Monday, January 5, 2015

2014: I'm Still Blogging Therefore I Am (Retrospective)

... I'm thinking. And thinking. And generally thinking way too much. And not writing enough. It slows me down unfortunately. But I am way overthinking things of late. I guess it's a personal shortcoming I bear. By the way, Happy New Year. All the best to you all in 2015.

This last year, 2014, has been something of a letdown here at the blog I'm sad to say. I've failed miserably in staying with it and I feel badly about that to some degree. Sincerely, sorry folks. I just have not been moved to write as I once did here. My motivation for it has indeed waned a bit. I can't quite put my finger on it. But I haven't given up. The holidays have put me in a deep malaise to boot - like I needed that.

So as I look back over the course of what was achieved over 2014 this should make for a rather brief retrospective. Still, I am still thinking and blogging and therefore I still very much am.

Looking back at yet another year gone, it's pretty clear I started strong and quickly fell off the turnip truck as the saying goes when spring arrived. I must have started tapping those Spanky fingers about that time.

My grandmother passed away in April of 2013 and for whatever reason I have had my challenges. I sometimes wonder if that has not affected me on a subconscious level. I haven't been entirely right since. But God knows it's certainly no excuse and she loved reading and would want me to write to be sure.

So what things did we achieve here on the blog in 2014, after all, again, I'm Still Blogging Therefore I Am (Retrospective)?

Well, I started the year the way I seem to be finishing it, immersed in Anime funny enough. I had a nice little love affair going with Battle Of The Planets f(1978) or a time here. I still want to get back to that series, if not for the blog - for myself. Sadly, Casey Kasem, the voice of Mark of G-Force on Battle Of The Planets and the voice of American Top 40, passed away in June of 2014. Unbelievably, the man wasn't laid to rest until just this last December. There was indeed a great deal of turmoil and tension between his children and his wife. Finally, now, the man is at rest and in peace in Oslo, Norway of all places. I love the group a-ha and have each and every one of the Norwegian band's recordings as well as lead singer Morten Harket's solo efforts but I'm not sure I'd want to be buried there.

I finally got around to looking at Stargate Atlantis Rising, Part II, here, but more importantly rediscovered the error of my science fiction ways when it came to Stargate Universe (2009-2011), a far superior iteration of the franchise that crashed and burned after just two brilliant seasons.

In fact, I actually got quite a bit covered before crashing and burning myself looking extensively at the first seven episodes of Stargate Universe here. I can't even begin to tell you how strong that show really was as science fiction goes. So much that has come and gone pales in comparison to that series that was cut nearly as short as Firefly (2002).

Turning an eye back to a look at those who passed away that we loved so dearly, let us begin with the man who brought us some of the Christmas greats (Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty The Snowman, The Year Without A Santa Claus). Arthur Rankin, Jr. was a loss that provided such wonderful childhood memories in those Christmas specials as well as some classic kaiju pictures in association with Toho in King Kong Escapes (1968) and don't forget The Last Dinosaur (1977).

Actress Ann B. Davis, who played beloved housekeeper Alice on The Brady Bunch (1969-1974) slipped from our world. Gosh she seemed old when I adored that show in the 1970s.

Another childhood favorite was Gilligan's Island (1964-1967) and Russell Johnson, who played The Professor on that series, joined many of his former cast mates save for the actresses who played Ginger and Mary Ann who are still very much among the living.

The famously adorable Shirley Temple as well as our man Richard Kiel left this earthly place along with Alien creator H.R. Giger.

Little House On The Prairie's Richard Bull, famous as Nels Oleson, and his work on Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea (1964-1968) passed on too. I've been immersed in Little House On The Prairie (1974-1983) Season One in 2014 too on Blu-Ray. The quality of the transfer as well as the series itself is simply outstanding after all these years. It's quite impressive really. I plan on writing a little something about it in 2015 despite its non-science fiction content.

Another American television classic like Little House On The Prairie, that ran just as long, was The Waltons (1972-1981). Ralph Waite, who played John Walton, Sr., passed away. Waite had long been acting including a nice stint in HBO's Carnivale.

Battlestar Galactica's creator, Glen A. Larson, passed as well. Tough year in losses really.

Cliff Bole passed away this year too and was responsible for a good number of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes. Speaking of which, I managed to squeak in a few looks at Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One, now on Blu-Ray here. I reached as far as Heart Of Glory, my personal favorite from Season One. I will say, although I was quiet on the writing front, I did manage to watch up to and including Season Five of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Michael Dorn as Worf proved, much to my surprise, to be one of my very favorite characters on the series. Some of his Worf-centric episodes turned out to be some of the highlights for me in my viewing journey. Those along with some other standouts like The Inner Light would easily make my Top 10, which I hope to bring you in 2015.

