Archived entries for television

They’ve dropped the official trailers for Doctor Who. I’m presenting them without the frothy-mouthed nerd love I tend to get when I talk about Doctor Who.

Because no one really needs to see me like that. Or wants to.

Trailer One:

Trailer Two:

Oh, and lest we forget, Torchwood is coming back for a 10 part mini-(ok not really mini)-series on Starz. But, for whatever reason, Starz doesn’t like people watching their content, so you have to do it on their site:

http://www.starz.com/extras#/torchwood-miracle-day-teaser

PS: The new YouTube embed iFrames apparently don’t work if you ever edit the post. Lovely.

NBC is doing a new Wonder Woman tv show for the hipster generation. Something along the lines of Smallville meets Gossip Girl, I imagine.

They’ve picked Adrianne Palicki previous from Friday Night Lights and a few spots on Smallville.

She’s been blonde in FNL, but here’s her with Wonder Woman’s traditional brunette coloring.

Best guesses is she’ll be playing the recently rebooted Wonder Woman. Who grew up in our world and is a lot younger than previous iterations of the character. Here’s what the new character design looks like:

Which I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about. But, I figured this was as good a time as any to remind you about that crazy little idea I had for doing a Wonder Woman book.

My Blood-Thirsty, One-Titted Queen of the Amazons. Here’s a snippet.

My Wonder Woman would be a real Amazon. Muscular, scarred, dirty. Her hair would be caked with mud and matted into dreadlocks. Her right breast would be entirely gone. In its place, a huge, ugly cauterized scar. The left breast would still be there, but it would be strapped down with leather bands and bronze armor. Her remaining breast would be a utility organ, for the feeding of a child, not an object of fantasy or pleasure.

The scar would be a sign of pride for her. For her people, becoming a warrior is something they choose to do after puberty has had its way with their body. They would stand in front of a fire, pull out their sword and lop off their right breast. The breast would go into the fire along with the sword. When hot enough, the sword would be removed and the wound would be cauterized with the red-hot metal. From that point on, the scar would never be covered. It was a sign to the rest of the world that this woman had mutilated her own body in order to be able to kill you easier. This is not something that would be done lightly, and certainly not without intent. If one of her people went through this, then they would become a killer.

She would carry a short gladius sword, a bronze-headed spear and a wooden recurve bow. No silly golden lasso of truth. If she wants the truth out of you, she’ll just torture you. No bullet blocking wrist guards. Her skin is magically as hard as diamond, why would she worry about bullets? No patent leather boots, a huntress always moves silently in her bare feet.

Starting to see where I’m going here?

Basically the complete fucking opposite of what DC has going on with this new Wonder Woman.

Today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Challenger Shuttle disaster.

The mission designation was STS-51-L. It was to be the tenth mission for Challenger, and the twenty fifth mission the Space Shuttle Program.

It was one of the greatest failings in American space exploration, and a memory I’ll never forget.

Challenger disintegrated seventy-three seconds after liftoff. A simple seal failed, venting super-hot pressurized gas into the outside of the ship, causing the right solid rocket booster to sheer itself off from the vessel, rupturing the main external fuel tank.

Twenty-five years ago today, at roughly the time I’m writing this, seven brave men and women gave their lives in pursuit of something greater than any of us.

And as child, I watched it all happen.

I was young, very young. But I remember being in a classroom with other teachers and students, probably preschool. I remember being very excited to watch the shuttle launch. Even at that age, I understood the magic and the importance of what I was seeing. At the preschool, we watched all of the launches. It meant a disruption in the normal day’s activities, and added bonus for me.

I remember them calling all of us in. I remember the countdown. I remember the liftoff. Then I remember not understanding what had happened, and being perturbed by what happened next. One of the teachers immediately turned off the television, and ushered us all back to whatever it was we were supposed to be doing. Then I remember them talking in the hall, some of them crying.

I didn’t see another space shuttle launch until first grade. They were unsure about even letting us watch that one. You could feel the apprehension coming off the adults. They stunk of it. I guess they were afraid that seeing two launches turning into shooting stars would do horrible and irreversible things to our young minds. Me? I was just happy to get to see another shuttle launch.

