Sunday, March 17, 2013

Random Thoughts

This gallery of Chris Keegan's photoshopped NASA pictures is glorious. (Wired)

:: What is this shit about Matt Lauer possibly replacing Alex Trebek on Jeopardy? What a terrible idea. That would get me to never ever watch Jeopardy again. Boy, am I glad America seems to be long over it's bizarre love affair with Matt Lauer. I never got that. He always came across like a sleazy creep to me, honestly. Like a phony opportunist.

Anyway, why is no one saying Ken Jennings should take over Jeopardy when Trebek retires? He owns that shit.

:: This guy cuddling a wombat is probably the luckiest person in the world. I can't watch this video and not feel really good.

:: I'm just saying, if every booster in every Facebook game is going to cost Facebook credits I won't buy, why am I earning coins in every game?

:: The Veronica Mars Kickstarter may yet turn out to be a fluke and not a model, but it's led to a lot of interesting discussions about what other cult shows could be revived for a movie or another episode. I'm a little annoyed with how the conversation always immediately turns to Joss Whedon and Firefly, not only because I'm just not a Firefly fan, but because I think Joss Whedon fans kind of delude themselves a little bit about what's possible.

Look, I'm under no illusions that Veronica Mars got canceled because there just weren't enough viewers. It didn't change the face of television, it was just a really good show that I'm passionate about. And how much do you think this Kickstarter is really going to generate? I'd honestly be surprised if they got up to $8 million. But they can make a modest, good Veronica Mars movie for that.

But Firefly? They got a movie and it cost $40 million, and it didn't make its money back. I think if they got every Firefly fan in the world to kick in money, you wouldn't get up to something like $40 million. That's why the show got canceled. It's not because Fox was against it or had it in for the show; not enough people watched it to justify the cost. I'm just saying: it's not going to happen that way, and I get so weary of being needled about not liking the show and people assuming that genre fans must absolutely love it and somehow it's going to come out and make hundred of millions of dollars and everyone in the world is such a fan.

I mean, my favorite TV show of all time is Farscape, but I don't go on and on about it with people and make them feel like idiots for not seeing it or not liking it. I do this weird thing where I'm satisfied that I have anything of it at all. Four seasons and a miniseries is more than a lot of fans of things get.

Look, I don't mean to bash Joss Whedon fans or anything. I'm glad you have something you're into. But it's not my cup, and that's okay, isn't it? Stop trying to make me feel like I'm not really into science fiction because I'm not a Joss Whedon fan.

But, seriously, it would be nice to have the Veronica Mars conversation without having Whedon fans hijack it with "How does this potentially affect the Joss Whedon fandom?"

:: Okay, one more Whedon-related thing: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not as big a deal as you think it is. I'm glad you had a show that you liked and got seven or eight years out of, or something, but can we please be realistic about it? It's so annoying reading the AV Club and seeing every TV show compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They keep insisting that we're in the Golden Age of Television now, and it was all ushered in by the greatness of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show that was watched by not a single person I knew while it was even on. You know what, I'm glad you like your show, but can you please, AV Club, stop talking about it like I should know all of the references you make to it in your critical evaluation of every other series? I don't know it: I didn't like it, and I didn't watch it, and it was never as popular as you seem to think it was. You don't need to compare every episode of Veronica Mars and Babylon 5 to it, because, Jesus.

Okay, sorry. Again, I don't mean to bash the fans of the show, because it bothers me not a whit if someone likes something I don't like. I don't begrudge anyone liking something I don't, even though people seem to think I do. I just get annoyed by the assumption that I must love this thing and think it's important just because I'm a genre fan or a fan of television. Some perspective, man.

(UPDATE 5:07 PM: Also, The Sopranos. "One of the most famous episodes in television history"... yeah, never saw it.)

:: Another show I see people suggesting needs more is Freaks and Geeks, which is probably my third favorite show of all time (after Farscape and The Muppet Show). I couldn't agree less. Who wants to see more Freaks and Geeks 13 years later? They had one great season and got canceled, and now we can always enjoy it. I think that show had so much character growth, and I think it ended in a place of realistic, comfortable uncertainty, but with real optimism. What are we going to do now? See a high school reunion, or something? Who cares? It robs us of all that growth and all of our personal feelings about what happened to everyone after that season. I think it would be a huge disservice to that show to try and do that again. I wouldn't be interested in seeing that at all. At all. Especially given the kinds of movies Paul Feig and Judd Apatow are making now... All I can guarantee you is that it would be far, far too long and unstructured, with too much uncomfortable improvising and Leslie Mann repeating her punchlines three times too many. (Because you assume she'd be in it somewhere.)

:: I've been a fan of Billy Joel since grade school, so I certainly dug this video that's been making the rounds. I really should've learned to play the piano. I'd give a lot to be able to play the piano like that. Maybe I should make that a therapy thing...

