Things I Would Rather Do Than Re-Watch “Secret Life of Pets”

I took Squish to see “The Secret Life of Pets” because I apparently I didn’t learn anything from the whole “Finding Dory” fiasco.

Ravenclaw says save your money. Watch a kitten with a laser pointer instead. She's a harsh critic.

Ravenclaw says save your money. Watch a kitten with a laser pointer instead. She’s a harsh critic.

Things I would rather do than re-watch “The Secret Life of Pets”

  • Scratch my poison ivy (actually, this one is kind of cheating because scratching poison ivy is awesome. At least for the first week).
  • Take a bubble bath with a cat.
  • Read Game of Thrones.
  • Pick my nose.
  • Pick a stranger’s nose.
  • Play Roulette blindfolded with five cups of lemonade and a cup of cat pee.
  • Watch full coverage of the Republican National Convention without a bathroom break. While drinking cat pee.
  • Redecorate my house in Early Hairball.
  • Write an entire blog post with Alpha-Bits cereal.
  • Watch colonoscopy videos in 4-D.
  • Live out the recurring nightmare of walking down the hallway of my high school naked.
  • Misuse punctuation.
  • Listen to “Achy Breaky Heart” scratched out by fingernails on a chalkboard.
  • Kiss a monkey.
  • Give up eating fresh cherries for the rest of my life.
  • Give up eating MoonPies for the rest of my life. Yeah, it was that bad.

 What is the worst movie you have seen this year?

Misery Loves A Little Company

Well, not misery so much as Les Miserables. Les Mis loves company. To the tune (see what I did there? Tune?  It’s a musical and all) of 600 people squashed into a theater the day after Christmas.

It’s our tradition. The girl-child and I go and see a movie on Christmas eve and leave the boys to fend for themselves. This year, though, the only movie she actually wanted to see opened on Christmas day. We went, but barely. By the time we got there, the line for the movie was out the door. As I stood waiting for the guy to ring up my tickets, he commented “I hope it doesn’t sell out before I can get this done.” Me, too, pal.

I know most of the people in the theater had already seen at least one stage production and probably owned a soundtrack or two, judging by their ability to sing along. Not me. I was a first timer, my experience limited to a reading of an abridged translation in the 8th grade. Or a speed-reading. Or a quick glance before the paper was due. I remember something about a sewer.

Anyway, I didn’t have a lot of preconceived ideas like I did for The Hobbit, or even actually remember what the thing was about. I knew there would be a little singing here and there, and no overdubbing or flying monkeys (don’t ask!). That’s all a body needs to know before seeing a film, really.

I can’t totally decide how I rate this movie. It’s either a 3 1/2 or 4 1/2 stars.

The music was incredible. Mind, my knowledge of the soundtrack is limited to Susan Boyle’s audition for Britain’s Got Talent, so I have little to compare it to, but I loved the music.

The singing was 75% really good, 15% spectacular, and 10% painful. Hugh Jackman’s first few songs made me want to crawl under my seat, but he did get better. Anne Hathaway was so good that I almost forgave her for being such a worm in Brokeback Mountain. Almost. And Amanda whats-her-face was stellar as Cosette.

The acting was superb. Every single actor committed to their performance in a way I’ve never quite experienced before. Maybe it had something to do with the powerful music.

So if I loved the music, the singing, and the acting, what’s left? Um, the cinematography. Dear heavens. I am praying that the film isn’t nominated for an academy award for cinematography because we do not want to encourage this kind of behavior.

I know the bouncy footage is supposed to make me feel like I’m there. It didn’t. It made me feel like someone had just handed the camera to their five year old nephew and told him that there was a Ninja Turtle around the corner. And some of the shots are retained in the movie because the actor nailed the song, but the cameraman didn’t. There were many shots that were totally out of focus, or focused on weird things. And not in an artsy kind of way. In one scene, the only parts of Marius’ face that were in focus were his right ear and his left cheek, and he was the only one in the shot. That was some cinematic magic right there. How they pulled that off, I will never know.