And for a while in elementary school, we watched every shuttle go up. Then, gradually, it started to happen less and less. The shuttles would still going up every few months, but for some reason the teachers and students around me stopped caring.

Which I think speaks a huge volume about where the world took a misstep.

We slowly stopped caring about the bigger possibilities in life as we turned inward to cellphones and video games and the trappings of the digital age.

We started looking at space as place to hang communications satellites that would let us order more cheap things from China.

We stopped looking at it like those seven lost souls saw it. As a place to explore, to discover not just new things out in the black, but new things about ourselves and what we are capable of.

I firmly believe that space is our salvation. If we can get out of this gravity well, get up there, and see what’s out there, we have a shot at it.

But then, when I look back down at the Earth, I shake my head knowing that we’ll probably never make it there.

So, I look to you, as the child in that classroom twenty-five years ago. Don’t turn off the TV, don’t forget it is happening. Don’t let them tell you it is too expensive, or unnecessary or dangerous. Because it is the most important thing we as humans can possibly do.

Don’t let those seven have died in vain. Don’t forget about what it all means, means for us, and meant to them.

Crew of STS-51-L Challenger

Commander Francis “Dick” Scobee
Pilot Michael J. Smitd
Mission Specialist 1 Ellison Onizuka
Mission Specialist 2 Juditd Resnik
Mission Specialist 3 Ronald McNair
Payload Specialist 1 Sharon Christa McAuliffe
Payload Specialist 2 Gregory Jarvis
   

Requiescat in Pace.

I’m sure by this point, you’ve all heard of the Cthulhu dildos. Boing Boing had them, and people were tweeting about them even before that.

I’m not sure what more you need to know beyond the phrase “Cthulhu dildo”, but here’s what I’m talking about if you are (luckily) in the dark.

That bit of eldritch sex toy plastic got me thinking about all the weird mass market tie-in sex toys that have come out lately.

Take the Hustler/Fleshlight alien-vagina-in-a-flashlight-case. It was part of a partnership between the two companies to promote Hustler’s porn parody of Avatar. Think of it this way – if Avatar took 3D filmmaking to a new heights of technology, the Avatar porno was going to take masturbation to new heights of technology as well. Which I guess is great for people that fantasize about watching adult film stars dressed like Thundersmurfs go at it while sticking their bits into the triangular orifice of a piece of molded plastic.

If you ask me, the real technical achievement of the Avatar porn parody was that they managed find body make-up that wouldn’t smear all over everything once the bow-chica-wow-wow started.

But, I digress.

Twilight fans of both sexes can also have their plastic genital needs seen to, as well.

Chief amongst them is what L and I laughingly refer to as the “sparklecock“. (We’ve named a band in ROCK! after it.) It’s a pretty standard dildo, except for the infusion of sparkle glitter to make it match the sparkle that Twilight’s vampires have. Yes, I know, vampires aren’t supposed to sparkle, but whatever, they do in Stephanie Meyers’ head. The other key feature of these things is their temperature retention properties. See, the vampires in Twilight are dead – their bodies are cold. And this plastic was designed to stay cold if you stuck it in the fridge for a while. For the “authentic experience”, as the seller promises.

For those with their genitals on the outside, there’s also the Fleshlight-esque “Succu Dry“, a plastic woman’s fanged mouth. It’s pretty much your standard plastic cavity, except this time the mold is of a mouth and not of lady parts. Branding-wise, the manufacturers are leaning more toward the True Blood angle than the Twilight kids. Probably a smart idea, since most of the male Twi-hards probably wouldn’t want a blowjob anyway, at least not from a girl. But, it is still a sex toy cash-in on the popularities of vampires right now.

It does make me wonder, though. I mean, teeth are a perpetual worry during the specific sex act the Succu Dry is designed to replicate. What sort of laissez-faire attitude must you take toward your sexual well being when you decide that not only are teeth OK, but that bigger more, dangerous teeth are BETTER. It makes me feel that the world is probably better off with that person sticking their penis into plastic that some one else, you know?

