30 November 2006

NBC revamps their TV schedule; Sci Fi and HBO announce new shows

As the wobbly TV season continues -and as the networks go into repeat mode for the holiday season -NBC has announced changes to their line-up in January and March.

Not willing to go up against FOX’s American Idol, the peacock network will move Friday Night Lights to Wednesday; cheap to produce Dateline NBC will fill in on Tuesday. When football ends, NBC will air reality programs Grease: You’re the One That I Want and the sixth season of The Apprentice followed by the returning Crossing Jordan.

Meanwhile the heist comedy The Black Donnellys will debut in early March, displacing Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on Mondays, while the Jeff Goldblum supernatural drama Raines will also debut in that spring month, replacing Las Vegas - which like Crossing Jordan, will only run 17 episodes. The shift off Studio means 4 episodes out of the 22 NBC ordered will air at a later date, but it does not bode well for a second season.

Lastly, expect the network to keep Heroes on Monday’s at 9 through the February sweeps, while Medium will retain its Wednesday slot, though that could change when Lost returns in February.

Rushed on to the air months before it was scheduled due to the failure of Smith, CBS has pulled 3 lbs. from its schedule, effective immediately. Out the 8 episodes produced (out of the 13 ordered), the five remaining will probably air in some other form. Reruns of The Unit and other programs will fill the slot.

On the eve of their latest miniseries The Lost Room, Sci Fi has announced their next big mini for next December. The six-hour Tin Man is said to be a twisted and bizarre take on The Wizard of Oz.

HBO is developing a one-hour series based on the popular 1995-2000 Vertigo comic series The Preacher. Once planned as a big screen adaption starring X Men star James Marsden, the deal fell through. Daredevil and Ghost Rider director Mark Steven Johnson will pen the pilot.

26 November 2006

The Nine finds itself off ABC's schedule

On a Saturday, during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend when the TV writers are all out of the office, ABC announced they are pulling The Nine from its prime time schedule, effective immediately.

A special edition of 20/20 will air on November 29, followed by the return of Primetime on December 6. Hailed by most TV critics at the start of the season, that praise has failed to turn into ratings gold. The ratings for the show have averaged just 8.6 million viewers, losing more than half of the 17.7 million viewers who turned into its lead-in show, Lost on November 8. With Lost on hiatus, the show tumbled even further, coming in a distant third on November 22.

ABC said the show will return sometime later in the season, but offered no specific time frame for it. The Nine joins another ABC series, Six Degrees, that has been sent into Twilight Zone of Limbo.

24 November 2006

MGM producer says Jackson is still the man to helm The Hobbit

Despite claims that he will not helm The Hobbit and another Lord of the Rings prequel, Peter Jackson is still considered to be the one to helm them, if producer Saul Zaentz has his way. IMBD has posted an interview from the German website Elbenwald.de, where Zaentz says: "It will definitely be shot by Peter Jackson. ... Next year The Hobbit rights will fall back to my company. I suppose that Peter will wait because he knows that he will make the best deal with us. And he is fed up with the studios: to get his profit share on the Rings trilogy he had to sue New Line. With us, in contrast, he knows that he will be paid fairly and artistically supported without reservation." IMBD points out : “The preceding quotation is a translation that appeared on TheHobbit-Movie.com from the German interview posted on Elbenwald.de.”

Early this week, over on the onering.net, Jackson and writing partner Fran Walsh posted a letter saying that New Line had informed that their services were no longer required for the proposed two films. Wingnut films has filed a suit against New Line, claiming that their “creative” bookkeeping allowed the profits from the DVD releases of the films to be miss appropriated.

Zaentz has held the rights to The Hobbit since 1976 and was willing to share a co-production rights with New Line through MGM. But clearly, New Line sees the Lord of the Rings franchise as proprietary to them, and waiting for the lawsuit to come some conclusion was something they are unwilling to do. So, while Peter Jackson and everyone who works at Wingnut should be the only people you go to for this project, it seems New Line in willing to forgo all that in hopes of catching lightening in the bottle twice.

