Friday, December 28, 2007

Xbox 360

So I got what I really wanted for Christmas. My parents-in-law got me an XBox 360, and my parents got me Rock Band.

Yes, I do have the best parents and in-laws in the world.

So I finally plugged in Rock Band tonight, just to try out the solo guitar action and...




This game is so good, I may never play Guitar Hero again. Downloadable songs, the ability to switch and play bass, drums or sing, plus multiplayer and online multiplayer with all of that? Not to mention I love the little tweaks to the Rock Band guitar, like the multi-mode whammy bar and the inset fret buttons, and the super-customizable avatars are awesome as well.

If anybody out there is on XBox Live, please friend me... I've put my gamertag up. I'm a pretty casual gamer, and I can't play first-person, or even a lot of third-person, shooters without getting ill, so I won't do the huge multiplayer HALO or Bioshock or Call of Duty... but I could definitely use some folks to play Rock Band online with, or people who will play with a total novice at Madden '08. I also swung by Gamestop and picked up their "Buy 2, get 1 free" used games to get Tomb Raider Legend, Marvel Ultimate Alliance (I already have it on the PS/2, but this one has Hawkeye and Moon Knight, two of my favorites) and Crackdown.

I can't wait for Burnout Paradise City. I've been digging the demo. And I'm going to buy the full versions of Catan and Carcassone at some point too.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Best of 2007 - Movies

I have gotten to the point where I see less than a dozen movies in the theater, and they're usually the big, dumb Hollywood flicks, while I wind up finding the smarter movies I really love on DVD about a year later. 2007 was no exception, and since my movie viewing was so sparse, rather than a top 10, I'm just giving the whole list:

On Netflix:
Children of Men - Intense, amazing performances, great in every way. My favorite film of 2007.
Pan's Labyrinth - Gorgeous, imaginative, the best Del Toro film I've ever seen and my other favorite movie of the year.
Casino Royale - When I watched this again on DVD, I gained a larger appreciation for it. It's still way too long and inconsistent in tone, but it's got a ton of excellent moments and Daniel Craig is great as Bond.
Fail Safe - Surprisingly engaging take on a classic play with a fantastic cast.
Deja Vu - Enjoyable action movie from Tony Scott, for those who dig his quick-cut, frenetic style. I happen to be one of those people.
Night Watch - Not entirely great, but imaginative, fresh and fun.
The Last King of Scotland - Great performance by Forest Whitaker in a somewhat bland movie.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Good, nowhere near as good as the book nor as good as the reviewers made it out to be.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Good, nowhere near as good as the book.
The Illusionist - Interesting, and a great performance (as always) by Ed Norton, but I didn't love it.
The Lookout - Boring. Didn't finish it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Boring. Didn't finish it.
Shortbus - How do you make what is essentially porn this boring?
Crank - Too over the top and dumb, couldn't quite enjoy this, and I say that as a fan of The Transporter and somebody who watched and enjoyed parts of Transporter 2.
Stranger than Fiction - Weird, likable, more or less forgettable.
Little Miss Sunshine - Overrated, occasionally funny but overwrought and melodramatic.
Out of the Past - Couldn't get into it. Came highly recommended by Ed Brubaker, but I'm just not an old movie guy.

In Theatres:
Knocked Up - Funny and sweet, the heart at the center of this one puts it just above...
Superbad - Which is funnier than Knocked Up, and has an equally great cast, but it's focus is on comedy over character.
Hot Fuzz - Hilarious, and as good or perhaps better than Shaun of the Dead. Although still not as great as Spaced.
Ocean's 13 - Fun, although I didn't think it was noticeably better or different from Ocean's 12, unlike most of the critics who lambasted 12 and loved 13. I liked both about equally, and neither one as well as Ocean's 11.
Ratatouille - Pixar delivers the goods as always, although it's weaker than their last few. Great short at the start, though, and still an excellent movie.
Bee Movie - Surprisingly fun, took my daughter to this one and we both had a good time.
Pirates 3 - Loud, pointless, occasionally fun.
Transformers - See above, but with transforming robots, too many pointless human characters and way too much Michael Bay and Shia LaBeouf
Bourne Ultimatum - Well crafted, but the first person shaky cam stuff actually made me ill and I had to leave the theatre before it finished, which downgrades it in my mind
28 Weeks Later - I hated this, found it laughably bad, and don't understand how so many people gave it good marks.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Best of 2007 - Music

My Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2007
The Fratellis - Costello Music - I'm pretty sure this album was released in 2006, but I hadn't really heard of The Fratellis before this year, and now they're one of my favorite bands. I can't remember the last time I bought an album and loved every song on it. Certainly none of the other albums on this list can make that claim, even though there were some very good albums this year. Hoping we'll see more Fratellis in 2008.

