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Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Fall TV Status Update

In Television on October 10, 2009 at 5:59 PM

Alright folks, I know we are all watching a lot of TV now that the fall season is upon us. There are a bunch of shows I’m watching religiously and I figured I’d toss out my thoughts on them so far this season.

Shark Tank [ABC, Tues. 8pm] – My favorite show right now by far. Five self-made millionaires are pitched ideas by small business owners, upstarts, inventors et al in the hopes that the sharks will invest some money in their idea. What makes the show are the sharks. They are always engaging to watch, especially when they interact with each other and fight over deals. Plus, I love hearing people’s ideas for products and services and businesses. The only pitfall of the show is the fact that one or two contestants per episode are throwaways. They have a terrible idea that is only on the air because it’s funny to watch the sharks rip them apart. Sort of like American Idol auditions. Other than that, it can’t miss.

Glee [FOX, Weds. 9pm] – After waiting ages for this show to start after its phenomenal pilot air months ago, we are finally in full swing. More than a handful of episodes in and it still has me looking forward to it every week. There were a few rough patches and one or two stinkers but overall the season has been solid and it’s worth watching every week for the music numbers alone.

Mad Men [AMC, Sun. 10pm] – Not gonna lie, a few episodes into this season I thought I was getting a bit tired of the show. But boy have things ramped up. I am enthralled now. I know everyone talks about this show constantly, but it’s for a reason. The acting, character development and directorial style are all top notch. The production values are just through the roof.

Curb Your Enthusiasm [HBO, Sun. 9pm] – I watched the first four seasons of this show but missed out on five and six. We just started seven and I’m glad I’m back on board. The hype surrounding this season has to do with the Seinfeld cast reunion that is taking place on the show. The genius of it is the fact that in this show they are putting together an actual reunion show for NBC, so in the process they are reuniting but for Curb.  There should be a couple more episodes as part of this story arc and if they are anywhere near the level of the first we are in for quite a treat.

FlashForward [ABC, Thurs. 8pm] – I’m only two episodes in on this one (the third is waiting on my DVR for when I finish this post) but I’m enjoying it so far. I’m not hooked in the sense I must see it immediately every week but I’m definitely following it. I find myself much more interested in the event itself and how it happened and what its effects were etc, more so than each person fulfilling or not fulfilling their destiny.

Entourage [HBO, Off] – This season just wrapped up a few weeks ago and I somewhat enjoyed it. The second half certainly had more meat to it than the first. In fact, the finale was by far the best episode of the year and it actually made me want more. Which is something no previous episode this season accomplished. I just kept watching because I felt an obligation to.

Bored To Death [HBO, Sun. 9:30pm] – More like Boring To Death. I gave up on this one. Got through 2.5 episodes and starting questioning why I was wasting my time. No thanks.

What is everyone else watching?


Actual Blogging: Sept. 4th Edition

In News, Television on September 4, 2009 at 12:39 AM

So it’s late at night and I’m staying the night on a friend’s couch. Currently I’m typing whilst watching Letterman and I felt the need to write a bit. Mostly because the site hasn’t seen a new post in days and it was about time something went up here.

I figured I’d take the time to do some actual blogging and discuss what’s going on this weekend for me because I’m excited about it and technically it’s preventing me from posting anything else.

For any of those who may not know, I live in Western Mass and work at the Apple Store in Holyoke. I’ve recently been given the opportunity to become a ‘mentor’ in the store. Part of this responsibility involved going to Boston for training at our corporate office there. That training occurred earlier today (technically yesterday I suppose) and it was fantastic. I really enjoyed it and took a lot out of it.

Meanwhile, I have today and tomorrow off from work and a friend from New York will be in Boston tonight so I decided to stick around in town and spend some time with my friends, which I see far less than I should.

Tomorrow (technically today) I will have the morning/afternoon to myself in the city (until the friend from NY arrives). So I’ll get a chance to do whatever I want in Boston and I just planned my day.

