31 May 2006

Book of 2006, Part 8: Map of Bones

Map of Bones


James Rollins

This novel about an ancient secret society and the race to find priceless antiquities is sure to be compared to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, but, in every way, it's a much better book. Where Brown's best-seller was predictable despite its compelling premise, this tale is clever and suspenseful. Where Code featured ropey dialogue and assembly-line characters, this one offers (mostly) real people engaging in (mostly) real discourse. Like Brown, Rollins makes the most of a moderately implausible premise, this one requiring that the reader accept the literal truth of a certain allegorical aspect of the Bible. But, as both books prove, a thriller can be as implausible as it likes as long as it is entertainingly developed. Fans of The Da Vinci Code will obviously want to read Map of Bones, but even those who found Brown's opus unpalatable will thoroughly enjoy the taste of this one. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Like the lawyer books that came after John Grisham’s The Firm, thus comes The Da Vinci Code impersonators. While a slow read, and with characters who seem to have an extraordinary encyclopedic memories, Map of Bones is not a bad book and one not to call the Catholic Church into questionable light.

However, that being said, the novel still seems to say that the church has many supernatural secrets -though, Rollins does seem to advocate the idea to seek the truth, and not just take what the church -or for that matter -any organization that says they know all. Some claim divine right of kings, but that does not make it true.

27 May 2006

Sci Fi's Bonnie Hammer is a nutjob

What the hell is happening to the Sci Fi Channel? Granted, never has the network lived up to its expectations, but the nut-job that runs the network, some bean-counter-yes-person named Bonnie Hammer seems to not want to make anything than another version of Spike TV.

It seems -for some odd reason - wrestling is coming to the network this summer. "Research tells us that there's a healthy appetite for wrestling among SciFi viewers," said Hammer (and you go on and continue to believe that, sister), president of USA and SciFi Channel, in a release. "With ECW, we're able to deliver to those fans unique action with a twist that's perfect for SciFi."

This is the person that put Farscape out of its misery, folks. What is happening here, of course, is another woman who has no idea what its core audience wants. She cares more about the bottom business line than making the channel worthy of watching.

Just what the fuck does wrestling has to do with sci-fi?

But then, I can’t explain why Passions is airing on the network either.

The Sci Fi network has always had great potential and occasionally tries to live up to some of the promises it planed when it launched in 1992. While I can forgive it for becoming the resting place of old sci fi shows, it has also blurred the line, with "reality" shows like Ghost Hunters and John Edwards and that strange prank show with the an even nuttier Shannen Doherty. And what was that show about normal people living with stereotypical genre fans?

Farscape, the Dune mini-series and Battlestar Galactica have proven the network can -when giving the writers/producers creative freedom - excellent programming. And while I have no real qualms with their schlock Saturday Night movies -if only because they are SO bad, they are fun to watch - because they do make money for the network, I still have to ask just what the fuck does wrestling has to do with sci-fi?

Instead of trying to make run-of-the-mill genre programs every time, I suggest that each program you attempt you put your best effort into it. If I want bad TV, I’ll watch Spike or MTV, or even the 700 Club.

But, Bonnie, what the hell are you thinking with?

Review: X Men: The Last Stand

I really can’t blame Brett Ratner, too much, for X Men: The Last Stand’s ultimate failure as worthy follow up to X2 or even a great concluding chapter of the first X Men trilogy. He was hired at the last minute by 20th Century Fox to helm the film after Bryan Singer -who helmed the first two films in the franchise - bolted because of Fox’s interference in the creative direction the series should take. And the one hired to replace him, the London based Matthew Vaughn, departed soon after, saying that he did not want to upset his family by moving them to Canada and eventually to Hollywood for a year (though, rumor has it that Vaughn, who had only film under his belt -the small action flick Layer Cake - made Fox reconsider handing over a big, and very expensive {not to mention, very important} franchise to relative new comer).

Most of the blame should go to Fox, who decided that the film should go forward afterSinger left and Vaughn was let go. They had a release date already pen in, May 26, 2006, and because, by now, Bryan Singer had signed with Warner Bros. and was in the midst of filming Superman Returns (scheduled to open at the end of June, 2006) Fox basically decided to get the film done and in theaters just to prove to Singer that he was a fool to run.

