Movable Type 3.2
July 31, 2010
Morning Coffee (7/31/10)
Good morning! And happy birthday to me! Today is both my birthday and the beginning of a week of vacation time for me, so I'm not sure how much I'll post over the next week. I'll try to post a few times a day, but the scheduling will certainly be wonky. This will be my first experiment with traveling with only the iPad and no laptop, so I'll let you know how that goes. I saw Charlie St. Cloud last night and will see The Kids Are All Right today, so I'll try to at least get those reviews up for you ASAP.
Renewed: Leverage (so I should really catch up), In Plain Sight (Yay!), Rizzoli and Isles (so I need to decide if I'm going to keep watching).
So, Ed Westwick's red boots that I kept talking about? They were part of, well, quite an outfit, as you can see on Go Fug Yourself.
July 30, 2010
Friday Kitten Picture: Chainsaw!
Here's Dewey's cousin Chainsaw. Like the rest of us, he's ready for a nap after this crazy week.
This historical teen romance from Rob Reiner looks completely adorable:
The clothes! The soundtrack! The adorable children! The dad from Frasier! I somehow hadn't heard anything about this until the last few days, but now I'm pretty excited.
Song of the Day: "Twist and Shout"
It was starting to seem like this week would never end. Time to celebrate!
A five-minute trailer for Thor was shown at Comic-Con and then, of course, showed up online:
Honestly, I don't know much about Thor other than that some of my friends are really excited about it, and that I'm predisposed to be interested in anything dealing with mythology, but this footage certainly got my attention.
TV Promo: 18 to Life
I love the CW. Love. I will try basically any non-reality program they come out with at this point. And this one sounds like it has potential: it's a Canadian import about 18-year-old neighbors who run off and get married, and their families who have to deal with it. As I've said a million times, I don't tend to be wild about sitcoms, but I'll give this a try.
Morning Coffee (7/30/10)
Good morning! It's finally Friday! Amazing! Between people being inexplicably and unusually difficult at work all week, and it being the last day before vacation, and the day before my birthday, I just don't have it in me to write much this morning. So you're in for a day of stuff like movie trailers and cute kittens. Sorry. In other news, it was under 60 outside when I got up, and I can't even tell you how happy I am about that.
GSteph is still absent from GMA, so I definitely think he's at the wedding. I don't think they've even mentioned the wedding yet today, which is shocking. The bear news continues, though, and they tried to make us think they were going to kill the cubs of the bear that killed people, but the bear expert was all "Yeah, no. They'll go live in a zoo." They're showing lots of commercial's for Amanpour's This Week debut, and making me think I might actually have to watch. Oh, now they're talking about Chelsea's wedding again. In case you were concerned.
Yesterday at the TCA press tour: Showtime and the CW. Showtime had panels for a bunch of new shows that made me wish I got Showtime, and the CW, which already owns my soul, had panels for Hellcats and Nikita, and I continue to be moderately excited about both. They also had a Gossip Girl panel, which seemed like a somewhat random choice, but I will not complain about any event that produces pictures of Ed Westwick. Up today is NBC Universal, so that's NBC, USA, SyFy, MSNBC, and BRAVO.
You know I think you should read every word that Gail Collins publishes, but sometimes I feel the need to point out something specific. Like this column on presidential children. Good stuff.
Here's some spoilery How I Met Your Mother news that's supposed to reassure those of us who were disappointed with season five.
I lost the link, but Oprah is reportedly giving the Duchess of York her own show, and I thought you should know.
This piece about movies about famous composers is very interesting and right on. And I definitely want to see Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky.
July 29, 2010
I finally finished the scarf I started in Texas in March:
I realized the other day that it just needed to have the ends woven in, so yay, it's done! I have to admit that I have no idea what the yarn is. I bought it in Texas and it was from a small local-ish company and . . . yeah, no idea. Oops. The pattern is Yarn Harlot's One-Row Scarf, which was delightful.
Vampire Fans Support Gulf Aid
As I've mentioned before, Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder is from Louisiana and has been very active in the Gulf recovery efforts in the wake of the oil spill. And fans are trying to help. Particularly impressive is Vampire Support, started by a young fan named Chloe. I ordered an awareness bracelet to help her efforts, and it arrived yesterday:
Haven 1.2: "Butterfly"
I continue to love this show beyond all reason. Click the link below to find out why.
A vaguely creepy minister. A troubled orphan. A giant metal ball rolling down the road. Mysterious butterflies. Dreams coming to life, and not in a good way. Fun! This show isn't getting much buzz, but I love love love it for its mix of laconic New Englanders and supernatural elements.
This episode felt rather Buffy-like, and I mean that in a good way. The cocooning in the hotel and the dreams coming to life, specifically, made me feel like I was watching season two or so of Buffy. The weird-stuff-of-the-week format they have going so far is rather refreshing - not everything has to be a years-long mystery. But at the same time, it's implied that the town is a magnet for this sort of thing, possibly because of The Troubles (which do not seem to have anything to do with Irish independence, oddly enough), or The Troubles were just a previous iteration. It's a little unclear. As long as there's some explanation for why Haven attracts this stuff, I'm fine.
More generally, I continue to like the setting of Haven. It really does feel like Maine, even though it's filmed in Canada. They do a good job of playing out the small town connections and history without making it too unlikely or cutesy. Of course Nathan, who grew up there as a policeman's son, would know everyone, and odds are his prom date would show up eventually. Audrey has so far mostly been used as a vehicle to present an outsider's view of the town, so I'm hoping that we get to know more about her, aside from her search for her mother, soon.
I still love Nathan - he's quickly becoming one of my favorite current TV guys - but I definitely felt the lack of Eric Balfour's Duke in this episode. I really liked the interactions between Duke, Nathan, and Audrey in the first episode, so I hope that comes back in future episodes. We're clearly headed toward some sort of triangle in which Duke and Nathan compete for Audrey's affections, and I can't wait.
Royal Pains 2.5: "Mano a Mano"
The boys are still in Cuba. I'm bored, but then I'm not, but I'm still not buying the whole thing. More after the jump.
Cuba: At the beginning of the episode, I was annoyed that they were still in Cuba, and the kidnapping bit was a little farfetched. (Because, you know, this show is usually so realistic!) But then the Cuba stuff got more interesting when they got into the political issues, but it still felt wrong - it was a little too heavy for this show. So . . . I don't know. I think my position is still that the Cuba plot was a mistake, overall. I did really like that they didn't subtitle all the Spanish, though.
Boris: Oh, Boris. I'm glad he didn't die, of course, but I'd also rather he be back in the Hamptons with the boys. The split screen thing when Hank was saving him was weird, and didn't feel as urgent as it should have.
Lawson brothers: There was a very cute brotherly moment at the end. I like how they get annoyed with each other frequently, but don't pretend to hate each other or anything. And bonus: no dad stuff in this episode!
Divya and Jill: The concert thing was a little silly, but I love the Divya/Jill friendship and I hope they continue to develop that.
Peck: She's still pretty ridiculously awful. And apparently she's sticking around, to be some sort of competition for Hank. And/or a love interest? But Jill is so much better. Sigh.
Morning Coffee (7/29/10)
Happy Thursday! Maybe this week will finally end after all. The news this morning is all about bears and Chelsea Clinton's wedding. No, really. Both local and national news are covering bear-related stories seemingly nonstop. And for a "secretive" wedding, everyone has a lot of details about the Clinton shenanigans. Oh! Oh! New theory: George Stephanopoulos is on vacation, and I bet it's because he's going to the wedding! That would actually make a lot of sense. Um, now Shaq is singing to Justin Bieber on my TV. It's too early in the morning for this nonsense. Anyway! In real news, an Arizona judge blocked some of the anti-immigration law, thank goodness.
Yesterday was CBS's day at the press tour, and based on the coverage I read, my impressions about their new shows were confirmed: I'll try Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods, maybe look at an episode of The Defenders, and stay far, far away from The Talk, Mike and Molly, and $#*! My Dad Says. Today is the CW (whee!) and . . . FOX, maybe? No, Showtime. (TV still talking about bears. One of them stole a teddy bear. Really.) Oh, and apparently Ed Westwick wore bright red suede boots to a press tour party last night. I want photographic proof, Internet!
I swear I don't read Seventeen on a regular basis or anything, but look! Best High School Boyfriends (from movies and TV). Nate Archibald is number one, really? I mean, he's fine, but . . . I was glad to see Finn Hudson and Dean Forester on the list, but no Logan Echolls? No Stefan Salvatore OR Angel, who were both better vampire boyfriends than Edward Cullen? Sigh.
Did you know that the first online spoiler alert was for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan? Wow.
I don't want to say that Plain Jane sounds like the worst show ever, because I'm sure there's something worse, but boy, does it sound awful.
At this link is a huge Private Practice spoiler about which I am decidedly unenthusiastic.
Starbucks with wine? Sounds good to me. (Thanks for the link, Liz!)
The Washington Post suggests Ian Somerhalder run for Congress. No, I couldn't even type that with a straight face. HEE. (Although, really, not the worst idea ever.)
Hah! It's not just me! The TV Addict has the same issues with names on The Gates and the Sam/Dean thing as I do.
July 28, 2010
I probably should have asked this earlier in the summer, but oh well. Do any of you have favorite hair products to help deal with humidity-induced frizz? A few friends had recommended Garnier Fructis products, so I'm trying them this week, but I wondered if anyone else had suggestions. Ideally, I'd like something affordable, easily accessible (bonus points if it's at Target), and not at all labor-intensive. Help!
Rizzoli & Isles 1.3: "Sympathy for the Devil"
Oh, show. I keep wanting you to be good, and you keep disappointing. But not quite enough to make me give up hope. More after the jump . . .
Plot: The murder itself was fine, I guess, but the cultural stuff was annoying. It was pretty obviously objectifying the victim's family culture as Other, and not even for the purposes of exploring that cultural conflict, but rather to show us, again, the differences between Rizzoli and Isles. Okay, we get it! And really, if Rizzoli is the one who went to Catholic school, as they tell us over and over, why is Isles the one going on about Catholic doctrine? Clumsy.
Setting: This still does not feel like Boston at all. Just for the record.
Characters: I still like Rizzoli, and the conflict with her family, although her dad and brother were noticeably absent from this episode. But the stuff with her mom was good - the mother clearly has the best of intentions, but just doesn't get her daughter, and it should be interesting to see if they let them start working that out rather than just belaboring it for laughs. I still hate Isles and love Frost. And I really got to like Donnie Wahlberg's character, so of course he's leaving. Is that it? Is he really totally gone? The one real Boston thing on the show? Really?
My Boys 4.2: "Gourmets and Confused"
This second episode of the season was shown right after the first one, but it's really supposed to be a separate episode, so I'm treating it as such. Read on!
This was . . . I don't know. Okay. The tension between the couples and the single guys was believable, because having two thirds of the group paired up will certainly change the dynamic. And the fancy restaurant was a good vehicle for it - Stephanie and PJ were adorable when the got all excited about it, and actually seemed like best friends for once. And their boyfriends reacted well, and both Mike's jealousy and Brendan's complete indifference were hilarious and true to the characters. I liked that whole scene a lot.
The fancy restaurant scene was funny, too. Kenny's attempts at pushing people around were cute, and I really like when the show remembers, however fleetingly, that Bobby actually is ridiculously wealthy. I was a little less taken with the whole role reversal thing involving the magic brownies and Brendan and Mike going to the fancy bar. It wasn't awful, but it seemed more contrived than this show usually is.
The Gates 1.5: "Repercussions"
This episode started to pull me in a bit more, perhaps because people are finally starting to figure out what's going on. Click the link to keep reading . . .
Vamps: Nick seemed to accept the whole "vampire" concept a little too easily, but I'm not sure whether that was clumsy writing or actually some sort of clue about him. I always enjoy the vamp rules conversations on various shows: Looks like he has to be invited in. Holy water is fine, he doesn't sleep in a coffin, and I think he said garlic was okay. Notably, he didn't tell Nick any of the methods that do actually kill these vamps! They do seem to have vamp speed, and they're not allowed to kill people. I wonder who enforces this? It sounds like some kind of pact.
Nick and Dylan: I continue to be in favor of this reluctant bromance. And it seems Nick is too, as he demonstrates his trust for Dylan when be burns the paper with the location of Teresa's body. Dylan, however, does not seem so into it.
Marcus/Teresa: We know that Teresa is actually missing, but it seemed way too early for Marcus to be quite as concerned as he was. And Marcus isn't even being a very good cop when he decides to investigate on his own, because he's giving the Radcliffs time to coordinate their stories if necessary.
Andie: Oh, the poor thing. Googling "succubus." (One thing I love about this show - they actually use Google instead of Bing!) I like her relationship with her dad, and I hope it doesn't get too messed up as she figures all this stuff out, and when she inevitably eventually figures out that her dad had to kill her mom in self-defense. Scary. She and Charlie continue to be adorable together, so I hope they can make it work somehow. Take your medicine, Andie!
Devon/Vanessa/Frank: At one point, one of the women says "This thing between us has become rather boring, don't you think?" and, um, YES. I barely remember what this plotline even is. Oh, okay, Devon is Vanessa's husband's ex-wife. Whatever. The more interesting part is that Frank has a safe full of incriminating video of everyone in town, and Devon knows about it.
Overall themes: What stood out to me from this episode was that no one actually seems to feel like they fit in in the Gates, even though they all feel pretty strongly about living there. The idea of medicating away the supernatural aspects of themselves is interesting as well. Is it some sort of comment about using science to erase differences between people? Or am I thinking too much about a silly soap opera? Also notable this week: The absence of
Morning Coffee (7/28/10)
Welcome to Wednesday. Has this week already seemed endless to everyone, or is it just me? This was one of those mornings when I woke up and couldn't decide if I was sick or just tired. I'm going with "tired" and pretending I'm fine. So we'll see how THAT goes. The news isn't improving the day much: Plane crash in Pakistan! Wildfires in California! Immigration showdown in Arizona, which means that Joe Arpaio is on my TV right now. OF COURSE. That's not going to improve my day any. Just saying. Also, there was something about Warren Jeffs that NPR was talking about before I was quite awake.
A bit of good news: Dave Weigel: Hired by Slate! Which is, you know, owned by WaPo. Heee. Anyway, I'm thrilled: One of my favorite journalists at one of my favorite publications.
In TV land, the TCA press tour is getting underway, which means that I will never, ever catch up on the "Arts and Entertainment" folder in my Google Reader. Perhaps not a coincidence in timing: ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson quit last night, right in time for his successor to be able to not answer questions at press tour. It looks like his successor will not be Jordan McDeere, though, so my interest is limited. Go read that piece I linked, though, because it's actually way funnier than I expected.
I will not lie: Back-to-school themed commercials are cheering me up a bit. And hey, the fall TV season starts six weeks from tonight!
Would you like to see Nate (Chace Crawford) filming with his new girl (Katie Cassidy) on Gossip Girl? Here you go.
The Glee boys will be co-hosting the Teen Choice Awards with Katy Perry. Now all we need is confirmation that the Vampire Diaries cast will be there and I'll be all set.
You know how they're making a movie of the game Battleship? Rihanna is going to be in it. Well then.
TV Guide has all sorts of delightful information about season two of The Vampire Diaries. I cannot wait.
AMC is making a show about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad! I am perhaps a little too excited about this.
David Plotz and Hanna Rosin discuss their Netflix queue. I'd like to be Hanna Rosin when I grow up, please.
Glee news: Coach Tanaka is out. A few people I've never heard of are in.
Tristan from Gilmore Girls and Hannah from Pretty Little Liars are making an ABC Family Christmas movie. Sounds awful. I can't wait.
Billy Baldwin: going to Parenthood. I think he's the Gossip Girl Baldwin, right? Yeah.
July 27, 2010
Review: Shadow Trade
Shadow Trade by Alan Furst
I requested this one from the library because a list I read said it was the first of Furst's (hah) spy novels set in 1930s Europe. It is not. But it turned out to be good anyway! Imagine Burn Notice but set in 1980-ish New York, and you basically have this book. The main character, Guyer, was laid off by the CIA a few years earlier and is now running his own freelance firm. He's a complex character, likeable and flawed, and his world is well-drawn. The plot got a little confusing at times, but that didn't really ruin anything; the evocation of the universe is more important than the particular details. Unfortunately, this seems to be out of print, but it's worth digging up at a library.
