Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spaced Out: a review

Have you ever heard of a show called "Spaced Out"?
No? That's a shame. I liked it. To my disappointment, it was very short-lived.
Let's break it down and rate it!

Series name: "Spaced Out"
Foxy's rating:
Expectations Exceeded? Yes
Disappointed: No
Writing: Quite decent. I was rather impressed with how varied and unpredictable the episodes were, considering that everything takes place on a small orbital station.
Animation: I'd say the style is something you have to get used as I don't think it does anything for the show apart from making it look different from other cartoons. I quite like the character designs, but the colouring just looks muddy. I can't really say the movement itself stood out to me in neither a good nor bad way.
Action: More than you'd expect, despite it being a sitcom.
Drama: There's quite a nice collection of characters that play off each other very well.
Humour: The show is safe for kids rather than written for them. Yes, there's some adult humour sneaked into it. But children would probably just get bored since the show gives them a lot less they could enjoy and relate to than "The Simpsons" does, for example. Which is probably the reason the show didn't last long on Cartoon Network.
Worth watching: I'd say it is. In fact, I'd love to get it on DVD. It's a bit slow-paced, but I've enjoyed it.

Basically we've got ourselves a story that takes place in a not-so-distant future. Unlike "The Jetsons" and so forth, "Spaced Out" doesn't give us any kind of a gleaming hope for the world's sudden improvement. Here we see Earth as a very bleak and miserable place - overpopulated, polluted and completely taken over by an evil corporation called Kratch Industries, that has now decided to expand into space. Naturally, the recruitment process for the orbital station home project goes terribly wrong and one of the main characters gets the role by mistake. 
What I love about this series is that it's not aimed at kids and doesn't even try to teach any kind of moral lessons. You couldn't find them in some episodes if you wanted to. It's entertainment for the sake of entertainment. And perhaps Cartoon Network just wasn't the right channel for it.

The characters:
We've got a family that's somewhere in between the Jetsons and the Simpsons:
 a well-meaning, but idiotic father (amusingly enough, with a bit of an ego, which I quite liked);
 a very nice, well-read mother, who is a little... quirky and dreams of meeting aliens;
 a nerdy son, who looks like an older and plumper Elroy;
 and last, but not least - a rebel-without-a-cause daughter, who clearly belongs to some subculture or another. I'm guessing something in between goth and punk. Theatrically not caring and constantly bored, she was an instant hit with the teenage me. Especially when she made stupid mistakes she should have been "too cool" for.

The secondary cast is pretty fun, too. We've got a glamorous grandmother, who's accompanied the family to their orbital home as she couldn't bear the thought of parting with her son. Then there's the annoying neighbours the family was trying to get away from. And the best character of all - a soviet cosmonaut called Boris. I was amazed at how accurately-soviet everything about him was.  Also the family's got a cat and a dog, who tend to have deep philosophical discussions when nobody's around.

(*Spoiler alert*) The best episode:
I can't seem to find the listing so I don't know what the episode was called, but my favourite one was about Boris's arrival to the station. The guy's been through a lot! first he wakes up from a couple of years worth of sleep on his space ship, finds out that his motherland no longer exists and nobody wants him back, crash lands onto the station, almost gets killed, saves a character, gets hunted down for trespassing and when the good folks at Kratch fail to kill him they give him a job! Fantastic day if you ask me!

Curious finds:
I didn't find much. But there is this Jetsons parody video. Do forgive the low quality.

All in all, I thought "Spaced Out" was a good family comedy and I was sad to see it go. I think the show could have gotten even better with time, as cartoon series tend to. I feel it didn't have a long enough run to "realize" exactly where it's going. 
But if you're stuck for stuff to watch, I'd suggest giving "Spaced Out" a try.

I couldn't find a good screenie, so have a logo! If you'd like to know what the cartoon looks like, there's always youtube

Friday, March 30, 2012

Freaky Friday - stereographic edition

This week I've decided to show you the stereographic drawings by Dain Fagerholm.Not really my cup of tea, but I thought these were interesting enough to feature.
You can check out the artist's blog here. The first few pages have pretty much the same stuff - monsters with gems that look like D&D dice. But if you go back further you can find something more original. Like the first image below. 

I quite like this style. And yes, I've pretty much just put it there so you could read the post without something shaking at the bottom of the screen.

The stereographic images:
Seven Headed Creature
Creature in Cube with Gem
Creature with Gem Over Head

Friday, March 23, 2012

Freaky Friday

What's this? A new themed day? Why yes, it is! It won't be a weekly thing though. I'm very aware of how horrendously behind I am on my weekly themed posts as it is.

Despite what some may think, I've never done drugs. And who needs them when there's plenty of surreal art out there! I don't "automatically" like every psychedelic painting under the sun. It's very "hit or miss". But certain pieces really manage to capture my attention, whether they're mysterious, or just downright messed up. 

