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The Top Ten Reasons Why Kids TV Was Better in the Early 90’s

I love the Fairly Odd Parents, Rugrats, and Spongebob Squarepants as much as the next cartoon fiend, but you gotta admit, we had it better when we were kids. Here are the top ten reasons why I think so.


10. There were actioney shows that didn’t induce seizures.

THEN


Let’s get in a space battle – in realtime!

NOW


Argh! In ten minutes when I throw the next blow you’ll be in trouble!


9. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had eyeballs.

THEN


Cowabunga, dudes! You can tell where we’re looking!

NOW


It’s okay, kids. It’s just a reflection of our inner soullessness.


8. The Popples didn’t have ebola.

THEN


Here we are all nice and healthy…

NOW


BAM! We got the pox!


7. There weren’t 17,000 redundant Care Bears.

THEN


Luck, Friendship, Sleepyness…

NOW


….and Propaganda??


6. The Scooby gang was (counterintuitively) older and more mature.

THEN


Zounds! In twenty years we’ll be…

NOW


….twelve??


5. Environmentalism was cool.


Ignore us. In twenty years drilling for oil in wildlife sanctuaries will be cool.


4. We’d actually heard of classic literature.


Thanks largely to dogs dressing up.


3. Educational TV made you smarter, not dumber.

THEN


LeVar Burton rocks my world.

NOW


Um…wait…I know this one…


2. We didn’t grow up learning ESL as a first language.

THEN


We could even make English words from OTHER english words!

NOW


Oh no! I am displeasure! My lip movements with my words do not match!


1. Cookie Monster wasn’t a hobo!!

THEN


Welcome to Monsterpiece Theater. My name is Alastair Cookie.

NOW


Who lives in a park? Honestly!

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And All Is Right With the World

I am, of course, referring to my state of mind after watching last Saturday’s episode of Battlestar Galactica. This Just In: Unfinished Business Now Finished. Click below to find out why.

At the beginning, everyone hated each other.


I hate you, Lee


I hate you, Kara

Or, rather, everyone was mad at each other…


Oooooooh I hate you so much….so much that I can’t stay away from you

And we’re not allowed to know WHY, for the mystery of the gap year must not be penetrated. Although, it’s a safe bet it has to do with this mysterious chest…

…that Starbuck actually looks HAPPY lying on (which has never happened before) so you know it’s something HUGE.

As is the traditional StarbuckandAppollo method of interpersonal conflict resolution, they resort to:


Face Punching

…to solve their problems.

But as usual, other people’s pain…


Owwwie….

….no matter how much it makes them cry for their mothers (or Roslins), just doesn’t do it.

Why not? Well, when you spend all night in the desert screwing someone…


And screaming at the top of your lungs that you love them


And listening to them scream at the top of their lungs that they love you

You assume that it’s possible the next day has a marriage in it. Especially if the two of you have spent the last x number of years stamping down hard on your passion for one another.

However, you would also assume that said wedding would involve, oh, say, YOU!


Sorry Lee, it was really dark this morning and I thought he was you

And when it doesn’t, you have every right to be filled with homicidal rage, get depressed, and take your sorrows out on noodles.

Especially when retaliation ploy causes you even MORE pain…


I now pronounce you man and THAT

And Starbuck’s mad because she screws everything up on purpose.

So really, the only thing for a thing like that is to hit EACH OTHER in the face….


I love you, godsdammit! Why doesn’t this ever WORK!

….repeatedly, and very very hard.

And once it’s all over….


I missed you…specifically the parts after we fight

….all is right with the world. (Except if you’re Dee or Anders)

….until they start all over again. But that’s StarbuckandApollo. They’re like binary black holes, getting sucked toward each other whilst destroying everything around them.


I looove you….DESTROY! DESTROY!!!

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Battlestar: The Occupation/Precipice Diaries

Pages from the diaries of:

EX-COLONEL SAUL TIGHE

Dear Diary,

Ouch. Ow. Ow. Ow. How long have I been in here? What? Really? That long? Ellen’s doing what?! Well really, the only solution is to blow ourselves up. And by ourselves I mean yourselves. I’ve only got one eye now so I get to sit out.

CAPTAIN KARL “HELO” AGATHON

Dear Diary,

Yup. I’m still here. And I’m still married to a Cylon. And you know what? I’m kinda enjoying it right now. So go away.

EX. LIEUTENANT FELIX GAETA

Dear Diary,

I’m in a pickle. Baltar keeps signing his name to things. Whatever they put in front of him. Granted, a lot of them are cheese acquisition forms. Those cylons love their cheese. But sometimes they’ll slip in an execution order…or 200…and then it gets less cool. Because no one knows it’s me flipping that dog’s bowl over. And when this is all over I don’t want to end up on a meat hook. Yes, a pickle indeed.

