Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I am a geek and I watch too much television

I woke up this morning thinking of baboon ass. Bright red male baboon ass. Not in any kind of perverted way. Hell no. But just in a sense that nature is colorful. Weird sometimes, but ultimately elegant and well-designed.

The thoughts of baboon ass — naturally — led me to think about how righteous TiVo is, and how we don't have to be slaves to the television programs we like to watch, because we can watch them any time we want. And in thinking about how everyone ought to have TiVo or DVR service, I thought about the shows we've been watching, and it's a lot of stuff on the BBC.

I know this might make me sound snobby, but remember, I am sitting here in my jammy bottoms. South Park jammy bottoms, but not the same ones from yesterday. See:

These jammies commemorate the episode when the boys envisioned themselves as ninjas. That is Lady, my mother's cat, next to me, by the way. Lady really needs to find a new home, but I'm having a hard time with that. First, what's another cat at this point, right? And, she was my mother's cat, and my mother loved her, and having Lady around makes me feel — however deluded — watched over by my mother. Plus no one wants a cat. No one. Right? You don't, and I don't blame you. No one even wants an attractive cat, with an alluring beauty mark on her cheek. But if, for some strange reason, you do, there are so many other cats in worse situations than the ones living at my house, so if seeing Lady makes you want a cat, please consider visiting the Trenton Animal Shelter this week. Lady is from Trenton originally, so there's a good chance she has some kin over at the shelter. Kin in dire need of help.

Anyway, back to the BBC, and not being snobby. Further evidence of my lack of snobitude: sometimes I ask Glen to rewind a scene 15 or 16 times just so I can catch the snarky dialog. Those British accents are tricky, but it's worth it to me.

It is good we record our shows to watch when we want/can, because I like the BBC primarily for its science fiction. I am a total geek, but not so far gone that I'd actually say to friends on a Saturday night, "Hey, look, I'd love meet you at the bar, but I gotta catch Part Two of Torchwood." Not that we get invited to the bar THAT much, but I'm glad that we can keep our Saturday nights open, just in case.

Because of the writers' strike last year, we started watching even more BBC — more than Doctor Who and its kick-ass, WAY-too-adult spin-off, Torchwood — though it is frustrating that the English think it's perfectly acceptable to make five episodes of a particular show and call it a season. Sheesh. Despite this injustice, we started watching Top Gear, even though I don't really like cars, except for their ability to get us to and fro. These guys make me think of the guys over at Bald, Fat, and Angry, if the guys at Bald, Fat, and Angry were British, focused on cars, and, say, Short, Shaggy-Haired, and Vicious.

One of Top Gear's presenters, Jeremy Clarkson. He is hands-down, THE biggest bastard, personality-wise, I have ever watched on TV.
He is my hero.

We also like cop shows, so we started watching Wire in the Blood, which is kind of like the American show, The Mentalist (which we also started watching; the lead actor of The Mentalist, by the way, is not American, and if you click on the link, you, too, can tell by just looking at him, even though he pulls off an American accent convincingly enough). We also enjoyed watching Life on Mars, which has also become an American show (we also watched the American pilot of that show last week, and it, too, was very good, though there was some way-too-obvious, forced sentimentality about the World Trade Center; we all still feel bad about September 11, but it really bugs me when companies profit off it).

In watching some of these British shows, Glen got pretty excited for a new BBC program called Primeval, which started back in August, I believe. So, we've been watching that as well. This appeals to my not-so-secret fondness for British programming, and my geeky science fiction side. Primeval is full of time traveling, rifts, and some wacky creatures from the past AND the future.

And we watched our TiVo'd recording of this weekend's broadcast last night, and it is the reason I woke up thinking of baboon ass. And TiVo. And the BBC. See, on the most recent episode of Primeval, our heroes were confronted by what Glen suggested were angry walruses from the future, even though the characters tried to convince us the animals were the descendants of present day sharks. The adorable little pixie, Abby, is taken by one of these shark/walruses, and stashed away for later consumption. Maybe? That part of the story was a little unclear, and I suspect, since the series, like most science fiction, builds on itself, we'll find out more about this in a later episode. But Abby, being a main character and all, is freed from the clutches of the shark/walruses, only to be faced, a short time later, by an even larger, angrier shark/walrus. The larger shark/walrus had red spots all over its back, which immediately made me think of a baboon, and how the red asses of the males turn even redder when they're pissed.

I guess I appreciated this little detail, but where this show kinda falls down for me, is that nearly all of the creatures are freakin' ugly. The shark/walruses of this week's episode of Primeval were particularly ugly. And it would seem this show has a much bigger budget than other science fiction shows ever did, and they should be able to make their creatures formidable AND elegant. Baboon ass, in and of itself, is not attractive. But in context, with the whole creature, baboons are beautiful. Even some of the most frightening creatures on our planet right now, shit like spiders, and alligator gar, and man-eating tigers and sharks are all glorious (and effective) in their symmetry and ingenuity of design.

So, I have a very hard time believing that as time goes on, and as nature's hand guides the creatures on this planet to adapt to the conditions of their time, they'd become horrifically ugly and cumbersome. Maybe this is my own bias toward present day aesthetics speaking? I doubt it. I mean, there is just no way Abby, or her cohorts should have been able to get away from the giant walrus/shark thingy, especially the one with the angry red spots. It's making me think of the Sleestack from the 1970's show, Land of the Lost. The Sleestack stood upright, and used tools (including weapons), and dressed themselves (sometimes) but did not have really good joints at the knee, making them, in my humble opinion, the most ineffective, least-convincing villains in all of science fiction.

Oh. No. Watch out. It's a Sleestack.

I don't really have a point this. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Primeval, and will continue watching it, but its ridiculously ugly and angry creatures illustrate what's wrong with science fiction — especially science fiction with what would appear to be an expansive budget. Call me shallow, but I want better looking aliens, better looking creatures, more convincing villains. Is that too much to ask?


Nicholas Stewart said...

Keep your mother's cat. She looks beautiful!

Mr. CleƤn said...

Holy crap, C-Note, you ARE a snob!

I like "The" BBC too, but my Limey Love is restricted (constricted?) to "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" (not since Family Guy have I been able to watch the same episode so many times), "How Clean Is Your House?," and "You Are What You Eat." The "BBC America Reveals" documentaries are good, too.

It's most definitely the lowbrow dregs of the BBCA menu, yes, but downright uppity by the American standard.

I've been considering dipping my toe into "Skins," but can ill afford to be addicted to another television programme.

Brendage said...

Brah! Without TV I would have to circulate in the gen-pop more frequently! TV Rules! WHUH!
Lady Rules! WHUH!