Tagged: Ancient Aliens

Mindy Newell: Chariots Of The Gods

“Space travelers in the gray mists of time? An inadmissible question to academic scientists. Anyone who asks questions like that ought to see a psychiatrist.” • Erich von Danniken

“It’s just one more thing to remember to charge throughout our busy days.” • Joseph Volpe of Engadget.com critiquing the Apple Watch

Well, I finished rewatching Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica.

The most popular question (dissatisfaction?) I remember floating around the message boards connected with the finale of BSG was: “What, or who, was the returned-from-the-dead Kara Thrace, a.k.a. Starbuck?” And I also remember that there was a lot of frustration and unhappy people who were really angry with Mr. Moore for not giving a black-and-white answer. I suppose these dissatisfied viewers wanted to see an extension of Kara’s final scene with Lee Adama in which, in their imagination, she would say – sort of a SPOILER AHEAD! –

“When my Viper crashed on Earth, there was a light, and as I walked towards it I saw my mother and my father and Kat and they told me that I wasn’t done yet, that I had to go back and complete my destiny. But my body was burned up so God created an avatar for my spirit, my soul, to inhabit so that my journey could be completed. Now I have. I have led you to Earth and humanity has its fresh start, but it’s time for me to leave for good, Lee. The lease on this body is up and I have to return it. Besides, Sam is waiting for me on the other side. So goodbye.”

Those of you who are BSG fans know that is not what Kara said to Lee – not in any overt way. But still, if you were paying attention, that is what she said, that is what happened to Kara Thrace. Im-not-so-ho, of course.

The other question that floated around the message boards, and one with which I agreed, was: Would the survivors of the twelve colonies really give up all their technology in their quest to start anew? I mean, not even a radio? That seemed a little “out there” to me. Wouldn’t it be important to stay in contact with the other colonists as they made “homesteads” around the globe? I mean, these were people who complained about the accommodations aboard the various ships on the fleet – were they really going to go without bathrooms?

Besides, if we are all descendents of the Cylon/Homo sapien hybrid named Hera, then an inherent need for technology is wired into our DNA – after all, anyone who is everyone is talking about that “godsdamned” Apple Watch and how they can’t wait to get it – oh, and by the way, Mike, you didn’t mention in your column that there is going to be an “upscale” model (read: diamonds and gold and sterling silver) costing around $17,000 or so, for those gazillionaires who want to play Dick Tracy.

Still, I loved the idea that the people of the colonies were the “gods” aboard the chariots of Erich von Danniken and the *ahem* Ancient Aliens of the History Channel. And it left me wanting more, more, more

So I watched The Plan and Razor and then put the sequel/prequel, Caprica, on my Amazon “watch list.” I watched the pilot episode Saturday.

Caprica did not feature huge space battles and interstellar travel so it never had the fan base of BSG; most of the audience did not have the patience for the acorn to take root and grow into a mighty oak tree, patience being a virtue that was apparently swallowed up into a black hole at the beginning of the 21st century, and thus it was prematurely cancelled by the Sci-Fi network.

(This, I think, was the beginning of the end of the Sci-Fi Channel, which once upon a time featured shows like Stargate Sg-1 and Farscape and BSG, and then changed its name to SyFy and now airs movies about mutant sharks caught in tornados and WWE exhibitions. Well, some of those wrestlers could be classified as aliens.)

It was an example of a – dare I use the phrase – thinking man’s exploration of science and God and the intersection between both. Yes, so was BSG, but Mr. Moore sneakily slipped that in between the (admittedly terrific) special effects of nukes exploding and Cylon raiders.

Mr. Moore said that Caprica is “about a society that’s running out of control with a wild-eyed glint in its eye… meant to explore ethical implications of advances in artificial intelligence and robotics.”

Too bad Mr. Moore never got a chance to complete the series.

I could have viewed it on my Apple Watch.


Mindy Newell: Kiss 2% Of The World’s Asses Good-Bye

The LeftoversThus, we must realize that October 21, 2011 will be the final day of this earth’s existence.” – Harold Camping, July 19, 1921 – December 15, 2013. American Christian Radio, Author, and Broadcaster.

Wow. That was dark and nihilistic. Right up my alley.

I’m talking about The Leftovers, which premiered last Sunday. Based on the 2011 book by Tom Perotta, who co-created the television series with Damon Lindelof, The Leftovers is a spin on the evangelical Christian belief in the Rapture, an event in which all those who are true believers in Jesus Christ as the son of God and the Messiah will be taken from Earth to be with Him in Heaven and which will signal the beginning of the final battle between Jesus Christ and Satan, i.e. the Anti-Christ, in the climatic Apocalypse, after which the victorious Jesus will rule over an Eden-esque Earth for a millennium. (Let me know if this nice Jewish girl got it wrong, okay?)

However, unlike the Left Behind series by Tom LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, in which the authors follows the script(ure) of evangelical Christian belief, The Leftovers offers no easy answers as to why this global Rapture-like event has occurred.

