Category Archives: Television

Gotham – Ugh

My quick thoughts on Gotham.

I had really hoped that they would take the story elements from Batman:Year One, which is as much Gordon’s story as it is Batman’s and use that as the foundation for the series. (If you’re a Batman fan and haven’t read Year One, you should – it’s one of the best Batman stories out there)

I guess they should put a disclaimer or something that this series will not tie into the movies? Or, maybe it will tie in with Batman v. Superman (ugh)? 

The pilot was okay. The fact that the story is set back at the point Thomas and Martha Wayne are murdered makes me wonder what they’re going to do with 15-20 years of time to kill. (I’m assuming Bruce was 8 — the show makes him look 10-11 — when his parents were killed and probably in his 20s when he becomes Batman)

The overall plot eventually wound up being mildly interesting, but too many elements where thrown in that get in the way. Instead of making a good police show about Gotham, the producers seem to be determined (at least for now) in beating people over the head with reminders that – “Hey, this is a Batman show – but without Batman.”

I’m also not thrilled that other police characters from the “current” Batman are now in the past. it feels like some of the characters were forced into the story because someone scanned through the Batman comics and picked up on them. They didn’t read the story, just kind of skimmed through the comics and brought things in without thinking of how they fit in the context.

Case in point: Officer Montoya – I suspect she’s only in this series to play on the idea that she’s had some type of prior relationship with Gordon’s fiancé, Barbara Kean. Kean appears to be a based on Kathine Kane, aka Batwoman, and she doesn’t belong in this story. 

Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with the possible lesbian relationship between Kean and Montoya. To me, though, if you want to do a Batwoman TV show, then make one. It’s a disservice to that comic to just force a few elements of those characters here.

The really really annoying thing though? Sticking these not-so-subtle references of characters from Batman’s rogues gallery in the show. This feels like an bad corporate decision. Wouldn’t it be “cool” to show younger versions of Batman villains? 

The short answer is: No

Someone watched Kick-Ass and thought a young Catwoman would be cool to add to the show. Someone else thought it would be cute if Riddler was working for the police. There are four of these characters appearing in the pilot alone, so I shudder to think of how long this will keep going on. Scarecrow is young Bruce’s psychologist helping him deal with the death of his parents? Mr Freeze is driving an ice-cream truck? 

There are so many excellent police shows out there that they could borrow from, I’m not sure why they couldn’t simply make it a good police show.

Take us back in time to the time before Thomas and Martha Wayne are killed. Maybe months? Show us that Gotham was a good place to live, but the first seeds of corruption were already appearing. The death of the Waynes could have made a major statement to the characters in the show and the people of Gotham in general if it had been used later. 

Year One would have been a better point in time to start the show. Gordon has just arrived in town. The town is already corrupt. The show focuses on Gordon trying to do the right thing while facing an uphill battle inside an already corrupt police force. You could even have the show without Batman – directly. He appears and all the cops have to go on are the descriptions from the criminals, Gordon eventually is ordered to try capture the “Bat-Man.” and we could see him stage stings to try lure him out of the shadows.  Eventually, Gordon wonders if stopping the Batman is such a great idea because he seems to be pissing off all of the right people.

Alas…

Maybe they’ll find a way to make the show work, but right now it’s not high on my list of shows to watch. 

Of course, I say that, and yet I suffered through the most of Agents of Shield last year.. 

 

Happy 30th MTV!!!

Now that’s a scary thought…

MTV is older than the last girl I dated… :  )

It’s hard to imagine the 80s without Music Television – you know, back in the days when the station played music videos.

We had heard about MTV, but growing up in West Texas meant we were at least a year or so late to the game. We had to beg our parents to add the channel to our cable subscription (and probably had to beg our parents to even get cable).

But, once we had it, especially during the summer, when we were home and anywhere in the proximity of the living room television, MTV was on. That was assuming, of course, Dad wasn’t watching anything else.

Instead fo just heairng the bands, we could see them. Before long, everyone was trying to do something different with their videos. Some would just be weird, some were artistic. Others would wisk us off to exotic locals or simply push the limits of sexuality on television. A few would push the limits of technology (remember Money For Nothing?)

I was trying to think of a list of things that were so cool about MTV:

1) The videos, obviously. How many 80s bands kicked off their careers or were propelled to superstardom through MTV? Duran Duran, Madonna, U2, Howard Jones, Def Leppard, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Dire Straits, The Fixx, Billy Idol, Men at Work, etc etc. How big would Michael Jackson be without his videos on MTV?

