Thursday, October 25, 2012

Red Dwarf--"Entangled"

Red Dwarf is back in fine form after last week’s often uncomfortable religious satire. The gags come fast and furious as the Dwarfers find themselves in one of their usual odd predicaments. Some fans may think the jokes rely too much on old stand bys--Lister’s incompetence, Rimmer’s rule quoting, Kryten’s info dumps, and Cat’s vanity--but I think the classic shtick is welcome after a decade long hiatus.

Lister flies of to check on some life signs in the hopes of finding Kochansky, but winds up finding a tribe of GEL instead. He plays poker with them all night, eventually losing both Starbug and Rimmer. To ensure Lister makes good on his payment, the GELF attach a groin exploder set to go off in 24 hours. Meanwhile, Kryten and cat discover they can cause coincidences to occur when experiencing high emotions together. The ability comes in handy when the GELF die before they can explain how to remove the groin exploder.

The newfound coincidence ability leads the Dwarfers to a research station where the groin exploer was created. The station was an experiment in bringing together people who are frequently wrong--referees, weathermen, and TV critics, et al--re-rain them in the sciences, an hope two wrongs make a right. The project failed big time. The scientist the Dwarfers need is in stasis and evolved back into an ape thanks to a blunder. She is restored and saves lister’s ’love spus’ by convincing Kryten to input the exact opposite of the deactivation code she says is correct. Because she is always wrong, you see. She winds up falling out an airlock before she can sleep with rimmer. Poor guy.

The last act of ’Entangled” had to be rewritten days before filming because union rules forbid the actor in the ape costume to work long enough hours to play the role as originally written. The scientist character was hastily added, as were practically all the jokes from her introduction until the end. It shows. The episode does peter out. The inputting the exact opposite of what she says gag got old by the second code. It is downright painful by the fifth.

But the rest of the stuff is great. The jokes are not particularly fresh, but old school fans will like the nostalgia. If there is any bonus, it is that Cat gets a lot of good laugh lines. He has so far been the weakest character this series, so there is a welcome change. The jokes come at you so rapid ire, you do not have time to over think them. “Entangled’ is the silliest episode thus far, but it may be the most entertaining.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Stargate Atlantis--"The Kindred, Part I"

I am going to have to recant some criticism because of “The Kindred, Part I.” I have complained about SGA’s habit of dropping storylines cold. A specific one I mentioned was the Hoffi immunity drug that poisons wraith upon feeding while sparing at least half the humans who take it. We have not heard anything about the drug since the first season until now. Aside from that pleasant surprise, ’The Kindred, Part I” is a lot of set up for the conclusion.

Keller is in the middle of an investigation of a seemingly random illness that is killing off humans and the Wraith that feed on them. Teyla begins having visions of her missing people calling for her help. The two storylines collide when it is revealed Michael is behind the use of the Hoffi rug to kill off the Wraith and calling Teyla towards a location in which he can kidnap her. He has sinister plans for her unborn child involving the elimination of the Wraith need to feed.

The cliffhanger is the discovery of the Beckett clone during an attempt to rescue Teyla. Michael has been using the Beckett clone in order to perfect the hoffi drug. Presumably, the Beckett clone helped with the genetic changes needed to end the need to feed on humans. I guess we will find out for certain later. It is a nifty cliffhanger, mostly because I am spoiler-free. I imagine Paul McGillion’s return had to be all over the internet and those incessant SyFy promos they run eight times an hour every hour.

“The Kindred, Part I” is a lot of set up for the conclusion. As such, it is difficult to judge without knowing the whole picture. The pacing I extremely slow. There is not much going on until the final act when AR-1 attempts to rescue Teyla from Michael’s clutches and finds the Beckett clone instead. Call me old fashioned, but forcing the very pregnant Rachel Lutterll to engage in a lot of strenuous activity kind of bugs me. The episode was filmed earlier in the season to avoid her being too far along, but still. Maybe I am a worry wart. It feels like part I’s purpose is little more than bring everyone together. The Athosiasns, Todd the Wraith, Michael, Caldwell, and the Beckett clone all put in appearances, but little else. The cameos build up anticipation for what it too come, but are not very satisfying in and of themselves.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Kaley Cuoco

Thursday is (usually) Kaley Cuoco Day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Formspring Question #467--Fix Bayonets Edition

Regarding your tweet from last night--the Cylons never used bayonets.
The original Cylons did use bayonets. Rather wicked looking ones.

Formspring Question #466--Armstrong's Weakness Edition

How do you feel about Lance Armstrong having his seven Tour de France titles stripped from him for doping? Did he give the US a black eye?
The only thing that bothers me about it is that the French suspected for a long time lance Armstrong was doping, and I chalked it up to frog jealousy over an American consistently winning their little bicycle race. To discover Armstrong really was doping means the French were right. That irritates me.

Armstrong’s disgrace must be giving the United States a black eye because the revelation did not make the headlines I would expect it to make. I like to think I am on top of things when it comes to current events, but I had no idea Armstrong was even in hot water until I heard Scott ott make a joke about it on Pajamas Media. Even then, I had to do a oogle news search to see what all had transpired. I am sure drudge must have had a headline at some point, but I di not see the scandal as a headline on even any sports sites. I came in late, so maybe the story did not have legs rather than the press hoping to bury a story about an athletic hero’s disgrace.

While I am certain Armstrong’s admission of cheating will cause broad anti-American sentiment overseas, it is Armtrong himself who really looks bad. He is a cancer survivor who has done lot of fundraising for cancer research, so I certainly want to go easy on my criticism, but cheating and lying about it while others are defending him from accusations of cheating is the worst kind of dishonesty.

I am not particularly interested in the Tour de France. I did not even make the minimal effort it would have taken to watch a small leg of the race when I was attening the University of Strasbourg in the summer of 2002. I more or less compelled to mock the French whenever possible, so Armstrong was the accidental beneficiary of my jabbing a frequent adversary. If I had a deeper interest in cycling, I would be more emotional about the whole affair. As it is, I am disappointed in Armstrong, but do not personally think it is a big deal. I can see why it would be to a fan.

All Geeks Must Try This

Copy and Google search the following formula for a geeky surprise:

2 sqrt(-abs(abs(x)-1)*abs(3-abs(x))/((abs(x)-1)*(3-abs(x))))(1+abs(abs(x)-3)/(abs(x)-3))sqrt(1-(x/7)^2)+(5+0.97(abs(x-.5)+abs(x+.5))-3(abs(x-.75)+abs(x+.75)))(1+abs(1-abs(x))/(1-abs(x))),-3sqrt(1-(x/7)^2)sqrt(abs(abs(x)-4)/(abs(x)-4)),abs(x/2)-0.0913722(x^2)-3+sqrt(1-(abs(abs(x)-2)-1)^2),(2.71052+(1.5-.5abs(x))-1.35526sqrt(4-(abs(x)-1)^2))sqrt(abs(abs(x)-1)/(abs(x)-1))+0

Stargate Atlantis--"Midway"

“Midway” breaks the string of mediocre Stargate Atlantis episodes with a straightforward action adventure which prominently features Teal’c teaming up with Ronon to defeat a Wraith incursion of Stargate Command. The episode is a lucky break. Its creation was the fulfillment of a promise by executive producer Joseph Mallozzi to Christopher Judge to write an episode for him in the back half of the season as a thank you for making a cameo for free in order to cut costs earlier in the season.

