Thursday, April 12, 2018

Why The New Star Wars Expanded Universe Isn't Working

One of the issues many fans have had with the new Star Wars trilogy is how it had dumped all the Expanded Universe story lines that had been put together over the last few decades. These were extensive story lines expanding on the stories of the original trilogy. There were several epic story lines that took the Star Wars universe to all sorts of new places, with interesting new characters.

Now we are getting a new expanded universe built under the new story lines, but one thing I have come to realize is that in the end this new EU is not going to be able to live up to reputation of the old one. I am reading Liea Princess of Alderaan and of thing I have realized is that there is something missing. Then thinking about the other new EU books I have read, it is missing from those as well.
This is not review of the book. I have problems with it on many levels and am only a few chapters in, their take on Liea is really bothering as it very openly is going against set canon from the movies, which the old EU seemed to have understood and followed.

This post is a commentary about the limit that are obviously being placed on what the writers can do.

With the old Eu they had a lot of freedom in where they could go. Lucas Film still had final say over it all, but there was clearly a lot of freedom for the writers.

This new EU clearly has next to no freedom.

The new EU novels are not so much stories as fill in character pieces. These books are not introducing new story lines, but are filling in areas of the stories from the movies. We are getting to see what the characters were up to before the movies, but little else. We already know where all these characters end up, their fates already played out in many cases. These novels are not taking the EU anywhere new, with no surprises or unseen twists. Right now it is all fairly straight forward stories which are actually a little bland.

I do understand why this is happening though. With them actually making movies right now, they do not want to have the EU introduce aspects that might be go against the story lines of any new movies. The old EU had a freedom that the new EU will most likely never have. Before the Disney deal, Lucas ha give up o the idea of doing any future movies and so there was no concern about what the EU did. It was not going to interfere with any future films. Since right now we are seeing a long term plan of making movie after movie, it will be some time before the new EU will be able to have that level of freedom, if ever.

Personally I wish there was a way to go back and let the old EU start up again, with the understanding that all of those story lines are a separate universe. The freedom they had allowed for noticeably better story telling.

For good or ill, if anyone wishes to keep up with the new EU, they will not be getting the quality of the old EU (Not saying it was all good). I myself do not plan to put any effort into keeping up with it, which works well as my expendable income is not what it used to be.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

My Writings

Hello everyone,

Its been a while since I put together a list of my writings and figured I should try to promote my works a little. So if you want to support me and see just what comes out of this warped mind of mine, here is what you might want to check out.

I have four stories now in The Divided States of America,

While each is a stand alone story, they do follow the same character and this is the recommended reading order for them

What Lies in the Wastelands:…/what-lies-in-the-wastela…/

Can't Go Home Again:…/produ…/cant-go-home-again/

Where Do You Go From Here:…/where-do-you-go-from-here/

Trial of Payne:

And my awesome girlfriend Lorelei has one story in that collection,

Disharmony of the Spheres ( is a new anthology that my story 'Time of the Bursting' is in.
I think it is the most intense piece I have written.

Here is my amazon page (…/B006JD…/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1) which has most of my other published stories.

Feel free to share this list and if you do read any of them, please leave reviews everywhere you can, they really do make a difference.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Wait a Minute, There's a Market For This Stuff?

Today I was screwing around on Amazon Prime just looking at what they had, hoping to find something interesting. In the end I guess I found something interesting.

First odd movie I decided to check out was 'Psycho Bettys From the Planet Pussycat' (2011).

And no, this was not soft core porn.

I lasted 10 minutes before I just could not watch any more.

Yeah, this was real low budget. Cardboard and aluminum foil sets. The costumes were clearly just whatever the talent wore to set. We even get an old television, covered in foil, as a set piece.

Then they had musical numbers... With some really awkward editing to it.

I'm not even sure how to describe what I was watching. It just didn't make sense at all. I couldn't keep watching.

So then I scrolled through some more and found 'Space Boobs In Space' (2017) written by and staring Dee Flowered.

Believe it or not, once more NOT soft core porn.

Again this was about as low budget as it get. Painted water guns for the weapons and such.

Lots of cleavage shots, which I didn't mind.

Just couldn't watch more then ten minutes of it.

The acting, writing, editing, lighting and so on were all just so horrible on both these films. This is the quality level of the films I did in high school on no budget, when I had no clue what I was doing but just wanted to make movies. Back when I had to do all my editing in camera, with no access to things like youtube videos on how to do things. I was just winging it back then.

Not sure how an adult now days could justify such low levels of quality. The cheaper cameras are so much better quality now. There are many cheap and free editing programs that are so easy to use. You can get on-line and find so many videos that will help you learn how to up your quality.

