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Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

Subject:If You Like ____, You Should Like ____!
Time:10:52 pm.
This is my way of pushing the shows that I think aren't getting enough right now. Play along with me!

If you like Fox's House, M.D., you should like CBS's Shark.

Both shows have sourpuss roguish faulty lead characters that are glib and nearly always right in the end. The difference of course is instead of medicine, Shark deals in Law. Still, there's a lot to like from both of these programs and if you are a House fan, you should at least tune in to Shark once.

If you like ABC's Lost, you should like NBC's Heroes.

Just in case you haven't started watching this program, I thought I'd remind you. Heroes is the best new show of the season, and it's as intriguing as the first season of "Lost," back when we thought that was the coolest show. Now, Lost has lived up to its title, and is so mixed up, the writers needed to take 13 weeks off to try to make sense of it! Heroes provides the antidote for such nonsense. If you haven't yet, you must give it a try.

If you like NBC's Deal Or No Deal you should like ABC's Show Me The Money.

I'm assuming a lot, because for some reason, people actually like watching people open these suitcases. I would think that has all the appeal of going through airport security. But, if you are enjoying Howie and his models, why not check out William Shatner and his "Million Dollar Dancers." There's only half as many as on "Deal," but they are twice as active, constantly moving about when not standing on their balconies with their very big money prizes.

If you like ABC's Boston Legal you should like Fox's Justice.

Speaking of Shatner, law shows are not really that hot right now, but Justice has a new twist. You get to follow the case and after the verdict, you get to see what really happened. It's a brilliant device and I'm sure will make for some controversy at some point in the season, if a criminal gets off, or an innocent is sentenced. But you have the always brilliant Victor Garber sitting first chair and he's always watchable.

If you like NBC's Saturday Night Live you should like NBC's 30 Rock.

The last couple of episodes of SNL have been the funniest I've seen in about three years. One of those was hosted by 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin. Baldwin has really hit his stride as a comic actor. And Tina Fey's writing is, as always, hilarious. Plus it's only 30 minutes. It's a lot easier to fill a half hour with funny than 90 minutes. Don't bother with Studio 60. The SNL style spinoff show to see is this one.

Give 'em a try!
Comments: Read 7 orAdd Your Own.

Friday, October 27th, 2006

Subject:Y Duz Katie Suck?
Time:1:27 pm.
There is a big discussion over at Black Rock. The eyeball must be in a tizzy because right now, their Big Money news anchor, Katie Couric, is in freefall ratings mode, lower than the lowest Dan Rather ever had and even Bob Schieffer looks reasonable by comparison! According to Nielsen, in Los Angeles, this week, Katie finished SEVENTH. Besides the other national newscasts, she lost to reruns of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" (irony, since that show is hosted by NBC's "Today" replacement, Meredith Vieira!) and a couple of other sitcoms.

What happened?

First of all, there's no way it's simply because she's a woman. We have women news anchors all over the place now, from morning til evening, from the all news channels and elsewhere and it's not as if this is concept is groundbreaking, as Barbara Walters broke the barrier some 30 years ago. So, let's remove that from the vocabulary of talking about this.

Some think it's because doing the network news is nothing like hosting "Today," and people don't particularly like her doing that. Katie's skills on the morning program are different from what she needs to deliver the news, especially in this traumatic era in US History. Others think she is just not that well liked, and that her personality and the sound of her voice is grating. Also, the fact that she was overly hyped coming into the job and that she had a "Listening Tour" like Hillary Clinton did as she ran for the Senate seat in New York, made her more related to "liberal" thoughts and maybe that pushed some folks away.

Conversely, who really watches the network news anymore? With CNN, MSNBC, BBC, Bloomberg, Euronews, Headline News, there are many other outlets to get information any time you need it. Nobody waits around for the national report as they did in the days of Cronkite and Huntley/Brinkley.

But really, I think Katie is being done in by The Computer.

Every media outlet has a computer presence. So, you can log on to your local station's website and get news stories, and that site links to the network news board for more stories. There's other sites like thesmokinggun, sites that become the sources of news for these media outlets. Why get the info second hand?

But really, if CBS wants people to tune in, they need to look at themselves. Katie's newscast is heard, live, on many of the CBS radio affiliates. So some people are likely hearing her report, not watching it. Also, you can see the program on the internet at cbsnews.com, something they've been plugging on the telecast frequently! If you want television ratings, why on earth would you put the show on the web? No wonder the people in LA are giving her no ratings. They can see her report at 3:30 local time, along with the East Coast!

