"Hit TV shows from NBC Universal Inc. will be available for purchase and download from Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes online media store, the companies announced yesterday as Apple continues to increase its roster of video downloads.
Already, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has sold 3 million videos since it launched its popular iPod video player in October with music videos and shows from ABC. The new NBC lineup will allow users to download 11 new shows such as "Law & Order," "The Office," "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" for $1.99 a show. Shows from Sci-Fi Network and USA Network, both affiliated with NBC, also will be available." - Yuke Noguchi, TWP
James Doohan: March 3, 1920 - July 20, 2005
We are deeply saddened to report that James Doohan, the beloved actor who portrayed engineer "Montgomery Scott" in the original Star Trek and seven movies, has passed away. He was 85.
Doohan died in his sleep at his home in Redmond, Washington, at 5:30 a.m. local time with his wife Wende at his side. Cause of death was pneumonia, complicated by Alzheimer's disease, according to Doohan's agent and longtime friend Steve Stevens of Los Angeles.
"Take Tyra Banks -- please! It seems that this fall, Tyra will star in her very own one-hour, daily talk show, which will focus on the "the dreams, hopes and challenges of today's young women," according to the press release. Apparently the goal of Tyra's show is to "empower women to be the best they can be for themselves, their families and their communities." The show "will reflect the positive attitude, compassion and energy that Tyra Banks embodies."
Luckily, we've managed to secure our very own copy of the premiere of Tyra's new show (originally titled, simply, "Badonkadonk!"), so we can be the first to view Tyra in this new format. The transcript below is taken from a segment called "You Go, Girl!" during which Tyra meets with a young activist or aspiring something or other, and encourages her to keep doing whatever it is she does. The young woman in this interview, Hannah, seems to have started some kind of charity event for disabled aspiring actresses.
Tyra: So, girl, tell me all about your little project! It sounds so interesting!
Hannah: Well, as you probably know, Tyra, there are a lot of aspiring actresses out there who are disabled and, as a result, can't work.
Tyra: How would I know that?
Hannah: Well, you were an aspiring actress at one time...
Tyra: Excuse me?
Hannah: Well, you were in "Coyote Ugly"...
Tyra: Who are you callin' ugly? You have no idea what I've been through! But I'm not a victim, I grow from it and I learn!
Hannah: No, I mean...
Tyra: I'm extremely disappointed in you, Hannah. You've been through anger management, you've been through your grandmother getting her lights turned off to buy you some pantyhose for this talk show, and then you go over there and you joke and you laugh?
Hannah: Over where? My grandmother isn't even...
Tyra: Be quiet, Hannah! Be quiet! Stop it! I have never in my life yelled at a girl like this! I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you! How dare you! Learn something from this! You take responsibility for yourself!" - Heather Havrilesky
"The interior of the Battlestar Galactica is a warren of shadowy, angular hallways and spare functional chambers split over two sound stages situated on the semi-industrial fringe of Vancouver, British Columbia. The Galactica is a spaceship, but it does not feel particularly space-age. The communication panels on the walls were scavenged from a Canadian destroyer; the desk lamps are from Ikea. If you have seen ''Battlestar Galactica,'' which began its second season on the Sci Fi Channel on Friday, you will know that this Galactica only vaguely resembles the ship that previously bore that name, when ''Battlestar Galactica'' first flew on prime time in 1978, square in the shadow of ''Star Wars.'' And it certainly does not resemble the Enterprise, the ''Star Trek'' vehicle that has defined the visual and thematic vocabulary of television science fiction for four decades. On the Galactica, there is no captain's chair; there are no windows full of stars. The command center is busy and dark, protected deep within the ship the way it would be on an actual military vessel. As the actors move from room to room, hand-held cameras swoop behind them, closing in on them claustrophobically. The characters do not travel heroically from planet to planet, solving the problems of aliens. There are, in fact, no aliens at all.
To be fair, though, there are androids. As in the original show, the humans of the Galactica and its fleet are relentlessly pursued by evil robots called Cylons. But in the current version, conceived by Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, most of the evil Cylons look like people and have found God. Ruthlessly principled and deeply religious, the Cylons have been compared by fans and critics both to Al Qaeda and to the evangelical right. And the humans they are relentlessly pursuing are fallible and complex. Their shirts are not clingy or color-coded; the men of space wear neckties. They are led by Edward James Olmos as the Galactica's commander and Mary McDonnell as the president of the humans, and their stories revolve as much around the tensions within -- between the military and civil leadership of the fleet -- as they do around the Cylon threat. As Eick described the show to me last month with evident, subversive pleasure, ''The bad guys are all beautiful and believe in God, and the good guys all [expletive] each other over.'' Moore, who is also the show's head writer, put it more simply: ''They are us.'' - John Hodgman
I am in love with Star Trek. Ever since discovering it in its original run back in the '60's (in my youth), I have always look to it for a vision of the future that I wanted to come to pass - one of space travel and understanding, with an occasional inter-stellar war thrown in to keep it interesting. In my darkest moments, Star Trek was my light. At my highest points, Star Trek was my wings. When all hope was gone, Star Trek was straight on till morning.
