Archive for TV

N64 Kid in BMW Commercial

Whoa. What a strange convergence of things.

Tonight was the first time K and I watched an episode of “Battlestar Galactica” as it actually aired. [Side note: Boring! Maybe it was having to suffer through the commercials.]

But one of them begun with a familiar scene. Here’s the full video:

I wasn’t sure where it was going, except that maybe it was an updated commercial for the Wii (looks like the video was taken down, dang).

The marketers are getting smarter and smarter. Hitting the scifi fan, gamer, viral/Web 2.0, gearhead demographic in that sweet spot. Except for the fancy car thing, they nailed me perfectly. Ha ha! Too bad I have no interest in buying a BMW, despite their attempts to swathe it in gamey goodness.

Damn, just realized I’m doing the work for them by blogging about it. Tricky! Um, buy a hybrid! Walk more, take the bus…

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Late to the Party: Firefly and Heroes

Cast of “Firefly”I blinked and missed “Firefly” when it was on TV. But word on the street talked it up, and recommendations for good TV always seemed to include it. (Thanks, D!)

Finally picked up a copy from the library and we’ve gotten about halfway through it. “Serenity” is on hold.

The few times I caught it while channel surfing, I didn’t know what to make of the six shooters in space thing. I guess I like my sci-fi with bright lasers streaking across the screen, sleek ships joined in outer space dogfights. “Battlestar Galactica” being the one big exception to the laser rule, even though they’re pissing away Season 3.

I just don’t like westerns. The whole outlaw, bar fight, saloon girl, arid climate, covered wagons and twangy guitar (which I like on its own) thing doesn’t do it for me. But I’m giving it a chance.

Sean Maher in “Firefly”The Reavers have yet to make an appearance, and I’m hoping there will be some kind of explanation as to why characters spontaneously exclaim in what sounds like Chinese. I’ve also been trying to figure out if Sean Maher, who plays the doctor, is cute. (I think I’ve decided he is.)

And I have no idea where they’re taking River, but I’m interested to see.

**SPOILER ALERT**

One thing I’ve noticed is that around 38 minutes in to each episode, with about 7 or 8 to go, things resolve themselves into a pat ending fairly quickly. Hurtling towards a big net that will fry everybody inside?  Open the airlock and shoot at it. Doctor and sister about to be burned at the stake? Serenity swoops in after its uncharacteristic departure earlier on. Duelling with swords against a superior opponent?  Emerge with a slight flesh wound over your defeated foe.

**/SPOILERS**

The episode order on the back of the DVD cases and in the menus themselves are all screwed up too. What’s up with that?

And then there’s “Heroes” on NBC/Sci Fi Channel. Seems like everyone I know is talking about it–even the ones not into comic books. When I heard about it before it started airing, it sounded like some lame attempt to cash in on the recent resurgence of comic book movies.

Perhaps. But I’m gonna start watching it now. Sci Fi is having a marathon next Wednesday (11/29), I believe. Funny how all those boyhood fantasies of having powers still exercise a hold on me.

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Two words

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Battlestar Galactica’s Problem with Children

**SPOILER ALERT**

Killer baby from It's AliveBabies always ruin good TV shows. I know there are more, but Tabitha on “Bewitched” and Elizabeth on “V” (loved this series) are the only ones I can think of right now. I’m sure VH1 has probably done a special on this specific subject.

Anyway, I worry about “Battlestar Galactica”. Season 3 has already displayed some disappointing lack of imagination with the hetero-normative behavior its characters default to after settling on New Caprica.

Ah, back to normal, let’s get married! Starbuck and Anders, Apollo and Dualla, Tyrol and Cally, Helo and Sharon. I mean, give me a fucking break. (Let us not speak of the corpulent horrors visited on a married Apollo. Thank the gods its fake.)

Yes, Roslin’s advice in the pilot is the smartest, most practical course of action for the story the writers are creating: if the human race is to survive they need to start making babies. I get it. Though it’s only dawning on me now that my strong reaction might be rooted in this being the fictional equivalent of the galling rationale the Washington State Supreme Court employed in its denial of marriage equality this year: marriage is meant for procreation.

Don’t do it girl!Leoben trying to play house with Starbuck is dumb enough without the creepy undercurrents of domestic violence. Shove a baby in her face, tell Starbuck it’s hers and watch her fulfill the ultimate role women can ever hope to attain: wife and mother. This was the stupidest subplot EVER in a show that vaunts itself on creating powerful roles for women.