And what is with the tight shots? And I do mean tight. Close ups take on a whole new meaning here. Hugh Jackman’s head took up 2/3 of the movie screen. His Michael Landon/Pa Ingalls hairdo was a bit distracting at 20 feet tall.

A dramatic scene loses some of its impact when the actor has nasal leakage larger than the average preschooler hanging off their face. I didn’t weep over Fantine’s lost innocence because I was too concerned she was going to drop a snot-runner on my new purse. The people on the front row should have been issued umbrellas. How could I focus on Marius’ incredible voice when his Adam’s apple was the size of my dining room table?

The movie was haunting and beautiful in so many respects, but I don’t think I can watch it in a theater again. Given that a good 70% of the filming consisted of super-tight closeups, I think it will actually look better on my $10 yard sale television than it does on the big screen. It was off-putting enough to cost the movie a star in rating. I think. I can’t decide if the actors make up for the lousy camera work.

I would like to watch the movie a second time and a third, and a fourth (all on a smaller screen, of course), so I will likely buy it when it goes on sale, but I can’t see it in the theater. I can’t look up Russell Crowe’s nostrils again. I could see his brain.

An Unexpected Something

The Padawan and I have been reading The Hobbit together in anticipation of the movie’s release. Is there anything better than curling up on the couch under a blanket and sharing a delicious adventure with someone you love? I think not. We went last night to see the movie.

It was the Padawan’s first Opening Weekend, and we were both so excited! We’ve been looking forward to it for months. MONTHS! I’m a cheapskate by nature, but for this event I loosened the purse strings and bought the popcorn and the candy. And let the kid stay up hours past his bedtime. We were so ready to love this movie!

And we didn’t.

Howard Shore worked his magic with the score. Themes, both new and familiar, were exquisite. In this movie, we are treated to Shore’s interpretations of the songs that were so integral to Tolkien’s work. The soundtrack is a must-have. The deluxe edition, if you please.

The cinematography was simply gorgeous. Some shots were even more dramatic and lovely than the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The acting was stellar, the cast spot-on.

But without the story, all of the above are worthless. Peter Jackson took a beloved tale of high adventure and turned it into a bar-room brawl.

The characters were unrecognizable. The Bilbo Baggins I grew up with charmed me with his delightful manners, no matter how absurd the situation. I loved him so because, though a party of ravenous dwarves appeared on his doorstep and proceeded to empty his larder, he was ever so polite. Though confused by their demands for cakes and ale, he complied. These simple acts set the tone for the story, both courtly and romantic.

The character on screen last night was rude and selfish, a hobbit from the 21st century. In his heart, Tolkien’s Bilbo wanted the dwarves to leave him to his peace (and his food), but he would not dishonor his guests or his heritage by saying so. The 21st century Bilbo told them to give him back his tomatoes.

Jackson’s rough treatment wasn’t limited to Bilbo. Radagast the Brown was a wizard in my mind akin to St. Francis of Assisi. The person we were subjected to last night was a buffoon with bird turds plastering his hair.

The script was toyed with until it was no longer the story I love. Where there wasn’t enough excitement, Jackson interjected some trumped up drama, twisting the tale and its inhabitants into caricatures of themselves. And there’s falling. Entirely too much falling.

There is no room for graphic violence in Tolkien’s story, but Jackson fixes that. Where the book depicts clean kills, Jackson creates torture and brutality, a goblin king eviscerated in front of the audience, a pale goblin’s arm severed and spurting blood, later replaced by a claw skewered through the flesh of his upper arm.

This movie should never have been rated PG-13. I’d have given it a solid R, and I never would have taken my son. By comparison, many of the Harry Potter movies were rated PG-13. I let the Padawan watch them after he had read the books because those, at least, were fairly true to their original source. I no longer trust Peter Jackson.

