Sunday, September 30, 2007

Goodbye, Moneypenny

Lois Maxwell, the original Moneypenny (and like M, only one of two that were any good) has died.

Until the Brosnan Bonds (and recasting the part for the second time) there was only one director who "got" Moneypenny, and that was Terrence Young (Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Thunderball). Everyone else made her a goof ball. (Ok, Peter "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" did alright.)

If you count Bond, M, and Moneypenny as "the original three", that leaves only Sean Connery still standing.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

For a little more conservatism in your Trek...

National Review has FINALLY done their Star Trek weekend. Oh my, that's a lot to read... Guess I'll start with Lileks. (You know, I'm supposed to be MAKING Star Trek tonight, not reading about it.)

Everthing New is Old


20 years....

Unlike Firefly, THIS I watched on opening night. Until I was in college without a TV I never missed an episode. I own all seven seasons on DVD as well as all four movies.

Good job, guys.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Firefly - Bushwhacked

You know, if you're not watching Firefly -- IT'S TOO LATE! GONE GONE GONE GONE GONE!

This is the firefly ep I tend to forget. Don't know why. It's funny, I always remember the first shot of the show and the last. I always forget some real highlights of the ep. Mal is obviously a big part of this one. Reavers and the war always put him in a good spot. (Wouldn't THAT make a good movie?) We get more exposition here. not all of which is in TUAP. More on Inara. Zoe and Wash. Plus they do recap a bit from the pilot.

This shows off one of Mal's big weaknesses. "I will argue with you for way longer than it takes to explain because no one questions my authority!" Good character flaw. Dumb plot point. (Don't worry. It gets WAY dumber.)

The interviews with the Alliance rock. (And there are some great outtakes with Alan Tudyk too.) "We're private people." "Her legs!" Heh.

I don't think any space shot looked cooler w/o sound than the transport ship 'sploding.

Some AWESOME Book stuff this ep. Sure we all wanted to know who he REALLY was, but I would have missed this book. Very kind. A little meddling. Right a lot. Mal's conscience. (A useful one that can be part of a lot more stories than Inara. I'm still skeptical that Inara would ever have had anything to do other than create unbelievable romantic tension.)

Did you notice how much NOTHING Inara has to do? Ok, she has a nice moment with Simon at the beginning and then later with Mal. "Just when I think I have you figured out." Then Mal promptly proves her wrong. (Or right.) Heh.

Of course I'm not sure as to how well these reavers match the movie reavers.

I think this is the scariest episode that got made. There's a very dark feeling of dread and unknown. They were putting a lot of work into setting up the reavers. Of course this is a Tim Minear ep. I think he had some gifts that joss lacked from time to time.

We start to get a lot more River here. And we start to get that she's special.

Simon rocks, as usual. 'Specially when Jayne is torturing him.

Speaking of which, it's impressive how totally Adam B lives in Jayne. The ballgame, making fun of Simon.

"Piece of JUNK?!?" Wouldn't you just love to see Kaylee and Scotty get really plastered?

As much as they try to do space 'right' they always miss that space is BIG and that there isn't geography to hide behind or fly around.

Another moment that serves double purpose either as a reprise or an introduction is when Greg Edmunson plays the reaver drums. Again, I saw this first and it works fine. So there. I say again, they didn't kill the show by moving THREE episodes.

The ballgame is mission statement type stuff. Life in The Black. No holodecks here.

"May have been on the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."

See y'all next week for Our Mrs. Reynolds!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Heroes! - "Four Months Later"

Heroes - Yep, add it to my weekly blather.

Ahhh, the start of new TV. For those of you not watching heroes, you oughta be. Avast! Here be spoilers.

They saved the cheerleader. They saved the world. What next?

Well this was a nice start to the scary second season. Last season (that we watched completely two weeks ago) left the follow up a lot to live up to. Nice to see that we're ramping up slow. My first thought is - did ANYONE stay married? My second thought is - that is SOME beard, Nathan.

