Sunday, September 30, 2007
Read the full show notes, subscribe via the iTunes store or with any other program via the TV, Eh? feed, or listen below - it's about 20 minutes long.
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Saturday, September 29, 2007
The National Post's Rob McKenzie, who besides covering the usual suspects in the paper, has added dramatically to the number of stories on Canadian TV out there with frequent postings to that newspaper's Arts & Life blog, The Ampersand, so he's one of the increasingly fewer voices we have on the scene. And thank god he's still on the scene, after suffering a "mysterious stroke."
Instead of using a stroke as an excuse to slack off work, he instead spent his time in hospital pondering the similarities - or not - to an episode of House, in Real life vs. House: In a way it was a 'stroke' of luck.
My diagnostic tests included a CAT scan, an MRI and an echocardiogram. I kept wondering which would be the one that makes me 10 times worse. On House, there's always one test that backfires horribly. During my echocardiogram, I glanced at the minute hand of the wall clock, figuring matters could go awry only at half-past the hour, which is approximately when House's patients have their setbacks.Read more ... and wish Rob a speedy recovery free from abusive doctors.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Calling All Canadians!Intelligence returns on Monday.
We'd like to hear your opinions regarding the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. drama Intelligence, which appears likely to be the only TV series playing in North America in which the lead character owns a lumberyard. Of course, it's not your typical yard, even for British Columbia: It's a front for the owner, slickly coiffed Jimmy Reardon, to launder drug profits. Like many LBM dealers, he's a 3rd-generation member of the family business (at least the bad parts of the business), and Reardon's character bio on the Intelligence Web site describes him as having "a diligent work ethic, which has resulted in the family business flourishing." He's also said to be "gentle and ruthless at the same time." Canadian TV blogger Diane Kristine says the lumberyard set appears every few episodes, but usually not as often as another of Reardon's "legitimate" businesses: a strip club. Kristine runs a blog called TV, Eh? So to her fellow Canadians, the question is: How good is "Intelligence," eh?
A message from Chris Haddock and Ian Tracey:
Here's a clip from season 2 (some spoilers):
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
- TV Preview: Life is Wild
"I was shocked to discover that Life is Wild's creator is Michael Rauch, also creator of my much-beloved, much-unwatched Love Monkey, where single life was an urban jungle. That's the only feeble connection I can make to Life is Wild, where family life is a South African lodge." Read more.
- TV Review: Bionic Woman Impresses Less Than Its Pedigree
"Deviating from the old isn't a bad thing, of course, especially since television and the world have changed considerably since 1976. The new series can't rely on nostalgia, but neither can it rely on the fans who have made Battlestar Galactica a modest ratings success. The last thing NBC needs is another show that gets great ratings ... for a cable show." Read more.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
See the full show notes at TV, eh?, subscribe via iTunes or the RSS feed, or listen below (it's about 30 minutes).
Sunday, September 23, 2007
- TV Review: Cane Lacks Spice
"With a cast that includes Hector Elizondo, Jimmy Smits, and Rita Moreno, a premise that uses the immigrant experience and adoptive families to explore outsiders and belonging, and enough pretty people with enough danger and deception in their lives, this show should be far more interesting than it is." Read more.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
That's me in letters and symbols, from t.y.p.o.r.g.a.n.i.s.m.: ASCII-O-Matic. You can also convert pictures into boxes, and either black and white or colour.
Pop Candy is going on vacation for a couple of weeks, but now would be a great time to catch up on what you've been missing.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
- How House Changed My Life
"With chaos theory, a seemingly insignificant event can have a huge impact on an outcome. A butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil and changes the atmosphere enough to cause a sequence of events that eventually generates a tornado in Texas. So maybe House really was the initial condition that led to my life being filled with new people and experiences." Read more.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I refuse to rant. I didn't think this was Laurie's year, what with Gandolfini being a lock, so I'm not as outraged as I might otherwise have been. And if House had won over The Sopranos, I might have felt almost like House was the James Spader of Outstanding Dramas. Almost, I said. Come on, it was the final season of a hugely influential, critically acclaimed, audience beloved series.
Other random Emmy thoughts:
Ryan Seacrest is no Hugh Laurie, but I admit, he charmed me with his low-key, self-deprecating performance (confession: I've always thought he was likable, just overexposed – on the other hand, I don't watch American Idol so I've had limited exposure to him). I liked the theatre-in-the-round approach at first, until it became apparent that the Academy needs to liquor up those people in the backdrop so they look like they're not comatose. The Family Guy intro would have been a lot funnier if they'd had the guts to skewer their own network, too.
There are about 10 hours of award ceremonies sandwiched between the categories I care about, but in there somewhere I swear I saw Frankie Valli songs somehow acting as a tribute to The Sopranos. And Tony Bennett shilling for Target.
