The Art of the TV Promo | Memorable & Spoiler-Filled TV Trailers

The Art of the TV Promo

How some people manage to watch an episode of something live and then not stayed tuned for the promo is beyond me. I need those few extra seconds of whatever I am watching and always make sure to set my DVR to run a minute or two late so I don’t miss anything, which includes the ‘next time on’ portion of my program. Even when I’ve watch TV online I’ll seek out the show’s promo immediately after.

But there is a real art to making TV promos and trailers. Of course a TV show’s genre is going to dictate the hook or the tease, but sometimes I really feel like less is more.

For episodic and procedural series, I get it, networks need to show something crazy in order to keep the casual viewer coming back for more, but for serialized series, I’m going to assume that viewers will be tuning in again and again no matter what airs after the credits. (Spoilers Below)

TV Promos Set the Expectations

I’ve got a theory that most TV promos, and movie trailers for that matter, are going to make something look better than it really is. After all, 30-60 seconds is not enough time to really highlight flaws.

But with that being said, I do think it is possible for a promo to oversell how incredible the next episode will be. In fact, the more an episode becomes a ‘must see’ or ‘can’t miss’ I become weary of what I am about to see.

From my experience, ER is the most notable repeat offender of setting unrealistic expectations, especially in its later seasons:

Should TV Promos Tease or Spoiler?

Maybe the oversell is unavoidable, I mean they are meant to create hype, but spoiling big plot points is not. In fact, it’s my biggest pet peeve with TV promos – Is it really necessary to give away a major twist or character death just to ensure viewers will return?

And I’m not talking about the ones that allude to an upcoming ominous event, I’m talking about ones that flat out say someone is going to die:

 

Much like ER, as House M.D. aged it began relying on more and more ridiculous plot twists and similarly crazy promos, but I do have to give them props for this more-subtle preview for “Simple Explanation” (5×20), the fifth season’s infamous Kutner episode.

Next Time On…

I don’t want this blog entry to only be a rant about TV promos, so I figured I’d also share some of my favorites:

Fringe promos were, and are, some of the most creative previews I’ve ever seen. To check out more of the series’ standouts I recommend reading E! Online’s interview with Ari Margolis, the mastermind in FOX’s special ops department.

The following Smallville and House M.D. promos are also effective, but for me they are more memorable for their choices in music:

 

So what’s your TV promo pet peeve? Do you even watch promos? If so, are there any previews that standout to you, either for their excellence or absurdity? Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below.

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Entertainment Turned Tourist Attraction

Entertainment Turned Tourist Attraction

For vacation this year I happily left the cold weather behind for a few days and traveled south to Universal Studios and SeaWorld in Florida. And while I loved the roller coasters and warm weather – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was one of the main highlights. I read the books, saw the movies, and now I can say I’ve had Butterbeer, wandered through Hogwarts, and ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks restaurant in Hogsmeade.

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We’re Just Friends: Fandom & Shipping

We’re Just Friends: Fandom & Shipping

According to Wikipedia, ‘shipping’, which is derived from the word ‘relationship’, “is the belief that two characters, fictional or non-fictional, are (or will be, or should be) in a romantic relationship”.*

Other definitions I found online say about the same thing. A few made mention that shipping could be platonic, but typically its romantic in nature, and that’s what I don’t get. Why can’t fans be content with friendships?

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An Awesome Firefly Serenity Ornament

An Awesome Firefly Serenity Ornament

For as much as I love TV, I typically try to refrain from collecting collectibles. Besides the numerous DVD sets, I’ve only got a replica Angel puppet doll from “Smile Time” (5×14), a Buffy lego-like character, a couple of TV show posters, and a replica monkey bookend from Wonderfalls. But lately I’ve been on the lookout for any cool Christmas tree ornaments. After all, it’s a useful collectible item that doesn’t take up space year round.Firefly Serenity Ornament

Perhaps I was being a bit picky, but I was having a hard time finding something worthy of going on the Christmas tree. I didn’t want an ornament with an actor’s photo on it or a weird character bust. Seriously, isn’t it creepy to hang basically just the head of your favorite character?

But then I found a beautiful Firefly Serenity Christmas ornament on Etsy from ThroughThickandThin. It was exactly what I was looking for!

This hang-able version of Captain Malcolm Reynolds’ beloved spaceship Serenity is made from mirrored acrylic and is about 4.5 inches long from bow to stern. And as you can see from my picture above, it looks pretty damn good on the Christmas tree too. Fellow Browncoats are sure to love the simple nod to the show, but for the uninitiated it’s doesn’t seem out of place either.

Although it’s probably too late to get your own Firefly Serenity ornament in time for Christmas, there’s always next year.

“You buy this ship, treat her proper, she’ll be with you for the rest of your life.” (“Out of Gas” 1×8)

Happy Holidays everyone, keep flying and stay Shiny!

Check out the comments section below for an exclusive discount from ThroughThickandThin!

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Happy Thanksgiving – Enjoy Some Turkey & TV

Happy Thanksgiving – Enjoy Some Turkey & TV

Buffy Thanksgiving Panks

Happy Thanksgiving y’all. I’ve got a lot of things to be thankful for this year – and no, those things are not TV related (I do have a life outside of the box), but in the spirit of this blog – here’s some entertainment for your turkey filled day.
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Fringe: Be A Better Man Than Your Father

Final Season of Fringe

Only six episodes of Fringe remain, which means the story of Peter, Olivia, Walter, and Astrid is quickly coming to a close. Yet I still have no idea how its all going to end (and that’s a good thing).

