Browsing Tag: tv

    Miscellany

    TV Shows I’d Be Willing to Start a Podcast About

    May 2, 2021

    Ted Lasso

    Billions

    Yellowstone

    For All Mankind

    The Mandalorian

    The Voice

    Shark Tank

    LOST (been threatening to do a LOST podcast forever!)

    In the right situation, you might also convince me to do a podcast about Chopped, The Morning Show, The Blacklist, and 9-1-1.

    (On-air image by Michi S from Pixabay)

    Miscellany

    My Best & Worst Quarantine TV Shows

    September 1, 2020

    Like most of us, I’ve been watching a lot more TV during the pandemic than I have in years. Maybe ever. And no lie, a lot of it has been much better than I expected.

    So, in a nod back to my “Average Matt” days of doing movie reviews for friends’ podcast, here’s a list of the new shows I’ve been watching and how I feel about them — the mostly good and the occasional bad.

    (Note: I’m only talking about new shows I’ve started during these quarantine days. So shows like The Walking Dead and even The Mandalorian won’t be here because they pre-date the pandemic.)

    Defending Jacob (Apple TV+)

    This is by far the best show I’ve watched during the pandemic. It’s a great legal/psychological drama, but not so much a “thriller” like some of the other legal shows over the years. It moves slowly … very slowly at times. But I loved it.

    Defending Jacob was eight episodes long, and from what I’ve read, that’s it. There’s no season two coming up or anything. Just those eight great episodes. It was good enough that I’ll go back and watch ’em all again someday.

    The Morning Show (Apple TV+)

    I’d heard less-than-stellar things about this show, so I was kinda hesitant to watch … but I’m really glad I did.

    This one gets off to a slow start. The people who didn’t like it probably only watched the first 3-4 shows. It starts to get much better around episode 4/5. As I was telling a friend on Twitter earlier this summer, it almost feels like they changed writers or something because the second half of season one is way better than the first half.

    I’m not a huge Jennifer Aniston fan, and in the first few episodes she seems out of place, but she really crushed it in the second half of the season. And Billy Crudup is amazing in his supporting actor role — totally deserving of the award nominations he got.

    Mythic Quest (Apple TV+)

    This is a comedy set in a video game company’s office. The company makes a super popular game called … you guessed it … Mythic Quest.

    This one had some really funny moments and episodes, and some really good/funny characters. But it also had some duds, too. Overall, it’s not bad. When season two rolls around, I’ll check it out. But the show needs to go deeper on the characters — the best comedies (like Cheers, for example) explored the characters while also making you laugh.

    For All Mankind (Apple TV+)

    (Can you tell I spent a lot of time watching Apple TV+ this summer?)

    This is one of those “alternate history” shows, where they tell the story around “what would’ve happened if X didn’t happen, but Y did?” It’s kinda like Man In The High Castle, which I loved, but it’s not dystopian like High Castle was.

    The first episode of this one is a bit slow, but it gets really good after that. Sometimes it seems like the show tries too hard to be conscious of (or “woke” as some would say) and to fix the social injustices of the 1960s/1970s, but I think that’s a relevant part of the “what would’ve happened if…” question that the show raises.

    Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

    I can’t believe I like this show. It’s running right now, and they’re like 4-5 episodes in to the first season.

    There’s nothing original about the show. Ted Lasso is an American football coach who takes a job running a British football/soccer club, even though he knows nothing about the sport. The club just changed ownership in a divorce, and the previous owner’s wife is now in charge — and she wants the team to fail to embarrass her former husband. (That’s why she hired a know-nothing as coach.)

    It all sounds so cliché, yet I can’t stop watching. Jason Sudeikis is really great as Ted, and the show is just starting to unpack some of the personal/character reasons why he’d leave a great job coaching football in the US for this other coaching job he knows nothing about. It has some funny moments, some touching moments, and you know exactly what’s going to happen in the end … but that’s not stopping me from watching.

    Central Park (Apple TV+)

    Finally, an Apple TV+ show I didn’t like. I really wanted to. I watched the first two episodes and started on the third, then decided it just wasn’t for me.

    The Expanse (Amazon Prime)

    Ugh. I so wanted to like this. Managed to stick through all of season one, but I think I bailed during or right after the first episode of season two. It just didn’t do anything for me, despite my best efforts to give it time to work.

    High Score documentary (Netflix)

    Just finished watching this last week. This is a 6-part documentary on the video game revolution of the 1970s/1980s and how it played out into the 1990s.

    There’s obviously a lot of nostalgia here for me, because I grew up on video games — Atari, Commodore, Nintendo, even Apple games. And don’t get me started on how much $$ I spent at the mall arcade. (Or at the 7-11 on Trenton Rd., which was the closest place to find Defender and Missile Command).

    The first two episodes really delivered on that nostalgia, but after that High Score was really hit and miss. The last episode was good, too, I guess. But in the middle … meh. Rather than six episodes, it probably should’ve been four.

    The Last Dance documentary (ESPN)

    Speaking of documentaries, this was fantastic and maybe the best thing I watched all year — but I’m listing it down here because, I don’t know, it feels different from all the scripted shows that I planned to write about.

    So that’s it … my best and worst shows of the pandemic. I also managed to catch a few movies here and there. (Knives Out was great; Greyhound was meh.) And I need to find a way to catch up on one of my favorites, Yellowstone. That just finished season 3, but I never saw season 2 because Paramount Network wasn’t on YouTube TV when we dropped DirecTV a couple years ago.

    What are your best/worst shows that you’ve seen during the pandemic??

