Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Treme: The Complete First Season

Let’s talk about not only the most important TV series you’re not watching, but also the most entertaining and rewarding. It’s called Treme, (pronounced Truh-MAY) and its first season aired on HBO last year, but hardly anybody tuned in, including, it must be admitted, the writer of this piece. Well, I did watch the first three episodes, and while I liked the idea of Treme, something about it didn’t quite grab me enough to keep me tuning in. Once I was blind and now I can see.

Treme, from David Simon and Eric Overmyer (who previously worked with Simon on The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street), deals with the city of New Orleans three months after Katrina. It’s about how various citizens attempt, against the odds, to reclaim their home and start again. If that sounds at all dreary, let me tell you, it most certainly is not. Here’s a series that’s filled with equal amounts of joy and heartbreak. A character may experience a profound sense of despair, only to turn around and learn how to live again. The aftermath of the hurricane and the subsequent flooding of the city is merely a backdrop to draw rich, layered characters that quickly begin to feel like neighbors you know and love.

In many ways it reminds me of the rich tapestry Armistead Maupin accomplished with his Tales of the City series back in the 70s and 80s, only that was through prose (although eventually miniseries were made from his first three books). Maupin’s Tales have become integral reading for those who live in San Francisco, and in time the denizens of New Orleans will feel the same about Treme, assuming they don’t already.

Read the rest of this Blu-ray review by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Doctor Who: The Seeds of Doom & The Ark

This month’s Doctor Who DVD offerings, from a storytelling standpoint, have virtually nothing in common. One is a contemporary earthbound tale about an invader from space, while the other takes place far in the future, on a ship taking a vast voyage across the stars. One is a nice looking color production from the 70s, and the other is a creaky black and white yarn from the 60s. One of them is very, very good, and the other is, well, not. Aside from being Doctor Who, the two do have one other thing in common, and that’s that their titles are similar to some other Who stories, both of which have been previously released on DVD. Seven years before Tom Baker battled the Krynoid in “The Seeds of Doom,” Patrick Troughton squared off against the Ice Warriors in “The Seeds of Death,” and nine years after William Hartnell defeated the Monoids in “The Ark,” Tom Baker fought the Wirrn on a different ark (albeit one on a similar journey) in “The Ark in Space.” Hopefully nobody will get either of those arks confused with “Arc of Infinity,” but it is a possibility. If you’re confused, I apologize, because that wasn’t the intention.

Having previously praised two other stories (“Planet of Evil” and “The Brain of Morbius”) from Season Thirteen, it’s nice to have the opportunity to gush about its season finale, “The Seeds of Doom.” Yet another entry from the superb Philip Hinchcliffe produced era, “Seeds” sees the Doctor (Tom Baker) and Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) coming into contact with a nasty form of alien life called the Krynoid. As the Doctor so succinctly puts it, “On most planets, the animals eat the vegetation. On planets where the Krynoid gets established, the vegetation eats the animals.”

Read the rest of these DVD reviews by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

ReBoot: Seasons One & Two

It behooves those of us who write about pop culture to occasionally come clean, and admit that a TV show or a movie has flummoxed us. ReBoot, for me, is one such concept. That I was felled by a Saturday morning cartoon isn’t something that sets easy with me, but I feel as though I have to state it upfront, as it’s the only way I can be sure that this review will make sense. Otherwise, long-time fans of this cult series will no doubt read these words and have good long belly laughs at the newbie, and his failure to grasp what to them probably seems simple and obvious.

ReBoot takes places in a computer world called Mainframe. Its inhabitants refer to the unseen User as a sort of god, I suppose. Guardian Bob (Michael Benyaer) is the central character, and together with his friends Dot Matrix (Kathleen Barr) and her little brother Enzo (Jesse Moss, and later, Matthew Sinclair), the trio do battle primarily against two viruses named Megabyte (Tony Jay) and Hexadecimal (Shirley Millner). Megabyte and Hexadecimal are themselves frequently caught up in battles of their own. There are a seemingly infinite number of other little critters of all shapes and sizes running around Mainframe; some are good and some are bad.

Read the rest of this DVD review by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.