Category Archives: TV

Fifty Years

Today is the anniversary of the first episode of Star Trek. I have never been more emotional about a show, no, a universe, than I am Trek. Doctor Who comes very close but Trek has the lead by a Vulcan.

Trek has been a part of my life as long as Who – since before I have memory – but Spock was the first person I ever told my mom I was going to marry. Spock was my first real loss (even if it was temporary). My grandfather was a funeral director – I’ve been surrounded by death and loss my whole life – I’d lost people I cared about, animals I’d cared about, but somehow, it wasn’t as keenly felt as this fictional character who didn’t really exist. My mom was a little cruel, knowing what she knew about me. She did not let me watch Wrath of Khan until it and Search for Spock were both available at the movie rental place. She did not tell me about Search for Spock until I’d wept – full on ugly cry – until I literally had no more tears (took a few hours). She thought it was funny and Wrath of Khan still makes me ugly cry. In reality, it was easier for me to mourn a fictional character and later the actor who played him, than it was for me to mourn my mom. I’m honestly not done with any of those things and I probably never will be.

I don’t have the greatest volume of trivia knowledge of the Trek universe. I cannot speak Klingon. I don’t have ears, brow ridges, or a uniform. I do have a great love for this universe that Roddenberry created. I still have hope that we, as a people, can reach the stars and be better than we are now. I still believe we can live up to our potential.

Today, there is a video floating around with memorable moments and bits of dialogue and I get chills. Three minutes of disjointed snippets, a through-the-glass Vulcan salute, and seeing that beautiful ship (more than one version of her) and I’m all kinds of emotional and have goose bumps.

So, happy anniversary (or birthday really) to Star Trek and all the amazing people involved in it. Live Long and Prosper.

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Thoughts on The Doctor

With recent news of Moffat leaving the show and the possibility of Capaldi leaving too after the 2017 season, I’m incredibly saddened by the thought and especially the utter glee coming from some of 11’s fangirls. Granted, they likely had the same thoughts about me when I got so excited that 11 was on his way out as he may well be my least favorite Doctor (who isn’t 5 whose only sin is not being 4). I was heartbroken when 4 left and when 9 was ripped away. Capaldi feels like my Doctor. He comes off as a bit flighty but he is incredibly sly, savy, and smart, and absolutely a riot. He feels like he’s brought the character back to his roots and I don’t want him to go.

I’m not opposed to a female Doctor or a black Doctor or a purple Doctor or a non-humanoid Doctor for that matter. I don’t want 12 to go yet, no matter who is being looked at for the future. There are things I don’t want to see. I don’t want to see a face that would lessen the roles played by certain companions or friends. I don’t want for the gender or color or features to be the sole reason for casting. I want a Doctor who can talk of scarves and question marks or wear a stalk of celery. I like the nods to long ago Doctors and long ago friends and the crazy, alienness that Capaldi brought back to the Doctor and the Tardis. No one can quite match Baker but Capaldi came awful close for me and that’s saying a lot.

I am super excited about getting a new companion at long last. I was not a fan of most of Clara’s tenure, with the surprising exception of the last few of her episodes. I hope it’s someone new and I hope it’s someone who isn’t looking for a boyfriend. I hope it’s someone who challenges the Doctor but doesn’t overshadow him. Donna was incredibly important but she did it in a way that didn’t feel like the show was suddenly all about Donna. Clara became the only important character for a time, even more important than the Doctor, the Tardis, all the rest of humanity. I want someone interesting but not necessarily any more important than any of the rest of us.

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The X Files and All The Feels

I’ve done my less personal reviews of the X Files for the Geek Girl Project – See Part One and Part Two but there are some personal feelings I have about it that don’t really belong there.

I’m not shy about talking about my mother, from whom I inherited the crown to this, my fabulous Geekdom. She introduced me to all the best things. I remember watching Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Buck Rogers with her when I was very small. One day we had an earthquake during Wonder Woman (we lived in Washington at the time). (I admit, my father – the guy who doesn’t do fantasy or science fiction except for what I write – took me to see Star Wars – that was never Mom’s cuppa.)

Then came the X Files. It was treated differently than all the other shows we’d watched together. From the moment the pilot aired, we were solid hooked. It was an order pizza, turn out the lights, unplug the phone event every week that we could share as a family, me, my mom, and my brother (though I don’t think he remembers it much). Other people joined us or didn’t, depending on schedules.

