WHAT IS HOT and WHAT’s NOT on TV for FALL 2012!!

I don’t have cable. I jumped off the band wagon years ago, and really have not been seriously tempted to jump back on. I’m content with waiting for products to hit DVD, and in the interim there are a lot of great shows out there on DVD to try.

I did that with both season 5 and season 6 of Doctor Who. Watching the shows over a few nights rather than the dubious experience of lengthy waits over several months, to invest in a story that may end with a whimper rather than a bang.

Which is how I tended to feel about Moffat’s Dr. Who seasons. While an imaginative and talented writer of “done in one” episodes or two parters, as a season wide story arc writer, his work tends to be swiss-cheese and disappointing.

So the ability to find that out by renting the DVDs over a couple nights, rather than an investment of months of ‘live’ watching, suits the way I like to view seasons.

That said for those of you who do watch TV/cable here are the shows I think you should be watching this fall, ones I’m intrigued in picking up when they hit DVD.

WHAT’S HOT

LAST RESORT on ABC- Why I’m interested? 1/Stars Andre Braugher of HOMICIDE fame. 2/Premise of a naval commander and his sub crew hunted for refusing to commit mass murder, has me incredibly intrigued. 3/One of the few dramas/genre/thrillers on an increasingly whites only TV shows, that has multiple actors of color

TREME- I’ve heard much about this Orlean’s based show. So look forward to catching up with it on DVD.

DOCTOR WHO- While I think Moffat should stick to done and one episodes or 2parters, and give up his attempt to outdo Russell T. Davies with big elaborate universe ending story arcs (Note to Moffat…, you may be a more imaginative writer than Russell, he is the better story arc guy. And your tenure is suffering in an attempt to outdo Davies rather than play to your strengths.

Particularly Moffat’s take leaves a lot to be desired. It gets old, the elaborate universe ending story arcs and over-hyping the Doctor into a God like protagonist. It just reads as bs and failed one-upmanship, and leaving your character no place to go or grow to. It tends to get boring, and while it’s fantasy and some level of inconsistency is inherent, season 5 and 6 have plotholes you can drive a truck through), I am interested in seeing where Season 7 takes the show. If Moffat would play to his strengths, smaller, intimate, done-in-one stories or two parters… the show could be fantastic.

WHAT’S NOT
ELEMENTARY- Sherlock Holmes is a recovering smart-alec drunk, Watson is his Asian female Bodyguard and Watcher, and the setting is New York. Really?!! I’m not a huge fan of the BBC SHERLOCK series, it’s okay, I just don’t think the writing is always up to the strong acting and direction, so my objection to ELEMENTARY has nothing to do with that BBC show. The more great shows the better. My objection is, if you’re going to change everything about it that is Sherlock Holmes, why even call the character Sherlock Holmes? I have no interest in seeing it, the premise just sounds insipid. However I’m willing to be proven wrong. If it makes it a full season and people are raving about it I’ll pick up the DVD, but otherwise this goes in the “What were they thinking’ trash pile.

That’s all for now! Feel free to leave your own recommendations, comments!

Advertisements

FAVORITE Website & Program OF THE DAY: CELESTIA?!

FAVORITE WEBSITE OF THE DAY: CELESTIA

I’m kinda double-dipping here because this is not just my favorite website of the day, it’s one of my favorite programs to use on the computer.

Just addictive as well as being fun and educational. How often does that happen?!

I’m speaking of a mad open-source astronomy project called Celestia.

You can see what I’m going on about here!

As well as here andhere!

It’s like having an endlessly configurable planetarium on your computer. The idea of creating simulations of voyages through the stars, and sampling amazing voyages and scripts that other users create… well all that functionality makes Celestia pretty close to great. πŸ™‚

You can get download links for the program and user created voyages/scripts from the link above. Okay need to go do some Celesting now! πŸ™‚

(Yes. it’s geeky but it’s also pretty… [wait for it]…stellar! You see what I did there? :))

In The News: Facebook, Rating Attorneys, Rogue Planets and Feb 25th Look up in the Sky!

ALL THE NEWS, YOU CAN USE:

Ohio man given choice of Facebook apology or jailIt would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. Nope… it’s still funny. πŸ™‚

Cyber-security expert finds new flaw in smartphonesEven as a tech guy, I’m a Luddite at heart. Which means, there’s a point where I think you give up too much for ‘ease of use’. There’s a point where I think you need to draw a line between what is your data and what is not. Increasingly smart-phones, and tablets, and I-tunes, and cloud computing, not challenged, not held to a standard… will erase any such line.

Scorned Attorney Threatens to Take Down Lawyer-Review SiteYeah that’s really going to change people’s opinion of him. More to the point I didn’t know there was a review site for Lawyers! Cool! I have some reviews I need to leave. πŸ™‚

Rogue Planets are Rambling through GalaxyWhat??!!! You mean SPACE 1999 had it right?!!!! Doh!!

