I Watch ‘Revolution’ So You Don’t Have To… Redux

I tried.  I really tried to stick with Revolution last year.  I had so many high hopes for a new Kripke/JJ Abrams series.  After all, Supernatural is GENIUS, so a new post-apocalyptic Kripke series would have to be amazing, right? And JJ Abrams? One of the greatest shows on television was Alias.  But with Revolution, I was struggling after only a few episodes – the show was entirely humorless.  Even the most intense dramas have moments of good humor…but Revolution just kept driving me deeper and deeper into non-electric boredom.  Both Kripke and Abrams have a well-documented history of making dramatic productions punctuated with really brilliant humor and action.  Alas, not sure what happened here.

 SEASON 2

But, I’m going to try again.  Despite the fact that it pushes the limits of belief that humans are not able to develop steam or wind power within 10 years of losing electricity, that the same loss of electricity also seems to have zapped all sense of humor out of humanity, and that we should care about a roaming dysfunctional family with crossbows, I am going to give the show another chance.  I caught up on last year (well, I watched a few more episodes and the finale), and tuned in for the premiere of the second season.

Revolution

Unlike last year, I’m actually working this year, so this review comes a few days after the air date because I don’t have as much time.  But just because I love you… I watch Revolution so you don’t have to.

(Just in case it needs to be said: SPOILERS AHEAD, if you actually plan to watch it)

MapRevolution

So when the first season ended months of the most relentlessly boring post-apocalyptic world ever, our hapless, frowny gang had breached the massive fortification called “The Tower” in Colorado.  There they found all the algebra teachers controlling the power, fought the algebra teachers, turned the power on, and within seconds of that, watched a bad guy launch a shitload of ICBMs. 

So of course we start Season 2 with everyone wanting to turn the power back OFF.

Six months later: Most of our main characters are holed up in a small town called Willoughby, in Texas.  The power is off again.  So they must have managed to turn it back off after the missiles launched.

zakMIT Aaron has found a girlfriend and as he stares into the night sky, he sees magical green fireflies everywhere.  They swirl and swoop and then disappear.  Huh, he thinks.

Mom/Rachel is now nurse assistant to the local doctor who we find out is … her dad!  Played by Steven Collins, Grandpa does not appear to be in seventh heaven in his new television role.

Where is Charlie?  Charlie (we used to call her Charlie-Katniss because she started off with some badass crossbow skills, but over season one she deteriorated into a humorless shell of a character) is roaming the backroads of the Plains Nation, we aren’t sure why.

At first, every scene starts off with some homage to classic rock (that’s Kripke for you), but then we lose even that subtleness a few more minutes into the show.

Suddenly we learn… NUCLEAR BOMBS DROPPED ON ATLANTA & PHILLY!!!

We catch up with Major Tom and his weirdo son Jason…or Nate…or whatever he’s going by these days … at the Savannah Refugee Camp, Georgia Federation (which appears to be a super-sized Hooverville).  They are looking for Major Tom’s wife (so far with no luck).  MajorTomMajor Tom has a crisis of futile-ness (really, it took him this long?) and tries to off himself. The kid calls his dad a “little bitch” for wanting to kill himself.  They fight a little.  Neither seems to care that much. Then there’s a community commotion.  They run outside of their tent to discover a colonial ship sailing up the river, flying the flag of the United States.

Back in Texas, we see Uncle Miles burn a shack and walk away bloody.  No explanation.  So nothing new with Uncle Miles.

Sixteen minutes in and I’m nodding off…

Deannoddingoff

Next, we get a little backstory about Uncle Miles and Mom/Rachael having a thing in the past and Grandpa not wanting it to emerge again.  So Grandpa tells Uncle Miles he needs to get out of town.  We get a Heartfelt Moment between Mom/Rachel and Uncle Miles as Miles rides off on a horse, and Miles says “Bad things happen when we’re together.”  This is possibly because neither one of them is an Algebra teacher.milesrachel

The action picks up a little when Miles comes across two marauders beating up on a homesteader family – he races through a corn field after them (no baseball teams in sight), slices a few bad guys and returns to town to warn the hapless (and need it be said, humorless) sheriff.

