Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dead TV: Canceled Before Their Time

So I saw this list online recently of TV series which were canceled before their time. There were a bunch of shows on that list I never watched, so I thought I'd put together my own list of shows I think got "the quick hook" too soon!

My criteria was simple: I had to have actually watched the series AND it had to have lasted one season (26 episodes) or less.

1. Andy Richter Controls the Universe (2002-2003, 19 episodes, 4 unaired)
Andy Richter is one of those comedians whose humor, I think, escapes some people (especially television executives). His jokes tend to be delivered in a dry, unassuming way and, once fully processed by your brain, explode with a funniness which wasn't immediately apparent.

2. Andy Barker, P.I. (2007, 6 episodes)
Andy Richter also gets the second entry on my list. What do you do when your control of the Universe slips? Become a Private Investigator. By accident. Because someone mistakes you for one. At least you can watch the episodes online at

3. Wonderfalls (2004, 13 episodes, 9 unaired)
This is one of the few shows that, when it was canceled, I actually signed a petition urging FOX Broadcasting to reconsider. Someone at FOX had it in for the show, though, because they kept moving it around in the schedule or pre-empting it until even those of us who were eager for the next episode weren't always sure when it would air. I've since caught "Joan of Arcadia" on Sci-Fi Channel, which originally hit the air around the same time with a similar "I think God is talking to me" premise, "Wonderfalls" did it SO MUCH BETTER! The 13 episodes are available on DVD thanks to a fan-driven effort to get it released.

4. Firefly (2002-2003, 14 episodes, 3 originally unaired)
What can I say? This is one of the best (some would vehemently argue THE best) science-fiction shows ever. Even though FOX Broadcasting didn't give it a fair shake (and forced them to air the episodes out of order), it has spawned comic books, a feature film, soundtrack album, action figures, devoted fans who dress in costume and replicate props for their own conventions and fan films. . .etc., etc. Everything a sci-fi phenomenon is expected to inspire, and absolute proof that FOX television executives have their heads up their asses. You can watch episoes online at

5. Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993-1994, 27 episodes)
If "Firefly" dramatically combined Science-Fiction and Cowboy Western genres, "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." successfully did so comically (though there was an underlying serious plot revolving around Brisco capturing members of the gang that killed his father - a staple plotline of MANY a series). Which is fitting because a firearms prop used in "Brisco County, Jr." was later reused in "Firefly." Really! Enjoyment of the series probably helps if you're already a fan of Bruce Campbell, but the cross-genre dramedy (drama+comedy) nature of the show means there's something in it for just about everyone. The series has been released on DVD:

6. Q.E.D. [titled "Mastermind" in UK] (1982, 6 episodes)
Most people probably don't even remember this short-lived series. But I found it fun and imaginative - combining Sherlock Holmes and something far ahead of its time which is now known as "Steampunk." To this day I remember the main character's name: Quentin E. Deverill, and the phrase "Quite Easily Done." (Q.E.D. is a Latin phrase, quod erat demonstrandum, meaning "which was to be demonstrated"). The show later aired in the United Kingdom (which was fitting since it was set in Edwardian England) but was retitled "Mastermind" because there was already a science program called "Q.E.D." More information is online at:

7. Dresden Files (2007, 12 episodes)
This was based on a series of novels, which I've never read, so I don't know how it compares to the source material. The basic premise is "magical private investigator." When it was airing I described it as "What Harry Potter does when he grows up and becomes a detective." Sci-Fi Channel axed the show after only 12 episodes, which was a shame because like so many series killed before their time, it died just as it was getting good. There are rumors, though, it may be revived - possibly as a series of TV movies. You can watch it online at

8. Jack of All Trades (2000, 22 episodes)
If you ever liked the "Wild, Wild West" TV series, you'll like "Jack of All Trades." Same goes if you're already a Bruce Campbell fan. The series takes place in the 19th century featuring Campbell as "Jack Stiles," an American secret agent dispatched by President Jefferson. Along with a British agent they try to neutralize the Napoleonic threat. But the history and geography is purposely inaccurate, creating a fantasy loosely BASED on the 19th century rather than a "period piece." You can watch it online at

