“Bionic Woman” recap/review

Official | IMDb | Wikipedia
Wednesdays @ 9 PM ET on NBC

Fast Stats
Episode title: pilot, no title known
Notables: David Eick, Mark Sheppard, Aaron Douglas, Katee Sackhoff

Yeah, so I was unimpressed. This first episode sets up the plot by nearly killing the main character, Jaime Sommers (Michelle Ryan), and having her boyfriend, Dr. Will Anthros (Chris Bowers), perform what must’ve been a seriously grueling multiple-hour surgery to replace both legs and her right arm, ear, and eye. We’re introduced to Sarah Corvis (Katee Sackhoff), the “first bionic woman… tada!”, who was apparently supposed to be dead already but wasn’t actually killed or something. There’s a guy in jail (Mark Sheppard), a guy sewing up his own arm (Thomas Kretschmann), and other relatively uninteresting characters.

David Eick is one of the higher-ups in producing Battlestar Galactica, but it’s apparent from this episode that he’s not the one with the vision or talent to pull off a decent remake. I wasn’t particularly impressed with Sheppard’s performance, but I’ve seen him act elsewhere, so I know it’s not him—it’s whoever wrote the crappy character he’s playing—who’s the problem. Douglas makes an interesting (off duty) prison guard, and it’s a shame he’s not in more than five minutes of the episode. Sackhoff’s character is the most interesting of the bunch, and I think that may be because she (the character) has a sorted, intriguing history that isn’t immediately obvious. If you hadn’t noticed, the episode’s notables don’t include any of the main characters… It’s sad, ’cause I was looking forward to this show. Meh, I’ll probably watch next week’s episode to see if it’s any better (everyone/thing deserves a second chance, after all), but I’m not holding my breath.

Another thing: Becca Sommers (Lucy Hale), the younger sister whose father dumped her on Jaime’s doorstep before the episode began, is supposed to be some kind of hacker genius. As in, she’s under court order not to use any computer with internet connection (or something to that effect) because she’s so good. Originally, Mae Whitman was cast in the role, and the character was supposed to be “hearing-impaired and resentful of her sister”… which, honestly, I think would make a much more interesting dynamic between the two sisters. Whatever—cut out the interesting stuff… good job. >_<

Basically, in the words of Jack Doyle, an IMDb user, I “expected the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica [and] got the original instead.” On a side and purely fangirlish note, isn’t this the hottest picture ever?

“Kid Nation” recap/review

Official | IMDb | Wikipedia
Wednesdays @ 8 PM ET on CBS

Fast Stats
Episode title: “I’m Just Trying to Be a Leader Here”
Awarded the gold star: Sophia, green team
Left town for home: Jimmy, green team
Episode favorite: Jared, red team
Days elapsed this episode: 4
Total days elapsed: 4
Remaining residents: 39

Kid Nation‘s first episode, “I’m Just Trying to Be a Leader Here,” covers the first four days out of forty and follows forty kids, ages 8 to 15, who are stuck in a ghost town called Bonanza City and are working to make the town not die (again). According to the town council’s “book,” the town was originally founded in 1885 but failed because the residents lacked willpower and leadership.

The town council consists of Anjay, Laurel, Mike, and Taylor, who lead the blue, green, red and yellow teams (respectively). Each team represents a class in the town: red team is upper class and earn $1 per day for doing whatever they want; blue team members are merchants and earn 50¢ each day for running the (root beer) saloon, the dry goods store, and candy store; yellow team cook (and clean the dishes, supposedly) and earn 25¢ per day; and green team members are the laborers (cleaning the outhouses, washing the laundry, etc.) and earn only 10¢ a day. All “wages” are paid in buffalo nickels; candy and games at the stores cost anywhere from a nickel (a couple of pieces of butterscotch, for example) to $3 (an old-fashioned bicycle) and beyond.

The teams didn’t get their classes arbitrarily, however. A competition consisting of finding “black gold” via manual pumpjacks and filling the teams’ respective bottles with said liquid (actually just colored water). The first team to fill their bottles and get their pump back over the finish line won the privilege of being upper class… and so on down the line. Plus, if all the teams finished in an hour or less, the whole town got a communal prize. Red team came in first, blue next, then yellow, and finally green (with just seconds to spare under the hour mark). Upon winning their prize, the town was informed they’d have to choose between seven more outhouses (thus far they’d dealt with only one for all forty of them) OR a television. The town council decided on the outhouses (a smart, but less fun, choice). So, now the ratio of residents to outhouses is 5:1 (instead of the yucky 40:1)… but no TV. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.

So, at the end of the episode, a town meeting was held in which concerns/complaints were heard, the kids were asked if anyone wanted to go home (one said yes and is no longer a part of Bonanza City), and the council awarded a solid gold star worth $20,000 to the most deserving resident. The star and money are for the real world, not Bonanza City, so the kids have college money or whatever. The cool thing is, a gold star is awarded at every town council meeting, so the council (who collectively decide who should receive the star) has a chance to spread the love. No one is ever “voted off the island”–someone only leaves when and if s/he wants to, but once s/he leaves, s/he can’t go back.

