Wed, Sep 05, 2012

: Coma

This is the new A&E mini-series that was produced by Ridley Scott and his late brother, Tony. Unfortunately, I came away wondering why they bothered. It’s basically a remake of the first movie, except it’s four hours long and everything’s changed around for no clear reason.

For instance, instead of the main character being a doctor, she’s a medical student. I guess that gives her less power, but the obstacles, such as patient rights preventing her from looking into related cases, are exactly the same for both characters. The romantic relationship is still there, but this time the guy she’s involved with is her teacher — isn’t that unethical?

Overall it’s not bad: good cast and performances, interesting problems and a conspiracy to solve, but other than a few scenes of modern technology, I don’t see anything in this new version that improves upon the past. Everything’s the same but just a little different. If anything, this version is more convoluted and chaotic and not as streamlined as the first film, and that’s a big negative. I give it a firm “ho-hum” and recommend you just watch the original.

(If they’d done this as a TV series, which is what I initially thought it was, it would have been very interesting. Following the conspiracy over the years would have been fascinating and then it would have made a lot more sense to have the main character a student so we could watch her grow into a doctor.)

Topic: [/television]


Sat, Jun 09, 2012

: Hatfields and McCoys

I just heard about this History Channel miniseries yesterday, reading that it got the highest ratings of any cable show ever (beating out all the main networks in prime time). I didn’t know anything about the Hatfields and the McCoys other than they had a famous bloody feud. Since it sounded interesting, I started watching it.

I couldn’t stop. It affected me deeply, which is fascinating. I don’t like war movies, and family squabbles annoy me, but this was done in such a way that it felt like regular everyday humans caught in a terrible web of their own making. I felt sympathy for almost every character; most were just woefully foolish, and even the villains had their good sides. The filmmakers brilliantly set things up so neither side is completely right or wrong, and there’s a sense of inevitability about the characters’ fates and situations.

I really liked that the film gave us insights into the characters to show that though they made stupid decisions and let their emotions rule their actions, they were not dumb. Often they were quite clever, in devious ways.

I was also fascinated by how much I learned: I never realized the feud involved so much legal wrangling (the families were bordering states, West Virginia and Kentucky, and that created all sort of legal complications in terms of extradition). Aspects of the feud went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to get it figured out.

Best of all, I’ve often heard that in these kinds of feuds that after a while, no one really knows who started it or why. Even with a film adaptation like this, that happens — by the end you can’t remember how it started either. It’s just a long series of minor inconveniences, insults and slights, and unfortunate accidents that devolves into violence, murder, and all-out war. While I’m sure this film version isn’t exactly what happened, it is brilliant in how it conveys a realistic way such a thing might have happened.

In terms of negatives, it’s a little hard to keep track of the many characters dying all over the place (though not as bad as I expected), and I also wasn’t always sure of the timeline (occasionally text came up mentioning the year, but not often enough). There’s an ill-fitting and unconvincing love story which feels like an obvious rip-off of Romeo and Juliet and that bothered me at first, but it is very interesting and creates some good drama.

Overall, this is an incredible and mesmerizing story, well-directed and performed, with an amazingly believable set. It’s tragic and shows the stupidity of feuding, but in a way that’s realistic and human, making you think this could happen to you or people you know. Heart-wrenching.

Topic: [/television]


Sun, May 06, 2012

: Treasure Island

(Scifi Channel mini-series)

I had expected this to be another silly B-movie by the Scifi Channel (I refuse to spell it with a Y as that is insulting to a great form of literature), but to my shock this is a terrific movie. It’s authentic to the novel (as best I can remember), well-acted (with a great cast), extremely well written (wonderful dialog), and a surprising amount of fun.

It’s been ages since I read the book (I’m putting it on my list to reread now) but I don’t think I understood the story very well until this film (I was eleven or twelve). Here we get to see the wonderful plotting by Long John, who’s been cut out of his pirate treasure by his back-stabbing captain, as he gets himself and his men hired on as crew for a ship that’s off to seek the treasure. That ship is run by a wealthy man who’s financing the expedition, based on the map discovered by young Jim Hawkins, who found in the belongings of a dead man who stayed at his parents’ inn. Jim goes along and we see the story through his eyes, as his romantic idea of the pirate life is brought to a gory end.

