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Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Riverdale: Archie and Veronica sing “Mad World,” but Betty takes over

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Wow! This is what passes for TV aimed at teenagers these days!

Spoiler alert: it’s possible that by watching this, you might get a clue as to what will happen during the first eight episodes of season 2, if you haven’t watched yet.

* * *

I mentioned this show to my 12-year-old nephew at Thanksgiving, and he said yuck sounds boring, he heard some girls at his school talking about the show. So apparently middle-school-aged girls watch this show!

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 29, 2018 at EST pm

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

It’s a recently released 10-episode Netflix series starring a cute-as-a-button blonde-haired 18-year-old white actress playing a 16-year-old spunky “witch.”

It has a very stylized gothic look, the entire town looks almost cartoonish in its creepiness, especially the house where Sabrina lives with her two aunts and cousin which does double-duty as a mortuary. The series has great visual appeal.

It takes place in an undetermined time in the past, maybe the early 1970s.

It also has some of the most extreme pandering to SJWism and “diversity” ever seen on the small screen.

Sabrina’s male cousin is both black and gay. Her two best friends are a black girl and a little dyke girl played by a transgender actor. Or actress. His/her true gender identity is kept secret by the internet, I could not figure it out.

Sabrina’s boyfriend Harvey is like a useless puppy dog. He’s either afraid of everything, or when he tries to prove his courage he gets himself into trouble and has to be saved by Sabrina. Harvey’s father is a mean bully who abuses him. The white male principal of the human high school is shown to be incompetent. Heterosexual white males are either incompetent and ineffective, or mean bullies, or repressed homosexuals.

Witches have extreme diversity. The white “high priest” has a black wife. The mean girls at Sabrina’s witch school are three creepy orphan sisters, a black girl, an Asian girl, and a token white girl. An Asian warlock at the school takes a romantic interest in Sabrina. (The Asian warlock is portrayed as a nice guy, which perhaps plays into the stereotype of Asian men being nice but sexually ineffectual.)

Initially I thought that all of the feminist stuff was satire, but then I realized that SJWs have no sense of humor like that.

On the other hand, the depiction of the “Church of Night” is definitely satire or parody of how SJWs think that religious Christians behave. Where a religious Christian might frequently say “praise Jesus,” or “praise the Lord” the witches sprinkle their speech with “praise Satan,” and “praise the Dark Lord.” I enjoyed this, but I also wondered why there is never a TV show that unironically depicts regular religious Christians.

I’m not sure who this series is aimed at. It’s definitely too sophisticated for teenagers to get it. Unlike Riverdale which is a much more conventional teen drama.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 5, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Television

Sesame Street writer says Ernie and Bert are gay

All this time I innocently thought they were just best-friend puppets. But it turns out that the gaystream media has been brainwashing us since I was a little kid.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 18, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Television

Thoughts on Star Trek TOS after re-watching half of the first season

Yes, there is a disappointment here. In my memory, the original Star Trek series was the greatest thing ever to air on TV. But the reality is that it’s actually not that good. What happened?

It would probably be accurate to say that the original Star Trek series was the greatest thing ever to air on TV as of the year 1979. Especially if you like science fiction. But even if you don’t care for science fiction, early television just wasn’t very good, and those of us old enough to remember it look back on it with rose-colored glasses.

Even when the next generation of Star Trek first aired in the 1980s, my reaction at the time was that it wasn’t as good as the original. How could that be? For starters, I was put off by the enhanced level of political correctness of TNG, the insistence that a robot should be treated as if he were human, the wimpiness of Picard compared to the brashness of Kirk.

Today, objectively, I can see that TNG has production values that are light years ahead of TOS. I think this wasn’t as obvious in the 1980s for two reasons:

(1) On crappy low-resolution analog over-the-air broadcasts on CRT televisions, the improvement over TOS weren’t as obvious, but it’s a lot more obvious when watching these episodes on Netflix with high-resolution screens. They did an amazing job cleaning up TOS and it looks way better than it did when I watched it over-the-air, but that has the unfortunate side-effect of giving me a better view of how hokey and cheap everything looked.

(2) Even up to the 1980s, the future hadn’t yet arrived. The control panels in TOS still looked believable, while the flashier TNG sets gave the impression that someone was trying too hard to make everything look futuristic. If you look at the interior of an actual real-world space vehicle, yes they have one on display at the Smithsonian Institution, it looks a lot more like a set from TOS and nothing at all like a set from TNG. But with hindsight, the people who created the sets for TNG did a pretty damn good job of imagining, if not the 24th century, at least the next thirty years The flashing screens in TNG don’t seem especially futuristic any more, while the sets in TOS look very old-fashioned. It now seems pretty ridiculous imagining that a future starship would have buttons all over the place.

