Media Musings Stuff

Hemlock Grove Hems and Haws

Most shows don’t need 13-20+ episodes per season. Hell, many shows don’t need that many episodes total.

I’m a FIRM believer in 6-8 episode seasons.

Whether we want to admit or not, the people tuning into your show/movie aren’t trying to get into long novels. If they wanted that they would pick up the novels that the show is based on. Sure, there will be some crossover audience, but one set doesn’t want to sift through the stuff that works much better on paper than in video.

Part of the transfer from text to screen is ditching the extraneous descriptions to get to the meat and bones of the story. All the flowery prose describing the background needs to actually become the background, not really turned into janky dialogue that nobody wants to hear.

Blatant filler in a show works my nerves, and I’m a fairly patient individual. I watched almost all of Heroes and doing that was probably just me hating myself. Most of the public is not going to give you that much slack.

Hemlock Grove didn’t need to be 13 hours.

I really wanted to love Hemlock Grove. The werewolf transformation alone attracted me to the series and the actors lined up to star in it were a big fat Amber magnet. The combination of those things with gore-fiend Eli Roth working on it, should have at least had it somewhere in the range of awesomely bad if things took a turn for the worse.


Half the damn show felt like filler. Probably more than that, but I would forget I was watching it and get up to do other stuff.  I went outside and did yardwork in the middle of episodes and missed nothing. Some of the later reveals which were ridiculously exposition heavy could have been peppered into the boring earlier episodes with little effort.  It could have managed to round out at a somewhat clunky 8 hours instead of a punishment 13.

It felt like there was a good 4 hours of Roman and Peter saying they needed to do something, then just sitting in the car for a while.  The camptastic dialogue that other actors got kept cycling the same conversations with different awkward wording. It’s ok to write some characters like that, but the whole town shouldn’t sound like they are the same weird person flopping out lopsided “cool guy” prose.

That sentence got away from me, but at least I’ll admit that it wasn’t pretty.

The best way to describe the accents would be to use one of those wave text tricks.

It seems that the show was littered with too many subplots for it to focus on any of them, so it doesn’t. The show doesn’t care that innocent-ish teenage girls are dead, so you don’t. The show also doesn’t want to flesh out any of the ideas in a reasonable timeframe, so you forget you are supposed to care about them. The boys don’t even bother to really try and solve the crime well. The villain just shows up and tells them EVERYTHING.

The actors who tried to take it serious did a pretty good job, and the ones riding the camp train hit all the right buttons in their own way. Just too bad the writers stretched the life out of it.

If the show didn’t have 13 whole hours to work with, some of these gaping  holes would be a little smaller and harder to fall in. Hemlock Grove is one of the big reasons that scaling back runs could improve quality. The novel wasn’t even long enough to merit such a hefty runtime. It could have just been a nice little 90 minute movie.

Seriously though, 6-8 episodes.


Media Musings Stuff

I’m An Evil Gamer

I buy games used. I go back and play old games that people forgot about. I play single player. When I do play with others I prefer my multiplayer to be split screen because they are sitting right there with me. I sell games to other people. I didn’t even notice when my Xbox Live Gold ran out. I take my games to friends houses and we trade.

According to folks who make games, I’m the scum of the earth.

This completely ignores the fact that I purchase the games in the first place. No matter how many similar-than-siblings sequels they release, I still keep pushing them cash for the ones I like. I don’t even complain about the Day 1 DLC that most others hate if the game is enjoyable otherwise. I buy stupid outfits that do nothing but make my character have a bigger closet. I pay to upgrade weapons that I wasn’t using and I  buy the silly toys that come with some of the games.  Expansion packs are like drugs to me – Hell,  I get the ones that only add like an hour of gameplay.

But I’m still a thorn in the side of “good” because I want to play a less than $60 game with someone who doesn’t have an awesome internet connection that is sitting on the couch next to me.  Blasphemy, even though I have pretty much done that my whole life.

I don’t want to play uninventive multiplayer modes where I join and a bunch of people with scads more free time take me out before the map loads. I don’t want to be always connected for a single player game because a few jerks modded something. I also can’t afford to buy EVERYTHING new.

I guess I am the bad guy.

It sucks that most of the customer base is too.

Asides Stuff


Attempting to quiet the murmur of its misgivings.
All the while creating a smoke screen to overtake the mist.
Instead the only air to receive is in short breaths.
Just enough for dizziness and disarray.
Escape into the mind of another, their voice amplified as text.
All the better to block out the thoughts of suffocation.
Lined with infatuation, but not condemning–
I drink of the cup
Getting ever so drunk and disoriented.
There is no cure for a hangover but time. 