Ronon is set to be interviewed on Earth by a new International Oversight Committee head. Sam requests Teal’c come to Atlantis in order to coach him on how to act diplomatically. The two are so much alike, they immediately lock horns, both in argument and fisticuffs. The two declare a tense détente before they are set to be stuck on Midway for the required 24 hour quarantine.

A garrison of Wraith, who have learned of the McKay-Carter Gateway through Tod the Wraith, tracj their travels through the wormhole and invade Midway. After taking over, they open a wormhole to Earth, stun everyone at SGC, an establish a beachhead there. Teal’c and Ronon fight their way through midway to Earth in order to stop the Wraith there. Once Atlantis discovers what has happened, Sheppard leads a strike team into Midway. Midway is eventually destroyed do to Kavanaugh’s--yes, him again--incompetence during the Wraith’s defeat there, but Teal’c and Ronon manage to kill every Wraith at Sgc with no problem. They bond over the endeavor, naturally.

Kavanaugh is still the same old jerk as ever. Now he is stuck on Midway, presumably because still no one likes him. He arrogantly screws up the mission to retake Miway by inadvertently setting the autodestruct sequence. He even passes out under the threat of being fed upon by a Wraith. The character is being played far more for laughs now than as an obnoxious antagonist. I especially liked how Ronon shoved him out of the way when Kavanaugh was ecstatic to be rescue finally. The guy just cannot catch a break. Not that I sympathize.

There is finally a member of the Atlantis expedition from a Muslim country. I recognized a Turkish flag patch on one of the spectators during Teal’c and Ronon’s sparring match. So there you go.

“Midway” is pretty cool. It is a straightforward action piece meant to mostly entertain mindlessly, and it does. The whole purpose is to rack up a high Wraith body count and feature a large explosion in between antagonistic buddy cop humor between Teal’c and Ronon. It alll works very well, and I say that as one who is not the biggest fan of either Teal’c or Ronon.

Oh, and seriously--Teal’c does not realize how often he says “indeed?” Indeed.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Emma Stone

Then there is Emma Stone...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Trio"

“Trio” is Stargate Atlantis meets Jean Paul Sarte’s No Exit. At least the homage are becoming classier, no? Sam, Rodney, and Keller do not discover hell is other people, but they do take the opportunity to et to know one another while practicing applied physics to escape an abandoned mine shaft on an earthquake prone planet.

Sam leads the tiny expedition of herself, Rodney, and Keller to a planet prone to earthquakes in order to convince them to relocate. The three fall through a sinkhole into an abandoned mining facility and spen time getting to know one another while devising means using various items in the room to climb out. Their conversations center around risqué, but not obscene sex talk and convincing Sam and Keller to take their clothes off. As good an idea as any, if you asm me.

Naturally, none of the plans go well, especially the one in which they stack crates into a staircase to climb out. I have seen chimpanzees successfully build those in order to reach a dangling banana.. I do not know what the failure says about our heroes. Okay, I am kidding. The crates simply would not hold Sam’s weight. That is not a fat joke, either. Amanda Tapping is one fit MILF. The real complication comes on a second attempt to make a sturdier stack. Sam falls and breaks her leg.

The trio eventually finds their way out by climbing down a rope--Sam on a makeshift seat--towards an adjacent shaft which leads to the surface. Sam wonders out loud why they did not think to look for another shat before, which makes one wonder if that truly was the loical thing to do first. Whatever the case, Rodney winds up the hero for helping sam and Keller escape. Keller ends the episode strongly hinting she has a thing for Rodney. How lucky can a guy get?

The oddest part of “Trio” is our heroes fall 25 feet through a hole in the ground to land on a hard surface without becoming injured. Any fall over ten feet is potentially fatal, so the act none of them are injured at all is tough to swallow, particularly when Sam eventually breaks her leg falling from a lesser height. But all that is necessary for the sake of drama, so I must let it slide. It is amazing on a show in which aliens from another galaxy speak perfect English, it is an implausibly easy fall that bugs me.

I know there were grumblings from fans during the first run of SGA that characters had no direction. Presumably, that is why so many recent episodes center around characters getting to know one another rather than confronting an antagonist. I was apprehensive when I learned the plot of “Trio” because these character explorations have not been all that good, and a cheap, locked room escape that is essentially a one act play did not sound promising. However, I am pleasantly surprised with the final result. It is a simple episode, but the humor makes it absorbing. “Trio” exceeds my expectations. Any episode featuring Jewel Staite prominently is worthy of attention. <,p> Rating: *** (out of 5)

Kristen Bell

Monday, October 22, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Outcast"

“Outcast,” the second episode co-written by journalist turned actor Joe Flanigam, is a mil character study of Sheppard’s estranged family situation an an overt homage to the Terminator series, particularly Robert Patrick’s (Col. Sumner) portrayal o the T-1000 in Terminator II: Judgment Day. There is a joke dropped in to that effect, carrying on with SGA’s tradition of acknowledging from where it lifts many plot elements.

I describe it as a mild character study because, while it is set up to be an intimate Sheppard story, the personal drama falls to the wayside for an adventure involving a Replicator loose on Earth. In fact, there is more poignancy in the scientist who create the Replicator’s “family’ issues. His young assistant, Ava, turns out to be a Replicator copy of the real Ava after she died in a car accident. Is it not strange for Ava’s story to be a more emotional element than that of Sheppard’s family troubles?

Consider it even stranger because the catalyst for Sheppard returning to Earth is his estranged father’s funeral. Patrick Sheppard had planned every element of his son’s life right up until the point the rebelled by joining the Air Force. They never spoke again. Sheppard’s brother has taken over his father’s company, but has not only resentments over his brother running off to join the military, but apparently he was still dad’s favorite son regardless. Sheppard also runs into his ex-wife (?!) at the funeral.

Have you got all that? Do not worry if you have not, because once Sheppard learns there is a Replicator on the loose, he runs off yet again regardless of family obligations to pursue it It is pretty much action film time as the Replicator channels the T-1000 in several battles with out heroes and a climactic fit with Ava. I will admit the idea of teleporting the Replicator into low earth orbit so he will burn up on entry is a creative way to defeat him, but it feels so od for the pursuit of the Replicator to be sch a focus.

Bates returns as an agent of the International Oversight Committee after receiving an honorable discharge due to injuries he sustained battling the Wraith. He is far less of a jerk than he used to be, so that is a relief. He states that he was in the Air Force. I am pretty sure bates was a Marine instead. I am also reasonably sure Sheppard told Ronon he had never been married. Dear heavens, Sheppard was once married to Kari Wehrer:
How could he let a lovely creature like her get away from him?

I think ’outcast’ is meant to be a better Sheppard-centric episode than it turns out. His father’s death does not play as an important part of the story passed the first act. All we really see is a deep sigh and acceptance from his surviving family members that seppard is going to run off to play adventurer. He leaves his father’s wake in order to hunt a Replicator, for heaven’s sake! Sheppard has not learned anything by the end, either. There is nothing but the hint that his brother and ex-wife accept him for what he is because he is not going to mature no matter what happens in his life. “Outcast” is a decent action piece, but a real disappointment as drama.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson is quite lovely.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blogroll Spotlight #167

It is time for the weekly round up of favorite posts from my blogroll. These are not ranked, but in alphabetical order by blog title. If you would like a specific post listed next week, you may email it to me and I will include it.