Even the action parts, which usually I find tedious and predictable, are fun here, in part because it’s pirate action, but also because it’s done in such a way that you actually understand what is going on. (Too many battle scenes are nothing but a blur of chaos and I have no idea what’s happening.)

Amazing, impressive, and surprising production. Definitely worth your time.

Topic: [/television]


Wed, Feb 15, 2012

: Homeland

I don’t often write about TV series, but I believe if they are done properly, they can be better than films. That’s because shows have more time to develop the storyline and they can be more complicated, similar to a really thick novel. Showtime’s original series Homeland is vastly better than most films.

I knew nothing about it as I wasn’t a subscriber to the channel. I’d heard the name of the show last fall when it came out, but that was about it. I vaguely remember hearing that the critics were praising it and more recently — after watching the first episode — I heard it won a bunch of awards. I’m not surprised. It is a fantastic show. I caught the first episode during a Showtime “free weekend” and I loved it so much I bought a subscription to the channel. If you know miser me who hates monthly fees, that’s impressive.

The premise of the show is brilliantly simple. An American CIA analyst, Carrie Mathison (played by the perfectly cast Claire Danes in her best role ever), gets intelligence that an American POW has been “turned” (brainwashed into becoming a traitor). She doesn’t know what to do with this info until suddenly an American soldier, Nicholas Brody, is discovered in a hole in the ground in the Middle East. Carrie is convinced that Brody (awesomely played by Damian Lewis) is the turned POW and is going to carry out a terrorist attack in the U.S. Brody comes back to the States and is celebrated a hero, but his home life is chaotic. He’s a changed man: gone for eight years, tortured and kept in isolation, he’s not exactly stable, and after so much time away, his children don’t know him and he learns his wife has been sleeping with his best friend. But is his strangeness due to his traumatic experience or is he a spy? Even more intriguing, we learn that analyst Carrie has a history of mental problems (she needs drugs to stay stable), so we begin to wonder if she’s insane or brilliant. There’s plenty of setup here for amazing drama, tension, and spy games.

Now with a binary “is he or isn’t he” premise like that, this struck me as an intriguing but ultimately shortlived show. After all, how long can they milk the suspense of Brody’s guilt or innocence? But wow, does this show do it! No spoilers, but not only does the show manage to carry on the premise throughout this first season, but it sets itself up brilliantly for a second season (something I couldn’t figure out they were going to do). Most importantly, it does this in a way that’s utterly logical and believable: nothing is forced or artificial.

In fact, that’s a key thing about this entire show that I loved: it’s one of the truest portrays of politics and spy craft that I’ve ever seen. For example, in most spy movies, the spy is doing things like infiltrating the enemy or sneaking in to steal information or something. While there’s a little bit of that here — surveillance and trailing and snooping — this show is much more about doing things like blackmailing shifty characters into cooperating with the government, or interrogating suspects in clever ways to get information from them. It’s realistic, too: the information obtained isn’t obviously important, like the location of a bomb, but it is tiny and almost trivial — perhaps just the fact that two people know each other — and top analysts can extract clues from that to figure out the big picture.

Other than one scene (out of hundreds) that felt off to me, the entire first season was nearly flawless. Most TV shows, even great ones, have a few dud episodes or a few moments that don’t quite work. This one did not. I watched every minute of every episode with my hands clenched and my breath held. It’s just amazing drama. With every episode I kept thinking “they can’t do this again next time” and yet they did. What’s awesome, though, is that every episode feels incredibly satisfying. This is not like most shows — say Alcatraz — that tease you with information but don’t really pay out much of the story. In Homeland things actually happen and the show progresses by a large amount in every episode — and yet the next one has just as much drama and twists and turns. It’s just amazing.

