Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Odds & Ends: yetis, digitized memories, four-winged dinos and Twilight Zone

+ Sam Raimi is producing a film called "Refuge" by new British director Corin Hardy about a remote town terrorized by a Yeti. Will Yetis become the new vampires? They probably use equal amounts of product in their hair so I'm voting yes.

+ Television Without Pity has compiled their list of the best episodes ever of Joss Whedon's various TV series. Personally, I think about half of their choices are off the mark. What do you think?

+ Well, here's something freaky: a Microsoft researcher is attempting to digitize his entire memory as he goes through life, downloading and saving as many impressions, sights, sounds and responses as he can. Why? Because he can.

+ Have you seen this impressive four-winged dinosaur, which was unearthed in China and recently reported on at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology annual meeting, which probably includes way more drinking than any of us imagine.

+ ABC's "V" is going to air in two parts, with the first four episodes shown in November and then picking up with the final nine in March after the Olympics.

+ Want to experience all 156 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" in under 10 minutes? Now you can, although I can't imagine why you'd want to. Seems like it might ruin the suspenseful bits just a smidge. But, hey, check it out:


Sophie-Marie said...

AIII... TWOP is even more wrong than usual with that. I have no faith in them, particularly today, when the exceptionally magnificent House Season Premiere was given a C-. Really?

emily said...

the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology annual meeting, which probably includes way more drinking than any of us imagine.


To hear my Archaeology professor talk, conferences are really a week long tribute to alcohol.

Tracy said...

I am not a fan of Eliza Dushku and thus far, for me, Dollhouse has been off ... flat is a way I cannot quite articulate. So, at this point, I personally wouldn't rank any of the series's episodes on a "best of Whedon" list.

For Firefly, I don't understand why they left out the real pilot, "Serenity" ... I would certainly rank it above "Jaynestown". I also am confused by the omission of the Serenity movie.

The Angel episodes cited were all pretty decent to great. Their Buffy choices, though, were pretty hit or miss for me.

Liz said...

Tracy, I agree, the Buffy episodes they chose just seemed weird, like maybe they hadn't seen all of them? And as much as I like "Jaynestown," I don't think it was the best of the Firefly bunch. Like you said, I enjoyed the pilot more. Anyway, odd list...

agent57 said...

So a lot of those were episodes I loved, but there were better ones... so yeah.

In terms of whether or not the Firefly pilot should have been on there... I have to admit, I found the first half of it to be really dull, and it wasn't until halfway in (Kaylee!) that I got really into it. (By the end of the two hour episode, I was absolutely cheering.) I know this is heresy, but I can kind of understand Fox not wanting to air it as the first episode. Of course, by not doing so they messed up the continuity and made things worse.

I feel like Jaynestown is on there for spawning the whole Hero-of-Canton thing, but no... there are much better episodes in Firefly's brief run. No love for Trashed or Our Mrs. Reynolds? (But then I'm a Yosaffbridge fan...)

Tracy said...

Liz ... maybe they were trying to be a little off the wall and contrary with their Buffy picks. On some level, I can relate to that.

As I mentioned, I am not a Dushku fan so not such a big lover of "Who are You" for instance ... but I also disliked the Buffy-Spike romance thing even though it figured prominently in episodes I really adored i.e. "Once More with Feeling".

Maybe the collective opinion of TwP is similarly skewed compared to the majority of the fan base ... or schizophrenic given that the choices represent pretty diverse viewpoints on the Buffyverse.

Agent57 ... I really liked the "Serenity" episode. I thought it would have worked better as a first ep. I would have been intrigued about the war, and the fact that our heroes were on the losing side. Then as the rest of the cast (beyond Mal and Zoe) were introduced, I would have been intrigued by the mix of "wild west" and Asian cultures on display.

If Fox hadn't been so nuts ... demanding a brand new "pilot" episode be written over a weekend ... instead of addressing their concerns by punching up the action a little more in "Serenity" things would have probably worked out better for viewers. I can recall being completely nonplussed by "The Train Job" ... it wasn't what I expected and did not FEEL like a premiere to me.

