Ed Driscoll on the opening credit sequence for "The Prisoner;"
What an awesome piece of Bond-era twangy electric guitar music and opening title sequence. As James Lileks once wrote, "Life rarely provides the Number Six Resignation Moments. Not that I want to resign from anything, no -- but one of the reasons the TV show 'The Prisoner' had such a hold on my imagination in college was the resolute assertion of principles displayed by Patrick McGoohan in the opening credits. The walk down the corridor with a look of steely resolve. The passionate denunciation. The resignation, slapped on the table, the leaping tea-cup... What made him resign? You really hope it was a matter of high principle, like assassinating a dictator's children, and not over his parking space being moved to the other side of the ramp, away from the elevators.”
I was turned on to this fine program by my blog siblings.
Indoor plumbing and the washing machine may have heralded a longer, happier and healthier life for all mankind, but these labor saving advances come at a price - detachment.
We tend to think of youth arriving in waves by generation, every twenty years or so. In reality, the waves are five times as frequent - every four years another class of know-nothings matriculates from the academy. So while the naïve waifs who elected President Obama may now actually, for the most part, recognize their error, two more waves have washed over top of them. And since nothing has been done to correct their curricula, the tide of egalitarian socialism is on the rise, making each successive wave that much stronger than before.
Witness the rise of Senator Socialist, the Independent-In-Name-Only from Vermont, who offers nearly everything as reward for one's vote, deftly stopping short of promising to outlaw war and neckties and long pants. One wonders how his followers might change their thoughts and attitudes and priorities if they had to wash their own clothes, by the river, by hand. Or if they had to defend their village from armed invasion by hungry hoardes from beyond the horizon.
I'm for making the viewing of History Channel's 'Vikings' a mandatory precondition for voter registration. All four seasons. The fourth of which, begins a week from tonight.
(Either that or they have to charge their iPhone with a bicycle generator for a month or so.)
I was always a huge fan of TOS, and more diligent fan of TNG, but have to admit to agreeing with Timothy Sandefur as he takes a grand sweep through this seminal, SF franchise as published at Claremont of all places.
From the The Original Series (TOS) through the The Next Generation (TNG) and a goodly sampling of the movies, he convincingly argues, "the development of Star Trek’s moral and political tone over 50 years also traces the strange decline of American liberalism since the Kennedy era."
After accurately summarizing many examples of Captain Kirk clearly channeling JFK as a bold culture and cold-warrior, and even his ventures through a Hamlet-like conundrum faced in Conscience of the King, he then moves on to the erosion of this moral center with the Kirk/Spock film (the mostly well received) ST VI: Undiscovered Country. This is pretty devastating, and then he moves on to the real meat: what a wimp JL Picard was, continually turning the Prime Directive over and over until it's complete moral mush.
Where Kirk pursues justice, Picard avoids conflict. Just as Kirk’s devotion to universal principles goes deeper than politics, so does Picard’s sentimentalism.
As much as I like Mr. Stewart's acting and enjoyed his portrayal of the captain of NCC-1701-D, I have to agree with his thesis. He does limit the article to politics, leaving aside for now the amusing historical note on how all the odd-numbered ST movies were critical (and sometimes commercial) flops.
I do take some schadenfreude over how the franchise's moral nadir is shown to be the flop, ST:Insurrection. I'd heard it was so bad, that I never bothered to see or rent it. It apparently features a bucolic race who turned back from warp-driven exploration to tend potatoes (in hair shirts, I wonder?), that Picard defends then admits to admiring, to which Sandefuer replies: what is this absurd fetishizing of manual labor—for the fundamentally childish notion that you “take something” from people when you create tools and techniques that feed the hungry and liberate people to explore the galaxy.
What, Kirk would have demanded, could the Federation possibly learn from this village?
How not to "live" I would answer. This bears in mind how the current Progressive zeitgeist idolizes the bucolic (as they see it) past; I seem to recall posing a rejoinder to a long-lost issue: if manual labor is so great, why stop with forgoing backhoes; take their shovels too and make them use spoons! I think it's more an affectation to be seen in opposition to technology, a way of standing out from the rest of the Progressives by attempting to outflank on the left.
I guess I now know why ST:DS9 or the Enterprise series never really grabbed me (I could write my own post of where DS9 jumped the shark), but these offshoots are not addressed. My take is they simply circled the drain that TNG opened.
He does cite the latest "ST:reboot" iteration, the teenagy, popcorn-popping 'morals free zone' reissue under the guise of J.J. Abrams who admits about TOS:
“There was a captain, there was this first officer, they were talking a lot about adventures and not having them as much as I would’ve liked. Maybe I wasn’t smart enough.”
and he produces in true Hollwood-approved fashion, films w/o morals or much purpose through plots that move by "accident and force"
under Abrams’s direction, the fixed moral stars by which the franchise once steered have been almost entirely obscured. No longer the thoughtful, bold captain, the young Kirk (Chris Pine) is now all rashness and violence, taking and breaking everything around him.
It may not be a treatise for helping push the Liberty agenda past the lawless age of Obama, but it is a fascinating slant on the death of liberalism's deities.
Amazon signs Clarkson/May/Hammond for Prime content.
Jeremy Clarkson has found his post-punch project: Alongside fellow ex-Top Gear hosts James May and Richard Hammond, the irascible Clarkson has signed on to host a new automotive series on Amazon Prime, which will start streaming sometime next year. It's a savvy move, contractually: The non-compete clause in the trio's old BBC contract apparently only forbade them from signing with a competing British channel for two years, and said absolutely nothing about working with the content-producing arm of an American logistics company.
Tejas Levantamiento! (or, "American history as reimagined by the Tea Party")
I lived in Texas once - for a year. The year was 1986, which happened to be the Sesquicentennial of the Republic of Texas. I didn't really know what that was all about, except that Texas became a state fifty years before Colorado.
As a product of Colorado, educationally and culturally, my opinion of the Lone Star State was mediocre at best, being the source of a great influx of temporary and permanent visitation to my home state and preceding "Californicans" as the great scourge upon the Colorado countryside. Yet with age came wisdom and a new appreciation for the fiercely independent western nature of the people of Texas.
During my short residence there I did journey to the Alamo, and toured the old fort inside and out. But that's as far as my curiosity took me at the time. And so I was captivated by the early promos for History's 'Texas Rising' which said, "the Alamo wasn't the end, it was the beginning." I've now watched the first two of five episodes in this "epic series event" that aims to bring the fight for Texas independence to life.
It didn't take long for me to recognize that the portrayal of events would be unpopular in some circles. After all, the Mexicans and the Commanches "were there first." How could white men defeating those indiginous groups ever be considered "winning independence?" It's European colonialism, pure and simple, right?
