Wednesday, September 17, 2008

30 Years Ago There Were Those Who Believed

Thirty years ago I was wandering through a new mall in a new town (Valley West Mall if I recall correctly) and in the hobby shop I saw new models for something called a Colonial Viper and a Cylon Raider. Being the young lad that had just moved from New England I wondered why fighters from the American Revolutionary War had space ships.

At my grandparents house we gathered at the TV set and watched this new show. "There are those who believe that life here began out there..."

Thirty years later I have to say that it holds up much better than one might expect. The effects are top notch. I remember my mother being somewhat amazed (alarmed?) when I spotted John Dykstra's name in the opening credits and noted that he did the special effects for Star Wars! (Yep. Been a nerd for a looooong time now.)

The THEME! I'd be hard put to come up with a cooler TV theme. Some come close (Wild Wild Wild West). The music over all was quite good. (We'll all just skip over "It's Love, Love, Love". It was the 70's.)

The cast was good. Starbuck was the highlight of the original series, too.

Yeah, it's really hokey. (REALLY.) I guess you can look at it and say "So twelve planets full of humanity are mercilessly slaughtered and then those that didn't die are shoved into a rag tag fleet looking for a place to survive? Sounds like happy Sunday night entertainment to me!" (See "Moore, Ron".) But what really strikes me watching the two hour movie (that ran for THREE hours with commercials - that was a late Sunday night for a fourth grader.) now is that this was a story about The Good Guys facing off against an Implacable Foe who, when offered peace, turned around and visited total genocide (helped by an insidious insider and a credulous political class). This was not only 1978 when that sort of thing was not a popular notion, but on the very night of the signing of the Camp David Accords. Wow. I can see why Moore was drawn to taking a more serious bent with nuBSG. Sometimes I think it would be nice if he took a less "people just suck" attitude.

BSG was our Must See TV for the rest of the season. Yeah, there were some not so swell eps (wait, who gets shot down and has to make nice with the natives this week?). But there was also Gun on Ice Planet Zero and Lost Planet of the Gods (where WOMEN *gasp* became fighter pilots! Yep, moving ahead fast in 1978). Commander Caine was SOOOO much cooler back then. I'm still waiting for the Crystal Ships to show up on nuBSG. And Fred Astaire was Starbuck's DAD!

Thirty years? Well frak, that doesn't seem very long at all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Terminator - 202 - Automatic for the People

Ok, so remember last year when getting new identities was a big deal? Now John not only just gets to show up at school (a new school? His old school?) but he also ditches at will and nobody cares? What happened with the girl who threw herself off the roof because "everybody saw" and they showed us at the beginning of forty-six episodes last season? (Now someone's going to tell me how they resolved that and it was important. S'ok, I can handle it.)

Ok, welcome back to this week's babbling about Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I not be sure if it be time to talk like a pirate yet cause it's errrrrrrrly or if it would be more fittin' like to wait until the tide turns and the next recap bein' afterrrr Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrrrrrr.

Still good. Not as good as last week but far better than many season 3 episodes of BSG. And we got to see the alley from The Terminator for all of about four seconds. But it was there. And it still had a bum. (He didn't ask about a bright light.) They picked up some old threads and did fun things with them. We're still in our spooky "Can Cameron be trusted?" vibe. Which they have to be careful with because right now they're calling wolf. We follow up with Charlie and Ellison. Solid, and probably more going on than I was left feeling at the end. Oh, and we have a little more idea as to the shape of the Future War.

I miss Sarah doing the narration. Just saying.

And now, matey, there be spoilers ahead.

So we get the new JC. (Er, John Connor.) Gosh, he's sulky. But they've got that cool password when they call each other, so that's nifty. Might not be too tough to crack, but at least they're thinking a little bit. The new girl friend is really, well I was going to say weird, but right now she's pointless. I do like that John is still very heavily aware that he's never going to have what is commonly called "a life". It's never going to end for him. They can hit that note as hard and as often as they'd like as far as I'm concerned.

I can't think of the last time I've seen this much Christian imagery on TV (in a more or less positive light). And in sci-fi adventure no less! And because of where they're hiding, lots of it is Catholic. Huzzah! I was wondering what religion is like in 2029. Derek prays. That's an astonishing detail. (To me, any way.) Of course, this is Derek (and Kyle) Reese mk. II, since they both got to be born AFTER Judgment Day since the timeline shifted around.

Not much interesting Cameron this time around. For a moment I thought that the T1000 was being Cameron. That day will come, I'm sure. I did like when she told John essentially that he couldn't be trusted. Almost as good as when she said last season that she didn't have to listen to John because he wasn't John yet.

It's amazing that you can have a character with her name on the show, but I still worry about her. I spent about half the episode dreading what was going to happen to Sarah. You really get into her head: Is this how it happens? Is this when she starts to die? Does she really only have six or seven years to live? (Seven seasons? They may have thought this through more than I thought...)