While the main plot point of this season is that of the Observers and the slow demise of humankind, the real storyline at the core of Fringe has always been the relationship and journey of Peter and Walter Bishop. It was after all, Walter’s scientific meddling and love for his son that pushed him to the end of our world, and into the next.

His actions became the catalyst for the hundreds of fringe events we witnessed over the last five seasons, but as we’ve watched his relationship with Peter grow, it’s hard not to sympathize with his earlier choices. But if we are talking about science here, actions have reactions and ever since the Bishop family reunion it’s been obvious that Peter and Walter’s motives have been irrevocably tied to the events depicted in the episode “Peter” (2×16).

Walter let William Bell alter his mind in order to to take the edge off of his ‘mad genius’ self and Peter has always put others first, most notably when he stepped inside of the machine at the end of season 3 in order to stabilize the dueling universes.

Peter & Walter Bishop – Like Father Like Son?

Even more telling, is how much Peter has lived by the Greek phrase, “Einai kalytero anthropo apo ton patera toy”, which translates to “Be a better man than your father”. In the episode “A New Day In The Old Town” (2×1), Peter explains to Olivia that his mother used to tell him that every night before he went to bed.

And up until the last few episodes I would say Peter has been making good on his mother’s request. But Peter is Walter’s son, and when his daughter Etta is killed by the Observers it doesn’t take long before Peter throws reason out the window and turns to science to exact revenge. In a hauntingly creepy scene Peter brutally removes the tech from a captured Observer and implants it into himself, completely willing to let go of his human side in order to defeat the enemy.

All the meanwhile, Walter fears that he is starting to become more like his old self as his mind straightens itself out, but he truly believes that his family ties to the core group along with Peter’s love will keep him from losing the humanity and compassion that he’s gained.

So here we are, just past the halfway point in the final season with roles reversed. Last Friday’s episode “Five-Twenty-Ten” (5×7) ended with a beautiful yet heartbreaking series of scenes (set to the music of David Bowie) showcasing just how close to full circle we have come. But can Walter prevent Peter from making the same mistakes or is Peter, and all of mankind in this case, doomed to fail?

It certainly will be interesting to see what J.J. Abrams and co. have in store for our favorite father/son duo. While I don’t expect a happy ending, I’d like to see one of these characters complete the epic journey they’ve been on, whether its for redemption or revenge. Fringe bids our universe goodbye with a 2-hour finale on Friday January 18th 2013.

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Hurricane Sandy Is Coming – Take Shelter With Some TV

Frankenstorm coming your way? Assuming you have power and/or the Internet, why not wait out the storm with some of your favorite TV characters who are likewise feeling the effects of mother nature’s fury.

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The 2012 Halloween Episode Rundown

Trick or Treat! Halloween is almost here, which of course means it’s time for your favorite characters to get all dressed up for this season’s Halloween episodes.

To help plan out your fall-holiday viewing, here’s a rundown of upcoming Halloween specials:

ABC Family’s annual 13 Nights of Halloween kicks off this Friday, October 19th. Special new episodes of Pretty Little Liars (Tues. 10/23 8pm) and Switched at Birth (Mon. 10/22 8pm) headline the event.

PLL Halloween episode

The other 20+hours worth of programming belong to a smorgasbord of family-favorite Halloween flicks like Beetlejuice, Hocus Pocus, Coraline, Haunted Mansion, Edward Scissorhands, The Addams Family, and cable premiers of Monster House and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

You’ll also be able to catch offbeat movies like Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Mummy, and Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.

More Halloween Laughs than Scares on TV this Year

Kids and teens aren’t the only ones getting dressed up, almost every network comedy is getting into the spirit too. Check out all of the FOX, NBC, CBS, and ABC sitcoms airing Halloween episodes this year:  The Big Bang Theory (Thurs. 10/25 8pm), The Middle (Wed. 10/24 8pm), Modern Family (Wed. 10/24 9pm), Happy Endings (Tues. 10/30 9pm), New Girl (Tues. 10/30 9pm), Suburgatory (Wed. 10/24 9:30pm), The Office (Thurs. 10/25 9pm), Up All Night (Thurs. 10/25 8:The Office Halloween Season 9 30pm), Ben and Kate (Tues. 10/30 8:30pm), The Neighbors (Wed. 10/24 8:30pm) and The Mindy Project (Tues. 10/30 9:30pm).

The 2012 TV season also provides the chance to see characters from 666 Park Avenue (Sun. 10/28 10pm), Blue Bloods (Fri. 10/26 10pm), Hawaii Five-0 (Mon. 10/29 10pm), and Hart of Dixie (Tues. 10/30 8pm) in Halloween costumes.

And Don’t Forget About the Halloween Specials

If you’re a fan of Byran Fuller’s work (Wonderfalls, Pushing Daises, & Dead Like Me) and why wouldn’t you be, than I highly recommend that you check out NBC’s special presentation of Mockingbird Lane (Fri. 10/26 8pm)This reboot of the Munsters has long been stuck in the Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Browncreative stages of production, but now with NBC’s decision to air the “pilot” as a Halloween special, it may be all we see of Fuller’s quirky take on this famous family. The potential series stars Jerry O’Connell as Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as Lily, and Eddie Izzard as Grandpa.

I saved the best for last – It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie BrownABC will air the timeless Halloween classic on the big night, Oct. 31st at 8pm.

Looking for The Simpson’s latest installment of  ‘Treehouse of Horrors‘? Hate to break it to you, but it already aired on October 7th. Look for it on FOX.com, Hulu.com, or OnDemand.
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