9. John Doe (2002-2003 ,21 episodes)
This is yet another show that was really getting good - at least close to answering the major mysteries raised in the series - when it got canceled. I despise TV networks that don't, at least, let shows like this do a wrap-up episode. It's like buying a mystery novel and finding out the publisher never printed the last chapter so you NEVER find out "who done it." Though there's plenty of speculation online as to what the deal was, we'll never truly know. You can get sucked into the mysteries, and be left to imagine your own resolutions, at:

10. Journeyman (2007, 13 episodes)
Ok, I'm a long-time Doctor Who fan, so I'm a sucker for pretty much any show with time travel in it. Again, this show was pulled after introducing a lot of question marks, but never giving the apparently few of us who were watching it any answers. Time travel back to before it was canceled by watching it online at:

11. The Tick (2001-2002, 9 episodes - 1 unaired )
Granted, this comic-book-based series probably was better suited to an animated series than live action (and the animated series WAS more successful). But you just can't beat Patrick Warburton as the big blue superhero - he was born for that role. If you like spoof super hero stories (think "Mystery Men") you'll enjoy helping the Tick protect the local bus station at:

12. Total Recall 2070 (1999, 22 episodes)
I caught some of this series in late-night syndication. If people were even generally aware of it, they probably thought it was a crappy TV-adaptation of the movie "Total Recall" with some Arnold Swartzenegger knock-off in the title roll. Well, thankfully it isn't. "Total Recall" was loosely based on the Philip K. Dick story "We can remember it for you wholesale," and this TV series drew from some of his other writings as well. I'd actually describe it as more of a mix between "Blade Runner" and "Total Recall" as it had elements of both. Though, again, questions about the truth were raised and the series never got an opportunity to answer them. Which, in a round-about way is sort of like the big question mark at the end of the Arnold action-flick: was he still stuck in the "blue skies on Mars" scenario, or did it really happen? Maybe you can figure it out at:

13. Tremors (2003, 13 episodes)
Considering the movie was rather, shall we say, light in the plot department I didn't have great expectations for a series based on "Tremors." Well, it somehow actually worked. You get to better know some of the quirky people in the valley who stubbornly refuse to be run off their land by a giant worm-thing that eats people. . .and trucks. . .and, well, anything that makes vibrations really. Add in a bumbling beaurocracy Hell-bent on protecting the "endangered species" and you've got a set up for friction. 11 episodes are available online at

14. Otherworld (1985, 8 episodes)
I'm also a sucker for "parallel universe" stories. This very short-lived series from long-ago is about a family who visit the pyramids in Egypt and are accidently transported through a portal to a parallel earth (though it might also be another earth-like planet connected to the pyramids somewhere in the same universe, it's hard to tell). The technology in this other world is different, as are the social norms and political powers. The family follows a series of obalisks in a quest to find their way back home. But 8 episodes is obviously insufficent time in which to accomplish that task. By today's standards the special effects, sets, costumes, and props are laughable, but that can also be part of the fun. More about it at

15. Logan's Run (1977, 14 episodes)
Not that long ago I watched the "Logan's Run" movie after many years of not having seen it. It was only then that I realized some of what I thought I remembered actually is from the TV series. Frankly, I think the TV series is a better interpretation of the story. I just wish we could have seen a lot more of the ruined cities on the surface. Pilot episode in parts at

16. Wizards & Warriors (1983, 8 episodes)
This was about as close as you'll get to a live-action "Dungeons & Dragons" series. It's a shame it only lasted eight episodes, because the fantasy genre as a series seems like a pretty tough sell to TV networks. Think about it, how many knights, wizards, fair maidens, and dragons have you seen in the primetime lineup over your lifetime? Not many. Video clips at

17. Lone Gunmen (2001, 13 episodes - 1 unaired)
I always like the trio of conspiracy nuts from "X-Files" and really enjoyed the short-lived series based on their paranoid investigations. Especially because the "X-Files" season at the time was kind of a disappointment. Series star Dean Haglund has actually published a comic book chronicling the circumstances surrounding the cancelation of the show. They never got a chance to actually wrap up the series within the series itself, which is why it's probably the only series I can think of that had it's finale within an entirely different series (the "Jump the Shark" episode of the "X-Files."), which I found unsatisfying because it all but ensured the Lone Gunmen series would never be revived.

