The First Live-Action “Tick” was Cancelled Too SPOON

TheTick

[By Jeremy Grayson]

“Gravity. It’s a harsh mistress.” – The Tick (after falling down an elevator shaft)

Superheroes are everywhere these days, aren’t they? The summer movie season is flooded with capes-and-tights blockbusters. A heroic new TV series seems to debut every few weeks. They appear on all sorts of merchandise, ranging from backpacks and T-shirts to pencils and toothbrushes. And hey, sometimes they even appear in comic books.

Continue reading “The First Live-Action “Tick” was Cancelled Too SPOON”

Wonderfalls 1×02: Pink Flamingos

Wonderfalls 1x02

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writers: Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts | Director: Todd Holland | Aired: 4/1/2004 ]

“I’m a puppet.” – Jaye

“Pink Flamingos” was the last episode of Wonderfalls to air on Fox before the network cancelled it. This may sound startling, given that it’s only the second episode in the lineup. But “Pink Flamingos” actually was the fourth episode to air, even though it takes place chronologically before “Karma Chameleon” and “Wound-Up Penguin.”

It might not seem like the biggest deal, but jumping straight from the pilot to “Karma Chameleon” ignores an important stepping stone in the development of Wonderfalls. “Wax Lion” may have established the premise of the series, but “Pink Flamingos” is the first episode to put that premise into action.

Continue reading “Wonderfalls 1×02: Pink Flamingos”

Wonderfalls 1×01: Wax Lion

Wonderfalls 01

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writers: Todd Holland & Bryan Fuller | Director: Todd Holland | Aired: 3/12/2004 ]

“You can’t talk. You don’t have a larynx. If you don’t have a larynx, you can’t talk. Got it? You can’t talk!” – Jaye

In retrospect, it never had a chance.

Wonderfalls was originally slated to debut on FOX in the fall of 2003. The pilot had been shot several months prior, and was all set to see the light of day. During the brief window between the summer press tour and the fall premieres, it looked like Bryan Fuller’s strange but delightful new show would be a commercial success, and compensate for the previous season’s cancellation of Firefly.

Continue reading “Wonderfalls 1×01: Wax Lion”

West Wing 5×22: Memorial Day

5x22_top

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: John Sacret Young & Josh Singer | Director: Christopher Misiano | Aired: 5/19/2004 ]

“Today’s priority is not world peace.” – Leo

Since John Wells took the reins from Aaron Sorkin at the start of this season, we’ve watched him tug them this way and that. At various points in Season Five, The West Wing has been a bipartisan political drama, a romantic soap opera, an examination of Bush-era policies, a pulp novel, and even (shudder) a documentary. There hasn’t been a consistent tone, or even a consistent arc for the show to use as a guidepost. The season wanted to be too many things, and ultimately, it didn’t succeed at very many of them.

Continue reading “West Wing 5×22: Memorial Day”

The “Buffy” Film, 25 Years Later

BuffyFilm

[Written by Jeremy Grayson]

Just a brief mention of the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer film will likely cause shoulders to shudder and faces to wince. While the Buffy TV series is a landmark accomplishment of story and character, the film which inspired it is generally dismissed as silly and pointless. Many Buffy fans haven’t even watched it. Joss Whedon doesn’t even regard it as canonical to the series, and he’s the guy who wrote it.

Continue reading “The “Buffy” Film, 25 Years Later”

A Complete Guide to Studio 60 (Part 1)

Studio 60

[Written by Jeremy Grayson]

You like good TV, don’t you? I mean, you obviously do, or else you wouldn’t be on this site. We at Critically Touched write a lot about good TV, and great TV, and all the TV in between. Rarely, however, do we take the time to write about bad TV.

Continue reading “A Complete Guide to Studio 60 (Part 1)”

Farewell, Buffy

btvs-chosen20

Hi, gang! Jeremy here.

First, the bad news. As some of you may have already noticed, MikeJer’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer reviews are no longer available to view on this site. Sadly, all the Buffy reviews have been removed from Critically Touched. The decision to do this was entirely Mike’s – he has decided to fully move on from Critically Touched, in an effort to focus on other life endeavors.