Royal Pains 2.4: "Medusa"
Cuba! Huh. That was unexpected, although I supposed it shouldn't have been. More after the jump.
Boris and Cuba: I do feel badly for Boris, but he's being dumb. Ah well. The Cuba stuff was interesting, I guess, but Royal Pains is such a setting-based show that it just feels weird having the brothers out of the Hamptons.
Lawson family: One good thing about the field trip to Cuba was that we got a break from the dad, so yay! I loved Evan's "Are you still trying to prove that we're not related?" line. They're no Salvatores, or Winchesters, but I do love these brothers.
Evan's subplot: Of course he meets a girl and then ends up having a medical emergency. And - trading his phone for cigars? Really? That seems really irresponsible, even for him.
Back in the Hamptons: Poor Divya. Of course the replacement doctor was awful.
Overall: This episode was pretty disappointing, as it took away both the setting and the interaction between the whole group. I like the Lawsons together, but I love their interactions with Divya and with Jill. Get the gang back together, show!
My Boys 4.1: "Addition by Subtraction"
My Boys is back! Yay! This is one of the few notable exceptions to my no-sitcom rule, so I'm pretty thrilled. Jim Gaffigan is gone this season, but enh. To see what I don't really care, follow the link below . . .
Jim Gaffigan, who plays PJ's brother Andy, left the show to concentrate on his comedy career, and a lot of people were upset about him leaving, but I don't care that much. I mean, sure, he was funny, but for me the core of the show has always been PJ and her relationships with Bobby and Brendan. I really like PJ and Bobby together, and I hope they let that relationship play out for a while rather than just breaking them up to create conflict. On the other hand, Kenny and Stephanie together is still weird, but I guess I can go with it.
The actual plot here wasn't that interesting - obviously Stephanie is the obvious addition to the poker group - but the way they got there was entertaining. I loved seeing all the flashbacks to how they all met, and to college and various game nights. The different versions of the same college memories were particularly interesting, and it was all very How I Met Your Mother, which is, of course, the other sitcom I watch.
The other thing that stood out to me in this episode was the tension between Brendan and Bobby. It was pretty subtle, for this show - lots of little exchanges between the two, but it wasn't belabored, and no one else really commented on it. Is it just about Bobby spending a lot of time at the apartment? Or does it have more to do with Brendan's unresolved feelings for PJ? I'm leaning toward the latter, and I hope they continue with this storyline as the season progresses.
The Gates 1.4: "The Monster Within"
The plot of The Gates is now picking up, but the show still hasn't really made me care about the characters, and that's problematic. I try to care, after the jump.
I do really like Andie and Charlie, though, and I hope Andie's condition doesn't make things too impossible for her. The show is being pretty opaque about the way the supernatural stuff works, and I can't decide whether I like that or not. On the one hand, it can be frustrating, but on the other, it's nice that they're giving the audience some credit and allowing us to figure stuff out.
Nick's big revelation - that he actually killed the guy in Chicago on purpose - was more surprising than it should have been, in retrospect. His wife is somewhat boring so far, and I'm more interested in his interactions with Dylan. I'm hoping for a grudging awkward bromance there. We'll see. I like Dylan a lot more than I like Claire so far, at least.
The two big reveals at the end came quickly, especially for the somewhat slow usual pacing of this show. And see? I told you something was off about Teresa. I can't decide whether the show wanted her to be sympathetic. I didn't really like her from the start so it made it difficult.
And then Dylan reveals himself to Nick, while he's in the process of saving Nick's life. Innnnteresting. Why did he decide that was worth it? He could have just stayed out of it and let Teresa kill Nick, but he didn't. Does he think Nick is better than other cops who might come in to replace him? Is he trying to make sure Nick owes him something, as insurance? He couldn't just care about him, could he? Intriguing. I suppose we'll find out next week!
Morning Coffee (7/27/10)
Good morning! Yes, you're seeing something a little different here. I've been trying to find a way to revamp my posting schedule in a way that will still make sure you get lots of content but not completely exhaust me. As part of this, Endnotes are moving to the morning - because you have more time to click links while you're waking up and easing into your day, anyway, right? - and becoming Morning Coffee, going up around 8 a.m. Eastern. These posts will still have recommended links, but they'll be a little chattier, with some commentary on the morning news and whatever personal stuff doesn't need its own post.
The rest of the new schedule: TV reviews will appear at nine and eleven, and the Song of the Day is moving to one - think of it as a nice lunchtime interlude. At three, we'll have either another TV review, if I have one, or something else to do with TV, movies, or music. The five o'clock post is reserved for book reviews and knitting pictures; if I have neither of those, it'll be whatever else I have to talk about. (And I weirdly feel like I'm being unfair to books here, but it just takes longer to read most books than it does watch an episode of TV. So that's why books only get one slot on the schedule.) So we'll try that for a while and see how it goes. I reserve the right to go off schedule at any point, of course, and I can already predict that during fall TV premiere week the schedule will be totally off as I try to watch and review pilots of new shows as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, Tony Hayward is stepping down, one of the missing sailors' bodies was found in Afghanistan, and it's going to be 90 again today. Sigh. And I kid you not - the traffic report on TV just gave a location based on a store that has been closed for years. No one in New Hampshire will ever call anything by its current name. Sununu is accusing Hodes of push polling. For the record, the only push poll calls I've gotten in New Hampshire have been from Republicans. And wow, they're already interviewing Hayward's replacement on Good Morning, America. And this big GMA story on Chelsea Clinton's wedding includes impressively little actual information!
Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist in the American Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Huh. Okay. He hadn't really occurred to me, but I can see that working.
Amanda Bynes has un-retired. If you care.
Should I go to the movies on my birthday on Saturday? What should I see? Inception? Salt? The Zac Efron thing? Is that coming out this week? Hmm.
July 26, 2010
The Sweet Valley Ten Years Later site is up!
Someone named Chord Overstreet has been cast on Glee. Really, the newsworthy part of this is that there exists someone named Chord Overstreet.
Royal Pains 2.3: "Keeping the Faith"
Finally catching up on this show! Sorry for the delay. This episode seemed awfully slow for some reason, and it wasn't one of my favorites, so I don't have a lot to say, after the jump.
Patient of the Week: There was a little too much focus on him, but the plotline itself was fine. And, of course, the sister also ended up having a medical issue. How coincidental!
Lawson family: I'm sick of the father being around. Sigh. But, as always, I love the brothers' interaction.
Boris: Meh. Secrets as usual. Are we supposed to think Hank is being replaced with the new concierge doctor at the end?
Evan: This is his second girl who couldn't or wouldn't eat for some reason. Interesting.
Hank and Jill: They were cute, and I liked Hank's bit of jealousy. I couldn't remember what their status was supposed to be exactly, but I guess they're completely broken up at this point?
Divya: Where was she?? She was barely in this episode! I missed her!
Song of the Day: "All In"
Just because it's been in my head all day...
Rookie Blue 1.2: "Mercury Retrograde"
I'm trying not to hold it against Rookie Blue that it was renewed while The Bridge, a far superior Toronto cop show, was cancelled, but it's hard. I'll keep trying after the jump.
In these first two episode, the show has not done a very good job of letting us get to know the rookies other than Andy and, to some extent, Tracy. Peck is almost completely unlikeable here, and the guys are barely there at all. (The names on the shirts are helpful, though! Note to other shows: If you're going to fail to make us care about your characters, give them jobs with personalized uniforms so we can at least tell them apart.) How many of these kids are legacy? Maybe just Andy and Peck. Hmm. Are either of the guys? Do we know them enough to even know? Still, even if it's just two out of the five, 40% seems like a lot. But maybe that's realistic. I honestly have no idea.
I really like Sam, the formerly undercover guy. He and Andy work well together, even given their "follow the rules or not" tension, and I was hoping the show would work on their friendship and professional relationship without jumping right into a romantic thing, but I suppose I can get on board with that as well. It seems like we're headed for some sort of triangle with them and the pretty blond detective, who I barely remembered from the pilot. Everyone wants Andy! Of course.
Oh, yeah, the plot: I had trouble following some of the plotlines, but honestly, I might just have not been paying enough attention. I do like that they're showing the consequences of Andy's outing of Sam. It's good that that didn't just go away. And I am completely confused as to why, when presented with a flash drive, everyone immediately says "Oh, it's encrypted! There's no way we can possibly get the data!" without seeming to even check. And you'd think they'd have tech people (or consultants) who could work on decrypting things, anyway.
Some books I have recently returned unfinished
Several of you wanted to hear about the books I didn't finish, so I'll start keeping track and posting whenever I have three or four.
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer - I actually do enjoy the Twilight books, so this isn't a general Twilight dig or anything. I just couldn't get into this one. After 45 pages, I realized I didn't really care what happened to Bree - and we know what happened to her from Eclipse, anyway.
Angelology by Danielle Trussoni - Several friends recommended this, and I wanted to like it. The convent stuff was interesting, but the preface about finding the angel's body put me off for some reason I couldn't define, and I just wasn't feeling the angel thing in general. I may try it again in a few months - could have just been a mood mismatch.
Priceless by Robert Wittman - This story of an FBI agent tracking down art thieves should have been interesting, but it was oddly boring. And I really didn't like the narrator's persona - he pretty much thought he was the best thing ever, and all the bragging got tiresome.
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins - I love the Hunger Games books, so I'd been wanting to try Collins' earlier series. But I happened to pick this up the morning after I'd dealt with a huge, scary bug on my bedroom ceiling, and the jacket copy said this was about huge, scary bugs, and I just couldn't. I'll try it again later.
Covert Affairs 1.2: "Walter's Walk"
I don't have too many notes on this one because I watched it while painting my nails. Really, it's the perfect show for that - breezy, fun, making even the real international stakes seem light and amusing. More after the jump.
Plot: Last week it was Russians, this week it's the IRA! Whee! The choice of enemies definitely adds to the show's retro feeling. Of course, this was played up in this episode by all the antiquated technology being used, and by the references to classic spy novels. And having a kid find the spy ring was an interesting message. It's as though the show is trying to reassure us: "Don't worry about all that new terrorism stuff! The enemies are the same old guys, using the same old methods! Even a child could figure this out!" It seems a deliberate play to the audience's anxieties, and an unabashed opportunity for escapism.
Production: Catching viewers up via Annie's dream at the beginning rather than the traditional "previouslies" is an interesting choice. In a way, it does seem more natural, but it can't possibly be sustained without just looking silly. She can't be having these dreams every week. The new title sequence was cute.
Annie: I'm starting to like her a little better, although her family/work angst will get old quickly, especially when it leads to a lack of professionalism (like when it was the one question she asked Elliott). I'm hoping that the fact that she signed the guardian papers at the end of the episode means that at least some of this has been resolved.
Auggie: I'm starting to get why people are 'shipping him with Annie. He's a little too perfect, though, and needs some flaws to make him into a believable character.
Conrad/Jai: Where did Conrad go? Do we know? Arthur said something about him being gone, but I can't remember if we were given an explanation last week. Does this mean Eric Lively is off the show? Bah. I liked him. Jai is a reasonable replacement, I suppose, and the tension he causes is fun. We'll see.
Joan/Arthur: We got to see a little more of the background of their relationship, which was useful, but Joan's outright refusal to be professional when her husband is involved is starting to bug me. When you're discussing a work issue, don't protest that your husband outranks you only at work. That's all that matters right now, honey. If this couple is being presented as the result of the supposed pro-dating policy at the CIA, then I'm thinking they might want to revisit that policy.
Review: Knightley Academy
Knightley Academy by Violet Haberdasher
Knightley Academy is set in an alternative version of Victorian England, where there are still knights but they become police and secret service agents and stuff. They're trained at a special school called Knightley Academy, and only the sons of the aristocracy are admitted - until servant boy Henry Grim is allowed in through a loophole in the admission procedures. Partially because of his feat, two other commoners are allowed in, and they, along with the headmaster's wayward daughter, become Henry's best friends. Together they have to figure out how to fit in with the upper-class boys, and discover who is behind the dangerous acts of sabotage directed at them - which may have bigger implications than they realize and not be just about them after all.
This novel was so absorbing that I read most of it in one sitting, and it was completely delightful. It reads a lot like Harry Potter, without the magic - both in the tone and some of the themes of an outsider at a super-selective school, in a world suddenly plunged into grave danger. I don't mean that it's among the legions of Potter knock-offs, though; it's quite original and very well-written. Knightley Academy perfectly combines a cozy British school story with alternate history politics with global stakes. According to the author's Twitter feed, she's working on the sequel now, and I can't wait.
(Note to parents: This is exceptionally clean - I think there's one mention of kissing, and no one actually does anything like that. Some references to "ruined reputations" but no details. And it's exciting without being particularly scary. If you have an advanced reader who's ready for harder/longer books but not some of the heavier themes of a lot of YA, definitely try this one.)
The Gates 1.3: "Breach"
Overall, this episode was . . . enh. The show continues to be not quite bad enough for me to stop watching it. And I've said this before, but the fact that I can never seem to remember any of the characters' names can't be a good thing. Some observations, after the jump!
The cop (Marcus?) and the girl (Teresa?) moved in awfully quickly, so of course I continue to suspect Teresa's motivations. A week? Really? Who DOES that? And you'd think such an exclusive community would have some sort of long background-checking procedure and not let just anyone move in, even if they're moving in with a current resident. Leigh seems to be the more interesting of the young cops - she's clearly something supernatural, and given her reaction to Teresa it's looking like she might have a thing for Marcus.
Why does Claire leave The Gates to go grocery shopping? Would a community with a school and a salon and an ice cream place and all those other shops we kind of saw really not have a grocery store? Hmmm. In other circumstances, I would say that they had one of those fancy downtowns that's really all expensive specialty stuff for tourists and nothing actually useful for residents, but it's a gated community! So obviously that's not it.
Memo to Brett: Don't said "I love you" to a girl and then tell her to forget about it the next day. Sigh. On the other hand, Charlie's really pretty perfect. This triangle would be more believable if Charlie were more obviously flawed, or Brett had more redeeming qualities. Obviously, Andie has history with him, and there's stuff we haven't seen, but still! Make me believe that the characters like each other, show!
Speaking of the triangle: I really liked what Andie's friend (who has a name, I'm sure . . . Mia? Maybe?) said about the situation being not a triangle but instead an equation, with Andie's current boyfriend as a constant and the new guy as a variable, and that Andie had to figure out how she felt about the constant before she could solve for the variable, basically. I think that metaphor may be useful when discussing situations on other shows, so I will hereby name it the Gates Equation and start invoking it whenever possible. And I bet that will be the one element of this show that lasts past the summer.
At some point, someone says "There's obviously a glitch in the matrix." Really? Really? I honestly couldn't tell whether the character was making a Matrix joke to other other characters, or the show was making a winking Matrix joke to the audience, or if someone just wrote it without really thinking about it and no one caught it. Opinions?
Finally, I was delighted to see Paul Blackthorne (Dresden from The Dresden Files), and I hope he'll be sticking around. His very presence makes the show feel smarter and more charming. And God knows it needs it.
The shirt should have been your first clue.
I didn't manage to pack a lunch for work on Friday morning, so I stopped by the Panera near my office for a salad. I ordered the Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Salad which, you'll notice, includes no meat in its menu listing. The person taking my order asked if I wanted to add chicken. I said no. I'm sure you can see where this is going, but I didn't. For some reason, I didn't check the salad before I left, and I was back at work before I realized it was covered in chicken. I drove back to Panera and they made me another without too much trouble, although it would have been a nice touch for them to give me a little money back or a free side or something for my trouble. They didn't offer and I didn't want to make a scene.
The reason this story is funny is because I happened to be wearing this shirt. It said VEGETARIAN in big letters across my chest. Apparently that was too subtle a clue.
July 23, 2010
I'm still bitter about The Bridge, but I'm thrilled that Aaron Douglas has found a new job already! He'll be on Hellcats (CW; premieres 9/8), which doesn't necessarily seem like an obvious fit for him, but I'm happy because it's a show I was already planning to try, so this news doesn't disrupt my carefully-constructed fall schedule.
Want to know who's playing Booth's
The Library of America has a new blog.
RIP Daniel Schorr.
Curt Schilling outed a bunch of MLB players as World of Warcraft players. Scandal!
