Mockingbird Lane Review

<b><i>Mockingbird Lane</i></b> Review

Mockingbird Lane is the controversial remake of The Munsters. After being created as a TV series then slashed down to a Halloween Special, how does this reimagining of the 1960's classic stand? Click Away for the answer this question as well as a comparison to the original.

Ah, The Munsters. Despite its short 2-year run on TV (1964-1966), it has since become a pop culture classic for generations. The show revolved around a family of monsters of the era (Frankenstein, Werewolf, Vampire, etc.) who, despite their ghastly appearances, considered themselves to be a normal family. That of course was the humor of a quite obviously campy show. And much like the Batman series, that coincidentally caused The Munsters to be cancelled, it was accepted by viewers (campiness and all).

And now there is Mockingbird Lane. What can I say about this show? Well when I first heard about it, I thought "Well this could be interesting..." When I say the above teaser poster I thought "Wow... that looks like @#* %!!!" Then some clips from the show came out and I thought "Heh...that actually looks good." Now that I have seen the show I am happy to say while it's not a masterpiece, Mockingbird Lane was a dang good time.

Now, this "Halloween Special" is not for everyone. If you are expecting total horror, total comedy, or you are a die-hard Munsters fan who wanted a direct remake, then you definitely won't like it. I must stress that this was a full on REIMAGINING, and with the exception of the characters and setting, this had little ties to the original Munsters. For many, this is not a good thing, but I think it was the obvious way to go to make this show a success. I mean really, as good as The Munsters was, it just wouldn't appeal to the modern-day audience. This show did a fine job of remaining true to the core values of the original while still taking liberties in making the show darker and more relevant to today's world.

Now let's start out with the story. Warning! There will be some
spoilers ahead. If you don't want to know too much about the story, don't read this paragraph. Mockingbird Lane starts out with a bang, showing off its large budget by flaunting its impressive special effects. The scene consists of a transformed Eddie Munster attacking a group of Boy Scouts. Not only is this scene dark and scary, but it also mixes in a good amount of humor. As a result, the incident is referred to as a "baby bear attack", a running joke in the film and a cover to keep Eddies secret contained (a major focal point of the show). From that point on, we are introduced to Herman Munster (who is suffering from a literally broken heart, Grandpa (a vampire with wicked tricks up his sleeve), Lily (a transforming creature and wife of Herman), and Marilyn (the "normal" cousin much to Grandpa's distaste). The show is filled with many clever jokes and gags, with what seems is limitless boundaries. By the end, the show has made fun of a fat kid, a crippled lady, and puberty. Surprisingly, the horror is ramped up with lots of blood, gore, and death jokes. There is even an introduction to the "family pet".

The show boasts a huge budget that is quite obvious. The special effects are really good and the acting skills are superb, delivering a laugh a minute that made me beg for more by the end.

As you can see 1313 has received an impressive update. The overall set design of the show is fantastic and gives a dark, gothic look. The new mansion is a huge visual pleasure and has been given a spooky back-story.

Jerry O'Connell shines as Herman Munster. He plays a Frankenstein-like character who is built out of the spare parts of other humans. His one fault, his heart which is now on the verge of breaking. O'Connell shows his range as an actor, being a for the most part happy "human" that even when sad is able to deliver his twisted jokes, as well as being a caring and loving father.

Portia de Rossi plays Lily Munster, who I can only assume is a vampire like her father. She alludes to being able to transform but is never shown doing so aside from her introduction. The main problem with her character is her lack of screen time.

Eddie Izzard plays an updated Grandpa Munster. In this version he is an eccentric, nasty vampire-like creature. He is hell-bent on killing anyone with a good heart to replace Herman's. He also wants to teach Eddie how to truly be a monster. I think Izzard played his part fantastically and is probably my favorite character.

Mason Cook plays young Eddie Munster, a werewolf despite the fact that he doesn't know it. Cook holds has own as the back-talking troubled young boy.
You really feel for the kid as he tries his best to be normal despite the fact that he knows he will never be. I really wish this show would become a regular series and flesh out some more for the character.

Charity Wakefield is delightful as Marilyn, the Munsters' cousin with no special "powers". Wakefield places the outcast role perfectly, constantly vying for the approval of Grandpa. She is even left to clean up a "mess" of Grandpa's.

