Points of interest from Comic Con 2009

July 27, 2009
  • The last ever Lost panel (below) was both entertaining and surprisingly revealing. Okay, it wasn’t that revealing but the fact that Lindlelof and Cuse reveal anything at all is revealing.
  • Heroes is really, really trying to prove it doesn’t suck anywhere. It’s not really working. I mean, the only thing anyone is talking about is Claire kissing a girl (and I assume she liked it). The fact that anything about Clair is a highlight isn’t boding well for the upcoming season. FYI: I fucking despise Claire.
  • Well hello Tron trailer!
  • True Blood fans (ie, me and middle aged women) got more than they expected when the cast and crew spilled the beans on what next season will be about. Namely, Sookie is going to be more and more attracted to Eric (I’m not sure why, besides being a badass and all) and that the Mississippi vamps and werewolves are going to stir some shit up.
  • Chuck details! Apparently he won’t know karate all the time, which is a relief, and Awesome gets more action, which is, err, awesome.

What is also of note is just how much attention the Twilight sequel is getting. That movie is going to make a fucking fortune and my head will fall off due to prolonged periods of long, drawn out head shakes of disapproval.


Shows that have no business being on the air…

April 30, 2009
I'll miss this show so much.

I'll miss this show so much.

Television, more than any other media form I can think of, lives off of consumer trends and tastes. In other words, 95% of TV series that survive are based on pre-established industry formulas. You have your copper shows (L&O, Mentalist, NCIS, CSI), where every episode encapsulates a singular mystery (maybe 2) with the off chance of an ongoing backstory if the creators feel risky. This can also span enforcement centred shows like The Unit and 24.

Secondly you have your medicals. Grey’s Anatomy, House, Private Practice fall into this, where it’s basically the copper equivalent, only switch out crime with medical mystery, and streetwise cops/specialists with emotionally damaged doctors.

Thirdly, you have your reality shows. The less said about them, the better. Aside from a few genuinely great ones like Amazing Race and So You Think You Can Dance, they all range from absolutely deplorable to mildly amusing. he networks know they aren’t exactly pushing out timeless material, but they had ads they need showing and they need to show them to as many people as possible.

Looking at the top 20 rated shows for broadcast in any given week you will see these three categories easily dominate at least 14 spots. This past week saw these shows taking up 15 spots. That’s not saying these shows aren’t good. They have to have at least a certain level of inherent quality to have so many viewers tune in, but you can argue they aren’t exactly original.

Well, here are a handful of network shows that I feel have no right to exist, not because they’re bad but that they’re unlike any of the shows that dominate the ratings. These are the shows that defied the bottom line. They don’t fit any easily definable formula and networks probably could easily get just as many viewers, if not more, putting out a procedural. And yet they live! Well, some of them. A few have been cancelled, unfortunately, but they were still given full season runs when their ratings would say a repeat of House would’ve gotten twice as many viewers.

NOTE: I’m omitting cable shows seeing that they constitute a fairly low percentage of TV viewers and we all know they have some crazy shows networks would never touch. And the cable networks know it. Also,I’m only looking at shows currently on air.

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Heroes concludes and so does my brain

April 28, 2009
Look at me, I'm a deus ex mahina!

Look at me, I'm a deus ex machina!

Well, I just saw the conclusion of Heroes’ third season and *significant spoilers starting* that was some bullshit they pulled off.

Ooooh, they actually killed Peter Petrelli. Nice. Took the show three attempts to pull it off, but at least they went through with it. It was a wicked slice to the throat, too. Blood gushing was a nice detail.

Oh, wait, this is Heroes so obviously this would be too easy. Oh no, we can’t just leave him dead. Instead, let’s transfer his memories over to Sylar (or something like that) and have Sylar permanently stay as Nathan and let’s all pretend Nathan never really died! My God, is Angela, and ipso facto the writers of Heroes, really this desperate to keep Nathan around? It completely ruins the drama when a show blatantly tells you that dead does not mean dead. Ali Larter coming back from exploding as ice was another example.

Here I thought her powers was to freeze things and NOT ACTUALLY BE WATER herself. Please, stop introducing wild new powers for the characters. This just shows weak writing, where instead of creatively writing themselves out of a tough situation, they just pile on one ludicrous notion or plot twist on top of another.

Heroes, you’ve sucked a great deal during these last two years. I guess it wasn’t surprising you would end the season on your lowest note yet.


Failed Television Series 2008-09 Edition

April 17, 2009
What happened toyou Whedon? I thought you were cool.

What happened to you Whedon? I thought you were cool.

Well, another network television cycle is slowly winding down and instead of talking about the shows that succeeded, here are the shows that either failed to entertain me or simply failed, canceled-wise.

These opinions are mine and are irrefutable.

Dollhouse – Likely to be cancelled.

Joss Whedon and Fox’s new baby, successfully delivered after having aborted Firefly, came into being with a whole lotta bad press. Things like reshooting the pilot and executive tampering, etc. Still, even with all of that, I was confident Joss could pull it off. After all, half cocked Joss is still better than most everything else on TV.

