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You Watch That? That's so Gay!

Posted by DGN on 1:17 PM in
November 4th, 2008.


The United States of America, the most famous and powerful country in the world, elects its first African American president - Barack Obama.


Congratulations.


November 4th, 2008.


The state of California votes to overturn the law that legalized gay marriages. Hence making people who did get married, not so much anymore.


Hmm, one step forward, two steps back!

Your probably wondering what this has to do with TV?

Well just the other day it was announced that Brooke Smith (who plays Dr. Hahn on Grey's Anatomy) has been fired, and her lesbian storyline will end on today's episode. This coming on the heels of Rebecca Romijn's transgender character Alexis Mead leaving the cast of Ugly Betty (though word is that it is because she is pregnant).

Word going around is that ABC is anti-gay. Actually the network has the most homosexual characters on TV. Seven as of this past September.

So, what's the problem? Do you think that America isn't ready for a strong gay storyline?


Perhaps? The Grey's Anatomy storyline was probably one of the most risque I've seen on network tv in a while. A lot of the discussion in the last episode was about oral sex, and how each of the lesbian characters felt about it.

With gay culture slowly getting in the mainstream, we've seen a lot of homosexual characters in our favorite shows. Ellen and Will & Grace are probably the most famous of these shows. Both were built around main characters being gay. The former eventually turned into that (and ended up getting cancelled), while the latter was the premise. But there have been other shows. Melrose Place started off with a gay character (Matt, played by Doug Savant of Desperate Housewives), Spin City, Friends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Larry Sanders Show, as well as many more.

In each of the shows I mentioned the characters were secondary characters and while they all had storylines that involved their sexuality and life, they were never as 'A-Plot' as the one in Grey's.


I'm not sure if the actress wasn't the greatest on set, if the story was not working in the ratings, or if the writers just didn't know where to take it (though if your starting a storyline, you better know how to end it), but it just seems rushed out out of place, and sadly, undue attention on a show that has some good points to it.

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"Who Watches TV on TV Anyways?!"

Posted by DGN on 3:45 PM in
Well I do!... Or so I thought.

I heard this line the other night on Gossip Girl. It was a throwaway line, but it got me thinking... do people watch TV on TV anymore?

Of course, I thought to myself. I do. I do it everyday. But on further inspection, I realized, very few of the shows I watch today, are actually when they are on air.

Mondays have become the most hectic day in the week for me. Between Chuck, Heroes, How I Met Your Mother, 2 hours of WWE Monday Night RAW (it's awesome, so don't judge me!),One Tree Hill (guilty pleasure, so don't judge me!), Samantha Who? and Boston Legal I barely can watch any one program live. Add to the fact that I am at my weekly football game, and well, I thank the good Lord for DVRs, timeshifting and weekends!


Then there are shows that for some reason, do not cross the border as fast as others. Take for example ABC Family's Greek. Premiering in the states in the summer of 2007, the series finally debuted this summer on CTV and subsequently got over played on MuchMusic. The problem, however, has been that the good people over at CTV/Much have decided to halt the series mid way through the first season (it was really the mid season finale stateside, but a full season finale here). Greek is currently in the middle of its second season, while us crazy canucks are waiting for season one to resolve itself. By the time that actually happens, it should be graduation time! In cases like that, I've found myself moseying on to youtube and the like, watching episodes people have posted in bits and pieces. 30 Rock even recently premiered its season opener online a full three days before it went on air! The result, its highest ratings ever for a season premiere (I'm sure the Emmy helped as well!)

And then there are TV shows on DVD, iTunes, and On Demand channels. Most people I know get their entertainment this way. From the people I've spoken to, more people watch Entourage and Dexter on demand during the week than during their Sunday night timeslot.

It seems like people want to watch their show at their own pace. Whether it be watching 10 episodes of Nip/Tuck in a row (DVD), or watching an episode and then coming back to it later (on Demand/online), TV viewing has changed dramatically.

Neilsen even has figures for shows recorded on a DVR (a rating that seems to have saved shows like Friday Night Lights). New reaseach shows that DVR watchers actually watch MORE tv than your average live tv viewer. In fact in Europe 45% of people do their viewing online. Here in North America, networks are putting their programming online to attract views there. 90210 is one show has people flocking over to the Globaltv website here in Canada.

While I have crossed over to this new frontier, making the TV schedule work around my schedule, I still feel as if there still isn't anything like watching your favorite show on a big tv screen, rather than in front of a PC (or Mac) or even your iPod.

Call me old fashioned!

How about you? Where do you view most of your series? On Air? Online? On DVD? Let me know.

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News from around the Tube...

Posted by DGN on 11:07 AM in
Alright, alright, I know I've been away. But there's been so much on offer and so little time... so with that in mind, let's proceed.
  • HBO has picked up Entourage for a sixth season a month into season five coming on air. Great news for fans of Vincent Chase and company!

  • Not to be outdone, Showtime announced that Dexter has been picked up for two additional seasons. Looks like Sunday night is pretty much set for for me for the next two years

  • NBC has picked up full season orders for Knight Rider and Kath & Kim (Seriously?!)

  • Private Practice and Samantha Who? has been picked up by ABC as well.

  • Barack Obama proved that people are really interested in this election. Using tv as a way to improve his image and get his name out there, Obama aired a 1/5 hour infomercial on every network save for ABC. Later that night he showed up on The Daily Show and garnered huge numbers for them as well!

