MY SO-CALLED LIFE was Your Favorite Show? Good News! It’s Back!

…Well, kinda. You’ll see:

Not MY SO-CALLED LIFE…but close!

Missing My So-Called Life? Check out MTV’s Awkward! – by An Nicholson

Jenna Hamilton is Angela Chase reborn. “Awkward.” embodies every single thing I loved about “My So-Called Life” and other ’90s teen dramas. Pretty boy Jordan Catalano? Check. Wacky minority friend? Check! Slutty female friend? Check. Check. Check!

There were three shows I loved in the ’90s which I felt perfectly captured my too-smart-for-the-world, all-black-wearing, undo-the-dominant-paradigm angsty, I’m-so-misunderstood teen self: ABC’s My So-Called Life (1994-1995), MTV’s Daria (1997-2001), ABC’s Life Goes On (1989-1993) as well as ABC’sOnce and Again (1999-2002). All included too-smart for the world brunettes who lusted after and eventually landed the perfect popular boy. While I have the Daria DVD sets on back order and both Life Goes On as well as Once and Again had full seasons, a hole always remained in my heart for My So-Called Life’s early cancellation. I loved the show because it perfectly captured how I felt at that age: lost, misunderstood, unpopular and adrift. Angela Chase (portrayed by Claire Danes‘ luminous old world eyes) embodied everything the ’90s teen felt and then some. After ABC cancelled it after only one season (one *#!&&#*@# season!!!), I mourned the show’s early passing.

Even as recently as last year, I STILL hoped My So-Called Life’s series creator, Winnie Holzman, would call together Claire Danes and her executive production staff to pen the show’s final seasons. Luckily, after watching two seasons of MTV’s Awkward. back-to-back I no longer have that desire. Awkward. ISMy So-Called Life: The Missing Years.

Awkward. surrounds incredibly normal, yet inexplicably unpopular “freak” Jenna Hamilton. After receiving an anonymous letter calling her a wuss through numbered points, she writes an anguished blog post in response and goes to take a bath. But, after taking a couple aspirin for a headache, she accidentally falls into the bathtub, knocking a hairdryer into the bath water while spilling aspirin onto the bathroom tiles. Yeah. Awkward. Unsurprisingly, everyone in her immediate social circle, including her parents, teachers, friends, and schoolmates assume that she’s a suicidal spaz. And, that’s just the pilot.

I love Awkward., not just because Jenna Hamilton gives me major Angela Chase vibes, but because it perfectly captures the teen angst experience without belittling it, slutting it up or turning it into saccharine words. It’s honest, raw and open. It’s everything I loved about My-So Called Life.

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We admit it. We’re intrigued. If you’ve been watching AWKWARD please get in touch. We have some reviews for you to write!


The Good:

  • Well written, well directed, with real-sounding (if mannered) dialog, just as you would expect from a series run by HOMICIDE and OZ’s Tom Fontana)
  • Strongly evokes the time and place
  • Earnest and filled with a concern for justice, social as well as legal

The Not-So-Good:

  • I don’t believe the existence of the ex-slave/forensic genius character for a minute for all sorts of historical/socio/criminological reasons
  • Seems to betray its concern for justice with its overwrought yet titillating portrayal of evil
  • Wears its earnestness as though nothing else should matter (which means don’t look for any laughs here, folks, even though real people do often demonstrate sense of humor

The Worst:

  • My wife, who is well-versed in matters related to child abuse, refused to watch after a certain scene on the subject
  • Much as I respect the attempt and those making it (HOMICIDE was in my opinion one of the Top 5 cop shows ever), this show makes me feel the same way OZ did: No way do I want to spend one second of the time alotted for my life in this unrelievedly dark, ugly universe

“The Fien Print” ruminates on NBC’s Upcoming REVOLUTION

We have a new hero. His name is Daniel Fienberg, and he writes like an angel over on HitFix.Com. Over the summer, Mr. Fienberg has been discussing his take (“This is *not* a review. Pilots change….”) on the pilots he’s seen for this Fall’s new shows. We’re going to try and play catch-up with his work. Hope you like what DF says and how he says it as much as we do.

Take Me To The Pilots ’12: NBC’S REVOLUTION – by Daniel Fienberg

The Pitch:“Remember when all of the networks were trying to do mythology-rich shows like ‘Lost,’ but they all failed? This is like those shows, only since there are fewer of them now and since we know how ‘Lost’ turned out, maybe this one won’t fail.”

