Thursday, December 24, 2009

I do TV

So, Pitu and Amrita did this post. And since I have no idea for any new posts at the moment, I think I might as well go ahead and take it up.

Statutory warning: Most of the shows listed below are offline right now. I have marked the ones on screen right now which I follow regularly (as against catching up once in while), and you can see, the percentage is pretty low. Plus, like shoe sizes, 2 seasons of a British show = 1 season on US TV. What I am saying is, just because I watch Doctor Who and Scrubs on repeat once in a while doesn’t mean I need medical help.

Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand, the rules are pretty simple:

  1. Bold all of the following TV shows which you’ve ever seen 3 or more episodes of in your lifetime.
  2. Italicize a show if you’re positive you’ve seen every episode of it.
  3. Highlight new additions with an Underline. ( I added some BBC and Scifi/syfy shows which were missing from the list)

  • 24
  • * 30 Rock
  • 90210
  • 7th Heaven
  • ALF
  • Alias
  • American Gothic
  • American Idol
  • America’s Got Talent
  • America’s Next Top Model
  • Angel
  • Arrested Development
  • Babylon 5
  • Batman: The Animated Series
  • Batman Beyond/Batman of the Future
  • Battlestar Galactica (the old one)
  • Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
  • Baywatch
  • Beverly Hills 90210 (original)
  • Benidorm
  • Bewitched
  • Big Love
  • Black Adder (Rowan Atkinson + Stephen Fry + Hugh Laurie – Mr. Bean = Great Comedy)
  • Bonanza
  • * Bones
  • Bosom Buddies
  • Boston Legal
  • Boy Meets World
  • Breaking Bad
  • Brothers And Sisters
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Burn Notice
  • Californication
  • * Castle
  • Catherine Tate Show
  • Chappelle’s Show
  • Charlie’s Angels
  • Charmed
  • Cheers
  • * Chuck (I am going to miss first few episodes of season 3)
  • Clarissa Explains it All
  • Columbo
  • Commander in Chief
  • Crossing Jordan
  • CSI
  • CSI: Miami
  • CSI: NY
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Dark Angel
  • Dark Skies
  • DaVinci’s Inquest
  • Dawson’s Creek
  • Dead Like Me
  • Deadwood
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation
  • Designing Women
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Dexter
  • Dharma & Greg
  • Different Strokes
  • Dirty Sexy Money
  • * Doctor Who (OK, the 2005 series, not the original series)
  • Dragnet
  • Due South
  • ER
  • * Eureka (you are missing something if you haven’t been to Eureka)
  • Everwood
  • Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Extras
  • Facts of Life
  • Family Guy
  • Farscape
  • Fawlty Towers
  • Felicity
  • Firefly
  • * FlashForward
  • Frasier
  • Freaks & Geeks
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Friends
  • * Fringe
  • Futurama
  • Gavin and Stacey
  • Get Smart
  • Gilligan’s Island
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Glee
  • Gossip Girl
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Grange Hill
  • Growing Pains
  • Gunsmoke

  • Happy Days
  • Harry Hill’s TV Burp
  • Have I Got News For You
  • Hercules: the Legendary Journeys
  • Heroes
  • Home Improvement
  • Homicide: Life on the Street
  • * House
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Ideal
  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • I Love Lucy
  • Invader Zim
  • Invasion
  • Hell’s Kitchen
  • JAG
  • Jackass
  • Joey
  • Kim Possible
  • King of Queens
  • Knight Rider
  • Knight Rider: 2008
  • Kung Fu
  • Kung Fu: The Legend Continues
  • La Femme Nikita
  • LA Law
  • Laverne and Shirley
  • Law and Order
  • Law and Order: SVU
  • Law and Order: CI
  • Legend of the Seeker
  • Leverage
  • Lie To Me
  • Little Britain
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Live At Appollo
  • Lizzie McGuire
  • Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
  • Lost
  • Lost in Space
  • MASH
  • MacGyver
  • Mad Men
  • Malcolm in the Middle
  • Married… With Children
  • McLeod’s Daughters
  • Melrose Place
  • Merlin
  • Miami Vice
  • Misfits
  • Mission: Impossible
  • Mock The Week
  • Modern Family
  • Mod Squad
  • Moonlight (It has a mopey vampire in love with a mortal girl)
  • Monk (Series finale was just this month)
  • Mork & Mindy
  • Murphy Brown
  • My Life As A Dog
  • My Three Sons
  • My Two Dads
  • * Mythbusters (I have seen a lot, just not sure all the episodes)
  • * NCIS
  • * NCIS: Los Angeles (Like CSI, NCIS is going places now)
  • Ned Bigby’s Declassified School Survival Guide
  • Nip/Tuck
  • * Numb3rs
  • One Tree Hill
  • Oz
  • Perry Mason
  • Power Rangers
  • Press Gang
  • Primaeval (dinosaurs + time travel)
  • Prison Break
  • Private Practice
  • Privileged
  • Profiler
  • Project Runway
  • * Psych
  • Pushing Daisies
  • QI
  • Quantum Leap
  • Queer As Folk (US)
  • Queer as Folk (UK)
  • ReGenesis
  • Remington Steele
  • Rescue Me
  • Road Rules
  • Robin Hood
  • ROME
  • Roseanne
  • Roswell
  • Royal Pains
  • * Sanctuary
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
  • * Scrubs
  • Seaquest DSV
  • Seinfeld
  • Sex and the City
  • Six Feet Under
  • Slings and Arrows
  • Smallville
  • So Weird
  • South of Nowhere
  • South Park
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Spaced
  • Spongebob Squarepants
  • St. Elsewhere
  • Star Trek
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  • Star Trek: Voyager
  • Star Trek: Enterprise
  • Stargate Atlantis
  • Stargate SG-1
  • * Stargate Universe
  • Starsky & Hutch
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (Hey, I still think it is nice)
  • Superman
  • Supernatural
  • Surface
  • Survivor
  • Taxi
  • Teen Titans
  • That 70’s Show
  • That’s So Raven
  • The 4400
  • The Addams Family
  • The Amazing Race
  • The Andy Griffith Show
  • The A-Team
  • The Avengers
  • The Beverly Hillbillies
  • * The Big Bang Theory
  • The Brady Bunch
  • The Colbert Report
  • The Cosby Show
  • The Daily Show
  • The Dead Zone
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • The Flintstones
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • The F Word
  • The Golden Girls
  • The Honeymooners
  • The Jeffersons
  • The Jetsons
  • The L Word
  • The Love Boat
  • The Magnificent Seven
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • * The Mentalist
  • The Monkees
  • The Munsters
  • The O.C.
  • The Office (UK)
  • * The Office (US)
  • The Peep Show
  • The Powerpuff Girls
  • The Pretender
  • The Real World
  • The Shield
  • The Simpsons
  • The Six Million Dollar Man
  • The Sopranos
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
  • The Thin Blue Line (seriously, Rowan Atkinson is funny when he is not Mr. Bean)
  • The Twilight Zone
  • The Waltons
  • The West Wing
  • The Wire
  • The Wonder Years
  • The X Factor
  • The X-Files
  • Third Watch
  • Three’s Company
  • Top Chef
  • Top Gear
  • Torchwood
  • True Blood
  • Twin Peaks
  • Twitch City
  • Unfabulous
  • Ugly Betty
  • Veronica Mars
  • Weeds
  • Who Dare Wins
  • Whose Line is it Anyway? (US)
  • Whose Line is it Anyway? (UK)
  • Will and Grace
  • Wings
  • Xena: Warrior Princess
    • So, what’s your score on the chart?


