Category Archives: TV Shows

Game of Thrones – Season II

The only way to celebrate.

Winter is coming. I’m so ready!

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Wizard’s First Rule

Okay.  So, I am totally a geek.  Perhaps you know that, but I felt the need to preface this post with a geek qualifier.

Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert are joining forces as producers again to bring Wizard’s First Rule to TV this fall.  We all know Sam Raimi, or should know him, as the director of the Spider Man films.  Those of you know know the Raimi/Tapert duo will recall movies like Evil Dead and Army of Darkness – not to mention other TV fabulousness like Hercules and Xena.  I am delighted to see them back working on the small screen.

Wizard’s First Rule will be on Disney (I know, I know) starting in September 2008.  Currently 22 episodes are being filmed on location in New Zealand.  Yes, folks.  Middle Earth.  The series will be based on Terry Goodkind’s best-selling fantasy book series, “The Sword of Truth.”  You can bet I will be adding at least one of those books (of which there are 11 + 1 novella) to my summer reading list. 

To sum it all up, I am super excited!  The show could be really great.  I’ve missed a weekly Raimi/Tapert fantasy TV drama.  It’s been a seven-year dry spell from their quirky storylines and delightful camp. 

It could be just the reason I was looking for to keep my cable subscription come fall.  Maybe the DVR too…   😉

Rationalizing the God Complex

**Note that this post is duplicated on Going Boldly as it seemed appropriate for both blogs.

I am currently writing a paper for my Law and Technology class on the legal personality of artificial intelligence.  Though certainly not a new area in science fiction, it is relatively new in terms of the law.  The section I am including below (blissfully not full of legal mumbo-jumbo for you non-lawyer types) is in regards to an issue I’ve been thinking a great deal about.  I’m not sure whether this section will make it into the final draft of my paper.  To be honest, it’s sort of a philosophical debate that may or may not lend insight to the rest of my paper (once I get around to finishing it).  For that reason I thought I would post it here.  Offer it up to you for comments and discussion.

The God Complex

Proponents against human cloning, genetic engineering, and A.I. often describe scientists and theorists who work in these various fields as “playing God.”  This negative description seems to capture a fundamental belief by some members of society that creation and alteration of intelligent beings should be off limits, or limited to God.  Is this true?  What does it mean to be God, or a god?  In the Christian faith, God created man in his image.  Similarly, the character of the Doctor on Star Trek Voyager was a holographic computer program that looked exactly like a human.  Were the Doctors creators, albeit fictional, playing god?  Is it indicative of a god complex to create something in your image, in this case the image being a replica of our species, human?  Japan, currently engaged in the most aggressive robot program today, already includes humanoid robots in various aspects of their society.  For whatever reason, there does seem to be a clear goal of creating robots capable of mimicking humans.  This humanity can be in appearance (two arms, two legs, eyes, a mouth, etc.) or in personality (such as giving a computer program a voice and emotion).

Though not important directly to the legal personality or robots and A.I. it is interesting to consider the motivations for creating technology in the image of humanity and what this might say about us.  What does it mean to be a god?  The Goa’ould, a technologically advanced race depicted on Stargate SG-1, repeatedly stated that they were deserving of the status of god because for all intents and purposes they were.  Their technological superiority often made them impervious to weapons, they lived for thousands of years (again thanks to technology), and were followed and worshiped by millions of people.  They were, in many ways exactly what they said, gods.

Is this ability to play god a problem?  Does the court have a right to step in and declare that there are some things that ought not be created?  Can the courts or legislature limit some forms of technological advancement because it crosses some moral line in the sand reserved only for god– if not god, then simply a crude game of chance?  Cells coming together and choosing each other, for reasons unknown, which produce a result we as humans can wash our hands of.  Do we have the right to go beyond our role of dealing with the consequences of creations in which we had no part, or should we have the right to not only deal with the outcome, but also serve as creational architects?

