“Summerland”: brief WB series explored “involuntary family responsibility”; so do many indie films

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The Spelling Television series “Summerland” ran for just two seasons (2004-2005) but it made an interesting point about unelected family responsibility.

Lori Loughlin (who, with Stephen Tolkin, created the series) plays Ava Gregory, a struggling fashion designer living nicely but frugally somewhere around Malibu Beach, in a village called “Summerland”, with a best friend, Susannah Rexford (Merrin Dungey).  When her sister and husband are killed in a car accident, she suddenly gets custody of the sister’s three children: teenage Bradin (Jesse McCartney), Nikki (Kaya Panabaker) and Derrick (Nick Benson).

The Pilot sets up the series well, laying out the issues.  In California, Ava balks at her boss, who doesn’t like her design concepts and wants her to travel to Japan, and wants to go solo.  Her boss reminds her that he owns the rights to all her work.  On the beach, she plans with Sue to go to Paris and cold-call to start her business.  In Kansas, Bradin is to look after his younger siblings as his parents go out to volunteer to throw sandbags to stop a river flood.  Fifteen minutes into the episode, Bradin calls Ava, crying, that he has lost his parents to a car wreck/

Lori and her friends, who include some in-and-out males (one of them played by Shawn Christian) are hardly prepared to raise OPC (other people’s children).  But Brandin, while sometimes flirting with trouble, becomes an impassioned surfer, doning wetsuits.

In the second season Ava falls in love with a middle school principal (a male around 40) and the wedding ceremony fails as it starts.

The second season also introduced Zac Efron as the very likeable teen Cameron Bale.

The series had some lilting music, and tended to replace “Everwood” in the same timeslot on the WB in the summer.  It’s interesting that the genesis of the plot concept is similar.

The idea that people wind up raising relatives’ children has been presented in film a few times, such as with “Raising Helen”, “Breakfast with Scot”, “Saving Sarah Cain”, “Gracie’s Choice”,  “The Conrad Boys“, “In from the Night” (where the parent is a writer), “Abel’s Field”, “Any Day Now”., and Jeff London’s little known “Regarding Billy“.  A few films on this issue have aired on Lifetime or Hallmark, and their sources range from Christian groups to LGBT.  The idea comes up in the soap “Days of our Lives”, which will be discussed here later.

“Everwood” was an important WB series about a possible teen piano prodigy, and a doctor who doesn’t need to charge

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The WB (and CWTV) ran several  series that interested me ten years ago, and another one for me to review is “Everwood”, which started in the fall of 2002 and ran for four seasons (ending in the spring of 2006).  Sometimes reruns appear on ABC Family.  The series was created by Greg Berlanti (also, “Jack & Bobby” and “The Tomorrow People”, to be discussed later, with the latter of these dealing with teens with “powers”, and reminds me of NBC’s “Heroes”).

The premise is that a successful NYC neurosurgeon Andy Brown (Treat Williams) loses his wife to a tragic auto accident in an ice storm.  He moves himself and his two kids to the town of Everwood, CO, deep within the Rockies. He sets up a general practice and doesn’t even charge (believe that in these days of Obamacare), which draws the ire of the competing doctor Abbott (Tom Amandes).

Brown has two gifted children, a younger daughter Delia (Vivienne Cardone), and her older brother Ephram (Gregory Smith), who is supposed to be turning about 15 when the series starts.  The family is Jewish but secular, but Ephram has already bad a bar mitzvah. Brown’s moral values are typical for his background, a kind of careful individualism, unsettled when right and wrong are not as clean cut as they should be.

Ephram’s gift is piano, and the potential to become a concert pianist.  Much of the plot of the series revolves around Ephram’s progress toward getting into Julliard.  In one episode, he has “learned” the entire Beethoven Appassionata Sonata overnight. Ephram tends to be moody, but clever, and has a faceted personality.

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When he is about 16, Ephram has a fling with a 20 year old college student named Madison.  He is naïve, and has his first experience, in a scene quite well done.  Madison gets pregnant.  Andy decides to keep her pregnancy a secret from Ephram, a soap-opera-like idea that can set up a final confrontation when Ephram approaches the Julliard audition.

Eprham writes a high school essay called “My Greatest Flaw” which is “my inability to change”.  Does this mean that there is a moral imperative to grow into someone that can support a future bigger than the self?  You hope “that you’ll never have to change again.”


