September 29, 2014

Random Thoughts-Family Guy/Simpsons Crossover





Your first questions may be, why did I even watch this? People who follow my stuff regularly probably know I am very passive Simpson fan. Even worst, I hate Family Guy. So, why then would I watch a crossover between a franchise I hardly like and a franchise I despise? Because I’m a sucker for crossovers. Whether they be TV, movies, or comic books–I love them! So when I heard about this event I had to watch it.

Then I saw the five minute preview that was released a few weeks ago and…I found many people were all ready disappointed. Now I am no major fan or either as I made clear so it could be that while it seemed cool from a casual viewer like me maybe it was lacking something a real fan would catch. So I watched the whole episode Sunday night called “The Simpsons Guy” . The premise being the Grifin’s have to leave town. Their car is stolen and they end up in Springfield.  And?


First of all I have to say one thing. That shot when we establish the Griffin’s are in Springfield was BEAUTIFUL! Nothing anyone else says will take that away, I loved that reveal. It was one of the best reveals EVER! Taking in the town with the Simpsons theme music, perfect! All capped off by the obligatory joke about which Springfield they are in (“I’m sure we’re not authorized to say”).

September 26, 2014

Five Lame Time Travel Plots (From Various Media)

I love time travel! It’s no coincidence that two of my favorite movies are Star Trek IV and Back to the Future. The idea of being able to travel back to see the past, even change mistakes made, is a fantastic one. Not to say anything about the chance to go ahead and see what our future will be like.

While I love time travel stories, I have to admit that some creators will come up with very….odd plots with time travel.



Now I don’t expect everyone who puts time travel in a story to have an advanced degree in quantum mechanics, and I concede even the best time travel stories require some suspension of disbelief, but some creators seem to lack basic common sense when it comes to how time travel might work. Making things up, or using time travel as a plot device, even if it makes no sense whatsoever.


Here are five examples of what I mean:



Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

I know I know, this a kids show and it’s probably not fair to make fun of it. But thanks to my nephew (and being out of work last year) I got see lots of episodes. I love nitpicking the silly plots, but the one that really annoyed was the one where Prof Von Drake builds a time machine. How does it work? Goofy goes through it and is somehow transformed into a baby. No he isn’t swapped with a younger version of himself, he is changed into a baby! Yeah, that’s not what time machines do!!!!! I mean obviously the kids watching wont care but the writers had to have some knowledge of time machines, why not called it a “transmorpher” or some other name that would make a little more sense? Or is the thinking that kids wont know the difference so why even try?


September 22, 2014

SPECIAL Face-Off:Superman Returns vs Man of Steel

Many people say that you can’t compare the new Superman movies to the Christopher Reeve movies. That the Reeve films, while great, belong to a different time. Ok, fair enough. So let’s just compare the last two movies.



While I have discussed Man of Steel I haven’t really said anything about Superman Returns. I was so disappointed with it I never even acknowledged it in past articles except to trash it. But…maybe I am being to hard on it. I mean it had it’s moments and it’s even possible that Superman Returns is a better Superman movie than Man of Steel. Man of Steel, on the other hand, I expected to hate and while flawed I ended up liking things in it more than I expected to. Though there were things about I did not like!



Which is really the better Superman movie? Let’s see if we can figure that out as today I present my first movie related face-off (obviously following the sitcom face-off format), as we have :

VS 
Superman Returns came out in 2006 and did not do so well. It was so badly received that the next movie was a total reboot, Man of Steel of course came out last year. Some loved it, others did not. But which was better? And yes I know I am not the first to do this kind of comparison.  I’m doing it anyway and of course all opinion feel free to disagree.



September 20, 2014

Underrated Trek:Encounter at Farpoint (TNG)

Welcome to a special edition of Underrated Trek, where I take a special look at Star Trek episodes that I love…which may not be the most popular or even liked by most. In keeping with my unintentional theme this week of pilots for TV shows, I decided it was time to look a look at the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.







This episode premiered September 28, 1987 and kicked off a while new era of Star Trek! Most people have mixed feelings about this one, but is it good….or kind of lame?