Well, I’m sure Bryan Singer is quivering.

Before I go on, let me say that X Men: The Last Stand will be huge this holiday weekend, but like The Da Vinci Code, it’s a one-trick pony and will drop exponentially in the next week -despite the lack of a big feature for the June 2nd weekend.

One of the biggest problems the film has was it’s shortened shoot. Production only began in August of last year, and that effected the end sequence, the final battle, if you will (plus, it seemed every effects house in the world was hired to get the film done on time). It was all hidden in shadows and you never got see how new characters -like Kelsey Grammer’s Beast -work their mutant powers. And, for fans of the first two films will be disappointed to see that all the careful characterization and emotional depth that Singer had brought to each of the characters was tossed away for endless destruction and needless killing-off of characters.

While I’ve read the X Men comics from time to time over the years, I cannot say I m huge fan of them, but I understand what some of the arcs these characters have gone through and what they mean to those diehard fans, and that I feel sorry for them that Fox has allowed such a ruthless tear-down of them. The Phoenix saga itself has been the pinnacle of the comics, and one that should’ve been devoted to a whole film, and not just thrown in as a secondary story line.

Plus, as mentioned, there is zero growth in all the characters and while it’s assumed that hunky, and super buffed Ben Foster will play Angel again in further X Men films, his role is minimum and could’ve been -again - pushed to another film.

This first trilogy was suppose to be about Xavier and Magneto and how each had their view on the direction for mutant rights. But all of that was pushed out in favor of a conclusion where every character gets short-changed and where 20th Century Fox decided to say, please no character development and a hurried story -what there was of it - where all you were going to get. Hell, I could’ve seen The Dukes of Hazzard if I wanted that.

Now, that being said, nothing bad can be said about Ian McKellan, who once again is brilliant in his role as Magneto and he almost makes you forget you are seeing a bad film. And, surprisingly, Brett Ratner’s direction is good, and one wonders, if given the time and less interference from pencil pushers at Fox, he might’ve made a worthy companion piece to Bryan Singer’s first two films.

Alas, we’ll never know.

One hopes that in future years, when Fox begins work on X Men IV: The Next Generation, they’ll learn from creative mistake done here. To make a film so quickly and so shoddy just to prove to Bryan Singer that they don’t need him, seems to me that you have no real investment in a franchise other than making money. X Men and X2 made money and had a concept, a story, an emotional connection. X Men: The Last Stand is pointless and shows what happens when a studio forgets why it made the film in the first place.

25 May 2006

NBC adjusts fall schedule; Studio 60 moved to Mondays, Medium bumped until January.

Ten days after announcing their fall schedule, NBC is already tinkering with it. Faced with two one-hundred pound problems, the Peacock Network will move the new Aaron Sorkin dramedy Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip from Thursday 9pm slot to Mondays at 10, bumping the third season of Medium to midseason.

The trouble began after FOX announced their schedule and when ABC said they're going to move one of their hit shows.

Marching orders were sent to Grey's Anatomy to move to Thursday at 9, taking on first place network CBS' mega hit CSI. NBC, still trying to get out of fourth place, felt that launching a new drama against two of TV's biggest hits would be a problem, so they pulled from a potential death slot and moved it to Monday.

NBC also took this opportunity to tweek other parts of their schedule, including moving once Friday bound Law & Order: Criminal Intent to Tuesday and teamed it with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit starting at 9. This adjustment came after NBC noticed that that FOX didn't move House
to a 8pm slot.

20 Good Years-30 Rock and The Biggest Loser have swaped times on Wednesday followed by a relocated Kidnapped.

Meanwhile, Deal or No Deal - which had two slots on the schedule -will now fill the slot left by Studio 60 on Thursday.

In moving Deal from Tuesday to Thursday, NBC made one more adjustment to that silly fall schedule. It will bump the second edition of the game show/tear-jerker and release Crossing Jordan from midseason and team it up with Las Vegas and the 17th season of the original Law & Order on Friday.

24 May 2006

While I find the Burger King ads with the guy dressed as king the ultimate in creepy, I love their new Manthem for that Texas kill burger.

