My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

41 Articles Tagged with “television”

  1. We are not Sheldon Cooper

    “Oh, you’re like Sheldon!”

    Given that it is Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week, this seems like a good time to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while. I’ve taken a stab at writing a blog post about this but it never quite came out right. This week, and a recent Twitter exchange have prompted me to give it another try.

    In some superficial ways, I resemble Sheldon Cooper: I am a well-educated and lithe white man with a strong science and technical background, an intense interest in nerd topics, and a dislike of certain social norms. So I get where this comparison comes from, and when I reveal my utter disinterest in romantic or sexual liaisons, the connection seems only to solidify in the minds of friends and acquaintances who, I know, only mean well.

    I’ve discussed previously why I don’t think Sheldon is a good nerd icon. Today I’m more interested in talking about why representation matters, and how Sheldon Cooper is a poor representation of an arospec/asexual character.

    It’s a shame, too, because terrible personality aside, Sheldon Cooper could have been a good representation. Here’s why.

    Arospec people can date!

    The…

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  2. Surprisingly good television these days

    Should I be posting a knitting update? Probably. But I wanted to tweet some thoughts about The Magicians, and Orphan Black, and Supergirl, until I realized I should really just expand them into a summary of my thoughts about television shows! So this is a round up of some (not all) of the TV shows I’ve been watching regularly over the past few months.

    Magic Sucks and You Suck Even More, Quentin

    I didn’t really enjoy The Magicians in book form. The books are clever in a postmodern, hipsterish way—almost too clever. I get why other people like them, but they weren’t really for me.

    So I’m surprised to say that I very much enjoyed the first season of the TV show! In part, it’s because the plot has deviated in interesting ways from the books: the broad strokes are there, with most of the major events intact, but they have been altered for the pacing and atmosphere of the visual, episodic medium. I find the whole art behind adaptations fascinating, and I’m always pleased when writers manage to adapt a book for TV or movies by remaining true to the themes and spirit of the…

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  3. The Big Bang Theory and cultural appropriation

    I started watching The Big Bang Theory in my last year of university. A friend introduced me to it via the tried-and-true method of pressing some torrents on burned DVDs into my hand. (We were such rebels!) I quickly devoured, what, three seasons? Then I started watching it on TV. And, for a time, I really enjoyed it.

    But eventually that enjoyment dulled into a vague sense of ennui, which then sharpened into a more sour distaste for the entire enterprise. Unfortunately, the pressure of carrying on for 9 years has understandably diluted the quality of the writing. What I had once thought of as a “sitcom for nerds” now seems more to my eyes like “another sitcom about how nerds are socially awkward.” So I stopped watching.

    Yet it’s still around. And lately I’ve seen a couple of articles hating on the series—yes, still wildly popular, it’s now popular enough that hating on the series is nearly as mainstream as liking it. Counterculture is so confusing!

    We can debate whether or not the show’s “jokes” are funny and the degrees to which they seem original. But I feel like that’s ignoring a whole dimension of the issue, which is

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  4. On binge-watching

    Two interesting television-related things happened this weekend that have me thinking about our (and by that I mean, my, I suppose) relationship with consuming new television shows in 2015. Firstly, Netflix released the first season of Daredevil, a “Netflix original” series it produced with ABC Studios for Marvel. Secondly, the first four episodes of season 5 of Game of Thrones leaked (one day prior to the premiere).

    In both cases, I see a lot of posts on social media about people “binging” on these episodes. Some people are even suggesting that HBO should release the season—or at least the four pirated episodes—all at once to level the playing field, so to speak. The alternative being a post-apocalyptic dystopian future in which the people who binged on the leaked episodes spoil everything on the Internet for everyone who hasn’t seen them yet. And by “future,” I am clearly referring to “Monday.”

    Now, I’m not actually interested in what HBO is going to do. I’ll watch the episodes as they come out (mostly because I am too lazy to pirate, and also for reasons discussed momentarily). Rather, I want to discuss the rise of binge-watching, and the tectonic shift in the…

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  5. You should watch Haphead

    Recently one of the vloggers I follow, Nicole Coenen, tweeted about a video series she’s in. It’s called Haphead, and it’s an 8-part miniseries set in 2025 about young people, video games, and the pace of change.

    I’m a science fiction fan (big surprise, that), so I was immediately intrigued. I started watching the first episode … and I was hooked. As in, it has been a while since a TV show has so effortlessly drawn me into its world and made me want to watch more. I watched the next two episodes immediately afterwards, and I would have watched the remaining four (there are six released as of this post), except I had to go to work. From the opening shot of Maxine, her father, and the security guard standing on the train platform, to the music and the dialogue, Haphead is a really nicely put-together series.

    It’s filmed in Ontario! And it’s set in Ontario, with lots of neat little references throughout.

