TV Review: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey


Geek Alabama TV Reviews

Last Sunday, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey premiered on FOX and many other networks.  And after watching it on my DVR, I have to say, I enjoyed an hour of science on primetime TV!  The ratings were not too good for the first episode of Cosmos, the first episode only got 8.5 million viewers across the 10 simulcasting networks.  Among Adults 18-49, the simulcast earned a 2.9 rating.  I thought Cosmos could have done better, if it was not airing at the same time as The Walking Dead, I talked about that last week, and I was right!

The first episode called “Standing Up In The Milky Way”, was a great tribute to the original host Carl Sagan.  I loved how Neil deGrasse Tyson talked about how Carl Sagan signed his journal and met Tyson when he was a kid.  This meeting inspired Tyson to become what he is today, and I am glad he talked about that!  Sometimes, meeting your idol or someone who mentors you can lead you to great things in your life.  The episode began with a tour of our solar system, we got to see each planet up close with that special computer graphics.  Tyson was in a computer animated space ship and went out to personally see all of the planets in our solar system.

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I loved seeing the Voyager 1 satellite, although it was computer animated, and had music on a record.  We also got to see where our solar system is at in the Milky Way Galaxy.  I enjoyed seeing our planets in action, I wish Tyson would have also explored the sun in more detail, that might be for a future episode.  I think anyone including geeks/nerds would love to ride in that Ship of the Imagination Tyson was riding in!  You can see why Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the most popular scientists in our world today, and someone most geeks/nerds and technology savvy people look up too.  I did think the premiere tried a little bit too hard, especially in the part when they were talking about 16th Century Italian astronomer Glordano Bruno.  I thought they could have taken that out and only talked about space and our solar system in episode one.

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The episode had plenty of educational moments and the show is safe for the entire family!  I wish we saw more real video footage of our solar system instead of mostly everything being computer animated.  Then we get to the part, where Tyson is in Italy and they talk about Glordano Bruno, this is where some of the controversies begin.  Yes, they did talk about how Bruno was going around the Church about his beliefs about the solar system, that was later proven to be real.  Bruno was ex-communicated, thrown into prison, and later burned at the stake because of his beliefs.  This was a time when some believers of the Bible, God, and Jesus Christ had their moment on Twitter.

I enjoyed the animation in that piece, and it was probably the same animation from the team Seth McFarlane uses to animate Family Guy and his other shows.  Then we get to the part where Tyson talked about how our Earth was made.  In a Cosmic Calendar, it started with the big bang, and we see how our Earth becomes all what it is today, in a course of one year.  Of course, you knew the Earth is thousands of years old, and they were using a 365-day calendar to explain how our Earth formed to what it is today.  Even though Jesus and Moses was talked about in this part, evolution was also talked about, and this caused some people to get unhappy.

So after watching the first episode, I thought Neil deGrasse Tyson did a great job as host.  He was very engaging and easy to understand while watching.  The animation and computer graphics was stunning and beautiful to watch.  And I will watch the other 12 episodes of this mini-series!  The mission of Cosmos is to reignite “that flame of curiosity in us all.”  And I hope teachers, students, and other people will use Cosmos as a moment to learn about science, and consider going into a science themed field.  As you know, more Americans are needed in STEM careers.  And sadly, some people who are strongly religious wants to make everyone else the same kind of religious way they are, and break down the door of the science classroom to put their religious philosophies in there.

Cosmos should also be used for people to learn what science is really all about.  Yes, I am a Christian and I believe in God and Jesus Christ, but our Earth is much older that what God and the Bible says it is.  And humans evolved into what we are today.  That is science, if you don’t agree, that’s too bad.  Watch new episodes of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Sunday nights on FOX and Monday nights on the National Geographic Channel.  To learn more go to: http://www.cosmosontv.com/

All images and videos copyright from FOX.

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Why Is Cosmos Airing At The Same Time As The Walking Dead


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Tonight, all of us geeks and nerds are going to have a very tough time deciding what to watch at 8 pm Central.  In one corner, the ever popular The Walking Dead on AMC that is smashing ratings records and is very, very popular in the geek/nerd culture.  In the other corner, is the 1980′s reboot Cosmos hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.  The 13 part mini-series premieres at 8 pm Central tonight on FOX, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, FX, FXX, FXM, Fox Sports 1 & 2, and other channels.  At least the people living on the west coast could watch Cosmos at 5 pm Pacific on Fox Sports 1 & 2 and FXM, since there is only one feed.  But for the ones living on the east coast, they are out of luck.

