Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why TV Fans Have To Suffer Through Hiatus

After watching the insane cliffhanger at the end of White Collar's mid-season finale, my younger brother was extremely frustrated because he had to wait until January 19th for a resolution. Well, for those of you who don't know this period of time or torture as my brother calls it where the Networks show reruns or reality shows until they start airing new episodes is known as a hiatus.

Don't you hate it when this appears on your TV screen.

The reasoning behind hiatuses which take place around the Holidays and over the Summer is not to make you angry, it's to give the cast and crew a well deserved break for all of their hard work. While watching TV it feels like the creators of your favorite shows deliver an episode on a 9 to 5 work schedule because it is sometimes put together so flawlessly that it looks easy. However it normally takes a 60-70 hour work week for a cast and crew to bring entertainment into to your living room. Based on this fact, even though a TV show going on hiatus is annoying like being forced to put down a good book, you got to remember that the people who help you escape reality have lives too and they look forward to spending the time off with their families. This means that if you are a TV watcher complaining about a hiatus, just suck it up and let the people who put their all into entertaining you have their vacation.

This is what the creators of your favorite shows are doing while you're watching reruns.

At the same time, there are circumstances when getting angry over a hiatus is warranted like when a show goes into reruns during a month where new episodes should be airing like October or March because that means it is going to get canceled. In this case you as viewers have every right to be angry because the people who helped you escape the stresses of school or work on a weekly basis are going to lose their jobs. Recently, fans of TV shows have been channeling their anger over shows being canceled into organized campaigns such as sending Mars Candy Bars to Network Execs at The CW for the purpose of keeping Veronica Mars on the air. On some occasions these campaigns have worked like when the short lived TV series Firefly was made into the movie Serenity, FOX put Family Guy back on the air and Chuck is now coming back in January instead of March.

Even though they make viewers like you and me scream at the TV screen hiatuses are extremely powerful marketing tools. This is due to the fact that if pulled off correctly a mid-season or season finale cliffhanger will cause the hiatus to be a period of time where audiences members hype a show by speculating what will happen next to everyone who will listen which will cause the anticipation for the premiere episode to be so high that the ratings will go through the roof. Digging back through TV History this concept worked the best with the Who Shot J.R. cliffhanger at the end of Dallas season 2 because at its time the season 3 premiere was the highest rated episode in US History with an estimated audience of 83,000,000 people.

Here is more about the Who Shot J.R. cliffhanger phenomenon

In my opinion even though the start of a hiatus at the end of a finale leaves me frustrated at first because I always keep wanting more, I totally respect them. Especially since they are just long enough to make me miss my favorite shows to the point that coming back to them is like reuniting with an old friend. As an avid TV watcher I love this feeling and I would not give up hiatuses for the world unless it foretells the cancellation of a favorite show.

Make sure you check out new episodes of your TV favorites and posts on this blog in March after a short hiatus.

The Late Show with David Letterman: A Bowl Full of Fun

My favorite thing to watch when it comes to late night television is the Late Show with David Letterman. If you haven't seen it the Late Show is structured very much like The Tonight Show based on it featuring stand-up, a live band and celebrity guests. However, even though Dave's show is the same as the other nightly talk shows I tend to like him better than his competitors. I can't really pin it down to one thing but I prefer watching Dave because Conan comes across as arrogant to me and Jay feels unapproachable almost as if NBC is whispering conservative jokes into his ear.

Conan and Jay, the Late Show's competition

Then when I turn on Dave I feel like it's a completely different ball game because he gives me a sense of comfort by being brutally honest with me as a viewer. Through doing this watching Dave feels like I'm hanging out with an uncle who tells crazy jokes. Now don't get me wrong there has been times that Dave has gone a little bit overboard and I occasionally agree when the media calls him out on some controversial jokes. I can also see why some of you as TV viewers can't stand watching him because of the mistakes he has made in his own personal life but I don't let that bother me. I'm not saying that I agree with what he did I'm saying that I enjoy watching Dave because his TV persona is highly entertaining and all about having fun which is shown by Dave laughing at his own jokes including ones at his own expense.

