Archive for the ‘alternative realities’ category

“Alter Ego” Coming to Fox…

September 11, 2021

We’ve all probably gotten a bit weary of singing competitions, even the offbeat ones such as The Masked Singer where contestants perform in full body costumes that disguise their identity. Now in an attempt to pique our jaded tastes, a new type of singing competition has hooked into technology, and is allowing contestants to perform as their chosen avatar.

These are not static avatars, but 3D moving, full-bodied representations limited only by the imagination. Want to perform as a humanoid with purple skin? – – Got you covered! Prefer to be singing with butterfly wings? – – No problemo.

You can also be gender fluid on the show, looking like someone androgynous or other than your sex assigned at birth. Your performing avatar can interact with and respond to competition judges as well.

Performing in motion-capture suits, the singers will control their avatars and appear before the judges as them. It’s kind of like American Idol meets Ready Player One, and just when you thought singing competitions were old hat…

So September 22nd and 23rd on Fox, contestants “from all walks of life” will compete, but not as themselves. They will have such names as Lover Boy, Night Journey, and Fern. Cartoonish? Perhaps…but if you could perform as an avatar, what might that “alter ego” be, hmmm? I think that I should like to perform as a demonic fox, just to stretch myself creatively a bit…then if the judges didn’t like me, they’d be sorry, heheheh! “Mr. Producer, need a new panel of judges here, ASAP!” Oh well, singing was never my strong suit…

“Ghosts” On CBS…

September 6, 2021

From the ghost of Hamlet’s father to the Kirby’s on Topper, ghosts have always been compelling presences in entertainment. Now it seems that we are soon to be haunted by such spirits on Ghosts, a comedy coming to CBS appropriately enough in October.

Now Ghosts is adapted from a hit BBC series, and ghosts are no strangers to the British or their entertainment. The series Being Human was also translated to an Americanized version, with the characters including a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost. Ghosts will focus just on haunts, however, as a comic series and not as a paranormal “in search of“ endeavor.

The ghosts in question here inhabit a large Victorian estate recently inherited by a couple, Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), and Samantha (Rose McIver), who intend to convert the property into a bed and breakfast. When Samantha has a near-death experience, she acquires the ability to see and interact with the multitude of spirits who haunt her property.

And what a diverse crew these spirits are! One is a scoutmaster who wanders about with an arrow through his neck, another is a Viking explorer, a third a 60’s hippie, a fourth a militiaman, plus a prohibition-era lounge singer, and so forth. A number of the spirits have a certain unique power that can manifest itself in the world of the living; the Viking, for example, can cause electrical fixtures to sputter, while another can telekinetically move small objects.

There’s a touch of Beetlejuice here, but the ghosts are far more vulnerable, and have roommate issues. It hurts them when the living walk through them, plus in so doing we smell flatulent to them. It’s no piece of cake being deceased but earth-bound and not having been “passed on,” which is an aww moment.

So you may want to catch Ghosts, premiering on CBS October 7th. It could be a fun way to kick off the Halloween season… 🦊

“Lamb;” Bizarre but Awesome?

August 4, 2021

Mary had a little lamb, goes the familiar nursery rhyme…and so, apparently, did a childless couple depicted in the upcoming movie Lamb, set in rugged rural Iceland. Now the couple (Maria and Ingvar) did not produce the hybrid themselves, but rather received it as the product of a kind of supernatural visitation to their sheep shed during lambing season. They regard the hybrid as a gift, and raise it as their own rather defensively, the human-ovine child bringing the couple happiness and filling in the gap in their lives. The lamb-child is raised in a crib and fed from a bottle, becoming a bipedal furry humanoid of sorts.- – Kinda the ultimate blended family, right?

Called the strangest movie of the year,” Lamb crosses a number of borders and genres as good films so often do, and viewers are left confused thinking about whether they’ve seen a folkloric horror flick or some kind of absurdist comedy. Perhaps a bit of both in what’s been described as a “visual poem.” The lamb-child herself is the product of puppetry, performance acting, and CGI blended seamlessly.

This isn’t Sheepsquatch, but we of the furry fandom are quite familiar and comfortable with the notion of animal-human hybrids; I’m on board with this! We all know people who think that their kid is a little lamb whereas they’re really a little devil, right? Reviewers of the film are not overly talkative about the details of it out of fear that doing so might spoil the cinematic experience for viewers. Produced by the A24 studio that has done such films as The Lighthouse, Hereditary, and The Witch, the film may become a cult classic. Lamb brings forth the elemental beauty of the Icelandic landscape, and touches upon the deep, often unfathomable relationship between animals and humans…and that’s not a baaad thing! Watch for Lamb premiering in the U.S. October 8th… 🐑

Yesterday’s Tomorrows…

July 7, 2021

I have to confess that I’m pretty ticked that I don’t have my flying car yet. Now I really wouldn’t have wanted one that looked like a small rocket ship, as I’m more into the retro futurism look. Just give me something that looks like a Volkswagen but can fly, ok?

