Dammit, Leonard Nimoy has died.
He was one of those people I always figured was immortal, and I hate this.
I hadn’t heard of Coherence until it showed up on a few “best-of” lists because, as I’ve mentioned before, my stupid town never gets any good movies, ever, although we are getting The Interview in the smaller town 20 minutes away, because God Bless America and Freedom of Speech and all that.
Anyway, I won’t be driving the 20 minutes to see The Interview, because that would just be silly, but I will take a moment here to highly recommend you also view Coherence.
See, it’s about this group of friends having a dinner party, which, like, standard indie-flick fare, fine, but then this comet passes overhead and we are all of a sudden in unsettling science fiction territory, because MULTIPLE REALITIES, guys!!!
And I really can’t say too much without giving the whole plot away, but the movie is really cool and good, and you will be genuinely frightened by people with red glow sticks, I swear, it is super creepy and wonderful, and this is why I’m not a film critic for realsies.
A lot of the reviews I’ve seen for Fox’s new sci-fi show Almost Human have headlines like “Almost Human is almost good.” And, as much as that seems like lazy headline writing, it’s actually … kinda true.
Now, I missed the two-hour premiere on Sunday because 1) I kept forgetting this was a new show, and thought it was Fox airing reruns of BEING Human (The Syfy version, not the BBC version, I assumed), and thus kind of forgot about it; and 2) have a family member who is addicted to The Amazing Race, so I couldn’t have gotten near the TV anyway.
But, like Sleepy Hollow before it, I did manage to watch the second episode. Unlike Sleepy Hollow (which I keep hearing is awesome and great and not anything like what I thought of it), I watched the entire episode, so I can tell you all about the second episode of ALMOST Human, which isn’t the same as BEING Human at all.
First off: Almost Human is set a few decades in the future, where androids are a total thing because, in the future, no remembers the life lessons of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (the life lessons are ANDROIDS WILL KILL US ALL, AND ARE HOT). Karl Urban, aka another guy from Evil Sherlock Holmes in Space: The Movie, stars as Detective Boring White Guy With a Fake Leg. Michael Ealy is His Partner, A ROBOT , and Lili Taylor is Their Captain With Bad Hair.
Minka Kelly is also in it, but her character is completely unremarkable so far, and then there’s a crazy scientist guy that I don’t know the actor’s name, but is way more interesting than our lead, Bland White Detective.
Anyhow, from what I can gather from reviews of the first episode, Det. White Dude was betrayed by his girlfriend, couldn’t save his partner, lost his leg and for some reason blames this all on robots. But cops in the future are required to have robot partners, because the future is awesome, who doesn’t want to hang out with robots all the time?, so he teams up with Detective Robot With Feelings, Michael Ealy, and his pretty, pretty eyes.
So, Episode No. 2: Features a plotline where human ladies are being used to provide skin for sexbots, because human skin feels better than whatever the heck they’ve been using instead. Deerhide, maybe? Anyway, this process is illegal, because 1) robots aren’t allowed to have human DNA; and 2) it kills the human ladies.
Anyway, it’s actually kind of boring and I didn’t care whether any of the human ladies were going to live or die, but there was one particularly intense scene where Det. So White It Hurts is interviewing the beautiful sexbot while his partner looks on, asking her repeatedly: “Who owns you?” The reason this scene is so intense, and possibly it’s on purpose, is because there’s only one white person in the room, and he’s not a robot. So possibly some sort of commentary on race relations? I hesitate to proclaim that for certain, because the rest of the episode really is very overt about everything else, and this was a bit more subtle (read as: possibly accidental).
The award for best line of the night goes to: “Don’t scan my testicles,” which I guess is a reason not everybody wants to hang out with robots all the time, what with all their testicle-scanning. There’s also a fun sequence where Det. Awesome Robot shows some kids his glowing face circuitry (it shows up through his skin) and is one-upped by Det. White Guy, who stabs himself in the fake leg and sends the kids running off, screaming.
So, yeah: Almost Human is almost good, like everybody says. But remember: Fringe started slow too. So there’s hope. There’s hope.
After seeing Breaking Bad kick some Emmy butt again, I was very happy for my second-favorite X-Files writer, Vince Gilligan, who has gone on to create a critically-acclaimed, fan-beloved TV show that I have never seen.