MEANWHILE, in New Vegas, where Charlie is slutting around for kicks, we learn that David Schwimmer is the “last surviving Friend.”  Now THAT is post-apocalyptic.  Then Charlie sees Monroe gambling with pretty diamonds, and ultimate fighting to win more cash.  She secretly plots.  We think (she has no facial expressions, so it’s hard to tell).

Bad news is coming to the Texas Frontier town. Uncle Miles tells Mama Rachel they need to get outta dodge before the marauders come calling.  But she won’t leave until Charlie comes back and Uncle Miles won’t leave her.

Back in New Vegas: Charlie sees Monroe walking …aaaaand the crossbow comes out!

RevolutionHeroBut before she can hit him, two other guys nab him, lock him up and take him away in a…stagecoach.

Oh NOS!  Back in Willoughby, MIT Aaron is attacked in his own home by evil marauders!  Uncle Miles goes after them before they can kidnap more screeching women – the sheriff shows up, helps out, but then Uncle Miles is surrounded….

Bye Bye, MIT Aaron, dead from the marauders’ attack… the only one who ever even tried to crack a joke in this show…you’ll be missed.

But in the last minute… you guessed it! The magical green fireflies appear and MIT Aaron rises from the dead!

Tune in next week, when I might watch Revolution so you don’t have to!  Or, I might see it come on the television and…

RevolutionRunAway

Why I’m a Trekkie (and LOVE the new movie)

I’m waxing Trekkie:  SPOILERS ahead if you haven’t seen Star Trek: Into Darkness yet.

It is incredible to think about, but the original Star Trek series had already been off the air for 2 years by the time I was born – it had lasted only 3 years (of its 5 year mission). As a kid in the 70’s, I watched what must have been reruns of it… though in my kid mind it was a regular show.

StarTrekCast1

Then the first movie came out when I was 8 years old, and The Wrath of Khan when I was 11. We had to wait two entire years after that to find out what happened to Spock (Khaaaaaannn!!!!).

Khan (1)

I have heard and read all the naysayers about the new Trek film generation, but I just don’t buy any of it.  I don’t judge what makes a Trekkie a Trekkie, but one reason I am one is because I absolutely love EVERY incarnation of Trek.  Each one is true to the vision of the original Trek, and yet each one is unique and awesome.  

StarTrek2I think the reason I love these NEW Trek movies is because there is such a clear choice (and it was the case from the beginning) that this series is not meant to relive those original adventures or decisions – but rather, because the timeline got shifted, in this new universe we can explore the characters knowing that they are not repeating but rather re-encountering all the wonders of the first time around, but in a new, unique way.  So STID Castwe don’t have to compare them, just appreciate the homage.  By giving them this new timeline, nothing is taken from the original, but the same amazing characters can now be explored in new ways… which is why Into Darkness does such a great job of combining elements of the Khan legacy with the new timeline.

I actually think the actors chosen for the roles are fantastic for them.  Karl Urban seemed to be channeling Deforest Kelly, and Simon Pegg is irrationally perfect for Scotty.  But I also like Chris Pine’s version of Kirk: a rash, emotion-based being, but one who is clearly in the process of maturing.  For me, the uncanny ability Zach Quinto has to morph into Spock made this movie for me — especially because of the way the entire film built on the last film in terms of Spock’s willingness to also learn and grow.  I like the bolder role for Uhura, and I loved the alien diversity on the bridge.  All of this combined to make a great ride on the Enterprise for me, including the way the Khan story was reworked for this new timeline.  

SpockDeathScene

I never thought there could be  a way to top what I have always considered the most poignant, wonderful scene in all of Star Trek.  It was dreadful and terrible and beautiful all at once – and, of course we all memorized it.  Because who wouldn’t want Spock to tell you that YOU have been, and always shall be, his friend?

