Monday, November 29, 2010

The one where I talk about SGU... forever.

I'd like to take you back to a more innocent time... 2003 when the world was young and the Battlestar Galactica Mini-series premiered and everything about it just seemed so... awesome.  It blew everyone away.  Just look at that:

Ah yes, it was a simpler time.  Back when Baltar and Six were actually in the same room and not just haunting one another's war-addled brains.  I LOVED BSG and so did everyone else.  Critics lauded the show and Ron Moore got a SciFi deal to keep on keepin on and we all jumped and down and cheered.  And why not?  There was so much to love.  We had a tough, stoic leader in Adama.  A grit and grime, gin-drinking XO in Colonel Tigh.  A brilliant but sketchy scientist and his sexy secret cylon girlfriend: Baltar and Six.  A savvy, if reluctant president in Roslin. Then we had fucking Kara Thrace. Total badass. Awesome characters like Boomer, Apollo and Galen rounded out the cast nicely.  And then we had the effects... oh god the effects.  Silence in Space! Yeah, well Firefly totally did it first.  And before that... well Cowboy Bebop had it covered.  But still... silent space battles, raptors, big massive carrier ships, zero-G piloting... ughhh. It made us all so happy.

But then came the darkness.  The show reveled in its own grit. Then it wallowed in the grimy realism that it just LOVED portraying... then all of the characters... every single one had a psychotic break and before you know it noone was safe from being thrown out the airlock. 

Ahhh... the days before everyone went to shit.
I don't know... I still have a special place in my heart for BSG but I think it got a little too wrapped up in its own mythology.  It lost the heart it originally had somewhere along the line and became more about how fucked up everyone was than about the resilliancy of humanity in the face of destruction. So when it was over... I didn't watch Caprica.  I didn't even try.  I didn't want another show to break my heart like BSG did and I was extremely reluctant to try Stargate Universe because of this.

But I'm here to tell you that I frakking (now that word is a direct descendant of the awesomeness of BSG) LOVE Stargate Universe.  I only ever watched the original Stargate in spurts... when it was convenient or when Scifi ran a marathon.  There were some great episodes and there were some campy episodes but all in all it had a TON of heart and made a lot of great points... which means that it was well and truly what Science Fiction TV is all about.  But, like I said, I was never a loyal follower.  I only saw a few episodes of SG: Atlantis.  It just didn't hook me.  But leading up to the month of October last year, S. and I kept seeing previews for SGU.

"That looks pretty good," we said. "Let's try it out."

And we did.  Immediately, we were in.  I make fun of the derivative nature of this show quite often.  I've even done it on this blog.  But honestly, I think that this show is infinitely better than the shows that spawned it.  So I'll put it this way:

It's like if Star Trek: Voyager and Battlestar Galactica had a baby.  But when that baby grew up it had learned from all the mistakes its (rightfully brilliant but ultimately flawed) parents made. 

The last two episodes, both leading up to the finale (which will air this Tuesday night) were just amazing.  And it really pushed me over the edge on the BSG vs SGU front. 

First off we have Episode 208: Malice.  Man, there's just nothing better than a pissed off bad-ass scientist and that's exactly what we get in this episode.  As you'll recall, Episode 207 ended with Simeon cornering Amanda (in Ginn's body) in her quarters and looking pretty menacing.  This episode starts off with Dr. Rush finding Ginn/Amanda dead.  Very sad.

Rush gets REALLY pissed off and immediately hurries after Simeon who's gone through the gate with a hostage. 

When Rush gets to the other side, he finds the hostage with a mine strapped to her back and after some British-professorial fumbling, he gets it off of her and throws it into the air so it can explode properly.  The next sequence of shots is FANTASTIC and I wish I had some sweet You-Tube action to plop down here... but I don't.  So, use your imagination to picture the crying hostage, then a quick crane up to show Rush already walking away (total bad-ass style) to find Simeon.

Oh, here, I'd like to break  from the action for just a second to discuss Rush's wardrobe.  Specifically: The Vest. I like to think of this little tweedy number as his Action Vest.  It, unlike the vests of his enlisted friends, serves absolutely NO tactical purpose other than to provide a possible pocket for his busted up glasses. 

But I commend Rush for sticking to his style here.  When things get action-y on the ship he stands up and says "Better get my vest." Well, not really, but I like to imagine that he does.

Anyway, he looks damn good in it and I hope it never gets destroyed in one of the many off-world explosive missions he stomps off to. 

On with the show.  Eventually Rush and Simeon face off.  Simeon is injured but he's still a total tough and nails asshole, powered by Space Douchey-ness.  So when Rush finally corners him he does the whole, "I'm going to walk calmly toward you because I know you can't make the shot with that 9mm you're obviously not trained to use." thing that bad guys sometimes do.  And he's right.  Rush can't make the shot.  But here's the thing about Bad-Ass Scientists... they know they can't.  And friends, they compensate.

