Thursday, September 29, 2005

"Take my love, take my land...."

Firefly. Why was this show cancelled??? WHY???
Old Joss can't seem to get a break with TV these days. With this superb series not being given the recognition or support it deserved, and then having to cope with Angel getting canned, despite being the joint winner of the Saturn "Best Network TV Series" award alongside CSI, Mr. Whedon could have been forgiven for calling it a day. Thankfully though, he didn't - and now Firefly is destined to live on in the upcoming movie Serenity. The reason the movie got made? Fans of Firefly snapped up DVD boxsets to the tune of 200,000 units. So, think about this. The show is pulled because it had poor ratings (nice one, Fox). Why did it have poor ratings? Let's see.
1.) Fox played the series episodes out of order. Yes, they skipped over the 90 minute pilot which had the minor inconvenience of introducing the characters and there was that small matter of establishing a plot, and went straight to episode two about a train heist with little backstory. No wonder people didn't have a bloody clue what was going on. Fox's excuse for this absurdity? "There wasn't enough action in the pilot." Ahhh, of course. Who wants to have that pesky 'exposition' nonsense when you can dive straight into a series with NO CLUE AS TO WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON. Good one. Maybe that's why every single episode of 24 (that I can recall) has someone in it being shot or dying. It all becomes clear. Plot = bad. Death = good.
2.) Fox didn't advertise the show. This is a program by Joss Whedon. He is responsible for those minor TV shows Buffy and Angel. So of course, Firefly was destined to be insignificant too, I guess. Why these networks don't advertise new "cult" shows is beyond me. Warner Brothers scrapped Angel despite the most ridiculously huge fan appeal seen for a TV show on record. We're talking mobile billboards and sending cakes to the producers. Perhaps they're so busy making CSI spin-offs, they believe that something a bit more original than another cop show won't be of interest. Can't wait until CSI: Scunthorpe hits the screens. Fact: 200,000 DVD sales can't be wrong.
3.) Fox kept moving the timeslot. Hey, we've got a new show! What's the best way to attract viewers? Move the timeslot so they don't know when the F**K it's going to be on. Nice one. That'll establish a regular base of ... umm ... channel hoppers. I really despair sometimes.
Interesting isn't it. You sell 200k of boxsets, and suddenly people are interested in your show again. So interested in fact, that they're willing to give you $45 MILLION to make a film. A sum that could easily have made two more series. The figures don't add up. The reviews certainly do though - I've not seen an SF magazine/site that has given it less than a 5 star rating. Here's an example. And (thank the gods), it has a 15 rating so we can actually see more adult themes. I, for one, will be heading to the big screen to watch this. That's assuming the cinemas don't class it as a "cult" movie and portion it off to a one-week, one-screen showing, leaving independents to laud its efforts. Now, if only I can convince Gilly to come along. Well, I sat through Pride and Prejudice and was forced to look at Keira Knightley for 2 hours so I think she owes me. She may even be surprised and like the film, as I did with hers.
What else has been in the news recently? Well, it looks like Michelle "all chin, no talent" Rodriguez of SWAT and Resident Evil infamy will be a new recurring character on Lost. Why? WHY? (I ask that a lot these days). There are things in my fridge that could act better. I really hope she doesn't put me off the show - the first episode of the new season was stonking, and she hasn't appeared yet. Episode 3 is the one to watch out for apparently. Can't wait.
Also, I'm writing a sitcom with my good friend Wayne. Highly top secret and highly hilarious, it will take about likely 2 years to write the first episode, put together as it is via the medium of emails and ideas hastily written over every lunch break. More detail to follow. In about 6 months, probably.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

And it was all yellllllllllow

That would be my shoulder, after being shot about fifteen times in the same place with paintballs. I still love paintball though. I just can't see how other similar war games like airsoft (with plastic pellets) or laser games can compete with the actual thrill of paintball. With the former, there's no "marks" left, so it's quite easy to get shot and pretend you weren't hit. With lasers, there's no danger and no adrenaline rush. Anyway, a good time was had by all, and Chris got suitably drunk so the mission was accomplished. He really needs to get to uni though, and harden up his alcohol system ;o)

