Friday, December 31, 2010

Next Big Thing?

Hard to ignore some of the similarities between I Am Number Four and the old Roswell TV series. What's interesting is the apparent target audience: young males/boys. Will that audience will respond in the same way tween girls did with the Twilight franchise? Jumper tried and mostly fizzled. BTW, James Frey (yes, that one) is the devil. Don't believe me? Read this.

I like the narration by the kids, but the rest appears to be more of the same. Still, Steven Spielberg is the executive producer, so I'll give it a couple of episodes.

The only thing I know about trends is not to chase them. Aliens might be hot now, but all it takes is a flop or two.


Figured I had enough time to squeeze a few more thoughts into 2010...

The Crazies

Never saw the original, but I'm a fan of Radha Mitchell and Timothy Olyphant. Expected much more than I got: THE GOVERNMENT IS EVIL! HIDE YOUR WIFE! HIDE YOUR KIDS! THEY'RE CONTAMINATING EVERYBODY OUT HERE! (AND TRYING TO COVER IT UP.... WITH NUKES!) And while we're on the subject, why don't zombies/crazy people ever attack each other?

Doctor Who Christmas Special - A Christmas Carol

Fun take on the Dickens classic. Schmaltzy and manipulative? Without question. Many reviews were decidedly mixed. However, I always try to keep in mind that Doctor Who is a kid's show first and foremost. Adults are welcome, but know your place.

The Fourth Kind

The screenplay by writer/director Olatunde Osunsanmi was on the 2008 Black List. Although I haven't read it, I imagine the story showed more promise on paper than the final product delivered on film. There are some intriguing ideas and imagery presented, but it fails to come together in any meaningful way. BTW, Osunsanmi has another script that made the 2010 Black List, Dark Moon. Pretty impressive accomplishment.

The Lovely Bones

Peter Jackson can do no wrong in the eyes of some, but he did plenty here. A long, pretentious bore. Hated it with every fiber of my being. Hated myself for sitting through the whole thing. Did I mention how much I hated it?

Misfits - series 2

Another crude and obnoxious series -- but in a good way! Sometimes Nathan gets too much attention, while characters like Curtis and Kelly get the short end of the stick. I enjoy the shortened U.K. seasons (series), but things can feel rushed at times. Interesting developments with Simon. Can't wait to see what their new powers will be.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hellboy II Revisited

As much as I enjoyed Hellboy, the sequel didn't quite click with me. There's no denying that it's a gorgeous piece of cinema, but I felt the story was somewhat lacking. No big surprises or unforeseen twists. Too straightforward for my tastes. Within seconds of introducing Prince Nuada and Princess Nuala, you pretty much know how a certain issue would be resolved. It's also a problem when your antagonist is way more interesting and charismatic than your protagonist. With all that being said, the 3 Disc Special Edition for five bucks on Amazon was just too good to pass up for Christmas.

The funny thing about Guillermo Del Toro's commentary track is that he addresses the majority of my complaints. Some people said the first film was too dense and that Rasputin's goal wasn't clear enough, so he attempts to simplify here. Del Toro makes an admirable effort laying down some visual clues instead of bogging down the story with too many subplots. He also talks about certain story choices and trying to make an anti-superhero film. Clearly, the screenplay wasn't put together on some willy-nilly decisions. I'm still not in love with the film, but his excellent commentary has given me a lot to think about. Gonna check out the feature-length documentary on Disc 2 shortly.

DVD commentaries are a screenwriter's best friend. They're like a film class at your fingertips. Here's a great site I used to frequent a few years back and rediscovered today, Not as active as I remember, but hopefully, more writers will take advantage of it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lost Boys: The Thirst

A definite improvement over Lost Boys: The Tribe. Okay, that’s not a blurb you wanna slap on the DVD cover... Tribe set the bar pretty low -- so low, it probably fell through the earth and popped up somewhere in China. Although the original screenplay was about werewolf surfers, someone got the bright idea to turn it into the next installment of the Lost Boys straight to DVD films. The story goes something like this: Edgar Frog is enlisted by a Stephanie Meyer type author -- played by Tanit Phoenix (see below), who’s rumored to be the top choice for the new Wonder Woman TV series -- to rescue her brother from vamps who plan to sacrifice him during a big rave.

Lost Boys: The Thirst is an interesting experiment of trying to turn a supporting character into a lead. The result is somewhat successful. They flesh out Edgar a bit. Made him an angsty loner with nothing but comic books and a superior vampire killing ability -- which surprisingly doesn‘t pay the rent. He’s also clueless about the cute chick from the comic book shop who’s totally digging him -- even after she decides to tag along on his mission.

Sometimes it felt like Corey Feldman was playing it a little too straight, while everyone else kinda winked and nodded at the camera. The way I’ve always understood it is that all your characters (no matter how insignificant their role) should think they’re the hero of the story. I see some of that here, but there should have been more.

There’s a cool flashback to a scene from the original film and a nice tribute to Corey Haim. Honestly, there’s not much to say after that. Director Dario Piana does a fine job with a limited budget. Some of the set pieces and action are above average for straight to DVD flick. I think it’s pretty safe to say this won’t be the last we’ll be seeing of Edgar Frog.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Red: Werewolf Hunter

Finally caught this over the weekend. A nice change of pace from their usual fare. It's hard to knock Syfy's tried and true formula, but how many mutant alligator-squid monsters and killer storms can viewers take? The plot here wasn't that complicated — are they ever? Red (Felicia Day) brings boyfriend home to meet the folks and to reveal a family secret... they’re werewolf hunters! A rogue werewolf shows up and destroys the truce between the hunters and lycanthropes. Things get even more complicated when boyfriend gets bitten.

I must have zoned out in a few spots because I can’t recall why the rogue werewolf could change at will. Overall, the story wasn’t bad and the acting was solid, but the computer generated werewolves are the weakest link. I’d almost swear they’ve been recycled from another film. The Syfy Channel's philosophy must be, 'Cheesy CG is better than no CG at all!' A slightly bigger budget or a less-is-more-approach could have done wonders.

