Episode #190: Go Back to the Way Jem Was

Dorin and Kendyl have a real good time dragging the Jem and the Holograms (2015) movie, talking about how it could have been better and admitting that there were parts they actually liked.

Watch the first five episodes of the TV show along with us in our commentary.

Question(s) of the Week: Would you have rather seen a more straight-forward version of Jem or something that would have been more like the cartoon? What other 80s cartoon would you like to see made into a movie?

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Commentary #7: Jem and the Holograms (1985)

comheader007Jem fans Dorin and Kendyl and newbie Jenn watch the first 5 episodes of this 1985 television show along with you while commenting on the technical aspects of Synergy and the awkwardness of the Jem/Rio relationship.

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Jem is Truly Outrageous – This New Adaptation Might Just Be Truly Truly Truly an Outrage!

I went to see Minions for my birthday, and I got to see the Jem trailer. I have some severe judgements about it, but before I share them, see the trailer yourself:

Now, I grew up with Jem and the Holograms, and for those who don’t know it, here is a quick synopsis:

jem-holograms-movie-comingJerrica Benton and her sister Kimber, have just lost their father and are now “orphaned”—but old enough to be on their own. Jerrica has inherited half of her father’s company, Starlight Records, while the other half has gone to one of her father’s executives, Eric Raymond. He has other ideas for the company, and starts promoting “trash rock” group The Misfits. He also doesn’t want any company profits to go towards, Starlight House, a foster home for girls, which her father set up, and Jerrica and Kimber had grown up with. Starlight House is in need of repairs—and one of their girls, Ba Nee, is in need of surgery for her macular degeneration. Raymond has the idea that he can sweep the company up from under Jerrica and run it all himself, his way. Jerrica doesn’t know what to do until she gets a strange signal and follows it to an abandoned drive-in movie theater. In a hidden passage, she finds a huge machine that her father created with a computer/holographic program called Synergy. Synergy can create holograms so life-like that if it fell into the wrong hands, could be very dangerous, so Jerrica must keep it a secret—so the only ones who know are her, Kimber and their friends Aja and Shana, whom grew up with them at Starlight House. With this new power, Jerrica decides to become Jem—who is a hologram over her to disguise her true identity, and with the help of her sister and friends, they are going to take back the company and save Starlight House, their father’s legacy, and all their girls.

Okay, that wasn’t as quick as I hoped—but I felt that I needed to put it all out there after that trailer, so you can see how OFF it looks. Honestly, I couldn’t stop talking about how appalled and betrayed I felt by the look of this movie for an entire weekend. (After checking YouTube for the trailer, I find that I am not the only one!)

Here is IMDB’s synopsis of the new film:

As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.

This left me with some a lot of confusion. Which was also propagated by the fact that the trailer I saw, originally, was shorter and did not mention her as Jerrica Benton and her father called her Jem. So I asked myself, is Jem her birth name in this new film? Not to mention that there is a character on the IMDB page named “Young Jerrica Benton”—which confused me even more. Still, even though I am glad that they didn’t screw up that far, there is still a lot to be said about this trailer…and not much of it good.

So when this movie was being promoted, pitched and cast—the guys creating it put it out to all the fans of Jem to post videos on YouTube, either auditioning for the film because they wanted new-up-and-coming people, or to just post videos about their love of Jem. So why does it feel like we are all being given a disservice?

Jem-Teaser-PosterFirst of all, they pretty much lied about casting “new and unknown actresses”. None of them are—Stefanie Scott (Kimber) was in A.N.T. Farm among other things, Aubrey Peeples (Jem) was on Nashville among other things, and Hayley Kiyoko (Aja) has been in the business since she was 5 years old, and has most recently been seen on CSI: Cyber. It’s not that I don’t like them, but they are not a newbies. The closest we have to an up-and-comer is Aurora Perrineau (Shana) who has only been in a few things, most notably Chasing Life—but her IMDB says “she is an actress, known for A House Is Not a Home (2015), Air Collision (2012)”, so not the newness I was hoping for.