This week I'd like to share the works of Anton Semenov, or Gloom 82, as he's known on Deviant Art. I'm quite fond of the desaturated dream-like quality of his work. Kind of reminds me of why I was sometimes afraid to sleep as a kid. Which I blame soviet animation for. I won't be surprised if it's also the artist's inspiration fuel. 
So here are some of my personal picks from Anton's gallery:

City of decay
Hostess of the copper hill
Black dream

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

To everyone in UK anyway! This is a holiday that has always confused me. Here's why. Why can't everyone agree on the same date for it in this day and age?  Just to add to the confusion, apparently about 30 countries celebrate it at different dates to those in the list.

As a kid I'd hear about someone celebrating mother's day probably 3 times each year. I'd find myself thinking if I should buy something for my mom. But I knew she wasn't expecting anything since Russia's never had a Mother's Day until 1998 (we've always celebrated the apparently-international Women's Day instead). The president has randomly decided to add this new holiday and put it at the last Sunday of November.

But.. ramblings aside, happy Mother's Day to anyone celebrating!

art by  Equestria-Prevails

Friday, March 9, 2012

My all-time favourite video game - Snake!

Yes, despite being on a Games Art course, I like simple addictive games.
If you'd like to know more about how Snake developed, check out the wiki article. I've decided not to copy and paste its brief history into the post and pretend I knew it all along.

The first time I've ever played Snake was on a friend's phone. I think it was the legendary Nokia 3310. I remember having little tournaments with friends during gym class (why yes, we clearly were very dedicated students).
for those who miss playing the game on an old cell phone, this page should make you happy. I scored 674 on "worm" level , if anyone wants to beat me.
I think this game could be the exact copy of the classic Nokia one, but I don't remember it that well to be certain.

I'm sure you've seen various Snake spin-offs that are plastered all over the internet.
Well, I do have two favourite ones, which happen to be Neopets games. Getting points and trophies for playing flash games makes me feel less like I'm just pointlessly wasting time. ...Anyway! The two games:

Meerca Chase II - A Snake game with a few variations - it features a maze mode and a freestyle mode. Also as you progress through the game the play area fills with obstacles. There's also two hidden codes: type "superextrahypergravitymode" to unlock gravity mode, which I really like, and "ferociousneggsareontheloose" for a survival mode.

Wrath Of The Snowager  is quite an interesting take on Snake. You play as the giant ice worm called Snowager, who tries to get back his treasure from a thief. You have to move around a rather large field (compared to most such games) with obstacles in it. What I like the most is that you get to chase and attack an enemy. The thief never dies, of course. But knocking him over to make him drop treasure is quite fun. And you get to blast him with ice a few times in each level.

My favourite version of the game is called "Snakes". It came with my phone (Nokia n70) and was originally developed for Nokia N-Gage. 
I think the guy who made it is a genius. It's a 3D snake that's still simple and addictive, yet has some features of its own. The design is minimalistic, but still eye-catching. The music is great. And, most importantly, it's fun! 
I kind of wish I had a chance of trying out the multiplayer on N-Gage. But either way, I really enjoyed playing it and in my opinion the game is absolutely fantastic for what it is!
Check out this review if you'd like to know more!
some cool fanart by Digoma

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy International Women's Day!

I love how this "international" holiday mostly celebrated in post-soviet countries. But this year Google made the rest of the world aware of it. I doubt the rest of the world cared, but it was a nice gesture anyway.
To be fair, I don't recall ever getting anything for the 8th of March or even expecting to. But hey. Happy International Women's Day to anyone celebrating!

"Sadly, the 8th of March only comes once a year". Visit this guy's gallery for more funny comics. All in Russian though.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Beyond Her Garden

Oh look! Just what everyone wanted to see! A pony!
Well, meh. I spent the day drawing this, so here you go.
Inspired by this song and this image.

high-res version here

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Have you ever heard a bustard sing?

You haven't? Great! Listen to it here! (yes, the site is in Russian. But you can't really miss the two audios there. In the first it's just the bird, in the second there's some added music ).
I'll be honest, I suspected that to be an act of trolling. But, turns out the birds really do sound that way! As you can see in the video here (which is also in Russian. Scroll to about 1:40 to hear the birds)
Mr DeathPwny was the one who gave me the link.

Yeah yeah. It's the wrong bustard. but this one looks so much cooler!
Photo by FriendFrog

Friday, March 2, 2012

Brits vs. Americans. Fight!

A little something I've found kicking about on Imgur. It made me giggle. 
So what would you guys say? True to life?
Personally, I easily believe the first part. The second didn't leave me convinced!
So tell me, all you wonderful British people... what do the Americans sound like to you?