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The second episode of The Orville aired tonight. Gretchen and I watched it in almost-real-time, since it had been delayed by the football game.

It was good. It was actually good enough that Gretchen is now worried about the fate of the series, because she thinks that there is not enough audience that will be able to figure out what it is trying to be.

It's sort of like it's trying to be funnier than, say, Castle, but not as over-the-top as Quark.

And it's not any sillier in the important plot points than Star Trek: TOS.

I'm encouraged.

I'm also encouraged that FOX hasn't thrown it up against the future Big Bang Theory Thursday night time slot to die.

We'll see.
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Gretchen and I watched the pilot for The Orville last night. It was interesting. I'm not yet sure it is viable, but I could have said the same after the first episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Obviously, the series owes a major debt to Star Trek. Listening to the musical soundtrack was really interesting as I was going "Ok, there's the Enterprise theme turned inside out. Hey, here are the enemy stormtroopers and we're getting that theme from Star Wars turned inside out." ("Turned inside out" is my technical shorthand for "Let's write something that sounds like the original without actually being the original." It's a handy recipe for a pastiche.)

Of course, the whole series is a pastiche. And that may be ok. I'm familiar with many of the actors in the ensemble and overall it's a strong group. If the writers figure out how to write for them, it could be pretty good. If not, well, science fiction on Fox. What did you expect?

Gretchen observes that there's a raunchy edge to the humor that may keep parents from letting their younger kids (and quite possibly their older kids) from watching it. That won't likely be good for ratings.

And the show is playing fair with the viewers. Was there anyone watching the episode who didn't go, "Oh, look! The Captain has a pocketful of redwood trees."? It was like finding a gun and a bust of Chekhov on the mantel. Given the debt to Star Trek, I guess a bust of Mr. Chekov would have been most appropriate...

We'll see what they decide to grow up to be.
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We are now one episode into the second season of the CSI experiment where Ted Danson has been brought in to replace Laurence Fishburne who was brought in to replace William Petersen. I consider this experiment to be a success.

Danson's character, D.B. Russell, is quirky, but in different ways than Petersen's character, Gil Grissom, was. Watching the other characters adjust to his presence has been entertaining. He fits the show much better than Fishburne's usually brooding Ray Langston character. The situations on CSI are quite grim enough -- in most cases -- without having to put an angst-ridden type in the middle of the mix. Also, Langston was supposedly the star, but he was the most junior CSI in the mix, which never was a good combination in my opinion.

We're gradually being introduced to Russell and his family. It was, thus, with great amusement that I saw that Russell's wife was played by Peri Gilpin, formerly Roz on Frasier.

Proving, I suppose, that Ted Danson's character was smarter than Kelsey Grammer's character...
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So I said to [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise, "I know what I want for dinner, but it's not very helpful."

"Yes?"

"I want a chocolate malt and something to go along with it, like a good hamburger."

Now, we could have taken the girls out to Red Robin, but that would have blown out the entire evening by the time they were done playing in the mall. Cheeburger Cheeburger would have been perfect, but they closed down in this area years ago.

"Hey, what about Smashburger? Let me check the menu."

A quick search and it turned out they had burgers and malts. This looked like a victory condition. Miss Vicki delivered the soda for Picnicon tomorrow, we chatted for a while, and just as she was getting ready to leave and we were getting ready to leave, Katie lost the contents of her stomach. This pretty much put the kibosh on the family expedition.

"You go on out," Gretchen told me. "I've got leftover rib tips for dinner."

So off I went.

Smashburger is a bit more upscale than Five Guys -- which I go to way too often. They have a wider selection of items on the menu at Smashburger, including chicken, salads, and shakes and malts.

The basic fries are better at Five Guys than at Smashburger, but Smashburger has more varieties of flavored and topped fries, including sweet potato fries, so if you want something different, they're a better choice. (The fries at Smashburger are shoestrings, while the ones at Five Guys show signs of coming from whole potatoes and are meatier.) And I like the burgers at Five Guys better too, as they're a bit more solid than the one that I got at Smashburger, although the burger that I got there was quite tasty -- just really messy. The burger feels "looser" at Smashburger for whatever reason.

