TV Eye

Comics 101

TV Eye

There are two problems with this summer's TV season: It's overrun with cheap reality fare, and the good stuff doesn't start till the middle of summer. The hands-down most off-putting premise of a new reality series has to go to Hurl! (G4), in which contestants participate in a competitive eating contest that is followed by a variety of "challenges" meant to incite ... well, you know. Whoever holds it together the longest wins the Iron Stomach Award and a whopping $1,000. I think the only thing worse than watching this show would have to be being a member of the cleanup crew (who are dressed in hazmat suits, no less).

A few new and returning shows trickle to the small screen in June, but you'll have to wait for July to see the guaranteed quality shows, like Mad Men, The Closer, and Weeds. In the meantime, the best you can do is mark time by catching up on DVDs (personally, I'm going to go back and look at Battlestar Galactica after a reader asked me why I never show love to this cult favorite). Another thing I've enjoyed watching are documentaries. This is a year-round pursuit, but the Starz Network manages to bring a breezy approach to their Starz Inside programming, a series of specials on the behind-the-scenes art and craft of filmmaking. This month, Starz Inside takes a look at the relationship between comic books and the movies in "Comic Books Unbound."

This installment looks at how the long history of comic books has evolved from a largely dismissed aesthetic to one that has fueled some of Hollywood's most successful films. New technologies have made the presentation of superheroes and fantastic worlds possible in breathtakingly realistic ways. Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man are a few of the superheroes lifted from the page to the movie screen with spectacular results. But viewers are also reminded of how the more down-to-earth side of comics – the graphic novel – have also appeared as successful, sometimes critically acclaimed feature films. Ghost World, Road to Perdition, 300, and A History of Violence are a few of the films that began as graphic novels and made their way to the large screen. (As an aside, Disney recently launched Kingdom Comics to develop graphic novels into movies and to turn live-action movies into comic books, according to a report).

Many of the usual suspects are interviewed, including Spider-Man creator and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics Stan Lee, director Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy), maverick producer Roger Corman, actor Ron Perlman (Hellboy), and many others.

Future Starz Inside specials include: "In the Gutter" (July), "Fantastic Flesh – The Art of Make-up EFX" (October), "Ladies or Gentlemen" (November), "Fashion in Film" (December), and "The Face Is Familiar" (January 2009).

"Comic Books Unbound" premieres Tuesday, June 10, at 9pm on the Starz network.

New and Returning Series

Thursday (6/5): Swingtown at 9pm on CBS... Sunday (6/8): Army Wives at 9pm on Lifetime... Thursday (6/12): Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List at 9pm on Bravo, and My Boys at 8:30pm on TBS.

Media Reform Conference Brought to Austin

Can't make it to Minneapolis for the National Conference for Media Reform this weekend? Not to worry: ChannelAustin (formerly known as Public Access Community Television), in partnership with conference organizers, will air a live feed of the key presentations on public cable access Channel 10. Arianna Huffington, Dan Rather, Lawrence Lessig, Amy Goodman, Robert McChesney, and Michael Copps are a few of the high-profile speakers featured at this year's conference. The following scheduled panels are subject to change without notice:

Friday, June 6:

10:30am: Opening Plenary – Media at a Critical Juncture: Politics, Technology and Culture

1:30pm: Media and Elections: Uncovering 2008

3:30pm: How Far Have We Come? People of Color in the Mass Media

Saturday, June 7:

8am: Morning Plenary – Bill Moyers

9:30am: From Broadcast to Broadband: The Next Frontier of Media Reform

11:30am: Media and the War: An Unembedded View

2:30pm: Media Policy in a New Congress and Administration

4:30pm: Owning Our Own and Reaching the Masses

8pm: Media Begins With Me

Sunday, June 8:

11:30am: Closing Plenary – Taking It Home

For more information on the National Conference for Media Reform, go to

As always, stay tuned.

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More TV Eye
TV Eye: That's What She Said
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After 10 years in print, 'TV Eye' has its series finale

Belinda Acosta, July 8, 2011

TV Eye: Go LoCo
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Awards, and a word about what's on the horizon for 'TV Eye'

Belinda Acosta, July 1, 2011


Starz Inside, Comic Books Unbound, Hurl!, Starz Inside, Comic Books Unbound

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