My joy for today is the sweet innocence I rediscovered in my Padawan. I think of him as nearly a pre-teen. Last night, my little boy was returned to me, bouncing in his seat with childish enthusiasm and anticipation, reaching for my hand to cover his eyes in the scary parts, delighting in the enormous container of candy in his possession. I treasure last night, regardless of the quality of the movie.

Happy weekend!

Twilight : Breaking Dawn: Part 2: The Review

Oops, I did it again. I’ve just stumbled in at 1:30 in the morning after taking my sister to see Breaking Dawn,Part 2. My reasons are pretty much the same as the last time. I owe her big.  This time, I had the added bonus of taking one of my bestest friends in the entire world with us, too. We had big fun, the three of us, especially since the nice theater people have finally embraced the notion that their target audience is a wee bit older than they once thought and offered a 10pm showing. I love them for that.

I’ll cut to the chase. Because I am tired but also because I know you are on the edge of your seat waiting for the review and impressions of what will be one of the highest grossing films of the year. But mostly because I am tired. I apologize for any spoilers.

Yes, I bought a t-shirt. I won’t apologize.

The opening is beautiful. And clever. Pretty!

Wait…what? Why did she just…huh?

Ohhh, that’s what I’m talking about! Pow!

Ick! Take it away! That is just wrong! NO MORE!

What? Seriously? That was awkward.

Mmmm! Sweet Tarts! I love these things!

Ooooh, I like how they did that.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! That was great!

What? Why..?.wait…

My Junior Mints are melting.

Wow. That was cool.

Huh? Okay, I see why they did that, but…

Awww. That’s so sweet!

Ick. Creepy! Make is stop!

Oh, he’s pretty. And so is he. I like that!

Cool!

HAHAHAHAHA! Awww…

That was a lot of soda. I need to pee.

*sniff*

I really need to pee.

What…the…heck!

No way!

Nuh-uh!

You have got to be kidding me!

I want my money back.

That’s it, we’re going home!

Ohhhhhhh.

OH! Tee-hee! Good stuff!

I wish I had worn a diaper. I bet the restrooms are going to be packed. At least the ladies’ room will be.

Oh, that was well done.

Awwww….

Annnnnnd scene!

I do hope I didn’t spoil it for everyone.

Know Before You Go: Legoland Discovery Center

When we got home from our vacation, I wrote two letters. One, a letter to the Fairview Inn and Suites thanking them for an amazing stay. Seriously. The best part of the trip! Indoor pool, clean room, unbelievably courteous and helpful staff (one person offered to bring us more popcorn to our room if we ran out), fitness center with state of the art equipment, continental breakfast that included a make-your-own-waffle bar and fresh fruit. We’d go back again just to stay at the hotel.

The second letter was not as happy. It was to the Legoland Discovery Center in Atlanta, the biggest disappointment of our trip. If you’ve got a  Lego fan in your life, here’s what you need to know before you pay a visit.

It’s expensive. Tickets for the five of us set us back about $80. The site encourages visitors to order tickets online in order to receive priority, so we did. We learned that “priority” doesn’t mean that you get to the head of the line at anything. It means that you get in the door. And if you arrive an hour after your scheduled time, they don’t actually have to let you in if it’s busy.

It’s poorly laid out. After getting our ticket, we were sent into a room that measured about 20×30. Maybe less. It contained five or six large elements and some Lego statuary and was apparently their “factory.” A guide explained how Lego bricks are made, which was interesting. The problem was that the doors on either side closed on us, essentially trapping us in the room, as both sets of doors were automatic and had no handles on the inside. They allow 25 people in this room at a time, which is too many to move comfortably.

When the doors finally opened, we were walked toward a rats’ maze where we were to stand in line for the shoot ’em up game. Except that the line actually blocked the exit from the factory completely. In order to get out, we had to walk through the wall of people waiting in line. I was claustrophobic and ready to leave at that point.

