Friday, July 16, 2010
Considering how insanely difficult it was to pass health care and financial reform, which big ticket items do you think are likely to be sighed into law under a narrow Democratic majority in the house and the senate?:
-Cap and Trade
-Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
-Repeal of DOMA
I honestly can't see any of these things getting passed and if we're going to have at least two years of congress being completely useless (as opposed to mostly useless), it might as well be useless like a fox! Over the last twenty years the majority of Democratic political and policy failures have been the result of the party being overly "centrist" and lacking any real coherent ideology other than opposition to the far right in the GOP. The Republicans are just the opposite. They have been growing more and more into a solidly neo-conservative party for about 30 years now and their failures are usually the result of ideological overreach. The Clinton Impeachment Trials, The Iraq War, Terry Schiavo, the GOP's overzealous pursuit of its own ideology is its own worst enemy.
If the GOP wins the house they will go overboard like they did in the 90s. You will probably see millions of dollars go to investigating Sestackgate or to finding a connection between Obama and the New Black Panther Party. There will be epic battles over the federal budget with threats of closing down the post office. Then there will be the theatrics. Nobody does ludicrous political theater better than the Republicans. Unemployment will continue to be high and future state of the economy shall remain uncertain, during which the public will watch the GOP make complete asses of themselves, while almost nothing is done to help the American people. Obama will probably benefit politically as well from being able to play the centrist card against the GOP. It will also likely hurt the chances for the GOP winning the presidency in 2012. In 2012, the odds may be pretty good for GOP losing a narrow majority in the house to an Obama re-election wave.
As I have said before, I don't expect much if anything more from Obama in terms of positive accomplishments( as opposed to preventing the other guys from implementing worse policies than his own). I believe his ability to implement policy changes from left has already peaked and will likely be arrested by the results of the midterm. Still, I think we are more likely to see some decent reforms passed by a Democratic congress coming off of a win in 2012, than a democratic congress in 2011 that has just lost several seats.
So get out the big top, call up the yak woman, place a want add for the carnies, procure me some monkey and fish parts to mold into a Fiji Mermaid, and send in the clowns!
Friday, July 2, 2010
The following was posted over at Balloon Juice in response to this:
I have reporduced the lenghty post on my part in full for archival purposes.
I hate to say this, but when the Dems are defending Obama’s dumbassery on Afghanistan in classical GOP style, it just shows that there has not been nearly enough change. And no, I really don’t give a shit if Steele is a moron who can’t string together a coherent critique of the president. I also don’t give a shit if he gets fired and replaced by another idiot or if this causes a fracas among conservative pundits for a few hours before they move on to another scandal. In terms of the coming election this will all be irrelevant. What is relevant is what it says about the Democratic Party.
I was always a bit cynical towards Obama and always found the Pumas and their opposite numbers to be hysterically stupid in their faith that either Obama or Clinton would be substantially more progressive than the other despite no solid evidence of any significant policy differences between the two. Still, I had hoped that conditions might have forced whoever won the nomination and the presidency to set a radical new course in both domestic and foreign policy. That alas has not happened.
Everything has gone more or less as Bernhard over at Moon of Alabama predicted. The stimulus was not enough to rescue the economy and with its failure there is no political will for further stimulus or even to extend current unemployment benefits. Most of the western politicians have now adopted a neo-hoover mentality towards the economic crises. Obama, a prisoner of his own lack of audacity early in his presidency when he had the political capital to actually achieve things, is powerless to stop this. At best this means further economic stagnation in the west, at worst it means a double dip recession. At this point we are all like Luke Skywalker on the second Death Star, being laughed at by the evil emperor who knows we are doomed. Luke and his buddies were bailed out by an army of munchkins dressed as teddy bears. I don’t think we can count on that.
The Europeans are fortunate at least in that they are mostly under center-right governments and will have viable alternatives when election time comes. We yanks on the other hand shall be presented with a choice between a rational crypto -Republican and and irrational Republican. What don’t believe me? Let’s say that the new austerity leads to a double dip recession? What is Obama going to do? Is he going to dust off FDR’s New Deal and run against his own record? Are the tea baggers going to suddenly discover Keynesian economics? Is Christopher Hitchins going to invite Pope Benedict over to his place to administer last rights? Nope.
