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Survivor: Philippines – Surprisingly Open & Honest Gameplay

CBS’s Survivor may be in its 25th season, but the iconic reality show is still able to entertain and keep players and viewers guessing when it comes to game play.Survivor Philippines Season 25 Logo

In every season of Survivor there are always a handful of players who approach the game with honesty and integrity in mind. Others make the distinction between the ‘reality show’ and ‘real life’ and do or say whatever they need to make it to the end. And throughout the 24 seasons we’ve seen thus far, both strategies have been rewarded, which is why there isn’t a ‘right’ way to play the game.

But never in all of the seasons of Survivor that I’ve watched,* have I ever seen such an open game in terms of verbal bluntness, honesty, visible alliances, and knowledge of the owners’ of the hidden immunity idol. It’s an interesting way to play the game for sure, and Survivor: Philippines is really benefiting from it.

Outwit Outplay Outlast – Outspoken?

Lisa’s entire play thus far best exemplifies this scattered yet strategic open policy. She’s stayed true to her alliances and when switching she’s put it all out in the open, yet she’s still unreliable in a vote because you have to wonder if she is making decisions based on her head or her heart.CBS Survivor Season 25

And how insane yet mellow was the tribal council (25×9) in which Malcolm and Abi both admitted to having a now not-so-secret Hidden Immunity Idol?

Even in the last episode (25×12) when Carter walked up on Skupin and Malcolm talking about him they freely admitted that he was the topic of conversation and he left so they could carry on.

Mind you, I don’t think this makes the game any easier because honesty doesn’t always translate into niceness (i.e. Abi) and even if you are aware of all of the variables, it doesn’t mean you can control them. Just ask any of the players who were blindsided.

And things are obviously only going to become more complicated as the current controlling alliance of Malcolm, Denise, Lisa, and Skupin is only to the final four. Plus the Hidden Immunity Idol will be out of play and of course the perpetual wildcard that is Abi is still on the island and capable of stirring up trouble.

So yeah, these last few episodes should be a wild ride. Will Malcolm and Denise stick together and make it to the end after surviving the decimation of the Matsing tribe? Will Lisa start playing the game and leave personal connections behind? Will everyone realize that Malcolm has a really good shot of winning if he makes it to the end? Do you think Abi has a ticket to the final three because of her unlikability?

Let me know what you think. Am I the only one who feels that Survivor is still capable of producing an enjoyable season of reality TV?

*Disclaimer: I haven’t seen all 25 seasons of Survivor, but I have seen most of them.

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While We Are On The Topic Of Rebooting 90s TV Shows

With the most recent news that Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel have signed on to revive their roles as Cory and Topanga on Disney’s new Girl Meets World pilot (a Boy Meets World sequel of sorts), I started thinking about other 90s shows that would lend themselves to a reboot or spinoff.

Now Disney isn’t the first network to attempt a sequel, reboot, spinoff, or whatever you want to call it. In 2008, The CW revived FOX’s Beverley Hills 90210, which is still on the air; however, any resemblance or connection to the original has been largely been lost. So I’m going to change things up a bit and turn to 90s Nickelodeon shows for inspiration. I’m sure there are plenty of other Nick kids who would love to revisit some of their favorite characters.

Show: Clarissa Explains It AllClarissa Explains It All

Network: ABC – The network is home to a whole slew of quirky comedies with heart so I would imagine this show would fit in well there.

Premise: Like the Boy Meets World reboot, the proposed Clarissa Explains It All series would include Clarissa’s teenage son or daughter, but like many other current series, the show would provide story lines for both adult and teen characters.

I can’t imagine Clarissa being settled down and all ‘domestic’, perhaps she’s even a single parent just doing her best to navigate adulthood; the show could really cash in on that popular life is perpetually like high school motif. In my mind the show would be tonally similar to Gilmore Girls. Also, thankfully talking directly to the camera is all the rage these days making it very easy to keep with the original show’s central storytelling device.

Show: The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo

Network: CBS – This show was the closest thing to a procedural you could find on a kid’s network.

Premise: The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo might seem like an odd choice for a reboot but I’m also thinking what would be most successful and nothing says multiple seasons like a standard cop/crime/detective show on CBS. Shelby Woo was already an ‘intern’ with the local police department in the Nick series, fast forward a decade or two, and now she’s a full fledged detective. They can also throw some family elements into the mix, like on Blue Bloods or The Good Wife.

Show: Hey DudeHey Dude

Network: MTV –  I’m keeping Hey Dude in the Viacom family, gear it towards teens but remove the PG label.

Premise: In my mind this reboot would become an edgier workplace comedy. I’m only making a loose connection here, but if one of the original characters is back owning/running the ranch, then the show is still free to utilize an ever changing cast of teen characters who are perfect for drama and love triangles. Think Degrassi mixed with Grey’s Anatomy on a Dude Ranch.

What other 90s shows would you like to see get the reboot treatment? Do you think a beloved 90s show will translate to a ratings success today? Should TV networks continue to look back for ideas or should they take more creative chances?

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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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Sesame Street Educates After Hurricane Sandy

Almost a week and a half ago Hurricane Sandy headed up the east coast and took a sharp left into New Jersey and New York. The super-storm took lives, destroyed homes, tossed aside boardwalks, swallowed up piers, and left millions without power. And to make matters worse, most of the region received snow last night.

My family has been lucky – our house made it through the storm unscathed and we were only in the dark for 32 hours, which means I’ve spent countless hours watching the news taking in the full scope of chaos left in Sandy’s wake. And even though I don’t live on the barrier island, I only have to walk around my neighborhood to see trees down, cars crushed, and houses flooded.Sesame Street Hurricane

It’s equally overwhelming and unbelievable, so I can only imagine how kids are coping. The barrage of images, lasting power outages, and real-life in-front-of-your-face destruction is a constant reminder of how much has changed. So when I came across an EW.com article about an upcoming Sesame Street Hurricane episode I couldn’t help but feel a little bit better to know that someone was going to take the time to present this information to kids too.

The iconic children’s series has tackled a number of tough issues before including death, ethics, and relationships. In fact, this natural disaster-themed episode was originally a 5-part series that aired in 2001. It was repeated following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and now it will air, in an edited form, tomorrow Friday Nov. 9th. The condensed version will focus less on storm-preparedness and more on the after effects of the storm including recovery and loss.

In the episode, Big Bird’s nest is destroyed along with much of Sesame Street. While they try to repair the nest, its ultimately deemed uninhabitable by a city inspector. The scenario is surely something many can sympathize with as officials continue to condemn houses and many still struggle to get over to the barrier island and beach front to see what, if anything, still remains.

I like to think of this episode as a gesture of support from the fine folks over at PBS and Sesame Street – for kids of all ages. I’d also like to use it as a reminder that not all of TV is bad. At times it can teach, provide understanding, and offer comfort. After all, the most sound advice usually comes from trusted friends.

As long-time Sesame Street resident Gordon explains, ‘You’re right, Big Bird, it’s not all right … but it will be all right.’

Wise words for us all.

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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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Nerding Out At New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con Sign

Yesterday morning my friend and I got up super early, hopped on a train bound for the city, and soon thereafter found ourselves immersed into the crazy awesome world that is New York Comic Con.

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