Posts Tagged ‘Television’
With the vast array of television entertainment available to us today, many of the shows and characters seem perpetually boring and terribly predictable. So when I finally come across one that stands apart from the rest, one that really causes me to reconsider everything that I’ve ever known to be true, I know I’ve found something (or someone) special. And this is the point of this new series of articles I’ll be writing – to share, in detail, everything I can about a character that is worthy to be discussed. I’ll try to ensure that the shows are current and are still running, but there might be times when I revisit ones that are no longer airing because, yes, the person of interest is that important to warrant a visit back in time.
So let’s talk True Blood, shall we? And if you watch the show, you are more than acquainted with the lovely yet troubled Tara Thorton.
Tara walks around Bon Temps with a chip on her shoulder, a roughness that exudes from her very core. We find out through the progression of the show (not discussing the book form this time around, just HBO’s version) that she came from a rough home life. Her mother was an alcoholic, and quite often Tara would find refuge at Sookie’s grandmother’s home. The girls grew up as best friends, but did Tara’s rough beginning cause her to be as jaded as she is? I mean, Sookie and Jason lost their parents at a young age, and neither have as much hatred toward the world as Tara does.
But as she ages, life doesn’t get any better for Tara. She lives through a series of terrible events – mostly at the hands of vampires. From the death of Eggs to being kidnapped and raped by the vampire Franklin, to the breakup with her girlfriend from New Orleans, Tara is a mess. And yet, in probably the most selfless act imaginable, she gives her life to save Sookie’s – who then has her turned into a vampire because she can’t live without Tara. Selflessness is repaid with selfishness.
Tara contains varying degrees of rage and has shown herself to be vicious with both words and actions. I don’t believe she deserves the bad rap that she seems to get from the other cast members. Life isn’t fair; we all know this. Tara has had her share of hard knocks, some of which would bring the much of the world down to their knees. Yet she’s still standing.
Make no mistake; Tara is a survivor. While she does have a very well-hidden and barely visible soft side, she will do whatever she has to do in order to ensure her survival. And for her, it’s a day by day basis. This girl falls into the worst kind of bad luck imaginable. It makes one wonder what she could’ve possible done to piss karma off as the attacks are unrelenting. As I watch season after season unfold, I continually ask myself, “How much can one girl take?”
Yet through all of this, she just wants to be loved. I know, I know – it’s such a cliché, yet it’s true. Tara is ferocious until someone continually shows her love and compassion. If they can hold out beyond her nastiness, if they can get her to see that it’s not a façade but the real deal, she will often open enough for some semblance of a relationship to take place. It’s getting to that point that’s tricky for her though. How many times can one be burned before giving up seems like the only viable option?
That’s Tara in a nutshell. Stay tuned for the next article in this series when I discuss another very popular character and their inner workings and motivations!
Welcome back! This is my third article in this series where I take a look at past sci-fi shows and evaluate their technology to see if it has been introduced into today’s society. Previously I talked about ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Babylon 5,’ but this time we’re going to shift gears and think back to the times when ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ aired.
I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I remember watching ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ on television. I’m not reluctant to admit this because I’m ashamed I watched the show – that couldn’t be further from the truth. This show was, in my opinion, one of the best ever. My shame comes because I’m actually at an age where I can recall its appearance on TV as part of regular programming. Yes, I’m getting old. Mid-thirties, actually. But to my credit, I’ve only ever watched the reruns. By the time it was taken off the air in 1978, I was a mere 16 months old.
If you’ve never seen it (and many of you “youngin’s” haven’t) it’s about a man named Steve Austin who’s severely injured in a crash. He’s subsequently rebuilt during an operation that (you guessed it) cost about six million dollars. Because of the enhancements he received, he experiences increased speed, hearing and vision which far surpass a normal human’s ability.
The purpose of this article isn’t to get into a history of the show (which I could easily continue to do since I loved it so). My goal here is to discuss technology, so let’s switch gears a bit, shall we?
So – is it possible that people could have mechanical parts which would allow them to live full lives? Some would argue that a pacemaker is a good example of this, and they wouldn’t be wrong. But I want you to think bigger than this. Think prosthetics, but not the usual kind that one would attach and detach from themselves.
According to an article by The Telegraph, people are already receiving “bionic implants” to help them achieve a higher quality of life than before.
For those who suffer from hearing loss, cochlear implants have made a world of difference. These little robotic devices are installed in the patient. They turn sound into electronic pulses, which in turn the brain is able to interpret, thus allowing the wearer to “hear.” Amazing stuff.
