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‘Game of Thrones’ meets ‘Law & Order’ in video

- May 14th, 2014

It’s days like today when all of humanity comes together and thanks Tim Berners-Lee for creating the world wide web all those years ago.

If you’ve watched the most recent episode of Game of Thrones and thought, “this would make a great episode of Law & Order,” you weren’t alone.

A group  of comedians that go by the name Double Prizes on YouTube created the perfect mash up of both shows, even going as far as to create a pretty impressive Law & Order inspired Game of Thrones theme song montage.

The opening takes classic shots from the original legal drama and partners them up with stills from the most recent episode of HBO’s massively successful fantasy. It even replaces the starring lineup of Law & Order with its Game of Thrones judiciary counterparts.

For those who haven’t seen the most recent episode, here’s your official spoiler alert warning.

The bulk of the “mini-episode” takes place at the end of the most recent Game of Thrones episode, after Tyrion Lannister has delivered his Emmy-worthy speech to the high court. Instead of playing the manipulative, political game his father, Tywin, and brother, Jamie, would have him do to save his life, he demands a trial by combat.

The video ends with quick cuts to different characters, including two of the most beloved Law & Order: Special Victims Unit detectives, Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler.

Wonder if we can get that Game of Thrones and GIRLS remix the internet has been demanding for the past year…

The actor did it; new TV special Killing Lincoln stars Billy Campbell, narrated by Tom Hanks

- February 13th, 2013

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Abraham Lincoln is the comeback president of the year.

And now even the National Geographic Channel is leaping on the Lincoln bandwagon.

Killing Lincoln, a two-hour historical drama that debuts Sunday, Feb. 17, is the National Geographic Channel’s first original scripted project. Featuring Tom Hanks as the on-screen narrator, it stars Billy Campbell (pictured above) as the title character and Jesse Johnson as assassin John Wilkes Booth.

The 16th president of the United States is everywhere these days, in no small part because of the Academy Award-nominated film Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

But unlike the movie, Killing Lincoln focuses specifically on the assassination.

We really sort of pick up where the Lincoln film left off,” said Erik Jendresen, the writer and executive producer of Killing Lincoln. “I think of (Steven) Spielberg‘s film as the prequel to Killing Lincoln.

Spielberg’s film really focuses on the 13th Amendment (to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery). It’s the story of the victory of Abraham Lincoln.

Ours really is the story of the tragedy, and the irony that, with the ending of the Civil War, the signing of the surrender, and the 13th Amendment passed, Lincoln had a moment – literally maybe 48 hours – in which he was able to shed all the grief and pain and responsibility he had been living with. And it was all taken from him.”

Campbell is a veteran actor who in recent years is best known to TV viewers for his role as Darren Richmond on the AMC series The Killing (apparently he likes shows with that word in them). Campbell was asked if he felt any weight on his shoulders playing Lincoln, especially in light of Lewis’ Academy Award-nominated performance.

I felt almost no weight at all,” Campbell insisted. “The script was so brilliant and so deep in its own way that it was all there on the page.

And I felt really, really safe in the hands of some obviously very passionate people who were passionate about doing this the right way. So I felt nearly no pressure.”

Killing Lincoln actually has a Law & Order feel to it, right down to its own version of classic two-note musical tag. But no real-life murder wraps up as neatly and tidily as a Law & Order episode.

Hanks makes the striking observation that 1,500 theatre patrons were eyewitnesses to the murder of Abraham Lincoln, and yet no two accounts matched. Few even could agree on what Booth shouted after leaping to the stage from Lincoln’s private box.

One of the things that struck me emotionally when I was researching this – and kind of hurt my feelings because I’m a real (American) patriot – is that up until this moment, the White House always was known as the people’s house,” Jendresen said. “It literally was open 24 hours a day. Anybody could walk in to see the president.

The security Lincoln had was solely to get him from one place to the next, not to be there with him. And yet, the threats against Lincoln were numerous. Nothing was ever really done about it.

I don’t think anybody could conceive this would happen. Subsequently, of course, it began a trend. It’s as if we invented something in this country.”

Comebacks aside, some things are better left uninvented.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

CTV hopes to “Motive-ate” viewers with post-Super Bowl premiere

- January 29th, 2013

Kristin Lehman as Detective Angie Flynn in Motive

The Motive is the message.

But how will the message be received by a viewing public that claims it wants something new, yet often sticks with the tried and true?

That’s the challenge for the Canadian series Motive, which debuts Sunday, Feb. 3, in the plum time slot following the Super Bowl on CTV.

Through the years we all have seen enough police procedurals – the CSI franchise, the Law & Order franchise, etc. – to understand the basic format. But Motive takes that dramatic model and twists it.

In each episode of Motive, viewers are told fairly quickly who “the killer” is and who “the victim” is. What we don’t know is “why?”

How are the killer and the victim connected? What were the circumstances that led the former to murder the latter?

That’s where Vancouver homicide Detective Angie Flynn, played by Kristin Lehman, enters the fray.

Angie and her team – Detective Oscar Vega (played by Louis Ferreira), Detective Brian Lucas (played by Brendan Penny), Staff Sergeant Boyd Bloom (played by Roger Cross) and Dr. Betty Rogers (played by Lauren Holly) – spend each episode piecing together what happened. Therefore, until the very end, the team always is more “in the dark” than the audience, which already knows who committed the crime.

