?

Log in

entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous
drenkrelar
drenkrelar
Title sequences are usually something that are not all that impressive about a television show. A themesong plays, scenes are shown that focus on each of the main characters, and it gives you a general idea for the tone and plot elements of the show. Usually people over look these things as they've seen them dozens if not hundreds of times for any given show, but every now and then there will be something cool innovative or interesting about a title sequence that makes it stand out from the rest. In my opinion the show that does this best is Battlestar Galactica.

The opening sequence of BSG is one of my favorites in a long time. It starts out with a creepy fast-paced piano music with a sinister sounding violin in the background. During this parts scenes are shown of the Cylons and it explains how the were created, rebelled, evolved, and are now trying to eliminate humanity. It then switches to an eerie African-like chant where we see the nuclear annihilation of the 12 planets of mankind, the Galactica and her starfighters in a battle against Cylon ships, the surviving fleet fleeing the destruction, and several beautiful shots of the various spaceships traveling through nebulae and so forth. It then shifts to a fast paced militaristic drumming during which several dozen or or two second snapshots are shown from that night's episode.

This title sequence for me has always been one of the more beautiful, crative, and innovative ones I've seen on TV lately. It avoids the standard format of one catchy theme tune played while several character specific scenes are shown. It also gives glimpses of what will happen in the episode without managing to spoil anything. And most importantly it manages to nail all the major themes of the show in musical form from the creepy and sinister Cylon intro to the mournful sounding chant of the survivors of the destruction to the fast paced drums that hint at the action and intrigue to come.

* * * * * * * * * *

Coming up next, Best TV Show Cast.

Tags: ,

Leave a comment
drenkrelar
Good television isn't always about long-running series. Sometimes great stories can be told in less than a dozen episodes. While increasingly rare, a mini-series can be a source of some incredible television. One of the best mini-series I ever watched was the impressive Steven Spielberg's Taken, a epic ten part mini-series about UFO conspiracies spanning three families over three generations. Another favorite of mine has to be Sci-fi's version of Dune, a mini-series that I've always though was a lot closer to the book than the 1980's movie. But probably my all time favorite mini-series has to be the World War II mini-series Band of Brothers.

Band of Brothers is the story of E Company, part of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. The story follows the men of "Easy" Company from the start of their training in 1942 to the end of World War II in Europe. They parachuted behind enemy lines in the early hours of D-Day in support of the landings at Utah beach, participated in the liberation of Carentan and again parachuted into action during the spectacular failure that was Operation Market Garden. The were also rushed into action to plug the gaps during the Battle of the Bulge, and quickly earned the nickname "The Battered Bastards of Bastogne".They also liberated a concentration camp and were the first to enter Hitler's mountain retreat in Berchtesgarten. Band of Brothers is an incredible tale of comradeship that is, in the end, the story of ordinary men who did extraordinary things.

Part of the reason I love this mini-series so much is that I have always loved history. While many people think of it as nothing but names and dates, it's really the stories of the moments in time where great men did great things, with outcomes that could change the entire world.

But this mini-series is about so much more than the history. It is the story of these men, men who were in the middle  of some of the most famous and significant battles of the western front, and how they struggled through it, to become one of the most elite fighting units in the entire US army during the war.

The actors portrayal of these men is spectacular, and you really get a sense of who these men were, the friendships that they had, and the hell that they went through together.

Tie this together with some of the best action sequences I've seen, inside or outside of a war movie, and you can begin to understand why I love Band of Brothers so much.

* * * * * * * * * *

Coming up next, My Favorite Title Sequence. A wierd topic, but I'm sure I can find something interesting to say about it.

Tags: ,

1 comment or Leave a comment
drenkrelar
There are some shows that you just hate admitting that you watch, even on a casual basis. Shows that fall outside of your normal viewing habits, shows that your friends and family would think that you're weird for liking, shows that you instantly turn off if somebody walks in the room just so they don't catch you watching it. But as ashamed as you are of these shows, you can't help but love them for some reason. These shows are Guilty Pleasures.

For the longest time my Guilty pleasures were cartoon shows, some new, some old that I'd catch repeats of on Cartoon network. Hell, I still watch a number of cartoons today, but I've mostly gotten over the guilty part of that guilty pleasure.

Right now I'd say the show I'm the most ashamed to admit saying that I've watched is probably Glee. This is another one of those shows that my brother and a good friend of mine more or less forced me to sit down and watch. At first I was frightened. It looked like somebody had gone and made High School Musical The Series, now with extra flamboyancy! Thankfully that wasn't the case, but the teen drama and stuff was only mildly interesting at best. The part of the show that actually interests me, and really has almost nothing to do with the show at all, is the set of lungs most of these stars have. Say whatever you want about the high school drama and bullshit, these kids can SING! The choice of music is occasionally rather hit or miss, but when the actually do sing a song I love, they usually do it justice and then some. These kids out Journey-ed Journey, and the adult stars out Aerosmith-ed Aerosmith!