    The trailer above gives you a taste of what the series is about. Maxine and her friends get a below-minimum-wage job helping to produce haptic feedback cables, which let people interface with video games…

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  6. Thoughts on The Day of the Doctor

    Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, marked by an anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor. This special was simulcast in 94 countries and 15 languages, setting a new Guinness world record in the process. In many countries, including the UK, it was also shown in theatres in 3D. My roommate, her daughter, and I bought our tickets as soon as they went on sale. Last night we queued up to get into the theatre, which was packed full of fans waiting to see the three Doctors and learn the truth about John Hurt’s incarnation of the renegade Time Lord.

    Spoilers, of course.

    When Steven Moffat took over as the showrunner of Doctor Who, I was happy and optimistic. The episodes of the show that he had written were among the best of the new show. And, for the most part, I’ve enjoyed Moffat’s era of Doctor Who. Yet of late I’ve been disappointed with some of the story arcs, and in general I’ve found Moffat too keen on creating fascinating but inexplicable paradoxes, to the point where the resolutions of some of the stories seem trite and a little contrived.

    So when…

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  7. October is for thanksgiving, November for anticipation

    It’s Halloween, and it’s the half-term, and I realized I haven’t actually updated my blog in over a month.

    I’m sitting here with my head feel like a trainwreck for the second time this autumn. Colds are not my friend this year. Stress has run down my immune system to an unacceptable level, and between that and Twitter’s decision to stick large images in my feed, I am not happy.

    Having a week off to catch up on my reading and knitting? Now that, I’m happy about. My Australian teacher-friend Sam came over to watch a Star Wars marathon with my roommate and her daughter. Sam had never seen any of the Star Wars movies before! So we made her watch the original trilogy and closed that gap in her cultural education.

    Anyone who begrudges teachers these week-long breaks should think twice, if the large, heavy box of marking sitting in my room is anything to go by. I have been chipping away at it all week. Don’t get me started on planning.

    Rather than dwell on circumstances I can’t really control, here are some things I’m looking forward to:

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  8. Universal fat jokes, Doctor Who will be everywhere, and apparently the Internet is no longer for porn

    I’m comfortably ensconced (this is the correct word) in the well-worn couch in my grandparents’ basement. In a few hours I’ll be on an Air Canada flight to Thunder Bay, where I shall while away my summer in whatever manner pleases me (think coconut milkshakes, ninja dance parties, and suffocating under a massive pile of library books). Until then, though, things happen on the Internet.

    • We should be getting a Doctor Who 50th anniversary special trailer any time soon, because they screened it at Comic-Con. But apparently, according to the comments section, that isn’t going to happen. However, I am somewhat assuaged because the special will be simulcast around the world, which means I don’t have to worry about spoiling it for my dad (or Twitter spoiling it for anyone else).
    • Watch this “in memoriam” video for the myriad characters who have died during the first three seasons of Game of Thrones. Spoilers, obviously.
    • In an interesting spot of science news, evolution might be more predictable than we thought. It’s hard to get testable hypotheses out of macro-evolutionary theory, thanks to the time scales involved, but scientists are always finding ways around that.
    • Also, on the
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  9. This season of Doctor Who has disappointed

    I just watched “The Name of the Doctor”, the finale to this season of Doctor Who. My roommate and her daughter were in London yesterday to see Phantom of the Opera, so I waited until this morning to view the finale with them—we had a bacon breakfast party. Steven Moffat and the BBC have been promoting this episode for quite a while now, as part of their larger promotion for Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary and the accompanying special. We were promised some big reveals that “change everything.” At the very least, we were promised the secret behind Clara, the impossible girl. In my opinion, Moffat didn’t deliver on the former, but at least he explained the latter, in his usual self-fulfilling timey-wimey way.

    No spoilers about the finale, beyond what you might have seen in previews or trailers broadcast on TV.

    I feel bad for my roommate. I suppose I sound a bit like an Eeyore to her, with my constant, academic critiques of the new Star Trek franchise (we’re going to see Into Darkness in less than hour, but that’s another blog post) and now this season of Doctor Who. We all express our love…

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  10. My top 11 Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

    A friend decided we are going to have a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon this weekend with two other like-minded teachers at my school. I suggested that, in order to select which episodes we watch, we should all come up with a short list of our favourite episodes. Obviously there will be considerable overlap—who isn’t going to put “Once More, with Feeling” on their top 10? We can watch the ones we all agree are the best, then each champion one or two of the favourites remaining.

