Saturday, September 20, 2008

Burning Out On 'Burn Notice'

One of FanBoyWonder’s favorite new shows of last summer has become one of our greatest disappointments this year following “Good Solider” the “season finale” of Burn Notice this past Thursday night.

At the start of the new season we were promised a resolution to the cliffhanger of last season when Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) drove into the back of that parked semi-truck to meet the people who burned him.

What we got was a resetting of the clock where so much has happened but nothing has changed. This show has gotten so rigid in its formula that it makes The A-Team look like Whose Line Is It Anyway.

We really want to know who burned Michael and why but we’re two seasons in now and we are no closer to knowing than we did during the pilot episode….actually we know even less given the riddle wrapped in an enigma known as Carla (Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer), Michael’s malevolent new “handler.”

As the summer progressed, Burn Notice went from must see TV to something to watch as an amusing waste of time—we’ve lost that loving feeling.

Then in a boneheaded programming move, USA Network goes THREE WEEKS without Burn Notice before airing the final two episodes—killing whatever creative momentum the writers had been trying to build.

As for as we the viewer, it made us realize we didn’t exactly miss not watching anything on Thursdays at 10 p.m.

Tricia Helfer’s role as Carla was over-hyped and under-delivered. Here total screen time to date wouldn’t amount to three-quarters of an hour of a single episode. Which is too bad as too bad, Helfer’s role as Natalie Six on Battlestar Galactica (as opposed to Caprica Six) had us excited to see Helfer play someone NOT the overt, in-your-face sexpot.

The bottom line is that Season 2 of Burn Notice was new but not terribly different. It’s more like everything to date has been Burn Notice Season 1 split up over two summers.

This show is stagnating and hasn’t grown beyond its very clever premise and introduction. This is by no means a bad show but it seems like Team Burn Notice is doing its best to be mediocre when it could easily be SO MUCH Better.

The only surprise to come Thursday night is that Burn Notice will return “this winter” instead a full-year long, summer-to-summer hiatus as they did last year.

This will give Team Burn Notice the chance to redeem themselves with the fan base or definitively doom what was once a most promising show. Until then….

Friday, September 19, 2008

Take Your Girl Wonder To Work Day

(Pictured: Brianna The Girl Wonder in training to take over Grandpa FanBoyWonder’s job. Sorry for the crappy resolution from the cell-phone cam)

Today, Brianna the Girl Wonder escorted her grandpa FanBoyWonder to our day job covering the real-estate finance market in Washington, D.C. Why?

Besides it being a day off from school, we decided we could use her input in helping to unravel the current financial crisis—sure she’s only in Second Grade but so far the Harvard-Yard brianiacs haven’t been doing all that hot so like she could do any worse.

Cute as a button, polite as a pin and helpful as all get out, Brianna made us proud as we showed her off to co-workers and bosses alike. Speaking of bosses, Brianna was pleased as punch when she learned that “your boss is a girl?!?”

She loved it even better when we told her that not only was our boss a “girl” but the boss’ boss is also a girl.

To see the look in her eyes…to see them light up as she realized that girls can be bosses ….that girls can be ANYTHING made our heart glad.

During our lunch hour, we took a walk over to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. so the Girl Wonder could see The White House for the very first time. It’s a crying shame that the “people’s house” is all but closed to the public. Hopefully the next President will open it up again.

Brianna is sleeping soundly as we write this and we are not long for bed after we post this. It was a good day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Coming Back To Life

“I took a heavenly ride through our silence
“I knew the moment had arrived
“For killing the past and coming back to life”

Coming Back To Life from Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell (1994)

The recent death of Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright has found FanBoyWonder in a contemplative mood.

Even as we we’ve been taking a break from the blog with the intent of beating back the heat of creative burnout, the world has gone and kept spinning on its axis and events have proceeded whether we were ready or not to deal with them.

Reading Rick Wright’s obit, we did the math and realize that he was our father’s age. Wright had cancer—a killer at any age—and Dad FBW remains as healthy as ever but it made us realize that the sun is the same in a relative way but our parents ARE getting older and consequently that we’re an aging (Fan)BoyWonder.

In other words—“Shorter of breath, and one day closer to death.”

