Tag Archives: Television

The 602 Club S5: Holy Shiitake Mushrooms!

tsc-0s5-th-square-1440Star Wars Rebels Season 2 Premiere.

Disney has given Star Wars fans a Summer surprise by airing the premiere for season 2 of Star Wars Rebels before if comes back for the rest of the season in the Fall.

In this supplemental episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by fellow rebel John Mills to break down Star Wars Rebels season 2 premiere. We discuss our first reactions, the weight of Vader, an Inquisitor question, what the heck happened to Darth Maul, being in an Empire Strikes Backs state of mind, Lando, the apprentice lives, bringing Obi-Wan in, who survives, more character discussions, Ezra, the music in the show and our final thoughts.

 

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The 602 Club S4: Stupid Geek-boy Grin

SupergirlMain3Supergirl/Legends of Tomorrow Trailers.

We are gathered again in The 602 Club to discuss the Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow trailers. We start off with Supergirl and talk about our first impressions, the look and feel, the cast, Superman’s role, the different universes of DC Comics, Legends of Tomorrow, the possibilities of the show and the importance of geek positivity.

Supergirl Trailer 

Legends of Tomorrow Trailer

Dead McDreams: The Hubris of Television

greys-openerThere is a quote from The Patriot that has been rolling around in my head for a while now, Mel Gibson’s character says at the start of the movie, “I have long feared that my sins would return to visit me, and the cost is more than I can bear.” You may wonder, “Why is he thinking about this?” I have been thinking about it in terms of television shows and so the quote, in my mind is altered slightly; ” I have long feared that the number of seasons would return to haunt me and the cost is than I can bear.”

Television shows start out with an idea, characters and a vision for how they should evolve as the show progresses. If you are a good creative, you may have an outline that stretches quite far into your character’s future and hopefully you have some ideas where they land in the end. On American television there is an inherent difficulty involved because our television seasons tend to last 23 to 24 episodes. As writers, you are required to fill these episodes, so you create drama through problems between the characters and from outside them to drive story lines, while hopefully creating something people want to actually watch. It’s never easy.

As a show grows and becomes successful, it becomes a balancing act to keep it all together. How does the story keep going strong and at the same time remain true to the premise and arc for each character and not just devolve into another stat for the rule of diminishing returns? This is the struggle. For every show that has been a hit for 7-10 seasons there are a plethora of others that have just fizzed out, the fire died and therefore they did as well. There are some prime examples of shows that stayed beyond their time, ER and The X-Files are two of the most prominent. Each one wore out it’s welcome and failed to end satisfactorily for it’s fans; so much so that The X-Files is about to be brought back after 13 years for a short stint. They both failed to economically tell their stories so that characters arcs and show mythologies had a clear beginning and ending.

This happens a lot, creatives have a successful show, that should only have 4-5 seasons, yet because of it’s popularity they stretch it out. Like Bilbo with the ring in Lord of the Rings, the story lines become like too little butter on too much toast. On top of that, outside influences begin to affect the story being told. Instead of doing things for creative reasons, the real world intrudes on the make-believe and dictates terms. Actors want to move on to other things, actors die, creatives get famous and create other shows and the original show begins to suffer. It’s no longer driven by the story of the characters and where they need to go it’s driven by the quota of the season and who’s still left in the cast to tell it. It is the hubris of continuing to extend television shows past their true story potential.

For a show to be popular and to last in the in maelstrom of Hollywood, it must connect with people. The characters and story must reach them on a fundamental level. If they don’t, people will just not watch. If a show does make it and succeed, it takes the commitment of the fans to keep it on the air. As we watch we get invested in the characters and what happens to them. It might not be real, but it does have an impact. After watching a show for ten or more years, it’s a part of you, there is an investment there, you care what happens. Television is also the place we go to escape. When it comes down to it, we want the happy ending because we know that real life isn’t like that. The problem becomes that when you continue to make show for so many seasons you begin to loose the ability to end on the right terms. Characters die that shouldn’t and story lines don’t conclude to anyone’s satisfaction because the resources to do so aren’t around anymore.