And when I say that Smashburger is more upscale, just for example, the Smashburger lettuce is a romaine leaf, while Five Guys uses iceberg lettuce, and the Smashburger comes in a basket, not wrapped in a paper bag.

And Smashburger has a kids menu, which can be important if you have kids. :)

Overall though, it was a happy experience, as I got my burger and my malt and they were good.
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[livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise and I rather enjoy Flashpoint, which is a TV series about a SWAT team set in Toronto. We started watching it as a CBS summer replacement and followed it onto the ION cable channel this fall. I have no idea exactly when the particular episode that's the subject of my annoyance came from (at least a season ago), but it's really annoying. (And I try to remember that many stupid and unjust things are done to set up a situation for TV.)

So here's the situation: a pregnant woman with a three year old daughter is in an automobile accident that kills her husband, crushes her pelvis, and requires an emergency C-section at seven months. She is in terrible, terrible pain from her injuries and becomes addicted to pain killers. Her doctor cuts her off. (It's not clear whether she's still in chronic pain at this point or whether she was offered any rehab after the medicos managed to get her hooked.)

Desperate for pills, she attempts to rob a pharmacy and is arrested and sent to jail for eight years, serving five. She has no relatives who can take the kids, nor any friends who can manage it, so they go to foster care.

Apparently without telling her or allowing her representation in court, her parental rights are terminated and the kids are adopted by the foster families. It's mentioned how "adoptable" the kids were.

She gets out of prison, is getting her life back together, and then is told that she can never have her kids back. Not surprisingly, she goes nuts and kidnaps the two little girls who certainly appear to have been judicially stolen from her.

Many not good things ensue, with the lead actor intoning that this situation is the result of the choices that the mother had made.

In the end, we're told that one of the adoptive families will remain in some contact with her, so that's a good thing. And perhaps the kids will want to see her when they turn eighteen.

And who knows, perhaps by then, the compassionate Canadian judicial system will have let her out of jail for her latest crime spree.

Yeah, I know. It's just a TV show.

But a really annoying one last night.

Usually, they do better.
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Or Volume 5, if you prefer.

[livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise and I watched the last two episodes of Heroes last night. We'd intended to watch one, but decided that we didn't want to wait to see what happened and since everything was on the DVR, we had the option. :) (We got started watching this season late, because we were out of town for the premiere. [livejournal.com profile] samwinolj was good enough to record the two-hour episode for us, but it took a while to get the DVD from him, so Heroes languished until we did.)

I'll avoid spoilers. What I will say is this: if you'd given up on the show, this was the season that you've been waiting for. It was probably the strongest season/volume to date. The character work was strong, nothing happened that caused me to roll my eyes and go "Oh, God, what now?", and I actually wanted to tune in from week to week -- if at a somewhat late date.

I'm sure it will be out on DVD fairly soon. Rent it. Buy it. Watch it. If you ever liked the show, you'll like this.

I hope we get another season (despite the lousy ratings), because the show actually deserves one now.
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Or Volume 5, if you prefer.

[livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise and I watched the last two episodes of Heroes last night. We'd intended to watch one, but decided that we didn't want to wait to see what happened and since everything was on the DVR, we had the option. :) (We got started watching this season late, because we were out of town for the premiere. [livejournal.com profile] samwinolj was good enough to record the two-hour episode for us, but it took a while to get the DVD from him, so Heroes languished until we did.)

I'll avoid spoilers. What I will say is this: if you'd given up on the show, this was the season that you've been waiting for. It was probably the strongest season/volume to date. The character work was strong, nothing happened that caused me to roll my eyes and go "Oh, God, what now?", and I actually wanted to tune in from week to week -- if at a somewhat late date.

