Doll-freaking-house.

03/28/2009

So this is the first Joss creation I’ve actually managed to watch as it’s being aired. Many of the Whedonites have had their doubts about what looks to be a knockoff of Bionic Woman (the remake of which was, in fact, the worst thing ever), but  I managed to keep the faith, so to speak, through the first five episodes and am now standing somewhat shakily on the field of I Told You So. Despite the terrible first five minutes of the pilot, most of the show seems quite solid. Very cautious, to be sure; it seems like Joss is testing the waters with any themes for a couple episodes before actually introducing them. I blame Fox being cock weasels and canceling Firefly. Anyway.

It’s not Firefly, to be sure. But I think it’s more the story that’s being worked with here rather than any flaw in the actors/writers/directors of photography. Firefly being pretty much the perfect story to make into a TV show, it’s doubtful we’ll ever get something quite of that level of awesome again. One can hope of course, but it’s unlikely. As a part of the Joss Whedon whole though, Dollhouse seems to be doing quite well. And while it’s certainly a back step in the area of plot holes, in character depth and plot weaving it’s leagues ahead of almost all of his other works.

All of this course had the question “is this going somewhere?” looming over it the entire time. I’ll admit I’ve been skittish about jumping fully in to the ‘Dollhouse is going to be great’ camp, because while I chose to interpret apparently meaningless character interactions as plot development  there’s really know way to know. And if I’m wrong, then this is a total load of shit and I claim being blinded by Tahmoh Penikett’s shiny shiny abs. Man on the Street though, seemed to be a tipping point. There’s still plenty of time for this to go south, but for now it  seems that the show is on its way to becoming yet another cult hit.

Why has it started so poorly then? Re-watching the first five episodes, there are some truly horrific moments, and at least two episodes I wonder why they even exist. I think Joss is being incredibly cautious. Not only does he have some insanely high standards to live up to, along with fans that have demonstrated they’re willing to eat him alive if he fails, but I suspect he’s pandering to the mainstream more than he has in the past out of fear of getting shit canned again. Plus whole idea of the Dollhouse…interesting, but I can see this getting way out of hand, much the same way the whole Cylon prophecy thing did (oh ho, no I didn’t! But that’s for another time). These are all rather fine lines to walk.

In the end I think this will turn out for the best; a five year contract means maybe he’ll remember he has a pair again and do something interesting with this. The concept is already being handled much better than any of the similar stories of the past, and assuming the ‘Dollhouse sucks’ bandwagon doesn’t gain too much momentum, I think people are going to remember why they build giant gold statues of him in their backyards and start watching in earnest. Now I’m off to watch the latest episode and find out if I’m right or I should delete this post and pretend I never said anything.

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And now for something completely different.

03/26/2009

I was lurking on the Internet yesterday and stumbled across an ad for a free 10 day trail of Warhammer Online. In a moment of “why the hell not?” I signed up. Now, I have a few friends that either play or played Warhammer, and of course there is still a significant amount of chatter on the ‘net comparing Warhammer and WoW. Despite all this, I’d never really gotten a clear picture of what the game was like. As a long time dedicated WoW player and someone who (I’d at least like to think) is pretty good at grasping games I figured what the heck, I can write up something on the two. I’ve since drawn in both my roommates who are also avid WoW players, and hope to use the comments we shout across the apartment at each other to gain a more well rounded view of this experience.

Obviously without an endgame anything I type up will be incomplete, but I think 10 out of 40 levels should suffice to give a decent feel for the game. So far my feelings are very mixed. The class systems (specifically, the use of abilities) fascinate me, and I find myself rolling new classes just to see how they work. Obviously from a pure polygon count Warhammer is alot prettier than WoW, thought it lacks the thematic beauty of the latter. Also I am fairly certain that EA has paid people to sit in the general chat channel and talk about how much better WAR is than WoW. I couldn’t locate the /chatlog function for the game to share the glory, but “fury zerker warrior” from a supposed 4 year WoW player was about the average. Anyway, more to come as I find new and increasingly entertaining ways to kill imaginary baddies.


Oomjah!

03/24/2009

The title, of course, being the sound of impotent nerd rage. In this case, directed at the rampant disregard for the laws of the universe in the creation of anything extraordinary (in the sense of SciFi/Fantasy). To be more specific, a total lack of internal consistency and realistic interaction with the environment. Just because you’ve broken some law of (usually) physics, that does not mean you have to totally screw the pooch on how it will do so. In a fictional piece, you’ve been given license to create something that does not obey what we understand as the laws of the universe. It’s suspension of disbelief, something we all understand and appreciate as a requirement for fantastic things to occur. What it does not allow you to do is ignore all the logical interactions and consequences of your creation. Even magic in the high fantasy sense, which basically ignores all universal laws and often common sense must have some sort of internal logical consistency. I guess the best way to explain this is with and example:

Take Superman’s X-ray vision. Ignoring all of his other superpowers, let’s examine this ability. The “magic”, or breaking of the laws of physics here are Superman’s ability to emit concentrated X-rays from his eyes, and then simultaneously somehow receiving these images with a fair degree of accuracy. Also he can apparently turn this on and off at well, much like we can become blind at will. Whatever. This is the suspention of disbelief, which I have no problem with. However, given that it’s specifically referred to as “X-ray vision”, I feel it is safe to assume that what he’s using is, you know, X-rays. Thus, his vision should obey all the laws X-rays do: being blocked by dense materials, requiring a certain density index to register, and yes, if he were to forget to turn it off because he was too busy starting at some girl’s tits, giving her goddamn cancer.

Now, I’m not an expert on Superman. But I have read a good selection of comics and viewed enough TV shows/movies to have a fairly solid grasp of the lore. Let’s examine what happens when Superman uses his X-ray vision. Gee, he just looked through a computer bank and the concrete wall behind it to pick out the facial features of the bad guys standing there. Heeeeere’s where I start to clench the old jaw. That just broke two very large laws of X-rays in a big way. Now, if they wanted to call it “Superman’s magical see-through shit vision”, fine. But they didn’t. They called it X-ray vision. They they proceeded to make it have pretty much  nothing what so ever to do with X-rays.

If writers want to break laws, that is completely fine with me. Heck, it’s more than fine; I quite enjoy it. But what I don’t enjoy is unnecessarily spreading misinformation and misunderstanding because they’re too fucking lazy to do the research, or better yet, because they just don’t care. Please, for the sake of our children’s intelligence and my blood pressure, have a little pride in your work. Make it make sense.


First.

03/24/2009

So I’ve decided to start a blog. From what I understand, this first post is usually where I go on about what I’m going to put in this and why it is somehow better than the countless other clones created by anyone with an Internet connection and some thumbs. Of course, in the middle of composing such a witty expose I realized that the only people that would be reading this would be people that already know me. So, not really a whole lot of point in explaining myself to you all. Though the instant I find myself staring at a comment and asking myself  ‘who the fuck is this?’ I’ll be sure to get right on that. Anyway, there is no real purpose to this post other than to actually get off my lazy ass and start writing. Enjoy.