Windowseat Web Log
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December 27, 1998 - January 5, 1999

If someone who doesn't have access to Court TV got desperate enough to watch reruns of Homicide: Life on the Street, they could try watching it over the web at You'll need the Real Player and a decent net.connection.

TV Alert for Tuesday Jan 5: New episodes of Newsradio (7:30pm CST, NBC) and Sports Night (8:30pm CST, ABC).
Harlan Ellison might be among the panelists on Politically Incorrect (I'm going by a rather old schedule, so who knows) (late night, ABC).
Also looks like it's a Daily Show full of A. Whitney Brown on Comedy Central.

One Life to Give: People magazine tribute to Michael Zaslow.

Meg Ryan and Heather Thomas (yes, she of Fall Guy fame) are developing an animated South Park-esque sitcom together? What the? Really, I'm not making this up. The Onion for hackers? Okay, not as funny (yet, they're just getting started).

Star Wars Calls It Quits at 6.
This is news? I've known for a while now that George Lucas wasn't going to make any movie follow-ups to Return of the Jedi, he said he'd leave that to the novels and comic books and such. Was I sitting on inside information without knowing it? Or is everyone else behind the times? I'd think Harry Knowles would've heard that by now . . .

All Jesse, All The Time. When I saw the headline, I feared a new cable channel was starting up that I hadn't yet heard about. Now that I think about it, there's probably enough material being filmed to broadcast 24 hours a day if one wanted to.

Michael Rawdon's year-end journal entry lists his personal picks for "bests" of the year. Of course, I'm happy to see this:

Best TV Show: Homicide: Life on the Street. I started watching this show in this seventh (and current) season, and have enjoyed it immensely. I went back and watched many of the old episodes on re-runs on Lifetime, and hope to see many more next year on Court TV. (Unfortunately, my Mom doesn't get CTV, so I'm missing the 24-hour marathon today.) A humorous, understated and fairly realistic show, few episodes are disappointing, and those that are are usually the ones that try to be "sensational". (Homicide easily beats the very disappointing fifth season of Babylon 5.)

Some excellent resolutions for the TV set:

"X-Files" creator Chris Carter: To realize that the occasional wacky stunt episode is a terrific change of pace, but four in a row makes the show look less like "Kolchak" and more like "Scooby-Doo."

The producers of "Homicide": To accept that all the characters introduced in the last two years just aren't working and put them in support of the veterans: Clark Johnson, Kyle Secor, Richard Belzer and Yaphet Kotto. [hlotslinks]

In an interview with the Boston Globe, stage director Mary Zimmerman speaks the truth:

Zimmerman's affection for television is really an appreciation for acting, not for the subject matter of crime and punishment. "Do you watch 'Homicide'?" she challenged. Disappointed that the response was negative, Zimmerman offered the opinion that Clark Johnson (Detective Meldrick Lewis, the dogged, back-to-basics cop with the dry-as-fingerprint-dust humor) was "the best actor in America." She explained to the abashed nonviewer that Johnson had the greatest of acting talents: "You never catch him acting. I met him a little while ago, and he's absolutely nothing like the character on screen. Totally different. That's acting." [hlotslinks]

Pity the folks at Homicide haven't given Johnson anything to do this year.

Engines of Our Ingenuity webpage. From their "About" page:

Written and hosted by John Lienhard and KUHF-FM, Houston, The Engines of Our Ingenuity tells the story of how our culture is formed by human creativity. The program uses the record of history to reveal the way art, technology, and ideas have shaped us. Episode topics range from cable cars to Civil War submarines, from the connection between Romantic poets and Victorian science to the invention of the bar code.

The series is broadcast five days a week by over thirty National Public Radio affiliates nation-wide.

I hear it in Minneapolis on KBEM (88.5 on your FM dial, jazz & traffic). And yeah, I get a kick out of it, nothing like a 5 minute (or is it less than that?) piece on interesting inventions and the like. Sure beats commercials (and quite a few other things). Transcripts of all 1400+ installments are available, and you can search 'em, too. Good Stuff.

A list of my favorite movies of 1998. I know full well there are some that'll get bumped off the list when I get around to seeing the movies from this year that I've missed. But it's a start. Definitely don't miss the two that tied on my list for first place.

