Past Prologue: September, 2009 – Part Two.

Continued from Part One.

As I said in the previous post: The end looms large, but is still a ways away and down the road a bit. But I kind of wanted to look back a little, month by month, at this blog. Maybe not every single month, but most, if I can. I guess I’m getting reacquainted with what I’m saying goodbye to? Or maybe in the back of my mind I’m always remembering that you have to put the chairs up before you turn the lights off and go home…

And we continue.

18.

09/16/09: Children Are Our Future by Conrad Noir: Linking to the then current Newsweek cover story, “Is Your Baby Racist?” And in the comments section, you’ll see that Peanut St. Cosmo offers a good point on this.

19.

09/17/09: The Post-Modern Prometheus,” by yours truly: I’ve always been fascinated by the Frankenstein story, inside and out. The story itself, the way it’s constantly adapted and how it is, but also with its writer and the creation of the story.

There’s one more post in September of 2009 about this, and I was going to do a whole series of things, just exorcising some of my fascination with everything to do with Mary Shelley and her monster and the connections I was seeing between that and other things I was interested in. The series fell through, obviously, and I never said everything I wanted to say, and sadly, that moment has passed. For now.

But it still interests me, the way we focus all of our frustrations and excitements and failings into the characters and monsters that we create, and then we let them loose into the world. Sometimes those monsters redeem us and sometimes they destroy us. Sometimes they live on long after we’re gone, stuck between the darkness and the light.

20.

09/18/09: Hell Is A Teenage Girl by myself: Speaking of Megan Fox and whoa!-mankind and monsters. Jennifer’s Body was not a great movie, but it was certainly an interesting one. Easily the best possible vehicle for Megan Fox (and for Adam Brody).

21.

09/19/09: Spirits and Sexy Singularities in the Noosphere by myself: This post is so typically me. Honestly, this is the kind of wacky shit that I’m reading about all the time.

It’s just interesting to me now to see discussion of The Lost Symbol turning into Dan Simmon’s The Fall Of Hyperion, then turning into talk of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the Omega Point, and a thinly veiled pondering/lusting about 2012.

22.

09/20/09: The Post-Modern Prometheus, part two: Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves,” by yours truly: Again, with the Frankenstein, but also tying into that classic (it is a classic, right?) episode of The X-Files. Otherwise known as “The Cher Episode.”

What can I say? This series, or longer essay, or whatever you want to call it, was going to start small and then get bigger. Instead, it just stayed small. The lack of further movement on it really betrayed its connective tissue.

23.

09/21/09: American Jokes Are Better Than British Jokes,” by August Bravo and myself: Ha ha. This was a great episode of Mad Men. Ahhh, the tractor episode. The British are coming, they came, and then they left, and they left part of their feet behind.

Also, August Bravo is barely hiding his desire to be physically dominated by Ken Cosgrove here.

24.

09/22/09: There Are Two Kinds Of Light,” by myself: More links, interesting quotes, and pretty pictures. The light that glows, and the light that blinds: that’s interesting, and charming wisdom from Thurber.

Part of why I started with this month to look back on first is that it’s September, just like it is now, here in 2012 as I write this, but also because it was just a little over a year after the blog had started. You’d think we’d have found our legs a little, kicked off some of the training wheels, for example. In intrigues me to notice that when Counterforce was really rolling, there was always two kinds of themes to each month, as if each month was its own issue of a magazine or some kind of periodical: the theme that was intended, and the one that was unintended.

I know, I know, that’s some hardcore Wittgenstein-like wisdom there.

25.

09/23/09: Because It Needs To Be Said,” by me: Well… yeah. What’s said is here is as true in 2012 as it was in 2009, only more so, I guess. Enough said.

26.

09/24/09: PSA by me: Whatever. Cthulhu is funny to me. We create our monsters to embody that which we most find fault within ourselves, and then those monsters proceed to drive us insane and enslave humanity and collapse reality upon itself. It’s just one of those things.

27.

09/25/09: Just because we saw this show doesn’t mean it has to happen,” by myself: I wonder how similar me ranting about the pilot to Flashforward is to Benjie ranting about the pilot to Revolution.

Neither of these shows is or was the new Lost, and I think that’s important to say because clearly the ghost of Lost still haunts network TV. They were trying to resurrect it with Lost even before the show was officially over.

I remember reading Robert J. Sawyer’s novel, Flash Forward, and thinking it was interesting, even if it was a little weak. There were certainly elements there to create an interesting TV show out of it, but David Goyer and the rest of the show’s makers clearly avoided those parts altogether. Instead Flashfoward the TV show plays out like the most pathetic of all Sideways Universes, in which Charlie and Penny Widmore are still out there somewhere, and things are just really, really mediocre.

