Saturday, November 05, 2005

Miscellaneous: Critics’ Choice

Nancy Franklin’s latest TV column in the New Yorker, which looks at several new sitcoms, contains her usual sharp writing. She suggests that the recent fallow period for comedies is what allowed offbeat shows like ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and SCRUBS to survive despite low ratings. But now that the format is hot again, new sitcoms will be expected to deliver at once.

Her main focus is NBC’s hit MY NAME IS EARL, which she describes as “charmless and patronizing, and as refreshing as dust.” Ouch. You’d think that a review that bad would keep me from watching. But Franklin also says that EARL contains “more than a whiff of MALLRATS.” Rosemarie and I have an irrational degree of affection for that Kevin Smith movie, largely due to EARL star Jason Lee’s ridiculously charismatic performance. A weekly version of that goofball flick sounds worth a look to me.

GreenCine Daily steered me toward New York Times film critic Dave Kehr’s blog. His latest post does the impossible: it has me even more excited to see the adaptation of Scott Phillips’ killer crime novel THE ICE HARVEST.

TV: Masters of Horror

Here’s one new show that I am watching. Showtime presents 13 hour-long fright films by genre specialists. The premiere episode reunited Don Coscarelli with mojo storyteller Joe R. Lansdale after their success with BUBBA HO-TEP. The result was as intense as anything I’ve ever seen on the tube. This week’s episode, with Stuart (RE-ANIMATOR) Gordon turning once again to H.P. Lovecraft, made for a solid follow-up. Upcoming installments will be directed by Dario Argento, John Carpenter and Takashi Miike, and include adaptations of stories by Clive Barker and Richard Matheson.