Battlestar Galactica is Back…

…and it may just be the best show on television. The two-hour season opener was stunning. I really admire showrunner Ron Moore for the risks he’s willing to take with his characters and his franchise… and his absolute willingness (more like his zeal) to ignore all of TV’s Star Trek-inspired, scifi conventions. It’s a creative high-wire act and to see him at work is almost as entertaining for me as the show itself.

UPDATE: I think my brother Tod nails it.

Let me just say this once and for all and then we can be done with
it until, yeah, I feel the need to announce it again: Battlestar
Galactica fucking rules. What’s better than:

1. Fat Apollo.

2. Starbuck killing that Cylon and then finishing her dinner…because he’s just coming back in an hour anyway.

Dumb You Tube Question

How do you download clips from YouTube? I’m a moron and can’t seem to figure it out.  Please explain it to me in the comments. Thanks!

And thank you again, William Simon, for hooking me on the video crack. I can’t seem to get enough of all those main title sequences, which I often use as part of my course when I teach TV writing.

Showtime Series For Free

In a bid to get more subscribers, Showtime is offering free episodes of DEXTER, L WORD, WEEDS,  BROTHERHOOD, and SLEEPER CELL on Yahoo to get you hooked. They are also aggressively courting bloggers like me to get the word out. Obviously, its worked, since here I am, talking about it.But this is not the first time Showtime has tried to reach bloggers and their readers.

Several weeks before DEXTER premiered, Showtime sent bloggers personal emails with links to the pilot in an effort to generate word-of-mouth for the show within the blogosphere. As far as I know, this is the first time a network has so actively attempted to court bloggers to hype their shows.  DEXTER scored well in its premiere…it will be interesting to know, if it’s even possible to determine, how much Showtime’s aggressive web push played in those numbers.


Many thanks to William Simon who sent me this link to Gene Barry singing the theme to BURKE’S LAW… accompanied by a slide show of scenes of Gene in action taken from his short-lived 70s show THE ADVENTURER. It’s wonderful. Here are some of my favorite lyrics:

"Hey lover, lets make the scene
I’ve got a crazy high-fi in my limousine"
Birds of a feather
should wing it together
If we are forsaking love
We’re breaking Burke’s Law…"

TV Blues

I’m a TV geek. I kept every copy of TV Guide that came out since I was nine years old.  I couldn’t wait for the TV Guide Fall Preview Edition.  I used to make a conscious effort to watch (and tape) at least the first episode over every new

But this summer I gave away all my TV Guides to the Los Angeles County Library. I forgot to buy the TV Guide Fall Preview Edition. And this season, for the first time in my life, I seem to have no interest at all in the new fall shows.

I don’t know whether it’s because I’m too busy or if the shows themselves just aren’t that captivating. Or is it the serialized nature of most of them — and an unwillingness on my part to make the committment?  Or perhaps it’s the knowledge that most of the new shows will be cancelled — so why bother? — and I’ll get Emmy DVDs of the ones that survive.   Or maybe there are just too many shows on too many networks and not enough hours in the day to watch them all.

The point is, I’m just not watching. And I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. 

The only new series I’ve seen are SHARK and STUDIO 60.  I’ve got a bunch of others clogging my Tivo…but I doubt I’ll get to them before they are  deleted to make room for new stuff I won’t watch.  But like the rest of America, I’m keeping up on most of the shows I was watching before…like LAW AND ORDER: SVU, BOSTON LEGAL and GREY’S ANATOMY… and I can’t wait to see the new season of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

So have I changed…or has TV changed?

Bouchercon 4

This isn’t really about Bouchercon, since I skipped Sunday’s program and headed out of Madison at 9 am. In a first for me, I only bought one book at Bouchercon and two in the city (vintage paperbacks by Harry Whittington and Charles Willeford for only $5.50 each!). I was quite pleased with my restraint. 

I drove into Milwaukee early, about six hours before my connecting flight to Chicago, so I would have a chance to explore the city. I roamed around mostly on foot and was charmed by the architecture of all the old buildings downtown. I even stumbled on a used bookstore and found some Richard Wheeler and George Gilman westerns I didn’t already have. Even so, I didn’t go crazy and didn’t spend more than $3-a-book.  Such restraint.

But then I went out to the Milwaukee airport, where I made a monumental discovery…The Best Airport Bookstore ever.  The place is called Renaissance Books…and it’s a used bookstore…in the airport.  And best of all, it’s full of vintage paperbacks at super-cheap prices.  I went wild.  I bought books by Harry Whittington/Whit Harrison, E.L. Doctorow (WELCOME TO HARD TIMES), Peter Rabe, Bart Spicer, Albert Conroy, Vin Packer, Stephen Marlowe, Frederick Manfred, and an IT TAKES A THIEF tie-in by Gil Brewer….at the airport! And only one of the titles, the Doctorow book, was over $7. I could have spent hours there if not for the flight I had to catch to Chicago.

So much for my book-buying restraint at Bouchercon.