In a wonderful post, the great Bilmon said that in spite of all their flaws the Democrats were the only hope for progressive change in this country. That assessment was correct in 2008 and it may be correct in 2016, but it is probably not true today and it certainly won’t be after the midterms. It does not matter whether the GOP retakes the house or not. The dems will lose seats simply because the massive majority they gained in 2008 is unsustainable. This won’t matter though, the media narrative will be the same as when Brown won-that this is push back against Obama and big government, The remaining conservative dems will eat it up and nothing besides spending cuts and war appropriations will get passed. Obama was a force for change, but in terms of anything that needs a congressional vote, he is a largely spent force.
There are things that he could do in his role as chief of the executive branch such as change strategy in Afghanistan and role back some of the more pernicious claims of executive power that he inherited from Bush, but he has shown no will to do such. The passage of health care reform is almost certainly going to be seen as the peak of Obama’s presidency. All that is left now is to watch this paralyzed administration be destroyed by poor economic and foreign policies and then watch him hand over the keys to the Bush security state(largely preserved by Barry despite his rhetoric) to the next king.
There seems to be a lot of bitterness towards the likes of Greenwald and Luis Black for not indulging in the tribal chant of the Democratic Party loyalist. I suppose this is understandable. Alcoholics do not like to be told that they are addicts and religious fundamentalist do not like to be reminded that their bible is contradicted by fact. It is of course great fun to make fun of the fundies, the homophobes, the birthers, the war nuts, etc. etc. But then some smart ass comes by and points out that your party sucks. Yeah you can always point out ways in which the dems are better, but that is a bit like claiming your couch potato child is athletic because he can out compete Christopher Reeves. So without anything substantive or even particularly clever to say in return, you just call them assholes or naderites for exposing you to reality.
Good Night and Good Luck!
Friday, April 16, 2010
Well I watched that SNL retrospective NBC ran in place of the usual stuff last Thursday. What a bore! The thing was heavily padded with mind numbingly dull interviews and musical numbers from past shows. For the most part the interviews were uninteresting and banal. The 9/11 segment was especially bad as you had to listen to about a dozen people say the same goddamn thing-that doing a comedy show after that tragedy was hard, wow what a revelation!
Then there were the supposedly cream of the crop sketches. Even with a decade worth of material the clips were very hit and miss, which just serves to remind us of how mediocre SNL really has been over the last ten years. Don't get me wrong, they have had many talented cast members and writers, but the show is almost as much of a dinosaur as the four wall sitcom or The Tonight Show. Maybe being on network television is a stifling influence which has become all the more apparent in an age of cable and the internet. SNL sometimes lucks out like when Will Ferrell turned out be a great Bush(though notice he left rather early in the last decade) or Fey being a magnificent Palin, but the truth is The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Chappel Show have not only been more consistently funny, but have done a far better job of tapping into the zeitgeist of the last decade.
Monday, March 8, 2010
I fucking hate award shows. There is a definite self indulgent quality to an industry honoring itself in a lavish production broadcast around the world and the bullshit that is used to draw out what should be a simple process over several hours just makes events like the Oscars unwatchable to me. It also does not help that the selection of films tends to be biased towards films released late in the year and the choices of both nominees and winners often mystify me. So yeah , I don't care much for the Oscars and never watch it. I watched a movie on DVD and then caught some syndicated Seinfeld reruns.
So the Hurtlocker beat Avatar eh? I have not seen the Hurtlocker so I can't judge whether it is really a good movie or not, but it strike me as a better choice for best picture than Avatar which I have also not seen. Wait a minute? You didn't see Avatar? Don't you like scifi films? You are a space cadet are you not? Well yes, I am but there is something about Avatar that really turns me off. Besides the ridiculous hype and popularity it just strikes me as dumb movie that overly relies on new technology. If Avatar was not being hyped up as the Jazz Singer of 3D, would it be anywhere near as popular as it is? If it was not in 3D would people be leaving this film depressed that it is over? I somehow doubt it.
3D is of course a gimmick(and not a new one) to get people into the theaters in an era where theatrical films face greater competition from home entertainment. There is nothing new in this. When tv first started catching on they started making movies in wider aspect ratios (try watching Ben Hur letter boxed on an old 4:3 tv) and you had experiments with larger screen formats like Cinerama. This brings to mind another sci fi film, 2001 A Space Odyssey. Like Avatar (I suppose) 2001 is a film that really is made for a theater and I imagine watching it in Cinerama would be a real treat. Watching it on an old square tv hooked up to a VCR would simply not do because 2001 truly is visual and aural storytelling. There really is not much in the way of characterization and dialogue ( though there a few memorable lines uttered by a certain famous computer). That does not mean that the film lacks a story though. It is in fact one of the best science fiction stories ever filmed. It is a very unusual story that spans millions of years and in the end leaves quite a lot open to interpretation by the audience, but it is also an original story that had not been seen a million times at the time of its making and I have a hard time thinking of any films since that have really tried to do what 2001 did.