Not to be out done by American perverts, the Japanese also have their own versions of a Fleshlight. They call it the “ona-hole”. Yeah. Can’t make this shit up. Anyway. The “ona-holes” get branded just like Fleshlights do here. Except sometimes they go a bit…awry. Like when instead of making the internal part into something that would seem to fit what you’re putting into it, you instead make it into a negative space molding of a famous anime character. An underage, marginally pubescent anime character, at that. I can only assume that the Japanese are training their men to use their penises as lock picks. Because nothing else really makes sense.

“Ona-hole”.

Jesus fucking Christ.

EDIT: Oh god, my friend Katie just sent me a link to the sparklecock in full effect. It’s a plastic dong flying in mid-air, up to you how safe for work it is.

AAAAHHHHH GOD WHY IT BURNS WHY WAS THAT CHEETAH DOING THAT WHAT WAS WITH THE GOAT AT THE END OH GOD WHY WAS THIS EVER MADE

Doctor Who: Journeys Through Time 1963-2010

Click for big. No, really, if you’re a Who fan, click. Click now.

From Wayne Dorrington via Jen.

That’s the trailer for Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, the new series from Gainax, the studio behind such classic mindfucks as Neon Genesis Evangelion and FLCL.

Yes, this does look like they took something from the cartoon network and forced it through the seediest Japanese adult novelty store they could find. Yes, it does revolve around two female characters who are able to make their unmentionables into weapons. Yes, it will be cut down to 12 minutes episodes to give that extra bit of speed-freak pacing.

No, we have no idea when it’ll see this side of the Pacific. Or if it’ll be prosecuted for indecency the second it gets here.

Oh, and the soundtrack to all of this is little more than a techno-mashup of porn sounds, so be careful of that if you watch this at work.

Which is a pity, considering how excellent and beautiful the animated series was.

Via Topless Robot

Venting a lot of things out right now, so let’s clump up a few separate TV posts into one.

AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER

Ostensibly a kids show for Nickelodeon that was supposed to be the first “American anime” and a big new IP for Nick to merchandise around. It revolves around four elemental nations (Earth/Fire/Air/Water) that are at war with each other and kid that’s supposedly the unifying force that will bring balance to the world. I’ve been aware of the show for a while, and had it recommended to me by all sorts of people, but I’ve always done the polite smile, nod, “I’ll check it out”, and waved it away as something for children or some pseudo-animu drek.

I could not have been more wrong. This show is a perfect example of media developed for children that can speak to adults. The characters are archetypes, but within their roles they cover miles of ground, exploring and changing who they are. There is grounds for an argument that they are even more dynamic than any character on LOST or THE WIRE. The animation and art is absolutely gorgeous, full of the fervor and style of anime, but with Western pacing and editing. After the 3 season-long “books” were done, L and I were left absolutely floored, sobbing our way through the last episode like an old queen.

This show has my highest recommendation and is one of the few television shows I look forward to purchasing.

PARTY DOWN – Season 1 & 2

Watched this one up on a lark. It was kicking around Netflix’s instant queue, and I’d read bits from people who’s opinions I respected, saying they liked it. So, I figured what they hey.

The show is about a catering company run by a group of young Hollywood-types: actors, models, writers, comedians, failures, etc. At first, we were pretty tepid about it. The first episode is far and way the worst of the first season, and, while you can see how they can make this funny, they don’t succeed in actually making it funny. However, I’m glad I stuck around and gave it more than one episode. By the second, the writers had gotten their pacing down and were slipping in these nuggets of pure hilarity that you completely don’t expect.

Unfortunately, the second season isn’t nearly as good as the first one so far. (We’re a third of the way through, for the record.) Each episode feels as awkward as the first episode of the first season. And they’re running one of those annoying Ross & Rachel will they/won’t they long-games that just annoy the fuck out of me.

The first season is great, and worth your time. I can’t say the same about the second. I’ll let you know if it gets any better.

DOCTOR WHO – New Series, Season 5

Silence will fall and the Pandorica will open.

That line has been the driving force behind this entire run of Doctor Who, and we’ll find out what it means as this season’s two-parter finale winds up next week.

This has been a big season for The Doctor. The show has new everything. New showrunner (Steven Moffat), new actors for The Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companion (Amy, played by Karen Gillan), and a new TARDIS. It has also been the highest rated Doctor Who series ever. The show was a hit before, but now it is a certified phenomenon. I’ve got a few complaints with the show, mainly having to do with the fact that I think Smith is far too young to play The Doctor. (We’ve taken to calling him Resident Who.) But I can’t deny that this is probably the best written season of Who since the relaunch by Davies in 2005. I don’t love it as much as I have past seasons, but the stories and the writing are fantastic. The Vincent Van Gogh episode alone is worth watching every episode of Doctor Who before it JUST to get a chance to watch that episode. It still tears me up inside just thinking about it.

If you aren’t watching Doctor Who, start now.

I want you to know that I Goolged that title before I slapped it down, and I want you to know that I’m the first person to use that bit of wordplay.

Which should also make you worry about what you’re getting into here.

Not in the least because what follows is a bunch of rambling head poking.

Or, as I just told L, this is me rolling Doctor Who around in my brain like you’d roll a fine whiskey around your tongue. Savoring it, examining it. Thinking on why it is Good.

So. Doctor Who.

A cultural vein in the United Kingdom that runs deeper than Gundam to the Japanese, and miles deeper than anything else that we’ve got in the States. And that’s not hyperbole. The show’s been on and off, but mostly on, for the last half a century. Close to a dozen actors have portrayed the main character, all of them giving it a unique tweak. I’ve only come in on all of it since the last reboot, and I’m intentionally ignoring all of the bits that came before the 2005 relaunch by Russel T Davies.

For those that have no idea who (hah) or what Doctor Who is, here’s a quick primer:

Doctor Who is a show about an alien that travels about in space and time. He does so by means of a space ship called a Tardis. Both he and the Tardis are the last of their kinds. For some odd reason he spends a lot of time around Earth picking up companions. These companions are female and meant to be the familiar, human part of the show to the Doctor’s over the top curiosity and ancient, knowing wisdom. Danger and adventure, of course, always seem to find them. The Doctor regenerates when he “dies”, coming back with a new face and a new personality. It’s a brilliant trick that keeps the show going.

That’s the ground work of it, at least.

When Davies picked up the show in the early 2000s, he was working with damaged goods. There had been lots of attempts to revive the Doctor, problem was by the end of its last television run in the 1980s, the show was a joke. Which was actually a blessing for Davies. Instead of some curly headed, half-queer fop with a scarf, he cast Christopher Eccleston. Thickly accented, his hair cropped close to his scalp, sporting a leather jacket, dark jeans and v-neck sweater, Eccleston was something completely different in the universe of Doctor Who.

To match the different look, Davies had a new story to tell. No longer was the Doctor the overly-involved-in-the-dealings-of-lesser-being renegade from this people, the Time Lords, but instead he was the last of them – and the one responsible for their complete annihilation. Some where in the gray between the last time the Doctor was on broadcast television, the great war, the Time War, between his people and the Daleks came to a climactic close. It ended with the Doctor deciding in order to save all of time, he had to sacrifice the Time Lords to destroy the Daleks.

Mind you, Davies is too good to come out and say this all at once. Bits come out, dripping slowly, like out of a leaky faucet. Moments where the Doctor will make a quick reference to having a family, to knowing what it is like to lose a grandchild, to being suddenly all alone. This story ideas are perfectly matched by Eccleston’s thousand yard stare. At a moment’s notice, he can drop the lively curiosity of the Doctor and give this look, this look of pure emptiness. Vacant and filled with ash. At first I wasn’t sold on the show. It’s production was very…English. Everything was shot on grainy video, and the visuals were very low rent. But there was something that went screaming through the back of my head the first time Eccleston had one of his thousand yard stare moments.

It is hard to explain. Eccleston and Davies gave you the feeling of Something More. That great nebulous Thing that would swim past you, not touching you, but making the world shudder just enough to let you know it was there. Dollhouse had the same thing, but not this perfectly executed.

And if any of you know me, you’ll know I’m a sucker for Something More.

In a matter of mere weeks, my girlfriend and I tore through five years of Doctor Who. We watched our beloved Eccleston regenerate into some skinny little stick named Tennant. We watched companions change once, then change again. We found ourselves unsure of each new person, but, in a true testament to the writing staff of Who, we found ourselves in love with them and crying for more by the time their curtain call had come.

