Friday, November 21, 2008

Life On Crazy

SPOILER ALERT!! I will be talking about more specific things in this post than I normally do. If you have not watched Life on Mars yet, PLEASE get your ass in gear and watch this show. It started off good and has only gotten better.

Ok, things are getting weird, and by weird I mean totally awesome. What is going on?!? It seemed that Sam was most likely in some hospital bed in 2008 having a coma hallucination. They kept us guessing but that seemed like the most plausible explanation for Sam's time displacement. Recent events have made this early assumption less and less likely. Characters are popping up who seem to have information about Sam's predicament.

First there was the young black girl whose things were in the hidden shoebox that Sam expected to find his own things in. This same young girl was the one who led Sam to his mother by singing a song from his childhood. She was also the girl who fell to her death and almost started a race war. The last time that we see her, she is with a second odd character. The old man/bum, who talks to Sam as if he knows what is happening, is only in one episode but he gets the new theory ball rolling. Sam could still just be imagining all of this, but it is starting to seem like there are other forces at work. This brings us to last night's episode.

The episode was really good. It explained what happened to Sam's Dad and helped to explain why Sam is the way that he is. The first 95% was great, but it was the last few minutes that were completely amazing. Sam starts to figure out that all of the cases that he worked on are leading him to something. He discovers an address and when he gets there he finds a place that is a cross between the Evil Dead house and the Black Lodge from Twin Peaks. The phone rings and a mysterious voice tells him that he needs to go to the basement. The end.

Holy Cliffhanger!!!! I can't wait until next...w.e..e..k.... WHAT? New episodes return January 28th. AAAHHHHH. I know, a bit over-dramatic, but the end of January cannot get here fast enough. This is very good news because it means that ABC has picked up the show and we will get to see what is in the basement. Good news part 2: January 28th is a Wednesday. That means a Lost, Life on Mars combo for that night. Very cool.

What's in the basement?!?!
Who is the voice on the other end of the line?
Why does the chess game on the table of the "Evil Lodge"(as good a name as any) have all black pieces?
What the hell is really going on with Sam?
Let me know if you have any theories. We have two months to think it over.

Fly Ajira Air

The new Lost promo contained a quick shot of what appears to be the next Lost ARG(Alternate Reality Game). The "Dharma Wants You" game just ended and last year's "Find 815" was pretty interesting. These games are just a form of viral marketing but they can be pretty fun, and in the case of Lost they can give you some occasional insights into the secrets of the show. If you want to give it a try, you can go to Right now they are just taking e-mail addresses so that they can update you when it's ready to go. It should be soon since the new season starts on January 21st.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Real Ghostbusters

Anyone who is interested in the paranormal should check out Ghost Hunters on the SciFi channel. I have always been a fan of shows that take a more serious approach to documenting and researching paranormal activity. Don't get me wrong, I also love horror movies and shows like Fringe or the X-files but I have a special place in my heart for true paranormal investigation.

Ghost Hunters is a documentary type reality show that follows the investigations of TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society). Lead by Jay Hawes and Grant Wilson, TAPS takes a unique approach to investigating the paranormal. Rather than going into a location and trying to prove the accounts of ghost activity, they go in trying to disprove the accounts first. This makes the show much more interesting and believable because when they do come across something that they feel is solid evidence, it is usually quite impressive. The investigations are documented using high tech equipment that has been shown to be useful in the collection of evidence of the paranormal including EMF(electro-magnetic field) detectors, infrared night vision cameras, and thermal imaging cameras, to name a few. Ghost Hunters doesn't rely on the silly gimmicks that some of its predecessors have. One of the worst was MTV's Fear, in which people had cameras stuck to their heads and were forced to run around in the dark until they were freaked out and screaming. Mildly entertaining but stupid. TAPS members always work in groups to cut down on the fear and anxiety that can build up in some of the very scary locations that they investigate.

TAPS will investigate anywhere from a single home to very large locations such as prisons, hotels, or even aircraft carriers. Some of the more impressive locations include Eastern State Penitentiary, Waverly Hills Sanatorium, and The Stanley Hotel (the hotel from The Shining). Recently TAPS traveled to Europe to do some investigations. This trip spawned the spin-off Ghost Hunters International. The two shows share the same time slot on SciFi so when the season of the original Ghost Hunters ends, they pick right back up with Ghost Hunters International.

Note: There is one TAPS member who is a Super-Douche; Brian Harnois. The good news is that he is currently not a member of the original team or the international team but he has been in both so if you are watching reruns, I warned you. He's not bad enough to ruin the show but he is pretty unlikeable.

The new episodes are on Wednesdays at 9 on the SciFi channel but they show tons of reruns and they always have marathons so give it a shot.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Battle Royale

Battle Royale is something that I stumbled upon by accident and it ended up being an obsession of mine for a few months last year. I was at Borders to buy some other book and they were having a buy 3 get the 4th free sale on manga and graphic novels. I grabbed the stuff I wanted and needed to grab something else. There was a set of shrink-wrapped books that looked interesting and I figured that I couldn't go wrong with it being free. (I would find out quickly that the shrink-wrap is there for a good reason.) Obviously that book was the first volume of Battle Royale and it had me hooked quick.Needless to say, I took further advantage of the sale at Borders and cruised through the rest of the available 12 books. This is where the months of obsession comes into play. I had to wait for the final 3 books to be doled out over a very long 9 months. It was worth the wait.

The story takes place in an alternate reality Japan. The government is in a police state and has developed something called "The Program" to intimidate its citizens to stay in line. Each year a group of middle school students is taken to a remote island location and forced to participate in "The Program". The students are informed that they must kill each other if they want to leave the island. They are all given survival kits which contain some standard items like water, a compass, and a map. The interesting part is that the survival kits each contain a different weapon that can range from an Uzi sub-machine gun to a boomerang. There can only be one winner and that child will be allowed to leave the island and return to their family. The children are also fitted with explosive collars that detonate as time goes on or boundaries are crossed. Alliances are formed and friendships are destroyed as the children adapt to their new situation. Some participants part with their sanity very quickly as they realize that their former friends and classmates will kill them if they don't kill them first. Others seem to thrive and enjoy themselves in "The Program".

Battle Royale is VERY graphic in both violence and sexual situations. (Hence the shrink-wrap at Borders.) The art in the Manga version is very well done and adds considerably to the story. The Battle Royale story does come in a few forms. I highly recommend the Tokyopop Manga version first but the movie is also very good. The second movie is ok but not as good as the original. Finally, it can also be found in novel form, but I haven't read it yet so I don't want to judge it.

Give Battle Royale a try, you won't be disappointed.