Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


My So Called Life

Filed under: Reviews,Television — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

My So Called Life on DVD“I finished My So Called Life this morning while I was on the treadmill.”

“Oh…” Mike is eating breakfast. He made himself this delicious bagel with Nutella and cream cheese. I can’t see him eating it, but I’m still jealous.

“I guess the problem that I’m having is that they didn’t know that they were going to be cancelled, so they left the series with all these loose ends that never got tied up.”

“Yeah.” I don’t know if he’s listening, but I’m really just talking to myself.

“I’ve been thinking about how it should end, but I really don’t know how it should be…”

“Why don’t you just imagine that someone comes into the school and shoots up everyone.”

“You’re a freakin’ genius.”

“I was joking.”

“No, really. You’re a genius. Now who would it be?” I’m really excited about the prospect of annihilating the entire cast of My So Called Life. “I know!”

“Know what…”

“Tino! The Elusive Tino!”

“Ok…” He has finished his breakfast and his attention is on me fully, but he’s obviously confused.

“There’s this character in the show that I don’t think is ever shown on screen. Everyone says things like, ‘I’ll get that from Tino,’ or ‘We’re waiting for Tino,’ or ‘I guess Tino’s my friend.’ Maybe in the final episode, Tino FINALLY shows up to school and shoots up the place!”

“I really was joking.”

“No, it’s brilliant. He would kill Rayanne because she tried to replace him in the Frozen Embryos. He would kill Jordan because he actually did replace him and renamed the band. He would kill Angela because he figured that she was the reason Jordan took over the band. Ricky would get shot trying to protect Angela and Rayanne. I don’t know why Tino would kill Brian and Sharon, though…”

Mike has stopped listening. Either that, or he’s patiently waiting for me to come back down to earth and start talking about something beside ten year old television shows.

“Maybe I’ll just have Tino kill Jordan and Angela and everyone else has to deal with the aftermath. Maybe Brian would marry Rayanne Graff. He deserves a wild and exciting girl like her don’t you think?”

“I was just joking…”



Filed under: Reviews,Television — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Popular: Season 1I’m about halfway through the first season of the television show Popular. I am so out of it as far as television is concerned. I never heard of this show when it was on the air. I haven’t watched live television for months on end, so when Amazon.com recommended this television show to me, I jumped. Television shows are perfect for exercising with.

Every morning I jump on the treadmill, eager to see what is going to happen next. If you read the description for this series on Amazon, you might think it’s either a fluffy teen drama or a hard look at teen issues. I can’t tell you about either of those things. I don’t know what teen issues are like today. I can’t tell you if this series would be entertaining to teens.

I have a hard time describing this series. There are times when its goofy level is so high that I’m cringing at the silly costumes. It is very stylized, so it’s separated from reality. The cinematography is beautiful. The actors and actresses look like models. On the other hand, it feels raw and sore, like an open wound. It is brutally honest. These characters feel like shockingly real people.

The way this series is marketed is misleading. Given the description, you may think that this show is about the dichotomy of the Popular kids and the Alternative kids. Not so. This show is about the Popular kids and the Almost Popular kids. The Unnoticed kids are almost unnoticed in this series. There is a beautiful scene where the Chess Club are interviewing the Homecoming Queen candidates. One member asks the beautiful blonde cheerleader what his name is and she is unable to answer. The two groups that are the focus of this series, however, are not members of the Unnoticed.

So, every day I have been eagerly jumping on the treadmill to see what is going on with the students of Kennedy High School. Why? I just told you that the premise of the series is flawed, the goofy situations border on federal crime, and the stylization of it all makes it have a surreal effect. But just when I think it can’t be goofier, someone will say something that is so true that it punches me in the gut. Just when I notice something superficial, something will happen that makes me suck in a shocked breath of air. In essence, the writing is really good.


Enforced Upgrading

Filed under: Television — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Television and the Air WavesI don’t know how I feel about this. I don’t even know if I really understand it. Television broadcasters have agreed to stop broadcasting analog signals in order to free up the crowded airwaves.