My sophistication as a consumer of television has increased immensely since then. We now expect to see characters in TV series acting in a more subtle and naturalistic way, rather than the overacting prevalent on early TV, which was perhaps suited for small low-resolution screens with many viewers getting poor broadcast reception on top of that.

Computer and other technology has progressed fifty years, and with computers being a big part of Star Trek, it’s too easy to see what they got wrong about the future. A computer that you could talk to and would understand what you said, that seemed pretty impossible in the 1960s, but we are pretty close to that today. I think that in 10 years, Siri or Alexa will have just as good verbal comprehension as the Star Trek computers. Star Trek massively underpredicted computer automation. All those people on the bridge of Enterprise pushing buttons seems pretty unlikely, a future spaceship will surely just fly itself. And most of what passes for traveling through space on Star Trek as well as most other science fiction shows violates the laws of physics.

Star Trek should be credited for what they were able to accomplish given such an aggressive shooting schedule and such a low budget. The first season of Star Trek had 29 episodes, whereas a season of Game of Thrones has only ten or so episodes, created with a vastly larger budget.

So why continue with re-watching the original Star Trek series? I am still fascinated (to use one of Spock’s favorite words) by how much my expectations about television have changed. I’m old enough to feel the pull of nostalgia for things from my youth. My grandfather used to watch these ridiculous old Western movies on television, and now I see why he did that.

And there’s still a lot to learn about how society has changed since the 1960s. You may ask, wouldn’t it be better to see that from something that wasn’t science fiction? Yes, and no. Star Trek explored ideas that simply weren’t explored in other television at the time. Partially it was the science fiction theme that enabled that, but also television wasn’t a very sophisticated medium back then. It was mostly dumb entertainment for the masses. As badly as you may think Star Trek has aged, if you enjoyed the A-Team as a kid but try to watch it today, you won’t believe how you were ever able to watch that dreck. I suspect that I will not get much enjoyment out of any 1960s sitcoms. Were there any dramas from the 1960s other than western stuff like Rawhide, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, etc? I am open to suggestions. I think that I would enjoy Petyon Place, but there doesn’t seem to be anyway to watch it without buying the DVDs for $25.56 per five DVDs, which seems outrageous. The only 1960s show on Netflix is the Andy Griffith Show, which is said to be a pretty good show for the 1960s; maybe I should give it a try.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 29, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Star Trek, Television

The Innocents on Netflix, a totally spoiler-free review

I love teen romance dramas, and then throw in the some supernatural stuff and it gets even better. It takes place in northern England, London, and Norway. A half-black kid is one of the major characters, but otherwise it’s a very white show, as white as it gets today. As an intelligent kid with an English accent, the black kid is really a white person on the inside. Except when he takes of his shirt and he’s way more ripped than a normal nerdy white high school kid.

Highly recommended!

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 29, 2018 at EST am

Posted in Television

Look what I found using Google Maps

The “s” has been removed.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 22, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Television

Omarosa, take 3

This is the third time she has been mentioned in the blog.

In 2004 I wrote: “If you recall The Apprentice, one of Omarosa’s great failings is that she was often more interested in eating a leisurely meal than working.”

In December, 2017 I wrote: “I vaguely remember watching the first season of the Apprentice. Omarosa was the woman who everyone else hated, and she was fired midway through the season because of her poor ability to get along with her team members.”

Now, of course, we know that her back-stabbing book is coming out next week. Is anyone surprised that she would backstab the man who made her famous in the first place?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 10, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Books, Television

Black Buffy

Everything that was once white is being blackwashed.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 4, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Television

Star Trek TOS: Where No Man Has Gone Before, part 2

Read part 1 of the review.

Sorry, but this is just a poorly organized mish-mosh of thoughts.

* * *

Gary Mitchell is the ladies’ man of the Enterprise. When Dr. Dehner first shows up, Mitchell tries to flirt, but she rebuffs him with a disparaging remark. Mitchell then tells his shipmate that she’s a “walking freezer unit” loud enough so she can hear him! Feminist-leaning modern viewers have called this “sexual harassment” aboard the Enterprise. The best thing about old TV shows is the political incorrectness.