And speaking of bigger budgets, Syfy and Universal are starting Syfy Films. Are they really going to try the Syfy formula on the big screen? Are they going to be looking for writers? Can it work? Saturday night cable viewers are much more forgiving than your average moviegoer. Still, a sci-fi film like Skyline did decent business with just a $10M budget. Even though I have my doubts about this venture, it's never a bad thing when folks want to make genre films.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Vanishing on 7th Street

Yesterday, I tweeted about The World, The Flesh and The Devil and now I come across the trailer for the upcoming Vanishing on 7th Street. The former seems more focused on the mystery behind the disappearances, while the latter dealt with social commentary, but look is similar. Compare the trailer with this scene...

You could also add 28 Days Later, I Am Legend and Night of the Comet to the mix as well. It's part of the usual set up for these post-apocalyptic stories, but the obligatory montage of the protagonist wandering through some deserted major city (which is almost always NY or LA) can be tiresome.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Stumbled across one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes from the 80s — Hmm, maybe I should start doing Throwbacks again. A young horror buff's new neighbor (Ralph Bellamy) claims to be a monster. There's a little debate going on in the comment section about the ending. I always thought it was pretty clear...

Monday, December 06, 2010

Wishing on a Star

I'm totally clueless on whether Dead Awake is any good or not. Heck, I only discovered it a few days ago. There was a limited release over the weekend — $31,400 in 55 theaters. The DVD will probably arrive on Netflix shortly. The cast and the $3.5M budget (plus the Twilighty font) is what really caught my eye. Lately, I've been collecting hard-to-find contact information over on Mostly producers and a director or two, but I have increasingly thought about querying actors. Just gotta pick the right ones...

At first glance, Nick Stahl might not seem like a big name, but he did star in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which grossed over $400M worldwide in 2003 — the worldwide part means an awful lot these days. Significant screen time in a big movie can go a looong way, even if it was a while ago (see cast and budget of The Expendables).  Rose McGowan and Amy Smart have both been in modest hits. Rose is probably more popular from her stint on Charmed than anything else. There's a huge list that ranks actors in terms of value, I forget its name. Relativity Media has some sophisticated algorithm that takes into account certain variables such as star power, genre, director, budget, etc. and spits out a number that indicates if the project is worth making. Sounds incredible if it works. *cough* Warrior's Way *cough*

Sunday, December 05, 2010


After Chris Nolan's Inception, I'd say Gareth Edwards' Monsters is right up there as the second best science-fiction film of 2010. What's that? You've never heard of it? No. Not the animated movie with Reese Witherspoon... *sigh*

Understandable, since it was released in only 25 theaters and grossed a grand total of $213,091. There are shades of District 9, Cloverfield and even a pinch of War of the Worlds, but the premise stands firmly on its own two feet.

Basically, NASA discovers life in our solar system. They send a probe to collect samples and bring them back to earth. Unfortunately, the probe crashes on re-entry, the alien life-forms escape and hijinks ensue. Fast forward a couple years later. Half of Mexico is quarantined and an enormous wall has been constructed in an attempt to prevent the creatures from invading the United States. That's the backdrop for a story about an American photojournalist who, after a slight mishap, has to escort the boss's daughter across the infected zone and back into the States.

Made for just a few hundred thousand dollars, Monsters succeeds as a highly engrossing Sci-Fi adventure with a message that never gets too preachy. Don't expect wall to wall action or gratuitous money shots of the creatures. A lot is wisely left to the imagination. The lesson here is that low budget is no excuse for poor storytelling or a crappy premise. I should also point out that everyone worked off a treatment and not an actual script. Although the DVD doesn't come out until February, Creative Screenwriting Magazine has an excellent (slightly spoilerly) podcast with the two leads, Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able.

BTW, this poster makes for great wallpaper.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Moviegoers aren't exactly crying out for another comic book adaptation, but John Carpenter at the helm will definitely generate interest. Not too familiar with the source material — except that it's about a teen who can transform into the monsters from her nightmares.

Here's a bit of test footage that's been floating around for a while:

The Action/Horror genre continues to be a safe haven for female driven action films. Given the success of the Underworld and Resident Evil franchises, it's surprising that Hollywood hasn't tried harder to cash in on this niche.

Sounds like the Buffy reboot is really going to happen, without Joss Whedon. Really bad idea. A few other comic book properties with female protags have been in development for a while: Witchblade, Hack/Slash and Magdalena. I think Magdalena is the furthest along. It has a star (Jenna Dewan), script and a director (Ryuhei Kitamura) already in place. How long can this comic book movie bubble last? I think we're going to find out in 2011.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Red Riding Hood

Maybe it's just me, but I think the trailer gave away too much. I'm getting a Village vibe, minus the big Shyamalan twist. Does Catherine Hardwicke have enough Twilight mojo to lure in Twi-Hards looking for another paranormal romance fix until Breaking Dawn? Your guess is as good as mine. Ultimately, I suspect folks might be disappointed with the eventual payoff — haven't read the script yet, just going off my theory based on the trailer.

This is just the first of several fairy tale adaptations Hollywood has in the works. Snow White and The Huntsman is supposed to be the next big thing. If RRH tanks, those projects in development may suddenly come to a screeching halt. Honestly, I don't see ninety minutes of story here. While there is a love triangle and a werewolf (supposedly) in the mix, there's something off... too mature for its intended tween target audience?

There's a great interview with Hardwicke about the film over on Originally, she was hoping for an $80M budget (!!), but had to settle for $42M. The most fascinating portion of the article deals with the effort it took to get the film greenlit: cutting a trailer, using her paintings/drawings to sell the visuals and tone. Something to consider...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Amazon Studios

Now here's something worth investigating. Apparently, is going into the movie business with Amazon Studios. They're looking for the best scripts and films to put up on the big screen. You can read the FAQ here.

Keep in mind, Zoetrope and Triggerstreet have been doing this sort of thing for years — minus the monthly cash prizes. I have yet to hear about the writer who was plucked from digital obscurity and dropped into screenwriting superstardom. Why am I suddenly getting Project Greenlight flashbacks? Toxic message boards. Torpedoed reviews. Sludging through god-awful screenplays written by total newbies. Ahh, good times... not.

The process allows anyone to submit revisions of the scripts online!?! Never fear, the original script isn't actually replaced. Everything is grouped together, original with alternate drafts. The waters seem a bit muddy when it comes divvying up the prize money between the original writer and "guest" collaborator(s).

This is one of those ideas that sounds really great on paper, but eventually turns into one big clusterf***. Who's going to read/watch all these scripts and movies!? The judging process is vague at best. And with no entry fee, but the promise of $140,000 a month in prizes, can you say zero quality control? Additionally, some folks are bristling at the 18 month exclusivity that Amazon gets with your script.