Adrienne's Corner-Cover Up; Benghazigate
American Perspective-Leftist Thug Threatens Me After I Photographed Obama Sign (video)
American Power-The Three Benghazi Timelines
Amusing Bunni's Musings-Even Pets and Babies Know Obammer Sucks!
Bloviating Zeppelin--are Leftists Reconsidering Obama?
Bluegrass Pundit--Obama Supporters Want to Destroy WH if Romney Wins
Bob's Blog--They Stood Their Ground
Call Me Stormy--Expand GOP Playing Field
Camp of the Saints-Rule 5 Saturday: Amanda Averill
Classic Liberal- The Good Life with Alina Vacariu
Conservative Hideout-Lee Iacocca Endorses Romney
Daley Gator--Gloria Allrad comes Oozing Out the Drain
Diogenes' Middle Finger-The Freakin' Story Lady Returns
Double Plus Undead--Canadian Scientists Clearly Incompetent
Evil Blogger Lady--Baby Aardvark
Fishersville Mike-It Didn't Stay Quiet
Flares into Darkness--Paper or Plastic
Goldfish and Clowns-A Semi-Big Announcement
Gormogons-Smith Dinner Stand Up
In a Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World--The Friday Pin Up
Jammie Wearing Fool--chris Matthews: Challenging Obama is Unconstitutional
King Shamus--Obama & His Tenuous Relationship with Competency
Last Refuge of a Scoundrel--St. Judes
Lonely Conservative-Is WH Opening Direct Negotiations with Iran?
Maggie's Notebook-Michelle Obama Finally Gets It Right
Motor City Times-Socialists Say the Darndest Things
My Daily Musings--This One's for the Men: Sharon Tate
Nice Deb--Your Sunday Hymn: America the Beautiful
Other McCain-Etymology as Prophecy
Paco Enterprises-Sunday Funnies
Pirate's Cove-If All You See...
Political Jungle--Same Sizzle, Different Dizzle
Proof Positive-Quote du Jour
Randy's Roundtable-Thursday Nite tart: Daniela Lopes
Reaganite Republican-Reaganite's Sunday Funnies
Riehl World View--It's All Down to 106 Counties
Right Truth--Secret Service Thoughts About First Ladies
Self-Evident Truths--What I've Learned from Liberals
Sentry Journal-Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme
Support Your Local Gunfighter--You Be the Jury
Tattered Bits of Brain--Things You Aren’t Hearing from CNN & MSNBC
Teresamerica- What If There Was Tyranny?
Thunder Pig--A Short Rant About Political Calls
Troglopundit-This Week in Automotivators
Virtual Mirage--The Benghazi Strain
We the People-Hey, Here's An Idea!
Western Hero--Twittorhea
Woodsterman--Dad's christmas List is Now Complete
Zilla of the Resistance-I Was Called a Racist Today

Stargate Atlantis--"Harmony"

W. C. Fields once quipped you should never work with children or animals. In my experience, the first half of that statement is true in the sense that when a television series has an episode centered around a child guest star, it is usually bad. But I am like Fields. Children and I have a difficult time together. The point is “Harmony” has a strike against it already for focusing so much on a child guest star. Your mileage may vary.

Sheppard and Rodney, whom I swear are attempting to channel Hope and Crosby minus the musical numbers, are conned into escorting a thirteen year ol named harmony on a rite of passage through a forest to rach some ruins. Something in those ruins will prove Harmon has the right to be queen. Harmony has been betrayed by one of her older sisters who wants the thrown for herself. She has hired genii mercenaries to kidnap Harmony. Actually, they are probably hired to kill her instead, but murdering a child is a bit too much for a episode leaning way far on the comedic side.

You can probably fill in the blanks yourself. Harmony is a precocious brat who develops a crush on Sheppard, annoys Rodney, and listens to neither one of them even when her safety is at stake. She winds up with a crush on Rodney instead after he puts himself in danger to save her. The ruins turn out to be the remains of an Ancient structure. Harmony is able to operate it, so she becomes queen. Her first act is to lock up her conniving sister. There is a happy ending for you.

Yikes. An older sister hiring mercenaries to murder her barely in her teens sibling, Harmony. Harmony is a little terror herself, relishin the idea of flogging and executing her enemies, including Rodney at one point, once she is queen. At least Harmony is somewhat satiated by locking her sister up for life. One big, happy family. Methinks Harmony’s people are in for a rough time.

I will say this for “Harmony‘--the self-titled character is cast perfectly. Jodelle Ferland looks and sounds every bit like the hellion her character is supposed to be. Ferland has made a niche for herself portraying creepy kis in horror movies and video games, so there is your confirmation she can play an unholy terror.

“Harmony” is obviously not a favorite. Kids and science fiction are a toxic mix as far as I am concerned. It is even worse when the kid is annoying on purpose. I am also less enthused when SGA centers around only a couple characters instead of the ensemble cast. There are some humorous moments and, as noted, Ferland plays an unappealing character well, but those two points are only enough to make “Harmony” mildly entertaining.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Jennifer Love Hewitt

By many accounts, Jennifer Love Hewitt is whiny and immature. But still...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Meine, Dummkopf!

This would not be funny at all if the cat wurde nicht Deutsch sprechen.

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around #172

It is time once again to round up all the bloggers gracious enough to link to me this week.

The Other McCain links to Rachel Nichols.
Proof Posirive links to Rachel Nichols and Anna Kendrick.
Say Anything links to Rachel Nichols and Anna Kendrick.
Sentry Journal links to Veep Debate Evaluation.
Motor City Times links to Veep Debate Evaluation.
Woodsterman acknowledges the Rule 5.
Pirate's Cove links to FMJRA #171, Blogroll Spotlight #166, and Lindsay Loahn.
Conservative Hideout links to Cocaine Starlet Politicos.
Randy's Roundtable links to Kaley Cuoco and Katherine McPhee.
Last Refuge of a Scounrel adds The Eye to its blogroll

A sincere thank you to all who linked this week. If you linked to me in the last week, but I do not have you here, you unfortunately fell through the cracks of Technorati, Google Blog Search, and Sitemeter. Please drop me a note in the comments and I will update with your link.

Stargate Atlanris--"Quarantine"

“Quarantine” is a bottle show that can best be summed up as Stargate Atlantis meets a ‘70’s disaster flick. You have seen the plot dozens of times. Some sort of accident occurs that traps odd pairings of characters together to overcome obstacles, technical and personal, in order to survive. “Quarantine” is not a whole lot different, but it is amusing how it takes certain situations you would expect--pregnant teyla giving birth while trapped in a locked room, for example--and turns turns them into jokes instead. At least the writers are not just painting by numbers here.

After the last medical outbreak, Rodney beefed up Atlantis’ lockdown protocols to be more sensitive. Too sensitive, as it were, because the city lockdown under a false alarm. The lockdown causes some strange pairings. Rodney, who was about to propse to Katie, is locked in the botanical lab with her. Sheppard and Teyla are trapped in a computer lab with him freaking out she will give birth any minute because that is what happens in the movies. Sam and Zelenka are stuck in an elevator. Finally, Ronon an Keller are in the infirmary.

