Friday, August 24, 2007

Good formula

Today's column looks back at this season of "The Kill Point" and previews the finale (no real spoilers):

Two men. One in the bank, one outside it. One armed with a gun, the other with a phone.

As formula goes, it doesn't get more basic than that. (I hear tell of an Aristophanes-penned hostage negotiation story set in an Athenian money-lending house, and I suspect that if anyone ever turns up Shakespeare's missing "Love's Labours Won" script, bank robbery will be involved.) But over the last five weeks, the creators of Spike TV's "The Kill Point" have been proving that old formulas get recycled because they work.

Scheduling conflicts kept me from reviewing the miniseries when it began in late July, but I've been enjoying it so much that I wanted to weigh in before Sunday night's finale (9 p.m., Spike TV, with the entire season to date airing in a marathon beginning at 3 p.m.).

Producers James DeMonaco and Steve Shill haven't tried to reinvent the wheel here; they just want to use it to go very fast and maybe smash into a few things along the way.

To read the full thing, click here.


Anonymous said...

Obviously, I've not seen the finale as of yet, but I think that I am going to find that this series was an hour or two too long. It had its moments, and I have enjoyed it, but the red shirt deaths last week and some of Wahlberg's grammar quips and shaving advertisements could have been cut. This would have heightened the tension in moments like the outside meets between Mr. Wolf and Wahlberg (a meeting which really only should have occurred once) and the hostages takeover of the robbers' weapons.

Anonymous said...

I've been loving "The Kill Point" and have developed a fondness for several characters. I can hardly wait until the finale!

BTW, is "The Nine" all burned off now? Same question for "Knights of Prosperity," actually. I thought there were more than two eps of each left to show?

As for the rest of your article:

The way K-Fed's ex's career is going


F&G's Sam showing up on "Bones" still isn't enough to overcome my hatred of what's-her-name who plays Bones, but he is tempting me to tune in for those few eps he's on.

Colm Feore on "24"? Sweet! And I would have thought that Cherry Jones would get the conservative bloggers up in arms, considering she's Sarah Paulson's girlfriend (or so I've read), but no, they are focused on Janeane, hee hee!

Lance Reddick on "Lost"--YAY!! I hope they don't waste him the way they did with Triple A (Mr. Eko).

I always knew Veronica Mars was a superheroine...

Anonymous said...

The most interesting thing about Kill Point was their attempt at a viral marketing campaign by contacting bloggers. I'm a guy with maybe a dozen readers, yet I was approached to watch review DVDs of the show ... and a Google search showed I wasn't the only one. To be honest, I found the marketing attempt kinda smarmy. As for the show, I fear I couldn't get past the "formula" part, and gave up after the first two episodes. Coincidentally, I watched Inside Man a few days later ... the difference in quality was very noticeable to my eyes.

Anonymous said...

Steve, could you elaborate on why you found it smarmy? Did the treat you like a pre-formed hype outlet, or ask you for writing you didn't want to oblige them with? Or did just the idea of providing a low-traffic blogger with advance material bother you? Cheers!

Anonymous said...

dez - The final two Knights of Prosperity episodes are at The Nine left the air with four not-yet-burned-off - three of those four are up on the site now, and the last one will go up next week.

I have been enjoying The Kill Point.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, dax!

Anonymous said...

"Steve, could you elaborate on why you found it smarmy? Did the treat you like a pre-formed hype outlet, or ask you for writing you didn't want to oblige them with? Or did just the idea of providing a low-traffic blogger with advance material bother you? Cheers!"

The pre-formed hype outlet was a problem, yes. The subject header of the initial email was "Spike TV digs your site!" The language in the email was reminiscent of spam ... all about how they'd read my blog, thought I was doing a great job, glad I liked The Shield, basically the kind of thing you'll see in a blog comment that includes links to porn sites. After I agreed to watch the DVDs, the guy started acting like we were buddies (he went from "Michael" to "Mike"), and he asked me if I would link to a promo Flash game (I'm not exactly one for ads on my blog). Then, after I'd watched two episodes and written comments on my blog that I found it formulaic and not worth any more of my time, I got an email five days later asking when I was going to be posting a review of their show. This reminded me, if I didn't already know, that they paid no real attention to my site beyond doing a Google Blog search for "Shield" and contacting fans of that show. Oh yeah, I was asked again when the discs arrived in the mail if I would please link to their Flash game.

I don't mind being contacted ... Google is our friend, I understand how people can hunt you down. And I understand assuming a level of friendship that isn't there ... I've been reading Alan for a long time, for instance, and thanked him in a footnote in a piece I had published on NYPD Blue, so in my mind we're best of friends :-). But this thing came across like dealing with a used car salesman. And when I got an email from a different member of the marketing team, saying "Mike" had said I might be interested in another Spike TV show ... neither of them seemed to realize I hadn't given Kill Point a very good review ... I don't know, it was a combination of impersonal with assumed/faux personal.