Archive for September 29th, 2010

TV season 2010-2011 lineup review

Another Fall, another TV season starts. As I usually do every year, here’s my review of the most interesting new series. One interesting thing about this year is that SyFy Channel had no new series, and that the USA Network played it safe and renewed all of its TV series without creating new ones either. I think TV in general is in pretty bad shape financially right now. Additionally, no new show broke more than 14.5 mil viewers (most did below 10 mil, which is not enough to sustain them on a major network). So, here we go:

* The Event

The most advertised new show. It’s a serialized sci-fi action show, that employs “flashbacks” like LOST used to. The problem with The Event is that in terms of quality is closer to “Heroes” than it is to LOST. Its over-used flashbacks technique fractures the time-line a lot, and the show has no memorable characters.

Verdict: It will get canceled by December, and if not, it would still be a close call.
My rating so far: 6/10

* Hawaii Five-0

The re-make of the popular ’70s show. It’s well-made technically-speaking (especially the stunts), but it’s a very episodic show, with nothing truly new to offer. It’s another cop show. It just looks better with Hawaii in its background.

Verdict: It will do well with older viewers. It already does.
Rating so far: 5/10

* No Ordinary Family

A sci-fi show about a family of super-heroes. Unfortunately, the show is so cliche, that makes it uninteresting to me. This is a show that should have been shown on ABC Family, not on the main ABC TV channel. It’s mostly episodic, but there’s also a bit of background serialization. Just not very exciting or original.

Verdict: It can go either way.
Rating so far: 5/10

* Chase

Yuck. This is the worst new show on TV. Yet another old style cop show, but of the worst order. And not only on the entertainment level, but also technically. The 5 minute opening in the pilot featured shots that were not all HD, different shutter speeds, different frame rates (!), and overly contrasty grading that made everything look over-exposed. A mess.

Verdict: For the love of God, please cancel it already.
Rating so far: 2/10

* Nikita

An episodic spy-like show, but with a bit of a background story. Not badly done, but let’s just say that it’s not the next big TV revolution either. Just a predictable action show, pretty cheaply done too. We can’t expect more from CW though, which is not as rich as the big-4 TV channels in the US.

Verdict: It will probably see another season.
Rating so far: 4/10

* Undercovers

Another spy show. This one sucks more. It’s very episodic, very old style too. So we have this married couple who used to be spies, then they got out and started a kettering business, and now they’re back in the spying game, with a different mission on each episode. Sorry, but this is not going to fly with me. It’s too repetitive, and I don’t give a shit about marriage problems of two ex-now-again spies. I mean, this is so ’80s.

Verdict: It’s going to get canceled.
Rating so far: 3/10

* Lone Star

This was the best new show of the season. Take note, it was a drama, and I’m a sci-fi/action girl. And yet, THAT was for me the best new show. And I’m saying “was”, because it’s already canceled, after just two episodes. The show was a hit with the critics, but the American population decided otherwise (fewer than 4 million people watched it). The show was about a con-man who lived two separate lives, married to two different women, while trying to con an oil tycoon. My only problem with the show was that the main character confessed that he truly loved both his wives, something that degraded the heroes’ believability for me. But other than that, the show had the right script, cinematography, pacing, serialized build-up, even great music. In fact, that was the only new show that had strong, memorable characters. Too bad it’s already gone. Some say that this show should have been either a mini-series, or on cable (rather than on FOX). If anything, it shows how much of a gamble the TV business is right now. You make a good show, and no one’s watching. You make a bad one, and no one’s watching either.

Verdict: Canceled.
My rating: 7.5/10

Overall, a very poor new TV season. Nothing truly exciting. Not because there are no good show ideas on the table, but because almost no one seems to be able to execute them properly.

Generational ships, fembots, and life after death

I had a very weird dream this morning. More intense and cooler than usual.

So, Earth was dying, and a few select people were put on an auto-pilot spaceship, on a way to another habitable planet. The ship’s interior was emulating Earth’s natural look (mountains, rivers, etc), and there was a bright sun too. Kind of like a mini Dyson Sphere.