      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken

      Wednesday, December 02, 2009

      The other shoe is in hand

      For last few months, we at the Aerie Institute have been waiting for some enterprising company to pick up a brilliant business idea which has been making regular news. Unfortunately, either due to recession, or some other reason, nobody has picked up on it. So, we thought, why not us?

      Imagine the scenario: you are sitting in a press conference given by a Famous Person, and fuming at the way things are going in there. You want to vent, but almost everything a journalist has at hand (including the journalist himself) makes for a very poor projectile weapon. And  before you know it, you are suddenly walking unbalanced, with just one shoe on.

      That’s why, we are proud to present: Feko Shoe.

      Each Feko shoe is manufactured with carefully tested toe to heel ratio, and extensively researched aerodynamic profile which give it the best flight characteristics. Studies have shown Feko shoes get 80% more range and 50% more accuracy than normal shoes*.

      Another disturbing trend can be noticed in the news: none of the shoes in the news have hit the target. Which is why there is Feko Premium, armed with “Throw and Forget TM” technology. With one flick of a switch, the Feko Premium will hit the speaker with unerring accuracy. The target can be locked on manually quite easily (so that you don’t end up standing up with a shoe in your hand, looking like an idiot), or the automatic targeting system will take over in case there is no manual input. Want to vent, but don’t want violence? No worries. Just turn the switch to “Miss” and the shoe will miss the target very closely, no matter what.

      Both the standard and premium versions come in easy to carry collapsed form, which can be easily popped up into action readiness. After all, you don’t want to carry a shoe box with you everywhere, do you now? Plus, the faux leather material is completely bio-degradable, making the shoe quite environment friendly.

      As a buyer of Feko Shoe, you also get a chance to enroll in our Shoe Throwing training, where experts from military and sports field will teach you to be the perfect shoe thrower. Our instructors may not have thrown any shoes, but believe us, they have accurately chucked quite a few solid objects at their targets in their career.

      Please note the singular in all the paragraphs before. After all, with Feko, you don’t need to carry a backup to get your point across.

      But for the cautious and overzealous amongst you, as a limited time offer, every Feko Premium purchase gives you a 50% discount on another Feko Premium. Having a pair is always better than a single shoe. Who knows, you may want to wear them at some point of time for some reason.


      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken

      P.S. Don’t forget to check out our “Shoe Avoidance Force Filed” products. After all, that Feko shoe is going to make you into a Famous Person.

      P.P.S. Want more career advice from Aerie Institute? Here’s your intro to “Effigy Burning” and “Spamming 101” (and Updated course).


      * Under test conditions

      Thursday, November 12, 2009

      Sachin: Great batsman, or Greatest batsman?

      A few weeks ago, somebody took an exception to the constant usage of media’s pet phrase: “there are two Indias, one who XYZ and one who XYA” (fill in the blanks as appropriate). His point was that diversity in India can’t allow for such simple bisection. I replied:

      There ARE just two Indias: One who think Sachin is a God, other who don’t.

      Mind you, this was before the 175-run knock. But those who saw that piece of batting display would probably be wondering whether they were back watching Sharjah in ‘98, watching the same man demolish Australian (the same side) bowling, while the rest of the team (again) stands by thinking this is a one-man show. Not to mention, occasional wins aside, we are still being badly beaten by the same #1 side, Australia.

      Well, if it is really 1998-‘99, it means I haven’t yet given my 12th std. exams, my engineering and grad school is in future, so is my first and second job. We have yet to see the greats like “Yaadein” (remember that one?) and “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna”, while Ram Gopal Verma has just one “Daud” in a line-up of Shiva, Rangeela and Satya. Then again, while my colleagues would agree that having 4 more months in Hyderabad is fun, and I am pretty comfortable about undergrad and grad school, I am not so sure I will get anywhere near the marks I got in 12th std. again. Wow, that particular fantasy didn’t last long.

      So, let’s get back to the point. Before and after that knock, there has been (once again) a plethora of articles about Sachin, his place in team, his greatest hits and misses and so on. Many of his critics accuse him of playing a selfish game, point out that his first 7 runs (the ones he needed to get to 17000 mark) were very slow. Personally, I think a player who is playing for himself, not the team won’t score 168 runs after he has achieved a personal milestone. He will probably check out of the game mentally and be far away from the crease by the next ball. And seriously, if a mentally checked out Sachin plays an innings like this, I wish he would do it more often and more batsmen should start playing selfish games like him.

      The other criticism is that even when he scores big, he rarely stays there till the end of the game. Then again, what says about our team when a batting line up comprising of 5 of top-50 players in ICC batting ranks (including #1) cannot together equal a single player’s contribution? One player overshadowing the entire team happens in other sports and other teams too, though I don’t believe it happens with such regularity.