While I wouldn't upload one of my more recent screenplays, I might take a shot with an oldie just taking up space on the hard drive. It's highly doubtful this contest will amount to anything, but you never know... and it is free.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Battle: Los Angeles

You've probably seen the trailer by now, but did you know there was an actual Battle of Los Angeles in 1942? Not quite a battle, but still an interesting little piece of UFO history. Those Ancient Alien specials on The History Channel are full of sci-fi story starters like this. From what I can tell, Battle: Los Angeles doesn't reference the alleged event — excised from an early draft of the script? Maybe someone thought it was too similar to Independence Day referencing Roswell.

Hollywood loves material based on true stories. They even like stories "inspired" by actual events. It's a great hook to mention in a query letter.

Asylum, the folks behind cinematic classics such as Transmorphers, Titantic II (you heard me) and Snakes on a Train, also have the upcoming "Battle of Los Angeles." Their low budget version appears to be more tied to the event. Although it's lacking in star power and special effects, I'm kind of intrigued.

Big budget films like Cowboys and Aliens, I am Number Four, Green Lantern, etc. will be at a theater near you in 2011. I sense the start of a trend...

Saturday, November 13, 2010


What's the definition of insanity again? Doing the same thing over and over then expecting a different result. Sounds an awful lot like querying. I just finished my latest campaign. Now the wait begins. Still focusing on production companies, but the next wave will likely include managers. I need a little more time to finish my current thriller.

Earlier in the week, I retweeted an interesting article about querying actors in the hopes of generating some buzz for a script. Seems like a tricky prospect. A-listers are probably unattainable and a B-list name won't do squat for a big tent pole script. However, a lower budget script with recognizable names (an up and comer, former A-lister, TV star, someone from overseas, etc.) might get you somewhere. It really comes down to finding that ideal match between star power and budget. The odds aren't in our favor, but it's worth a shot.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Blood List (2010)

The list of the best unproduced horror scripts for 2010 is out!

Scriptshadow has a link to a .pdf of the full list with title, author and reps. also has a copy, along with some loglines.

Here's the top 10:

1. DARK CONTINENT by David Portlock
2. THE LAST WITCH HUNTER by Cory Goodman
3. SKIN by Adam Alleca
4. HELL'S ACRE by Damian Nieman & Shane Clark
5. KIYO by Alex Daltas
6. SPRAWL by Jordan Goldberg & Alex Paraskevas
7. NOCTURNE by Andre Fabrizio & Jeremy Passmore
8. EIGHT BALL by Keith Kjornes
9. CURE by Beau Thorne
10. CHRONICLE by Max Landis

Slasher. Supernatural. Slivers of Sci-Fi. Pretty diverse subject matter. Based on the loglines, DARK CONTINENT seems the most promising. I also like the sound of NOCTURNE and CHRONICLE. It's all subjective, but congrats to the writers. I got a whole lotta reading to do. The immediate value of the Blood List to folks like us lies in the names of reps. Start working on those query letters. Maybe we'll make the cut next year!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

What Are You Looking At?

Even though The Event has been picked up for the rest of the season, it still seems to be on the same trajectory as ABC's short-lived FlashForward. I have an upcoming post on how I'd try to turn things around...

Dear J.J. Abrams,

Viewers have much shorter attention spans since the days of Hart to Hart, and networks are far less nurturing. Cutesy just doesn't cut it anymore. I've seen more conflict on episodes of She Spies — anyone remember that one? Undercovers was a flawed concept from day one. It's almost as if the show expected to ride a post-racial wave of buzz generated by its color-blind casting and totally forgot about a little thing called storytelling. So long sexpionage...

Sunday's premiere was a solid effort. However, I did have some minor quibbles: the scene in the car between Grimes and Shane was interminable. Broke a cardinal rule of screenwriting by telling and not showing. The intention was to establish the two characters with dialogue, but you can better define them through their actions. And honestly, the eventual payoff wasn't even worth it. Also, the opening in the hospital was a little too reminiscent of 28 Days Later. While I understand the sequence comes directly from the comic, that didn't make it any less stale. With all that said, I'm still looking forward to see how things play out. Only five episodes left though. The ratings were huge for cable, 5.3 million viewers — that might be more than Wednesday's episode of Undercovers. But how many will be back for seconds?

BTW, new Fringe tonight!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Supernatural Anime (Full Trailer)

Looks good. I'd love to see a live-action, Japanese reimagination of the series.

As far as the "real" show goes, I had my doubts about the viability of this extra season, but so far it's been very entertaining.

Six Simple Questions

Some things to consider before you enter one of the bazillion screenwriting contests (and counting) out there.

1. What's their track record?

How long have they been around? Do they meet their deadlines? Provide timely updates? Check out places like, read the contest report cards, get the skinny from writers on various message boards/blogs.

2. Is your script ready?

I don't know about you, but my first drafts are horrible. While writing to meet a deadline can be an excellent motivational tool, the absolute worst thing you can do is send a script out before it's ready. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to complete a draft *and* do a thorough polish.

3. What prizes do they offer?

Prizes can vary from year to year and websites aren't always up to date. $10,000 in prizes isn't the same thing as a $10,000 Grand Prize. If it's not clear, ask questions.

4. Do they offer feedback?

A peek into a reader's mind can be valuable, and you're getting something for your money. But honestly, you can join sites like and, and get free feedback — well, after some peer reviews. There are even folks who give script notes at rates comparable to some entry fees, but if you still want to go down that road... Some contests include feedback with the basic entry fee, while others charge extra. The quality can vary, so ask around....

5. Does this contest carry a lot of weight in the industry?

Not all contests are created equal. If you're just looking to win some cash/prizes, go for whatever looks attractive. Stick to the prominent contests if you're trying to catch the eye of a producer, agent or manager.

6. Is your script a good fit?

A good script can get lost in the shuffle of a big contest. Smaller, niche oriented contests can give it a better opportunity to stand out. Something to consider if your story is faith-based, horror/sci-fi/fantasy, features a female or minority protagonist, etc. A win might not do much for a tentpole script, but a low budget, high concept story might garner some attention from the Direct to DVD and cable-movie types.

Whew! Glad I got that off my chest. Hope it was helpful!