Rush pulls out his detonator and Simeon gets that "Oh shit!" face.  But then, when Rush presses the trigger, it only blows up a rock face about 500 yards down the line.  Simeon gets that, "You're such a fuck up." smirk just as we hear a great and terrible rumbling in the direction of the explosion.  In my head, Rush gives Simeon a total "Fuck You." stare... though I may have totally imagined that.  In any event, that rumbling is the result of a shit-ton of SPACE DINOSAURS who stampede Simeon, Lion King Style.  He's all bet up and bloody and totally ready to make amends.  He pleads with Rush to take pity on him, that he has information and will play ball with the higher ups who want that information.  But Rush doesn't care about any of that. Rush just aims at point blank range and takes the shot without hesitation. 

Yeah... BAD ASS. 

Anyway, this episode was full of well-written dialogue.  Beautifully justified character development and interaction.  And gorgeous action scenes that are so well-conceived it makes me ache to watch it all over again. 

The next episode, is different.  It's quieter.  Mysterious.  It's eerie and slow and totally perfect. 

This show can truly do just about anything.  The characters have a ton of depth and every action they make is well-motivated and justified.  The stories are smart and surprising and the show consistently takes old, SciFi tropes and turns them inside out. 

S. and I are blown away by every single episode and it only seems to be getting better. 

I really hope it keeps going in this manner.  I really hope it stays on this path, keeps its heart, doesn't get too self-involved (BSG) or preachy (Voyager) but continues to be a story about remarkably rounded, remarkably human characters fighting to survive, to get home, to love and live and find some happiness in discovering parts of the universe no other humans have seen. 

I can't wait for the season finale. 

Friday, November 26, 2010


I've come home to a FULL DVR.  And when I say "full" I don't just mean the run-of-the-mill 75% we've usually got going on.  I mean we got in the door after two weeks away, dropped our bags in the floor, turned on the TV and heard the DVR whining like it had a little too much to eat over Thanksgiving.  See what I did there? Look at that seasonal humor.

Anyway, S. and I have compiled a prioritized list which may or may not change at our discretion.  Here it is:

Terriors x2
Venture Brothers (Season Finale)
Stargate Universe x2
Fringe x2

That should get us started.  From there, we can move into the Half Hour Realm.  I'll let you know how it goes.

By the way... did you miss me?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Burn Notice, SGU, Blog Leave

TV Watched Tonight:
My Name is Earl x2
How I Met Your Mother x2
Burn Notice x2
Star Trek TOS: Let This Be Your Last Battlefield
Storm Chasers

Man, I love Burn Notice.  I love Michael, Sam and Fiona.  I love Fiona's hip-bag so much I even have my own now.  Yeah! I feel like a total bad ass when I wear it.

If you haven't been watching Burn Notice, that's ok. I forgive you. We didn't start watching it until this summer but man, once we did it was so awesome that we were watching three or four episodes a day. 

Anyway, it's an off season show on USA so it runs in the Summer and Winter and new episodes premier tomorrow night.  So... if you can fit it into your Thursday nights, you should.

We also watched last night's Stargate Universe tonight and it was, as usual, effing brilliant. Rush and Young were stuck on a shutdown, stranded ship and The Destiny had to be piloted back to it by his friend Amanda who came aboard by use of the communication stones.  She inhabited Eli's new ginger girlfriend's body and eventually the rest of the Destiny wised up to the fact that she wasn't working with the rest of them but was instead hanging out in the freaking bridge, DRIVING THE SHIP! So, everyone found out and Young, good and mad, beat the shit out of Rush for a while before he decided to call it quits and make things ok between the two of them. 

The episode ends with Destiny's scientists, Eli at the helm, piloting the ship ala Star Trek... so nice.  We were all elated to see it.  It was really well done. Especially after they'd been holding out on us for so long, no one really driving the ship, no bridge crew, no real sense of organization.  It was just really special to see it all coming together and then... it all went to shit ala BSG style. WTF!?

Basically Simeon, a Lucian douchebag, has a grudge against Ginn (Eli's girlfriend, btw- they totally made it! Go Eli!) and he stops Amanda in Ginn's body and threatens her earlier in the episode.
We get a nice sense of foreboding but assume we won't get anymore Lucian blood grudge rage until the next episode and that's, unfortunately, where we were wrong. Just as we were enjoying the nice scene on the bridge, Simeon strolls right into Amanda's room, still in Ginn's body and the last thing we see is her sad, frightened face as the big alien door slides heavily to a close. 
 Damnit! I can't wait for next week... and speaking of which... I'm actually going to have to wait a couple of weeks.

I'm finishing up a Master of Fine Arts degree in Fiction and every six months I have to attend a week-long intensive residency. While there I go to tons and tons of lectures, do workshops every day, go to readings etc.  It's basically 12 hours per day for a little over a week and it's totally exhausting.  In fact, it's so exhausting that I watch absolutely ZERO tv the whole time.  That's a pretty big deal for me.  And, it's an even bigger deal for this blog... which is all about the TV I watch.  But, it is what it is and I've got some graduating to do next weekend.  So, wish me luck!  I'll write soon.

