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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Media Rodeo Part I

It's taken a while for me to consume enough media to make it worth my while to post my opinions about it, so bear with me if some of it is dated.

Movie-Pirates of the Caribbean at World's End. Was flashy, had its moments amongst the noise, but mostly just kind of there. Alessandra is very clever and she couldn't follow the story. Me, I had sort of already read "reviews" which detailed much of the story, but I still resent a movie that needs someone to explain the what the fuck I just saw. C-

TV- So rerun season is finally here and is going to last until January or February for my favorite shows. I suppose this is a good thing because I really hate when Fall Premieres arrive and you immediately start with the new episode/rerun loop due to the Holidays. But I digress.

Heroes: For a show that had a strong season with lots of WTF moments the Season 1 arc had an amazingly lame payoff. You know it's bad when the Executive Producer says "Yes, we know Peter can fly, but we'd like you to overlook that little plot hole and maintain that suspension of disbelief." C+

LOST: The opposite of Heroes. It started out lame and ended with me saying "Holy Shit!" even though most of my peers saw the big twist coming, I say it's because they spent too much time reading interviews with writers and creators. I was looking for weirdness and I didn't see it. A

Veronica Mars: I freely admit that I was watching a show about a teenage girl detective. It had good writing, clever dialog and an intricate story arc. Unfortunately, it was too serial for tv and as a result turned off new viewers before they could get involved. The subsequent mini arc plotlines, and retooling for the CWs demographics was the killer for the series which was canceled. The final episode set up a new arc for a season that won't happen. Not to mention in the past few episodes they had gone very heavy on product placement to the point of the characters actually holding discussions about said product. It was so nauseating that the creator Rob Thomas inserted a throwaway line for a character to call Thomas himself a whore immediately following one such placement. THAT was amusing. B

Sometime this month the Thomas is going to pitch the concept of moving Veronica into the future 4 years and putting her in the FBI Academy. I'd like to see that.

Books-Due to my love of the computer, my reading has been reduced to the Crapper and the bathtub on Shaving Day. So I had been sort of slothing through my books, and the instance of Catch 22, not even finishing. However, I can post opinions about two.

The Man in the High Castle By Phillip K. Dick. Androids Dream of Nazis and Tojo Winning WWII A very well written book, and was well deserving of the 1962 Hugo Award. While today, the concept of the Alternate History is rather passé unless done right, back in '62 it must have been a real mindblower. Still though, the book is lyrical in it's prose, and the characters connect on the same level as those seen in today's LOST; Dick also presents concepts which turn even Alt.history into a crazy mirror maze. Suppose in Alt.history world, the denizens were reading an alternative history "novel" where Germany and Japan lost WWII? Yeah buddy. I can't recommend this book enough. A

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Macguire . I'm not much of a Wizard of Oz guy. I've seen it maybe once or twice in it's entirety since my parents got divorced back the early 70s. I did read the book though a few years ago because Robert Heinlein references it all the time, and I wanted to read the source material, which was surprisingly good. Last year, the Wicked Broadway musical came through town, and I had seen the book for years in the SF/Fantasy section of the bookstore, so I grabbed a copy at a book fair and put off reading it until this past week.

Wow! Talk about an exercise in world building...Macguire populates Oz with 3 different religions, political upheaval, social ills, mythology, sex, philosophy and characters with genuine emotions. As I was reading I could mentally feel the solidity of Oz, and when I finished the book, I thought to myself, "Man, I am so going to have to ponder what I just read, then read it again." Plus I was emotionally moved the same way I was when I finished The Time Traveler's Wife. A+ I'd like to see the musical, but I am disappointed that learn that it has a distinctly happy ending vs the reader's choice one of the book.

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Comments:
It's not completely dry until next year... Season 2 of Eureka starts in July!!

J and I completely agree with you about Heroes season finale - very lame.
 
Forgot to mention that we saw the Wicked musical a few weeks ago, and I was pretty disappointed after having read the book... I'd give it a C-. I didn't realize it was going to depart so much from the dark and desperate tones that made the book so beautiful. Maybe if I had gone in expecting something cheery, funny, and happy, I would have enjoyed the musical more - the other 4 people we saw the musical with loved it, but they hadn't read the book. Definitely check out the sequel, Son of a Witch. I don't know that I liked it quite as much as Wicked, but it was still a solid B+.
 
Actually, the writers and creators of Lost did not discuss the game-changer in the finale, only to say that it will blow viewers' minds. I refused to look at the Major Spoiler that got posted in some forums,and even speculation in those forums did not predict the end.
What did it for me were a few things.
Fancy new cell phone.
Long beard, older, weary face.
Booze and pills
I only suspected something odd was going on, and when the car pulled up at the airport, I just somehow knew it would be Kate, and when she got out I thought AHA, the future.

Maybe if I didn't read forums at all it would have been a bigger surprise for me, but even then it wasn't really mind-blowing IMO.

What rather did blow my mind is Abram's admitting it is a sci-fi show. And everybody else probably already assumed that.
 
I figured Jack was bummed from getting his ass whupped in Indonesia and had just read about his dad. I fell for it hook, line and sinker.

I'm glad it's Sci-fi over fantasy.
 
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