Re: Random Thoughts

So, for years, I've been quietly waging war on the Syfy Channel for its betrayal of SLIDERS, leading a campaign of attrition that has slowly but surely brought it to its knees. (Just play along with me here.)

Uhhhh... but recently, an internationally syndicated show, WYNONNA EARP, was experiencing financial problems. The parent company could not assemble the funds to film the fourth season that they were contractually obligated to deliver. Production stalled. The company engaged in massive stock sales and some liquidation and other restructuring, but despite stability, their debts made it impossible for them to fund WYNONNA EARP's fourth season.

Syfy stepped in and raised their investment in the series so that the fourth season could be made.

After some thought, I have decided to end the war. Syfy need not fear me anymore. They have redeemed themselves for the cancellation of SLIDERS, a psychologically and cosmically devastating event that has rocked our world and the very nature of reality, a terrible misdeed -- but one for which we must offer forgiveness should the perpetrator not only seek to mend their ways but put a MASSIVE amount of money towards supporting the shows they air and caring about their viewers.

The war is over. Everybody won.

(Just play along. Come on.)

Re: Random Thoughts

They did the same thing for the awful final season of Andramada, when the shows production company fell apart.

Also, if it wasn't for Sci Fi most of MGM's Showtime TV efforts Poltergeist/outer Limits/Stargate wouldn't of recieved final seasons or had a extra 3 to 5 seasons.

Sci Fi was the Netflix show saver at one point in its life, loved the channle in late 90s most of 2000's until WWE came in then it lost me, but my dad who hates Sci Fi, loves their cheaply made monster movies, so I guess loose a viewer gain a viewer.

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I don't know a ton about Syfy/Sci-Fi's era for saving shows except in the cases of STARGATE SG-1 and SLIDERS. With SLIDERS, Temporal Flux has been clear: the Sci-Fi Channel regime that had been asking to buy FOX out of SLIDERS for awhile left the company after the deal was struck. A new team was at the helm when SLIDERS arrived into the Sci-Fi Channel's hands, and this team was not interested in SLIDERS, not engaged with it and considered Season 4 a contractual obligation to be executed and forgotten. Sci-Fi planned for SLIDERS to fail for both the seasons that it had the show.

They didn't bother to ensure retaining the cast or creators needed to make the fourth season worth watching (and Pete, I beg that you spare me your usual schtick about how Season 4 was always going to be Quinn as Kal-El of Kromagg Prime or I swear to God that I will kill myself and make it look like Executive did it). Sci-Fi planned to cancel it after Season 4 with no concern for its ratings.

With subsequent projects like FLASH GORDON, ALPHAS, DEFIANCE, SINBAD, HELIX, DARK MATTER and HAPPY, Syfy continually cancelled because financially, they didn't want to invest anything but the lowest license fee in their projects. They just wanted to license and air; they would buy first seasons knowing full well that shows get more expensive each year with raises and expansions and would plan to cancel as early as possible. They would plan for failure.

How did STARGATE SG-1 evade the Sci-Fi Channel always planning for their shows to fail? It looks to me like MGM was extremely aggressive in financing the production of the show, putting no weight on Sci-Fi to pay for anything but a license to broadcast it from Seasons 6 - 10. But when Sci-Fi broke up their Friday night block of STARGATE SG-1, STARGATE ATLANTIS and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, Sci-Fi didn't want to pay any longer. Sci-Fi didn't support SG-1. MGM, however, was completely behind their show and started talks with Apple to create an eleventh season.

Sci-Fi then blocked the eleventh season by enforcing a non-compete clause in their agreement with MGM. While they were within their rights to do so, it says a lot that they kicked SG-1 out of their house and then made sure it stayed homeless, not wanting their hold on STARGATE content to seem diluted, but also not wanting to pay for SG-1 to continue when the studio was willing to do all the work.