First Kisses and Colds

TV Watched Nov 9:
Then went to the library and worked for 3 hours...
TV Watched Nov 10:
Glee: "Never Been Kissed"
Raising Hope
Stargate Universe

Tuesday nights are pretty big around here but we usually don't get to enjoy the Tuesday-Awesomeness until Wednesday morning.  Usually we watch Glee while we eat breakfast and that's how we went about it today.  Consequently, I've started salivating for eggs and bacon as soon as I hear Lea Michele's voice.
Mmmm... bacon.

Anyway, this episode revolves around our differences, the bullying we (as weirdos, obviously I feel a certain amount of solidarity with the kids of Glee) put up with, and the courage it takes to overcome it and deal with it. Kurt gets shoved into the locker doors every day by some jock while the other boys of Glee Club start picturing Coach Beiste in strange, compromising positions to help them "cool down" when their girlfriends won't put out. Things escalate when Kurt ventures out to Dalton Academy, a swanky all boys school, whose Glee Club is treated like the second coming of [insert cool band here] (don't blame me, I'm musically challenged)  Kurt's awful treatment finally gets to him and in the comforting, non-judgmental atmosphere of Dalton Academy, he spills his guts about how hard it is to be the only openly gay kid at his school.  In the end, he finds some solidarity and courage to stand up to his bully.  More on that in just a bit.
Beiste (uggh, I felt so bad for this character the whole episode...) finally finds out about the fact that all the boys are using a mental image of her to provide an instant de-boner and she is (rightfully) mortified. When Mr. Shue finds out about this, he helpfully gives her a pep-talk, during which Beiste confesses that she's never been kissed. Mr. Shue kindly reaches forward and provides her with a sweet, friendly kiss.

OK, so here's how I feel about this episode.  Mostly, I really liked it.  In spite of the A-plot using a similar device as the season 2 episode of BTVS: Phases.  Please enjoy the following screencaps which I mostly TOTALLY got myself. Because when I made my new blog header, I learned how to use the Grab application on my mac.
Homophobic Douche Face

Homophobic Douche Face circa 1998

 Anyway, the quintessential homophobic douche hasn't changed much since 1998.  I mean really...

Despite the fact that this device was similar, the story wasn't really.  Xander and Oz are bullied by Larry (some douches have names) but they're not gay and don't put up with the same kind of intensive bullying that Kurt has to deal with on a regular basis. The circumstances are totally different and I applaud Glee and especially Chris Colfer's acting in this episode who is justifiably upset by his first kiss being the product of self-hate, rather than love.

As I'd mentioned before, Beiste is also upset about her first kiss or, more accurately her lack of one. Shue kindly donates one but... this is sort of what I don't like about it. It is a sweet, friendly kiss and it doesn't exactly feel like a pity kiss... but it still wears on me a little bit... as if Shue himself doesn't really believe that Beiste could get a date and kisses her as a sort of weird consolation prize.  I think they should've backed off on that one.  It didn't really work for me. I wanted it to... but it just didn't.


Raising Hope was typically fabulous. Hope gets a cold and Jimmy has to deal with the fact that the family has no insurance and he can't get her into the doctor.  It's pretty awesome. Especially when Mom and Dad crack up at even the mention of insurance:
Burt: Oh yeah, the insurance, let me have the butler get it out of the hot air balloon!
 Good Stuff.

I'm still watching TV.  Still Writing. Still getting ready for (a previously unannounced) trip which will prevent me from blogging for over a week. I'll catch up with you later.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Guts" and Moriarty.

TV Watched Nov 7:
Star Wars Clone Wars: Evil Plans
The Avengers on Disney: 2 episodes
BIO: Captains of the Final Frontier
Clash of the Gods: Medusa, Hercules, Hades
HBO Young Comedians circa 1981
The Walking Dead #2
Sherlock Holmes: The Great Game
The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror
Eastbound & Down: Chapter 13

Wow, we got A LOT of TV in on Sunday.  It was so much that by the end of it, I was too wiped out to write a blog post, so here I am on Monday morning, fresh as a daisy... writing this blog.

I guess the two biggest events on last night's list were The Walking Dead #2 and the last of three installments of Sherlock. Both were excellent.

Let's start with Walking Dead.  This episode was entitled "Guts" for good reason.  Basically, with the help of Glenn (played by Steven Yeun) Rick gets his ass out of the tank and winds up with a bunch of stranded survivors who are revealed to be a part of the "camping group."  They apparently went to Atlanta looking for supplies but only found a bunch of dead assholes. Awww. Anyway, Glenn is ADORABLE and comes very close, multiple times, to completely stealing the show.  The group is pretty much what you'd expect from a bunch of regular people stranded in a Zombie Movie/TV Show.  They're typically diverse and all battling their own inner demons and what have you while trying to get along and work together and not get eaten alive.  They've holed themselves up in a department store but the zombies are getting wise to their whereabouts and soon they're breaking down the doors to get in. 
Black Friday vs The Recession

Anyway, come to find out a racist, redneck jackass is all pissed off and he starts mouthing off, spouting out derogatory phrases specifically geared to rile up the audience and before you know it, our friendly neighborhood sheriff's deputy has him handcuffed to a rusty pipe.  Things progress and eventually they come up with a plan.  