But all things that have a beginning, have an end, and tonight the end comes for Star Trek. In my opinion, the end has been coming since the last episode of Deep Space Nine when Captain Sisko ascended to sit with the Prophets of the Bajorin worm hole. That story arc was one of the best in science fiction ever, and it proved impossible to top in the Star Trek lineage. Voyager barely limped home, while Enterprise, a good idea at the start, has been running on empty for most of its almost 4 years on television.
While my Trek universe was imploding, however, another was just being born. The SciFi channel brought Stargate SG-1 back from the brink, and then used it to learn what to give the science fiction audience. It had its own great cult hit, Farscape, which it ended before the series ran out of story lines, keeping its audience hungry for more. It has done mini-series and mini-movies and kept learning and tonight, with what the network bills as the biggest night of scifi ever, it puts Star Trek out of its misery.
I will be on the SciFi channel tonight for Stargate Atlantis, now entering its second season as a majorly smart extension of the Stargate universe. I will stay on board for Battlestar Galactica, perhaps the best thing on since the original Trek; a great re-working of the '70's original that has kept every viewer on the edge of their seats, even though we already know how its going to turn out. Star Trek's Enterprise, which will be opposite these shows on Fridays, will be lucky to move the rating needle a point or two, and that is how it should be. Tonight, on the biggest night of scifi ever, Star Trek makes way for its children and another generation of science fiction fans will be born.
The FCC has already moved to review video of the semi-naughty Monday Night Football/Desperate Housewives promo with the light-speed that makes us believe that the government nanny state can work--when they think they're going to catch a glimpse of Nicollette Sheridan's nipples and follow up a quick self-abuse session with some conscience-cleansing fines. Unfortunately for FCC Chairman Michael Powell, the best he's going to get out of this is some hott, towel-dropping, *implied* nudity and the suggestion that a football player is getting very laid before strapping on his helmet. That should be worth about a $500K wrist-slapping for ABC, don't you think? You know, once Powell's completely done "reviewing the evidence."
Surgeons, pathologists, embalmers and even the corner butcher know about the little click, in the brain, that lets them look dispassionately at a living or once-living being and see, instead, just flesh, a thing, or meat. Without this shift in the moral vision, we could not heal the sick, bury the dead or eat a steak. And yet a closely related power of objectification is also the root of cruelty. To see a human being only as an object -- an enemy, an occupier or an animal -- unlocks the possibility for war, revolution and genocide.
Yesterday, footage of an attack on vehicles occupied by civilian contractors in Fallujah hit the Web sites and television screens of the wider world. An Associated Press cameraman happened upon the scene: First plumes of smoke seen at a distance through a grungy windshield; then shots of an SUV engulfed in orange flames surrounded by a crowd; then charred bodies. A man was beating one corpse with a pole, bending into his labor with his whole body, raising from a crouch until the weapon was high above his head, then slamming it down again. Later, in sharp contrast to the SUV, a compact car with no hubcaps dragged a body behind it. And then something out of Oliver Cromwell's England, bodies dangling from the girders of a truss bridge.
To watch these images dispassionately required that click, that willingness to say, not he or she but it. It's just a body. It's dead. It doesn't feel anything anymore. And yet the vast majority of Americans have no experience, and want no familiarity, with this turn of the mind's moral grammar. Squeamishness keeps us from reveling in cruelty, yet it also banishes the hard realities of cruelty from sight. It is our armor and our cop-out. - Philip Kennicott, The Washington Post
Yesterday saw an unprecedented display across the pages of our newspapers and the screens of our computers and televisions. A nation that only a couple of weeks ago balked at a few milliseconds of partially exposed female breast, has spent much of the last 48 hours with video and still images of mutilated, charred corpses being defiled on the streets of a foreign land.
Before we add one more notch to our collective de-sensitivity belts, it would be a good idea to take a look at a wonderfully insightful and poignant article by The Washington Post's Philip Kennicott. He says things about the nature of hatred and violence we should all keep foremost in our minds as we struggle to make sense of this increasingly nonsensical world.