So yeah, simply for the amazing covers of some of my favorite classic rock songs, I love Glee. But at the same time I can't help but feel ashamed of it. It's an over the top high school drama with singing, and large amounts the kind of pointless teenage drama that I didn't even care about while I was still in high school.

* * * * * * * * * *

Coming up next, My Favorite Mini-Series.

Tags:

Leave a comment
drenkrelar
On television, the characters are what make or break a show. The plot, the concept, and the effects are all important but the coolest idea and the flashiest effects are meaningless if the characters are uninteresting. I have quite a few female characters that I like quite a lot. Samantha Carter and Vala Mal Doran from Stargate SG-1, Elisabeth Weir and Teyla Emagan of Stargate Atlantis, Captain Janeway and B'Elana Torres from Star Trek Voyager, and Starbuck, Boomer, and President Roslyn from Battlestar Galactica, are all amazing female characters, but my favorite has to be the original female bad-ass Sarah Connor.

The title character of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, TV's version of Sarah had a lot to live up to considering how bad-ass the character was in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Lena Headey's version of the character doesn't disappoint. TV's version of the character is just as kick-ass if not more so as in the movie, but she isn't all about the hard as nails soldier and drill master for John. In addition to being John's bodyguard and drill sergeant, she's also his mother, and she has to struggle with just how much freedom to give him, when to let him develop the skills he will need to lead mankind, and when to tell him to keep a low profile and not do anything that will draw attention to the Connor family and their efforts to stop Skynet from ever being built.

All of these qualities made her one of my favorite characters to watch on television.

* * * * * * * * * *

Coming up next, My Guilty Pleasure Show.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a comment
drenkrelar
On television, the characters are what make or break a show. The plot, the concept, and the effects are all important but the coolest idea and the flashiest effects are meaningless if the characters are uninteresting. I have quite a few male characters that I like quite a lot. Derek Reese from The Sarah Connor Chronicles, John Sheppard from Stargate Atlantis, Lee and William Adama from Battlestar Galactica, and Richard Winters from Band of Brothers are all wonderful characters, but my absolute favorite male character has to be Jack O'Neill from Stargate SG-1.

A loud-mouthed wisecracking badass, Jack O'Neill is is just a lot of fun to watch. He has a laid back attitude, and often sees the comedic, weird, or just plain bizarre aspects of battling evil space aliens with the fate of humanity in the balance. In spite of his leadership role he's the everyman of the team, and tends not to understand the techno-babble or historical and mythological mumbo-jumbo that comes with fighting evil space aliens who pretend to be Egyptian gods. But as fun, flippant, and kick-ass a character as he is, Jack O'Neill is also a dedicated team member, a good friend, and a tactical genius. He'll never leave anyone behind and will go out of his way to complete his mission and make sure that his friends are safe. He inspires confidence in the rest of his team and all the other members of Stargate Command, first as the sarcastic Colonel, and later as the more serious commanding General of the base.

All of these qualities make him one of my favorite characters to watch on television.

* * * * * * * * * *

Coming up next, My Favorite Female Character.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a comment
drenkrelar
I grew up watching a lot of interesting and fun shows over the years, but it's kind of hard for me to say which one is my favorite since it used to change almost year to year.

One of the first shows I watched on a regular basis was the re-runs of Generation 1 Transformers.  I tuned in every weekend at what I would now consider a ridiculously early hour to wath Optimus Prime and the Autobots battle the evil forces of Megatron and his Decepticons. Looking back on it now, it's still an impressive cartoon. The stories are fun, the action impressive, and the characters are still iconic to this day.

The next show I highly enjoyed watching as a kid was the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. For me this was must watch television for a significant portion of my childhood. I loved the kung fu action, I loved the Megazord vs. giant monster fights, and I loved how wonderfully over the top the villains were. Looking back on it now I realize just how ridiculous the whole thing is, but at the time I loved it.

Another cartoon I loved watching was The Real Ghostbusters. It was a fun and interesting show and I loved the humor of Peter and the braininess of Egon. It also lead me to eventually watch one of my favorite comedy movies of all time.

Pretty much any cartoon of the 90s I at least watched and several of them I enjoyed. Superman, Batman, X-Men Evolution, Gargoyles, Justice League... All of them were shows I watched and enjoyed, even if I was starting to grow out of the "acceptable" age to still be watching cartoons.

* * * * * * * * * *

Coming up next, My Favorite Male Character.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a comment
drenkrelar
This is another difficult one for me to choose.

The majority of the episodes of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis apply, as do the majority of the newer seasons of Doctor Who. Many of the seasons of Scrubs I've seen quite a few times as well.

