Sometimes when you’re at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, you feel a bit like Dorothy. Of course a part of that this the whole “There’s no place like home, but this Beverly Hills Hilton is pretty okay” mentality, but in the case of this Monday’s TCA line-up, that feeling had more to with the fact that there was a storm headed our way, both in the form of a sharknado and a stream of over-the-top cable programming.
Admittedly, I wasn’t too jazzed about the panels featured on Monday, seeing as they were made up of people from NBC cable series, and we don’t get a lot of those networks–Esquire, Oxygen, Syfy–in Canada. Also, a lot of the shows that got panels were reality-based, and that’s genre hasn’t exactly found its place at Cinefilles yet. But there were bright spots to be found in the clouded schedule, including a panel for Syfy’s upcoming 12 Monkeys adaptation.
Naturally, I was into the 12 Monkeys panel because the show’s based on the movie. But it was pretty interesting to get to hear how they are planning to respectfully change up the formula that made the flick, directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis, a hit. It doesn’t sound like some sort of carbon copy, changing up the genders of characters and adding new twists, which makes it seem very much in line with FX’s recently released Fargo. If we’re going to continue adapting TV shows like this, I’ll stick around for more. But I will also never forget that Freddy’s Nightmares tried to do a completely different thing with the Nightmare on Elm Street legacy and by doing so, completely slaughtered any chances of being half-decent.
There was actually quite a bit of movie/TV crossover in the last few sections of NBC’s second TCA day, what with a panel for a new Syfy series called Ascension including EP and horror dude Jason Blum. I went up to scrum with him after the panel, in hopes of getting some more info on the Jem and the Holograms movie he’s producing. Dude didn’t want to give too much info up, but did tell journalists hat there are new dolls coming, something that kinda got me right in the heart considering that I spent a lot of my youth playing with my cousin’s old Jem Barbie. Also, he, like the rest of us, is dying to get James Wan back on the Insidious track, hoping to reel the director back in for a possible fourth instalment. Considering that Chapter 3 is just in production now, with writer Leigh Whannell directing, and set to be released in May, that movie might not even happen, but we–including my fellow Insidious groupie Michelle Medford–can at least dream of going further into The Further.
For the moment, though, the other TCA members and I had to focus on jumping face-first into an evening screening of Sharknado 2: The Second One at the Beverly Hills pool. Surrounded by drive-in style snacks (hot dogs, Red Vines, popcorn in Sharknado cups!) and ’50s hot rod couches, we were invited to watch the monster of a movie in definite B movie style, which was kind of a dream for this Grindhouse girl. I didn’t get to catch much of the actual flick, unfortunately, as I had to jet off to another shindig quite shortly after it begun, but judging by the review I got from my pal and fellow Canadian Bill Harris, it’s got the same sort of terribly awesome bite as the first one. So, you’ll want to check it out when it premieres on Syfy (in the States) and Space (in Canada) on July 30.
As for that other party, well, it was for as show near and dear to my Canadian heart, Seed. I got invited to watch the American series premiere by stars Adam Korson and Carrie-Lynn Neales, and it was great to see the crowd react so fondly to the pilot, which still holds up pretty damn well years later. Although a peek at numbers for the first episode don’t cast the brightest future for the show at Stateside home The CW, I hope that some of the promotion it’s going to get at Thursday’s CBS party will help it reach viewers in some way. Korson and Neales have such great chemistry as Rosarry (okay, okay, Harry and Rose) and the show has a family-friendly racy tone that really could hit with audiences if they gave the show a chance.
In the meantime, I’m just happy to see Korson and Neales doing awesome over here. I attended the party with my former editor, TheTVJunkies.com founder Amber Dowling, and with creator Joseph Raso and fellow star Vanessa Matsui also around, it really felt like a Canadian TV reunion. I even spotted some other homegrown talent in the crowd, including The Grand Seduction star Liane Balaban and former Clueless–the TV show–lead Rachel Blanchard.
So, there might not be any place like home, but you can always still find parts of it even when you’re far from it.
Emily is covering the 2014 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour live from the Beverly Hills Hilton from June 12 – 22. Tune in every day for new pieces and follow her tweets at @Cinefilles and @emilygagne.