Thursday, May 04, 2006

After watching last night’s episodes of Alias and Lost, it’s clearly not a good time to be a regular character in a TV series created by JJ Abrams. (Imagine if Felicity had killed off that many characters in one night!)
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel: "Prisoner Remake On Tap
BBC News reported that the cult 1960s TV series The Prisoner will be remade into a six-part series for the U.K.'s Sky One network, with former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston linked to the title role originally played by Patrick McGoohan.
So I subscribe to a number of blogs via RSS feed, and I pretty much just skim through them fairly quickly. Reading the entries that people have posted since last night, I feel fairly beat up by the “Original versions of Star Wars movies coming out on DVD” stick. And the amount of passion and fury directed towards George Lucas for releasing these, after saying that he never would, because clearly it’s just another attempt to get more money from Star Wars fans (surprise), even though when the most recent set (the only other time these movies have been put out on DVD, I believe) came out, fans were clamoring for the original versions.

So, okay, here it is, what you were asking for. Shut up.

Although these new/old releases do include the revised versions, so there is that to complain about. But they seem to be costing about the same as most movies, so... Shut up.

And the complaints about buying version after version after version? A gun was held to your head?

Okay, done now.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

BBC - Drama - Robin Hood: "Filming started on Monday 3rd April in Budapest on the highly anticipated new series of Robin Hood for BBC ONE.
Fun, modern and intelligent, Robin Hood 2006 sets out to entertain a whole new generation and stars newcomer Jonas Armstrong in the lead role.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel: "Dark Horse Slates Fafhrd Projects
Mike Richardson, president of Dark Horse Comics, told SCI FI Wire that Dark Horse's book and entertainment divisions recently acquired the book publication and movie rights to multiple award-winning author Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser fantasy stories. 'Basically we will reprint the original [novels and collections], probably at the rate of three per year,' Richardson said in an interview. 'Also, preceding that, we will be republishing [the 1991 Marvel Comics] comic [penciled by Mike Mignola and scripted by Howard Chaykin]. That will appear later this year, the entire series in book form.'
Dark Horse will also be launching a brand-new comic-book series for Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, which will feature graphic adaptations of the original Leiber stories, as well as original material."
United Press International - NewsTrack - D.C. prayer rally to seek lower gas prices: "WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- A U.S. Christian group has grown tired of escalating gasoline prices and is set to stage a national prayer rally to lower the numbers at the pumps.

Various Christian clergy from around the country will convene around a Washington, D.C., gas station Thursday at noon to pray. For those who can't attend, a live Internet site and toll-free prayer line have been established.

In a release, the Pray Live group said many people are 'overlooking the power of prayer when it comes to resolving this energy crisis.'"

Or maybe they're overlooking the power of not driving a big fucking SUV or Hummer?
Had one of those “can’t get to sleep” nights last night, so I just kept watching the various TV shows I had recorded throughout the evening. Sunday has become a big TV night, with Extreme Home Makeover (two hours last night), Desperate Housewives, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Grey’s Anatomy. The shows started at seven; I started watching them at nine. And by quarter of two, I was done.

And that is indeed a lot of TV, by anyone’s standards. Why, it was so much TV, I didn’t have time to watch this week’s Doctor Who for a third time!

And most of it is stuff I want to keep watching. Extreme Home Makeover is a recent addition, but it’s totally the sort of emotionally manipulative, tear-jerking, feel-good nonsense that I love so much. I realize this makes me a complete little girl, but I can’t watch the bits where they tell the bus driver to move the bus without getting choked up. Every single gruddamned time. I don’t even mind the constant product-placement logo shots, because even if the companies are donating their time, manpower, and products in exchange for publicity, something good still comes of it. (See? Little girl.)

Law & Order: Criminal Intent only joined my schedule this year because half the episodes star Chris Noth and Annabella Sciora, but I’ve grown to like the Vincent D’Onofrio episodes as well. I can’t put my finger on why this one and the original show have found their way into my heart, but not SVU, which is reportedly the best of the three. Part of it is, I just don’t need three L&O shows every week. But, if the rumors are true and this is the final season for the original show, I may have room next year...

Grey’s Anatomy continues to be one of the best TV shows currently on the air. And it’s on ABC. How did that happen?

And then there’s Desperate Housewives, which I’m afraid I’m watching out of habit more than anything else. I liked last night’s episode okay, but it’s nowhere near the compelling viewing that it was in its first season. People complain about Lost having strayed from the path, but while everything I loved about the first season of that show is still there, still being expanded upon, Desperate Housewives is looking more and more like it has shot its wad. The first season had a strong focus to hang everything else on. This year, it just feels like they’re trying stuff out without a definite plan, and whenever they get back to an earlier storyline, it’s a surprise that feels like an afterthought, rather than a planned return. Like last night’s plot between Bree’s daughter and the Applewhite kid. We’ve seen them in, what, three scenes together this entire season? And nothing has been done to develop their characters, either separately or together. So how am I supposed to be invested in the future of their relationship, or their manipulations of their families? Please. Hosted By SPEAKEASY.NET : "The first issue of Truth, Justin and the American Way is sold out at the distributor level. Which is a fancy way of saying all the books are out at stores. If your store ran out, they can't order more.With issue #2 on its way, we didn't anyone who might be late to the game or didn't get a copy to be behind on the series. So Aaron, Giuseppe, Image Comics and I are happy to announce that you can now read the entire issue for free online."