2) The original VJs. They all had distinct personalities, and every guy had a crush on Martha Quinn.

3) The crazy contests where if you were lucky you might appear in a video or have your favorite band play at your house.

4) World premiere videos. Depending on the artist, you had to be there to catch the “premiere” of the latest and greatest video. Of course, if you missed it, chances were pretty good you could catch it again in a couple of hours. How many people remember catching the 20 minute premiere of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”?

5) The impact of adding pop/rock songs to movie soundtracks. I think “Footloose” had a major impact on this as well, but think about how many 80s movies had a pop/rock soundrack (and of course, related music videos) to go with it? Imagine “Top Gun” without the corresponding “Highway to the Dangerzone,” or “Ghostbusters” without its themesong. Hell, imagine any John Hughes movie without the soundrack. How many proms in the 80s just had to play “If You Leave” by OMD? Would Prince have made “Purple Rain”? Would Madonna be an actress?

(ok, forget about that last one)

It wasn’t all good – after all, MTV helped advocate the concept that “image is everything” where the music/talent eventually didn’t matter as much so long as the video worked (see – Brittney Spears)

Plus, MTV somewhat pioneered “reallity television” that now dominates most of the channels today.

Of course, these days, with the internet and access to video software, it’s easy for just about anyone, not just the bands, to come up with their own interpretations of videos for their favorite songs. It’s not MTV, it’s YouTube.

One of the other cool things is that XM satellite radio has brought the original MTV VJ’s back, and they can be heard on the 80s channel (and a couple of others).

So, MTV may not be what it used to be, but there are still ways to get a taste of MTV back in the “good ol’ days”

“I want my, I want my, I want my M… T… V…”

LOL! Clueless, greedy eBayer in Dallas

Oh, man, you have to watch this video…

 greedy ebayer

The story is about a woman who brought along $16k in cash with the plan to buy someone’s place in line at an AT&T store, then buy every iPhone they had in stock. Why? So she could turn around and put them up on eBay, hoping to sell them for outrageous amounts.

What she doesn’t plan on is 1) Apple having plenty on hand, and 2) didn’t make any effort to find out how many the store would actually sell her.

So, the cameras follow her up to the line at 5:45 pm. She offers $800 to the kid at the front of the line who’d been there since 8 am or earlier. She gets in line, and sure enough, she’s the first one in the door. The cameras catch her smug look as she thinks her brilliant plan is about to come to fruition. Then, hilarity ensues when she learns, as everyone else already knew, that she could only buy one phone.

Sadly, they don’t show complete footage of her getting pissed off, but the reporter mentions she was clearly pissed. She was even more pissed at the guy who took her money, who already knew the limit on phones. He got to buy the phone and every accessory he could possibly want.

Kudos to this guy for getting a “free” iPhone and toys out of the deal, and for pissing off the greedy, clueless eBayer who wanted to shaft everyone.

Course, with stories floating that AT&T was forcing people to buy accessories with the iPhone, she probably would have been pissed anyway when she found out she’d have to buy cases for all those phones — depending on how much she had to bribe someone to let her buy more than one phone.

But, if you’re reading this, greedy eBayer, I’ll let you have mine for a mere $1200, with case. : )

Lana Lang Must Die!!!

One of the things that I’ve been doing lately is trying to study plots of my favorite TV shows. Once you spend an hour watching a show with a very good story, like Heroes or Lost, it’s hard to go back and watch something that’s not so well thought out, like Smallville.

It occurred to me that Smallville really needs to end this season, but it also needs to end in a way that allows the mythology of Superman to continue. To do this, I think Lana Lang has to die.

Smallville, for those of you who don’t know, is a show about Clark Kent, a not-so-typical teenage boy, and about his awkward teenage years. Kent also happens to grow up to become one of the most famous characters in modern-day literature: Superman. Yeah yeah, someone will complain that “comic books” aren’t “literature,” but you can’t argue Superman’s existence in the public consciousness of our society.

Anyway, the show is currently limping its way through its sixth (and hopefully) final season. I’m not sure at what point the show “jumped the shark,” but this season, in spite of adding new and less than exciting super-heroes, has been less than thrilling to watch.

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Ahhhh! A snowflake!!!! EVERYBODY PANIC!!!

Yes, that’s right. North Texas is experiencing the first winter storm of the season.

How crazy is it? Well, it was 79 degrees yesterday. Today, the high was 35. And that was at 4 am. It’s been dropping since.

