Dark Skies (2013) vs. Dark Skies (1996)

February 27, 2013 The FilmGuru

Who here has seen that identity thief movie? And by that we don’t mean the one in which Melissa McCarthy schools Jason Bateman on new levels of quasi-comedic rudeness, but the one that actually is an Identity Thief. Yep, we’re talking about Dark Skies — the movie about terrifying alien invaders that appropriated its genre and title from the scary, 1996-97 TV series of the same name.

In Hollywood, as in any business, a name is everything. It’s your brand, it’s who you are. The old Hill Street Blues television series had fun with this idea in a classic episode that featured a comedian named Vic Hitler who couldn’t understand why audiences didn’t buy his act. That kind of unfortunate moniker dooms an entertainer or a project to failure, while a winning name like, say, Snakes on a Plane can go a long way toward getting a film made no matter how weak the script behind it. […]

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. […]

Remembering G.D. Spradlin

July 25, 2011 Bryce Zabel

You probably knew G.D. Spradlin best as Senator Pat Geary from The Godfather, Part II, where he played the corrupt politician blackmailed by by Michael Corleone after he wakes up and finds himself drenched in a dead prostitute’s blood.

I knew him as Elliot P. Grantham, the Idaho farmer who was Patient Zero, the first official victim of the alien Hive’s infestation in the NBC series Dark Skies.

My co-creator Brent Friedman and I knew we’d gotten lucky in casting. Who didn’t cringe a little in The Godfather, Part II when Spradlin’s Senator Geary treats Michael Corleone with contempt early in the film? You knew it wouldn’t go well. We had gotten lucky early on by offering a series lead role to J.T. Walsh to play Frank Bach and he said yes. We tried again with Spradlin, wondering if he would find the part too small or, given the alien angle, too silly. But he said yes, too. We were thrilled. As it turned out, Dark Skies was the last television he ever did and the second to last acting job (he also appeared in the feature film, Dick). […]