View Full Version : Mockingbird Lane

10-29-2012, 11:28 AM
The pilot of Mockingbird Lane was shown on NBC on 26 October (and is now on Hulu, I believe).

This is the slightly controversial reboot of the Munsters, with Bryan Fuller as showrunner. I am a huge fan of Fuller, as he produced cult fave series Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies (as well as co-producing the less successful Wonderfalls).

Has anyone seen this? Apparently the network has been very diffident about the possibility of going to series, even before the broadcast, so I'd like to raise a little bit of awareness before this effort is scrubbed from the history books.

Here's a review:

K. Taylor
10-29-2012, 12:39 PM
I watched it. Cracked me up and the visuals were amazing. Eddie Izzard was of course the performance of note.

Manuel Royal
10-29-2012, 02:39 PM
Hated Pushing Daisies, but I will, somewhat to my shame, take a look at this.

10-29-2012, 03:15 PM
I didn't understand Pushing Daisies. I watched it on Netflix some years after it died because, after seeing The Fall (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUUv20XfDyc), I had a slight crush on Lee Pace. Turns out Pushing Daisies only managed to cure my crush.

OT: I loved the Munsters as a child so I HAD to watch this. I'm still on the fence about it. I didn't hate it and the effects were pretty good in a campy sort of way. I am a huge Portia fan, so I'd watch a series just for her (as Better Off Ted proved).

10-29-2012, 07:05 PM
I loved their take on Herman - the completely side-stepped the landmine of trying to imitate the original. Lily needed more to do. Wasn't thrilled with the winged bat-pig thing Grandpa turned into, (Maybe if it had been grey, like a bat, but not that naked-mole-rat pink. It looked like the effects hadn't been finished on that one.

If the show had been picked up, it would have rested squarely on Grandpa's ability to keep people watching. He may not have been the star, but he was certainly the one that shined. They made a wise choice in keeping Marilyn the only one who retained the original styling. And the sets were stunningly done.

I would have kept watching if it had been a series, but I wouldn't have bought the box set unless they did some clean-up work.

10-30-2012, 05:07 AM
I didn't understand Pushing Daisies. I watched it on Netflix some years after it died because, after seeing The Fall (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUUv20XfDyc), I had a slight crush on Lee Pace. Turns out Pushing Daisies only managed to cure my crush.

I persisted with Pushing Daisies because I loved Dead Like Me (which had a VERY different tone). I initially reacted against the twee-ness, but eventually grew to love the characters and the show's dark, stylised fairy tale quality (especially the narrator).

Interestingly, all Fuller's shows are fantastical dark comedies, with death as a major element, and with an underlying theme of social separation (the alienated teen whose death forces her to finally deal with life, the couple for whom physically touching would mean death, and now the family of monsters who want to fit in).

I'm looking forward to seeing what he does with the Hannibal series.

10-30-2012, 05:18 AM
I liked Pushing Daisies. (meh, opinions vary.) Mockingbird Lane was fun. Man, they spent some serious money on the effects. I don't see how they can keep putting that kind of money into episodes and have it make enough of a profit to stay on the air. Sad to say.

10-30-2012, 07:01 AM
IWasn't thrilled with the winged bat-pig thing Grandpa turned into, (Maybe if it had been grey, like a bat, but not that naked-mole-rat pink. It looked like the effects hadn't been finished on that one.

Haha, I thought it was a pig with wings too. They were probably going for a human-bat, rather than a bat-human.

I thought it was pretty quirky and fun and would love to see a few more episodes. I could see it as a short series, 10 or 12 episodes, little events in each episode and an over-arching story.

Manuel Royal
11-01-2012, 05:02 PM
Well, spank me and call me Sally; Mockingbird Lane was actually pretty good. Got me past my memories of The Munsters, a moronic children's show.

Eddie Izzard can't help stealing scenes.

