Saturday, October 09, 2004

There's a comic book store across the street from my new library, and I stopped in to take a look.  Turns out, despite calling itself a comic book store, it's all action figures and cards and crap, and comics are really just an afterthought.  It's the sort of place where what comics they have are all sealed in bags, with a sign saying not to open them, and we're just talking about stuff that came out within the past few weeks.  And they've got a long box labeled "This week's comics," like actually putting them up where people can see them is too much of a pain in the ass.  Needless to say--though I'll say it anyway--I won't be coming back, and I won't be spending any money there.
And they wonder why comics sales are down.  Maybe they should take a look where and how they're being sold?

Friday, October 08, 2004

I tried to record the premiere of life as we know it (all lower case, like thirtysomething) on ABC last night, but not only did it end up not being broadcast in HD (this happens too often; does ABC just not understand the whole "broadcast in high definition" thing?), but there was no sound.  So, no idea if it was any good or not.
And with the third episode, Lost has become my favorite new series this year.  They quickly answer the question, "Just how can you tell a story about people stranded on an island and keep it interesting and varied week after week."  And it's doing well in the ratings.  Now I'm just hoping for the failure of The Mountain, so WB can run Global Frequency (please, please, please) in that slot, and that'll be a nice Wednesday night block for me.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Okay, honestly intended to post more frequently. Part of the problem is the new job. The commute adds an extra 90-120 minutes to my day, and I'm not comfortable enough with the work flow yet to consider blogging by email from there yet. (On my breaks, of course. Because it would be wrong to do something like that on work time.) The other part of the problem is the new job, and the frustrations detailed previously. I feel stressed out, but I don't want that to spill out too much here. (Mainly because a couple of coworkers know about this blog, and while I doubt they check it regularly, there's a compartmentalization issue.)

So, TV since last we spoke:

The premiere of Desperate Housewives was apparently a hit for ABC, which is nice, because I liked it. (Lost is also doing land-office business, which is cool, because it seemed like a dark horse.) I'll admit, at first, I wasn't sure if I'd be back for the second week of Housewives. It's a tongue-in-cheek soap opera about, well, housewives, and I like that it plays with the conventions of the genre. It's sharply written, well-acted, and has just the right edge. (As opposed to, say, The Mountain, which I sampled and turned off inside of twenty minutes because when it literally had two brothers coming to physical blows over something or other, it didn't have any sort of twinkle in its eye.) But I'm a 35-year old single guy, and about half an hour into it, I was questioning what my entry point into these characters' lives would be. By the end of the show, I had found it: there's a mystery storyline that I want to see unfold. (And the difference here between this and Veronica Mars is that it's better produced, and I like the characters. Although now that I know Veronica Mars is rerun on MTV, I'm going to give that a second look. I hate myself.)

I also watched the first episode of Boston Legal, the David E. Kelley lawyer show that replaces his The Practice on the schedule, spinning off several characters from that series including William Shatner, who I guess made guest-appearances towards the end. It was well-done enough, closer in tone to the more whimsical Ally McBeal than The Practice, but I won't be coming back. It's just so much like you'd expect a David E. Kelley lawyer show to be, it holds no real surprises. And I feel like I've seen that, and I don't feel like seeing it again right now. So, moving on.

Oh, this week's Jack & Bobby almost started to win me over a little bit. It was actually about religion, and caught me off guard with the revelation that before Bobby is elected President, he becomes a Reverend. The contemporary part of the episode was about his confronting his mother with the lack of religion in his life. Of course, the mother--one of the most complex characters ever seen on television, according to Science Fiction Weekly--as a liberal college professor, has the groundbreaking attitude that all organized religion is bad, and anyone who follows it is a brainwashed simpleton. However, before the end of the episode--and this is what makes this a truly groundbreaking series--she is confronted with the reality that individuals turn to religion for a variety of reasons, and take a variety of personal responses away from it. So she relents, and allows Bobby to start exploring religion for himself.

Now, I do give credit to the show for tackling an issue that is often ignored or treated with a one-note dismissal by most TV shows. But I still say that being only slightly better than the competition may win races, but it still makes you only slightly better than average.

Got a couple of magazines yesterday, including the new TV Guide, where they review Life as We Know It, the ABC high school drama whose title I couldn't remember the other day. In their review, they say ABC seems to be modeling itself on the WB. "Not the smart, sophisticated WB of Gilmore Girls and Felicity," they write, "but the smarmy, superficially slick WB of One Tree Hill."

