Archive for TV

An American Idol thought

I think this week showed just how messed up the voting really is. I don’t buy for one second that the American people were actually split 33-33-33. When 14 out of every 15 of my attempted votes result in a busy signal there’s no way the tallied votes reflect the actual votes people tried to cast. When all the lines are busy the person with less people trying to call really benefits since their voters just get through more often.
In reality I think the votes really reflect whose voters are willing to keep trying to vote a little longer than the other person’s and whose voters hang up the soonest after the machine picks up on the other end, allowing that line to handle more calls.

So, Time Warner updated my DVR this week.

I applaud the fact that I can now actually search for a show by name, rather than having to scroll through every showing of every show with the same first letter as the show I’m looking for.
On the downside, I now have to tell it twice that I want to erase a show. The first time it gives me the options to erase the show, not erase the show, or watch it from the beginning. When you choose erase it now asks you whether you really want to erase it. They came so close to solving a problem with the old set up, but they wound up just adding a new layer of unnecessary complication. The problem with the old set up, and the problem that still remains, is that when you start watching a show before it has ended and press “Stop” when you’re done watching it then it will pop up a screen which doesn’t ask whether you want to erase that show, it will ask whether you want to stop recording the show that’s being recorded in real time on that tuner if you’re recording 2 shows. They needed to add a confirmation screen asking whether you really wanted to stop recording the current show (or even better, just have it set up to ask whether you want to erase the show that you started watching before it was done recording). Instead they added a confirmation screen you need to answer every time you want to delete a freakin’ show. That’s just unnecessarily complicates things.
Also, for some reason now when I tell it to not record a showing set up to record with their version of a “season pass” I now have to cancel it twice. The first time I cancel it will show it as not being recorded in the list of shows to be recorded, but if I want to actually remove it from that list I have to go through and cancel it again.
And for some insane reason they still continue to only carry the next 6 days of program guide data. If you watch a show on Tuesday and decide you want to record it when it’s on again next Tuesday, tough luck, you’ve only got data up to next Monday, you’ll have to wait till tomorrow.

Few thoughts on NBC’s Olympics coverage

1) Would it kill them to put together a spoiler free web site? If they’re not going to show the events on TV until 12 hours later then it would be nice if it were possible to view their site without having the outcomes of events yet-to-be-shown popping up all over the place.
2) They really need to do a better job of explaining how far along in the event each piece of coverage is. The third snowboarder whose run you’ve shown is in third after her run? Well, that’s nice, but is she the 3rd person to go overall or have you skipped 13 other people in the course of showing the 3 Americans? It makes a bit of a difference. I’m not going to get worked up about her being in the bronze medal spot if there are still 30 people to run.
And then for curling they put up what end it is pretty much all the time, but hardly ever how many rocks are left. That’s kind of like baseball coverage that only tells you what inning it is but now how many outs there are or whether it’s the top or bottom of the inning.
3) A lot of their graphics are far too small. I’ve got a decent size regular-definition TV and many of the times/standings they throw up there just can’t be read. They’re cramming the times of 4 different competitors into a square smaller than the little map they put on there for severe weather warnings. You have a lot of unused screen there NBC, use some of it!

Some quick Monday night TV thoughts

Arrested Development:
Last year wasn’t as good as the first but it was a strong effort out of the gate this year.
Kitchen Confidential:
I think this one has some real potential. The premier was funny (though not the funniest in its time slot) and there seems to be some real depth to it. It’s not a cookie-cutter sitcom where they just assemble some funny characters and stick them in a workplace, there seems to be some real emotional depth behind it.
How I Met Your Mother:
The strongest premier of the night, despite Bob Saget. I had my doubts going in. The premise that it’s a father telling his kids the story of how he met their mother seemed awfully limiting and I kept thinking back to other sitcoms with premises so limiting that they basically just ended up ignoring them (ie 8 Simple Rules…, Cursed) but the twist at the end gave me some hope that they’ll be able to pull it off.
And premise aside, it was VERY funny and quite well cast. The show wasn’t flailing around out of the gate trying to get its feet under it and figure out its style, I got the feeling that this is a show that knows what it is.
Prison Break:
I have to say this episode was good but for some reason this just isn’t grabbing my attention as much as I feel it should and I just can’t put my finger on why.
Las Vegas:
Last night’s episode was really quite a departure from what Las Vegas has been in the past. I’m hoping it was just some business they had to get out of the way in resetting the show and that next week they can get back in the swing of things and recapture the energy the show’s had in the past.

The Diet Coke of classic movie channels. Just one calorie, not classic enough.