So what is Avatar's story about? Well I haven't seen it, but going from the trailer it does not strike me as a movie with much going on that isn't seen in the trailer. It is obviously a rip off of Dances with Wolves with weird looking blue aliens in place of Indians. It is obvious that the cigar chomping marine general piloting the mech is the bad guy. It is clear that there is going to be a battle between the blue people and the marines. It seems probable that since this film is appealing to commercial sentiment,that the blue people will win despite being primitives armed with spears going up against U.S. Marines armed with machine guns, mechs, and helicopter gun ships. I also imagine the that the film depicts the blue aliens as stereotypical noble savages who live in perfect harmony with nature. I don't hate Dances with Wolves, but I don't need to a see a cgi version of it with a weaker story and acting glossed up with 3D and with a bunch of gaia crap thrown in that makes me want to eat an Orca to compensate.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Washington-In an unprecedented move, President Barack Obama has offered to have his testicles surgically removed and preserved in a jar as a gift for the Republican leadership if they agree to vote for health care. "So many people have been saying I have no balls I figure I might as well just leave no doubt in people's mind about whats under my belt." GOP leaders were intrigued by the offer, but feel it does not go far enough. John Boiner stated "I am most definitely interested in this, a set of negro genitals in a jar would look great situated next to my jarred pig fetus and shrunken head, but I cannot accept this offer unless Obama includes his ding dong as well.
Obama responded hours later, stating "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to put my foot down when it comes to my penis. I need that thing for marital relations." Michael Steel released a statement two hours later claiming that Obama's comments were full of misinformation. "Castrated men cannot fuck" claimed Steel. Obama shot back a day later stating "look, it is true that men who are castrated lose some of their libido, but many men who are castrated after puberty are still capable of holding an erection, even with lower testosterone levels. I am willing to compromise and have my penis circumcised and let them have the foreskin, but that is where I draw the line."
"Huh he's not already circumcised? Jeez I hope he washes that thing thoroughly before Michele goes down on it. Anyway I and most other Americans must insist that the president cease denying Americans what is rightfully theirs. Foreskin and testicles is not enough. We want black cock!" said Senator John McCain during a bi-partisan health care conference. "Look, you guys don't even want my penis, your thinking it is huge based on stereotypes about black people, but I assure you I have a very small penis that would not look at all impressive pickled in a jar" said the president. McCain responded "don't be condescending, I've seen black penises of all sizes, it is the principle of this thing, not the length and girth." Recent polling indicates that ten percent of Americans want the president to have his testicles surgically removed. Another 15 percent favor removing both the penis and the testicles. Another 9 percent favor circumcision and castration. The remainder of the respondents replied to the question, What the Fuck!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
As you can see the unemployment rate in the United States is now slightly higher than that of France. There are a few EU countries like Ireland and Spain that have worse unemployment situations, but when you average it out the unemployment rate in the Euro zone and the EU is roughly the same as France and the US. It is worth noting that besides Ireland, pretty much every country in northwestern Europe (UK, Scandinavia, Germany, etc.) have lower unemployment rates. So do Australia, Canada, and Japan. The US has also had the most rapid rise in unemployment of the first world countries profiled in the first chart. Its also worth noting that those unemployed in other industrialized countries can generally count on better unemployment benefits as well as health insurance. Also keep in mind that most of that vaunted economic growth in the US over the last ten years was basically derived from a giant ponzi scheme. So which system looks more sound now?
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I suppose I should be grateful to the last administration for not starting World War III over outer Slobovia, but the fact they even considered bombing Russian forces to save a fairly unimportant non-NATO country reveals a pretty scary mindset. Also there is this.
"Asmus and some more hawkish former national security staffers believe that the conflict was the product of negligent American diplomacy and that it set a precedent for instability in Europe. Hadley defends the administration’s performance and argues that the blame for the conflict lies wholly with Russia.
