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Random thoughts of a Tennessee fan on life, sports and more TV shows than any one person should be allowed to watch.
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Name: Michael
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Thursday, May 31, 2007
Go Lady Vols!
Congratulations to the Lady Vols softball team on an opening game shut-out of Texas A&M in the Women's College World Series.

We're in the winner's bracket in the double elimination tournament. Let's stay there....

GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/31/2007 08:32:00 PM | |

One heck of a crossover

Princess Leia in "the costume" from Jedi gets a ride on K-9. How can you not love sci-fi?

It's things like this that affirm why I love the Internet...

Hat tip: Vicious Imagary

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/31/2007 08:25:00 PM | |
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Meeting Rick and Bubba

Journeyed to the Barnes and Nobel over in Cool Springs to meet radio hosts, Rick and Bubba this evening. They were in town to celebrate their return to the Nashville airwaves and sign copies of their new book, The Rick and Bubba Code.
I picked up a copy of the new book and got it autographed by the guys. I also got to meet Speedy, who might be familiar to Titans fans. He used to work with the Titans on game day, running promotions in the stands during TV time-outs.
A nice evening and the guys were just as nice, honest and "real" as they are on the radio.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/30/2007 08:24:00 PM | |

The Food Meme
A couple of people have been kind enough to tag me for this one. So, here we go..

1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the city/state and country you’re in.
Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Todd (Louisville, Kentucky, United States)
miss kendra (los angeles, california, u.s.a)
Jiggs Casey (Berkeley, CA, USA! USA! USA!)
Tits McGee (New England, USA)
Joe (NE Tennessee, USA)10K Monkeys (Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA)
Big Stupid Tommy (Athens, Tennessee, USA)
Newscoma (Weakley County, Tennessee, USA)
Russ McBee (Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)
Atomictumor Mrs Eaves (Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA)
Oh Really? LissaKay (Oak Ridge, TN, USA)
Inn of the Last Home (Knoxville, TN USA)
I Am DisHeartened by My Jetta (Nashville, TN, USA)
Big Orange Michael (Smyrna, TN USA)

2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location. (Please note: These are in no particular order).

5. Sonic - my favorite fast food of all time. As I've said many times before on this blog and I am sure will say many times again, I could eat Sonic food three melals a day and never get tired of it. Of course, eating that many calories three meals a day would also mean I'd be the size of a small house, but man that food is good.

4. Toots - especially on Tuesday nights when their burgers are on special for $2.99. Yum! Add an order of onion fries or maybe a basket of fried dill pickles...yum. For those of who aren't locals to Rutherford County, Toots is a sports-bar and grill type of place....or to make it easier, think Hooters only more family friendly, with better food and cuter waitresses.

3. Cozumel - A local Mexican resturant that I really like. The nachos Cozumel are wonderful. I haven't been in a while to eat there...what is wrong with me? I think part of it is I used to go every Thursday after church and got burned out on it...but it's been a while so I should go back.

2. Mothership BBQ - the blogger version of Cheers for the Nashsville crowd. Odds are if you go there for lunch, you will recognize at least one blogger....and not just because a blogger owns and runs the place. Great BBQ and well-done sides (though I will have to admit the fried apples aren't as good as my mom's or grandmother's...but I'm probably a bit biased there).

1. Andrea's Breaking Bread - anyone who's visited me in Smyrna and taken advantage of my guest-room knows this is the place to be Saturday morning for breakfast. For only seven bucks, it's all you can eat of eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, fried potatoes and a chicken strip. Plus you get your drink included with that and the price includes tax. It's all hot, fresh and delicious...they bring you out three plates of food to start out and you refill from there, if you want. It's got every other all you can eat breakfast place beat, hands down. This is my weekly indulgance and I enjoy it. If you're in middle Tenessee and you've not been on a Saturday morning, you owe it to yourself to go. The restaurant is on the town square in Smyrna. If you need directions, e-mail me...and maybe I'll meet you there. They also do a Tuesday through Friday lunch that is a meat and three deal...which I bet is beyond great. I keep meaning to look into that.

Now it says I'm supposed to tag five people to continue the fun...
Rachel, TiffSniff, Sarah R., Becky, Logtar

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/30/2007 11:10:00 AM | |
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Jonathan Coulton -Skullcrusher Mountain

Live from Los Angeles--one of the greatest funny songs in history. Listen, laugh, enjoy!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/29/2007 09:31:00 PM | |

Come on Nick at Nite...
Full House was really stretching the defintion of classic television...but now showing America's Funniest Home Videos.

That is just plain wrong....

No way, no how is AFHV in any way, shape or form a classic.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/29/2007 09:23:00 PM | |

Book store owner burns books in protest
Came across this article from the AP this morning about Tom Wayne, the owner of a used book store in Kansas City.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tom Wayne has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero's Books.

His collection ranges from best sellers, such as Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" and Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities," to obscure titles, like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910. But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn't even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.

So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books in protest of what he sees as society's diminishing support for the printed word.

"This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today," Wayne told spectator outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.

The fire blazed for about 50 minutes before the Kansas City Fire Department put it out because Wayne didn't have a permit for burning. Wayne said next time he will get a permit. He said he envisions monthly bonfires until his supply -- estimated at 20,000 books -- is exhausted.

I guess being a bibliophile, the thought of burning books just bothers me. I am intrigued that Wayne's tactics brought people to his store and some of them purchased the books to save them rather than allowing them to be burned.

I know that the trend toward "reading for pleasure" has been on the decline these past few years--and I worry that with the big-event series of Harry Potter ending in a few weeks, those numbers will decline further in the years to come--but is burning the books really the best solution? And while we did hear about people saving some of the books, will they be read?

Is there any good solution to this problem? How do we get people enthusiastic about reading?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/29/2007 09:36:00 AM | |
Monday, May 28, 2007
TV Round-Up: 24
Day Six, 4-6 a.m.
And with that, day six of 24 comes to a close.

The long, national nightmare is finally over and we can maybe move forward in picking up the pieces for a better day next year.

But since this is the last time I will blog about an episode of 24 until January, I have a few things to say...

First of all, didn't we establish in the previous hour that Division had sent over someone new to head up CTU? If that's try then why was Nadia still in charge enough to help Jack and Bill pull off their little steal the helicopter and defeat Phillip Bauer raud? I can't see the new division head letting Nadia keep that much authority that long, especially in light of her loyalty to Bill Buchanan. But if they don't do that, then Chang could get away and take the component with them.

Also, I find it incredibly hard to believe that after all the posturing the Russians did, that they'd just accept the component was blown up on the oil platform. I find this especially hard to accept given how Daniels and company had just spent the better part of the last few hours falsifying information to them to cover up they didn't have the component. I don't quite buy why Suberoff suddenly became so trusting--even given the fact that they were tied into our satellites and watched the whole thing unfold.

Then, there's Phillip Bauer--so we didnt' see him die and there was a boat nearby. Any takers on his surviving and coming back again.

I hope that isn't the case, but the writers did leave that door slightly ajar.

