Stitchers: Season Three Still Not Confirmed by Freeform

Stitchers Logo

Stitchers started two seasons ago on ABC Family. The network,  in an effort to sound more hip and relevant to the younger demographic it  wanted to appeal to, changed its name to Freeform.  Regardless of the name change Stitchers has stayed the same. An entertaining procedural crime show set in a high tech world of science fiction.  As fans wait anxiously, Freeform has yet to confirm a third season for this excellent show.

The reason for Freeform dragging their feet on a decision could be blamed on live viewership dropping  in the second season. This could have been down to the fact that the network changed the slot for the show. Marketing also shifted. A lead-in show finished and it seems that Freeform was, and still is, more interested in its summer replacements.

(For the record these are the London based “Amanda Knox” style murder mystery Guilt starring Daisy Head, Emily Tremaine and Billy Zane – Anthony Head, Daisy’s dad,  also has a role in the show. The second  is Freeform’s answer to MTVs Scream; “Dead of Summer.”)

Thus far neither show has performed overly well in live views. In the opinion of this reviewer “Guilt” never will garner a huge audience for a number of reasons and unless the body count and humor increases in the Friday the 13th homage, neither will “Dead of  Summer.”

Regardless of whether the network is hedging its bets with the two new shows or not, fans of Stitchers have busily started petitions to get the show brought back for a third season.  There are two petitions online right now.

The first was started by Alyssa Lemke on Petitionbuss.com (click on this link and sign the petition if you have not already) and the second is on Change.org. The latter petition was started by Stitchers fan Tyler Parker. (Head over and sign this one if you have not already.)  Both fans have managed, between the two of them, to garner over 9,500 signatures.

Why do the shows fans care so much?

It could be down to the personal chemistry of the show’s stars: Emma Ishta (Kirsten), Kyle Harris (Cameron) ,Ritesh Rajan (Linus), Allison Scagliotti (Camille) ,Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Maggie) or Damon Dayoub (Quincy Fisher).  

It could also be down to the ongoing storyline of Kirsten Clark…Or the brilliant writing, or the characters or the  pop culture references that make the show so much fun.

Having interviewed the show’s creator and executive producer Jeff Schechter on more than one occasion as well as the cast, on-set it is easy to say that Mike’s Film Talk can be counted as a huge fan of the show. (After finishing this article we will be heading over to sign the petition as well.)

In our humble opinion the show’s fans love much more than the romantic possibilities of “Camsten.”  Stitchers has so much more to offer. Strong female characters and men who appreciate them for starters.  A running mystery that begs to be solved and of course the question of the real reason  behind developing the “Stitch” program.

The show tells of Kirsten Clarks ability to be “stitched” into the minds of the recently deceased. The lab and the program are part of the NSA and no one has revealed just what the agency really means to use this technology for.

It is inconceivable that Freeform have not yet given a third season the greenlight. Surely the + 7 figures have come in by now and shown that the live views are inconsequential.  The way the world watches television has changed.  DVR, VoD, Hulu, and Internet streaming are all avenues that viewers can use to watch their favorite programs.

Other networks have realized the fallacy of this old fashioned ratings system.  Freeform should step out smartly and do the same.  Bring back Stitchers for another season. So many things need answers and the fans are crying out for the show’s return.

So come on Freeform, it is time to get off the metaphorical pot and make your move.

We were going to post a survey on this article about what you, the fans, want to have happen if the show comes back. Instead we urge everyone who loves the show to head over to either  (or both) the petitions and leave a signature. Let Freeform know how you feel. So many of you already have but more can never hurt.

Follow those links and sign. Help to bring “Camsten” and Stitchers back.

Chelsea on Netflix: The Huffington Post? Really??

Chelsea Handler

Having had a love/love  affair with Chelsea Handler for years now (ever since her “Chelsea get out of the pool” gag on her old show) I was appalled to see Ariana Huffington on her Netflix show.  It is understandable,  the 41 year-old entertainer is all about success, her own being first and foremost, but she celebrates  others  who are top in their field as well.

(With this in mind it is odd that she has been so vocally negative about Donald Trump. A self-made business tycoon, with a hair piece that looks like roadkill, who no doubt got much of his wealth for underpaying staff. Unlike Ariana Huffington who does not pay writers who produce articles for her co-created site. *Although it is rumored that some editors do get paid, she does not pay the poor talented “hacks” who are published on the site.*)

The Huffington Post maintain that being published on their news website is recompense enough. It will lead to more folks checking out your personal website; i.e.  increase the traffic thereby swelling your personal coffers as a result. The good publicity angle is used by many unscrupulous companies and charlatans who want something for nothing while increasing their own profits.

