The End.

Exactly!Everything that has a beginning has an ending.

As it has been written, and promised, and prophesied, so it is, and so it has come to pass: This is the last post for Counterforce. I’m going to try to avoid any melodramatics or perceived grief or anything like that because I’ve sure done enough with it in the past, and hey, it’s just a fucking blog on the internet, right?

But I’ll miss it. And I’ll miss you, and doing blog shit with the people I did blog shit with here.

The end is not near, its here.

I think Counterforce was fun, but flawed. I don’t think it ever reached its potential, and I think it’s safe to say that the blame for that lays entirely with me. So, to that I would say: Sorry, everybody.

But also thanks. There were some good times and fun things to read/look at. Thanks, Benjamin Light. Thanks, Peanut St. Cosmo. Thanks, Occam Razor. Thanks, August Bravo. And thanks, Maria, whom we stuck with the name Lollipop Gomez. I hope you guys had some fun too.

Anyway. It’s the end, but not totally. Benjamin Light do two podcasts which are very much in the spirit of Counterforce, and which you’ve probably heard of on here before: Time Travel Murder Mystery and Greedo Shot First.

Listen to our fucking podcasts! Plz.

Right now TTMM is on a brief hiatus, and could return as early as next week, though it will certainly be back sometime in the next few weeks. Greedo Shot First just posted its latest episode today, in which we rewatch one of our favorite movies ever, The Empire Strikes Back, so go check it out in iTunes.

The corridor of lights

And we’ll follow that next week or the week after with an episode about rewatching Return Of The Jedi.

It’s kind of sad that I won’t be able to plug our podcasts here anymore. Or talk about any of the other things I had planned to ramble on about it, but… oh well. Tomorrow, like today, is another day in a brand new year. I’m sure there’ll be more opportunities. And other spaces, other places.

We’ll meet again. Don’t know how, don’t know when…

One last thing and then I’ll shut up for, well, a while (at least here): I’m going to go rewatch the last episode of Lost right after I hit “Post” on this post. I feel like our love for that show so strongly informed this blog and we bounced back and forth between it so much. I don’t mind telling you that the day we did our post on the last episode of the show, that was the day we got the most hits ever on this blog. So I guess a lot of people’s hearts were either filled or burst along with the passing of the last truly great television show too. It just feels right to go watch that after this, at least to me.

Oh well.

Thanks again. For everything. I’m glad the blog is over, because it mattered to me, and I’m glad to start something else. Hopefully we’ll see you there at the beginning of that.

-Marco Sparks

VLUU L210  / Samsung L210

Countdown.

The end is where we start.

from here.

Don’t let the lack of activity here fool you… I’m going to miss this blog when it’s gone. But I am looking forward to a new year and to starting the all important question of, “What’s next?”

We’re not even remotely near the 1000 posts that I had assumed would be the final number presented here, but… Oh well. On one hand, the blog could stretch into next year, and reach those 1000 posts, but then again, ending it in 2012 sounds nice and feels right. It’s just a blog, of course. It’s not like the world is going to end just because the blog ends…

To be continued.

Either way, it’ll all be okay. The end is where we begin.

Imagine the fire.

It’s so weird to live in a post-The Dark Knight Rises world…

What is the next big movie/event/thing to come to our lives? At least in a pop culture sense, I mean. I’m very curious to see The Master, but that is not nearly the same thing, of course.

This is just a digression, of course, but I think it goes to show you: savor the expectations and the moments where you’re left waiting, desperate to will the hands on the clock to move faster. Spoiler: I really liked The Dark Knight Rises, it met all my expectations and then some, but I also enjoyed those times in my life when I had not yet seen it, that all I had was the imagined storylines and scenes in my head, when I just had the curiosity and that unbridled enthusiasm. What I have now is no better (well, it’s probably better) nor worse, but different.

Anyway. That’s a story for another time.

Also, I’m clearly going to use a ton of Batman pictures in this post. This is nothing new on Counterforce, but all the same…

Deal with it.

Also, a few entries ago, WordPress greeted me with this beautiful sight after I hit the “post” button:

For some reason that image has stuck with me. Stuck with me beyond me screencapping it, I mean. And it has stuck with me for a lot of reasons, I think… But that is a story for another time, a long story, and right now I do not have the time to make it shorter.

Anyway.

Just wanted to give you a heads up: The Counterforce podcast is over.

We’re not finished podcasting, and this site isn’t done, no, not just yet, but in a few days you’re going to see something new and different from us.

I’m sure not many folks out there care, which is fine because I care and that’s all that I need, but I like that for at least another day or two it’ll remain a mystery. As much as I would like to travel through time to get to that place, I’m thankful to be here in this place right now, dreaming of the future. If that makes sense.

I think/hope it does.

I’ll just say this… A new site and a new podcast. Somewhat the same, but a little bit different…

“For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky.”