Duplos rule the day. In the whole facility, there were only two areas to build with actual Lego bricks. There was a master builder classroom that can hold a max of about 20 people. Classes were held about every half-hour. The instructor taught them how to build a cube. The other Lego construction area was a build-your-own-race-car area. Builders could test their constructions on two five-foot “J” shaped ramps. Sadly, every single car flew up at the end of its run and either hit someone or left the area completely and became a tripping hazard. There were no attendants at this element. Squish was hit in the head twice.

If your kid considers Duplos  to be beneath them, there won’t be a whole lot for them to do.

There are height restrictions and requirements. The informational map you can pick up at rest stops and restaurants is actually the same one you get at Legoland. It indicates there are such restrictions, but it doesn’t tell you what they are. The soft play area (what my son considered to be the only decent element in the place) is for 54 inches and under. The wizard ride is for 36 inches and above.

caveat: Height restriction applies to parents, too. Unless parents are smaller than 54 inches, they are not allowed to accompany their child into the soft-play area. This means that younger children may not be able to navigate the climbing portion of the structure unless they have an older child to help them. It also means that your toddler may get stuck in a high elements with much bigger and rougher kids, and you can’t see them at all from the ground.

There are lines for almost everything. Lines were shorter at Dollywood. There’s a section where kids can create a construction out of Duplos and see if it withstands an earthquake. There were stations for five or six kids at a time. There were at least 150 kids there that day.

The Lego store has no exclusive items, and their prices are very high .  For the die-hard collector, there’s nothing better than laying hands on something you can’t get anywhere else.  Look elsewhere. Everything in the store can be purchased at Target or Wal-mart for a much lower price. One set we saw was 50% more expensive than it is at Wal-mart.

Other Lego stores are better stocked. They have a little bin where visitors can build three mini-figures for  a set price. At other stores, you get a body, head, hat or hair, and an accessory. At this store, there were no accessories at all, and only  couple of kinds of hair, three different hats, and four bodies. They  also have a small section of “pick a brick” where you can buy Lego bricks by the ounce. The selection of bricks, though, is poor.

My son had been saving his money for months for this trip. He ended up buying nothing. His assessment of the store was “I can get it for less somewhere else.” Dear Lego store, when a 10-year-old Lego freak with a pocket full of cash refuses to spend any of it in your store, you’ve missed the mark somewhere.

You can’t get real reviews on their website. In addition to picking only positive reviews to post (they’ve only got two reviews up at the moment), they reserve the right to edit your post. I would expect that they would only pick the good ones since it’s their site, but it’s creepy that they can edit your post.

One positive: The one thing in the facility that isn’t exorbitantly expensive is the food. The larger combos are for a family of 4, but individual portions weren’t that costly.

My advice: If your child is between the ages of 4-8, it is not a weekend, the tickets are free, and you’re in the Atlanta area anyway, it might be worth visiting Legoland Discovery Center. Otherwise, take the money you would have spent and buy a really, really cool Lego set. You’ll have something to show for it, and you may not lose your faith in the Lego company.

***Update: I did get an email response from someone at Legoland. He assured me that right after our visit, the Lego store restocked their merchandise and now has exclusive items. It’s not worth my money to travel back down there to verify. It appears, also, that all exclusive items can be found on the website. Save a trip and order online.

A Day Late and a Dollar Short Movie Review: The Hulk

I did not love it. I am not even sure if it was The Hulk or just Hulk, and I don’t care enough to Google it, or even go downstairs and look at the DVD cover. The happy news is that I spent no money on it, since it was a free loan from my library. Unless I forget to return it today. Then it will cost me a buck, and that would be one dollar too many.

I didn’t hate Hulk, really. The story line was just okay. All the superhero movies get a little tedious as they give the back story on how said superhero acquired their powers, and this one was definitely no exception. There were some disturbing moments, and some of them seemed unnecessary. It was like Ang Lee couldn’t decide if this picture was going to be dark like Batman or not. I guess that was his goal because he was either going for dark and scary or flat and forgettable. Truthfully he vacillated between the two.