EX. LIEUTENANT TUCKER “DUCK” CLELLAN

Dear Diary,

You might want to step back a bit. No. Further than that.

SAMUEL ANDERS

Dear Diary,

Caught sight of myself in the mirror today. Yowza. Still got it.

EX-PRESIDENT LAURA ROSLIN

Dear Diary,

I told you so! I did! I so did! I told you so I told you so!!! Okay, I just had to get that out of my system. Oh well. I’m a teacher. Let’s make this a learning experience. The moral of the story: no matter how shitty things get, they can always get shitter. Oh, hang on, the truck to take me out to the mass grave is here. Gotta go get shot. Later!

COMMANDER LEE ADAMA

Dear Diary,

Stupid Kara. Stupid stupid going to the planet with stupid Anders Kara. Stupid dead Kara. I’m so not going back for you. Nope. So not. Cause I’m married now. To…uhhhh…umm…one second I know this one…oh yeah, Dee! And she’s…there. Yeah anyway Kara I don’t need you anymore. I need noodles. Lots of noodles. And to yell at my dad…..and just maybe….directions to the gym. NOT that that means I want to go back or anything. It’s just…certain people…certain Kara people…can’t see me fat. And it’s hard to hold a pen in my fat sausage fingers.

EX-CAPTAIN KARA “STARBUCK” THRACE

Dear Diary,

Killed Leoben today. He’ll be back in a couple hours though. Wow this is repetitive. He just cannot get it through his thick head that I am NOT destined to fall in love with him. But you know what does get through his thick head? Chopsticks. I’m not allowed to have those anymore. In fact, I’m not allowed to have knives or forks or chair legs or window panes or shoelaces or stairs or rugs or paper or….oooh! Here comes Leoben! I just found something better to do with this pen. Later!

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Trippy Time Movies

So I just watched The Lake House. If you don’t know it, it’s a sappy romance (though not quite so sappy as The Notebook, you cannot top the sappiness of that movie. It stuck to the VCR) about two people:


these two people, specifically – Kate (Sandra Bullock) and Alex (Keanu Reeves).

They live in the same house two years apart and paradoxically end up writing letters to each other across that space of time and (of course, otherwise there would be no movie) fall in love.

Being a connoisseur of sci-fi, I know that when you make movies that mess with time, you have to be very very careful to keep things consistent, lest you confuse your audience horribly.

For instance, people’s natural movie-watching suspension of disbelief will allow them to accept that it was easy for them to figure out/accept that they were writing to each other from two years apart.


Hrm, there’s a letter here. It must be from the future.

…cause otherwise it might have been a really long movie.

Kate: It’s 2006.
Alex: It’s 2004!
Kate: You’re insane!
Alex: No, YOU’RE insane!
Kate: Stop talking to me, crazy man.
Alex: Fine, crazy lady!

That’s how it would probably go in real life.

It is, however, slightly mind bending when you make a rule (i.e that they have the same dog) then BREAK IT! (i.e. Kate looking at photos from two years ago that have the dog in them when it would have had to be with Alex at the time and not in fact with her), then ACT LIKE YOU NEVER BROKE IT! (i.e. Alex giving the dog to Kate’s boyfriend to give to her)

Then things get a little confusing.

And then trees grow like 15 feet in 2 years.

And then you go woooooah! And watch a movie that makes more sense. Like maybe a Mexican thriller horror space opera involving snakes on a plane.


Hola Pedro! Hay serpientes en el plano!

Buy The Lake House on DVD

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The Butchering of Star Trek: Enterprise

This past week I’ve been going over everything I’ve ever written trying to figure out what to send to the film school people. In the process, I dug up some stuff I wrote a few days after watching the last episode of Star Trek: Enterprise and thought I’d share it.


Here’s a picture of the cast to break up what would otherwise be a big block of text

The show was cancelled unexpectedly close to the end of the fourth season, forcing the show’s crew into a mad scramble to end the series coherently. The last episode was written by the series creators, Rick Berman and Brannon Braga.

The episode was called “These Are the Voyages” and fans seem to be split into two camps regarding it: those who outright loathe it and those who love it. There’s very little in between.

As you can see from the title of the post, I fell into the first group. I was so disappointed in it that I actually posted on the message boards from the show – the first time I ever did that for any show. Until then I had avoided it because real fans can get kind of scary.

Anyway, if you liked the show at all, here’s what I thought was so bad about the final episode:

Read More

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The Matrix

In my second year, I witnessed my linear algebra professor miss a golden opportunity. Linear algebra (as you may or probably don’t know) is about matrixes (matrices?) – sets of brackets with rows and columns of numbers in them.

