August 19, 2010

News: Debuts for Lost Girl, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil

Todd and the Book of Pure Evil will debut on SPACE Wednesday, September 29, 2010.  The first two half-hour episodes will air back-to-back, from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM ET.  The show stars Dark Oracle‘s Alex House as the title character.  Maggie Castle, Bill Turnbull, Melanie Leishman, Chris Leavins and Jason Mewes also star in the series.

SPACE is pimping Todd and the Book of Pure Evil rather heavily, with a Todd-centric InnerSPACE special airing September 22, 2010 at 9:00 PM.  The show will also be previewed at FanExpo Canada on August 28, 2010, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

As for Lost Girl, it debuts on Showcase Sunday, September 12, 2010, at 9:00 PM ET/PT.  The show stars Anna Silk as nascent succubus Bo.  Also appearing are Ksenia Solo as Bo’s best friend Kenzi, Kris Holden-Reid as shapeshifting homicide detective Dyson, and Zoie Palmer as Lauren the human.

A current trend in television is to take monsters and set them against a modern relationship drama or sitcom backdrop – Being Human, Ugly Americans, True Blood, Neighbors from Hell, this.  I’m generalizing a bit, but a lot of shows are embracing and/or subverting horror conventions.

I’m looking forward to Todd and the Book of Pure Evil more than Lost Girl.  Todd and the Book of Pure Evil doesn’t do itself any favours by the “Evil Dead meets The Breakfast Club” self-comparison.  At least the press bumf contains the words “vengeful penis monster.”  I can’t get a bead on what this show will be like.

As for Lost Girl, I’m on the fence with this series.  It uses the basic “human-like cryptid learns of her secret past” plot.  I’ve also obtained two scripts from the series.  Nothing stands out for me.  Lost Girl takes itself so damned seriously for a show about faeries.

I don’t want Lost Girl to be Troma-level dumb, but Todd and the Book of Pure Evil might be the smarter proposition here.  I never thought I’d say that about a show starring a slacker and his magic evil book, but there we are.


March 8, 2010

News: Todd & the Book of Pure Evil currently in production for SPACE

Frantic Films, Aircraft Pictures and Corvid Pictures are currently filming Todd & the Book of Pure Evil for SPACE.  The half-hour supernatural comedy, shot in Winnipeg, focuses on teen metalhead Todd (Dark Oracle‘s Alex House.)

The Book of Pure Evil is just that, a book that grants people their deepest desires…for a price.  Each week, some random Crowley High student will use the Book of Pure Evil, having learned nothing from the Wishmaster film series.  Todd quests to destroy the book with help from Jenny (Maggie Castle), Curtis (Bill Turnbull) and nerdy Hannah (Melanie Leishman.)

Jason Mewes – yes, that Jason Mewes – has a role as Jimmy, Crowley High’s janitor.  Chris Leavins, of fame, is guidance counselor Atticus Murphy Jr.

I’m ambivalent about Todd & the Book of Pure Evil.  Garry Campbell’s attached to the project as co-executive producer.  His prints are all over The Good Germany and The Ron James Show.  I’m not saying T&BPE will suck due to him, but his name doesn’t scream “quality content.”

On the plus side, Todd & the Book of Pure Evil will be helmed by Craig David Wallace.  Wallace co-wrote the screenplay for the 2003 short which led to this series.  Why it’s taken seven years for T&BPE to be developed…wait, I’m answering my own question.  It’s Canadian television.

I’ll reserve judgment about T&BPE until it airs.  It could be the horror-comedy version of The Jon Dore Television Show, or it could be Big Wolf on Campus with casual swearing.  With Jason Mewes in the cast, I’m hoping for the first scenario.

Also, please let this show have actual horror in it.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer-like shows have too much bad writing and unneeded character development in them.


April 1, 2009

CBC Pilot Burn-Off Time | The Good Germany

The CBC has rarely, if ever, made government bureaucracy seem funny.  Not My Department, In Opposition and Rideau Hall left three craters in that field years ago.  The Good Germany (CBC: Frantic Films, 2008) has left a smaller crater than those nadirs of Canadian television, unless this show is/will become a regular series.  Either way, I don’t want to see this show ever again.

The town of Germany, Ontario is rather poorly run, but that fact is only established a few minutes into The Good Germany.  Without this bit of information, the title makes little sense since Germany isn’t the most evil place on Earth right now.  If the show was called The Good Toronto and set in Alberta, that would make more comedic sense.  Then again, it’s hard to ask much from a show that uses a Rita MacNeil fat joke in its first minute.

Jack Mackay is the town’s newly elected mayor, trying to fix former mayor Gordon Verlaine’s various messes.  A motley crew of incompetent councilpeople, including Verlaine, try to impede Mackay’s progress.  Wayne Robson and Chris Leavins are among the show’s castmembers, and they’re better than the material they’re given.

A scene in The Good Germany underlines how bad the show really is.  It’s based around an impotence joke – Jack Mackay has not been able to fill “ink in his pen” since his wife died, a phrase councillor/manchild Pete misinterprets.  A normal show would throw this joke away in four, five seconds, tops.  The Good Germany tries to flog the same joke for a minute’s worth of material, except that the buildup makes the bad joke worse.  Another scene has Pete failing to repeat a spittake he made earlier in the episode.  It’s one thing to tell bad jokes, but this show repeatedly extrapolates on them.  Amazing.

The subplots are eminently believable.  Toronto city liaison Ellen Tremblay is the spitting image of Mackay’s dead wife.  Was The Good Germany honestly trying to milk a whole season out of this implausibility?  There’s also the matter of Mackay’s son dating Verlaine’s daughter.

Mackay got on the cover of Maclean’s for saving an infant from a burning building, which led to his becoming mayor.  Mackay’s too perfect, Verlaine schemes ineffectually and the city councilpeople are one-note ciphers.  No wonder CBC didn’t give this show any fanfare.

Show creator/writer Garry Campbell has written for shows like Less Than Kind, Blue Collar TV, MADtv and The Kids in the Hall.  He was also a member of The Chumps, which as a comedy troupe had a CBC Radio program in the mid-1990s.  With a pedigree like Campbell’s, I can’t believe this is the best he can do.  If this show has more episodes than the pilot in the can, for the love of God, keep them in the can!