Then there is the problem that, if they were doing this for the fans, they might be failing. I understand that an adaptation has to pick and choose what it keeps, especially when updating it 30 years. Plus the fact that the original was an outrageous cartoon with sometimes wacky storylines, though they did tackle some tough issues—and with SONG no less! However, in my opinion, they are sacrificing the essence of what is JEM. And I feel that if the trailer showed any shred of respect for the original that it is based on, I wouldn’t be so angry.

She is not some Teen Internet Sensation; she is a loving daughter and sister, she cares deeply about family, and that includes what her father built, and the girls that they took in. Jem is a smart and strong female character with business-sense and immense compassion for others—the fame was just bonus, and was not the point.

I do not appreciate or condone the idea that the Internet is the way to make music and become famous. I understand that it is a part of our culture now, but as the Great Dave Grohl said,

“When I think about kids watching a TV show like American Idol or The Voice, then they think, ‘Oh, OK, that’s how you become a musician, you stand in line for eight f—ing hours with 800 people at a convention center and…then you sing your heart out for someone and then they tell you it’s not f—in’ good enough.’ Can you imagine? It’s destroying the next generation of musicians! Musicians should go to a yard sale and buy and old f—ing drum set and get in their garage and just suck. And get their friends to come in and they’ll suck, too. And then they’ll f—ing start playing and they’ll have the best time they’ve ever had in their lives and then all of a sudden they’ll become Nirvana. Because that’s exactly what happened with Nirvana. Just a bunch of guys that had some s—ty old instruments and they got together and started playing some noisy-a$$ s–t, and they became the biggest band in the world. That can happen again! You don’t need a f—ing computer or the internet or The Voice or American Idol.”

That is how I feel too. Now, that isn’t exactly how it worked for Jem and the Holograms, but there was a higher purpose.

Not to mention that the idea that Jem would ever be tempted to go solo is ridiculous. Yes, there might have been storylines about people going solo—Kimber and Stormer, member of the Misfits, felt that they were unappreciated and go off together for an episode, and Shana almost leaves when her fashion designing takes off—but Jem never goes solo. She is the manager of the band and she knows that she could not do it without her friends—it is never about that.

I am just afraid that they are turning a childhood 80’s classic to some cheesy teen melodrama, with a silly robot that plays sad home videos for Jem to cry over.…


I guess I should try to reserve my judgment until I see the actual film (too late, I know) but the trailer hurt me to my soul and I’m not sure I could actually handle seeing the full film. I do not see this turning out as a good adaptation. I am a Jem Girl and I want everyone to love Jem, especially in her original format. I do not want to see my beloved characters put through what happened to Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Do you agree? Disagree? If you think I should still go see the movie, please convince me.

Jem and the Holograms: Casting News

The search has ended!

It has only been a month since director Jon M. Chu, Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, and Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum announced that they were in the works of creating a Jem and the Holograms live-action adaptation of the 1985 animation. As I previously posted, they were doing a search for talented, new and fresh faces to star in this film via video auditions on Tumblr.

Jon M. Chu has now announced and released a teaser poster of the girls playing the main band, Jem and the Holograms:

*Aubrey Peeples as Jem
*Stefanie Scott as Kimber
*Hayley Kiyoko as Aja
*Aurora Perrineau as Shana




I don’t know about you, but I think the poster looks amazing! I shouldn’t be surprised that Raya has not been included, as she wasn’t added to the group until season 3, but I don’t know what storyline this film will cover yet. So far, no sources have reported on possible screenwriters, studios or release dates. This isn’t completely surprising given the unique path the production team has been traveling so far.

There also hasn’t been any news on further casting, such as Raymond, Rio, The Misfits, or Synergy, or any of the Starlight girls, if in fact they keep the foster home, Starlight House in, or any of the side characters like Video or Danse.