And then I thought: But what of my favorite X-Files writer, Darin Morgan?
Well, here’s what of him.
According to Wikipedia, Knower of All Things Editable by the Public, Darin Morgan was born in Syracuse, New York, and then immediately went to college. Actually, probably some stuff happened in between birth and college, but Wikipedia doesn’t want to bore you with that crap, so I guess I won’t either. Anyhow, at college (specifically, the film program at Loyola Marymount University), Morgan co-wrote a six-minute short film that led to a three-picture deal with TriStar. I basically copied and pasted that out of Wikipedia, if you were wondering. Also, oddly enough, there’s no mention of any TriStar films on his IMdb page or on Wikipedia, so I don’t know what happened there.
After writing a few screenplays that didn’t see the light of the big screen, a stroke of luck finally came to Darin Morgan, in the form of an invitation from his brother Glen (one-half of my third-favorite X-Files writing team of Morgan & Wong) to play a hideous mutated fluke monster on an episode of the X-Files that I only watched once because ewwww, hideous mutated fluke monster. Darin Morgan’s account of the experience leads me to believe that playing a hideous mutated fluke monster is worse than watching one onscreen, because he was stuck in that costume 20 hours a day during filming. Gross.
After his acting experience, Darin Morgan went on to write one of the best episodes of the X-Files ever: Humbug. He then wrote another of the best episodes of the X-Files ever, and also of TV ever, The Final Repose of Clyde Bruckman. All you young kids who have never watched the X-Files need to watch that episode right now, right away, because it is amazing.
He also wrote the very excellent War of the Coprophages, because “Cockroaches” is just too easy to spell, I guess, and then the hilarious and awesome and superb Jose Chung’s From Outer Space, which you also need to watch right now, right away, because Mulder shrieks like a girl.
He also wrote part of Quagmire, but wasn’t credited, except everybody knew the one part with the great dialogue was totally him, and then he disappeared from the X-Files forever. (Oh, except for playing a character in Small Potatoes, which I always forget, because Darin Morgan in person is less godlike than I imagine him to be.) Vince Gilligan showed up around that time to carry on the torch of awesomeness, but it wasn’t quite the same.
In the meantime, Darin Morgan was busy writing away for Millennium, which was scary and depressing and got cancelled before I could get past my fear of Lance Henriksen.
After the cancellation of Millennium, Morgan helped out on the Kolchak: The Night Stalker remake, which got cancelled almost as soon as it aired, and on Bionic Woman, which fell to the same fate.
But then — and I feel incredibly stupid for forgetting this, because I remember seeing his name in the credits and going “whooo! No wonder this show is awesome!” — Morgan worked as a consulting producer on Fringe.
But Fringe got cancelled too, because the TV gods hate nerds, so what’s Morgan been up to since then?
Well, he and brother Glen worked together on Tower Prep, a live-action drama for Cartoon Network, “The Network that’s Forgotten What Its Name Means.”
Since then … ummm, I don’t know. Modelling clothes for today’s modern hideous mutated fluke monster? Seriously, though, someone hire this guy to write things, right away, all the time, because he is the best.
So last night, the final two episodes of Fringe aired. They were great. I laughed. I cried. I jumped up and down and clapped my hands together like a giddy little girl.
I won’t bother to give you a review of the last two episodes of Fringe. Either you already know because you watch the show or you really don’t care. But for those of you who never saw the show (what’s wrong with you?), there was one thing in the last episode that, for me, perfectly encapsulated everything I ever loved about the show.
It’s a nice little moment between mad scientist Walter Bishop and his son from an alternate universe, Peter. Walter hands Peter some bullets and tells him to be careful with them, as they’re special anti-gravity (?) bullets that will make the Observers float in the air after they’ve been shot.
“But once we shoot them, they’re dead,” says Peter. “Why would we want them to float?”
“Because it’s cool,” said Walter.
There’s only one more night of new Fringe episodes, ever, and that night is tonight. With a double-header to wrap up the fifth and final season, I have no plans other than to plant myself in front of the television and punch anyone who gets in my way.
I’m so excited! Yet despondent. Yet excited! Yet mournful.
With the final season of Fringe starting on Sept. 28 (that’s only almost two weeks away, squeeeee!), I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. Well, not as much as I think about Walter and Peter, because one is a genius mad scientist and the other is the hot son of a genius mad scientist, and also not as much as I think about Olivia, because she looks so good in a suit , or as much as I think about Astrid because she’s just so pretty, but more than I think about, say, lichen.
