Tag Archives: Television

They Take Things Seriously on Supernatural’s Set, Folks

What happens when Misha Collins (a.k.a. Castiel) directs an episode?

 

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Creating the Theme for Twin Peaks

Oh, this is just beautiful.  Are you a Twin Peaks fan?  It’s weird how certain topics come up in conversation over and over again.  I’d watched Twin Peaks a bit when it first aired, but I was a bit young (my parents really weren’t all that thrilled about their 13 year old watching it).  I hadn’t really thought about it too much since.  A couple of weeks ago, Netflix recommended it for me, so I put it in my list of stuff to watch.  Last week, I had a conversation with a co-worker about them doing something new for the 25th Anniversary.  Today, Amanda Palmer included this in her blog post.

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Just gorgeous!  I love learning more about the creative process for other people in other medias.  In some ways everyone’s process is so different, but there’s something recognizable that I feel an affinity for in it all too.

Plus, three mentions of a show that aired in 1990-1991 in as many weeks?  Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something…or maybe it is just the 25th Anniversary coming up. What do you think?

‘Til next time,

Jessica

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What, Why and…Doctor Who

images (24)Oh holy cow! I can’t believe I only discovered Doctor Who less than a year ago.  It seems as if it has been part of my life forever!  My mission, and I have definitely chosen to accept it, is to convert as many people to Whovianism as possible. Now, I promise no spoilers here.  Since I have promised no spoilers, I’m going to give general information here for non-Whovians, and I’m going to try to do it as logically as possible. (Whovians, stop laughing. Come on, really. Stop laughing!)

First, what is a Whovian?  Well, it is a fan of the British television show Doctor Who, of course.  We even get our own Urban Dictionary entry.  According to Wikipedia, it is a term that became common in the United States during the 1980’s when the Doctor Who Fan Club of America published their newsletter titled Whovian Times.  (You learn something new everyday!)  The fan club is no longer active these days though.

1383715_661960093837624_158818129_nSo what exactly is Doctor Who? To begin, Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction television show of all time. This year it will celebrate its 50th Anniversary with a much-anticipated special that will air November 23, 2013.  Here is your own invitation to join the celebration.  The show originally aired on November 23, 1963…nice symmetry there huh? I made a comment earlier about Whovian’s laughing at me when I tried to apply logic to Doctor Who. It is not an easy show to explain logically. I’ve tried…a lot. I usually end up sounding like I’m mentally unstable. The plot is full of twists and turns throughout all of time and space. Doctor Who is rarely boring.

The show began in 1963 and ran through 1989 before taking a lengthy hiatus and returning in 2005 when Russell T. Davies revived the show as the head writer and Christopher Eccelston took on the role of The Doctor. The period before the hiatus is typically referred to as Classic Who and everything after 2005 is the New Who. As a disclaimer, I do have to admit that I haven’t seen much Classic Who (I’m working my way through them all) but I have seen all of the New Who episodes.   What do you do with a show with such a lengthy run that has the same main character?  Well, there have been 11 actors who have played the Doctor over the years.

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Christopher Eccleston & Billie Piper

Now how, you ask, have the fans rolled with those punches? See the Doctor doesn’t die, necessarily, he regenerates. William Hartnell got the party started and this year we will see the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith regenerate in the Christmas Special. In all his regenerations the Doctor is old and young; serious and sassy; wise and irreverent; trustworthy and a liar; in control and flying by the seat of his pants. There’s typically a sense of the ridiculous and fun about him, but he is not someone to cross because his wrath is ferocious.  Underneath all his many faces he is always the same man, and this point has been reiterated by the current head writer and general fan torturer, Steven Moffat, as recently as the 2013 San Diego Comic Con

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David Tennant

I have a recommended watch list for people who I indoctrinate addict encourage to join our little fandom.  Usually, I start them out with Blink an episode from the 10th Doctor (David Tennant’s) era that is exciting, a little scary, and it doesn’t require any previous knowledge of the show to be enjoyable.  Then I take them back to Rose which is the episode from the 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) that rejuvenated the series, and then move through the “New Who” episodes from there.

There have been varying responses to fans hearing about my methods that have ranged from “you are brilliant!” (my favorite) to “are you crazy?” (possibly accurate, but not my favorite).  What are your thoughts?  I am open to suggestions.  So far, I’ve only lost one person (however, since she was playing CandyCrush on her phone the whole time…you know who you are!)  Well, my Dad fell asleep by the time Sally found the peeling wallpaper, but he wanted my Mom to give him a recap in the car…of everything. (Bonus, this time she got to sound like the crazy person, not me!)  Everyone else is hooked.  I had to reassure my nephew a couple of weeks ago that he did get BBC America at his house, and I promised to text him when each new episode came on.

