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Supernatural: Jump the Shark (Article) - 4/25/2009 1:23:12 PM

I love the way this show slips in sly pop culture references.

Anybody else notice the shout-out to one of the more infamous "jump-the-shark" moments in TV history?

Hint: The name of the diner was "Cousin Oliver's".

DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION (Article) - 4/12/2009 4:03:00 AM

It is better than Streetfighter, which just makes it a somewhat competent but heavily cliched movie. It's basically a direct-to-DVD flick with more SFX than you'd find in a direct-to-DVD flick.

Expect it to die at the box office just as Streetfighter did. The Saturday matinee I attended had a grand total of three people, not including the staff checking the auditorium's thermostat (which was the high point of the movie-going experience).

Slaughter (Article) - 4/3/2009 6:02:40 AM

I also take exception to the opening line of the review, but darkheart beat me to it.

However, I also don't agree with his assertion that a writer/director making a bad horror movie is "rare." Unlike the horror classics which he listed, we tend to forget those writer/directors who make wretched horror movies. Two of the most infamously bad horror movies of all time - Plane Nine from Outer Space and Manos: The Hands of Fate were both products of writer/director auteurs. Just for kicks, I checked out IMDB's ten lowest rated horror movies (ratings of 1.1 to 1.4, which is no small feat), and eight of them were written or co-written by the same person who directed.

 

Sarah Connor Chronicles: Ourselves Alone (Article) - 3/8/2009 7:22:31 AM

...the Sarah Connor Chronicles ratings have tanked big time this season. They went from 11.4 million viewers last season to a measly 4.95.

The ratings for SCC dropped to 3.5M viewers as soon as it moved to Friday night. The most recent episode logged a series-low 3M viewers. Even factoring in the DVR numbers, it's going to take a miracle to avoid cancelation.

Meanwhile, Dollhouse opened to 4.5M viewers and is now down to 3.5M viewers. Its prospects are a bit better than SCC due to higher DVR numbers, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

The Sky-Monster (Article) - 3/8/2009 6:52:40 AM

I'm rather open-minded about various cryptids. Indeed, my Mania name is lifted from one such local legend. But I do have tremendous doubts about this encounter.

Sounds most likely to me that he observed a common vulture and the peyote morphed it into a pterodactyl. It was also late at night, a time when even the most sober minds are sometimes open to some trickery (there's a reason it's called "the witching hour"). It's a pity that his desert sojourn wasn't with a friend (preferably someone not on a hallucinogen) to compare/contrast the experience.

BTW NIck, I heard you on the Uncanny Radio podcast - you really do get around! Interesting talk on the other odd phenemona around Loch Ness. I recall reading a book on Loch Ness which also mentioned the mysterious "Men in Black" years before the public perception was forever altered by the Will Smith movie.

Dollhouse: Stage Fright (Article) - 3/3/2009 3:09:53 AM

I really cringed when I saw the previews for this episode. One thing I've learned by watching way too much tv over the years is that these pop-star episodes are always dreadful. Dollhouse is increasing reminding me of Alias, but in doing so also reveals how much better Alias was.

Sorry Joss, I'm officially taking Dollhouse off my tv-viewing schedule. I'll blame the results on Fox's meddling, but a mediocre series is a mediocre series. Even if the series turns around in quality, I suspect it won't last the season before Fox trashes it for something cheaper to produce anyway.

Dollhouse: The Target (Article) - 2/22/2009 10:12:19 PM

Slight nitpick here... it's Joss Whedon not Wheadon.

This episode could have been called Hard Target Part 2 or Surviving the Game Part 2 because it featured the same sort of formula as those two films.

The basic plot format of a human hunting human prey has been around for quite some time, with the 1924 short story The Most Dangerous Game usually credited as the origin. It's been adapted into movies for decades (starting in 1932, filmed on the same sets being used for King Kong). A number of tv shows have also made use of the plot, everything from Gilligan's Island to The Incredible Hulk. Heck, Whedon himself has already visited this plot (check out the "Slayerfest 1998" storyline in the Homecoming episode of Buffy).
 

That said, Dollhouse is not off to a great start, but given that it's a Whedon production, I'll give it more time to establish itself. I've never been disappointed by any of his series. Also great to see Amy Acker again.

Monsters Down Under (Article) - 2/21/2009 9:32:43 PM

Possums do carry their young on their back for awhile, once they get too big for the pouch.

There's also about 100 species of marsupials in Latin America, with the 'possum being the lone marsupial to make the trek across the Rio Grande. Plus you can find a handful of species in the islands between Asia and Australia.

I don't think science has a reasonable explanation as to why marsupials have thrived in Australia and South America and not elsewhere. Some say it's their lower metabolism due to the heat. Others have said there's some sort of genetic advantage - marsupialism tends to protect the mother (which gives birth to relatively undeveloped offspring after a brief gestation period) while making the offspring more vulnerable.

One thing that does make sense is that the marsupials are somewhat more limited in their evolutionary choices compared to their placental counterparts. Because they are designed with forelimbs which must grasp the mother's skin to reach the mother's nipples at birth, such evolutionary options as wings (bats), flippers (seals, etc), or hooves (horses, deer, cows, antelope, etc) are not possible. These advantages may be what give the placental mammals an advantage over the marsupials in the rest of the world.

The Top 20 Greatest Horror Writers of All-time (Article) - 2/21/2009 9:03:59 PM

Excellent list. It's great to see a well-balanced list, going back to the 19th and early 20th centuries. I'd like to toss another name out for at least Honorable Mention: William Hope Hodgson.

Hodgson's "House on the Borderland" was a great influence on Lovecraft, and all of his stories are every bit as creepy and disturbing as Lovecraft's. True to the curse of great horror writers, Hodgson died young, killed by an artillery shell late in World War I at age 40.

Two thoughts this column brought to mind:

1) Instead of remaking and rehashing every horror movie ever made, why not adapt more already existing stories? Any one of the above authors have a wealth of adaptable stories which have never made it to the screen.

2) Speaking of remakes, I'd much rather see more original and thoughtful columns (like this one) than the Cracked.com rehashes. Intelligent writing and discussion is always more interesting to me than snarky columns (snark comes cheap on the net; intelligent not-so-much). But if you must give us a weekly dose of snark, at least use some of your talented in-house writers.

Frank Miller to unthaw BUCK ROGERS next (Article) - 12/20/2008 5:57:37 AM

<p><em>'Buck Rogers' was created as a comic strip in 1928. </em></p> <p>Not quite.</p> <p>The character (along with WIlma Deering and Dr. Huer)&nbsp;was created&nbsp;by Philip Francis Nowlan, and first appeared in a couple of novellas published in the sci-fi pulp <strong>Amazing Stories </strong>in 1928. The following year the characters were adapted into a comic strip.</p>

SNALLYGASTER'S MANIACAL PERSONA

snallygaster
Date Joined: June 15, 2006