Monday, October 25, 2010


Last week brought an end to my adventures in screenplay contests for 2010. Looking back at the roller coaster ride, it pretty much met my expectations. The improved draft had limited success in the mainstream competitions, but once again, fared very well in genre oriented contests. It kinda feels like having the hottest girlfriend on your block... only to discover she's 800th hottest in a 3 block radius — right behind the blue-haired, cat-hoarding lady with the nasty boils. It's all relative, I guess. Third time's the charm?

Being a finalist, semi-finalist or quarter-finalist is cool and all, however, it doesn't carry the same amount of clout as winning. And surprisingly, even a win at the First Annual Bloody Pumpkin Screenplay Competition won't open a lot of doors. Sure, there are Cinderella stories about losing scripts being plucked out of obscurity, getting produced and winding up in theaters — Brooklyn's Finest comes to mind — but the odds aren't in our favor. I tried pimping my placement in a little contest last year... no dice. We'll see if my luck is any better this year. Already sent a couple of queries out... checking my inbox like a madman.

And to be fair, not every Austin, Nicholl and PAGE winner gets a sale and lives happily ever after. There is no easy road to success. Try anything and everything. Repeat. Rinse. I'll go for Nicholl again with a tweaked draft, and with a more conventional supernatural thriller — no creatures — that should be ready in time.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Chaser

Almost skipped this a few weeks ago, but thanks to a slight case of insomnia, I found a new favorite. I usually prefer Sundance's Asia Extreme with a large helping of the supernatural — good ghost stories are so hard to find these days. The Chaser sounded like a run-of-the-mill thriller with a side of torture porn. A former cop-turned-pimp matches wits with the serial killer who's been preying on his girls.

There's some violent imagery, heart-pounding suspense and even a surprising dash of humor sprinkled along the way, but more than anything, Chaser succeeds because it manages to defy expectations. Here, the antagonist is nabbed fairly early, but the fate of one his victims is uncertain. The police are in a race against time to prove the suspect is indeed a notorious killer, while our pimp protagonist searches for a missing prostitute that he believes is still alive.

I think aspiring screewriters sometimes focus too much on finding that big idea. Anyone can luck out and trip over a high concept premise. However, the story still can't write itself. It comes down to execution. This could have easily turned into a bad Se7en clone with everyone being two steps behind demented-but-brilliant killer. Stories about serial killers, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, etc. are nothing new in Horror, but it takes a good storyteller to make them feel like they're brand spanking...

FUN FACT(S): The film was inspired by a real Korean serial killer. And don't worry, Subtitle Haters. A remake is already in the works from the folks who gave us The Departed. Oh Goody...(I'd check it out though)

And it looks like someone uploaded the original to youtube. Here's part (1/13):

Monday, October 11, 2010


I haven't said much about one of the biggest films of the year because I still need time to process it. Inception isn't one of those films that you can watch once or twice. It requires multiple viewings, rewinding, slow-mo, commentary tracks and whatever else is at my disposal. Simply an incredible piece of work. I'm going way out on a limb here, but Chris Nolan's name might be mentioned a few times when the Academy Award nominations are announced...

Hopefully, Inception's success will encourage Hollywood to take more chances on spec scripts out there. Obviously, there's an enormous difference between a spec from Joe Blow and Chris Nolan, but still... As far as I know, the release date for the DVD hasn't been announced yet, but here's something to chew on for the time being: the screenplay. Gotta join the forums in order to get it though. Happy reading!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

New Kids On The Block

It feels strange going into the new season without Lost and 24. Lotta big shoes to fill. A few quick thoughts on some of the new genre shows:

The Event

I think the alien stuff is a bit of misdirection. My theory is that detainees and their kind are advanced humans from the future with a hidden agenda. It's an intriguing show that needs better developed characters and fewer gimmicks. Thankfully, flashbacks have been at a minimum since the dizzying pilot. The cliffhangers are fairly effective. It's the other forty-eight minutes that could use some work. The show has an unusually high opinion of itself. Nowhere as slick or as engaging as the promos would lead you to believe. What is the Event? Who is behind the conspiracy? How long will viewers put up with being left the dark? I groan at the thought of Jason Ritter's quest to find his missing girlfriend lasting the entire season. Actually, I'm being a tad optimistic with that prediction. Ratings have yet to stabilize. FlashForward all over again? I complain and yet I watch. Maybe it would benefit from a time slot change.


This isn't your big sister's Nikita. Maggie Q comes off more like a brooding super-heroine than badass rogue assassin, but it seems to be a hit, by CW standards anyway. The producers have made some clever adjustments to make the show a good fit for their teen-girl oriented network. Alex training at Division is pretty much a high school setting with higher stakes: fail and die.

No Ordinary Family

I already posted my thoughts on the pilot here. This show probably has the best chance of seeing a second season. Seems to have a better handle on how to entertain their audience than the others.


It's almost hard to believe this came from the mind of the man who gave us Alias, Fringe and Lost. A run-of-the-mill premise about married spies lured out of an early retirement, in the hopes of reviving that spark in their relationship.... Look, not every J.J. Abrams series requires some fantastical, mind-blowing element in order to be successful, but it certainly helps. Networks seem infatuated with spy shows these days. Not sure why. Alias never had big ratings. And even though Chuck has an intensely passionate fanbase, its ratings are just so-so. As I blog, ABC is prepping a new spy show for next summer. *shrugs*

Sexpionage and cutesy banter can only take you so far. Starting with the Blooms as a couple puts the writers in a difficult spot. Where's the sexual tension going to come from? Hart to Hart was well over twenty years ago. Kodjoe and Mbatha-Raw, while photogenic and likable, aren't Wagner and Powers. Look how much mileage Alias got out of Sydney and Vaughn. They should have ma-- I'll save that suggestion for my own scripts. Although the second episode showed some signs, the declining ratings don't suggest a lot of faith from viewers. A big disappointment.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Perfect Creature Script

It seems like yesterday when I first blogged about Perfect Creature. Actually, it was way back in 2007... three years ago. I had fully expected to be plucked out of screenwriting obscurity at this point. Making seven-figure script sales and a long list of expletives at the ready for the hapless newbie who dared to ask for a script read. But I'm okay with the lack of progress. Persistence... something, something... where was I again? Oh, yeah. The script has finally made its way onto the net. Check it out at

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Summer Rap

I meant to do quick wrap of some summer TV earlier, but I got more than a little side-tracked. Even though Noel Clark's Triangle Challenge ended a few weeks back, I aim to finish what I started. Anyway, here goes:

The Gates

The supernatural teen love triangle wore on me a bit, but the other storylines held my attention. With the likes of True Blood, Twilight and yet another Underworld movie on the horizon, viewers are probably experiencing vampire/werewolf fatigue at this point. Although the ratings weren't huge, they were fairly stable. Hardly groundbreaking, but watchable. Things might have been more interesting if the focus was on other supernatural creatures. I'll never understand why a limited run series would opt for cliffhangers instead of giving loyal viewers closure. It makes me less likely to pick up the DVD. Who knows if it will be back next year. We'll likely get repeats on Chiller or SyFy.