I'm sure it will be out on DVD fairly soon. Rent it. Buy it. Watch it. If you ever liked the show, you'll like this.

I hope we get another season (despite the lousy ratings), because the show actually deserves one now.
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[livejournal.com profile] samwinolj, Bonnie, Jerry, [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise, and I headed down to the Loop today for the previews of The Addams Family, the new musical starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth. Gretchen's capsule review was "Well, it won't be a classic of the American theater, but it was a fun way to spend an afternoon." And that's pretty much true.

There's a structural problem in the second act that's caused by the leads not being the romantic leads in the show, with the result that a number that should be very near the end of the act ends up being pushed substantially too early. (In my opinion, of course.) This leads to a relatively weak number just before the end of the musical, but I'm really not sure how to fix it. On the other hand, that's what tryouts are for.

There are a number of current references in the show, most of which were pretty funny, one of which falls in the politically polarizing category and resulted in a brief halt due to applause. I'm not convinced that applause is what you want there, because it disrupts the timing pretty severely. We'll see if it survives, I suppose.

Although the show is not supposed to be drawn from the old TV show or the movies, but from the original cartoons, they did have the good sense to license the TV theme. We even had a cameo by Cousin It.

And Uncle Fester, playing the role of Dr. Exposition, does his best to steal the show. And he gives it a very good try.

Gretchen, meanwhile, observes that it appears that all new Broadway musicals are required to have someone fly. She blames Cats.

My pithy observation was that Morticia may well be the role that Bebe Neuwirth was born to play: "Sybil on the Half-Shell".

Of course, after such a show, we find ourselves trying to figure out how to cast it with members of SpaceTime Theater. We concluded that [livejournal.com profile] daddy_guido and I would engage in a death match to determine which one of us was Gomez and which one was Uncle Fester. After that, we discovered we would run into an acute shortage of women. And I suggested importing [livejournal.com profile] catalana to play Morticia, as she can both sing and dance.

Though it's difficult trying to cast a musical when half of the cast doesn't want to sing. :)
billroper: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] samwinolj, Bonnie, Jerry, [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise, and I headed down to the Loop today for the previews of The Addams Family, the new musical starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth. Gretchen's capsule review was "Well, it won't be a classic of the American theater, but it was a fun way to spend an afternoon." And that's pretty much true.

There's a structural problem in the second act that's caused by the leads not being the romantic leads in the show, with the result that a number that should be very near the end of the act ends up being pushed substantially too early. (In my opinion, of course.) This leads to a relatively weak number just before the end of the musical, but I'm really not sure how to fix it. On the other hand, that's what tryouts are for.

There are a number of current references in the show, most of which were pretty funny, one of which falls in the politically polarizing category and resulted in a brief halt due to applause. I'm not convinced that applause is what you want there, because it disrupts the timing pretty severely. We'll see if it survives, I suppose.

Although the show is not supposed to be drawn from the old TV show or the movies, but from the original cartoons, they did have the good sense to license the TV theme. We even had a cameo by Cousin It.

And Uncle Fester, playing the role of Dr. Exposition, does his best to steal the show. And he gives it a very good try.

Gretchen, meanwhile, observes that it appears that all new Broadway musicals are required to have someone fly. She blames Cats.

My pithy observation was that Morticia may well be the role that Bebe Neuwirth was born to play: "Sybil on the Half-Shell".

Of course, after such a show, we find ourselves trying to figure out how to cast it with members of SpaceTime Theater. We concluded that [livejournal.com profile] daddy_guido and I would engage in a death match to determine which one of us was Gomez and which one was Uncle Fester. After that, we discovered we would run into an acute shortage of women. And I suggested importing [livejournal.com profile] catalana to play Morticia, as she can both sing and dance.

