Archive for the 'Television' Category

NBC Mondays

I was going to just put a quick little review of one of last night’s new shows, but I decided instead that I should write up a little bit on each program just to kind of sum up my thoughts. So with that in mind… my review of the new NBC Monday night programming schedule. ***Spoilers may be coming if anyone wants to avoid them, in particular… Heroes***

First up on the night is Chuck, the unfortunately named new action-comedy. The premise of the show is pretty good, take an average “nerd herd” employee and have him somehow stumble into being needed by the government for the information that is somehow encoded into his brain. From the previews of the show it seemed rather humorous, but as is often the case, it isn’t as funny as it looked. It had its moments, but in the end it wasn’t incredibly hilarious. I think the show was ok still, it certainly isn’t a show that is worth missing something great, but it is on in a time slot that doesn’t have anything else really playing and this is actually a pretty nice brainless show that is still entertaining to watch.

Next is the return of Heroes, was hugely excited for this and overall I would say it was a little bit of a let down. The new “virus” plot line isn’t very excited and was also done pretty well in the previous Heroes (aka X-Men). I think the new plotline of them trying to get rid of The Company is a much better plot line, as well as the member of the original Company who is going around and killing everyone else in it. The explanation of how each of them became so rich (a man with a midas touch), was also pretty cool. Hiro’s new story is a bit disappointing, was it surprising to anyone else that his hero was actually a bandit that stole money from people? It didn’t even entirely surprise me that he was British in an attempt to lower the amount of reading that the average viewer has to do.

Lastly was Journeyman, a show I honestly didn’t even remember seeing commercials for, I remember seeing and hearing about a new Quantum Leap type of show, and sure enough this was a lot like that. This show was completely amazing however, I don’t know who the main actor was, but he was great and completely carried the show which is what he needed to do. You felt his confusion, is yearning for his former fiance, even the awkwardness that he has with his wife and brother (who used to be dating). He is a phenomenal actor and kudos to him. The premise of a show about this guy who can travel in time and change events has worked well in previous shows like Quantum Leap and even Early Edition, and it works well with this one. The twist at the end with the family he was helping was really good, and so was the kick ass way he used this ability to prove it to his wife. It was a special show. My only two complaints about the show is that 1) Heroes as a lead in is awful, I don’t think it is going to attract the same people even though it has similar science fiction like qualities. It also is a little disconcerting moving from a show where one of the main characters time travels, to a show where the main character time travels.. these shows need to be split up if for this alone. 2) The added in the mystery of “what’s happening here?” that Lost added into television a few years ago and honestly, it feels forced here. I am a fan of the style, though Lost has Lost interest in me long ago.. but it really just feels tacked on and I think Journeyman would be better off without it. Still, this show is worth a watch for anyone… the fact that I can honestly say that Heroes was on last night and all I can think of today is Journeyman does this show lots of credit because the episode of Heroes wasn’t THAT bad.

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B5 Returns

Last week I was surfing around somewhere and I saw that Babylon 5 was putting out a new movie which was releasing last week. Thinking back on it now, I think that I did hear about it previously but I didn’t remember it for the life of me and it took me by surprise. So I promptly ordered it.

Understand that until recent years, Babylon 5 had been my favorite sci-fi series of all time. Now with an explosion of television shows like Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, and Heroes, it has fallen to #4 on my list but it is still easily one of my favorites. (I do think Heroes is eventually going to drop but right now I am really liking the show). I am very excited to see the show making a return in some format, even if it is straight to DVD. It gives me hope for other shows which have had similar fates like Firefly (whom only the main star has been able to maintain acting and only in really bad movies so I think even he could come back).

So my review of it… First I was happy to see that they were able to round up some of the former actors, including two of the captains and one of my personal favorites… Galen. Unfortunately, one of the captains was the third one who really wasn’t worth even having in the show in the first place. I think they mostly needed her for the fact that Sheridan was becoming president of the alliance, but she was aweful and really should have stayed buried.

The DVD featured what essentially was two episodes. The first featured the third captain, with a priest dealing with a demon. Literally, a demon. I really didn’t like this episode. It reminded me of a crap filler episode of the show, especially one of the early ones. And when you got two episodes, I really would wish that they provided something a little more substantial. The second thing about it was that while there were religious undertones throughout the show previously, they weren’t as blatant as this. In fact, the show had previously always interpreted angels as being Vorlans and demons as being Shadows so I don’t understand why they came out in this fashion. I always appreciated the undertones. That being said, the actor who played the demon was brilliant, the other two actors that were in the episode were forgetable.

The second episode was longer, and really made the purchase worth the while. Sheridan is worth bringing back, and Galen was amazing as usual. I also appreciated the Centauri Prince that they brought into the show, I thought he did a fine job on the part, and hope to see him in future releases. The story was good and felt like a potential starting point for a new series of plot lines, which if this one makes money I imagine Warner Bros. will continue to make them. I am hopeful they do cause this one was good.

