The Silver Lining… Alternate Titles For Firefly That Could Have Saved It (Maybe… Probably Not)

Does this title scream western sci-fi space romp or what?

Joss Whedon is about to hit the proverbial big-time very soon.  Fans that know him already love him and probably consider him “big-time”, but I’m talking about the next level shit here.

Much like how Jon Favreau was merely that guy who was in that cool indie Rat Pack-era inspired 90’s film (that he wrote) alongside Vince VaughnFavreau was not a name the masses knew until a little flick called Iron Man.

With The Avengers, the masses will now know Whedon.  And if they don’t, they should.

That having been said:

What the fuck was he thinking when he named his best television show to date Firefly?

If you don’t know the show, you should be ashamed of yourself.  It’s the one-season wonder that was so beloved, it got a theatrical follow-up, Serenity… which is also a sucky name.  Firefly is the class of ship and Serenity is its name.

This is tantamount to calling a Star Wars TV show, Corellian Freighter, and the movie based on it, Millenium Falcon.  (Okay, the movie title kind of works.)

If Firefly had a different show title, would it have lasted?  All I can say is it would have stood out more.  (When I originally heard of the show, I heard “from the creator of Buffy, comes Firefly“… needless to say, I didn’t watch it in its original run.)

Here are my alternate suggestions for Firefly/Serenity:

  • “Mal” – could have evoked Darth Maul, or malice… it’s better than using the lead character’s full name, “Mal Reynolds” (which is still better than John Carter), but it does not capture all the characters
  • “Browncoats” – this is what the rebels of the Alliance were called… we’re getting somewhere, but this still only covers two players
  • “OutRiders” – a play on the word that means forerunner or harbinger… evokes outsider and rider of horses/ships, perhaps… also sounds like it could be a show on Bravo
  • “Spacecoach”since this show is like Stagecoach In Space horrible idea
  • “The Last Frontier” – frontier = boring to me
  • Space Western” – it worked for That 70’s Show

So why did Whedon go with Firefly?

Whedon wanted to give the show a name that indicated movement and power, and felt that “Firefly” had both.  This powerful word’s relatively insignificant meaning, Whedon felt, added to its allure.  He eventually wound up creating the ship in the image of a firefly. (via)

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The Silver Lining… Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Aliens

I’ve come to Michael Bay’s defense once before.  I’m not going to do it again.

But I might have to find The Silver Lining in his decision to reboot the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as aliens.

These are not Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

What good might I find in the seemingly asinine idea to change the beloved oozy origin of our pizza-loving, sewer-dwelling crime fighters?  Midi-chlorians, anyone?

These are not Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Sometimes such changes work.  In the Sam Raimi Spider-Man series, didn’t a genetically altered spider make a lot more sense than a radioactive one?  (Maybe not enough.  Part 3 did suck, and the new film is abandoning that concept.)

This might be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

I think the best part is that we might finally get to see this guy: Krang.

Okay, he's technically from Dimension X, but isn't that alien enough?

Four movies in, and the best baddies we’ve seen are these two?

Tokka and Rahzar. Why not Bebop and Rocksteady?

That’s at least my hope.  I can’t take any more Shredder nonsense…

The Silver Lining… #4 Was #1 On Oscar Night!

The 84th Annual Academy Awards occurred last night, and as the infamous they say:

 Oh boy, did the stars come out!

But I noticed one thing that I’m sure ABC the Network wasn’t too happy about… there were a lot of NBC stars there!  Current ones!

Aside from someone obvious, like Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock (he was at the one of the special events… I think the one Oprah won at), you had plenty of Thursday night’s Must See TV Comedy Night Done Right:

Although they weren’t nominated for anything, Tina Fey of 30 RockEllie Kemper of The Office, and Maya Rudolph of Up All Night were there as presenters, and:

Oh boy, did they represent!

Three funny ladies in three serious dresses. Did they all go to posing school together?

Then when it came to Oscar nominations, you had Kristen Wiig of Saturday Night Live who was up for Best Original Screenplay:

Her "Bridesmaids" script had pooping in sinks! Oscar nod!

And then the big winner was Jim Nash of Community.  He won Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants:

He's the bald one mocking Angelina Jolie's earlier pose.

