11/28/09

Happy Hothmas!


Oh no! I'm doing a Star Wars post directly on the heels of a really, really nerdy Star Trek post! The world is going to explode! Ok, so, here's the deal. The good people over at Teefury made an awesome Christmas/Star Wars shirt. And I made an iPhone background out of it. As you can see from the picture on the right, it is a Rudolphized AT-AT getting wrapped up in Christmas Lights amidst a snow of Empire emblems. More awesomeness can rarely be found on a human torso. The problem is, if you're familiar with Teefury, you know that they only have specials on their awesome shirts for ONE DAY!  OH NO! Well, I made it so you can enjoy Hothmas all year long! If you're cool like me and have an iPhone.

The Differences Between Star Trek: TOS and Star Trek (2009) and What It Says About Society


Like many secular humanists (like Walt Disney) Gene Roddenberry had a very clear utopianistic view of the future. He held to a widely believed philosophy that humanity was only getting better and better which made a whole lot of sense given the amazing advances that had taken place between 1900 and 1966. He presented a universe in which multiple planets come together in a Federation that spreads peace, love and justice throughout the galaxy. Then along came J.J. Abrams, an iconic filmmaker of this generation, and within the first half hour of his Star Trek we see Spock get in a fight with Vulcan bullies, Kirk getting punched out by a group of meatheads (who, in Roddenberry's future, wouldn't exist), and a Romulan ship from the future (the future which is supposed to be "better," right?) completely demolishing a comparatively defenseless Federation ship. This is not the utopianistic ideal that Gene had in mind, is it? So what happened between 1966 and 2009 that put a gravity field under Roddenberry's pie in the sky, splatting it on the floor?

11/27/09

The Astricast: Experiment 1


Today I experiment with podcasting. It's difficult to get a professional-sounding podcast together when you're not getting paid for any of this. Especially since I'd like to get more voices than just me and everyone is so frakkin busy. Nonetheless, in preparation for the day when this is possible, I'm going to mess around with a few experimental podcasts.

In Experiment 1 I talk about my visit to the theater and reflections on the similarities between Ninja Assassin and New Moon.  I know, right? You'll see. I also read an excerpt from Dark Matter, a short story that will be available in Project Universe as soon as I finish up the rest of the short stories in that anthology.

To subscribe to the podcast, enter "http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGreenAsterisk" into your podcasting program. (For iTunes, click the Advanced menu and select "Subscribe to Podcast...") But if you're not into that, you can listen to Experiment 1 here.

11/21/09

Stargate Universe: Life


This episode of SGU was pretty much what I expected it to be. The title alone conveys an episode full of exposing how the characters are coping with their situation. How they're living "Life." But meanwhile, while exploring the ship, Rush finds a chair that works like the Ancient library that almost killed O'Neill. Rush wants someone to use it to find out how to run the ship, Young doesn't want to risk anyone's life with it. This presents and interesting little dilemma which could very well end in someone having a bit more important of a role. Someone could download the repository of information and be able to tell everyone exactly how to use the ship. And then possibly die. One of Greer's lines is that if it saves the lives of everyone then he'll sit in the chair. But his name isn't "Someone."

Dear FlashForward: It's Not You, It's Me


I have to admit I entered into this relationship reluctantly. I thought you were just another LOST clone trying to capture lightening in the same bottle. Turns out you were a completely original story about throwing normal people into an extraordinary situation and watching them live their lives and learn to love each other while at the same time trying to figure out the mystery. The problem is that my brain just can't handle you being so different and so innovative. I gave you a fair shot, but we're just not working out.

11/18/09

The Implications of a Zombie Apocalypse in a Christian Universe

Not so long ago, the new video game, Left 4 Dead 2 was released at a game store near you. In the trailer for this game, the narrator says "Last time I saw my gramma, she asked me was I still a prayin' man. I told her 'Yes, ma'am.' 'Well,' she says, 'pray harder. 'Cause it ain't workin'.'" In the face of Zombie Apocalypse, it may seem all hope is lost, God has abandoned you and there's nothing for you but to fight or die. But is there room in the Christian worldview for such a possibility? If the whole world's population were purged by a zombie virus, is it possible God could allow it? Or even cause it? Let's take a look...