6d9fb990-cc4e-0132-45c3-0ebc4eccb42fThis is what has happened to Grey’s Anatomy. It has lost the ability to give us the happy ending and the resolution we all want because it’s outlived it’s actors. Seriously, this show starts with two people, Meredith and Derek. From the first seconds of the show we can tell that no matter what other stories they tell, this is the important one, it’s the beating heart of the show. With all that they went through, there was one constant, we knew they would be together. Callie Torres said it best in a recent episode, “…Look, you and Derek are living proof that love exists, that it works, that there is hope. You guys are a freaking romance novel. And I, for one, am rooting for you two. Team MerDer!”.

Because Grey’s is in it’s 11th season there has always been a looming danger that each successive season would ruin the previous more that help the whole. This is possibly the biggest danger of having a show endure past it’s optimum end, that it will taint the previously loved story lines. I believe this is what has happened to Grey’s. Now the entire show will forever be altered because of the knowledge that there is no happy ending for the first two people we see on screen. In fact, Meredith’s story is a tragedy of epic Greek proportions. The amount of death that surrounds her is astounding. Someone on Facebook posted, “Grey’s Anatomy, this is not what I signed up for”, and I can’t help but agree. I don’t need this show to remind me that life is not fair or that bad things happen. What I did want was there to be a good payoff to my years of investment in the characters.

What gives it that bitterness is that there have been great exists on this show, none more celebrated than Sandra Oh. She had a whole season to celebrate her character and it was deserved. She had been such a major part of the story from the beginning. What is most frustrating in this loss of Derek Shepherd is that there was no celebration of this character. He spend most of the season away from the show, fighting with Meredith, had a heart-warming realization of what was important in life and came home finally, only to be killed unceremoniously. In fact his death and the way it happened is so similar to George O’Malley that his loss stings all the more. Seriously, this is the second character we see on screen in the pilot (well his butt is) and this is the best we can do sending him off?

In the end, it is just a show and life will go on. It’s unfortunate that a show I’ve enjoyed for ten years has irrevocably been changed for the worse, all because it forged ahead when it should have found resolution a long time ago. Ferry boats crash and so do our McDreams of a happy ending. derek-meredith-bar-pg

I’m on The Seriously Grey’s Podcast discussing the episode as well.

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The 602 Club 21: Crying Droid Tears

tsc-021-th-squareStar Wars Rebels Season 1.

In October of 2012 it was if millions of voices suddenly cried out in joy, followed by agony, as we learned that Disney bought Lucasfilm and with that came the cancellation of The Clone Wars. Soon afterwards Disney, announced it was creating a new animated show, helmed by The Clone Wars Supervising Director Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg that would chronicle the beginning of the Rebellion.

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by fellow Rebels John Mills and Tristan Riddell to talk Star Wars Rebels first season. We discuss our reactions to the news The Clone Wars was cancelled as well as our initial impressions of Rebels, the struggle for shows to survive in today’s TV market, continuity, the Lando episode, the progression of villains, the characters, the huge ending, music, links to Luke Skywalker and our ratings.

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The 602 Club 20: We Were Fangirling

tsc-020-th-squareAgent Carter.

Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Solider both left us with the impression that Peggy Carter continued to be a respected member and founder of what became S.H.E.I.L.D. Yet what if the road to founder was a little rougher than was first thought?

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by agents Andi VanderKolk and Norman Lao to talk about the Agent Carter mini series but before that we take time to remember Leonard Nimoy and his life. We discuss whether Agent Carter should have been Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D., things we liked and didn’t, the characters, the importance of a good foil for the hero, continuity, women at work after WWII and our ratings.

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The Parenthood Finale

enhanced-30806-1399677093-5It’s a show that has touched my heart and proved that Americans still have an affinity for family values, morality and doing the right thing even when it’s hard.

You won’t see many shows or movies these days that tackle the realities of family life in the gritty, authentic way that “Parenthood” does. For the past six seasons, the Braverman family of “Parenthood” has faced a variety of hardships that require compromise, forgiveness and unconditional love.

Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-Hour Periods

Creation-hands-LR. C. Sproul, who drafted the original Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy, once said, “When people ask me how old the earth is, I tell them I don’t know—because I don’t.”

Contrary to what is often implied or claimed by young-earth creationists, the Bible nowhere directly teaches the age of the earth.

Rather, it is a deduction from a combination of beliefs, such as (1) Genesis 1:1 is not the actual act of creation but rather a summary of or title over Genesis 1:2-2:3; (2) the creation week of Genesis 1:2-2:3 is referring to the act of creation itself; (3) each “day” (Heb. yom) of the creation week is referring to an 24-hour period of time (reinforced by the statement in Exodus 20:11); (4) an old-earth geology would necessarily entail macroevolution, hominids, and animal death before the Fall—each of which contradicts what Scripture tells us; and (5) the approximate age of the earth can be reconstructed backward from the genealogical time-markers in Genesis.

George Lucas Rips Hollywood, ‘Stupid’ Cat Videos at Sundance

LUCASFILM-01George Lucas offered a bleak assessment of the current state of the film business during a panel discussion with Robert Redford at the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, saying that the movies are “more and more circus without any substance behind it.”

However, the “Star Wars” director hit back at critics who said his role in kicking off the blockbuster film business has watered down cinematic storytelling.

‘American Sniper’ exemplifies a new kind of war film: The professional procedural

american-sniper-poster‘American Sniper’ exemplifies a new kind of war film: The professional proceduralThere’s no doubt that “American Sniper” is a big hit with the red-state constituencies from which Kyle and many of his fellow service members hail. But the movie — a well-acted, absorbing portrait of Kyle in action during the Iraq war and coping with trauma and dislocation when he returns home — has been a hit with viewers of all philosophical stripes. It may be the first — and last — movie to earn Twitter love from Sarah Palin and Jane Fonda.

The Complete Works: Ranking All 121 Billy Joel Songs

Billy Joel and Elton John in ConcertBilly Joel is the closest thing Madison Square Garden has to a sure thing — certainly more than the Knicks or the Rangers or the Liberty. It’s been 21 years since Joel released a new pop album, yet he sold out the arena 12 times in 2014 alone, and he’ll play his second (also sold-out) show of 2015 tonight. He has established a standing residency there, like a guy who plays a monthly nightclub gig, except that the club happens to seat 18,000.

Padmé Didn’t Die of a Broken Heart

PadmegreenscrshotThere’s something you missed.

I find it odd that one of the most pivotal and mysterious moments in the Star Wars saga is discussed infrequently, and when it is the case is closed. Some time between 2005 and now the greater part of people who’ve watched this movie have all come to the same conclusion, and all that is debated is if they like this course of events or not.

Of course, I’m talking about the end of Revenge of the Sith, one of my all-time favorite films. I haven’t been counting, but I’ve seen this movie 500 times, and I’m still finding new things to consider. The final hour of this movie is densely packed with information, but it doesn’t hold your hand. Where a lesser film would have wrapped thing up with an expositive voiceover, Revenge of the Sith demands that the viewer watches how things unfold, and then asks the viewer to put the pieces together themselves. Unfortunately, not everyone has put them together the proper way, and that leads to a lot of differing conclusions regarding the anticlimax of the movie.

The Catholic Writer Today

old-booksFor years I’ve pondered a cultural and social paradox that diminishes the vitality and diversity of the American arts. This cultural conundrum also reveals the intellectual retreat and creative inertia of American religious life. Stated simply, the paradox is that, although Roman Catholicism constitutes the largest religious and cultural group in the United States, Catholicism currently enjoys almost no positive presence in the American fine arts—not in literature, music, sculpture, or painting. This situation not only represents a demographic paradox. It also marks a major historical change—an impoverishment, indeed even a disfigurement—for Catholicism, which has for two millennia played a hugely formative and inspirational role in the arts.

 

Doctor Who Infograph

The perfect primer for “The Day of The Doctor”. Celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who with costumes and props from the show.

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