Asmus argues that a series of Western mistakes signaled to Russia that it would be able to march into Georgia with impunity. Crucially, the NATO allies failed to agree, at a conference in Bucharest, Romania, on a concrete plan that would put Georgia and Ukraine on a path toward NATO membership. And, he argues, Bush never called Russia’s top leaders to make clear that an invasion of Georgia would bring drastic consequences."
Yep, the problem is that the U.S. has not meddled enough in Russia's near abroad.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Washington--A full day after President Obama's historic first state of the union address the nation is abuzz over an burst of flatulence heard during the speech. The implications are staggering, as an audible fart has not occurred in a joint session of congress since the nineteenth century and never during a state of the union address.
Was it an accidental fart? Was it a fart of glee from a supporter too overridden by a stirring speech to hold in their fart any longer? Or was it a deliberate fart of defiance? To get the bottom of the question (so to speak), we put the full technological resources of our NFH newsroom to the task of determining the origin point of the fart. By analysing variouse recourdings of the speech from differnet parts of the chamber, we have determined that there is a 90% certainty that the fart originated from the seated Supreme Court Justices. Was it indeed a fart of defiance let out by Justice Alito as he visibly said "not true" to the president? Or was it a more innocent fart from Justice Sottomayor or Justice Ginsburg? We may never know the true origin of the fart heard around the world, but there is one thing that we can be certain of. The fact that Obama, despite being heralded as a great orator , has been drowned out by a single brief wisp of flatulence in our coverage of his speech clearly demonstrates what a colossal failure he is.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
New Orleans--James O'Keefe, a conservative activist recently arrested for allegedly attempting to bug a Senator's office phone has released the following statement: Greetings my fellow Americans. Right now there is probably a lot of shit flinging around in blog land about me and my comrades. Claims that we are a gang of out of touch, privileged, young Republicans who seriously thought that we could get away with tapping the phone of a US Senator. Accusations that we are not serious investigative reporters, but partisan hacks looking to embarrass Democrats.
The truth is as follows. Yes, we did attempt to bug the office phone of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. Contrary to recent reports, we did not do this in order to try to expose any wrongdoing or embarrassing behavior on the part of the senator. We also knew full well that what we did would eventually get us all arrested and charged with federal crimes. You see America, we want to go to prison and this was the most harmless way we could think of to get ourselves locked away for five to ten years.
We are not partisan hacks. My comrades and I are genuinely concerned about all abuses committed against society by the powerful and if there is a place where big government, big labor, and big business combine to create hell on earth, it is prison. We are treading into the lair of the beast to expose it. We do this at great risk to ourselves because we are patriots dedicated to bringing to the truth to the American people.
His post calling John Stewart a douchebag for not being an knee jerk lefty and meeting his vague standards of humor has to be considered one of Balloon Juice's lowest moments at this point
Anessa Finkelstein, an 20 year old college student who was a first time voter in 2008 is similarly devastated. "I spent all this time campaigning for what I thought was an awesome Black Muslim who would legalize gay marriage and pot, end war and enact single payer health insurance. I used to taunt all my pro-Hilary friends about how they were voting for a greedy power hungry bitch who was part of the evil establishment, while Obama was like a superhero out to save the whales. God do I feel stupid. I will never vote again. For all I care Sarah Palin can be president and do whatever she wants to do, it can't be worse than four more years under the Clintons."
The recent discovery has produced major outbursts in the blogosphere and on MSNBC, but it has also sadly cost the life of one former Obama supporter. Early yesterday the Obamagirl who campaigned for Obama on Youtube was found dead from self inflicted knife wounds. She is reputed to have written "I'm no Fucking Monica" in her own blood before expiring.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Obviously going by my first post and some of the listed links I am a Star Trek fan. So what did I think of the new movie? Basically, I liked it. One plus of this film is that it is obviously the biggest budget Trek film since probably the first one, but what really makes the movie work is the casting and the focus on the characters of Kirk and Spock. This film really does a pretty good job of exploring the dynamic between these two iconic characters, while also being an exciting action flick.
Things I'm less pleased with are the plot and the villains. Nero was pretty lacking as a villain. He lacked the kind of villainous presence that Kahn exuded in Star Trek II and frankly I think even some pretty weak villains from past films like Krugg from Star Trek III were better than Nero. His motivation also seemed kind of weak. So he is mad at Spock for trying to save Romulus from destruction and failing? So if Spock did jack shit would Nero be cool with him even though his planet was space dust?
