4.29.2010

Rest in Peace: Legend of the Seeker, 2008-2010

Am I sorry? No.

Do I recant my earlier statements? No.

Will I miss it? Yes.

Last week, I harangued about how Legend of the Seeker, a comically serious high-fantasy TV series, was leading its viewers on a exhausting scavenger hunt through a wilderness of narrative muck. However, I suppose my rants are all ultimately futile, because Monday LotS producers announced they would not shoot a third season of the show. In other words, Seeker is being canceled. Bridget Regan said in a recent tweet: "Got some news that Seeker is no more. So sad to say goodbye to my NZ family but excited for what's next." Yes, friends, we must bid farewell to this marvel of broadcasting.

I thought that we could take a moment, then to, not mourn its passing, but to celebrate its life. Let's remember the fond memories we've shared with Richard, Kahlan, Zedd, and Cara. Let's recall all the excitement, passion, and crazy-sweet sword fights we've had together these two happy years. It's what the cast would want us to do.

Hence, let's go back, all the way back to the pilot, back when Legend of the Seeker was just a wee toddler finding its way through the savage environment of today's mass media. Remember when we first met Richard? Wasn't it marvelous to watch his character develop from good-natured woodsman to good-natured super-warrior in a period of an hour? Remember when Zedd named him Seeker, and Richard stood in a circle of fire, held his sword aloft, lightning struck it, and he didn't even flinch? I sure do. After that episode, I went out in a field and mimicked the scene. It didn't really work; it was clear that night.

Remember the time when that D'Haran was about to shoot Kahlan with a crossbow, but Richard freaking threw the Sword of Truth at him and sploit! it went straight through the man? How about when Richard blew up a fort and the explosion filled the screen as he jumped to safety? Classic.

I know we all laughed ourselves to tears while watching episode 17 of the first season ("Deception"), when Kahlan, pretending to be Richard's wife, slapped him across the face. Not only that, we got to see her dodge a crossbow bolt, which, if travelling at 140 fps (95.45 mph, a good estimate of medieval crossbow velocity), would be similar to dodging a drunk cheetah driving a Lamborghini. And the Lamborghini has razor blades attached to the bumper.

Remember Chase? Why didn't we see more of him in the second season? He was the best! He was such a great foil: kind-hearted, armed to the teeth, and perfectly stocky. Indeed, he will be missed.

And how could we possibly forget those charming torture scenes with the Mord Sith? I know I was on the edge of my seat as Richard was brought to the very gates of death only to be brought back by the breath of life (which, in retrospect, can be attributed to having putrid breath ["He's dead. Maybe my garlic-laden breath will revive him. Presto!"])

Speaking of Mord Sith, let's not forget Cara. She sure was a Castle in the Sky, wasn't she? Seeing her in Victorian-era garb ("Princess") sure made my day. A great episode.

Remember Richard's sister? Neither do I.

Zedd! Oh, what a delight to the viewer! What a joy to the audience! As prescribed by Joseph Campbell, every hero needs a guide, and Zedd fulfilled his role perfectly. He had an uncanny ability of boiling down even the most complex of problems to a simple explanation: "powerful magic." My heart melted when he fried enemies with his wizard's fire, and I held my breath as he blasted baddies away using his . . . wizard's sonic boom. Alas, he will never see him with a beard!

We cannot neglect mentioning the fabulous cinematography. Consider the superfluous slow-motion action sequences, perfectly choreographed, perfectly displayed! How can we forget the marvelous environment, that same landscape through which the Fellowship of the Ring transversed? Such mountains! Such forests! Such green fields! Ah, New Zealand! It's just like Middle-earth . . . and the Midlands!

In conclusion, I will tell you this: we will not forget you, Legend of the Seeker. You will not be forgotten. Even though you take up residence in that big television set in the sky to reside with Firefly, Martial Law, Dark Angel, and Joan of Arcadia, your memory will live on through us. May the spirits guide you.

If, by some miracle or "powerful magic," they end up continuing the series . . . forget I ever said this.

Thanks for reading.

4.26.2010

A Monday Pick-Me-Up

This video of Mumford and Sons, a British folk band, makes me smile; hopefully it'll do the same for you. Thanks to my brother for introducing them to me.



4.21.2010

On Legend of the Seeker

YES. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. If this doesn't switch on the awesome knobs in your cerebral cortex, nothing will.

Let me ask you a question. Are you a fan of crazy-sweet sword fights? Crazy-sweet, slow-motion sword fights? Chicks dancing a dirge of death in crazy-sweet, slow-motion sword fights? Are you a fan of magic? Of intrigue? Of mystery? Of romance?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, Legend of the Seeker is the show for you. For me, the crazy-sweet sword fights really drew me to this televisionary jewel, this marvel of broadcasting.

Allow me to ask you another question: do you think Legend of the Seeker is a worthwhile show to watch? If you answered no, you are right on the money. It really isn't; and that's the precise reason why I watch it. Let me explain.

