Sunday, July 26, 2009


May as well jot this all down while I can.

It was just after 5 p.m. Tuesday, and I was leaving work, turning east onto Rancho Bernardo Rd just after the light had turned green. I was making my turn when I vaguely remember a shape coming in from the driver's side, toward the rear of the car. Then everything shook.

My next memory is of laying in the driver's seat while a guy -- I think he had a goatee -- asked me how I was and said he was calling 911. I have another vague recollection of talking to medical personnel. And that's about all I remmeber from the street.

Next thing I know, it's past 8 in the evening and I'm in a hospital. My roomies Jim & HouseKevin are already there, having apparently been alerted by the authorities. (Did I give them the house number? I wonder.) My spirits were pretty high, all things considered. I didn't notice the pain until later. I apparently asked the boys four times how their days went, confirming my concussion. But otherwise, things were okay: we joked around and I tried, vainly, to get one of the cuter nurses to come over and re-examine me. I also asked if we could import a particular female cast member in a nurse's outfit. I'm blaming that on shell-shock.

The drive home was pretty uneventful; Kev, who's sustained three concussions of his own, assured me this first one was easy. We arrived to find our Brother LBJ and cast leader Amy watching Cannibal: The Musical. I came in with both my shirt and undershirt torn, having been cut open by the authorities, exposing the long, slim mark from my seat belt on my left shoulder. They looked at me and probably thought, naturally, "WTF?"

"Mild concussion. Got in a car wreck," I said (or at least think I did.) "Not necessarily in that order."

After that, I relaxed on Amy's lap while pitching into callbacks for the movie, ate some chieken soup and drank Gatorade. I tried to get to bed a couple of hours ago, but I'm too tired to rest, if that makes any sense. I haven't had any nightmares yet about this, so maybe they won't come. Tomorrow, Kevin assured me, would be the most painful day: "It'll be like a really big hangover," he said.

But before all that, I wanted to write down what I remember, if I need to refer back to it later.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Critic Becomes The Critiqued: Arturo vs. Doctor Who: A Room With A Deja View!

In this case, the Who - as in who's writing it - is half the selling point for this book, as noted comics muckraker Rich Johnston steps onto the frontline, as it were, in his first published piece with a licensed character - "the licensed character I spend my childhood wanting to be," he notes on his site, and "my adolescence wanting to write and my adult years wanting them to bring back."

No spoilers here, but Johnston's love for The Doctor - here, The Tenth Doctor - shines through. The story seems to take place not long after the events of Journey's End, and backs up some of the feelings we've seen Ten express in the recent television specials. Luckily for him, though, something pops up to get his mind off the doldrums and into a new mystery.

The thick of the story itself relies on a fun narrative trick, as The Doc encounters a sort-of interplanetary Benjamin Button - their conversation forces the reader to do a little extra work, but the payoff is worth it. Much like the last couple of televised specials, in fact, the book leaves you with a little smile at the end - nothing earth-shattering, mind you, but a nice one-off dose of fun. Still, if Johnston gets another crack at the character, I wouldn't mind seeing what else he can do with him.

@ThePeterPixie and I will be talking about the book more in depth on the show, and I'll be posting a chat with Johnston himself from SDCC during the weekend.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dropping Names and Walking Dead!

Last night on Hour 42, @ThePeterPixie and I covered a variety of topics, including:

* The Blackest Night - how big could it get? Is it really too violent for today's audience?
* There's yet another comics convention coming to Southern California - but is Wizard Entertainment really out to undermine C2E2?
* Learn the secret of the FUNK LANTERN!
* And I did a little name-dropping of the people I'm looking to talk to at San Diego Comic Con, like Justin Hartley and Scarlett Johansson - and the one thing I'd love to hear SJ say.
* Starting Thursday I'll be posting from Con not only here, but at The R, and at Flickr.
* Also, Saturday morning at 11:40, I'll be calling in to L.A. Gen X Radio and giving them 5 good minutes - that's what she said - of Con coverage. If you go to their page, you can catch me crashing their party with BeTheBoy and The SlackMistress, as we talked about Michael Bay's (fake) Twitter.