  • CBS said goodbye to the Ex List. For some reason I really thought that one would work!

  • D.L Hugley has his own show on CNN. WTF?! D.L Hugley Breaks the News began October 25th.

  • The CW announced that with the success of 90210, they are working on creating a new Melrose Place for next season.

So, what do you think? Excited some of these shows are staying. Glad that some are off the air? Confused why CNN has a comedy show? Wondering why the CW is becoming the 90's nostolgia channel ?

Your comments would be gladly appreciated :)


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Name that Tune...

Posted by DGN on 12:12 PM
So the other day I was watching Entourage, and during the last scene Ari tells Vince that he's got a potential job offer to be a studio head and get Vince any job he wants. Vince answers back saying that it's great, but he thought they would end what they started. As he says the line, the Radiohead's Fake Plastic Trees qued in the background, and portrayed the uncertainty that both Vince and Ari were feeling in the scene.



skip over to the 2:00 min mark or so.

The scene was very poetic, and it made me wonder about music and tv, and how they two have had a brilliant relationship over the past ten years or so.

Now I'm not going to go into detail about general background music in shows, though those are just as important, but actual songs in TV shows.

Teen dramas are rife with examples. Imagine the opening of Dawson's Creek or The OC without the music that accompanies them. Those songs set the tone for the show before a single line was even uttered.

And what about the bands whose music is part of these series? Well they just introduce themselves to a whole new fan base

Take the example of Scrubs. Here is a show that uses a lot of music to portray how the characters are feeling. Long before Grey's Anatomy used the Fray's How to Save a Life for its commercials (a move that helped make the song one of the most downloaded ever!), the song was used in a crucial scene on Scrubs. But that's not the point. The point is, during the making of the DVD for season 1, songs were omitted from episodes and replaced with others as a cost cutting measure.

Fans were outraged. Putting pressure on the creator to make sure future DVDs didn't have the same issues. What makes this so impressive is the fact that season 1 of Scrubs came out in 2005, a full four years after the show premiered. The episodes weren't even in syndication! Clearly, fans of the show were so moved by the music that they wanted the same songs to portray the same emotions they felt when they first saw the episode.

Subsequent DVDs for Scrubs and other shows with strong musical influences have stuck to the same songs they used in the original run. Some series, like any show on the CW, have sections of their official website that informs viewers of what tracks were played in what episodes. Thus allowing the band to feed off the fanbase of the show.

I'll leave you with some of the best music moments in Scrubs.



Till the next time, why don't you tell me some music/tv moments that moved you.

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Have a Little Faith in Me!

Posted by DGN on 10:56 AM in ,
The new season is well underway, and there have been some interesting trends in the world of TV.

Fringe is the second new series, after 90210, to get a full season order. Lead in House has definately helping push the show to gain an audience every week.

I haven't seen it, but the Mentalist generated some great numbers in its debut episode. CBS watchers really love their crime investigative shows, don't they!

However, sophmore shows like Chuck, Dirty Sexy Money, Private Practice, and Pushing Daisies are returning to lower ratings than their premiere seasons. Which I have to say is unfortunate because I enjoy all these shows. The long, writers strike enduced, lay off of no new episodes really seems to have viewers looking elsewhere for their favorite shows.

Even fanboy favorite Heroes is experiencing trouble. After a second season cut in half, the series experienced its lowest rated episode this past Monday (October 6th, 2008). As a friend pointed out to me, once you start playing around with time travel, things can get very convoluted for the viewers.

In each of the cases, not including Heroes, the loss seems to be about a million viewers or so. That is a lot, but when you consider the 10 months these shows have not been on the air, that's pretty good retention.

All shows have come back with bang creatively. All have managed to keep their tone, as well as get rid of any kinks that annoyed viewers last season.

The question though, is will the networks stay dedicated to these shows if ratings either stay the same or fall.

One of the main reasons people have been switching from networks to cable in recent years is due to the knee jerk reactions of network tv.

HBO, Showtime, and now AMC, are being looked at as the place to view great programs. Even basic cable stations like TNT, USA and FX have given us some gems over the years. The reason? Series are allowed to develope and grow. They are allowed to create a connection with the audience and have the time to develope their stories. Examples? The Sopranos, Dexter, Mad Men, Nip/Tuck.

Network tv on the other hand, doesn't seem to understand this phenomenon. A lot of the time, they are quick to get rid of shows based on a few weeks (some cases days) old. On the flip side, they are quick to pick up on orders on the same idea.

But there have been a few cases where networks have worked on the "cable style" system and in the process found some TV classics

From Last Place to Where Everybody Knows Your Name!
Back in 1982, NBC was in bad state. The network had a lot of dramas on their last legs and very few sitcoms. A new sitcom debuted on the station that built around the concept of friends meeting at a bar detailing troubles at work and home. The show was called Cheers. One of the most successful shows in the past 50 years, anchoring the stations "Must See TV Thursday" lineup, as well as spinning off another NBC hit, Fraiser. But did you know that pilot episode of this show was DEAD LAST in the ratings. Network programming head Brandon Tartikoff felt the series has legs and kept it around. Now imagine if the show was taken off the air based on that one episode. Gone would be famous opening anthem, the screams of Nooorm, and the extra eleven years were were given by Fraiser!