Do the non-super Bennetts know why they're in exile? (Ok, Mr and Mrs B. are still together. That's nice. But they still have the crazy dog.)

It's a nice relief to see that Mr B (Noah) is still being spy guy. Disgruntled copy center employee spy guy, but still. And Claire's story is still strangely compelling. I don't know why. It has as ordinariness that I like. Did anyone NOT see that the "friend" was going to be "special"?

Mohinder's story still needs some ramp up time. Not so interested yet. Same with Parkman. Although obviously (heh) Molly is going to be one of the hooks to the Big Bad.

The Big Bad killed Sulu! I'm bummed! I hope they don't kill off ALL of the silver agers. (Although I guess Mrs. Petrelli is the last one, isn't she?) (Hrmmm. Are they the GOLDEN agers, and then Nathan and Peter are silver, and Claire is... Whatever you call post-silver age?)

Hiro's story is SO entertaining I can't stand it! It's awesome! Takezo Sensei rocks. The scene where Hiro had to put his glasses back on is one of my favorites so far.

Peter is the cliff-hanger, eh? I figured it was him or Sylar. So, how does one totally disappear when a) one was pretty darn wealthy 2) a congressional candidate and d) you apparently maintain a cel phone plan? But, hey. That's REALLY quite a beard.

Sylar must be busy getting fitted for his ears.

No Vegas people yet.

Well, THIS is what it's like watching week to week. Not SO bad.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Five Years Ago TODAY TODAY!

Ok, I messed up. Firefly premiered tonight, not on the 10th. Whoops. So go back and read my post from the 10th.

Happy fifth anniversary of Firefly, for real! So Ff opened in a nice cozy Friday timeslot. Of course, so did BSG and that turned out ok... So I guess I'll quit whining in that regard.

See you next week for Bushwhacked!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rich Mullins

I've been trying to think of something profound to say about Rich Mullins today, the tenth anniversary of his death. Ten years ago I didn't care. It's been quite the decade.

All I can say is that just a few months later his music would become very important to me. Rich was the soundtrack of my coming back to the Church. An Arrow Pointing to Heaven. Indeed.

I'm sorry I never got to meet him. But he'd probably say that 1) that was no big loss and 2) that I got his music, what more did I need? Probably can't argue with that.

Arrrgh, Matey

In case ye be forgetting (I was a bit un-memoraful m'self) today be National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrrgh. (Grrrr.)

So I leave ye with this:

And the reflection that talkin' piratical is not too far twice removed from Joss-speak. At least the way Sparrow does it. Now avast ye scabrous dogs and hoist up the john bs sail, see how the mainsail sets, call for the captain ashore, let me go -- er... Arrrrrgh!

(What's a Pirate's favorite WWII movie? A Bridge Too Faaaaaarrrgh!)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Oh. Dear.

In today's "And Scarecrow and Mrs. King isn't out on DVD, WHY?!?" news:

A CLASSIC TV series of the first order
. *cough* Ah well, at least it'll have the Starbuck episode...

9/11 One Midnight Gone - Again

Another 9/11 past. Gotta be the weirdest national day. Maybe not. But it still gives me a jolt. I almost feel like it should not be allowed as a day. Like the 13th floor of days. "That should be here by 9/11" "That's due on 9.11." I'm almost offended. I hope the nextgen has (almost) no idea what I'm talking about. T know 12/7 in a rather abstract way. It should be like that.

If you were dropped into Feb '43 I wonder how long it would take before you could tell they were at war. If you traded places with someone, how long would it take them to tell we were at war?

Driving to work on 9/11 this week I passed under a bridge with a sign that said September 11th 2001 and a fella with a nice sized flag. I saluted, he waved.

Ten minutes later I passed a sign that said "LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT 9.11!" Oddly that person did not wait with their sign.