On the film front I took a look at science fiction films Code 46 (2003) here, Godzilla (2014) here, Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014) here, Snowpiercer (2013) here and even failed Ronald D. Moore pilot Virtuality (2009) here. And Virtuality was by no means a failure. It's much better than its fate would have you believe.

We took the Tardis back in time for a bit of Tom Baker's Doctor Who here.

Circling back to Anime, we took a look at Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex here and closed out the year with a preview look at Knights Of Sidonia and Attack On Titan here.

Boy them there was some slim pickings this year. But, who knows what 2015 will bring us all? Surely I can hope to be slightly more productive, but I wouldn't hold my breath either and I'll hazard no guesses where the writing will take me. I honestly have no idea.

On a non-blogging note, I really enjoyed Showtime's Homeland Season Three over the holidays and simply cannot understand why folks were so hard on that season. The general word on the street was that Season Three was "crap." Now I've heard that. Personally it was better for me on some level and a little more mature than Season Two and just as thrilling. The Carrie/Brody soap opera thread was getting old and I think how they handled that storyline in Season Three was generally exceptional. Brody appears for one episode in the first eight. Good idea! For me, the writers really made all the right moves save for maybe a few slight stumbles. I even understood and appreciated some of the thinking behind the Dana storyline (just not all of it). But, most of all I really enjoyed the taut nature of this thriller that is all too relative to current events. It's like Argo for television. And I love my favorite character Saul played by the fascinating Mandy Patinkin. The series is expertly adapted from the Israeli series Prisoners Of War (2010-present).

I checked out a number of films including the dramatization of Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan Lone Survivor (2013), the recreation of the story of Captain Phillips (2013) on the Maersk Alabama and the story of events surrounding the Iranian hostage crisis (1979-1981) in Argo (2012). All offered truly moving pictures. All of the aforementioned true stories probably underscore my preference for these films versus the glut of superhero films. Give me a real life hero any day - the antithesis of the superhero. It's a quiet little backlash but I really have difficulty seeing them.

Also, I was doing a bit of painting over the holidays. At least I'll call it that despite my deficiencies. Hopefully I'll have that to share with you this year. Finally, I have continued on a writing project external to the blog that is a long-term goal. Hopefully it will one day see fruition.

As for Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic stay tuned for more science fiction and Anime in 2015. Most of all, may good health be with you.


Dan Heaton said...

Looking forward to reading your work on the blog in 2015! I'm right with you on SGU and hope to dig further into it next year.

SFF said...

As always Dan, thank you for your vote of confidence. all the best to you sir.

le0pard13 said...

Always good to hear from you, G. Looking forward to what you have to offer your readership in 2015.

John Kenneth Muir said...

SFF: I cherish your voice as a writer, and look forward to every blog post. Frequency isn't as important as quality, and you are aces in terms of quality, my friend. Happy 2015!

All my best,

SFF said...

Thank you very much L13 and John. I'm humbled. Kind words. Truly. Thanks so much.

Unknown said...

While I may not respond to every one of your posts I read 'em all and have enjoyed your thoughtful insights and the care and detail that you put in every single one of your posts. Well done, sir!

SFF said...

I know what you mean. Same here. I don't always write, but like the fine people who stopped by before you, your blog continues to be a meticulously researched inspiration. Your work is exceptional. Thank you again.

El Vox said...

You had a good blog year. Blogs for me have replaced my pastime of reading magazines,and better yet, they're free. I always like to read what a fellow SF fan has to say or get their spin on some of the media within that realm. Yes, I have no deadlines or quotas to meet, and if I don't feel like writing, I don't--there are plenty of other blogs to read, so I don't feel guilty about it, but it's nice to know it's there if I feel a bit creative. You have a great blog, have a great year.

SFF said...

Thank you El Vox for the nice words. Yes, all the best to you in the new year. Much success friend. sff

El Vox said...

By the way, Little House on the Prairie is a show I've enjoyed from time to time as well. There's nothing better than a western at times, though Little House is more about pioneers. I also like Captain Phillips--a pretty exciting film. I just added the first disc to Stargate U. to my queue.

SFF said...

Hi El Vox
Ha. I know people won't be here for my Little House coverage but I still think I'm going to put a few posts up for it.

Honestly, and you're right regarding the show as a show on Western pioneers, I just love that show. I always have and I guess I always will.

Yes, really loved Stargate Universe. Very good stuff.