Category Archives: TV

I Want to Marry Liz Lemon (Originally published February 4, 2010)

How sad is it that I’m in love with a fictional character?  Well, it can’t be too bad considering how every person in America with girl parts salivates at the thought of that vampire guy.  And for those of you who know me, stop saying I look like him; he’s not manly and I do not appreciate it, regardless of how much of an international sex symbol he is.

"Yep. I'm confused, too."

But anyway, a friend of mine recommended I start watching 30 Rock a few months ago, and I became smitten.  With the show, that is.  It’s hilarious, and Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy is the funniest character on television (Walter Bishop on Fringe is a close second, though).  The show’s wacky humor and constant send-ups of its parent network, NBC, are always worthwhile, and I’m glad it’s established itself as one of the few hits on the network.

The show is that way because of its creator and star, Tina Fey.  The character she plays, Liz,  is the showrunner of a late night variety show much like Saturday Night Live. And she is on fire with the jokes all the time.  She’s self deprecating and super nerdy.  And, despite Fey being not at all what I normally go for, she’s mighty attractive. In other words, jackpot.

And you know what?  I’m not at all ashamed.  Who wouldn’t want to marry someone with a boss like Jack?  I sure as hell wouldn’t mind hanging out with him.  And, if the marriage were to follow the storylines of the show, I.  Wouldn’t.  Even.  Have.  To.  Try.

So yeah, fellas, I recommend getting down on one knee (to propose, perverts) for the next super awesome girl you meet on TV.  I doubt you’ll regret it.

Leave a comment

Filed under TV

SPOILER ALERT! I Don’t Like Spoilers (Originally published January 30, 2010)

See what I did there?  I’m oh so clever, hardy har har.  But yeah, the task at hand: spoilers suck, right?  Who hasn’t been eagerly anticipating a movie, book, or whatever only to have someone who’s had “inside info” play the douchebag card and outright tell you the ending?

I hate that so much because I like going into things cold.  Sure, I’ve got my expectations just like anyone else, but I want the work to be the thing that determines its own value, not somebody who got to it before me.

If you want to know why I’m suddenly on my soap box, it’s because of this newsLost, my favorite show, comes back February 2nd for its final season, and the first four minutes of the premiere have leaked online.  The sci-fi epic’s last season ended on a huge cliffhanger, and guess what?  I’m not going to spoil that for you, either.  If you’re interested in the cliffhanger in question, go find out here.  And if you’d rather not be confused as shit by the previous link, start from the beginning here.  You will not be disappointed. I promise.

But back to my point: why the hell would I want to ruin the big surprise, out of context, only a few days before I can get the whole story?  It just doesn’t make sense and it’s annoying to think that everyone’s so eager for information that they can’t wait for something that is, in all reality, pretty trivial.  Go outside, have a life.  Then these things like TV shows and movie spoilers won’t be do-or-die events but fun things to enrich your life.  And this is coming from someone who’s on the verge of making filmmaking his career.  Priorities, everyone.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies, TV

Conan, Jay, Money Irrelevant to NBC (Originally published January 15, 2010)

If you want to be a business owner, I suggest the letters N, B, and C never enter your mind.  Not only has the Peacock network been slowly killing itself with mind numbingly awful programming decisions for the last decade, but they are currently in a very public battle with their two big late night stars, Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno.

The first picture that comes up when you type "NBC idiot." I giggled.

The feud, as everyone probably knows by now, is over Jay Leno returning to the Tonight Show and O’Brien being dumped.  This idea is monumentally stupid for one reason and one reason only: NBC is rewarding the failure that is (for this season at least) solely responsible for the bind they’re in.

I’m not going to get into who’s funnier–it’s Conan, by the way–because the sheer stupidity NBC is displaying is what is really on my mind.  I may not be good at math, but I sure as hell can recognize a pattern when I see one.  According to this article, local NBC affiliates have lost on average 25% of their newscast viewership from this time a year ago when Leno wasn’t failing miserably in the 10 p.m. timeslot.  This, in turn, affected O’Brien’s ratings, as the local news had no viewers sticking around to see his show, and he was regularly beaten by David Letterman.  See the domino effect?