    So tonight I sat down and took some time to consider what my favourite Buffy episodes might be. This is a challenge. Buffy is one of those shows where individual episodes might not be great, but their contribution to the show’s overall plot and character arcs is significant. The value of the show, to me, is the way the characters change and grow over the course of the seven years we are with them. Like many shows, season 1 is not great—none of its episodes made my list, as you shall see, although I considered several—but it is formative. It lays the foundations for the Scoobies, the starting points from which they grow…

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  11. On viewing and “sharing” media in the digital age

    It’s weird how my blog works. I should post another “update type” entry focusing on my half-term shenanigans (warning: shenanigans in the mirror may sound cooler than they later appear). And I will. But I have to get this out of my head first.

    I walk into town for the market every Saturday, and almost every week I spend that walk listening to The Vinyl Cafe, with Stuart McLean. I love this show. I love how Stuart can enthuse about a little detail of Canadian history, particular to whatever venue the show is visiting that week. I love being exposed to new and wonderful Canadian musicians. And, I love the story exchange and the Dave and Morley stories. I loved all this before I moved to England, but The Vinyl Cafe has become even more important to me now that I’m living on my own in another country. It’s a connection to Canada, a very concentrated reminder of where I’m from, and it alleviates a little of the habitual homesickness I occasionally feel.

    Anyway, this week Stuart was talking about movies. He recounted his own experience with movies as a child in Montreal, including his anticipation of the news…

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  12. Who’s running the Asylum (of the Daleks)?

    As foreshadowed, thoughts on Doctor Who! I’ve been very excited for the new season (aren’t I always), especially because I get to watch it properly on the BBC. (SPACE in Canada has been pretty good, to be fair, but they still get the BBC America cut.) After the Doctor’s “death” at the end of the last season, I was interested to see what kind of trouble he would get into next.

    Oh, spoiler alert for “Asylum of the Daleks”. And, I guess, all of last season. Sorry.

    I find myself, once again, ambivalent about Doctor Who. In the pacing department, “Asylum of the Daleks” works well. I also think it was a good choice of story for the season premiere, and I probably would have liked it less if it had been anywhere else in the season. It’s very similar to “The Eleventh Hour”, with the Doctor racing against time to find a solution that lets him and the Ponds live. The in media res opening and subsequent dearth of time for exposition about the shambles of Amy and Rory’s marriage would have annoyed me if this weren’t the season opener (and if we hadn’t seen the…

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  13. On the demise of Stargate Universe, or: What the hell, Syfy?

    So last week, we witnessed the passing of yet another science-fiction franchise from television. Syfy broadcast the series finale of Stargate Universe on Monday, and I call it the demise of the franchise because the show's cancellation has been a death blow to the promised SG-1 and Atlantis movies as well. Though it's possible that MGM will bring the franchise back through comics, novels—or yes, even another movie or spin-off—for now there will be no more Stargate on television. That, to me, is far more tragic than the cancellation of a single series. Still, I'm going to take a look now at Stargate Universe and its impact on my opinion of the franchise as a whole.

    In the beginning, I remember a strong backlash to the show's "darker tones" and charges that it Syfy wanted a "darker sci-fi" show to replace Battlestar Galactica. Apparently "light sci-fi" just doesn't pay the bills, although the continual renewal of Eureka seems like it would belie this idea. Anyway, there was the usual clamour from the die-hard reactionaries that Stargate Universe wasn't "the same" as the good-old days, and for that reason they were going to boycott the show.

    Well that turned out…

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  14. Torchwood Days Two and Three

    Major spoilers ahead.

    Torchwood Day Two was even better than Day One, and so far Day Three has topped both of those combined. Davies successfully manages to raise the stakes in each successive episode, which can only mean a massive climax on Friday night. I can't wait!

    Day Two was definitely Gwen and Ianto's moment to shine. Jack blew up at the end of Day One, so with him (temporarily) out of the picture, Gwen and Ianto are on their own and on the run. Gwen and her husband, Rhys, stowaway on a potato truck on its way to London. There, they meet up with Lois Habiba, a new girl in the Home Office who's starting to wonder for which side she's working. With a little help from her, they go off to rescue Captain Jack, only to find that he's been imprisoned in a block of concrete.

    Cue Ianto! He decides to steal the entire concrete cell with some heavy machinery conveniently left behind by the people who poured the concrete. Oh, and Gwen blows up the concrete mixer to cover their escape. They toss the concrete block off a cliff, and Jack emerges ... naked, of course.

    We…

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  15. Torchwood Day One and Doctor Who Pics!

    Monday signalled the beginning of a week of mass mayhem, Scotland versus England humour, and alien threats to the security of our planet. Yes, I'm talking about the American and Canadian premiere of season 3 of Torchwood, aka Torchwood: Children of the Earth. If you've been living under a rock for the past year, this is a five-part miniseries format change to accompany Torchwood's move to BBC One.

    For those of you in Canada who missed the broadcast or who don't get Space, you're in luck! You can watch Torchwood online for up to seven days after it airs on television. Now, the CBC has also been good about making its television shows available online; they've shafted Doctor Who and Torchwood over and over, however, so I'm happy to see them finding a new home on Space. Space will also be showing the Easter Doctor Who special, Planet of the Dead, this Saturday.