Continue reading “Farewell, Buffy”

“The Many Lives of Catwoman” Shines a Light on DC’s Best Anti-Heroine

Catwoman

[Written by Jeremy Grayson]

As a young child, I didn’t play with many action figures – at least, not from the world of superheroes. Though I obsessed over Superman and Batman from a youthful age, my familiarity with them was limited to comic books and cartoons. I never owned a Superman cape, nor a remote-controlled Batmobile, and my playtime implements were mostly limited to matchbox cars and little plastic farm animals. (The cows crossed the road, forcing the drivers to veer left. It’s more fun than it sounds.)
Continue reading ““The Many Lives of Catwoman” Shines a Light on DC’s Best Anti-Heroine”

West Wing 5×21: Gaza

5x21_top

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Peter Noah | Director: Christopher Misiano | Aired: 5/12/2004 ]

“The only dishonor might be not to try.” – Kate

Most folks don’t watch The West Wing for half-baked operatic romances. Most folks don’t watch it for thin, didactic exploration of Middle Eastern conflicts. And most folks certainly don’t watch it for confusing, poorly-told stories about half-baked operatic romances and thin, didactic exploration of Middle Eastern conflicts.

And yet… “Gaza.”
Continue reading “West Wing 5×21: Gaza”

The 2017 Emmy Nominees Are Surprising… But Not Shocking

ThisIsUs

[Written by Jeremy Grayson]

I make fun of the Emmy Awards a lot, and with good reason. They constantly pick the same shows over and over. They fail to recognize many of television’s greatest and most laudable shows. They constantly change their own voting rules, to the point that it all currently amounts to little more than a popularity contest. And when all is said and done, they’re just another awards ceremony in which Hollywood congratulates Hollywood for being Hollywood.
Continue reading “The 2017 Emmy Nominees Are Surprising… But Not Shocking”

Reviewing All the Spider-Man Films

Spider-Men

[Posted by Jeremy Grayson]

In the fifty-five years since his debut, Spider-Man has been both insider and outsider. He is Marvel Comics’ most recognizable superhero, yet he is largely disconnected from the publisher’s greater Universe. Outside of the Marvel Team-Up series (which paired him with other heroes in every issue), he has mostly worked as a loner, web-slinging his way through a more earthbound sector of comics than the Avengers or the X-Men.
Continue reading “Reviewing All the Spider-Man Films”

West Wing 5×20: No Exit

5x20_top

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Carol Flint, Debora Cahn, Mark Goffman | Director: Julie Hébert | Aired: 4/28/2004 ]

“On a need-to-know basis, who needs to know this much.” – Bartlet

“No Exit” deserved better.

Coming near the end of The West Wing’s most troubled season, it is designed as an antidote to the year’s earlier missteps. It clearly wants to take the show in a fresh new direction. And it wants to tell a compelling story at the same time.
Continue reading “West Wing 5×20: No Exit”

Get Onboard: iZombie

Pilot

[Posted by Jeremy Grayson]

“I used to be passionate, inspired, alive. Now, I’m mostly just hungry. And… a zombie. So there’s that.” – Liv

Full disclosure: I’ve never been a fan of zombie fiction. The horror genre has delivered a seemingly never-ending string of vampires, mummies, and werewolves, and while plenty of ghoul-centric books, films, and TV shows have been spookily entertaining, zombie-centric stories, with their moaning, groaning, brain-chewing antagonists, have always struck me as repulsive. Continue reading “Get Onboard: iZombie”

West Wing 5×19: Talking Points

5x19_top

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Eli Attie | Director: Richard Schiff | Aired: 4/21/2004 ]

“It’d be nice to roll back that tide, wouldn’t it?” – Bartlet

Writing in the Wall Street Journal in December 2013, Peggy Noonan referred to something she called “West Wing Disease.”

“Young staffers grew up watching that show,” she said, “and getting a very romantic and specific sense of how government works.” The show’s tight focus on the White House, she theorized, made it seem that the White House was the government, and disregarded the various complex and interconnecting agencies that surrounded it. Continue reading “West Wing 5×19: Talking Points”

Toy Story 2

Toy Story 2

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Andrew Stanton, Rita Hsiao, Dug Chamberlin, Chris Webb (Screenplay); John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Ash Brannon, Andrew Stanton (Story) | Director: John Lasseter | Released: 11/24/1999 ]

“But they forget you.” – Jessie

It’s hard to remember in an age where every popular film must be repeated (or remade, or rebooted, or reinterpreted), but there was a time when animated sequels were never all that special. Following the commercial fizzling of The Rescuers Down Under, Disney decided that audiences weren’t all that interested seeing what happens after “happily ever after.” A few years later, they found an outlet for follow-up films in home media, and began producing direct-to-video sequels and threequels to films ranging from Aladdin to Tarzan to Beauty and the Beast. Some of these films weren’t bad (Cinderella III, for example, is among the most entertaining animated Disney films of the 2000s), but most were made on the cheap, with lackluster writing and animation, designed to catch the eye of the excitable child and soothe the mind of the exhausted parent.