And it just does not pay to be a potential love interest for Nadia. First Milo dies and now Mike is seriously wounded by Phillip Bauer's little trap. If I were a single guy at CTU, I'd be steering clear of her--it's not just Jack who is cursed.

Ah, Jack....what can we say?

Well, at least one good thing came out of it--Jack didn't turn out to be Josh's father. I was really concerned the series would go there in the end, but it didn't. And Jack once again makes the world safe for democracy and then heads off into the sunset. I got the impression Jack was thinking of doing a disappearing act again like he did two years ago (shades of the greatest hits nature of this entire season). But who knows--maybe instead Jack will get a transfer to another office, thus giving us a big reset for the start of season seven.

One thing I would have been interested to see that never happened this year--Kim finds out her dad is alive. It makes me wonder why Phillip was so obsessed with Josh as the grandchild he's going to take to China but he never once tries to go and kidnap Kim. She might have been better leverage against Jack...

But, I am thinking too much and if there's one thing this last day of 24 has taught me, it's that thinking too much doesn't help you enjoy the show more.

At least not this season...

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/28/2007 09:10:00 AM | |
Sunday, May 27, 2007
An evening out on the town
What happens when you combine bloggers, booze and karoke?

You get one heck of a way to spend a Saturday evening, that's for sure.

I braved directions from Google Maps (our motto: no, really look at a real map before you try following ours) last night to attend the blogger May b'day/send Aunt B to Boston party at the Lipstick Lounge. After going completely the wrong way, (again, thank you Google Maps), I arrived just in time for the fesititives to begin.

I can't and won't summarize the entire few hours I spent there...words alone cannot replicate the experience of the evening. But here a few of (my) highlights from the evening.
  • Walking in, Kat Coble immediately challenged me to a throw-down over our "debate" on the season finale of Lost.
  • She then challenged me to not mention my favorite TV show for an entire evening....which I didn't admit to her last night, but it was brought up in conversation to me. I tried to avoid it, really I did..
  • Reuniting with the guy who helped me tear up carpet at elementary school last fall.
  • Mrs. Jag trying to get me liquored up so she could take advantage of me. She was kind enough to play along with my really bad pick-up line even though she apparently knew the punch-line....
  • Bad, Bad Ivy's attempts to pursuade me to be part of the "Love Shack" group sing-along (alas, I left before we were able to take stage...)
  • Noticing the bachelerotte party that seemed to be having absolutely no fun at all--except when Slartifartfast brought down the house with his song.
  • "Werewolves of London" as a group participation song...'nuff said.
  • Aunt B informing me that she knew I was "on the low-down" dating another blogger in Nashville. Apparently this is so "low-down" that even I have no knowledge of who I am seeing. I'm beginning to wonder if my SPAM filter is set too high and I've filtered out her message along with all the other crap. Or maybe they're mixing up with some other Big Orange Michael who lives in the area....I'm annoyed because it threw the fragile relationship Mrs. Jag and I were building (wherein she buys me liquor) into a bit of a rocky patch, what with all the pereceived lying and such.
Anyway, it was a great time and I really enjoyed myself...and I think y'all had a better time without me getting up and doing any karoke. Trust me, the less I sing in public, the better it is....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/27/2007 01:06:00 PM | |
Friday, May 25, 2007
Star Wars is 30
Thirty years ago, the original Star Wars hit theaters and the world changed.

I know there are some hoity-toity critics out there who say Star Wars ruined the movies, but honestly they need to get over it. Just becuase a film is commercially successful doesn't necessarily means it's a bad thing (Adam Sandler movies are excluded from this). Personally, I think Star Wars is one of those rare films that holds up to critical scrutiny and also happens to have been wildly successful at the box-office. They can't all be Wild Strawberries or Citizen Kane.

I recall seeing Star Wars in the theaters a couple of times. I am pretty certain my grandfather took me at least once visiting them during the summer and I know I saw it a couple of other times. I'll have to admit, my most vivid memories of the first movie are the book and record set I had where R2-D2 chirped when it was time to turn the pages and my Star Wars lunch box that I had full of action-figures. If only I'd known they'd be worth a small mint today, I'd probably still have played with them.....the memories of making up adventures and sending C3-PO and R2-D2 down the slide in my back yard are worth more than mere money.

I also remember my mom picking up a copy of the novelization somewhere and bringing it home. This was probably not right when it first came out but a year or so later. I recall flipping through the book, looking at the tiny print and wondering how many years it would take me to read the entire book. And if the scenes in the book would be just like the ones on the movie screen or would they be different somehow.

Over the years, I've seen Star Wars a lot. I had copies of the original trilogy on VHS and when they came back out in the theaters as the special editions, Barry and I were there opening night for each one--along with a cast of others. We've been to opening day or weekend of all the prequels together and our mutual love of Star Wars has been one of the many cornerstones of our long friendship.

And while I've been very critical of George Lucas for my perceived lack of quality and fun to the prequel trilogy, I can't deny that the first two movies he made in the Star Wars universe aren't two of the best movies ever made. So, thank you to George Lucas and the entire team who brought Star Wars to life. I've enjoyed the movies and universe for thirty years now and I can't wait to share that excitement with my niece and nephew and, maybe someday if I'm blessed with them, my own kids.


posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/25/2007 08:05:00 PM | |

TV Round-Up
Heroes: How to Stop an Exploding Man
Note to the producers of Heroes--if you're going to go out and promise a memorable season finale, then maybe you ought to do something silly like, oh I don't know, deliver a memorable season finale.

Sorry, but this one wasn't worth the hype, at all.

The first half hour was too slow. We spent the first ten minutes recapping what had gone on all season on the off-chance a new fan wandered by, I guess. I hate to tell you guys this, but I don't think the show was going to pick up any new fans for the finale. And the bits and pieces you included here weren't going to be inclusive enough to bring these new fans and really up to speed. Instead, it just wasted precious screen-time and left this season-long viewer feeling a bit put off by the Cliff Notes of everything we've seen until now.

Then, the second half-hour, when all the pieces began to fall into place. All the heroes cross paths at Kirby Plaza for the ultimate battle with Sylar--and it lasts under a minute. For some reason, I just expected something more epic based on what the show had promised all season up to now, not just a few fisticuffs and Sylar being stabbed in the gut by Hiro's sword. And then, as if to add insult to injury, he appears to die only to slink off down a sewer--and none of the assembled gang seems to notice this. So, he's still alive and can come back next year.

I think what happened is the stories made Sylar so powerful that it really limited the writers in how he could be defeated. I am reminded of the dilemma TNG faced with the Borg back in the early days when the Borg were terrifying, scary and virtually unstoppable. Same thing here--Sylar is so powerful that any way of defeating him would feel hollow. And it did here. And I can't honestly say I'm too hopeful for next year with him still skulking about.

Meanwhile, it turns out Peter is the exploding man and the future is not set in stone. Nathan shows up and both fly off before Peter explodes. Or releases his power. Does this mean both of them are dead? And could that resolution have been any more anti-climatic? And predictable? And filled with REALLY bad dialogue? I kept rolling my eyes during the entire exchage that was supposed to touch our hearts but instead was just stomach churningly bad.

