Friday, March 31, 2017

Colony 2.12: The List

An excellent Colony 2.12 - I'm liking this season much more than the first - which ends with two notable revelations:

1. Will and Broussard both seem to be on a list of humans the drones refrain from killing, even though by all logic (of the aliens) they should.   Why are they on this list?  Who - or what - put them there?  Here are some possibilities -
  1. Some action of Will and Broussard exempted them from drone execution. Since Broussard called them in, maybe that's the action (I can't recall what Will did before the drone looked him over and left without doing any damage).  But, I don't know, that doesn't feel to me like the reason.
  2. Snyder would be a logical person to protect them both.  We've already seen him save Bram, and he has a somewhat hidden agenda of what he really wants, and that could include Broussard alive to get something accomplished that Snyder wants done.  But I don't think Snyder has that kind of control over the drones.
  3. So we're left here with a real - and important - mystery.
2. We learn at the very end that the invaders want LA totally "rendered" - i.e., destroyed.  Here are some of the ways that that order could play out -
  1. Our heroes somehow stop that order.  That would be fun to see, but I don't think they have that power.
  2. One of the humans in semi-power moves to belay that order.  Helena would be the most likely. But she doesn't seem to have that kind of power, either.
  3. LA is either totally or in part destroyed.  This would make for a different - and in many ways more profound and exciting - next season.  I don't want to see LA destroyed, but I think it's the most logical possibility at this point.
If the total render order is enacted, will Will and Broussard still be protected?  How about Will's family?

Questions I'd like to see answered - and we still don't know if there will be a third season.

See also Colony 2.1: Prelude ... Colony 2.2: 1969 ... Colony 2.3: The Wall ... Colony 2.7: Countdowns and Intentions ... Colony 2.8: What Passes for a Happy Ending ... Colony 2.9: Together Again ... Colony 2.10: The Fight Continues ... Colony 2.10: Twist

And see also Colony 1.1: Aliens with Potential ... 1.2: Compelling ... 1.5: Questions ... 1.6: The Provost ... Colony 1.7: Broussard ... Colony 1.8: Moon Base and Transit Zones ... Colony 1.9: Robot Arm ... Colony Season 1 Finale: Not Quite Enough

Thursday, March 30, 2017

My 2017 Lunacon Program

People have been clamoring for my Lunacon schedule - screaming "Lunacon" as I drive by them in the street - well, maybe it was "lunatic," I can't be sure.  Anyway, Lunacon is a science fiction convention that will take place this April 7-9 at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown.  Here's a complete list of program participants, and here's my schedule -

  • Reading: Paul Levinson Fri 5:30 PM (from a new story)
  • The Politics of Villains and Monsters Fri 7:30 PM also on panel: Barbara Krasnoff, Louis Epstein, Alexis Gilliland 
  • Artificial Intelligence in SF Sat 2:30 PM also on panel: David Walton, Elliotte Rusty Harold, Ben Parris, Alexis Gilliland 
  • My Character Is Not Me Sat 4:00 PM also on panel: Barbara Krasnoff, Kate Paulk, Terence Taylor 
  • Be a Futurist Visionary! SIGMA Futurist Sun 10:00 AM also on panel: Ben Bova, Charles Pellegrino, Jim Belfiore 
  • Self Publishing - Ins, Outs and Roundabouts Sun 11:30 AM also on panel: Ian Randal Strock, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, EXO Books
And I'll be doing an autograph session, at some point.  Speaking of which -

Hope to see you at Lunacon!

The Americans 5.4: Dating, Soviet-Spy Style

A relatively low-key The Americans 5.4 last night - in comparison to some of the sturm und drang of previous episodes this season and others - but still intensely interesting on lots of levels.

The main story features Philip and Elizabeth half-way across America on a seduction mission of two separate, unmarried people.   Although they're both pros at this, it's not as easy as it might seem.   Philip's "marriage" to Martha left some scars on his psyche, and even the cooler Elizabeth, though she doesn't show it, is more affected than she would like or admit by these encounters.

Philip tries to get the two of them excused from this mission, but Gabriel won't have it.   Significantly, their disguises make the two look even less like their real selves - especially so for Philip - than the disguises usually do.   I think this is a deliberate, on the part of the show's producers, to show that it's more of a stretch for Philip than Elizabeth, and a stretch for both of them.  Philip questions Elizabeth when she gets home, remarking that she seems to like her mark,  She of course denies that, but the very question and her response shows their malaise about this part of their work. They're not exactly overjoyed about killing, either, but the lack of comfort with the dating is in some ways even more dangerous to their being as loyal spies.

