Saturday, February 17, 2007

Saturday Morning Geekery

Some geek-type stuff to launch the weekend:

:: I kind of liked this quiz, because not only does it tell you which superhero you are, it also breaks out a bunch of others you could be. (Although as much as I love Wonder Woman, I don't much see how I could be her, since I'm a dude and stuff.)

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Iron Man
The Flash
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Spiderman, eh? Fine by me!

:: Here's an article about the ratings-crash of LOST. I no longer watch the show, having quickly grown bored with it in Season One. What interests me is the way the show is constantly mentioned in the same breath as The X-Files, with the earlier show continually being cited as an example of a mystery-mytharc type of show petering out in an unsatisfying way. And yes, TXF certainly did that, but it's worth noting that TXF managed to go on for nine seasons, surviving far longer than LOST's current three. (From what I've read in the past, LOST is almost certain to go away after its fifth year, if the ratings allow it to survive even that long.)

Why did TXF go on so long? Well, a few reasons -- for most of its run it focused on the chemistry between two characters, as opposed to the large cast that inhabits LOST, it was able to tell stories that were a lot more varied than sticking to a single island (character flashbacks notwithstanding), and most importantly, for all the invective thrown at TXF for the way its internal mytharc was eventually mishandled, TXF just didn't do mytharc all that often. Over nine seasons the show produced around 180 total episodes, with only around 60 of those actively advancing the mytharc (and that's depending on how you count the mytharc episodes in the first place -- is "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" a mytharc episode at all?). LOST seems to be all-mytharc, all-the-time. (I may be wrong here, of course, since I stopped watching a long time ago, but back in the 90s, FOX only felt it necessary to air a "Mytharc summation" TXF special once, whereas it seems that ABC has to do this for LOST twice a season.)

:: I've probably linked this before, but it's worth doing so again: Wil Wheaton is slowly blogging his way through watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. His write-ups of each episode are hilarious; for instance, from his writeup of "The Last Outpost" (when we first meet the Ferengi):

Data says Ferengi are like traders, and explains this with the most obvious contemporary reference: Yankee traders from 18th century America. This indicates that, in the 24th century, the traditional practice of using 400 year-old comparisons is still in vogue, like when you're stuck in traffic on the freeway, and you say, "Man, this is just like Vasco de Gama trying to go around the Cape of Good Hope!"

Even better, his introspective ruminations on the part he played on TNG are fascinating. Here's an excerpt from what he says about the episode "The Battle" (that would be the one where Picard is being mind-controlled by a Ferengi captain who has a personal axe to grind with Our Dear Captain):

I haven't watched this episode in over a decade, but it's probably one of the most important for me to see, because it clearly illustrates exactly why Wesley Crusher went from mildly annoying to vehemently hated character so quickly: First of all, acting ensign or not, having Wesley rush into the middle of the Bridge and effectively tell Riker, "Hey, I figured this out before you all did because I'm so fucking smart" is quite possibly the worst way to help the audience accept that this kid is going to be part of the main crew.

I never loathed Wesley as much as many other fans did, but it did get annoying when all these Starfleet personnel would turn out to be too stupid to figure out what's going on. It would have been helpful to have an episode where Wesley bursts onto the bridge and says, "Hey, I figured it out! You need to...oh, you've already done that. OK, but next make sure you...oh, you're on that, too. OK, I'm gonna go back to my room."

:: The Disney Corp. has lost a legal battle over the ownership or some other rights issue pertaining to Winnie the Pooh. Maybe we can finally start tilting back in favor of the idea of public domain over the next decade or two? (And maybe someone who understands the issues involved in that case I linked can sum up what happened?)

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