When Pixar broke into the feature-film arena, it was very much the underdog to Disney’s mighty Mouse. But Toy Story proved to be a hit with audiences and critics, and gave the CG studio ample opportunity to grow and develop their ideas. Their next attempt, A Bug’s Life, was competent but unremarkable, and a few cynical minds began to wonder if Pixar hadn’t simply gotten lucky in its first time out of the gate. These fears were not quelled when Pixar announced that its next theatrical film would be… a sequel to Toy Story.
Continue reading “Toy Story 2”

West Wing 5×18: Access

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Lauren Schmidt | Director: Alex Graves | Aired: 3/31/2004 ]
5x18_top

“ZZZZZZZZZZZZ” – Me

You love CJ Cregg, right? I mean, of course you do. Everyone loves CJ Cregg. She’s wonderful. She may well be The West Wing’s most popular character, and is easily one of its most likable.

But this raises a question: Why are CJ-centric episodes so consistently bad?
Continue reading “West Wing 5×18: Access”

West Wing 5×17: The Supremes

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Debora Cahn | Director: Jessica Yu | Aired: 3/24/2004 ]

5x17_top

“Oh, my God. You’re putting my mother’s cats on the Supreme Court.” – Donna

“The Supremes” is the standard by which every post-Sorkin episode is measured. It’s a Season Five episode that’s liked even by Season Five’s biggest detractors. In terms of fan favoritism, it’s among the most popular episodes in the entire series.

So, is it ironic that I find it a little overrated?
Continue reading “West Wing 5×17: The Supremes”

15 Years Later, the “Kim Possible” Pilot is Still Fantastic

[Posted by Jeremy Grayson]

TickTickTick18

Great pilots can be a mixed blessing.

It’s certainly important for a TV series to establish itself in its very first episode, the better to hook viewers in for the long haul. And given the many moving parts involved in crafting a new series – from characters to plot to tone to production – it’s always something of a wonder when a show hits the ground running in its very first episode. Continue reading “15 Years Later, the “Kim Possible” Pilot is Still Fantastic”

West Wing 5×15: Full Disclosure

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Lawrence O’Donnell, Jr. | Director: Lesli Linka Glatter | Aired: 2/25/2004 ]

5x15_top

“If I could take back one moment of my life…” – CJ

I don’t want to do this.

Seriously, I really don’t want to do this.

I mean, it’s not like I need to do this, right? There are 155 episodes of The West Wing. Skipping one won’t matter in the long run.

So, no review today. Come back next time.

Continue reading “West Wing 5×15: Full Disclosure”

West Wing 5×14: An Khe

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: John Wells | Director: Alex Graves | Aired: 2/18/2004 ]

5x14_top

“I’ll take it from here.” – Leo

Leo McGarry is simultaneously The West Wing’s simplest and most complicated character. He seems easy to define – the well-meaning, wryly humorous conduit between the President and his staffers. But the actual Leo is more difficult to pin than that.

Continue reading “West Wing 5×14: An Khe”

West Wing 5×13: The Warfare of Genghis Khan

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Peter Noah | Director: Bill D’Elia | Aired: 2/11/2004 ]

“But his music just left the solar system.” – Josh

The whole concept of Season Five is entirely at odds with itself. Wells was tasked with honoring Sorkin’s vision, while also branding The West Wing in his own style. So much of the season’s messiness comes from the inability to reconcile these two goals – idealism clashes with pragmatism; politics clash with soap opera; and characters constantly clash with each other. Continue reading “West Wing 5×13: The Warfare of Genghis Khan”

A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part 2)

[Posted by Jeremy Grayson]

Welcome back to my brief and entirely unasked-for history of The CW. Part 1 can be read here. Go read that if you haven’t already. And then come back to this page for the Roman numeral-free Part 2…

While the WB was flying high on teen-targeting hits like Buffy and Charmed, rival network UPN wasn’t faring too well. Continue reading “A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part 2)”

A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part I)

[Posted by Jeremy Grayson]

These days, I find myself losing track of more TV shows than ever. It’s the downside of having so much on the air – series that don’t click (or used to, but have now lost their luster) tend to pile on my DVR for a couple of months, before it finally becomes too much of a commitment to catch up. Too many other shows – both new and old – have my attention at any given moment to make room for all of them. Continue reading “A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part I)”

West Wing 5×12: Slow News Day

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Eli Attie | Director: Julie Hébert | Aired: 02/04/2004]

“It’s the greatest sin in politics to be bad on television.” – Josh

Ask a fellow West Wing fan what they think the worst episode of Season Five is, and they’ll probably say… um, “Access.” But ask them what they think the other worst episode of Season Five is, and they’ll probably name “Slow News Day.”
Continue reading “West Wing 5×12: Slow News Day”