The Chronicles of Nothing!
1989. A TV show called the Chonicles of Seinfeld premiered on NBC. The pilot was not well recieved and numbers weren't great. NBC actually offered the show to FOX, but they refused as well. The series was headed to the cancellation heap when late night and special events head Rick Ludwin decided to take money from his budget and fund the next three episodes of the show. Those three episodes, with the lead in from the aforementioned Cheers, drew big numbers, and led to the show getting picked up and eventually replacing Cheers on the "Must See TV" line up. on the season 1 DVD box set, Jerry Seinfeld even goes as far as saying that the decision making process and freedom he got from NBC in those early days has only been replicated at HBO. Hmmm, conicidence? I think not!

Today NBC finds itself in a similar situation as it did back in 1982. With the finales of Friends and Fraiser, NBC lost a lot of ground to CBS with its mix of procedural dramas and reality tv. The network consistantly sees itself in fourth place, with the exception of its highly rated late night programming (there we go again!)

There are other examples of networks pulling for shows that are creatively strong, but come out a little too early for the public. However, they seem to be few and far between, and in a lot of cases, shows aren't even given the time to develop or find an audience. I understand the business is about having the ratings to sell time to advertisers, and these in turn help pay for the shows, but in certain cases, a good show with good writing and good acting should be given a chance. And then if the audience isn't there, fine, it's time we call it a day.

Case in point: Friday Night Lights. A brilliantly written show with some great acting (Kyle Chandler is a standout), has really struggled to find an audience despite a lot of good press. NBC really seems to like this series, mainly due to the fact that the people who do watch it fall within a wealthier demographic. So, this season it is splitting costs with satelitte company DirecTV. The subscription channel will premiere the new season, and then three months later the show will debut on NBC for the rest of us regular folks (and hopefully Global, here in Canada). NBC is really hoping that this will somehow help the show find its footing.

Any shows that you were falling in love with that got brutally taken away?

Do tell in comments

Note:
So I just found out that Beverly Hills Chihuahua made $29 million dollars over the weekend. The shows above are losing viewers, and some how this movie manages to make a ridiculous amount of money. C'mon people! The shows I'm mentioning are free!!! Wow, just wow!

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Empty-V : A Break Up Letter

Posted by DGN on 12:54 PM in
Hey M,

How you been? I know, I haven't been around lately. I'm sorry... it's just that, well, things are different now. And as hard as this is to say, I think it's time that we moved on.

Remember when we first met almost fifteen years ago. Things were much simpler then. I'd hear a song on the radio, and there you were showing me the video. Whenever there was an act in town, there they were at your place, hanging out, telling us what was going on. I loved the parties you used to throw, huge bashes that focused on music or movies. They were absolutely crazy!


Then things started to change a little. We were both growing up, trying new things out. I started hanging out with some of the networks, you started toying around with this concept called reality tv. It was a nice change at first. You mixed a little of that young music flavour with people like myself. Oh how I enjoyed the seeing people from The Real World or chilling with Beavis and Butthead.

But then, somewhere down the line, I began to notice that things were changing altogether. All of a sudden there weren't any music videos and that there was more and more of this reality stuff. Sure if we were out late, it would be like old times, but that was the extent of it. In fact it got so bad, I had to hang out with Much (who seems to have since been following your lead!). To your credit you tried. After we talked, you introduced TRL.

As the years went on though even that didn't work. I tried to get into some of the things you were into. I'm not going to lie, I enjoyed hanging out with some of the kids from Laguna Beach. I tried a Shot of Love with Tila Tequila but it wasn't for me. I enjoyed Pimping My Ride, adn Punking people. Ahh, those were fun times. Hell, I even tried moving to The Hills with you, but after a year of nothing happening, I really didn't want to stay there much longer.

I did enjoy our time trying to turn Gs to Gents . I thought perhaps maybe we could communicate on a new understanding. Perhaps try and educate through entertainment rather than exploit. But then things took another turn for the worse.

Now you want to find a new BFF for Paris Hilton???!! C'mon man, what is this all about? I didn't even have time for the actual event, I just joined in for the casting special. This is what you have to offer me? I've given you fifteen years of support and this is how you repay me. I'm sorry, but this is what is breaking this camel's proverbial back.

But I think you sensed this happening. Come November I hear your getting rid of the our olive branch that is TRL.

Hopefully we can still be friends. I'm sure I'll see you around at the parties. I'm still one of the few that enjoy those. And I'm sure we'll run into each other at Much's place.

But other than that, I'm going to say that this is the end. It's been a fun ride, but I think this might be it for the both of us.

Best Wishes,

DGN


PS: Here are some better times :)



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Ask Not What TV Can Do for You, Ask What You Can Do for TV

Posted by DGN on 1:40 PM in
With the election fever taking over most of North America - Both the United States and Canada have elections coming up this fall, not too sure about Mexico - I wanted to take a look at the role TV will be playing in who becomes leader. Be warned...this may be a long one!

The main focus here of course will be the American election system -mainly because it is so TV friendly.

American politics is always played out better than pretty much any other country in the world. Speeches are made that are better written than most movies or TV shows, and alliances and backstabbing is worse than even the best episode of Survivor. TV has always played an important role in the building up, or in most cases breaking down opponents. Who hasn't seen commercials where one candidate bad mouths anothers campaign ideas.