Miniseries like Dune, Taken and Band of Brothers I've also watched multiple times.

The you also have web shows like Doctor Horrible and The Guild.

I guess for me there is no one episode of any show that I just enjoy watching over and over, just episodes that I'll always sit there and enjoy when they are shown as re-runs or if my friends feel like marathon-ing something.

The one I must say I keep going back to over and over again is Scrubs, mostly because I can always count on that show to give me a lot of good laughs.


* * * * * * * * * *

Coming up next, My Favorite Childhood Show.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment
drenkrelar
You hear about this cool concept, an awesome idea for a show, or maybe you hear about a new show set in a universe you already know and love, or a show created by a guy who knows how to make good television, but when you watch them, they aren't all that great. Some shows, no matter how hard they try, often fail to live up to expectations. For me these shows were Star Trek Enterprise, Dollhouse, Caprica, and Stargate Universe.

Star Trek Enterprise is one of those shows that I always wanted to love, but for some reason it just kept failing to live up to what it could be. A show about humans exploring a galaxy they're not fully prepared for and slowly forging the alliances that would one day lead to the creation of the Federation sounded like a cool idea. But then things started to get a bit odd, and the show seemed to become focused on the wrong things. Entire seasons of the show were dedicated to time travelers trying to prevent the Enterprise from forming the Federation. And then there was the far too heavy-handed 9/11-inspired Xindi story-line. While there were a few good Episodes scattered through the run of the show, it kept leaving me asking why I just didn't decided to give up on the show yet. Oddly enough, the show finally started to get really good again durring it's final season, before being let down again by a less than impressive final episode. To be honest, I can't really say I was that upset to see it end.

Dollhouse was a show that I was a little cautious about. It was another far outh there concept from Joss Whedon, and I wasn't quite sure if it would exceed my expectations or turn into the next Firefly. The concept of reprogrammable secret operatives slowly remebering who they really are sounded like a truly inspired science fiction concept. Many of the episodes were somewhere between watchable and good, and many of the characters had promise. However, the show seemed too focused on using the main character for fanservice, and failed to realize that the background characters were actually far more interesting than the stars. The show had potential, but once again the ratings weren't there for Joss, and the show got dropped. Could it have been the next major success for him? I doubt it, but at least it was a step in the right direction after Firefly.

Caprica is another show that I want to love, but am having second thoughts about. A prequel to the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, I thought that seeing the slow decay of colonial society and the development of their eventual doom would make for an interesting show, and at times I can be. The rest of the time however it seems like abad  teen drama in a science fiction setting. I actually like most of the characters, and want to see where several of the storylines are going, but just when I start to get interested in one of the plot points of the show they throw more soap opera and teen drama kind of stuff at me. I'll probably keep watching it until the end of the season, but if it fails to impress me after that, I'll probably stop tuning in.

Stargate Universe is the latest incarnation of one of my all time favorite science fiction franchises. The concept of a team stuck on an Ancient spacecraft untold trillions of lightyears from Earth sounded like an interesting enough concept if you can make the characters and their interactions something the audience will actually care about. However, the writers of SGU have failed to make any of the characters on the show interesting at all. In an attempt to be sexier, darker and grittier than any of the other Stargate shows, all they've succeeded in doing is making it shittier than any of the other Stargate shows. Chances are I will not be tuning back in once the second season starts airing. as much as I love the universe of Stargate, I just can't bring myself to actually continue watching Stargate Universe.

* * * * * * * * * *

Coming up next, an episode I've watched more than five times.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a comment
drenkrelar
Usually I have a very good idea about shows that I will or will not like, such as the example of Firefly which I mentioned in another post. But occasionally, I have been wrong. One show that I passed on at first, but wound up loving was Warehouse 13.

Originally I had passed on Warehouse 13. At that point in time I was still unhappy with the Syfy channel, and it's re-branding efforts. They had canceled off many of their shows that I was watching, and renewing all of the ones I was not. The general direction of the new Sysy channel seemed to be "Out with the more serious and hard-core nerdy sci-fi and In with the funny, wacky and unusual shows that were light on the sci-fi elements". For this reason I decided to pass on Warehouse 13 while the first season was airing. I thought it would be too much like another "fun and wacky" Syfy show I never got into, Eureka.

Eventually though I did have to watch some of it to familiarize myself with it for a pannel I was running at a local sci-fi convention. I was discussing the re-branding efforts of Syfy and what the good the bad and the ugly was about the new direction of the network and the programs it offered to the average science fiction fan compared to the old Sci-Fi channel. This is when I discovered that the show was actually rather good.

Warehouse 13 is a fun and funny action comedy sci-fi show about two Secret Service agents (Eddie McClintock & Joanne Kelly) who hunt down super-science gizmos and paranormal paraphernalia to be stored a way in a top-secret warehouse that makes the one at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark look like an over-glorified  self-storage unit.

