tv

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We just finished Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica… oh my god this show is good. I keep calling it a Republican version of West Wing in space…. but it's just so much more intense and you'd imagine, somewhere near ER and The Shield. I've also deduced who the final Cyclon…

…and it sure ain't Hillary. I think we can safely expect her to announce withdrawal tonite. And it's about fucking time. I've complained enough about how unscrupulous of a human being she is, let's forget that for now. Let's just focus on the fact that after the Bush administration, there shouldn't even be talk of a race between Republicans and Democrats. It was in the bag. Her actions in the last few months were the single most harmful thing to the DNC's future, far better than what the opposition could cook up. If you haven't seen the brilliant SNL mock ad, watch it now, it's viciously succinct in its summary of follies.

SPOILERS!!!
Anyways, back to BSG, the last Cyclon must be Dualla. Here's my evidence:

  1. Dualla's first name is Anastasia, which means "resurrection."
  2. Leoben tells Roslin early on in the show that one of the Adamas is a Cyclon. Dualla, having married Lee, is now an Adama. Anastasia Adama to be exact.
  3. Each of the final four Cyclon were paired with an important human element. Lee Adama, who's last name means "man" and "earth," is no exception. We can expect the last Cyclon to be part of a pair.
  4. Dualla is a Sagittaron. Lee's callsign is Apollo. On Caprica, Starbuck seeks the "Arrow of Apollo" as the way to Earth, and that arrow was placed in Sagittaron's bow to open the Tomb of Athena. This implies the two of them are destined for something related to Earth.
  5. D'Anna recognizes the final cyclon on the Algae Planet. Dualla is the one that gives D'Anna the tour on Galactica.


So what does this mean? Well, my theory is that Starbuck, who represents the self-destructiveness of man, leads them to Earth only to find that it's a conflict ground for humans and Cyclons. For millenia, this cycle of humans versus machines has been happening, hence the hybrid's warning that "it has happened, and will happen again." Starbuck, being the ultimate Cyclon killer, is not only keeping human and Cyclon apart militarily, but her love triangle with Lee keeps Lee (human) and Dualla (Cyclon) apart metaphorically as well.

This means that at some point Lee will have to choose between Dualla and Starbuck, essentially choosing between the unification of man and Cyclon, and perpetuating the cycle of war. I'm still trying to figure out what role Hera will play in all of this, but that's what is so compelling about this show… it keeps you guessing even when so much evidence has already been in plain sight for you to dwell on.

This, then this, and this makes me sad. Sad in a gloaty, shouldnadonethathe'sjustaboy way where the evolutionist in me looks forward to a rebirth.

Steve and I were talking yesterday (when he graciously dropped by my class to give the students a talk about real-time rendering), and we've come to see that the future for entertainment can only be minimally pioneered with better and better graphics. This is in stark contrast to a few years back when we argued fitfully, and he claimed that ultimately the graphics were 90% of the sale. Yes Steve, this is my I-told-you-so.

Anyways, the problem today is that games have better graphics, but not better visuals. Visuals here meaning the fundamentals of good art direction, like cinematography, good acting, shot composition, and that ill-defined "style." I've mentioned the Uncanny Valley before, and it's only gotten worse. We've made incredible milestones in shadowing, shading, and surfacing technology, polycounts, texture resolutions, but at the end of the day, an awkward camera angle of a stiff animation of a poorly acted Batman is is never as Batmany as Frank Miller's.

The even deeper problem is that with the novelty of graphics revolution, consumers are plucking down (often to their regret) for deteriorating sequels. They keep EA in business, and tell EA it's not profitable to make anything better than a B- game. The real innovations have suffered for it. AI/physics driven animation, adaptive AI, muscular systems, intelligent camerawork, even fucking blendshapes have, for the most part, taken the backseat to the new titans of what can only be described as "real-time Poser art." Until these changes happen, no matter how good Neo looks in a still, his wooden movement or lack of upper lip realism brings it all crashing down.

The news headlines scream about the gaming industry being bloated. Actually, it's just the opposite, except there's just nothing out there good to spend my eager money on. You know what I mean.

I look towards episodic content to save the day. I look towards the revolution it created in Cable TV quality, when you can stop paying when something starts to stink. Then the scam of the $60 game will come crashing down on developers thinking they'll sucker enough folks in for their bottomlines, all the while wondering why milking their big brands gets less profitable every year. I look towards Valve's Lost Coast as an big step in this direction. Though Valve may fail (their stories are frankly eons behind cable TV), they'll bravely open new ground for a consumer base that purchases more responsibly, perhaps enough to put an end to these Scavengers of Licenseploitation ruining games, movies, and comics all at once.

Ok so the title refers to the Marines, but it felt strangely appropriate because today we got the first two discs of concentrated, granulated, unprocessed intensity we call The Shield: Season Four. So far, Glenn Close has been awesome. Not the badass I was expecting, instead a more nuanced streetwise captain as opposed to the politically tainted Aceveda.

If you don't know what I'm talking about and a touch of blood doesn't turn you off, and you want something as addicting as Naruto, you need to see The Shield. It's got more "oh shit how the fuck are they getting out of this" moments than any TV series I've seen.

The only thing that made this day better was the news that Jon Stewart will be hosting the Oscars. And incidentally Billy Crystal was double-dipped into the formic acids of ex-comedian hell somewhere between the fifth infernal circle and the distance I throw my remote everytime I see the unfunny fuck. Life is good.