The various predicaments allow for the characters to relate to one another to varying degrees of effect. The best is Rodney and Katie, as it becomes clear his fatalism in the face of what he believes is imminent death convinces the two of them marriage is not a good idea right now. It is really sad as it dawns on them both that fact is not likely to change. Neither of them are inclined to grow emotionally towards one another any more than they already have. The other pairings are rather boring or strange. Nothing much happens with Sheppard/Teyla or Sam/Zelenka, but ronon and Keller wind up almost smooching. It is because keller reminds ronon of his deceased girlfriend/fiance, but the scenario just did not resonate with me. Jewel Staite is being handled quite badly on this show.

The complication happens when the city believes the “outbreak” is out of control and sets the autodestruct. Zelenka saves the day by shutting the city off and on again. Yes, the go to method for repairing any an all computer problems. But hey, Zelenka gets to be the hero for once, so there you go.

“Quarantine” suffers a lot of missed opportunity. The chance here is for a lot of personal moments wherein we get to learn about the characters on a personal level, but the writers fumble the ball. We learn Zelenka raises pigeons and has such a logical mind, he cannot understand much humor because he takes jokes too literally. Keller is a prodigy who missed out on her childhood, which might explain her immaturity. That is about it. Rodney coming to understand his own flaws is about the only high point with these quiet moments.

The episode is not all bad. The story does take the typical scenarios you would expect ti find and either turns them on their ear or mocks them outright. That is a refreshing change, but still does not make ’Quarantine” anything special. There is no escaping--no joke intended--that it is a budget saving bottle show that does the best it can under the circumstances. I am very surprised more emphasis is not placed on exploring the characters. It looks like offering insight would be the mine focus. Alas, no.

Rating: *** (iut of 5)

Neve Campbell

Neve Campbell is a personal favorite.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Formspring Question #465--Tagg Team Match Edition

How seriously should Tagg Romney take Lawrence O'Donnell's challenge?
Not very seriously at all. Lawrence O'Donnell's "challenge" to a fistfight with Tagg Romney is just some red meat O'Donnell threw out on his show to get his audience fired.

O’Donnell said he does not believe Tagg Romney has ever been in a fistfight before or else he would not be talking so tough. I have seen this rhetoric many times before in silly internet debates. One guy challenges another on a point, and in response the one challenged asserts the other guy does not know anything on the subject so as to avoid debating the issue entirely.

I have had personal experience with this. I recall seeing a progressive on a message board some years ago using talking points from the Naom Chomsky book Defending Democracy when it was obvious he was getting them from a secondary source. Probably another message board. I had unfortunate read Chomsky thanks to his being a pet author for a political science professor in college, so I challenged him to debate the whole shebang, noting that by his rhetoric, he clearly had not read it. He assured me that, as a conservative, I had not read anything deeper than a cereal box top, and slinked off to his natural leftwing circle jerk habitat. This sort of exchange happens all the time.

Does anything really think either O’Donnell or Lawrence has ever thrown a punch in their lives? In the remotest possible chance the challenge was serious, the two would have a Seinfeldian slap fight at best so as not to damage their multimillion dollar faces an knuckles. If Tagg is ever asked about the matter, he should laugh it off O’Donnell’s challenge as the ranting of a lunatic. He would not be far from the truth. O’Donnell’s act is all kabuki theater for the tiny number of progressives who tune into his show every night.

Stargate Atlantis--"Spoils of War"

“Spoils of War” is considered the final part of the Replicator War trilogy, but feels more like an epilogue. The story deals with Tod the Wraith stealing a ZPM during the battle of Asura only to have it stolen from him by another wraith faction to power a cloning facility. This is just an excuse to put Teyla in danger so she can realize the safety of her unborn child comes before her desire to fight the wraith, which is the real heart of the story.

While captured, Todd activates a signaling device in the hopes of attracting the attention of his kinda sorta allies on Atlantis for a possible rescue. Sheppard decides to check the signal out, but he benches Teyla because of her pregnancy. She take it personally because of her desire to continue fighting and she believes Sheppard is just mad he kept her condition from him. Nevertheless, when the AR-1 team discovers Todd’s signal is coming from an adrift Wraith Hive ship, Sheppard returns to Atlantis to request her assistance in getting it moving again. She agrees, but with a passive aggressive contempt.

One thing leas to another, and AR-1 discovers Todd is being held captive in a Wraith cloning facility where thousands of new soldiers are being grown. The rescue attempt fails, and the AR-1 team is captured. Teyla uses the extra strength her unborn child grants her to take over the Wraith queen’s body and free her friends. They manage to recover the ZPM, destroy, the facility, and knock out a Wraith Hive ship during the escape. The Wraith Queen, however, reasserts herself enough to threaten Teyla’s child before Sheppard kills her. In the end, Teyla realizes Sheppard was right to take her off the team. Lesson learned.

What is it about Stargate aliens an cloning? The Asgard, Anubis, the Replicators, Ba’al and now Wraith have all been interested in genetically engineered copies even though the pursuit ultimately never helps them achieve their goals. You woul think one of them would develop a plan B by now.

“Spoils of War” is a good episode. I imagine it will be difficult to put the in real life pregnant Rachel Lutterll in a whole lot of situations now that do not seem forced, so it is cool to see in a plausible tory why teyla will not be in action for a while. There are accouple puzzling matters, such as why the Wraith would leave one of their sips adrift with all it valuable intel there for the taking or how it was just dumb luck Rodney discovered the cloning facility, but those are minor quibbles. ’spoils of War” is a decent, mostly action oriented episode that still has some nice personal moments.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Diana Rigg

How about a Flashback Friday for a blast from the past?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Red Dwarf--"Lemons"

When I read the plot summary of “Lemons” as the Dwarfers becoming stranded in 23AD and having to track down lemons in order to build a battery to return home, I was not expecting the story to turn into a blasphemous satire of Christianity. But that is exactly what we got. I laughed quite a few times in spite of myself even though these are the same old skeptic criticisms used as frequent laugh lines.

Kryten finds a Swedish Rejuvenation Shower, which must be assembled like IKEA furniture, that can restore anyone to his natural prime. Naturally, the Dwarfers put it together incorrectly, so that when the use it, they are transported back to 23 AD Albion. The handheld control device has no battery, but rimmer says he can build one with lemons and copper. The easiest place to get lemons in this time period is India, so they start hoofing it.

After acquiring lemons, the Dwarfers inadvertently run into Jesus. This is during his lost period when some speculate he traveled throughout the world perfecting his traching or stealing concepts from Eastern philosophy, depending on how harsh you want to be. Rimmer wants to meet jesus because his mother was part of a church that believed Judas switched places with jesus and was crucified so Jesus could ‘resurrect’ three days later. The other dwarfers do not want to affect the future, but they wind up not only hooking up with jesus to escape some Roman soliers, but take him back to Red Dwarf in the future.

Kryten winds up performs kidney stone surgery on Jesus with every penis joke you can imagine flying fast an furiously. during his recuperation, Lister gives jesus the history book he was reading as entertainment. Jesus reads it, becomes upset by the things done in his name throughout history, and returns to the past in order to destroy his own reputation. The Dwarfers catch up with him, though not before a long analysis on the alleged contradictions of the Ten Commandments, and convince jesus he will do good things even if some of his followers et it wrong. It turns out this is not Jesus o Nazereth, but another. The Dwarfers have to retrain rimmer when the real jesus shows up in order to avoid any more mess.

