Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Small Green Orb

During this year's Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, I'm highlighting things more people should know about. For the most part, I'll be ignoring the most popular and widely known items (and sometimes my personal favorites) in order to promote the unfamiliar and underappreciated.

P's in a Pod Edition
Pondering over a plethora of P programs, I couldn't pick. Perturbed, I put three in a pod.1


FILM
Un Proph├Ęte (A Prophet)
Malik, a young French Arab, is in prison on an assault charge and just wants to serve his time in peace. But he's soon pulled into the middle of an ongoing conflict between the Corsican and Muslim gangs who basically run the joint. Doing his best to balance the mistrust of him on both sides, Malik slowly works his way up the mafia's hierarchy as he seeks his salvation.
TELEVISION
Police Squad!
Every guest star was dead before the opening credits ended. Each episode was chock-full of literal interpretations, sight gags, and non sequiturs. And the freeze frames at the close of each show were never completely frozen. Sounds fantastic, right? Yet it was cancelled after only six episodes. (Though, they did "revive" it for The Naked Gun trilogy.) At least you can watch the entire series in a matter of hours... unlike with my other three picks.2
GAME
Power Grid
Bid on the most powerful (or most efficient) power plants. Purchase supplies that get more expensive the later you buy. Then build out your grid and try to beat your competitors to the best cities. This is one of the best games out there for balance, because each turn, all the advantages go to the player in last place. As Spider-Man always says, "With great power come great disadvantages." (For 2-5 players. And addition skills definitely help.)
MUSIC
Propellerheads
My favorite electronica/big-beat group, but unfortunately they only put out one album. Possibly the best ever one-and-done band (for me, they edge out The Postal Service). You might recognize one song from the lobby scene of The Matrix, or maybe their hit "History Repeating." And their remix of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is also stunning. Actually, that goes for the entire album.
LITERATURE
The Pericles Commission by Gary Corby
The father of democracy is dead, fallen at the feet of young Nicolaos, who is then commissioned to find the murderer. Nico might be fictional, but the majority of his supporting cast are straight from the history books and ancient Greece (including his younger brother Socrates). Corby does a masterful job of weaving his own ideas with actual events — such as the murder itself — and imbues Greek history with far more life than my high school textbooks ever did. (Read my full review)


1 The way I figure it, a monopod has one foot, a podiatrist is a foot doctor, and with my iPod I know when something's afoot. Therefore, this is pretty much a pod. (Technically, a notepod.)
2 Pushing Daisies: If only every prematurely pulled program was given the option this one had. When this show — a fairy-tale-style story of a humble pie-maker (who helps solve murders by bringing the victims back to life for one minute) in love with a once-dead girl who he can't have because one more touch would re-kill her — learned the end had come, they were able to throw together one final pell-mell episode wrapping up all the storylines in one fell swoop.
  Party Down: A small catering company made up of Hollywood has-beens and wannabes works events ranging from funerals to reunions to adult award show afterparties to Steve Guttenberg's birthday. It's witty and bizarre and uncomfortable and I loved it. It's certainly not for everyone's tastes, but it might be yours.
  The Powers That Be: A short-lived show about a clueless Senator and his dysfunctional family and staff, including his chief of staff/mistress, his illegitimate daughter, political aide (Peter MacNicol), son-in-law (a pre-Frasier David Hyde Pierce) and grandson (a pre-3rd Rock Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Alas, this is another one that hasn't yet made it to DVD. Yet Jersey Shore's all over the goddamn place.

14 comments:

  1. Interesting. I like Flickr photos. Cool.

    Found you thru A to Z.

    Shelly
    http://secondhanshoesnovel.blogspot.com/

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    1. Um... I don't know what that has to do with today's post, but yeah, I like Flickr photos, too.

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  2. Pushing Daisies was so much fun. I was so sad when they cancelled it.

    And I remember the Powers That Be.

    Jersey Shore just makes me so... sad.

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    1. I, too, was sad to see Daisies go, but glad they got to wrap everything up with a whirlwind episode. And wow, I didn't know anyone else remembered Powers...

      And just the fact that Jersey Shore is popular... somehow, I've never been able to underestimate the stupidity of the American people.

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  3. I love Police Squad, and never tire of re-watching any of the six episodes. I'm currently reading THE PERICLES COMMISSION and enjoying it a lot. I was not aware of the other things on your list, but I am now. Well done--mission accomplished! :)

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    1. Excellent! (Picture me saying this with my fingers steepled.) And hey, once you're done with Pericles, its sequel (The Ionia Sanction) is fun, too. Just finished it a week ago.

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  4. i had meant to watch pushing daisies, but it was gone before i did

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    1. Thankfully, we now have things like Netflix and libraries that lend DVDs to help us cope with the poor judgement of television networks...

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  5. Police Squad was so very, very funny. You had to look carefully because there were even sight gags (remember the key shop?). So was Airplane. Same thing. You HAD to read the credits at the end. Somewhere between Foley artist and Best boy there would be: Tale of two cities-------Charles Dickens. Those two guys, I think brothers Zucker (not sure) were really funny.
    Your posts are wonderful.

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    1. Thanks, Anthony. And yeah, Abrahams and the brothers Zucker were fantastic with everything they wrapped into these episodes (and their movies). With so much to catch, they're ideal for repeated viewing.

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  6. I have heard of Police Squad and Pushing Daisies. I never saw but bits and pieces of any of the Naked Gun movies. However Nielsen was a stellar comedic actor...Airplane was brilliant because of him.

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    1. Nielsen's the the master at being completely serious and completely hilarious at the same time. If you love him in Airplane, check out Police Squad! (and maybe work up to the zanier Naked Gun flicks).

      And of course, Pushing Daisies is worth a watch, too. (Perhaps a Rolex, maybe just an excellent knock-off.)

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  7. I loved Police Squad. Leslie Nielsen is a riot!

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    1. That he is. That is to say... was. One of the best at deadpan humor.

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