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...