Ghost Whisperer - Does nobody gossip in that damn town? | Street Jazz

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ghost Whisperer - Does nobody gossip in that damn town?

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 12:46 AM

Watching Ghost Whisperer, and seeing Melinda Gordon going around her small town of Grandview - no relation to the infamous Fayetteville apartment complex - going up to complete strangers every week and telling them that:

a) she speaks to “earth-bound spirits”

b) one of those “earth-bound spirits” just happens to be somebody who needs to pass along a message to them.

They usually respond with anger, or, more often than not, the acceptance of an empty-headed clodhopper. I keep waiting for for the Bill Cosby/Noah response, when God says He is going to make it rain for 40 days and 40 nights.


More to the point, this must be the only town in America where nobody gossips. “Hey, Gene, this crazy woman come over last weekend, said she had a message from Uncle Bert. We thought he was a crazy, mean old man - turned out all he ever needed was a big old hug!”

After several years of literally thrusting herself into family squabbles, broken relationships and misunderstandings (being dead gets in the way of explaining a lots of things, it turns out), one would think that there would be whispers and gossip every where she goes.

Just once, I’d like to see an episode where she goes into a house and someone says, “Oh, no! It’s her!”


There’s no accounting for taste, I suppose

Truth is, Ghost Whisperer will never quite match up to Medium, either in quality or in story-telling. Medium can be considered Varsity, while Ghost Whisperer will never be more than  Junior Varsity.


Quote of the Day

"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." -- Dave Gardner


Mangled Quote - apologies to  Anatole France

I quoted a line I read in Jo Walton’s Farthing yesterday, not realizing that she had rewritten a famous quote from Anatole France. Here is how the quote should read:
“The law in its majestic equality, forbids  the rich as well as the poor to sleep under the bridges,  to beg in the streets, and steal bread.”

Thanks to the sharp-eyed reader who caught this.


The Daleks will kill you, even if they need you . . .

As a kid whose father was stationed in England in the mid-1960s, I was pretty much ignorant of the science fiction series "Doctor Who" until several of my fourth-grade class mates got on the bus one Monday morning, their hands held out stiffly at their sides, all chanting:

"Exterminate! Exterminate!"

Thus came about my introduction to the Daleks, Terry Nation's greatest gift to the world of science fiction. Nation, who also created the cult SF series "Blake's 7," will forever be linked with the malevolent, pepper-pot shaped robot-like Daleks from the planet Skaro. And, of course, they will also be known as the greatest enemy of the Doctor, the time/space traveler
from "Doctor Who."

In 2008, quite a bit of mythology has been built up around the program, and its Time Lord protagonist, but in 1963, when the series made its premiere, little more was known than that he and his granddaughter, Susan, were on the run from their own people, and that he had stolen a time machine in order to explore the universe.

Oh, and that it in the first episode, he pretty much kidnaped two of Susan's school teachers who had followed her home from school one night, for a variety of reasons - not the least of which she was just a strange teenager, even by 1963 standards.

The role of the Doctor was played to crotchety perfection by William Hartnell. The program became so popular that in 1965 Milton Subotsky decided to bring "Doctor Who" to the big screen" - only with some major changes.

The movie, based on Terry Nation's script for the show which introduced the Daleks, was rewritten slightly, making the show more accessible for an audience unfamiliar with the series.

No longer called the Doctor, the character was now called Dr. Who, a kindly eccentric genius (is there any other kind?) who sort of invents the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) - in the shape of a police box - in his back garden. The film version features his two granddaughters, and their friend Ian (one of the school teachers from the show). Barbara, the other teacher from the show, is now one of Dr. Who's granddaughters.

The unkindest cut of all, however, was that none of the actors from the series were asked to play their roles in the movie - not even William Hartnell, who played the Doctor.

All right, they got Peter Cushing. If you have to be replaced, it may as well be with Peter Cushing. Still, I would like to know of the reactions to the cast upon hearing the news that they weren't good enough to make the grade for the movie.

Still, Peter Cushing! The actor who would one day play the Grand Moff Tarkin in "Star Wars" had already made a name for himself in the Hammer series of horror films, and would go on to play one of the best TV versions of Sherlock Holmes seemed an inspired choice for the movie.

Though the BBC series was shot in black and white, this big screen adventure was to be in Technicolor (remember that?) and featured "improved" Daleks that had never been seen on the show before.

The first few minutes of the movie serve to introduce the characters to the audience, and also serve to deviate from the original story, and move us directly into the plot. Said plot involves Dr. Who showing his wonderful invention off to Ian, who clumsily sets it into motion. They land on a
mysterious planet. From that point on, it actually follows the original script fairly closely.

For those who may not be aware, the TARDIS is dimensionally transcendental - which means that it is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. The current series (and the 1996 TV movie) have both featured lovely interior sets to show the vastness of the interior of the space/time ship.

The 1965 movie, with a larger budget than the TV show, had an interior pretty much the size of a kid's bedroom. Go figure.

The planet they land on is the home of two races, survivors of a long ago atomic war. The Thals are a peace-loving race given to bad haircuts and silly clothes. The other race, the mutated Daleks, live inside metal casings, and see themselves as the natural rulers of the planet.

Long-time viewers of "Doctor Who" will recognize the planet as Skaro, though it is never identified as such in the movie.

As luck would have it, our stalwart heroes are discovered by the Daleks, and the adventure goes on from there. The Daleks live in a metal city, and intend to use the human visitors to flush out the Thals, in order to destroy them once and for all.

Naturally, Dr. Who and his companions throw in their lot with the sappy, pacifistic humans, who learn that defending that which is important to you does not put you on the same moral level as the Daleks.

To say that the movie was successful would be an understatement; it was to become one of the top 10 British box-office releases for 1965. But as an adaptation of a popular television series, it falls woefully short.

In addition to the fact that the original actors were not asked to reprise their roles, there is the fact that the film TARDIS does not match up to the television version. Perhaps the worst sin of all - for me, anyway - is the fact that the distinctive show theme music was not used in the film, at all. Instead, they went with a score by Barry Gray (Space 1999).

A sequel was filmed a few years later - "Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD" - also based on a television script. This time, audiences were not so taken with the film, though it's a little more elaborate in terms of budget and story-line.

Though the producers had planned to make a third film in the series, the disappointing box office receipts on the second Dalek film caused them to drop that idea. The TV series itself went chugging right along, with a gap in production from the late 1980s until the successful relaunching of the franchise several years ago.

In 1996 a pilot film for a "Doctor Who" series ran on the FOX network, featuring a brief glimpse of the Daleks. Over the years the Daleks have taken their place in the pop culture race, rightfully exterminating many of their competitors.

Now, as then, they have a well-deserved reputation for ruthlessness. In fact, the quote listed at the top comes from an early 1980s episode, "Resurrection of the Daleks."

So while you are checking out "Doctor Who," check out this early adventure, when they where just beginning their climb to the top of the universe's Ten Most Wanted List.

Trivia Note: Realizing that the film was likely to be success, the BBC bought several of the movie Daleks, which were then used in the "Doctor Who" story "The Chase." Ironically, since the TV story came out before the movie, "Dr. Who and the Daleks" is actually the second time these particular Daleks are used. It seems fitting, somehow.




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