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Category: Television

This Looks Fantastic

For All Mankind is far better than it deserves to be, mostly because of what Ronald Moore did to Battlestar Galactica in it’s final season. What a travesty. But it looks like he’s getting his act together, once again, for For All Mankind. I love this show, and watching some of the side characters grow has been one of the best parts about it. Not to mention the effects budget must be atronomical.

For All Mankind premieres this Friday, June 10, on Apple TV+.

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The Blue’s Clues Ability to Skidoo Could Have Astounding Military Applications

On almost every single episode of Blue’s Clues the human character (either Joe or Steve, or in the UK, Kevin) and the dog Blue “skidoo” somewhere, which is an amazingly simple form of teleporting (transporting oneself from one place to another instantly), whether onto the surface of a globe or into the image on a picture or a computer game or into a diorama, but it always involves our human protagonist and Blue being transported to somewhere else that moments ago they weren’t. It seems that other characters on the show can also skidoo, like Mr. Salt when he needs to go to the grocery store.

And skidooing is an important plot point to the show, because while on their skidoo adventures the characters learn things and get to play and also may find a Blue’s Clue, which is  great and all, but you wanna know who else could really use skidooing, especially in these trying economic times?

The military. Could totally help them out.

On top of all of the budget cutting that could be done, getting rid of transport planes/ships that are no longer required, there’s the instantaneous benefits of such a power. Does the president need to insert a highly skilled team of Navy SEALs into Tehran RIGHT NOW to take out Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before he does something else crazy? Done! Does South Korea want to finally finish the Korean War once and for all and skidoo into Pyongyang and take on the entire populace of North Korea before they can completely mobilize? It’s doable. Anything could be doable, as long as we have a picture of where we need to put our military and our boys could remember those easy to recite words – “Blue skidoo, we can to.” Maybe end it with a “Sir, yes sir,” too.

If Robert Oppenheimer had been working on a secret skidoo project instead of the Manhattan Project our boys could have ended WWII early and gotten to Berlin even before the Russian army was thinking about moving westward from Stalingrad and we never would have had to invade North Africa or Italy or obliterate the Atlantic Wall. And LBJ could have won the Vietnam War, probably, if we’d been able to skidoo into Hanoi and convince Ho Chi Minh that we really did want him to be in favor of democracy. He (LBJ)  might even have decided to run for reelection and change the course of history.

The major drawback is that our people need a picture on the other end of the skidoo to return the same way. If they lose that picture…well, Mr. Secretary of Defense, order a new transport, since we got rid of them after the budget cuts allowed through skidooing. Enjoy hitchhiking home, soldiers!

But we could get rid of Air Force One, also, just keep that little blue dog with the President whenever he goes on the road.

I think Blue would have to remain non-partisan though. Can’t be favoring one political party over another. He’d also have to have a code name.

Anyway, just an idea. A completely cool idea, but just an idea.

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George is a Monkey, and He Can Do Things That You Can’t Do. Ever.

My oldest son loves the Curious George show on PBS. He laughs along with it and afterwards will tell me the intricate plot points that moved the show from point A to Z. He has his favorites and his not-so-favorites, but generally he enjoys all of them, somewhat, even if he doesn’t love all of them.

I think Noah likes the show because it reminds him of himself. George is curious, fairly bright, and always getting into situations that he’d be better off not getting into. He’s smart and funny and cute, just like George, and he probably smells better than George, even though TMWTYH bathes George regularly.

But the show does one thing that, the first time I heard it, I knew immediately what it meant when I heard it.

In between the two CG segments of the show they will cut to kids taking some lesson that George learned and put it to practical real-world use. Kids will make telescopes out of paper towel tubes or trace their shadows and watch the sun move and stuff like that, but they always say the same thing after each cartoon segment: “George is a monkey, and he can do things that you can’t do.”

Really? It’s really come to that? Telling kids that a monkey might be able to climb up telephone poles and swing from power lines without being fried to a crisp? Or that he can knock down an entire dinosaur exhibit and put it back together before some scientists return? What is the meaning of this?

If you’re like me you already know what this is – the legal disclaimer. Yes, George is a monkey, and he can do things that you can’t do, like get kidnapped from his homeland in Africa and be brought to New York City (wait – some people a long time ago did do that), or go up in a rocket and repair a satellite (that’s been done too), or go skiing and rescue a pig (I’m sure someone has done those exact same things on a ski trip before).

