The Seventh-Greatest Panel In The History of Comic Books

I love the mental resilience demonstrated by people in classic comic books. Move them to another planet, turn the sky green, transform everyone to monsters, there’s nothing that could stop them from living out their day to day lives-

Yes, I’m cheating again with the two panels, I know, but while only the second one counts as a greatest panel, I couldn’t resist presenting the first panel as well. Partially for the context, but mostly because I love what a unbelievable dick that second skeleton is.


Is Harper's Island an Act of Plagiarism?

Anyone who happened by the Castle last summer surely knows that I had a complicated relationship with the show ‘Harper’s Island’. I loved the amazing premise and hated the terrible, terrible execution.

There’s something I neglected to mention during the extensive, some might say comically exhaustive, review of the series, and that’s just which film the series elected to rip off when it was developing the plot.

That film? I Still Know What You Did That Summer.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a walk through the series…


M. Night Shyamalan: Plagiarist?

Here’s an R-rated clip from the movie ‘The Happening’.

Now, let’s take a look at the front page of Fawcett’s ‘Marvel Family #38’, published in August, 1949.

So yeah, you might get a sense that Shyamalan isn’t exactly the innovator he presents himself as…


The Avod's pre-Christmas Special

It's a near-Christmas Avod, when DM and the Count take a little time to exchange gifts and discuss just how great Dollhouse has become since its cancellation last month. They also talk a little about Opera, Black Christmas, and, of course, Doctor Horrible.

If you'd like to download it, you can do so here - you can also get it at iTunes, or stream it live over at theAvod's blog!

Any way you want it. That's the manner in which you need it.


Okay, Now Credit Ads Have Just Gone Crazy

When we last left credit ads they’d finally gotten their act together. They offered us a clear list of the various credit score rankings, using both a well-designed gradient chart and simple colours.

All they had to do was keep using that ad, and everyone would have been happy. Most of the public would have ignored it, and gullible saps would have been exploited.

Everybody wins.

They couldn’t manage that, though. No, instead they decided to just go all kinds of insane.


Criminal Minds Season 1 Recap!

First, a brief message from our sponsors - interested in the real science and areas of academic study underlying the show Criminal Minds? Perhaps you should consider looking into Criminology Education, perhaps even a BS in Criminology! - And now, on to the subject at hand:

As much as I’ve enjoyed watching and reviewing these episodes, the entire purpose of this exercise has been to see just how frequently and effectively psychology is used to solve crimes in the show that purports to be about crime-solvin’ psychologists. So let’s look at the scores from season 1!

Let's start with a mathematical breakdown:

There were a total of 22 episodes, but one of them didn't feature a serial killer, one didn't involve an investigation, and the last episode was a cliffhanger. This means that the season's score can expressed as a number out of 200.

That number? 48. Yup, 48/200, or exactly 24%. It was only an average of one quarter of the time that the criminal minds team actually used psychology to solve crimes.


Saturday Night Live Rapewatch: Taylor Lautner Edition

Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Taylor Lautner Edition

Yeah, the rape jokes are back. It’s like SNL doesn’t want me to stop writing this frigging thing.

Taylor Lautner was a bland, enthusiastic host, eager to show off his acrobatic abilities, as well as his facility for reading aloud. Less capable of doing so was the rest of the cast, two members who had to pause and redo two line in a late-show Twilight-themed sketch after accidentally reading the wrong line off of a teleprompter.

But we’re not here to talk about the modern cast’s inability to perform to an even subterranean expectation of competence, we’re here to look at the objectionable content they choose to foist on the public.

So let’s do that!


The Sixth-Greatest Panel In The History of Comic Books

Yes, it’s time once again for a trip to the Golden Age, when everything was greater. Try and guess which war was going on when the following image appeared in a Fawcett Comic:

A good lesson for all, I believe. When you’re looking for Japs, don’t forget to search under the bed.

Also, how is he talking with that knife between his teeth?


Criminal Minds 122: The Fisher King

The episode opens outside a creepy manor house:

Which makes it just perfect for a Halloween episode!

Of course, this is the first-season ender, so it’s not a Halloween episode. And this post is going up two weeks before Christmas, so it’s not even a Halloween post. The only thing Halloween-y about it is that I’m actually writing it on Halloween. Of course, it would be unprofessional to let that seep into my writing, so let’s pretend this part of the intro didn’t actually happen, and just move on.

It seems that deep in the basement a beautiful woman is being held captive by a monstrous burn victim!

Man, I can’t believe that this isn’t a Halloween episode.


Time for Avod! On Thursday!

That's right, everyone, The Divemistress has finally caught up on Dexter, which leads to an amazing debate between the two of us, and motivates me to go and rewatch enough of it that I can provide hilarious examples of what an awful program it is.

If you'd like to hear more about this subject, or many others*, just right-click here to download the new episode, grab it off itunes, or stream it from theAvod's blog. Really, there's more ways to listen to it than you need.

(* Only three others, actually - Dollhouse, Behind the Mask, and random crap)


Mythbusters Crosses a Line Only I Care About

I’ve had my issues with Mythbusters in the past. Mostly little things, here and there – the unwillingess to ‘confirm’ things, the inclusion of ‘myths’ that fall under the category of ‘common knowledge’ (what’s that? A tongue will stick to frozen metal? Shocker!), but the thing that’s bothered me most about the show is the brutalization of pig carcasses.

Yeah, I know I’m squeamish. Which is odd, since I can watch the goriest movies imaginable without flinching, but still true. Show me a pig getting hit with a cannonball, and my stomach starts to flip.

Which is why the most recent episode of Mythbusters might have been the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen on non-surgery-related television.

Although there was some surgery.

(Warning – the photos accompanying this post are borderline at best, and vomit-inducing at worst. Just FYI)


V is Terrible For Just So Many Reasons

The internet is already rife with excoriations of the new V television show, whose awfulness is now something of a fait accomplit. There’s an aspect of it that I don’t think has been extensively covered, however, and that’s just how ineptly produced the entire affair is.

Take, for example, this shot from the first episode of the show-


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Blake Lively Edition

Another light week here on the RapeWatch, with a completely 'clean', but still largely despicable show!

After an endless flat expanse of an opening political sketch, the show foundered the rest of its running time, hitting an obvious Tiger Woods jokes, a return of one of Kenan's horrible drag characters, and even a re-used commercial from a few weeks back. Which no doubt suggests that something played so badly at dress that it needed to be cut. Given the awfulness of the sketches on display, I have no idea what that could have been.

There were plenty of borderline sketches offering questionable points of view on 'edgy' subjects, like spousal abuse or women's health, but nothing I'm watching for, so nothing worth mentioning. The only time gayness even came up was in a Weekend Update sketch, and there it was a jibe at gay men's love of Marilyn Monroe - since it was a jibe directed at the men themselves, rather than referencing gay sexuality to make straight people uncomfortable, it doesn't count as homophobia-themed humor!

Way to go, SNL! Now keep it up another week or two and I can hopefully retire the RapeWatch as a gift to myself this Christmas!


The Christopher Pike Book Club: Chain Letter

My strongest Christopher Pike memories revolve around the book Chain Letter. I only became aware of the author in the sixth and seventh grades, and since I'd yet to begin my horror phase, I never got around to reading it. Basically everyone else did, though, and as a result the book hung around my classroom for almost an entire year, shifting from desk to desk, the cover art profoundly creeping me out.

So now that I've finally read it I've got to say it didn't disappoint. While it might not have been the scarefest I'd assumed it would be, it was certainly a competent thriller that moved its author up to a new skill level, and leaves me excited about where Pike will go next.


