While still wrapping our brains around the fact that X-Files is back on TV, we found time to pack this episode with snark and shenanigans that will (hopefully) keep you informed and entertained during your commute, at the gym, at home or anywhere you listen to the best darned tech-themed around. This week, J.D. highlights some apps that mix in a dose of fun with the weather details and in the news, Twitter shakes up its executive ranks; Sony does some corporate housekeeping; Amazon gets duped by hackers; and those sites tracking Abe Vigoda’s status make one final update.
The announcement of a series reboot of “The X-Files” with the original stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, fill me with a mix of excitement and dread.
I was a late-comer to “The X-Files” in the 1990s, but once I was introduced to the series, I plunged into it like a scalpel in an alien autopsy.
As a kid, pre-“X-Files,” I had a particular fascination for all things unexplained.
I devoured books on UFOs and articles on Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, alien abductions, etc.
I was a big fan of the late Leonard Nimoy’s series “In Search of…” that explored the mysteries of the world.
“The X-Files,” with its combination of creepy, paranoid, funny and inventive plot twists, coupled with the witty repartee between Mulder and Scully, made for a great escape for one hour a week on Sunday nights.
I hesitate though to think about a reboot.
In many ways, “The X-Files” was a product of its time:
There were deepening divisions and a growing distrust about Washington, an uncertainty about the world as the school shootings in Columbine and the stand-off in Waco, Texas, dominated headlines and as the U.S. sought to redefine itself in the world after the end of the Cold War.
Somehow the show tapped into those uncertainties by presenting story lines that challenged your beliefs about the “known world” and your confidence in institutions like the government and schools.
Viewers could take a perverse pleasure in “The X-Files” as a safe outlet for these anxieties.
But all that existential navel-gazing aside, “The X-Files” was just good, fun television.
The young Mulder as the believer in things mysterious and Scully as his skeptical science-grounded partner made for a terrific contrast and interchange of ideas.
Add a dose of simmering sexual tension (when will they ever get it on?!), conspiracy-laden plot lines (hello Cigarette-Smoking Man!) and some loveable but smart goofballs (The Lone Gunmen), and you had a recipe for the equivalent of television potato chips: You kept coming back for more.
Part of the fun for me was getting on the phone with a friend immediately after an episode and trying to unravel WTF had just happened.
I was so into the show, that I got the action figures and one of the very first computer games my oldest son was exposed to was a parody called “The X-Fools.”
That experience inspired him to make for me a beloved drawing that I have in my bedroom.
So, yes count me as a big fan.
But…the movies were an affront to all that the TV series had built. And, not to engage in ageism, but part of the appeal of the original was having the baby-faced (bordering on naïve), Scully and Mulder teaming up to uncover the truth.
I think Duchovny and Anderson have only matured in their acting chops, but will a series about mid-to-late career FBI agents investigating the paranormal in a modern age of Google, smartphones and social media be as engaging as the original, which was technologically in the Stone Age?
Last, and perhaps most importantly, a reboot would be overshadowed by real-life world events.
In an age of NSA spying, Wiki leaks, Edward Snowden and a pervasive (well-deserved) cynicism about government, the show’s underlying premise would be surplus to our required dose of the kinds of bogeymen that were the signature of “The X-Files.”
As excited as I would be by a reboot, and as much as I want to believe in it, it might just be best to X-out a reprise of this excellent TV series.
Another Comic-Con International is in the books but despite it being held in the City of Motion it was Tinseltown that grabbed the headlines at the convention. In the news, Netflix added 630,000 subscribers but Wall Street is still disappointed; the United Kingdom moves to block online pornography; a German security expert is warning of a flaw in SIM card technology; the Leap Motion controller finally begins shipping; Apple confirm that people are indeed still listening to podcasts; researchers get one step closer to building Replicants and a Holodeck; and you can donate the spare processing power from your Android device for a worthy cause.
The Comic-Con International: San Diego event wrapped up this past weekend after about five days of nonstop hype and news blasts. The event — which throws Hollywood marketing people in with comics fans, animation lovers, cosplay kids, science-fiction and fantasy enthusiasts and all genre aficionados in between — saw a number of announcements.
Gillian Anderson turned up for an X-Files panel and joked that there’s a lost Mulder-Scully sex scene out there from the old show, which sent some fans into a frenzy — although she actually said later she’d been kidding. But she wouldn’t mind doing another X-Files movie some day.
And Batman and Superman are going to team up for movie in 2015. Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill are set to return as director and hero, Batman needs to be cast since Christian Bale hung up the cowl. The film is expected to pave the way for a Justice League movie that teams up even more DC superheroes for 2017. No sign of casting calls for Zatanna, Elongated Man, Martian Manhunter or the Hawkcouple, but please, someone needs to get crackin’ on a Wonder Woman flick. Like, now.
If you need more Comic-Con 2013 news, click here or here or here for roundups — and start clearing your schedule for 2015.
Doctor Who celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The mighty Star Trek franchise is not far behind, as almost 47 years have passed since it first beamed up on the television airwaves back in 1966. That’s a lot of history and backstory for these two shows, and some of it even pops into current episodes – just think of the recent Season 7 finale for the Doctor and characters from the new Star Trek Into Darkness movie. But let’s face it: long-running television shows have built up complex mythologies and continuities that can be hard to remember over the decades. And what if you came to the show late? How do you figure stuff out and find your way? (Like, who is this character and when did he first appear?)
So, with that in mind, here are a few sites to help fill in the backstory on some very popular parts of the entertainment universe.
While the BBC One (and BBC America) official Web sites can be generally helpful for show news, recent events and even a beginner’s guide, visit the TARDIS Data Core Wiki if you really want to dig deep into collective Whovian history. The site compiles character backgrounds, plot points, actor bios and more, even incorporating material from minisode clips and other random bits. Looking for something specific? The search box invites you to “probe the data core!”
Star Trek The official Star Trek site owned by CBS Studios has full episodes of the original TV series and all the spin-offs (including the animated adventures that first aired in 1973), as well as pages devoted to franchise news, events and trinkets to purchase. Roddenberry Entertainment runs the Trek Initiative wiki, which has its own video clips from the family archives and other exclusive material. Want to delve even deeper? Visit the Star Trek Memory Alpha wiki for more than 35,000 pages devoted to the total Trek universe.
Odds are, if a show has more than three dedicated fans, there’s probably a wiki on it out there somewhere. Can’t find a wiki out there for your favorite cult obsession, TV or otherwise? Start one yourself!
El Kaiser unboxes a new addition to his tablet arsenal, Google (and Samsung’s) Nexus 10, and J.D. gives us her first impressions of Apple’s redesign of their iTunes media player and media library application. In the news, tech companies concerned over International Telecommunications Union’s reworking of a telecom treaty that may negatively impact Internet freedom, thousands of Tumblr accounts are hacked, and the text message is finally out of its awkward teen years.
The independent audio magazine devoted to mashing up pop culture, technology and more. J.D. Biersdorfer and Pedro Rafael Rosado are your hosts. It's an Internet Radio revolution!