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Thursday, 04 September 2008

2007 in review

So, last year I wrote about the crop of new shows for the 2007-08 season. I might as well do a rundown, plus tally up the midseason shows I caught as well.

Pushing Daisies was outstanding for all ten episodes. It had a strike-shortened season.

Life was also strike-shortened, and also awesome. I'm repeating myself, but it's like if Veronica Mars starred an adult male instead of a teenage girl. TV neo-noir and beautifully executed. Sarah Shahi is almost unbelievably gorgeous and she's one of the best actresses on TV, no lie.

Chuck was terrific fluffy fun.

continue reading...

posted at: 21:21 Thu 04/Sep/2008 | /misc/tv | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

Friday, 05 September 2008

Quasi-fringe tastes

(I found this in my to-do pile and figured I might as well post it now.)

I was thinking about my TV on DVD collection. I like TV an awful lot, but unfortunately for me I like TV that's not that popular. The Simpsons is my big exception; I love the Simpsons like most of the rest of the world. Well, to be really precise, I love the earlier Simpsons seasons. I doubt I'd buy any season past #9.

But the rest of my collection is almost entirely "cancelled before their time". Scrubs has been on the bubble with NBC most of the time, and then Arrested Development, Futurama, Newsradio, Grosse Pointe, Wonderfalls, and Action really were all cancelled before their time. Journeyman too. (I know, Newsradio had 4 and a quarter seasons, but they coulda made a sixth season work out.) I'm also going to buy Andy Richter if it ever comes out and Andy Barker, PI. , which will only weigh down my collection with even more (ratings) losers. (Also, someday I should buy Firefly.)

posted at: 03:59 Fri 05/Sep/2008 | /misc/tv | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The new TV season: first month

About three or four episodes into the new season, I think this is by far the most promising batch of shows I've ever seen in one year.

"Pushing Daisies" has been really outstanding in all three episodes. It's twee and cute and precious like crazy, but also smart, well-acted, compelling, and both dark enough and cynical enough to cut the cuteness as necessary.

The tagline for "Life" is awful. ("Life was his sentence and life is what he got back.") Between this and "Heroes" and "Chuck", NBC is really racking up one of the worst sets of promo taglines ever. OK, that aside. The character's wildly different, but yet in a lot of ways I would compare this show to Veronica Mars. There isn't the high school milieu, but the mix of mysteries-of-the-week and straight noir continuing storyline is very well balanced and the acting and writing (characterization) are so solid. I'm not especially impressed with the crime of the week plotting, but it's never bad; it just takes a back seat to the other stuff.

"Chuck": Again, an awful tagline: "He's the secret. She's the agent." Tagline aside, the mix of comedy, action, spy stuff, and romance is really watchable. It's written with insight into its character moments and wit in its comedic parts, directed with a light hand, and the cast just has tons and tons of charm. I wish the spy plots weren't quite so dumb; there's a lot of really avoidable mistakes, but aside from that, it's great.

"Journeyman": Thematically similar to NBC's "Quantum Leap" from long ago, but: Dan has a regular life in the present he has to tend to, he only (so far) travels within a short period around his own lifetime, and sticks to the Bay Area. The show makes a good stab at showing all the drawbacks of Dan's involuntary time travelling, which is always a pleasure for a sci-fi fan. Still, the time travel plots are so far not nearly as compelling as the drama of Dan's regular life, which I think is by design.

"Samantha Who": The pilot was OK. Some genius dubbed it "My Name is Girl", and while there's a lot of similarities... well, a new show could certainly pick a worse show to steal from. This had a late start, so I'll have to grade it later.

"Aliens in America": Awkwardness humour played at a very high level. It's really funny, surprisingly fearless in what it'll take on, but sometimes the situations are so awkward I almost have to watch while covering my face in sympathetic embarrassment for the protagonist.