But, incredibly, Star Trek: Into Darkness did it.  And in an entirely new way that made the scene just as meaningful, but gave it new life.

SpockScene2

THIS scene is the evidence of what really makes this particular Trek crew (the characters, not the actors) from the original incarnation so unique amidst all the universes that I love: there is not one hero, but rather a complete and total dependency on a deep and abiding friendship between two very different men. There can never be victory without both of them. Star Wars, Marvel, any of those (and I love them all) – they do not have this incredibly righteous dynamic that makes the re-imagination of the best scene in the entirety of the Star Trek expanded universe so amazing (and, yes, I think even better than the first version).  It is the one scene that depicts the true genius of Gene Roddenberry: it is not technology, or weapons, or even ingenuity, but rather, an unlikely but supremely powerful friendship that will always save the universe.

THAT is why I’m a Trekkie.

….and yes, I’ve already seen it twice.

An Open Letter to the President on the Occasion of his Mixed Metaphors

Today:

“I can’t do a Jedi mind meld on the Congressional Republicans” — President Barack Obama

no, no, no...

no, no, no…

Dear President Obama:

You can either do a VULCAN mind meld or a JEDI mind trick.  They are not the same thing.

SW-v-ST

Either way, you might as well not waste energy with the Dark Side.  You have violated the Prime Directive so many times by now anyway with no results.

… and by this point what you ACTUALLY need is just one good Space Cowboy to deal with those dumbasses.  Captain Mal to Congress:

captnmal

In conclusion – Mind Meld, Mind Trick – whichever.  You were re-elected in a landslide for a reason. Be the Jedi you were meant to be.

obama-lightsaber-02Sincerely,

Teachacari

 

Superman and Orson Scott Card: These Two Are Not Like Each Other.

1stSupermanAs most Superman fans know by now, DC Comics has announced that Orson Scott Card will be writing the new series, “Adventures of Superman.”  The backlash began immediately.  For good reason, in my opinion.  There is always a question in these cases of whether good artistic work can be separated from its artist, author, musician, etc.  Art is a terribly personal work that becomes publicly shared (if the artist wants to share it).  Authors write from a place of belief and imagination.  That’s not to say they can’t write about things outside of their own personal experiences (at least I hope Stephen King didn’t have a killer car or fight with a rabid dog …).  But when it comes to a figure like Superman, who is – at his essence – the Hero who fights for ALL and who believes ALL deserve justice – devoted readers take that identity seriously.  I do, at least.

I have never been a fan of Card – though I know many, many sci fi fans who LOVE Enders Game.  I just actually don’t like his writing style.  But when I learned about his beliefs and political activism, I didn’t even try reading any of his books anymore.  Card is not only an outspoken opponent of equal marriage, he actually is one of the leaders of the anti-equal marriage movement is outspokenly homophobic.  He has espoused other incredibly bigoted positions, and I find his views to be crass and proto-Limbaugh.

I read the authors I read because I enjoy how they write.  But I admit, what they espouse in public can have a huge impact on me because who they are is often very reflected in what they write.  That’s why I read sci fi authors like Connie Willis, Sheri Tepper, Ursula LeGuin, and, of course, John Scalzi.  In fact, I found Scalzi’s sci fi writing after I’d been reading his blog, drawn to it by entries like his incredible 2005 “Being Poor.” I loved The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and its companions as a kid, but when I read them again as an adult, they were so skewed by Lewis’ religious beliefs, I couldn’t even finish them.  But that’s just me.  Lots of authors have beliefs I disagree with, and I would always defend their right to write whatever they want to write.  I don’t have to read it.  Everyone has their own approach to how they read the fiction, or sci fi, or comics they love.

But Superman is different. 

The Super Symbol

As Glen Whedon said on NPR this week:

Superman is not just a superhero. He’s the superhero. He created the very concept of the superhero, and everything that’s touched on that concept for the past 75 years — we are talking vast swaths of popular culture — exists because of him. Regardless of how you feel about Superman and superheroes, you can’t deny the cultural impact the character has made, and continues to make.