You have to watch this show. It’s grim, gritty, messy like real-life, the performances are fantastic, and the the story is just stunning. Apparently the show’s based on an Israeli TV series, Prisoners of War, and while I have no idea how good that show is or how similar this one is, I can imagine how that would work (POW returning to Israel and not knowing if the soldier has been turned or not). I can’t wait for more of this show, though I suppose season two won’t out until next fall. I’m not sure I can wait that long. I’m still trembling from watching all these episodes (I watched the last five non-stop) and I feel like going back and watching the entire series again from the beginning. I can’t think of any TV show that’s ever made me want to do that (there are some I like to watch more than once, but not immediately after watching the whole series).

Topic: [/television]


Tue, Sep 27, 2011

: Terra Nova

Of all the new fall series, this was one that really interested me. I love the premise — a future earth is polluted and ruined, so scientists send a few lucky people back in time 85 million years to start a new colony of the human race and start over. It’s a one-way journey as there’s no way back, so they’ll have to survive.

The premiere was last night and I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s obviously got an impressive budget for some Jurassic Park-like special effects, and I liked the cast. But pilots are always tough to judge. There’s so much “world building” they have to convey to introduce us to the setting, the characters, etc., that there’s not much time for a real story.

This begins with an interesting story — in future earth our cop hero has apparently had a third child without the state’s permission and is being hunted down and thrown in jail (shades of Anne Frank hiding from the Nazis there) — but that story is given short shrift as the pilot rushes to get us back in time and to the “exciting” dinosaurs. This new world isn’t that special or unusual — it’s pretty much what you’d expect. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’d hoped to find a more interesting place. Unfortunately, the script then goes into a chaotic dinosaur attack/rescue situation, which while not badly done, felt predictable and ordinary. It also makes me worry that the show might become a “dinosaur attack of the week” show. I’d be far more interested in learning more about the various dinosaur species, discovering things modern scientists didn’t know about them, etc. Perhaps have one of the young characters adopt a small creature as a pet. Something different and unusual.

Another direction the story takes is to introduce us to a group of human rebels, who have split off from Terra Nova and attack it. This hints at conspiracy theories and strange plots and hidden motivations. That could be interesting, but honestly I’m rather sick to death of conspiracy shows. I’d much rather have a show about the people struggling to survive, the internal politics of the colony as the new citizens clash with older citizens, etc.

Still, there was much I liked about the show. It’s definitely an interesting premise and I’ll keep watching. I’m curious where it will go as that’s unclear at this point. Exactly what type of show is this? Depending on that answer, I might have a new show to follow.

Topic: [/television]


Mon, Jun 07, 2010

: Lost (series finale)

The series is now concluded. Over the past weekend and several days, I watched the entire final season — all 18 hours or so (much less when you skip commercials). I’ve been saving them on my DVR so I could watch them in one sitting, because the show’s cliffhangers drive me nuts. I didn’t quite do it in one sitting, but found it surprisingly compelling and often stayed up well past midnight to watch one or two more episodes.

First, let me give the standard spoiler warning, because I cannot discuss this show without giving things away, so if you haven’t watched the finale yet, don’t read any further. (I’ll try to avoid spoilers as much as I can, but you are warned.)

Second, let me preface my comments by pointing out my history with the show since that influences my impressions. When Lost first debuted, I tuned in. After about two or three episodes, I dropped out. The show reminded me way too much of J.J. Abrams’ Alias, which I hated. Like that show, Lost seemed to throw out lots of weirdness or dramatic plot twists with no rhyme or reason. I had little faith that the show had any rational explanation behind the weirdness. While I was intrigued by many of the ideas and I liked the concept of the show, I just didn’t trust the producers (which I felt had betrayed me on Alias) and so I stopped watching.

