October 28, 2013

Underrated Trek-Catspaw (TOS)

Next year I plan on doing a series on Star Trek episodes I love that may not be the most popular episodes. But I decided I wanted to talk about Catspaw now for reasons which will soon be obvious. So, enjoy this sneak peek. I give you :

Catspaw was the first episode of Season 2 (though not the first to air, Amok Time holds that honor). It was written by horror writer Robert Bloch, and may be the one time Star Trek did a theme episode. What was the theme? Halloween!!  Yep, this is a Halloween episode. Don't believe me? Not only does Captain Kirk point out that Spock would be a natural at trick or treating, but McCoy flat out used]s the word Halloween at one point when describing the castle they are exploring. The episode has black cats, castles, witches, skeletons...and is kind of lame to be honest. It isn't the worst but it has its flaws. Let's take a closer look.

October 26, 2013

Top 5 Hated Sitcom Characters....I Love!

Last week I talked about those sitcom characters we are supposed to like, but I do not. And it got me thinking, what about the flipside? Are there any characters that I love that most people seem to hate? I talked about The Big Bang Theory the other day and that could easily be on here since as I noted as many people hate that show as love it. Leonard and Sheldon especially fit the bill as characters I love that many others seem to hate.

But here now are five more characters that get a lot of hate, but I love them. Before I begin let me explain, when I say that people hate them I am speaking in very general terms. I am certainly not suggesting there aren't some people out there who like these characters.

#5.Jan Brady (The Brady Bunch)

Do I need to get into this again? Jan is one of the most interesting characters on that show, she has real problems that teenagers deal with even today, but because it's The Brady Bunch her neuroses and problems get spun into a parody. And the parody is all people seem to remember when they think of her! Eve Plumb can be a bit irritated with fans and I don't blame her, if I had fans coming up to me and telling me to recite a stupid line Jan only said once but was made famous on SNL I would be annoyed to. I already did a whole speel on this, so I will just leave it at that and move on to the next one.

October 21, 2013

Top 5 Dumbest Moments from "The Big Bang Theory"

I wanted to do an article on this show but since it is still on the air it didn't seem right to do a face off or anything.

I have already talked about about how much I love this series. But that doesn't mean it's without flaws. In fact this show amazes me with how polarizing it is. For everyone who loves it, there are people who despise it. Some find it flat out offensive, hate Sheldon Cooper with a passion, and condemn the low brow humor. So to be fair to the people who do hate this show today I am going to look at the other side of the coin, and discuss five moments on this show that even I do not like.

By the way, as to the three complaints I listed the third one is not that valid. If this show were bad with the lowbrow stuff I would not watch it. It's not Two and a Half Men. The first point I already dissected in depth elsewhere. As for the second, well, I guess I can see how someone would hate Sheldon but I love him. I give credit to Jim Parsons for making thing funny and keeping him from being truly obnoxious. But that's my opinion.

Before I complain about the moments I hate let me explain why I like this show. It's funny. Do you need more? Ok,ok..the truth is I like the characters. Sheldon is funny to me in his attempt to keep his world under control. While some find him annoying he just cracks me up. He has evolved over the years though not as much as Amy. When we first met Amy she was exactly like Sheldon. But where Sheldon has resisted changing she has turned more normal, admitting she has needs and desires which Sheldon still cannot meet. I didn't like Amy and Berndaette at first but it was time for Penny to have her own friends, it makes her a more well rounded character. As for Howard and Raj, it took me awhile to like them and Raj is the one character I can do without. I love the evolution of Howard, going from a jerk with sex on his mind to a married man who only has eyes for Bernadette. Finally, Leonard and Penny go back and forth and while it's kind of cliche it's still fun to watch the two. Leonard has become more confident while Penny has become more rounded as a character. All the characters work well, and I am glad the show is not afraid to change things up here and there.

Now, all that said let's discuss my top five dumbest moments!

