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HERC Pisses On Fox's FEARSUM!!

Hey, all. "Moriarty" here. Either before or after you read the attached review, penned with a dollop of poison by our own HERCULES THE STRONG, pop on over to and check the site out for a moment. This is, of course, the newest effort from the creators of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, a show that will be on Fox this fall, and it pains me to see how completely they're trying to recapture the lightning in a bottle, the magic that was the release of BWP. When people went to the Blair Witch site, they were immersed in mythology, and it was all done with such conviction that it helped spur people's imaginations. They wanted to believe. All I can think after touring the Freakylinks site (boy, that name is lame) is how much I'd like to smack the kid who "wrote" it. Sounds like it made Herc even more violent when he sat through the pilot, but I'll let him tell you about it.

“Fearsum” is a big, boring mess.

One can only assume that Fox will give this show its Friday night berth this fall because of “Fearsum’s” connections to last year’s surprise blockbuster “The Blair Witch Project.” The “Fearsum” pilot boasts a script co-written by “Witch” producer Gregg Hale, who also serves as a series executive producer. “Witch” producers Robin Cowie and Michael Monello serve as series “executive consultants,” as do Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, the men credited with writing and directing “Witch.”

Welcome to amateur hour.

If any programmer at the Fox network is expecting “Blair Witch”-like success for “Fearsum,” he or she is a bloody idiot. This hunk of shit makes “American Gothic” look like “Twin Peaks.” If it lasts seven episodes I’ll eat my toga.

This is the first of Hale’s scripts ever to find its way onto celluloid and, even with New Line vet David S. Goyer (“Dark City,” “Blade”) co-writing the teleplay, it still comes off as something a precocious junior high creative writing student might dash off after watching too many “X-Files” reruns.

The pilot is a mish-mash of what failed filmmakers in Georgia might think would appeal to pre-driver’s-license teens: supernatural goings-on, a hero who never strays far from the Internet, a two-fisted babe, a Metallica-esque theme song, and of course, lots of “Witchy” hand-held camera work, both on film and video.

The mammothly uncharismatic Ethan Embry, perhaps best known for his work as the latest Rusty Griswold in “Vegas Vacation,” plays a young man who takes over his dead twin’s supernatural-investigating Web site after bro is found drowned in his own bathtub. When Embry is e-mailed post-mortem Quicktime footage depicting his dead brother walking away from an ATM machine, he teams with his brother’s boxer ex-girlfriend (hey, Buffy and Dark Angel: she knows how to beat up boys!) to figure out what’s going on.

As plots go, I’ve seen worse. What REALLY fails to fly is the utter blandness of the show’s characters. The folks at “Fearsum” may have taken notice of the fact that network supernatural hourlongs are teeming with colorful, laugh-generating dialogue. Here’s what passes for jokes in “Fearsum”:

EMBRY: Alright, you know what you’re supposed to do, right?

BALD, BLACK SIDEKICK: Of course! I’m a gonna go to the back of the barn…

EMBRY: The front.

SIDEKICK: The front of the barn and make sure nobody shows up unexpectedly.


SIDEKICK: And you’re going to slip through the back and do your thang!

EMBRY: Are you sure you can handle this?

SIDEKICK: C’mon! Have I ever let you down? (pause; no response) This week??

That’s the GOOD stuff, folks!

The reason to REALLY hate the self-congratulatory surviving twin is because he thinks he’s a genius for changing the name of his late brother’s Web site from to Oh yes, MUCH better site name! You should be running fucking Ogilvy & Mather, you fucking retard!

I am filled with hate for this crap show – which has already wasted an hour of MY valuable life. God damn Fox’s programming department to hell for making me sit through this turd of a pilot, no matter how thoroughly I enjoyed “The Tick” and “Dark Angel.”

If I ever run into anyone responsible for the airing of this series, I feel I’ve earned the right to hit that person as hard as I can.

In the meantime, I warn you not to defy me!

I am – Hercules!

Readers Talkback
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  • June 20, 2000, 8:35 a.m. CST


    by dougmac

    This already didn't look good, but thank Herc for the heads up. It should make the LOne Gunmen that much better

  • June 20, 2000, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Not surprised

    by JMS Power!!

    Review was not really needed but thanks for verifying it sucks in advance. The hacks and shameless rip off artists at Haxan films aren't really fit to write, produce, or direct anything. And before anyone chirps in to defend Blair witch, remember that it was improved by the actors. There's really nothing creative about that movie besides the idea of it which they ripped off last broadcast. Ok I'll give some credit to Sanchez for the mythology. But that's it. Fearsum will last 3 episodes, that is unless a talented team of people are hired to help out on the show.