Don’t let the rather cheesy special effects turn you off in the early episodes of the 9th Doctor’s tenure. The characters, story line, and acting more than make up for the less than stellar effects. It took me two maybe three episodes before I was completely hooked. I watched every episode from 2005-March of 2013 in like two and a half months…it is addicting. Now, I was also motivated to be caught up on the story line before the new episodes aired in March.

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Matt Smith

They say you never forget your first Doctor, which would be Christopher Eccleston for me, with his leather jacket and sarcastic sassiness were the perfect introduction for me. (Sarcastic? Who me? Say it ain’t so!) David Tennant follows, and I was a little worried for like an episode before I got behind the change in the Doctor. I loved his enthusiasm and exuberance that covered up.  The latest regeneration in Matt Smith, took me a little more time, but I’ve come to love him as well. He’s announced he is leaving the show, so we will see the 11th Doctor regenerate in the Christmas Special.  Recently, they announced that Peter Capaldi will be coming on board as the 12th Doctor in the series.

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Peter Capaldi

Since the announcement of Peter Capaldi’s casting as the 12th Doctor, people have asked me what I think. Only natural, it isn’t as if I keep my enjoyment of the show a secret. (Stop laughing, friends and family. Really, it could have happened!) With the direction Matt Smith’s Doctor took toward the end, I think someone a bit older is warranted. The Doctor feels older now with the weight of circumstances and events weighing on him. When the 10th Doctor, David Tennant, regenerated there was an almost childlike desire to stay as he was. His last words “I don’t want to go” reflect that. His end set the tone for, Matt Smith’s Doctor. Younger on the outside, but it disguises the same man who regenerated alone. The 9th Doctor, Eccleston, we meet as a man who is bearing the weight of the events of the Time War. He is the last of his kind, alone, and he believes that is the price he must pay for everything he’s done. At his regeneration, he’s healed a bit from that. He’s with Rose Tyler and at the end you see his dawning realization that he’s “fantastic” too. The exuberance in 9’s final moments is directly reflected in David Tennant’s Doctor. Enthusiastic, effervescent, and happy to be out there saving the universe again. I can’t wait to see what happens with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. As Steven Moffat has reiterated recently. He is always the same man underneath the different exteriors.

timthumb (23)Whovians have been known to loudly curse the name of Steven Moffat who took over as head writer when Russell T. Davies left. He is credited with the creation of some of the most frightening villains since the Daleks and the Cybermen arrived on the scene…Weeping Angles, Vashta Neruda, and the Silence have made people the world over afraid to blink, afraid of the dark, and … what was I saying?  He’s also credited with the emotional trauma of Doctor Who fans the world over. The Angels Take Manhattan anyone? (Don’t get me started on the emotional trauma caused by Moffat, Gatiss and Thompson in the BBC’s Sherlock. That is another post in and of itself.)

On the surface Doctor Who an alien who travels through all of time and space with a series of companion in a police phone box from the 60’s….that’s bigger on the inside….do you see the problem now? Really, that’s not what Doctor Who is all about though, those are just plot points, and while it is important it doesn’t explain why this show has held a fascination for viewers for 50 years. For all of us who are avid viewers and Whovians, hopefully it never ends!

images (15)So, if Doctor Who isn’t actually about a “madman in a blue box” what is it about? It’s about courage and friendship. The friendships and trust inherent in the relationship between the Doctor and his companions is just …it’s great. Life and death, guilt and forgiveness play a huge role in the newer episodes as well. Anyone who has lived as long as the Doctor, has seen more than his share of individuals pass in and out of his life…not all relationships end well, now do they. When you’re 900+ years old, you’ve made some mistakes as well, and learning how to forgive others and especially to forgive yourself. This show is about being human….sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. It is about realizing how small we really are in the grand scheme of things, and knowing that we will never have all the answers…no matter how clever we are. Doctor Who is about learning to see yourself clearly, and realizing that you are more than you realize. You’re brilliant. Shopgirl, med student, temp, impossible girl…there are no unimportant people and although, one moment you may be the most important person in the universe, the next you’re just a cog in the wheel. Knowing which to choose each moment is the important part. What you think is cool…is cool, at least for you, whether it is a bow tie or a fez…not everyone will agree with you, and that’s okay. Whether you yell Geronimo at the top of your lungs or whisper it as you take that leap, it’s about having the courage to do the right thing when everyone else is running away. Sometimes love conquers all…and sometimes…

Doctor Who has taught me one of the most important lessons of life (Pinterest):

