Finished up the third and final season of United States of Tara today.
Yes, I’m on a Diablo Cody binge right now. Decided to give it a spin after having mixed feelings regarding Young Adult and to a certain extent – Jennifer’s Body and Juno. I just might be the only person on the internet that didn’t really have a problem with Jennifer’s Body. In fact, as a horror fan, I thought it was spoofy and high fun. It seemed to both mock and alternately love the horror genre in ways few flicks manage to get right.
The Ginger Snaps comparisons are lost on me. I’ve seen both and didn’t once think of Ginger Snaps while watching Jennifer’s Body. If anything, I thought of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. All the goobery dialogue and tongue-in-cheekness there.
Also – how hard does a female writer have to work to get some respect up in H-Town ya’ll? She won a damned Academy Award and at least two characters she helped script have either won major awards or been nominated (possibly a third depending how Young Adult fares). And still, she gets a ton of e-hate and bitchy comments cause she stripped for a year or something. I don’t even know. But it totally has nothing to do with her gender or anything. Carry on.
Back to United States of Tara: The show is about a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) leading a suburban life in Kansas, raising two children with her husband who is a self-employed landscaper.
Cody’s skills as a creator and writer are on fine display here. I was wary approaching it – a bit burnt out on mental illness as comedy fodder, or reality TV fodder, or fodder in general.
What struck me? In the same way that Juno struck me? The mid-west normalcy. The harkening back to classic TV shows that I identified with in my youth, like Roseanne. A family living together using sarcasm, humor and love to sustain themselves. Only mental illness fills the role of economic hardship as the main struggle in the lives of the Gregsons.
DAY THREE RECAP: DARK HORSE PANEL, STUMPTOWN SIGNING, GEEKS AND GOOD WORKS PANEL AND TONY HARRIS SKETCH
We woke up fairly early on Sunday to grab breakfast and doughnuts before Smalls had to board her train back to PDX. After discovering only crazy
expensive breakfast places within walking distance, hampered by my jacked up knees slowing down any further searching, we decided on breakfast sandwiches and coffee at Starbucks which is totes appropriate cause we were in Seattle. Grabbing the sandwiches also left us plenty of time to hit up the real treat of the morning – Top Pot Doughnuts.
HELLO PEOPLE OF SEATTLE – THESE DOUGHNUTS ARE FRAKKIN’ DELICIOUS!!! Why there wasn’t a line out the door and snaking down the sidewalk is beyond me. The only one I could stuff in my already fairly-stuffed maw was the Raspberry. RASPBERRY DOUGHNUT. With no nasty creme or berry filling. So heavenly I’m imagining how long it will be before my next trip to Seattle and thinking…not that long. 😀
Everyone snacked on and enjoyed at least one doughnut (my ma purchased a dozen) before we moseyed on back to the hotel, packed, loaded up the car, checked out and hit the Con floor.
Just in time for…
THE DARK HORSE PANEL
Since we’d missed the BPRD Panel the previous day where they announced Guy Davis leaving, we thought it would be appropriate to drop in and see if one of our favorite local publishers had anything exceptionally interesting to say about their books, aside from the news that exceptionally interesting people are leaving.
Turns out – the lovely Ms. Felicia Day was sitting in on the opening of THIS panel as well to chat about The Guild comic book series. Looks like each character will be getting their own one-shot origin via Dark Horse -Vork’s was released on December 22nd, 2010. According to Felicia Day – Bladezz will be released next (within two months or so) and then one can only assume that Tinkerballa’s will be out after that, given the signed prints that were being offered up at their booth this weekend.
Zaboo’s book will be co-written by nerd hunk and scribe Sandeep Parikh and drawn by the lovely Becky Cloonan, whom I follow on the Twitter because I like her drawerings and because she’s funny. She also did the art for DEMO.
Felicia also mentioned she has decided NOT to pilot for anything this season that is not Science Fiction related. Or I suppose she could have meant “SyFy” – either way she hasn’t piloted YET so one can either assume that there is a small market for scifi this year or that SyFy isn’t producing any new shows.
