Friday, October 30, 2015

RR Tremors: The Series

Did you know there was a Tremors TV series? True story!

In celebration of the new Tremors 5 film earlier this month, have a look at the Tremors TV series continuation!

Name: Tremors: The Series 
Created by Brent Maddock, Nancy Roberts & S.S. Wilson
Original run 2003
Genre Monster/Scifi/Adventure TV series

Long before the new sequel we just got, there had been a continuation of the series in the past! There wasn't just four Tremors movie before, there also was a TV series back in the day!

Yes, sure, I know the series only lasted for a single season. But it was fun and and it was even able to recapture some of the spirit of the original movie some of the sequels lost over the years. 

Tremors: The Series aired on SyFy back when it was still called the Sci-Fi Channel. In 2003. It was an adventure/monster/science-fiction series much in the same spirit of the films and even had some decent production values all things considered.

The original creators of the franchise returned to overview the series, Brent Maddock, Nancy Roberts and S.S. Wilson.

The show was launched into production after Tremors 3 2001, in fact you could say the third movie acts as a sort of mini TV film to act as a pilot for the series. And it was produced at the same time alongside the prequel Tremors 4. (Which is probably why they went with the idea of a prequel in the first place, to allow the continuous adventures of the inhabitants of Perfection in the present for the show.)

Tremors ran from March to August 2003, it only ran for a one season og 13 40-minute episodes. And yet the SciFi Channel managed to air the episodes in incorrect order!

Our adventures take place in Perfection Valley, Nevada. A quiet small midwestern town in America... that is, aside from the rampaging giant 30-foot sandworm monster!

The story takes place after Tremors 3. The only Graboid left in town is "El Blanco", an albino Graboid that can't reproduce. And it's now deemed an endangered species. So the locals make the best of the situation and have to co-exist with El Blanco. Why didn't any of these people simply decide to run off to some other town? They lived there first! They're not moving! At least the Graboids bring in some tourists and they can make some money off the situation.

The story begins with the arrival of Tyler Reed, the new owner of Perfection's all-new "Graboid Adventure" tour through the valley. Gun-enthusiast and Graboid-expert Burt Gumer returns once more to everyone's delight, the man is hilarious and basically carries the entire franchise by now. There's also this Las Vegas exotic danger-turned-rauncher Rosalita. A few returning faces from the films and several new characters.

The series follow the ongoing tales and all sorts of misadventures the folks living in Perfection go through. Oh, and the occasional tourists being eaten by all sorts of monsters and our "monster hunters" called upon to investigate from time to time.

As the episodes moved on, they tried branching away from our titular "Tremors" and offer a few other monsters aside from the regular Graboids, Shriekers and Ass-Blasters.

The series tried to offer as much as possible a low-budget movie production-quality as it could, and I'm saying that as a positive. The first episode was written by the series creators and introduced the whole concept behind the show.

Tremors: The Series really revolves around the lives of these people we would grew to care.

The show had a pretty okay cast for a TV production, the main cast consisted of Michael Gross returning as Burt Gummer, the decent reluctant sidekick and extreme entrepreneur Victor Browne, the gorgeous Gladise Jimenez, Marcia Strassman, Lela Lee, and the always fun Dean Norris as the "antagonist" government guy who's really trying to keep everyone safe and alive. Soon joining the cast as a recurring character we would have Christopher Lloyd after a few episode and there was a handful guest stars such as Vivica A. Fox.

The show tried its best to offer us all kind of stories. I liked how the first few episodes sort of mimic the actual Tremors films. We get introduced to the various stages of the Graboids one by one, and those episodes even seem to continue carrying over the thread of the films such as the Ass-Blaster that was sold to a magician in Vegas back in Tremors 3.

And instead of going for the easiest route and coming up with ridiculous new forms for our familiar monsters they decided to add new monsters, which I think works out great and was a really good idea for this franchise. Great nod to the original film, they even gave these new creatures the origins they imagined for the Graboid in the first Tremors (one was genetically engineered in a lab, etc.).

Despite the low number of episodes, the show gets to go into all sorts of directions. After playing with the Graboids and how the locals and the authorities deal with El Blanco in the first few episodes, we get to meet Christopher Lloyd's character Cletus Poffenberger. A scientist who worked on a mysterious government lab hidden withing the valley. He's partly responsible for a chemical titled "Mixmaster", originally a bio-weapon able to take over organisms and replicate traits from any non-human organic tissues. Something escaped from this "Project 4-12", an articial creature apparently Graboids are not very fond of which Cletus dubs Four-twelve.

After the introduction of Mixmaster a few random creatures pop up from time to time, more or less tied to Cletus' experiments with the mixmaster compound.

There's a mysterious green cloud in the abandoned mine, animal experts try to train Shriekers to save life for a change, this Graboid fanboy Larry Norvel comes for a tour and kinda stays around, a herd of Shriekers is found infesting the town of Junpier (which reminds me of the plot of the sequels), Las Vegas mobsters come to town when trying to stay low-profile... and get killed, which results in a follow-up episode at the end of the season. Government conspiracist Burt Gummer is forced to go check on this little town in New Mexico... where people think he's a government agent sent to hide Alien Conspiracies!! Animal right activist get in the way. We have mutated insects, mutated plants and more! And a golf course nearby Perfection!

The show kinda works nicely and there's even a progression in the story with the whole mixmaster storyline. But you wouldn't have thought that back then, SciFi aired the show completely out of order!! Which didn't make any sense since Cletus was seen around long before his own introduction in the show. They tried to hide it all with new segments, but it just lost any logical sense in translation. It only confused the audience...

It was a fun show that showed how these people could take on any monsters due to living with one! It was a very episodic series, with a villain-of-the-week formula.

It was a really fun show. While far from a masterpiece, it was a lot better than it had any rights to be! With a Michel Gross carrying much of the whole series behind Kevin Bacon's departure. The stories even worked and the show was fun to watch, with a great opening theme to boot!

Overall, I really liked this series.

One of silliest movie premises worked great as a film series... and made for one awesome underrated classic science-fiction/adventure series.

It was a really fun series while it lasted. And it more than made up for it for the low-grade sequels Tremors 2 and 3, kinda redeeming the franchise my eyes. These characters were just follow in this show. I mean, just how many monster TV series do we see nowadays? None!

With a much more modest budget it really forced them to downscale the CGi overload and try to come up with interesting ideas on a week-to-week basis compared to the direct-to-video sequels.

Tremors: The Series turned out a fairly enjoyable series. Check It Out! A pretty enjoyable experience as long as you get to see the episodes in their original intended order. It was strangely addictive. Too bad it didn't last long...

Despite the low-budget nature (it kinda brought it back to the genre for me), the storylines were really fun, original and memorable, which is more that I can say compared to a few of the actual Tremors films.

I give it:
2 / 3 Gojiras!

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