Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Remembrance of nerdy things past

Seven years ago, my husband and I moved into our house. The move from our apartment was anything but organized and it amounted, on the last day, to us basically throwing things into the trunks of our cars and then throwing those things into closets that we never opened again.

Now we're doing some deep cleaning, and I'm unearthing items long forgotten, including all of the things that offer irrefutable evidence of the fact that I have, actually, been a nerd my entire life. Among the geek-tastic items I've rediscovered:

+ A Star Trek: The Next Generation tricorder, given to me by equally nerdy friends as a gift on my 21st birthday. So yes, while other 21-year-olds were boozing it up on their big nights, I was scanning the sidewalk for dilithium.

+ A poem written by me, as a sixth grader, entitled "Ode on a Grecian Badger." I'll leave the content of that poem to your collective imaginations. Hint: it involves a badger.

+ A box the size of a Subaru filled with Star Trek novels. I pretended to be a literary snob in high school and college and used to force my then-boyfriend to buy the Star Trek novels for me as I stood in line next to him, holding my Times Literary Supplement beard, and shaking my head in mock disgust at his taste in fiction. Yes, I was a jerk.

+ An equally giant box filled with X-Files magazines, which was apparently my equivalent of porn because it was at the bottom of the closet and buried discretely under bank statements.

+ A slightly smaller box filled with Buffy shooting scripts. I'm not apologizing for that one. Instead, I will simply congratulate myself on not putting on my glasses and spending the rest of the night in a script-reading haze.

+ Pictures of Marina Sirtis and Michael Dorn from the one and only Star Trek convention I ever attended. Now, I'm a fan of the conventions -- you know that about me -- but seriously, that was a scary crowd. Looking at the photo of Marina and Michael, I'm pretty sure they felt the same way. Of course, they could have just been scared of me, what with my filthy X-Files predilections.

+ Speaking of conventions, there's my "MST3K Conventio-Con Expo Fest-a-rama 1994" t-shirt! And my Satellite of Love pin. I wonder how many staff meetings I can wear that pin to before someone realizes what it is. Note to self: I now have the most awesome secret mission EVER.

+ A G-rated "Remington Steele"/"Black Stallion" crossover fan fiction, proudly signed by my nine-year-old self. Seriously. I signed it. What the hell?

And there you have it...The Closet Tour 2010: Full Disclosure. You may now point and mock, if so inclined. Or, you know, if you'd like to buy a case of Star Trek novels, I know someone who can hook you up.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nimoy and pie! Two delicious things that taste wait, that's creepy.

In honor of Leonard Nimoy, who yesterday announced his retirement from acting, I offer you this link to the Tumblr site "Nimoy Sunset Pie." You know how the title sounds kind of crazy and surreal? The site does not disappoint! For example, we have:

If I could fill my brain with awesome things every day, they would all look like this. I'm trying to think of a way I could get this tramp-stamped on my person.

Also, now I'm hungry...and want to watch "Fringe."

So long, Leonard. You were the most talented and least crazy member of the original "Star Trek" cast, and I always loved you for it. That and you always knew how to fill out a blue velour shirt. Le rowr and prosper, my friend.

Thank you to Ruth for the link!

Monday, April 19, 2010

My approval goes up to Eleven

Ooh, flashy light.

Say, how about this new "Doctor Who" fella? I like him! And, despite only having one episode to base this opinion on, I'm feeling pretty good about the new Moffat era of "Who"-dom.

Yes, I decided to be a good, honest, law-abiding American citizen and wait until this past Saturday to watch "The Eleventh Hour" on BBC America. It was totally worth the wait. Even my husband, who swore he would hate it just to show his allegiance to Tennant, was won over by the end of the episode.

I really loved the whole hour and will go out on a limb here and say I thought it was the best Doctor debut episode in all of new "Who" -- and I say this as a huge fan of Tennant's "Christmas Invasion." I thought "Eleventh Hour" was a rich, heartfelt, full story that went a long way toward establishing the differences between Ten and Eleven.

Right from the start, Matt Smith just owns the Eleventh Doctor. He's quirky and mad and funny in a dry, sophisticated gentleman way. He exudes a maturity that's in full keeping with a 900 plus year old time lord and goes way beyond what I would have expected from a 26 year old actor. His scenes with a young Amy were beautifully done. It wasn't cutesy or schmaltzy or any of the other horrible adjectives you could apply to a scene about a poor abandoned girl and a mysterious alien. Instead, it was sweet and touching...and hilarious. And I got honest-to-goodness teary-eyed when poor little Amy sat down on her suitcase to wait for the Doctor. It touched on every disappointing moment any child has ever suffered through.