But what’s even more exciting is what’s being done in the realm of limb replacement. A perfect example of this is a little boy by the name of Patrick Kane. When Kane was just 9 months old, he lost his left hand after contracting meningitis.
This prosthesis is unlike many others out on the market. His actually works with sensors. Basically when he tenses his muscles in his arm, two electrodes that make contact with the skin transmit electricity from the nerves and cause the hand to open or close respectively.
“It’s the little things that the hand allows me to do that have really made the difference. I can open bottles with both hands now, hold my fork and tie my shoelaces,” said Patrick.
Another interesting case is that of Claudia Mitchell. In 2004 Mitchell was in a motorcycle accident that caused her to lose her left arm. However, thanks to some cutting edge technological bionic implants, she’s able to live an independent life. The bionic limb, designed by Todd Kulken, helps her by rerouting the nerves that would’ve normally ended in her arm and hand to end in her chest. It is here that the bionic arm is able to pick up on those nerve impulses. So when Claudia thinks about moving her arm, it does just that. A computer in her arm interprets her thoughts and turns it into motion.
But what if you’re looking for something even more advanced than this? What if limb replacement isn’t enough?
Researchers are currently trying to find ways to replace individual muscles with bionic implants. Some are experimenting with synthetic polymer gels which expand and contract similarly to that of real muscle tissue. This type of implant is actually geared toward those who are suffering from serious types of sports injuries or who may have lost muscles in accidents.
Amazingly enough, researchers at the University of Texas have actually produced artificial muscles that are 100 times stronger than their human counterparts. Wild, isn’t it?
But what about the sense of touch? Many who have used prosthetics have complained that not being able to feel is very frustrating to wearers. Well, this may very well be an issue of the past. Scientists in Italy are currently designing a synthetic skin that actually allows robots to have a sense of touch. While this was initially designed just for our robotic friends, there are other researchers who are attempting to adapt this technology to allow amputees and others who have lost limbs a chance to actually feel again. They’re trying to find a way to bond the robot skin to a human’s nerve cells.
Are we close to building our own Steve Austin? Not yet, but we’re not as far off as one would think…
This is the first article in a series that will look at past sci-fi shows that unfortunately didn’t stand the test of time, yet deserve to be recognized for their excellence. The first to debut this column is none other than The 4400 (pronounced forty-four hundred).
If there was ever a show that didn’t deserve to die such an early death, this was it. Back when it aired on a regular basis, I was practically glued to my television set each week watching the plot unfold.
Not familiar with this series? It revolves around 4400 individuals who were taken during various years starting from 1946, and none of them aged since their disappearance. They reappear near Mount Rainier, Washington, but none of them remember what happened from when they were taken to present day. It also becomes clear that they exhibit certain special abilities. These abilities cause a line to be drawn – there are those who support the 4400, and others who oppose them and the use of their special powers. It reminds me of the mutants in the X-Men movies in the fact that there was such strong opposition against them as well.
The main characters were two NTAC (government) agents who, along with Maia (a young girl who is one of the 4400 and was adopted by one of the agents during season two) try to make sense of why these people were taken and what happened to them while they were gone.
This show was absolutely riveting! It was extremely well-written to the point of being absolutely believable. The characters were perfectly cast, and their acting was impressive. Each episode had its own perfect amount of humor, suspense and action.
If you don’t already know, right about now you might be asking yourself “If it was so great, why was it canceled?” I’ll give you a hint; it wasn’t due to ratings. The 4400 ended their final season with a major cliffhanger. The show had every intention of continuing – but then the writers’ strike occurred in 2007 and caused the cancellation of this show and others that were phenomenal in their own right.
Unfortunately we (the viewers) never got to find out the mystery of the 4400. Don’t let that stop you from checking it out though! You can catch the first season of The 4400 on Netflix – click HERE to find out more.
The BBC America channel has been replaying Season 3 of “Doctor Who” which marked the return of the Master to the series (this time played by Derek Jacobi and Jonathan Simm). The Master was last seen (officially) in the guise of Eric Roberts in the 1996 movie “Doctor Who” which featured Paul McGann as the Doctor. Roberts played him more like the Terminator as opposed to the aristocrat as he was played in the classic series by both Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley.
The Master is the Professor Moriarty to the Doctor’s Sherlock Holmes.
When the Master returned in Season 3, he first appeared as Professor Yana (played by the older Derek Jacobi) who was disguised as a human. The Master had been resurrected by the Time Lords (the race of the Doctor) during the Time War to be the perfect soldier, but the Master abandoned his post. He disguised himself in human form and fled to the year One Trillion A.D. (where he worked as a scientist trying to a build a rocket ship to save the last members of the human race). The Doctor arrives with his TARDIS and uncovers the Master’s disguise, sees the Master regenerate from Derek Jacobi to the younger John Simm. The newly regenerated Master steals the TARDIS and travels back to 2007.