He actually got up to the front of the class and asked “what is a matrix?”

This is what I was expecting him to say next:

But instead he droned on about applications and how darn useful matrixes were, blah blah blah.

And I thought: “Oh no!! Red pill red pill!!”

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Battlestar Galactica – In Five Minutes or Less

If you want to start watching Battlestar Galactica (it sounds cool, so why wouldn’t you?) here’s what you need to do:

1) Realize that there are two Battlestar Galacticas – a 70s version and a 2000s version. The 70s version is probably not the one you’re looking for unless you have a soft spot for cheesy old garbage like the Original Star Trek.
How to Tell Them Apart: Watch it for three and a half seconds.

2) Don’t just turn on the TV when it’s on. There’s a lot going on in a big continuous arc and you might get hopelessly confused – especially if the episode is from the middle of the second season. You might cry and then never watch it again. This would be bad.

3) And especially don’t listen to your TV-watching companion who says they only have one name like “Starbuck” or “Apollo” and the bad robots (Cylons) are big chromey roboty things. Because then you’ll really be f***ed – those things were only true in the cheesy 80s version.

4) Read this guide.

Read More

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2010: The Year We All Die

Last night I was watching 2010: The Year We Make Contact


Don’t ask me about the baby, it’s all very complicated

…until about 3am because my neighbours were having a rocker and I couldn’t sleep with the walls shaking like that. Despite the lateness of the hour, the movie left me with an important point to ponder.

WARNING
If you haven’t watched the movie yet, not only will my comments not make any sense but will give away the “something wonderful” that they allude to the whole movie.

So if you’re still with me, this is how it went. Some fantastically advanced alien race used a bloody great lot of black slab-things (called “Monoliths”) to turn Jupiter into a sun and put life on its moon, Europa.


A monolith hard at work

Here’s the rub. The earth’s ecosystem, as we have found out in our attempts to wreck it, is very very fragile. Even if the monolith-makers were careful to keep Jupiter-sun’s mass the same as Jupiter-planet to avoid changing its gravity and fucking up the orbit of everything in the system, the addition of, oh, say ANOTHER SUN would play merry merry havoc with our climate, probably resulting in a lot of very toasty humans.


which, according to Luke’s Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, sucks

OR: The added hotness of the new sun spawns a complex icecap-melting disasterday of The Day After Tomorrow variety, and we all end up as popsicles.


and YOU thought it’d never happen!

But either way, it’s bad for us.

And neither would it exactly be a picnic for the life they put on Europa. Europa is only 670,900 km from Jupiter.

Mercury, the toastiest planet in the solar system is at the closest point in its orbit 46,000,000 km from the sun – which, as stars go, is not even very hot – and nothing can live there because it’s so meltifying.

So, monolith-guys, THANKS FOR NOTHING!!! Love, the Sol System inhabitants.

Buy 2010: The Year We Make Contact on DVD

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Why Movies Are Better Than TV

I think I might be a bad browncoat, but before I tell you why, let’s get one thing straight: I love the ‘verse. So don’t freak out, but I think I hate TV.


devil box o’ torture

And I’m therefore kinda sorta glad that Firefly was canceled and turned into a movie instead. (But I wouldn’t be glad if it was cancelled and there was no movie)

Why am I glad? Because I love movies. I like movie stories about a thousand times better than dragged out one-hour-a-week-supposing-its-not-a-repeat storytelling by multiple writers (each with different takes on what bits are important) where the characters lives are divided into little chunks that half the time aren’t even related to each other and they have to keep coming up with stupid reasons why it’s taken two seasons to get two characters together only to have one die or something so that the other can remain miserable. I hate it.

Know how I figured this out? I looked at the shows I regularly watch on TV, and the ones I refuse to by gut instinct. I watch: CSI, CSI: NY, NCIS, Without A Trace, Criminal Minds, Ghost Whisperer, Numb3rs, Survivor, the Daily Show, SNL and whenever I can catch a new one, the Fairly Odd Parents. Nothing else. I follow my gut and refuse such things as Lost, Desperate Housewives, etc.


Hi, we have no real lives for you to get frustrated with

So let’s break it down:
Survivor – reality show, no real direction of story
CSI et all – crime shows with weekly self-contained stories
FOP – cartoon with no episode arcs
and funny daily/weekly sketch comedy
In other words, I’ve completely rebelled against the kind of TV show that Firefly was.

