Monday, March 30, 2009

GeekTV: Family Guy 1UPs Self with Geekiest episode to date!

The basic plot: Meg gets religion from Kirk Cameron and tries to convert Brian and that pretty funny, but the best part is the "subplot" where Stewie builds a transporter and uses it to kidnap the cast of Star Trek the Next Generation, all voiced by the actual cast! EVERYONE! Including that chick that's famous for dying that one time(Denise Crosby...I think?). Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Micheal Dorn, as anyone who watches Family guy regularly knows, have already guest-cameoed once in this infamous and ridiculously funny scene that is stunningly hard to find on the Internet:

But this is EVERYONE. LaVar Burton, Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis and WILL WHEATON!(He makes me happy. When all the nerdy little boys were drooling over Deanna Troi and crushing on Dr. Crusher, I was oogling the awkward tag-along nerd kid. Possibly the beginning of a pattern. Pity me.)

-Everything that comes out of Patrick Stewart's animated mouth
-The Drive Thru scene
- Random Calvin and Hobbes
-LaVar Burton cursing. Two references to his visor
-Stewie finally settling the whole Picard/Kirk debate
-an awkward and painfully accurate illustration of Trekkie stereotype
-God as Flash Gordon
-totally random New Kids on the Block
-Adam West...nuff said

Am I wrong for wishing that the cast hung out all the time and was actually like this?

Also: Must...smother...urge to...cuddle...animated...Will Wheaton....!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's like they took the darkest, dirtiest parts of my soul and made a movie out of them

Dear baby zombie Jesus and Space Buddha,

I thank you for the bounty that I am about to receive. I promise that I will use this gift and make both you and MST3K proud.


For those of you wondering just what the hell I am so giddy about that has nothing to do with Alan My Beard Has Your Scent Now Moore, I present to you Boogie Town.

Let me assure you that you have not sunk into a Lovecraftian level of madness, and that really is a science-fiction dance-off based retelling of the West Side Story movie actually titled Boogie Town.

I am excited about this movie because I am a hateful, spiteful person. Oh god, everything about this trailer is just magnificent. One of my favorite bits include how they're billing this as a love story, and after about ten seconds of a guy making out with some random chick, the rest of the trailer features the two male characters staring intensely at each other in various rooms in varying levels of closeted homosexuality. Random girl is totally a beard.

Also, battle dancing. So in this ill-defined, science-fiction future of Asian mob families, the only way to survive the vicious, merciless gang wars rests solely on your ability to perform the robot faster and better than your opponent. That and your ability to wear sunglasses with Cylon-esqu red flashing light that in no way makes you look goddamn stupid and/or a giant tool.

So in battle dancing I guess you harness your chi/charkra/whatever term they've decided to appropriate for this movie and are able to propel yourself into mighty leaps of about four feet or knock some fluorescent lights from the ceiling. Obviously, this is a grave problem facing our future's children.

This movie is going to be epically bad, and is the sort of thing that I live for. We all know how much I love to mock things, and the only way for this to be more perfect is if Alan Moore decided to do a series of crazy, bitter interviews about this movie. If that were to happen, I think we can all agree that zombie Jesus exists and he just wants me to be happy.

I don't know about you, guys, but I am may have to see this movie when it ends up going to the dollar theater, because it'll be worth if just for the mocking value alone. And, hey, it's either Boogie Town or Hannah Montana the Movie.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Should the term "nerd" RIP? has an interesting post here about the term nerd and whether we should retire it before it , like many Internet phrases, like "pwned," "FAIL,"and the ever increasingly annoying LOLcats, becomes so overused that even your grandma knows that the hell you're talking about.

The article uses nerd and geek interchangeably , but personally I always thought there was a difference between the two. I defined nerd as having to do more with academics, and geek to be more fannish about things like comic books, video games, blogging, things like that. defines nerd as: "An individual persecuted for his superior skills or intellect, most often by people who fear and envy him"; and geek as someone who "does not have to be smart, a Geek is someone who is generally not athletic, and enjoys Video Games; Comic Books; being on the Internet, and etc." As you can see, there is a lot of of crossover there.

The thing is, this past year has seen a renaissance in all things geek: critical acclaim for The Dark Knight, success of Iron Man, a Watchmen movie finally made and released, more people reading Watchmen, a deluge of comic books movies on the horizon, and the ever increasing popularity of Comic-Con.

If you're reading this blog, I'm assuming you self-identify as a geek. And I'm not using the word "identity" lightly here. Being a geek, or a nerd, very much is an identity. Like any other social order or status, being a geek gives you a sense of self and importance and gives you a peer group and friends with the same interests. Hell, Darcy, Lady Lara Jones, and I are united in our love of comics, video games, movies, books, and the joy of mocking things.

Part of being a geek or a nerd was the idea that you were now part of a group of outcasts that existed outside the mainstream. You may not be "cool" by the standards established by the accepted popular cultures, but you got to feel infinitely superior to those mindless sheep.

But as the article points out, geekdom has been "re-branded out from under us. It's not just the mainstreaming of video games and superhero comics, it's that the whole identity is being reduced to a set of keywords, generational nostalgia and Internet trends that people can reflexively cheer for (monkeys are the next pirates are the next ninjas, pass it on)."

So if geekdom is being accepted into the mainstream and no longer has that outcast aspect to it, where does that leave us geeks? I don't know about any of you, but being a geek is a large part of my identity, and a lot of that had to do with finding your niche outside of what our consumer driven culture tells you what you should look like, want, and believe in (although I do recognize that being a geek has it's own consumer whore-ism aspects to it).

Should the geek community try to take back the terms geek and nerd? Should we let them go gracefully, like the article suggests? Even though geek culture is being celebrated in the media right now, will actual geeks themselves still be the outcasts and misfits and the butt of stereotypical jokes? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

Big thanks for Darcy for sending me this article and poking me into writing this post. You are good at your job of enabling, Darcy.

In contrast to the last two ragey posts...


I present to you, (anyone who doesn't troll the intertubes for trailers like me and hasn't already seen this), the trailer for Spike Jonze's adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

I don't remember being crazy about this book, I'm pretty sure I thought it was scary, I also remember really liking it, so maybe I revisited it later on. In fact I just asked my mother and she told me she had to take it away from me because she thought it was too scary. This was apparently around kindergarten or first grade when I was "sucking up anything I could get my hands on" when it came to books. (like I'm not still doing that.)

I'll have to go find it again and read it before I see this, (and I WILL be seeing it) form a fresh memory.

For any of you more sheltered sobs who have no idea what I speak of, Where the Wild Things is a Caldecott Medal winning children's book (from the 60's, it's that classic) about a little boy named Max who "causes mischief", (chasing the dog with a fork and growling at his mom, the scamp!) and is sent to his room, where from his imagination sprouts the Land of the Wild Things, populated by really big, really scary monsters. He stands his ground against them and becomes the King of the Wild Things (in really cute wolf pajamas). Anyway, I won't even bother to say spoiler warning but he eventually gets homesick and returns home to find dinner waiting for him, hot on the table. There's a moral in there about dealing with anger and learning how to love that's really cute coming from big scary monsters.

The whole story is only about a paragraph long, which makes me think the plot of the movie will be heavily padded, but it didn't win a Caldecott for nuthin' folks. This story is rich and the art is BEAUTIFUL, it holds up even by today's standards. Today wouldn't even HAVE standards if it weren't for this book. If you haven't read it, you should. It won't take up much of your time, and it's a good one to read to any younger siblings or cousins or whatever variation of ankle-biter you have in your life. Get some culture in 'em! Kids now-a-days need to know the classics! Rabble rabble rabble!


So anyway, the movie is set to be released October 16th of this year (2009). The Wild Things will be brought to life with a combination of live action, nine foot tall animatronics and CGI (mostly for thier faces by the looks of it).
The Wild Things are voiced by Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Angus Sampson, Forest Whitaker, Lauren Ambrose, Katherine O'Hara and Paul Dano. Max is played by newcomer Max Records (who from what I hear had to be fought for by Mr. Jonz)

Lets hope this is one of those times the Nerd Fairy smiles upon us and delivers something amazing.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This is the suffering I was talking about. What happened to you, pop culture? You USED to be cool!

Cartoon Network Grows Up, Abandons Cartoons
By Graeme McMillan, 10:30 AM on Thu Mar 26 2009,

Is Cartoon Network about to head the way of the Sci Fi Channel? More than half of the shows for next season aren't cartoons... but that doesn't mean that they won't be awesome. Cartoon Network has long been a home for the quietly wonderful, whether it's Powerpuff Girls or Batman: The Brave and The Bold, and amongst the various reality shows (No, really) and Scooby Doo reboots, there are three new series that have caught our sci-fi eye:Ben 10: Evolutions continues CN's favorite
superhero franchise into another series, as Teen Titans' Glen Murakami and
Justice League's Dwayne McDuffie give us a world where Ben Tennyson is now 16 and an "international mega-star super-hero," according to the network. But that's just the excuse for generational clashes as the kids love him and the
adults want to control him. It's just like your childhood... but with superpowers!

