The Redeye Rogue Report: New ‘Star Wars’ Animated Series, ‘Star Wars: Detours’

(Originally posted at Red Eye Rogue)

Redeye Rogue

Well it appears that the people that brought you Robot Chicken are about to serve up something called Star Wars: Detours.

The Emperor looks absolutely unhinged.

STAR WARS SPECIAL: The False Reverence Of Darth Vader (Or Stupid Crap That George Lucas Made My Generation Believe)

To celebrate Intergalactic Star Wars Day and the 35th Anniversary of the release of the greatest Science Fiction film of all time, I thought I’d take a moment to discuss the biggest flaw of the entire Star Wars franchise that we’ve all bought like idiots for pushing nearly four decades, now; the redemption of Darth Vader after he kills Emperor Palpatine at the end of Return of the Jedi.  Because, after all, that is what the film saga is all about; the rise and fall and ultimate final redemption of Vader.  Seriously, I’ve not only not understood this premise since I’ve been a rational thinking adult, but I really find it a bit disturbing that the general public and the universe of Star Wars geekdom has accepted it for as long they have without batting an eye.

THIS GUY figured it out… and should be revered in death.

First let me start by saying that unlike other characters in classic literature and mythology or popular film and television, Vader didn’t have a “come to Jesus” moment and see the error of his ways like, for example, Legate Damar did when he turned on The Dominion in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and began to see how truly evil they were (By the way, like Vader, the Dominion got off way too easy, as well, and Section 31 was right to create the disease that would have killed them all, but I digress…) and actually evolved his thinking. No, in typical Anakin Skywalker-fashion, he was motivated by narcissistic self-interest.

C.monnnn… think of all the fun we’ll have raping and pillaging!

In Attack of the Clones he killed the Tusken Raiders, also known by their dehumanizing and slightly racist other name the “Sandpeople” (women and children, too) out of a need for personal revenge, he joined Palpatine and the Dark Side to save Padmé, he decapitated Dooku because it was less of a hassle than taking him prisoner and he ultimately killed Palpatine to protect his son. Hell, in The Empire Strikes Back, he didn’t try to recruit Luke by saying, “Luke, join me so we can stop this madness and I can make amends for all of the pain I’ve caused,” no, he says, “Join me and we can rule the Galaxy as father and son.” What the sh*t?  Hey, Darth… it’s not always about what works for youdick.

Yep… as you can see, the sh*t works as advertised. So, how many Death Stars can I put you down for?

This guy’s track-record as far as we know from the six films is that he has personally murdered women and children, baby Padawans, and was instrumental in committing genocide throughout the galaxy. Oh, and yeah… he destroyed an entire planet with no defensive capabilities thereby killing billions of innocent people in one shot… as a product demonstration! This guy made Hitler look like Walt Disney, yet he’s revered at the end of Jedi like he’s some kind of tragic hero. “I can still feel the good in you, father.” Eff that, Vader never expressed even one ounce of regret over the evil things that he had done, even at the end.  Nope, the only thing that he regrets is the fact that he disappointed his kid!

And, by the way, yes, nerds, I am completely aware that Luke never uttered the exact words, “I can still feel the good in you, father,” but that, of course, was the big theme. Besides, if Lucas can change the entire make-up of characters than I sure as heck can tweak a little dialogue for the purpose of driving a point home.

Moving along…

Hope & Change: Bringin’ It.

So, when Luke is dragging him up on that ramp on the shuttle saying, “You’re coming with me.  I can’t leave you here. I’ve got to save you,” what was he thinking… that the rest of the Rebel Alliance and trillions of oppressed citizens of the Empire would just let him off the hook because he did one good thing and helped his kid? I hate to be the one to break this to people but Vader killing Palpatine was a meaningless gesture thanks to the badass of all badasses, Lando Calrissian taking care of business with the Millenium Falcon, a forty of Colt 45 and that little frog-looking dude in the copilot’s seat. Again, all Vader did was save his own kid which is something I do every day when they climb on top of the fridge and they aren’t pinning any medals on my chest and I’ve certainly never killed a bunch of five year-olds.  Luke or no Luke, Vader or no Vader, that Death Star gets blown up and the Emperor gets vaporized along with everyone else on that thing.

All he needs is a gallon of Kool-Aid and he’s ready to party.

