Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Motley Miscellany of Something or Other

+ Hey, good news! For the first time in the history of forever, a show starring Nathan Fillion got renewed for a third season. Yep, "Castle" is coming back next year with a full 22-episode season. Finally, the rest of the world gets a clue. Way to go, formerly unobservant TV viewers!!!

+ And in a major victory for celluloid cheese, rumors of not just one but TWO sequels to "Independence Day" have hit the internet. Will Smith is rumored to be on board. My love/hate relationship with "ID4" is so strong I'm almost un-ironically excited about this rumor.

+ Hello, Kitty wine? Yes, please. In fact, I may have to build a wine cellar (or at least dig a shallow hole) for my impending collection.

+ It's time to start shopping for your future cyborg self! Check out all these incredible mechanical people parts that will soon become a reality. Thanks to Daven for the link!

+ Want to take a little trip back in time? Check out this video of "Lost"'s Michael Emerson in 1992 prison training video. And yes, he's creepy in it, bless his little heart. When you're done with that, take a few minutes to watch one of David Tennant's earliest (if not the earliest) roles in an anti-smoking film. It's hilarious, like a charming, lung-saving deleted scene from "Gregory's Girl."

+ In preparation for the new "Who" debut this weekend, here's a clip from episode six, and it's totally made me love this new Doctor. I'm not even on the fence anymore. I am over the fence and laying on the ground, no doubt with an ankle injury of some sort. Anyway, check out the hilarity:

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Life on Mars": yes, it makes more sense than the Bowie song

Trust us, we couldn't pull off these fashions if we weren't awesome...

So during my three-month-long non-alcoholic lost weekend, I cheered myself up by finally watching all 16 glorious episodes of "Life on Mars" -- the good version, not the American version starring Michael Imperioli's overpowering mutton chops. And I have to say, holy cow, what a great, weird little show.

For those who haven't seen it, "Life on Mars" is a British TV series starring John Simm as a modern-day Manchester police detective named Sam Tyler who is on the trail of a murderer when he's suddenly struck down by a car. When he wakes up, he finds himself in the year 1973. So, he's either gone crazy, is in a coma or perhaps, is dead. (And dear God, he keeps seeing a creepy little girl with a clown.) As he tries to figure out what the hell has happened to him, he keeps up his police work with the 1973-era Manchester police and has to deal with an entirely different world of detecting, where planting evidence and beating the crap out of a suspect won't necessarily put a guy on the naughty list.

"Life on Mars" is part trippy mind-bending mystery, ala "Lost," and part pure cop story with a weekly case to be solved. It's also a love story and a comedy and an examination of cultural clashes.

If it sounds like a goofy premise, well, it is but the beauty of the show is that it only ran 16 episodes so the series never outgrew the constraints of that goofy premise. Instead, each episode feels like a deliberate, well-crafted piece of a really cool puzzle, building to what I have to say is one of the best endings of a TV series ever.

The acting in this show is first-rate, with John Simm absolutely stellar as the very confused yet still incredibly bull-headed Tyler. As someone who had only ever seen Simm as the Master on "Doctor Who" (and, I'm sorry to say, couldn't stand him in the part), I was shocked at how terrific he is in this role. He does a beautiful job of making you wonder whether Tyler truly is crazy or just a poor man stuck in the middle of a truly bizarre metaphysical accident.

Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt, Tyler's supervisor in 1973, is an absolute scene stealer and a perfect foil to Simm's soulful earnestness. Hunt is a complete bastard but totally dynamic and appealing...and fricking hilarious. The rest of the cast is stellar as well, with special mention going to Liz White as Tyler's love interest, Annie, who's trying to make it as a female officer in a very, very sexist era. Imagine a character equal parts bad-ass and adorable -- that's Annie.

If you haven't seen "Life on Mars," you should. I believe in the quality of this series so much, I've actually made a pact with my husband just to get him to watch it. He refuses to believe that a TV show with such a ridiculous premise can be any good, but he's agreed to watch it if I read at least two volumes of Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series -- which I just completed last week -- and if I complete a full "Buffy" rewatch with him. (We're halfway through Season 6.) I've jumped through a lot of hoops so far to get him to watch this show...and he's going to be damn glad I did when he realizes that yes, his wife knows awesomeness the way Barnum knows clowns.