However, there are other ways that TV has really helped with politics and more importantly, Preseidential elections. In 1960, the first US Presidential Debate was held on TV. The participants were then Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon. The debate, like in years to come, was hosted on all major networks and greatly aided Kennedy in his eventual winning of the election. The reason: viewers were able to relate to a young, charming candidate in comparison to Nixon's "poor makeup, haggard appearance and gray suit which blended into the backdrop of the set". Kennedy's people knew the power of image, and used it to their advantage.


The same can be said of President Bill Clinton. In 1988 Bill Clinton was introducing Presidential hopeful Michael Dukakis at the Democratic convention. His speech was 48 mins long, and had people in the crowd screaming for him to stop. Clinton uttered the words "in closing" to a huge round of applause and a standing ovation. Later, Clinton appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where Carson gave the longest introduction for a guest at 3 mins and 48 secs. The intro was actually pages long. When Clinton did come on, he was asked the question "How are you?" followed by Carson putting an hourglass on the table. Clinton laughed it off and came across like someone who could laugh at himself and very positively. The end result, nomination for himself in the 1992 elections and eventually President of the United States.


In the lead up to this year in particular, you have probably one of the most exciting and twisted elections ever. On one hand you have Senator Barack Obama, from Illinois - the first black nominee ever, who fought tooth and nail to win a very close primary against former first lady Hilary Clinton. On the other hand, Senator John McCain, a Vietnam vet, who has used getting a female running mate as his bargining chip into the White House. Both are looking for their first term in the Oval Office.

Let's see how TV has helped or detered each candidate out:

The Primaries:

With each candidate looking to stake their claim before official nominations had taken place, candidates were quick to show up on our TV sets. Obama, Clinton and McCain did the usual rounds of news and talk shows, but they even appeared on shows like Saturday Night Live (to show their lighter side), WWE Monday Night RAW (to get to those pesky 18-24 male demo) and even on the season finale of Last Comic Standing (again, I guess to show that they can laugh like the rest of us). In a lot of cases, these came across as trying to hard, rather than attaching some "cool" factor, and it doesn't help that all three would sometimes show up on the same show, so as to not show political bias.

Obama:

You just have to look at Obama's acceptance of the Presidential nomination to see how he's using the power of image and emotion to connect with voters. Making the stage into a roman colosseum, as if ushering a new era (Obama's campaign motto is Change), to the biography movie introducing him before hand (showing him growing up from humble beginnings to something bigger), everything is set up to give him the bigger than life appearance, that this is the man to lead us into the next phase of American history.

McCain/Palin:

The power of TV really is a strong example with these two. McCain clearly chose Sarah Palin as his running mate to capitalize on that Hilary vote, but also because she's a looker. His party knows that we are an image concious group, and we'd rather watch Barack than old man John, so he got us something we can look at. Palin is now the focus of the campaign, pretty much doing the talking whenever available. She has even helped in aiding SNL's ratings this season through the absolutely brilliant impersonations of Tina Fey.




However, through this masterstroke, McCain has also made a mistake underestimating TV. Scheduled to be a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman McCain cancelled last mintue, saying he needed to head to Washington that night to discuss the economic crisis with Obama and the current President. However, he then did a news show with CBS's Katie Couric and stayed in New York for the night. When this got back to Letterman, he went on a tirade making McCain the butt of show long jokes, and it doesn't seem like he's stopping anytime soon. Now consider than most American's get their news from the monologues on late night talk shows, can you imagine how much of a hinderance this could cause his campaign!





And all this coming off the heals that 57 million people watched the US Presidential Debates this past friday. That's more than the Friends finale!

There are probably a lot more twist and turns from now until November 4th, but whatever they are just remember :

The Revolution will be Televised!

As usual, what are your thoughts. Comments please.

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Flipping through the Channels

Posted by DGN on 10:51 AM in
One of the problems with writing a TV blog during the new season is, you either get caught up watching the new shows, or you get stuck doing other things and then your have to catch up on your watching TV and then catch up on writing your blog.
So in short, my apologies on the lack of posts. And without further adieu, here are some thoughts from the past week:
  • The CW picked up 90210 a full season. The proper amount of hype and controversy was enough to help the series get their order after four episodes. Congrats to them, clearly trying to create a new TV dynasty.
  • Speaking of the famous zip code, looks like the CW is planning on crossing the show over with a bunch of rich kids from the east side. Word on the street is that socialites from Gossip Girl may come pay a visit to the Peach Pit gang. Not sure how that would fair (Gossip Girl being a tad more risque than 90210), but definately a great promotional tool for the fledgling network.
  • FOX cancelled their hotel sitcom Do Not Disturbed making it the first casualty of the season. I've just seen the one episode, and boy was it bad.
  • Despite all the hype NBC gave it during the summer, the two hour Heroes premiered to some disappointing numbers. The show was crushed by the season opener of Dancing with the Stars. Sigh, "reality" seems to be winning again.
  • So far ABC seems to the strongest this season. Dancing with the Stars and a two hour premiere episode of Grey's Anatomy has really seen them take a strong start to the season. Though watch for some of that to change with the beginning of CSI next week.

That's pretty much for me. You will be seeing a lot from me hopefully this weeks. Chuck, Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money all premiere this week. Don't miss out. Seriously, its going to be good.


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Butterfly, Leaf, Handprint, Half Cut Apple, Frog - The Fringe Review

Posted by DGN on 6:01 PM in
So, I've been meaning to do this for a while, but life has got in the way.