David Letterman giving his nightly monologue

The fact that Dave laughs at his own jokes like any other average person makes him stand out compared to his rivals at least in my mind because it shows he is focused on one thing making the average Joe laugh. Dave caters his jokes to the average American by having people just like them perform comedy in segments like Stupid Pet Tricks or having a bunch of students come in to do bird calls or science experiments. Dave also interacts with average folks during the course of his show such as the man who lives in the apartment in the studio, his mom in Indiana, and the guy in the Deli down the street. At times Dave even has to act as a translator between regular people and celebrities like when Joaquin Phoenix spaced out on the show.

Here's Dave's spaced out interview with Joaquin Phoenix

Honestly when I think about it Dave interacts with everyone during the course of his show from the audience to the orchestra led by the talented Paul Shaffer to the crew working behind the scenes. He even at times has had Regis Philbin run through the audience like a crazy man high- fiving people. Although Dave's fun with the audience doesn't stop there because he is always asking them silly questions that may earn one of them an entire pizza or cause the Horns section to proudly raise their hands. I guess out of all these examples the main thing I want you to get out of this post about the Late Show is to give Dave a chance because watching him is like going to a party where something fun is always happening.

Check out the Late Show with David Letterman weeknights on CBS at 11:35/10:35c or online.
Saturday, December 12, 2009

Veronica Mars: My TV Crush

One of my favorite cult shows is Veronica Mars. If you haven't seen it the show's title character Veronica played wonderfully by Kristen Bell is a girl that had a horrific Sophomore year of High School. Basically to some it up, Veronica's best friend was murdered, her Dad lost his job as Sheriff and she was dumped by her boyfriend which in turn caused her to get raped. Now if this was a normal teen drama the show would have Veronica contemplating suicide but what emerged from her tragedy was an incredibly smart, yet sassy girl with a concealed big heart who I still have a TV crush on til this day. Although, having a TV crush on Veronica is not the only reason why I was attracted to this show, it was the fact that Veronica Mars dealt with an universal issue everyone can relate to which is something bad happening to you in High School.

The event that turned Veronica Mars' life upside down

However, the show does not focus on that event in particular, it focuses on Veronica rising above her embarrassment by honing her teenage angst into a mystery solving ability which she uses to help fellow students who have been wronged like her and solve her best friend's murder. In fact I think Veronica rising above tragedy by helping people might make her an even stronger heroine than Buffy The Vampire Slayer based on the fact that she deals with issues and on occasion crimes that exist in the real world. At the same time, I could also make an argument that Veronica is stronger than Buffy because when I was watching Veronica Mars which was during my last two years of High School, I was overcoming my own High School tragedy just like Veronica and I think her using that event to become a better person played a part in helping me get over my own crap.

Who's a stronger heroine Veronica or Buffy? You Decide.

Sadly just as fans got to know her, Veronica Mars was taken away from us after three seasons for the purpose of The CW being impatient with the show trying to find its legs after moving Veronica to College which I didn't think took the show very long compared to Buffy season 4. The show's creator Rob Thomas tried to save Veronica Mars by connecting her best friend's murder to an conspiracy and making a season 4 mini episode where Veronica joins the FBI but it left us with unanswered questions. Now I guess the only thing we Veronica fans can do is hope those rumors of a movie is true.

Check out the Veronica Mars season 4 mini episode below...

Get Veronica Mars Seasons 1-3 on DVD or watch it online and keep an eye out for Kristen Bell, she's going to become a very popular actress in the next few years.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Thoughts On Kurt Sutter's Blog Post Why Network Scripted Drama Suck

If you don't know Kurt Sutter is the man behind the TV hits The Shield and Sons of Anarchy, a show I have raved about on this blog. Recently my respect for Mr. Sutter has risen even higher level due to the post he put on his blog entitled Why Most Network Scripted Dramas Suck. Basically in his post Sutter gives his two cents on the Leno debate by expressing the belief that development execs create shows based on what they think people want to see. Churning out clones of semi-successful shows or in other words looking for a hook to market instead of concerning themselves with story and character. Then Sutter goes on to praise FX for taking a chance on Sons of Anarchy by making the realization that the show's success rests on his shoulders not their own.

Kurt Sutter, the show creator that's causing a ruckus on the internet

The main thing that needs to be taken from Sutter's post for the purpose of standing up with him on a soapbox is that I whole heatedly agree with his viewpoint. This comes from the fact that I have a variety of very different types of shows in my weekly TV watching schedule from teen dramas like The Vampire Diaries to crude off the wall shows like Family Guy simply because I get bored of the repetition that exists in the form of CSI, Law and Order and all of its variations that are aired during the week. In order to better demonstrate my point I thought it might be best to give all of you my current TV watching schedule.