While a bit oddball in the sense of humor it has sometimes, the show avoids a lot of the outright silliness that I was fearing it would have. There are jokes, gags, and even scenes that are laugh out loud funny, but it is all done in a way that makes sense given the characters and the situations in the episode.

The characters are lots of fun, and the interactions between them are a blast. Pete is the goofy guy who is usually the one going on about how cool the artifacts and their weird abilities are. Myka is the serious investigative agent, but still has a humorous and girly side. Claudia is the resident tech-girl and is part super-nerd and part stereotypical teenager. In charge of all of them is Artie, the strict, no-nonsense archivist of the warehouse, and a veteran warehouse agent. Personalities clash and collide in funny and interesting ways, and are occasionally manipulated by those who would seek to steal the powerful items in the warehouse.

The artifacts are what provide the science fiction element to the show. Each item in the warehouse or hunted by the warehouse agents appears to be relatively normal, but contains a unique, interesting, and often dangerous ability. While not as impressive a science fiction element as spaceships, aliens, killer robots, or time travel, it still provides an odd, unusual, and recognizably "science fiction" element to the show.

Now that I've actually seen the show, it's got me hooked. The fact that it is "light" sci-fi is not as big of a deal as I thought it would be, and the sense of both adventure and humor that it has are both highly interesting and enjoyable.

* * * * * * * * * *

Coming up tomorrow, A show that disappointed me.

Tags: ,

Leave a comment
drenkrelar
Much like choosing my favorite episode, choosing my favorite scene was also a difficult task since there are just so many. Funny scenes, serious scenes, action scenes, character moments, all of these would provide a different answer to the question of favorite scene.

My favorite funny scene from any TV show would probably have to be The goofing off montage from Stargate SG-1's "Window of Opportunity". Trapped in a Groundhog's Day-like time loop that they are unable to figgure their way out of, Jack and Teal'c realize that they can get away with pretty much anything without having to deal with the consequences. Thus begins one of the funniest scenes I've seen outside of an outright comedy or a cartoon. Golfing through the stargate, bicycle riding through the halls of Stargate Command, Jack teaching Teal'c to juggle, so on and so forth. You can tell that the writers and actors were having a lot of fun with this one.

One of my favorite serious scenes comes from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. After finding out that Jesse had been trying to manipulate him and was responcible for the death of Riley, John is faced with a decision of how he should deal with how she tried to play him. He threatens to kill her, and comes close to doing so. But he lets her leave alive. However, it is heavily implied that Derek just kills her instead. When confronted about it, all Derek will say is that "John Connor let her live".

One of my favorite action scenes is also from The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The pilot episode starts with a brilliantly scripted and choreographed action sequence. Sarah Connor's car screeches to a halt outside of a school. Sarah grabs John from the library saying that they have to go, that they've been found. They exit the school to find it surrounded by police, who are apparently still hunting them for their role in the destruction of the Cyberdyne lab. Only the police aren't the only ones who have found them. A Terminator has managed to track them down as well. Sarah fights her way out of the back seat of a cop car as the Terminator opens fire. Using the distraction of the cops shooting back at the Terminator, Sarah manages to free John from another cop car. Telling John to run, she steals a pistol off of the closest dead police officer and opens fire on the Terminator who manages to score a direct hit on John anyway. As the sky fills with mushroom clouds the Terminator tells Sarah that nothing she does matters anymore, that the future belongs to the machines, and that it begins NOW. Sarah awakes in a cold sweat, glad to know it was just a nightmare, but one she knows is all too likely to come true.

And last, but certainly not least is one of my favorite character moments, from Stargate SG-1. Having absorbed the full Repository of the Ancients into his head, O'Neill is slowly becoming less and less human. he barely talks any more, and he will almost certainly die from the stresses being put on his brain by the data that is slowly unspooling inside of it. Concerned for his friend Teal'c begins to tell O'Neill that he is worried about him. As he starts to say so O'Neill interrupts him, first placing his hand on the side of Teal'c's face, and then on his shoulder, as if to say that he knows what Teal'c is about to say, that he understands, that O'Neill has always respected him, and that he needs Teal'c to trust him. Teal'c takes a moment to soak that all in before nodding and walking away. This is in my opinion a brilliant television moment. Thanks to the script, the actors, and the cinematography, we are able to see the facial expressions and body language of these two characters, and have the two of them just say so much to each other without uttering a single word.

I'm sure with more time I could find other wonderful examples of impressive action, hilarious comedy, and brilliant character moments from half a dozen other TV shows or mini-series, but these are the ones that most instantly come to mind when I think about my favorite scenes.

* * * * * * * * * *

Coming up tomorrow, a show that I thought I wouldn't like but ended up loving.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a comment