Criminal Minds 121: Secrets and Lies

Okay, this is a bit of a departure for the show, and I’m not really sure how to handle it. The whole angle I’ve taken for the run of this article is looking at how the show Criminal Minds deals with using psychology to solve crimes in general, and serial crimes specifically. This episode is so far from the show’s normal structure that I think it’s going to completely defy the framework I normally use.

It starts with a middle-eastern mother and her two children waiting at the Baltimore Docks for someone, who turns out to be the time demon from Angel. After hiding them away somewhere for their own protection, the time demon goes back to his apartment, where he’s promptly tortured and executed by a couple of people, before a second group of people come in, document the crime scene, and blow off his head with a shotgun so it will look like a suicide.

As you can see, it’s very new subject matter for the show, but at least it’s a dynamic opening.


Wrong Turn 3 is Almost Amazingly Bad

It’s a weird effect of DTV sequels that a chintzy cash-in movie gets all the pomp and circumstance of a movie that I’d actually see in theatres. By which I mean the 20th Century Fox logo is something that I have a visceral association with, it’s narrative short form letting me know that I’m about to watch a real capital-m “Movie”.

Which Wrong Turn 3 is so profoundly not.

It opens with a brief sequence of some rafters getting slaughtered by Three-Finger, the mom of the cannibal mutant hillbilly family from the first and second films, along with one of her relatively young sons. This sequence is notable for just two things. First, that a woman gets topless at just three and a half minutes into the movie, which is fast by any definition of the term, but the fact that one of her breasts is impaled by an arrow just a minute later most assuredly is.

There’s also the following shot of a man getting cut in three by wires:

Oh, isn’t it nice to see that 12 years after the film Cube came out, a film with approximately ten times the budget could do their signature effect so much worse?


The Fiftieth Avod!

That's right, there have actually been fifty Avods. Whoa, right?

Anyhoo, please enjoy our in-depth conversation about the Wrong Turn franchise, as well as a look at the movie Brainscan and a discussion of the furor over the Ms. Horror Blogosphere contest!

Sounds thrilling, right? Well find out just how thrilling it is by downloading from this link! Or just download it from iTunes or stream it from the Avod's Blog!

Show Notes-

DM's on-point reviews: Wrong Turn 2, Brainscan

The Count's look at Wrong Turn 3!


Cloverfield 2 – Revenge of Bat-Nor!

I was having a conversation about Godzilla last week and it turned, as many such conversations have since the release of Cloverfield, to the questionableness of Cloverfield.

My main argument, in addition to the whole ‘spoiling suspense’ thing, was that they made me wait the entire movie to get a look at the monster, and then when it finally arrived, I was disappointed to discover that it was just a wingless bat with a tail.

“What is a bat doing underwater?” I was heard to exclaim. “Can bats even swim?”

Then, rather puzzlingly, my conversational partner claimed that Batnor, the Cloverfield monster, was not a bat at all, but rather an original creation.

As I often do, I elected to take our argument to the Internet!


A Perfect Getaway lies to its audience

The following paragraph closes out Chapter 1, Part 1 of ‘And Then There Were None’ by Agatha Christie:

“Constance Culmington, he reflected to himself, was exactly the sort of woman who would buy an island and surround herself with mystery. Nodding his head in gentle approval of his logic, Mr. Justice Wargrave allowed his head to nod… He slept…”

Christie was an accomplished mystery writer, and she understood both the importance of leaving clues in the text for the audience to find, and how difficult it was to fool an astute reader. In single point-of-view novels, traditionally told from the POV of the detective this can be relatively simple to accomplish – since the reader doesn’t get access to any of the suspects’ thoughts, anything they say can later turn out to be a lie. It’s more of a challenge when dealing with a multiple POV narrative, when we’re let into the minds of each character, including the killer’s. How do you let the reader know what the killer is thinking without giving away their identity? Hack writers, like Tom Savage, lie, having their characters say, think, and do things they they never would simply to make them more or less suspicious, depending on the need of the story.


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Joseph-Gordon-Levitt Edition

JGL proved a competent host last night, comfortable live on stage, using excellent comic timing to avoid drowning amidst a sea of mediocrity. Yes, even with a competent host the writers of SNL couldn't manage to offer a decent program, making me wonder if this might well be the worst season in the history of the program.

But we're not here to chronicle SNL's slow descent into oblivion, that's what the rest of the internet is for. We're here to examine their insultingly cavalier treatment of objectionable subject matter, which is less exhaustively mapped out.

So, with no further ado, welcome to the RapeWatch!


Criminal Minds Episode 120: Charm and Harm

There’s two things this killer loves: Murder and steak! First he eats steak, then he kills the woman he’s got tied up in a chair across from him! That’s quite a theme, huh? Yeah, maybe not. Let’s see where they go with this.

Where they go is to the office, where the team teases Elle about their theory that she’s got a new boyfriend. They head to the office and find out about Steakman’s crimes! That’s right, he’s already been identified as a serial killer who loves to kidnap women and drown them in hotel bathtubs – and the police need the team’s help to find him!

I’m not sure why they don’t need the media’s help more, but I guess we’ll see after the credits.


Deadwood Hills Abuses the Flashback

This film has one of the strangest structures I've ever seen. The film opens in 1979, as mysterious figures are burying a chest in a basement, but not before laying a cross on top of it. So obviously there's a vampire inside. That goes without saying.

Then the film jumps forward to the present day, where a man is returning to a small town to find out who killed his identical twin brother when they were children. I'm not going to detail his quest here, because it's so plodding and dull that I doubt I could stay awake while writing it. I could barely stay awake watching it. Suffice to say that the film is maybe 50% longer than it needs to be.


Can we get even a stab at continuity? Please?

So I'd rented the movie 'Year One'. Because yes, I'm an idiot. A morbidly curious idiot. Anyhoo, I rented the movie, and saw one of the most egregiously bad examples of poor continuity editing that I've ever encountered.

Remember that scene - and if you haven't seen the film, I'm asking 'remember the trailer' - where Michael Cera, dressed as a guard, announces that he was never given a sword, and didn't know that's what the scabbards were even for?

Here's a screenshot from seconds before that line happens:

Can we get a close-up of that, Alex?

You know it, voice I pretend is there so I can give off an air of sexy, sexy, schizophrenia!

That's Michael Cera. There's his scabbard, and the sword that's in it.

How do you miss something this obvious? There's a joke about this like ten seconds later! Just how incompetent was every single element of this damn movie?

God damn it, I hated Year One.


Criminal Minds 119: Machismo

In Mexico, they celebrate something called ‘the day of the dead’. I’d get into the social importance and history of it, but it’s not key to the episode except inasmuch as it’s a thematically interesting time for a serial killer to show up and murder someone.

Which is exactly what happens. There’s some family drama when a disapproved-of son comes home drunk for the holidays, and is then thrown out. A little later, his mother is murdered. Could he be the killer? Of course not. There’d be no show if he was. The killer is someone she feels comfortable enough to invite into her home, though, even going so far as to have the mother admit she needs more help around the house! But who would she ask for help?

That question answered, and more, after the opening credits!


The CSI Trilogy: Las Vegas

This episode opens in a security office, as cameras show a woman frantically trying to escape from someone. You’d think that she was safe once she reached the elevator, but no, after a group of drunks get on with her and press all the buttons, she flees to the stairs rather than waiting around. I don’t know, unless there’s a bomb about to go off, it seems like that’s a pretty safe place to be.

The fleeing girl heads for the lobby and then runs out the front door, putting on her shoes and then being attacked by a woman who stays just out of frame so as to prevent us from being able to identify anything but her long dark wavy hair.