Hot Hot Heat - Elevator - Another band I've heard of, but never sampled before 2007. Hot Hot Heat has the same sort of poppy up-tempo style that many of my favorites on this list have, and I dug quite a few songs off this album.

Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare - Love the Arctic Monkeys, and although this wasn't as great as their last album, there are still a half-dozen really good songs, and not really a stinker in the mix.

Hot Fuzz - The Soundtrack - Nice weird mixture of music, from '60s standards to (you guessed it) a couple Fratellis tunes. First place I heard the band, actually. Also has a great song by The Eels.

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - Austin based band that I really should have checked out earlier. There are a few songs I really like on here, but I'm even more impressed with Girls Can Tell, their older album that I picked up off eMusic. But this one was released this year, so it goes on the 2007 list.

Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace - Solid, although not spectacular. The Foo Fighters never fail to deliver at least good music, but this didn't have the killer hooks in me the way their last few albums have. A couple really good singles, though, and overall I dug the album.

Fountains of Wayne - Traffic and Weather - I'm about 50-50 on this album, but the songs I like, I really like, and I find all of them listenable, even if most of them didn't wind up on regular rotation.

The Killers - Sam's Town - It's weird, I like The Killers when I hear them on other people's iPods, but it usually takes me a while to realize that before buying the album. That was the case with Sam's Town, which I bought a few months after release, at least.

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank - I liked this better than Modest Mouse's first album. The lead single they released was my favorite song on it, though.

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible - This one took a few listens to decide I liked it, but then I wound up actually loving one of the songs on it so much it made my Top Favorite songs of 2007.

My Top 10 Favorite Songs of 2007
Flathead - The Fratellis - Close call, but it's my favorite track from the album - great video, too - Chelsea Dagger is a close second, and another great video

Theme From Andrex - Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra (Picked up on it from the Ocean's 13 trailer)

Fluorescent Adolescent - Arctic Monkeys - One of my three favorite songs off Arctic Monkeys, I also really love "Do The Bad Thing" and "Balaclava"

Don't Make Me A Target - Spoon - My favorite song off the Spoon album, which became a favorite after I saw it used perfectly on "Chuck," and it's in close competition with "The Underdog"

Souljacker Part 1 - The Eels

The Well and the Lighthouse - Arcade Fire - Favorite song off this album

Radio Nowhere - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - iTunes freebie, and one of my favorite Springsteen tunes ever - But then, I'm not a huge Springsteen fan

New Routine - Fountains of Wayne - My favorite song off the new Fountains of Wayne, although "Someone to Love" is close... and the video embedded below, since I can't find New Routine on Youtube. Also, this video features Demetri Martin from The Daily Show, which is cool.

Dreaming of You - The Coral - From The Scrubs Volume 2 soundtrack - occasionally sappy, but they pick good music for these

Chick Habit - April March - Perfect ending to Tarantino's Death Proof - in the theatre, at least - I hear the DVD version is interminable, and I can believe that, because Grindhouse was perfect as one movie, but didn't seem like a good idea as two longer ones.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Best of 2007 - TV

I'm going to go ahead and start posting my Best of 2007 lists, even though the year isn't technically over yet. For TV, it all ended a week ago anyway. I'll also plan to cover music and movies (although given my DVD versus theater habits, that'll be more of a Best of 2006). Comics will of course be covered in podcast form on Comic Pants in early 2008.