App Recommendation: Twittelator
In the market for a great iPad Twitter client? Check out Twittelator. (They have an iPhone version too, but I haven't used that, so I'm just talking about the iPad version here.) Someone on Twitter - a political journalist, but I can't remember who - called it "life-changing," and I was dubious, but it's really quite impressive. Thanks, whoever you were! It's much easier to navigate and search on Twittelator than on any other Twitter app I've used, and this is one situation in which the iPad's touchscreen is particularly great, and Twittelator makes the most of it. Touch a tweet in your timeline to see it in its own little window (without losing your place in your timeline). Touch any Twitter handle to see that person's user info, and then easily see their tweets. Touch the name of a hashtag to search for all tweets using it. Touch a link to open it up in a new browser window, and then just press "Done" to return to your place in the timeline. Touch the arrow icon under a reply to view the whole conversation in order - very helpful. And there's a "Reply All" option! The one problem I've found with Twittelator is that it will only load up to 200 tweets at a time. If you don't follow many people, or don't care about seeing each and every tweet, this probably won't be a problem for you. I follow about 700, and this tends to only be a problem first thing in the morning - when I open Twittelator at 5 a.m., it only loads tweets back to about 2 a.m. For now, at least, I've decided the trade-off is worth it because the app is so great in other ways. The past few evenings, I've found myself continuing to use Twittelator on the iPad even when sitting at my computer. That's how great it is. If you have an iPad, give it a try.
MTV's New Feel-Good Reality Show Is Horrifying
On MTV's new reality show, If You Really Knew Me, a program called Challenge Day goes into high schools for a day to do various trust-building and secret-telling activities that are designed to help students get to know each other and deal with problems like gossip, racism, clique drama, etc. Practically everyone I've talked to who watched it loved it. And I get why, more or less. I do. There were some powerful stories presented, and it was touching to see the kids hug and cry and maybe make some new friends. But overall, I found the whole thing kind of horrifying and really stressful to watch. (My heart was racing for the entire hour, and not in a good way.) And the more I think about it, the more aspects of it bother me.
1. I more or less believe that the motivations of the adults involved in Challenge Day are sincere and good, but using kids' secrets and emotions to profit a major television network is just icky. And yes, I realize that this type of emotion-peddling is the basis of a lot of reality TV, but when it actually takes place in a school, it just feels more wrong somehow. The Challenge Day leaders are telling the kids that it's all about respect and feeling loved and celebrated, and MTV is telling us that it's all happening for our entertainment, and probably to make us feel like we're somehow supporting social change by watching it, without any actual effort on our part. There's a definite disconnect there.
2. And yes, I realize that the kids all consented to appear on the show. Not all kids in the school participated. But still. If your friends are all going to be doing something, or your teacher wants you to do it, and it's a chance to be on MTV, I can see a lot of kids giving in and doing it and then regretting it later, when they realize just how revealing it was. And the kids who don't go on the show don't exactly get off scot-free. When one boy gets up and says that there's a lot of racism on the football team, say, the other football players who aren't participating have to live with the repercussions of that without getting a chance to tell their side of the story.
3. The whole thing is an introvert's nightmare. Even aside from the fact that the subject matter is focused on things that people wouldn't want to talk about anyway, just being put into a group of random classmates and forced to talk about feelings, while being filmed for national TV, sounds terrifying. I know some people wouldn't have this problem, but it's definitely one reason why I found the show incredibly stressful to watch.
4. The fact that Challenge Day is a one-day program seems ridiculous. Sure, some people might have made friends or felt better about very specific situations. There were lots of tears and hugging, which makes the audience, at least, feel good. But nothing really changes in a day, and the adult organizers didn't even present any real solutions. A lot of the follow-up focused on the football team racism issue I mentioned above, but the actual plan put into place was that the football players would make sure no one in the school was allowed to be a loner (Why not?), and go out of their way to talk to people they didn't know in the halls. How this would deal with racism wasn't addressed.
5. A lot of kids revealed very personal information to their small groups and to the larger group. Even if all of them were caught up in the spirit of the day and had the best of intentions at the time, I don't for a minute believe that will last. Maybe I'm just cynical, but all I could think was "They're giving so much ammunition to their enemies!" In a few months, when the excitement has faded and the MTV cameras are gone, someone is going to have a bad day, and remember some secret revealed by someone they never really liked anyway, and lash out with it. A lot of people could end up getting hurt, and it's pretty irresponsible on the part of the adults involved.
6. Addressing racism and other types of discrimination in schools is a perfectly valid goal. But more of the show focused on the fact that the school was filled with cliques and gossip, and this was seen as something awful that should be stamped out. But . . . why? I don't think it's possible, but say you could somehow keep some kids from forming cliques. How would that in any way help prepare them for the world outside of that one situation? I have never encountered a school or work setting that wasn't full of cliques and gossip. It's just a fact of life. Instead of trying to do the impossible and make these kids all like each other, it would be more useful to actually prepare teens to deal with the cliques and gossip and online privacy issues and other social situations that they'll have to deal with as adults. Teens don't really need to be taught to tell secrets, and in some cases, it would more helpful to teach them how to keep their private lives private.
The Vampire Diaries is casting...
I'm putting this behind a cut because it's slightly, although not very, spoilery for next season of The Vampire Diaries. Proceed at your own risk!
From Ask Ausiello:
Question: Vampire Diaries scoop pretty please with a Smurf on top? —RandiTwo thoughts:
1. They specify that she's young and attractive, and, well, this is the CW, where everyone is young and attractive, so I supposed we shouldn't read too much into that. But it makes me suspect that Vanessa will be some sort of romantic interest for at least one of the boys, and I'm not wild about that idea. I was hoping to see the Alaric/Jenna relationship actually get developed this season, so I don't want him distracted by another girl. On the other hand, Damon, for all his psychopathic tendencies - and because of his psychopathic tendencies, really - is probably rather less likely than most TV characters to fall for a random new girl. I think Elena is the only real threat to his loyalty to Katherine - and vice versa.
2. Is this description just screaming "Kristen Bell" to anyone else? I'd love to see her back on TV, and she's one of the few young actresses who could hold her own against Ian Somerhalder and Matt Davis.
Dewey is too busy for this nonsense.
When I got out of the shower this morning, Dewey was curled up on the piano chair - somewhere he doesn't usually sit - looking all adorable. Of course, as soon as I grabbed my camera, he jumped down, and this was all I could get:
Ah well. Maybe next time.
The Bridge 1.3: "The Fat Lady Sings the Blues"
Oh, The Bridge. You were so promising, and yet you're already gone, and yes, I'm still bitter. (The news stories said the show was being cancelled immediately, but my TV listings still show a new episode for tomorrow night, so. We'll see.) I'm not going to bother writing too much about the plot of an already-cancelled show here, but this episode featured more of what I liked about the first two: complicated, sometimes subtle plots. A lot going on at once. People with mixed feelings and conflicted emotions. Real, believable relationships of all sorts between the characters. (I still really like Frank and Tommy's partnership, and am happy that it's continuing into the union situation.) Aaron Douglas being surprisingly hot, and getting all the girls. I really, really enjoyed seeing Douglas as Frank here. It's a complex role - tough and self-assured, and yet vulnerable and sometimes insecure, and above all completely sincere, but pragmatic - and Douglas plays all the dimensions perfectly. I really hope we get to see more of this, somehow.
Trailer: Ramona and Beezus
I had almost entirely avoided learning anything about the new movie Ramona and Beezus (opening today), because a) movies of beloved children's books are almost always disappointing, and b) if Ramona's going to be on screen, she should be Sarah Polley, obviously. But I finally broke down and watched the trailer and I have to admit it looks really cute. And hey, Sandra Oh is in it! I had no idea.
So . . . anyone have a little girl I can borrow, or do I have to be that weird grown-up seeing a kid movie alone? (Or maybe I'll wait for Netflix. This doesn't necessarily look like the sort of movie that you have to see on the big screen.)
I listened to the radio this morning long enough to hear the weather report twice, because I didn't believe it the first time. And then I checked online, because I still didn't believe it. But it's true. The high is supposed to be in the seventies today. The SEVENTIES. That's a civilized temperature! I can't even express how happy I am about this. (Not unrelated: I finally slept properly last night, because it was cool enough not to need the air conditioner!) We're back to the 80s tomorrow, of course, but let me be happy about this while I can. Plus, the rest of the ten day forecast is in the 80s but not the 90s. And there are supposed to be thunderstorms on my birthday! So. That's something.
July 22, 2010
CBS picked up Chaos for midseason. More spies!
John Mayer will be "recreating the sound of Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks." Feel free to run in horror now.
CBS Fall Premiere Dates! Finally.
My friend Erin has good taste in music. So you should go look at her picks for best albums of 2010 (so far).
Like vampire stuff? Want to help support oil spill recovery? Get your awareness bracelet here.
Farewell, Frank Leo
The Bridge was one of my favorite new summer shows, but, as we all saw coming when CBS stupidly put it on Saturday nights, no one watched it and it has been cancelled. (I still have episode 3 on the TiVo and will review it for you anyway, darn it.) I'm annoyed, because I thought this was way better than Rookie Blue, which has already been renewed for a second season. But apparently I'm the only one who felt that way. My only hope is that because it seems twelve episodes have already aired in Canada, they'll show up on DVD here eventually.
Covert Affairs 1.1: "Pilot"
Ooh, spies! Russians! Shiny! That's about where I am with Covert Affairs after the pilot. I like basically every show on USA - they're fun and witty and have lots of pretty people - but none of them really call for much analysis. Regardless of that fact, I wrote another four paragraphs about this one, after the jump.
First, the opening scenes: the polygraph was a nice way to infodump about the character's background, but the sudden questions about separating work and personal stuff seemed odd and made it too obvious to the viewer that the CIA was interested in Annie for some particular reason beyond her language skills and ability to pass as a call girl. That in turn made the big reveal of that fact at the end less dramatic than it might have otherwise been. The "jumping out of a plane" scene at the beginning was a little too obvious a "jumping into the dangerous unknown" symbol, but enh, this show isn't trying to be subtle.
In some ways, this episode came across as a standard workplace drama that happened to be set at the CIA, and that's an interesting conceit. Of course, I'm assuming that it's totally unrealistic, but still. (What did seem fairly plausible: the computer systems. Thanks, show! I love it when you don't make me suspend disbelief in that particular area!) Does the CIA really encourage dating within the agency? Hmm. It will be interesting to see how office politics and interpersonal relationships play out when the stakes are so much higher than they are in most places. And the way Annie had to give the award back at the end of the episode was an interesting symbol for what it's like to work for this version of the CIA.
The spy plot having to do with Russia manages to come across as both timely and old-fashioned, as does the show itself. I got perhaps a little too excited when I realized that they were going the Russian route, and I may have shrieked with glee when they said someone "came in from the cold." (Shut up. It's genetic.) The plot wasn't particularly complicated or surprising, but that wasn't necessarily a problem. (A few points seemed a bit farfetched - that Joan would let Annie just go back to the hotel, and that the teacher would guess the CIA connection immediately, unless there's more going on there than we know.) The action sequences were slick and fun. Overall, the show was light and breezy, with just enough hints of ongoing intrigue - the cryptic reference to Annie's predecessor, the mystery of Annie's ex Ben - to pull the audience back in next week.
First impressions of the characters:
Review: The Possessed
I love books about books and reading, so I was excited to read this, even though I haven't actually read all that much Russian literature. And this book certainly made me want to read more Russian books, so that's something. But overall, it was pretty uneven. I prefer my memoirs of reading to have a little more about the reader's life than this one did. Individual parts of this were interesting, but it didn't hold together as a book very well. It reads as though Batuman had half a book about a summer she spent in Uzbekistan, and some essays about Russian literature, and just combined them with a little connective tissue about her experiences in grad school. Each bit was interesting on its own, but somewhat unsatisfying as a whole. But I definitely want to read Tolstoy now!
(Note: There's some really gross [albeit interesting] stuff in the chapter called "The House of Ice." I'd recommend you not read it while eating dinner, as I did.)
Harry's Law, Now with Nate Corddry
I can never remember which Corddry is which, and I swear I have nothing against Rob Corddry, but I tend to think of Nate as "the Corddry I like," primarily because of his work on Studio 60. So, on one level, I was delighted to read that he will be starring on Harry's Law. I'm glad he's getting work and it will be nice to see him back on my TV. On the other hand, he's replacing the British guy on the show, so that means fewer fun accents. And the character has been rewritten to be the son of the Kathy Bates character, which could be good but could also be really really bad, if they go the traditional comedy route of overbearing mother with ineffective adult son. And I wish he were going to be on a show I was already planning to watch. I was undecided about this one, but if it's Kathy Bates and Nate Corddry, I'll have to give it a try. Of course, it's not on the fall schedule, so maybe by the time it starts, enough other shows will have been cancelled and/or I'll have given up on them that I'll have time to watch this.
Rizzoli & Isles 1.2: "Boston Strangler Redux"
I really didn't like this episode. Really. It went beyond mediocre indifference to outright dislike. Now, everyone's allowed an off day once in a while, but you're on notice, show. If you don't improve I'm going to go catch up on House instead. To find out my many issues with the plot, the characters, the writing, and the setting (so basically everything!), click on the nifty link below.
The plot: A Boston Strangler case, already? I mean, sure, it's natural for a Boston-set procedural to go there eventually, but the fact that they did so in the second episode makes me suspect that they started out with a lack of original ideas, and that doesn't bode well for the show's future. The case wasn't solved in any satisfying manner, either. Rather than detecting, our heroes stumbled from one suspect to the next, and then seemed to look at the clock, say "Nope, not far enough in the hour yet!" and decide the murderer had to be someone else. There was no reason for Rizzoli to wait so long to look at her brother's pictures, except for the supposed sibling rivalry that the show never really bothered to make us believe, and if she's as good a cop as they keep telling us she is, that wouldn't have stopped her.
Guest stars: I actually liked Donnie Wahlberg, and the childhood history between him and Rizzoli was interesting, so I wouldn't mind if he stuck around. Brian Dennehy, who
Characters: I still like Rizzoli, but she can't carry the show by herself for long. I hated Isles in this episode. It's like they took Brennan from Bones, watered her down, made her thoroughly unlikeable, and then tossed in a few random attributes to make her different. The result is by no means a coherent character. If she's so into fashion, why was she wearing that ridiculous get-up at the baseball game? If she can't understand people well enough to function in society, why is she suddenly psychoanalyzing them? She just makes no sense, and I want her to go away. But I suppose that's unlikely since she's a title character.
I still love Lee Thompson Young as Frost, but he was tragically underused in this episode. Will they ever let the poor guy do anything but vomit? The former partner wasn't as interesting in this one, and somehow looked completely different. Was it the same actor? Rizzoli's family is still okay, and I like the brother, but the parents got a big sitcommy in this episode. I'd like to see more of Rizzoli and her brother working together, as long as it doesn't result in this random "You're my brother so I must ignore your evidence!" nonsense.
The writing: This episode was filled with conversations that made no sense, either in context or on their own. The most egregious example of this was the one with Rizzoli's father at the station. Why on earth were both her parents there, anyway? Why did Rizzoli suddenly ask him about the family business, in the middle of a murder case? I get that we're supposed to see that the mother is trying to get the kids out of the police force and the father isn't/doesn't really know, but it was very clumsy and really made no sense as a conversation. The episode was full of these exchanges, where someone said something and then someone else said something else, and it was supposed to be a response but really wasn't the same conversation at all. Some shows do things like this deliberately, to make certain points, but here it just felt careless and clumsy. Another example: At the end, Rizzoli starts explaining her dating history to Isles, seemingly out of the blue. They're friends, right? This is a weird conversation friends to be having - either they'd have already had it, or they wouldn't want to. And nothing happened as a catalyst to make them have to, either. Hello, exposition fairy!
The setting: I still don't really feel like we're in Boston, despite the fact that they said the word "Boston" at least twice a minute in this episode. The traffic report at the beginning of the episode was a dead giveaway - I've been listening to Boston traffic reports for ten years, and I have never heard one that short or that coherent. They make no sense. They refuse to use official names for any roads or bridges or anything. I'm pretty sure they're designed to make sure outsiders get lost. And the traffic is never, ever just "fine" everywhere. That whole "No traffic problems, even though it's a holiday!" nonsense? (And wait, it was a holiday? What was it? Am I misremembering?) Really, the episode lost me right there.