Ultimately, the question is what makes a newscast worth watching? It's not just one person sitting in the anchor chair. It's the team of staffers, the writers, the correspondents, the behind-the-scenes people who you don't know and never hear about doing their jobs to the best of their ability. Maybe Katie isn't the one to blame. But, she is the easy target. Where CBS will go from here, I'm not sure. But I expect them to change direction, shortly.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Subject:Trivial Pursuit
Time:1:05 am.
The profit margin between what a network can make for airing any telecast and the cost of producing the program has shrunk tremendously over the past ten to twenty years. But this was due to the splintering of the audience: the fact that there are now five broadcast networks and more and more of the country has cable and satellite television, making even the networks seem like just another choice.

Television also discovered the profit of the "reality" series. Why pay an actor to act or a writer to write when you can just have a producer think up a situation and have a "regular" person perform it for the cameras.

The thing about series is that even in the case of a reality program, there are expenses: production and editing still has to be done, and these can be nearly as steep as a "scripted" program.

Conversely, there is an older choice a network can make: The Game Show. Game Shows have been around since Radio days, when they were "Quiz Shows." Goodson/Todman, Barry/Enright, Chuck Barris, Merv Griffin. These were some of the names of some of the creators of games that were enduring legends in teevee history. Today, Endemol seems to be the biggest name on the game show scene. Between their "reality game" blends like CBS's "Big Brother" and their standard games like NBC's "Deal Or No Deal," they are creating a bunch of programming that fills network airtime and seems to provide the drama and excitement that many viewers need.

NBC's "1 vs 100" is one of their newest productions. Hosted by the original host of ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos," and "Aristocrats" joke teller, Bob Saget, the program has a slight twist on how to award money. 100 contestants, collectively known as "The Mob" are positioned on a multi tiered wall facing the single player, much like a section of Roman Colosseum viewers, ready to turn their thumbs down on the solo gladiator below.

Everyone gets asked a question, roughly on the level of a mid range question from "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." The difference is that there are only three possible correct answers, not four, so your chances are immediately better. The Mob votes, the contestant reveals their answer. Everyone in The Mob who gets the question wrong gets eliminated and depending on which round of the game, money is added to a kitty per person eliminated. The prices begin at One hundred dollars per person in the first round and increase in increments throughout the game. If the "1" contestant misses a question at any point, the game is over and the money in the kitty gets divided up by the remaining Mob members.

On the good side, it's a little like one of those Pop Culture IQ tests, and based on the memes I see on my friendslist, I know those are popular. It's also amusing that they have little groups of people in The Mob that have things in common, like grandmothers, brain surgeons, and "Deal Or No Deal" models to play. Heck they even had Jeopardy! superstar Ken Jennings on for a couple episodes.

The problem is there isn't enough interaction between The Mob and the contestant. Granted, with 100 people, it's difficult to have a more personal relationship with this literal wall of people, but as the field gets narrowed, that can work. Part of the fun is finding out about the people who are doing just as well as the contestant below. The adversarial relationship between the two would add to the fun of it.

In the end, the contestant really has all of the advantages. They get to walk with all of the money at any point, they get the spotlight for the entire program, they won't have to share their winnings with anyone else, and they could potentially win a million dollars, if they successfully eliminate all one-hundred Mob members. They also have two chances to receive help from The Mob. The deck is definitely stacked!

Saget is playing it relatively straight, which is another mistake. Why get a comic, especially one that has a "dark side" like Saget to host unless you use it? He could be as misdirecting as Monty Hall! He could be like the Side Show Barker (no Bob pun intended) ready to steal the money away from the contestant and get his Mob pals a bit of a payday.

Right now, the program is sort of wimpy, but I think it has potential to be quite addictive... and much more fun than just watching someone opening suitcases with numbers inside 'em.

"1 vs 100" airs on its "official" time slot Fridays at 8pm ET/7pm CT on NBC.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Saturday, October 14th, 2006

Time:10:56 pm.
ABC's "Ugly Betty" is another program taken from a successful show that aired elsewhere... in this case a telenovela from Mexico. Now, if you know anything about telenovelas, it's that they are basically night time soap operas. They typically are "limited run" series, unlike our daytime soaps, and they play out their stories over a season, before wrapping up, usually in sensational style.

This version of the show is nothing of the sort, though they do reference the telenovela concept, by having exec producer Salma Hayek (who actually did start on a Mexican telenovela, years ago) as a character in a program that is on in the household of the lead character, Betty Suarez, an irrepressible assistant to an unqualified fashion magazine publisher.

Most of the program's comedy comes from the clear "fish out of water" situations of a larger than Size Zero, ethnic, "B&T" woman in the stylish world of couture clothing would face.

