Blood Drive Episode review 1.02: “Welcome to Pixie Swallow”

Part of me really loves trashy, so-bad-it’s-good television.  Heck, that’s why I did those Amish Mafia episode reviews years ago.

And now that I’ve found a new television series – Blood Drive – that’s so far over the top it lands in the next county – I’m hooked.  Not only does the show – a cross-country road race where the cars are fueled with human blood – pay homage to every 1970’s late night double feature drive-in movie, it does so with the full and complete knowledge that the viewers are in on the joke.

Episode 2 of Blood Drive – the wryly named “Welcome to Pixie Swallow” – encompasses that trend.  Note – this review is of a television show that is rated TV-MA, and this review is recommended for mature readers only.  Viewer discretion is advised.

Continue readingBlood Drive Episode review 1.02: “Welcome to Pixie Swallow””

Blood Drive on Syfy – what the hell did I just watch, and can I see more please?

About ten years ago, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez collaborated on a double-feature film called Grindhouse, where they created two separate exploitation-homage movies – Planet Terror and Death Proof – along with various trailers for films like Werewolf Women of the S.S., Hobo with a Shotgun, and Machete – and released it in theaters.  You might remember the film, the Planet Terror pic had Rose McGowan as a freedom fighter whose leg is replaced with a machine gun; and Kurt Russell was a stuntman who drove a car that was death-proof for him – but not for his passengers.

Continue readingBlood Drive on Syfy – what the hell did I just watch, and can I see more please?”

Reflections on Adam West

Last night, I heard the awful news that actor Adam West passed away at the age of 88.  He led a fll and long life, and whether he was typecast in one specific role or not, and although he eventually grew to appreciate and embrace that one role – he will always be, to a generation of television viewers, the legendary Caped Crusader, Batman himself.

He was my first true television superhero – every afternoon at 4pm on WRGB would be a brand new (to me) Batman episode.  Maybe I didn’t understand the camp value of the series – how most of the actors were playing their roles over-the-top and tongue-planted-directly-in-cheek – but for a six-year-old who had enough drama in his home life, Batman was an escape for me.

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Can The Orville break the U.S. sci-fi comedy TV curse?

Among the many television shows scheduled for the upcoming 2017-18 prime time television season is a brand new program from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.  No, it’s not another animated series like The Cleveland Show or American Dad!  Instead, it’s a science fiction comedy spoof series.  In this new FOX TV series, MacFarlane is the captain of a space ship called The Orville.  Hence … the name of the show.

Better yet, here’s the trailer for the series.

Continue reading “Can The Orville break the U.S. sci-fi comedy TV curse?”

So “Timeless” wasn’t cancelled by NBC after all??

Last year, most of the major television networks bombarded us with time travel programs – whether it involved reboots of time travel movies as series (ABC’s Time After Time, the CW’s Frequency), comedy time travel shows (Fox’s Making History) or whole new programs (NBC’s Timeless).

And one by one, each show debuted – garnered miserable ratings – and were cancelled.  Time After Time died after five of its scheduled 13 episodes aired.  Frequency didn’t even finish its maiden season.  And Making History had its season order cut to a quick six episodes, then vanished faster than anything.

That just left Timeless, an NBC drama featuring three time-travelers on the hunt for a fourth time traveler who is bent on changing history and causing worldwide historic calamity.  The show was a bit of goofy fun, and there was an overarching storyline about some sort of Illuminati-like organization that controlled history … yeah, you had to see it to understand it.

Continue reading “So “Timeless” wasn’t cancelled by NBC after all??”

The last, sad, remaining Amish Mafia story

For three years, I had fun reviewing the godawful trashy reality show Amish Mafia, the program that purported to reveal the secret society within a secret society – the crew of enforcers and thugs and gangsters among the Plain Folk of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

I had a lot of fun reviewing and snarking on those shows – the crappy acting, the convoluted storylines, the straight-out offensiveness of the whole program.  It was silly and it was fun.

What was NOT fun about the show was the ongoing real-life storyline between Esther Freeman Schmucker, one of the stars of Amish Mafia, and her off-camera boyfriend, rapper I’Mir Williams.  At one point in time, Williams beat Schmucker nearly to a pulp, fracturing her cheekbones and her teeth.

I remember that horrible story.  And I wrote about it in 2014.

And I wrote about how the producers of Amish Mafia callously and horridly wrote the assault into the program storyline.  This show just didn’t hit rock bottom… it borrowed jackhammers and kept on plunging lower.

That was three years ago.