Contemplation on this issue is crucial to the topic of robot rights because this is an area of the law that is currently being formed.  As we consider and construct the system from which we analyze the legal rights of robots we should also consider whether our role, as humans and creators has changed.  At the same time robots are being granted rights (if only to exist), will our rights be limited in regards to what we can create?  Should they be limited?  What is the difference between a god and a creator?  What does it mean when the created can mimic the creator?  Outdo him?  Most importantly, how will this issue resolve itself in the marble floors, wooden benches, and black robes of our justice system?

The X-Files Returns July 25, 2008! Get. Excited.

 
 
I knew it was happening.  I had read the articles.  I even wandered over to Imdb.com a few times to check the production status.  Then they posted set photos and I could no longer contain my excitement.
 
The X-Files is returning to the silver screen this summer!
 
Agents Mulder and Scully lead the way for a story-line that is supposed to stem from the 9th season series finale.  Where are agents Doggett and Reyes?  You know, those two people (who I did come to love) that stepped in when David Duchovny had  had enough of the series in 2000.  They aren’t in the movie, but I don’t care.  My favorite paranormal tag team are back in action.  I want to see Mulder fight for the “truth is out there” notion while Scully looks on, mouth slightly agape, muttering something about scientific plausibility.  The X-Files was a huge part of my high school and college days.  I’ve missed it, and I couldn’t be happier.
So blog readers, remember…
 
The X-Files 2 (working title)
Current Status: post-production
Release Date: July 25, 2008
Preble Preparation:  Systematically reviewing the latter seasons to make sure “I get it all” by the time I slip into my seat, popcorn and coke slushie in hand, to again pursue the truth from would be conspirators with my all time favorite feds.
 
Ready.  Set.  Go.

How to View the Tudors

As an fan of history, I always enjoy a TV series or movie that attempts a portrayal of the past.  Particularly, if it is a time period I like, a historical figure I find interesting, or just a great story (Rome, Braveheart, Troy, Alexander, Dr. Zhivago, etc.)  In my mind, few things beat a good epic.

This fall brought a second film to complete the Elizabeth saga.  It was wonderful.  Cate Blanchette is Elizabeth I, at least to me.  Elizabeth is not only a great character, she has a great story.  Arguably the most powerful ruler of England, creator of the Church of England, and the last royal from the house of Tudor.  Stepping back to her parentage reveals King Henry VIII and his many wives.   Yet another great story.

henry

Over winter break I spent some time ignoring the weather and watching Showtime’s new series, The Tudors.  It was no Rome, but it was good.  Quite good actually.  Jonathan Rhys Myers, who I extolled the virtues of in a previous post, is a tormented, powerful, manipulated, and believable Henry VIII.  The Tudor’s creator, Michael Hirst, is the same man who brought Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age to the silver screen.  His foray into the small screen is seamless.
 

This past Sunday I went to see, yet another, film that dealt with the Tudor family.  The Other Boleyn Girl is a different portrayal on the life of Henry VIII and his love affair with Anne Boleyn (Elizabeth I’s mother).  This time our Henry was Eric Banna.  As Henry he was adequate…I much preferred him as Hector in Troy.  Natalie Portman was Anne and her sister Mary (the “other” girl of the title) was played by Scarlett Johansson.  The entire cast was sort of fine in a rather unremarkable way.  Somewhat redeemingly, The Other Boleyn Girl is historically fascinating because it deals with lesser known (or recorded) details about the Boleyn’s life.  Essentially it makes a story out of hearsay and theory.

otherboleyn

But what if you had to choose?  How do you view the Tudor’s?In my opinion the answer is quite simple.  Watch Showtime’s series.  The acting is better.  It’s sexier.  It is also ridiculously more in depth than The Other Boleyn Girl.  The film glosses over Cardinal Woolsely and the Duke of Norfolk, two key players in Henry’s reign.  So much of the story was lost in the film, it would be good if the movie was lost to your Netflix queue as well.The only area where the film outshines the series is in the portrayal of Queen Catherine (Henry’s first wife) and in the death of Anne Boleyn.   Showtime teases us that “heads will roll” in the soon coming second season of The Tudors, in the film Natalie Portman is beheaded without all of the pomp and circumstance.