The revival has stirred a LOT of emotions for me. My mom always identified pretty heavily with Dana Scully – an intelligent woman, a feisty redhead who didn’t need a man to be considered a whole person by everyone around her. I nearly burst into tears when Dana came on the screen. Gillian Anderson has aged well and reminds me a great deal of my mother, especially during her strawberry blonde/ soft red phase (before she discovered the copper penny color she loved so much).

It was hard to watch the show and not have someone to throw around speculation and theories after it was done. My family puts up with me doing so anyway but it isn’t the same. I could put them here and air them out but that is also not the same. I guess it’s the one social interaction that I do want to be face to face.

Watching now feels a lot like watching then and that’s awesome. It’s hard to recapture that kind of magic but, for me, I think it’s been quite good at managing. I know that, if my mom were still around, we’d at the very least be on the phone the moment it was over if not making the effort to watch together. That’s the part that makes watching hard. It’s a little like watching Babylon 5 without her or ST:TNG or Sea Quest or VR 5 or Earth 2 (we really watched them ALL). It feels the same watching Doctor Who.

I’m not kidding or exaggerating when I say that watching the new episodes feels like coming home to visit with old friends. It really does. I’ll watch them all and love them but they’ll all make me a little sad too, make me miss my mom a little bit more. She would love what they are doing as she would not have enjoyed how they left the line they are tugging. I’ll be watching. Just as I always have. When it’s done, I will miss it all over again.

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Easy To Please

At least when the medium is some variation of film I am. With books, I’m incredibly critical. I can enjoy a story and dislike the writing of it or vice versa but I absolutely admit to being hugely picky about what I read. TV and movies, apparently I don’t hold them to the same standard. Did it make me laugh, make me feel, make me gasp in surprise? I think it is because of what I want from each medium. I want to feel and be a part of the world when I’m reading. When I’m watching, I just want to be entertained. One is a release and one is an obsession. Sometimes both can be either.

I enjoy shows and movies for what they are and I don’t care to rip things apart and make things so much less than they were. Yes, Big Bang Theory has become a comedy about a bunch of caricatures rather than actual characters but it makes me laugh. Yes, there are gaping logic flaws in Scorpion (seriously, simple is sometimes better writers!) but it makes me laugh and it makes me feel so I can honestly say I enjoy it. I liked Transformers and Waterworld and a few other movies that apparently everyone else hates. I like the NuWho, New Star Trek, and the new Star Wars. Despite it’s flaws and it’s retconning and inconsistent mythology, I still love Supernatural.

I guess I think sometimes we expect too much of our entertainment. Not everything is deeper than the story whether it’s father rescuing granddaughter from the satanic cult (I liked that movie!) or crazy puzzle box opens up hell. Not everything needs to be. I enjoy the  movies and shows that don’t try so hard to be something bigger. I like the bigger ones too but only the ones that don’t try so hard they’re all in your face with their lessons and their great big MESSAGE.

Personally, there’s as much pleasure to be found in the kitcsh as there is in the blockbuster, the documentary, the period piece, or the vanity films. I’ll take Toxic Avenger or Attack of the Killer Tomatoes over a lot of most people’s must watch movie list.

Case in point. One of the worst movies (or so I thought for EVER) was Vampire’s Kiss (a really crazy Nick Cage movie that I’m totally going to spoil right now). Watching it again as a grownup, introducing my oldest kid to the best angry alphabet recitation in cinematic history, I’m pretty sure I saw a different movie. From a certain point of view, it’s almost brilliant. We watch a self-important man have a killer of a psychotic break. It’s almost sad, watching him prance down the street in the illfitting plastic fangs yelling that he’s a vampire.

I’m not picky with my movies or my television (though I wish my three favorite things were not on at the same time, on the same day!). I come to a theater, to my television, asking to be entertained, to get caught up in someone else’s life for a bit and I gett what I ask for. I might not get some cinematic masterpiece or whatever but at the end of it, if I laughed, if I gasped, if I cried, I’m happy. If things exploded in overly dramatic fashion, that’s even better!

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All the Shows I’ve Loved Before

When I find a new show that I really like I figure it’s either going to go FOREVER or going to fall to an early demise. Especially lately.

I loved Firefly. I loved Surface. I loved Almost Human. I loved Constantine. Terriers, My So Called Life, Moonlight, and I’m sure there are others I can’t think of right now. Basically, if I love a show, it’s probably going to die a quick death. Supernatural and Doctor Who are simply juggernauts that cannot be stopped (and I came late to the party to – season 2 and the Fourth Doctor respectively) and the X-files started before I became a jinx.

