Following last entry’s rant about Battlestar Galactica, I started watching the show and I concede that it is good, though–as I suspected–it was so over-hyped to me that it couldn’t possibly live up to expectation. Also, it’s a bit of a downer of a show. Granted, a galactic apocalypse has basically just occurred, but still, it’s human nature to inject a little levity into any situation…but I suppose it makes sense that we won’t be seeing any BSG versions of “War of the Coprophages.” (Unless they took place entirely in Baltar’s head.)

I saw King Kong last weekend. It was about what I have come to expect from Peter Jackson, with many earnest slow-motion-Vaseline-lens-one-castrato-note scenes, which started to get a little old in Return of the King. The action sequences were also much too long and exhausting and three or four subplots could have been removed and aided both the overly long running time and the overall quality of the story. But PJ still makes films that are far better than most of what Hollywood produces (to paraphrase Bill Watterson, is it any wonder wonder we haven’t been contacted by aliens when our race is responsible for things like The Ringer?).

I started playing the Western first-person-shooter GUN last week as well. I’m rediscovering some interest in the FPS, which I mostly lost my taste for a few years ago (with the notable exception of Halo). I still prefer third-person action games (the first Buffy the Vampire Slayer game for Xbox–not the “Chaos Bleeds” sequel–is the most fun I’ve had playing a videogame in a long time), but as first-person-shooters go, GUN is fun–for about four hours at least. I have to admit to losing interest after that point, as the game becomes a little repetitive, but I have to grant that part of the blame rests on the fact, unbeknownst to me, the game does not have an autosave function, which meant that I ended up losing my initial four-hour investment. By the time I’d gone back and caught up to the same point (being careful to save this time), the repetitiveness had gotten to me.

I do think that Westerns are an underdeveloped genre for videogames. Another FPS, Darkwatch, mixes the Old West with vampire lore, which seems pretty cool. While I’m not really interested in the game, I am curious to find out whether any writers have tried something similar in a novel or comic–crossing the Old West with horror or fantasy (I believe Stephen King’s Dark Tower books are something like that).

Currently reading the first of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy. Interesting so far, but as usual I’m getting bogged down in trying to figure out the mechanics of Pullman’s fictional Earth, rather than letting myself get involved in the story.

The girlfriend and I are also working our way through the second season of Angel, having wrapped up Buffy season five. Upon watching the first season of Angel, I initially found it preferable to Buffy, but now I’m not so sure; despite three seasons of Buffy and one-and-a-half seasons of his own show, Angel still seems like a surprisingly underdeveloped character. At the same time, the way in which he is developing–loosening up, singing in karaoke bars, wearing varied clothing, getting bogged down in earthy details–feels amusing and innovative and, oddly, wrong and vaguely unrealistic. They’re playing on the archetype of the brooding dark avenger, but it feels like they’re also making Angel a bit less mature.

That was always his selling point to me–he wasn’t so self-absorbed and self-martyrizing as Buffy; he had centuries of life experience (including at least a hundred years as a “good guy”) and a gravitas that was shaken only by his enigmatic love for Buffy. Now he–and the other characters on the show–are beginning to act less like a mature version of the Scooby gang from Buffy and more like teenagers in a soap opera (while, interestingly, the Scoobies mature and develop, and go down a darker and inevitably more adult path on Buffy).

I’ve still got to write that Buffy/Angel/Hellboy pastiche at some point.

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