Written PostNews Around the Net!

News Around the Net!

Want to loose an hour of your life?  Spend some time reading through the comments section of this article that poses the question: what is the single best episode of any genre TV show ever?  I don’t agree with all the responses, of course, but I agree with a LOT of ’em… and they all make me want to devote the next year of my life to go-ing back and re-watching all of my favorite sci-fi shows…!!

Can you believe The Simpsons is entering its 25th season???  That is just insane!  Here is a great interview with current Simpsons show-runner Al Jean.  I have about two years’ worth of Simpsons episodes sitting unwatched in my Tivo queue.  I still love The Simpsons but somewhere along the line I just lost my eagerness to see the new episodes as they aired each week… and now it’s been many, many months since I have watched one of the latest episodes.  It’s hard for me to believe this has happened!  Maybe this will get me excited for the show again: the news that Guillermo del Toro directed the opening couch gag segment of this year’s Treehouse of Horror episode, that aired last night.  Cool.  I haven’t watched the episode yet, but it just might be time to dip into my queue and check it out!  Click here to watch the entire opening segment, and to hear more from Guillermo del Toro about creating that elaborate sequence.

This is interesting: Pixar’s in-development film The Good Dinosaur has had its release date pushed back by A YEAR AND A HALF.  Wow.   That means that 2014 will be the first year without a new Pixar film since 2005.  On the one hand, I am pleased to see a major studio taking the time to get a movie done right, rather than rushing to meet a release date.  On the other hand, while I don’t know the full story, I feel badly for the original director, Bob Peterson, who was removed off the film he had helped to create and develop.

From J.W. Rinzler’s upcoming book The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, io9 has collected a fascinating (oops, wrong Star franchise) list of 10 things you probably didn’t know about Return of the Jedi.  This is a must-read for all Star Wars fans.  Speaking of Star Wars and i09, I also love their list of the 9 least-competent Jedi.  I don’t know anything about the expanded universe characters, but they’re certainly right on the money about Qui-Gon Jin.  (And Ben Kenobi.  And Yoda.  And Luke.)

I’ve been very critical of Star Trek Into Darkness on this site.  Occasionally I wonder if my standards are just too high when it comes to Trek and/or sci-fi.  So it’s nice to read other opinions that 100% fit with my own.  This incisive assessment of all of the flaws of Into Darkness is terrific — I agree 100%.  Staying on this topic, this EW editorial attempts to explain the reasons for the fan backlash against Into Darkness.  It’s an interesting piece that makes some good points, including identifying some of the key creative decisions behind the film that are the elements that got Trek fans so P-Oed.  (However, I think the writer fails to address the film’s central problem: just how frustratingly bad the script was.  Speaking for myself, I would have no problem with a different looking/sounding/acting version of Khan, had a) his plan and backstory actually made a lick of sense, and b) he been allowed to have been the central bad-guy in the film, and a real threat/danger to the crew of the Enterprise.)

I enjoyed watching this youtube video listing the 10 worst CGI movie effects.  I haven’t seen all the films listed, but I certainly agree with their #1 choice of the CGI version of the Rock as the Scorpion King from The Mummy Returns.  I remember seeing that movie in theatres and being shocked by the horrendous, clearly-unfinished-looking CGI Scorpion King.  So weak.  (I also heartily agree with the inclusion of the “burly brawl” from The Matrix Reloaded.  I remember reading so much about that sequence in advance of the film’s release, how that was an example of the film’s boundary-breaking visual effects.  Then I actually saw it on the big screen, and was flabbergasted by how fake the whole thing looked.)

This is a great interview with comic-book author Ed Brubaker.  He and artist Sean Phillips have collaborated on some of the very best comics of the past decade.  Their crime comic Criminal was genius, and their new H.P. Lovecraft noir thriller mystery genre-spanning saga Fatale is extra-super genius.  (Anyone looking to discover comic book gold should just start with the first volume of Criminal and go from there.  You’re welcome.)

Here is the Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser that made everyone crazy at Comic-Con.  OK, my appetite is officially whetted.

And here, coming hot on the heels of the sad news of author Tom Clancy’s death, is the first trailer for the terribly titled Jack Ryan reboot Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  It’s a better title than the John Carter and Jack Reacher-esque Jack Ryan that they were going with for a while there, but Shadow Recruit still sounds terribly generic and meaningless to me.  I want this film to be great.  I still think there’s a lot of juice in this franchise.  But I am not terribly bowled over by this trailer.  We’ll see.