You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tales from the Far Side

Voices: Kathleen Barr, Lee Tokar, Doug Parker, Dale Wilson.

Voices: Kathleen Barr, Lee Tokar, Doug Parker, Dale Wilson.

Filmed in Vancouver by Intl. Rocketship Prods. for FarWorks Inc. Exec producer, Toni A. Carmichael; producer- Fans of “Far Side” cartoonist Gary Larson’s sadistic side will get a kick out of his first TV special, but it’s not a program for either children or the faint of stomach.

While it’s one thing to see Larson’s rather gruesome sense of humor at work on a newspaper page that shows a single static frame of some macabre gag, it’s a whole new experience to watch the grim jokes slowly play themselves out in vivid color and full motion — wringing probably more laughs for those who relish Larson’s dark side and more shudders for those who cringe at his excesses.

This nominally Halloween-themed special showcases plenty of the clever “Far Side” wit, bringing to life Larson’s trademark bugs, monsters, redneck hunters and zombies as they get eaten, lose body parts, get squashed and otherwise meet their nutty fates.

But the program could have done with a bit more of that wit; surprisingly, some of the gags run out of steam before they lumber on to their punch lines.

Still, there are flashes of brilliance, particularly in a vignette about a couple of wolf companions that, in its twisted way, tugs at the heart strings.

And the only bit with significant dialogue, a demonstration of how alien cowboy-impersonators were ferreted out, delivers a Texas-sized laugh.

A few familiar gags from the “Far Side” comic strip show up here, but to Larson’s credit, he keeps much of the material original. And though his cunning style remains somewhat primitive, Larson’s work is brought to life with top-notch animation.

The visuals are inventively complemented with ominous Bill Frisell music and deft Irving Mulch sound design.

If CBS goes for future “Far Side” spex, the net might push for faster pacing and a more even mix of the lighter and darker shades of the Larson sense of humor.

Either that, or reschedule “Far Side” for a later hour, after nightmare-prone toddlers are safely off to bed.

Tales from the Far Side

Production: CBS, Wed., Oct. 26, 8:30 p.m.

Crew: Editor, Michael van den Bos, Dennis Heaton; director, Marv Newland; creator-writer, Gary Larson; camera, Lynka Belanger, Tom Brydon, Alvin Chong; sound, Irving Mulch; music, Bill Frisell. 30 MIN.

More Film

  • Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King) and Bella (Amber)

    China's Bona Film Boards Brad Pitt's 'Ad Astra,' 'A Dog's Way Home' (EXCLUSIVE)

    China’s Bona Film Group is co-financing Brad Pitt space adventure “Ad Astra,” one of several films in a strong slate of international movies the company plans to release in the Middle Kingdom over the next year. Bona has also acquired Roland Emmerich’s war spectacular “Midway” and is investing in “A Dog’s Way Home,” the sequel [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    Film News Roundup: 'Aquaman' Sets Pre-Sales Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Aquaman” sets a pre-sales record, “Bohemian Rhapsody” hits a milestone, and SAG-AFTRA promotes four executives.  PRE-SALES RECORD “Aquaman” has set a pre-sales record for Atom Tickets, topping “Deadpool 2,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Black Panther.” “Clearly, ‘Aquaman’ has captured the attention of movie fans with its larger-than-life adventure that must [...]

  • 'Liga' Kicks Off At Ventana Sur's

    Ventana Sur: 'La Liga' Kicks Off at Buenos Aires' Animation!

    Spain’s Quirino Awards, Argentina’s Animation! and Mexico’s Pixelatl Festival, three key events in Ibero-American animation, will join forces to create La Liga (The League), as announced Wednesday at an Animation! round table hosted by the Quirino Awards, titled “Iberoamerican Alliance Models.” Speakers included Quirino Awards promoter José Luis Farias, Mexico’s Pixelatl director José Iñesta, Gonzalo [...]

  • The Quake Review

    Film Review: 'The Quake'

    Roar Uthaug’s 2015 “The Wave” revived the pleasures of the 1970s disaster-movie cycle in a form that seemed purer than the never-quite-dead genre’s recent Stateside incarnations — most of which seem to involve Dwayne Johnson in a generic pileup of CGI perils. “The Wave” wasn’t high art, but it was entertainment that delivered some standard [...]

  • The Mule trailer

    Film Review: Clint Eastwood in 'The Mule'

    From Dirty Harry to … dirty grandpa, Clint Eastwood certainly has a type of character that he plays best, and “The Mule” finds him squarely in his comfort zone, appearing as a surly old horticulturalist who, at age 90, has become perhaps the most reliable drug runner for the Sinaloa cartel, evading detection for nearly [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content