Now, as I'm unashamed of admitting, I watch One Tree Hill and enjoy it. I also enjoy Gilmore Girls and Felicity. And lots of other shows the critics love (Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me, The Wire, to name a few) and bunches the critics don't. And comments like these have got me thinking more seriously about why I watch what I watch. The superficial comment would be to say that people who watch shows considered good by whatever nominating body are smart people, and people who watch shows that smart people thing are stupid are stupid people, but I don't believe it's that simple. And I don't feel like going into it all right now (because I have to leave for work in, like, less than half an hour and have stuff do to before I go), but I still maintain that anyone who clings to the belief in simple objective categories like good and bad has a lot of growing up to do.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Sony Pictures - MirrorMask

Now there's a trailer online for Mirrormask, the new movie by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, and it looks great. (And, unlike other recent movies that also look great, this one has been written by writers, so I have higher hopes for it.)

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Not feeling too articulate today (hey, maybe I could run for President), in sort of a crappy mood. The transition to the new branch isn't going quite as smoothly as I had hoped, and that's leaving me feeling a bit frustrated. I mean, it's only been a week, so it's quite possible that I'll settle in just fine, and once I'm used to the place and the people, and they're used to me, it'll feel a lot more comfortable. And I do like the branch, and the people I'm working with. It's just, through circumstances beyond my control, I feel like I'm not coming across at my best, and that bothers me, because what people are seeing are what will be their initial impressions of me. And it bothers me that now I feel like I need to climb out of a hole that I didn't mean to dig in the first place. Fortunately, I do have three months to decide if I want to stay or not... Once upon a time, the idea of giving up and going back would have been unthinkable. But I talked to a friend, someone whose opinion I respect, and she pointed out that what I need to decide is whether the circumstances that are making me feel off-footed are going to be constant or something I can work with. And if it turns out that I keep finding myself stuck between a rock and a hard place as far as making judgement calls because of things other people do, then maybe I do need to reevaluate whether I want to be there or not, and there's nothing wrong with getting out of a situation under those circumstances.

I don't know; like I say, it's been a week, and it's really too soon to tell anything.

What I can tell you is this: I saw Shaun of the Dead today, and it was great. It's a romantic comedy with zombies from the folks who brought us the brilliant comedy, Spaced, now apparently airing on Trio in the US. I don't get Trio, but I had the UK DVDs of Spaced, so I was already a huge fan. (And now there's a new DVD set, same as the old one, only with a third disk full of special features. Bastards.)

Anyway, Shaun... Take note, defenders of Sky Captain: this is what you get when you make a movie with a story and characters. The comedy is great, because it's actually funny, but the story works because the characters are actual people with personalities and lives that you believe extend beyond the confines of this story. They have thoughts, emotions, and speak the way people not quoting lines from scripts they appear to have just read that morning speak. The situation they are in, as fantastic as it is, is played perfectly straight, and although the thing is a comedy, there's a genuine sense of threat. It's a movie about which people can say, "Yes, it's quite good," not, "Yes, well, all those things are true, but it's got really cool cast-iron giant robots and you can actually see the rivets on them!"

And, because I'm such a loser, here's the list of TV programs I seem to be settling into this season:

The Worst Week of My Life
American Dreams
And I'm having trouble with my browser, so I'm going to plug the links in later, when I can find them.
Jack & Bobby (for now)
The Wire
And tonight, I'm going to sample Desperate Housewives


Tuesday (the big night):
Gilmore Girls
NCIS (I'd stopped watching it last year, but now I seem to be back)
One Tree Hill
Clubhouse (I like the style and characters better than Veronica Mars, but the stories are dumber than Veronica Mars... I may end up watching neither)
Judging Amy
Nip/Tuck (Season finale this week)

Kevin Hill
Rescue Me

(Although there's an ABC teen dramedy starting this Thursday... )

Joan of Arcadia
Enterprise (Fuck you all; I like it better than Next Generation, and Alan Brennert joins the writing staff this year)
Third Watch
Medical Investigation
(And when they come back in January, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis)
Plus I recorded the pilot of a new BBC show about mountain rescues called Rockface that I may end up watching.

Teen Titans
Justice League
Plus, in the morning, Endurance, Strange Days at Blake Holsey High, and The Batman