Futurama - Bender's Big Score

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Bender's Big Score

Well, I got my hands on an advance copy of Bender's Big Score as I was very eager to watch it. It took calling in a couple of favours so I could do so, but it was completely worth it. I love Futurama, it is my favourite show. I own all of the seasons in the complete collection and the Monster Maniac DVD that basically contains episodes I already own. I don't care that I've rebought them, I love Futurama that much. So much that I will be returning the advance copy to where it came one and purchasing my own one as soon as it's in the stores.

First, the Spoiler free section.

Bender's Big Score - a quick, almost spoiler free summary. (Slightly edited from wikipedia)

"The Planet Express crew fights to save the world from nudist alien internet scammers, who place Bender under their control and send him back into the past to steal the world's greatest treasures. Leela finds true love, and Fry learns a terrible secret about his destiny and his buttocks."

It's an excellent watch and while some of the voices sound slightly different to previously - Billy West as Fry for example is slightly deeper and older - you soon get used to the changes and things run off into the funny zone.

The simple truth is, David Cohen, Ken Keeler, Matt Groening and Rough Draft have put together a fantastic movie that is funny, touching and gripping. It's also amusingly confusing and best of all Carbon neutral in it's production. Enviromentally friendly entertainment!


And following this wonderful picture comes the spoiler zone:

[This will contain spoilers - do not read on if you have not seen the film yet... seriously]


You've been warned!

Ok, so the episode opens with an almost fourth wall breaking set of jokes poking fun at the show's cancellation and return. While a variation on this has been pulled by Family Guy already it was still amusing.

The pace of the show is blistering and it effortlessly moves from one scene to the next. I did find the sheer number of returning cameos of various characters a little forced originally, but then I decided to just sit back and enjoy it. While I might have watched all of Futurama last season, there has been a serious hiatus in new material so it's nice they make a return. But I do hope that Zapp and Kiff get a larger role in one of the later movies.

As you can see on the image of the DVD box, Hermes is in a jar. At first I was wondering if they were going to open up with him in a jar and make reference (or not) to some horrible accident. Hermes doesn't really need his body to be funny anyway. All it does is get naked, limbo and drop manwiches. Hmm, that's 50% of his funny right there... Maybe it's best that they didn't permanently remove it.

I'm still not entirely sure about the decision to have Nibbler "out" himself in front of everyone. But, he did eat himself at the end of the film so it remains to be seen what happens next. The second film following directly on from the events at the end of the first.

I wasn't suprised by the Lars = Fry reveal. Part way through the film I noticed that Fry and Lars had the same nose and head shape. Something that is avoided where any non-background characters are concerned. Seeing past Fry with a beard and then the film following his life were the final clues to make it all click. But it was still fantastic to watch and exceedingly moving.

Any of the minor doubts will get pushed aside the more I watch the film. Something I will do as it has tremendous rewatch value. Especially in working out the continuity of the various time clones - the writers are such geeks that I know it'll all work out correctly, but it'll still be fun trying to follow them. It's also fun seeing all the various previous episodes being joined up, unexplained events like the destruction of humanity, the fast fossilisation of Semour the dog and more linked up by the common thread of 'Bender did it'.

I loved it and I can't wait for the next one. Until it arrives I'll watch this one again a few times and play spot the references/jokes.

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Homidice: Life on the Street

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I purchased the first season of this show purely on the strength of The Wire, plus David Simon and the awards that Homicide has won.

While I'll get into it in more detail at a later date I just wanted to express how happy I was to find series 2 + 3 for $60 (total) instead of the $160 I would normally have to pay.

I've only watched the first episode of series 2 so far, but it was a doozy.
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Life - 108 - Farthingale

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[This post will contain nuts - and spoilers]

Well what to say? In a wasteland of poor new shows, weak returning shows and the WGA strike Life has been a little giant ray of zen sunshine into my life. Wednesday's episode "Farthingale" is a prime example of this. Within moments of the episode starting we're treated with one of the more bizzare and oddly amusing images I've seen in a while. The top half of a man standing on the floor in front of an open fridge. At first I wasn't too sure how he'd died, did he fall through the floor? Where were his legs? Then it becomes rapidly clear that they have been shredded, as explained the fridge door protected his top half. So I'd assume his lower half was pretty much instantly vapourised and he immediately died of shock. Before falling to the ground and landing upright like some tablecloth trick.

From there things just become more wierd, it turns out he has two sets of ID, which leads to two wives and from there we progress into understanding how he lived, why he had two wives and why he was killed.

Meanwhile the metaplot continues onward, the lead detective that put Charlie away turns up dead in the police station garage. Charlie is naturally accused and contacts his lawyer Constance, only to discover she's been drafted by the DA. Which takes her away from Charlies side in any potential problems, isolating him further.