The best part is this is how he usually appears on Community as Dean Pelton:

These are just the tip of the Oscar's bald head!

So what does this mean ultimately?  NBC is consistently in last place of the four major networks, but they had the best showing at the Oscars.  That’s a sign of the massive amount of talent found there that dumb audiences aren’t finding!

CBS, which is in first, had only one star present… the Best Supporting Actress-nominated Melissa McCarthy of Mike & Molly:

She was hilarious on SNL, but I've never seen her show.

But she was in the movie written by  SNL  star, Wiig!

In closing, here’s what NBC’s owner, Comcast, might be saying:

Oh boy!  Oh boy!  Oh boy!

This is what I’m saying:

Oh boy, Community should be sitting pretty for a while now!

The Silver Lining… Episode I: The Phantom Mess, I Mean, Menace

What’s that old saying?  Time heals all wounds.  Well, time might not heal all, but it sure can heal some.

Over the weekend, I went to the show to see the re-issue of Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D, and you know what?  It wasn’t as bad as I remembered, and here’s why:

1) It has two of the best characters in all the prequel story lines.

Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn, which translates to "Half Slice" and "Hole in Chest"

I always maintained that Liam Neeson brought a gravity to the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn that Ewan McGregor never could to his Obi-Wan Kenobi.  I still don’t know if it’s his size, voice, or demeanor, but when Qui-Gon defies the Jedi Council to stand by his belief that Anakin is The Chosen One, his conviction is convincing.  Everything in the Star Wars universe we know and love hinges on his gut feelings, and we buy (and buy and buy) into it, too.

As for Darth Maul – once a bad-ass, always a bad-ass… until he falls down a pit like other fan favorite, Boba Fett.

2) Jake Lloyd is a much more tolerable Actor! than Hayden Christensen.

If he says "wizards" one more time!

Notice I didn’t say “better.”  He’s a kid, for Yoda’s sake.  What am I gonna do?  Ridicule him like how… he… will… eventually… kill a bunch of Padawans?  I also think this video existing helps his situation:

3) Jar Jar Binks wasn’t as jarring.

He's wearing Pajarjars.

I’ve come to Jar Jar Binks’ defense before (or at least George Lucas’ decision to include him), so it was no big surprise to me that this time around, he hardly annoyed me.  That’s probably because he was a big surprise in the first place, much like the Midi-chlorian debacle (which was nowadays just as negligible).

4) Were there more practical effects and sets in Episode I?

Seemed like it to me.  To all you non-film school students, practical effects means “it’s really there.”  Episode II and III relied heavily on CGI, whereas this one went partially old-school, and the look of the film benefits greatly.  Palpatine’s senate office looks real when he’s in it; Anakin’s Podracer and Naboo Starfighter look real when he’s in them.

There was an article I read (that I don’t feel like looking for) that stated mixing CGI and practical effects tricks the mind much better.  That’s why Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs were so convincing for early CGI.  It even explains why Ray Harryhausen’s clay figures can mess with us – they really exist.

Now I’m not knocking CGI in lieu of practical effects either, and here’s proof:

"There is no try... only do-over."

(For the flip side of this Silver Lining, check out this article on Time Magazine’s site.)

The Silver Lining… The Heart Hand Gesture

The HeartMark™ is trademarked?!

Trends.

They’re always stupid.  Pet rocks, sequenced gloves, pogs… and now this.  The inescapable heart hand gesture.  It’s everywhere.

Aeroswift™

But would you believe some lady “claims” to have the trademark on it?

This lady looks like she makes many "claims"...

She even licenses it out allegedly (although it just looks like she just made a list of places she’s seen it used and retroactively authorized it).

(SIDENOTE: Did she donate the gesture to Show Your Hearts?  It could be a tax write-off.)

My hope is that it actually is trademarked, and that she’s making bank on its pervasiveness.

I mean, what she claims is not impossible.  She could figured it out during a round of This is the church and this is the steeple gone bad.  I haven’t seen it in use until recent years, and it seems like a simple gesture to devise.

But was she the one who told Taylor Swift about it?  Because Swift claims she invented it, and her fans claim that Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, et. al. stole it from her.

All that matters is did this woman really trademark what she calls The HeartMark™?  Because I have an idea of my own:

My trademark... Deez Nuts™.

