ESPN Presents Nine for IX Film Series About Female Athletes | ESPN’s 30 For 30 Films

ESPN Presents Nine for IX Film Series About Female Athletes

ESPN Presents Nine for IX Film Series About Female Athletes

I love sports, and I love television, so it’s rather convenient how they typically go hand-in-hand. But I’m also a big fan of women’s sports, and well, those remain a much more scarce commodity on TV.

I’m not just talking about tennis or ice skating (I know the WNBA and the women’s NCAA Final Four get some air time, but I’m not really a basketball fan), I’m talking team sports like softball, soccer, and all the other random ones you only get to watch during the Olympics, late at night.

Anytime I find a game or tournament or competition or even just a female athlete getting some major media attention I’m pretty pumped. Which is why I’m really excited to see ESPN’s 30 for 30 Film Series branching out this summer with an all new set of films called Nine for IX, in honor of Title IX and the incredible female athletes that have benefited from the landmark education amendment.

Not only is the Nine for IX Film Series about women and sports, but all of the movies created were directed by women too. In addition, the series was executive produced by Robin Roberts, of Good Morning America, and Jane Rosenthal, a film producer with an impressive IMDB list of her own. That’s pretty badass in my opinion.

 

Women in Sports Step Into the Spotlight With Special 30 for 30 Film Series

The new Nine for IX Film Series will kick off on July 2nd, on ESPN. Throughout the rest of the summer a new film will air every Tuesday night at 8pm. Here’s the schedule:

  • July 2: “Venus Vs.” – I’m sure you already know that Venus Williams is an incredible tennis player, but do you know that she challenged Wimbledon’s status quo of paying female winners less than the male winners? Check out this film for the whole story.

  • July 9: “Pat XO” – This film dives into the life and career of Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in the history of NCAA basketball. The story is primarily told by her son Tyler, which provides the audience with an unusually intimate depiction of this notorious basketball coach from the University of Tennessee. Assistant coaches, players, and other high-profile athletes help to fill in the gaps.

  • July 16: “Let Them Wear Towels” – Here’s a ongoing debate that continues to spark passionate responses from both sides: Female Reports and Male Locker Rooms. This film lends a voice to the women who have been trying to break into this male dominated industry, and actual physical space.ESPNW Nine for IX Poster

  • July 23: “No Limits” – I’ve never heard of Audrey Mestre, and I certainly don’t know much about Free Diving but this film sounds fascinating and unfortunately tragic. Mestre died in 2002 when she attempted a world-record free-dive of 561 feet. However, her contributions to the sport go far beyond her last dive.

  • July 30: “Swoopes” – I had a Sheryl Swoopes jersey for the inaugural season of the WNBA, but being a 12-year who was simply excited to see a professional sports league of any kind for women, I really didn’t know much about the players beyond who was ‘the best’. This film promises to provide a more detailed story of the woman who broke records and paved the way for so many other athletes on and off the court.

  • Aug. 6: “The Diplomat” – The Cold War, ice skating, socialism, and secret police, sounds like one hell of a thriller. And it may be, but according to the film description it’s mostly about Katarina Witt, one of East Germany’s most popular and prolific athletes.

  • Aug. 13: “Runner”  – For some athletes, their career is remembered for, or defined by, one moment; but unfortunately for Mary Decker her Olympic moment was nothing like she dreamed. One small collision with another runner during the 3,000 meters ended her hopes of earning a medal, and despite an otherwise successful career that fall would eclipse almost everything else she ever accomplished.

  • Aug. 20: The “The ’99ers” – Goal! Now this is a sport’s moment I remember – the US’s victory in the Women’s World Cup over China in a penalty-kick shootout. If you want to relive the excitement of that summer, then this film is for you. Footage for the film even includes behind-the-scenes videos shot by the players during the tournament.

  • Aug. 27: “Branded” – Image over accomplishments, this is the ongoing battle that female athletes face from the media. Hell, we even saw it on display last summer during the Olympics when gold medalists like Gabby Douglas and members of the US women’s swim team came under scrutiny for their appearances. This film explores the double standard by giving the floor to the women who have played on this uneven playing field their entire lives.