And now NBC is in panic mode.  Their network’s circling the drain, and instead of firing Leno for the distinctly poor job he’s done of bringing in viewers and advertisers (re: money), they’re reportedly placing Leno in his old Tonight Show position, leaving Conan, who isn’t even performing that poorly, unemployed.  I can’t wrap my mind around it because it is not capitalistic, which is sort of, y’know, the point of a multinational conglomerate.  NBC is, based on the numbers, choosing to lose money.  My brain hurts.

P.S. Good luck, Conan, wherever you land.

P.P.S. If you want to hire me, I certainly wouldn’t complain.

Leave a comment

Filed under TV

AMC’s The Prisoner Remake (Originally published October 28, 2009)

The ’60s were a weird time.  Drugs were everywhere, people were pissed at the government over war, Tiny Tim had a music career.  Nothing exemplified the counter culture better than a little English TV show known as The Prisoner.

I’ve only seen a handful of the show’s 17-episode run, but from what I’ve watched, the thing is OUT THERE.  It’s essentially about an angry secret agent who resigns from his post.  His bosses don’t let him off easily, though, as they drug him, kidnap him, and ship him off to a creepy “Village,” from which there is no escape.

Despite its benevolent resort exterior, The Village is a prison, pure and simple.  Everyone there is assigned a number instead of a name, with the main secret agent named Number 6.  Every episode is another attempt of his to escape The Village, while the resort’s operators–led by a different Number 2 every show–try to gain knowledge of Number 6’s past missions or national security secrets.

Those aren’t even the weird parts either.  There are insane moments everywhere, from paranoid chess players to surrealistic virtual reality rooms to floating orbs (each named Rover) that swallow people who attempt to escape. Those eccentricities and series-long story arc are extremely influential on TV shows like Twin Peaks and Lost.

Everything in the show was an LSD-laced commentary on the times.  Its main theme was repeated several times by Number 6: “I am not a number.  I am a free man.”

And now, times aren’t much different.  The oughts, or whatever the hell this decade is called, is a weird time, too.  Drugs are still everywhere (except instead of acid and pot, it’s meth, woo!), people are pissed at the government for another war, and Nickleback has a music career.  Looks like The Prisoner would fit nicely in our time, as well.

Uncoincidentally, the show is getting an update on November 15, when AMC begins airing its brand new version of The Prisoner.  The new version looks to improve on the original’s mediocre acting (and that’s putting it nicely), with Jim Caviezel (Mel Gibson’s torture porn Jesus) as Number 6 and Magneto himself, Ian McKellen, portraying Number 2.

I’m looking forward to this a lot, obviously.  AMC is rapidly becoming cable’s new home for great television, and The Prisoner looks to add to that reputation.  If you don’t believe my exaggerated excitement, here’s a trailer for everyone to enjoy.

AMC’s The Prisoner

Leave a comment

Filed under TV

Fringe: Catch Up and Watch It With Me (Originally Published October 21, 2009)

Thursday nights are my geek-out nights, usually with my similar-minded buddy.  I watch FlashForward at 7:00, enjoying the wacky existential questions about whether or not destiny exists, etc.  But at 8:00, I switch the TV to FOX, when the best show nobody’s watching comes on: Fringe.

Thursday night required viewing.

It wasn’t always this way, you see.  Last year, when it was broadcast on Tuesdays, Fringe was the most watched new show of the season.  People seemed to like its C.S.I.-meets-The X-Files premise (created by the writers and director of the new Star Trek, to boot), focusing on three likable characters: Olivia Dunham, an FBI agent who investigates strange, usually unexplainable phenomena; Walter Bishop, an erstwhile mental patient and also a scientist more brilliant than Einstein, specializing in “Fringe” sciences and some of the funniest non sequiturs I’ve ever heard; and Peter Bishop, Walter’s snarky son who is just as brilliant but much more together.