18. Drive (2007, 6 episodes - 2 unaired)
You wouldn't think a series built around the premise of an illegal, underground road race would have much more to offer than Cannonball Run or Deathrace, but they managed to cram some interesting back stories for the characters into the short-lived show (but we never get the full picture because they canceled it). Considering how heavily FOX Broadcasting hyped this show before it premeired it was a bit of a shock they so readily gave it the axe. Or maybe they just hate any show with Nathan Fillion in it? Oh, and it actually won an Emmy Award - so "critically acclaimed" and "award winning" mean NOTHING to the longevity of a show.

19.Mission Hill (1999-2002, 13 episodes)
Ever since "The Simpsons" became a hit there has been an effort to create the next successful animated series. Well, it looks like "Family Guy" may have ultimately won that fight, but it wasn't for lack of trying on the part of other shows. "Mission Hill" is one of the few good ones which shouldn't have been canceled, but it is also very much a product of the late-1990s which makes it either feel "dated" or "nostalgic," depending on your perspective. There were a bunch of episodes in progress when it got canceled, for which "animatics" and scripts exist. You can find out more about that at and about the DVD release.

20. Surface (2005-2006, 15 episodes)
Originally intended as a mini-series, ok ratings caused NBC to expand it. Which sucks because, had it been left as a mini-series we'd probably have a self-contained story instead of the cliff-hanger ending we got that will NEVER be resolved. As noted, the ratings were ok and NBC heavily promoted this show, even re-aired episodes on the Sci-Fi Channel so people could catch up on episodes they'd missed. But they ultimately killed it anyway. It would be nice if they'd at least tie it up with a TV movie or a Sci-Fi "original picture," but for now all we've got is the DVD release.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Went and saw the "Watchmen" movie yesterday. While I'd heard of the "Watchmen" comic a long time ago, and was aware of the basic story, it was one of those "must reads" that I never got around to reading. So I can't really compare the movie to comic, but it is my understanding that both the film's director (Zack Snyder) and the comic creator (Alan Moore) agree there are things that could only be done in the comic art form, so the movie HAD to be different. Frankly, when a film is an adaptation of a book I'd prefer to see the movie FIRST. Why? Well, a movie has a finite amount of time to tell the story, which means things need to be cut in editing. Time and again I've heard people who've read the book first complain that this or that scene or element was missing from the movie. It's like they've set themselves up to be disappointed. Conversely, if you see the movie first and then read the book, the book is like "DVD Extras" fleshing out things in more details, giving more back-story, introducing scenes and/or characters absent from the movie version. If you ask me, that's the better way to experience the story - you can enjoy the movie for what it is, and then enjoy the book for how it expands the story beyond what you saw in the movie. I kind of consider the different media like "parallel universes" anyway, so it doesn't bother me all that much if they don't agree on the details.

Speaking of parallel universes, that's exactly where "Watchmen" takes place. We're exposed to a mid-1980's landscape where Nixon is still President of the United States and the Cold War "Doomsday Clock" is only 4 minutes from midnight. But, hey, the US won the Vietnam War with the help of two super heroes, so it can't be all bad, right? Except that one of those so-called heroes (known as "The Comedian") is such a total bastard one has to wonder why he didn't become a super villain instead (he's even described in the movie as a "Nazi"). Dr. Manhattan is the glowing blue guy who goes "clothing optional" through much of the movie. But he's so super-powerful he doesn't really relate to humanity - or a single reality - anymore.