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September 16, 2014

A Look at Sitcom Pilot Episodes

As I mentioned before in my article on The Big Bang Theory, I have been wanting to discuss pilot’s for awhile. What was going to be a whole series has instead turned into one article (well, maybe two).
Pilot’s are of course the first episode of a TV series. Several pilots are made every year, and only a few become series. Even less than that will become hit series which last for years. Today I wanted to run down some pilot episodes and point out what differed from the series that came after it in some very interesting ways. Because pilots are just that, the first episode before the writers can really flesh out stuff the characterizations, back-story, or heck even setting! So pilots can very often look very different from the series that would evolve from it.



One quick note, no backdoor pilots and I am only discussing successful TV series. Pilots to awful series or series that were never even picked up is another whole article my friends. And I can only vouch for those pilots I am aware, so I will be leaving plenty of good examples off I am sure.



The Cosby Show



I decided to start with this one because this is the first pilot I remember seeing, although it was luck. I fell in love with this show instantly. The pilot is pretty close to what The Cosby Show would be, with one major change. The set is totally different! The Huxtables apparently live in an run down apartment here. Why did this change? The original concept of the series was for Cliff and Clair to be blue collar workers. When that got changed to wealthy professionals, they probably figured out that they needed a nicer place to live. In fact I always believed the kitchen scene in the start was filmed after this change was made. If you watch that episode, pay close attention when Cliff first walks into the kitchen. Behind him you can see the traditional Huxtable set that we would grow to know and love. Even though it doesn’t appear in the rest of the episode!
Oh and by the way, they only had four children in the pilot rather han the five they would have later on.

September 14, 2014

Analytical Episode Review:The Big Bang Theory, "Pilot"

So I decided it was time to review another episode of something, but what? Then it occurred to me that I did a whole month of series finale’s in May, why not do series premiere’s in September? I had an idea all year for a whole series on “pilot” episodes which never really made it off the ground. But that doesn’t mean I can’t discuss one now. So today let’s talk about the very first episode to a series which some love, and others hate! A series I have already talked a lot about.

bigbangtheory_logo



“The Pilot”
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As the series starts its eighth season in a week, let’s talk about the pilot episode and see if the show has evolved for better or for worst.


September 10, 2014

Underrated Trek:The Child (TNG)

Welcome back to Underrated Trek, where I take a special look at Star Trek episodes that I love…which may not be the most popular or even liked by most. If we’re going to discuss not great but not horribly bad episodes from Next Generation, season two is the best place to stop. Today we look at one which was originally written for the Star Trek:Phase 2 series before that became Star Trek:The Motion Picture. This is:



StarTrekTheNextGenerationTheChild 


This season 2 premiere is not well regarded. Mostly because the story is a little…stupid. But is there any redeeming value to be had? Let’s take a closer look.



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September 6, 2014

My Favoite "Hell Yeah" Pick Me Up Songs

This article has been a long time coming. The last few weeks have seen a lot of bad news, so I decided it was time to discuss something to get us all into a good mood. And nothing does that faster than the right song.

I have already discussed this in relation to TV themes, but what about normal songs? Music amazes me because of how it ties right into our moods and our lives. The right song can make you remember good times gone  by. Or it can make you depressed and cry your eyes out. Of course not every song will resonate with every person, but music is a very personal thing for all of us.

Today I want to discuss a few songs which always pick me up and put me in a good mood. These aren’t just songs I like, they’re songs that make me smile and feel good whenever I hear them. These are arranged by artist but are in no particular order, and this is just me so feel free to disagree or toss out your own favorites.


Circle of Life/I’m Still Standing by Elton John

The version we get in the cartoon is really good, don’t get me wrong, but I adore the Elton John version. I really don’t know what it is, but I think it’s a combination of a very strong melody and lyrics which are very powerful. I love the way the music builds and builds to that chorus, which we only hear twice! Fantastic song which always puts me in a good mood. A close second would be “I’m Still Standing” which I have loved since a very young age. The whole song is about not giving up and if that isn’t a pick me up song nothing is
Circle of Life HERE
I’m Still Standing  HERE

