Monday, November 30, 2020
Sunday, November 29, 2020
The 1970 - 1971 television season was exciting for this then child: Gerry and Silvia Anderson's first live-action series, UFO, was the flagship.
The CTV (Canadian Television) network ran the series here in Canada, and the network's flagship station, CFTO, in Toronto, was where the dial turned to on our Zenith Colour television set. My parents watched, too. It was what we would now refer to as "appointment television".
UFO was what now would be considered to be very adult material for that time. For some reason the Brits were ahead of us in some departments on this side of the pond. They would not be afraid to address matters such as a death in the family, or family dysfunction (like a marriage falling apart). Wait a minute....it's called "UFO". There was the space stuff, of course, and the show's premise of a hostile alien force attacking us could be exciting, but the best episodes were not space-based -- believe it or not. "Sub-Smash", "A Question of Priorities", and "Confetti Check A-O.K." are standouts. (A few years ago I watched those three episodes, along with a few others, for the first time in decades, and was convinced.)
Unfortunately for the fans, UFO lasted just one season; totaling 26 stories.
Things went downhill after that for the Andersons as a husband and wife production team. Their later interstellar effort, Space: 1999 (1975 - 1977), was a big step down -- mainly in the characterization, acting, and scripting departments -- from what they had achieved with UFO.
Thursday, November 26, 2020
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Monday, November 23, 2020
Apparently the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) could not pick just one 'word of the year' for 2020. There are too many to choose from. And they just keep coming.
I came up with a word of my own, one sure to catch on; at least with me:
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Monday, November 16, 2020
Saturday, November 14, 2020
Movies. Movies. Movies. I've seen a lot of movies since I was a child. For instance, my father took me to a diverse range of films when I was growing up. And the military base movie theatres rotated a wide range of product, old and new.
Now, try and get me to clear two hours to watch a feature length dramatic film. Something blocks me. For months now, especially, I've hardly popped a flick into the player, nor watched one on one of the many free streaming services.
Just this morning I came to the realization that there is a perfectly valid reason why I've been slacking on "keeping up": I feel I have a lot to accomplish, and the idea of locking myself down to vapourize two hours of my creative life is not part of the plan....or any plan.
Switching gears, or film reels: I'd rather be a successful writer than a successful filmmaker. Also, I worked in film and television for years; been there, done that. That's enough. Besides, I can make films on my laptop now. Why consume when I can, for little to no money, about the cost of a ream of paper, produce video product.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
About a week ago I started checking out the Fox News website, due to my curiosity about how they were covering the U.S. presidential election.
I've been continuing to sample. While most of its commentators are as insane as ever, the news division reports the news, for the most part. In fact, many devoted Fox News devotees were upset when the network confidently named Joe Biden as the winner on Saturday.
Monday, November 9, 2020
Sunday, November 8, 2020
For some reason it's all around us today: Schadenfreude. That German word used to describe one's enjoyment of another's suffering or misfortune.
U.S. President Donald Trump was defeated "at the polls" by Joe Biden.
Saturday, November 7, 2020
Friday, November 6, 2020
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
U.S. president Donald Trump and his team want some states to stop counting votes as this may allow Joe Biden to catch up and overtake. Conservatives are mighty upset at those folk who have the temerity to count every vote cast by U.S. citizens.
That's it. Do everything you can to stop the game in progress when you sense that precious lead may slip away.
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Monday, November 2, 2020
Sunday, November 1, 2020
With Ms Fontana’s passing, there is not a lot of key Star Trek production people still with us. Gerald Fried is still alive and composing music at the age of 91. David Gerrold, creator of Tribbles, as in “The Trouble With Tribbles”, is still writing and publishing at 75.