Heroes, Chuck, 24, Castle


V, Sons of Anarchy


The Vampire Diaries, Fringe, Supernatural, 30 Rock, The Office


Smallville, Dollhouse, White Collar


Family Guy

*Shows are not all currently showing new episodes

With this list I can see someone making an argument that Smallville and Heroes are similar to each other due to the superpowers concept. Although with something like Chuck and 24, they both focus on a secret agent but one show is a dramedy and the other one is completely serious. The bottom line with my TV schedule is that there are thousands of ways to explain how all these shows are all different from each other but what's important is that this line up keeps watching TV fresh. However with my schedule containing many fantasy based shows like V or shows off the beaten path like Chuck I run the risk of being heartbroken because these are the types of shows that Network Execs see as risky. Then again I would much rather suffer the heartbreak of TV Show cancellation than having to stomach one of David Caruso's cheezy lines he spouts off at the beginning of every formulaic episode of CSI Miami. With that being said I do have a friend who watches every form of CSI and NCIS during the week but I respect him for it because he also watches my TV schedule on top of those shows. On the other hand for those people who just center their schedule on just watching all the forms of CSI and Law and Order, you can do what you want but just know that I think you have no lives.

CSI and Law and Order, two incredibly formulaic shows

Going in the vein of Kurt Sutter's post I do feel like Network Execs need to put their faith in cutting edge shows like Sons of Anarchy instead of shows like Cold Case where every episode starts with a cardboard box being taken off a shelf to be opened and ends with a box being put on a shelf to be closed. The reason behind this is that I believe Sons of Anarchy's success can be attributed to people's desire for a good story to escape the frustrations in daily life caused by the Recession or whatever else is going on in the world. So Kurt Sutter if you happen to stumble upon this post I want you to know that I would totally be interested in writing for Sons of Anarchy after I graduate from Columbia College in May because I would much rather work on a show that will knock an audience's socks off than doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lions, Tigers and Mid-Season Finales, Oh My!

When it comes to the TV watching season I really look forward to the weeks where they show the mid-season and season finales. Both of these occasions are incredibly bittersweet because it's the time where the cast and crew bring their A-games really sparking my imagination but at the same time the word finale means that I have to wait a few months for new episodes to come out. Currently this is the time of year for mid-season finales and I thought that in honor of this event I would give my opinion on what were the best mid-season finales out of all the shows I watch on a weekly basis.

However before we get into that I would like to give an Honorable Mention to Sons of Anarchy because even though the show's finale featuring a new rendition of Gimme Shelter was not as epic or shocking as the two finales that I chose, the show had the best first half of season out of everything on Television. I would also like to apologize if the reason why I chose these finales comes across as vague, I just don't want to spoil things for those of you who plan on catching up with these shows on your DVR or waiting for it to come out on DVD.

The best show of the Fall 2009 season.

So without farther adieu here are the best mid-season finales of 2009...

White Collar

A few weeks ago I raved about the dynamic between Con Artist Neal Caffery and FBI Agent Peter Burke in the shows pilot. Today I can happily say that the show maintained the chemistry between these characters to the point that TV Guide has called White Collar the best new show of the Fall TV season. What made the mid-season finale one of the best of 2009 was the fact that it ended with a shocking twist that obliterated some major character back story and possibly changed the status quo of the series. This is an incredibly ballsy move for a show in its first season but it is also kind of smart because the twist will bring myself and I hope other viewers back to the show just to see how the heck the writers are going to pull this off.

See what the Fall's best new show is all about.