Oh Spot, the flame breathing dragon. Spot lived under the staircase in the original series. Now he is a full on disappearing dragon. The CGI for him is wonderful and I wish I had the picture to prove it. I hope this concept art gives you the overall idea, but I know it comes nothing close to the feeling I had at the end of the episode when he appeared.

Mockingbird Lane was a delightful treat during the Halloween season. Do I think it could hold its own as a weekly series? YES!!! With a great cast, great sets, great story, and great special effects (oh and I can't forget the unique, fun brand of dark humor), it would be great to see a new episode each week. Initial ratings place it at #3 during its time slot, but will that be enough to warrant a series? I hope so!

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Filed Under "Fan Fic" 10/27/2012
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kevberg - 10/28/2012, 6:57 AM
judging this as a standalone show, it was UNREMARKABLE.

Flat, uninsprired...although it tries to be inspired, i have to disagree this is 5 stars.


1) The show opens with a massacre at a boy scout camp. You find out it or its implied that young Eddie wolfed out and did the slaughtering . This is NEVER refuted during the fact its accepted by all the family as nothing out of the norm.
I kept waiting for there to be some evidence that it was a red herring and that there would some evidence that he didnt...but nothing. ( unless they planned that for later episodes--which is moot so we treat this as a stand alone story)

sooo...we're supposed to feel sorry for a kid that slaughtered a troop of boy scouts?


2) Herman......we're treated to Jerry o'connell as .....Jerry of connell with stitches and a broken heart...Not really because f sadness , but broken because of too much love for his son. Y'know the mass murderer hitting puberty.
Y'see this must be understood because it undermines whole " i love my son but i don't know quite how to talk to him plot in the pilot. It's forced its hard to take and insincere because we are too accept he's a murderer.

3) Grampa...while irredeemably evil, Eddie Izzard is very funny and at least has some energy in this. I half expected that it would be revealed that Grampa slaughtered those scouts...but alas ..nothing.

4)Marilyn---what....the ...hell..... the purpose of marilyn was to show that a) As a normal Human, she didn't see her family as monsters and B)they kinda looked at her as an ugly child when clearly she's smokin hot! Im really , really surprised Singer ( as a gay man ) that he didn't use her as a allegory here like the X-men .

Instead we get...her as a sidekick to grampa and most of her time she came off as somewhat deranged or a boiling kettle of crazy.

5) Lilly.....we're told and shown she was SUPPOSED to be hot,...but she kinda was just there with not much to do.

6) spot------The real surprise of the show and probably the most faithful.

Soory, have to disagree, this pilot was just muddled and not much fun
Lawlessone - 10/28/2012, 1:30 PM
OK, I've got to pipe in on this.
I am a very long time lover of the Munsters. So when I first heard about this my first thought was "Oh GOD No!" Then as I heard more and more about it I thought OK that sounds interesting, lets see how it goes.
As a matter of fact I was very excited about it just before it aired.

My thoughts; I have to lean towards kevbergs assessment, although if you remember at the end of the intro it was reveled that none of the scout troop hand actually been killed, they were in the pickup, just scared, and I'm very glad they did that. I think if it had been that Eddie killed his troop that it would have been way over the top.
As for the rest I pretty much agree with kevbergs assessment. I felt it was an OK show, that it could have been named anything else and had absolutely no reference to the Munsters at all. There was really no kindred spirit and perhaps only was connected to the Munster for ratings sake.
The show it's self was mediocre, I think I might have laughed once, perhaps twice, but I really have to think hard what it was that was funny. I didn't hate it, kind of enjoyed it, but really don't care if it makes it on TV as a regular series.
My main gripe, I really didn't like all the gore, as a parent I don't feel comfortable letting my kids watch this for that sole reason. I don't think it added anything to the story and was just there for the shock value.
I did enjoy the actors, I think they were great (big Jerry O' Connell and
Portai de Rossi fan) and it was well written, and they portrayed well. It did not have any of the feel of the original, thus they could have slapped any old name on it.
Summing it all up, I’d grade it a solid C.
Middle of the road not bad, but not great.
The original Munsters was great, and has stood the test of time. It's exceedingly difficult to catch that lighting in a bottle again, I'd advise all those involved with this program to keep trying.
jessepostal - 11/2/2012, 4:40 PM
I loved the John kassir cameo!

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