Some kind New Year's resolutions from Michael Finley:

Be a good techno-camper. Don't leave dead URLs lying around the Web to waste other users' time. Douse the smoldering embers of Usenet wars so they are not inadvertently fanned back into flame. Say "Please," and "Thank you," and "In my opinion." And the killer of killers: "Maybe you're right and I'm wrong." [futureshoes]

I bought an issue of WIRED magazine over the holiday, the first issue I've bought in quite some time. I remember the days when I read it cover to cover, back when it was bimonthly, darnit, and interesting. Since then, my interest has waxed and waned. And I never did get too into Hotwired, the evile design and registration and such drove me batty in the early days.

The January 1999 issue of Wired does have some cool stuff. William Gibson on his ebay addiction. Kevin Paulsen on being net- and modem-less in today's world. Howard Rheingold on the Amish and their cell-phone addiction. Not bad, though it seems like Wired-lite. Enjoyable anyway, maybe it's a good thing. Available on newsstands and at libraries or online at the end of the month.

Cool. A fine piece by Terri Sutton about Lois McMaster Bujold for City Pages. This tidbit makes me all the more eager for Bujold's next book (but then I'm always eager for her next book):

The series book she's just finishing will continue the arc of Miles's romance, while cracking a fresh can of plots. Minor characters encouraged the bulk of the new ideas, Bujold says. As a consequence, she has complicated Miles's narrative dominance still further. She will write from the viewpoints of five characters in A Civil Campaign: Miles, Ekaterin, Miles's cousin Ivan, Mark, and Mark's amour Kareen. "The plots all cross one another, and everybody ends up solving each other's problems," Bujold notes. "It's good fun, but, structurally, difficult and complex." She makes a sour face, and laughs. "It's like wrestling pythons."

Football humor (boy, this is an odd log, isn't it?): Dan Barreiro on how the Cardinals could beat the Vikings. And Barreiro offers a test to separate true Vikings fans from the rest. After observing:

The most tangible, annoying and unimaginative display of Purple Pride -- the flying of Vikings flags from the family car, van, truck, motorcycle or motor home -- recently reached a new level of absurdity when such a flag was seen not only in a funeral procession traveling west on I-94 near downtown Minneapolis, but also on a funeral hearse in Columbia Heights.

And it wasn't even at half-staff. [startribune]

I'm frightened by the fact that I knew the correct answers to most of the questions on the quiz. In true Minnesotan fashion, I've been a die-hard Vikings fans since I was a toddler. But I've not watched games regularly during the last few years. So of course now the Vikings had to go and have a good season when I'm not paying (much) attention. Of course I'm still waiting for them to choke.

Gunfire at the Mall of America. Weird. I was actually at the Mall O' Doom yesterday. It was the quietest I'd ever seen the Mall (though I only go there maybe 5 times a year, if that). I left just before gunfire erupted. (Coincidence? Yes, actually).

I go to the Mall to visit the Warner Brothers store, this time they were having a sale called "Daffy Days" and still, I'd swear, there were only two or three items in the whole store that featured Daffy. Sure, he's in some group pictures on T-shirts, but why all the Tweety and Taz and Bugs and Marvin stuff and no Daffy? Blasphemy. You want to see a grown woman rant, this is a topic that will get me going... (scary, ain't it?). [startribune]

A fine piece about network TV's true target audience-- the in-crowd from our school days:

It's somewhat unsettling -- this growing movement toward targeting every show toward the same slice of the population while leaving the mass of the TV-viewing world out in the cold, hoping for a few table scraps. And it's also eerily familiar... that same pit-of-the-stomach throb I used to get back in Mrs. Quesenoy's third period Spanish class in the 10th grade. Back then, I faced the problem by adopting a healthy veneer of sarcasm and writing scads of bad poetry. Now, at least, I can always turn off the channel. [teevee]

Huh. An official webpage for Buckaroo Banzai. [coolnews]

Cool! The four films on Charles Taylor's top ten list that I've seen are the four I would place on my own top ten list. I'm trying to think of a better way to phrase this and I'm failing. Anyway, take my word (and even his) for it and see Out of Sight, The Mask of Zorro, Babe: Pig in the City, and The Truman Show. I'm gonna post my complete list one of these days. I want a DVD player just so I can get and play the Out of Sight DVD with commentary by the director . . . (well, and L.A. Confidential, too, but that was last year). [salon]

::sniff:: Fabulous article by Kinney Littlefield of the Orange County Register about the Court TV reruns of Homicide:

In its early episodes "Homicide" was a sophisticated, dreamlike, almost existential vision. Its scenes were long, languorous and shot from a distance, like a mini-feature film. Its color palette was softer, its dialogue steamed.

