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Tag Archives: Land of the Lost

Chiller Theatre April 2015: Black Ink and Colorful People

27 Apr

April 27, 2015

I went to the Chiller Theatre Convention this past weekend and as always, a good time was had by all. There were plenty of celebrities. I got my picture taken with Gilbert Gottfried, and he autographed a Dracula Gottfried picture for me.

Dracula Gottfried

You may remember Dracula Gottfried from this blog post.

The interesting thing was, for a guy known so much for his voice, I don’t think I heard him speak to anyone.

I also had my picture taken with Gavin “Captain Stubing from the Love Boat” MacLeod, and yes, he was wearing his captain’s hat. That man knows which side his bread is buttered on.

crop merrill

Along with movie and TV stars, and also a few people you aren’t quite sure how to categorize (AKA The Guy Who Played Chaka The Ape Boy On Land Of The Lost), there were a lot of wrestlers. This is normal for Chiller, and leads me into my biannual Greg “The Hammer” Valentine update. I’ve been doing this since 2012, when he looked like this:

It became a legend that his leathery, almost baseball glove-like face never, ever changed. In fact, he almost never seemed to move. Here he is last year:

Hulk Hogan Fan Appreciation Day at Toyota Park - July 10, 2009

And here he is all the shows in between:

Hulk Hogan Fan Appreciation Day at Toyota Park - July 10, 2009

So what did he look like this year?

Hulk Hogan Fan Appreciation Day at Toyota Park - July 10, 2009

I don’t know. He wasn’t there. This was quite a big blow to me, not because I actually wanted to see him, but because I wanted to see how many years I could keep this joke running. 2012 – 2015. Not bad.

But softening the blow was the fact that Jake “The Snake” Roberts was here this year, and trust me, he didn’t move much either. However, I hope he shows up next year, and you’ll see why in a second. He’s going to replace Greg Valentine as the new running Chiller joke, and it is all because of his mustache.

Here’s how he was advertised on the Chiller site:

grey jake

And here’s how he looked in person.

black jake

That mustache has been dyed to within an inch of its life. In fact, the only thing there to rival Jake’s mustache was Anson William’s hair. Yes, Potsie from Happy Days. His head looked like he had just dunked it in a vat of ink. Sorry there’s no picture, I couldn’t stop staring and lost my senses.

Also there were The Dudley Boys, Bubba Ray and Devon. Immediately after I shot this picture, Bubba Ray shot me a glare that would have scared Andre the Giant. I think he was upset that I took his picture without buying anything. Sorry Bubba.

crop dudleys

I bought a cool Chiller T-shirt and some old paperbacks, and generally had a great time. There was a guy walking around in the creepiest scarecrow costume I’ve seen, and I have no idea if he paid to get in or just walked in like he belonged there. I wouldn’t ask him for a ticket if I was at the desk.

crop scarecrow

I’m already looking forward to October.

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My Review of Terra Nova

18 Jan

January 18, 2011

Ever wonder what Jurassic Park would be like without the dinosaurs? Wonder no more as FOX presents Terra Nova, the gripping semi-drama of an extended camping trip on prehistoric almost-Earth.

The show opens in the year 2149. The air is polluted, huge multinationals have created mega-cities, and there is a strict policy of two children per family. OH, sorry, that’s 2012 Asia. Anyway, the premise of the show is that the Shannon family managed to escape into the past and start anew on prehistoric Earth. Good thing too, because as any sci-fi fan knows, the Daleks are due to invade the Earth in 2150 so they got out just in the nick of time.

It seems that in the future a Stargate- SORRY, I mean portal- has been found allowing folks to enter the time tunnel and- SORRY, I mean portal- and quantum leap- SORRY, I mean time travel- back to Jurassic Park-SORRY, I mean Earth’s Cretaceous Period- and start civilization all over again.

You may have noticed in your reading of the preceding two paragraphs that Terra Nova is long on unoriginality.

You may also be thinking that colonizing prehistoric Earth is a very bad idea with horrible repercussions for the future. Imagine all the huge changes their very presence back there would create, all the alterations of the time stream, all the screwing up of the future that every passing second multiplies. You may imagine all that but don’t bother. The deus ex machina is that the portal sends everyone to an alternate Earth. Yes, an alternate prehistoric Earth. So not only are they in the past, they are in an alternate reality, so if the creators of the show want to ignore the fact that the concentration of oxygen was different back then, and Earth’s slightly different gravity and magnetic field would create problems for people and machines alike, well, they can. And they do. Things are pretty much the same back there. I expect to see a Boy Scout troop blundering in at any time.

Terra Nova is a large colony that operates like a hippie commune with armed guards and a policy of not doing much of anything. It is pretty much like camping out. Since the portal only goes one way (at least for now) they are essentially on their own. (Except when the show decides they are not.) There also doesn’t seem to be much colonization going on. In fact, the main thing the colony does is fret about a rival group of people from the future. They’ve locked themselves in a compound in order to fend off attacks from the bad guys. Same as Falling Skies. Same as The Walking Dead. The bad guys change but the story is the same: small group of humanity trying to survive in a strange world.

The hero of Terra Nova is Jim Shannon, played by Jason O’Mara. You might remember him as the time-traveling cop from Life on Mars but judging from that show’s ratings you probably don’t. On the one hand he is amping up his sci-fi cred by appearing in two high-profile sci-fi shows but on the other hand what does he play here? Another time-traveling cop. He is close to being typecast, but he could probably clean up selling autographs at the next Comic-Con.

He’s a pretty affable guy, and when the plot calls for it, can almost pull-off tough. And that’s the problem with the show. While it has a serious sci-fi premise, the producers treat it almost like a WB show; heavy on sappy family stuff with a dollop of fluffy action. And every once in a while they toss in a dinosaur. The show is lightweight.

Terra Nova started off with high hopes but here are some reviews from later in season one:

The show was called “Stargate: SGU by Dr. Seuss” by Mark A. Perigard of the Boston Herald. Sam Wollaston of the Guardian observed that there was only one interesting character and that “A lot of the fault lies with what they have to say to each other. The script is as corny and cheesy as a family-sized portion of cheesy corn nachos.”New York Magazine reviewer Chadwick Matlin vowed never to watch the show again, saying “Sure, the premise had promise, but even masochists like us can only take so much.”

The bad guys dress like Mad Max castoffs with impeccable makeup, the good guys are all portrayed as fluffs, and while this is produced by Steven Spielberg who knows a thing or two about dinosaurs, there are not nearly enough of them to satisfy anyone.

This would be a pretty good Family Channel program.

There is hope, however. Since this is an alternate Earth in a prehistoric era, all the producers need to do in season two is introduce the Sleestaks. Trust me; the ratings would go through the roof.

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