Also the science of the whole scenario made no sense. I'm not in any remote sense a scientist, and even I know that a star going nova would not threaten an entire galaxy. Also when you get down to it, the plot is full of Star Trek movie cliches (time travel, villain seeking to destroy the earth, the Enterprise being more or less invincible while the rest of Star Fleet gets taken down by Nero in two minutes or something, etc). There are also some minor things like the engine room design and the product placement for Nokia and Budweiser, but I can't say these things really affect the overall quality of the film.
How does this movie stack up in the gran scheme of Trek? Well, I still like Wrath of Kahn, The Undiscovered Country, and First Contact more than this movie. Therefore I would rank this movie #4 out of 11 Trek films. Overall, I think Star Trek is lucky that it got this reboot because while it is flawed, things could have been far worse. I just hope that next time Abrams and Orci come up with a more original and interesting plot.
I don't get why Modern Family is so wildly popular with critics. Don't get me wrong, it is kinda funny and the idea of a sitcom about an extended multicultural family is a good one, but there are a lot of other shows that I find much funnier. Honestly even The Middle, despite being a ripoff of Malcolm in the Middle makes me laugh more than this show. Hmmm....maybe the problem is the show is too syrupy for my taste? Every episode seems to end with everybody hugging and I really do prefer my tv families to be very dysfunctional (think Arrested Development).
Monday, January 25, 2010
Washington--In his first state of the union address President Obama offered a surprisingly critical assessment of his first year as president, claiming that the stimulus was "too small ,like George Castanzas penis after a swim in the pool" and that his attempt to reform the nation's health care system was a "monumental cluster fuck." Obama dweled further on the matter stating "I thought that if I just sat back and said reassuring shit about bi-partisanship and vague bullshit about what health care reform would look like, that this collection of sociopath lawyers we call congress could get a reform bill passed in a timely manner. Fuck, I even thought town meetings would be venues for real question and answer sessions instead of places for aged, uneducated white trash to yell about socialism while they collect social security checks...and just when it seems like we're gonna get this bitch passed through congress, the Massachusetts fucking Democrats lose a fucking special election to another fucking republican who wants to show everyone his dick. Hallyfuckinglula! All because they had to run John Kerry's tranny cousin instead of someone who did not bore and repulse everyone in the fucking state."
Following the unusually blunt and expletive laden tyrade concerning the state of his presidency, Obama revealed his plan to resuscitate both the Democratic Party and the nation. Obama's plan calls for 100 billion dollars to be spent on a time machine. Once completed, the president shall travel back in time to 1993 in order to warn the newly sworn in President Clinton about the catastrophes that await the nation; the failure to pass health care reform, the repeal of the Glass Steigal Act, the bubble economy of the 2000's, and September 11th. Obama hopes that the changes to the timeline will allow him to return to the present as president of a much more peaceful and prosperous United States. Immediate Repulican response was critical with Michelle Bachman of Minnesota stating: "this sounds very expensive...instead of spending billions of dollars trying to achieve time travel through science, we should look to magic...all we need to do is capture a leprechaun or a genie and force him to grant our time travel wish."Concerning the possibility that he may arrive from the past to find a United States that is not any better off, Obama stated "If things are not any better than I'll time travel one more time to tell my parents to immigrate to Canada so I can watch this right wing hellhole go third world from the Prime Ministers office in Ottatwa...suck on that you shit eating teabaggers!"
Friday, January 22, 2010
Washington D.C.--In an appearance on Fox News last night, Ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin addressed the recent controversy over whether Barrack Obama is a Klingon, stating "I do not know if Obama is a Klingon, but I do believe whether or not the president was born on this planet is a legitimate question to ask." The controversy erupted last week when World Net Daily displayed a Klingon Birth Certificate purportedly showing that Barack Obama was born in the first city of Qu'noS as opposed to Honolulu, Hawaii. If authentic, the document would constitutionally invalidate Obama's presidency.
