Friday, January 16, 2009
Battlestar Galactica's last gasp
Battlestar is finally finishing it's last season starting tonight. The final ten episodes were held back after the Writer's Strike delayed the season. They didn't want to compete with the fall season and fall sports for some reason. This show has been exceptionally good in both individual production quality and story, but also in episodic arcs and long term character development.
The problem with a show that has a destination such as "We want to get off the island" or "We need to find our way home" or in this case "We want to find Earth" is that once you achieve that the show is over and if they don't it kind of spoils the entire series. ST:Voyager ended well with the return to Earth. Quantum Leap slipped into oblivion when Sam never made it home. But Battlestar surprised twice at the mid season finale last year. First by actually finding Earth with half a season still to go. But also by finding a dead and empty planet. Tonight promises to reveal the identity of the final Cylon. I've managed to avoid spoilers so I have no clue. I'm hoping for Billy or Gaeta.
Labels: Battlestar Galactica
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Over New Years Eve weekend I watched the entire HBO series The Comeback, starring and co-created by Lisa Kudrow. The show was very uncomfortable to watch sometimes. Actually during the red carpet scene before the People's Choice Awards, I ejected the disk and sealed it back up in the Netflix envelope. The next morning I changed my mind and ripped it back open to watch the end of the series. I'm glad I did because the series had a happy ending.
The series was supposedly raw footage from a reality show called "The Comeback". Lisa plays a mid-grade sitcom star returning to a new show after being out of the business for ten years. She gets a part as the Mr. Furley type character on a new sex-romp show. One of the show creators and writers clearly hates her and tries to make her look as bad as possible with horrible costumes and very few lines.
What I liked about this show was how it followed the behind the scenes development of a new sitcom. They start with the filming of the pilot, which they change completely half way through. Then they head to the upfronts to present before the advertisers. When they start regular production, there is the politics of dressing room assignments. Then the ratings come out and it's not great. Slowly we see the show shifting focus to the rising star Juna who is a superstar by the finale. The show shuts down for a re-tool. A technical problem makes for a very late night of taping. The show gets nominated for a People's Choice Award. By the end the sitcom seems to have found its grove and the overedited reality show debuts.
What I didn't like about it was the really awful situations Valerie (Lisa Kudrow) gets in. Sometime it is her own ambition that backfires but most of the time it is just bad luck or the dick writer who make things terrible for her. Overall the happy ending on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno made the cringeful situations worth it. The premise of showing it as "raw" footage made it hard to watch also. There is no music or sound ques so it can get stale. I fell asleep one time. In the end the show lasted just one season on HBO which is fine by me.
Labels: The Comeback
The Prisoner was a very odd British show from the 60's. It was created by and staring Patrick McGoohan who passed away yesterday at the age of 80. I watched this show back in college on the brand new Sci Fi channel. I didn't quite understand it and the ending didn't help. If you never watched it, the show followed the imprisonment of ex-spy in an odd resort of a prison called The Village. He was #6. Each week a new #2 would try to find out information from him. Why did he quit the spy biz? What does he know? He never told them anything useful. He was always trying to meet #1 which was either a monkey or a missile. They ended up dancing on the back of a truck driving down a British freeway as their escape. It was very odd.
Even though it was technically a spy drama, it had a huge influence on modern SciFi. Babylon 5 had references to it. The Cylon spy from the new Battlestar Galactica is named #6 in an obvious reference to the show. Elsewhere in pop culture, The Simpsons referenced the show three times. Most memorable when Marge is escaping from the cult Movementarians and she avoids the Rover which then takes out Hans Moleman.
But later this year The Prisoner is going to return in the form of a mini series staring Gandalf and Jesus. I read that it won't have the more infuriating aspects of the original series: unanswered questions. The original show ended with more unanswered than answered questions. What didn't they want to know? What was he hiding? What was the Village? Who was number one? What the eff were they smoking when they wrote this show?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
VH1 New Shows
Recently Rock of Love Charm School Starring Sharon Osbourne came to an end. During the reunion show Sharon threw her drink on the bikini clad, retarded dog owner, scheming Megan. That wasn't very charming. Now that this and some of their other reality shows have ended, the new shows are starting.Rock of Love Bus with Bret Michaels.