Friday was fun. I went to Oxford for the Deal or No Deal audition. To start, we watched the French version, which to be honest, was bloody good TV. Very tense, but also enjoyable - a word I never thought I'd use to describe French media. Anyway, after that the first thing they made us all do was charades - I pulled "skydiver" out of a hat, and expertly acted it out by hurling myself on the floor. They got it straight away. Maybe I should go into film. Then there was "Wheel of Doom" where you played a version of Russian roulette on a cardboard wheel (hole in one wheel, 16 symbols underneath, 15 good, 1 bad) - you had to decide whether to move it on one place or stick where you were. I played a woman, and she lost. Yes, it was that exciting! Then we had a psychology questionnaire to find out if you are a team player. Then there was a general knowledge paper (20 questions) with such taxing queries as "What is the capital of Australia?", and "In what book did Captain Nemo pilot the Nautilus?" The only one I got stuck on was "What is number 1 in the charts?" - didn't have a clue. To be honest, I'm quite proud of that. Then there was a 30 second interview where you have to talk about yourself. I hate doing that. Luckily, I got prompted - "what do you enjoy doing?" - so was able to prattle on for the remaining time. No idea if I got on the show - the last thing they ask is "Are you likely to be available for a 3 or 4 week period?" Erm, yes - I like nothing better than sitting in a hotel for a month, waiting to see if I MAY have got on a show. They said they knew it was unlikely for most people - I think they were looking for people to cover pull-outs.

On the train back to Bristol, I arrived at Bristol Parkway and asked three staff when the next train to Temple Meads was. "Oh, this delayed one - should be here at 17:35." So I jumped on it. After 20 minutes, we were still going, so I was getting a bit concerned. I asked a woman next to me what the next stop was. "Newport". Superb. How difficult is it to work out where a train stops? I wouldn't mind but there were THREE PEOPLE on the platform and they had a big discussion about it before telling me to get on the wrong train! So I then got off at Newport and luckily there was a direct train back to Temple Meads. But on the way back, two miles from the station, a group of 10 kids on an embankment hurled a brick at the train, and the window 3 places in front of me got hit. Luckily it was tough so it splintered and took the brunt, and only a few pieces of glass fell onto the inside. For a minute though, it was quite worrying. I thought someone had splattered themselves on the top of the train after jumping off a bridge. The train dropped to a crawl and I managed to get back to Bristol about 2 hours later than intended. Joy.

So now it's a case of waiting for a call from Endemol, which probably won't come (I like to be pessimistic; there's more chance of being pleasantly surprised). In the meantime, I've gotten hold of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City so I'm working my way through the missions. The radio controlled helicopter mission is possibly the most frustrating thing I've ever seen on a PC game though. Some Playstation ports really need to be thought about a bit more carefully.

Ok, time to whack some scum. Later!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Frantic... the only way to describe the coming week. On Tuesday, I'm going to Poole with Mark for training on a new CMS that we've bought for the company. I'll be staying in a hotel until Thursday, and then driving back Thursday night. The following morning I've got a trip to Oxford, for a quiz show audition. Yes indeed, Gameshow Rob is looking to top his current winning quiz run of 2 for 2 by auditioning for Endemol's new quiz imported from Australia: Deal or No Deal. It looks like a cross between Millionaire and Take Your Pick - a more detailed breakdown of the Oz version is here.

The top prize for the UK show is, I believe, £100,000. This amount would sit quite nicely in my bank account, or so my financial advisor tells me. Anyway, unlike Brainteaser and Memory Bank where I answered 20 questions on the phone, this is a full blown audition with
up to 50 people. My chances of getting on to the show are therefore slim, and the chance of winning is even slimmer. But still, can't hurt to try.

After that, I'll be travelling back to Bristol to pack up some things before heading down for a weekend in Plymouth. It's Chris's 18th, so we'll be paintballing from morning to evening on the Saturday. Then I'll be travelling back to Bristol on the Sunday. I am going to be utterly knackered.

I started playing Shining Wisdom this weekend on the Saturn. Not a bad little Zelda clone, and it still has the unique feel of the Shining series thanks to Team Sonic. I think it's going to be a little bigger than I originally thought, though. My intention was to play through the 5 RPGs I have on the Saturn and then sell it off and make enough cash on eBay to fund a Playstation 2. But now that Sony have announced that the Playstation 3 will be backwards compatible with both PS2 and PS1 games, I may just have to hold out and get one of those. Hopefully by that time I'll have won £100,000 so a new console will be but a drop in the ocean. One can dream, no?