“Better Off Ted” returns tomorrow night.

One of the few sitcoms I love to watch returns to ABC tomorrow night at 9:30PM. I’ll be at work, of course, but that’s why we have the DVR.

Here’s a reminder of why I love this show so much:

Yep, looking forward to that.

Infinity Ward has fucked over “Call of Duty” fans who play on the PC.

Yes I am upset and it’s probably a bad idea to write a blog entry when I’m as upset as I am now, but I’m going to anyway because this needs to be said. This is not a review of the game, I’ll write one of those later. This is a warning to anyone who’s thinking of buying it for the PC: Don’t fucking bother.

The reason why is quite simple. Infinity Ward decided that it was too much work to do much more than simply port the game over from the Xbox 360 so that’s all they did. The broke a long-standing tradition among first person shooters on the PC and decided they were not going to release a dedicated server to the fans. Instead they announced that MW2 would make use of a new matchmaking service they would be calling IWNet. They made this announcement during an interview on BASHandSlash.com’s podcast. It was not received well:

Bowling, the Infinity Ward community manager, said IWNet makes multiplayer more accessible to the PC community on Modern Warfare 2, replacing the need for dedicated servers that are hosted and managed by players. But the hardcore PC crowd to whom he was talking, on BASHandSlash.com’s webcast, did not take the news in a completely positive light.

“The silence you hear is because we’ve got a community right now structured in such a way that it relied on having dedicated servers,” one of BASHandSlash’s moderators told Bowling.

“You’re definitely reshaping the way the community has been set up,” another said later.

“Definitely,” Bowling acknowledged.

Reshaping is certainly one word to use. I prefer to use the words fucked over. Which is definitely a much harsher assessment, but the lack of dedicated servers is not the worst of it. A bit later the folks at ArsTechnica filled us in on the other changes to come:

We thought the lack of dedicated servers was bad, but now we can add the lack of console commands, the inability to have a say in who hosts the game, a lengthy pause while the game migrates to a new host if the currently selected host quits, no leaning, no option to record matches, and no way to kick or block trouble players, hackers, or cheaters.

See that last part I made bold type above? That’s where Infinity Ward has fucked over PC fans of their game. Mere hours after the game hit store shelves there was an aimbot/wallhack released for the PC version which you may recall me writing about previously. CoD:MW2 was released on November 10th. They didn’t get around to banning the first batch of cheaters until November 30th at which point about 2500 people were banned from Steam. Not that it matters as there is a crack out there and you can make as many Steam accounts as you want, each of which gets its own SteamID. There’s even a YouTube video showing you how to do it. Plus there are new hacks being created all the time. That’s just a fact of life on the PC. Hell, some of the hacks even advertise themselves in the game.

There’s no way that Infinity Ward or Valve can keep up with the cheaters in any reasonable amount of time. If we had dedicated servers this would be less of a problem as the admins can kick and ban by IP address at the first sign of a cheater. As things stand now not only are there no admins to deal with cheaters, but there’s no means of kicking cheaters at all. At the very fucking least it would’ve been nice to have the ability to call a vote to kick someone who’s being an ass in the game, but Infinity Ward won’t even let us do that.

I can live without dedicated servers if I have to. I can live with the max size of a match being 18 people. I can live with not being able to use custom user created maps. I can even live without the ability to lean around corners. Not being able to get rid of the cheaters, however, completely ruins the multiplayer game which, when you consider how short the single player is, is the main reason to buy the game in the first place.

There’s a certain class of person out there known as a Griefer and it appears they are having a field day with MW2. And why not? It’s not like anyone can do anything about it outside of Valve and Infinity Ward and that’ll take weeks before the SteamID is banned and then they can just make another one and keep right on going. This evening I joined and quit no less than two dozen games because the cheaters were out in force with no less than at least 4 cheaters in each game and one where half the players where cheating. I spent an hour just trying to find a game that didn’t have a cheater in it. When I quit the last game I sat down and wrote this entry.