And another thing…where are the skyships, since zeppelins were at one time predicted to be the future of aviation? I always wanted to be a sky captain, navigating one of those big, majestic craft between the cities, and maybe occasionally repelling sky pirates for a little romance and excitement. – – Why did the Hindenburg have to blow up?!

And where are the robots? They were supposed to be everywhere, some assuming all labor so you’d never have to lift a finger. You’d have to watch out for the bad robots, however, who could be quite menacing, both to you individually and to the human race…

Bad robots were usually made by mad scientists, who are also in short supply these days. I think that being a mad scientist was my role model at one time. I liked the look and the vibe, plus you didn’t have to worry about fashion or hair care…

But alas, the future as I wanted it never came to pass. Instead we got smart phones and Facebook. Guess I’ll just have to concentrate on doing the personal evolution thing…

Space Jam: A New Legacy…

July 5, 2021

Perhaps the alarmed expressions on the faces of the Looney Tunes characters is a reaction to their new movie, Space Jam: A New Legacy, opening July 16th in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously. A key question is whether the world really needed a sequel to 1996’s original Space Jam movie, and the consensus of opinion is not only no, but hell no!

Now the sequel a quarter century later involves basketball superstar LeBron James’ young son Dom being captured and held by a rogue A.I. in a digitized world from which he will be released only if LeBron can best the A.I.’s team in a game of basketball, with LeBron’s team consisting of the classic Warner Bros. Tune Squad characters.

They’re almost all there, with Pepe Le Pew having been deleted due to criticisms that he “normalized rape culture.” I kind of miss the lusty French skunk already, and hope that somehow the character will be reintroduced someday, although probably it will be in a contrite, sanitized form. Well, first they came for Mr. Potato Head and then Pepe Le Pew, and now it would appear that Lola Bunny has also been subjected to cultural revisionism as having been overly sexualized in the original Space Jam movie. – – Give me a break! I’m a furry but not of the ‘toon subdivision. Now Cheetah from Wonder Woman 1984 was a stunning anthropomorphic shifter, much more to my liking. But I digress…

Now the redrawn Lola Bunny (left) is rendered less curvy than her 1996 predecessor shown to the right. Lola is also rendered more fully clothed and styled less like a teenager than her previous incarnation. We wouldn’t want Bugs Bunny to be considered a pedophile, after all. A previous love interest for Bugs introduced in 1966 was Honey Bunny, although she was dropped as she overly resembled Bugs, and might have been him in drag. So now we have the revised Lola Bunny, looking less hawt than before…

..So Space Jam 2 is a mixed bag, with some things that are painful to see, like Porky Pig performing in a rap battle. But other things are a hoot, like Granny channeling Trinity and Speedy Gonzalez doing the honors as Neo in a take-off on the The Matrix. “Abuela, let’s do this!,” exults Speedy before effortlessly dodging bullets like a furry Flash.

Just don’t tell Yosemite Sam to “shoot the ball,” because that’s exactly what he does! And may Speedy have a long run!

The Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Pinocchio Commercial…

April 27, 2021



It’s been called “nightmare fuel,” extremely disturbing, and creepy; the Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Pinnochio Commercial, that is!  There is something not quite right about the skin tones, enormous eyes, and jointed arms of our CGI Pinocchio depicted; this is truly something terribly apart from nature.  He may “dance without strings,” but we only want to dance away from him, and quickly. – – Geppetto, how could you do this to us?!   Yes, there’s a bug in this commercial, and for me, he’s the highlight…

Now our marionette-boy is so bowled over by the taste of Coke Zero Sugar that his creator and cricket companion Jiminey don’t seem to believe his raves over the drink, telling Pinnochio that if he keeps lying, he’ll never be a real boy. They seem persuaded, however, upon trying the product.  “I never lie,” maintains Pinnochio. This, of course, is a lie, and causes the would-be boy’s nose to grow to tree-limb length across the room.  We really didn’t need to see this, and the Geico commercials of a few years back handled Pinnochio in a more clever fashion.

Geppetto looks younger and more vigorous than his Disney counterpart in this commercial airing, and I like the treatment of Jiminey Cricket as a fully-fledged anthropomorphic insect, minus the Disney hat, umbrella, and moralizing but complete with the proper number of six rather than Disney’s four limbs. – – This bug could go places if he doesn’t break into singing When You Wish Upon A Star.  So lose the “boy,” but the bug’s a keeper…

 


Nasty Vegetation…

April 11, 2021

  
It’s one thing to be made as a child to eat your vegetables.  It’s entirely different when vegetation appears to want to eat you!

