Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Meme, Day 18!

Day 18 - A movie that you wish more people would’ve seen
Babe: Pig in the City. For what it's worth, I did try to encourage people to see it.

Day 18 - Favorite title sequence
How do you open a science fiction-action show involving genetic engineering, mysterious government shenanigans, and family drama amongst a family that doesn't know a dead family member is actually alive? With slightly aggressive jazz and narration by (of all people) Charles Durning:

"An ordinary man, an insurance salesman, stumbles to his death on a New York City subway platform -- or does he?

"Unbeknownst to his family, his brain is recovered from the accident scene by a top secret government agency and placed in the body of a genetically-engineered 26-year-old man, who has the strength of Superman, the speed of Michael Jordan, and the grace of Fred Astaire.

"The only catch: under penalty of death, he can never let anyone from his past know that he is alive. And that, my friends, is a problem. For this man is desperately in love with his wife, his daughter, and his past life."

That was the pre-titles sequence (followed by an opening scene and then opening titles of DaVinci-style drawings of men getting sketched out) for the 1999-2000 CBS show Now and Again, which debuted the same season as the similarly titled but of course much different Once and Again (a relationship drama). Glenn Gordon Caron of Moonlighting and Medium created it. The show was offbeat and, shall we say, emotionally eclectic: drama, action, SF-by-way-of-Moonlighting dialogue that somehow worked, and intentionally over-the-top attempts by bad guys to damage New York City. (One villain was The Eggman (Kim Chan). Made eggs that could kill. It was that sort of show.) Insurance salesman Michael Wiseman (John Goodman in a first-episode cameo) had his brain salvaged as his body died and put in the body of an engineered man played Eric Close (later of Without A Trace); the rest of the cast was eclectic, including Independence Day's Margaret Colin as the forced-by-lies-to-move-on Lisa Wiseman, Heather Matarazzo as their daughter, Gerrit Graham of The Phantom of the Paradise as a quiet family friend with drama of his own, and Dennis Freakin' Haysbert -- the future President Palmer himself -- as the doctor supervising Michael Wiseman's training in what turns out to be nefarious and sometimes rather science-fictional government wet-work. (From an IMDb episode description: "Dr. Morris has equipped Michael with a high-tech jumpsuit that lights up and is visible from 50 miles away at an altitude of 30,000 feet. ...Michael questions what he would be doing at 30,000 feet..." Later, the suit causes what's claimed to be an angel sighting. Again, that sort of show.)

Now and Again never caught on with a large audience, though it did get a full 22-episode season; it ended on a cliffhanger that's stayed with me, and I saw it 10 years ago. And something about the opening helped to grab me, so that I saw the wit and the drama of the rest of the show.

There should be more slightly aggressive jazz in science fiction, on television, and just in the world in general.
Tags: memes

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