This has to be the stupidest decision Infinity Ward has ever made. I find it hard to believe there isn’t a single person on that development team who didn’t foresee this being a problem with their decision to drop dedicated servers and remove any ability to kick players from a game. It was one thing when it was one guy every few dozen games or so, but when every game you join has a whole bunch of fucking cheaters in them it kills any desire I have to play the game at all. On the console versions all you have to worry about is people taking advantage of glitches that will eventually get patched and when people get banned there they can’t easily get back in. The PC is a completely different environment and only a fool would try to treat it like a console, but that’s just what Infinity Ward has decided to do.

As a result of this fiasco I can not recommend people buy the PC version of this game no matter how amazing it is. Perhaps IW will come up with a fool-proof way of eliminating the cheaters in a more timely fashion, but until they do it’s just not worth the aggravation on the PC. As a long-time fan of the company I am deeply disappointed and my outlook isn’t helped by the almost complete lack of comment from the Infinity Ward people on the problem.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” teaser trailer hits the net.

Update: Looks like the original video source has been yanked so I found another one. Quality is a bit grainy, but it works.

And, well, it doesn’t show a whole lot. Which is why it’s a teaser, but it’ll still whet the appetite a bit:

It’s really going to be rough knowing this one ends on a cliff-hanger, but I’m glad to see they’re devoting two movies to the story.

“Slingers” looks like it’ll be my new favorite TV show…

…if it ever gets made,that is. Slingers is a 60’s heist story at heart, albeit one set in the 2260’s. It’s the brainchild of Mike Sizemore and it stars Sean Pertwee — as in the son of the third Doctor from Doctor Who, Jon Pertwee — along with Adrian Bower, Tom Mison, Margo Stilley, Haruka Abe, GUN and JUNIOR. They have a sizzle reel out on the net to give the networks an idea of what they show is about and how it’ll look.

It makes me want to watch the show badly. As in right now. Check it:

SLINGERS from Mike Sizemore on Vimeo.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Slingers is set in the year 2960 A.D., following mankind’s first interplanetary war. Humanity is now clustered into a finite, but still vast section of the universe known as Enclosed Space. Humanity won the war with an aggressive alien enemy, but at a cost. The way back to Earth is now cut off by an impassable barrier – a side effect of the blast that finally pushed the enemy back.

The show takes its name from a group of people thrown together on board an experimental spacecraft that is capable of Slinging itself to any point in space. In theory it’s the only craft capable of getting home. In reality the crew are using it to carry out a series of high tech heists and get even with those who are now exploiting their positions in the post war hierarchy.

Dominic ‘DM’ Monroe, a special ops war veteran becomes the de facto leader of this small team of thieves who rail against the decision by military command to just ‘stay where they are and make the best of it’. They’re determined to get home and if that means breaking a few rules and picking up a lot of enemies along the way then so be it.

It’s amazing to think that this is just a sizzle reel and not something that’s in full production as the sets, costumes, and effects look like final production quality. Just goes to show how inexpensive CGI can be these days. Details may change along the way as they negotiate with whomever decides to back the production, but the above is the general gist of what they’re shooting for.

Anyway, it looks cool and fun and they’re hoping to shoot a pilot episode sometime next year. Here’s hoping someone else sees the potential of this and gives it a green light.

Found via /Film.

Movies I’m Looking Forward To: “Tron Legacy” (#Blogathon)

I was a huge fan of the original Tron released back in 1982. I was 14 years old and it was a movie aimed at my people: computer geeks. Completely unrealistic fantasy nonsense and I loved every minute of it so when word came that they were doing a sequel, well, geekgasm is probably the appropriate word. The original movie managed to do a lot of things never seen before in film and the producers of the sequel are promising more of the same. Which, when you consider how ridiculous CGI visual effects have become in movies these days, will be quite a feat to pull off.

Disney wowed crowds at least year’s San Deigo Comic Con with test footage of a light cycle battle that included an appearance by Jeff Bridges who played Flynn in the original movie. They were testing the waters to see how much interest there would be in a sequel and the fan reaction was positive enough that the green light was given to develop it. The tentative title was Tron 2 which was later shortened to silly Tr2n. At this year’s Comic Con Disney unveiled the final title of Tron Legacy along with a synopsis of the plot:

TRON is a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that’s unlike anything ever captured on the big screen. Sam Flynn (GARRETT HEDLUND), the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn (JEFF BRIDGES), looks into his father’s disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin’s loyal confidant (OLIVIA WILDE), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.