The first episode of Motive focuses on a creepy, picked-upon high school kid in a marching band (do Canadian high schools even have those? Isn’t that an American thing?).

When we first see the victim, an adult, he’s singing in a karaoke bar. The connection between the two, and the reasons for what occurs, certainly can’t be predicted or foreseen at first blush, so that’s a good thing.

I had a few different reactions to the debut episode of Motive.

First, it looks great. The production values are top-notch.

And I did like the two leads, Lehman and Ferreira. Lehman has kind of a Marg Helgenberger thing goin’ on, while veteran Ferreira is good in everything he does (including a recent guest spot on AMC’s Breaking Bad). However, I hope it’s not a pattern moving forward that Oscar thinks everyone is guilty and Angie thinks everyone is innocent.

Cinematography and characters aside, Motive‘s format can be disorienting when it comes to sustained attention.

I was interested in the first 10 minutes. I was interested in the last 10 minutes. But that left 20 minutes in the middle where I kind of drifted away, since I already knew who the killer was. It felt like there was some padding going on, and I’m not at all interested in the side story about Angie’s troubled teen.

Those middle 20 minutes also jump around in time, because much of the story has to be told through flashbacks. It never was confusing, that would be overstating it. But it can be a tad dizzying if you’re not right on top of it, which, as I stated earlier, is an issue.

Kudos to Motive for trying something new. A straight-forward police procedural in 2013 would seem at least five years behind the times.

What we’re about to find out is whether the world is open to a police procedural that doesn’t follow procedure.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

“Dick Wolf girl” Stefanie von Pfetten gets cracking on Cracked

- December 6th, 2012

Luisa d’Oliveira, Dayo Ade, Stefanie von Pfetten, Karen LeBlanc, David Sutcliffe

To borrow the title of an old Duran Duran song, Stefanie von Pfetten was “Hungry Like the Wolf” for her new TV series Cracked.

Debuting Jan. 8 on CBC, Cracked is a drama inspired by the real-life experiences of police officers and mental-health professionals.

The two main characters are a psychologically “cracked” cop played by David Sutcliffe, and his partner, a psychiatrist on active police duty played by von Pfetten (pictured in the centre above with her castmates, and below).

“Beat cops actually are paired up with mental-health professionals on the street now,” von Pfetten said. “And 30% of crimes are committed by people with mental illness, so they’ve brought in the psychological nurses and psychologists to educate the police and de-stigmatize mental illness.

“So that’s what my character does. That’s what she is passionate about.”

According to von Pfetten, she was cast in the role of Dr. Daniella Ridley on tape, without previously having met the creator or producers of Cracked. So, Stefanie – and you don’t have to be modest – what do you think they saw in you?

“Okay … well … all I know is, nine years ago when I moved to Los Angeles, I met with an agent at William Morris,” recalled von Pfetten, a Canadian. “And he looked at me, he didn’t take me on, but he said, ‘Stefanie, you’re a Dick Wolf girl.’

“I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘You can do smart and pretty very well.’ ”

Wolf, of course, is the godfather of police procedurals, including the Law & Order franchise.

“One doesn’t find it often to see a female character on television who is powerful and kind and smart at the same time,” von Pfetten added, talking specifically about her role on Cracked.

“I think I am able to do that balance, I’m good at those roles, but I’ve never really had a chance to play it. I’ve been acting for 15 years, so it’s time.”

Indeed, von Pfetten was hungry for this role – in a fortune-telling kind of way – long before it actually existed.

“Do you know what else I have to tell you? I wrote this down, this specific role, I wrote it down in my diary four years ago,” von Pfetten said. “I’m not joking. I kid you not.

“I said, ‘I want to play a cross between Mariska Hargitay (who plays Olivia Benson) and Wong (played by George Huang) on Law & Order: SVU. So that’s a homicide detective and the forensic psychiatrist in the special victims unit. And I wanted it to be a show that had, you know, heinous crimes of a psychological nature.

“I wrote it down. And four years later – well, three and a half – it happened. Everyone in my life was like, ‘Oh my God,’ because I would talk about it all the time. And then I got the call.”

Geez, Stefanie, did you also happen to write down any lottery numbers?

“Acting is like gambling, it’s not a meritocracy,” von Pfetten said with a laugh. “So to me, this is winning the lottery.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Stefanie von Pfetten of Cracked

Dick Wolf stalks himself as Law and Order: SVU hits 300 episodes

- October 23rd, 2012

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When you’ve had shows on TV for as long as Dick Wolf has, eventually you can’t help but compete with yourself.

Wolf is the creator and executive producer of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which airs its landmark 300th episode Wednesday, Oct. 24 on NBC and CTV Two. Law & Order: SVU currently is the longest running drama on U.S. network television.

So does the series have anything left to accomplish?

“Well, if I say it, you’ll say I’m insane, but the next goal would be to go 21 years and beat Law & Order,” Wolf told TV reporters in a conference call. “Another six additional years, you never know.

“I don’t think the show has ever been better. It’s something that is a very dependable player and continues to be for the network. If you ask what my final goal for SVU is, that would be it.”

The 300th episode of Law & Order: SVU is titled Manhattan Vigil. A young boy is kidnapped while in the care of his father and the investigation reminds Captain Cragen (Dann Florek), Sergeant Munch (Richard Belzer) and Detective Benson (Mariska Hargitay) of an unsolved case that occurred in the same neighbourhood 13 years earlier.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv