TVstuff: Fall Season 2007

Get those TiVos warmed up, kids, it’s time for some new stuff on the teevee! Here’s a list of what I’m watching or will be watching this fall.

Doctor Who (SciFi) has been running for several weeks alreadyUnless you’re in the UK, in which case I believe the series has already wrapped. and will probably be wrapping up its third season (or series, for the UK audience) in the next few weeks. I haven’t been terribly impressed by this season, but it’s good enough to keep me watching.

Who Wants to be a Superhero? (SciFi) has already wrapped up its second season, but I’ve only watched the first episode. Once I’ve watched the whole thing, I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it.

Eureka (SciFi) isn’t really a Fall show and I’m not sure how long the season will be (10 episodes? 13? 22? I wish.), but the second season has been pretty good so far. It’s the story of, Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson), a U.S. Marshall who moves to a small, Oregon town (from which the show gets its title) that’s really top-secret, government-funded think tank and becomes the new sheriff. Eureka has a Quantum Leap-style “Oh, boy” sense of humor, with Carter consistently in over his head week after week as he must deal with some high-tech experiment gone horribly awry. A couple of plot threads—all somehow connected to the mysterious artifact stored in an uber-high-security level of Eureka’s main underground lab facility—run throughout the episodes, creating an intriguing and enticing storyarc. Good stuff.

Torchwood (SciFi) premiered on BBCAmerica on Saturday, but I haven’t watched it yet. I know it’s a Doctor Who spinoff featuring Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) as a former time traveller who becomes a member of The Torchwood Institute, a sort of poor man’s BPRDsee Hellboy.

iCarly (Nickelodeon) stars Miranda Cosgrove (Drake & Josh, School of Rock) as a 14-year-old girl who starts a web show with her friend, Sam (Jennette McCurdy). I’m not really planning on watching it regularlyWell, probably not. I mean, I might., but I watched the premiere and talked about it on Volcanicast this week so I thought I’d give it a mention.

Now on to the shows that haven’t premiered yet.

Journeyman looks like a Quantum Leap clone, but I’m going to tune in to see how Kevin McKidd does, as I’ve heard rumors that he’s going to be in the upcoming Thor movie. I have no idea why McKidd’s character, Dan Vassar, is traveling through time helping people—perhaps his high school guidance counselor suggested it as a vocation—but it’s a tough job and the guys who do it don’t get enough credit.

Bionic Woman (NBC) is a remake of the 1976 series (starring Lindsay Wagner), which was a spinoff of The Six Million Dollar ManAt one point, there was talk of remaking The Six Million Dollar Man as a comedy film with Jim Carrey in the title role, but that idea seems to have evaporated.. Michelle Ryan, a British actress, plays an upgraded Jaime Sommers, who is bionicized by Miguel Ferrer following a terrible automobile accident. Battlestar Galactica‘s Katee Sackhoff also has a recurring role as an evil Bionic Woman, which should lead to some interesting cat fights battles.

Moonlight (CBS) is this year’s Blade (or perhaps Kindred: The Embraced); a vampire show that will last one season if it’s lucky. Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin) is a vampire private investigator and…that’s all I know. Word on the street is that Moonlight sucks (ha!) and will a poor substitute for the late, lamented The Dresden FilesCome on, SciFi Channel, get your heads out of your collective recta and bring this show back!.

Reaper (ABC) is a comedy about a guy whose parents sold his soul to the devil before he was born. This is not only questionable from a legal and ethical standpoint, but a total (to quote The Monarch) “dick move”. When he turns 21, Sam (Andrew Airlie) is contractually obligated to become The Devil’s bounty hunter. Much flap has been made about the fact that Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jersey Girl) directed the pilot, but I’m kind of jazzed about Ray Wise (Swamp Thing, Robocop) playing Satan.

Heroes and Heroes: Origins (NBC). The second season of Heroes begins on 24 September 2007, and the spinoff series, Heroes: Origins, will apparently be shown during the Spring hiatus.We hates the hiatus, doesn’t we, precious? We hates it! While Heroes will apparently pick up where it left off last season, Origins is a six-episode mini-series that will feature the origin story of a different character each week. Oh, and hey! Kevin Smith is writing and directing the first episode! Maybe it’ll be about a guy has the uncanny ability to not even supposed to be here today.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles (ABC) doesn’t premiere until early 2008, if Wikipedia is to be believed. The spinoff of the Terminator movies stars Lena Headey (300) in the title role and Summer Glau (Serenity, Mammoth) as the latest Terminator sent back in time to protect Connor’s son, John (Thomas Dekker). The series is treading on some tricky terrain, as it seems poised to directly contradict events from T2: Judgment Day and/or T3: Something About Erect Machines.

And that about does it, unless I’m overlooking something. Oh, I also plan to catch Tin Man, a mini-series premiering in December on SciFi. It’s a retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz starring Zooey Deschanel (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) as DG, Dorothy Gale; Alan Cumming (X2: X-Men United) as Glitch, the scarecrow; Raoul Trujillo (FrankenfishTimeline) as Cain, the titular tin man. SciFi appears to be giving Tin Man the same type of treatment they gave their Dune mini-series, rather than treating it like one of their schlocky Saturday movies, so it could be pretty good.

