's a lousy show. Oh, Keith can play a curmudgeon with the best of them and he has a nice moment or two, but Leachman has always been a better dramatic actress. The only way she knows how to play comedy is to overplay it. That works in a Mel Brooks movie, but not in a family sitcom.
Mark Harris gave the show a C- in his brief review for "Entertainment Weekly," saying the show had "so much benign crustiness you’d need a trowel to scrape it off:"
Right now, Walter and Emily is being kept afloat solely by the buoyant professionalism of Leachman and Keith, two veterans who work well together and attack their roles with unflagging comic vigor. Rewarding their longevity by sentencing them to play foxy oldsters who need more dietary fiber seems cruel indeed.
Walter & Emily did stay on the air for the full 13 week initial order, thanks in large part to a desire by NBC to keep producers Witt/Thomas/Harris happy. But once the show was gone it disappeared almost completely. There's not even an episode of the show on YouTube, which generally has at least an episode or two of even the most obscure television shows.
I did find a promo for the show (which is included below).
In the summer of 1992, having your TV series debut in late June was not exactly a vote of confidence from the network about the viability of the show. This was still the era of summer burn-offs and despite the fact that it was based on a hit movie, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures only aired seven episodes on Fox before it was canceled in early August.
The success of the 1989 movie Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure spawned related merchandise, a follow-up movie and a 1990 animated series with the same name that ran for two seasons. Season one was produced by Hanna Barbara and aired Saturday mornings on CBS. Bill & Ted stars Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter and George Carlin voiced the show during its premiere season, but for season two, the show moved to Fox Kids and changed production companies. The voices changed as well, with Reeves and Winter being replaced by Evan Richards and Christopher Kennedy, who were also tasked with starring in a planned live Fox TV series that was originally planned to premiere early in the 1991/1992 primetime season.
But there were problems, in part because Fox executives struggled to find a premise they liked. The original movie was written by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon and they were briefly spoken to about the proposed series. But as Solomon recently told me, the network apparently didn't have much interest in hearing any pitch from the duo.
"We met with Fox but they never wanted us. Ever," explained Solomon. "They wanted Savage Steve Holland, who was hot at the time. And Darren Star (Beverly Hills 90210). So we never pitched. We just had one lunch where all I remember is saying 'well you obviously don’t want blah blah blah (can’t recall)' and they said 'yes! That’s exactly what we want!' They used that meeting as their obligatory meeting with us and we never heard from them again. I watched five minutes of the first show and never watched any more. It was a heartbreak. They completely - absolutely - misunderstood the characters from the core."
While I wasn't able to speak to either Holland or Star, the duo was signed to do a series pilot, with a story by Savage Steve Holland & Darren Star and a teleplay by Star. Directed by Andy Tennant, the pilot comes across like a bad tribute to "Porky's," albeit without the grossness or the wit. It's not clear now precisely what happened, but Clifton Campbell was brought in to run the show.
In this 1992 interview with Starlog Magazine, Campbell explained that there were some problems that held up the production of the series and he also rewrote history a bit:
"But by that time, the second Bill & Ted movie was coming out, and a clause in the contracts said the TV series couldn't go until Bogus Journey made a certain amount of money. Bogus Journey then came out and didn't do the business everybody hoped for, and that delayed things even more. Finally, with the episodes completed. Fox gave us a summer slot."
In the interview, Campbell also said he tweaked the premise of the movie to make it better fit a television series format:
"We felt that having Bill and Ted go back and forth in time each week would get stale. So, while we knew we had to keep the phone booth and some time- travel element, we also knew that we had to challenge that aspect. So, we played around with things a little bit. In one episode, we took them into 1 another dimension and into a cable TV system. In another, we shrunk Ted down to the size of a raisin.
It's difficult to do a series where the lead characters don't grow or have an evolving arc. Bill and Ted stay Bill and Ted, so the challenge in creating scripts was to come up with stories that were wrapped around incidents they bump into in their everyday lives. The idea was that Bill and Ted are basically fish out of water, dealing with things that don't make sense to them. For example, we had one episode in which Bill and Ted were having trouble meeting girls, and they use the phone booth to bring Casa- nova into the present to watch how he handled the problem."
While Campbell admitted that some episodes were better than others, he said his favorite was an episode entitled "Totally Wonderful Life" (the episode is posted below) and looking at the episode in 2021, it's an interesting alternative look (although a pretty painful one to watch) at the future grown-up lives of Bill & Ted, which was also the starting off point for the 2020 feature film Bill & Ted Face The Music, written by Matheson and Solomon:
In that episode, Rufus awakens from a nightmare in which something has gone terribly wrong. He time-travels back to find that Bill and Ted have messed up. and the result is that Ted's father separates them permanently. Rufus returns to an awful future stemming from that past separation. He once again returns to the past, specifically six years after the separation, and witnesses Bill and Ted attempting to live their lives on their own.
"It was probably the most ambitious thing we did," Campbell notes. "The episode essentially looked at the legend of Bill and Ted, and it forced us to deal with three different levels of reality: The present, six years into the future and the distant future. Believe me, that's a lot to cram into 21 minutes."
Looking at the episodes now, it's easy to see why the network didn't have a lot of faith in the series. Evan Richards (as Bill S. Preston Esq.) and Christopher Kennedy (Ted Logan) are workmanlike as Bill & Ted, but they come off more as actors doing Bill & Ted cosplay. They kinda look like Reeves and Winter and thanks to the animated series were familiar with the roles. Although watching the episodes, I'm not sure that's enough to make it work. And while Rick Overton was a funny stand-up, being cast as Rufus - a role played by George Carlin in the films - borders on a crime against nature.
But the biggest problem with the show is that it completely misunderstands what made the movies so delightful. It isn't just that the characters in the TV series are different than the ones seen in the movies. It's that they are altered in a way that is different and also less interesting. A creative decision which ultimately didn't please anyone.
Maybe the most interesting thing about the show is the quality of people working behind the cameras. Clifton Campbell had previously worked on Wiseguy and went on to work on Seaquest 2032, Profiler, White Collar, The Glades and Sleepy Hollow. David Nutter (The X-Files, Entourage, Game Of Thrones) directed two episodes. Joel Surnow (24, Le Femme Nikita, The Commish) wrote an episode and was a co-executive producer on the show. Clearly, the staff had lots of talent, but Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures is one of those ideas that doesn't seem to have real reason to exist other than its connection to the movie franchise. And without the familiar cast and original creative vision, not all of the raw talent in the world could have made the show a hit.
Paramount+, the streaming service from ViacomCBS, today released the first look trailer for its new original drama series Mayor Of Kingstown, during the service’s Television Critics Association virtual presentation. From Academy Award nominee Taylor Sheridan (co-creator of the Emmy nominated series Yellowstone) and Hugh Dillon, the 10-episode season will premiere on Sunday, Nov. 14. Produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios, the all-star cast includes Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner, Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest, Emmy Award winner Kyle Chandler, Dillon, Taylor Handley, Emma Laird and Tobi Bamtefa.
Mayor Of Kingstown follows the McLusky family – power brokers in Kingstown, Mich., where the business of incarceration is the only thriving industry. Tackling themes of systemic racism, corruption and inequality, the series provides a stark look at their attempt to bring order and justice to a town that has neither.