Your Government at Work: CDC vs. Zombies

If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency. emergency.cdc.govThere’s a lot of debate about what government should or should not be doing; whether it should be more or less involved in the lives of private citizens. Well, I think we can all agree on one thing: The government should absolutely stand ready to protect us from a zombie apocalypse.

And that’s where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes in. I promise I am not making this up: The CDC recently published, on its Public Health Matters Blog on May 16, advice on preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse. It’s true. And it’s not even October! The CDC references the history of zombie beliefs in the real world as well as TV/movie depictions (while conspicuously failing to mention AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD, in which the CDC figures prominently, if not exactly favorably; go figure!), and then goes on to explain the preparations one should make to stave off zombies. And, of course, survive other types of disasters. “Identify the types of emergencies that are possible in your area. Besides a zombie apocalypse, this may include floods, tornadoes, or earthquakes. If you are unsure contact your local Red Cross chapter for more information,” the blog entry advises.
Continue reading

DOCTOR WHO 6.4 (32.4): The Doctor’s Wife

Well, thanks to Neil Gaiman’s instant classic “The Doctor’s Wife” episode of DOCTOR WHO, no one will ever look at the TARDIS in quite the same way again!

It has long been hinted and teased that the TARDIS houses some sort of consciousness, or even a kind of “heart” or “soul.” The revived series has added clues that TARDISes are grown from a kind of coral more than manufactured (The 10th Doctor states as much in “The Impossible Planet.”) And, of course, the exact circumstances of the Doctor’s…um, departure from Gallifrey have been a question ever since “An Unearthly Child.” Leave it to fantasy demigod Gaiman to blend all those elements into a magical, alchemical mix and come up with a ripping yarn that entertains while addressing questions and raising new (fun) mysteries.
Continue reading

Sahara Hotel and Casino 1952-2011

Las Vegas’ legendary Sahara Hotel and Casino folded its final hand yesterday, and I was sad to see another era inching closer to its end. The shuttering leaves only the Riviera and Tropicana dating from the 1950s, and the Flamingo from the ‘40s on The Strip. The Saraha was well-known as a Rat Pack hangout, back when being a celebrity posse was more than a publicity stunt.

We weren’t exactly heirs to the Rat Pack, but my buddy Nick and I stayed at the Sahara on one our sojourns to Sin City, and I have pleasant memories of the place. It wasn’t the snazziest joint on The Strip, and if Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin were still around, I doubt they’d be caught dead in the place, because it had been allowed to decline in recent years. But for our purposes, the Sahara worked just fine.
Continue reading

SMALLVILLE 10.21-10.22: Finale, Parts 1 and 2

Waaaay back in the day, in mid-2001, just before SMALLVILLE debuted on The WB, I had a chance to interview Al Gough, who developed the series alongside Miles Millar. Gough talked about how the series would be completely focused on Clark Kent before he becomes Superman. He told me about the No Tights, No Flights Rule, meaning Clark would not be able to fly, and he would never don the iconic long underwear. Well, not never: Gough admitted he could envision the last shot of the last episode showing Clark putting on the red-and-blue suit and flying out of frame.

Flash-forward 10 seasons, and SMALLVILLE has wrapped up on The CW on May 13, 2011… without Gough or Millar, who left the series after the seventh season. Both guys were always gregarious and forthcoming whenever I interviewed them for SOAP OPERA WEEKLY, and I have missed their influence on the series. SMALLVILLE changed after the original executive producers left – I’m not sure the Blur would have been the same huge element under Gough and Millar – but the show has finally arrived at a destination somewhat similar to what I think Gough and Millar had envisioned. Clark put on the suit and flew – just for a little bit longer than originally planned.
Continue reading

DOCTOR WHO 6.3 (32.3): The Curse of the Black Spot

Now we come to the curious case of “The Curse of the Black Spot,” which moved from its original slot as the ninth episode of the season to No. 3, to sort of lighten up the early portion of the series, which show-runner Steven Moffat feared was shaping up to be too dark. The season also appears to be rather self-referential and deeply entangled in the Doctor’s personal mythos. This story of a becalmed pirate ship beset by a malevolent mermaid is the calm before the storm sure to be stirred up by “The Doctor’s Wife,” the hotly-anticipated story from prose legend Neil Gaiman – the mere title of which has fandom clutching its pearls.

The big problem I had going into “The Curse of the Black Spot” was incredulity that it could be moved from the back half of the season to the front half – specifically, from a slot after the promised “game-changing” midseason cliff-hanger to a spot in the roster airing before the midseason break. This begs the question, how much of a “game-changer” can that episode seven cliff-hanger be?
Continue reading

Soap Opera Weekly: 04/22/11

It’s a hallmark of daytime characters that they never learn from the past; they keep jumping to wrong conclusions, believing lies, and fecklessly accepting assumptions. (Honestly, it’s like they don’t know they’re just characters on a TV show!)

That’s why I want to say “Bravo” to GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Sonny the Skeptic! He has actually shown signs of learning. Sonny was suspicious of Lucian from the moment Suzanne brought him to the house. His jaundiced eye demonstrates that he paid attention to the usual hijinks in Port Charles; he’s seen characters with secret agendas lie, and he’s familiar with Suzanne’s past cruelty to Brenda (Y’know, all that “letting Brenda think her child was dead” stuff.) His wife wants a kid, and lo and behold, Lucian materializes? Seriously?
Continue reading

Soap Opera Weekly: 03/11/11

I would like to take a moment to say how much I am enjoying Bree Williamson‘s depiction of loopy, devil-may-care Tess. I have been critical of ONE LIFE TO LIVE in the past, so it’s only fair that I also point out the good stuff. And Williamson is nothing short of great.

I especially love the joy in her eyes as Tess is indulging her inner devil and doing whatever she damn well pleases — acting on every urge as it occurs, and saying whatever pops into her head. Williamson seems to be reveling in playing Tess, imbuing her with a voracious sexuality and making anyone else in the room uncomfortable.
Continue reading