Tag Archives: TV

Quite Possibly the Best Anime I Never Knew About Until Now

18 May

Somewhere between the time I stopped watching anime and was busy trying to stop being an otaku, I missed out on watching a great anime. A great anime that might be better than Death Note. Wait. It is better than Death Note. It does spoof Death Note here and there. Yes, I daresay it is better than Death Note even though every other episode borderlines on filler. But guess what, I don’t even skip the filler episodes because this anime is so great. The last time I laughed so hard for 20 minutes straight was in The Hangover. If you even ask me what it is about I don’t know how I’d sell the idea to you without being at a loss for words–it’s about 3 people who are part of a Yorozuya (Jack of all trades) and go around picking up jobs? That didn’t sell it to you, did it? One is a samurai with a natural perm of icy blue hair, one is a beastly strong Chinese-looking girl, one is a four-eyed (but not literally four-eyed) otaku samurai. Does that do it for you? Do you want to watch “Gintama” now? No? Then I don’t know how else to put it… except that you should just start to watch it anyways, because I have never watched an anime so funny and so full of heart at the same time. I can’t really even compare it to anything except maybe it’s the fact that this anime parodies everything and its characters are self-aware of the fact that they’re in an anime.

Our 3 main characters: Kagura, Gintoki and Shinpachi

The magic of Gintama is that it doesn’t fail to be entertaining, ever. One of its best episodes is one where the characters try to “improve” on their show in fear of being canceled and each character throws out its fantasies of what the show should continue on as. It has absolutely nothing to do with the loose storyline “Gintama” follows, but little do you realize that each of these episodes cleverly develops traits of each unique character. There’s another episode spoofing video games. There’s an episode with a random baby. An episode where the toilet paper has run out at an especially crucial time… an episode–if you can think of it, Gintama will most likely have it. Now that I reflect upon this series, I don’t know why I even mentioned a “storyline”, I’m not sure what these characters are headed towards but I’m enjoying the journey.

This was from one of my favorite episodes. Image via simon-p.com

A friend recommended this to me knowing I love shounen anime, but I balked at its 201 episode commitment. What follies. I started a mere month ago and I’m now on episode 91. Here I can still barely tell you what it’s about. There’s aliens. Robots. Sexy robots. Headless robots. Bazookas. Lots of food. Perverted jokes. There’s a ninja with hemorrhoids and a ninja with poor eyesight. I don’t know what else to say–just don’t blame me if watching Gintama becomes part of your daily routine.

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Time Travel Theories

19 Apr

So, there are three main types of time travel. Or, at the very least, that’s the way I tend to classify time travel events in my head whenever I think about it. Which I kinda do a lot, because I’m that much of a nerd. Whatever.

With slight adjustments for the details of a particular time travel event, I really believe that these three categories can be applied to explain and classify every instance of time travel in comics/movies/books/TV shows/etc.

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1. Time is Unchanging: All time travel that happens was always meant to happen. There’s just one timeline; all events are fixed and built into it and can’t be changed. In fact, trying to change or avoid things often means that you, the time-traveller, are the one who makes them happen.

Ex: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure| Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban| Kate and Leopold| Premonition| Supreme| Timeline.

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2. Time as a River: Time travel can change certain things, but the things that were meant to happen will happen eventually. You might be able to change small details or delay things, but eventually the timeline will correct itself. It’s like throwing rocks into a river: pebbles make ripples, where you can see the tiny effects, but it won’t change the major flow.

Ex:  Doctor Who| Journeyman| Terminator| The Time Machine

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3. Time Changes into Alternate Timelines: The act of time travel always causes a change of some sort, and an alternate timeline branches off from that moment. This is where the most significant changes can happen and so it’s the most commonly seen. This one’s the most complicated just because different ‘verses deal with the role of the traveller and the state of their timeline in so many different ways.