True Blood

Started off strong, but didn't deliver a strong enough payoff. The whole season was underwhelming and unfocused. Too much stuff with Jason and the Hillbilly Were-Panther People, Sam and his trashy shape-shifting relatives, Arlene and the baby, etc. I'll admit, the stuff with Russell was fun, but the previous season did a better job of tying the various subplots together. Maybe it's a set up for things to come.

Persons Unknown

Missed a bunch of episodes and never got back on track. I hear the finale didn't answer a lot of "burning" questions. Why am I not surprised?


I lost interest after a couple of episodes. However, I caught the last few and they weren't half bad. There was a Stephen King reference that made me chuckle. Sometimes the phenomena is downright goofy. But character stuff makes it worthwhile. Curious to see where it's headed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Event

What's your theory?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Grudge 3

I'm a big fan of Toby Wilkins' Splinter and was eager to see what he would do at the helm of the third installment of the Grudge films. I enjoyed the first one, but absolutely hated the poorly constructed sequel. Wilkins had managed to create some interesting characters and suspense in a simple tale about a group of people terrorized at a gas station by a monstrous parasitic organism, so the Grudge franchise seemed like a great fit.

The Grudge 3 is one of the better looking straight to DVD features you'll ever see. Operating at half the cost of the original, which was $10M, the production values don't miss a beat. They also did a surprisingly effective job of making Bulgaria look like Chicago. And although the cast consists of mostly unknowns — with the exception of Marina Sirtis, the acting is pretty solid. There's only one small problem. No real scares...

Horror fans can be incredibly forgiving. They can excuse bad dialogue, bad acting and even a shaky story, but don't promise scares and not deliver. As much as I had problems with The Grudge 2, at least there were some tense moments. This time around, the attacks by the ghost lacked creativity and suspense — one looked like it was lifted directly from The Ring.

Here's the thing, the audience knows Mr. X is going to die, but they don't always know when or how. It's our job to keep them on their toes. Sometimes folks get too caught up in the kill, when it's the build-up that should be their main focus. This isn't about budget either. Suspense can your best special effect. I'm not sure who's at fault here, the writer or director. Both would probably disagree, since the film went on to gross $38M.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Made You Look

And the award for the most misleading trailer of 2009 goes to...


Seriously, doesn't this:

Make you think you're getting something a lot like this:

I know the Marketing Department's job is to get butts in the seats by any means necessary, but that was downright evil. They're not even in the same genre! Based on its performance at the box office, moviegoers weren't fooled by the deceptive trailer -- that and the fact that it simply isn't a very good film. The Thing is a sci-fi classic, while Whiteout is yet another forgettable graphic novel adaptation with a paint-by-numbers plot, set in atypical location. And why does it seem as if Hollywood is giving movie deals to just about anyone with a graphic novel these days?

Obviously, comics are vastly superior visual aids than a plain .pdf of a spec screenplay. But a comic book panel does not equal storyboard, nor does niche fanboy enthusiasm automatically translate into mainstream appeal -- *cough* Scott Pilgrim *cough*. Still, the suits seem a little more receptive to comic book properties. Here’s an illuminating '09 interview from Creative Screenwriting with the guys behind 30 Days of Night. Originally, it was screenplay that could not find any takers. I'm not quite there yet, however, I have been looking at comic book scripts. The world probably isn't ready for my mediocre drawings, but places like Dark Horse Comics will accept scripts. Maybe after another batch of querying...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Golden Ticket

Got a letter from the Austin Film Festival today. Aside from a small note of encouragement, my script didn't get very far in the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting Competition. Still, I felt pretty good about my chances with Austin. They had about 2,000 fewer entrants than Nicholl and include a genre category. So I open my letter and ...

Okay, maybe it wasn't *that* harsh. But you get idea. I only made it past the first round...


I was hoping for a few contest placements/wins to pad my query letters, but alas, no such luck. Nobody said this was going to be easy. But I think it’s also important to be realistic. If a script keeps striking out, then maybe it’s the script (or the writer). I can’t remember where I heard this, but some ideas are doomed before FADE IN. There's a lot of truth in that. Honestly, I don’t think that’s the case here. There are some fantastical elements, but the story has broad appeal — execution could be sharper. I’m going to continue pushing it with queries, but at the same time, work on other projects.

P.S.: The letter is the automatic kiss of death. Semi-finalists get phone calls, but I felt like some Kanye-styled rambling.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Ordinary Family

I really should have posted this earlier, but it completely slipped my mind. ABC had an online preview of the No Ordinary Family pilot. Not sure if the link still works, but you can try signing up here:
Password: Extraordinary

Just a couple of spoiler free thoughts. Michael Chiklis plays a corrupt cop on the edge and he's about to -- er... sorry, wrong show. Chiklis actually plays a police artist and dad, Julie Benz is the hot scientist mom and two cranky teens round out this mildly dysfunctional bunch. An attempt at family time goes horribly wrong when their plane crashes in the Amazon. They survive their ordeal unharmed, but forever changed. If you blink within the first five minutes, you might miss all the crammed in plot. After that, it’s basically about them discovering/dealing with their extraordinary powers and trying to become a family again.

