Friday, August 29, 2008

What New TV Is On Your Calendar?

I'm totally pumped for the new season of television to begin. So You Think You Can Dance offered some solace this summer, but it's been a very... dry... season. I've diligently put all the new dates into my calendar (but have yet to program them into my PVR because I'm hoping to upgrade my receiver to HD in the next few days... HALLELUJAH!!) and here they are.

Sept 1: Gossip Girl
Sept 2: 90210 and The Shield
Sept 3: America’s Next Top Model (this season has a transgender... let’s see if it holds my interest)
Sept 7: True Blood and Entourage
Sept 9: Fringe
Sept 11: Hole in the Wall (if you're a fan of Ellen, you know what this is)
Sept 22: Heroes and Worst Week Ever
Sept 24: So You Think You Can Dance Canada (Woot! My obsession continues...)
Sept 25: Ugly Betty and The Office
Sept 28: Amazing Race and Dexter
Sept 29: Chuck
Oct 1: Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money
Oct 13: My Own Worst Enemy
Oct 30: 30 Rock

So I'm only checking out 5 new shows, one of which is a game show that I won't exactly be PVRing... but the show that has me the most excited is Pushing Daisies. I cannot WAIT for that to begin.

So what's on your schedule? I'm intrigued to hear what my readers will be watching. Have I missed anything?

And in other news... I watched Obama's speech last night (as did half the human race, probably), and thought it was magnificent. Sure, the Republicans will tear him a new one for actually attacking John McCain (how untoward for a Democrat to stoop to the level only reserved for the Bush Administration!) but I thought the man was absolutely brilliant. Man... could you imagine? Charisma actually returning to the White House after an eight-year drought? Amazing.

Oh, and before you simply leave a comment calling me a Canadian liberal pig or tell me to get back to talking about television, I'll just head you off by saying I AM TALKING ABOUT TELEVISION. Last night's speech was made for television. Delivered outdoors (only Kennedy and Roosevelt had done that) and exactly 45 years to the day after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his momentous speech, this speech couldn't have been better if it had been in a film. Dr. King dreamed of a day when people of all races could sit at the same table. How amazed would he be to see Barack sitting at the head of that table...

I loved it. He delivered a 40-minute speech that he had memorized, and didn't stumble once. There were no malapropisms, stutters, or "heh-heh-heh"'s throughout. He made it personal, then he made it about the people, and he gave his party some new slogans, like "Eight Is Enough." He accused McCain of siding with George Bush 90% of the time, and said anyone who agrees with Bush 90% of the time can't be trusted (that elicited the loudest guffaw from me). He said McCain has said he'll follow Osama to the gates of hell, but he can't even follow him to his cave. Of course, Republicans will be ALL over that part, as happened immediately following the program when a Republican on Larry King said that Obama had accused McCain of having Osama in his sights and walking away. King said, "Actually, don't you think he was saying that you guys switched the war from Afghanistan to Iraq, thus leaving the real 9/11 perpetrators behind and going after Hussein?" The guy disagreed and said Obama was claiming McCain saw him in a grocery store parking lot and kept on walking or something like that. Sigh... (I was waiting for the guy to say, "What are you talking about? Wasn't Hussein behind 9/11??" But apparently CNN wasn't about to offer up THAT much entertainment for me.)

I'm currently reading Obama's memoir about his parents, and it's beautifully written and poignant. Apparently some fence-sitters were swayed by last night's performance, while the others are waiting to see what McCain has to say. I'm intrigued, too. After all, in a recent issue of EW, McCain put The Wire as one of his favourite shows. (Har.) So no matter what, we certainly end up with a smarter animal than the monkey who's occupying the White House now. This campaign is going to be fascinating.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This Vampire Book SUCKS...

And not the way a vampire book is SUPPOSED to suck.