Also she seems to be wearing a dress and carrying a purse. But it’s not on the camera, so the cops don’t know anything yet. The hooker is dead on the ground with her throat slashed, but the CSIs can’t start investigating because they don’t know where Larry Fishburne is. I thought there was a rest of the team, but whatever.


The CSI Trilogy: New York

Okay, admission time – I’ve never watched CSINY. I caught the crossover episode of Miami, and I think I saw one episode where they had to find a rat that had eaten evidence out of a corpse or something like that, but other than that, I’ve got no idea. So you’ll have to bear with me, since I don’t know any of the characters’ names or have any idea about their relationships, this might be a little rough as reviews go.

So let’s start!

A trucker, played by the man who killed Brandon Lee, is driving somewhere with a person locked in his cab. What this has to do with the punk and the missing girl from Miami, I’ve got no idea. But presumably it’ll be explained soon. At the same time a jealous dick is driving over to his ex-wife’s house, and causes an accident because he’s too busy drunkenly arguing to notice that a truck had swerved through the concrete divider onto his side of the bridge. The trucker was distracted by his victim escaping from a poorly-padlocked cupboard, FYI.

So he’s good at killing Brandon Lee, but bad at taking hostages. Good to know.


The CSI Trilogy: Miami

The show opens with a woman trying desperately to escape from… something? It’s not clear just what, but it’s bad enough that she’s driving on four flat tires. Her mother turns up at the police station, looking for help, and finds Horatio, the person in which the concept of ‘help’ lives. They quickly find the abandoned bar, but no sign of the girl. Looks like a mystery’s afoot, right after the credits!

Oh, and in a weird note – the car is found by an army guy.

For no clear reason. Weird, right?


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: January Jones Edition

It was a depressing return to form tonight for SNL. Not the show was particularly rape-y or anything, but rather that it was just sickeningly mediocre.

Much of the failure was due to the utter unpreparedness of host January Jones to perform on live television. She giggled and stammered her way through the sketches, her demeanor vacillating between uncomfortable and deer-in-headlights. It was only during a pre-tape that she showed any capability at all, and even then she was just playing Betty Draper.

Usually the show’s writers have some facility for aiding inept hosts, keeping them out of most sketches, sidelining them in the ones that feature them – the George Foreman special. Apparently everyone on the show this week assumed that Jones was going to be able to handle herself and wrote her a series of big parts. This proved a critical flaw.

But we’re not here for a sketch-by-sketch review, are we? No, we’re here to chart the show’s ongoing trivialization of a horrific sexual crime!

So let’s get started!


Criminal Minds 118: Somebody’s Watching

The Criminal Minds team is headed to LA! Which is actually pretty easy, since the show is filmed there! Mandy and Elliot are at a gallery showing, which is owned by a high school friend of Elliot’s! They quickly meet the episode’s guest star, a TV star! And then it turns out that Elliot’s name is actually Reed, and I’ve been getting it wrong for a few episodes now. Huh. How about that. Then it’s time to establish the episode’s theme (stalking), when a papparazzo shows up and snaps some pictures of the starlet.

Reed and the starlet flirt for a while (he’s socially inept at it, of course), while Mandy spends time with one of the starlet’s artist friends. They explain that they’re in town to give the LAPD a class on serial killing. In an amazing coincidence, on the very day they’re giving this seminar a masked killer with a really, really small gun turns up at the house of an actress, then proceeds to kill both her and her boyfriend.

It may seem like I’m making too big a deal about the gun, but believe me, it’ll be important later.


The Makers of Alien Raiders would like you to know...

That they’ve seen “John Carpenter’s The Thing”

Seriously, that’s the only piece of information that they would like you to have. Based on the film I just watched, it may be the only piece of information that they actually possess. How do I know this?

Let me remind you of something – You know that scene from The Thing where Kurt Russell ties everyone up in the rec room so he can prove, through his blood test, who’s an alien and who isn’t?

Cool scene, right? Yeah, I know.

So why am I reminding you of that scene? To save you the 90 minutes it would take to watch Alien Raiders. Because the film only exists to remind you of how great that scene was.


The Ultimate Method of Dealing With Vampires

Kiss of the Vampire, or "Immortally Yours", depending on which title you prefer, is a recent direct-to-video film that acts as sort of a bizarro-world version of Twilight. Instead of the story of a human woman who falls obsessively in love with a vampire, leading to her wanting to become a vampire, and then nothing happens, it's the story of a vampire who falls obsessively in love with a human woman, leading to him wanting to become human, and then far too much happens.


Last Week's CSI Miami

You may notice that CSI: Miami skipped the end of October, robbing us all of the joy of discovering what Horatio Caine would dress as for Halloween. It’s not a cheat, though. Apparently they just don’t have Halloween in Miami. Who knew?

Someone’s in a costume, anyway, as a bride freaks out because her husband and his groomsmen have yet to appear for the wedding ceremony. Obviously she doesn’t know that she’s on CSI: Miami, or else she’d understand that weddings tend not to go well there. Although at least for once it looks like the bride isn’t going to get shot on her wedding day.

Hey, the father of the bride is that guy from Murder One! Neat!

As anyone who’s ever seen a television show can predict, the wedding turns out to be nothing but hitches, as some groomsmen are lying, unconscious, in a fountain, surrounded by human blood! And they’ve got no idea where the Groom is, but that’s probably his blood!

Oh, look! Someone in the CSI: Miami writer’s room saw The Hangover during the break!


Credit Ads Finally Get It Together

Wow, is that a load of my mind. I’m not sure why it took so long, but here’s a credit ad that conveys a clear message. Green=good, red=bad. Hell, they even listened to me and did away with that confusing blue strip that was ‘worse’ than green.

Well, credit agency people, you’ve finally gotten there. You may still be employed by one of the most corrupt and pointless parts of a disgusting, rotting-from-the-inside industry, but at least you’ve reached the point where you’re as good at crafting banner ads as a jerk with no design or computer training of any kind.



Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Taylor Swift Edition

Oh, god damn it, SNL. Here we are, just one episode from me calling the whole thing off, and you go an resurrect the sketch that led me to start the thing in the first place!

Do you even want to turn into a less abhorrent mess?

So, time for the count- In addition to the horrible 'scared straight' sketch, where Kenan Thompson (and Taylor Swift in drag) recount the plots of films and then uses those plots as the basis for clever turns of phrase by which they threaten petty criminals with brutal gay rape, there was an offhand joke in the news segment about an adorable puppy being raped by another adorable puppy.

It was small enough a reference that I was going to let it slide had the rest of the show been clean, but that scared straight sketch just sickened me. So now I'm back chronicling just how low SNL can sink.

On the upside, it was a light wee for Homophobia, with just threatened gay rape in the Scared Straight sketch counting. Smuggy Smuggerson even managed to make a joke about the election's anti gay marriage referendum without taking a shot at gay people. Good for him.

Final joke tally:

Rape - 2
Homophobia - 1


Criminal Minds 117: A Real Rain

It’s raining in New York, and a doughy man tapes tin foil to the windows of his apartment to keep the voices from getting into his head. With that done he heads out onto the street (where the voices live, apparently), and gets in a cab. The doughy man has this cabbie drive him out into the middle of nowhere, then murders him with a pistol!

By shooting him, in case you were wondering. What so strange about this murder? The killer also blindfolded the cabbie and stabbed him in the ear with an icepick. There are two other murders with the exact same MO, but there are no leads of any kind!

