Monday, August 30, 2010
A long-lost, 1970 interview with Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling. (Via SFSignal.com.)
A long-lost, 1970 interview with Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling. (Via SFSignal.com.)
I think this clip is from an old episode of Saturday Night Live, but I'm not sure about that. The writing is kind of weak, but Shatner sure is having a ball. It's not too hard to imagine that he really starts his mornings like this.
The video for this sweet, jangly pop tune begins with a young hipster couple trying on silly clothes at a trendy vintage store... only to then take off in a very surprising direction when we meet the hipster girl's stalker ex.
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A very interesting article on the urban planning seen in Star Wars, Blade Runner and other sci-fi classics. Author Tony Chavira does a good job of examining what works, and doesn't work, in these various cityscapes. One aspect that I found a little strange was Chavira's assumption that there would be homeless people in all of these environments. Sure, there would be homeless folks in Star Wars' Mos Eisley or Futurama's New New York... But I have a hard time picturing people sleeping in alleys in the utopian world of The Jetsons. (Besides, they don't even have alleys!)
Jack Horkheimer, the unforgettable host of PBS' long-running Star Gazer (originally Star Hustler) has passed away. The clip above was apparently his final broadcast, and he seems as goofy about the stars as ever.
This fascinating article from 1982 reveals something of the sweet, complicated man behind the cheery Star Gazer persona. On his website, he provided his own epitaph:
"Keep Looking Up was my life's admonition,
I can do little else in my present position."
Every year, Beloit College releases the "Mindset List," supposedly capturing the mindset of new college students. It's a very strange, rather masochistic annual tradition, where people all over America read these lists specifically so they can feel old and irrelevant.
The lists have never been a very accurate barometer of what kids know and don't know. (When I was a kid the lists kept saying I'd never heard of stuff like Watergate and Laugh In, like I'd grown up in a locked basement without a TV or something.) But this year's list seems particularly odd and out-of-touch. Check out number six:
6. Buffy has always been meeting her obligations to hunt down Lothos and the other blood-suckers at Hemery High.
Okay, first: Buffy? That seems like kind of a dated reference. Aren't today's kids a lot more into Twilight and crap like that? Second, does whoever wrote this list realize that Buffy's story continued beyond the 1992 movie? In the movie she fought Lothos at Hemery High, but in the later, much more popular TV series, she attended Sunnydale High and Lothos played no part.
And then we get to this baffler at number nine:
9. Had it remained operational, the villainous computer HAL could be their college classmate this fall, but they have a better chance of running into Miley Cyrus’s folks on Parents’ Weekend.
Hal 9000? From 2001: A Space Odyssey? According to 2010: The Year We Make Contact, in 2010 Hal is re-activated after murdering the Discovery crew in 2001, briefly assists the scientists aboard the Leonov and then sacrifices himself as part of all that weird "All these worlds are yours except Europa" stuff. So, where does Hal find time in all that to go to college? That's at least as baffling as anything Dave Bowman experienced before the aliens turned him into the floating star baby.
And then there's #53:
53. J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. Hasn’t he?
Well, according to Wikipedia, J.R.'s not dead. He was last seen in some 1998 TV movie, alive and well and getting up to his usual mischief. If any of today's kids have even heard of J.R. Ewing, why would they assume he was dead?
Frankly this seems less like a list of stuff that today's kids think, and more like your grandpa's list of stuff that he thinks today's kids think.
Now here's a tall, cool glass of the 1970s: William Shatner (wearing a red velvet shirt that looks like something he bought at Hot Topic), Stiller and Mearra, and Kristy McNicol sit down for a chat on The Mike Douglas Show. Just when you think the whole thing can't possibly get any more Carter-era, they start discussing astrology.
Nirvana collides with the Jackson 5 in an explosion of improbable awesomeness. (You know, cranky as he was, something tells me that Cobain would've approved.)
In a long and fascinating interview with the LA Times, Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz details his falling-out with George Lucas. As Kurtz explains it, post-Empire Strikes Back, Lucas started to build his plots around what would be good for Star Wars toy merchandising:
"I could see where things were headed. The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It's a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It's natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that's not the best thing for making quality films."
Kurtz says that Return of the Jedi was planned to be a much, much darker film, before Lucas filled it up with cuddly Ewoks.