    I must confess that I'm not in love with Torchwood the way I'm in love with Doctor Who. I watched the first two seasons sporadically. The only character who really fascinates me is Captain Jack, with his TARDIS-conferred immortality. Beyond that,…

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  16. Goodbye, Battlestar Galactica

    Well here we are, the end of an era. Battlestar Galactica is over, which has made a lot of people very angry for various reasons.

    Spoilers ahead.

    I'm too young to have seen the original Battlestar Galactica when it was on television, and I never watched the reruns. I'm not into it. The "reimagined" series ignited my interest, however, and I've watched the show since its miniseries became the backdoor pilot for a new television series.

    To this day, my favourite episode remains "Kobol's Last Gleaming", the first season finale. It represents the best aspects of Battlestar Galactica's storytelling techniques: the high stakes conflict, the spiritual and ethical themes interwoven into the story, and of course, the effortless use of the episode's score to enhance the most emotional moments of the episode. Tonight's finale was cast in a very similar vein to the first season finale, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much.

    The show has received massive amounts of criticism in the last half of this season. To be fair, the Writer's Strike caused the last season to be split in half, placing much more tension on the mid-season premiere than the writers had originally intended.…

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  17. Mondays and Tuesdays are culture sinks

    Compared to the rest of the week, Monday and Tuesday play host to an inordinately large number of cultural attractions. Yes, there's Doctor Who on Friday nights and Smallville on Saturdays, but

    Ever since school began in September, I've been cooking dinner on Mondays to practise my rudimentary cooking skills. While preparing dinner, I like to listen to podcasts. This schedule works nicely, because The Vinyl Cafe podcast is up by Monday at the latest, and I prefer to listen to the podcast, as I can't catch it every Sunday; sometimes I'm at work. I love the on demand convenience of podcasts. In addition to Vinyl Cafe, there's a new podcast of Search Engine every Monday. Lastly, if I have any left over interviews from Spark's enhanced podcast feed, I'll listen to those. Occasionally I listen to an Ideas podcast, but not regularly.

    After dinner, my dad and I watch a couple of TV shows if we're both home. First there's Stargate Atlantis, then Chuck, and finally Heroes--sometimes we save Heroes for Tuesday if we don't have time to watch it. This week's episodes of Stargate Atlantis and Chuck were particularly awesome! I loved seeing Bill…

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  18. Stargate SG-1 seasons 9 and 10

    I'm sitting here, still full of endorphins after SNL's Presidential Bash, watching a rerun of Stargate SG-1--"Line in the Sand," one of the final nine episodes of the series. And watching it, I'm coming to this realization that I may have given the final two seasons of Stargate SG-1 shorter shrift than they deserve.

    I mean, yes, the storyline sucked and the themes were flimsy and transparent. The injection of two actors from Farscape as series regulars was suspicious and also somewhat funny. But let's back up for a moment. This is Stargate SG-1. It's always vacillated between the absurd realm of Farscape and the lecturing tones of Star Trek, erring to the side of humour wherever possible. That's what made it a great show. So to criticize the last two seasons on those grounds is rather hypocritical.

    So rather than criticizing the last two seasons and harping on how much they jumped the shark, here's a couple of things about seasons 9 and 10 (especially 10) that I love:

    t: Daniel and Vala. d: Need I say more? These two have great chemistry. Both Claudia Black and Ben Browder (more so Black than Browder, however)…

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  19. Censorship "Nazis"

    Ugh. I've been sick since Wednesday and didn't feel like blogging. I should have posted one of the drafts I've got saved up for such an occasion, but by the time I remembered that, I was too lazy. :D Anyway, here's my reaction to a news tidbit from today.

    I like freedom of expression and freedom of access to information. To me, these two related freedoms are fundamental to any society that claims to be "free." Unfortunately, the spectre of political correctness (and more recently, patriotic correctness) shackles this freedom of speech with restrictions designed to prevent "offence" to groups of people. We see this everyday when we watch television with the profanity beeped out or listen to edited songs on the radio.

    Today CBC News reported that a Belgian broadcaster would not be airing a Hitler-themed episode of a cooking show. At first glance, one wonders how a cooking show could have a Hitler-themed episode. If you read the article, however, you'll get a better idea of what it aims to do: it cooks the favourite dishes of famous people.

    I take issue with this statement in particular by Michael Frelich, editor of Antwerp's Jewish affairs magazine Joods…

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  20. How I'll get through this government

    I have discovered how I will get through the next six months. Or year. Or two years. However long it is until Stephen Harper tries to get a majority again. I will watch CBC comedy news shows.