I really hope they renew Killjoys. I’m coming in late to the party which is probably in its favor but I am really loving it. More of you should be watching it. If you liked the shows I listed above, especially that first one, you’re likely going to like Killjoys. It is so much better than the next episode of Famous People Who are Famous for no Reason I Can Determine or Houses I Will Never Be Able to Afford.

I admit, there is a heavy sci-fi/fantasy bias in my favorite tv. And in my favorite movies, books, and comics too. It isn’t that I don’t watch reality tv. I do. Just not reality tv that is entirely based on people being awful to each other. There’s enough of that in actual reality. When I watch reality tv, I like art shows – the early years of Project Runway (not so much now), Face Off, I liked Top Design a bit, the new Steampunk’d is fun but limited and I like survival shows – Naked and Afraid (not so much XL  as there’s too much nastiness), Survivorman, Bear Grylls does anything.

I am really enjoying Killjoys. There’s a Space Western flare like Firefly. It’s a lot like Firefly actually. It works. It works really well. I hope it lasts longer than this one season. It is fabulous. And now I’m going to go watch another episode.

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Naked and Afraid

I know I’m not the only one watching Naked and Afraid. To be honest, usually, the show amuses me. Yes, it is more about the drama than the survival. It’s a bit like Alaskan Bush People (known as the Trainwreck Show in my house) in that way. You get caught up in it and you can’t look away! You want to see if Honora really does throw that big a tantrum or if karma will find Alana for her cruelty.

Naked and Afraid XL is just a supersized version and is rapidly becoming a PSA about bullying. If you don’t watch the show, it drops a bunch of people in exotic locations with very little equipment to survive for a set amount of time. XL has 12 people instead of the usual 2 and they are divided into groups of 3. Apparently Columbia is the perfect location to go crazy in.

Yes, this is a TV show and they edit it to be as interesting as possible. There are a LOT of hours of footage to fit in a few measly hours of entertainment. But, no matter the editing, those actions took place, those words were in fact uttered and that’s not ok. Certain people should be ashamed of themselves. Very.

One contestant through a toddler proportioned tantrum and threw everyone’s tools to the bottom of a pond. Because that’s healthy and helpful. It doesn’t matter if her teammates didn’t necessarily deal with the tantrum the best way (I’d bet neither of those men have children), her actions were inexcusable.

Another contestant was on the verge of breaking and, according to the edits we saw, that lies at the feet of one mean girl and her lackey. Sure, now they’re home and saying it’s the edits but they haven’t acknowledged how awful their words were regardless of how edits have maybe manipulated their position and intent.

I don’t watch a lot of reality TV for this very reason – I’m not big on the soap opera aspect (I’ll watch General Hospital for that thanks!) and I don’t trust the editors as they want the most compelling tv not the truest telling. It’s one of the reasons I love Face Off – I’m there for the makeup not the drama and, with few exceptions, that’s what SyFy gives me. I would honestly rather see how they build the mold rather than listen to one contestant gripe about how another contestant was snippy with her.

Regardless of intent or edits or however they want to justify their behaviors, we should be using this as a teaching moment – here we see what happens when you treat people terribly or throw a temper tantrum that you are twenty years too old to be throwing. Look at Shane and see the effects of harsh words, cold shoulders, and snobbery. It could be used as a training for people who don’t see the effect of their words. Bullying isn’t just something kids do, adults do it too and they are so much more cruel.  Why can’t we all just be nice. If you don’t have something nice to say, keep your mouth shut. The world would be a happier place if we encouraged each other more than tearing each other down. But, the whole world loves to watch tension and arguments.

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Rocky Horror Picture Show

I love the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Tim Curry rocks that lingerie better than a lot of women could. The news that Fox is making a two hour TV special does not excite me. You cannot improve on perfection. At least they’re sticking with the script that already exists instead of hiring new writers I guess. I wish the powers that be would stop remaking things that are awesome just as they are. I don’t want to hear about all the new fangled effects that can be done and all that. I haven’t heard anyone talking about remaking Casablanca or Gone with The Wind. To me, Rocky Horror is just as much a classic as those movies and Tim Curry as irreplaceable as Bogart or Butler.

I get that the entertainment industry is a business and, as such, they want something they know will sell, bring in the watchers, the advertising dollars, the ticket sales. I get that Rocky Horror is a cult classic with fans so devoted they know every word, every nuance, even when it isn’t actually in the script. I just want hollywood to start making new things that deserve screen time and not remaking things that are perfectly good just as they are.