Generator Rex is also from Man of Action, the collective who created Ben 10, and stars a teenage boy who's become infected by "molecular-altering nanites" that let him grow machines out of his body, and his worldwide mission to track down others infected by the same nanites.

Sym-Bionic Titan is easily the most exciting show; the new series from Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky, it's described as a mix of "high school drama and giant robot battles," and centers around three aliens who try and escape their wartorn planet, only to become stranded on Earth. I foresee well-animated carnage ahead.

It's not only new shows that'll fill the network come September; the network also
announced new seasons of Clone Wars, The Secret Saturdays and, thankfully, Batman: The Brave and The Bold. A full list of the shows announced can be found here. As for the increasing amount of non-cartoons on the network, Stuart Snyder, the COO of parent company Turner Broadcasting's kids division, explained in a very unconvincing manner: Our voice is changing... This is an evolution of our brand.

Dear Cartoon Network: Your brand is cartoons. While you may be going
through brand puberty, that doesn't change the fact that non-cartoons
theoretically doesn't belong with your brand at all. Still, at least we'll have
new Batman....


Oh. My. God.

Good News! They are continuing shows like Batman: The Brave and the Bold, (which, if you dare call yourself a Batman fan and you aren't watching it, then you are officially LAME. It's one of the Bat-nerdiest shows I've watched in a very very long time. My love for this show cannot be textually rendered.) and giving us new shows from creators like Glen Murakami , Dwayne McDuffie & Genndy Tartakovsky, who are all amazo to the power of squee!
Bad news! Like MTV and, more recently, the SciFi Channel, (I refuse to acknowledge that name change) the Cartoon Network is abandoning its purpose under the guise of re-branding. Your network is called THE CARTOON NETWORK. You should show cartoons! If I want live action I will go watch some other channel! Perhaps the Live Action Kids Show Channel! Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel are currently penning the market on horrible live action sitcoms aimed at stupid kids with coporate logos sewn into the lining of their brains. I come to you, Cartoon Network for tolerable entertainment! (I can set aside that I, an adult woman, in no way represent your target market, but c'mon.) Some of your current programming is even surfing the crest of a new wave of cartoons that aren't COMPLETE HORSESHIT. (Pardon me as I wax nostalgic about the good ol' days of Batman the Animated Series and Rocko's Modern Life and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Inspector Gadget and Darkwing Duck and yes, even Captain freakin' Planet!)

I can at least commend you for not spitting in the face of your audience like the SciFi people are.

Oh wait, no I cant. Pacifying the stockholders through banality and homogeny. Great.

I do not understand this growing media trend of taking what your brand is known for, standing up, facing your audience, pulling down your pants and taking a giant crap on your product, right in front of everyone. Next Comedy Central is gonna start showing Oscar winning tear-jerkers and the Spike Channel will have a Golden Girls Marathon every Saturday night! I don't get it. Someone please explain it to me. Before I go mad.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

He's THE Baker

This past weekend I went to see a $4 dollar movie (which is all I can afford. Remember the ramen. Remember day after day after day of eating ramen noodles. Oh god) from the UK and luckily for me it was absolutely adorable. No, seriously, if this movie was a fluffy bunny it would be one of those freakish fifteen pound Flemish rabbits that I would snuggle every day even though I would fear it would pull a Monty Python on me and bite my legs off. That, uh, that analogy may have gotten away from me at the end.

The movie is The Baker starring Damian Lewis, who is brilliant and and amazing, as usual.

Lewis plays Milo, a hitman who wants more out of his life. I have to say, after watching Life, it was sort of disconcerting to listen to Lewis speaking with his native British accent. Mmm redheaded British Damian Lewis. Oh, also, if you're not watching Life, which is also brilliant and funny, and it ends up getting canceled than I am will personally blame every single one of you. Yes, even you.
I just sort of want to lick him. Don't you judge me.

Back to The Baker. After it's discovered that Milo no longer kills his targets, he goes to ground in the Welsh village of Gwyndd, and becomes the town's new baker, hence the title. The townspeople, all Appropriately Quirky, figure out he's a hitman and keep attempting to hire him to kill each other to settle old grudges. They do this by ordering cakes, while Milo thinks they just want cakes.

There's a romantic subplot with town vet Rhiannon, played by the fabulous Kate Ashley. There's also Eggs, a young kid who thinks he's training to be an assistant with Milo. Eggs is like an excitable puppy that piddles on the rug and chases its own tail.

Then there's Bjorn, who is another hitman who's tracking Milo to take him out. Bjorn is played by Nikola Coster-Waldau, and he manages to take a character that could be an offensive caricature and make Bjorn another one of the oddball characters who populate the movie (although I do have some quibbles with the character). Also, Coster-Waldau totally saved one line and made everyone in the theater laugh with it. Also, it doesn't hurt that he's pretty.

I sort of want to lick him too. Still don't judge me.

So of course it's revealed that Milo is a hitman, and Rhiannon freaks out and they fight, which takes place after they have a messy and funny sex scene in a kitchen where they are covered in all manners of food. Mmm food covered Damian Lewis.

Bjorn kidnaps Rhiannon, Milo goes to save her, there's a sword fight and fist fight, the town rallies around their baker, and they all live happily ever after.

It's not a long movie, barely clocking in at an hour and half, but it is funny and well acted. Actually, being any longer would have been a detriment because there is no way to extend this silly plot for two hours.

It's not a perfect movie. There were some things I had a problem with, like there was only one other female character besides Rhiannon, and she was portrayed as an emasculating shrew, who wasn't mourned when she died. In fact, her death was portrayed as a good thing, but overall it was a fun, light hearted comedy.
The romance was sweet and not cloying or irritating, and Lewis once again proves he has acting chops as he goes from being funny and idiotic to serious, and, did I mention at one point he's in a sleeveless shirt and covered in flour? Because he is.

Oh, and don't forget the exploding sheep.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Prince of Shut the Hell Up!

I realize that I said that your real post was coming about a week ago, but in my defense it was ridiculously complicated to get my ass back to Chicago, although I did get upgraded to first class. There was then involved and I may have still been a teensy bit drunk when I had to go to my class and learn about Carthusian monks and their vow of silence. I think my professor was daring me to fall asleep. But you don't read this for a recap of silent monks, but for mocking, so let's get moving.

I don’t own a PS3. I am a grad student, who lives on a diet of ramen noodles and am this close to getting scurvy, so a $300 console is a little bit beyond my means. My hetero lifemate, however, has a PS3, and she lets me mooch off her because she is a good man-wife. So this past Christmas break I played the new Prince of Persia Game.

I loved the first three, and the The Two Thrones is my favorite for the dark prince, who is snarky and bitchy and, thus, more interesting and I love him. It was interesting to see what they were going to do with this new installment to the series, if it was going to be a simple reboot or if they were going to take it in a new direction.

It’s a new direction, featuring a new prince and may or may not take place in Persia. I’m going to try to be as spoiler-free as possible, but in my zest for mocking things I may slip up, so just be wary.

The game itself is pretty damn good looking. It’s cell shaded and takes place on an enormous world platform. The character designs, more on that later, are pretty nice, and the basic moves are the same: wall run, magical leaping abilities, some really fucking annoying puzzles that make you wish for the sweet embrace of death.

The story line is that the prince (oh god, the prince), runs into Elika, the princess of some city whose name I forget. Apparently she’s this high priestess of Orman, and has to go around healing the land to re-trap Ahriman (and the pronunciation of this is just WRONG), the standard run of the mill demon who wants to enslave humanity, blah blah blah. The prince gets shanghaied into this, and throughout the course of the story you learn more about him and Elena, as they grow closer.

Of the series, I have to say that this newest installment is the easiest. Elika, as super magical priestess, will not let you die. That means if you fall off a cliff or miss a jump or wall run, she’ll pull you back to the last platform. If you’re like me and get frustrated with the characters and deliberately kill them to make yourself feel better, you’re out of luck in this game. Which is too bad because the prince gets really damn annoying.

Remember how in the other games you would run around like an idiot for an hour trying to find your way out of one room? Yeah, not a problem in this game. Elena has this magical glowing sperm homing spell that shows you the way.

I dare you to tell me that doesn’t look like a magical, glowing sperm. Dare you!

There is a new aspect to the game: the prince has a claw thing that allows you to slide down walls and do this weird ceiling crawl, which freaks me out. Anything man-sized scuttling around with a bug is freaky.
In fights, you can do some nifty combos with Elika, but in all the battles get repetitive. You fight four main bosses, five times each, and in the case of the Concubine, it’s irritating because she never STOPS TALKING. Each of the bosses adds a little effect to make running around a little more perilous: the Concubine sends weird bird bugs things after you, which knocks you off walls and what not, and there’s moving blobs of darkness that suck you in, and tentacles that flail out from the wall. So hunting the bosses down gets a little bit tricker.