    What would I ever do without The Rick Mercer Report or This Hour Has 22 Minutes?!

    For my American friends, The Rick Mercer Report is similar to The Colbert Report. Mercer does a lot less in-studio, however, and has more clips where he goes out and meets people, politicians((Yes, I am implying what you think I'm implying)), goes to schools, and gets naked.((Really. But I won't tell you any more than this, because now you'll waste half an hour searching the Internet to find out. Muwahahahaha!)) He has a regular photo challenge on his site where anyone can edit a photo he posts, and he'll put them up in his gallery.

    I don't know what the American equivalent of This Hour Has 22 Minutes is. You've got a cast of news anchors who know no boundaries in "reporting" current events. When I was younger, I grew up on Royal Canadian Air Farce; I didn't watch This Hour Has 22 Minutes much. However,…

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  21. Review of Stargate: Continuum

    I woke up today and went to Future Shop to buy Stargate: Continuum, although I couldn't actually watch it until after work tonight. It was worth the wait.

    I admit that I feared Continuum would be a "Well, let's turn 'Moebius' into a movie." Yet another time travel episode. Yes, there were similarities--it's time travel, after all, with alternate timelines and whatnot--but this movie really captures the Stargate genre and provides the essential link between the old Stargate SG-1 series and (hopefully) the future movies to come.

    The story is largely self-contained, due to the nature of the time travel. By the end, nothing in the Stargate universe has really advanced, with the exception of the execution of Ba'al. That doesn't stop it from being an excellent story, and the characters make it that way. Richard Dean Anderson's "special guest appearance" brought O'Neill back into the mix. I would have liked more of him, but what little screen time he had was well used. The other members of SG-1 were awesome. Teal'c managed to pull off yet another convincing Heel Face Turn. Michael Shanks has a fun scene where he talks to the alternate timeline version of himself…

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  22. It's all fun and games until your death ray explodes

    Act three of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is up. You can watch all three acts until midnight July 20. Go do it. Right now.

    I've got mixed feelings about act three. As I write this, it's only been up for about an hour and a half, so fan reaction is still formulating. A lot of people are angry. I can see how act three seems like a let down after the first two acts. Now, this may just be major denial on my part, but I think Joss planned it that way.

    A supervillain musical isn't something you see every day. Instead of casting Dr. Horrible as the straight antagonist and villain, he has made him a villainous protagonist. We actually root for him; we want him to get the girl. But having him succeed in his evil plans and getting the girl would blow our suspension of disbelief out of the water--Penny's character doesn't allow that. So the ending is the only natural way for the plot to conclude (if it is a conclusion).

    The saddest scene for me, however, was not the one at the climax after the explosion of the death ray causes you-know-what (if you don't…

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  23. Why yes, that is Joss Whedon in my pocket...

    Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

    For those of you who haven't watched Buffy, Angel, or Firefly, (I hear you exist, apparently) let me give you a quick rundown on who Joss Whedon is. Those familiar with his oeuvre, please skip to the third paragraph.

    Joss Whedon is an amazing writer. He is the creator of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, along with a western science-fiction (yes, it's that cool) series called Firefly. Once upon a time, a big bad network cancelled Firefly after airing 12 of the 14 episodes (out of order), much to the consternation of the fans the show had already acquired. It seemed like there was no hope for resurrecting the series, and an Age of Terrible Darkness ensued. Then, a glimmer of hope: thanks, in part, to fan demands, Universal Studios bought the movie rights to the series, and Joss Whedon made a feature film called Serenity, which may very well be one of the best science fiction films of our time.

    With me? Good. During the Writers' Strike, Joss Whedon decided to get together with some family and friends to write a fun musical. Specifically, a supervillain musical. This week he is releasing…

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  24. Frakkin' pumped for season 4

    One week from now, we will be witness to a great thing. The premiere of the fourth and final season of Battlestar Galactica. This is the sort of thing you'll tell your children about. Even if you don't watch it now, you'll want to retcon your memories so you can claim you were always a fan.

    Why is BSG great? Because it's the only science fiction show that isn't a science fiction show. Unlike Star Trek, Stargate SG-1, etc., BSG isn't a science fiction show set in space.

    "What?!" you say. "Of course it is. They have space ships. And robots. And ... and ..." No, it doesn't. BSG is a drama that happens to be set in space. The issues it deals with are the same issues we face today--in fact, the show is a thinly-veiled critique on controversial contemporary issues, particularly the war in Iraq. The conflicts the characters deal with, especially the morally ambiguous questions that arise as a result of a prolonged war, are relevant to us in every way. All they do is remove it one step from us, putting it in space. The technology isn't even that much different. You've got…

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  25. Such a franchise junkie

    Stargate: The Ark of Truth came out on DVD today, so I went right to Future Shop after class to buy it. Yes, MGM tells me to buy something, and I buy it. I am such a franchise junkie.