There are several other compelling subplots.  One of these happens in season 1 when Abbott’s son Bright (Chris Pratt, later to appear in “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Moneyball”, “Her”) has an auto accident with another teen, Colin (Mike Erwin) in the car sustaining a head injury.  At first, Colin seems to recover OK, but then Andy discovers that Colin has a hematoma or aneurysm that must be removed or it will eventually rupture. Colin agrees to the surgery.  But he dies at the end of Season 1 when the risky operation fails, and the entire town ostracizes Andy for his playing “Ben Casey”.

There is another subplot where a female doctor patient has HIV acquired from treating a patient in Africa, and tells Delia.  Others find out from Delia, and soon her own practice is destroyed by fearful patients, and her gay ex-husband tries to get custody of her kids. Through complications, Dr. Abbott winds up being threatened with loss of his malpractice insurance.

Later in the series there is an extraverted Dr. Jake Hartman (Scott Wolf), a skiing enthusiast.

The series always started each episode with some music that sounded like the slow movement of a late 19th century piano concerto, but what one?  The music may have come from Eugen d’Albert’s first piano concerto, written at age 18 or so, and inspired by Liszt, and filled with many familiar themes for such an obscure work.  Hollywood knows obscure romantic music well. Maybe the work should be called “The Everwood”.

Toward the end, after Ephram has given up Julliard and has to work playing piano at clubs to support his child, and also gives piano lessons (at 18), he takes on a gay teen pupil, Kyle, (Steven R. McQueen, grandson of the famous actor.  Had the series continued, probably Kyle would have become the important character with a professional career.

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In August 2005, I drove (from DC) to a “party” at King of Prussia Mall near Philadelphia, where I met Gregory Smith and Chris Pratt.  Smith, now 30, stars in “Rookie Blue” and has directed two episodes, and has also produced a comedy “Wieners” for Screen Gems, and, in a change of style, a documentary about doomsday preppers, “Training for the Apocalypse”.

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Maybe the best outcome for this series would be a sequel movie based on the characters.  What has happened to Ephram, now in his mid 20s?  Has Kyle’s career taken off?  Or did Ephram somehow go to another music conservatory?  Yale would be interesting.  Maybe a movie, maybe a cable or web series.  Warner Brothers no longer has a separate brand for independent film (this would have been a logical release from “Warner Independent Pictures”, a brand that the company should bring back).

There is a newer series on CWTV, “Hart of Dixie” (2011- ), created by Lelia Gerstein.  about another transplanted (to Alabama) doctor (a woman, Zoe Hart, played by Rachel Bilson) that seemed rather underwhelming.

 

“Jake 2.0” gave us another young adult superman character, and the show was allowed to die

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Jake 2.0” provided some competition to “Smallville” in the fall of 2003, on the overlooked UPN channel.  But it apparently aired only the first twelve episodes in most markets, I believe; four more were aired in the UK, and the last three were never completed, after CBS/UPN canceled the show, because of ratings. David Greenwalt had been the executive producer.

Christopher Gorham, 29 when the series was filmed, played Jake, a computer technician at the NSA (National Security Agency) who gets “infected” with nanomites accidentally after a minor wound resulting from a shootout with a saboteur.

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Jake soon has super-strengths of the Clark Kent variety, including being able to run and jump great distances, and heal quickly.  Most of all, he can affect the contents of computer files with technotelepathy, his mind, which would be a dangerous capability. (Indeed, “let the hacking begin.”)  The idea somewhat foreshadows a similar idea in J J Abrams in “Revolution” today (to be discussed later).

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Jake is also concerned about morality, and the proper use of power, an idea that comes up in a conference scene in a late episode, and that would certainly fit the controversy over the NSA today.

There are episodes including stopping EMP attacks (before the idea was widely discussed) and dirty bombs.  There was a humorous episode with a paintball maneuver.  In one episode, Jake rescues his immature younger brother, and talks about “loyalty to blood”.

In the episodes that didn’t get aired, Jake had become a target of the NSA.

UPN (CBS) apparently didn’t even try to air all the episodes that had been filmed, replacing it with the silly “America’s Top Model” in January 2004.

I think the series would have done better if aired on a more visible network, and not in competition with “The West Wing.”


The series was filmed in Vancouver, but the Washington DC backdrops were put in seamlessly.