While on the way to way to New York the team pauses for a little character stuff, including blonde girl flirting with Reed, but none of it is relevant to the case, so we’ll keep going.

Trips to the crime scenes reveal that the killer had the murders meticulously planned out. Unfortunately they don’t have enough evidence to put together a helpful profile, and only manage to waste the time of the police and the audience alike. Their conclusion? That he’s a white guy who has a day job (because he kills at night). Great. Way to narrow down the field.


Joy Ride 2: We were unable to secure the return of Buffalo Bill from Monk!

This isn’t meant as an overall complaint about the film, which is an utterly servicable thriller and perfectly fine follow up to the first Joy Ride, which is notable for being the last film J.J. Abrams wrote during the ‘hack screenwriter’ phase of his career, before moving on to the ‘genre visionary’ phase. It was also the second time that year Paul Walker had appeared in a film with Ted Levine, although in Joy Ride Ted just did a voiceover once production was finished.

The plot of this film is fairly similar to the first, in that people driving through the desert get menaced by a trucker, but differs in the villain’s incitement to action. This time, rather than the main characters going out of their way to mess with a stranger and earning his ire, it’s a random, somewhat understandable error that causes the problem. This leads to kidnapping and sexualized violence/humilation, as you see more and more often in film these days.

My problem with the movie comes right at the ending, and it’s kind of a key one – the sequel setup.


And The Credit Score Ads Just Get More Confusing

Here’s another two ads that I grabbed in the last couple of months.

Okay, let’s look at this one for a second. They’ve made the odd choice (like the dinosaur ad before it) to associate different levels of credit-score-having. In an apparent attempt to avoid my criticism from last time they’ve kept the animals from having expressions that might be mis-interpreted. Instead they all have the same flat, vacant expression, like they have no idea what they’re doing in a credit ad. Sadly, I have no explanations to offer them.


Happy Halloween!

That's right, it's the 31st, which means that it's time to celebrate Halloween in the only appropriate way! By screening a copy of Ghostwatch!

Of course, since Ghostwatch doesn't currently seem to be in print you'll have a hard time buying a copy... but luckily some industrious soul has uploaded the whole thing to youtube! So get some candy and hot chocolate, settle down in front of the monitor, and enjoy!

Part 1


Criminal Minds 116: The Tribe

This episode is going to take the team out into the desert, it seems. The story begins at a house party that some sexy teens are throwing in a unfinished home in the middle of a development. Among the teens is a blonde girl who seems slightly out of it. After saying that she’s looking for the bathroom she heads outside, leaving the back door wide open. She doesn’t get more than a few steps away from the house when she’s grabbed by some men who were watching her from a van out front!

Amazingly, that’s not all the horror that happens, as just moments later a team of killers rushes down out of the hills behind the house and attacks the rest of the teens in the building with long knives! What’s going on here? Are these two events connected, other than spatially and temporally? I guess we’ll find out after the opening credits!


The Saw Diaries

In preparation for theavod’s definitive Sawcast, I kept copious notes while watching the films. I was going to toss them, but then it occurred to me, ‘hey Count, you’re trying to post things more often, right?’ And you know who’d love to read a running commentary of these movies in text form, with a few illustrations? People, that’s who!

Just a warning – the section on Saw 6 may be a little fractured. I took notes in longhand in a dark theatre, then attempted to transcribe them. Also that section doesn’t have any illustrations, for obvious reasons!

Time for a SawVod, Everyone!

Yes, it's true, the Divemistress and myself actually watched all the Saw movies in a row, then stepped out to see the new one in theaters. And I've got to say, you're probably going to be surprised by the things we've got to say about the series over the course our epic 3 and a half hour discusson. Just right-click and download away!

Part 1 - Jigsaw is a Dick
Part 2 - Jigsaw's Corpse is a Dick
Part 3 - Circular Saw is a Dick

As usual, you can also listen to this by heading over to theAvod website (link just over to your right), and streaming it, or just downloading it from the iTunes store, which I should really have a link of some kind to, come to think of it.

What's that I hear about show notes? You'll find my most comprehensive show notes just slightly above this post! Although, since they're going up at the same time, I guess you'll probably see them first!


Is Medium Screwing With Me?

Or am I just that bad at math?

In a late-last-season episode of Medium the oldest daughter, whose name escapes me at the moment, was taking the SATs (or a practice test, whatever), and a single math question appeared on screen. Being obsessive about fake books produced for TV shows, I captured an image of it:

Okay, am I crazy, or are none of those the correct answer?


The World's Most Mixed Metaphor

I know I like to avoid giving any real context with these images, but there’s one thing you have to know before looking at this one:

The Crime Smasher! (that's what Spy Smasher did after the war ended. He smashed crime) is chasing a criminal named Spider. Take it away, panel!

They didn’t just mix that metaphor. They threw it in a blender and turned it on ‘grind’ for five minutes straight.


It’s Official – Credit Score Ads Have No Idea What They’re Doing

Let’s take another trip through the variety of Credit Report ads that show up while I broswe the internet.

Here’s an especially baffling ad I happened across recently:

That’s all six ‘unique’ frames of the animated ad, which I’m presenting here in its non-animated form because I find animated ads obnoxious, and because if I did, I’d basically be putting the ad here for free, which is just crazy.


No, seriously: Halloween Resurrection sucks.

So, last time around we covered Michael Myers killing Jamie Lee Curtis, and with her, his last motivation as a character to continue existing. But he’s not done at the asylum, no sir. While headed for the door he pauses at the tubby guy’s room. And doesn’t kill him. No, instead he hands the self-described expert on serial killers the knife and walks away.

Why? Why would you do that? Are you trying to frame him for the murder of the security guards and Jamie? Because I’m pretty sure the evidence is going to point another way, no matter whose prints are on the knife. Also he’s on a bunch of video camera footage. Or did he steal the tapes as well? But why would he do that? For this whole framing thing to have been included at all in the script the writer would have to know nothing at all about the character of Michael Myers.

A theory that I’m pretty sure I can prove right now.


Criminal Minds 115: Unfinished Business

The episode opens, as many television shows do, with the dad from Unhappily Ever After giving a lecture about the serial killer he’s just written a book about. The killer, one ‘Keystone Killer’, mysteriously stopped killing 18 years earlier, and it’s a huge mystery why this might be. The author explains that a serial killer stopping suddenly is totally unheard of, unless of course you count Jack the Ripper, which most people do. Anyhoo, the author doesn’t buy these theories about him moving away (no similar crimes in other cities), being jailed, or dying. No, his book is written based on the theory that the guy wasn’t compelled to kill at all, he was just extra evil, and enjoyed killing, so he was able to stop whenever he wanted to. Which is kind of a silly idea, but let’s save that for later.

In addition to the killer’s penchant for binding, torturing, and killing his victims (hint hint), he also enjoyed sending letters to the police, where details of the crime would be hidden in word search puzzles. This is not at all a preposterously silly affectation for a fictional killer to have. I mean yeah, Zodiac had his puzzles, but this is as bad as sending a rebus.


Thursday Afternoon Avod!

It's a little earlier than usual, I know (in that I'm posting it at all - by definition anything that appears that wouldn't normally have is early, right?), but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it all the same!

But why would it, really?

Prepare for the most epic debate in the history of conversations about the movie Paranormal Activity! Seriously. That's all the episode is about. So you should maybe see the movie first before right-clicking here to download, or heading over to the Avod's homepage to stream it, or picking it up on iTunes.

Just forewarning (and therefore forearming) you.

