Anyway, I am talking about the The Munsters. The Munster family. Specifically, the recent remake Mockingbird Lane.
|Munsters Go Home|
|The Munsters Today|
|Here Comes The Munsters|
I bring all this up, because knowing is half the battle. Also, to remind people that the idea of continuing or rebooting The Munsters is not new.
So, a few years ago NBC decided it wanted to restart The Munsters. To bring this about, they hired Bryan Fuller. Fuller is well known for his work on a number of other shows. Wonderfalls. Dead Like Me. Hannibal. Pushing Daisies. (He also worked on Heroes and Star Trek: Yoyager, but I won't hold that against him.) Making Pushing Daisies alone means he deserves a shot, and plenty of respect.
I mean, Pushing Daisies!
But I think, sadly, most everyone judged and condemned the idea of this show before it was even made. And the fact Fuller said he was going to modify the characters only turned people hostile.
I hope I can get you to reconsider.
First, the show was renamed (like we've seen with many new takes on older ideas). It was called Mockingbird Lane, the name of the street they live on.
For the pilot they reimagined the characters as more modern. Also, like you can expect from Bryan Fuller, the characters have a darker edge to them (while maintaining a fantastical quality). Vampires are vampires. Being a wolf kid has repercussions. And being a collection of parts isn't all that great.
That can mean for many that this idea is DOA. A no go. Changes can be hard to take. And often they can do nothing to improve things. There are many examples in TV and movies where the results are a mess. But there are others where it can be an interesting new approach. And, it's Bryan Fuller. It's going to be a treat for the eyes, at least. So I will be dropping in some images from the show at time to just marvel at the art work and sets.
|"And all through the woods, everyone could hear the creature bellowing,|
'I can't believe they remade it! There's no originality left in TV!'"
|Please don't be Michael Jackson...You know, the video, |
Black or White?
They are interrupted when a dark figure pulls one of the kids into the bushes.
As the scout master approaches, he sees black fur and piercing eyes stare back out at him. A werewolf then leaps out of the brush, and pounces on the scout master. It then proceeds to race around knocking the scouts around, as they flee.
|"Sir? Why didn't we just drive away last night?"|
|Eddie Munster, played by Mason Cook.|
After all, we learn that the werewolf was in fact Eddie Munster. He's getting to that age. (And he may not be driven by hunger yet.) Unfortunately for him, he doesn't know it.
|Marilyn Munster, played by Charity Wakefield|
As the estate agent goes through the house's lovely history. She grows less pleased. It will not meet the needs of her family.
But she turns and looks across the street and sees something that looks more appropriate to her. 1313 Mockingbird Lane. It's a massive Victorian house. (And you can notice the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.) It is run down, with police tape along the front fence of the property.
The estate agent tries to dissuade her. It is a murder house. Many lives were lost in it. Homeless people were taken there and killed. There could still be bodies buried on the grounds.And it's possible some were placed in the walls of the house. And Marilyn replies that they all found a home then.
She won't take no on this.
Marilyn seems to have a macabre, but optimistic view. The actress playing her is Charity Wakefield. She's been in The Raven, and before that, in Marple and Midsomer Murder mysteries.
This is being played by Jerry O'Connell. He's been in many shows and movies, including My Secret Identity and Sliders. In animation he's been the voice of Captain Marvel (Shazam these days) and Nightwing.
|Herman Munster, played by |
Some won't accept this change. I'll be honest, when I first saw this show, I balked at this reveal. It's so different.
But if you've seen the earlier takes on the character (in the other remakes), Herman has only grown to be more and more a caricature. It seems the only way to attempt the character now is to try and go back to the original ideas of Mary Shelley and take another path. The result is a being who is inhuman, being a construct of dead bodies, but filled with a genuine heartfelt humanity. And while he's not normal, he's eager to find a way to give his son some level of normalcy. (But being Munsters makes that difficult.)
|"Oh, look son. A family...dungeon..."|
So far Eddie's blacking out during his change, and just accepts the stories his parents tell him. Last time, it was a baby bear that tore up the camp site. Still, that only confuses him as to why the family so quickly up and moved.
As it is, just Herman, Eddie, and Marilyn have moved in. When we meet the rest of the family, it's obvious why.
Two movers begin pulling off two large crates. They are bothered as the crates made the truck unnaturally cold. And as they move one of the crates, they begin hearing movement inside the crate.
This leads them to drop the crate, cracking it. A mass of rats race out of the crate. This panics the movers, who race off and leave the crates lying there.
The rats begin coalescing, climbing on top of each other, growing into a larger and larger pile. Then out of the pile emerges a figure. Grandpa has arrived. And he's nude.
He's played by Eddie Izzard. A great comedian. He's also appeared in a number of movies, including The Avengers (the other one) and The Shadow of the Vampire.
|Grandpa Munster (D.), played by Eddie Izzard|
This scene does suggest that they've borrowed a lot from the imagery of Dracula, as we've seen it since the 90's. A number aspects shown in
Grandpa during this pilot remind me heavily of the Francis Ford Coppola version of Dracula. (He even asks to be called D. by people he meets.)
|Well, now we know where Charlotte's kids ended up...|
From the other crate, a mist emerges, and a woman forms from it. She stands quietly as spiders mass above her.
Lily has arrived. And, as a break from the original show, she seems to be more like her father, Grandpa. This version of her seems to be someone who has actual powers and abilities, but uses them sparingly.
|Lily Munster, played by Portia de Rossi.|
With the family all in place, they sit down for breakfast, and a talk. They try to figure out how to explain to Eddie what is happening. And, how to help him suppress it.
The trouble is that Grandpa has a different idea. He wants Eddie to embrace his nature. He wants him to love it.