Studios working with Syfy these days tend to license shows to Syfy almost as syndicated dramas. IDW owns WYNONNA EARP. Syfy licenses WYNONNA EARP. IDW also sells WYNONNA EARP to international broadcasters. To Netflix. It merchandises WYNONNA EARP. IDW didn't grant Syfy exclusivity. Syfy is merely one of IDW's customers for WYNONNA EARP and if Syfy didn't renew WYNONNA EARP, this model would theoretically allowed IDW to keep making it so long as IDW could continue to pay for it and find someone else to air or stream or sell it.

However, it also meant that when IDW ran into financial troubles (debts, investments, overhead, lack of return on investment), Syfy's Season 4 & 5 renewal became meaningless. Syfy's licensing fee covered a mere 50 per cent of production costs. In this situation, Syfy could have cut their (lack of) losses on a show that they do not own, a show that gives them nothing of its international sales and merchandising profits. Syfy's business practices are designed precisely for them to give up, for their content to fail and be cancelled. All they cared about was the commercials and the ad revenue.

Syfy cancelled WAREHOUSE 13 and EUREKA but because they owned those shows, they gave W13 a short finale season and EUREKA an extra episode. They are not so gracious with outside purchases. My prediction was that as with SLIDERS and STARGATE and DARK MATTER and any show Syfy didn't in-house, Syfy would forget WYNONNA EARP ever existed.

But this time, Syfy stepped up and saved WYNONNA EARP. And this isn't just commissioning one extra episode; Syfy has agreed to a higher licensing fee for Season 4 and the already ordered Season 5 so that IDW's troubles will not impede production. Their investment is astonishing and it doesn't look like the ownership or exclusivity situation has changed significantly. Syfy is unlikely to earn less money from this deal, but it's unlikely that they'll earn that much more. They simply want to continue what has been a profitable business relationship with the studio and the viewers whereas in the past, they've generally given up before they started.

(TRANSMODIAR: "Don't confuse giving up with never trying.")

I hope this is the start of a change where Syfy can be a channel that treats its material and audience with respect and invests in their content and viewers... and at least gives its cancelled shows one or two episodes to wrap up its arcs whether Syfy owns the show or not.

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Well ownership and rules have changed a lot over the last 25 years.  Everyone needs their own owned content for streaming apps now, anything SyFy does will be with the intent to create content for the Universal App coming out later this year early 2020.


The Original Sci Fi network was made because Universal had a huge backlog of Science Fiction tv and movies and they were their to air them and a couple of cheaply made news shows about sci fi tv. For original content.

Sliders being canceled by Fox was an unexpected gift to the network, because the only new shows that they aired was seaquest repeats, Mantis, flash, alien nation and some other fox dramas that had bomb over a season or less.

They had budgets like any network, and Sliders was filmed in LA not VA, and even after cuts was budgeted way higher than the channel could afford, yr 1 was offset by paying for 22 episodes and getting 48 episodes for next to nothing to give them fresh programming for their network.

Yr 2 on Sci Fi, was a budgetary nightmare as Universal their owners wanted 88 for syndication purposes and SciFi had very little money left in their budget, with new shows, a ambitious Star Trek Original Series pickup, that would include showing interviews  and uncut for syndication episodes.

Sci Fi did have a great deal with MGM, as MGM had all their shows already in the local Syndication machine, needing Sci Fi to only pay for 1st run , at a reduced rate as they would get the back end in yr2 off local syndication.

Sci Fi network has saved a number of shows over the years.
Sliders, Andramada, Poltergeist, Outer Limits, Star Gate, Mystery Science Theater. To name a few, also Fox wouldn't of resurrected Alien Nation for TV movies if not for the ratings off SciFi,  have to wonder if The Flash would of been remembered as fondly if not for repeated repeats on scifi network.

Just saying not as vicious a network as you may think, its ran cheaply now, because over 25 or so years they never found a way to get main stream ratings.  Also when Ghost Hunters and Scare Tatics get you huge ratings and cost next to nothing it is hard to justify the cost of a drama on the network.