Some ‘Role of the Traveller’ options:

  • merge with your other self and have memories of both timelines (I’ve only ever seen this in Harry Potter fanfiction, but it exists)
  • replace your other self (Batman/Superman Absolute Power)
  • cause yourself to never be born (why Marty fades in Back to the Future)
  • you and the other you(s) can exist simultaneously (old and young Spock in the ’09 Star Trek movie);

Some ‘State of the Timeline’ options:

  • jump between the past and the future making and seeing changes instantly
  • changes in the past create a new timeline, completely erasing yours giving you nowhere to jump back to
  • jump to the future and return to the past to create a new timeline based on what you learned

Ex:  13 Going on 30| Back to the Future| Batman/Superman: Absolute Power| Charmed| Cinderella 3: A Stitch in Time| Eureka| Heroes| Star Trek

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Can you think of more examples of time travel?

Is there anything that doesn’t fit into these categories? Anything that should be reclassified?

David Bowie crosses the ocean with panache

20 Mar

I just finished watching the US version of Life on Mars (starting off my Spring Break by marathonning old shows) and ohmygod that was such a better resolution than the UK version!

Life on Mars is a little obscure, so I’ll summarise: The premise of the show is that a detective in present day (2008ish) gets hit by a car and winds up in 1973. . Hi s name is Sam Tyler. He doesn’t know why or how or how to get back or if he’s dreaming or in a coma or just insane. He works as a detective in the past, dealing with the differences in the time periods. He has weird interactions with himself as a little boy. He uses the best aliases (Tom Cruise, Luke Skywalker, etc). And he deals with time travel in the tongue-in-cheek/Marty McFly way, making references to things he probably shouldn’t, which makes the show fun!

 

I love the many things they kept the same about the US remake: Sam’s goody-two-shoes, by-the-book personality doesn’t jive with the way they do things in 1973; he wears the same clothes: that shirt with the ridiculous 70’s collar and a leather jacket; he has an adorable, but weird romance with Annie; he has an adorable but weird father-son/bromance with his boss; he’s really really confused about why he’s in 1973; he has awkward interactions with his family; he uses police techniques from the future…

But they also added so many little things that made the show different and more American: for instance, one of the first differences Sam notices about the 1973 world is that the Twin Towers are still standing; you also get all these tantalising references to politics of the time, with references to how honest Nixon is when you know that Watergate is lurking.

In the end, like US The Office remake, the US version of Life on Mars went in its own direction and emerged as a show that was good on its own merits, rather than just coasting on the waves of the original’s success.

Where the UK version was this super-surreal experience, where the viewer was just as confused as the main character, if not moreso, the US version toned it down quite a bit. Not to say that you didn’t understand US!Sam’s confusion and disorientation and wonder about the mystery of his apparent time travel, but you weren’t immersed in the experience as much as in the UK version. I actually liked it better this way because the viewer got to do just that, observe and empathise, but wasn’t necessarily forcibly perplexed and befuddled by the weird of the show.

And, without massive spoilers, let me just say that the US version’s ending was so much more satisfying than the UK one. After two seasons of confusing and contradictory theories about why Sam was in the past, the UK series finale is bittersweet and only sorta resolves the issues. You never really know if he was dreaming or actually in a coma and if he can go back to 1973 or if he’s dead or what. The season finale of the US version, on the other hand, gives an explanation and conclusion that actually explains everything and ties all the weird and confusing elements of the show up in a neat little sci-fi bundle. It’s satisfying and was (at least to me) unexpected and clever!

 

It’s only 17 episodes, and is on DVD and Netflix. Watch it when  you need a quick time-travel fix.

Firefly Returns (sorta)

6 Mar

Reading the title of this post might have given you the (false) hope that the cult-classic TV show Firefly was finally getting more than 14 episodes…but, alas, you would be mistaken.

(Yes, I let you believe it for a sec. Bad Marz. But, rather than just being mad at me, reflect! Reflect on why you felt that angry at my raising and dashing of your hopes and remember that it is because Firefly is awesome. It’s awesome and you love it and even that brief moment of hope was totally worth it because it reignited and reminded you of your love of this series.)