Also, I know there’s more than one Observer and you’ve probably got a name, except you come from the future so maybe they don’t have names anymore? Maybe they just have ID numbers or something? Anyway, you probably have a name or an ID number or whatever, but to me, you’ll always be the Observer, because you were the first and also the nicest. I mean, you don’t seem to be dead set on enslaving humanity in the future, like the rest of your associates, which I think is pretty nice.
Not to mention you’re always hanging out with my good TV friends Walter and Peter and Olivia and Astrid. (I feel like I should stop saying “not to mention” and then mentioning the thing, but I’m afraid if I do stop, then all my paragraphs will start with “also.”) I think they’re great, what with the way they travel to alternate universes and have telekinetic powers and great hair (hi, Astrid! I love your hair!) and sometimes get to be badass (hi, Astrid! I loved the way you hurt all those bad guys last season, right before one shot you in the gut!).
And you obviously think they’re great too, which means we have that in common, so that could be something we could talk about while we’re dating.
Oh, did I forget to say we should be dating, Observer? I meant to say that.
We should be dating, Observer.
For one thing (and this is a thing that’s in addition to that thing I mentioned earlier, about how awesome the Fringe team is and how much I wish they were my real friends, except I’d’ve probably gotten disintegrated in some horrible parallel universe cross-dimensional murder by now, so I guess I’m OK with them being fictional), all the extra spices in my cupboard that I hardly ever use, I could totally use when cooking for you, because being from the future makes you have no sense of taste (for some reason). Seriously, there’s this thing of chipotle power in my cupboard right now that is just going to waste, and I wouldn’t mind dumping it on some mashed potatoes. For you, Observer.
Plus, you look good in a fedora. (Or is that a trilby?)
Anyway, when we get married, we should invite Walter and Peter and Olivia and Astrid to our wedding, and maybe even Agent Broyles and Nina. Ooooh, and also everybody’s alternate selves from the parallel universe, and also William Bell, because he’s secretly Leonard Nimoy.
In fact, I’ll get started on the invitations now.
Everybody loves a mad scientist. And lucky you! You just so happen to be dating one! … You think.
Let’s just make sure, shall we?
1. Oh, your boyfriend is mad, all right. Very mad indeed. But it turns out that instead of science, his obsession is millinery.
Interesting story! The famous courtesan Kitty Fisher was a milliner before she became a courtesan. Later, she died of lead poisoning due to the ingredients in the popular face makeup of the time.
(Shut up! Learning things is fun!)
2. Your boyfriend is mad, and also a scientist. Also, he has a pet monster.
And sometimes, people call the monster by your boyfriend’s name.
3. OK, your boyfriend is a scientist, AND he’s mad, and he’s also really, really old.
And from the future!
4. Madness is a trait of your boyfriend’s, and maybe he’s a scientist, but probably not. Also, his name is Max.
And he’s Mel Gibson before he went mad.
5. So let’s say your boyfriend is a genius scientist who happens to be mad. Should you feel badly about two-timing him with his evil self?
6.Your boyfriend’s mad, a scientist, and Edison hates him soooo much.
He’s probably just jealous that they’ll get David Bowie to portray him in the movies.
7. For your birthday, he got you a puppy.
And its DNA had been spliced with a human’s, and it’s miserable, and you’re miserable, and you all live miserably together on an island.
8. He travels to other universes!
And has a pet cow.
9. He might be mad, he’s definitely a warrior, and he battles evil.
And hangs out with Warwick Davis.
(It’s a Willow reference. Get it?)
10. He travels through time in elegant fashion, and has awesome (?) hair.
Some folks might say you could do better than dating Doc Brown, but some folks are crazy.
There you go. Unless you’re dating the Mad Hatter, Mad Max or Madmartigan, then you’re definitely dating a mad scientist. I hope this helped you. I know it helped me.
So the other night I went on a bit of a Billy Idol kick, listening White Wedding, Rebel Yell, Eyes Without a Face and even Cradle of Love, and then I thought: “Huh, whatever happened to that guy, anyway? Also, does he still sneer, like, all the time?”
So I decided to do a little research today, otherwise known as typing the words “Billy” and “Idol” into Google and reading the stuff that came up. Sherlock Holmes would be so proud of me.
