- DOGGY STYLE: On Chatroulette
8 p.m. Thursdays
As someone who loved (loved, loved) “The X-Files” back in the day — back before Mulder and Scully did the deed and birthed the obliga-tory, series-killing kid, anyway — “Fringe” sure takes me on a trip down cultural memory lane. Fox's latest sci-fi hit is back now for an all-new season, and it's looking better than ever. Often a very conscious homage to “The X-Files” — “Fringe” creator J.J. Abrams is apparently an X-fan too — the show tends to cover a lot of the same ground: secret FBI investigations, monsters, teleportation and other weekly doses of High Weirdness that would make ol' Spooky Mulder feel right at home. Though I originally questioned the chemistry between “Fringe” stars Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson (who play FBI agent Olivia Dunham and polymath/dangerous man Peter Bishop, respectively), their relation-ship has grown on me quite a bit in the last season in a way that is strangely reminiscent of two standoffish FBI agents I once knew. Add to that John Noble in his always-brilliant portrayal of Peter's father Walter Bishop — a man so brilliant that it kinda drove him crazy, not to mention through doorways into parallel dimensions — and you've got a real winner of a series that is some of the best science fiction on tele-vision, not to mention what might well grow into a worthy successor to the best episodes of “The X-Files” and “Lost.” Check out full epi-sodes at: www.fox.com/fringe
There are folks I know who completely and utterly freak out every time they learn there is some new bit of information about them on the Internet. Reverse address lookup that reveals my phone number? Ahhhhhhh! Property tax records online? We're all going to die! Goo-gle has a photo of my house taken from outer space? Roving bands of criminals are going to come to my home — out of the millions of others that can be seen on the same site — and kill me! It's enough to make the dedicated anti-Luddite smile. Those people probably DO NOT want to give Chatroulette a try. Developed in 2009 by a 17-year-old high school student from Moscow, the site has skyrocketed in popularity over the past year, with an estimated 35,000 visitors online there at any one time. As the name implies, chatters — who must have a working webcam — are randomly paired with another visitor to the site. If the conversation gets boring (or you notice the guy has a poster of Buffalo Bill from “Silence of the Lambs” on his wall), all you have to do is hit a button and you automatically flip to the next chatter. I've tried it out, and it's loads of fun — a great way to breach some of the coldness and distance that digital interaction is notori-ous for, not to mention kill off some of the deceitfulness that people can get up to online when you're not looking at them face to face. If you don't deal well with rejection, however, you might want to pop in a movie instead.
My name is David, and I'm an addict. I've been mainlining documentaries straight into my prefrontal lobe for about 20 years now. What's more, I'm proud of it. As a newspaper guy, I appreciate the fact that documentary filmmakers are a lot like reporters. Both of us, I said once, are grubbing around in the dirt of happenstance, trying to make something interesting out of the truth. And there is something about the truth — the unvarnished, warts-and-all truth — that fiction is never going to be able to touch. Remember that flap of folks making up their memoirs a few years back? That's why. People love the truth, especially when it's something amazing. Given that: If you're a fan of documentaries like I am, you'll find a lot to like over at Documentary Heaven. The site has over 900 documentaries, everything from short-form docs about hemp to the long-form works of Michael Moore. Like a lot of the legit — that is, non-illegal — websites that stream movies, you have to watch commercials to keep the goodness coming, but it's completely worth it. If you're a lover of the form, be sure to check it out.