Flickr via RSS
This is so obvious that I'm embarrassed it took me so long to think of it, and you probably have all been doing this for years. But! It suddenly occurred to me the other night that you could probably keep up with a Flickr stream - of a person or a pool - via RSS. And you can! If you scroll to the bottom of, say, the White House flickr stream's main page, you'll see the little orange RSS logo with "Subscribe to The White House's photostream." Click on the logo, and then paste that URL into the "add" section of your RSS reader, and there you go! Whee. Now I have no excuse for not keeping up with other people using the same brand of lunchbox as me. No, really.
Journalists at Comic Con
Are you at Comic Con? No, me neither. Want to pretend you are? Here are some of my favorite journalists, bloggers, and other writers who are tweeting Comic Con coverage. (Suggestions of others? Hit the comments!)
Alan Sepinwall, HitFix
July 21, 2010
L.J. Smith is writing another Vampire Diaries trilogy. Set in the book universe, not the show universe. Whee.
Hey look! Alyssa on NPR!
Emily Bazelon: What Really Happened to Phoebe Price?
Taylor Swift has a new album coming out in October. First single out in August. Whee.
Caterina Scorsone (a.k.a. Derek's sister) is becoming a regular on Private Practice.
I'm reasonably happy about the results of the Tater Top awards.
Where do you put your scarves?
A question for the knitters (and non-knitters, really): How do you store your winter accessories - scarves, hats, mittens, etc.? You can't possibly all do what I tend to do, which is either not quite finish things, or leave them completed in a Ziplock bag somewhere and then have nothing to wear when I actually need it. So. They need to be out of the way but accessible, reasonably organized, and protected from moths. Now that I type that out, a Rubbermaid bin in or near the coat closet seems like a logical answer, but does anyone have any other ideas?
Song of the Day: "See You in September"
The fall TV season begins seven weeks from today - not that anyone's counting - so this seemed somehow appropriate.
My iPad case (the official Apple one) arrived yesterday, and as soon as I figured out the somewhat cryptic instructions, it became clear that this was the answer to all the slight awkwardness I've encountered in using the iPad. It makes it a million times easier to carry around, and to use on a table or on my lap or even in bed. Would you like a tour? Of course you would. (Sorry for the poor quality of some of the pictures, but I think you'll get the idea.)
It's delightful. If you have an iPad, I definitely recommend the case.
Pretty Little Liars 1.4: "Can You Hear Me Now?"
This show is still not as good as I'd wanted it to be, but I'm still watching, so . . . I don't know. In a way, that just makes it frustrating, but I guess I'm willing to stick with it for now. I need to just accept the fact that it isn't Gossip Girl, really. And is it just me or does this have the most earwormy theme music ever? "Got a secret, can you keep it . . ." Aaagh! Anyway, episode-specific thoughts after the jump.
First, two general thoughts:
Aria: Continues to be my favorite. Why do I like her and Fitz together so much? Why? WHY?? It's so wrong! Ah, well. I really liked that Fitz had the typewriter but didn't actually use it. Writing on a typewriter would have been too Frank from You've Got Mail, you know? Yeah. No one likes that guy. I really hope her mom doesn't end up blaming her for not telling her about her dad's affair - totally unfair.
Spencer: I still like her, but the plagiarism plot just bugs me. It's so out of character. I mean, I guess that's the point, but still. The video camera thing in her scene with Wren was really creepy! I liked Wren less in this episode than I did before, but Spencer's reactions to him still seem believable.
Hanna: I feel bad for her, but I still don't really like her. Sigh.
Emily: Still all sweet and perfect and awkward. Whatever. The thing that bothered me about her storyline this episode was the scarf. Why did everyone immediately notice it? Does no one ever wear scarves in this school? Why did so many people know it was new? Who pays that much attention to their classmates' clothes? I think we were supposed to feel like Emily thought everyone was paying attention to her and suspecting that something was going on with Maya, but this effect was ruined by having everyone inexplicably actually pay attention.
Read this now, this means me (and you).
Here's the most egregious example of my seeming inability to read books I own:
Those are the three most recent installments of Jane Haddam's superlative Gregor Demarkian mystery series. I love these books so much that I always preorder them as soon as they're announced. The most recent, Wanting Sheila Dead, arrived yesterday, on its release day. But have I managed to read the previous two? No. Ridiculous. (For the record, I have read the first twenty-two books in the series, so it's not that crazy of me to preorder these sight unseen. Besides, I want to support the author.)
So. I'm going to read these. Really. And you should too. It's the best contemporary mystery series no one's ever heard of. I really don't know why they don't get more buzz. They're practically perfect, and only get better as the series goes on, which is really rare for such a long-running series. Usually the quality declines. (I'm looking at you, Lilian Jackson Braun.) I think I've managed to collect all 25, and I've been meaning to reread them in order. Maybe once I finish these three, I'll go back to the beginning and blog the whole series.
E-books, or not.
The publishing world is in something of a tizzy because Amazon announced that its e-books are outselling hardcovers. There are two pieces of data I'd like to see before taking this with more than a grain of salt:
1. How do the numbers compare on the same titles? If people are buying a lot of 99 cent e-books, but still buying bestsellers in hardcover, that's important to note.So I'm not ready to proclaim the death of print just yet. But I wanted to say a little about my own experience. I've been doing a lot with the iPad - using it for Twitter, Web browsing, to do lists, crosswords, games, weather forecasts, news, music, and more. But what I haven't really done on it is read e-books. I downloaded iBook, Apple's free e-book app. It came with Winnie the Pooh, and I downloaded The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which is public domain and therefore free. I've looked at them both, to see how things work, but I haven't really read either. And it wasn't a conscious decision - I didn't decide I wasn't going to switch to e-books or anything. I just . . . haven't bothered. I'll let you know if that changes.
The child star who SHOULD be emulated.
So. Lindsay Lohan is in jail. I'm not particularly a fan, but it seems vaguely surreal, even to me. I mean, for one thing, she's in jail and Roman Polanski isn't? Really? Anyway, it really seems like The Parent Trap was both the beginning and the high point of her career, and I can only feel badly for her. I was always a huge fan of the original 1961 Parent Trap, so I was very skeptical when a new version came out. But Lohan totally won me over:
She's really good! I'd forgotten how good until I rewatched that (fuzzy, sorry) trailer. Playing two roles against each other like that can never be easy, and for a kid, and with two different accents . . . it's impressive.
People sometimes say it's all but unavoidable for child stars to end up in some sort of trouble or failure. Maybe they all need to pay a little more attention to Shirley Temple.
She makes clear in her memoir that her life wasn't all lollipops and rainbows, and some of the stuff the studio executives did to her then would never be allowed now. But she grew up, retired from acting, raised a family, and became a diplomat. She was even Chief of Protocol. Not bad for someone who started as a "baby burlesk." (No, really.)
Posting from the future?
I tend to have a bunch of unfinished posts (or sometimes just a few notes or a topic, to remind myself I wanted to write about something) floating around, and sometimes that makes it hard to figure out how many posts are actually ready to go and how they're scheduled. So I'm trying a new system: I'm putting a 2011 date on unfinished drafts so they group together at the top of my editing screen and are easier to keep track of. I am now, of course, convinced that I will start occasionally publishing things without changing the date. If you notice something showing up seemingly from next year, please let me know so I can fix it. I am not, in fact, time traveling. Thanks!
July 20, 2010
Rob Lowe is going to be in a new movie.
MTV's If You Really Knew Me, about trying to break down barriers between different groups in high school, actually sounds kind of interesting. It premieres tonight; I'll check it out if I remember to set the TiVo.
I perhaps get a little too excited about 7th Heaven alums (see: yesterday's Tyler Hoechlin freakout), but Beverley Mitchell joining Secret Life might actually make me start watching it again. Darn you, ABC Family.
The Girl's Guide to Comic-Con Not that I'm going to Comic-Con, but, you know, I can dream.
Rob Lowe's buying Miramax?? What isn't Rob Lowe doing? It seems like I've had Rob Lowe news every other day, recently. Wait, twice today! (I wrote the beginning of this post last night, so I forgot that was on here.)
It's called "right of way" for a reason.
Pet peeve of the day: drivers who get all mad that I will not go when they CLEARLY have the right of way. I guess they think they're being nice? Or something? But if I have a stop sign and you do not, JUST GO. You're not being courteous. You're trying to force me to break traffic laws, for no apparent reason. Why? Why do people do this? (I wrote that as a rhetorical question, but actually, if you do this, I'd love to know why.)
Song of the Day: "Heat Wave"
Not even Martha and the Vandellas can make me like this weather.
The Bridge 1.1-1.2: "The Red Door; Paint It Black"
Toronto cops are taking over TV! Or at least that's how it seems, between The Bridge and Rookie Blue. Of the two shows, The Bridge is definitely the one that caught my attention, so it's unfortunate that CBS seems to be burning it off on Saturday nights in the summer. Want to know why I liked it? (Including spoilers for the first two episodes, which I'm writing about it together because CBS aired them in a two-hour block.) After the jump!
First of all: Frank Leo. I could very well be forgetting someone, but I'm going to go ahead and say that he's the most interesting and complex cop* on TV right now. I always liked Aaron Douglas on Battlestar Galactica, and thought he was best in his turn as a labor organizer for a few episodes while they were on New Caprica. Here, as Frank Leo, he gets to play a version of that character all the time, and I love it. He's working on behalf of (what he sees as) the side of Good, but he's not particularly concerned about following the rules; if he were a D&D character, he'd be Chaotic Good, which was always my favorite alignment. I mean, blackmailing a priest because it gets you, eventually, to what you're convinced is The Right Thing To Do? Awesome. Leo's repeated insistence that he's "not political" is designed to make us - and his fellow cops - see him as a reluctant hero, but he was obvious born (and bred) for this role.
I loved the scenes with Frank's father, and was looking forward to seeing how that relationship played out as Frank became more involved with the union, so I'm sad that they killed the father off so quickly. The fact that his mentor and his father died in such quick succession should have an interesting effect on Frank, though. My favorite part of the remaining supporting cast was Frank's (now former?) partner Tommy, and not just because the actor looks rather like Paul Rudd. I hope he and Frank stay friends even if they stop being partners. Jury's still out on the lawyer, as far as I'm concerned. Sure, they have chemistry, and I liked how professional and competent she seemed at first, but she completely ruined that when she did every show's favorite "Give me a dollar so I'm officially your lawyer" routine and then immediately KISSED him. What?? You're on notice, Unprofessional Lawyer Whose Name I Forget.
The show as a whole was somewhat uneven. Some of the dialogue was extremely hamfisted, but still powerful. I was struck by the volume of casual religion - prayers, references to God, etc., all of which seemed mostly sincere. The house bugging scene leading into the funeral was done very well, and the show did a good job of making us actually care about the funeral of a character we barely knew. The storytelling was too obvious at times and impressively subtle at others: I missed the fact that the father had died the first time and had to rewind to figure out what had happened. And the closing scene with the cop who had accidentally killed his wife was disturbing and very, very powerful. It, more than anything, showed what the people around him saw in Frank Leo, and the understated cliffhanger guaranteed that I would be back for more.
* And I'm just counting cops, not FBI agents or U.S. Marshals or whatever else, because then we get into way too many characters for me to feel comfortable ranking them off the top of my head.
I've loved Friendly's for as long as I can remember. I have great memories of going there as a small child with my family. And after band concerts in high school. And to escape campus for a little while in the small town where I went to college. And, in fact, for my mother's birthday just last year, and many many other times in between. Friendly's grilled cheese is one of my ultimate comfort foods, and it isn't Christmas without their peppermint stick ice cream. (Let's not discuss Christmas Eve 2008, when I drove around Connecticut looking for enough of that for my mom to make her amazing brownie/ice cream cake.) It's safe to say that I'm generally a Friendly's fan.
But the past few years, I've been disappointed with their lack of vegetarian options. I mean, yes, I adore their grilled cheese beyond all reason, but it's nice to have a choice. Last fall sometime, Friendly's had a Q&A on Twitter with their CEO, and I was not the only one to bring up this issue. They promised they were working on it. A little while later, they asked for veggie burger brand suggestions. A few days ago, I went to a local Friendly's, and there it was! A little note had appeared on the menu saying that they would substitute Boca burgers in any of the burger dishes. I tried the Zesty Queso Burger Melt (cheese, jalapenos, tortilla strips, on sourdough) and it was great. It's nice to see a company listen to its customers' requests and make concrete steps toward filling them.
In theory, I am extremely skeptical of modernized adaptations of the classics. In actuality, this trailer for Sherlock pretty much won me over.
It's made by Steven Moffat of Doctor Who, and it definitely has a similar flavor - self-aware, serious and funny in turns or all at once, modern but somehow traditional. It has a cast full of solid British actors, and Holmes and Watson seem perfect for their roles. The trailer included enough references to the original works to satisfy fans (or this fan, at least) without seeming heavy-handed. It's hard to tell from a trailer like this, but I hope the show combines some of the fun action elements of the recent Sherlock Holmes movie with the traditional TV procedural format that is, more or less, modeled after the original Conan Doyle stories anyway. (And yes, that's Muse playing in the background, for those keeping track at home.) This series starts airing in the UK next week, and PBS says they'll play it over here eventually, but they haven't announced a date yet. I'll let you know when I hear anything.
Part of me wants to demand to know why none of you ever told me Supernatural was so good, but I suppose that wouldn't be entirely fair. I mean, some of you did, and the reason I started watching in the first place was because of how much people I follow on Twitter, especially Vampire Diaries fans, seemed to like it.
But still! It was way better than I'd expected! I watched the first four episodes of season one over the weekend, and I'm already completely addicted and hoping to catch up by the time the new season starts in September. I'm something of a Jared Padalecki fan from Gilmore Girls days, but I don't think I'd really seen Jensen Ackles in anything before. They're both great, and quite attractive, and I'm told that their chemistry, already quite good in these early episodes, only gets better as the show progresses. They have some of the same snarky-but-secretly-loving brotherly banter as the Salvatore boys in The Vampire Diaries or Alan and Nick in Sarah Rees Brennan's books, and I love it.
The episodes I've seen so far more or less follow the "monster of the week" format, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when the show gets into heavier story arcs. From bits and pieces I've heard over the years, it sounds like they'll be going some interesting places with religion and mythology, and I always love that. But really, as long as the Winchesters are driving around wearing lots of flannel and denim and being quippy and adorable, I'll be happy.
More Summer Shows I'm Not Watching
A few more shows I tried, briefly, and gave up on . . .
Huge: Yes, I understand that this is supposed to be groundbreaking and empowering and whatever. Except you'd think it would be more empowering if it weren't completely filled with cliches, stereotypes, and fat jokes. I watched about the first half hour, so it's possible it got better from there, but it didn't make me care about any of the characters so I didn't bother hanging around to find out. I was really only trying this for Gina Torres, and she wasn't in it enough to make it worth it.
The Glades: I only got ten minutes into this one before giving up. The lead looks like a poor man's Nathan Fillion, but seems to be devoid of every bit of Fillion's considerable charm. Florida is far from my favorite place, and this was just . . . boring, and clumsy, and so unmemorable that now, a week or so later, I'm struggling to remember anything about the show, never mind why I didn't like it. (Maureen Ryan warned us. I should have listened.)
Memphis Beat: Got about twenty minutes into this one before I got too sick of Elvis references to continue. And I like Elvis! I mean, I'm not a huge fan, but nothing against him. It seemed like this show was trying to be gritty and quirky at the same time, and it just didn't work for me. Look, this wasn't awful. If you're in the market for a procedural, you could do worse. But with all the procedurals out there, this one just didn't grab me.
Cupcakes on their way to work:
They were a little worse for the wear by the time they got there, but they still tasted good:
Some of my colleagues were a bit surprised that I'd brought a cupcake tree to the office, but if you're going to serve cupcakes, you might as well serve cupcakes, right?
July 19, 2010
Spencer Ackerman makes a good point about the Ground Zero mosque plans.
Rochelle Aytes from The Forgotten will be on Detroit 1-8-7, which may make me slightly more likely to watch it.
Some info on MTV's new Teen Wolf show. Tyler Hoechlin!!! (Okay, I maybe got a little too excited about that.)