Tonight on the first episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, President Obama will provide an introduction.  Then Tyson will introduce the viewers in Northern California, then get things quickly started when he starts his expedition on Earth and moves outward to establish our cosmic address.  The episode will also focus on the Big Bang, explore the Cosmic Calendar, and take a peek at the modernized special effects in HD.  The episode will mostly focus on 16th Century Italian astronomer Glordano Bruno.   And if you are a fan of space and our solar system, you will like the first episode tonight.  Yes, I will record Cosmos and watch it later tonight on my DVR.  But why would FOX get us geeks and nerds upset by airing this mini-series at the same time as The Walking Dead?

Face it, many geeks and nerds love zombies and the show focusing on survivors in the zombie apocalypse.  It’s going to be an epic battle between zombies and the solar system tonight!  The new Cosmos is executive produced by Seth McFarlane, the same guy who makes Family Guy.  Seth convinced Fox executives to make the Cosmos reboot.  And Seth is now even funding efforts to get Sagan’s papers and notes donated to the Library of Congress.  I am glad FOX is going to repeat Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on their National Geographic Channels and on FOX at times.  Because for the ones who don’t have a DVR, they are going to make a very tough decision, science or zombies?

As for me tonight, I am watching The Walking Dead and Talking Dead live tonight on AMC.  I will watch Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey at 10 pm Central, and I will review the first episode of Cosmos on Geek Alabama on Tuesday!  I hope this reboot of Cosmos will be just as good as the 1980′s version hosted by Carl Sagan.  Neil deGrasse Tyson does a great job on TV, and I have confidence that Cosmos will be worth watching!  Too bad FOX made a poor decision to air this against The Walking Dead.  And when TWD ends in a few weeks, Cosmos will have to compete with Game of Thrones.  If I was at FOX, I would have aired this at a different time!  And one has to wonder, if some people here in Alabama would get upset if Cosmos has different views that what is taught in the Bible, but that is for another post!

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Animation Monday: Rick and Morty On Adult Swim


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Before I talk about Rick and Morty on Adult Swim, I need to talk about the latest Family Guy episode where Brian Griffin was brought back.  When Brian died, I did this post talking about my thoughts about the episode.  And I said this:

“I think Seth MacFarlane has done something which he knew what he was doing.  He is getting the exact reaction input that he wanted. That episode was to bring up fan discussions of why and why not Brian should be written off.  The writers of Family Guy, I hope, have come up with a way to bring back Brian Griffin, most likely with the help of a time machine.”

See, I was right!  Seth MacFarlane on Twitter confirmed that killing off Brian Griffin was a stunt.  I thought this stunt was a way to increase ratings and the ratings did increase!  Many people were also talking about it on social media.  Seth said this on Twitter.

And he is right, Christmas time is a time to be grateful for family.  You never know when your loved ones can be gone for good.  Seth said the show would be crazy if they killed off Brian for good, and I am happy to see Brian back!  I hope we will see Vinny return to a future Family Guy episode!  Speaking of dogs, the second episode of Rick and Morty where the dogs take over the human world then leave was brilliant!

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Now to talk about this new show on Adult Swim called Rick and Morty.  Rick and Morty is an American animated television series created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland.  Roiland voices the eponymous main characters Rick, a scientist and alcoholic, and Morty, Rick’s grandson, as Rick proves himself to be a negative influence on Morty and his family.  I wonder why only 11 episodes were made, because judging by this show, they are going to need to make more episodes!

The cartoon is not for kids!  Rick is a genius scientist whose alcoholic tendencies are the source of concern for his daughter’s family over the safety of their son, Morty.  The parents are not happy seeing Rick drinking.  The grandson of Rick, Morty, is usually dragged into Rick’s adventures.  And the adventures involves things like going into outer space and shooting guns.  Then dropping back into school through a portal.  It was funny seeing Morty going into dumb mode after losing most of his brain function.  Why was Rick not helping him?

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The series is created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, and is based on Justin Roiland’s Channel 101 shorts, “The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti”, which were inspired by Back to the Future’s Emmett Brown and Marty McFly.  I see the connection between this show and Back to the Future!  Other inspiration from this show comes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Doctor Who.  This show has your average comedy mixed in with super cool sci-fi stuff!  Yes, geeks and nerds will like this show!

