Mysterical-Eye on TV and FIlm

Summer News and Views

As I write this column, it’s mid-July and one of the stories buzzing is Daniel Dae Kim’s and Grace Park’s departure from the new HAWAII FIVE-0, unable to achieve pay parity with series stars Alex O’Loughlin (Steve McGarrett) and Scott Caan (Danny Williams) after seven seasons.

CBS has taken heat in the past for being one of the least diverse TV networks, and former CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller had promised to change the trend, but Geller stepped down in May after suffering a mild heart attack. Other TV critics have weighed in, saying CBS made the wrong move not compensating Kim and Park, that the Asian actors were one of the ways HAWAII FIVE-0 reflected its setting.

As a fellow Asian, I’m disappointed the two sides didn’t come to terms, but the characters of Chin Ho and Kono Kalakaua always were secondary to McGarrett and Williams. Actors playing less essential characters are paid less.

That said, as a reboot, HAWAII FIVE-0 did change McGarrett from Jack Lord’s straitlaced G-Man to O’Loughlin’s loose cannon special ops character. Early episodes had Hawaiian titles, which I suppose was for effect, but made the episodes more difficult to recall by name. A really bold take would have been to make Chin Ho and Kono McGarrett’s superiors from day one.

Speaking of reboots, I’ve just binged the 13-episode first season of The CW’s Archie Comics adaptation RIVERDALE on Netflix and am happy to report its dark crime drama twist succeeds as Archie and friends find themselves caught up in a well-plotted VERONICA MARS-style mystery.

Developer and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa wrote the similarly quirky comic AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE. He is also Chief Creative Officer at Archie Comics and has previous screenwriting experience, all of which make RIVERDALE a well-conceived take on Archie that remains faithful to the characters’ classic traits as they confront the death of friend that threatens to irrevocably change their small-town life. Look for standout performances by newer actors as well as stars of my generation, such as Luke Perry and Molly Ringwald as Archie’s parents.

In other happy news, a reunion movie of USA Network’s popular detective comedy PSYCH, which the other day marked the eleventh anniversary of its premiere, will air in December. The entire cast will be back, including Tim Omundson (Carlton Lassiter), currently rehabbing from a mild stroke.

I’m not too excited about next fall’s new shows, but CBS’s SEAL TEAM (Wednesdays 9:00 P.M. starting September 27) interests me because the lead role originally envisioned for PERSON OF INTEREST star Jim Caviezel was recast with BONES star David Boreanaz. I’m a fan of both actors, but they have different vibes to me.

While I haven’t seen the WONDER WOMAN movie starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, which premiered June 3, I’ve heard reviews good enough that I’ve pre-ordered it on DVD. Reviews are similarly positive for SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, the first Spider-Man movie incorporated into Marvel Studios’ successful cinematic universe (IRON MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE AVENGERS, etc.)

Also, a high-definition remastered version of BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM, the 1993 animated movie based on Bruce Timm’s now-classic daily cartoon, comes to Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection July 25. If you happen to be new to the cartoon, the movie is as good a depiction of Batman’s origins as any live-action treatments and features the voices of Mark Hamill as The Joker and Dana Delany as Andrea Beaumont, an enigmatic love interest for a younger Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy).

And MARVEL’S THE DEFENDERS the eight-part series several years in the making, involving characters from the previous DAREDEVIL, JESSICA JONES, LUKE CAGE, and IRON FIST series, premieres on Netfix August 18.

Finally, looking further ahead, THE GOOD PLACE, my favorite TV show this past season, comes to DVD from Shout! Factory October 17. While decidedly more comedy than mystery or crime, THE GOOD PLACE did resolve quite cleverly the apparent mix-up that sent self-absorbed Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) to a seemingly idyllic afterlife neighborhood.

Until next time, feel free to comment with the TV shows and movies you’re catching this summer, and stay cool.

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