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, SHAME on you. Firefly is easily the one TV show that every single geek has to see.

Here’s your chance to watch it on TV, conceivably in the right order…already better than when it first aired. The Science Channel (of all things) is going to be airing all 14 episodes of the Firefly TV series on Sunday nights.

For me and other lovers of all things space cowboy, our favourite cancelled-before-its-time TV show is baaaack.

The Science Channel’s making it more science-y (and thus relevant to the channel’s title) by explaining the theoretical concepts behind the fiction. Apparently, terraforming might not be that far away.

The two hour pilot, Serenity, plays today at 8:00pm ET. Episode 1, The Train Job, will play at 10:00pm.  Every Sunday from now on, they’ll replay the episode from the week before at 9:00pm and play the next/new episode at 10:00pm. Watch it! That’s an order you should be happy to follow.

No Ordinary TV Show

24 Feb

I wasn’t too excited about this show at the start because, from the trailers I’d seen, it looked like a cheesier, live-action version of The Incredibles. However, now that I’m watching it, it’s not as bad as I was expecting.

Although it’s fairly predictable, it feels kinda like the later seasons of Heroes:  the premise makes it interesting enough to watch… although that could just be because I’ll watch anything with superheroes.

I like that each of their superpowers arguably corresponds to an issue they had, rather than just being randomly assigned. It reminds me of Misfits, which, as everyone knows, is awesome and anything that harkens back to it gains some redeeming value.

Jim, the husband, gets super strength, after it’s mentioned that he’s getting old and threw out his back earlier. Steph’s the career-oriented wife who’s always too busy for everything, so she gets super speed. Daphne, the teenage girl who’s worried about what the world thinks about her, gets to be a mind reader. JJ, the son who was about to be put in remedial classes, gets to be a genius.

Interesting factoid to notice: the kids’ powers keep evolving and developing, almost as though the powers grow because they’re still growing, while the parents’ powers have stayed fairly stable.

Why I continue to watch: The kids totally have supervillain powers (Ex: Daphne can now control people’s minds as well as read them). It would be AMAZING if the show chose to delve into their fall into the dark side. Probably not going to happen because it is an ABC(Family) show, but still…one can hope.

I enjoy the sidekicks (who actually think of themselves as sidekicks!) on this show a lot more than I like the main characters though. The wife’s comic-book-geek lab tech friend, Katie, is by far my favourite. Her romance with evil-guy-turned-good-because-he-loves-her is cheesy, but if there was a Katie-the-Sidekick show, I’d watch it. Her hair falls in perfect bouncy curls ALL THE TIME. That would be her superpower.

I especially love that, when first testing the wife’s superspeed, Katie asks all the questions comic book geeks have always wanted to know about how it actually works. (“How does your body cut through the wind shear? Why doesn’t the Coulumb friction singe your clothes? Are you generating some kind of charged plasma field from the kinetic energy? Is that why incoming debris isn’t sandblasting off your corneas?”)

The show’s trying to deal with the ramifications of being a superhero, and almost succeeds. It’s still fun to watch it try.

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Examples of times this show has been amusing:

Steph: “Say them. Say my three favourite words.”

Jim: “You were right.”

~

Jim: “So that’s it? I’ve got to lie, everyday, for the rest of my life?”

George: “I’m a lawyer. Trust me, you get used to it.”

~

Katie: “Complicated? Inception made more sense.”

 

Being Human on Two Continents

8 Feb

I find that my appreciation of TV shows depends a lot on how they’re marketed to me. If I expect something from a TV show, it takes a bit of effort in order to get past that expectation and appreciate it for what it is.

That being said, I think it’s important that people know what they’re getting into when they start a new TV show, so here’s your prep:

Being Human is not a comedy.


The BBC/British version was sometimes described as a comedy, at least according to Wikipedia and some of the TV ads I’ve seen.  (I think it probably started when some ad exec heard the premise: “A werewolf, ghost and vampire in a flat together? That sounds like the start of a joke. Must be a comedy!”)