      So, while the critics point out his batting lows, his low strike rate series, his propensity to make one huge knock to “silence the critics” once in a while, I will reiterate my original point:

      Sachin Tendulkar is a God of the cricketing population in India.

      Then again, let me put that statement in perspective: Sachin is an Indian, a Hindu. And our Hindu Gods are not exactly known for their infallibility, are they? I mean, except for some notable exceptions (Ganesh), our mythology is filled with gods making mistakes, falling prey to all too human emotions (Indra, anyone?). So, cut that guy some slack. Losing against a few asuras (due entirely to the boons you gave them earlier) is all right once in a while, if on other occasions you are essentially lifting entire mountains on your hand, or decimating entire asura armies single-handed.

      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken

      P.S. This post is just a space-filler till I get back to regular programming, whatever that means for this blog.

      P.P.S. Re: The header, I am aware of the futility of having “Greatest ever” debate unless it really is end of the universe for once and all. But viewers of Colbert will know where that question came from.

      Sunday, October 04, 2009

      Exception to most of the rules

      After a long break, both from blogging and the series, I think it is time we get back to the Detectives series. This time, it’s a detective who proves to be the exception to a great many rules.

      Aloysius Pendergast

      His Name: Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast

      His Watson: (Mostly) Lt. Vincent D’Agosta

      His Moriarty: (Mostly) Diogenes Pendergast

      relic Unlike most of the book characters in the series, Special Agent Pendargast, FBI, is officially paid to solve crimes. Of course, officially he is supposed to work out of New Orleans office, but that doesn’t stop him running across the country solving the crimes he finds interesting.

      Unlike the detectives living from case to case, Pendergast’s inheritance includes, apart from his prodigious mental capacity, a not inconsiderable wealth. Born and bred a Southern Gentleman, Aloysius’ mannerisms belong more to the era of Holmes and Poirot than the current crop of roguish PIs. Of course, he is also aware of his “small character flaws”, like being impatient with bureaucracy and dislike of officious fools, which he declares are hard to get rid of.

      Almost albino pale skin, with his characteristic Italian black suits give him an aura of impenetrable mystery, yet for a lone man, he is extremely loyal to his few friends. He has put his own life in danger for them, and also expects (and gets) similar loyalty from them.

      cemetary dance coverMany times, his brother Diogenes as related to him is compared to Moriarty. Personally, despite their relative ages, I think he is more like if “His Majesty’s accountant” Mycroft Holmes had taken on a career of crime. But given Pendergast’s other family members (his great aunt is incarcerated in a psychological institute after she poisoned her family), Aloysius as a federal agent is more of an exception than the rule in his family of geniuses.

      Most of Aloysius Pendergast’s cases almost belong in supernatural world. From mythical South American tribal creatures, to old Egyptian mummies, he investigates bizarre cases involving zombies, ritualistic murders and immortal foes. Surprisingly, most of the cases take him to New York, and make you think twice before visiting the city, or Natural History Museum there. 


      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken

      P.S. The rest in “Detectives” series

      Friday, September 25, 2009

      30 Second Summaries - Bonus Edition

      a.k.a. “I am feeling too lazy to write anything else” edition


      In today's busy world, the attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. In the world of information superhighways and consequent information overloads, people don't have time to read long pages and pages of reviews of the movies they want to watch (or sometimes, even to see the actual movies), when they can just as well spend that time doing something else.

      That’s why, just reading this post (investment of around 5 minutes + 1 minute for commenting) makes sure you can talk about movies which have a total viewing period of about 8-10 hours. Plus, there’s a bonus thought per movie, which makes you sound even more “deep and thoughtful” in any conversation.

      So, what are you waiting for?

      Dil_Bole_Hadippa-763996 Dil Bole Hadippa:

      Happenings in a supposedly friendly match: sledging, deliberate obstruction leading to injury, gender fraud, (which also means) identity fraud. And to top it all off, unless I am much mistaken, there’s a passport/visa fraud in there, too.

      I guess it’s true Cricket is no longer the Gentleman’s Game.

      Bonus thought: This, plus “Rab ne bana di jodi” means, in YRF universe, the superheroes would never need a mask, since nobody would recognise them anyways when they change into their “costume”. (And people think Lois Lane is blind)



      wanted“Wanted” has an assassin as its main character. Unfortunately, he cannot (as far as we know) curve any bullets. Which is surprising given how laws of Physics normally work in Bollywood masala.

      Bonus thought: What do you think Shreyas Talpade is more embarrassed about: “Bombay To Bangkok” or sharing name with Mahesh Manjrekar’s character in this movie?

      rashee What’s your rashee?:

      For the guys: Irrespective of your (and her) rashee, you will finally end up with Priyanka Chopra.

      For the girls: Depending on your rashee, you may finally end up with Herman Baweja.

      Bonus thought: Multiple (unrelated) characters with same face? Does this film belong in YRF universe? (see “Dil Bole…” above for details)


      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken


      P.S. Some other 30 second summaries: Aug ’09, May ’09 and Dec ’08.

      Tuesday, August 11, 2009

      30 Second Summaries – Mixed Edition

      Once again, we bring you the bestest and latest news in the entertainment world. And like all good things, except chocolates and ice cream, our summaries come in small, (non-digital) bite-sized packets.

      You know, for those times when everybody in the group is talking about the movie you have just heard of, and you have to come up with a comment quickly before “somebody” thinks you are so ignorant. So whip out that now-old-news iPhone and…

      …dive into this August (as in month, not the other meaning) Edition of 30-second Summaries:

      love-aaj-kal-new-poster Love Aaj Kal:

      They say the dhai akshar prem ke of yore have today been replaced by 2 syllables of “Love” (kinda like how we replaced long movie reviews with 30 second summaries here, I guess).

      They also say Saif Ali Khan looks like young Hrishi Kapoor from certain (camera) angles.

      agyaat Agyaat:

      For completely agyaat reasons,

      1. film crews continue to go into creepy forests with no means of quick escape.
      2. and against all reasonable laws of jungle, young females continue to go into deep forest quite alone, often wearing nothing more than bikinis or shorts.
      3. ditto for men, although, praise the gods, they do it dressed more sensibly in most cases.
      4. RGV continues to use loud background music in places where silence would have served a whole lot better.