"This movie isn't just bad -- the politics are dubious too," the liberal newspaper the Guardian wrote in a piece called "Texas Rising: American history as reimagined by the Tea Party." "Texas Rising is a movie that glorifies the campaigns of white settlers in land that technically belongs to Mexico and was initially settled by Native Americans. There is not an inkling of post-colonial reflection about what that means in the great scope of history. The line between good guys and bad guys is drawn as simply and thoughtlessly as it is in a backyard game of Cowboys and Indians."
But the charge of white-colonial bias fell flat during last night's segment. Portilla, one of Santa Anna's lieutenants [spoiler alert] was addressing Texian Colonel James Fannin. "You are a filthy wetback. You swam across the Sequin River, illegally. You are in my country now." Then Portilla murdered Fannin with a gunshot to the front of his head. One can almost imagine the NRA and Tea Party patches on Portillas sleeves as he parrots this modern nativist sentiment, in reverse.
Still, I am captivated. The story is compelling and the history captivating, whatever liberties may or may not be taken. It is a good background for future learning of the true history which, being from a time and place prior to internet and cloud storage, remains quite murky to this day.
Again, Bullwinkle? That trick never works! Pardon me if this is the blog equivalent of posting a picture of your breakfast to Facebook -- but I think there is a media and technology hook.
The millennials are celebrated for their technical sophistication, and among their proclivities is eschewing bundled cable or satellite TV for streaming services like Netflix. I tried this for six months or so after moving into le condo d'amour. My lovely view of the seventh hole does not provide line-of-sight for a satellite dish and I found cable's offering's priced too high.
I succumbed to wanting Larry Kudlow, FOX News commentary in an election year, Avalanche hockey, and Broncos football and I signed up.
But Larry is gone. The Independents which tried to replace him has been cancelled. And I think I can assemble most of what I want by other means. I just ordered a 50-mile antenna which I hope will get most local Denver stations in decent quality. I figure I can purchase NHL (and possibly NFL) as packages. Pretty pricey but for far less than a season's cable bill, I get every game on every device. Local broadcast and Prime will keep me in the small amount of "shows" I watch: Downton Abbey, Sleepy Hollow, Castle. Stossel is -- I think -- on Hulu plus, again far less than cable.
The news and commentary will be tough. There is a Bloomberg App, a WSJ App and some of the like on the Amazon FireTV. I will miss FOX's commentary after say the State of the Union (I won't because I have not done it yet) and I am not certain what I'll do on election nights. But I will lose an $80 bill for something very under-utilized.
Watched a nice bit of escapism the other night, "World War Z" (I'll give 2.5 stars for decent tension) where a UN "investigator" takes time away from being a soccer Dad to save the world from the undead, with the help of smart, determined people in a shiny WHO building (and the occasional SEAL, Ranger, female Israeli soldier and MOSSAD operative).
Now, cut to headlines where the real-world WHO was found to be "compromising rather than aiding" the Ebola response.
And the greedy, seedy capitalist world manages to make a safe haven for 8000 families right in the middle of hell, by using good common sense, tools at hand "based on the US model" and what must have been a fair degree of grit.
Danny Strong looks more like the superhero Jonathan and less like the nerd -- he has his own TV show.
The network has picked up Empire, a drama pilot from The Butler's Daniels and Strong, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The family drama is set in the world of a hip-hop empire -- think the Jay Z story. The drama will feature both original and current music. Strong, who penned the script for The Butler, which was produced and directed by Daniels, is attached to write, while Daniels will direct. From 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine, Brian Grazer will exec produce alongside Daniels, Strong and Francie Calfo. Grazer, who is passionate about hip-hop music and culture, has been wanting to do a character-driven series that gives the audience a behind-the-scenes look
After four great seasons, Raylan Givens still "Justified"
Season five premieres tonight on FX. Jake Tapper interviews creator Graham Yost and the actor who portrays the sesquipedalian outlaw Boyd Crowder about the passing of author Elmore Leonard, who created the characters for his novel Fire in the Hole.
"Justified" is based on a short story "Fire in the Hole" by Elmore Leonard, and he was involved in the show. Leonard passed away in August, and the show will pay tribute to him at the beginning of tonight's show. But will "Justified" be different without him?
The show started out with a bang, but a good number of people have dropped off along the way. "SHIELD's" meandering pace this season likely is part of the reason, but as the series heads towards its midseason, our vote is that people should keep watching.
Mmmmkay, but most of them could be applied to ObamaCare®...
I'm not doing the geek thing exactly right. On the plus side, I have willingly disposed of any shred of remaining dignity to come out as a Joss Whedon fanboy. Pedant, snob, and loser in one package.
But I am missing a piece and am unlikely to remedy the omission. I. Just. Don't. Get. Comic. Books. They remain a huge part if the geek culture. I started buying the Buffy comic books when they came out. The -- only minimally Simpsonesque -- comic guys would save me two issues of each and let me drop in every other month. The store was cool and I had a genuine longing to appreciate more of the culture.
But it remains, if I may quote Stephen Fry, "a closed book on the top shelf of a locked cabinet" to me. It's a piece of Buffydom and Firefly, but with Whedon's success in The Avengers it has moved front and center. I have been TiVoing "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." religiously. I just never watch it.
I was going to save this confession for a holiday special review corner of Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" this Sunday. I read the original story because I have been enjoying the TV show which is homage and not dramatization.
But Jim Geraghty hits it in his Morning Jolt Newsletter [subscribe].
ABC's Agents of SHIELD isn't a bad show; it's just a very underperforming one so far. I concur with most of the criticisms in this article, and add a few of my own:
Geraghty is a comic book guy and critiques the show for not using the multi-decadal depth of Marvel characters.
For me, the episodes sit in DVR space. I might binge watch if I get the flu or dislocate my typing fingers. But each week, the lovely bride and I choose "Sleepy Hollow" and "Castle" instead. Both of them steal without compunction from Buffy, but it surprises me that I watch the real live imitation Whedon in lieu of the real thing.
Acculturated weaseled its way onto my Facebook feed. I suspect malfeasance as I don't truly remember signing up in an act of clarity and adult consent. But sometimes it links to good stories, so I should probably quit complaining.
This one really caught my eye. The article is "Why TV's 'Undercover Boss' Restores My Faith in Humanity" but Acculturated advertises it on Facebook as "Conservatives looking to find new ways to present free-market capitalism as appealing should take a peek." That's from the last line, right under:
The show is neither liberal nor libertarian. It emphasizes empathy and altruism, but equally highlights the importance of hard, honest work and the way a job well done, even a not-so-glamorous job, lifts the human spirit. It's capitalist, the way capitalism was intended to be.