Though it's difficult trying to cast a musical when half of the cast doesn't want to sing. :)
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The Heroes season finale was last night. And despite Katie and Julie's best efforts, we did manage to watch it with a bit of help from our DVR. All this means that I'm able to make some serious spoilerish comments.
Spoilers within... )
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The Heroes season finale was last night. And despite Katie and Julie's best efforts, we did manage to watch it with a bit of help from our DVR. All this means that I'm able to make some serious spoilerish comments.
Spoilers within... )
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Ok, so I've just finished reading all four books of Lois Bujold's The Sharing Knife series. And having done so, I've concluded that I wasn't actually reading a fantasy series. I was reading an SF series with fantasy trappings.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
No real spoilers, but just in case... )
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Ok, so I've just finished reading all four books of Lois Bujold's The Sharing Knife series. And having done so, I've concluded that I wasn't actually reading a fantasy series. I was reading an SF series with fantasy trappings.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
No real spoilers, but just in case... )
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Until Thursday night, I'd expected that we'd be spending Valentine's Day mostly at home. Then our friend, Jennifer, called and offered to babysit for the girls until mid-afternoon. This sounded really good to us, so we dropped Katie and Julie off around 10:30 AM and headed out to Schaumburg for lunch and a movie. Because we needed to be back around 3 PM, timing was a bit tight, so we ended up having lunch at the restaurant in Gameworks because it was next to the movie theater. Fortunately, we got perfectly acceptable burgers there.

We then headed off to the theater and caught a matinee of He's Just Not That Into You. The Tribune reviewer didn't much care for it (1.5 stars); [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise and I like it a good bit better than that. But we actually like light romantic comedies. :)

Then it was back to Jennifer's to pick up the girls. This was followed by trips to Sam's Club, Home Depot, Menard's, Lowe's, Oberweis (for carryout milk), and Sweet Baby Ray's. We arrived at the last at 6 PM on Valentine's Day with no reservations. What were we thinking?

So they seated us. We had a fine dinner, the head chef brought us chocolate-covered strawberries after we finished dinner (and they were really good), and a wonderful time was had by all.

Now, we're back home. I've assembled the new reading lamp for Katie's room. It should be very helpful when I'm reading her Winnie the Pooh stories at bedtime -- we're now through chapter six. :)

And tomorrow, I'm going to install the new outdoor light fixtures to replace the ones that I installed to replace the really cruddy ones the builder put in 12 years ago. The replacements have clearly seen better days, the brass plating now looking like anything but brass, so it's time for them to go. And the fellow at Menard's gave us the 15% discount on our entire purchase, not just the items that would fit in the 95 cent reusable green shopping bag, so we saved nearly thirty dollars.

But tonight, we're watching a Pooh DVD and relaxing. And that's a fine thing.
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Until Thursday night, I'd expected that we'd be spending Valentine's Day mostly at home. Then our friend, Jennifer, called and offered to babysit for the girls until mid-afternoon. This sounded really good to us, so we dropped Katie and Julie off around 10:30 AM and headed out to Schaumburg for lunch and a movie. Because we needed to be back around 3 PM, timing was a bit tight, so we ended up having lunch at the restaurant in Gameworks because it was next to the movie theater. Fortunately, we got perfectly acceptable burgers there.

We then headed off to the theater and caught a matinee of He's Just Not That Into You. The Tribune reviewer didn't much care for it (1.5 stars); [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise and I like it a good bit better than that. But we actually like light romantic comedies. :)

Then it was back to Jennifer's to pick up the girls. This was followed by trips to Sam's Club, Home Depot, Menard's, Lowe's, Oberweis (for carryout milk), and Sweet Baby Ray's. We arrived at the last at 6 PM on Valentine's Day with no reservations. What were we thinking?

So they seated us. We had a fine dinner, the head chef brought us chocolate-covered strawberries after we finished dinner (and they were really good), and a wonderful time was had by all.