Either way, typically I like to watch a couple of episodes of a new show before I review them. I say typically even though this is my first review!

Let me start of by saying I'm not a huge sci-fi fan. There are few shows in the genre that really appeal to me. The best ones in the lot being Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Clearly I'm a fan of Joss Wheadon. And clearly I can't wait for Dollhouse to start mid season. However, a show that is slowly adding to the list is Fringe by J.J. Abrams.

I've heard a lot of J.J.Abrams sci fi work, but unfortunately have never seen it. Fans of Lost swear by it (I believe there may even be a rehab program for it), and Cloverfield was praised by all. I really thought that the next Star Trek movie would be my chance to check him out in this field, then came Fringe. I have however seen his non sci fi shows, those being Alias (ok that one is a little sci-fi), What about Brian? and Felicity.

The premise is based on fringe sciences, or paranomal sciences. In a nutshell, FBI agenct Olivia Dunham (played by Anna Torv) is trying to save her FBI boyfriend, John Scott (played by Boston Legal's Mark Valley) from a flesh eating toxin. To do so she has to get Dr. Walter Bischop (John Noble) out of the mental hospital he resides in to help fight this. To make that possible she enlists the help of his estranged son Peter Bishop (Dawson's Creek's Joshua Jackson).

What us created is a character driven show built around a sci fi setting. Every character has a back story and reasoning behind their actions. Olivia is trying to find out about what John was covering up, Dr. Bischop is trying to prove he isn't the quack that people think he is, especially to his son, and Peter is finally seeing his father for who he is. Peter and Olivia also have this chemistry that I can only explain as Mulder and Scully-ish (or for newer tv watchers Booth and Bones-ish). The show even has what seems like a series long mystery built around their mystery of the week. Again, think Buffy or Veronica Mars seasons 1 and 2.

Fringe isn't for everyone. There is a lot of suspension of disbelief, but like any sucessful sci fi producer/writer, the fan base is there, and FOX is counting on them. Pairing it together with another character driven, mystery of the week show like House will really help its numbers (and it has!), so hopefully we can see a lot more of this series in the coming months.

By the way, if your confused about the title of this post, watch the show!

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Emmys turns 60...and it Shows!

Posted by DGN on 11:45 AM in
So I was going to do a full live blog of the 60th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards, and then I thought to myself, why would anyone who watched it care?

Clearly you are watching it thinking the same thing I am.. more or less at least!

So rather than take you bit by bit through the entire process, hows about we have a look at some of the highlight and low points of the event:

Highlights:

Ricky Gervais: This guy is a comedy genius. If you've ever heard me talk about the Office UK, then you know I think the world of this guy. His introduction of himself, rules to accepting a good speech and then his mocking of Steve Carrel stealing his Emmy from last year were brilliant. For those not in the know, Gervais is executive producer of the American version of the Office. Do yourself a favor and check out Extras on DVD. You won't be disappointed.




Bryan Cranston winning for Breaking Bad: Sometimes winning an Emmy or any award for that matter, can really bring attention to the award winning subject. That's exactly the case here. Breaking Bad, another AMC original, is one of those shows that fell under the radar last year due to the writer's strike. The show is about a high school chemistry teacher who finds out he has six months to a year to live. To make sure that his family is well supported, he turns to creating and selling meth. If you've only know of Bryan Cranston's work from Malcolm in the Middle, then check this show out. It's a complete 180 from his previous work. I wasn't sure if it was coming back, but from his acceptance speech it looks like it is.

"What if I just kept talking for 12 minutes? That was the opening." : Line of the night and really summed up the opening. Good job Piven!

Don Rickles & Tommy Smothers: Two legend got what they deserved. Good for them, and nice moments in the show.

The Favorites Won: Usually I like a little mixing it up, but good for the shows in question. 30 Rock and Mad Men both deserved it. Network tv is clearly the place to go for your comedy favorites, and AMC just flexed some muscle in the drama category!

Low Points:

Just the one, but this was a huge mood killer...

Five Hosts; No Show: Remember the saying "Too many cooks..." , well nothing proved it like this. I understand trying to make a statement that reality tv has been "accepted" by the Emmy's, but none of these hosts really hosted. In fact the funniest thing with the hosts involved Jimmy Kimmel naming who the winner was. Unfortunately this really set a ton for the entire night, and really killed the pazzaz that usually comes with award shows. Lets leave it to Conan or Jon Stewart next year okay guys! Hell, why not give it to Ricky Gervais!

Well those are my thoughts, what did you think? Let me know!

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Pass the Remote: The Guest Columnist

Posted by DGN on 9:18 PM
This is something I'm looking to make somewhat of a regular here on the site. Hopefully if there are items people would like to discuss that fits in with our site, I'd be happy to present it to the world.

Today I pass the remote to adrian tango from videogamesforus.com, a blog about all the goings on in the gaming world. So obviously today he writes about gaming and tv, and some of the highs and lows of the marriage between the two. So without further adieu, I present to you....


Saturday Morning Gaming
by adriantango


I remember waking up Saturday mornings, excited about what new adventures the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or the X Men were going to get into. It was truly a magical moment when the week before there was a cliffhanger and now - finally - there was a conclusion to it. What made things extra special were the premieres of new cartoons, especially when they were characters and stories we already knew, cartoons that were adapted from video games.