I'll agree with every word if we may change the tense. I saw some earlier episodes and was impressed that a show celebrated work, CEOs, and Corporations. Whoa! (If you have not seen the show, the linked article provides a good synopsis.) There is a sweet moment at the end of the show, when all is revealed. The "Boss" is identified and typically thanks the workers for things he has learned ("It is insane that you have to follow this procedure or that you are not given the proper tools for this task...") In return for elucidation, the boss will find a bright worker a better job, establish some mentorship or career path, and -- used to be occasionally -- will provide financial assistance to pursue education goals or escape difficult circumstances or support a charity for which the worker volunteers.
Sweet, but in American TV, the sweet can sometimes be overwrought. And the show has now become "Queen for a Day" (Younger readers can look that up on the Intertubes.) The poor worker meets the Boss and gets fistfuls of dollars handed to then at the end! It is like winning the lottery -- sorry you have an old car, I'm giving you $60K for a new Porsche (sobs...)
At the end of each episode, a couple of stand-out employees, often people who have overcome some sort of adversity or who are dealing with some personal struggle, realize the "new guy" is actually the head-honcho, and are rewarded generously with promotions, raises, cars, homes, etcetera, tailored to the personal need of the employee. One single mom of three can't pay the rent. She gets a forty percent raise and her boss pays her rent and bills for a year. Nearly every single employee breaks down and cries, and the emotion is not canned.
What was a part of the show has now become the show. I do not watch it frequently enough to know when this happened, but I have seen enough to know it did. There once was a show that celebrated work. And earned income.
The column never rebuts the characterization. Instead it attacks her accuracy on tangential issues, but not until highlighting her sex life, alternative health practices and past infomercial gigs.
"An earlier version of this post contained a quotation attributed to Lenin ('Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state') that has been widely disputed," the Journal wrote in an addendum to the original piece. "And it included a quotation attributed to Churchill ('Control your citizens’ health care and you control your citizens') that the Journal has been unable to confirm."
That wasn't all. Somers pointed to a Canadian magazine article that criticized that country's nationalized health care system by arguing that animals could get better care than human beings. But in her original post, Somers mistakenly recalled which animal was pictured on the cover: It was a dog, not a horse.
Gasp! Well then, that's that I guess - Obamacare is clearly not a Socialist Ponzi scheme. Here's what she said, according to the (L.A.) Times:
"Boomers are smart," Somers wrote in a Monday opinion piece for the online version of the Wall Street Journal. "They see the train wreck coming… most I speak with think the Affordable Care Act is a greater Ponzi scheme than that pulled off by Bernie Madoff."
"And don't forget, dear reader, that the Wall Street Journal is owned by the same multimegabillionaire who owns FOX NEWS!!!" But what Somers wrote is that others whom she speaks with have called it that.
And then there was the Nuclear Option for discrediting a Hollywood Starlet, at any stage of her career - the mug shot. Try to figure out which of these headed the WSJ article and which one ran in the Times.
What? Oh, of course I read about her sex life. But the sex was, yawn, with her husband.
Naturally, the liberal Bill Clinton fared better on "The Simpsons" than Bush did. "[T]he show was surprisingly slow to satirize President Bill Clinton," observes Paul Cantor, a literary critic and professor at the University of Virginia. Still, Clinton was mocked over 40 times on the show, often for his wandering eye. More than once, Bart's chalkboard punishment was Clinton-related, including "Nobody cares what my definition of 'is' is..." and "'The president did it' is not an excuse." -- Tevi Troy AEI: The Simpsons: Poking Fun at U.S. Presidents for a Quarter Century
Each of them has a defined self-interest. Usually, those coincide, thus the crew can function. Often, however, their values are in conflict as their different goals require independent choices in each situation.
The ship's hired gun, Jayne Cobb, was bought out from the men who hired him to kill Malcolm Reynolds. Cobb says, and Reynolds understands, that if the deal is ever good enough, he will turn Reynolds over to the Alliance. Yet, Jayne Cobb is there, at the ready, when he is needed because it is in his self-interest to do so.
"... value is objective (not intrinsic or subjective); value is based on and derives from the facts of reality ... Every proper value-judgment is the identification of a fact: a given object or action advances man's life (it is good): or it threatens man's life (it is bad or an evil). ... since every fact bears on the choice to live, every truth necessarily entails a value-judgment, and every value-judgment necessarily presupposes a truth. "Fact and Value" by Leonard Peikoff, Ph.D. here.
Unexpected great fun was had last night. Browsing through my Twitter feed, it seemed every person but me was watching "SharkNado." I don't generally bow to peer pressure -- but this was everybody: left, right, smart, stupid, AL, NL -- all tweeting about this obviously awful movie.
I caught the last hour (kinda think that was enough). And I taped the second showing on the DVR in case the lovely bride wants to see it or I yearn for the backstory and character development I missed. But the fun was that everybody was watching it and everybody was mocking it. Jim Geraghty nails it in this morning's "Morning Jolt:"
ADDENDA: If you missed last night's SharkNado on SyFy channel, I'm sorry. (Don't blame me, that's how the network spells its name, perhaps hinting that its programming executives aren't that interested in science fiction.) Of course, if you watched it and wasn't watching the mocking live commentary on Twitter simultaneously, I'm even more sorry. It was like a giant, national Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, mocking the so-bad-its-good, lowest-of-low-budget, unrealistic computer-generated-imagery, clichéd dialogue, and everything else. It was, from the weirdest of sources, a giant, unifying national moment.
Years from now, we'll all ask each other, "where were you when the Sharknado hit?"
And there really was a moment when young girl opens emotionally to young guy that the trouble isn't really the floods, or the multitudinous flying sharks, or even the tornados -- rather the emotional pain of gramps' long ago demise. Twitter roared: "You know, I don't think we really needed backstory..."
UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg (in that other un-linkable NRO newsletter):
Amazingly, that premise is actually wildly more plausible than the execution. The whole movie was like one of those kids' placemat games where you have to spot "What's Wrong with This Picture?" To set out to identify the most ridiculous scene, the worst acting, or the dumbest dialogue of the movie is to march along the edge of a Mobius strip of stupidity toward madness.
But look, I'm not going to sit here and attempt to justify a movie about swirling cyclones of sharks laying waste to people so stupid they should write "TGIF" on their sneakers to remember that the toes go in first. Suffice it to say if you spent the same two hours huffing airplane glue while sitting in your garage with the car running and the doors closed, you would have emerged two hours later having lost fewer IQ points than we happy few watching Sharknado.