This tug of war going down now is very interesting. The question is: who goes down first and will it be the fans who pay the ultimate price?

Rules to follow when shopping for Christmas

Having worked retail for 26 years (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), I've learned a few things about shopping, especially during the holiday season. I've tried to explain these rules to the fustrated mass, but they seem to think I'm insane, but it works.

1. Always shop early. For goodness sake, during the Christmas season, most malls and stores are opening early. I know, it's the weekend and you want to stay in bed, blah, blah, blah, but the early bird does get the worm. Get your fat ass out of bed and get to the mall. If you plan it correctly, you can get all your shopping done before the mall gets jumping. Plus parking is a breeze. Then you can get home and watch all those lame show PBS airs during the afternnon. Oh, that may just be my parents.

2. Never shop between the malls prime hours. One thing you have to know is that between noon and about 5, those are the busiest hour stores have. If you hate long lines to check out, wandering the parking lot looking for a spot -even if its 17 football fields away from Sears - running into people who don't care, then avoid them during these hours. Think about what I said on #1.

3. Shop early in the evening. Weekdays are slower than weekends. So, instead of going home, eating a meal and then going to the mall, go from work. From about 4 until 7 or so, the malls are slower and parking is usally easier. A meal outside the home won't kill you.

4. Never shop until the stores are closing. One thing any employee hates is people who insist on staying until the gawd awful last second. It's annoying. Really. Trust me, we hate it. And we'll make you pay for it.

5. Come prepared. I hate the Lowes commercial on, that shows this lady asking a clerk about the things she wants, describing them in so little detail. Of course the Lowes girls knows excatly what the customer wants with just these little tibits. Whoa, stop, there. That lulls the customer into thinking that they don't have to know anything, because some clerk at a store will tell them what they want. This false sense of enpowerment on the customers part is what makes retail suck so much. If you want a book, a CD, DVD, a purse, a pair of pants, a shirt or anything else, don't come to the store saying it that you want the blouse Oprah was wearing. Or the Christmas movie that starred some girl with curly hair that aired on the Disney Channel 2 years ago.

6. Pay attention to your kids. Malls are not babysitters and they hate parents who let their children run around like wild animals.

7. Don't leave a mess. Putting clothes back on the rack -not throwing it, or tossing it on the floor - is very helpful. Granted, while we are paid to do this, its certainly not enough for most of your sorry asses. And what's with people moving tables and chairs around a cafe at Borders or Barnes & Noble or over at Starbucks? I don't come to your house and re-arrange your furniture. Stop doing it at our stores. It messes up our Chi. If you feel the need to do this, fine, but when you leave put it back the way you found it. Where you all brought up in barns? If it's a resturant, that's different. They get tips to put up with that type of crap.

8. All else fails, remember #1.

See, if people followed these simple -very simple - rules, Christmas shopping can actually not be stressful. And while employees of all reatil outlets are way underpaid and over worked, we do like to be treated with digity. Respect is a two-way street, my peeps. Treat me like dirt, and honey, the earings are coming off like I'm Joan Crawford.


23 November 2006

Thanksgiving rant

You know, I'm smart (well, maybe not doctor smart, but...) and I can be very funny when I want to be, but I realize now that I'm bitter and very lonely, so I treat people around me like their idiots. I do it work to my fellow employees and certainly I treat our customers like that. I've said many times that most of our cutomers are idiots until they prove me wrong. The sad part is, that statement is mostly true.

Today -Thanksgiving - begins my most hated period of the year. I miss the mystery that this holiday and Christmas once was, and while I no longer consider myself religious, I still miss those days growing up, listening to those carols blasting through the radio and through stores. Now, its all about -though maybe it was as a child - about material things. And we force non-christians to celebrate the holiday also, while disdaining their own.

I am homesick, to tell you the truth, but not in the sense that I want to spend time with my family. There is just too many issues going on, too many bad years from the time my dad died in 1968 and today. I just miss those times when all I had to worry about was iff I dressed right.

