Sunday, August 26, 2007

Better? Stronger? Faster?

Say hello to the new Jamie Sommers

One of the cool things about having one time been in the newspaper biz is the occasional inside tip after you leave. A friend of mine from those days where I was pounding the pavement asked kind of nonchalantly if I was interested in seeing the pilot for NBC's re-imagined take on The Bionic Woman (premiering next month). I don't think a second even passed before he received an enthusiastic "YES!!!!".

Growing up in the 1980s, I was exposed to a lot of sci-fi TV icons from the 70s thanks to the wonderful world of syndication. And thankfully, the 70s were full of them: Battlestar Galactica, The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and of course The Six Million Dollar Man and its awesome spin-off, The Bionic Woman. For some odd reason, I remembered watching Lee Majors doing his bionic thing only sporadically while growing up whereas Lindsay Wagner was pretty much always there every Saturday afternoon.

Sure, some of the episodes were beyond cheesy (the Bigfoot episodes immediately come to mind) but somehow this stuff was portrayed in a way that was charming, not silly. My parents even liked watching with me, which normally wasn't the case when it came to sci-fi stuff (oh how they hated Space:1999). In fact, we got our first VCR around the time the first reunion movie aired and I remember my mom asking if I had figured out how to program it so she could see the movie the following weekend.

So how is the new show? In a word: okay. Without giving anything away, it's certainly a darker show so don't expect to find Jamie infiltrating beauty pageants or disguising herself as a gaudy Vegas showgirl. Lots of plot threads are started with many left dangling by the end of the one-hour episode. In this day and age, you can't have a spy show without some sort of conspiracy and the new Bionic Woman is no different. While there were some things to like, I have to say that the pilot didn't really engage me too much. Everything happened so fast, yet it was like not much happened at all. I'll give the show a season but I honestly don't think it will last that long if this is the level of quality we can expect in future episodes.

After some time on the internets, I understand that the screener I just watched is not what you'll be seeing next month. The character of Jamie's sister, Becca, has already undergone an actor replacement (not to mention a major character adjustment) and who knows what other things have been tweaked. Next month's premiere may make the above paragraph moot so it's time once again to adopt that"wait and see" approach.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mike Wieringo (1963-2007)

Chris Galdieri has a rather moving eulogy over at his place.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Restaurants to Avoid

Normally I don't like this forum to be a pool of negativity, but I must put on my restaurant critic cap and lay into last night's locale for the Baisches' evening meal: American Tap Room.

For a change, we decided to head into Gainesville for dinner, specifically the so-called Virginia Gateway Center where most of Gainesville's shopping needs are met. Back when I was unemployed, I used to hang out at the Starbucks there and saw this restaurant being built. I thought it might be a good place to go and I thought wrong.

Em and I decided to have pasta dishes since they didn't include a ton of side items like most of the entrees on the menu. She had something called Creamy Crazy Chicken while I sampled the Penne Pesto. The Creamy Crazy Chicken is aptly named since you'd have to be crazy to order it. It had the consistency of a cheap offering from the frozen food section and about as unevenly heated. The Penne Pesto was, quite possibly, the blandest thing I've eaten since the whipped carrots served to me in the hospital when I had pneumonia. The best white wine in the entirety of the planet would not have made this meal any more palatable.

Again, I really do hate to complain but I was expecting some decent stuff out of such an upscale eatery. However, I am no longer curious and now have one less place to consider when making my dining decision.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More Moments of Weakness

Saturday morning meant I had to scramble off of my keister and get my shirts to the cleaners. That particular chore took all of 15 minutes to accomplish so I decided to search for new action figures.

Scored big at the local Ninth Circle of Hell (aka Wal-Mart) with an entire set of Legendary Comic Book Heroes Series 1 plus Judge Death from Series 2. All of the variants were there, but I left them with the sole exception of Savage Dragon in the tank top shirt. The green, hairy chest didn't really appeal to me and the character was always wearing the tank top when I was reading the book years ago. Moving on...

The only other big find was a lone Storm Shadow from the 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe line. Ever since seeing the pictures online, the nostalgia wave has hit me pretty hard. I immediately snapped it up. It looks like Target either had or will have the figures since I saw pegs for them. I'm seriously hoping more are coming as these little guys kick all sorts of butt.

Hopefully I can convince Emily to take some pictures of this stuff in action soon.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Guess Who?

Today's moment of weakness brought to you by Best Buy.

