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News Around the Net!

Let’s begin today with these fantastic clips from The Simpsons Live, the recent Simpsons musical extravaganza at The Hollywood Bowl featuring Conan O’Brien, Jon Lovitz, Hank Azaria, and others.  These clips are amazing.

Prepare to lose several hours from your day perusing this ranking of the 114 greatest characters from The West Wing.  The ranking is ridiculous, but the character write-ups are great and the videos accompanying many of the write-ups are phenomenal, wonderful highlights of some of the best moments from that great show.

This is awesome: What Star Trek the original series would have looked like in widescreen.  Check out how gorgeous that 48-years-old television show looks!!  Unbelievable!!

Speaking of Star Trek, with the amazing HD remastering project of Star Trek: The Next Generation nearly completed (the seventh and final season comes out on blu-ray in December), I am desperate for CBS to do the same with Deep Space Nine, my favorite of the Trek TV series.  I really mean desperate.  Bill Hunt from the phenomenal web-site The Digital Bits has an excellent editorial on the topic, addressing this question of whether or not CBS will take the plunge and remaster DS9.  When I first started buying blu-rays, as astounded as I was by the picture and sound quality, I looked at my vast collection of DVDs and vowed to myself that I wouldn’t go out and re-buy blu-rays of films I already owned on DVD.  Many years later, and I am proud of myself for sticking with that vow, almost 100%.  With one huge glaring exception.  I have bought every single blu-ray set of a Star Trek TV show released so far.  The Original Series, The Next Generation, and Enterprise.  I am such a huge Trek fan that I just couldn’t resist.  The improved picture quality was irresistible.  Even more so were the INCREDIBLE special features on Next Gen and Enterprise, produced by Roger Lay, Jr. and Robert Meyer Burnett.  (Those special features really set the standard for what I wish EVERY great TV show or movie had on their DVDs/blu-rays: exhaustive documentaries made with love, along with lots of other fun stuff including deleted scenes and out-takes.)  CBS, I am ready to give you my money!!  PLEASE release a re-mastered version of DS9, and DOUBLE PLEASE let Mr. Lay & Mr. Burnett continue their efforts to finally produce substantial making-of special features for this, the greatest of the Trek TV shows!! #ds9onblurayplease

Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny has released another phenomenal installment of his series Film Nerd 2.0, in which he discussed his approach to guiding his two young sons through the world of media, when and how he introduces them to films that he loves, and the family discussions that their viewing of those films lead to.  It’s an incredible series of pieces, one that has gotten more and more personal as the series has continued.  His latest post deals with how he tries to handle the pummeling experience of franchise-film after franchise-film that Hollywood releases and that, because of the relentless advertising and pop-cultural presence, his boys get frothed up to see.  This is a great read.

After seeing him pop up in the best parts of the documentary Dear Mr. Watterson, I’ve had Berkeley Breathed — the genius cartoonist who created Bloom County — on my mind.  So I loved finding this fantastic recent interview with him.  A great read.

The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was disappointingly mediocre.  What could get me excited for season two?  News that the Howling Commandos will appear in a flashback sequence in the season premiere!  Nice!

What??  No Hodor or Bran in season five of Game of Thrones??  That stinks!!  (Also, the kid is going to be all the way through puberty by the time they get back to him, won’t that be a little bit of a continuity problem?)  If Bran Stark goes the way of Lost’s Walt, I am going to be pissed!!

This article at The Onion A.V. Club is a great look back at the series finale of Babylon 5: “Sleeping in Light.”  Several years ago I ranked it as my very favorite series finale of all time, and I still hold to that.  I liked Babylon 5 a lot, though the show certainly has a lot of flaws.  (And I’ll always prefer Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.)  But man, “Sleeping in Light” is just about a perfect hour of television, and it has devastated me emotionally all three times I have seen it.  (Though the A.V. Club’s review doesn’t mention my favorite line from the episode, Ivanova’s hauntingly sad declaration that “I never saw him again in my lifetime.”)

Let’s end where we began, with The Simpsons.  Check out: 10 Popular Things Inspired by The Simpsons.  The best is number 4.  Holy cow, is the entire plot of The Hangover taken from the season 10 episode “Viva Ned Flanders”???

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