When All Your Credibility Is Gone, Why Not?

An ABC news special tonight, anchored by Peter Jennings: The UFO Phenomenon — Seeing Is Believing

Extra special nod, sadly, for the radio commercials who play up that ABC News is asking the things the government won’t consider!

Credible. I would say incredible, but I too easily believe ABC News would do this and treat it as a serious matter, since that’s what its audience believes, and some beliefs are valid because one believes them. A select few, anyway.

Spot the Errors

Trek fans, spot the error in this story about the end of Star Trek: Enterprise.

Here, let me help:

Enterprise, the fourth spinoff of the 1966-69 flagship, and the first prequel, contributed 98 episodes to the institution when it signs off on May 13. That’s the shortest run since the original series was axed by NBC after only 80 adventures; it’s the first spinoff series to last less than seven seasons.

Let’s count the spin-offs, in reverse order:

  1. Star Trek: Enterprise
  2. Star Trek: Voyager
  3. Star Trek: Deep Space 9
  4. Star Trek: The Next Generation

That’s for, by golly. You damn kids! You always, always forget:

  1. Star Trek (The Animated Series)

Which lasted only two years, so it’s the shortest Trek series yet and it illuminates that there has been hot new Trek action in every decade since the 1960s, which somehow coincides with the same decades in which Cher has charted hits….. Hmmm….

(Link seen on Signifying Nothing.)

The Myth of Conservative America ca. 1949

Okay, so some twenty-five or more years after I spent Sunday mornings watching the Lone Ranger scattered among old episodes of Sgt. Preston and his dog King of the Yukon, Hopalong Cassidy, and the Bowery Boys, I bought a DVD containing the “pilot” episode of the Lone Ranger from 1949. To you damn kids who attend public schools, I will helpfully calculate that it was 55 years before the cheap DVD was released and by now about 56 years ago that network television presented a hero that:

  • Was rescued by a minority person of color whom the hero had helped previously, in a time when helping minority persons of color was not respected
  • Rescued a quadraped and nursed it back from the brink of death and managed not to eat it
  • Offered the wealth of his and his brother’s share of a silver mine to a poor substinence farmer but for some small stipend
  • Vowed to shoot to wound, not to kill
  • Lived as a symbol of the rule of law, not the rule of self-defense or revenge

Cheese, Louise, had the Lone Ranger lived to vote in 2004, he might have voted for John Kerry.

This is the shared herotage that some people would deny America. I’d like to think that perhaps we could share these ideals, but then some schmuck starts thinking that perhaps since my house is so nice I should give more than what I can spare beyond it that I start casting my own bullets out of whatever the heck they make nickels out of these days.

How The Mitey Have Fallen

I just heard, while listening to Michael Medved show on KRLA 870 in Los Angeles, Gary Coleman doing a radio spot for CashCall.com, an unsecured loan broker.

Heather and I have most recently seen him in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century where he played Hieronymous Fox, a child genius. As he did so many times. I grew up with Gary Coleman as a kind of hero, a kid my age who was always smart, clever, and funny. I’m somewhat sad to see him reduced to stumping for a lender based on his own past poor credit.

Hollywood Sense Tingling

Does anyone else wonder what this implies?

ABC is teaming with veteran TV movie producer Robert Halmi Sr. for “The Ten Commandments,” a four-hour miniseries that will retell the classic biblical tale of Moses.

Halmi was quick to point out that the miniseries will not be a remake of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 movie starring Charlton Heston, but will rely on extensive biblical and historical research for a realistic, truthful presentation of Moses and the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt and their travel to Mt. Sinai, where, according to the Old Testament, God descended to deliver the Ten Commandments.

“I felt that (the Ten Commandments) is the first written document of law, morality and order for the human race, and we completely ignore it,” said Halmi, whose myriad credits include “Legend of Earthsea,” “Dinotopia” and “The 10th Kingdom.”

Story: ABC to make new ‘Ten Commandments’

That sounds swell. Recasting a biblical “tale” by the fellow who produced The 10th Kingdom (A father and daughter are caught in a parallel universe where the great queens Snow White, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood have had their kingdoms fragmented by warring trolls, giants and goblins.) and The Legend of Earthsea (A reckless youth is destined to become the greatest sorcerer that the mystical land of Earthsea has ever known.).

Does anyone see the potential for offense-giving in this? Let the prelash begin.

Non Sequitur of the Day

From an entertainment story at CNN entitled Lisa Kudrow set for ‘Comeback’. Lead paragraphs:

Lisa Kudrow isn’t waiting for “Friends” to become a distant memory — she’s already signed on for a new sitcom that sounds tailor made for her.

Kudrow will star in and executive produce “The Comeback,” which has received a 14-episode order from HBO, the premium cable channel said Tuesday.

She plays a former sitcom star trying to revive her career. Kudrow co-wrote the pilot episode with Michael Patrick King, who also is serving as an executive producer. An air date was not announced.

The pretty non sequitur comes at the end:

Kudrow played ditsy Phoebe Buffay in NBC’s hit sitcom “Friends,” which ended in May after 10 years. Her film roles include “Analyze This,” its sequel “Analyze That” and “The Opposite of Sex.”

Former stars of “Seinfeld” have mostly found that success hard to top. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander each had a flop after the show ended. Alexander is trying again with the freshman series “Listen Up” on CBS.

No idea why Seinfeld was important to note, since Kudrow didn’t star in it, nor did the article mention anything about Seinfeld cast members before that. Perhaps it’s a product tie-in with the new Seinfeld DVDs. Who knows? Who cares? I have four and a half discs of Buck Rogers to go.

