Dan Harmon on the Miserable State of TV

In the wake of his forced separation from his brainchild, Community, and the show’s subsequent showrunners making an underwhelming debut, it’s especially interesting to hear Dan Harmon’s rather bleak take on the state of television.

Positioning viewers as passive consumers of garbage and writers as powerless pawns of corporations, Harmon’s most fascinating commentary is on the level of censorship involved in the TV production process. Claiming that TV writers are patently “not allowed to say whatever they’re thinking” is a bold statement, especially coming from someone who seems to have been so successful in getting his vision onto the screen.

But Harmon’s comments point to a valid question, and one that has often been on my mind as someone aspiring to enter the entertainment industry: What control do writers, directors, and even showrunners really have? Is it possible to ever really see your work come to life in the way you envisioned it? What do you think?

((Apologies for the rather cynical post; I suppose I’m not in the cheeriest of places lately. –MQ))

Dan Harmon Rants About the ‘Garbage’ That Is TV
Jesse David Fox @ Vulture

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When asked why 30 Rock was able to stay on the air as a poorly rated yet very smart show, Harmon goes off, espousing a very “everything is bullshit” message. He calls all TV, regardless of quality, “a bunch of goddamn baby food made out of corn syrup.”

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Some Time Off

Hi folks,

Just a forewarning, I may need to take a few days off from mewling at you. I received word this weekend that my beloved cat has cancer, and that treatment is supposedly not worth the expense. My husband and I are still reeling from the news, as this cat has been with us for many, many years. My husband saved him when he was a kitten (you can read the story in a post I wrote long ago, before making this blog specifically about entertainment news and reviews–I’ve made it unprivate specifically for this occasion), and then proceeded to lose track of when exactly he did that, but we can say pretty confidently that he is somewhere between 18 and 22 years old. So yes, he’s an old cat. He’s lived a long and very happy life.

But we just aren’t ready to say goodbye.

He's a complete noodle when he sleeps. He just loves to be close to us. Bonus Blue Sun shirt.

He’s a complete noodle when he sleeps. He just loves to be close to us. Bonus Blue Sun shirt.

The vet has given a grim prognosis: a few months. It’s especially difficult to accept because of the fact that our dear Kiki is still acting like his usual cuddly, needy, and wankery self. He still spoons in my arms all night, every night, still begs for food and chows down on it when he gets it, and still jumps up onto my lap or reaches up my legs every chance he gets. We only took him in because he was a little bloated. I expected him to be like, constipated or something. But nope. 5 hours, countless tests, two vets, and obscene amount of money later, they are finally able to tell us that he has two tumors–one on his liver and one “free floating” in his abdomen, whatever the hell that means. Because there are two tumors the likelihood that it has metastasized is high, so even with removing them there are probably still other pockets of abnormal tissue all throughout his wonderful little belly.

I suppose the good news is that he is clearly not in any pain or discomfort, at least for the time being. We’ll be talking to the oncologist next week to see if there are any options for us–any at all–even though as a young couple we really can’t afford expensive vet bills.

Any words of encouragement or stories of your experiences with pet loss or sickness would be more than welcome and much appreciated. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a little taste of the wonderfulness that is Kiki. First, how he greets me when I come home from work:

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Contentedly sleeping in a very odd position.

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What I have to deal with when I’m trying to work.

Watching Judge Dredd with his sister, Penny.

Watching Judge Dredd with his sister, Penny. Bonus Firefly cast wallpaper.

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Looking sharp in the tux he wore for our wedding.

So I’ll get back at you with the entertainment news, reviews, and commentary as soon as my brain has started to come back together from the absolute mush it is right now.

Keep mewling.

–MQ

FUO: A ‘Firefly’-Inspired MMORPG

I have some great news for Firefly fans everyone. The ‘verse lives on. DarkCryo has kicked off an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund the creation of a Firefly-inspired MMORPG. Now, I’ve never allowed myself to get into an MMORPG before, partly because I have a strange aversion to games that require you to level up (Just let me fight the damn thing now! I don’t want to sit around killing low-level creatures all day just to advance in the game!), and partly because I know that eventually it would consume way too much of my time, but I have no doubt in my mind that I will dive wholeheartedly into FUO if it manages to get made.

130208-fuo2The coolest thing about this IndieGoGo campaign is that the perks for contributing are awesome. Just $10 gets you a digital download of the Alpha release, guaranteed reserved seating to future Beta release, and a lifetime of play with zero monthly or annual subscription fees. For TEN DOLLARS. I contributed. I hope you will too. It’s also cool that it’s a fixed funding campaign, which means if they don’t reach their goal (at the time of this writing, they’re only at $6,708 of the needed $135,000, with 42 days left in the campaign), then you get to keep your pledged fundage. So what is there to lose? Nothing! And an amazing game to gain!

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The important thing about this project is that it is Firefly-inspired, not an official Firefly MMORPG, which means that DarkCryo is avoiding any direct references to actual places or people in Firefly, but instead creating a universe that feels like the ‘verse. This is actually an incredible asset to the game, not only because it keeps them out of the mirky waters of copyright law, but also because it gives the game’s creators the freedom to develop as they like, to create a whole new world (queue Aladdin music) for Browncoats to explore. When you think about it, this is definitely the next best step for Firefly. The ‘verse is extremely well-suited to an adaptation into the video game format especially because of its ability to house a seemingly infinite number of stories and worlds and adventures. The show was cut off so early that it was only able to plant the seed of the ‘verse in our hearts and minds, and now it’s time for it to grow into a massive(ly multiplayer), fully realized online universe.

So what do you think? Are you as excited about this as I am? Are you going to chip in and help this thing get made?

FUO: Why you should care about this Indie MMORPG
Scormus @ Pthppt!

130208-article-fuo“Today I’d like to talk a bit about FUO, the upcoming MMORPG from DarkCryo. I’ve talked a bit lately about this Indie MMORPG on my podcast “Massive Failure”, mostly about the controversy that rose up about it recently, due to some shoddy reporting from another gaming blog. Regardless, during those shows I referred to FUO as “Firefly Universe Online”, and I was in error to do so.”

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