September 4, 2014

Random Thoughts-Joan Rivers

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Another week, another unexpected celebrity death which leaves us feeling sad. As you no doubt know by now Joan River passed away today. I was one of those people who really liked Rivers, though much like with Robin Williams it wasn’t her stand-up I enjoyed. In fact she was a little to vulgar in her stand up act. No, I enjoyed her in other things which I will quickly list. I first came to be aware of her when she was center in square in the 80′s version of Hollywood Squares. This is probably not the version most think of but I loved that show and Joan Rivers was a huge part of why. Of course my second favorite Joan Rivers role was as the droid Dox Matrix in Spaceballs. She was really funny with almost every line she said. Of course I was way to young to watch her appearances on The Tonight Show or her ill fated late night show of her own. The story of how Carson and she never spoke after she had landed that show is pretty famous. She also appeared on Regis & Kathie Lee quite often not to mention every other talk show ever made, and in fact she had her very own daytime talk show for awhile. And it did very well! I watched it a lot and even have an episode on tape which I may just dig out when I finish this.

September 3, 2014

Top 5 Craziest C3PO & R2D2 Appearances

Who doesn’t love C3PO and R2D2? They were the comic relief in the Star Wars movies but were so much fun to watch. Especially R2. I still remember the C3PO action figure I had that came apart (ala Empire Strikes Back). To this day I can hear the clanking noise the parts made when they fell off onto the table. R2D2 was always my favorite to, I loved the way he charged in and saved the day! I know had an R2 toy or clock or something growing up.
ilr2d2c3po


I bet you’re thinking this is going to talk about all the great moments of these two from the Star Wars movies.


NOPE!


C3PO and R2D2 were so popular that they were all over the place in TV of the 70′s and 80′s. Don’t believe me? Check this out!



#5.Commercials
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I guess it makes sense, if you’re going advertise the movie do it with most likable stars. C3PO and R2D2 have hawked a kinds of stuff. They were in a commercial for the Star Wars toy line. They appeared in an add for a Burger King knock-off in the 70′s. Yes, really. They have done some car commercials overseas. They were in ads for an appliance store named Curry’s. R2D2 introduced the TRS-81 personal computer. They both appeared in an Underoos ad (with Boba Fett!). But the craziest and my favorite? How about C3PO hawking his own cereal? I am almost sure I tried C3PO’s and liked them. The commercial is a classic of the 80′s. Hey that’s not so bad, Darth Vader has done ads for Energizer, Priceline, and Target. Yes I’m serious.

The cereal ad is HERE
The burger ad is HERE


September 1, 2014

Top 5 Memorable Movie Character Deaths (THAT RUINED THE MOVIE!)

A few months ago I discussed when a movie character is killed off in a way that it works and leaves a strong impression. But, there is another side to that coin. When a death is so unnecessary, stupid, or contrived that it actually spoils the whole movie.


Killing off a movie character has to have a reason. It needs to have some sort of effect. Or it needs to come at the end and leave an impact because the death makes sense and involves a character we have spent time with. For instance, in Star Wars Obi Wan Kanobi’s death has all sorts of importance (in my opinion). It is necessary to advance Luke’s story and changes the tone of the whole movie. In The Dark Knight Rachel’s death not only changes the whole course of the movie for both Bruce and Harvey, it continues to resonate into The Dark Knight Rises. And the death in Spider-Man 2 was done well because it made sense in the movie, it didn’t feel like it was done as a shock moment.
But for all death scenes done well we get the stupid one’s. When Kirk was killed in Generations even though there were a million ways they could have avoided it. Or  Man of Steel when it killed off Jonathan Kent in an absurd way with that tornado (not to mention killing off Zod just to shock the audience, with no follow up!). Or Aliens 3 killing off most of the popular supporting cast in the first ten minutes!





Like last time the death’s have to be permanent and there will be spoilers if you’ve never seen these movies. And I stress that as always this is my opinion so feel free to disagree.

Now, here are five examples awful movie character deaths that ruined the movie for me. These are in order from crappy movies to movies which were decent or even great.




#5.X-Men 3:The Last Stand

Do I really have to explain why this here? Nice of them to kill Cyclops off in the first ten minutes. Off-screen! Nobody liked him anyway. And the death of Professor X could have been a very powerful thing…if it wasn’t so over the top goofy. Cyclops was real bad because it wasn’t dealt with at all. Yeah I know the actor wasn’t available, why not just have him simply not be in the movie? Aren’t characters written out constantly in movies when the actor is unavailable? At least that way you can bring him back if there is a sequel. This movie had many, many problems. I don’t think I have heard anyone ever say anything good about it.