Like my previous post, this will be just a few things, some half way there thoughts…

One: The sky is still falling, and this blog is still coming to an end. We’re getting there, but slowly.

After this: 89 posts to go.

Have you listened to our podcast? You’ll notice that a majority of the posts now are just tools for you to download each new episode (but we’ll be on itunes soon). Not every post from now til the end – from this time to the end of time – will be solely about episodes of the podcast, but a good chunk of the rest of this blog will be eaten up by the creature that is consuming it and evolving out of it.

Evolution imagery is gruesome and interesting.

Two: It’s probably been a hundred years since I saw the Star Trek episode from this post borrow its title.

I vaguely remember it had a premise that sounded less interestingly like a very interesting (at least in its promise and potential) show that Harlan Ellison created way back, called The Starlost.

I won’t rehash the show’s plot, especially since you can just read about it on the Wikipedia link, but from what I gathered the show was terrible. But in reading what’s there, to me, I see the potential for something amazing, something that could be brilliant with a little bit of re-conceptualizing and competent execution.

Brilliant and intriguing puzzle/mystery box shoes still seem to be highly lusted after by network TV execs in these post-Lost wilderness years, but it seems like no one has the time to invest in competent conceptualization and execution. So it goes. Instead of our altars, we’re building our own coffins.

Three: Speaking of The Starlost, also read up on the idea of generation ships, and holodecks, and the Danger Room from X-men comics, the Dreamatorium from Community, and Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama series.

And see also: the “Mystery In Space” and “Rendezvous” issues of Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s Planetary comic series, which was one of the best pieces of storytelling that I’ve had the pleasure to read in the last ten or so years. On its surface, it’s about mystery archaeologists, but in reality its a love letter to certain kinds of storytelling from the previous fifty years of our culture.

Four: We eat our young. Only those lucky or tough enough to crawl away are potentially worthy of living to tell the tale.

Five: This is the new decade. There’s bigger and better thinkers who are more capable of this, better suited to the task, but I wonder what this new decade will look like. What innovations and disasters and pop confectioneries will define this new unit of measuring time.

And from that, I say… Does this decade, still in its relative infancy, still feel remarkably similar to the latter days of the previous decade? Isn’t that how it goes? Did the initial years of the 80s feel similar to waning years of the70s? Did the first few years of the 90s look anything like the middle years of the 90s?

Six: I’ve never seen Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World On A Wire, but I’ve always wanted to. I guess that, amongst other things, what’s been holding me up is that it’s a piece of old 3 1/2 German sci fi. That and it wasn’t readily available until the it was released not too long ago as part of the Criterion Collection.

The Criterion Collection. Of course.

The movie is based on an old novel, Simulacron-3 by Daniel F. Galouye, and I have seen the American movie adaptation of that book…

Seven: When something is said, or when art is created, mixed with business and pleasure, how often does it come from a real, authentic place, answering questions or curiosities that are out there amongst the community? Or, especially when you lean more towards business rather than pleasure, or the pleasure of business, does it come from the perception of an interest within the larger community, the popular imagination, or a desire to create and inspire that perception and then make money off of it?

Eight: In the 90s, especially towards the beginning of the 90s, but a little at the end of it, it seemed like we didn’t know what we had on our hands. Not yet anyway.

It’s like Murphy Brown’s baby, that was born amidst a certain level of generated/unnecessary controversy. It was raised by the guy who was painting the house for years and years and wouldn’t be named until it could be deciphered, or understood. I know that kid eventually got a name, but wasn’t he, like, twenty at that point?

In Sci Fi trends in the 90s it seemed like they were mixing the 70s paranoia rehash that was being re-conceptualized in The X-Files with this desire to pursue the new, the fringes of oncoming technology and the things that we assumed would be important.

Spoiler alert: I’m going to start talking about virtual reality in a moment.

On top of that, you had boy bands and you “alternative rock” and I remember going to high school and hearing bullshit arguments about who was or what constituted being a “poser.” I heard some kids of being accused of being “wiggers.” On one hand we were growing up to want to start living lives out of the movies that had raised us when our parents were busy, and on the other hand we were accused of appropriating lives and roles that it was felt we had no right to. In music and society and goofy cultural matters there was this question of authenticity.

Perhaps you’re not real. Perhaps you only existence in the simulacra of someone else. And perhaps because you think, therefore you are…

Unless you’re just programmed to have thoughts, or to think you’re having thoughts. Who is telling this story? And to whom?

Anyway.

The American movie that came out of Simulacron-3 in the 90s was The Thirteenth Floor, starring Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Dennis Haysbert. It’s a murder mystery set within a company that’s created a new simulated reality, and there’s a twist. The twist is not hard to guess.

from here.

The tagline for the movie was “Question Reality.” I find that interesting since the tagline for American Beauty, which came out int he same year, was “Look Closer.”

Is it possible that we’re missing something?