“U.S. Bill of Rights and Constitutional Amendments” from “Just the Facts” Learning Series: for me, deja vu

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When I watched the educational DVD from Goldhil and Full Circle Films, dating back to 2004, “United States Bill of Rights and Constitutional Amendments”, from its “Just the Facts Learning Series”, I felt like I was back in the public school system, substitute teaching as I did (in two periods) from 2004-2007.  This DVD could very well have been the “busywork” for the day in a Va, and US Government or even US History class.  I don’t recall it, however.  I rented it from Netflix. I could not find a current website for the company but here is a typical retail link for the DVD.

A narrator, and law professors Robert Hennig and Priscilola Zotti explain all the amendments to the US Constitution in straightforward fashion.

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Many people, for example, don’t know that many of the framers did not believe we needed a Bill of Rights, which were ratified in 1791.  Also, a lot of people don’t know that the 27th Amendment (giving District of Columbia residents the right to vote in presidential elections with as many electors as the least populous state) was written by James Madison, but could actually be ratified in 1992 because there is no time limit.

The film (running about forty minutes) takes no-nonsense positions on controversy, pointing out that the Second Amendment did originate in a climate where states had organized militia locally, and that it does not give people the right to arm themselves gratuitously with military-style weapons (or nuclear weapons, as mentioned specifically in the DVD).

The DVD attempts a beginner’s explanation of the “incorporation doctrine”, with the 14th Amendment, where the guarantee that the federal government cannot take away certain fundamental rights is extended to the states, but not consistently.

The DVD includes a 20-second multiple choice quiz, which one has to click through.  The detractors in the questions are tricky, so students would have to be careful.   It could be easy to get a bad grade in a public school with a typical 90-80-70-60 (or stiffer) grading scale.

On the cover of my first “Do Ask, Do Tell” book, self-published in 1997, I had mistakenly said the Bill of Rights was 160 years old, when 200 years would have been much closer.  It’s not a good idea to put a number like this on the cover of a book. That problem was fixed with the 2000 iUniverse printing.

In my second DADT book (“When Liberty Is Stressed”, 2002), I discussed the idea of a “Bill of Rights 2” and talked about the constitutional amending process (not covered on the DVD), online link here.amendments could anchor the “right to privacy”.  In Chapter 6 of my first DADT book, I had proposed “28th” and “29th” amendments.  The “28th was structured to prevent any government from interfering with adult sexual privacy and had many provisions.  It was not as protective as free speech on the Internet as it might have been, as I explain in the book.  The 29th amendment was actually conceived as a 90s-era attempt to encourage states to experiment with gay marriage by putting DOMA-like limits on federal recognition, but we all know what happened to that idea with the Supreme Court in 2013.

As I have covered on other blogs, I think we have real potential issues with the question of whether unsupervised self-broadcast of one’s speech ought to be regarded as a fundamental right, as in the recent debate over Section 230.  But many court opinions, even in the Supreme Court, have tended to support this view, as with the litigation a few years ago over COPA, the Child Online Protection Act, against which I was an indirect plaintiff through Electronic Frontier Foundation

“Smallville”: Superman was once a teenager himself; recalling the 10-year television series

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The science-fiction television drama “Smallville” premiered on “TheWB” (eventually to become CWTV) on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2001, about five weeks after 9/11.  The Pilot must have been filmed weeks before, that summer, in British Columbia, but the scene of meteors crashing into the town of Smallville, KS may have seemed terrifying then.

That sequence had been preceded by a brief prologue, introducing the loving couple (John Schneider and Annette O’Toole), the Kents, who would find baby Clark in a corn field and take him home and raise him as their own (a godsend, since Martha couldn’t have children).  In that prologue we saw a boy Lex Luthor made bald for the rest of his life by the meteor exposure – a play on radiation fallout (or dirty bomb) fears?


Fifteen minutes into the Pilot, we’re shown a handsome teenage Clark, played by a youthful enough Tom Welling (then 24), gently arguing with his dad about not being allowed to play football because he could hurt other people.  Tall and strong but lean and lanky, he actually looks more like a future baseball 100-mph fastball pitcher than a lineman or quarterback.  He a freshman at Smallville High, apparently in ninth grade, and his legal records show him to be 14.  He is tall and physically strong for his age, but very socially awkward.  He is morally sensitive.  He wonders if he is special or just different. No one can explain his unusual strength (although that does exist in nature, genetically, in some young men), or ability to heal, or “speed” – ability to teleport himself by altering space-time.  Later, he will develop x-ray vision, which would allow him to scope people, and then heat vision, which could allow him to set things on fire telepathically (like Zak in “Revolution”).  His father, upon questioning, finally tells Clark that he is an alien, and shows him the spaceship in the barn.  It is quite a touching scene.  Clark “speeds off”, upset, after saying “You should have told me.”  Soon, he is somehow “disabled” and hazed in a notorious scarecrow scene (which some people see as an allusion to Matthew Shepherd), with the “S” painted on his smooth chest.