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I'd welcome being corrected if I'm wrong, but from glancing over the Wikipedia entries and fan sites, saying that Sci-Fi saved ANDROMEDA, POLTERGEIST, OUTER LIMITS and STARGATE seems like saying I saved a drowning man by tossing him an inflatable liferaft even though my next move was to shoot a hole in the side. ANDROMEDA, POLTERGEIST and OUTER LIMITS only lasted one season on Sci-Fi. Sci-Fi only 'saved' SLIDERS in that they commissioned an additional 40 episodes of a show with the same title. ("We think SLIDERS works better with three men, one woman. We don't care which one you keep and we're not taking into consideration the fact that one of those three men was Shakespearean actor John Rhys-Davies.")

MYSTERY SCIENCE FICTION THEATRE 3000 spent its Sci-Fi Channel years being subject to absurd network interference from Sci-Fi's parent company and eventually cancelled over it. However, there was a proper finale and three seasons is pretty solid.

ANDROMEDA, I know slightly more of than the others because I watched the first season (very good) and couldn't even finish the second due to the change in writers. I attended a panel after the show's cancellation that described the budget-strapped, lifeless fifth season that was missing most of the actors for a good chunk of the year and the ship grounded; that doesn't sound like a save to me.

SG-1, Sci-Fi not only cancelled but also barred from finding a new broadcaster in Apple -- which is the equivalent of giving a drowning person a lifeboat, waiting a bit before shooting a hole in the boat, then shooting Steve Jobs when he throws out a lifeline.

So, Sci-Fi as a show-saver -- well, they saved MST3K. I'll give them that. But it seems to me that MGM saved SG-1, not Sci-Fi; Sci-Fi just happened to be in the neighbourhood at the time. And as for ANDROMEDA, OUTER LIMITS, POLTERGEIST and SLIDERS -- did Sci-Fi save them? Or did Sci-Fi prop up four corpses on some sticks and parade them around for a bit? While claiming credit for bringing back the dead? While drumming up a little (low-investment) publicity for their niche network? And while offering a poor copy standing in for the real thing?

(No idea about OUTER LIMITS and POLTERGEIST.)

Re: Random Thoughts

Responding to the Marc Scott Zicree thread ( http://sliders.tv/bboard/viewtopic.php?id=342 ) with personal commentary:

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

He seems like a really nice, genuine person who really enjoys science fiction and writing good stories when he's on YouTube.  It could be partially an act (he uses essentially every video as a way to sell his show Space Command - literally), but I couldn't say for sure.

I think it is entirely an act. I think it's completely sincere.

Cleavant Derricks said in the EP.COM 2000 interview that he stayed with SLIDERS "for the fans." In on set footage from 1996, he's recorded saying he'll stay with SLIDERS no matter what because he has children to raise. Could it be both?

Cleavant was very upset with John's firing, with Sabrina being driven off the show, with the unedited teleplays he was made to perform. He was friends with David Peckinpah. Temporal Flux says that so Cleavant could further his career with a member of an influential Hollywood family. Transmodiar says Cleavant loved his family, observed that David Peckinpah loved his family -- and focused on that part of Peckinpah to socialize with him. What if it's both?

Maybe Zicree loves being "Mr. Sci-Fi," loves reviewing DISCOVERY and THE ORVILLE and also seeks to promote the shockingly generic title that is SPACE COMMAND? We can decide to behave in ways that are both self-serving and kind towards others and we might modulate our demeanors to perform both functions and the artificiality of our temperament could be a choice made with sincerity and honesty.

Transmodiar wrote:

I'm having dinner with him again tomorrow night. I will be sure to pass along any and all theories you feel merit his attention. (I actually won't.)

Zicree has clearly made a choice in his life to forgive others and give them some space to change and improve without his recriminations to hold them back. As we both went to journalism school (as did Slider_Quinn21), we know that the best responses from subjects are when the subject is asked questions they already want to answer whereas inquiring about subjects they don't want to get into will make them clam up.

Zicree doesn't want to talk about Jerry coming to set wasted; he wants to talk about the writer's craft and also, Jerry no longer comes to sets drunk, so it's best that a Hollywood veteran not spread that around. People can change.