Speaking of Amy, I like the grown-up version. I'm not quite 100 percent sold on Karen Gillan the way I am with Smith, but she's got a great energy and a terrific chemistry with Smith. And on my husband's behalf, I'm supposed to say she's hot, too.

I'm liking the new TARDIS too and sincerely hoping we'll actually get to see the swimming pool. And the library. And the library in the swimming pool.

Overall, I give this episode a solid A, and I can't wait for next week.

So what did you guys think?

Friday, April 09, 2010

Alice Forgets What the Dormouse Said

(I'm turning over the blog this afternoon to Brodie H. Brockie, Michigan-based international man of mystery and editor of the Cap'n Wacky's Boatload of Fun site. He's got an insightful review of the "Alice in Wonderland" movie, so enjoy! And be sure to share your thoughts on the flick, too.)

I hated Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" for a wide variety of reasons. I could go on at length (and have to some of my more patient friends) about how it bungles many of the characterizations and ideas in Carroll's two Alice novels, and about how the whole experiment feels like the worst kind of internet fan fiction writ large (creepy sexual tension between characters with no such relationship in the original much?), but I realize I'm in the minority for caring about those things. Instead, allow to me explain why I consider Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" a failure in and of itself, and it's cheap attempts at girl-power sentiment actually a bit counter-feminist.

At the start of the movie, we meet Alice, a teenage girl on the verge of womanhood who lives life in a sort of frustrated stupor. Her father used to support Alice's independent thinking and vivid imagination, but since his death, everyone has been telling her what to do, how to dress, how to behave, what to talk about, and what to think about. All of this is pushing her toward making one terrible mistake: accepting a marriage proposal from a big-nosed, weak-chinned, stuff-shirted twit. At the moment of truth, Alice at least has enough spirit left in her to ask for a moment to consider, runs away, spots the White Rabbit, and falls down a hole into a world she'd dreamed about as a child.

Once there, what happens? Naturally, in this weird, dreamlike funhouse mirror world Alice encounters a twisted version of what was happening above: everyone is telling her what they expect of her, what she should do, how she should behave, how she should dress, and what their society demands of her. Granted, some of the things they're telling her are more positive: she needs to be stronger, more vibrant, and she needs to slay the Jabberwock.

It's her destiny, they tell her.

The problem is, what NO ONE wants her to do, above or below, is the one thing little Alice had been so good at. No one wants Alice to actually think for herself.

So what happens? Incredibly, Alice goes along with the demands of the Wonderland (now - gag - Underland) crowd, suits up in armor far more constricting than the corsets she's complained about previously, and slays the Jabberwock, helping overthrow one monarch with another that she (and the audience) knows pretty much nothing about (if this Wonderland was really the more mature story it wants to be, wouldn't we need to know more about the "good" queen than she wears all white and talks in a lilting voice. Are people really buying white=good as a mature update?).

To reiterate: the story tells us everything that's going to happen as soon as Alice arrives in Wonderland, and then goes through with it just as it laid it out. Not only is that boring storytelling, it's nonsensical (and not in a fun way) as far as Alice's development. How does she gain the internal fortitude to tell the stuffy English to stop bossing her around by ACCEPTING the Underlanders bossing her around?

Worse, the script almost stumbles upon a much better idea: early on, Alice encounters the Bandersnatch - he's no Jabberwock, but he's a pretty fierce creature too. Alice is saved from his initial attack by the Dormouse who pokes out the beast's eye. Later, to get by the Bandersnatch, Alice returns the eye, and this act of kindness transforms the monster into an affectionate ally.

This plot point would've been a great micro-version of the encounter with the Jabberwock. A thinking Alice might've had a conversation with the monster, found out what it wanted, killed it with kindness, and turned it into an ally against the Red Queen. Instead, she does the most boring thing possible - the very thing everyone has told her to do - the very thing we were told she would do over an hour before - off with its head! Yawn.

Some hail this as girl-power progress. Sorry: a smart lady turning off her best weapon and picking up a sword instead is no kind of progress at all.

Contrariwise, it's nonsense.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Dr. Horrible as 8-bit RPG game

Found this on Topless Robot -- a site (or a person?) called Doctor Octoroc has redone "Dr. Horrible" as an 8-bit RPG game, complete with awesome Nintendo-style soundtrack. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

OUTRAGE! (58 points)

Well, it's official, the world's gone to hell in a handbasket: Mattel announced today that it's changing Scrabble rules for the first time since 1948 and now we can all use proper common people! You can use Jay-Z, presumably without the hyphen, and Zeppo and ZZ Top, if you can magically cough up a second "Z."