Now if only someone would release "Ashes to Ashes," the "Life on Mars" sequel, on DVD. C'mon, people, mama needs her stories!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gearing up for the new "Who"

So, I'm dying to know -- what do YOU think of the impending arrival of the new "Doctor Who?" Starring that fellow with the amazingly agile hair aka Matt Smith and that saucy redhead I know nothing but I'm sure she's good aka Karen Gillan, the new series will make its UK debut on April 3 (thanks for catching my typo, folks!) followed immediately by its illegal debut on dodgy servers everywhere...then followed on April 17 with its BBC America debut. Phew, that was a long, poorly constructed sentence.

I gotta say, I'm pretty damn excited about the upcoming season, which is something I never thought I would say given my sadness over David Tennant's departure and my misgivings about Steven Moffat. But seriously, how could anyone -- even cranky old me -- watch these previews and not be at least mildly geeked?

Please note: there be casting spoilers ahoy in these trailers, so if you want to pure as the driven "Who" snow, it'd be best to avoid them.

I mean, wow, the monsters look amazing; the energy level is ramped up to 11; Smith and Gillan seem to have a nice bouncy chemistry going and Smith himself looks like he's going to be the twitchiest, oddest Doctor of them all...and I mean that as a good thing. With my albeit limited Old Who knowledge, the following statement could be totally wrong, but he reminds me a bit of Tom Baker, which should make for some good squirrelly fun. Just from those previews, the show itself definitely has a new feel but again, I mean this as a good thing because it still feels very much connected to the best of the Davies era.

But enough yammering from me -- tell me what you think!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Spaced" flash mob

You know what I haven't done nearly enough of in my life? Besides winning a million dollars and holding the hand of David Tennant while skipping through fields of daisies? (In a totally platonic way, you know, just so he wouldn't fall down. It's a safety thing.) I haven't participated in nearly enough flash mobs. In fact, I haven't participated in any at all, which doesn't seem right.

I especially wish I'd been part of the recent "Spaced" flash mob in London's Trafalgar Square, which recreated the awesomely endless fake shoot-out scene from the series. The end result was beautifully done. The only way it could have been any better was if half the crowd had channeled Nick Frost's Mike and glued on a few unsettling porn 'staches.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dustin' off the ol' blog...

To all three of you who are still possibly checking on this blog from time to time, may I just say, you look lovely today? (Unless you're a guy. In which case, may I just say, you look lovely in a totally manly way today?)

I've missed you.

It's been a long, fairly miserable three months, about which the less said, the better. But now, the flowers are blooming, it stays light past the point where I fall asleep on the couch and my Detroit Tigers are getting ready to disappoint me again -- yes, it's spring, and what better time to start sitting indoors at my desk and blogging again?

So what will my return blog post be about? There's so much to choose from! You've got your casting of Chris "I Flex Therefore I Am" Evans as Captain America. You've got your Virgin Galactic completing a successful maiden voyage OF A SPACE SHIP! (I hear the salted nuts were out of this world. Hahahahahahaaa!) And you've got the Washington Post using the word "fracking" to explain Joe Biden's naughty open-miked slip-up today. With all of these important developments, certainly the words I'm about to type will be unmistakeably momentous!

But no, I'm just going to write about a Bill Paxton pinball machine.

Yes, you heard it right: some sainted soul, whose creativity should be cloned immediately and without delay (yes, those mean the same thing but redundancy and repetition are how I express my excitement and enthusiasm), has built a Bill Paxton-themed pinball machine. It looks like this:

And it plays like this:

Best of all, when the game is over, Bill Paxton shouts, "Game over, man!" from "Aliens, commemorating the single greatest performance ever committed to film by a man named Bill Paxton starring in a James Cameron production of a film featuring Sigourney Weaver that is not "Avatar."

Now, as many of you know, in a head-to-head match-up of acting incompetence and two-dimensional gesturing, I prefer the Pullman over the Paxton (see "Independence Day") but the pinball machine may be the thing that finally bounces Paxton into the lead. It's a well-deserved honor. May the great Paxton balls of pin never get wedged in that one unreachable spot where you have to pick up the machine and jiggle it until the damn thing breaks free. Amen!