So this is to be the story of how the future Superman came of age, as a teenager.  The series would run for ten years.  But after the first three seasons, it seemed to lose focus and become more episodic.  But the earlier years will filled with suspense.  Season 1 ends with a tornado.  In the middle of Season 2, Clark meets Dr. Virgil Swann, played by Christopher Reeve, now a quadriplegic from his own 1995 horsemanship accident, trying to decipher his origin from hieroglyphics.  As his father Jor El and other forces from his home planet Krypton chase him, Clark faces a crisis at the end of Season 2.  He fears his end is coming, and in one scene the “S” is burned into his chest as a scar (although it seems to be reversible).  At the very end, Clark takes a motorcycle to Metropolis (usually shown by Vancouver, but in this episode the skyline of Kansas City MO was used), having invited Lana to come with him. The seasons ends with dramatic music (I think by Tchaikowsjy) as Clark rides to the city.

Clark usually has a moral compass that would make any parent proud, except when he is exposed to red kryptonite, which unmasks all inhibition and turns his usual kindness into a curious moral nihilism.  He can be brought back by green kryptonite, which can cause him to lose all his powers.  In fact, in another episode, he learns it is better to be “different” and have powers than be like everyone else.  (Like it is better to marry than to burn?)  In season 3, he starts working for the Metropolis Mafia (that is, Kansas City MO or Vancouver BC, interchangeably) and robs some ATM’s (which in more recent years has become a real crime problem), but then gets his moral compass back and returns home.  At the end of Season 3, it seems as though he has to go back “Home” – to the Phantom Zone – for the summer.

I was living in Minneapolis when the series started, and had been laid off at the end of 2001, and was about to start my “second life”.  Somehow, I saw a rerun of the Pilot over Christmas that year, I think while “home” in Arlington visiting mother.  I became intrigued with the series.  I remember seeing the finale of Season 2 the day before a successful job interview, still in Minnesota then.  But I also remember watching it in May 2002 in a motel on a trip to talk about my own book and movie possibilities. Smallville became a fixture.

Logically, Clark should have entered college in Season 5, and that would have been a better track than the episodic plot that followed.  Starting in 2004, Smallville had moved to Wednesday nights, at 8 PM ET, and I typically looked forward to watching it regularly in the middle of the 00 decade anyway, despite a weakening plot.  Instead of college, Clark actually works for a professor Fine for a while, on his way to eventually becoming a journalist.  Lois enters the plot during these years (having found him and “imagined him naked” at the start of Season 4 when he is back from the summer “abroad”).

Other devices from the comics come into the series, such as the Fortress of Solitude.  Other kinds of kryptonite get mentioned, such as black, which gives Lex powers.  There are all kinds of episodes with bizarre experiments, such as trading bodies.  Other interesting characters are offered, such as Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley, after a body shave relative to the soap “Passions”), reporter Jimmy Olson (Aaron Ashmore), whose cognitive abilities as a mere human can match Clark’s, and another teenager who can fly played by Richard Harmon (who would later star in “Judas Kiss”).

TheWB and later CWTV had impressive websites, with video and discussion boards, for the show, which in the early years added to suspenseful speculation as to where the plot would go.

There were some “revelation” scenes toward the end of the series that were a bit homoerotic, but homosexuality as an issue was rarely mentioned.  However, in one episode, when Clark did get to play football (and perhaps catch his own forward pass) he came to the defense of a gay classmate.  The issue probably would have been covered more had the series aired only two or three years later in span. Nevertheless, the parallel between Clark’s being “open” about his extraterrestrial origin (despite appealing human appearance) and openness about sexual orientation would be obvious, and the series ended while the final steps in the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy were being certified.  I think the show made a difference even in that debate.

Technically, the series was always broadcast in HD, and tended to use garish colors, lots of comic-book bright oranges and reds, which must have been achieved by manipulation of film stock.

Some individual episodes have some silly premises, such as when Clark and Lex exchange bodies.  A few show flashbacks, such as when Jor-El visits Smallville in 1961, and a marque for “Splendor in the Grass”, one of my favorite classic films, shows.

Created by Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, the series was produced by Tollin, Robins Productions, which went on to produce the less successful “One Tree Hill“.

I have a detailed writeup on my “doaskdotell site” here.   The Blogger chain can be accessed from this link.

