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It's a great day for America, everybody!

Tonight Craig Ferguson will host The Late Late Show for the last time and wrap up with an interview with Jay Leno. If you can't stay up late enough to watch it live, you can stream it tomorrow (at least in the USA.) [more inside]
posted by pwb503 on Dec 19, 2014 - 36 comments

"Stephen Colbert": Great host? Or *the greatest* host?

Tonight! He's "a well-meaning, poorly informed, high-status idiot." An it-getter. A knight. A doctor (of fine arts). A Real American Hero. And after tonight, his arched eyebrow of justice will never again grace American television screens in quite the same way. "Stephen Colbert": a brief retrospective. Truthiness - The White House Correspondents' Dinner - Better Know a District - Formidable Opponent - Tek Jansen - Papa Bear - I Am America (And So Can You!) - Americone Dream - The ThreatDown - Late Night Fight! - Testifying to Congress - The Rally to Restore Sanity - Colbert Super PAC - Maurice Sendak - Wheat Thins - Lorna Colbert - Tolkien-off - Ask a Grown Man - The Decree. So much more inside. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 18, 2014 - 131 comments

Shooting the hand that feeds the fire

After nearly a decade, it was time. The old fire was still burning, sure, but technological advances meant the flame could be brighter, the sparks a little sparklier. And so in the driving rain, exactly seven weeks before Christmas, a crew of four (plus one mysterious cast member) descended on a rustic homestead on Vancouver’s North Shore, to build – and record – a fire.

“We all said, ‘Can we be the hand that just pokes the fire?’”
The answer was no.
[more inside]
posted by Kabanos on Dec 3, 2014 - 6 comments

Melvyn, no need to Bragg

Melvyn Bragg's been digging deep for more than 40 years. You may know In Our Time [previously], The South Bank Show [previouslier] or The Adventure of English. If you don't, you probably should. [more inside]
posted by stinker on Nov 29, 2014 - 57 comments

Punching in a nightmare

Requiem for Rod Serling "In his work, Serling would return often to the hardships of the war-weary, but he reserved some of his most powerful observations for broken-down boxers, particularly those who failed to achieve stardom."
posted by bitmage on Nov 20, 2014 - 25 comments

"I tried to stay with things until I thought they were on their feet."

Prolific television producer Glen A. Larson has died. Mainstream audiences might remember him as the creator of Alias Smith and Jones, his first hit series; and of such shows as Quincy M.E., Magnum, P.I., and The Fall Guy. But to science-fiction fans, he will always be remembered as the man behind TV's first million-dollar-per-episode series, Battlestar Galactica, and as a Consulting Producer on Syfy's highly regarded remake of the series. He also brought us Knight Rider; The Six Million Dollar Man, which may soon be getting a reimagining of its own; and Buck Rogers in the 25ᵗʰ Century, along with a handful of less successful, but still fondly remembered, sci-fi TV adventures. [more inside]
posted by webmutant on Nov 15, 2014 - 62 comments

Looking at Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" series.

Isaac Asimov's Foundation: The little idea that became science fiction's biggest series [SPOILERS] (io9)
On the planet Terminus, a group of academics struggles to survive as the Galactic Empire crumbles. With no weapons, all they can rely on are the predictions of a dead genius named Hari Seldon. That's right — it's time to discuss Isaac Asimov's Foundation!

Welcome to Foundation Week, a Blogging the Hugos special event. In 1983, Isaac Asimov won the Hugo Award for Best Novel for Foundation's Edge, in which he revisited his groundbreaking Foundation mythos for the first time in over thirty years. Because the Foundation series is such classic, quintessential, and beloved science fiction — the original stories won their own unique Hugo for Best All-Time Series in 1966, and influenced artists from Douglas Adams to George Lucas — Josh Wimmer and Alasdair Wilkins will be discussing each of the seven books between today and Sunday. We begin with Foundation, published in 1951.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Nov 13, 2014 - 87 comments

"Something amazing and enlightening and terrible and haunting happened"

Today is the 20th anniversary of the death of Pedro Zamora, the cast member of MTV's The Real World: San Francisco who was openly gay and lived with HIV. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 11, 2014 - 22 comments

Orson Welles’ little-known TV pilot

Imagine a Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but with Orson Welles in the auteur/narrator’s role.