If I went home today, it would to a house full of people who can't communicate their proper feelings. I have a sister-in-law who hates my mom -though, to her credit, most of its justified. My Mom is Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond. She can be cruel, but sees it as advice that you should take. She claims to have toned some of that down, but she is set in her ways.

My brother gets odder by the years, slowly sinking into his pit of redneckism. I feel so sorry for my sister-in-law. She deserves better, really. My younger sister has issues of her own, but refuses to acknowledge them. She is an enabler and will be for the rest of her life -but you can't tell her that. The older sister is the sanest in the family. I adore her, and wish I could be her. Fortune seems to shine down her way, and nothing seems to get her down.

I once thought I was sane, but I feel that is just a lie. I feel lost, and really nothing to look forward too. Just another day feeling like the world is moving forward, while I fall back, never to reaching the magic that makes life so wonderful.

Sure, I'm thankful today. I'm alive, I have roof over my head, a job (which I hate as each day comes up), and a somewhat loving family. But I have no insurance to help me get over this depression; no insurance to save my teeth, as they are rotting out of my head because I'm afraid to venture to a dentist, my concaved chest that makes me feel so self-consious that I don't think I can ever get in relationship with a guy.

While I lack the courage to off myself, I think of it often. I think the pain could go away if on the way to work or on my way home, I get in an accident. No worry.

But what I would leave behind stops me. So says we all.

But I am tired. Tired of people making plans and not inviting me. I'm tired that I never, ever enter their minds. I'm tired of trying to be good and helpful, only to discover it means nothing. I'm tired that someone else gets lucky and I get the shaft. I'm tired of being tired.

Books of 2006, Part 15: The Pirates! in an Adventure with Communists

London, 1840: Wagner’s latest opera plays to packed houses while disgruntled workers gather in crowded pubs to eat ice cream and plan the downfall of the bourgeoisie. And the Pirate Captain––his disguise proving something of a letdown––finds himself incarcerated at Scotland Yard, in a case of mistaken identity.

Discovering that his doppelgänger is none other than Karl Marx, the Captain and his crew are unwittingly caught up in a sinister plot that involves a red-eyed monster, stolen waxworks, and a sack of pretend kittens.

From the gloomy streets of Soho to the leafy boulevards of Paris, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists is a story of intellectual giants, enormous beards, volcanoes and valkyries, doubloons and dancing girls, and a quest to discover whether ham might really be the opium of the people.


Having mutilated Charles Darwin (The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists) and mauled Herman Melville (The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab {though called Whales in the UK}) , the Pirate Captain and his crew turn their attention to Karl Marx's plans for world domination and improved facial hair. The third volume of this wacky series remains true to the first two, with many anachronisms and a crew with no names, with the exception of Jennifer. This time, the Pirate Captain must discover the connections between Wagner’s opera and various other nonsensical things as he searches for a grand adventure, so at least, to keep his sponsors - who want multiple eviscerations and/or explosions - happy.

Due in a year or so, will be the next adventure, which seems to be with Napoleon.

22 November 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

This is the second Thanksgiving here in California away from the family. And, as far as I know, I'll be all by myself. B is off to his friends, and I'm sure they would not mind having me, but I just don't want to go.

I told Beo this past Saturday while film HF and JT's short film, that I feel I'm losing my gay identity. B is great, but it's had to have a conversation about anything gay, when your roommate is still queasy on the subject. And hence, spending time with Tim, who is a conservetive republican, on a Thanksgiving seems misguided at best.

Besides, I've never be fond of this holiday. I understand what it means -the harvest and being thankful for things like family and such, but I always remember it being days of preperation, short tempers and a day full of dull, inane conversation. Plus, not a football person, with nothing else on, I got bored. Sure the food was great, and stuffed myself, but it was just a day to devore tons of fatting food, and nothing else.