The animation is pretty good for Adult Swim.  The animation has a simple feel too it, with basic lines and colors unless you see those cool sci-fi scenes!  The storylines also has a great mix of comedy and supernatural stuff!  The characters are mostly offbeat and sometimes crazy, but it works!  If you like seeing wacky characters and wacky inventions like a dog talking advice, you will like Rick and Morty.  I have enjoyed watching this show so far!  This show is a mix of Sanjay and Craig, Bob’s Burgers, and Regular Show.

The first season will have multiple guest appearances including Tom Kenny, Maurice LaMarche, John Oliver, David Cross, Claudia Black, Virginia Hey, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Phil Hendrie, Dana Carvey, Aislinn Paul, and Cassie Steele.  New episodes of Rick and Morty airs on Monday nights on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.  Learn more about Rick and Morty at: http://video.adultswim.com/rick-and-morty/  Watch the first two episodes before they are taken off of YouTube!

All images and videos copyright from Adult Swim

Animation Monday: Family Guy Major Character Is Killed Off


Geek Alabama Animation

When I watched the latest episode of Family Guy on my DVR late last night, I did not expect to see this ever happening.  But it happened.  Family Guy decided to mix things up and kill off a major character.  I am going into more details below so if you don’t want to know things you have not seen yet, SPOILER ALERT!

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So Family Guy decided to kill off the dog Brian Griffin after more than 11 seasons on the show.  Brian was hit by a car while in the middle of the street and soon passed away at a vet hospital.  Yes, Brian is really dead!  I really thought Stewie and Brian were the two most popular characters on the show.  But the writers from the show wanted to remind fans why this show is still popular today.  I guess they were trying to take away some viewers from that other show The Walking Dead.  FOX released this video titled A Farewell to Brian Griffin.

So as of right now, most people are not liking this move at all!  Many people are sounding off on social media and wonders why Family Guy would kill off one of the most popular characters on the entire show.  In my opinion, he was one of the best characters!  The chemistry between him and Stewie was by far the best aspect of the entire show.  Brian was one of the best characters on the show especially since he was more down-to-earth on a very “silly” show and created a nice balance between the bizarre and the real.  The idea of this show without Brian, and defiantly without his “time travel” and “road” episodes with Stewie, doesn’t seem appealing.  Those were some of the show’s best episodes.

The backlash against Brian dying is even starting to affect show creator Seth MacFarlane.  Some people now have no respect for the show’s creator.  Seth has said in the past that he plans to eventually wind down Family Guy for good.  Is this the beginning of the Family Guy wind down?  Some people are even saying they will not watch Family Guy anymore until Brian is brought back.  To make things even more interesting, Stewie’s time machine is broke and he couldn’t go back and save Brian.  Why would Stewie destroy his time machine in that episode, I don’t get it.

The family went out to get a new dog named Vinny who is voiced by Tony Sirico from The Sopranos.  This new dog certainly has that Italian mob voice feel to him.  I don’t know about this new dog yet, I will judge Vinny after I watch a few episodes with him in it.  And if you are asking, Vinny will be taking Brian’s place in the opening credits.  Family Guy is not going to be the same without Brian the Dog.  I wonder if this was done because Seth MacFarlane voiced Brian and without him in the show, it frees up more time for him.  Or because this was done so fans would watch the show and talk about it on social media, and many people are doing just that.

To the folks who are freaking out and are creating backlash on social media, relax!  If you do some research on Google you see something that you should like.  In the upcoming episodes this season, we will see the return of Cleveland and hopefully the return of Brian.  Unless the producers were lying to us and those titles with Brian in them will be replaced with Vinny.  I think Seth MacFarlane has done something which he knew what he was doing.  He is getting the exact reaction input that he wanted. That episode was to bring up fan discussions of why and why not Brian should be written off.

Most folks are against the Brian departure, I would say a good 90% hates this decision.  The writers of Family Guy, I hope, have come up with a way to bring back Brian Griffin, most likely with the help of a time machine.  Like I said, I hope Family Guy will soon bring back Brian Griffin.  I am thinking we will soon see both Brian and Vinny living with The Griffins.  In most families, they have two dogs so the dogs have someone to play with.  I am thinking the writers are wanting to have two dogs in the show because it would make the show better and funnier.