Meantime, if you want to catch up on last night's show, just click the fancy-dan player below ... and get set for the audio-visual assault this weekend!

Fashion Police: Gallifrey

Filming started this morning on next year's season of Doctor Who, sez the BBC, with the pic above to prove it. The Doc Martens there are a nice touch, but the overall gear gives off a certain kind of vibe ...

Also, it looks like the new Companion, Amy, is indeed keeping the 'Round The Way look.

(thanks to @PopCandy for the link)

Update: The Sun has posted a slideshow, complete with a look at a guest-star, and The Daily Mail has more pics of The Doctor and Amy, along with some exterior TARDIS shots. (Props to Gallifrey News Base.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It's the big Comic-Con prep show!

Less than 96 hours 'til SD Comic-Con and @ThePeterPixie and I have one more show before the madness starts. This week:

* Got questions for people in the biz? I'm taking suggestions!
* Reports on a new convention coming to So. Cal next year
* My one request of Scarlett Johansson
* And your comments and questions at 646-716-4799

See you all at 7p PST (10p EST)

Friday, July 17, 2009


This past Sunday marked the 30th anniversary of Disco Demolition Night, which most of us probably remember as a radio prank gone mildly amusing. Turns out that, while the stunt itself might have been played for laughs, there was something uglier fueling it. Check it out at The R today. And in honor of all this, let's play a little disco, hmmm?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

CON NOTEBOOK 1: Putting It Together

I had the time of my life at Comic-Con last year. How? Simple - I ignored most of it. I won't get that luxury this year.

See, this year I'm going on behalf of The R, meaning there's some panels I'm bound to go to, and some people I definitely want to interview. Besides that, I'll be hustling to make contacts for myself and the show. And on top of that, there's the best part of the Con for me - wandering around the floor and taking pictures of/with the fine and funny folks I run into along the way.

This year, though, because of my added obligations, I have to step it up: I'm already sifting through the Con calendar, each day side-by-side, filling in a prospective schedule on a spreadsheet; e-mailing pr reps to try to line up interviews; today I bought a camera; and I ordered business cards printed with the show's new logo. If it all goes right, I'll be able to write, edit and post at least one story a day for The R from the convention, with pics and/or audio. A one-man multimedia geek news crew, much like another journalist of yore:

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Sure-Fire Comic-Con Marvel Moneymaker

Over at Comic By Comic today, @RichL1 - nice twitter name, very Autobotish - posted previews of some of Marvel Comics' 70th Anniversary covers. And instantly I thought, I would pay cash money to be photographed inside one of those frames at Comic-Con.

I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one, either. So there, @Marvel, you can have that one for free!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Pyrrhic Triumph: Arturo vs. Torchwood: Children Of Earth!

I helped plot the whole storyline, and I stand by every single decision. Yes, including *that* one - I had my hand on the death lever along with everyone else, and was fully involved. I think it's a fantastic, brave, challenging drama, and contains some of the best moments on TV all year.
- Torchwood writer James Moran, on his blog.*

Couldn't agree with him more.


This was the year where less really was more. Less episodes, less time, less team members - add it all up and there wasn't any time for Torchwood to get bogged down in melodrama. No more SEKRIT SECKS affairs, no more holding Gwen by the hand.

What we got, instead, was the series' finest hour - finest five hours, in fact, filled with heartbreak, humor and an 11th-hour save that was as brutal as it was brilliant. Safe to say this season blew away anything the series had done before, and not just metaphorically: the team's comfy ol' Hub is now rubble, leaving nothing behind, presumably, but ambient Rift energy. That it went down in the very first episode, when normally it's a scene you see in a season finale, was a big clue that RTD and the creative team weren't going to hold anything back this time 'round. The biggest flaw in this mini-series was the lack of explanation as to why the government wanted the team dusted to begin with, especially after we learn the truth behind Jack's role in the 456's visit to Scotland, but it speeds by so wildly you hardly have time to examine that.