Five Sports You Can Start Today and Play ForeverWell these are usually bs, but these guys are right on. Tennis anyone?! πŸ™‚

Planets Align February 25: Venus, Jupiter, Moon To ConvergeOohhhh! I Knew it was coming! I knew it! I’m going up to my roof tomorrow at sunset and scream… SHAZAM!!! Goshdarn it! We’ll see who becomes Captain Marvel! πŸ™‚

Well that’s all the news for now. Go out and hug somebody. πŸ™‚

Sylvia Anderson the heart of SPACE 1999

“That’s the purpose of that… ‘Ghost in the Machine’ as it were, that sort of popped up from time to time, where things would correct themselves, [as an example]the journey through the Black Sun [episode]. There was something guiding them. We didn’t put a name to it but it was there and it came, I think, full circle [with the episode THE TESTAMENT OF ARKADIA]. Although we didn’t know it at the time, this would be the final episode of that kind of SPACE 1999. And what it was, was a question of identity. A question of belief.”

—Johnny Byrne, Main Writer, Speaking on the season 1 finale, TESTAMENT OF ARKADIA

Just got done watching the Sylvia Anderson interview on the special features disk of the SPACE 1999 SEASON 1 Bluray (Sylvia Anderson being the Co-creator and Producer of SPACE 1999). It’s a must listen. You realize exactly how right her instincts were, and what she brought to the show. Particularly this is born out by the difference in the quality of the show from Season 1 when she was there as producer fighting for it to season 2 when she was no longer with the show.

Among the things Ms. Anderson discusses in the interview is that she didn’t feel Martin Landau or Barbara Bain were right for the show. And it’s a viewpoint I can understand. While I think they work in the roles (particularly Barbara Bain brings an odd, but endearing quality to her performances), I think the show worked in-spite of the leads, not because of them.

There are some shows you look at the cast, and say ‘Well I can’t see anyone else doing those roles. That’s perfect casting!” You can say that of the first STAR TREK series (even in light of the movies etc, that first crew is perfect, seminal casting) and FARSCAPE, etc. However, you can’t say that of SPACE 1999, I think numerous actors could have done the role of Commander Koenig to equal or better effect. It’s the ambitious scripts and the [for the time] strong production values, and the ensemble performance of the actors, rather than just the leads, which makes the show.

Particularly when you hear Sylvia Anderson’s interview (which is available on the Blu-Ray) and Gerry Anderson’s commentary and the concessions they made to get Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, and the problems they had, it makes you question if the roles would have been better served inhabited by unknown actors, etc.

Well those are questions beyond the answering. What is known is that with the departure of Sylvia Anderson, at the end of season one, the show lost its rudder and its way.

Sylvia Anderson fought hard in the first season for script conferences and to give some sense of weight and seriousness and cohesiveness, a heart if you will to an admittedly fantastic show. But I think she understood that the more fantastic the show, the more important it is that the little things, the connections and reactions of people ring true and be grounded and relatable. And with her out as producer, the show also lost its voice of reason in front of the camera… Barry Morse, and ultimately the show succumbed to dumbed-downed storytelling and pandering to audiences with spectacle and rubber monsters… rather than craft and story.

And that difference is clearly seen in the first episode of season 2, METAMORPH (kindly included on the Season 1 Blu-ray’s special features). Devoid of Sylvia Anderson and Barry Morse, and anyone to fight the cliched ideas coming from the American office of ITV, the show increasingly looked like a poor man’s Buck Rogers.

But hindsight is always 20/20. Hurdles and politics and all, the 1st season of SPACE 1999 was pulled off, and flaws accepted, it’s ambitious television, it is television that tries to say something. And that is television to be proud of.

And since I’m talking about the show thirty five years after its cancellation, it seems that it is also television… that endures.

Space: 1999: The Complete Season One [Blu-ray] – Buy it here!

Some of this post has been edited into the earlier SPACE 1999 article.

The Faith of Stars


Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

I had a dream.

Which is odd for me, because I seldom dream.

The dream is a hard one to convey.

It’s a dream before language.

There are symbols and sensations, and a brutal wisdom.

And a bruising hope.

In the dream I’m pantheistic.

Meaning mine is the religion of the wolves and the Wind, and of long dead stars that yet do light our sky,

“Think of it”, the dream says, in a way that is beyond saying “in the night there are stars lighting up the heavens, that no longer are there. That died a million years before the birth of man, and yet we are just now seeing their light reach us. To look up into the night sky, on a brisk, clear night, is to time travel.

No HG Wells story, or abstract idea.

It is time travel, definitive.

Because you are seeing into the past.”

“My God,” The dream, which both is and is not some part of me uncoiled, continues “how any can remain unfaithful, amidst the faith of stars. Even dead and blown to cinders, they continue to shine, for those who have eyes to see.

Time and space and even humanity (and their petty squabbles of oil, or ethnicity, or religion. All pathetically meaningless, and limited and wrong, ants skittering over a dung heap and thinking that be the world) are illusions, and to consider the heavens… is to break an illusion’s heart.