      GI Joe movie poster G. I. Joe:

      Seriously? You want the story of G. I. Joe movie? So be it. A young man finds himself torn between his duty to his country and his lost love, the tragic love story painted on the canvas of today’s world full of hate and violence, betrayal and greed.

      All right, here’s the straight and narrow: G. I. Joe foils the plans for world domination by the ruthlesss terrorist organization Cobra, led by Cobra Commander, who is supported by Destro and his M.A.R.S. Industries. <EOS> Yo, Joe!

      Now go forth and be knowledgeable, my friend. Then come back when you have time and tell us in comments how you fared.

      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken

      P.S. And when you have time, you may want to check out the old editions: May ’09 and Dec ’08.

      Sunday, July 26, 2009

      Those Frakking Toasters messed with my mind

      …and now, the Battlestar Galactica intro plays thus in my mind:

      Sorry for that. As you may have guessed, I have been watching some BSG lately. And one question I have everytime I watch that intro is, why “toasters”? Why not something else, say… microwaves? Or lawn-mowers? Vacuum cleaners? What dastardly rebellion can a toaster plot against humanity?

      No, I am not obsessing over it. Whatever made you think that?

      I was planning to continue “Detectives” series, but random timepass and bad jokes triumph over well researched posts any day on this site. So Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast will have to wait for another day to make an appearance here.

      Till then,

      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken

      P.S. Want to fill in the blanks and make that into a video? Drop me a line.

      Friday, July 10, 2009

      Harry Potter in Technicolor, With Dolby Surround Sound

      With “Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince” coming up, I am reading up on my HP lore, as I am wont to do. And as my history with fantasy series probably warns you, I started thinking how Harry Potter series is another example of how Bollywood Masala genre is much more pervasive than we give it credit for.

      “How?” you ask? (OK, I asked the question for you this time. Next time around though…) The series has:

      • DeathEaters Crazy villain, his lair, and dressed henchmen: Hey, Lord Voldermort’s got noseless face with slit eyes. His Death Eaters dress in long black robes, cover their faces with masks, and have got snake tattoos on their forearms. Can it get more masala villainish than this? (OK, it can, see below).

        Plus, I know Malfoy Manor appeared late in series, but it has live peacocks and dungeons. What more do you want in a lair?

      • Beat That Comic sideplot: I dare you, show me any comedy team who can beat The Weasleys, Fred and George. And then you get other Weasley brothers throwing in their two bits (Ron, anyone?), and we can make it a family business.

      • College romances: Hero’s bumbling friend falls in love with his nerdy friend. If hero’s friend has a sister and she lives till the end unmolested by the villain, the hero is bound to end up with her. Hero falls for the college beauty queen, only to realize he truly belongs with the girl next door. Have I forgotten any Masala stereotypes?

        OK, so it is more school romance than college one. But then, a. western kids and/or b. today’s kids age quicker and have girlefriends/boyfriends in school.

        Oh yeah, a moon-earth-sun kinda situation, but it is more due to magic gone wrong than intentional, so I won’t count it.

      • Parental sacrifices: You can actually watch HP dubbed in Hindi, with both Harry’s parents going “Nahin, mere bete ko mat maro”, without feeling that you are watching something foreign.

      But still, something is missing from this story to make it a full-fledged Bolly-masala flick.

      • Lost twin brother: Any good masala film has to have a lost twin.

        Here’s how it would play out: When Lord Voldemort tried to kill Harry, his twin brother Larry (is there any other name rhyming with Harry?) was picked up by some Death Eaters. They raised him as their own, put him in Durmstrang, and raised him on the pureblood supremacy doctrine. They also named him Ambrosius or something like that, which probably didn’t help him any more than his original name.

        Years later, he came across Harry while fighting with the Death Eaters. They recognized each other by the identical scars on opposite sides of their faces. Larry then sacrifices his life in place of Harry.

        Unless he has a “good” girlfriend, in which case, he is redeemed by fighting for the good side.

      • “Love” sacrifices: OK, Ginny is Ron’s sister, and The Hero does not sacrifice his love for his sidekick (not at the end, at least). So, we can have Ron and Harry fall in love with Cho Chang (or how about Fleur, if it must come to that), before realizing who their (respective) actual love is.

      • Item numbers (“Weasley is our king” does not count). Malfoy Manor has rotating tortured prisoners, but no dancing vamps.

      Now let me scrubs the images of Bellatrix and Narcissa dancing from my head. But till then, have I missed anything?


      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken

      Friday, June 19, 2009

      Dinosaurs, and time travel…

      Because one thing Jurassic Park lacked, was time machines. And hence, to bridge that gap, we have the British sci-fi drama, Primeval (BBC Site).

      83726679lw9 Prof. Nick Cutter is a Professor of Palaeontology, who is more interested in the mysteries which cannot be explained by Darwin than conventional studies. His student, Connor Temple, tells him about a giant predator sighted near the Forest of Dean. What Connor is unaware of is that Cutter’s wife, Helen Cutter went missing 8 years ago in the same area, where she was investigating another creature sighting.

      Cutter, followed by his lab assistant Stephan Hart and Connor, quickly establish that the animal is really unknown, really huge, and apparently, really bad-tempered, with muscles and talons to match. On the other hand, a reptile specialist Abby Metland is searching the forest for the origin of an entirely new gliding reptile species. And Claudia Brown, a Home Office agent is looking for Cutter to debunk the rumours of giant predator in the forest.

      What they all chance upon is something they haven’t imagined: a temporal anomaly, which temporarily connects the modern day Forest to late Permian era. And while the impromptu team manages to send back the creature that came through this anomaly, that is just the beginning. And the things which will come through next are a whole lot worse.

      The nature of the show almost begs comparison with the other BBC sci-fi shows: Torchwood and the touchstone of all sci-fi, Doctor Who. While it’s to each his/her own in most other areas, Primeval does score over both in terms of special effects. Although some creatures do seem to move jerkily, I am not sure whether it was the animation or the actual gait of the creature.