Plant or plant-like monsters are relatively rare in science fiction, with notable exceptions such as The Thing, The Triffids, and Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors. Some plant-creatures can even be heroic and self-sacrificing, such as Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy.  

Not so are the allergen creatures featured in recent Flonase commercials. One gargantuan thing emerges directly from the Earth in a park, causing pandemonium among the park-goers. It’s a lawn monster, not to be confused with a lawn mower, and the thing roars and spews pollen, dander, and other debris, equipped with a fearsome set of teeth. The featured guy is not perturbed, however, calmly continuing to eat his ice cream. Such spectacles are just part of the passing parade for him, ’cause he’s had his Flonase…

In another commercial, a flower-monster is terrorizing a city, spewing massive amounts of pollen and roaring while city dwellers take to their heels. I must confess that I’ve always wanted to be an extra in scenes such as this, totally losing it and running terrified away from Godzilla or something similar while screaming!  Here again, a lady is totally nonplussed, calmly reading a book while the floral monster makes mayhem. She even sticks a flower in her hair…take that, allergies!

Allergies don’t have to be scary, you see, if you use Flonase…and just to be safe, eat your veggies and spray your weeds before they eat you! 🦊

In Praise of Dark Bunnies…

April 3, 2021

  
With Easter upon us, it’s easy to think of rabbits as all sweetness and light, cuteness incarnate, the Easter Bunny thing.  I prefer my rabbits to have a dark side, however, with a bit of muscularity and the potential for the unpredictable thrown in.  That’s right…I like my bunnies bad!  

Bad bunnies can play havoc with our expectations of them, like The Rabbit as portrayed by Joey Fatone on Season 1 of The Masked Singer.  He had a wonderful, “fresh from the asylum” vibe to him, and I’ll never hear Livin’ La Vida Loca the same way again after seeing Rabbit’s electrifying stage performance of it.  

  

If you search, you can find rabbits who don’t fit the passive, submissive mold, like Hugh Jackman’s Aussie E. Aster Bunnymund in the Rise of the Guardians movie.  That was an Easter Bunny who was great with children, but could also kick some serious…ahem, tail.

  

The 2001 science fiction/psychological thriller film Donnie Darko featured a disturbing, nightmarish rabbit, Frank, who could certainly haunt your dreams…

  

So with many more examples possible from medieval manuscripts (below) onwards, just remember that rabbits are not all the timid, wimpy, sanitized creatures that we see paraded around at this season, but rather a strong, adaptable, successful, and resilient species…and a Happy Easter, y’all…or else!    

  
   

Progressive Motaur’s “New Shoes” Commercial…

March 30, 2021

In his previous outing, we saw Progressive’s “Motaur” suffer a blowout, and I’m sure that we all wonder how such a biomechanical being responds to such an incident; why, he goes to a tire shop, of course!  Where the rubber meets the road also incorporates elements of the old full-service shoe store, with Motaur trying on a new set of tires, and the older store employee, completely nonplussed by his appearance, offering helpful comments from his perspective to close the sale.  Those full-service shoe stores are hard to find these days; if you were a kid, they would actually measure your feet!  Earlier still, some shoe stores would have an X-ray machine on site so you could see how the shoes fit on your underlying anatomy.  It was kind of, “Hey kid, want a dose of radiation with those penny loafers?”  But I digress… 

When Motaur voices concerns that his new kicks might be too tight, the employee opines that he just might want to break them in a bit, because he sure doesn’t want tires to be too loose!  A disturbing thought here; can Motaur actually feel his inorganic parts, and if so, how?  Anyways, the employee is a helpful and good salesman, and we wind up with Motaur back on the road again, another satisfied customer.  Sure is good that he had Progressive’s 24/7 roadside assistance plan!  Long may he ride to his Culture Club tunes!  Are we in for a Boy George revival?

In future installments, perhaps we’ll learn if Motaur sees a doctor or a mechanic if he gets sick.  Does he change his own oil?  Inquiring minds want to know…

 

Progressive’s “Motaur: Interruptions” Commercial…

March 28, 2021

  

Biomechanical organisms can be both freaky and funny at the same time, and Terrence Terrell as Progressive’s Insurance “Motaur” is at it again, this time showing off his light side as he motors down a deserted country road, singing and bopping to Culture Club’s 1980’s hit, Karma Chameleon.  It was a catchy tune, and our Motaur seems to be enjoying himself thoroughly, even getting an arm dance thing going on.  One doubts that a Skynet creation would do this…

…but as fate would have it, Motaur’s free-spirited fun is over when his rear tire unexpectedly goes flat.  Fortunately, our boy has Progressive’s 24/7 roadside assistance plan, and will soon be on the road again.  This commercial is actually part one of a two part series, the second part called New Shoes, and set in a tire shop.

I just never expected the Motaur to be a Boy George fan, did you? And despite my fascination with cyborgs, I’m keeping all of my organic parts, thank you…

   


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