If I understand correctly, that will mean that people who watch televison using their antennas (instead of cable subscriptions) won’t be able to watch anymore unless they upgrade to digital television. They say that they are doing this to clear up the crowded airwaves, but wasn’t the HDTV Mandate the reason that the airwaves are clogged to begin with?

All of this sounds like enforced upgrading to me. Did television sales slow down or something? As far as I’m concerned, they can keep their digital signals to themselves. I’ve already moved on to getting all my entertainment from other sources. I only turn on the television to play Xbox and DVDs.

It was predicted here: *spark>> media>> *television – the future of television – by Frank Beacham

Via: Engadget – Broadcasters OK 2009 analog TV shutdown

One to Beam Up…

Filed under: Television — Laura Moncur @ 2:32 pm


My heart is breaking… James Doohan, the actor who portrayed Scotty on Star Trek, died today.

Via: Boing Boing: James Doohan, RIP



Filed under: Television — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

NUMB3RS on CBSI haven’t watched network television since a few months before Friends finished up. I’m not bragging about this, I just haven’t found anything that I’ve really liked to watch since then. Apparently, I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the Fall lineup because this great show flew right under my radar last season.

The premise of the show focuses on two brothers. Don Eppes (Rob Morrow) is an FBI agent. Charlie Eppes (David Krumholtz), Don’s younger brother, is a genius mathematician with a doctorate and tenure at the university. When Don needs help with some sticky crimes, Charlie can jump in with number theory to save the day. Math Man to the rescue!!

Rob Morrow played Joel Fleischman on Northern Exposure. I have several episodes of that series memorized, so I worried that I would only be able to see Joel Fleischman instead of Don Eppes. Not a problem. Within ten minutes of the first episode, Joel was forgotten and Rob Morrow morphed into Don Eppes in front of my eyes. Sabrina Lloyd was in a sci-fi show I liked called Sliders. She’s even better in NUMB3RS as Don’s tough FBI partner and profiler. Best of all, Judd Hirsch (from Taxi fame) plays Don and Charlie’s father. I love how he toes the line between father and disinterested sounding board. They have a great cast!

I have seen eight episodes and I just love this show. It shows me just how rusty my old math degree is. I love the idea of a mathematical sleuth. He’s much more believable than some of the other amateur sleuths that I have loved. Every time I see an episode I am eager to see the next one. I remember what this felt like: loving television. I haven’t had it happen to me in a long time.


Star Trek Voyager

Filed under: Reviews,Television — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Star Trek Voyager

Can we just take a moment for a much belated review for Star Trek Voyager. When the series came out, I was so disgusted with it that I just stopped watching after the Amelia Earhart episode. They brought in Seven of Nine and I just assumed she was eye candy for the teen-aged boy in every man who watches science fiction.

About two years ago, however, our Tivo started recording episodes of Voyager for me. I would watch an episode and be pleasantly surprised. I still hated Kess. I still thought Seven of Nine was eye candy, but I was willing to take in an episode when I was running on my treadmill.

Something changed about a year ago. I was singularly impressed with the writing on a particular episode with Chakotay (one of my least favorite characters). He was stranded on a planet that was warring. Their language was different and Chakotay found himself involved in their fight against their enemies very quickly. It was such a beautiful episode that I saved it on my Tivo for a long time, watching it over and over. You can see it here:

Ever since then, I have watched EVERY episode of Voyager that Tivo has recorded for me. It is now my absolute favorite of the Star Trek collections, knocking out even Captain Kirk and Captain Picard. I even saw an episode with Q in it two nights ago and LIKED it. Q! The epitome of what was WRONG with Star Trek! And I ENJOYED the episode!

We are living in a resurgence of great sci-fi right now. We have Battlestar Galactica, The Chronicles of Sarah Connor, Heroes, Lost, Dr. Who, Torchwood and a bunch of other series that I haven’t been able to keep up with. I haven’t been watching any of them, but I have religiously watched Star Trek Voyager for the last couple of years.

I wonder… In ten years, will I be singing the praises of ten year old sci-fi while persistently ignoring the sci-fi of the present? Why can’t I just get on the train NOW?

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