Monday, December 15, 2008

Okay, it's snowing outside. Well, maybe it's stopped snowing, but it's cold and icy and there's snow all over the place and it's 35 freaking degrees out. I know it's mid December and all, but it's the desert. What's up with this shizzle?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sources: Daisies, Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Canceled - E! Online

Sources: Daisies, Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Canceled - E! Online: "ABC has canceled Pushing Daisies, executive producer Bryan Fuller confirms to me exclusively.
According to our inside sources, Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money have also been canceled. Reps for both shows have declined to comment.
Is the pie-maker dead? Will we ever see him again? Read on for the exclusive inside dish straight from the top...
Bryan Fuller tells me, '[ABC president] Steve McPherson called me, and said 'We gave it the best shot we could.' '"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Production Art from Boorman's 'Oz' - ComicMix news

Production Art from Boorman's 'Oz' - ComicMix news

Love the original Wizard of Oz books, so I'm looking forward to this movie. Hope it actually gets made.

MTV Movies Blog � EXCLUSIVE: Emma Thompson Chooses ‘Nanny McPhee’ Sequel Over Harry Potter

MTV Movies Blog � EXCLUSIVE: Emma Thompson Chooses ‘Nanny McPhee’ Sequel Over Harry Potter: "“The working title is ‘Nanny McPhee and The Big Bang’,” she revealed to us. “It’s not a sequel, actually, it’s a new story.”

The original film had Thompson’s wart-heavy governess employing magic to help a father tame his wild kids. “[The second film] is set one hundred years later; the only thing that is the same is Nanny McPhee,” she explained. “It’s about two families: A family of country children, and a family of town children, [both] during the war. So it’s about evacuees, and the father is away at war. So this time, the lone parent is the mother. That’s what it’s about: The big war, and a war between these two sets of extremely different children.”"

Is Pushing Daisies Really Dead? - E! Online

Is Pushing Daisies Really Dead? - E! Online: "Although yesterday was the final day of production on Daisies' episode 13 (I'm told it was an emotional day on set), ABC insiders tell me that the network is waiting on one crucial determining factor: how Daisies does when it returns this coming Wednesday after being preempted for two weeks (for Dancing With the Stars and the Country Music Awards).
'We do want to see how Daisies does in the postelection viewing environment, which we have not been able to see yet,' one ABC source tells me. 'The next week or two will be critical.'"

So if you've been thinking of checking out Pushing Daisies, it looks like now is the time to do it. There may not be too many more chances.
How excited am I?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Just got this book in the mail today. So excited!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

V is Returning to TV! -

V is Returning to TV! - "V is Returning to TV!
Source: Variety October 10, 2008

ABC is developing a new adaptation of 'V,' the 1980s miniseries about alien lizards visiting Earth, reports Variety.

'V' spawned a second miniseries and TV spin-off — written by 'The 4400' co-creator/executive producer Scott Peters.

Warner Bros. TV, which was behind the original, is once again producing the project, which was sold as a spec script to ABC."

There's a part of me that says that any new V series should be done by series creator Kenneth Johnson.

However, I read Johnson's V: The Second Generation novel, and it wasn't very good. And I loved Scott Peters' 4400 series, and miss it. So, really, if Scott Peters produces a new series of V, I'm pretty much okay with that.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Scale Plastic Model Kits by Airfix

Scale Plastic Model Kits by Airfix: "As times change and the hobby industry evolves, Airfix has started to create some fantastic new box art illustrations using the latest technology!

With these new eye catching pieces of art, we hope to grab the attention of the younger generation, thus making them pick up a kit and start modelling. This new way of creating artwork also ensures that all the subjects have an extremely high standard of both detail and accuracy."

Part of me laments yet another example of hand-crafted art given up in favor of computers. Another part of me is amazed that it took this long for them to switch over.

I used to love building model planes. Haven't done it in years.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

CW's 'Graysons' takes flier on Robin - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety

CW;Graysons; takes flier on Robin - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety: "Holy prequel, Boy Wonder, the CW is prepping a series based on Batman sidekick Robin’s pre-Caped Crusader days.
'Smallville' exec producers Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson, as well as 'Supernatural' exec producer McG, are behind 'The Graysons,' which has landed a put pilot commitment at the netlet."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What Can Save The Sarah Connor Chronicles? | The Underwire from

What Can Save The Sarah Connor Chronicles? | The Underwire from "Sarah Connor has a serious problem. And it's not the relentless army of bots cloaked in human skin determined to kill her and her son.
It's the show ratings, which are steadily dropping with each episode.
Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello delivered a grim outlook last week: 'An SCC insider tells me that if the show's numbers don't start to climb, Fox is unlikely to order any additional episodes beyond the 13 currently in the pipeline.'"