28.

09/26/09: Cosmic Caturday.” Meow.

29.

09/27/09: It’s only a matter of time before we all burn by myself: I really like that Death Cab song, and it’s interesting how music can transform and transport you. In this case, a song took me back to a place that I used to live in, one that only exists in my memories now, and was on fire.

Also, this was back when Benjamin Gibbard and Zooey Deschanel were still married, LOL.

30.

09/28/09: Maybe I’m late because I was spending time with my family reading the bible,” by that fucker August Bravo and myself: Again, it’s just weird to me to relive this season of Mad Men through these posts as I look back at them. The show was always so good about the connection between and identity and a name, about crossing boundaries, and playing with all of those things at the same time.

And Don’s always been very hard on Peggy, hasn’t he? Telling her what he’s needed to hear, as if he’s fully recreated himself within her. I’m looking forward to how they keep her character integrated into this show as it continues, but that’s the future, and that’s another place, especially when we’re talking about the past.

31.

09/29/09: Perennial with the Earth by myself: I really liked this ad campaign, or at least, it stuck with me as a piece of art, beyond it’s creation as a piece of advertisement. The perfect marriage of Walt Whitman, jeans, and the “idea” of America.

32.

09/29/09: Things that make you say, hmm…?” by the always amazing Peanut St. Cosmo: Roman Polanski and Woody Allen. Someone should remake My Dinner With Andre just starring those two guys. Maybe it could be directed by Peanut St. Cosmo, who is always sorely missed when she’s not appearing in Counterforce.

33.

09/30/09: Eternities Of Darkness by myself: The month ends like it began, with links and pictures. But now there’s men and women, pictures in black and white, and words by Nabokov. The continuation of that quote, which is from Speak, Memory, is: “Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour.)”

As I’ve said before, my favorite band name (but certainly not my favorite band) is I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, which is just a great name.

And that’s how this month, September in 2009, ended, with us declaring our love for you (perhaps), and abandoning the light for a time to sail away into the darkness.

* * *

I enjoyed doing this, so I think I’m going to do a few more retrospectives of other months in the history of this blog before it becomes permanently just that: History. Again, I don’t think I have the time, space, nor total desire to do every single month, but at least a few more, if I can help, and quite a few more, if the universe is kind. Any suggestions for which month to look back on next?

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Just because we saw this show doesn’t mean it has to happen.

Flashforward is no Lost.

It’s more of an experiment done in the ABC network labs to try and replicate and cultivate a Lost variation using some stolen cells from the much more interesting, much more popular show that’s “just about a bunch of people on an island.”

It’s Lost season 6 filming now OMGZ!

One of those cells shaved off the original is that annoying little hobbit, Charlie.

I’d like to point out that Charlie was such an integral part of Lost that he was killed off three years ago and half the audience has not only moved on, but pretty much forgotten about him.

from here.

But, no, no, this isn’t going to be nothing but Charlie bashing. That’s honestly too easy.

The same goes for the lovely Sonya Walger, Desmond long lost love on Lost who he was finally reunited with. I feel really bad for Walger, who’s a fine actress, because she’s had to go from jacking guys off on cancelled TV shows to soon to be cancelled shows like this, and her lone quality stop in between the two being her being cast in a role seemingly locked into the heart of Lost‘s mythology, only to then be barely utilized. Desmond’s Penelope wasn’t content to sit around waiting for her husband to return to Ithaca, but then… well, that’s a whole other story.

Flashforward is more of a show for people who (foolishly!) stepped out on Lost a few years ago and now claim “it’s too confusing” for them to dip back into, but really what they mean is that they’re ashamed. Elements of Flashforward‘s pilot (given the appropiate meta title of “No More Good Days”) are essentially the same set up from Lost, just brought over to an urban environment. But done in a not too subtle, not too interesting way. Nothing seems dangerous or interesting on Flashforward.

I’ll admit that Matthew Fox was a gamble for Lost to cast as their lead (as opposed to their original choice, Micheal Keaton), but you’d think that conversley, Joseph Fiennes, would be an incredibly safe lock for a lead on Flashforward. But what we didn’t know is that prior to filming the pilot episode, Ray Fiennes’ little brother had any charisma or allure that he may have possessed surgically removed.