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Boy Meets World Cast Reunited At The ATX Festival

Boy Meets World Cast Reunited At The ATX Festival

This year’s annual ATX Television Festival just wrapped up, but for anyone who didn’t have a chance to attend now is the time to hit YouTube and search for all of those awesome panels that we missed.Boy Meets World cast reunion

One of which was a Boy Meets World reunion panel attended by Michael Jacobs (Creator), Ben Savage (Cory), Rider Strong (Shawn), Maitland Ward (Rachel), Matthew Lawrence (Jack), Lily Nicksay (Morgan #1), Trina McGee, (Angela), and Betsy Randle (Amy Matthews).

Between constant re-runs of Boy Meets World in the mornings and all the recent hype about the Girl Meets World pilot, I can’t exactly say the show has been missing from my life, but the panel is a nice way to enjoy what the series was from the point of view of the very people who lived it and created it.

Also, Rider Strong finally answers the the burning question: Whatever happened to Shawn’s sister Stacy who was only mentioned once in the 4th episode of the very first season?

(In case the video is taken down or for some reason you don’t feel like watching it – there was supposed to be a 2nd best friend for Cory and Shawn but when that character never materialized Shawn just picked up all ‘other friend’ storylines.)

Boy Meets World — Meets Austin

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Real Bars & Restaurants On Fictional TV Shows

Real Bars & Restaurants On Fictional TV Shows

A couple months ago I shared a short list of fictional TV places that I wished existed, even in a purely touristy way. And although it’s fun to dream, here’s a few places that you can actually go to…just like your favorite characters in your favorite TV shows.

Bon Appetite and Bottom’s Up!

Inspired by recent trips to New York City and Boston, where food and drinks were among the main attractions, here’s some real bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and other eateries that appeared on various fictional TV series, that actually exist.

Magnolia Bakery – As seen on Sex and the City and Saturday Night Live’s “Lazy Sunday” digital short, this bakery is the place to go for delicious baked good. They make some awesome cupcakes, trust me I’m speaking from experience. I highly recommend the red velvet.

They currently have 5 locations in NYC, one in Chicago, and another in Los Angeles. – http://www.magnoliabakery.com/

Central Perk – We all know Friends took place in New York City, but you won’t find their beloved coffee shop anywhere in the United States. In fact, a super fan created a mini replica of the Central Perk coffee shop in Beijing.

Fellow Friends enthusiasts will appreciate his attention to detail which includes the cafe’s familiar doorway and window, the orange sofa, and a menu full of items only ever mentioned on the show. The business has been doing so well that a second ‘Central Perk’ recently opened in Shanghai.

MacLaren’s Pub – Want to hang out where Barney, Lily, Robin, Marshall and Ted hang out? You’d better look for a place called McGee’s Pub and Restaurant. That’s the name of the real life pub that inspired MacLaren’s Pub on How I Met Your Mother.

McGee’s Pub and Restaurant is located in NYC at 240 West 55 Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue. The New York TV & Movie Sites Tour, provided by On Locations Tour, also makes a stop at HIMYM’s favorite watering hole.  – http://www.mcgeespub.com/

The Brick Tavern – Being on the East Coast and never having never seen Northern Exposure, I can’t vouch for the kind of establishment the Brick Tavern is, (BTW it’s the Brick Saloon in real life), but apparently its legendary.Cheers Bar in Boston

The Brick Saloon is Washington’s oldest continuously operating bar, established in 1889. Fans of Northern Exposure can find the iconic tavern at 100 West Pennsylvania Avenue in Roslyn, WA. – http://www.bricksaloon.com/

Cheers bar – On the other side of the county is the equally iconic Cheers bar, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”.

Based in Boston, there are actually two bars to choose from. There’s the original bar, located 84 Beacon Street and the replica bar nestled in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, in the Quincy Market building.  – http://www.cheersboston.com/

The Warsaw Tavern – The real Cleveland-based bar, The Memphis Plaza Lounge actually served as the exterior of the fictional Warsaw Tavern, which was frequently seen on The Drew Carey Show.

Although the interior of The Memphis Plaza Lounge doesn’t resemble the one on TV, it’s still apparently a good place to grab a beer, shoot darts, and play pool after a long day at work. Anyone in Cleveland can find this bar at 5303 Memphis Road.

Monk’s CaféSeinfeld fans should know this diner well, at least the TV version. The real one, which is located in New York City is actually called Tom’s Restaurant.