The problem, at least for me, is that there's a lot of nonsense going on that really weighs the comic elements down and blocks the potential "truths" such a circumstance would hold. There's plenty of material to deal with in just the differences that Betty has with the rest of her counterparts. But they dump a lot of "ugliness" on top of that, like a boss that wanted to get her fired, a creative director who is looking to oust the boss, a father publisher that has a dirty secret and a homelife that features a wishy-washy BF and a psychotic neighbor. It's a lot to get through. No offense to the capable actors in these roles, like music and acting star Vanessa Williams as the villainous Wilhelmina, or Alan Dale as the secretive owner. But it feels more like abuse some of the time, and where's the laughs in that?

On the positive we have the star. America Ferrera is absolutely wonderful as Betty, and injects such goodness into the character, you can't help but like her. It's everybody else you don't want to deal with, and that's kind of a shame.

Check out bettysuarez.com and have a little fun with it. It's basically betty, minus most of the ugly, and that's really what you'd want.

"Ugly Betty" gets a C+, totally on the strength of the wonderfully likeable America and her fashion plate counterpart title character.
Comments: Read 8 orAdd Your Own.

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

Subject:Wannabe "Lost?"
Time:4:52 am.
It was inevitable that when ABC came up with the J.J. Abrams mystery smash, "Lost," that every other network would want something like it. Here now are the reports.

NBC's "Heroes." Far and away the best of the bunch, and if you aren't watching this, you are missing the show of the season. Personally, I equate this with the first year of "Lost," and that's some high praise after just three episodes!

The concept here is simple. A collection of people in different places on the planet are suddenly finding that they have "powers." These powers vary and are just being developed by the stunned individuals who have them, and they first use them to get themselves out of certain personal situations, then start discovering that maybe they need to use these powers for another reason... As an apparent nuclear attack hits New York City, and several forsee it. Now, they have to figure out how to stop it before it takes place.

Good cast, good acting, taut storytelling, nicely paced, and has logic to it, which is more than I can say for "Lost," nowadays.

CBS's "Jericho." I wanted to call this "'Lost' In America," but Albert Brooks would sue. The concept here is for some unknown reason, nuclear bombs are dropped on at least a couple of American cities (what's up with all the nuclear attacks, btw? Did Kim Jong-il write some scripts?) and the tiny town of Jericho, KS happened to be out of harm's way, for the most part. Now, the residents of this agrarian area must struggle to survive, watch out for Others that enter their area and deal with the remnants of mushrooms overhead.

It seems like this program is attempting to hit you emotionally, with the sense of what it would be like if our country were destroyed by an attack such as this, and if family members outside of the area were missing, so I find it a bit more schlocky. I can see how some might like it as much or even prefer it to "Heroes," but it's a matter of taste.

The CW's "Runaway." We're tagging along with the Raders, a very well to do family. The father was accused of murder and he was apparently set up, which would make proving his innocence extremely complicated. So, he grabs the family, makes them aliases/accessories to this crime, and sets off to find a new place to live where people don't know this dirty little secret and so he can find out the truth and clear his reputation. Thankfully, they have plenty of cash to keep them floating by, and are dealing with every new challenge as it comes. It's sort of fun to see Jack Bauer's late wife Leslie Hope as the mom in this series. I half expect Jack to turn up and save her from this craziness, but that isn't going to happen this time. She has to rely on the skills of Donnie Wahlberg?

Dealing with teen kids and a younger son provides some tension and comic relief, as the children have to remember their new names, and deal with losing their previous lives to help dad out, but there's a true sense that family is important and that message is loud and clear.

Overall, these shows are a better set of clones than I'm used to seeing when some massive smash comes along. In fact, I'd say give up "Lost" and start watching "Heroes!" At least you'll feel like you're getting closer to some sort of answers that the shows writers have concocted.

Grade time:

Heroes: A

Jericho: B-

Runaway: C+
Comments: Read 2 orAdd Your Own.

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Subject:Sorta Sorkin
Time:6:55 am.
In case you were wondering what happened to me this week, I wanted to give the new programs a couple of episodes before I passed judgment on them. So, let me begin with the most anticipated program of the season, NBC's "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip."

Now, to be perfectly honest, hype isn't a good thing when it comes to a new television series. The best it can be is a great television show. They aren't curing breast cancer here or even finding a good allergy medication. At the end of the day, it's just a teevee show. So why are they hyping it? does it really matter all that much?

Anyway, there was more than plenty of hype for this program.

Certainly the lineup of stars was worthy. Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet and D.L. Hughley, and the writing had some clever moments.