And indeed, they didn't. This was the rare time when the team was truly pushed to the limits. Beyond them, even. And it was the even rarer moment when everybody stepped up accordingly. It was a great relief to see Gwen finally become a full-on hero: leading when she had to, carrying out plans when asked to, but never losing it, as she was so wont to do in the first two seasons. Even Rhys and Andy got to shine. And Lois, who could have been a Mary Sue figure, would instead make a welcome addition to the team.

On the other side, the villains were ... well, they were us. The high-level discussions that take place after the arrival of the 456 were horrifying, but not implausible. They were human, in the most uncomfortable of ways. And all credit due, again, to Peter Capaldi, as Mr. Frobisher, who has great power and responsibility shunted upon him ... and just can't hold it together. As Agent Johnson, Liz May Brice provided a more than capable physical foil for the TW team, and made her "coming around" seem plausible.

And then there's Ianto.

I'm gonna go ahead and guess that Moran's statement references not only Ianto, but the brutal game-saving decision by Jack, and in each case I stand behind Moran's decision. What happened to Ianto was undeniably sad, but he went out strong as a character - rallying after the destruction of the Hub, rescuing Jack from Johnson and never wavering, even as he dealt with the ramifications of being involved with Jack. ("No other men," he confesses to his sister. "Just him.")

In the end, Jack loses as much personally as he wins in the "bigger picture," so much so that he can't even stand to be on the planet anymore - a man who can't die, after all, can never know true peace. And so we're left with him in exile, Gwen pregnant, and the Torchwood that we've known well and truly gone.

At least for now. As the Doctor Who News Page reports, the show was a ratings hit during its' maiden voyage on BBC One, which would seem to justify a fourth season. But how? My money is on a Buffy-like storyline where Gwen is playing Professor X-Preggers with Rhys and coordinating a makeshift team (Agent Johnson, Lois, Mickey Smith and, availability pending, Martha Jones?) until Jack is forced to return and begin his journey toward redemption. It's a challenge I hope Moran, Davies and the show's runners take up soon.

* Props to The Nerdy Bird for the link to Moran's blog

New time slot, new logo!

Yeeeeah, you know it's the new hotness.

Yesterday, @ThePeterPixie and I did the first morning edition of Hour 42, live from a panel at Anime Fest Wichita, with special guests Caitlin Glass and Robert Axelrod. We also unveiled the show's new logo, designed by my friend @kittenfaced and con goers got dibs on hearing my review of Blood: The Last Vampire.

But, as they say, wait, there's more! Tonight we debut at our new time, 7pm PST (10p EST) with another visit from our friend Jill Pantozzi, aka The Nerdy Bird. Jill will be joining us to talk about the new Green Lantern, this week's Torchwood opus, and we ask the question: what's wrong with the Justice League?

To get a taste of the show, just click on the player below, and, hey, if you're at Comic-Con, say hi!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Notes on Torchwood: COE Part 5!

* Brutal. Just brutal. Brilliant, but brutal. This episode - the best RTD finale ever - took us to the unimaginable, and then pulled the trigger.
* In an indirect way, the events here proved the worth of characters like Harriet Jones - and, yeah, that other guy, who gets name-checked. And how not everybody can reach that level, try as they might.
* The big question: Now what?


In honor of both my going to see the live-action adaptation of Blood: The Last Vampire today and the start of Anime Fest Wichita, we've got the themes to Robotech and Cowboy Bebop and a Lacuna Coil clip mixed in with shots from the original Blood anime film. Enjoy - and don't forget, special episode of the podcast tomorrow morning at 11:30a (PST)!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Notes on Torchwood: COE Part 4!