    Obligatory spoiler warning here. Read more and feel the wrath of the Ori--oh wait....

    I'm so satisfied. It took ten years to get here, but every step of the way was totally worth it. I was initially upset, but quickly resigned, to Stargate SG-1's cancellation. They were kind of running out of apocalypses after all--and the recent terrible writing on Stargate Atlantis seems to reinforce that fact. That doesn't mean I was going to ignore the direct-to-DVD sequels MGM wanted to produce, especially because the writers deliberately left the Ori saga half-concluded. More SG-1? Yes please.

    Overall, I loved it. The dialogue among the SG-1 characters is just so satisfying; they are so comfortable with each other. Since the series has such a rich universe and backstory, it allows the writers to tie together elements that may once have been disparate, and even expands their creativity by giving them a better canvas. Yes, they brought back the replicators, but…

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  26. JPod and PVR

    I had a very good day today. Everything just seemed to go well. Sure, there were some rocky moments--I got stuck behind a tow truck trying to hoist a vehicle on two separate occasions--is that weird or what? But I won't let that ruin the rest of the good moments.

    If you come up to a group of people waiting outside a room, don't assume they're waiting because the door is locked. Until you actually try the door yourself, you don't know it's locked--maybe the first person to show up didn't try it, and people just followed along. That's what happened today at my English class. I've learned this lesson before, however, so I tried the door--and it was unlocked. I turned on the lights, and the rest of the class followed me in. Now all we need are textbooks.

    I had a pleasant lunch with my dad, then I submitted my passport application. ^_^ The person at the passport office told me that everything was in order, so I'll get my passport in a couple of weeks when they do their next mail-out. :w00t: Since we're already required to travel to the U.S. with a passport if we fly,…

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  27. My love-hate relationship with Disney

    Disney and I have a sort of love-hate relationship going on when it comes to its television.

    I'm from the mid-nineties generation of children. I grew up on the after-school and Saturday-morning Disney cartoons like Disney's Recess and The Weekenders. To this day, I proudly admit that I watch those whenever I can. I've got less opportunity to watch The Weekenders, but Recess comes on every day after school, so I watch it if I'm not working. Old school Disney rock on!

    Lately I've been less and less impressed with the average after-school shows they've been producing. Maybe I'm just losing touch with today's "cool" brand of pre-adolescents. Maybe I've become too cerebral. But some shows I just can't stand, like Jake Long: American Dragon. Then there are some shows like The Suite Life of Zack & Cody or That's So Raven which I can't help watching while simultaneously loathing and despising myself for watching them. The acting and writing's just so terrible; the gags are just so ... juvenile. I understand that this is children's programming; maybe I'm being too judgemental. But then when I compare these shows to what I watched as a kid (and…

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  28. Do you know the Muffin Man?

    Today in chemistry my two friends and I somehow got on the subject of the Muffin Man and his place of residence. Being Mythbusters fans, we agreed that the Mythbusters should test the myth of whether a muffin man does, in fact, reside on Drury Lane.

    Meanwhile, the Build Team can see if ogres really do have layers...

    And that brings us to a new poll!

  29. Doomsday

    :'(

    That last scene between Rose and the Doctor was just so sad, but poignant. It wasn't the catharsis for which I was looking--not really--but it came close. I cried. I knew that the Doctor would run out of time before he could say it, but still, watching it happen.... Wow.

    The Tenth Doctor is my favourite television character bar none now. At the beginning of season 2 I was worried, I'll admit, that David Tennant would not make a good Doctor. However, he has shown himself to be a stupendous Doctor (not that I'm really qualified to judge, since I haven't seen any of the older episodes). The way that he captures the character of the Doctor--and the character of the Doctor himself, his actions--is why I love to write. I must admit that I am envious of Russel T. Davies and the other Doctor Who writers. Season 2 wasn't the best television I've watched, but the Doctor himself made it worth watching.

    The DVD set for season 2 is $113.96 on Amazon though, and I can't find it on the Future Shop website, so I don't think I'll be buying season 2 anytime soon, sadly--even though I am…

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  30. 200

    I just watched Stargate SG-1's 200th episode, "200", and it was simply incredible!

    With ten years and (now) over 200 episodes under its belt, Stargate SG-1 has crossed the threshold from science fiction series to phenomenon. Part of the key to its success was that it has never taken itself too seriously; the show makes references to pop culture and even itself in semi-fourth-wall breaking moments. The 200th episode takes this and delivers it a hundredfold. It's a gift to the fans, of course, those who have been with the show from its inception right to the present.

    The show ended with a really poignant quote, however, of Isaac Asimov:

    Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today--but the core of science fiction, its essence, the concept around which it revolves, has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.

    And that's basically why I love to read and write science fiction.