After you restore each of these “fertile grounds,” which you need to do to stop Ahriman, the landscape changes from dark and depressing grays and blacks to warm colors, and it’s quite pretty.
After each of these fertile grounds are restored, you have to collect these light seeds to open new areas to explore, and is an irritating time consuming part of that game that you could totally do without.

You open new areas by unlocking these magic panels, which are more ridiculous than anything. One makes you fly, in a not cool at all way, two make you leap about like Lord of the Dance, and the last you can run up walls. In execution, I’m pretty sure it’s not as amazing as the game designers thought it would be in the brainstorming stage.

At a certain point in the game it becomes clear how it’s going to end, and I don’t want to spoil it for you so I won’t say what it is. I don’t like the ending because it basically negates everything you did up until then, but does nicely set up the sequels. Now let’s talk about the characters.

Elika: At first I was worried she was going to be like Farah: unplayable, pretty much useless, but not terribly annoying. I was happily proven wrong. While you can’t control Elika directly, you can use her in your combos, and she is your saving angel, sort of serving the function the Dagger of Time did. But beyond that, she’s a well-rounded, developed character. Also, look what she’s wearing!

When's the last time you saw a woman in the video game wearing actual clothes? Her boobs aren't in the danger of popping out to say HI! And pants! She's wearing actual pants! Not any of these pantie weird leggings crap but pants! Sure, she doesn't have on shoes, which is sort of sketchy in a Hey! She's from the desert! They have no need of shoes! race wise way for me, but still, well done with resisting the blatant T&A.

Character wise, she's very dedicated and strong and brave, even when she's knows what the consequences are. Compared to the Prince of Whine, she should be the titular character. And she's more engaging than the prince, which leads me to him. Look what I did there with the segue.

Hi, I'm a giant tool!

So the prince in this is, well, as my friend put it, "Oh god, is he trying to be Indiana Jones?" They tried to make him a smart-ass, who got sucked into this quest and makes snarky comments and is rugged and manly and blah blah, but good god is he annoying. There were a few moments where he got a "heh" out of me, but mainly he was just really damn irritating, and the voice actor didn't sell most of the lines.

Also, what the hell, voice actor and writers? While the games all take place at some nebulous time in the past, I think we can all agree that no characters should be talking like the dude at the corner 711. In the first three games at the least the voice actor had a little bit of an accent (which, okay, sure was sort of British), and the word choice and syntax echoed more formal speaking of the past (again, sort of reminiscent of Victorian England), but in this game they've given up all pretenses of that.

Who cares about speech and accents when we can just make them as white as possible? Cultural appropriation is fun!

At one point the prince is all infected by the weird dark puddle water crap, and I had high hopes they were going to rehash The Two Thrones and have a schizo voice, who just snarks and makes fun of the prince, but unfortunately that was not the case and I had to suffer through more of the prince's retarded and endless prattling.

Fortunately, Elika does some nice snarking of her own, and doesn't hesitate to make fun of the prince and call him on his endless bullshit. Elika saves the game.

I blew through the entire game in about three days, so it's not difficult. It's not a great game, but if you can overcome the urge to smash the prince's face in, it's a nice way to waste an afternoon. And just think of all the sequels we get to spend with the Prince of Whine who makes bad life decisions. Than god Elika and her awesomness is there to cancel out his whiny, inane failed snark.
Of course I will play the other games for I am a consumer whore. A sad, mocking comsumer whore.

On this edition of WTF!?

March 16, 2009 12:01 AM

Sci Fi Channel Aims to Shed Geeky Image With New Name
‘Syfy’ Will Announce Name Change, Other Plans at Upfront
By Jon Lafayette

In some universe, the name “Syfy” is less geeky than the name “Sci Fi.” Dave Howe, president of the Sci Fi Channel, is betting it’s this one.

To that end, the 16-year-old network—owned by NBC Universal—plans to announce that Syfy is its new name March 16 at its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York.
“What we love about this is we hopefully get the best of both worlds,” Mr. Howe said. “We’ll get the heritage and the track record of success, and we’ll build off of that to build a broader, more open and accessible and relatable and human-friendly brand.”

Sci Fi is coming off the best year in its history. In primetime it ranked 13th in total viewers among ad-supported cable networks in 2008. It’s a top-10 network in both adults 18 to 49 (up 4%) and adults 25 to 54 (up 6%).

During its fourth-quarter earnings call, parent General Electric said Sci Fi racked up a double-digit increase in operating earnings despite the beginnings of the recession.

Nevertheless, there was always a sneaking suspicion that the name was holding the network back.

“The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular,” said TV historian Tim Brooks, who helped launch Sci Fi Channel when he worked at USA Network.

Mr. Brooks said that when people who say they don’t like science fiction enjoy a film like “Star Wars,” they don’t think it’s science fiction; they think it’s a good movie.

“We spent a lot of time in the ’90s trying to distance the network from science fiction, which is largely why it’s called Sci Fi,” Mr. Brooks said. “It’s somewhat cooler and better than the name ‘Science Fiction.’ But even the name Sci Fi is limiting.”

Mr. Howe said going to Syfy will make a difference.

“It gives us a unique word and it gives us the opportunities to imbue it with the values and the perception that we want it to have,” he said.

In terms of television, the new brand better reflects that the channel has programs that are not about the typical sci-fi themes of space, aliens and the future.

“We really do want to own the imagination space,” Mr. Howe said. “We want to get the credit for the range of content that we already have on our air and that we’ll be doing more of in the future.”

Mr. Howe said Sci Fi looks at its branding every couple of years. He added that when new executives join the network, they usually ask if it has ever thought about changing the name.

The network worked with the branding consultancy Landor Associates and went through about 300 possibilities before selecting Syfy.

“When we tested this new name, the thing that we got back from our 18-to-34 techno-savvy crowd, which is quite a lot of our audience, is actually this is how you’d text it,” Mr. Howe said. “It made us feel much cooler, much more cutting-edge, much more hip, which was kind of bang-on what we wanted to achieve communication-wise.”

The network plans to make the changeover July 7, when it will launch the new series “Warehouse 13.”

The series, about a secret government facility in South Dakota where all mysterious relics and supernatural souvenirs are housed, is emblematic of the channel’s programming direction.

“It is a dramedy and it is set in the here and now. It’s a kind of an Indiana Jones meets ‘Moonlighting’ meets ‘The X-Files,’” Mr. Howe said. “This is a very accessible, relatable, fun show.”

The network will begin briefing cable operators about the transition this week and plans a trade ad campaign in April as part of the upfront. The new campaign will use the slogan “Imagine Greater,” which Mr. Howe thinks will resonate with both consumers and media buyers.

“It’s a call to action,” he said. “Look at the everyday and how you can turn it to the extraordinary. It’s an aspirational, optimistic message about enhancing people’s lives.”

Mr. Howe said the international Sci Fi channels will transition to the new name over the next six to 12 months.

Web site also will make the change to

Sci Fi has been working to branch out from being simply a linear cable network to become a hub of businesses operating in the imagination under the Sci Fi Ventures banner.

“We need an umbrella brand we can attach to new businesses: Sci Fi games, Sci Fi kids. It does no use to attach ‘Sci Fi’ because there’s hundreds of sci-fi Web sites and sci-fi publications. So it’s changing your name without changing your name,” Mr. Howe said.

Sci Fi also will be unveiling some of its programming and development plans at its upfront.

But one key venture it won’t discuss is its work with Trion Worldwide to create content designed from the beginning to work on multiple platforms. Mr. Howe said the network is close to announcing a title and description of the project, which will launch as both a subscription-based, massively multiplayer online game and a television series.

A writer has been assigned to the project. The idea is to have the show completely synchronized so that when events happen in the show, they are reflected in the game, and vice versa.

“Because it’s a server-based game, as the storylines evolve in the TV series, so the game echoes that,” Mr. Howe said. “It’s a completely, uniquely interactive 24-7 immersive entertainment experience.”

He’s seen some “amazing demos” from Trion of the graphics and how the world will be built out.

“What that launches, it truly is the next evolution in dynamic storytelling,” Mr. Howe said.


Ok so I can understand the need or want to re-brand, or re-invent your corporate identity from time to time. It's a good idea to refresh every now and again, ask Madonna. But this is just, to put it simply, STUPID. Maybe they should've gotten a different PR guy to do this interview, maybe then I wouldn't be grinding my teeth. I have a sneaking idea that if I ever see David Howe in the street I will have to fight the urge to have words him, and by that I mean push him in front of a bus. (Violence solves everything, kids.) What gives you the idea that alienating almost THE ENTIRETY of your fan base with insulting broad generalizations like the one quoted below is gonna be good for business?