There are three games that come to mind, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man and the Super Mario Bros.

Sonic actually had two Saturday morning cartoons. The first show, Sonic the Hedgehog had a dark, serious feel to it. It really emphasized the villan and the hero as complete opposites with a strong hatred for each other. This was different than the other cartoons because the villains and hero just wanted to stop each others plans. Here, they wanted to kill each other outright. The second series, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog went for the regular Saturday cartoon feel, with more characters from the game and really had a lot of colour. This clearly was designed for the younger set. Both shows began at the same time however this colourful version lasted longer with Sonic the Hedgehog getting canceled after two seasons and continuing in a comic book version. Adventures still runs in syndication to this day.


Mega Man, to me, was an abomination of a cartoon. All the ingredients for a great cartoon wer there. Plenty of villains including one main villain. This way story lines would never really repeat as he would have a new villian to face each week. Instead, they decided to make the show very campy and very nauseating for fans of the game. Amazingly enough the show was animated and produced by Capcom themselves. Even the introduction of Megaman X could not save that show. Apparently the robots of the future are even more campy.

The only good video game to TV show example I can think of is The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! It had everything, Captain Lou Albino, funny Italian accents and entertaining cartoon stories. The show never went to silly, or to serious. Plus, the series had a special surprise for everyone on Fridays, Zelda baby.

So, in retrospect, some video games do not make good cartoons, or even movies for that matter. When producers decide to make a cartoon out of a video game, they better have a damn good idea.

And with that, I take the remote back from adrian. Thanks so much for your thoughts about TV and the world of video games colliding. Be sure to check out videogamesforus.com, and please let us know what your thoughts are.

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Flipping through the channels...

Posted by DGN on 9:18 PM in
With new and returning shows, I thought I would talk about something things that have been on my mind...
  • Fringe didn't open to the greatest numbers on it's debut, but the show did win the night.
    Though the season premiere of House really helped pick up the ratings in its second week

  • Speaking of House, the show really started up with a great new episode, and really great character development. Amber, or "Super Bitch" still lingers with the show even in death

  • The monster that was the premiere of 90210 seems to have fallen a bit in the last couple of weeks. Numbers have dropped, but networks had to have realized that with all the super hype leading to episode one of this spin off, things had to have tapered a bit

  • While in the zip code, Global here in Canada really spoiled the one thing fans of the originals were dying to know. Every promo leading up to the fourth episode told fans who the father of Kelly Taylor's baby was. I'm not saying anything, but it isn't Brandon

  • Monday Night Football opened the season with a monster game. The Dallas Cowboys vs The Philadelphia Eagles. The game was very fast paced and high scoring, and word of mouth definitely led to the historic 13 rating for ESPN, the highest rating of all time on US basic cable

  • Season 1 of Chuck, Dirty Sexy Money and Pushing Daisies all came out of DVD this week. Be sure to check them out before the start of their season two premieres

There is still more to come. The big three nets, NBC, ABC and CBS will unveil their shows next week.

The PVR will be definitely be in overdrive.

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I Didnt Watch the Show...Now I want a movie!

Posted by DGN on 9:21 PM in
The other day I was talking TV with a friend of mine, and we were going back and forth on shows we enjoyed. Between the two of us, there were a few similarities, Dexter and Dirty Sexy Money being the two standouts. There were shows that she watched that I didn't - in this case Weeds and Lost. Then there were shows that I told her to watch, Nip/Tuck, and the one this particular entry will be about -Arrested Development.


In 2003, FOX debuted a show during its Sunday line up that was something, well, very un-FOX like. A smart character driven ensemble comedy led by Jason Bateman and Jeffrey Tambor (of the also brilliant Larry Sanders Show) about the riches to rag story of the Bluth family. The show was renowned for its well written, and often complex storylines that really came together, as well as unearthing some brilliant comedic talents.

Unfortunately like sitcom genius Seinfeld's first couple of seasons before it, the show struggled to find a solid audience. Often getting saddled with titles like 'The Best Show Your Not Watching', or 'Ratings Challenged', the show was a critical darling. However, FOX didn't really help matters by moving it around and not giving it a stable place on its schedule.

After three seasons, and a host of Emmys and Golden Globe awards for Writing, Acting and the show itself, FOX decided to end the series. Unlike some of the shows mentioned in my last post, the last four episodes were made into a two hour series finale, nicely tying up plot lines and character developments.

So that should be it.

Not Quite.

Cut to five years later, and show has sadly found its following a little too late. DVD sales and reruns on channels like Showtime in the US and CBC here in Canada have informed people about what they were missing out on five years ago. Maybe the show was ahead of its time. Maybe people just don't know a good thing when they see it. Whatever it is, it has built some hype that, with the success of TV to Movie versions of Sex and the City, the Bluth family may also be coming to a big screen near you.

Word going around is that everyone from the cast as well as writers will be coming back. Everyone that is sans Michael Cera. The Brampton, Ontario native, whose career has sky rocketed thanks to roles in movies such as Superbad and Juno, has said he wouldn't want to do the movie as he'd rather enjoy the series as it was, and fans should enjoy the DVDs.

This, has caused an uproar amongst the fans of Arrested Development that want this movie.


Fairplay.