And then, the cliffhanger. It's interesting to see that the second volume is called "Generations" and I hope it will explore people with powers throughout history and how it's all lead to what we're seeing today. But I wonder if next year will waste all of its build-up and potential like this year's season finale did.

This has to be one of the more disappointing season finales I've seen in a long time...all build-up and hype and no pay-off. Bad job, Heroes. You're not leaving me any anticipation or excitement for next season.

Well, at least George Takai was still cool...but that's really about it.

Bring back Christopher Eccleston! The show hasn't been the same without him.

Lost: Through the Looking Glass
If you want to see a season finale that pretty much does everything right, look no further than Lost's mind-bending season-finale that could, possibly, change the entire game. Not since Battlestar Galactica jumped forward a year have I been this eager to see where a show goes next....

I know a few months ago I stated I'd be happy to never see a Jack-related flashback again. I could eat my words, but instead I'll take the loophole--it wasn't a flashback, but a flashforward of a potential future we saw unfolding. I had guessed it was either looking into the future or an alternate reality we were seeing, but I liked where it took us. From the beginning, we've seen that Jack has had some kind of Superman-complex--he wants to save people. He tries to save his father, he tries to save Sarah and he's interested in saving Kate. I'd even say that on some level the attraction to Juliet is that he feels he can save her--possibly from Ben and the island. The interesting thing is, the harder Jack tries to save everyone around him, the more he loses them. He also loses himself, sinking into a depression and despair when separated from the island.

In a lot of ways, Jack away from the island becomes House--acerbic and popping pain pills. When we first see him, he's suicidal, only pulled back from the edge by a twist of fate. I found it interesting how reminiscent of Sarah's accident the whole scene on the bridge was--as was Jack's apparent obsession with saving the woman injured in the accident.

Just as I'm curious about how long in the past the flashbacks take place, I'm now curious how far into the future we flash-forwarded. And was it real or just a potential future? And how did Kate manage to avoid jail time? And is she now married to Sawyer? And could she have looked any less attractive in the make-up they gave her? (Or was that part of the point?)

Meanwhile, back on the island, things continue to unfold and we're left with a lot more questions. It appears Penny is not behind this latest rescue effort, despite what the parachute girl claims. So, who is behind the effort? Is it the Dharma Initiative? Did Ben and the Others somehow mask the island so they couldn't find it? (Doesn't seem likely since it'd be hard to move an entire island, but then again the real world rules don't always apply to this show.) Is Dharma seeking to get some kind of revenge for Ben and the Others murdering all their people on the island? Or is this some other group that is following up on Dharma's work here with their own sinister motive?

It also appears Ben has lost control of the Others. He's a prisoner now (again) of the Losties. Has he been playing the two sides against each other for whatever purpose he has? And will that come to light now that the two sides can and might talk without his interference?

All that and we haven't even addressed how wonderfully realized the sacrifice Charlie made was. A nicely done moment for the show and it shows how you can kill off a favorite character in a way that is moving and services the on-going plot.

And Locke--he talked to Walt! Walt appeared for some reason...though that surprise was ruined by the opening credits crawl.

Which Locke's healing brings up an interesting question--since it appears the island has some healing powers, how injured is too injured? We've seen Shannon, Boone, Charlie and Eko die--but are they really dead? Or are they buried alive because no one realized the island could and was healing them? Maybe it takes longer for them to heal based on the extent of their injuries. It's a possiblity....

And somehow in two hours, just about every character gets a moment or two. Oh and they need to make Rose and Bernard regulars immediately.

All that and the whole silly van plotline from early this year comes into play. Loved Hurley driving it and running down the Others. It also added to the Hurley storyline where he wants to feel like he's part of the group and contributing.

This is how you do a season finale. It entertained me, it introduced some great new elements to the show and it left me wanting more. Congratulations Lost--you have me again, fully and completely.

January 2008 is going to be awesome--Battlestar and Lost return. I cannot wait....

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/25/2007 11:34:00 AM | |
Thursday, May 24, 2007
UT beats Vandy!
Typical Vanderbilt--when it counts for something, you go out and choke. I love it!

Tennessee baseball gets into the SEC tournament and pulls the upset of the day, defeating Vanderbilt in the first round.

Tennessee plays in the winners bracket...Vandy goes to the losers' bracket. Which is exactly the way it should be....

GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/24/2007 08:29:00 AM | |
Monday, May 21, 2007
I'll just be glad when it's over...
It seems as if I can't turn on a radio, surf a web site or take a nap without hearing or seeing an ad for tonight's episode of Heroes...

OK, NBC, I get it--Heroes is on tonight and it's the big season finale.

But if I hear one more ad using such superlatives as "one season finale that defies expectations" one more time, I may go completely around the bend....

At least tomorrow it will be over and we can move on to hyping something else--probably that silly little movie about pirates coming out later this week...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/21/2007 06:44:00 PM | |
Sunday, May 20, 2007
TV Round-Up: Lost
Greatest Hits
It's a good thing that Desmond has been on the island as long as he has--because in that time, he's forgotten that when you've just offered to take someone's place on a suicide mission and they tell you to look the other way, you NEVER EVER do that! But, it looks like Desmond has forgotten the cliches of television writing and has ended up with an oar upside the head. I hope Charlie didn't do any serious damage to our favorite future-foretelling hero....or else he could be in for a fairly brutal death out there in the sun.

So, we reach one week before the big season-finale that promises to change everything. And the main purpose of this episode--to put the pieces in place for the finale next week. The confrontation between the Others and our group is imminent and Jack has finally decided it's time to fight back.

Along those lines--so, once upon a time, Jack was asking Ana Lucia to help him put together and train the survivors as an army. And while I understand this plan might have gone awry when she died, why'd they let it drop? Couldn't Sayid have also given the residents of the beach some training? Wouldn't it make sense to train them so they'd be ready for this day? Of course, you couldn't use up all your ammo on target practice, but you'd think they'd figure out something to battle the Others. Also, what happened to the big stash of guns Sawyer was sitting on? (I think I need to go to the DVDs and figure out who has the guns or is supposed to at this point....I don't think Ben took them all with him when he escaped, did he?)

So, now that I've nitpicked the episode, let me say that for a putting the pieces in place for a finale, this one was really well done. The flashbacks of five great moments from Charlie's life was nicely done, even if we could easily predict what number one would be. But doggone it, as Charlie went to meet his fate, if I didn't get a bit of a lump in my throat. I'm not sure what to chalk it up to--the music setting the mood or just the great job being done by the actors.

Which this brings me to an idea--what if Charlie doesn't have to die? How interesting would it be for Charlie to defy his alleged destiny and then wonder what he needs to do to save Claire? That kind of journey could be an interesting one for the character to pursue next year...that's assuming they let him live. What I'm really finding intriuging about this is that I can see the pros and cons of Charlie's dying in next week's season finale (I've not read spoilers so if you have and know, please don't tell me!).

It's this type of questioning and storytelling that makes Lost so compelling and sets my hopes high for the season finale. Say what you will about the show as a whole, it's delivered two really intriguing season finales and it looks good for this year.