Get real, PBS. Kids are just as smart and brave and crafty and mischievous as Curious George, and while the disclaimer could read “George is a monkey, and he can do things that you shouldn’t do without asking your parents first,” all of the things he does are in fact doable, but some little kid might get hurt or die doing what George does on your show.

When I was a kid there was a park near my house and it had great things to play with there. My favorite thing to do there was swing as high as I could on the swings and then jump off the swing at its highest point, flying probably ten feet or so from a height of about nine to ten feet in the air. It was pretty thrilling to do, and I never broke my arm or ankle, and I could have, but it was fun. And Curious George has fun too, but PBS, don’t tell kids they shouldn’t be adventurous. That sometimes takes all the fun out of being a kid, and if that’s the case you might as well just call him Dullard George.


Getting Nervous About “Lost”, Too, But Not Too Nervous

If you’ve read this blog for any period of time you know that I’ve loved, and then hated, and then loved “Lost”. It started out with a (literal) bang and then went downhill for awhile and then came back up and then kinda muddled around and then really hit its stride a season or two ago. And we’re coming down to the end on May 23 with a 2 1/2 hour series finale that producer Damon Lindelof has already said won’t answer every question out there. But it will answer some and I guess that’s what matters.

What will it answer and how will it answer it is the big question though. Will we ever be told why no children could be born on the island? Will we ever know who built the statue that Jacob lived inside of? Will we be told who eventually finished the donkey wheel project started so long ago by Jacob’s brother, the Man in Black? Will it be explained what was wrong with Sayid before he committed hari kari with the bomb in the submarine? And where is Daniel Faraday? I want him back one more time.

There’s a lot to answer, and judging from last week’s episode focusing on the relationship of Jacob and his brother, the showrunners are in no hurry to get to the finish line that they set out for themselves two seasons ago. Yeah, we got the answer from season two on who the bodies were in the cave, but that deserved a whole hour dedicated to one simple question?

I don’t think that the people who make the show are going to end it as some hallucination in Hurley’s crazy head or a dream that Aaron started having before he was born or fast forwarding five to 10, or more, years into the future and seeing whomever took over for Jacob downing another airliner or crashing a cruise ship or something. I just want a satisfying ending, not everything has to be explained and I know that everything won’t be explained (like how that plane was able to drop a food shipment on the island if normal people aren’t really able to travel to the island) but I want certain people to live (mainly Hurley) and for their stories to end with satisfying endings. Not much to ask.

Also, I’m going to see the Times Talks Live:Lost on May 20 where New York Times entertainment editor Lorne Manly is going to be talking live with producers Carlton Cuse and Lindelof. I’m sure they won’t give anything away (the finale is only 3 days later) but I bet they’ll hint at something. Maybe I’ll tweet it – that would be fun.

And what show will I watch after this is all over with? Maybe The Walking Dead.

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I’m Having a Hard Time Not Saying “Frak” Anymore

When the new Battlestar Galactica came on the air several years ago one of the fun fanboy things to say was “frak“, which was the Colonial’s way of saying The F Word. You could say it and it was like an in-joke and also it didn’t really mean anything, so you could say it in front of your kids (like I did) or other in-the-know nerds.

And now that show is over. Completely over. And I can’t stop saying “frak”.

I’ll say it in front of Kim 1I’ll say it in the car when the kids are around and she rolls her eyes every time and then chastises me. my parents, people I don’t even know, and I can’t stop saying it. I am a junkie for “frak”.

Lords of Kobol, hear my prayer, and, for frak’s sake, help me stop saying “frak”. Pretty please?

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A Post About How ‘Lost’ Does This Stupid Repetitive Dialogue Cliche

I love ‘Lost’. This current season is so great I would marry it if I wasn’t already married.

But I’ve noticed that ‘Lost’, which is probably one of the best shows currently on television, keeps doing this stupid stupid dialogue convention over and over and over until you could make a drinking game out of it. Maybe you haven’t noticed it, but that’s my job, to notice the mundane and pointless.

It goes like this – two people are going somewhere on the island, doesn’t matter where, but they are alone, walking, or eating something, or listening to a record, and one of them will suddenly say a seeming non sequitor, the other will be confused, reply, “What?” or something like that, and the other person will explain. In an episode a couple of weeks ago they did it not once but three times in one episode. Like I said, you could have a drinking game.

So this is the way I would write it if I were writing the show –

Locke and Sawyer are trudging through the jungle, not a care in the world about Others or Smokey or Christian popping out or anything, just trudging through the jungle. They haven’t spoken in some time.

