Saturday, November 29, 2014

Project Runway Seasons 6-10 Review

Hey y'all.  Let's rant about Project Runway some more!  Though I'll try to avoid spoilers, for the time being.

Okay, so season 6 is the first season where Project Runway showed on the Lifetime network.  It's a bit of a strange channel choice, as Lifetime is more about propagandizing women than plain being entertaining (there's a reason why people make fun of Lifetime original movies, much in the same way everyone makes fun of Syfy channel fare).  On the other hand, it makes sense in one way, as women are a huge part of the Project Runway fanbase.

However, this is part where producer manipulation becomes much, much more evident.  Not only are there questionable judging sessions, but there's questionable winners, manipulated circumstances to promote certain contestants, and obvious favoritism.  While this is not as extreme in some seasons as in others, it's there, and it only gets worse past season 10.

Then again, I'm someone who became a fan of the show when season 9 was on air, and that didn't stop me from watching as much of this show as I could.  There's entertainment to be had here, and you can enjoy it, especially if you watch seasons 6 through 10 before watching the previous seasons.

Season 6:

This season suffered from various things.  One is a location change to Los Angeles, despite the show having been filmed in New York for all seasons before (and since).  Apparently there was also some kind of lawsuit going on, either with the channel or with the producers of the show.  I don't know the details, but there was some question of the show not airing.  It eventually did, but this ghost still haunted the season.  There's a sense of unease in the season that's there even despite the fact that the lawsuit was never mentioned on the show.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Project Runway Seasons 1-5 Review

Hey y'all.  So one of my guilty pleasures is Project Runway, a show that has been running for 13 seasons, at the time of this writing.  So is it worth watching?  What if you're in a used bookstore, and you see some seasons of it on a shelf?  Which one should you get?  Well, it's all a matter of taste, but I'll go ahead and try to get across the general feel of each season, so you can make a choice.

Or I can use that premise as an excuse to rant about a favorite show of mine.

Keep in mind, however, that I have not seen every single PR thing there is.  Oh, pretty darn close, but not quite 100%.  I've seen seasons 1-10, most of them more than once.  I've seen PR All-Stars 1-3. I've seen a couple of episodes of season 11, a tiny bit of season 12, and as much of season 13 as I could tolerate.  I haven't seen the Under the Gunn show, but I plan on watching that.  Maybe it'll be fun.

For the record, the basic premise of this reality show is that 16 contestants are shipped to New York and forced to create an outfit based on some kind of twist or challenge.  The best outfit wins, and the worst one sends its designer packing.  The last few contestants (3 or 4) get to design a small collection and show it at New York's Fashion Week, and the best collection becomes the winner of Project Runway, with cash, cars, sewing supplies, and other fun, fashion related things.  It's hosted by Heidi Klum, and her fellow judges are Nina Garcia, Michael Kors (later replaced with Zac Posen) and a celebrity guest judge of some kind.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

George Lucas Disease: A Commentary

Hey y'all.  So George Lucas gets a lot of crap for ruining the Star Wars franchise.  The original trilogy he created back in the day was a fun romp through a science fiction world, and a great classic adventure.  And then he created the prequels, which ended up being everything the originals were not: boring, overly digital, unexciting, and having a plot so complicated no one's really sure what happened.  No one cares, that's for sure.

So what happened?  Did Lucas' head get too big?  Did he care more about the money than doing his job?  Is he really a terrible storyteller who needed lots of help from other people to create the original trilogy?  Well, I would like to submit that George Lucas is an extreme example of what can happen to potentially any writer.  Hence, George Lucas disease.

But wait, you protest, how dare I ascribe to all writers the possibility of Lucas' decrescendo? Lucas obviously lost his touch, and that doesn't happen to everyone.  Yes, it doesn't.  Not to that extreme.  It is, however, something that can happen when a writer works too much on one franchise or that franchise becomes extremely popular.  Chances are, a writer won't fall nearly as hard as Lucas, but keep in mind that Lucas had a much higher cliff to fall from; Star Wars is a franchise with lots of expectations on it.  Few writers reach that level.

So what is George Lucas disease?  It's the swelling of a story franchise to the point where people are sick of it, and the writer is incapable going interesting new directions.  There are many causes to it, but the results are all the same; people (besides uber fans) stop caring.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Reviewing Spawn Year

Hey y'all.  So one of the channels I'm subscribed to on Youtube is Geekvolution, a channel where a guy, Captain Logan (as he calls himself), and his friends commentate on movies, television, and whatnot.  I originally found the channel through his "Treksperts" videos, where he nerds out about Star Trek.  There's something inherently relaxing about reviews for me, and it's nice to have longer videos to play in the background when I'm doing something, so that there's a "noise" going on.  While playthroughs of Starcraft are generally my go-to for sewing projects, Starcraft has only four games at this point.  I have to have a spare something.

Captain Logan generally comments on Pixar films, superhero films, and television shows like Arrow. Since he does a lot of content, there's always something on his channel I can put on when I'm bored. By far, my favorite of the reviews he does, besides his Star Trek stuff, is his year long project, Spawn Year.  Spawn is a comic written (most of the time) by Todd MacFarlane, and apparently was pretty popular at one time.  I didn't know much about it before, but Spawn comics and toys appeared in my used bookstore from time to time.  They never looked appealing at all.

But Captain Logan is into comics, and given that Spawn was really popular, it makes sense that this would get a review.  Despite never being tempted to read Spawn, Cap really drew me in with a creative premise: it's New Year's Eve, and, after telling his wife he'll hang out with her in a minute, continues to work on reviewing Spawn.  However, one last Mountain Dew later, and he sinks into a sugar coma, waking in purgatory.  The evil DoomsVince, the clone he created of his best friend, tells him he can leave, but only if he reviews one Spawn related item every day for a year.  If he fails, he has to be buried alive in Spawn products for all of eternity.  Since DoomsVince hates Captain Logan, he continually does things throughout the year to get him to stop reviewing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Nitpickery: Sword Art Online -- Alfheim Arc

Hey y'all.  So I've got that second half of the Sword Art Online first season to talk about.   Yep.  Uh-huh.  This is where it all goes downhill.

Oh, sure, the first time I watched it, I was pretty entertained.  But when I watched it again for reviewing purposes, the story seemed to drag.  Sure, the pacing is better than the beginning of the season, but several factors bring down the overall quality of the show.

But first, a summary.  Spoilers.

Kirito and the thousands of SAO survivors are finally in the real world again.  Minus, sadly, three hundred of them, including Asuna.  Kirito is home with his mopey, melodramatic sister (who is really his cousin), Suguha, who is somehow in love with him.  For some reason.  Kirito doesn't notice, and instead pines for Asuna.  He visits Asuna in her hospital room, where he meets Nobuyuki Sugou, the man who has arranged with Asuna's parents to marry her.  Sugou reveals that he's the one who trapped Asuna, and that he's going to marry her no matter what Kirito says.  However, Andrew Mills, the real world Agil, discovers a picture of an Asuna-like person in the new game Alfheim.  So Kirito has to enter this game and rescue her from the inside so that she can log-out.  He does this with the help of the reincarnated Yui, and fellow player Leafa....who is really Suguha, but he doesn't know it.

Okay.  This is going to be far more easy to summarize than the first part of Sword Art Online. Hm...y'know, I kind of like how I formatted my Star Trek movie reviews.  I'll go ahead and keep going with that.

---- Top Ten Things to Say about Sword Art Online, Alfheim Arc ----