Other thoughts… the special features were fairly weak. They consisted of short interviews with the three main actors (mostly lockley and sheridan) and JMS. There were tributes to the two actors who have passed away since the show ended, these tributes while a nice thought turned out a little disappointing. The Sheridan interview for this was actually pretty good, and the JMS part was decent but I was hoping for behind the scenes clips with those actors, and even if they just got phone interviews with the other B5 actors it would have been nice to go beyond just the actors who appeared in the show. The new spruced up graphics were great, you can really tell how far technology has moved since the show originally aired, however I felt they relied on blue screens a little too much, often when they didn’t even need to (many hallways were completely blue screened). I realize this is a cost saver, but it also makes it feel less organic. But I suppose I can’t complain when the show is on, even if there are these minor complaints.

Overall, a decent disc. I think it was worth the money solely for seeing some new episodes. Although, I hope in future DVDs that they give out a few more features, and don’t have the junk episodes like they did here.

Man vs. Wild a sham!

Man vs. Wild is a show where they take a british guy, they drop him off in the wilderness and he spends a few days trying to get to civilization, all the while showing us what we should do if we find ourselves in similar circumstances. The show is great, very fun to watch him do various feats and eat weird things. It is like Fear Factor meets Steve Irwin.

Now I had no delusions that this was totally straight forward. I figured how the show operated was pretty much the same as animal shows… it isn’t really spontaneous but is set up to some degree. I figured how it worked with Man vs. Wild (or MvW) was that they planned a route, had people go scout the route for interesting features, maybe had Bear (the host) go through and see some of the parts, had him study directions, and then figured out and practiced various survival techniques for this particular trip. So in essence the trip is real, but completely planned, down to the “stumbling upon the orange orchard in the everglades.”

However, I found out that this is just half the show. They not only do all of the above, but the host also spends the nights in hotels, and the crew sets up everything for him. (One example given was that the crew made a raft on a deserted island, then disassembled it so that Bear could re-assemble it on camera alone, basically providing him with lego pieces to do it).  To me this calls into question the whole show. When he drank his own urine in the Australian outback, I wonder if he was really drinking Kool-Aid. When he was complaining about being so alone and demoralized in the cold snow cave he built himself in the Alps, I know now that he just returned to his hotel 5 minutes afterwards to see his wife. The whole thing is done.

It is too bad really cause it was a show that I really enjoyed, but at this point is nothing more than any other show, just with less story. It isn’t real, it is fictional. Channel 4 (the UK channel that caries the show over there) has responded to the allegations basically saying that “they never said that he was actually doing these things unassisted.” Well that’s not entirely true, the whole show is marketed as if he is actually in the wilderness surviving, and now we know he isn’t. The format of the show dictates that he is unassisted, with only a camera guy to take film.

The whole thing really reminds me of that quiz show from the early 70s in which they fed the answers to contestants and coached them how to answer the questions to make the show more interesting. The format of a quiz show says they aren’t feeding answers to contestants, however the network could have always said “we never said we weren’t” which is true, but then they saw themselves on a losing side of a federal investigation. Will there be a federal investigation here? I doubt it, in those days the government was interested in their citizens not being deceived, now a days they are only interested in deceivign.

A note to the news media: I know why he did it.

Everyone in the media has been postulating why it was that the shooter killed everyonoe at Virginia Tech and I think I have an answer as to why. I have seen many photos of the deviant deluging my television screen since the shooting and I have noticed one thing in particular…. he is wearing a shirt in every single picture! It is obvious that this man was obsessed with shirts so much that he felt the need to wear one all the time! This obsession finally broke a tipping point when he felt he should be the only one who is allowed to wear shirts and started with the only logical step… to kill hot women who wear shirts and anyone who might try to stop him from declothing these women. After this moment, he stopped and pondered for a minute why anyone should wear shirts but him and started shooting people in mass in the area of school most likely to make shirts… the engineering department. It is shocking, but it is true. Shirts are the downfall of american society. We need to immediately disrobe our tops and burn them never to be clothed again, or risk having some other freakazoid like Seung-hui going off on mass murder sprees. Disrobe america!

Joost

So I recently got into the Joost beta, I don’t particularly remember signing an NDA, but in case I did I am going to try to keep this mini-review fairly vague.  If you do not know what Joost is, it is a program by the developers of Skype that is essentially Television over the internet. It is set up in channels and you can watch whatever you want whenever you want, sort of.

Well so I think that the tech of the program is great. I haven’t watched a full episode of anything yet to find out exactly how it works but i saw their demonstration and a P diddy video and it is looking good. The television stream is smooth, there are slight jaggies but nothing too bad, the interface is amazingly slick. The plugins are cool and i think will offer the program something different as well.

However, I do have a concern for the program. I do realize that it is only beta, but at the same time the company has been getting a lot of attention for signing on the likes of MTV, Comedy Central, and National Geographic (I think they signed with Viacom). But really this isn’t that big of a deal, each channel has about maybe 15-20 programs on it, and these programs are usually canceled ones. For comedy central the main shows they have are Stella and Freak Show… now they may have just gone this route first to test the waters, like I said this is just beta. But if this is what they come out with after launch, the program will fail.

