Entry for September 12, 2007: I want my MTV (and SFTV, comics)

On Friday, 9 September 2007, Janice and I watched the satisfying series finale of Disney's Kim Possible. The light-hearted cartoon about the titular teenaged heroine and her sidekick/boyfriend Ron Stoppable (and his naked mole rat Rufus) was part of a recent wave of science fiction-tinged animation that included Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron.

After enjoying the latest episode of Series 3 of Doctor Who, we checked out spin-off Torchwood on BBC America. Involving less time travel than its parent show, Torchwood's protagonist is "Capt. Jack Harkness," a bisexual adventurer working to stop alien incursions and reverse-engineer their technology.

More adult and slightly darker in tone than Doctor Who, the premiere of Torchwood reminded us of The X-Files or a more serious Special Unit 2. We'll see if Torchwood can develop suspenseful stories and sympathetic characters while trying to get out of the shadow of Doctor Who's reputation as a children's program(me). David Tennant's appearance on Graham Norton's ribald talk show may not have been child-friendly, but it was funny.

While Janice was volunteering at an Animal Rescue League event in Natick, Massachusetts, I continued to catch up on reading, finally filing a few months' worth of comic books. Thomas had again hoped to meet, but I ended up having an early dinner with Janice at "Firefly's Barbeque."

I particularly liked recent issues of the all-female team in DC Comics' Birds of Prey, IDW's Star Trek: Year Four, Marvel's revived Thor, and Dark Horse's Buffy: the Vampire Slayer–Season 8. We liked Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 a bit more than Mice Templar, but both are good anthropomorphic fantasies in the style of Redwall.

It's interesting to note that two of the titles mentioned above are faithful continuations of existing franchises: "Star Trek" and "Buffy." While the "big two" publishers drag on with retconning crossovers — DC's weekly Countdown and Marvel's post-"Civil War" Skrull storyline, among others — some of the best art and writing can be found among smaller studios, even for fans of costumed superheroes.

On Sunday, after playing City of Heroes, I continued filing comic books (photographs and miniatures are next on my to-do list), we also watched the Season 2 finale of Alton Brown's foodie travelogue Feasting on Asphalt. Along with improvisational comedy Thank God You're Here, we've seen a few good shows in the odd period between cable's summer and broadcast television's autumn seasons.

The MTV Video Music Awards, which Janice attended back in the late 1980s, were lackluster this year, starting with Britney Spears' ill-advised comeback performance and Sarah Silverman's weak opening monologue. The decentralized performances, insipid category names, seizure-inducing lineup screens, and lip-synching only reminded me that I'm no longer the teenaged target audience for that television channel.

Hip-hop and pop music dominated, with the only representatives of rock and roll partying with the Foo Fighters, and Tommy Lee and Kid Rock brawling during part of the talented Alicia Keys' act. I do agree with Justin Timberlake's comment that MTV should play more videos rather than reality shows.

Of the nominees, I liked Amy Winehouse's soulful and unfortunately too-personal "Rehab," U2 and Green Day's protest of New Orleans' post-Katrina treatment in "The Saints Are Coming," Carrie Underwood as a woman scorned in "Before He Cheats," and Peter, Bjorn, and John's hypnotically catchy "Young Folks."

Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Beyonce/Shakira's "Beautiful Liar" did deserve their awards, as did Black-Eyed Peas alumna Fergie. Chris Brown danced up a storm in the most genuinely entertaining performance of the night, paying tribute to Michael Jackson (who, outside of his scandalous personal life, was an influential musician 25 years ago). What music are you listening to?