11-02-2012, 05:07 AM
I just found out (while reading SFX magazine) that Bryan Singer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Singer) directed the Mockingbird Lane pilot! How come I didn't know that before?

Travis J. Smith
11-02-2012, 05:34 AM
Am I the only one on here who found it a pale imitation of The Munsters that had none of the Fuller charm that made Pushing Daisies so wonderful? I'm not going to argue that the original show was high-art, but I grew up watching it on syndication and will always be nostalgic about it for that reason, and Mockingbird Lane was nothing like it outside of some surface similarities. The effects were embarrassingly bad at points (ex. Grandpa's final transformation), Herman's entire storyline in the episode was the height of cheese (he cares too much, guys; if you missed it, don't worry, we'll point it out a half dozen more times before the episode's over), Grandpa and Marilyn had too much of a serial killer vibe to them for my tastes, the young actor who played Eddie felt forced throughout, and Lily was given nothing to do but look pretty. On top of that, what were supposed to be clever nods, that initial silhouette of Herman and the cereal box with Frankenstein's monster on it, just frustrated me because they merely drew attention to how little this was like the show it's supposedly a reboot of. Herman, and the rest of the family, simply look far too normal, I think. My dad came downstairs as I was watching it and said to me "that's not Herman" when he saw Jerry O'Connell in the role. I had to go out of my way to point out the barely noticeable stitching around his neck or else he would've missed it, just like I almost did. Maybe I'm hanging on too much to my love of the original, but I found myself celebrating the fact that it has essentially no chance of getting picked up for series, then fuming over the ratings and reception being so surprisingly good and possibly giving it an outside-shot at making it to series after all.

That all being said, if they were to order more episodes, I'd probably continue watching in the hopes that Fuller would right that sinking ship of his, and out of my love for the original.

11-02-2012, 08:25 AM
a pale imitation =/= was nothing like it

11-02-2012, 08:27 AM
I haven't seen the show just clips, and I don't mind a total reimagining ofsomething. But what I don't get is why is Marilyn dressed like she was when the show aired? Back then she looked normal. That was the point. Now she looks the most freakish of them all. I'm willing to give the show a shot because maybe they are doing something more than just how they look on the surface, but it seems weird to me that they aren't weird. Isn't that part of the fun?

Travis J. Smith
11-02-2012, 06:26 PM
a pale imitation =/= was nothing like it

Really, I don't mean to sound confrontational, but that's what you took out of all that? I quickly got caught up in my overwhelming disappointment, thus moving from "pale imitation" to "nothing like it outside of some surface similarities." My sincerest apologies.

11-02-2012, 07:00 PM


I was just pointing out a contradiction in what you wrote. This is a writers site, after all. Your critique basically amounted to "It's not the Munsters", which I didn't think merited a response.

Travis J. Smith
11-02-2012, 07:42 PM
Your critique basically amounted to "It's not the Munsters", which I didn't think merited a response.I disagree. Like I said, I thought the effects were awful, I couldn't get into any of the characters (minus Lily, just because Fuller doesn't even give you the chance to tire of her) for one reason or another, and the show was beyond cheesy throughout. None of those critiques were informed by my love for the original. I realized early on how little it was going to actually resemble that show and re-shaped my expectations accordingly. It wasn't until the end when they revealed Spot, once again showcasing the expensive yet weak CGI, that I balked and started comparing it unfavorably to the original once again. For the rest of the episode, I was just hoping to see the tiniest bit of promise and I couldn't find any. The humor was lame, the acting (apart from Eddie Izzard) was sub-par, the characters ranged from dull (Herman) to uninterestingly psychotic (Grandpa and Marilyn) to barely there (Lily), and the effects were shockingly weak for what went into them.

And, yes, on top of all that, Fuller might as well have treated it as an original show because of how far it strays from its supposed source material. All that really brought back memories of watching The Munsters was the house itself which I thought looked fantastic. But, like I said, that only played a small part in the crippling disappointment watching Mockingbird Lane brought on for me.