Okay, I really enjoy this show. Plus, an old friend of mine from junior high works on it. So, if you've been thinking of watching but haven't, now's the time to start.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Okay, first things first: did anyone else watch Billie Piper in Shadow in the North on Masterpiece Mystery last night? Damn PBS wussies cut out the love scene between Sally and Fred! And last week, they cut out the epilogue scene from Ruby in the Smoke. Sons of ...


So last week, I had one day off and worked six days in a row, so no posting here for me. Got some catching up to do.

Last Monday saw the season premieres of Big Bang Theory and Heroes. Big Bang Theory was probably my favorite new comedy last season (which is kind of damning it with faint praise, because the only other new comedy I started watching was Samantha Who?). Wisely, they haven't made major changes, so I'm still loving it.

Heroes also seems to be back on track, although between a lackluster second season (though hardly the worst thing on television, as some Internet "critics" seemed to claim) and a nine-month gap between seasons due to the strike, I'm a little over it. Still a TV series I want to watch, but I don't think I'll ever be as in awe of it as I was the first season.

Tuesday saw the sixth season premiere of NCIS, another long-time favorite. Last season's finale shook things up a bit by breaking up the team, but I'm glad that was only a short-term change.

Tried to record the premiere of Knight Rider on Wednesday, but my stupid DVR screwed it up. (Although it's not a problem that has reoccurred, so it was more likely a transmission problem.) Downloaded it for free off iTunes the other week, so I'll see it one way or another.

And I'll get to the rest of the week later.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

SFX: the leading science fiction, fantasy and horror magazine

SFX: the leading science fiction, fantasy and horror magazine: "Douglas Adams’s widow, Jane Belson, has given her blessing for Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer to write a sixth Hitchhiker’s novel, 16 years after Mostly Harmless was published."

Feeling a little bit torn. On the one hand, I absolutely love Douglas Adams' work, especially the Hitchhikers series. His voice is so unique and distinctive, the idea of reading a book about his characters that isn't by him just feels a bit wrong.

On the other hand, I liked the recent movie (written by him and posthumously rewritten by other hands) and the recent adaptations of the last three of his books for radio (also adapted by not-him). And I like Eoin Colfer's work, what I've read of it, although I'm not interested in reading past the third Artemis Fowl book, because I think the series ends just fine at that point.

Aw, who am I trying to kid? Of course I'll read this book.

downthetubes interview: David Flicking, Publisher of The DFC

downthetubes interview: David Flicking, Publisher of The DFC

The DFC is something I look forward to each week, so it was interesting, reading this interview with publisher David Fickling.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not a lot to talk about, except still enjoying Terminator and Fringe on Fox. Watched last night's One Tree Hill, which, being pretty much all about death, wasn't the most pleasant of experiences. Tonight saw the return of Lincoln Heights, a how I really enjoy, but am about three episodes behind (from last season).

Perhaps I will manage a longer post sometime over the next couple of days. In the meantime, please enjoy the new Cinematic Titanic trailer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Giles News

Giles News: "Noted author and longtime Giles County resident Gregory Mcdonald has died at the age of 71."

When I was in high school, I loved Mcdonald's Fletch novels. (The Chevy Chase movie was actualy fairly faithful to the first book.) I had bought a new copy of the first book recently, planning on rereading the series. Think I'll move that up on my to-read list.
Obviously, it's been a while. Once again, I'm going to try to use the new TV season to try to impose some sort of schedule on my blogging.

So here's my thoughts on what's new in the world of television:

Much as I love the work of Steven Bochco (NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, LA Law) I decided to give his new show on TNT, Above the Bar, a pass. Tried it out for about five minutes, and while it looked perfectly well-made, I just felt like I had seen it already. Just not interested in a lawyer show right now. Maybe it brings something new to the table beyond the story of overworked public defenders struggling to keep their clients from being swallowed up by a system that doesn't care. If so, someone let me know and I'll Netflix the DVDs. As should be evident to anyone who even kind of knows me, I watch a lot of television already. Don't need an excuse to add more.