I wasn’t completely engaged in his version of the pre-monster story. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t read the comics, but I grew up on The Incredible Hulk TV show. I think David Banner may have been the first broken, brooding man I ever gave my heart to. And Lee’s version stomped all over my treasured memories. To add insult to injury, Lee didn’t even use the theme song, a tragic oversight if ever there was one.

The acting was, um, something. Yes, something. I know that Bruce Banner was supposed to be reserved, keeping all his emotions locked inside. Ham-handed dialog gave me that insight within the first 10 minutes. Apparently, all the other characters were, too, since they all offered the emotional depth of a popcorn carton. Maybe this was all as Lee intended, and short of hiring Kristen Stewart to play ALL the roles, this cast was the best he could come up with.

It sometimes seemed like Lee hadn’t actually read the script because all of a sudden, the dead-pan lead character is advised to “get ahold of that temper.” Temper? Really? I would give my life-size Severus Snape cutout (hey, sweetie! If you’re reading this, I’m getting one. That’s okay, right? I promise to keep him on my side of the bed!) to have a kid whose tantrums were pre-Hulk Bruce. I’ve had flip-flops with more emotional instability.

Anyway. The story wasn’t horrible. Except for the part about the mutated Poodle. Poodles are German, Lee, not French. Do your research! I’m not sure if scary poodle was supposed to be funny, or if it was supposed to take the sting out of Lee’s stereotypical use of Pit Bulls as vicious attack dogs. I was lost either way.

There were some very technically impressive, though not very interesting, scenes where Hulk bounds through the desert like a giant green bunny. There was also an extended shot of the backs of my eyelids. Or maybe fell asleep. I’m not fussed about it. I can pretty much fill in the blanks. Hulk bounces around. He smashes some stuff. He said “Puny human” once. Which made me ponder the frailty of human existence. Or not.

I asked my husband if Hulk killed the bad guy. He said “Um, I think so?” Which pretty much says it all. Will I see the others in the series? Only if Mark Ruffalo is actually in them. He nailed Hulk in Avengers. Would I recommend it to friends? Sure. Watch this movie if you have nothing better to do, like painting the dog’s toe nails or regrouting the bathroom.

Hulk bore puny human! ARRRR!

A Day Late and a Dollar Short Movie Reviews: The Avengers

I am well aware that every other human being on the planet has already seen this movie. Twice. Thanks for pointing it out. I’m a little behind, but does that statement surprise anyone? Yeah, probably not.

Husband and I celebrated our anniversary with a big pizza, a long walk, and a movie. I let him pick. Sort of. I did not want to spend my one movie date a year watching Prometheus (Sue me. It looks too much like Avatar, and I didn’t like that one, either. Or Smurfs. I guess I have a thing about blue movies.), so I narrowed it down to three. The other options were Snow White and one I have since forgotten and therefore must not have wanted to watch in the first place. Husband chose The Avengers.

Let the record show that I’ve never been one for super heroes. Not since the rabies scare when Wonder Woman let me down, and I landed in the emergency room. There’s a blog in there somewhere, but the pain is just too real right now. Wonder Woman’s complete absence from The Avengers along with a recommendation from my daughter, who also eschews hero movies, was enough to get me in line to buy a ticket. It was a good choice.

There’s enough action to make it exciting, but not so much blood that I was totally grossed out. I have low tolerance for graphic violence. I don’t like to pay $10 to sit with my eyes covered through half the film. The special effects were great without being over-the-top. I have little patience with “Hey, look what we can do!” CGI. Transformers, I’m talking to you, here.My dog could have kicked Big Bad Guy’s (see how little of an impression the movie made on me? I can’t remember the villain-bot’s name!) tail in the time that it took for him to completely transform. *yawn* 

Anyway, back to our show. The dialog in The Avengers is pretty funny without being totally cheesy, and best of all, I didn’t have to see any of the tie-in movies in order to understand what was going on. Score! I’m a fan now, though, and I’m catching up as fast as the library can get me the others. I’ve got Hulk in my hot little hands, but at the moment he’s competing with the Olympics for my attention. (I now invite you to imagine Hulk competing in the Olympics. Wasn’t that fun?) And then I have to get on the waiting list for Iron Man 2. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

I loved the movie. But I still have some questions.