Media Musings Stuff

Back in the Day – Shenmue

Do you know where sailors hang out?

I have to admit that I dramatically flutter from love to hate with this game. I ran out and bought it when it was released because it was the prettiest game on the Dreamcast at the time. Sometimes I think back to the hours I spent trying to beat it and wonder if I was just bored or hated myself.

Shenmue wasn’t like all the titles I usually played. Up until that point, I was big on games that had to be approached with at least one other person. Even when I had played single player games it was a play until you get stuck or died, then pass the controller deal. Shenmue was just me vs the world and I was determined to complete my mission of vengeance.

Shenmue existed, at least for me, in the time before those big fat strategy guides and folks on the internet with maps and video aids. When I wandered the streets in the town, I was really just wandering.

It took me eons to find those damned sailors.

To finish the game I think I had to talk to and follow every NPC on the disc. I continue my belief harboring feelings of self loathing when I think back to the “ninja training” provided in the game which consisted of what felt like one punch and one kick until the end. That wouldn’t have been so bad if the final battle in the title didn’t have the player fighting 70 dudes at once.

QTE’s are evil.

This was the first game that I could remember ripping me from otherwise normal gameplay to tell me exactly what button to push by taking over the screen or making me replay the entire sequence over. Sure, I’d died many a time on other games for essentially not jumping at the right time, but it’s much worse when it glaringly flashes a sequence of what feels like random button presses in the middle of the screen to do stuff that you already had a button for. If I need to duck and I have a duck button, having me press something else just to screw with me is dirty.

For all the real nerds, this game was filled with what were technical marvels like varying weather and the setting was rich with the history of the region. The world was so detailed that you could get lost for hours searching cabinets and drawers before even observing all the different NPCs going about their lives. You even had time to lose yourself in that horrible, but well done, job at the waterfront. There is even a ragingly awkward love interest thrown in the mix to top it all off.

This was continued in the second game to a lesser extent in order to make the playable area more expansive. If only more folks had checked the game out, there would have been more titles. The money they had to throw at the series to make it so nice was pretty much lost at launch and Ryo will likely never get his revenge.




I was reading something the other day where some folks with atrocious reading comprehension were staunchly sticking to their idea that the characters in the book they were reading were white. They were worse than those tacky dimwits on Twitter dogging The Hunger Games cast.

I’m as cool as I’m ever going to get with the majority of people defaulting to white when they read vague descriptions of characters in books. The less described the person is, it does make it a bit easier for the reader to relate to. I must be a bit off because when I read works with “flexible” protagonists, the narrative fills in the blanks and they tend to all look different in my head. Reading something over at a different age has yielded different results at times.

But when I write, the person in my head is non-white a vast majority of the time. Even the comic, in its deceptively lazy black and white color scheme, is pretty colorful.

It’s odd to me to imagine nothing but people that look like me.

That’s also kind of creepy.


The Hidden

The greatest enemy of a writer probably isn’t a lack of imagination. Some of the least effective wordsmiths have grand ideas but not so eloquent execution. The biggest demon that resides in all writers is that we can see the story but we are burdened with bringing as much of it to life as possible.

No writer can ever put forth the entirety of the world they envision. In some ways, it is kind of sad that readers never get to experience the full depths of the narratives they know and love. True, the observer has the advantage of injecting their own imagery into the tale. This option to fill in the blanks sounds like it would be a godsend to the writer, but it leaves us unsure of where to reign it in.

There are some who don’t even bother to develop or describe the protagonist anymore, leaving it to the reader to fill the void with themselves. Do we dismiss this as lazy writing? Is it genius to involve the reader in the crafting of the story with such a personal touch?

We are left to gauge the unspoken, the hidden, and the implied with every stroke and key press. How much do we give? Too much and we are dinged for being too wordy, too little and we are hacks who deserve horrible demises no matter how many people enjoy our work.

Let’s all be hacks together…


Hack and Sputter

I’m not a Writer.

I’ve never claimed to be a Writer and don’t like lying to people. Writers introduce people to worlds and ideas where I am limited to glimpses of scenes that don’t ever meet.

I’m more of a Jotter.

That kind of sounds dirty when you say it. It’s almost as if I am skanking up the real writer pool by even bothering to muddle up paper with tiny ideas that never go anywhere. I’m petrified and confused whenever anyone reads anything that ekes its way out of my mind.