I have said on repeated occasions with this blog that season 9 of this show has been epic to the point that it feels like the Producers are creating mini-movies every week that are on the level of the Christopher Reeve Superman film. In fact the mid-season finale Pandora may have surpassed that movie based on the fact that the episode contained major character deaths and actually showed a fight between two super humans instead of having it take place off screen which is something I thought was impossible on The CW's budget. However before you Smallville fans get your tights bunched up there is a twist to the character deaths and no they are not a dream like on Dallas. Instead the supposed deaths and the all out fight scenes that took place in the episode were just used as a way to tease the Smallville TV movie that is coming down the pipeline. Supposedly this TV movie penned by superstar comic book writer Geoff Johns might just be one of the biggest special effect extravaganzas in TV history and I think this mid-season finale did a great job of proving to Smallville's now growing audience that something like a two hour event filled with superhero guest stars is possible. Although on a personal level what impressed me the most about this episode was the fact that they took the classic superhero versus super villain story established by Superman comic books 70 years ago in a whole new direction.

See what's coming down the pipeline for Smallville in 2010

Now that I have given you what the best mid-season finales for 2009 are, at least in my opinion, the best thing you can do is watch these episodes of White Collar and Smallville to get a better grasp on my thoughts about them or just because you might be interested in one of these shows.

Check out reruns of White Collar at various times on USA and new episodes starting January 19th.

Check out reruns of Smallville Fridays at 8/7c on The CW and new episodes starting January 22nd.

It's A Jungle Out There No More

I know that I posted about this a few weeks ago but last night USA's Monk came to an end with an ending that was fitting for the Defective Detective. Now before any of you Monk fans get worried that I am going to spoil the finale, have no fear, in fact this post is barely going to touch the last episode because it is not a review, it's a tribute to the character and the show that was such an important part of my Friday night for the past eight years.

Eight years ago I got into Monk because USA kept showing promos for the show while I was watching the movie Billy Madison. At this point in time Cable shows were kind of a joke at the time unless they were on HBO because shows like Rescue Me and The Shield were not in existence but for whatever reason I watched Monk anyway.

An example of a promo that got me to watch Monk

When I first met Adrian Monk through the use of my Television I was uncomfortable with him just like the other characters on the show because I wasn't sure if it was right for me to laugh at his struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. However after I watched my first episode of the show I realized the humor did not come from Monk's struggles but the inability of people around him to be patient with his desire to be clean and free of germs. In fact through the eyes of various villains on the show they felt that Monk was less than a man due to his many phobias but he always would prove them wrong by using his OCD as a gift to solve the murders they committed. This is what caused me to identify with the character of Monk because as a person in a wheelchair I have run into a few people who have doubted my abilities and the fact that Monk deals with same challenges makes me want to root on the character in every episode. At the same time this plays a part in why Captain Stottlemeyer is my favorite character on the show.

My favorite Monk character Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine)

When I was first introduced to the Captain I enjoyed the character because his frustration towards Monk's phobias and his dim witted partner Randy made me laugh. However as time went on I began to respect the character tremendously because through out the course of the show the Captain goes from being the one who is most impatient with Monk to being the one who understands him the most. This story arc with the Captain is something that always made the show extremely unique because I feel that it opened the eyes of people who might be inexperienced with people who have disabilities and I don't think this type of character progression will be done for awhile because it was so well pulled off on Monk.

Soon after I started watching Monk, my Dad introduced me to Columbo and I used that show as leverage to convince him to check out Monk. From there on out every Friday night in the Mid-Summer and Winter revolved around watching Monk. However like with any show Monk had it's bad phase which was seasons 4 and 5. The weakness behind these seasons came from the fact that Monk switched assistants which made the show not as funny and in the opinion of an instructor of mine at Columbia it made the writers forget Monk was a Cop Show. The show was turning me off because they brushed the series long story arc of Monk solving his wife's. Then in season 6 Monk's new assistant Natalie began to click with the other characters to the point that I liked her better than his old assistant Sharona by the time we got to the end of the series. Season 6 also ended in a two part story arc that helped hold me over on Monk solving his wife's murder until the final episode.

Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck, a man involved with the death of Monk's wife and his Professor Moriarty

Although, through the good and the bad, myself along with the rest of the show's audience became so attached to the character of Monk that we looked into the killer of his wife's eyes with the same amount of anger he felt and at the end of the episode we found it hard to say good-bye. On that note I would like to thank the Cast and Crew of Monk for gracing my living room on Friday nights for the past eight years and I'd like them to know that when I see anyone being a little compulsive or obsessive I will think upon Adrian Monk with very fond memories.

Watch the USA stars say good-bye to the man who made their shows possible...