LOCKE – “Five.”
SAWYER – Looks around confused, focusing on LOCKE. “What’d you say?”
LOCKE – “Five. I said five, James.”
SAWYER – Still confused. “…Five what?”
LOCKE – Now confused too. “…Uh…you know, about what you said earlier. There are five. Five.”
SAWYER – Now looking peeved. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
LOCKE – Spreading his hands, ever the teacher. “About…2 hours ago we were talking about…you know, that thing we were talking…about.”
SAWYER – “John, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t know what “five” means.”
LOCKE – Now very confused. “You don’t?”
SAWYER – “…No.”
There is a long silence as Locke looks at Sawyer. He is very confused now, to say the least, and trying to figure out what “five” refers to.
LOCKE – “Hmm…I don’t know what “five” means either.”
Sawyer smirks. “Nice one.” He begins trudging again.
Locke stands in the jungle, then follows Sawyer. “I’ll think of what it means in a minute!”
SAWYER – “Sure you will, Sherlock.”

He heads off into the jungle. Locke quizzically follows.

It would be funny. And then maybe the ‘Lost’ writers wouldn’t do it anymore.

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Grab Your Gun and Bring in the Cat

It’s been a couple of weeks now since Battlestar Galactica left the airwaves and since it’s been off I’ve thought a lot about that last episode. After all of the buildup and anticipation for some sort of mind-blowing ending you’ve got to wonder – Was it good or was it just okay? Did they answer enough questions to the lingering plot points that were mysteries? Was it a good mix of action (which it was) and exposition (the jury is still out on that one)?

Our ragtag band of survivors killed off (or had their enemies kill themselves) their enemies, specifically Dean Stockwell’s wily Brother Cavil, who opted, instead of resurrection, to end it all with a bullet in the head. With his death I’m assuming that the Cylon threat is gone, but aren’t there more Cylons out there? And come on, that was a cheap way out. Cavil had a sweeping master plan to bring the Cylons back on top and take resurrection back to his people and he ended his life with a bullet? In the mouth? Sure, I know that Tyrol had just killed Torie and that the secret of resurrection would never be his after that, but suicide? He had the human race where he wanted it and it’s not like the guy can naturally die. Suicide seems like a lame way out for him.

But there were other things. The Opera House vision was all about the Galactica CIC? Really? What writer thought that up and how rushed to deadline were they before they thought that lame idea up? If Baltar and Six were supposed to take Hera why would Roslin and Sharon be so scared?

A huge problem with the episode? A lot of the loose ends seemed to get tied up rather loosely.

We never find out why Kara came back or or why or what she was. And you kind of knew she was going to be it but Roslin was the dying leader? 1She seemed to give up about half way through the season. If anyone led them to Earth it was Bill, or Starbuck, or…somebody else. Did she really lead them to Earth or did she just lead them in space? What happened to the relationship between Tigh and Six? He’d gotten her pregnant. 2Or maybe I’m just a stickler for details. And Head Six and Head Baltar? What was that? Are they angels? Cylons? No explanation given. Or not worth giving.

Another problem is that Ron Moore gives explanation of many of these hints on his show commentary podcasts, which is also how you would have found out that everyone who took part in Zarak and Gaeta’s failed coup d’état was put on board the prison ship. You never would have heard a single character just mention in passing, “Everyone who took part in Zarak and Gaeta’s failed coup d’état was put on board the prison ship.” I guess those 3 seconds of airtime would have eaten up too much story time.

Probably my biggest problem with the show was that way too much time was given to the battle at the Cylon colony and not enough given to the time on Earth. Several parts of the final battle seemed to drag as Colonials would walk through the Cylon hallways, guns drawn, staring straight ahead like they were…waiting for something to appear…like Bad Sharon. Or Simon. Or that PR guy. Or a battle between CG Cylons.

And too much time spent on the characters’ pasts on Caprica. Time was wasted so we could see that Roslin slept with a former student, Bill had a job interview, Anders talk about “perfection”, Tigh and Ellen drink 3Wait…they drink? Do they ever really stop drinking? and Lee almost sleeps with his brother’s fiance Kara. Probably collectively 45 minutes was wasted on flashbacks. Sure, it showed why some of these people survived the war, but still needless and pointless.

And because of the time crunch Earth seemed to be hurried through. We had a lot of territory to cover there and a lot of stories to wrap up, we couldn’t take a few minutes out of the pointless Lee/Kara flashback and show more of what happened to Lee on Earth?

There he was, talking to Kara, then she just upped and “disappeared” and he was alone. And that was that.