Slutty Six and the manner in which the camera lingers lasciviously on her, the groan-inducing quest for true love. Men’s fear of female entrapment–Fatal Attraction scenarios, extortion by pregnancy, economic exploitation, the vagina dentata–is at the heart of so much in the series. At least Seven of Nine turned out to be more than a pair of tits in a tight uniform. Her character had conflict of a different order, was imperfect and central to the episodes and stories that made “Star Trek: Voyager” so good leading up to its end.

Who the hell is this person trying to pass herself off as Starbuck? The writers just chose to ignore the elaborate character and backstory that they created to rest on some tired ass patriarchal convention. I almost vomited when she clutched Leoben’s hand in the hospital after the baby recovered from falling down the stairs. You could hear me yelling “Dumbass!” around the block when she insisted on going back for Kacey in the middle of her rescue. And when Kacey’s real mom plucked her from Starbucks’ embrace back on Galactica? I say again, DUMB-fuckin-ASS.

And then there’s Hera.

The opening theme states ominously every week that the Cylons have a plan. Six/Caprica assures Gaius again and again that God has a plan, and that Hera is key. I really truly hope that the writers have a plan for the damn baby that does not involve freaky powers, encourage more heinous domestic situations with badass characters, or that devolve further into “what about the children” scenes that consign the cast to the most inane of gender roles. Because if this goes the way of hybridity being the salvation for both races, I will FLIP OUT. If story-lines continue to devolve by centering more and more on the baby, for no discernible reason other than to prop up regressive notions of family, marriage and hetero-normativity, this will be the biggest squandering of the best sci fi TV series that almost was.

Drunk Cock EPLocal freak-drag treasure Ursula Android sums up my sentiments best. Listen to the MP3 for “Babies!”

For more on marriage equality in Washington State, see the NW Women’s Law Center and Equal Rights Washington.

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Upon Finishing Season 2.0 of “Battlestar Galactica”

OK, OK, I got on the bandwagon pretty late.

Blalock as T'PolLike many, I heard about this “re-make” and dismissed it as further evidence of Hollywood/TV’s creative bankruptcy: what other old series/IPs can we drag from the grave and feed to younger, zombified generations? Plus I didn’t have cable so it was easy enough to ignore.

But then “Enterprise” was cancelled, just when it started getting good too, and my regular dose of sci-fi TV vanished like a pouty Vulcan off on a Pon’Far bender.

I was never one to watch TV series on DVD either.

But just about all of my geeky acquaintance talked up the show. And last Christmas, K and I decided to rent the first disc of “24”. We ended up finishing season 1. By the way, I’ve been meaning to blog about some interesting and disturbing things from this show–another post that may or may not happen-sorry. 😦

The “Battlestar Galactica” pilot kicked serious ass. And I queued up Seasons 1 and 2.0 at the library with a quickness. Still have to watch Season 2.5.

****SPOILER ALERT****

The introduction of the Pegasus, besides bringing in Ro Laren, created some really intense and conflicting feelings in me.

Up until this point, I felt such strong distrust towards Sharon, constantly berating the TV any time the crew, esp. Helo, the hot fool, showed sympathy towards her. “About fucking time,” I thought as the card-playing crew members ostracized him for all his dumbass behavior.

But after seeing the Pegasus “interrogator” in action, and hearing the drunken crows of the Pegasus officers on the flight deck, so rank with masculine posturing and all the destructive violation and cruelty that attends it, I suddenly found myself in Helo’s shoes.

All the indignation Galactica’s crew was meant to feel at this new presence in their lives, the return to a more overly aggressive military and whatever comentary on the current administration that may have been intended by the writers, I felt acutely too.

I didn’t undergo a complete reversal towards the Cylons, but all the slow burning complexity the writers have been slipping in is really paying off for me. Even as far back as the pilot episode, Commander Adama’s speech resonates with one of the show’s recurrent themes visited in this cliffhanger:

“You can’t play God and wash your hands of the things you’ve created. Sooner or later the day comes, when you can’t hide from the things that you’ve done.”

In the leaps of faith demonstrated towards Sharon (ill-advised or not), the outrages visited upon the feminine in the persons of both Cylon captives, “Battlestar Galactica”, with just these last two episodes in Season 2.0, has fulfilled all the promise of what good storytelling on TV should be.

Jump on the bandwagon if you haven’t already and get caught up before Season 3 starts on the Sci-Fi channel in the next month or so. Resistance is …um, “So say we all!”

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Brand Loyalty

The KingI'm pretty susceptible to advertising. Or at least I've noticed this when it comes to fast food. I can count on one hand (OK, maybe two) the amount of times that I've seen a commercial for some sort of crispy chicken thing on TV and gone out to try it within hours. Invariably hating myself afterwards for expecting the taste to be anything more than the oil in the fryer.