I had thought about checking out the new 90210, but when the day rolled around, I realized I just really wanted to watch it because of my crushes on Shannen Dougherty and Jennie Garth, formed while watching the original version. Not the worst reason for watching, but on the other hand, I would have to sit through another teen drama, and I already watch One Tree Hill. (Which, to its credit, has moved beyond the teen part.) So, at the last minute, I passed, and watched a recording of another old favorite, Tales of the Gold Monkey.

And I did not watch Prison Break. Didn't really enjoy last season, and the news that they're bringing back Sarah after beheading her last season was the last straw for me. Unless they brought her back as a head in a bottle, a la Futurama. But that's not what happened. (I asked a coworker.)

Loved the season premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Lots of great action sequences, as usual. The developments with Cameron will hopefully turn out to be a good idea; I liked her character before, but I think she'll be a lot more interesting now that it's no longer as clear whether she's simply the "good Terminator." And the twist at the end with Shirley Manson's character caught me completely by surprise, and yet made perfect sense.

I'm not quite as enthusiastic about the new HBO vampire series, True Blood. It held my attention all the way through, and I definitely want to see the next episode. And Anna Paquin has quite the young Holly Hunter vibe. (Loving older Holly Hunter in Saving Grace, so not a bad thing.) In some ways, I guess I feel, as with Raising the Bar, that I've kind of seen this stuff before. But while lawyer shows follow a pretty clearly established path, vampire shows are--if nothing else--weirder. So here's hoping.

Speaking of weird, I liked the premiere of the new JJ Abrams show, Fringe, quite a bit. It owes quite a bit to X-Files, obviously, both in tone (been watching early X-Files on DVD recently) and just in the "government agent investigates weird phenomena with hints of some sort of big backstory connecting things" obvious sort of way. Having said that, it doesn't just follow the pair of characters/believer/unbeliever pattern of X-Files, and the larger ensemble cast should make things a little more interesting. Plus the fact that one of the characters is completely mad. And I generally enjoy the shows JJ Abrams produces. (Yes, even Six Degrees and What About Brian. Judge me.)

And that's about it for new American TV. As far as British stuff, I didn't hate Spooks Code 9 as much as the rest of the Internet, but I'm not going to accuse it of being good television. I saw the first episode of Mutual Friends and liked it enough to want to see the next two episodes, but haven't yet. I think I like the cast more than I do the premise. I really liked the first episode of Lost in Austen, about a contemporary London girl who finds herself stuck in the story/world of Pride and Prejudice, while Elizabeth Bennett disappears off to contemporary London.

As far as reading, I am about halfway through Brad Meltzer's latest book, Book of Lies. So far, it's a good, gripping thriller. Also still listening to the audiobook of Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime, although that got sidelined by my desire to listen to the new Torchwood soundtrack over and over again. And I'm about a third of the way through the first collection of IDW"s Complete Little Orphan Annie. As with all chronological reprints of comic strips, the strip is never quite as good at the beginning as it later becomes, but it's not bad, either. I'm enjoying the strips on their own, and as a means to watch the development of Harold Gray as the strip goes on.

James Bond – Quantum of Solace movie

James Bond – Quantum of Solace movie

New trailer!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Alaskans Speak (In A Frightened Whisper): Palin Is “Racist, Sexist, Vindictive, And Mean.” | The LA Progressive

Alaskans Speak (In A Frightened Whisper): Palin Is “Racist, Sexist, Vindictive, And Mean.” | The LA Progressive: "“So Sambo beat the bitch!”
This is how Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin described Barack Obama’s win over Hillary Clinton to political colleagues in a restaurant a few days after Obama locked up the Democratic Party presidential nomination."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cat hired as station chief brings passengers back

Cat hired as station chief brings passengers back: "A money-losing Japanese train company has found the purr-fect pet mascot to draw crowds and bring back business — tabby Tama.

All the 9-year-old female cat does is sit by the entrance of Kishi Station in western Japan, wearing a black uniform cap and posing for photos for the tourists who are now flocking in droves from across the nation."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

SFX: the leading science fiction, fantasy and horror magazine

SFX: the leading science fiction, fantasy and horror magazine: "Great news for the hordes of posters on the SFX forum who were raving about BBC’s Being Human – the show has been commissioned for a further six episodes, the BBC confirmed today.