Over the years, I tuned in occasionally, but I probably only saw an episode or two a year — just enough to remind me how much I didn’t know about the show. Some seasons I saw more episodes and had a slightly better idea of what was going on. More recently, Lost reruns started on cable and I recorded them and watched them on fast-forward. Basically I skipped through storylines I didn’t understand or care about, and mostly followed the main plot and the stories of the main characters. That may not sound like the best way to watch Lost, but the interesting thing is that it worked. Not only did I catch up with what was happening (for the most part) without it taking nearly as much time, but I started to see how the show was tying in stuff from the earlier seasons. Events in earlier episodes that had seemed random and just bizarre for weirdness sake suddenly had real explanations. I got hooked. Last season I recorded and watched most of the season all at once, and I did the same thing this season. (That is by far the best way to watch Lost, in my opinion. It is not a show that benefits from a weekly break.)

So, what do I think of the final season and the show in general? Here we go.

In many ways, Lost is an impressive show. It features terrific drama, amazing actors, unusual story arcs, wonderful music, and of course, fantastic island landscapes and cinematography. From a storytelling perspective, it is almost the perfect show: a fantastic world where pretty much anything can happen. The show is an incredible blend of science fiction and fantasy, and I love the way it pits faith and science against each other, with non-spiritual characters becoming spiritual and vice versa. I also love the way its characters are not black and white, but wonderful shades of gray. You aren’t sure if people are truly evil or just making mistakes. The way the show sets up a person as a bad guy one week, then switching it around the next, is truly astonishing.

Much of this season reminded me of the very best of Lost. Instead of backstory of the characters, we followed them into the “sideways” universe, where the plane hadn’t crashed and things were similar but different. The crisis of faith versus science was brought to a head. Some of my very favorite moments of the series happened in this season.

Unfortunately, all that was ruined by the final episode. Take away the final episode and you’re still left with mystery and wonder. The finale tries to pull back the curtain so we see the little man running the show and we’re naturally disappointed. What I feared from the very beginning on the show became true: the producers had no idea where they were going and wrapped everything up in a convenient dream sequence. (I saw a joke on a competing show which claimed “the whole thing was a dog’s dream” — and sadly, that’s not too far off.)

The problem that I have with the finale is that Lost, from its inception, was a show grounded in reality. People died. People suffered. There were injuries and recoveries, tragedies and triumphs. People sacrificed themselves for others. People were greedy and selfish and cruel and evil and loving and kind. We were shown this over and over. No matter what odd or weird thing happened, the consequences were real. The show gave us the impression that there was science behind the mysteries. The unusual things had rational explanations. That is what made the show interesting. We tuned in to discover those explanations.

Please note that I’m not against supernatural explanations. I am a spiritual person and I have no problem with such a resolution, if it is done correctly. This was not. The finale was ham-handled, promising a great explanation and delivering nothing at all. It was a thin excuse by the producers to flash back through all the show’s events and actors and bring everyone together for a final scene. It was a feeble attempt to give viewers a “happy” ending while still resolving the show. It was a cheat and a con, and I feel betrayed. The finale taints the entire series for me. I would recommend people watch the show, but I would advise skipping the last episode which will only disappoint.

How should Lost have ended?
The problem, like I said, is that since the show has always been reality-based, it cannot suddenly turn to mysterious supernatural stuff at the very end. The show is violating its own laws of physics. That isn’t to say there couldn’t be a spiritual component to the explanation. The original Locke character, for instance, is considered the spiritual heart of the show. He was the man of faith — a converted skeptic, the most dedicated of all. Why not end with a little mystery? Give us a rational explanation for 90% of what we’ve seen and leave us with a spiritual loophole that a character like Locke can point out. Have a scientist-type person accept the technical explanation with some doubts, wondering if there’s more to the spiritual side that he’s neglecting. The method the Lost writers took was a cop out.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if there was ever a good way to end this series. The whole premise of the show was the mystery: what is the island? Why do such odd things happen there? Pretty much any explanation is going to leave you unsatisfied, either too mundane or too supernatural. The producers did a great job milking that mystery for six seasons, but end in the end, they ran out of places to hide. Far better to just let it end on a mysterious note, leave us wondering. Instead of wondering why we wasted six years of our life on this pointless story.

