Graveyard Shifts




I was up late enough last night to watch the Phillies finally win 5-4 over the Cincinnati Reds in the 19th inning of their 6-hour, 11-minute game. It's the longest MLB matchup of 2011 so far, no surprise, as well as the longest game for the Phils since 1993 and the longest for the Reds since 1972.

Sadly, I'd not seen any of the game prior to the last inning — although I heard some of it on the radio, and the post-game coverage gave a pretty good recap — so I don't know if there were any jokes about replacing the umpires with vampires.

Until the game more than doubled in regulation length, however, today's post was going to be yet another one all about TV starring such creatures of the dark — in particular, Angel DVDs and CW repeats of The Vampire Diaries.



First the notes of the living dead:

The Vampire Slayer Diaries: Update


While I've fallen behind in discussion on the Great Buffy Rewatch being hosted over at Nik at Nite — and the conversation, sadly, is at least half the fun (the other half, of course, is plowing through the series itself) — I'm up to date in my viewing; I only hope that having a lot less new TV to watch means that doubling my weekly indulgence when Angel is added to the mix doesn't totally bust my schedule.

The Rewatch continues tomorrow night with the beginning of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Four, which is a tremendously mixed bag to fans. It has some really interesting ideas and introduces or reintroduces characters that will become crucial to the show, but it also hinges on some elements that are widely maligned. Meanwhile, Season One of spinoff Angel, which launched right after Buffy's Season Four premiere on The WB and occasionally crossed over with the mothership before BTVS jumped to UPN following Season Five, expanded Joss Whedon's "Slayerverse" in new directions.

Rewatch guru Nikki Stafford and her cadre of guest critics aren't explicitly writing about Angel, but it's highly recommended for new and returning viewers to go whole hog. I found what looks like a pretty solid recommended viewing order for rewatching Buffy and Angel together, "designed for minimum disc switching" while still keeping any shared or parallel narratives in the right sequence, but I can't totally vouch for it until I follow it; this is actually my first comprehensive Buffy Rewatch.

Hopes of blogging my Rewatch experience in even rough contemporaneity with the Nik at Nite proceedings have long since been dusted. I've written plenty about Season One, though, and I'm still taking notes each week, so at some point "The Vampire Slayer Diaries" will continue with actual episode commentary — maybe even catching up with the Rewatch schedule down the line. I clearly won't be able to supplement the BTVS-only offerings at Nik at Nite with weekly guides to what's happening concurrently on Angel, however, because I'm just too backlogged with material here.

For those of you just joining me here or the larger group of us in the Rewatch, I'll close out with links to my preamble on this series of posts, my review of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, the Nik at Nite viewing schedule for the Rewatch, and the running archive of pointers to Rewatch discussion over there, which includes analysis from such academics and authors as David Lavery, Jennifer Kate Stuller, David Kociemba, Matthew Pateman, and Janet / Steve Halfyard.

The Long and Short of Smallville: The Short


Tom Welling as Clark Kent dressed in black standing in front of the S symbol used for 'Superman Returns' and on another mirror-like symbol which reflects him in the familiar blue suit, red boots, and cape, although it tapers off after his legs

Just the short for now:

Smallville's series finale repeats on The CW tonight from 8 to 10 p.m. ET/PT.

I watched it when it originally aired last Friday, with hope, skepticism, and ultimately the same disappointment familiar to me from throughout the show's 10-year run. Y
ou've probably already seen it if you cared at all about this controversial take on the Superman saga, but if you haven't and spoilers in my overdue series review will bother you then you should tune in.

The long has proven tremendously difficult to get published, and if I can't do so soon it'll have to hang out on the ever-growing scrapheap of abandoned posts. I certainly hope it will be online by this fall, when Smallville: The Complete Series is released by Warner Home Video in a 62-disc collectible package with all 218 episodes and special features not available on the season-by-season boxed sets; past that point, nobody including me will give a fallow acre until Superman's 75th anniversary a couple of years out.

Assuming your connection is better than mine, you
 should be able to access the final episodes at the CW Network website for at least a month after this post is published. The two-part series finale is available for the price of one episode on iTunes, $1.99 standard or $2.99 for HD, and as Forces of Geek recently reported iTunes also has the premieres of Seasons One through Ten available for free download for a limited time in partnership with Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, with discounted prices on full seasons.

Damn It, Spock!



Photo © 1966 CBS Studios.

I'm sorry to report that the blog will be in limbo for a couple of weeks or so. My laptop went to sleep this morning and never quite woke up — a problem that it's had before but not as permanently as it seems to now and not, I don't think, since the faulty battery was replaced last year. The Apple Store tech said that the logic board is dead.

Since I'll be at the mercy of the library and loved ones for any computer time, there will be little to no activity here. I write the majority of my blogposts offline, pasting them into Blogger for final edits and publication when complete, which means that even if (and it's a big if) I'm able to get substantial time on a keyboard that I can tolerate with stable Internet access when my focus allows me to actually be productive, everything on my laptop's hard drive is out of reach unless I want to try loading my backups onto a computer that's not mine; the safest and most likely option for that, which I'm using right now — Thanks and Happy Mother's Day, Mom! — has a small enough keyboard that my hands are cramping and mistakes are plentiful. 

I'm going to try to finish and publish the Thor review that's online in rough draft before the window of anyone caring expires — but in case I don't, I'll share now that I found it a surprisingly satisfying hunk of entertainment requiring little or no emotional connection to its comic-book origins. And unless I can get a loaner laptop from a friend, there will be no timely insights on that wild Fringe finale; very little chance of finally getting my "Vampire Slayer Diaries" series up to date before Nikki Stafford's Great Buffy Rewatch enters Season 4  at the end of the month, at which point I'd hoped to begin concurrent posting on Angel Season 1; barely any time for me to get my long-unattended litany of Lost essays in shape by the first anniversary of the series' conclusion; and that much more of a logjam when blogging resumes. The only consolation in all of this is more time for catching up on television, spring cleaning, and reading without the distraction of trying to immediately share any commentary thereupon.

Help!


May 1st is celebrated in various places as May Day with events welcoming spring. The date has nothing to do with the international distress call "mayday" but seemed as good a time as any to offer some links for disaster relief.



I don't write much about "real-world" stuff here on the blog, with the exception of some family anecdotes. For a while now, though, I've been feeling like I should address the tragedies wrought in recent months by natural disasters.

We've had a noticeable string of such events going for the past several years, in fact, perhaps due in part to climate change but according to many geologists and meteorologists largely due to the fluke of earthquakes affecting more populated areas than usual — even if the number of such earthquakes (and resultant tsunamis) isn't significantly greater than normal on a global average.