The blasphemy was a surprise as far as my understanding of what lemons was to be about. I cringed at some of the humor. Other jokes I recall atheists actually presenting as argument back in my apologetics days. Hearing those had their oewn personal amusing factors. The easily offended Christian should avoid ‘Lemons’ like the plague, but since they are already avoiding Red Dwarf, it likely matters naught. The jokes are exactly what you would expect, but not stale regardless. Interesting. Anyway. “Lemons” certainly will not be my favorite episode of the tenth series, but I like it well enough.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Mitt Romney Opens Seven Point Lead Over Barack Obama in Gallup Poll

I have largely avoided poll watching, particularly due to themurky issue of accuracy v. denialists when Barack Obama was inexplicably leading leading a few weeks ago, but today's Gallup poll is significant.

Mitt Romney leads Obama 525-45% nationally. No candidate who has lead by a margin that large in the middle of October has ever lost the election. While I certainly do not advocate counting chickens before the eggs have hatched, it looks like Obama is about to be sent packing.

Other evidence the momentum is for Romney is that he has taken the Electoral College lead for the first time. The reason is an increased number of states in play over the last couple weeks. While it is theoretically possible Obama could win any or all of them, they have become swing states because Obama’s popularity has slipped while Romney’s has risen. The trend would have to reverse for Obama to make a good showing. I remain skeptical Romney will win traditionally democrat states like Pennsylvania and Michigan even if the map says they are up for grabs, but Romney is in good shape regardless.

To cut off the most obvious rebuttal--no, I do not believe the second presidential debate will give Obama a significant boost. Even polls that say the president won the debate give him only a slim margin o victory. Most still say Romney beat him on the economy, whih is the core issue of the election. Plus, those who say Joe biden won the vice-presidential debate have been unable to stop Romney’s momentum. At best, obama’s debate “victory” might cut into Romney’s lead a point or two, but that would go against the trend.

Personally, I am interested in seeing an electoral map shift. The supposed red state/blue state dynamic ha dominated the last three elections. Even with Obama picking off some red states in 2008, the map was not that much different than 2004 or 2000. I particularly want to some traditionally democrat Midwestern or northeastern state go for Romney and found out what the rationale is. If nothing else, the knowledge could help republians fiure out how to stop being such a regional party.

Stargate Atlantis--"Be All My Sins Remember'd"

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
[...]Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.
--Hamlet, Act III, Scne I

“Be All My Sins Remember’d” is the premiere episode for the back half of the fourth season. It is said to be the most expensive episode of the series in terms of visual effects. I definitely believe it. The episode features some epic CGI work, but is far more than mere eye candy. There is a solid, well-executed story as well as some surprises.

Daedalus and Apollo arrive at Atlantis fully equipped with the Asgard upgrades left behind after their mass suicide. (a moment of silence for Thor, Freyr, Heimdall, Hermiod, et al/) The asard weaponry will not be enough to handle the replicator fleet, so they are counting on Sheppard to build an uneasy alliance with the Wraith via Todd and Rodney to come up with a WM that will wipe out the Replicators once an for all.

Sheppard has the easier time. Todd convinces seven Wraith hive ships to join in an attack on Asura once a WMD has been created. Sheppard works his charm to bring larrin and the travelers into the alliance. The only snag is Teyla’s revelation she is pregnant. Sheppard immediately removes her from the team. He says he is angry with her for not telling him about her condition sooner, but he really seems hurt that she has been with another man he does not know about. Not that he does not flirt with Larrin later when the opportunity presents itself. Well, that is how we men operate. There is always another woman in the binder.

Rodney’s plan to create a magnet for Replicator nanites to drop in the middle of Asura, then blow up the huge blob that forms, does not come into fruition until he uses the nanite creator to build a bare bones Replicator as the magnet. Surprise--it is pretty woman named FRAN to whom he becomes at least somewhat attached to because of sympathy over her willing sacrifice to wipe out the Replicators. I am not certain how emotionally invested the audience is supposed to be in the matter, but very little time is spent getting to know FRAN that it is not all that moving. If her loss is supposed to be an issue, then it is the weakest part of the episode.

The climax is a massive space battle and CGI bonanza on Asura as the nanites all come together to form a massive blog centered on FRAN. Its is The Thing That Ate New York, folks, and pretty cool. The big ka-boom o Asura is pretty, cool, too. The episoe ends with the revelation Elizabeth Weir is still alive and leading a faction of Replicators who are up to no good and are happy the rest are out of their way. Torri Higginson looks hot in black leather, too.

“Be All My Sins Remember’d” features the infamous colonels scene. Someone was gracious enough to post it on YouTube:If there is any big issue with “Be All my sins Remember’d,’ it is how crowded the episode is. There is a lot going on. So much so that very little has a chance to be fleshed out. I have already mentioned FRAN, but Larrin only has three scenes herself. So much for a big splash for her second appearance. Nevertheless, the episode is a good start. Its fast pace may not lrave much room for developing story elements to their fullest, but it does create a tense excitement that culminates in an impressive climax and the thrilling revelation about Weir. I cannot complain a whole lot. It is not worth four or five stars, but it is one of the best this season so far. Oh--and sam actually takes assertive command! It is about time.

Rating:*** (out of 5)

Kaley Cuoco

It is safe to say the long summer drought of hot Kaley Cuoco photos has ended on this Kaley Cuoco Day.

Part of The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"This Mortal Coil"

“This Mortal Coil” is the fourth midseason finale. It also features the all to brief return of Torri Higginson, although she does not play the real Weir. The episode has a plotline involving duplicate versions of our heroes. While it is more like the awful "Course Oblivion" from Star Trek: Voyager than the mediocre "Tin Man" from Stargate SG-1, "This Mortal coil" handles the plot the best out of the three.

“This Mortal Coil” is like VOY‘s “Course Oblivion” in the sense we are introduced to the duplicate characters as though they are the real deal and follow along as both they and the audience learn what they really are--Replicators. We learn that only AR-1 and weir, whom they eventually discover whil looking for the truth about their identities, are nanite creations. Their entire environment was created by a faction of Replicators who have broken away from the collective in order to study ascension. Specifically, they want to know what quality humans possess that allows them to ascend. They used images from weir’s mind to create a second Atlantis.

But things are not perfect. The duplicates are being subtlety sabotaged in their daily routines by the Replicators, which raises their suspicions. They also exhibit the rapid healing ability. The realization they can regenerate practically any injury is the point of no return. Therefore, it is also something the Replicators should have foreseen. People get cuts an bruises all the time even when they are not adventurers living in outer space. The dead give away should have been foreseen as a fatal flaw.

AR-1 and weir are thrown in the brig and are about to have their memories wiped to start the experiment again when the Replicators attack the city. This is the destruction of Atlantis Davos foresaw. Is it a cop out that the target is not the real Atlantis? Meh. Avos’ gift of prophecy was ambiguous enough for it to not be a big deal as far as I am concerned. I am feeling generous today. Mitt Romney is in the lead. The duplicates appeal to RepliKeller that the human qualities her faction are seeking is compassion. They convince her to not only let them go, but leave with intelligence that can help prevent the Replicators from killing off all the humans in the Pegasus galaxy.