(All this codswallop is code for “exposure.” That, and a $1.75,  might get you a cup of instant coffee down at the local cafe.)

Even “celebrities” are not immune to this song and dance. Wil Wheaton  (who is practically an icon in the science fiction community) flatly refused to write, or to allow them to reprint his work,  for free.  An excellent article by Jef Rouner  for the HoustonPress discusses the “Huff Post” and their condescending and stingy attitude.

So while Chelsea Handler continues to provide her quirky and drug focussed chat show on Netflix we writers could do with less of the despotic and tightfisted slave laborers as guest. Having an opportunist who takes advantage of the talented on the show  in any capacity, except to question their ethics, should be a no-no.

(If you have doubts about the opportunistic bit, read the article linked above. Rouner was approached by the company after an article he wrote went viral.  For those who do not know, viral articles are just like viral videos. if the site running them is out to make money, “Viral Equals Gold.”)

“Chelsea”  is an outside the box show. The inclusion of Chunky, her dog (who must be the more PC replacement for Chuy Bravo) as “co-host” is cute and a tad nonsensical. It is also a bit off the wall but so is Ms. Handler.  

The talkshow host is intelligent and fearless.  She may miss the mark with a gag now and then, that is part of her charm, but she keeps slugging away regardless. Chelsea’s schtick is her poor attention span and low brain power but in essence this is one sly and clever comedian/host.

Look at her Netflix show carefully and you will find a woman who is cocking a snook (aka thumbing her nose) at not just the streaming network but the public as well.  Ms. Handler seems to be saying, “Let’s see just how little effort we can put in here to satisfy everyone.”

Does this lackadaisical approach work?

Yes it does.  Chelsea entertains and provides enough quirkiness that the three day a week format is plenty. Her co-host Chunky could be more verbal but despite this the bargain basement set does the job. Although the show could go for a full five days a week. After all, there is no real shortage of the weird and wonderful.

But please Chelsea, for the love of all those excellent writers out there who slog their way through article after article, keep greedy empire builders off the show or at least lump them in categories where they belong.  Ariana Huffington and Donald Trump are a perfect fit in the “peas in a pod” category.

Sure one may be more articulate than the other but both have made fortunes off other’s backs.

“Chelsea” airs on Netflix three days a week.

 

Roots (2016): The Problem With Plagiarized History

Kunta KInte Roots

“Roots,” the original television spectacle took a country by storm back in the late ’70s.   Adapted from Alex Haley’s book of the same name, it followed the trials and tribulations of Kunta Kinte a warrior sold into slavery and was a ratings smash in 1977 when it aired on ABC.  But it there was a problem, the history (judged as a true story) was plagiarized.

Haley was charged with plagiarism (accused of borrowing rather liberally from existing works, including Margaret Walker’s “Jubilee”)  and the author apologized for “inadvertently using other writer’s material.”   Ironically Haley won the Pulitzer-prize for his (two) novels and in 1993 Philip Nobile almost single handedly led a crusade to have the prize posthumously taken away from Haley.

Did these charges or Nobile’s “proof” of widespread plagiarism change the power of the television mini-series?

Hardly.

The remake, currently airing on the History Channel, is as moving and epic as the 1977 version. LeVar Burton became a household name because of his portrayal of Kunta Kinte (Toby) and brought the multi-talented Ben Vereen (Chicken George) into the well deserved spotlight.  A plethora of white actors and stars clamored to be in this “ground-breaking” look at the realities of slavery in the early part of America’s history. 

And it was based on a falsehood.  Words taken from other author’s and a myth based upon a fiction that masqueraded as fact. (Although to be fair Haley did refrain from referring to his work as non-fiction.)

Leaving the race card completely out of the equation, ” Roots” was, at its heart, a story of an underdog. A proud warrior plucked from friends and family and sold into slavery.  Transported halfway across the world he is then beaten, has his identity stolen and repeatedly tries to escape only to be caught and maltreated. Punished for trying to keep true to himself.

