Friday Miscellenia

Lost And Found

I’m finally getting around to watching the first season of Lost (thank heavens for NetFlix! Four episodes into the series, and I have to admit that I’m hooked. The show is one of the few shows I’ve watched that managed to hook me right from the beginning. The creators of Lost understand one of the fundamental rules of good TV drama: let the characters drive. The characterizations in Lost are layered and complex. The actors that portray them also help make the show so damn addictive. Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, the always-excellent Terry O’Quinn, and the rest of the cast each bring something to their roles.

Not to mention Evangeline Lilly… wowza!

In fact, unless the story totally falls apart, this show could join Babylon 5, Wonderfalls, Firefly, and Farscape as one of the best written shows on TV. Thankfully it wasn’t on Fox, or they would have cancelled it long ago…


Next week marks the release of the Big Damn Movie, AKA Serenity – the continuation of the story of the brilliant-but-cancelled SF/Western Firefly. Bloggers can get in on advance screenings in major cities.

Sadly, I won’t be able to make the advance screening in the Cities, but you better believe that I’ll be at the theater this Friday.

Firefly is one of those shows that seems to get better with age. Despite having seen it on TV when it first aired, and owning the DVD box set, I’ve still been watching the reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel. Why? Because Firefly‘s writing and characterization is some of the best of any show of any genre ever aired. Then again, what can one expect from the man who created Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Joss Whedon is a writer’s writer, and Firefly shows him at the top of his game. If Serenity is half as good, it’ll be worth the overpriced ticket prices to see it in all its glory on the big screen.

Reporters Without Borders Helps Dissidents Communicate

The French group Reporters Without Borders has released a kit for bloggers in repressive regimes to help them avoid detection by the authorities. This information is vital for bloggers in regimes like Iran and China to allow the outside world to know the truth about what is happening in those countries. Hopefully this information will help the people of those regimes educate others about the rest of the world and help them in their fight against autocracy and tyranny.

Examining The Strategy

Bill Roggio has an excellent Flash presentation on operations in Western Iraq, giving a broad-level view of our strategies in the region. I’ve completely given up on the mainstream media when it comes to the war. The profound ignorance of the media in terms of understanding military strategy and tactics is simply too maddening. A media that never leaves the Green Zone and doesn’t have a clue about the way the military works simply can’t be trusted to get things right. They report on military operations in a complete vacuum, utterly failing to see the large-scale tactics and strategies being used.

The war has been eclipsed on the news pages by the hurricanes, which in some ways is a good thing. The less of the ignorant and sensationalist yellow journalism from the mainstream media, the better. Right now our forces along the Euphrates and near Mosul are engaged in frequent, sustained, and effective operations against terrorist forces – and they’re working in concert with an increasingly large and effective Iraqi military as well.

If this war truly were a quagmire, and our military was “breaking” in Iraq, our operational tempo would be decreasing, not increasing. Yet the vision of this war painted by the media has almost no relationship with the reality of the situation. The terrorists can’t mount a sustained offensive – yes, they can detonate a few VBIEDs and occasionally those tactics result in a lucky strike, but they can’t stall the political process and they can no longer hold onto territory as they once did. Our operational tempo continues to increase as the largely ignored campaign in al-Anbar continues – yet the media can’t seem to even come close to grasping the strategy at play.

The media has allowed itself to become a propaganda organ of the enemy. The enemy knows that there is no way in hell that they can win against the United States and the new Iraqi forces on the battlefield. They do know that our greatest weakness is not in our military, but in our media, and they are exploiting that weakness. Sadly, we can uparmor our Humvees and change our tactics, but we can’t fix the ignorance and rigid ideological worldview of our press.

7 thoughts on “Friday Miscellenia

  1. Sadly, I’m too busy next week to drive to the Cities to go. Sadly, I have to wait until the 30th like everybody else…

    However, you’re right. Why the heck didn’t I mention that?!

  2. “Lost” was pretty impressive for its entire first season, but I will say the first half of Season 1 was more consistently engrossing than the second half. The second half certainly had its moments, but it seemed like the final stretch of episodes leading up to the season finale was at times an exercise in running out the clock until summer break. The show got off to a strong start for season two Wednesday night as well, but my fear is that it ends up falling into the same trap as other serialized dramas where very little happens week to week. How all these housewives can watch paint dry day after day with these daytime soap operas is beyond me as the pacing is absolutely glacial. I sure hope “Lost” doesn’t fall into that trap.

  3. I’ve gotta agree with Mark that Lost did kind of slow a little. Still, it is one of the best shows on television right now, only beaten by Battlestar Galactica. But then BSG has the advantage of only having to produce 10 eps every 6 months. Lost is still doing over 22 in a 9 month period without much of a break.

    I have to agree on Firefly. Can’t imagine how I missed this the first time around, but after watching the first episod (the real 1st episode), I was immediately hooked and have now purchased the DVD so I can see the anamorphic wide screen version instead of the stretched thing I get for watching SciFi channel on the big screen.

    Firefly is so damn well written I just shake my head in amazement.

    Spoiler alerts for Lost and Invasion.

    This season, Invasion proved why Lost is so good. Lost did not begin with a passel of mysteries, but with a crash and characters. Invastion started with a bunch of over-the-top zinger moments (and a blatant rip off of the Lost Score). LOST SPOILER: However, in Lost’s first episode of this year, I’d much have preferred meating Desmond much earlier. Too deus ex machina for me. Still, compelling and interesting.

  4. Actually, BSG’s first season was only 13 episodes, but this season is 20 – although Sci-Fi does a weird thing in which the “season finale” tonight is really just the midpoint of the season – new episodes start in March, then the true season premiere for Season 3 will be in July. (Assuming a pickup for Season 3, which seems inevitable t me…)

  5. In terms of excellently written shows, HBO’s
    “The Wire” deserves a mention. It is one of the most realistic police shows I’ve ever seen and it’s plot is so richly layered that you really need to raise your game as a viewer in order to grasp everything that’s going on. Season 1 was a look at the drug war in inner city Balitmore, season 2 drifted over to crime in a white blue collar area near the Shipyard and Eastern European smugglers, and season 3 was fantastic in shifting more to City Hall politics behind the Drug War. Six Feet Under is now gone with, but its 5 seasons were an excellent dose of realism and deeply layered and always flawed charachters. Although Six Feet Under’s finale was a bit too mainstream and cozy, I won’t let that detract from the great work Alan Ball did on the series.

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