Still, people are thinking Brian will never come back and they are taking their backlash to Twitter with the hashtag #BringBackBrian.  There is even a Change.org petition with over 21,000 signatures asking FOX and Seth MacFarlane to bring back Brian to Family Guy.  The petition creator is Aaron Thompson from Tuscaloosa by the way.  His Facebook page called R.I.P. Brian Griffin from Family Guy already has over 260,000 likes in under 24 hours.  See it at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/RIP-Brian-Griffin-from-Family-Guy/503495446349375

I hope we will see Brian Griffin in Family Guy again soon.  If not, the end of Family Guy will soon be here because many people will quit watching.  That would be a shame.  For now, I guess we will have to enjoy Brian on Family Guy reuns on Adult Swim.

UPDATE:  There is a new website called Brian Giffin’s Special Announcement.  It has a special countdown clock where a special announcement will be made in 10 days.  FOX has said this website is a hoax.  But could they be bluffing?  Visit the website at: http://www.briansannouncement.com/

Animation Monday: 2013 Oscar Animated Categories


Geek Alabama Animation

Who watched the Oscars last night?  Before I dive into the animated short film and animated feature categories.  I wanted to talk about the host of the Oscars, Seth MacFarlane.

I liked how William Shatner was in character as Captain Kirk trying to save the Oscars at the beginning.  I loved all the musical bits during the Oscars; it was expected as MacFarlane loves his musicals!  One of my favorites was “We Saw Your Boobs.”  Yes, there has been plenty of nude women in the movies.  The epic kiss with Best Supporting Actress nominee Sally Field with MacFarlane dressed as a flying nun, and a sock puppet reenactment of Flight was funny!

You knew this would happen.  The teddy bear Ted who was created and voiced by Seth MacFarlane did make a appearance during the Oscars.  An odd moment was when MacFarlane announced the Von Trapp family would be singing a song from The Sound of Music.  He motioned toward the door twice, but they never appeared.  Then a Nazi came running in to announce they were gone.  This was a scene re-enactment from a musical.  I thought Seth MacFarlane did a good job being the Oscars host!  It was different from what you are used to seeing in an Oscar host.

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Now on to the animation!  The five nominated animated short films were interesting; for the ones I got to see.  You see the problem is this; most people never gets to see all the short films because most theaters never show them.  A couple of the short films are bundled with a bigger movie.  But this does not happen with every movie.  This year; most of the studios made their short films available on YouTube.  But the chief executive of Shorts International complained that continued streaming would cause “significant, if not irreparable damage” to their current theatrical release.  So the studios pulled the short films off the internet.

I could easily talk about them in detail and post the video on here like I always do.  But because some people likes to be greedy, most people will never be able to see these animated short films.  Sure, you might be able to find an illegal upload by someone online.  But I will briefly talk about the five nominated short films.

The Longest Daycare

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I did see this!  I enjoyed the story of seeing Maggie Simpson in daycare.  Glad she got to save the butterfly!

Fresh Guacamole

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This film is about a man making guacamole out of obscure objects and whenever he cuts into it becomes something else.  Have not seen it!

Adam and Dog

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This is a retelling of Adam and Eve’s story from a Dog’s point of view.  Sadly I have not seen this yet.

Head Over Heels

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This film is about Walter and Madge trying to put their marriage back together.  Sadly I have not seen this film.

Paperman – (Oscar Winner!)

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I have seen this film.  And I enjoyed the paper airplanes and the love story.  This film won the short animated film Oscar!

Now on to the animated feature Oscar.  Three out of the five films were made by Disney.  So most people knew that Disney would be winning an Oscar here!  I was not surprised to see Brave win the Oscar.  But I really wanted Frankenweenie to win!

ParaNorman

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This movie was a stop-motion film that was shot in a 3D color printer to create character faces.  This movie is your run in the mill haunted movie for the entire family.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits!

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The animation was done in the stop-motion clay version.  I did not see this film so I really can not judge this movie.

Wreck-It Ralph

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I saw this movie and enjoyed it!  If you are a geek or nerd you had to enjoy all the video game references in this movie!

Frankenweenie

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I have not seen this movie yet but I am planning too!  The entire movie is in black and white and done in the stop-motion style.

Brave – (Oscar Winner!)

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Disney and Pixar gets another Oscar!  The Brave movie was done very well and it showed the viewers to believe in yourself!