Quick Response:Perhaps because it was directed by Jon Favreau — not that that’s any excuse, since it was written by Eric Kripke and produced by J.J. Abrams, both TV veterans — “Revolution” has the deliberate build of a 125-minute movie, only it stops at the 44-minute mark. That means that you spend a lot of time exposition-izing and then just when things get fun… BAM. See you next week. And the exposition-izing is odd, because in some ways, “Revolution” is astoundingly efficient. The set-up for premise is insanely swift, with the core energy outage taking place within the opening two minutes.

From there, we’re given 30 minutes of world-building that ideally either needed to take more time — so it had actual context and we cared about the characters — or less time — because a lot of stuff happened, but it doesn’t mean anything. And I couldn’t tell you which I’d prefer. On one hand, there’s a roadtrip to Chicago — impressively overgrown with foliage only 15 years after The Blackout — that could have been spaced over three or four episodes and actually meant something, but the pilot doesn’t really kick into gear until we get to Chicago and meet Billy Burke’s character, a sword-weilding Han Solo equivalent.

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How SYFY made a show based on a Stephen King story and didn’t tell anyone.

by Robin Reed

Well, they didn’t tell me. I am the target audience for any show with a science fiction, fantasy, or horror premise. I will watch anything in those genres. And Stephen King – I have two shelves devoted to his books. I haven’t caught up with “The Colorado Kid” yet, a short novel of Mr. King’s from a few years ago, but if I had heard a hint of a TV show being made that was based on it, I would have been there to check it out.

Instead, I discovered “Haven” due to insomnia, by which I mean I couldn’t sleep, not the title of another Stephen King book. I got up and watched TV, switching to Syfy (still hate the new name) because that’s where I always start a TV session. I move on only when I have seen the show or movie already or if even I can’t stand the particular CGI monster that appears before my wondering eyes.

“Haven” is set in a coastal Maine town, but I knew that these kinds of shows are never shot in the U.S., and indeed the long and detailed Wikipedia article (someone knew about this show, and wrote a long and very boring article about it) says it is produced in Nova Scotia. Seemingly it was first developed for E!, which as far as I know doesn’t do scripted shows at all. (E! is one of the channels that produces an autonomic thumb movement on my remote to get past it as fast as possible.)

Stop me if you have heard this before: An outsider (FBI agent Audrey Parker) arrives in a small town (Haven, Maine) on a routine case (or to solve a murder, or is brought there by a son she didn’t know she had) and discovers that a lot of strange things happen in that town. There may even be clues about her own identity. When the first case is wrapped up, she is offered a job as a sheriff’s deputy (or something) and stays on. You should have stopped me, that’s “Once Upon a Time,” and several other shows the titles of which don’t leap to mind.

So I watched two and a half episodes, and when I got some sleep and then looked it up I found that this show has been running since 2010. It is distributed all over the world. I have never heard of it. I have never seen an ad for it. We’re going into the third season and it has escaped my SF, fantasy and horror addled brain entirely.

Now that I have discovered it, I will watch it again. The next time I can’t sleep. The stories weren’t that exciting or original. The Stephen King story must have been better.

The last episode I saw involved men in the town aging and dying in three days after making it with a mysterious hottie. At the end we find that said hottie has a baby every time she seduces a man. One of the series regulars (and possible love interest for Audrey) Duke Crocker starts to age and just before he perishes from all the latex in his old age makeup, Audrey tries to place the baby in his arms to see if the life energy will go back into him. No, it hurts him to bring the baby near him. But he recovers and the baby is shipped off to be adopted somewhere. The logic of the story is completely blown. We know either the baby or Mr. Crocker has to die. It has to have been written that way. Mr. Crocker is one of those characters you know won’t die because he’s in every episode. The baby is just a prop wrapped in a blanket. Someone intervened and told them you can’t kill a baby. So they reshot a little and made them both survive. Then why did the other two men die? Why does the story matter?

I will go read “The Colorado Kid” and see if it bears any resemblance to this show.

munchman Visits Some Shows His Pals Recommend…

…What? You didn’t know I had pals? Well, maybe I won’t after this. But I gotta be honest, you know?

So many jocks. So little game.

So many gambits. So little result.

So many Judy Garlands. So little talent.

So many schemes. So little thought.

Sorry, ex-friends. Don’t hate on me, okay?

But wait, I almost forgot this:

So many real moments. So little to make me not want to kill myself.

There, that’s positive, right? Well, it is. For me