So why did this show start off so terribly? The ‘new’ pilot was monotonous, dreary and, most sinfully, boring as all hell. There were no ‘Joss’ characters. No one was likable and it’s hard to relate to the ‘Dolls’ seeing that they’re empty shells and what not. Things only got worse from there, with episodes of Echo, Eliza Dushku, being a back up pop singer, a blind girl infiltrating a cult, etc. This is all unfortunate because at the episode six mark, “Man on the Street”, the series finally found its humour, its drama and its kickass action.

Too bad by that point the show had become a ratings sinkhole that it never got out of. Hell, Fox even cancelled the planned airing of the show’s 13th episode, which is as it stands right now the likely series finale.

More obituaries (FYI – this is a long article) after the break.

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10 Ways to Resurrect Heroes

April 15, 2009
Remember when you gave a damn about these characters?

Remember when you gave a damn about these characters?

I know, I already wrote a long winded article about Heroes, but looking back on it maybe I was too much of a Debbie Downer. So instead of a constant flow of bitching, let’s look at what Heroes needs to fix to get back in the game. So, in no particular order, here’s what needs to happen.

1. REMEMBER THE PAST! I can’t remember another show where things get retconned mid-season because writers put themselves into a corner they couldn’t escape from logically. Sylar already knowing Elle, Mohinder’s dad had a role in creating The Company, Hiro never, ever, maturing. There’s plenty more.

2. Use a new threat! It’s been Sylar, essentially, going on three seasons now! Hell, it turns out season 3’s threat was just season 1’s threat all over again. We get it, Sylar’s a bad dude. Either do something new with the character, or find a way to kill him already.

3. Stop trying to be important. Characters just say things that sound important, but when you think about it nothing conclusive is ever said. This just makes dialogue in the series too self-important for its own good.

These was cool. Once.

These was cool. Once.

4. Stop looking into the future! Season one, Isaac paints an explosion – FROM THE FUTURE! That was cool. Season 2, Peter goes to a bleak, virus filled future. Okay, that’s alright. I guess. Season 3 (Volume 3), Peter goes to a bleak, mutant filled future that blows up. Uh huh. Season 3 (Volume 4), Matt Parkman paints an explosion. Fuck you Heroes.

(Side Note: If you must keep future paintings, why the hell does it all look like generic comic book crap? Isaac was understandable because he was a comic book artist, but for Peter, Matt, and a random guy in Africa to paint the exact same way? C’mon.)

5. Give Hiro and Peter back their full powers. I understand the writers fearing that they made two characters who were too powerful, but by gimping them they made the two fan-favourite characters into little whiny bitches. Not a fair trade off if you ask me.

I'm feisty and bitchy. That means I'm adorable, right?

I'm feisty and bitchy. That means I'm adorable, right?

6. Give Claire some personality, or just kill her off. Save the cheerleader, save the world, yadda, yadda, yadda. I get it. But guess what? Through all the retconning, her importance has been reduced to nil and all that’s left is whining and moping and pouting and…GAH, just do something with her. She’s getting more screen time than most, and she’s given nothing to do.

7. Real stakes. So far, none of the main characters have died. Nathan kind of died, twice, but not really. Start having some balls and kill off a character or two. Not for shock value (though there certainly will be some), but to just show that these characters actually inhabit a real and dangerous world, and like real life, shit can happen to anyone.

8. Cut back on the action sequences. I know lack of action was the chief complaint of the first season, but by increasing the adrenaline these last two years Heroes’ revealed it’s biggest weakness – too small a budget to have anything good happen. The fights either last two seconds, or look horrifically mediocre. Go back to character drama.

9. Bring logic back onto the show. Characters have been doing things more random than ever and decisions being made are getting stupider. Have people react like real people would react. How is a samurai trained Hiro knocked out by Daphne (and everyone else)? Why doesn’t Micah just shut down every government network hunting mutants? Why doesn’t Sylar just kill Danko now that he can shapeshift? The list goes on.

10. Let Bryan Fuller do whatever the hell he wants. Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies were fantastically whimsical character dramas/comedies that pushed all the right buttons. Let him bring that sensibility back to Heroes.


TV Season Thus Far…

April 6, 2009
See the background? We used to call that Chicago before "he" happened.

See the background? We used to call that Chicago before "he" happened.

It’s been one topsy turvy TV season, and instead of waiting until it’s over, I’d rather come prematurely…with my thoughts on the series’ thus far.  I have nothing better to do, and for all intents and purposes, my current opinion of these shows probably won’t change with the hand full of episodes they have left. I’ll (probably) update this article when the television season’s over and done with.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order (though I could’ve conceivably done it alphabetically rather easily) :

24 Season 7

We have a backwater African nation taking over airplanes with a mythical super device that looks like a toaster, we have the same African nation’s dictator trying to kill the President, and we now have US companies trying to kill EVERYBODY. Yep, this is 24.

And I’ve been loving it every bit. Jack Bauer’s been doing exactly what we love him for – wanton brutality. If there is a sore spot, it’s been the new tertiary characters. People like Garofalo’s Janice and the bitch/douche/whore of a first daughter really slow things down whenever their onscreen. But then again, whenever we’re not seeing Jack dismembering someone, everything’s relatively slow.