Ahem. I'll try to keep it together.

* I just want to take a minute and point out: Peter Capaldi has been tremendous all week as Mr. Frobisher. If you want to see him really cut loose, check out The Thick Of It. I'll put up a clip at the bottom of this post.
* Y'know, if @ThePeterPixie and I are right, the ol' TWmobile might be getting a little more crowded next year ...
* Can RTD finally close a story satisfactorily? We'll find out tomorrow

Okay, here's the clip. Language is definitely NSFW, but if you're into polite verbal brutality, you'll enjoy it.

Notes on Torchwood: COE Part 3!

*It's crazy, but I'm actually used to the level of awesome in this mini-series so far
* One man is put in an unenviable position, while another isn't as good a poker player as he thinks - neither is whom you might suspect
* Turns out one of the villains has some humanity, after all
* Anybody else get an ID4 vibe from a few scenes there?
* "We want 10 percent"
* More dirty secrets come out
* Ratings-wise, the series is easily justifying a fourth, full season: as noted on Gallifrey News Base, Day 3 was No. 3 in the overnights for BBC1, a day after Day 2 topped the charts; Day 1, by comparison, started the week in 5th place

* Notes on Day 2
* Notes on Day 1

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Notes on Torchwood: COE Part 2!

* Not only did the pace pick up acceptably well in Day 2 of the team's worst week ever, but John Fay's script supplied a surprising amount of good humor, including a solid turn by ANDY of all people.
* Bombshells were dropped, literally and figuratively, and handled adroitly by everybody involved.
* One ace in the hole came into play, and even though there were moments of Canon Sue, the character is still likable enough to root for after this mess is done
* Gwen's still running the show capably - capably enough for me to worry about her, to be honest - but Ianto really stepped up here, too.
* Day 3 promises to be the turning point, as we might get the one big question hanging over all this answered.

* Notes on Part 1

Notes on Torchwood: Children Of Earth, Part 1!

Just to be nice, I'll keep things spoiler-free as much as possible, but here goes.

The challenge for Torchwood this year is quite different than the one faced by its'parent program. Without the benefit of either a sentimental farewell tour or a standard-length season, Children of Earth has to both haul ass and kick ass. And after "Day 1," it looks like it's on pace to do both.

Again, no spoilers here, but the lack of time to waste made the opener feel looser than the standard episode. The sides are quickly drawn; we get a welcome hand-wave to explain a potentially annoying absence; the villains we've met so far are, respectively, mysterious and suitably ruthless; and best of all, each of the three principals not only gets a good turn, but a welcome extra layer to each of their characters. It was particularly satisfying to see Gwen look finally, fully, a part of the team. So far, so good, definitely.

New at The R

Pop culture history is fraught with the archetype of the do-gooder rich guy. Bruce Wayne. Tony Stark. Daddy Warbucks. Richie Rich. Now NBC is attempting to trot out its' own version, Teddy Rist, aka The Philanthropist, in a show "based on" real-life humanitarian Bobby Sager.

So how did they do? Well, The Roundtable and I are happy to tell you.

Monday, July 6, 2009

This show was a rollercoaster!

Ah, the magic of live radio. Last night's show was a bit of an adventure, to say the least. But here's some of the highlights:

* We talked about the latest news surrounding X-Factor and Captain America
* After some, uh, technical difficulties, @ThePeterPixie managed to have a nice chat with Lord Zedd himself, Robert Axelrod
* We previewed Anime Fest Wichita, where Peter will be hosting - and where we'll be doing a special daytime show July 11 at 11:30 am PST (2:30p EST)
* Last but not least in the very least, we got a special visit from our pal The Nerdy Bird!

So just click on the handy-dandy player below and listen in on the fun - and don't forget, two shows next week!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tonight on the show ...