In the year 2007, the Master tricks Britain into electing him Prime Minister and he proceeds to take over the world. Over the course of a year, he captures the Doctor, Martha Jones and Captain Jack Harkness. The Master forces humanity to build an invasion force of rocket ships to take over the universe. Of course, the Doctor wins and in the process the Master is shot, but, out of spite, he dies instead of regenerating.
However, a cult of Master followers bring him back to life in “The End of Time” Parts 1 and 2 (the final episodes of Tennant’s Doctor). This time the Master is a cannibal and he figures out a way to turn ever human in the world into him – literally turning humanity in the Master Race. At the same time, the Time Lords (led by Timothy Dalton) return from the Time War. Their hope is to destroy the Earth so Gallifrey could occupy Earth’s space. I forget how, but this will end up destroying the universe and Dalton and the rest of the Time Lords would evolve into some sort of higher life form. In their own unique ways, the Doctor and Master team up and push Gallifrey back into the Time War and the Master is killed again.
Honestly, I think the Master needs to be re-cast and rewritten. I have nothing against Simm, because he seems like an amazing actor. However, he played the role of the Master similar to how Mark Hamill played the Joker in “Batman: the Animated Series.”
If Simm could play the Joker, fantastic - but the Master was never meant to be like the Joker. Roberts aside, the Master should never have been reduced to being…well…silly.
For example in the episode “The Sound of Drums,” Simm has just taken office as the Prime Minister and he says, “I am angry with you!” The members of the cabinet think he is joking. He says, “This is me happy” and he smiles. “This is me angry” and he frowns. “This is what I am” – he frowns. “This is what I am not” – he smiles and he proceeds to kill the cabinet.
I just don’t get him acting goofy. The Master is the sort who will drink tea, own fine art and would never dirty himself among the unwashed heathens. He is an aristocrat hiding his depravity. Simm was just pure depravity.
If the Master does pop back up in Matt Smith’s run, I hope he is recast and rewritten, or at the very least Simm grows an evil beard! Seriously, what’s the point of being an inner-galactic supervillain if you can’t have the cool beard?
I’ll admit – I have a very weak stomach and cannot tolerate watching zombie shows and movies. From their slow, slithering ways to their rotting flesh, zombies are a bit more than I can handle. Add to this their mindless, instinct-driven desire to consume copious amounts of human flesh, and I basically run when anything zombie is on television. I cannot even bring myself to watch The Walking Dead, (from what I hear) a fantastic show depicted the troubled times of the last humans trying to survive a zombie apocalypse.
But today I started thinking about it. What if that actually happened? Instead of going through how terrible things would be if that occurred, I decided to actually take a moment and think of the highlights of an event such as this.
1. Disintegration of government on multiple levels – If you’re not a fan of the bureaucracy of government these days (and who is), maybe a zombie apocalypse isn’t such a bad thing after all. I just spent two hours today at the Division of Motor Vehicles getting my truck inspected. After interacting with the employees there, I can tell you that if there were ever to be a zombie apocalypse, it would most definitely start in government somewhere.
2. Bad Neighbors? Eat them! Imagine this – your neighbor is always in your business. He causes trouble, trespasses on your property and tries to pick fights with you on a weekly basis. Bam! The zombie apocalypse begins. If you turn, the last thought you’ll have about your neighbor is how good he’ll taste while you’re chewing his flesh. Not a bad motivator right there.
3. No more debt – I love this one. Think about it – while zombies are marching along the face of the earth devouring any and all living flesh in sight, I doubt Capital One will be trying to get you to make your credit card payment that month. It’s the end of any and all debt.
4. Free food! With all those helpless humans running around screaming, you’ll never have to worry about buying food again. Just grab one and start chewing! However, if you decide to try to stay human, good luck trying to find a grocery store that’ll have fresh food, or a place to prepare and cook the food without endless zombies running toward you once the smell tips them off. Yeah… zombie’s definitely the way to go with this one.
5. Stabilization of the world’s population – I love this one! So many people are genuinely concerned about the fate of the earth with her population booming more than ever before. While it’s true that most if not all of the humans would eventually become zombies and thus, still take up place on the earth, procreation would come to an end. At some point no new humans would be born. And since they wouldn’t be using fossil fuels, they’d be contributing to reducing our carbon footprint!
While I once thought a zombie apocalypse would be horrible, I can see that it actually wouldn’t be so terrible at all! Feel like adding to the list? Do so below!