Friday, April 1, 2011

Sandkings



Production Order: 01
Broadcast Order: 01
Original Airdate: 3/26/1995
Starring: Beau Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, Dylan Bridges.
Written by Melinda Snodgrass, based on the novella by George R. R. Martin.
Directed by Stuart Gillard.

Simon Kress (Bridges) is an obsessed scientist who sacrifices his family and his life to propagate a species of—brace yourself—ant-like Martian life forms.

JS: Talk about under-promising and over-delivering! It's no wonder the new Outer Limits went on to last seven seasons and 154 episodes. They kicked things off with their own take on "The Zanti Misfits." And just like that episode, there's no disclaimer indicating that none were harmed in the making of the episode.

PE: My first question would have to be: "why was this series so dismissed by the original OL crowd?" Not once during the initial series was I so enthralled by such a smorgasbord of evil delights. Yellow puddles of fright formed around my feet yet I found myself so entranced by and drawn into the drama that I could not rise from my bean bag chair to clean myself. I've read Martin's original story and it was a little too highfalutin' for my tastes (too many of those big sci-fi words) but Snodgrass seems to have found that middle ground between genius and stupidity. I'm in awe.

JS: This episode brings together three generations of Bridges; the always hilarious Lloyd, his grandson Dylan, and his other son Beau. Seeing them all together reminds me what an amazing talent Jeff is.

PE: Actually, John, if you squint, Lloyd is Jeff! Take Beau's silly pony tail and Lloyd's persnicketyness and you've got Bad Blake. Maggie Gyllenhall makes a rare uncredited appearance as one of the sand kings.

JS: It's not hard to believe that Beau was nominated for an Emmy for his performance. Not since Tony Randall in The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao has a single actor portrayed so many varied roles. From the way he tears apart a head of lettuce, makes himself up to look like Fu Manchu, and auditions for the Val Kilmer role in the TV movie on the making of Oliver Stone's The Doors, he's at the top of his form. Yet none of that prepares us for his performance as a sand sculpture.


PE: I'm sorry, I'm still thinking about Maggie Gyllenhall. That's Val Kilmer? Looks like Gyllenhall.

JS: I really enjoyed the Martian death-match. These guys are far more realistic than the inarticulate Zanti puppets of years past. And the sand towers are pretty cool (when they don't look like Beau Bridges). If you look closely, you can even see the little Anti-Misfits scaling the walls of the sand-skyscrapers in the closing shot.

PE: Old-OL fans are so fucking uptight. Get a life, ferchrissakes, I says. This series blows away that dinosaur. And it's in color!!! I thought, given that Projects Limited had $47 per episode to spend on spfx, they did an admirable job of making tumbleweeds and frogs scary. This incarnation of OL obviously had quite a bit more to blow on their little creatures and Land of the Lost sets. I'm really looking forward to discovering new territories and reaching out to new OL fans (especially ones who can appreciate my wit).

JS: The episode falls short of perfection in that it's lacking an OL-babe, but future episodes will rectify that. Alyssa Milano here we come!

PE: Actually, John, if the subsequent stories are just as compelling, I don't need babes. I really do appreciate David J. Schow for changing his views on this show and urging us to cover it after all. Kudos to you, DJS! I'm looking forward to the next 14 months!!!

JS RATING:

PE RATING:











David J. Schow on "Sandkings":


From The Outer Limits Companion, Copyright © David J. Schow, 1986, 1998.  All Rights Reserved.  Used by permission and by special arrangement with the author. 

Coming soon:


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You didn't think we were serious, did you? A very happy April 1st to you all!

15 comments:

  1. Ha ha ha.... nice. :D I was filled with horror for a second, then I realized today's date.

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  2. For WACT's sake and dignity, I hope the voting on the Rondo award is over. But as gags go, this one definitely ... made me gag.

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  3. Urrrrp -- BLAARRRGGGHH!

    Ow, ow ... you guys have prematurely exposed the surprise of my next book ...

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  4. A good one, guys!

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  5. Aw hell no!!!!!! This better be a joke because I've just started watching 'Rich Man, Poor Man' with Nick Nolte from the 1970's.

    I don't have the time for this!

    UTW

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  6. You guys really had us going! I was all prepared to comment on how sneaky and clever you were by promoting the REAL OL by suffering through seven long seasons of this series (it's OK, but it's not TOL)! See you in the Batcave.