Meanwhile, we still don't know Locke's fate (I still say he's not dead). Also, Ben has moved up the battle and taking the women....which I wonder, how would he communicate this to Juliet? When he shows up in camp and the tents are marked, will he be suspicious?

And I will admit that Jack was being quite a jerk this week. I like the character, but his almost "my way or the highway" style of leadership is a bit grating..and not really what we've come to see or expect from the character. I get that he's embracing his role as reluctant leader for the greater overall good...but it still felt like it was coming a bit out of left field. And everyone seems a bit quick to trust him again--though I wonder how much of that is the influence of Sayid and Sawyer going along with his plan.

And, this being Lost, the plan for Charlie to stop the signal as part one of the big plan has already gone awry. So, anyone want to bet that the woman running the station is Ben's friend from last week's flashbacks?

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/20/2007 08:02:00 PM | |
Saturday, May 19, 2007
TV Round-Up
Heroes: "The Hard Part" & "Landslide"
It's a two-for-one deal here since I got a bit behind on Heroes.

As the deadline to stop whoever destroys New York looms (at this point it has to be either Peter or Sylar), the dramatic intensity picks up a good deal. The ticking clock is there in the background, though it's not quite as evident as on, say, 24. Threads from the entire season are coming together and it's been fairly entertaining the past two weeks, though I'll have to admit the best parts have been surrounding Hiro, esp. in "Landslide."

What I've really enjoyed about the past two episodes is how it's thrown our character expectations for a loop. We expect Hiro's dad to be some kind of bad-guy, but here he helps Hiro train for his quest to destroy Sylar. And when Hiro finds out Ando has gone after Sylar alone and this will lead to his death, Dad looks upset by this. But I wonder if the bed-time story we heard in a flashback will have to come to fruition--will Hiro have to sacrifice his "heart" (aka Ando) in order to stop Sylar? And knowing how he turns to out in the future, will Hiro be able to avoid the same mistakes? I have to wonder if the future Hiro is trying to change is too big to change...he can change a few small details, but overall the big picture may not change that much. And as much as I hate to say it, I have to wonder if the destruction of New York might not bring about something good--yes, it's a great evil, but what if instead of rallying around to destroy the heroes, the country rallied around for the greater good?

And then we have Bennett, who started out the bad guy, has become an anti-hero of sorts and then this week we see him willing to kill Molly to protect Claire. And the guy did kill Eric Roberts character in cold the ends to justify the means for him. It should be interesting to see where and how this all plays out.

Because it certainly feels as though everyone here has some kind of destiny and we're running toward it--whether they can avoid it or not.

Of course, looking at the episodes, it was fairly easy to figure out how Linderman could assure Nathan of the landslide win. But what did catch my attention was that Michah seemed drained by the experience. I wonder if there is a limit to how much he influencing of computer systems he can do. Have we seen others needs to "recharge" after an extensive use of their powers? Could they be drained to the point of exhaustion and possibly beyond?

And poor ol' DL, we hardly knew him. He sacrifices himself but still gets to kill Linderman. Of course, with the healing power Linderman has, I do wonder if he's really going to stay dead for long.

That said, I do have some criticisms. I enjoy disliking Sylar and I didn't really think the attempt to have us understand him was all that effective. Can't we just have a villian these days that we enjoy disliking because they're evil? I'm think Darth Vader before the latest was just fun to not like the guy becuase he was such a powerful bad-ass.

Also, could Hiro freeze time and train with his father? If so, why not do that? If there's a clock ticking of two days in which he has to take out Sylar, why not take advantage of all your advantages? Or would the use of his power somehow draw Sylar to him faster? Is part of the power Sylar has absorbed the ability to find other Heroes? It is obviously not quite the same as Molly's power, but can you imagine how dangerous and lethal Sylar becomes if he gets that power? If I were the powers that be, I'd be just as worried about him finding that power as absorbing Claire's.

Which all leads to multiple cliffhangers that I assume will all be resolved in the next hour. One thing this show does well--it leaves you wanting more.

24: Day Six, 3 -4 a.m.
At least when they kidnapped Kim Bauer and she got all whiny about it, we got to watch Elisha Cuthbert be whiny and pouty. (In my book, all good). This time on the season of greatest hits, we get Josh kidnapped and acting all whiny and pouty. Not nearly as entertaining and a whole lot more annoying.

Call me cruel, but why didn't Jack keep pursuing Chang or at least shoot in the leg to prevent escape? I mean, Josh could hold on a few more seconds and not plummet to his death (please don't let him die...I can't handle seeing Rena Sofer try to do grief!) while Jack makes sure that he keeps our country from going to war.

Which is what this all comes down to--we have to stop World War III from occurring....even if we have to lie, cheat and steal to do it. Alas, the Russians have good counter intelligence and figure out we're faking them out. Man, who didn't see that one coming?

So now Phillip Buaer has all the power. And we're left wondering what his overall agenda is. He wants to go to China...he sells nukes to terrorists. Surely this guy is some kind of enemy of the state, but he's got the White House on speed dial? Ummmmmmmmmmmm, yeah...ohkay then.

I'm trying to apply rules of logic to this show that just won't work...I've got to stop doing that.

That said, the few minutes Jack is taking on the Chinese were pretty cool. As for the rest...well, at this point, we're playing out the string and I'm hoping season seven is good.

Other than that, I got nothing.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/19/2007 01:38:00 PM | |
Friday, May 18, 2007
Dear 104.5, The Zone
Dear 104.5, The Zone,

I like your station, I really do. But lately, you're really starting to get annoy me. (And no, this has nothing to do with George Plaster's little brother inferiority complex with it comes to Vanderbilt living in the mighty Big Orange shadow....)

But it's really reached a breaking point the past few days.

I realize that everyone there is happy for Kevin Ingram and I congratulate him on his impending nuptuals later today. But that said, I'm kind of getting tired of hearing about the wedding from everyone who comes on the show. I realize that all the local sports media people from Nashville must be going to this wedding of the century, but hearing you guys go on and on about it is just getting a bit old. Do this off the air, please. Because honestly, it feels a bit like high school when all the cool kids are talking about the cool party they're going to later while the rest of us "not cool" kid are excluded.

And then, earlier today we were treated to an hour of discussing "wrasslin'" on the radio. Sorry, but this is not a real sport and doesn't deserve two minutes of air time, much less an hour devoted to it.

Of course, I guess I should look on the bright side--discussing "wrasslin'" meant we didn't have to hear any more tirades about the NBA playoffs and the suspensions. There's an overblown story that no one beyond ESPN gives two figs about if I ever heard one...

Big Orange Michael

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/18/2007 03:17:00 PM | |

My car was getting to that point of needing gas earlier today, so I stopped in at a local gas station and after filling out several forms for a fifteenth mortgage, I filled up my tank.

It's a good thing I did that this morning and didn't wait a few meager hours until lunch time. Gas prices went up a dime a gallon in just about two hours.

No, really....I am not making that part up. A freakin' dime a gallon in two hours.

Interestingly, I chose to fill up where I did becuase they were a dime lower than two other stations along the way (and no, it wasn't Citgo).

Guess they had to keep up with the Joneses...