Hot guys all around.

ABC's Desperation

Is Stephen King filmable?

While his books have sold millions over the last 30 years -most bestsellers (despite critical panning of his later novels), the films adapted from those works have a sordid history. From the big screen era, The Dead Zone remains my one favorite work, as its perhaps the most faithful -and one of the most linear of his works - of all King’s books.

TV has been better with CBS being the first network to take on King’s work with the 1979 4-hour mini ‘Salem’s Lot (TNT remade it in 2004). ABC has been the home of King’s work since 1990's 2-part It, which was followed by 1993's 2-parter The Tommyknockers (a horrid film from a horrid book), then the eight-hour mini of The Stand in 1994; 1995s The Langoliers (about 2 hours too long) followed next. The 6 hour-mini remake of The Shining came in 1997, followed by the big hit with King’s original teleplay for 1999s Storm of the Century. While ABC scored again with 2002s Rose Red, it was a critical dud.

Director Mick Garris has helmed many of the recent TV adaptations that include The Stand, The Shining as well as the theatrical Sleepwalkers (1992) and the recent Riding the Bullet (2004)

ABC last night aired Garris’ latest effort, Desperation. By far not the best of King’s work (he wrote the screenplay) for TV, the movie follows the book fairly well, and offers a sort of reunion for 3 actors who’ve appeared in previous adaptations of King’s work; Tom Skerritt from The Dead Zone, Matt Frewer from The Stand and Steven Weber from The Shining.

Horror films, in general, only work if the actors believe what they are saying and doing. Plus it would be good if you can act. What falters this movie more than even the disappearance of Ron Perlman as the sadistic Sheriff Collie Entragian (who for the first half of the film steals every scene he’s in) and who is possessed by the evil Tak spirit, is the acting of young Shane Haboucha as David Carver.

Carver is central to the novel and here in the movie and the actor had to be believable in the role, for he needed to spout many lines of religion gump and even King’s sometime stilted dialogue. Haboucha was just not up for the test, and comes off more wooden than 19th century pirate ship. He might be spiritually-guided, but that believability factor of the actor makes it all seem hokey and, at times, uncomfortable.

I assume that this film was originally going to run 2 nights, but after the producers and director fought to keep the film here in the US (Rose Red was filmed in Australia), my guess ABC cut an hour out to save money. While this helped with some lagging that generally happens in a longer King min-series, it still would’ve been nice to see the film longer.

I’m unsure what ABC will adapt next, though the Regulators would be cool, but perhaps the Holy Grail of King’s work might be The Dark Tower series. TV could only do it justice, at least length wise (as it runs seven books) but for language and violence, the silver screen could work, but it would require enormous following from the ticket buyers. But, so would a massive production of seven books spread over years.

In the end, though, Desperation is a good film, with its only drawback being a young actors performance which lacks the depth the role needed.

Meanwhile, TNT will return this summer to King with Nightmares and Dreamscapes, four 2-hour episodes (8 stories) based on his short story collection. The cast includes William Hurt, William H. Macy, Ron Livingston, Claire Forlani, Jeremy Sisto, Henry Thomas, Kim Delaney, Steven Weber (again), Samantha Mathis, Tom Berenger, Marsha Mason and Greta Scacchi.

18 May 2006

Fox announced fall 2006-07 schedule

The FOX network has five new shows starting in the fall, with a new schedule in January that promises the return of 24.

In the meantime, Sunday remains the same, with the 7pm hour devoted to the overflow of Football. The Simpsons, American Dad, The Family Guy and The War at Home fill out the night.

Monday sees the return of Prison Break, followed by Vanished, a drama about an FBI team that begins to investigate the disappearance of a Senator's wife, but what looks like a simple missing persons case unfolds into a vast conspiracy with national security issues at stake. Gale Harold (Queer as Folk) stars.

Tuesday launches with the new drama, Standoff, about how a hostage negotiators balance work and their growing attraction to each other. Ron Livingston stars. House balances out the night.

Wednesday sees the return of Bones followed by the new drama Justice, about high-profile defense lawyers who work to get their wealthy and famous clients out of trouble. Victor Garber (Alias), Kerr Smith (Dawson's Creek) star.