The original hour-long quirky drama about a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf sharing a flat was broadcast as part of BBC 3's drama pilot season in February, and proved hugely popular with both viewers and critics, and was a download smash on the Beeb’s new iPlayer service (which must say something about good word of mouth)."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Still not really in a big thinky-writey mood right now, so I will have to delay my thoughts on this week's episode of Doctor Who until later. But I did think it was great, and wallpaper of Donna-in-parka now decorates my computer desktop and my phone.

Finished Starcross on Friday, and read A Diet of Treacle by Lawrence Block yesterday. Like most Hard Case Crime books, it only took a couple of hours to read. And I can't think of anything to say about it. It definitely gave a sense of what Greenwich Village must have been like in the early '60s, and as a story, it definitely held my attention. But it didn't seem particularly deep, either, so I can't really say anything deep about it.

Today, I started Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt. After Starcross, I wanted another Steampunk story, and I had this lying around the house. About 100 pages in so far, and I'm liking it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Not really feeling too much like writing right now. Need breakfast. But, really quickly:

Finished the NASCAR romance Tuesday night. Forbidden Attraction, it was called. I continue to be curious about the background mysteries these books are setting up, and I'm enjoying the books okay, so I'll be reading the next one. (Truth & Consequences?)

I am about a hundred pages into Starcross, Philip Reeve's sequel to Larklight. Like the first, this one is a clever parody of Victorian science fiction, this time with a bit of Agatha Christie mixed in. Loved the first one, loving this one.

Now, breakfast.

Monday, April 14, 2008

According to plan, I finished Three Shirt Deal today. I really liked it, but I see it's getting some negative reviews on, including one from Publishers Weekly. If I'm honest, I suppose none of the Shane Scully books have been as good as the first one, but I didn't really have any problems with this one. Maybe I was all caught up in the story of Shane and Alexa trying to reconnect, because I'm just a big softie. Maybe I'm just not very critical, but I know what I like, and I liked this.

I think I'm also predisposed to liking this particular series, because I've also gotten my brother hooked on it. My brother, a cop, doesn't read anything except the Harry Potter books and this series, as far as I know. We don't have a lot of stuff to bond over, so it's nice that we have this.

Speaking of being a big softie (okay, pussy), I think the next book I'm going to read is a NASCAR Harlequin Romance, although it's downstairs right now and I can't remember the title. Go ahead and judge me. The thing is, when I first was introduced to NASCAR by an ex-girlfriend, the Pedophile, I couldn't get into it. Then I found a novel about the early years of NASCAR, first book in a paperback series, I think called White Lightning. (That was the book title; can't remember the series title any more.) I read it in an attempt to put a more human face on the sport, so I could better connect with the girlfriend. Apparently, I would have had better luck if I had instead chosen to f*ck teenage boys, but there you go.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading that series of books, and that led me to start enjoying watching the races. Looking for something similar, all I could find was this Harlequin series, which is an ongoing series focusing on a couple of different racing families. I like series, especially big, multi-character ones. I like NASCAR, although I'm not a fanatic. (Can't spare the energy from my Doctor Who obsession.) So I gave the first one in the series a try, and enjoyed it enough to want to read this second one.

So, you know, go ahead and make the jokes.
So, I still haven't watched Saturday's episode of Spectacular Spider-Man or Friday's episode of Sarah Jane Adventures (although I've seen that multiple times already since it's original UK broadcast). And my stupid recording of Saturday's stupid NASCAR stupid race cut off about 17 laps before the end, so I didn't see who won. (Found out later it was Jimmy Johnson, but it's not the same.)

TV I did see on Sunday, though...

A Room With a View on Masterpiece: Very beautiful, very well-acted. Only, I've never read the story or seen any previous adaptations, so I guess I was expecting a bit more twists and complications. Still, nice scenery, although this is the second British TV program shot in Italy I've seen this week, after Doctor Who, and I can't help thinking that this would have been livened up a bit with the inclusion of lava monsters.

Everybody Hates Chris: Not a whole lot to say. Another hilarious episode of one of my current favorite comedies. Why doesn't this show get more attention?

John Adams on HBO: Again, not a whole lot to say, except as well-done as the previous five installments. A much smaller scale episode after the casts of thousands we've seen in previous weeks, but no less effective for it.