The Thirteenth Floor was/is not a bad movie, just a movie that wasn’t thought out far enough to its natural conclusion. It reminds me in some regards of a movie that would come today in that it seems like it’s two drafts of a script away from being much, much better. It’s a very American movie that’s concerned with the nature of our reality, with existential paranoia, mashed up with echoes of a film noir feeling.

But then again, a lot of its problems can be summed up with two words: Craig Bierko. Another bizarre, failed experiment in creating a leading man out of literally nothing.

Nine: Granted, The Thirteenth Floor was not a movie from the early 90s, and in fact came out in 1999, around the same time as The Matrix, a movie with an arguably incredibly similar premise, especially concerning how many elements it ripped off from Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles.

Also, there was David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ and Alex Proyas’ Dark City (which I never saw cause it looks stupid), and The Truman Show, which had similar heavy overtones. But earlier in the decade you had the short lived Fox TV show VR.5 which, if I were to watch it now, I’m sure I’d more than cringe at, but at the time, I thought was incredibly intriguing. That show starred Lori Singer, Anthony Stewart Head, Will Patton, and David McCallum.

Ten: At the start of this I talked haphazardly about the idea of a newborn decade dreaming of the past, but really it’s a matter of the new decade dreaming of the future, of what is to come? I should be talking about Christopher Nolan’s  Inception here probably. Something something something THIS DREAM IS COLLAPSING.

Eleven: From Borges to Pynchon to Phillip K. Dick, so much of our fiction comes back to questioning the layers of reality and how we perceive it. What is real? What is really happening? And what is the reality of what is happening, real or otherwise?

Reality may be real, or it might not be, at least not real in the sense that we think of, but we share it, and we create it together, don’t we?

from here.

Twelve: Personally I would state that the experience of an event is the reality of it, at least in the moment. Reflection is easy, but it only casts a shadow over reaction in retrospect.

Thirteen: For now, this blog is moving forward, but it’s marching onward to its eventual demise, of sorts. Even on the internet, matter can only change forms, not be fully destroyed (I hope). Soon, what is currently thought of as Your Friendly Neighborhood Counterforce will become a time capsule, once it’s fallen completely out of this virtual sky that we’re all looking at together.

You could have it all.

Mad linkage:

What happens when the scary predictions of speculative fiction start to come true earlier than expected?

I guess you could say that I’m excited to see A Dangerous Method.

Best Coast and WAVVES.

An interesting interview with Steven Soderbergh about Contagion.

Did Chris Martin cheat on Gwyneth Paltrow?

J.J. Abrams is doing some cool new shit.

Science fiction magazines and The Joy Of Sex.

from here.

Noah Baumbach is developing Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections as an HBO series.

Post-apocalyptic porn. Sure, why not?

Matthew Fox could be in some trouble.

Saturn is beautiful.

The critics of Joan Didion.

This is Peanut St. Cosmo’s new favorite picture on the internet.

What does clitoral stimulation do to your brain?

Post-Sept. 11 Saudi Arabia is modernizing, slowly.

Mos Def will no longer be Mos Def.

Kitty Ravenhart’s selection for The Best Of Yahoo Answers.

Did you drain your balls at DragonCon?

More leaks from David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

from here.

A guy jerked off to me in the subway and the NYPD didn’t do a thing.”

I feel like with each passing day I’m a little more amazed that The Avengers movie is happening.

The beginning of the end for Yahoo?

Johnny Depp to star in another fucking remake, this time of The Thin Man.

Female blogger threatened with defamation suit after writing about TSA rape.

Jeff Tweedy and the Black Eyed Peas.

Tech company to build science ghost town.

A new story by Haruki Murakami.

Very cool fan art.

A huge list of deleted scenes that are awaiting you on the new Star Wars blu-rays.

Yelping with Cormac McCarthy.

NYC bans dogs from bars.

A movie about Keith Richards?

Reality as a failed state.

Headphones.

An introduction: Months ago the amazing Maria and I had this little chat, and like most of our chats, it started off most interestingly…