My vote would be for her to appear on BSG: Blood and Chrome (which sounds eerily similar to Spartacus: Blood and Sand). People of Syfy, make it happen! Though she is so funny and sweetly charming I’m not sure how well she could fair on the intense drama of the BSG Verse. Balls.
ANYWHO – back to comics world. We then sat through about 20 minutes (or 2 hours) of Axe Cop panel which boasted a 6 year old making crazy bird screeching noises, eating candy and offering it to everyone in sight. It was cute bordering on annoying but I really love the concept of the book and the collaboration between the brothers, as I imagine it would be difficult to find something to bond over when your sibling is 25 years younger than you are. The book is probably a bit too ridiculous and comedic for me…but the folks involved seem successful and happy with the work they are doing so props to them. If you like the random imagination of five year olds, you should check it out.
Scott Allie revealed he WILL continue to edit the work of Joss Whedon who signed on to write Buffy The Vampire Slayer through Season 10. Whoot to BTVS fans everywhere!! I dropped out in about the middle of Season 8. Hopefully a collection will be published soon so I can catch up before the next season hits the shelves.
Allie clarified there will now only be 25 books per season (maybe he meant 24?) to keep them at two years versus four. Everyone involved recognized that was far too long a “season” for even the most die hard fans.
Apparently there’s some other big news in store for Buffy that Allie is waiting to reveal at Wondercon, so keep your ear to the ground if this book is your cup of tea. Change is a-comin’.
The first season of Vampire Diaries has already had several schizophrenic fits and starts. It doesn’t bode well for its renewal when the second half of the season produced only two new episodes, and then another break until last night.
Blame it on the Olympics? Blame it on March Madness? I’m not quite sure what the problem is with the scheduling for Diaries, but it’s helping to lose my already waning interest when they can’t air three new episodes in a row.
What’s great about this show? Damon Salvatore. The evil vampire is the only actor with any captivating screen presence – played with malevolent glee by Ian Somerhalder. Most folks will probably remember him as Boone from “Lost” (before he met his untimely end) or Paul Denton from ” The Rules of Attraction.”
The rest of the plot unfolds something along these lines: 17-year-old Elena Gilbert (played by the dark-haired and smokey voiced Nina Dobrev) is introduced to the audience only four months after the death of both her parents in an auto accident. She and her bumbling, stoner brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) are now living with their frazzled Aunt Jenna (Sara Canning). Their friends and family all encourage them to get over their grief, and even their teachers give them a hard time about it. Huh. Maybe that’s the drawback of living in a small town?
Elena has the misfortune of looking like the dead lover/vampire whom the brothers quarreled over a century before. Pretty twisted, and already piled with loads of plot and side characters (her best friend, Bonnie, is a witch). It’s based on a Young Adult book series of the same name written in the early 90s, which has been slightly modified and revamped (hah!) to fit with the current decade. Also the books are being republished. Check the wiki here.
What kills me with this show is the pacing, the often-times pointless drama and the weak characterizations. While it does quite often ride head and shoulders above “Twilight” in terms of having…ya know…an actual PLOT, it’s populated with a male and female lead that are sinfully boring. Not the actors mind you, they are giving their full skill to creating people with personalities, but when the characters are such Puritans…it’s hard to generate much appeal.
Stefan and Elena rarely make tough moral decisions, and are mostly around to clean up in the wake of the evil vampires which are constantly streaming through the town. Poor Stefan has to play the role of the serious, brooding vamp with his out-of-control eyebrows, and he does so pitch perfectly. But that archetype has been done to death in pop culture.
And no one makes broody eyebrows better than Angel.