NOF isn’t a game-changer, nor do I think that was the intention. Those Incredibles, Fantastic Four and Heroes comparisons will probably help more than anything. I kinda wish they had pushed the envelope a bit. You know, Dad is having an affair, Mom has a drinking problem, the daughter might be pregnant -- but this is Disney we’re talking about. Wholesome 8pm fun. Some of the effects are pretty solid for TV. Dialogue felt forced a few times (e.g. texting God). I could easily see this as a one-shot cable movie or several cable movies, but a full-fledged series? I have my doubts. Still, it's just a pilot. Gotta wait and see.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Los Ojos de Julia (Julia's Eyes)

Here's the trailer for the new supernatural thriller produced by Guillermo del Toro. This just jumped to the top of my must-see list.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Drag Me To Hell

A loan officer tries to reverse the curse placed upon her by a disgruntled, old Gyp-- er, Romany woman. A few quick thoughts. It's fairly obvious that Sam Raimi had a heck of a time making this film. Drag Me To Hell feels as if you've been plucked out of the 21st century and dropped right in the middle of some late night 80s double feature hosted by Elvira. Lots of cheap scares, running gags and gross-out gags -- Alison Lohman deserves a medal. You can almost feel Raimi winking behind the camera. That being said, the film isn't quite my cup of tea. It's silly, schlocky and fun, but not scary. It went on to make $90M worldwide, so your mileage may vary. I much more prefer his work on The Grudge.

Unlike the Dead of Night Trailer, the throwback vibe totally works here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dead of Night

Here's a first look at (yet) another comic book adaptation, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. A private investigator whose cases involve the supernatural. I don't think most folks in the States are familiar with the comic, but it's ginormous in Italy. Decent cast with the likes of Brandon Routh, Taye Diggs and Peter Stormare. Definitely getting a strong 80s-90s vibe from this one, although I'm not sure if that's a good thing. Reminds me of Cemetery Man. Which make sense, since both concepts were created by Tiziano Sclavi.


I've been busy driving my self crazy with Noel Clarke's Triangle Challenge so I really haven't had time to post. On the plus side, I had a really productive weekend — even though I ended up cutting about 50% of what I wrote. According to Noel's latest triangle-related tweet, he's already finished one script and is at the halfway point with the other two. Pressure? What pressure?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Supernatural Anime Teaser

Here's the teaser trailer for the upcoming Supernatural anime. So far so good. More details can be found here.


Still not where I want to be, but I've churned out a decent number of pages for The Triangle challenge. Really trying to resist the urge to go back and fix things, but the true goal is to push ahead and commit the (flawed) story to paper. After that, I can always go back and revise...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

When it comes to cheesy made-for-television horror movies, I've seen more than my share, but the original Don't Be Afraid of the Dark doesn't ring any bells. A young woman is terrorized by tiny creatures that live in her home and of course, no one believes her. What a truly odd choice of movie to remake, by Guillermo Del Toro no less.

Some kind soul uploaded the 70s version to youtube, so I'll the take opportunity to check it out — at some point in the near future. Anyway, the trailer for the remake looks slick and I'm sure the story has been expanded. Also, gotta find the time to read the script for the GDT and James Cameron collabo, At the Mountains of Madness.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Triangle Update

Not a lot of pages this week. On the plus side, I have been refining my outline and getting rid of plot holes. I figured out whodunit and whytheydunit. The outline for Act III still needs work though...


I really need to start exercising better judgment when it comes to obscure horror films. I’m always getting sucked in by a cool title or flashy poster. Grace is a perfect example. A while back, Roger Ebert tweeted about the creepiness of the one sheet and that’s all it took. Here’s how the imdb describes the plot:

After losing her unborn child, Madeline Matheson insists on carrying the baby to term. Following the delivery, the child miraculously returns to life with an appetite for human blood. Madeline is faced with a mother's ultimate decision.

Now that doesn’t sound half bad, but it’s not quite the film we end up seeing. Grace could have been a great black comedy in the right hands. Instead, we get a weird horror film that doesn't even attempt to explain itself. I have no idea what writer/director Paul Solet was trying to say — other than being fascinated with breast feeding. The production values are fine and the acting is solid for the most part. There’s a how-deep-does-this-rabbit-hole-go quality that compelled me to see it through to the end, but this was a trip that I should have avoided.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Okay, time for some fanboy true confessions. While I enjoyed Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead, I've been completely unable to sit through the likes of Watchmen and 300. Believe me, I've tried. They're great-looking films, but right around the halfway mark, my mind starts to wander... Does my printer have enough ink? How many pages did I procrastinate away today? Maybe the Knicks will make the playoffs this season — maybe I'm delusional...

I kinda feel the same way about this Suckerpunch trailer. Absolutely fantastic visuals. I mean, hot chicks, dragons *and* zeppelins! What's not to like? But has anyone seen... Story... Story? Anyone? Bueller?

Sure, there might be a great tale hiding deep, (deep, deep) underneath all the slo-mo shots, eye candy and epic trailer music, but what if there isn't? What if it's just more of the same?


The trailer was designed to piqué our interests, Scream. Stop over-analyzing. Maybe Snyder just doesn't speak to you. As a matter of fact, why don't you tear up your fanboy card after this post, because you're no longer a member of our club. SNYDER ROOLZ!


They say you should always try to imagine the trailer for the your script: all the cool set pieces, visual gags, one-liners, etc. but don't forget about its heart.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Okay, I readily admit to being very disappointed/underwhelmed with Legion, but I'm willing give Paul Bettany and Scott Charles Stewart another chance with this vampiric comic book adaptation. Good cast that taps into Twilight *and* True Blood fan bases. Nice visuals. It can't be any worse than Legion, can it? Plus, it's in 3-D!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cruel Summer

So the Nicholl Fellowship Notifications came out today and... I didn't make the cut for the Quarterfinals (again). However, I did get a P.S. at the bottom of my rejection e-mail about receiving two positive reads but not cracking the top 20% of entries — really could have done without the second half of that statement. Guess that puts me somewhere in the top 30%? Nice to hear that my script didn't completely suck. Lessens the sting a bit. If you recall, I was pretty bummed last year.

I have a good idea where the weak spots are and how to fix them. Still, contests (readers) are subjective. The last thing I want to do is drive myself rewrite crazy, only to have the new draft booted after one read, which has been known to happen. The P.S. will help me push through my current masterpiece/disaster. Until next year, Nicholl...

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Triangle

No, it's not the title of some upcoming SyFy feature — actually, I think they've already used that one. UK actor/director/writer Noel Clarke issued an interesting challenge to his followers on Twitter last Friday: if you can write a brand new screenplay before he's done with the three on his plate, his production company will take a look at it. No promises beyond that. Still, it sounds like a fun summer project. Details can be found here. Also, you can track his progress on twitter and via the #thetriangle hashtag.