Orson Welles wrote, starred in, directed, art directed and even produced the music for “The Fountain of Youth,” an ingeniously devised and wryly funny half-hour that was made as a television pilot for The Orson Welles Show, an ill-fated anthology show that Welles developed for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s Desilu production company in 1956.

From the first minutes of “The Fountain of Youth” it’s very obviously different from any and every television show of that era, with a clever use of rear projection, consecutive photo stills, illustration, on-camera set changes, innovative sound editing, experimental narrative techniques and multilayered storytelling.

(Direct link to "Fountain of Youth" on YouTube)
posted by Room 641-A on Nov 9, 2014 - 12 comments

Decopage! (Not the paper kind, the 1989 L.A. public access tv kind!)

Decoupage! was a 1989 Los Angeles-area public access show produced by Kathe Duba and hosted by Summer Caprice. The original concept was an emulation of early 70s sydicated talk shows such as The Mike Douglas Show and Dinah! and featured elaborate sets, sourced from hours of scouring thrift stores. Also, there are wigs. Lots of wigs.

Many of the guests were culled from the L.A. club and arts scene, including Redd Kross, Phranc, and Fred Willard. The show returned to the airwaves in 1997 as Decopage! 2000 and featured a spoken-word performance by Exene Cervanka (using her real last name, Cervankova) and Karen Black singing "Bang Bang" with back-up band L7.

• Direct link to the Decopage! You Tube Channel

[via]
posted by Room 641-A on Nov 7, 2014 - 9 comments

We're Witches Of Halloween... Woo-Ooo!

Words And Pictures was a long running BBC television series created to help small children to learn to read and write. From back in an era when most broadcasting seemed designed to utterly terrify its younger viewers here is the Halloween episode that managed to traumatized several generations as it was repeated year-in year-out (if not on television, then on scratchy VHS recordings in school classrooms) seemingly forever. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 31, 2014 - 18 comments

Very 70s Halloween tv specials. How very? Paul Lynde and KISS very.

Some 70s television programming for your Halloween viewing pleasure:

posted by Room 641-A on Oct 30, 2014 - 21 comments

IN ANY CONVERSATION YOU ARE ALSO DEALING WITH AN EMOTIONAL TRUTH

Film Crit Hulk is back with a long essay about more-than-gamergate. Building off his previous ethical criticism (especially his multipart James Bond series) Film Crit Hulk gives us his opinions on "THE VOID OF THIS PARTICULAR HOUR". [more inside]
posted by Hypatia on Oct 30, 2014 - 78 comments

I cried and cried in my Mad Men dress.

Amy Poehler on What It Was Like to Tape Saturday Night Live While Pregnant (SLVulture)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Oct 30, 2014 - 50 comments

Mayberry, Metropolis and Rigel VII

It was called a number of things in its fifty years of existence, but the RKO Forty Acres (which actually measured just over twenty-eight) was above all a prolific movie and television studio located in Culver City, California. It started off as a film studio during the silent era that continued prominent use in sound films including Gone With The Wind, The Magnificent Ambersons and King Kong. Later, it was widely used for television shows like Bonanza, The Adventures of Superman and, most prominently, The Andy Griffith Show. It even got used in a number of classic Star Trek episodes (and be sure to visit this site for some nice screen caps revealing Enterprise crew members walking around Mayberry). The RetroWeb has a very thorough history of the studio, complete with prodigious pictures.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Oct 26, 2014 - 10 comments

And yet, I still haven't discovered what the heck "Snarf Farms" are.

