Friday, March 22, 2013

ride the ghost of that ship

I agree with Michael. Judgement Night is the first episode of in last several I've really enjoyed. The narration in the beginning is strong writing and sets the tone for the rest of the story, which is played out slowly and builds the tension right through until the final scene. There are clues as to Lancer's identity but I felt uncertain of who he really was even when he see him giving orders from the submarine. 

The last few minutes embark on a bit of moralizing. But it doesn't feel condescending. Instead, it suggests that the consequences of a person's actions (in war, but probably in life too) are something that they will have to live with forever. 

I'm excited about this project again. I have to leave for work soon but I'll probably catch up with a few more episodes tonight after work while everyone else is watching Spring Breakers. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

3 weeks is too long...

What happened to all our enthusiastic steam!! An explanation would be the crappy episodes sucked out our will to post about TZ, but 2 out of the previous 3 i thought were REALLY good. And yet, still none of us were inspired to post in a timely fashion. Let's get with it peeps! Myself included!

Let's start with "Judgement Night". FINALLY a GOOD episode!! This is the first episode in a WHILE that didn't feel rushed. They had an idea, presented their characters, created confusion and turmoil, explained its origin and sealed with gloom and doom. Tight and to the point. Effective. Really enjoyed this one. I was satisfied with the contents, but almost wish an hour long version of this existed so we can have a little back story on the passengers. Otherwise, Sterling and Co. brought their A game

Side note--- while I'm typing this I'm listening to the latest Third Man Records Vault Package Release. For those unfamiliar Jack White's label 'Third Man Records' has a quarterly Vault membership that gets you limited Vinyl releases to Vault Club members. Includes 1 LP, 1 45 and a special gift of some sort every quarter year. Packaging is top notch and the vinyls are GREAT quality. His whole label really has some good stuff... back to the TZ.

'And When the Sky was Opened' I thought again utilized it's time frame superbly. With this episode we see the theme of space travel/flight returning. This time though our story remains grounded here on earth. We don't know what the pilots were doing, where they were going, or their mission  We only know that for a brief minute the astronauts disappeared and then reappeared. Popular movie scenarios would suggest some sort of extra-terrestrial involvement providing alien abduction/possession or impregnation. We never get to learn what happens in that time frame, but we don't need to. All we need to know is regardless of WHAT happened these astronauts were NOT supposed to make it back, yet somehow they did and are now being selectively ERASED from existence. Creepy dark stuff. Loved it.

.....'What You Need'.. What i needed was this episode to end as soon as it began. The worst part is i don;t even know WHY i didn't like it. Something about the characters just didn't mesh with me right off the bat. I just didn't care. How many sweet old men are gonna get taken advantage of in this series anyway? MEH.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tired Zone

Mike's right again, of course. The last few episodes have been okay at best (but I have a real soft spot for Time Enough). And Mike nails what the primary problem is: everything seems rushed. Serling & Co. come up with a great idea, then rush through to the next big idea, never spending the time to unpack the idea at length. This is, so far, the TZ's biggest weakness. It's ironic, too, because the show's short running time is often one of its best features, packing an enormous emotional or intellectual wallop into a tight little 20-odd-minutes package. At its best, everything is focused and distilled into some primal articulation of half-thought fears and dreams.

"Time Enough at Last" is a deservedly classic TZ episode, if only because it is here in this episode that we realize how cruel a place the TZ can be. So far, in the series, we've seen a pilot go crazy in a simulation, a salesman make the pitch of his life, a town drunk find redemption, an aging actress discover a happier if not healthier place for herself to retire to, a trip to the past and lessons learned, the dangers of dealing with the devil, and leaving life on an asteroid after having you robot girlfriend shot. There have been twists and upsets and all sorts of strangeness, but never before have Rod and crew been this low-down disgustingly mean and sadistic. I wish I could remember how I felt watching this as a child. I wish I could have been there to see this broadcast for the first time in 1959. Because it's a nasty sucker punch to the gut, especially for us bibliophiles.

