Land of Lost Looks to Upend Up
Comedy is charging the box office, with Land of the Lost hoping a mix of adventure and laughs will pop Up’s balloon and rise to the top of the heap.
The Brad Silberling (10 Items or Less) directed Universal feature, which stars Will Ferrell and revives the classic 1970s Sid and Marty Krofft TV series, opens at more than 3,300 theaters. Both a celebration and parody of the beloved TV series, the film uses heavy doses of VFX instead of the puppetry and stop-motion animation seen in the original series.
Aiming at the older crowd is The Hangover. The Warner Bros. comedy, directed by Old School’s Todd Phillips, opens in more than 3,200 theaters this weekend and is hoping to wake up to box office results Monday that won’t be embarrassing.
Also out this weekend is My Life in Ruins, a comedy from Fox Searchlight playing at about 1,100 theaters.
All three films join a crowded field lead by Disney-Pixar’s Up, which scored more than $68 million in its opening last weekend and should do well again this weekend. Animated releases this year have shown real legs at the box office, with Coraline and Monsters vs. Aliens doing strong business for many weeks after their openings.
Also expected to do well this weekend are Terminator Salvation, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Drag Me to Hell, Star Trek, Angels & Demons, Dance Flick and the fading X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Autodesk Leads Middleware Talk at E3
The flashy side of E3 – which officially will return next year June 15-17 — gets most of the attention at the annual confab, but there’s plenty of serious business also taking place as companies talk to each other about how to make next year’s games even better than this year’s.
To that end, software maker Autodesk held a special luncheon and panel discussion on the use of middleware products in the making of videogames. Best known in entertainment circles as the maker of the standard high-end animation tools Maya, 3ds Max and Softimage, the company’s games middleware offerings include HumanIK, for in-game character animation, and the AI solution Kynapse.
On hand for the chat were Softimage VP Marc Stevens, who lead the discussion on the role of middleware in making games with Kelly Zmak, president of Radical Entertainment, and Kevin Scharff, development director of Spark Unlimited.
Zmak says Radical, which is releasing June 5 the game Prototype, makes the decision to use middleware based on quality and not on saving money. When making games, he says the goal is always to try to do more with the resources you have, and if you can solve a problem with a middleware package rather than create a new proprietary tool, the decision is obvious. “If I can get more quality by using middleware, I will,” he says.
Scharff, whose studio made the games Legendary and Turning Point: Fall of Liberty, agreed, adding it is important for the middleware to work well within the current production pipeline. “We don’t want to fight middleware,” he says. Anything that minimizes the time spent learning to use a new technology is therefore extremely valuable, as is middleware that can be used on more than one game.
Evaluating middleware and whether it’s right for a project is always difficult, limited by time, money and available resources, Scharff says. Most important is the need for middleware to solve a big problem, even if it creates a lot of little ones at the same time, Zmak adds.
The game itself usually determines what middleware is needed and used for on any one project, Zmak says. “You look for what’s going to solve your problems and put it in the hands of the people who are going to use it,” he says.
Scharff says as middleware evolves, it needs to play nicely with the foundations of the games. Middleware costs money, but it also offers the benefit of tech support, he says. Costs, and therefore risks, also will increase.
Zmak agreed, saying games makers should focus on making games more than R and D on technology. “Middleware can benefit by pushing the envelope,” he says. “Give us tangible solutions.”
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Piracy Kills One Piece Simulcast
Toei Animation has pulled its plans to stream an online simulcast of new episodes of the anime series One Piece due to an episode being stolen from the FUNimation Entertainment servers and illegally posted online.
The streams were set to begin May 30 at 7 p.m. PDT on FUNimation’s website, only one hour after the episodes premiered in Japan on Fuji Television.
“As a direct result of this illegal act, all U.S. and Canadian fans will be deprived of access to this great anime series for the immediate future,” said a spokeswoman for the project in an e-mail sent out Thursday. “We will use the full extent of our efforts to locate and prosecute the perpetrators and will provide updates in this most serious matter.”
The episode, the first of the new season of the show, was to be followed by subsequent episodes on a weekly schedule.
