Tag Archives: Veronica Mars

Fall 2014 Review: Play It Again Dick

1 Dec

Play It Again Dick

I’ll expound further on this below, but for those with short attention spans, let me save you some time. If you love Veronica Mars, watch the short attention span-friendly webisode series Play It Again, Dick. It’ll take between and hour and an hour and a half of your day and you’ll be glad you did.

Now here’s some more info for those who haven’t gone over to the CW’s website and started watching yet (yes, that’s the best way to watch, and it’s surprisingly decent enough to use).

Play It Again, Dick is a web series created by Veornica Mars scribe Rob Thomas. In it, Ryan Hansen (Dick from Veronica Mars), playing an exaggerating version of himself, makes an ultra-cheap pilot for a Veronica Mars spinoff starring Dick, in which Dick is a detective solving crimes, which should seem as ridiculous as it is to any Veronica Mars fan well-familiar with Dick’s character. He, following up on the suggestion of a CW executive, attempts to gather together many of his old VM cohorts together to shoot scenes for the pilot. The whole serious is shown as if it were the making-of documentary Ryan is shooting for his pilot; we see the cameramen in several of the episodes.

Everyone plays exaggerated versions of themselves (except for Kristen Bell, who seems surprisngly normal in the context of the show, but as the first guest star to show up she helps ween us into this world). Ryan Hansen is an only slightly toned-down version of Dick, who believes he’s far more competent than he is and that everyone loves the character Dick as much as he does. His unbridled enthusiasm is so infectious that it makes you want his pilot to succeed no matter what an incredibly stupid idea it is. Many other characters get a couple of scenes to shine – Enrico Colantoni (Keith) is willing to help if Ryan puts a strange box with undisclosed contents under Tom Hanks’ bed, Pergy Daggs III (Wallace) is a serious gangster type doing his best Marsellus Wallace impression, and Francis Capra (Weevil) is a capital A actor who feels like his Shakespearean talents were underserved by Thomas in Veronica Mars.

It’s well-executed, with a lot of the charm of Veronica Mars, except skewed far more towards the funny, without any of the drama and action. The actors are all game, willing to mock themselves and each other, and it’s laugh out loud funny, more so towards the later episodes, as you see scenes from the pilot itself, which may be the most hilarious scenes in the show.  I laughed, I smiled, and I was just happy to see all of my favorite actors back on screen together having fun. Something like this could easily have been very awkward and hard to watch, British-comedy style – Ryan is such an idiot, and several of the others are over the top caricatures with utter social obliviousness, but because it’s so ridiculous, it never goes on too long, and we know that everyone is in on it and having a good time and enjoys being part of the Mars universe, it’s never difficult.

Rob Thomas has a Joss Whedon-level pass guaranteeing I will give anything he is prominently involved in more of a chance than I would any old show as the man behind Party Down and Veronica Mars, two of my favorite shows of all time. He doesn’t let down here. This is for the hard core Veronica Mars fans, the Marshmellows, and  I think anyone who loves the show will at the least enjoy Play It Again, Dick.

Will I watch it again? Yes. It’s about an hour and a half total. I’ve already watched all of it. It’s short. It’s funny. It gets you reunited with all of your friends from Veronica Mars. What’s not to like? The answer is nothing. There is nothing not to like.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Enrico Colantoni

21 Dec

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

For one reason or another, Canadians seem to be regulars in this section and Colantoni is another.  Born in Toronto in 1963, his first two roles were in 1987 in single episodes of Canadian series Night Heat and Friday the 13th.  After that, there was a seven year gap before he worked again.  In 1994, he appeared in an episode of Law & Order, an episode of New York Undercover, and two episodes of NYPD Blue.  He then got a break as a main cast member of two season NBC sitcom Hope and Gloria.  Hope and Gloria are two Pittsburgh friends played by Jessica Lundy and Cynthia Stevenson who work as TV talk show producer and a hairdresser respectively.  Alan Thicke and Taylor Negron also co-star.  Colantoni plays Gloria’s ex-husband Louis.

In 1997, he got one of his two biggest roles to date, as photographer Elliot DiMauro on NBC seven season sitcom Just Shoot Me!  DiMauro frequently dates models and finds out that fellow main character Nina was once the driver in a hit and run that ended an engagement of his.  He has a brother played by David Cross.  He dated main character Maya for some time, and the two were briefly engaged.  While Just Shoot Me aired, he appeared in the late ‘90s with TV movies Cloned and The Member of the Wedding and in an episode of Life’s Work.

He began the next decade with episodes of 3rd Rock From the Sun and The Outer Limits and by playing Elia Kazan in TV movie James Dean.  He was in TV movie Expert Witness, the pilot episode of Whoopi and had a voice role in two episodes of Justice League.  He was in episodes of Stargate SG-1, Century City, Monk, and in two of Kim Possible.

In 2004, he got the second of his two biggest roles.  He starred in all three seasons of Veronica Mars, as Keith Mars, protective father, former sheriff and private investigator.  Keith was one of only two characters, along with Veronica, to appear in every episode of the show.  Keith’s suspicions that Lily Kane’s father was responsible for her murder led to him being recalled from his sheriff position and to his daughter be exiled from her circle of friends.  He runs for sheriff twice in the show, early in the second season, when he loses, and at the end of the third season, for which the outcome is never learned.  Keith briefly dated a married client, portrayed by his former Just Shoot Me! co-star Laura San Giacomo.

After Veronica Mars, he appeared in episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Numb3rs, and Brothers & Sisters.  He was in Canadian miniseries ZOS: Zone of Separation, about the enforcement of a UN ceasefire in a southeastern Europe town.  He has appeared for four seasons in Canadian police drama Flashpoint, which airs in the US on Ion, as Sergeant Greg Parker.  He is the leader of the Strategic Response Unit, which is his life, and his specialty is as a crisis negotiator.

He guest starred in Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas’ second series Party Down.  He was in an episode of Bones, and portrayed J. Edgar Hoover in the miniseries The Kennedys with Greg Kinnear and Kaite Holmes.  Most recently, he appeared in two episodes of Person of Interest, and it seems likely he’ll appear in more as killer evil crime boss Elias.  He has many members of the NYPD in his pocket and initially hid, pretending to be a high school teacher in Brooklyn.