    Miscellany

    Young Pepperdine Sportscasters (Circa 1989-1990)

    July 19, 2020

    This photo is a snapshot of what hope and dreams looks like … or looked like … back around 1989 or 1990.

    That’s me on the left and my Pepperdine sportscasting partner, Kent Justice, on the right, at a men’s basketball game. I really have no clue when and where the photo was taken, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s from March 1989 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. That’s the night Pepperdine beat New Mexico St. in the first round of the NIT tournament. Kent and I somehow got the Communications Dept. to a) let us travel to New Mexico to broadcast the game on campus radio KMBU-FM, and b) pay our expenses!

    We were both full of high hopes and dreams for lengthy careers in sportscasting. For me, the dream lasted about 7-8 more years. I got out of TV and radio sports in 1997 after being told by news directors in two bigger cities that I was their #1 sports anchor candidate, but they couldn’t hire me because I was a white male … and they were under orders to hire a female/minority. Seeing the writing on the wall, I got out of the business altogether, taught myself how to build and market websites online and the rest is history.

    Kent, IIRC, has been in and out of the TV industry just a bit, but has settled in Jacksonville for some time now, and is currently the political reporter and weekend news anchor at WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Fla. We spoke a few months ago and he’s happy and doing well.

    That makes two of us.

    Life doesn’t always lead where you hope or think you’ll go, but that doesn’t mean you won’t end up somewhere great.

    Miscellany

    Is This What TV Will Look Like in Fall 2020?

    May 23, 2020

    A strange thing happened a couple nights ago as I sat down to watch the latest episode of NBC’s The Blacklist.

    The show began like normal, a scene playing out with Elizabeth Keen, one of the main characters on the show. Then all of a sudden, the show cuts to the unmistakeable look of a Zoom video conference. One of the other main characters on the show starts to talk, saying something about how “at this point in the show, you should be seeing Elizabeth” doing such-and-such, but they were unable to finish recording this episode due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    For the next two minutes or so, all of the show’s main characters are talking into the camera from their homes, talking right to the audience about what it was like as they tried to finish the episode, but had to stop and head to their homes. And then they talked about how they wanted to get this episode finished really badly, and they came up with a way they could do it — even though only half the show was finished when they were all together.

    And then they returned to the episode and it was the craziest thing: Half the show was real-life action, and the other half was animated!

    This video shows what it looked like, and how the episode bounced back and forth between the completed scenes and the animated scenes.

    At first, it was weird and pretty jarring each time they switched. But I got used to it pretty quickly, and it was pretty fun and enjoyable … not to mention really clever, IMO.

    Not gonna lie — the animation was sketchy every now and again, but I don’t think it’s fair to be critical of something like that when you have a matter of weeks to animate and produce half of a TV show in trying circumstances. (The animators were probably also working from home and without access to their full arsenal of gear.) You could tell once in a while that all of the audio for the animated scenes was done via Zoom (or the like) — some of the scenes had that sound quality we’ve all heard on video conference.

    What really stood out, though, is how well the actors all did with their lines even though they were delivering them from home — the voice “acting” was pretty good, all things considered. James Spader, as usual, was the star of the group in this category of remote voice acting.

    But my biggest takeaway from the show was this question that I’m still thinking about:

    Is this how we’ll watch all of our favorite shows this coming fall season?

    The Walking Dead was unable to finish its current season on AMC. They had one more episode to do before the pandemic sent everyone home in March, and all they’ve said so far is that they’re planning to air the season finale at a later date.

    But how? And when?

    This episode of The Blacklist aired on May 15, and it was mid-March when New York/DC and other big cities were shutting down. So if that timing is typical, they would’ve been recording about two months before the show’s air date. Ergo, if shows usually start up with new seasons in September, they’ll need to be recording by July … will that be possible??

    It might be. Looks like the major sports leagues are planning to get back to action in June/July, so perhaps TV/movie productions will be able to, as well. But if not … or, God forbid, if things go south and require another shutdown, I bet we’ll see more animated episodes of our favorite shows. It could be that The Blacklist paved the way for others to follow.

    Miscellany

    Things I wonder about Shopko’s latest TV commercial

    March 30, 2017

    Am I supposed to be offended at how men are portrayed as stupid in this Shopko commercial that’s airing on TV at the moment? Are you? Would you be offended if the genders were reversed? In the current societal climate, is it risky for a brand to play up this kind of stereotype?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LQVXy0cJ80

    Miscellany

    10 Years Late & Well Worth the Wait

    April 25, 2013

    moneyball-bobYou could say I’m a little behind in my reading and watching lists.

    I just now finished Moneyball — the Michael Lewis book about baseball and the Oakland A’s. It was published in 2003 and I’d always wanted to read it. But just never got around to it.

    I think my son bought it a year or two ago at a school book sale, or something like that (Sean?), and he read it first. He said it was really good — and he was right! We saw the movie last year, and it was pretty true to the book, but (as is always the case), the book is better than the movie. Super glad I finally read Moneyball.

    I also recently finished watching something even older: Band Of Brothers. Holy crap, how great is that miniseries??!!??

    That came out in 2001 and I’d heard a zillion people over the years saying it was great, but never watched it until now. For about two months, it was my treadmill entertainment at the gym, so I basically watched it 40 minutes at a time — although there were a couple nights that I had to keep watching, so ended up on the treadmill for an hour or more.

    I’ve just started watching The Pacific, which is like the sister series as I understand it, but it’s not quite as good as Band Of Brothers so far. I’ll keep watching.

    But now I’m wondering what else I missed 10 years ago that I need to watch or read….