“The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular,”

“We spent a lot of time in the ’90s trying to distance the network from science fiction, which is largely why it’s called Sci Fi,” Mr. Brooks said. “It’s somewhat cooler and better than the name ‘Science Fiction.’ But even the name Sci Fi is limiting.”
What the hell kind of way is that to treat your audience!? If you aren't going to base your product around Science Fiction, DON'T CALL IT SCI-FI, OR ANYTHING THAT SOUNDS LIKE SCI-FI. If you want to change your image, your product, your freaking mission statement? Fine. But don't treat the people you are marketing to like idiots. You came right out and said it. You don't want to market to geeks, losers, and nerds? Your loss, brother. We've got the money. Whatever. Take the cash you'll save by not producing D-movies every week or the rights to the syndication of shows like Heroes and Battlestar Galactica and buy yourselves a clue.

The network worked with the branding consultancy Landor Associates and went through about 300 possibilities before selecting Syfy.

“When we tested this new name, the thing that we got back from our 18-to-34 techno-savvy crowd, which is quite a lot of our audience, is actually this is how you’d text it,” Mr. Howe said. “It made us feel much cooler, much more cutting-edge, much more hip, which was kind of bang-on what we wanted to achieve communication-wise.”

So instead of going to your fans, your meal ticket with your marketing equivalent of a Dear John letter, you go ask some "techno-savvy" hipsters? Quite a lot of your audience are the people you just decided you want nothing to do with! You wanna put out MMO's and "video games and stuff" based on your new, anti-geek identity? Wow. It's like the Sci-Fi channel turned into the guy who just ditched all his real friends for the cool kids table. Did we stumble into an 80's after school special and I missed it? I feel like a sad metal key-tar riff should be playing in the background as the Sci-Fi channel looks back with regret over it's acid-wash-denim clad shoulder and then plunks its plastic cafeteria tray down next to a bo-hunk in a letterman jacket and two girls with giant hair chewing bubble gum and giggling obnoxiously. Congrats SyFy, you're hip now. Hope that new fan base works out for yah. Hipsters and normals right? A notoriously fickle group. You're ditching Geeks and Nerds, a group famous for loyalty that borderlines on a disorder, for them? Best. Idea. Evs.

(BTW, what 300 other options did we sift through to get to SyFy? The language of text outside of the forum of texting is NOT COOL. AT ALL. EVER. )

And what's this crap about lumping all us females in with the "normals"? Girls don't like Sci-fi? (insert keyboard mashy rage ranting here)

What the hell is wrong with being a geek!? We practically rule the entertainment industry right now, iron fist style. Media is catering to us left right and center with web content, explosive DVD extras, viral advertising and casts that embrace their fandoms with gusto. (Even the scary ones.) Web TV shows and short films are exploding all over the internet; shows and movies made exclusively for us, by us. The industry is embracing us right now and we're lapping it up. We determine what's cool in show business now and you, SyFy, don't think we're cool?

Speaking as a dysfunctional anti-social GIRL in my mother's basement with video games and stuff, I am officially boycotting the SyFy channel. What an insulting crock.

Can no longer blog, as am blind with rage.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Clash of Nerd Titans

For those of you who've often wondered what it looks like when two awesome things are put across an unnecessarily large table from each other, I give you Stephen Colbert and Neil (The Anti-Alan Moore) Gaiman!

Two things.
~Neil Gaiman matching Colbert's nerdy lit references and subtle mocking fills me with geeky glee unparalleled by anything I can think of off the top of my head right this second.
~Stephen Colbert quoting Tolkien's (stunningly boring) Tom Bombadill poem is hands down the sexiest thing I've ever witnessed on television.

Why, oh dear and fluffy Space Buddah, does this kind of thing not happen EVERYDAY!?

Gaiman is pimping his latest attempt to rob the children of the world (and me) of sleep, the (Newbury Award Winning) Graveyard Book. I wasn't as terrified by this book as I was by Coraline, but it was a close second. Go read it, or the Jacks will get you.

Bonus content: the Graveyard Book website held an Epitaph Contest. I think, as nerds, you will appreciate the contributions of the winners:

Douglas Warren
Holy Crap!
The Mayans Were Right!
Jim Grayson
It was pitch black.
He was eaten by a grue.
Here lies Susanne.

Here lies Susanne.

Here lies Sus—DAMMIT!

Here lie—ARRRRGH.

This time we used a stake

Monday, March 16, 2009

"The Fight for Justice and Human Acceptance."

Remember the X Men Animated Series? Well I do, and I am excited to say that rumors have begun circulating the net (as well as an official statement from Disney) that the series is going to have a limited test release on DVD to see how the show will do. Disney has the distribution rights since they fully acquired all of Saban’s programming (and with it a lot of random shows, including Power Rangers).

For a comic-book follower of X-Men, this series was nine levels of awesome. The art is based on Jim Lee’s artistic interpretations (especially appearance of the main team). Much of the comic book storyline is featured throughout the run of the series and there were TONS of awesome cameos by non-regular characters whenever the show got the chance. I personally was the most excited when Nightcrawler and Archangel showed up. Also, the Dark Phoenix saga rocks! But let me not get too far off on a tangent here. There is A LOT to say about this show.

X Men had no problem dealing with some pretty intense content for a Saturday morning cartoon. The obvious subjects of racism and discrimination were frequently tackled, along with other alluded topics such as the Holocaust (since Magneto survived it), Christianity, and the AIDS epidemic. Stan Lee said, when interviewed, “It is one of the best selling, if not the best selling, group of comic books in the world, and I think that says something about the fact that people are basically good, and they basically agree that prejudice is bad… And they enjoy what it is we’re saying, of course we’re saying it in a very exciting way but the message is there and they’re getting it…”

In the first episode they had no qualms about killing off Morph, something that rarely occurred in your average Saturday morning cartoon, let alone in the first episode! “Night of the Sentinels” is a fantastic introduction into one of the best animated series to ever run for a Marvel series. They had me hooked when I was a kid and first saw it, and when Darci and I went back and watched my old Pizza Hut tapes (which I got from the Book It Program, remember that?) we were hooked all over again.
The second set of episodes (Enter Magneto and Deadly Reunions) brings us Magneto and his crew of mutants.

Great quotes include:
“I go… where I wanna go!” – Wolverine.
“Pick a card, any card!” – Gambit.
“I hate machines!” – Jubilee.
“Have a seat, sugah.” – Rogue.
“Unidentified mutants…ignore.” – Sentinel.
“Time to blow this joint!” – Jubilee.
“Miss me, Petite? I reckon so.” – Gambit.
“Does a mall babe eat chili fries?” – Jubilee. (I dunno, does one, Jubilee?)
“My trial serves a purpose. It shall prove my innocence, and the righteousness of our cause.” – Beast.
“Are these the people whose laws you trust? They don’t seem to share your sense of brotherhood…Our mutant powers make us superior. THAT is why they fear us!” - Magneto.
"All right, you egg-suckin' piece of gutter trash! You always did like pushin' around people smaller than you! Well I'M smaller! Try pushin' me!" - Wolverine.
"Magnus, your violence will solve nothing. We must use our special gifts to bring peace to mankind." - Charles/Professor X. "You're a fool, Charles! Look at them, they can't even make peace with each other!" - Magneto.
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but tanks will never hurt me." - Juggernaut.

And who could forget the epic theme song they had for their introduction? It was a guitar-shredding good time that certainly fit with the early 90’s influences that were fully embedded into the show. That yellow spandex…ugh…lol.

And now, for your enjoyment. The original cartoon opening, and then the two Japanese openings that ran in the early 90s. Heck yeah, nostalgia.
Lady Laura Jones.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My new favorite shows that I haven't even seen yet. OR the Blessings of Sweet Merciful Nerd Buddah rain upon us!

Here's what Comedy Central says about this new show:

British comedic icon Matt Lucas ("Little Britain") is set to join Sean Maguire ("Meet the Spartans") and the talented ensemble cast of COMEDY CENTRAL's epic new series "Kröd Mändoon and The Flaming Sword of Fire," the all-comedy network's first foray into fantasy-comedy. Recently wrapping production in Budapest, Hungary, the series is set to premiere on Apirl 9th, 2009.

India de Beaufort ("Run, Fatboy, Run"), Steve Speirs ("Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"), Kevin Hart ("Fool's Gold"), Emmy Award-nominated John Rhys-Davies ("The Lord of the Rings"), James Murray ("Primeval") and Marques Ray ("Nick Cannon Presents: Wild 'N Out") round out this exceptional ensemble cast.

"After a long and extensive search, we are thrilled to lock in the perfect cast for this unique series that is best described as 'Monty Python' meets 'The Princess Bride,'" said Lauren Corrao, president, original programming and development, COMEDY CENTRAL. "Each talented actor brings their distinctive voice to these well-crafted, hilarious characters that inhabit the world that is Kröd Mändoon."