My Top 10 Favorite TV Shows of 2007
30 Rock (NBC) - I might love this even more than Arrested Development. It's funny, it's smart, it has a great ensemble cast. One memorable scene from a recent episode is below, but it's worth checking out all of season one on DVD or any of the second season episodes on Amazon or Hulu (although I don't whole-heartedly endorse those at the moment, given the writer's strike. And that goes for any reference to legal downloads made in this post.)

Dexter (SHO) - Claiming the title of favorite drama over longtime champion The Shield, Dexter had the benefit of a stunning first season and an even more impressive second season follow-up. Rarely misses a beat, has a great cast and great writers. Takes a bizarre premise that sounds totally unappealing at first and makes it totally addicting viewing. Worth having Showtime for. The video below is a funny official Showtime music video for the show, it spoils major parts of season one but doesn't spoil anything from season two.

The Shield (F/X) - Continually putting the characters into situations where you wonder what's going to happen next, how they're going to escape and if they even deserve to. There's only one season left, and it sure looks like they'll go out on a high note.

The Office (NBC) - To me, the show just keeps getting funnier, and I loved all the new characters in season three and the evolution of relationships in season four. There were a ton of laugh out loud episodes in both.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (F/X) - Actually managed to go even further into outrageous comedy territory in their latest season, building up steam with four last episodes for the season that are among the funniest they've ever done. Look up some clips on Youtube or Hulu, paying particular attention to "The Gang Gets Whacked" or "Bums: Making a Mess All Over The City" or "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off."

Lost (ABC) - I never quite had the disconnect that so many did from season three, but I won't deny that were some weaker episodes in there. However, I think it's better than most people remember, and the awesomely cool season finale (not to mention an announced ending) have me excited about a strong conclusion. Just hope the AMPTP's negotiating tactics and resulting long strike don't mess up the plan too badly.

Burn Notice (USA) - Light fun, good cast, and a developing larger story made this at first a mildly entertaining diversion, building up to a must-watch show by the end.

Pushing Daisies (ABC) - The best of the new Fall season shows, this one has a Tim Burton vibe (think Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and especially Big Fish), fantastic casting, two gorgeous female leads, the best narrator ever and lots of witty, imaginative comedy and dramatic character hooks as well. Bryan Fuller (of Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls) finally gets the success he's always deserved, and he gets to keep the quirk.

Chuck (NBC) - This one grew on me as the season went on, until eventually I was going into "Nooo! Not the strike!" mode when the episodes ran out. The terrific supporting cast (Adam Baldwin as Agent Casey in particular, although I also love Ellie and Captain Awesome, and Morgan has really grown on me) is enough reason to watch it, but the Chuck/Sarah relationship turns out to be really good, and I love the combination of goofy comedy with spy action and a touch of soap opera relationships. Also, the music choices on this show are excellent.

Battlestar Galactica (SCIFI) - The first four episodes, focusing on a guerrilla resistance against the Cylons, were my favorite episodes of the series. Then there was a drought of about fourteen episodes that rarely rated above mediocre, and then there was a terrific two-part finale. Then there was Razor, the movie about the Pegasus, which I loved. So although there were a lot of episodes I didn't like, the eight (counting Razor as two) I did I really liked, and that brings the whole thing up to the bottom spot on my top 10.

Shows that didn't make the cut (but almost did) were Heroes (for the first season episodes that aired in 2007, but the awful season two weighed too heavily aginst them), How I Met Your Mother (still funny, but it lost something in the transition between season two and three), Weeds (strong season, but not quite strong enough to get past the shows above) and Friday Night Lights (awesome first season, very disappointing second season).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Girls With Slingshots in Dead Tree Edition!

This is so cool. I discovered GWS when Danielle came to the first ever STAPLE!, and now, three years later, I'll be able to buy a copy when she's at the fourth one in March!