Paige's continued movement towards spying herself is also of interest, and part of this story.  As Philip and Elizabeth grow more unsettled about spying - especially Philip - their daughter is ever more eager to learn its craft and move into the field.   There will no doubt be land mines ahead.

Meanwhile, Oleg in Moscow provides an important parallel, and a fascinating look into life in the Soviet capital in what we know will be its final decade (though Putin may be bringing some of that back now).  And with Philip's son arriving in America, the bridge between the U.S. and Russia in this story is more active than ever, with lots of opportunities for unexpected collision and damage up ahead.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bones Farewell

Bones finished its 12-year run tonight, with a fine final episode that had a little of everything, including -

  • Booth telling Bones, when the effects of the explosion have robbed her of who she essentially is intellectually - the genius able to find incredible connections in bones - that that's not really the essence of the woman he loves.  It's delivered in vintage, earnest, winning Booth fashion, including references to Roxy and Wanda and lots of Bones highlights.  It certainly convinced me - and convinces Bones.   And, of course, she does later recover, just in time to help save Booth.
  • All the interns play a role in solving the case, when Bones is still not at her best.  We also see a photo of the intern who was murdered.  (The Zack Addy story was nicely resolved last week.)
  • Aubrey may be finding true love with the agent at the FBI.
  • We see Sweets, via the photo on the book he wrote about Bones and Booth.  Bones saying how right Sweets was, about so many things, after years of expressing her lack of respect for psychology, was also a fine moment.
  • Hodgins is becoming King - albeit temporary - of the Lab.
I could go on, but you get the picture.  And as a great final touch, Bones says at the end that endings are not necessarily endings.  There's a lot of story yet to tell about our heroes.   The story did change when Bones and Booth finally got together several seasons ago, losing some of the tension which came from their being apart, but the new story has been developing well, and can lead to all kinds of roads ahead.

Someone also said tonight that all things end.   So we're left at the end of Bones with these two contradictory thoughts - all things end, and endings are not necessarily endings.

So which do I choose to believe about Bones?

Well, both of course.  And I'll be back here someday with a review of what comes next.

See also Why You Should Watch BONES? Let the Experts Answer That! for answers by me and others

And see also Bones 12.1: Back in Business ... Boned 12.7-8: Loss and Recovery ... Penultimate Bones 

And see also Bones Back for Season 11: Aubrey and 'Audrey' ... Bones 11.2: Back in Place ... Bones 11.5 Meets Sleepy Hollow 3.5: Time Travel ...Bones 11.10: Shake-Up ... Bones 11.11: Meets Ironside ... Bones 11.18: Meta-Bones ... Bones Season 11 Finale: The Ultimate Intern

And dee also Bones 10.1: The Fulcrum Changes ... Bones 10.2: J. Edgar and the DNA Confession ... Bones 10.3: Meets Rush and a Dominatrix ... Bones 10.4: Brennan and Angela on a Bench in the Playground ... Bones 10.5: Two Jokes and Three Times ... Bones 10.6: A Thousand Cuts ... Bones 10.7: The A-Word and Quarks ... Bones 10.8: Daisy's Doula ... Bones 10.9: The Milgram Experiment and the Birds ... Bones 200: 10.10: Just like Bogey and Bacall ... Bones 10.11: Life after Death, and Sweets in Wonderland ...Bones 10.12: The Digital Revolution ... Bones 10.13: The Almost-Serial Killer ...Bones 10.14: meets La Parure ... Bones 10.15: Cards in Hand ...Bones 10.16: Hodgins' Money ... Bones 10.17-18: Bullies and Capital Punishment ... Bones 10.19: Do You Buy Booth's Gambling Addiction? ...Bones 10.20: Intimations of a New Jeffersonian ... Bones 10.21: Ten Years Isn't Enough ... Bones Season 10 Finale: Rehearsals for Retirement?