I'm sort of ambivilent about this program, and I was wondering why that was. I sort of liked the first show better than the second episode which aired last night.

If you're one of the few that hasn't seen the program yet, let me give you a thumbnail sketch. "Friday Night in Hollywood" is the show within the show: a "Saturday Night Live" style sketch comedy/music show that comes from "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." We begin with the Exec Producer (Judd Hirsch in the Lorne Michaels position) having a Peter Finch in "Network" style rant live on air and the suits of the fictional NBS network scramble to have an emergency meeting at about 9pm local time that evening to retool the show and spin the PR as they bring in a new President (Peet) the next Monday. Her antagonist (Steven Weber), one of the Network chiefs, wants her to take charge and fix the situation. To his chagrin, she hires on two guys (Whitford and Perry) who were a part of the legacy of the program and who have both been in trouble recently, Whitford's character for cocaine usage (which prevents his working on motion pictures for two years), and Perry for being a partier and for having a relationship with one of the program's players (Sarah Paulson), which causes some resentment when she discovers he's having some sort of relations with one of the show's other performers (Ayda Field). And speaking of resentment, Hughley is somewhat angry that the pair of guys left the show that he had been one of the breakout stars on, are now back because they had to return to work, not because they cared to be there.

We get to spend time in the writer's room (where Evan Handler is a prominent figure at the table), the various offices (where Perry's has a countdown clock - reminiscent of Fox's "24"), the control room for the show (where Timothy Busfield calls the shots for the broadcast), and the stage itself where the telecast goes out, live to the Eastern and Central time zones at 11:30 on those Friday nights.

Now, I am an exceptional case. I am interested (to a degree) about the behind the scenes workings of a television program. But this isn't a documentary, and we aren't learning about the situation on an actual program. In a lot of ways, this is similar to HBO's "The Comeback", which may not be fair to this program, but is an accurate comparison. I haven't mentioned that we get Aaron Sorkin here. Well, ok. I mentioned him in the title of this post. But the point is, there is a sense that maybe this is overtly important situation... and maybe that's why this doesn't work for me.

I look at the situation from a logical perspective. Could a network put so much on a live late night broadcast, once a week? Would they be as concerned about it that all of the suits are meeting over a moment from the program? In a press conference, would the network President make a joke about being high, with no repercussions? And is everyone really that glib?

I think "Studio 60" has some likeable qualities, but I'm kinda put off by the glossy veneer. It's all too clever, too slick for a show that is supposed to be about the raw pure comedy that goes into an "SNL" style program. Really, it's much easier to capture the drama of The White House than it is to deal with the crises that crop up during a teevee show.

"Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip" gets a C from me, and I'm as shocked as you are about that.
Comments: Read 9 orAdd Your Own.

Sunday, September 17th, 2006

Subject:Ellen's Least Favorite New Show
Time:6:59 pm.
ABC's "Men In Trees" has a lot working against it right away. It is clearly an affected "fish out of water" tale, all about a Relationship Author who sits on her bed with a laptop and writes prose based on her experiences with love. It's no surprise that one of the writers from HBO's "Sex And The City" is involved in this program. This New York Fish finds herself in Alaska and after discovering her fiance cheated, discovers she knows nothing about Men at all.

The quirky town of Elmo (Must we reference PBS's "Sesame Street" here?) is the setting for the action. Where CBS's "Northern Exposure" had a Moose as the iconic animal that roamed the town, here, we're given a raccoon that seemingly has a particular interest in the protagonist, Marin Frist, played by Anne Heche.

And the town is populated with sensitive, kind, handsome, and accomplished hunks, a fraternity of fantastic fellows. So, there's nothing wrong with that. There is eye candy all over the place, and even the extras might be worth hitting the slo-mo on certain occasions.

The problem I've had with the first episodes is that I can see the machinery that's making the plot go, and it's a little obvious. I see the elements taken from "SATC," and it seems a little sketchy at times.

Now, I know the series has been picked up for 13 episodes, but let's face it... ABC doesn't have that much faith in it, since it's airing on Friday at 9pm, one of the biggest burial grounds for series since Saturday Night. I'm willing to give the show a chance because it does have some likeable qualities, but they need to get away from stereotypical stuff to make it worth watching.

"Men In Trees" gets an early C+.
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Subject:Rosie and Katie Day 1
Time:6:20 pm.

LOUD. OMG she is LOUD. She's louder than I remember from her own show. And I remember her as being LOUD. And she just doesn't shut up! I mean, she tries to hit the brakes when Barbara Walters had to say something, but she still has a verbal car wreck whenever she talks because she just is so LOUD.

