One Step Beyond (1959) Season 1 Disc 1
A new release from CBS Home Video, who recently brought out both seasons of one of my chilhood favorites,
"The Invaders". "One Step Beyond" is an old black & white TV anthology series which premiered before
"Twilight Zone" and so far seems to focus more on strange phenomena and the unexplained.
I have only seen the first Disc so far, so I may be in error.
None of the episodes were particularly scary, opting more for slight spookiness and weirdness.
A few examples include: a newlywed Southern belle who suddenly speaks and acts like a totally different
woman, insists she didn't commit suicide, and provides information that lead to the arrest of her killer;
a wife who senses that something bad happened to her missing husband and eventually leads the police to
the site of his car accident; several people who all have premonitions about the sinking of the Titanic
(that episode stars an impossibly-young Patrick MacNee! :D ). So yeah, you see where the show is at.
I'll be getting and watching the other discs.
Space: 1999 (1975-1977) all 17 Discs - both seasons
I used to watch this show on French TV, dubbed in French, and I remember being scared by several episodes.
This is the first time I've seen it in the original English, and the first time I've seen Season 2, which
was never shown on French TV for some reason. And the two seasons are very different in tone and pacing.
Season 1 is, according to producer Sylvia Anderson, a voyage into fear, fear of the unknown.
And wow, that explains so much! Season 1 feels like a horror sci-fi show! The opening theme music is pretty
awesome, but a lot of the incidental music is plain creepy. There are plenty of dark corners, skeletons,
horribly disfigured bodies, screaming, general creepiness and nervous laughter in the way of humor.
Brian Blessed was in one episode and wound up melted! But the one episode that really scared the crap outta
me was a little masterpiece called "Dragon's Domain", featuring a graveyard of spaceships overseen by a
tentacled creature that would teleport in, roar nonstop, and mind-control its victims into jumping into
its giant perpetually-open maw. Said maw would then spit out the dehydrated husks of its victims.
I WAS 10 YEARS-OLD, FER FANGED GOD'S SAKE!! At home, alone! I had nightmares for WEEKS!
Compared to Season 1, Season 2 is a bitching funky disco time packed with action-packed action! :D
All the music's been replaced, the intro is a thrilling disco number, and some light humor has been added.
There are unexplained cast changes a-plenty! Dr. Bergman? Gone! Kano the computer guy? Gone! Paul? Gone!
New people? Maya the alien who fills the Dr. Bergman and Spock role, and is a lot more fun to be around!
And she can turn into other living creatures! And dammit, she's cute! There's also Tony, the security chief
who likes Maya a lot and various other people who were never even seen in Season 1.
The show's lighting got brighter, chasing away all those dark corners. The uniforms got brighter too.
The show was changed to appeal more to the all-important American audience ('cause America had the money!).
Now that I have seen every single episode, I have come to the realization that I don't really like the show
much and that I used to watch it back in France just because it was on, and I loved the Eagles. And also,
Commander Koenig (Martin Landau) and Dr. Russell (Barbara Bain), the two main characters, looked a bit
like my mom and dad. It was weird to see them up there, on a moonbase, in charge of stuff. :)
My Dinky Toys die-cast Eagle Transport toy remains my all-time favorite die-cast toy ever.
The Chase (1966)
Heat + booze + bored Texas townfolks + escaped convict = recipe for disaster.
Oh yeah, this is a fun movie, filled with racism, adultery, small-town corruption, and vigilantism.
Marlon Brando plays the town sheriff, who turns out to be the only sane guy in the entire flippin' burgh.
Well, him and his wife, played by Angie Dickinson. The escaped convict is played by Robert Redford, who was
then an unknown. His wife is played by Jane Fonda. The rest of the cast includes E.G. Marshall, James Fox,
Robert Duvall, Clifton James and an impossibly-young Paul Williams. :D
The escapee is basically a good kid, just a little wild sometimes. He got sent to jail after being framed
for a crime he didn't commit. The bastard who did commit the crime is afraid the convict will come get him.
The bastard is respectable now, see? Director of the local bank, owned by the local rich guy.
The escapee broke out with a stone-cold killer, who wasted no time killing someone, and the escapee is now
blamed for that murder, which freaks out the townfolks even more. They're convinced he's coming back.
By the time the movie ends, it's a flaming trainwreck of a situation: horrible, but you can't look away.
This is why we don't hire people from Texas. :D
Wallace & Gromit: A Matter Of Loaf And Death (2008)
Just released on Region 1 DVD, this is the most recent W&M short, and it is hilarious.
It is a murder mystery, and I do believe this is the first Wallace & Gromit project to feature death,
albeit in a humorous sort of way. Watch for the Hitchcock, "Ghost" and "Aliens" references. :)
The DVD contains a couple of featurettes and one episode of "Shaun The Sheep" (the soccer one).
Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Vol. 1 (2009)
This DVD contains the first 4 episodes of Season 1 of the new Batman cartoon. The show is done in a more
lighthearted way than "Batman: TAS" and "JL/JLU", going back to the campier side, per se.
The art style is kind of chunky and I can see Kirbiesque bits here and there.
Batman is paired with another superhero in each episode, and they're pulling some of the more obscure ones,
like Red Tornado (I had to look him up) and Blue Beetle (though it's a new Blue Beetle, or something).
Aquaman seems to be channeling Brian Blessed. Green Arrow's a bit childish and very competitive with Batman.
Personally, I've been enjoying the show, it's a lot of fun. Here's one of my favorite exchanges:
Plastic Man: "Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Because I’m seeing gorillas, riding pterodactyls,
with harpoon guns, stealing a boat."
Batman: "It’s Gorilla Grodd."
Plastic Man: "It’s messed up is what it is!"
How can you not love such ridiculousness?
I wouldn't buy this DVD though, or any other "Volume". I would hold out for a complete season pack.
Torchwood: Children of Earth (2009)
I've touched on this briefly in another post. Russell T. Davis is a horrible man and I wish him misery.
What he's done to his creation is reprehensible and the acts of a petty vengeful being.
This 5-part mini-series, making up the totality of Season 3, was a crucible for me. I mean, I started
watching Season 1 of this dumb little show that apparently wrote its own slash fiction, ha ha ha. And by
the time Season 2 came around, to my surprise, I started liking the dumb little show and caring about it.
I've never had any emotional attachment to
but dammit, I cared about that bunch of misfits led by the man who couldn't die!
I was pretty much crushed by the end of "CoE".
That horrible man says he has Season 4 all planned out.
I'm not sure I want to see what he has in store.
The Astonishing Work of Tezuka Osamu
Tezuka who? The creator of "Astro Boy", "Kimba The White Lion" and "The Amazing 3", that's who! :)
I was hoping this was a documentary about the man widely regarded as "the Disney of Japan" and "the Father
of Manga", but it turned to be a collection of his experimental animation work. Of all the shorts
gathered on this DVD, only two of them were familiar to me: "Jumping" and the hilarious "Broken Down Film".
"Jumping" is a first-person perspective cartoon about a child who starts jumping progressively higher and
farther. It's pretty neat and works in Tezuka's signature peacenik and "green" tendencies.
"Broken Down Film" is a retro black and white cowboy cartoon with an old timey soundtrack. The cartoon
is badly damaged, so the frame gets out of synch, or breaks, or dirt gets trapped. All these problems
are actually exploited by the characters in the cartoon in a rather Tex Avery-like twist. Funny stuff!
There are over a dozen additional shorts, some incomprehensibly Japanese in subject matter.
One really good short is "The Legend of the Forest", the tale of woodland critters and fairyfolk versus
evil developers. The short actually changes animation style several times during its run. It's neat!
If you're an animation buff, this is worth a rental.
House, M.D. (2004) Season 1 Disc 1
So yeah, everybody loves House and lots of people seem to have House icons on their Live Journal accounts.
I like Hugh Laurie as much as the next guy, but I disliked medical shows and coroner shows.
Maybe it's something about not liking gore, maybe it's something about losing my mom and my brother to
cancer and spending interminable hours in a pauper's hospital (LAC+USC) watching over my brother.
Recently, I decided, "to heck with it, I'm gonna see what the fuss is about".
I Netflixed Season 1 Disc 1 and started watching. Right from the first episode, there's a problem.
Rory Gilmore (well, the actress who played her on "Gilmore Girls", one of my guilty pleasures) is a patient
and I get to see a hole carved into her throat by a scalpel in loving details. Oh boy.
Okay, I figure it's just a fluke, let's press on.
Episode 2: a kid is brought in with some kind of neurological problem. Halfway into the episode,
he's strapped into a chair and a computer arm drives A LONG FUCKING NEEDLE DIRECTLY INTO HIS RIGHT EYE!
I couldn't press Eject fast enough.
Rule #1 of the Kzinti Freehold: YOU DO NOT FUCK WITH THE EYES! EVAR!
Thank you, I'm done with "House".
Aka "Liam Neeson Kicks Ass And Takes Names". I've already written about this in a normal post, so I'll
just remind y'all that this is a really cool action film packed with a few surprises.
Uncle Liam plays a retired CIA operative whose daughter is kidnapped by Albanian white slavers mere hours
after she arrives in Paris with a friend. The full fury of Uncle Liam is unleashed! DARKMAN SMASH! :D
The DVD I got from Netflix is the theatrical version, recut for a PG-13 rating to satisfy those assholes
at Fox. They did release the "Extended Cut" on DVD though, and I'm planning to get that eventually.