And the loser--the American consumer.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/18/2007 03:08:00 PM | |

Office Quote
This quote by Dwight had me on the floor last night...

"Once I’m officially regional manager, my first order of business will be to demote Jim Halpert. So I will need a new number two. My ideal choice? Jack Bauer. But he is unavailable. Fictional. And overqualified."

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/18/2007 11:08:00 AM | |
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
TV courts bloggers.
According to an article in this morning's Wall Street Journal, TV networks are courting bloggers for some much-needed publicity for their shows.

My first, big question is--why in the world isn't there a message in my in-box from one of the myriad of networks? I will totally and completely sell-out to you if you'll send me screeners of things or swag (Jericho not included...sorry, but I can't get behind that show no matter how much stuff you send me)

Then, I got to thinking--I actually have sort of been on a mailing list of bloggers to promote shows--in this case, one Veronica Mars. Now, first of all, let me say I was a fan long before the promotional department for the show contacted me and asked me if I'd like to sign up to get press releases about upcoming episodes as well as invitations to special Internet-only chats and videocasts with producers, writers and stars (alas, Kristen Bell was never one of those stars..but she's in just about every scene of the show, so I can understand she's a)busy or b)tired or c)all of the above.)

Calls for free-stuff aside, I find it interesting how Hollywood is trying to reach out to the Internet to create a buzz for their product. We saw it happen last year with Snakes on a Plane. This year, I think NBC has been the leader in embracing the new technology and avenues of content delivery to reach out to fans of their shows and to enhance the viewing experience. Heroes is a prime example of this, with the weekly comics as well as the archive of full, streaming episodes available to view on-line. Same thing for Friday Night Lights. And there have things like a Twitter commentary for My Name is Earl and a running blog during certain comedies and shows.

It's interesting to see Hollywood embracing the Internet when a few years ago the news was all about shutting down web-sites and directing fans to the official web-site only.

Of course, this whole reaching out to fans is nothing really that new. It's just becoming more mainstream. Ron Moore used to be an active part of the Deep Space Nine bulletin boards on AOL when he worked on the show and he's actively embraced the web as a way to add value to shows with his weekly audio commentary podcasts. (The new Doctor Who has taken a page from this book as well with commentaries offered within hours of the new episodes airing in the UK). And, of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the granddaddy of all the Internet grass-roots campaigns, J. Michael Stracysnski of Babylon Five.

When B5 was on the air, you'd regularily find JMS on the B5 boards, discussing plot points and dropping hints about the show's future storylines. He was always accessible and polite and he did all of this in the few minutes a day of free time he had away from the show. It was his embracing of the Internet fans that I think helped keep the show on the air with such a loyal following and, speaking personally, it's what made me a huge fan.

Back in my UT days, I was working on a project for a business reporting class. At the time, TNG and DS9 were at the height of their popularity and B5 was just starting out. The professor told us to write about a business topic that interested us--no matter what it was. I sat down and decided that I wanted to look at what factors got a syndicated TV show renewed. I started making phone calls and spoke to local stations and even got a few good quotes from some people at the companies that produced the shows.

I was watching B5 at the time, but wasn't what you'd call hooked yet. It was about six to eight episodes into season one and it just hadn't hooked me. But I knew that the producer hung out on-line and I could contact him via the message boards. I jumped in, dropped him a line and explained who I was and what I was doing. I asked for a few minutes of his time to ask some questions and hoped he's respond.

I got an e-mail back the next day. It was from JMS who told me he didn't do interview as he was so buried running his show. But he understood what I was doing and he wanted to help out a college student. He told me to do my homework, write an article and then send him three specific questions to which he's happily give me answer. I was pretty impressed by this and did as he asked. I worked on the story, spoke to a lot of people, did my homework and then sat down to formulate my questions.

I fired off an e-mail to him a few days later and figured I'd get some good quotes for my story.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I'd get back at least a printed page per question of answers from him. As I opened the e-mail that morning, I was stunned at the generosity of this man who didn't know me from Adam. I wanted to include every last word of his quotes in my story, but there was a word-count limit.

I finished the story with his quotes and turned it in. I got an "A" on it and made sure that JMS got a copy via e-mail. He congratulated me on the story and even gave me a few compliments.

And I'll be honest--that is what kept me watching Babylon Five. I figured if the guy in charge could take time out of his schedule to help me out, I could at least give his show another shot. And man, am I glad I did. It was about that time, that the arc that made Babylon Five so brilliant began and I was hooked. I tried to get other people to watch the show and was quick to bring out my experience on how the producer was just a great, all-around guy.

I'm not sure I won many new fans to the show. But I will always recall how one guy embraced the power of the Internet to reach out to his fan-base.

And now, we see it starting to go mainsteam. So, any shows that want to reach out to me (esp. Lost, Battlestar Galactica, 24) and have me shill for you...drop me a line!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/16/2007 09:12:00 AM | |
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Eight Random Facts
Logtar tagged me last week for the eight random facts meme. I guess he felt the 100 Things About Me wasn't really enough for everyone...or maybe they just weren't random enough.

So, here are the rules for this one....

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

And now, here are eight random facts about me...

  • When I'm sick, there is one episode of classic Star Trek, I watch to help get better--"A Taste of Armageddon."
  • I have eaten frogs legs (my Granny and Grandpa talked me into it)
  • I love playing handbells and really enjoy the handbell choir I am playing with now. (And I've enjoyed all the other ones I've played with over the years.)
  • I just got a pair of orange swim trunks for the upcoming pool season....gee, if anyone shocked by this?
  • I think Heroes is good, but it's not as great as everyone else thinks it is. (But don't base whether you're going to try in repeats this summer on my for yourself and decide).
  • One of my hopes this summer is to re-watch the entire run of TNG on DVD.
  • I still like reading comic books, though I tend to check out the graphic novel collections from the libary more often than I purchase them.
  • I recently upgrade my cell phone and am annoyed I can't find the UT screen saver/background I had on my old phone...

I am not going to tag anyone else to play. If you want to join in, feel free to do so.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/15/2007 10:29:00 AM | |
Monday, May 14, 2007
TV Round-Up
Lost: The Man Behind the Curtain
I'm of two-mind about the ending to this week's Lost.

I know that there are five rumored deaths to take place before the season finale this year. But can Locke really be one of them?

On the one hand, it'd be a great way of the show showing us that no-one is safe from the Grim Reaper on the show. But then another part of me goes--wait, they can't kill Locke, because, well, he's Locke!

Needless to say, the cliffhanger left me curious and I guess it did what it was supposed to--kept me wondering about the show and eager to tune in for the next episode.

Of course, the story that lead up to it did a pretty good job of this as well. So, we find out that Ben has lied to us all along--he wasn't born on the island. And it appears he's worked his way up into the power position as the head of the Others. Apparently he bought his way into their good graces by helping kill all the members of the Dharma Initiative, including his not so hot father. Again, the daddy issues on the island rear their ugly heads with Ben's dad being quite a piece of work. The constant reminders that Ben's birthday was the same day his mother died giving birth to him...yeah, real nice there, buddy. I loved the look of quiet desparation on Ben's face in the last flashback when Dad offered to drive up to the summit and have a few beers on his b'day. Nice touch, especially when you look at where the plotline ends

But at least Ben got a chance to ask his dad the questions he wanted all the answers to.....before killing him.