The same could be said for the showrunners on Flashforward: David Goyer and Brannon Braga. Goyer’s one of those guys that’s really only popular with comic book nerds and fans of mediocre TV and movies (his sole “win” seemingly being Batman Begins and the “outline” for The Dark Knight). And Braga’s one of those Star Trek refugees who’s best at mindless, escapist TV that doesn’t require you to care all that much (he’ll be running 24 this coming season, I believe).

It is amusing to me to see Roger Sterling’s wife as the horny babysitter.

And it’s splitting hairs, but the show falls into that category of “That’d never happen like that.” The beginning near-apocalypse seems kind of calm compared to how such a catastrophe would really affect the worlds, and most criminal, after the first twenty minutes, the characters have seemed to make a little too much peace with all the weird shit they’ve experienced. Also, it seems odd to me that the local office of the FBI would be put in charge of the worldwide phenomena that’s just happened…

Also, Seth MacFarlane as the Special Agent in charge of Exposition at the FBI? Ugh. Though MacFarlane is certainly no stranger to derivative entertainment.

The novel the show’s based on, by Robert J. Sawyer, isn’t perfect. In fact, it’s about as flawed and passion-less as the show, which isn’t a direct adaptation by any means, more taking a central concept and a few minor character archetypes and situations over. The novel feels like watered down Crichton, starting with a very interesting premise and then either moving away from it as fast as possible or getting completely mired down in the prattling on of the uninteresting self centered characters. The one thing the novel did have right about itself was that it was primarily set at CERN, and it’s main characters were scientists, afraid that they were responsible for the consciousness of the entire world flashing forward in time, and so it made a little more sense for them to get heavily involved in an investigation into this sort of thing.

For a show that should have a lot more potential and promise than was on display, how sad is it that I was more excited by the productionally challenged V remake’s commercials during the broadcast?

That said, I did enjoy the Oceanic Airlines ad in the background of one scene:

Makes me wish I could flash forward to January 2010 already.

Lovers across time and space.

So, like I said the other day, I’ve read The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, and it’s really good.

The movie, however, maybe not so much.

But now there’s going to be an attempt at a television show version of the novel. The attempts to bring the story to the small screen started before Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company tried to bring it to the big screen, and presumably it’ll keep the same basic premise: A man with a genetic disorder that causes him to involuntary move through time and space and his romance with the woman who loves him.

This is a relatively new thing, the turning of novels into television shows, right? I mean, True Blood and Dexter and even shit like Roswell make a kind of sense since they’re not just a single novel, though a series of continued novels, and Veronica Mars doesn’t count because it was an adapting idea in continuous morphing form from it’s original young adult novelized version (featuring a male lead character). But like Flashforward? I mean, I get that it’s easily cashable as an attempt to synthesize what people think is so successful about a show like Lost, but does anyone really expect it to last longer than one season?

Not impressed by the filmic version of The Time Traveler’s Wife, I eagerly look forward to an attempt to do good on the story/characters via television, and succeeding where a show like Journeyman did not.

In other television news:

James Marsters of Buffy/Angel/Smallville/Torchwood fame is going to be featured in Caprica, the Battlestar Galactica spinoff prequel, which also will now feature Patton Oswalt amongst it’s cast.

Robert Kirkman’s zombie comic The Walking Dead is the getting a television adaptation, but for AMC, and with Frank Darabont involved somehow (nice to see him pulling his face out of Stephen King’s lap for a while), joining the ranks of Mad Men and Breaking Bad, showing that AMC has an interesting taste for original programming. More so than FX, at least. The Walking Dead is quality work, and probably the most realistic take on the zombie thing. I just hope they lose the folksy atmosphere, but other than that: it’s something that has good elements that can translate straight from page to screen and plenty of things that could be improved via television writing.

Right now: You can watch my favorite episode of Joss Whedon’s Firefly, “Objects In Space.”

Experience The Venture Bros. panel at this past Comic-con.

Everyone was joking around the release of G.I. Joe that Mr. Eko would want to be one of the returning cast members to Lost this coming season, and then the actor who played Mr. Eko, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, confirmed that he would indeed like to make such a return (which makes a kind of sense since they’re even bringing fucking Charlie back). Now, it’s looking like he may get his wish since they’re rebuilding his church. Or maybe not.

There’s no one flying the plane!

We’re entering spring, trees blooming, birds and internet geeks twittering, all that shit, but another season is slowly rearing it’s ugly head upon us again: new television pilot season. Of course most of the stuff that ends up on TV is shit, so it stands to reason that new pilot season might as well be filled wall to wall with shows called Outhouse! (which would probably make a great reality show on FOX), but still, it’s TV, and you want it to be good. You want to think that your next new obsessive serialized love affair is there waiting for you.