"Reaper": like "Chuck" in lots of ways. Slacker semi-burnout is employed at a big box store; events beyond his control thrust him into a starring role in a series of high-drama escapades he'd probably rather not be a part of. There's an annoying sidekick, a love interest he can't get with, comedy, action, ... plus, this one is shot in Vancouver, which always gets extra points in my book. But where the spy plotlines in "Chuck" play off Chuck's regular life, the supernatural plotlines in "Reaper" just get in the way of Sam's regular life. There's no interplay, there's no attempt at subtext at all, and worst, the second and third episodes were virtual rehashes of the excellent pilot. There was literally no character development whatsoever in those episodes. Sure, Sam's a slacker but the show has basically opened on him being forced into a new role and every episode, every single episode has featured the exact same whinging half-hearted efforts to weasel out of it. What was entertaining one week quickly curdled. But on the bright side, the fourth episode took the by now cast-in-concrete formula and shoke it up ever so slightly.

"Bionic Woman". Shot in Vancouver and with a "Battlestar Galactica" pedigree, plus it borrows elements from "Alias"... how could I not watch? Unfortunately, this show is bone-stupid, or at least has been so far. I'm sticking with it for a bit, regardless. Then again, the Vancouver factor got me to watch "John Doe" about four or five episodes longer than I should have.

posted at: 08:54 Thu 18/Oct/2007 | /misc/tv | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Nike ads

I love many commercials -- I've gone to see those "Best of" at my local repertory theater several times and gotten the chance to watch a Cannes Lions DVD once or twice... (Go "Cog"!)

But one thing I would absolutely love is a DVD of (almost) all of Wieden Kennedy's work for Nike. The "Freestyle" commercial and the rest of the commercials out of that campaign were awesome. The "Secret Tournament" campaign and "Airport 98" (and its spiritual followup Brazil vs Portugal in, what, 2002?) ads were outstanding. "Move" was a pure work of art. "Tag" and "Musical Chairs" blew my mind. Old stuff like "Tailgating" was great. Joe Namath's "Comeback", the NBA lockout ad with Spike Lee and Regina Miller, the old Fun Police ads, "Shade Running", the only-in-Canada "Going To School"** spot, the Lebron ad that played just prior to his NBA debut where he faked freezing up in his first moment with the ball -- all great. The Presto parkour ads like "Angry Chicken" introduced me to the whole concept of parkour.

** "Going To School" featured a young girl who walked from her home to school without ever touching the ground, thanks to a wide variety of urban objects - newspaper boxes, bus stop benches, trees, etc.

Their current Jordan XXI commercial rocks. The concept and execution are incredible... One fan even put together a side-by-side comparison of the recreated moves to the old stuff. Come to think of it, the thing the XXI commercial reminds me of is Jordan playing 1 on 1 with his younger selves.

Anyways, long story short, I want just about every W+K Nike ad ever made in convenient DVD format.

Update: Aug 15 2006 - "Going To School" has been uploaded since I last wrote this (not by me), so I've linked it.

posted at: 08:01 Thu 16/Mar/2006 | /misc/tv/commercials | permalink | 10 comments | trackback

Wednesday, 05 January 2005


I saw the Cannes 2004 at the Ridge tonight (Tuesday). It was fine; nothing struck me as awe-inspiring as Nike's 'Tag' or Honda's 'Cog' from years past. Though those two did have followups this year. Nike had 'Musical Chairs' in the same vein, and with a remix of the music from 'Tag'. And phone service thingy 118-118 did a great spoof on 'Cog'. Perhaps because 'Cog' never showed in North America (Honda did not sell that car here), or perhaps the audience was mostly not ad-obsessed (or 'Cog' fans -- there is in fact a decent-sized 'Cog' backlash) -- anyways, I applauded at the end of 118-118's "Just Works" (note: not a direct link; it's all Flash), but I was the only one in the theater to do so.

continue reading...

posted at: 09:03 Wed 05/Jan/2005 | /misc/tv/commercials | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

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