Seeing as we’ve already got a NYC-based pub and a bakery on this list, perhaps Tom’s Restaurant would be a good choice for breakfast or lunch. It’s located at 2800 Broadway. – http://tomsrestaurant.net/

Poor Richard’s – You might not be able to find The Office’s Dunder Mifflin company in Scranton, PA, but you can find their favorite bar – Poor Richard’s Pub.

It’s real and is located inside South Side Bowl at 125 Beech Street.

Jimbo’s Place – Finally, a warm weather location to grab some food and drinks. Jimbo’s Place has popped up on a couple of TV shows, most notably Dexter, Burn Notice, and Miami Vice.

Holstens in Bloomfield NJIt was located in Virginia Key, FL; however, just a couple of months ago Jimbo’s Shrimp Shack (it’s official name) actually closed. I decided to include it on this list anyway since the website said that they were hoping to find a proper location for this iconic place. – http://www.jimbosplace.com/

Holsten’s – And last but not least, here’s an ice cream parlor you may recognize from The Sopranos. As someone from New Jersey I can promise you that The Sopranos is not an accurate reflection of life in the Garden State, at least not for everyone.

However, with that said, there are a lot of great places to find ice cream in NJ and Holsten’s is one of them. The ‘old fashioned’ ice cream parlor is located at 1063 Broad Street in Bloomfield. – http://www.holstens.com/

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Summer TV Shows Return For 2013

Summer TV Shows Return For 2013

Despite the ongoing un-summer and even un-spring like weather we’ve had in Jersey lately, I take some comfort in the knowledge that it will eventually warm up. I know this because summer TV has slowly started to come back (and because it’s almost June).

So here’s a quick rundown of some of this summer’s new and returning TV series, you know for those rainy and lazy days.

TV Dramas For Every Season

FALLING SKIES season 3I’ve got a long list of hour-long series I am excited about, which is tricky to balance given my desire to also go outside. Among my favorites – Pretty Little Liars (6/11 Tuesdays 8pm ABC Family) and True Blood (6/16 Sundays 9pm HBO). Both are so ridiculous, in a completely entertaining kind of way.

Falling Skies is also on my to-watch list. TNT’s original sci-fi series has really come into its own in the last two seasons and returns June 16th at 10pm. Under the Dome (6/24 Mondays 10pm) has also piqued my interest. This new series is based on a Stephen King novel and was produced by Steven Spielberg, it also kind of reminds me of Jericho and its cast is highly recognizable to TV nerds like myself.

I can’t say I’m excited about it, and I don’t know if I’ll even watch, but The Killing is coming back for a third season. Yes, it was cancelled and yes they solved Rosie Larson’s case, but if watching somewhat incompetent cops drive around in the rain is your thing, then make sure to tune in on June 2nd at 8pm.

And unfortunately it’s still going to be a long wait for Breaking Bad and the return of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. The last few episodes finally return to AMC on Sunday August 4th at 9pm.

Warm-Weather Reality TV

sytycd season 10

One of my favorite summer series, So You Think You Can Dance (Tuesdays on FOX) has already returned, but don’t worry you haven’t missed much – they are still in the audition phase.

In the realm of guilty pleasures – Wipeout is back. Catch it at 8pm on Thursdays on ABC. If your a fan of fake scripted series, the second season of TLC’s Breaking Amish airs Sundays at 10pm.

America’s Got Talent kicks off its competition on Tuesday June 4th 2013 on NBC at 9pm. And for anyone who prefers winter, well, Ice Road Truckers is all new Sunday June 9th at 10pm on the Discovery channel.

There are also a good number of culinary competition shows making their debut over the next few weeks, if that’s your sort of thing.

Click here for a complete list of 2013 Summer TV premier dates.