We're given a few more insights into the conspiracy that got Charlie imprisioned. We meet Dani's (Charlie's partner) father in this episode, a man who Charlie has been told was involved in making a large amount of money disappear somehow. The plot thickens greatly and I'm interested to see where the metaplot goes, they need to resolve this conspiracy in a reasonable timeframe - dragging it out will just result in "who cares?" Lost syndrome. But they can't afford to resolve it too fast as it's the driving force behind the show. Without it Life would just be a set of unrelated cases, which can work but it would involve a serious rehaul of the show's style.

I'm thinking Season 2 or 3 for the big reveal.

But until then I'm happy to ride along on Charlie's Zen coattails. Especially when they're going to keep putting out quality lines like:

Dani: That's your theory?
Charlie: It makes sense.
Dani: That's why I'm surprised it's your theory.

Top stuff.
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WGA Strike

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Well I finally got my hands on a list of shows that are shut/shutting down due to the writers strike.

It's located here:

The relevant ones for me are:
Boston Legal: 15 episodes completed out of 22 episode order. Episode 8 to go out December 4.
Family Guy: Production shut down.
House: Repeats to air after American Idol in January.
Prison Break: On hiatus until January 14. (Maybe they'll get better writers for after the hiatus :P )
30 Rock: 10 episodes of a 22 episode season taped. Production shut down. Last scheduled episode, 9, airs on December 13.
Heroes: Heroes: Origins spinoff suspended. December 3 episode to serve as finale of volume two.
My Name Is Earl: All season 3 episodes completed.
Scrubs: 12 episodes shot. NBC rumoured to have wanted 12th episode to serve as series finale; creator Bill Lawrence refused to wrap series early.
The Office: On hiatus.
The Colbert Report: On hiatus.
Nip/Tuck: 14 episodes in the can; filming on 8 more postponed. Episode 5 scheduled to air November 27

That's a hell of a lot of shows I watch hit one way or another. Pretty soon all I'm going to have to view and write about will be My Name is Earl, Seinfeld + Homicide DVDs and of course - Benders Big Score!

27th of November is the return of Futurama people, and I could not be happier.
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The Wire Season Five Promo

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What more is there to say?

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Heroes - Season 2

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Well, finally the second season of Heroes has managed to pull it's thumb out of it's ass and get up to speed. After a giant pile of filler we've started to reach some answers and interesting points.

"Four Months ago" (Ep 208) filled in the blanks between the end of the last season and the start of this one. There are still a few unanswered questions, the most important of which are "When will Sylar regain his powers?", "Which side is 'good' the company or Adam?" and "What will happen when Adam sees Hiro again?"

The Sylar question is just a case of frustration and waiting. Zachary Quinto is one of the most interesting and deep actors in the show. Sylar is easily the deepest and most intriguing of the various 'heroes' and my favourite by a long margin. In part because I always prefer the bad guy. One of the reasons I'm rather fond of Adam, he's quite possibly bad, but it's hard to tell at this stage. Hiro thought he was essentially good, he is helping and working with Peter against the Company (not to be confused with The Company in Prison Break) who it seems are responsable for the plague. Oh mankind when will you learn that scientists will always tinker until they create something that can wipe us all out? Hubris, thy name is science!

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Kirsten Bell's character Elle is not going to survive beyond the end of December (shame, she's a talented actress - but her character is to sociopathic to make it long term). Plus at least one of the twins Maya and Alejandro is going to go down. Most likely Alejandro as he's really felt like nothing more than wall furnishings. I'm predicting some possible Sylar involved death and then Sylar manipulating Maya for her ability (as it needs two to work and cancel).

All in all, it was an excellent episode. Best one of the season so far, but that's not saying a lot tbh. :P
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The Mighty Boosh - Series 3

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In some utterly incomprehensible move the BBC has decided to put the first episode of The Mighty Boosh up online before it's aired.


I'm not sure why they did this. Mind you, when I tried to watch it the sound cut out several times during the episode and the picture quality was awful. So I'm still going to watch it again on Thursday.

[I'd say this post contains spoilers, but it really doesn't matter with The Mighty Boosh]

The first episode of this series (sadly it's a 6 episode series - laaaame!) is titled Eels. Vince, Howard, Naboo and Bollo have moved on (as is traditional each series) and are now running a shop. Needless to say the format is still the same - Vince and Howard are idiots, Vince is loveable and successfull, Howard is a loser. So if you enjoy the show then you'll get more of the great stuff.

On the whole the episode wasn't amazing, there were many old characters returning - some of them proving you can get better from death in the world of The Mighty Boosh. While Tony Harrison (the tentacled head), the excellent Richard Ayoade as Saboo were welcome returnees and Rich Fulcher was so disturbingly brilliant as the woman - it's the return of the cockney hitchhiker that I found dull and boring. This is probably why I didn't enjoy the episode so much, because it was very much based around him.

It had some excellent moments, but it doesn't compare to last seasons Nanatoo, Old Greg or The Nightmare of Milky Joe

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Dexter - Season 2 Thoughts

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[This will contain spoilers]

Ok, so now we're halfway through season two of Dexter. It's pretty much got Prison Break and Heroes beat hands down by this stage. But I have mixed feelings about it as a whole.