After bouts of insecurity and self loathing, I read something written by someone who is acclaimed for reasons that seem like they can only be due to some form of devil worship in their favor. What passes for great literature just makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry sometimes.

So I decide to just keep jotting down random things until one day I can cut and paste together a decent work. In thinking everything I put down is crap, I guess that I am indirectly saying that it would fit right in with the works of some really rich folks who wouldn’t know character development if it shoved its hand up their backside.

I guess I’m a Jotter because I care too much.

I don’t want to just churn something out to make a buck. I want to weave an intriguing tale. I want the reader to see what the characters see. I want the audience to ride the emotional roller coaster with them, just hopefully not so upset that I get death threats when a character is offed or anything. The evil editor lives in this space.

It isn’t that the words aren’t good enough for me. I’ve seen the story already. Producing the pages that reflect the images of the narrative happens in spurts due to me trying to capture each moment perfectly for the reader.

I’m a Jotter working the snowball effect.


Cat Dance

The least efficient writing process ever:

Sit at desk and open new document.

Pop knuckles.

Start writing.

Wonder if person replied to email from yesterday, so check email. Then check other emails. Inbox zero all around.

Stomach rumbles. Take break to eat and drink something.

Turn TV on while eating. Watch 3 episodes of random crap.

Sit back down. Hack out a little bit.

Let mind wander after a paragraph closes, forget what you were doing for a bit.



Eat again.


Remember the document and crank out a bit more.

Think it isn’t quite right. Reread and reread.

Elect to fix it tomorrow afternoon. Save draft.

Put it off until completely forgotten.


Media Musings Stuff

Elevator Ride

There are quite a few angry Resident Evil: Retribution reviews in the wild. I find the disappointed reviews out there about as hilarious as the movie itself. The sad part is that neither the reviewers or the folks that got together to make the movie intended to make either as funny as they were.

When Boris Kodjoe is doing the best acting in a movie, you put the stars back in the box and go on about your day.

Reviewing an RE movie like it is supposed to be as serious as a standard film is like trying to add the text that cats type when they walk across the keyboard into the dictionary. It is just not right, no matter how you try to justify it. I watched a 95 minute stroll to an elevator twice (IMAX 3D and RealD 3D) and I was perfectly ok with it.

The RE movies are about Milla Jovovich killing zombies in a snug outfit for around 90 minutes. That’s it. Attempting to make out a decent plot or even caring about continuity is just lying to yourself and everyone else. These movies are so entrenched in a mythos solely based on her looking good splattering zombie brains that any other interpretation is pretty much equivalent to self-flagellation.

Let it go.

The only people in the theatre for the fifth installment of this series were either diehard fans of Milla, or respectable movie critics who had nothing better to watch on its opening weekend. I feel sorry for the critics, because this wasn’t their movie.

Fan service.

Back in the 90s, I played the first RE game for about 15 minutes before I became frustrated with the game mechanics and returned it to the store. Nevertheless I knew that the characters on the strike team were more ham fisted fan service than the previous installment in the series. I didn’t even know most of the game character’s names until the movie felt the need to namecheck people that would normally just be zombie fodder. From Ada Wong rocking her more fashionable red dress to Barry Burton’s beard there was a big fat platter of “We put that in, you are welcome.” Hell, the movie was just a series of levels and the acting was on par with the polygon models in the first few games.

Not just catering to the masses who played the game, there were so many action movie bits that were borrowed that I wanted to tear through my movie collection when I got back home. This movie borrowed so heavily from other action flicks that I probably didn’t even catch them all, and I have watched a shitload of movies.

Anderson: I also liked Dawn/Day of the Dead, Alien(s), Fifth Element, Underworld, Sucker Punch, Inception, Blade Runner, -insert asian film here-, etc…

Pretty filler.

I’ve said before I’d be down with watching Milla do anything on screen, apparently I really meant it.



People are constantly terrified of failing. The eternal shame of doing something and not succeeding scares them so much that they run away from any and all opportunities.

I used to be that way. Doing what everyone told me I was supposed to do and suffering because nothing was worth the risk. I thought I was fine until I hit my breaking point and just decided that the shame was better than walking around feeling empty all the time.

I don’t have some fantastic story where my refusal to fear failure made me filthy rich or loved by millions. I’m just as broke as I was before, but I don’t feel like crap about it.

Hell, I pretty much fail at something everyday.

When I’m done with this post, I’m going to pick something new to learn at random and it would probably be hilarious to watch me muck it up.  If I don’t fail miserably, then I have something new to brag about.

Either way fun times.