Some Other Notable Returning TV Series

  • Rookie Blue – 5/23 10pm ABC
  • Arrested Development – 5/26 Netflix (Happy Marathoning!)*
  • Longmire – 5/27 10pm A&E
  • Pawn Stars – 5/27 10pm History
  • Melissa and Joey – 5/29 8pm ABC Family
  • Teen Wolf – 6/3 10pm MTV
  • Burn Notice – 6/6 9pm USA
  • Continuum – 6/7 10pm SyFy
  • Switched At Birth – 6/10 8pm ABC Family
  • Wilfred – 6/20 10pm FX
  • Big Brother – 6/26 9pm CBS
  • The Newsroom – 7/14 10pm HBO

If your favorite summer series wasn’t mention, my apologies, there is seriously way more ‘new’ TV on during the summer than you might think. Networks are even burning off cancelled series like 666 Park Avenue and Zero Hour, so if you were a fan now’s the chance to set the DVR and see what never was. But seriously, check out this comprehensive list of premier dates for summer TV -happy viewing!

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5 Reasons You Should Watch Orphan Black

5 Reasons You Should Watch Orphan Black

If you aren’t already watching Orphan Black, then you’re seriously missing out on some excellent serialized TV.

Without giving too much away, trust me it’s better to be unspoiled, here’s 5 reasons you ought to be tuning in to BBC America’s newest drama.

Orphan Black BBC

1. The lead actress, Tatiana Maslany, is incredible. On a regular basis she plays three characters, but has also appeared as at least three more. This will all make sense once you’ve seen the pilot, but let’s just say the acting is excellent.

2. For as much TV as I watch, I am drawing a blank on what I could say Orphan Black is like. Which is a good thing, it’s certainly not another cookie cutter series where characters fit into archetypes and plot lines can easily be sussed out in advance. Seriously, just sit back and enjoy the ride – it’s been a fun one thus far.

3. A lot of themes and genres are at play in Orphan Black. It’s dark yet snarky and incorporates sci-fi, thriller, crime, and noir elements. However, and most important to me, the characters and interpersonal relationships remain at its core. And in my experience, the most engaging and enjoyable shows let the characters drive the action.

4. Orphan Black airs on BBC America, which means the season order is a very manageable 10-episodes. As an added bonus it currently airs on Saturday nights at 9pm, and I’m not saying to stay at home and watch, but your DVR sure as hell shouldn’t be busy.

5. And lastly, Orphan Black has already been picked up for a 2nd season so you don’t have to worry about committing to a show that may or may not provide a satisfying conclusion. And given what I’ve seen this far, Orphan Black is not the kind of show to tie everything up in a nice neat little bow.

Ready for a mini-marathon? Orphan Black is available OnDemand for Comcast Xfinity customers, on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and other avenues of your choosing.

Happy watching!

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2013 TV Finale & Show Renewal Guide

2013 TV Finale & Show Renewal Guide

Hello fellow TV fans! It’s May, which means two things – Sweeps (finale time!) and Network Upfronts (the last of the renewal and cancellation announcements).

While some shows have come to an early end, May Sweeps is just getting start, which means there is plenty of drama, laughs, guest stars, plot twists, character deaths, weddings, and cliffhangers ahead. Here’s a handy calendar of TV finale dates for all of your favorite cable and broadcast shows concluding in the coming weeks.

*Click on the image to enlarge.
TVLine May Finale Calendar 2013
Big thanks to TVLine.com’s Matt Mitovich for making the above season finale calendar.

Is Your Show Renewed or Cancelled?

So your favorite shows are wrapping up for the current TV season, but will this year be its last? Most renewal and cancellation announcements have already been made, but if you’re like me and waiting to hear the final verdict on a few shows, here’s a couple of important dates to keep in mind.

According to TVByTheNumbers.com, here’s the schedule for the 2013 Broadcast Network Upfront Meetings:

May 13, 2013 NBC Morning
May 13, 2013 FOX Afternoon
May 14, 2013 Univision Morning
May 14, 2013 ABC Afternoon
May 15, 2013 CBS Afternoon
May 16, 2013 The CW Morning

Of course there are always some exceptions, or funky situations (given how late Hannibal premiered I don’t expect NBC to have a decision by May 13th), but for the most part you ought to the know the fate of your shows by these dates.

So happy viewing, and may the odds be ever in your favor. My fingers are crossed for Happy EndingsParks and Recreation, Hannibal, and Nikita – what are you hoping will live to see another season?

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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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I Watched All of Amazon’s Comedy Pilots

I Watched All of Amazon’s Comedy Pilots

Amazon Comedies

Pilot season rolls around every year, but for the first time TV fans can participate. Like Netflix, Amazon is getting in on the original programming game, so they’ve had 8 comedy pilots made and are now letting viewers weigh in on the options.

