Friday, July 30, 2010

Felicia, stop flirting with me!

Okay, Felicia Day. I know you can't comment on this blog, follow me back on Twitter, or respond to any of the dozens of anonymous letters I send you daily. But if you want to keep your love for me a secret (e.g. better than I've done), you've got to stop doing things like this:

<a href="" target="_new" title="Season 4 - Music Video - "Game On"">Video: Season 4 - Music Video - "Game On"</a>

And don't try that whole, "it was Sandeep's idea!" stuff again. Didn't work with your blatant come-ons via Legend of Neil (new eps FTW), ain't gonna work this time. The jig is up! (P.S. Call me!)

Now with even more madness!

Oh, Mad Men, I missed you. A lot of people can't handle the slow burn of this show. "But nothing ever happens on this show!" Oh, really? What about when someone got their foot cut off by a riding lawn mower during an office party? Or when Betty uncovered her husband's lifetime of lies, including such basic information as his real name and where he is from? Or when most of the main players conspired to get themselves fired so they could run off and form their own ad agency? Or when Joan smashed a vase into her husband's head after he bitched and moaned about life not working out how he wanted, and this is a couple months after he raped her on the floor of her boss' office?

Yeah, that's right. And that was just last season.

This past Sunday evening, Mad Men came back for it's fourth season. I won't say I was sitting there ready with a cigarette and martini, but I had definitely been looking forward to the show's return all summer. We picked up a year after we left off: it's Thanksgiving 1964 and the employees of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, and Pryce are trying their darndest to keep their new agency afloat.

As is typical with the Mad Men universe, right when a character thinks they have obtained their greatest wish or goal, we see how incredibly dissatisfied and empty they actually are. In the case of Don, he has finally shed the "perfect married guy ad exec" life and is now supposed to be living the "perfect bachelor powerful exec life." Unfortunately, as anyone who has watched the show knows, Don is NOT comfortable talking about himself and so blows an interview that is meant to showcase him as the superstar of the new agency. Add to that his usual moves not working on a date, and we end up seeing that Don Draper has been taking comfort from a prostitute who beats him up during the act. Sad.

The thing I always loved about Don was that he is so firmly in the world but not of it. Sure, he was a big deal at Sterling Cooper, but his position was such that he could be seen as the big man on campus without ever revealing anything about his actual life or delving into his own past. The problem with starting a new ad agency is that you need a way to bring in clients, and everyone has decided that the way to do that is to showcase Don as the maverick genius, the big gun behind the creative upstart. So it sucks to be him: just when he gets the supposed freedom he longed for, everyone has turned their eyes and cameras on him and he's never been more trapped. He even kind of lost it there for a minute: yelling and throwing clients out of the office. That was the most cringe-worthy moment of the night; I can't remember seeing Don lose it like that at work before.

But at the end of the episode, we saw a new Don; one who is doing his best to embrace his superstar status. I think we'll find that Don will discover it's easiest to hide in plain sight and if he feeds the press, clients, and co-workers what they want to hear, maybe they won't ask him to reveal anything real.

And things aren't really going any better for Betty. She's married to Henry and has apparently decide to embrace middle age 20 years early with her tweedy suits and Lady Bird Johnson haircut. Her new mother-in-law hates her (calling her a silly woman--and did I mention I love the new MIL character?), and Sally is acting out. No wonder though, Betty is kind of a terrible mother, and I really really feel sorry for these kids. They are going to be so damaged. They're going to be about as damaged as...well, our parents I guess. Now there's a scary thought.

Everyone else has changed too; being a part of the new agency has caused the other supporting players to blossom. Peggy, Harry, and even Pete (when his lips aren't attached to Don's ass) have come into their own and are doing and saying things they wouldn't have dreamed of at the old agency. Example: Harry yelling "bullshit" and storming out of a meeting. He used to be so timid and unsure, I kind of love his new-found balls. And Peggy, while not making the best choices, is willing to stand before Don and take the consequences without flinching. We didn't find out too much about Joan (my favorite), but we know she has her own office and is clearly doing something more than just office managering. Time will tell, I am sure.

All in all, the fourth season premiere did what is was supposed to: we caught up with most of the characters and got an idea of where we are in terms of time and place and also how people's lives have changed. Now all we need to do is watch things unfold. As for me, I am keeping my fingers crossed that Sterling, Cooper, Draper, and Price makes it big.

Quote of the night: "We are all here because of you." --Peggy to Don. Was it meant as thanks or an accusation? I sure as heck don't know, and I don't think Peggy knows either.