The project was intended to increase the marketing potential of the series, which is due for release on DVD in the United States June 30 from FUNimation.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Advent Buys Out Foundry Management
Advent Venture Partners has bought out the management of The Foundry, backing CEO Bill Collis and the original founders in a deal that sees the sale of the shareholdings of previous investors Wyndcrest Holdings.
The Foundry, which makes such popular VFX software packages as Nuke and Furnace, has seen its revenues more than double in the past 18 months to $10 million.
The support from Advent will enable the Foundry to continue an expansion that has seen it more than double its staffing levels from 20 to 50 over the past two years.
“With the backing of our previous investors, we enjoyed substantial growth and are now in a strong position to take the business forward with our new partners,” says Bill Collis, CEO of The Foundry. “We are ready to realize our further ambitions for Nuke and the rest of our product portfolio, ensuring the company goes from strength to strength whilst maintaining strong customer focus.”
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
What’s Up: Balloon to the Rescue!
I haven’t seen UP yet, mostly owing to the fact that there aren’t any local theaters showing it in a regular non-eye pain inducing theatrical version. The good news is that if I wait until August, I can check out the GoodTimes Home Video version called What’s Up: Balloon to the Rescue. As long as it’s got a flying house, an old man and a kid, I’ll be happy.
(via I Watch Stuff)
Briefly: Iranian Animator at Dartmouth; Chinese Animator in Financial Times
* Iranian animator Noori Zarrinkelk, considered the "father of Iranian animation," visited the Dartmouth college campus at the end of May. Zarrinkelk last visited the campus during the Iran-Iraq War in 1986; his visit was to screen five of his films and two more from contemporary Iranian animators. [TheDartmouth.com]
* The Financial Times has profiled Hao Yaning, whose company Beijing United Film Investment will begin broadcasting the animated series My Own Swordsman in China this summer, with overseas rights going to Japanese production company ADK which also produces Doraemon. The article examines the firm's rise in tandem with growing interest in domestic animation from official circles.
Goode Family May Need Gooder Ratings
Ratings for The Goode Family premiere apparently underwhelmed, and we’ll see what transpired last night. Doubling down, ABC aired two new episodes, Pleatherheads and Goodes Gone Wild, a segment of which you can see below.
Grandpey Stomps the Pedal for YeaBig+KidStatic
French animator Ronald Grandpey created this new music video for YeaBig+KidStatic. If there’s such a thing as the opposite of CG animation, this appears to be it. The raw pencil-lines and the overall rough texture of the work is a real breath of fresh air. The track is titled Stomp the Pedal.
E3 Returns With New Maturity, Same Old Excitement
E3’s return to the Los Angeles Convention Center this year is also a return to the show’s roots. Once known for its big splashy displays, scantily clad booth babes and eardrum-challenging audio output, the show returns from a two-year experiment as a scaled-back media and trade event a little more mature and a little mellow.
The big booths are still here, as is a healthy crowd of industryites and gawkers well-connected enough to score a pass to the nominally trade-only event. But there was more room to breathe in the show, with booths no longer pushing the limits of sensory overload and a crowd level that was still busy but not crammed and uncomfortable.
There was a noticeable change in the games themselves, away from a relentless pursuit of the serious and often violent brand of adventure preferred by die-hard gamers to a brighter, gentler world influenced greatly by the success of casual games.
Sure, there was still plenty of action for the die-hard gamers. Batman: Arkham Asylum, for example, brought the Dark Knight to vivid and believable high-def life. But while the game called for combat skills, it also had a detective mode that harkened back to the character’s roots in the comic books of the 1930s.
Animated characters from all over the world were prominent players in many of the games on display.
At the Tomy booth, anime action hero Naruto was a star player, appearing in several games. Naruto Shippuden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 for the Wii is an old-fashioned fighting game featuring more than 30 playable characters and a cooperative two-man squad, tagteam mode. Due out in October, the game also incorporates Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to allow players to battle online.
A 3-D version of the popular character comes to the Nintendo DS this fall in Naruto Shippuden Ninja Destiny 2, again offering more than 30 playable characters who can play in story mode or quest mode, either single player or against a foe wirelessly.
The Nintendo booth itself was full of fans taking in the new Super Mario Bros. Wii, which retains the classic look and gameplay, while also trying out the Wii Motion Plus controller and new versions of Wii Fit and Wii Sports.