Bai Ling is wearing, like, clothes. It's astonishing.
Would you like to see every Doctor Who villain in convenient spreadsheet form? Of course you would.
Biggest iPad Surprise So Far
You know what? I don't really mind the onscreen keyboard. I actually kind of like it. I know. I'm shocked too. I am using the keyboard dock at times, but not as much as I'd expected.
Review: Blue Bloods
This book had such potential. For one thing, overlaying the teen vampire craze on top of what is basically the Gossip Girl universe was a brilliant marketing move that one can only respect. And it does that reasonably well, although I'm starting to think that Gossip Girl has a certain level of single-minded frothiness that books like this and the Pretty Little Liars series, with their insistence on including actually plot, can't attain. But this does pretty well with its portrayal of a super-exclusive prep school in a New York seemingly devoid of all under-aged drinking laws.
The reason why I really wanted Blue Bloods to be good, though, was because it took a very different and rather thought-provoking approach to vampire mythology, from the way vampires are created to the way they operate in the modern world. Vampire purists probably won't like this: it's too different. But given the sheer volume of vampire material out there, it was nice to see a different approach, and I really wanted De la Cruz to take it somewhere interesting. (I know I'm being cryptic, but I really don't want to give it away for those who might read it. If you want to know, leave a comment and I'll e-mail you.)
But this book didn't really succeed for me, because there were just so many mistakes. In one category were a plethora of little grammar mistakes - especially apostrophe issues. These drive me nuts, but I can usually get past them, and tend to blame the editing rather than the author. I mean, there's really no excuse for consistently referring to a family's home as "the Llewellyn's apartment." There's more than one Llewellyn! Ahem.
The real issue, though, came when the mistakes got in the way of the plot. The book includes excerpts from a fictional diary set during the founding of the Plymouth colony, and yes, it's fictional, but it's so incorrect that it drove me crazy. People weren't casually popping back and forth between Virginia and Massachusetts in 1620, people! And under no circumstances, fictional or not, unless we're actually changing geography, would you, in Plymouth, avoid danger coming from Virginia by escaping south. That's just careless.
And the worst example: A few of the teen characters keep having visions of a word appearing in a certain situation, and they spent a lot of the book trying to find out what it meant. The problem? Every schoolchild in America learns about this word and this incident. And even if these particular kids forgot or for some reason never learned it, I just tested and Googling the word brings the entire explanation right up. So it makes no sense that the central mystery of the book is a mystery at all, or at least in the way it's framed. And this issue could have been so easily avoided by one line mentioning that the vampires had kept the incident out of human history books, but unless I missed something (which is certainly possible), nothing like that is stated.
So . . . I don't know. This was an interesting idea clumsily executed. I'll try the next book in the series, in case it improves, but I wouldn't necessarily bump this one to the top of your to-read list.
What about bad books?
It occurred to me that almost all the book reviews I post here are positive. There's a reason for this, and it's not that I like everything I read, or that I'm trying to kiss up to authors. It's because if I really don't like a book, I tend not to finish it. But I'm loath to post a review of a book I haven't finished. So I only post about the good ones. Do you want to hear about books I haven't finished, and why I gave up on them? Would that present a more balanced picture, and/or would it just be boring?
The Gates 1.2: "What Lies Beneath"
Even though I was less than impressed with the first episode of The Gates, I found myself tuning in to the second. And it held my attention surprisingly well! I like how the different scenes are filmed in very different ways - any scene including the vampire couple is filmed almost like a parody of a soap opera, whereas the scenes at school look more or less like any other teen show. Overall, the teens are more interesting than the parents, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Andy's story plays out. (The awkward scene with her father while she was changing was kind of cute, but why the heck was she changing with the door open, anyway?) In the high school storylines, the supernatural elements provide a heightened intensity for the viewer that mirrors the way teens actually feel their own lives, and that's a nice device when it's used well. I'm suspicious of the girl going after the young cop, but is that just because this type of show has trained us to be suspicious of everyone? Or because she seems too good to be true? I guess we'll find out.
I was mixing up some strawberry cupcakes yesterday and noticed that everything was very . . . pink. Pink batter, pink mixer, pink spatula. Hee!
As long as the frosting process goes well, I'll have a picture of the finished product for you tomorrow.
Trailer: The Town
Bank robbery movies aren't necessarily my thing, but this looks really good:
I've always liked Ben Affleck, and look! Blake Lively! Jon Hamm! Jeremy Renner! A chance to evaluate more fake Boston accents! Good times.
Purple Seed Stitch Dishcloth
This dishcloth is in all ways unexceptional, except that it's been a while since I've posted any knitting, so I thought I might as well show you some proof that I still do finish things on occasion.
In some ways, this is my favorite sort of knitting. There's something empowering about thinking "Hey, I could use a new dishcloth," and then creating one from leftover materials I had lying around. And it was certainly a satisfying break from the various large-scale projects I've been working on.
July 18, 2010
The Great Gatsby is now a video game.
Jezebel defends Taylor Momsen, and I'm pretty convinced.
July 16, 2010
More on the John Edwards movie.
I figured this was coming, but I somehow didn't expect Will Smith to be the one to do it: a vampire Bible movie.
The latest from the annotated White House flickr feed.
Fall Interweave Knits Preview!
I am eagerly seeking out any sign of impending autumn right now, so I was overjoyed to see that the preview of the fall issue of Interweave Knits is up. And . . . it's good! Really good! IK has had a few iffy years, so I'm happy to see that they're back on track. First impressions:
Brattleboro Hat (from New England Knits book excerpt): Adorable, and I obviously will need this book.
Carved in Wool: Accessories with fun cables! I love them all! Especially the hat. But really, I'd happily knit any of these.
Pied de Grue: I don't know what "pied de grue" means, but I looooove the Hawthorn Pullover and the Plein Air Tote. And the other sweaters are fine; just not sure I'd really wear them.
Pure and Simple: I remain deeply skeptical of any and all knitted skirts. The Pizzicato Scarf looks, uh, ribbed? It's nice and all, but really? The shrug is cute but shrugs always seem awkward and uncomfortable to me.
Check and Stripe: Knitted plaid! I love plaid stuff, but I'm not as into knitted plaid as you'd think I would be. That said, the Brecan Swing Coat is cute, and I would totally knit the Elementary Vest and Slanting Plaid Stole. And maybe the Peavey Jacket, if I knew any men who would wear it.
The Architect Knits: I am general suspicious of "creative constructions." That Chiral Cardigan is doing some gathering thing that cannot possibly be flattering. The Tamarix Quilt is adorable, though! And I'm intrigued by the stainless steel in the Hoarfrost Mobius.
Song of the Day: "Roll Over Beethoven"
Hey, it's Friday. I'll give you two versions. I couldn't pick.
Inviting Vampires In
(I did see Eclipse but I don't think I'm going to write a full review: there have been lots of diverse and interesting and/or funny reviews written already, and I don't have anything I'm dying to add. But I'll probably do a few Eclipse-related posts about specific things. This is one.)
This issue occurred to me a few days before I saw Eclipse, and so I paid attention to it during the movie, and I think it's true (although please tell me if you have evidence to the contrary!): In Stephenie Meyer's universe (or at least the movie version), vampires don't need to be invited in. This is made very clear in Eclipse when Riley is wandering around Bella's room. The fact that Meyer is contradicting traditional vampire lore isn't particularly noteworthy. She throws out practically all of the usual vampire rules. But I was disappointed about this one.
The fact that vampires have to be invited in means that victims who are attacked in their homes are never entirely separate from the situation. I don't want to say that they're not blameless, because I'm not trying to assign fault, but they are in some way responsible, even if they don't know it. The invitation means that an action taken by the human affected what happened. A lot has been written about the lack of agency that Bella, and to some extent the other humans, have in the Twilight universe, and by allowing vampires to wander into homes willy-nilly, Meyer has taken away a main line of defense that humans in vampire stories usually have. But even more than that, I'm disappointed because not having to invite the vampires in just makes it more creepy. Of all the monsters and demons out there, the most disturbing ones are those you know you've somehow, even unknowingly, brought upon yourself by inviting them into your life.
Podcast Recommendation: The Archers
Slate's June Thomas mentioned The Archers on Twitter recently, so I downloaded a few episodes and very quickly became addicted. It's a long-running BBC radio soap set in a village in England, and it's thoroughly enjoyable. There are 13-minute episodes six days a week, and an extensive Web site with summaries, family trees, and more. Just be careful when you get excited and start telling your friends about how someone was learning to make yogurt, and someone else was making a meat pie, and it was all SO DRAMATIC, because they're not going to get it.
But who will Josh Malina play?
It's a very Aaron Sorkin day around here. Sorry. But it's sounding more and more likely that Sorkin has or soon will acquire the rights to The Politician, the tell-all by John Edwards aide Andrew Young. According to THR, Sorkin will be not only writing and producing but also directing. I'm thrilled that Sorkin will be writing the Edwards story, but I'm not so sure about the directing part. The balance of having the writing and directing done by different people can be useful, I think. And, of course, I'd love if Tommy Schlamme were involved. But we'll see.
My larger concern about this movie is how Sorkin will manage to make any of the main characters sympathetic. I haven't read The Politician yet, but in the interviews I've seen and read, Young does not exactly come across as a good guy. No one (except, you know, Edwards) ever liked Rielle Hunter. John Edwards is obviously no Josiah Bartlet. And by this point, even Elizabeth Edwards seems pretty yucky. It is, of course, possible to make a movie in which the audience isn't really intended to side with any of the characters, but I'm not sure that's Sorkin's forte. One of the most impressive things about The West Wing was the way he humanized politicians while making (some of) them seem good and admirable, if flawed. The John Edwards story is basically the opposite - "We thought this guy might be good, but nope! He's even worse than we imagined!" How will Sorkin deal with that? We'll find out!
Of course, there's a more fun question - who will he cast? Sorkin fans on Twitter have been lobbying for Sorkin alums - Bradley Whitford, Allison Janney, Matthew Perry, Janel Moloney, etc. - but I'm not sure any of them are really right for any of these characters. Wait! I could see Peter Krause as Edwards and Felicity Huffman as Hunter. I think they both could pull off those roles in a way that would make the characters seem interesting rather than cartoonish. Krause might be a little too young, though, especially if one were to suggest Stockard Channing for Elizabeth Edwards, as I was about to do. Nah, I'll stick with that. They're good actors. They could pull it off. (Rob Lowe might be my second choice for Edwards, though.) I don't know what Cheri Young is like in personality or mannerisms, but Sabrina Lloyd (Natalie from Sports Night) looks a fair amount like her. Andrew Young was the toughest to mentally cast here, but actually Josh Charles looks like the right type and could probably make it work. Wow. That was more Sports Night-centric than I'd planned. Oh, Elisabeth Moss could be Cate Edwards. And obviously Josh Malina must have a role, although I don't know which one. It wouldn't really feel like a Sorkin feature without him.
Anthony Horowitz is the genius behind Foyle's War, the superlative BBC WWII mystery series. I love Foyle so much that I figured I should give his teen spy novel series a try. And it was pretty good! It's a little more action-centric than most things I like, but it was a quick, fun read. Alex Rider is a young teen who discovers that the uncle who raised him was actually a spy. After the uncle's death, Alex is recruited to carry on his work, even though he's so young. (There's a convoluted explanation for why a kid is necessary for the task, which is infiltrating an evil guy's tech company before he does SOMETHING bad to all the kids in England, via the computers he's giving out to schools.) It's all completely unbelievable, but once I realized that it was deliberately unbelievable and decided to just go along with it, it was fun. And very British, which is always a plus. I mean, it's not Foyle, but unless/until Horowitz starts writing Foyle novels (oh please oh please), I will happily read about Alex Rider.
New Social Network Trailers!
Here's the second teaser - I love the format:
And here's a full trailer!
Love. Love love love. Now, I will readily admit that I am a Sorkin fan and tend to assume the best of anything with which he's involved, but I honestly don't understand why so many people seem to be discounting this movie out of hand. I can only assume that those who keep saying, over and over, that a movie about people updating their status messages and playing Farmville would be boring are being deliberately obtuse, and I have little patience for that. It's pretty obvious that this isn't about random people using Facebook, folks. On the other hand, I do see the point of the criticisms based on the veracity (or lack thereof) of the source material. I was startled to realize that people were thinking of the movie as nonfiction - I was thinking of it as a heavily fictionalized account from the get-go - but if that's the case, then sure, this might not be what you're looking for. But questions of truthiness aside, just as a movie, this looks awesome and I'm very excited to see it.
I know Apple's having their big iPhone Issue press conference today, so I don't mean to jump on them when they're down, but this iPad issue seemed too ridiculous not to mention. I discovered that my new iPad seems to be losing time while it "sleeps," sometimes. Not a lot - maybe 1-2 minutes per hour. I am not the only one with this problem. And - you know, it's fine. Apple says a fix is on the way. Now that I know it's not my iPad in particular being defective, I'm not really worried. It doesn't make me like my iPad less. There are plenty of ways to make it synch if I want to (rebooting, connecting to 3G, etc.). And it's not like I got the thing because I needed a clock.
I'm just astonished that no one at Apple caught this before the iPads shipped. Making a device that doesn't keep time properly when it's inactive seems like a really amateur mistake. A device's clock working correctly should be on any standard QA checklist, no? You'd think they were new to this computer-making business or something. I mean, come on.
July 15, 2010
Gail Collins on Bristol Palin's engagement is, as one might expect, hilarious.
Alex Tagliani has a Hot Wheels car! I mean, an actual race car, painted to look like a Hot Wheels car. Awww.
The CW has picked up a Canadian show called 18 to Life, about teenagers who get married on a dare. And . . . I will watch it. Of course I will. Because it's the CW. And Canadian! Premieres August 3.
This picture of Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum is actually somewhat less horrifying than I'd expected.
The Cop Show I'd Rather Watch
There are a lot of cop shows out there. I mean, even I'm watching a bunch of them, and I don't even particularly like cop shows as a genre. But I realized the other day that almost all of them are set in cities. Where's the cop show set in the suburbs or a small-but-not-excessively-quirky town? Sure, there wouldn't be enough major crime to make it a procedural, but a character-driven drama combined with day-to-day cop stuff could totally work. (The closest to this I can think of is, God help us, certain seasons of 7th Heaven. I'm thinking more along the lines of Friday Night Lights.) The police setting invites all sorts of interpersonal conflicts: Someone's spouse doesn't like the hours. Someone's kid is acting up. And how do the cops deal with knowing all sorts of stuff about the people they see at the grocery store or church every week? What exactly do the cops do all day? Really, there are endless possibilities here. Someone should make a show like this! (Or have they already? Did I miss it? That's quite possible.)
Song of the Day: "Laugh, Laugh"
Another childhood favorite I rediscovered via XM last night. I love the very polite bitterness in this one.
Team Almost Anyone Else
Someone actually asked me "Team Edward or Team Jacob?" the other day, and I realized I honestly couldn't come up with an answer, but for the opposite-than-Bella reason: they're both such AWFUL choices. PLEASE don't make me pick one. Instead, here are a bunch of werewolves and vampires I'd happily choose over anyone in Twilight.
This is the second in the Luxe series; you can read my thoughts on the first here. To recap, it's basically like Gossip Girl set in 1899. A fair amount of serious plot stuff happened - maybe more than in the first one - but it wasn't quite as absorbing as the original book. The middle got a little tiresome, but it picked up again at the end. I definitely am more into some of the characters' storylines than others - I'm fascinated by
When my office's security guard is out patrolling (yeah... I don't know. You'd think we did something exciting), a sign appears at the security desk giving the emergency number and stating that the guard will be "back momentarily." And I think of this scene from Sports Night every single time I see that sign.
"That makes me crazy." "We've been wondering what the source was." Love this show.
Trader Joe's Favorites?
The nearest Trader Joe's is in Massachusetts, and it's right over the border so it's really not that far, but the fact that it's in a different state provides some sort of mental barrier that means I only get there once every few years. (I really should work on that.) Finally, the longing for Cinnamon Cat Cookies for People has become strong enough to prompt me to plan a trip this weekend. What else should I look for? Anything exciting and new in the two years or so since I was last there? Older favorites I may not know about? I may as well stock up while I'm there, although I'm going to try to stop making it quite so long between trips, anyway.
The Turtles had more than one song.
Last night, I was in the car with my friend Jack and "She'd Rather Be With Me" came on the radio. He asked whether we were listening to Deep Tracks, because "The Turtles only had one song." I maintained that the Turtles had several songs, and that "She'd Rather Be With Me" was a hit in its own right. (We were in fact listening to 60s on 6.) I couldn't actually come up with any other titles off the top of my head, though, so I decided to do some research, and I found at least five songs that I heard regularly on the Hartford oldies station growing up.
The "one song," of course, is "Happy Together." Here's a hilarious video they made for it, although the sound is iffy:
The sound is better in this one:
"She'd Rather Be With Me" was their follow-up:
But before either of those, their breakthrough hit was a cover of Dylan's "It Ain't Me, Babe:"
In 1969 they made a concept album with two big hits. I love "Elenore:"
And the other was a cover of "You Showed Me" by the Byrds:
Meet Giles and Alaric!
I'm not sure I mentioned this when I originally posted about them, but the new car and new iPad now officially have names. The car is Alaric, mostly after Alaric Saltzman from The Vampire Diaries but with a nod to the Visigoths and Wodehouse thrown in. Once that was set, I thought the iPad should have a somewhat coordinating name, so he's GIles, after the Watcher from Buffy, of course. Because he has all that information!
Unfortunately, Alaric and Giles do not seem to be quite as good friends as I'd hoped. The car's audio system has a USB port designed for iPods, and I'd hoped that the iPad was sufficiently similar that I could just plug it in and it would magically play that way. That does not seem to be the case. (And I wasn't counting on it, so I'm really not upset or anything.) One potential reason: as a friend pointed out, Alaric is a slayer and Giles is a Watcher. So, of course, the iPad is watching the car, not interacting. Hah.
July 14, 2010
If you care: Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are engaged. Best of luck to them. (Okay, I honestly have nothing against them and hope their marriage succeeds, but this post from The Awl was too hilarious not to link.)
I've never liked Twitter's redesigned retweets. One of the reasons I use Brizzly, in fact.
Will Breaking Dawn be in 3D? God, I hope not.
Haley Barbour? Really? This is actually happening?
I haven't watched Covert Affairs yet, but this review includes a much-deserved Tim Matheson tribute.
Amanda Seyfried is starring in a sci fi romance, and I should be interested in this, because I like Amanda Seyfried and I like sci fi romances, but I can't get past the fact that it is called I'm.mortal.
Oh, no. The author of The Secret has a new book coming out.
Taylor Momsen is the face of Madonna and Lourdes's new line for Macy's. OF COURSE she is. Maybe this means someone will start making her wear pants! But perhaps that's too much to hope.
EVERYONE EVER is doing voice work for The Super Hero Squad Show. George Takei! Jane Lynch! Katee Sackhoff! Mark Hamill! Jonathan Frakes! Michael Dorn! John Barrowman! James Marsters! Nina Dobrev! This is ridiculous. In an awesome way.
I can't believe I'm drinking this stuff.
Confession: This summer, I've gotten hooked on SoBe Lifewater. I'd always avoided Vitamin Water and all those things. Paying extra for water that claims to be healthier never made much sense to me. But I realized that that wasn't really the point, at least for me. The issue is that I usually drink a lot of tea of various sorts, and when it's hot out, I need a replacement. Juice and lemonade tend to have a lot of sugar. I drink a lot of plain water but it gets boring. Enter Lifewater. It really tastes good! Like juice, but without the calories! (As long as you make sure to buy the 0-calorie flavors.) I've been ignoring the supposed health benefits of the different types (Forti-Fight! Purify! Whatever.) and just going by flavor. So far, my favorites are Strawberry Dragonfruit, Strawberry Apricot, and Black and Blue Berry (although that sounds kind of . . . bruised). It seems pretty easy to find them on sale for $1 or less, and the bottles are pretty big. And yes, I realized this is probably not news to any of you, as I am very late jumping on the flavored water train, but I was impressed by these and figured it was worth mentioning.
Song of the Day: "Li'l Red Riding Hood"
Satellite radio is reminding me of all sorts of great songs I'd half-forgotten.
Rizzoli & Isles 1.1: "See One, Do One, Teach One"
The short version: Rizzoli & Isles was far from perfect, but it held my attention, so I'll keep watching for a while. The long version: after the jump.
I'll admit I was a bit creeped out at the beginning of the pilot. The opening bit in which we actually see the crime being committed showed a little too much actual violence than I usually like in my procedurals, but if I like the show otherwise, I can deal. Really, this was a lot creepier overall than I had anticipated, but that's not necessarily bad. Hoyt (the Surgeon) was a really disturbing foe, and I'm curious to see how they will keep future cases at the same level since presumably future villains won't all have history with Rizzoli. When Hoyt popped out of that body bag, I was honestly shocked and a little scared. Good job, show!
A few notes on production: I enjoyed the Irish theme music, although it seemed an odd choice given that Rizzoli is supposed to be Italian. I suppose the Irish music was supposed to help situate us in Boston, but really, I wouldn't have known it was supposed to be Boston if they hadn't said so. This is better than an annoyingly bad Boston imitation, I suppose, but still a bit of a letdown. We'll see how much they do with location in future episodes. (I am, for the record, glad that the various actors aren't really attempting Boston accents, because those usually end up being distractingly bad.) The color seems very saturated in the flashbacks, and the rest of the show is a little washed out, which is an odd choice. Will there be lots of flashbacks in the future? Hard to tell.
Now, the characters: I liked Angie Harmon as Lindsay Boxer in Women's Murder Club, and so far I like her similar portrayal of Jane Rizzoli here. Yes, the tomboy thing was made a bit much of, but I'll allow that they were establishing her character in the first episode and give them a chance to stop hitting us over the head with that in the future. And I really liked that the guys didn't have to rescue her. So far, she's a consistent and reasonably believable character. I really like her family so far, although some of the sibling rivalry stuff is a little heavy-handed. Her mom is great - of course she would express her fear for her daughter's safety by commenting on her makeup choices - and I hope we see her dad soon.
Sasha Alexander's Maura Isles is a less well-drawn character, at least so far. It's like they just copied Tempe Brennan from Bones, but then decided they needed a girly-girl to balance the tomboy thing. So they smashed the two together, and it doesn't really work. I mean, how many socially awkward scientists do you know who are also fashion plates? I'll give them another few episodes to try to figure this out. Similarly, the show couldn't seem to decide what the relationship between Rizzoli and Isles was supposed to be. There were some references made to them being close friends, but at times it seemed like they barely knew each other. And - sure, there are some people I see at work every day, virtually never see outside of work, and yet would not hesitate to call in an emergency, so that's not my issue, exactly. It's fine if the characters themselves aren't entirely sure of their relationship, but the show needs to stop telling us one thing about it and showing us something else.
For me, the best part of this episode was Billy Burke's guest turn as an FBI agent involved with the case. "Bella's dad from Twilight" was something of a revelation as a romantic interest, and I really wish he were sticking around. Hopefully they'll bring him back at some point.
Thankfully, it seems that the other highlight of the episode, Lee Thompson Young as Rizzoli's partner Barry Frost, will be sticking around. The Famous Jett Jackson is all grown up, folks, and he's hot! And he can act! (He had a great guest spot on The Good Guys this week too.) I immediately bought his rapport with Rizzoli, and loved the way they worked together and were quick to defend each other in various ways when necessary. And yet it does not seem like the show wants us to see any romantic or sexual tension between the characters, which is kind of refreshing. If the show were Rizzoli & Frost, I'd be all in. I'm not quite sold on Rizzoli & Isles, but I'll give it a chance.
My Library Book Problem
Well, I guess it's really a non-library book problem. Here's the deal: I almost always prioritize library books over books I own, because library books have deadlines. Duh. But I take so many books out from the library that I almost never end up getting to any of the (many) books I have in the house, even though there are a lot I really want to read. This means that I buy books by favorite authors, because I know I'll want to reread them, but then I never end up reading them in the first place. I'm two behind on Jane Haddam (and she has a new one coming out next week) for this reason. Likewise, I haven't read the new Meg Cabot or Gail Carriger or Sarah Rees Brennan, even though they're sitting right here. Sarah Dessen's most recent has been out for what, a year? Yeah, sitting in a stack in my living room.
Clearly it's time to make a change. I'm going to pick a few books to start with and make sure I read at least one for a few minutes a day. Feel free to demand to know how I'm doing with this. Ayelet Waldman's new book will be arriving today, and I told her on Twitter that I ordered it, so I really have no excuses there. And I promised a friend that I would actually finish Gone with the Wind. So. I can do this. Right? Right. And I'll put a little "Book I own!" note on my reviews of said books, so you all can congratulate me. Positive reinforcement!
Persons Unknown 1.2: "The Edge"
No one jumped up and down begging me to keep writing about Persons Unknown, but I'm not quite ready to give up on it, so I'm going to just write little reactions to each episode. After the jump!
The episode was . . . okay. I'm not really as into it as I wanted to be. (And - full disclosure - I'm now reading my notes weeks after the fact, and it's amazing how much I've just forgotten.) Some parts remain quite predictable - of course Tori's daddy is somewhat important. Of course Moira is a psych patient pretending to be a doctor. Of course the grandmother continues to be completely creepy. Also - I know I ask whether every new show set in a small town is filmed on the Stars Hollow set, but seriously, is this one? It really looks like it.
I really wanted the implants not to be the cause of the collapse, but it looks like they're no longer collapsing in the same place, so maybe it was the implants after all. That's kind of disappointing. Oh, but later it is shown to be some kind of force field. So I was right. Yay! The night manager can run through it, it seems. I find him so annoying that I'm getting annoyed just writing the words "night manager."
In the first episode, as far as I can remember, nothing happened that incontrovertibly proved that something supernatural or science fictiony was going on, but there were a few things in this episode that tipped the balance there. Driving straight should not get you back to the same town. And things should not magically fix themselves.
I think the question of whether Janet would shoot Joe was supposed to be suspenseful, but I never really thought she would, and only partially because Joe is the lead and they're not going to kill him off. (She could have tried to shoot him and failed, but I didn't think she'd even do that.) I hope at least a few of the people can start trusting each other, because while it's natural that they wouldn't do so immediately, all the "Can I trust you?" back and forth gets old. I'm not feeling very attached to any of the characters yet, and that needs to change if I'm supposed to care what happens to them.
What fall shows should I cover?
Because I'm insane (and hate summer), I've been starting to work on my plans for fall. Yes, this means I have a TV spreadsheet going already. So! You should tell me which shows you'd like me to write about each week in the fall. Obviously, I'm only going to watch/write about shows I like, but that still leaves more shows than I can probably keep up with posting about, so it would be great to know what you all would like to see here. I've already had a few requests for The Vampire Diaries, which is probably my favorite current show anyway, so that's definitely on this list, and I have something special planned for Gossip Girl. What else?
Review: Faceless Killers
As far as Nordic mysteries go, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is all the rage right now, but before Mikael Blomkvist came along, Kurt Wallander was already there, solving mysteries while drinking lots of coffee and miraculously not freezing to death. Faceless Killers was Mankell's first Wallander novel (although a book of stories, at least some of which were set earlier than this, came out later); it's the story of isolated elderly Swedish farmers who are brutally murdered. It's practically unrelentingly bleak, and I loved it. Couldn't put it down. (And not just because all the Swedish snow scenes made me forget it was hot out.) The plotting is intricate but very tight; Wallander is a human and sympathetic but very flawed protagonist; the setting is almost utterly alien but very appealing. And did I mention there's a lot of coffee? There is. Make sure you have some on hand before reading this. But definitely give it a try. (Note: The PBS/BBC series starring Kenneth Branagh is good too.)
Rookie Blue 1.1: "Fresh Paint"
(N.B.: I'm going to up the daily post count for a bit in order to catch up on some TV reviews and book reviews and other posts I've had simmering for a while. Not sure how long this will be sustained, so don't get too attached to the new schedule. We'll see how it goes. Remember: A post with an episode name in the title may contain spoilers for anything up to and including that episode.)
I didn't expect much from Rookie Blue. In fact, what I expected was almost exactly what I got: a watered-down Grey's Anatomy, except set in Toronto (not that you'd really know that from the pilot), and about cops. It wasn't good, but it was . . . watchable. I think. I like my cop shows to focus on relationships, which this one does. For now. Missy Peregrym's Andy McNally was winsome, and who doesn't like a nice dose of Having to Prove Oneself with a side of Fraught Family History? She's no Meredith Grey, but she'll do. I saw the Traci-has-a-kid storyline coming from a mile away, but there's a chance they'll do something interesting with it, I suppose. The other three rookies haven't made much of an impression on me either way yet. Some of the reluctant mentoring relationships could be interesting, or just get boring. Detective Callaghan is pretty. Whatever. I'll give it a few more episodes.
July 13, 2010
All these pearl-clutching stories about Forever 21's new maternity line are kind of enraging. Because, you know, how dare young pregnant women have decent clothes to wear? Obviously we must SHAME THEM at all times. Gah.
FOX fall premiere dates! Nothing really surprising, except maybe Lie to Me in November. But I'm not complaining, because maybe if it starts in November I'll have time to start watching it.
Carina MacKenzie has a bunch of news about the next season of Glee here. And I'm happy about virtually all of it.
Haven: Yeah, I'll stay.
Wow. I really did not expect much from Syfy's new show Haven. Isolated small town with quirky people! An outsider comes in and feels oddly connected! Mysterious happenings! We've seen all that before, most recently with the late, unlamented Happy Town. But the pilot of Haven, at least, made it seem as though the show had a decent chance of overcoming those cliches.
The first shock of Haven was that most of the characters are actually interesting and not all that quirky. Hallelujah. The heroine is Emily Rose as Audrey Parker, a young FBI agent who reads vampire novels in her spare time. Totally believable. She's immediately thrown up against/together with Lucas Bryant as a small-town Maine cop. Bryant plays a certain kind of laconic and steady New Englander absolutely perfectly, and his literal inability to feel physical pain would have tipped most characters into "too quirky" territory, but he pulls it off by underplaying it. Audrey's other potential romantic interest is Eric Balfour as a charming smuggler with some sort of unfortunate and not-yet-defined history with the cop. The supporting cast of townfolk are somewhat weird, as you'd expect in a supernatural show, but not annoying about it, at least not yet.
And the plot? Oh, yeah, it was fine. It's being compared to The X-Files, but I haven't seen enough X-Files to know if these comparisons are correct. Mysterious happenings! People controlling the weather with their emotions! Roads randomly giving way! An FBI boss who is not what he seems! Plus the main character has a mysterious past, and was attacked by someone and I'm not sure if we're supposed to think that was the villain of the mystery-of-the-week or what. There's definitely enough going on to sustain the plot for a while, although at some point, we're going to get into that "Why does this random town have so much supernatural activity?" territory, and I hope they have some sort of explanation for that. (I'm not very picky about these explanations, as long as they exist. Hellmouth? Sure. Comet? Whatever. Just let me know you made an effort.)
What really got me about Haven, though, was the setting. They film in Nova Scotia, but it's supposed to be Maine, and for once, New England actually looks like New England. I will readily admit that I love Maine, so I was predisposed to like this if it was done well, but it's way too easy for locations you actually know to just come across as fake on TV or in movies. I can't think of a show that felt this New Englandy, offhand. Even Gilmore Girls - much as I love it - never really convinced me that it was actually set in Connecticut. (No, wait. The elder Gilmores were very Connecticut [albeit not very Hartford]. Stars Hollow was not.) But Haven looked like Maine and, more importantly, felt like Maine. The people came across as Mainers. And, of course, the scenery was gorgeous. I already can't wait for my next visit to Haven.
Mysterious Gossip Girl Pictures Spark Questions
Gossip Girl season four filming is well underway, and these pictures started popping up yesterday. In case you can't be bothered to click but are still vaguely curious, the pictures show Dan and Vanessa standing around on a sidewalk. With a baby carriage. Holding a doll. Now . . . okay. There are so many questions here I'm not even sure where to start.
1. Okay, first of all, I'm going to go with the assumption that this is in fact a picture from filming, and so refer to the people involved by their characters names. Because if it's actually just Penn Badgley (and why can I never remember whether there's an e in his last name or where it is?) and Jessica Szohr standing around with a doll in a stroller, that brings up a whole host of other questions that I don't even want to get into.