But then, as Mitchell becomes more powerful and even godlike as a result of gaining super “ESP” powers, Dehner’s attitude completely changes. First she champions him at the ship meeting about what to do about Gary, and then she wants to stay on the planet with him. This is a case of Mitchell becoming more alpha, and even the feminist professional woman who disdains his hound-dog behavior changes her attitude towards him as he becomes a super-alpha.

* * *

The blonde Yeoman Smith who’s on the bridge is the cutest Yeoman ever seen on Star Trek, way cuter than Yeoman Rand. Too bad she never made it past the pilot. But it’s not Captain Kirk who she’s into, nope, it’s our friend Gary Mitchell, who she holds hands with as the ship crosses the galactic barrier. That type of behavior was removed from the series after the pilot. Uhura (absent in the pilot) was sexy, but she kept it professional (except in the evil “Mirror” universe).

* * *

The “ESP” stuff is a very 60s thing. Today nobody takes ESP seriously anymore. Sure, there are lots of movies and TV shows about people with paranormal abilities (like the X-Men), but everyone understands that it’s fantasy and not something to be taken as a serious prediction of what the future will be like. But back in the 60s, ESP was more prominent in hard science fiction. It appeared in various Heinlein novels.

In this episode, Spock is able to look at everyone’s personnel records on his computer screen (which was actually pretty forward thinking), and each record includes an ESP rating. In the future as envisioned here, ESP is taken so seriously that everyone in Starfleet is tested and rated and it’s seen as a scientific fact that some humans have a certain amount of ESP.

Of course, as the series progresses, we encounter many aliens with paranormal abilities, including Spock who is able to read minds by doing a Vulcan mind meld.

* * *

The core assumption of this episode is that if one man obtains super powers, he inherently becomes dangerous to the entire human race, and must be cast out or killed. Thus as soon as Spock determines that Mitchell’s ESP powers are increasing “geometrically,” his immediate “logical” recommendation is that he must be killed as soon as possible, or left behind on a deserted planet, put preferably killed.

However, the setup here is that Mitchell is Kirk’s best friend, and Kirk doesn’t initially have it in him to kill him in cold blood, so he decides on the less lethal option to abandon him on a nearby planet that also, quite conveniently, has an automated mining station with everything they need to fix the warp engines.

And later on, after Mitchell has escaped from his prison cell down on the planet (why does an unpopulated automated mining station have a prison cell?), and the ship has been repaired, it would appear that Kirk has gotten what he wanted, Mitchell is alive on the planet (along with Dehner who now also has super ESP powers) and Kirk can leave him there. But now Kirk has changed his mind and decides that Mitchell must be killed, and that the way to kill him is not by using the ships phasers safely from orbit, but by Kirk going man-to-man against Mitchell who has godlike powers.

This is an example, that will be repeated in many future episodes, where Kirk goes irrational alpha-male, and needs personal and physical revenge against someone who wronged him. By all logic, Kirk should have been killed in the encounter, because Mitchell is now too godlike to be harmed by the cool-looking phaser rifle (which never appeared in any future Star Trek episode), but because of an unlikely and fortuitous turn of events, and a speech, Kirk is able to bury Mitchell alive, and Dehner conveniently dies on her own without Kirk having to do the dastardly deed of killing a woman.

* * *

It seems to me that Kirk isn’t the only one behaving irrational alpha-male in this episode. Mitchell supposedly has super-intelligence in addition to super ESP powers, he is able to read, and remember with perfect recall, a large portion of the ship’s library, but somehow he’s not smart enough to realize that he could much more effectively get what he wants (perhaps transport to a human-inhabited planet so he can take over the human race, or something like that) by pretending to be harmless and benevolent, but instead he shows off his super powers and says stuff like “SOON I’LL SQUASH YOU LIKE INSECTS.”

In episode after episode, Kirk is never able to humor hostile aliens when it appears, at least to me, to be the most prudent course of action. The message is that a true alpha-male, like Kirk, or Mitchell in this episode, is unable to even pretend to be a beta male, not even for a short time, not even when it would be highly advantageous to do so.

* * *

In the briefing room aboard the Enterpise, Dehner says “a mutated superior man could also be a wonderful thing. The forerunner of a new and better kind of human being,” and down on the planet she says “before long, we’ll be where it would have taken mankind millions of years of learning to reach.”

This reflects two themes that run throughout Star Trek.