Nothing else about Lee? He’s just left alone in Africa? Alone? Without Kara? What a waste of time that was.

I think of all of the Earthbound storylines that was served the best was the Baltar/Six one. You learned that Baltar grew up on a farm and knew how to cultivate crops, so now that he has no more science equipment he’s at least going to survive. And after all they’ve been through, tall Six is going to be with short Baltar. But I don’t get Head Baltar and Head Six. I’m guessing they’re angels? I don’t know. If they’re Cylons those clothes they’ve been wearing for 150,000 years still look good.

And a logical fallacy – If the notes of “All Along the Watchtower” are given numerical values, and those numerical values, when punched into an FTL computer, take that ship to Earth, wouldn’t Jimi Hendrix’s version of the song at the end of the show technically lead whoever figured out the numerical code right back to a bombed out nuclear Earth in the future? As I’m assuming by the end of the show that the writers are hinting that our current Earth is heading down the same path as our “forefathers” did on Kobol. Maybe the next coordinates could have been put to “Dancing Queen” or “How Much is that Doggy in the Window” or “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”.

My last problem with the show was that the series was so great and well written that it felt like most of the mysteries from early on were just given short shrift because some sort of answer had to be given as an explanation for them. The final five plotline was alright but ultimately silly in the end. Kara returning from the dead was never adequately explained, the conceiving of Hera, and lots more. It was great TV but I think that the show creators owed it to their fan base to elaborate better and figure out better answers to the mysteries, even if they were convenient plotlines from seasons ago that helped propel the story along. A good example that they could have looked to was “Lost” which just seems to get better the longer it goes. The creators of it may not know where it’s going to go from season to season, but they think up new and interesting situations for the Losties to get involved in, and it’s not like the two shows have little in common. The Losties are stuck on the island (sort of) and the Colonials are stuck on the Galactica. Both sets are trying to get home and only one so far has succeeded. Let’s hope that “Lost”, with all of the expectations it has built up for itself, can pull of an ending better than “Galactica” did.

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So Ellen Tigh is the Final Cylon…

And I’m a little disappointed about it.

Not that she’s not a great character, we just haven’t had a chance to get to know and like her like we have her husband, Saul. While Saul’s personal standing had continued to rise as the years went on and the fleet continued their quest through uncharted space, Ellen died in the early parts of Season 3 after passing information over to Brother Cavill in order to get Saul out of prison. She was manipulative, cruel, evil and lascivious. She drank heavily and plotted against everyone so that her husband (and her) could benefit from others failings. She is not an easy person to like.

But Saul loved her (until he had to kill her) and still loves her, and now that he’s had his vision as he prepared to kill himself in some icy radioactive ocean on Earth he’s convinced that she’s the final Cylon.

But I wasn’t convinced about that. How to explain Starbuck and her resurrection from the dead? What about that Viper she and Leobon saw with her charred body in the cockpit? If anyone had a legitimate claim to the Final throne I thought it would be her. Maybe as the final Cylon she is the most powerful and can resurrect without the Resurrection Ship? Maybe.

But Ron Moore, creator of the re-imagined series, said

“[Ellen and Saul Tigh have[/mfn] always been Cylons, and there’s something profound about that. They’re a married couple who just have to go at it periodically and just have major issues and major problems. But the bond between the two of them was something that literally could not be broken. And I thought that was a really interesting and ultimately very positive thing to say.”

So I’m apt to believe it. And I thought it would be interesting if someone that had been killed off of the show was the final on, but not her. Maybe Billy or Dee or that little girl that died on the cruise ship during the pilot. Ellen just seems like such a…blah choice.

If and when Ellen returns (and they’ve set it up where she just has to return) how will she? Can she create herself? Will a Higher Cylon Power create her? Will she be all knowing? I doubt it. The other four don’t know anything even though they’ve been asked. Do they know the way to Earth? Nope. Do any of the Final Five have the answers to the big questions? Probably not. If they do it’s been dribbled out of their programming, like that song they all sang together, which was cute, but they don’t seem to share a hive mind of higher powers or advanced knowledge.

Will Ellen be the Know It All? Probably not.

I’d hoped (hoped hoped) it would be Tom Zarek because that way when it was (hoped it would be) revealed in the last episode that he was the final evil Cylon then Adama could nuke him and his evil compatriots. Of course, the way the storyline is progressing right now along the lines of treason and revolution Adama may have his chance to do just that. But now we know it isn’t going to be Zarek.

Oh well. Had to be somebody.