And I'm about halfway through Stephen J. Cannell's Three Shirt Deal, the seventh novel in his Shane Scully series. Like most of the other books in the series, corruption in the LAPD seems to be a major theme once again. As always, Cannell proves himself to be an extremely able, effective storyteller (as you might expect from such a TV veteran).

I have to admit, one of the problems I had with the last book in the series, White Sister, was the seemingly miraculous recovery of Scully's wife, Alexa, after being shot in the head. Not that I wanted her to die, but it just felt too much like a TV series "everything is going to be all right now, just like it was before" type of ending. So while it's painful to read, I appreciate that, in this book, we see the aftereffects of Alexa's injury, and it's clear that it's not quite such a happy ending after all. Hoping to finish this book today or tomorrow.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Comic Book Resources > CBR News: Stranger Than Fiction: Cornell on “Fantastic Four: True Story”

Comic Book Resources > CBR News: Stranger Than Fiction: Cornell on “Fantastic Four: True Story”: "There’s nothing more satisfying that just diving into a good book. This July, the First Family of Marvel Comics will do literally just that in the pages of the four-issue miniseries, “Fantastic Four: True Story,” by writer Paul Cornell (“Wisdom,” “Captain Britain and MI:13”) and artist Horacio Dominguez."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Okay, literally just finished this week's new episode of Doctor Who. New in the UK, that is; coming to SciFi in about three weeks or so.

Last year, the second episode of the season, The Shakespeare Code , was a lavish, lively, historical adventure that quickly became one of my favorite stories. This year, the second episode of the season, The Fires of Pompeii, is a lavish, lively, historical adventure that has almost immediately become one of my favorite stories. Written by the talented James Moran (about whom more later), it manages to shift from comedy to action to tragedy seamlessly, with some fantastic visual sequences and some heartbreaking emotional ones.

Catherine Tate continues to amaze as Donna Noble. In some ways, the relationship between her and the Doctor reminds me of his relationship with Sarah Jane Smith, (her from The Sarah Jane Adventures, who traveled with the Doctor back in the 70s). I said it last week, and I'll say it again: because she's not a lovestruck young woman, they come across more as equals. As she was even back in her debut story, The Runaway Bride, she's someone who can pull the Doctor back from the brink of alien coldness, someone who can revive his humanity.

Once again, I'll try to keep this spoiler-free, but it should come as no surprise that a story called The Fires of Pompeii features the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the destruction of the city. Seeing Donna's heartbreaking attempts to fight history by trying to save just one person, and the plight of marble merchant Caecilius and his family, nearly brought a tear to my eye. I loved the moments when she stood up to the Doctor, forcing the two of them, and the series in general, to directly confront and deal with how set in stone history truly may be, and just how much the Doctor is slave to these fixed points in time. And I loved when she lent her support at a key moment, which I won't describe here, but which made me cheer out loud (much to the surprise of Penelope, who was curled up next to me, also watching).

And then there are the mysterious prophecies, and yet another mention of missing planets... Where is it all leading?

Well, next week, I suppose it's leading to the planet of the Ood, in an episode entitled Planet of the Ood. Can't wait.

James Moran is definitely a name I'll be keeping out for. He was a guest at this past February's Gallifrey convention, where he revealed he's going to be writing an episode of Primeval next series, and is writing an episode of upcoming Spooks spinoff, Spooks: Code 9. Clearly, I also need to watch his debut horror film, Severance

Oh, and I finished the second novel in the Shadow collection. I really enjoyed this pair of stories, billed as author Walter Gibson's favorites. While the editorial material doesn't quite spell out why he favored these tales, they certainly are changes of pace from the bulk of the stories I've read. They're more personal in focus, dealing with small-scale stories of revenge and other personal motivations, instead of the usual series of crimes committed by master supervillains. Definitely recommended for folks who like this sort of thing.

Of course, I'm still not actually finished with the thing, since there's still an article and radio script in the book for me to get through. But I will finish tonight.

In the on-deck circle: Three Shirt Deal by Stephen J. Cannell. I loved watching Cannell's TV series in the 80s, and I really enjoy his books, especially his series about LAPD Detective Shane Scully (of which this is the latest installment). More once I start reading it.
Just some quick thoughts about Thursday's TV:

My Name is Earl: Almost didn't watch it, to be honest. I'm glad I did; it ended up making me laugh. But I think there's only so much humor that can be milked from having your main character in a coma. (Again, Dad's hospitalization may be having an effect on how I'm viewing this storyline.)