Rating: 24/10 – Did you honestly think I could’ve resisted this?

Lost Season 5

Lost has made possibly the gutsiest move in television history. It went from a supernatural, freaky, myserious serial that millions loved, and essentially became and outright hardcore science fiction show. Time travel, baby. That’s what I’m talking about. And the show has been magnificent because of it. Though I miss the flashback’s, what else can be explored with these characters? Do we REALLY need to see any more daddy issues on the show? It seems every character has a shitty dad.

Rating: 7.5/10 – I’m lost for a summation (you can tell by now I can’t resist the obvious).

Heroes Season 3: Volume 3 and 4

I already wrote a lengthy article of how I feel about heroes. It’s two posts down.

Rating: -3/10 – Trying to warn people about this atrocity makes me a far greater hero than anyone on the show.

House M.D.

I’ve been a sucker for this series since the beginning. Gregory House is probably the best non-Bauer character on TV right now. He’s not even that dick that you know has a heart under his rocky exterior. He’s just an outright douchebag extraordinaire, and that’s what makes him so tantalizing. That’s why House puts to shame the drvel that is Grey’s Anatomy and what used to be E.R. This season hasn’t been stand out, but an average House season is still 9,298 times better than the last two seasons of Heroes.

Rating: 7/10 – Humanity is overrated.

I wished all blood splatter analysts were this awesome.

I wished all blood splatter analysts were this awesome.

Dexter Season 3

After last season’s annoying clingy bitch from rehab arc, Dexter was back in fine form this season. Back to the killing and tense drama we loved the show for. Miguel as Dexter’s “first friend” was an inspired move, but who’s kidding – did anyone actually think a duo of serial killing amigos would ever last more than six or seven episodes?

I also liked where they left the show. Rita’s about to have little Dexter and everything seems bright for Dexter’s future. Which is all very tantalizing as we all know how al of that’s going to go.

Rating: 8/10 – Definitely a step up, but still not as great as the first season.

Battlestar Galactica Final Season

And it all ends not with a bang, but a contrived whimper. The last half of the season was really all over the place. And in the end, it all kind of peters out as they find our Earth and start all over again. *Gasp* That means we’re all Cylons, right? I knew Boomer looked like my grandmother. Great final space battle though. This show probably has the best choreographed and filmed space battles in any television show or movie ever. They’re just so damned intense. Unfortunately, there was only one this season.

Rating: 6/10 – Hey, THAT’S why pyramids exist all over the wor*barf*.

Mad Men

This series made me pick up smoking…in my head. But man, I was this close (I’m currently putting my index finger and thumb this close together [this means approximately 2 mms]). I’d say Mad Men is an acquired taste, but if you had acquired it like I and a million other guys did, you were thoroughly satisfied with this season.

Rating: 7.5/10 – He looks like a cartoon pilot! (Geek points for pointing out that reference)

You don't mess with Walter Fucking White

You don't mess with Walter Fucking White

Breaking Bad

A little watched, but thoroughly awesome AMC show. Man, do all the good shows go to that channel nowadays? They’ve got Breaking Bad and Mad Men, two perennial Emmy winners and what does HBO have? True Blood? If you’ve never seen Breaking Bad, go out right now and rent/but the first season right now. I’ll wait.

Back? Now watch it, it’s only seven episodes. I’ll wait again…Done? Good. Now you’re a man. Season 2’sso far been just as great.

Rating: 9/10 – Bryan Cranston is a badass? Almost as badass as Dakota Fanning, even! Who would’ve thunk it?

Well, that does it for the “TV Season Thus Far…” article. I’m sure I’m missing a few shows worth mentioning, but I’ll include those in my more conclusive “TV Season” article.


The Rise and Fall of Heroes

April 2, 2009
heroes_cast

I thought you guys were cool. What the hell happened?

When Heroes hit back in 2006, it introduced itself like a right hook to your supple jaw line. After being stunned for a few moments – or dead – you realized, “holy crap, what the fuck man?”

And then you’d realize, “holy crap, this show is awesome!”

The show was so damned good. It introduced characters that we (I assume we all watch the show) cared about. Peter, the male nurse with a weird mouth who also happens to be an ability absorbing badass. Hiro, the geeky Japanese office worker with a billionaire father (because that’s realism, duh) who has the ability to manipulate time and carry a sword at some indeterminate spot in the future. Claire, the show’s Wolverine, only taller, blonder, and sassiness in place of eviscerating claws. Nathan the flying man, Matt the psychic man, Micah the boy wonder, Isaac painting big explosions, and Mohinder the, uh, Indian.

Then there was Sylar. The enigmatic Big Bad running around cutting people’s scalps off. Even after he was caught and you found out he was some watch repairing douchebag, he was still menacing s hell.

So much greatness, and for whatever reason the producers and writers all got in a room, ordered some Quizno’s, and decided that yep, we’re done writing quality shit now that season one’s over.

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