Beaming Into An Apartment Near You

I’d like to get this guy to do my house except that I’m already broke myself, just like he is now. That seems to be the problem with trekkies. So many toys, so little income.

…Unless you’re one of those trek inspired rocket scientists, that is. Then you should probably spring for the elite package. Spend it while you can.

Postscript

There is a YouTube video of the apartment. It was featured in an episode of ITV’s May the Best House Win:

Tony AlleyneMay The Best House Win

He is still in business fifteen years after I ran across his apartment design during my rabid TV watching days. Clearly he is doing better than I am. I wonder how many clients have asked for the Next Generation treatment?

I’m pretty sure that I saw the apartment featured on Beyond Tomorrow the first time I saw it. That program and it’s episodes are almost impossible to find now. That is the show where I first ran across the Mythbusters.

Critiquing an Artform

It’s all hot air, I’d just like to say that as a preface. The critiquing of art only has statistical relevance, as in the method used at rottentomatoes, and then only if the positive/negative is weighed properly. Which is why I don’t make top 10 lists, for example. It’s pretty pointless. My favorite top 10 anything will shift from day to day, and should be meaningless to just about anybody else.

I know what I like and why I like it. Conversely, I know what I don’t like and why that is as well. For example, Sin City is not a good film no matter how many tickets it sold. There is no discernible theme. There is no apparent rhyme or reason for the use of color in the film (which is done in nouveau black and white for those who haven’t seen it. Can anybody explain the Ferengi in the final segments of the film? I just don’t get that bit at all) it is an excellent representation of a graphic novel whose pictures move, but it is a very poor film. Are we clear? Good.

Having made that point clear, I’d like to respond to two points brought up here:
http://www.fireflyfans.net/showblog.asp?b=2857#8598

(non-SciFi fans will be forgiven if they run screaming…)

Gedeon wrote:
So are you saying Joss will lose his thunder like David Lynche did?

I’m still a browncoat, still love the characters, but they should stop whoring the story for new fans next time around. You know, not have Simon save River thus destroying what he did in the series. Not have Jayne take River for a nice Shuttle ride… It makes the story clearer, but you and I didn’t need it.

What I was saying is that Fire Walk with Me was a failure in every way that Serenity was not; and yet it was acclaimed as a great film. I’ve never cared one way or the other for David Lynch’s work. I consider his version of Dune to be one of the worst adaptations of a movie from a novel that I have ever seen. They didn’t get one thing right except casting and makeup for the Harkonnens. I’ll have to beg off judgment on anything else he’s done since I haven’t seen it.

I personally think that Joss took the wise course in attempting to create a film that would not alienate the new viewer by catering to the fans of the TV show. I’ve said this before and it bears repeating, I’m not in charge of making the movies and I daresay that you don’t make films either. Since they don’t pay me to make decisions about what I want to see in a film but rather pay someone else to do it, I don’t expect people in a position of authority on any particular film will care much if I have a complaint about a particular scene or even complete movies. Watch or don’t watch. Those are your only choices.

The scenes in question make sense from a plot standpoint even if they don’t make sense in series continuity, and so can be forgiven. I especially love the beaning that Jayne gets. Nice pun Joss. They do not conflict with established facts from the series. So, no aspersions on Joss whatsoever, kudos to Joss for getting Serenity in the air at all.

Gedeon wrote:
To me, in years to come, we will consider Serenity like trekkies consider the first Star Trek movie. It’s the right characters, but the costumes were all wrong. The other six are much better.

The worst of the ST films was the last one. That they (Paramount) have apparently given Berman and Braga (the Nemesis of Trek) the reins of the next film as well pretty much spells the complete end of the franchise for me. If Berman is given control of this film, it will be the first Star Trek film that I won’t bother to see in theatres. Nemesis was so far removed from Gene Roddenberry’s vision of Trek that I just couldn’t sit through it more than once. That and the fact that they rehash the death of Spock with the death and rebirth of Data. They inexplicably find yet another brother for Data, while traveling on a dune buggy the only vehicle with wheels ever seen in Trek. Need I go on?

In contrast the first film, despite its meandering pacing and far too simplistic plot, clearly has a lot of Gene in it. The machine trying to become human a la Data from Next Generation, for example. The first Star Trek film is something I cherish. It got the ball rolling again.

If that is what Serenity ends up being, the film that gets the ball rolling again, then I will look back on it just as fondly.

Postscript

Someone commented after I wrote this article that the next S.T. movie wasn’t going to be Berman’s, but that it would still be a prequel. That just means that it will be Harve Bennett’s “Trek Babies” (Star Fleet Academy; most likely with Kirk, Spock and McCoy in Starfleet) idea. Not only won’t I pay to see that film, I’d pay not to see it. How about we just use a plot line from one of the hundreds of books? Why is that a problem?