Tonight will be the last show at 8pm PST for @ThePeterPixie and I before Hour 42 move up an hour earlier - to 7pm. And to join us on the way out, we're inviting a special guest-supervillain (hint hint, look at the pic).

Robert Axelrod, who played Lord Zedd on the Power Rangers shows, will stop by to talk about his experiences with both that show and Digimon. Also, Peter and I will be discussing Captain America, the JLA, Doctor Who and more, plus YOUR comments and questions at 646-716-4799

Friday, July 3, 2009

Indiana Vice: Arturo vs. Public Enemies!

It's kind of fun to watch an audience deflate at the sight of dashed expectations – in the case of Public Enemies, the presumption that it was going to be all about Johnny Depp swashbuckling around again.


We do get some of that, of course, as Depp steps into the legend of bank-robber/folk hero John Dillinger. We meet Dillinger as he starts a comeback tour, escaping Indiana State Prison and gets back on the criminal horse. In the midst of all this he commits – or maybe invents? -- the classic crook's mistake: he takes up with a girl (Marion Cotillard). And these scenes, of course, are the ones dominating the adverts, with Depp crooning the girl into being his moll.

Unfortunately for fans of Depp, director and co-writer Michael Mann is more interested in tracing Dillinger's fall than re-telling his story. Much like another Depp character, Jack Sparrow, Dillinger and his loose cannon ways are out-of-place in a country where both the crooks, led in Chicago by a true villain, Frank Nitti (Bill Camp), and the cops are getting more organized.

Leading the charge for Johnny Law, if not the promotional blitz, is young G-Man Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), hot-shotted into a position out of his depth by embarrassed FBI honcho J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup). Purvis is a capable cop – witness his takedown of Pretty Boy Floyd (blink and you'll miss Channing Tatum) – and tech-friendly for his era, but Bale capably shows Purvis feeling just as trapped by his own environment as Dillinger is squeezed out of his. This parallel adds a welcome layer to the usual cat-and-mouse dynamic. Best of all, it's apparently not too far removed from historical truth.

In fact, it's a pleasant surprise that Mann and co-writers Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman seem to omit more of the Dillinger legends, rather than make up some new ones. (Fans of Baby Face Nelson, though, have reason to complain). But, for example: Manhattan Melodrama and the Biograph Theater? The unsavory deal Purvis struck? The theft of Sheriff Holley's car? All part of Dillinger “canon.”

It might be the omissions, however, that stop Enemies from being a meatier work, rather than a capable summer matinee. You're left wanting to know more about why Dillinger did what he did, or wanting to see more of his “man of the people” persona at work and his own cunning (did you know, for instance, that the "Jackrabbit" was one of the first crooks to use bulletproof vests?) We get glimpses here and there of the man behind the myth, but the romantic and chase storylines dominate the film. What we get isn't executed badly – but hopefully we'll get a longer cut where Depp and Mann can really dig into the man behind the myth.


Just to keep the joke going a little longer - and because everyone should listen to Fear Of A Black Planet once in their lives ...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

WHAT? A Doctor Who movie, after all?

Yeah, that was my reaction, too.

From this morning's story at Bleeding Cool:

Hidden at the bottom of a recent BBC piece PR was the news that the British Broadcasting Corporation are planning a Doctor Who movie, probably for 2011, starring David Tennant in the role, while Matt Smith will continue to play the character on the television.

Expected to be written by Russell T Davies, while Steven Moffat becomes showrunner of the TV series, there is very little detail revealed as to what kind of movie it will be.

Suddenly the DW panel at Comic-Con got a bit more interesting.

Previously: Tinseltown For Tennant?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gratuitous Pic Spam

Taken from Neill Cameron's The A to Z of Awesomeness.

Oh, those Public Enemies ...

So, Brother Kev-Fu and I are probably going to check out Public Enemies at a Friday matinee. I gotta tell you, though, I'm already disappointed - when I first heard the title, I hoped it was a biopic on these guys:

Ah well, a guy can dream.