I also wonder how they will handle live programming. Yes it is nice that you can watch what you want when you want it, like TiVo just without the recording aspect. However, some programs are best watched live. For instance they have the indy racing channel which if is anything like other channels will likely have 2 year old races. Who the heck is going to watch this? This is a bigger niche than the classic ESPN channel. Currently they have no streaming news or sports live broadcasts and this is something they need in order to really have a chance to replace TV. These things do not work the next day, they really need to be watched when or near the air time.

But overall, the program shows a lot of promise. If they can provide the right kind of content, keep it easy to navigate, and keep the UI gorgeous, they may have a winner again.

Battlestar Gallactica Finale

Well a lot happened that I figured would, but it was still good. Spoiler alert if you care.

First, the obvious Starbuck. I knew they couldn’t go long without her return, I knew she’d be back before the end of the season. I knew this because they “killed” her off in mid-season. Now what is up with her, not entirely sure. I suspect she is a Cylon, however I hope to all gods that she is not. I have heard some theories that say perhaps the storm she flew into was a portal to jupiter or something and that is how she got to Earth, I don’t necessarily buy this cause it doesn’t explain how she survived the explosion (or more importantly how the raptor did). Still I hope somehow that this is it because I really can’t stomach the idea of her being a cylon.

Second… the other five models is starting to get worked, which I like certainly. (I still hope they bring the idea of the old starbuck being God, but that wouldn’t happen for a few seasons). I bet a lot of people will be taking this story for face value and be totally shocked by the results. The face value story is that the 4 who are hearing music are cylons. I however, don’t think this is true. You will note in the episode that there were two seperate oddities going on in the ship at the same time. The first was that the 4 were hearing music, and the second was that the 3 cylons (including Hera) and the president were feeling different and going to the cathedral. There was no overlap on these two issues, the president did not hear the music and the 4 did not see the cathedral.

This tells me that two different things were happening. The first is that the 4 are not cylons, but think they are which makes them a very very interesting story going forward. I don’t know how exactly this happened, but they all may have something in common. This thing is that it is possible that they have all had a relationship with a cylon in which maybe they got implanted with some device, perhaps a tracking device of some sort. The chief is the easy one here with boomer. The second easiest is Starbuck’s husband (if we assume starbuck is a cylon). The third is Ty who I always thought was married to a cylon (his wife appeared out of nowhere and then did everything possible to sabitoge whatever he was doing). And the President’s aid, maybe the president implanted her at some point.

Which brings me to the other experiences, which tell me that the president is a cylon as I had long suspected. To me this is where the proof seems concrete… she had the same experiences as the cylons did, who btw were not hearing music either. This to me is proof of who the cylons are. We will have two new cylons the president and starbuck. Starbuck did die, but was regenerated on Earth with the other 4 models who are now living on Earth. And returned to help Apollo find Earth. My guess for the other 3 models is Ty’s wife (of course), the lawyer who defended Baltar, and then they will leave the last one up for grabs for awhile.

Now I do have another theory and this theory would say that both the president and Ty’s wife are part of the 7 other cylons that we already know about. This theory notes that the president and the wife look awefully similar to Xena and the 7 models, except older. I noticed this awhile ago with the wife, but just realized it recently with the president as well. And this brings up a new question. If a particular model doesn’t get regenerated, does it age? I can’t recall this being asked, but it may have been answered. This would indicate that the particular models of the president would equal the xena character, 7=wife, and then the Quantom Leap guy likely has a younger version running around. (Yes I know that that cylon in particular regenerated old, but maybe they regenerate at their previous age when they died?) I think this theory is further out there, and not likely, but it would be an interesting twist and would leave open the 4 music hearers to be the other 5.

All we know for certain is that one of the other 5 is someone that the Xena characters knows well. This would indicate Ty, maybe Starbuck (from when she was captured on Caprica and tested on), and Baltar as the only 3 characters that she knows fairly well enough to have the reaction she did. I suppose you could also make a case that one of they cylons is actually one of the 5, and that the other 5 have been infiltrating the 7 for a long time.

The Horror, The Horror

Ok, there is something wrong, seriously wrong with television when you are essentially FORCED to watch American Idol. I mean good god! Anything but American Idol!!!!

In the evenings I like to hang out with my roommate a bit so a lot of the time I will leave my gaming behind for a bit and we generally watch TV. We don’t have a ton of money so going to the movies isn’t always the greatest plan. And we live in Wisconsin so uh it’s cold outside. So TV it is. The problem is that it seems other networks are so scared of American Idol that they refuse to put anything on opposite it, they essentially give the night to the show and it is aweful. Heck I was more willing to watch old reruns of Home Improvement last night but it just so happened that was on a channel we are having issues with currently. Two nights ago, ABC went so low as to air 2 hours of America’s Funniest Home Videos, a show I had thought had been off the air for well over 5 years!

I mean good god guys, what is wrong with you. You are making a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yeah American Idol has great ratings, has it ever occurred to you that this might be the case for the sole fact that you put on absolute shit opposite it?