Transmodiar wrote:

I was charming and inoffensive

That's good to hear.

I have often wondered at what point Transmodiar became what he is today, because he wasn't always. Let's sit in our armchairs for psychoanalysis and look at Transmodiar. Transmodiar caused great anxiety and distress for Temporal Flux back when SLIDERS was on the air and for a year after the cancellation. Transmodiar convinced the Bboard that the Robert K. Weiss fan chat was fake. Then he confessed that the faking was fake, but that severely dented the fans' trust in TF and Weiss' comfort in engaging with fans. As far as I can tell, Transmodiar gave Temporal Flux post traumatic stress.

After that, Transmodiar got married, fathered children and something in his mind shifted.

I once remarked that I could not see the volatile, deranged prankster of 1995 - 2001 as the constructively critical person of gentle jokes and indulgent patience that I've known since 2014. However, looking at Transmodiar's posts of the 1995 - 2001 era with a keen eye to how he communicates today, I realized this is not entirely true.

Transmodiar's posts to Buffyboy during this period that I call The Dark Age of SpaceTime, for example, trash Buffyboy's website, mock Buffyboy for his age, tell Buffyboy that his site is coded and laid out in a web illiterate fashion. His words tell Buffyboy that he's unskilled, that he will always be unskilled, that he can't get better and will only get worse, and Transmodiar seizes on something Buffyboy cannot control -- the year in which he was born -- in order to fully communicate Buffyboy's worthlessness.

In 2014, Transmodiar reviewed my SLIDERS REBORN prequel novella outline and sent me his feedback. 2014 was the height of my anxiety disorder where I was often afraid to go outside without a female companion to tether me to Earth. My social anxiety was so bad that sometimes, if my friends weren't available to join me for certain events, I would use a friend-renting agency and rent myself a date for the evening.

I dreaded Transmodiar's feedback. I expected to get the same treatment as Buffyboy.

Transmodiar's message to me was not positive. Transmodiar's message was also not like his comments to Buffyboy. Comparing Transmodiar's criticisms to me with his message to Buffyboy, I now notice similarities: the criticism cuts to the core, but for me, he has done it in a gentle, joking fashion that is without caustic acidity or damaging cruelty.

The original SLIDERS REBORN prequel novella: a woman is seeking lemon bars in her favourite bakery only to discover they're all sold out. A strange man approaches her, offers her his lemon bars if she will listen to his story. She agrees and he tells her the entire story of Seasons 1 - 5 and how he has been erased from reality due to a sliding accident, but if this woman can search her memory and remember him in some way, he will be reanchored to this dimension. He tells her that his name is Quinn; Amanda recognizes him as her son and Quinn is saved.

Transmodiar's reactions included:

  • "This took me like an hour to read, so it'd be like two hours to hear it out loud. NOBODY would listen to a crazy person telling a deranged story for two hours in exchange for 20 - 30 bucks of baked goods."

  • "You start out being hyperdetailed about sliding to introduce it on the ground floor, but by the end, you're referring to individual Kromaggs by name; I've watched the series more than anyone ever should and I don't remember who the hell these people are."

  • "I'm so confused: there are so many sliding machines in this story! One saves the Azure Gate Bridge world. One is destroying the multiverse. And then all the sliders die and then a third machine brings everyone back to life? Huh?"

  • "I don't get it: Quinn's been erased from existence and no one remembers him. But later on in the outline, all the sliders are joking about Season 3. Why do some people remember Quinn if your whole conceit is that Quinn doesn't exist anymore?"

  • "You've stitched together a bunch of random set pieces that do not make sense and cover up the lack of plot with continuity and violence. What are you trying to accomplish? If it's a back to basics story, why is it so wrapped up in what came before? If it's a character oriented piece, where is the character work?"

  • "What are you trying to accomplish?"

The criticism that Buffyboy experienced from Transmodiar is there. But note the shift: the focus is no longer on putting someone down, making them feel stupid, making them feel worthless.

