I've been thoroughly enjoying the terrible writing and ridiculous overacting on Starz' Camelot series these past few weeks, much in the same way I've been having a wonderful time watching and laughing at Hellcats and The Event in their respective first seasons. But something unpredictable happened last Friday. Camelot delivered an episode that was not only not the most hilarious thing I'd seen all week, but was also kind of... badass? And almost... good? I'm freaking out. Let's discuss this rare phenomenon.
RIP Party Down.
If you like The Good Wife but wish the show focused all of its attention on sleazy Peter Florrick instead of splitting time with procedural cases and love triangles, or if you enjoy all of the corruption and cinematography of Boardwalk Empire but would prefer that you didn't have to deal with so many annoying characters, Boss might just be your dream show. And yes, I realize that I am recommending an intense drama on Starz, a network known for guilty pleasure original series that have copious amounts of blood and nudity (there's only one scantily clad sex scene in the pilot episode), or shows with a sci-fi bent. I also realize that I'm recommending a drama starring Kelsey Grammer. What can I say? Evil mayor is a mighty good look for him.
You're probably looking forward to the far-off day we finally get to stop talking about Two and a Half Men...
If there was ever an era that was perfect to be made into a pay-cable TV series, it's ancient Rome. Courtly intrigue, coupled with the excesses that the Romans indulged in -- glorious conquest, opulent wealth, killing for entertainment, sex as a distraction from boredom -- form the perfect recipe for mass entertainment. Why else do you think Gladiator won an Academy Award? The HBO series Rome tried to capture that glory, and succeeded; unfortunately, it was too expensive to last more than two seasons. Starz is following a different route, however -- they're emulating the film 300, which re-created ancient Greece on a budget by using computers and green screens. There are sets in Spartacus, of course, but they're far from the massive exteriors of Rome, and most of their characters (like the Spartans in 300), require very little costuming. I don't know what budgetary category "washboard abs" falls under (catering?), but it ain't costumes.
I've been pretty harsh on Starz's TV adaptation of Crash in the past, and now, after having seen the trailer for it, I think it may actually be worse than I thought. Even with the casting coup of Dennis Hopper (who seems to have been cast based on his unrivaled ability to portray Dennis Hopper), this show looks even crappier than the movie it's based on. Watch the trailer after the jump, if only to revel in truly terrible -- not to mention completely unnecessary -- television.
So a little while ago I ripped on Starz's television adaptation of Crash for being a stupid idea with a no-name cast. While I still think turning that movie into a TV show is a stupid idea that I'm dreading having to watch, it appears that Dennis Hopper has swooped in at the last minute to save the series. The film icon is set to star in the series as Ben, an aging record producer looking for his next big hit. Am I insane, or does that sound like a character Hopper has played a million times before but still awesome, all at the same time? I'm sure he'll be snorting a lot of coke, drinking a lot of whiskey, wearing a leather jacket in every scene and, hopefully, kicking a lot of ass.
Starz is adapting the 2004 Academy Award Winning movie Crash for the small screen, and while this project was announced a while back, the cast was finally announced today. And, well, it lacks a little star power. According to The Hollywood Reporter, some people named Luis Chavez, Arlene Tur, Ross McCall, Brian Tee and Jocko Sims will head up the cast.
Now, I've spent upwards of 2-3 minutes on the Starz official site today, and while that may not be an exhaustive investigation, I saw no evidence of any other series on their roster. This made me wonder several things, in the following order:
There's a slow and steady buzz building for the forthcoming ensemble comedy Party Down, about a group of deluded, down-on-their-luck actors and writers cooling their heels in the catering biz while waiting for their big break. Much as I'm loathe to let the opinions of other pop culture commentators like myself influence my own predilections, I have to say that this little gem looks straight up amazing. We've still got a ways to go before the show premieres March 20 on Starz! (yes, Starz!), so to help fuel the fire, I'm here to tell you why you should be effing stoked about this show.