Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

That’s the wrong video, by the way

Posted on 30 September 2007

Wrong video? You don’t say…

Thankfully Kevin Everett is on the road to recovery. I don’t know if I can say the same for the guy who put together this film clip for News 12.

Survivor China

Posted on 21 September 2007

Survivor’s Back! This time it’s China, and the scenery and camp setup look pretty cool. One week down, and one annoying guy is already gone. I mean come on…with a name like “Chicken” how long did you really think he was going to last? (Then again, last year Yau Man made it right down to the wire.)

Here’s the Season 15 motley crew:

Picture 1-8

My early money is on Amanda and Erik. Maybe Jaime. Gravedigger James seems pleasant enough, but musclebound dudes never win. Leslie is too religious (and in denial about same.) Peih-Gee is too bitchy. Sherea is way too wimpy. Todd the flight attendant is far too flighty and precious. Courtney the waitress is too pale and proto-goth. See if you can spot her ghost-like figure in the picture above. Easy, right?

The buoyant Ashley was sick early on, but she’s sure to be a fan favorite for obvious reasons. She needs to toughen up.

Should be an interesting season.

No Reservations

Posted on 14 August 2007

Talking Travel with Anthony Bourdain – an interview with the author, traveler, and host of Travel Channel’s No Reservations.

The Bionic Woman Trailer

Posted on 19 July 2007

All of the 20 and 30 somethings are all excited these days about the film adaptation of Transformers. Not me…the Transformers were never part of my childhood. It was always something I saw as a silly, poorly drawn cartoon based on a weak premise and physics defying concept (many times the robots added and lost mass through their transformations.) And to what end? Why would a 60ft tall mechanical robot of death need to transform itself into a tractor trailer?


So anyway, I don’t get it. It’s probably because I grew up watching Lost in Space, The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. And yeah I know they’re hardly paragons of television excellence, but this is MY childhood we’re talking about here. My robots looked either like tin cans or like people, not cassette tapes or super cars.

Now comes the news (via my friend Brian) that The Bionic Woman is going to be remade into a television series on NBC. The trailer can be found here. As is usual these days, the 4 minute trailer is about 3 minutes too long. They show too much and not enough and it looks dorky as a result. I’ll probably give it a shot, if for no other reason than to ridicule it, but I definitely do not have high hopes for this one. Now that my current guilty pleasure (Pirate Master) has started its spiral down the toilet bowl (both in quality and viewership) I have little else to watch except the Food and Travel Networks.

Just so you’re not totally depressed, I leave you with a clip from the best Six Million Dollar Man episode ever – “The Secret of Bigfoot”.

Pirate Master Review

Posted on 15 June 2007

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Ok so, we’re addicted to Pirate Master. Diane, Lauren, and I watch it every Thursday on CBS.

I’m so ashamed, I’ve allowed Mark Burnett to do it to us again. Survivor, Eco-Challenge, On the Lot, and now this. I swear at this point he could put on a show featuring 12 people trying to rid themselves of athlete’s foot and we’d watch it. It’s like the guy has some sort of Steve Jobsian reality distortion field that sucks in our simple minds and holds them captive.

So what is Pirate Master you ask? Basically a bunch of people on a pirate-style ship, competing for money. From Wikipedia:

The premise is based on the fictional legend of the pirate captain Henry Steel and the Treasure of Zanzibar. Based on this tale, Steel divided his loot into 14 parts and hid them across the island of Dominica. A special chest, the Chest of Zanzibar, was created with 15 locked compartments, each containing maps and clues to find each of these stashes. The treasure found through the clues in one compartment will contain a key that can be used to open another compartment. The 15th compartment, which can only be opened once each other compartment has been opened in order, contains a map showing the location of every gold stash on the island of Dominica and would lead to the largest prize.

Each week, the contestants are divided into two crews, Black and Red, to hunt for the treasure indicated by the maps and clues obtained from the most recently opened compartment on the Chest of Zanzibar.

The show is corny. The set-up is contrived. The production-values are typical of a show of this type. But I love it.