On-going cop-to-cop riffs about sex, clean water and dating in the '90s flowed with a casual ease you rarely see on the show today. [hlotslinks]


TV Alert for Monday Jan 4:

If you never saw the Ally McBeal pilot episode and are curious, FOX is airing it tonight at 7pm (CST). I was underwhelmed by the pilot, but the show itself is now one of my favorites (shocking truth revealed in Windowseat Web Log! Don't hate me 'cuz I like Ally). The show has been better this year than last, has turned itself into a quirky surreal ensemble piece (that has moved me to laugh out loud, and to tears... sometimes in the same episode). It's not great, but the pilot is interesting if you wonder how it all started.

TV Alert for Sunday Jan 3: All new Babylon 5 movie airs Sunday January 3rd on TNT. Presumably will be rerun at least a couple of times during the coming week, too. It's called A Call to Arms and contains stuff featuring the cast of Babylon 5, of course. And also stuff that will be important to the forthcoming spin-off series Crusade.

As always, the first (and last) best place for Babylon 5 info is The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5. You'll also want to check out TNT's Bab5 website.

And yeah, Sunday night there's also a new X-Files, guest-starring Bruce Campbell.

And, as if that isn't enough, watch this week (or next) for the Hercules episode that's a follow-up to "Yes Virginia, There is a Hercules" (a.k.a. "Kevin Sorbo is missing!"). It's called "For Those of You Just Joining Us". I've not seen it yet, but the episode it follows was one of the funniest things I saw last year. And note, I don't usually watch Hercules (this despite the fact that Kevin Sorbo is from my hometown). (Alas, it still hasn't aired here in Mpls, just saw a rerun of the musical-dance Herc from last season).

Articles about Jesse Ventura from Inauguration festivities have begun.

An excellent article from the Washington Post about that song. It is a good song, I've gotta remember that I like the song quick, before it gets played to death. I'm sure it was played to death on New Year's Eve and Day, blessedly I was out at places where it wasn't played. (Had a grand time at The Artists' Quarter and the Minn-stf New Year's party).

Further proof (as if you needed any) that I may watch too much TV . . . I just signed up for a 4-week trial of the ETVHost service/software. Good for times when I want to check listings and I'm not online to poke around at TVGrid, but you never know. (To be honest, I've watched little TV of late. Interesting time for a test drive).

Ever find yourself wishing your Etch-a-Sketch could fit in your pocket so you'd have it wherever you are? Okay, maybe not. But this Etch-a-Sketch watch amuses me anyway.

While at a Christmas party, a friend beamed the game Bubblet to me. Now I'm hooked. May even have to (gasp) register this one. Cool game for the Palm Pilot. (Beaming is fun. And beaming makes geeks beam at each other in more ways than one. Ah, the joys of infrared . . . ).

I've updated my movies page with mini-reviews, as I've seen a couple of movies over the holiday: Shakespeare in Love (See it!) and Stepmom (pass on it or wait for video unless you really like this kind of thing).

If you get Court TV on your cable or dish or carrier pigeon tv unit, you're lucky. No, I've not gone off the deep end, you're lucky 'cuz the channel picked up the rights to run reruns of The Best D@mn Show on Television-- Homicide: Life on the Street. They start airing the show at the stroke of midnight on New Year's. You can welcome the New Year with 24 of the best hours of television to ever grace the screen. Yeah, it's a marathon, starting with episode 1 of season 1, covers Seasons 1 and 2 and part of 3 of the show. And the episodes don't have any extra cuts in them (as they did when they were aired in syndication on LifetimeTV). If you've seen the episodes, you know why I'm writing this. If you haven't or aren't much into TV or think the show isn't your cup of tea... trust me on this one. Find a way to watch or record these episodes.

Don't judge the show by episodes that have aired on NBC this year or last. I don't get Court TV. (I'm more broken up about this than I should be). If you do, in addition to the marathon, you can look forward to daily broadcasts of classic episodes of Homicide. Show will air a couple times of day, each day. As always, for any and all information about Homicide, visit the Links site. If you follow the show and read usenet news, you'll get a kick out of, too.

Steve Bogart mentions that I mentioned that he mentioned this weblog. (I couldn't resist). For what it's worth, his log also recommends the cool Genesis box set that I covet; I'm a fool for Peter Gabriel.

Home / Revised: January 6, 1999 / Laurel Krahn /