Heroes: Brother's Keeper


If someone came to me and asked me to rewrite this season of Heroes, I would keep "Brother's Keeper" just as it is and take episodes one through eight and turn them into a double-feature season opener, making "Brother's Keeper" the second episode of the season and squash what has otherwise been a boring, meandering season with a few points of light into an interesting two-parter setup for this awesome episode. But I won't confuse you with that. At least not intentionally.

11/15/09

V: There Is No Normal Anymore


Episode 2 is pretty much a logical following of the first episode. Erica follows up the break-in at the warehouse with a deeper investigation while trying to juggle her knowledge of what's happening with her paranoia about who to trust. Father Landry shows just how naive he is by continuing to try and do the right thing without regard for the fact that anyone could be a Visitor. Chad, the anchorman, establishes some sort of dominance over the information he divulges about the Vs.  "There Is No Normal Anymore" slowly builds the plots and sub-plots established in the pilot. Nothing really new is learned (until the very end), but characters are better defined and motivations are a bit clearer.

11/14/09

Stargate Universe: Time


This is the SGU episode that die-hard fans of the original series have been waiting for. "Time" has all the elements of action and adventure and pure sci-fi goodness that Stargate fans have become accustomed to and still retains the deepness and relatablity of new elements introduced to the franchise by the Icarus project. At the same time, it deepens the mystery of the intelligence of the ship and gives every viewer a better understanding of certain characters, even if it turns out the events that help us understand them... never really happened.

11/13/09

2012


Thousands of years ago, the Mayans took to the task of creating a calendar they would never have to flip. Going off what they knew of the stars, they carved out the demarcation of days, months, years and decades from the time they started all the way until December 21, 2012 when the calendar creator said, "Screw it, I'm done. It's not like any of us will be around this long anyway." I would much rather have seen a story about this slacker of a Mayan calendar creator than sat through nearly three hours of almost falling into various volcanic pits.

Pirate Radio


It's easy to see how this movie would slip by a mainstream audience unnoticed. The story is clunky and disorganized. It's almost like they took what was intended to be a TV series and chopped it down into several five-minute episodes. They devote a little time to a little story here and a little story there. But the spirit of Rock is captured in this movie. You don't have to understand it, you have to feel it, you have to move with it and groove to it. It's not something you dissect, it's something you let wash over you like the waters of the North Sea. Don't try to find a main character. There is none. Don't try to find a cohesive storyline. If there is one, the movie doesn't focus on it. Don't expect a climactic showdown between Radio Rock and the British government. It just doesn't happen. Approach this movie the same way you approach your favorite Led Zepplin or Beatles or The Who album: put it on, and rock out. Don't try to make sense of it. It doesn't make sense. It just rocks.

Debating Playing Cards With the Murder of Human Action


Community is still funny in "Debate 109," I'm getting bored with FlashForward in "Playing Cards With Coyote," The Office was hilariously depressing in "Murder," and in "Of Human Action," Fringe... WTF?

Welcome to another EXPLOSIVE edition of The Day After.

11/12/09

@Vork Got a Major TV Job!


For those of you who are not in the know, Vork is the Guild Master of the Knights of Good, the guild created by web godess and co-star of Dr. HorribleFelicia Day in her web series, The Guild. I could probably write a lengthy article on how hard it is for iconic figures on the Internet to get jobs in "real" media like TV. Felicia Day has many stories about auditions that never quite panned out. Including a story in which all the crew knew who she was except for the casting director and the producer. That's why I almost squeed with joy when I saw Vork on this week's episode of Glee! I'm quite happy for Vork and I hope we get to see his goofy face on national TV more often. Also, Felicia's face. Because hers is prettier.

11/11/09

Heroes: Shadowboxing


One of the marks of a good episode is when you kill someone off and the viewer still isn't sure what person actually died...

I think I've figured out this season now. This idea has been mulling around in my head since the second or third episode, but it's really become clearer now. It has had a different feel from any other season. Every other season drives forward with a sense of purpose. A heroic (or villainous) sense of purpose. This season, or Volume as they like to name them, is named "Redemption." In order to devote an entire season to this theme, you need to establish that your characters are lost, broken and defeated before you can bring them back and redeem them. And in Heroes, "Shadowboxing," this begins to happen.