Why does anyone think that a coffee shop with glass walls is a good place to hide from alien invaders who are clearly hell-bent for tesseract, as though they  become suddenly invisible with a cup of Pike’s Place in their hands. Maybe they do. I don’t know. I gave up coffee, and I’m as bitter about it as day old grinds.

Why do alien invaders always head for New York City? Is it the whole Ellis Island thing? Granted there’s a huge concentration of human-kind for those whose ultimate goal is world domination, but there’s no place to land, New Mexico is prettier, and face it, it’s not that much of a coup. Those people are hiding in coffee shops, so they weren’t that hard to out-think in the first place.

Why were there only three fat people in the whole movie? We’re a bigger chunk (yeah, I get it) of the population than that, and the movie is in New York City. There are bakeries on every corner, and yet most of the people in the movie including the extras have clearly never eaten at one. Mmm-hmmm.

Whatever. Those are minor things, and I can get over them. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the sequel next summer. Will you?

 

I don’t understand him, but I heart him.

 

Maybe It’s Just Me

I wanted to like it. Ever since I signed up for Goodreads and started entering their giveaways, I’ve dreamed of winning an advance copy of the next big thing. Like I would know the next big thing if it jumped up and bit me in the bum. Anyway, I wanted to win a good book. A book I liked. And I didn’t this time.

I feel an obligation to actually read and review the books I win because that’s why they give them away. And I want to be worthy of free books because, hey, free books. So I read it. And now I’m reviewing it, and I can only hope there’s some kind of literary karma that will pat me on the head when I’m done and allow that first edition Philosopher’s Stone to find its way to my collection.

The book is Night Swim by Jessica Keener.  A teenage girl named Sarah somehow remains 16 (even though every other character grows up and moves on with their lives during the course of the book) and lives in a dysfunctional family in what my best guess tells me is the late 60’s. Oh, and her mom died.

The author attempts to be so flowery that she fails to develop both plot and characters. More attention is given to what the characters are wearing than to who they are. I didn’t find myself caring about any of them. At all. And events that could be catalysts (an uncle who asks Sarah to pose naked for him, her young brother grabbing hold of an electric fence at a zoo, even an abortion) fall flat because they are dealt with in a paragraph or two and then are never mentioned again. Most of the events left me wondering why they were included in the first place.

The difference between a truly good writer and the rest of the bunch is the ability to “show, not tell.” I grew increasingly frustrated as the author felt forced to explain everything that she had just shown me because even she seemed to realize she didn’t do so very clearly.

There are some unique phrases and expressions of thought, but they are awkwardly placed and the author just tries too hard. Metaphors are a dime a dozen, and very few of them are actually good. A ruthless editor might be able to weed out the phrases that are worth keeping and discard the rest.

Keener does not seem to have a grasp of her time period. The abortion was performed in a hospital a good five years before Roe v. Wade made it through the Supreme Court. A song she referred to as being from a “grandma radio station” would have been popular in Sarah’s childhood. A classmate was driving a make of car that wouldn’t be popular for a few more years. Sarah bought her own plane ticket and took a commuter flight a couple of decades before such things were available. There was just nothing solid here to hang onto.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am just too dense to fully appreciate this book. My 14 year old offered to read it to see if she “gets” it, obviously doubting my abilities. I hope someone finds merit in the book. Every author should have their work appreciated by someone.