The folks over at /Film have a write up of what was presented this year and it sounds like it’s going to be cool as hell. They also have some shots of concept art from the movie including the new lightcycles:

Click to embiggen!

Yes please! Disney is already ramping up the ARG marketing for the film with a website called Flynn Lives that lays out the conspiracy theories on what happened to Flynn when he disappeared in 1989. As for the movie itself the principle photography just wrapped up and now it goes into a year-long post-production due to all the effects shots that will comprise most of the film. I believe the movie is slated to come out sometime in 2011 which will make waiting for it all the more difficult.

“Better Off Ted” coming back June 23rd.

I keep meaning to mention my love for the ABC sitcom called Better Off Ted, but I keep forgetting to do so. Back in February I wrote an entry about it before it first aired in which I opined that it looked like it might be pretty funny. Yeah, that was an understatement.

The first episode had me rolling on the floor and it became a must-watch show. They had their season finale after only seven episodes, but it turns out they still had 6 episodes which hadn’t aired yet. Now word comes that ABC will begin showing those episodes starting June 23rd:

Alphabet still had six episodes of “Ted” left from its midseason run earlier this year; those segs will now air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. starting June 23, behind new reality competish “The Superstars.”

The Victor Fresco-produced laffer, from 20th Century Fox TV, then returns in midseason, where it will be paired with “Scrubs.” Alphabet ordered 13 more episodes of “Ted” for next season.

If you’ve not seen the show already then I highly recommend making a point to do so. For those of you not familiar with the premise here’s the official synopsis: “Better Off Ted” is a satirical office comedy featuring a successful but morally conscious man, Ted, who runs an R&D department at a morally questionable corporation. It’s a simple premise and it’s funny as hell. Ted Crisp, played wonderfully by Jay Harrington, breaks the fourth wall repeatedly throughout the course of an episode as he guides us through the trials of being a successful R&D manager for a soulless megacorp while still being a nice guy. His boss Veronica Palmer (Portia de Rossi) is a ruthless, amoral, and apparently emotionless career woman who seems willing to do anything to get ahead. Rose Crisp, Ted’s daughter, is his conscious made manifest. Lem and Phil are two geniuses that work for Ted and whom are a riot by themselves. Lastly Linda Zwordling (Andrea Anders) is a tester who works with Ted and is his romantic interest though said romance is frustrated by Ted’s “One Office Affair Rule” which he’s already used having an affair with his boss.

Part of what makes the show so enjoyable is the fact that the characters aren’t just cliched stereotypes. Ted isn’t perfect though he is probably the most moral of all the characters in the show. In a couple of episodes—such as episode 6 titled “Goodbye, Mr. Chips”— Veronica takes some actions that are contradictory to her amoral and selfish nature. Lem and Phil can be pretty stupid considering how smart they are. In fact, about the only character that doesn’t show some depth is Rose, Ted’s daughter, but that’s partially because she gets so little screen time and she functions as Ted’s conscious. It doesn’t hurt that the show relentlessly skewers working for a Big Corporation with employees being subject to constant annoyances such as moving the toilet paper dispensers in bathroom stalls to just out of reach so employees won’t use as much to (in a particularly brave and amusing episode titled Racial Sensitivity) installing automatic sensors that react to light bouncing off your skin which results in lights refusing to turn on and doors refusing to open for black employees. 

If you missed the first seven episodes it appears you can watch them online for free on the official website (click the big Catch Up On Recent Episodes button on the right), but I haven’t tried it myself. I’ve included a clip of the first 10 minutes of the first episode on YouTube that ABC put out after the jump. It’s just enough of a taste to get you hooked so you’ll watch when the show returns on the 23rd. Which, of course, I highly recommend you do.

Craig Ferguson lip synched his opening routine last Monday.