And see also Bones 9.1: The Sweet Misery of Love ... Bones 9.2: Bobcat, Identity Theft, and Sweets ... Bones 9.3 and NCIS 11.2: Sweets and Ziva ... Bones 9.4: Metaphysics of Death in a Television Series ... Bones 9.5: Val and Deep Blue ... Bones 9.6: The Wedding ... Bones 9.7: Watch Out, Buenos Aires ...Bones 9.8: The Bug in the Neck ... Bones 9.9: Friday Night Bones in the Courtroom ... Bones 9.10: Horse Pucky ... Bones 9.11: Angels in Equations ... Bones 9.12: Fingernails ... Bones 9.13: Meets Nashville, and Wendell ... Bones 9.14: "You Cannot Drink Your Glass Away" ... Bones 9.15: Hodgins' Brother and the Ripped Off Toe ... Bones 9.16: Lampreys, Professors, and Insurance Companies ... Bones 9.17: Spartacus in the Kitchen ... Bones 9.18: Meets Day of the Triffids ... Bones 9.19: The Cornucopic Urn ... Bones 9.20: Above the Law ... Bones 9.21: Freezing and Thawing ... Bones 9.22: Promotion ... Bones 9.23: The New Intern ... Bones Season 9 Finale: Upping the Ante

And see also Bones 8.1: Walk Like an Egyptian ... Bones 8.2 of Contention ... Bones 8.3: Not Rotting Behind a Desk  ... Bones 8.4: Slashing Tiger and Donald Trump ... Bones 8.5: Applesauce on Election Eve ... Bones 8.6: Election Day ... Bones 8.7: Dollops in the Sky with Diamonds ...Bones 8.8: The Talking Remains ... Bones 8.9: I Am A Camera ... Bones 8.10-11: Double Bones ...Bones 8.12: Face of Enigmatic Evil ... Bones 8.13: Two for the Price of One ... Bones 8.14: Real Life ... Bones 8.15: The Magic Bullet and the Be-Spontaneous Paradox ... Bones 8.16: Bitter-Sweet Sweets and Honest Finn ... Bones 8.17: "Not Time Share, Time Travel" ... Bones 8.18: Couples ... Bones 8.19: The Head in the Toilet ... Bones 8.20: On Camera ... Bones 8.21: Christine, Hot Sauce, and the Judge ... Bones 8.22: Musical-Chair Parents ... Bones 8.23: The Bluff ... Bones Season 8 Finale: Can't Buy the Last Few Minutes

And see also Bones 7.1: Almost Home Sweet Home ... Bones 7.2: The New Kid and the Fluke ...Bones 7.3: Lance Bond and Prince Charmington ... Bones 7.4: The Tush on the Xerox ... Bones 7.5: Sexy Vehicle ... Bones 7.6: The Reassembler ... Bones 7.7: Baby! ... Bones 7.8: Parents ...Bones 7.9: Tabitha's Salon ... Bones 7.10: Mobile ... Bones 7.11: Truffles and Max ... Bones 7.12: The Corpse is Hanson ... Bones Season 7 Finale: Suspect Bones

And see also Bones 6.1: The Linchpin ... Bones 6.2: Hannah and her Prospects ... Bones 6.3 at the Jersey Shore, Yo, and Plymouth Rock ... Bones 6.4 Sans Hannah ... Bones 6.5: Shot and Pretty ... Bones 6.6: Accidental Relations ... Bones 6.7:  Newman and "Death by Chocolate" ...Bones 6.8: Melted Bones ... Bones 6.9: Adelbert Ames, Jr. ... Bones 6.10: Reflections ... Bones 6.11: The End and the Beginning of a Mystery ... Bones 6.12 Meets Big Love ... Bones 6.13: The Marrying Kind ... Bones 6.14: Bones' Acting Ability ... Bones 6.15: "Lunch for the Palin Family" ...Bones 6.16: Stuck in an Elevator, Stuck in Times ... Bones 6.17: The 8th Pair of Feet ... Bones 6.18: The Wile E. Chupacabra ... Bones 6.19 Test Runs The Finder ... Bones 6.20: This Very Statement is a Lie ... Bones 6.21: Sensitive Bones ... Bones 6.22: Phoenix Love ... Bones Season 6 Finale: Beautiful

And see also Bones: Hilarity and Crime and Bones is Back For Season 5: What Is Love? and 5.2: Anonymous Donors and Pipes and 5.3: Bones in Amish Country and 5.4: Bones Meets Peyton Place and Desperate Housewives and Ancient Bones 5.5 and Bones 5.6: A Chicken in Every Viewer's Pot and Psychological Bones 5.7 and Bones 5.8: Booth's "Pops" and Bones 5.9 Meets Avatar and Videogamers ... Bad Santa, Heart-Warming Bones 5.10 ... Bones 5.11: Of UFOs, Bloggers, and Triangles ... Bones 5.12: A Famous Skeleton and Angela's Baby ... Love with Teeth on Bones 5.13 ... Faith vs. Science vs. Psychology in Bones 5.14 ... Page 187 in Bones 5.15 ...Bones 100: Two Deep Kisses and One Wild Relationship ... Bones 5.17: The Deadly Stars ...Bones Under Water in 5.18 ... Bones 5.19: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.20: Ergo Together ... Bones 5.21: The Rarity of Happy Endings ... Bones Season 5 Finale: Eye and Evolution


the Sierra Waters time-travel trilogy

Beautiful on Broadway: Just Superb

My wife and I just got back from seeing Beautiful on Broadway - the Carole King life story musical - courtesy of my birthday present from our kids.  We loved it.  The play is a gem on all kinds of levels.