If you're not in Austin, or you just don't want to wait, or you want to make sure I curse myself for not ordering one instead of waiting to buy one from Danielle in person in March, go and look here. GWS is a very funny, very well-drawn comic.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - December 19, 2007

Action Philosophers Vol 3 Giant Sized Thing TP (The finale of Van Lente & Dunlavey's great indie comic series... good news is that their next one, Comic Book Comics, looks just as good)
Escapists HC (Finally! This was supposed to ship two weeks ago, but we're just getting it at my shop. One of my favorite stories from 2006)
X-men First Class Vol 2 #6 (Corrected version, now readable in order, is just as good as I remember when I had to read in weird order with the misprints a couple weeks back)
Incredible Hulk #112 (Basically a backdoor series for Hercules and Amadeus Cho, and it is awesome. Best issue of the series since #110, which is my runner-up for best single issue of the year)
The Order #6 (Another strong issue for The Order)

Angel After The Fall #2 (First issue was good, and I'm very curious to see where they go from here)
Batman And The Outsiders #3 (Solid entertaining superteam book with really nice art)
Birds of Prey #113 (Sean McKeever takes over, and I'll check back in to see if I have any interest)
Countdown Ray Palmer Superwoman Batwoman #1 (I have zero interest in the Countdown aspect, but I loved the Superwoman Batwoman Elseworlds from way back... unfortunately, a lot of that was down to Matt Haley's artwork, and Randy Green isn't in the same league. Palmiotti & Gray are good storytellers, though... I'll probably check this out, but expect to be disappointed.)
Grendel Behold The Devil #2 (First issue was great, looking forward to more)
Immortal Iron Fist #11 (Very strong Iron Fist issue, and a Heroes for Hire reunion of sorts)
Justice League Of America #16 (Last issue won me back a bit, although I'm still not loving this as much as I thought I would)
Long Count #1 (New from Archaia, sci-fi take on the Mayan end of the world myths, I'm intrigued)
Mundens Bar Vol 1 TP (Collection of weird short stories from Grimjack backups)
Naoki Urasawas Monster Vol 12 (This has been getting really good of late)
Neozoic #2 (Beautiful art on this alternate world humans vs. dinosaurs book from Red 5, and the story was solid as well)
Other Side Of The Mirror Vol 1 (Jo Chen's manga! I'm a huge fan of her art, and even though the genre here isn't my favorite, I have to check it out)
Robotika For A Few Rubles More #1 (Really enjoyed the first one, and this follow-up looks very good as well)
Special Forces #2 (Weird, but kind of compelling, and Baker's vision and style are different from anyone else in comics)
Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite #4 (Almost nonsensical, but in a good way... and beautiful to look at)
Walking Dead Vol 3 HC (I'm on and off this book, but I'm on enough to pick up these hardcovers)
What If Civil War (Writers I like take on a concept I hate... I'm interested in checking it out)
World War Hulk Warbound #1 (First issue of this one is a good read, although I'm not sure where it's going... which is a good thing, I suppose)

Friday, December 14, 2007

J.K. Rowling's Newest Book

In case you haven't heard, J.K. Rowling has released a new book, a companion of sorts to Harry Potter. It's called "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" and it is a real-life version of the book seen in the last Harry Potter book. It is also handwritten, done up in a style with leather and semi-precious stones and a locking clasp, and, oh yeah, there are only seven of them in existence.

Six of them were given to those that Rowling calls "those most closely connected to the Harry Potter books during the last 17 years." The last was auctioned off for almost 2 million pounds (around 4 million dollars) and purchased through a proxy by, who are making reviews and pictures available to the public.

In some respects, it seems like a really cruel trick to play on us Potter fans, presenting a wholly new book that is clearly very good (at least if the words of the reviewer are to be believed, and the description of the two tales up as of this writing certainly sound pretty good) and then saying "Oops, sorry, you can't have it."

However, she's raised almost four million dollars for a children's charity in Europe. And Amazon, who purchased the book, have found a way to share it with the public. For free. Hard to get too upset about that. It's a remarkably cool use of the fame and well-earned critical acclaim that Rowling has earned, and just goes to show that in addition to creating one of the most enduring new fantasy series, she just seems like a really smart, really nice lady.

