No real column this week to speak of… I’ve sat down several different times to try and write something and it’s just kind of fizzled out. Lots of starts with no finishes.
So here they all are, in no particular order or arrangement. Over at the old stand Chad Nevett used to do a thing called “Random Thoughts” and I guess that’s what this is. Just bits and pieces, this and that. Pulling the lever to see what comes up.
Mortality… Julie and I have realized that we are now at an age where a week does not go by without losing someone we valued, someone who was a childhood hero or a role model or just a person we admired from afar. I used to wonder why my parents took it so hard when Elvis Presley and Groucho Marx died a few days apart, back in 1977. But losing Richard Anderson, Jerry Pournelle, Len Wein, Harry Dean Stanton, Frank Vincent, and Basil Gogos all in the same two weeks… I get it now, I think.
I didn’t know any of those people personally; of that list, we’d only met Len Wein a couple of times at shows. But we felt connected to them, their work was a part of our lives. When peope like that pass on, it feels like you lost part of your cultural identity somehow. Yes, even when the work is still there– and it is, thanks to our on-demand, everything-available pop culture landscape we live in now.
So, granted, it’s not like we really lost anything if we didn’t know them personally and the work’s there. Certainly the twinge we feel when they go is nothing compared to the pain of the people who actually did know them, the loved ones that were hanging in there with them through the final illness, or whatever. Against that, I feel absurd even talking about it. But… even for us folks who only knew them from afar, it was nice to know they were out there somewhere living their lives. Realizing that’s no longer true, and that I’m at the age where this feeling of loss is only going to ramp up from now on, is a sad and sobering thought. It’s a weekly event for Julie and me now, where one says to the other “Did you hear that ________ died?”
I don’t know where I’m going with this, except that it’s coming home to me how important it is with the people you care about to do the things you were going to do and say the things you need to say, because it’s just too easy to get sucked into the day-to-day minutiae of getting through the work week so you keep putting it off… and then your chance is gone.
Baskervilles In Edmonds…. That’s Edmonds, Washington, about an hour’s drive north of where Julie and I live. We made the excursion last week to see the opening weekend of the Driftwood Players’ production of Baskerville.
The one bright spot in the last couple of weeks of relentless bad news was getting to go see our friend Kris Hambrick in this terrific show. We were delighted to discover during Outdoor Trek that Kris is as big a Holmes nerd as Julie and me, and she was very excited about getting cast in this. So of course we had to go.
As it happens, The Hound of the Baskervilles is tied with Bram Stoker’s Dracula as the story I have the most versions of around here.
Starting with the Educator Classics juvenile edition of the original novel, the Rathbone version, the Marvel Preview comics, the Hammer Films version, the Jeremy Brett, the modern Sherlock version with Benedict Cumberbatch… suffice it to say that Julie and I are experts, and we both loved this play. Go see it if you can. It’s hilarious but still Holmes, and Kris did a wonderful job of anchoring the story and keeping it Sherlockian enough for old-school purists like us.
One more weekend to see it, if you are anywhere close. Information on tickets and showtimes is here.
Podcasts…. I Forgot to mention this earlier but there are new episodes of Radio Vs. the Martians up for your listening pleasure.
And I found this podcast episode interesting as well.
We are big fans of Star Trek Continues in this household so it was interesting to hear from some of the people involved with it. If you enjoy the show, it’s worth your time.
Déjà Vu…. Speaking of Star Trek, I noticed fans had worked themselves into a fury– yeah, I know, what else is new?– over the new Seth MacFarlane show, The Orville.
Basically, that it was so blatantly plagiarized from Star Trek that it was practically fanfic, or something like that.
Well, okay, but so was Galaxy Quest, wasn’t it? After all, the jokes in that movie really don’t work without the awareness of the real-life underpinnings of that story with Star Trek and its fandom. There are people who say that Galaxy Quest is actually the best Star Trek movie to date, and it’s hard to argue with them.
Or how about Quark, another TV parody that skewered a lot of Trek cliches?
Most people don’t know about it because it was on thirty-something years ago and only lasted a few weeks, but it’s basically the same idea as The Orville; a bumbling space captain and his quirky crew of misfits blunder across the galaxy.
If you want to beat up on The Orville, it ought to be about the fact that it should be funnier and less misogynistic (we ached for poor Adrianne Palicki, who is, yet again, being saddled with a lot of “bitches be crazy” material. Hated it in Friday Night Lights, hated it in SHIELD, hate it here. She is so much better than that, and deserves better.)
Nevertheless, we found The Orville to be surprisingly earnest and good-natured for something from MacFarlane. We’re willing to give it a chance. Another week or two, anyway. It certainly doesn’t deserve all the rage it’s getting. It’s still not as good as Quark was, though. That’s on DVD if you’re curious.
That’s all I’ve got, this time out. Back next week with something cool.