What’s the point? Simple. Rest time is over. We’ll have plenty of time NOT to write when we’re dead.

So let’s get back up on the horse with a couple random thoughts.

--“Obscenity,” Frank Miller and the God***n Batman’s publisher DC Comics.

Okay…we don’t like it but we can understand Miller being Miller but what’s DC’s excuse?

Miller never so much as sold out as “went Hollywood.” He’s the quintessential kid in high school who—once he got to hang with the “cool kids”—promptly forgot his former friends among the freaks and geeks caste of losers.

Thus whenever Miller wants to slum and write Batman again, it should be a foregone conclusion that ANYTHING Miller writes is gold so DC should just gratefully lap up whatever stories Miller pens.

Yeah, whatever. To each is own. We’re not a fan of Miller’s All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder but some are. That’s fine….UNTIL Miller’s “vision” starts to damage the brand. Those not in the know see Miller’s GD Batman and thing that it is THE definitive (read: mainstream) Batman being published today and they would be right to be appalled.

“Batman” and “obscenity” should NEVER appear in the same headline together but that’s just what happened.

From the New York Post to the Los Angeles Times to all of the blogs and indy weeklies in-between, Dan DiDio’s DC Comics was revealed outside of the trade press to be at best incompetent or at worst to be deeply bent.

Does this mean that Grandpa FanBoyWonder needs to screen for the “C-word” before allowing Brianna the Girl Wonder to read her issues of Super Friends and Tiny Titans?

Got editors???

--Torri Higginson’s revenge—Stargate Atlantis Canceled.

Somewhere, Torri Higginson is smiling.

About a year or so after Higginson was summarily demoted from her starting role as Dr. Elizabeth Weir, leader of the Atlantis expedition to occasional guest star and was written off the show, Sci-Fi Channel has pulled the plug on Stargate Atlantis after January.

Higginson subsequently did a couple guests appearances last season, including a major teaser that featured Weir as leader of a faction of Replicators. But when she later told producers she was not interested in coming back to show that s**tcanned her (i.e. Fire me? Screw you!) they had to scramble and cut out a major story arc for this season.

Just last month, Sci-Fi Channel and Atlantis producers announced that this 5th season would be the show’s last. They spun it as ending the show so they could make direct-to-DVD movies like SG-1 but canceled is canceled.

Higginson was cashiered to make room for SG-1’s Amanda Tapping, who had another year on her contract. Tapping’s Col. Carter and never fit in as Weir’s replacement and she was gone after a year.

Robert Picardo (formerly The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager) has done an able job this season as Weir’s replacement’s replacement but the bottom line is that here was nothing wrong with the Elizabeth Weir character other than that the writer’s didn’t want to do anything with her.

It’s undeniable that as soon as Team Atlantis “fixed” things, it was a self-inflicted would from which the show would never fully recover. Stargate Atlantis always had the potential to reach Battlestar Galactica levels of greatness but there was a consistent vibe that the Atlantis show-runners didn’t want to challenge the viewers or themselves all that much.

Best of luck Torri. Living well is the best revenge. Don’t look back.

--Twenty Years Ago

Our sense of history and an overwhelming sense of sentimentality compel us to acknowledge an anniversary of sorts today.

“L,” it’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since CVS & BK and everything that followed. The years have taught me that while I don’t yearn to go back and do it over again I also wouldn’t change a thing—that is except for “the how” at the end. Harsh words were spoken and bridges burned. That’s on me. Coulda, Woulda, Shouda.

Some years back, I heard about you and “A.” Good for you! Best wishes to you both. Be well.—“C.”

Monday, September 15, 2008

Shine On Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright—R.I.P.

FanBoyWonder would like to humbly add our voice to the world-wide chorus of those mourning the passing of musician and founding member of Pink Floyd Richard Wright.

Mr. Wright passed away today (Monday) in England following a brief battle with cancer at the age of 65.

We were stunned when we heard about Mr. Wright’s passing from a co-worker earlier today. We are sad of course at the passing of Mr. Wright and we offer our prayers and condolences to his family.

But beyond the death of one man is the realization that the Pink Floyd that we loved to hear growing up—both with Roger Waters and during the post-Waters, David Gilmour-led Floyd era—has died with him.