Sometimes you fail, sometimes you screw up, and sometimes you try your very hardest, do your very best, and it still isn’t enough. And at those times, you just have to pick yourself up, adjust your bow tie, re-tie your shoelaces, dust off your jacket, loosen your cravat, shoulder your umbrella, polish your cat pin, straighten your celery, wrap your scarf a little tighter, throw your opera cape, pocket your recorder, grab your jacket labels, and

images (29)Now, typically, I am not an emotional person when it comes to movies or television shows. I didn’t shed a tear during The Notebook. Titanic didn’t make me misty eyed (Come on, everybody knew how it was going to end!). As a matter of fact, I can only count a couple of movies that get to me Ol’ Yeller, and Steel Magnolias are two of them. Let me tell you, that Doctor Who will get you though…repeatedly and frequently. There are still scenes that only have to be mentioned and I can feel the moisture gathering behind my eyes. It kills me, and I never saw it coming. It was supposed to be a show about a time traveling alien, for crying out loud. Now, ask me if I would change it….

‘Allons-y!

Jessica


Eloquent Pacifism

Malala Yousafzai didn’t only leave John Stewart speechless with her comments on pacifism during her appearance on the Daily Show on October 9, 2013.   Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, this young woman is an advocate for education, and was shot last year by the Taliban in Pakistan for it.  This brave young woman began began speaking out at 11 when the Taliban began attempting to limit or ban girls from going to school in Swat Valley, where Malala lived, in Pakistan.    She is the youngest person to ever be nominated for the prestigious award, and while this year’s Nobel Peace price went to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, I  just have to say that when I grow up, I hope I can be more like Malala Yousafzai.

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Doctor Who Trailer for The Day of the Doctor…Oh My!

I would be lying if I said the countdown hasn’t already begun.  All over the world, fans have been counting down to the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who, The Day of the Doctor.  It is no different in my home.  As a matter of fact, the timing works out so that I am hosting a watch party/birthday party for myself that evening. (No one says that grown ups can’t have themed birthday parties…most people don’t actually accuse me of being a grown up either.)  Here’s the teaser the BBC has given us for this episode….

47 days and counting…


Finding a New Appreciation for Thomas Edison…Don’t Watch Supernatural in the Dark

Supernatural season 7 title card

Supernatural season 7 title card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Saving people, hunting things” is the Winchester motto.  Supernatural definitely does a lot of both.  This show began its run 2005 and is heading into the 9th season this year.  The story focuses on the Winchester brothers, Sam (Jared Padelecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) and their adventures in…well, “saving people, hunting things”.    

After the pilot episode aired, I was hooked.  My best friend and I used to call each other and sit on the phone in silence until the commercial breaks…until we figured out commercial breaks didn’t sync up between our two cities.  I may or may not have been physically unable to keep my mouth shut until her commercial break.  (Hint: I wasn’t able to keep quiet.)  To help our friendship survive, we switched to recap calls after the episode ended.

Recently, I decided to watch the whole series again from the beginning.  Yeah, I still love it, that hasn’t changed …. at all.  I finished watching Season 1 over the weekend.  Holy cow….Season 1 scares the crap out of me, and I still watched the finale of that season with  the light on and a blanket pulled up to my chin.  It really didn’t matter that I knew what was coming.

51vOlchrn4L._SX300_The brothers face everything from vengeful spirits, demons, clowns, creepy dolls, weird supernatural illnesses…clowns, wendigos, vampires…Bloody Mary, dead serial killers, and clowns.  (Only one episode with a clown, but it sends chills down my spine just thinking about it.  Clowns are creepy!)  There are some episodes that I just can’t get past, like Everybody Loves a Clown (Why do people send those things to kids birthday parties?  Don’t they creep anyone else out?) I still have an overwhelming urge to sleep with the light on after watching Bloody Mary.   There are a lot of episodes that leave me with with a profound feeling of gratitude for Thomas Edison and his light bulb, and so help me, if the lights flicker in my house like …ever…you’ll be able to find me in the middle of a circle of salt in the kitchen frantically trying to keep my dog from licking it up off the floor.

Apart from scaring myself half to death, oh my gosh, I love the relationship between these guys.  In the midst of all the preternatural craziness surrounding the show, their relationship is genuine and very real.  They pick on each other, incessantly…anyone out there have siblings?  Yeah, it doesn’t matter how old you get, that part never stops.  You can ask my sister.  (Whatever she says, I am not the reason she doesn’t like mirrors in her bedroom…or the dark.  I’m innocent.  Really!)  They know exactly which buttons to push to drive each other nuts.  Sam and Dean have practically developed their own language…scratch that.  They have.  Do you know anyone else (except the fandom) who would consider calling each other “Jerk” or “Bitch” an assurance that everything is fine, or at least it will be?

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester (left) and Ja...

