Showing posts from December, 2013

Fun With Keywords: Auf Wiedersehen, 2013

So, 2013. Kind of a mixed bag, huh? For my part, I started to move to Seattle, then ended up staying in New York. Through my company, Luft Books, I published two more of my novels—Lonely Satellite and Charlotte Dent—plus another novel, A.K. Adler’s Disconnected. I released a paperback edition of Wrong City. My book Bias Cut won an IPPY award, then reached #2 in Amazon’s entire Kindle store during a weeklong giveaway, and currently has a staggering 91 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars at Amazon. For this site, I wrote an awful lot of words about Teen Wolf, a goodly chunk of words about Arrow, and somewhat fewer words about Duran Duran than I have in previous years. For those who’ve hung out around these parts despite my erratic posting schedule and my weird and random taste in pop-culture entertainment, thank you very much.
I haven’t done a Fun With Keywords post since very early in the year, so here’s a refresher: With the help of Google Analytics, I occasionally take a look…

Max Headroom: “Blipverts”

Let’s look at the pilot episode of Max Headroom, the cyberpunk TV series that aired far too briefly on ABC from 1987 to 1988. The pilot was a pared-down remake of an excellent 1985 UK made-for-television movie, Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future. The basic plot, some dialogue, and some footage, plus three of the principal actors—Matt Frewer, Amanda Pays and, appearing later in the series, W. Morgan Sheppard—were retained from the movie version, though most roles were recast, and the bulk of the scenes were reshot.
The character of Max Headroom achieved a level of fame—as a talk show host, as a New Coke pitchman, as a pop-culture punchline—that eclipsed both the TV movie and the series (more people know Max Headroom than know Max Headroom, if you follow my drift). That’s a shame. All respect to Max, but the show is greater than the character.

Arrow 2-09: “Three Ghosts”

‘Tis the holiday season, so Arrow has added some Dickensian flavor with this A Christmas Carol-infused episode. It’s the midseason finale, which means: a) no new episodes until mid-January, and b) lots of exciting and game-changing stuff happens. Let’s hit it:

We pick up where we left off last episode, with Barry Allen racing to save Oliver’s life. Oliver’s blood has coagulated dangerously, so Barry injects him with a syringe full of rat poison to thin it out. “You’re lucky you guys have a rat problem,” Barry chirps to Felicity and Digg. Barry’s fun. As Oliver gradually returns to consciousness, he sees a vision of Shado, his own personal Ghost of Christmas Past, beaming at him benevolently while extending her hands to him.

The A-Team: “Cowboy George”

So in 1986, Boy George appeared on an A-Team episode, and it was glorious.

For anyone who missed out on TheA-Team’s contribution to the pop-culture zeitgeist of the eighties, it was a wildly popular hyper-macho action series about a wisecracking quartet of Vietnam veterans-turned-fugitives-turned-mercenaries: team leader Hannibal (George Peppard), pretty-boy con artist Face (Dirk Benedict), legally-insane pilot Murdock (Dwight Schultz), and muscle-bound softie B.A. (Mr. T). Airing on NBC from 1983 to 1987, it somehow managed to be witless and violent and inane and charming all at once. For anyone who missed out on Boy George’s contribution to the pop-culture zeitgeist of the eighties, he’s an androgynous English pop star known for his heavy makeup and penchant for cross-dressing, who, with his New Wave band Culture Club, had a number of catchy hits throughout the decade. So, y’know, obviously this was a synergistic pairing.

Arrow 2-08: “The Scientist”

There’s a break-in at one of Queen Consolidated’s laboratories. Titanium doors are ripped off their hinges, security guards are tossed around like dolls, and a large industrial centrifuge gets stolen. When Oliver, Felicity and Diggle arrive to investigate, they’re joined by elfin forensic scientist Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who works for the Central City Police Department’s CSI unit and who is visiting Starling City to see if this robbery has any connection to a current case.
(Pretty sure we all know who Barry Allen is in the DC Comics universe, and I don’t consider his superhero identity a spoiler, but since he either doesn’t have powers yet or is keeping them under wraps, he’s just going to be plain old Barry for the time being.)
First impressions: I like Barry. He’s smart, he’s cute, he’s goofy, and he’s full of energy. That last quality is probably the most important one on this show, which has had significant problems with actors sleepwalking through their scenes.

Duranalysis: Falling Down

After a hiatus of, oh, six or seven months, Duranalysis has returned.
For something new and different, we’re moving out of Duran Duran’s golden era and heading all the way up to 2007 with a look at the video for “Falling Down”, the only single released off their Timbaland/Justin Timberlake-produced Red Carpet Massacre album. The song wasn’t a hit, but the video, which was directed by Anthony Mandler, is stylish and sleazy and fun. Let’s hit it:
In the backseat of a limousine, a father gives a pep talk to his beautiful teen daughter, whom he is dropping off at a rehabilitation hospital. He’s trying to sell her on the whole rehab concept (“It’s like school. It looks better than your school!”), but she’s having none of it.