Figuring out some of the more obscure references in an episode of MST3k is a labor of love for some devoted fans. The folks over at The Annotated MST3k (previously) have been at it for eleven years now and have 113 episodes completely annotated. But for those who prefer their annotations in real time, you're in luck. The official YouTube channel for the show has posted two completely annotated episodes (Mitchell and Manos - The Hands of Fate) for your viewing pleasure.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Oct 21, 2014 - 39 comments

JUST HOOK IT TO MY VEINS

Following a record-breaking $750 million syndication deal with parent company Fox, the FXX network most recently made headlines back in August with its twelve-day marathon of Every. Simpsons. Ever. But that was just the prelude to the real deal launching today: Simpsons World, a staggeringly comprehensive multiplatform video database including clips, news, featurettes, curated playlists, a heartbeat tracker of each season's popularity, and (for the intrigued who'd like to subscribe to their newsletter network) on-demand streaming of all 552 episodes and counting. Coming early next year is an even greater expansion of features, bringing full-series dialogue search, real-time script tracking, and "geolocation" of all scenes throughout Springfield -- something very close to Myles McNutt's vision for a shareable Simpsons clip database (previously). I, for one, welcome our new Simpsons-quoting overlords. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 21, 2014 - 78 comments

"...to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out."

Endnotes: David Foster Wallace, BBC Documentary. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 19, 2014 - 5 comments

It's like “Politically Incorrect”, but with less politics and more wine

In 2001, long before he helped launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut, Jon Favreau could reasonably be described as “that guy in Swingers”. But sometime between Swingers and Iron Man, Favreau used some of his clout to create and host a new show for the Independent Film Channel. It was called "Dinner for Five". [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Oct 14, 2014 - 47 comments

Zach Anner's (usually) comedic adventures with friends

"Hey America, my name is Zach, I'm from Austin, TX. I think we met at Jeanine's party once and really hit it off, but I think we should get to know each other bit better ... I have a lot to say, but I don't know where I would fit, because I have something called cerebral palsy, which I believe is the sexiest of the palsies...." That's Zach Anner's audition for Oprah's Your OWN Show, a reality competition show, where Zach was one of the two winners. His show was called Rollin' Around the World with Zach Anner, which got shortened to Rollin' with Zach, and you can see many clips from that on OWN's YouTube channel. But the show didn't last, and instead Zach and friends turned back to the internet to get involved with a travel show about more realistic travel adventures, called Riding Shotgun (YouTube playlist). But that's not all ... [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 13, 2014 - 14 comments

The rise of Direct to Consumer advertising of perscription drugs

There are various changes that come with the greying of the traditional television audience, including the kinds of ads being aired, as the median age of a broadcast or cable television viewer is increasing faster than the median age of the US population at large. Older people are treated to a litany of drug ads, filled with lists of horrifying side effects, thanks to the ability for drug companies to market directly to customers. The rise in such advertising is now the most prominent type of health communication that the public encounters, but it hasn't always been the case.
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 10, 2014 - 41 comments

"What do we say to the dead?"

On the fiftieth anniversary of its theatrical release, Slate is taking a look back at the Cold War thriller Fail Safe (trailer), which stars Henry Fonda as a U.S. President who has to deal with a computational accident that risks nuclear war. The film was preceded at the box office by Dr. Strangelove, a film very similar in plot but drastically different in tone. Fail Safe bombed as a result of the comparison with Kubrick's masterpiece, but the story itself would have a second chance at reaching audiences come the year 2000. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Oct 7, 2014 - 54 comments

"Where ignorant armies clash by night."

Sea of Faith: a six-part documentary television series, presented on BBC television in 1984 by Don Cupitt. [youtube]
"The programme dealt with the history of Christianity in the modern world, focussing especially on how Christianity has responded to challenges such as scientific advances, political atheism and secularisation in general"
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 7, 2014 - 4 comments

It's 11:30 – do you know where your children are?