White House Press Secreatary William Gibbs responded to the controversy this morning stating "It is a documented fact that the President was born in Honolulu Hawaii. It is also fact that Klingons do not exist. They are a fictional race of aliens from a TV show." Hours later during his program on Fox News Glen Beck fired back at Gibbs saying "This is yet another bald faced lie from the Obama administration...according to the laws of pantheistic solipsism all the worlds we imagine exist as parallel universes...therefore, the existence of Klingons is fact and Obama may be one of them given his physiognomy..I am not saying that he is one, but we must all be open to the possibility that instead of merely being a black Muslim attempting to impose Islamo-Fascism-Marxism upon our great nation, that he is a Klingon agent attempting to impose their barbaric and alien ideas of honor upon our great nation. We must continue to ask questions, if there is to continue to be an America."The president could not be reached for comment before this article was published.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
This week's episode was not a dinosaur taking a shit. It was a hideous, smelly, criminally insane, homeless man taking a dump, while you lie bloody and broken on a urine soaked street watching. My god, a fucking clip show! The Office, which used to be the least formulaic and cliche of sitcoms has come to this. Parks and Recreations looks like Seinfeld compared to this Shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I saw an add for the upcoming episode of The Office. Ugh...an add is obviously not enough to pronounce an episode terrible, but going by the recent batch of Office episodes I'm not too optimistic. This season of The Office has so far been quite disappointing and really shows that Gervais was smart to quit while he was ahead with the original show. He made just enough episodes to get you invested in his show, and then he ended the story leaving you wanting more. The current season of The Office leaves me wishing they wrapped up the show during season Four. So what is wrong with the show?
*The Story arcs: A general bane of sitcoms is becoming a show about romantic relationships. The Office has become too shipy. Jim and Pam as husband and wife are not interesting enough characters to anchor the show around. The actors (at least Fisher) also lack the acting chops for their expanded roles. You could tell that Jenna Fisher was struggling to act angry in the episodes where Michael was dating her mom. Also how many times can the jobs of everybody at The Office be threatened by some big corporate doings without anybody at Scranton actually losing their jobs before it becomes a cliche?
*Nobody ever leaves the fucking Office for good: Of the secondary characters that were established in the first and second seasons, only Roy and that Devon guy have been fired for good and I'm not even sure If Devon counts since I had to actually to go on Wikipedia to look up his name.
* Secondary Characters: Another problem is that there are too many secondary characters that are not being used properly, if at all. This may be related to the previous point about there not being enough turnover. Perhaps some of these characters have run their course and should be replaced? Its also possible that Michael, Pam, Jim and Dwight are just crowding out most of the other characters.
*Too Many Episodes seem Written More for the Cast Than the Audience: I think Dennis Miller once quipped that if a movie was judged by how much fun the cast had making it than Cannonball Run II is the best movie of all time. Whether its the nonsensical dance party at the end of the wedding episode, the talking in southern accents episode, or that god awful disco episode from last season, it seems like many episodes are being written more to entertain the cast than the people who actually watch the show. Whats next, an episode where they all take a trip to Marine Land?
*Dwight Shrute: His character used to be genuinely funny just a Gareth was on the original. Now his character is way too cartoonish (remember, the premise of this show that it is a documentary-i e somewhat realistic). Andy is also annoying for similar reasons.
Oh what's that you say? The Office is still better than the other crap on tv? Well maybe, but watching it is kind of like watching a dinosaur take a dump. It may be more entertaining than other craps you've seen, but it is still crap.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Siskoid really likes Fox's new action series Human Target. I agree. This is easily the most entertaining pilot I have seen in while. If you like Bond movies or shows like Burn Notice you should love this. Let's just hope they can maintain the quality past the pilot.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I have a confession to make. Even though, I have mostly enjoyed the new Doctor Who, I have not seen an episode of Torchwood. With that said, doing a US version on FOX is really bad idea (especially if it is done instead of the BBC version as Rob seems to believe). Fox has a miserable history with sci-fi series. Even if they are not sabotaged from the beginning(Firefly, Virtuality) they always fail to attract the ratings that Fox wants and wind up getting canceled after one or two seasons (Sarah Conner, Dollhouse). I think the last sci-fi show to go for more than two seasons on Fox was either Sliders or Millennium (unless you count Futurama, yet another mistreated series) and the only one that ever was really successful was The X-Files.
Then of course there is the Doctor Who connection. Doctor Who is a very British thing and is an acquired taste when it comes to Americans. The show has never been particularly popular-relegated to PBS or Cable. Oh and their open to doing an Americanized version of Doctor Who itself. I'm sure that will work just as well as last time.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
As far as I know SNL is the only first run sketch comedy show on American tv right now. That is pretty sad, especially considering how weak SNL has been for the last ten years or so. As much as I liked his old late night show, the gossip coming out of Conan's negotiations with NBC indicate that NBC will retain the rights to all the characters and comedy bits from Late Night and The Tonight Show. Well, if Conan has to start anew, then perhaps he should look to Dave Chapel for inspiration as opposed to Johny Carson?