Meanwhile, Locke got to meet Jacob, who is supposed to be the real power on the island. But we see an empty room and it appears Ben has some kind of issues. Well, at least until Locke apparently hears Jacob speak, asking for help. I have to admit this twist befuddled me a good deal. I wondered how much of it was the writers trying to build up something and building it up so big that nothing we'd see on screen would live up to those expectations.

And then I started to wonder some other things. It appeared Jacob had some kind of psychic powers or was some kind of pyschic that why the Others wanted Walt? Was Ben hoping to somehow make Walt into a force to oppose the power that Jacob has? Or was Walt seen as an heir to Jacob?

Lots of questions....few answers. Gee, why am I not shocked at this development?

Meanwhile, back on the beach, Jack has had a plan all along....but we don't yet find out what it is. I was a bit annoyed that we had the big "we need to talk" speech by Jack then we never got back to this thread. I guess they have to keep me coming back next week somehow.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/14/2007 09:59:00 AM | |
Friday, May 11, 2007
Woo-hoo! Part 2...
Friday Night Lights has been renewed for a second season of 22 epiosdes.

That is awesome!

Now, I wonder when they'll air it....

If you missed it this season and NBC repeats the first season this summer, I highly recommend catching up on the show.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/11/2007 08:57:00 AM | |
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Woo-hoo! Rick and Bubba are BACK!
The Nashville Business Journal reports that Rick and Bubba will return to the Nashville air waves on Monday, May 21 on 1510 AM.

I've been missing Rick and Bubba since they were unceremoniously dropped from the local area two years ago. I still listen via streaming but I still miss their brand of insanity and fun while driving to work in the morning.

WLAC is officially my favorite radio station for doing this.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/10/2007 07:26:00 PM | |
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
TV Round-Up: 24
Day Six, 2 - 3 a.m.
My mind can barely begin to wrap itself around the multiple suspensions of disbelief required for the latest hour of 24....but here we go.

So, the Chinese had planned out EVERY possible scenario, up to and including the chip being bad and having to carry on a full-out assualt on CTU?!? Man, those guys think of everything! Seriously, why would the Chinese have such a huge stockpile of weapons and ammo lying around on the off chance they had to take out a U.S. governmental agency? It just doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense, other than the big pile of stuff clues Mike Doyle in to the fact that something is up.

And was I the only one who called that CTU was pursuing a dead-end when they stormed the warehouse? So, did they realize the warehouse was comprimised and move on or did they plant false information into Audrey to mislead CTU? Either way, these guys are one step ahead of everyone. Or so it would seem.

I think a large part of this is since it would strain crediblity to free Jack and have him go after the Chinese, the writers felt we had to bring the battle to Jack. Which if they'd given Jack five more minutes and another ammo clip, he could have taken out the entire Chinese assault team. Don't the Chinese know you send at least ten squads of men if you want to take over a facility with Jack Bauer on site? Did they miss that day in evil villain training school?

And you could just see poor Milo putting on his best red-shirt the minute he had his heart to heart with Nadia. I've been lurking in the background, glaring these past few it's time for me to do something both stupid and heroic. I guess since we lost Edgar last year, we had to copy that moment again this year. Only problem--as an audience, we cared about Edgar. I couldn't have cared less that Milo died and it was so telegraphed that you saw it coming a mile away. And then, it turns out to be a fairly pointless done more for shock value. Milo is killed for pretending to be head of CTU and then the Chinese find out Nadia is in charge't kill her? This make no sense to me. Nor does it make any sense to kill the head of CTU when she's needed five minutes later to deflect Doyle's questions.

Also to file under things that don't make sense--Phillip Bauer's re-surfacing and his interest in his grandson. Let us not forget that a few hours ago, Phillip is holding the grandson at gunpoint, threatening to kill him. And now...wait, he is suddenly interested in him. Why? Oh please dear heavens, I can see this headed toward the inevitable he is really Jack's son revelation in the final hours of the season. Unless the kid is the mole and then I will totally love this show again.

But the show is working awfully hard to have us think that the kid is Jack's son again.

And boy does Marilyn Bauer have bad timing....gee, Jack, you just lost the love of you life again so I was wondering--wanna grab some coffee later? Jack, I will totally be there for you if you need me. Bring over the gun vest.

Why, why, why did we have to go back there?

And if we never see any more of the post-break-up drama of Chloe and Morris it will be too soon.

Thing is--this hour had a lot of elements that COULD have added up to a good episode (well, except Marilyn). Problem was it never really added up to a good hour. I haven't even got into the attempts to fool Daniel Jackson into downloading false spy information to the Russians. At least those scenes were supposed to be awkward.....

And is it just me or does Tom Lennox seem a bit pervy, sitting there in the van watching Invasion lady and Daniel Jackson hook up?

Which is a shame because Tom Lennox has been really good the past few weeks. I did like Daniels' continued anger and shame on this and his desire to keep the circle small. I have a feeling that is not going to happen.

Three hours left in day six...where will it all end? I have no idea, but I've got a bad feeling we'll get some huge Jack vs Phillip showdown, the kid will end up being Jack's and somehow Wayne Palmer will magically wake-up.

It's been that kind of day....

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/09/2007 10:55:00 AM | |
Monday, May 07, 2007
Random Thoughts
  • Lost is coming to an end in 2010 and the seasons will be shortened to 16 episodes per season as well as shown in blocks with no repeats. Sounds like a good idea to me and I like the fact that we seem to know when the show will end. Of course, the real question is--do the producers know HOW it will end? Also, the shortened seasons mean one thing--every episode better be good to great...cause crappy episodes stand out even more if you get fewer episodes....
  • Spider-Man 4 is going to happen--the box-office shattering opening weekend makes that pretty much a no-brainer. Rumored villians for the next installment: Carnage (don't care), Lizard (could work), Black Cat (could go either way). What ever happened to my favorite villian of the Spidey mythology--the Scorpion? It'd be great because as the story originally played out, J. Jonah Jameson was instrumental in helping create the Scorpion and more screen time for J. Jonah would be all good in my book.
  • Shrek 4 is already in the works?!? Shouldn't they make sure Shrek 3 is a hit first? I guess if Shrek 3 tanks, they can always send Shrek 4 to DVD. Oh wait..what am I talking about? No way will Shrek 3 tank.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/07/2007 08:38:00 AM | |
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Spider-Man 3 Thoughts
Well, it's not nearly as great as the gold standard of comic book movies, Spider-Man 2.

That said, I still enjoyed Spider-Man 3 for what it was--a solid, entertaining summer blockbuster that was a nice way to spend two and a half hours. The movie brought the franchise storylines full circle and could serve as a nice end point to the series. Except, of course, that Sony has already decided there will be a part four. Let me say this--I don't care how many Brinks trucks you have to back up to Sam Raimi's house--he's worth every penny to direct part four. Look at how the Batman series derailed when Tim Burton left and how Superman derailed when Richard Donner was let go or the X-Men series when Bryan Singer jumped ship.