This troubles Herman. He doesn't want Eddie estranged from him. So he walks Eddie out to the school bus, and tries to reassure him.
But Eddie is mostly frustrated that everyone seems to be lying to him. And he leaves.
|Damn Ikea hearts.|
...Hope you've finished Thanksgiving dinner.
His modified heart pops. And he collapses on the steps outside the house.
That night Eddie helps setup lightening rods and equipment on the roof. And the devices soon light up.
Herman jumps, and lies there as Grandpa explains that he blew his heart out. So Grandpa built a mechanical one to replace it.
|"Why do I keep waking up like this?"|
|"You don't want to know where I|
could stick this heart."
The scene nicely shows how patchwork Herman is. Also it shows his fear that he could loose "himself".
|I guess the show didn't get that Zip|
|"Why does everyone keep calling me Gwen Stefani?"|
"Darling, everyone keeps calling me Elton John.""
|Oh you never would believe where those Keebler cookies come from...|
|Ah. It's a Julia Child's recipe.|
|"...and I'm killing the next person that|
calls me Truman Capote."
|"Mmm. I can taste my doom."|
|"I told you they'd never notice if I switched out the jam."|
She explains that she moved to a nearby college. And she hoped to live in the house with the rest of the family.
Grandpa doesn't like this. He tells her that he's planning to "start drinking" again. And he doesn't want her around. When she was born, Grandpa's other daughter almost ate her. Grandpa stopped this. And now he doesn't want that on his mind as he "drinks".
But this issue seems to pass. And Grandpa gets the man to tell them they can enter his house (so Grandpa can actually enter).
|"I got this badge for guest starring."|
|"Sir. I think you would be a perfect fit."|
But Herman is trying to not let anything happen.
|"This is the part Disney leaves out. Where life has it's|
throat ripped out."
Is the mountain lion the top of the food chain? No. That's Grandpa.
Eddie is troubled about this. Is Grandpa trying to show Eddie how Grandpa will be acting once again? Or, what? Lily tries to comfort Eddie.
He wants to know if she's like her dad. She admits that she is. But that she fights to refrain from her nature, for her families sake. (And she's seen what happen with her own sister and Marilyn.)
But Herman is pissed at this. He wants Grandpa to stop. He wants Eddie to not have to deal with it. But Grandpa tells him that both he and Eddie have to soon face the realities of their existence.
That's when Herman sees the neighbor is painting there house. He realizes that Grandpa feed the guy some blood and enslaved him. Herman tells Grandpa to stop enslaving the neighbors.
|"I do hope you have a donor's card."|
That night, Grandpa invites the scout master over.
He questions him on his life. He has no kids. He is a widower. And has little in his life, outside of scouting. He's perfect...
Herman is nervous at dinner. He's not sure if Grandpa brought him to the house to feed on, or organ harvest.
Herman finally takes Lily aside and admits that his heart is faulty, and that Grandpa is plotting.
Herman, Lily, and Marilyn try to get the scout master out of the house fast. But grandpa is at the door, in monster mode.
He backs Marilyn and the scout master up. With a flick of the hand, he causes a secret passage in the stairs behind the two to open. He keeps backing them up until the scout master "accidentally" falls down the hidden stairs, to his death.
|"How does it even work? How does a vampire give birth|
to a werewolf?"
It is a little odd idea. Grandpa is a vampire. Lily is a vampire. And now her son is a werewolf? Is it because Herman isn't a vampire? Or, just chance? Grandpa does mention that one of his sons is a werewolf. So it may be in the blood. Or, it came from Grandpa's late spouse. (He seems to imply he's had many over the centuries.)
Eddie is still upset, and doesn't like the idea he may kill. He wants to be normal.
He runs off from his dad. And it breaks his heart. Literally.
His heart breaks. And then he falls off the roof.
|"I love when dinner is delivered."|
And Grandpa is having a grand time, finishing off the rest of the blood in the scout master's body. He dances around a bit. Also, he's looking a lot younger.
Up to now Grandpa's looked grey and very wrinkled. But now...He looks like a regular Eddie Izzard. Guess staying off the regular human stuff is rough on a vampire that is his age.
|"See? It was a win-win scenario."|
But he's got some of the good stuff. And he loves it.
|"So we're creepy and spooky..." "No that's a different|
He's credulous. He's a weirdo. And being this, a dog won't help.
Then Herman whistles to the dog. A great wind whooshes up. An invisible form lands, and slowly becomes visible. It's a huge dragon.
I think he'll name it spot. What do you think?
|"If you're anything like Eragon, I'll eat you to."|
Like I mentioned at the start, this is a clear reimagining of The Munsters. The characters all have new aspects. New depths. They are also darker in their own way. For some this is just wrong.
And I understand. There have been changes before to other characters and stories that sat wrong with me. It's a question of how married you are to some images, stories, or characters. If changes can't be accepted...What can you do?
In the new Star Trek movies, the Kirk character just bugs me, he comes off as lesser. I can enjoy the movies, but the character continues to bother me.
The first Fantastic Four movie -played fast and loose with some aspects of the characters and history, but I saw some merit. But with the second movie, the concepts were so poorly done that it's...unacceptable.
It's a line these ideas walk. I don't know how the show would have changed if they got an actual season. But just on the pilot, it's an interesting idea. And if the characters weren't the Munsters, I imagine more people would have given it a chance.
But for me, the new ideas seem interesting. I would have liked to see where they would go. And part of this is the fact it was being lead my Bryan Fuller. This feels like it could have worked much like Pushing Daisies. It could have had a certain fairy tale quality, with a dark twist. It may have been quite impressive.
If's and but's... At least we have the pilot to contemplate.