So many little tidbits cross my desk(top) in any given week, that it is almost impossible not to miss some. I used to write this feature on a political website, until I realized that I hated writing about politics, and geeky stuff was way more fun, without the consequence of pissing people off. Well, that’s probably not true. So, the Friday Five will be a regular feature about things happening in the pop culture, science and technology world. Enjoy my little curations.
1. The Muppets Sell Out – A deal was announced this week that has Sesame Street moving from PBS, it’s home for the past 45 years, to ….wait for it……. HBO. Um….whaaat? I suppose this was to be expected as Disney continues to swallow up all of the world’s entertainment companies. I did the cursory Google search and found out that, amongst other things, Disney owns an interest in or all of the Muppets, Lucasfilms, Pixar, ESPN, Marvel, GoPro, and so much more. While it is certainly well known that Yoda is a muppet (and I’m not a Muppet bigot, fuzzy monsters deserve equality) I am afraid that in the future, you might see Big Bird riding shotgun next to Han and Chewy. What about Buzz Lightyear? Will he be making at least a cameo in the new Star Wars? And I, for one, am looking forward to some Game of Thrones, Sesame Street crossovers. With the success of the blockbuster musical “Avenue Q”, puppet sex scenes are probably heading for the mainstream anyway. Seriously, who thought this was a good idea? Same people who took the music out of MTV? I am pretty sure I don’t want our toddlers cozying up to HBO in the morning. “This episode was brought to you by letters B for bad and I for Idea, and the number 25 million. Up next? Kill Bill.”.
2. NBC Continues Rebootapalooza – About a month ago, NBC announced it would be rebooting Xena, Warrior Princess. I was a huge NBC fanboy for years, but over the past few, NBC’s programming decisions have left me scratching my head. The peacock’s latest business plan seems to be, if it worked in the past, reboot. NBC is already committed to a Heroes reboot, (full disclosure, I am digging the idea) and a Coach reboot. That one I don’t get at all. The show lived and died by the chemistry between cast members Craig T. Nelson, Jerry Van Dyke and Bill Fagerbakke. Hard to recreate those moments, even with 2 of the 3 returning. I would argue that Jerry Van Dyke was the ingredient that made that recipe work, and he is the one not listed as returning. There is no doubt that with the changing landscape that includes original content from the streaming providers, it is harder and harder to come up with the home runs, but just going back to the old ideas isn’t a great business plan. In fairness to NBC, they aren’t the only one doing it. CBS is enjoying some mediocre success with the Matthew Perry Odd Couple reboot (I am not a fan), FOX is bringing back the X-Files and Showtime finally has all the pieces in place for the return of Twin Peaks. If any show that was successful is fair game for a reboot, will we see a return of the Cosby Show?
3. Megarocket Engine Passes the Test – NASA test fired the megarocket engine that is at the heart of their new program to expand human exploration of the solar system and beyond. It’s essentially a souped up version of the same engine that powered the space shuttle, but it will up the speed at which we can travel through space. Speed is kind of essential when you are trying to explore something so big. When the Kepler space craft found a planet that could be a bigger version of Earth, it found the planet 1400 light years away. Quick calculations at the speed that we can travel now (18,000 mph), put the journey to Kepler 452-b (a dumb name for a cousin) at approximately 5,210,000 years. (I did those calculations so they could be off by as much as 5,210,000 years) Since we’re mentioning dumb names, one of the first missions mentioned is a trip to Jupiter’s moon, Europa. We couldn’t come up with something more original than that? Glad they are working on this with haste, as we are only 47 years and 25 days away from First Contact.
4. Middle Earth Turns to Crowd Funding – Yep, a group of Middle Earth junkies want to create a fully functioning city of Minas Tirith from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The cost? $2.89 billion dollars, and they want to raise it in 60 days. (A little perspective on that? The 2016 presidential campaign will probably be close to double that. I’d rather have Minas Tirith) When you need that kind of dough for a project, who ya gonna call? Indiegogo, of course. The Middle Earth real estate developers Indiegogo campaign has already raised over a quarter of a million dollars. Hey, if you donate 5 pounds, they’ll follow you on Twitter….sweet perks.
5. First Step to SkyNet – We all know machines will eventually take over the world. Gonna happen. Even Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk say it would be a bad, bad thing. And, the machines will probably be sensible, it’s the people programming or using the machines that we have to worry about. Well, the corporate overlords who will eventually enslave us all, if lots of great sci fi is to be believed, are taking the first step. How about forcing employees to sport wearable tech to track their movements and monitor their behavior. What could possibly go wrong with that?
Happy weekend, geeks. Check back soon.
Which of these five is the coolest to you? Leave us a comment.