Check out Monk Seasons 1-7 on DVD and click here to find out when you can check out reruns of Monk on USA.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Heroes: I've Got To Admit It's Getting Better, It's Getting Better All The Time

I know when I first started this blog, I really ragged on Heroes in comparing it to Smallville and I still maintain the fact that Smallville in its Ninth Season is much more consistent in quality than Heroes. However, I cannot get up on my soapbox without admitting that Heroes is getting better. If you haven't followed Heroes, it's a show that has had a strange past based on the show having the best first season in maybe all of Television history even getting an Emmy nomination for best drama. Then the Writers Strike hit causing Heroes to ride off the rails on a crazy train in it's 3rd season with the introduction of a new villain played by Robert Forster that had lines which made him sound like the Wicked Witch of the West and the use of plot lines so chocked full of characters that it could cause your mind to explode.
Robert Forster as baddie Arthur Petrelli who will get you my Heroes and your powers too

In the second half of this season Heroes became less complicated by the show going back to the character-driven stories that made the first season popular from the start. Although, the decision to have one of the Heroes use his mental abilities to permanently brainwash the shows main villain Sylar to shape-shift into and believe he is Nathan Petrelli a Hero who was killed during the 3rd season finale still left a bad taste in my mouth about the show.

The guy on the left is now the guy on the right? That's seriously confusing.

With the current fourth season Heroes the show seems to be getting better for one of two reasons. The first reason which was given to me by a friend of mine is the fact that Heroes has been so bad for such a long period of time that our expectations have been lowered to the point where the show appears as good. However with being an optimist, I want to go with the second reason which is the writers of the show finally realizing that Heroes is a drama about people who happen to have superpowers rather than an epic race to save the world. This has been proven by the introduction of a story line about a deaf woman named Emma whose manifesting powers and interactions with the other Heroes on the show have been used as a plot device to get her to take on the challenges caused by her disability.
Emma using her power to convert sound into physical force

The writers have also realized that Heroes is about people who have superpowers through the addition of a new villain named Samuel played wonderfully by Robert Knepper that is like the X-Men character Magneto in the sense that he wants the Heroes a.k.a people with superpowers to have a place in the world but he goes about it in the wrong way.
Robert Knepper as the villainous Samuel

Despite these great storytelling decisions Heroes still has some bumps in the road with this season's arc including continuing the plot line of Sylar being transformed into Nathan and having fan favorite character Hiro travel back in time to undo a decision he made in the first season but these more unfavorable story threads including a few from the past are being phased out by what currently seems to be character deaths in order to establish Peter Petrelli as the show's protagonist surrounded by a cast of supporting Heroes.
Peter Petrelli wielding the blue lightning, standing in front of the cast of supporting characters

Normally, character deaths bother me but in the case of Heroes, I don't mind them as long they are a step towards making the show compelling like it was in the first season. With all that being said, even though this post is helping me assure myself I am still bracing myself for the show to disappoint me like the second half of season three where it became good again only to let me down with Sylar being transformed into Nathan. However, if Heroes remains on its present course, it will keep me watching and maybe avoid the threat of cancellation.

Check out Heroes Mondays at 8/7c on NBC or online and I strongly recommend checking out the first season on DVD.

Sons of Anarchy: It's Born To Be Wild

A show that I have really been enjoying during my TV watching week is Sons of Anarchy. If you haven't seen it Sons of Anarchy is a show about a gang of Bikers on the wrong side of the law who act as vigilantes in the small town of Charming, California taking on gang bangers, drug dealers and ATF Agents. With this being said you may think Sons of Anarchy is The Sopranos with Bikers but in my opinion this show is much more badass and it draws it roots from something much older which is Shakespeare's Hamlet. Yeah, I know it sounds crazy but the show's protagonist Jax Teller, the Vice President of the Biker gang is Hamlet complete with the ghost of his Father haunting him and a Stepfather who has taken over his Father's kingdom. However for this story to fit into the realistic world of a Biker gang the ghost of Jax's Father exists in the form of a manuscript in which he explains how the gang fell from grace and Jax's Stepfather is the President of the Biker gang, Clay Morrow who you don't want to mess with in a dark alley.