Plus, we’ve got sleet and a bit of snow. But, that was after the rain overnight.

Ice transforms all of the overpasses and ramps here into new arenas of fun for Texas drivers. And we have a LOT of overpasses and ramps.

Unlike most parts of the country, we usually stay warm enough most of the year that we miss out on snow entirely. Instead, we get sleet/ice storms. At least on pure snow, you can get some traction. On ice, it doesn’t matter what kind of drive you have, it’s spin city for everyone.

It’s interesting to watch the local news around this time too. A couple of fox 4 reporters probably needed a change of pants after recording a truck losing control on a highway at around 5 a.m. this morning. In the video, we see the truck hit the brakes and swerve to miss two other trucks previously wrecked, only to skid directly towards the cameraman. Fortunately for them, there was a guard rail and it held, so we see the truck catch the rail and slide down just to the left of the cameraman.

On the way home this afternoon the high five exchange was already shut down on one side from a multiple vehicle pile up. There will probably be some footage on tonight or in the morning of people trying to use the ramps on the high five or 190 exchanges only to discover they’re coated in ice. For those of you that have never seen our interchanges, the ones I am referring two link between two major highways, with two or more layers of bridges and ramps towering up to 100 ft above the lowest level.

The scariest part of driving in it isn’t the ice itself. It’s the other drivers. Sadly, most Texas drivers don’t encounter ice often enough to remember how to drive on it. A lot of them simply ignore it and drive as fast as they would on a normal day. Others believe their 4-wheel drive vehicles are impervious to any forms of harm and drive the same. But equally dangerous are the few who go the complete opposite way and crusie down a left lane of a major freeway going 15 mph when its clearly not warranted to drive quite that slow.

Fortunately, we only have to endure the ice tomorrow morning (it’ll be a good day to go in late to work). Tomorrow’s forecast? Sunny and 49 degrees, which should be good enough to melt all the crap from today. : )

live 8 — so what’s the big?

UPDATE 07/06/2005:

AOL has posted a page with links to videos from some of the performances:

http://music.channel.aol.com/live_8_concert/highlights

Why was this show important?

Twenty years ago yesterday, another huge concert event called live aid occurred. Two concerts in London and Philadelphia ran most of the day with a large number of bands that were big in the mid 80s. They were trying to raise awareness and money to help aid poverty in african countries.

Although live aid and other efforts like it have raised millions of dollars in aid and have done a great deal to help this part of the world, the effort has simply been a band aid for the problem, not the cure.

The organizers of live 8 realize this, and they are shooting for a bigger, more important goal. End poverty in these countries. Period. But, in order to do that, things have to happen on a much larger scale than they have ever done in the past. So, live 8 is focusing on the G8 summit, where 8 of the wealthiest nations get together and talk. They already have Tony Blair, the british Prime Minister, on board, and he will present their idea to the other nations.

So, if they’re talking to world leaders, why should we care? Well, do you really think President Bush is going to listen to the likes of Bob Geldolf and Bono? Probably not. That’s where the concerts come in. The concerts are meant to attract attention of us, the people, in order to raise awareness of the situation. The president may not listen to a couple of rock stars, but he will pay attention to the concerns of millions of his constituents. I read somewhere that he appears to be on board with this and may double the amount of relief effort to africa. He’s a president on his second term, and like most presidents, he’s thinking about the legacy he will leave behind.

It’s an intriguing idea. Wouldn’t it be nice for the United States to make a difference in part of the world without sacrificing a single soldier, or firing a single shot?

Go here to find out more: www.live8live.com.

Now, about the shows themselves…

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can’t always get what you want…

Tonight’s superbowl was just that. You can either have a superbowl that has a great game and lame commercials, or you can have a game that’s a blowout with really great commercials.

For awhile, the best thing about the superbowl was the commercials because the game was usually over by the end of the first half. The last couple of years have had great games, but the commercials had lost something.

But, this year, because of the infamous “wardrobe malfunction,” the screeners for the commercials have been extra strict. I think the edgiest commercial this year was the one for godaddy.com that parodied the “wardrobe malfunction.” I read online that the godaddy commercial had to go through several iterations before it got by the board. Yet, strangely, they still slipped in at least one commercial for Cialis.

I’d much rather see the rude crude beer commercials than anything advertising a fix for erectile dysfunction.

It’s just sad that since last year the networks have become incredibly paranoid about offending anyone about anything. But, then, it kinda reflects on the society we live in today.

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