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Geez! Could this week’s Doctor Who game be any harder? (Plus, I can’t figure out how to rotate the pieces on level 3, because the instructions don’t seem to work for my iMac. Anyone have any suggestions?)
In New Orleans, Bush Urges Volunteerism: "'If you are interested in helping the victims of Katrina, interested in helping them get back on their feet, come on down here,' Bush said. Williams thanked the president and offered to cook him dinner when her restoration project is complete.Back in Washington, Congress was again undercutting Bush's political restoration effort. As Bush was taking off for his morning flight here, Republicans and Democrats were arguing that the Bush administration's emergency-response agency is a disaster and should be overhauled. They cited the government's slow response to Katrina as evidence that the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be abolished and replaced with a new, more effective organization."
One Small Step From Man, One Giant Leap for Pandas: "BEIJING, April 28 -- Xiang-Xiang, a 4-year-old giant panda weighing in at about 180 pounds, hesitated for a few seconds on the misty slope, as if screwing up his courage, and then lumbered off through a forest of bamboo stalks to a new life in the wild.With his waddle to freedom Friday morning on a Sichuan province mountainside, specialists said, Xiang-Xiang became the first panda born in a laboratory from an artificially inseminated mother, raised in captivity in China and released into nature to fend for himself."
Saw the new episode of Doctor Who last night, and loved it. I suspect even the professional reviews (the ones appearing in the magazines and the like, not fan ones on web sites, which I won't read any more) will be mentioning that the science fiction "plot" is secondary to all the character stuff, much like Father's Day isn't so much about the creatures from beyond time destroying the Earth as it is about Rose and her dad, or Rose isn't so much about the Auton invasion as it is about Rose. And, once again, the clue is in the title: there's a reason Rose is called Rose and not The Third Time the Doctor Fights the Autons, and there's a reason this episode is called School Reunion and not Bat Creatures Invade School.

Because while the ostensible plot of the episode might be the Krillitane’s attempts to solve the Skasis(sp?) Paradigm or whatever, the actual story is about the Sarah meeting the Doctor again, and using that to explore what it means to travel with the Doctor, in a way the series never really has before. And it’s warm and thoughtful and touching without being maudlin, and every bit of it has roots in what has come before. And it's not just about bringing back old characters for the fans, but actually uses Sarah's appearance to tell a story relevant to the current story and character developments of the series.

(Contrast this to what's been happening in superhero comics for the last few years, where it often feels like an old character shows up just so that fifteen middle-aged fans can have experience the thrill of recognition. Yes, Geoff Johns, I'm talking to you, but also to the whole school of writing/marketing that decides to stick Anarky into the story of 52 just because a roomful of hardcore fans at a convention started clapping when they heard his name. Seriously.)

Another reason I won’t be reading fan reactions is that this pretty much knocks on the head the fan belief that what the Doctor feels for his companions is nothing but pure friendship. Which, again, is nothing new depending on how you read the series, but the Doctor has, in the past, been enough of a blank slate that fans could write whatever they wanted on him. Gay fans could see that he wasn’t the typical heterosexual hero a la Captain Kirk or whatever. (He still isn’t, of course, but will that be acknowledged by the fan community? Don’t care.) Dateless fans could take comfort in the fact that the Doctor was also this being that wasn’t interested in sex, and therefore also wasn’t having any, so they had something in common with their hero. I put all this in the same category as the negative fan reaction to Chris Eccleston’s costume: if the Doctor looks like a normal guy, he’s just that much more removed from a certain segment of the audience.

But enough fan-bashing, because part of my love for this episode comes from all the memories of being a ten-year-old fan it awakened within me. When I was a kid, just discovering Doctor Who, K9 seemed like the cutest, coolest thing ever, and Sarah Jane Smith was the companion. And an early childhood crush. So this episode links directly to those memories for me. And I laughed out loud at the first joke, and I cheered out loud when K9 burst in and started shooting, rescuing the Doctor, and I got scared and upset at the climax and I cheered again at the end. And Penelope just stared at me in that way cats do, like I was nuts.

And it’s not a perfect episode. The stuff going on at the school doesn’t actually generate a lot of suspense. Even when it’s explained what they’re doing, the scenes of the kids at the computers are still pretty dull and generic. But I don’t care. Anthony Stewart Head does such a great job, I never once though, “That’s the guy from Buffy.” And I don’t even care about that. Because Sarah and K9 are back. They’re back!

And next week: Sophia Myles and clockwork androids!