Resin Heroes

The Assets on ABC looks like it might be one to watch

Starts this Thursday (1/2) at 10 (EST).


Cool Syd Mead art

I idolized this guy in art school and still have a great deal of respect for his work. Syd imagined our present day from back in the 1970s and 1980s. And while he got a lot wrong, he got a lot right too.



Space: Above and Beyond Review #3: The Dark Side of the Sun

Originally aired October 8, 1995

The 58th are assigned to sentry duty at the Icarus mining colony in dark reaches of the Kuiper belt. There mission is to guard a shipment of Helium 3 vital to the war effort. However, at the colony the 58th find a new enemy of robotic humans, the Silicates, who have other plans for the Helium 3.

One of the Silicates with their creepy target eyes

One of the Silicates with their creepy target eyes

I haven’t watched all of Space: Above and Beyond since the late 1990s, and it was always my belief since that the early episodes of the series, barring “The Farthest Man from Home” were better than later ones starting with “The Dark Side of the Sun.” And some 15 odd years later I still really dig this episode.

“Dark Side of the Sun” has a more heavy story for a 90s show. Here, Shane Vansen (Kristen Cloke) spends much of the episode trying to come to terms with the execution/murder of her parents that took place in front of her and her sisters when they were children. Vansen suffers from nightmares where she relives the murders over and over again.

We’ve heard of the slightly Terminator-esque Silicates/AI’s before in the Pilot episode, that they were a subservient class of robots who rebelled and waged a terror campaign against humanity. And we learn a little more with “Dark Side of the Sun,” mostly that a virus that implanted “Take a chance” into their coding sparked the rebellion with them vs us and that they’re compulsive gamblers as well.

Shane Vansen in full bad-@ss mode

Shane Vansen in full [email protected] mode

Visually, the Icarus mining colony is an interesting place. It seems like some real refinery was shot at night to double as the colony that’s supposed to be some three billion +- miles from the Earth. And this mostly works, even if from time to time a few moths fly into the stage lights. 😉

In “The Dark Side of the Sun,” it’s interesting how Vansen comes to terms with battling the Silicates. First by running away, then by warily confronting them and finally by destroying them when the lives of the rest of the 58th are on the line. But sadly enough, even after Vansen confronts the Silicates at the mining colony and almost single handedly wipes them out, in the end she still finds that the Silicates still haunt her dreams.

Grade: A-

Goofs: This episode exposes a big problem, and of the whole series as I see it, of the notion the the armed forces of Earth would have pilots sometimes be pilots and other times be ground soldiers as part of their regular duties. It just doesn’t make sense. Even today the Marines can “make” a soldier in a matter of months but it literally takes years for them to make fighter pilots. It’s not like they just can trust anyone with multimillion dollar jets.

The 58th at the Icarus Mining Colony

The 58th at the Icarus Mining Colony

I can see how the 58th pulling double duty works in terns of SAaB — it means that there just has to be one group we follow no matter if they’re flying or fighting on the ground — but realistically it doesn’t hold true.

Favorite dialog:
Shane Vansen: “Do you ever feel like there’s something out there, waiting?”
T.C. McQueen: “Feeling like maybe you’re not coming back? Everyone gets that.”
Vansen: “How does ‘everyone’ deal with it?”
McQueen: “They go out and they come back…or they don’t.”

Paul Wang: “If any friendliest find my body, I want my ashes spread over Wrigley Field.”

The Best TV Series of 2013

The start of the 2012-13 TV season was little more than a barren wasteland. Of the few new shows I checked out last season there wasn’t any I stuck with for more than a few episodes. To say I was depressed this time last year at the state of TV would not have been an understatement.

But then something happened. Once ’12 ended and we rang in ’13 all sorts of interesting TV series began appearing, to the point that I’d call 2013 one of the better years for quality TV in recent memory.

Charles Dance in Game of Thrones

Charles Dance in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones (HBO)

I’ve really liked Game of Thrones since it premiered back in ’11, but it wasn’t until this year that I thought it was the best show on TV. And that’s not a dig on previous seasons of the series whatsoever. Game of Thrones has always been great and it’s been getting better and better with each new season of the show. Plus now that we’re a few seasons in, I think the audience is a lot more invested in the series and its characters than before since we’ve gotten to know and “live with” the series these last few years.

Game of Thrones is the rare show where every action taken by the characters has consequences; some good, some bad and some both, and seemingly no character is safe from unexpectedly meeting their demise and earning a quick exit from the show. It’s almost to the point where I wonder who’ll still be in the last episode of the series who was also in the first?