#5.Leonard contrively advances the plot ("The Work Song Nanocluster")

I realize the description is a little meta, but that is what makes this fail so much. The episode from season 2 has Penny wanting to start up a business selling hair barrettes. Sheldon helps her make them and the guys chip in with a business strategy. But we need wacky conflict, so when Leonard sets up the website where people can order these things, he puts a one day rush on it. Why??? Is he not aware that there are only five people making these? Then of course a gay and lesbian group order 1,000 of them one day rush so the group has to stay up all night to make these things. Then to make things even dumber they give Sheldon coffee which makes him race around like a loon. Yeah, they didn't see that coming? It's a contrived plot which is so contrived that the episode loses all realism.


October 20, 2013

Top 5 Lovable Sitcom Characters....I Do Not Love!

I once did an article on characters who would be hated if they were real people. I noted that overall those characters are likable they just have quirks that, if they were real, would make them annoying. On their shows it works and they are loved characters. I also once discussed characters who are supposed to be jerks, but we love to hate them. Today I want to talk about five characters who probably would not be hated if they were real, and more than that are liked by many. And even I like them at times, but for one reason or another there are those other moments when I just hate them.

#5.Jack MacFarlane (Will & Grace)

I have heard Julia Louis Dreyfuss comment that she had no idea why Elaine on Seinfeld continued to hang out with Jerry, George, and Kramer and she should have moved on. I feel the same way about Will being best friends with Jack. I get it in the beginning when they first met, but by the time the series has rolled around why Will puts up with Jack is beyond me. This guy is a a**hole! I'm sorry, but he really is. Believe it or not, Karen shows more heart and compassion than this guy does! That may be a testament to the actors more than the writing, but either way Jack is a jerk. The guy is so self involved that when he is face to face with his idol Cher, he fails to notice! Unlike the rest of these I don't have one big example, with Jack its all little things. Take the pilot episode, when Will explains that he doesn't talk to his brother and Jack's first response is regarding himself. The guy can be a good friend, but it just seems more often like he is around to sponge off Will & Grace more than anything. In one episode he notes that Karen pays half his rent, when Will comments he pays half his rent. Will then responds "yeah, so does my mother". Nice guy.

October 16, 2013

Five Halloween Guilty Pleasures

When Halloween comes around we love to pull out the classic movies and specials. For me they include Charlie Brown, Garfield, Winnie The Pooh, Saturday Night Live, and classic sitcom episodes. Some watch horror movies which is cool. When I was younger I read Halloween themed comic books. We even have music like The Monster Mash and the one I talked about the other day, Thriller. I commented that I have to watch it every Halloween. It's a true Halloweeen guilty pleasure. But I have to admit, it's not the only one.

Here now are five more movies or porgrams that I am kind of embarassed to admit I like. I mean a few of them are not even intended for me. Yet, I can't imaging Halloween without them. These are in order from the not so embarassing to the much more so.

The Simpsons TreeHouse of Horror/Halloween Specials

I am not a fan of The Simpsons. I don't have a problem with it, I just never really watch it. I never watch any first run episodes. I pretty much never catch a re-run (is it even playing anymore?). I never saw the movie, and just don't care about the show. That is, until Halloween rolls around. I admit it, I really like their Halloween specials which were called The Treehouse of Horror in the early days. Now I am not saying thet are all perfect, but these specials can be downright creepy and fun to watch. The Simpson creators pull out all the stops for these, and it shows. The best part is that these shows are not tied to any continuity, so they can pretty much do what they want. My favorites? I love the 3-D one where Homer arrives in our reality. A very early episode had an adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven which was always a favorite. The time travel one was clever (which? all of them). On the other hand the Y2K episode creeped me out, and the episode about the gypsy curse was stupid. Of course listing five is barely a drop in the bucket. There are so many I have seen, and many I have not, that there is no way to remember them all. Some are better than others, but no matter what The Simpsons are one of my Halloween favorites.

October 13, 2013

A Look at Michael Jackson's Thriller!!

