Skip to main content

The Daily Beast: "Mockingbird Lane: NBC’s Munsters Remake Offers Eerie Charms"

The Munsters return from the dead. I review the spooky, dark reworking of the TV classic, which is airing tonight, from the brains behind Pushing Daisies and The Usual Suspects.

At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Mockingbird Lane: NBC’s Munsters Remake Offers Eerie Charms," in which I review the backdoor pilot for NBC's Mockingbird Lane, a remake of classic sitcom The Munsters from Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller, which airs tonight.

The Munsters are back from the dead, though possibly for just one night.

The supernatural clan was the subject of the 1964–1966 sitcom (and its syndicated sequel, The Munsters Today, which ran from 1988–1991), notable for a few things: the show aired at the same time as that other spooky family sitcom, The Addams Family; the original series is still a cultural touchstone despite only lasting 70 episodes; and the show juxtaposed the supernatural—embodied by iconic characters from Universal’s library of horror titles—with the mundane, giving the audience ghouls attempting to assimilate into a world that feared and misunderstood them, even as they recapitulated the status quo of sitcom trappings.

Made up of father-and-daughter vampires, a blue-collar Frankenstein monster, a prepubescent werewolf, and their seemingly normal pink-skinned family relation, the Munsters return in Mockingbird Lane, which will air its pilot episode tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Like the characters themselves, things are complicated: NBC is said to have passed on Mockingbird Lane but could still be deliberating about the fate of the potential series, using tonight’s episode as an attempt to gauge audience interest. Which means that tonight’s broadcast could be either a one-off special or a sneak peek, depending on how the ratings stack up.

Mockingbird Lane owes more to both the visual style and banter of the short-lived ABC drama Pushing Daisies—also from creator Bryan Fuller—than its previous television incarnations. With Mockingbird Lane, Fuller infuses the struggles of the titular monsters with existential angst, setting their plights—whether it be self-acceptance, fitting in, finding love and happiness, or sating an incessant bloodlust—against a gorgeously hyper-real backdrop. The art direction on the pilot is alone worth the price of admission, a fusion of computer-generated images, painstakingly designed sets, and a sense of wonder and whimsy.

Continue reading at The Daily Beast...

Comments

Serra said…
From what I’ve seen in the clips for this Halloween special it’s pretty interesting. It definitely is a brand new take on The Munsters show my mom used to watch on reruns on TVLand. There is a part in the behind the scenes video where the scout leader gets to meet grandpa as a hideous-looking bat thing and Marilyn is trying to calm him down. I actually thought that was very funny. It’s hard to believe that this has been in production for two years and has cost NBC two million dollars. Even though it’s one night only I’ve got my Hopper timer set to record the show. With all of the other Halloween stuff I’ve got recording it will be nice to have it at my fingertips. The pictures here on your website look gorgeous and it will just look fantastic on screen. My DISH co-worker is really excited about Portia DeRossi and she really has a good role in the show. My question is if NBC is still deliberating on whether or not the show may be picked up as a series, who would they get to take over? Bryan Fuller is currently working on Hannibal.
Anonymous said…
I have yet to read a review of Mockingbird Lane mentioning the major flaw in the show... the way the main emphasis has been completely switched and can be summed up in one word... 'threatening'. The original show featured a family who appeared monstrous on the outside but were actually kind and non-threatening on the inside (though admittedly odd). The new characters appear normal to the eye, but in actuality they are wicked killers who have the potential of ripping your throat out at any given moment. (The show begins with little Eddie attempting to murder an entire Boy Scout troop!) This family is truly threatening and dangerous.

The character of Marilyn is no longer needed in the story. The writers make no bones about portraying Lily as the true beauty/seductress of the two. Marilyn's good looks are not unique amongst her family members. But even 'normal' Marilyn is given a not-so-sweet personality who just might be capable of committing atrocities of her own. She seems to take delight in assisting Grandpa in spreading his poisonous and harmful schemes.

No, this new version of the Munsters could never be good neighbors. They might appear to the eye as being normal, but their darkness is far more more threatening. This is one family who should be avoided.

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

BuzzFeed: Meet The TV Successor To "Serial"

HBO's stranger-than-fiction true crime documentary The Jinx   — about real estate heir Robert Durst — brings the chills and thrills missing since Serial   wrapped up its first season. Serial   obsessives: HBO's latest documentary series is exactly what you've been waiting for.   The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst , like Sarah Koenig's beloved podcast, sifts through old documents, finds new leads from fresh interviews, and seeks to determine just what happened on a fateful day in which the most foul murder was committed. And, also like  Serial  before it,  The Jinx may also hold no ultimate answer to innocence or guilt. But that seems almost beside the point; such investigations often remain murky and unclear, and guilt is not so easy a thing to be judged. Instead, this upcoming six-part tantalizing murder mystery, from director Andrew Jarecki ( Capturing the Friedmans ), is a gripping true crime story that unfolds with all of the speed of a page-turner; it

BBC Culture: Matthew Weiner: Mad Men’s creator on its final episodes

The creative force behind the period drama talks about where his characters are as his show begins its final episodes. “We left off with everyone’s material needs being met in an extreme way,” says Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner of where we last saw the characters on his critically acclaimed period drama when the show went on hiatus 10 months ago. “Then the issue is, what else is there?” That is the central question with the return to US TV of the AMC hit, one demanding to be answered by both the show’s characters, and its creator whose success is the envy of the television industry. Mad Men has been a defining part of Weiner’s life for the last 15 years. He wrote the pilot script on spec while he was a staff writer on CBS’ Ted Danson sitcom Becker in 1999, using it to land a writing gig on HBO’s The Sopranos in 2002. It would take another five years, filled with multiple rejections, before the first episode of Mad Men would make it on the air. Someone with less determination or vision