It started a little slow but its quality lifted into the stratosphere midway through the first year.  If you’re a fan of old Twilight Zone episodes, Kurt Vonnegut, or comic books, the standalone Fringe episodes will be quite intriguing to you.  There’s monsters underground, killer computer programs, and a ton of other creepy things that go bump in the night.  There is also a big overarching plot line that I’m certainly not about to ruin for anyone who hasn’t seen it.  If you want a hint, though, I can say that there is more than one of everything.

This season has been just as good, but nobody is watching it.  Why?  Because FOX is run by people that have no clue how to put together a schedule.  “What’s that?  Grey’s Anatomy and C.S.I., two of the top-rated shows of the decade, are on Thursdays at 8:00?  Let’s move our ratings giant there, too!  Everyone can get along!”  No, FOX.  Just…  no.  Its ratings are down big time, and it’s only getting 5.8 million viewers a week, as opposed to last year’s numbers of around 10 million.  They’re not in danger of cancellation yet, but I don’t want to wait around for that day to come, so that’s why I’m doing this.

After last week’s episode, they did their usual “next time on Fringe” preview, but it was for November.  As FOX has the ALCS and World Series, all their shows get preempted until next month.  I decided to take this time to tell everyone that they should rent season one–as well as watch this season’s episodes on Hulu–to catch up and boost the ratings for a show I really enjoy watching.  I’d like to continue watching it, and if more people start watching because of me, I won’t have to worry about it going anywhere.

Leave a comment

Filed under TV

Surf The Channel: Wasting Time the Right Way (Originally published October 20, 2009)

If you haven’t noticed, this website is about defeating boredom; it’s even in the name!  Sure, I have my silly little stories about facial hair and waffles, but it’s essentially a forum in which I can give you my favorite time wasters on the Internet.  Since the time I discovered it last year, my number one website for wasting time has been Surf The Channel.  It’s got just about every television show you can imagine, as well as thousands of movies, all for free.  You search the name of the film or show you want, click on it, and are given links to other websites where you watch them.  I’m not very sure on the legality of it all, but I don’t think you’ll have any problems watching this stuff.  You can discover your new favorite show or watch an old movie you can’t find at your local rental place.  It’s all worth the loading times and you won’t be disappointed.  So, enjoy hours of unproductive time, on me.

Surf The Channel

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies, TV

My Favorite Show of the New Season: FlashForward (Originally published September 28, 2009)

It's good. Trust me.

I love Lost.  I have all four seasons on DVD, am waiting patiently for the fifth season’s disc release, and will probably cry when the show ends in May.  I’m pretty sure ABC will do the same, as the show has been a consistent ratings hit (i.e. golden calf) for them for the past five years.  That’s why they’re desperately scrambling to find their next Lost-caliber show, and I think they may have done so with FlashForward.

I watched the pilot episode of FlashForward last week and can say I’m hooked.  It’s got a kooky high concept, a huge cast with lots of storytelling potential, and most importantly, the network’s backing in things like promotion.  It starts strong, establishes its characters well, and ends on a very gripping cliffhanger that should guarantee a large percentage of its premiere viewers—it got a 4.1 rating (pretty damn good)—returning to watch episode two this Thursday.

For those of you who haven’t seen the thousands of commercials for it, the concept is pretty easy to understand.  The entire world blacks out for two minutes and change and, while passed out, they experience visions of their future, specifically on April 29, 2010 at 10:00 p.m.  The crux of the storyline involves the FBI trying to solve the case of who put this global phenomenon into effect, and the mysteries surrounding such a massive undertaking.

The coolest thing about the show, to me, is the serialized style they’re implementing, much like that other favorite show of mine.  I love getting immersed in something and making sure I catch it every week.  I want to obsess over stuff, and this series (I hope) will provide something for me to obsess over.  The producers of the show clearly have a plan for what they want to do, offering key glimpses of what’s to come in FBI agent Mark Benford’s (Joseph Fiennes) vision of the future, of him going over a massive board of conspiracies involving the blackouts.  Numerous faces, numbers, and words tacked to the board indicate this is going to be a very complex, thinking person’s show.

