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

“Nothing to Prove” – the Newest Best Thing

The Doubleclicks‘ new song “Nothing to Prove” is out!

I have been a fan of The Doubleclicks for many years now.  I feel almost proprietary about them sometimes because I live in the same town, go to their small local shows and feel like I can say “I knew them back when they FIRST opened for Paul and Storm!”  There is nothing not to love about them and their music.  My favorite for several years running was “Velociraptor” — until a few months ago, when they released the brilliant “Impostor,” about Curiosity, the Mars Rover.  That moment when we all watched him land on Mars together –with the NASA/JPL guys just as anxious as we were– was like this bonding moment for space geeks worldwide.  The DoubleClicks brought all that together in their amazing song about the rover – because really, we’re all faking it.

But TODAY, they released their newest song – “Nothing to Prove.”  We knew it was in the works because they’d sent out an appeal for Geek Girls to send in videos of themselves.  But the final product is just …beautiful.  “Nothing to Prove” is the ultimate anthem for girls and women who face censure because they dare to work and play in a male dominated world… and they are good at what they do.  Just like the Female Athlete, the Female Geek has long been sidelined with comments about not being a “real” Trekkie, or that she can’t “really” be a gamer because… vagina!  This video is the voice for the whole community – male and female geeks and nerds alike.  

The video is a stream of messages from women of all ages and backgrounds declaring their pride in what they love and who they are.  Some also testify to how they have been shunned just because they “wear a pink skirt.”  Fantastic cameos by some of our favorite geeks: John Scalzi, Paul and Storm, Amy Berg, Adam Savage, and Wil Wheaton add to the message that this isn’t only about girls — this is about all of us.  Declaring that any world is off limits to anyone is not cool.  But somehow, this has become okay in many corners of geekdom.  The video is an excellent chaser to Aisha Tyler’s new book Self-Inflicted Wounds.  Her Nerdist interview with Chris Hardwick a couple years ago was one of my favorites because she talked about the open letter she wrote where she did NOT apologize for being a female gamer.  It is about time girls get to stop having to defend themselves.  Like the Doubleclicks sing: we have nothing to prove.

doubleclicks

Aubrey and Angela Webber – The Doubleclicks

I was six years old when my dad took me to the theater to see “Star Wars” in 1977.  It is one of the clearest memories of my childhood. I remember so few girls in the audience, but my dad was awesome, and I was brave – it was my first Big Person movie (not a cartoon).  And from the first moment those words scrolled across that giant screen, I was found.  My world exploded with possibility.  In some ways, I was lucky because my dad was in the Air Force and I grew up on bases where I could ride my bike to the flight line and watch super cool jets take off.  In fact, we were stationed in Hawaii back when astronauts still fell out of the sky into the ocean and were scooped up by the Navy and brought to the Air Force base to fly home.  Yes, I was the only third grader who brought for show and tell my most prized possession: an autographed picture of the earth from space – a picture taken and autographed by Jim Lovell himself:

The Earth - from the Moon's orbit, Christmas 1968, by Jim Lovell

The Earth – from the Moon’s orbit, Christmas 1968, by Jim Lovell

But I grew up in the 70s, and despite it being the first full decade of actualized feminism, I still lived in a world where my interest in space and adventure and science fiction was discouraged in favor of growing up to be a good wife and mother.  I idolized Dorothy Hamill, not because of her pretty ice skating outfits, but because she could fly through the air and she didn’t need anyone to help her.  I religiously watched Linda Carter in Wonder Woman and I thought about what it would be like to jump over buildings. But I considered Space Camp out of my league.  I let those other voices creep in, and slowly I became more intimidated by math and science.   I read scifi in private and didn’t join in with my brother be to learn to write in elvish or speak random lines of Klingon.  I watched the stars through my telescope as a hobby but never thought I was smart enough to take a college class in astronomy.  Why?

I know not all GenX Geek Girls let society stop them – there are some incredible women my age who have forged the path for nerdy women and girls.  I was a full grown adult before I started to not care anymore and let my internal geek once again blossom.  I’d channeled my geeky tendencies into the social scientists and became a huge history and political geek until I became a teacher and earned 2 masters degrees in the stuff.  I grew through my experiences as a human rights worker, and when I became a mother.  Now as a single Geek Mom, my son and I spend hours with Zelda and we play Settlers of Cataan together religiously.  Our book shelves overflow with random Magic cards and Lego spaceships.  I’m proud to be a Geek Mom and whatever my kid geeks out about is awesome.

Even when I hid who I was because it just wasn’t the “girl thing,” through it all, Yoda was on my back.  There is a reason I take my personal motto from him (and why it is tattooed on my leg in Gallifreyan): There Is No Try.  It is no longer a world where girls should feel ashamed OR afraid of the multitudes of universes available to them.  There is no reason not to jump into the fray of whatever you love and love it well, no matter what close-minded people think.  And it’s also okay to be just a little over 40 and still proud that when you were 15, you got to sit in the actual Batmobile when your dad took you to the car show.

I’ve already procrastinated doing my research work this morning by watching this new video a dozen times. I’m really hoping they’ll be in Seattle this October at Geek Girl Con.  “Nothing to Prove” from The Doubleclicks is awesome, because it says it all: there is no reason why any of the women and girls featured in it should ever feel censure or silenced – nor should any of us.  It’s time we not only said it but believed it: We have Nothing To Prove.

 

 

 

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.