The duplicates escape and make contact with their real counterparts in order to hand off technology capable of tracking Replicator ships. Their meeting is both funny an bittersweet. Rodney likes the idea of working with his genius counterpart. Ronon is not happy to see himself as he is. They all feel awkward about Weir. They assumed she was dead, and even though they are happy to see her duplicate, they are sadly aware it is not really her. As anyone who has seen any amount of television knows, the duplicates must sacrifice themselves, and they do as a diversion for the real McCoys to escape a Replicator attack. The cliffhanger is the revelation the Replicator ships are everywhere poised to devastate scores of planets

If it were not for two aspects of the episode, “This Mortal Coil” would probably go down as a bad idea. One, RepliKeller is a cool idea. Who really pictures Jewel Staite portraying a menacing villain? She is dear, sweet Kalety Frye, for heaven’s sake! But she pulls of the character with a cold demeanor that she is believable. The other point is the return of Weir. I am surprised, considering how little proactive roles Weir played in later episodes, what a gaping hole Higginson’s departure let behind. It is touching to see how much Sheppard and Rodney missed her, particularly Rodney. He carries such a pronounced torch for her, one wonders why shippers have not latched onto to it more adamantly.

“This Mortal Coil” is a winner for those two reasons. The cliffhanger is an exciting one, too, though it could have done without the “Oh, crap!” right after the fade out. The ominous implication of a Replicator armada is good enough to end on without adding a laugh line. No matter. None of these small problems are enough to detract from the episode as a whole.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Katherine McPhee

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Formspring Question #464--Limiting the Commerce Clause Edition

Do you subscribe to the argument that Justice Roberts did more good than harm to the conservative movement in his Obamacare decision by trading a short term political loss for long term structural victory in the crippling of the Commerce Clause?
I doubt there will be any lasting consequences to the Commerce Clause. The individual mandate is the first time in our history congress has attempted to compel individuals to engage in commerce. John Roberts is a brilliant jurist, but nothing in his decision rolled back Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause or granted any new individual rights against the use of said power.

The distinction made between activity and inactivity is a novel concept, but not likely to come up too often in future legal challenges. Congress forcing individuals to buy a product they would otherwise not have has not, to my knowledge, ever come up before, nor is it likely to do so again. Health insurance individual mandate is a unique instance our nation’s history. Since it passed muster as a tax--levying new taxes is clearly within the enumerated powers of Congress--if congress attempts any future social welfare legislation similar to the individual mandate, it will be written with language making it a tax.

At best, Roberts offered a reminder that Congress’ powers under the Commerce Clause are limited. It is an unnecessary lesson as far as ObamaCare is concerned. Those who drafted the law were so mindful of Commerce Clause limitations they wrote the individual mandate as a tax in order to avoid the issue altogether. Roberts felt compelled to uphold the individual mandate as a tax because it ha been written correctly as one.

If the flood gates open up to numerous challenges to the Commerce Clause after Roberts’ opinion, I will be happy to revise my viewpoint. But I do not see how Congress’ power to act through the Commerce Clause has been limited on any scale that would please conservatives. Law school was eight years ago and I am not, nor have I ever aspired to be, a Constitutional scholar.

Formspring Question #463--Across the Universe III Edition

Your constant trashing of SG:U makes me wonder if you actually watched it. I thought it was a much needed breath of fresh air for a struggling franchise. You don't agree?
No, and considering that it was canceled after two seasons and has yet to achieve any level of cult status says most other Stargate fans agree it was not a needed breath of fresh air for a struggling franchise.

Furthermore, even the few fans I have encountered are apologists for the show rather than advocates. Virtually everyone of them says the show was just fining its way went it was canned. What these fans are lamenting is unrealized potential which probably exists nowhere else but in their imaginations.

Claiming that I constantly trash Stargate Universe is an unfair accusation. Outside of being solicited via Formspring to talk about the show , toay is the first time I can recall bringing it up of my own volition. Even then, I merely said it was a quickly canceled Battlestar Galactia clone, which it is. SYFy wanted a dark, edgy show to replace Battlestar Galactica and the creative team behind Stargate franchise said they could pull it off while bringing in a ready mae audience of Gaters. Surprise--they could not. Much like the lesson paramount learned with Enterprise, you cannot slap a franchise label on just any show and expect fans to flock to it.

If bringing up Stargate Universe is a backdoor way of convincing me to review it, for get it. I already have the series I want to review lined up through the end of 2013, lord willing and my colon does not conk out on me. Or I go completely blind. Yeah, one can live under some foreboding storm clouds. The point is, I can always find something better to do than run through a series even it most ardent fans have to make excuses for.

Stargate Atlantis--"Miller's Crossing"

“Miller’s Crossing” features the return of David Hewlett’s real sister Kate as Rodney’s sister, Jeannie. The episode has no similarities whatsoever to the 1990 coen brothers film other than the name an they are both set on Earth. I am quite fond of “Miller’s Crossing,’ or at least more so than the previous McKay sibling team up in “McKay and Mrs. Miller.”

The scientists on Atlantis are stuck on an issue regarding the Replicator virus, and Zelenka nags Rodney about contacting his sister to the point the finally acquiesces. Jeannie’s e-mail account has been monitored for months by Henry Wallace, a brilliant tech company CEO who has contracts to work with alien technology taken by Stargate Command and a young daughter dying from leukemia. Because of his SGC connections, he has known about the Replicator nanites and used them on his daughter. They have not functioned properly, but with Rodney’s e-mail to his sister, Wallace can kidnap her in order to blackmail Rodney into helping him.

Rodney returns to Earth with Sheppard and Ronon, but conveniently splits up to follow a lead with NID agent Barrett in order to follow a lead and winds up Wallace’s prisoner. Jeannie, who is te mother to a little girl, wants to help Wallace’s daughter in spite of the circumstances, but Rodney convinces her to join in an escape attempt. They are recaptured. To ensure the two work on repairing his daughter’s nanites, Jeannie is injected with the little buggers, too.

Matters take a turn for the worse when Wallace’s daughter dies when the nanites run out of power repairing a heart efect. Jeannie is epileptic, so there is a fear of the same happening when the nanites take on the task of curing her of the disease. The two are rescued and Wallace arrested, but Rodney is at a loss how to help Jeannie in time.

Jeannie’s legs are purposefully broken in or to give the nanites something less serious to work on besides her epilepsy. Er legs are broken under anesthetic, of course, but what a gruesome thought regardless.

Rodney requests tod the Wraith’s help. He does not care about any of roney’s pleading on behalf of his sister, but he does agree to help in the name of eventually stopping the Replicators. Todd needs to feed, however, and Rodney offers up himself. Sheppard says he is too valuable, then proceeds to guilt Wallace into sacrificing himself instead just before Rodney makes to have Rodney feed off him anyway. Todd repairs the nanites and Jeannie is saved. For whatever reason, SGC buys Sheppard’s story Wallace’s death was an accident when Todd suddenly got the upper and.

The DVD features an amusing delete scene. Someone graciously posted it to YouTube:I enjoy the foresight of Sheppard knocking on Battlestar Galactica being more boring than their lives--Stargate Atlantis--consider SGA would be cancelled a couple years later in favor of Battlestar Galactica clone Stargate Universe, which ultimately flopped. The casual Doritos product placement has its humorous element, too.

I do not usually mention deleted scenes in these reviews, but there is another in which Rodney is packing for earth when Sheppard and Ronon join him. Rodney is not interested in their help, but they insist on helping their friend. The scene would help explain why Rodney went off to follow a clue without them and wound up captured by Wallace. Therefore the scene’s deletion is a big loss, both in story an in showing the friendship bonds Rodney has formed in spite of himself.