Moviestuff: Indy 4 gets a title

SCI FI Wire has a blurb about Shia LeBeouf announcing the title of the new Indiana Jones movie at the MTV Video Music Awards last night.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Sure, it’s got a pulpy, movie serial feel to it, but hasn’t Harrison Ford already done crystal skulls? Well, no. But yes. Sort of.

Star Wars fans may recognize the cover of Han Solo and the Lost Legacy by the late, great Brian Daley, published way back in 1980.

Han Solo and the Lost Legacy
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As long as I’m on the topic of Star Wars, I may as well invoke that old familiar quote: I’ve got a bad feeling about this. But I’ll be thrilled if Lucas, Spielberg and Ford prove me wrong.

Musicstuff: Rush in Concert

Snakes & Arrows
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If you were a fan of progressive rock when Rush arrived on the music scene thirty-three years ago, there’s a good chance that a 7:30 concert is going to have you up way past your bedtime. ((Oh, and if that concert is on a Thursday evening and you’ve got to work the following morning, you’re probably better off staying home to watch Baretta reruns and sip a tall, cool glass of Metamucil.)) If, on the other hand, your first real exposure to the Canadian trio was sometime after the Ford ((No, Gerald.)) administration, then you (like me) are likely still a virile young buck with more than enough energy to propel you to eleven o’clock and far beyond.

Thursday night, thousands of Rush fans gave their bedtimes the collective middle finger and descended upon the Blossom Music Center; the elder crowd to have their socks rocked off, the younger generation to have their B0XX0RZ R0XX0R3D down to their S0XX0RS. Cranking out nearly thirty songs that spanned more than three decades of music in just under three hours, Rush definitely brought the rock to Blossom and I find it hard to believe anyone could have walked away unsatisfied. A wee bit deaf, perhaps, but certainly not unsatisfied.

Because I am apparently made of stupid, I left my cell phone in the MVoD on the way to the concert. This was disappointing for several reasons: At the start of the concert I wanted to call my brother, Keven, to gloat a bit; ((He saw the concert when the 2007 Snakes & Arrows Tour kicked off in Atlanta, so he’s got no real reason to whine.)) I also wanted to call blob when Rush played “Tom Sawyer”, because I am a jerk; and I wanted to take a few photos of myself and others enjoying the concert. ((I’m especially annoyed at this, because I missed the opportunity to capture Air Guitar Man’s rocking solo.)) Fortunately, I was able to convince another concert-goer to e-mail me a couple of photos he took with his cell phone (a Motorola Razr, I believe). ((Thank you, Chris, for indulging me; the photos you took are at least as good as (and probably better than) anything I would have snapped with my Treo 650.))

Rush in Concert at Blossom
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The show, as I mentioned previously, nearly covered the entirety of Rush’s thirty-three year musical history. Though there were no tunes from their first three albums, they did play “A Passage to Bangkok” from 2112 (1976). There was also a very satisfying sampling of songs from both Permanent Waves (1980) and Moving Pictures (1981), a handful of songs covering 1982 (including the excellent “Subdivisions” from Signals) through 2004, and a whopping nine tracks from Snakes & Arrows. A complete set list can be found on the tour’s Wikipedia entry.

Highlights of the show included Bob and Doug McKenzie introducing “The Larger Bowl” and a hilarious South Park skit featuring Eric Cartman as Geddy Lee that led into a crowd-pleasing rendition of “Tom Sawyer”. Then, of course, there was Neil Peart’s fantastic ten-minute drum solo. I don’t imagine anyone had to convince Neil to do a drum solo, but I suspect the conversation would have gone something like this:

PITCHMAN: Okay, Neil, here’s what we’re thinking: we want to surround you with 250 objects of various shapes and sizes and we want you to pound on them with wooden sticks for about ten minutes. Do you think you can do that?

NEIL PEART: Of course I can do that! I’m Neil Peart, aren’t I?

He most certainly is, ((I believe my words to Rae Lamond on the subject of Neil Peart were something along the lines of “he may be the best drummer in the history of men hitting stuff with sticks”.)) and watching him do his thing on stage was awe-inspiring. I almost felt sorry for Alex Lifeson, who followed Neil’s frenetically fantastic percussion with “Hope”, an acoustic guitar solo. The saving grace for Lifeson is that “Hope” is quite possibly my favorite song from Snakes & Arrows (the second being “The Main Monkey Business”, another instrumental piece) and it was a nice, almost mellow counterpoint to previous 360-plus seconds of unrelenting, ferocious energy.

Rush Concert
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My own stupidity aside, I thought the concert was incredible. I was very pleased and impressed with both the quantity and quality of the songs played (though I would have liked to hear “Red Barchetta” and “Bastille Day”) and also with the energy generated by three guys who are (to quote Geddy) “a million years old”. I have to give props to Schoon (another Chris) for scoring the tickets way back in April of 1997 (((ish) )) and for providing transportation to and from Blossom. Thanks again to the other Chris for sending me the photos, and thanks to Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart for rocking me sockless. Oh, and a special thanks to my brother, Keven, for getting me hooked on Rush at an early age.