The show has kind of returned to Square One. There's sort of a control issue here. Rosie is staking her claim as "Group Leader," even though Joy I sense is feeling squeezed. Elisabeth is, so far, not seriously affected, because she only seems to get several comments off in any case and she's meeting her "pre-Rosie" quota.

The real battle is going to be between Joy and Rosie. The little jabs and barbs (no Walters pun intended) that they'll hurl at each other might be in jest, but they might also gradually build up into real animosity. Time will tell.

The show has more energy now, but it's unharnessed and unfocused and that doesn't make for a fun View-ing experience. Right now: it's a C-.


Of course, she chose to wear White after Labor Day, kind of a little thumb your nose at people who were so worried about her fashion choice.

Did you catch that Walter Cronkite did the voice over intro? I thought that was very cool.

Katie was visibly tense on Day One. She was attempting to present a "serious newscaster" vibe, during the first segments, before loosening up in the second half of the broadcast. She got the Vanity Fair scoop of Suri Cruise on national TV, so good for her! That was pretty cool. And she kept plugging the CBS News website... maybe once too often for my taste. People are going to find that, don't worry!

Generally, she did ok, and poked fun at the sign offs of various Anchors in fact and fiction. I'd pour her a scotch and have her toasting all of us with "Stay Classy, America!" Somehow, I think that isn't gonna fly.

Katie gets a B.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

Subject:The Moments Nobody Has Been Waiting For...
Time:6:19 am.
Ok. Today's the big, big day. Rosie O'Donnell joins the cast of ABC's "The View". I'm taping that, so please... nobody give away the train wreck!

And Katie Couric grabs the anchor chair @ The CBS Evening News. Considering we've had a summerful of promotion of both of these events, I'm very safe in saying neither one of these things could live up to the hype. The return of Jesus wouldn't have gotten this kind of promotion, and likewise probably wouldn't pull the numbers that they're looking to do with either of these two. But, ya know, what good is turning water into wine on television?

It's all about the style, not the substance. Which Rosie are we going to get? Is she going to be the Broadway fan, friendly, kindhearted Ro? Well, today I'm sure it will be. But how long can she keep up THAT charade? She's not that good an actress, believe me. I saw "Exit To Eden."

Katie, in an interview has already started backpedaling and making excuses for this first night of news. Something about "not reinventing the wheel." Mm. That's great Kate. It's easy to stay hip when the art department shaves off the pounds from your hips.

First days tend to be not that great, not that important and typically forgotten... unless you're on live TV and do something foolish.

And really, that's why everyone is tuning in. Enjoy!
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Monday, September 4th, 2006

Subject:We All Should Be So Lucky.
Time:6:42 pm.
Everyone I know and a lot of people I don't know have commented on the death of Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin, which, with the time difference, happened about twenty-one hours ago in Australia. Now, I feel that any accidental death is certainly a sad thing... but think about it. This guy was world famous for doing something he enjoyed immensely. He was all about animals, and turned that into not only a vocation but a successful career.

He was a character, a personality, an icon, and he liked to showcase the exotic qualities of the beasts he loved. But the fact is he knew the risks of his job, he loved doing that, and he knew what could happen at any time.

Really, Steve Irwin was willing to put his life on the line to entertain and to educate the audience and though we could debate how smart that was, we can't debate the fact that he died doing exactly what he wanted to do, and even though he left the planet perhaps prematurely, there's no question that he was happy in his life, and that's far more than many of us can claim.

I celebrate his life, mourn his death and hope his family is ok. He was the father of two young children, and I am sad for them to have lost their father, but his legacy will live on for them, and for us.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Subject:FOX Gets Going
Time:5:25 am.
Time for me to get started... the Fall Season has begun and FOX has kicked it all off.

Personally, I thought the concept of bad karaoke was always best left to places where people were too drunk to care. Half the fun of seeing karaoke is the fact that it almost doesn't matter how bad you are. You're just out for a night of laughs with your pals and maybe having a mike in your hand might make you do something you'd regret later, but what happened in karaoke stayed in karaoke.

Unfortunately, we've been given Celebrity Duets, a program that I guess is supposed to make us happy that these people have other careers. But, do they, really? I mean, when you identify an actress by a sitcom that was on more than 10 years ago, maybe that's not exactly "hot."