"Kröd Mändoon and The Flaming Sword of Fire" is a groundbreaking action-comedy that is equal parts workplace comedy and sword and sorcery fun. An outrageous, live-action, character-driven show set in an ancient fantasy realm, the series follows reluctant hero Kröd Mändoon (Maguire), a thin-skinned and underconfident freedom fighter, who is the last great hope in the struggle against the evil ruler, Chancellor Dongalor (Lucas). To help fight the great fight, Kröd has assembled a band of remarkably ineffectual freedom fighters: Aneka (de Beaufort), the beautiful Pagan warrioress whose weapon of choice is sex, Loquasto (Speirs), the oafish servant with bad aim, Zezelryck (Hart), the young warlock whose greatest magical gift is spinning BS, and Bruce (Ray), who's simply fabulous. Together, they must overcome a myriad of evil obstacles in their quest to save the world, including name-calling, hired assassins and bad hair days.

Here's what I have to say about Comedy Central's new show:

(There's no depth to my shallowness)
Really, they had me at Flaming Sword of Fire. Fantasy dramas are a genre that just cant be mocked enough. Plus I love the idea that the sole female character's weapon of choice is sex. Thats just...I dunno is it brilliant or sad? We shall see!

Here also is a short interview from Wizard Magazine with the shows (magnificantly handsome) star, Sean Maguire.

5 Questions with Sean Maguire
The gift of Frank Miller's "300" just keeps on giving for Sean Maguire: After the actor was cast as a faux Leonidas in the 2008 spoof "Meet the Spartans," Comedy Central phoned with an offer to don the sandals again for "Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire," a slightly less manic -but no less amusing- riff on the fantasy genre that premieres April 9th at 10pm EST.
While waiting on news of a series pick-up, Maguire spoke with Wizard on working with Olivier, shooting in Hungary and being a medieval metrosexual.

Wizard: You just did "Meet the Spartans," another fantasy comedy, before "Krod" came across your desk. Did you want to just chuck it?
Maguire:I did. That's exactly what happened. Didn't even read it. My agents were like "Just read it. It's full of things you like." It reminded me of "Black Adder" and "Life of Brian" and things like that. There's no breaking the fourth wall. I thought it could be really good if it was in the right hands.
Krod is the anti-Conan-very self-conscious at times, and concerned with how he's percieved.
He's a really heroic warrior who's great in battle and all of that, but he also has these male metrosexual issues, this Woody Allen-esque nebbishness. I couldn't get my head around how to bring the elements together. The director said, "I think we need to think of him mor like an Indiana Jones. Funny things happen around him, and he's the nucleus who keeps it on track." We thought, "How would Indiana do it?" It sounds silly, but we found it useful.
You shot in Hungary for three months. Did the cast ever get on your nerves?
Taking yourself away from home and being in the midst of Hungary, where you only have each other, will either kill you as a cast or make you a really tight bunch. Luckliy for us, it was the latter. We had a tight group that really got on. I think that played a bigger part in what you see onscreen than the brick and mortar of the castle. But Kevin Hart (Zezelryck) and I once had a huge shouting match about the most innocuous, ridiculous thing at five in the morning. We both left screaming at each other. Five minutes later I saw him. I said, "Sorry," he said, "Sorry." We were laughing together a half-hour later.
How long did it take you to realize "Krod" is actually "dork" spelled backward?
It's so embarassing. I think I found out about two weeks ago. The thing is, it's one of those things where if the show is liked, you wont be able to imagine it being called anything else. But the name was a much-debated issue as was the accent, whether it was to be American or English. I thought for a long time it should be English. After discussion and trying it different ways, we wanted it to be American. Making him British might've softened him a bit too much.
You worked with the great Laurence Olivier when you were 5 years old. Was he nice to you?
He was very sweet, gentlemanly old man. I remember my dad saying , "You behave. He's the best actor in the world." I was like. "What? Best actor in the actor in the world? He's not in 'Star Wars." *JR
Ok so, glee-gasms aside, this show looks really funny. Hope it gets picked up!

In other squee-riffic news!


It's as easy as A-B-C as the popular Vertigo comic gets an hour-long pilot for the alphabetical network
By Steve Sunu
Posted 12/8/2008
'FABLES' TAKES TO TELEVISION announced today that Fables, the popular DC/Vertigo title by Bill Willingham, is in the works for an hour-long pilot to air on ABC.

Penning the pilot are "Six Degrees" creators and executive producers Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner with David Semel directing.

"This is a deal that we've known about for a while now and we've been keeping it very hush-hush," Willingham told Wizard today. "I know that several first versions of the script have been done and according to Ivan Cohen at DC, the latest is just marvelous."

In terms of characters, writers Zicherman and Metzner have already confirmed that both Snow White and Bigby Wolf will have similar roles to their Vertigo counterparts.

For more details, check out and keep checking out for more details.

Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! YAY! Please don't let this be a tease that never gets up off the ground!
For anyone who doesn't know, Fables is a FANTASTIC series about characters from various and sundry fairy tales like Snow White and Rose Red, Prince Charming, Pinnochio and the Big Bad Wolf are all residents of a hidden part of New York fleeing from their original fairytale homes after the mysterious Adversary and his army drive them all out. The character interactions and imaginativeness of the author is MIND BLOWING. (Plus I've always been a fan of fractured fairy-tales) Don't wait for the TV show! (Pray to the Space Buddah that they do it right) Go read it, right now!

Yup, Still Haunted

Time for a drive-by posting. I am currently hanging out in Virginia Beach for the next couple of days, which decided to go from 75 and sunny to 40 and rainy just for my visit (and don't think I don't know you're behind this, Alan Moore! You and your beard!) and am thus being even lazier than usual. Which, basically means I am one very small step away from evolving into a banana slug.

But I digress. You have a real post coming soon, but until then I have to tell you that you have to get out of here! Why? Well, your vagina is haunted, of course!

Let us not forget this gem from Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose:

And now the Internets, being the the great thing that they are, have picked up this idea and run with it. Head on over to Haunted Daily to marvel at all the haunted vaginas, and don't forget to join in before it's too late: you're vagina might be haunted even as we speak. Now get out of here!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

AlanMooremas: Like Christmas only with a 83% higher chance of a zombie apoclaypse

I did go and see Watchmen this weekend, but I'm not going to post my thoughts on it just yet, mostly because it would turn something like "FLAILY HANDS RORSCHACH RORSCHACH'S ARMS OH DAN SERIOUSLY JEH BE MORE ADORABLE" for about five pages and I don't think any of us wants that.

I will say that I think it was very good (except for some quibbles my hardcore inner geek wouldn't shut up about), and I think this is the best possible movie adaptation you could do for Watchmen. For non-geeks, I think it will be hard to follow and figure out the point of the narrative. I made my roommate come with me to see it, and she hasn't read the graphic novel, and she had a lot of questions for me at the end. Also, let me say it's impossible to describe the original ending without using the phrase "giant vagina squid monster." Trust me, I tried.

Also, I think the opening credits parts with the images was my favorite part.

Since Darcy and Lady Lara Jones already did their AlanMooremas posts, I am ridiculously behind, especially considering Alan Moore is bitter, crazy, soul-killing candy to me. For those of you who are wondering that AlanMooremas is, I'll let Randy from Something Positive explain it to you:

"And don't forget! Today is AlanMooremas! Go see The Watchmen. Then put your ticket stub under your pillow. If you've been a good boy or girl, Alan Moore will leave copies of Top 10 under your pillow. If you've been bad, he'll pull a coin out of your ear - then fucking choke you with it. Actually, even if you've been good, he'll probably kill you because you went to see The Watchmen movie. Seriously, I'm scared of Alan Moore."

Please tell me I don't actually have to put another picture here of Alan Moore's terrifying bearded visage here. I'm beginning to fear that I've collected so many pictures of him that they they're gaining sentience and will soon take over my computer. I have got to quarantine that folder.

In honor of AlanMooremas, I've decided to do another installment of the Absolutely, Non-Slanderous, Completely True Facts About Alan Moore. Educating all of you wee fanboys and fangirls about what to expect in the inevitable Alan Moorepocalypse.

1. When he's having trouble sleeping, Alan Moore's beard makes him a cup of chamomile tea and sings lullabies to him until he falls asleep.

2. Alan Moore's beard has a lovely singing voice that to hear is like listening to angels crooning sweet nothings in your ear. Of course, this is just the beard lulling you into a false sense of security before it ATTACKS.

3. To calm down, Alan Moore goes off to hunt elk.

4. To keep him from overthrowing the government using just his old man bearded bitterness, the UK Parliament imports elks for Alan Moore to hunt in an undisclosed location in Scotland (on Google Earth, it's just a black hole that sucks in all light).

5. Alan Moore hates AlanMooremas.

6.This is what Alan Moore got married in:

I have nothing to say about this, because that outfit says it all, in a loud, rude voice that implies you have an inappropriate relationship with your mother.