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester (left) and Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Both Winchester brothers grew up knowing that the monsters under the bed were real, and that you should be afraid of the dark.  Instead of reassurances that everything was going to be okay, Sam was given a gun when he was nine, so if the thing in the closet came after him he could kill it. They were long on preparedness and short on the gentleness that most kids get…there are reasons, for the way John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) raised them.  

Those first five seasons scared the ever-living-crap out of me.  Even after watching with the lights on(and sometimes a comedy after) I would just lie awake at night…thinking…about stuff….like monsters….Bloody Mary, Skin, and Everybody Loves a Clown are just a few of the episodes that make my heart beat a little faster just thinking about them.  It was pure awesomeness, the kind of terror you find during horror movies and haunted houses.  Here was the problem though, I read (did you notice?) a lot, about…interesting topics.  A good portion of the stuff in the show, comes from real legends.  So at night, with the lights off, you lie there…thinking about monsters…remembering that little tidbit…and…don’t most legends start with a grain of truth?  Dracula started with a real guy who did some really terrible things…what if? (I hate what ifs in the middle of the night!)  The dark does not like logic, I’ve discovered.

You know me and characters, right?  Well, this show has some that I love.  Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) is a great character.  Bobby’s place is more “home” for the Winchester brothers than anywhere else.  With his trucker’s hat and no hesitation to call either one of the hunters an “idjit” when the occasion calls for it.  He’s not afraid of these big bad guys who drive around in a 1967 Impala with an arsenal in the trunk.  Who do you think helped fix up the car and showed them how to stock the arsenal?

51BnewhzbiL._SX300_Season 4 introduces another character that I absolutely adore, Castiel, Angel of the Lord (Misha Collins).  He arrives in Lazarus Rising and…well, spoilers.  Cas does interesting things for character development too.  He gives new insight into characters we think we know so well, and proves they still have room to surprise us.  

There are so many other great characters that have made an appearance over the years.  Jo & Ellen, Gabriel, Loki…Balthazar & Crowley (oh yeah, Mark Sheppard is here too. He is an awesome Crowley!)  If I tried to list my favorites, we’d all be here all day.  Some of them didn’t get to stay nearly long enough, some of them surprise us with visits often enough for us to never get over missing them.  When they leave, I always retain a little hope, the name of the show is Supernatural…

Tell me about your favorite TV shows?  Favorite characters?  Are you a Supernatural fan?  Tell me your favorite episode…or the one that scares you the most? (They can be the same one.)

‘Til next time,

Jessica


BBC’s Sherlock – A.K.A. Emotional Trauma in Less than 10 Episodes

Oh, Dear Readers, this is my favorite television program.  This is a tragedy.  Why is this a tragedy you ask?  There are only six episodes.  What?  Surely you mean six seasons, right?  No, I do, indeed, mean six episodes.  Each season is three episodes and each episode is two hours long (with commercials).  The real tragedy is the length of the hiatus between seasons…I don’t even want to think about it, but for you I will.  The first season aired in 2010.  The third season will air the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014…does that give you a clue?  So with all of these egregious insults to the fans, why is it that this is still my favorite show on television? It is just that stinking good.

This is a show about Sherlock Holmes (you’re shocked, I’m sure), and I have been a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective since…well, I can’t remember when I read the first stories.  I do remember that I borrowed the book from my cousin in my early teenage years, and I never returned it.  I still have it on my bookshelf today. (Really truly sorry.)  It has been read well.  It isn’t a book that is there for decoration only (Apparently this is a thing people do, buy books to look at them and not to read…why?  It’s a book!  Read it!).  I don’t have books that are for decoration only.

I almost didn’t watch this when Netflix recommended it.  The BBC had created a modernized Sherlock Holmes.  I was a little worried about a modern Sherlock.  Holmes just seemed so at home in 1895, that it was hard to imagine him in our modern era.  I didn’t want them to do something silly like…move him to New York. (Sorry,Elementary, I bear you no ill will.  I swear!  I am a big Johnny Lee Miller fan, but, for me, Holmes just belongs in London.)  Two things persuaded me to give it a shot.

First, co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss write for Doctor Who.  (Yes, I am a Whovian.  It will get its own post, but it is very hard to explain and still sound…sane.)  By this point, I’d become addicted to Doctor Who and I finally understood the cries of “MOFFAATTT!!!” that explode across the internet when certain episodes are mentioned.  Anyway, who doesn’t like to suffer more emotional trauma at the hands of a writer who has already proven that the scariest villains are the ones who “kill you kindly”?  I did not understand what a danger Mark Gatiss would become…I have since learned my lesson.  Always beware (but watch immediately), when these two are in cahoots!  Steven Thompson came out of left field and clobbered me, I had no idea.  Apparently, I am a glutton for punishment.