Simon Cowell is the brains behind this twisted take on his more popular show, "American Idol," and he's wise to stay away from it, because he'd have to rip his own program to shreds. This is horrible stuff, live. They didn't try that on Skating With Celebrities, and maybe they should have thought twice before trying it here. Judges: In the role of Randy Jackson is Marie Osmond. She cackles a laugh much like Mary Murphy from So You Think You Can Dance, but does have practical advice. In the role of Paula is Little Richard. And he makes Paula look practically coherent! He's so much about drooling over the man meat on stage, he can't even babble. And then David Foster is the "mean" judge. Blah, blah. The host, Wayne Brady? Where do you go after hosting Miss America? Apparently, downhill.

Really, though, besides the 8 "contestants," the "singers" had to be good, and they kind of weren't that good, either! Peter Frampton struggled to sing Stevie Wonder, so no Wonder his partner, wrestler Chris Jericho got booted from the competition.

Of course, this is ideal summer fare for people who want mindless viewing, or who want a reason to try out for "AI" the next time they come to town. But, summer's over now. This show began about five weeks too late.

Celebrity Duets gets a D.

But off to a good start is Justice, their new law based program. Headed by Victor Garber, formerly of ABC's Alias and Kerr Smith, perhaps best known for his role on The (former) WB's Dawson's Creek, you see a case straight through from arrest to verdict. I sort of liked the devices of how the segues worked... it's a visual thing they do that is somewhat different and will be a distinct quality of the program, I'm sure. But the neat thing is to see, after the fact, what really happened during the crime.

I think, just based on the first ep, that it's got a chance to do pretty well. It's engaging, the cast is good, the storyline very taut and it feels like they know what they're doing. Bruckheimer has another hit on his hands.

Justice gets an early B.

I'm glad we're staggering these premieres! It's really going to be a busy season... Stay tuned!
Comments: Read 2 orAdd Your Own.

Monday, August 28th, 2006

Subject:Post Emmy Post
Time:5:30 am.
The ceremony commentsCollapse )
Comments: Read 4 orAdd Your Own.

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

Subject:The 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Congratulations To the Winners...
Time:11:02 pm.
Cut in case you don't want to read it now...Collapse )
Comments: Read 9 orAdd Your Own.

Subject:Happy Emmy Day!
Time:3:07 pm.
Hope this show is going to be a bit better than the usual awards programs. With Conan as host, I have pretty high hopes, but the awards format is just difficult to make entertaining as a rule.

Anybody catch NBC cheating? In the promo for the show, they had a clip of S. Epatha Merkerson looking for her acceptance speech, but that was from the Golden Globe Awards! They CGIed an Emmy into the frame! That may not be as low as when they blatantly promoed the fact that they won the most Emmys on the telecast itself, but I thought that was sketchy.

Anyway, A recap of my picks in the major categories...

Comedy: "Arrested Development"

Drama: "Grey's Anatomy"

Comedy/Music/Variety: "Real Time With Bill Maher"

Reality: "Dancing With The Stars"

Lead Actor in a Comedy: Tony Shalhoub for "Monk"

Lead Actress in a Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "The New Adventures Of Old Christine"

Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Jeremy Piven for "Entourage"

Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Jaime Pressly for "My Name Is Earl"

Lead Actor in a Drama: Christopher Meloni for "Law & Order: SVU"

Lead Actress in a Drama: Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer"

Supporting Actor in a Drama: Alan Alda for "The West Wing"

Supporting Actress in a Drama: Jean Smart for "24"

Conan O'Brien hosts the festivities starting at 8pm Eastern, 7pm Central, live on NBC, and tape delayed to the rest of the country.
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Subject:The Race Is On...
Time:12:52 pm.
When you want to stir up some controversy, when you want people to pay attention, change the game. That's a formula that CBS's "Survivor" has been using every season for the past dozen years they've been on the air. But now, they may have put themselves on Exile Island as they've presented this year's lineup of teams for the game. The four teams, in case you haven't heard, are this season divided by ethnic background: Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American and Asian.

Turning the competition into a "race war" is, on one level, an interesting choice. What do we think about this concept, and how will we react? Will we "root for" the team of our personal background or maybe a different one? And is there a sense that there is a meaning to this? Does race still matter?

Apparently so, as some outraged people have already started calling for the program to be pulled before the first episode airs.

On one hand... who cares? This is a reality game show. What could anyone care about that? And we know that at some point the teams will be dissolved and there won't be an issue of one "race" (we're all part of the human race, so that's a misnomer) defeating "another." On the other, people are going to put more emphasis on the results, as if what happens on The Cook Islands is going to have some bearing on the rest of us. I can already hear the water cooler jokes at some offices and the playground snipes by some of the nastier brats.

