Tag Archives: Joss Whedon

Behind the Times

My blog will never be a good source for reviews of books and movies. Even if I wanted to write reviews (which I sometimes do, actually), I don’t know if what I’d end up writing could even be called a review. “Nebulous, lazy, stream-of-consciousness thoughts on a movie” would probably end up being a more accurate moniker. Even if I did write reviews, they wouldn’t do many people much good, because I am always far behind the times. I suppose there may be a place for reviews that are written weeks or even years after the initial release of their subject, but it kind of takes the steam out of your engine when you want to gush or rant about the latest cool thing when that thing is long past late and long since warmed over.

Four days since it premiered, and I haven’t even seen the first episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet, which is rather remarkable when you consider that I’m a superhero fan, an adorer of the Avengers movie and the character of Coulson, and an unapologetic Joss Whedon fanboy (you shut your mouth, Dollhouse was almost great). I’ve been eagerly awaiting Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since it was first rumored, and I’m hoping that this is Whedon’s first true mega-hit for television so he can become even more influential and demand more creative freedom. But if I follow my usual pattern, I may not get around to watching Agents until it’s at least six episodes in.

I suppose I’ve just gotten too old. Work and kids and chores and even silly distractions like this blog always end up taking priority over trying to be on the cutting edge of my favorite entertainment. Technology also makes it easy to delay exposure to new content. Miss it in theaters, or when it originally airs on television? DVDs, DVR, and streaming make it easy to catch up on whatever you miss.

I kind of miss those days when it actually felt exciting to be at movie’s opening night, or when new television episodes actually felt like must-see tv. It’s all still must-see, but it’s turned from “must-see now” into “I’ll have to watch that sometime.”

Maybe I’ll end up writing a review of the first season of Supernatural. My students just recently talked me into watching it, and I’m only eight years behind.


Stranger than Science Fiction

Do you ever have one of those moments where you realize that reality has become more science fiction than science fiction? And then you realize that the moment really shouldn’t be so surprising, because the time we’re living in is already so science fiction.

Gas stations are amazing. It’s utterly futuristic that you can scan your credit or debit card at the pump and avoid the hassle of dealing with the station attendant or cashier (pesky human interaction). The majority of convenience stores have only been using this technology since about 2002. Just over ten years, but it feels like forever. But it’s not a big deal. Banking is all electronic, and credit and debit systems have been in existence for at least decades, and we all know that everything is connected through a vast web of data, and automatic teller machines are everywhere. Pay-at-the-pump only makes sense. It would be dumb to not have pay-at-the-pump.

But then there’s that moment where everything you were taking for granted suddenly feels like science fiction. My family and I pull our mini-van into the local gas station. We don’t have our smart card on us (another nifty bit of technology that allows you to save a few cents on each gallon), but the wife, being stubborn, uses her smartphone to access the smart card site, which auto-enters our location with the phone’s global positioning system, which then prompts us to enter the pump number, which then activates the pump. We activated the pump and paid for the gas with a telephone. It feels like magic, but it shouldn’t. It’s just another clever use of existing technology.

Joss Whedon’s Firefly has a throw-away scene that is an example of these little moments of epiphany. Or, I suppose, un-epiphany, once the quick rush of epiphany wears off and you realize that the moment is actually rather mundane.

Wash: Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science fiction.

Zoë: You live in a spaceship, dear.

Wash: So?

Nah, I’m going to stick with epiphany, because no matter how commonplace the science fiction realities we experience become, we’re still living the reality of science fiction. How cool is that? We’re living in a freaking spaceship.

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