The nearby Activision booth was rocking, putting the spotlight on FreeStyle Games’ DJ Hero, which comes complete with turntable controller for mixing and scratching the hottest tracks. The infectious tunes crossed over into promos for Guitar Hero: Van Halen and another fascinating superhero entry in Marvel Alliance 2, which goes deep into the Marvel Universe and brings the likes of Cable, Firestar and Cloak & Dagger into the battle.
War games remain big, with realism the operative word. Exemplifying that trend was 505 Games’ IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, a new version of the popular World War II aerial combat PC game. The game allows players to fly some 50 missions in six of the biggest battles in the war, including Battle of Britain, Stalingrad, Berlin, Sicily and the Battle of the Bulge. The game lets players fly in three modes: arcade, the most game like mode; simulation, which is as close to really flying as you can get; and realistic, which combines the two. The amazing detail extends to the terrain below, which for each battle was constructed from modern satellite imagery altered to look like it did during the war. The game, which comes to the PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS and PSP, will feature yet-to-be-determined multiplayer capabilities and downloadable content.
IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey
IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey
Getting back to the music front was the MTV Games booth dedicated solely to the upcoming Rock Band: The Beatles game. The booth featured three versions of the game set up for folks to try, with “Back in the U.S.S.R.” and “I Am the Walrus” proving to be early favorite tracks.
One thing that hasn’t changed from the old E3 is there’s still too much to take in. Even a full day at the show wasn’t enough to get more than a tantalizing glimpse of such cool fare as Ubisoft’s Red Steel 2, which lets players use the Wii Motion Plus controller to unleash some amazing sword and gun play, and family fare such as Disney’s lineup of games based on such classic and upcoming films as Toy Story, G-Force and The Princess and the Frog.
Given the excitement that fanned through the expansive Los Angeles Convention Center, it seems certain that the return of E3 was an energizing experience for the gaming industry, giving it a high-profile and buzz factor that can only grow interest in gaming all year long.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Autodesk Re-renders AREA Online Community
Autodesk has upgraded and re-launched its AREA online community for digital artists.
The new version of the site — now compatible with standard browsers running on Windows, Mac and Linux systems — includes a customizable home page, an easier-to-browse image gallery and improved search functions.
The site also helps its more than 270,000 users share information through a new, comprehensive profile, updated forums and new systems for uploading images and files and creating thumbnails.
"Finding and sharing stories, content, tutorials or work-in-progress makes the community a valuable asset for every artist. AREA v.3 makes this easier than ever, so the site is even more powerful for everyone." said Marc Petit, Autodesk senior VP media and entertainment.
Membership at the site is free and can be accessed at http://area.autodesk.com.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Fremantle to Distribute Balloonatiks Feature
Fremantle Corp. has signed on as the worldwide distributor for Animagic Entertainment’s burgeoning animated kids franchise, The Balloonatiks.
The deal includes a full-length feature film, currently in pre-production, with talks continuing to add on 26 half-hour TV episodes also in pre-production and on track to air in 2010. The comedy-adventure series is based on a popular book and website aimed at ages 6-11, and both projects will be supported by the Hot Air City Virtual World interactive website.
Walt Kubiak, whose credits include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sitting Ducks and Alvin and the Chipmunks, is on board as head of production. Also on board is creative director John Hardman, who previously worked as senior VP of programming at Kids WB!
"We're excited to be working with Fremantle Corporation as our worldwide distributor, given their long and successful history in program distribution and co-production," commented Tony DiIoia, chairman and CEO of Animagic. "Further, we are pleased to be able to offer potential licensing partners a broad-based, multiplatform approach to the property — starting with the Balloonatiks TV series, supported by the Hot Air City Virtual World, and followed by a feature film geared to family audiences."
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Bakugan Wins Top Licensing Awards
Intl. Licensing Industry Merchandisers Assoc. (LIMA) named Bakugan the Overall Best Licensed Program of the year at the Licensing Show on Tuesday night. Corus Ent., Cartoon Network and Spin Master were on hand to accept the top award as well as a second prize for Best TV, Film and Entertainment (Hard Goods Licensee of the Year).