So, hopefully, Bill will understand when I say I don't need or want to got to Tim's. I'm happy, to be alone. Hey, I can catch 007, also.

Anyway, to all those who will be spending time with their family, have a great Thanksgiving.

Be safe and don't drink and drive.

20 November 2006

Peter Jackson out as director of The Hobbit

In what many LOTR fans may consider a death in the family, Peter Jackson has confirmed he’ll not helm The Hobbit. Over at the OneRing.net, he explains why (tap on link).

For sometime a cloud over Jackson's involvement has been swirling due to an unresolved lawsuit between Jackson and New Line over incomes on The Fellowship of the Ring. Until the issue was settled there wasn't expected to be any involvement on Jackson's part.

And only last week, MGM Chief Harry Sloan had confirmed they were in talks with Jackson to make two movies based on The Hobbit - though they admitted that the deal was contingent on negotiations with New Line, which owns the right to produce The Hobbit (in typical Hollywood redtapeism, MGM owns the rights to the book, but New Line Cinema owns the production and distribution rights). Sloan said the first film would be a direct adaptation of The Hobbit, and the second would be drawn from footnotes and source material connecting The Hobbit with The Lord of the Rings.

Jackson indicated that New Line had a "limited time option on the films rights", and with the accounting practices of New Line has that lead to Jackson’s lawsuit bound to go into years, the studio was forced to pass on Jackson and begin the search for a new director.

17 November 2006

TV Round-up 11/17: FOX's fall season an almost bust

In what has turned out to be a troubling fall season for FOX, they’ve given the two of their remaining new shows the okay to continue production. The comedy series Til Death has been picked up for the full season, while they’ve ordered 6 additional scripts for the drama Standoff. Of course, like the now benched Happy Hour and cancelled Vanished, and with Justice being moved to Friday (beginning December 1, instead of 11th) to finish out its 13 episode run, Standoff and Til Death have never preformed well. But instead cancelling the entire new season schedule, they’ll stick with them. For now.

While I’m sure everyone on those two remaining shows are happy for work, its only a semi-vote of confidence that either show will survive until May. Hopefully, the cast and crew of those two shows will realize the small gift handed to them, and produce better scripts that don’t rely on the tried and true stereotypes of comedy and drama.

But then this is the FOX network, and they have a tendency to crush creativity. While they’ve had success, they have never been known to support shows (like Arrested Development) that show a very independent mind.

Cookie cutter comedies and bland dramas have been the norm for the past two decades over at FOX, and it will continue until someone shocks them with the idea that writing is the core reason -even beyond cast - that makes a show. Then you add chemistry of a cast to the great writing, then you got a show that works.

And while The Simpsons remains a loyal show for me -despite it no longer being what it once was - its continued support for crass shows like Family Guy, American Dad, The War at Home and a shameless pandering to dumb Americans who drivel over American Idol, the FOX network will never come out of the shadows of the other three networks. It even lets shows like Prison Break -brilliant drama in its first season - jump the shark with plots that go nowhere.

Bones remains one of its best dramas, but is so woefully under unitized. While I can say I have issues with the gore, the show is well written, with great characters and real sense of while it’s CSI, it takes a more wink, wink, nudge, nudge style that elevates above the boring and sometimes very predictable CSI franchise.

As for comedies, The Loop stood out from last season and is scheduled to return in 2007. But its another quirky comedy that some how manages to be a bit crass, but charming. But it’s the writing and the cast that make this show work. But, while I was surprised it was picked up back in May, I’m not sure it can survive again. Unless -as it was planned months ago - the show is teamed with American Idol’s results show, and can maintain its lead-in.

But The Loop is creative, so see Arrested Development.
Meanwhile, The CW has confirmed they've ordered 7 new episodes of Veronica Mars. No word was given why they did not order nine, which is the per usual pick-up for a full season. At now only 20 epsiodes this season, the last two mysteries of the season will have to be curbed to fit this new plan -unless The CW goes back and orders 2 more.