I'm really not sure why these movies got made and how they have made an money. If anyone knows how there is a market for this and where you can sell such movies at, please send that info along to me. I want to know who these movies are made for. Somehow they are making money, as they are on Amazon Prime and I can't see that happening for free.

I have been working with my boys on short films, and I very much believe their projects are far more watchable.

In this day and age I am at a lose as to how films of this low quality level get made and end up with some level of distribution. There must be people who enjoy watching these films, maybe not altogether sober. But I'd be willing to give making such films a try if someone would be wiling to pay me to do it.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Disappointments Happen

Recently there have been a few disappointments connected to my favorite franchises. Now I do not expect everything to be perfect every time. I've seen enough failed aspects of these franchises that I know just being in those universes does not mean it will be perfect. I still do not have to accept it when things are poorly done.
So first we'll do the easy one, the trailer for the upcoming Venom movie ( I never had high hopes for this project and the trailer did nothing to change that. In fact if anything the trailer was so poorly done it made me even more certain this project was going to bomb.
First off the idea that you could have a Venom story done without something of the needed Spider-Man backstory already started it off weak. That part alone said this was not going to be Venom, but a character with the look and powers, but not the essence. So they then give us a trailer that tells us nothing at all about the movie. We get no idea of plot, no idea of character, no idea of, well, anything important. It is just a batch of random scenes with no images of the full Venom character. We barely see Eddie Brock, and what we do see does not create any interest.
My money is on Venom being a bust. Sony has shown that when left to their own devices, they have no cue how to handle the Spider-Man franchise. They ruined Amazing Spider-Man 2 in no small part because they were more concerned with building up to a Sinister Six movie, that no one really asked for, but the studio seemed to put as a high priority than actually making a good movie. They seem to be more concerned with getting movies out for as much of the non-Spider-Man Spidyverse characters that they have the rights to use than actually making any of it work. DC has already shown us that just getting movies out there for the sake of getting movies out there, just does not work.
The second noticeable recent disappointment was with the Star Wars 40th Anniversary short story collection From a Certain Point of View. Here we get 40 short stories in the classic trilogy time frame from 40 different writers.
It starts off with a story following Capt. Antilles from the end of Rogue One to his death at Vader's hands in A New Hope. It was good start with a decent story that worked and gave us a worthy look into a minor character.
After that, well it is a lot of hit and miss. We get to see the excitement of the Imperial paperwork and how to manipulate it. We get an odd story from Aunt Beru after she dies. We see Leia's adopted mother (who now did not die when Leia was young) right before Alderaan is destroyed, which bothered me greatly since that is trying to rewrite movie canon.
We get a batch of stories focusing on the aliens at the Mos Eisley Cantina. These stories disagree as to what each character's motives are, changing from one story to the next. In some stories the band has been playing there regularly for some time, while one story has them on their second night there. We get off POVs that do not at all line up with the movie. I started to get irritated with each new story that clearly did not at all work with the story I just read, while being told they are in the same universe, on the same planet with the same characters interacting with each other.
Near the end we get another example of stories not fitting together when dealing with Rebel pilots and the Battle of Yavin at the end of A New Hope. In one story we have a bunch of pilots upset that they did not get to go into battle because there were not enough fighters. This is followed by a story of an engineer who is looking at all the fighters that did not get used because of the lack of pilots...
Much of this is the kind of thing a good editor would fix by working with the writers. Well, for some reason this collection has no listed editor. It does say “All participating authors have generously forgone any compensation for their stories. Instead, their proceeds will be donated to First Book—a leading nonprofit that provides new books, learning materials, and other essentials to educators and organizations serving children in need.” But still, they could have put a little more effort into coordinating the stories and making this work.
Now there are some good stories in there and some interesting concepts introduced, but for the most part this felt too amateurish and not well planned out.
Gonna end on a positive note about something that did not disappoint, Black Panther was a awesome movie. Loved it. While I was bothered by a few elements of it, in the end it did not disappoint.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

That Was So Brilliantly Done Once I Thought About It

I am a fan of musical theater. Despite the jokes, straight men can enjoy and appreciate musicals just fine. My favorite musical of all time is Man Of La’Mancha. It is a great story, but on top of that if you listen to just the songs themselves, you get told the story. A truly good musical tells the story with the songs.

I hate Grease, mostly because the story is pure crap and fully lacking in morals. Also the music does not at all tell the story. Grease started off as musical review that they then tried to put a story to and as far as I am concerned it didn’t work.

There are musicals I have enjoyed and ones I have felt are over rated. I have my opinions.

One that I enjoyed on both stage and film is Chicago. A few hours ago the song ‘Cell Block Tango’ got stuck in my head. Singing it over and over again to myself I realized there was a true brilliance to it concerning the story that I had never seen before. In many ways it represents the type of things songs need to achieve in musicals.