Thursday starts with two new comedies, the first being 'Til Death, which stars Brad Garrett and Joley Fisher. The premise: A happy newlywed couple move in next to a husband and wife who have been married for a number of years and have quite a different view on the institution. Happy Hour is next and is about a small-town guy who moves to Chicago, has his heart broken and moves in with a modern day Dean Martin who vows to remake him.

Friday becomes reality night with Nanny 911 and Trading Spouses.

Saturday remains, as always, Cops and America’s Most Wanted.

Waiting in the wings: The Wedding Album, a drama about the most sought after wedding photographer in town who spends his life going from one ceremony to another, but who doesn’t expect him to walk down the aisle any time soon. The Winner is a comedy about a rich and successful 43-year-old man who looks back at the period 10 years earlier when he was still living with his parents and a beautiful woman inspired him to change his life.

FOX’s Canceled Shows: Arrested Development, The Bernie Mac Show, Free Ride, Head Cases, Killer Instinct, Kitchen Confidential, Malcolm in the Middle, Reunion, Stacked and That 70s Show.

Meanwhile, the January schedule will shape up like this (but, then, nothing is in ink, considering some fall shows will not make it to January).

Once football is over, look for the return of King of the Hill to fill out the 7:30 timeslot on Sunday.

Standoff will assume Prison Break’s Monday timeslot, as it will take a hiatus until March. 24 then returns at 9 with another no repeat season.

Tuesday see’s the return of American Idol. House retains its 9pm birth.

Wednesday will start with a relocated Justice followed by the American Idol result show and the return of The Loop.

Thursday remains the same. We’ll see.

Bones moves to Friday followed by the new show, The Wedding Album.

Saturday: Move along, nothing is changed here.

The CW announces 2006-07 schedule

The new CW will play it safe, at least for the first year of its existence. Culling the best from both UPN and The WB, the new network will only add two new shows (while one Frog network show is up in the air).

The Sunday schedule goes like this: Everybody Hates Chris starts off the night at 7pm, followed by All of Us. Girlfriends returns at 8 followed by its spin-off The Game, about a woman who is about to learn the realities of dating a pro football player; all the glitz and the disadvantages. America’s Next Top Model (rerun edition) finishes out the night.

Monday begins with the once thought dead, but resurrected (for at least 13 episodes) 7th Heaven, heading into season 11. Next up is Runaway, a drama about a man wrongfully accused of murder who packs up his family and moves them to Iowa under assumed names. Things become dangerous, though, when both the law and the real killer begin sniffing around. Donnie Walhberg will star.

Tuesday brings the return of Gilmore Girls for season 7 followed by season 3 of Veronica Mars.

Wednesday brings original episode of America’s Next Top Model, followed by the third season of One Tree Hill.

Thursday remains the same as this past winter with Smallville heading into season 6, while Supernatural returns for season two.

Friday is devoted to Friday Night Smackdown.

Waiting in the wings is Dawson’s Creek creator Kevin Williamson’s new drama, Hidden Palms. The premise is like The O.C. set in Palm Springs, as a teen coping with his father's death begins to slowly notice the secrets held by the people in his outwardly flawless neighborhood.

The WB's Canceled Shows: The Bedford Diaries, Blue Collar TV, Charmed, Everwood, Just Legal, Living with Fran, Modern Men, Pepper Dennis, Related, Survival of the Richest, Twins, and What I Like About You.

UPN's Canceled Shows: Cuts, Eve, Get This Party Started, Half & Half, Love, Inc., One on One, Sex, Love & Secrets and South Beach.

In Limbo: While new episodes have been ordered, Reba’s return to the schedule is not guaranteed.

17 May 2006

CBS announces fall 2006-07 schedule

The number one network, CBS, pulled only four new shows out their Tiffany jewel box for the fall. It’s tough being the most watched network -especially after years of being the butt of many jokes.

Sunday: As expected, with it being the last hold out of the Sunday Night Movie, CBS has finally decided to do away it, and will keep 60 Minutes at its usual 7pm slot, but will follow the next three hours by relocating The Amazing Race, Cold Case and Without a Trace.

