Sci-fi – Why doesn’t it work on TV?

27 05 2011

Last week, I read the sad news that ABC was canceling “V” after its second season and NBC had decided to not renew “The Event” for a second season. Neither piece of news was super surprising, given the dwindling ratings both shows had experienced after strong starts. Also last week, as networks announced their new shows for the fall season, several much-hyped sci-fi or superhero shows failed to get picked up. The revamped “Wonder Woman” and “17th Precinct” by “Battlestar Galactica” creator Ron Moore were both passed over by NBC. With “Smallville” coming to an end after 10 seasons, the sci-fi/superhero prospects for next season don’t look very good.

Do all these things point to the death of sci-fi and superhero shows on TV?  I almost hope that it does. As a huge sci-fi fan, that is very hard for me to say. However, it is very frustrating to repeatedly get invested in a new show, only to see the rug pulled out after one or two seasons by the network. Thanks to the cancellation of these shows, we’ll never know what “The Event” really was or if the humans would be able to fight off the evil aliens with the help of Marc Singer. Even the network that is supposed to be all about science fiction (SyFy) doesn’t give its shows enough time to grow and build an audience. “Stargate Universe” ended recently after its second season with the crew in stasis for the next 3 years on a course for a new galaxy.

I almost wish they would never launch these shows if they aren’t going to give them time to tell a complete story. I hate being left hanging. That’s why even if I start reading a book or watching a movie and it’s not very good, there still is part of me that wants to find out how it ends. So if I feel that way about a story I don’t really enjoy, imagine how disappointed I am at not being able to find out how a  story ends that I really like. I guess I like closure. I think I need to go into therapy to deal with my issues of being abandoned by my favorite TV shows. Read the rest of this entry »


Book Review – Nick of Time by Tim Downs

23 05 2011

Nick of Time

By Tim Downs

Thomas Nelson

In Stores Now

The Bug Man is back. “Nick of Time” is the sixth book by author Tim Downs featuring forensic entomologist Nick Polchak, aka the Bug Man. Nick is more at home in the world of bugs than he is in the world of his fellow humans, a key point that resonates throughout this book.

In “Nick of Time,” Nick is getting ready to make a major life change by marrying a woman who is nearly as uncomfortable with people as Nick – dog trainer Alena Savard, a reclusive woman locals believe can speak with animals. So why is Nick running to Philadelphia for a gathering of forensic professionals who investigate cold cases mere days before his wedding? That’s what Alena wants to know. Once he arrives in the City of Brotherly Love, Nick discovers an old friend has been murdered. Rather than returning to his fiancée and letting the police handle the case, the Bug Man begins following the trail of clues himself, a trail that leads him further away from the wedding and the woman waiting for him. When he misses their scheduled phone call two nights in a row, Alena and three of her dogs leave the safe confines of her home in search of her love, and the truth about his feelings for her.

“Nick of Time” is the first book I’ve read in the Bug Man series, but Downs does a good job of writing for both longtime readers and newcomers. I didn’t feel like I was missing key pieces of information from past books, but I’m sure faithful fans picked up things I didn’t or understood things differently than I did, and that’s the way it should be in any book series.

There were many things I loved about this book. The characters are rich and multi-dimensional. The dialogue was snappy and well-written. The plot moved quickly and was entertaining. This may have been the first Bug Man book I’ve read, but it certainly won’t be the last.

On a scale of one to five, I give “Nick of Time” a 4.

BookSneeze has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in return for my unbiased review.

Book Review – The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer

19 05 2011

The Inner Circle

Brad Meltzer

Grand Central Publishing

In stores now

If there’s one thing Brad Meltzer loves, it’s secrets. Or more accurately, he loves exposing secrets. Whether it’s one of his best-selling novels or his History Channel TV series, Meltzer makes a living delving into the past and exploring mysteries. Many of his stories have centered around Washington, DC, and the many secrets and cover-ups that have helped the powerful denizens of our Capital rise to the top. This story is no different. In his latest novel, “The Inner Circle,” Meltzer once again spins a fast-moving tale full of cover-ups and lies, leaving the reader and characters wondering who they can really trust.

The hero of the story, Beecher White, is a young archivist who works with some of the most important documents in our country’s history as an employee of the National Archives. When childhood crush Clementine Kaye shows up at the archives looking for help tracking down her long-lost father, Beecher tries to impress her by showing her the secret vault where the president reviews historical documents. Unexpectedly, Beecher and Clementine discover a 200-year-old dictionary that had been owned by George Washington hidden in a desk chair. As they ponder why the president would hide such a document, they quickly understand the high-stakes game they have found themselves involved with as a man turns up dead. This discovery entwines the pair in a web of lies, conspiracy and murder involving the Culper Ring, a group of secret spies tracing their history back to the days of the Revolutionary War. Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review – Immanuel’s Veins by Ted Dekker

16 05 2011

Immanuel’s Veins

By Ted Dekker

Thomas Nelson

In Stores Now

Over the past decade, Ted Dekker has made a name for himself by writing two kinds of stories: fantasy and psychological thrillers. But no matter which genre he has written in, one constant has remained. Dekker loves exploring battles between good and evil, life and death, hope and despair. In Dekker’s latest novel, he tackles a slightly different type of story, but that eternal conflict is still at the heart of this story.

In Immanuel’s Veins, Toma and his brother-in-arms Alec have been dispatchedto Moldavia by their Empress, Catherine the Great, to protect a countess and her two daughters, Lucine and Natasha. Dekker quickly establishes that Toma is a faithful, duty-bound soldier who would never do anything other than what he was ordered to do, while the countess and her daughters are free spirits who embrace life. These traits immediately appeal to Alec, who has quite a fondness for all the pleasures life has to offer.

On the road to Moldavia, Alec and Toma encounter a strange old man who warns them of impending danger. Toma dismisses the warnings as nothing more than the ramblings of a crazy old man. But before long, he discovers the man knew more than Toma could ever imagine.

I won’t go into any more detail about the plot to avoid spoiling it for those who haven’t read it yet. But I will say that Dekker takes a well-known and quite frankly over-used archetype and adds his own unique twist to the traditional story. In the end, what appears to be just a suspenseful tale of the battle over a woman turns into a tale of redemption and sacrificial love. It’s a great allegory for the love Jesus showed for the world when he died on the cross.

There were some complaints that this story was too sensual or dark to be classified as Christian fiction. As with most of Dekker’s work, he uses the battle between good and evil – a battle which at times goes to dark places. However, that does not make the story unsuitable for any adult to read. If you go into this story with an open mind, you can’t help but be moved by the imagery and the reminder of what Jesus did 2,000 years ago.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give “Immanuel’s Veins” a 4.

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