June 2010

Guest blogger: The best unsold TV pilots you’ve never seen (and where to watch ’em) 

Note: Whitney is on vacation until July 12. Pop Candy readers are contributing to the blog while she’s away.

By Zack Smith (aka Zack)

For every TV show that makes it on the air, there are literally thousands of others that never got a shot. Some never got beyond the script stage, while others were cast and shot as pilot episodes that weren’t picked up to series.

Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to lean about unsold TV pilots, whether it’s series that never made it past the first episode, scripts that were never shot, or just alternate versions of shows that did make it to the air.

And while many unsold pilots deserve to be consigned to the trash heap, there are a few gems out there … and I have some links to videos and PDFs to let you enjoy them.

Read the full piece here!


Cartoonist Takes Classic Strips Into War With WEAPON BROWN

By Zack Smith
Some things are so wrong they’re right.  Consider the case of Weapon Brown.

It is the future, after the Last War.  Across the apocalyptic landscape rides a lone figure known as “Chuck,” a single hair curled across his forehead, a tattered yellow shirt with a single stripe concealing his Schultz 777 gun.  With his dog Snoop and a bionic arm, he battles the likes of a kite-eating tree, a Cthulhu-esque figure known as the “Great Pumpkin” and a massive orange creature with a voracious appetite called a “Garf.”

If some of these ideas sound familiar…you’re right.  Anything you’ve ever read in the funny pages has been twisted, mutated and evolved into something very, very wrong in these adventures, which are filled with violence, swearing and many, many laughs (though it’s recommended for mature or immature readers only).

First appearing in the pages of the anthology Deep Fried, Weapon Brown has earned a loyal following, who follow his online storyline “Blockhead’s War” as it’s regularly updated on http://www.whatisdeepfried.com, where you can also buy hard-copy editions in the “store” section.

We recently encountered this depravity for ourselves, and had to talk to the creator, Jason Youngbluth.  We got the heads-up on the climax of “Blockhead’s War,” his influences on the strip, and what’s next.  Get ready to take a trip to the world of Weapon Brown.

Read the full interview here!

Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web at TheatreFest 

by Zack Smith

Spider’s Web

Titmus Theatre, Thompson Hall, N.C. State Campus
Through June 27

Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web, which was written as an original vehicle for the actress Margaret Lockwood during the final rehearsals for her better-known Witness for the Prosecution, combines drawing-room farce with drawing-room murder mystery. Even upon its initial production in 1954, critics found the play derivative of Christie’s other works. Indeed, Christie herself seemed to realize this: One character in Spider’s Web mentions Ten Little Indians.

As the third in N.C. State University’s It’s Murder! trilogy of Christie plays, Spider’s Web is a light and slight piece of entertainment that offers a few laughs among the old-fashioned English murder.

Read the full review here!

FATE’s production of Don DeLillo’s Valparaiso 

by Zack Smith

If nothing else, Free Association Theater Ensemble’s production of Don DeLillo’s Valparaiso at Common Ground deserves points for creative staging. The staging area is set up like rows of airplane seats, with the playbill and tickets given out as boarding passes and free peanuts distributed at intermission. As clever as the production is, though, it still has to contend with a surreal, intellectual script that doesn’t necessarily make for a coherent storyline.

Read the full review here!

A Closed Door Opens Another for J.M. DEMATTEIS & IMAGINALIS

By Zack Smith

What happens when your favorite series get canceled? One little girl is about to find out.

J.M. DeMatteis has amassed one of the most diverse resumes in comics writing, going from all types of superhero stories to some of the earliest “Mature Readers” books at Marvel and DC to works for all ages. His stories, from the hijinx of Justice League International with Keith Giffen to the psychological drama of “Kraven’s Last Hunt” in the Spider-Man books are still influencing superhero stories today, and works such as Moonshadow helped pave the way for Vertigo.

Now, DeMatteis is making a splash in the world of children’s literature with his new novel, Imaginalis, which goes on sale June 29. Mehera Beatrice Crosby loves the Imaginalis series of books – but when the final book in the series is canceled, she discovers her friends from the story are trapped in a limbo called “Nolandia.” Unless she can help, the fictional world and all who dwell in it will be destroyed. You can read the first six chapters of the book here (link: http: //browseinside.harpercollinschildrens.com/index.aspx?isbn13=9780061732867&pg=1).

DeMatteis got on the phone with us to explain how Imaginalis has its roots in his previous children’s graphic novel/book series, Abadazad, moving from comics to prose, how the magic of everyday life is like pudding, and the potential for future stories in both this world and in Abadazad.

Read the interview here!


By Zack Smith

Jennifer is a monkey. Jennifer is the pet of an adorable little girl named Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn loves Jennifer. She puts her in pretty dresses, has tea parties with her, and gets involved in magical adventures involving pirates, evil scientists and ninja transvestites.

Jennifer is actually a male monkey. Jennifer hates Kaitlyn. All s/he can think about is how much s/he wants to violently dismember Kaitlyn. Unfortunately, Jennifer has been declawed, meaning all s/he can do is suffer in silence as we watch and laugh.

Welcome to the world of My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer. Unleashed by Slave Labor Graphics in the early 2000s, the book earned a loyal fan base before disappearing after six issues and a collection.

But now, creator Ken Knudtsen is back with an all-new 96-page graphic novel out this July that takes Jennifer and Kaitlyn on an epic new adventure ― not that Jennifer will be happy about this.

We were spoke with Knudsten about returning to his character, what readers can expect, other upcoming Jennifer stories, and how this series was inspired by The Flash. Seriously.

Read the interview here!

Justice Theater Project’s Dancing at Lughnasa 

by Zack Smith   Write to the editor Dancing at Lughnasa

Justice Theater Project
At Cardinal Gibbons High School
Through June 27

None of the actors in the Justice Theater Project’s production of Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa have an Irish accent in real life, but it’s impossible to tell while you’re in the auditorium at Cardinal Gibbons High School. For two hours and an intermission, they are an Irish family in 1936, and every word and gesture feels authentic.

Read the full review here!

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