Friday, November 23, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - November 29, 2007

Age Of Bronze Vol 3 Betrayal HC (The latest in Shanower's Greek war epic)
American Virgin #21 (The final arc of American Virgin continues)
Marvel Zombies 2 #2 (Kirkman and Phillips continue to impress)
Proof #2 (Promising new series from Image, imagine X-Files if Mulder were a bigfoot)
X-Men First Class Vol 2 #6 (Another great issue, this one features danger from space, a classic foe and even better, a long form story with Parker and Colleen Coover doing a story of Scarlet Witch and Jean Grey)

Batman And The Outsiders #2 (First issue was surprisingly fun, last page was worrying, but I'm curious to see where it goes from here)
Dan Dare #1 (Garth Ennis takes on a classic Brit hero in the Flash Gordon mold)
Daredevil #102 (Still digging Brubaker's take, but the whole "Milla's a murderer" thing is bugging me)
Dock Walloper #1 (New crime comic from Virgin)
Fear Agent Hatchet Job #1 (New miniseries - really enjoyed the last one)
Hack Slash Series #6 (I'm behind on Hack Slash, need to get caught up)
Jack Of Fables #17 (Also need to get caught up on this one, since I just read the trade)
Marvel Adventures Iron Man #7 (Dr. Doom... stealth armor... hells yeah)
Marvel Atlas #1 (Locales of the Marvel Universe, sounds like fun)
Popgun Vol 1 Gn (Giant anthology from Image with an impressive creator list)
Previews #27.12 (Down the Line is in the works)
Transformers Devastation #3 (Loved the second issue)
Usagi Yojimbo #107 (Always great stories of the rabbit ronin)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jeff Parker = Genius

At this point, I have no particular interest in writing comics, beyond the "If someone gave me a comic I'd write it," but I still find the process stuff interesting. And Jeff Parker, talking about working with artists but throwing in a few general writer tips as well, writes a must-read column on writing in this blog entry.

No wonder X-Men First Class, Agents of Atlas, Marvel Adventures Avengers, etc. are all so damn good. Also, X-Men First Class #9? From the new solicit?

"No longer with Magneto's Brotherhood, Wanda Maximoff is at a crossroads. Should she become a super hero like her friend Marvel Girl? Or will the Black Widow succeed in her goal of Scarlet Witch - Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!"

Let me repeat that: Scarlet Witch - Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Jeff Parker = genius

Monday, November 19, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - November 21, 2007

American Virgin Vol 3 Wet TP (Sad to see it go, especially since each volume was better than the last, and this one's no exception)
Goon Chinatown Hc (The Goon's origin! Full color OGN by Eric Powell! Aw hells yeah!)
Grendel Behold The Devil #1 (New Matt Wagner Hunter Rose stories! Wooo!)
Hawaiian Dick #1 (New Hawaiian Dick stories! Scott Chantler Art! Maybe monthly this time! Double woo!)
Iron Man Director Of Shield Annual #1 (Dear Marvel: Please put Christos Gage on Iron Man monthly and have him write stories like this. Sincerely, Randy. This is the best Iron Man story I've read in quite some time, and it's also one of the more fun SHIELD stories I've read in a while... *and* it makes great use of Marvel's "Hong Kong", Madripoor, and some of the characters created by Claremont there)

Angel After The Fall #1 (Good, promising stuff... read my review)
Brave And The Bold #8 (Flash and Doom Patrol, looks like fun)
Captain America #32 (Another shocker from Brubaker and Epting, and I continue to really enjoy this book)
Incredible Hulk #111 (Interesting new status quo from Pak & Van Lente)
Invincible #46 (Digging this one as well, as it leads up to something big with #50)
Love And Capes #6 (The best full-color romance book on the stands)
Midknight #1 (New from promising newcomers Red 5 Comics)
Shadowpact #19 (Need to check back in, with Matt Sturges taking over solo writing chores a couple months back... and then I need to catch up on the trades)
She-Hulk 2 #23 (Second issue isn't as good as the first of Peter David's run, but it's still solid fun)
Thunderbolts Breaking Point (Not as good as Thunderbolts, not as godawful as the last Thunderbolts one-shot by a different creative team)
Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite #3 (Strange, beautifully illustrated, good comics)
Walking Dead #44 (#43 almost lost me... I'll have to see if this can win me back, but the dire portents of the future lead me to think Kirkman's going to once again go too far in a direction I'm not interested in)


It was a bit of a rough day, once we left Wizard World Texas. Hit some car trouble, and I've had various financial worries because... well, mostly because I worry a lot, not because we're in any real trouble.