7. Alan Moore's beard looks the way it does because Alan Moore lovingly uses an elk antler to brush it a thousand times every night.

8. By 2021, scientists hope to have found a way to harness Alan Moore's bitterness, thus solving the energy crisis. Although, side product of bitterness energy is that you stop loving all other living beings. Also, you spontaneously sprout a majestic, killer beard.

9. Whatever you do, don't look into Alan Moore's eyes. That's how he makes you fall in love with him, and when that happens, you are lost.

10. When all the absolutely, non-slanderous, completely true facts about have Alan Moore have been reported, that is when Alan Moore will come for us all. That wil be the end.

Come join the AlanMooremas festivities! Let everyone know moree facts about Alan Moore! After all, it is only a matter of time before he comes for us...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Because I'm the Last to Post about Alan Moore Here...

Apparently I'm the only one who hasn't posted about Alan Moore yet on the blog, so I've decided to open up my first post about the bearded genius with a webcomic that Danicus sent me on facebook today.

You can find the ultra-hilarious cartoon here...

But I've also pasted it in for your convenience.

Let the laughter begin.
Lady Laura Jones

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Dollhouse, Or O JOSS WHEDON NO

As (threatened) promised, here are my thoughts on Dollhouse. Even worse, they are some thinky thoughts. I am rather conflicted about this show, for reasons that I will get into further along in this post. There are going to be spoilers, so you might want to proceed with caution if you're trying to catch up with the show.

The premise of Dollhouse is that "actives" are individuals whose original personalities have been wiped so that they can be programmed with new traits and personalities that match the clients' needs. After each mission, they are wiped back to what the show refers to as the "tabla rasa" state, which means that they're sort of child-like and lounge around in as little clothes as possible (at least the women), and hangout in the world's greatest spa. They have handlers they trust implicitly, no matter what personality they're programmed with. Oh, also, there's some awesome consensual issues I'm going to be getting to do later.
If you can't tell by the feminism tag down there I'm going to be addressing some of the scuzzy gender issues on the show. If this isn't your thing, feel free to join the Alan Mooremas celebrations (and, yes, I will be participating for Mooremas, never fear).

So part of my conflicted feelings is that I love Joss Whedon. I watched Buffy and loved it, stuck with Angel even through the couple of crappy seasons, and Firefly/Serenity is my happy place. I read his run on Runaways (the run took forever to come out), and I sing songs from Dr. Horrible. So the fact that I find Dollhouse to be not very good is distressing to me.

The pilot is pretty awful, although some of the badness can be explained away by the fact that Fox wanted it rescritped and reshot, which Whedon did. But beyond that, the gender issues on the show make me deeply uncomfortable and, in spots, angry.

Whedon is widely recognized as a feminist. He has written strong roles for women, such as Buffy from the titular show, and Zoe, River, Kaylee, and Inara from Firefly (although there was some discussion about his legalized prostitution companions in it). Hell, he was even tapped for the Wonder Woman movie, which subsequently fell apart (and how sad is it that the only one in Hollywood who really wanted to do a Wonder Woman movie is Whedon?), and yet this show has so many sketchy issues dealing with women and sex that it's surprising coming from Whedon.

My god, how feminist.

At his 2006 acceptance speech for an award he was given from the women's human rights group Equality Now, Whedon said, "The misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who's confronted with it."

And yet Dollhouse's premise could is pretty misogynistic: a young woman who has no will of her own and is programmed to be the perfect woman for paying men.

In this NPR interview, Whedon has this to say in response to those criticisms: "I won't necessarily say that it isn't that. The fact of the matter is that, in the wrong hands, it is a completely misogynist thing, except it's happening to men as well — but what we're trying to do is take someone's identity away in order to discuss the concept of her identity."

Oh, Joss Whedon. While there are, in fact, male dolls, the focus is on a woman. Also, from what we've seen so far, the female dolls usually wear a lot less than their male counterparts. So good job on that front! Not to mention that in the pilot, Echo (Eliza Dushku's character) is supposed to be the strong, professional woman who shows up in a tight pencil skirt, skin tight shirt that's unbuttoned to her bra line, and wearing three inch heels. That's feiminism at work!
Also, Joss Whedon, just because you have men doesn't make it not misygonistic. That is a lazy, automatic retort to all criticisms and is far beneath you.

Whedon goes on to say he presented the idea to Equality Now board: "I knew that would be the toughest room I would ever sit in. What I basically told them was I was examining the idea of fantasy, and some of the stuff that would happen would be good, and some of the stuff that would happen would be kind of awful, and that the whole point was going to be to blur those lines, to take what we want from each other sexually, how much power we want to have over each other."

And we come to the sex part. While Whedon is upfront about this being essentially a show of prostitution, there is no real address to consensual sex. Whedon talks about power, giving the example of the second episode where a man hires Echo to have sex with and then tries to kill her, but he doesn't discuss the agency, or lack thereof, Echo and all the dolls have in a sexual context.

It is rape. The dolls cannot make a choice. They are not allowed to choose. They are programmed to be some man or woman's perfect ideal of a partner, and in doing so are programmed to have sex. Sure, the personality may think it's their choice, but they are programmed that way. They can't consent. It's one thing for fantasy to come into play in prostitution, but the women in that are fully aware of the situation and have made a choice to perform those services for money. These women and men dolls cannot make that choice. That choice is taken away from them, and it is rape.

He does say this in response to the rapey rapey issues: "I'm not saying that nonconsensual [sic] sex is ever OK. This is, after all, a science fiction show."

So in the contex of science fiction rape is okay? And from what I've seen of the show so far, there has been no effort made to address the rape of the dolls, and I doubt that there will be. To introduce dubious consent and not address it is just irresponsible.

To his credit, Whedon is aware of that in having complete control over someone sex is going to be a factor in it, but as I've said, you have to address that. You have got to make it clear that non-consensual sex is not okay, and so far all we've had is some offhand comments about "romantic" encounters and nothing about the rape. Come on, Whedon, I expect better.

The idea of exploring identity, of taking it away and seeing what remains, is intriguing and I want to see more of that. But the way the show's going about it so far, having these characters with very little agency and, again, the rapey rapey issues, are really turning me off.

I want to give Joss Whedon the benefit of the doubt and hope the show gets better, but I don't think I should be expected to hang around ten episodes or so for it to get there.

I'm not the only one to finds this grappling with gender issues and rape to be troubling, if the forums over at Television Without Pity are anything to go by, and the other Internet discussion taking place.

That's not to say the show isn't without some good points. Boyd, Eho's handler, is developing affection and protective feelings for her, and Echo seems to be retaining some previous aspects after each wipe, which is supposedly impossible. There's Alpha, a male doll that had a "composite" event, which means he kept personality traits after a wipe and took out a lot of people and has an obsession with Echo. Agent Ballard, played by Tahmoh Penkitt from Battlestar Galactica, is an FBI agent looking for the Dollhouse, and also, on a shallow note, he's is ridiculously good looking. Sierra, another doll and Echo's friend, is interesting, especially seeing that friendship development. But I'm not sure if those elements can overcome the scuzzy issues for me.

I want to give Joss Whedon the benefit of the doubt, that he'll find a way to subvert the themes he's working with. And yet I look at some of his other work and I find myself doubting he is going to do this.

Take Penny in Dr. Horrible. She was fridged. Compared to Billy and Captain Hammer, Penny got very little character growth or definition. Her sole purpose was to die and give Billy a reason for going completely evil. And if it were anyone else but Jos Wheodon I would haven't hesitated in pointing it out, and yet since it is him I've been trying to rationalize it.

And here's the thing, even though Joss Whedon is a feminist, has been given an award by Equality Now, that does not make everything he does okay. Calling yourself a feminist is not a get out of misogyny free card. You can write strong women characters and have progressive writing and still be guilty of of writing some sexist crap.

Whedon's track record has been pretty good, and he does have his work cut out for him in this show, and I'm hoping that maybe Whedon will prove me wrong and make my fears groundless.

And yet all I can think of is this from Chris at The Isb:

Whedon has proved in the past that he's capable of writing strong roles for women, and addressing sexism and misogyny, and maybe he'll do that for Dollhouse, but I think I'm done with the show. I already have to put up with this crap from other shows, I don't need any more from Joss Whedon.

Happy Alan Moormas!

I'm pretty sure that if the Great Bearded One ever accidently saw this (by some horrible miracle that involves him stumbling into an internet cafe on the whims of his beard whisperings) we would be DOOOOOOOMED. Beard related murders and reports mysterious hulking shadow-men swooping down from rooftops and carrying off children would skyrocket! Enjoy!

"Jon can give you cancer, and then turn into a car!"
Oh lord, OH LORD how I wish this was real! Alas, the universe is just not that cool.

Friday, March 06, 2009

“Into the Garbage Chute, Flyboy!” Why more girls should love comic books, cartoons, video games, and anything else that has a strong Female Heroine.

