Posted in TV Stuff

5 More Repilots

Doctor Who

Rose – First Aired 26 March 2005

Starring Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper, Noel Clark & Camille Coduri

This could also fall into the category of Reboots, in fact when I looked at 5 positive reboots, I did include it in 5 Good Reboots. The fact it doubles as a re-pilot is a technicality as a result. It does the repilot often as the cast and show-runner changes quite frequently as part of it’s premise. But one thing this show did for it’s triumphant return in 2005 is change it’s format. Now in the before time, this was a multi-part series format. 2, 4 or 6 part stories broken down into 25 minute chunks, but with Rose we got 1 and dones or 2 parters at most with a 45 minute run time. More than changing the cast or creative teams (which this show already did so many times before) it changes how stories were told and in some respects what stories could be told. Maybe it was for the best? Maybe modern audiences, more used to faster paced stories and shorter arcs, wouldn’t have accepted it the old way. I don’t know, but it was changed quite dramatically in that way and it’s being more of a continuation as time went on left the show being more of a re-piloted show, than a rebooted one.

Stargate SG-1

Season 9 Episode 1 – ‘Avalon’ First aired 15 July 2005

Starring Ben Browder, Christopher Judge, Amanda Tapping, Beau Bridges, Michael Shanks, Claudia Black and sometimes Richard Dean Anderson.

Stargate SG-1 was a spin off from the pretty decent feature film Stargate. The film which originally had Kurt Rusell and James Spader had it’s characters Jack O’Neill and Daniel Jackson recast with Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks. The series added Christopher Judge and Amanda Tapping as original characters Teal’c and Samantha Carter and ran for 8 years battling the aliens posing as the pagan gods of Earth and other alien threats. After 8 seasons, Richard Dean Anderson moved further from the acting and by season 9 wasn’t going to be there for most of the season. So a newer character Cameron Mitchell was brought in played by Farscape’s Ben Browder. Also from Farscape was Claudia Black, reprising her role of Vala Mal Doran a human once possessed, but now freed. Without the original aliens to battle and their allies free to do as they wished, a new alien threat called the Ori appeared and started the whole sort of thing again. We got new villains, new government people to deal with, a new medical person and new leader of the SGC base and we got another couple of seasons that felt fresh-ish. It didn’t really have the same magic as it once did and the newer show Stargate Atlantis was doing all the new stuff, so maybe they should have stopped at 8, but there were fun episodes to be found and after a 10th season and two TV movies, the show wrapped up rather nicely.

Smallville

Season 8 Episode 1 ‘Odyssey’ First aired 18 September 2008

Starring Tom Welling, Alison Mack, Erica Durance, Aaron Ashmore, Cassidy Freeman and Justin Hartley

Smallville was a victim of it’s own success in many way. Originally produced as the untold story of the early years of the teen who would one day be Superman, the show was set in Smallville, Kansas and had a very specific amount of time to tell that story. Taking many of it’s cues from John Byrne’s Man of Steel, it seemed to be building to the day when Clark left and travelled the world. But the problem was, that it did well in ratings and acquired a loyal following. The family drama, the super heroics, the foreshadowing and the shaping of the relationships between Clark Kent, Lana Lang and Lex Luthor made the show highly entertaining and no one wanted it to go. 4 seasons became 6, became 7 and some people wanted out. Lex had gone from Clark’s friend, to his rival to an enemy and without it becoming the Superman/Lex story there wasn’t much to do there and both of the Kents were either killed off, or explained away and it was less and less about Smallville and Clark’s life there. Come season 8 and things changed. Clark was now working at the Daily Planet as a cub reporter. Lex and Lana were now gone and new characters and ideas came along to go with this newish direction. But it worked enough to give us 3 more seasons and the series ended with the iconic shirt rip, so alls well that ends well.

Unforgettable

Season 2 Episode 1 ‘Big Time’ first aired 28 July 2013

Starring Poppy Montgomery, Dyland Walsh, Dallas Roberts, James Hiroyuki Liao, Tawny Cypress and Jane Curtain.

Unforgettable was a police procedural in the ‘one of the detectives is unusual’ vein. This time Carrie Wells is an ex-cop brought back into the field to help the Syracuse Police Department. She is so useful because she has Hyperthemesia, she literally can’t forget anything. She looks at something and can always remember it. It’s an interesting idea, rather than having a highly developed brain like Sherlock Holmes, or psychic powers, her thing is simply that she misses nothing and can recall details that few if anyone else can. The show often shows the conceit of her re-running memory, showing her walking through her own flashback. Thing of it is, Hyperthemesia is a real thing, it’s a rare thing and people are still studying it, but it is a real  thing. The first season set in Syracuse is based on a case of the week basis, but also the mystery of Carrie’s sister’s murder, the one memory that she can’t access. The season ended and that was it. The second season opened with Carrie and her ex-boyfriend and current partner Al Burns being headhunted by the New York Mayor’s office to help run a major crimes division. They got a new supporting cast, more exciting cases and a new locale to play with. It didn’t change much in regards to what the show was about, but did make a clear demarkation from the first season.