And then I read my wife's blog and see her state with perfect clarity exactly how I feel pretty much every day. I mean, I own a comic book shop, which I run with the help of a great group of employees and friends. And then there's this:

So yeah. Pretty thankful this 2007.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Daily Show - Still Funny, Even on Strike

I Am Pro Robot-Overlord

John Rogers and Tyrone make a strong case for backing a robot overlord takeover. I see no choice but to publicly declare my early support on the internet, which is of course like beaming it directly into the proto-robot overlord brains.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Writer's Strike - Ask A Ninja

The Strike Continues...

It's probably an indication of what an entertainment junkie I am (ok, and an RSS junkie) that I'm reading *tons* of stuff about the writers' strike right now. In fact, sad as it may seem, I am probably greatly informed about the writers' strike, the world of comic books, the developments in the upcoming 2008 election and maybe a bit about videogames and very little else. We're not at war with Iran yet, are we? Because I might have missed that.

Kidding! Mostly. I really am paying a lot of attention to this.

And I've realized that I know people affected by this. I mean, not really close friends, although I do have close friends who are writers, but they're generally working in videogames or smaller press comics. I have plenty of friendly acquaintances, though, who are being affected by the strike. It struck me today that the writers' strike for a lot of the gofers and assistants and the others who really make the shows run day-to-day are probably hurting now, and will be more. It would be kind of like if comics' writers struck... the companies and the big name writers could hold out for a while, but I'd be in a panic-spiral without new product to sell to customers, and the guys doing one book a month would be having to take jobs waiting tables.

So while I have great admiration for the writer/producers for turning their back on huge salaries and great deals they've worked their whole lives to get, I think I have even more respect for folks who lost their first big break in a writers' room, or who had to give up a new internship, or did any of the other thousands of jobs that are necessary for TV to work, in order to support the writers.

And that, ultimately, is why the studios are going to lose, and lose huge, here. The reruns are coming sooner than expected (next week is the last new Office, which makes me very sad, and it won't be the first show to get truncated that way), and while it's going to hurt the viewers, most of us who aren't misinformed or selfish about our entertainment realize that it's the least bit of sacrifice we can offer to support the future of writers. And it's clear that, in general, folks have lined up behind the WGA on this. Any hopes of splitting them from the other guilds is weakening by the day. And it makes me glad when I see something like this on United Hollywood, showing that the actors (and SAG) are supporting the WGA.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - November 14, 2007

Avengers Initiative #7 (In a well-run Marvel Universe, this issue would have *major* continuity implications and be the best issue of The Initiative so far. In the current Marvel Universe? Probably will mostly be ignored by Bendis, JMS and the others *causing* the continuity/character problems and won't fix the problems it should fix, but it's still a very good issue that Spider-Man fans should check out - Edited to add, based on the comments, that this *will* be in continuity, which means it's must-reading for the week, especially if you're a Spidey fan, especially if you're a Spidey fan with a fondness for... well, that would be telling. But trust me.)
Fables #67 (Continuing one of the best stories the book has had)
Nova #8 (Maybe my favorite issue yet, a dash of Fraction-esque weirdness and fun with the same solid superhero adventure)
Scott Pilgrim Vol 4 GN (Awesome. You can read my review HERE)
World War Hulk #5 (I'm really looking forward to the end of this one... surprised by how much Pak and Romita Jr. have gotten me involved in the big Marvel crossover)

