Go Long! Football Playing TV Characters

Go Long! Football Playing TV Characters

Go Long! Football Playing TV Characters

Friday Night Lights East Dillon Lions

These players may not be available in your fantasy league, but you can still find them on the small screen:

Continue Reading…

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Girl Code Goes There: Sexuality, Race, Girl Power & More

Girl Code Goes There: Sexuality, Race, Girl Power & More

MTV Girl Code Logo

Back in 2013, Girl Code was named the “Worst Cable TV Show of the Week” by the Parent’s Television Council’s TV Watchdog website for “The crass, disgusting, and downright dangerous “advice” MTV gave to 14-year-old girls on the May 21st episode….

Continue Reading…

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Streaming & a la Carte TV – So Many Questions

Streaming & a la Carte TV – So Many Questions

Cable & Internet

I’m probably too much of a TV addict to ever really ‘cut the cord’, but the recent news about HBO and CBS offering stand alone streaming services (otherwise known as OTT or over-the-top) is certainly something of interest.

A major shift in how TV is being delivered and consumed is under way, and that’s awesome! But as with any change, and vague initial announcements, a lot is unknown about what this will ultimately mean for viewers and TV alike.

Continue Reading…

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Easy TV Inspired Halloween Costumes

Easy TV Inspired Halloween Costumes

Need a Halloween costume? How about one that’s easy to make? Or even better yet, one that people will get?

The way I see it, you’ve got two angles to approach a TV-themed Halloween costume. Either pick something so mainstream it’s impossible not to know what you are or pick something that looks cool without context but will be recognized by other fans.

Continue Reading…

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Non-Guilty Reality Show Pleasures

Non-Guilty Reality Show Pleasures

Quality Reality TV

Summer may have a reputation for being the doldrums of television, but in my opinion there’s actually some really solid reality TV to be found. You heard me right, I just endorsed the viewing of reality TV. And I’m not even going to qualify it with the word ‘guilty’ because I have no qualms about admitting my love for the following reality competition programs:

Continue Reading…

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on Reddit

2014 May Sweeps: TV Show Finale Dates

2014 May Sweeps: TV Show Finale Dates

Find out when your shows wrap up the 2013-2014 TV season:

Continue Reading…

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Books About TV: Recounting MTV’s Early Music Days

Books About TV: Recounting MTV’s Early Music Days

It’s hard to talk about MTV without someone inevitably chiming in that the network was better when it was all about music. If that person happens to be you, then I really recommend reading this book:

I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution
– By by Rob Tannenbaum & Craig Marks

 

A quick disclaimer of sorts before I continue: I enjoy music and try to get to a handful of concerts every year, but I’ll be the first to admit that the music industry is something I know very little about. I don’t know producers, labels, probably haven’t heard most of those ‘quintessential’ albums, and I really can’t even name the individual members of bands I do listen too. All of this is my not-so-short way of saying that while I picked up the book because it had to do with a television network, those who are seriously into music will probably get much more enjoyment out of it.

I Want My MTV Book Cover

That’s not to say I didn’t like the book, because I did, but all of the stories about, and from, various artists and other major players (video directors, network brass, and early MTV VJs) probably mean a bit more when you’ve got some more background knowledge or context than what the book provides.

Regardless of your music ‘cred’, you’re going to want to have YouTube* handy while reading I Want My MTV. What would otherwise be a quick read thanks to its conversational recounting from a variety of sources is slowed down a bit by the overwhelming desire to watch every music video ever mentioned.

[*Someone awesomely put together a playlist of music videos mentioned in the book – enjoy!]

Multiple contributors also make for an unreliable narrative. If you’re looking for facts or an accurate timeline of events, you aren’t going to find it in this book. The saying, “Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll” accurately describe MTVs early days (even in the offices) so you can’t really blame anyone for their fuzzy memories or contradictory accounts.

Overall, I was most surprised by how directly the book’s conclusion handled the whole ‘MTV doesn’t play music anymore’ elephant in the room. After all, we all know how the story ends. And while a good portion of the book is spent reminiscing about the ‘golden days’, the final four chapters actually address the network’s transition to scripted and reality series head on.

It goes without saying that many people miss the days when MTV was all about music, but it’s obvious, especially with the luxury of hindsight that the channel did what it needed to do in order to survive, even thrive. MTV was ahead of the curve when it came to music and again when it came to reality programming. The Internet would have killed MTV, and in the age of instant gratification no one in their right mind would watch several hours of TV just to see their favorite band’s newest music video.

Maybe at it’s inception MTV was really all about the music, but a lot happened in its first decade and by the early 90s there was no denying that MTV was a business. In the end, MTV went mainstream – they sold out, and that’s a pretty universal story in the music industry.