11-03-2012, 02:24 AM
I thought Mockingbird Lane was awful. I can understand revamp numerous aspects of the show, such as costumes and presentation. I feel that if you are doing a remake the essential elements of the characters (behaviors) need to still be there in some form. I didn't get that from the pilot, with the exception of Marilyn. Instead it felt like they arranged the monsters in the same family structure and then reset everything else about them.

11-03-2012, 04:37 PM
I heard about the updated version of The Munsters last year and looked forward to seeing an hour-long drama version of it. Like others here, I grew up watching The Munsters and have always enjoyed it. I watch it on Netflix from time to time. It's not high art, but it's fun.

In the original Munsters, a key part of the show was watching how other "normal" people reacted to the unlikeliness of a group of monsters who live and work like anyone else. The Munster family saw themselves as average people, looking the way they did. It was an extreme contrast and worked very well in black and white. The show was also a satire of the contemporary family comedies of the 1950s and 1960s.

But this updated version was wrong on all levels.

It was a family of monsters, yes. Monsters, who already looked like everyday people. So, aside from Herman's neck scars, which look like an unfortunate suicide attempt, there's nothing visually interesting about any of them.

That leaves character. Herman was so boring that he basically had no character except "I love too much." GAG. As pointed out, Lily did nothing in the episode. She turned into a mist, which could have been interesting, but that was all she really did. Eddie, the reluctant werewolf, had no business being at a scout camp since the family already knew he was a werewolf and it was a full moon that night. Otherwise, this character, too, was undeveloped. Marilyn had that sneaky psychopath look to her eyes, but strangely she was also dressed in 1960s attire and makeup. She, too, had nothing much to do.

That leaves Grandpa, who I wasn't sure was a vampire like the original, he was more of a shapeshifter and mad scientist. Eddie Izzard was the standout actor and the character was more developed than all the rest and had a lot more to do.

The house was fantastic to look at, but its history was peculiar. It belonged to a serial killer and was slated to be torn down. How long had that house stood there, and why did it look the way it did, compared to the rest of the neighborhood, is what I wanted to know.

Other things that happened included meeting a nosy paraplegic neighbor. This was interesting in that I have never seen a paraplegic character in any series outside of Family Guy. Plus the scoutmaster who Grandpa plans to murder and harvest his heart for Herman. I don't mind saying that this was a bit extreme in regards to a story on a TV series. Of course, in the end, the character dies anyway, and we viewers get to watch the grotesqueness of Grandpa feasting on his blood while installing his heart into Herman. Gross Out.

I read that the network created this pilot for $10 million and aired it to recoup its investment, but doesn't plan to create a series unless the ratings are good. Judging from the online reviews, I don't think it'll make it to series. I'm glad I watched it, but I never want to see another one.

11-03-2012, 06:30 PM
I agree about the scoutmaster's demise. As this was meant to be a series originally, I expected that to be a thread throughout the whole season, not set-up for a quick death.

FWIW, it would have worked better had Grandpa been set on his intention to harvest the guy's heart while the rest of the family tried to thwart his attempts and Marilyn maybe fell for the guy.

11-05-2012, 12:19 PM
Eddie, the reluctant werewolf, had no business being at a scout camp since the family already knew he was a werewolf and it was a full moon that night.

just to clear something up, they didn't know he was a werewolf until AFTER the full moon/scout camp out. That's why they moved and the whole point about worrying that Eddie was normal, Lily wishing she had breast fed, the way she parented as opposed to Marilyn's mother/Grandpa's (werewolf) daughter.

I disagree about not giving Lily any characteristics, she maybe wasn't a fully realized character, but there was development there. I thought it was an interesting twist to the social message Fuller/Singer were trying to protray. The Munster clan wants Eddie to be different, not normal. Most parents want their children to be normal. Lily was struggling with Eddie's desire to be "like the normal world" and her desire for him to be a part of their world. She had an entire arc about learning to accept her son according to HIS desires.