To the extent that I ever get some time to do so, I do intend to write up reviews of a variety of recent things I’ve read and watched. Chief among them are the Game of Thrones books and the HBO series adaptation, which I find to be the best new thing on television in at least a couple of years. HBO just released their new trailer for the second season.
It’s Pilot season in America. There certainly seems to be more shows that at least have the potential to be intriguing. There’s the can’t miss in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, the LOST clone in NBC’s The Event, the waiting-to-see-if-it-can-deliver in AMC’s The Walking Dead and a host of other intriguing new shows. I may not drop thoughts on all of them, but I will try to give my initial thoughts on some of those that catch my eye. After some work related delays, I’m getting back into it with HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.
- Monday: The Event (NBC)
- Wednesday: Undercovers (NBC)
- Thursday: My Generation (ABC), Outsourced (NBC)
- Sunday: Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
So of all the shows that were hotly anticipated, perhaps there was none more so than the HBO Steve Buscemi vehicle Boardwalk Empire. Promising production values that rivaled Band of Brothers, a cast of very solid character actors and a storyline and period setting that reeked of promise, it was hard not to be excited for Sunday nights with Boardwalk Empire and AMC’s Rubicon (my Quick Hits reviews thereof) and Mad Men.
Although I have been a bit delinquent in previewing the show, Boardwalk Empire is undoubtedly the best new pilot so far this season. It lives up to the billing of a Martin Scorsese production. Scorsese directed the pilot and serves as executive producer on the series. The pilot, in particular, was shot brilliantly with a heavy dollop of film cinematography. In particular, the initial boardwalk scene, traversing the Atlantic City shore with a single shot, had a tremendous, almost epic feel to it.
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The new David Simon (The Corner, The Wire) series on HBO is getting ready to kick off on Sunday night, April 11th. They’ve just released the extended trailer and I could not (pardon the expression) be more jazzed about it.
I’ve stated before that David Simon is a genius and one-half of the team that brought us real winners “The Wire” and “The Corner“, the latter of which I should have a review up for in the next week or so. It turns out the Simon has reupped with HBO and, along with former collaborator Eric Overmyer (but not Ed Burns), will be strutting on down from his comfort zone in Baltimore and entering Overmyer’s realm in N’Awlins.
Below is the teaser trailer for “Treme”, a series focusing on musicians in New Orleans’ destitute yet musically inspired Treme neighborhood (formally known as Faubourg Tremé). The cast includes several familiar faces, including Wendell Pierce (Bunk Moreland on “The Wire”), Clarke Peters (Lester Freeman on “The Wire” and Fat Curt on “The Corner”) and Khandi Alexander (Fran Boyd on “The Corner”). Joining them are film “star” Steve Zahn and HBO veteran Kim Dickens (Joannie Stubbs on “Deadwood”).
I could not be more psyched (then again, I was psyched for the “V” reboot, too).
Continuing with my recent theme of burning through BBC miniseries, I shuttled quickly through a joint venture production with HBO. Five Days is a five part, five hour miniseries featuring an ensemble cast that addresses, first and foremost, how a fractured family deals with crisis.
The cast is quite stellar, headlined by British television actors with strong resumes, though not much exposure to the United States. Leanne Wellings (Christine Tremarco) is the mother of three who goes missing off the side of a road while stopping to buy flowers and leaving her two youngest children in the car with their newly obtained dog, Gem. Leanne is married to Matt Wellings (David Oyelowo), a former soldier and current personal trainer. Together they have two children, Ethan (Lee Massey) and Rosie (Tyler Anthony), while Leanne had a prior daughter from another marriage, Tanya (Lucinda Dryzek).
Joining this mixed family is Leanne’s grandfather Victor (Edward Woodward), with whom she is quite close. More uncertain is Leanne’s relationship with her parents Barbara (Penelope Wilton) and John (Patrick Malahide). Barbara and Leanne struggle at times, while Barbara barely has a relationship with her father Victor. John, on the other hand, has a strained relationship with Leanne’s husbands (both the initial one and Matt).
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HBO recently released a gripping, insightful documentary that examines for one hour the three day attack on Mumbai
The program, entitled Terror in Mumbai, is hosted by Fareed Zakaria and covers the coordinated series of terrorist attacks undertaken by 10 Pakistani youths guided by Lashkar-e-Taiba. What makes the program unique is seemingly unparalleled access to Indian intelligence resources, recordings and transcripts of what actually happened. As Zakaria notes (quite accurately, I might add), Terror in Mumbai is the first 360 degree view of a terrorist attack: providing a look into the experiences of the terrorists, their masters, their victims and the police and other observers.
On November 26, 2008, just over one year ago, the 10 youths, including Ajmal Kasab of Punjab, Pakistan, hijacked a boat and traveled to a riverfront slum in Mumbai. They then proceeded to attack 10 locations, including a popular cafe, two car bombs left in taxi cabs and, of course, the Oberoi and Taj Mahal hotels. I felt a particular connection to the attacks, having traveled to India for a week in 2007 and having a friend in the Oberoi (locked safely in his room) and a friend of my sister’s in a cafe behind the Taj (who also escaped safely). Although media confusion reigned supreme at first, the media quickly latched on and provided coverage (though the reports took time to take true shape over the three days of the attacks.
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I’m going to be playing a bit of catch-up, providing reviews of some of the TV series, movies and films I’ve watched over the past few weeks. As a reminder, I go through a lot as I watch ‘em care of Netflix on my personal DVD player when working out on the elliptical at Equinox. Up in this post is Generation Kill.
Ed Burns and David Simon are two of my television heroes. Although I’ve not yet seen The Corner (their breakout 2000 drama), The Wire is the greatest series to ever appear on the telly. Generation Kill is the followup thereto.
The HBO miniseries is based on the 2004 book Generation Kill, written by Rolling Stone scribe Evan Wright. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Wright hitched a ride with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion of the US Marine Corps. During his two months with 1st Recon, he became ingrained with the troops and reported on Operation Iraqi Freedom and, more importantly, the soldiers who took part in it.
Burns and Simon took up the task of bringing Generation Kill to the small screen. Pairing again with the HBO team that helped bring The Corner and The Wire to fruition, the two moved from West Baltimore to West Baghdad in seven 70 minute episodes.
The series stars Alexander Skarsgård (as Sgt. Brad Colbert), James Ransone (as Colbert’s sidekick Cpt. Ray Person), Lee Tergesen (as the scribe, Wright), Jon Huertas (as ethnically confused Sgt. Antonio Espera), Billy Lush (as redneck Lance Cpl. James Trombley) and Stark Sands (as moral compass Lt. Nate Fick).
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