Guess I will have to check this out. Both Blog Sister, dagny, and biological sister, Diane, recognized Amy Acker in Much Ado About Nothing (did I mention that that movie is pretty good?) from her role in "Person of Interest."
She'll always be "Fred" to me, but word is out that she will return to next season of Person of Interest.
The true lover of liberty allows his or her fellow citizens to engage in uncoerced commerce that he or she feels is deplorable. We don't have to like others' choices, but we allow them to make them and live with any consequences.
Huffington Post (who says there's nothing good there?) enumerates Ten things we like about Buffy (on the Tenth Anniversary of the final episode). Number nine is fun:
Willow And Tara's Relationship
Sure, Willow had a relationship with Oz for a few seasons, but with Tara, the character really came into her own. The two witches brought new life to the series and portrayed a lesbian relationship in a relatively normal and positive light ... until Tara was murdered and Willow turned evil.
The best gateway episode of Buffy. Slate makes the case for "Earshot", saying that "[it] offers the best of Buffy: human themes explored by way of superhuman phenomena and a skillful latticing of playful comedy with suspenseful misdirection, and moments of heart and vulnerability". -- Whedonesque Blog
My favorite Buffy trivia q: "Who is the first vampire seen in Buffy?"
Didn't get a one of you did I? It's Darla, in an indirection that sets up the next seven seasons.
The lovely and talented Julie Benz, who played Darla, is in a new show on SyFy, debuting tonight:
Can't we all just get along?
That question is raised by Syfy's Defiance, premiering Monday at 9/8c and presenting a 2046 Earth that has received an extreme makeover via terraforming and the colonization by seven alien races (collectively dubbed Votans).
Julie Benz (Dexter, Angel) plays Amanda Rosewater, the newly inducted mayor of Defiance who strives to keep order in the wake of an interspecies murder and the arrival of a dashing stranger, Joshua Nolan (True Blood's Grant Bowler), and his wild-child ward Irisa (Whitechapel's Stephanie Leonidas) -- all while managing a clash of classes between mining magnate Rafe McCawley (Dances With Wolves' Graham Greene) and the powerful Datak.
Still unclear is whether Kroenke will become involved with the Outdoor Channel’s battle with Colorado Democrats. Executive producer Michael Bane said in a letter to state Sen. Steve King (R-Colorado Springs) that the channel had already cancelled a filming session scheduled for late March in reaction to the gun-control bills.
“The message we will take to our viewers and listeners is that these proposed laws are so dangerous to hunters and any other person, be she a fisherman or a skier who brings a handgun into the state for self-defense, that we cannot recommend hunting, fishing or visiting Colorado,” said Bane in the letter dated March 5.
“We reach millions of people, and quite frankly, we have a credibility that the Colorado government officials can no longer match,” he said.
So far the sale to Kroenke Sports & Entertainment hasn’t muted Bane’s views. He posted a message on his website Wednesday saying, “Urge Governor Hickenlooper to veto the mag ban!”
Farewell, Robin Sachs. The British actor who played Ethan Rayne on Buffy the Vampire Slayer has died, according to his official website. Sachs was 61, and the cause of his death has not been disclosed.
Hat-tip: The Whedonsque Blog, which mentions "Not necessarily the best episodes, though... " I confess I prefer the follow up list:
And if you like those, here are 10 more: Because the series worked in so many styles, many of the show's best hours have been relegated to this section to better make the above 10 representative of the series' breadth. Those merely interested after the above 10 are strongly advised to give these a shot. "Angel" (season one, episode seven); "Passion" (season two, episode 17); "Becoming (Part 1)" (season two, episode 21); "Becoming (Part 2)" (season two, episode 22); "The Wish" (season three, episode nine); "Hush" (season four, episode 10); "The Body" (season five, episode 16); "Older And Far Away" (season six, episode 14); "Conversations With Dead People" (season seven, episode seven); "Storyteller" (season seven, episode 16).
EXCLUSIVE: Buffy The Vampire Slayer alumna Eliza Dushku is set to co-star opposite Adam Rayner in The Saint, a backdoor pilot from Brad Krevoy's film and TV production company MPCA. No network has been attached. Simon West is directing the pilot from a script by Jesse Alexander. Alexander is set as showrunner of the project, a new take on Leslie Charteris' The Saint 70-book franchise. It will follow the exploits of Simon Templar (Rayner), a brilliant criminal who uses his considerable illicit skills as a modern-day Robin Hood as he infuriates local law enforcement and woos Patricia Holm (Dushku), his on-again, off-again romance.
Alumna? fetching she may be, I don't generally regard her as plural.
And...modern day Robin Hood? I think ThreeSourcers may be forced to choose twixt pulchritude and philosophy...
Boy: "Okay, so then do you have a dictionary for Firefly to English? I'm like, obsessed with it... I'd like to know what the people are saying when they speak the space language, so I can say I know everything!"
How can I have missed it all along? The great genius, Joss Whedon, clearly just sucks.
I mean, he cannot get across the simplest of ideas he believes in. Waaaay off.
A general statist, big-government progressive kinda guy writes "Firefly" which empowers an army of libertarian Browncoats to oppose him. I mean, that wasn't very smart, was it? For a genius?
Secondly, I just watched the Buffy Episode "Amends." Another swing-and-a-miss. An avowed atheist, Whedon writes and directs what my Buffy sire, Jonathan V. Last called "the most religious hour ever on television." Oops.
I mean, Vonnegut can be forgiven Harrison Bergeron, as he also wrote "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" and a series of socialist essays in a long and illustrious career. But Joss Whedon? The guy cannot seem to get a simple point across. What a loser.
Me and little Ellis, Jr. have very much enjoyed The History Channel's The Men Who Built America. One gets gets a real sense of where Rand was coming from in her "hero worship" of American industrialists. If the Three Sourcers have time for television, I highly recommend we all watch it as inspiration and for discussion at future meetings.
I do have a concern that perhaps certain events are given the Hollywood treatment. The assassination attempt on Henry Frick portrayed in the movie bears little resemblance to real life. Still, the fact that these men are shown as giants, without too much emphasis on how they were all racist, sexist, xenophobic homeophobes is reason enough in today's media landscape to celebrate!
I'm beginning to think, though, that in real life Joss Whedon would have been on the side of the Alliance. -- Glenn Reynolds
Amen, Professor R.
I hope the Firefly fans around here watch "Castle" with Nathan Fillion; it's quite good. They drop little easter-egg Firefly references frequently, which is fun, but last Monday's -- hidden behind all the election nonsense -- was an outright homage. If you don't watch it, you should try and catch this episode, "The Final Frontier," on Hulu or something.