Maria Diaz: Hey…

Marco Sparks: What an interesting video. That man stabbed himself in the chest! Multiple times! That is some serious follow through.
MD: Huh? Oh, I sent you the wrong one. But i do love that song. Look at this:
:) and…
:)
Marco: Oh man, that song.
MD: This one is better:
Marco: I just remember hearing it one night, late at night when I was homeless and living with a friend, and I remember loving the song. It’s a tired complaint, I know, but this was back when VH1 and MTV still played… sigh… music videos.
MD: Which one, the Nine Days one? Or Vertical Horizon?
Marco: Oh, the Nine Days one, sorry. But I think a lot part of it had to do with really thinking that the girl in the video was super duper cute.
MD: Yeah, that was probably the real reason. Especially because that Vertical Horizon song is terrible.
Marco: Part of it was also because I was really trying to win over this girl who looked like the girl in the Nine Days video and… I don’t know, maybe I felt justified in my affections by the song/video?
MD: the song is kinda cute, I think.
Marco: She was dating this ginormous drug dealer at the time. Well, not “ginormous,” neither physically not, you know, stature in the suburban drug selling racket, but… well, either way, I just couldn’t compete with the guy. And yeah, the song is fine. Probably better than fine.
MD: Awww. Yeah, drug dealers are very attractive to women. All that money. And all those drugs.
Marco: That particular Vertical Horizon song… I liked it maybe the first time I heard it, but every time after… grating.
MD: It’s the reveal at the end of the song… that HE is the one the girl doesn’t want.
Marco: Of course she doesn’t want him. (He’s hideous.) This…
“Love can be so boring.”
MD: OMG this song.
Marco: There’s a very sad, very tragic playlist of recurring songs that I listened to a lot circa 1999 – 2002ish, and this song was on it intermittently.
MD: I bet we had many of the same songs. This was definitely on mine.
Marco: I feel like I was carrying around this very shallow sense of sadness or regret… like I had lost something that should be crucial but wasn’t, not really, though you at the time you couldn’t convince me of that… and my music reflected that.
MD: Exactly.
Marco: It’s strange that you got me thinking about that cause I was really thinking about a lot of music from back then lately the first summer I moved to this shithole state I live in… I did nothing. Absolutely nothing. Ate shitty food. “Ate shitty” as in “ate terribly.” Drank beer. Lots. Laid on the couch in my huge bedroom listening to music and reading. That was it. Oh, and thought up ridiculous plots of silly Clive Cussler-esque thrillers.
…but that one U2 album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind? I associate that album so strongly, oddly enough, with Bret Easton Ellis’ first book and with Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary because I listened to that album on repeat while reading those books for the first time that summer.
MD: The first Bret Easton Ellis, that’s Less Than Zero?
Marco: Yeah, Less Than Zero.
Okay, that invisible pain I mentioned… do you want to see a really bad example of a song from that period?
MD: Of course. Always.
Marco: okay, this artist I’m about to bring up is ridiculous and you kind of knew that when she first debuted, but just how ridiculous and plastic hadn’t quite hit yet…
Anyway, her first two singles were just silly radio pop fluff, but this was her third single, I believe, and I remember hearing this song for the first time on headphones while walking somewhere late at night… and it just seemed to resonate with that tragic void living inside me…
MD: hahaha YES! I felt similarly about this song…
Marco: (Holy shit, Lizzy Caplan is in that video.)
It’s probably been so long since i’ve bought an actual CD i’m sad to say because I still like CDs, I’m still a guy who likes CDs, but I have a lot of bad pop punk CDs from that circa Avril era. I mean, I probably have 700 cds and it’s just this incredibly awesome, sexy music collection, but just figure that 30 or so of those cds are from artists like…
and
MD: Nothing to be ashamed of.
Marco: Well, maybe a little, but it was a time and a place and everything changes and you make explorations and sometimes what’s bad is good and vice versa. And blah blah blah. And anyone who doesn’t get that is an idiot, right? Plus, these tiny revelations made here are hardly the worse musical sins I’ve committed as a listener…
Though, thankfully, this was the time period in which was i also really discovering, like, The Get Up Kids, so it wasn’t all bad. And that said, I gotta tell you, I’m sorry, but I can’t join you on the Jason Mraz journey.
MD: hahahahaha.
When I was flying back from Europe with an ex, we had a HORRIBLE fight. And this is like 10+ hours of flying BTW, and I just listened to this Jason Mraz song over and over again on the airplane radio system. It was really quite sad.
Marco: I can imagine. I think I’d like the song if it was a different artist, you know?
MD: Yeah. Jason Mraz is easy to hate.
Marco: And it’s something about Mraz himself that I just despise.
Okay, so I am about to hit you with two megahits from that time period. i don’t know if you’re ready for it.
MD: I’m so fucking ready.
Marco: That is exactly what I wanted to hear. But first, let me just say… Thinking about that Unwritten Law song… I was working where I am currently already when that song was unleashed on me and it’s so vivid in my memory the girl I had a crush on then that I associate that song with… I mean, nothing ever happened with that girl. She thought I was profoundly weird without ever realizing just how right she was and yet I still think of her when I hear it. Anyways… Prepare thyself!
MD: Getting ready…
Marco: You say that but can ever truly be ready to go back to… this:
…and also this:
BOOM!
MD: OH MAN, that Lifehouse guy. Do you think he made his voice sound like that?
Marco: Ha ha. Do you remember where you were when you first said out loud, “NO WAY, THAT BIG VOICE DOES NOT SOUND LIKE THAT LITTLE GUY FROM THE CALLING.”
MD: Wow. Seriously. I had no idea this band even had a name. It was just a song that was everywhere at the time.
Marco: Like back then, as they were signing their record contract they must’ve known they would not last.
It would be so much easier if we were talking about just the 90s here…
from here.
or late 90′s fin de siècle music, but this period we’re talking about, that early 00s, was just so fucking weird. Here’s a really, really sad fact: I also recall the first mp3 I ever downloaded and while this wasn’t the very first, I believe that lifehouse single was either #2 or #3.
MD: Hmm has this song been on a lot of commercials?
Marco: Probably so very many.
MD: Here’s one for the ages:
Marco: the first comment on that video’s youtube page is:
“I paused my porn for this. (:”
Editor’s note: This was a few months ago, mind.
MD: The ultimate compliment for any music video, really.
Marco: For serious. Yeah,back then I really liked the Bleed American and Futures album, which made me go back and look up Clarity. So emotastic.
MD: yeah, all the emo kids were soooo mad when they got popular for 5 seconds.