The plan is to smear zombie guts all over yourself and pretend (ala Shawn of the Dead) to be a zombie. It's workin pretty good. And then... wouldn't you know. It just has to fucking rain.  That's when we go to this: 

Since it's a conveniently placed summer shower, the rain only lasts until the Glenn and Rick make it to safety and commence the second part of the plan: "Get the fuck out of Atlanta."

Oh, and also, Rick's wife (who he's DESPERATELY trying to find) is having rough, forest sex with his ex-partner. <sigh>

Ok, I have it on good authority that a lot of people think this episode didn't live up to the awesomeness of the first one but I tend to disagree.  I found the first episode to be pretty run-of-the-mill as far as Zombi-fied things go and I thought this one went a little deeper into how the world works, who is left to inhabit it, and how they survive.  So, I think it may just be a matter of what you, as an individual, are looking for in your zombies.  However, I also thought the tension was WAY better in this episode.  It had a lot more "out of the frying pan, into the fire" type of action that makes this kind of horrific suspense stuff work. 
The only misstep I really got from it was the grenade.  AV CLUB brilliantly paraphrases Chekov's famous quote saying, "If you show me a grenade in the first act, it better explode by the third." I couldn't agree more.  In the first scene, Rick gets hold of a grenade and we even get this nice, close up shot of the little hand-held explosive... so we're all keyed up about it the WHOLE EPISODE.  And then... we never see it again.  I assume it'll come back later but the show really subverted my expectations and... not really in a good way.  
Before last night's episode, S. and I decided that "Guts" would be the deciding factor in whether or not The Walking Dead would be set to record on our DVR.  Now... space on our DVR is like real estate in Hawaii.  So, we don't take actions like, "record all new episodes" lightly. Nevertheless, we've passed judgment and decided that  Yes, we will keep going with this show. 
Good job, Zombies!



Last night was also the final installment of Sherlock.  Which was just... wow.  I mean. Wow.  I can't even tell you how glad I am that men like Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat walk this earth. 

Sherlock was shown in three, two-hour installments. They begin with Holmes meeting Watson and finish up with a final showdown between the two of them and Moriarty. Just typing that gave me cold chills.  The way they've written these characters is astounding.  Moffat and Gattis have kept so much of the original feel of Watson and Holmes, their friendship is beautifully rendered and the characters have heaping loads of depth.  

Stylistically, the show is quite brilliant as well.  I think I read somewhere that it was the director, Paul McGuigan, who came up with the idea of floating text messages onto the screen rather than constantly showing fingers typing out the words. It's really stylish, dark and very British without being overly stylistic.  It's fast paced and the action is driven by Holmes and Watson and their rush to uncover the clues that will lead them to the next and the next steps. 

In the final installment, Holmes is sent on a puzzle quest. His genius is deliberately and cruelly tested as he receives a number of phone calls from victims, who are strapped up with C-4, forced to read words off a phone screen.  They can't relay their position or disclose the nature of the man who set it all up or they'll get a quick sniper shot to the head. I've never seen this done and it's put to rather wonderful use in Sherlock. It's very tense and made more so by the fact that Holmes is more invested in solving the puzzle than saving the victim.  This intense, hardcore focus is one of the things that makes Sherlock so fascinating and it's played to wonderful effect by Cumberbatch.  Throughout the three episode series, Moffat and Gatiss continuously go back to the fact that Sherlock is out of touch and not empathetic; he's an alien among the rest of humanity and this theme really works.

The episode ends with a big, crazy cliffhanger and immediately after it was over, I googled it to see if there'd be more.  Indeed, it looks like Sherlock will return for another three episode series in the fall of next year. Hooray!

If you missed out on Sherlock or if you want more information you can visit PBS to watch the full episodes (for a limited time) and lots of behind the scenes stuff.  I'll be over there... doing that... until next autumn.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tea: Earl Grey, Hot

So, if you haven't caught on yet... I LOVE STAR TREK. And because of this, I will probably write more posts about Star Trek than anything else even though there aren't any new episodes right now.

Today, S. and I were totally jumping up and down when we randomly ran across a new Biography Channel special: "The Captains of the Final Frontier."

The bio covers the history of Trek captains from Roddenberry's "Wagon Train To The Stars" pitch all the way up to Chris Pine's revival of Kirk in the 2009 movie.  It's two hours long and holy-Kirk-on-an-Orion-slave-girl, it was awesome. 