ABC and CBS may be interested in competing with SNL. HBO, Showtime, and the other usual suspects might be interested in a sketch comedy show from Conan as well. What say you Coco?
In light of my previous post on the Simpsons, I thought I would give a breakdown of what I think about the changes the show has undergone over the previous twenty years.
Prehistoric Age: 1987-1989: This era covers the shorts that aired on the Tracey Ulman Show. These shorts, while charming and funny in their own crude way give little indication of the brilliant sitcom that was to come. It is during these years that the character designs of the Simpson undergo the most evolution; going from characters that could be mistaken as crude ripoffs of the Simpsons, to the familiar forms that appeared in Simpson's Roasting On an Open Fire.
Golden Age: Christmas Special Through Season Two: The beginning of classic Simpsons, these first three seasons saw the show rise to meteoric popularity that it would never enjoy again. There was also considerable evolution during these three seasons. At the beginning The Simpsons had more in common with the down to earth King of the Hill than more surreal cartoons like South Park and Family Guy. The shows produced during this era are funny and a definite improvement over the shorts, but they are not quite The Simpsons most people know and love.
Silver Age: Season Three Through Season Six: Season three was where the show developed the style it is known for; biting satire, an irreverent attitude towards just about everything and a constant stream of good jokes( and I mean jokes, not just Homer getting hit in the head or Family Guy style pop culture homages with no actual joke). The show also got progressively wackier and more cartoonish during this era, but this worked as long as the show never strained from the formula listed above. Most of the episodes that you would find on any list of the best episodes of The Simpsons would be from these seasons.
Bronze Age: Season Seven Through Nine: These three seasons mark the end of classic Simpsons. Season seven, though still very entertaining, feels creatively exhausted compared to the previous season. This continues through season nine with a marked decline in the quality of episodes. During these seasons the show continues its trend of becoming more wacky, but without the satire and jokes to make it work. Starting around season 8 a very noticeable trend emerges of episodes opening strong, only for the plot to move in a weird direction and end on an unsatisfying note. There are still some best of list episodes scattered through these seasons, but they are comparatively scarce during the bronze age.
Dark Age: Season Ten to the Present: The Dark Age is the age of what the fine folks over at Dead Homers Society refer to as "Zombie Simpsons". The term is appropriate as by this point the show is only The Simpsons in the most superficial sense. Few if any of these episodes meet the quality of average episodes from pre-bronze age simpsons and in general you will few episodes from these seasons on best of lists. The show continues to evolve, but not in the sense that it becomes better. Today The Simpsons feels like a neutered imitation of the original. The characters look like The Simpsons, but they lack the qualities that made them famous in the first place.
Friday, January 15, 2010
I've never been a big fan of Jay Leno. Back in middle and high school I would always watch Letterman on Fridays and during the summer. I always changed the channel to NBC for Conan though.
Well, Conan is going away for a while thanks to what can only be described as one of the biggest Fuckups in Tv history. For my two cents I think Conan has won a moral victory against NBC. Conan has been a talk show host for nearly twenty years now. He is a proven brand with an established fan base, and there are enough options for him now thanks to cable that he is not just going to disappear off the face of the earth like Arsenio Hall( unless that is what he wants to do).
Worst case scenario Conan winds up on basic cable like Jon Stewart. That would mean less money, but on the flip side he would probably have more creative freedom than he had on The Tonight Show. Plus, he'll be coming out of this shit storm smelling pretty good.
Leno in contrast, must be the most hated person in broadcast tv at this point. Much of the creative community already loathed him because his crappy show has taken up seven hours of tv that used to be for scripted dramas. Now he will be known for taking the Tonight Show from Conan. He may become the highest rated talk show host again thanks to his overly broad humor, but his reputation will probably never recover from this. Leno was always criticized for being unfunny, but he always seemed seemed to be a likable enough guy. Letterman of course hates Leno for outmaneuvering him in getting the Tonight Show after Carson left, but that was a fair bit different from the current situation. After all, that was all behind the scenes. In this case, the NBC executives and Leno basically destroyed NBC's prime time lineup and then created a situation where the late night lineup would be fucked up as well if Conan didn't leave. Leno is lucky in that he will probably have a job at NBC for a fair deal longer than Zucker and co, but I'm sure all the mockery and derision must be getting to him at some level.