This annoys me. First, I'm aggravated because I'm old and don't like change. The addition of new Crayola colors squirrels me up for months. Second, throughout my lazy childhood, I tried probably half a million times to convince susceptible opponents that throwing down the "M-A-R-X" tiles was a totally legitimate move. But because I played with a bunch of ninny rule readers, they shot me down every time. So now, two decades later, Mattel gets around to changing its rules to fit my needs. Thanks for nothing, Barbie-pushers! Too little, too late.

I'm hoping protests break out soon, and we'll all figure out some passive-aggressive way to protest this, like holding little bags of noisy tiles and rattling around behind Mattel executives until they break. Of course, the downside to launching a successful protest is that no one will ever be able to legally immortalize your success by using your name to crush an opponent.


ETA: Or this might be some new urban legend. Oops. I'm still going to try and use it to my advantage wherever and whenever possible.

Monday, April 05, 2010

In which I become kind of bitchy and ask disparaging questions about stupid people

(Please note: the fact that I'm writing about stupidity guarantees I've made some sort of ass-hatted typo in this post, so I'm asking your forgiveness in advance. Thank you!)

Every time someone rockets into rush-hour traffic like a happy-go-lucky, dumb-ass Starsky and Hutch or uses the word "anonymous" when they mean "unanimous" or insists that Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt are the same interchangeable person, I ask myself the following question: are stupid people happier? And if so, how do I sign up?

Now, I'm no brainiac. Science makes no sense to me and I'm half convinced that physics is some kind of voodoo magic. The only foreign language I ever mastered was a dead one. And math, in my opinion, was something invented by a cruel man with an overfondness for parentheses. The elitist in me, though, does think I'm smarter than the average bear.

I used to think this was a good thing. Being smart meant I could do crossword puzzles and answer questions on "Jeopardy" with enough accuracy to make Alex Trebek choke on his own mustachioed smugness. It meant I could boast about my SAT verbal scores and secretly nursean esoteric crush on William Seward, way-dead secretary of state for Abraham Lincoln. My smartness made me feel special, different from the rest of the herd. (Moo.)

My brand of braininess, though, has yet to earn me a six-figure salary or the ability to figure out the difference between a stock and a bond. (One's a thing you make soup with and the other's played by Daniel Craig's abs, right?) And it hasn't really made me any happier. In fact, it's just given me more things to worry about. Will an asteroid hit the Earth and annihilate us like the dinosaurs? Stupid people don't worry about this -- mostly because they don't believe in dinosaurs. What if climate change kills our crops but someone forgot to close the door on the Doomsday Seed Vault? What if J.D. Salinger was just sitting on his ass all these years and never, ever wrote another story about the Glasses? Stupid people aren't stressing out about this stuff. They're putting quarters up their noses.

I've observed a lot of stupid people in my time, like the guy across the street who can amuse himself for hours by jumping up and down on his doorless car and then chasing the ice cream truck with a baseball bat. (That really happened, by the way. I'm pretty sure our local ice cream truck driver is some sort of pervert, though, so who knows who the bad guy was in that scenario.) There are people who don't even know the Holocaust happened or that Stalin starved millions during World War II -- their brains are untouched by these downers of reality, leaving more room for memorizing Daughtry lyrics. (Sorry, Daughtry fans. And when I say "sorry," I'm apologizing to your ears on your behalf.) And I have to wonder, are these ill-informed people happier than those of us who pay attention to the world around us?

I'm starting to think they are, and it hardly seems fair. Did I study hard in school and read book after book just so I could learn enough to bum me out by middle age? Would I be a more gleeful bunny if I just stopped paying attention and dumbed down? For example, today I found out that NASA is retiring the space shuttle at the end of this year and after that, anyone who wants to go to the International Space Station has to fly in one of those Russian Soyuz spacecrafts, which I'm pretty sure is like being rocketed into space in a Fiat with the windows open. Now, if I'd just remained ignorant about this fact, I'd still be under the impression that space shuttles were flying around in space like perky ten-ton ponies. But no, now I'm wondering if the Soyuz has seatbelts.

So what do you think? Are stupid people happier? Are we brainy types just making life harder for ourselves?

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!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An American "Torchwood?" Oh my.