Instead, the focus is on Transmodiar's personal, individual, subjective experience of the material and why the content is confusing him, disorienting him, providing him with contradictory details and premises that are mutually exclusive. Transmodiar is explaining how my first draft is providing tangled, garbled, confusing information and does not have a clear goal in mind for the information it presents.

Temporal Flux insists that Transmodiar is the same person he has always been and that nothing has changed. TF and I are in 'disagreement' on this. I could concede that Transmodiar is still who he was before, but he has become more than that as well. I could agree that Transmodiar hasn't 'changed,' but he has broadened. He used to be a hammer; now he has the full toolbox.

You can see the Buffyboy-directed edge in his comments to me, but that edge in his messages to me has been tempered with precision, direction, consideration and making sure to aim for the content instead of the person. His criticisms are as personal as ever, but the personal element is his own response rather than trying to hurt someone. He used to be cutting. He's now cutting and kind. He's both.

(Is this what becoming a father does to you?)

Because Transmodiar spoke to me in the way he did, I was able to address all the problems: I altered the story so that Quinn, instead of telling the crazy story of sliding to his mother, is telling the crazy story of sliding to a psychiatrist in the mental institution where Quinn has been incarcerated. I had the psychiatrist raise the inconsistencies in Quinn's erasure and whether or not others would remember him so that Quinn could explain his partial restoration as "a secondary revision of reality." Later on in the outline, I started writing individual script pages for certain scenes to get the voices of the characters into the story and put in the character work that Transmodiar saw was missing.

Transmodiar has caused Temporal Flux great anxiety. But Transmodiar cured mine. Transmodiar cut away my nervousness, my fear of criticism, my insecurity over how people might perceive me and taught me how to relax and accept criticism and act upon it, not necessarily with the solutions proposed by the critic, but with solutions that were informed by it.

Does that balance anything in this cold and lonely world? Does the good he did for me in any small and minuscule way negate the evil he did to Temporal Flux?

I dunno. Do I look like a moral philosopher to you? As with all debates and conflicts, we must turn to someone who has achieved balance, someone who knows the razor edge of existence and tightrope walks across it with aplomb. Slider_Quinn21, you're up.

Re: Random Thoughts

Moved from the Marc Scott Zicree thread:
Moved from http://sliders.tv/bboard/viewtopic.php?id=342

Ireactions, not really sure what any of that has to do with the topic.

I think these MSZ commentaries are a pretty cool idea, maybe if they are well received maybe more will follow.

Also since when is being positive about your experiences lying?

Re: Random Thoughts

JWSlider3 wrote:

Ireactions, not really sure what any of that has to do with the topic.

I think these MSZ commentaries are a pretty cool idea, maybe if they are well received maybe more will follow.

Also since when is being positive about your experiences lying?

I was going to write something to respond to you about how Zicree sometimes says things that are totally true while leaving an impression that's utterly false and how Zicree can have different goals that are in opposition but not mutually exclusive... but then it's pretty much what I already wrote above, so I can't answer your question any more than I already have.

Re: Random Thoughts

ireactions wrote:

I have often wondered at what point Transmodiar became what he is today, because he wasn't always. Let's sit in our armchairs for psychoanalysis and look at Transmodiar.

Let's not - the last thing people need here is a "Ten Reasons Why Transmodiar Matters" tongue

ireactions wrote:

Transmodiar cut away my nervousness, my fear of criticism, my insecurity over how people might perceive me and taught me how to relax and accept criticism and act upon it, not necessarily with the solutions proposed by the critic, but with solutions that were informed by it.

Well, good. And, since no good deed goes unpunished, Ib returned the favor by savaging some of my own stories because they didn't follow his metric for how a human being should behave. Ah, balance. smile

Earth Prime | The Definitive Source for Sliders™

Re: Random Thoughts

JWSlider3 wrote:

Ireactions, not really sure what any of that has to do with the topic.

Glad I wasn't the only one.

Re: Random Thoughts

Grizzlor wrote:
JWSlider3 wrote:

Ireactions, not really sure what any of that has to do with the topic.