Slavery, whether it be Spartacus fighting the Romans or Kunta KInte fighting his new captors in the state of Virginia, is a topic sure to touch the viewer. Who does not get behind the man, or woman, who fights against oppression or rebels at being forced to be something they are not?

The first two episodes of “Roots” (2016) have aired on the History Channel. The second on 31 May 2016 and if there is not talk about Emmy gongs already, there should be.  Forest Whitaker  and Malachi Kirby have knocked it out of the park in terms of performance.  Sadly, the slave-owners and their accomplices are two dimensional cardboard cutouts, which was a problem in the original series as well.   

(Which is the problem with the intent of both programs in reality. Snoop Dogg, an entertainer who grafts hard for his living, has slammed the remake as being unnecessary; another backward look while we should all be moving and looking forward.  It is interesting to note that at the start of the story, Kunta Kinte is actually captured and enslaved by another African tribe who then sell the warrior to the British as added punishment.  This is never addressed after the beginning, choosing instead to focus on the horrible slave owners in America.)

But the real point here is not whether the tale is diminished by Haley’s plagiarism or that the story is a fiction based on a borrowed myth of other author’s works. The real issue is that the series moves the viewer. Regardless of skin color or racial heritage.

Everyone, unless they are card carrying racists of the most disgusting sort, gets behind Kunta Kinte as he fights to maintain his identity, his past, his roots.  Striving to be an individual who has a purpose and a will. “Toby” fights for the one thing he can cling to after being stolen from his people and home; his name.

Watching this version of “Roots” I was amazed to find that time had not dulled my reactions to the story.  Rage, disgust, sorrow and other feelings all manifested themselves while watching the remake just as they had back in 1977.

While Snoop Dogg’s displeasure at revisiting a part of American history that many would like to forget (Or at least gloss over, similar to country’s attitude about the murder of Native American’s on a grand scale with the tragic “Trail of Tears.”) it is good that we can see “how we got here.”

Regardless of Haley’s sins of borrowing liberally in his writing of “Roots” the tale is a moving one.  The mini-series still has a number of episodes to go and is well worth watching. (The performances alone make viewing a memorable experience.)  This time of year sees television slow down. Scripted TV takes a backseat to reality competitions (America’s Got Talent for example) and this is drama with a capital D.

“Roots” is well worth the time spent watching it;  each “episode” of this mini-series is a long one but no worse than watching a feature film.  The only note of complaint is that the History Channel is airing the mini-series.  “Roots” is not, by the late Haley’s own admission, history. It is not non-fiction but an amalgamation, or dramatization, of a reality that existed in early America.

Regardless of the problems of plagiarism this is compelling viewing.  Stop by and check it out and if you have the time, check out the original mini-series to see Burton and Vereen and their power.  The power of “Roots” was all about giving a myth to people who needed it. Myth for myth’s sake.  Regardless of the why, it is a powerful tale and worth watching.

Mr Robot: Sam Esmail Presents the New Normal

Mr Robot - Season 1
Watching the pilot episode of Sam Esmail’s Mr Robot opened a door in the mind of the world’s young, techno savvy demographic. The show is self-admittedly aimed at the younger members of the audience who are not only up on their computer hacking knowledge but who are topically and pop culturally aware. They most likely have a lot more in common with Elliot Alderson than they would like. Esmail presents us with the “new normal” in that Rami Malek’s character suffers from a number of mental maladies. After the season one finale, it seemed to be a good time to think about Esmail’s picture of the new normal and all that Elliot is as the modern “everyman.”

Foremost is his schizophrenia. However, looking at the hacker, and leader of fsociety, it appears that he could also be bi-polar with a few other mental issues buried in that head, which could include a form of autism. (This is not based upon Malek’s “deer in the headlights” gaze but his innate ability to work issues at almost super human speed.) It appears that the only thing that Alderson does not suffer from is ADD, on this side of the big pond, or ADHD over in England.

Alderson also self medicates, something that a huge amount of people do. At a time when a quick trip across the southern border makes it easy for a number of folks to meet their own medicinal needs, it is not too surprising. While Elliot himself may not be the “new normal” the world in which Mr Robot lives, breathes and creates anarchy, is.

Certainly, there are nods and winks to, not only Fight Club, but a number of other Stanley Kubrick films as well. However, leaving aside the internal plot lines, the verse is all about our new and ever increasing addiction to and reliance on the Internet, computers and WiFi.

