My First Free Comic Book Day | Marvel, Power Rangers & More

My First Free Comic Book Day

My First Free Comic Book Day

Even though I enjoy many forms of pop culture and have been to New York Comic Con twice in the last two years, I still haven’t picked up a comic book in a very very long time. (I used to buy Animaniacs comics and other random issues of X-Men and Wonder Woman from a local flea market circa 1995.)

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TV Awards Shows, Events, & More This Winter/Spring

TV Awards Shows, Events, & More This Winter/Spring

– The 2014 Calendar For TV Addicts –

Jan.

19th-23rd

Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour

Jan.

12th

Golden Globe Awards (NBC 8pm)

Jan.

18th

Screen Actor Guild Awards (TBS & TNT 8pm)

Feb.

2nd

Super Bowl XLVIII (FOX)

Feb.

6th-23rd

The XXII Olympic Winter Games (NBC)

March

13th-28th

PaleyFest 2014

 

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.

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Why Can’t I watch TV Online With Friends?

Why Can’t I watch TV Online With Friends?

I’m busy, my friends are busy (and some even live in different time zones), but we enjoy many of the same TV shows and it would be nice if we could occasionally watch them together, on our own time. However, if you aren’t watching TV live, it’s next to impossible to sync up online. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Wouldn’t it be nice if sites like Hulu or Netflix allowed you to invite friends to watch with you. Obviously your friend or friends would also need to be a user or have an account, but then ideally it would be as simple as sending them a link to the episode you intend to watch.

Then the ‘admin’ of the viewing party could handle hitting play or pause thereby creating a synchronous viewing experience. Also, a chat box would be part of the viewing interface so that you could, you know, chat while watching.

It could look something like this:

Hulu with Chat

So what do you think fellow TV fans? Would it be more fun to turn online viewing into a group thing? Does this already exist? If so, let me know.

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My TV-Related New Year’s Resolutions

My TV-Related New Year’s Resolutions

TV programing is pretty year round these days, so for the most part, the start of the new year isn’t any more special than say September or June. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t jump on the new year’s resolution bandwagon and relate it to TV.

So here’s my couch potato plans for 2014:

1. Marathon Battlestar Galactica

There are several concluded series on my perpetually growing ‘Must Watch List’, but this one is currently available in its entirety on Comcast OnDemand, so now seems like a good time to give it a try. Plus football season is winding down and with only four seasons I think I can squeeze it into my schedule during the long and boring winter months.

2. Watch More Imported TV

I enjoyed the BBC’s dark crime series Luther and I really love Canada’s sci-fi series Orphan Black, so I’d like to explore some more foreign TV shows… maybe Top of the Lake since it’s available on Netflix. Home-grown entertainment saturates the United States so it would be nice to try something from somewhere else every now and then, even if its just from our neighbors to the north.


3. Enjoy The More Obscure Winter Olympic Events

The 2014 Winter Olympics kick off on February 6th and while media coverage will no doubt focus on sports like ice skating and snowboarding, I’d also like to watch the events that don’t typically enjoy TV time like women’s ice hockey, curling, and bobsled. Some of the new events like luge team relay and women’s ski jump will no doubt be events that I also seek out.


4. Watch Amazon Originals

While it’s unrealistic to assume that entities like Hulu or Amazon will have the same success as Netflix when it comes to original programming, it’s also a bit unfair to simply write everyone else off. I enjoyed some of Amazon’s original comedy pilots so I might as well follow up on a few of them. Betas was ordered to series and the first three episodes are available for free. The others are accessible through Amazon Prime, which is where a free trial comes in handy.


5. Be More Selective

I watch a lot of TV, and not all of its even that good. In the last year or so I’ve been trying to be pickier about what I watch and for how long. I used to be a bitter-ender but that isn’t always a good trait (see: Charmed and Smallville), so while I’m not resolving to watch less TV, I am resolving to choose quality and entertainment value over quantity.

So what’s your TV-related new year’s resolutions? Any shows you look forward to or plan to watch in 2014?

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Why Do Broadcast TV Networks Still Rely On Sweeps Months?

Why Do Broadcast TV Networks Still Rely On Sweeps Months?

November sweeps have started! The unabashed TV fan in me is excited. It means that just about all of my broadcast shows will be on, without repeats, and that story lines will be at their most dramatic, or comedic as it may be (according to the promos anyway).

However, the TV nerd in me wonders how relevant sweeps really are in an age where time-shifting is increasingly becoming the norm, where the traditional TV calendar of September – May is less rigid, and where ‘broadcasting’ is slowly being replaced by ‘narrowcasting’.