Still living in The Future, I guess.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Nerdiest Thing I've Read This Month

Wow. In the year 1987 America launched the last of it's deep space probes. Judgment Day was August 29, 1997. There was that business at Tycho. That's right, gang. We're living in THE FUTURE! Now where's my flying cars!?!

September 13th, a day of remembrance:

Eight years ago today, we lost the moon.

It may have been the single largest tragedy ever in the history of the
planet, having caused the destruction of much of our civilization, as
well as the disappearance of many species, some through direct
catastrophe, many others by disrupting the cycles by which they bred and
reproduced. There hasn't been as much sickness from the radioactive
materials scattered in orbit from Farside Dump as we thought there
would, but it has been bad enough--a thousand Chernobyls, covering much
of the planet. It will be centuries before we know the true costs.

There's nothing in the sky at night anymore except the plain old stars
and planets, just specks of light. No inspiring romantic glow filling
the darkness of the night, no waning tiny sliver to just peek over the
shoulder of the not-quite-dark sky.

No stepping-stone to the stars, either. Without the inspiration of the
moon, few have cared to continue what we started. Even many of the
Martians have come home, because they cannot yet feed themselves
completely for so many there, and some came back to be with their
families for what felt like the end of the world here on Earth.

Lastly, a dedication to those who were lost with Luna, at least some of whom were known to still be alive when we last had contact, but without supplies, without the sanity-preserving contact with home, cannot be expected to last indefinitely, and will likely not last even a generation. Yet some here feel the Lunatics are better off than we are, as they will not have to watch so much of their home die, to be reborn as a world alien to us as generations progress.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six years ago today

Not as much fun as five years ago, obviously. But this is not a bad way to make it better.

It's also nice to note that it has not happened again.

Indiana Jones and the...

Well, here it is.

Still not all that excited. (Prove me wrong, Steve. I dare you.)

THIS is exciting. The flying shots alone will get me in the theater. Oh, and Aliens v. Predator is actually looking cool this time out.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Five years ago TODAY!

Five years ago tonight I was NOT watching Firefly. This is not strictly speaking my fault. I didn't really have television in the wild and woolly days of 2002.

I don't recall how I heard about ff. Probably because I had started watching buffy on DVD earlier that year. So thanks to DVD and Netflix (a new and exciting thing back in the day) I knew who Joe Sweedon was. (For those joining late, this is funny - cause, like, his name is really Joss Whedon, and if you run it together, it's Joe - oh, you got it? Good. I think it's funny and I keep using it...) Anyway - It was the Buffy guy doing spaceships! And it had Adam "I'm not a Baldwin" Baldwin and Ron "Harris from Barney Miller" Glass. Then I found out it was all westerny, which was just nifty. (Joe hadn't totally screwed with the way I talked yet - so it wasn't "SHINY". Note that I said things like "westerny" ALL on my own.)

So. Here's how it is: l'm going to recap these in broadcast order. Keep in mind that "Serenity (tv)" was shown LAST. There MAY be some ranting about The Powers That Be Fox. Maybe. I will leave any "future" spoilers to the end of each week.

The Train Job
Ahhh, the sonorous tones of Shepard Book. You DVD kiddies have no idea what I'm talking about. Each week opened with an into to the 'verse (that's Ff speak for universe of course). With clips from The Unaired Pilot, Book tells us of the war and how the edges of the System are a rough and tumble place. "Find a crew. Find a job. Keep flying." It bugs me to this day that these intros aren't on the DVDs. Especially since "Keep flying" became such an important part of Ff culture. (They ARE on iTunes along with the "Previously on...". This is the proper way of course.)

The Bar. Our intro to our Big Damm Heroes (ain't they just?). Note the western/Chinese fusion atmosphere. Very Casablanca with a Chinese accent. Did you see the covert and possibly criminal activity on the part of the dancer and the fellow in the brown coat?