In the then male-dominated dramatic television arena, undoubtedly it was a woman’s touch that helped humanize Star Trek, supplying vital stories and dialogue to characters powered by what my brother describes as “The Beatles Cast”. Ms Fontana had said in interviews that there were female writers working in television in the mid-1960s but they tended to work on non-drama programs. Roddenberry assigned Fontana, his then assistant, the story editor position after he read what she had rewritten of "This Side of Paradise", a script by another writer. (She had earlier written "Charlie X" -- the 5th episode shot in series production.) In this coveted staff role Fontana not only wrote her own scripts, but, as per the job requirement, rewrote others, helping shape the stories into the series whole. Along with other staff writers, she even took a stab at polishing Harlan Ellison's "The City on the Edge of Forever". (When I interviewed Mr Ellison in 2007 I did not broach the subject of "City" since his feelings are well documented; including by him.)
Music composers will say that talking or writing about music is clumsy. Best to listen to the music. The same could be applied to writing about writing.
The following quotes are out of context for the uninitiated, but one can surmise what is going on. It also shows how in television drama writing, every word must count. Not only moving the story forward, but revealing character.
KIRK: You go slow. You be gentle. I mean, it's not a one-way street, you know, how you feel and that's all. It's how the girl feels, too. Don't press, Charlie. If the girl feels anything for you at all, you'll know it. Do you understand?
KIRK: Charlie, there are a million things in this universe you can have and there are a million things you can't have. It's no fun facing that, but that's the way things are.
From "Journey to Babel":
SPOCK: Any competent officer can command this ship under normal circumstances. The circumstances are not normal. We're carrying over one hundred valuable Federation passengers. We're being pursued by an alien ship. We're subject to possible attack. There has been murder and attempted murder on board. I cannot dismiss my duties.
AMANDA: Duty? Your duty is to your father.
SPOCK: I know, but this must take precedence. If I could give the transfusion without loss of time or efficiency, I would. Sarek understands my reason.
AMANDA: Well, I don't. It's not human. That's not a dirty word. You're human, too. Let that part of you come through. Your father's dying.
SPOCK: Mother, how can you have lived on Vulcan so long, married a Vulcan, raised a son on Vulcan, without understanding what it means to be a Vulcan?
AMANDA: If this is what it means, I don't want to know.
SPOCK: It means to adopt a philosophy, a way of life, which is logical and beneficial. We cannot disregard that philosophy merely for personal gain, no matter how important that gain might be.
AMANDA: Nothing is as important as your father's life.
SPOCK: Can you imagine what my father would say if I were to agree, if I were to give up command of this vessel, jeopardise hundreds of lives, risk interplanetary war, all for the life of one person?
AMANDA: When you were five years old and came home stiff-lipped, anguished, because the other boys tormented you saying that you weren't really Vulcan. I watched you, knowing that inside that the human part of you was crying and I cried, too. There must be some part of me in you, some part that I still can reach. If being Vulcan is more important to you, then you'll stand there speaking rules and regulations from Starfleet and Vulcan philosophy, and let your father die. And I'll hate you for the rest of my life.
AMANDA: Oh, go to him. Now. Please.
SPOCK: I cannot.
LEILA: I love you. I said that six years ago, and I can't seem to stop repeating myself. On Earth, you couldn't give anything of yourself. You couldn't even put your arms around me. We couldn't have anything together there. We couldn't have anything together anyplace else. We're happy here. I can't lose you now, Mister Spock. I can't.
SPOCK: I have a responsibility to this ship, to that man on the Bridge. I am what I am, Leila, and if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else's.
MCCOY: Well, that's the second time man's been thrown out of paradise.
KIRK: No, no, Bones. This time we walked out on our own. Maybe we weren't meant for paradise. Maybe we were meant to fight our way through. Struggle, claw our way up, scratch for every inch of the way. Maybe we can't stroll to the music of the lute. We must march to the sound of drums.
SPOCK: Poetry, Captain. Non-regulation.
KIRK: We haven't heard much from you about Omicron Ceti Three, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: I have little to say about it, Captain, except that for the first time in my life, I was happy.