“Miller’s Crossing’ may be further proof the Stargate franchise has gone on so long it must recycle itself. There has already been an Earthbound story in which a character has been kidnapped by a tech company CEO in order to use aliens to cure a disease in SG-1. “Miller’s Crossing” is still different enough and good enough to not fret over it. Jeannie is a great character because the real sibling bound between Kate and David shines through. The episode has its funny and disturbing moments in the proper mix, which is not always easy to do. I like it.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Abigail Clancy

Monday, October 15, 2012

Formspring Question #462--Atlantis Not Sunk, But Taking on Water Edition

So, over half way in how are you enjoying SGA? Better or worse than you were expecting? Better or worse than SG1?
I would put Stargate Atlantis in the good, but not great category. I had seen enough episoes from the first two seasons in particular to suspect the show would not become a favorite, and thus far the fourth season, of which I have no foreknowledge, has been lackluster. I do nor regret reviewing SGA, but I like SG-1 a whole lot more.

The bi problem with SGA is the writing. Torri Higginson left because she did not like the going no where direction of weir. Joe Flanagan has said at conventions the rest of the cast had the growing suspicion the writing staff was tired o them. Hence the unceremonious cancellation in favor of the Battlestar Galactica clone that die off quickly. Armed only with the knowledge of Higinson an Flanagan’s viewpoints, I sense what they say is true.

I began to feel it even back in the first season when it took eight or so episodes for the wraith invasion to take place, and then two more in the second season to resolve the issue. The tension absolutely evaporated as I kept staring at my watch and urging the invasion to come around anytime now.

It has only gotten worse since then. Important characters like Ford become completely irrelevant even though Sheppard supposed has pangs of guilt over his fate. Plot elements are also dropped in a hurry. In the beginning, the Wraith were nearly invincible because of their regenerative powers. Now they can be killed with one shot. When the script calls for it. Others elements are just plain ignored. Why did the crew not search for the other two ZPM 10,000 Weir gave tem ate Addresses for? Why does Michael only use the Iratus Wraith he created only once? Who knows, because no one ever mentions either again.

Another problem is how dismissive the show is about important aspects of the series. The Lanteans return, but are slaughtered off screen by the Replicators and no one says a thing about it. Or the inoculation against wraith attacks that kills half the people who use it even though there were significant population who agreed it was worth the risk? Nada. ,/p> The most unforgivable issue is the meaningless death o Carson Beckett. Dying in an explosion after everyone assumed the day had been saved was insult to injury. The series suffers a gaping hole without him that is only mildly alleviated by the switch in emphasis from an ensemble cast to one or two focal characters per episode so you can dwell on the fact many, many people are missing. Heck, I though Weir was basically eye cany for a while there, but even I feel her absence now. Amana tapping is sort of phoning it in right now.

There are enough bright spots to make SGA worth watching. Avi Hewlett is one. Carl Binder’s scripts generally qualify as another. But the show does not resonate with me quite like SG-1 does. Unless there is a surprise or three coming in the next season and a half, I am going to have to label SGA in decline whiling phoning the reviews in.

Stargate Atlantis--"The Seer"

“The Seer” is an o creation. There appears to be two or three plots rolling at the same time, all of which coul have made for their own episode, but none do anything but fizzle out. The episode serves only to foreshadow future storylines. Turning a script into a stew to dump all the ingredient you cannot use anywhere else is not the wisest way to draft an episode.

Teyla requests AR-1 visit a planet lead by a man named Davos who can allegedly see the future. She wants to ask him what happened to the missing Athosians. Davos has foreseen their arrival and requests medical help from them for his lingering illness. As a sign of his power, he shows skeptical Rodney a vision of AR-1 being captured by the Wraith.

They return to Atlantis with avos to find Woolsey running a routine inspection and word Todd the Wraith wants a meeting with Sheppard. Their meeting turns out to be a fruition of Davos’ vision, but since Davos did not see the outcome the vision did not reflect the actual result--Todd is taken prisoner. He reveals the Replicators have shifted tactics and are now wiping out worlds in habited by humans to destroy the Wraith’s food supply. He has the Replicator virus. He wants Rodney to re-write it before all humans are killed off.

Meanwhile, Davos is dying of cancer. Before he dies, he offers two visions--one of Atlantis being destroyed by Replicators an another of a Wraith hive ship attacking. Both cannot be right, which sets up a conflict between Sam and Woolsey when another Wraith hive ship is on it way to investigate why a hive ship loyal to Todd is in orbit around a supposedly uninhabited planet. Davos, by the way, is a genetic anomaly and possibly the future of human evolution.

Todd is not on the up and up. He has been holding back part of the virus as a bargaining chip. He only wants the virus to regain his old status among his people, anyway. Sam trusts the prophecy of Atlantis being destroyed by Replicators is true, so leaves the city cloaked rather than shielded. Woolsey, fearing the worst, relieves her o command, but no one follows his orders to attack the Wraith hive ships. They destroy each other, thereby leaving Woolsey with egg on his face. No one is quite sure when the vision of atlantis being destroyed will come true. Oh, and Teyla is pregnant.

Davos is played by prolific British actor Martin Jarvis. Jarvis appeared several times in the original run of Doctor Who, therefore the Davos/Davros similarity in name amuses me. Probably only because geeks like to latch onto such dubious connections and squeeze the life out of them in orer to solidify our nerd credentials.

So what is ‘The Seer’ al; about/ Davos’ gift of prophecy? A Human/Wraith alliance to prevent genocide? Maybe Woolsey’s threats to Sam’s command authority? Or is the episode just an excuse to foreshadow future events? All of the above and none of the above appear to be the best answer. The various running plot elements do not compliment each other very well. It is literally like the writers took an act from three or four diferent scripts, dropped them in a hat, and then drew them out at random until they had a new script. Some sense is made out of it, but not much. The virtue is much every running plot thread would have made a decent episodes in it. The question is why did that not happen instead of what we got? Personally, I would prefer Todd’s story arc to have been more fleshed out while dropping Davos’ prophecies altogether. The weakest element is what the episode is named after. Hoe is that for a kick in the butt?

Rating: *** (out o 5)

Anne Hathaway

It has been a long time since I posted Anne Hathaway not wearing the Catwoman costume.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Johnny Cash Holding a Kitten

Posted solely because it is a photo of Johnny Cash holding a kitten. Is another reason really necessary?

Blogroll Spotlight #166

It is time for the weekly round up of favorite posts from my blogroll. These are not ranked, but in alphabetical order by blog title. If you would like a specific post listed next week, you may email it to me and I will include it.