11/9/09

The Men Who Stare at Goats


This off-beat comedy is a fish-out-of-water story where the fish is not so much a person in an awkward situation as it is an ideal in a completely alien culture. Loosely based on the First Earth Battalion program run out of the US military in the 80's, it takes the man we all know as Obi-Wan Kenobi, strips him of his Jedi Knight status and reduces him to Padawan under the apprenticeship of newly appointed Jedi Knight, George Clooney. As fun as this story is standing alone, it's even more enjoyable as a commentary on the effect that Star Wars has had on America in general and the military specifically. So that's how I'm going to approach it.

11/8/09

The Implications of Aliens In a Christian Universe

In the first episode of V we see Father Jack Landry, a Catholic priest, struggling to come to terms with the existance of aliens in a world that God created. He is then surprised that the Vatican easily came to a stance that arbitrates "we are all God's creatures." His concerns echo a belief that many of my Christian brothers and sisters have that aliens run counter to God's will and Word. Why??

11/7/09

FlashForward: The Gift


I've been hard on FlashFoward, but I have to hand it to them in this episode, "The Gift." I honestly have no idea now what in the world is going on.

Stargate Universe: Earth


There's a lot going on in this episode. For one thing, we may have a way to dial Earth. For another thing, Eli gets to tell his mom what's going on. ALSO Chloe's got some drama to work through at home. ALSO Telford takes command away from Young. ALSO we see Young's history with TJ. ALSO the communication stones fail awkwardly. ALSO... uh, I think that's it. So, basically, Stargate Universe's newest episode is all about the events happening on and testing out a way back to Earth! Is it too much? Maybe... but it's relatively easy to follow. It's enjoyable.

Fringe: Earthling


I like Olivia. I like Peter. I love Walter... This episode of Fringe is about Broils. The intimidating figure with a unearthly voice that was recognized in the first season as an antagonist is established in this episode as a real human being. A stand-up gentleman. Someone we can trust. Someone with a past. Someone we can know. An Earthling. When they find a man turned to dust, it brings to light an investigation that Broils had worked on 4 years before. Getting to know this guy is like trying to get a Buckingham Palace guard to smile.

V!


I've been excited about this show since I heard about it, but I was still wary. I had heard there was an old 80's miniseries on which it was based. I never saw the miniseries. I decided I wanted to wait and see this new version as an island unto itself. I was not disappointed. In a season full of series trying to take the place of LOST, V is the strongest contender, in my opinion. As much as I love SGU, its connection to the Stargate franchise will just never win as many viewers as it is suited for. V stands to attract even some of the most skeptical with a sexy cast, some pumping action, intriguing mystery, international subterfuge and relatable characters. And what's really awesome is that the show establishes all of these elements in the very first episode.

11/3/09

A Castle of Heroes: Monday's lineup


I may be a little biased about yesterday's episode of Heroes. I'm a sucker for anything that has to do with time travel. For example, xkcd's latest comic was actually a graph that charts interactions between characters in various movies through time and the movie Primer was the punchline. This lead me to watch Primer on NetFlix just because of how complex of a time travel movie it was. I'm not even sure exactly what happened in that movie, but I still love it. Likewise, I'm still trying to figure out all the implications "Once Upon a Time in Texas" had on the Heroes timeline, and because I'm still thinking about it, and because it deals in time travel, I'm hooked.

Oh, also, there's Castle, "Famous Last Words."

I, Astro Boy


Every once in a long while I will walk out of a theater with a sense of awe. The gears in my head are spinning at profound rates while the rocket boosters in my legs propel me home. Astro Boy takes the deep, profound existential questions of what it means to be human vs. a robot and completely ignores them in favor of a ridiculous brand of emotion-driven physics and random Asimovian references that allow you to completely ignore the movie in favor of the questions it fails to ask.

11/2/09

AOL Session Features a Poppier Weezer and Some Interesting Guests


AOL Sessions recently posted 5 new video recordings from Weezer featuring a few songs from their upcoming album Raditude, along with a piano cover of Green Day's "Brainstew," and a beautiful version of "Butterfly" played on the harp. Perhaps the most interesting part of the performances are the musicians that they invited to join in the performances of their new songs: Kenny G (yes, the clarinet guy,) Chamillionaire, and Sara Bareilles.