Legend of the Seeker is really a magical show in the sense of: even though the episode plots might not be the best, the dialogue (a word which mysterious shows up as a spelling error in my console) may be lacking, and mummy enemies may shoot wrapping out of their wrists a la Spider-Man, I keep coming back to it like elderly seniors returning to the weekly bingo extravaganza.

The series itself is fairly new; it's loosely based on the Sword of Truth series, an apparently well-known collection of novels by the apparently well-known fantasy writer Terry Goodkind. It's your basic, run-of-the-mill high fantasy epic split and spliced from A Hero with a Thousand Faces with a little nip/tuck work to finish it off. LotS features the jubilee of varietal and semi-stereotypical protagonists: the ancient, sagacious wizard (who, I should note, destroys the effete paradigm of compulsory beards); the alluring-yet-unattainable love-interest; the I-was-evil-but-now-I've-turned-to-good character who dons more leather than Tobias F√ľnke; and lastly, the handsome, Neutral Good hero: Richard Cypher.

Richard Cypher is a dapper New Zealander who, after the death of his father, is forced to battle with steel and spear against what I assume are evil Australians. However, that may be just a daydream from the mind of Murray Hewitt. Anyway, he is sent on an adventure to rid the world of a horrible evil slowly pervading the land. No, I'm not talking about mediocre rock bands like 3 Doors Down or (God help us) Nickelback. I'm talking about Darken Rahl: the vile, malevolent vegetarian hell-bent on subduing the world under his iron fist and neatly-trimmed beard.

The first season of Legend of the Seeker dealt exclusively with accomplishing this goal. And, after Darken Rahl was defeated in the season finale, the producers were left in a pickle. In a short time, they had constructed a fairly popular franchise; they didn't want to just let it go. The solution? Pull a Pirates of the Carribbean: attempt to graft another storyline on the perfectly fine pre-existing one. But this creates problems. Even if they have a large template in the form of Goodkind's many novels, something just doesn't feel right. Something is missing. The result the continuity synthesis creates a Frankenstein-like monster, alive but lacking that something that makes it human (but really the monster is just misunderstood and wants a lady-love). Nowadays, when I watch the show, I become stuck in a limbo-like purgatory, floating about and endlessly pining through the episodic fodder in an attempt to reach the Paradise of Excellent Storytelling.

In other words, I'm not seeing the overall plot really advance. I don't see the ultimate goal of the series. But hey, why listen to me? Lost is doing well.

As I said before, I just can't stop watching this show. It's my guilty pleasure. It has a certain charisma and charm that is almost impossible to resist, just like mewithoutYou and snickerdoodles. Looking at it from a critical view, I would put it smack-dab between Lord of the Rings and Eragon in terms of quality.

If you're like my friend Adam Fifield, you will probably not enjoy this show; it will be too much for you. You know what? That's all right. If you at least smile at its chintzy nature, I will be content. All I want you to do is smile.

So long, and thanks for reading.

4.15.2010

Chopin: Off the Heezy?

I suppose it's the natural order of things: game developers, finally satisfied with perverting perfectly good rock songs by placing them in Guitar Hero, have set their sights on doing the same for classical music.

Music Master: Chopin is an upcoming video game in the gameplay paradigm of Guitar Hero, Rock Band, etc. It will not only feature the titular composer's classical piano pieces, but also "choral and rock arrangements of Chopin's music."

Score. I cannot wait for this game. In fact, I may just start camping out now outside of a Walmart. If anybody asks what I'm doing, I'll say, "I'm waiting for Music Master: Chopin." If they ask why, I will say, "You wouldn't understand, you ignorant Philistine."

Also:

I've received reports of some dissatisfaction due to my Wednesday posting. I hope this crudely drawn picture of a dragon will turn your favor.


So long, and thanks for reading.



4.14.2010

"Do you speak it?"


Samuel L. Jackson doesn't approve of internet lingo.

4.09.2010

Say Hello to...


. . . THE INTERROBANG!

4.07.2010

Delectably Dormant Detective Drama Derringer Dillinger Dirigible Derivatives: Round 1: Psych vs. Castle

TOM BROKAW: Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Bedlam Arena for the first round of what some are already saying "will decide the top crime drama once and for all." Psych, Castle, Monk, and The Mentalist are all going head-to-head in a round-robin tournament event. And let me tell you, we've got an astounding first match for you tonight; isn't that right, Bob?

BOB COSTAS: You're certainly right, Tom. Tonight we make history as the first of the top detective dramas and/or comedies collide in an epic battle that the nation will be talking about for weeks to come.

TOM: These men have trained their entire lives for this moment, and now we see all their training coming to fruition. Let's take a look at the contenders:

In the burnt-sienna corner, looking dapper in a black sports coat, stands the star of ABC's Castle, Richard Castle. I must say, Bob, he's looking very relaxed for this fight; look at him downing that espresso!

BOB: You know, Tom, Nathan Fillon's charming demeanor is really the only reason this show sill exists--and that tells you something right there. This "master of the macabre" has enough knowledge and wit to make him a formidable opponent.

TOM: Indeed. However, let's hope he's better in the ring than he is in a bar fight.