I don't know what rock I've been living under, but I only heard about Stephenie Meyer's massively popular Twilight book series a few months ago, mostly after the movie was announced with the cast and everything. My friend Sue read the book and told me not to bother, so I didn't give it another thought, until Entertainment Weekly ran a piece on the author of the series and how hotly anticipated the last book of the series, Breaking Dawn, was among the fans. Then I went into Costco and they had the first 3 books there the week before the release of Breaking Dawn. So I bought it.

The short version: Sue was right.

See, I don't hate for hate's sake. My husband, for example, hates the Harry Potter series of books. Why? Because they're wildly successful, and he equates that with mediocrity. That and J.K. Rowling acting like a complete baby over that Lexicon that she is currently trying to block. Has he read any of them? No. I've told him that if he read the books, he'd realize they really are brilliant. J.K. Rowling might be a complete egotistical diva, but the woman has created a world and a series that is unparalleled in today's children's literature.

So, I realized if I were going to hate the Twilight series, I needed to read it first so I could properly criticize it. And BOY do I have a lot to criticize.

First, in the EW article it described the series of books as being about a young girl who falls in love with a vampire who turns out to be much older. And they're making a movie of the book. "Hmm," I thought, "Will Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz be reprising their roles, since this is a COMPLETE RIPOFF OF BUFFY?!" Luckily, by reading the book I realized that wasn't the case. Stephenie Meyer just isn't that good a writer. Her descriptions are cliched and overwrought, the dialogue is wooden, and she repeats herself over and over and OVER AND OVER again. The book could have been 200 pages shorter if we didn't have to read 50 times that Edward's golden eyes were like honey or Bella was rubber in his presence or his breath was like honey (yeah, there's a lot of honey in this book) or Edward chuckled, guffawed, laughed, or giggled his way out of every situation.

Quick synopsis: Bella moves to Forks, a rainy, gloomy area of the Pacific Northwest, because her dad lives there and her mom is off with her new boyfriend somewhere else. Her first day of school she sees this mysterious group of 5 kids and they're described as Dr. Cullen's adopted kids: Edward, who is impossibly beautiful; Alice, the goth pixie chick who is stunning; Rosalie, who is beautiful but a bitch; Emmett, also beautiful with a smirk on his face, and Jasper, the youngest of the bunch. Edward sits next to Bella in class that day and seems to be furious with her, clutching the edge of his desk and trying to keep as far away from her as possible. For about 175 pages she tries to figure out what is their problem, what makes them so beautiful, why is Edward so strong, why is their skin so white, and on and on. Apparently Meyer is trying to make us sympathize with Bella and similarly think, "Hmm... good questions, Bella, why ARE they so white? Why DO they look like they do?" But if you can READ you've seen the back cover, where it has a quote from the middle of the book where Bella is talking about Edward being a vampire. So the first 175 pages are us going, "He's a bloody vampire, for cripes' sake, can we MOVE ON??"

Every time Bella is in Edward's presence, he has this way of looking at her, this glow in his eye, this "impossibly beautiful" face that's been chiselled by God, to hear Bella explain it, and she can't breathe, walk, speak, or think. He's the most gorgeous human being on the planet. There's a lot of heavy breathing, Edward telling her he loves her, him getting close to her then pulling away. It's complete trash. As I said to my husband, "I think this book was written with the sole purpose of making adolescent girls wet." He asked, "What, is there a lot of vampire sex?" I said, "No, just a lot of vampire dry humping."

It's harmless, of course. I mean, while part of me is saying there is no way I'm letting my daughter within a hemisphere of this book when she is 13, I then remember that when I was 13 I read the Flowers in the Attic series, with all the brothers and sisters locked in the attic and the longing and the puberty and the incestuous sex and the baby-having and total craziness. And I LOVED those books. I'm assuming Twilight has that same audience, not discerning and hardly critical.

