Sunday, October 27, 2013

TV: It bites?

Friday, NBC's Dracula debuted Friday night on NBC and the reactions have been humorous.  A lot of critics miss the point of the series and a lot of whiners make clear they need blood, blood, blood.  We're left with the impression that the actual vampires aren't in fiction but off screen in real life.


Yes, we're talking about Charlie Rose The Week (PBS) but we're really not talking about Robert Redford.  He is the undead, agreed, and, in high def, you couldn't miss all the cracks.  Parts of his face were like a smooth cake but the bulk was all these cracks and fissures.  And, of course, that awful wig.

But, again, we're not talking about the man whose biggest grossing film is the backlash film Indecent Proposal -- where he pays a million dollars to sleep with Demi Moore -- what a proud moment that must be for 'liberal' Redford.

We're talking about creepy Mike Allen (POLITICO) who managed to be weird from the start with his strange delivery of "Charlie, thanks for having me here."

We should probably mention that The Week brings a 'new' Charlie Rose.  He often stands at a pub table (gone is the large dining table) with a guest.  He did with Mike Allen and all that did was allow Allen to jump up and down while speaking (such as when he says "to vent").  If there's anything worse than talking heads, it's jumping beans.

As he babbled on, he did note at one point that "there are a lot of questions."  But he provided no answers, none that mattered.  Except maybe that a post-middle age man mincing on television is even more uncomfortable in high def (especially noticeable after Charlie Rose wrongly calls US Senator Patty Murray "Patty Mary").

We're not the first to notice Mike Allen's bizarre self-presentation.  For instance, in This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! - in America's Gilded Capital, Mark Leibovich writes:

Every time Allen starts to speak -- in person or on the air -- his eyes bulge for an instant as if he has just seen a light go on.  His mannerisms resemble an almost childlike mimicry of a politician -- the incessant thanking, the deference, the greetings, the smiles with teeth clenched, and the ability to project belief in the purity of his own voice and motivations. 

"Your money would be on status quo," Allen says at last to Charlie Rose regarding the 2014 elections.

And that's all he offered, handicapping.

This wasn't news.  It wasn't news about ObamaCare, it wasn't news about the ended shutdown.

It was garbage.

It's been called gossip and we can see that argument but we think it's even worse.  Watching Allen perform on Charlie Rose's 'public affairs' and 'news' program, we wondered when Diana Christensen took over PBS programming?  Faye Dunaway won an Academy Award for playing TV exec  Christensen in the film Network and among Diana's 'fixes' was adding Sybil the Soothsayer to The Network News Hour.

Mike Allen ignored facts and events to peer into the future -- into the 2014 election and so much more.

Charlie Rose embarrassed himself and his program.

Last week, a House Ways and Means Subcommittee held a hearing on child trafficking in the United States.  That was actual news.  The news industry responded by looking the other way and acting as though the hearing did not take place.  (Nicki Rossoll wrote a blog post on the hearing for ABC News and Nick Swartsell wrote a blog post on the hearing for The Dallas Morning News.)

Nicholas Kristof and his Coven of Sex Slaves, who are so quick to use the topic in other countries to argue for war, stayed silent.  Apparently human trafficking only matters when it can be used to embarrass a foreign country.

As the garbage from The Week never ended, we were left with the reality that there was far more value in NBC's Dracula.

Some critics have whined that the show fails to reinterpret (or 'reimagine') the classic story.


Did they watch?

Do they have head injuries?

In 1896 England, Dracula is posing as an American claiming to have created a wireless form of electricity.  This is part of his effort to bring down the oil cartel (The Order of the Dragon), "No money, no power, no Order."

How do you miss that?

This is the Dracula of the 99%.

And he's played by 100% sexy Jonathan Rhys Meyers.   He's been acting up a storm and smoldering in everything from Match Point and The Tudors to From Paris With Love.  In the series, Dracula is brought back to life by a new partner, Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann).  Van Helsing is out to bring down the oil cartel as well (for murdering his family).  Rounding out the strong cast are Jessica De Gouw (Mina), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Jonathan Harker -- who is now a reporter), Katie McGrath (Lucy) and Victoria Smurfit (Lady Jayne Wetherby).

Dracula, the blood sucker, delivers a a lusty, zesty, passionate and mysterious show.  Charlie Rose and The Week and his guests?  It's just more of the undead taking up space.

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