Topic: [/television]


Mon, Dec 14, 2009

: Dexter

Dexter is a wonderful TV show exclusive to Showtime, the pay channel. I watched the first season on DVD a few years ago, and caught the others when they aired on regular TV (CBS owns Showtime and aired part of the series). I think I’ve missed a few episodes, but I’ve seen most, and Dexter is one of my favorite series and characters. He’s a serial killer. But he’s a “good” serial killer, in the sense that he only kills bad guys (other serial killers, rapists, murderers, etc.). He’s really good at what he does. His adopted father was a cop and recognized early on that Dexter was a psychopath. He’s the one who taught Dexter a code: to only kill those who deserved killing and to do it in such a way that he wouldn’t be caught. Dexter actually works for the Miami police department as a lab geek: he’s a blood spatter analyst. Thus he has inside access to forensics and is involved in major investigations, but he’s also surrounded by cops, which is dramatic and fascinating. The entire series hinges on Dexter’s feelings of alienation and the potential of his dark secret being uncovered. We’re also never quite sure about Dexter: though he seems likeable and is intelligent and cunning, he’s also unemotional, distant, and slightly creepy. We see him do horrible things without an emotional waver and that makes us wonder just what he’ll do next. But there are glimmers of hope. In the previous season he finally married his long-time girlfriend, a woman with emotional problems of her own (her ex-husband abused her). In this most recent season, he’s trying to settle into domestic life: raise her kids, deal with their new baby, keep the wife happy and clueless, while still leading a double life as serial killer.

As usual, the series is terrific and every episode keeps you on the edge of your seat. I love the way they write this series. Each season is like a novel, with each episode a chapter. It’s one long story with shorter events in between. There are always terrific plot twists and unexpected turns, secrets and discoveries, and dramatic events and plenty of bloody killings. It’s wonderful. Though some episodes are naturally weaker than others, and some subplots distasteful or not that intriguing, overall this is one of the best series on TV. This particular season was incredible for a number of reasons. First, our bad guy was a serial killer played by the fantastic John Lithgow, who somehow pulled off the amazing feat of arousing our sympathy while being chillingly evil. Second, Dexter’s quest into becoming a real person seemed to be making a great deal of progress: domestic life, while causing lots of complications for his extra-curricular activities, seemed to be helping him. He’s the most human yet and that raises the stakes of the drama because as he becomes more human he’s more prone to emotion and mistakes, and his relationship with his wife becomes less of an act and he’s in greater danger of his secret being discovered. (That is one of the things that hooks us in: what would Dexter do if his family discovered his secret? Would he kill them in cold blood? Or is he human enough that would now be difficult?) The final thing that makes this season so incredible is the dramatic ending. I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say it’s unexpected, tragic, and completely changes where the series is going. It makes you rethink everything that happened so far this season. While I didn’t find it unbelievable (it fit with the characters and wasn’t arbitrarily done), it effected me emotionally in ways I can hardly explain. I had trouble sleeping after the final episode. I felt like I’d lost someone close to me. It was a profound experience. I haven’t felt that way since I first saw David Lynch’s Blue Velvet or his Eraserhead. It was disturbing, creepy, sad, and left me bereft and confused. But it also left me fascinated, exhilarated, admiring the daring and brilliant writers of the show, and wondering where the series is going. I cannot wait for next season. I want to watch it right now. (Unfortunately, it won’t presumably happen until next fall.) I should reveal my technique for watching this series. I had a free three-month subscription to Showtime, which was awesome, as Dexter was the only thing I really wanted on the channel. (I am now convinced it’s worth paying for Showtime just for this series.) Anyway, all this fall I recorded the show on my DVD. When I saw that Sunday night was the final episode, I started watching all the episodes I had cued up. Yes, I watched twelve episodes of Dexter in a row. I won’t say one sitting, since it took me a few days, but I knew that’s how I had to do it: every episode ends on a cliffhanger and I hate that. I can’t stand waiting in limbo for the next chapter. This was an excellent way to watch the show (as getting it on DVD is also). It also could be why the final episode effected me so dramatically: I was profoundly in the whole Dexter world and experience. Anyway, if you haven’t seen Dexter, you need to do so. It is amazing. It’s quirky, fun, creepy, bizarre, dramatic, and colorful. The characters are twisted, the violence is realistic and gory (yet not so bad it’s unwatchable), and the pacing of the show is excellent. Highly recommend (but do start with the first season if you haven’t seen it as you need to start at the beginning).

