Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fall TV season devoid of compelling new shows; awaiting midseason replacements

I am completely underwhelmed by this fall’s new TV show lineup.
I can’t believe NBC canceled the intriguing and entertaining “Revolution” to make way for junk like “The Mysteries of Laura.” (“Laura” has a dismal Metacritic score of 37 out of 100.)
The broadcast network prime-time schedule is larded up with “NCIS” spinoffs, women-in-powerful-positions dramas (“State of Affairs” and “Madam Secretary”), and comic-book shows (“Gotham,” “The Flash” and “Constantine”). But not one new show I’m dying to see.
This comes after a summer TV season that brought such quality new series as “The Strain,” “The Last Ship,” “Extant” and “The Lottery.”
Usually there are a few shows I can’t wait to check out each fall. But not this year.
My DVR queue likely will remain unchanged. My favorite returning shows include genre series “The Walking Dead,” “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” and “Supernatural.”
This fall the networks are playing to the lowest common denominator to reach the largest possible mainstream audience. That’s getting much harder to do with the proliferation of content choices on cable channels and over-the-top Internet video services.
The most exciting new shows are midseason replacements. They include ABC’s “Agent Carter,” a post-World War II comic book drama from the folks at Marvel; the CW’s “iZombie,” based on a comic book about a medical resident turned zombie-slash-amateur detective; and ABC’s “The Whispers,” a creepy alien invasion drama.

Photos: Poster from “The Strain” (top); promotional ads for “iZombie” and “The Whispers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Even porn movies are exploring the post-apocalypse

Life in a post-apocalyptic world has been explored in Hollywood movies, TV shows, video games and even porn movies.
Last week saw the release of Digital Playground’s “Apocalypse X.” The porn movie takes place in a dangerous land much like the setting of the Mad Max films. It’s a desert landscape ruled by outlaws on motorcycles and armored cars.
“Apocalypse X” stars Stevie Shae and is set “in a dystopian future plagued with destruction and an endless search for water, due to the earth’s depleted natural resources,” according to Xbiz.
Also out this month is “Bound for the Apocalypse,” an X-rated bondage movie from Sex and Submission. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where a hunter captures two women and makes them his sex slaves.
Back when the Mad Max films were first popular, porn studios cranked out a bunch of X-rated homages. They include “The Load Warriors” (1987) and “The Load Warriors 2” (1987), based on the second Mad Max movie “The Road Warrior” (1981).
Porn studios also made movies that riffed on the third Mad Max movie, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” (1985). Those movies include “Mad Jack Beyond Thunderbone” (1986) and “Mad Jaxxx Beyond Thunderboobs” (2002).


Sunday, September 21, 2014

‘It’s the end of the world as we know it’ at the cineplex

Movies set in post-apocalyptic times continue to fascinate audiences.
So far this year at the theaters, we’ve seen “Snowpiercer,” “Divergent,” “Edge of Tomorrow,” “The Rover” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”
Coming soon Nicolas Cage faces the biblical Rapture in “Left Behind” and Tom Hardy stars as the title character in “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
All told, I count at least 18 movies in production or due for release soon that take place on a post-apocalyptic Earth. These include sequels to “World War Z” and “Resident Evil” and adaptations of the video games “Dead Rising” and “The Last of Us.”

See also: List of post-apocalyptic movies.

Photos: Posters from “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Post-apocalyptic tales thriving on prime-time TV

The television industry has a pretty gloomy outlook about the future, judging from the spate of TV shows set after apocalyptic world events.
A record nine TV shows currently airing are post-apocalyptic in nature.
I’m no sociologist but that has to say something about our mindset as a people.
The nine shows are:
  • AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” where flesh-eating zombies have taken over the world; 
  • TNT’s “Falling Skies,” where most of mankind has been wiped out by space invaders; 
  • Syfy’s “Defiance,” which takes place in the aftermath of an alien invasion; 
  • The CW’s “The 100,” set nearly a century after a nuclear war; 
  • Syfy’s “Dominion,” set after a war between angels and mankind; 
  • TNT’s “The Last Ship,” which takes place after a virus wipes out 80% of the world’s population; 
  • HBO’s “The Leftovers,” which deals with the aftermath of a Rapture-like event; 
  • Lifetime’s “The Lottery,” set after a fertility crisis renders humanity sterile; 
  • Syfy’s “Z Nation,” which takes place after a zombie apocalypse. 
More post-apocalyptic shows are coming. Scheduled to air soon are Syfy’s “12 Monkeys,” Amazon Prime’s “The After” and Fox’s “Last Man on Earth.”