So the news came out today that Fox is developing a U.S. version of "Torchwood." The downside is that, with the exception of "The Office," I'm loathe to see any UK show I enjoy -- or not enjoy that often, as is the case with "Torchwood" -- subjected to any ham-fisted makeovers by American TV networks. We just don't do subtlety that well.

On the plus side, the new script is being written by Russell T. Davies himself and overseen by "Torchwood"'s original production team so it could turn out to be great -- an updated version of "The X-Files" but with more gratuitous sex and jokes about Wales. (If they do a US version, what city takes the place of Cardiff when it comes to gentle jibes and verbal beatings? Cleveland?)

The article seems to indicate that some original cast members may take part including John Barrowman, which would be nifty. I hope Fox knows I'll watch the show no matter what if they bring over Russell Tovey and add him to the cast. Just FYI.

The most troubling aspect of the whole story, though, is the last paragraph that mentions something about a "Doctor Who" reboot for American audiences, which just about made me vomit up my TARDIS birthday cake.* No, no and no again! Some things like malt vinegar and an elegance in taunting the French are meant to be British and nothing else. What's more, if American networks keep bringing over UK shows, the effect of being an Anglophilic TV snob will be rendered moot and I, for one, will not stand for that!

What do you think about a possible Americanized "Torchwood?"

* P.S. Yes, I got an actual TARDIS post-birthday cake last night from my friend, who makes the world's best cakes. Check out the craftsmanship!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Who hasn't wanted to gift wrap their cat?

Sure, it would have been better if I'd spotted this before the holidays, but really, when is it not a good time to wrap your cat like a present?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Randomizing my randomness

So, you know how sometimes life interferes with blogging? Yep, that's my story these days. A new work project I'm involved in has radically altered my schedule. Sadly, that means my writing schedule has changed too. Rather than give up the blog totally, which would make me very, very sad, I've decided the best solution is to blog randomly...on a regular basis. Meaning rather than doing daily Odds and Ends posts, I'm just going to just do mini posts -- hopefully every day -- about random things that I hope you find as amusing or weird as I do.

So first up, have you seen this bit with "Lost" characters explaining how to make a sandwich? I especially love this explanation from Kate:

1. Make separate sandwiches, one with peanut butter and one with jelly
2. Take a bite of the peanut butter sandwich, declaring it the best
3. Take a bite of the jelly sandwich, declaring it the best
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 ad infinitum
5. Follow peanut butter or jelly sandwich into grave danger

And this one for Danielle:

1. Apply peanut butter
2. Disappear for eight months
3. Apply jelly
4. Disappear for eight months
5. Eat sandwich

And my imaginary island boyfriend, Ben:

1. Steal someone else’s sandwich
2. Claim you coerced them into making the sandwich for you all along
3. Say you’ll tell them everything if they make you another sandwich
4. Stare at them all creepy-like

Oh man, I can't wait for "Lost" to return and thank God that whole State of the Union nonsense won't be getting in the way. Fantasy island mysteries before politics -- all the way!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Thursday Odds & Ends: Christopher Lee, Charlamagne, NPH vs. Barrowman, cool watches and liquor

+ Even if this didn't involve sci-fi and horror legend Sir Christopher Lee, this would still be an awesome project: a symphonic metal about everyone's favorite first Holy Roman Emperor Charlamagne. Yes, Sir Christopher Lee, heavy metal and Charlamagne. Is it Christmas again already?

Electronic Press KitQuantcast

+ "Lost" returns on February 2, and in the meantime, if you can't remember what's happened over the last half dozen seasons or, if you're like me and don't really understand what happened over the last half dozen seasons, here's a handy reference video featuring all 98 episodes of "Lost" in 8 minutes:

+ Did you catch all the hullabaloo over the "Gay Man of the Decade" battle between Neil Patrick Harris and John Barrowman over the holidays? Well, the winner has been announced. That was a totally unfair contest -- it's like asking a mother to choose her favorite child, if both children were incredibly hot gay men with the kind of biceps that make baby angels cry. There oughta be a law against this kind of cruelty.

+ Production for "Spider-Man 4" -- a film I keep forgetting is even being made -- has been delayed indefinitely while they apparently figure out small details like plot and script and characters.

+ Now that it's a new year, I'm thinking of drinking more, which makes this Mental Floss article detailing the histories of 11 famous cocktails all the handier. Also, it gives me an excuse to quote Ogden Nash: "Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker!" (Oh yeah! What other blog's gonna name check Ogden Nash today? Okay, probably like half a dozen but still, I did it with zest.)