Now, we're back home. I've assembled the new reading lamp for Katie's room. It should be very helpful when I'm reading her Winnie the Pooh stories at bedtime -- we're now through chapter six. :)

And tomorrow, I'm going to install the new outdoor light fixtures to replace the ones that I installed to replace the really cruddy ones the builder put in 12 years ago. The replacements have clearly seen better days, the brass plating now looking like anything but brass, so it's time for them to go. And the fellow at Menard's gave us the 15% discount on our entire purchase, not just the items that would fit in the 95 cent reusable green shopping bag, so we saved nearly thirty dollars.

But tonight, we're watching a Pooh DVD and relaxing. And that's a fine thing.

Wall-E

Jun. 28th, 2008 09:50 pm
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[livejournal.com profile] samwinolj, Bonnie, [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise, and I went out this afternoon to see Wall-E, leaving Katie and Julie with the young lady who lives next door to babysit. I'm happy to report that the movie was a lot of fun. Definitely sci-fi in the sense that there are plotholes that you can drive a starship through, but if you're willing to sit back and enjoy it for the space opera that it is, you'll have a good time.

I suspect Gretchen will give me leave to add this one to our DVD collection when it comes out. And then Katie will probably be old enough to start appreciating it. :)

Wall-E

Jun. 28th, 2008 09:50 pm
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[livejournal.com profile] samwinolj, Bonnie, [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise, and I went out this afternoon to see Wall-E, leaving Katie and Julie with the young lady who lives next door to babysit. I'm happy to report that the movie was a lot of fun. Definitely sci-fi in the sense that there are plotholes that you can drive a starship through, but if you're willing to sit back and enjoy it for the space opera that it is, you'll have a good time.

I suspect Gretchen will give me leave to add this one to our DVD collection when it comes out. And then Katie will probably be old enough to start appreciating it. :)

27 Dresses

May. 17th, 2008 12:29 am
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[livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise and I watched 27 Dresses tonight. It's pretty thoroughly formulaic, which is pretty much what I want to see in a romantic comedy. I get really annoyed at romantic comedies where girl does not get boy, girl gets killed tragically, boy gets killed tragically, etc. I rather prefer happy endings.

(Yeah, I know. The Grim Roper. Who'da thunk it?)

But I watch romantic comedies not so much for the plot as for the journey and the acting. Katherine Heigl does a fine job with the part and watching her I conclude that there's some serious danger that she's going to get all the parts that Diane Keaton used to get, which is a pretty good career path, all things considered. James Marsden demonstrates that he doesn't have to play a stick, unlike in the X-Men movies. And Malin Akerman (who IMDB tells me is about to be in the new Watchmen film) could be stealing Cameron Diaz's parts shortly.

So it's a pretty happy little ensemble. And the movie isn't laugh out loud funny, but it's fun to watch.

That'll do nicely.

27 Dresses

May. 17th, 2008 12:29 am
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[livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise and I watched 27 Dresses tonight. It's pretty thoroughly formulaic, which is pretty much what I want to see in a romantic comedy. I get really annoyed at romantic comedies where girl does not get boy, girl gets killed tragically, boy gets killed tragically, etc. I rather prefer happy endings.

(Yeah, I know. The Grim Roper. Who'da thunk it?)

But I watch romantic comedies not so much for the plot as for the journey and the acting. Katherine Heigl does a fine job with the part and watching her I conclude that there's some serious danger that she's going to get all the parts that Diane Keaton used to get, which is a pretty good career path, all things considered. James Marsden demonstrates that he doesn't have to play a stick, unlike in the X-Men movies. And Malin Akerman (who IMDB tells me is about to be in the new Watchmen film) could be stealing Cameron Diaz's parts shortly.

So it's a pretty happy little ensemble. And the movie isn't laugh out loud funny, but it's fun to watch.

That'll do nicely.

Enchanted

Apr. 12th, 2008 12:21 am
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Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] shsilver who loaned us his family's copy, [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise and I got to watch Enchanted tonight. It's a lot of fun.

You get a nice romantic comedy, several fine production numbers, and a CGI-animated chipmunk who would really like to steal the movie. What's not to like? :)

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