Some of the high points/things I didn't already know: 
-After the pilot, when Captain Pike was replaced, Roddenberry submitted a list of SIXTY names to the network before he settled on James T. Kirk.
-Jacques Cousteau was the inspiration for Picard's character on Next Gen. 
-The inspiration for DS9 was the 1958-1963 show "The Rifleman."
-Alexander Siddig was originally considered for Commander Sisko but was cast instead as  Dr. Bashir.
-The Oklahoma City Bombing was the inspiration for the Eddington storyline in DS9.
-If "Enterprise" had been allowed to continue, the next season arc would've been all about the Romulan War

The show finished up by issuing superlatives to each captain: 
Kirk: Most Dashing
Picard: Most Diplomatic
Sisko: Most Direct
Janeway: Most Determined
Archer: Most Driven
Kirk 2.0: Most Daring 

As each guest on the show, all writers or actors involved with Trek, wrapped up their sentimental feelings about their experiences with Star Trek, my shitty Time Warner DVR crapped out and I started throwing things at the TV.  Oh well. 
Overall this little special didn't tell me much I didn't already know but it was pretty nice to just sit around and reminisce about Trek.  It actually made a big point to cover that awful abyss between the end of Enterprise and the beginning of JJ's reboot and my husband and I both stopped the show to briefly discuss how absolutely horrible that time was.  The dark time.  The time when there was no Trek and no hope for Trek. And then we recounted the Sunday morning that we were sitting in the theatre and saw the very first teaser for Star Trek, where Enterprise is in dry dock, being welded together and JFK's timeless "The eye of the world... is looking to space." rises up along with the Apollo mission comm signals.  Then, as the camera pans up, Spock starts "Space, the final frontier..." Holy shit. I remember sitting in that theater and just crying, being so happy that Trek was back that tears just streamed down my face. 

Anyway, I'm glad we caught this little special.  It was fun.  

Last night we happened upon the BBC re-airing of Next Gen's, "The Perfect Mate."  This episode features Famke Janssen as an alien who looks very much like a Trill but isn't. She's a female metamorph who senses the desires of potential mates and transforms herself into their ideal lover.  

She can do this over and over until she hits a certain age at which point she's got to bond for life with one individual.  Female metamorphs only come around once every seven generations so they're usually used by their societies to achieve some kind of diplomatic peace or what-have-you.  For Kamala (Janssen) it's going to be a life-long hookup with this guy: 

Space Twerp

At the beginning of the episode, she's been prematurely awoken from stasis and she's all hot and bothered, her pon-far-ish metamorph feelings all super heightened.  First she's like, "Hey Tubby Riker!" And he's like, "Hellz Yeah!" 

But no. Tubby Riker doesn't get any this time.  Because Kamala gets stuck in her room thanks to her prudish guardian and when Picard catches wind of this he's like, "Wahh? No way, equal rights! I'm gonna go straighten this out." And he gets there and totally resists all of Famke's super-sexy six-foot-tall charm.  And then she's like, "Who's this guy?" 

Anyway, they end up spending an ass-load of time together and she explains why (as if we didn't all know) that being a metamorph is sort of a raw deal.  Changing yourself every time you meet someone new is kind of shitty and she LOVES being around Picard because not only is he the sexiest of all Captains, but he's also the most dignified and integrity just sort of oozes out of his pores.  Finally,  she's like, "Hey, I could get used to this Earl Grey and Shakespeare." 

But Picard has SO MUCH integrity that he continuously turns down Kamala's advances and that only makes her more in love with who this guy is. 

In the end, Picard actually gives Kamala away as a bride to the Space Twerp and she goes away to live as his queen but first she reveals a little something to Picard: 

Kamala: I will never truly love him.
Picard: You've not even met him.
Kamala: It no longer matters. I wish I could convey to you what it's like to be a metamorph; to feel the inner strength of someone; to realize that being with him is opening your mind and heart to endless new possibilities; to hear yourself say "I like myself when I'm with him"
Picard: Kamala...
Kamala: For a metamorph, there's no greater pleasure, and no greater wish, than to bond with that kind of mate at the end of the finis'raal as I have bonded with you.
Picard: With me?
Kamala: Who I am today, I will be forever.

Then Picard soaks it all in: 

God, he's awesome.

I remember watching this when I was a kid and again sometimes later.  As soon as it came on, I remembered which one it was and exactly how it ended.  This one had a pretty big impact on me.  The theme here is a strong one and it's stuck with me all these years.  The episode is pretty minimal.  We see almost nothing of the other bridge crew.  Troi isn't even in the episode at all and most of the other characters make only a brief appearance.  It all rests on Picard and his strength of character.  And that's exactly what sells it.  Picard's integrity, his sense of duty, and his love for his ship and the people he commands is stalwart. Being around Picard, feeling what he feels and looking at life the way he does, Kamala finds an inner-strength she hadn't had before.  She could be like anyone or morph to love her twerpy forever-husband, but because she loves who she is when she's with Picard.  She chooses to bond with him.
That's some good shit. This episode does that thing that Trek does so well where it's SO GOOFY and far-fetched and you're sitting there chuckling at Worf and Kamala exchanging sexy growls and then all the sudden your heart breaks for Kamala and Picard.  
It's a good one.  If you catch it on, you should give it a shot.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Look, Same Old Shit

Alright, so last week, I started a new blog but was promptly thwarted by my inability to spell or, in fact, spell check.  So, my web address was all wonky.  Anyway, I transferred all my old crap over to a new address and made a pretty blog header etc.