And another thing…. why was Luke crying?  He’s had contact with his old man a grand total of three times in his life.  Let’s examine the outcomes of those events, shall we?  The first time, he watched Vader murder his mentor Obi Wan (mind you, he did just meet that guy a few hours earlier, but losing the leader of cult can be very destructive for an impressionable young man like Luke who became a religious zealot within only a couple of hours of actually hearing about the religion) and of course it turns out that he was directly responsible for the murders of his aunt and uncle.  The second time, Dad freezes his best friend in a block of carbonite and cuts off his hand while letting him fall presumably to his death without even checking to see if he’s OK and the third time, he tries to kill him, considers letting his boss the finish the job and then changes his mind.  Yeah, those are real Kodak moments to get all misty-eyed over, Luke.

Warmin’ up for ya, Darth. Nub, Nub, indeed.
BTW, I can’t begin to tell you how hard it is to find a photo of an Ewok on a toilet.

Redemption, my ass. What most likely would have happened if Vader would have survived like Luke tried to make happen is that Vader would have bit it like Mussolini albeit with representatives from the 50,000 Old Republic planets all throwing stones at him and the Wookiees and Ewoks taking turns, respectively, taking a dump in his open mouth, and chances are, Luke would have gotten whacked just for being associated with his ass (which Luke probably knew which is why he didn’t make a big issue out of Vader’s protests).

But no, what does Lucas give us? He gives a happy little scene where Vader is honored with a funeral pyre and we see the spirits of Kenobi, Yoda and the genocidal, narcissistic, child-killing, mass-murderer smiling on in Jedi Heaven like nothing happened. Eff that. There’s a special place in Hell for Darth Vader and for George Lucas for trying to make us believe that empty gestures can wash away a history of pure, unadulterated evil.

As a reminder… Han fired the ONLY shot.

And why not, I guess?  After all this is the same guy that has changed the history of his own work to make an obvious scoundrel and cold-blooded killer seem like a hero, even going so far as to definitively say that Han Solo was always meant to shoot first.  I’ve heard people say that Lucas has raped their childhood, no, Lucas has been raping our intelligence since we were toddlers and continues to do so as we march toward middle-age… and, of course, we gladly accept it and ask for more (and I freely admit that I am just as bad).

***Sigh.***

Seriously… What the Hell is wrong with us?

So now that the rant is officially over, please enjoy Red Letter Media’s review of Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace, by Harry S. Plinkett.  It’s an hour and eight minutes long so I had to split it into two parts but it’s well worth it.

TV SCOOP! ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome’ Preliminary Concept Art Released!

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This isn't one of the pics released, we just found it on the Internets, thought it was cool and created a title for it.

***UPDATE: DOUG DREXLER HAS CONFIRMED WITH THE THE ‘TASTIC TODAY THAT HE IS ATTACHED TO THE BLOOD & CHROME PROJECT AS WELL***

“Happy New Year Shawn! Yes! [VFX Supervisor]Gary [Hutzel] drags my bleeding corpse with him everywhere he goes!”

Check out Doug’s blog at the Drexfiles, right here on WordPress.  LOTS of fun stuff there.

Well, Battlestar Galactica fans, it looks like the highly anticipated prequel, Blood & Chrome is quickly becoming a reality.  Last month, we reported to you in our Caprica post-mortem that the pilot for the series had been green-lit and what the premise was.  Blastr.com has obtained exclusive concept art from the show’s producers (scroll down to the bottom for the slideshow) and the word is that principle shooting is to begin in late January, 2011.

Galactica SITREP did a brief interview with writer and executive producer, Michael Taylor who provides a bit of insight into these images and into the pilot:

“Those pics were just the first of the many concept art sketches we’ve been creating. They don’t necessarily reflect any particular incidents in the script; as “concept” drawings they’re helping us flesh out the new world of Blood & Chrome. And it is a new world, one that owes much to the BSG series of the past but at the same time uses CGI to open up that world in ways that we hope fans will find fresh and exciting.

As for the show’s status, SyFy has officially green-lit a two-hour pilot, and we have begun pre-production, with filming expected to begin at the end of January, or very shortly thereafter. This is the fun part for me: seeing the script take tangible shape (or “virtually tangible” shape, since practically all of the pilot will be shot on green screen) as our director (Jonas Pate), DP (Lukas Ettlin), VFX supervisor (Gary Hutzel) and a host of artists — and of course the cast that we’ll soon be gathering — bring it to life.”