Bret is back with more crazy bitches. This time they are on a bus following him are tour. Unfortunately none of them were involved in the bus accident that plagued Bret's tour last year. How many buses does he have?Sober House.
The continuation of the Celebrity Rehab. I liked it when they just had fat celebrities on VH1.Tool Academy.
Similar to Charm School but for guys and no one we've seen before. They are supposed to be learning how to be better boyfriends to their girlfriends. The real reason they are tools is because they have girlfriends. They must not have any game.Confessions of a Teen Idol.
Scott Baio's newest show. He and the Wonder Years older brother have gathered seven former teen actors (two from Baywatch alone) and they go through counseling and stuff and try to make it back into the business.
American Idol? More like Embarrassing Idol
I decided not to fight the Idol this year. Usually I complain about and mock the show. Then by the middle of the season, I'm hooked. This year I'm started from the beginning. I'm watching the first episode right now. They are auditioning in Phoenix. They are only on the third applicant and Paula is already throwing stuff at Simon. He did take a cheep shot at Straight Up! so he did deserve it. I think he has a writer. My early impression is The New Chick is a great addition. She has lots of industry experience. I don't know her name and I will always just call her The New Chick.
I still think the audition episodes are just mean. You know that the four judges don't see all 100,000 applicants. That means the bad people who go before them have already been screened once of twice. They are being set up to be embarrassed on national television. I think that's kind of despicable.
Labels: American Idol
Monday, January 12, 2009
24 is back this week. With the writer's strike last year we didn't get a season of Jack Bauer running around chasing terrorists and government conspirators. But this season is really 26 hours. Last November there was a TV movie which was shot on location in South Africa. This was a great move as it put Jack Bauer in the fictional African country which is key to the story this season. It really gave the audience a more emotional connection to the story.
Like the last few seasons, government conspiracies and corruption play a big part this season. Someone killed the president's son. Someone in the FBI is helping terrorists. African blood diamond rulers have hacked into the American air traffic control system. Jack is on the run again. Tony is alive and working against the government. There is a new president and this time, it's a woman! It will be a good season.
KOMO Tally Voo
I don't have ABC any more. DISH Network and KOMO, the Seattle affiliate, are not playing nice right now. KOMO, which gets its bandwidth for free from the government, is demanding a really high per subscriber fee from DISH Network to rebroadcast their channel. Since they get all their revenue from the commercials on the over the air broadcast (from the bandwidth given to them by the government for free) all money they demand from me and other DISH subscribers is pure profit. Did I mention that my taxes pay for their over the air bandwidth?
So now I can't watch many of my favorite shows on TV any more. No Desperate Housewives. No Ugly Betty. And starting next week, no LOST. I will have to watch these shows online. Eff You channel 4.
Labels: DISH, KOMO
Friday, January 09, 2009
Closing the Gate
Stargate: Atlantis finishes a five season run tonight with it's 100th and final episode. I'm sad to see this franchise go from SciFi's Friday lineup where it has been a staple for many years. Tonight Earth and the Atlantis team react to an attack by the Wraith, the evil life sucking villains of the far away Pegasus Galaxy. Thanks to the awesome CSI type Vegas episode last week that took place in a parallel universe, the wraith in our universe found the location of Earth. It is not clear how they will get there as they lack the Asgard inter-galactic hyperdrive technology. The season will end with some sort of cliff hanger which will be resolved in one of the two direct to DVD movies. I really like Atlantis. It took SG1 a few years to really get going. I thought Atlantis was great from the first season.
Stargate is not dead. In fact the set from SG1 still exists. They are still making direct to DVD movies. As long as those are making money I guess they will keep making them. Also there is a new series in development: Stargate: Universe which will begin this summer on SciFi. But that is going to be completely self contained with no cross over characters like Col. Carter and Maj. Davis on tonight's episode (pictured). I'll watch it and I'll like it.
Labels: Stargate: Atlantis