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The Funniest Call…Ever

So, I am driving home from class this morning and my phone rings.  I look to see who is calling and my phone registers “no caller ID.”  Hmmm.  It’s interesting because I have noticed a missed call each day this week from a “no caller ID” number.  Apparently I was in class, or running, or engaged in some other nonsense when they phoned before.  I don’t think I have ever had a “no caller ID” call before…I totally wondered what it was about.

I had no idea what I was in store for…

Supplemental aside: I collect/own several seasons of various TV series on DVD.  It makes me happy…totally my vice.  Some folks buy clothes, I buy DVD’s.  Last time I counted I think I have about 35 various seasons of shows on DVD and over 130 movies.  It’s my thing.

Back to the phone call.

It was a very nice woman from a company called “Highlander” who wanted to know which TV shows I watched out of this list: Xena, Hercules, and Highlander.  Having profound appreciation for all things Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, I naturally said Xena and Hercules.  Which is absolutely true.  I love those shows, but why is it important to this phone call?

The woman thinks this is wonderful and proceeds to attempt to sell me prop replicas and swords from the shows.  W-O-W.  She was super excited about it all… Went on and on about how the replica of Xena’s second chakram actually came apart and became two weapons…just like in the series.  That’s just wonderful…especially considering that the chakram, though very cool on Xena, is about as real to an actual weapon as Bullwinkle is to a real moose.

Chakram1  Quite a versatile, albeit fictional weapon…Chakram2

I tried to let her down gently.  “I’m just not into props and swords.  I mean I have the series on DVD and that’s great, but I am SO not into expanding…”

She did not want to let me go.  She fought for me.  But in the end, I claimed a late lunch meeting and cut her off.  Mostly so I could proceed to laugh hysterically and come to my computer so I could blog about it for all of you.

In conclusion, be open to “no caller ID” calls.  They have the potential to be very entertaining.   I cannot imagine where they got my number???  Weird.  Funny, but weird.

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Blog Attention Divided

Dire Mirth has been suffering these past few weeks due to a new hobby-blog I started.  I apologize for my divided attention.  Dire Mirth has grumpily twiddled her thumbs while I helped my other blog up on its wee little legs.  From this point forward I believe there will be no more detrimental blog division.

Why the other blog I seem to hear you ask from my speakers?  Well, its a novelty blog.

nov·el·ty [nov-uhl-tee] noun, adjective –noun

an article of trade whose value is chiefly decorative, comic, or the like and whose appeal is often transitory

I have seen friends of mine write novelty blogs over the past few years.  Some focus on World of Warcraft, others on law school, some on photography, one is even so nifty as to detail model rocketry.  All of them are very cool.  Dire Mirth is great as my general blog.  I have been very happy writing it.  Still, something was missing and it was easily filled with a specialty blog.

Admittedly, I struggled a bit with whether to post or link my new blog to this one, but after a few chats with some friends “why not?” seemed to be the best answer.

Not all of you will enjoy my novelty blog.  That is completely fine and absolutely understandable.  Feel free to even do what my buddy Becky did when she heard what my other blog was about, which was giggle hysterically for approximately 30 seconds.

Without further delay, and only if you feel like it, here is the link to Going Boldly.  It is currently all about Star Trek (as I just began my foray into watching all of the series’…yes, that’s plural), but will eventually be about all things sci-fi.   I absolutely love science fiction!  Going Boldly is a lot of fun for me to write.  It also keeps Dire Mirth from getting too geeky!

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Battlestar Galactica Razor – A Welcome Respite from a Blah Sci-Fi Fall

 

Wow. Thank you Sci-Fi Channel, I really missed my show. In fact, I didn’t know how very much I missed it until I fired up my DVR late Saturday night, after many grueling hours of work, and thought I would watch a few minutes of Razor before I went to bed. Two hours later I turned off my TV and just relished in the knowledge that TV can be really, really great sometimes.