The executive producers mentioned above also offer a lot of faith.  David Goyer worked on the stories and scripts for Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, both of which were universally considered great.  Brannon Braga works on the show that kick started the whole serialized TV show genre, 24, bringing with him a vast amount of knowledge of how to run a series like this.  Marc Guggenheim has worked on several shows and also wrote some very entertaining comic books, most notably Spider-Man.  These guys should keep the narrative on track and not get too bogged down in mundane soap operatic stories.

Of course, there’s some bad to it.  While the pilot was very, very good, it wasn’t the best ever.  It kind of glazed over the fact that hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of people would have died in car accidents, plane crashes, etc., leaving devastation nobody could even dream of.  We got a glimpse of it in the opening scenes but it seemed pretty tame compared to what it could have been.  I understand that this is TV, and budget constraints played a role in all of this, but a few more scenes of people bewildered by the destruction around them would have sufficed.  Beside that, the only major problem I had was with the dialogue in certain scenes.  It just seemed tacky to constantly refer to the visions by the title of the show (“In my flashforward,” was used several times) instead of simply calling them something less clunky like “flashes” or anything similar to that.

Beyond those minor glitches in the script, there really wasn’t much to complain about.  The acting was great, and seems to indicate this will be another character-centric sci-fi tale as opposed to the wooden acting and terrible production values of all those syndicated science fiction shows.  I particularly enjoyed Benford’s partner Demetri (played by Harold himself, John Cho), as he is terrified he’s going to be dead by the flash date, as he didn’t have one.   The realization that Benford, a former alcoholic, is drinking again in his flash, is also a nice dramatic touch.

If the ratings keep up, I can see this show lasting for several years, developing mysteries, deepening character relationships, and offering up all kinds of crazy action before having a huge, satisfying finale.  The producers say they know where every twist and turn leads, so stalling should not be a big problem, story-wise.  So, if you want to be entertained, give FlashForward a shot.

Leave a comment

Filed under TV

I Want to be Carson Daly (Originally posted July 19, 2009)

I’ve wanted to be a lot of things in my life: comic book artist, Mark Grace, screenwriter, you name it. The first one isn’t going to happen because, well, I’m not very talented at art. The second has a chance if I start getting really good at hitting doubles and having sex with fat women. And the third? That’s something that actually does have a shot. However, out of all the things I’ve ever wanted to be or jobs I’ve wanted to have, I’d say having Carson Daly’s job would be the best.

No, seriously, this is what I want in life.

Sure, I’ll field lots of skepticism about it, but if you think about it, he has the cushiest job around. He has a television show that begins at 12:30 AM Central Standard Time, making sure he never has to worry about ratings, especially being on the black hole of suck that is NBC (Conan excepted). And now with the glut of late-night shows his network is churning out, he’s been “forced” to change the format of his show from another boring-celebrity-promotes-their-new-whatever to something where he travels around with a cameraman to various cool spots of Los Angeles where he gets to eat awesome food and be a drunken buffoon for about five total minutes of filming. He’ll usually meet up with a celebrity just to hang out for a few minutes and talk, oftentimes with no promotional agenda, either.

No, seriously. This is what I want in life.

The rest of his show is then comprised of a performance or two of an up-and-coming artist, usually in the indie rock or underground hip hop genres, and the vast majority of them are great. Say what you will about his inability to be funny ever or his being a tool, the man has a pretty damn good ear for new musical talent. Bands I’ve recently started listening to due to their appearances on his show are The Duke Spirit (think a modern day Jefferson Airplane, but from England) and Nico Vega (cool dance rock band). Sure, there are a few clunkers, like the shit storm of horrible that is Asher Roth’s suburban white boy rap. But even in instances like those, the artist gains a lot of recognition, as Roth’s “I Love College” has become a staple on university campuses nationwide.

I have no idea if this type of opportunity will ever present itself to me, but if I had a chance to be “the next Carson Daly,” I would be really excited. I’d get to eat all the free food I want, sit and chat with some cool famous people, and promote the music that I want to listen to as opposed to just having the network make me present another Nickleback clone. That’s a hell of a gig if you ask me.

Leave a comment

Filed under TV