To read more about Season 4 Mad Men premiere, check out this interview with series creator, Matthew Weiner. Or check out what Tom and Lorenzo have to say here. Enjoy!

And I forgot to mention how adorable these two are; in general and with their "John and Marsha" routine specifically.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pillars of the Earth

Do you get Starz? I don't. Which is unfortunate, since it means I won't get a chance to see their new mini-series, The Pillars of the Earth, which debuts Friday night at 10pm.

Before we get into that, here's a little story. About two years ago, I decided that I wanted to get into audiobooks. Lots of people I know like audiobooks, and I spent quite a bit of time commuting, so I thought it would be a good idea. I made my way through the Harry Potter and Twilight audiobooks (Jim Dale, obviously, rocks my socks) and I was ready for something else. I had recently read about a book called The Pillars of the Earth, and thought, "why not?" Imagine my surprise when I picked up the audiobook from the library and discovered that it was (drumroll please) 33 discs. Yeah, that's right: 33 DISCS. Well, it took me awhile (as in weeks), but I finally got through it, and ended up utterly engrossed in Ken Follett's epic medieval tale of cathedrals and the people who love them, er, build them. There's a large number of interesting characters, and their lives all intersect in twisty turny ways.

So I was delighted when I heard that Starz would be adapting the novel into a tv mini-series. Or at least I was delighted until I remembered that I don't get Starz and don't know anyone who does. Crap.

When Starz's other buzzed about show, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, first aired they put the episodes up on Netflix instant watch. But I haven't seen anything that would indicate that's the case here (although to be fair, I can't get to Netflix at work where I am writing this blog post. Quiet about that last part). So I guess I'll be waiting until the DVD comes out for this one...which is a bummer because 1) it looks like it might be awesome based on this review, and 2) it has Ian McShane, one of my favorite people EVER. It does look like you can watch the first episode online at Starz's website here, so check it out.

Fair warning though: a lot of the plot revolves around taking some basically good people and seeing how much shit the author/producers can throw all over their lives. I wouldn't say this is a real uplifting story. But that means there is plenty of opportunity for violence and all manner of cable-appropriate happenings. To which I say: if it doesn't include violence, adult situations, adult language, and nudity, why bother watching?

Ian Mcshane: Awesome guy, TERRIBLE haircut. Seriously. Even by medieval standards that is some effed up hair.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Science and Mommy Issues = Win?

This is definitely the dog days of summer. We're in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave (with no end in sight), and it's so humid it's hard to breath. So what to do? Well, when I get home from a long day at the office, all I want to do is relax and vegetate on the couch. And of course, watch tv! But what to watch? After all, summer is the time of reruns. But maybe I can make that work in my favor.

A lot of my friends watch The Big Bang Theory. In fact, within a couple hours of meeting of people, when the conversation turns to television (as it often does with me), I get asked, "do you watch The Big Bang Theory?" I always have to reply with my canned answer; I know a lot of my friends watch it, I tried it a couple times and didn't really like it, it comes off as too sit-comy, the humor is too broad for my tastes blah blah blah.

But tonight I'm giving it another try! The show is rerunning the episode The Maternal Congruence, for which guest-star Christine Baranski just snagged an Emmy nomination. I love me some Christine Baranski, and I'm kind of hoping the Christmas theme of the episode will help distract me from the mind-numbing heat. I'm optimistic that I will finally become a fan of the show and can join in the fun. So you should watch with me (tonight at 9:30 on CBS) and I'll make sure to report back and let you know if I'm finally a convert!

Super Mom will make it all better. And possibly crush you with her love.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Blog!

For our fourth anniversary, I decided to highlight a favorite show of mine that only lasted four seasons (well, three seasons and a couple TV movies): ReBoot, the first completely computer-animated TV show.

With CGI so prevalent nowadays, everything from series like Veggie Tales to feature films like Avatar, it might be easy to dismiss the comparatively simple ReBoot. The color scheme was basic and the animation seems downright clunky compared to today's standards. But at the time, ReBoot was revolutionary. Because the technology was so new, even though the show was conceived of in the 80's it didn't air until the mid 90's. In many ways, ReBoot could've rested on it's laurels for being the first to utilize CGI in the half-hour TV format.

But in addition to the CGI format, ReBoot also offered fun characters in a fantastic story. The setting of ReBoot was a city inside a computer, called Mainframe. The lives of the citizens of Mainframe were being constantly interrupted by the User loading games. Games were represented by cubes that would descend on part of the city. The citizens within the cube would then reboot into characters of the game, and compete against the User. If they won, the cube disappeared and that section of the city was saved. If they lost, a part of their city would be destroyed and all the people caught within the game would be turned into "nulls," mindless worm-like parasites. That's right, children - in this cartoon, you are the Big Bad.

There was no cure from being turned into a null.

Enter our plucky hero, Bob (on the left in the first picture). He's a Guardian, charged with protecting Mainframe, and he's one of the few characters who actively seek out game cubes. He befriends a boy named Enzo and his sister, Dot, (also pictured) and the trio fight the User together. They also battle other threats to Mainframe, like malicious computer viruses and creatures from the Web. Every season of the show gets better - better story arcs, better CGI, better everything. In other words, it was Too Good To Last.

But there is an active fanbase - check out the "official" fan site, - producing things like the awesome interactive webcomic, Paradigms Lost. There's also a rumor of a DVD box set release, which is LONG overdue - seasons 1 and 2 have never even made it to DVD! Fans of the show can check out the TV movies (aka Season 4) on Netflix. Many of us are keeping hope alive for a revival, which could combine today's CGI advances with the stories that made ReBoot so great. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pegg/Frost Biopic Buddy Comedy

There are so many things to get me excited about the upcoming movie Paul. First off, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, together again after Shaun of the Dead (the only "horror" film I will ever own) and Hot Fuzz (number one bromance of all time). Plus, they play British - yay - uber-geeks - double yay - who come to America for Comic-Con - triple yay with a cherry on top!

Here's the thing - while on their epic road trip, the duo meets up with "a little green alien named Paul." Aaaaaaand you lost me. I have nothing against aliens (my mother was one for years, ha ha). I love me some Doctor Who (9 and 10 for sure, jury's out on 11), and I've been a loyal Trekker since forever. But little green CGI men kind of leave me cold. Although I will say this - if anyone can make it fun and funny, Pegg and Frost can. I've got high hopes, guys... don't let me down!

For more info, check out these links (via Simon Pegg on Twitter):
Comic-Con Takes Centerstage for Pegg and Frost's Paul
A Trip To My Own Private Comic-Con With Paul
Set Visit: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite in Paul!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Apparently, the moon hasn't set quite yet.

Did you know that the CW has been rerunning Moonlight this summer? I sure didn't, until I noticed on my tv guide. All I can say is, whaaa?

The show originally aired on CBS in 2007-2008 in the Friday night timeslot of death. I totally watched it though, because it had vampires, Veronica Mars' Jason Dohring, Doctor Who's girlfriend...and I liked it. But I didn't love it. But I know a lot of people did and the show developed a very loyal cult following. But of course it got axed (er, staked?) and it was very sad and we moved on. Or at least some of us did. I believe SyFy aired the first season for a little while and the masses, they were appeased.

And now CW has decided to show it on Thursday nights this summer. I guess it makes some kind of sense; CW does have their popular and inexplicably awesome Vampire Diaries, so you've got the vampire connection there. But other than far as I know Moonlight didn't star anyone currently in a CW show. Maybe the same corporation that owns CW owns CBS? Or the CW corporation produced the show? Either way, it is somewhat perplexing.

But really, who cares? More vampires on tv and more Jason Dohring? Sign me up. The DVR, it is set.

And since that picture of Jason Dohring is way to scary...I give you the following eye candy:
Ah, that's more like it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This made my Day (see what I did there?)

I admit it - I'm a Felicia Day fangirl. You know it, I know it. And thanks to an awkward encounter during Comic Con last year, Felicia Day knows it.

On the bright side, my well-known obsession leads Maggie Cats to send me links like this one: Felicia Day slays the Internet with 'The Guild.' Set aside for a moment that they should've titled this piece "Felicia Day wins the Internet." This is a great article about how Day and her web series, The Guild, is quietly subverting the basis of the entertainment industry as we know it - to wit, money.

"When I tell somebody, 'I don't know if the right move is to make this into a TV pilot,' or a movie or whatever, they look at me like I'm an alien," says Day. "I think a lot of people think the end-all, be-all is to be a part of that Hollywood machine. For me, I love what I do all day." And so do we, Felicia. So do we.

Check out Season 4, Episode 1, or start from the beginning at

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It was the best of times, and then it basically just sucked.

The changes So You Think You Can Dance have made this season have thus far been a success; the all-stars returning has been exciting and provided the opportunity for showing what the competing dancers are actually capable of, and the new rules regarding when a dancer is injured (placing them automatically in the bottom 3) makes good sense. Except for when the injured dancer is Alex Wong, front-runner and fan favorite.

Brief recap of what's happened so far: Alex Wong wowed viewers with his audition last season, but as he was contracted with the Miami Ballet, he was unable to compete on the show. He was promised an automatic slot in Vegas for this season, and when he came back blew everyone away. He left his company to compete in the top 10 this season and was definitely considered a contender. He did really well in contemporary and jazz routines at the beginning of the season, but I was a bit concerned that he would be unable to break out of the ballet mode and show us something more loose and fun. And then, last week happened.

Alex got assigned a hip-hop routine with all-star, Twitch, and killed it. Absolutely killed it. He had the fun and attitude demanded by the routine, and in my opinion, hit it harder and sharper than even Twitch, the hip-hop expert. The crowd and judges were on their feet at the end, and I can't remember ever seeing a reaction that strong or prolonged to any routine on the show. The judges were gushing, Cat (the host) was gushing, and I was practically calling for smelling salts I was so blown away. Alex went into this past week's Top 8 performance show as the new clear front-runner for the win. America had fallen in love.

And then.

At the beginning of the Top 8 performance show something was amiss. Where was Alex? Cat then informed us that he had injured himself during dress rehearsals for a Bollywood number and had been ordered by the doctor not to dance this week. This isn't the first time someone has been injured on the show, and usually they just come back the next week. Alex had gone for an MRI earlier that day and the results would be announced the next night during the results show. Under the new rules, if a dancer can't compete in the dance show, he or she is automatically in the bottom three, and if they can't dance the next week, they are automatically out.

So on Thursday night executive-producer Nigel confirmed the worst; Alex had lacerated his Achilles tendon and would need surgery and three months of recovery before he could dance again. He was, therefore, out. BUT. Nigel assured out that while Alex was out of the competition THIS year, he would still be welcome back NEXT year. Especially considering he had left the Miami Ballet for this show and had no job lined up, I'm sure that was a relief. But for all us viewers who were pulling for Alex, it's certainly sad news. Now we have to wait another year to see him reach his full potential, assuming he is willing and able to come back. Sigh. Here's an interview with Alex where he talks about having to leave the show.

At least we'll always have our memories of you, Alex.

I mean, damn. That shit is not even natural.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

It's all about Glee and Modern Family!

The emmy nominations are in...

Personally, I am happy to see so many nominations for the cast of Modern Family. The show is well performed and well written. In fact, every actor over the age of 20 who wasn't on Married with Children got nominated! I hope a show other than 30 Rock takes the emmy this year.

There is a noticeable lack of the HBO and Showtime shows from the list. Though Dexter, Trueblood, Curb and Nurse Jackie were nominated for Best Shows, where are the cast members from actor and actor lists?

It is good to see the cable programs getting more notice. Mad Men is nominate for drama with four of the actors nominated for their parts.

Below are my predictions:


Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)

Michael C. Hall (Dexter)

Toni Collette (The United States of Tara) (A girl can hope)

Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)

Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)

Michael Emerson (Lost)


Jane Lynch (Glee) (SO IN THE BAG)

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (SHOULD WIN)
The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien (WOULD BE HILARIOUS!)

Post your predictions in the comment section.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Avatar: The Meh Airbender

You all know how much I love the Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoon - I blogged to squee about it months ago. So you can imagine how excited I was when it got tapped to be made into a live action film. On Sunday I took my cute little Indian parents (who are fans mostly because I forced them to watch the cartoon series) out to a movie theater to see it on opening weekend.

I then proceeded to sit there for two hours going, "WTF?"

Don't get me wrong - the movie was OK. The martial arts were amazing, and the CGI was top shelf. They cast some of my fave desi actors - Dev Patel as Zukko and Aasif Mandvi as Commander Zhao. And there were a few shout-outs to hardcore fans ("My cabbages!").

Unfortunately, that's where the awesome ends. The dialogue was often clunky and the overall plot was extremely choppy. Maggie Cats made the comment that it seemed like half an hour of the movie was missing, in little snips that would have made things make sense. I only understood what was going on because I'm a fan of the show. At the same time, it didn't seem like it was targeted towards fans - there were a lot of needless changes (like the pronunciation of names) that really threw me off.

Our friend Tito, also a huge fan, had this to say: "Did you like Avatar? Then do yourself a favor - don't go see this movie!" I wouldn't go that far... but it probably wouldn't hurt to catch a matinee, or wait for it to come out on Netflix. Let's keep our fingers crossed for a better, more faithful sequel!

Seriously, how can you mess up this much awesome?
(fan art by ming85)