The songs is about all the women who are in the prison for murder. We have only one major character participating in the song. The rest of the women are background characters and are only seen for this song, except one. Each of them gives the story of their murder along with their justification of doing it, if they had done it. Well all but one of them.

The one exception on the scene, the only one who does not brag about committing murder and only she says in English is ‘uh uh, not guilty’ for her part. She clearly does not speak English and very much comes off as the only one of these women who is actually not guilty. This is also the only character development we get for her. Yet she ends up laying a huge role in the play. Her name is Hunyak.

The only other scene featuring Hunyak is when she is put to death for being found guilty. She is the only character we see actually suffering punishment and is the only character who is most likely not guilty.

It is her death that wakes our main character up to the reality that there is a chance of her actually being found guilty. All the rest of that one song is just filler for her character getting developed so her death can be significant. And it is an enjoyable song that can get stuck in your head.

To have such a minor character get developed on such an important manner in one verse of a song is brilliant story telling. I love it when I see something so cleverly done. This is what more writers need to strive for.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

It’s Canon Now, You’re Just Gonna Have To Live With It

While I had my problems with the movie, all in all I liked Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It was enjoyable and had lots of surprises to it.

But there are those who do not share my opinion. 

There is an on-line petition to have Disney remove the film from being canon and do a new episode 8. And they have gotten over the desired amount of signatures for it. I’m sure someone at Disney or Lucasfilm will make some kind of statement in reply, but not much more.

One of my co-workers signed the petition. He was one of the fans like myself who had enjoyed the books and comics that for over two decades had built up an amazing and enjoyable continuation of the Star Wars universe. In talking with him I found it interesting that he actually believed that it had been the plan to adapt those stories into movies. I had to explain to him that even if Lucas was the one doing the new movies, that whole storyline would have been ignored and that Lucas had nothing to do with creating the Expanded Universe.

The one conclusion I told him he had to accept was that no matter what, Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi is now canon, no matter what his views on it are. It has been long understood that no matter what, the films are the final say. Aspects of the EU have been undone so many times due to the films. This is nothing new.

So even if The Last Jedi were a total bomb and everyone hated it, it would still be canon.  However, it has received critical praise from reviewers. People are flocking to see it world wide and it is on track to hit the billion dollar mark. And the movement against the film looks to be largely inflated by organized trolling efforts.

There really is no reason at all for Disney or Lucasfilm to remove support. All efforts are going to focus on the next film to finish up the trilogy, followed by more one shot movies and a new trilogy not focusing on the Skywalkers.

So for all those who dislike the Last Jedi for whatever reasons, it is canon and nothing is going to change that. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

It Just Keeps Getting Better

Earlier this year when Fox started airing commercials for The Orville I was rather unimpressed, but curious. The ads did not really draw me in and gave me no real idea about the show. The humor looked like it was going to fall flat and all in all just not work.

I actually was picturing the show to last a few episodes and then fade away.

I watched the first episode and it seemed to back up that belief. You could see what it was trying for, but it was missing its mark. The humor all felt forced with an awkwardness I couldn't explain.

Yet there was something there that made me want to give it a chance.

Episode by episode it has grown better. They seem to have figured out the pacing and how to work the humor into the episodes so it feels natural.

Fairly early on the show made it clear it wanted to deal with some serious issues. In their third episode 'About a Girl' they jumped right into some significant moral and societal issues, that did not seem to fit with how the show had been sold to us. It was truly surprising.

Now from the get go this was clearly Seth MacFarlane's ego project. This is the guy who gave us Family Guy and the Ted movies. For him to try to do serious sci-fi... Even though he was behind bringing us the brilliant reboot of Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson, picturing MacFarlane writing a serious show just didn't seem possible. I was expecting the bizarre, unhinged humor of Family Guy, without morals or good taste getting in the way. With such mature writing, it is hard to believe this is the same guy.

And Seth MacFarlane's Captain Mercer is not an interesting character. It is clearly MacFarlane is playing space captain because he wants to. But I am all for letting him play if he can keep the rest of the crew interesting and give us these stories.

What we are getting with the Orville now is an old school style Sci-Fi, looking at sci-fi tropes in a episodic format. One of the most noticeable differences between Orville and say Star Trek:TNG (which is the show I would say it most closely resembles), is that the characters in Orville are relaxed, not taking themselves overly serious.  While this does make it feel nonmilitary (seriously, I do not think I would want this team out there protecting me) it allows for a much more honest dialogue between characters. When you have the second in command say "this may sound like I'm talking out of my ass" with the reply "then please make sure you enunciate" during a briefing, it works.

The Orville is not the show I was expecting it to be, but it has become enjoyable and the farther along we go the better it seems to become.  MacFarlane seems to be figuring out how to make it work and will hopefully keep following what we have seen in the last few episodes that have worked so well.