Tag: Paul Wesley

TCA Tour: The Vampire Diaries

What is it about the pilot episodes for vampire series that leave me generally indifferent to them? I’m a sci-fi and fantasy guy from way back, so you’d think it’d be like shooting fish in a barrel for a show about the undead to win me over, but I was underwhelmed when I first screened CBS’s “Moonlight,” and although the feeling wasn’t quite as intense, the sensations were definitely similar after I checked out The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries.” More surprising, however, was that my wife – a dyed-in-the-wool fan of both “Twilight” and “True Blood” – felt the same way I did. I had been resigned to the fact that we’d be adding it to the TiVo queue no matter what my opinion of the series might be, but, no, it didn’t earn much more than a shrug from her, either. It’s clear that neither of us are arbiters of taste for the nation as a whole, however, as the show recently took home the award for Best New Drama categories at the People’s Choice Awards.

Hey, fair enough: I gave “Moonlight” a second chance when it came to DVD, and I’ll do the same with “The Vampire Diaries.” When it comes to TV, I’m always ready, willing, and sometimes even hoping to be proven wrong.

Given that I have no particular frame of reference to the goings-on in the show, I’m having to kind of guess what information that emerged during the course of the show’s latest TCA panel is of particular interest to fans, so here’s hoping that you’ll appreciate some of these facts:

Are we going on see the cork being pulled from the church basement bottle, as it were?

“Oh, you mean the tomb?” asked Kevin Williamson, the show’s executive producer. “Well, you know, quite possibly, yes. I mean, that’s the fun of the back nine (episodes). Yes, Damon has an agenda. He’s going to save Katherine. He’s going to do everything possible he can to get to her. And so, yeah, that tomb is still in play.”

When are you going to explore more into the teacher? Is he a Van Helsing-type, or is he a vampire? Because there’s definitely something with him.

“Yes, there’s definitely something with him,” agreed Williamson. “We’re going to have fun. He just sort of has blown onto the scene, and we haven’t had a chance yet to sort of explore his background and stuff, but in the upcoming episodes, we’re actually going to learn more about him. We’re going to see some of what his past was like and what brought him to Mystic Falls, and we’re going to see what his little agenda is…because, you know, everyone’s got a little agenda.”

“We’re going to meet his wife in flashbacks, played by Mia Kirshner,” revealed Julie Plec, Williamson’s fellow executive producer.

Is Vicki really dead?

“Vicki is dead,” confirmed Williamson. “I’m so sorry. She’s gone. However, she will live in spirit and stuff, and it’s going to take a long time for Jeremy and Matt and his family to truly get over Vicki and maybe possibly start learning the truth about what happened to Vicki. That’s something, I think, Jeremy is going to struggle with. Of course, we now have Matt’s mother coming to town, so Vicki will still be talked about, but, unfortunately, Vicki left us. She was our very first vampire casualty.”

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The CW: What’s New for Fall 2009

Melrose Place (Tues., Sept. 8 @ 9:00 PM, The CW)

The competition: “Dancing with the Stars” (ABC), “NCIS: Los Angeles” (CBS), “The Biggest Loser” (NBC), “So You Think You Can Dance” (Fox)

Starring: Laura Leighton, Shaun Sipos, Thomas Calabro, Katie Cassidy, Colin Egglesfield, Stephanie Jacobsen, Michael Rady, Jessica Lucas, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz
Producers: Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer (“Smallville”)
Network’s Description: In an elegant Spanish-style apartment building in the trendy Melrose neighborhood of Los Angeles, a diverse group of 20-somethings have formed a close-knit surrogate family. Sydney Andrews is the landlady, still beautiful at 40, and a central figure in the lives of all her tenants, especially handsome and rebellious David Breck. Sydney started an affair with David despite her turbulent history with his estranged father, Dr. Michael Mancini. Both father and son learned through experience that Sydney was not above using blackmail to control people. Another tenant, high-powered publicist Ella Simms, once considered Sydney her mentor, but their friendship was destroyed by betrayal, and Sydney threatened to evict Ella and ruin her career. Sydney also played a pivotal role in the career of Auggie Kirkpatrick. After they met at an AA meeting, she became Auggie’s sponsor and encouraged his dream to become a chef. Now a successful sous chef at the trendy restaurant Coal, Auggie has been avoiding Sydney since she began drinking again. The other tenants include Lauren Yung, a medical student in desperate need of money to pay her student loans, and Jonah Miller, an aspiring filmmaker who has just proposed to his live-in girlfriend Riley Richmond, a first-grade teacher. The newest tenant, 18-year-old Violet Foster, has just arrived in LA with her own secret connection to Sydney. When a bloody body is found floating in the courtyard pool, David is the leading suspect. However, as the police are soon to discover, almost everyone living at Melrose Place had a reason to want the deceased out of the way.
The Buzz: There hasn’t been nearly as much excitement about this reboot as there was for “90210.” After watching the pilot, there appears to be good reason for that.
Pilot Highlight: The temptation is to say either the discovery of the body or the discovery of who David’s father is, but by the time the show premieres, it’s a fair bet that both pieces of information won’t be nearly as much of a surprise for you as they were for me. As such, let’s go with the closing moment, when we’re handed a shot which implies that we’re looking at the murderer.
Bottom Line: The characters and scenarios feel clichéd, and as it stands right now, the connections to the original series seem tenuous at best. You can appreciate The CW’s desire to have lightning strike twice, but this just couldn’t feel more rushed…or unnecessary.

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Killer Movie

Ever since 1996’s “Scream,” it’s been tough for filmmakers to do subtle parodies of the horror genre without being greeted with a bored “it’s been done.” Kudos to Jeff Fisher, then, for deciding to take a slightly different approach by mocking reality TV and horror movies but managing to get a few laughs without sacrificing the scares. (He has the right resume for it: he used to work on “The Simple Life.”) Although “Killer Movie” can’t be called a groundbreaking scary-movie entry, it has a wittier-than-average script and a strong cast, including Nestor Carbonell (“Lost”) as a sleazy agent who looks sharp but doesn’t think twice about sacrificing morality in favor of a big paycheck, Kaley Cuoco (“The Big Bang Theory”) playing the middle ground between Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, and Leighton Meester (“Gossip Girl”) in what can only be described as a glorified cameo.

The premise of the film involves a reality-show director – played by Paul Wesley, late of ABC Family’s “Fallen” – who gets drafted for a gig covering a high school hockey team in White Plains, ND, but ends up battling with the show’s executive producer (Cyia Batten), who’d rather go sensational and focus on the death of the team’s former coach, who had just gotten out of prison after having had his murder conviction overturned. It will not surprise you that the coach’s death soon becomes only one of many within White Plains, but you probably will find yourself unexpectedly impressed by Cuoco’s performance in the film, which gives one hope that she may yet have a film career ahead of her…not that we’re hastening the end of “The Big Bang Theory,” you understand. Beyond the blood, what keeps the film moving is the decision to intersperse interview footage with the characters between scenes. Though there’s a decent amount of typical horror stuff here, it’s those bits which raise “Killer Movie” a bit above the ordinary.

Click to buy “Killer Movie”

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