  • June 20, 2000, 10:11 a.m. CST

    Did I hear you right, Herc? Did you dis American Gothic?

    by One Angry Dwarf

    It looks like a certain demi-god is gonna have to throw down with a certain vertically-challenged individual. American Gothic was a spooky, well-acted, beautifully shot horror series with a STORY ARC. Gary Cole kicked major dwarf ass ("Who am I?" "You're Lucas Buck." "I know.") and made the villian the coolest character on the show. So you take it back, right here in Talkback, or the Wrath of the Dwarf (tm) is headed straight for your vulnerable spots.

  • June 20, 2000, 10:23 a.m. CST

    On behalf of Junior High Filmmakers...

    by Babba-Booey

    F-Herc! " still comes off as something a precocious junior high creative writing student might dash off after watching too many

  • June 20, 2000, 10:30 a.m. CST


    by Dest

    I too have seen this pilot, and indeed it is a worthless piece of poop. But for the real story..go to the freakylinks site, check out the discussion board. I have to laugh at the idiots who think the site is real and that there is a real person named Derek. O and btw...who gives a flying money's ass who gets to post first. Sheesh

  • June 20, 2000, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Anyone know anything about Spy Kids?

    by Roman Bridger

    I am really looking forward to it but have heard nothing other than the diary of that guys on set thing. Is harry in it? He could play Fat thing #3! Thanks all!

  • June 20, 2000, 12:58 p.m. CST

    They did bring back Erie Indiana

    by PeterMiller

    It's a saturday morning show now.

  • June 20, 2000, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Please Calm Down, It's Only Television!!!!!!!!

    by Lance Rock

  • June 20, 2000, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Blame the suits

    by dammedspot

    As someone who works for one of the original creator/writers of this project, allow me to offer that the original script jammed - as anyone in the know will attest. Rather than stand behind something AS original and exploratory as X-Files, however, Fox made the dynamic decision to fire the creators and rewrite the script as a cheap echo of XF. With, of course, lots of nice orange Gap ad clothes and perky kids fiddlin' with that wacky internet. Damn them all to hell.

  • June 20, 2000, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Someones at the door...

    by school-glue

    hey excuse me sir but American Gothic may have had its share of plot holes but it was a great show....c'mon who can hate a rosemary's baby ripoff

  • June 20, 2000, 1:42 p.m. CST

    Yeah, I have to agree. American Gothic was damn fine TV

    by lostoptimist

    And Gary Cole redeemed himself after those 2(?) years on 'Midnight Caller'--A rip-off of TALK RADIO, if there ever was one.

  • June 20, 2000, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Ethan Embry is cool.

    by freako

    Hey, I liked him in "Can't Hardly Wait", easily the best teen movie in recent memory. Really! Come on, Flmlvr, back me up on this one buddy! I don't want to die alone!

  • June 20, 2000, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Toupee: Glad you mentioned "Nowhere Man"

    by Reverend Dave

    You can find out about more about the show, an episode by episode breakdown, and a petition to bring it back to TV (because what else is Bruce Greenwood doing? a sequel to Double Jeapordy?) at Peace.

  • June 20, 2000, 3:05 p.m. CST

    Oh no, you did NOT just dis American Gothic!

    by mephisto666

    Herc, that is so unjustified. American Gothic was one of the best series I have ever seen. It was freaky and scary and cool all in one. Gary Cole was pure menace, and makes up for The Brady Bunch Movie. I liked the sequel better personally ("Oh no, I'm tripping with the Bradys!") I'm going to regret saying this after my last comment, but Blair Witch was a boring overhyped piece of crap. And I scare easy! Pub trivia: The reporter with his tongue cut out that Selina keeps in the barn is Arnold Vosloo AKA The Mummy.

  • June 20, 2000, 3:21 p.m. CST

    WOOHOO! Mephisto 666 is back! but did she get me the amsterdam p

    by Roman Bridger

    HELLO!!!! Has American Gothic been on Brit TV then? coz I never heard of it before, but it sounds pretty good! The reason u don't like Blair Witch was coz of people like me *Mephisto punches Glen in the fucking face* coz I saw it in America and came over here and said it was really good and it scared the shit outta me coz I scare hard etc. It Did rule, but after repeated viewing and after watching the Commentary track u find out its a bunch of peeps merely shakin' a tent! Oh well!