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I went to graduate school at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, getting my M.A. in Mathematics in early 1968, and I always equated Smallville to Lawrence, which really does look like Smallville in the show.

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I ask, does a real teen Clark Kent, who can teleport himself instantly, exist on Earth?  Maybe.  If so, I hope he goes to college.

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My own music history, mostly as a youngster

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I will be discussing the “timeline” of my own life and self-awareness on another blog entry soon, but a very important component of tracing this history is the music I performed and composed, particularly early in life.

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I was born on July 10, 1943.  I started piano lessons in February 1952, in third grade, at age 8.  I took piano lessons twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) and had Wednesday class, in the home of a Mrs. McDermott in Arlington VA until her death in May 1958 from colon cancer.  Her illness was sudden.  The I took piano from a Mrs. Wheeler, also in Arlington, until after graduation from high school in 1961.

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I performed in numerous recitals, and according to scrapbook records, it looks as though I performed in the “Festivals” every March from 1953 (fourth grade), until at least 1959 (tenth grade).  The festival required performing a “required” piece for grade difficulty from a list and an elective.  The elected piece had to be composed by an American, or a composer who had lived in the United States for much of his or her life.  Sergei Rachmaninoff was included, and I played the B minor  and E Major preludes from Op. 32 in the last two festivals.  Records also show I performed the infamous C# Minor Prelude at least once.  I recall playing the Debussy Arabesque in E, and a Schumann piece called “May, Sweet May”.  I may have performed the Chopin G Minor Prelude.  It looks like I earned “Superior” ratings four of those six years.

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It looks like I had started composing at around 11 years old, in sixth grade. I have re-recorded much of this music on my Casio through Sibelius on a MacBook and preserved some manuscripts and mp3 records, published here.   A few of the works are shown in photographed documents converted to Adobe PDF’s.

For tracking my own sense of “who I am” (an upcoming posting) early in life, it’s useful for me to list everything I composed, or could reconstruct, and give the status of any manuscripts that I have.  All compositions are playable on piano

Year Composition Manuscript? Online?
1955 Inspiration Sonatina, F Major, 4 movements, 10 min L N
1956 (perf. 1957, 1961?) Sonata 1, A Maj., 4 movements, 14 min L,S,P, P
1956 (perf. 1957) Minuet, E Maj P P
1956 Anthem, “Lord Thou Art My God”, 3 part chorus, F Maj N N
1957 Anthem, Psalm 133, D-flat P P
1960 Sonata 2, D Min, 3 movements, 25 min P (photographed) P
1961 4 Modal pieces (4 min) N N
1962, 1974, 2012 perf. 1991 Sonata 3, C, 4 Mov., 50 min P(photographed) P, some excerpts as MPG
1972-1974 “Song Symphony”, 6 min, no key, 40 min S Exceprts as P and MPG
1962, 1974 Orch. Symphony, E Min. 4 mvmts, 30 min S Excerpts as P
1974 Polytonal Prelude (D and E), 4 min S P,MPG

 

(L refers to Apple Logic, which I got before Sibelius.)

I entered the first two sonatas and Minuet into composition contests in the period 1957-1960.  I think I composed the Sonata, which has its own Minuet, first.  The E Major Minuet won a prize, but the Minuet in the Sonata is more interesting.  I’ve given some history of these pieces on Blogger here.

I must say that in the “Song Symphony”, in an episodic “scherzo” movement, I experimented with taking a minuet theme, and then recasting it harmonically (by throwing in polytonality, which classicism can always “use”) and telescoping the rhythm.  It’s like a Haydn minuet (rather than Mozart), with lots of little surprises that come on.  It’s not literally adopted, but a movement from the “Farewell Symphony” figured in, as did the “Imperial”.

The most complete  big works are the Sonatas 2 and 3.  I must have written out the Sonata 2 manuscript on the kitchen table in black in in early 1960.  Much of Sonata 3 was written in the spring of 1962, after I had started at GWU from having returned home from WM.  My father had a “mild heart attack” and could not stand loud classical music from the basement.  The third movement was a reflection of that circumstance.

The scrapbook notes show a judge discussing an “Impromptu in A Minor”, but I recall no such piece. I think she mixed up the title with another contestant and was really judging the Sonata #1 in A.