What Sweeps Means To Nielsen TV Ratings

Throughout the year Nielsen collects ratings data for the top 56 markets through electronic metering, which includes set meters to keep track of channels and People Meters, which gather demographic information along with channels being watched.

For sweeps months (November, February, May, and July) though, Nielsen goes one step further and utilizes paper diaries, approximately 2 million of them. These diaries are sent out all across the county to the other TV markets not normally monitored electronically.

Seven-day diaries (or eight-day diaries in homes with DVRs) are mailed to homes to keep a tally of what is watched on each television set and by whom. Over the course of a sweeps period, diaries are mailed to a new panel of homes each week. At the end of the month, all of the viewing data from the individual weeks is aggregated. [Nielsen]

While I’ve never been a fan of the Nielsen ratings system, too many of my shows have been been axed due to low ratings, I can’t believe that they still use paper diaries to measure ratings. Like seriously, paper! There has got to be a better way to measure who’s watching what.

I mean between cable boxes, DVRs, and OnDemand services I’m sure that our cable providers know a lot more about our current viewing habits than they are letting on. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for ‘Big Brother’ or Skynet or anything of the sorts but it’s 2013 and I still can’t get past the fact that the television industry doesn’t have a more sophisticated measuring system.

To me, it seems that for four months out of the year Nielson dives a bit deeper into metrics and expands its sample size, and as a result the broadcast networks pull out all of the stops to try to attract as many viewers as possible, or at least the ones within the 18-49 demo.

But does this even work anymore? Stunt-casting and ‘must-see’ episodes just seem so gimmicky. If you’re a fan then you’re going to watch an episode regardless. Casual viewers could be persuaded to tune in I guess, but I have no idea what its like to be a casual viewer of anything.

Realistically and most logically though most TV networks don’t really care about fans, they care about viewers, more specifically ones that watch TV live. For instance, I enjoy Elementary but if I’ve got 3 episodes stocked up on my DVR, I’m not doing CBS any favors.

And I suppose that’s what I have to wrap my head around, the semantic difference between being a fan and being a ‘live’ viewer and what that means to broadcast networks and Nielsen ratings. As long as the current advertising system is in place, sweeps months will continue to exist and broadcast networks will continue to up the dramatic ante or the comedic hijinks to make their programs the viewing priority for fans. Or at least during the months of February, May, July, and November that is.

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Carved Pumpkins Perfect For TV Fans

Carved Pumpkins Perfect For TV Fans
Battlestar Galactica Cylon Pumpkin

Battlestar Galactica Cylon Jack-O-Lantern [Source]

As you gear up for Halloween this year, here’s some TV-themed pumpkin carvings to help you get into the holiday spirit… or to help you tap into your craftier self:

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Saturday’s Adventures at NYCC 2013

Saturday’s Adventures at NYCC 2013

Luck seemed to be on my side on Saturday as the weather cleared up and I managed to see and do everything I wanted to at New York Comic Con. Going in with realistic expectations and a pre-determined schedule helped, but I think part of a successful Comic Con experience is luck – and timing.

Me & Zachary Levi The Nerd Machine

Me & Zachary Levi

First on tap was The Nerd Machine booth, which I swore wasn’t over by The Block, but lo and behold, it was. Normally that wouldn’t have mattered but TNM was holding “Smiles for Smiles” photo ops with various celebrities to raise money for Operation Smile and Zachary Levi (Chuck) was there, like at that moment.

Despite some slightly panicked wandering of the showroom floor, my friend and I made it in time to have a super quick meet-and-greet and photo with Zachary Levi. We also each walked away with a free “Viva La Nerdolution” poster and some other swag from the merchandise table. First win of the day!

Where's Waldo?

Where’s Waldo?

Since it was still kind of early (re: not yet at max capacity) and we were already on the showroom floor we decided to just continue shuffling through the crowds, up and down each aisle taking in as much as we could – from the artwork to the cosplayers to all the other geek-themed stuff. Finn from Adventure Time seemed to be the most common character we spotted, although there were also several Waldo sightings and we even found Carmen Sandiego.

Besides The Nerd Machine, the 20th Anniversary Power Rangers booth was my favorite find. Not only were there action figures on display from each of the seasons but there was a couple of video monitors set up playing various episodes from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. There was also a decent size replica of the original Megazord.