I haven't gotten very far with mine. No title. Outlining like a madman. I don't think he has any particular preference, just as long as it's good.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Devil Trailer

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice — you get the idea. If this film had been written by Joe Blow Shyamalan, I'd probably give it the benefit of the doubt. No such luck, Night. Interesting enough premise, but I've been burned way too many times. Strictly a rental... if that.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dead Air

A mixed-bag of summer television...

The Gates is certainly watchable with its impossibly beautiful cast (see Exhibit A above). Ratings haven't been stellar but they appear to be stable. After Eastwick fizzled, you gotta give ABC props for even attempting to put another supernatural drama on the air. On the other hand, we've been down this road before: paranormal teen love triangles, vampires trying to be human, good witches vs. bad witches, etc. I think it lacks that compelling must-see element. Does anyone care who killed the Sheriff? Where's a Hellmouth when you need one!? Maybe a community of paranormal beings is overkill. They no longer seem unique and interesting, which brings me to...

Gonna have to watch a few more episodes before I pass judgment. The pilot was okay. Both Haven and The Gates could take a few notes from Eureka, in terms of characters.

I caught the pilot and missed everything since. NBC's game of musical timeslots hasn't helped either.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Love Bites

Just a quick follow-up to my "Let Me In" post. According to an article in the LA Times, plans for a theatrical release *might* not be so certain — which would be a shame really. Regime change.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Right One In vs. Let Me In

The Let Me In trailer looks solid, but it doesn't quite stack up to Let The Right One In. Although some shots are identical, the tone of the remake feels... different. I can't put my finger on it, the music? Fans of the original have balked at the very thought of a remake, but this doesn't look half bad. Chloe Moretz makes a better Abby/Eli than I would have expected.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Too Frightening?

Looks like the viral marketing campaign for PA2 has already started. Some theaters have supposedly pulled the teaser trailer because of complaints that it's too frightening. Excuse me? I demand that you scaredy cats explain yourselves! The Great Pumpkin is scarier than that trailer. Craig Sager has suits more terrifying than that trailer!
I just made a shadow puppet that was infinitely scarier than the aforementioned trailer — I make a mean Doberman.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Light Reading

Looks like those "leaked" twenty pages from the Undercovers script were the real deal. They were quickly pulled from the site — fortunately for me, not quick enough. Retired, married spies are called back for one last job. Light and breezy stuff. The NBC Upfront preview did a pretty good job of covering all the bases, so there aren't a lot of surprises here. I did expect a lot more witty banter than I got. And Mrs. Bloom seems a bit... control-freakish/bitchy on paper. So far, I'd have to say this isn't as strong as the Alias pilot script, but I'm gonna reserve judgment until I see the final product.

Colin Farrell plays a fisherman who pulls up an unusual catch, a beautiful young woman, who just might be a mermaid (or a selkie) in this modern day fairytale. Pleasant enough. Often walks dangerously close to Hallmark Channel territory — not that there's anything wrong with that, but I think you know what I'm trying to say. The story hinges on the casting of the titular character. I'm not sure if Ondine had a theatrical released in the States, however, it's currently playing on IFC OnDemand.

And my pile gets a little smaller...

Supernatural Anime?

Who would've thought that we'd have a Supernatural anime before Buffy, Blade or even The X-Files? The art looks promising and the possibilities are endless. Twenty-two episodes... wonder how much they'll cost to make. You can check out what appears to be the official website for updates.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Trifecta of Terror

Is this Marisa Tomei's first horror film? Better late than never I guess. A mother becomes overwhelmed by the constant fear that her children are in grave danger. Craig Bierko and Regina Hall (both Scary Movie alums) round out the cast as her husband and therapist. This one's a head scratcher. I can't figure out what was so strong about the material that attracted the talent involved — I believe there's another Scary Movie connection with one of the producers . A serviceable psychological thriller that lacks surprises and doesn't leave any lasting impressions..

A group of strangers in a hospital are suddenly transported to a hellish alternate reality. Think Lost with cheap scares, (mildly) menacing rubber-suited monsters and time loops. Pretty solid for the first thirty minutes or so, then starts to unravel into an incomprehensible mess. If you think of Dark Floors as a really long music video for Finnish band the Lordi, it probably makes perfect sense (to their fans).

I remember liking the script, in a trashy B movie kinda way, but the film just dragged on. Took itself a little too seriously. I bailed somewhere around the halfway point. The only other thing I have to add is that Isabelle Fuhrman would have made a great Abby in the Let The Right One In remake.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Script 2 Scream

Instead of watching Splice, I opted to read the script first. You can check it out for yourself here. Not as bad as I expected. Pretty decent actually. The Species comparisons, thanks to misleading ads, are way off. It's your basic Mad Scientist(s) story with some "interesting" choices along the way. Trust me when I say this, Dren might be all screwed up, but she's got nothing on the characters played by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley.

Can someone tell me why Dark Castle thought this would play as a big summer release? I read somewhere that they spent as much as $40M on P&A?! A January release or later in the Fall would have been wiser. This was always going to be a niche film. And with a $26M budget, it might be a while — if ever — before the film sees a profit.

Also read the script for a remake/reimagining of a popular 80s vampire movie. So disappointed in this one. The only thing it brings to the table are a bunch of cliches. Enough with vampires with black eyes already! And heaven forbid a vamp changes into a bat these days. It's like everyone's reading from the same playbook. I also could have done without the geek vs. cool kid bromance gone wrong...

Next on my pile was an upcoming female actioneer. Great Bourne-like action, but the plot comes *this* close to preposterous on more than a few occasions.

Whew! That felt good. Now on to writing...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Desperate Vampires

That Rhona Mitra can't seem to get enough of playing vampires lately. First it was Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and now The Gates... she is acting, right? Some residents of an exclusive community harbor dark secrets — the kind that go bump in the night. ABC is giving a sneak peak at the first 17 minutes before the premiere on Sunday. Hmm... unspectacular, although solid. I can't decide if the preview is a clever marketing ploy or just desperate plea for viewers. The show seems like a better effort than overly weird-creepy Happy Town and slightly more intriguing than NBC's Lost-wannabe Persons Unknown.