This situation obviously must be very stressful for Conan and all those who work with him, but this crises is also an opportunity for him to get back to doing his kind of show. I understand why Conan could not pass up the opportunity to do the Tonight Show, but he really would have been better off either going to another network or staying put at Late Night. Conan is just too quirky and niche to be chasing after Leno's audience and trying so resulted in a show that while pretty good, was inferior to his previous one. I hope Conan goes back to New York, finds some small theater or studio like what Jon Stewart or Letterman work in (that Tonight Show set at Universal Studios was just too big and ostentatious) gets Joel back, takes Andy with him, and churns out the good old weirdness (string dance, masturbating bear, if they mated, etc.) that he is known for.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
So why the fuck is Sony making a completely new version of Spider-man when people are still willing to pay lots of money for the old one? I understand that there was eventually going to be a Spidey film without Raimi or Tobey McGuire, but why can't they just do a continuation of the current series with a different director and cast? There are plenty of movie series that have had changes in director without completely sacrificing continuity. And again, it will only be ten fucking years since the first movie. What are they going to do? Retell his origin? Have him fight the green goblin again? I'm not saying a good director couldn't do a better film than the old one or at least approach the character in a different way that is just as satisfying, but they should at least let more time pass before doing so.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
4. Voyager: By sci fi Tv standards Voyager is not a horrible tv series. It is not a particularly great one either. This show did have a good premise and a promising cast of characters, but it largely failed to live up to its potential. All too often this series felt like a weaker rehash of TNG which is unfortunate, because It could been a much more memorable series if it moved away from the TNG type storytelling (not to mention Q and the Borg!).
3. Enterprise: Its somewhat challenging to judge this series because it changed radically three times during its four season run. Therefore I'll breakdown this show into three distinct sections:
Seasons 1-2: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.....Despite the change of setting to the 22nd century these two seasons for the most part felt like rehashes of previous Berman Trek Series. The show was also handy caped by a fairly boring cast of the characters, the ill conceived temporal cold war arc, and a lack of truly great episodes and a surplus of episodes that were either just god awful or boring.
Season 3: I am not a huge fan of the Xindi war as I think Deep Space Nine's Klingon and Dominion War story lines were much better war arcs. That said, this season was a definite improvement over what came before.
Season 4: This is for me where Enterprise gets really good. The fan service could be a little much at times, but in general the various mini arcs from this season were good entertainment and it was great to see the show finally living up to its premise of a being a prequel. If the rest of Enterprise was this good than the show would be up higher on this list.
2.(Tie) The Original Series: Here it is, the one that started it all and boy is it a good show! It certainly looks good when paired with other old space operas like Lost in Space or the original Battlestar Galactica and a lot of these episodes really do stand the test of time. There is also a lot of crap that is only watchable for camp value.
2.(Tie) The Next Generation: If your from my generation than the Next Generation was Star Trek. It was an enormous success and for good or ill, it set the template that all subsequent series were to follow. Was the show any good? Yes, after a couple of shaky seasons it became a pretty good scifi series. The main problems with this show is that it has a pretty boring cast of characters (With the exceptions of Picard, Worf, and Data) and it could be pretty formulaic sometimes. Because the characters themselves were boring the show usually needed anomalies or aliens of the week to generate most of the drama or tension. This worked for a while due to some good writing, but the continuation of this storytelling into later series proved pretty deadly. I also must say that the Trek universe of TNG seems kinda bland compared to the more colorful universe of TOS. It is also TNG that started the horrible sonic wallpaper soundtracks that would infest every following Trek series(Rick Berman must have hated Star Wars simply for the wonderful music!).
1. Deep Space Nine: This series will never be as well known as TNG, which is a bit of shame as it was a much more entertaining show. After a couple of akward seasons where it was it finding its legs, this show developed into the best Trek of all time. It had great characters and utilized them far better than any other modern trek. It also had mostly good storytelling, relying more on its characters and continuing plot lines rather than random alien/anomaly of the weeks to drive the series. It also has Captain Sisco, which is probably the closest we will ever get to having Samuel L. Jackson pilot a Federation Star ship ;).