The first, is that the inevitable future is for mankind to evolve into something superior to what we are today. But that is totally false. It’s not how evolution works. There is no force that causes humans to get better with each passing century. Humans got to where we are because the environment was such that what we consider to be better humans had more descendants and passed on more genes. That type of evolution is no longer happening. Today, it’s the worst of humanity who have the most descendants and pass on the most genes. The human race is devolving and not evolving.

The only way that mankind is going to become better in the future, or even stop its decline, is through artificial means like eugenics or genetic engineering. And that brings us to the second recurring theme of Star Trek, that shortcuts like that are evil and lead to monsters like Gary Mitchell, Charlie X, or Khan Noonien Singh.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 31, 2018 at EST am

Posted in Nerdy stuff, Television

Star Trek TOS: Where No Man Has Gone Before, part 1

I was thinking that I should watch more original-series Star Trek, and instead of randomly jumping around as I’ve done in the past, I figured I should just start from the beginning, although even the “beginning” isn’t so clear cut. I decided that the beginning is this episode, which was the third episode aired but is actually the pilot episode: the second pilot episode. The first pilot, lost for a long time but now available on Netflix, didn’t have William Shatner in it, and most of the footage was recycled into a two-part flashback episode that aired later in the first season.

I know that some readers are thinking “Star Trek isn’t important, why aren’t you writing about Trump?” There has been too much writing about Trump, and Star Trek is damn important because of the very strong impression it made on nerds of my generation (late Baby Boomer and early Generation X) because every day when I came home from school, what was on TV (on Chanel 11) was reruns Star Trek. (I’m not old enough to have watched this when it originally aired.)

It’s strange re-watching the Original Series. In my memory it is so awesome, but then I watch it and it’s so dated, the special effects are so bad, the acting is so bad, and it’s so full of plot holes. Even Kirk seems less awesome than I remember. At the same time, I also see a lot of philosophical details that I missed entirely when I was younger.

Even though this pilot got some stuff wrong (such as Spock being a cowboy-like gunslinger toting around a huge phaser rifle), it sets up a lot of the recurring themes for the rest of the series, such as:

  • Kirk beats Spock at “chess” because Spock is put off by his “illogical” moves (more on this later).
  • Logical Spock argues with an emotional doctor (in this episode the female psychiatrist Doctor Dehner because McCoy isn’t around yet), with Kirk being the referee who understands both the logical and emotional points of view.
  • Kirk is concerned about the safety of his ship.
  • But then Kirk’s actions seem more like he has a personal grudge against Gary Mitchell. Alpha males don’t like to be crossed, and overreaction to being crossed is what makes people afraid to cross them in the first place.
  • Kirk gives an overacted speech that saves the day. (Speeches never save the day in real life, but it happens all the time in Star Trek.)
  • Kirk gets into a fistfight, and during the fight his shirt gets mysteriously ripped. You would think that they’d have more advanced fabrics in the future that don’t get ripped so easily.

Let’s talk some more about this “tridimensional chess” that we see Spock and Kirk playing. For starters, it’s not a real game, it’s just a prop that was designed to look cooler, more futuristic, more advanced and harder to play, than regular chess. The chess theme is pretty dated. Chess was more popular in the 1960s than it is today, partially thanks to Bobby Fischer the American chess champion of the 1960s.

Today we know that computers can outplay even the best humans at chess. Even a chess program running on your iPhone can beat the best human grandmasters. And computers operate on pure logic, so it’s totally illogical that Kirk could beat the more computer-like brain of Spock through illogical moves. I suppose the intent was to show that pure logic isn’t enough to be a Starship Captain. But for playing chess, yes, pure logic is what you need. That computers can beat any human at chess has ruined the mysteries of the game and is partly responsible for its decline in popularity.

Gene Roddenberry liked to believe that people in the future would be “better” than they are today, so they are seen entertaining themselves by playing a game of chess (perceived as a game for smart people) that was even more advanced and difficult than regular chess. The reality, at least in the short term, is that people in the future would entertain themselves by watching reality TV shows and playing mindless videogames. Gene Roddenberry total got that wrong.

In Star Trek the Next Generation, the crew is often seen playing poker, and that’s a more likely game that will be played in the future than some funky version of chess.

This post is taking me longer to write than I thought it would, so I will continue tomorrow with a review of the actual plot of the episode.

* * *

Read part 2 of the review.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 30, 2018 at EST am

Posted in Nerdy stuff, Television

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