This morning, I learned that Lancaster County, Pa. police are on a manhunt for I’Mir Williams.  WGAL in Lancaster, Pa. reports that Williams assaulted an unnamed woman and put two children in danger.  According to a police spokesperson, “There was a choking incident, a slamming into a door and punching and kicking…two children were being held or close to the female victim…they were in some risk of harm as well.”

Although the woman is not initially identified in the news report, the last two lines of the news story are chilling.  “This isn’t the first time Williams has been charged with assaulting this woman. He was charged with assaulting her in Strasburg in 2013 while she was on the show ‘Amish Mafia.'”

Dammit.  Not again.  Not again.

Some people will say, “well, if you’re being beaten, get away.”  But it’s not that easy.  It never is.  Some people can’t leave their abusers, whether it’s because of emotional damage, the fear of destitution, or a thousand other reasons that make no sense to you or to me, but make perfect sense to them.  It’s sad and it’s horrifying and it’s traumatic.

And I certainly hope that there are people who can help Esther Freeman Schmucker through this painful and traumatic ordeal the best way possible – get her the hell away from I’Mir Williams, and make sure that Williams spends the rest of his natural life in a prison cell.  Assaulting a family member is horrid enough … but now you bring children into the battle?  Scum.

Trust me.  This is more important than a silly little TV show from years ago.

I know there’s an old mantra about how “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

This was one of those things I hoped would change for Esther Freeman Schmucker.

I’m sorry to see that it hasn’t changed.

Very sorry.

I hope police find I’Mir Williams – and if there is any sort of karma in this world, I hope he gets every punch back at him that he threw at another person.

Every single punch.



Okay, Netflix, here’s one of the reasons I subscribed to you.  Call up the search function.  Spell it out with the remote on my Apple TV … “M… Y… S…” Okay, I’ve got The Mysteries of Laura, and – oh wait, here it is.  Mystery Science Theater 3000, 2017 Edition.  Add this to my “saved” list.

Okay, what’s my first new episode with Crow, Tom Servo and whoever the new guy is …

Holy crap, it’s Reptilicus – the Danish monster movie that was a monster box office flying turkey!

Oh man, I gotta be ready for this … sorry if it sounds like I’m nerding out right now… just deal with it.  This happens for me every time a new Star Wars or Mad Max movie premieres.

First, we get an introduction to the new guy – Jonah, who will wear the yellow jumpsuit of Gizmonic Institute … and an update to the theme song!

Wait … Tom Servo can fly?  Crow has legs and feet?  And Gypsy actually now sounds like a girl?  MIND BLOWN!!

And after a quickie “invention exchange” that pays homage to the old “invention exchanges” first host Joel had with the mad scientists (oh wow, the new Mads are Felicia Day as Dr. Kinga Forrester, and Patton Oswalt as TV’s Son of TV’s Frank – yeah, say that ten times fast), we immediately get movie sign, and after a new stop-motion countdown to the theater, we’re back watching the silhouettes of Crow, Tom Servo and Jonah ranking and riffing on this godawful Danish monster movie.

And after I got over a few modern cultural riff references to jokes about Kickstarter, I just repeated to myself … “It’s just a show, I should really just relax” and enjoyed myself.

I knew Reptilicus was a stinker of a movie – heck, they used to show this on WTEN way back in the 1970’s, I think it was part of a package deal where they showed this film, Don Knotts’ The Reluctant Astronaut and the animated stinker Pinocchio in Outer Space every Saturday afternoon on rotation.  As far as I was concerned, Reptilicus totally deserved the MST3K treatment.  I completely dug the scattershot jokes and snarky comments – it was as if the show had never left, and that as far as I was concerned, I had just missed 18 seasons because my cable company didn’t carry the show’s channel for a while.

But, of course, the true test of MST3K isn’t just the riffing and ranking.  It’s also the moments when the host and the bots step out of the theater and have a comedy bit of their own.  And any concerns I might have had about Jonah as the new host disappeared the moment he performed “Everybody Has A Monster,” a rap track about various monsters from various countries, in a rap style that almost sounded like a Lin-Manuel Miranda leftover Hamilton track.

Oh my Lord this is freakin’ hilarious.  I want to hear it again.  Damn it, iTunes, why can’t I download this song on your service?  Or at least can someone send me a high-quality mp3 of this gem?  😀

All the episodes of the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival are available for streaming on Netflix.  And all I can say is …

I’m going to be kinda – shall we say – preoccupied for the next few days.  I hope you’ll understand.

(flashing light on the control panel)