The entire point of Superman is that he stands up for the downtrodden and the oppressed.  He does not stand for injustice or inequality.  He defends the very people to whom Orson Scott Card publicly wants to deny equality.  It’s an interesting dilemma.

Oliver Sava gives him the benefit of the doubt:

It’s an editor’s obligation to make sure that the writer doesn’t let personal opinions affect the established voice of the character, and it’s unlikely that Superman is going to take on a new mission terrorizing gay weddings under Card’s pen. (Although considering DC’s current DC editorial regime, I may have just spoiled the first issue of “Adventures of Superman.”)

But I find I have to agree with Whedon again,

But when we do see [Superman] for the very first time, these are the first words that appear directly below, the first epithet applied to this newly-minted creation as it was unleashed upon the world:

Champion of the Oppressed.

There it is, coded into his creative DNA from the very beginning: He fights for the little guy.

And that’s why this bugs me, and why I’m not the least bit curious about what Card’s Superman might be like.

DC Comics has handed the keys to the “Champion of the Oppressed” to a guy who has dedicated himself to oppress me, and my partner, and millions of people like us. It represents a fundamental misread of who the character is, and what he means.

championofopprosssed

As an alternative, David Gerrold (writer of every sci fi thing you’ve ever heard of, including “The Trouble With Tribbles”), has offered to provide some balance:

Perhaps you could balance that decision by hiring an openly gay writer to draft a Superman story for a future issue.  I hereby volunteer. …

I have some very good ideas that I think would work well for the series. I’d like the opportunity to write for you the very best Superman story ever.

Superman isn’t just any character.  Superman belongs to us.  He belongs to every kid who ever needed to believe that there was a truly good being out there who would use his superpowers to look out just for that kid.  He has always responded to current events in a way that stands up for true equity and justice.  He can’t simply ignore where America is now.

Orson Scott Card has a history in comics, he no doubt can author some great comic story lines.  But can Card write a true Superman — a hero that believes in the opposite of what the author himself believes?

Sava is right – the first “Adventures of Superman” will sell big time – because nothing sells better than a controversy.  But that’s not a good reason to tie the essence of who Superman is to an author that would never agree with Superman’s true nature.

Superman always tells us that we can do better.  I think DC Comics could have done better.

superman

Crushing Disappointment at the Cruel Hands of ComicCon

Image

This is how I felt today when I tried to get a badge to the San Diego ComicCon 2013:

The Doctor Must Not Have Gotten a Badge Either

The Doctor Must Not Have Gotten a Badge Either

I signed up in August and waited anxiously for today.  It is something I’ve wanted to do for years, and I finally committed to myself to really go — but the ComicCon corporation has evidently decided to create a system that will inevitably lead to heartache and disappointment.

They open registration to EVERY registrant (estimated at 2 million people around the world) at the same moment — 9:00 AM, PST — expecting them all to click a button on the internet simultaneously, and by chance, some will be directed into a “waiting room.”  From there they hopefully get to the ticket buying before they are sold out.

I was set up and ready, with TWO computers poised to register – I began clicking a minute before the designated time and I was READY.  Both computers began entrance into the queue, but at 9:02, the message came up that the waiting room was full and all badges were taken.  NINE OH TWO.

Two minutes to go from excitement and hope to CRUSHing disappointment.

The other side of this excellent plan by ComicCon was that at the LAST SDCC, everyone with a 2012 badge had the opportunity to pre-buy badges for 2013!  That means that thousands of badges were already taken by people who’ve ALREADY BEEN TO SDCC!!  So new fans who wanted to experience the SDCC had even LESS chance to get badges today.

yep.

yep.

I was really excited – it is the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who this year.  The new Star Trek: Into Darkness comes out this year.  Iron Man 3 comes out this year.  My son would be 11 and the perfect fun age to go.  I was so hopeful that I would have something to finally look forward to.  But like tens of thousands of others, I didn’t even get a chance.