The trouble is that we ARE still race sensitive. One woman displayed that point in all its hideousness, just last year. Her name was Katrina. If the hurricane that blew through New Orleans and broke the levees open, killing thousands and causing countless millions in damage as well as breaking millions of hearts did anything else, it proved that this is a country still focused on the color of a person's skin and their economic power. If you aren't earning, you clearly do not the rights of those that do.

Maybe that's part of the reason FOR doing a season like this. Race is still at the fore; let's do something to deal with it, to examine the topic more closely. Let's get some sort of dialogue going. Meanwhile, all of these people who were residents of the Crescent City are displaced, unable to be in the only city they had called home and there doesn't seem to be any outrage over the fact that 12 months after the storm hit, the place looks like everything happened a few days ago.

But, I'm getting off topic here. This is about a game. It's not like The Olympics, where countries select players to represent them and they do battle to see who wins the title of best in the world! It's not even like The Super Bowl, where there's a competition to see who deserves to play and then let them go after the top prize. At the end of the day, it's a meaningless, worthless, dumb, unimportant teevee show. Nothing more. If it entertains you, watch it. If it offends you, turn it off. The quickest way to send a message to the Eyeball is via A.C. Nielsen.

Comments: Read 4 orAdd Your Own.

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

Subject:Wasting Your Space!!
Time:1:36 pm.
(Click here to post your own answers for this meme.)

I miss somebody right now.  (Many somebodies... but many of them will be back in late August or September, and the rest return in January, like Jack Bauer and Tony Soprano.) I don't watch much TV these days.  (Well, ok... I don't watch AS much as during the regular season.) × I own lots of books(I do own lots of books. Many of them deal with television, so does that count?)
× I wear glasses or contact lenses.  (Didn't you know that TV is good for your eyes?) I love to play video games.  (I don't necessarily "love" to play them, but I will and I'm ok) I've tried marijuana.  (Who hasn't?)
I've watched porn movies.  (You really couldn't avoid it, even if you wanted to... but who really wants to?) I have been the psycho-ex in a past relationship.  (Maybe? I leave it to my partners of the past to make that determination.) I believe honesty is usually the best policy.
I curse sometimes.  (Hell yes! But only in the safe haven hours after 11pm.) I have changed a lot mentally over the last year.  (If you count losing your memory "changing a lot mentally," then yes, definitely.) × I carry my knife/razor everywhere with me.  (I'm neither a West Side Story gang member nor Sweeney Todd.)
it goes on...Collapse )
Comments: Add Your Own.

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

Subject:MTV @ 25
Time:5:30 am.
Today is the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Music Television. 12:01 am, 8/1/81 and The Buggles launched the revolution: "Video Killed The Radio Star."

I'm only mentioning this because VH-1 Classic is currently "recreating" the first 24 hours of the Cable channel's programming. This is different from showing you the actual tapes of the first day. It's simply a rundown of the videos in the order that MTV played them (if you missed the first few hours of it, they'll do it again beginning on Saturday August 5th starting at 9am).

The thing that is noticible about the videos that are being shown is most of the songs are not hits. And even the ones by "recognizable" artists, like 38 Special, REO Speedwagon or Kate Bush are just horrible, nearly unwatchable videos by our 21st Century standards. Why did anyone bother looking at these?

But that's sort of why a clip like The Cars "You Might Think" or Billy Joel's "Tell Her About It" or the classic A-Ha's "Take On Me" and Michael Jackson's "Beat It" got so much attention. They were cleverly done stories that were put together brilliantly! Many of the videos running during this marathon replay were just the singer, singing, or doing something sort of dumb. Bad lip synch jobs and even worse "special" effects. But hey! What did they know back then? What could the tech do at the time? I shouldn't be too hard on them. This was what was happening at the time. Cutting edge material!

Really, though, so few people had MTV when the first day of the network took place, it's not so much nostalgia as it is curiosity.

Still, if you want a sense of what the artform we call "Music Video" was like in 1981, it's worth looking at, at least for a few minutes.

OR - if you don't feel like sitting through all of these rock rocks to get to the occasional diamond, just go here and see the best music vids from the MTV library without needing to suffer through the rest! Also, I heard that today's TRL is a special one, so tune in for/TiVo that at 3:30pm EDT. It *might* be worth checking out.

Happy 25th, MTV.
Comments: Read 2 orAdd Your Own.

Subject:One Ocean Blew
Time:5:03 am.
Well, I don't mean to be on an ABC bash, but I can't help it. The more crap shows they serve up, the more I need to slam them.

Latest in the lineup is "One Ocean View", brought to you by the same people behind MTV's "The Real World." But you don't need me to tell you this. The show's first ep is like a typical first ep of RW, where the housemates arrive in pairs to the beachfront property that will serve as their home for the summer, out on New York's Fire Island. And yes, they do have a hot tub.