    So Stargate SG-1 remains cancelled. Or sort of. The issue is more that Sci-Fi, the channel which airs Stargate SG-1, isn't renewing it. There are rumours MGM, which produces…

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  31. Well that's *brilliant*!

    The Ninth Doctor's catchphrase was "Fantastic!", but I think that the Tenth prefers to say variations of "That's brilliant!" I really like the Tenth Doctor; David Tennant is doing a brilliant job at portraying his character, and the writers have done a smashing job with the plot.

    I just finished watching "The Impossible Planet" tonight (yes, I know the CBC is behind on the shows...). Wow. Part of the reason I love the Doctor, of course, is because he's one of the last action heroes on TV who is fun for the entire family. He doesn't swear and spit as he shoots a massive laser gun into the hordes of rampaging aliens. In fact, when the chips are down, he is usually seen admiring the work of his enemy and attaching adjectives like "brilliant" and "stupendous" to things.

    Like in tonight's episode, the Doctor and Rose end up beyond the range of the TARDIS' knowledge--smack on a base on a planet that is orbiting a black hole (as opposed to being ripped apart by its gravity). And the Doctor, upon hearing the story of why this ship full of humans came to the planet, hugged the captain. He even…

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  32. Escapism is so attractive

    My Children of Dune DVD arrived today. The other two items have still not been shipped, let alone arrived, but that's all right. This one got here way faster than I expected, and of course, it is sweet. :D

    Stargate SG-1's 10th season premiered tonight. It was also awesome. It answered a lot of the questions raised in season 10, and I don't think I've seen a better premiere. Most premieres suffer from too much or too little action. I think that the show has finally gotten the best grasp of Cam and Vala too; they really mix well with the older cast now. I will certainly be watching with much interest as the season progresses.

  33. Reasons why we like TV

    Interesting observation about the world of television--or rather, our view of the world behind television. Especially now that the Internet provides a 24/7 resource for us, we've become increasingly interested in the behind-the-scenes aspect of production. Who directed? Who was that guest star in season 6, episode 3? And when the producers of our favourite television show make a bad decision, or the writers introduce a clichéd plot twist, what do we do? We turn around and say, "Ugggh, I could do better than that!"

    Well, some of us probably could. Most of us probably couldn't. And the truth is, not many of us actually want to. That's the thing with TV, you see. The entire concept of fiction is centred around watching things happen to people without being able to do anything about it. This extends beyond fiction itself, however: most of the television industry happens without the public having direct control over it. We can't control who they'll hire as that new regular or who will write the season finale, and we wouldn't want to be in control. It's good to have things to complain about, after all.

    Boy, this sounded a lot more interesting in my head.…

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  34. Beginnings

    Last night was the Canadian premiere of Battlestar Galactica, season 3. It was fantastic as television episodes go, but only okay by BSG standards--it was no "Kobol's Last Gleaming". The main problem was not enough action, too much talk--they had to spend too much time explaining what had happened during the four months that elapsed over the summer. It was too rough of a transition into the BSG universe for me. That said, I did enjoy it and I'm sure that the season will pick up as we see more episodes.

    Air Farce is still no longer funny, but luckily both This Hour Has 22 Minutes and The Rick Mercer Report are carrying on the tradition of Canadian political satire. :) I've also been watching The Colbert Report lately. And tomorrow The Hour starts again, so I can actually catch up with the real news! :w00t: Doctor Who starts tomorrow as well, but unfortunately it conflicts with Stargate Atlantis. :'( Why?! Why must you do this to me?!

    Drama class is putting on a play; we're doing 7 Stories, by Morris Panych, and I got cast as the lead role of "the Man", who is a jumper.…

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  35. Brain Drip

    Here's just a random distillation of the thoughts swirling around in my head today (happy Labour Day, everyone). Maybe after doing this I can actually get some writing done before I go to bed.

    Speaking of which, I have school tomorrow. Yes, grade 12, my last year of high school. For those who would like to pretend to be interested in my course schedule:

    First semester: Geometry/Discrete Math, AP Physics, AP Calculus, and Drama Second semester: AP English, Chemistry, History, and Data Management

    Yes, I have three math (physics is basically math-on-a-stick) courses in a row. There is a theory that lunch will sneak in between physics and calculus, but it's a fringe theory at best. :yes:

    For those of you whom I haven't told, I originally wanted to take Writer's Craft, but that was only offered once, at the same time as Geometry. :/ But by not taking it, I wouldn't get a group 1 credit, which I need to graduate. Enter History class, say goodbye to my spare period. My workload shall be intense. But I don't feel too bad, because I don't deserve to--my friend Viv is getting royally screwed over in her schedule, which is quite…

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  36. 2006 Spacey Awards!

    That's right, the 2006 Spacey Awards are here! Vote for the best in science fiction and fantasy.