  • June 20, 2000, 4:51 p.m. CST


    by Lizzybeth

    American Gothic was pretty good, not great, but interesting enough. It could have been really good, if it had gotten more time to evolve, but as I recall it was on ABC which is the kiss of death to a new drama. If you name isn't David E. Kelly or Stephen Bocho, don't take your hour-longs to that net.. anyway, it had some good things about it and I was really disappointed when it was canceled. I don't even need to say that I will be avoiding this Fearsum thing like the horrible itching plague, do I?

  • June 20, 2000, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Oh no Glen, you've outed me! Now I 's got to whoop yo' punk ass!

    by mephisto666

    Dammit Glen, everyone thought I was a guy, and I was cool with that! No porn for you! Anyway, American Gothic was on at around 10pm on Ch4 a couple of years ago. I might even say it was the best series on Ch4, along with Babylon 5 and Twin Peaks. I was completely addicted. Well, since you've lost me my secret identity, AND you recommended Blair Witch to the rest of us, your quasi-punishment is to find a copy of the series and watch it. Later...

  • June 20, 2000, 5:23 p.m. CST


    by Pr_Frink

    I'll admit. The show sounds extremely lame and worthless. But wasting an hour of time in your VALUABLE life?!? No offense, but that's one of the funniest things I've ever heard. ...valuable, tee hee.

  • June 20, 2000, 10:08 p.m. CST

    hercules should get his facts first . . then write

    by Stickpin

    For someone who is suppose to be "in the loop" I found it rather funny that Herc rips on both Gregg Hale and David Goyer when they had very little to do with the pilot. I've read the script they turned in, and Fox rejected, and it was much better than the lame script that finally found it's way to film. Herc even fails to mention that the real power behind the show (and the script) is Tommy Tomerson (sp?) who was given the helm after Fox thought Goyer and Hale's idea too "out there" As initially envisioned the show was to work hand in hand with the web site and bring fan interactivity into a whole new level. The long and short of it? Herc's review seems to be just another case where Blair Witch backlash darkens the view of anything done after it (read Harry's review of that subject Herc if you don't understand the referance) If Herc wants to hate the show because of that then he has that right, but lashing out on people who have nothing to do with the problem is wrong and not doing a simple check of the facts . .why that sounds like something a junior high student would do, now don't it?

  • June 21, 2000, 12:18 a.m. CST

    Fact, anyone that can't appreciate the sheer brilliance that was

    by JackBurton

    Because all too obviously their taste is located squarely in their ass. Now Fearsum may well be a piece of steaming crap, personally I'll make up my own mind, but thats just me, but American Gothic remains one of the finest, and most under appreciated genre offerings ever produced for American TV. I just wish someone would release it on DVD. Nuff said.

  • June 21, 2000, 2:54 a.m. CST




  • June 21, 2000, 6:50 a.m. CST

    American Gothic

    by Toshlines

    It was fantastic. It was on in the UK in 1996/97. One series. Then cancelled as it was 'too dark'. Hmmm. Pity - it could've been ace to see it progress, hey ho. Had Gary Cole and a very good child actor (I forget his name - he was in the opening sequence of the X-Files Movie). Sadly missed, that one. This, Fearless, however, sounds awful.

  • June 21, 2000, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Nowhere Man, yeah!

    by Kent Allard

    I'm surprised anyone remembers this show. It was a great, eerie season-long "Twilight Zone meets The Fugitive" episode. Bruce Greenwood and Meghan Gallagher (later to star on "Millenium") portrayed excellent characters and I miss that show a lot. Too bad it died before the Sci-Fi Channel gained ascendancy. It might have lived a little longer. Much as I would like to see it back (likewise "Forever Knight"), I don't think it has a chance in hell of happening. ***Needless to say, I will NOT be wasting my time on "Fearsum", but will instead be drooling over Jessica Alba on "Dark Angel." (*yum, yum*...)

  • June 21, 2000, 8:46 p.m. CST

    any vague hint of trust in Herc's reviews is gone after...

    by omarthesnake

    the American Gothic/Twin Peaks crack. If ya didn't like AG, fine, you're a moron, whatever, but don't expect me to think your opinion on horror television is anything but shite. Beyond which, I've seen the pilot of Fearsum myself, and it's got problems but it's nowhere near his oh-so-amusing tirade. Nothing worse than a wanna-be TV critic who thinks the best way to establish his "creds" is to bash relentlessly. Fuck, man, if you've been following TV ANY you've seen a LOT worse than this. And another thing, Herc, m' boy, i'm pretty friggin sure Ethan is better known for "Can't Hardly Wait" or "Empire Records" than he is for the Vacation movie nobody saw.