15 November 2006

TV Roundup for 11/15 and a Hobbit

After two days of being ill, I'm back.

NBC finally confirmed a full season pickup for Friday Night Lights, which may be moved from its current Tuesday slot to Sundays beginning in January. This move, of course, is because if the show remains on Tuesday, FOX’s returning American Idol will kill it. And NBC execs really like Friday Night Lights, so expect something else to become the sacrificial lamb there.

Production is underway on Babylon 5: The Lost Tales, a straight-to-video follow-up to the long-running TV series. Lost Tales picks up several years after the events of the series' original story, following several of its major characters — returning cast members include Bruce Boxleitner, Tracy Scoggins and Peter Woodward — in new adventures set against the backdrop of the Babylon 5 universe

ABC has confirmed a full season pick up of What About Brian, despite posting season low ratings last week.

Finally, while not TV related, I thought I mention this: MGM Chief Harry Sloan has confirmed they are in talks with Peter Jackson to make two movies based on J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit though that is contingent on negotiations with New Line, which owns the right to produce The Hobbit.

The first film will be a direct adaptation of The Hobbit, and the second would be drawn from footnotes and source material connecting The Hobbit with The Lord of the Rings.

12 November 2006

Turn it on again -veteran rock group Genesis reunites

After years of rumors, egos and other set-backs, the rock group Genesis is reuniting for a small tour for 2007.

But not everyone will be back.

Genesis was formed by Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford in the late 1960s, with their first album From Genesis to Revelation coming out in March of 1969. Heavily album oriented, with deep cuts full of long instrumentals and epic length songs, their music struck a cord with many fans both here and especially in the UK where they were based. They had a theatrical vein, also, thanks to Gabriel’s Ziggy Stardust style of performing on stage.

Guitarist Steve Hackett joined the band for the third LP, Trespass, along with Phil Collins. The group’s popularity increased during this time, as each new record - Foxtrot, Genesis: Live and Selling England by the Pound - was released, but as typical in most bands during the era, each persons individuality began to surface causing a schism that would lead to Gabriel’s departure in 1975, after the successful Lamb Lies Down on Broadway album and tour.

Collins was promoted to lead-singer, and while they tried to maintain the Gabriel style -with a sometime scary precision - with Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering, but Phil Collins more pop influence began to creep in by 1977's Seconds Out, which would also be Steve Hackett’s last album with the band. 1978's And then there Were Three scored the new trio its first top 50 song, Follow You Follow Me. The new commercial Genesis continued with 1980's Duke, which spawned another pop hit, Turn it on Again. Abacab followed in 1981, generating two hit singles, the title track and No Reply at All. The popular Three Sides Live followed next, cementing them more into commercial radio play. But it was 1983's self titled album Genesis that put them on the edge of major pop success, with hits like Mama and That’s All and Illegal Alien. And, of course, 1986's Invisible Touch would be their most successful album ever and giving them their first number 1 single.

By 1986, Phil Collins had a successful solo career, and his 3rd solo effort, No Jacket Required made him more popular than the time he spent with Genesis. Their last effort as a group was 1992's We Can’t Dance, a good album, but not a worthy successor to Invisible Touch.

Collins left the band after that last album to continue to focus on his solo career, which would eventually lead him to score the songs for the 1999 Disney film Tarzan, which would garner him an Oscar for Song of the Year. The remaining two members -Rutherford and Banks - recruited former Stiltskin vocalist Ray Wilson for the 1997 release Calling All Stations, which fared so poorly that the group was forced to cancel their American tour. They quietly folded in 1998.

Since then, the band has had a strong cult following -especially the early Gabriel years -and its old catalog continues to sell. And a reunion rumor tour has been around almost since the time that Gabriel left in 1975. They did get together in briefly 1982, but the notorious perfectionist Gabriel warned a few years ago that any reunion concert in the future would require serious preparation time. "When we got back together in 1982, I don't think we rehearsed, he says. To really do it properly, we'd have to take more time. It's quite a commitment."