CSI Miami Episode 805

The day starts ordinarily enough, with Eric dropping by the creepy ME’s hospital to check in with his doctor, then chat with his old friend. In an amazing coincidence there’s an emergency case just as Eric’s leaving. A young woman comes in, barely able to breathe, accompanied by her boyfriend. Eric takes the boyfriend aside to talk, where he announces his plans to propose to the girlfriend, which means, based on the laws of television writing, that she must immediately die, making it more tragic. She does, and then Creepy ME tells Eric that the boyfriend probably did it, well within earshot of the guy, making this perhaps the first ever pre-credits murder accusation in the show’s history!



I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react to Californication

I tuned into this show a little while after it started, as I was curious to see what Mulder was up to these days. I was bored and more than a little annoyed by the show’s overwhelming tone of undeserved smugness and superiority. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good intellectual victory lap as much as the next guy, and have always appreciated scenes where a boor is put down with the absolute perfect rejoinder – but that’s not what Californication is. It’s a cut-rate version thereof. It’s a show about a smart person written by profoundly stupid people.

Okay, to be fair, they might not be idiotic, they might just be assuming that their audience is. How can I tell? Here’s a screenshot from the opening credits montage.

You see, they needed an image to establish that the main character, one ‘Hank Moody’ (Get it? His name describes what he is! It’s clever!) is a novelist. How can this be accomplished? By having him read a bizarre bigger-than-a-magazine-yet-smaller-than-a-newspaper thing with the words ‘Book Critic’ on it! Of course! Although he’s not actually reading it, he’s just holding it up in front of his face. Which is an appropriate message, because this really isn’t a show for ‘readers’.

It Seems that the Writers of Medium Watch Criminal Minds

Yes, every story has already been told, and it’s only natural to steal a good idea here or there, and most importantly, when there’s three shows on the air that deal exclusively with serial killers, there’s going to be some overlap, but last week’s episode of Medium demonstrated a basic lack of the care necessary to avoid committing outright plagiarism.

The episode concerned a fake Zodiac Killer, and the author who had written a book about him. The author is played by Marcus Giamatti, who is Paul Giamatti’s brother, and who I always confuse with Beardo from the show ‘Bones’. This aspect of the storyline is fairly close to the true story of the Zodiac case, with Giamatti playing a Graysmith type who’d spent his life tracking down a serial killer, only to have the killer die before he could confirm the man’s identity.

When the murders start up again there are only two possibilities – 1: Giamatti’s doing the killing. Or 2: His investigation was wrong, and the real killer’s still out there.

Of course, since this is an episode of Medium, we don’t have to wait around to discover the truth, they just flat out tell us immediately through one of Allison’s dreams that Giamiatti lied, and the suspect didn’t confess on his deathbed. Which means the real killer is still out there… But who could it be?


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Gerard Butler Edition

Last night’s SNL was definitely one of the season’s high points, although that surely says more about the season’s overall direness than the episode’s quality. That being said, Gerard Butler was a completely competent host, game for seemingly anything, and blessed with excellent timing. Most of the sketches were at least bearable, and it only one dipped into utter awfulness. Well, twice if you count Smuggy Smuggerson’s Weekend Update, but his eight minutes is always the death of laughter, so I’ve stopped counting it as an actual part of the show.

So, on to the objectability!


Criminal Minds 114: Riding the Lightning

It had to happen eventually. An episode of Criminal Minds so dull, so unrelated to psychology and so without interest that I can’t bring myself to go into it in-depth. Why not? Because it’s not about solving a murder. Yup, it’s a Criminal Minds episode about the team going to interview a husband-and-wife team of serial killers just before they’re executed.

In an interesting note, the husband part of the team is played by Michael Massee, the man who killed Brandon Lee.

The main mystery of the episode is just how many young women Michael killed, and just how involved his wife was in the deaths. In point of fact, the only death that the wife was convicted of was the death of their 2-year-old son, whose body has never been found – she confessed to the crime.


Halloween Resurrection is also a terrible film.

Really, just awful. But like my recent look at H20, I’m not going to provide a critique the overall film, but rather a single portion of it that I find indicative of the complete product.

Once again, this section comes from the beginning of the film, and I believe that it proves, rather conclusively, that the filmmakers not only don’t understand Michael Myers, the character, but that they don’t know how any element of anything works.

Let’s start with the heavy lifting that they had to do at the beginning of the movie, explaining how Michael Myers managed to bounce back from the beheading that closed out the last film.


CSI Miami Episode 804

The episode begins with a chauffeur arriving at a private airport, while a not-coincidental radio report discusses a financier’s assets being frozen. Is the Chauffeur actually the financier, trying to sneak out of the country? An assassin there to killer the financier as he escapes? Nope, he’s a repo man looking to collect the financier’s plane. The airport security stop him immediately - he made the questionable choice to try and distract security by parking a suspicious limo and then telling them to tow it while he snuck into a hangar. Not a terrible plan, but since he parked the limo in front of the exact hangar he was planning to rob, all he did was ensure that the guards would be as close as possible to him when he tried to drive the plane out.

You know, I might be defending this guy’s actions too much. What was he going to do with the plane? Drive it to another hangar? How could he not think people would notice that? It’s not like he could fly it somewhere – flying without a registered plan is unbelievably illegal, after all.

Anyhoo, the guards smell a corpse on board, and make the following unpleasant discovery:

Yes, that’s the financier’s corpse in the toilet tank. I’ll say this for CSI: Miami – eight years in, they can still surprise me with something new and disgusting. In his continuing tradition of not saying something interesting before going to the credits, Horatio asks a question – did someone break the financier out (he’s under house arrest await trial), or set him up for murder? Why is that an either or? If he’s under house arrest and you want to kill him, isn’t breaking him out first kind of a necessity?


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Drew Barrymore Edition

It’s another amazingly clean week for SNL – absolutely no homophobia jokes, and a rape joke so incredibly borderline that I’m not even going to count it. It came during a sketch about the media’s obsession with high-profile sex scandals, and the premise was that someone had come up with a 1-10 scale to rule on the severity of these scandals. David Letterman would be a 2, while Roman Polanski would be a 9 (or a European 4).

That’s the whole joke. And since it’s really more of a shot at a perceived European tolerance for deviance, and not actually about the rape he committed, I’m not counting it as an official ‘rape joke’. It's really more about xenophobia than statutory rape, so that’s two weeks out of three that have been absolutely clean. Okay, not clean, but rape and homophobia-free.

Please let them manage another two clean shows in a row.


Criminal Minds FactCheck Episode 108

The Criminal Minds episode called 'Natural Born Killer' covered a hitman who loved murder so much that occasionally he'd kill people just for fun. He was based on one 'Richard Kuklinski', nicknamed 'The Iceman' based on his habit of freezing his victims for months at a time before dumping the bodies, so that the authorities would have no idea when the murders actually occurred.

A few of the show's details were dead-on - he was a popular hitman for the Italian mob who once fed a victim to large rats. As usual, though, the capture had nothing at all to do with profiling, profilers, or profilation. Mob cases like this one generally aren't that hard to solve - in mob circles it's generally common knowledge who killed who. The hard part is not in identifying the killers, it's in finding enough evidence to charge them with anything. While Kuklinski's involvement in dozens of murders may have been well-known anecdotally, only someone who actually paid him to commit a crime would have been able to testify against him in court.

He was finally caught when the FBI managed to get one of his associates to work as an informant. They had the man introduce Richard to an undercover FBI agent, who solicited him to commit a murder, while taping the details of the arrangement. After his arrest Richard was only too happy to walk to the authorities, authors, really anyone who would have him. He was famously proud of his murdering spree right up until he died in prison back in 2006.

