Monday, March 26, 2007

Holy Frak!

The third season of Battlestar Galactica has drawn to an end. After the nailbiting cliffhanger of season one, and the "uh oh" ending of season two, it's nice to watch the closing credits with a sense of mild closure. Even though I wanted to throw things at the screen when I saw the little "Returns in 2008" script, it won't be a long, crazy wait. There are even rumors of a TV movie in the fall, so that should feed my Jamie Bamber cravings.

Ah, now, where to begin?

The opening scene with Adama shaving and Roslin in bed gave me giggles. I hope they keep any romance notions on the back burner, because the friendship they have is priceless.

Baltar's trial. With no rumors of the terrific James Callis leaving the show, I knew that Baltar had to either get off, or escape prior to execution. I like that he was found not guilty, because the look of utter abandonment on his face when Lee and the Lawyer left him was priceless. Lee's witness stand speech was one of the most compelling monologues I've heard in ages, and every single point he made was true. Especially his own shortcomings and involment in leaving the settlers behind on New Caprica. Great turn when the elder Adama voted in favor of acquittal and pissed off Roslin. I wonder if she's so intent on Baltar's blood, because she can't stand to admit that she has failed at something along the way. That she's not a saint, either.

The Four. I still don't know if I believe that Tighe, Tori, Tyrol and Sam (doesn't that sound like a blues band?) are really four of the final five Cylon models. It seems too obvious, too easy. But I've heard rumors that one of next season's themes is exploring what it means to be human. Hmm... Either way, we still have one model left.

I so called Starbuck's reappearance. I just couldn't believe that my girl was dead, and that her big destiny was to explode in a ball of light. The look on Lee's face was adorable, when he realized who was in the bogey ship. Although I forsee a less than joyous reunion once she gets back on board the Galactica. They believed her head; she shows up not dead. Um, Cylon, anyone? Even if she's not (and I truly hope she isn't), they'll question it for a while.

Overall, I enjoyed this season more than last season (some of those episodes were very scattershot, like the writers weren't reading each other's scripts from week to week). There was a moment or two this year that made me scratch my head, but many moments that had me either cheering or thinking. It's not a perfect show (if it was, they would have let Dee die a few eps ago), but no show is perfect.

It does, however, continue to entertain me. It also continues to be one of the best written, best acted shows on television. Now if only we could get the Emmy voters to figure that out.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Ides of March

Okay, so I'm a day late. I just wanted to complain for a moment about the month of March. Two days ago, we threw open the windows and patio doors and allowed a little bit of warm, seventy-degree air into the apartment. It was wonderful.

Today, I keep glancing out the window to see how much more snow is on the ground. Yep, snow. First it was rain, then sleet, now friggin' snow! It's cold, it's snowy, and it's the middle of March.

Allergy sufferers will be happy (and I work with several, so trust me), but I hate this. It feels like a big tease. Give us warm weather, then give us snow and ice.

Damn you, Mother Nature!

Oh yeah, and a Happy Birthday to my sister, Dawn. Just remember, my dear, no matter how old you get....I'll always be younger. *rimshot*

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

To Boldly Go Where We've Already Been Before

The Star Trek rumor mill is once again bustling with word of the new feature film. Looks like they've decided to shoot themselves in the foot and go for a Kirk-era prequel. I'm sure that TOS lovers are salivating over the thought, but this is one recovering-Trekker who is less than enthusiastic. In fact, I would say I'm a bit sad. Unless they blow me away with trailers and advance footage well before release day, I will rent that one from the cheap counter in about three years (or whenever it lands there). I'm sorry, but they tried the prequel route with "Enterprise," and nitpicky, er…dedicated fans everywhere screamed foul.

Why would they do that again? Prequels are tricky, tricky, tricky.

The appeal of a prequel is to understand why something came to pass, how a character turned out the way that they did. What exactly don't we already know about Kirk and Spock from previous films, episodes, and books? The Kobayashi Maru was handled perfectly in Wrath of Khan, so why mess with it again? We know Spock and Sarek had a rough relationship. Why retread that? The first Enterprise mission was under Captain April, so we can't do that with Kirk.

We know so much about the back stories of Kirk and Spock that it would be like watching a two hour rerun. *Snore*

Some prequels work. Many don't. Just ask George "I'm Making Three More Movies Because Now I Can Afford To Screw It Up Anyway I Want" Lucas. I have yet to subject myself to watching Attack of the Clones a second time, and it's not just because of the cheesy Roger Corman title.Now just to offer some hope, a recent prequel that worked for me was the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. Sure, we know that Thomas Hewitt becomes a psychopathic murderer/fillet master/skin wearer, but the fun of that movie was seeing how it all started. Who was his first victim? How did Holtz become the sheriff? How'd he loose his front teeth? How did Uncle Monty loose his legs? It was entertaining, in a gory kind of way, but it worked.

Why? Because the first TCM film (the recent remake, starring Jessica Biel) focused on the five teenagers. The Hewitt family and their creepy neighbors were secondary. We knew very little about them, or their motivations. The Beginning gives the spotlight to the Hewitts, and we begin to understand them. They're still psychopathic and demented, but at least now we know why.

Kirk and Spock have always been the focus of the original Trek. There is very little we can go back to learn that we don't already know. We know where they came from, we know were they end up.

Batman Begins (another successful prequel) worked for a different reason. Over the years Batman comics have given us a few different origin stories. They all feature common elements (young Bruce witnesses the murder of his parents and is raised by Alfred), but his journey from that moment to the various incarnation of Batman that have appeared in comics for sixty years, is often changed or not specified. It leaves room for interpretation.

Tim Burton touched on it in Batman, making the Joker responsible. Christopher Nolan touched on it in his prequel, making thugs responsible. There is no singular origin that all fans scream for as being The One.

If someone tried to do that with Trek (say, make Kirk from Michigan, instead of Iowa), fans would throw tomatoes at the director. If the writers chose to give Kirk a childhood friend who died tragically during a space mission, fans would be furious (we all know Kirk doesn't face death until Spock "dies" in Wrath of Khan). They'd revolt, cry foul, write letters of protest. We all saw what happened with small inconsistencies in "Enterprise." There isn't the same wiggle room for a Trek prequel that exists in other franchises.

Star Trek has always been about looking toward the future. So why the hell is Abrams so keen on digging up the past? If he can pull it off successfully, my hat is off to them. If not...well, I'll be silently thinking "I told you so....when's my 'Deep Space Nine' movie coming out?"