If nothing else, Elliot shows us how much, or how little, the use of passwords, firewalls and security software protects our everyday life. Alderson is “scary good” at hacking everybody. No one organization, or individual, is safe from him accessing their data. He is also, until recently, untraceable.

*Sidenote* It does look like season two holds the promise of problems for Elliot and his use of server proxies in Estonia since Krista’s ex-love-rat boyfriend Michael/Lenny is on the warpath.

Still, Esmail’s new normal feels right. The world is all about the world wide web and all companies, not just banks, rely on servers, back-up servers and wireless transfers. Things have moved on from those old “key-punch” days, but one thing has not changed. Data, when it is lost, or “given” a virus, is a bucket of writhing worms that may never be sorted out or retrieved.

The showrunner/creator of Mr. Robot is a film fan, he says so in interviews and Esmail has stated specifically that he is a Stanley Kubrick fan. He cites a few films of Mr. Kubrick’s that he has paid homage to. Eyes Wide Shut being one. One cannot help but like a creator who is a self-professed fan of the redoubtable late Stanley Kubrick.

The “new normal” is relative to the age group it is aimed at. In the show, fsociety; Elliot’s team of computer anarchists who want to change the world (Save the World) have done so. Streets are full of happy rioters, if such a thing can be imagined, and the “suits” are all panicking. Elliot muses that the end of the world (as we know it) is not how he imagined. “People in expensive suits rushing around [sic].”

This is the crux of “Mr. Robot world.” Neither Elliot nor his team have thought through the whole “destroy the world’s debt” ideology. Sure, no one owes any money to anyone else, at least not in the sense that it can be tracked electronically, but money does still make the world go round. With the markets crashing world-wide money gets devalued. The divide between the “haves” and “have nots” will widen.

As shown that the season finale’s final moments (Where B.D.Wong shows up in a scene that pays tribute to Kubrick’s last film) the oligarchy are not touched, troubled, or overly concerned about the hack and the loss of debt. Their fish will fry regardless of what oil is used.

It is not unusual that Elliot and his little band of misfits have not thought their attack through. The young, the target demographic, do not, as a rule, think too far in advance. It is not just today’s youth who have this shortcoming, all youth, regardless of era suffer from this. Perhaps what is relevant to this “generation” of young people is their total reliance upon the Internet, computers, smartphones, and tablets.

In keeping with the reflection on today’s younger demographic having much in common with the damaged Elliot, take a moment to look at the number of children, and young adults, who have some form of autism, ADD or ADHD, schizophrenia, bi-polar (which used to have the charming name of Manic Depressive) and other types of mental issues. Elliot’s self medicating, in order to exist “normally” may not be overly common, but his lack of social finesse is.

Living in a world where everyone communicates more often online than in real life it is not surprising. Something that was included early on, was Ollie’s online chats with his “on the side” bit of stuff that Angela found out about. It was also shown, earlier in the season, how much social media eased a hacker’s job in finding out personal details about their target.

This too, has become part of the new normal. Texting has become passé. It is all instant messaging, direct messaging, FaceTime, Facebook, Twitter, Line, Skype, and the list goes on. Real life Conversations between people happen less and less while reliance upon the Internet as conversational hub grows and grows.

Mr. Robot shows us our world gone mad. Elliot may have issues, but the real issues are not with his ability to hack and therefor change the world, they are with the new reality. The new normal. Credit card theft, Identity theft, and/or any of the things mentioned during the Christian Slater rant on the season finale are our new world, for better or worse.

Our new normal is The Matrix, Esmail proves it by revealing that we do live in a virtual world that is filled with inhabitants who have forgotten, or never learned, what real contact and interaction is all about. A world where the rich view everything through predatory eyes and most likely study The Art of War to learn the art of winning.

Breaking Bad Action Figure Ban: Florida Mom Work for Mezco?

Breaking Bad Action Figure Ban: Florida Mom Work for Mezco?

Uptight Florida mother Susan Schrivjer, who told the world on The Today Show that she was “shocked and appalled” that Breaking Bad action figures were on sale in Toys R Us outlets called for signatures to ban these heinous creations from being sold to children, 8000 plus signatures later and one cannot find any of these despicable things even on the store’s website; but stop for just one moment and ask this question, does this “Florida mom” work for Mezco? Is this her Heisenberg mechanization to become an action figure Queenpin in the world of cheaply manufactured toys used to cash in on a show’s success?