Are you ready for another edition of io9's March Madness? In previous years, we've crowned the best movie, the worst movie, and the best TV show. But this year, we're going bigger. The most famous series in science fiction and fantasy will battle it out, to see which genre reigns supreme! ... As for the bracket itself, you can click on it to expand, or click here to zoom in on a really big version.
For your amusement and edification, I attach my choices for the entire tournament. To be clear, these are not the series I think will win but the ones I think should win.
Most of the choices were pretty easy. The most painful one was Terry Pratchett's Discworld series' early exit at the hands of Tolkien's/Jackson's Lord of the Rings. If Discworld had been in either the Magic and Monsters or Dystopia brackets (albeit not a good fit for the latter), it would have cruised into the Final Four.
There are some curious omissions, which are probably due to io9's preference for "orks that have proven their staying power either by developing into a huge series or by being adapted into other media." Even so, I would have opted for Heinlein's Future History series instead of Starship Troopers (I fear that decision was tainted by the execrable Paul Verhoeven film and its evil progeny). How about John Scalzi's Old Man Universe, which probably is today's hottest SF series? Or Charles Stross' wonderful Laundery Files? Or oldies but goodies like Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium series or Gordon Dickson's Dorsai books? Any of them likely would have made my Sweet Sixteen or even Elite Eight.
Alsion Frankel has the dirt on Dish Network controlling shareholder Charles Ergen's remarkably shoddy corporate governance attitudes and practices, summarizing:
So to recap, this large public company appropriately appointed an independent committee to evaluate a transaction in which its controlling shareholder had a substantial personal interest. The board then declined to protect the committee through indemnification while the majority shareholder made it clear that he regarded the committee as nothing more than expensive window-dressing for a deal he would actually control. When committee members dared to condition their recommendation on a continuing evaluation of the majority shareholder’s conflict, the board effectively fired them.
There's litigation pending in Las vegas, but wouldn't you love to see what Leo Strine would do to this guy?
Caught an episode of The Good Wife (4-11, ""Boom De Ya Da") last night. I guess it was an okay episode, as long as you like anti-bank agitprop and pro-trial lawyer propaganda. But it had some seriously bad legal errors:
Alicia forces the bank into settling a case by claiming that the bank is in violation of SEC rules requiring disclosure of the bank CEO's cancer. Problem? There is no such rule. There simply was no violation by the bank.
If Alicia threatened to disclose the illness, it would raise serious questions about blackmail, privacy violations, and other legal issues (maybe even HIPAA).
The mediator made rulings of law. As explained here, "The role of the mediator is to help parties reach a solution to their problem that both parties are happy to accept. The mediator remains neutral throughout the process." In contrast, "In arbitration a third party or parties consider both sides in a dispute, and make decisions that resolve the dispute." In other words, the show had a "mediator" functioning as an "arbitrator." For more on the errors committed in this plot line, go here.
Others have written about the glaring legal errors that occur with regularity on The Good Wife, most particularly in the area of legal ethics. And, indeed, those errors are always risible and often jaw-dropping. On each episode I see at least four or five actions that would get any lawyer sanctioned, if not disbarred. Those actions are usually presented as some form of "good lawyering," rather than, you know, illegal.
The Good Wife, in particular, causes me to go temporarily insane. Their portrayal of life in a “big firm” is so preposterous — the client comes in on Monday with an antitrust case against, say, all of the drug companies; on Tuesday they find the critical case on the issue, which they use, that afternoon, to confront the other side during depositions; at trial — which seems to occur the following day — the judge rules on the critical motion, and the other side gives up in despair.
It’s just so idiotic.
In sum, I don't think I'll become a regular viewer. Anti-capitalist politics and glaring legal errors by a show mainly about lawyers is just not good entertainment in my book.
I love this old docudrama on Benjamin Disraeli and this scene may be my favorite moment in it. I love how the guy playing Baron Rothschild just casually tells him he shall have it, but I love even more the answer to the question "What is your security?" Disraeli and Rothschild were very cool customers.
The Highlander films (except the especially execrable Higlander 2) and the live action TV show havealways been among my guilty cultural pleasures. Ryan Reynolds will doubtless make me feel even guiltier about loving the franchise. Cool.
I yield to no one as a fan of BBC's Top Gear, but even I am having a hard time defending the current series (#18) on BBC America. It feels tired, formulaic, and lazy. The (more obviously) scripted sections, like tonight's tiresome bit about making a car chase for the Sweeney film, have been unfunny snooze fests all series. In the Sweeney bit, in particular, Clarkson and Hammond seemed to be just mailing it in.
To be sure, nothing's been quite as cringe worthy as the wedding car bit from series 15. Instead, it's just dreadfully monotonous. It seems like we've heard all these jokes a 1000 times and seen minor variants on the same segment dozens of times. It seems like they're just going through the motions.
I'm still prepared to defend Clarkson, May, and Hammond when they go off the PC reservation.
I just never thought I'd have to defend them for being lame.