Archer: Vice

Season 5 Episode 1 ‘White Elephant’ first aired 13 January 2014

Starring H.Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash, Chris Parnell, Aisha Tyler and the late Jessica Walters

Archer was a adult aimed cartoon about a US spy working for a side agency called I.S.I.S. who was a less than stellar person. While a capable fighter and operative, he lacked any kind of professionalism, discretion and restraint. He was drunk quite a lot of the time and led around by his privates most of the rest of the time. He also fit right in with his colleagues, his ex-girlfriend who still cared about him, the bizarre HR rep, the (I think literally) insane secretary and his overbearing hard-drinking mother. This was a work-place comedy with a spy-fi feel and a 1980’s aesthetic. But the organisation he worked for was unfortunately named for the time, so at the start of season 5, the spy agency (which we learn was operating illegally) is shut down and the gang start trying to make ends meet in other ways, with large scale drug dealing, country music record sales and arms dealing being what they gang tried to get into, with varying degrees of debacle. These people shouldn’t be protecting a country, I wouldn’t trust them to protect an ice cream van for ten minutes, but this was funny stuff. I have started re-watching this recently and will continue to do so. Oddly enough this re-pilot change would occur again, but that’s not where that started.

So that’s it, another 5 re-pilots. What do you think? Did I miss any? Did I get any wrong? Comments, replies and inappropriate jokes are always welcome.

Ttfn for now internet people.

Posted in TV Stuff

5 Repilots

The idea of a Repilot is not something I ever thought of until i watched the opening episode of season 5 of Community. Community was a very meta TV show. which looked at the tropes and trappings of TV and popular culture and was a very smartly written show. It’s a bit of a niche show, but I enjoyed it.

Now as per that episode (itself called Repilot) the concept is that a TV show can often change premise, several cast members and format later in it’s run. The example community used was Scrubs, whose final season pivoted from being about the early medical career of Doctor John Dorian and his immediate circle and became more about the newer doctors starting their careers. I  was fascinated by that concept, but not enough to start watching Scrubs again. There are better medical shows, better sitcoms and better shows with most of that cast, but I never forgot the idea of a repilot.

Fast forward to several weeks ago and in work, the idea popped into my head that there were several other shows that did change in that manner. Sitcoms did it often, Grace Under Fire, Two and a Half Men, Whitney, Ellen and others, spring to mind. Then there are shows that their entire premise is like that, American Horror Story, True Detective, Miracle Workers and mostly likely others that haven’t occurred to me. But I am not including them, nor do I mean reboots and re-imaginings, these are shows that carried on, but were different in very clear ways, not just cosmetic ones, or one or two cast changes.

So in chronological order here we go….

Blake’s 7

Series C – episode 1 Aftermath. First aired 7 January 1908

Starring Paul Darrow, Jan Chappel, Michael Keating, Steven Pacey, Josette Simon and Jacqueline Pearce.

Originally the story of Roj Blake and his war against the facist Terran Federation in Earth’s far future. The first two seasons told the story of his uphill battle to overthrow this evil empire and it’s cost on him and his crew. But two of the main cast (including Gareth Thomas, who played Blake) wanted to leave and so it was left to some of the remaining cast and a couple of new people to take the show in a different direction and was now more of a rag tag group of rogues causing trouble across space. The entertaining Paul Darrow was move from the background to show lead and he shined in that role for the next two seasons. Yes it was the shame show, but it now had a different feel. Was it as good? Maybe not. Was it as well received? I don’t know, but it continued to be commissioned, despite the male and female lead walking off the show.

Galactica 1980

Galactica discovers Earth part 1, first aired 27 January 1980

Starring Kent McCord, Barry VanDyke, Robyn Douglas, Lorne Green and Robbie Rist.

Battlestar Galactica was a Glen A Larson attempt to cash in on the success of Star Wars with a action packed space opera show done on a TV budget. It had a great concept and premise often used as a recapped voice-over. “Fleeing Cylon tyranny, the last battlestar, Galactica leads a ragtag fugitive fleet, on a lonley quest… a shining planet known as Earth.”

The series only really got the one series and as a result, never found Earth. It did get picked up as a lower budget revival, set in the here and now (well the hear and now of the early 1980s) and as a result, it’d be cheaper to make. More cost cutting was the casting of relative unknowns as the generation after the original cast. Kent

McCord played Boxy, the son of the previous series’ lead Apollo (played by Richard Hatch) now known as Troy he and his wingman Dylan were the pilots who were chosen, by new character Dr Zee, to secretly go down to the now located Earth, which was further behind technologically than the fleet and had no chance if the Cylons found the fleet and by extension Earth. It wasn’t as good, but there were interesting ideas and sometimes ambition matters when execution falters.

