September 27, 2007

Bionic Woman: Old Becca vs. New Becca

No, I'm not talking about old Becky vs. new Becky on Roseanne. Although, new Becky is much better, especially on Scrubs.

Why did they recast the sister and recut the pilot episode? I saw the original, condensed pilot at the SDCC 2007, and the recut pilot last night on NBC.

The first "Becca", Mae Whitman, was an angst-ridden, cocky, emotional teen who blamed the title character, "Jamie Sommers" for just about everything that was wrong in her life. Oh, and she was deaf too (although I do not believe the actress is deaf).

The second "Becca", Lucy Hale, is a perky, cocky, cute-as-a-button teen who has the proverbial sisterly fights with Jamie, but all in all is doing okay. Oh and she's a computer hacker, and not deaf.

The episode I watched last night seemed a lot lighter than the original pilot, even though it still had it's dark moments. Whereas Jamie's life seemed really depressing and heavy before, it seemed a bit more casual and slackerly now.

I have to tell you, I was very disappointed when the producers announced at Comic-con that they had recast the sister. As was most of the audience. It was nice to see a hearing impaired character on a major show that was just like any other character. It was also nice to see a female character that was not super skinny and super pretty. She was a normal weight and was a bit goth. I was excited to see that many female teens would identify with her. So no, I was not initially happy about the change.

Hale's Becca is one of those super cute girls that we are supposed to believe is some sort of outcast and computer hacker. Um, yea, right. She isn't a bad actor, it's just that it's too much. Maybe I could see Whitman's Becca as a hacker - she had the loner tendencies needed to make a good hacker. But Hale? No way. It seems like the powers that be decided, "hey the sister needs to be involved in the stories hacker!"

Maybe my opinion was spoiled by the pilot that could have been. Maybe I wouldn't be so critical if I hadn't seen the first version. Maybe I'm just sad that an interesting female character was scrapped for another OC lookalike. Maybe I'm being too harsh on a really great show - looking for something to pick apart.

Truth is, it still is a great show. Michelle Ryan's "Jamie Sommers" kicks major booty. As does Battlestar Gallactica's Katee Sackhoff as "Sara Corvis." The women do rule this show, and that makes me happy. Besides, maybe the new Becca will grow on me. Maybe she'll gain ten pounds and start painting her fingernails black....

September 24, 2007

Can Someone Please Make This Magazine for ME?

First of all, I'm sick of these.

Why is it that men's magazines have cool stuff like gadgets and video games, and women's magazines have crafts and decorating tips? These men's magazines are everywhere. And they are all the same really. There are like a billion men's versions and no women's versions.

I want a women's lifestyle magazine with games, gadgets, films, tv, comics, and other stuff from a women's perspective. Yes, magazines like Play or PC Gamer may be somewhat non-gendered, but they don't go that extra mile. And even so, they err on the side of male, with the all too frequent "girls of gaming" issues.

You may say, "But Karen, there are online magazines like Cerise and WomenGamers that fill this niche."

I think those are both great, but they are not printed magazines. There is something about a magazine that you cannot get online, no matter how hard you try. It's the tactile part of it that makes it appealing, the glossy pages. says that women make up 43% of PC gamers and 35% of console gamers. Why doesn't this magazine exist yet?

I would definitely subscribe to that magazine.

September 23, 2007

Kitchen Nightmares Review

Okay, I watched the first episode of Kitchen Nightmares on Fox. This will be a short review - I wish it were more like the BBC version.

All right, I'll elaborate.

1. The premise.

So, the premise is basically the same. Gordon Ramsay, foul-mouthed British celebrity chef, visits a restaurant that's in the dumps and turns it around. How he does that varies in the two versions of the show.

2. The food.

For me, it's all about the food. On both shows Ramsay tastes the (usually) awful food at the beginning.

BBC: Ramsay works with the chefs and owners creating a new menu, and discovering hidden talents in the kitchen. He then usually takes samples out on the street for locals to taste what they are missing.

Fox: Ramsay creates a new menu and about five minutes is spent on the food during the hour-long show.