First, I should mention that the title role was played someone who just took on the part earlier this month - Abby Mueller, sister of Jessie, who established the role to rave reviews and awards in 2014-2015.   I have no idea what Jessie's performance was like in person, but it's hard to believe it was better than Abby's, whose voice, especially in the closing full-throated Carole King songs, was superb.

Evan Todd, who recently took on the role of King's writing partner and husband, Gerry Goffin, was good, too.   Jessica Keenan Wynn as Cynthia Weil and Ben Jacoby as Barry Mann, also not from the original cast, were outstanding and got as much applause, well deserved, as the lead couple.

Here, let me mention something I've sort of known for decades - since the 1960s, actually - but which became especially clear during the musical.  Goffin and King wrote some of my all-time favorite pop-rock songs, including "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and "Chains".   But Mann and Weil were more sophisticated, daring. and moved pop and rock to a whole new level.  Their diversity was also extraordinary - including "On Broadway," "Walking in the Rain," "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," and "We Gotta Get Out of this Place," and (not performed in the musical) "Rock 'n' Roll Lullaby" and "Brown-Eyed Woman".  (Including Mann and Weil in this story was just a master-stroke.) The only Goffin-King song on that level was "Natural Woman," given a soulful, memorable rendition by Abby Mueller.

The Shirelles The Drifters, and The Righteous Brothers - who performed some of these wonderful songs - were all represented in the musical, with song-and-dance numbers that brought down the house.  Kudos to Gisela Adela, Rashidra Scott, Yasmeen Sulieman, and Nasia Thomas as The Shirelles; James Harkness, Douglas Lyons, Nicolas Ryan, and Alan Wiggins as The Drifters; and Adam Dietlein and Kevin Duda as The Righteous Brothers.   And, for that matter, the orchestra/band as well.

These kinds of musicals, which (I'm pretty sure) began with Ellie Greenwich's  mid-1980s Leader of the Pack, are always appealing.  (In a little-known interlude in my history, Ellie Greenwich co-produced my group The New Outlook aka The Other Voices in the late 1960s - see here for details.) The stories are often similar - a husband-and-wife writing team who met and married young, produced great songs, but split up under the pressure of fame and volatile personalities.  (Mann and Weil, though, are still married - my wife and I also loved their cabaret life-story, They Wrote That? with the two of them in Manhattan back in 2004 - another birthday present).

But Carole King's life story is different.  After she left Gerry, she did the rare thing of not only writing her own songs but singing them, and creating one of the best albums of all time, Tapestry. Beautiful is a fitting musical tale of how that masterpiece came to be - a masterpiece in itself, and, like King's music (and Goffin and King's, and Mann and Weil's), a play that will last for the ages.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Time After Time 1.5: You Can't and Can Change History

Time After Time was back with episode 1.5 last night - filmed at Silvercup's new Bronx studios, by the way, where I attended a great opening ceremony with Governor Cuomo speaking this past summer.

Changing the Bronx - bringing it back - is what Silvercup North is all about, just as changing history is what Time After Time is all about.  The very notion of time travel is about changing history.   Which is why Stephen Hawking talked about the chronology protection conjecture, and I wrote The Chronology Protection Case, basis of the movie you can see any time for free on Amazon Prime.

Now the theme of both, and of Time After Time 1.5, is that history - or the universe - won't let you change it.   So when John aka Jack the Ripper goes back to World War I in Paris to save his son, it turns out that H. G. doesn't have to go back in time himself to stop John - history, the universe, will do that all on its own.

Except when it doesn't.  Which, of course, can happen in a time travel story, since it's the writer, not really the universe, which/who is calling the shots in the story,  So I would say it's just a matter of time, to coin a phrase, until Wells or who knows who does manage to change something in history in Time After Time - whether in spite of or because of Wells' or John's interventions - just as Silvercup North has changed the course of the Bronx.