"Your move." Whoa. This looks like a TOUGH game of Chinese checkers! The fellow that spoke seems gruff. "I live on the edge." Let's see how THAT works out. This is a Joss show and bravado is not usually rewarded in low stakes situations. See? So very quickly we establish one character as bold and brash, another as cool and competent, and a third as tough but dumb.

"A toast!" Hey! Exposition! More about this war. This big war they failed to win. Which is why Mr. Brown Coat might seem unhappy about it. Also our first Chinese as a co-spoken language. "Browncoats"! I get it!

"Captain." Oh yeah. We knew that from the intro that's not on the DVD.

Jayne. The man they call Jayne. I just saw a Q&A with Joe S. (hey - I'm still laughing) where he talked about how Adam B. kind of screwed things up. We weren't supposed to love Jayne. But we do.

Big Fight. Our Heroes are overwhelmed. Ah. These are THOSE kind of heroes. The lovable losers that are smart and scrappy.

Nice holo-window. Nice moon. It's SPACE!

Our first fiddles!

"We'll rise again." Subtle.

Annnnnd THERE'S our GIRL! She's still lovely, even in her pilot model shape. Guns blazing. Oh, wait... No guns? No space battles?

Wash! The Leaf on the Wind! More folk. Wash is married to the woman. Captain has a chip on his shoulder.

No sound in space!

You CAN'T take the sky! Just can't! Unless you're Fox.

I've always thought this ep was pretty masterful in it's own way. For us what watched it before Serenity TUAP (The UnAired Pilot - keep up) it had to do all the exposition. For you mugs that watched on DVD, it had to be a followup. I think it's grand as both. I never felt lost watching the first time through. A lot of the info from TUAP is doled out over this and other eps. It works as either exposition or recap. Of course this ep also marks a pretty big change in the flavor of the show. Mal wasn't near as funny in Serenity. Funny, but not AS funny. He was gruff and tortured. He'll get that way again, don't worry.

Ok, I wrote most of this on a flight a few weeks ago and forgot about it, so the rest won't be as shot-for-shot, Television Without Pity. (Sighs of relief, I know.) But The Train Job is a great yarn. It's got a TRAIN! In SPACE! And it's got SPACE gangsters! And a SPACE sheriff! It's still one of MY favorites. Even the people that weren't crazy for it when it aired loved it when Mal said "Darn." and kicked the fella through the engine. Wacky fun. I imagine if this really HAD been the second episode well and true, it wouldn't have changed much. They still would have recapped JUUUUUST enough in case you didn't watch last week or didn't remember none too well.

The scene that will be a recurring theme is when Mal is told that everybody sucks and that's just the way the 'verse is (more or less) by the sheriff. Mal essentially says "Oh no they don't either!" ("I do not hold to that," he might say.) He kind of wants it to be that way, because then his life would make sense. But it doesn't. And that's Mal. "You're welcome on my boat. God ain't." Book and Mal. MAN I wish they had had time to go somewhere with that!

Oh, and this ep introduces Adlai Niska. Not saying he'll be any trouble later on or anything...

Annnd we say good night with a shot of the Hands of Blue. As if airport security didn't make us jumpy enough! (Not a WHOLE lot of River in this ep. OR the UAP. She got brought on real slow.)

Next week: REAVERS!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

No Kidding?

You know, I just spent the last few months looking for work. And now I have to go to a job to earn a living.

But somebody figured out a way to get paid for this!

Wow! How shocking! Because that wasn't what I was expecting to hear at all!

"It could also be due to the poor medical outlook for impoverished American ex-pop stars who have no health insurance, he said." So, doesn't that mean that he should take a sample of non-rock star impoverished Americans and find out? If this is the case then they're not really rock stars anymore, are they? I mean, that's not what's killing them, right?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Gorey Trek!

I love it when my favorite things come together. You know, bright copper kettles mixed with warm woolen mittens, like that?

Well here's a well meaning lunatic doing Star Trek Edward Gorey style!

"...altercation with some Klingons" might be my favorite.