Welcome back my friends to Manic Expression's 31 Days of Halloween. I was trying to decide what to talk about. It had to be something nostalgic, preferably from the 80's. Then a little song came on my Ipod, it was a massive hit 30 years ago and I realized it was the perfect thing. My friends, I give you one of the most epic music videos of all time. I am of course talking about :

Try to imagine it's 1983. You are a kid about nine years old, and have just begun to be aware of a singer named Michael, something. You hear people talking about him and how amazing his music is, but have never really heard his music. Then something comes along called Thriller. You buy the album, and listen to the song, and watch the video...and it's freaking amazing! You are hooked from then on, you ware such a fan you want that red jacket and even try to learn how to moonwalk. Ok, to be fair I am embellishing a bit since I really don't remember all that well but for the most part that was me when Thriller came out...30 years ago!

Yes, Thriller is 30 years old this year. Well, technically the anniversary of the release date for the single and video will be 30 years on November 12. The album came out in 1982. And no, I don't know how that works. But man does that make me feel old! I mean, where the heck did the time go? I will always remember one day I said I would not turn MTV off until a Michael Jackson song came on. And then Thriller came on. That worked. Oh, and yes kids MTV did show music videos once upon a time. Thriller was different, awesome...and scared the crap out of me when I first saw it. But I was only nine and wasn't ready for that werewolf scene. But that aside, the video was freaking awesome right down to that cool red jacket he wore!

October 12, 2013

Random Thoughts-Gravity

Hey folks, I just came back from seeing Gravity in the theatre and wanted to share my thoughs off the cuff real quick and no spoilers. So what did I think? It was really good. The effects were amazing, it really felt like you were out there.

I know, this has been said to death. Pretty much I agree with the consensus. It's not the worst way to kill an hour and a half. In fact, I like that the running time is so short. There are so many times I wish a movie would just tell its story and not feel the need to pad the thing out. For the most part, everything happens the way you would imagine it might happen in real life (ok, maybe a bit faster here and there).

The effects were superb. There was only one small moment when I could tell it was CGI, and considering how much CGI makes up this thing that is high praise! What about the actors? Sandra Bullock was great. She can be hit or miss and I have to say she is 100% hit here. She has to hold the whole movie and does wonderful job giving us a good character and keeping the film from being a borefest. George Cloony is also very good in the movie. While its true this is not a story driven movie they did an adequate job of giving characters that feel real and letting us know just enough to care about them.

Is this the greatest movie ever? It would be more fair to see it is one of the best LOOKING movies ever. At times it almost felt like a 3-D attraction at Disney World, but I swear that is meant more as a compliment. I also like that the movie gives this intense action moments while also giving us time to breathe and just soak everything in.

I do have a few gripes. Don't I always? The third astrronaut may as well have been left out entirely. And the trailers did spoil some moments. I once did an article on movies that were ruined by trailers showing to much, and while I am not saying it is in that category I do think it would have been more exciting to go in fresh. Also, avoid spoilers if you can since this is one time they can spoil things a bit.  How was the 3-D? As good as usual I guess. As for the ending, I think that it could be open to interpretation to be honest. The story ended where it should have, nice.

So bottom line, I am glad I got to see it in theatres but this is one of  those movies I will probably never have the desire to see again on DVD or anything. I say check it out, if you you're looking for a fun ride that is not that deep in story or character developmentt than this will not disappoint.

October 7, 2013

Look at Sitcom Cliches:The Plan (aka The Lesson)

At first I thought this would be a tough one because these don't stand out a dramatically as others I have covered. But when I started thinking about it examples just started coming to me.

Another of my favorite plot devices! The plan can take a few forms. The most popular is that a character on the show, a regular or a guest star, is out of line but not aware of it. So the other characters hatch a plan to get the characer to realize the errors of his ways. Sometimes the plan can be simple but usually the plan is elaborate and, to be fair, far fetched. It can also be used as a practical joke just meant for laughs and not to deliver a message.  It's fun because it gives the characters a chance to break out a bit, beyond their normal roles. This shouldn't be confused with The Misunderstanding. That is another topic my friends.