If they had run it as a lottery, I feel like I might have had a better chance.  If they had divided it into sections based on when people originally registered as members, everyone might have had a better chance.  If they limited the number of 2012 attendees who could buy early, that might have given first timers a better chance.  Overall, there are TONS of ways that fans, and especially first time hopefuls, could have had more access to attending the Con of their dreams.

In the grand scheme of things, this is obviously not a major world crisis.  It just was really, REALLY disappointing.  But even though I’ll miss that coveted 50th Anniversary of the Doctor, I will try again next year.  Because I’m a fangirl with the #1 item on my bucket list yet to be fulfilled.

After losing out on SDCC this morning, I went to drown my sorrows in a giant bin of popcorn because it was a GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD.  Next time SDCC, Next Time:

I'll get you next time, dammit.

It’s Tuesday! That Means I Watched “Revolution” So You Don’t Have to!

I did not review last week’s episode of our favorite never-ending nonsensical show – I just for some reason couldn’t bring myself to watch it.  BUT I cannot let down the masses of oh, 3 people who might read this– so I watched it for THIS week (last night did not air an episode due to the Presidential Debate…another show without any power).

Previously on Revolution….  There is no electricity.

All that matters is the sharpness of your crossbow

Oh, also, annoying British Lady is dead!  Hopefully more of the characters will continue to be killed off…

Now, for the latest episode, “Soul Train” (Oh god kill me now):

  • We start off with Evil Capt. Neville punching the shit out of Asthma Boy, which of course leads into a flashback of Neville as a mild mannered insurance salesman.  SO Believable.
  • Reminder: WIMPS WILL NOT SURVIVE AFTER THE ELECTRICITY APOCALYPSE.
  • SUDDENLY A WILD TRAIN APPEARS!  FINALLY!  Someone remembered how to work steam power!!
  • Of course, it’s the Civil War Reenactors who control the steam train, reminding us that as soon as we are without electricity, we will all fall 150 years backwards into history.
  • (btw, still no news on Super Algebra Teacher Computer Genius Grace… I’m still hoping she’s not dead).
  • Nora/Nala/Nellie goes into an old book store and asks for a “biography of Joe Biden.”  …if THIS is the secret text that renews all of America, I would just like to say: YES!  (turns out this may be just a code… not sure yet.  But if it IS a code, I’m going to start randomly asking people if they have a “biography of Joe Biden” and see what happens.)
  • KNIFE FIGHT!

To the…chins!

  • The “Resistance” plans to bomb the train (of course! The only working machine and they decide to destroy it) – meanwhile Uncle Miles scolds Katniss Charlie for being emotional.
  • Evil Capt. Neville is evil.
  • I realize halfway through that this show is about as suspenseful as a presidential debate.
  • Wild stabbing!  Nora/Neely/Natasha goes DOWN
  • Katniss Charlie and Uncle Miles race the steam engine train on horses!  It’s like the Old West, but not as interesting!
  • They jump on the train – Asthma Boy attacks Evil Capt. Neville while Uncle Miles tries to remove the bomb from the fire – and suddenly a wild Menudo Kid shows up!
  • Katniss Charlie and Uncle Miles are thrown off the train (well, Uncle Miles jumps), so now Asthma Boy is steaming away from them onto Philly
  • Neely/Nadia/Nora is OK.
  • Uncle Miles shows a soft side–but Katniss Charlie has now turned hard. (shocker)
  • And they are off!  Marching through the forest, one by one.
  • In a sudden turn of events, Menudo Kid is Evil Capt. Neville’s SON!
  • At the end, Prisoner Mom gives away the design of the secret pendant – and reveals that there are TWELVE of them – snore…

NEXT TIME ON REVOLUTION: I predict the rest of the plot will be the search for the pendant hoarcruxes that will turn the power back on…. my guess is that they are all held by former algebra teachers.

Just a quick note, this show is really not all that suspenseful, nor do the characters really grab me.  I think of series that really pulled me in from the beginning – Heroes, Prison Break, Alias, the first two seasons of 24 — this show is supposedly of the same genre, but whether it’s the actors, the writing, or the really boring background music, I don’t know – but it is really NOT keeping my attention.  I don’t really see how the show will last if we don’t even care if the power comes back on anymore… seriously.  Keep the lights off already.