Odds & Ends:

  • Select TV markets in New Jersey were some of the first to see MTV upon its debut.
  • The brief story of why and how VH1 was created was amusing, I actually wanted to know more.
  • Because labels wanted nothing to do with music videos, but saw them as necessary evils, a lot of women who were generally lower on the pay scale were put in charge of the videos.
  • Michael Bay and David Fincher were two of the top directors in the music video / MTV hayday. They didn’t like each other, and I’m betting even back then their visual styles differed greatly.

Still nostalgic for the early days of MTV? Here’s an hour of MTV from 1981:

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Marathoned: Battlestar Galactica

Marathoned: Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica

Through the last two months I’ve been working on checking items off my TV New Year’s Resolution list. In addition to watching a variety of Olympic events, I also just finished the reboot of Battlestar Galactica!

Mostly I just can’t believe it took me this long to watch the series, and if you are reading this thinking about doing the same, then I certainly encourage you to check it out. Especially if you’re a Firefly fan, there are a lot of similarities between the two series like a dystopian future, engaging underdog characters, and of course spaceships.

Here’s a few more practical reasons why you might enjoy marathoning Battlestar Galactica:

  • The series ended in 2009, which means that you can watch it at your own leisure and you’re only going to encounter spoilers by looking for them.
  • A lot of episodes end in “To Be Continued…”, like way more than normal so being able to hit ‘next episode’ is a welcomed bonus.
  • All four seasons, the two-part mini-series, and made-for-tv movie Razor are all available on Netflix streaming. The prequel series Caprica is also available, although I haven’t checked it out yet.

One more thing before you press play – with so many episodes and offshoots like the mini-series, made-for-tv movie, and webisodes you may want to consult this handy Battlestar Galactica viewing order guide to maximize the storytelling experience.

[Spoilers Below: You’ve Been Warned.]

So Say We All – Onboard With The Crew’s Quest For Earth

Despite all of the time I spend watching TV and reading about various television shows, somehow I knew very little about this series before starting it, which I think was refreshing to be able to watch something with rather vague expectations. Unlike my Breaking Bad marathon, I was able to just kind of let events unfold and enjoy or gasp or shake my head in bewilderment as they came.BSG The Hand of God

I thought the series got off to an especially strong start when the then newly sworn-in President Roslin made the tough call for the fleet to jump away from the oncoming Cylon attack, leaving the FTL-less civilian ships behind and defenseless in Part II of the initial Mini-Series. That one moment set the tone for the rest of the series – that this wasn’t going to be a show about ‘big damn heroes’, but about survivors.

Sure they’d occasionally get some small victories and I suppose the last one, but for the most part everything was about minimizing loss and reacting to the circumstances around them. The theme of survival didn’t just apply to the crew of Galactica and its fleet either, the Cylons were fighting for the same thing, the survival of their race, hence all the big hullabaloo about about resurrection ships, reproduction rights, and Hera Agathon. Hell, even the opening title sequence displayed the number of ‘survivors’ left from the initial attacks on the twelve colonies.

And as much as Joss Whedon and George R.R. Martin have the reputation for killing off characters, I’m surprised that Ronald D. Moore’s name is mentioned more often. After the initial attacks, Roslin’s whiteboard estimated 50,298 survivors, by the end of the series that number dwindled to 39,406 according to the title card of the final opening sequence. You better believe that some of those people were characters we came to know and care about.

Obviously there are many more themes present in Battlestar Galactica, but for me the act of survival was always the most consistent and most interesting one. Maybe its the most basic, but I really enjoyed the episodes that didn’t get too bogged down in religious mythology or Cylon politics. What made the series so engaging was the characters, many of which were normal people trying to keep on keeping on under extraordinary circumstances. And as long as I’m invested in the characters I’m willing to go on whatever ride the showrunners want to take us, even if that ride ends with the Galactica flying into the sun while the rest of mankind turns it back on technology.

BSG Unfinished Business

Other Random Thoughts

  • I believe one of the show’s greatest strengths was its lack of angsty annoying teenager characters. I mean I’m sure they existed, but thankfully they were probably on those unseen civilian ships. If only shows like Jericho, Under the Dome, Falling Skies, and Terranova had learned.
  • I really liked the CIC’s old school war room map board and models used to visually display the action, it gave the space battle sequences some logic and structure and kept the show presumably on budget.
  • Another aspect I enjoyed about both Firefly and Battlestar Galactica was the way their ships had character. I think I was almost as heartbroken about Galactica breaking down as the Admiral.
  • Battlestar Galactica made good use of a time jump between seasons two and three. I was just beginning to grow tired of their current predicament, the shake-up was welcomed.
  • Favorite episode: “Unfinished Business” (3×9) – As much as I appreciated the time jump, I quickly found myself interested in finding out what I missed on New Caprica, and then this episode happened. Also, I love the insanely complicated relationship between Apollo and Starbuck.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on Reddit