Archive for the ‘pop culture’ Category

I was going to blog about all the cooking I’ve been doing but I just saw on the Twitterverse that Caprica has been canceled and that makes me sad. I get that the ratings were low (even for basic cable) but it was such a good show. It was more than a show (*weep*) it was proper drama. Strong characters, thought provoking, group marriage, and cylons. CYLONS!

To make matters worse Syfy are pulling it from the schedule and we won’t see the final episodes till sometime in 2011, or fingers crossed earlier on DVD. This move pisses me off because it disrespects the fans, and the whole Caprica production family. Fine, you want your Tuesday night spot at 10pm back but for fraks sake let us see the final few episodes online for free or even via iTunes or Netflix. Give us some closure don’t leave us hanging. We care about the Adamas, Greystones and Sister Clarice. And what about Serge – who is going to look after Serge?

It’s deeply disappointing that there isn’t room on the Syfy roster for a show like this. That it could not be carried. That there wasn’t the option to give it a second season or even a tele-movie to wrap things up. Another nail in the coffin for meritocracy and another win for mediocrity.

So say we all.

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[Drafted whilst I was on the train yesterday but needed to tweak at my desktop and insert a few snaps.]

I am currently sat on the Adirondike AmTrak watching the countryside “whiz” by as it makes its way home to NYC. All I can think is that all these pretty trees and hills (and lakes for all I know) are playing havoc with my 3G connection.  Eleven hours on a train is a good opportunity for reflection.  The last two weeks have been busier than usual, though given that the usual is normally chained to my desk study any trips out side of the flat are the height of excitement.

Things kicked off two Wednesdays ago when I found out (via Twitter) that some of the Comedy Store Players were in town for a one off gig for NY BritWeek. The Players are an improv group from the Comedy Store in London (hence their name The Comedy Store Players – doh!) and I first saw them there seventeen years ago. SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO! Oh my how some of them have aged, how old did it make me feel when they were still using the same material from the 90s, and even though it is improv there is a strict format that they follow. All that being said it was a fun evening and made all the more exciting by two special cameo appearances: Eddie Izzard and Mike Myers. These new additions threw the rhythm off which jazzed things up a bit. Izzard though king of improv standup was a little off kilter working with a group but Myers was really the best if the bunch, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him doing his on stchick some time (despite how much Wayan’s World etc annoys me).

There was no rest for the wicked because then morning after the improv night I was out of the flat by 7am in order to get a Royal Pains event at Greenly Square (interesting observation Greenly Square is actually a triangle). To mark the second season of Royal Pains USA Network organized a shirt exchange in the city (again I found out about this event via Twitter). Your donation of a gently used shirt (which goes to HELP USA) triggered USA Network to make a $10 donation to Doctors Without Borders AND you receive a $50 Lacoste gift card. Call to action was as easy as pie and well worth the hour wait (I just need to win my pedometer challenge so that I can make up the difference for a shirt). Plus, whilst I was waiting I got to see the three leads milling about – all before I had my coffee.

Then on Friday night we start our blitz on the World Science Festival. Over the course of three days we saw the ‘Science of Star Trek’ panel,  watched the Mathemagician do tricks with the golden ratio, saw lots of things being smashed thanks to liquid nitrogen, swung by a NASATweetup, and went ‘Back to the Big Band: Inside the Large Hadron Collider’. The StarTrek panel was fun but could have done with a Q & A session but the LHC panel was amazing (even if they didn’t touch upon FlashForward). The moderator knew his stuff (or enough to bluff his way) and was able to involve all the panel through out (Star Trek had been stilted in parts and one participant didn’t say a peep for the first hour). It was a thought provoking weekend and made me want to brush up on my physics.

So you think I’d rest there but oh no on Monday night I head out to a White Collar (yes, another USA Network show) panel at the Paley Center for Media. Because of this bloody pedometer challenge I walked from SoHo to 52nd Street – only 6,000 steps (v. disappointed). The panel was short but sweet (saw a few clips for season two) and Willie Garson is pure gold! So entertaining.

Then on Thursday we took the train up to Montreal for the F1 race and now we are slowly making our way home, and our adventures in Montreal can be a post for another day.

Things are tough for Stargate Universe. It’s not dark enough to fill the void left by Battlestar Galactica, too slow paced for normal Stargate fans and even reviews of V are slagging off SG:U.  I ran across an article that said the cast and crew were upset by the poor reviews so I decided to do my bit to cheer them up with five nice things that I have to say about SG:U. And, I will not refer to it as Stargate: Voyager once!

  1. The cast make great wallpaper. In my post BSG world I needed new wall paper for my work PC, and since there wasn’t any for Caprica (yet) I decided to go with SG:U. A light sprinkling of Syfy in my working environment really lifts my days as a corporate slave
  2. I am not going to deny that the show is slow to find its feet but last week’s episode “Earth” was pretty darn good.  The tensions between Col. Young and command back on Earth really came to a head. Young is almost the benevolent dictator who wants to run things by his “crew” especially when it is a fool hardy way to bring them home. Plus Col. Young’s wife is up to some twisted high jinx
  3. The “crew”.  I am hoping for some episodes that delve into what makes the “crew” tick as there is potential amongst the huddled masses
  4. The magic communication stones. I like that we are not just trapped on the ship but that there is a way to not only communicate with earth but also come for a visit
  5. And finally the morally ambivalent Dr. Rush, played by Robert Carlyle with an alarming restrained and manicured Scottish accent. Can we trust him? What is he really up too? And should I add Hamish MacBeth to my Netflix list

I’ve been watching a few episodes of the latest (and thankfully last) series of Robin Hood on BBC America, and apart from the appalling acting what has struck me is the faulty economics of the plots. Now bear with me as I know that the story lines are a pretty basic step and repeat of Robin Hood vs. Sheriff of Nottingham week after week, and as holey as a loose weave sweater but given that all the Sheriff wants is money (via taxes) you’d think his evil ploys would take that into consideration.