I will say this--Spider-Man 3 is a better entry in the franchise than X-Men 3, Superman 3 and the third Batman feature.

I will also say it wasn't wasn't quite the movie nirvana experience the first two were, but it will still enough to leave me satisfied.

Warning....SPOILERs ahead.

One thing I've liked about the Spider-Man movies is the storyline of Spidey and the villians has worked to parallel each other. There has been some connection between these villians Spidey has faced in each of the three films. This time, it's about men who are forced to make choices in their lives and end up going down a dark path. By the conclusion of the film, three of the four are able to find redemption of some sort--whether it be Sandman confessing his crime to Peter or Harry forgiving Peter for the death of his father and coming to terms with who his father really was. In the end, only Eddie Brock is consumed by his dark side and it ends up costing him his life...

That said, I'm not sure I found the tie-in of the Sandman's storyline to the creation of Spider-Man really all that necessary. I have to admit when I heard the line about "this is your uncle's actual killer" in the trailers, I was extremely skeptical. The fact that Spidey let his uncle's killer escape and the guilt drove him to become Spider-Man is an essential part of the Spider-Man mythology. But here we find out that the burglar didn't kill Uncle Ben, it was Flint Marko...well, sort of. Seems Uncle Ben had talked Marko into going home and maybe thinking about his life of crime when the burglar hit against him, causing the gun Marko was holding to Uncle Ben to technically the burglar is still responsible, but then again so is Marko. I'm still not quite sure I buy the overall explanation and I still see this as a bit of a stretch to connect Spider-Man to Marko. It feels like, in the end, it's a reason that comes out of left field to send Peter down a dark path where he'll give into the symbiote and hunt down and attempt to kill Marko in the underground subways.

And while the movie does have some great action sequences--the one between Harry and Peter that starts the film is superb as is the final battle at a construction sight--none of them are quite as exhilierating as the battle on the train in Spider-Man 2.

That said, I still liked the movie, even if it was a bit busy. They crammed a whole lot of movie into the two plus hours running time.

Once again, J.K. Simmons is perfect at J. Jonah Jameson. Aunt May isn't as vital to the storyline as the first two segments, though she does help pull Peter back from the edge a bit. And it's hard to not get a bit excited when Spider-Man comes swinging into the scene late in the film to take on Venom and Sandman.

I'm sure some fans will lament the short screen time given to Venom. I can't say this is a bad thing me the black costume is more about what it did to Peter Parker/Spider-Man than what it does to Eddie Brock/Venom. I stopped regularily reading Spider-Man comic books around the time Venom came on the scene and to me, he's a good villain though he's been a bit overused and overexposed. The use of Venom here is perfectly done and it's not as bad as the inclusion of Bane in Batman and Robin, where a pivotal villain was reduced to a wordless and useless cameo.

And I haven't even mentioned the two women in Peter Parker's life. One again, Kirsten Dundst does a good job as Mary Jane (the scene of her doing the twist in the And Bryce Dallas Howard just looks like Gwen Stacy stepped off the pages of Marvel comics and onto the big-screen. Interesting to see Gwen used as the other woman to MJ which is exactly the opposite of how things played out in the comics.

So, Spider-Man 3 is good. I'd give it three stars out of four. It's not quite as wonderful and nirvana-like bliss as the second one, but it's still a great, fun enjoyable movie. I'll definitely be adding it to my DVD collection when it hits DVD (as if you had any doubts).

For those of you with small children who are wondering if they should see it--it is a darker than the first two, so keep than in mind. Spider-Man does descend to the dark side, with Peter abusing his powers and embracing the black suits enhancement of his super abilities. Venom could be kind of scary for some of the younger kids and the battles in this one are pretty brutal and epic. The film got a PG-13 rating for a reason.....while there is a good story about good vs evil, making the right choices and redemption, it may be too intense for some of the kids who are ten and under.


posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/05/2007 11:01:00 AM | |
Friday, May 04, 2007
TV Round-Up
Lost: The Brig
An interetsing thought occurred to me during the close moments of this week's Lost. Is Locke now to our group of castaways what Ben is to the Others?

It's not that Locke necessarily has the authority Ben does with the group, but with Locke's pulling of strings and manipulation of Sawyer to do his dirty work, Locke took some very Ben-like tactics to get what he wanted. Locke read a file, figured out how Sawyer could help him and then manipulated events in order to get Sawyer and his dad together.

Also, Locke seems to playing his own game with the castaways. He warns Sawyer that the Others are coming in three days to take the women who are pregnant and reveals that Juliet is betraying them all. He even goes so far as to give Sawyer proof of Juliet's duplicitious ways, which brings up the interesting question--just how did Locke get hold of the tape recorder. I can't see Ben letting it out of his sight for very long, esp. in packing up for whatever trip they're on. Is the end of the journey for the Others the beach to take Sun, Kate and whoever else may or may not be pregnant.

And should Locke come back to the beach after he finishes his personal walkabout, will what he's done be understood? Or will he now become like Jack, who is viewed with skepticism and doubt about where his true loyalties are.

That, of course, leads to another question--is Jack in on it. It seems he and Juliet have some kind of plan or scheme least that much was hinted to Kate when Kate ran to tell him about the new girl who had shown up in camp. I wonder why everyone took Kate into their confidence....did they hope she'd run to Jack and tell him? And it seems as if Jack and Juliet know about the rescue attempt or aren't suprised by what do they know? Is the ship somehow there for them? Are they being selfish in hoping that only they can leave the island, thus leaving everyone else to their fates?

And is everyone really dead and we're just in purgratory or hell? Somehow that seems a bit too easy, but if it is perguatory, it would tie into my theory of how everyone gets what they want, gets peace and then leaves the island.

Of course, we have to wonder if this peace has come for Locke through the death of his father, what else is there in Locke's past that is holding him back from nirvana.

What I liked about this episode best was that it took the basic story structure--flashbacks that affect the current chapter--and it tweaked it enough to keep the formula interesting. Seeing a specific time-frame for the flashbacks was nice, as well as being given details to what had happened to Locke over the time we were away . Hitting the high points without a lot of other filler in there was nice (gee, if only they'd done this in the fall set of episodes). And I can see how this storytelling structure could work if they decided to use it for other castaways....

And I will give the writers credit--they didn't make us wait two seasons for answers to questions about what Locke would do next. I was worried that this would be teased to us like the why was Locke in a wheelchair question was.

It feels like we're moving and building toward something big....or maybe that's just me catching the promos.

Heroes: Five Years Gone
"What if" episodes are nothing new in the sci-fi genre. Every show worth its salt has done one of those someone wakes up and the world is different kind of things.

One of the classic Doctor Who stories from the 70s created a situation where if not stopped, a scientific project will go awry and destory the world. And then, the show took us to a parallel universe where that happened before taking us back home. In doing so, the show upped the ante and the tension in the final few minutes as the Doctor raced against time to save the world.

Same thing here with Heroes. All season, we've known that our heroes have to stop the explosion from taking out New York. But here we see why that has to happen and I think that will lend a lot more dramatic tension to the end of the season as the group works to do this.