To be or not to be? That's the question these guys have got to ask themselves

Even though the concept of Sons of Anarchy being a modern day retelling of Hamlet is interesting, it's not the reason why I am compelled to watch the show every week, its the Bikers themselves. I don't know if it is the sense of brotherhood that exists between them, their dark sense of humor or their love of riding on the open road but the show does a great job of making the Bikers which should be seen as bad guys come across as heroes that I can't help but watch every week in order to root them on.
The members of the Sons of Anarchy, from counterclockwise Clay, Tig, Jax, Bobby, Chibs, Opie and Kip a.k.a. The Prospect

At the same time, I cannot look past the show's raw, in your face feel fueled by an action-packed war between the Bikers and a group of Women raping White Supremacists because the fact it that just keeps going from bad to worse gives me a strong desire to watch the show just to see these Supremacists get what's coming to them.
Adam Arkin as White Supremacist Ethan Zobelle

Although, what made Sons of Anarchy gold was at least in my eyes was the end of the most recent episode where a revelation is made that stemmed an unbelievable performance from Charlie Hunnam which gave myself along with the rest of the audience watching the show a deep look into the heart and soul of a Biker that might allow Sons of Anarchy to upstage Mad Men for Best Drama at the Emmys. We'll just have to wait and see but for now check out Sons of Anarchy for an incredibly driven and engaging Television experience.

Watch Sons of Anarchy Tuesdays at 10/9c on FX or online
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Supernatural Pokes Fun At The Competition

Supernatural is filmed in front of a live studio audience, wait that isn't right

I don't know how many of you that read this blog watch the hour long Drama, Supernatural but if you are an avid TV watcher or think it has become too commercial (yes I am talking to you, Jeff Schiff in a nice way) you need to check out the most recent episode of the show entitled Changing Channels. In this episode my favorite Demon/Ghost Hunters Sam and Dean Winchester are lured in to the world that exists on your Television screen by a reoccurring villain named The Trickster where they are forced to parody TV Shows in order to survive.
The Trickster, a Supernatural fan's favorite troublemaker

When it comes to parodying TV Shows, the writer of this episode did not hold back making fun of the competitors in Supernatural's time-slot through a Grey's Anatomy spoof complete with sappy music knocked off from The Fray and Female Interns slapping Male Doctors. This episode also parodies Supernatural's other competitor CSI with the character who I believe to be the biggest hardass on TV, Dean Winchester comically bashing David Caruso for his portrayal of Investigator Horatio Caine. However the writer of this episode doesn't stop with CSI and Grey's Anatomy, he also pokes fun at many types of Television Genres including commercials.

Sam and Dean Winchester as Doctors in a Grey's Anatomy spoof and Police Investigators in a CSI spoof.

The other great thing about this episode besides the parody is the fact that the creators of Supernatural did not see Changing Channels as an excuse to run wild in their potential final season they actually connected it to the show's overall story arc with a revelation about Sam and Dean that pertains to the season or series finale that may get the one time watchers who only turned on this episode for the parodies, hooked on Supernatural. With this last point I am going to stop with my discussion of this episode here because it was so good at least in my opinion that it should be able to speak for itself, which is a nice way of me saying drop everything you are doing and watch this episode, its well worth it.

Check out the Supernatural episode Changing Channels here and watch Supernatural Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.

Have The Vs Arrived In Your Home?

Recently I watched the Pilot for the new alien invasion drama V and it proved the show is all about symbolism especially since the first five minutes included a crucifix in a church being shattered as the Aliens' spaceships enter the Earth's atmosphere. Through using this powerful image the creators of V set the stage for the people of Earth in their fictional universe to see the Aliens or Vs which they are called on the show as Christ-like figures or saviors that will provide them with technology to resolve the financial crisis.

Clip of the Vs arriving on Earth

Although in reality the Vs plan on annihilating the Human race through providing their own Universal Health Care System ah la Soylent Green which is intended to execute the World's population. However according to the show's backstory the Vs aren't just showing up and dumping Universal Health Care on the Humans, instead the Vs have brought them to the point of needing Universal Health Care by setting up Terrorist Sleeper Cells years before their arrival on Earth. In other words that means the show's creators have the Vs behind every global issue from September 11th to the financial crisis to justify why the Human race see the Vs as their saviors.
The Vs were fictionally behind these events? Watch to find out

With that being said some of you may roll your eyes at the concept of the Taliban being Aliens but despite this I still found V highly compelling. I don't know if it was the idea of a Priest fighting Aliens, Morena Baccarin being frightfully evil as the Vs leader Anna, the fact that any Human can be a V or just trying to figure out how the Human race can get out of this mess, the Pilot of V had me at the edge of my seat and I think it will be that way with every episode.