“As the breakout toy hit of the year, the Bakugan phenomenon continues and we have been very fortunate to work on this property with amazing partners in Spin Master Ltd. and Nelvana,” said Christina Miller, Cartoon Network Enterprises VP. “We would like to thank our retail and licensing partners for supporting this brand from the beginning.”
“Nelvana Enterprises is proud to be a part of the success of Bakugan, in a group that includes such exceptional companies as Spin Master, Cartoon Network, Sega and TMS-Vistec,” added Mark Northwood, Vice President, Worldwide Licensing, Nelvana Enterprises. “Bakugan’s achievements are the result of the hard work and enthusiasm of the members of all of the companies involved in this global partnership.”
The animated Bakugan television series can be seen on Cartoon Network in the U.S. weekdays at 6:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m. and on TELETOON in Canada weekdays at 5:00 P.M. and Sundays at 7:00 a.m., 3 p.m. and 3:30 P.M.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Disney’s D23 Expo Details Are Announced
Disney fans will be able to get sneak previews of upcoming new movies and behind-the-scenes info about classic toons at the first D23 Expo, scheduled to take place at the Anaheim Convention Center Sept. 10 thru 13. Presented in conjunction with D23.com, the official online community for Disney fans (23 refers to 1923, the year Walt Disney started the studio).
Guests will preview movie events such as The Princess and the Frog, Rapunzel, Disney’s A Christmas Carol, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, TRON, Toy Story 3, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice at a state-of-the-art cinema built especially for the event. Also on tap is a special look at the legacy and future of Disney’s theme parks and vacation destinations. In addition, the D23 Expo will host the 2009 Disney Legends Awards on Saturday, Sept. 12, marking the first time the prestigious event has been held off Disney property.
The event will also include an exhibit featuring a rare collection of classic and contemporary Disney props, artifacts and costumes—including the fully restored, 11-foot model of the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; the jewel-encrusted book used in the opening moments of Sleeping Beauty; as well as material from the original Mickey Mouse Club, Mary Poppins and Pirates of the Caribbean. Other highlights include screenings of Sleeping Beauty, The Shaggy Dog and Darby O’Gill and the Little People, all of which will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year.
Tickets to the D23 EXPO are $37 for a one-day adult admission and $27 for children 3-12. Members of D23: The Official Community for Disney Fans will receive a discount on up to four same-day admissions. To learn more details, visit www.D23Expo.com.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Alliance for Children and TV honors "Johnny Test"
"Johnny Test," about a fearless 11-year-old boy, his genetically engineered dog, and his super genius 13-year-old scientist twin sisters, has won the Grand Prize for Best Program from the Alliance for Children and Television.
The alliance honored Canada's top English-language children's programs at this year's Awards of Excellence Gala in Toronto.
Johnny Test has aired in the United States on Kids' WB and in Canada on Teletoon, as well as several other countries.
The series was created in the United States in 2005 by Warner Bros. Animation. However, most of the voice recording was done in Canada.
Although the show was temporarily canceled in the U.S., Canadian studio Cookie Jar Entertainment took over production. Collideascope Digital Productions, another Canadian studio, also has been a producer of the series.
The Award of Excellence, Animation, Ages 3-5 category went to My Friend Rabbit, produced by Nelvana Limited and broadcast by Treehouse & QUBO.
Wapos Bay (Raiders of the Lost Art), produced by Wapos Bay Productions and broadcast by APTN and SCN, won the Award of Excellence, Animation, Ages 6-8 category. The Award of Excellence, Animation, Ages 9-14 category was given to Storm Hawks, produced by Nerd Corps Entertainment and broadcast by YTV.
The ACT presented the Emerging Talent Award to Christin Simms, writer, scriptwriter and creative producer for Sinking Ship Entertainment. The alliance said that she "has already demonstrated exceptional talent and promise in the children's programming industry," notably in the development, story editing and writing of the new prime-time animated series Producing Parker (Breakthrough/CanWest Global).