James Lileks Goes Too Far!!!!

In today’s Bleat, he begins:

I watched the first episode of Battlestar Galactica’s new season. Not something I ever thought I would look forward to, given how much I loathed the original.

And then follows up a few paragraphs later with:

I can only hope that the people behind the 80s version of “Buck Rogers” watch it and soil themselves in shame. If Twiki ever went up against Jar-Jar I’d root for the Binks. Which says a lot. To be exact, it says “bidi bidi bidi.” Meesa hate that.

The man knows no shame and his little “We in the Blue States are soooo much more sophisticated than those silly red staters” division schtick makes me want to cede Minnesota to Canada to spite him.

Also, the Vikings in the CFL would be good for the Packers. But I digress.

Another Head to Head Matchup

Sure, we’ve pitted Tommy Lee Jones against Michael Ironside to see who’s the tougher, and we’ve matched Ani DiFranco against Pink to see who’s the grittier authentic singer, but now we’ve got a monumental battle of epic proportions: Who’s the tougher vampire slaying hottie?

Buffy “The Vampire Slayer” Summers

versus

Anita “The Vampire Executioner” Blake

Both of them have frequent romantic dalliances with members of the supernatural, but I can forgive that. Gee, Buffy’s perky and endowed with super powers which leaves her with martial arts skills and super strength. However, Anita Blake can raise the dead and doesn’t mind usign firearms from time to time (every couple of minutes, almost). Advantage: Blake!

Full disclosure: I read the Anita Blake books in the mid nineties and had a crush on Anita Blake, who would be a perfect woman except for her undead fetish. I’ve only seen the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer and haven’t seen much of the television series. Because face it, Buffy’s an also-ran.

It Was Toilet Paper

MSNBC has picked the Worst (and Best) Television Series Finales, wherein they find M*A*S*H worst of all:

1. “M*A*S*H*” — “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” (Feb. 28,
1983)

M*A*S*HWe know, we know, there are lots of you out there who think the two-and-a-half-hour finale is pure genius, but we think after 10-and-a-half increasingly sentimental seasons, the still top-rated show had lost the plot — literally. In the syrupy, self-righteous swan song, earnest Everyman surgeon Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda, who co-wrote and directed) suffers a nervous breakdown after witnessing a mother smother her baby on a bus. He recovers and returns to the 4077th in time for the war to end. Tears, manly hugs, and more tears build up to the big heart-tugging conclusion. As Hawkeye’s helicopter takes off, he sees that best bud B.J. (Mike Farrell) has spelled out “goodbye” in stones on the ground. Someone give us a schmaltz-ectomy — stat! Still, 106 million people tuned in for the pop-culture event (it’s still the all-time ratings champ), many of whom we expect will write in to tell us just how wrong we are.

Undoubtedly, they’ve already gotten numerous letters pointing out that Honeycutt spelled out goodbye with rolls of toilet paper, not stones.

I just wanted you, gentle reader, to know that I am much smarter than someone who’s actually figured out a way to earn money getting paid writing for the Internet.

Common Sense Check

Today, in the Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper takes on the American Idol racism manufactuversy. He sums it up:

That’s what happened recently when Chicago’s Jennifer Hudson and two other young black women finished in the bottom three in viewer voting, while that Doogie Howser-lookin’ 16-year-old, John Stevens, was among the top vote-getters, despite the fact that he CANNOT SING A LICK. (To the shock of the judges and anyone with working ears, Hudson was sent home, which turned out to be a great career break. You don’t get to read a Top Ten List on “Late Show With David Letterman” unless you’re making real news.)

How could this happen? How could arguably the three most talented performers finish with the three worst vote totals? Hmmm, could it have something to do with the fact that they’re black?

A lot of people, including Elton John, seemed to think so.

Roeper’s take?

I thought the cries of racism in the wake of Hudson’s ouster were emotionally cheap and intellectually lazy. (Personally, I was glad to see Stevens go because I’m a rabid anti-schmaltz-ite.) To slap the “racist” tag on millions of people because they preferred a hokey teen-boy singer to some over-emoting junior divas is quite a leap. Maybe there are just a lot of Nebraska grandmas and New York teenyboppers who voted for Stevens, while fans of the Bottom Three felt so secure about their favorites that they didn’t bother to vote. I mean, if the vote two weeks ago is proof that America is racist, then last week’s vote means America has learned its lesson, and isn’t racist any more. Right?

I agree it’s not about race, but for a different reason.

From what I understand, you vote by calling a 900 number for your favorite singer. You can vote as often as you want or your parents can afford. That sort of election process selects a special subset of viewers, a subset that has superfluous money, time, and motivation to call a 900 number.

It’s not white versus black. It’s idiots versus people with lives apart from the television.

Thank you. Please note, this Internet is not an idiot box because it has more than a box. It is two boxes, a big calculator with letters on it, and a unicycle with two buttons on it. That is all.

Unions Outsource Television Production

Look, guys! Not only are the Evil Greedy Corporations sending jobs away, but so are the Nice, Defending-The-Little Guy Greedy Unions.

Philadelphia proved a little too real for The Real World.

After squabbling with local unions, the producers of the MTV series yesterday gave up on Philadelphia as the site of its 15th season. Taping was to begin in three weeks.

Wait a minute…. You don’t think…. The obstructionism and agitation of labor, organized or not, for overpriced wages might have a hand in all outsourcing, could it?