I’ve discussed a William and Mary classmate’s (from 1961) compositions also, here.   Sometime in 1962, after I had returned “home” because of the “expulsion” from William and Mary that I have discussed on my blogs, I received a huge postcard from a high school friend from the old Science Honor Society, in which he sketched out eight folk songs.  They may be some of the Irish songs that Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, and later Amy Beach, used in “Irish Rhapsodies” and symphonies, or they may include some Czech melodies.  The card may still be lying around in the attic or in estate property somewhere. If I find it, I’ll get it converted to digital.

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“Prometheus” (2012): When do angels, men, and other creatures get to play god?

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I’ve reviewed Ridley Scott’s film “Prometheus” before on my “Movies blog on June 8, 2012, here. Today, I watched the BluRay DVD on a new LG external drive, which I bought as an older Samsung started having trouble with BluRay.

The sci-fi film was notable for some of its ideas, which I did not give justice to in earlier reviews.  The BluRay DVD from 20th Century Fox came with a tier of extras, which I had trouble getting to work on the drive yet, hooked in to a large Toshiba laptop with Windows 8.  The Cyberlink install process for the DVD player is pretty complicated, sometimes wanting to repeat the same steps when you play a DVD.

The add-ons basically offer an “Archive” library of special effects, and a “Sync” capability to augment the movie with other video on your iPad or iPhone.  It seems a bit overdone.  But in sci-fi or fanatsy, a sync-up could be useful if the movie involves  journey through the “geography” of another world.   It could, for example, show you a train ride (as in a Harry Potter movie, or in the third dominion of Clive Barker’s 1991 fantasy “Imajica”, if that ever gets made).  It could present different kingdoms, as in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies and help you keep track of where you are. A page for the iTunes app and customer reviews is here.


The “Prometheus” film is widely understood as a prequel to the “Alien” series, but it creates a certain urgency.  After finding clues in caves around the world , a company and patriarch named Weyland sends a mission to a “nearby” solar system to the appropriate earth-like planet, and find it has been colonized with pyramids, spaceships and relics that resemble those of the Alien films.  Gradually, the movie builds on the idea that civilizations play god, and create other beings on other planets. There seems to be a race of super-humanoid “engineers” and an array of other snake or squid-like creatures that they can gestate.  And the crew (most of all the biologist Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and the outspoken daughter of old man Weyland played by Charlize Theron (who else?) get a leg up on the plan that the “engineers” will soon return to Earth and destroy us and start over to build creatures that are somehow more perfect.

The film ends with a woman astronaut going alone to the original home of the aliens (rather prescient of “Ender’s Game”).

And the film also starts with a fascinating prequel, shot in Iceland, as an “engineer” takes a potion and dissolves, his body shifting into falls and ready to seed the Earth with DNA.  Creation can require sacrifice, as can legitimate procreation.

And the creation theme is illustrated by the droid David (Michael Fassbender) who is said to be a sentient AI being with no soul.  Can you really have free will without a soul? A similar being is invented in the “Alien” movies.

The idea that men become “relative” gods (like angels) capable of creating and manipulating other intelligent life is certainly morally provocative.

My own scripts and screenplays follow some of these themes.  This isn’t the time for a lot of detail, but I’ll mention a couple of teasers.  My “Do Ask, Do Tell: Manifesto” script has an aging protagonist (me) awakening in limbo, wondering if he has passed away, been kidnapped, been selected for bizarre employment. He is on another planet of sorts, a small model world partitioned into sections according to historical time.  He’ll be “trained” to live in different environments, and soon learn he is to judge, in a particular ritual, which of his beneficial “captors” really get to become immortal angels.

I have another sequence of scripts, called “Titanium” and “Prescience”, about a UFO “invasion” and abductions. In “Prescience”, the treatment of which I presented to a table reading group in Minneapolis in July 2003, right before retuning back to Arlington, puts the protagonist in a high-rise apartment in an enclosed area of an extraterrestrial city. He then finds, when he is cut loose, that he the alien world is itself a colony, settled in a ring around the transition zone of a tidally-locked earth-like planet, itself highly regulated without money, with people regulated in a super-Maoist-like world, which again has been segmented geographically according to time periods matching different personal temperaments.

Welcome to Bill’s Media Reviews

"Jar of nothing"

Christmas present

Welcome to “Bill’s Media Reviews”.

This blog will review films, television series, web series, books, plays, musical compositions, and other media, cross-referencing the various media by labels and topics.

More details on how this will work will be forthcoming shortly.  There is a learning curve.

Note: My legal name is “John W. Boushka” and nickname (and pen name for writing) is “Bill Boushka”.

 

 

 

Comparative media reviews on hot topics