The new series Justice is on the Fox network, which means that some of the ads say Fox Justice and some say Justice Fox. The first of these sounds like a tale of reenge in th animal kingdom, the second is an odd superhero title, and iether of them would’ve been better than this show.

Justice attempts to do for defense attourneys what the CSI shows do for forensic evidence – present every moment as slick and technical and filled with whatever fancy graphics they can muster. Thing is, we’ve seen both more real lawyers at work and fictional lawyers at work than we have forensic investigators, and thus we have a better BS detector for verisimilitude in such matters. And on this, Justice stumbles badly. We may not know much about the technical stuff that they’re doing, but the courtroom work? Are we supposed to not know that the lawyers are supposed to be asking the witnesses questions, and if they stand their giving a series of statements explaining the crime without drawing the information from the witness first, that doesn’t fly in court. And when the lead investigator says that they never looked at any other suspect, this is not something which should panic the defense; they should be dancing in the aisles that the cops admitted that they prejudged the case rather than doing a thorough job. If the viewer is smart enough to realize this, why aren’t the legal geniuses that the show is protraying.

It’s slick but sloppy. There’s a lot of mechanics here, not a lot of humanity, and not a lot of believability. Victor Garber is well suited to its lead role as the high-powered lawyer, but beyond that, this didn’t have much to recommendit to me. Procedurals are about procedure; if the procedure cannot be believed, what’s the point?

Published in: on August 31, 2006 at 1:04 am  Leave a Comment  


I noticed something odd about the ads for NBC programs during the Emmy telecast: the ad for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip made it look like a wacky sitcom… and the ad for The Office made it look like a drama.

Or maybe I’ve misunderstood both of those shows.

Published in: on August 30, 2006 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Ghost coauthor

Did you know that I co-wrote a book called True Love with my Netscape Navigator Six-in-One co-author? Neither did I!

Published in: on August 29, 2006 at 9:52 pm  Comments Off on Ghost coauthor  


I heard from an old friend today, with tragic news. Her husband had passed away suddenly last week.

There’s no way to respond to that.

I’ve been in a bit of a daze since then. Of course I know that people y age can die, but when it hits so close, the odds seem so much higher. And now that I have a family of my own, it’s not so much the things that would be undone, it’s that I would leave my daughter behind. I think it’s one thing to not have known one’s dad, but she’s an aware individual now. And she’d know me, and then lose me.

And it has altered the way I look at everything today… but in ways that reflect my existing considerations. For example, the question of choosing a tasty dinner or a healthy one tonight. I realized that I could use the “stay healthy, stay alive for your kid” view of things… or I could take this as a reminder that life is short, and as someone once said, we should eat dessert first.

(To answer the obvious question: rotisserie chicken dinner from The Alamo restaurant, with rice, beans, and flour tortillas. Peeled the skin from the chicken. So I suppose I landed somewhere inbetween.)

Published in: on August 28, 2006 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Who I am, part whichever

I am an alumni of The Transducer Players, a perform-in-front-of-the-screen-of-The-Rocky-Horror-Picture-Show group. For a fair while, I was just a guy who ehorted the audience. Then I was on the stage, most commonly as Dr. Scott, occassionally filling in with other roles, including one occassion Magenta (a female role, for those of you untrained in the ways of Rocky Horror.)
Today, I learned that the theater I performed in for most of my run, the Harwan, is about to be demolished to make way for a drug store. And part of me goes with it.

Published in: on August 23, 2006 at 4:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Nat at Worldcon

Just a quick note for my readers that I will be at the World Science Fiction Convention in Anaheim, CA this coming weekend. On Saturday you can catch me at either of my two panel appearances:

  • 10:00 AM, 60-90 minutes, SMALL PRESS PUBLISHING
  • 4:00 PM, 60-90 minutes, THE BUSINESS SIDE OF COMICS

On Sunday, I have a poorly-attended signing schedule for 11 AM, so that would be a good time to come and talk, if you want.