But, that’s about the show. I want to talk about the Something More.

You see, the Doctor is a metaphor for exploration and new and wonder. His companion is a human being guided along by a modern demi-god. The companion is our proxy, loving every second of it, even when they are moments from death, be it theirs or everyone’s. But, the cool thing about Davies was that he brought a real since of gravity to that danger. That was the Something More of his Doctor Who.

Making the Doctor responsible for the destruction of his people and the Daleks was the best idea Davies had. In the same stroke of a pen, he made him into a genocidal killer, and the savior of all of time. The blood of his people, his wife, his children and grandchildren are all on his hands. But, he’s still out there, gaily skipping about space and time getting into scrapes just to show he’s smarter than everyone else.

This is what really got me interested. You see, I figure the Doctor is the world’s bravest coward. He keeps doing all of these crazy adventurous things hoping that one of them will be his end. Sure, he does want to help people, but more than that, he wants the pain to stop.

Really, the Something More of Davies’ Doctor Who is that if you turn over the character that is the Doctor, you’ll find this bloody, charred mess on the flip-side. One side is all magic and awe at the universe, the other is death and suffering. It is a beautiful dichotomy that is handled perfectly by Davies and his crew.

L and I are working on getting to know the new Doctor, but we’re not hopeful. This is a much cleaner Doctor, and the show appears to be more about his potential future than his past. Which is a smart corner to turn, but it leaves the Something More that I loved so much in the dust.

I guess only time will tell, won’t it?

Oh, and the impetus for all of this?

L sent me this earlier today. She’s doing a whole series of posters for season 1.

Haven’t had time to put my feet down and walk around in my head for too long. Which, in this day and age, is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it means things are happening away from a keyboard in a dark room. A curse because I actually get things done at a keyboard in a darkened room.

What I’m curious about now is how the shift of television shows from a broadcast to syndication life cycle to a broadcast to DVD life cycle is affecting how people are working with and consuming them.

Television used to be this thing that existed for a moment in time, and if you were lucky, they’d have a clip show later on to remind you of how funny it was when they did that one thing that one time, or why you should be shocked when the man with the scar down his face steps out of the shadows. Until a show fell into non-prime time syndication, that was the best you could hope for in seeing it again. The introduction of reruns helped this, but shows could air for years before their first rerun was played. Television was very, very temporal. People gathered in front of their flickering screens for a moment of time that was likely never to come back by.

All that’s different now.

Thanks to digital media, a moment of television is more like a book than a live performance. Delivery methods like HULU and TIVO are killing the time slot. DVDs and digital copies of shows mean that no show is ever fully gone. Even if a show doesn’t get a nice package treatment, the grey area of torrents will keep shows alive for decades after a network puts a bullet in their metaphorical head. And YouTube has transformed television into something that you can snip your favorite bits out of and put up for your friends to see, making it akin to a scrapbook of broadcast moments.

But what does all of that really do for and to television?

For me, I see it as a movement toward looking at a season of a show as a novel or a collection of thematically tied short stories. Since you don’t have to worry about missing them anymore, they become more like books on a shelf, there for you to browse through until you find one that fits what you’re in the mood for. And once you’ve taken it down, you are the one that sets the pace for its consumption. Do you burn through the whole thing in a day? Or do you take your time, watching an episode or two here and there? These are choices that people couldn’t make ten years ago, and it is changing the way everything works.

As some one who absolutely loves the short narrative and serialized narrative forms of television, I love this change. I have decades of brilliance to draw from now, instead of what passes in front of me on the screen. Television is shifting from being temporal and transitory to something that has a permanence and a weight to it. I’ll be able to watch future generations experience shows like Six Feet Under and Lost in the way that I can experience The Godfather and Blue Velvet.

But out there, right now, is a producer walking around who thought that this was a good idea. And that man, well, he deserves a kick to the testicles.

I am one of those people who watch Dollhouse not out of any love of the show, but rather out of some bizarre allegiance to Joss Whedon and the actors he employs. I like these people. I want to keep them working because given enough time, they produce something great. Dollhouse is far from great right now, but there is something about it, something that’s hinting at a large form moving beneath the surface of the show. And that form is what if find intriguing in this.