I love watching The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson but with having to get up so early I only get to watch it Friday nights. I suppose I could time shift it on the DVR, but that just seems… wrong. Anyway it means I missed this wonderful opening he did on Monday:

I just can’t help but laugh at that!

The latest trailer for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” gets the blood pumping.

I loved the books and I’ve thought the movies have been about as good as they can be considering the amount of material they have to trim down. The next installment looks like it will not disappoint either:

Definitely looking forward to July 17th. I never managed to catch the last film while it was in theaters so I’ll be making a point of it this time.

You can watch the trailer in high-def over on Apple’s site.

Russel T. Davies and David Tennant on leaving “Doctor Who.”

The Times Online has an interview with Russel T. Davies and David Tennant on their decision to leave Doctor Who this year. It’s not a particularly long or revealing interview, but one bit that stood out for me was their commenting on how the show’s revival made it cool to be a fan again:

The level of media speculation the show generates has never died down. It’s perhaps rivalled only by James Bond. Remarkable, considering it is, or was, a children’s show.

DT Because it’s got that cross-generational appeal, which few other things have. It’s not a working-class thing, it’s not a middle-class thing. The competition winner from Doctor Who magazine was on set today, a 15-year-old girl. When I was a kid, 15-year-old girls didn’t watch Doctor Who.

RTD It’s hard to express the joy of that. For 20 years, this thing was a joke. It was slightly embarrassing admitting liking it. In fact, very embarrassing. You’d see comedians taking the piss out of it. It would crop up on I Love the 60s shows, where they would make it look like rubbish. And to see it being what it always was in our hearts is just amazing. You mentioned it in the same sentence as James Bond. My God, that’s impossible!

I’m an old school Who fan and, while there were some changes that bothered me a bit, I have to admit that the new series has been fantastic at living up to what I once dreamed DW could be in my younger years if only it had had the budget. Of course it’s helped remarkably by the fact that Blockbuster Movie special effects can be realized cheaply enough that even amateur films look amazing these days. There’s any number of stories from the original DW series that would’ve been remarkable if they could have used some of the tools the new series has access to. And the budget, as the new series has a much higher per-episode budget than the original ever saw.

Youngest actor yet has been cast as “The Doctor” in 2010.

It’s official. The BBC has announced that come 2010 when the next actor takes on the role of The Doctor on Doctor Who his final form will be that of Matt Smith. Haven’t heard of him? Yeah, it seems a lot of folks haven’t:

Matt Smith, a virtual unknown, has been named as the 11th actor to portray The Doctor, according to the BBC News. Viewers will begin seeing Smith in 2010, when he replaces David Tennant, who announced his intentions to leave the show in October.

At 26, Smith, who has been seen in the BBC political series Party Animals and on stage in The History Boys, is the youngest to every fill the Doctor’s shoes. Smith is believed to have beat out heavy competition from bigger names such as John Simm and David Morrissey. His casting also puts to rest rumors that the Doctor would be played by a woman for the first time, with names such as Catherine Zeta Jones and Jennifer Saunders being tossed around.

Executive producer and head writer Steven Moffat said it was Smith’s original take on the role that made him the one.

“As soon as Matt walked through the door, and blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord, we knew we had our man,” he said. “2010 is a long time away, but rest assured the 11th Doctor is coming — and the universe has never been so safe.”

You can see Mr. Smith’s IMDB profile here. He doesn’t appear to have a lot of roles under his belt so this could be a risky move on the part of the BBC. A lot of noise is being made about his age, but that doesn’t concern me too much as Peter Davison was only 29 when he took on the role back in 1980. Interesting bit of trivia on Peter Davison: When he reprised his role as the Fifth Doctor in the 2007 mini-episode Time Crash Davison was 56 which was older than William Hartnell—the First Doctor—when he started the role at the age of 55. He’s also the only former Doctor to make an appearance in the new series that wasn’t a film clip.

Anyway, so that’s the new Who and it should be interesting to see how he takes on the role come next year. He certainly has a bit of the Doctor look to him so he’ll probably do just fine. It’ll be awhile before we get to find out either way.

Updated: Here’s an interview with Matt Smith on how he feels about landing the role: