Thursday, November 29, 2007

TV movies; like normal TV only longer

I’ve seen two movies based on television shows recently. Both were quite good, though this came as no surprise since the shows themselves are first rate.

The first was Battlestar Galactica: Razor. Now before any of you naysayers speak up, I’m not listening to any of your lip. Yes, Dwight loves Battlestar, thus assuring that it is a nerdy show. It may be nerdy, but it is awesome. I was just telling my roommate today that I’m looking forward to Battlestar’s upcoming season premiere more than that of Lost. Both are fine shows, but Battlestar is very often a more satisfying experience. The nerdiest among you have debated the value of Heroes versus Lost and what you may miss is that Battlestar takes the best elements of the two serial drama powerhouses, and adds better acting, cooler effects and an epic storyline. It’s a fantastic show, as anyone who has watched an episode and a half will tell you.

Razor wasn’t fantastic, but it was good. Strangely enough the movie takes place in three different time periods, none of which are in between the most reason season and the upcoming premiere. It’s basically three different sets of flashbacks, but which all tie together and provide a couple new bits of information for the upcoming season. The concept didn’t exactly enthrall me, but I trust the writers of this show to do whatever they please. And it worked well. The biggest impact the movie had was to make me excited for the new season. And perhaps this was the major point of it all. If only the new season didn’t correspond with my time studying for the board exams.

The second movie was the new Futurama movie. For those of you that are unfamiliar, this is another cult following show. It’s from the writers of The Simpsons, but was never terribly successful. But the DVDs of the show sold extremely well and it has been one of the centerpieces of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming, and like Family Guy before it, it has been resurrected. In another unusual marketing movie, 4 movies are being made, which will be cut up into 16 episodes which will be shown on Comedy Central next year. It’s strange, but fans of the show are happy to see it in any form they can.

This movie is called Bender’s Big Score, and the plot is too complex to go into and fairly inconsequential. What is consequential is that it was very entertaining. Futurama is fairly unique in that it has funny characters spouting funny dialogue while acting out funny storylines, all the while with funny visual gags in the background. It doesn’t have as many laugh-out-loud spots as Family Guy or a classic Simpsons episode (though far more than current episodes), but it is constantly amusing. Furthermore the characters are much more relatable and paradoxically human (seeing as most of them are mutants, aliens, robots etc) than those in other animated shows. So not only is it uniquely funny, but the storylines, silly as they may be, seem more important to the viewer. I thought these strengths were shown very clearly in the movie. But I’m not sure if a new viewer will enjoy it much. There are constant references back to previous episodes throughout the movie. Almost none of them are essential to the plot, but I think the movie would seem very random to a new viewer. But for me, it was simultaneously a great bit of nostalgia and new entertainment. I can’t wait until the next one.

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