"Perchance to Dream" is a silly episode and the twist at the end is silly. BUT, there is that Maya the Cat Lady dance. So, there's that.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Another 2'fer

I don't know if its the quality of episode that has given me no inspiration to write stuff or what. These last 4 episodes have been from meh to horrible as far as entertaining goes.

"Time Enough at Least" started with potential. You cant go wrong with Burgess Meredith and yet somehow The TZ did. Wiki shows this episode as the first NOT to be written by Sterling himself. He merely adapted the screenplay. I'd like to think maybe this is where it went wrong but the 3 of the last 4 episodes WERE written by Sterling and they all sucked. Its almost as if they run out of time in each episode. Everything seems rushed. Maybe i'm just used to having stories presented in hour long formats. There is time for fluff and to work things out. Anyway, this was our first truly TRAGIC episode. Nothing bad should have happened to Meredith's Henry Bemis. He was harmless. All the man wanted to do was read and his overbearing, wretched wife wouldn't let him. His dickhead boss wouldn't let him. BOOM everyone's gone, all the time in world to read. Glasses break, wtf. WTF. REALLY? NOT FAIR. Low blow TZ, very low blow.

"Perchance to Dream"..... *grumble*. I really don't have much to say about this one besides I could watch Suzanne Lloyd dance around as Maya the Cat Lady all day. I did have a good giggle when the psychiatrist showed absolutely NO emotion what so ever when a man died on his couch.

She would have made one hell of a Bond girl no??

Bring on the next episode. I need a good ONE!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

2 For the Blog of One

It seems we all weren't too impressed with these past 2 episodes. The main characters were annoying, plot was paper thin, relationships not fleshed out. Just a mess. I really don't want to spend much time in thought on these 2 episodes. so I'm gonna keep this short and sweet.

As far as "Escape Clause" is concerned, as lackluster as this episode is i do believe it gave me my favorite one-liner of The TZ thus far delivered by out protagonist Walter.

 "Go drown yourself in the tub Ethyl"

In fact all of his insults towards his wife had me chuckle a bit. Other than that... MEH.

I really wish the relationship between man and machine was explored a bit more in "The Lonely . John, I have to agree that being given your own personal asteroid as a "punishment"...... doesn't seem to bad considering the alternative of federal "pound-me-in-the-ass" prisons.

Since i am being crass, if this episode was made by today's standards, the issue of of sex would have been front and center. If a man exiled for years on a lonely asteroid was given an attractive android woman, the first damn thing he would do when the patrol rocket filled with the only humans for millions of miles blasted off into the sky would be to check if his new "playmate" was a "pleasure bot" model.

                                                   He sure as hell wouldnt do this........

                                               Which of course leads to...


                                               But somehow we managed to make nice and do

                                                                Which ultimately led to

I'm done.

Bring on episode 8 tomorrow and hopefully we have better things to discuss.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Lonely

"The Lonely" is a frustrating episode. I want to like it, but I got annoyed right from the beginning by the implausible premise. In the future, we're spending billions of dollars on rocket fuel and space travel to deliver supplies to prisoners who have been given their own asteroids?!?

Then, the mechanical girl part flys by. There's no real emotional development that makes us grieve or think at all when the end comes.

The episode isn't all bad. At the very least, it reminded me of this song, which I first heard performed by Bobby Bare....

Shel Silverstein: Ever Lovin Machine

Monday, February 11, 2013

You're a Potato Pancake

My heart hasn't been in this lately.

I'm putting a post up just to put a post up.

I was tired of "Escape Clause" before the first scene ended. Nothing later in the episode changed my opinion. A whiny hypochondriac who turns into whiny murderer is hardly a tragic arc. I wanted the dude to die from the first moment he opened his mouth. So, why did I care so little when the inevitable conclusion arrived? Because I had to watch that whiny jerk for all the time in between. I was wishing for my own escape clause to get me out of watching the episode.