The idea of a new Sheriff coming to town and discovering strange goings-ons, reminds me of the proposed Van Helsing spinoff series — you heard me — from a few years back. Going back even further, there was an old TV Movie about a gated community headed by Susan Lucci, who was some sort of demonic creature — more acting, right? The Gates seems to be walking a fine line between True Blood and Desperate Housewives. We'll see how it plays out...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cold Open

I think I'm done with TV pilots, because they all seem to lean heavily towards the crappy side. I wasn't satisfied at all with my script for the FOX sitcom contest. Sitcoms are deceptively difficult. Throw a couple of attractive twenty-somethings together, cook up a silly but relatable situation, then toss in a few one-liners and the show practically writes itself, right? Not so much. Never mind the fact that I'm a genre guy, trying write something with "mainstream" appeal. A pretty humbling experience. Guess I'm going to stick with features for the foreseeable future — unless an incredible idea falls into my lap. I can't remember if I mentioned it before, but here's an excellent collection of TV scripts:

Lots of current shows. Sitcoms and dramas. Great if you want to study format, Act breaks, script length, etc. Have at it.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Contest Alert!

If you've got a teleplay dripping with testosterone, this might be worth a shot:

SPIKE (Blue Mountain State, The Ultimate Fighter, Deadliest Warrior) is looking for its next bold and energetic half-hour, live-action, single-camera comedy.

Details here:

Monday, May 31, 2010


Four posts in two days!? I must be on some kind of roll...

Speaking of TV shows, here's something that I recently came across: the original pitch for the animated series, Gargoyles. Cool premise. More mature than you'd expect from Disney. I'd catch an episode here and there, but never got around to watching the whole thing. Might be of interest to folks with an eye on animation/television.

Behind The Gun

Still have a ways to go with my sitcom contest entry, so I won't be making tomorrow's first day of submissions. Took me longer than I had anticipated to come up with a sustainable concept. Too many false starts. A leisurely stroll through my spec graveyard of abandoned ideas and characters was all I really needed to find the missing pieces. Should have something done before the final deadline. After that, I'm probably done with contests for the rest of the year.

Lost Boys: The Thirst Trailer

Because some of you demanded another Lost Boy's movie — you know who you are — we now have Lost Boys: The Thirst. The Frog Brothers must stop evil vamps from...yada, yada. The production values on this one look better than the previous installment — although the wire work looks a little shaky. I kinda dug Dario Piana's The Deaths of Ian Stone, so I'll probably check this out.

FUN FACT: Back in the day, Piana came *this* close to directing a werewolf hunter flick, produced by Joel Silver and starring DMX, called...wait for it... WEREWOLF. If you poke around on his website, you can still see some of the concept art.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

FlashForward Cancelled

FlashForward is gone, but I can't say that I'll miss it. The writing was on the wall for quite some time. Maybe I'm still a little surprised that V made the cut and FF didn't, but never underestimate the power of cheesy 80s nostalgia.

Serialized drama is hard as heck to pull off these days. Lost and 24 left some awfully big shoes to fill. FlashForward's premise was strong enough to get 12 million viewers to tune in for the pilot, but not compelling enough for them to stick around on a weekly basis. At one point, Vampire Diaries was pulling better numbers in the 18-49 demographic. The show was never able to find the right balance between sci-fi conspiracy thriller and character-driven drama.

Honestly, the only compelling character to me was Agent Demetri Noh (John Cho). Unlike most people, his flashforward revealed only darkness, suggesting an inevitable death. He's in a race to solve his own murder before it happens. Sounds like a good central character to me. But no, the powers that be decided to have everything revolve around Agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes), an incredibly unlikable character. Even the kind, beautiful wife and cute kid failed to warm me up to this hotheaded, sullen protagonist. Maybe if he had a dog?

The supporting characters and subplots added up to a lot of fail. Who cares if the Doctor hooks up his Japanese love? Mark's AA sponsor going to Afghanistan to play Rambo? Will Mark's wife sleep with a handsome scientist in a moment of weakness? Who's side is Janice on? And who's her baby's daddy? Can Demetri's fiancée be any more annoying? What's that Campos guy up to now?

The conspiracy itself was muddled and uninteresting. The winter hiatus didn't help matters, nor did the game of musical showrunners. If only I could have flashed ahead to the see the unsatisfying finale. I would have found something more interesting to do with my time...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Last Exorcism Trailer

Kinda bears more than a passing resemblance to the Exorcism of Emily Rose, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. See for yourself...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quick Lost Thoughts (Spoiler Free)


Didn't love it...

Didn't hate it either...

Still processing...

I guess Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse took Stephen King's advice (read it in Entertainment Weekly a few years back) about that final shot. Gonna check out the alternate endings on Jimmy Kimmel. More too come...


There's no such thing as a perfect ending. Stories are about the journey, not the destination. Well done.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fresh Meat

Interesting selection of genre shows on the table for next season. Some might be spec worthy — if they can manage to survive...

The Cape - guy presumed to be dead, fights crime with a special cape that let's him do cool stuff and Keith David - HEY, IT'S SPAWN: THE LIVE ACTION SERIES!!! Maybe not. Don't know about this one, given the high cheese content, but it does have Summer Glau. Fanboys and Browncoats will give it a shot.

The Event - I'm sensing a sci-fi angle. Hope it'll stick around long enough to see if my hunch pans out. The recent demise of FlashForward isn't a good omen for another serialized (sci-fi-ish?) drama.

Nikita - Dig the colorblind casting, but I need to see more. This is kinda meh.

No Ordinary Family - maybe they should call it, 'The Incredible Fantastic Family of Four Heroes!' Feels more like a made-for-cable movie than a weekly series. We'll see...

Undercovers - yay for more colorblind casting, but wasn't there a Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Jordana Brewster) pilot that never made it to air? This looks like fun though. With JJ Abrams exec producing, the show will be given every opportunity to succeed.

Honestly, I was expecting more of a Twilight effect. Vamps, werewolves and whatnot. What happened to Salma Hayek's Werewolf series and Michael Dougherty's Bitches? Also, The CW's Betwixt didn't make the cut.

MTV is readying a Teen Wolf series, and ABC does have The Gates coming in June. You can't tell much from the promo, but it's been described as something akin to Desperate Housewives — except with supernatural creatures.

Almost forgot about Spielberg's Terra Nova - which sounds a bit like the old Land of the Lost series.

And what's up with all the bland, vanilla show titles? Geez!


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