Leisurely pursuits

With a few bright spots, 2017 was largely a year of suck for me, and I want to make 2018 better. With that in mind, here are some of my blog-relevant goals for the new year. (And then I’ll stop spamming your feed and get to accomplishing them.)

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“IT” floats downhill

2017 it posterThe latest adaptation of Stephen King’s “IT” manages to do an interesting thing. It draws on different aspects of the novel than the miniseries that came before, making it seem like a more faithful adaptation that separates itself from its predecessor, but it also has notes of familiarity that fans of both the book and the miniseries can enjoy.

Unfortunately, it’s not a great movie. It’s not a bad movie, either! The story shuffles along from point A to B as Pennywise the Dancing Clown terrorizes and murders the children of Derry, Maine. Its scares are good and its humorous moments worth some laughs, and the the virtues of moving the setting from the 1950s to the ‘80s — and being an R-rated 2017 film rather than a prime time 1992 TV miniseries — add to the experience.

It’s just missing a lot of heart.

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Probably the only Magicians post I’ll ever make

I knew sometime last year that SyFy was creating The Magicians, a show based on the Lev Grossman book series of the same name, and told myself I’d talk about it when its premiere got a little closer.  As it got closer last month, and I said to myself “Hey, I should talk about that,” but I didn’t and now it’s several episodes into its 13-episode season (already renewed for a second).

Fortunately, I don’t have a lot to say.

Even though the previews made it look like it’s either focused mainly on the first part of the first book or like it will just be a wild departure from the book series, I won’t be watching it. Because there are not words for how much I hated that book. I couldn’t even finish it (and I finished goddamn Twilight), mostly because the lead character was a horrible person.

If we could edit tweets, I’d probably have amended that to say the worst parts of Holden and Jacob Black, but we can’t so whatever. The point remains that Quentin is an entitled, possessive, jealous, violent creep of a child pretending to be a man who is also, apparently, the hero of the story.

So, I’m not watching. I did, however, start to form a mental cast as I was reading 3/4 of the book, and I’m feeling a little validated by at least one of my choices.

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The Long Haul: The Star Wars EU

A few years ago, I started the Long Haul project. The goal was to watch a complete series and post about it on an episode-by-episode basis. I started with Journeyman, the short-lived 2007 NBC series about a reporter being thrown through time to fix people’s lives without screwing up his present. I love that show (sadly now unavailable everywhere but a UK DVD release) and wanted to share it with people. It was a rough start, because the line between summary and review can be a hard one to walk sometimes, but I got the hang of it.

I planned to follow it up with Eureka, the quirky USA series about a town of geniuses and weirdness. But I just couldn’t get into it. Not the show — the show seemed like it had a lot of potential — but I struggled mightily to write about it, and never watched past the pilot or published so much as a post about it. And then some of you might have briefly seen the announcement last year that I was going to revive Long Hauls with a rewatch/watch of Once Upon A Time. That came down almost as quickly as it went up, when I realized I just didn’t want to.

I think what it boils down to for me is that, in general, that’s not how I like to consume TV. I’m a fan of the binge watch, and stopping to write in between episodes when I know the next is just a click away kills my momentum and enthusiasm.

But last year I  was reminded of something else that I love: Star Wars.

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2015 Media in Review: The book edition

There have been years when I haven’t read a lot, but when I call this post the book edition, it’s because I read a whopping one book last year. Nearly two, but not quite.

Midway through a four-season Star Trek: The Next Generation binge, I reread “Just A Geek” by Wil Wheaton. As a memoir and behind-the-scenes look at the show (and industry), it was still just as good as I remember it the first time around.

I also sped through 3/4 of John Green’s novel “Paper Towns” in about three hours so I could go to work with good ideas for designing newspaper entertainment page around the movie. I meant to finish it but didn’t get around to it (probably because I was watching a truly enormous amount of television). But it was still a fun, pretty easy read with mystery, intrigue and at least one moment that still gave me nervous chills, even though I know how it ends.And that’s it. Shortest book post ever. But I’m going to do better in 2016.  The Long Haul is coming back, this time for some of my favorite (and I hope future favorite) books. Find out more.

Stephenie Meyer is gender-swapping Twilight, and it could work (but it won’t)

Like a lot of people, probably, I thought Stepehenie Meyer releasing a gender-swapped version of Twilight was either a very late or a very early April Fool’s joke. But apparently it’s real. Edward will now be Edythe and Bella will be Beau(fort). She says it’s partly a response to criticism that Bella was just a damsel in distress (and wisely doesn’t say it’s because The Twilight Saga is an inexplicable cash cow). The non-supernatural character in this story is a “human in distress,” regardless of gender.

And I think that’s where Life and Death: Twilight Re-imagined will get boring in addition to likely as bad as its first imagining.

There's also something deeply creepy about these covers, even though they have wildly opposite implications.
There’s also something deeply creepy about these covers, even though they have wildly opposite implications.

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