Hope you enjoy the layout because I spent all morning on it, drinking only chocolate milk for sustenance while I worked feverishly, handicapped by my lack of decent software (see that gorgeous header... yeah... I made that in MS WORD... for realz.) Anyway, if you've never been here then it's all new so feel free to read my past rants.

Saturday's a slow tv day for us.  We usually catch up on the stuff that's fermenting in our DVR or have giant DVD marathons.  But today, we're leaving it on History International and I'm watching RoboCop talk about civic engineering. 

It's even better than it sounds.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Terriers etc.

TV Watched Today:
Ugghhh... so much TV.
We were both working all day long so we had the TV on in the background and it's all sort of a blur. I can tell you that we watched MASH, My Name Is Earl, and How I Met Your Mother as well as Batman: Brave and the Bold and The Good Guys.  Everything else was sort of background noise while I did laundry and lesson plans and worked on my graduation lecture.

I've really been in the mood to watch some Buffy lately.  I started re-watching it a few months ago but inadvertently abandoned it when we started plans for the big cross country move. Maybe when I finish The X-Files, I'll spend some time in the Hellmouth. For now, while it's still just Mulder, Scully & Skinner, I'm happy to stick with X-Files.

Anyway, one of the new shows we picked up this season is TerriersTerriers is a bad-ass show. It's on FX, same as another of our hour-long favorites: Justified. The show centers around Hank Dolworth  (brilliantly played by Donal Logue) and his best friend Britt (the wonderful Michael Raymond-James) who go around solving crimes as PIs without their PI license. Hank is an ex-cop (thanks to a drinking problem) and Britt is an ex-thief (thanks to a going to jail then finding the perfect girl problem) and their friendship really anchors the whole show.
I can't imagine the casting sessions that went on before this show was finalized but I totally believe that when Logue and James finally got in a room together and started reading these characters that little baby angels started singing, new stars formed in the sky, and all across the planet people started smiling but couldn't understand why. What I mean is... these two are effing great together.

Aside from the mystery of the week, this show is really about these two men, their friendship, and the things that are always screwing up their lives.  Hank's ex-wife pities him and is trying to marry a major douche.  His brilliant sister who suffers from schizophrenia shows up a few episodes in and they take care of each other.  He's an ex-alcoholic, still battling his demons.  Britt, meanwhile, has a lot of cronies who'd like him back in the thieving profession. He's in love with his gf but she effed up and screwed her professor and now she's pregnant and doesn't know who the baby daddy is. Etc. Etc. Life is hard and it sucks and these guys are probably really like... bitter. Right?  Well... no. They're not. They don't lay around in their apartments lamenting their tragic lives, constantly overtly dealing with their issues. Instead, they're kicking ass, taking names, and dealing with their shit by being awesome and funny and taking care of each other.

The one who really comes out as the star is Logue, who plays Hank Dolworth so brilliantly, with such grace and finesse that he absolutely breaks my heart in every single episode. The man is amazing. Dolworth is perfectly written and that's gotta help, but Logue sells it 100%. 

To top it off, Terriers has a kick ass theme song that works perfectly for the show which you can enjoy here:

Anyway, Terriers is awesome.  If you haven't been watching it... you should.  It's on Wednesday nights on FX.

Last night was a big night for us.  Thursday... also known as BIG TV NIGHT. We had: Community, 30 Rock, Modern Family, The Office, and Fringe

I'm not sure I have enough energy to go in depth about any of these so here are my general thoughts on the two of these shows that matter the most to me right now:

Fringe: Holy shit. Just get Olivia out of frakking Earth 2.  I love you to death J.J. but it's time to get her out. I miss our Olivia with our Walter and our Astrid and our Pacey.  We're on something like episode five.  Look at it this way.  If The X-Files suddenly focused on Mulder's sister for five straight episodes... well... it would be what happened in Season 8.  So... damnit... just let's try to get her back home by Christmas.  Still, even with all this mess going on, this show is still better than about 90% of everything that's currently on. I do love seeing Charlie. And I think the alt-universe plots are pretty cool... I just miss my regular show.  Hey... maybe Liv could bring Alt-Charlie with her since Our-Charlie is all... dead. That would be pretty sweet.

Community: Oh my god if this show gets any more meta it's just going to eat itself.  But... this isn't a bad thing. On the contrary, I LOVE all this meta shit so they can just keep on keepin' on with all the weird, tv-show-inside-a-tv-show stuff.  It's awesome. Still, remember Scully's snake tattoo:
Yeah, well... it's like that. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Triangle and Time Loop

TV watched today:
MASH: Season 4 eps 3 & 4
My Name Is Earl: Pilot
Stargate SG1: Random
Glee: Funk
How I Met Your Mother: Murtaugh
Burn Notice: Wanted Man

Last night, during my X-Files stint, I finally happened upon an episode I've only seen once but have been remembering fondly since 1998. That episode is: Triangle.
Wow, this episode is crazy.
Crazy Brilliant.
Basically, it's this: If Hitchcock's Rope and The Wizard of Oz had a baby and gave it to Chris Carter to raise, it would be Triangle.

