Showing posts with label TV Show. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TV Show. Show all posts

Sunday, December 5, 2021

The Lost Room - Mini Series Review

Ah... 2006's The Lost Room, a Sci-Fi Channel 6 hour mini-series starring Peter Krause. Worldbuilding and magic objects make this show go. "It opens every door," and then some. 

Krause stars as a divorced dad and Pittsburg police detective, Joe Miller. This is exactly the point where most but not all of the police procedural ends and the crazy begins. The series opens with a series of murders at a pawnshop with the number one suspect missing. Finding this guy is the key to The Lost Room. Joe finds his man dying from unknown causes and with his last breath, he places a key in Joe's hand. 

From there, Joe's world spins out of control. You can try the trailer to try to get a sense of what's happening, but it doesn't quite cover it. 

Joe finds every door opens with the key, yet returning to the door he entered doesn't work as it should. He hops from a sun-drenched hotel room off of Route 66... circa 1960 to many different points around the world. Through trial and error, he makes his way home. Joe's daughter , Anna disappears into the room sending Joe on an insane quest to learn the secrets of the room to bring his child back. And to clear his name of Anna's murder. 

While it sounds like a bit from Monsters, Inc., the lost room is even odder than a one-eyed Mike Wazowski, Boo, and Sully dropping acid. 

The world Joe and his daughter disappear into is one of creative storytelling with 100 objects cast minor characters to build a story of consistent insanity. Consistent enough to create a warped police procedural. Every item has a purpose, every purpose leads Joe step by step back to the room and his daughter, with every step, bringing a crazed 60s hip mythology to life through magical items. Items that call to people, items that are collected and killed for, the Objects of desire with a horrible price. 

I wish I could say this mini-series was amazing, but it's really middle of the road. Peter Krauss and Ellie Fanning deliver, the story as wonky and compelling, but somehow the story never really progressed to satisfaction. It could be that Sci-Fi Channels' treatment of the story as a backdoor series pilot is to blame. Or maybe the internal consistency was not meant or able to progress to a regular serialized TV show. I'm not sure. 

It was well written, nicely filmed with interesting locations, and still didn't quite rise to what it could have been. In rewatching in 2021, it is still as intriguing and crazy as it was in 2006. A modern-era Twilight Zone that didn't get the same traction as that other, more sustaining TV show. It has many of the same weird vibes as the X-Files without being locked at the turn of the century. 

I give it a strong 3 of 5 stars. 

You can pick up a DVD from Amazon with the original 3 episodes parcelled out as 6 one hour episodes plus an 18-minute featurette called "Inside the Lost Room". On the DVD, the episodes have the following titles: 

  1. The Key,
  2. The Clock,
  3. The Comb,
  4. The Box,
  5. The Eye,
  6. The Occupant.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Stargate Universe Review


"What if you took Stargate and made it darker, sexier and edgier?", said no fan ever. This show swiped the best of BGS and mashed it up with some great music, in front of a gate. It probably wasn't very good material for Stargate fans. 

But it was a really good show. I'd give it 4 of 5 stars. 

The actors were top-notch, the pacing slower, the sense of discovery was put at the forefront. Probably too much at the forefront. They wiped their butts with whatever Stargate had established. 

But it was good TV and science fiction. They stole a couple of key concepts from the series that came before it and ran like hell with them. The communication stones from the original show were placed front and center in the plot. These devices popped up in Season 8 of Stargate. "Citizen Joe" was probably meant to be a "cheap, one-off " episode to save on cast and film costs, but it was frakking brilliant.  SGU took that simple idea and made the speculative science fiction and flipped it towards contemplative. What does it mean to be "someone" if you can trade places? 

Like that one episode of Stargate, SGU tries to get into the head of the watcher by leaning on the contemplative. Some of the time, it worked. There were a lot of misses, but you could see the direction the show was taking. 

The show has many callbacks to some hard sci-fi, stuff so hard that it often isn't recognized as sci-fi at all. My personal favorite episode was "Trial and Error" which is a close crib of The Defence of Duffer's Drift. Capt Young experiences a series of dreams where the ship comes under attack. These dreams are the Destiny's attempts to communicate with the crew directly to determine their capabilities. It doesn't work well because as a program, the ship was expecting a commander to have all the answers, not to be the head of a team that creates answers on the fly. Young was exposed to his own failings and it became personal. Very personal. 

Another episode zig-zagged from high action romps back to the speculative. In Season One the episode "Time", the crew finds a Keno camera that recorded their deaths in an alternative universe which provides some answers to their current situation, again ask "who are you, if it's not really you?" 

Much of this show asks the question, "What does it mean to be x?". While Stargate was probably not the best vehicle for this contemplative study, it was very engrossing. This is the portion of the post where you click the link which goes to Amazon and I get compensated if you buy the item. #Ad