All Star Superman #9 (Morrison's obsession with Bizarro is growing tiresome, but as long as it's him and Quitely, I'll be reading)
Atheist #4 (Finally! It's been a long wait, but I'm guessing it'll be worth the wait)
Atomic Robo #2 (First issue was a ton of fun, looking forward to more)
Batman And The Outsiders #1 (Had little interest in the original creative team, due largely to the art, but Chuck Dixon and a stronger artist? I'll check it out)
Booster Gold #4 (Kind of meh on this, but I'm a Booster Gold fan enough to keep reading, or at least skim-reading)
BPRD Killing Ground #4 (As always, the BPRD remains one of my favorite monthly reads)
Brit #3 (Anarchic superhero fun)
Courtney Crumrin And The Fire Thiefs Tale (Yay, more Courtney Crumrin!)
DMZ #25 (Another one-shot story, although I've never been a huge fan of guest artist Danijel Zezelj)
Ex Machina Vol 6 Power Down TP (The first trade I haven't read in single issues already, looking forward to catching up)
House Of M Avengers #1 (If House of M had been as good as this, I would have read the whole series, instead of one issue and assorted panels from the rest)
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen The Black Dossier HC (After the long delays, I don't know if it can possibly live up to the anticipation)
Marvel Adventures Hulk #5 (Dr. Strange guest-stars! This issue is a blast)
Official Handbook Of The Invincible Universe TP (Dug the hell out of this, but I'm hoping it'll be in the Invincible hardcovers)
Queen & Country Vol 8 Operation Red Panda TP (The final Queen & Country trade)
Salvation Run #1 (Villains face off, ala Secret Wars... could be fun)
Suicide Squad Raise The Flag #3 (Fun, not as good as the original stuff, but fun)
Wonder Woman #14 (Gail Simone tries to rescue the badly damaged DC character)
World Of Warcraft #1 (Curious about this... I'm not a huge fan of Simonson's writing or the art I've seen, and my WoW love is severely diminished, but I still want to check it out)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Heroes This Week

Best episode yet. Which at this point is damning with faint praise. But it does seem like they might finally be on the right track, they've moved most of the characters into more interesting places and the scope of the dual threats (which are no doubt related somehow) is pretty good.

Another week with no Maya/Alejandro, yay!

Another week with no Veronica Mars with Lightning Action, boo!

Hiro finally back from Japan, yay!

Suresh again has boomerang plot-driven characterization, boo!

Terrific scenes of Peter in the future and the amnesia story is finally dead! Yay!

Still don't give a crap about West, and I'm increasingly fed up with Claire. Boo!

Basically, it does seem like they could have gotten to this same place in, say, two or three episodes instead of six. Cut out West and the Black Oil twins and you've shaved at least one episode entirely, cut down the Hiro/Kensei arc to two episodes and you've saved another. And that's without eliminating any of the other pointless stuff, like amnesiac Irish Peter for four episodes. And all of this stretching out was clearly to keep us guessing, so that when the shock reveals of this episode hit, we'd all go "Wow, they've really been planning it."

Except that the reveals were so painfully predictable that we all knew they were coming from much earlier on. Adam's true identity? Guessed the second Kensei's powers were revealed, which incidentally should have been a first episode reveal. Hiro is Kensei? Actual guess from the first episode we met the "real" Kensei. And all this stuff with the Company is so much more interesting than almost anything from the first three episodes... shame they didn't lead with that.

At any rate, with Tim Kring and the rest of the writers on the strike lines, it's probably irrelevant that the show has made a minor comeback. And even though it is a comeback, I'm still uncertain about whether the show can be all that good with four episodes or so of pointless filler in its backstory and West, Maya and Alejandro still lurking in the wings, waiting to suck the life out of the show at any minute. But this was a better episode, and I felt less like I had wasted an hour of my life in watching it.

Of course, I watched it on Tuesday, and watched Chuck on Monday. Chuck is actually getting better with each episode after starting fairly strong, which puts it way out ahead of Heroes. And indeed, ahead of most of the Fall season, except for Pushing Daisies, which is terrific.

Again, though, with the strike, I think getting attached to any of the new shows this season is probably foolish. We're no doubt going to lose a few that might have stuck around in a different situation.

Wow, Are The Studios Screwed

Really, the best thing they could have hoped for in their greedy attempt to keep the writers from benefiting financially from their work was that the actors, teamsters or writer/producers would have split from the WGA.

That ain't happening. By all accounts, the teamsters are supportive, and if you read this article from Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan, you'll see that the writer/producers and several actors are walking the picket line.

This includes the folks running some of my favorite shows, like Shawn Ryan, Ronald Moore, Tina Fey, Greg Daniels, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. It's always nice to see when creative folks you admire for their creative output turn out to have integrity as well.

This may not be a short strike. The corporations seem pretty dug in. But in the end, I have to believe it's going to work in the writers' favor, because it's going to become quickly apparent which side needs the other more... and it's not the creative people who need the corporations.

Must Reading On The Writers' Strike

Brian Vaughan had a great piece up that was reprinted at the end of this CBR piece. The man walked away from a staff writer/producer job on Lost. A dream job. On principle, on supporting his fellow writers. That is what the strike is about.