"We had an outline, and George changed everything in it," the filmmaker said. "Instead of bittersweet and poignant, he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn't want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales, and that was a reason."
While that would've been a powerful, unforgettable ending, the kid in me is horrified by the idea of Han Solo dying and Luke going off to wander that galaxy as a lone jedi. The ending of Empire was traumatic enough!
In Patrice's new music video, blurry naked people with shopping carts scurry around in various locations assembling piles of stereo speakers into giant, singing Patrice heads. Really.
And I do mean performed.
Rich Morris makes a habit of accomplishing the seemingly impossible. First he created a sprawling Doctor Who fan comic that featured all of the Doctor's first ten incarnations, telling a busy but exciting story while expertly capturing the particular character of each Doctor. That was impressive enough. Then he followed it up with Forever Janette, an adventure that had the Doctor's hapless eighth incarnation (the one from that poopy American TV movie) teaming up with the cast of the semi-forgotten Canadian vampire series, Forever Knight. It absolutely should not have worked, and yet it somehow did.
I really, really wish that this fan-made, blaxploitation Star Wars parody was a real movie. I would watch the living daylights out of it.
That 12-minute Lost epilogue, The New Man in Charge, has now leaked online. ABC has been very aggressive about taking it down, but as I write this you can still see it (with Italian subtitles) here. If you want to see this thing, I strongly suggest you click on that link right now, because the video definitely won't be there for long.
(Spoilers ahead, kinda.) I have the feeling that the Lost producers basically sat down with a list of 25 or so "answers" that fans wouldn't shut up about, and they crammed them all into this short clip. It's more of an exposition dump than a proper story, really. (But it's still a little sad to watch this and think that this is probably the last time we'll ever see one of Dr. Chang's orientation videos.) And that ending is kind of cruel. The ambiguity of it and the big, tense music make it seem like a heck of a cliffhanger... But there's no resolution coming ever, this is it!
In this quick sketch from the UK series Dead Ringers, Doctor Who's tenth Doctor suffers through a rather tense Christmas with a few of his earlier incarnations. (The Tom Baker impersonator is so spot-on it's kind of eerie.)
Back before Police Squad became a series of rather forgettable movies, it was a short-lived but pretty fun TV series. This clip from the show features 15 seconds of priceless Shatner goofery. (That's actually his entire "special guest star" appearance in the episode!)
In this extremely disturbing English commercial, a gentleman suffering from Rubik's Cube Head attempts to unscramble his face. This ad doesn't make me want to drink Drench. Actually, it makes me associate Drench (a drink I've never heard of before) with people who have nightmarish, rotatable facial parts. It also makes me want to lock my computer monitor in a trunk and bury it in the yard so I'll never have to worry about it showing me something this terrifying again.
Lost fans are having palpitations awaiting the upcoming, 11-minute Lost epilogue, The New Man in Charge. Well, here's something sweet to tide us over: the first minute - 12.1 percent of the finished episode! - featuring the all too brief return of Ben Linus as he visits a Dharma Initiative warehouse.
Micheal Emerson is going to be up against some serious typecasting in the years to come. Seriously, how can this guy ever be anybody but Ben Linus?
As much as George Lucas has disappointed me and ticked me off from The Phantom Menace onward, he has done two thing guaranteed to save his soul from perdition.
1. He created the original Star Wars trilogy.
2. He has just pledged half of his vast fortune to charity.
Oh, and he was the executive producer of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Labyrinth. And we can't forget American Graffiti and THX-1138. So, you add all of those great, great things together, and they cancel out the unmitigated horror of Jar-Jar Binks. But just barely.
A brand new, big, fat, spoiler-heavy trailer is online for season 5 (season 4.2?) of The Venture Brothers. Sweet lord, have I missed this crazy show.
New Zealand's Hell Pizza chain has sponsored Deliver Me to Hell, a funny, gross and NSFW interactive zombie comedy in which you control the actions of a fumbly pizza delivery man as he attempts to deliver a pizza in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. (Talk about job dedication! If this guy doesn't get his picture on the wall as Employee of the Month, there's no justice in this world.)
No, for real. In this clip William Shatner chats with Lee Malvo, the infamous D.C. sniper.