The cast of Hannibal

Hannibal (NBC)

One of the biggest surprises to me earlier this year was the network TV series Hannibal. Let that sink in for a minute, a network drama is one of the best shows of the year. While Hannibal has some of the trappings of a procedural cop series; flashy cases of the week, a wide cast of characters. Hannibal also breaks that same mold in that the title character of the show Will Graham (the wonderful Hugh Dancy) is actually a unique character I don’t think we’ve ever seen on TV before. His “gift,” if you can call it a gift, is that he can relate to an extreme level with serial killers while investigating their motivations for killing. But Graham begins to question his sanity when working with a pre-jail Hannibal Lecter (the equally wonderful Mads Mikkelsen) who councils Graham and begins to bend his mind to Lecter’s sick and twisted will.

Keri Russell in The Americans

Keri Russell in The Americans

The Americans (FX)

The other TV surprise this season was The Americans and unfortunately I had almost written off The Americans before I’d even seen it. For whatever reason I just didn’t think the show was going to be very good and only watched it since I watch a lot first episodes of series just be sure I’m really not missing anything. But literally five minutes into The Americans that’s about Soviet spies in Washington DC in the 1980 but is just as much about how relationships between couples work I was hooked.

Veep (HBO)

Veep is the one show in the last few years that I laugh hard enough while watching that I literally have to pause it in order to compose myself in order not to miss the next big laugh.

Taylor Schilling and Yael Stone in Orange is the New Black

Taylor Schilling and Yael Stone in Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

I think the biggest revelation this year was just how good TV series could be that wasn’t on a traditional channel, the best of which was Orange is the New Black on Netflix. The only reason this series isn’t much higher on my list is that there were so many other good series on TV this year in competition.

Mob City (TNT)

I’m not sure if it’s a genius move on the part of TNT to air the entire Mob City series over the course of three weeks, or a bone-headed one? Maybe viewers will dig watching all of Mob City quickly, or maybe it’ll all get lost in the clutter of the holidays? Regardless, I really dug this one and hope that the new year will bring tidings of comfort and of joy AND more episodes of Mob City.

Gillian Anderson in The Fall

Gillian Anderson in The Fall

The Fall (Netflix)

Another interesting series on Netflix, abet not an original production like with Orange, was The Fall. Starring Gillian Anderson as Detective Inspector Stella Gibson, The Fall follows Gibson as she tracks a serial killer on the streets of Belfast, Ireland. The interesting bit about The Fall is how the partisanship of Belfast works into everything and that we spend as much time with the killer and his cute family who have no idea that the “normal” dad is really a monster as we do with Gibson.

Underbelly: Badness (DirecTV)

I’m guessing I’m the only American who watches this Aussie crime drama import, now in its sixth year, but I thought Underbelly: Badness was a return to greatness for this series that had lagged in recent years.

Noah Wyle in Falling Skies

Noah Wyle in Falling Skies

Falling Skies (TNT)

I think I may be in the minority here when I say this, but to me Falling Skies was actually better this third season than the last. And I really liked that season too.

Young Justice (Cartoon Network)

The most overlooked show on TV the last few years was Young Justice, which ended this season. What I liked best about Young Justice was that it was the rare show, animated or otherwise, where the characters experienced actual change during the course of the series. It seems that we live in a world where once we get to the parts of the story that are actually interesting — Is Batman getting too old to fight crime? Can Spider-Man have a life outside of web-slinging? — that the story is ended and a new one rebooted so we can start at the beginning yet again.

But the characters of Young Justice actually grew and changed and matured over the too short two seasons of that show.

Danai Gurira in The Walking Dead

Danai Gurira in The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead (AMC)

I feel like The Walking Dead is still one of the best shows on TV, if it’s getting a bit harder and harder to watch now in its fourth season. I like the characters of The Walking Dead and it’s tough to see bad things happen to them time and time again living on a dangerous, zombie infested world. And simple put, I’m not sure how much more I can take of that. At a certain point my desire for the characters to escape their bleak world, which, according to the creator of the comic book will never happen, will collide with not being able to stomach the all the bad in The Walking Dead and I’ll bail on the show. It just hasn’t happened yet. 😉

Quotes of Note – Mob City: “Stay Down”

Joe Teague: “I don’t suppose any of you guys see a pin, do you? The kind that goes in a grenade?”
Sid Rothman: “Anybody?”
Joe Teague: “I killed them and I’d kill them again. To keep you safe I’d kill 100 then 100 after that. I’d burn down the world if I had to.”
Ned Stax: “Good old Joe, always putting out the fire with gasoline.”


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