December 11th, 2005
On recommendations we grabbed the first few episodes of Lost. No one told me it was scifi (even if it is closeted scifi). Now we’re left with all these burning questions, and a contract not to peek ahead into the future to answer them.
But we’ve got one burning question for all you farther along, do they ever explain how a Desi scion of London came to be fighting in the Republican Guard?
Or is that just failing to properly suspend disbelief?
April 27th, 2005
Walking through Copley Mall yesterday (don’t ask), the two impeccably dressed sales clerks standing at the door way of Benetton were deep in conversation, well one of them was passionately in conversation, and the other was trying to look interested, “it’s cowboys in space… from the creator of Buffy… best TV ever…”, that kind of stuff. Shibboleth to a fellow Fire Fly fan. I smiled, and nodded, and immediately I was drawn into the conversation, “the trailer is supposed to come out today, but it wasn’t out before I had to start my shift, what if its been postponed again.”
As it just so happened, I had watched said trailer, and had a local cached copy.
And I didn’t even get store credit or a gift certificate or anything. (not that I’m sure anything in Benetton would fit)
I’m nervous, it can’t, practically by definition be as good as the TV show, and yet who wouldn’t want more Fire Fly, too pretty to die, and tragically cut short before the end of the first season.
P.S. Anyone know what happened to Shepherd Book? No sign of him in the trailer.
April 7th, 2005
Could someone who has been paying attention please explain to me what the difference/relationship between the 2003 mini-series, and the 2005 TV series is? They key difference from my perspective being the mini-series is already available on DVD where was Season 1 of the TV series isn’t. Thanks
September 4th, 2004
I’m not much of a TV person (which is to say I haven’t owned a TV in 10 years or so), and I’m not much of a Joss Whedon fan (which to say despite the persistent recommendations of people I trust and I admire, and repeated viewings I just couldn’t get into Buffy), and I’m not much fond of Westerns (which is to say that I took an American West class in college with a required attendance Wednesday Nights Westerns screening, so while I can appreciate the subtleties of the genre frankly I preferred Calc homework), and yet I just started watching Firefly, and it is good, very good. Recommended. (and I’ve got the damn theme song stuck in my head)
Additionally, has anyone done work on the tendency of geeks to use frequent and sometimes deeply nested parenthetical statements? I wonder if it is a byproduct of our deep familiarity with the expressive power of punctuation, or an attempt to reclaim the hypertextuality of our many of our preferred writing environments?
May 10th, 2004
My copy of “West Wing: Season 3” arrived, and I’ve just started watching it. (putting me at something like a 2-3 year lag behind when it was broadcast) One of the season’s recurring themes is “Qumar”. Qumar’s horrific laws regarding women, its corrupt aristocracy, and its terrorist training camps. Qumar is everything that upsets Americans about the Islamic world.
And it doesn’t exist.
Slipped into the discussion with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Helsinki and other ridiculous sounding yet real places Qumar is a rhetorical device designed to reinforce every negative stereotype Americans (and the West) have been trained to believe about Islam.
Of course the stereotype about Americans is we don’t know geography. Unfortunately this stereotype is true. I wonder how many people at home watching knew Qumar doesn’t exist, and in fact that no one, not the Taliban, not Saudi Arabia not Iraq quite measures up to this platonic ideal.
I think Sorkin knew he could get away with some emotional TV without having to present the same balanced, researched, and nuanced material they usually show because “its over there”, and we’re hicks. Its hateful, and its cynical.
update: wikipedia on Qumar
March 4th, 2004
Bush has launched a new series of TV ads which have alternately been described as an “outrageous attempt to use tragedy to score political points”, “using our dead relatives as a springboard for his campaign”, and “his only message seems to be ‘its not my fault’.”
However I can’t comment, as the ads are only available as Windows Media files. Just in case you needed another reason not to like the man.
February 22nd, 2004
I am now the proud owner of The West Wing, Season Two DVD set, with Chinese subtitles (optional). And I’ve now used eBay for the first time, making me a real, live Internet user. Pretty soon, I’ll ditch my AOL account, and maybe put up a personal homepage. (do people still do that?)
So far it hasn’t been as laugh out loud funny as the first season, but that could be something about my preferred viewing time of after midnight, and stressed.
Loved this exchange from last night’s episode, discussing education.
Sam: We need a permanent revolution.
Toby: Where have I heard that?
S: Permanet revolution?
S: From a book
T: What book?
S: [pause] A little red book.
T: You think we should quote Mao Tse-Tung?
Makes a certain amount of sense actually, as the Maoists, and their mass culture were some of the first people to take education seriously, a point not addressed by the show. Not a model I would want to emulate however, but interesting, and why I love this show. Doubly interesting as I’m watching it on DVDs shipped from China which, while quite nice, with good picture and sound, have a definite cottage industry feel about them, if you know what I mean. Talk about your free market.
But isn’t a “permanent revolution” a Trotskyist ideal?
January 3rd, 2004
Things I’ve spotted in CJ’s fish bowl:
- Xmas decorations
- A panda
- A space shuttle
- A podium
Which leads me to believe that in each West Wing episode something new is in the fish bowl. I turned to the web to for a complete list of these miniature props, ideally with screen grabs.
But the web seems to have let me down! How could such a useful site not exsit? What happened to a web that has everything? Where are the obsessive geeks and fans? I confess that I gave up rather quickly after the first few promising seeming results from Google turned out to TWW fanfic or slash.(answering, I suppose the question of where the obsessive fans are) Maybe it is still out there?
December 8th, 2003
On a tip from Jasmine I rented the first season of West Wing last week.
I don’t remember the last I found television engaging and funny, but I think I it was probably while I was still watching Gummi Bears every Saturday morning. Saw a review from the Guardian describe the dialogue as “machine gun” and “hard to follow”. Be that as it may, the pacing plus lack of commercials (on DVD is the only way to watch TV) means it isn’t boring! How novel! No need cruise IMDB half way through for random trivia. Add dry, bitter wit, and a president intelligent enough to remember the rules to chess, and I’m thourghly amused.
One problem with my televsion watching technique; only the 1999 season is available on DVD here in the US. In the UK they’ve also got season 2, but um, where are the rest? Hello? Big evil corporate media moguls? Please release more.
Also, I seem to be the only person who likes Toby, the shows unsung hero in my book, tied for my favorite character with the rabble rousing reporter character (big surprise?) whose name I’ve forgotten.
May 16th, 2003
I was sitting here, deeply amused and tempted, but also asking myself if I had the courage to wear a t-shirt with the words
I SHOT JR. emblazoned on a picture of Texas. After all, what if someone actually did shoot G.W. Bush Jr., would I find myself hauled in front of some Homeland Security secret tribunal merely for owning the damn thing?
Then I read the caption next to the shirt. Apparently its a reference to some TV show called “Dallas” from the 70s, and not a mock confession of murderous intent against our current, dearly beloved president. How droll. I feel much less tempted.