Morena Baccarin as Anna and Joel Gretsch as Father Jack Landry on V

Based on this statement I would love to go into more detail about why I like V but I fear it would give something away so if you want a better grasp of what I am talking about I would recommend you to go ahead and watch the show.

For kicks and giggles watch this clip of the controversial Alien birth scene from the original V just watch it at your own risk because it's kinda freaky.

Check out V Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC or online.
Monday, November 2, 2009

A Halloween Post: Scooby-Doo Where Are You?

Check this out for a trip down memory lane

A show that I used to watch a lot when I was a kid was the classic cartoon Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? If you haven't seen it or need a trip back down memory lane the show is about a group of meddling kids and their talking dog Scooby-Doo who go around solving mysteries and I absolutely loved it. I don't know if it was the idea of driving around in a van with orange flowers painted on it called the Mystery Machine, finding out who was underneath the mask of the monster that chased Scooby and the gang around in each episode, the chase sequences accompanied by a Beatles knock off band or Shaggy and Scooby's Three Stooges like antics, I had to watch Scooby-Doo before I went to school.

From left to right the Scooby Gang, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, Fred and Scooby-Doo

Today, watching Scooby-Doo makes me realize that a strong case could be made that the Scooby Gang or Mystery Inc. are a bunch of Stoners and the man in the monster costume who chased them around in every episode is a product of tripping out on drugs due to the fact Shaggy and Scooby have the munchies all the time.

What exactly are in these Scooby Snacks?

However despite my outlandish theory, I still have respect for this show not because of the fact that Scooby-Doo movies, toys and episodes are still being made 40 years later, instead I have respect for Scooby-Doo Where Are You because it was one of the first Television shows to combine Horror with other genres such as Comedy and Mystery. Based on this information if it was not for Scooby-Doo and certain TV Show Creators watching it as a kid there is a strong possibility that shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Supernatural, The X-Files and Fringe that blend Horror with other genres may have never come into existence. In fact the creators of Buffy The Vampire Slayer give a nod to Scooby-Doo inspiring their series by Buffy and her friends who battle the supernatural forces of evil referring to themselves as the Scooby Gang.

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Scooby-Doo character Daphne Blake

The bottom line that I am getting at is whether you love it, hate it or respect it Scooby-Doo Where Are You is apart of our culture and if it still exists today after 40 years it will still influence all types of media for many generations to come. Experience Scooby-Doo's influence through this clip...

Check out Scooby-Doo Where Are You the Complete Series on DVD or check it out online.

A Halloween Post: The Buffyverse

With last Saturday being Halloween I thought I would use this weeks posts to discuss Horror-Themed TV shows. One of the shows in this genre that first came to mind is Buffy The Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel. These shows which make up what fans call the Buffyverse contains all the blood, haunted houses and the grotesque monsters that you would expect to see on a show about Vampires. However these elements of Horror are not the catalysts for the events that occur in this universe, instead the honor goes to the story of a High School Girl growing up and dealing with sacrificing the Vampire she loves in order to take her place as the Vampire Slayer empowered to save the world. Buffy at its heart is a story about growing up because the battle between Buffy and the creatures that go bump in the night featured in every episode acts as a metaphor for everyday issues that teenagers face including under aged drinking, being popular and puberty.
Buffy and her love interest Angel

One of my favorite episodes entitled "Innocence" deals with the dangers of having sex in a way that would blow your High School Health Teacher out of the water. Joss Whedon the writer of the episode deals with this issue beautifully by Buffy having sex with Angel which causes him to lose his soul, thus changing the heroic Vampire into a creature of evil named Angelus. Through having Buffy make the decision to sleep with Angel, Whedon shares with his audience the consequences a teenaged girl may have to face after having sex pushed to the extreme with a battle between good, Buffy and evil, Angelus filled with teenaged angst that ends with a classic romantic tragedy. At the same time the shows theme of social issues wrapped around supernatural forces doesn't just stop with Buffy, it addresses her friends that are based on a variety of High School Stereotypes as well. For example, Season Six of the show Buffy's friend Willow, an overachieving student cracks underneath the pressures of College causing her to become addicted to performing black magic like it is a drug.
The characters of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. In the front from left to right Xander (the class clown), Cordelia (the rich popular girl), Buffy (a teenaged Vampire Slayer), Willow (an overachieving student) and Oz (who's version of puberty is changing into a Werewolf). In the back, Giles (a fired Librarian going through a mid-life crisis) and Angel (A Vampire with a soul).