All eight episodes are available to stream for free on Amazon.com, so I spent the weekend watching each and every one of them. (Okay, it wasn’t that hard, most of the episodes are only about 20mins.) Here’s my take.

First Impressions Of Amazon’s Original Comedies

Alpha House

About: Follows four Republicans Senators who live together in one house.
Thoughts: Really impressive cast: Bill Murray, John Goodman, Mark Consuelos…and as a pilot it worked well to introduced the characters and set-up future plots.
Bottom Line: It’s not my cup of tea, I’m uneasy about political comedies. I feel like its probably a bit more honest about our government then I’d like it to be, but with that being said I still think it was one of the stronger comedies and could see why others would want to watch Alpha House.

Betas_Amazon Betas

About: Four friends living in Silicon Valley created an algorithm and the beginnings of a mobile app that they hope will make them a lot of money.
Thoughts: The cast may not be loaded with well named stars like Alpha House, but for a TV nerd like myself I did recognize several faces. I also really enjoyed the A-plot and was impressed that there was a bit of a twist in the B-storyline, which began as an overused and un-original geeky guy goes after girl storyline.
Bottom Line: This was my favorite pilot so obviously I’d watch it again. I’d like to see the characters develop, there was some interesting relationships/dynamics brewing in the Betas pilot.

Browsers|

About: Browsers follows four unpaid interns at a big-named gossip website. And oh yeah, its a musical.
Thoughts: Despite watching it in standard def, my audio seemed like it never quite synched up, which was particularly annoying during the musical numbers. I also felt like I might have enjoyed it more if I had an unpaid internship experience to draw from.
Bottom Line: In my opinion it would be better if it weren’t a musical. One of the songs was called “When I Tweet”, no thanks, not funny at all.

Dark Minions

About: Two average guys work for an evil intergalactic corporation.
Thoughts: If it were made into a series, Dark Minions would be done in claymation, but only small portions of the pilot were actually animated, which made it hard to watch. Unmoving sketches don’t exactly hold the attention.
Bottom Line: Feels like its not fair to judge an incomplete work but seeing as I’m not really into animated series, I don’t think I would want to watch more. If you’re a fan of Adult Swim or Animation Domination then you might feel differently.

Onion News EmpireOnion News Empire Amazon

About: You know The Onion, which satirizes newspapers? Well the Onion News Network satirizes The Newsroom.
Thoughts: Like Betas, this show was chalked full of actors I’ve seen elsewhere on TV. I found the pilot to be amusing, but I like The Onion so it’s not too much of a stretch.
Bottom Line: I think this show might actually work better as a series of shorts rather than as a real series. I just wanted to see the fake news stories, I didn’t really care about the characters all that much, although a 20 min. time constraint will do that to you.

Supanatural

About: Two ‘divas’ defend the world against supernatural forces.
Thoughts: Between its description and being animated, this was the comedy I was least looking forward to watching. And although it was honest about it’s hater-humor, I’m not a fan of cruel comedy.
Bottom Line: It was better then I thought it would be, but not good enough for me to care about watching anymore. Although Supanatural does get bonus points for making references to Stargates and Hellmouths.

Those Who Can’tAmazon Those Who Cant

About: Three high school teachers who never really grew up.
Thoughts: Like Supanatural, Those Who Can’t was more cruel then funny. I thought I’d like it because I tend to watch a lot of high school based TV shows and movies but I wasn’t enamored.
Bottom Line: Not interested, despite the fact that its told from the teachers’ perspectives, the pilot didn’t feel any more original then any other high-school based series.

Zombieland

About: A sequel to the 2009 movie of the same name.
Thoughts: Out of all 8 comedy pilots this one seems like it would be the most expensive to make, although I don’t know what kind of budget Amazon is working with so that might not matter.
Bottom Line: Despite having to reconcile the recasting, the enjoyable essence and humor from the movie are still there. Although I did feel like the character of Tallahassee was a bit off. Overall, I did enjoy the Zombieland pilot, and would gladly watch more. 

Amazon also had six kid’s pilots created, they’re also free to watch right now. Out of all 14 pilots, at least two will get the greenlight. So go check them out and take the survey when you’re done.

If you’ve already watched a few, or all of them, which comedy would you like see as a series?

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