Monday at 8 will find the relocated How I Met Your Mother, followed by the new comedy The Class, which is about former elementary school classmates who have lost touch, but are brought together 20 years later, and find out they have more in common than their third-grade teacher. Two and Half Men and The New Adventures of Old Christine return at 9 followed by CSI: Miami.

Tuesday remains the same, with NCIS at 8 followed by The Unit at 9. The new drama Smith takes over the 10pm hour. This Ray Liotta thriller is about a team of career criminals who plan and executes elaborate, high-stakes heists, all the while its leader tries to keep up appearances of a normal life.

Wednesday begins with Jericho, a semi genre/drama about a small town is cut off from the rest of the world after a nuclear disaster. Skeet Ulrich (Miracles), Gerald McRaney (Deadwood) and Pamela Reed star. Criminal Minds and CSI: NY fill out the night.

Thursday remains as it was last year, with Survivor at 8 followed by the original CSI at 9. The new drama Shark, takes over the vacated Without a Trace 10pm slot, and is about a celebrity lawyer who gives up private practice to become a prosecutor. James Woods and Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager) star.

Friday’s schedule is the exact one from May, with The Ghost Whisperer, Close to Home and Numb3rs taking up the three hours.

Black Hole Saturday: CBS will schedule a 2 hour block of CSI reruns followed by 48 Hours: Mystery.

Waiting in the wings: 3 LBS, stars Stanley Tucci as a brilliant neurosurgeon who takes a rising star in the field under his wing. The comedy Rules of Engagement stars Patrick Warburton and is about two couples and their single friend, who are at different stages in their relationships, and how they deal with the complications of dating, commitment and marriage. Joe Pantoliano stars in the drama Waterfront, about the very colorful, sometimes rule breaking mayor of Providence, R.I.

Into the cancel bin: Courting Alex, Love Monkey, Out of Practice, Still Standing, Threshold, Yes, Dear

16 May 2006

ABC announces fall 2006-07 schedule

Despite the success of Funniest Home Videos, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy and Lost and has a maintained a second place standing among networks, despite the fact that all of their 2005-06 fall shows failed.

Sunday leads off with three returning shows, the after mentioned Funniest Home Videos, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Desperate Housewives. The night finishes off with the new drama Brothers & Sisters, about family secrets and lies are exposed when siblings come together to celebrate a birthday; soapy repercussions follow. Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths, Ron Rifkin and Patricia Wettig star.

With Monday Night Football gone, ABC will now lead off the night with the returning Wife Swap, followed by The Bachelor/Suppernanny. What About Brian will launch into its second season to close out the night.

Dancing with the Stars returns on Tuesday, and when it ends it run, another reality series Set For the Rest of Your Life takes over. Let's Rob ... takes up the first half of the 9:00 hour and is a comedy about a group of misfits who plot to rob Mick Jagger's luxury Central Park West apartment. Donal Logue (Grounded for Life) stars in the laugher, which is from Ed creators Rob Burnett and Jon Beckerman. Next up is Help Me Help You, a comedy about a therapy group is led by a doctor who may be in the greatest need of therapy. Ted Danson stars along with Jere Burns and the brilliant Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle). Boston Legal is back at 10pm.

Wednesday has ABCs second edition of Dancing with the Stars, which will then give way to returning shows George Lopez and According to Jim. Lost returns for a third season of life on a mysterious island, which will be followed by The Nine, a drama about nine people deal with the aftereffects of being held hostage during a bank robbery. It stars Chi McBride (Boston Public), Scott Wolf (Everwood), Kim Raver (24), Tim Daly (Wings) and John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise).

Thursday remains the battleground for all the networks, and with CBS still holding the lead, ABC hopes to take a chunk out the slim lead that NBC has. Big Day starts the night and is a comedy that combines 24 meets Father of the Bride, the show chronicles one big day -- in this case, the wedding day -- in the life of a young couple. Notes from the Underbelly is next, another comedy, about an expecting couple that sees how preparations to have a baby change their own relationship and their relationship with their friends. ABC will take a big risk here during the middle hour on Thursday by relocating Grey’s Anatomy, which will battle CBS’ juggernaut CSI and NBC’s new Aaron Sorkin drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Lost producers new show, Six Degrees, will fill out the night and is about the lives of several New Yorkers that intersect, even though they don't know each other.