Editor’s note: I then told MD again about the 600ish page political novel that Benjamin Light and I started writing back during the time period being covered in this music discussion. (Separate editor’s note: Those 600 pages ended up only being probably 1/8the the novel’s probable length had it lived past its infancy. Jesus.) Anyway, about 75 pages of that book were written to Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity album. -Marco.

Marco: Wow, the neural pathways of memory and musical taste progression that this trip and fall down memory lane is opening up for me…
MD: That’s what it’s supposed to do!
Marco: I remember there was a period where I went to Burger King for lunch every day – ugh – and I’d order my food and sit myself in the corner, with my back to the TV and so I could see everyone there and I’d listen to music on headphones and eat and read articles from the internet I had printed out earlier in the day at work and just write. I was working on so many things back then and I had downloaded the Wicker Park soundtrack of all soundtracks because I had heard it was “hip.” And on it was this song:
MD: Very interesting that the video you found is a fandom vid for The Office.
Marco: …and that begat me downloading their album at the time and I would listen to that Snow Patrol album all the time during that period and write and, of course, it’s strongly associated with a girl at the time and all that blah blah blah. Words and music and women… funny how they’re all so strongly tied together in my head.
And yeah, I thought that was funny too, re: The Office video. I guess Pam/Roy was someone’s OTP at the time?
But anyway, that Snow Patrol thing… I think that was the start of me pushing into a new aeon on musical interests, as far as cruising on the surface of mainstream “alternative rock”ish type music for the masses, and enjoying something about the generic nothingness there.
And that strange sadness that belonged to nothing real in my life? I really think that perhaps it died when I first heard this song…
MD: Ah, such a lovely song…
Marco: I remember listening to this song on headphones on a lunchbreak at work and just breaking down into tears. I had to call in to my job from 100 yards away and tell them I’d be late and I just walked around, listening to this over and over again and feeling terrible, and wonderful, and terrible and sad and wounded, and it was like somewhere around then I stopped feeling sad about nothing and it was like the real regrets and misery entered my life.
MD: Like catharsis, like a breakthrough of sorts.
Marco: Yeah, exactly. I mean, like everyone, I have things that happened when I was younger that I carried the pain of those things with me, but I was always too shallow to really be affected by them properly, I think. I was suffering from a different kind of pain, I think, as my early 20s were crystallizing around me, and with that song… It was like the end of something more innocent and silly in my emotional dealings with the world, and the start of me experiencing real world sadness and hurt? Perhaps.
If all of this right now was a part of a documentary about my sad dealings with music at the dawn of my 20s, then the song that would be playing over the end credits sequence would be this:
MD: Ha ha, nice. And what does the hero learn at the end?
Marco: Nothing. Nothing is ever really learned.
And that end titles sequence, also, would just be sitting on the sidelines of a Quinceañera, watching young Spanish girls in pretty dresses dancing around with their family.
MD: You know, that sounds oddly hopeful.
Marco: Le Sigh. Remember when everything was just so simple and innocent and… BRITPOP?
MD: And it’s probably right there when i realized that this whole conversation would a blog post.
Marco: Yeah, sorry about that, but I think you’re right… Or maybe it’ll even be two!
Editor’s note: TO BE CONTINUED!

From the flames…

I really feel this right now:

via the always wonderful Married To The Sea, but I first noticed it here. Also:

And:

All things truly wicked.

For some reason after DFW and Vonnegut, I wanted to start this post with a quote by Ernest Hemingway because, if for nothing else, I just wanted to. But I couldn’t decide between two that I’ve always adored, so maybe you’ll tell me which you like you better…

The first: “All things truly wicked start from an innocence.”

And the second: “Never confuse movement with action.”

I’ve always adored that one, as did Marlene Dietrich, who said of it, “In those five words he gave me a whole philosophy.”

In response to people like Juan Williams, here’s a fun new tumblr for you: Muslims Wearing Things.

I found the site via Boing Boing, and while I was there I read an interesting post about how you shouldn’t kill your grandfather while time traveling.