I'm holding out hope that at some point in the future, a mass-produced version of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" will be published. I have a hard time imagining that it won't. But even if it isn't, this is just a really cool story.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A List of Pixar Inside Jokes

This is just a really cool list of various Pixar inside jokes in their movies, with screen captures. I thought I'd know most of them, but I probably only knew a couple.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - December 12, 2007

Bprd Killing Ground #5 (Latest Mignola/Arcudi/Davis treat comes to an end)
Fables #68 (Loving this new story)
Nova #9 (Best two-parter of the series thus far concludes here, and I want a communist space dog miniseries)
Nova Vol 1 Annihilation Conquest TP (Might just be my favorite new series of 2007)
Wormwood One Shot (Finally, new Wormwood... one thing, though... this book has been gone for months while Templesmith worked on it, and they just *had* to put it out on the one week that the Chronicles of Wormwood from Avatar came out too?)

Abyss #2 (Second issue of the fun supervillain spoof)
Astounding Wolf-Man #4 (This book really needed to be monthly for a while to build momentum... I'm in a very not caring place about it right now)
Criminal Vol 2 Lawless TP (Wasn't wild about the ending, but this was a strong arc, I'm curious to read it all at once)
Darkness #1 (Phil Hester on writing, and I'm interested to see what he does)
DMZ #26 (Burchielli's back, and Wood's one-shot story focuses on Kelly, a character I quite like)
Elephantmen War Toys #1 (The story of the war, at last, as Elephantmen returns)
Engineer #1 (Guy fights interdimensional trouble with his cosmic pipe organ... Archaia Studios Press)
Fantastic Four #552 (Dwayne McDuffie appears to be going out with a bang, on this cool little future Doom story)
Hybrid Bastards #1 (Beautifully painted, weird new series from Archaia Studios Press)
Marvel Adventures Hulk #6 (Fun to see Namor and Hulk square off, unfortunate that Mario Gully's art is kinda ugly)
Misericordia #1 (Another new Archaia book with an unusual, intriguing art style)
New Warriors #6 (Lame reveal of Thrash's identity sort of kills my formerly high interest in the book)
Potters Field #3 (Waid's pulpy noir mini at Boom! wraps, and I'm glad there's more coming in 2008)
Suicide Squad Raise The Flag #4 (I just don't like the modern status quo, which is hurting the book, but it's still a solid read)
Walking Dead #45 (Hated #43, warmed up a little bit to #44, hope this is good)

Monday, December 10, 2007

And on the lighter side of the news...

Well, lighter if you consider "Corporate America making another naked attempt at squashing workers by applying their giant financial advantage to evil purposes" lighter. Or, in other words, the writer's strike.

But the writers do have a spoof page up for the AMPTP, or NAMBLA (this joke trademark Jon Stewart and the Daily Show), and it's hilarious. Check it out.

Creationist fucktards cost actual intelligent educator their job

This makes me furious, especially given that it's happened here in Austin, Texas, where I live.

Furious enough to make an ill-considered rant about religion. To my friends who read this who are religious, in some cases to the extent of being an actual minister, know that I'm not talking about you. I'm talking about the people who *claim* to be Christian, but clearly have no idea what that actually means.

I've tried to be very tolerant of those who have a strong faith. I respect it, even if I don't share it. In return, I expect that my lack of religious belief be given the same respect. Which just ain't happening in America, and it's only getting worse since Bush's "God put me here" Presidency.

I'm tired of the leeway that some religious crazies get for their faulty science. I find it maddening that intelligent design can seriously be included in any curriculum, rather than laughed out of the building. And it annoys me that an atheist wouldn't have a shot in hell of the Presidency, that not believing in an invisible all-powerful man in the clouds somehow marks *me* as the crazy one.

If an atheist got up and gave a speech about "Anyone who has never prayed to a nonexistent God is a friend of mine," they'd be tarred, feathered and lit on fire before being run out of town. But Mitt Romney, G.O.P. third in line for the 2008 Republican nomination, gave a speech in which he said "Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me."

For any atheist or agnostic, it's hard not to take that as an implicit "And if you don't believe in God, you're not my friend, and may be my enemy."

If an atheist said "There are those who believe that God watches over us all -- they are wrong" he might not make it down off the podium before being beaten to within an inch of his life by angry religious folks in the audience.

Yet Romney offers up "It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America -- the religion of secularism. They are wrong."

Really? Well, I've managed to live 35 years as a pretty decent human being without religion to guide me. I've had parents, peers and good examples in the community to teach me right from wrong, I didn't need a set of arbitrary rules from a church that often didn't hold its faithful or even its priests to the same codes.