Ever since Nathan Fillion joined ABC's crime drama Castle, he's been such a good sport about slipping in references to his 2002 sci-fi western Firefly. After all, it was playing Captain Malcolm Reynolds that made him into a beloved cult figure, which eventually translated into mainstream TV stardom. So in the past few years, we've seen Nathan's character Rick Castle dress up in Mal's old tight pants to be a "space cowboy" for Halloween, or he'll look right at the camera when someone mentions "Serenity." Not to mention when he was reunited with Jayne Cobb, a.k.a. Adam Baldwin, last season!
Now, I dig Joss Whedon about as much as anybody, and I can appreciate actors' appreciation and even a need to ingratiate themselves a bit. But the fawning he gets from actors is borderline creepy -- just me?
However, Having "Caleb," "Fred," "Wesley," and "River's Brother the Doctor Guy" in a Whedon Shakespeare production is pretty much giddying.
Beverly Hills, CA -- Charisma Carpenter, best known for her role as Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, has signed a deal to host Investigation Discovery's new series, I SURVIVED EVIL (wt). The show will feature dramatically compelling and emotional stories of victims who fought back against their attackers and, against amazing odds, survived. The 10-episode first season of I SURVIVED EVIL is slated to begin filming in August 2012.
I did not realize that she is a survivor herself. Click through for a grisly story.
Doin' the red carpet thing "Joss Whedon and Summer Glau on the red carpet. They were at last night's Celebration of Dance gala organised by The Dizzy Feet Foundation (Summer is on the Board of Directors)."
Emma Caulfield has started a vlog. I link without necessaily recommending. (Like most if you will stay away...) She is funny and looks lovely, but it is celebrity chatter. Were it anyone else, I would compare it to torture.
Tim Ross's transcript rather rudely includes every "umm." The man is extemporaneously answering a rather serous question, I'll allow him a few cycles to compose. And he ends with a smack at the atheist Whedon being called "A God" by a fan.
But in-between, he makes a substantive case that Whedon was actually embracing and promoting socialism.
Whedon's socialist hero, John Reed, received horrible grades as a youth, was a socialist in college, considered a bully, committed several crimes, promoted the Communist movement, belonged to the Communist Labor Party, and was indicted for sedition.
I just started reading the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter book. I promise a Review Corner. It is funny because my friend recommended it and right after I bought it, I have heard 1,000,000 people talking about it (Joe Kernen on Kudlow mentioned it).
Dan Seitz wonders how our 16th would fare against Angel.
But for all of those credits in the intervening years, there's still something instantly and specifically pleasing about seeing ABC press stills of Baldwin sharing the frame with Nathan Fillion on this Monday's (April 16) "Castle."
In Monday's episode, titled "Headhunters," Baldwin plays a gritty detective named Ethan Slaughter. There aren't many actors who can get away with playing a character named Detective Slaughter, but with Baldwin, it seems only fitting.
I will accept a "Lighten Up!" on my severe [that's the conservative word of the day] condemnation of Associate Justice Sotomayor's Sesame Street jurisprudence. It's a fair cop, guv. But I am going to dish one out to my favorite blogger (well, except for you guys, and Terri, and the Everyday Economist, and Perry...)
Professor Reynolds and his lovely bride, Dr. Helen, frequently have a point about gender injustices perpetrated on males. Lack of due process in campus sexual assault accusations are a serious issue. And the female advantages in alimony, child support and custody seem anachronistic. Yet when they criticize TV commercials, I always think they need a "lighten up!"
Today, it is this Super Bowl commercial:
Insty says "Imagine if the genders were reversed. If you can. There certainly wouldn't be excuse-making from lefty publications. Instead we'd hear that there's no excuse for domestic violence!"
I clicked through to see this interview with actress Jessica Blackmore. I did not sense a strong domestic violence meme. There are a lot of jokes that don't work with the genders reversed -- this is one of them.
It is easy to be disappointed when a candidate speaks against one's philosophy. Sometimes one feels that someone is self-aggrandizing against the best interests of the party and the nation.
And when one cares, deeply, about politics, government and philosophy it is easy to hold grudges. But those grudges can contravene the party's and the individual's best interests -- and that is the time for a pragmatic forgiveness.
So, yes, I've decided I will watch the first episode of Celebrity Apprentice, February 12, 2012. I've never watched El Donadlo! before, but Penn Jillette is one of the contestants.
Oh? You thought I meant the GOP Presidential candidates? No way, those guys are all losers.
Happy 10th Anniversary to the best episode of the best show on television. The trailer, sadly, does not do it much justice.
I was not a viewer at that time, but I remember many bloggers I respected going nuts over this, providing my first inkling that I wanted to see what was going on. You have to really know all the story arcs of all the characters to completely enjoy "Once More With Feeling."
I still probably watch this episode every month or so and marvel.
Buffy/Angel alumnus Charisma Carpenter now has a regular gig on ABC Family's "The Lying Game."
The series stars Alexandra Chando as separated-at-birth twins Sutton and Emma, who swap places unbeknownst to their friends and family. Carpenter will play Rebecca "Annie" Sewell, the estranged sister of Phyllis Chamberlain (Sydney Barrosse) and aunt of Sutton/Emma's best friend, Char (Kirsten Prout). Rebecca's return to town after many years brings back old memories -- and secrets -- that Alec Rybak (Adrian Padsar) and Ted Mercer (Andy Buckley) would like to keep in the past.
I post not only as an excuse to include a picture of Ms. Carpenter -- I am also intrigued that Sarah Michelle Gellar has returned to TV in CW's "Ringer" about, let's see. Twins. Taking the other's place. Intrigue. &c.
On September 12, 2011, Professor Miller posted on his office door an image of Nathan Fillion in Firefly and a line from an episode: "You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me. And you'll be armed." On September 16, UWS Chief of Police Lisa A. Walter emailed Miller, notifying him that she had removed the poster and that "it is unacceptable to have postings such as this that refer to killing."
Amazed that UWS could be so shockingly heavy-handed, Miller replied by email, "Respect liberty and respect my first amendment rights." Walter responded that "the poster can be interpreted as a threat by others and/or could cause those that view it to believe that you are willing/able to carry out actions similar to what is listed." Walter also threatened Miller with criminal charges: "If you choose to repost the article or something similar to it, it will be removed and you could face charges of disorderly conduct."
Later on September 16, Miller placed a new poster on his office door in response to Walter's censorship. The poster read "Warning: Fascism" and included a cartoon image of a silhouetted police officer striking a civilian. The poster mocked, "Fascism can cause blunt head trauma and/or violent death. Keep fascism away from children and pets."