Panels Are Fun Too – Plus There Are Chairs

After about two hours on the showroom floor we hit our sensory overload limit and headed downstairs to the no-cell phone service zone to enjoy some panels. Seriously the Javits Center and T-Mobile don’t mix well, which makes the NYCC app pretty unhelpful at times. Thankfully it didn’t matter as we never needed to devise a ‘Plan B’.

For us, the first panel of the day was “The Mary Sue Presents: Representation in Geek Media”, which we narrowly made it into. Like the line was cut-off right after us, standing room only kind of narrow. I still consider that win number two of the day.

The academic nerd in me was pretty psyched for this panel, not only because it was something unique to the con experience, but also because it was a chance to contemplate and examine the larger picture of the “geek” media I consume.

The panel consisted of a couple of people from The Mary Sue website and a couple of others who are creative types within the mainstream comic book industry. Although the obvious result of the discussion was ‘yes it would be nice if media represented a greater variety of people’ I still found the panel to be quite entertaining, and funny. I think the most interesting topic brought up during the roundtable discussion was the dilemma, or lose-lose scenario, of introducing a new character into an existing universe and the equally daunting task of re-imagining an existing character to better represent our current times and diverse cultures.

Bad Robot

It’s J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot!

Given the close call with The Mary Sue panel I wasn’t willing to take any chances on the next panel I had my eyes on, “Showrunners”, which meant some quality time camping out in the queue line. However, the good thing about line-waiting at Comic Con is that you’re surrounded by people who are deeply interested in the same thing you are.

Besides the good conversations, our get-in-line-early strategy paid off as we were able to get pretty decent seats. “Showrunners” was part exclusive clips from the upcoming documentary of the same name, and part Q&A session with the the documentary’s director and producer along with some of the featured showrunners including Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire), Greg Plageman (Person of Interest) and Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica).

Obviously Showrunners looked really interesting and I cannot wait for its release in 2014, but getting to learn a bit more about the inner workings of a TV show from some pretty high profile people in attendance was an added bonus. Out of the entire panel and screening, the following quote is what really stuck with me, “You work just as hard on the things that fail as you do on the things that succeed.”

The Zombie Office

The Zombie Office

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that no one sets out to make bad TV, so I think that sentiment only further highlights the difficulty of creating and running a successful series, let alone one that is heralded as groundbreaking or game-changing.

By the time the “Showrunners” panel let out, the general crowd had thinned out considerably so we took a quick detour to Artist Alley before making one final trip to the showroom floor.

Last year I never made it over to Artist Alley so that turned out to be an enjoyable stroll despite my complete lack of knowledge for almost all things comic book in nature. One webcomic caught my eye though – The Zombie Office. Check it out, it’s pretty damn entertaining if you’ve got a desk job.

So good times were had by all, and the NYCC fun even spilled over into Penn Station. Two Stormtroopers were standing at the bottom of the escalator giving high fives to all of us boarding the train back to New Jersey. I can’t think of a better way to end the day.

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Sorry I Don’t Watch…

Sorry I Don’t Watch…

Given how much TV I watch, and how often I talk about it, it’s not uncommon for people to ask me if I watch this or that. But I’m not a recluse, I have a job, and I do like to socialize (from time to time), so… no I don’t watch everything on TV.Too Much TV

However, if its a show the other person really loves, the simple answer of “No, I don’t watch that…” is usually met with some variation of “WHAT, but it’s so good”.

So here’s a list of excuses I’ve created for not watching a TV show. They may range in usefulness, but none of them are that I either a.) don’t watch TV or b.) don’t own a TV, because let’s be real — no one likes that person.

10 Reasons I’m Not Going To Watch That

  1. My DVR is full.
  2. It’s in my Netflix queue.
  3. It’s got a laugh track – I don’t want to be told when to laugh.
  4. It’s not available on Netflix streaming or OnDemand.
  5. I just started watching it (no I didn’t), please don’t spoil it for me.
  6. I don’t want to get attached to something that’s certain to be cancelled.
  7. I read the book series it’s based off of, so I don’t need to watch the TV show too.
  8. My friend/family member changed their password to Netflix or HBO Go and now I can’t mooch off of them anymore.
  9. Yeah, I would but that show has like 8 seasons, right? There is no way I can catch-up now. I’ll just wait for the series to end.
  10. I already watch # of hours of TV each week. (If you really watch a lot of TV and are honest about it, then people tend to back-off, or at the very least change the subject because now they are wondering how that’s even possible.)

Without putting down another person’s taste in television, how do you talk your way out of not watching a TV series? Share your excuses in the comments section below.

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