And before we call it a day, here’s three interesting pictures I found online today:

from here.

and

from here.

and

from here.

The boob tube.

Since there’s been a few posts on TV this past few week, I thought I’d throw out a few quick thoughts on a handful of TV shows. Nothing too in depth, nothing too glamorous, and possibly nothing too well thought out. But, around here, what else is new?

Those shows being…

The Office. The last episode with Timothy Olyphant was not bad, but not particularly great. The previous episode, the much talked about one featuring the return of all of Michael’s exes… not so great. And the few before that, about the same. As even Benjamin Light has mentioned to me the past few times we’ve talked about it, you can really feel the show going through the motions this year. Also, during the summer there was a lot chatter and speculation online about who would replace Steve Carrell when he leaves the show at the end of this season but, honestly, sadly, horribly, heinously, overly dramatically, doesn’t it seem like they’re trying to set up Andy as the new boss-type character?

I can’t think of anything I’d dislike more than that. Andy really feels like a character who should’ve been around a season or two and then maybe have gone bye bye. Also, let’s get serious here: Andy and Ellie Kemper and the dude from Sabre have to make the least attractive love triangle on television.

I hate to say it, but I’ve really checked on out on this show after Pam and Jim’s wedding. Maybe that would’ve been the fine conclusion this show will potentially have to work hard for (and would mirror the end of the original British version interestingly). Also, for a “documentary” about the life of people in an office, when does this “documentary” actually air?

30 Rock. This show is still going strong. Not every episode is a home run, but it is consecutively strong. As long as you have Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon, Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy, and Tracy Morgan’s Tracy Jordan, nothing can harm you. What this show does with it’s guest stars is frequently brilliant (Jon Hamm, Matt Damon, even Kelsey Grammar in the most recent episode) and there’s a joy to the dialogue and it’s one liners and non sequiturs that is intoxicating. I thought that the live episode was a good deal smarter than it was funny, but I applaud this show for taking it there. And I found it fascinating that the last episode dealt with Liz Lemon’s long simmering “fear” or general uncomfortableness with sex.

Community. I wasn’t so much a fan of the last episode of this show, and I kind of feel like it maybe tackled people’s biggest two gripes with the show itself: Abed (all things “meta”) and Chevy Chase. And the episode prior to that certainly paled in comparison to what many would consider the show’s strongest outing: the paintball episode from season 1.

All that said, I honestly feel that this show and Modern Family were the best new comedies of last season and I don’t see anything that feels like long term signs of that changing anytime soon.

Things I would change about this show though: 1) Get rid of Chevy Chase, who’s character is not funny and is lazily portrayed. You just get the sense that Chase is bored or perhaps unhappy, and maybe that unhappiness has something to do with watching Joel McHale doing a variation of the Chevy Chase persona from the 80s, just better? I’d watch a Joel McHale iteration of Fletch, sure.

2) Keep characters like Ken Jeong’s Senor Chang to a minimum, and the same with some of Abed’s “We all live in a TV show” stuff. I think some of the references catch with the smart folks in the audience, and some literally watch fire with the simple minded, but as Shirley said recently, I think far too much of it doesn’t play in Poughkeepsie, and bores the rest of us. The only thing worse than being not funny is trying too hard. Keep Abed’s character simple and utilize more gags like the Abed in the background/pregnancy bit in the background a few weeks ago:

from here.

3) More characters. For the background or whatever. Along with 30 Rock, I feel like this is the show that has the best chance of inheriting what there is of the Arrested Development mantle, and yet, the vision of Community almost feels too limited in some regards. Maybe give someone like Star Burns a little break, okay? Also, the character of the dean? We get it. It was funnier when it was called Tobias Fünke.

Running Wilde. Sorry, Mitch Hurwitz and Will Arnett, somehow even you shall not be inheriting the throne that once was Arrested Development, I fear. Kudos to you fine chaps though for bringing Felicity along for the ride.

The Event. I watched four episodes of this show and came to the same realization I had before the show even started and was just a much hyped but vaguely explained situation coming soon on NBC: I could not give two halves of a shit about whatever the fuck “the event” ends up being.

We complain about the meta-ness of Community and it amazes how we don’t talk about how not an event the actual release of The Event is. “Lost meets 24,” huh? Go fuck yourself, NBC. This show could do with a little more Lost and a hell of a lot less 24. Talk about a textbook example of not getting what made both of those shows goddamn brilliant at their heights. This is the briefest I shall ever be on this blog: Character.

from here.

Also… casting. Jason Ritter? Give me a fucking break. Jason Ritter is the guy who should be getting coffee for the stand in for your lead actor.

Lost. This goes without saying: You are missed.

Also: this. Interesting.

Hawaii 5-0. Go fuck yourself if you like this show. I watched two episodes that would’ve had the exact same effect on me if I had seen them either in or out of a coma. Also, Hollywood: Stop trying to make Alex O’Loughlin happen.