30 Rock: I find I have nothing to say about this episode. I like the show, and I liked this episode, but there's nothing that particularly stood out for me.

The Office: Thought it was hilarious, although between seeing Michael and Jan at home this week, and Dwight's home earlier in the season, I'm not sure I want to see anyone else's home lives at this point. They're just too weird, and I'm getting really creeped out.

I did enjoy last night's Battlestar Galactica. Although, with the lightest moment probably being when a bunch of characters were machine-gunned to death, I am glad that the option exists for me to watch Doctor Who the next day, instead of right before Battlestar. Really, with SciFi's Friday lineup being Sarah Jane Adventures, followed by Doctor Who, followed by Battlestar Galactica, it's like having a light, frothy, wonderful dessert, followed by a full, rich, well-balanced meal, followed by some big guy kicking you in the groin over and over again with steel toed boots.

Still reading my Shadow book. Since Walter Gibson wrote two Shadow novels a month, I think it may actually be taking me more time to read them than he took to write them.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

So I finished Den of Thieves Monday afternoon. Totally wrong about what I thought was a setup for the next book. Shows what I know. There are already two more books out in the series, so I've ordered the next one.

Monday night, I started reading the 14th book in the new series of Shadow pulp reprints, collecting The Grove of Doom and The Masked Lady. I've been a fan of the Shadow since I was a kid. Part of the fascination may have been the idea that, once upon a time, decades before I was born, there were whole novels published every other week about this character (I've always loved serial fiction). Years later, DC Comics published a collection of the Denny O'Neil/Mike Kaluta comics that were my first exposure to the character. In his introduction, O'Neil explained that part of the reason for the Shadow's enduring popularity may be because he basically has all the trappings of a sinister villain, but he's a hero. I think that may be part of it, too.

So far, I'm maybe halfway through The Grove of Doom. (Didn't have much time to read last night.) It's interesting, in that it's set on a Long Island estate instead of the usual urban New York setting, and the motivation behind the incredibly weird crimes seems to be a family squabble. The domestic setting is unusual. Additionally, this book ostensibly collects two of author Walter Gibson's favorite Shadow stories, so going in, the expectations are a little higher than usual.

Last night saw the return of NCIS with new episodes. I've said many times before that I enjoy the show because of the characters, and nothing has changed. Nice to see Gretchen Egolff guest-starring as a homicide detective; good to see she's finding work after the cancelation of Journeyman.

In related news, TV Guide's Michael Ausiello reveals that a series regular will be gone by the end of the series. So that's something that will keep me watching (as if I wouldn't otherwise).

Meanwhile, not too sure how I'm feeling about the new season of Hell's Kitchen. On the one hand, I thought that last week's premiere made this season look a bit too gimmicky and game-showy, like they were trying too hard to make it as flashy as other reality shows. This week's attempt by Cory to strategically eliminate her competition backed that up. Ultimately, the show redeemed itself by having chef Gordon Ramsay remind everyone that the prize is an actual job running an actual kitchen in an actual restaurant, and that at the end of the day, regardless of strategy and game-playing, the winner had to prove that they could do the job. So he overrode Cory's choices and got rid of who he saw as the weakest link. So kudos to Gordon Ramsay for keeping it real.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I write an awful lot on this blog about television. Partly, it's because I do watch an awful lot of television, unashamedly. It's also partly because it's easy. I don't like to talk a lot about personal stuff here, because it's private. I also don't have a lot of personal stuff to talk about. But every night, I usually see something new on TV, and that gives me something new to talk about here, when I get around to writing new entries.

Lest my faithful readers (both of you) think I do nothing but watch TV, I have decided to start talking about the books I'm reading as well.

Right now, I'm pretty close to finishing Den of Thieves, the third Cat Royal book by Julia Golding. Sadly unavailable in the US, I ordered the first book in the series, The Diamond of Drury Lane as a result of one of the very rare instances of making a useful recommendation. (Generally, their recommendations seem along the lines of, "You ordered a book with pages and a cover. Here are other books with pages and a cover.") Set in the 18th century, the books tell the adventures of Cat Royal, an orphan growing up at the Royal Theater in London, and her adventures through a cross-section of London society, from the gangs of thieves running the streets to an aristocratic family she befriends. The second book goes further into the complex morality of the time, as she struggles to rescue her escaped slave friend, Pedro Hawkins, from the clutches of his cruel master.