But John Rogers really gets to the heart of it, and in a way that is a hilariously funny read. His corporation = tiger metaphor is one that I find heart-breakingly true and side-splittingly funny.

It's a painful, transitional time as entertainment, hell, our entire culture, goes fully from analog to digital. This is probably just one of the many important baby steps that will be taken in transforming the culture.

I said in a previous post that as an entertainment consumer, I don't have any particular emotional investment in this strike. But as someone who follows pop culture, as someone who knows and likes creative people, I am absolutely 100% behind the writers on this one.

Monday, November 05, 2007

From Uncle STAPLE!

STAPLE! Registration has begun!

Hey everybody!

STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo is back for its
fourth annual show! Come out Saturday March 1st, 2008
to a new location – the Monarch Event Center next to
Highland Mall – This
exciting new venue occupies the site of the former
Lincoln Village Theater in the Lincoln Village
shopping center in north central Austin. It’s been
completely remodeled and refurbished into a lovely new
spot just perfect for a bigger and better STAPLE!

We are very pleased to announce a very special guest
for STAPLE! 2008 - BRIAN WOOD! Author of Channel Zero,
Couriers, DMZ, Demo, Local, Supermarket, and the
forthcoming Northlanders (available December 5th),
Brian has made his mark as an influential and eclectic
pioneer of independent comics creation. We are very
honored and excited to have him appear at STAPLE! For
more on Brian go to

And if you’d like to start making your own mark, you
can be an exhibitor at STAPLE! Exhibitor registration
is now open and tables are available at $65 for an
eight footer and $35 for a half – cheap! They always
sell out fast so to get yours now go to

STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo is the Southwest’s
only convention for independently produced comics,
zines, graphic arts and animation. The fourth annual
Expo is Saturday, March 1st, 2008, 11am-7pm at the
Monarch Event Center in Austin, Texas. Admission is
STILL only $5 at the door! For more info go to

Thanks! Hope to see you there!

Weekly Comics to Come - November 7, 2007

Annihilation Conquest #1 (Great start to the new cosmic crossover, roundtable review is up at Comic Pants)
Criminal #10 (End of the second story arc, which I've actually been enjoying more than the first one)
Dan Breretons Nocturnals Vol 1 HC (Finally! Nocturnals gets swanky oversized hardcover treatment.. and yep, I'm buying the $10 more expensive deluxe version)
Grendel Art Of Matt Wagners Grendel HC (New deluxe Dark Horse art book... yay!)
The Order #4 (Fantastic issue, possibly the best one since #1)

Annihilation Conquest Star Lord #4 (A really good ending to what is probably my favorite of the Conquest miniseries)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #8 (Vaughan's arc has been a lot of fun thus far)
Darkness First Look (Hate the Darkness, but really enjoy Phil Hester's writing... so I'll give this a read)
Fantastic Four #551 (Looks like the wrap-up to McDuffie's run, and it starts off very strong)
Fearless #1 (Intriguing new superhero book from Image)
Hellboy Darkness Calls #6 (Wrapping up the first Fegredo drawn Hellboy, and it's been my favorite Hellboy series in years)
Immortal Iron Fist #10 (Wandering into "I'd rather read this in trade" territory, but still very good)
Lobster Johnson The Iron Prometheus #3 (Not feeling it as much as the other BPRD stuff, but great art, good pulp story)
Lower Regions GN (Alex Robinson's loving parody of D&D)
Y The Last Man #59 (The penultimate issue, and after last issue, I'm more than a little worried about where it's going)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

My Thoughts on The Strike

In general? I'm with the writers. What they want is completely fair, and the studios are being ridiculously stupid in not wanting to share the money with the people who are largely responsible for them making it. Without studios, there will still be a lot of great TV and movies (witness the Internet, short films, etc.). Without writers? The studios produce reality TV and game shows.

So yeah, advantage: Writers. Like, F-15s vs. cavemen type advantage.

But the problem, and a lot of the writers know it even though they have been pushed into an unavoidable corner, is that nobody wins in this situation. The traditional TV/movie models have been slipping for a while, and the strike could cost a lot of the audience. With any luck, the writers will find new ways to make money in newer delivery systems and the studios will find that they just fucked themselves out of cash and new media importance, kind of the way the RIAA is slowly pushing itself into obsolescence. But in the real world, this is going to hurt working writers as well as studio suits.