It’s really not though. It’s a supernatural drama with the occasional humorous moment. As the seasons go on, the show’s been focussing more and more on the dramatic aspect of interaction between George (werewolf), Mitchell (vampire) and Annie (ghost) and their various acquaintances…so much drama that there’s hardly any comedy anymore.

It is well written, and, if you like watching supernatural dramas, it’s interesting without being a soap opera, which I definitely appreciate. It’s a drama with just enough traces of comedy to make watching it enjoyable.

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The SyFy/American version, on the other hand, makes no claim to be a comedy. It’s pure drama through and through. Somehow, (at least so far) it’s managed to stay away from the soap opera tendency of other supernatural shows, like Vampire Diaries or True Blood or The Gates, but it’s not nearly as witty as its counterpart..

The people are prettier in the US version, because apparently Hollywood’s influence in inescapable. In the UK version, while the main characters are nice to look at, everyone else is remarkable only in how normal and sometimes fugly they look.

Character names have changed, even though most of the plot points have stayed the same. Mitchell’s Aidan, Annie is Sally and George is Josh. It shouldn’t matter, but the name changes mess up my connective brain just enough that it’s like I’m watching a whole new show…but that’s probably just me.

The only change I don’t like is that Sally’s outfit isn’t nearly as cool as Annie’s was. (Yeah, I’m going to talk about clothes now. I’m a girl. Deal with it.) Annie was wearing layers, and she managed to vary the way she wore them so that it seemed like she was changing her clothes. But she wasn’t! It’s brilliant. I think it took me seven episodes to notice that although her outfit had changed every week, it really was just the same five pieces worn in different ways. Sally’s only got three layers, and no way to change her look, which makes me sad; I think the creativity of Annie’s outfit is one of the best parts of the Brit show.

There Are Other Wonderful Women in Comics Other Than Wonder Woman…

31 Jan

Yes, she is Wonder Woman and we won’t debate how wonderful she is. Hell, her name is fucking Wonder Woman. But does she really need ANOTHER non-nerdy collaboration?

MAC is releasing a Wonder Woman-inspired line of makeup February 10 (which will run through April)–but I’d like to ask, what about the OTHER females in comic book culture?

MAC's Wonder Woman collection; L-R: Mascara, Nail Lacquer, Lipstick. Images via refinery29.com

MAC's Wonder Woman collection; L-R: Mascara, Nail Lacquer, Lipstick.

Case-in-point #1: Poison Ivy (from Batman and Robin)
I can see an eye-shadow quad on Uma Thurman’s face. Perhaps it can be called, “The Greenhouse Effect”.

There would obviously be a coordinating shade of lipstick. Image via myspace.com

Case-in-point #2: Emma Frost
Look at those lips! You could just name the lipstick of the same shade “Emma Frost” and that would be appropriate.

The "Emma Frost". Image via comicbookresources.com

Example #3: Harley Quinn
Oh. Wait. I already have a palette like this from Nars, but it’s called “Pandora”. I feel “Harley Quinn” is more suitable.

Image via netbrawl.com

I rename thee, "The Harley Quinn". Image via imtheitgirl.com

Example #4: Catwoman
Not sure if she’s one of the top villainesses in my book, but Catwoman is definitely up there in the top 3. Just one of the renditions of Catwoman’s look, I’m pretty sure there’s a palette and lipstick appropriate for this version… I’d call it… “Nine Lives”.

Image via mrossana.com

Hah! It is found... "Nine Lives" as it should be named. Image via cosmetics4uonline.co.uk.

Apparently, purple lips are making a comeback. Collage via fashionjour.com

So I realize that none of the women I have chosen are as righteous as Wonder Woman, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that they are all wonderful in that they do kick a good amount of ass, and are unforgettable characters. Besides, they seem to have a bit more fun with their makeup and styling.

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