I did have some big questions left from it though--the biggest being how did Sylar manage to surive all those years without someone catching on that he wasn't Nathan. I wondered how Parkman didn't somehow read his mind and catch this, but maybe Sylar gained the power to block Parkman's mind reading attempts. It was an interesting twist to see Nathan transform into Sylar, but like I said--lots of questions in my mind.

What did work is seeing how Hiro goes from wide-eyed, enthusiastic Hiro to the Hiro from the future who is battle weary and battle hardened. Having Ando around helped and you can't help but think the guilt of losing two people he cared about in such a short span of time (Ando, the girl from the diner) might have been what sent him down the path. Also, we've seen Hiro needs Ando as a counterpoint, a way to keep him on the path toward his true destiny--whatever that is.

We also get to see how the other heroes have turned out--from where Bennett is. What was conspiciously absent (at least to me) was the Eric Roberts character...what was his role in the future that we saw?

I will give Heroes credit that this episode was a lot more entertaining than last week's. Like I said, promising to blow up the world and then showing us what happens becuase of it is a nice trick. It should be interesting to see where the final three episodes of the season take us and just how much or little the heroes change this possible vision of what is to come...

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/04/2007 09:09:00 AM | |
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Does whatever a spider can...
I'm in this very calm, Zen-like state about seeing Spider-Man 3 tomorrow. Because no matter what the critics say, this is my favorite super-hero of all-time on the big screen and I'm going to enjoy every last second of the film.

I discovered Spider-Man like a lot of my generation probably did--on the Electric Company. Spidey had adventures as part of the show where all his dialogue was presented on screen in balloons. Of course, the secret agenda was to encourage children to learn how to read and let me tell you--it was quite an incentive. I remember I watched a few times with my dad and he'd read the balloons to me but I also recall feeling this intense desire to be able to read the words for myself.

I remember my dad bringing me home one of my first Spider-Man comics soon after I discovered him on the Electric Company and us reading it together. (It's long since gone and I'm sure would be worth a good sum if I'd kept it in mint condition, but you know, the memories of enjoying it are beyond a price tag...)

I was hooked. I soon discovered Spider-Man had his own cartoon and I eagerly watched it. It's the famous one of the 60s with one of the greatest theme songs to ever hit the Saturday morning airwaves.

At some point, the obsession spilled over into all aspects of my life to the point that when I'd go places with my mom, I'd be making up stories with me as Spider-Man in my head. I even took at as far as "shooting" webs at people by getting my hands into the web-slinging position and making a "thwipping" sound. Thankfully, I grew out of this (just last week!) phase, though I'm sure my mom was ready for it to be over sooner rather than later.

Which leads me to the other night...I met my sister and her family for dinner. While eating, my nephew began to make the infamous Spidey shoots the web hands and point them at people. My sister asked if he was shooting his Spider-Man webs and he nodded.

First of all, I swear I never taught this trick, though I wish I had. Second of all, I have to admit deep down, I thought it was pretty cool of him to do.

The traditions of one generation passed on to the next....

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/03/2007 10:41:00 AM | |
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
TV Round-Up
24: Day Six, 1 - 2 a.m.
The best part of this week's 24 is the surprise return of Secretary Heller. Heller comes in, sees Audrey and then tells Jack to keep clear of his daughter since Jack is, as he puts it, cursed.

Nice scene. William DeVane did a nice job, though I wonder how long Jack will respect Heller's wishes to stay far away from Audrey. Seems as if Jack is the only one who can reach Audrey to get any information on Chang's potential whereabouts.

Other than that, not a lot really exciting going on this week. Turns out Lisa Miller is not just fooling around with the vice-president but a powerful lobbyist who just happens to be working for the Russians. I guess it's supposed to be a twist on the cute female spy sleeping with someone high up who is male, but honestly it wasn't all that interesting. I kind of felt sorry for her in that the whole encounter with Daniel Jackson (guy from Stargate) lasted approximately two minutes.

The good thing is this plotline is not strung out. We quickly find out Lisa is the leak and how it's done. Daniels has to fess up to Tom Lennox that he's also sleeping with Lisa, which now puts the embarrassing things you can hold over the other person's head at 2 for Tom and none for Daniels. Were it not four hours from the end, I'd look to see Tom use this somehow as leverage over the VP. Oh wait, I just thought of it--this is how Karen and Tom will get Bill back in charge of CTU. Man, I should be writing for this show...

Speaking of CTU, Nadia is not doing a very good job of leadership. Apparently her leadership style is doormat--as in letting everyone else walk all over you. Unless you're Morris and then she goes into total uber-pyscho mode and tells him he's not transferring because she said so...nyah, nyah, nyah. Poor Morris...he's had a rough day. Made even rougher when he decides that Chloe went too far in chiding him about giving the ability to arm nukes to terrorists.

Man, relationships at CTU just do not EVER work out, do they? You'd think they'd keep footage of all these bad break-ups to show to people who go out on a date...just to maybe save them some heartache in the long run.

Again, it's another week where we have a lot of focus everywhere but Jack. Doyle allows Jack to overpower him so Jack can take Audrey and find out info. And Doyle also helps Nadia realize she has to stand up for herself and assert some leadership or else no one will take her seriously. And then she does and we get an after-school special like moment when Doyle gives her the verbal high five. Man, you have to think Milo is going to be annoyed at Doyle making a move on Nadia like that.

There must be something in the water at CTU that just heightens the sexual tension between co-workers. I think they're on the same water supply system that used to run into the FBI basement. (X-Files reference!)

And I haven't even got to the fact that Russia is able to mobilize for an attack in under ten minutes and that the component is damaged. I have no idea where any of this will all lead in the final four hours of the day, but I can only hope it manages to do something interesting. Or maybe have Jack be the focal point of an episode. Or both. Yeah, that'd be kind of fun.

TV Thoughtsposted on other sites:
Doctor Who: Daleks in Manhatten (Part 1 of 2)
Doctor Who: Evolution of the Daleks (Part 2 of 2)
The Shield: Haunts
Veronica Mars: Un-American Grafiti

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/02/2007 09:19:00 AM | |
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Only three more days...
Only three more days until the movie event of the year hits the big-screen!

As if my excitement level weren't already high enough, USA Today has posted a mostly positive review of Spider-Man 3, giving it three stars.

I've already got my ticket to catch the film on the IMAX Friday. I cannot wait to see the latest installment featuring my favorite super-hero.

That said, I pretty much have spoiled the entire movie for myself. I saw the official movie novelization in the stores a few weeks ago and since it was by Peter David, one of my favorite authors, I picked it up. I have to admit based on what I'd heard about the movie featuring three villains I was worried the storyline would be too packed or make the same mistakes the later Batman movies did. So, I figured I'd read a few pages of it and help set my mind at ease before I walked into the theater. Yeah, big mistake. A few hours later I'm done reading and very satisfied with the overall character arc and story. I am hopeful that it will all translate well to the big-screen.

I'll find out Friday and let you know....


posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/01/2007 08:13:00 AM | |

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