Now, when the X-Files, Buffy and Angel were on, I watched them, got completely sucked in, and was kind of glad when they were over because it felt like it’d been dragged out too long. Also, the story had gone places I really didn’t like. (Though I admit Dogget and Reyes did grow on me)


Yeah, yeah, you guys were ok

However, with movies, it’s one sweeping story, written by one person with one vision with character and story development that proceed in linear fashion instead of in fits and starts. If you don’t like where the story goes, you reject the whole movie and you don’t end up with those ambivalent feelings towards it. AND you get the whole story at once rather than being feed tantalizing snippets on a weekly basis.

To illustrate, I’ll take the example I’ve been thinking of:

Simon and Kaylee in Firefly and Serenity


Simon and Kaylee enjoying a laugh before one of them screws up the relationship for the thousandth time

In Firefly, Kaylee (Jewel Staite) and Simon (Sean Maher) had obvious chemistry, but despite repeated attempts to get together never managed it before the end of the series. Either Simon would say something that Kaylee could interpret in the worst possible way, or one of them would get distracted and/or lack the guts to say/do something. This was cute for a few episodes, but after a while it started to get repetitive and a little irritating. No doubt if the show had kept on they would have dragged it out for the whole season (at least).
Total filibustering time: about 15 hours, and still no result

In Serenity, they had obvious chemistry, it stewed, they were oblivious, and they GOT OVER IT and got together by the end of the movie.
Total filibustering time: about 2 hours, with positive result

The funny thing is, despite all my bitching, I really do love Firefly. The stand-alone parts of the episodes were brilliant and funny and touching and I love all the characters. Though, I suspect I might have come to love it (the STORY not the characters) slightly less had it dragged on. And I know I’d go insane between episodes.

Therefore, in my opinion, although we would have gotten MORE story from a long-running TV show, I think we got a BETTER story from the movie.

To sum up:



Great


Greatest Thing Ever in the World

There are a number of potential explanations for why I think this way:

1) I have no patience, therefore cannot sit through slow story development on TV

Attention Span =

2) I watched the movie before the TV show, so I look at the TV show as kind of an extra prequel story.

3) I loved Enterprise and then came “These are the Voyages” and it destroyed all of my faith in TV. It was so bad I re-wrote it to ease the pain. And I’m still bitter.


I loved you, then your awesome world was butchered by your own creaters’ delusions of being able to write

Buy Firefly: The Complete Series on DVD

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Serenity

If you want a synopsis or a review or whatever of Serenity, go have a look at:
Serenity: The Official Movie Website

But if you want to know the real reasons why you should go see it, keep reading:

I have never loved a movie like I love Serenity since I saw Return of the Jedi when I was nine. Just to give you an idea of how much I loved Return of the Jedi, my parents had to return it to the video store while I was outside playing Jedi with my little brother, otherwise the store would still be looking for it. Every time I went to a store I looked for copies of the Star Wars movies to buy but there were none. Not until they re-released them in the late ’90s. I can’t TELL you how excited I was for that. And for the prequels too, even though they weren’t as good as the originals….I’m getting side tracked. Sorry. I have the attention span of a chimp.

Anyway, that’s the kind of love I’m talkin’ about. Now this movie Serenity, it sticks in the exact same place in your heart. The story is so captivating that you need more NOW. The dialogue is so clever that even after the movie you’ll find yourself laughing out of nowhere because your brain has randomly delivered up one of the lines. The acting and the special effects are flawless – at no point will you point to the screen and say “I don’t believe that”…mostly because you’ll spend the whole movie with your jaw on the ground, rendering you incapable of saying anything other than “gaaa”.

You’ll have a hard time choosing a favorite character because you love them all and when bad things happen to them you will discover that it’s NOT COOL AT ALL…but that’s good, because it means you care, and that’s the whole idea. You’ll be on the edge of your seat the whole time, and when it’s over, you’ll not only be pumped to see more (why do movies take so LONG to make!?) (luckily there was a series) (unluckily there are only 15 episodes) but you’ll also be pumped to go have your own adventures…even if it’s only rescuing helpless boxes of macaroni from your own evil basement lair.

So if you haven’t already seen it, now you know you want to. So what are you waiting for? Oh, right, we’re in the grey zone: that weird limbo between a movie being on the big screen and on DVD. (is it just me or are grey zones getting shorter and shorter?? [I’m not complaining]) I guess you can download it off PTP but ONLY if you PROMISE to buy it when it comes out on December 20th. (Hah, I don’t even need to make you promise cause you’ll want to anyway!)

Remember buying the DVD = more return on studio’s investment = increased likelihood of said investment being followed my another investment = more Serenity! So now you know what you have to do, now take your money and get out there so I can be watching Serenity II in 2007.

Buy Serenity on DVD

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