By the way, you all may have spoken about this LOOOONG before I joined the group, but, what did everyone think of the Serenity movie vs. the t.v. series? I personally enjoyed the series MUCH MORE than the movie. 

Christina

After nearly 30 years of watching Star Trek the original TV series translated to movie form (and all the stumbling about to get back into characters the actors had long forgotten) and after watching Next Generation go directly into movies, I think I’ve gained a little insight into this process.

Watching a movie and watching a series are two completely different ways of taking in entertainment. You wouldn’t think so, but they are. A series of short simple stories with weeks between them giving you time to think about the characters and situations while anticipating the next episode; versus one long complex story, less character development, and the knowledge that you might never see these people again.

It’s kind of depressing, even if you love Serenity (which I do) to think that this might be the last time we ever see these characters. I like my SciFi to be on television. You get time for good characters that way. Shows that don’t focus on character development don’t last very long (witness the Ber-Trek Enterprise if you don’t believe me) and I find that to be the part of the show that I like. Knowing the characters. However, given the option of no more Firefly, and Firefly movies, I’ll take the movies and enjoy them anyway. I already know the characters.

As we all know now the Abramanator ended Trek as it was prior to his raping of the franchise. Not satisfied with forcing himself on Star Trek, he then raped the Star Wars franchise out of existence. Star Trek is now dead. R.I.P. Star Trek. Star Wars is dead. I know this because Disney bought them. Disney is populated by the zombified corpses of most of my childhood memories. Brrr. There was no more Firefly following the release of Serenity. There probably never will be unless someone else tries to remake it. I wish them luck.

Failed Movies From Failed Series

Ever heard of a show called Firefly? I’m a fan. A hardcore fan. Ever heard of the movie Serenity? It’s a continuation of the characters and storyline in Firefly. Again, I’m a hardcore fan. I just want to get the fact that I LOVE the show(s) in the record before we go where this post goes. Stay with me here.

Firefly was canceled due to the infinite wisdom of Fox television. All television executives are omniscient, just ask the guys at NBC who canceled Star Trek in the 60’s. They knew it was junk and was never going to make any money. Don’t let the fact that Paramount has milked millions out of the franchise (and founded the 5th broadcast network with not much more than Star Trek to carry it) since that point fool you, Star Trek needed canceling. In much the same way, the red-headed (browncoated) stepchild that was Firefly needed canceling, because Fox only agreed to let Joss Whedon do it so that they could keep him for another season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You don’t promote and fund a ‘gimme’ long term. And they didn’t. 13 episodes filmed. 10 episodes aired. No promotion to speak of. You’re outta here!

But Firefly wouldn’t die, I’m sure the old guard Star Trek fans out there understand why that is. Writing. Talking. Promoting. And lo and behold the show that needed canceling is resurrected as a feature length film. Some said “that doesn’t happen” (Trekkies know better, but we let them have their moment. Kids are so cute) and marveled at the feat. And, really it was a feat. An excellent film that preserved the atmosphere of the original show, and completed the main story arc left unfinished by Fox needing to cancel the show. It was on screens all too briefly, and passed onto disk (a copy of which is already in my library) within a few short months.

And then the rumblings started from naysayers, TV executive lakeys, and Hollywood insider wannabes concerning whether Serenity the movie was a success or failure, and whether or not this should “shut the fans up”.

Personally, I don’t feel like shutting up, and I don’t count the shows short time on screen as a failure. Why you say? Because in comparison it’s just not.

I’d like to point out a show (no, not Star Trek) that had a similar fate, not so long ago. A critically acclaimed series with a very short life was resurrected as a movie (that was also critically acclaimed) that went out of theaters nearly as fast. What was the show? Twin Peaks. The movie was Fire Walk With Me. My point is this, even with the media circus that surrounded the show and the subsequent movie, if you look at the numbers here or here, you will see that the show did not in fact do an impressive amount of business. A recoup of about half of the 10 million dollar budget spent on it. But the critics loved it…

In comparison, Serenity’s numbers are just rosy here and here. All told, Serenity has made back the money spent on it, and we aren’t even done with the video sales yet. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. And still, I hear the “What if’s” and the “If onlys”. What’s done is done. The movie came out when it did, competed with the films that were out then, and left the theaters when new films crowded into the fall schedule showed up to push it out. Gotta have all the good films out right before Oscar time. Don’t ask me why, it must be that same omniscience that the TV execs have.