Glad I wasn't the only one.

I saw these connections between my ramblings and Marc Scott Zicree:

Slider_Quinn21 wondered: is Zicree's pleasant, cheerful Mr. Sci-Fi persona when reviewing DISCOVERY and THE ORVILLE sincere or is it all a mercenary, self-serving act to promote his personal project, SPACE COMMAND? I feel Zicree is doing both because people can often be multiple things at the same time.

Duality

  • Zicree has frequently spoken about SLIDERS. Everything he's said about Season 4 is true, but everything he's said has also, in totality, been misleading by using select facts and deliberate omissions to leave false impressions. He is both a truthful, honest person AND a liar (by way of factual exclusions). Zicree is a unique sort of liar. Most people lie to gain sympathy or reputation; Zicree lies to be kind to people who haven't been kind to him, possibly out of professionalism, possibly because he believes people are capable of change.

  • Cleavant was friends with David Peckinpah despite being aggravated by him; Temporal Flux says it was a simple professional networking association, but Transmodiar says it seemed to him to be a respect for how Peckinpah was a family-driven man like Cleavant. My take: it was both of these things just as Zicree is a truth teller/liar, an ardent sci-fi reviewer/self-promoter.

  • Zicree had dinner with Transmodiar back when Transmodiar was the living embodiment of assholery. Zicree is having dinner with Transmodiar again when Transmodiar has matured into the dictionary definitions of kindness and indulgence for others (or at least me). Both versions of Transmodiar are the real Transmodiar. You can still see the earlier version of him in the current incarnation of his personality, but his acidic traits have been softened by time and humour and empathy.

SLIDERS is an intensely personal series to me and talking about it frequently brings my personal experiences to mind. Feel free to ignore them.

Re: Random Thoughts

Responding to a post in the Marc Scott Zicree thread:

ireactions wrote:

I'd like to apologize for my tangents. I felt they were related to the topic at hand, but if JWSlider and Grizzlor disagree, then I trust their judgement and have moved the posts to the Random Thoughts thread. And I encourage all of you to go there and exercise your Temporal Flux given right to call me an annoying weirdo. I support that. Love you all.

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

Ha, I like your tangents.  #VoteIreactionsTangents2020

While I appreciate your support, I'm going to ask you to defer to others on this one. I confess don't fully grasp why every thought provoked by the name Marc Scott Zicree isn't relevant to the thread. But it's important to respect other people's positions even if we don't understand them so long as those positions are not ones of bigotry and hatred.

At the end of the day, if Grizzlor and SliderNum5 and JWSlider3 want to have a sensible discussion about Marc Scott Zicree as opposed to his relevance to my personal life, then I respect it fully and will behave accordingly. This is their board too. It is no trouble to create the appropriate quotes and post such content in the Random Thoughts thread.

I guess, because our threads on Informant's legacy and our Marvel Cinematic Universe thread have invariably meandered into politics and superheroes from different companies, pondering Zicree and the morals of deception and the question of redemption and the mental conflict of being friends to both Temporal Flux AND Transmodiar seemed germane to me. Others disagree and at the end of the day, I don't rule this forum; I serve it. I work for all of you.

Re: Random Thoughts

Soooo, I'm going to write personal ruminations as inspired by other threads in the Random Thoughts thread and see if that is more tolerable for others. I don't want to distract from sensible speculation in the Arrowverse thread with thoughts on fitness. We've been talking a bit about how Tom Welling did some intense stuff to keep looking 25 for 10 seasons of SMALLVILLE and how since then, Welling has allowed himself to look like a 42 year old man.

Superhero Fitness: Because I do not play a CW superhero, I do not exercise as those actors do which is probably why I've been hovering at about 40 pounds heavier than I'd like to be for awhile. But actors in shows I watch have affected my attitudes to fitness in ways positive and negative. Tom Welling, Jerry O'Connell, Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin and Brandon Routh have all affected my approach to my body.