Tim Burton at MoMA
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in NY is putting on a major retrospective about Tim Burton’s career this fall. It will run from November 22, 2009 through April 26, 2010. There is a page about the show on MoMA’s website, which includes the following information:
Following the current of his visual imagination from his earliest childhood drawing through his mature work, the exhibition presents artwork generated during the conception and production of his films, and highlights a number of unrealized projects and never-before-seen pieces, as well as student art, his earliest non-professional films, and examples of his work as a storyteller and graphic artist for non-film projects. The opposing themes of adolescence and adulthood, and the elements of sentiment, cynicism, and humor inform his work in a variety of mediums—drawings, paintings, storyboards, digital and moving-image formats, puppets and maquettes, props, costumes, ephemera, sketchbooks, and cartoons.
In conjunction with the show, MoMA is publishing a 64-page catalog that can be pre-ordered from Amazon. The images in this post are taken from a promotional item from the book. Tim Burton’s official website advertises that a new book called The Art of Tim Burton will soon be released that is 400 pages and has over 1000 illustrations. This appears to be a different book from the MoMA catalog.
More Burton images from the MoMA book after the jump.
"Inspector Gadget: The Go Go Gadget Collection" Coming in September
On 9/8/09, Fox Home Entertainment plans to release Inspector Gadget: The Go Go Gadget Collection, a best-of release which will contain the following episodes of the 1983 animated series on a double-sided DVD:
* Ep. 28: The Coo-Coo Clock Caper
* Ep. 30: The Japanese Connection
* Ep. 41: Pirate Island
* Ep. 42: M.A.D. Academy
* Ep. 59: In Seine
* Ep. 26: Launch Time
* Ep. 27: Photo Safari
* Ep. 29: Bermuda Triangle
* Ep. 31: Arabian Nights
* Ep. 34: The Great Divide
The price will be $19.98.
Michael Madsen Explains The Appeal Of Voicing Kilowog In ‘Green Lantern: First Flight’
“Green Lantern: First Flight” is getting closer and closer to its July release date, meaning that the press machine is rolling along just fine. We’ve already heard from director Lauren Montgomery, screenwriter Alan Burnett and actors Victor Garber and Juliet Landau, and now Michael Madsen is the latest participant to discuss his role as Kilowog in the project.
“I was quite humbled by being asked to play Kilowog in the first place,” Madsen said of joining the “Green Lantern” cast. “I don’t often get asked to voice animated characters, and I’ve always wanted to do something like that — it’s great fun for me.”
For Madsen, part of the appeal of playing the burly alien was Kilowog’s moral middle ground — he’s not a bad guy, but he’s certainly not the friendliest Green Lantern out there.
“I liked the idea that Kilowog was forceful, yet has a gentle nature,” said the actor. “I’m often thought of as playing villainous characters in movies. Everyone forgets that I was the father in ‘Free Willy’ — they only like to remember that I cut off a policeman’s ear in ‘Reservoir Dogs.’ There’s me in the middle somewhere and I think that’s kind of like Kilowog. He’s dangerous, yet has a heart.”
Of course, part of the appeal of Kilowog has to be shouting “poozers!” every five seconds. The etymology of the alien’s favorite curse word is unclear, though Madsen had his own theory on what it means.
“I’ve heard that it’s closely associated with somewhat of a bungler or a misfit or someone who’s annoying, to put it mildly,” he laughed.
While Madsen has had experience in comic book cinema before through “Sin City,” his work on “Green Lantern: First Flight” is his first real taste of the superhero world. Now, the actor thinks there are a few other characters in that realm that he’d like to explore.
“I’ve always thought I’d make a great Batman,” Madsen mused. “Batman needs to have a light side and a dark side. I think I’d bring a duality.”
Questions We Get Asked (Really!) #3
Q: So why do you walk around studios so much, talking to employees so much? What does that do?
A: It’s simple.
I visit studios to get out of my rabbit-warren of an office; to socialize with people I know and hope to know; but mostly to:
A) Find out what’s going on in animation land.
B) Check to see that the contract is being followed.
C) Make sure the studio knows that I’m walking around and checking.
Maybe I’m wrong in this, but the single most important thing I do (in my opinion), the single most important thing that any union rep can do, is visit the workplace of the people who are paying the dues. I don’t think a union rep can do her/his job at anywhere near peak performance if the rep doesn't walk room to room, cubicle to cubicle, and soak the workplace in.
I’m always surprised at how few union reps do this, because it’s really the best use of the rep's time.