Example 1: Sheriff decides to sell all the able men in the surrounding villagers to the Irish. Okay so the Sheriff will be getting cash up front from the sale of the local peasantry but if all you are left with are women and children then how long is the local economy going to survive?

Example 2: Taxes go up (again) so the new tax collector goes around smashing the produce that would be sold to pay for the taxes.

Example 3: The Sheriff’s tax collector seizes business after business but doesn’t have the manpower to run them all. Surely better to keep the original owner in place so he is able to pay his TAXES!

I am thinking that I overdosed on Planet Money this morning and I see the economics of everything.

Stargate Universe is SyFy’s latest offering in the Stargate franchise,  it is a blend of Star Trek: Voyager, Battlestar Galactica & Lost in Space. The drama is centered around a group of refuges from the ill named Icarus project who find themselves stranded on a spaceship built by the Ancients. The group ended up on the spaceship ‘Destiny’ because they were fleeing an attack which may or may not have been triggered by them trying to switch on the Icarus project stargate in the first place, and when they did manage to boot up the stargate they ended up there. One of their many problems is that the Ancient’s ship is so ancient that it is not functioning properly, they can’t figure out how to get life support working and they are many light years away from Earth. But, if they only have a day of air left then that last point is moot.

It’s fraught and tense, plus there is a devious scientist (Hamish Macbeth himself Robert Carlyle) who is harboring many secrets and may have done this all on purpose. The opening sequences of the refuges being flung through the Stargate reminded me of the brutality of Battlestar Galactica episode ’33’ though it didn’t quite keep up the intensity through out. Overall I quite liked it, though I do realize that I am easy to please, and we’ll see how it develops over the next few weeks.

Fringe 2.1-3

Posted: 10/03/2009 in pop culture, television
Tags: , ,

I am really enjoying the second season of Fringe. I know that we are only three episodes in but so far so good, unlike Dollhouse where I fear Joss Whedon has lost the plot (again).  After last season’s Fringe ended with Olivia going through the looking glass to the parallel universe and meeting Spock I did wonder how they were going to top that. So far they are just teasing us along as Olivia can’t remember what happened to her or (more importantly) the message from Spock (which will no doubt it will involve Walter as all roads appear to lead back to him). Hopefully they won’t keep stringing us along long and try to divert our attentions with too many monster of the week episodes or trips to the bowling alley. What I am really like the most at the moment is the poignancy of Walter and Peter’s interactions now we know that our world’s Peter died when he was a child and that Walter brought another Peter across to fill the void. When Walter brings up childhood memories that Peter doesn’t have it’s not the case that he just doesn’t remember it’s that they happened with the other Peter. Things are going to get really trippy.

Alex and I are off for our anniversary dinner tonight, and it got me thinking about one of the fundamental building blocks of our relationship – a mutual appreciation of science fiction. Star Wars, The X-Files and Star Trek were the ground zero from which our relationship was built. Our early years together were a high point in sci-fi. The X-Files had not yet started to disappoint, Star Trek franchises and films were being churned out at an alarming rate (and the days of the dude in the skirt on TNG were behind us), Star Wars was being re-released in cinemas and rumors of Episodes I-III were rampant, and then there was The Matrix. Oh my word The Matrix rocked our worlds. We consumed EVERYTHING apart from Babylon Five.

As our relationship evolved so has our tastes in sci-fi. In a post-Enterprise world quality beats quantity, and we like our sci-fi dark. Instead of the cheerfulness of TNG crew in their pristine ship we have the beaten and broken Battlestar Galactica (it’s tragedy in its purest form and the Greeks would have loved it).

So this is it, the major sci-fi tv series and films we’ve watched over the last fourteen years (vaguely chronologically):

  • Original StarWars trilogy  (VHS vanilla versions before Lucas started fiddling with them)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (seasons 1-7 on VHS)
  • Star Trek: Voyager (seasons 1-6 on VHS)
  • The X-Files (season 1-9 combo of TV, VHS & DVD)
  • Star Trek: Generations (DVD)
  • Star Trek: First Contact (theatrical, VHS & DVD)
  • Special Edition of the original StarWars trilogy (theatrical, & VHS)
  • Star Trek: Insurrection (theatrical)
  • The X-Files: Fight The Future (theatrical, VHS & DVD)
  • Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
  • The Matrix (theatrical & DVD)
  • The Terminator & Terminator 2: Judgement Day (re-watched on DVD -before we saw 3)
  • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (theatrical)
  • Star Trek: Enterprise (seasons 1-4 on TV)
  • Star Trek: Nemesis (theatrical)
  • Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones (theatrical & DVD)
  • The Matrix:  Reloaded (theatrical & DVD)
  • The Matrix: Revolutions (theatrical & DVD)
  • 2004 re-release of original StarWars trilogy (DVD)
  • Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith (theatrical & DVD)
  • Battlestar Galactica (mini-series, seasons 1-4 on a combo of TV & DVD)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation (re-watched seasons 1-5 on DVD)
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (season 1 & 2 on TV)
  • The X-Files: I Want To Believe (theatrical)
  • Dollhouse (season 1 & 2 on TV)
  • Fringe (season 1 & 2 on TV)
  • Star Trek (theatrical re-boot of franchise)
  • Terminator Salvation (theatrical)
  • Caprica (pilot on DVD)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (re-watching season 1 on DVD)

This list is not exhaustive, it misses the shows that we don’t watch together (I haven’t managed to convert Alex to Supernatural yet) and I am sure I’ve missed lots of films that aren’t part of franchises but you get the message. It’s a marriage made in nerdiness.