+ I have no idea why, but I want this watch: it's a Dick Tracy-style wrist phone. When I was a child, I had one of those Pac-Man wrist watches that I loved and this is a million times cooler. If I had this watch, I would wear it to work and pretend I was getting secret calls from spies - and God - all day long. It would be awesome. Not for my co-workers, of course, but definitely awesome for me.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

My totally biased and slightly incoherent review of "The End of Time"

If you haven't seen David Tennant's final "Who" episode, "The End of Time" yet then please be forewarned, there are spoilers ahead. So avert your eyes...I'll give you a few, I'll even put in a picture!

I'm just going to say it. I don't care about plot. When it comes to watching a show about a 900 year old alien who travels time and space in an anachronistic blue box, I refuse to get my feathers ruffled about continuity, logic and coherence. I will readily admit that "The End of Time" was a complete mess: Timelords, Gallifrey, The Master, Barack Obama and aliens with green pointy faces. Who knows what the hell that was all about? I, for one, do not care one bit.

You know why? Because where these episodes went astray in terms of plot, they were absolutely spot on when it came to character and depth of emotion, and that's everything I wanted for Ten's farewell. To whit, every single scene between Ten and Donna's grandfather Wilf was heartbreakingly beautiful. When Wilf tried again and again to give The Doctor his gun, and quietly sobbed about how he didn't want the Doctor to die, about how he was the most wonderful person -- oh God, how could you not get even a little bit misty eyed over that? (Or in my case, start sobbing uncontrollably.)

Beyond the sci-fi and beyond the plot, this episode was at heart about mortality, about two old men confronting the end and doing everything they could to make that end matter. For the Doctor to sacrifice himself not to save the world, not to save the universe, but to save Wilf, the only other man who knew what he was going through, was a thing of beauty. It was the most heroic thing this Doctor could ever have hoped to do. It was perfect.

People have complained about the drawn-out ending, too, with the Doctor going off to get his "reward" and seeing all his former companions and the people who meant the most to him. To those people, I say too bad. I loved those little grace note moments -- the final wave to Sarah Jane, a final act of kindness for Captain Jack and Alonso, those wonderful words to a young Rose telling her what a great year she was going to have. As a fan, I wanted those farewells just as much as The Doctor did. This is the end of an era, after all.

And finally, just a word or two about Tennant's performance. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Tennant has rarely faltered as The Doctor and for these last two episodes, he was nothing short of spectacular. His monologue after he realizes he'll have to sacrifice himself for Wilf is heartbreaking, so angry yet no matter the terrible things he says, Tennant never lets you doubt that he will make that sacrifice and that he loves Wilf and meant it when he said he'd have been honored to have Wilf as his father. Tennant is twelve kinds of awesome in that scene.

Damn, I'm going to miss him.

But enough out of me -- what did you think?

Tuesday Odds & Ends: Avatar, more zombies, Caprica, Deathly Hallows and Matt Smith

Well looky here, it's 2010! Hope your holidays were happy and full of good times and good friends. As for me, I'm just happy to have rid our space-time continuum of that ass-hatted year known as 2009. Good riddance! And now, on to the newsy bits...

+ So I hear there's some movie out called "Avatar" and it's about super-thin Smurfs or something. (Okay, I'm trying to act casual about this movie, but I really do want to see it. It's just that the husband and I made a pact that we won't see it anywhere but in 3-D IMAX and the show's sold out all the time. Sigh.) Anywho, here's a website where you can learn how to speak Na'vi, which is apparently what the wafer thin Smurfs speak.

+ Oh man, they've created a monster. There's going to be a prequel to "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" called "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls." Maybe if they beat that dead horse enough it'll come back to life.

+ Io9 has seen the first few episodes of "Caprica," which debuts on SyFy on January 22, and they've got some spoiler free observations. I really liked the pilot, so I'm looking forward to the launch of this series.

+ I know I'm getting old when I can't remember if I've seen this "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" trailer yet. Cinema Blend says its new though, so let's all just trust them, eh?

+ I really enjoyed this list of the "12 Favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy TV Moments of the Decade." I pretty much agree with all of them. Crazy!

+ I don't even really know what to say about this: a French artist is allowing a millionaire to film his every moment until he dies...all in an effort to prove he can outlive the millionaire's prediction. Who has enough time to come up with this stuff? Rich guys and artists, apparently.

+ Have you seen the trailer for the new season of "Doctor Who?" Even though I'm still rehydrating after watching "End of Time" (review to come later today), I am looking forward to Matt Smith's tenure. Anyway, here's the trailer. Enjoy!