(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)
Monster Safari Heads to the Bigscreen
Awesome news from The Hollywood Reporter: Monster Safari, a project created by the boys at LA-based Screen Novelties—Mark Caballero, Chris Finnegan and Seamus Walsh—is being turned into a stop-motion feature by the Jim Henson Co. Craig Zobel and Matt Chapman, creators of Homestarrunner.com, are scripting the feature. According to THR, the story “revolves around what happens when the Earth’s monsters come out of hiding and a pair of bumbling crypto-zoologists spring into action to save them from a ruthless big-game hunter.”
I’m really excited about this! It’s rare to see stop-motion animation that is as cartoony, energetic, and fun as what they do at Screen Noveltiess, and their cartoons are never anything less than super appealing and entertaining. I can’t wait to see them show off their stuff in a full-length film.
Check out some images posted on their blog from the original Monster Safari short. Below is one of the studio’s earliest shorts, Mysterious Mose, made in 1999:
New Images And Video Clips From Upcoming “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” Episode
The World’s Finest has new clips and images from the upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode "Duel of the Double Crossers!"
Cartoon Network has passed along the episode synopsis, video clips, and nearly twenty images for the upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode "Duel of the Double Crossers!" To get a closer look at the images, click on the thumbnails below.
Click Here For More Images, Videos & Details!
The all-new Batman: The Brave and The Bold "Duel of the Double Crossers!" episode, scheduled to air on June 12th 2009, is described as seen below.
When Mongul recruits Jonah Hex to bring new gladiators to War World, the old west bounty hunter wrangles the Dark Knight. After a change of heart, Hex and Batman team up to take down the violent empire.
Cartoon Network has also provided two clips from the episode, which are available to view here at our Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite. Other details for "Duel of the Double Crossers!", including cast and crew credits, are also available at our Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite.
Also, be sure to catch this week's all-new Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode "Hail the Tornado Tyrant!" airing Friday, June 5th and 22nd, 2009 at 8:30pm (ET) on Cartoon Network.
Farewell, Grasshopper. David Carradine Is Gone...
David Carradine has been found dead in Bangkok, having apparently hung himself.
His agent told New York radio station WABC that he believed Carradine -- in the Thai capital to shoot a movie -- died of natural causes. However, according to Bangkok English-language daily The Nation, police believe he committed suicide, saying that a maid had found him at 10 a.m. hanging half-naked in a closet.
The eldest son of famed actor John Carradine, he was nominated for six Golden Globes. He provided the voice of Nava the Wolf Shaman in the 2002 theatrical animated sequel Balto II: Wolf Quest.
He was also Chief Wulisso in the 1998 direct-to-video sequel American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island. In Bill Plympton's Gothic comedy Hair High, a direct-to-video feature, he provided the voice of Mr. Snerz.
Carradine voiced Mandrax on the 1996 Hallmark Entertainment series Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys, which aired for 26 episodes in syndication.
He portrayed Clockwork on the Danny Phantom episodes "The Ultimate Enemy" (2005) and "Masters of All Time" (2006).
Carradine guested in Jackie Chan Adventures on the 2001 episodes "The Warrior Incarnate" (as Lo Pei) and "Snake Hunt." And in 2002, he was Junichiro on the two-part King of the Hill episode "Returning Japanese."
Carradine was probably best known as Frankenstein in DEATH RACE 2000, Kwai Chang Caine ("Grasshopper") in KUNG FU, and Bill in KILL BILL - although his film and television credits are vastly more expansive.
David's cinematic appearances include CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE, GRAY LADY DOWN, LONE WOLF McQUADE, BOUND FOR GLORY, and Scorsese's MEAN STREETS.
Carradine's television work includes J.J. Abrams' ALIAS, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, THE VIRGINIAN, WAGON TRAIN, NORTH AND SOUTH Books I & II, "Shane" in the 1966 series of the same name, KING OF THE HILL, TITUS, voice work on numerous cartoons and video games, and much, much, more.
I hate writing obituaries and never know what to say - everything seems inadequate in times like these. In this instance, though, if I could say anything at all to him, it would be...simply..."Thank you, sir. You were damn cool to watch..."