It's worth noting that Richard's brother also received a life sentence, in his case for the rape and murder of a child. It's likely that the two had similarly abusive childhoods, as depicted in the episode of Criminal Minds.


Christopher Pike Book Club: Weekend (1986)

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed “Slumber Party”, the last entry in the Christopher Pike book club, because this week’s entry “Weekend” is essentially the same story.


Criminal Minds 113: Poison

A father and son are driving out in the woods after catching a movie. They almost hit a deer – or do they? It turns out the father is hallucinating! Then he thinks there’s a flat tire, so he stops the car. And beats his son nearly to death with a tire iron! In his defence, at the point he thought he was being attacked by monsters. Actually, come to think of it, that’s not a fantastic excuse, is it? Filthy pothead.

Oh, wait, it wasn’t pot, he was poisoned. Which explains why the team is involved. They need to track down the mass poisoner who gave 7 people monstrous amounts of LSD! Wait, how long does it take LSD to kick in? Because he’s just coming out of a movie, meaning that he spent roughly two hours sitting in one place. Was the popcorn or drink spiked? But then why was his son fine? Until he got beaten nearly to death with an iron bar, of course.


H20 is not a good movie.

For a whole lot of reasons, actually. But I’m not here to talk about about the awful film as a terrible whole, but rather just an inexcusable piece of the loathsome puzzle.

The problem is in the film’s opening credits montage and, shockingly, it doesn’t have to do with the fact that Dimension, rather than just acquiring the rights to Donald Pleasance’s dialogue from the first film, hired a guy who sounds nothing like him to just read that dialogue. Although I’m still kind of pissed about that.


CSI Miami Episode 803 - Puma Village

It’s time for a look at Miami’s official sport… Beach Volleyball! Although, rather strangely, it’s not being played by hot women in sports bras, but rather shirtless young men. What the hell show am I watching? Oh, wait, they keep cutting away to women of a certain age in the crowd.

Could it be that CSI Miami is finally getting around to addressing the red-hot topic of four years ago, Cougars? Well, given that the lady from the still just blew a kiss at one of the players and then had it returned, I’m going to say yes. Also, is that the Relic Hunter in the crowd?

Things take a turn for the less sexy when three of the four guys on the court suddenly seize up and collapse. But what could have killed them that didn’t affect the fourth guy or anyone in the crowd? That’s the mystery the team is going to have to solve, with the aid of a really loud, but largely pointless montage. At the end of the montage Jesse finds some mysterious crystals in the sand. Could they have been poisonous? We’ll have to wait until the end of the credits to find out!


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Ryan Reynolds edition

God-damn it, SNL! You got a full hour into the second week of the show without resorting to a rape joke, then boom, in a sketch called ‘So you’ve committed a crime and think you can dance’, the first contestant is a sex offender who spends the routine eyeing his partner.

Oh well, there’s always next week.


Criminal Minds 112: What Fresh Hell

Things get horrifying in this episode of Criminal Minds, as we discover that Delaware isn’t just the home of corporate tax loopholes expansive enough to make JP Morgan blush, but murderous child molester/abductors as well! Yup, a little girl who wanders off from a football game winds up falling for the old ‘help me find my dog’ trick, and gets spirited away in a green SUV.

The team is pulled into the case when it becomes clear that it wasn’t a case of custodial interference. Elliot drops some statistics about how 99% of all abducted children are killed within a day, and since 20 hours have already passed, there’s almost no chance of finding the little girl alive. Of course, this is a CBS show, so I’m guessing the odds are fairly decent.


CSI Miami Episode 802

After the flashback-intensive season opener it’s time for things to get back to normal. After a ‘character’ scene in which we discover that things have been tense between Callie and Eric because of the whole him committing a crime and her shooting him thing, Jesse (from last week) shows up, looking for work. He picked the worst possible day to start, as this guy-

Shoots up the place Terminator-style (only without killing anyone), and takes a few hostages, demanding to talk to Horatio. What does he want? We’ll find out after the credits!


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Megan Fox edition

Well I, for one, was shocked by this week's episode. The season opened with what was, by a wide margin, the cleanest episode I've seen in ages. No rape jokes, no homophobia jokes, no egregious racism jokes!

I know, shocking, right? It seems that the show was so absurdly clean that it drove the comedians a little nuts, which caused new cast member Jenny Slate to substitute an actual swear word for the placeholder 'frickin' during a sketch about biker chicks.


Christopher Pike Book Club: Slumber Party (1985)

So, for reasons too boring to get into, I find myself with a near-complete collection of Christopher Pike's young adult horror/mystery novels. Somehow I missed out on reading these while they were actually age-appropriate, and now I'm going to make up for it with the Christopher Pike Book Club, where I, and I know this is a stretch, don't entirely spoil every detail of the book, but rather give an overview of the material. Just in case you want to go out and pick up the book for yourselves.

I'll be covering them in chronological order by publication date, except for a miniseries that we'll talk about when we get there. If there are any recurring themes, plots, or character types, we'll track them as well.

Oh, and I reserve the right to utterly spoil any of the books if they prove to have a story that's singular in its quality, craptitude, or discussability.

So, without any further ado-


Criminal Minds 111: Blood Hungry

Synopsis – It’s a bad day in Tennessee, as a mysterious man in a hoodie closes in on a small suburban house where a child is practicing singing a hymn. Things don’t get too dark, though, as the child heads off with a teen before hoodieman arrives, and kills the woman inside.

We then head off to the team’s meeting room, where they announce that the opening was actually the second in town over the past two days. In addition to the woman brutally beaten to death there was also a kindly old grandpa who was viciously stabbed. The seeming randomness of the crime suggests a psychotic killer, operating based on delusions. One unexplained fact? There were strange bloody rings on the floor of both crime scenes, like someone had put a bucket down and let blood gather around it.

On the scene of the latest crime, Elle notices that from the singing child’s point of view while singing, he should have had a perfectly good look at the killer, which he proves to have – he announces that the guy had a blood lip and looked bedraggled, and put one finger to his lips, asking the child to keep quiet about his presence. They jump to the conclusion that this must be the killer, even though it contradicts what we saw at the opening.

Of course, in this shot the killer is empty-handed, even though he’s about to kill the woman with a shotgun that he stole from the first crime scene. That’s a weird error for them to have made.


CSI Miami Episode 801

CSI Miami is back! Catch the fever! Whooo!

Okay, seriously though, there was something of a cliffhanger last time, with Eric stumbling out of the car he rescued his father in, after having been accidentally shot by Callie. Why, you may ask, did he leave the car and go wandering into the everglades? That’s not a question I have an answer to. Hopefully Eric will survive long enough to tell us all.

Horatio and the team finds Eric barely conscious by the side of a road, and as they perform extreme life-saving measures Eric drifts off into a flashback. We can tell it’s a flashback rather than a dream sequence because of two factors – 1: A little countdown showing the year roll back to 1997, and 2: song choice.

That’s an oddly correct song choice for setting the date, from a show that’s usually way behind the times. After all, they did a ‘the Bachelor’ episode roughly five years after everyone stopped caring about the Bachelor. I’m surprised he wasn’t listening to Nirvana.