Adrienne's Corner-Planned Parenthood Makes an Ungodly Profit
American Perspective-Biden Laughing at the Issues
American Power-Free Speech is Dying in the Western World
Amusing Bunni's Musings-Babies and Pets Know Obama Sucks
Bloviating Zeppelin--We Pause for a Moment of Creativity
Bob's Blog--The Essence of My Being Has Eternal Life
Call Me Stormy--Rah Rah, Sis Boom Bird
Camp of the Saints-Rule 5 News
Classic Liberal-A Tinfoil Hat Might Protect You
Conservative Hideout-Sunday Links
Diogenes' Middle Finger-If Joe Biden So Easily Lies
Double Plus Undead--Let's get Real About Al Qeada in Afghanistan
Evil Blogger Lady--They're Coming to Take Joe Away! Ha! Ha!
Fishersville Mike-Afloat at Sea
Flares into Darkness--Paul Anka Covers Nirvana
Goldfish and Clowns-Of the Tragically Hip and Dawn Eden
Gormogons-SNL's VP Spoof
In a Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World--Bow to Nobody
King Shamus--Post Debate Wrap Up
Leather Penguin--An Inconvenient "Squirrel!"
Lonely Conservative-Obama: Carbon Eating Our Planet
Maggie's Notebook-Top 5 Reasons to Vote Romney/Ryan
Motor City Times-Poll Levels Indicate Obama is Likely to Lose
My Daily Musings--Obama Drama of the Day
Nice Deb--Obama's :Forward" Foreign Policy
Other McCain-Media Credibility Day is Coming
Paco Enterprises-Grab Some Popcorn
Pirate's Cove-If All You See..
Political Jungle--Joe Biden's Laugh
Proof Positive-Quote du Jour
Randy's Roundtable-Thursday Nite Tart: Alina Vacariu
Reaganite Republican-Reaganite's Sunday Funnies
Right Truth--Happy Birthday, US Navy
Sentry Journal-When Trust Collies with Reality
Sipport Your Local Gunfighter--Ironically, Pepto Bismol is Also Pink
Teresamerica-Firewall with Bill Whittle: Bewitched
Troglopundit-Things Not to Say
We the People-Wanna Vote Twice for Obama?
Western Hero--Beer and Politics
Woodsterman--Men Who Lack Female Supervision
Zilla of the Resistance-Obama Does Not Have a Big Enough Bus

Miracle of miracles, here is a post-1999 song I actually like. One could argue Adele's opening theme to the latest James Bond film Skyfall is reminiscent of Shirley Bassey's Diamonds Are Forever theme, but let us ignore that and marvel I have not, in fact, run out of opamine as I have long feared.

Stargate Atlantis--"Missing"

It is interesting fourth season episodes have thus far turned out to be focused on one or two characters rather than the ensemble mostly frequently utilized in the first three seasons. The result is a diminished feel that I hope will be alleviated by larger stories as the season progresses. I have not much been interested in the ’insight” offered by single character-centric episodes.

“Missing” is no exception, and I feel particularly bad in acknowledging that because the episode offers up exactly what I asked for last time around--an in depth look at Keller. How did a doctor so young land such a choice, top secret assignment in deep space? The answer is even more mysterious, because she turns out to be a whiny, wimpy prima donna in a survival situation. I cannot emphasize enough that “Missing” had mean reassuring Teyla that killing Keller would be considered justifiable homicide. This episode has me rationalizing the murder of my beloved Jewel Staite’s character! How could such a thing happen?

The problem is the episode is intended too emphasize character over plot, but forgets to make the character stuff interesting. Or even tolerable. You have seen the plot a million times before. Two characters who cannot get along are stranded together in a harsh situation in which they are hunted by an enemy as well as suffering in the environment. Somehow, they learn to work together. In this case, it is Teyla escorting Keller, whom she gets along with great in a comfy environment, to New Athos in order to provide medical care for her people. When they arrive, they find the Athosians likely culled completely by the Wraith. They ave to go on the run until their check in time with Atlantis passes without word from them in order to avoid primitive hunters called the Bola Kai.

Do you have any idea how many times I heard Bola Kai as bolo tie? Not only do the two terms sound familiar, but the Bola Kai leader, Omal, is played by the unfortunately wasted Danny Trejo, so I have the whole American Southwestern style of mixed Mexican and Native American culture frequently seen in states like Arizona and New Mexico. Bolo ties are associated with the fashion. The train of thought along these lines is distracting.

Fortunately, I am shaken out of those thoughts by Keller’s constant whining. She sprains her ankle, because at least one character in these situations must be wounded. It is a television/movie rule, but complains les about the pain than she does Teyla killing several Bola Kai that try to kill them, having to cross a rope bridge to safety, and the only food Teyla can find to sustain them. One would expect Keller to harden during the experience as character development, but she does not. There is one sharp turn at the end in which she shoots a fellow Bola Kai prey whom she believed was genii, but turns out to be a Wraith worshipper. How Teyla tolerated Keller until that point is beyond me. I would have killed her myself and blamed it on the Bola Kai.

I do find it funny keller reminds us she knows everyone liked Dr. Carson Beckett more than they do her, and she doubts she can live up to his legacy. It is not wise to remind people of that, my dear. The thought is already floating near the surface of every fan’s mind. If Jewel Staite was not so darn cute, I would be more vocal in complaining myself.

“Missing” is a big disappointment Even the revelation Teyla is pregnant, promising some future mysteries, does nor save it. We do not get any insight into keller. In fact, she goes from likable in previous episodes to annoying now. She regresses! I also think Danny Treejo is waste. He only has one seen with Teyla and keller to show off his menacing acting chops. Otherwise, anyone could play Omal. He--and the Bola Kai--are forgettable villains. Unless you are a huge--huge--fan of the two hottest actresses on SGA, skip “Missing” in good conscience.

Rating: * (out of 5)

Billie Piper

Billie Piper is a far cry from the girl who played Rose Tyler these days, no?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Formspring Question #461--Cocaine Starlet Politicos Edition

All right, you know you want to... Just what do you make of Lindsey Lohan endorsing Mitt Romney, and is this a sign of the apocalypse?!
No, I do not want to talk about Lindsay Lohan’s semi-endorsement of Mitt Romney or its significance I the greater scheme of things. All said in the name of full disclosure. Now, on with the farce.

Lindsay Lohan was not enthusiastic in her endorsement of Romney. What she actually said was she was concerned about unemployment for the moment, so she supports Romney. For the moment. Doubling down on the ‘for the moment bit implies she could change her mind at any time based on which candidate is wearing the uglier tie or even when her coke high wears off. Who knows? Who cares?

It is best not to dwell on which starlets have endorsed which candidate. Barack Obama has Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis in his corner. Romney has Lohan and former OJ Simpson punching bag Tawny Kitaen. I would guess he also has Bo Derek, Angie Harmon, Janine Turner, and Patricia Heaton to class things up a bit in the endorsement department, but that is merely a guess on my part.

You do not care, anyway. You just want to see if I can dig up a hot photo of Lohan. I can, of course:
While we are at it, here is Tawny Kitaen before she officially hit rode hard and hung out wet status:

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around #171

It is time once again to round up all the bloggers gracious enough to link to me this week.

Proof Positive links to The "End" of Summer.
Say Anything links to The "End" of Summer.
The Other McCain links to Sarah Shahi.
Sentry Journal links to Mitt Romney Wins the First Debate.
Motor City Times links to Mitt Romney Wins the First Debate.
Randy's Roundtable links to Rachel Nichols and Anna Kendrick.
Woodsterman acknowledges the Rule 5.
Pirate's Cove links to FMJRA #170, Blogroll Spotlight #165, and Mila Kunis.
Conservative Hideout links to FMJRA #170.

A sincere thank you to all who linked this week. If you linked to me in the last week, but I do not have you here, you unfortunately fell through the cracks of Technorati, Google Blog Search, and Sitemeter. Please drop me a note in the comments and I will update with your link.