Even if, and the operative word is IF, the remaining three Floyd—Waters, Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason—should decide to play again together, it won’t be Pink Floyd.

Given that the Floyd has been around for more than 40 years, it was inevitable that members would get older and pass away but that it has happened now is an unpleasant reminder of our own mortality.

To be honest, FanBoyWonder had been holding out hope that the members of Pink Floyd would come together again—if not for a reunion of the four—at least the post-Waters Floyd would put out one last album.

Our hopes were buoyed by the Live 8 reunion of the Floyd Four in 2005. But their last reunion turned out to be their final reunion. At least we had that. Wish You Were Here Rick.

R.I.P. Richard Wright.

Below is Mr. Wright’s obit from the L.A. Times.


Richard Wright dies at 65; founding member of Pink Floyd

While he lacked the high profile of bandmates Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and David Gilmour, the keyboardist nonetheless shaped the British psychedelic group's sound.
By Randy Lewis
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Richard Wright, the founding member of Pink Floyd whose piano and synthesizer work played a critical part in the pioneering British psychedelic rock band's ethereal sound, died Monday after a short battle with cancer, his spokesman said. He was 65.

Doug Wright, who is not a relative, said Wright died at his home in England and that his family did not wish to release any more information, the Associated Press reported.

Wright never achieved the high public profile of the group's three key figures -- founding singer-guitarist Syd Barrett and the often-feuding co-leaders, singer-bassist Roger Waters and singer-guitarist David Gilmour, who joined shortly before Barrett left in 1968.

But he wrote or co-wrote many of the band's songs, and frequently provided a crucial component of the Pink Floyd sound. On the group's landmark "Dark Side of the Moon" album, Wright was responsible for the thick electric piano chording on the 1973 hit "Money" as well as the swirling organ lines and classically inspired grand piano on "Us and Them," a song he wrote with Waters.

He also co-wrote “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” one of the group's signature songs from "Wish You Were Here," the second of five Floyd albums to reach No. 1. The nine-part epic song is a salute to Barrett, who, after leaving the group, retreated into mental illness, often attributed to his drug use. He died in 2006.

Wright had no explanation for the astonishing longevity of the "Dark Side" album -- it spent more time, 741 weeks, on the Billboard album chart than any other in history -- or the extraordinary following the band inspired. The 1979 album "The Wall" spent 15 weeks at No. 1 and has been certified for worldwide sales of 23 million copies by the Recording Industry Assn. of America, putting it third on the list of all-time best sellers, behind "The Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

"I know we've made some great songs and great music," Wright told Billboard last year, "but I can't tell you why we're so popular."

He quit the band in 1980 following their tour supporting the double album "The Wall" because of increasing tensions within the group. He rejoined the band a few years later, and, without Waters, the group put out "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" in 1987 and "The Division Bell" seven years later.

In recent years Waters has been playing "Dark Side of the Moon" in concert under his own name without any of the other original band members. Waters, Gilmour, Wright and drummer Nick Mason performed live together for the first time in 24 years at the 2005 Live 8 benefit concert in London.

Wright released two solo albums, "Wet Dreams" in 1978 and "Broken China" in 1996, but neither made Billboard's Top 200 albums chart.

In a 2006 interview with the Independent newspaper in London discussing the DVD release of Pink Floyd's 1994 concert tour, Wright talked about the group's celebrated concerts, which helped expand the boundaries of what rock was capable of in a live setting through elaborate lighting and staging effects.

"One of the things I always regret about being in Pink Floyd is that you can never go to see the show. I have no idea what it looks like. We know it's pretty powerful, but when you're on stage you have no clear idea of it."

He met Waters and Mason while they were architecture students in England. They started playing together in a band they called Sigma 6.

When they hooked up with Barrett and formed Pink Floyd in 1964, the rock explosion was reverberating through England and across the Atlantic as the British Invasion took hold stateside. At that time, Wright said his goal was a simple one.

"When we were with Syd," he told the Independent, "our ambition was probably to get a No. 1, to get on 'Top of the Pops,' " referring to the popular British pop music TV show. "That was his ambition, definitely. My only ambition was: this is fun, I hope we can make a living out of this -- and of course, I hope we're gonna be a huge success and sell more records than Elvis Presley and the Beatles!"
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