William Shakespeare's Macbeth, Act II Scene VII, from L.A. Theatre Works new full cast performance on audiobook, starring James Marsters and Joanne Whalley.
"Spike" does okay, and I'd commit regicide to see it. But I would suggest that fans of "The Scottish Play" might prefer this awesome awesome awesome interpretation from Tim Worthington and Victoria Hill in 2006.
Never watched "Supernatural," but I will have to see this:
The CW's Supernatural aims to slay you by reuniting Buffyverse alumni Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters -- aka Cordelia and Spike -- in one of its Season 7 episodes, TVLine has learned exclusively.
What's more, the two actors, who previously worked together both on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its David Boreanaz-fronted spin-off Angel, will be playing husband and wife on the spooktacular drama, which launches its new cycle on Friday, Sept. 23, at 9/8c. Watch for this glorious genre-gasm to come in the new season's fifth episode, titled "Shut Up, Dr. Phil."
Blog friend Sugarchuck sends a link to Marti Noxon's fave comedy horror picks.
That's good Buffy news in itself, but scroll down and you'll see a trailer for "Cabin in the Woods."
Joss Whedon co-wrote this with the supertalented Drew Goddard (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cloverfield), who also directed. Produced by the long-troubled MGM, this one fell between the cracks and ended up on the shelf. Fortunately, Lionsgate picked it up, and it has an April 2012 release date. A group of teens go into a cabin in the woods to party--I don't need to tell you that's a bad idea. But in classic Whedonesque style, this movie doesn't just have fun with the genre, it blows it up. Deconstruction is kid stuff--this one delves deep into the psychology behind the universal need to confront evil. The turns it takes are pretty mind-boggling, and the end of the movie is truly demented. You'll still be laughing, but nervously.
The actress will guest-star in this season's 11th episode as Nicki, a sharp-tongued, high-maintenance trophy wife whose not-so-better half, a bioweapons engineer, is a wanted man in cahoots with the Russians. Increasingly dissatisfied with her marriage, Nicki proves to be a pawn ripe for the manipulating in Michael and Fi's effort to get to her husband.
Blog brother Silence Dogood got me watching this show a few years ago. It is a fun, ensemble cast show. If you have not watched it, I would recommend starting with older episodes.
Firefly wins #13 (ranked in order?) for my favorite, "Objects in Space."
The never-ending outcry over the series' cancellation drowns out the fact that "Objects In Space" was a pretty great way for the show to go out. Bounty hunter Jubal Early's (Richard Brooks) invasion of the spaceship Serenity, his specific methods for dealing with each member of the crew, and the crew's eventual fight back and victory give every cast member a moment in the sun, and the episode is audacious enough (among other things, it's Joss Whedon giving a treatise on existentialism) that it's easy to wish there could have been a future for the increasingly ambitious show. It's still great to see it go out on top.
It's Like a ThreeSources Tony-Awards Extravaganza!
I'm not sure how many ThreeSourcers will dig clips from Tony Kushner's "The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism etc." currently onstage in New York. But I am the pointer toward all things Buffy. K. Todd Freeman, (Mr. Trick), plays "a hyper-articulate, gay, theology professor whose partner's father, a disenchanted, retired longshoreman and former communist activist is planning to commit suicide." He comes onstage for a boffo performance at 3:14.
If one starts watching Whedon shows for their heroes, one can never quite set them down for their great villains (Existentialist bounty hunter Jubal Early, anyone?) Mr. Trick was one of my favorites. "Sunnydale is strictly of the Caucasian persuasion, but you have to stand up and applaud the murder rate! Makes Washington D.C. look like Mayberry..."
One of the seemingly innumerable and incalculable benefits of a Netflix membership is constant, 24x7 access to all Buffy, Angel, Firefly episodes and the Serenity movie. I was preparing for that benefit to be taken away today, but the Whedonesque blog brings tidings of great joy:
Buffy and Angel back to Netflix instant streaming. After disappearing for less than a day, BtVS and AtS are available for instant streaming again thanks to an expansion of Netflix's deal with Fox.
"Dream On," the Glee episode Joss directed, is also now available to stream.
If Castle had its series finale tomorrow and Fox said to you and Joss: "We screwed up, let's try doing Firefly again." Would you do it?
Yes. Yes. I would examine very closely Fox's reasoning -- I'm a little gun-shy. If I got $300 million from the California Lottery, the first thing I would do is buy the rights to Firefly, make it on my own, and distribute it on the Internet. -- Nathan Fillion
When I think of Esquire Magazine, my first thought is its support of great American fiction. A place where Hemmingway could pick up some money to finance a trip to Spain.
Which is very good inter-millennial branding, because it is just a porn magazine now, isn't it? I mean, I sport a libertarian sentiment on pornography and all. Like Justice Blackmun, I know it when I see it.
And you won't see anything untoward in their special feature preview of March's cover girl: Angel/Firefly/Sarah Connor sweetheart, Ms. Summer Glau.
Caleb, Captain Mal, I mean Nathan Fillion seems to have finally found a show with staying power.
ABC kicked off its portion of the Television Critics Association midseason press tour by breaking a little news: The network has officially renewed six series -- Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Castle, Modern Family, The Middle and Cougar Town -- through next season.
Don't think it was much in question; he has a hit on his hands. If anybody does not watch Castle, I would advise you to try it. It may not be Buffy-good or Firefly-good, but it is a very good show.
What are the values expressed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
This survey is designed to measure what you perceive to be the important values and forms of social support in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I thought it would be a neat idea to see what people think the values of the series are. It is one way of quantifying your perceptions of the meanings of the series. It's called a Rokeach Value Survey .
The Whedonesque Blog (you're surprised?) links to a Daily Show segment
The Daily Show uses Buffy as an example of ideal government infrastructure. Jon Stewart and Co. suggest that instead of a Big Brother government, we should consider having a big sister. Buffy goodness starts 5:52 in.
Click if you must, but I'll warn: there is a lot of Stewarty badness for a small amount of Buffy goodness. If you've got six minutes you'll never get back, remind yourself how sanctimonious this guy is in service to statism.
Usually, if I see him, it is recommended by a right wing source and somewhat fun to know that his audience has seen him bash a lefty. But those are the exceptions and this clip is the rule. A Federal Judge -- for the first time since Wickard -- asserts that some limit exists to the Commerce Clause. And Stewart considers this to be judicial activism. "Yes, Virginia, there is a Commerce Clause!" (You're really hip if you laugh at that one: for smarties only.)