As an aside, at MarsCon 2009 I heard numerous people talking about "Watchmen" as the film had just been released prior to the convention. Those conversations inevitably included the words "big blue penis," usually from guys who were clearly disgusted or uncomfortable with the fact Dr. Manhattan is often naked as a blue bird. Now, given how much focus was being paid to that aspect of the film I had expected the nudity to be a lot more "in your face" than it was. When Dr. Manhattan is al fresco I often hardly noticed because there's other stuff going on in the scenes, and he's unclothed through so much of the movie you reach a point where you're just like "Ok, whatever." Which means you start taking more note of the occasions in the movie when he DOES put on clothes.

All of the "heroes" are deeply, psychologically damaged people. Which makes sense, really. What normal, well-adjusted person would put on a costume and place themselves in life-threatening situations? I'm not going to break down their break downs, there are plenty of "Watchmen" sites and pages that can fill you in on that if you're interested. Or you could just go see the movie.

Special-effects in this movie are good, but not jaw-droppingly spectacular. There's nothing ground-breaking or even anything you haven't seen done before. In fact, near the end there's a "crane shot" of Ozymandeous through a broken glass roof and, if you look at his feet, he is very obviously composited into the scene. One thing I do like about Zack Snyder's directing style is that he likes to show fight scenes (or at least key "hits" in them) in slow motion. I absolutely HATE movies with frenetic fight scenes with lots of inter-cutting, close-ups, and hyper-fast blows to the point where the audience can't even follow the action.

It was refreshing to finally see a "comic book movie" that wasn't dumbed down or cleaned up for a PG rating, especially when the original source material wasn't "kid stuff." Which makes me wonder what the hell some people are thinking when they bring their children - young children - into an R-rated film like that?!? Oh yeah, that's excellent parenting. Hire a f---ing sitter or drop the kids at daycare, morons, because I'm sick of hearing your kids crying because the bloody murder on screen scared them or of seeing you herding said children to and from numerous bathroom breaks in my line of sight to the screen.

Oh, and too the guy that decided he HAD to sit in the seat in front of me, despite probably 100 other open seats he could have picked in the matinee showing, which forced me to take me feet down from their comfy perch on that seat's armrest, and consequently my legs hurt from having no room to stretch out during the THREE HOUR show: Dude, you suck.

Which is exactly why I prefer to watch movies at home on DVD.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Series Finale

* WARNING: If you haven't seen it yet, stop reading *

Ok, so I've had almost four hours to digest my first viewing of the series finale of "Battlestar Galactica." This was something I, like most fans, was both eager to see -but also wished wished wasn't happening because it meant the end of a great show!

However, the more time that passes after watching it the more pissed off I'm becoming. They touted this as the episode where we'd finally know the truth. Silly me, I expected ANSWERS. The writers didn't deliver. At least not the sorts of answers I'm willing to accept as a science-fiction fan.

The biggest one for me? What the Hell was Kara Thrace? Nothing about her story makes sense after she died chasing the alleged Raider in the nebula. Lee Adama saw her Viper destroyed. Then she mysteriously re-appears far, far away from where she "died" in perfect health with a spiffy new Viper. The questions are raised:

Is Kara a Cylon? Everyone says "No" because it's too obvious an explanation. Some cite her examination by the doctor specifically looking for evidence she was a Cylon, but we all know only Baltar's "Cylon Detector" seemed to be able to make that distinction - and it seems it didn't get much use after Baltar stopped running those tests.

Did she go through a space-time warp? That would make sense for how she got to/from Earth and why only several hours have passed for her. But we don't get anything to back that up.

Where did she get the "brand new" Viper? Again, if she were a resurrected Cylon that might be explained if the Cylons had a Colonial Viper stowed in a crate somewhere. But, again, we're given nothing to back that up.

Is the body on Earth hers? They did definitively answer that as "Yes" because the blood on the dog-tags matched her DNA. But if she CRASHED on Earth, even if she went through a space-time warp, how did she show up alive again? Initially I thought maybe there was Cylon resurrection tech somewhere on the planet, and maybe humans and Cylons were so similar it could actually resurrect a human? But that still wouldn't explain the spiffy new Viper.