I’m going to head into the Museum of Fine Arts. It’s a great way to spend some time and I’ll be able to do it at my own pace, a luxury I’ve never before experienced. On top of that, there is a showing of Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison. Something I’ve never actually seen but have always had an interest in. I can’t wait. Expect plenty of twitpics.

Then I’ll reconvene with everyone for a night out. So anyway, that’s what’s up.

Have I ever told you my feeling about late night TV by the way? I’m a huge Letterman and Ferguson fan at this point in my life. i used to be a big Conan  advocate, and I still believe he has the best bits, but his interviews are starting to feel canned and he has lost his edge. Meanwhile, Letterman and Ferguson have the most interesting, fun and unpredictable interviews. And Fallon… well… he’s trying. But yea, CBS all the way for me.

That’s all.

UPDATE: Didn’t get a chance to see the movie at the MFA. But the trip in and of itself did not disappoint. And I did end up going to the top of the Prudential and it was amazing. Once I get home and get the pictures up on my MobileMe gallery, you’ll be the first to see ’em.

UPDATE 2: I’ve updated my MobileMe gallery with pictures from the trip. Including a video you can hear me being told to stop taking at the end of. Make sure to check out the stuff from the top of Prudential in particular and the Boston Harbor misprint that I submitted to the fail-blog HERE.

Crowning Moments Of Awesome

In Film, Literature, Television on August 20, 2009 at 12:44 AM

As defined by the website, a Crowning Moment of Awesome is best described as:

“The moment when a fictional character does something for which they will be remembered forever, winning for them the eternal loyalty of fans.”

And it was at this website that I found myself escaping from my hours of boredom, looking up what I deemed to be Crowning Moments of Awesome and seeing if they were indeed cataloged by what I would declare as the most comprehensive compendium of such moments.

As I searched through the website and was reminded of the various CMOA that I have experienced throughout my years as a reader/movie-watcher/tv-gazer, I realized that these instances really make or break a movie/book/show for me. It’s these small instances of, for lack of a better word, awesomeness, that have made the works that they are a part of so memorable in my mind.

Off the top of my head one example that comes to mind is Gladiator, when Russel Crowe removes his helmet and reveals that he is still very much alive to Commodus’ dismay and declares:

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Just re-reading this quote gave me a shiver accompanied by fleeting goose bumps. It is one of those movie moments that will stay strong in my head, even as most of the other parts of the movie fall into obscurity.

Another legendary moment is in The Princess Bride when Inigo Montoya finally faces the six-fingered man, repeating the lines, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.” A moment that will be forever rise above other scenes, bronzed in an awesome glory.

Sometimes, however, a movie cannot elicit any memories of a CMOA. Some movies have but a few, some might have multitudes,  and some movies could be said just to be one giant CMOA coalesced from many smaller CMOA, such as the 300 holding strong against their titanic Persian foe.  After reading this article and looking through the numerous examples, I discover that a well placed CMOA is the #1 thing I look for in a movie. The first half of a movie can be shit for all I care as long as it somehow can pull a glorified CMOA from its ass, obliterating all the other detritus from memory.

My favorite CMOA of all time would have to be the end of the last episode from the anime series “Cowboy Bebop” (one of the few anime shows that I can stand to watch). The character “Spike Spiegel,” whom has illustrated various amounts of badassery throughout the series and has become one of my top 5 fictional characters, ends the series with such an amazing “bang” that I will never tire of watching the episode again and again. I do not want to divulge what specifically it is that he does due to the nominal chance of ruining it for someone who might plan to watch it someday, but I can say that it is indeed a Crowning Moment of Awesome. Read the rest of this entry »

May Madness: ‘Idol’ Final Four

In Music, Television on May 1, 2009 at 1:18 AM

I’ve put this off long enough. I have got to sound off on American Idol now that we are down to the final four. But first let me say, yes, I watch American Idol. I know it’s all filler/garbage during elimination nights, the product placement is atrocious and Paula is intolerable. But the talent this year is fantastic, the songs are fun to listen to, Simon is still the man and the drama of who goes and who stays is irresistible. So let’s get right to it:

ADAM: Has my vote. By far the best performer/entertainner and most innovative. He is a phenomenal talent. His song selection (minus that little Ring of Fire mishap) has been impeccable. More specifically, his renditions of Tracks of my Tears and Mad World were some of the best performances the show has ever seen.

