Thursday Open Thread: Favorite Whedon Couple

I miss having Joss Whedon shows on TV, and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Buffy. So with that in mind, I ask you:

Out of all of Joss’ shows, who is your favorite Whedon couple?

There are no rules here. These can be couples that were real (i.e., Buffy and Angel) or unrequited (i.e., Buffy and Xander). It can be from TV or even from the web (Dr. Horrible, anyone?).  Really, this is just my time to see the kind of shows you liked from Joss and the characters you enjoyed as well.

Personally, I think Simon and Kaylee from Firefly were cute, but the connection between Sierra and Victor in Dollhouse was great, too. I think I’ll lean toward Simon and Kaylee, though, just because the hit and miss flirting was so fun to watch on the series.

What about you?

image from twevilmonks.org

I don’t normally beg on Raked, but please don’t anyone say Willow and Kennedy. Man, I hate Kennedy.

Advertisements

Thursday Open Thread: Name your TV musical

A few years ago, there was a good stream of musical episodes. Buffy, Scrubs–just to name two of my favorites. There was a slight renewal in musicals this spring when FOX was hyping Glee, but why not ask for more?

What show would you like to see a musical episode of?

Now, Eli Stone would have been a natural choice, but it’s not on the air anymore (and in some episodes, it was pretty close). But now, if I could choose, I think Drop Dead Diva could pull it off, even if it was a dream. They had some great fun in the season opener, and frankly, Brooke Elliot has a fantastic voice. Even Margaret Cho got to sing. Plus, they’ve got two ex-dancers in the cast, so it’s just adding up to some fun.

What about you? Or would you want to see any at all? I’ll leave you with some fun YouTube clips of some fun TV musical numbers. Not too many, but a couple.

The best part about that video are the cheesy firetrucks that go by when they sing the word, “Burn.”

Raked’s TV Top Ten List of the Decade

We’re signing off 2009 tonight, and we’re bringing in a new user: 2010. We’re not just ending a year but a decade this time (though some of you historian/mathematician types might disagree), so in honor of that, I’m posting this blog in honor of the best things about TV of the decade.

I’ve sorted my thoughts out as general ideas that seemed to have grown in the past ten years (though, to be fair, more so in the last five since my memory is rusty). So here goes:

Raked’s TV Top Ten List of 2000s (in no particular order):

1. Creativity: Sure, all our hopes and dreams get dashed when our favorite shows get canceled, but you’ve got to give it up for the creators of series that truly incorporate a distinctive idea in the show, moving beyond the normal ER drama or procedural. Think Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, and even our favorite sci-fi shows.

2. Music: Note: This is music, not montages. I don’t know the exact year that the WB started the trend of showing which songs were played in the episode, but it’s certainly grown since then. Now music plays a huge part of television. There are certainly times that I think of a show when a song plays on the radio. I attribute most of this to Scrubs, as that show certainly brings a lot of fantastic music to plot.

3. Musicals: Ok, so most of you hated them. But some were fun! Look at Buffy and Scrubs. They’re kinda weird, but they’re rather funky. I enjoyed. And this naturally brings me to…

4. Web Series: One of the newer innovations to television, and all resting on the wonderful series that is Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Plus, you’ve got The Guild, which I was introduced to over Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed, and it’s a whole new way to watch TV. All because of…

5. The Writers’ Strike: I’m sure most of you hate me for putting this on the top ten list, but honestly, it was a defining time for TV. Viewers finally noticed that TV goes beyond the pretty faces on the screen and there were smart people behind it. Plus, I got to meet Joss Whedon at one of the rallies.

6. The Middle Tier: Ok, I know that most of you see the cancellations of the series in the 2000s, but what about the middle shows that stuck around? I’m always impressed with this story of One Tree Hill, where it was never really huge, but it got enough viewers to have the freedom to stay on-air and do what it wants. Now it’s a wacky, popular show that for some reason I’m still watching. And you know it’s not the only one.

7. Cable Series: First, it was the HBO and Showtime series, and now we’ve got TNT, TBS, and USA. Don’t even forget the cable network that brings you Mad Men. These award-winning shows are coming from somewhere beyond our typical networks, which has really caused a shift in recent years. And some damn good television!

8. Neil Patrick Harris: Is it fair to put a person on the top ten list? Honestly, somehow in the past few years, he’s gone from long-gone child actor to one of the most entertaining. Heck, he’s even made us like musicals. I could say that he’s lengen–wait for it…

9. Fun Add-Ons: Dary. In the fun tribute to NPH, let’s think of the web add-ons to series. I’m not thinking merchandise, but instead, the viral things on the web that are in conjunction with shows. Can anyone say How I Met Your Mother? I don’t know how many external websites that show has now. Plus, think Big Bang and the Penny Blossoms website. Oh yeah, it’s out there.