Aside from the lower energy exploration of the space (fewer screams about how great it all is), the typical discussion of who is who and what's going on, there's nothing notable about this program. Yeah, these people are "older" and are on their way to careers, but they're also a lot duller than the characters from a typical "RW" season. What is there worth watching about this group of 11?

Ok, there's a set of identical twins. So, maybe we should count them as one? And there's a set of exes that somehow are still friends, and maybe still more. Do we care?

The personalities in this group are the sort of people you might chat with over a drink at somebody's house party while you wait for your date to get out of the bathroom, but to spend a whole summer with these fools? Let's hang with the gang from "The One!"

You know, maybe ABC should just avoid all programming with the word "One" in the title. Except maybe they should bring back Disney's "One Saturday Morning." Now, that would be entertainment!

Really, after having used this formula for 15 years (they're working on Denver right now), there's no way I'm cutting the Bunim/Murray prod. company any slack for this waste of network air.

"One Ocean View" gets a D-.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Subject:The (N)One - Results Show
Time:12:25 pm.
Even though I already gave it an F, I had to tune in to ABC's "The One" to see how they handled the voting/results program. I sure did get what I expected.

As badly devised as the show is, The One has an incredible design flaw that makes it completely laughable. I'll get to that in a second.

First, though, they rehashed the performances of the night before (and actually they reran the episode right before the results program, in case you were lucky enough to have missed it on Wednesday). The notable thing about the clips from the show was that they never let you hear the performers sing for more than 5 seconds apiece. At least they know how bad they are!

The way it works... the bottom three contestants after the audience vote are forced to sing a final song. The "music experts," based on that performance, will save one person from the three. And THEN, the rest of the contestants get to vote for who they want to keep from the remaining two, sending the remaining contestant home.

The "design flaw" is that the contestants have the final say. I mean, if you were in a music competition and you wanted to get as far along the path as you could, would you vote to KEEP the better singer, or would you try to get rid of your toughest rival? I mean any first season viewer of CBS's "Survivor" could answer that one! And that's exactly what happened on the program. The person who had the better potential was lost, and the contestants voted back the guy who had no talent at all! On top of that, the contestant who was just saved from the bottom by the judges was allowed to vote! It was a complete farce!

Maybe if they let the contestants vote first, at least the "experts" would save the better of two evils to finish. But this just confirms how not ready this show was for broadcast, and how stupid the whole concept is.

Can I lower my grade? If so, The One gets an F-!
Comments: Read 2 orAdd Your Own.

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

Subject:The (N)One
Time:12:15 am.
From the weeks and weeks of promotion for this, ABC's "The One" was supposed to be "The Real World" meets American Idol. Well, not really, no.

Much like NBC's "Treasure Hunters," this show proves just how good the original was. "AI" never looked better.

Where do I begin with this atrocity? Let's start with the "judges" who are known as "Music Experts" on this program. "Experts" implies they have expertise. Andre Harrell at least has a pedigree. He was in charge of Motown Records for a time. The other two... eh. Kate Hudson's uncle, who I have dubbed Mr. Weird Beard. He has dyed his facial hair three distinctly different colors. I wonder how scary he is with a blacklight. And The Paula Abdul wannabe, who did something I didn't think could be: she was even more gushing and cloying than Paula! The farce of "critiques" that these three put out there is a true joke and an insult not only to the process of finding the best singer, but to the audience that is now quite savvy, having done this five times on Fox.

There's the host. Here's something else I never thought I would say: I miss Ryan Seacrest. George Stroumboulopoulos is as lackluster as can be. He actually sucks what little energy there is in the program, dry. How he got this job is the second biggest mystery of the show.

The first is how did they pick the 11 contestants for this contest? This is literally a talent-free talent show. Ok. Here's the thing. The contestants all have to be relatively close in ability, because if they were not, there wouldn't be a "contest." If only one person was "good," there would be no "suspense." So, I get that they all need to be comparable. But let's have them all have some ability!

This is supposed to be a "Singing Academy," so I guess this is part "Fame," as well. Clearly these singers have a lot to learn.

The clear priority is the "homelife" elements, as all of the players are attractive to look at, in equal parts to how badly they vocalize. But the show, at least in the first episode, is so chopped and sliced, you can't get into the stories of these people in the house.

This show fails on a spectacular level! Here's one more thing I never thought I'd say: ABC, please bring back "How To Get The Guy!"

The One gets an F.
Comments: Read 5 orAdd Your Own.

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