Mulder sets out on a secret mission to find the Queen Ann, a British luxury liner missing in the Bermuda Triangle since 1939.  He gets there and gets swallowed up in time, fighting off Nazis who look suspiciously like Douchey Agent Spender and the Impossible-To-Kill Cancer Man. Skinner's in the mix too and soon Scully hits the scene looking all 30's vixiney in her pin curls and sexy red gown. Mulder gets all beat up and taken hostage and then it's the commercial break. Bam! Just like that.
Then there's Scully, back at a lame desk at the FBI. The Impossible-To-Spin-Off Lone Gunmen find her, explain Mulder's situation and she spends eleven minutes trying to get the info that will inevitably lead her to Mulder. Oh yeah... and this happens:

Anyway, back to Mulder, who's all... Time Lost. He teams up with Past Scully, who has no idea who he is, but she's got a lot of moxy so she's willing to help this weird, babbling American take out some frakking nazis. Awesome. So they run around the ship together just as Our Scully also clambers aboard the Queen Anne... but the ship Our Scully's on is eerily quiet-- a ghost ship. And when Mulder and Past Scully and Our Scully eventually cross paths... they can't even see each other... though both Scullys clearly get that goosebumpy WTF feeling when they walk THROUGH each other.

Anyway, finally all is made well. The Nazis don't get what they came for and Mulder jumps into the blue, somehow knowing that this will get him home. He wakes up in the hospital to the whole-- "you were there... and you were there... and YOU were there..." Oz stuff. 

But here's what makes this episode so irresistible: 
Aside from the fact that it appeals to my historical fiction lust, it's shot in a series of frak-long takes. Just like Rope. It's very kinetic, always moving forward, always pushing the story. Just like Rope, it also cheats a little. It's not ACTUALLY just four takes, it's digitally altered to make it look that way, as each time we go though a curtain, the take changes. But still, it's the appearance of continuousness that matters to me, the viewer. And to me, it looks like FOUR takes. I know it would probably get old eventually, but as I watched it I thought, "Why couldn't all X-files be like this?" 

Well, obviously, I know why. It's hard to make. Hard to write. Hard to shoot and edit and all that. But wow. Triangle is so amazingly watchable,  I might just watch it again tonight. 

NEXT! since last winter, we've been watching Stargate Universe. Known in this household as Battlestar Gate Voyager. For... obvious reasons. If you haven't seen the shows or any of the shows I just referenced I'm not entirely sure why you're reading this blog, but I hope you're interested in broadening your horizons because I'm about to explain it to you. 
Battlestar= Because it's shot like, and has a tone very similar to Battle Star Galactica
Gate= Because it actually is a Gate show, the sort of grandchild of the movie and child of SG1
Voyager=Because they're FRAKKING LOST IN SPACE! Just like Star Trek: Voyager

Anyway, in spite of its similarity to all these scifi premises and... maybe because of them, we really, really like this show. It's smart and even though it looks a lot like BSG and recycles a lot of the Trek plots, it still finds a lot of room for itself. It's got its own voice and it does a lot of things Trek would never DARE to do.  
For example: In one episode, a young crewman is mortally wounded and begs his commanding officer to just end it. In BSG they would've just pulled a gun, squeezed the trigger, and downed a pint of space-hooch, before the crewman could finish his plea. In Trek, the commander would either deliver a pc speech about euthanasia OR the crewman would die totally unnoticed because he's a redshirt. 

In SGU, Young feels REALLY bad but puts his hand over the kid's nose and mouth and effing SUFFOCATES him, holding his own breath the whole time.  Once the kid is dead, he finally breathes out, tears welled up in his eyes. That's some good shit. And that's the kind of thing I'm talking about. SGU is different, in spite of the fact that it's so much the same. 

This week, Adama er... I mean, Young starts having crazy ass dreams about the Enterprise, I mean, Destiny, blowing up because 7of9's, I mean, Chloe's weird alein-ness is attracting other aliens. Baltar, I mean, Rush is being a huge douche the entire time and Apollo, I mean, Scott has to do some taking over. Meanwhile, Neelix/Data/er... I mean, Eli is totally hitting it off with this Maquis, I mean, Lucian chick who totally digs his equations. 

 That hoodie you wear every day really brings our your sexy math skills.

The episode is pretty hardcore even though the Groundhog Day premise has been sorely abused in SciFi.  Just as I said before, SGU found a new way to both explain and solve the problem, then they subverted their own explanation in the end. Pretty brilliant. Can't wait for next week. 