My Emmy prediction success rate:
The benefit of doing the head, heart, and random number generator thing is that I can claim an astounding success ratio since I had 2-3 picks for each category.
- Drama Series: The Sopranos – my head picked that one.
- Comedy Series: 30 Rock – love it, but didn't pick it. Tina Fey gets bonus comedy points for thanking their dozens and dozens of viewers.
- Lead Actor in a Drama: James Spader. Are you frickin' kidding me?
- Lead Actress in a Comedy: America Ferrera – my head and heart agreed on this one.
- Lead Actress in a Drama: Sally Field – nope.
- Lead Actor in a Comedy: Ricky Gervais – Random Number Generator picked him.
- Supporting Actress in a Drama: Katherine Heigl – my head picked her.
- Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Jaime Pressly – my head was torn, but went with Jenna Fischer instead.
- Supporting Actor in a Drama: Terry O'Quinn – my head picked him.
- Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Jeremy Piven – Random Number Generator got this one.
- Writing for a Comedy: Greg Daniels of The Office – my heart picked it.
- Writing for a Drama: David Chase of The Sopranos - my head picked it.
I bet you expected more rage, given the House shut-out, right? Nope. I'm all cried out from last year.
I mentioned before that Mr. Futon Critic himself, Brian Ford Sullivan, was listing the 10 things you need to know about the new television season. He's done now, and he used statistical analysis to prove or disprove common assertions, like that Friday is the death time slot (it is), or that networks try to kill their shows (they don't). That's enough to earn my devotion -- opinion based on data, instead of the glut of trend articles that prove nothing but how cleverly writers can pick and choose details to suit their purpose.
But his last item, #10, is "Television is the best medium out there - and most of it is free!" and it's a lovely little article on how TV consistently produces "great content in a format that really isn't conducive to creating great things. " (Sorry about the "free" part Will, but hear him out).
There are so many people on the Internet writing about television today who seem to have lost -- if they ever had -- respect and appreciation for the medium itself, who can still convey the joy of watching television excellence, and whose disappointment in badly executed failure doesn't resort to snideness about the entire medium. His closing note:
And so with the 2007-2008 season on our doorstep, there's only one of the "10 Things You Need to Know About the New Season" you really need to remember - enjoy it. Don't worry about time slots or reviews or network strategies or all the other crap that comes with being a TV fan.Our tastes in television don't necessarily overlap -- he hated Ugly Betty, for example, though he did pick House's "Three Stories" as the best episode of television in 2005, but reading someone articulate who loves television, even if they don't love the show they're writing about, even if you do, is always pleasure.
In the same vein, but moving away from articulate critics to effusive fans ... The Best Years is attracting the most comments ever on the TV, Eh? site. These aren't the predictably banal "this show is the best show ever you have to watch it and the network is crazy if they don't renew it forever" hard-core fan ravings (coughBloodTiescough). These are young people watching and loving the show and needing to discuss it with other like-minded people. Keep in mind that TV, Eh? is not a discussion board or generally a magnet for fan discussion.
This doesn't necessarily mean anything in the grand scheme of Best Years fandom or ratings, but the show is inspiring the kind of unselfconscious passion that gives me that same warm and fuzzy feeling as the futon critic's homage to the wonder of television. And all us critics, professional and amateur, who didn't connect with the show don't matter in the slightest in the face of these fans who so obviously do. It would do us good to remember that occasionally.
- TV Review: K-Ville Doesn't Live Up To Its Setting, Yet
"[I]ts aftermath-of-Katrina backdrop gives the show's atmosphere a poignancy and depth that the scripts don't quite deserve yet." Read more.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Ahem. I still have flashbacks. That's the billboard Global is using to promote the show this fall. I like it, except for the reminder of the image I've been trying to block out of my head since May. Thanks Global.
Not for the head exploding episode, but this week House won the Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup Creative Arts Emmy for Que Sera Sera. The award goes to Dalia Dokter (love that name!), Jamie Kelman, and Ed French. David Morse did not win for creeping me out. House is still up for Outstanding Drama and Hugh Laurie for Outstanding Lead Actor on Sunday, of course ... in the Emmy award ceremonies that could have been hosted by Hugh Laurie, but instead FOX went with Ryan Seacrest, who isn't quite overexposed enough.
In other random House news, via Televisionary, CharityFolks.com are hosting a charity auction of television teapots. You can bid on designs by Ugly Betty, Family Guy, The Office, and many others, including House:
The House one isn't particularly creative - it's signed by the cast, with the logo on the other side - but some of the teapots are pretty cool. Proceeds go to the educational foundations of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (the Emmy folks) and BAFTA/LA.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
- Random Emmy Picks - Even Better Than the Real Thing?
