thoughts on pop culture

I Agree with J.J. Abrams: Spoilers = Cheating

I’m not sure I’ve ever explained my personal position on spoilers here. I hate them. I believe in the excitement of the journey, and that includes the frustration that comes when all your questions aren’t answered as quickly as you might like. While I may sometimes post speculation here at, I make a concerted effort not to post spoilers. I write about shows in detail only after they have aired–partly because of my anti-spoiler mentality, and admittedly also because I’m not cool enough to get screeners ahead of time anyway.

This mindset is exactly why I felt like Guest Editor J.J. Abrams’ article in the May issue of Wired spoke directly to me. If you’re like me and enjoy the ride more than the finish, I think it will speak to you too.

‘J.J. Abrams on the Magic of Mystery’ – Full article at

May 17, 2009 Posted by | Movies, Technology, Television | , , , , , , | Comments Off on I Agree with J.J. Abrams: Spoilers = Cheating

Dollhouse Episode 1: Ghost

I’ve had Dollhouse on my grid since it was first announced at last year’s upfronts, so I’m concerned I may have been anticipating the premiere too much.  

The biggest compliment I can pay about “Ghost” is the way the writers weaved the explanations about the imprint technology into the storyline without ruining the pacing of the episode.

My biggest complaint comes from the scene where the FBI agent (played by Battlestar Galactica’s Tahmoh Penikett) sneaks up on the Russian gangster dude in the bathroom.  No man enters an empty restroom and chooses the low urinal when there are several standard height ones available.  We call it the leg-splatterer for a reason, so I can only conclude that this gave them the best camera angles and shot composition for the scene.  I know this sounds petty, but bathroom design and traffic flow is kind of a hobby of mine.

When the episode ended, I was expecting to see J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot, even though I knew Joss Whedon is behind the show.  Something tells me I’m not the first and won’t be the last person to ask if Joss took a blank series starring Eliza Dushku and imprinted Alias on it.  Admittedly, the resemblance won’t really turn me off since Alias is one of my favorite series ever.

Snide Alias remarks aside, I do think the show has potential.  It is certainly a twist on the genre, even if the twist is one that telegraphs the all-too-certain glitches that will inevitably disrupt the imprint/wipe process.  The high-quality cast is experienced in the genre and should be able to deliver on a weekly basis.  Whedon’s ability to craft a quality series is proven, even if Fox’s willingness to keep it on the air isn’t.  Ultimately, I think this was a mediocre episode, and as always, I will cut the creators some slack due to the difficulty of introducing both characters and crazy fake technology all in one hour.

February 14, 2009 Posted by | New Series, Premiere, Scifi, Television | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Dollhouse Episode 1: Ghost

Fringe, Episode 4: The Arrival

There are two things I love about Fringe so far.  First, the announcement of how long the commercial breaks are going to be makes watching on the DVR a breeze thanks to my 30-second-skip button. (If you haven’t noticed, the break that doesn’t announce a length is usually 2:30 or so.)  Second, I’m really enjoying the conscious decision that has been made by J.J. Abrams and company to make the pseudo-science in the show particularly unglamourous.  So many shows stretch so far into the ridiculous by having a chrome or brushed aluminum machine for every possible problem.  Not so with Fringe.  Tonight’s interrogation device appeared to be nothing more than a glorified car battery with nasal jumper cables.  It’s kind of like a MacGuyver spinoff that way.

September 30, 2008 Posted by | New Series, Science, Scifi, Technology, Television | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fringe Episode 1: Pilot

So it seems that being disappointed in the series premiere of Fringe is the popular thing to do this week if you write about television.  Perhaps it’s because I didn’t watch the leaked video several weeks ago, or maybe it’s just that I try not to get overly excited about any new show, but I thought it was a decent first episode.  It’s always going to be difficult to introduce a cast of characters and make us care about them, even when the network gives you twice as long (95 minutes with limited commercials) to do it.

I think the cast has a decent chemistry, and I was pleasantly surprised by Joshua Jackson’s performance as Peter.  My only real complaint about the show so far is that the score seems to have been pulled directly from an episode of Lost.  Michael Giacchino is the composer for both shows, but it seems silly that he couldn’t come up with something more unique for the tense moments than the exact same strings that Losties are so familiar with.

September 12, 2008 Posted by | New Series, Premiere, Science, Scifi, Technology, Television | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fringe Episode 1: Pilot