Empire Awards 2008 - Martin Freeman

Empire Awards 2008 – Martin Freeman (Photo credit: claire_h)

Secondly, Bilbo Baggins plays John Watson…I mean Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins, plays John Watson.  (Yes, I am also a Tolkien fan.  I could go on and on about The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion…Good grief, just to attend one of his lectures…) Martin Freeman did such an excellent job of embodying a favorite character who I have visited regularly from somewhere around the age of 12 through….well, 36 in The Hobbit, that I would have been willing to watch him act out the phone book.

I began the first episode A Study in Pink on a Saturday morning.  I watched the last episode The Reichenbach Fall later that night.  Here’s what I discovered.  The writers are brilliant.  The actors take these brilliant writers and bring the characters to life.  The jerks make you love the characters and then…yep, trauma. (I mean all of you, actors, writers, photography people and don’t forget the music…you’re all to blame!)  The rest of the crew make everything look so striking and lovely and…well, long before the end credits rolled on A Study in Pink I was hooked.  There are all these details you need to pay attention to.  You can’t be doing other things while you watch, because this is a show for thinkers.  Sunday, I called a friend and I ensnared her too.  There was no way I was going to suffer alone. (You’re welcome, you know who you are.)  Right, I think you’ve caught on to the fact that I watched the entirety of the show twice in two days now.  Still not bored.

So the brilliant writers, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Steve Thompson, they manage to write a script that stays very close to the Doyle, tone and spirit, while still being very fresh and modern.  If you love the original “canon” you will not be disappointed.  Mark Gatiss (otherwise known to Sherlokians the world over as Godtiss) is an enormous fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, and it shines through.  Even if you can quote lines from Doyle, you’ll enjoy Sherlock without becoming bored.  It picks up just enough details, or maybe it is that the right details are chosen from those beloved stories, like the scratched message by the victim in A Study in Scarlet, to warm the hearts of those who love them.   They do love to torture the audience with cliffhangers.  Season One ends with The Great Game in which Sherlock and Moriarty meet face to face for the first time.  Season Two ends with The Reichenbach Fall which parallels Doyle’s story brilliantly.   (Andrew Scott, is an amazing James Moriarty; canny, clever and more than a little bit insane.  “Honey, you should see me in a crown.”)

However, A script will only get you so far.  In order to bring a show to the kind of popularity that Sherlock enjoys, you need so much more.  The facial expressions…good grief. Martin Freeman’s John Watson is unbelievably good.  The delivery of the dialogue is perfect, but John Watson’s silences speak louder than his words in many scenes, and it is fitting for a taciturn former Army doctor.  John defies everyone’s advice when he befriends Sherlock, and you can almost see the “screw you, I do what I want” written on his face during these scenes.

Chinatown, London. Benedict Cumberbatch during...

Sherlock Holmes is played by Benedict Cumberbatch.  He really brought Sherlock to life for me.  I read the books without thinking too much about what makes him who we see when he meets Dr. Watson.  I’m reading them again with a different eye now.  Mr. Cumberbatch makes Sherlock, a self-proclaimed “high functioning sociopath”, human.  Given, he’s a human who is awkward, lacking in any kind of social niceties (unless he’s faking it to get information), and who really has no idea how to relate to people, but he is very human, nonetheless.  In the original Doyle, Holmes was always at the cutting edge of technology and science.  Our Sherlock is no different, his designer clothes, constant texting and use of Google at crime scenes is something that is something that is easily imaginable for Doyle’s Holmes.  You catch guarded glimpses into a man who has been damaged.  For a man as seemingly cold as Sherlock is to tug at the heartstrings takes an amazing actor, and Benedict Cumberbatch certainly delivers.

Seriously, I could rave about the brilliance of the acting in this show for pages, and I’m not even touching on performances by Rupert Graves, Louise Brealey, Una Tubbs, Lara Pulver, Andrew Scott, and Mark Gatiss himself right now.  The cinematography is just fantastic, and the music!   If I tried to say everything I want to about this show in a single post, I’d still be writing by the time Season Three airs, which feels like half past never, although they promise the end of this year or the beginning of next….I got sidetracked.  Sorry.  I’m getting impatient.  Okay, fine, maybe it is just that both the main characters are played by amazing actors who have catapulted into hugely successful careers on the big screen…Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Hobbit are just two of the multitude of projects these two have taken on.  Here are a few others, and I know I haven’t even gotten half of what Mr. Cumberbatch has been working on.  The World’s End ,The Fifth Estate, and August: Osage County don’t even scratch the surface.  It isn’t like they’re busy or anything.  Maybe they all just like to torture the fans.  I’ll tell you this much, I’m sure none of them will ever tell you which it is.

Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty at the Reichenbac...

Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. From Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Final Problem. Original caption in Strand Magazine was “The Death of Sherlock Holmes” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About the fans though…The “fandom” it is one of the oldest and most eccentric out there.  The Sherlockians are enthusiastic, incredibly knowledgeable, and just don’t go away.  They even warrant their own entry in Urban Dictionary.  Fans of the show, obsessively pick over every detail of each episode (there’s nothing else for them to do while they wait for the next to air).   They create elaborate theories, and can find clues and hidden meanings behind all sorts of things.  Then they begin to get bored…you really shouldn’t let these fans get bored.  They create things…fanfics, memes, videos…then they start to get ridiculous.

There’s an additional convert to the fandom just this week, and I am perfectly willing to recruit more, any takers?  Did I mention not to let this fandom get bored?  We’ve all gone a little nuts waiting for the next episode to air.  As Lewis Carroll says:

“Have I gone mad?”

“I’m afraid so.  You’re entirely bonkers.  But I’ll tell you a secret.  All the best people are.”

‘Til Next Time,

Jessica

Is anyone already there with me?

What’s your favorite television show?


The Nerdist is Awesome…Enjoy Your Burrito

An example of the Wild West influenced clothin...

Nathan Fillion as Malcom “Mal” Reynolds in Firefly and Serenity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I learn about all kinds of stuff through Twitter.  The Nerdist is one of those things.  I discovered all this through following Nathan Fillion.  You know Nathan Fillion right?  I may have mentioned him once or twice.  Buffy, Firefly, Serenity, Castle, Dr. Horrible…I’m stopping now because this is not the point.  (I’m working on staying on point here.  How am I doing so far?)  He tweeted about The Thrilling Adventure Hour  with a link to the podcast.

 

This is a staged production done in the style of an old-time radio show, and then broadcast as a podcast.  It is fantastic and awesomely entertaining.  You can listen to the adventures of Sparks Nevada Marshal on MarsBeyond BeliefCaptain LaserbeamThe Cross-Time Adventures of Colonel Tick-Tock, and Cactoid Jim.  The episodes are written by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker and produced by Aaron Ginsberg.  Players and guest stars include Nathan Fillion (as mentioned), Paget Brewster (you might recognize her from Criminal Minds), Paul Tomkins (Mr. Show, LA Complex)…oh, there are too many to list.  Just go to their site and check it out.

 

The first time I listened to Cactoid Jim, I heard them mention the word Nerdist during the credits.  I asked myself, what is this Nerdist of which they speak? (well, maybe not exactly like that…okay, maybe exactly like that, but definitely not out loud.) That’s how I found the Nerdist Podcast.  Basically it is Chris Hardwick, usually with Matt Mira and Jonah Ray, having a conversation with a different celebrity or celebrities every episode, and this happens twice a week.  Yep, twice a week.  I haven’t listened to one that wasn’t immensely entertaining (warning there is no censoring for…well, anything). These are a handful of the guests that they’ve had on their podcast over the last couple of months (okay, some of these may or may not still waiting in my queue , but it isn’t for a lack of trying) George RR Martin, Joss Whedon, Jeff Bridges, Charlie Day, Charlie Hunnam, and Misha Collins just to name a few.  This doesn’t include any of the San Diego Comic-Con stuff they recorded live either.  One of my favorites out of this list was the podcast with Misha Collins.

 

English: Misha Collins at the 2011 Comic Con i...

Misha Collins plays Castiel on Supernatural, and I am a huge Supernatural fan.  This is a show I’ve watched since its inception, and it scared the bejesus out of me.  My best friend and I used to call each other up just to have the “oh-my-god-can-you-believe-what-we-just-saw” conversations.  We tried to have them while the show was on, but quickly discovered that it aired at different rates in Chicago and where she lives.   (Fine I suck at sticking to the point.) I am, at times, physically unable to keep my mouth shut.  This led to spoilers when I was on commercial break and she wasn’t.  The recap call was an acceptable compromise…aka the only possible compromise if I wanted her to still be my friend. She actually hates spoilers more than I do. (This is odd because she almost always reads the last page of a book FIRST.)