CSI Miami Episode 725

It’s season ender time here on CSI: Miami, and I’m sure we all know what that means… Cliffhanger! Well, probably. But things move quickly right from the start. Wishmaster is poisoned in prison! His hospital transport is attacked! And then, rather preposterously pushed in front of a train! Because it’s plausible that they could have arranged the transport and attack to have happened at exactly the moment when a train would roll by. But maybe I’m being too hard on the show – it is a cool stunt:

Suddenly no longer choking to death on his own blood, Wishmaster grabs a gun off a fallen cop and runs for his life, while the cars that caused the accident make no attempt to rescue him. Rather confusingly Horatio is then on the scene, standing over the dying guard. I’m not sure what happened to the other two cops, who were shooting at Wishmaster. So, when presented with a badly injured prison guard (whose injuries Horatio didn’t witness, so his only clear symptom is a bloody uniform front), what does Horatio do? Run and get medical supplies? Sure, the ambulance is on fire, but he's got to have some in that hummer of his. Does he start extreme lifesaving measures? No, you’re thinking of what a decent person with a heart might do in this situation. This is Horatio Caine we’re talking about. He’s too busy looking concerned while watching a man die to, you know, actually do anything about it.

Aw, well at least it's heartfelt neglect, right?


CSI Miami Episode 723

It’s a busy day down at the old cafe, where a waitress is preparing some bananas foster, best known as the dish that explodes into flame. It proves an appropriate choice when, moments after it’s served, someone throws a grenade through the window! That’s not the end of the carnage, though – after getting the corpses back to the morgue there’s a second blast! It seems that a second grenade’s trigger had failed to release, and been blown up someone’s pant leg. It wasn’t until it fell out onto the floor of the morgue that it finally went off.

Neither grenade proves to have been that deadly – only two of the six people at the diner are killed, and no one’s hurt in the morgue. Apparently that’s a common thing for grenades: Not being deadly. Especially when dealing with homemade ones, as the team is this week. The only real damage done in the morgue is to New ME’s reputation. After the blast goes off she desperately scoots across the floor grabbing her illegal prescription pills.


CSI Miami Episode 722

It’s the Bachelor on CSI Miami! Dietrich Bader is playing the host, and the episode begins with opening section of the final episode. I’m sure this is hilarious satire if you’re familiar with the Bachelor, but I’ve never seen an episode, so it’s a little lost on me. The episode takes a turn for the shocking when, after the fakeout/dismissal of one of the contestants, they check the limo to meet the other only to find her dead!

Way to break the hell out of that fake TV show thing, guys – everything up until the body is discovered is presented as part of the show, including the chintzy titles-

But the second the body is found, suddenly there’s five cameras filming everything at different angles. Also, if they found a corpse while shooting the footage, why did they edit it together like a regular episode of the show? It’s not like this was live…


CSI Miami Episode 720

Time for another non-standard episode of CSI! This one opens with the freshly-tortured smuggy being tossed out of a van. A series of flashbacks reveal that the mob feels smuggy owes them money because he helped the horse doctor escape back in the horseracing episode, and now they need him to spike a case for them. He refuses to help at first, then concedes when they pull out a tooth and threaten to kill the horse doctor’s son.

The murder he’s supposed to cover up happens almost immediately – a broker is shot in his office by a thief, who then para-jumps off the roof of the building. Which isn’t a crazy plan, actually. They come up with a couple of clues right away – the bullet is still there on the scene, but it’s too mangled to be useful. Smuggy pockets a shell casing, while Eric collects some suspiciously purple water from the pool upstairs. The broker’s assistant explains that her boss’ job was to have cash on hand to exchange with shady foreigners, and mentions that two million dollars are missing from the office safe. They accuse her of murder a little, but not so intensively that she’s cleared of any involvement.


CSI Miami Episode 719

Things open on a creepy note tonight, with a woman arriving at home… only to find that it’s been robbed, and the criminal is still on the premises! She finds this out when he stabs her in the back. Which is among the worst ways of finding something out. She manages to shoot him once, though, driving the stabber out into the back yard where a vicious dog lives. The maid struggles through the house trying to reach the phone, because she’s the only person in the modern world to not have a cell phone. Amazingly the paramedics arrive in time to save her life, and as they work, her head lolls to the side and she sees the vision of an angel standing over her.

Okay, it’s just Horatio. But check out that backlighting, right? And really, at this point is there a difference between the two? Also, why is the head of Crime Scene Investigations there in the doorway before uniforms have even finished searching the house? Maybe it’s good that they get there that fast, because they manage to turn up a weird looking knife with a usable print trapped under a layer of wax! They figure that if they can find out whose knife it is, they may just have their stabber!

It seems that the stabbee is a personal chef, who worked for the man that the knife was stolen from! Is it all a big coincidence, or is she a thief? With her finally awake, Horatio is able to ask her directly. How great is it that for once they’re not dealing with a murder, right? I mean, there’s probably going to be a murder at some point this week, but it’s a nice change in the premise.


CSI MIami Episode 718

I hope you haven’t had your fill of preposterous murders, because this week’s episode is just extra-crazy. It starts when a bloody corpse falls out onto a baggage carousel, and it just gets weirder from there. Okay, it actually gets less weird from there, but still, that’s a nice idea, right?

The team begin investigating the scene, and discover the victim was a first-class flight attendant who someone got drunk, put in a ski case, and then loaded onto the luggage conveyor belt. The luggage attendant is no help, explaining that all he did was load some cases onto a belt. Smuggy ridiculously decides to charge him with possession of stolen goods, because he’s already begun the process of selling some skis he found in the plane online. Seriously? He didn’t even bring them home, just went straight to eBay? That guy deserves to be in jail.


CSI Miami Episode 717

Is there any better reason to have a party than a divorce? Jordan from Scrubs doesn’t think so, so that’s exactly what she’s doing! The party takes a turn for the disturbing, though, when Jordan’s ex-hubby’s corpse comes falling through the roof of her gazebo in the middle of her fake divorce ceremony.

Then, in a two-second joke about media culture, the party guests hurry to snap a picture of the corpse.

Oh, Miami. You’re temperature is the warmest, but your people have the coldest hearts.


CSI Miami Episode 716

There’s a party on luxury yacht ‘The Terrible’ as an awful cover of ‘you spin me right round’ plays on the soundtrack. This would all be completely normal for the show except for one thing: The yacht is owned by one Sean ‘Stay Puft’ Combs! That’s right, it seems our favorite, um, whatever it is he does, has returned to terribly portray a lawyer for the second week in a row!

Things go horribly awry when Stay Puft is convinced to invite some hot strangers onto the boat. Hot strangers that turn out to be twisted murderers! They rob the passengers, steal Stay Puft’s laptop, and when people try to rush them, accidentally shoot Stay Puft’s fiancee!

Or do they?


CSI Miami Episode 715

Remember how I said there were no courts in Miami? Well, turns out I was wrong. There are. It’s just that all of their walls are made of glass, allowing for the distracting sight of people walking behind witnesses while they testify. Also, they possess no juries, and no permanent seating for the audience.

Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Anyhow, we’re in court, where a country club employee is being accused using a belt to strangling a random woman. Amazingly, his lawyer is played by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, who for the rest of the episode I will be referring to by his preferred name, ‘Stay-Puft’.


CSI Miami Episode 714

The episode opens with Callie and Smuggy heading to a house. Because it’s a crime scene? Because there was a shooting there? No, because a neighbour called 911 to say she smelled something bad coming from the house. That’s right. The CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATORS, instead of investigating crime scenes, are now checking out reports of smells.

Isn’t that what we have, oh, I don’t know, EVERY OTHER KIND OF COP for?

So why the preposterous setup? So that Callie and Smuggy can get trapped in the attic with a corpse while a crazed murderer sets the house on fire. I’m going to cover the whole fire setting incident later on, because wow, yeah, it’s just… yikes. They escape (duh), but during her next scene Callie will have to be hospitalized few smoke inhalation. Wow – I wonder if this threat to her life will be what finally motivates Eric to reveal his feelings for her? (spoiler alert – it is) In an amazing coincidence, her emergency room doctor is none other than Creepy ME from the first six seasons. I know, right? What were the odds. Well, at least this gives her and Horatio a chance to hang out.