Topic: [/television]


Fri, Dec 04, 2009

: Monk: Series Finale

Today was a sad day as what frequently was one of the best shows on TV for many years came to an end. I don’t know why it ended; if ratings were low or the creators were burned out, but I’m still pissed about it. When they announced last spring that this fall season would be the end I thought my heart would stop. Monk has consistently been one of the few shows I can watch any time, any where, in any mood. It is funny, heartwarming, intriguing, clever, and just all-around wonderful. Other shows sit on my DVR for months before I get around to watching them (I’ve got 15 episodes of House queued up right now and I love House, but I have to be in the right mood). Monk I often watched the same day (on special occasions I managed to save it for watching during Sunday dinner). It was not always perfect or consistent, and sometimes it got repetitive and predictable, but the thing about Monk is that I didn’t care: even a bad episode of Monk was better than most good episodes of other shows.

This final two-part episode resolves all the show’s mysteries. While I’m glad it ended that way instead of suddenly and without any resolution, I’m not that impressed with the conclusion. Yes, Monk finally solves his wife’s murder, and no, that doesn’t magically cure his OCD (though it helps), but the mystery itself didn’t seem too mysterious (it was extremely predictable) and Monk didn’t have to do much sleuthing or anything brilliant to capture the bad guy. The finale tries to hit so many notes and resolve so many things it feels scattered and weak. My preference would have been to have changed this around: had him solve the murder in a brilliant way in part 1, then deal with all the ramifications and resolutions in part 2. Instead they tried to spread the murder across both episodes and crammed the resolution into the last half hour and it felt forced and awkward for me. Not so poor that it ruins the series, but not going out with a bang as I would have wanted. Monk needed to do something brilliant in this episode, some thing only Monk could do, and instead he has the murderer handed to him on a silver platter. Lame. I still love this series, though. I hope it lives forever in reruns and I really hope the books continue and I would love for USA to do a Monk TV movie once a year like they did with Columbo and Perry Mason and other series.

Topic: [/television]


Sun, Mar 23, 2003

: Oscars

Interesting ceremonies. For one, this year I’d actually seen most of the films (some years it seems I haven’t seen any), and for another the “war” toned things down to a much more pleasant level. All the glitz and silliness that usually goes on makes me nauseous. The Academy should do it like this from now on.

The war comments were more subtle than I expected, with the exception of Michael Moore. Fortunately, his attack on Bush, which was clearly in bad taste and out of place, was roundly booed by the liberal crowd. Surprising and pleasing. Adrien Brody’s Best Actor speech gets my vote as the best speech (though it would have been nicely unifying if he’d prefaced his “war” mention with the fact that it doesn’t matter which side you’re on, war hurts everyone).

As to the awards themselves, I have few complaints. I was pleased Polanski got Best Director, and Brody for actor. Kidman’s okay for Best Actress, but Selma Hayak would have been a more daring choice. Chris Cooper was my choice for Best Supporting Actor, and I have no problems with Catherine getting the Supporting Actress nod. Pedo Almodovar winning Best Screenplay was awesome, but Charlie Kaufman was robbed for Adaptation not winning. Chicago picked up a lot of undeserved minor awards (Costumes? Sound? Spread the love, Academy. Recognize some of the other good films.), then got the big one, Best Picture, which was deserved. Eminem winning Best Song surprised me, but it is a great song. Frida at least one some consolation Oscars, and The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers managed a few technical awards but was once again snubbed on the creative one. Maybe the third film will get the respect the saga deserves. If nothing else Jackson deserves an honorary Oscar for Film Achievement of the Decade or something. But then he is laughing his way to the bank, despite whatever the Academy does, and in the end that might be the best revenge.

