Thursday, September 30, 2010

Favorite Fictional Expletives and Exclamations

Another list inspired by Rebel Monkey's Question of the Day ; this time the question was about everyone's favorite fake curse words.  My original answer was the earliest example I could remember encountering, courtesy of the film Johnny Dangerously:  "fargin' bastich."  But as a life-long fan of Sci Fi, Fantasy, and comic books, I've encountered a long list of faux expletives and exclamations crafted by the author to create the sense of foul language without actually using any.  I know there are those who decry the artifice, saying "we all know they mean $#*! when they say frak, so why not just say $#*!?", but for me, the created words generally feel more charming than forced.

So with that, here are some of my favorite examples
  • Noy Jetat -- this exclamation of shock and dismay came from the early 90s cartoon Pirates of Dark Water
  • Feetal's Gizz -- short for "Feetal's Gizzard," this exclamation was a favorite of characters in Keith Giffen's L.E.G.I.O.N. and Lobo books.
  • Sprock/Grife -- This pair of futuristic curses were popularized by everyone's favorite team of 30th Century teenagers, The Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Frak -- Probably the most popular and wide-spread faux curse on my list thanks to the incredibly well-received Battlestar Gallactica reboot series . . . and to the fact that it sounds really close to the word it replaces . . .
  • Blood and ashes! Blood and bloody ashes! -- This oft-used exclamation from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books worked its way into my subconscious along with the fatalistic phrase "The Wheel weaves as The Wheel wills."
  • Frell/Dren -- While "frak" may be the more well known Sci Fi curse, I will always be a bigger fan of the more melodious alien expletives that were sprinkled liberally throughout Farscape
  • Great Rao! --  This one is Superman taking his Kryptonian sun deity's name in vain -- who ever would have thought the big blue boy scout would be so blasphemous?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Favorite TV Sidekicks

As I mentioned over at the mothership, the inspiration for this blog came partly from my friend Rebel Monkey's Question of the Day, which you can participate in either via the Facebook group or the new Twitter page.   A few week's back the question was "Who's your favorite TV sidekick?"  The following list was my response*

Man, there are so many cases where the sidekicks/supporting cast is more interesting/engaging than the main characters that it’s hard to narrow down. Of course the biggest problem here is deciding between just plain “supporting cast” from actual “sidekick”: for example, I love the bulk of the supporting cast on Ally McBeal, but wouldn’t categorize any of them as Ally’s sidekick**. Anyway, since I find myself unable to choose just one, here are my top 10 favorite sidekicks in no particular order

10) Sam Axe on Burn Notice – would have said Fiona, but I think she’d hunt me down and shoot me for calling her a sidekick.

9) Olive Snook on Pushing Daisies – the worst part about Pushing Daisies being cancelled is that I no longer get to see the continuing evolution of Olive Snook; Girl Detective.

8) Randy on My Name is Earl – one of the best dim-bulb sidekicks around

7) Vir on Babylon 5 – One of my more obscure choices, to be sure, but the Vir/Londo dynamic was always one of my favorite aspects of B5.

6) Amy Pond on Doctor Who – I still miss David Tennant as the Doctor, but the presence of Amy as the new companion definitely helped ease the transition.

5) Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother – One of the prime examples of a sidekick totally overshadowing the main character – Ted is a sinkhole of pretension and boredom, but Barney is a source of continual entertainment.

4) Karen Walker on Will and Grace – Another show where I preferred the sidekicks to the main characters, and while Jack was amusing at times, it was always Karen who stole the show for me.

3) Marshall on Alias – JJ’s shows have always done a great job building up an engaging supporting cast, and probably my favorite of all was Sydney’s tech-genius sidekick Marshall.

2) Wesley Wyndhym-Price on Angel – considering how much I loathed Wesley during his stint on Buffy, and how disgusted I was when he popped up on Angel, it’s a bit of a minor miracle that Joss was able to turn him into such a complex and engaging character without betraying what went before.

1) Mary Cherry on Popular – “Shut your dirty whore mouth, player player!” Need I say more?

Special shout-out goes to Wendy Watson on The Middleman: a sidekick who actually was the main character. And if you haven’t watched The Middleman, shame on you! Shame!

*Yes, I'm shamelessly posting something I wrote elsewhere just to have content; I blame it on the sleep deprivation, and not my inherent laziness.
**Yes, I can almost guarantee a "Favorite Supporting Cast" list at some point.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Must Sees, Might Sees, Won't Sees for Fall 2010

With the new Fall season of TV getting ready to go into full swing, I thought I'd start off the blog by breaking down the shows which have generated the biggest reactions in me so far.


These are the 5 shows which I'm most looking forward to trying out, whether due to their previews, advanced reviews, concepts, or casts.

1) Raising Hope (Fox, Tues. 8pm, premieres Sept. 21)  -- this comedy from the creator of My Name is Earl about a directionless young man who suddenly finds purpose in life after becoming the sole guardian of his baby girl appears to be the best of the new crop of sitcoms, buoyed up by quirky comedy and a strong cast. 

2) Lone Star (Fox, Mon. 8pm, premieres Sept. 20) -- drama about a con man with a double life whose latest grift has led to a change in heart.  One of the most critically acclaimed of the new shows debuting.

3) The Event (NBC, Mon. 8pm premieres Sept 20) -- the latest attempt to build a watercooler show based around a central mystery.  I'm on board at least until we find out what the heck "The Event" actually is; beyond that, it's up to the writing to keep me going along. 

4) Undercovers (NBC, Wed 7pm, premieres Sept 22) -- another spy drama from J.J. Abrams, but with a twist; this time the leads are a married couple who had retired from the spy biz but have been dragged back in.  As long as this doesn't sink into convoluted Rimbaldi style shenanigans like JJ's previous spy drama, I have hope that this will be worth the ride.

5) Terriers (FX, Wed. 9pm, premieres Sept 8) -- private eye drama from Shawn Ryan, creator of The Shield.  If that's not enough of a draw for you, I don't know what else to say.


Next, we have 5 shows which intrigued me to a certain degree, but which for some reason or another I'm a little leery about.

1) No Ordinary Family (ABC, Tues 7pm, premieres Sept 28) -- sci-fi show about a family of four who are exposed to a strange substance and develop super-powers.  I'm definitely intrigued by the premise, and have always enjoyed the work of the two leads (Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz), but my inner comic geek insists that I not get too attached before seeing it -- I've been burnt by crappy super-hero shows before.

2) Running Wilde (Fox, Tue 8:30pm, premieres Sept 21) -- comedy from the creator of one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, Arrested Development, which is enough to get me to watch.  But the initial previews I've seen haven't really wowed me, so I'm approaching it with cautious optimism.

3) Outsourced (NBC, Thurs 8:30pm, premieres Sept 23) -- based on the Indie film of the same name, this "fish out of water" comedy about an American man who's been shipped overseas to oversee a recently opened company branch in India has not gotten favorable reviews at all so far.  But I enjoyed the movie it was based on, and most of the reviews seem to assume that it's a one joke premise, and I'd like to hope that it might rise above that

4) My Generation (ABC, Thurs 7:00pm, premieres Sept 23) -- mockumentary style drama about a group of high school friends who were filmed for a documentary their senior year of high school and are now being revisited for a follow-up 10 years later.  Not sure if that's a strong enough concept to sustain a series, but I'm curious enough to give it a shot.

5) $#*! My Dad Says (CBS, Thurs 7:30pm, premieres Sept 23) -- based on a twitter feed of the same name -- only, y'know, uncensored -- this critically panned show doesn't seem to have a lot going for it other than the presence of William Shatner as the eponymous Dad.  Still, Shatner in a sitcom is enough to get me to at least try the show out, and I can't believe I just typed those words.


And, finally, 5 shows that, barring a rave review from someone whose taste matches mine closely, I have zero interest in seeing, largely due to a growing disinterest in legal and police procedurals.

1) Law & Order: LA  (NBC, Wed 9:00 pm, premieres Sept 29) -- don't watch any of the other L&O shows, so don't have much desire to jump in with this one.

2) Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC, Tues 9:00pm, premieres Sept 21) -- police procedural that was being massively retooled just a few months ago; not promising news.

3) Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, Mon 9:00pm, premieres Sept 20) -- I just don't have the necessary amount of nostalgia for the series necessary to make this like desirable to me. 

4) Chase (NBC, Mon 9:00pm, premieres Sept 20) -- another procedural, this time focusing on U.S. Marshalls.  Advanced word confirms the feeling I got from the previews:  generic. 

5) Outlaw (NBC, Wed 9:00pm, premieres Sept 15) -- Having sat through the extended preview online, all I can say about this heavy-handed legal drama is:  no.  Just, no.  Seriously, the other four shows in this list at best generate a mild feeling of disinterest; this one makes me cringe.

Conceptually Thinking

As Phase One of my Reinvention of the Blog, the concept is still a bit of a work in progress. To start off, I plan to feature at least one list a week detailing my favorite — and not so favorite — shows, books, characters, writers, actors, etc. in specific categories.  I may even branch out into non-media related lists from time to time -- restaurants, sports, vacation spots, etc.  In addition, I’d like to explore my thoughts on different genres and concepts as a whole.

I want this to be an interactive experience, so if there are any ideas you’d like me to focus on, please submit them as a comment via the "Suggestions" link at the top of the page. Or email me. Or text me. Or IM me. Or write me a letter. Or beam them directly into my brain via mental telepathy. Whatever works.