The big problem for me comes down to the issue that season two is just too early for this story. We've had a single season to establish and like Dexter and he's already being threatened with discovery and changed in personality? It feels too early for this, the threat to Dexter has come too soon and as such it doesn't feel like he has the remotest chance of being caught. Season three on the other hand would have really piled the pressure on for this, in the third season of a show (and onwards) all bets are off.

So instead I'm left looking at which other cast members are likely to leave. Rita is an almost certain loss. There have been off screen cast comments that indicated as such. The other major potential loss is Doakes*. Which I think would be a serious loss to the show, Doakes is an excellent foil for Dexter - the premise of the second book by Jeff Lindsey is "What happens when Doakes and Dexter are forced to work together?" That's something I want to see happen.
Mind you, it is a lot of fun watching Dexter set Doakes up repeatedly. Eventually things will need to come to a head between them, but season two is just too soon for it. There's so much more to learn about Doakes before we do that.

Lila is the major issue in this. It's still unclear exactly what her agenda is, she's obviously a schemer and somewhat disturbed. But exactly how and what she has to gain is another pair of questions. She's systematically driven Dexter away from Rita and the kids, it could just be simple desire that's made her do this. But it feels far more cold and calculating. I wouldn't be suprised if we discover that she's a killer in her own right. It would certainly fit the way she behaves and the bond she seems to share with Dexter. It would also provide a suitably ironic end to the season. Dexter once again being forced to kill someone very close to him.

The show feels like a train hurtling towards a dramatic confrontation & crash. The problem I'm having is I still don't know what this confrontation is going to be. What's going to bring things to a head? By this time last year a solid direction had shaped up and we were prepared for the Rudy/Dexter head to head.

I'm sure once I know where this season is going, and look back on it all in hindsight it will be a much more enjoyable experience. Till then I'm just going to have to sit back and enjoy the ride.

*Anyone else noticed that Eric King's name is the only one which flashes and disappears in the opening credits? Is that relevant/important in some way?
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WGA strike

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Frankly I don't blame the Writers Guild of America for going on strike. Writers really are the life blood of television; no matter how good your actors/producers/directors/editors/best boy etc are, the writing is the foundation.

I can't help but wonder how disruptive this will be. A lot of the new shows are going to get crucified through this. It's quite possible a huge swathe of promising new TV will get killed off, with a little luck Lost will die as well.

That would be a nice bonus.

Yeah Lost sucks, you heard me.

Anyway, like I said - I don't blame them. Not one bit, it's criminal how little the writers get per sale. Frankly the entire entertainment business is a horrible place when it comes to money. The entire thing seems to be a giant mess of money chute, with the largest one dumping cash right into the hands of non-creatives.
The amount the public gets gouged for DVDs is a great example. $100 for a season in some countries - that's just ridiculous... Especially when the writers are getting what? Cents?

So good for them, no matter what kind of damage this does I can live with it.

Unless Dexter, The Wire, The Shield, The Office or 30 Rock get destroyed as a consequence... Then there will be hell to pay WGA, HELL!
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The fall line up

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I'm going to quickly sum up each show I've been watching from this fall season in a single sentence.

Prison Break - Getting close to jumping the shark.

Heroes - Not very gripping, needs work.

House - The new shake up has made things very interesting

The Office - Comedy gold all the way.

30 Rock - Sein-vision was the single funniest concept I've seen so far this year.

My Name is Earl - Unsure about the new direction of the show, didn't think it needed this much of a switch up.

Scrubs - Funny but looking tired.

Nip/Tuck - Only seen the one episode so far, but it was a doozy.

Dexter - As outstanding as ever, but the plot would have been better served in season three.

Family Guy - Amazingly it's still funny.

American Dad - Not so great this year so far.

Life - The stand out new show so far, cast is a little thin in quantity though.

On the whole I'm a bit disappointed with the various drama shows, especially the Monday night pair (Prison Break + Heroes). Very few of the new shows have been interesting and as such it feels like a lean season for quality tv. In particular Dexter hasn't been as good as it's first season, it's still miles better than Heroes & Prison Break. But there just seems to be that edge missing to the show. I'll write about it more after this Sundays episode.

Or maybe it's because I'm sat on the edge of my seat waiting for the final seasons for The Wire and The Shield. I don't know. I've also been watching seasons 1 to 8 of Seinfeld again (thanks to 30 Rock having Jerry as a guest star...)
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Whoops and House

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Well my computer blew up, literally. So I had to replace it. Then I forgot my login details for this blog and ridiculously old fraud got fired on House M.D. so I've been too depressed to write about anything.

I hope he gets a permanent role in the show somehow, he was awesome.

Something more coherent tomorrow when I've caught up with Heroes, Life, Prison Break and watched all of Thursday's awesome comedy line up.
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