Why did Kara know the "Watchtower" song? The song was linked to the Final Five and Hera. If Kara knew the song, that would bolster the argument that she's a Cylon.

Where did Kara go at the end? She just disappears! What a frackin' RIP OFF. At first I thought, "Wait! Was she an apparition like Baltar's Six?" But that didn't make sense because too many people interacted with her and she was clearly a physical being. But POP! She's gone, just like Baltar and Six's "angels." So, Kara was supposed to be an angel? That's a stupid answer, but it's the only one I seem to be hearing now. Talk about a major plot-point disappointment. It just seemed like lazy, cop-out writing. Like the writers killed her off and brought her back without really thinking it through and wrote themselves into a corner - oh gee, how to get out of this one? A Miracle! Boo, hiss, boo!

I'd have been happier if it had turned out she WAS a Cylon, which would have worked actually because everyone assumed it was TOO obvious and ruled it out only for that reason. Or if her dead-beat Dad had been a Cylon so Kara was really the FIRST Human-Cylon Hybrid (which might explain her connection with Hera). But you'd still need to insert a Cylon resurrection and a crated Viper to make it make sense. Maybe they'll give us a better answer in "The Plan" movie? I doubt it, but here's hoping. And we certainly won't find out anything new about Kara Thrace in "Caprica."

Ok, enough about that thorn in my side. On to other annoyances, like Earth 2.0. Really? We're actually doing the "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" ending? Yeah, it was so bloody obvious I made a joke about "declaring leaves currency" when they were watching the indigenous tribe. If Admiral Adama's remark about the distance wasn't a figure of speech that too doesn't make any sense - 1 million light years?!? That puts the Colonies outside the Milky Way Galaxy (which is estimated at 100,000 lightyears), but not far enough to be in the next nearest galaxy (Andromeda is about 2.5 million lightyears away). Um, and there's nothing in between but empty space. So where, exactly, were these colonies supposed to have been? Also, they made quite a big deal in the series about great distances requiring multiple FTL jumps, so how could a wounded Galactica have made such a phenomenal leap at all? Speaking of FTL jumps, remember when Boomer jumped too close to Galactica and caused a hull breach? So why does a Raptor jumping from the hangar deck NOT cause damage? Also, why didn't the Galactica jumping out (while still crashed into the Cylon Colony) NOT cause space warping damage to that as well? I guess they were hoping nobody would notice. Which is stupid because sci-fi fans notice EVERY DETAIL. We pay good money to go to conventions and sit in hotel conference rooms and ARGUE about those details for FUN.

At first I wasn't sure what to think about Cavil eating his own gun. I initially thought he was too egotistical to do that, but on further reflection I guess Hitler killed himself too, rather than be taken prisoner. It was certainly a sudden and inglorious end - which I suppose was the point.

This arrival on Earth 2.0 all apparently happened 150,000 years ago. That puts it in the right time frame for a mitochondrial DNA common ancestor (as they claim Hera was at the end of the series), but I've already seen message boards ablaze with posts questioning "Mitochondrial Eve" being a child of Eurasian appearance, rather than African. That's a can of worms I don't even want to get into, especially since even the experts can't really agree on what defines "race" in the fossil record of early humans.

Instead, I'd rather question Lee Adama's notion that they not build cities, and dump all the technology they brought with them - and everyone in the fleet (EVERYONE) just agrees with him! A group of people who have been bickering, arguing, double-dealing, and back-stabbing just suddenly agrees they all want to scuttle the fleet and go native? PU-LEASE! That would never happen. Even if you wanted a "clean slate" why destroy the ships? Maybe just park them on a nearby planet (like Mars) and figure by the time they build up a civilization with technology that can GET to them, they deserve the damned things? Nope, into the sun they go!