Polls (provided by those who appreciate him) show that his audience is well informed, so maybe they're not getting all their information from The Comedy Channel. But I still fear for the Republic.
There is nobody I'd listen to on culture more than Virginia Postrel. Even if she refuses to allow Dennis Miller to call her "Ginny." (Anybody else see that?)
Today she opines in the WSJ (and Insty links) on the cultural significance of the TV show "The Big Bang Theory." She suggests that our heroes used to be the guys who stole lunch money, but in a post Gatesian-Zuckerbergian world, the lowly geek is now the star.
The characters on "The Big Bang Theory" offer a welcome alternative to the cultural politics of elitism and populism. They neither eat arugula nor follow Nascar. They regularly frequent the Cheesecake Factory, where their pretty foil Penny (Kaley Cuoco) is a waitress. They've hit Las Vegas. But they also build fighting robots, have equation-filled white boards in their living room and know (to the degree anyone does) what dark matter is.
Ginny's column is suburb as usual. I wonder if any ThreeSourcers number themselves among the 15 million who watch this show.
I have had quite a few intelligent and trustworthy friends recommend it to me, assuring that I'd love the little physics and math quips in the dialogue. I watched once and was unimpressed. Last week Eliza Dushku was guest starring so I gave it another shot. But I simply cannot handle the sitcom format. The pacing, production and laugh track make me want to slit my wrists.
I feel comfortable snobbishly deriding it, but several people of whom I think highly dig it. Now including Ms. Postrel. Any fans 'round these parts?
I hate 24-hour news networks. Two talking heads yelling at each other and usually eschewing the main points of whatever issue they are discussing. Nevertheless, apparently liberal talk show host Keith Olberman was suspended for donating money to Democratic candidates. Rachel Maddow responded by basically saying that the folks at Fox air direct political advertisements on their shows. Unfortunately for Maddow, somebody actually watches MSNBC and compiled some video clips. Hilarity ensues:
I know at least two ThreeSourcers who have been getting in touch with their inner RuPaul fan since the Logo network has been running "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." I did not grab that Logo was the gay network, but it only takes about three commercials until you realize you're not in Kansas anymore, Toto (not that there's anything wrong with that -- or Kansas...)
They allowed their fan base to pick the 30 best episodes for a weekend "fan favorite" marathon. Jarett Wieselman of the NYPost is not pleased with the list.
Looking at the third choice -- "Something Blue" -- my jaw drops, heart sinks and mind shatters. This was the episode where a lovelorn Willow accidentally puts a spell on Buffy & Spike, making them think they're in love. It's mostly a throw away episode to those of us who aren't Buffy/Spike 'shippers. Which is what many of the episodes on this list feel like.
It doesn't match my list but I am not nearly as despondent as Wieselman. Save you the click:
30. Buffy vs. Dracula
29. The Prom
28. Who Are You?
27. Graduation Day, Pt. Two
26. Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
21. Band Candy
20. Tabula Rasa
17. Becoming, Pt. Two
16. Out Of My Mind
14. The Initiative
13. The Body
10. The Gift
9. Beneath You
7. The Wish
6. Lovers Walk
4. Fool For Love
3. Something Blue
1. Once More, With Feeling
Besides, he doesn't even like "Beer Bad." Who'd listen to him?
Now I know what it must be like to see that your favorite niece is starring in a porn flick.
Charisma Carpenter has joined the Butterfinger Defense League. She's in a very classy, artistic commercial with Sir Mix-a-lot, describing the joy of big Butterfingers, and we are told she'll soon have her own video "Sassy Puppies." Joining the ranks of top flight A-list celebrities like Erik Estrada and Lou Ferrigno,
Don't know how many watch "House M.D." My lovely bride and I have been big fans of Hugh Laurie from his BBC days, and we secretly wait for Stephen Fry to do a guest appearance on House.
Ann Althouse once cheered that the drug-addict doctor was the hero over the zealous narcotics officer. For the last couple of years, I've become convinced that Dr. Gregory House is lifted from an undiscovered Ayn Rand novel. He is preternaturally intelligent -- to which he owes all his success; he is self-focused to an amount that disturbs everybody else on the show; he is dedicated to disproving quackery, junk science, new age spirituality and questioning seriously held religious beliefs.
And Laurie is a brilliant actor, whose comedy chops keep this prickly character entertaining. The show's flaw is that the rest of the cast is thin and hollow. His oncologist friend Dr Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) has his moments, but there's no ensemble of any kind to play on.
Last Monday's episode, therefore, had two fatal flaws. It was built around the hospital's COO, Dr. Lisa Cuddy. That turned out okay, but not memorable.
Secondly, I wonder how many House fans are sympathetic to his Randian nature (like me) and how many (like me) were perturbed by the anti-business tilt of the episode, Yesterday’s Ayn Rand Facebook link was a talk on "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business."
Our brave Dr. Cuddy has to manage her adopted baby, her creepy husband, the weight of the world on the sisterhood, and then has to negotiate a contract with an (duh-duh-duuuuh!) evil insurance company (boo, hiss!)
She's just tryin' to get her doctors paid, but the grubby CEO, who won't interrupt his lobster lunch to speak with her, won't give his monthly budget for olives on his yacht to save children's lives! Thankfully she wins in the end to be cheered in the board room (are you sick yet? Dr. House could figure it out...)
I think the same thing every year but they keep running the same stupid ad with the same stupid theme: Spend just a few minutes on our website (and upwards of fifty bucks) ordering this precious Valentine's day teddy bear for your wife/girlfriend/barracks mate and she'll think you spent hours coming up with the perfect gift just for her!
Yeah, because chicks must not watch television too. Listen buddy, they're not as stupid as you are if you actually buy into this notion.
I thought "Dollhouse" was dead. But there is a two hour episode on tonight with special guest Summer Glau.
Also, Blog friend Silence turned me onto "Burn Notice" in a comment awhile back. I got the DVDs from Netflix and am halfway through Season One. That is a very good show, kind of halfway between Dexter and Castle. Goood stuff.
It happened so fast, I never told ThreeSources. But I am completely hooked on this show. Nathan Fillion is awesome. It has a superb ensemble supporting cast. The stories are clever. And -- even without vampires -- it has a lot of Whedonesque cinematography. I don't recognize veterans on the credits, but the folks doing this show are serious fans at the least.
Lastly, Detective Beckett is the answer for everybody on Sarah Connor withdrawal. They call on a millionaire who has a gun registered in the caliber used on a murder. He says "it hasn't been fired in years." "Or cleaned," returns Beckett disdainfully.
I started watching Season Two live, and I got the DVDs from Season One on Netflix. -- in a couple of days I will be fully caught up.