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  7. Wow---I was cringing for a moment at the prospect of having to work up some Notlights. Notice how many of us are still checking in, wistfully looking back over our shoulder at our brief sojourn in Camelot? (More like Lot's wife peeking back at Sodom, if we had truly blundered into Noter-world.)

    Good one by our impishly congenial hosts, though.

    If you guys are "hosts," does that make the rest of us parasites?

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  8. You mean--this is a joke? I rushed out and bought all the DVDs for the new series as soon as I saw John's e-mail. Oh man!

    (Kidding--great spoof! You DID have me going for a while, but I was really going to change my e-mail and pretend I didn't know you.)

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  9. "Get a life", he tells us...

    LR

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  10. What just happened?

    Hey, it was seven seasons, but as I recall wasn't it just one episode per season?

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  11. Actually, John never told me it was a joke. I really meant all those witty things I said. What am I gonna do with all my spare time?

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  12. Maybe this is the one & only chance to visit Trilogy's world ...

    Q_1: How soon did you turn away from the ShowTime Abortion?

    Q_2: Were there any good episodes in this series?

    Q_3: Were there any good performances in this series (even if the ep underwhelmed)?

    Q_4: Anything in the print media coverage of the show that particularly irked you?

    Q_5: Best gratuitous nudity?

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  13. hockey24hrs_1: I think I got halfway thru S2 before giving up (so kill me, I'm an optimist). Caught a few random eps in syndication in the ensuing years.

    hockey24hrs_2: In the 1 1/2 seasons I saw, the Robert-Patrick-in-an-alien-prison was nice, and seemed to qualify as a classic by their standards (the ending was more TZ-like than OL, but DJS pointed out elsewhere the producers never knew the difference). Fans & the Trilogy people were oh-so-proud of Amanda Plummer's (Emmy-winng, IIRC) turn in an easrly S2 time-travel ep.

    hockey24hrs_3: Can't remember if the aforementioned Amanda Plummer was really a great performance, as I only saw it once at original broadcast. I think it got more kudos for PC (empowered woman) reasons than pure acting reasons. I recall something intriguing about Catherine O'Hara's 'Rebeca Paulson' performance. Course it's hard for her not to be interesting.

    hockey24hrs_4: Pen Densham's repeated boast that "We're making mini-movies!" With an anthology show? No shit, Pen.

    hockey24hrs_5: I didn't make it very far (half of S2), but Sofia Shinas & Alyssa Milano's full-frontal turns were quite brave. More props to Milano just because she was more famous & used it to break thru the Whos the Boss girl next door thingy.

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  14. Unlike viewers who could easily bail from the turd parade of NOTers, I had to function under a self-imposed, completist mandate on the off-chance that there might come, perhaps only a single time, a thread of creative DNA linking back to the original series, most likely an accidental one, or a capricious one.

    I recorded every single episode onto VHS (at the slow EP or SLP speed, which made fast-forwarding through them a LOT easier) and kept them for, you know, “reference.”

    But after awhile, the sheer septic-tank compression of awfulness was bound to blow major pipe. At least Tracy Torme had a creative pinky finger stuck into the “Nightmare” remake. Joe Stefano scripted the “Feasibility Study” redux and promptly asserted that not only was he NOT interested in doing another, but Trilogy never asked. Trilogy also never asked Leslie Stevens or Joe for an ORIGINAL. And they peeled Leslie’s name off the show credits within weeks of Leslie’s death.

    Then there came several other episodes that cast actors from the original: Cliff Robertson (“Joyride”), Barbara Rush (“Balance of Nature”), Peter Breck (“Mind Over Matter”). (That’s about all I can say about that …)

    If there were halfway-decent performances or partially-good episodes to be had, they rapidly became obliterated from memory by the wrong-headedness and skewed aim of this “new” series. But seven seasons, syndicated worldwide? Migod, the resultant “mail money” is staggering. Just look at Jonathan Glassner, who, during this period, mounted and launched STARGATE as a series. His entire life is now paid for whether he does anything else or not.

    Fans of THE CROW will disproportionately value Sofia Shinas’ nude scenes, but take another look at them: She just STANDS THERE. The shots are blatantly designed to be cut for commercial broadcast, like a comic who tells an unfunny joke and leaves an extra beat for laughter that never comes. Alyssa Milano might be the most memorable, but is disqualified because she has implants.

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  15. So this was not real? Give me a second...

    YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Enfantino, you're an asshole.

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