One-season wonders: Carter’s ‘Harsh Realm’ (1999-2000) gets harsh treatment from Fox in a post-‘Matrix’ world (TV review)

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n the February 2000 “X-Files” episode “Sein Und Zeit,” a man questioned by Mulder and Scully narrows down the timeframe of a crime by the TV show he was watching: “I never heard of it before. It was good,” the man says. In an example of Chris Carter’s heavy-handed joke-making and cockiness, the show within the show is his own “Harsh Realm,” which had been canceled by Fox in Fall 1999 after three episodes. (The remaining six aired in 2000 on FX.)

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PKD flashback: ‘Total Recall 2070’ (1999) is a low-budget but engrossing mix of ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘Total Recall’ (TV review)

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otal Recall 2070” (1999, Showtime) is two degrees removed from Philip K. Dick — a 22-episode reimagining of the 1990 movie adapted from Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” But actually, while it’s further from the story of “Wholesale” than the film is, it takes a step closer to an overall Dickian feel. The series sits at the aesthetic crossroads of “Blade Runner” and “Total Recall,” albeit on a tighter budget than those blockbuster films, and at the narrative intersection of “The X-Files” and “Star Trek.” It’s not unfair to call it just another one-season wonder from the ’90s SF boom, but PKD fans might find it to be a fascinating curiosity.

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It takes time, but the ‘High Fidelity’ remix eventually justifies its existence (TV review)

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n the early going, “High Fidelity” (February, Hulu) so precisely re-creates several iconic scenes from the 2000 movie that it’s like watching a painful amateur stage production of a classic play. We might as well be rewatching the film or reading Nick Hornby’s 1995 book. But as the 10-episode Season 1 moves forward, it starts to repurpose the familiar scenes in new ways, and it ultimately justifies its existence.

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10 shows featuring today’s biggest stars … that you can never watch again (TV commentary)

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t’s not as bad as the case of the old “Doctor Who” episodes that were intentionally destroyed after their broadcast, but in this age where it’s easy for a streaming service to make something available to its subscribers, there are still a lot of TV shows you simply can’t see.

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‘Everything Sucks!’ mostly gets 1996 right, definitely gets the pain of first love right (TV review)

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verything Sucks!” (Netflix), the first season of which includes 10 half-hour episodes, starts off like a second-rate “Freaks and Geeks” but eventually strikes painfully accurate notes about first love and high school crushes. By the time the strains of Spacehog’s “In the Meantime” play over the closing credits of episode 10, the show has learned to lean into its dramatic rather than comedic beats, and I was won over. (It’s still inferior to “F&G” – which I am now inspired to rewatch — but everything is.)

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‘quarterlife’ review

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“quarterlife” (2007-08, quarterlife.com, NBC) – Yet another Marshall Herskovitz/Edward Zwick TV series has been canceled by a network, but this time, it’s not bothering me or other fans one bit. In fact, many fans of “quarterlife” probably didn’t even tune in to NBC’s one-and-done airing of the show on Feb. 26 because they had already seen it at quarterlife.com in November.

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‘Invasion’ review

“Invasion” (2005-06, ABC) – Granted, it rained every episode, the sheriff and park ranger were always chasing after some monster and Larkin’s pregnancy advanced as slowly as the hybrids’ did quickly. Still, the last few episodes were great, and when it came down to the cliffhanger – “Will Larkin live? And if so, is she human or alien?” – I was hooked again, and sad to see this seemingly sure-fire hit end up on ABC’s scrap pile.

– John Hansen, “Five shows that’ll be missed,” Brainerd Dispatch, May 25, 2006

‘The Bedford Diaries’ reviews

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John’s “The Bedford Diaries” flashback review, johnvhansen.com, Sept. 26, 2016

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“The Bedford Diaries” (2006, WB) – It was about a college course on human sexuality, but with Tom Fontana producing, it wasn’t as one-note as the premise sounded. It had likable characters (you gotta dig snappy Milo Ventimiglia as the newspaper editor) and a way into their heads: The students analyze their own behavior on video. “Bedford” started airing after the announcement that The WB would merge with UPN to become The CW, and we all knew this quiet gem wouldn’t make the cut. I’ll still miss it.

– John Hansen, “Five shows that’ll be missed,” Brainerd Dispatch, May 25, 2006

‘Love Monkey’ review

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“Love Monkey” (2006, CBS) – Sorry, “Ed” fans, but this was the role Tom Cavanagh was born to play: a youthful-looking yet experienced record company executive who trolls New York looking for talent (he finds Teddy Geiger – I mean “Wayne” – in the first episode) and trades quips with his friends. It’s a perplexing shame that music-themed shows never catch on with the masses, even if it boasts random celebrity pop-ins like James Blunt, Aimee Mann and John Mellencamp. Maybe CBS should’ve called it “CSI: Love Monkey” (Thanks to Dispatch Interactive pollster Marla Singer for the joke).

– John Hansen, “Five shows that’ll be missed,” Brainerd Dispatch, May 25, 2006