Here are some examples:

The Brady Bunch

Sometimes this is used to convince a regular that something they believe is incorrect. In this case, Alice has decided that with Carol around, she no longer has a place and will leave. The Brady's rally to convince her that she is very  much needed with an elaborate plan. Suddenly the house goes into chaos as Mike and Carol try to get ready for a last minute engagement, the Marcia realizes she forgot a club meeting, Peter comes in to report that Tiger is missing, Greg needs a ride home, Cindy and Bobby are fighting, all while trying to get dinner made, and for no reason Bobby and Peter come in and splatter mud all over Mike's tuxedo. It's the last one which makes Alice realize she is being tricked, and acknowledge she may still be needed after all. Season 1 of this show mostly sucked, but this episode is one of the few stand outs.


Not as bad at the last article, but still this show really liked this one. Here are some examples. One episode has Ms.Kraus get scammed by a record label. In order to get her money back, Benson concocts and elaborate plan by pretending to a Calypso singer. In another episode, Denise goes on a date with the son of a friend of the governors. The date ends badly, Denise is almost raped which is a bit dark, so once again a plan is put into motion to scare the guy into confessing he is a jerk. Benson pretends to be a detective looking for Denise who has been missing. The plan is almost botched but all works in the end. Another episode involves Benson getting revenge on the condo owner who scammed him by moving into the show condo and threatening to blow a prospective new renter by telling the new tenants how awful his real place is. Finally, when a the governor starts to rely to much on a cool new robot who has taken over every job in the mansion (have I ever mentioned how weird this show could be?) Benson plans to teach the governor a lesson by simply having all the employees gone and the governor realizes he can't trust the robot to do everything.

October 5, 2013

Top 5 Nostalgic Network Bumpers

It's nostalgia time!

Yeah this is a strange idea, I admit it. But even the little things can bring back fond memories. I have talked a lot about tv shows and commercials from the good old days, but what about the little program bumpers used to advertise the network being watched? These aired right before or in the middle of the show, and some of these are so memorable that wacthing them now still makes me feel like a kid again.

#5.Saturday Morning Cartoons

It makes sense, you have kids as your audience you want to keep them interested as possible. The ad breaks were usuallty very clever, and while there are dozens of examples here is one I always remember from NBC


Oh hell yeah. This one is so famous it has been parodied to death. It really got you pumped and ready for the coolness to come

#3.HBO Feature Presentation

I freaking loved this! I swear I would turn the channel on just to see the bumper HBO used before their movies. It brings chills everytime I see it.


Ah, Nickelodeon in the golden age. I loved that network and most of the shows on it. The bumpers made it even better, with cool animation. Check it out :

#1.CBS Special Presentation

I am not saying a word, just click the link. If you are my age or older, I know this wil bring back fond memories of great times. Nothing else needs to be said, when you saw this you knew awesomness was coming.

Ah, memories.

October 2, 2013

Action Movies I Actually Loved!

If you read my stuff than you probably know I am a story person more than an action person. I get bored watching endless explosions, car chases, and people being gunned down. I want a good story with interesting characters. However, that doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed a good action movie from time to time.  So here are five action movies that I just loved.


Just a fantastic concept done very well! And it stars Keanue Reeves, who knew? This is one of the few action movies I have happily watched over and over again. The premise is so simple but effective, bus can't go over 55mph or it explodes. Dennis Hopper is also great as the villain, maybe one of the few really decent roles he had. This is also the movie that put Sandra Bullock on the map, and she is really adorable here. For some reason they made a stupid sequel, but I was smart enough to avoid that.


Speed was a brilliant premise done very well. This was an absurd premise done vey well. I mean really, switching faces with someone? Who came up with that? But to be fair, it is done great! John Travolta and Nicholas Cage are just fantastic. The film manages to be exciting, action packed, and also even works as a psychological thriller. I loved the first sceen when we see John Travolta after the face switch, it just works so well! We know it's coming, but seeing Travola when we know he is really the one chained up just worked. This movie always fascinated me, how many films can an actor die as the villain only to walk back in as the hero?