Bulletproof Diet: I eat somewhat like Brandon Routh does (grilled meats and vegetables, low carb, high fat). I don't go to his extremes of saving lard from cooked bacon for reuse and light-heating/moderate-steaming methods of the Bulletproof Diet are too troublesome for me. But I pick and choose my methods from various actors.

Tom Welling: I remember being a chubby and acne-covered 15 year-old and seeing Tom Welling onscreen and wishing I could be that good looking and being told I couldn't because Tom was genetically gifted and a model and an athlete whereas I had to do a makeup credit to pass high school gym. I accepted that I would be a bloated, awkward, scarred person and, I suppose, accepted the low self-esteem and self-loathing that resulted. Tom Welling made me give up. (Wow, that makes it sound like I'm blaming him.)

Five years later in university, I lost a ton of weight due to a poor student diet, became extremely skinny and discovered skin care and how small, daily cleansings and treatments could give me a fresh-faced look that I retain today. Another five years later, I was eating 'normally' again and regained all the lost weight. Clearly, weight loss was possible for me but not necessarily convenient or sustainable.

Jerry O'Connell: Quinn's body is an interesting but not necessarily enlightening study. In Seasons 1 - 2, Jerry would film SLIDERS and have a lot of physical activities with fencing and workouts. He maintained a lean, lightly muscled body even with a little weight gain during Seasons 3 - 4 when he was out all night drinking and eating junk food. His daily activity and some supplemental exercise was enough to keep him in shape during SLIDERS and it's not like Quinn Mallory wore tights. After SLIDERS and a period of weight gain that nearly got him fired off his kangaroo movie, Jerry adopted a Routh-type diet and exercise regime, but he describes it as his job.

Jerry described how when he switched to only eating meat and vegetables he cooked himself instead of foods he defrosted or ordered in, the fat "dripped" off his body. I tried doing that, but I would experience crazy hunger pangs, crave pizza and croissants and bagels and always gave in and fall back into sugar highs and sugar crashes that would lead to more binges.

Stephen Amell: Superhero fitness is an illusion. Stephen Amell has talked about how he can't even look at bread or beer when he's staying in shape for ARROW and that he has to constantly work out for specific shots and scenes. I don't need to look like that and Amell's diet and exercise regime sounded too insane to consider. I wouldn't have minded looking like the lean, trim Grant Gustin, but weight control seemed out of my hands; deprivation just led to binging. I couldn't eat less, couldn't exercise more.

Then a subsequent interview with Amell sparked something in me; he talked about how he ingested a large amount of fat and protein for breakfast and then his blood sugar would stay stable right into the afternoon and he wouldn't feel overly hungry and wouldn't overeat. Amell's words hit me when I was spending my evenings of consuming three helpings of lasagna. I realized that while it was important to eat the right things as Jerry O'Connell did, there was also an aspect of timing and what I ate in the morning would affect what I wanted to eat later on.

But after a few mornings of getting up an hour earlier to cook bacon and eggs before going to the office, I couldn't keep doing it. I am someone who sleeps later, has time to shower and make coffee and then I'm off to work. Amell's methods would work if I could execute them, but I couldn't.

Grant Gustin: I decided that I would like to look like the Flash. That seemed healthy and achievable. I started doing moderate daily exercise and started measure calories in versus calories out. I tried to make the bulk of my meals ones I cooked myself to avoid all the added sugar in processed foods. This worked to a degree; I lost quite a bit of weight and currently, I feel like I'm a few months away from looking like Barry, but I feel like I've been a few months away from looking like Barry for YEARS.

Every time I get a cold or get upset, I find myself lapsing back into frozen macaroni and cheese or pizza, and when I come out of it, I've regained about half to three-quarters of the poundage I've most recently lost. I recently had a fight with my niece and spent the next four days bleakly eating ice cream.

Bulletproof Coffee: In recent months, I read more of Routh's interviews where he explained that, like Amell, he consumes a large amount of fat first thing in the morning. But he does so in the form of a beverage: he stirs coconut oil extract and butter into a coffee and drinks 400 - 500 calories' worth of fat, preventing hunger pangs later in the day. The coconut oil metabolizes quickly and encourages the brain and body to burn fat instead of sugar and reduces cravings for processed foods.