3. The music.

This may seem silly, but I've noticed it really sets the tone for the shows.

BBC: The musical score (I don't know if you can call the music for a reality show a "score" but I'm doing it anyway) is light and airy. It's happy and would be welcome as the background for a Monty Python skit and the whole thing put together with Ramsay helping people instead of just berating them makes you feel "good".

Fox: The music is dramatic with sharp violins and a heart-pounding bass that would be more welcome on some telenovela. Which makes the whole thing overly dramatic and silly, like a carbon copy of so many reality shows out now.

4. The restaurant.

I hope this is a one-time thing and not a trend.

BBC: The restaurant owners and chefs are the sort of quiet, polite, yet misguided souls you would expect to find anywhere in the UK.

Fox: This first show features the overtanned, teeth-bleached, bulky namesake of the restaurant has some sort of roid rage episode about every ten minutes. I can't help but think that this restaurant was cast not because of the dire state (there were actually lots of people dining there before Ramsay stepped in), but because of the "drama". It makes me sad because I don't care about this guy, and I don't care about that restaurant. I like the honest casting in the BBC version much more.

5. The upgrade.

This is when Ramsay does his thing and turns the restaurant around.

BBC: The menu is revamped, sometimes the owner takes a cue from Ramsay and renovates the dining area, or the outside using their own money. I think this really gives hope to anyone who might be stuck in the same situation that they too can change things around without the help of a "surprise makeover".

Fox: I was surprised when the show sprang for a whole new kitchen. That's right, a whole new kitchen complete with new commercial grade ovens, refrigerators, etc. They paid for it. It seems like such a cheat, just another surprise makeover.

In the end, the mook changes his ways, yippee! And the restaurant seems like it will be a success. Oh how I care. Yes, I'll watch again next week, but if the formula stays consistent I don't know how much longer. Although I will keep watching the BBC version for sure.

Airs Wednesdays 9/8c on Fox.

September 20, 2007

Goodbye to Comics

Yes I am late in reading this. I just read the whole thing today. I finished it about two hours ago and I can't stop thinking about it. It seems that late last year, blogger Occasional Superheroine spilled her guts and I just figured it out.

First of all, I cried a little. Which says a lot for her writing. It is very visceral and easy to read. Okay not quite easy emotionally. Difficult emotionally. That girl has been through some serious shit that I never even imagined. But I feel some kind of bond, some understanding, just for the fact of being female. It's that silly "sisterhood" thing. I guess that's empathy.

Just to backtrack, Occasional Superheroine was one of the first comic blogs I really got into reading regularly. I'm really new to this whole blog thing (seems I'm always late to the party). So I started reading that blog probably two months ago. I thought, "man, this girl has got her stuff together. She's smart, witty, knows stuff, doesn't take shit from anyone. This is what I want my blog to aspire to."

I saw the mentions of "Goodbye to Comics" and kept thinking, "I need to read that," but never made the time. Until now.

I am just floored with the candor of the posts. It seems like the kind of thing I would do on a whim (spill my guts) but then delete it before I posted it. But she just kept spilling and posting. I admire that.

It made me think of the women I have prejudged (come on, I know I'm not the only one), and why I believed what other people said about them. It made me grateful that my childhood was a mostly suburban dream. It made me ache for women that suffer at the hands of misguided men and dubious women.

All this brings me back to my original view of Occasional Superheroine. She is stronger than I thought, having overcome such crazy things - one after the other - it's almost ridiculous.

I hope she affects change in the comics industry - I hope she publishes her books. We need strong women to show other women out there (and men!) what real women can do.

Thank you for writing.


Okay, I need to change this blog up. It's not going to work as I originally intended. So I'm going to add some other media which I'm more familiar with and also enjoy discussing. Namely television, film, and video games.

I enjoy that a blog is a very organic thing, so I'll try not to be too confined and see where that takes me.

September 18, 2007

Fall TV Preview

Remember when TV Guide wasn't the size of Life Magazine? Remember Life Magazine? Remember when you couldn't wait to crack open that "fall preview" extra thick TV Guide with the new magazine smell and read what great TV shows you would be watching very soon on such networks as CBS, ABC, and NBC?