When the two crews are out competing against each other, the course is littered with pirate decor. The crew in the lead at some point can trigger a trap for the trailing team (logs fall across a path, netting springs up blocking a river, etc.) It’s all very corn-ball and tongue in cheek, but it’s also fun. Strangely, our 5 year old loves it. I think it’s the concept of following a map and finding the treasure at the end. I enjoy the idea of the loot being parceled out in varying amounts, and the strategy that springs up as each of the crew end up bribing others for their votes.

The wiki has a table which shows the running tally of loot each player has. With all the bartering and trading going on, it’s going to be tough to keep that table accurate.

There was 1 minor celebrity on the cast, former Kansas City Chief’s running back, Christian Okoye. He’s since been cut adrift (he was inexplicably slow during the challenges. Strange for a former NFL player.)

TV Guide’s preview for the show can be found here.
A running episode synopsis can be found here.

8 Months…

Posted on 24 May 2007

Lost. An excellent season with an excellent 2 hour finale. The whiners will no doubt complain about questions not being answered, but there’s just no satisfying those sorts of people. They don’t seem to understand that you need to constantly have a stream of questions to answer to sustain a series like this – otherwise what’s the point of watching? Lost consistently delivers the answers, and at the same time poses new ones.

This is good writing.

These guys have been keeping a lot of balls in the air for 3 years, and with few exceptions they haven’t dropped many. With the end now clearly defined (48 more episodes over 3 years) the answers will no doubt arrive in a carefully orchestrated fashion.

So anyway…last night. Lots of people got wacked. I counted at least 12, 4 being major or “borderline major” characters. Nice. As the “end-twist” was unfolding earlier in the episode, I thought about the possibility and discarded it. The repeated mention of Jack’s father being alive is what threw me. I’m still not sure what’s up with that. And Jack’s beard was definitely not showing the gray that his island scruff had. Maybe we’re wrong to assume that the flash-forward really WAS a flash-forward.

And who’s in the coffin? Not “friend or family”, so who does that leave? Ben? Locke? And who did Kate have to get back to?

We have 8 months to mull over these questions. I’m not a smoker, but as Diane said: “I need a cigarette” after this one.

The Lousy Luck of Tim Minear

Posted on 15 May 2007


Last year, Glenn Reynolds (of Instapundit) and his wife did a podcast interview with John Scalzi and Tim Minear.

Scalzi as you might know, is an accomplished author who has managed to leverage the “power of the internet” to drive his book sales. Tim Minear is a writer and producer who has worked on projects like Firefly, Serenity, and Wonderfalls, among others. This episode of the podcast really is an excellent listen, highly recommended for any science fiction fan.

That said, I really feel for Tim Minear. His most recent effort “Drive“, has been cancelled after only 2 aired episodes.

Minear has experience with early cancellations, as the same fate befell Wonderfalls and Firefly. I thought Drive had a lot of potential, and I was shocked to see it go so soon. Fox seems to have no clue about how to launch a series, but they seem particularly antagonistic towards Minear. With Drive, they debuted a 2 hour pilot on Sunday, and followed up with the second episode on Monday (against “Dancing with the Stars”.) Firefly was presented out of order, against the World Series, and skipped weeks early on.

When up against such odds, you might think that it’d make some sense to give a series some room to breathe…find it’s viewership and whatnot. Not Fox. If the ratings aren’t there 2 episodes in, you’re gone. When it comes to patience, Fox is like a kid with ADD. With these kinds of odds stacked against it, I don’t think Drive ever had a chance.

Here’s what some other blogs are saying about the cancellation:

Ah, “Drive”, we hardly knew ye... – Sci Fi Fodder
“Drive” cancelled: The Minear/Fillion curse strikes again – Premium Hollywood
Super Hyped ‘Drive’ Cancelled – TV Envy
Drive Cancelled – Robologicon
Fox Does it Again – Almost, Not Yet
Fox cancels Drive – TV Squad

There are dozens of similar entries out there.

What makes this particularly sad is the excitement evident in Minear’s voice as he talks about this project on the podcast. You can tell that at the time he really thought that “this is it.” He seemed to believe that he had finally found the formula for a long lasting show.

Maybe next time, Tim.