Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Ghost Lab: "Alcatraz" - The Klingons go to Alcatraz! I liked the historical recap at the beginning: I don't recall hearing the bit about how the native tribes considered the island to be haunted before Europeans even arrived. If I have heard it, it never sunk in before. Imagine being one of those soldiers stationed on a haunted island! This episode again emphasizes how much money this team has to play with. They chartered a ferry to take their equipment over? Anyway. Once again the woman is sent as bait. They got EVPs, but none of them were even slightly convincing. The talk with a former guard from Alcatraz was very cool. I could've listened to him a bit longer. Oh well, cool place, ok events.
  • Ghost Hunters: "American Legion" - The first place was kind of neat, especially with the events happening during set-up. You always have to wonder if things happen in truly "haunted" places while you are just setting up to hunt ghosts. The second place was way cool (even Eric was interested) because of the historical significance of the Old State House in Hartford, Connecticut. The stories weren't much, but I would have loved to have a tour of that place. Nothing special ghostie-wise this episode, but nice locations, as usual.
  • Ghost Hunters Academy: "The Blame Game" - I really don't like the contestants. None of them come across as particularly personable or interesting. And adding in yet another generic young person at this point doesn't impress me. At least the location is interesting. The worst of the crew is definitely Jane, though. I don't like her at all. I think the best would be Ben. Well, I didn't like who left this episode, but I understand completely the reason that person was picked. One reason I wouldn't dream of entering a contest like this would be due to the same reasons.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "The Long Arm of the Law" - Plastic Man is funny, but I'm not really that fond of him. So this turned out to be a very funny episode, but not one that I really enjoyed. Needs more Aquaman.
  • Ghost Lab: "Ghost of Blackbeard" - I really hope they got permission before digging under that walkway! Again, I don't really hear much out of the EVPs, certainly not as much as they are hearing. The reaction of the captain of the boat at the second location was unexpected, maybe. They kind of set him up to hear something, and he was already emotionally charged when he listened to the static. In any case, another episode with some good ghost stories but not enough proof.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Hindenburg Crash Site" - Fascinating place, and not one that could be properly explored in one night. I'd want at least a week there, and I'd want to do a lot of checking during the day as well. Too many noises in a building that big to say that their evidence was worth anything, but boy it was fun!
  • Robin Hood: "Too Hot to Handle" - King John gets to chew the scenery. Much fun. The contrast between Guy and John makes for an amusing episode. As for Isabella... you know what they say about a woman scorned. She's impossible to figure out.
  • Ghost Hunters Academy: "Final Exams" - All I could think going into this was "I really hope Jane goes away". I didn't have any strong opinions about the rest of the crew, but I really didn't like Jane. She's the kind of person who would do very well in a reality show where you need to backstab the others, but Ghost Hunting has to be cooperative or else it can get dangerous. The end results were very satisfactory to me. I thought the guys came to the right conclusions about the team members and now I'm actually looking forward to GHI.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic book shipment that arrived this week, of books originally released Dec 3rd and 9th:
  • Incredibles #3 - The nice moment in this one where the entire family goes on the attack is lovely.
  • Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 - I got this because of the cover to issue #2, which shows Mera. No Mera in this, but it's not a bad issue despite the lack of aquaness.
  • JSA All-Stars #1 - I'm still having trouble keeping the entire team straight, and I'm just not sure about how this split is going to work. Maybe the next issue of JSA will make things more clear?
  • Doctor Who Classics Series 2 #13 - I seem to recall part of this storyline, but I'm not sure.

  • Muppet Show #0 - A Pigs in Space movie? I found the rat hand-washing jokes to be bland. The executives... well, I should have guessed who they'd be.
  • Mangalicious Tick #4 - It's over, and only three issues too long. There were a couple of good moments in this series, but most of it was subpar fanfic.
  • DMZ #48 - I really don't like Matty anymore. Sheesh.
  • DC Holiday Special 2009 #1 - Good stuff overall. Needs more Aquaman. Of course, the Atlanteans don't celebrate Christmas, but a story setting the Sub-Diego folk that are left against the Atlanteans might have been fun.
  • Super Friends #22 - This issue made me cry. Particularly Superman's reference to his actor friend.

My library book this week was Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci. Anthologies are always a mixed bag. I figure if I like more stories than I don't like, the anthology is a win. I'd love to find a multi-author anthology where I love every single story, but I'm not sure such a thing exists. This anthology is very solidly on the "win" side, though. There weren't any truly bad stories in it, although a couple of them just weren't my cuppa. There are fifteen stories in the book, each with an author box at the end of the story. In between each story is a one-page comic strip by either Hope Larson or Bryan Lee O'Malley. The first story, and the one that triggered the anthology, is the tale of a Jedi and a Klingon who wake up together after a wild night at the con. The stories go on from there, each of them having a theme of "being different" and what that means. Definitely a fun book, well worth getting from the library and even a decent book to have on your shelf permanently.

Agatha Christie this week was Mrs. McGinty's Dead from 1952, also published as Blood Will Tell. An old charwoman is murdered, but months later the policeman in charge of the investigation is not satisfied by the verdict his work produced so he calls in Poirot to find the truth. This is an annoying one. There is so much there to work with that I didn't have a chance of figuring it out. Give me ten months to think on the clues and I still wouldn't have worked it out. Well, maybe. There were some good clues for the reader toward the end. But the case hung on a fact I didn't know. Still, you can't win 'em all. Next up is another Westmacott novel, so I'm bracing myself for a depressing read.

Fortean Times #254, November 2009. I got this quite awhile ago, badly damaged thanks to the crappy plastic sleeve they are shipping it in now, and put it under some heavy books for awhile to flatten it out enough to read. My complaints about the shipping problems have fallen on deaf ears. I was offered replacement copies, but haven't received any, nor any responses to my latest e-mails. I'm very disappointed in the US distributor of this mag now.

Ahem. The cover story on this issue was mermaids. And the articles do a decent job covering the existence of mermaids in culture and art. As always, I enjoyed the historical sighting reports. The speculation on what might have actually been seen was also fun to read. Overall, a nice look at the history of mermaids and their impact on our culture. And yes, the "reverse" mermaid of Red Dwarf is mentioned. The mermaid coverage also includes details on how to make your own fake mermaid like the Feejee mermaid. I think I'll pass. The thing is hideous.

Strangedays was great, as usual. The variety of topics covered combined with the sheer joy of the subjects makes this section a good read every issue. It's always a testament to the remarkable silliness of humanity.

More silliness is included in the article about the Muggletonian sect of Puritans. The early infighting of the sect is impressive to read about. It makes one wonder how any consensus can ever be reached on matters of faith.

Lots of good book reviews, but nothing I wanted to run out and buy or even put on hold at the library. Ok, maybe the Celtic Myths book by Bill Price that rated a very high 9, but that would be about it. And I loved the other reviews (including reviews of Heroes Season 3 and District 9) and the letter column. Just another good fun issue.