But now, the former frontman will not be participating in the reunion. "Tony, Mike and Phil are rehearsing now," he said in a recent video message on his Web site. "I'm not involved in this round or this year. I haven't ruled out the possibility of doing something in the future, but right now I'm going to focus on my own work."

Also apparently not involved is guitarist Steve Hackett, though last month, he told the Chicago Sun-Times that he received a phone call from Genesis management. "There's a movement to put us all together again," he said. "I do think it will happen."

Now back to a three-piece line-up (supplemented by Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson) after Gabriel’s decision not to participate, they’ve revealed the songs for the 2007 tour. Included will be songs as far back to 1973 and will include some of the longer instrumental pieces and, of course, the double drums that became synonymous with the Genesis tours of the late '70s to early '90s. Among some of the older songs the band is rehearsing are Afterglow and Los Endos. Other songs Tony Banks mentioned during the November 8th press conference included In The Cage and Domino as well as the hits most people would come to expect.

And while he now seems ready to tour with Genesis again, Collins sang quite a different tune in a 1996 interview with Billboard, when he declared, How interested am I in old Genesis material? Not very interested, to be honest.

If I'm to be completely candid, I've never been our biggest fan, he continued. I have no reverence for the older material, apart from the fun we had making it. I never really felt like we quite got it right on record, especially in the olden days. I can see Genesis fans sticking pins in my effigy as I say this, but you know, I have to be honest -- there's no point in being anything else in life. I'm very proud of some of it, and I could take or leave some other stuff.

In the meantime, here in 2006, Genesis shared with the press that they have been actively rehearsing for the past few weeks in New York, but said there are no plans to do any new studio material at this time. In addition to the dates for Europe, the band plan to play about 20 dates in North America. There have been talks about releasing the tour later as a live album or video, but nothing is officially confirmed yet. Collins also acknowledged that he still has some hearing loss since getting a rare viral infection in the late '90s but wants to do a series of shows anyway, and commented that Genesis stated that the tour is purely for their own enjoyment and not for financial gain, sharing that if the motivation was money that there would be more dates of the tour.

10 November 2006

TV Round-up: 11/10

FOX has pulled Justice from their prime time schedule, effective immediately. On its last air date, November 6, the show garnered a 1.9 rating, way down from 3.5 of its lead in, Prison Break. The network will air reruns of House for the rest of the November sweeps. FOX has said the show will return in December, but due to the holiday and several planned specials, don’t expect a return until January, which in itself becomes problematic then.

If the show returns in December, it could be only as a sacrificial lamb. Give it one or two low rated airings when most TV viewers are preparing for Christmas, could give enough reason for the network to cancel the show.

Besides, January sees the return of 24 and American Idol, and those two juggernaut series will be filling much of FOX’s advertising. So, it’s a good bet Justice will find its way to the cancel bin.

Meanwhile, Battlestar Galactica executive producer David Eick is teaming up with Terminator 3 director Jonathan Mostow and writer John McNamara to develop Them, an alien-invasion series for FOX.

Based on the graphic novel Six, by Michael Oeming and Daniel Berman, the premise involves a sleeper cell of extraterrestrial terrorists who take the shape of humans. Their mission is compromised when they start experiencing human emotions, which act like a drug on the aliens.

This “emotional drug” may explain why they never tuned into ABC last season.

09 November 2006

TV Roundup for 11/9

Struggling Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip got a boost when NBC picked up the show for the entire season, but while Friday Night Lights remains the darling of the network, they’ve yet to confirm a full-season pick-up on this show.

Meanwhile, ABC will move the Anne Heche drama Men in Trees to the plum Thursday slot after Grey’s Anatomy on November 30. The Alphabet network also picked up the show for the entire season. Six Degrees will be pushed off the schedule due to this change; ABC says the show will be back in January, but rumors coming from outside the network is suggesting that the show is doomed.