As it was, I kept watching because I thought that there was something interesting there, and because I trusted Whedon to eventually make it work.

Heck, thinking on it ... perhaps I remain unconvinced by Dollhouse because of Fox's meddling. Maybe if the show was on a different network, it would be different!

Anonymous said...

I hope it's not too late to add my two bits' worth to the Whedon debate. I can't comment on either Firefly or Dollhouse, since I haven't seen an episode of either.

I did appreciate the inclusion of the Angel episode (blanking on the title, LOL) where Angel takes the elevator ride to hell with Holland Manners (was that his name? the Wolfram & Hart guy), and they end up right back in LA, the point being that hell is a place on earth, in people's minds, and W&H's mission was to bring it about by fostering fear and despair. And Angel's reaction to this revelation is to have reckless sex with Darla, seemingly in a desperate bid to get rid of his soul so that he just won't **care** any more. Conceptually, I thought this was the most brilliant moment of the entire run of AtS, pulling together any number of plot and character threads that had been building since Day One of BtVS. (Besides, the performances from the entire cast were nothing short of stellar). AIUI, Whedon sort of casually pitched this idea to David Greenwalt, who wrote the episodes (it was a two-parter during a sweeps month, IIRC), so they both deserve a lot of credit for making this happen.

Also, I could never understand the Kate-hate. I loved her, and thought she was one of the best supporting players on AtS (leagues better than that green-faced buffoon who used to sing in the damn karaoke club). I was so sorry to see her go.

As for TWOP's Buffy picks, eh. I felt like they went with some pretty conventional choices (Surprise/Innocence, Becoming, Earshot, Graduation Day, Once More with Feeling). My personal favorite was (and still is) What's My Line (1 & 2), because there's so much going on, and it's all so deftly woven together; the plot incorporates all the major threads of the show prior to that point, and sets the stage for the rest of the season (the introduction of Kendra--"activated" because of Buffy's momentary death in the first season finale--is an absolute masterstroke). Plus, the episode is shipper heaven: you get the deepening/ developing Buffy/Angel ship, the early stages of both Xander/ Cordy and Oz/ Willow, plus some very funny stuff with Spike and Dru. Everyone gets their moment to be funny or thoughtful or courageous or resourceful. On every level--plot, character, writing, acting, directing--this two-parter brings its A-game. And yet, oddly, this story is almost never mentioned in any "best-of" list.

Besides, TWOP's reasons for including "Graduation Day" in its list don't even include Oz and Willow consummating their relationship. Feh!

agent57 said...

Tracy - I watched the series after cancellation, in the originally intended order... and I suppose I can't defend my opinion with specific reasons, but I just felt the first half of Serenity-the-pilot to be really slow and dull on first viewing. I can rewatch it now and pick up things that I love about it that I didn't catch the first time. The Train Job wasn't very engaging, though. I'm not saying they way Fox went was better, nor am I saying that slow pacing is bad... just that I can understand Fox's fears that the average viewer wouldn't be engaged through the first half of the two hour pilot.

Of course, I still blame them for the meddling that got the show canceled, and therefore I still hate them.

In terms of Dollhouse, I didn't really get into it until half way through the first season (in fact, two episodes after then one they claimed was where everything changes, or whatever.) I know that was all Fox meddling, and I stayed with it because it was an interesting concept with enough fun moments to intrigue me.

Tracy said...

Anonymous wrote:

As for TWOP's Buffy picks, eh. I felt like they went with some pretty conventional choices (Surprise/Innocence, Becoming, Earshot, Graduation Day, Once More with Feeling).

I think that "Becoming", "Graduation Day" and "Once More with Feeling" were pretty conventional ... but "Earshot" or "Who Are You" over "Restless", "The Gift", or "The Wish"? Those folks clearly like Eliza Dushku way more than I do.

Agent57 ... the only character I really liked on Dollhouse was Ballard. Who now seems to have become what he hated.

Sara Jo said...

Since they included "Not Fade Away" from Angel, I'm happy. Even reading that write-up for the episode made me tear up.

Sara Jo said...

Also, yeah. Scientists have to drink a lot in order to be able to talk with each other, even about their own work.