The series opens on October 14th. No year is given. We are introduced to an unnamed woman in a laundromat, a typically mundane scene. She is washing her clothes and talking on the phone over the incessant crying of her baby – in fact, we only catch snatches of her conversation because of the screaming kid. A few moments later we watch the woman, still yapping on the phone – sheesh, it takes me about two hours or more to do the laundry in my laundromat, how the hell long has this woman been on the phone? – strap the baby’s car seat into the car and then get into the driver’s seat. She turns around once to distractedly attempt to quiet her child. The camera moves to the baby, who might be looking up at heaven, and back to the mom, still on the phone…and suddenly the car is quiet.

The baby is gone.

As Mama freaks out – and finally hangs up the damn phone – we also see a young boy yelling for his father (“Where’d you go, Dad?!”) as an empty shopping cart rolls into a parked car’s fender. In the background and a few blocks away we see a (driverless) car slam into another as it speeds through a red light.

Three years later.

A man is running (for exercise, not escape) down a suburban street. He’s wearing headphones, and in an interesting commentary on television and radio punditry we hear analysts and experts and other so-called “authorities” talking about the event, not just on the runner’s headphones, but from a variety of sources. Two percent, approximately 144 million people, disappeared on that day, and everyone is trying to explain it.

Alien abductions? A God-driven event? Well, that may explain the Pope, but Gary Busey? Jennifer Lopez, Shaquille O’Neal and Anthony Bourdain are also among the celebrities vanished into thin air. (No mention of the Kardashians, though. We couldn’t be that lucky.) And if it’s about good people having been taken, then why a child beater?

And of course there’s a televised Congressional investigation with scientists and religious experts babbling on with their respective theories.

But nobody knows nothing. Except that I’m fairly certain that the cable news channels are having a field day with this. CNN and the Malaysian plane disappearance, anyone?

The man, Kevin Garvey, is the police chief of a small suburban town somewhere in New York. He’s played by Justin Theroux – of whom I knew nothing about except that he’s been stringing Jennifer Aniston along for what seems like a century, thanks to my tabloid reading while waiting on the checkout line at Stop-and-Shop. Now I know that’s he’s incredibly hot and very good at playing morose and confused, and sees visions of stags. Stuffed stags. Live stags. Run-over stags. Being torn to pieces by wild dogs stags.

About 100 people of his town disappeared in the “rapturous” experience. As the hour progressed we watch and learn how it has affected the “leftovers,” and, by extension, the rest of the remaining population of the earth.

Of course there are cults. One, called the Great Remnant, doesn’t talk, encourages cigarette smoking (“Don’t Waste Your Breath” is one of their mottos), and dresses in white, as if they are on the White Team during Color War at my summer camp. (Kevin’s wife, Laurie, whom we assumed had been whisked off to Never-Never land, is a member of the Great Remnant.) Another cult, one that has not yet been given a name, appears to be ensconced in a survivalist camp of the Neo-Nazi / White Power type somewhere in the deserts of America, although this cult is apparently okay with race, since there is a hot, young Asian chick in a bikini lounging around the camp’s pool as if it’s a luxury hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. I also know this cult isn’t racist because it’s led by a muscularly endowed black man whose name is Wayne and whom is apparently the “know-it-all” religious leader of this cult. We discover that the police chief’s son, Tom, also belongs and has a thing for the hot young Asian chick, as does Big Kahuna Wayne, who has “plans” for her.

Teenagers are still going to school, but it’s a shadowbox routine, as their real life is taken up with smoking weed, drinking alcohol, fucking and pushing life to its limits – including erotic asphyxiation, which the chief’s daughter, Jill (played by Margaret Qualley, who has amazing “Elizabeth Taylor” black eyebrows and blue eyes) partakes in with some loser named Max. (It seems that Max is dead as we see Jill walk out of the bedroom after their, uh, session.)

I know that I’ve been kind of flip in talking about The Leftovers, but in actuality I’m very intrigued. I think that, in just this one premier episode, the creative team has shed a lot of hokey nonsense about a mass disappearance of humanity (I’m sorry, those of you who are Christian evangelicals, but there is nothing called the Rapture in either the Old Testament or the New – it was dreamed up by a British minister, John Nelson Darby, sometime in the 1830s after one of his parishioners claimed to have had a vision of Christ’s return) and instead has captured the crazy ways that humanity would actually deal with it.

And I do mean crazy.

None of these characters is sane. Nor should they be. Unexplained phenomena is fun to talk about and to base TV shows on – I watch my fair portion of Ancient Aliens and Ghosthunters – but if two percent of the population of the Earth just suddenly disappeared one day, the frenetic behaviors, the fanatical actions, the extreme activities of the “leftovers” would surely rate new chapters in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) of the American Psychiatric Association – that is, if there were any sane shrinks left, much less a professional association.

I think we’re in for a fun – and thought provoking – ride.

And may I say…

Thank God.