I give it five stars. The stories are self-contained enough that I would not worry about continuity, you could start anywhere.
UPDATE: It was good to see the brown coat, but that clip is all you get. Correction: this is only the second season of Castle, not third as I said in the original post (since corrected). And, yes, I have seen all the episodes now.
A beloved relative emails a link. Now this particular relative usually only gets her links posted at ThreeSources because I choose to perform a Fisking.
But, while our politics are orthogonal, we share a deep affection for each other and a certain fin de siecle television show, The artistic integrity of our favorite show is under assault as the Twilight books and movies have come to define vampires.
It's an example of transformative storytelling serving as a pro-feminist visual critique of Edward's character and generally creepy behavior. Seen through Buffy's eyes, some of the more sexist gender roles and patriarchal Hollywood themes embedded in the Twilight saga are exposed - in hilarious ways. Ultimately this remix is about more than a decisive showdown between the slayer and the sparkly vampire. It also doubles as a metaphor for the ongoing battle between two opposing visions of gender roles in the 21ist century.
Colliding with those facts, however, is the conventional morality, held even by some of those supposedly committed to our defense. It is clear that the enemies of “24” hold ethical notions drawn from the toxic wells of the antiquity: incoherent “virtues” of a vague niceness, of infinite “restraint,” of turning-the-other-cheek, of dutiful self-sacrifice, of infinite generosity—all as ends in themselves, regardless of their consequences to our survival, and to be observed even in wartime emergencies. That this suicidal gospel is being preached even at West Point is, frankly, terrifying.
Fortunately, however, our young fighting men and women are hearing, and apparently heeding, another gospel:
The Gospel According to Jack.
If there’s an encouraging message in the New Yorker article, it’s that many soldiers are actively resisting this “moral” training. Again, I’m not debating the efficacy of any specific tactics; I’m simply upholding our moral right and responsibility to use extreme tactics if they work and if we have to. That’s the Gospel According to Jack.
As Ayn Rand would have said, "Check your premises." The storyline in '24' occurs not over 24 weeks with time to weigh and calculate every action - it represents a single day. And not any ordinary day. A day like, for example, 9/11. Anyone remember that?
Bidinotto concludes: “America wants the war on terror fought by Jack Bauer.”
Read the whole article for the story about how the Pentagon wanted '24' to "tone down" certain scenes, and why.
His cynical take away from the long awaited return of agent "torture when necessary" Jack Bauer was that the plight of child soldiers in the develping world was intended to be the next cause celebre in the Hollywood activism community. Being the staid, fatalistic, heartless conservative that I am, I simply viewed the child soldier issue as a sympathetic plot device for foundational purposes to the story: Now that Jack (and CTU) have saved the nation and untold thousands of her citizens from death by terrorist acts, the panty wetters in our midst are free to question their tactics. "How many people did you torture Mister Bauer?" I look forward to a vigorous defense of such methods in defense of liberty and can only hope (there's that word again) not to be disappointed.
A positive sign was the repeated scenes involving the Frenchman who drove the U.N. supply truck. Feckless at every opportunity, when the brown stuff started hitting the fan and he sanctimoniously recited, "The U.N. remains neutral in this matter" Jack told him, "Why don't you go hide in the shelter with the other children."[3:37]
Jack's back, that's for sure. But so is (the supposedly killed) Tony Almeida! And they find a way to include Chloe as well.
Hollywood writers on both coasts are now pounding the pavement instead of their keyboards.
About 40 people hoisted signs and applauded, as picketing by striking TV and movie writers began Monday morning at the CBS lot in Studio City.
One writer said he's as ready as he can be for a strike -- but that with the cost of living in Los Angeles, "your bank account can never really be ready for this." Across town at the Paramount Pictures lot, about 50 strikers carried signs, as passing drivers honked their horns.
I wasn't going to even think about this, but I saw a video on the news tonight that showed a picket line.
What were they chanting?
"What do we want? _________. When do we want it? Now!"
How intolerably lame.
No wonder we get such feature films from Hollywood as Spiderman 3, Police Academy 27 and 10,000 reality shows.
Taking a short break from serious reality to discuss serious fiction...
A short time back we had a short back and forth (I won't call it a debate) about the virtues of Fox Network's "24." JK asserted that the program is "about" the action scenes. I disagree, giving the writers credit for at least as much intellect and nuance as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, although without the same "hipness." WSJ's Brian Carney agrees:
You don't need to watch "24" as a kind of primer on moral philosophy, but you probably should.
All these episodes help the show to maintain a realistic moral tone. An enemy that rejects everything we hold dear about our civil society will inevitably force us to make compromises between competing principles and loyalties. The most interesting complications that ensue as a season of "24" unfolds are the moral ones. And the show's great virtue is that it never pretends that these dilemmas are simple or false.
Multiverse, maker of a free MMO-creation platform, plans to announce Friday morning that it's struck a deal with Fox Licensing to turn the show into an MMORPG in the fashion of Star Wars Galaxies or Eve Online.
The "Browncoats," as Firefly's most devoted fans are known, have been campaigning to bring the show back almost since the moment it was canceled in late 2002. Now they'll get their wish, albeit in a new form.
Isaac Hayes' Chef character got a true "South Park" send-off Wednesday night -- seemingly killed off but mourned as a jolly old guy whose brains were scrambled by the "Super Adventure Club."
The thinly disguised satire continued the show's feud with Scientologists in its 10th season premiere on Comedy Central.
The soul singer has voiced the Chef character in "South Park" since 1997, but left recently because of what he called the animated show's religious "intolerance and bigotry." Founders Matt Stone and Trey Parker said Hayes, a Scientologist, was mad that "South Park" mocked the religion in an episode last November.
A rerun of that Scientology episode was mysteriously pulled off the air last week amid published reports that actor Tom Cruise, another Scientologist, had used his clout to bury it. A Cruise spokesman denied that.
Hayes didn't participate in making Wednesday's episode; the character's lines appeared to be patched together through tapes of past dialogue.
Chef repeatedly said he wanted to "make sweet love" to the "South Park" elementary school kids -- it seems the "Super Adventure Club" turns its members into child molesters.
Maybe it's just a guy thing, or my distaste for Japanese cars, or my straight laced law-abiding revulsion to the hip-hop culture. Maybe I get too much enjoyment from smashing things, or pretty young eurobabes in short skirts, or middle aged techno geeks being portrayed as hip. But when I watched this commercial for Volkswagen's new factory "tuner" car last night my wife asked, "Is that funny?"
"If you have to ask...," I replied.
The other two ads in the series are here, and here.