Those days are gone. The "new fall season" is gone. TV shows start and stop whenever the hell they want to nowadays. There are a gazillion channels with new shows on. Basically what used to be a perfect time for TV hounds like me has become a huge cluster#$%#. I keep asking my boyfriend, "are there any new shows on yet?" It's all very confusing. I long for the old days, but for now, I will make do.

So I've taken all the good stuff and chopped it up into easy to digest bites for you.

You will notice that Lost is suspiciously absent. That's because they aren't showing new episodes until next year! But then they won't split the season so that's a good thing.

New Shows:


Journeyman / NBC / 10pm - Quantum Leap writing? Kevin McKidd (the best thing on "Rome") travels through time. That's really all you need to know. Great actor and the promos look amazing. Starts 9/24.


New Amsterdam / Fox / 8pm - This detective guy is immortal. Or is he? I haven't heard much about this but immortal guy = intrigued. Just learned they moved this to midseason yay "coming soon".

Chuck / NBC / 9pm - Chuck downloads some government secrets or some such directly into his brain, and hilarity ensues I suppose (yawn). People are psyched about this one. For some reason I'm not that excited, but I'll give it a chance. Starts 9/24.

The Reaper / Fox / 9pm - Some slacker guy's soul was sold to the devil by his parents, so now he must serve the Dark One. A dark comedy that could be interesting. I have the feeling that House and Chuck are going to blow this one out of the water. Really bad programming on Fox's part. Starts 9/25.


Pushing Daisies / ABC / 8pm - Ned can bring stuff back to life...or death! Hehe, I get the feeling this one is going to turn into a soap opera. It's so hard to tell with these new shows because they hardly ever live up to the promos. Starts 10/3.

Bionic Woman / NBC / 9pm - Not so much a remake of the 70's TV show as it is an update (way more serious, action packed). Lots of buzz. I saw the pilot at CCSD and was very excited about it. Brought to you by the same people that brought you Battlestar Galactica. But now they've recast the sister and changed up the pilot episode. If they are messing with the original vision, this could be a disaster. Starts 9/26.


Kitchen Nightmares / Fox / 9pm - The US version of the BBC show, headed up by Gordon Ramsay. Okay it's not scifi, but I love cooking shows! Ramsay is the foul-mouthed celebrity chef that also hosted Hell's Kitchen, which I hated. But in Kitchen Nightmares he actually helps people with their failing restaurants. Starts 9/19.


Women's Murder Club / ABC / 9pm - Based on James Patterson's novels which I haven't read. But I loves me some murder mysteries! Four women solving crimes after work? I'm in! Starts 10/12.

Moonlight / CBS / 9pm - Vampire solves crimes. My favorite was seeing the actor interviewed on, I think, TV Guide Channel? He said "this has never been done before." Orly? Angel? Will this be better than Angel? Doubt it. Is it just me or does the whole cast look like little people on the website? Starts 9/28.


Viva Laughlin / CBS / 8pm - Hugh Jackman produced musical drama. Cameo please! Starts 10/21.

Returning Shows:


Heroes / NBC / 9pm - I was excited, then disappointed, then excited with the first season of Heroes. It could have been complete crap. It wasn't, so my hopes rose. Then they fell as the show became slow and the story lagged. But the last few episodes have been encouraging. Looking forward to next season. Starts 9/24.


Bones / Fox / 9pm - I always seem to watch this show in reruns. And its a good, solid show. Funny and smart. And since it's opposite Bionic Woman, I'll probably watch it in reruns again, or start programming the DVR. Starts 9/25


Survivor / CBS / 8pm - Takes place in China this season. From what I understand that's new and cutting edge. Do we see the survivors holed up in some sweatshop making sneakers? Or censored by the government when they post on their blogs? Kidding! Seriously though, I didn't even watch at all last season. Unless Jeff Probst joins the survivors in camp and eats bugs I doubt I'll be watching. Starts 9/20.

