Tag Archives: Television

Charles Schulz / “Mad Men” / Radio Lab

"But in the mid-1950s a large part of [Schulz's] public consisted of good, plain people who felt guilty at being discontented in an epoch of unprecedented prosperity. Peanuts struck a chord with those who had thought they had everything they wanted only to discover that they didn't, and needed an acceptably gentle reminder of this insight."

— David Michaelis, Schulz and Peanuts pg 342.

Mad Men begins at the dawn of the sixties but the same dynamic is in play. Today the existential anxiety is coming from the unprecedented level of possibilities the connected world promises to offer (or should that be threatens to offer), as discussed in the first part of WNYC's Radio Lab latest program "Choice" with it description of new college grads frozen into inaction from fear of making decisions — each decision taken represents an elimination of some tantalizing (and now lost) hypothetical opportunity.

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New “Heroes” post up

FatherOf episode 13 "The Fix" at TvS.
Takei!

Here’s a snip, a mini-editorial on how I feel about George Takei being cast in the show:

Some viewers aren’t looking to give Takei much of a
chance, based on web chatter I’ve seen. I like Takei. He barely makes
an appearance tonight, but the single shot of his stony visage as he
stares down Hiro in fatherly disappointment is enough to make me
willingly decide to forget Sulu for the purposes of enjoying Heroes.
Takei is having a resurgence right now, and that is only part of a long
and distinguished career. Meet him halfway. If the audience gives him
the chance they would give any other well-known face in a new role I
expect they will see he can do the character and the show justice.

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My review of NBC’s “Heroes” fall finale

has been up at TV Squad a couple days now.

And here’s some thoughts by Michael Wentz and Wil Wheaton about the show. The general consensus being, and I concur,  Heroes doesn’t annoy with endless meandering and dropped threads ala a certain ABC deserted island classic …

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The Wire: Boys of Summer

Wire1My coverage of The Wire (S04E01): Boys of Summer should be up by now…

(Somewhat, but not hugely, spoilerific.)

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Everybody should watch “The Wire”

07_kids
I’ll be covering The Wire season 4, which starts September 10th for TV Squad which I am quite happy about. It’s the best show on television  (beating out all the other best shows on television such as BSG, Deadwood, and even the previous bestest best shows on television like Six Feet Under and The Sopranos.) Good news for those without HBO. Seasons 1 and 2 have been out on DVD for awhile, and season 3 (which is even better than season 1) should be out soon is also out now.

You should watch this. I am not kidding. And give it a couple episodes, because the pace is different than a lot of TV.  What looks like just another cop show, is really a sweeping tragedy, an epic story of our times. If you like rich, profound portrayals of the human condition, you will be moved by it. If not … fuck it.

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The carrot

Dwight
Rainn Wilson answers questions (in character as "Dwight" from TV’s "The Office") for Forbes:

Getting ahead at ‘The Office’ – Aug. 14, 2006.

[snip]

And moving in the other direction, do you have any tips on managing from below?

Keep the subordinates in line, use the carrot and the stick, but use the carrot like, the same way you would the stick.

So beat them with it.

Exactly.

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The horror … the horror

‘Masters of Sci Fi’ a series of six episodes of stories adapted from Heinlein, Kessel, Walter Mosely, Sheckley, Howard Fast, and (of course) Harlan Ellison* will be on ABC next year. It’s from the same company that produced "Master of Horror" on Showtime last year, which I found wretched, tedious, and inept.  So … yippee.

*Update 3:25 pm. Oops forgot the trademark symbol after H*rl*n *ll*s*n. Hope I don’t get sued!

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TV Stuff

They’ve allowed me to expand a little at TVSquad and post on some news and other interesting stuff, so those of you who stop by this page, but never watch TV, can now be spared some of my obsessions over it, and those who do share them, can start here: Exposing the Hanso Foundation, or here: Terry O’Quinn misses the old Locke too.

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South Park

[Via TV Squad] found a Penn (of Penn and Teller) interview Trey Parker (of South Park), which got me thinking about the show, which I love. It made me think of the most obnoxious unfunny episode of the year — the one I found personally offensive — the hybrid car episode which portrayed all hybrid car owners as smug self-righteous weenies. I don’t have a hybrid car (I don’t have any car, but when/if the point comes that I need one, I definitely would buy one).  

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TV Squad

Catch my posts on Blade: The Series

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and Showtime’s Brotherhood now at TV Squad.

 

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Stephen King TV

I am definitely looking forward to the new Stephen King anthology series on TNT (I think) starting tonight (?) after this write up on the opening episode: Nightmares & Dreamscapes: Battleground – An early look – TV Squad.
Evidently this opener stars William Hurt as is told completely without dialog.

I have high hope, but then I had high hopes for Showtime’s "Masters of Horror" last season what a load of tedium and almost comically criminal ineptness that turned out to be…

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Storytelling in Another Form

I rented "Project Runway" after seeing  Heather Shaw listed it on her "Four Things Meme" as one of the four shows she loves to watch. I confess I would never have expected this particular reality show to appeal to me, but Shaw’s other TV and film picks all appeal to me.

What a great show …

In Stephen King’s On Writing, he mentions that (here, I paraphrase) for whatever reason, people like to read about other people’s work. A particular pleasure of Project Runway for me (as also found in Jerry Seinfeld documentary "Comedian, of my favorites) comes from the parallels I find in it (the work of designing women’s clothing in this case, just as that of honing a stand-up act in the case of Seinfeld) to writing prose fiction.
Each episode the competing fashion amateur fashion designers must complete a piece using some (often bizarre) set of materials and a basic concept or theme, such as ‘envy’ in one early episode. I find watching the contestants attempts to transform the initial concept into  clothing fascinating. They focus their thinking. Though some of the best designers hone the concept as they work and others clarify their vision before they begin each of the designers arrives eventually to an understanding of what they want. As they work, pieces come together, or they do not. Strikingly, some of the creators of weaker designs might have great concepts as well, concepts that they can explain very well to the jury, but when you look at the dress itself — what the hell happened? I find it hard to explain, because I don’t have the fashion vocabulary, but I, at least, can’t help but feel the difference. A green dress is expected for envy, so holds little interest. A dress with fake blood on it to show that (as the designer had to explain) "all the other models are jealous of her in this dress so they killed her" leaves me scratching my head. But a good dress, no matter the initial concept, I kinda’ get it, without being an expert. Just as in fiction, show don’t tell.

All that and the colorful personalities, of heroes and villians – the staple of any good reality shows. But most of all I find watching the good players get into the "zone," putting their sweat  and their passion into their creations, endlessly inspiring.  Recommended.

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43 Folders, Modest Changes, Cancelling Something, Netflix, and Me.

I rarely visit 43 Folders  without finding some little trick to try to make life a little easier – as easy as canceling something, in this case. The Cancel something entry suggests examining services to eliminate from your life. I happened to eliminate Netflix several months ago, and have experienced only bliss and tranquility since …

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