I watched two DVDs this week:
I finished the 4th disc in the complete Star Trek: The Animated Series set. I thought this was a pretty strong set of episodes. There were no real stinkers to speak of, and even the lesser ones were worth the twenty minutes it took to watch them, which is more than I can say about some of them. The problem with watching this show as an adult, and over a period of a few weeks, rather than as a child seeing them once a week over two years, is that you get very tired very quickly of seeing the same animation over and over. Filmation used a technique called limited animation; they animated a bunch of stock poses for the main characters and reused them constantly, so for any given episode they only needed to change the backgrounds and animate new lip movements for them. Even that they tried to minimize; they used a lot of long shots and silhouettes, or would position the characters such that you could see their faces. Shots of the Enterprise in flight were either rotoscoped and just moved straight across a starfield or a semicircle representing a planet. Always the same semicircle of course, just with a new background. Nevertheless, if you're a Star Trek fan and you've never seen the animated series, they're worth seeking out.
I also finished the Party Down season one set. It's a funny show, but I was particularly impressed by the episode set at Ron's high school reunion, in which Ken Marino gave a surprisingly sensitive and even somewhat moving performance. I was also impressed with how smoothly they managed to fit Jennifer Coolidge into the cast for the last two episodes of the season. The first of her two episodes, the aforementioned high school reunion, seemed like just a light rewrite of what they would have had Jane Lynch doing if she hadn't left to join the Glee cast, but the season finale seemed more like it ahd been tailored to Coolidge's talents.
I'm still working on Emma; it's a tougher slog than the first three Austen novels, in the sense that I just don't find it as engaging as those others. I'd forgotten that about it, possibly because I've enjoyed all the film and television adaptations I've seen of it. I do like Miss Bates, though. I'm on Chapter 10 of Part 2.
I did read some interesting long-form articles online, though:
- Do We Really Want to Live Without the Post Office?
- Weigel's Law applies: if the headline is a question, the answer is no.
- Original Sin: Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people
- It's all John C. Calhoun's fault. As Calhoun is as odious human being as ever served in the US government, I have no trouble believing him responsible for any bad thing anyone would care to blame him for.
- Who Needs to Win to Win?
- Speaking of odious human beings, the architects of the electoral vote-rigging plan outlined here qualify.
- Can the Republicans Be Saved From Obsolescence?
- These articles are all kind of variations on a theme this week.