Anyway, the Hollywood Reporter did a little rundown on Sunday of some of the new pilots coming down the pipe and here’s a few highlights:

Flash Forward, from ABC, based on the novel by Robert J. Sawyer, about scientists working on a high energy experiment that unexpectedly causes a global consciousness shift, flashing everyone on the planet forward to experience a few minutes of their own future.

The concept makes me want to read the novel, but I don’t know how well the idea would work as an ongoing series. I guess we’ll see. It’s from Brannon Braga and the pilot was directed by David Goyer and stars Joseph Fiennes, above, who I want to call Jay.

Community, from NBC, starring Chevy Chase and Joel McHale, is probably designed to pique curiosity but I wonder how good it’d actually be. In it, Chase and McHale (who would continue to host The Soup should the pilot get picked up) play community college classmates. Oh, the hilarity.

Melrose Place, in a revamp/sequel type form a la the new 90210. Ha ha, can you believe it!? Outrageous. They’re probably horny as hell to get Heather Locklear back for it. And I’m sure that Lisa Rinna will gladly come back, but the question is will Grant Show come for it now that Swingtown is a distant memory? What was the connective tissue between the original Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place, wasn’t it that he fucked Brenda and then… just went home to his apartment complex? I feel like he could pretty much play that same role today.

Cougar Town, starring Courtney Cox. Fuck yeah, that sounds like a party, right? But it’s going to have to have some juice to distance itself from the reality show about cougars that just came out and your average Heather Locklear movie on Lifetime.

Human Target, starring Jackie Earle Haley, who was most recently Rorschach in in Watchmen, and directed by Simon West, based on the DC comics character created by legends Len Wein and Carmine Infantino, but was really popularized in it’s Vertigo series by Peter Milligan. It’s about the unique bodyguard, Christopher Chance, who impersonates those he’s protecting to root out and eliminate the threats against them.

Everything about this is bizarre, especially considering it was already tried as a TV show (starring Rick Springfield!) and failed in that arena (though that was before the Milligan run at Vertigo). Secondly, Simon West? Eh, hack. Thirdly, Jackie Earle Haley as Chance? That makes no kind of sense.

Day One, not mentioned in the HR article, and starring Julie Gonzalo (pictured above) is about “a group of apartment dwellers who have survived a post-apocalypse event.” It’s from NBC and will fill Heroes‘ usual time slot while Heroes supposedly goes on a Lost and 24-style January to May scheduling and if we’re all lucky, whether the show is good or bad, maybe it’ll replace Heroes permanently.

A spinoff to NCIS, starring Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J. Wow, that sounds like a license to print money right there. At least, that’s what my mother would say since she loves this show, which itself is a spinoff to JAG.

V, a remake of the 1983 Kenneth Johnson miniseries about alien invaders coming to Earth, is also amongst the hot new pilot ideas being discussed, though it hasn’t been filmed yet.

Also, Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell has already been cast, leading many to assume that she’s the season’s big death this year (but I’m thinking it’s probably Sayid, I’m sad to say).

Trauma, about the fast paced world of medical trauma emergency stuff out in the field. I’m a little sick to death of medical shows and the fact that it’s supposedly got some kind of slam bang action opening directed by Peter Berg leaves me totally flaccid.

Caprica, which was also not on the HR list, but I mention it because the pilot to the Battlestar Galactica prequel (which seemingly only kinda ties into BSG) came out on DVD recently and is going to air on Sci Fi channel, or SyFy, at some point soon. My real question to you is: Do you really give a shit about this show?

Parenthood, based on the 1989 Ron Howard film, and starring Peter Krause (who is the quintessential smug asshole that you actually like)(but seems to be in need of a new job at the start of every pilot season) Maura Tierney, Monica Potter, Erika Christenen and Craig T. Nelson. The script by Jason Katims is apparently well like and the show is already going so far as to begin it’s preliminary staffing.

Also interesting though is that like Rob Thomas’ just returned Cupid and Human Target, this was already tried as a series back in 1990 (and Joss Whedon was one of the staff writers) and was canceled. So, are networks just dying to give ideas a second chance all of a sudden or are we completely out of ideas?

I encourage you to take a gander at the rest of the list, but other than what I mentioned, it’s a lot of obvious crap or vague mentions. And since I mentioned Lost a few times, a slight spoiler for the next episode:

(Thanks, Georgia!) And here’s other juicy sci fi spoiler-ish goings ons. And until next time…

“The god damn plane has crashed into the mountain!”