2. The folks who posted it at TV Fanatic are asking why Vanessa's there, as Georgina is the one who's theoretically pregnant with Dan's baby, but that part doesn't seem that mysterious to me. Of course Vanessa is the type to fall all over herself being helpful and supportive and stuff while actually undermining Dan's self-confidence at every turn. I mean, that's basically the entire purpose of her character, right? That'll fit right in with this baby drama plotline.
3. My actual question: Why is Vanessa in New York at all??? Didn't they
4. Why does the stroller hold a doll and not a real baby? TV Fanatic assumes the doll is a stand-in because we didn't actually need to see the baby in this scene. But I'm wondering whether it's one of those fake practice baby dolls. Walking around with one of those to "learn" to be a father would totally be a Dan thing to do. And then he'll leave it with the prop guys and it will accidentally end up in a guillotine and - oh, wait, that was that other Dan, on Studio 60. Never mind.
5. OH GOD. This isn't a question, but rather a horrifying thought that just occurred to me - PLEASE NO ONE GIVE THIS POOR CHILD TO RUFUS AND LILY TO RAISE. They have messed up at least five children between them already. Stop the madness!
(6. Did you notice my clever pun in the post title? Did you? Hee.)
Happy Birthday to Me, Part II
I am typing this from my brand new iPad! My parents and I were going to go on a little vacation for my birthday (July 31), but all the hotels where ww wanted to go were booked up or crazy expensive. We figured out later that it was because Chelsea Clinton will be getting married on my birthday, right where we wanted to go. When we couldn't seem to figure out a good alternative vacation plan, my dad suggested that they get me an iPad instead. And, well, I'm no idiot, so I jumped at the chance. It arrived yesterday, and I'm still getting used to it and getting things set up, but I LOVE it.
Those of you who have iPads (or iPhones or Touches), what apps should I make sure I try?
July 12, 2010
I was fairly hopeful about Rizzoli & Isles (premiering tonight on TNT), but Dan Fienberg's hilarious review has me considerably less excited about the show. Also, I tried to read the first of the books that form the source material over the weekend, and couldn't get into it.
I really want this Comic-Con TV Guide special issue. Especially the one with the Vampire Diaries cover.
The next Doctor Who Christmas special sounds pretty exciting.
Rookie Blue has already been renewed. Some day I will get around to watching the episodes sitting on my TiVo.
Season two of The Vampire Diaries is now officially in production, and we have a picture of Ian Somerhalder's script to prove it. The first episode seems to be called "The Return." Let the speculation about its similarities to the Smith novel The Return begin!
Dear Lord, there are even more Teen Choice Award nominations. Stop the madness!
How do we choose in the battle of the hot CW guys supporting animal rescue? Because it's Jared Padaleck vs. Ian Somerhalder in Chase's Community Giving contest. Just kidding; I was always on Team Jess on Gilmore Girls, anyway, and I haven't started watching Supernatural yet (although I will as soon as Netflix sends me a disc), so I'm on Team Somerhalder all the way here.
Song of the Day: "Ballad of Serenity"
No, no particular reason for this today, except that someone mentioned it on Twitter yesterday and it was in my head when I woke up this morning.
First Vampire Diaries Season Two Trailer!
I think it's the first, anyway. And it's all about Damon. Not that I'm complaining.
I saw a preview for Red when I went to see Eclipse over the weekend, and it looks like it's going to be completely delightful. Spies! Pretty houses! And look at that cast - aside from the obvious attractions of Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Mary-Louise Parker, Richard Dreyfuss, and John Malkovich, a quick glance at IMDb reveals a supporting cast including Karl Urban (LOTR, Star Trek), James Remar (basically everything ever; recently, The Vampire Diaries), Emily Kuroda (Gilmore Girls) . . . and Ernest Borgnine? Wow. Yet another reason to be eager for fall.
Pretty Little Liars 1.3: "To Kill a Mocking Girl"
I have to say, I'm still somewhat less into this than I'd hoped I'd be. But I'm enough into it - or at least parts of it - to keep watching. And man, everyone's hair is really pretty. Anyway! Episode 3 thoughts after the jump.
I'm finding myself rather bored by Hanna and Emily. Hanna's situation with the cop is creepy, sure, and the thing with Sean seems like it could go somewhere interesting but hasn't, yet. And really, I kind of like Sean. But Hanna herself is . . . meh. We need to actually see more of the insecurities and Daddy issues that are driving her, instead of continuing to talk around them. Emily continues being just too perfect, and I really don't like
I find Spencer rather more interesting; her issues mostly stem from the pressure her parents put on her and her lifelong rivalry with her sister, but she isn't blameless. She bears some responsibility for her problems, and seems to realize that, which makes her more sympathetic, in a way, than a plain old victim would be. But kissing Wren and stealing the paper were both undeniably wrong. (Incidentally, she didn't even read her sister's paper before she turned it in? Really? I don't believe that.) I sort of feel like her parents are overreacting to the Wren thing, but maybe not. I can't really decide how I think they should have reacted.
And Aria. Oh, Aria. My favorite. I still kind of love her with Ezra, even though I know I should think it's wrong. I'm not sure whether she realizes how closely her situation mirrors her father's. I mean, sure, so far as Aria knows, at least, Ezra doesn't have a girlfriend or wife and family or anything, so in that sense, Aria is perfectly reasonable to carry on her relationship while objecting to her father's relationship with Meredith. But they're still both teacher/student things. In any case, I find myself rooting for her and Ezra to somehow make it work, although I can't imagine how the show could really make that believable, anyway.
There were many fewer messages from A this episode, which was fine, I guess, although I think the messages work well as a framing device. I do still want to know what happened to Alison, and who's behind the messages, but I hope it doesn't get dragged out too long. If the show can resolve that mystery and move on to other things, I think it has a chance of thriving. Otherwise, it's Gossip Girl meets How I Met Your Mother, but without the better parts of either, and it will get old very quickly.
July 11, 2010
Remember Chore Wars? Epic Win looks like that but better. I'm kind of intrigued, because there is nothing I love more than a good to-do list.
Your cute news of the day: soldiers rescuing kittens.
News that sounds like it was written for me: Rob Lowe and Flavio Briatore to found media empire. Whoa.
I couldn't figure out what that picture of Blake Lively in the flowery dress reminded me of, but YES, it was EXACTLY like what Dawn would wear in that "babysitters on the beach" super special.
What we've all been waiting for: John Le Carre on the spy swap.
Dana Stevens takes a look at the sexual politics of Grease.
Apparently they're going to make a "tougher" South Pacific. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Oh, my God, and there's news about a new Tinker Tailor at the same link. With Gary Oldman as Smiley. And Colin Firth as . . . something. I really don't know how to feel about that one.
Are any of you watching Persons Unknown?
Okay, so here's the deal. I know I said I'd blog about Persons Unknown. And I haven't actually decided not to do so. I'm just... behind. And the network has moved the show to Saturday nights, which means we'll be lucky if they actually even show all the original 13 episodes. So I'm not sure whether I should bother at this point. I'm totally willing to continue, if any of you are watching it, but if you aren't, I'll just watch and not worry about tracking the questions. So. Anyone?
July 09, 2010
Does football affect elections?
The latest from Lizzie Skurnick, one of my favorite critics: Listicle Without Commentary: The 45 Greatest Teen Titles You Have Never Heard of From the Era When They All Mentioned "I," "Me," "You" or Some Other Key Person That Are Not 'Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret'
Another funny-but-wise Eclipse review, passed along by Liz. Also, THIS:
It is explained that newborn vampires are stronger than older vampires, because of the human blood that lingers in their tissues. Which is just bullshit. I have never, ever seen a vampire mythos in which age doesn’t confer strength. Underworld. The Vampire Chronicles. The Last Vampire. The Sookie Stackhouse Novels. Older vampires are stronger, faster, deadlier than younger vampires.Seriously, folks. This is a given. Also The Vampire Diaries. And, I think, Buffy. Heck, you could probably even get the Count from Sesame Street to agree.
My boss is really into Jared Leto, so I take delight in linking to anything called What the Hell was Jared Leto Wearing?
Apparently, those of us who want to watch the last two episodes of Happy Town have to do so on Hulu. Sigh.
Friday Kitten Picture: Papi!
I'm basically outsourcing the blog to Liz this week - she picked yesterday's song, and sent in today's picture, of her cat Papi. She thinks it needs a LOLcat-style caption. Suggestions, anyone?
Scoundrels: Yup, it's awful.
I finally got around to checking out ABC's Scoundrels last night. Everyone said it was awful. I'd hoped everyone was wrong, because I like Leven Rambin (Mark Sloan's long-lost daughter on Grey's Anatomy) and Vanessa Marano (Luke's long-lost daughter on Gilmore Girls), but nope. I couldn't even get through the whole pilot. Ah well. Giving up on that clears up some space on my TiVo, at least.
July 08, 2010
Robert Kubica has extended his contract with Renault, which is actually more interesting than it sounds. I mean, if you care about this sort of thing.
Beck takes on Eat, Pray, Love.
Dave Weigel tells his story.
ABC has announced most of its fall premiere dates.
Song of the Day: "Sleepyhead"
A suggestion from my cousin Liz...
Autumn in July? Yes please.
Here's a sign that this horrid heat wave might not last forever: Knitty has decided that fall begins in July (I wish!) and put out a First Fall issue. (Deep Fall will follow in October.) THANK GOODNESS. On first, quick look, I am particularly excited about Victoria, Ms. Clarke, Coquille, and Winnow. What do you like?
Emmy Nominations, Part I
If you haven't noticed, I LOVE AWARDS SHOWS. The Emmy nominations have been released, so clearly I must tell you what I think of them all. I'm going to try to muster some sort of opinion for every category, just for fun, so we'll see how that goes. This first post will be the more minor categories, or those I care less about for whatever reason. To save space, I'll just put the category name and my pick, not the whole list of nominees. And if I feel strongly that someone else would be better, I'll add that. You can find all the nominations here.
Outstanding Voice-Over Performance: I've seen none, but - Seth Green! Oz! Must be on Oz's side!
Outstanding Animated Program: Again: seen none. (Okay, I've seen bits of The Simpsons and South Park, but not the episodes for which they are nominated.) I think I will go for Disney Prep & Landing here, as I am in favor of people making semi-decent Christmas specials as often as possible.
Outstanding Short-format Animated Program: Seen none, but the nominations are four Cartoon Network (of which I am not particularly a fan) to one Disney, so I'm rooting for Disney. (Yes, I realize they can never really be an underdog, but...)
Outstanding Art Direction For A Multi-Camera Series: HIMYM! That will likely be my pick for anything involving sitcoms. Just to warn you.
Outstanding Art Direction For A Single-Camera Series: Uh, Glee! Sure. Honestly, I'm not sure exactly what goes into "Art Direction," but the Glee pilot was extremely well-constructed, so.
Outstanding Art Direction For A Miniseries Or Movie: Seen none. But I'm sure Return to Cranford was just lovely.
Outstanding Art Direction For Variety, Music Or Nonfiction Programming: Wait. Okay. The Tony ceremony nominated was last year, but the rest were this year. I think. Neither the Super Bowl Halftime Show nor the Tonys were put together very well, and I'm pretty neutral on SNL and anti-Idol, so I'll go with the Academy Awards.
Outstanding Casting For A Comedy Series: The only one I watch is Glee, but I do think their casting is quite good.
Outstanding Casting For A Drama Series: I'm actually going to go with FNL here, I think. My pick would have been The Vampire Diaries, because they found three leads who have amazing chemistry with each of the others, and an exceptionally strong supporting cast.
Outstanding Casting For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special: Seen none, so I suppose I'll go with the "Jane Austen is always the answer" theory and pick Emma.
Outstanding Choreography: I've only seen the Academy Awards, so sure. I probably would have put something from Glee in here. I think the second Kristin Chenoweth episode, actually.
Outstanding Cinematography For A Half-Hour Series: Weeds is a half-hour series? Really? I had no idea! Huh. Anyway, I watch none of these regularly, but I have vaguely positive impressions of 30 Rock, so we'll go with that.
Outstanding Cinematography For A One Hour Series: I've seen none of these specific episodes, but Mad Men has good cinematography in general, so sure. Oh, wait, I did see that episode of FlashForward, but meh. I'll stick with Mad Men.
Outstanding Cinematography For A Miniseries Or Movie: Seen none, but I'm sure The Pacific had great cinematography.
Outstanding Cinematography For Nonfiction Programming: Seen none, but I've heard good things about America: The Story of Us.
Outstanding Cinematography For Reality Programming: Er. I watched one season of The Amazing Race and they had some good cinematography then. I guess.
Outstanding Commercial: I didn't even know this was a category! I can't think of any of these offhand, but I always like Coke commercials. Was that the Olympics one? Hm.
Outstanding Costumes For A Series: I don't actually watch The Tudors - I don't get those fancy stations - but I've seen enough pictures to know the costumes are very pretty. I'd throw The Vampire Diaries into this category, too, because the costume people adapted really well to suddenly having to do 1864 flashbacks.
Outstanding Costumes For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special: Emma!
Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series: Glee! I wasn't crazy about "Wheels," so I'll go with the pilot.
Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series: Oddly, I have seen none of these, so I guess I'll go with Mad Men, as at least I've seen other episodes of that show. I'd go for David Boreanaz for "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole" (Bones) - I'm still astonished that he managed to direct such a complex episode and do such amazing acting in it - or Marcos Siega for "Miss Mystic Falls" or "Founder's Day" (The Vampire Diaries).
Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special: Oh, I don't know. I'm sure The Pacific was great.
Outstanding Directing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Series: I'll go for The Colbert Report in Iraq.
Outstanding Directing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Special: Um . . . the Olympics.
Outstanding Directing For Nonfiction Programming: Seen none. Feel obliged to be in favor of Monty Python, just in general.
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Drama Series: Seen none of these specific episodes, so Mad Men, I guess.
Outstanding Picture Editing For A Comedy Series (Single Or Multi-Camera): Seen none. 30 Rock? I guess?
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Miniseries Or A Movie: Seen none, but heck, The Pacific looks like I'd like it!
Outstanding Short-Form Picture Editing: John Hughes tribute!
Outstanding Picture Editing For A Special (Single Or Multi-Camera): Seen none, but hey, I like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in general!
Outstanding Picture Editing For Nonfiction Programming: Seen none. I suppose I'll stick with America: The Story of Us.
Outstanding Picture Editing For Reality Programming: Seen none. Meh. Top Chef? Sure.
Outstanding Hairstyling For A Single-Camera Series: Hey, look, Castle! Wheee! I would put one of the Vampire Diaries flashback episodes on this list.
Outstanding Hairstyling For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special: Hah. The styling for HIMYM's "Doppelgangers" episode was indeed quite good.
Outstanding Hairstyling For A Miniseries Or A Movie: Hey, look, Emma again.
Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media - Nonfiction: I'm not even sure what this means. Top Chef, I guess?
Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media - Fiction: Uh, the Star Wars thing looks kind of nifty.
Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic, Multi-Camera) For Variety, Music Or Comedy Programming: Olympics!
Outstanding Main Title Design: I saw a few episodes of Human Target, but apparently the title design made no impression on me. I suppose I'll go with The Pacific.
Outstanding Makeup For A Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic): Castle!
Outstanding Makeup For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special (Non-Prosthetic): I don't remember the Academy Awards makeup being particularly noteworthy, but that's the only one I've seen.
Outstanding Makeup For A Miniseries Or A Movie (Non-Prosthetic): Fine, The Pacific.
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Miniseries, Movie Or A Special: Castle!
Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score): Ooh, Psych!
Outstanding Music Composition For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special (Original Dramatic Score): I don't think I've heard any of these, so I'll keep assuming The Pacific was good.
Outstanding Music Direction: The Olympics Opening Ceremony did have some good music.
Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics: HIMYM! Loved "Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit."
Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music: The Justified theme is good. I'm also quite fond of the Psych theme, which was not nominated.
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie: Seen none, but I liked Michael Sheen's Tony Blair in The Queen. And obviously Ian McKellan is just generally awesome.
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie: Seen none, but how could anyone vote against Dame Judi Dench? That would just be wrong.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie: Seen none, but I have seen the other version of Patrick Stewart's Claudius, so I feel comfortable saying he should win.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Seen none, but hey, Kathy Bates! Susan Sarandon! They're both good, in general.