So why should we wear long faces and walk silently? Because the film wasn’t as popular as Lord of the Rings? Didn’t make the kind of money Titanic did? The film didn’t have the history of Lord of the Rings to promote it to every adult in the world, or the potential 200+ million dollar hickey that motivated the blitzkrieg of media exposure which ensured Titanic‘s (undeserved, in my opinion) box office sales. Serenity was good enough on its own merits to pay back it’s investors, and good enough on its own merits to inspire loyal fans of the series. I say we crow to the moon and demand a second film! Who’s with me?

Vertiginous Air

While struggling with a vertigo attack today, I was reminded of a quote from one of my favorite authors Stephen R. Donaldson, a portion of which titles this compilation of previous postings on the topic. When I visited his site today looking for the release date for the next book, I discovered that I’m going to be waiting a long time. 2007, is the best guess; and the quartet of books isn’t due to be finished until 2013. This could be a new test of patience on my part. And I thought waiting on Harry Potter books was hard.

Concerning “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever” which I finished re-reading for the 4th time recently.

I stumbled across several words that seemed, well, obscure at best, this time around. I was trying to explore the unexplored with this reading (in preparation for the next series of books) so I’ve been taking time to research a few of the more impenetrable words on the ‘net. I was pleased when I Google’d up this thread online. In fact, it was the only reference for the word “unhermeneuticable“, which was how I found it in the first place. Words like “Formication” (a feeling like insects crawling under your skin) can be found there as well.

(I have removed the direct links to the Kevin’s watch website, replacing them with links to the Wayback Machine archive. The site appears to be infected with malware as of 2018. -ed.)

her·me·neu·tics
Pronunciation: -tiks
Function: noun plural but singular or plural in construction
: the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of
the Bible) (from www.m-w.com)

Which, as “unhermeneuticable” would be something like “a non-methodological principle of interpretation”. Basically an “inexplicable conclusion”, most likely with religious overtones.
[The author himself has answered this question, here]


A few words on the proper reading of Donaldson, from an expert:

  • Unless you are reading the first Covenant trilogy, prepare your brain to be stretched to new proportions. SRD writes on a college level. He pulls no punches, and he doesn’t explain obscure concepts unless they are key to the novel’s progression. You are expected to keep up. The first Covenant Trilogy was written under extreme editorial pressure. They sliced out whole chapters, and re-edited much of the writing to make it appeal to less-educated and younger people. He himself has commented on this, and included one of the chapters that was removed in the short story collection Daughter of Regals. Every other set of books that he’s written has been longer and far more difficult to understand than the first Covenant trilogy.
  • Plot progression can be slow. Glacially slow in some books. That’s OK, because plot isn’t what you read Donaldson for. As an example, the first two books of the Gap series are merely an intro to the story that the Gap series tells. It doesn’t really get rolling until the third book and the introduction of the grafted Thermopyle (pronounced “Ther-MOP-i-lee, BTW) character.
  • Donaldson is obsessed with exploring the concept of redemption. Because of this, pretty much every character he creates suffers horribly through a good portion of the story. I’ve had several people tell me that they couldn’t get past the descriptions of leprosy in the first few chapters of “Lord Foul’s Bane”. But if you don’t understand the suffering of the character, you won’t appreciate the monumental task of redeeming that character. Exploring the world of leprosy brings you face to face with the impossibility of Covenant’s ever accepting himself in the role of hero. Reliving the crimes of the characters in the Gap series (explored in the first two books) gives you an idea of what those characters face when the true nature of the threat to humanity is revealed in the later novels.

That pretty much covers it. I finished the second book in Gap and went that’s it? The next one better get better and doggedly went on. I was rewarded with a pretty decent story from that point onward. It was a lot like reading Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. Doesn’t make any sense unless you read God Emperor of Dune. That’s where the payoff is.

Stone and Sea are deep in life, two unalterable symbols of the world. Permanence at rest and permanence in motion, participants in the Power that remains.

Giantish truism
Postscript

I have now read all of the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series. You should take my word for it and skip these last four books, they were some of the most unpleasant reading I’ve ever had to endure. They were so unpleasant to physically read that I was forced to go looking for audiobook copies of the text and then I listened to them rather than even trying to read them myself.

It was this experience with reading that finally convinced me that I had a problem with the back and forth eye movement setting off my vertigo. The story was so glacial in pace, with descriptions of battle scenes that made no sense from a strategic perspective, with decisions made by the protagonists that kept me screaming at the book no, don’t do that, all of that combined with my disability making the chore of reading itself so miserable that I would never have gotten through the books without audio assistance.

Even so, the climactic ending ruined most of the other stories for me. There are some things that a writer should simply not reveal to the reader. The ending of the series was one of those things that should have been left unsaid. To have waited for ten years only to be disappointed with the work? It was truly heartbreaking and has soured me on fiction for the foreseeable future.