Then they drop people all over the planet. I can only assume some or all of those camps (except maybe the ones in Africa) fail. Why? They specifically pointed to putting people in Australia. Australia didn't have humans in it 150,000 years ago, they arrived less than 50,000 years ago! Conclusion? The Colonials die out long before Human-Cylon-Indigenous people move into Australia to stay. Either that, or the writers couldn't be bothered to do a quick Wikipedia search. I'm going to let the "locals don't have language" bit slide since nobody is sure when language developed (estimates are between 50,000 and 2 million years ago).

For a show that seemed to pride itself on the "intelligence" of their audience, this finale felt like an insult to mine. "God did it." "They were angels." I'm sorry, but the I feel that the "science" part of "science-fiction" demands a better explanation than a mystical miracle even when a central theme of the series is faith/religion. As motives? Fine. As explanations? Lazy.

This could have been my all-time favorite science fiction series if only it hadn't ended like this! I frankly didn't care if they EVER found Earth or a new home. I just wanted answers. They should have:
  • revealed Kara to be a Cylon
  • that Baltar DID have a chip in his head or was just crazy,
  • that the Final Five DID program religion into the Cylons,
  • that the Earth that was nuked was OUR Earth
  • that there really was no longer any major difference between Humans and Cylons
  • that the story takes place in the far, far future rather than a "long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away"

They should have ended the series with the big battle by the black hole and left us to just wonder about the fleet. Whatever fate I might have imagined for them would have been a more satisfying end than the last act they showed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

SyFy: Imagine Greater (Stupidity)

So, according to the news over at Sci-FiWire the Sci-Fi Channel is changing its name, next summer, to "SyFy" with the tagline "Imagine Greater."

Well, I guess this proves that even in a turd of an economy like this one Marketing types are still working. Ok, fine, I've worked in a Marketing Department before myself and I understand their reasons for wanting to do this. Primarily that the name of their network basically couldn't be trademarked because it was a generic term for a genre.

Not that they seemed to restricted to that genre in their programming anyway - I ask again, "What the HELL is wrestling doing on this channel?!?" Yes, wrestling is fiction and a degree of science likely created the wrestlers but PLEASE keep that crap on USA where it belongs! I remember when I first heard of an executive at Sci-Fi Channel talking about "broadening the brand" to include programming that was definitely NOT science fiction. Yeah, WTF?! Well, that's how TV executives and marketing types think (if you can call that random neuron firing they experience "thinking." Most of us call it a "brain fart").

Here's an excerpt from the wire:
the new brand broadens perceptions and embraces a wider range of current and future imagination-based entertainment beyond just the traditional sci-fi genre, including fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, reality, mystery, action and adventure
. . .In other words, embraces the wider range of programming seen on every other entertainment channel. They say "broadens" but I say "dilutes."

I have to wonder if the people running this channel have any idea who their core audience actually is? You'd have thought that the name of the channel itself - the current name - would have been clue enough, but apparently not. So we end up with the aforementioned wrestling abomination, idiotic game shows, and amateur ghost-busting (both domestic and international) by night-vision camera.

Once the series finale of "Battlestar Galactica" airs I don't have much reason to keep the basic cable TV package that includes Sci-Fi Channel anyway. . .especially if they're going to keep "broadening" (diluting) their programming with more and more non-science fiction.

Monday, March 9, 2009

MarsCon 2009

Well, MarsCon 2009 is over. I had a free pre-reg this year because of all the volunteer hours I pulled last year, which was nice.

I didn't get out to the Con on Friday at all. Friday is my busy day - I've got classes all day (9 AM - 8 PM). I did manage to get out of there earlier (7-ish), but I'd been awake since 5:30 AM, had a splitting headache, so I didn't feel much like hitting the Friday night parties. I also had some sewing to finish on my Jedi Robe for Saturday, and had also been looking forward to a new "Battlestar Galactica" all week so I decided to forego Con Friday.

Then, on Saturday, I overslept and realized I'd forgotten to hem the sleeves on my Jedi Tunic so I had to do that quickly. Which meant I didn't actually get to the Con until 1:00 PM on Saturday. Ack! I joined a couple of my friends in the "Panel About Nothing," which - contrary to the name - is about a LOT of things. It just doesn't have a set agenda.