10. Fan Support: I did leave this one for last because it did seem like a big one. But if you start with Jericho move through Chuck and land in the Dollhouse, you know what I mean. Fans just don’t give up anymore–and that’s a good thing.

So there’s my list. What did I miss? Let me know in the comments.

The Guild: A little web series that could

KT puts her nerd status on display again.

Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog has probably gotten more buzz than any other web series, but it wasn’t created in a vacuum.  Among the Whedon brothers’ inspiration for the show was a modest little web series called The Guild, created by, written by, and starring Felicia Day.

The Guild has grown to be something of a phenomena itself, at least in certain quarters of the internet.  Their first season (like most fledgling shows) was a little bumpy, but since then Day and her collaborators have fine-tuned the writing and production and gotten backing from Sprint and distribution from Microsoft.  New episodes are first made available through the Xbox and Zune, if you happen to own either of those devices, then are hosted on msn.com.  Eventually you can also stream them at watchtheguild.com or YouTube.  A little confusing, but it works.

The web series is starting its third season this fall, and it has found its wings in a big way.  It follows six members of a guild — people who get together online to play an MMORPG (that’s “massively multi-player online role-playing game”) of the sort that sounds a lot like World of Warcraft, but is always carefully referred to as “The Game.”  Anyway, that’s the only link these people have to each other, and until recently (meaning season 1), they had never met in person.  Some of the characters still think that was a bad idea.  And though each season consists of only ten or twelve short episodes, each character has a storyline and a very distinct personality.  Humor is definitely a key component, and season two even has some action when Codex meets one of her neighbors, who is a professional stunt man.

Yes, Codex.  All of the character are only ever referred to by the names of their characters in The Game.  We do learn Codex’s real name — Sydney, I think — but that’s it.

Season three opens a day or two after the disastrous party from the season two finale and Codex is still freezing her brain over a pint of “self-pity ice cream.”  She’s fairly cheerful, though — she’s the sort of person who feels the need to fix everyone else’s problems, and she’s sure that the imminent release of an expansion to their game will patch up everybody’s quarrels.  After all, she says, “it’s about the game, not each other.  Stupid humans.”  Adorable delivery.  Have I mentioned my girl-crush on Felicia Day?  Her video blog-style introductions are often my favorite part of the show.

Despite Codex’s optimism, new online quests and powers aren’t quite enough to make everyone forgive and forget as they all line up outside their local Game Stop.  Spirits sink further when a rival guild led by Wil Wheaton shows up and cuts ahead of them in line.  (Juvenile, yes, but in an amusingly over-the-top kind of way.)

By the end of episode 3.02, the conflict between the two guilds has solidified as the plot to watch this season.  And after Codex votes herself the new guild leader, Tinkerballa is seen flirting with Wheaton’s kilt-wearing character — I smell treachery in the air.  Should be fun!

[After the jump: a few last comments]

Continue reading

Thursday Open Thread: Comic Book Spinoffs

Remember when comic books were the geeky thing? Now, it seems like they’re everywhere. Perhaps, I’ve just moved over to the geeky side, but in some ways, I’m embracing it. What about you?

Do you read comic book spinoffs or adaptations of your favorite shows?

What’s funny is that you’d think it was just the sci-fi genre that really gets the fans, but it’s expanding. Sure, there’s Heroes and Battlestar Galactica. But most recently, there’s been The Muppet Show! Plus, add in the comics that extend a show past cancellation–Angel and Buffy are the obvious picks–or even the web comics that go hand-in-hand with things like Dr. Horrible (prequels all over the place), and you’ve got yourself a lot to catch up on.

So what do you do? Do you read them? And how? Do you pick one up as a tester, or do you wait for the trade paperback and make a $12.95 commitment?

Tell us in comments.

It’s a brand-new May

[To the tune of Dr. Horrible’s “Brand-new Day”]

It’s a brand-new May
And the sun is high
All networks are singing
That they’re gonna die
Go a head an laugh
Hey, I’m a funny guy…
Tell everyone good-bye…
It’s a brand-new May…
[STOMP]

Yes, yes. It’s the time for season and series finales. Honestly, why is it that I don’t know yet which shows are having series finales? Oh, maybe it’s because it’s all up to cancellation announcements (no, we haven’t heard about Dollhouse yet).