We have just a few observations about this latest news:

First, it seems to us that all of this is coming together amazingly quick which means either one of two things:  SyFy is incredibly eager to wash the taste of Caprica out of its mouth and breathe life back into the most successful franchise in its history or this is a lot of wishful thinking on the producers’ part as to how fast this is all coming together.

We’d like to hope it’s the former, but this whole process seems to be going at FTL speed for us.  Goodness, the project just got green-lit it in November and the casting hasn’t even been made public on IMDb.  Then again, this is Hollywood and if, as Taylor notes, virtually all of the two-hour pilot will be shot on green-screen then you don’t have to do a whole lot as far as set dressing is concerned and we suppose it could be done that quickly.  It’s the post-production and visual effects that will take a lot longer than usual.

Which brings us to another concern, not necessarily a criticism, but a concern nonetheless:  Virtually all of the two-hour pilot is going to be shot on green screen?  Really? Are we talking Phantom Menace here?  One of the more appealing aspects of BSG was the ability to effectively mix practical sets with digital elements to the point where it was generally seamless (at least in the interior scenes) and it always makes us cringe a little when we hear about such a dramatic shift in production (especially THIS shift because we are very much opposed to the over-reliance on CG) to a franchise known for high-quality visual effects.  That being said, Gary Hutzel is in charge of visual effects again and he is a master at combining practical filming and CG effectively (see: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and, of course, Battlestar Galactica).  So, at this point we will remain less skeptical than we normally would be.

We also need to correct the Blastr.com piece we alluded to earlier.  Despite what the piece says, Blood & Chrome will not be a “two-hour pilot movie,” it will simply be a two-hour pilot episode.  The distinction needs to be made because calling it a “movie” implies by its nature that it is a “backdoor  pilot.”  A “backdoor pilot” is a made for television movie that is produced with the intention of the movie acting as a pilot episode for a potential series but is written as a standalone, self-contained story if the series isn’t picked up.  This is an important distinction because if the indications were that a project was to be a “movie,”that would mean that the network would be waiting to see how the “movie” does in the ratings before ordering episodes for the series.  That means that if it doesn’t do well in the ratings, you’ll never see a regular series episode.  If it does do well, however, it will be several months before you’ll see new episodes.

If, on the other hand, a show is planned as a conventional pilot, that means that the network heads will watch the pilot, decide if it’s good enough to order additional episodes, and then proceed from that point.  They will then air the two-hour pilot episode and shortly thereafter, air the new series episodes.  If the network heads don’t like the pilot, don’t worry about the series being canceled because you’ll never even see the pilot.  There has been absolutely no indication whatsoever that the two-hour pilot for Blood & Chrome is anything but a two-hour pilot episode and in this case that’s absolutely a good thing.  SyFy isn’t going to wait around to see how the pilot does in the ratings when they already have the established BSG audience built-in, just as they did with Caprica, so if it airs (which we are sure it will) expect that the series will follow.

Yes, we are certainly aware that Blastr.com is a SyFy Channel project, but they got this wrong and it happened for one of two reasons:

1. It was completely intentional in order to hype the pilot. This is a well-known practice in genre.  The Star Trek franchise was notorious for calling two-hour episodes “movies” or “movie-events” in the mid-to-late 90’s and in more recent years, 24 did the same thing with their two-hour episode Redemption, and in fact, they are still clinging to this notion that Redemption is a “film.”  Nah… it was just the season seven primer that aired two months prior to the season premiere to make up for the fact that the series had gone 18 months without an original episode because of the writer’s strike and they wanted to spark interest in it again.  So, again, this practice isn’t unheard of, but it’s misleading for the average audience who thinks that “movie” implies that they will be watching an original feature film on basic cable.

2.  It was just a mistake, typical of an over-exuberant blogger. We freely admit that we’ve made similar mistakes based on our excitement for a particular project.  Simply look at our rating of The Event for evidence of that.  Blastr.com is a professional site but it’s still a blog.

Finally, we are very excited about the choices in writers for Blood & Chrome if what’s reported on IMDb is accurate.  Ignore the references to Ron Moore because he has nothing to do with the new series (and we doubt Glen Larson does either), he’s simply listed as the developer as a courtesy and because he is responsible for developing the franchise and tacking his name onto the project gives it credibility.

