Two pop culture addicts' snarky musings…

Posts tagged ‘Syfy’

SyFy’s Alice is a trip worth taking

I know that in my columns I have talked about adaptations, reboots, re-imaginings and remakes in both television and cinema. And I’m pretty sure I’ve ranted on the subject of Hollywood’s obsession with giving a new face to an old piece of work once or twice. While most of the time the redo’s are okay (and sometimes really bad) every once in a while there are those that absolutely blow my mind with their ingenious and creativity. Such a gem I have found in SyFy‘s “Alice.”

This mini-series originally aired about three years ago, and like Tim Burton‘s “Alice in Wonderland,” isn’t so much a re-telling of the story as it is a continuation or a sequel and also takes elements from “Through the Looking Glass.” It follows Alice (who you aren’t quit sure if it is “the” Alice or not) a twenty-something who, thanks to the desertion of her father when she was 10, has a lot of issues. These issues come to light when her boyfriend Jack proposes to her under mysterious circumstances. When she kicks him out and then follows him to return the ring he left, she follows him straight into Wonderland, but a Wonderland that has changed from when the first Alice came over 150 years ago and not everything is as it seems.


Alice (Caterina Scorsone, left) and Hatter (Andrew Lee Potts) from SyFy's "Alice"

Nick Willing (who also breathed new and strange life into “The Wizard of Oz” for SyFy with “Tin Man”) brings us a Wonderland that is darker, more dangerous, more adult and ruled by the Red Queen (Kathy Bates) who has her Suits steal people from our world and bring them to the Hearts Casino where they, called Oysters in Wonderland, are drained of their emotions so the inhabitants of Wonderland can consume them. Bates plays the queen as only she can, with a careful balance of maliciousness and comedy. This isn’t Willing’s first time in Wonderland, he made the 1999 made-for-TV-movie “Alice in Wonderland” starring Robbie Coltrane, Whoopi Goldberg, Martin Short, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Lloyd, Gene Wilder and Tina Majorino. I remember watching the movie and being very confused and weirded out most of the time. I might go back and watch it again, just to compare it with Willing’s new adventure, but I have a feeling the SyFy one will win out.

To be honest, the first twenty minutes of the move made my head hurt, and it wasn’t until we met the Hatter (perfectly portrayed by “Primeval” star Andrew Lee Potts) and he explains to Alice (Caterina Scorsone) and the audience what is going on that I started to enjoy the show. What I like about Potts’ Hatter, along with his very sixties wardrobe, is that he isn’t actually mad at all. He’s a criminal who, until Alice comes along, played “both sides of the fence” to survive. His instant chemistry with ‘s Alice is electric and you enjoy every scene they have together.While the movie itself is one of the most original adaptations I have seen in a while, the DVD itself is lacking in all the extra goodies I tend to seek out first when purchasing a new movie. The only thing I found was an audio commentary with Willing and Scorsone, and while those are my favorite behind-the-scenes extras, it would have been nice to see some featurettes or documentaries, as the “Tin Man” DVD are chock full of them.

Even if you are sick of the “Alice” remakes, I highly suggest you take one more trip down the rabbit hole with this miniseries. You won’t be disappointed.

Sarah’s television picks for the week

We’ve reached the limbo point of television programming where summer shows are airing their finales and fall series have quite started yet. However, there is still plenty to watch and here are my suggestions for this week:

Monday: TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles” has made television history by having the highest audience numbers for an ad-supported cable show with 7 million viewers for its pilot episode. And for good reason. Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander have amazing chemistry, as does the rest of the cast. And it holds a special place in my heat for having Billy Burke guest-star as an FBI agent in the pilot.

Tuesday: Thanks to Comcast, we have the SyFy channel and therefore have access to the brilliance that is “Warehouse 13.”  With just one episode left in the second season, we have seen everything from a pair of trunks giving the wearer (“Firefly” actor Sean Maher) superhero powers to an emotionally-charged episode where Pete (Eddie McClintock) is taken over by an artifact.  I cannot begin to express how perfect this show is for a science-fiction/history geek like me. It’s about a Warehouse where secret government agents store supernatural objects, most with dangerous effects. It makes the place where they stored the Arc of the Covenant look like my neighbor’s garage. The script is full of wit and intrigue and humanity, making for the complete package of quality entertainment. Check out the promo:

If sci-fi isn’t your thing, you should check out “Memphis Beat,” the southern police drama that has quickly become my new favorite.

Wednesday: To build up to the season finale of “Royal Pains” Thursday night, USA will run a marathon of the second season so far from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday. With all the medical dramas clogging the air these days, the balance of wit and drama is perfect and a breath of fresh air. So, if you have twelve hours to kill, I can’t think of anything else you should do.

Thursday: This will be my first and only daytime preview. On “As the World Turns,”  controversial gay couple Luke and Reid finally get serious. According to the preview, Reid tells Luke  he needs to take care of himself (speculation says this is a reaction to Chris’ failing health and his stubborn insistence to keep it secret) because if he’s going to “fall in love with [Luke]” he doesn’t want to lose him. And according to fan-chatter, this is possibly the episode where Luke and Reid finally have sex. Whatever happens, it’s guaranteed to be an epic LuResday. Here’s the now infamous ten seconds:

Friday: After a week full of drama, you really need just need to laugh. That’s why I look forward to ABCFamily’s night full of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” There’s nothing quite as therapeutic as watching other people making absolute fools of themselves.

Saturday: TCM Summer of Stars, obviously all summer, where they feature movies starring a different actor every day. Saturday features Olivia de Havillad with “The Heiress” at  8 p.m., for which she won an Oscar, followed at 10 p.m. with “To Each His Own,” for which she also won a statue.

Sunday: This is pretty obvious: The Emmy Awards. I am a sucker for award shows, but especially the Emmys this year because I have a lot invested in Chris Colfer’s win for Best Supporting Actor.

Check out Mel’s week in review on Saturday

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