Geek Week

Recently, I have had my geek status called into question. At the same time, my husband and I ran out of shows to watch on DVD. Seeing an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and geekify my life while providing evening entertainment, I took suggestions on what we should watch next. As I am very cheap, the only actual criteria was that the show be available as a free loan from my library. Therefore, no Dr. Who for me. We started out with Firefly/Serenity, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Battlestar Galactica. And here’s what I thought. If you’ve never seen these shows before, there may be some spoilers. I did include links in case there is someone more out of the loop than I am.

photo from wikipedia

Firefly:

Can’t talk about it. Still crying in my heart a little. Okay, more than a little. And I am so late discovering this one that I will never have a Malcolm Reynolds action figure to put under my pillow. I cannot believe that this show was taken off the air but Dancing With the Stars is still around. There is little hope for this world.

What I could do without: the naughty bits. They add nothing to the show and prevent me from sharing it with my kids.

photo from wikipedia

Buffy:

Another creation by Joss Whedon, which was why we decided to check it  out.

Premise: Ridiculous. A teenager worrying about pimples, dating and killing vampires.

Acting: Abysmal.

Will we watch again? You’d better believe it. The preposterous nature is what sells it. And we’ve only seen episode 1, Season 1. As the cast gels, I would imagine the acting gets better.

photo from wikipedia. Where else?

 

Battlestar Galactica: Okay, this may the point where someone revokes my probationary geek card. And tears it into tiny pieces.  And poops on it.

I didn’t like it. I wanted to like it. Didn’t like it. I never got the opportunity to watch as a kid. It tended to come on at the same time my family was getting churched up. I was intrigued by the awesome toys, and I was curious about the show, but the rare Sunday evenings when I was home, I had missed so much that it made no sense. I was hoping that catching the new series would somehow make up for what I missed as a kid. And maybe that’s too much burden for one television show to bear.

There were a few things I did like. The acting was really good for a bunch of B-or-lower list actors shooting together for what I am assuming was the first time. We watched the miniseries, not the actual series, so it is a reasonable assumption that this one was shot and aired first. Am I right?

The visual effects were great. I have no idea what was green screen and what was actual set. The show definitely looked big-budget without being over-the-top.

The villain was real. He was not 100% evil with no heart. He was a greedy, cowardly genius who made a big, fat, stupid mistake. He could be anybody. He possesses those traits buried in all of us that will one day lead to our downfall.

And here’s what I didn’t like. It was slow. Slow to get to any real action, slow to ask the questions that were already in my head. If they can’t address the obvious, there is no way they can survive. I have no interest in devoting my time to a hopeless mission.

Here’s what they’re going to have to do something with if I’m going to continue watching.

Perpetuation of the species: Having been involved with a zoo for 10 years, I know a little about the Species Survival Plan. 50,000 humans is a pretty decent-sized gene-pool to work with. But they’re going to have to get on it, so to speak. There’s no time for people to develop actual relationships. They’re just going to have to knock ’em up. Soon.

Immediate survival needs: At one point, they ran out of ammunition and had to go get more. Um, hello? What might you need more than bullets? Maybe some food? Water? Even Serenity ran out of air once. It is science fiction. I am totally willing to suspend some reality to get these needs met. Anything short of Reavers sending fruit baskets works in my book. But they have to address it. Mention that you’re recycling pee or are farming water on a distant planet with two suns, but acknowledge the problem.

Perpetuation of Knowledge: They’re going to have to set up some kind of trade schools. They’re going to need people who can make clothes, build ship components, repair computers, and good Lord, they’re going to need doctors.

Government: They can’t have an Executive Officer and a President and leave it at that. Recipe for disaster. Although continual clashes between the two might make for riveting television, it makes no actual sense to have no backup plan.

Get rid of the bowl cut: The kid can stay, but do him a favor and give him a real haircut. It was bizarre in 1978, and it’s completely unacceptable now. If that is how they treat their kids, they don’t deserve to survive.

Will I watch again? Yes. Conditionally. The only episode on Season 1/Disc 1 is the miniseries. I’ll get on the list for disc 2 and see what happens.

What other recommendations do you have? I’d prefer shows that are clean with minimal use of potty-mouth if possible.