That's it for tonight. Modern Family's on.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Watching X-Files With No Lights On

TV Watched Today:
Community Season One: Pilot
MASH: Random Episode
Cash Cab
X-Files Season 5: The End
X-Files Season 6:The Beginning, Drive
Stargate Universe: The Greater Good

Tonight I was feeling a bit down and decided to watch something dark and dreary. It's sort of like engineering a vaccine by sampling the virus you're trying to kill. Anyway, for the last few months, I've been watching X-Files off and on through Netflix's FANTASTIC Instant View feature. It's been great. All of The X-Files in order, right here on my laptop.

Season 1 was nostalgic. Season 2 was tremendous with oh-so-much Darren Morgan goodness. Season 3 and Season 4 were awesome and very scary and now we're at the end of Season 5. I remember the fifth season as one of, if not the best. But I think that may just be because that was during the pinnacle of my X-Files fangirlness... oh yeah, you know I was totally reading me some fanfic.

Season 5 ends the same way approximately 95% of all X-Files seasons end: "They're shutting down the X-Files."
Wahhh Wahhh. Sad Trombone.

Still, this one is a little more visceral. Cancer Man actually burns that shit down. I mean, the "I Want To Believe" poster is all curling at the edges, licked by flames and everything. Then, Mulder and Scully have a sad embrace in their (I just came from Scully's apartment where we were lying "just friends style" on the couch together) street clothes.

Upon my more recent viewings of this show I've realized some things:
1-Mulder is way snarkier than I'd remembered.
2-Scully is struggling with some serious inner demons throughout the show... I'd sort of forgotten all about all this.
3-A.D. Skinner is f*cking HOT! I mean, like... mad sexy.

I mean really... for about three seasons the producers of this show found at least four reasons per season to put this surprisingly buff dude in his underpants.  Sadly, Skinner is grossly underrepresented in shirtless photos on Google Images. Sure, Mulder's infamous teacup shot is all over the place and believe me, my ninth grade self was SUPER happy about this. But now, in the aftermath of my teens, I find that my X-Files crush lines up more closely with my Star Trek crush:
patrickstewart    n2200287852_35237

Last night, I watched some Star Trek TOS.  Classic episode actually, Plato's Stepchildren. This episode is a little wacky and I really don't care for the ending. I wish Kirk had busted some Platonic ass and kept those jerks from being able to use their super food induced powers. But I digress...

OK, yes. This zany episode does contain TVs FIRST interracial kiss.  It's between Kirk and Uhura and a bunch of Southern networks actually refused to air it. It's just that epic. However awesome this factoid is, it's obscured by the fact that Kirk and Uhura were FORCED to kiss by these jackass Platonians which is too bad really.  Would've been much better if they just up and made it because they WANTED to.

You can read more about it in lots and lots of places. I'm actually more excited about my own minor discovery which is...

 Last night I found the two douchiest douche bags in all of Star Trek TOS:

I mean really... look at these guys.
 REALLY look at these guys.

Last night, I couldn't stop laughing and today it's just as bad. 

I challenge any of you to find two douchier douche bags than the ones here. Also, I challenge you to find quite as many fantastic screen grabs.  This was no quick and dirty google image search... No sir. This was some real, serious Star Trek, Batman, Detective shit. 

You're Welcome.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Blind Banker

TV Watched Today:
Community Season 2: Basic Rocket Science (third viewing)
Chuck: Chuck vs The First Fight
Hawaii 5-0:  Ho'apono
Naked Archaeologist: John The Baptist
The Daily Show
Star Trek TOS: Plato's Stepchildren

Last night I was graced with the fabulous second episode/movie of Masterpiece Mystery's Sherlock. This episode, called "The Blind Banker" follows Holmes and Watson as they investigate series of  spray paint clues that turn out to be an ancient Chinese language cipher. The episode features a weird, tiny (only like 10 people are in the audience and they aren't provided with basic conveniences... like chairs) Chinese circus, complete with an aerialist and a crossbow escape as well as a possible girlfriend for Watson.  Unfortunately the circus is a front for a crime syndicate and Sherlock continuously cock-blocks Watson so they all eventually end up in an abandoned tunnel fighting off a bunch of acrobatic assassins.

Although this episode of Sherlock was still better than just about anything, I still felt like "The Blind Banker" wasn't quite as good as "A Study in Pink."  I think this is probably because Watson's attitude shifted in the second installment, from being amazed and excited, happy to be pulled from his post-war depression, to a more surly, annoyed version of himself.  I'd bet that this stems from the writers trying to inject conflict into the story but I really feel that chasing down awful murderers and dealing with your own personal conflicts, your inner demons, is quite enough.  I feel like hanging out with Sherlock Holmes and solving crazy mysteries would be all I need but I'm a bit of a cultural outlier and I quite fancy the idea hanging out with like-minded high functioning weirdos, rather than going on random, meaningless dates. 

Still, this is the middle of a three part series and I'm sure this is all leading up to something else that's all amazing and stunning and brilliant. 

I know one thing for sure: When this show starts, I instantly shut my laptop, stop writing or reading or whatever it is I'm doing and just watch.  That's pretty rare for me.