Saturday, April 25, 2009

Woe is E-mail

Had a bit of a glitch with my website email.  Everything is back up and running, so if you tried to send me something and got bounced, my apologies.  Especially if you are that poor guy from Nigeria desperately needing to unload that big wad of cash.  Yeah, getting my personal information to you shortly to help out your situation. (Shhh! It’s a secret!)




Saturday, April 18, 2009

Television Seasons

Perhaps it’s time for North American television to consider the 1 year television show, or at least the 1 year story arc.

A fair example is Harper’s Island, advertised as a 13 episode series, and that’s it. No more.

Studios are always crying the blues at the cost of creating new shows for television, hence the reason for so many ‘reality shows’.  An entire season, including whatever grand prize for the winner of said show, can equal the salary of a single star in a regular television series. As much as I dislike reality shows, (except for Hell’s Kitchen, damn my soul), the numbers are hard to ignore.

Viewers counter the argument with the lack of quality programming. Every year, some drunks at the big studios give the green light to the dumbest shows ever conceived. Whenever the big studios look to produce a quality show, the steal from the BBC, reworking them for American audiences. For example, Three’s Company and All In The Family, both mega-hits for their time, were based on British programs.

Why not just steal the concept?  Limited run series with a beginning, middle, and end. A story line that lasts for one season.  Hell, you could actually have a full year of programming. Imagine, while other stations are showing reruns of some mediocre show, your station is chugging along with a well-written, well-acted story that viewers are watching because it is fresh, and has a promised conclusion without some pesky cliffhanger to leave the viewer feeling unsatisfied.

Sports teams have been doing this for years, giving one year contracts to ‘ace’ players, hoping to help the team.  why invest millions in a player who tends to give less than a 100% right after the ink dries on a contract, when you can pay 1 million to a guy who will work his ass off because at the only way he can promote himself is through his, or her performance.

I’m sure there are valid reasons why television conducts business the way it does. I mean, why be innovative when the old system has worked for years.  Works for the auto industry, right?



Monday, April 13, 2009

Proof the Easter Bunny Exists

Taken early Sunday morning in my backyard. Notice the rabbit. Notice the brightly coloured yellow egg. Coincidence, I think not!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Forgot About Harper's Island

Watched the premiere of Harper's Island last week, too. The show suffered from the typical rushing-in to get as many story lines and character introductions as possible, but that's hard to do with any new series. I can count on my hand the shows that grabbed me by the short and curlys right off the get go and this is isn't one of them. I will watch more, however, if only because the story line is set for 13 shows, in the BBC tradition of television. Also, the surprisingly creative and gruesome ways of the first two murders. Hamlin's early departure was not surprising. I don't even feel cheated because I didn't even know he was in the cast and I'm used to 'stars' being used as red herrings.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

More Television

Saw some new shows this week. I thought the commercials for “In the Motherhood,” funny enough, but was bored of the show five minutes in. Waste of good talent. The only pleasant surprise was to see a slimmed down Horatio Sanz managing to get through a scene without cracking up. Horatio is the chubby guy from SNL best remembered in my mind for the 4-man band skits he did with Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan, and Chris Kattan. The other show I saw was "Parks and Recreation" with other SNL alumni Amy Poehler. Created by the same team who brought “The Office,” my advice is to watch “The Office”, instead. The shows are practically the same, only “The Office” is funnier.

Saw the next installment of Costello’s "Spectacle". This week his guests were Police members Sting, Steward Copeland and Andy Summers. Costello was more relaxed this week, perhaps because he was dealing with people more his contemporaries. Gone were the torturous sitting chairs, replaced by the more standard wooden stools, which IMHO, are equally torturous. AND Costello was wearing lime green socks. I hope he changed them, or at least washed them.

Andy and Stewart were given 1 block interviews, (commercial to commercial), where Sting was given a 2 block interview. The rest of the band was brought together, asked some more questions, then everyone played a short medley of Watching the Detectives and Walking on the Moon.

From seeing the show I can deduce the real reason the Police broke up the first time around. Stewart Copeland. He was just so happy to be in the limelight again, he dominated his interview, then the group interview with extended unnecessary answers. Watch Sting and Andy’s body language whenever Copeland talks. They stare at the floor, maybe smile, patiently waiting for the guy to shut up. I’ve noticed this with plenty of group interviews when the least popular member of the group speaks. Most notably, an interview with the “MASH” cast. Each time the interviewer began interviewing someone, Gary Burghoff (Radar) would interrupt with some platitude for the cast member. And each time everyone stared at the floor and smiled. Coincidentally, when it was Burghoff’s time to be interviewed, no one else interrupted.

Copeland didn’t interrupt, just dominated by force or personality, or ego. Even Costello seemed irritated.

THAT BEING SAID, I found this show better and more entertaining than the Elton show. Next weeks show had an eclectic guest list and should be interesting for that reason alone.

“Dollhouse” is not new, but I’ve been watching it since the beginning. Why? Because there is nothing else to watch. Sadly, that is the only reason. The story is picking up, but no one in the Dollhouse organization is sympathetic. Even the “good’ handlers are nothing better than good “overseers.” If Joss Whedon’s name wasn’t attached to the "Dollhouse", it would have been retired to the toy shelf long ago.



Sunday, April 05, 2009

Costello’s Spectacle

Because my friends think Elvis Costello is a musical genius, I watched his latest talk show venture, “Spectacle.” His guest for his lead-in show was Elton John, and from Costello’s connection with the music industry, I expected some in-depth questions about Elton and his life.

Elvis chose to take a different route, discussing early musical influences accompanied with rare clips of said musicians. Personally, I never heard of any of these performers, most reaching prominence in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I found the information interesting, but because of the timeline disconnect, not every engaging.

What I did find fascinating, and utterly hilarious were Costello and Elton. The stage was set up with a live band in the background, a grand piano for Elton to play off to the side and two sitting chairs at center stage. Whoever thought of armless chairs should get some kind of award. It gave the viewer the special treat of two old farts, guts evident beneath their thousand dollar suit coats, sitting with legs spread as though ready to give birth. Imagine grandpa in the park feeding the pigeons and you get the idea.

Costello was the best. Dressed all in black with his, (I'm guessing) trademark bolo tie, AND LIME GREEN SOCKS WITH BROWN SHOES. Normally, I wouldn’t be drawn to these things, except for the man’s constant fidgeting as he listened to Elton speak. His thumbs twiddled and his feet shuffled. He spent a good part of the show with his ankles bent so he sat sole to sole like a gorilla. Eventually this evolved into one foot atop the other, slowly scuffing the hell out of his new shoes. Not that Elvis was disinterested, but I got the distinct feeling he needed to go pee, very, very, very bad.

On the other side, years of sitting on a piano bench served Elton well. He did not fidget much at all, but he and Elvis were both obviously in dire need of somewhere to rest their arms. Eventually, Elton simply draped his arm over the back of the chair.

Spectacle is advertised as an intimate and relaxed interview/musical show. Intimate, perhaps, but a bit too relaxed.