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Published: Aug 15 2014, 01:01:am

Friday, August 15, 2014

     When I consider the eight returning TV series that I plan to watch this fall, I see that almost all of them tell tales of invisible worlds, the places that Hamlet had in mind when he said "there are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy . . ."

    In such places do government agencies and criminal enterprises find common ground, as revealed in the complex backstory of The Blacklist (beginning its second season on Sep. 22). Shift the focus and we find the high-tech connections of the modern surveillance state, explored in Person of Interest (back for a fourth season on Sep. 23).

    Then again, fairy tales do come true. It happens in the different but equally compelling narratives of Once Upon a Time and Grimm (fourth seasons beginning on Sep. 28 and Oct. 4). A talent for treading the lines between Heaven, Hell and Earth with wit as well as shocks is what keeps me watching Supernatual (its 10th season starts Oct. 7).

    The exceptions to my secret worlds rule are the stylized crime-fighter shows Castle (season seven debuts Sep. 29), with its endlessly watchable Canadian co-stars Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, and Elementary (season three, Oct. 30), with its 21st-century take on Sherlock Holmes.

    Somewhat grudgingly, I will also continue my love/hate viewing of Agents of Shield (second season on September 23). Love, because the series creator is Joss Whedon; hate, because it's based on Marvel Comics.
    And, of course, I'll keep on posting to this Reeling Back website. My ten most recent reviews were:

SUPERGIRL — After the success of Christopher Reeve in the first three Superman features, hopes were high for newcomer Helen Slater's arrival in 1985 as "The Girl of Steel." (Posted August 15)

FANTASTIC VOYAGE — Richard Fleischer, who'd directed Walt Disney's 1954 adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, had the helm of this 1966 sci-fi tale in which micronauts navigate the inner space of the human bloodstream. (Posted August 14)

I LOVE A MAN IN UNIFORM — Currently directing episodes of such watchable TV fare as Rookie Blue and Saving Hope, Toronto's David Wellington demonstrated his command of genre filmmaking with this sharp 1993 urban thriller. (Posted August 13)

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS — A major Hollywood presence in both the silent and sound eras, Cecil Blount DeMille directed 77 features during a 42-year career. Most famous for his Biblical epics, this 1956 feature was his farewell exercise in Scriptural excess. (Posted August 12)

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC — Taking his inspiration from Ingmar Bergman's 1955 romantic comedy Smiles of a Summer Night, composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim created a Broadway stage musical delight, one recreated for the screen in 1978. (Posted August 10)

RHAPSODY IN AUGUST — Master director Akira Kurosawa's 1991 meditation on family, forgiveness and the atomic bombing of Nagasaki was not well received in the United States. (Posted August 9)

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES — Before it mutated into a money-spinning franchise, there was actually a satirical point to the "heroes on the half shell," something still visible in this 1990 live-action feature. (Posted August 8)

CHARIOTS OF FIRE — The 60th anniversary of the Roger Bannister/John Landy "Miracle Mile" race in Vancouver brought to mind this 1981 sports movie classic, and my interview with its star, BEN CROSS, on the eve of the 1982 Academy Awards (Posted August 7)

A FISH CALLED WANDA — An inspiration to all senior citizens, the all-but-forgotten British writer-director Charles Crichton managed a spectacular golden-years comeback in 1988 with this Oscar-nominated hit comedy. (Posted August 6)

BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS — Wealth and mainstream fame eluded porno auteur Gerard Damiano during his lifetime, but he never stopped experimenting within his genre, producing this Bergmanesque fantasy in 1981. (Posted August 4)