Betty the Ugly leads off Friday, which is a comedy about a normal-looking woman who has difficulties fitting in the world of high fashion and is based on the wildly popular Spanish telenovela. Men in Trees takes on the middle hour and is a drama about a female relationship coach, who after her wedding plans fall apart, stays in Alaska and looks for love in chilly places. 20/20 returns on Friday to finish out the night.

Black Hole Saturday will be filled with College Football and probably movies.

Waiting in the wings: Day Break, a drama about a cop who relives the same day over and over, searching for clues about who framed him for a murder. Taye Diggs stars. In Case of Emergency is a comedy about four friends from high school are reunited and discover that their lives hadn't turned out exactly as planned. Jonathan Silverman, David Arquette and Greg Germann star. Finally, Traveler is a drama about two friends go on the run when they become suspects in a terrorist bombing. Who will trust them? How can their clear their names?

Into the cancel bin are: Alias, from hit to blow out Commander In Chief, Crumbs, Emily's Reasons Why Not, The Evidence, Freddie, Hope & Faith, In Justice, Invasion, Jake in Progress, Less Than Perfect, Miracle Workers, Monday Night Football and Sons & Daughters

15 May 2006

NBC's announces fall 2006-07 schedule

With the new Sunday night football eating up all of that night on NBC, the Peacock network is rebuilding their schedule in hopes they can get out of fourth place next season.

The Upfronts began this week, with NBC ordering two new comedies and four new dramas. As mentioned, Sunday is Football, while the game show Deal or No Deal returns and will lead off Monday, followed by Heroes, a new sci-fi hybrid drama from Crossing Jordan creator Tim Kring. Former Alias co-star Greg Grunberg is part of a group of people who discover that they have extraordinary powers, ranging from the ability to fly to hearing other people's thoughts. Medium, returning for season three, fills out the night.

Tuesday begins with Friday Night Lights, the small screen spin-off of the movie and book of the same name. Peter Berg, who directed the motion picture version, helmed the pilot and will produce with veteran show runner Jason Katims (Roswell). Former Early Edition hunk, Kyle Chandler stars. Next up will be Kidnaped, a serialized drama about the kidnaping of a wealthy New York family's teenage son that leads to a high-stakes showdown between the criminals, the FBI and a private recovery team hired by the family. Former Angel co creator David Greenwalt will be the show runner and stars Jeremy Sisto, Delroy Lindo, Timothy Hutton, Dana Delany and Mykelti Williamson. Law & Order: SVU returns to finish out the night.

Wednesday brings back The Biggest Loser followed by two new comedies, 20 Good Years and 30 Rock. Years stars veteran comedy actors John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor as two middle-aged men decide to make the most of their upcoming golden years. Meanwhile, NBC will have two shows with similar premises, with 30 Rock coming from SNL head writer Tina Fey, who takes us behind the scenes of a show not unlike Saturday Night Live. The original Law & Order returns for year 17 and fills out the night.

With Will & Grace gone now and NBC already having trouble finding a matching show, will move returning My Name is Earl and The Office to lead off the night. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is the new Aaron Sorkin created drama starring Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford, Amanda Peet, Steven Weber, D.L. Hughley, Timothy Busfield and Evan Handler. This is other show-with-in-a-show NBC is offering about the offstage drama and network politicking involved in a long-running, SNL-like sketch comedy show. ER remains birthed in it’s 10pm timeslot, but the network will air no repeats of the show this season, by putting it on hiatus in January.

Friday begins with a second edition of Deal or No Deal followed by the returning Las Vegas and the relocated Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Black Hole Saturday becomes the one night NBC will air Dateline which will be followed by reruns of of the Law & Order franchise.