 

 During the podcast they were discussing SupernaturalGISHWHES (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen), costumes, Scotland, and all and sundry topics that came to their pretty little minds.  Including the non-profit organization that Misha works with, Random Acts, that looks to change the world, one act of kindness at a time.  (Love that!)  It was the most entertaining two hours I’d spent at work in a long while. (Wait what?  Not at work…I mean…ummm…) Thanks to this podcast I WILL be participating in GISHWHES next year (I missed the deadline for entry this year by just a couple of days.  I had to make sure I wasn’t going to be traveling for work before I could commit.  Seriously, my boss will put up with a lot, but from what I’ve seen from last year’s…that may leave me without a job if I tried to participate while I was working.)  GISHWHES  received entry into the Guinness Book of World Records two years running for the World’s largest Media Scavenger Hunt.  (By the way did you know that the Guinness Book of World Records was indeed created by the man who created Guinness Beer?  Things I learned in Ireland.) Last year there were over 140,000 participants from 90 countries and each person was on a team of 15 people.  Be prepared…the scavenger hunt consists of acts of kindness as well as…well, creative endeavors? (I’m not sure what you call an 8 foot T-Rex made of sanitary napkins other than a creation, but it was definitely something.)  It just sounds like a lot of zany fun.  My friends and family will either come closer together in love and fun and happiness….or in an effort to lock me up in an asylum (Do they still have asylums or are they just institutions?  Asylum sounds so much more ominous!).

 

Buzz Aldrin salutes the U.S. flag on Mare Tran...

Back to the point….again.  (Seriously, I am trying to stay on topic.)  Then I discovered BBC America…yeah, I know, but there is a television show!  Yes, The Nerdist is also a television show that comes on after Orphan Black on Saturday evening. (No, I don’t know what time, everything gets DVR’d, my friend.  Like 9:00pm Central? The lineup goes Doctor Who, Orphan Black, and then The Nerdist.)  The show is just as entertaining as the podcast.  Chris Hardwick, Matt Mira & Jonah Ray talk with a celebrity guest or two, there’s a stand-up comic in there and then they play a game…it is all a lot funnier than I make it sound (so kind of like the podcast but with visuals…and games and stuff).  My favorite episode so far was the one with Buzz Aldrin (astronaut) and Bobak Ferdowsi (NASA’s mohawk guy.  Poor guy, one day he’ll be known for more than just his hair, really.  He works for NASA for crying out loud, he’s brilliant!)  Just to see two eras of space exploration together on the same show was amazing in and of itself.  One man, Buzz Aldrin, actually set foot on the moon.  I mean, just think about that.  Walked. On. The. Moon.  It kind of blows the mind.  I can only imagine…The other was actually in the control room when Curiosity landed on Mars just over a year ago.  He helped to land a vessel on another planet…another PLANET.  This is like real life people, not some science fiction thing!  All science.  No fiction.  The closest I will ever get to either of those things is to look out at the night sky and imagine.  At least I always know which one the moon is (it is kind of hard to miss) but Mars is another story entirely. (Yes, I totally wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid.)  Yes, I can easily miss Mars in the night sky…astronomy was not good to me.

 

This podcast has even given me a list of games that I want to try out.  Yes, even games.  I have discovered that I really am not good at the first person shooter games. (Therefore I dislike them immensely.)  However, I really enjoy the role playing games like Assassin’s Creed.  (I also found out that I need to start at the beginning of that game like with Assassin’s Creed I and not Assassin’s Creed III, no wonder I was so confused with the story!  Luckily, my nephew has them all.  I’m borrowing them.  There is no shame.)  So, Chris Hardwick mentions that he really loves Bioshock Infinite right now, and I look it up.  It looks pretty cool.  I think I’ll check it out.  I’m telling you The Nerdist is like a gateway drug for all things geek…well, maybe I was already there anyway, but you get my point, right? (Not that I stayed anywhere near my point for any length of time, but I tried…sort of.)

Nerdist at Meltdown Comics

Nerdist at Meltdown Comics (Photo credit: Sam Howzit)

The Nerdist podcast introduced me to Geek Week on YouTube also…you’ll be seeing more from that, I can assure you.  They also have a completely random tagline (well, probably not random to them…or maybe it is.) They sign off every show with “Enjoy your burrito.”  So ladies and gentlemen, checkout The Nerdist!  There are many amazing things happening there worth enjoying…although I don’t think they have burritos.  Weird.

 

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

 

Do you listen to podcasts? Which ones?

 

Have you ever committed a random act of kindness?  What was it?

 

What role playing games would you recommend?

 

‘Til next time….enjoy your burrito,

 

Jessica

 

 


Doctor Who Announcement: The 12th Doctor

Yesterday the BBC televised a live show announcing the actor who will play the 12th Doctor in the longest running science fiction show in history, Doctor Who. BBC America ran the show live as well, so of course I watched it.  It wouldn’t be the BBC if they didn’t emotionally traumatize viewers before the announcement by running The End of Time in which the 10th Doctor regenerates just before the live announcement…of course, I watched that as well.