Saturday Night's Children: "Saturday Night Live has been home to over a hundred cast members throughout the past 39 years. In our [2011-2014] column Saturday Night’s Children, we present the history, talent, and best sketches of one SNL cast member each week for your viewing, learning, and laughing pleasure."
posted by not_on_display on Oct 6, 2014 - 14 comments

25 Years Later

Showtime officially announces David Lynch and Mark Frost's cult TV series "Twin Peaks" will return in 2016. David Lynch confirms via Twitter, and Frost speaks to Variety, confirming that the new episodes "will be set in the present day and continue storylines established in the second season."
posted by rabbitroom on Oct 6, 2014 - 151 comments

THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF THE WEST WING

15 years after the pilot episode, Empire interviews Aaron Sorkin, the cast and the producers of The West Wing. Amazing sidebar pieces including Snuffy Walden on Scoring the West Wing, Allison Janney on The Jackal, and a 29-take Anatomy of a Walk and Talk.
posted by DarlingBri on Oct 3, 2014 - 79 comments

"Homeland Is Good Again: For now, at least."

Homeland season 4 debuts this Sunday, Oct. 5 at 9:00 pm EST on Showtime. (Spoilers in the links following) After receiving heavy criticism for season 3 (previously), reviewers who have had the chance to view the season 4 opener seem cautiously optimistic. Slate: Homeland Is Good Again. The Daily Beast: A Stripped-Down and Surprisingly Badass Return to Form. Variety: Meet the new, improved Homeland. [more inside]
posted by cwest on Oct 2, 2014 - 44 comments

The Rapping, Galloping, and Kicking Dead

Season five of The Walking Dead starts in two weeks, and the Internet is getting excited [NSFW]:
posted by Room 641-A on Sep 26, 2014 - 29 comments

Hello, Hello, Hello

Stressed out? Does the fast-paced world of today have your head spinning? Sit back and relax with the Finnish educational TV show "Hello, Hello, Hello," and the terrifyingly slow adventures of Stan and Dud. Clip most likely to cause childhood trauma : "I'm Cecil. She's Cissy." Most likely to mark you as a Finn who learned English from watching this show: "The cat's in the moon." [more inside]
posted by The corpse in the library on Sep 25, 2014 - 13 comments

Dipdap

Dipdap is a children's BBC show for pre-schoolers. Completely wordless, it's a fairly delightful and surprisingly funny mixture of shape recognition, music and discovery (and lots of visual comedy), where "the line" draws a series of challenges and problems for Dipdap to solve. Here's every single episode of it.
posted by dng on Sep 25, 2014 - 19 comments

Is this Joey?

Grantland writer Rembert Browne journeys into the "dark heart" of 90s nostalgia via Central Perk, the museum / tourist trap / coffee dispensary dedicated to the popular television show Friends. The modestly popular show premiered 20 years ago today, and had a number of memorable moments which are fondly remembered by its small, but dedicated group of fans. Friends previously and previously on Metafilter.
posted by codacorolla on Sep 22, 2014 - 139 comments

See ya in another life, brotha.

Ten years ago today, LOST premiered on ABC. EOnline posts an interview with Damon Lindelof, about the show's legacy. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 22, 2014 - 221 comments

it's alright cause I'm

Go Bayside is a podcast wherein comedian April Richardson and a weekly guest watch every Saved By the Bell episode and discuss/critique them. She's almost done with the over 80 episodes (not including the larval form Good Morning, Miss Bliss or the College Years sequel), but you should probably start from the beginning. [more inside]
posted by likeatoaster on Sep 20, 2014 - 13 comments

@petenowa did u know u were "an angry black woman"?