    My picks: t: Favourite Movie d: Serenity t: Favourite TV Show d: Battlestar Galactica t: Favourite TV Ensemble Cast d: Stargate SG-1 t: Favourite New TV Character d: Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell t: Favourite FX d: Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

    (I didn't vote for either Favourite Video Game or Favourite Action Sequence because I saw none of the games/movies nominated.)

    Choosing my favourite TV show, in particular, was tough, since Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, and Doctor Who were all nominated. Eventually I chose BSG, however, since although I find SG-1 enjoyable, BSG is just . . . awesome. I chose SG-1 for ensemble cast partly because I hadn't voted for them as best TV show, but also because I like SG-1's cast a lot.

    It was either Mitchell or Vala for this one, since I don't watch Lost and Milton Fine (aka Brainiac) isn't, in my mind, my favourite new TV character. I chose Mitchell because he's a nice new thread that joins the rest of the SG-1 team together now that RDA

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  37. Seven days later!

    Wow, that break went by pretty fast. So fast that if you blinked you probably missed it. I must say...I'm not all that enthused about going back to school. This saddens me, because last year I would be definitely ready. This year, as I've said in previous posts, not so much. So I won't harp on that here. This isn't supposed to be a rant, eh.

    I've started work on Vanilla Guestbook's total rewrite. I have the installation functions done and am working with the signing functions now.

    I've also started book two--as in, the sequel to my novel. Originally I intended for it to be a trilogy, but lately a little doubt about that has been cast into my mind. Today at work I thought of a brilliant ending for book two! I'm really excited, because it has given me direction and inspiration. However, if I use the ending, it also opens up the unforeseen possibility of additional books before the saga reaches its conclusion. Maybe four, five--possibly even six. I'm open to the possibility--I was never locked on the idea of a trilogy; it was just a rough guide to start out. But it will require some thought.

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  38. Resurrection Ship, Part I

    That was the episode of Battlestar Galactica last night. It was frakkin' awesome (to use the vernacular). To put that in perspective: my dad didn't fall alseep during the episode!

    It started off okay, but the music was a bit weird. I grew used to it, however, and the episode only got better. I think part of the reason that it was so cool was due to the fact that the Pegasus has "counterparts" to our Galactica crew. We got to see these more stringent, less ethical counterparts and how they operate--and it endears us that much more to the Galactica crew.

    Best part of the episode: when Commander Adama's on the phone with Tigh and Kallie is next to him. Tigh tells him about Helo and Tyrol's court martial and impending execution, and you can literally feel Adama's anger. You can also feel his regret, because it's that moment when he finally stops lying to himself. Something had been upsetting him ever since the Pegasus arrived--this wasn't a sudden decision; it was just the final culmination.

    Then he orders that marine strike force, slams the phone down, and stalks away. He's committing mutiny, but you love him for it,…

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  39. CBC News: The Hour

    So CBC News: The Hour had its season premiere tonight. I loved this show, and I still do. I have been waiting all summer for it to come back, because I can finally watch something each night and get up to date on all that "news" stuff happening in our world.

    They changed the format a bit . . . and the guy working the cues needs to pay more attention to which buttons he (or she) is pressing and when. :D So while I mourn the loss of last season's opening music, I think this season will grow on me.

    So to start of the season, I shall now blog about politics!

    One of the things I've always found interesting about Canadian politics is the fact that, especially with a minority government, our government is technically always on the verge of "collapse." In the U.S., you vote someone into the White House as president and they stay there for four years. In Canada, Paul Martin has been struggling to stay in power within the last year alone. rolleyes

    Now, to change the tune about, how about that Gomery Report, eh? I actually liked Jean Chrétien better than Paul Martin,…

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  40. Demoglassics

    I got my new sunglasses on Monday, and new glasses on Tuesday. So this is what you ordinary people see, eh? Mmm, shiny.

    Watching late-night/early-morning television is extremely difficult, because it turns out that finding good late-night/early-morning television is more difficult than finding a Liberal Member of Parliament in Alberta. TBS generally has a movie on, although whether or not the movie is one I would like remains a difficult question.

    There's lots of Atlanta-based commercials that scare me. Almost half of them (if not more) appear to centre around career training/diploma training things. So I'm wondering, early at the morning, if TBS' targetted demographic are high-school dropouts with low grades and a tendency to watch bad television programming?

    The scary thing is that the answer is probably yes. . . .

  41. R.I.P. John Morgan

    John Morgan, memorable Air Farce comedian with character such as Mike from Canmore and Jock McBile, died on Monday.

    I grew up on Air Farce, and John Morgan was my favourite of the troupe . . . it's said to see so many good actors dying when I'm so young . . .

    http://www.canoe.ca/Television/nov17_comic-cp.html

About Me

I’m a 27-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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