The New York Supreme Court has ruled that AMC (which supposedly stands for “American Movie Classics”) isn’t classic enough.
It’s sad to see how far AMC has fallen. It used to be a good channel but now it’s filled with movies of dubious classicicity chopped all to hell with commercials.
Luckily Turner Classic Movies stepped up to take its place. (And isn’t that ironic given Ted Turner’s efforts to ruin classic movies?)

The real convergence of TV and politics

What do you get when you try to blog while watching both 24 and political news updates?

UPDATE: Senator John McCain (R – Arizona) has terrorist mastermind Habib Marwan in a headlock. Wait, this is getting confusing.
UPDATE: Foxy terrorist chick was bluffing. She intends to push through a vote on parliamentary procedure after all. Harry Reid (D – Nevada) just flipped open his cell phone.

UPDATE: Edgar and Chloe were able to triangulate the constitutional position of judicial nominee Janice Rogers Brown, and she was shot down over Los Angeles at the last second.

The future of Television

Conan O’Brien takes a look into the future (the future Conan?) in Newsweek to see how television will evolve.

We will also see a stunning increase in the number of televisions per household, as small TV displays are added to clocks, coffee makers and smoke detectors…. Televisions will even be placed inside books and, before long, books will evolve into no more than hundreds of small flat-screens stapled together. Reading the opening chapter of “Moby Dick” will include watching 10 hours of “Gunsmoke.”

But all of these changes will pale in comparison to the revolutionary explosion of late-night talk shows. As recently as 20 years ago, Johnny Carson was the only game in town, but as cable channels continue to pursue niche viewers, new hosts will continue to spring up at alarming rates. At first, the economy will surge as families build desks, fake windows and bandstands in their basements, but before long violence will erupt as the nation’s supply of available talk-show guests begins to dwindle. Dr. Joyce Brothers, Fabio and Randy from “American Idol” will be airlifted to guest-starved areas to quell violence, but anecdote theft and consecutive Al Roker appearances will turn the Midwest into a battlefield. Order will be restored when the Supreme Court (led remarkably well by Chief Justice Judy) upholds the One Host, One Guest law in Philbin v. Ripa.

And there you have it: the future of television. In fact, I am so sure I’m right about every detail that I encourage anyone with doubts to place this magazine in a vault and, 50 years from now, compare my vision to the world around you. If I’ve made even one mistake I’m certain the good people at NEWSWEEK, who never make mistakes, will refund you the price of this issue.

Survivor (spoilers)

One of the best Survivor seasons ever. The right person absolutely won, one team just dominated the other and the people left standing in the last episode actually were worthy of being there.
Of Ian and Tom, Tom was definitely the stronger player. Ian was a strong player but he just kept flubbing it. He would have been a lot better off he would have just picked a story and gone with it. Too often he’d be confronted and instead of either telling the truth or telling them what they wanted to hear it just ended up being “uhhhhhhhh”. That being said, you have to give Ian major credit for how he went out. That’s something you’d never expect to see on Survivor and it really showed who he was.

VH1 turns down Jaffre

Though he’s shopping the idea to other networks it looks like the Cincinnati mayoral race won’t be chronicled on reality TV.

Some Thursday night reality TV thoughts

First off, fair warning of Survivor and Apprentice spoilers.
Now then… Survivor… boy did Janu ever throw a wrench in the works. If Stephenie can get the girls together then the guys are in real trouble. Getting the girls together is far from a sure thing though… Katie’s one of the original 4 and Jennifer’s mixed up with Gregg. The guys are going to need to play up the fact that the other girls don’t stand the slightest chance against Stephenie.
Now on to Apprentice… If I were Trump I honestly don’t know that I’d want to hire any of these people.
Kendra is… unpolished. She’s still green, but she definitely has had some good ideas. Tana’s grating. Craig’s a know-it-all jerk who’s been nothing but condescending to Kendra for the past two weeks while she’s been carrying the team. Sure Kendra’s not experienced but Craig would not listen to a single thought that came out of her mouth. He treated her like a child and I simply can’t imagine him ever being a good leader and getting the best out of his subordinates. Both Tana and Craig should be fired simply for how they acted in the Pontiac assignment. Alex I suppose is the most like Bill and Kelly, he seems like the type of person that Trump would pick but he really wasn’t impressive in last night’s effort.
I suppose if I had to pick two I’d go with Kendra and Alex. It would actually be interesting to see them as a team. Kendra could stand to get out from under the thumb of Craig and I think her creativity would complement Alex’s lack thereof.