The casting has me most concerned. I can’t see anyone as Frank-n-Furter but Curry. Anthony Head was brilliant, but still not Curry. I imagine this remake isn’t being made with fans like me in mind but in trying to grab new, younger viewers who’ve never seen it. The rest of us will be too hard to please as we recite the lines they will inevitably cut and correct the television when they change words.

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So far, so good.

2015 is starting out kindly (if we don’t count the many snow days). Oldest child went and got pictures taken of the inside of his eye and everything is settled now. He’s got some fibers there that obscure his cones and will have them for life, but he doesn’t have further issues. I cannot begin to tell you what a weight that lifted. Youngest child is showing some unexpected progress in ways that probably wouldn’t matter to most – he doesn’t really play with things the way you’re meant to usually. His uncle got him a Lego Mos Eisley for Christmas and since we’ve  had so many snow days, I put it together for him and he actually spent half an hour playing with it – pretending with the little figures like you’re meant to. I know it’s a strange thing to be happy about but, it’s the little things that matter most.

On the writing front, things are also going well. I’m rewriting and editing Demonborn and it is shaping up quite nicely. I’m hoping to have it off to first readers by the end of January. Better, one of my novels that are currently out in the land of submissions, has landed a full request. That’s no guarantee but it is very good news. Of course, I love the book but it is nice when other people show interest too. Maybe, before too long, I’ll have good news to share on that front. Right now, it’s more of a sit, wait, and hope. I’ve done all I can do for it, it’s entirely out of my hands now.

It also turns out that there’s a free sample of my book, Guardian of the Gods, as well as several others, available from Double Dragon over at Amazon. If you haven’t read the book, taking a little taste of it won’t cost a thing.

Face Off comes back on the 13th and I’m really looking forward to getting back to writing the recaps. I really enjoy doing it. Midseason hiatus breaks are wrapping up and nearly done which is also awesome. I still have my fingers crossed that Constantine can make it through this first season. Even with the change in time slots, I wish it was on a different night. I’ve got kids and as much as I love Constantine, it’s not really something I want them getting into just yet. One is a bit touchy and easily frightened and the other repeats everything (with accents).

For the time being, we’re sticking with Netflix though. I do wish Babylon 5 was on it but we’re watching Deep Space Nine, Dinosaurs, and Star Trek, the original series. There’s not a whole lot to do when it’s bitterly cold outside and school keeps getting cancelled. I’m going a bit stir crazy but I think that’s probably normal.

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All my favorite characters are jerks

The news that not only is Deadpool going to have his own movie (yay!) but that Ryan Reynolds will be Deadpool has me all sorts of twitterpated. There’s not a better word for my feelings on the subject than that. It got me thinking a little bit though. All of my favorite characters are utter jerks – even if they mean well and/or are working for the good guys.

Constantine airs tonight and I’ve been loving the show (and the small bit of the comics I’ve read) so far but the character is not a happy, touchy feely kind of guy. He excels at many things but mostly being an ass. Dean Winchester is undoubtedly a good guy but he can also be a jerk (though he’s probably the least jerkish on my list). Riddick, Wolverine, Blade, Punisher, Rorschack, Sandman Slim edges more into the Winchester territory as he’s quite as dickish as the rest of them.

I do not know what draws me to this type of character. Maybe it has something to do with redemption and the room for growth in the character. Maybe it’s just more fun to watch or read. Maybe it doesn’t really matter because as long as writers keep introducing these kind of characters, I’ll keep reading them, watching them, waiting for more of them.

Do you have a favorite jerk of a character? Tell me in the comments!

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Slightly anti-climactic

I had a bit of serendipity today. After my last post, when I saw that IT was playing on Spike today while my kids were at school, I figured I should probably go ahead and see it. I kind of wish I hadn’t. Not because it was scary but because it wasn’t. I’d built it up in my head to be a bit more wow than a kaiju arrow crab. Even Shelob and Aragog had more bite to them.

Apparently, I’m only really scared by movies aimed at children. Well, that’s all right by me I guess. It does mean relentless teasing my my husband and kids but that’s fine too. Hellraiser? no problem. Candyman, Halloween, Psycho? no problem. Scared little lost alien? problem. Wet furry mogwai? problem. And there was this movie that I’m not exactly sure was a real movie but I saw it when I was very very little (I think) and it may all have been in my head but it was about a tree that ate people? I do remember a root or branch coming up through the plumbing. That freaked me out for a long long time.

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