"Sure, there were some questionable choices. There were some overlooked shows and performances. But the limited selection of shows I have on my must-watch list — House, 30 Rock, The Office, Ugly Betty — are well represented, with just enough travesties of justice to make things interesting, like Dexter. After all, what use would the Emmys be if they weren't a lightening rod for our petty venom?" Read more.
Monday, September 10, 2007
I still have and love my computer-based setup, but I have to either buy a longish coaxial cable or I need to develop superhuman strength in order to swap out a couple of cables that would give me the length where I need it and not where I don't. That cable installer woman was freakishly strong. (Full disclosure: I'm freakishly weak.) Where's the Bionic Woman when you need her? (Answer: In a disappointing pilot episode.)
So before I have the PVR set up to do my remembering for me, and in order to plan for rushing my K-Ville review (Sept. 17) and slacking on the Cashmere Mafia review (Dec. 4), I've been grateful for a few online resources to keep track of what's on when.
- The Futon Critic, of course, has everything you'd want to know, from a chronological list of premiere dates to a night by night grid of fall programming. As a bonus, Mr. Critic himself is enumerating the 10 things you need to know about the new season. Number one? Only one of every three new shows makes it to a second season. Message? Don't get too attached to all those shows on the list and grid.
- Shouting into the Wind: The 2007-08 TV Watch List. This is what it says - a watch list that will be updated as the season progresses, keeping tabs on premiere dates and, later - though not much later for some unlucky series - which shows are on the brink and which have been euthanized.
- Finally, the TV addict has an amusing list of premiere dates chronologically (though I'm pretty sure he's wrong about Viva Laughlin at least, so take these dates with a grain of salt).
Thursday, September 06, 2007
How I Became a Dove Girl by Shannon Melnyk is about the empowering message of that Dove campaign, which I and many women I know love ... though I'm reconsidering that position now:
It was in this moment I realized how necessary campaigns like this are. No matter how cynical we choose to be about the marriage of our market economy and social responsibility, the simplicity behind the hoo-ha is the more positive and balanced images we see in the media, the more our young girls have a fighting chance in the culture of over-sexualized youth, designer-label-driven peer groups, anorexic heroin chic, booby hooter-girl bar scenes and the cover-girl perfection that drips with the cruel message: "look like me and only then will your life will be perfect."
This week's rebuttal by Munisha Tumato, Real Beauty ... If You're White, is about the hypocrisy of a company that pats itself on the back for celebrating women's "curvy parts and wrinkly parts and saggy parts" in its Dove ads while promoting skin whitening products as the way for Indian women to be respected and successful:
What's more is that by claiming that a whitening cream can increase your chances of being happily married and financially successful, Fair and Lovely appeals to the most vulnerable (and usually the darkest) segment of the India population: poor and often uneducated women for whom a leg up, by any means necessary, is a highly desirable proposition.This revelation of hypocrisy shouldn't be much of a surprise, of course. Whatever aura of social responsiblity they want to reap from the Dove campaign, Unilever is a business, and marketing depends largely on cashing in on the target market's vulnerabilities. In North America, Dove capitalizes on women's preoccupation with beauty products while reaffirming the war cry that's arisen over airbrushed superskinny models pushed in our faces, creating a campaign that sets them apart from their competitors. In India, Unilever capitalizes on a culture that values fair skin and owns the market on skin lightening products (that are not, by the way, anything more than a sun block) with their ubiquitous ads:
But Unilever can afford to be hypocritical. Skin lightening products are by far the most popular product in India's $318 million skin care market. Fair and Lovely, meanwhile, commands over half of that.Great. Equal opportunity neuroses.
The skin whitening business is so lucrative that several skin care companies have launched new whitening products targeted at Indian men. The most popular? Fair and Handsome, produced by Emami and advertised like Fair and Lovely: by telling brown men that fair women will only love them if they are fair themselves.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Sure, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon sounded cool, but since — like all of the other original wonders (except for the Great Pyramid of Giza) — they no longer exist, we were glad to see that their replacements are equally spectacular. The new wonders — Machu Picchu, the Colosseum, the Taj Mahal, Petra (the ancient Jordanian city, not the Christian rock band!), the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, Chichen Itza, and the Great Wall — are open to tourists, but now you can visit them without using up frequent-flyer miles, thanks to the Website Panoramas.
These aren't the panoramas from that site - you have to go there for the full breathtaking effect - but they're the 2 I've checked off my list. Just 5 more to go ... someday.
- TV Review: The Big Bang Theory
"It didn't quite make my head go bang, but it's a shaky start to a likely success."
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
My DVD watching is stuck there, but for season two and three I can look forward to a variety of artists, including:
Death Cab for Cutie:
Jenny Lewis with Johnathan Rice:
Others coming up include The Shins, The Decemberists, and Billy Bob Thornton.