Let's just get it out of the way now. While the King character/brand is appealing and funny in a creepy kind of way, BK Chicken Fries are just plain nasty.

I've been meaning to create a new category for this blog about Privacy concerns, or something like that. A place to examine some of the stray threads my paranoid mind has plucked out of the air. There would likely be some overlap with another category, Social justice/change, or something. But, like everything else with this blog, it'll have to wait.

Let me just jump to the DS stuff now. I've had my Nintendo DS for less than a year, and I'm a freak for it. This also happens to coincide with a reawakened appetite for video games in general.

In any case, I make a practice of not registering my products. Marketers likely know everything there is to know about me anyway, but I'm trying to be more aware of the information I voluntarily give up.

But dangle a shiny bauble, or pink stylus, in front of me and I'm yours. Suckers who registered their copy of Kirby Canvas Curse (a game I still need to review) were sent a bright pink stylus. Registering three items, I quickly learned, got you three free copies of Nintendo Power. A slippery slope slathered with the grease of a hundred chicken fries.

When you willingly fill out surveys to enter a feedback loop with companies whose products you spend a large portion of your time with, you're pretty much heavily invested, don't you think? There's only one corporation I've sold (most of) my soul to: Apple Computer. But Nintendo has created some potent brand loyalty in me with the DS and the impending release of the Wii.

I actually look forward to filling out their game surveys on my registered products; believing somewhere in my heart that it has a direct effect on the games I play and enjoy. Someone disabuse me of this notion if you know something to the contrary or feel a need to hit me with a cynicism stick.

The latest survey arrived last Friday. This one was for Brain Age (another game whose review is long overdue. Perhaps I should just compile a list of what I'm currently playing. And if there's no review for it, just assume I'm too busy loving and playing it to write one.)

Here are a few screenshots of some of the questions. Sorry for the crappy layout, will try to figure out a better way to do this in the future. (Apparently no love for DSfanboy.com in the last screenshot–what up with that?)

Brain Age survey screen shot

Brain Age survey screen shot 3

Brain Age survey screen shot 4

Brain Age survey screen shot 5

Brain Age survey screen shot 6

I left some pretty extended feedback when certain questions prompted it. This makes me think of a friend whose boyfriend works at Snowblind Studios. I hear about some of the outrageous requests and scarily obsessive mail that regularly comes in.

I wonder if all my earnest feedback and good faith is just another means of giving up certain kinds of information about myself that I can't see from where I am right now. If it will ultimately be used in ways I don't approve of. Even with all of my brain training, I don't have an answer.

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“Smallville” – S is for Stale

You sir, are no Bertha Mason!*sigh* Why do I watch this show?

I can't even remember when it first started airing, but I must've been able to smell the high crap factor and stayed far away. Yet another WB show overflowing with white people, overage actors playing teens and Top 40 music edited in with a hammer, bleating out clumsy commentary for a derivative script. The few times I tuned in, it seemed to be striving for some mix of Buffy and X-Files: weird phenomena and taut young flesh. Just another day in high school.

It's too bad. I'm a sucker for well-known stories/mythologies told from unexpected and alternate points of view: reading about Bertha Mason, Jane Eyre's mad woman in the attic, in Wide Sargasso Sea was the first time I realized how this approach can illuminate subterranean veins of meaning. Even the dimmest critical analysis (hi!) could begin to unearth it. Couple this with the fact that the most memorable scenes for me from the Superman movie were Clark discovering his powers as an adolescent, racing to beat the train on his way to school. This is exactly the period of his life that "Smallville" is set in.

But it had to take previews of Clark flying (season 4?), or appearances by Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg to finally pull me in. I began watching, hoping the writers had worked out the kinks in character development; that the new mythology they were constructing was beginning to connect more intricately and intelligently with what was already there.

Sort of. Not really. So far this season, in just about every episode, Clark has been whimpering about "his secret" being discovered. It's his excuse for cowardice, fear and celibacy. A clear connection is being drawn between this tragic teenage fate and the reality the Clark Kent we all know must live with: a failed romance with Lana Lang, Lex Luthor his nemesis, and Lois Lane his future love interest. (What's with all the L names? I just noticed that.) But it's all so, well, lame.

I've ceased to care about any of the characters, and find myself wishing for those moments from the movie, when I was in the place of that kid, watching a young man through the window pace and outstrip the train I was on. Running so fast, my parents missed him by the time I called them over to see. That same exhilaration that another superhero movie, Spiderman, didn't tap into until the very last scene: webslinging gracefully across the skyline, heart in throat, the camera swooping behind and around to catch up. I just hope the writers for "Smallville" don't wait until the last scenes of the series to get us there.

The theme song has it right: "Somebody save me."

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