(An aside, but as you read this, keep in mind that I thought about that lurking shape before I discovered what it was.)

I watched episode 7 of the show last night, the one where Echo goes back to the school she graduated from to save some people, even though she doesn’t know why. It was one of Whedon’s middle of the season reveal episodes, where there are hard lines put down to define the conflict for the rest of the season. The hard lines in this episode were that the Dollhouse was bigger than we’d ever thought, spanning the globe and intertwining into all factions of the world, and that a corporation named Rossum was behind the whole thing. The Dollhouses are related to the “work” that they were doing,  something involving memory and the human brain.

My nerd sense started tingling at that name. “Rossum? You mean like Karl Rossum? The guy that invented HARDAC in Batman the Animated Series?” To Google I went. And to me the answers came. The answers, as they often are, weren’t what I was expecting.

The named Rossum wasn’t a tip of the hat to Batman. It was a reference to a 1920s Czech play called Rossum’s Universal Robots. It was this play that popularized the term robot. Here’s the short synopsis:

The play begins in a factory that makes ‘artificial people’ — they are called Robots, but are closer to the modern idea of androids or even clones, creatures who can be mistaken for humans. They can plainly think for themselves. Although they seem happy to work for humans, that changes and leads to the end of the human race due to a hostile robot rebellion.

I finished reading that and my brain started reeling. No way. No fucking way. Was Whedon really cribbing Dollhouse from R.U.R.?

Then I started reading the act break downs.

Introduction

Helena, the daughter of the president of a major industrial power, arrives at the island factory of Rossum’s Universal Robots. She meets Domin, the General Manager of R.U.R., who tells her the history of the company and the Robot technology, and the basics of economics which generate the demand for labor. Helena meets Fabry, Dr. Gall, Alquist, and Hallemeier, and reveals she is a representative of the League of Humanity, a human rights organization which wishes to “free” the Robots. The managers of the factory find this a ridiculous proposition, viewing the Robots as any other major appliance, and Helena is convinced of the irrelevance of such an organization to Robots. Domin and Helena fall in love and are engaged to be married.

Chronologically, the story of Echo begins when she, as an animal rights activist, discovers that Rossum is doing experiments on human fetuses. When she is captured, it is the head of the LA Dollhouse that turns her into a doll.

Act One

Ten years later, Helena and her nurse Nana are talking about current events; in particular the decline in human births. Helena and Domin reminisce about the day they met, and summarize the last ten years of world history as shaped by the new worldwide Robot-based economy. Helena meets Dr. Gall’s new Robot experiment, Radius, and Dr Gall describes his experimental Robotess, Robot Helena. Both are more advanced, fully featured versions. In secret, Helena burns the formula required to create Robots. The revolt of the Robots reaches Rossum’s island as the act ends.

This is where the show is now. The dolls are becoming self aware, and the system is falling apart. In the show, Echo serves as both the real Helena and the Robot Helena. In the first season of the show, the dolls revolt against their captors.

Act Two

The characters sense that the very universality of the Robots presents a danger. Reminiscent of the Tower of Babel, the characters discuss whether creating national Robots who were unable to communicate beyond their language group would have been desirable. As Robot forces lay siege to the factory, Helena reveals she has burnt the formula. The characters lament the end of humanity, and defend their actions despite their imminent deaths as a direct result. Robots storm the factory and kill all the humans, except for Alquist, whom the Robots spare because they recognize that “he works with his hands like the Robots”

This is where the show is going. The dolls are going to be revealed to be everywhere, and the world is going to be shaped by the actions of those who control the Dollhouses.

Act Three

Years have passed and all humans had been killed by the robot revolution except for Alquist. Alquist has been working to recreate the formula to make robots. Because he is not a scientist, he has not made any progress. He has begged the robot government to search for surviving humans and they have done so. There are no other surviving humans. Officials from the robot government approach Alquist and first order and then beg him to complete the formula, even if it means he will have to kill and dissect other Robots to do so. Alquist yields, to kill and dissect, which completes the circle of violence begun in Act Two. Alquist is disgusted by it. Robots Primus and Helena develop human feelings and fall in love. Playing a hunch, Alquist threatens to dissect Primus and then Helena; each begs him to take themselves and spare the other. Alquist realizes that they are the new Adam and Eve, and gives charge of the world to them.