The Silver Lining… Nielsen Ratings

(SIDENOTE: This category of post used to be In Defense Of, but I’ve seen tons somes of In Defense Of’s all over the TripleDoubleU, so I’ve decided to change my angle on the same subject.  Voilà The Silver Lining!)

The People Meter, a.k.a. The Grating Ratings Box

When I was a kid, it was my dream to be a Nielsen Family.  In my mind, the concept was simple: we must watch TV.  (Or if NBC still had their druthers, we Must See TV.)

In reality, though, it’s not that simple (here’s the simpler explanation).  Nielsen is a monopoly (TiVo is a distant second in terms of tracking viewership).  And mostly families considered “less-well-off” (TRANSLATION: anyone that can’t afford to time shift the shows they watch or skip commercials) are the sample public.  What this means to TV fans is if you can skip past the commercials, that show will get cancelled.

So shows like Firefly and Arrested Development, and more recently, possibly NBC’s Community, suffer because their fans don’t watch commercials (“commercial-watcher” could become a fairly cruel epithet… at least as cruel as “mouth-breather”).

So where’s The Silver Lining?

In a nutshell, the Nielsen Ratings are a good indicator if the show I’m watching is actually good or not.  It didn’t used to be that way when we only had three channels to watch, but in these days of cable and the TripleDoubleU, the converse is true.

Don’t believe me?

American Idol gets high-ratings every year, and for most seasons, I’ve watched it.  I know it’s brain garbage, but the Nielsen Ratings prove that it is gray fecal matter.  Need another example?  American Horror Story’s season finale drew the highest numbers for FX ever, and that show sucked.

That’s really what this post is about… how much American Horror Story sucked.  And LOST, too.  Remember when that had high ratings?

So in closing, I must stick to my guns and not waste my time on any “popular” shows.  If a program makes it to a second season and the ratings were decent, that series just might be my cup of T… V.

In Defense Of… Some Of My Strange Sacred Cows

There are three things I’ve recently stumbled (or restumbled) upon that have bothered me.  If you would have asked me in advance if they would, I would have laughed at you and said:

I guess it’s possible.

Then I would have went back to my day.

Nonetheless, here they are, in no particular order:

  • At first. I was upset they made a sequel.  Then… I got really upset.

I’m not a fan of the film Hoosiers, but I recognize its place as a revered sports flick.  Maybe I need to see it again, but I remember seeing it during all the hoopla (pun!), and not thinking it was anything special.  So it took me by major surprise when I thought there was a sequel to the Gene Hackman classic, starring Matthew Perry instead.

It was called Hoosiers II: Senior Year.  My temper shot up the charts; how dare they, I cursed.

But then I found out it was a spoof preview that played at the ESPYS… and my anger didn’t subside:

IT’S SO FUCKING HORRIBLE I’D PREFER A SEQUEL!

  • I don’t think I’ll ever like Michelle Williams.

This is probably the best picture I've ever seen of her.

I can’t stand Michelle Williams.  I tolerate her, not only because she’s probably not leaving Hollywood any time soon, but because Heath Ledger had to see something in her (other than his baby).

I don’t find her disgusting, a terrible actress, or an awful human being.  So what causes this disdain?

Joey (Fucking) Potter

I loved Katie Holmes on Dawson’s Creek so much that it’s weird I can no longer stand her either (CRUISE! *shakes fist at the sky*)… you see, Williams played “the other girl,” Jen Lindley. whom Joey had to compete against for the affection of Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek), and I guess I can’t let that go.

(SIDENOTE: I should mention that I stopped watching the show pretty early on, although I know she and Pacey ended up together.  PACEY! *shakes fist at the sky*)

  • Please don’t let this become a trend.

You know how naming gimmicks come in waves… first there were commas:

Truly, Madly, Deeply / Girl, Interrupted / Definitely, Maybe

Now is it going to be four word titles?

Words! *shakes fist at the sky*

Martha Marcy May Marlene and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are at the fourfront forefront of this impending trend.

Why can’t they use good ol’ commas, ampersands, articles, pronouns, and and’s like Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane or The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, & Her Lover.  Even shorter lists do it, like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Fast, Cheap & Out of Control.

Speaking of Martha Marcy May Marlene, did you know that Elizabeth Olsen is the younger sister of these two?