Cogito Patris

Random Thoughts for Random People

He did it

Warning, you don’t want to continue reading if you want to enjoy any whodonits on TV.  The following rules of thumb work in approximately 90% of all mystery type series (like NCIS, CSI, CSI:Miami, CSI: New York, Monk, Psych…).  The exception is Numb3rs.  That show seems to delight in breaking the rules.  These rules are all predicated on the fact that the bean counters are in charge of Hollywood.

 1) If someone speaks early int he show, then disappears, they did it.

2) If there is an actor that you recognize (especially from Stargate SG-1) that is not a part of the regular cast, they did it.

That’s it.  That is the secret to knowing whodoneit.  I was actually confounding my wife with my ability to predict who the culprit was early in the show.  There was an episode of NCIS where a bunch of murders were taking place that matched a book written by Tim.  I said the coffee house guy did it.  And he did.

How did I know?  He spoke in the opening scene and then disappeared.  You see, if an actor speaks on camera, they have to be paid more.  So if a character speaks, then they are more important than they might seem.  So far, that strategy has paid out.

The second one is less certain.  For example, the actor who played Dr. Flox on Star Trek: Enterprise was on an episode of CSI semi-recently.  He didn’t do it.  Though he did get killed later.  Then the Defensive Coordinator from Remember the Titans (an outstanding movie) was in the same episode.  He didn’t do it either.  He didn’t even die.  So it is less certain.  As it turns out, Rule 1 would have done me more good.

December 11, 2007 Posted by | TV | Leave a comment

The Writers Strike

I usually try to avoid current events in this blog.  It isn’t really a question of ethics or anything, I just don’t keep up on current events in general. But I wanted to rant about the writer’s strike that is now a few weeks old (if it is still going on).

The reason I am interested in this particular event is that I am conflicted over the whole idea of a writer’s strike.

On the one hand, I don’t think writers get enough credit or respect for what they do.  A good show or movie relies more on writing than any other single aspect (at least in my opinion).  Obviously bad acting, directing, producing and special effects can adversely affect the quality of a show.  But they can be overcome.  Star Trek (the original series) is a good example of this.  The effects were cheesy (even for the era).  The acting left a deal to be desired.  But the writing kept the show going.

The flip side of the coin is that I have been getting disillusioned with Hollywood in general.  How many “remakes” are we going to have before we start a new direction?  If the writers that are on strike don’t have an original idea among them, then maybe it is time to get new writers.

My favorite author (Isaac Asmiov) was best known for creating universes.  That is obviously easier in Science Fiction, but keep in mind that “Heroes” and “The Bionic Woman” are both highly rated Science Fiction shows.  There is a new Sitcom called “The Big Bang Theory” that is nerd-based (albeit, not Sci-Fi).  So I think that Sci-Fi is about to have a come-back.  My father used to say that entertainment was cyclical.  Sitcoms had a golden era is the later 1980’s.  Law and Medical shows had a big period in the 1990’s (there is a bit of a resurgence in Medical shows now).  Then came the “Reality” revolution that I could have done without.  Sci-Fi was big in the late 1970’s and early 80’s.  Maybe it is time for Sci-Fi to have a Renaissance.

OK, I got off topic a little.  What Isaac Asimov did was to invent a whole new genre of Sci-Fi entertainment.  He introduced the Three Laws of Robotics that generally made Robots a benevolent character in most of his stories.  Don’t let the movie I, Robot influence you.  The book was so much better.  The only similarity between the book and the movie is that “Susan Calvin” was the name of a character in both.  The two characters, “Susan Calvin” in the movie and “Susan Calvin” in the book, were not even that similar. 

Asimov also invented Psychohistory which is a subject I would like to see explored by more writers.

Studio 60 was a great TV series that was cancelled for being “Too Smart”.  I bought the DVDs and have been glued to them ever since (I even got Angel interested in them).  Maybe my problem isn’t with the writers, but with the movers and shakers in Hollywood.

Although I would love to see a movie or, better yet, a TV series based on Asimov’s universe, I doubt that it would fly.  Instead, I think it is time to invent a whole new genre of Sci-Fi.  Where is our modern day Isaac Asimov?  We may just have to wait and hope.

November 30, 2007 Posted by | Random Thoughts, TV | Leave a comment

Oh Yeah – How I Met Your Mother

I have a theory about the show “How I Met Your Mother”.

The writers started this season by foreshadowing the meeting between Ted and “the Mother”.  Something about a yellow umbrella blowing down the street.

I have a theory that they are going to show that yellow umbrella a lot over the season and end the season with the actual event.  Ted will pick up the umbrella and say “Hi” to someone off camera.  Then the “To be continued” will be displayed without showing us the owner of the umbrella.

I think the reason they will do that is because we have already met the owner.  My personal guess is :”Mary the Paralegal” who was mistaken for a hooker because of a practical joke played by Barney.  How ironic would it be for Barney to be the person who introduced Ted to his future wife?

Does anybody else have a guess?

October 4, 2007 Posted by | TV | Leave a comment