CSI Miami Episode 709

Convolutions were the theme in this episode, along with plans so poorly thought-out that they could only have been conceived of by people with severe brain injuries.

We open with a montage that intercuts the CSI crew’s morning routine with a woman being brutally tortured to death. This is a clever artistic move that lets us know that, ironically, as their days are starting, a woman’s life is ending!

Or it would be, except the intercutting is taking place at two different times. This isn’t entirely clear, but at the beginning of the montage we see the woman being abducted while shopping during the day, and when they arrive at the body, according to new ME, she’s been dead for a while. So the murder had to have happened the previous day, which kind of violates the show’s mandate of (except for flashbacks) only ever taking place within a twelve-hour period.


CSI: Miami Returns to the Castle!

Eagle-eyed readers of the site may have noticed that I missed an awful lot of CSI: Miami last year. I don’t feel any better about that than you do, so now, with the new season just a few days away, I’ve decided to play catchup and cover some of the episodes I’ve missed.

I’d also like to announce a new feature of the reviews – not only will they be slightly shorter (for added readability!), but I’ll also be compiling videos of all the people that the team falsely accuses of murder each week.

Because they do that a lot. Actually, maybe I’m being too hard on them – you’ve got to do something while waiting for magic to tell you who the killer is.

Anyhoo, I’m not planning on going back and finding the false accusations in all the episodes I’ve already covered, but just to give you a taste of what this is going to be like, here’s a video from episode 721, the inspiration for this entire endeavor.

That’s it for now – see you on the beach! The beach of murder!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I couldn’t write for CSI:Miami. No quipping skills.


The Fifth Greatest Panel in the History of Comics!

This is the exact way that everyone should handle this situation. The falsely-accused superhero, the cop, everyone.

And you just know that later on he came back and straightened those bars out.

It's an Avod Saturday!

Why so late, you may ask - well, it turns out that this is the first time I've ever had to really edit something, and I'm very bad at doing that. So there we are. But it's here now, and with a new Avod just some five days away, it's like you're getting 2 this week!

So download away!


Who wants Avod?

No one? Damn, because there's a new one available here, through the magic of right clicking and saving-as technology. If you'd like to reconsider, we'd be honored to have you hear it. Also, you might want to check out theavod's blog, available from that bar on the right side of the screen.

TheAvod Forever!



I don’t know if Red Sands sets a record for ruining the film’s ending, after all, the Strangers did one hell of a great job with the title cards, but it’s possibly unique in the way the film throws away not just the twist ending, but every main plot point in its opening seconds.

The first scene of the film involves Doctor Ray from ER sitting in an Afghani military installation, being questioned by his superior officer, prominent genre actor and professional J. Jonah Jameson impersonator, J.K. Simmons.

Ray’s staring at the camera intensely while JK explains that everyone else in the squad was killed, and no one knows how.


Time for some navel-gazing!

I had but one goal in relation to the popularity of this website – all I wanted is for people to be able to type the name ‘Vardulon’ into the old Google Box in the browsers, and then have the results page NOT ask them if they meant to type ‘pardulon’ instead.

That finally happened this week, the first week that I, while still massively less popular than resin model-making material ‘pardulon’, am nonetheless recognized as a distinct entity from it!



The Cell 2 is not a sequel to The Cell

Before I begin criticizing the movie, I’d like to enumerate the ways it is a sequel to the film ‘The Cell’.

1 - It opens with one of the characteristically visually arresting images from the first film, featuring Jennifer Lopez.

2 – An FBI agent in voiceover explains that, when a serial killer proves very difficult to catch, they sometimes recruit civilians with ‘extraordinary gifts’. He announces that “Catherine Dean was one of them. Now, there’s another.”


Avod Friday! The 24th!

Yeah, that really doesn't work as well as the 13th, now does it. Well, irregardless of that fact, there's a new avod that's ready to be downloaded and listened to right here! This week the Divemistress and myself discussed such key issues as the end of Harper's Island, the absurd racism that Transformers had to offer, and the new Harry Potter film!

The Avod - for all your hearing about things needs. We only used to discuss stuff, but now that we've moved into things as well, hopefully there's material enough to interest everyone!


Tom Mix has a complicated relationship with violence

I’m not really familiar with Tom Mix (nee real name), save for that movie about the time he met Wyatt Earp and the two of them battle the mob. Or corrupt movie moguls. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember the movie that well. The point is that my familiarity with the character began and ended with the fact that he was a cowboy hero with a horse named Tony. And that tidbit I picked up from ‘Changeling’.

As I started reading this Fawcett comic about his adventures, I wasn’t entirely surprised to discover that he was a kid’s hero, the sort of cowboy who shoots the guns out of people’s hands, rather than the eyes out of their heads.


The Night Train!

It’s late Christmas Eve somewhere in eastern Europe (oh, wait, this is supposed to be America. Sorry) where a train is plowing down snowy tracks. Aboard are Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski, a salesman and med student respectively, who are headed home for the holidays. Also aboard is Danny Glover, the conductor of this soon-to-be-decommissioned engine. Just as the train is about to leave the station a man rushes aboard without paying.

A few minutes later, when Danny goes back to collect the man’s money, he, along with LL and Steve, discover that the man is dead! And that he had a box full of precious jewels on him!

That’s right, it’s one of those movies. Where the strangers try to decide whether to keep money and cover up a death or blah blah Shallow Grave blah.


The Flash Presents: The amazing single-sentence continuity error!

They said it couldn’t be done. How could there be a continuity error in one sentence? In three little words? After all, in order to have a continuity error at all, one must first establish a fact so that it can then be contradicted. But the writer managed, near-miraculously, to find a sentence that is self-contradicting! And here it is:

Wow, huh? The preceding panel appeared in Flash Comics #133, as the title page to a story called “Kid Flash: Secret of the Handicapped Boys”. It was written by John Broome, drawn by Carmine Infantino, inked by Joe Giella. Sadly, I don’t know who lettered it, and the classy ‘showcase edition’ of the comic I have is in black and white, so they didn’t list a colourist in the credits.


Adventures in Censorship: Archie Comics!

Oh Archie comics, if there's one thing you are best known for it's an utter lack of offensiveness. Why, despite the fact that these characters really ought to have more problems with each other than they do -- Betty and Veronica fighting over the same man, Archie and Reggie fighting over the same woman, Moose regularly beating up almost everybody he meets -- all of them get along famously, giving up grudges faster than a goldfish whose brain has been mementoed. I doubt any of these characters would even impose for lasagna.

By and large this upbeat tone is maintained by simply refusing to acknowledge the existence of anything even slightly questionable. The world of Archie has, as far as I know, completely missed out on the horrors of AIDS, African genocide, both Gulf wars and, yes, the Holocaust. In fact, other than the time at little Archie totally killed a guy*, I have been as yet unable to find a reference to anyone dying in the history of Archie comics. Of course, since he was created in 1941, there's a chance he did some war propaganda way back when. I'll look into that, too.

This blinkered view of the world is easy enough to accomplish. The people at Archie produce the comic, so obviously they have utter control over the world in which it takes place. This means that for the most part they can just avoid ever bringing up anything that might accidentally make a reader feel even slightly bad. But what if a story needs to reference the events from the real world, events that touch on the very darkness Archie comics are designed to help people pretend doesn't exist?

Naturally then it's time for a little censorship. Confusing, barely coherent censorship.