Published in: on August 23, 2006 at 12:44 am  Leave a Comment  

21 Junked Street

Some Internet pundits argue that the DVD of TV shows should be allowed to have the music that were in the original broadcast, rightholders and existing contracts be damned. That’s just a bunch of unfounded entitlement. Just because you want something does not give you the right to it. Chosing to control the rights you own, setting your own high price for the right to use your music, that’s not a crime.

It is, however, often a shame. I just Netflixed disc 5 of season 3 of 21 Jump Street, the cops-going-undercover-as-teens series. No, I’m not zooming though this series. It had some good stuff, it had some other stuff, but having seen most of it when it first aired I don’t really need to review. I just wanted to watch the best episode, the high point, the one I recommended to others to try to see if they might like the show. “High High” is one which fans might refer to as Jump Street meets Fame, as the gang (still including Johnny Depp at this point) go undercover at a performing arts high school. It all builds with good rhythms to this slow-mo basketball scene set to the Rolling Stones’ “Monkey Man”, really the central moment not of plot, but of theme.

Except on the DVD. Stripped of the right music, of the music that it was edited around, of music with an impact, the scene seems pointless and limp, basketball played to a generic tune. No emotion there.

I don’t hope that changing the law is the answer, but it would be nice if the industry developed some standard, accepted guidelines for payment, one that makes using the appropriate music profitable for all involved.

(I do wonder if the broadcast version of this episode as played in syndicated reruns still has the music in place. I’m also wondering whether online streaming of shows is covered as a “broadcast” in the old contracts, in contrast to downloadable versions that would clearly be the sale of a recording and thus not covered under the original recording deal.)

Published in: on August 23, 2006 at 12:21 am  Comments (2)  


Fox’s Vanished isn’t NBC’s Kidnapped, but it might as well be in most ways. An ongoing storyline tracing the investigation of a kidnapping, in this case of a Senator’s wife. Over-the-top mechanations. More than Kidnapped, there is visible silly ornateness to the set-up. Supreme Court nominations, suspicious ex-wives, mysterious disappearances in the past…

But what’s more worrisome is the set-up to the two key investigator characters, one a federal agent, one a reporter (Rebecca Gayheart, who is pretty but looks not quite human, as if some alien race were trying to draw an idealized human, much in the way “furry” artists turn a fox human). The federal agent has a recent tragic failure that accompanies him, which shouts “care about his struggle”… but the complexity of set-up makes it blatant that this series is a plot beast, that character is secondary, and thus this heavy set-up just makes it feel like the writers didn’t know what it is they created, and just kept throwing ingredients into the soup.

I shan’t be following this.

Published in: on August 22, 2006 at 11:41 pm  Comments (1)  

Colbert's losing me

My fondness for The Colbert Report is starting to slip in large ways. There’s a couple of little things… one interview where he seemed to catch himself being too effective against an interviewee whom he was trying to grill in character, and started to back away. But the larger thing is his call for vandalism of various sorts – asking people to add misinformation to Wikipedia, or trying to skew a vote on a bridge in Hungary to get it named after him. He’s slipping from commenting on those who would make the world worse to being one of them.

Published in: on August 17, 2006 at 12:50 am  Leave a Comment  

RIP Bruno Kirby

Actor Bruno Kirby has died. I’m seeing a number of films cited, but it’s never the two that come most quickly to mind for him, admittedly smaller roles. There was the brief bit as a limo driver in Spinal Tap, and a juicier role in The Freshman. It was working with Marlon Brando in that latter film that gave him a number of the anecdotes that he spun when I saw him on The J. Keith Van Straaten Show (a never-broadcast live talk show done in a 99-seat theater in L.A.) a couple years back. In person, he was just as witty, charming, and disarming as you would’ve thought from those films.

He wasn’t young-young, but 57… as I move through my 40s, somehow that doesn’t sound that old any more.

Published in: on August 16, 2006 at 12:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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