Previously, on “Me and the TV”

3 07 2007

“Where is he?”

“I don’t know… but I hope he comes back!”

“Look, there he is!!”

And now, Me and the TV continues…..

Thats right, I’m back from the land of the rising sun. You can check out my Flickr here, I should have all the Japan pics up by sometime next week.

Since I came back I’ve watched a little TV, tried a little superfast catch up. I watched the first ep of Flight of the Conchords, and I was left underwhelmed. Because the girl from Peep Show was in it (Rachael Blanchard?), I could only draw unvfavourable comparisons with that superior comedy, however much “Flight” had some original ideas… and funny accents.

I’ve been following John from Cincinnati (about to watch one now actually), and it’s still a bit weird. Al from Married with Children can resurrect creatures from the dead? And whats with the crazy landlord guy? This may be a first, but I cannot give you a definitive on whether this program is good or stupid, but I can’t imagine being compelled to tune in again if I led a hectic life and was pushed for time.

Now let me talk about Studio 60 for 20 words or less. I watched the series finale last night, what a crock of sh*t! I am embarrassed that I recommended this show to everyone I know, it turned into some touchy-feely moral war drama in the last 4 episodes, with blatant swipes at conservatives everywhere, even resorting to name calling with President Bush. Awful turn of events, just awful. It actually led my fiancee to swear out loud, and she may be the most polite human being in W9.

Finally, I am clawing my way through summer Fox comedy, The Loop. This comedy has very little humour in it, other than a character who mostly appears in the lift as an obnoxious fast talking airline exec. Whoever is writing this guys lines deserves a raise. and a promotion off this doomed show. anyway, thats my catch up.

To find out what I was really doing in Japan the past 9 days, watch the video after the jump. Yes, that may look like Kanye West, and those may well look like scenes from Akira, but I assure you that is me and all that stuff actually happened. Enjoy..

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Posting Frequency…

5 06 2007

You may have noticed (who wouldn’t) that the frequency of my posts has dropped dramatically over the last couple of weeks, well the reason is two-fold. First of all, I’ve been moving house and my access to computers has been limited the last week, both at work and at home. That is all set to change any day now when I splurge on a macbook.. maybe. I’ll wait to see what Steve Jobs has to say on Thursday.

The other reason is that the US TV season is over, and i am taking a bit of a break from constant TV watching. At the moment there are only 3 shows on my schedule.

The last Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (S01E18) I watched was absolutely fantastic, and I won’t let anyone tell me otherwise. It is a real shame it couldn’t find an audience. Or the audience found it, compared it unfavourably to West Wing and changed channel. The scene where Tom Jetter finds out his brother is being held hostage in Iraq was quite moving. If you are in the UK and have avoided the download, it starts on E4 June 30th.

This weeks episode of Entourage (S03E20) was less of a finale and more of a new beginning for the boys. I’ve been bitching for weeks about the lack of actual movie-making in season 3, but it seems as if everything is finally coming together. Although i’m pretty sure Sloane is about to kick Eric to the curb. In a strange move for HBO, they are starting Season 4 the Sunday after next, so not long to find out if I am right.

As we head towards the final episode of The Sopranos, it is starting to dawn on me how big a loss this show will be to HBO, and my personal viewing habits. The show has become the drama I compare not just TV shows, but gangster movies to and hold up as an example that cinematic quality can be brought to the living room. What will happen to Tony Soprano? If it is anything like the death of Bobby Baccala in this weeks episode (S06E20), it will be ruthless. Watch it after the jump. Viewer discretion is something something…

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The Rise and Fall of Studio 60

19 02 2007

So NBC announced that they would be pulling Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip a week early during the February sweeps, and replacing it with The Black Donnellys, a gritty drama about an Irish mob family. Studio 60 hit an all time ratings low this week, as people tuned out in droves after Heroes to go and do other stuff, or maybe sleep. This is bad news for a show that promised so much in the beginning, but is now delivering almost the same plotline every week.

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Just some dates…

1 01 2007

Veronica Mars

… for your downloading diary. If you, like me, download the majority of your television, you will have spent this December staring at the wall, wondering whether Kate ran, why exactly Peter Petrelli is going to explode, whether Jim should go out with Pam or Quincy Jones’ daughter, who killed Veronica Mars (above) Dean and where Michael Schofield is going to run to next.

Well I don’t have the answers as such, but I do have the dates for the return of all your favourite programs, and thats almost as good, right?

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Golden Globes

16 12 2006

No, not the boobs of some shiny statue, the awards given out for outstanding achievement in the fields of TV and Film by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Depending on what you read, the awards are either very prestigious, or the voters are willing to sell their vote for a bottle of Whiskey. Here are the nominations, and I’ve made bold my picks.  Read them after the jump:-

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Weekend links

11 11 2006

This is a new section, where I just give you a bunch of URL’s for stuff I’ve been looking at online.

Rumours of its demise were greatly exaggerated. Studio 60 given a full season. (Yahoo!)

Disney signs up for BT Vision, offers movies and whatnot. (Digital Spy)

NBC launch a broadband comedy channel. (DotComedy)

and finally, Borat and 20th century Fox sued by the heinous frat boys in the movie. (Hollywood Rag)





Studio 60, critics v. viewers

1 11 2006

I was actually going to wait until this was official, but after watching a couple of episodes last night, I had to blog my rage. Over the weekend reports emerged that the cancellation of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” was imminent, and I was almost tearing my hair out!

Usually I would write some poncey diatribe about intelliigent televisions struggle to find an audience, and the knuckle draggers who keep it that way, but I find those sort of posts make me out to be a snob, and alienate me from the common man, the average viewer.

Anywho, I often wonder about the gulf in opinion between critics and viewers, and I found an article from a journalist in Oregon who has nailed the difference using better and less offensive terminology than my vocabulary will allow. Especially this paragraph:-

let’s talk about the role TV plays in most people’s lives, how it differs from the role played by other entertainments (movies, books, etc.) and how this alters their expectations of and demands for what they see on the screen.

Unlike me, the vast majority of TV viewers watch prime-time TV in their living rooms or bedrooms, sometimes clad in their underpants. Their day is over, the hassles of work and life momentarily receding while darkness falls and the reflected light of dreams begins to rise in the subconscious. The mental wheels are slowing down, the brain craving something less like intellectual challenge, and more like reassurance.

The glowing screen becomes a portal to dreamland. The characters become more attractive versions of ourselves, our family and friends, all of them enacting fantasies of the life we’d like to be leading, or resolving the problems that bedevil us. Thus, the sort of narrative complexity and character nuance I look for — and which we all look for in movies, novels and elsewhere — may actually be the opposite of what many TV viewers are looking for.

So basically what he is saying is that people aren’t stupid, but even the smartest people aren’t looking to be educated by TV after they have come home from a long day at the office, and they certainly don’t view TV in the same high esteem they do movies and books. Click here for the full article, it is all good.

However, in this alternative article which I also found over the weekend, the writer suggests that no tears should be shed if Studio 60 is cancelled, because there is still a lot of good TV that started this season, shows that have united critics and viewers alike. He points to the dearth of quality on his recent trips to the UK and Ireland.

Across the channels in Britain and Ireland, I found a plethora of shallow, air-headed programs. There are countless game shows and home decorating programs in prime time. There is the inanity of celebrity-obsessed chat shows. Both Irish and British TV seems to rely heavily on formulaic evening soap operas, all derived from Coronation Street and EastEnders, to keep viewers watching. The number of well-made, serious-minded and entertaining dramas is disappointingly low.

The final installment of Prime Suspect aired while I was there and got tons of attention and praise, as it deserved. But Prime Suspect stood out because it was such a rare example of quality, and it served as a reminder that when the very first Prime Suspect aired, in 1991, British TV was the very model of excellence. Now it has declined into utter mediocrity.

Man, hes got our number. Although the US system of “survival of the fittest” has its flaws and allows many gems to slip through the cracks, it is still far better than the UK’s “leave it on the air until all its viewers are blind, senile or dead” strategy. Anyway, reports of Studio 60’s demise were exaggerated, NBC still say they have yet to make a decision on whether to give the show a full season. If you haven’t watched it, catch it while you still can. Episodes 5 & 6 were excellent. the first dealt with the pull of reality TV and its legions of viewers, v trying to establish yourself as a credible TV channel for high-income viewers. The 2nd dealt with a subject I think about quite a bit, whether a black comedian needs to have his jokes written by black comedians. The point they are making is that even Matthew Perry’s quite liberal character can’t bring himself to write some of the lines that black writers can get away with, without feeling guilt for writing them.

They don’t really draw a conclusion but anyone in the UK that can remember the BBC sitcom “The Crouches” would suggest that the writer would need some experience of the race he is writing about, however good he is.