      I can go on about the traditional team composition in the show, how you don’t need Doctor Who absence as excuse to see this, and so on. But the meat of this series to me is:

      The time-travel nature of the show makes it much closer to the Doctor Who, and raises similar questions about the concept, e.g. what we the insiders call Grandfather paradox. Doctor Who solves this problem of meddling in a divine fashion1. Primeval has a more mundane, or more twisted (depending on your view) solution for this.

      (Kinda, sorta, maybe Spoilers Ahead)

      I once read somewhere (has to be some sci-fi story), that impact of any ordinary event on the timeline is smoothed over within 400 years2.

      Which is why when some changes in the ancient past erase a character from timeline, the person reappears although with a different name, different personality, but same face. Although, it might be that they didn’t want two very similar characters in the team, and add more conventional diversity, but the logic behind the change goes a lot deeper than the traditional evil twin or “hit his head and got amnesia”3.

      On the same lines, if you watch closely, any change or impact on timeline ends up in a. for a single possible timeline, “been there, done that” b. for those who believe in multiverse, the forks taken for the current reality. So, the attempts of a character to change the future make that future more plausible, and attempts to change the past are already part of the history.

      Yes, once you figure it out, many “Big!” plot points are intuitive, which is why I put up the spoiler warning. But believe me, that doesn’t take away one bit from the enjoying the show.

      (End of Spoilers)

      Oh yeah, you would probably want to watch the series before you watch the upcoming movie.

      Watching this show, many will once again wonder why British sci-fi series tend to be more intense and dramatic than their mainly action-oriented American counterparts (even counting occasional Eureka and Sanctuary).

      But my question is, can we expect good science fiction shows on Indian television any time soon, or should we just give up and go back to our routine of soaps, comedy/reality and cricket?


      - The Great Eagle has spoken

      P.S. Previously, I wrote about "Brainiac: Science abuse", and "Yes, Minister/Yes, Prime Minister".


      1. The Doctor, as a Time Lord, has complete knowledge of proper timeline, past and future, and only intervenes in case of any deviations.

      2. Or possibly 40 generations. Forgot the exact figure. Help welcome. Of course, this doesn’t count catastrophes or events such as say, premature death of all dinosaurs, or of the first Homo Sapien. We will see what happens to our timeline re: Dodo.

      3. Which is another thing I like about British serials. e.g. how wonderfully changing the main actor in Doctor Who is explained, without affecting the storyline or the show.

      Thursday, June 11, 2009

      And the Knobale prize goes to…

      Welcome my friends, to the Knobale Prize – Nostalgia Edition. Brought to you this year by “Ol’ Faithful Bicycles”.

      Ol’ Faithful Bicycles… where everything except the bell jangles. Ol’ Faithful – you don’t need no bell!

      Let’s get directly into it, shall we?

      This Year’s Knobale prize for Physics goes to the man who made Physics relevant to the real life. He gave us gems like

      He is mooning over her, but she is attracted towards an altogether different person.

      No, my friends. That was a class on “Gravity”. The first “he” is the moon, “she” is the the earth… you do the physics.


      The Knobale Prize for Chemistry is shared between three worthy winners. One winner is recognized for his dedication, as shown when he tried to suck concentrated HCl up a mouth pipette during an experiment.

      The other two winners share the prize for discovering the must-have ingredient in any experiment – fun. The discovery occurred when they intentionally used their test-tubes for “cheers”. Unfortunately, they test-tubes were being heated on the burner at the time. Fortunately, the ruined tubes meant they couldn’t follow it up with “bottoms up”.


      The Knobale Prize for Physiology is won by “Species transformation by DNA manipulation”.

      Picture this: 10th standard class. We are learning about types of plants, types of flowers (and types of cows and buffalos for some reason, by that’s neither here or there). The types of plants part includes flower plants like tuberose, which we have just finished learning about.

      Teacher walks in for the next class, and asks, “Where were we last time?” Comes the confident and sincere reply, from the last row, “tarbooj”.


      The Knobale Prize for Literature goes to the masterful treatise, “Affairs are never fair”.

      Scene: 8th std class (may even be 9th std). The students are learning English for 3+ years, but still haven’t successfully navigated the tricky terrain called “Antonyms”. Teacher asks, “Antonym of ‘fair’ is…”

      “…Affair” pat comes the reply, from this courteous guy.


      And, last but not the least, Knobale Peace Prize goes to… Yeah, I don’t think I have thought this through. And now I am short a winner. So let’s do what any self-respecting committee would do in such situation…

      …and share the prize. I win for keeping the peace on the blog for last 2 weeks. And you, the readers, win for tolerating that peace and/or reading this crazy post in peace. Happy?


      Till next time, then. Meanwhile, got any nominations/winners of your own?


      - The Great Eagle has spoken

      Wednesday, May 20, 2009

      30 Second Summaries – Hollywood Edition

      In today's busy world, the attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. In the world of information superhighways and consequent information overloads, people don't have time to read long pages and pages of reviews of the movies they want to watch, when they can just as well spend that time doing something else.

      Now, thanks to The Aerie Institute, you don’t have to worry about losing the thread of the post you were reading just because your boss popped in for a “discussion”. Or you don’t have to choose between a long (but interesting) movie review and that floor-mate you want to talk to so much, who just walked over to the coffee machine.

      Presenting 30 Second Summaries – Hollywood (Prequels) Edition:

      X-Men Origins Wolverine X-Men Origins: Wolverine:

      A tale of sibling rivalry: one has slight personal hygiene issues, other needs to visit his orthopaedist pronto.

      And when is The Government going to realise that in any black-ops team, one is going to go rogue (no, not that Rogue), one (mostly rogue’s closest friend/brother) is going to go on “straight and narrow”, and the others are going to get killed, before the good prevails over the evil.


      Star Trek:

      Going boldly where no sci-fi film has gone before: 2 Spocks.




      angelsanddemons Angels and Demons: (full review here)

      On his first visit to Vatican’s Secret Archives, Prof. Robert Langdon tears up a book. On the second visit, he damages (and possibly destroys) a lot more books. To keep something for his third visit (and probably out of professional jealousy), he helps the Church stop a secret society from destroying Vatican.

      Oh, and (Spoiler Alert): The Butler did it.