This is where the show ends. We know that the final 13th, un-aired episode of Dollhouse takes place in the future, where the world has suffered some horrible cataclysmic war. The dolls are all that’s left, and the world has been destroyed by them. Except, they are just dolls, they don’t know how to build it back up.

After putting this all together, Dollhouse mattered a lot more to me than it had before. I was saddened at the prospect of it not being renewed, simply because I wanted to see Whedon tell this story.

Sure, not every part of it lines up, but enough of it does – the fake people, the dolls as robots, the coming rebellion, the new Adam and Eve (Alpha and Echo in the show).

If I’m right about this, then canceling Dollhouse will be one of the biggest abortions of great story that has ever occurred in television. You know, like when they canceled Firefly.

Some days I wonder how Joss doesn’t just collapse in to a sobbing mass.

But, unfortunately, they appear to have traded them for brains. From the Boston Globe:

Channel 7 says no to Leno

WHDH Channel 7, Boston’s NBC affiliate, is refusing to air host Jay Leno’s new talk show in the lucrative 10 p.m. hour in favor of its own hour-long local news show, and NBC doesn’t like it one bit.

“WHDH’s move is a flagrant violation of the terms of their contract with NBC,” said John Eck, president of NBC TV Network. “If they persist, we will strip WHDH of its NBC affiliation. We have a number of other strong options in the Boston market, including using our existing broadcast license to launch an NBC owned and operated station.”

…..

Ed Ansin, owner of WHDH and WLVI, believes a local newscast at 10:00 p.m., which he plans to simulcast on both stations, will draw better ratings than Leno would.

“We feel we have a real opportunity with running the news at 10 p.m. We don’t think the Leno show is going to be effective in primetime,” Ansin said yesterday. “It will be detrimental to our 11 o’clock. It will be very adverse to our finances.”

…..

Ansin said his contract with NBC differs from those of other affiliates who are owned and operated by the network.

“We have a unique agreement with NBC, which is unlike the standard affiliate agreement,” said Ansin. “We have the option of not airing Leno at 10 ‘clock.”

I wish these guys well, but the reality is that NBC is probably going to stomp their faces in. For those not familiar with the Leno/NBC idiocy, here’s a quick run down: Conan O’Brien was promised the Tonight Show by a certain date, which meant that Leno had to vacate that position. Instead of losing their control over him, they are giving Leno their 9/10pm slot to put on an hour variety show. That slice of prime time is normally reserved for scripted dramas. Right now the network is hemorrhaging money and viewers, they are looking to this as a tourniquet. The variety show will be way cheaper, and they don’t have to worry about any of their rivals picking up Leno. Basically, they are giving up a third of their prime time programing to Leno, and giving the 5 new shows they could develop the finger. Which, to me, is just fucking stupid.

Out there in the space between porn, World of Warcraft servers and commentators talking about Twitter in a way that confuses them and their viewers, something is happening to the neckbeard enclave.

The Sci-fi Channel is getting a face-lift.

They are going from this

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to this

11syfylogo

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

But, the reasoning behind it makes sense, as stated here by the NYT and Bonnie Hammer of NBC Universal.

One big advantage of the name change, the executives say, is that Sci Fi is vague — so generic, in fact, that it could not be trademarked. Syfy, with its unusual spelling, can be, which is also why diapers are called Luvs, an online video Web site is called Joost and a toothpaste is called Gleem.

“We couldn’t own Sci Fi; it’s a genre,” said Bonnie Hammer, the former president of Sci Fi who became the president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions. “But we can own Syfy.”

The article goes on to talk about how the name change is ultimately liberating for the network. They don’t have to be wedged into science fiction programming, they are free to full explore the breadth of speculative fiction (as they were already doing.)

And the reason for doing this now? Sci-fi is posting some of its biggest ratings ever, and the show that is responsible for a huge chunk of those ratings, Battlestar Galactica, is going off the air. Between this and the start of the fall up-front season, it was the perfect time to re-brand the network. Come fall the last vestiges of the old network will be completely gone.