The spin-off of Buffy, Angel which deals with the title character leaving Buffy for Los Angeles due to his guilt over the actions he preformed as Angelus, takes this a step farther by dealing with supernatural forces that act as metaphors for adult issues such as rape, gang violence and suicide. On a personal level, this idea of wrapping a battle against supernatural evil around real life issues is why I enjoy stories that exist in the Buffyverse because if the characters on Buffy and Angel can deal with social issues pushed to the extremes of fantasy, then my problems in the real world are a piece of cake. I guess that's the interesting part of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel for me because I don't see the shows as something made to scare me, instead I see them as a gift in which Joss Whedon and his team of writers share advice with their audience on how to deal with the trials and tribulations of life.

For more on Buffy's influence on our culture look at this video clip.

Check out Buffy The Vampire Slayer Seasons 1-7 on DVD or watch it online.

Check out Angel Seasons 1-5 on DVD
Monday, October 26, 2009

Battlestar Galactica: A Grim and Gritty Thrill Ride

The other day I heard the song All Along The Watchtower and first it made me imagine Jimi Hendrix rocking out on stage and secondly it reminded me of the sci-fi drama Battlestar Galactica. A show that used this song, originally composed by Bob Dylan as a plot device to resolve its major conflict. However before I go too far ahead of myself and ruin the entire show we're going to take a step back to give some background. If you haven't seen it Battlestar Galactica the 2003 version not the 1978, is a show about a civilization of humans that live on a series of planets known as the Twelve Colonies. In the past, the Colonies had been at war with a cybernetic race known as the Cylons.

The Cybernetic Beings known as the Cylons who can take robotic or human form

However years later, the Cylons launch a sudden ambush on the Colonies, laying waste to the planets and devastating their populations. The handful of human survivors flee into space aboard any spacecraft they can reach creating a fleet led by the only the military ship to survive the ambush Battlestar Galactica. After these events most of the sci-fi elements fade leaving us with a drama about the crew of Galactica dealing with the tragic annihilation of their race and the search for a new home called Earth, which may or may not exist.Battlestar Galactica, the only military ship to survive the Cylon attack

Based on this description Battlestar Galactica comes across as dark, dim and gritty which at points is true but what got me to watch every week was that amidst this threat of extinction the show still had its inspirational moments. These moments included the Commander of Galactica, Bill Adama giving his son a command position, the crew of Galactica coming together to build a stealth ship in order to boost morale, characters sharing their feelings towards one another and the humans thwarting off Cylon attacks. The fact that these positive events were able to still happen for the characters on Battlestar Galactica despite losing everything gave me an emotional connection to the show because it showed that if these characters can stare down the barrel of extinction, then I can deal with a tough week of College Finals.
Think you're having a bad day? Try being Bill Adama, the man who stands between the human race and extinction.

The other great thing about Battlestar is that it is a show that already has a set ending. This means that each episode is about pushing the story to the Series Finale at the end of season 4, preventing Battlestar from have a long string of episodes where the characters don't move forward like with many Network shows. At the same time, the writers using this structure makes the show feel like a good movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat rather than a slowly building TV show. Battlestar even has the structure of a movie with season 1 being like act one by introducing the characters and conflict, season 2 and 3 exists as act two by following the crew of Galactica as they descend into a point of darkness and season 4 represents act three by showing the crew's rise out of the darkness leading into a somewhat happy ending.The many characters of Battlestar Galactica who we follow on a four Season or three Act journey.

Then, after following the journey through these three acts we are left with a action packed retelling of the story of creation that in my opinion will knock your socks off. However I can't go into more detail of how Battlestar is a retelling of the classic Bible story of Genesis because it will ruin your incentive to watch the show but if you really want an explanation check out Battlestar Galactica, believe me it's totally worth it.

Battlestar Galactica Seasons 1-4 are available on DVD.