After learning that Best Buy had a limited edition tin for the Popeye set released Tuesday, I went there after work today and picked it up... along with the Woody Woodpecker set, Superfriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, and Orgazmo. Orgazmo was $4 and I've always wanted to see it, so into the stack it went.

I've been watching the third disc of Woody Woodpecker cartoons for the past hour now and these are just as hilarious as I remember them. The restoration work done on these is pretty darn good overall (some are better than others). As I type this, I'm being treated to a Chilly Willy cartoon which is just beyond cute. I highly recommend this set, especially if you're a big fan of classic cartoons.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

More Thunder

No, I did not watch Thunderpants again. I found myself at the local Ninth Circle of Hell (aka Wal-Mart) again last night and noticed a big display of 2 for $10 DVDs. Expecting the worst, I managed to find eight decent titles I hadn't seen yet. Into the basket they went with, alas, no Legendary Comic Book Heroes figures to keep them company. One of the films was A Sound of Thunder, an adaptation of Ray Bradbury's time travel short story. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a sucker for time travel stories.

The premise of the film involves a company that offers rich people the chance to travel back in time and hunt dinosaurs. However, something goes wrong during one of the hunts and the present begins to suffer for it. The film diverges from Bradbury's story in that our heroes are go back and fix the problem (though not without some cinematic hoops to jump through). Some of the ideas present in the film are very cool, like using super-cooled ice bullets that would eventually melt and not leave any trace elements that could alter the timeline. However, most of the visual effects are pretty bad, science and logic take a backseat to drama, and we're treated to some of the most uninvolved acting out of Ben Kingsley.

I'm told there's an episode of Ray Bradbury Theater that also adapts this story. I'll have to dig out my DVD and check it out.

Monday, August 6, 2007

I Am An Idiot or The Reason I'm a Tad Sleepy Today

Thanks to the magic of the CPAP machine and losing some weight, I'm beginning to sleep better. However, that magic only works so well when you have three or four hours in which to sleep.

Last night, I decided to watch Snakes on a Plane during dinner and received a phone call about a half hour into the film. The conversation goes on for nearly two hours and I resume watching. That was Mistake #1. After the film ended, I went downstairs into the bedroom and began watching Norbit. This added an additional hour and a half before drifting off to Dreamland—Mistake #2.

Snakes on a Plane is a fun film punctuated by some truly gross moments at times. The very idea is genius but the execution certainly isn't. It's a fun film in the vein of Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer fare.

Norbit is pretty stupid. There are some funny moments, mostly from Eddie Murphy's portrayal of the eponymous character but the over-the-top fat jokes really fell flat for me (please pardon the pun). This is the sort of thing you see once and that's enough.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Walter Koenig is Awesome

Mr. Koenig is attempting to bring the world's attention to the plight of Burmese refugees fleeing the incredibly oppressive state of Myanmar (formerly Burma). He even cites the ideals of the original Star Trek:
In the original series, we were an international, interethnic, interracial community. People have responded to that for 40 years and I think there's a sense of benevolence and humanity in the fans. Their nerdiness not withstanding makes them good company to get the word out.
Given what Mr. Koenig is trying to accomplish, I can let that last sentence slide a little.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Commuting Tales... of Terror!

In the Ballston Metro station yesterday, there was a guy walking around with toilet paper stuck to his shoe. I'm not entirely sure how toilet paper adheres to a shoe in the first place, but this guy managed to do it and just walked about nonchalantly. He was too far away for me to say something and "toilet paper" is the last thing I want to yell out in a subway station.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thunderpants

I was at the local Ninth Circle of Hell (aka the local Wal-Mart) looking for the new Legendary Comic Heroes figures when I saw this:
With that image in the foreground, how could I not buy it?

The film is about a kid with a really bad flatulence problem who desperately wants to be an astronaut. During the course of the film, we're treated to fart joke after fart joke after fart joke. And I laughed at all of them. Yes, it's puerile. Yes, it's beyond juvenile. It's a fun movie with an underdog story we can all get behind—or maybe not.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Click - A Mini-Review

With Em gone for the next ten days, I'll be occupying myself with movies to keep me off the streets at night. I began this cinematic foray last night with Click, starring Adam Sandler as a workaholic presented with a magical remote control that can alter the world around him.

The setup already guarantees some pretty funny, if a bit juvenile, gags. Herr Hasselhoff does a terrific job as Sandler's sleazy boss and Christopher Walken is always fun to watch. Unfortunately, the film turns into a sappy mess toward the end and even Patrick Duffy would be appalled at how things finish up.

If you have nothing better to do, then I guess you could do worse than watch this—like kick a puppy or something.

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