There is so much more, beyond this navel gazing, and wretched cannibalism Humanity commits against itself while still in the womb. Because make no mistake humanity is in the womb of its existence, strapped to a single world yet pontificating on the heavens and god, which are as above our reckoning as stars from silt. And unless we’re careful, we are rabid embryos who will die in this womb, fighting amongst ourselves, and take mother earth with us.”

And with that… here endeth the dream that was filled with signs and portents, and reckonings most dire.

And upon waking I read passages from the Bible and the Koran, Vedas of Hinduism, Translations from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and even the creation songs of the Aboriginals. I consume all our human knowledge of the dark, until my hands stop shaking, and for a time, I can dispel larger truths that I learned… in the light.

********************************************


Credit:
ESA/Hubble & NASA

“All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you.” Isaiah 47:13 Bible New International Translation–

I love how with each translation, the Bible gets more dumbed down and simplified, but the risk in simplification is the message is changed sometimes subtly, sometimes drastically. Compare the above, incredibly enjoyable passage (just insanely over the top, I mean I put down Astrologers with the best of them but that quote’s a bit gangsta πŸ™‚ ) with the King James Version which is already a highly altered version:

“Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.”

Those are two very different passages in terms of tone. Where the heck does the exclamation point come from?! Someone made the decision, “this passage is not hostile enough in our war against terror, let’s toughen it up!” It is just hilarious. I can only guess the original Aramaic version probably said something like, “You have an astrologer? Cool dude! Pass me the pipe!”

I’m being facetious, I know that, but you get my point. We codify these inaccuracies, and say “Well this is the Bible”.

Well actually it isn’t.

The Bible isn’t one book written by one person. It’s a collection of hundreds of disparate writings, by hundreds of people, nearly all of whom are lost to time. And you have the church saying “well this article here will go in the book of Matthew, and this treatise here by that cross-eyed hermit we burned perhaps too hastily, will go in Corinthians”. Etc, etc.

If we define a book as something written by one person at one time, the Bible is not that. The Bible is not a Novel, it is an anthology.

It’s this truth that I think escapes a lot of people. I am not killing for a book, or what resides in a book, especially when 9 out of 10 people really don’t agree on the book or what’s in it. Now being the learning oriented type, I’ll study with you on the bible, I’ll discuss with you on the bible, but I’m not going to kill for you on the bible. Now before we go that route I’m going to have to read the thing for myself in Aramaic, including the books like Enoch, that the church decided to leave out of the bible. See this is what bothers me, you call it the word of God but it’s edited, rearranged, and dumbed down by man.

No, I’m just not going there with you. You want to believe, I don’t have a problem with that, but make it informed belief. Anything else is just… control.


“We gave some of Our Messengers preference over others. To some of them God spoke and He raised the rank of some others. We gave authoritative proofs to Jesus, son of Mary, and supported him by the Holy Spirit. Had God wanted, the generations who lived after those Messengers would not have fought each other after the authority had come to them. But they differed among themselves, some of them believed in the authority and others denied it. They would not have fought each other had God wanted, but God does as He wills. (2:253)”
—The Qur’an translated by Sheikh Muhammad Sarwar

here a cool link, with texts from a variety of faiths

DEAL OF THE DAY: SPACE 1999 THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE BLU-RAY

DEAL OF THE DAY: SPACE 1999 THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE BLU-RAY

I’m still not a Blu-Ray convert. I prefer the DVD form-factor, it’s more aesthetically pleasing to me than the cheap dinky Blu-ray Boxes. And often there is a negligible difference in quality, particularly when the source has issues, or the studio just cuts corners.

In short, all things being equal, I’m not paying more for Blu-ray. However in the cases where there is a substantive improvement in quality, and great special features, and the price is competitive with DVD pricing… well then I’ll pull the trigger.

Case in point SPACE 1999: SEASON ONE on Blu-ray. All reports point to this being an effective re-mastering and improvement on the DVD release.

“It has been revealed that A&E Home Entertainment will release Space: 1999 – Season 1 on Blu-ray on November 2. No technical details are available, other than it will be a “complete, uncut and restored in high definition” release, in pillarboxed 1.33:1 video.

The series, originally shot on 35mm film, was restored [by] BBC studios, which posted a detailed description of the work done. The telecine was done from a new interpositive. Even with the new film elements, a great deal of grading was still occasionally required.

Dust and scratches have been removed in two stages. The first process is automatic, but the BBC emphasizes that it is important not to have it “too high”; otherwise, “an unnaturally flat and ‘plastic’ looking smeary image can result.” In the second stage, the Digital clean-up team, armed with pen and tablet, painstakingly removes remaining defects and areas of larger damage.

Also, the opening titles were rebuilt from the best available materials in HD.”
–Blu-ray.com

And currently priced at 52% off it’s a no-brainer.

It’s only going to go up in price, just like the BABYLON 5, DEEPSPACE 9, and FARSCAPE sets I notified you of.

A great series, now remastered to look better than it ever did when broadcast. SPACE 1999! Our past and our future— has never looked so good. So get your copy today!

Space: 1999: The Complete Season One [Blu-ray] – Buy it here!

And for more on SPACE 1999 check out the space1999.org website.