Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NOTES FROM A BOOK TREK 1


I'm enjoying the book These Are the Voyages - TOS - Season One
(I blogged about the book here.)

The author, Marc Cushman, makes the all-too-common mistake of using a 'cost of living' calculator to compare production costs from then (mid '60s) to now, but, he uses some examples to give the reader some perspective; what $200,000 (Trek's per episode cost, roughly) amounted to in its time. When Star Trek began "regular series production" in the spring of 1966 the sticker price on a Ford Mustang was $2,400 and the median price for a house was $14,000.

Some extra trivia on that theme: Of the 29 episodes of Season One, just 4 came in on or under budget. Trek was vying with I Spy for the title of 'Most Expensive Series on Television'. (Both shows, due to their 'architecture', required more money than the norm in order to realize them. In dramatic-series television production, certainly the SF type, there is almost never enough time and money; you do the best you can with what you have.)

I must thank the show's producers for ensuring that the scripts often backed-up the finances.

Also, and this was publicized in the pre-release info: The book busts the myth of Trek having low ratings in its original run. As a matter of fact, both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety estimated at the time that the series, in its first year, was attracting about 20 million viewers every week. It was directly up against some stiff competition: My Three Sons and Bewitched, for example.

One of these days I should get Star Trek on Blu-ray and go through the show again. I don't have it on DVD or on any format.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

AN ERROR IN CANADA'S WAYS

The magnificent country of Canada, my country, and it is magnificent, generally, is sending six CF-18 jet fighters to Iraq to combat ISIS. I heard someone say this on the radio minutes ago: 'Canada needs a combat mission for the RCAF... this is one it needs.'

This is a combat mission? What, lobbing bombs at indefinite targets?


Decisions such as the above are made by politicians who have never read a history book. (I don't mean a history-of-law book.)


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

THE NEW FLASH FAILS TO CATCH ME

Rare is it that I see an advert on television for a "exciting premiere" of a new one-hour series and reciprocate with dedicated viewing. Well, my day was long and hard so I decided to relax in front of my telescreen this evening and watch episode one of The Flash.

I needn't have bothered. Mere minutes in I realized it was all an ugly mistake. The lead actor -- I've forgotten his name and I'm not wasting time looking it up -- is all wrong as the titular character: He lacks weight and screen presence. The rest of the cast is too young and too pretty. Bad acting is rampant. The CGI is typical cheapness. The script is overloaded with convention. And the direction lacks aim... like a random static charge; or flicks of light off an opera ball.

The obvious joke here is that The Flash will be gone in a flash, but let's not kid ourselves. Lots of equally crappy series' seem to find a non-discriminating audience.

My advice is to take a pass and let The Flash speed past you into oblivion....

Woof, woof, lil' doggie.




***

PS: I'm not a big fan of the 1990 - 1991 television version of The Flash, but I admit that John Wesley Shipp was well-cast as the speedy man. Also, that series had some style and a sense of grandeur; two things distinctly missing from the new Flash.

Monday, October 6, 2014

SELLING SUN 'NEWS' IS GOOD NEWS

My regular readers will know how much I (have little regard for) Sun Media and its fine line of newspapers. Imagine my non-surprise this morning when I awoke to the news that Qu├ębecor has sold its Sun Media English-language 'newspaper' operations to Postmedia. In relative terms, the deal was an inexpensive one: 175 'newspapers' for 316 million dollars. (Borrowing costs are low at the moment.)

The human cost, after all, many of these people will soon lose their jobs, is 2,400 employees. It's the usual line, being held this morning in board rooms filled with marshalled workers: "Don't worry, your jobs are safe."

Postmedia honcho Paul Godfrey (one of the Toronto Sun's founding fathers) says that Sun will be allowed to live as a separate entity... alongside Post properties, even in the same markets. Yeah... right.

Rumour has it that the Toronto Sun was sold separately and symbolically for "one dollar"....

Saturday, October 4, 2014

ARI GOLDKIND, TORONTO-BASED COMEDIAN


On Friday morning while undertaking my daily ablutions, something emanated from the radio which stopped my razor in its tracks...

“Ford — what does it stand for? Falsify. Overstate. Repeat. Deny.”

Once I stopped laughing I went back to work; eliminating unwanted facial hair.

When I looked good enough -- almost -- to go out in public I forgot about the spot-on summation of Toronto mayoral candidate Doug Ford (brother of Rob).

When I had some time later in the day to investigate further I did an Internet search and came across this...

Ari Goldkind spells out criticism of Doug Ford
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ari-goldkind-spells-out-criticism-of-doug-ford-1.2786033


The funny quip was made by some guy -- who Doug Ford describes as a "big, rich defence attorney" who is out of touch with "hard-working people" -- also running for mayor of Toronto, named Ari Goldkind.

Two things: A) Mr. Goldkind has a sense of humour. B) I am sooo hard done by, Mr. Ford.

I'm readying to go to work; yes, it's an early day for me.

Friday, October 3, 2014

HERE COMES STAR WARS REBELS

Much to my surprise this morning I came across a review on a new Star Wars animated half-hour television series. As reviewed by Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever, Star Wars Rebels looks like something worth checking out; even for this non Star Wars fan (as in: not against Star Wars, just not a fanatic).

One thing jettisoned, which is good news to a Design Head like me, is the "failed art-deco/hotel atrium aesthetics of the prequel era". The extra good news for someone like me is the fact that the animators referenced original Star Wars conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie's early concept sketches and paintings.

The stories are the most important thing; someone like me will have to see how good they are before committing to the new series. (Like many a Star Trek fan, the Star Wars type tends to be non discriminating. "Lightsabres!!!")

While aimed principally at kids, Star Wars Rebels will, or should, click with fans -- certainly fans of the previous animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (There were loads of lightsabre battles. And I suspect there will be numbers to match in Rebels.)

Special note, and a possible taste of what 'attitude' is to come in Star Wars VII... Star Wars Rebels is the first SW product under the stewardship of Disney; the new owner of that universe.


‘Star Wars Rebels’: In visuals and in spirit, it’s a new hope
http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/star-wars-rebels-in-visuals-and-in-spirit-its-a-new-hope/2014/10/02/61dc2a38-497b-11e4-891d-713f052086a0_story.html?wpisrc=nl-headlines&wpmm=1

Thursday, October 2, 2014

SUN THINKS THE LETTER "D" IS OPTIONAL

"Hey, what can I say? I know the difference between those two words."

A fine, fine put-down column by the Toronto Sun...

Trudeau’s not Reagan, he’s more like JFK 57
by David Jones, Guest Column
http://www.torontosun.com/2014/10/01/trudeaus-not-reagan-hes-more-like-jfk


The usual and expected Sun Media rhythmic attack on Justin Trudeau; a man who more than likely will be Canada's next Prime Minister... which is exactly why Sun Media and its witless faithful eat that stuff up.

Maybe 'they' can eat this up: At the end of his piece, guest columnist David Jones writes something which comes off as odd; I think he meant to use the word "averse", not "adverse". Looks like it got by not only the Toronto Sun editors, but their faithful keyboard-warriors (commenters), too. Come on, are we really surprised?