HULK SMASH! — The Incredible Hulk (TV Series) (1978-82) -vs- Hulk (2003) -vs- The Incredible Hulk (2008) -vs- The Avengers (2012)

September 4, 2012 Ben Silverio

Back in 2008, the jade giant known as the Incredible Hulk wreaked havoc in the Movie Smackdown arena in a battle that pitted that year’s The Incredible Hulk, featuring Edward Norton, against 2003’s The Hulk, starring Eric Bana. Since then, a new Hulk has emerged on the scene, thanks to Joss Whedon’s The Avengers and Mark Ruffalo, so we’re revisiting the battle and kicking it up a notch by throwing Bill Bixby, the first man ever to embody David Bruce Banner on screen, into the mix as well. You might think Bixby has the advantage, since he has Lou Ferrigno in his corner, but don’t count out Bana, Norton and Ruffalo from this fatal four-way just yet.

This fight is so big that we need two Smack refs to officiate over the action. After all, one Hulk destroyed Las Vegas, overthrew an alien planet’s government and became their king, and beat the crap out of his fair share of Earth’s mightiest heroes, so imagine the destruction these four Hulks might cause! […]

Breaking Bad (AMC) -vs- Weeds (Showtime)

March 25, 2012 Arthur Tiersky

When tragedy strikes, what’s a mild-mannered suburban parent to do to support the family but dive headfirst into the illegal drug business? That’s the question posed by two controversial and critically lauded TV series, Showtime’s long-running, half-serious comedy Weeds, and AMC’s hour-long, half-funny drama Breaking Bad, whose legion of fans currently awaits its fifth and presumably final season. […]

Game Change (2012) -vs- Recount (2008)

March 9, 2012 Movie Smackdown

Four years ago, John McCain named Sarah Palin, a self-proclaimed “hockey mom” as his Republican running mate and upended the 2008 election. He was looking for a game-changer to help him compete against the Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Now, the story of that move, and the blow-back from it all is a new HBO film, Game Change, from director Jay Roach who also helmed the HBO film about the tied 2000 election, Recount. […]

The Walking Dead (AMC) vs. Falling Skies (TNT)

March 7, 2012 Bryce Zabel

There’s just something about ragtag teams of extended families trying to get by after an apocalypse. It feels like a particularly American fantasy — that when the chips are down, we’ll all put aside our petty differences, realize what’s truly important and come together to kick some ass, whether it be Nazi or Commie or even alien or zombie. The point is that our melting pot really doesn’t get cooking until the heat is applied and the burner’s on high.

These two series are flagship action pieces for their respective networks — The Walking Dead came first on AMC, followed within a year by Falling Skies on TNT. The former has its second season finale this Sunday and the latter comes back this summer for its sophomore year. Both are in their prime when it comes to the life of any TV series — enough of a run to fix some early mistakes but not so much as to render the week-to-week predictable. […]

Dark Skies vs. Dark Skies

March 1, 2012 Bryce Zabel

Our “Dark Skies” has established itself in the minds of a significant number of science fiction fans as a gripping piece of conspiracy drama set in the world of UFOs and abductions. It anchored NBC’s Saturday night “Thrillogy” concept in the 1996 season premiere and starred Eric Close (“Nashville”) and the late film character actor J.T. Walsh (“Sling Blade”). Its main title design won the Emmy award and its pilot screenplay received a Writers Guild nomination. The Syfy Channel aired the entire series multiple times. Since 2010 there’s been a Facebook page where thousands of fans from many different countries push Sony for a TV revival. […]

Hollywood in Wartime: Remembering the 2001 Emmy® Awards

September 4, 2011 Bryce Zabel

Since the Emmy Awards came into existence in 1949, they had never been postponed or canceled until 2001. In that year it happened twice.

I was elected Chairman/CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in August 2001, almost a month to the day before 9/11. The Emmy broadcast was scheduled for September 16 of that year. Five days from the worst act of terrorism in history to a walk down the red carpet with Hollywood celebs was simply impossible to imagine.

As everyone re-plays the “Where were you?” moment that the horrific events became for all of us, my own memories combine the moral outrage at such a hideous act of mass murder with the POV of show business struggling to cope with this new reality of terrorism. It was a terrible time for the nation, one that I still think about often, and the most challenging professional moment in my career. […]

Lois & Clark: The (Old) New Adventures of Superman

May 3, 2011 Bryce Zabel

I have so many great memories about the Man-of-Steel, it’s hard to know where to start. Like… being a six year old buying a Superman comic from a magazine rack in a drug store… Running home to watch George Reeves in a syndicated re-run of the first TV series… Standing in line for hours to watch Superman: The Movie starring Christopher Reeve.

Nothing compares, though, with working on that first season of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. It ranks as one of the greatest creative satisfactions I’ve had in the series TV business.

I had first worked with Deborah Joy LeVine (she received the WGA “Developed By” credit) on an ABC law series called Equal Justice. A gifted writer, she had written an exceptional pilot that ABC had picked up and, at the same time, ordered a half-dozen back-up scripts. So before film was even being shot, Deborah Joy, her brother Dan and I were throwing “super” ideas around every day in a little trailer on the Warner Brothers lot. […]

Superman -vs- Clark Kent

March 13, 2010 Bryce Zabel

How clueless do you have to be to not realize that Superman and Clark Kent look exactly alike?

That’s the question for the ages — something that has haunted every version of Superman since he debuted as a comic book character in 1938. His was one of the original “secret identities” and the concept involved the Man of Steel being accepted by everyone as an alien visitor (who looks human) known as Superman. Even so, no problem there. Part two got tricky…

When he put on a pair of glasses and a business suit and acted a little differently in order to pass as Clark Kent, however, it seemed that nobody realized they were the same person. As comic book films have gotten more and more realistic, the cognitive dissonance we experience in enjoying the character has grown greater and greater.

Back in 1994, I got a chance to wrestle with that conundrum for a while when I was supervising producer of the first season of ABC’s Lois & Clark. Now it looks like it’s Christopher Nolan’s turn since he’s been tapped as the Chosen One for the latest Superman feature reboot. He’s probably already obsessing on this and many other issues and, maybe, just maybe, he’s going to take the license to fix this one. I think he can — even while keeping the original conceit — and we’ll get to that in a minute… […]

TV’s Last Suppers: Locke, Cylon Six & Tony

January 4, 2010 Bryce Zabel

We just couldn’t pass up this visual Smack on one of TV’s new trends, publicity stills that use the theme of “The Last Supper.” The latest to try this is ABC, promoting its final season of “Lost” but we’ve also seen Sci-Fi (SyFy) try it with the last pass at “Battlestar Galactica” and HBO in its first season (we think) with “The Sopranos.” If you click on the montage below, you can look at it in much fuller resolution. […]

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