      Coming up:

      T4 Terminator: Salvation:

      Holy cyborg, Batman!

      Spolier Alert: Since the terminators now look (and act) completely human, here’s a tip how you can catch one. Grab a digital photo of the suspect with flash on. If his eyes turn red in the photograph, run and/or kill him.



      Till next time… go on, she is still stirring some sugar in her coffee.

      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken


      P.S. Previously on 30-second summaries: Bollywood Edition.

      Wednesday, May 13, 2009

      I want to go to there

      So, it seems everybody and their uncle (*ahem* that’s my attempt to convey how old the series is) is watching “Star Trek” now. And although, I will watch the movie sometime in near future, I have my eyes fixed on this year’s treats:

      First up:

      Angels and Demons

      In my honest opinion, this book is much better than much-hyped “Da Vinci Code”. Same genre though.

      Update: I went, I saw, I reviewed. You comment.

      Then, 2 months later is,

      Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

      The series starts getting darker from the mid-fourth book, and the 6th instalment brings on many clues, adventures, not to mention romance and kisses. Will be worth waiting for, if OotP was any indication:

      Update: Saw midnight show. Posted here.

      Then comes,

      G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

      Who hasn’t played with the “toy that protects U.S. oil interests overseas” (not my words) in their childhood? Who doesn’t know about Arashikage Ninja clan? And those costumes are just… wow. (thank god they got rid of those thick black frames of The Baroness).

      And what’s up the new Doctor reincarnations and need to play bad characters?

      BTW, IDW has restarted the G. I. Joe comics with new storyline (probably similar to the movie), with Joe Origins and Cobra Origins sidelines. And speaking as a fanboy, I must say: go get them.

      And then comes the long wait for the movie I am not entirely sure about:

      Sherlock Holmes

      It sure has a great line-up. The story (or at least the characters) seems to be related to “The Sign of Four”, which has much more live action than most other novels/short stories.

      Then again, it is just now that I am coming out of canonical Holmes, and into pastiche territory, so I am still a bit dubious about many “derivations”. The 1968 TV series was good, but the departures from the original story still rankled a bit.

      Why can’t they just go ahead and put up a trailer (or two) already? (Thanks Vedang) Christmas is a long way away, you know…

      -The Great Eagle Has Spoken

      Tuesday, April 28, 2009

      Miss Marple with an Attitude

      After a long, long (long, long and so on...) time, Detectives series is back, with another lady detective (after Uma Rao) introduced to me by BBC’s Radio 4.

      All who know her compare her with Miss Marple. She is exactly like Miss Marple, if Miss Marple had lived in late 1990’s, was 20 years younger, wanting to be 40-50 years younger, and a widow (so she says), though raring to get out of it. Presenting…

      Agatha Raisin

      Her Name: Mrs. Agatha Raisin

      Her Watson: Maj. James Lacey (her neighbour, and later fiancé), Roy Silver (her old employee at her PR agency), Mrs. Freedman, Phil Marshall and Patrick Sullivan (employees at her detective agency)

      Her Moriarty: - (fate/luck, or perhaps herself?)


      At the (young) age of 53, Agatha Raisin sells her PR agency and moves from London to to the “peaceful” village of Carsley in Cotswolds. Years of PR work for the rich and famous have given her all things she needs to succeed in a small community like Carsley: a sharp tongue, convenient morals, habit of poking nose in everybody’s affairs and most importantly, a quick wit and sharp mind. She will need those to survive the jungle called Carsley Ladies’ Society and solve the myriad murders that take place around her.

      Because, unlike most mainline detectives, Agatha has not chosen a career as a detective (at least, not until late into the series). Her adventures starts when she tries to befriend the “natives” by participating in the Village Baking Competition. The attempt turns sour when the judge apparently dies after eating her quiche (which was bought from a famous London bakery), and her secret comes out to her shame. Now she has to clear her name regain her dignity, by finding out the real criminal.

      That sets the tone for most of the series. This murder is followed by, among others, the murder of the handsome village curate (with whom Agatha has dinner on the same night), a beautician from nearby town (with whom Agatha had  appointment same day), and on a holiday, a tourist with whose group Agatha was visiting some places. In between solving these murders, she competes with other members of Carsley Ladies’ society for affection of various bachelors in village (including her new neighbour James Lacey), and tries to win a gardening competition by hiring  professional landscapers (and messes it up when Roy puts wrong labels on wrong plants).

      It is easy to see that Agatha is not exactly the most friendliest of persons. Her core circle mainly includes Mrs. Bloxby, the village vicar’s wife, who indulges Agatha’s antiques and provides her a shoulder to cry on; Roy Silver, who is a co-worker from her PR Agent era, but continues as a friend (perhaps the only one from that time period). Bill Wong is the village police officer, who is never sure whether to arrest Agatha for her meddling (he is mostly pretty sure she is not The Murderer) as a police officer, or to help her as a friend.

      James Lacey needs a separate paragraph of his own. He comes in Agatha’s life as a neighbour (and the prize she fights hard for) and lives on as a foil and target for her wit, her mostly unwilling partner in crime-fighting, a stolid companion and a possible life partner.

      All in all, the series is full of sharp wit, even sharper dialogs, mostly harmless criminals, who somehow end up threatening Agatha’s vanity more than her life, and extremely enjoyable narratives. And if you don’t like to read, then BBC has conveniently dramatised it on Radio 4. Go for it…


      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken


      P.S. The rest in “Detectives” series

      Saturday, April 18, 2009

      It is an open secret that the ancient India was a technologically advanced country, and that most of the “modern” inventions first took place in India.

      That belief was further strengthened recently, when the archeologists at The Aerie Insitute found some old “writings” buried near Delhi. Believed to be from Mahabharat period, the stone slabs, when translated, revealed a veritable treasure of information.

      The writings on the stone slab are in the form of short messages, attributed to multiple famous personalities. After extensive research, we have come to believe that this was the ancient form of the process we today know as micro-blogging, maintained by antaryami sages (the oldest form of internet) from across the subcontinent.

      The evidence so far (most of the messages are by royalty or powerful hrishis) suggests that the rich and famous would have some kind of assistant with them who would convey their thoughts to the main “nodes” in the communication network.

      But more about this extraordinary discovery later. First, let us show you a sample of the entries by Arjun, the most famous of Pandav brothers. (The entries are translated and converted for familiarity. For those who don’t recognize it, it’s a LIFO stack, first entry is the latest one, the last one is the first)

      @Vidur Yes, we are in Varanavat for the festival. Had fun, going to sleep now. This place smells...


      @Yudhishthir Congrats bro! Remember, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. And heavy lies the head that drinks too much sura.


      The entries about the famous Weapons Competition held at the Hastinapur throw a fascinating light on this Little Champion’s thoughts.

      Ouch, that gotta hurt. RT @Bhim hehe, Karna the warrior is actually Karna the charioteer. He is supposed to handle horses, not bows and arrows.


      Who's that guy challenging me? Is he completely out of his mind.


      Yes. Knew I was going to win this thing. Thanks @Yudhisthir @Bhim @Nakul @Sahadev @Bhishma @Vidur @Drona @Krupa for your wishes.


      At the weapons competition. This thing is going to be fun.


      The meeting of the cousins with Dronacharya and the subsequent events come to life in this stone.

      @Ashwatthama I am your father's favourite student, not you. Them's the shakes.


      Can't believe what that guy did. Can't believe grandpa Bhishma knows him. Can't believe he is going to teach us.


      And there goes our entire play time at the bottom of the well. Who's going to bring that ball up now?


      Not to mention, the young Arjun gives us a rare glimpse into the childhood of Kaurav and Pandav princes.

      Didn't know you had so much imagination. RT @Bhim Found myself bound at the bottom of river. Fought some nagas. Partied with them.


      @Bhim Where are you? Picnics are not just for eating and sleeping. For that matter, neither is the whole life...


      100 cousins? And we have just one uncle. :O


      In Hastinapur. This city is HUGE. Can't believe I am a Prince. And have got a BIG family.

      The messages on stone pellets stop at this point, though given what happened afterwards, it is understandable.

      We will continue to bring you the news of this extraordinary find. There’s a lot more where this came from. So stay tuned. Till the next time…


      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken

      Previously from Aerie Institute: Career advice, movie reviews for people in fast-lane, advice about Love, PSAs about Non Issue Syndrome and Non-veg

      Friday, April 03, 2009

      Chitrakatha: Story of My March

      From the comments I can see that some of you have been wondering where I had been missing for the last month (As for others, shame on you for not wondering). There have even been rumours making rounds that I have hung my keyboard and retired from blogging (as if!).

      So, in order to show that I am not going anywhere soon, I have decided to tell you the story of my well-earned (well, earned to be sure) leave. And I got pictures to prove it…

      Rewind back to 1st March, and I was all ready for a flight to India, after more than 2.5 years. My place was all cleaned up (and I got photos to show my parents how I keep my house clean)

      room The bags were all packed:

      bags And I was waiting for my cab.

      And then… this happened:

      snow That’s supposed to be the parking lot of my office. And how did I end up in the office on a Sunday, you ask? Well, as you can see, the reason was the weather. My Sunday afternoon flight was cancelled, so was the alternate flight I got on Monday. The dedicated worker that I am, I spent the Monday in office (that’s my story and I am sticking to it). Finally, I left my house 48 hours after I was supposed to.

      As for the flight, almost empty plane means we can spread around a bit. So, I was not worried that my seat monitor spent the entire 15 hour flight doing this:linuxFor the people who curse Windows’ slow booting, just look at that symbol top left.

      Finally, I was home, from sub-zero (Celsius, always Celsius) temperature to 27 degrees at 1000 feet in Mumbai. The stay at home was very relaxing: meeting everybody after a long time, relaxing at home doing nothing, meeting friends etc.

      Let me tell you, trying to live through the air pressure changes in aircraft is very hard when you are suffering from cold. After 20 days at home, it was back to US, reaching one afternoon at 4 and starting office the next morning. How was I feeling? Well, this was the weather when I was leaving for the office after a long stay at home:



      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken

      P.S. My contract with airlines is still valid: all bags (and their contents) came out fine in either direction.

      Friday, February 13, 2009

      Fount of Knowledge Part VIII

      a.k.a. Colour me pink and call me bunny.

      On second thoughts, don’t do anything I said in prev. para. Let me try and start again.


      These are tough economic times. What with layoffs and hiring freezes, everybody is looking for that golden bullet: The Evergreen Industry. Why, even our old choice career is facing hard times given the emergence of online protest petitions. So we thought it was time to once again bring you The Career of The Future.

      By now, everybody who can read (or watch TV) knows about the Mangalore incident, and its aftermath. As a result, one group is sending pink undergarments to another, another is sending pink under-overgarments to someplace else, and somebody else is sending pink garments to the first group.

      See the pattern there? No, not the opportunities in courier industry, although that’s not a bad observation.

      Want a recession-proof career? Go manufacture the colour pink.

      I mean, the events of last few days must have caused a national shortage the colour, and here’s your opportunity to grab the market given the huge demand. After all, whatever the choice of goods flying across the country right now, they are pink coloured.

      And I am not just talking about pink-coloured cloth here. I am talking about the basic colour. The colour which will be used for clothes, plastics, paper (I doubt pink slips are going out of fashion soon), sweets and other edibles, even for painting your house (think big, think Jaipur)… the uses are unlimited. Oh, and before I forget, cars.

      Think it is just one time boom? Well, the valentine’s day is just round the corner. Branch out a bit in red colour, and you have the entire V-Day market captured. Seriously, you cannot see any other colour for that entire week, unless of course, you are colour-blind.

      Still think one/two weeks per year is too small a window? Well then, 50% of the world’s population is female. 50% of those are girls (or think they are girls), and are into all things pink. Can you think of a bigger market?

      I thought so.

      So go forth and paint the world pink.


      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken


      P.S. Previously on Fount of Knowledge: Part I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VI.V and VII.

      P.P.S. Suddenly, the “pink cars” poster I linked is very hard to find on Google. Seems like somebody, lets call him/her AB(C?), is going around deleting the pictures from the internet. I smell conspiracy.

      Monday, February 02, 2009

      Can you hear the Music of Love?