Which leads to my earlier statement – how deliciously sinful the presence of Damon becomes. He reminds me more than a little bit of Spike (another Buffy alum). Without him, there would be no forward progression of plot (again – Spike’s scheming tacked on at least three seasons to Buffy’s shelf life). But the writers can’t seem to decide if they want audience sympathy or complete revulsion, and Damon’s character often seems like a split personality – wavering between completely evil in one scene, to something resembling compassion and reason in the next. Consistency is sorely needed.
It doesn’t help that so much of the show is without humor. BTVS worked because of it’s light-hearted nature and comedic timing, whereas Vampire Diaries is a touch too clunky and angsty.
Now that we’re all up to speed…
FULL DISCLOSURE: I actually ended up watching all 13 episodes of this delightfully crappy show. It’s like the worst best blood sex fest I’ve ever seen. My viewing it’s entirety can be blamed on a nasty stomach flu which kept me bed-ridden for 24 hours, in which I devoured 8 episodes one after another. It was like some kind of fever dream… I now love it passionately and was very distraught to hear the news that Andy Whitfield, who plays Spartacus, has cancer. I’m hoping for a speedy recovery so I can wince, guffaw and chortle through another 13 episodes of this messy, ludicrous but lovable series. THANK YOU.
It was disappointing to learn that Spartacus: Blood and Sand came out on Starz, a premium cable channel the DH and I do not subscribe to. Didn’t realize this when I set up the DVR, so the show’s been recording blank episodes for the last month or so. Believe me, there’s nothing more tempting or aggravating than a DVR show that doesn’t record.
When the first five episodes magically appeared on Netflix Instant Watch this weekend, we settled in to watch the pilot and give it a fair shot.
Only to witness an entire hour filled with nothing but blood, sex, boobs and very little else to tantalize. The scripting and directing are weak, the special effects are quite laughable (so much green screen!) and not even the actors manage to pull of their hackneyed dialogue with much sincerity. It’s not surprising with lines like “he’s got his hands up all the right assholes and when he wiggles his fingers, they shit gold.” Uh, what? Maybe it could work with the right delivery. Maybe.
Perhaps I would think better of this show if two things were true:
1.) 300 was an accurate and compelling depiction of history
2.) HBO’s Rome hadn’t been so epically awesome
Instead – we are treated to this bastardization of what I consider to be some great depictions of Roman times. Aside from 300, perhaps.
The DH described it as a really awful serialized version of Gladiator, with the visual style of 300, but there are just enough differences in the material to avoid a potential lawsuit.
See for yourself:
The amount of blood seeping into the trailer and first episode alone should be an indication of how ridiculous this series will be. Gallons of it – and for some reason they’ve mixed real fake blood with CGI blood on-screen and the two do not sit easily together. Honestly – at one point my husband and I were laughing at the unintentional comedy of the blood splattering the screen. So much. Too much.
We’d been joking around about the title of the show – and discussing the insane amount of sex scenes and bare naked breasts invading the screen which served no purpose.
We envisioned a scene in which the overuse of blood, sex and breasts would culminate in one orgiastic climax.
Little did we know, we were about to witness everything our hearts had desired. In the first scene of Episode 2: Spartacus, the soldier-turned-slave-turned-Gladiator is bound in chains awaiting his fate, and dreams about having sex with his kidnapped wife. Mid-copulation, her mouth suddenly bursts forth with blood and it shoots all over her naked breasts. Bloody sex breasts.
The writers and visionaries of this crap-fest did not let us down.
Believe me – I wanted to like this show. Lucy Lawless (what is with her comically red hair)? Steven DeKnight of Buffy and Dollhouse fame? Apparently Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen are on the writing staff as well.
The only question this show raises is how so much talent can exist in one place and yet churn out a boring, silly show with material that should be a slam dunk. Rome, Shakespeare, Greek tragedy. It’s practically Drama-By-Numbers here people. You just have to make sure it’s GOOD. But Spartacus: B&S has nothing interesting to say or show us which hasn’t already been done…better.
Should I stick it out for a few more episodes? Anyone?