But this transition is not, as Warren Ellis points out, with out its flaws:

Two of my Polish readers have just pointed out that, in Polish, “syfy” has a meaning somewhere between zits, filthy and scum. Oops.

Taken from the most recent episode of MTV’s Gs to Gents.

Yes, it is about what you’d think it’d be about.

This fine gentleman with the face tattoo is named Macho.

If you hit the play button you’ll watch him sob uncontrollably.

I’m not lying when I say this does things for me that women just can’t.

Well, maybe they could if they beat him with a bat while he cried.

Moving on with the day – TITS!

claire

That’d be Clare Grant, a girl I went to high school with. She’s the lead character in Craig Brewer’s (Hustle & Flow) web series for MTV. And yes, those are her real tits, and they really do look like that.

$5 COVER is the name of the show, and it revolves around the music scene here in Memphis, but fictionalized and all MTV’d up. Think THE HILLS, if the whole thing happened in Memphis dive bars instead of uber-chic LA shit. I know most of the people on screen, and a good number of those behind the camera. I trust Brewer to get as much of Memphis into this as possible, I don’t trust MTV not to have had a terrible idea in the first place. They are showing it around Sundance right now for…press?…I guess.

Anyway, here’s the teaser for the show.

For centuries, a rite of passage for French gourmets has been the eating of the Ortolan. These tiny birds—captured alive, force-fed, then drowned in Armagnac—were roasted whole and eaten that way, bones and all, while the diner draped his head with a linen napkin to preserve the precious aromas and, some believe, to hide from God.

Remember the Real Ghostbusters? Back from when we were kids? Well, turns out that one J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5 creator) was the head writer and editor for the show, which explains why I have such fond memories of it.

One of the episodes deals with the Ghostbusters facing off against Lovecraft’s Cthulhu. The episode is full of name dropping references to characters from Lovecraft’s work and to his fellow writers of the time. Thanks to the wonders of the digital age (and next to no supervision of YouTube’s content), the whole episode has popped up for your viewing pleasure.

I need you all to listen to me when I say this.

No one is ever going to pay me for telling you deviants to go buy their stuff. No organization is ever going to send me pallettes of comp’d alcohols as a thank you for saying nice things about them on this cesspit.

It just isn’t going to happen.

So, that means that when I tell you about something that I like, that I think you’ll like, it is coming from some place real. I’m trying to keep something going by bringing more good people to it, or I’m trying to bring it to more good people. Either way, there’s no benefit to me.

Right now, I’m going to schill for the Travel Channel’s ANOTHON BOURDAIN: NO RESERVATIONS.

Boiled down to its simplest element, it is a foodie-targeted travel show. You give some celeb-chef an expense account, a daffy producer, a camera crew, you point them off into the wild and you hope for the best. It is the sort of thing that I couldn’t give two shits about, and is one reasons that I’ve written off most of my cable channels over 35 (Comedy Central for me).

But, into that basic mix of shit tv, they’ve thrown Anthony Bourdain. A former NYC chef and kitchen-shut in with a long history of drug use and hard living. He wrote a book called KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL back in the 90s that no one was supposed to pay attention to. It rocked him from a talented mid-level chef to foodie superstardom. The Food Network was the first cable channel to try a show with him, but it didn’t work out. They tried to make Bourdain go to small town cook offs and fireworks displays, his distaste for the whole thing was palpable.

A few years after the first show crashed and burned, the Travel Channel gave him his second shot with NO RESERVATIONS. The result was something that approaches a Kerouac-level love/hate affair with the world and the things in it.

Bourdain plays himself as the gruff and jaded former chef, and the world does what it does best to those sorts of people – it tears them down with its unmitigatable beauty and wonder. He may snark about nearly everything that comes his way, but when the truly amazing stuff hits, he shuts up fast. It is a storyline replayed with each new place he goes, but five seasons after the show started, I still wanted to be told it again.

That old crusty bastard of a host is probably one of the three people on this planet I am genuinely jealous of, but those people give back so much with their creations that you can’t really hate them.

You just wish they’d produce more.

Now with that said, I’ll let you people get back to stalking exes on Facebook and masturbating to things you’ll never admit to.

(Beauty and the Beast Disney porn? Really?)



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