See also: List of post-apocalyptic TV dramas.

Photos: Promotional art for “Z Nation” (top) and “The Lottery.” 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mystery actress in Sean Paul music video identified as Karmen Nardin

In February, I wrote about a fetching young woman in the music video for Sean Paul’s “She Doesn’t Mind” (2011). She’s the woman with dark red lipstick and long wavy brown hair who plays the smuggler.
I did a number of Internet searches to find out who she is, but came up empty. That was surprising to me because she’s so prominent in the video that it could be a star-making role.
In late August, a reader identified the actress as Brazilian fashion model Karmen Nardin. Photos of Nardin bear a similarity to the woman in the Sean Paul video. But I’d like to know for sure.
There’s very little information online about Nardin. That’s surprising for a model these days. A biography on Fashion Model Directory says Nardin did work for United Colors of Benetton.
If anyone has any more information about Nardin or can confirm that she’s the one in the “She Doesn’t Mind” video, let me know.

Photos: Undated photos of Karmen Nardin from FMD, Fashion Verified Magazine and the Fashion Spot

Saturday, September 13, 2014

More Yahoo error messages: A portfolio of fail

Last week, I wrote about how buggy Yahoo’s core desktop services have become. I presented a collection of screenshots showing error messages I had received recently on Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo News.
Today, I’ll add to the gallery of goofs with new screenshots showing fresh Yahoo error messages.
Seriously Yahoo, you need to fix these core services.

First off, the Yahoo Mail errors are continuing. A frequent one is Yahoo Mail unable to load messages.

Sometimes Yahoo Mail can’t open individual emails or attachments.

Even Yahoo Finance can’t load my stock portfolios at times.

Lately I’ve been ticked off that the Yahoo Sports widget on My Yahoo page can’t display all the teams I want to follow.
For example, one of my teams, the Washington Nationals, was playing a game the other day, but it didn’t show up on My Yahoo page.
Today it didn’t list the Nationals game or the University of Illinois football score.
What gives, Yahoo?

Photo: Yahoo ad next to the 404 feet mark in AT&T Park in San Francisco. Taken in April 2007 and posted to Flickr by JKenning.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Long-time Yahoo user sick of website’s buggy services

Dear Marissa Mayer:

I know you have your hands full as CEO trying to revitalize the storied Internet company that is Yahoo. You’re taking Yahoo in exciting new directions with mobile apps and online media.
But you really need to pay attention to Yahoo’s core services like Yahoo Mail and news sites like Yahoo Finance. These are important services that I use every day throughout the day and they’re getting unbearably buggy.
Yahoo Mail is terrible now. I’ve been a user of the service since it launched in 1997. In fact, I even used Rocketmail, the predecessor email service that Yahoo purchased to jumpstart Yahoo Mail.
Lately retrieving my Yahoo email using my desktop PC has been a frustrating process. Often the page locks up when I try to load an email and all I see is a blank email window and the spinning progress wheel of death.
The page is so slow and unresponsive it makes me feel like I’m using an old dial-up connection instead of broadband.
I’m not alone in my frustration. Whenever I post a tweet on Twitter or write about Yahoo’s problems on my blog, Tech-media-tainment, I get me-too comments from readers.
What follows is a gallery of goofs and error pages I have encountered on Yahoo’s services.

The spinning progress wheel of death on Yahoo Mail.
Sometimes Yahoo Mail times out with the message “There appears to be a problem loading the message list.” Ya think?!

Or “There appears to be a problem loading the email.” No duh.

Other times you might get Temporary Error message No. 14.

OK, this next one is minor, but it still shouldn’t happen. These Yahoo reminders about upcoming birthdays couldn’t produce an apostrophe in the subject line. Instead of an apostrophe it used symbols. That’s like a cartoon swear word replacement. And for the record, the same mistake also showed up in Yahoo Mail on my iPhone.

Just as infuriating are Yahoo News pages that won’t load. I’ve gotten the message, “We are experiencing some temporary issues, please bear with us as we restore your personalized Homepage.”

More common is the error page that says, “Yahoo! Will be right back … Thank you for your patience. Our engineers are working quickly to resolve the issue.” (Close-up image at top.)

And finally, check out this error image from Yahoo Finance. Yahoo can’t even get its display ads right.