CBS has announced that it will split its serial drama Jericho into two parts. Like Lost - which won’t be back until February 7 -over at ABC, Jericho will end on a cliffhanger November 29 and then be gone for 10 weeks, returning February 21 to finish out the season with no repeats.

Finally, look for Sci Fi Channel to possibly move critical and cult-favorite -but seriously ratings challenged - Battlestar Galactica to Wednesday at 8pm in hopes of start jumping something to save the costly series from early cancellation.

08 November 2006

Dems take the House and the Senate; Bush shocked and awed

Joe Scarbourgh of MSNBC - a very conservative Republican - maybe said it best last night, that when the Dems where swept out of office in 1994 it was because they went too far left. Now 12 years later, the GOP was swept out for the same reason, except they went too far to right.

The ranks of the GOP are in shock and the ultra-conservatives are blaming John Stewart and Katie Couric. So, nothings changed here. Name calling will never go out of politics, I guess.

What everyone seems to miss is that while Americans are divided on many things, both the right and left will eventually draw a line in the sand. Bush wanted this election to be about moral issues, like protecting the sanctity of marriage from all us homo’s, stopping stem cell research cause it can be perverted.

But is was really about the war in Iraq and its lack of progress. Now, Bush will have to work with the Democratic controlled House and Senate to figure out a way to make things work out better. The firing of Donald Rumsfeld should help, but I still believe we’ll be in Iraq come November 2008.

In the end, while the Dems control the House and Senate, the ones that were brought in are conservative democrats. I’m unsure how things will shake out with this, but I hope that “staying the course” will now become solving the troubles over there.

As for the whole gay marriage and stem cell research, this is all going to happen. Of course, for Bush, it’s the old “not on my watch” attitude he’s taking. So, we’ll have to see what happens in 2008 and beyond.

04 November 2006

Books of 2006, Part 14: Lisey's Story by Stephen King

I still remember where I was when I picked up my first Stephen King book. It was summer, if I remember right, but it was 1980, that I’m sure of, and was shopping with my mother at the Eagle grocery store in Hoffman Estates (which, sadly, has gone the way of the Dodo, but the building remains, and I think a furniture store is now in residence there). As a matter of fact, the book was still in it s box on the floor, for the clerks had yet to put the mass market paperback in the plastic coated shelves. It was The Stand, and I think it was the first time it was out in that format, even thought the hardcover came out in 1978.

I though it would a challenge, for many reasons. I was 17 that summer -going to 18 in the fall - had only been reading books on a regular basis for about three and half years, having picked up Agatha Christie novels during my freshman year of high school. Most of her novels did not more than 300 pages, but as I looked through this new tome, I saw it was 817 pages. It would be, if I could finish it, the longest book I had ever read at the time. Of course, while it took sometime to finish it, I loved the book. I would re-read it (that would be the first for me) at least three more times before King put out the expanded edition in 1991 -which I’ve also read several times. Like many King fans, The Stand remains one of most iconic works.

After The Stand, I spent a good deal of time catching up with The Shining, ‘Salem’s Lot and eventually, Carrie. I would read most of his books he published in the eighties, though I have passed on his Bachman books and to this day, cannot even read The Tommyknockers -it’s just plain horrible.

The last half the 1990's and the first half of the 21st Century, King finally finished his epic The Dark Tower series -his combination of director Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns and The Lord of the Rings. And we learned that most of the books he had published since 1974, was connected to the mysterious world of the Dark Tower -whether it was intensional or not, seemed not to bother me.

After proclaiming that the final tome in that series would be his last book -after all he wanted to do other things - he none the less, could not stay away from the genre that has made him richer than any writer should be. This past winter he returned to the gory, horror genre with Cell.

Now this past October, he returned again with a novel of the supernatural that also is a heartfelt love story, called Lisey’s Story.

Once again, King takes on a bizarre trip into the mind of a widow, who after two years, has decided to go through the files of her late, best selling author husband. But as she goes through the manuscripts, memories of their marriage (and despite his death, Lisey remains deeply in love with him) and where Scott Landon got his ideas begins to scratch at her, and slowly she begins to realize that the past is about to back, and its as mean as a dog named Cujo.

