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The Return of the Retarded — Hibbs on TV

Brian Hibbs

The real problem for me of the NewSavageCritic is when Jog and Abhay and Lester all post these wonderful, thoughtful essays that really get to the core of things, and make you think wise and deep thoughts, and then I have to post something, and I just know it is going to sound like “Dur dur! DUH! Dur dur dur!”

I’m still kind of adjusting to the demands of working Every Weekday — oh, I know, “Poor poor miserable you!”, but I spent more than a decade there with a schedule that was, shall we say, relaxed, so to get back into the 5-days-a-week Grind has been an adjustment. Ultimately, its better for the store, to, y’know, have the owner actually in his store behind the counter, but figuring out what work goes when has been tricky for me.

I’ve still got to finish this month’s order form, but I got through the Marvel books, so I’m down to “the back half of PREVIEWS”, and I should be able to polish that tomorrow… but then Carissa (AKA The New Girl) dropped me an email saying a friend of hers died and she needed the weekend off to go to the funeral back east, and suddenly I’ve got to work Sunday this week too, so I guess I can finish the order form then, which means (he said, having run-on sentence after run-on sentence), that I can chill a little bit today, and do some darn writing.

The New TV season just started, so I’ve been Mr. Vegetable Man every day after work, doing the full-on Zone Out in front of the glass teat, which, naturally, lowers my IQ even further than the plain exhaustion of working every day, plus it has been beastly hot (for San Francisco) here the last few nights, so it’s not like I’m getting a full 8 hours each night now. And I’m even more toast-like today since Anina Bennett asked us for help in moving her from one apartment to another this morning, which means I got maybe 5 hours sleep, then had to haul boxes up a two floor walkup, but the things you do for friends, right?

Which is my vastly long-winded way of saying “Hi, I’m tired and feeling retarded, so let’s talk about television!”

THE BIONIC WOMAN: I was never exactly what you might call a fan of the original series — heck as a boy, I’d lose my card if I hadn’t preferred Major Steve Austin, Astronaut, a Man Barely Alive, Etc. to Jamie Summers, who, ferchristsakes, had a parachute accident — but I figured I should check out the first episode at least.

Sorry I did, really.

I’m too lazy to look up the cast, but, man, what a bland-ass actress they picked for the lead. She’s pretty enough, but I didn’t feel the slightest amount of empathy for her or her situation, because she’s just not engaging. At least Lindsey Wagner had a spark of some kind, right?

“Bionic” here seems to mean some sort of nano-robotic thing or something? They’re not exactly clear, really, except that her legs are all glowy (and then they aren’t)

The best thing about the show is certainly Katee Sackoff (probably spelled that wrong), but one doesn’t get the sense that she’s going to be in every episode or anything. And, even if she was, I wouldn’t watch just for that. The vague set-up (like who ARE these people, and what are their motivations?) is, I think, supposed to be a “tantalizing mystery”, but I needed something more to come back next week, and I didn’t find it.

One note, however: the show is supposedly set in San Francisco (at least, that’s what the title bar said), but San Francisco doesn’t have “fall”. That is to say, you’re fairly unlikely to find trees that have half of their leaves falling off them. Which you do in virtually every street scene here. I guess this is somewhere in Canada… but why set a show in SF if you’re not going to use any exteriors, or try to get the “feel” of the town right at all? AWFUL.

JOURNEYMAN: Had the opposite problem — much like Gaiman and JRjr’s ETERNALS series, there’s “too much” San Francisco. I know it is a little hard to believe, but, really, in 90% of The City, you probably can’t see either the Golden Gate bridge OR a Cable Car.

If it was like how BULLIT is for a SF person (“wait, how did he get from THAT side of the side to THIS one in under 15 seconds?!?!”), that would be one thing, but they decided to DIGITALLY INSERT the GG bridge into shots that make absolutely no sense. Like the scene where he wakes up in “Golden Gate Park”, with the bridge LOOMing over him? No, sir — just because they both have “Golden Gate” in the title doesn’t make it so! (All they had to do was say it was The Presidio, and then it could have scanned just fine) I’m pretty certain there’s no spot in the Park where you can see the Bridge, except maybe as a little speck in the distance. Really, just go look at a map!

Anyway, the show itself? I dunno, I liked QUANTUM LEAP quite a bit, so I’m going to give it at least one more episode, but I can’t say I was especially grabbed by the pilot. With this kind of a Time Travel show, there needs to be Rules, and I don’t get the sense that they’ve figured them out yet themselves. There’s something vaguely clever about having his ex-girlfriend ALSO being a Time Traveller, but they need to at least outline The Rules of how this Works really fast, or I’ll be moving on just as fast. EH

CHUCK: Yuck.

HEROES: If there was a show I was looking forward to this season, its definitely the second season of HEROES. So I was pretty disappointed to watch it and think “EH”. Part of it was dropping us back in “four months later” without a lot of clarity on what was going on, and with some seeming contradictions — like, why is Claire in “hiding” in California, while Parkman and Cerebrette are still in NYC, living under Parkman’s Real Name? WTH happened with the Petrellis? No one seems to be concerned that Sylar’s body vanished? Where’s the rest of the cast? And so forth.

I thought the cliffhanger with Hiro last year was very cool — but in this opening, I was ITCHING to get him back into “the present”, because the most probable way that story is going to play out (Hiro *becomes* Kensai, or whatever his name is) is… well, played out already.

Either way, they get 3-4 issu… I mean episodes! of grace, since the first season started off pretty badly, too, but that wasn’t what I wanted at all. OK

DEXTER: No, not new, but new to me, since I don’t have Showtime. We’ve got DirecTV, and their “version” of “OnDemand”, kinda, is channel 101, where they’re showing 2 eps a night of the series. They’re clearly hacked to pieces — all of the swearing is overdubbed like “That mother-lovin’ piece of spit is a real ashbowl!”, and I’m guessing they cut out all of the titties, and a fair amount of penetrative violence, but, regardless, I’m REALLY enjoying this show. I hope the last two episodes tonigth wrap up things in a satisfying way. I’ve even ordered the novel the show is based upon from the library because I liked the show so much. VERY GOOD.

One last thing, apropos of nothing at all, other than that whole “retail intelligence” thing: After 18 years, I decided to cancel our Yellow Pages display ad this year, and see what happens. Given that the #1 question we get asked on a phone call is “What are your hours?”, #2 “Where are you located?” and #3 is “Do you buy comics?”, all of which are clearly in our display ad; and given that I tend to answer “Who ELSE buys comics” with “look in the yellow pages and call one after another”, and that that usually gets a blank stare in return, I’m no longer convinced that America 2007 even knows that they HAVE a Yellow Pages any longer.

Right, that’s my Retarded Ramblings…. what did YOU think?


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