I realize that there could be tomes written on this topic (and there already is some pretty awesome literature on the subject), but I feel as though there is no harm in reinforcing the thought that more young girls should be reading comic books. After watching the new Wonder Woman film with Darci today we realized that it is every bit of awesome inspiration that it should be and more. Wonder Woman is strong, and even though she was raised by a mother who turned her back on man’s world, she goes above and beyond to reconnect the rest of the world and save it, time and again. She was made by the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, and raised by Amazonian women, which makes her ulra-super-amazing.

Comic books did not become female-protagonist-friendly until Wonder Woman premiered on the scene in 1941. Prior to that they were basically cheap romance novels in which women fell to the advances of overly-attractive men. The time of Rosy the Riveter allowed for Wonder Woman to sweep in and capture the hearts and minds of thousands of young girls. She endured and was rekindled in the 1960’s when women continued to fight for equal rights in the United States. Today, many would argue that fight is not yet over, and Wonder Woman is stronger than she has ever been. The premier of the new animated film (and her appearances in Justice League Unlimited) are a shining example of women as heroes in comics. (In the Justice League Unlimited episode “To Another Shore” she is fighting global warming AND the bad guys, and that’s just awesome if you ask me).

When I was growing up I clung onto all the female protagonists I could. They inspired me and made me want to change the world around me. I attribute so much to the heroes I followed as a child. Princess Leia was above and beyond my favorite, and not just because I love the original Star Wars Trilogy a ridiculous amount. Every time she said, “Into the garbage shoot flyboy!” I laughed because she was giving the men who just rescued her orders. She then goes on to be not only an outstanding diplomat, but someone who can wield a blaster when the time calls for it, strangle Jabba the Hutt with the chains that attempted to restrain her, and oh, by the way, she becomes a JEDI WARRIOR later on in the novels, comic books, and graphic novels that follow the films. (Yes, I like them, and I don’t care that they’re not considered canon. Many of them are fantastic stories). It just so happens that I find her and Han Solo’s relationship to be pretty balanced, and they have some pretty cool children later on in the novels, too. Jaina Solo, born of the two of them, is the greatest combination of both Han and Leia’s strengths, and she also kills her twin brother Jacen when he turns to the dark side cause…well…it has to be done.

Other female protagonists of my childhood included Jean Grey (prior to the whole Phoenix thing…), Storm, Rogue, Batgirl, Batwoman, Black Canary, Aisha and (yes although pink…) Kimberly from the Power Rangers… even Linka from Captain Planet was someone who stood out in a world of predominately male heroes!

Samus Aran kicked ass in her video game series (although admittedly a lot of people didn’t realize she was a woman for the longest time!). When shit goes wrong Princess Zelda even takes up a stronger stance in Ocarina of Time and disguises herself as the ultra-badass Shiek. This transformation is one of my favorites because up until that point Zelda was just the princess in distress.

Comic books, film, and video games can all serve as very important sources of inspiration in American youth. This is, of course, because our society is HEAVILY influenced by media, and lets face it folks, WE ARE ADDICTED TO TELEVISION! Our society is so addicted to television and film that it has become inextricably tied to our culture and in many ways our individual identities. People identify each other in conversation by the shows or films we watch, and don’t lie because you’ve done this too! “Oh, you watch that show! I love that show!” How many times have you been on a date or met a new friend, and found out the other person watches something that you love and it excites you because you share an interest that is as much a part of your life as your job or your other hobbies. There are thousands of scholars across the country attempting to dissect this phenomenon, but I merely accept it as something that we’ve tied into our culture. It’s there, and it’s important to understand, but viewing media as separate from the development of culture can no longer be done.

So, that being said, it is easy to understand how having female heroes in the television shows our kids are watching is SUPER IMPORTANT. If not for my constant watching of female heroines who didn’t take crap from anyone, I wouldn’t be nearly as driven as I am today. I mean, I’m writing this blog post on a blog specifically written by geeky girls who want the world to know that we exist, and we’re perfectly normal (ish) people, by the way. We have all had (relatively) normal relationships *Sidebar: I have been informed that Jayne is only using this blog as a platform for mocking things mercilessly as that is her sole joy in life* and have bunches of friends who are not all as geeky as we are (but a lot of them are). I work in retail while getting ready to pursue a PhD in Anthropology and travel the world (saving what parts of it I can along the way), Darci does blueprint-architecture stuff and is going to pursue a career in Graphic Design (she is amazing and should have her own interior design business), and Jayne goes to graduate school for Literature and Writing (if you couldn’t tell by the blog, she is a fantastic writer!). But most importantly, we don’t give up on our dreams, and we certainly don’t let anybody tell us that we can’t do what we want with our lives. Its real women like us, everywhere, who serve as the real-life inspirations for young girls in America, but it helps to have the media on our side, too. I for one would love to see a future in which everyone is working to save the world. I mean, it would be like one gigantic justice league (mmm hot superheroes in spandex.....Gambit and Green Arrow....mmmm.....I mean…....lots more heroes! Yes! That! Lofty, goal-driven…yeah…).

So if you see some kids playing in the park and they tell you they’re pretending to be super heroes, make sure they’re kicking butt and know that smiting evil is the right thing to do!

Save the children, Save the World,
Lady Laura Jones

Thursday, March 05, 2009

In Defense of Anakin Skywalker

I, Darcy, admit here before the internets and our readers (all three of you), that I liked the Star Wars Prequels.

Alright, hear me out.

The Prequels had their flaws; weak dialogue, annoying characters, bad acting (just to name a few). I will cover those too, but my main point is controversial, and will take up enough space. Some of my opinions might make some of you angry but please keep in mind that it’s not personal, it’s just how I feel. Agree or disagree with me all you like, just keep an open mind and keep it civil.

In my experience the general outcry against the prequels seems to be for Anakin Skywalker: a whiny pissant, undeserving of the epic badass-ery that every nerd grew up fearing/loving. A lot of the problems people seemed to have with Anakin come from Hayden Christensen’s performance in the second and third movie. I can see the various points and some I agree with, but at the same time I feel the almost universal panning of Anakin (or Christensen) is unfair. I love the Star Wars series with all of my embarrassingly nerdy heart, BUT I’m also a bit of a realist. So I can say without flinching that even the original series has its faults. I deem it irrationally unfair for fans with blinkered devotion to the nostalgia of loving the series since they were wee babes to dump all over the movies because it didn’t rise to the heights of their expectations. That makes me a hypocrite in some ways because I do it too. I understand that disappointment. It’s almost a sense of loss, I’ve been there too.
As much as I loved Darth Vader when I was a little girl, as scary as he was, it always bothered me just the tiniest bit that I didn’t understand WHY he was such an evil bastard. The tall, dark man of mystery thing only goes so far with me. The arc of the three movies ends with Vader’s redemption but it seemed somewhat hollow to me because I didn’t have any frame of reference for that redemption. He was just a big bully, choking his own underlings and bossing Luke around and being a giant bastard for really no other conceivable reason than an almost fanatical devotion to the Emperor and really bad asthma which would make anyone grumpy. Then, because his son is being tortured to death by the man he worshiped he suddenly decides to turn back to the good side, which leads to a five minute scene where he makes squinty eyes at his son and apologizes for being a bit of a bastard and then he’s dead. I remember distinctly wondering who the hell that other ghost was supposed to be when Anakin’s ghost shows up at the end of Return of the Jedi. I had no idea who Anakin was, we’d seen him for maybe ten minutes at the end of the last movie, and otherwise he’d only been mentioned in passing, was I supposed to give a damn that he was redeemed? I was an immature kid and I was still pissed at him for cutting off Luke’s hand in the first place. Shit, up until Yoda confirmed it I was still convinced he was lying about being Luke’s father at all. He was a bastard coated bastard with bastard filling and had done nothing aside from showing a slight deference to Luke to prove to me he’d ever had a good quality.

In my opinion, the three prequels filled the void; Vader was suddenly a much rounder character with a solid, epic reason for becoming the Emperor’s scary pet scumbag. (And hey, Storm Troopers are elite bad-asses now! Didn’t they use to be expendable red-shirt AI minion hordes that couldn’t pick the sprinkles off of an ice-cream cone at twenty paces?) They also gave depth to other relationships in the three original movies. All of the scenes where Luke is interacting with Yoda and Obi-wan have greater weight because you can see that when they look at Luke, they see the mistakes they made with his father. Luke is a bit of a whiny bitch in the beginning of the series too, until Yoda gets hands on with him in a swamp, keeping him focused and smothering his pissy tendencies boot camp style.

Would that have made a difference with Anakin or was it too late when Qui-gon found him to reverse his fall to the Dark Side?

