I had superhero movies on the brain, I fear. I was listening to a news piece on the radio about how all of the movies lately are sequels, reboots and superhero movies (true), and it cited the recent Marvel pictures without mentioning they were all, in essence, prequels to "The Avengers." Even if it's a trendy thing to put a cape on one's movie script, it's a pretty ambitious project they've undertaken that hasn't produced a real stinker of a film... so far.
SyFy continues to anger what few fans it has left by canceling Eureka, which deprives us of more Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day. And since the network did this after saying a 6th season was in the offing, I'm betting this will be yet another series to end on an unresolved cliffhanger (unless they planned on making the season self-contained). I'm trying to imagine what this cable channel is going to look like in a few years:
- 7:00PM, The Next Show to Vanish: This is whatever hour-long drama we're currently deigning to pay to produce. The budget is half of the show we replaced, the actors and writers aren't as good, and you're probably able to guess the ending before the first commercial break. But where else are you going to go? Fox? They cancel programs twice as fast as we do! Now sit still and enjoy your "Haven" or whatever we're doing these days.
- 8:00PM, You Are The Ghost Hunter: We've set up cameras and listening devices in a random creepy building somewhere, and we fired the
- 8:30PM, Real Extraterrestrials: Well, by "real" we mean "computer generated based on harebrained speculation from third-rate biology professors who really need the cash to pay off that second marriage alimony." Hosted by Rob Schneider.
- 9:00PM, Wheel of Shows We Killed: Every night we randomly pick an episode of a show we've canceled and put it up to remind you just how much you hate the people running this dump. Sure, it'll mostly be some flavor of "Stargate," but you might get an occasional "Farscape" or a rare showing of "Tremors: The Series." Cheaper than a test pattern!
- 10:00PM, Wrasslin': Let's face it, a sizable portion of our audience watches us hoping for explosions and bare flesh, so all you "true believers" in the genre we bastardized our name from just sit down and shut up.
- 11:00PM, Movies Nobody Else Would Air: We give Roger Corman a budget that would probably barely cover our CEO's drug habit to make a giant monster movie, or we pay some laughable fee to get the latest rip-off of an actual movie from those Asylum guys, and we show you the result. C'mon, you loved movies like this when those guys with the robots sitting in the theater seats talked over them; we're just taking those annoying motor-mouths out so you can enjoy the whole experience. You're welcome.
- 1:00AM, Star Trek Nobody Wants to Watch: Our accountants figured that we'd get the most viewers by airing the Trek shows that the fewest people purchased on DVD. Genius.
- 2:00AM, Infomercial-A-Rama: Who doesn't want an ab-cruncher that's also a juicer/blender? Order now and get a free copy of "The Jedi Master Diet."
- 6:00AM, You're Still Here? Okay...: Jeeze, even the lab animals we test our lineup on have usually killed themselves by now. Mostly, you'll get a ton of "Twilight Zone" episodes you've already seen a million times before, but you'll watch them, because it reminds you that at some point, sci-fi on TV could be something to treasure with a story that went beyond blowing something up with CGI effects. Don't complain or we'll replace it with "Buck Rogers" reruns.
I can understand cutting down the budgets of shows in this economic climate. I can understand that genre TV isn't for everyone, and even when a program has strong performances by actors who later become more beloved in the mainstream when they take on other roles (Nathan Fillian, for example), that might not be enough to save it. I also freely acknowledge that a lot of stuff SciFi and SyFy used to air deserved to end, often with a sledgehammer to make sure it never got up again. Given the outright stinkers they've had in the past (like "Flash Gordon," the aforementioned "Tremors"), shows that actually get good ratings would seem to be all the more worthy of life. It stinks when a show seems to be profitable by most measures, successful enough in the ratings, and probably set to do well on DVD, and they cancel it anyway so cheaper fare can go up in its place. I mean, the only other possibility is that the execs think the shows they're booting are unenjoyable, and that they actually like wrasslin'... which seems almost as likely.
Speaking of profitable things I don't get, you remember that game they finally released, "Duke Nukem Forever?" The one that was panned like a Uwe Boll movie re-cut by M. Night? It made money.
But I can't leave everyone on a downer note like that. How about some faith in humanity? A guy posted his Starbucks card online to see what would happen. The card, which started with $30, has been used to the tune of over $3,000, with people donating to the card's cash reserve as well as using it for themselves. Okay, so it's not exactly saving the world, but I thought it was better than leaving you with Muppets with Michelle Bachman eyes. Edit: Oh, wait. It turns out it's probably a marketing ploy from Starbucks. Thanks, corporate coffee monger, now I dislike your beverages and stale, tasteless pastries more than ever and your efforts have driven me to want to kick a Koala bear or something. I hope you're happy. So on to better things:
- X-Wing, B-Wing, yeah, yeah, yeah. Some Lego enthusiasts are working hard to bring us the rest of the spaceship alphabet.
- AT&T's attempt to take over the world (or at least, my part of it) may have hit a snag, though the cynic in me thinks it's just a bump in the road for them. On a completely unrelated note, as a former AT&T customer, I've received a few checks for something illegal they did somewhere that resulted in a class action settlement, I think. Each check has been for two cents.
- I think the best thing to come out of the recent photo shoot for the upcoming Batman movie is this.
- Are there any Houstonians who can confirm that it's so hot, playground equipment is melting?
- Skullhunter is a catapult game where your upgradable weaponry is used in the service of bringing down the menace of animated bones.
- From the "pwning trolls" files comes a case where a patent troll was smacked down in court for filing mass lawsuits, hoping for large settlements. This goes well with a recent episode of This American Life on the subject.
- Remember the counting pinball machine animations from Sesame Street? A stop-motion version of the segment should stir a little educational nostalgia.
- Other than the appearance of three X's in the title, along with a word that's spelled pee-arr-oh-enn, this trailer for an "adult" parody of Star Wars is safe for work, and, at least in the beginning, pretty funny. I'm not sure how some nerdy fans of the Force landed this gig, but good on 'em for living their dreams.
- The winners of the Portal 2 "Exile Vilify" video contest have been announced.
- "Crossbows and Ziplines" might sound like an interesting RPG, but it's how Chinese smugglers tried to illegally ship some iPads.
- PBS is joining in on the IP rebooting by making a new show from the old "Mister Roger's Neighborhood," though now it's animated and stars Daniel the Tiger.
- Use gravity and a stiff upper lip to help Gentlemen Rats in Outer Space to claim cheese-planets in the name of Her Royal Majesty.