After that I had to go up and see the Propatorium. Lots of cool stuff this year again, plus a full size remote control R2-D2! It ocurred to me, since I was going as a Jedi this year I probably should have put my scratch-built Star Trek Assault Phaser on display. Oh well, maybe next time.

Made a turn through the Dealers Room, which is pretty much always the same stuff - and you know damned well you could find it online for less. Seriously, does anyone buy anything at the Con? Poked my head into the Dementia Music Track once. Not sure who was on stage, but I didn't stick around long. Not that it wasn't good, but I wanted to get up to the ConSuite and see if I could get in on some of the REAL food. Which I did - a small bowl of Chili and some Nachos, but it wasn't enough to fill me up, so I joined friends for dinner and drinks in the Hotel Lounge.

After eating I went to the Web Comics panel. I don't follow that many web comics. I should probably bookmark more of them. Actually I should subscribe to the feeds so I just, you know, GET them when they update. Except some people don't have feeds for their comics, which I totally don't understand. Maybe they just don't know what it is or how to set it up. I should do a post about that actually. . .

Then came Masquerade. This year I actually knew one of the judges, and I'd put in major effort on my Jedi costume - I probably should have entered, but I felt I'd rushed the costume (I didn't feel my "workmanship" was anything to brag about). I'm also not really comfortable being up on a stage in front of people - not that I haven't been pulled up there before, but that's why I know I'm not comfortable with it. As is typical of every Masquerade I've attended, there are always more (and sometimes better) costumes on people in the audience. Anyway, with so few contestants at least the event went by quickly - unlike some previous years where they not only had many people in it, but disorganization made it run long (even excruciatingly long). Besides, once Masquerade is done it's PARTY TIME!

Parties were pretty good this year. Thanks to the "TARDIS Tea Society" and "No Brand Con" for having actual bottles and cans of BEER! I can only stand so much "Vodka+Fruity Drink" that seems the staple of Con parties. I don't like not knowing fully what's in it, or how strong it is, and I've never been a fan of hard liquor - I'd much rather enjoy a beer, ale, or cider. Also, kudos to the ConSuite for continuing to have REAL FOOD even during the parties. It was sweet to take a break, have a bowl of chicken noodle soup, a hot dog - and recharge before heading back into the parties.

The coolest party room this year, though, had to be the Green Lantern Corps party - I have NEVER been in a room bathed in such intense green light!! Thier lime-flavored drink was actually pretty damned good too. I spent about an hour hanging out there, the only downside was when I left all that green light had red-shifted my vision for a good 20 minutes afterward - which is extra wierd when you've had a few drinks. LOL

Since the clocks were also being changed for Daylight Savings it was kind of fun/funny that the Con schedule had a bunch of panels listed as running from 2:01 AM - 2:59 AM. They were things like "A Practical Guide to Traveling Forward in Time" or something like that. I stuck around until the end of the parties and then some. I didn't actually get home and into bed until about 5 AM (well, 4 AM if you take the clock change out of the equation).

Consequently I slept right through my alarm on Sunday morning and by the time I finally stopped being a total Con Zombie it was after noon. Since Closing Ceremonies were around 3PM I didn't see much point in going back out to the convention. So, like so many MarsCons before it, I only experienced Saturday afternoon and evening. If I hadn't had the volunteer pre-reg thing I'd probably have taken advantage of the "day pass" (which I did one other year they offered it). Which makes me wonder why/when CONvergence is going to do that - as it stands now I doubt I'll be going to CONvergence this year because I probably won't be able to do, nor afford, 4 days! It's all too easy, when you're sitting at home, to think to yourself "do I really want to drive back out there?" I really do believe you get a LOT more out of the conventions if you can stay AT the hotel (or at least within walking distance of it). I had an absolute blast last year staying at the hotel and doing the Con front to back. But hotel rooms aren't cheap, and if I was going to do that regularly for a Con I'd feel better about the expense if it was somewhere far away from where I live and couldn't just run home with the car anyway. Which, for now, is out of the question.