(Thanks Aint It Cool)
TV roundup: Every sci-fi and fantasy show to watch this summer
The summer television season officially kicks off tonight with NBC's The Listener, but that's only the beginning as several beloved series return and a few new shows pop up hoping to win our affections. Here's the complete summer lineup in the order they premiere, after the jump.
Primeval, BBC America. Premiered May 16 and airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT
Yes, Primeval actually jumped the gun and made its American debut in May. But there's no denying it's a true summer series in the best sense in the way only a dino/monster mash like this can manage. The BBC show killed off a main character last week, and it's only three episodes into the season. Primeval will complete its third season on July 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, just as the BBC's new import, Being Human, begins.
The Listener, NBC. Premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. and airs Thursdays at 10 p.m.
This Canadian/NBC production explores the life of Toby Logan, a 25-year-old paramedic who is also a telepath. Toby suddenly begins to "hear" people in trouble and decides to try to help people in crisis by using his gift. The Listener was created by Michael Amo and stars Craig Olejnik, Ennis Esmer and Colm Feore. The series kicks off its American debut on NBC with a two-episode premiere tonight and then moves to its regular timeslot on Thursdays at 10 p.m.
True Blood, HBO. Premieres June 14 and airs Sundays at 9 p.m.
Alan Ball's sexy and spooky vampire series returns for its second season as telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse once again finds herself up to her pretty neck in adventure when she and Bill head to Dallas to hunt for a missing vampire. This season is loosely based on the second novel in Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse book series, Living Dead in Dallas. Twelve episodes are being produced.
Saving Grace, TNT. Premieres June 16 and airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m.
Grace is back for a third season, in which she will once again face some big issues as she tries to help one of Earl's other charges. The personal lives of Butch and Rhetta will also be more deeply explored. TNT is producing 15 episodes of Saving Grace.
The Othersiders, The Cartoon Network. Premieres June 17 and airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m.
This new live-action half-hour reality series from the Cartoon Network offers up a little ghost hunting for the teen set. Five California teenagers take a scientific approach as they check out some very scary locations, complete with Ghost Hunters-type equipment. At the end of each episode the teens vote as to whether they feel a location is haunted. Fourteen episodes have been ordered.
Merlin, NBC. Premieres June 21 and airs Sundays at 8 p.m.
What would happen if Merlin and Prince Arthur met in Camelot as young men before they became legends? This English series explores the making of the legends as the two men discover their destinies. Merlin stars Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Anthony Head and John Hurt. Thirteen episodes were produced and have already aired in the United Kingdom, where a second season is in production.
Impact, ABC. Premieres June 21 and 28 at 9 p.m.
Let's call this one When Worlds Collide. The moon's orbit is altered after a collision with a brown dwarf star. When scientists realize the moon is actually on a collision course with Earth, they race to save humanity in this four-hour miniseries, which will air over consecutive Sundays. Impact stars David James Elliot, Natasha Henstridge, Stephen Culp and James Cromwell. The mini was written by Michael Vickerman and directed by Michael J. Rohl.
Warehouse 13, SCI FI. Premieres July 7 at 9 p.m. and airs on Tuesdays.
This new dramedy from the reinvented SCI FI follows the adventures of two Secret Service agents, Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly), who end up tracking down mysterious artifacts for the super-secret government facility known as Warehouse 13. Saul Rubinek plays the Warehouse's quirky caretaker, Artie. The premiere kicks off with a two-hour pilot and is from executive producers Jack Kenny and David Simkins. Thirteen episodes have been ordered.
Ghost Hunters International, SCI FI. Premieres July 8 at 9 p.m. and airs on Wednesdays.
The globe-trotting ghost hunters begin a second season that will include investigations in Austria, Ireland, Northern Italy, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Tasmania and Vietnam. Six episodes will air this summer, with the remainder of the season continuing in 2010. Ashley Godwin joins the team as a replacement for Angela Alderman.
Eureka, SCI FI. Premieres July 10 and will air Fridays at 9 p.m.
There's plenty of challenges for the residents of Eureka when the series returns for its fourth season. Allison's pregnant with Stark's baby, and Carter was fired as the town's sheriff. The 4400's Billy Campbell will pop by for a guest turn, and Jaime Ray Newman will star in a recurring role as Tess Fontana, a character who plans on reopening Section 5. SCI FI is producing 10 episodes for the fourth season.