– This review suggests we revel happily in the sex, violence and absurdity
It took a few days to accomplish it, but I dug my way through ten comic books – the first batch on the long but distinguished list. The three series:
For obvious reasons, once you’ve started reading Whedon related material, it’s difficult to stop – so I had to run through the spectrum.
ANGEL: AFTER THE FALL
Angel was the first series simply because there were the most issues of it to read – oh and it was alphabetical. Gotta love the alphabet. However, there is a reason for such a large stock pile of issues. This series has been slow going due to the ambigous writing style of the scripter – Brian Lynch.
Together he and Joss Whedon plotted the series, so the PLOT is coming together nicely, if a bit unclear at times. And the characterizations are spot-on…the art by Nick Runge with a slew of guest-starring inkers and colorists is adept at catching the faces of the actors and there is generally an amazing close-up panel at least every other page that brings Angel, Spike, Lorne and Co. back to life. Unfortunately, on other pages there is squinting involved to discern who is who…especially during the action scenes. Overall, the art of the book works, and sometimes achieves moments of greatness, but I wouldn’t call it mind blowing.
It’s consistent – a bit noirish with dark inks (even when there are different inkers and colorists) and damn if that isn’t exactly what is needed in this series. So – yay to Nick Runge and friends!
But yes, back to Brian Lynch’s writing style. It’s just…sometimes very difficult to understand what is happening in a particular panel based on dialogue and text. The art is doing it’s job, and the characters are saying characteristic things, but when it comes to foreshadowing and moving the plot along in an intelligible manner, I’m afraid this series lacks, which is disappointing.
So – I’ve been a bit neglectful of my blogging duties, but all in the name of good fun..and making ridiculous fan vids.
Another reason is that I’ve sworn off graphic novels and tpb’s until something more interesting crossed my path. I was getting tired of scouring the library shelves for some semblance of a reasonable title, and coming up with books that weren’t really holding my attention. And just to reassure you all – I managed to find a few decent titles.
I’ve also wanted to get back to my regular old novel roots, and devour a few books I’ve had on my list for awhile. My latest conquest was Middlesex by author Jeffrey Eugenides. It was refreshing adult and literary content. And now I’m ready to return to the wonderful world of comic books.
Even though I’ve been “gone” for two weeks, since my world seems to revolve around comic books, and movies, and comic books – I stumbled across a few comic related tidbits I felt compelled to share.
My latest fan-vid (oh, the nerdosity temperature just rose a few degrees in here) is all about a tpb I picked up during my 25th birthday – Fray written by Joss Whedon with art by Karl Moline and Andy Owens. It follows the story of Melaka Fray – a slayer living in a future that is reminiscent of Firefly – with some similar phrasing – “rutting” being the best example.
However – Fray has no knowledge of how to be a slayer and instead leads the life of a hardened thief – running from a tragic past.
The art by Karl Moline is fantastic, and the coloring by Andy Owens is rich and bright – everything you would expect and want from a future with flying cars. Is there a future without flying cars? Where the hell are OUR flying cars!?
But I digress…I also stumbled across Tank Girl through ON Demand last week. Can I just take a moment to say that I love DVR? Having the power to record the shows that I love and watch them whenever I want, fast-forwarding through shit commercials…phew…it’s a TV revolution.
Right – back to Tank Girl. I dug the screwball antics of the main character and the randomness of the plot, but at the same time…it reminded me of all that had been so off-putting about comic book movies made in the last decade.
And what it is that has made comic book movies so distasteful in the past? The cheese factor. Since I’ve not read Tank Girl, I’m not sure how true the movie was to the comic, but the campiness was firing on all cylinders, and made it incredibly difficult to forget you were watching a movie based on a cheeseball comic book. Which was probably the intention. But it didn’t work all the time.
It felt like a 1.5 hour commercial for the series. And though I find myself intrigued, and considering taking a gander at the book…I’m not certain TankGirl will ever make any Top 10 comic movie lists I put together. And on that note – here’s a Top 10 List: