Tag Archive for television

And now it is too late…

Almost two months ago I wrote about the best show on TV that you weren’t watching, Terriers.  You were supposed to start watching, like, immediately.  But apparently, you didn’t.  And now they’ve gone and cancelled the show.

I hate procedurals.  They bore me, mostly because I want to know about the people solving the crimes, not the crimes so much themselves.  If I wanted to see crimes solved I’d read a newspaper or something.  What I want in my television are characters worth caring about, and most procedurals spend too much time on the science (half of which they make up anyway, or at least use in unrealistic budgetarily unconstrained ways) and not enough on the people.

Terriers was about people.  Sure, there were crimes.  Some of them were wrapped up in an episode, and some arced over several episodes.  But most the compelling part of the show was the people who were tangled up in the mess.  And ultimately, the core of the drama on Terriers was that it went to great lengths to illustrate that all actions have consequences.  Nothing in this show was wasted.  By the end of its run of just thirteen episodes, everything bore fruit, every action affected someone or something, every decision had consequences.

At this point, you’ve got a few options to see this gem in its entirety.  Head over to Amazon and buy it from video on demand, or get it from iTunes, or go find some less than legal avenue to download episodes… or wait for the DVD release, of which I hope it gets good treatment of extras and not just episodes on disc.

Of course, one of the biggest letdowns of the cancellation is that I won’t get to hear “Gunfight Epiphany” each week.  (Sadly, the song is only for sale on iTunes, and I hate iTunes.)

Just know… you could have saved this show.  But you didn’t.  And for that, I like you a little bit less today than I did yesterday.  I’ll get over it, but we lost one of the good ones here, and that’s on you.

This Halloween, the dead will walk…

I’m going to go ahead on record and say that this will be, in my opinion, the greatest television show ever.

Ev. Ver.

The Walking Dead comes to AMC?

Its not a done deal yet, apparently, but it is close.  And considering the bang up job that AMC is doing with Mad Men (it being one of the best shows on television), hearing that they, with Frank Darabont at the helm, will be bringing The Walking Dead to the small screen is just awesome.

The full article from Variety is here.

From the moment I first read The Walking Dead I always felt it would make for good TV, that making a movie of it would actually hurt the overall impact of the story and make it “just another zombie movie”.  But TV would allow it to tell longer, more complex stories, and yet able to have each episode tackle a complete story of its own as the people try to make their way.

I’m very excited.

Smiles, everyone… smiles!

Being born in 1974 means that my impressionable youth is crammed with the television and movies of the late 70’s and early 80’s.  Chief among my earlier memories are those of watching Fantasy Island on TV.  I am dismayed that only season one has been released on DVD.  I’ll likely purchase it someday, but I don’t have the heart to rush out and get it since no further seasons have been released.

Even more disheartening though was learning of the death of Ricardo Montalbán.  He brought to life both Mr. Roarke of Fantasy Island as well as bringing us, arguably, the best villain of the Star Trek franchise in Khan Noonien Singh, from both the TV series and the epic Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

Rest in peace, Señor Montalbán, in soft Corinthian leather.

I Hate You

No, really, I do. If you are one of those stubborn people who haven’t been watching Jericho or Veronica Mars, I hate you.

Veronica Mars, currently finishing up its third season, is probably one of the best shows on television. While other shows that ran season long plots often wound up with entirely unwatchable episodes that could never be watched alone, Veronica Mars managed to have every episode contain its own plot while still throwing clues and furthering the main season plot. It was smart and funny. And it has been cancelled because of people like you.

Jericho is in the same boat. When I first read the plot of the show, I was skeptical, but after watching it, they really managed to pull off the “Terrorists nuke a bunch of cities and throws the US into chaos” world brilliantly. Like Veronica Mars, every episode was tight and contained its own mini story, a plot resolved in one episode, while also serving the greater overall plot. It too has been cancelled.

Of course, I cannot lay all the blame at your feet. This season, the networks, and I mean all the networks, really screwed up by putting so many shows on a multitude of hiatuses. Seasons broken in half or in thirds, shows constantly bumped in hopes of getting higher ratings from specials and game shows. The one thing they don’t seem to understand is, the main reason a high rated show stays high rated is the ability of the audience to find and watch the show. Jericho did great until the hiatus… it never recovered. Even powerhouse Lost slumped in the ratings after a promising start. Standoff might have done better if they’d ever actually put it back on the air. It ran 11 episodes up until December 12th when it got put on hiatus to return on March 30th… wait, April 6th… now, June 8th where it will be on Friday instead of its original Tuesday slot for its remaining 8 episodes (maybe). Fans like me just wanted to watch the show, but I can’t watch it if they don’t air it.

As it is, many shows don’t even get that far. Runaway, Kidnapped, Vanished, Studio 60, The Black Donnellys, Drive, Day Break, Happy Hour, Justice, The Nine, Six Degrees, The Wedding Bells, Smith, Raines… Lots of these shows didn’t even start with full order seasons, or even half orders. Networks are often hedging their bets by ordering 6 or 7 episodes, and as a viewer if I know that a show may only run 6 or 7 episodes I am going to be less likely to tune in. Its seems that gone are the days of building an audience, if a show doesn’t come out of the gates booming with success its not likely to stick around, and with prospects like that is it really any surprise that the viewers aren’t showing up?

TV has one more season, if this fall is a repeat of last fall with all the show cancellations after one or two airings, they are going to lose me as a customer. They might get my business on the back end when a show goes to DVD, but they’ll never get my ad revenue dollars.

I honestly think the business model has to change. At a minimum, Sweeps Weeks need to go away. Networks should be rated for their advertising based on viewership average for the entire year. Maybe that alone would go a long way to ensuring that they took care of their shows all year long instead of just a couple a months scattered throughout. After considering it a while, I’d be willing to pay as much as $1 an episode downloaded to my TV without commercials through and On Demand like system, even on my Xbox360 if it had to be. Maybe networks should consider going that route, dump this 24/7 programming model that is full of trash anyway and focus on making a handful of solid engaging hours per day.

Whatever they do, mostly they need to recognize, you can’t have loyal viewers if you are not loyal to your viewers. Someone has to start, and since it would be stupid to ask viewers to watch things that don’t interest them, the networks have to start by letting shows that don’t launch fantastically stick around to see if the viewers can find it.

Stuff on the Net XI

Ever wanted to know everything that was never true about Television? Go here. Every time I go, I find something to laugh about.

It came from Ofasoft… a well intentioned thread about Pirates of the Caribbean 2 turns into a discussion about Johnny Depp’s Americanness.

Picard vs. Vader … at last the “Trek” versus “Wars” dispute is settled.

A guy I know is in a movie… check out the preview on its MySpace page: The Signal.

People want the President of Russia to answer some questions. Mostly about young boys, humanoid robots, and Cthulhu.

Over on Yahoo, Stephen Hawking asks “How can the human race survive the next hundred years?

On the Road

Pretty much all my life I’ve seen and heard references to the book ‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac. In movies, on television, in songs… its spoken of as a guide to life, a philosophical journey, even a right of passage… its talked of with a reverence that is usually held for things like the Bible… So, I was at the book store and I saw a copy on sale for $7 and I thought, ‘What the hell?’ and I bought it.

Perhaps the problem is that times have changed too much for Kerouac’s work to hold up, but, man, does this book ever suck!

Seriously, first off, its written in a stream of conciousness style from a man whose conciousness is like a wreck of freight trains, going in a dozen directions at once all piled on top of each other in an enormous mess of words. Secondly, none of his characters are sympathetic… perhaps in the late 50’s and early 60’s and even into the 70’s it was ‘cool’ and ‘with it’ to leave all responsibility behind and just run off and travel the roads, but that time has gone or at least I just don’t get it. The entire book I was waiting for someone to sit Dean Moriarty down and slap him in the face… He’s a completely reprehensible human being. He meets a girl, marries her, gets her knocked up, then immediately leaves town to find another girl. He blows off everything, storms into other people’s lives and leaves charred wreckage in his wake. The fact that Sal keeps hanging around this craphead is just annoying, and even more so that he seems to idolize him.

In the end, as someone who wants to be a writer, I’m glad I read the book. In my opinion, its a perfect example of everything not to do. I just wish it hadn’t been such a slow read so that I wouldn’t have wasted as much time on it as I did.

5 October 1999

So tonight was the season premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the series premiere of Angel.
I am not disappointed. I still love Buffy, in my mind one of the best shows ever put on television. Nothing else can handle real issues that affect people (like loneliness, heartbreak, failure, fear, and everything else) in such an absurd setting and still get the point across. Plus its funny and fun to watch. And Angel looks like it will be the same, only a little more ‘adult’.
Seriously, even with the violence and ‘scariness’ of these shows, unlike trashy shows like Melrose Place and other such garbage, the good guys always win, people overcome their fears, they feel good about themselves, and they always have their friends. What isn’t to like? This is the kind of stuff that I hope is on when I have kids so they can watch it.
Well damn. Watching these shows just puts me in such a good mood… but not really in a writing mood, so I’ll write more later.