Monthly Archives: March 2013

Dessler Is the Bestler

The bright spot of the spring 2013 anime season is clearly Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199. Yup, it’s a straight-up remake of Starblazers! The major differences are that Dr. Sano/Sane (little old geezer doctor with a cat and a good supply of sake) is being replaced by a younger, prettier female version.

The old show, on Hulu.

Preview trailer for the new show and the TV webpage so far.

It’s the future. Earth has been united in peace — by a space invasion by the Gamilos (Gamilons, on the US version), led by the sinister Leader Dessler (Desslok). Earth is losing pretty much all their space colonies, the aliens’ bombs have dried up the oceans, and everyone left on Earth is living in gigantic bunker cities deep underground. But just when it seems we’re destined to become victims of this genocidal war, an envoy arrives from another alien race, bringing plans for a superweapon and a stardrive, and promising a way to re-terraform Earth. The only catch? We have to use that stardrive to run the Gamilos blockade… and where will Earth get a spaceship to use?

Anyway, the heroes are a good bunch. There’s the hotblooded fighter pilot/helmsman Susumu Kodai (or Derek Wildstar, as we knew him) who wants to avenge his dead brother and impress that smart, beautiful blonde officer, Yuki (aka Nova). There’s his wingman, Shima Daisuke, who does navigation and attempts to keep Kodai from nuking his career with the hotblooded stuff. And there’s the crusty old man captain who rarely goes anywhere besides the bridge and his cabin, seems to drink as much as Dr. Sano, and seems to have been the one who left Kodai’s brother to die.

The villains are also an interesting bunch. But Dessler (a really evil totalitarian aesthete megalomaniac, who nevertheless is bound by his strict sense of honor, his love of country, and his good taste in women) is the best. I hope they’ve kept all his bluefaced, Prussian-haircut, winebibbing, assassination-foiling, swordfighting glory.

So far all the major characters seem to have been brought intact to the remake. Also intact is the WWII sensibility of the show, which basically puts all cool things on the Earth good guys’ side. So you have a Japanese design for some things, but the space fighters copy from the Flying Tigers. (Having a bishie guy wear a bomber jacket over his Star Force uniform fits right in.)

Also, they kept the original orchestra/jazz score, modifying it only slightly to escape excessive Seventies-ness.

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Happy Easter!

All the best to you and yours!

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Well, This Explains a Lot about JNT.

John Nathan-Turner was always a controversial feature in Doctor Who fandom.

He was a fan himself, and it always seemed like he must be awesome for the show. However, it was noticeable that he rode the show into the ground, and that a lot of people who’d worked on the show didn’t have a good word to say for him. Not even in a fakey entertainment industry way did they speak well of him. It made one think.

Well, as the years go by, we’ve learned a lot more about JNT being a big fat jerk. But apparently he was also a jerk who hit on underage male fans. More troubling, it seems that Gary Downie (another long-time show employee) actually was known for committing sexual assault on male fans and employees of the show. So yeah, you can see where that wouldn’t lead to a happy show.

This sort of thing is very disappointing. It reminds me of some of the more sordid casting couch bits of the original Star Trek’s behind the scenes culture… but worse, because at least Roddenberry was exploiting adults.

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Iams Wolfhound Ad

Yeah, it’s been airing since Thanksgiving, but it’s still so darned good.

Apparently it didn’t set off a wolfhound puppy-buying frenzy, though. It would seem that a commercial which graphically demonstrates a wolfhound’s strength and size… creates prudence and second thoughts.

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Filker Alex Day’s New Album Defeats Justin Timberlake’s

Alex Day, aka the Nerrimon, sometime lead singer of the band Chameleon Circuit and namer of the genre Trock (Timelord Rock), brought out his new album the same day as Justin Timberlake’s, in the UK. His album outsold Timberlake’s on iTunes. At #8 on iTunes album charts, Day was outsold only by the likes of David Bowie and The Saturdays.

Yes, possibly YouTube has its uses as a promotional tool, and yes, MTV gave up on music videos way too soon.

Alex Day videos.

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So That’s Why the Name Was Zaleska

I’m pretty sure I just read a vampire story by Tanith Lee that featured this vampire. (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Angela Carter, because she’s dead.)

Except Tanith Lee had the vampire heiress fall in love with, and be vanquished by, a nice English soldier boy. And there was some very nice stuff with roses.

Of course it got very post-modern, because just telling a simple story is too un-ironic. But apparently Lee was also snarking at other segments of fandom and referencing this movie.

Anyway, that explains the name. But it’s driving me nuts that I can’t recall the story name.

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Feeling Sorry for the IRS

The IRS is getting in trouble for making a Star Trek parody video as the opening to their annual agent training conference. Apparently their videomakers usually are busy making training videos for all the new agents and continuing-education videos for the old ones, and they do all this on 4 million dollars a year. (How many training videos do they make? Probably a lot.) But they made one little teambuilding video and are now getting dinged for it.

Weirdly, the reporters on this story are making it sound like no private company ever does this. Which is untrue, of course. Making the odd video or doing skits is normal and beneficial: particularly ones where the top brass allow themselves to look silly, and particularly ones which use injokes to tell the normal staff that the bosses are aware of their frustrations. I don’t know whether this video managed to work effectively, but then, I don’t work for the most hated agency in the country or have crazy hours during tax time.

Now, did the IRS brass spend too much money on sets and CGI? That’s another question. It’s not a really “ritzy” video, but it’s clear that the videomakers either made or glommed onto a significant amount of Trek-related stuff. (And if they actually paid for the sounds and music, I bet that’s where the budget went. Crikey!)

OTOH, the training videos and computer training at my workplace (which is a very big corporation) amount to hundreds of videos and computer tests a year, including ones made every week to update managers. (They’re supposed to update us too, but in reality, this doesn’t happen much. If there’s time for a team meeting and time to watch a video, we get updated.) They have to be spending a huge chunk of moolah.

I’m a bit disturbed by the IRS’ sf ideas, but that’s pretty standard for workplace videos too. People come up with some really creepy comedy ideas, which is why short videos work better than long ones. This one goes long, probably to include all their major department heads. But the flying IRS building is funny.

So is it really a boondoggle, or is the IRS just being scapegoated for legislators’ convenience?

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