Derek isn't quite as loose-cannon-y as he has tended to be. He almost seems... Mellow. It's interesting to learn more about the war. That there are resources to be had and positions to defend. BUT...

Skynet has SEVERAL nuclear reactors now? What does this mean for the future?

Hey look, it's Shirley. Don't blink! I was surprised when they replaced nuclear science guy with a normal Terminator, not a T1000. They haven't quite revisited how scary those things are.

Scary dying future man (who carried a bullet inside him through time - nice) - how did he find out about The Plot? And who wrote all the future stuff in blood? What was it? More power plants? Hope this becomes clear later, cause I didn't quite follow it at all.

Ellison is almost as miserable as John. I wonder what will go on with Mr. and Mrs. Charlie.

Just occurred to me: Sarah's parents are dead (well, mom is) but Kyle and Reese's folks might still be around somewhere. That interests me.

Yep. Still loving this show.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Device Has Been Modified

Can you believe Portals is over a year old? This makes me want to play it all over again. I'll be nicer to the Weighted Companion Cube this time. Honest!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 2007

This will be the third year I'll make a 9/11 post. And it will be a blissfully uneventful day.

September 11th, 2002 we knew SOMETHING would happen. The 2004 political conventions it was pretty obvious SOMETHING would happen. Certainly the elections SOMETHING would happen.

This year's conventions went by with a yawn regarding security. Flying has become a modern day nuisance. Nobody has tried to blow up their shoes in years.

Thank you Mr. President and all of the men and women who have made that possible for the last seven years. That day the idea that this wouldn't happen again (and soon) was almost unthinkable. But we've done it so far. God willing, we will manage another seven.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2.1 Samson and Delilah

Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

Um, I mean, Oh look! A post! There must be television! No I will not blog my reviews of Bones. And if you're lucky I'll leave you out of my opinions on House, M.D. What else am I going to talk about, politics?

No! Wait! Come back! I was kidding! (For now.)

So here we are. Back for a second season. Please don't cancel my show! It's so good right now! I tell you, that was some soothing, relaxing, low key television. (Ok, maybe compared to the later seasons of Angel.) Yikes!

This was Terminator. Last season there were some obvious and mostly successful riffs on The Terminator and Terminator 2. IMHO they did well with it because they managed to stay surprisingly faithful to the continuity of the movies while they were busy coming up with their own stories. It was one of my favorite things about the show last year. Last night (we'll see if I really post this on Sept. 9) tapped into the "it's going to kill ALL of us! RUN!" panic that the first movie did so well.

Bear McCreary continues to be the hardest working composer on TV. Didn't realize that the singer in the beginning was Shirley Manson. Makes sense, of course. (She's SCOTTISH?) And yes, Bear, I immediately thought of the "When the Man Comes Around" montage. But it worked. Now give me my soundtrack of the BSG midseason closer. Thanks.

Alright, mateys! Here be spoilers!

Ok, I didn't see this coming at all. I was thinking we'd have a whole "how do we put Cameron back together" storyline. I didn't think that the car-bomb was just the beginning. And who knew Summer Glau could be so scary? And then she turns around and make you say "Awwww, you're not REALLY going to chip her, are you John? ARE YOU?" That was horrible. In a really great way. I was a little disapointed at the relatively neat wrap up. I had a few resolutions of my own. It seems that this will be hanging over them for a while though. And I really like that Cameron thinks this was a terrible idea. I love that about her: That she's more ruthless than Sarah.

I think (I hope) this is where John comes into his own. This is where John gets his own agenda. This is where John starts to know that nobody can lead him except him. That his judgment is best. (And if it doesn't involve Cameron or MAYBE his mom, he might be right.) Last year I thought John was the weak link of the show. Any time I think that I might be able to beat up John Connor, that's bad. (Furlong was a punk, but he was feisty.) This "new" John might be fairly tough. And I really don't think that's going to sit well with Uncle Derek.

Not much Ellison. That's too bad. I really really like Ellison. Looks like he's going to get his own special hell this season.

Ah, we have a budget this season? So bring on the T1000s. I'm not as crazy about that idea as I might be. But it does continue the time-travel tangle that has made this show so much fun so far. Not sure about Shirly yet. Did they show really need a Lex Luthor? But we'll see.

Sarah. Yeah, Sarah still rocks. Sarah is still harder than nails and makes PBJ sandwiches. It looks like she's taught John well. I'm sure that's not going to go well at all. Her name is on the titles, but it might be the John Connor show this season. But who knows?

Um, see you round, Charlie.

Ok, that was a fun hour. What's next? Oh, that's right, you're going to get cancelled in four episodes. (What? Of course I'm an optimist. Why?)