Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Missed Occasions



Happy Dr. Who 39th Anniversary, Thanksgiving, Feast of Christ the King, First Sunday of Advent, and St. Nicholas' Day.



Procrastinator's Paradise



The annoying thing about blogging is that it shows off just how much procrastination one can do, especially if one is having an acute attack of Real Life. Unfortunately, I cannot plead any particular noble cause. Even after the heat came on and made my apartment livable, I still didn't catch up with my blogging.



There's just something about early winter that makes it very difficult for me to get anything done. I know a lot of it is SAD -- seasonal affective disorder -- because I never really wake up on these gloomy gray days. (Imagine how delighted I am to find that my new cubicle at work is situated under an airvent instead of a fluorescent light, and that I am far from the windows. Oh, joy; this summer I can freeze in air-conditioned darkness.) But the bustle of crowds and the hustle of advertisers makes it worse; I just want to retreat into a little hole and hibernate till Christmas.



However, I've always been a procrastinator in almost all times and seasons. Unless I can do something right away, there's a good chance it won't get done. I'm a little better at deadlines than I used to be, but the Procrastinator's Creed is still a little too close to comfort.



Saturday Morning Cartoons



This isn't the greatest year for American cartoons. I miss Batman Beyond and The Zeta Project. Jackie Chan Adventures has lost something since their head writer defected to He-Man. Ozzie and Drix is pretty good, though. Stargate: Infinity has been a disappointment, especially since I'm a Stargate fan and was looking forward to a show made by the folks who brought us one of the finest American cartoon series ever, But the episodes written by folks outside the writing team have been good.



Today's ep was written by Christy Marx and Randy Littlejohn. "The Mother of Invention" had Ec'co meet a beautiful young alien who was actually interested in him. Unfortunately, she was also interested in pumping him for science information and stealing the Stargate team's fuel supply. Ooooops. The story was probably the strongest anti-lying episode I've ever seen on a kid's show. While it incorporated a 'boy who cried wolf' story, it didn't rely solely on that as an argument; it was just the twist in the tail. Amusingly, the Stargate team ended up warning the bad guys who chase them through every episode that they were in danger, but weren't believed because the villains' leader was a big fat liar and didn't recognize the truth! In the end, the lying girl lost everything, including Ec'co, whom she really was interested in. Her only hope is to do as the Stargate team suggested, and teach her fellows about science and machines instead of hoarding the knowledge to herself to keep power.



I wish the Fighting Foodons was a good show. But the American translations have made it worse. It's an adventure show with cooking tips included, so you'd think that kids would come out of each episode knowing a bit more about cooking. But no. Maybe you'd think they'd at least learn a little more about what Japanese people eat. Nope. You see, every dish except fried rice has been 'translated' into an American one. Nice little plates of Japanese food become 'jambalaya' -- and never mind why the supposedly Cajun old lady is wearing the dress of a Japanese temple maiden! Won tons and other dumplings become 'matzo balls', even in the opening credits. (Yeah, suuuuure that's how you make matzo balls....) I don't know why they even tried to convince kids that a dish of various vegetables with no soup involved was chili. But let's face it; a lot of kids' shows seem to be dedicated to the proposition that kids are stupid. Then Fox wonders why Cartoon Network, which doesn't assume this, keeps whipping on them in the ratings.



Cartoon Network has _good_ anime, like Inu-Yasha and Yu Yu Hakusho and pretty much all the various permutations of Gundam back to the seventies. They show good new American animation, like Justice League and i>He-Man. They also air old school stuff, like GI Joe. (At 12:30 at night, if you're wondering.) It's Cartoon Network, moreover, which gave the producers of Big O enough money to make the second season their Japanese fans had pleaded for in vain. Since PBS takes care of the little kids and ABC is concentrating on the reality cartoon market (Are there _any_ kids who really want to see nothing but cartoons about other kids going to school? Isn't that what live action is for? Heck, isn't that what one watches cartoons to escape?), and the other broadcast networks have abdicated, the only other networks running kids' cartoons are Fox Family (with reruns -- a nice Marvel superhero lineup and Power Rangers) and Nickelodeon (which canceled the marvelous Invader Zim, thereby earning at least ten years worth of shame; so don't talk to me about Rugrats). Oh, yeah, and EWTN, which actually runs a decent little cartoon about early Christians running around like Hogan's Heroes. (Which is a good excuse for nonviolence, anyway.) So it's Cartoon Network kids trust, and Cartoon Network kids and adults look forward to. (Lupin the Third and Trigun on Adult Swim! Woohoo!)



However, Tech TV is going to run starting December 30, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to get digital cable now. I definitely want to see Serial Experiment Lain, Silent Moebius and Crest of the Stars, and I guess I'm willing to pay to get them.



Finally, I saw Treasure Planet last weekend. It's a very winning little movie, and buckles its swash very satisfactorily. A nice follow-up to the wonderful Lilo and Stitch. (Though you'll notice that in Treasure Planet, once again the female characters are shown early on as strong and tough, then put out of commission for the actual battle scenes. Disney is addicted to this annoying pattern.) I'd like to like Disney again. If they wide-release Miyazaki's Spirited Away after it wins the Oscar, maybe I'll forgive them for their many animation sins. (Decent pay for their overseas sweatshops wouldn't hurt, either.)

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