Feliz Dia de Los Muertes! The Samhain season last a few days, with the Mexican Day of the Dead and All Souls Day today, and the cross quarter (when the sun enters 15 degrees of Scorpio) arriving November 5th. I hope you are all letting this time of reflection work positively for you; certainly it is a time of stress and anticipation, with a major storm having left parts of the Northeast USA devastated, and the presidential election just a few days away.
If you want to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, the best way is to donate money. This article from Time Out New York offers a number of useful suggestions for hands on volunteering and, ore importantly, how to donate money to various organizations doing relief work. The damage and devastation in New Jersey, Staten Island and lower Manhattan are simply horrible, so do what you can to help those in need.
Be sure to vote on November 6th. Yes, Mercury is going retrograde that day, so be prepared for long lines or travel snafus. Don’t blow this off, people. And be nice to your polling place volunteers who put in long hours.
In other media news this Samhain season, Chris Carter, creator of the long running TV show The X-Files and the less successful Millennium and X-Files spin-off The Lone Gunmen is developing a new television series. Carter’s been relatively inactive in the producing world since the last X-Files film (which pretty much bombed). It’s exciting to know he has something new in the works. The new show is called Unique and will feature a female police detective who solves crimes with a supernatural twist. Hopefully more details will be forthcoming soon! Supernatural crime shows have had a long and colorful history, including the 1970s series Kolchak: The Night Stalker which starred Darren McGavin as a reporter who investigated unusual crimes in Chicago. Carter cites the show as a big influence on his work; in a classy homage, star Darren McGavin was cast as Frank Black’s father in an episode of Millennium. Maybe this idea will be a win for Carter; certainly crime shows show no sign of becoming unpopular.
Did you catch the Hallowe’en night episode of American Horror Story? It was just a bit eerie that the residents of the asylum were awaiting a major storm. I love this show but its take-no-prisoners approach to violence could create a situation that forces some viewers to turn away. Millennium was criticized by many X-Files fans for being too violent, but it was tame compared to AHS. Maybe violence perpetrated by vampires, aliens and ghosts is less disturbing to viewers than that perpetrated by psychotic killers. What do you think of the growing trend of increasingly violent content on network television?
The new film from Gus Van Sant is generating Oscar buzz already and hardly anyone has seen it. Promised Land stars Matt Damon and John Krasinksi, who co-wrote the script with Dave Eggers. The story is about a community dealing with the controversies of hydraulic fracturing. Yes, an Oscar-worthy film about fracking that is not a documentary! Let’s hope it has generates some awareness. Environmental issues deserve far more coverage in both news and entertainment media.
The Hunger Games is now out on DVD and director Francis Lawrence is signed on to direct sequels Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2. This article (which spells his name “Frances” for some reason) points out that staying with the same director throughout the franchise allows for some continuity, unlike the switch-up that occurred with Harry Potter (I did think not keeping tie first director was a good move and the films got progressively better) and the Twilight series (never seen any of those). I enjoyed the first film a great deal and thought it had some very pertinent social messages, in addition to being a very entertaining story. Certainly it’s one of those social collapse-apocalypse stories that get us thinking about how to cope when civilization breaks down. “Zombies” are merely symbols, after all, for the threats that we fear may close in at any time. Archery lessons, anyone?