While Stephen King has his critics, I think some just rant on him because he is so prolific -of course, not as busy as Nora Roberts or Joyce Carol Oates -and that it takes a “real” writer years between novels.

Plus, I wonder, how many just buy his books to say they have them?

Then there are the ones who won’t read them because they are scary. Personally, only one King book scared me -The Shining - and one really creeped me out -It - but I’ve always sort of blocked out the gore stuff, which may explain why I do not watch horror movies.

King can be a bit a freak with the gore, but its characters that speak to me, for they act and do things in the most normal sort of way. Sure some of them posses supernatural powers or travel too parallel worlds, but deep down, they are regular people.

And that makes up for his sometimes bizarre love of gore.

02 November 2006

Heroes; actors and questions

There are times when my memory for all things TV is bizarre. I mean, I can remember a guest star from 2 decades ago, but I can’t remember to tell my co-workers really important things. It’s really bizarre.

When I was watching Heroes premiere episode, there was a teen actor playing Zach, the best friend of Claire
(save the cheerleader, save the world)
Bennett. Now, somewhere in the back of my mind, an old memory cell sent signals to my main frame, telling me I’ve seen him some where before. But for the life of me I could not remember.

His name turned out to be Thomas Dekker -when I looked it up on imdb.com. The things clicked into place. He had done several episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, including TNG’s first theatrical feature Generations, playing a son of Picard.

Dekker was a pretty boy, with beautiful eyes along with those feather-like eye-lashes. He went on to play Nick Szalinski in the Disney TV version of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. I like that show, even though it ran for only three years.

But it had been years since I had seen him, and according to his bio on imdb, he has done a lot of guest starring on TV, doing several episodes of 7th Heaven and Boston Public, and doing many, many voice over work.

So, anyway, as I watched him on Heroes, with those still lovely eyes and dimple in his cheek, and that dusting of facial hair, I was surprised it was him. He is still pretty, but at 18 it works for him.

So, anyway, talking about Heroes, it occurs to me now that Eden is working for Claire’s Dad (and raise your hands if you did not see that coming), who is too? I’ve been suspicious since Claire’s dad
(AKA Horn Rimmed Glasses)
acquired the tape that she and Zach made showing off her powers. How did he find it? Is it possible young Zach is also working for HRG? I grew even more worried on Monday’s episode Better Halves. While asking Claire about what she plans to ask her biological parents,
(another did-you-not-see-that-coming when it turned out those parents where in fact working for HRG?)
or more to the point, will she out herself? Of course, Clair denies saying anything that will tip other people off to her powers, and then she teases Zach, asking if he’s flirting with her. He says no, and seems to infer that there could be no way he would be interested in her.

But, you can see he does have a major crush on her. It’s kind of cute, but it could get creepy if my hunch plays out.

Another issue that popped up on that episode is how the days go. To me, it appears the show is running concurrent with everything, with maybe each episode representing a day
(or the same day?)
,but if it is, how could it be night time in Las Vegas were Niki lives with her son Micah
(and where Hiro and Ando are),
and day in Odessa, Texas where Claire lives?

I mean, it seems the show is running linear, but am I wrong?

Also, who would’ve thought that Jack Coleman - who played the original Steven on Dynasty and The Colby’s, was so cool as the villain of this series? I like it when an actor who’ve you not seen in a few years turns up in such a devious role. It is smart for the creators to move Coleman from a recurring role on the show to full cast member, which will happen with episode 11, set to air in January.

Also, one more thought: Is Ando doomed to die? I told my roommate that it would be logical for Ando to be killed by the bad guys, as that theme has been used for decades
(including Superman)
to spurn our hero to finally commit to fighting crime. And while Hiro already believes in his destiny and has embraced it fully, he still -I think - must lose Ando.

That bares watching.