      We at the Aerie Institute have a long history of helping the souls in search of love. Now, with singles all over the world facing the spectre of looking forward to another Valentine’s Day, we thought we should help you out once more.

      Previously, we have brought you gems like A Guide to First Date, A Single Guy’s Guide to 14th February. So you already know what to do once you get That Girl you’ve always dreamt of. But the process of love starts well before that.

      It is well known to all the Hindi movie-watchers that you fall in love at first glance. It is further established, that when you first look at The One Made For You, divine music starts playing. After all, you need some sign to recognize a single person from billions, right?

      So you spend all your life searching, and one day it happens. Suddenly, a vision from heaven steps in front of you. Your can’t see anything except her, and she is rendered in soft focus (even though your glasses are smudge-free). An orchestra starts playing (but you are not in a theatre), and you just know she is The One.

      Or is she? Before you jump to conclusions, you have to make sure that you are not going to be a target for #7 sandal with heels.

      So, take a step back, and follow this fool proof formula brought to you by the researchers at Aerie, after extensive testing. Given the profession/inclination of most of the users, the method is presented as a simple-to-follow flowchart. Follow these steps before you do anything (click to enlarge):


      Did you reach the F14? Congratulations, you may just have found the Love of Your Life. Now check if the girl still there. That means one of these 2 things:

      1. She also likes you, and is waiting for you to go to her.
      2. She is following the abovem. steps. Wait for her to finish.


      For What to do do next, keep watching this space… Till next time


      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken


      P.S. The genders in this post can be changed as needed.

      Wednesday, January 21, 2009

      One Inauguration, so many questions

      President-elect Barack Obama’s journey to drop the “-elect” from his title started with a 137 mile train journey from Philadelphia to Washington D.C., which took about 7 hours (that’s about 32 kmph. And we Indians thought Barshi Light was slow). My question is:

      Was he sitting in the train looking at his watch and going, “48 hours till I can ride the Air Force One, 47 hours till…”?

      We have seen all the film award shows put musical performances before the Big Four awards to increase the suspense. Just like that, after swearing in the Vice President, there was a musical performance.

      Does the president-elect think at this point, “let’s get this done already”?

      Can a close friend of the president-elect (or better yet, soon-to-be ex-president) turn around and go “Once more” after the performance is over, just to pull president-elect’s leg?

      After the swearing-in ceremony is over, the president was shown inside the Capitol signing some documents. Of these options discussed in our office, which do you think describe the documents he was signing:

      a. Lease for the White House, Air Force One, Marine One etc.

      b. HR documents

      c. Benefits documents

      d. Just some papers he doodled on so that photographers can get shots of him signing something.

      Meanwhile, people on the ground had other concerns. Bars open 24 hours, sub-zero temperatures and (despite this being the costliest inauguration yet)  one port-a-potty for about 6000 people on an average. I will leave you to complete that thought.

      And while we are on the thought of bars, the president has to attend 10 official balls on the same day. This, plus 24 hours open bars: does the entire country wake up with a serious case of Januarythefirstitis on 21st January every four years?


      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken


      P.S. Obama vs Congress chess? What an idea…

      Sunday, January 11, 2009

      Waxing Eloquent

      A few thoughts from a recent office party:

      Attending a party in a wax museum is extremely confusing -

      • Looking from a distance, you never know if you are looking at a person or a statue. “I thought you were a statue” is not exactly a good excuse when somebody asks you why you didn't say hello.

      • It is very easy to get your picture with any girl, and tell your girlfriend it's just some celebrity. On the other hand, you have to convince your girlfriend every time she sees you getting photographed with a girl.

      • When you see people standing around or near a statue, you can easily mistake it for a person. On the other hand, a person standing alone...

      • In the similar vein, imagine: you are standing in a group talking. You sense something and look back to find somebody standing at your shoulder. As a courteous person, you move a bit to include the newcomer in the conversation, only to realise that it's a statue. On the other hand...

      And, after a long time, here's the latest edition of Quick Quotes Quill* – Celebrity edition:

      • “How do they get the clothes on (the statues)?”

      • “He's so short.”
        - Standing next to a Barack Obama statue

      • “Next time you come here, he will be younger.”
        - Looking at Brad Pitt. (Incidentally, I have seen two museums now and why is Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie the only couple in Madame Tussuad's apart from the Clintons?)

      • “He should have auditioned for the part of Benjamin Button.”
        - Tom Cruise – apparently, all of his wives are 11 years younger than the earlier one.

      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken

      * Earlier editions of Quick Quotes Quill: Part I, Part II, Part III

      Thursday, January 01, 2009

      The Year is Over, Long Live The Year!

      The Year That Was:

      Personally, after last 2 years, 2008 was not a bad year for me. But then, I can imagine why some people felt like doing this:


      On the positive side (just as a sample), India had the biggest medal haul in Olympics in its history of participation, (which included a gold medal after 28 years, and first personal gold). Viswanathan Anand successfully defended his World Chess title, and continues his third year at the top of ratings. And there is a piece of Indian technology in the form of Chandrayaan I, which is orbiting around the moon right now, and will continue for next 2 years.

      On the negative side were (at the very least) last 40 days of the year, when India faced a horrific terrorist attack, and Pakistan government continues to change its stance with about the same frequency as the dress changes of actors in a typical Bollywood masala movie song, most of the times coming out as equally ridiculous (sorry, this is not a political blog). And then again, there is the looming (or rather, continuing) shadow of economic disaster (to say the least).

      And then there was this:


      The Year That Will Be:

      So, here’s hoping all of you Have a Very Happy New Year!

      May all

      - feel safe in their homes and outside it

      - prosper, keep your jobs and find new ones you like

      - (and last but not the least) get what you wish for this year. And that means keeping your resolutions too.

      - in short, be happy.

      As for me, I think I will follow Chintoo’s aai’s advice and will “take the year as it comes”.


      - The Great Eagle Has Spoken


      * Translation for Chintoo comic:

      1. Chintoo: In this year I will…

           Mother: Don’t decide anything.

      2. Mother: You don’t follow your resolutions.

           Chintoo: All right.

      3. Chintoo: I had decided to eat all vegetables in this coming year. :(