On the other side of the coin, though, it is being Executive Produced by David Eick (and that is confirmed, it’s not just a courtesy title) and Michael Taylor as well as being written by Taylor, David Weddle, and Bradley Thompson.  This trifecta of writers was not only part of the major core of writers for BSG but they are also responsible for some of the absolute best episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as well, which has been hailed by critics as the best series of that franchise, and it revolved around an intergalactic war so these gentlemen certainly have credentials in that department.

The ‘Tastic will keep you up to date as we find out more about Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome.

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‘Outsourced’ (NBC – Thursday, 9:30 p.m.)

“Outsourced” is NBC’s new workplace comedy series centered around a catalog-based company, Mid America Novelties, that sells American novelty goods including whoopee cushions, foam fingers and wallets made of bacon, and whose call center has suddenly been outsourced to India.

After recently completing Mid America Novelties’ manager training program, Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport, off-Broadway’s “The Gingerbread House”) learns that the call center is being outsourced to India, and he is asked to move there to be the manager. Having never ventured out of the country, he is unprepared for the culture shock. Overwhelmed, Todd discovers that his new staff needs a crash course in all things American if they are to understand the U.S. product line and ramp up sales from halfway around the world.

The sales team Todd inherits includes Gupta (Parvesh Cheena, “Help Me Help You”), a socially awkward employee; Manmeet (Sacha Dhawan, BBC’s “Five Days II”), a young romantic who is enamored with America; Asha (Rebecca Hazlewood, BBC’s “Doctors”), a smart, striking woman who finds herself intrigued by Todd; Rajiv (Rizwan Manji, “Privileged”) the assistant manager who wants Todd’s job; and Madhuri (Anisha Nagarajan, Broadway’s “Bombay Dreams”), a wallflower who suffers from extreme shyness.

Todd also discovers other transplants working in his office building, including an American expatriate, Charlie Davies (Diedrich Bader, “The Drew Carey Show”), who runs the All-American Hunter call center, and Tonya (Pippa Black, “Neighbours”), a beautiful Australian who runs the call center for Koala Air. – NBC

The Preview (Originally posted on 9/23/2010):

Shawn: I don’t know what appeals to me more, the politically incorrect tone of this series or the fact that it looks absolutely hilarious. I also like the premise that they telemarket novelties like rubber vomit and whoopee cushions. Looking forward to this, I hope the show can live up to the hype in the trailer.

The Review:

7 out of 10

Unfortunately, Outsourced looked a lot funnier in the trailer than it has turned out to be. I’m not saying that I don’t like the show but I think the whole concept of the series works better for a film than it does for a weekly sitcom.

The hilarious trailer is literally a four-minute summation of the entire pilot episode and though the jokes while rapid-fire in the trailer are very funny, they don’t work particularly well for comedic value over the course of 23 minutes. That or it was one of those issues like with the film The Hangover where they literally showed every funny scene in the movie in the trailers and because of that when I actually saw it I didn’t think it was that funny. Probably not, though, because every episode following the pilot has followed the same trend and I’m still not laughing as much as I would have hoped.

Every single episode kind of follows the same formula and that is Todd dealing with an issue involving the differences between American culture and Indian culture. Some of the jokes work but a lot of them don’t and the reason why is that they keep reverting to this standby of taking an American turn-of-phrase and having one of the Indian characters repeat it using a funny accent and saying it in the style of… well… an Indian. Here’s an example:

Gupta: As you say in America, it looks like you are up a creek and have forgotten your paddle. Also, this is a creek of feces… a most unpleasant creek for you.

See what I mean? That line was one of the funnier ones but every episode is full of these and it gets a little stale when there’s a dozen of those per episode because you really just start expecting it. Like I said, it’s the kind of thing that works sporadically in a feature film but it can’t carry a series. Just think of how well it worked during the few cameo scenes with Mooj (Gerry Bednob) in The 40 Year-Old Virgin (and it was even funnier because he was so foul-mouthed).

WARNING: NSFW (LANGUAGE, SEXUAL REMARKS)

But you wouldn’t want a whole series based around that (foul language and sexual remarks notwithstanding). It would be like having an entire series based around people who tried to speak American English but they also sounded like Yoda. It would be funny the first couple of times but it would lose its appeal rather quickly.

Beyond that, though, these characters are very likable and although the different scenarios all have the same general premise, I find myself still wanting to tune in every week. It’s very charming.

So, in the end, Outsourced is an enjoyable show even if it’s not as funny as I would have expected and it does have the potential to pick up steam and become a lot funnier with a little bit of effort on the writer’s part.

Watch full episodes of Outsourced, here.