Modern Family. As I said before, this is a strong comedy here. It shouldn’t work as well as it does, but it does. I don’t think that, once you get what’s going on with it, that it’ll ever blow you away, but it stays consistently funny and watchable and every single character is endearing. And it will hopefully stay that.

Smallville. This show is still on. Did you know that? People are still watching this! It scares me, that thought. (Almost as much as the notion that people were ever watching it.)(I mean, obviously I’m a comic book nerd here, but this show? Come on. Shit is shit, right?) Who are you people? Who are you? It terrifies me that there’s an audience for this show still and they’re providing market research to people in suits who can’t buy a clue from the general public. (Though I still like Erica Durance.)

True Blood. This past season had a lot of ups and a lot of downs, as usual, but the finale was incredibly boring. I guess it was a bit of a serious dramatic let down and also not compelling at all. But, though it may be an uneven supernatural soap opera, it’s amazing how much more it appeals to me than some fucking police procedural on CBS.

Party Down. I miss you. Come back? Please? Was it something I said? Was it the fact that I don’t subscribe to Starz and watched you solely via megavideo and just that once via itunes? Is it Starz? If it is, you don’t have to say anything. Just nod your head and blink. Do that and I will stab a stake through Starz like the life sucking vampire monster that it is.

Parks & Recreation. Is this show still on? Coming back at midseason? That’s a shame, but not shocking, I guess. This show is not bad, not bad at all, but it lacks… something. Sadly, you still have to kind of compare it to The Office in some way. This is a show where you like all the characters/actors involved, but I don’t feel anything for them. They seem like they’re swimming twice as hard for maybe half the results. Except for Ron Swanson. Brilliant televisionary character and I’m so thankful that they keep him to the minimum. I guess I’m glad that this is where Adam Scott landed after Party Down, with a paying gig, but I’d stick this show’s head in a full bath tub until it stopped kicking and squirming if that’d bring back Party Down. No joke.

The Walking Dead. This show hasn’t even aired yet, but I don’t care. I’ve read the comic book so that gives me the right to voice an internet opinion! Ugh.

That said, within the comic is all the things that would make for a good, solid cable TV drama, especially on par with a level of quality and intrigue that AMC seems to be trying to covet (the snoozefest that is Rubicon aside), but I hope that the producers of the show don’t stick too strictly to the comic. It’s not… great. There, I said it. It’s not that great. It’s good, but it’s true to it’s story and incredibly bleak. It picks up where your average zombie movie ends, with characters having to survive in this world that’s swarming with the undead and it’s something for fans of suffering, for sure. The TV show hasn’t wowed me with the actors they’ve cast, and that sizzle reel didn’t get me hard, and it doesn’t help that Frank Darabont hasn’t brought his A game to anything in a long, long while (though he’s thankfully finally gotten out from behind Stephen King’s skirt). But, despite all of that, I’d like to be pleasantly surprised.

Glee. I saw the pilot not this last summer but the summer before when they showed it months and months before the show’s actual premiere and I thought, “Eh.” Never saw a single episode throughout the rest of the first season because it was just not the show for me and somehow it become this popular media juggernaut. Then I saw two episodes just a few weeks ago from this current season. Not bad. Not all that interesting, but intriguing from a distance. But I do believe there’s credence to the “Three Glee” theory.

But, I have to say that this GQ controversy is ludicrous. Who are you people who are upset about this nonsense? Apparently you’ve never see this show or it’s content or just ignored the Rolling Stone cover from a few months ago altogether. Way to go, Dianna Agron, you are mystifying both onscreen and off. Some people should find bigger things to get super excited and bothered about. Like Taylor Momsen. Speaking of which…

Gossip Girl. Is this still on TV?

House. House is a show that, like Glee, is quality but that I wouldn’t normally watch because, well, I’m just not going to watch a weekly medical procedural show. Or, that’s why it was that I used to not watch House. But then I started watching it semi-weekly (Thank God Hulu is still free), because it’s well written and I saw a bunch of episodes last season by accident and because House and Cuddy are dating now and, well, just because. Also, I like Sherlock Holmes pastiches. Speaking of which…

Steven Moffat’s (and Mark Gatiss’) Sherlock. The show debuted in England in the past year and is fucking brilliant. This is what I would like all TV to aspire to as far as intellectual quality. Eventually this will come to BBC America and you’re a goddamn fool to miss it. The man with the unfortunate name of Benedict Cumberbatch is shocking and mesmerizing as a modern day take on the classic detective and Martin Freeman (“Tim,” the original Jim in the original British version of The Office) is in fine form as his sidekick, John Watson. The little nods to the classic stories are enjoyable and where the show deviates is even better. My only real quibble with the 21st century updates is that rather than just chronicling their exploits in a conventional manner, Watson now blogs about the cases he and Sherlock engage in. Sigh.