Traditionally, convincing your body to burn fat instead of sugar is achieved through severe carb restriction for 3 - 4 days, but this high fat coffee supposedly gets your body into this state within a day. I tried this and it helped quite a bit. Whenever I fell into a carb heavy day, I used coconut oil and coffee to reduce the sugar withdrawal symptoms after resuming a healthy diet. This time last year, I was about 80 pounds from Grant Gustin's weight. I'm currently 40 pounds from his weight.

My version of Bulletproof Coffee omits the butter, so it only contains 180 calories per cup instead of the 400 plus. I'm contemplating adding the butter, drinking 400 calories every morning and seeing if that helps me avoid falling back into carbs again, and I also need try a few sugarless pudding recipes to try to replace ice cream in my life.

William Shatner: I find myself thinking about poor William Shatner. Shatner would start each season in shape. However, the low budget of the show meant that Shatner was filming 12 hour days. There was no time off for him to exercise. The producers demanded that he be in perfect shape, but did not supply Shatner with periods between filming to exercise or dieticians to manage his food or trainers to guide him in maintaining his physique. Instead, they fat-shamed him, encouraged him to crash diet. He would starve, binge, not have time to exercise, gain weight.

Also problematic: the Starfleet uniforms he wore were dry cleaned every episode. With each dry cleaning, the peculiar material of the uniforms shrank. The show didn't have the budget to manufacture more than a few for Shatner to wear, so his weight gain would show because his costumes kept getting tighter every week.

Admittedly, nutritional science was not where it is today with Stephen Amell and Brandon Routh and showrunners now know: if they want their leading man to look a certain way, they need to support him with hiring a trainer and a dietician and supply what the dietician stipulates. Even civilians can do fitness on a budget with a fitness tracker to monitor calories burned and a phone app to track how much one has consumed.

Serenity: Anyway. I've tried a lot of stuff and I really think that if I stop using junk food and frozen foods as a crutch for illness or mood swings and stick to cooking my own meals and maintaining my exercise, I will get my body into the shape I want in a few months. There's something to be said for the cost as well: it is a lot cheaper to buy raw foods and cook them than it is to buy frozen, processed products. When I don't buy processed foods, my food costs go down by 60 per cent.

I am struck by how Brandon Routh doesn't see fitness as his job. For him, it's his life. He has talked in interviews about the state of mind that comes with proper exercise and diet. The sense of knowing precisely what your body needs and giving it exactly that and no more and no less. The feeling of controlling not your weight, not your shape, but your health and well-being. The satisfaction of eating what you need and enjoy but not more than what you need and never more than what is good for you. I don't want to be Brandon Routh, but I want that sense of peace.

Re: Random Thoughts

There will be a fourth MATRIX movie by the Wachowski sisters and it will feature Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss.

Hunnh. The Wachowskis are amazingly talented, but SPEED RACER, CLOUD ATLAS and JUPITER ASCENDING were all box office disappointments. SENSE8 was cancelled off Netflix but revived for a finale, so it clearly didn't justify ongoing production. There is the sense of the Wachowskis now going back to an old franchise much as Matt Damon staggered back to Jason Bourne and Harrison Ford meandered over to Indiana Jones.

They're great directors, but as writers -- the first MATRIX movie was inspired largely by Grant Morrison's mind-bending, eccentric comic book THE INVISIBLES. The success of the film, however, led to sequels that had none of the perceptual, reality-warping twists of the first movie and offered only bland discussions of predestination and free will. The studio's wish for a summer blockbuster series, sadly, saw all of the Wachowski's reality-oriented storytelling shunted into the ANIMATRIX material. The sequels feel like an empty, pointless afterthought.

It'd be nice if THE MATRIX IV is great, but my view is that the first MATRIX and further explorations of the MATRIX universe with THE ANIMATRIX is all that were ever needed.