Or, to take a page from my blog postings about a year ago:

"Dry month for TV, though, and here's the thing... I barely noticed. I still have so many DVDs to watch, videogames to play, comics and books to read, not to mention the diversion that is the Internet, that if TV magically went away tomorrow, I don't know that I'd actually miss it. And I am a diehard fan of the medium. This should scare the shit out of TV executives, who still seem intent on driving off what audience there is with hair-trigger cancellations of serial shows, constant rejiggering of schedules and some of the lowest common denominator programming I've ever seen."

Could the strike be the "TV magically went away tomorrow" I was thinking of? Nah, probably not. But honestly, despite enjoying several shows right now, from an entertainment consumer point of view, I don't really care that much about the strike. I've got *plenty* to occupy my time.

Guitar Hero III

I'm maybe 75% of the way through the game on Medium difficulty (I'm in Japan, for anyone playing the game who knows what that means), and I'm digging it. It doesn't have the pure "holy shit, this is cool!" thrill that the first one did, but it's the third sequel (counting Rock the '80s), so really, that's probably not fair to expect.

But the good news is, the loss of the original Harmonix team to Rock Band does not hurt the game. There are definite touches where you can see the changes that have been made, some good (original artists instead of covers!), some not as good (tons of product placement), and some that I both like and dislike. This includes boss battles against Tom Morello and Slash (cool to see this kind of integration with real life guitar legends, I'm not wild about the boss battle mechanic, even though it's not super-hard to figure out or anything) and slicker, more animated cut scenes (they're fun, although I miss the sort of grungy, rock art designs of the first and second games).

The song list is fantastic. I was hoping for some Green Day off American Idiot, some Beatles, and I'd love it if the next game has The Fratellis, but this was a pretty damn impressive song list with some true favorites on there. Muse's Knights of Cydonia is an awesome pick... and very hard to play, too. That one's a challenge. It is definitely a touch harder to play, but as someone who's grown in skill enough to beat Medium but not really challenge Expert, I liked that incremental bump up in difficulty.

What I'd love to see in future games is for them to ditch the "rise to fame" story that we've seen in all the Guitar Hero games thus far. I don't remember who said it, but it doesn't seem that credible that a cover band would rise to popularity like this, although honestly, it's not realistic to have you playing original songs because where's the fun in that? But if you're going for over-the-top story, why not take it a bit further? I'd love it if it was a "Conquering Hell" story along the lines of Black Metal or even a twisted romance/coming of age tale like Bryan O'Malley's singularly unique Scott Pilgrim. Or even a "music is magic" thing like Phonogram. Basically, I'd like to see something like the music-influenced stories of comics, something that's as much story as it is music.

But really, that's just window dressing. Guitar Hero III has plenty of that, too, including a ton of cool novelty guitars, outfits and characters. I've purchased Metalhead, a decommissioned '50s style Soviet robot with a laser gun guitar, as my default character. Kind of cool to think about unlocking both Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine) and Slash (of Guns 'n' Roses) and playing in dual mode with a friend, each of playing a real guitar legend.

Overall, big thumbs up. The one notable thing missing is online play, which is available for the other platforms but not PS/2. I kinda wish I'd never bought that online adapter, because I rarely ever use it. I would use it for Guitar Hero, though... shame I can't.

Oh, and I definitely recommend either getting a wireless guitar or buying the Guitar Hero III bundle that comes with the new wireless guitar. Playing wireless is just a nice little touch that makes the game more fun.

Holy... Wow.

Can we *please* have this guy as President?

He may be a naive idealist, or he may be a smooth political operator making promises he can't or won't keep. But when I read speeches like the one above, I actually see a time when I might be able to say "The President of the United States" with pride instead of wanting to cringe and wash my mouth out with soap.

I want the polls to be wrong. I want this guy to be the Democratic contender for the Presidency. And I want him to win.

I can't remember the last time I felt inspired by a candidate. Certainly there wasn't anyone close in 2004.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Damn You, TV!

I had forgiven The CW for canceling Veronica Mars, at least enough to watch Reaper, which was getting good buzz. "I didn't see the pilot for the fourth season," I thought, "Maybe it just wasn't any good. After all, season three was a bit bumpy, to say the least."

Then Jennifer Armstrong at EW found the link to the two-part Veronica Mars mini-pilot for season four. And I watched it, and was reminded that thanks to the CW, we have Kristen Bell being misused on the increasingly awful Heroes, no Enrico Colantoni, no Tina Majorino... and none of Rob Thomas and crew's sharp writing.

I've been wavering on Reaper, haven't watched the last three episodes, and this decided it for me. I'm canceling the CW for a while, because clearly their executives wouldn't know a great show if it bit them on the ass.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Dear TV Gods... Please let the strike kill this project in the womb


There may (and I stress may) be someone who could do an American version of the brilliantly funny British sitcom Spaced. Maybe. I doubt it.

I'm 100% certain it is not producer McG or anyone who has been involved in Will & Grace, The New Adventures of Old Christine, The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll, The O.C. or Fastlane.

The only possible saving grace is that we might finally get region 1 discs of the original Spaced series.

Bad TV! No donut for you!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Blog Update for October 2007

This is the latest monthly update to the left column of the blog, updating my favorite comics and TV for the previous month. The listings are alphabetical, not by rank of how much I liked them in comparison. My criteria for what makes the list is when I read them, not necessarily when they were published. This is basically also my own records of what I read/liked for the inevitable "End of Year" lists I feel like making.

Another great month for comics, with another dozen books that didn't make the cut but easily could have, including three new launch titles from promising new company Red 5 Comics. Also included in that list were the finale of Highwaymen and Fear Agent Last Goodbye, two excellent miniseries, and the latest issues of Marvel Adventures Hulk #4, Daredevil #101, Transformers Devastation #2, Warhammer Forge Of War #4, DMZ #24, New Warriors #5 and Buffy The Vampire Slayer #7. The tally this month: 2 Vertigo, 3 DC (not one of them Countdown-related), 2 Archaia, 3 from Image (including the debut of Proof), 2 Dark Horse and 8 Marvel, including three new books in She-Hulk (Peter David's run), Marvel Zombies 2 (surprisingly fun) and Daredevil Annual (sort of a "pilot" for a Black Tarantula mini, which would be awesome). It's funny, there are a bunch of Marvel books I absolutely hate, but in terms of the big two, they're still much closer to producing what I want right now. Well, me and like 60% of the comics market at the moment.

Got a lot more graphic novels read this month, so many that Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil, Savage Brothers, Warhammer 40K: Damnation Crusade and Essential Moon Knight Vols. 1-2 didn't make the list. My novel reading slowed down, as I finished The Amber Spyglass and read a single chapter of Stephen Colbert's new book. My overall take on His Dark Materials is that Golden Compass was a really good book without a real ending, and the rest of the trilogy was kind of a slog. There are neat ideas and characters throughout, but the vibe of Golden Compass had me feeling like I wanted to see a lot more of that world, and instead the next two books were about different worlds that I didn't find as interesting. Now I've added to the reading list not only Gates of Fire, but the first book of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire and the first book of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files.

Great month for TV, as the Fall season was in full swing. Mind you, it's a disappointing Fall season, with nothing great and plenty of disappointing new seasons (Heroes is stinking up the place, Friday Night Lights is worrying me and Reaper had a great pilot and then a repetitive and increasingly dull series), but there are still plenty of shows to watch, especially if you've got Showtime. I know common wisdom is that The Office is weaker in hour episodes, but I've been really digging it, and loving 30 Rock and My Name is Earl as well. Pushing Daisies has been great, although I miss the visual spark the first two episodes had, reputedly at an amazingly gigantic budget (explaining where they went). Chuck has gotten better, and I now look forward to watching it... my theory is that if you smashed together Chuck and Reaper, you'd have one very good show, instead of one weak one and one good but not great one. That said, even though there were a dozen shows on my list this week (Scrubs and Chuck should really be on there), if there does turn out to be a writer's strike as tomorrow, I can't say it'll worry me overmuch. It'll let me get caught up on my bursting Netflix queue and a bunch of other DVDs I've bought.

Added to the ever-expanding blogroll this month: Scott Dunbier's new blog, sketchblogs from Nate Bellegarde and Cory Walker, the awesome "Team vs. Team" blog Superest, Leigh Walton's excellent comics analysis blog Picture Poetry, Alex Robinson's blog (where he's serializing some of his mini-comics, all of which are great) and Riccardo Burchielli's blog, among a few others.