:: Everyone says they weren't surprised that Google would be discontinuing Google Reader, but I sure was. I have Reader open all day long, honestly. It's how I get news. I'm disappointed, because all I want is a no-frills RSS reader that's simple to use. Geekosystem said "The service was reliable and predictable, but, even fans have to admit, lacking in bells and whistles." Yeah, but that's what I want. I know this comes as a shock to platform designers these days, but I don't want everything I access to be a gateway to some kind of online community. I don't need to interact with a community just because I want to read blogs and news feeds; that's why I've never bothered with Google+. Stop forcing me to interact, everyone. Sometimes I just want to read and be left the fuck alone.

I guess I'll see if Feedly is any good. But some of us like things as plain as possible so we can choose when we want to interact and when we don't.

:: I sound really negative on this whole post, but I'm doing pretty good today.

:: So Senator Rob Portman, an anti-gay marriage Republican, now supports gay marriage because his own son came out to him and he, in good conscience, could no longer support something that would limit the rights of his child. I'm seeing a lot of people who are having this very liberal reaction of "Well, why couldn't he have empathy for everyone's child?" Well, you know, because humans are like that. They're self-interested. And you kind of expect that, by definition, someone politically conservative and traditional needs something like this to happen to them in order for them to change their opinions. I don't know why anyone's surprised by this. Sure, it would be nice if conservatives thought about everyone else's kids, too, but they don't. That's as obvious as it is frustrating.

What I'm saying is, it takes away from the small victory of changing one legislator's mind about gay people when you say that this victory isn't big enough. But I think there's a problem with talking about politics online where young people especially really expect that their blog posts or their Facebook arguments are having large, sweeping effects on social concerns and politics, and there's this sense of instant gratification, when a lot of times it's just small victories that add up.

Yes, it sucks that gay civil rights are still being discussed as though they're privileges and not rights and fundamental to everyone's equality. But I'm seeing too many people who should know better implying that this doesn't matter, and I think it does. It's one more mind changed.

:: There's a March Madness character bracket up at It comes down to Han Solo vs. Boba Fett and Boba Fett wins. Not that fanboys are predictable or anything. I'm sure it'll be a real nail-biter.

:: Hey, Candy Crowley: if you're actually trying to convince me that I should feel any sympathy right now for those two poor guilty high school rapists in the Steubenville rape case, you can go straight to hell.


Roger Owen Green said...

Seriously, I never heard the thing about Lauer perhaps replacing Trebek. That would not please me. But neither would Ken Jennings, who I like in small doses.

MC said...

I think the model that the video game Kickstarters have seemed to have followed would probably work best as someone kicking into it. The most successful ones have been that putting money into the pot is basically buying a copy of the game when it comes out so it ends up being a long term pre-order and then adding money to that basic level gives you additional perks.

For the lower levels of this Veronica Mars thing, it is like they are hitting you up for money and then telling you thanks for the money, now go give us some more money so you can see what you paid for.

Chris said...

I want to pet a wombat! :-) But that's a baby wombat. Full grown wombats are serious animals.

If you want some seriously cool, real space photos, check out NASA's Photo of the Day:

It's been running since 1995. You can check out all old and new photos in the Archive.

The Flying Dachshund said...

I'm in the same boat with the Whedon thing... The only only stuff I've liked of his, was Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie, because it was just the right level of corniness), and he also did some episodes of Roseanne... Not a fan of Buffy: the series, or Firefly or Dollhouse... I may have ended up liking the last 2, but was irritated at FOX for cancelling Dark Angel and Terminator for Whedon shows. I know the numbers may not have been there for those shows, but that's just the way it is when you like a show and something comes along to replace it... You tend to not want to even give that new show a chance...

SamuraiFrog said...

Roger: I'm honestly not the biggest fan of Trebek, either, but I just cannot watch Lauer at all. Can't take him.

MC: I couldn't afford to kick in more than a buck, so a lot of that is a moot concern for me, anyway. I just want to see the damn movie when it comes out.

Chris: I've seen wombats go after keepers at my zoo; it's almost hard to take them seriously with those cute little grunts, though.

I have the NASA site in my bells-and-whistles-less Google Reader. There's also a great version of it on Tumblr, tho I think it's actually fan made... but that's obviously where they get their pictures.

Dachshund: I love the original Buffy movie, I think it's hysterical. I do like the first three seasons of Angel. But I know what you mean; I've never watched any Stargate because a decade ago the Sci-Fi Channel canceled Farscape so they could use the money to air a Stargate spin-off.

I really don't let myself get into new science fiction series very much because I always expect that it's going to get canceled before it gets to go anywhere.

S. Element said...

Totally on board re Freaks and Geeks. The whole arc of that series was perfect.

Not sure why US television creators/producers (and audiences) tend to feel the need to run with a series until it withers and dies as a shell of its former self (it comes down to money - yeah, I know).

SamuraiFrog said...

Yes, but I agree with you; it's just too much for some shows. How I Met Your Mother is such a shell of its former self... I don't even enjoy it that much anymore, but now I feel like I've invested so much in the characters that I need to see where it ends up.

Kal said...

I am one of the people who likes Firefly just the way it is. 14 episodes, rich in character development and action and it's now done. No one can ruin what is great. No one can spoil what is perfect. Leave well enough alone and live on fan fiction if you really need your browncoat fix.