Set for midseason will be: Andy Barker, P.I., a comedy series starring Andy Richter as a failing CPA who is mistaken for a retired private detective and then decides to take on cases. The Singles Table is another comedy about a group of strangers at a wedding reception -- who bond over their exile at "the singles table" and become friends. John Cho stars. Midseason dramas include The Black Donnellys (which takes over ER's slot in January) from the Oscar winning writer and director of Crash. The Paul Haggis series is about four brothers become involved in organized crime in New York's Hell's Kitchen. Finally, Jeff Goldblum stars a an eccentric detective Raines, who can communicate with the dead victims in his cases.

Both Crossing Jordan and Scrubs will return as midseason shows, also.

Thrown into the cancel bin is: Book of Daniel, Conviction, E-Ring, Fear Factor, Four Kings, Heist, Inconceivable, Joey, Surface, Teachers, Three Wishes, and of course, The West Wing and Will & Grace.

14 May 2006

Book of 2006, Part 7: Bad Twin

Bad Twin


Gary Troup

I'm wondering if Gary Troup (which is an anagram for the word purgatory) will show up on the TV series Lost next season. This novel -rumored to be written by Stephen King; and it sort of reads like his books - is about many themes that makes the TV series Lost so interesting: the consequence of vengeance, the power of redemption, and where to turn when all seems hopeless.

The novel may be linked to the series, as it offers us clues via a mentor like character of Manny. We are given insights into King Lear, many allegory tales from the Bible about redemption, and even a mention of philosopher John Locke. Then we get a mysterious mention of the Hanso Foundation -who seem to be part of all the things that went on in the bunkers and that our hero, Paul Artisan, travels to Australia in search of lost twin brother (who share a birthday connected to the flight of 815, and returns on Oceanic Airlines.

Its a good book, by the way, and offers a mystery that you want to follow through. You don't have to be a Lost fan to understand it (but, Hyperion -who is owned by ABC - seems to want to convince you that there are major connections to the show). If anything, it reminds me of the old nior detective movies of the 1940's (and something Stephen King -if he did indeed write this book - did in a novel called the Colorado Kid). Or even in the heydey of private investigtor shows of the 1970s.

In the end, since the publisher has gone out of its way to say that "Bad Twin is a work of fiction and all names, characters and incidents are used fictitiously; the author himself is a fictional character," and that the author vanished on Oceanic Flight 815 in September of 2004, there seems to be a good chance that this Gary Troup survived the crash -though, since Sawyer was seen reading the "screenplay" version of the story, he may have perished.

Still, Bad Twin may yet fall into the series plot, as Hanso Foundation is connected to the Dharma Initiative.

Book of 2006, Part 6: The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code


Dan Brown

Well, like the first book, Brown seriously takes on Church. While I will say this is a novel, and not to be taken as anything other than that, I'm fascinated by what has happened with teh catholics over the last three years when this book was published. While the novel takes stories of the founding of christanity and molds them into a sort of conspiracy theory, it does open the door that some of what he writes could be true. I mean, take the bible; it's written by humans, flawed and certainly with agendas that will conflict with someone elses - and, as always, history is written by the victors.

The church's stance on the novel, its almost tyranical way its trying to convince the world that all this written is false, strikes me as a organization with a tenous hold on its flock. While the US catholics have been the ones the Vatican has tried to convince -with many books published since 2003 on how wrong Brown is about what he wrote - it seems to think that its flock will take what he wrote too seriously.

Of course, as history has proved, being intelligent and openly question a religion has casued many problems. Intellectuals have always been accused of being anti-religion, but I don't believe this to be true. We are just open to the idea that its possible that Christianity could be nothing more than a great idea, not a rule book to live a life. After all, no one is perfect and no one could live a life as described. The bible offers ideas -which makes it difficult to attack, really - that seem great, but humans are animalistic. Take away their comforts, their daily things that make them "human", and they become animals.

While William Goldman's Lord of the Flies is a novel, also, it certainly portrays (I think realistically) what would happen if things fall a part, if, as Stephen King wrote, the world moved on. The center cannot hold when anarchy takes over, and neither can the church when its authority is challenged.

And that's the basic mistake they make. They've been challenged and they don't like it. But while I have no real dislike for religion as a whole, for as a concept, it is good idea; love thy neighbor and what not, I take umbridge with how they explain these mysteries. It's faith.

God, how I hate that answer.