Only I think these fans are people who didnt appreciate the show when it was on air. These are the people who have come to the party late, and now want everything everyone else got. The series finale, while not watched by everyone, was a perfect ending. Mitchell Hurwitz, the co-creator and writer, was happy to end the show, even going as far as turning down an offer to stay with the show should it be picked up by cable network Showtime (who in turn did not pick it up without him).

I don't think its fair to criticize any actor or writer who does not want to take part in bringing back a program that no one appreciated during its prime, especially when there is a potential for backlash from the same group. By that I mean, should this movie finally come to fruition, and it isn't up to the TV shows very high standards, this very vocal group of fans will end up getting even more vocal. As it stands right now, its almost smart business to stay away from it and give the fans doses through other movies (Michael Cera has starred with Jason Bateman in Juno, and with Alia Shawkat in an episode of Veronica Mars). And God forbid this audience that couldn't find the time to watch it for free on TV not make their way to the local theater to watch the movie.

Now please dont get me wrong. I'd love to see a movie. However I can live happily watching the show on DVD. Theres just something perfect about the show, that perhaps should just stay the way it was.

As always, the comments box is always open. Love to hear from you if you agree or think otherwise.

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The End is the beginning is the End...

Posted by DGN on 2:26 PM in
When I was a younger DGN, I was (and still am) a huge fan of "Spider-man". No matter what was out there, I would make sure to watch anything that had Spidey in it. This included the VERY hard to find and under rated "Spider-man and his Amazing Friends", "The X-Men" featuring a guest apprearance from everybodies favourite web slinger, and even the very very short lived "Spider-Woman" which featured Spidey every now and then. Two of the series that I enjoyed the most though were the 1994 "Spider-man" and "Spider-man: The New Animated Series" in 2003. It was when I was going through some old DVDs that I realized that both these shows had one thing in common outside of subject matter. They both ended their runs with a cliffhanger!

For those uninitiated: "A cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in which a movie, novel, or other work of fiction contains an abrupt ending, often leaving the main characters in a precarious or difficult situation, or with a sudden shock revelation. This type of ending is used to ensure that, if a next installment is made, audiences will return to find out how the cliffhanger is resolved. (from wikipedia).

Now, I can see why this is done from the standpoint of a writer or producer. Obviously, the goal is for people to come back and watch. But if this is the last episode of the series, it is absolutely terrible to the viewer.

In both cases of the shows I mentioned, the viewer is left wondering what's happening next. In "Spider-man", Peter Parker sets out to find his wife Mary Jane who missing for most of the season. I remember waiting to find out what happens next, only to see the pilot the next day. Confusion and anger set in. Similarly, with "Spider-man: The New Animated Series" the final episode shows a defeated (emotionally!) Peter Parker throwing his outfit into the sea, promising never to be Spidey again. This is how you end the series???!! REALLY??!! (Sorry, I really love the webhead).

The same can be said about a few other shows. "Las Vegas" abruptly ended last season on a cliffhanger and was then cancelled by NBC. Though I believe that may have had to do more with the writers strike than anything else. "Angel", a spin-off of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" ended with the beginning of an epic battle that left us wondering who lived and who died. MTV is notorious for these cliffhanger series finales. Along with the aforementioned "Spider-man: The New Animated Series", the smartly written "Clone High" was cancelled in this fashion as well. WB teen parody "Popular" ended its two season run similarly, with one of the characters being hit by a car. The list continues, I'd suggest checking out wikipedia for more info.


The question here is what can be done to resolve this. I understand network business means that if a show is not profiting either through advertising rates, or at the very least Golden Globe/Emmy fare, then it is too expensive to keep on air. However, if it has had a successful run, is it not possible to give it a proper send off for the fans of the show? Lets go back to the shows I was talking about. In the case of the "Spider-man" series, chances are we will see our favourite super hero in some other incarnation. The MTV series was supposed to originally lead into "Spider-man 2". The same goes with "Angel", who from what I've heard, continued its run in comic book format. Some of the characters in "Las Vegas" may return on NBC's new "Knight Rider", which share the same production team. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for "Clone High" and "Popular".


I would say the least that could have been done in cases like that is there would have an extra on the DVD. If the show was popular enough to warrent a fan following (and searches on the 'net will show that there are), then chances are there is money in putting an episode together for DVD. Granted this is much easier to pull off for an animated series rather than a live action, but it seems like something that could be done. "Family Guy" is a great example of success via DVD sales. Hell, it's even a reason to buy the DVD considering all the different ways we have access to reruns these days.


I don't know... perhaps I'm still bitter about not knowing where Mary Jane is, or what made Peter put on the tights again, but I think if you've devoted the time into watching a show over a long period of time, the least they can do is give it a proper ending. But maybe that's just the fanboy in me!

On that note...I know I'm about five years late, but still can't hurt..


Comments? Any shows that you have on this list? Would love to hear em!

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No TV and No Beer Make DGN Go.... something something

Posted by DGN on 3:38 PM in ,
GO CRAZY? Don't Mind if I Do!!!


Ok, well, not right now... but WOW did it feel like that last year! The Writer's strike really put a hold on a lot of good stuff that was out there last year. And while I do sympathize with their cause (seriously, how did the networks think they were not going to pay these guys, when they themselves were going to profit off it through the internet and dvd), it really made things boring on those long cold Canadian winters when there was nothing to do.

But thankfully those days are over, and there are new and returning shows in full force. Of the ones I really enjoyed last season, these are the ones to watch:


"Chuck" - great spy comedy from the writer/producer of the OC and Gossip Girl. Well written, and very tongue in cheek. Had a good run last season, and hopefully NBC gives it time to thrive.