Let’s start from the beginning: Episode I, the start of Anakin’s hero’s journey. A boy of about nine years old is happened upon by some warrior monks ass-deep in political intrigue. This boy has been prophesized to bring balance to the force. If, at this point you remember ANYTHING that Yoda has said about the Force and the path to becoming a Jedi then the warning klaxons should have been screaming away.

Yoda: Remember, a Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they.
The kid has been told since before he can remember that he is special. Young Anakin, though kind and selfless is also proud to the point of arrogance and this is obvious during the pod-race scenes. He has an above average intelligence and he knows it. The boy is emotional and quick to anger. His life as a slave has made him willful and given him authority issues. You get the sense right away that the little snot thinks the universe owes him something. He’s special; he knows he is he has no doubt about it. On top of that he was essentially sheltered on a small remote desert planet by his simpering sap of a mother and then suddenly taken away from her and the only life he’s ever known. Call it sissy if you want but even little boys of above average intelligence don’t handle being taken away from their mommies well. Shmi Skywalker, though a bit of a wimp, was the only positive guiding light in young Anakin’s life. Watto and Sebulba are admittedly bad behavioral models for a ten year old, not to mention a Jedi-to-be. It’s really only natural that Anakin latches onto Padme with her motherly attitude almost immediately. It’s basic psychology, folks.

So time goes on, the Jedi Council (read: Yoda) decide not to train Anakin as a Jedi because of all the fear clouding his future and Yoda’s legitimate fear that Anakin is too old, too set in his ways to train. This bolsters the saying I just made up, “No good can come of ignoring Yoda’s cryptic mutterings.

Yoda: Afraid are you?
Anakin: No, sir.
Yoda: See through you we can.
Mace Windu: Be mindful of your feelings.
Ki-Adi-Mundi: Your thoughts dwell on your mother.
Anakin: I miss her.
Yoda: Afraid to lose her I think, hmm?
Anakin: What has that got to do with anything?
Yoda: Everything! Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.

The boy proves himself in war, showing off his pilot skills and we get to watch his ego expand. Meanwhile, the one Jedi that little Anni admired and respected enough to have some means of reining him in gets Darth Mauled. Obi-wan agrees to train him but he’s really only a sort of older-brother type figure to Anakin with less authority, which is seen in the later episodes in abundance. The seeds of failure are planted, but really there is still an inkling of hope that the boy can mellow out enough to accept the Jedi way of life.

The instant that Palpatine sets his sights on Anakin is the moment that he is truly lost to the Dark Side. Palpatine is arguably equal to Yoda in his mastery of the Force, a dark mirror of power, the yin to Yoda’s yang. There’s an exact moment when Obi-wan is introducing his young padawan to the Chancellor and Palpatine’s eyes practically sparkle eagerly as he promises to watch the boy’s career “with great interest.”
He sees everything in Anakin that Yoda sees, but instead of fearing it, Palpatine sees Anakin as the perfect tool for his new Empire. He twists and manipulates his way into every possible chink in Anakin’s character until the sweet, trusting boy that he was becomes a murderer of children, a choker of pregnant women and in all likelihood a kicker of puppies. I don’t know, maybe our generation is jaded but that’s just fucking evil.
At the beginning of Attack of the Clones Anakin is 20 years old and within the first ten minutes of the movie we can see that he’s still an arrogant little snot. He’s dissatisfied with his training and his relationship with Obi-wan, though brotherly and affectionate, is deteriorating slowly. Anakin turns to Palpatine for guidance, mostly because Palpatine tells Anakin what he wants to hear. He soothes his ego, plants little shoots of doubt and discord in Anakin’s head, feeds his urge for power. A lot of this character building interesting stuff happens in the background of Anakin dealing with his soon-to-be baby-mama drama which was the largest part of what annoyed me in the second prequel, but hey, it’s kinda important. You can’t have Luke and Leia until Anni does the horizontal mambo with the Cougar Queen. That’s basic biology, kids.

The biggest turning point in that movie is Anakin’s slaughter of the Sand People. This is the part I hear referenced the most when someone is calling Anakin a whiner. Anakin returns from murdering a whole lot of people in a blind rage and immediately begins to freak out about it to Padme. It’s the crying, right? The crying that infuriates fans, takes the badass Vader and turns him into a whiny kid that people can’t get behind. That’s important. Right.

I was discussing this scene with a co-worker, a guy named Sean who has a master’s degree in theater and is also a HUGE Star Wars geek. He wrote thesis papers about Star Wars and quotes the movies at least three times a day. (His son, age three, and his daughter, age one; love it when Daddy does his Yoda voice. His daughter regularly beats up her older brother with a light saber! A girl after my own heart, really.)

He liked parts of the prequels but basically feels that the third one is the only one worth watching. Sean explained to me that when you are an actor building an emotional scene one of the most important parts of the craft is the pacing of the scene. Say, like in this instance, the subject is trying to get an emotional breaking point across, in this case the lead JUST MURDERED DOZENS OF PEOPLE IN COLD BLOOD. That’s kinda heavy, no joke. Again, a jaded generation can just glaze over that kind of violence but one has to remember this is Anni’s first rodeo. This isn’t the Anakin who’s a seasoned war veteran, the Anakin that’s killed god knows how many bad guys and lead a clone army and done all sorts of shiny things all over the galaxy far, far away. He’s only 20 years old, his mother just died horribly, his entire world is collapsing around him and because of his Jedi teachings he’s been smothering some pretty intense emotions for almost ten years. He snaps. This leads to, in my opinion, a completely understandable emotional breakdown in front of his girlfriend. (And really, if you’re going to have an emo attack, might as well get pity sex out of it too, right?) It’s the pacing of this scene that creates the image of an emo crybaby. Instead of building to an emotional peak, Anakin jumps straight into the crying, this leaves the mood of the scene nowhere to go, which causes Anakin to come off as a bit of a whiner. Yes that falls on Hayden Christensen’s shoulders, as well as the director and the writers. (Pretty much all George.) When you are so concerned about spoilers getting out and are re-writing the script everyday because you didn’t write your dialogue so it doesn’t sound like asinine drivel it doesn’t give the actors very much time to rehearse and work on things like pacing in a scene. George’s biggest weakness as a writer lies in dialogue, and it’s kind of acceptable when your biggest influences are sci-fi serials from the fifties. When he upgraded to the super ultra modern mind blowing CGI effects the dialogue maybe shoulda evolved with it.

Moving on.

As we reach the final prequel we’ve come a long way baby. Anakin isn’t so much walking as stumbling his way to the Dark Side. He’s lost his hand, gained the stress of a secret wife, and attained Jedi Knighthood from a grudging Jedi Council. Palpatine is pulling all his strings and lining up his pawns to fall before he moves his secret rook. He coaxes Anakin to kill Dooku in person and plants Anakin on the Jedi Council in a pretty dickish move for someone who’s going for subtlety. The Jedi still refuse to Anakin the rank of Master. Meanwhile Anakin has accidentally impregnated his secret wife, triggering a vision of her dying in childbirth alarmingly similar to the one that foretold the death of his mother.

Yoda: Premonitions, premonitions. These visions you have...
Anakin Skywalker: They are of pain, suffering. Death.
Yoda: Yourself you speak of, or someone you know?
Anakin Skywalker: Someone.
Yoda: Close to you?
Anakin Skywalker: Yes.
Yoda: Careful you must be when sensing the future Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.
Anakin Skywalker: I won't let these visions come true, Master Yoda.
Yoda: Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed that is.
Anakin Skywalker: What must I do, Master Yoda?
Yoda: Train yourself to let go... of everything you fear to lose.

Fear, anger, aggression. I’m sensing a pattern here, Yoda. But alas, Anakin is weak and Yoda’s words fall on stubborn, arrogant ears. It’s too late for our fair hero.

Yoda: Twisted by the Dark Side, young Skywalker has become. The boy you trained, gone he is... Consumed by Darth Vader
On the plus side, this final prequel rewards our patience and suffering with two, count them two, epic and squee-gasmic light-saber duals.

And when the smoke clears, Anakin has indeed brought balance to the force by cold-bloodedly murdering all but two of the Jedi in the entire galaxy. In a sort of fair trade Obi-wan leaves him a smoldering scabby stump on Mustafar. Again, the Emperor steps in to pour poison into his ear, almost needlessly, and turns what used to be Anakin Skywalker into the giant, half-android, evil, sadistic space bastard we’ve all feared/loved since childhood.

Alright, I know the hatred runs deep for some of you, so this may have been a wasted effort on my part. Please, take a step back from the embittered grown-up nerd you’ve become and embrace that wide-eyed kid you were when you watched the original trilogy. Space ships! Sword fights! Political intrigue! Hot chicks with weird hair! (Or if you are me, hot guys with blasters, tight pants and light up swords!) Lasers! Big scary monsters! Explosions! It’s all still there; just with an Industrial Light & Magic budget and George with complete creative control (for better or worse)

I guess all I’m asking is give Anakin a second glance. He’s really not that bad, once you get to know him.