Another dud as far as I'm concerned.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Escape Clause

This one was frustrating to watch from a personal standpoint, though I think that it makes a pointed observation about how those who don't appreciate a little won't appreciate a lot.
I would never have sold my soul, but if I had, I would have made much better use of my time than he did. Getting himself into accidents? What the hell? That's about the stupidest thing you could do with immortality. It was hard to watch him make such terrible decisons with such a wonderful gift. It's like he didn't trust his immortality like he didn't trust his health. I commented to my family while watching that "the devil knows his victims." He made the offer to Walter knowing full well that he would squander it. The devil would never offer me immortality for my soul, because he knows he would lose out big time on the deal. That's not to say that there aren't other ways he could trick me...Regardless, my soul isn't for sale anyway.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Walking Distance

I was all set to rave about my favorite episode so far, but you two took the wind out of my sails! First of all, regardless of how it's used, I LOVE time travel as a plot device. It doesn't matter how lame it is, it gets my imagination going. Frankly, walking is a lovely mode of time travel because it keeps things simple. No complicated pseudo-science here; you're walking into the friggin' Twlight Zone, baby!

For me, it wasn't the moral-of-the-story aspect of it that I loved so much. I mean, it's not clear what the lesson was that he was supposed to have learned. Maybe, "Accept the life that you've lived with dignity"? "You only get once shot at childhood, and won't realize it or appreciate it until long after the fact"? "Remember that creeper you ran into at the playground when you were six? He might have been your future self"? So, whatever about that. But the nostalgia part of it--I could go for that.

What I liked the most about the episode was the notion of seeing your past from a new perspective. Our memory is faulty, biased, and has lots of holes. Who hasn't daydreamed about going back to important events from your life and seeing how things really went down? Who hasn't thought about having the ability to intepret one's own childhood culture from an adult perspective--not just schoolyard antics, but fashion, toys, media, and all that? You're going to laugh, but wouldn't it be great to go into a department store and see rows and rows of brand new Empire Strikes Back figures on the racks? Or, for that matter, see it in the theater when it was first run? To watch MTV and Nickelodeon before they were tired mainstream channels, to eavesdrop on playground chatter with its ejaculations of "boss" and "gnarly" and "rad." And then to go a step further, and to watch yourself playing as a child--the things you could learn and understand about yourself! I'll tell you that I've daydreamed of talking to myself as a child--telling my younger self things I wished an adult had. Of course, TZ gets that part right--chances are your grown up self would scare the bejesus out of your kid self. It would be tough to make that connection. But I'd still want to try, hopefully in a less dramatic way than our hero from the episode...

I have a story that illustrates this, actually. When I was about 26 or so, I rented a car and drove to the house in Connecticut where my parents split up. I had not been there (that I remembered) since we moved out when I was four or five. Dreamlike images of the house and the street were burned into my brain, and I had referred to them often over the years. Because of the time in my life they represented, they were powerful images and held a certain sway over me.

I parked my car across the street from the house. The neighborhood was formerly Navy housing, so all the houses were small and uniform in their appearance. I was not expecting the house I lived in to be so small; it loomed so large in my mind. And of course, to a four-year-old it *had* been much larger. The backyard where I played was tiny. I wanted to knock on the door to see inside, but whoever lived there was having company, so I had to settle for seeing it from the outside. I peered around the side to the window of the guest room. My dad had been using that as his room when he moved out of the shared bedroom, and my mother tells me I would go in there often looking for him (he usually wasn't there). In my mind's eye and in my psyche it was a huge space, and I felt small when I went in there as a child.

Now, as an adult, all I could think was, "This is it?" It was not even a little intimidating or overwhelming. I could handle this house, and the memories that came with it. On top of that, all the lights were on at the house, and there were cars in the driveway and on the street. I could see shadows moving across the drawn curtains. New memories were being made here. The house had moved on, and so could I.

Sometimes going back can help you to move forward. "Walking Distance" illustrates that nicely.