Outstanding Miniseries: I have seen neither The Pacfic nor Return to Cranford, and I really want both. So. I can't decide, actually.
Outstanding Made For Television Movie: Seen none. Endgame was supposed to be really good, though.
Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special: Only one I saw was Hope for Haiti Now. I was fine, for a telethon, I guess.
Outstanding Special Class Programs: I don't remember either of the award shows nominated being particularly good, so once again, I will go with the Olympics.
Outstanding Children's Program: I've heard good things about iCarly, and actors I like have guest starred on it, so sure.
Outstanding Children's Nonfiction Program: Okay, I know nothing about either of these. But boy, this sounds like a cheerful category, huh?
Outstanding Nonfiction Special: Seen none. I guess I'll go for Teddy: In His Own Words, because I am a sucker for Kennedy stuff.
Outstanding Nonfiction Series: American Experience is consistently good.
Outstanding Reality Program: MythBusters, I guess.
Exceptional Merit In Nonfiction Filmmaking: I have . . . absolutely no opinion on any of these, it seems.
Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series: I don't think I've seen any of these specific episodes, but I think I'll go with Fringe.
Outstanding Sound Editing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special: Sheesh, I really need to watch more miniseries next year. Fine. The Pacific.
Outstanding Sound Editing For Nonfiction Programming (Single Or Multi-Camera): Seen none. I guess I'll go with Teddy again.
Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (One Hour): Glee!
Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Miniseries Or A Movie: Gee, think The Pacific might win this?
Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (Half-Hour) And Animation: Seen none. 30 Rock, I guess.
Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Variety Or Music Series Or Special: Oh, the Oscars, I guess.
Outstanding Sound Mixing For Nonfiction Programming: Seen none. I guess I'll go with The National Parks.
Outstanding Special Visual Effects For A Series: Stargate Universe . . . I'm trying to remember the episodes. "Air."
Outstanding Special Visual Effects For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special: Let's just give all the awards to The Pacific and get it over with.
Outstanding Stunt Coordination: I haven't sene this episode of Chuck, but I'd think the show deserves this award in general.
Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control For A Series: I don't know exactly how all these technical awards are defined, but hey, The Daily Show!
Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special: Uh, the Oscars.
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Seen none. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that The Special Relationship had good writing. As it's more dialogue-centric than The Pacific. Presumably.
Outstanding Writing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Special: I think this was the NPH Tonys. His stuff was good, so I'll go with that.
Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming: Seen none, but again, I've heard good things about America: The Story of Us.
July 07, 2010
Sepinwall's review of The Bridge isn't exactly glowing, but it intrigued me enough that I'll probably check it out. And hey, Aaron Douglas! (Okay, I'll give BSG one thing - for all that it annoyed me, I do get awfully excited when I see its actors on other shows.)
Speaking of tumblr, I'm not at all surprised that this exists, but I hadn't come across it until today, so in case you hadn't either: Fuck Yeah Ian Somerhalder
Salon takes on Twilight fan fiction.
Song of the Day: "Summer Girls"
Hey, look at me, trying to play along with this "summer" thing and use seasonably appropriate songs. Yes, I have an inordinate and likely indefensible love of this song. Enh, 1999 was a pretty good summer.
Do you ever make up stories about the people who live in the mail order catalogs you receive? Wait, you don't? That's just me? I don't believe you. Anyway, clearly someone else does, because they've started this brilliant Catalog Living blog. (Okay, technically it's a tumblr. I still don't really get the point of tumblr. Never mind.) Really. Brilliant.
We're well into a heat wave here in New England, and so I'm basically miserable. I am, to put it mildly, not a summer person. Give me cold, rain, snow, whatever - just not this heat!
I've decided that this summer my coping mechanism of choice will be escaping to the bedroom, which is the one room with air conditioning - thanks, Mom and Dad! - and reading books set in the cold. So. Suggestions? I'm thinking lots of Nordic mysteries, but I need some other ideas too. What are your favorite fall or winter books, or books set in cold climates in general?
July 06, 2010
Jezebel has a gallery of completely trashy beach reading. Shockingly, I've only read one book on the list (The Other Boleyn Girl). Must get on that.
Javier Bardem on Glee? Wheee!
Just last night, I was wishing Jezebel would do a "what to wear to your reunion" thing. And hey, look, they did!
Reclaiming the real meaning of "tea party:" a movement I can get behind.
Gail Collins has a brilliant July 4th quiz.
Song of the Day: "Love Song"
I visited my family this past weekend, and at one point my brother put this song on, and my response was basically "Wait . . . wait . . . WHAT? What is this? WHO is this?" It is, in fact, a cover of Sara Bareilles's "Love Song" by a band called Four Year Strong. Are they famous? I don't even know. But I really like this.
Trailer: Let Me In
I get the impression that many fans of the original Let the Right One In are less than enthusiastic about this American remake - quelle surprise! - so clearly I'll have to Netflix the original before this new one comes out so I can be properly disgruntled about it. I'm actually slightly more curious about the original novel: I've been reading Swedish mysteries recently and I'm curious how other Swedish genre writing compares. I just requested the book from the library, so I'll let you know how it goes.
Review: The Intrigue at Highbury
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the vast majority of Jane Austen sequels written by other authors are hugely disappointing. I've found the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series by Carrie Bebris to be a delightful exception to this rule. Bebris follows Elizabeth (Bennet) and Fitzwilliam Darcy in the years immediately following their marriage as they travel around to, basically, visit the settings of Austen's other novels and solve mysteries. It sounds silly, but it works. This is the fifth in the series, so I'd start with Pride and Prescience rather than this one, but this was definitely one of my favorites. The Darcys and the Knightleys make an excellent team, and this installment didn't really have the supernatural overtones that some of the previous novels had. (You know I have nothing against supernatural stuff in books, but it seemed a little much for the Darcys at times.) Presumably, the next book in the series will involve characters from Persuasion, and I can't wait.
My new car came with an XM radio free trial, and may I just say that whoever came up with that idea is a marketing genius? There's no way I'll be able to give it up after three months. So! Questions for those of you who have experience with this:
1. What are your favorite stations that I should make sure I check out during my trial period?
2. Any tips or suggestions for things to take into account when I decide what kind of package I want to actually buy?
Happy Birthday to Me, Part I
It's not actually a birthday present, of course, but the timing isn't entirely coincidental - in my state, car registrations are renewed during one's birth month, so it seemed easier to just buy my new car in July. (Plus the old car, you know, died. Details.) Here it is!
It's a Hyundai Elantra; the color is called khaki, and it's sort of a greenish tannish gray. I'm pretty sure its name is Alaric.
July 03, 2010
Song of the Day: "Saturday in the Park"
It's the third of July, but close enough! I'm not going to the park today, though. I'm going to (I hope, I hope) buy a car. Wish me luck!
Pretty Little Liars 1.2: "The Jenna Thing"
See, catching up! I told you I would! Read on for my spoilerful thoughts on the second episode of Pretty Little Liars.
July 02, 2010
Alyssa says: Turn PBS into BBC One. I say: Yes, please.
Surprise of the Summer: Pretty Little Liars Is Actually Great I'm not sure I'd go so far as "great," but yeah.
Best non-story of the day: White Collar’s Matt Bomer wants Vampire Diaries Ian Somerhalder’s Hair. It ends with: "Next up, could Somerhalder please feel compelled to put on a wet T-shirt like Bomer? We’ll be standing by." We will indeed.
Now this has REALLY gone too far: Woman Blames Car Crash on Vampire. Or, as my friend Christine just said, "I thought Damon was behaving? Don't tell Bonnie!"
McLaren: Our drivers love each other. Really. We promise.
I have been worrying about the effect that differing spelling of names have on name popularity rankings for at least twenty years. (I am not even joking. Not even a little.) So I cannot tell you how relieved I am to discover that I am not the only one.
I ask, once again: Where the hell are Taylor Momsen's parents?
Song of the Day: "I Should Have Known Better"
Beatles on a train! (Like Snakes on a Plane, but different!)
This second book in the Pretty Little Liars series was, somewhat surprisingly, actually better than the first. I mean, they're still not great, but this was good enough to keep me reading and make me want book three. The characters get more complex, and therefore more interesting and sympathetic, in this volume. The secrets get more interesting, and the book starts to work more like a mystery, which is a good thing in this case. In the first book, everyone was vaguely referring to secrets all the time, but the reader didn't really have much to go on. Here, Shepard starts to give out enough clues that the reader can actually start guessing things and trying to figure out what's going on, and that makes for a much more satisfying reading experience. Perhaps most importantly, it became clear in this book that real stuff is going on and the stakes are high. People's lives are in danger. People die. Major crimes are committed. It's not all about swim team and expensive handbags after all.
I'm still skeptical that the "A" plot is enough to carry as many books as there are (up to what, nine or ten now?), but I'm willing to give Shepard the benefit of the doubt for the moment, and to see where she takes us. I hope the "A" stuff is resolved and other plot strands - and maybe characters - are brought in. It's not like teenagers - or their parents - have any shortage of secrets, after all.
Tater Tops: Funny Folks
My mother has been known to tell me that I have no sense of humor. I think that's taking things a bit far, but it's completely true that I am rarely inclined to watch comedies. This means that my picks for the Funny Folks categories were really, really easy, and also that I'm sure there are a lot of other funny people on the list, but since I don't watch the shows, I just don't know.
Favorite Funnyguy: The only one of these I watch regularly is How I Met Your Mother, although I'm just starting to get into Chuck. But Neil Patrick Harris is in fact completely hilarious on HIMYM, so I will happily vote for him. I watch so few comedies that I'm not even sure I have anyone to add to the list. (Again, my first thought was "Xander!" and then I had to remind myself that Buffy is in fact off the air. Alas.) Oh! What about James Roday from Psych? I don't think he'd beat NPH, for me, but I'd definitely nominate him. (I'm assuming The Good Guys is too new to be nominated in any of these categories, by the way.)
Favorite Funnylady: And here, the only one I watch regularly is Glee. I am the one person on earth who doesn't particularly like Jane Lynch's character, but I do think Heather Morris's Brittany is hilarious in a wonderfully understated way, so my vote goes to her. "Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?" "I'm pretty sure my cat's been reading my diary." "I bet the duck's in the hat." Ahem. I'll stop. Is there anyone I would nominate? Hm. Cobie Smulders is pretty funny on HIMYM. Yes, I watch exactly three comedies. Never mind!
What happens when neutron stars collide, anyway?
Obviously, one of the lingering questions about The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is what the heck is going on in "Neutron Star Collision," the song Muse wrote for the movie? Is a neutron star collision good or bad? What happens? Death and destruction for all? It's kind of unclear from the song, so I asked my favorite Muse fan, who also happens to work in the planetarium field, so I expect him to be an expert on all things astronomical. Obviously.
He kindly took up the question on his blog:
In any case, colliding neutron stars don't so much whack into each other as orbit each other very fast until they merge in a great explosion of energy. They may orbit for many years, but once the death spiral begins it can end almost instantaneously, with the stars traveling close to the speed of light. . . . So hearts combining, figuratively, are not badly represented by the literal fusing of two stars. What becomes of those two stars is something new -- perhaps a black hole.That actually makes more sense in the context of the movie than I'd expected it to! But memo to Bella and Edward: Notice how you end up with a black hole there? Yeah. Not exactly a happily-ever-after. Just, you know, something to keep in mind.
July 01, 2010
What The Girls Really Say About 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' Warning: Possibly NSFW and a little dirty, but hilarious.
This year's hurricane names. Fiona? Gaston? Someone's been watching kids' movies!
Haven't you always wanted to know about Monopoly probabilities? No? Really? I have.
Tater Tops: Couple Showdown
The next set of categories now open to voting are all about couples.
Best Couple: Huh. Booth and Brennan are not actually a couple, folks. But if they were, I'm pretty sure they'd be better than any other couple on this list. Therefore, I don't know whether to vote for them. I like Cristina and Owen on Grey's, but I'm not sure they particularly stand out as "best." On Glee, I want Emma and Will to be a good couple, but I'm not completely convinced they will be. Jury's still out. I do adore Finn and Rachel together, so they might actually get my vote.
Couples I would have put on the list: Angela and Hodgins (Bones). Chuck and Blair (Gossip Girl). Elena and Stefan (The Vampire Diaries), even though I am on Team Damon. Maybe even Meredith and Derek from Grey's - I really like the way the show is letting them be in a more mature and settled place now.
Oddest Couple: I'm not sure I'm getting the point here. I mean, I assumed this meant "couple who seemed most unlikely but got paired together" or something, but - Vanessa and Dan? I mean, seriously, has there ever been a more obvious couple? They may be my least favorite couple, but they're not odd. Alex and Lexi make sense together, too. Robin and Don from HIMYM are a little odd, I guess, but I think that's more a function of poor writing than of the characters themselves - the show was always telling us how great they were together but never let us see it. Neither of the Glee couples on the list were really couples. I mean, Sue and Will? What? He asked her out and then stood her up. That does not a couple make. I guess Mercedes and Puck dated for most of an episode, which is like forever in high school, and they were . . . kind of odd, I guess. Sure.
Couples I would have put on this list: Um, Stephanie and what's-his-name from My Boys. Maybe Jenna and John from Vampire Diaries, but maybe not. Hrm. I just thought "Xander and Cordelia!" and then had to remind myself that just because I've been watching a show doesn't mean it's actually on now. Sadly. Um, Sheldon and Charlotte from Private Practice.
Love Triangle You're So Over: Stefan/Elena/Damon? Are you kidding me? That triangle's barely getting started, and for once, I actually really like both couples and am somewhat torn. I'll give them at least another five years to drag this out before they lose me. I didn't hate the Cristina/Owen/Teddy thing as much as most people seemed to, but I'm ready for everyone to move on and for Teddy to get her own plotlines that aren't all about Owen. I am pretty over both Glee triangles, but especially the Finn/Rachel/Jesse one, because I hated Jesse from day one.
Polygons I'd put on this list: How about the entire freaking ensemble of Private Practice? Seriously, that whole mess that starts with Addison now includes, on one side, Pete, and so Violet, so Sheldon, so Charlotte, so Cooper, and on the other side Sam, and so Naomi, so Gabriel and William. That's everyone. Dell (who had a thing for Naomi way back when, did he not?) is basically only left out of this list because he's dead. Lucky guy. Teen mom Maya has the most calm and stable relationship on this show.
I was going to put someone from Gossip Girl on the list, but I think what I'm actually over is Jenny Humphrey's entire existence, and not the Serena/Nate/Jenny or Blair/Chuck/Jenny triangles specifically. Because they're barely even triangles. They're just Jenny being evil and crazy. Ooh, but I am over the Rufus/Lily/Billy Baldwin nonsense.
I'm disappointed that there was no category for Least Favorite Couple - couples that made sense together, that weren't odd, but that viewers hated. Dan and Vanessa from Gossip Girl should clearly be at the top of that list. Beckett and
Trailer: The Social Network
This came out while I was on vacation, so apologies if you've all seen it already, but it is an Aaron Sorkin movie trailer, so clearly I must post it.
There's . . . I don't know, not much there yet, really. I guess I'll say that there's nothing in it that makes me less enthusiastic about the movie, but I'm one of those people who will happily listen to hours of Aaron Sorkin dialogue about any subject whatsoever, so I'm going to be pretty easy to please here. I think my main concern is whether the rather young cast will be able to pull off Sorkin's trademark abundant and complicated dialogue. I don't think it's necessarily an accident that many of the actors who have done best with Sorkin come from theater backgrounds, and I'm not sure that's the case here. But I love Justin Timberlake, and I just noticed that Malese Jow is in it as well; I'll give them all the benefit of the doubt for now.
Vampire Diaries: September 9!
The CW released its fall premiere schedule yesterday, and since I'm honestly much more interested in The Vampire Diaries than any of their other shows at this point, I will go ahead and tell you that season two will begin on Thursday, September 9, followed by the new show Nikita on the same night. The other new drama, Hellcats, will appear the night before, and Gossip Girl gets going on the following Monday, September 13. (Click for the dates for the shows I don't watch.)
A sign of just how excited I was when I read this: my boss was in a meeting when this news broke yesterday. I'm pretty sure that was the only time I've ever felt compelled to text him about something while he was in a meeting without me. Clearly my priorities are in order.