That being said: he may not win. For a few reasons. 1. Many people think he already has it in the bag so they don’t put in the effort of voting (like myself). Which is why I think he was in the bottom two this week (unless that was just a producer’s way of ratcheting up the excitement). 2. Stuff like this has got to scare FOX when they consider the prospect of him becoming the new mascot of their highest rated show.

KRIS: Consistently good. I really like Kris’ voice and his song choices. He was the best and bravest during disco week without a doubt. He is my second choice and I would not be surprised one bit if he won and I’d be okay with that. The reason his chances are better than Adam’s is that he is more marketable. He has a broader appeal, a more soothing presence and a clean look. But he’s weak in terms of charisma and personality. So it’s a tossup. He is talented enough to be the next American Idol, without question (I mean if Taylor Hicks can win…). Then again, he was in the bottom three this week, for what reason I do not know.

ALLISON: The youngster is my third choice. She has always been a strong contender but her problem is her limited range. All her performances blend together for me. While I’m listening to her I’m impressed but it’s easily forgettable. She hasn’t proven she is a unique artist, as Kara would say. Also, she’s a bit too similar to Kelly Clarkson. America needs something fresher than that, which has been proven by her recent visits to the bottom three. But she will certainly shine this week with the rock and roll theme.

DANNY: The guy with the dead wife. I’ve only heard this secondhand but apparently his dying wife’s last wish was for him to compete on Idol. If someone wants to confirm that be my guest, but it explains part of why he gets so many votes. I think he’s a fine singer, but who makes up his audience? What demographic would buy his albums? Ultimately, that’s what FOX wants: to sell albums. And Danny is not a lock for that if you ask me. I hope sympathy votes don’t sway America too heavily, at the end of the day this is a singing competition. And, great as he is at times, the other three are all better.

BOTTOM LINE: There’s more talent among these top four than a lot of previous Idol winners. If you never watched or gave up on it like I did, I suggest you give it another shot. At the risk of sounding corny: it’s good, wholesome entertainment. A fun diversion from life to escape to. And, at the very least, something to blog about.

Susan Boyle Is Overrated

In Music, Television on April 20, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Yea I said it! Someone had to say it!

I grant you, the crazy cat-lady turned international darling is a darn good singer. But she’s being talked up as if she has the voice of God. Now if God were to release a CD, I might get it. Boyle? Not so much. I’ve heard her sing ‘I Dreamed a Dream,’ and on Larry King she did ‘My Heart Will Go On.’

Both songs I like (the former more than the latter) but I’ve also heard them both done better. I would never trade my International Cast Recording of ‘Dream’ for hers. And that makes me a problem for the media because they are in the business of selling CD’s. Synergy baby, synergy.

My mother noticed the headline of this article when I was writing it and immediately said, “You’re such a killjoy! It’s her story that’s amazing.” And that’s exactly my point: they’ve already got my mom! She’ll probably end up buying a CD because of this ‘amazing story!’ Which is precisely what they want!

Am I being an insensitive, cynical jerk who should be ashamed of myself because I can’t just let this poor lady have her fifteen minutes of fame without trying to diminish her accomplishment (which far surpasses any of my own)?

Yes, yes I am.

Now, do I think Susan Boyle is some kind of financial mastermind behind this whole thing? No, she is probably legit. But that doesn’t mean others aren’t trying to cash in on her appeal. And in doing so they are using artificially exaggerated language to describe her talent.

The problem is that now, a new contender as entered the ring. I saw a recent CNN headline about this other kid in the same competition. They are calling him a ‘young Stevie Wonder’ and now it’s his turn to steal the news cycle for another week (and inevitably sign a record deal).

My point is: there are a lot of great singers in the world, so exactly how long are we going to keep glorifying these talent show stand-outs?