Angel

Season 5 Episode 1: Conviction – first aired 1 October 2003

Starring David Boreanaz, J.August Richards, Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof & James Marsters

Angel was a spin-off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, setting the vampire with a soul as a PI in Los Angeles, fighting demons and saving souls. After averting an apocalypse or two, the series ended with long time antagonists Wolfram & Hart (evil lawyers inc) ceding LA to Angel, offering him their LA office and leaving them to run it. The idea being that if they just starting demolishing the firm, then evil would do business elsewhere, if they didn’t they’d be part of the problem trying to do good, drowning in the evil they had previously been fighting. It became the metaphor of work in your 20’s. Can you still be the person you wanted to be, whilst being in the belly of the beast? Cue legal dramas, comical office politics and the addition of Buffy fan favouring James Marsters as Spike. Spike, now also a vampire with a soul adding conflict and comedy to the cast and the show changed as a result and could now tell new stories that took the idea of a demon fighting vampire and turned him into the head of an evil law firm. It was different, but it was still the same show. Would power corrupt? Sometimes. Would evil flourish? Sometimes. Was it worthwhile? Well that was the question. This new premise only lasted the one season, but it was a great swan song for this show that never eclipsed it’s predecessor, but was always worth watching.

Justice League Unlimited

Episode 1: Initiation – first aired 31 July 2004

Starring George Newburn, Phil Lamar, Carl Lumbly, Nichelle Tom, George Eads and Kevin Conroy (who is Batman)

The Timm-verse is the most ambitious and well realised animated saga outside of anime ever done. Starting with Batman the Animated Series, then Superman the Animated Series with diversions to Batman Beyond and Static Shock, it culminated in Justice League, which combined many of the characters and the voice actors who played them and brought them into a well realised and ambitious series that very rarely ever disappointed. It showed several parts of the DCU, including the Demon, Atlantis, Earth-3, the Green Lantern Corps and a return to the Fourth World. It ended with a 3-part alien invasion story and then they changed everything. No longer about 7 superheroes, it now included any hero that the expanded League needed. Heroes like Superman, shared a line-up with Hawk and Dove, Ralph Disney the world-famous Elongated Man, Supergirl, Captain Atom and the Question. We got to see more of the universe, including more Fourth World stuff, the future of Batman Beyond, Skartatis and even the future of the Legion of Super Heroes. We even got ongoing subplots, complex and relatable villains and a couple of great season finales. Also, we got a format change, no longer dependent on 2-parters, we got connected tales, or some great one-off episodes, which used humour, drama and action to tell enjoyable stories that showed the best parts of the  DC universe.

Alias

Series 4 Episode 1 – Authorised Personnel Only, first aired 5 January 2005

Starring Jennifer Garner, Ron Rifkin, Michael Vartan, Carl Lumley, Kevin Weisman and Victor Gerber

Alias was a fun little spy-fi action show, combing action scenes, sci-fi tropes and soap-opera levels of “everything you know is wrong” melodrama. It started off with it’s lead Sydney being  a double agent between the CIA and the criminal spy agency SD-6. Halfway through the second season, the SD-6 plot-line was finished and the series moved her towards being a regular spy in the CIA. Then we got a 2/3 year time jump, which extended that story a bit further. Now both of those things could be considered repots as a stretch, but that was mostly done organically, with no real start and end points connected to it. But for the fourth season it was a more clear change to premise. Instead of battling SD-6, Sydney and co were the core of APO which was a CIA backed version of SD-6. People were in different roles, some people knew the truth, some didn’t and it was similar enough to the original premise, but still feeling like a brand new show. This newish series lasted a further two seasons, before the Alias saga was wrapped up in a relatively satisfying ending. 

There you go, 5 shows that seemed to become new shows within their own runs and in most cases decent TV.

I came up with another 5, but that is for another day.

Ttfn internet people.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Right, where are we?

It’s been a while internet people and there’s been a lot going on, so lets have a quick status update.

Work: The end of furlough has made my job better in some ways, but there’s so many things that have made my job more difficult which were kept at bay during furlough, so this month has not been as easy as it could have been.

Home: There’s been some complications around the house that has caused no end of worry and upset. It’s been the worst that this situation has been and it’s brought about a tremendous amount of anxiety with no end in sight. In the interest of viewing the brighter side of life, it has gave us the kick up the arse needed to get the house more in order and get into the decorating side of things. As of yesterday, over half of the living room walls have been stripped. The job continues.

Health & Wellbeing: I have signed up to the local gym and am planning a 2/3 day per week and had my induction last week during some well earned not in work time. On the whole it seems like when I relapsed into depression a couple of years ago, I didn’t come all the way back like I thought and this has created problems in several areas in my life and it’s kind of like I didn’t notice. That was the terrifying bit I think. Drifting so far from yourself that by the time you notice, you don’t even know where you are anymore. So the best thing to do is to rebuild. Hence my going back to the gym. Also my decision to return to Slimming World. That wasn’t something I planned, but it is something I should do, because the last time I was happy, was when I was lighter. If I combine increased exercise and weight loss, I should feel better about things.

Other stuff: I had a birthday recently, hit 45 and I would love to say that I took stock of my life and stuff, but I decided to leave my life-stock alone and just live for a bit. I ate with my family, watched Dune in the cinema and generally enjoyed my day and have been doing my best to stay positive about a lot of things.

I didn’t really have anything to say, but wanted to get something down.

This is not the story of my defeat, but I need to put a lot of work in, before its a better story.

Love to you all internet people.