Anyway, I learned many things about Billy Idol, like that he totally isn’t dead, which kind of surprised me, and that his real name isn’t Billy Idol, which kind of didn’t surprise me at all.
Billy Idol was born on Nov. 30, 1955, as William Michael Albert Broad, a more British name you couldn’t possibly find anywhere. I mean, there’s at least two princes thrown in that name and possibly a third, but I don’t pay much attention to the monarchy, so who knows? (Other people, that’s who.) Apparently, he came up with the moniker “Idol” after a teacher described him as “idle,” which sounds a bit like bullshit to me, because they have two completely different meanings and it seems like he would know the one is closer to “superstar” than “gadabout.” Also, I just used the word “gadabout.”
At age 2, Idol moved with his family to New York, but after four years, they moved back to England, probably because American kids mercilessly bullied a boy named “William Michael Albert.” Back in England, Idol attended the Ravensbourne School for Boys, which sounds like it has got to be covered in ivy and possibly the blood of whipped English boys. After finishing up at the School for Boys, Idol went on to major in English at the University of Sussex, but dropped out after a year to pursue his true calling: Stalking the Sex Pistols.
In 1976, Idol joined Siouxsie and the Banshees, which wasn’t called that at the time, but Wikipedia didn’t seem to know what it was called, so that’s as good as you’re going to get. Unless you’re friends with Siouxsie Sioux; then she can tell you. So apparently, Idol had some musical experience by that point or, possibly, like many of my friends who started punk bands in their late teens, a guitar from a pawn shop. Idol didn’t last long in the band with no name, and went on to join Chelsea (a band I have actually not heard of before) in 1977. Shortly thereafter, Idol and a bandmate left that band and started Generation X, beating out Douglas Copeland by several years.
Generation X released three albums, which is three more than I knew existed, before disbanding, and Idol embarked on his solo career. By this point, he had moved back to New York, because schoolchildren don’t make fun of a guy named Billy Idol (probably).
1981 brought Idol’s cover of Mony Mony, which I hope brings up as many bad junior high gym class memories for you as it does for me and if it doesn’t, have I got a stupid dance to teach you! Anyway, Mony Mony, the bane of junior high students everywhere, was actually quite popular (if horrible), and paved the way for much better work, like those songs I mentioned earlier and can’t be arsed to type the names of again, except Eyes Without a Face, just to point out it was on the penultimate episode of Fringe’s fourth season as elevator music right before the nanites started killing everyone.
On Feb. 6, 1990, Idol was out riding his motorcycle and ignoring stop signs when he got hit by a car. Wikipedia describes the incident as a “motorcycle accident,” but anyone with a journalism background who has seen Hot Fuzz knows that is a “wreck ” for sure. Anyway, the wreck nearly cost Idol his leg and definitely cost him his role as the T-1000 in Terminator 2, which is OK, because I can’t imagine anybody but Robert Patrick playing that role anyway.
In 1998, Idol had a cameo in The Wedding Singer (theme song: White Wedding, of course), back when we all still wanted Adam Sandler’s characters to find love and be happy. Also, he had a small part in the movie The Doors, which probably happened before The Wedding Singer, like playing with former Pink Floydian Roger Waters at Berlin in 1990.
At this point, Idol didn’t drop off the face of the earth, like I kind of thought, but made an experimental album in 1993 called Cyberpunk, because it was made on a computer, I guess, so why not call it that?
In 2000, Idol voiced the character of Odin in the animated film Heavy Metal 2000, which disappoints me because Odin is not the classic Norse god I was expecting, but is actually, like, an alien or something.
And this post is getting long, so brief highlights:
- 2005: Idol released Devil’s Playground. I haven’t heard of it either, so don’t feel bad.
- November 2006: Idol released a Christmas album called Happy Holidays. That makes me unhappy, for various reasons.
- June 24, 2008: A new greatest hits album is released, “Idolize Yourself,” because how did it take him 50 years to make that joke?
- I’m tired of typing now.
To wrap things up: Billy Idol! Listen to Rebel Yell right now! You know you want to!
My beloved Fringe has gotten renewed for a fifth season, which is GREAT news because I believe these folks can actually pull a decent ending out of their collective ass and make all us fans happy.
God bless you, Fox, a thing I never thought I’d say.