In this third book, faced with the closure of the Royal, Cat finds herself acting as a spy in revolutionary Paris. At the same time, she has entered into a dark bargain with evil Billy Shepherd (which, it seems to me, can't possibly be wrapped up in this book, and may be setting things up for the next volume). The closest thing I can think of to these books are Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart books, although Pullman's books are set in a different time period, and his plots are a bit more melodramatic and fantastical. The Cat Royal stories are gripping adventures that pretty much show her struggles with the problems of her ordinary life, without the addition of mysterious jewels and treasures and secret weapons.

For what it's worth, the first book won the Nestle Book Prize, something it has in common with other favorite books of mine, like Varjak Paw by SF Said, The Fire-Eaters by David Almond, Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve, and some books about some kid named Harry Potter.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Okay, so I just finished watching Partners in Crime, the first episode of the fourth series of Doctor Who. And I loved it.

As I have alluded to in recent posts, things have not been all happiness and light in the Penelopecat household. There have been ups (managed to pull off a huge program at work, a comics convention, that attracted a thousand people, plus I got promoted) but they seem so tiny compared to the downs. Well, one big down, really; my dad passed away a week before Christmas, and it still haunts me, every single day. Sometimes there are things that distract me, but I never forget. But Doctor Who has always been more than a distraction for me, more than just a favorite TV show. In the words of Paul Cornell, it's a lifestyle choice. Whether it's a book or a magazine or a comic or whatever, Doctor Who has always been something I could completely lose myself in. And a new TV episode that I've never seen before? Better than anything else in the world.

And it helps that the show goes from strength to strength. Catherine Tate, returning as Donna from Christmas, 2006's Runaway Bride is phenomenal. I loved Billie Piper as Rose during the first two series. I loved Freema Agyeman as Martha last year. But after one new episode of Donna, I don't particularly miss either one. (Having said that, I'm looking forward to Martha's return. And, of course, Rose.) I know only too well that Donna/Catherine Tate had her detractors; the vehemence of some online comments is what keeps me backed away a bit from online fandom. But me, I loved her in The Runaway Bride, especially at the end, when we see how Donna has grown over the course of her adventure with the Doctor. I swear, anyone complaining that Catherine Tate only played the character as shouty, self-centered, stupid, and soulless must have turned the show off five minutes before the end. Their loss.

This episode builds on the development we've already seen Donna go through, and she is a fully rounded-out character. She's clever, she's inquisitive, and she's oh so funny. And she's not funny because she's playing a stylized character in her own comedy series, but because she's a woman with a sense of humor. She also has some wonderful moments of warmth, particularly in her scenes with her granddad. Partners in Crime is the perfect title for this episode, because that's how the Doctor and Donna come across: as equals. With Rose and Martha, with the various shades of romance in their pairings with the Doctor, plus their relative youth, that sense of equality wasn't quite there.

Once again, I find myself not at all interested in the online reaction, because I can predict the complaints. I'm going to generalize here, but the more comedy in an episode, the more upset the vocal parts of the fan community seem to get. Whatever. I laughed out loud over and over again, but not because the episode was played for laughs at the expense of the story. The humor fit right in, although it must be said that the story wasn't as dark as other episodes. That's the thing, though; this is a show that can go up and down that scale with ease. And that's why, as much as I like Battlestar Galactica and admire the quality of writing and acting and all that, it's too dark and joyless for me to give myself up to it so completely, the way I can with Doctor Who.

So excited for next week. And I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention That Sudden Surprise Toward the End, but I don't want to give anything away. So I will just leave you with this: loved it, loved it, loved it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

NBC Fall Schedule Scoop! - Ausiello Report |

NBC Fall Schedule Scoop! - Ausiello Report | "NBC's schedule for the 2008-09 TV season has been announced, and here's the big news: Friday Night Lights has been renewed (13 eps will air beginning in January following a fall run on DirecTV's The 101),"

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's been a while since I've posted anything, because things have been fairly crazy, and mostly in a suck-ass kind of way. But then something comes along to cheer me up. Something a little bit like this...