Shades of Drew Struzan:
It is intriguing to watch 2 very different shows, both established, set themselves up to move to a new level, and achieve widely different results.
SuperNatural S4 has brought Armageddon to the table. This escalation is a logical extension of the show’s mythology. The expansion of the world from the Winchester family’s personal viewpoint to a global one is a bold move. Based on the first half dozen episodes this move has been brilliantly executed.
Burn Notice S3 took a risky step too and removed Michael Weston’s safety net. The blanket protection by the higher ups who have shielded him from the intelligence community and the authorities at home is gone. Michael is on his own and vulnerable. An exciting setup for the season, no? Well, one would think so but so far the show has really not stepped up to the plate and delivered on the potential of this new premise.
For the first 3 episodes Michael was being ‘hounded’ by a local cop. Problem was she only showed up at the beginning and end of each episode. Rarely did she walk into the middle of mission and raise new dramatic situations for Michael to deal with. By the third episode, Michael helped solve a case for her which then had her step back and stop bird dogging him. Oh-kay. That played like out like a wet fart.
The next episode had Michael captured by a Russian mercenary looking for revenge but the trained merecenaries came off no better than any of the previous thugs Michael has bested.
Back to SuperNatural – the world expansion that now includes appearances by the other ‘team.’ In the first three seasons all the unnatural appearance where from the bad side; demons, vampires, ghosts, tricksters, and shapeshifters. Now the other side has decided to enter the frey in a more visible way. ArchAngels are deftly interwoven into the Winchester’s personal dilemmas. Dean has been retrieved from hell by an angel for a higher purpose while Sam wrestles with not using his psychic abilities because they are fueled by the demon blood fed to him as a baby. Here we see the dynamics of the Armageddon theme pushing the characters to new areas.
Quite a contrast with Burn Notice, which is really treading the same water it has the previous seasons.
In Burn Notice’s favour the stories themselves are as tightly written and scripted as before with the requisite amount of humour. And who could help but laugh out loud at Michael’s mother, played to perfection by Sharon Gless, being the one to ‘torture’ the information out of the bad guy when Fie and Sam failed?
It comes down to follow through. SuperNatural is moving to new heights and/or depths out of the gate while Burn Notice seems to be sticking to previously explored ground.
Heads up Stephen King fans! The King of Horror will be doing a road trip later this year to promote his latest book – Under The Dome. This one is another in a series of massive tomes from Mr. King coming in at a whopping 1,120 pages!
Dates and locations for signing tour update:
NYC – on stage, no book signing, 250 pre-signed books
D.C./Baltimore – book signing, no on stage event
Atlanta – book signing, no on stage event
Sarasota – on stage, no book signing, 250 pre-signed books
Minneapolis – on stage, no book signing, 250 pre-signed books
Toronto – on stage, no book signing, 250 pre-signed books
Portsmouth, NH – on stage, no book signing, 250 pre-signed books
Manchester Center, VT – on stage, no book signing, 250 pre-signed books
Details as to how each stop will be handled are still forthcoming.
Book summary is as follows:
“On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mills, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when—or if—it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens—town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing—even murder—to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.”
There are over 100 characters in the book! That is staggering!! The ‘cast’ includes Dale Barbara, a Gulf veteran and now a cook, the town’s newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital and three children. They’re up against an evil politician, Big Jim Rennie – who’s desperate to hold onto power and will stop at nothing, even murder – and his son, who in classic King style, “is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry”. Meanwhile, time under the Dome is running out.
The book is said to cover the same territory in The Stand but in a more allegorical way.
As a life long King fan I will definitely do my utmost to make the Toronto date. I saw him when he made his first Canadian appearance in June of 2007 to accept an award and it was a highlight night. For one so famous, Mr. King has not lost touch with the common folk and he is hilarious. As he said that night about being so famous, ‘I never started out as a writer wanting to end up being a Paris Hilton.’
This could be King’s last epic work, though you never know, the man has an exceptional work ethic and consistently pumps out new content. I for one, certainly hope there is more after this but then when it comes to King, I am greedy!
Harry Potter has come to an end.
And a pretty emotional and potent one it was too.
Rowling delivered an end game worthy of the franchise. The book breaks down into three acts of which the first was very good, the third was excellent, and the middle was sluggish and over long. All during the middle section feelings I was reading filler or padding kept coming to mind. The tent section, for lack of a better term could have been compressed by half I wager without losing any story points. It seems like the book needed to be of a similar length to complement the other books in the series.
Despite that minor quibble, Rowling’s writing skills to weave an engrossing tale were in full display. The final act of the book is very powerful and elicits powerful emotional reactions. I admit to getting misty eyed during one sequence. The final confrontation is well played and very cinematic.
No doubt about it. Rowling delivered big time with this book.
Attended a local SF con – Polaris 23. Formerly known as Toronto Trek this was my first time attending this one. The focus is more on the media side of things with Michael Hogan of Colonel Tigh/BSG fame as the headliner. The con provides autograph/photo op opportunities with genre stars of film and TV. Here is a link to all the guests.
Not being an autograph hound I bypassed these sessions and concentrated on the writers present. Attended several readings and an interesting panel on the business side of writing related to negotiating rights for alternate forms of publishing ie media tie ins, ebooks etc. This was hosted by local writer Doug Smith and was very interesting.
Attended some panels in relation to Chuck – this was a lot of fun and most-Awesome, a Quantum Leap panel – also a lot of fun, and a in depth presentation of the upcoming Shane Acker/Tim Burton animated flick – 9. The animation was done by a local Toronto animation studio – Starz Animation. They walked us through the process of movie making and explained how the storyboards are brought to life by these talented artists. Very interesting. This seems like it will be a great flick based on a short film created by Shane Acker.
Here is the original short the upcoming movie is based on:
The short has no dialogue unlike the movie which will. And a pretty high powered voice cast at that – Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau and Jennifer Connelly.
Here is the trailer for the upcoming movie version:
Looks very unique and fresh. Can’t wait till this September.