BOB: Warming up in the lime-green corner is Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster from USA Network's Psych. For our viewing audience, Shawn is the white man holding a pineapple like a football, and Gus is the black man. Wait, Shawn has now thrown the pineapple to Gus, who is now doing the Heisman.

TOM: This tag team is the youngest ever to enter the Bedlam arena (Encyclopedia Brown tried and failed three years ago), and they are fast becoming a potential force in criminology.

BOB: As we get set up for the start of the match, Shawn and Gus seem to be deliberating strategies with one another, while Castle appears to be getting some fighting tips from his friend Kate Beckett.

SHAWN SPENCER: Dude, Gus, isn't that Nathan Fillon?

BURTON GUSTER: No, Shawn. Don't you read? That's Richard Castle, the famous mystery writer! He's made the New York Times best seller list 26 times! He makes millions off his book deals! And, he gets to shadow a very attractive detective!

SHAWN: Dick Van Dyke? No, Miss Marble.

GUS: It's Miss Marple, Shawn. Also, Dick Van Dyke played a doctor. Also, that's who Castle is shadowing.

SHAWN: Whoa... she's way better than Dick Van Dyke.

Meanwhile...

RICHARD CASTLE: You know, this reminds me of Cinderella Man.

KATE BECKETT: Really, Castle? I always thought of you in Rocky.

CASTLE: Really?

BECKETT: Of course not! Castle, you get upset over a paper cut.

CASTLE: Especially when I'm eating chips.

BOB: All right, ladies and gentlemen, the contenders are now ready. There's the starting bell, and we're underway here in Bedlam Arena! Shawn and Gus immediately close the distance!

SHAWN: Hello. My name is Shawn Spencer, and this is my associate, Duncan Donuts. Pineapple?

GUS: Shawn, when are you going to use my real name?

SHAWN: I don't know; maybe when we interview a mob boss.

GUS: What?!

CASTLE: Yes, hi. I'm Rick Castle And thanks so much for the pineapple.

BOB: He's taking the pineapple! Richard Castle is taking the pineapple!

CASTLE: So I hear you're a psychic? A psychic detective? I just want to say that is so cool!

SHAWN: I know.

CASTLE: It would be a great idea for a book series. I can picture it now. Just think of the titles! Psych Ward . . . Mind Games . . . Dirty Minds . . .

SHAWN: Whoa!

GUS: Whoa!

CASTLE: What? I'm just saying, the premise is there. So . . . how does your psychic thing work?

SHAWN: An excellent question. Channeling the ethereal forces of the universal planes requires heavy concentration; sometimes I have to strip down, cover my chest with banana fronds, and dance to "The Time of My Life." Gus does Jennifer Grey's part.

GUS: When have I ever worn banana fronds, Shawn?

CASTLE: So, that's how you solve crimes?

GUS: No, no. We do work with the Santa Barbara Police Department on most of our cases.

CASTLE: That's where Juliet O'Hara works, right? I've heard about her.

SHAWN: Yes, but Lassi--

CASTLE: I would wager $100 that Detective Beckett can best O'Hara in a sparring match; head-to-head. Toe-to-toe. Mano a mujer. How about it?

BECKETT: Castle, what are you doing?

CASTLE: Uh . . . fighting, of course! With words! Insult swordplay!

SHAWN: Dude, does he really think Jules will lose?

GUS: I think he's serious.

SHAWN: We're so doing this. Dude, I have no money. Give me your wallet.

GUS: Shawn! Give me my wallet! Shawn!

TOM: And there's the bell to end the round. The final score is . . . zero to zero. Neither side has scored any points. This is a little disappointing.

BOB: We'll call it a draw.

TOM: Tune in again to see Monk take on The Mentalist. Until next time, I'm Tom Brokaw.

BOB: And I'm Bob Costas, saying, "Goodbye from Bedlam Arena, and thanks for reading."

Post script: Here is a picture of Nathan Fillon. Cheers.


4.03.2010

The Curious Case of the Clapper

I walked into Old Navy today; they were having a five-dollar polo sale. I picked up a couple shirts and headed to the check-out. The line was long; I stood there for a long time. It was similar to watching The Good Shepherd.

While I was waiting in line, I got a lot of thinking done. While residing in the queue, I pondered life's most difficult questions:

Why is the line so long?

Will the line go faster if I continually karate-chop the people in front of me?

I'm only getting two shirts. Shouldn't an express lane exist? A self-checkout? I love self-checkouts. They're so empowering.

Is it possible to procure a self-checkout for my house, if only for the novelty?

That guy likes v-necks.

My eyes wandered to the merchandise positioned just prior to the actual checkout. These are the items nobody wants. The presumption is that, if the price is lowered enough, eventually someone will purchase them.

That's when I saw the clapper. The clapper is plastic stick, upon which two plastic hands are attached. When you shake the clapper, the little hands smack against each other, applauding with the vigor that only synthetic polymers can give.

In that moment, my faith in society fluttered from my soul. How far gone is humanity that we need an apparatus to assist us in acclamation?

I stared at the clapper for a time and a half before I realized:

I need one.

Thanks for reading.