 

It’s Tuesday! I STILL watch “Revolution” so you don’t have to!!

Alert: the power is still out.

In the Future, you better know how to sword fight & shoot a crossbow.

In this week’s exciting episode:

  • Charlie Katniss and Uncle Miles and Rhoda (Ronda? Reba? Renee?) are still on the search for Asthma Kid.  But there is tension.
  • Oh yay – rabid dogs roam the overgrown suburbs! And they bite Neckbeard Guy!
  • Evidently, when all electricity fails on earth, this speeds up extreme weather events (rain is coming and this appears to be soul-shattering scary to the Civil War re-enactors holding Asthma Kid captive)
  • Irrelevant flashback about British Lady, about whom none of us really care except that she carries killer whiskey.  Literally.
  • Katniss Mom – still alive!  Evil Monroe keeps her captive, insisting that she knows how to turn the lights back on.
  • We learn that Dead Dad Ben was an ALGEBRA TEACHER!!  JUST LIKE SECRET-COMPUTER-MAKER-ALGEBRA-TEACHER-GRACE!!!  O.M.G. (WHERE is Grace?!?)

Note to self: Algebra Teachers control the secrets of the universe;
review algebra sometime within next 15 years.

  • So. Many. Flashbacks.  {{{Little Charlie Katniss begs Katniss Mom not to leave.  She is ordered once again to protect Asthma kid. (She really has fallen down on this job).}}}
  • Run away from rabid dogs!  Into an abandoned amusement park! (things ALWAYS go well in abandoned amusement parks)
  • The Menudo Kid who’s been following them shows up, and they make him their prisoner.
  • British Lady Flashback again: Now we know what happened to the steam boats: they were destroyed in “The Wars” — evidently, no one was able to, oh I don’t know, REDO the steam concept.
  • Back at Civil War camp, Massive Tornado! Wow, that really IS extreme weather!  Or….they are in Kansas, and it’s just Tuesday.
  • Tearful British Lady recounts meeting up with Dead Dad Ben just as she was about to partake of her killer whiskey.  Still boring.
  • Running from rabid dogs, British Lady is stabbed by Crazy as Shit Dog Owner and announces her artery has been split.  She’s bleeding out. I’m trying hard to care.
  • While British Lady bleeds out, Charlie Katniss tearfully confesses to being an ungrateful annoying kid, so now to make up for it, she’ll hold the cloth on the artery till British Lady dies.
  • Suddenly, Charlie Katniss is attacked and pulled into the kitchen and no one is able to run after her! Oh Noes!
  • Uncle Miles and Menudo Kid go after Charlie Katniss while we learn that the massive tornado has dropped a beam on Evil Captain who begs Asthma Kid for mercy.  Asthma Kid helps Evil Captain and of course gets imprisoned again.
  • Meanwhile, Crazy as Shit Dog Owner ties Charlie Katniss up with a crossbow aimed at her and tied to the door, and proceeds to cook beans while chatting about how his wife died.  NOBODY CARES.
  • Suddenly, Uncle Miles and Menudo Kid fight Crazy as Shit Dog Owner, and we wait tensely for them to open the door which will shoot off the crossbow right at her (oh please, oh please…) The suspense is terrible!!!
  • Arrow misses her by THAT MUCH.
  • British Lady fades from loss of blood and stares at the blank screen of her iPhone. And….SHE DIES.  Charlie Katniss cries.  Neckbeard Guy cries.  Everyone cries. Except me.  Still don’t care.
  • Don’t forget to grab her poison whiskey on your way out!!
  • The episode ends with the mysterious Katniss Mom being told Asthma Kid will be tortured to get her to talk.  We learn that she originally left them to turn herself over to Uncle Miles back when he was evil.  UNCLE MILES KNOWS SHE’S ALIVE!!!

Next week: power is STILL out!