"Dirty Sexy Money" - a drama with some fantastic acting. Any scene with Peter Krause and Donald Sutherland, is worth watching this show alone. The show has aspects of comedy and mystery. Last season we were left with the introduction of new characters and new plot lines half way thru, and then the strike hit. Hopefully it can pick up where it left off.



"Pushing Daisies" - an very offbeat show. Romantic, Dark comedy and sci fi all rolled into one, this show will remind anyone who watches it of Tim Burton's "Big Fish". The chemistry between the leads is very strong, and every week seems to have some odd surprise. Add a musical number? Sure, it doesn't seem out of place on this show.

These are the shows that really stuck out with me last season. These are the types of 'original' shows I was talking about in my last post.

The new season so far has been rather interesting.

"90210" opened to some HUGE numbers for the CW. That's what nostalgia, SUPER hype and nothing else on TV will get you. The next couple of weeks will really determine if the show is a success or not.

I'm still waiting to check out "Fringe" which I hear was good. Here in Canada CTV and A simulcast the program with FOX, so clearly they have a lot of hope for it to do well. My PVR is holding on to it for me, and I haven't heard any ratings news either.

"Bones" has moved past last season's finale, and returned to it's jovial beginnings (Thank GOD!) and "Priviledged", which I only caught a little off, seemed pretty decent. The show is very quirky, and well Joanna Garcia is back on TV. That's all I need (Hey Joanna, if by some fluke you happen to read this, Call me ;))

"Hole on the Wall" premieres tonight on FOX. That looks funny as hell.

Other than that, we wait and see what the new season has instore.

What are you waiting for? Let me know...

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They do say 'Imitation is the best form of Flattery...'

Posted by DGN on 2:21 PM in
Something that I have seen crop up over the last couple of years is the "franchising" of television shows across the world. By this I mean, taking a program that is popular in another country, and re-working it for the local audience.


This is a very common theme in the reality tv genre, the most popular being "Pop Idol" out of the UK becoming "American Idol" stateside, and "Canadian Idol" here in the great white north. But I'm talking more so about scripted programming following suit.



The first recent instant of this occured in 2003. NBC, looking for a way to make up for the impending loss of "Friends" to its Thursday night line up, and decided to add a show that had done phenomenally well in the UK. This show was "Coupling", a show built around the same concept as friends, except for its very heavy content on sexual activity and relationships (no nudity, no swearing, but a lot of inference). The show was on air from 2000 - 2004 (British TV is known for their shorter runs). However, NBC wasn't airing the original, but instead opting to re-create it with American stars. The result: Not good. "Coupling US" didn't have the same chemisty, and in a culture known for exploiting sex, but not necessarily open about it, the subject matter didn't resonate with audiences, ending after only 4 episodes (Nine were made in total).

However, that didn't stop NBC (good for them in this case!), and in 2005 added "The Office" to their Thursday night line up. The original UK Office was another huge hit in its home country, and made Ricky Gervais a star. The plot revolves around a concept that everyone knows about...a boss you do not like. The main difference between the American and British version is the boss himself. When the job was offered to Steve Carrel, he decided not to watch the original, and played the role very differently. PLaying more of a goofy Michael Scott than the cocky David Brent that Gervais based his on. The result: A sleeper hit for the network. While people couldn't stop comparing it to the original, "The Office US" blew up with the success of Carell's film "The 40 Year Old Virgin".


There are more shows coming down the the line. NBC is bringing in "Kath and Kim" (based on the Aussie hit of the same name) this fall and ABC has "Life on Mars" (another British program - perhaps I should start watching more of their shows!), and sitting on Footballer's Wives (British soap, but these footballers play the Amercian Version!).

Of course America is not the only place guilty of this. Since the success of the American verison, other Offices have set up shop in France, Germany, French Canada and Chile. CBC (Canada) came out with MVP:The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives (ala Footballers Wives). While not a hit on Canadian or American tv (it aired on ABC to low ratings) the show is coming back on SOAPNet in 2009. Canada is also the starting point for franchise show "Little Mosque on the Prairie", which is a success in and out of Canada and will have an American version to air on FOX sometime in the near future.


So, the question is, is this a good thing or a bad thing. In the case of shows like "The Office", it seems like a great idea. People really enjoyed the antics of Michael Scott and company, and then forces them to watch the original. However, what if you watched "Coupling US" . Would you watch the original. Doubt it, even though it's one of the better written comedies we've seen in a while. Chances are, the more of these "franchised" shows we see, the more failures we'll read about. Very few knockoffs are as good as their originals, even if some of the originals are utilized. And of course, what about originality? Are we not going to see any new ideas anymore? I understand ripping off a concept, that's been done before. But now we're just going to copy the entire idea?!

We'll have to see how these new shows pan out... but it would be nice to see some new ideas being mixed around with these old one...

Your comments are always welcome :)






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If Your Just Tuning In....

Posted by DGN on 9:14 AM in
...you've arrived to the very first post of 'TV Raised Me'.

Welcome. We're stilling finding ourselves, but this blog is going to be the thoughts of a TV addict!
I'm mostly going to talk about happenings within the industry, what I think about whats going on on the boob tube, as well as other random thoughts.

Feel free to leave comments. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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