A few hundreds of years later, there were a few thousands of us. Resources were scarce, so we were teamed-up in small groups, to protect them. Violence would erupt if someone from another group would try to steal our stuff.

On top of all that, some technology from the “old world” would survive. There was this guy, who had acquired 4-5 fembots, and he was addicted to them. Basically, having sex with them would trigger a feeling similar to recreational drugs + orgasm (fembots could release some chemicals that would enter the bloodstream fast), and that made them irresistible and addictive. The ultimate “high,” I suppose.

Anyways, at the end, I dreamed of this huge tsunami-like “solid water” that the rivers suddenly changed into. The people taken away from it were screaming. My mom said, “put something on your head, we’ll be dragged out, in the sun, for a while”. I couldn’t find a hat, so I just put on my head… some underpants. Soon later, the “solid water” had moved up to our apartment, and it took us away too. Some quick thinking on my part was “if I could take one thing with me, what should it be?”. So I grabbed a knife (if anything, “Survivorman” on TV has shown that all you need is a knife. The rest is just skill and knowledge).

Soon enough we were dragged away by the solid water. I asked my mom, who was dragged away along my aunt, if she knew what was happening, and she replied “yes”. Apparently, the knowledge that we lived on a ship, has survived among a few of us (not everyone knew it/believed it). I started crying in my sleep, thinking “we’ve arrived, we’ve arrived!”. To top my melodramatic dream, there was actually a music score accompanying the whole thing! I guess the filmmaking “audio is as important” moniker, has been engraved deep in my subconscious, enough to make me have a soundtrack in my dreams!

Anyways, amidst all the excitement of “arriving”, I woke up.

This dream today reminded me the 4-5 “past life” regression sessions I had in the late ’90s (I wrote about these here before). While all of these regressions featured different “life stories” in different times/places (and in one occasion a different planet), the ending was always the same. Supposedly, after we die, when we’re ready to leave, we go through a vortex that hangs above our dead heads, and we go through it. Soon, we see the Earth becoming smaller and smaller. Eventually, we reach a waiting place, that some weird lifeforms are running it. Religious people would call these “angels”, I suppose, but I’m not religious.

When your turn has come, you appear before a judging panel, and you answer for yourself “how well you did in your life”. After you gave your opinion to them, you become your own judge, as you re-play your whole life in front of you. Then, you break down and cry, for all the bad things you did while alive. Supposedly, each individual also has 1-2 very specific goals in their life. These goals must be achieved. Being “good” is only half of the story.

So you choose your next life, based on what you must learn, or repeat your goals if you didn’t achieve them in the previous life. You can choose the sex, place, major events that must happen to you (good or bad), so you can learn via them. And this repeats many times, until you “graduate” (I guess some religious people would call this “nirvana,” but I’m not religious). In each life, you only take with you the “juice” of your previous experiences, not the memories. And you’re usually spending your life with the same key people over and over. For example, your father in one life, can be your wife in another. Role-switching is common.

I don’t believe in any of that of course (neither I believed in it back then), although it was fun to be part of such an “experiment.” I mean, why not, since there was no harm done. It’s interesting to think though that if there’s a shred of truth in it, then it would make sense as to what a Type III Civilization would do to educate their children. Think about it.

Instead of educating them via traditional methods, or via pre-conditioning their brains, they educate them via real life lessons. Each consciousness (aka “soul” for the religious, but I’m not religious) is transferred into the body of a primitive species, and let them live whole lives as such. In their terms of time, this whole life experience might only take a few minutes. So they might be able to “graduate” from this life school, within a few days or weeks of enrolling, but having acquired hundreds of life experiences as different species, learning all that you must learn to be a trustworthy member of a Type-III Civilization, in regards to your peers, and the other not-so-fortunate species in the universe.

It’s like virtual reality, but designed to teach youngsters how to become adult beings, fast. Some religious people would call this a process of “becoming God”, but I’m not religious. I would see it more like a school, where you can’t cheat your way around.

I mean, the last thing we want in our galaxy is a little brat, with super-advanced technology, blowing up whole planets just for fun. Right? Right??