Hi all! Well, the fall TV season has started up, so I spend all my time taping and watching the shows I was following before. However, just by accident, I found a new one that is so amazing I must now spread the word. Sadly, I've only seen the second episode; does anybody have the Pilot on tape? "Do Over", yes, a premise that has been done to death. What would you do if you had a chance to relive high school with everything you know now? Except, this time it's finally *my own* high school era, and it's been done up to "Malcom In The Middle" standards. It's the "That 80's Show" that never was. There's none of glossed-up cliches I've seen of the early 80's that seem to always spoil other portrayals. People still drive crappy 70's cars in this show. In any school hallway scene you'll see dirty teeshirts and jeans alongside neon and polyester. Suits and ordinary clothes are worn exactly in the places where they would have been in real life. When shown, the 80's fashion and haircuts shown are shockingly realistic, having that "trying to figure out where it's going" feel that they really had. In just about every aspect, it seems as though the producers of this show declined to cop out. The plot, built around one of the most standard sitcom plot devices around, nonetheless gave absolutely no clue how it was going to end thoughout the whole show, and was executed with dramatic tension. The characters, while all having rather straightforward roles in the story, all seemed to have real rather than contrived motivations, and depths that were not used directly in the story but seem to be there to be observed at any level the viewer desired. In fact, characters are subtly defined in this show not just by who they are, but over a whole range of time, as the main character constantly "remembers" them from later on in his own life. Wow, what a great trick. Of course, what reason would there be to watch an 80's show if not for the music? I was not disappointed in this regard. But even so, the music was well chosen, and used with effect rather than just tossed in.
So, check it out. Thursdays on WB. I'll be putting a tape in next time. I'll be interested in how the "other" do-over show turns out, but because it is set 4 years later (the late 80's), somehow I expect it to be pretty different.
Update on That Was Then: Ugh. The story had a nice message, but there was no need to travel back in time -- everybody in this "high school" was already 30!
Update 10/10/02: Having seen eps 3 and 4 of Do Over, I'm still pretty enthused. I think that the lead actor does an incredible job making a 34 year old in a 14 year old body seem believable. A lot of that is the writing, too, lots of little details on the order of something minor happens and the original kid would have reacted one way but the adult reacts an entirely different way and never even notices. And in this week's episode, the adult characters were once again shown to be interesting, less predictable than the paper cutouts than the audience has been trained to expect. And of course, the music in these episodes was great. Andy enjoys the "see what the result is" aspect of That Was Then although he finds it's "ponderous one hour length" a little too much. It's true that the show is more about time travel than Do Over is, so in my mind they have pretty much established separate purposes and reasons to watch. I'll watch Do Over to go Back To The Future.
About my pages
My goal in adding this page to the WTS is to entertain my fellow toasters, and maybe even a small segment of the rest of the Web. I'll endeavor to add something new every week, so keep checking in, or look for any announcements about my pages in The Wunderland Weekly News.
My offerings fall into two categories: First, original works; artwork, music, photos, or writing that I'm collecting here for self-publication on a scale unimaginable a few years ago. Hopefully, the world's collective yawn won't totally blow me over, but I think you'll enjoy it if you've gotten this far. Second, Stuff I Found On The Web, brought back and held up to the light for your enjoyment. There's a whole underground world of music publication on the Web through "MIDI", and I'm also wild about Webcomics.
Go directly to the corners of my electronic world by using the navigation bar appearing at the top of this page, or jump down below that to find out what I've added this week. I'll also someday be experimenting with time, allowing you to scroll through previous weeks' versions of my pages where appropriate.
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