After an ok 3rd season (save the final episode) of Battlestar Galactica, a rather boring Heroes opening run (fingers crossed it’s getting better), the black hole left by Stargate SG-1’s absence, and a fairly pleasant Stargate Atlantis season (yet I am still lamenting Dr. Weir’s hasty departure to make room for Col. Carter) Sci-fi TV was a little less than it usually is. My faith in my favorite genre was restored after watching Razor.

Razor

A Bit About It: The story focuses on what happened to the Battlestar Pegasus at the beginning of the second Cylon war. We also learn what helped to make Admiral Cain the ruthless woman we met in season 2. Also, some groovy back story about Commander Adama Jr.’s stint on Pegasus, how the Cylon’s learned to make “skin-jobs”, and a bit more unsettling news about Starbuck’s “special destiny.”

What Surprised Me: (1) We got to meet the Cylon’s God. That was pretty cool, and I wasn’t expecting it at all. Sure he was a creepy old looking fella in a tub full of goo hooked up to a bunch of wires, but he is their God. I have always loved the dichotomy of the monotheistic Cylon’s and the polytheistic humans. It has allowed for some of the best culture critique from a show that excels at just that.

(2) Admiral Cain and a copy of Cylon Number 6 were “together.” Cool. It’s not like this really surprised me, per se, I mean Cain’s character definitely gave off the I-don’t-sleep-with-men vibe (as do some other BSG characters, namely Starbuck) but this time the writers and directors acknowledged the relationship. So what if it ended in betrayal, violence, and death. It was there, and a bit more honest and thought out than the Baltar/6/D’Anna triangle.

(3) Cylon God says beware of Starbuck. Yipe! I really like Starbuck, but to be honest, her “special destiny” freaks me out. Is she leading the human race to their demise? Or, was the Cylon God only saying that to instill doubt in the one person who can save humanity? I don’t know. Special destiny, though…it just sounds shifty.

Cain

The Good: Admiral Cain is a great character. I know she “died” in season two (killed by her former lover, Number 6), but it was great to see her back in action for this glimpse into Battlestar Pegasus past. She was ruthless, gritty, mean, and…well a cool character. I like her, because, though she is scary, she is a predictable scary. You make Cain mad, she shoots you in the head. Laura Roslyn is a whole other world of creepy. I adore her character, but the woman is evil and soooooo spooky. *shakes in boots Make her mad and live in fear that your next breath may or may not be your last. That and I think she is the final Cylon.

The Bad: You give me more Cain and then you taketh away. *tear Also, the introduction and subsequent dismissal of another groovy character, Major Kendra Shaw, was sad. I liked her. Too bad she adhered to Cain’s self-sacrifice/follow-orders/compete-the-mission motto, I should think I would have really enjoyed more of her. She had great chemistry with Starbuck…yin and yang of sorts.

The Lingering Questions: (1) Do the Cylon’s know that “God” is dead? More importantly, do they care and does it matter? Just in case, I would not recommend being in the room when D’Anna is un-boxed and finds out this new bit of info. She was really jonesing on the God thing, she also knows who the remaining Cylon is, and she’s a little scary. Of course, anyone who repeatedly terminates themselves in order to catch glimpses of the “truth” is frightening…not to mention tough as nails.

(2) Will Starbuck frak everything up, or save humanity?

(3) Ah yeah, why do I now have to wait until March 2008 to watch season 4 Sci-Fi Channel? Last I heard it was January 2008. Don’t toy with my emotions like that.

 

 

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Lucy Lawless Mention = Record Day for Dire Mirth

The title says it all. Normally my teeny blog gets 2-6 hits a day. Mostly my close friends who bumble about the Internet. I think a big day would maybe afford 15 visitors. Well, with my last post (regarding Lucy and her Chicago concert), that all changed.

LL = OfftheChart

Over 1,000% increase!

