Thanks to an Alert Reader reminder, I checked out the BBC show, "Fades." It's a supernatural horror show about a kid who can see ghosts. This is a little more than what went on in "The Sixth Sense," and an arc leading to some kind of apocalypse is set up. The effects are "Supernatural"-level (when it has more of a budget and springs for someone to get made up as a dead person), and the non-horror stuff is a lot of British teen angst. I can't tell if it's because the dialog structure and ability to push things a little farther in the UK are what makes this sort of thing less irritating (and sometimes genuinely amusing) than those I see produced in the US, or if it's just the sheer difference in tone and setting that make it watchable for me. Anyway, it's got potential, it's rather hard on the bird population, and it has a delightfully genre-savvy comic relief character who reminds me of Randy Meeks from the "Scream" movies.
I think after the Thor movie and seeing these pics of Jor-El from the upcoming "Man of Steel," we can safely say we're past the era of the Fruit Roll-Up school of costuming and set construction (for those sets that are actually constructed) and have moved into the "Hey, I once saw this show called 'Stargate'" era. And this isn't me going fanboy over SG-1. To my knowledge, it was the first franchise to start making armor and clothes embedded with what appear to be complex calculus and geometry diagrams. The usefulness of this is that it kind of works as fantasy, sci-fi, and general "mystic dude" garb. I mean, if it weren't for the "S" on Russel Crowe's chest, he could be a Goa'uld, a wizard from a less reputable part of Middle Earth, an extra in Asgard, or someone who really wanted to make an impression at the RenFest. It also can make plain materials look more like they offer some protection, which is always helpful to a production budget.
I confess, I haven't watched "The Simpsons" in a LOOOONG time. I stopped when two things happened: The Halloween Specials turned into spoofs of existing movies rather than twisted takes on sci-fi/horror tropes (the best, in my opinion, being the Time Traveling Toaster) and the plot subjects began looping themselves. The latter is where we get yet another story where Homer has to win back the love of Marge/Bart/Lisa (often from a celebrity) or where the writers re-do a section of Simpsons history to poke fun at a specific era (sometimes retconning previous stories). Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I'd still enjoy it; there's just not enough there for me to come back to it after falling out of the habit, and I thought the movie was decently funny. Anyway, after all that, it looks like there might not be any more shows if the voice actors don't agree to a 45% pay cut. The article also details how the TV series "Dexter" is in a similar state of jeopardy.
It wouldn't be an update without some "bad" news, and that looks like word of a CGI Batman cartoon in 2013. I'm hoping that whoever thought giving Alfred guns was just a misguided fan of Lara Croft's butler from the "Tomb Raider" movies, because that's just so wrong. The only time it's acceptable for Alfred to be armed is if it's a non-conventional weapon (something that Batman confiscated from a super-villain, and most likely non-lethal to his target) or Alfred has been on his own, usually in an alternate timeline, convinced Master Bruce is dead and that every bad guy ever is coming to get him. Not to mention everyone looks like they're missing the upper portions of their skulls in the attached image. This isn't a slam against CGI cartoons per se, but their track record (MTV's Spider-Man, anyone?) hasn't been all that hot. Much like how anime influences gave the Timm/Dini animations their style, CGI is still waiting on someone to figure out how to make it look like something other than a video game cutscene. On a completely different animation style, Warner Brothers is teaming with Aardman animation to make claymation Batman short films. I'm of two minds of what I'd like to see. On the one hand, Aardman might be able to do some awesome stuff if they tried being "serious" with Bats (like Dini/Timm), but I'd also love to see their brand of humor at work with the character.
Maybe they could tackle Ren Faire Batman? And now the usual pile of distractivities:
- The next possible internet phenomenon to be canonized like Godwin's Law might be the Wadsworth Constant. The discussion about it is here. I'm ironically putting it in the first part of the linkdump, just to give it a test drive. :)
- It's now possible to run the Unreal 3 engine in Flash. I'm not sure that'll help against HTML 5's adoption by Apple and Microsoft, though...
- We've posted about patent trolls before, but this one's pretty over the top. They claim they own a patent on WiFi. Knowing they'd probably lose in court, they're currently demanding payments from restaurants and coffee houses that are more attractive than mounting a legal challenge.
- Here's a clever idea for a game: Story Hero is an adventure game where your hero has to interact with certain words to his tale in order to advance.
- In Japan, paying off the Yakuza is now illegal. Video game and scriptwriters are protesting this action against one of their favorite stock villains.
- Oh, sure, dressing up the baby in a Halloween costume is cute and all, but some of them look like they're already picking their parents nursing home.
- If you want to see the webisodes and trailers for the the next season of "The Walking Dead," they're available on AMC's site.
- Free music is always good for the occasional media project, and the James Pants Beat Archive is available for download.
- Felicia Day's blog has the official trailer for her Dragon Age feature as well as some contests (including one for fan art) to win stuff. And who doesn't like stuff?
- A species of beetle has its males dying for love as they attempt copulation with beer bottles until they perish. This is why draft beer is better, right?
- Interactive Fiction fans can look at the finalists in the 17th Annual IF Competition, several of which have links to where you can play them online.
- Will a lot of what are currently considered "safe" white-collar jobs fall victim to clever software replacement?
- Add this swing ride inside a nuclear cooling tower to the list of the ones I couldn't bring myself to ride on. Not because of any fear of radiation, but just the height. I grew up near one of those things and they're not exactly tiny...
- This sounds too weird to be true, but this article claims some Japanese think crooked teeth are appealing and have surgery to achieve the look. Mind you, this isn't singling any nation out; we have loads of our own dental work that's at least as odd.
- For those still a bit confused by River Song's story, Blogtor Who has River's Story, told in chronological order, from her perspective.
- I'll trade you all of your wood, ore, wheat, and brick for this one sheep. This sheep needs its own Catan expansion, by the way.
- Bankers might want to note that a few days before the Wall Street protests got started, a painting of a burning Chase Bank sold for $25,000 on eBay.
- Leonard Nimoy bids farewell to the convention circuit.
- This may be the first sports-oriented game I've ever posted, so here we go: Basketballs is a puzzle game where you have to pass the ball between your teammates in as short a time possible and get the ball in the hoop.