On Friday, CBS picked up CSI: Cyber, the newest installment in the long-lasting Crime Scene Investigation franchise. Unlike its predecessors, CSI: Cyber isn’t limited to solving crimes in just one region of the United States, instead it will take on the nefarious ‘under-world’ of the Internet. So that should be plenty terrifying to CBS’s technology-weary older skewing audience.
– The 2014 Calendar For TV Addicts –
Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour
Golden Globe Awards (NBC 8pm)
Screen Actor Guild Awards (TBS & TNT 8pm)
Super Bowl XLVIII (FOX)
The XXII Olympic Winter Games (NBC)
From award shows to big TV events, on and off the screen, here’s all the other things going on besides your regularly scheduled programming.
The Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour is already underway, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty more announcements to be made regarding your favorite networks, beloved TV shows, and future programming. All of the ‘big’ news will be covered by the major entertainment sites, but Deadline is a pretty good source for all of the nitty-gritty.
And if you aren’t a TV critic, but wish you could be there I recommend following these people on Twitter for the pseudo-front-row experience: Todd VanDerWerff from The AV Club, Daniel Fienberg from HitFix.com, Eric Goldman from IGN.com, and Eric Deggans from NPR.
This Sunday is The Golden Globe Awards, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey will be hosting the shindig again. If that’s isn’t enough of a reason to tune in then I don’t know what is.
Less than a week later is the 20th Annual Screen Actor Guild Awards. It should be interesting to see if Breaking Bad can clean up for it’s final season.
In February the TV landscape switches gears and sports take center stage with The Super Bowl XLVIII and The Winter Olympics. For better or worse, the NBC family of channels (NBC, USA, NBC Sports, CNBC, and MSNBC) will once again be handling all of the coverage for the winter games and with a pretty sizable time zone difference between the US and Sochi it should be interesting to see if we get more or less live coverage. Watching tape-delayed events during prime time for the 2012 Summer Olympics was rather anti-climatic after the Internet spoiled almost all of the results.
The line-up for the 2014 PaleyFest was recently announced and its pretty sweet. Some of the highlights include Veronica Mars kicking things off just one day before it officially hits the big screen, a 10th anniversary Lost panel, and a farewell to How I Met Your Mother. New shows like Orange Is The New Black, Sleepy Hollow, and Masters of Sex will also being making their festival debut. The annual event is held in Los Angeles so I’ve never tried to go, but most panels are live streamed so fear-not non-California dwelling TV fans. The panels usually make their way to Hulu too, so there’s a few ways to enjoy the PaleyFest without the travel expenses.
Other things to look forward to in 2014 include upfronts, San Diego Comic Con, and the ATX Television Festival.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is in its 14th season, has aired over 300 episodes, and has even outlasted its two spin-off series. And while that is certainly an impressive feat for any TV show, there is always going to be a group of naysayers who proclaim that it’s gone downhill or that it should have called it quits when Grissom left.
And while I can’t argue that there weren’t some mediocre seasons or less than stellar episodes and even unfortunate cast departures, I still look forward to watching each and every new episode. And not even with a ‘I’m just watching this to see it through’ kind of attitude, I’m still genuinely engaged with the series and rooting for the night shift at the Las Vegas Crime Lab.
And here’s why:
I’ve always been draw to TV shows with makeshift families at their core, one’s where character’s enjoy spending time with each other, so I appreciate that CSI has gone back to focusing on the friendly and lighthearted interpersonal relationships that made the first few seasons so much fun.
The show lost this element sometime during Sara’s departure, Warrick’s murder, and Grissom’s goodbye. But then it only got more depressing during the Ray Langston years, especially with all of the Nate Haskell drama.
But with the arrival of Ted Danson’s character, D.B. Russell, the CSI team is like a family again. But it’s not just his presence that has led to this turnaround, the character of Morgan Brody brings out a less adversarial side in Conrad Ecklie, the team of lab techs have really enhanced the comedic side of the series, and Elisabeth Shue’s Julie Finlay fits in well with the team too.
In my last blog post I talked about how the CBS Sync addition to their video player was a pretty nifty ‘enhanced viewing’ feature, but that’s not all CSI has to offer in the way of the viewing experience.
CSI of course has a CBS-run Twitter account (@CSI_CBS), but the writers have one of their own, and so do a few of the cast members (@davidberman88, @ericszmanda, @ElisabethHarnoi, & @kingoftrace), many of which regularly live tweet during episodes.
The @CSIWritersRoom account is also pretty consistently awesome about interacting with followers, tweeting behind the scene photos, and even sharing small glimpses of the whiteboard in the writers room.
Episode 1405 (the 300th) "Frame by Frame" pic.twitter.com/L07xKKZGcJ
— CSI Writers' Room (@CSIWritersRoom) August 30, 2013
They even interact with other TV show writer room Twitter accounts, which typically results in some rather amusing exchanges:
— CSI Writers' Room (@CSIWritersRoom) October 10, 2013
Perhaps this is just evidence of my desensitization, but hear me out on this one. Compared to a lot of other current TV series, CSI is actually pretty tame despite the very subject matter of its stories. I mean which one would you rather watch right before bed – CSI or American Horror Story, Hannibal, The Following, Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU, or Game of Thrones?
Plus, the whole long running procedural format really lends itself to any-hour-of-the-day viewing. It’s the kind of show that’s entertaining when you’re paying attention and even enjoyable when you’re not.