Meanwhile, the other story in Time After Time, which will somehow tie into the time machine and Wells, is the work of Brook and her brother. Tonight we saw her heal his wound with some kind of quick-acting DNA-relevant something or other.  That was not only cool, but promises some interesting gambits ahead.

I'm very much liking Time After Time, and looking forward to more.

See also Time after Time: H. G. Wells Back in Action ... Time After Time 1.3: The Red Heads ... Time After Time 1.4: "Mad as a Bag of Ferrets"

The Chronology Protection Case movie, now FREE on Amazon Prime

24 Legacy 1.9: The Personal

Classic 24 had certain reliably powerful tropes to ramp up the tension and action. Kidnapping a major governmental official, attacking CTU headquarters, were prominent in this 24 playbook.  Both put in an appearance tonight in 24 Legacy 1.9.

And the execution was good, in a plot in which both events are connected.   John is coming in to CTU to see and make up with his wife Rebecca.  His father had admitted working with the terrorists (though for reasons still unclear - to help John win the election, by seeming strong after terrorist attacks?).  But Naseri, the new arch villain terrorist, has broken into CTU to free last week's arch terrorist (all important characters survived the attack on the terrorist staging area last week), and Naseri lucks out and not only frees his target but scoops up John in the process.

The stakes have swung back to the highly personal - save Rebecca's husband - from the mass destruction of the concerted terrorist attacks, though some of that could still be in the works, too.   And speaking of personal, events are now drawing Nicole even closer to Isaac (they almost kiss).

Back to Jack Bauer, his tattered love life was always a staple of the original show.  My guess is we're on the way to seeing Eric's end up the same way at the end of this season.  But you just never know with anything that has 24 in its title, and I'm looking forward to the concluding episodes of this season, and to another to follow next year.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Black Sails: Penultimate

The high point of the next-to-last ever episode of Black Sails last night was when Flint shoots the guy who was about to shoot Long John, who was in the process of demanding that Flint give him the treasure, or fight with Flint to the death over it.

As in many decisive acts in this rich, multi-layered tapestry of a story, there is more than one interpretation or explanation for what Flint did.

Maybe it was out of love and admiration for Long John, which certainly had to have been a part of it.

And/or maybe it was Flint, ever quick and incisive in his calculation, knowing that Long John was of much greater value in the fight that loomed ahead, against the British and the Spanish, in Flint's attempt to create a new civilization of freedom.

In any case, it's the British attack on the pirate ship that causes Flint and Long John to halt in their duel, with an eye towards the common enemy.   This creates the right backdrop for the final episode next week.

Of course, as I've been saying all season and earlier, history and Robert Louis Stevenson dictate who will survive and not survive this last battle we'll see in Black Sails.  But I'm very much looking forward to seeing it, anyway.

See also: Black Sails 4.1: "True Friends and Mortal Enemies" ... Black Sails 4.2: Bones vs. Flint ... Black Sails 4.3: Decisive Victories and Losses - On Both Sides ... Black Sails 4.4: Chess Game ... Black Sails 4.5: Bold Moves ...Black Sails 4.6: Spanish Horsemen with Lances ... Black Sails 4.7: Jack Rackham and Fake News ... Black Sails 4.9: Flynt vs. Long John

See also Black Sails 3.1: Restored ... Black Sails 3.2: Flint vs. Sea ... Black Sails 3.3: Gone Fishin' ... Black Sails 3.4: Mr. Scott's People ... Black Sails 3.5: Alliance ... Black Sails 3.6: The Duel ... Black Sails 3.7: The Blackening of John Silver ... Black Sails 3.8: Whether Vane? ... Black Sails 3.10: Wither Vane ... Black Sails Season 3 Finale: Throckmorton

And see also Black Sails 2.1: Good Combo, Back Story, New Blood ... Black Sails 2.2: A Fine Lesson in Captaining ... Black Sails 2.3: "I Angered Charles Vane" ... Black Sails 2.4: "Fire!" ... Black Sails 2.5: Twist! ... Black Sails 2.6: Weighty Alternatives, and the Medium is the Message on the High Seas ...Black Sails 2.7: The Governor's Daughter and the Gold ... Black Sails 2.9: The Unlikely Hero ... Black Sails Season 2 Finale: Satisfying Literate and Vulgar

And see also Black Sails: Literate and Raunchy Piracy ... Black Sails 1.3: John Milton and Marcus Aurelius ... Black Sails 1.4: The Masts of Wall Street ...Black Sails 1.6: Rising Up ... Black Sails 1.7: Fictions and History ... Black Sails 1.8: Money


pirates of the mind in The Plot to Save Socrates