If an atheist said, "Freedom requires free expression and free thought, just as free expression and free thought flourish in a free society. Freedom opens the windows of the mind so a man can question the most profound beliefs of society, including the existence of God. Freedom and free thought endure together, or perish alone." Well, that he'd probably get away with, but there's no way in hell he'd be elected President. Too many folks equate religion with turning off the brain and just accepting what the church tells you.

Yet Romney offers up: "Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone,"

I call bullshit. Religion has nothing to do with freedom. All too often, organized religion has been used to squash freedom, to stifle free expression and to limit free thought. I'm glad that we live in a society where people are free to believe what they wish, without being persecuted. I just wish there wasn't what seems like a majority belief that if you're an atheist, you're following that freedom to foolish ends.

And I pity the poor teacher who decides to try and sling that creationism/intelligent design bullshit at Katy and Aaron at school. Because they're going to get the extended dance remix of this post, in person. Every day until they stop trying to poison my kid's mind.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Blog Update for November 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.

It's another huge month for comics, and my early cut of "best of the month" ran well over thirty. Cutting it down, I lost promising new first issues of Midknight (Red 5), Batman and the Outsiders (DC), Angel (IDW), Fearless and Hawaiian Dick (Image). Also not quite making the cut were a half-dozen from Marvel (Marvel Adventures Iron Man #7, Criminal #10, Marvel Zombies 2 #2, Daredevil #102, Incredible Hulk #111 and Immortal Iron Fist #10), two from DC (Brave And The Bold #8 and Suicide Squad Raise The Flag #3) and four from other publishers (Hack Slash Series #6, Usagi Yojimbo #107, Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite #3 and Invincible #46). As for what did make the cut? 3 DC (the out-of-continuity, consistently late All Star Superman and two Vertigo books, one of which is gone in the new year, not exactly a strong DC showing), a whopping 10 (half the list!) from Marvel (with Abnett & Lanning and Christos Gage both represented on the list with two different books), 1 from Image, 1 from Red 5, 1 from Oni and 4 from Dark Horse, making it the second biggest publisher on my list. Plus two of the books that almost made the cut were Dark Horse, putting them even with DC even if I expanded to a top 30 and included Vertigo in DC's count. Marvel also has my attention, but mostly for books that are on their fringe, with only Captain America in the top 20 sellers.

Didn't do a lot of reading this month, outside of comics issues. Only read a half-dozen graphic novels or so, didn't start on any of the books that I meant to read. But it was a busy month at work and there were a few trips to Dallas for family visits and Wizard World Texas, plus I was getting ready to start up the D&D game again in December, which meant a lot of prep work.

November was also the last real month of new television for the year, and indeed probably for longer. My guess, given the networks' insulting negotiation tactics, is that the strike is going to go on for a while. Which is OK, although I'll probably start missing shows in a couple months. At any rate, there are a few great series, and a couple that have moved from intriguing to solidly good. But first, the disappointments. I killed off Reaper for good because it was getting repetitive and also because I saw what the CW passed on with the Veronica Mars season four pilot, and I think my interests and the interests of whoever made that decision are nowhere near in line. Heroes regained some strength, but then turned in a two-part finale that may have been the worst episodes the series has ever had. I'm not sure I'll be back for season three. Friday Night Lights continues to have moments of greatness and moments of "what the hell?!" And Scrubs... it bums me out that Scrubs was weak last season and weaker this one, and that it's not going to go out as strongly as it could have if they'd ended a couple seasons ago. Still watching, but not enjoying it as much as the rest of the comedy block.