Anyway, it’s the time of year–May and, well, the week before it–where finales rule and characters die. Who’s spouting springtime deaths?

Heroes, for one, unless they already did the damage they were planning with Elle and Daphne. Personally, I’m hoping for more.

Then there’s Smallville, which is killing off two to three characters. It’s questionable as to whether the third character will be in body or mind, but there will certainly be some carnage.

For a while there, we thought there’d be some death in Grey’s Anatomy. I guess we still don’t know anymore about that one.

And then there’s One Tree Hill, which is constantly trying to kill off Dan (though I hear he’s not going anywhere…yet), and there is the question of Peyton and the baby. And have they signed her or Lucas on for another season? I haven’t heard a yes or no yet. All speculation, though.

I’ve also heard that not everyone is in the clear on Desperate Housewives. But then again, that’s always the case.

House already greeted us with our death for the season. I can’t say anyone was expecting the Kutner surprise.

And then there’s Dollhouse. I know nothing about whether anyone will live or die, but it is Joss Whedon, so that’s always the chance. Plus, you hear the name “Alpha,” and you automatically get scared. I’d say there is a good chance for some terror and death–again, all speculation.

Anyway, it’s pretty clear that we’ve got some big episodes coming up on our favorite shows, and those are just the ones I’m willing to share info about or speculate on (and trust me, Dollhouse is complete speculation; I won’t share my opinions about who I think could kick it, though if you want to know my thoughts, just ask).

My point in all this is to not let your favorite finales pass you by. Somehow they’re sneaking up on me, so I don’t want you all to miss out! I mean, Heroes is tomorrow, people!

So here is a list of some of the shows I cover (and a few other popular ones that I know the kids are watching), so you’ll be sure to catch your favorites as they sign off (hopefully) for the summer. A complete list can be found here.

Monday, April 27: Chuck and Heroes
Wednesday, April 29: Better Off Ted
Thursday, April 30: Samantha Who?
Wednesday,  May 6: Scrubs and The Unusuals
Friday, May 8: Dollhouse
Sunday, May 10: Brothers & Sisters
Monday, May 11: The Big Bang Theory, House, and Castle
Tuesday,  May 12: Fringe
Thursday, May 14: Smallville, Parks and Recreation, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, The Office, and 30 Rock
Friday,  May 15: Ghost Whisperer and Prison Break
Sunday, May 17: Desperate Housewives
Monday,  May 18: Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, and One Tree Hill
Tuesday,  May 19: 90210
Wednesday, May 20: America‘s Next Top Model
Thursday,  May 21: Ugly Betty and Southland
Tuesday, May 26: Reaper and My Boys

So keep those eyes glued to the TV, people. It’s a brand-new May…

It’s hot in here. Must be Summer.

BIG BANG THEORY: 2.17 “The Terminator Decoupling”

I wonder what celebrities act like when they meet in real like. Like, for some reason I just assume that all the Whedon alums just meet and talk about their Whedon experiences. “You were in Firefly? I was in Dr. Horrible!”

Of course, I’m sure this doesn’t really happen. It’s just the websites that mush them all together that makes me think this way. But after last night’s episode, I’m starting to wonder more and more. Specifically, how much of Howard, Leonard, and Raj’s interactions with Summer Glau were true to life.

I bet Leonard’s was. Unless he’s just a tool in real life. But I’d like to believe none of these people are.

Anyway, it was a fun episode. As soon as they hit the train, I knew Penny would be in the episode via telecommute–aka, a phone. I did appreciate that every time that Sheldon got mad, Leonard had to take the phone away to pacify (by the way, did anyone check what Leonard was reading? I’m curious what a nerdy physicist reads in his spare time).

The interactions with Summer Glau were great. Of course, Howard was going to be super geeky and creepy (I certainly wouldn’t want him hitting on me), but Raj was a pleasant surprise. I was hoping and hoping that Howard wouldn’t ruin his “M. Knight Charmalarmalon,” but of course, how could he resist? Summer’s face at Raj retreated with his tail between his legs was great.

The one downer note was how much Terminator was brought up. I know that the point was to plug it as much as possible (I think the two shows, while on different networks, are produced by the same company or something), but I was wishing for more Serenity and Firefly comments. I only heard one.

I know. I’m a Whedon nerd. And I rock it.

In other news, the pickup line (aka, my headline) was amazing. I wish I had a name like that, just so it could be used in such a great pickup line. If someone comes up with a great pickup line for Raked–yes, the name Raked–I’ll do some special callout to you or something. It’ll be something awesome. Try me.