As production gets underway and these things get nailed down, I’m sure we’ll start getting more reveals. When that happens, I will be sure to keep you all informed.

So, are you as excited as I am about this? What do you think of the cast?

Let us know in the comments, or get in touch on Twitter (@AdaptationCast) or Tumblr.

Truly Outrageous 80s News! Jem and He-Man Films in the Works

jem-holograms-movie-comingHave you heard? If you haven’t this is something I personally am very excited about. Director Jon M. Chu, Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, and “Paranormal Activity” Producer Jason Blum are in the works to create a modern adaptation of one of my favorite cartoons as a kid, Jem and The Holograms.

Jem and the gang were the ones who inspired me to believe that not only can girls rock out loud, but they can also do anything they put their minds to. Plus she made me dream of being a rock star.

The original cartoon first aired in 1985 and was written and created by Christy Marx. The story was about Jerrica Benton, her sister Kimber and their friends Aja and Shana. After the death of Jerrica and Kimber’s father, the girls fight with his second in command, the smarmy Raymond, for control of Starlight Records. Raymond has hired the nasty girl band The Misfits lead by the spoiled rotten Pizzazz and her two colleagues Roxy and Stormer to be the new face of Starlight Records. Jerrica worries that Raymond will ruin her fathers hard work, as well as deny her the money that has kept their foster home for girls, Starlight House up and running. But her father left her a gift- Synergy, a hologram computer program that allows Jerrica to become Jem and save the day. In the later season they add Raya on drums for the Holograms and Jetta, a sassy brit, to the Misfits, as well as other competitive bands, lots of friends, allys and enemies, and love interests for all the girls.

The series is hard to find on DVD, unfortunately. It had a release of it in the early 2000s but was quickly bought up, sold out and then discontinued. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the whole series back then, but now you can see clips of the show and music on YouTube. Have a peep at the opening credits below:

The best part about this announcement is that they are auditioning people via Tumblr! They want to get everybody involved and are asking for fan pictures and video as well as people auditioning who can sing, dance and act. All you have to do is post it on their Tumblr with the #JemTheMovie tag. For more details, check out this exclusive they posted on YouTube:

It is pretty amazing to see my childhood favorites come back into style, and Jon M. Chu has been channeling the 80s vibe with his G.I. Joe movies and by the power of Grayskull, it looks like He-Man is back too, as the director was in negotiations to direct a live-action adaptation of Mattel’s classic 80s toy line.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chu is in talks to helm the first He-Man movie since Dolph Lundgren‘s 1987 flop (which had little to do with the actual characters and setting beyond their names) and it’s based on a script entitled Grayskull, written by Alex Litvak and Mike Finch. The project is presently called Masters of the Universe and will ostensibly be bringing back all of our favorite characters from Eternia.

Being a child of the 80s, I would love to see He-Man return to the big screen (I actually quite like Lungrens version as well) and Skeletor is an awesome baddie. The question is, are they going to keep it fun, or will they go the grittier, more realistic route that many films like Man of Steel are taking?

When I first heard this news it seemed the choice of director was an interesting one. Chu is best known for Step Up 2, Step Up 3D and the Justin Bieber documentary Never Say Never. However, he has worked on toy-to-movie adaptations before, most recently being G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation, so he has some experience with kick-ass 80s action figures. Clearly, he knows what he is doing and I’m enjoying the 80s comeback.

Who would you like to see take on the role of He-Man? Perhaps Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth, or maybe Jai Courtney from A Good Day to Die Hard? Someone else?

As for Jem, I hope they do pick an unknown. There are so many great characters in the show and honestly, I would love to be one of them, not going to lie. So check out the Jem the Movie tumblr to join in the fun or even audition. I know I will!

If you could play any part in this, which character do you think you would fit? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to add any other thoughts or questions as well.

Showtime Synergy!