(*homocinematically inclined)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Viva Hugh Jackman

As far as narrative musicals on television go, there have been three kinds in the past: Broadway-based TV movies (Peter Pan, Gypsy), the odd "musical episode" within an established series (Buffy, Scrubs) and Cop Rock. The new CBS series Viva Laughlin (debuting tomorrow night prior to moving to Sundays) follows in the footsteps of that last option, which does not bode well for its future.

Based on the British series Viva Blackpool, Laughlin is set in Nevada's other, smaller sin city and uses pre-existing pop songs (like "Sympathy for the Devil") to help tell its story of murder and intrigue in a struggling casino. Produced by Hugh Jackman (who also has a recurring role), the series also features Melanie Griffith and Brothers & Sisters' Eric Winter. While I intend to at least check out the first episode, I kind of hope it doesn't last long, if only to hasten Winters' return to the arms of one Kevin Walker.

Here is a preview of the show, and it appears to at least have one thing going for it: it's not the worst project this year to bastardize the King's ode to the glitz and glamour of Sin City.

UPDATE: After only two airings, Viva Laughlin has been cancelled by CBS. Wonder how long it will take Jason McCallister to get back from Malaysia?

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  1. Viva Laughlin

    What it’s about: Based on a BBC series called Blackpool, Viva Laughlin is about a guy who opens a brand new casino in a smaller city in Nevada. Did I mention that this is a musical?

    What’s good: Oh sweet Lord, how I love this show. If you’d told me that CBS was going to put on an Americanized remake of an interesting but not great Brit-drama and that the characters would spontaneously start singing, I wouldn’ve told you that sounded like certain disaster. To have it turn out to be the best network show of the season (or at least my personal favorite – by a very wide margin – is damn near miraculous.

    It’s important to note for the skeptical (though this might not allay any reservations) that the songs are not original compositions, but pop tunes spanning the last 40 or 50 years. “Viva Las Vegas” and Blondie’s “One Way or Another” are some notable ones. The characters don’t lip synch or merely sing…they sing along with the original track, so you can hear both at once…an interesting and confident stylistic choice.

    Cast is also great. Lloyd Owen, a british actor with a long career behind him plays the lead, and he’s got just the right amount of smarmy confidence and, when the story calls for it, abject fear. And, somehow, they got Hugh Jackman (Wolverine from Oklahoma!) to play the bad guy! Melanie Griffith makes an appearance as well as a sort of washed-up femme fatale.

    Viva Laughlin is totally ridiculous and extremely fun to watch. It reminded me a lot of the early seasons of Nip/Tuck, only without the mean-streak and pretentious aspirations. Oh, and with singing.

    What’s not so good: Hell, I don’t know. I just really, really love this show.

    Will it be a hit? FOR SURE !!!!!!
    Viva Laughlin Preview - New Series From CBS

    I know what I like, and I like this Show !!!

    You decide if you like Viva Laughlin:

    copy and paste or double click on these links:

    New Clip on Viva Laughlin:

    VIVA LAUGHLIN, the new mystery drama with music, will have a special preview on Thursday, Oct. 18 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) following CSI before moving to its regular Sunday (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) time period on Oct. 21 to take advantage of a two week window in the schedule without football overruns.

    Thursday, Oct. 18
    10:00-11:00 PM VIVA LAUGHLIN (Special Preview)

    Sunday, Oct. 21
    8:00-9:00 PM VIVA LAUGHLIN (Time Period Premiere)

  2. I agree completely about Eric Winter going back to Brothers and Sisters. Kevin and Jason have the potential to show a gay couple on tv in a way thats never been done before..i.e a stable, loving relationship with passion. The same way they portray straight couples. Viva is doomed anyway, everyone has panned it so we could have our Jason/Kevin reunion soon!


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