September 6, 2007

DC Plus Random House Equals New Readers?

So big news yesterday; Random House announced that they will be distributing DC's graphic novels.

In business terms this is Brangelina — the biggest and deepest backlist in the biz coupled with the marketing power of Random House should equal continuing ka-ching for all involved.

This is huge. Random House is like the Godzilla of book publishers. They have their tentacles - or paws, I guess Godzilla has paws - in more places than any other publisher.
And Levitz believes Random House will help sell the graphic novel category to independent bookstores, which have lagged significantly behind chain bookstores in embracing the category. “Graphic novels have a weaker representation in independent stores than in the chains. Random House has an opportunity to have a big impact there,” he said. Abraham agreed, noting that “we’re very selective in choosing our clients. We try to find category leaders like DC that are perfect for our own internal experience. I certainly hope we can bring in the independent stores.”

Independent stores are good, expanding is good. Maybe some other comic book publishers can ride their coattails into those independent stores.

But how much can these indie booksellers really penetrate into the non-graphic-novel-reading customer base? I mean - most readers do buy their books at the big chains or Amazon right? And Amazon is a different beast altogether. You pretty much go in there knowing what you're looking for, right?

I think the biggest coup here could really be spreading out the graphic novels to appropriate sections. Really, does Maus belong in the same section as The Ultimates? Sure, some people will read both, but in my opinion it doesn't make a lot of sense. Put the superhero TPB's with sci-fi / fantasy. Put the autobiographical graphic novels with biographies. Put the non-superhero books with fiction, etc. That is going to expand your reader base with the bookstore browsers who might not otherwise think of buying a graphic novel.

We don't have a separate section for books with etched drawings on the title page, or books with 12 point type. To me it makes about as much sense to group together books because they are made up of drawings.

Far-fetched metaphor incoming: The graphic novel section is like the gay / lesbian / bisexual / transgender of the bookstore. They don't have much in common other than they don't fit anywhere else comfortably.

Of course that will probably not happen for a long time (but wouldn't it be cool?). In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how this relationship plays out and what Random House can bring to the table.

September 5, 2007

What's the Definition of Insanity Again?

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? I don't know if that's really the definition. I think it's just something some clever person made up that sounded good. Actually, I looked it up. Apparently someone did just make it up.

Fact is, I had a vision. A vision of introducing women to comic books. Here's the problem: women not interested in comic books don't read comic book blogs. I've tried advertising it in non-comic-booky places but it's not working.

How are women introduced to comics? Most of the bloggers I've read seem to have grown up with comics. I didn't, unless you count Donald Duck and Hanna Barbera kiddie comics. I was introduced to comic books through my boyfriend. The first comic I really loved and bought every issue was Ruse. Then Crossgen went bankrupt, figures. In my opinion Ruse was what Minx should have been. But maybe that's the way in - attract male readers and have them tell their girlfriends? Too iffy.

Blogs like Occasional Superheroine, Comics Worth Reading, and the When Fangirls Attack blogrolls know comics much better than I do. And they are where I would go when I'm looking for some info. There is a reason they are successful. They are smart and informed and people know that they know what they are talking about. Yes that made sense in my head.

The other side of the coin would be to post stories that are controversial just to get noticed. That's not my style. There are enough "all boys suck, all girls rock" blogs out there, I don't need to add to them.

I really do wish more "normal" (please don't take offense to that, I mean it generically) women out there could discover comic books. They should know that there's more than just superhero comics out there. Maybe Laurell K. Hamilton has the right idea. She took her uber-successful romance-vampire book series, Anita Blake, and turned it into a comic book. Personally I have not read that series, but it's super successful with women. Actually, has anyone ever seen a man read any of those? So women addicted to the book series and "have to have" everything associated with it will buy the comics. It's actually pretty perfect, if it works. Take some story universe that women love and turn it into a comic series. Like maybe, I dunno, Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Maybe that's the real future. I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels here. I enjoy writing and it makes me happy, but when no one reads it it's like an exercise in futility. And I feel like I'm just stroking my ego. I need to reevaluate, and get a different result.