The first season was three episodes long and the pilot is amazing (written by Moffat), the second episode is fine, but the third episode (written by Gattis) is immaculate. And what a fucking a cliffhanger.

Freeman was recently cast as The Hobbit after months of everyone knowing he pretty much had the role locked down, but you may have noticed the internet screaming out that the two movies better not stop production on a second series of Sherlock and quite right so.

Speaking of British originals translating stateside: MTV’s Skins, which you can see a trailer for now. And if you click here, you can read my thoughts on that.

Doctor Who. This Christmas special and new season (next Easter, sadly) can’t come quickly enough. I don’t know how I feel about this “split” season. I guess it’s fine, though I’m not crazy about them calling it two different seasons, rather than just one split with a hiatus. It sounds like a fancy way of getting out of contracts quicker, frankly. They recently cast Mark Shephard in a big role, sigh, presumably the two part season opener set in America and featuring Richard Nixon? Cool. I guess. Except for the Mark Shephard bit. That gravely voiced motherfucker hasn’t been in enough big name sci fi shows? Sigh. But, like last season, paparazzi photos have informed us that River Song will be in that episode(s). Great.

Now the theorizing can really begin as to who or what River Song actually is. A future version of the Doctor? Lame. The Doctor’s mother? Lamer. Amy Pond in the future in some form? Lame and tired as far as guesswork goes. Just the Doctor’s amazing wife/partner from a future point as we’ve already been lead to believe? Perfect. But let’s get crazy here: A future version of the Master or the Rani? Hmmm?

Mad Men. Nothing to add here.

Still an amazing show and I’m kind of dying to know where they’ll go next season.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. For what it is, this show is perfect. Especially once Danny Devito joined the cast a few years ago. I’m so glad that we have a mindset like this available to us. And, if you think about it, since we mentioned the inheritance of legacies earlier in this post, this is today’s version of Seinfeld.

Fringe. Man… Whatever. Benjamin Light and I add a long conversation about this show about a week ago because we’re fucking dorks, I guess. Maybe, if you’re nice to him, he’ll do a write up about his thoughts on that show and we’ll have a nice discussion on what we dislike about that show and what we would change (almost everything). And, if anything comes to us, maybe we’ll talk about what we like about the show?

The Venture Bros. As always, a strong, smart, funny show, but I’m trying not to use the words “treading water” here. I keep wanting this show to move forward into telling a larger story, and just when I think it’s going to reveal itself to be doing that… it pulls back altogether. At first it was like, “Ha ha, we are playing with your expectations,” but now it’s just like they’re treading water. Damn. I said it. It’s funny that the last episode was all about Doctor Venture’s brain being hacked and the Monarch trying to force him to commit suicide since I feel like that’s the only logical conclusion to the show.

South Park. I haven’t seen an actual episode of this show in fucking forever. I miss it. Conrad Noir tells me that I really need to see not this past week’s, but the one before, the one pertaining to Jersey Shore. “The Jersey problem,” is how he referred to it. I haven’t seen this last one, the Inception one, either. But now I see that Matt and Trey are in some shit for plagarizing a College Humor video. Jesus. I’m sorry, no, it’s “borrowing.” I get the gist of Matt and Trey’s “take” on Inception, which is a good example of how I can like this show and still pretty much never agree with their take on anything. I don’t think anyone is claiming that Inception is cool because it’s complex, are they? Also, how complex was Inception? Was it really that hard for anyone to follow? I mean… Really?

Louis. I like Louis C.K. I like him a lot. I haven’t loved this show, not like I’ve wanted to, though the Ricky Gervais cameo was a lot of fun. But I’m just glad that Louis C.K. has a show on TV that I don’t think has been canceled  yet. I can’t wait to watch it progress. And I think that is the underlining factor that too many showrunners on television don’t take into account: Shows should progress. There’s a long game at work. Consider your package as a whole.

Eastbound & Down. I’ve only seen the first episode of this current season so far, so I can’t say much, but this show defies your average reviewing format. You’re either in or out. Anything else and maybe you should just fuck off. Me: thumbs up.

Bored To Death. Talk about your meta end to a blog post… I’ve only seen about five episodes from the first season of this show. They were meh, honestly. I see the promise of the show picking up and getting interesting, but I’ll get there at some point. But, during some of those first few episodes, I just felt like maybe I wanted to go read an old detective novel and drink some wine instead.

In conclusion: Am I missing any worthwhile shows or any shows that are the exact opposite? If so then by all means, please, please, please let me know.

And: Before we go, if you click here you can read an interesting post about David Foster Wallace and the connection between fiction and television.

The fate of the blogger.

from The Playwright, the new graphic novel written by Daren White and illustrated by Eddie Campbell, who has previously done the Alec series, as well as From Hell with Alan Moore, and The Fate Of The Artist and Bacchus. And this image I found in his interview with Forbidden Planet: