"Tremors: The Series" Review
By Shawn McKenzie 04/03/2003
The Tremors movies have always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I even like both direct-to-video sequels (there is supposed to be a third sequel coming out this year, and it is a prequel to the first movie.) There is just something odd about these little monster movies that keeps me coming back. The thought of it becoming a TV series perplexed me, because I couldn’t see how they were going to keep it fresh week after week. I got a chance to view the first two episodes last Friday night on the Sci-Fi Channel, and after the second one, my fears were erased.
If you haven’t seen the movie or any of its sequels, the series pretty much picks up where 2001’s Tremors 3: Back to Perfection left off. The residents of Perfection Valley, Nevada, are living in a symbiotic existence. They get to live a peaceful existence without the big city trappings. The town’s population is 19 people, so there isn’t a lot of civilization. It will stay this way too. Why? By law, the town cannot be developed upon because it is home to an endangered species. Perfection is home to the Graboid, El Blanco, a 30-foot worm creature who hunts prey by sound. Not only are developers not allowed to get rid of El Blanco, but neither can the townsfolk. To save their home from harm, the people of Perfection must co-exist with El Blanco. This means learning to survive with different elements, such as seismic equipment, geo-phones, and other gear. They must put up with this lifestyle in order to live in an area without the urban sprawl. The longest survivor, and biggest authority on El Blanco, is Burt Gummer (Michael Gross), a survivalist and conspiracy theory nut whose eccentricities and theories tend to be right more often than wrong. He has developed all the survival methods and gadgets that the rest of the citizens of Perfection use on a daily basis. Jodi Chang (Lela Lee) runs her late Uncle Walter's general store. She not only sells the town its general goods, but also Graboid-related merchandise and survival equipment. Rosalita Sanchez (Gladise Jimenez) is a hottie Hispanic ex-Vegas showgirl who has taken over her late cousin Miguel’s cattle ranch. She has a dark past that she is not in a big hurry to reveal, but it must include weaponry, because she can hold her own alongside Burt. Nancy Sterngood (Marcia Strassman) is an ex-hippie who is another long-lasting citizen of Perfection. She makes the merchandise that Jodi sells in her store, and she sells more online. W.D. Twitchell (Dean Norris) is an agent of the U.S. Department of the Interior, assigned to monitor the Endangered Species Habitat of Perfection Valley. He hates El Blanco and his job in general, but he works with Burt in order to keep the peace, even though he has the authority to evict everyone from Perfection if he decides that their co-existence with El Blanco is just too dangerous. Melvin Plug (Bobby Jacoby) is a real estate developer who grew up in Perfection as a kid, and now has come back to figure out a way to get rid of El Blanco, Burt, and the rest, so he can develop the area. The newest citizen is Tyler Reed (Victor Browne), a former NASCAR driver. After he crashed his car and lost his sponsorship, he decided to get away from it all and move to the small town of Perfection. He bought Desert Jack's Graboid Tours after seeing its supposed success on CNN (Desert Jack Sawyer was a character in Tremors 3: Back to Perfection.) Burt and Tyler must lead the rest of the town in the daily dance of survival in their “peaceful” town of Perfection Valley.
So...how does this work as a weekly TV series? I wasn’t sure at first, based on the first episode. It essentially introduced the new and returning characters, but the episode itself could have been a random scene from one of the movies. The second episode included El Blanco, but it also had a story about a mysterious water-draining creature that looks like a ghost. It introduced the character of Cletus Poffenberger, played by Christopher Lloyd, who might return in future episodes. Cletus is a former government agent who now lives in secret in Perfection. He helped develop something called Mixmaster, a device that can mix the DNA of different plants and animals. It was created in a secret underground government lab, a place whose existence Burt had been suspecting for years. The secret government plots alone could create enough stories for a few seasons. They could rename this show “Conspiracy Theory: The Series.” Also, the Graboids seem to be constantly evolving (two other species are Shriekers, which can walk above ground and reproduce hermaphroditically, and AssBlasters, which can launch themselves into flight by igniting an explosive mixture of liquids produced in their bodies; both aren’t protected by law and can be killed.) The series could introduce one or two new species a season, and each one must be studied and fought. I doubt this will be a bad guy or creature-of-the-week show, like the first seasons of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Smallville.” My favorite thing about the movies was Gross, so I’m glad he is a major part of this show.
If you liked the cheesy but fun Tremors movies, you will love “Tremors: The Series” as well. There is a possibility I could be wrong about the show’s ability to keep it fresh and avoid making it a weekly dodge of El Blanco, but I have faith. I wasn’t a fan of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, and it turned out to be my favorite show on television, so this series has the advantage of my approval of the original source material. Also, Gross is no wimpy Steven Keaton as Burt…he’s a bada**!
Get the movies in the Tremors saga:
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DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!
Try to catch this show every week...
If a better show is on, tape this one...
If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...
If this show is on, change the channel immediately!