The Dresden Files…The TV Mini-Series and the Books…Well, Sort of the Books

Netflix

Netflix (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have I mentioned I discovered Netflix?  I think I did, but let me say again, I LOVE NETFLIX.  Several years ago, I read a handful of books from Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files.  I really liked them.  They had a real noir type of feel to them.  Harry Dresden, was your stereotypical private eye, except he wasn’t.  He was a wizard. (I know, I know.  I read books with magic?  You’re all shocked and amazed.)  Well, I had no idea that in 2006 there was a 13 episode TV Series made about good ole Harry.  Netflix recommended it for me.  Thank you, Netflix.

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The Dresden Files stars Paul Blackthorne as Harry Dresden and Valerie Cruz as Lt. Connie Murphy.  Does that guy look familiar to you?  I spent the first ten minutes of the first episode trying to figure out where I had seen “Harry” before.  No, I did not immediately pull up IMDB….I was having a moment.  Phones, iPad and laptop were not within immediate reach.  Yeah, yeah, the ultimate laziness, I know.  It happens.  Blackthorne now plays Quentin Lance, Laurel Lance’s father in the CW’s Arrow.  

Have you notice how the CW in general and Arrow in specific have some great actors that came from other franchises?  There’s John Barrowman a.k.a. Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood.  Paul Blackthorne from The Dresden Files, Stephen Arnell from Private Practice and The Vampire Diaries, Katie Cassidy from Supernatural…sorry, I got a bit side tracked just thinking about it…and looking at www.imdb.com.  (It’s a rabbit hole, just stay above ground unless you’ve got some time on your hands.)

English: Network logo for The CW Television Ne...

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does, actually he’s the only one out there.  He’s hung his shingle out and his phonebook ad (yes, as in Yellow Pages) reads:

HARRY DRESDEN — WIZARD

Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties or Other Entertainment
Now Harry has some issues with technology.  It isn’t that he doesn’t know how it works, like certain friends and acquaintances of mine, it just doesn’t work around him.  So, Harry is old school.  A good day is when the answering machine didn’t eat the tape.  This is more like my relationship with the GPS than anything else.  (I know how to work them, I just seem to be resistant.  The signal either disappears, is 100 yards behind me, or I’m sent on a wild goose chase.  Now, if I hand the infernal machine to someone else, it works perfectly…..oh, maybe I’m MAGIC!  Okay, maybe not, but it was a nice thought.)  The police, namely Lt. Connie Murphy, call him in to consult when the case takes a turn for the “weird”.  Since business is usually on the side of …. well, for Harry, business generally sucks.  Apparently wizards who don’t do love potions, parties or provide clients with an endless supply of cash just aren’t in high demand, well at least not for clients who can pay.

The Dresden Files are fast paced, interesting and the magic isn’t half bad either.  Admittedly, I was a bit worried about the way they would approach the whole casting spells, etc. for television, but it is really rather well done.  Harry’s wand is a drum stick and his weapon of choice…a magically charged hockey stick.  Well, this is Chicago after all.  The pilot episode is titled Storm Front I’m sure this is no coincidence as the first book in the series bears the same name.  I wish my memory was a bit better, because I’d be able to tell you if this is a True Blood sort of thing where the books just play a loose framework for the show or if they stick pretty close.  Actually, I’m glad I don’t remember, because I’m going back to check out the books again.

Storm Front

Back when I first read the Jim Butcher books, Harry Dresden didn’t really draw me in as a character.  For a girl in her early to mid-twenties, I guess I was looking for books with a bit more…romance maybe?  I don’t know.  I remember reading and really enjoying the first three or four maybe even five books before moving on to another series, but I didn’t commit. (Maybe the no commitment thing was just me in my twenties…)  I think it is time to revisit them.  As mentioned, the first book in the series is Storm Front. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know how it goes.

When I was taking a peek to see how much I really remembered about the books, I came across the audio book…narrated by James Marsters.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Spike is Harry Dresden in the audio books.  (Please remember the accent was faked in Buffy.)  I don’t typically go in for audio books, for some reason I find them distracting, and the stories aren’t nearly as engrossing for me. However, I can see Mr. Marsters being a very believable Harry Dresden.  Maybe I just miss Spike…maybe it’s both.  Well, now I have 15 more books to read….that list really doesn’t ever get shorter.  It just gets longer!

Did you know you can check out my literary “grocery list”?  I’m trying to remember to update my goodreads.com list frequently, so they are all on there and there’s a link on the left hand side of the page near the bottom.  Want to make a recommendation?  Have you read something and know I really shouldn’t bother?  Just want to know WHY something made the list?  Comments, questions, and emails are always welcome.

What is your favorite television show?

‘Til Next Time,

Jessica