That, and after all of these years the formula is comfortingly predictable too. I mean we all know that the overly helpful witness really did it, that or the special guest star.
So if you’ve long given up on CSI, maybe now’s the time to give it a second chance. Try jumping back in at season 12 or you know watching new episodes on CBS, Wednesday nights at 10pm.
If you’ve watched an episode of Modern Family, Saturday Night Live, or Scandal on Hulu recently you might have noticed some Pop Up Video-like tidbits appearing on the screen while the episode was playing.
Apparently Hulu is experimenting with a new feature they call ‘Enhanced Viewing’, which “…showcases quotes and memes that capture funny moments, pieces of trivia, and tweets from fans and actors alike that reflect the moment you just watched.” They can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter, or simply “Liked”.
Given that I’m the kind of TV nerd who follows showrunners, writers, and actors on Twitter and also buys TV on DVD for the special features and the episode commentary, the Enhanced Viewing feature is the kind of thing I find intriguing. But right now I’m not so much a fan of its execution.
While it can be simply turned off, just click on the video setting gear icon to disable the feature, I find it annoying to have the actual information displayed on the same screen as the episode I am watching.
Have you experience the Enhanced Viewing feature yet? What do you think about it? Are any of the extra tidbits worth the interruption?
Although CBS isn’t typically associated with having an Internet savvy audience, CBS’s viewers are the oldest among the broadcast networks with a median age of 58.2, they’ve already introduced a similar feature to their own online video player. (If you hadn’t already noticed, CBS’s current content is not available on Hulu.com, which is realistically the only reason I even noticed.)
Dubbed ‘CBS Sync’, it works much the same way that Hulu’s Enhanced Viewing feature works – by displaying behind the scenes information, trivia, polls, exclusive photos, video and more, all timed exactly to what’s happening. However, the CBS Sync feature is relegated to an easy-to-hide sidebar that updates with new tidbits without ever interfering with the episode.
Plus, if you do choose to click on one of these bonus things, the episode will automatically pause as a pop-up window appears. And when you close the CBS Sync window, the video will likewise automatically resume for a seamless viewing experience. Pretty nifty.
Besides being far less annoying, I also find the bonus content to be more interesting on CBS.com. For example, while watching an episode of CSI, evidence stills are displayed if you’d like to take a closer look and callbacks to older episodes and crime scenes are explained.
Now of course I am comparing a long running crime drama to an episode of Modern Family, which is a bit unfair, but it still begs the question as to where Hulu.com is getting the bonus material from.
How much buy-in do they have to have from the broadcast networks / production companies? I have to imagine that CBS has the advantage of having easier access to this kind of stuff.
Bottom line, I’m all for enhancing the online viewing experience but I think Hulu.com could learn something from CSB.com when it comes to this specific kind of feature. And that is something I never thought I’d say.
The TV season is nearly year-round these days… But since I don’t expect you to watch TV live, I mean we’ve all got places to be and commercials to avoid, here’s a handy guide of where and when to find new episodes from your favorite TV shows. Scroll down for network-by-network information. [Updated: February 2016]
Sunday nights are jam-packed with returning network staples this year. Only ABC is using the night to launch a new series – Betrayal, which will air at 10pm, after Revenge. It seems that ABC is sticking with the counter-programming strategy against football.
On Sunday nights FOX must subscribe to the ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ motto since The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, and American Dad all return.
Although it won’t happen until Fall 2014, there’s a Family Guy Simpsons crossover episode to look forward to. Apparently Seth MacFarlane’s Griffin family will be taking a road trip to Springfield.
Joining Betrayal on Sunday nights are Once Upon a Time, Revenge, The Good Wife, and The Mentalist.
As a fan of Revenge I was particularly pleased to hear that the new showrunner plans to simplify season 3 by cutting back on the numerous nonsensical subplots and to focus more on the revenging.
However, I’ve got less good news for fans of The Mentalist, apparently this season will be the last for Amanda Righetti and Owain Yeoman a.k.a. special agents Grace Van Pelt and Wayne Rigsby.
One last fun fact about Sunday night TV – with the exception of Sunday Night Football on NBC, all other TV shows will return September 29th. Better make room on your DVR, I told you it was going to be a busy night.
Friday night is notoriously a mellow evening reserved for the quiet yet consistent performers, series in their final seasons, and all sorts of other odds-and-ends that don’t pair well with anything else in the network’s’ line-up.
Just two new-ish shows will debut on Fridays this fall:
MasterChef and Gordon Ramsay certainly aren’t new to the FOX network, but MasterChef Junior is the newest addition to this franchise and will feature contestants between the ages of 8-13 years old. Mostly I’m assuming that this cooking competition will put my cooking skills to shame.
According to NBC, this version of Dracula is a, “sophisticated and sexy take on Bram Stoker’s classic novel…” so that should tell you right away whether or not this series is for you. Also, in this reincarnation, Dracula will be working alongside Van Helsing.
There’s a little something for everyone on Fridays this fall. Returning scripted series include The Carrie Diaries, Grimm, Hawaii Five-O, Blue Bloods, The Neighbors, and Last Man Standing.
Although no official return date has been announced, the CW’s little-show-that-could is expected to return to the TV schedule later this fall. My guess is that Nikita will return for its fourth season and final six episodes after America’s Next Top Model completes its current cycle.