Lightning Round

There was no more exciting display of thunder and lightning during my childhood
than the bolt from the blue that transformed young Billy Batson into a grown superhero named Captain Marvel at the utterance of a single word.

Shazam! logo over image of Jackson Bostwick as Captain Marvel amid swirl of colors and energy
Screencap of Shazam!'s opening sequence © 1974 DC Comics.

Although not half as faithful to the comics as its slightly later cartoon incarnation, Filmation’s 1970s live-action Shazam! on Saturday mornings was thrilling in large part because it did indeed star real people. Ere long there would be a live-action superhero boom that brought versions of DC’s Wonder Woman and Marvel’s Hulk to our living rooms in prime time — with less successful stabs at other Marvel characters — plus, of course, the sensational reintroduction of Superman to the silver screen
as the decade closed out.

Osteo la Vista

A fun episode of Bones repeated last week. Fox seems to have otherwise benched
the show for the summer, although past seasons can be found in syndication and on cable. You can find the episode in question — “The X in the File”on Hulu or at
the Fox website
[bad link].

Emily Deschanel and, holding a colorful toy ray-gun, David Boreanaz in 'Bones'
Image from Bones 5.11 “The X in the File” © 2010 Twentieth Century Fox Television.

Hart Hanson’s loose adaptation of Kathy Reichs’ popular crime novels has always
owed as much to The X-Files as to CSI, despite its dearth of otherworldly phenomena. That’s due to the pairing of Temperance “Bones” Brennan, the strictly rational forensic anthropologist played by Emily Deschanel, with FBI special agent Seeley Booth, the gut-following, Catholic former Army Rangers sniper played by David Boreanaz.

Vampire Weekend

I watched the premiere of The Gates last Sunday, and caught up with the off-season repeats of The Vampire Diaries as well.

Cast of ABC's The Gates in front of Gates, surprise, with topiary at the bottom

The Gates, which airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC, barely kept me locked in. As a guilty pleasure to screen on a hot, lazy night, well, it’s more guilty than pleasure — not quite the melodramatic mash-up of Twilight and Desperate Housewives those making it might have hoped for, but probably engaging enough to keep anyone who enjoyed Eastwick coming back for its limited run.


Photo of stop sign with addition under it so it all reads 'Stop in the naaaaame of love

The other day I was discussing grammar with my father, which led to a conversation on how difficult it can be to look up questions about such things on the Web.

McKinley High Anxiety

As I said here yesterday, Fox is repeating Glee — the musical dramedy revolving around a high-school glee club in Ohio that’s broken out due to both ubiquitous promotion and its surprising resonance to the cultural zeitgeist — over the summer. I’d hoped to have a follow-up to my review of the pilot covering its first season in toto but a sober assessment of my notes suggests that I’m best off just sharing what I wrote back in September after watching the second episode, which ran again last Thursday, rather than wrangle all the rest into shape.

Cast of 'Glee' posing on stage in jeans and red tops with Rachel sprawled out having fallen on a set of stairs
Promo image © 2009 Twentieth Century Fox Television.

Nuts and Bolts

Do you feel bad for isolated thunderstorms?

Fierce lightning strike against a dark sky
Photo: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Photo Library — Sean Waugh

When that line popped into my head, I couldn’t help but think of my favorite character on Glee: Heather Morris’s Brittany.

Morris was brought in to teach the cast the choreography for “Single Ladies (Put a
Ring on It)” and ended up being offered the part of one of the cheerleaders who joined the glee club. There was no real hook to the character until the producers realized her pitch-perfect dim-bulb delivery of such lines as...

“I’m pretty sure my cat has been reading my diary.”

“Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?”

“Sometimes I forget my middle name.”

My Buffy Summer

A few weeks gone by, Nikki Stafford declared June to be Vampire Month on her blog, Nik at Nite. The primary topic of conversation — a TV show which I’m observing a moratorium on speaking about — had begun to eat itself, and Nikki had fangdom on the brain for at least two good reasons: (1) ECW Press, where she’s an editor and which publishes her Finding [censored] books, has a True Blood companion coming out. (2) She was preparing to attend Slayage — an academic conference devoted to the work of Joss Whedon in general and Buffy the Vampire Slayer in particular. I think there was also something to do with The Vampire Diaries in there.

Group shot of actors portraying Buffy, Xander, Willow, Cordelia, and Giles from Season One, with the show's logo

I was surprisingly late getting into the adventures of Buffy Summers.

In Translation

Glass ashtray with familiar 'No Smoking' icon on the base

On The Late Show last night, Harry Connick Jr. discussed a recent trip to Istanbul
(not Constantinople) and showed off a No Smoking ashtray like the one above.