Before the first episode aired, there was a lot of controversy over things like child labor laws, etc. etc. What if one of the kids gets hurt? What if they end up hurting each other, a’ la Lord of the Flies? Who’s going to make sure they eat right and sleep well? Or… eat and sleep at all? I even received an unsolicited email asking me to sign a petition to have CBS (the show’s network producer) pull Kid Nation from it’s autumn line up completely and stop recruiting for the second season. (CBS stuck to it’s guns and backed the show and has not stopped accepting applications for the second season.) Whatever the intentions of the naysayers, they only succeeded in creating more advertising for the show; there’s no such thing as “bad press,” after all.

I’m of the general opinion that kids can (and, more often than not, will) choose for themselves in most cases, maybe even all cases. “What were those parents thinking?!” many people have been asking. Well, I’d like to know, “Has anyone asked the show’s participants what they think?” After just one episode, it’s obvious these young people have opinions and aren’t afraid to share them. Technically, yes, it was the parents’ decision to “let” their children be a part of this experiment, but the kids had to have some say in the matter–they’re the ones on the show, after all. This all boils down to age of consent, really. I mean, it’s like saying, “Whatever happens behind closed doors between consenting adults is none of my/your/anyone’s business.” Here, the line between “consenting adult” and “child labor law infraction” is blurred. These young people are consenting persons, even if they’re not “of age” according to some arbitrary law created more than a hundred years ago.

In any case, we’ll see how this thing pans out. I’ll be tuning in next week.

Artorius

I just finished watching the director’s cut of King Arthur (2004) with Clive Owen and Keira Knightley [Official site IMDb Wikipedia]. I remember watching it in theaters with Bobby (I’m pretty sure he had to foot the bill ^_^;;), and although I know I really liked the movie (despite its bad reviews), I don’t remember the theatrical version well enough to compare the two. Apparently the director’s cut has a better ending (and by “better” I mean supposedly “more realistic/historically accurate”), and I’ve been searching in vain for the past hour for the original (theatrical) ending so I can see the difference.

The many battle scenes were thought-provoking. After watching the knights’ “last stand” (as it were), my question is this: what compels someone to follow another person into battle? I know that Arthur’s knights loved their leader; they knew he was a good man and a man of his word, and they believed in him and in what he stood for. I can understand why they would follow him into battle–he was truly the first among equals. But what of the Saxon army? Perhaps they fought to prove their manhood, or were caught up in a mob-mentality, or were afraid of their leader, Cedric. Why did the infantry walk into the death trap that was past the wall? Just because they were ordered to? That can’t be the only reason. Because they didn’t want to let each other down? Because they would think less of one another if they refused?

More generally, I have noticed that wars begin (and are prolonged) primarily because of miscommunication. Why do people kill one another? Because they can’t figure out how to live with one another any other way? Because they refuse to compromise? Because their ideals are completely different from those they fight against? I can say that at least I have no idea who the U.S.A. is really fighting in Iraq right now. I probably couldn’t even point to Iraq on a world map. I don’t know anything about Al Qaeda (including how to spell the word itself), Saddam Hussein, or even Islam. What are we fighting for? Revenge? Oil? Some higher sense of justice? If I, an intelligent and well-educated young woman, don’t know what we’re fighting for or who we’re fighting against, how can the average American (who is generally less intelligent and less educated than I) know? Is this just blind anger focused upon the newest (within the last 5+ years) scapegoat?

I’m pretty sure that if we left the Middle East alone, they’d have to deal with each other before they’d threaten us; we’re across an entire ocean, after all, and their neighbors are… well, their neighbors. When I make this argument, someone inevitably brings up September 11th. I don’t mean to belittle those who lost their lives that day or presume that survivors “should have gotten over it by now,” but I don’t know anyone who was even remotely involved in the attacks. My boyfriend grew up in New York City and he is only marginally affected by the tragedy. Granted, Bennett’s an interesting case, and not one I should really base my opinions upon, but I don’t understand why–more than five years later–everyone is as paranoid as they were on the day it happened.

I don’t even know where I’m going with this anymore. I just keep coming back to the Saxon army in King Arthur, who literally gave everything to a leader who threw them away as disposable. I cannot believe it is truly better to be feared than loved.

Arjuna


Earth Maiden Arjuna

From acclaimed creator Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Escaflowne) and
composer Yoko Kanno (Escaflowne, Cowboy Bebop)

You can buy the entire series here. It’s 13 episodes.
Bobby, the Ashura thing will probably make more sense if you read this. Arjuna was a Indian archer prince who had Sri Krishna as his charioteer.
It’s also a supplement grown in India.

After finding out I am vegetarian, Bennett suggested I watch this anime and I finally did last night. I tried to get him to tell me about it, but he refused, saying it was too complicated to explain. After watching it all the way through in one sitting, I agree. I went into it not knowing anything about the Hindi references, although I suspected something when Arjuna called upon Ashura to protect her. This series had a very significant impact on me. It made me realize how much fear people have in their lives because they don’t want to get dirty or do hard labor. We consume so much and share so little with the rest of the world. Let me put it this way: Some of you may remember that I have always said that I had a reason for becoming a vegetarian (in fifth grade), but it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten what it was. Well, I know the reason again. I want to respect nature and animals, and I sincerely believe that the way they’re being treated puts humanity to shame.

I am NEVER going into a McDonald’s again. Or any other fast food burger place.