But what was so obvious to me about halfway through was one simple fact: Edward is a complete DICK. Take away his looks, his charm, the supernatural hold he has over Bella, and he's moody, angry, emotionally abusive, domineering, and acts like Bella is a toddler who can't make decisions for herself. He's possessive and dangerous and constantly laughs at Bella and makes big life decisions for her. Meanwhile, Bella is about as interesting as a blade of grass, and in the big climax in the end I was praying for her demise, but knew it was in vain since there were 3 more books to suffer through.

My friend Marion read the series and said she was completely ambivalent throughout, and felt like she had to take a shower every time she read part of it. I couldn't have put it better myself. I was drawn in by Edward, and hated myself for being drawn in. When he wasn't on the page, I was dead bored. All the action in the novel happens in the last 100 pages, but I found them completely boring.

Is there ANYTHING redeeming? Sure... the reason she's come up with for why vampires try to stay out of the sun is original. Alice intrigued me a bit. Until she was described as a vampire who has visions and was out of her mind when she was turned... I guess Juliet Landau can reprise HER role, too. (Oh, and there's a suggestion that one of the characters might be a werewolf... Seth, are you free, too?)

When I first read that EW article, I was angry. I remember when I first started watching Buffy and I thought it would make a great series of YA novels. So when I read the article I thought, "Argh, Meyer went ahead and did it, while stupid me, I thought JOSS ALREADY HAD." I was angry I hadn't gotten there first. But then I read it and realized, oh. If THIS is what sells, I'm glad I didn't write it.

One thing is for certain. People need to be careful about cavalierly throwing around the "Next J.K. Rowling" mantle. Yeah, Meyer has proven she can also write adult fiction badly, not just Y/A, while Rowling is so far resting on the laurels of Harry. But you know what? She can rest on it for good and never write another word, and she would have solidified her place as a great writer. Meyer just hasn't done that with this book. I've read she's a stay-at-home mom of four, and for THAT I am impressed, but I wonder if she'd want any of her kids reading this when they're 13?

Sigh. Where's the good vampire novels when you want them?

Good news, however... I have seen the first two episodes of True Blood, and it's frickin' fantastic. A longer review to come.

In the meantime, skip Twilight and rewatch the first two seasons of Buffy. You'll thank me for it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ooh! More Lost Hangman!

This drives some people completely batty, but since I'm never looking for spoilers, I just find it funny. Michael Ausiello, formerly of TV Guide, now EW, is the spoiler-man on the scene for Lost. But sometimes he just likes to play along with everyone, making the spoilerholics furious that he just won't spill outright.

In the most recent column about Lost, he was asked what would prompt the Oceanic 6 to return to the island? At the end of season 4, we see Ben telling Jack they must return, and it looks like they will. If that happens in season 5 (which I would assume it would, since we don't have a lot of time left to play around with), why would they? Ausiello has already heard the answer from the Lost peeps, and here is his response:

Ausiello: I'm told there are a whole host of reasons, not the least of which involves * ****** ****** ******* ** ****** *****. Or so I hear.

So what could the solution to the puzzle be?? 8 words, with respective numbers of letters in each word: 1, 6, 6, 7, 2, 6, 5.

A letter saying Bentham is insano Locke?
A pained Sawyer warning to forget hatch?
A Dharma spider infects or killed Locke?

Let's come up with the craziest solutions we can. And then create scenarios in which they are true. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

BtVS: The Animated Series - What Could Have Been

While I was away last week, someone posted the teaser that Joss and Co. had put together a few years ago when Whedon was pitching Buffy: The Animated Series to the network heads. Unfortunately, the show was never picked up, and with the gang split up, the chances of pulling them together for the voice work is near impossible now. (If I remember correctly, that's someone who sounds a lot like SMG, but it isn't actually her, am I right?) At first, I thought the animation was a little too Scooby-Doo for me, but after a minute or so, I really started to like it. Now it's sad to see what could have been, and will never be.

And "The harder they what?" is now officially my favourite Xander line ever.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Facebook Hamlet

Thanks so much to Crissy for this link. I howled out loud the entire time I was reading this, it's so brilliant. (Of my readers, I'm thinking Chris L. and Neil will appreciate it the most.) Enjoy!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Latest Dharma Orientation Video

I'm back from vacation, so I'm posting this later than some other places, but I just had a chance to watch it for the first time, and it's pretty cool. Last year we saw the Orchid video, where the Marvin Candle character is standing in the Orchid station holding a rabbit, when what appears to be the same rabbit pops up behind him and he hides the one in his arms, saying they cannot see each other and screaming to remove the other rabbit. The video, shown at last year's Comic-Con, was an indicator to us that season 4 was going to be about time travel, since it appeared it was actually the same rabbit, with one in the present, the other one time-travelling into the present.

Here is this year's video. Watch it first before reading my comments below:

So now we have confirmation that Candle is an actor who had been hired to do the orientation videos (duh), but what's interesting is the mention of a wife named Laura, and a baby. Someone who has time travelled to the future has come back to tell him that in 30 years, he will be dead from the Purge, the Internet exists, George W. Bush is president (that should have been the worst news he was delivering)...

He mentions that he's trying to keep a pinhole open to transmit the message 30 years into the future. Could the "pinhole" be that point in the bubble we've been discussing for much of this season, that opening on the bearing that Daniel gave Frank to fly through? As we saw in The Constant, there's definitely something that happens when one passes through that pinhole, but it's interesting that Chang mentions it here.

The thing I'm sure everyone will be (or has been) talking about is the voice behind the camera. I think it's pretty clear it's Daniel Faraday. The question is, when did he travel back to Chang to deliver this news and have him make this tape? What was the purpose in having him make this tape?

Can anyone make out what we hear another frequency saying at 2:42? Something about "visage"? Maybe the audio has been reversed there?

I love that they give us little tidbits to play with until the real game begins again!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Spanky, Darla, Alfalfa... Our Gang Is Here!

I love old movies. Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Mary Pickford. When I was about 4, I used to do a Charlie Chaplin walk. There was this awesome pizza parlor in London, Ontario, called "Mother's Pizza" and on the wall they played old Charlie Chaplin films, which is where I first saw them and fell in love with them. When I was 14, I saw a documentary on Buster Keaton and was hooked.

But the one set of films that has been my lifelong favourite are the Little Rascals shorts. They used to play them on TV constantly when I was very young (I haven't seen them in probably 20 years now) and I remember so many moments. Alfalfa getting the soap in his mouth and drinking water and singing, with the bubbles blowing out. The boys flirting with Mrs. Crabtree. Spanky's mom saying she wants to wash behind his ears, and him escaping the house before she can. The kids in the little fire engine flying down the hill, with the ladder swinging out in both directions.

So imagine my delight when I found out ALL 80 shorts will soon be available on DVD. I cannot wait to watch these shows again. But I wonder... how different will they be now that I'm older?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

OMG, That TOTALLY Looks Like Him!!

This is my favourite new website (aside from Keamy's Paradise, of course!) Thanks to fb for the link. I LOVE the new Katy Perry/Zooey Deschanel one, but my other favourites are Dr. Phil and the walrus (HA!), Clark Kent and Superman, and David Bowie and the Polish chicken.

Check it out!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Ernie and Bert Do Gangsta-Rap

What makes this so brilliant is that whoever edited it together seems to have made it look like they're REALLY doing the song. Ernie gestures to his upper chest when referring to his jewels, their mouths seem to be singing the song... it's genius and hilarious.

Friday, August 01, 2008

It's Vacation Time!

Tomorrow I'm heading off with the famdamily to the cottage. I.e. that world with no air conditioning, no condiments, no Internet, lots of sunburns, sand in diapers... and lots of fun.

So I won't be around, but I'm going to set up some posts to publish throughout the week. Please keep the Lost talk going -- I love coming back to reading all your comments. And I hope you enjoy the posts I put up in the meantime. See y'all soon!