Wow. Now, I used to work as a data analyst (before I began the law school thing), so I know a bit about numbers and trends. It does not, however, take an analyst to notice this is a HUGE deal. The Lucy Lawless/Xena fan-base is an Internet force!

This leads me to what I believe is the next logical question: (ahem. *clears throat)

Can we have a Xena movie now please? Pretty please?

If this random law student in Indiana can have the BIGGEST day in her blog’s history simply by mentioning Lucy’s name in the title (as you’ll notice I did again in a feeble attempt to garner the attention of those with the power) is it not obvious that a movie would do well? I’ll buy a movie ticket. I’ll buy a DVD. I would even tune into the appropriate channel on the debut night to bump up those ole’ Nielsen Ratings (foregoing my DVR, which I love). I reckon the heaps of folks who read my blog over the past few days would do the same.

Just a thought. Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge. 🙂

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Lucy Lawless-ness in Chicago

lucy1A few weeks ago I got to see Lucy Lawless in concert in Chicago. I know, I know. You are probably thinking in your mind what all the folks I told thought out loud… “Xena? The warrior princess? She sings?” After a “yes x 3” I gave them a look that conveyed, “Obviously you did not watch Celebrity Duets last fall, nor have you seen seasons 1, 3, or 5 of Xena, but whatever. We can still be friends.”

The rather confusing on-line ticket ordering system through Creation Entertainment went off line a week before the show (troublesome for late-planning law students like myself who do not schedule too far in advance). Accepting the gamble of maybe getting tickets at the door I found myself in Chicago in unseasonably warm weather (the very same warm weather that canceled the Chicago Marathon the next day).

Arriving at the venue, Buddy Guy’s Lounge, I found a very long line of Xena fans and convention goers (also taking place that weekend) patiently waiting to enter the venue. Near the back of the line, wondering if tickets were still available, I got to listen to some very interesting conversation regarding the complexities of the Ares/Xena relationship in the series and had my photo taken by Steven Sears, one of the writers on Xena. Mr. Sears was wandering around the line taking photos of people and when asked who he was he replied with a chuckle, “oh just a photo nut!”

**This is where I must pause and again say how much fun it would be to work on Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV. Writers and performers super supportive of each others work, happily chatting with fans and snapping pic’s all the while sporting a fetching Indiana Jones hat. It is so fantastic! They make me want to ask a question I rarely feel moved to ask: how do you get to do what you do? Your job is so cool!**

After getting my ticket (without any trouble), and learning the very intricate rules of Buddy Guy Lounge audience formation (which mostly involved a large man yelling, “Stay within the lines!” every now and again…yes, the lines were painted on the floor) I really enjoyed the show.

In a cabaret style Debbie Reynolds would have been proud of, Lucy put on a great show for the 200-ish audience members. Complete with costume changes. My concert companion mentioned that the second outfit resembled a lampshade (lots of fringe etc.). Though initially moved to agree, I think the little number was fabulous and more reminiscent of Cher’s Bob Mackie gowns than a light covering. I’m sure the jury is still out on that one…but you be the judge. See below.

Cher1ll1

My favorite numbers were “Delta Dawn” (were Lucy said she was going to take us to “chech”…that’s “church” with a New Zealand accent) and “People Got to be Free” (I really enjoyed the shout out to “lyre, lyre”). It was also really cool to see Joseph LoDuca (composer for Xena, Hercules, and the Evil Dead films) as the lead guitarist and band leader.

The show was a lot of fun. The audience was having a great time, and so was Lucy. It was definitely worth the trip up to Chicago. Those who know me know that I love a good story. How much fun is it to answer “What did you do this weekend?” with “Oh, I went to see Lucy Lawless in concert.” And now we’ve come full circle, because they all asked the same questions. Yes x 3: (1) Xena (2) the warrior princess (3) sings.

Oh, and if anyone knows: who is Chuy Vasquez? Clever alias? or, am I totally missing some pop culture reference?

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