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The Old Man Is Almost Back…

It’s been a long time since I wrote here, but something is going to happen tonight that sadly will be the beginning of the end for the best show on television today (sorry, “Lost”). The reimagined “Battlestar Galactica” fires up for the second half of season four and I couldn’t be more psyched about it.

We last saw our band of pilgrims as they arrived at Earth, but not the Earth that we currently know. It’s a bombed-out radioactive-looking wasteland that doesn’t look very welcoming to the voyagers from the twelve colonies. I would guess we’ll get our questions answered this season, at least I hope we do. Battlin’ Bill Adama has brought these people this far, I doubt that he’ll leave them hanging, but what about hope at this point? Most of what was keeping everyone going onboard those flying tin cans was the hope that Earth would be out there, somewhere, and that it would be habitable. It’s like getting half of a prayer answered. Sure, you made it to Earth, but are you going to like it once you get there? Good luck. Brother Cavil is still out there with his compatriots, and when they find Earth…eek.

We’ll also finally get to see the last secret Cylon. I guess after Baltar’s aborted Cylon Detector didn’t figure out that four of the Final Five weren’t human that someone we know and love will be the last one. I’m hoping that it’s not one of the top two (Adama or President Roslin), and I don’t think that the creators of the show would take so obvious a tack. My gut tells me that it could be Tom Zarek, but who knows. It would also be a complete mind f*ck if it was Billy Keikeya, who died in a barroom shootout, or Ellen Tigh, who was killed by her husband back on New Caprica.

And is Lee Adama still the president now that Roslin is back? Does she even want to be president anymore? If Lee is still president, will Zarek keep trying to influence him(another reason that I think he is a top contender for The Last One)?

My only complaint? That the Sci-Fi network survives off of people watching this one show, and because of that they aired the first ten episodes of season four and then had the audacity to hold onto the final 10 until 7 MONTHS LATER. Shame on you, Sci-Fi Channel. At least you’re finally going to air them.

And I’ve waited so long for this show to come back on. Please lord let it be good. No, be better than good, please be great and remind me why I love this show so much. Please.

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The Man With the Yellow Hat is a Very Peculiar Man

My oldest son loves him some Curious George. The books, the show (on PBS) and even the toys, but he wouldn’t buy one of those toys because it’s not a superhero or a Planet Hero, but if those didn’t exist he probably would buy some Curious George toys.

He and I read Curious George books probably twice a week thanks to the library. Curious George Goes to a Restaurant. Curious George Plays Baseball. Curious George Flies a Kite. Curious George is Bored. Things like that. You know the drill.

And no one in this country or world would know about Curious George if it wasn’t for his ubiquitous friend, the Man With the Yellow Hat (MYWH for those in the know). He has no name, no history, he just exists as the Man With the Yellow Hat. We do know a few things about him though. He is an explorer, as we know from the first Curious George book. He also appears to be wealthy, having an apartment in “the city” and a house in “the country” and because if this he is a man of leisure. There are no real world locations in Curious George, but one can assume that given the history of his creators, the husband and wife team of H.A. and Margret Rey, who fled Nazi Germany to eventually live in New York City, that New York is “the city”, but I’m completely and totally getting off topic.

The Man With the Yellow Hat is ALWAYS wearing yellow. He never wears blue. He never wears red. He never wears black. Only yellow. And it can only be yellow or else part of his persona and psyche is gone, like a war veteran who lost a limb that can still feel it itching when he gets back to “the world”. This weird character trait would make it difficult for a normal person to shop for clothes, but he does live in “the city”, so he probably gets his clothes tailor-made at some haberdasher, being a wealthy gentlemen and all.

And for the love of all that is holy, don’t lose his hat. Few things are worse than this scenario. As he said in one of the episodes of the Curious George show, which I watch with my oldest, “Without my hat, I’m just not…me.” No kidding, Man With the Yellow Hat. Then you’re just “The Man”. A generic plot point in a children’s book. He. Is. Nothing.

The Man With the Yellow Hat also seems strange just for the fact that he’s a strapping young guy in a city full of available ogling females who lives with a monkey. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! And he’s always leaving George by himself, saying things like, “Now I’ve got to conveniently go over here. Don’t get into trouble!” What does this moron think is going to happen, George is going to just sit there? Everybody in the books calls the monkey CURIOUS George. There is no “Mild-Mannered George” or “Dullard George”.

But all in all the Man With the Yellow Hat seems to live a pretty cool life. He’s an explorer, he drives a convertible, he flies a plane, he has a pet monkey. My oldest would kill for that life.

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