The “Alien” franchise didn’t have a new movie in the chamber to mark its 40th anniversary in 2019, but it did gift fans with several short films; all are on YouTube. They are part of a trend – which perhaps has its roots in George Lucas’ support of “Star Wars” fan films about 20 years ago – wherein major franchises allow up-and-coming artists to play in their sandbox.
“quarterlife” (2007-08, quarterlife.com, NBC) – Yet another Marshall Herskovitz/Edward Zwick TV series has been canceled by a network, but this time, it’s not bothering me or other fans one bit. In fact, many fans of “quarterlife” probably didn’t even tune in to NBC’s one-and-done airing of the show on Feb. 26 because they had already seen it at quarterlife.com in November.
So I’ve finished my rewatches of all the Joss Whedon series between 1997-2010 except one – and it’s the most unusual one. “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” (2008) is three 15-minute web episodes that add up to length of one TV episode. It was penned by Whedon and his brothers Zack and Jed and Jed’s wife Maurissa Tancharoen (who also plays Captain Hammer Groupie No. 1) during the TV writers’ strike.
My top show of 2007 was a web series — “quarterlife” — and three of my top 10 of 2008 were web series, headlined by “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.” I was even titling my year-end lists “Top 10 TV/Internet shows.” It definitely seemed like TV and the internet were well on the way to merging into one entity.
I don’t mean to rain on the parade of fans who are excited for the Sept. 16 release of the “Star Wars” saga on Blu-ray, but I’m not getting too worked up about it. As readers of my blog know, I am a technological laggard despite being a TV and movie geek; I just got a widescreen TV a few months ago and I’m quite happy picking up cheap TV-show DVDs dumped off by Blu-ray upgraders.
I thought it might be fun to look back on my picks for “best of the year” this decade as those years were ending (mostly fun for me, but you can enjoy it too, if you want).
1. In “Return of the Jedi,” when the Ewok (I believe it’s Paploo, but I can’t check it because I don’t have my “Star Wars” library moved into my new place yet) jumps on the speeder bike, he immediately knows how to drive it. Specifically, he immediately knows where to find the override function that allows it to be driven by someone whose feet can’t reach the pedals. File this under the category of “things that happen in movies that you don’t think about on the first 146 viewings, but on the 147th viewing you realize it’s completely insane.”
1. Do you ever get a Facebook friend request from someone you’ve never heard of? I usually just ignore it. This is kind of unfortunate, because now I have no chance of becoming friends with that person (I certainly won’t get to know them outside of Facebook). And I would probably end up liking them more than some of my current Facebook friends. But because of the off chance that they might be the Facebook Killer, I don’t approve the request. It’s a sad age we live in.
As a student in the 1990s, my favorite genre of TV shows and movies was high school stories (the latest example of the “last day of high school” subgenre has recently arrived in the form of “I Love You, Beth Cooper”).