In general I’m pleased: no minor artsy-fartsy film swept all the awards (like The English Patient, ugh), and a few films that actually made money were recognized (I hate it when the Academy picks art films no one has seen). I would have liked to see independent films get a little more recognition, but this wasn’t a bad night with Frida and The Piano picking up some decent statues.

Topic: [/television]


Mon, Mar 26, 2001

: Oscar Commentary

Okay, I have officially lost all respect for the Academy Awards. There have been times in the past I’ve disagreed with their decisions, but mostly that was simply because I had a favorite I was pushing. But giving

Topic: [/television]


Sun, Oct 01, 2000

: Olympics Commentary

A word about the Olympic coverage. I’m a big Olympics fan, but I don’t remember watching much of Atlanta. This year, despite the lame delayed coverage and NBC’s ceaseless interruptions for commercials, I’ve watched a great deal more than usual. Why? It’s simple: for the first time, they showed Olympic soccer. At Atlanta, they didn’t televise any, mens or womens. As I watched Olympic soccer, I became more interested in the Olympics in general, and I ended up watching other events. NBC or whoever broadcasts the Olympics ought to remember that: part of what makes the Olympics interesting is the variety of sports, especially sports we don’t regularly get to see. I was really hoping I’d get to see table tennis coverage, but sadly none of that was shown. Many other events received on minimal coverage (such as highlight packages). Hopefully by the next Olympics we’ll be able to pick and choose the events we want to see on the Internet, and not have to rely upon an unreliable network.

Now, as to the coverage itself, it was pretty bad. In the past I enjoyed the bios of athletes and documentaries on the area, but that was because the event was live and there were delays and waiting periods. But this time, knowning the event had already happened 18 hours earlier, there was no excuse. The filler material was only thrown in to artificially increase the drama and milk the event for more commercials. Last night I recorded five hours of Olympic coverage and watched it in less than an hour by fast forwarding through all the nonsense. That’s insane.

Finally, a comment on the Internet. NBC doesn’t have a clue. They ceaseless promoted their lame website throughout the Olympics, but if you went to the website, what did you see? The final results before the action was televised! Now that’s just sheer stupidity. No wonder the ratings have been horrible.

Topic: [/television]


Sun, Dec 12, 1999

: The X-Files (TV)

Wow, two weeks in a row of great episodes! This one, about a man “cursed” with being lucky (he falls 30 stories and walks away), is a classic. See, the man is lucky — he could win the lottery easily — but bad luck follows all those around him, so he’s forced to live a sheltered, isolated life. This episode is hilarious, witty, inteligent, and thought provoking. The ending is so cool you’ve just got to see it! Highly recommended, even for non X-Filers. The Rube Goldberg sets are pure genius.

Topic: [/television]


Sun, Dec 05, 1999

: The X-Files (TV episode)

Did you see tonight’s The X-Files? Wow, what a terrific episode! Definitely one of my favorites! The plot dealt with a teenager who’d discovered the ability to move at superhuman speeds — he could do things so fast the eye couldn’t see him. Unfortunately, he used this ability for evil, and the “high” he got from speed was adicting. It was destroying his body, which was developing micro-fractures due to the extreme pressure of moving so fast, but he didn’t want to listen to the doctors. The ending was classic poetic justice. Very good show.

Topic: [/television]


Wed, Oct 13, 1999

: Star Trek: Voyager

I haven’t mentioned any TV shows in my news yet, but this week’s Voyager is a classic. It’s hilarious. The holographic Doctor — my favorite character — suffers from bouts of daydreaming (in which he’s always the hero and all the Star Trek women hit on him), while a race of aliens spying on the ship for a sneak attack tap into his dreams and think they are real and the Doctor’s some sort of one-man army! You guessed it: the Doctor’s required to save the day for real in the end. Great fun for ST fans.

Topic: [/television]