Meteor, NBC. Premieres July 12 and 19 at 9 p.m.
NBC isn't going to let ABC have all the Impact fun. The network has its own four-hour miniseries, this one about two massive rocks that collide in space and head toward Earth. Meteor is from RHI Entertainment and executive producer Robert Halmi Jr. The mini stars Billy Campbell, Christopher Lloyd and Jason Alexander. It will air over consecutive Sundays.
Torchwood: Children of Earth, BBC America. Premieres July 20 and will air five consecutive nights at 9 p.m.
Finally! Yes, Torchwood is back, but it's going to look a bit different to viewers. The special third season is only five episodes long, but those episodes will air over consecutive nights and tell one complete tale. In the story all the children on the Earth suddenly stop, and Torchwood discovers an alien threat is behind things. Capt. Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd), Rhys (Kai Owen) and PC Andy (Tom Price) return for the third season. Torchwood: Children of Earth will be the first series on BBC America to be simulcast in HD. Being Human and Doctor Who will also be premiering in HD.
Being Human, BBC America. Premieres July 25 and will air Saturdays at 9 p.m.
It sounds like a joke. What happens when a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share a flat? They end up with their own series, of course. Being Human explores the housemates' lives as they try to live normal lives with their abnormal conditions. The six-episode series stars Aidan Turner, Russell Tovey and Lenora Crichlow. A second eight-episode season of the BBC/BBC America co-produced series has been ordered.
Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead, BBC America. Premieres July 26 at 8 p.m.
The U.S. premiere of the first of the last four Doctor Who specials featuring David Tennant will have the Doctor joining forces with the mysterious Lady Christina (Michelle Ryan) when a London bus ends up on a detour to an alien world. The strange planet has secrets hidden in its sand and a deadly Swarm headed toward the bus passengers.
The Storm, NBC. Premieres July 26 and Aug. 2 at 9 p.m.
RHI Entertainment's second big disaster miniseries shows what happens when you mess with Mother Nature. Treat Williams stars as a billionaire who funds a project that attempts to control the weather. Things don't go well. James Van Der Beek, Teri Polo, John Larroquette, Luke Perry and Marisol Nichols also star. Like the other miniseries this summer, The Storm premieres on consecutive Sundays.
Ghost Hunters, SCI FI. Premieres Aug. 19 and will air Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
The ghost-hunting plumbers are back to continue their fifth season with an investigation of the Mudd House in Maryland, the Union County Courthouse in New Jersey and the Edgewood Plantation in Virginia. There promises to be more debunking and more shocking moments that even the seasoned investigators will find difficult to explain.
His fight with Bruce Lee was EXTRAaaaaORdinARY!!! Shek Kin (HAN) is dead!
Hey folks, Harry here... and I have more unfortunate news to share. It seems that David Carradine was not the only actor from the realm of Martial Arts filmmaking to pass away yesterday. Shek Kin, the man who portrayed the greatest cinematic martial arts villain in history... is gone.
Though a veteran of 122 Hong Kong films - he is best remembered as the astonishing HAN.
ENTER THE DRAGON was my absolute blinding obsession as a child. I've seen it hundreds of times in my life and have much of Shek Kin's dialogue committed to memory - and he is easily my favorite all time Martial Arts Movie Bad Guy.
I've had innumerable conversations with fellow Enter The Dragon geeks, like Brett Ratner, about the awesome that was Han. Think about it - here you have a man that owns an island - filled with pathetic would be kung fu thugs, that stand around punching air, putting their hands into burning coals, monitoring a radio station (underground), etc. Then he has all of these beautiful women that'll f*** whomever he wants. Add to that - he's apparently sired around 20 gorgeous virginal woman of approximately the same age, all of whom or lethal martial artists. His hand was blown off by a would-be assassin, but instead of being bitter - he has someone build him a wild assortment of badass hands that are action figure plug & play!
Shek was always fun to spot in other classic Hong Kong films like Jackie Chan's DRUNKEN MASTER or ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA with Jet Li! He's been retired for years now. He died of kidney failure at the age of 96. It is a dark day for fans of martial arts everywhere!
(Thanks Aint It Cool)