Then there's the good. The Office went dark early thanks to the strike, but before it did, they turned in three pretty strong episodes. 30 Rock was even better, with three new episodes, two of which could be series favorites for me. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia had a great third season, closing out with some hilarious episodes, with the two-part "Gang Gets Whacked," the '70s tinged "Bums" episode and "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off" providing some of the most over-the-top and hilarious moments the show has ever seen. I sincerely hope we see more Rickety Cricket in season four, as every moment with him was gold. Pushing Daisies doesn't quite have its hooks in me the way Fuller's Dead Like Me did, but I love the entire cast and it's definitely my favorite new show of the season. My second favorite, as it turns out, is Chuck, which is like this weirdly perfect blend of McG's Charlie's Angels (in terms of whimsy and action), Alias (in terms of action/soap opera/spy stuff blending) and a few other elements. The music choices and dialogue/characters are strong, and though I never watched it, I'm going to guess those are the hallmarks of The O.C.'s Josh Schwartz.I was also really, really happy with Razor, the Battlestar Galactica movie, which has me wanting to go back and re-watch seasons 1-3 of Galactica. Then there's my favorite show on the air, Dexter, which is having a second season as good or maybe even better than its first. As long as Showtime has Dexter, I will have Showtime. Weeds, too, although Weeds returning next year is kind of bittersweet, as the last few episodes in November really provided a great finale for the series, and I'm wary of them going on too long. And the "good, but not great" sitcoms of How I Met Your Mother and My Name is Earl, both of which have occasional uproariously funny moments (the "writing fantasy" episode of Earl was great, for example) but also occasionally fall into sitcom cliche, continued to be good, occasionally great. Mother was fairly weak in November, so it was number 11 on the top 10 and didn't quite make the cut.

A few new additions to the blogroll this month, mostly a result of the strike. I've added both Deadline Hollywood Daily and United Hollywood, and both have become favorites of mine for their strike coverage. Also added the writer blogs of Ronald D. Moore and Lisa Klink. In non-strike related additions, there was the Flickr blog (semi-daily new pictures), Obama Press (the official newsblog of Barack Obama's campaign), rarely updated blogs from Jenna Fischer (Pam from The Office) and Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo), a new webcomic, Real Life Comics, found from a link on Shortpacked! and the Wizards of the Coast RSS feed.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - December 5, 2007

Annihilation Conquest #2 (Great second issue, nice twists and turns and fantastic art)
Dynamo 5 #9 (Another issue of what may be my favorite new superhero book of 2007)
House Of M Avengers #2 (Sweet Christmas, I love this book. '70s superheroes at their finest... give Gage and Perkins an ongoing book, already, Marvel!)
Resurrection #1 (Terrific new post-alien apocalypse book that recalls The Walking Dead in all the right ways)
The Order #5 (Another strong issue, another contender for best new superhero book of 2007)

Atomic Robo #3 (The move to the modern-day makes me love the book even more, Red 5 is impressing)
Avengers Initiative Annual #1 (The last issue won me back over to the book for a while)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #9 (Vaughan's Faith arc concludes, I believe... best Buffy comic story so far)
Fearless #2 (Promising first issue, now to see if it can deliver the goods once the setup is done)
Infinite Horizon #1 (Love Phil Noto's art, I'll give this one a look)
Invincible #47 (This weird "no books for months and then two in two weeks" shipping is annoying, but it's still a great book)
Justice League Of America #15 (Almost off McDuffie's JLA, but I can't quite bring myself to quit it yet)
Lobster Johnson Iron Prometheus #4 (Liking this one, although not as much as Hellboy or BPRD)
Marvel Adventures Hulk Vol 1 Tp (Fun stories, nice art, great use of Madrox)
Northlanders #1 (Brian Wood's promising new viking Vertigo saga)
Overman #1 (New sci-fi series from Image, first issue is very good)
Owly Vol 4 Dont Be Afraid TP (New Owly! Yay!)
Wet Moon Vol 3 Gn (New gothy art from Ross Campbell! Double yay!)
World War Hulk Aftersmash (Weird, but interesting, epilogue to World War Hulk)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Little More On The Strike

I haven't been posting as many links to the strike news as of late, but I have still been following it with a sort of horrified interest. Horrified at how greedy the AMPTP and the studios behind them are being, that is.

So this, from United Hollywood, an open letter to the AMPTP's PR Person of the Hour, just about made me die laughing.

"In the very likely event that you get fired before you finish reading this, I hope you'll be so kind as to mark your place so that your successors can pick up reading where you leave off. Thanks."


The strike is going to take a while, I think, but I fully believe the AMPTP will cave. Because they are losing *huge* right now, in terms of PR and stock prices, which is hitting them where they hurt.