This morning, the New York Times published "Wrought in Their Creator’s Image", an article talking about the new network series “How to Get Away With Murder", produced by Shonda Rimes and starring Viola Davis. The articles claims about the beauty and character of Black women have created a discussion, from Rimes herself and others about the stereotype of the "angry Black woman" and whether Ms. Davis is, as the Times suggests #lessclassicallybeautiful than other women because of the age and color of her skin.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 19, 2014 - 59 comments

BoJack Horseman's radically funny sadness

BoJack Horseman Is the Funniest Show About Depression Ever
BoJack Horseman is a weird cartoon about a washed-up sitcom star (who's a horse), a snappy social criticism of the entertainment industry, and the kind of in-jokey cartoon designed to tickle the internet. It's also one of the most aggressive portraits of depression I think I've ever seen. Look past the anthropomorphic animal characters and the satire of toxic celebrity culture: This show is radically sad. I love it.
Netflix Original's animated series BoJack Horseman stars Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, and Alison Brie. It co-stars Aaron Paul and Paul F. Tompkins and has a long and impressive list of guest stars. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Sep 18, 2014 - 128 comments

"Let me tell you something, Elvin."

Thirty years ago this month, NBC premiered "The Cosby Show" and changed the television landscape. And though people will rightly remember it as a groundbreaking show for African Americans (and sweaters), Slate's Jason Bailey argues that it was just as important in its feminism.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Sep 18, 2014 - 72 comments

You won't believe the data on this Star Trek: TNG character!

Search for word usage in movies and television over time.
Movies and television shows often reflect cultural trends of the time they are made in. Even movies that take place during the past or future can say something about the present through metadata or production style. Using the Bookworm platform, Benjamin Schmidt, an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University, provides a tool that lets you see trends in movie and television dialogue.

posted by Room 641-A on Sep 17, 2014 - 40 comments

The President has nothing but free time, Toby

A Definitive Ranking of Every Character on 'The West Wing' [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 12, 2014 - 86 comments

Star Trek in Widescreen

"I was able to create these shots by waiting for the camera to pan and then I stitched the separate shots together. The result is pretty epic. It reminds me of the classic science fiction movies of the 50’s and 60’s. Suddenly the show has a 'Forbidden Planet' vibe." [via]
posted by brundlefly on Sep 9, 2014 - 51 comments

Giving up on Doctor Who

I gave up mainly because I’d got tired of watching talented actors reduced to eye candy and acting out the fantasies of overgrown adolescents who had somehow finagled their way into writing scripts. Where they were writing scripts that looked like old-time Doctor Who, without necssarily understanding why old-time Doctor Who worked and more importantly why it didn’t.
Maureen K. Speller: I’m giving up on Doctor Who again. This time it may be final.
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 8, 2014 - 140 comments

i want the regina dress now

Geeky women's clothing company Her Universe teamed up with Hot Topic and Nerdist to present a fandom couture competition and fashion show. Here are some highlights. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Sep 4, 2014 - 34 comments

When he answered the "Did Tony die" question, he was laconic.

David Chase finally answers the question he wants fans to quit asking. (Agita warning: spoilers. Whaddya, nuts? ) [more inside]
posted by scody on Aug 27, 2014 - 134 comments

I vould like to feed your fingerteeps to the volver-eenes

In honor of Saturday Night Live's 40th season, Grantland has been publishing an ongoing series of essays, remembrances, podcasts, and interviews, as well as asking you to cast your votes in The Battle for the Best SNL Cast Member. (They're already down to the final eight; sorry, your favorite cast member has already been eliminated.)
posted by not_on_display on Aug 25, 2014 - 85 comments

"Captivated" on HBO

'"The good news is we solved the murder of your husband. The bad news is you're under arrest.' Everyone's a noir hero!" A new HBO documentary explores what happens when the media are mixed up in a crime from the very beginning-- with fiction and film added in for good measure. A local news writer is incensed with HBO for bringing it all up again. (She will not be watching the documentary.)
posted by BibiRose on Aug 19, 2014 - 36 comments

Don Pardo, 1918-2014

Don Pardo, announcer for Saturday Night Live, The Price Is Right and Jeopardy!, has died. [more inside]
posted by kagredon on Aug 18, 2014 - 67 comments

Who are you now, Doctor?

A hypnotic video merging every actor who's played Doctor Who into one average face. [SLYT] (Laughing Squid via)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 17, 2014 - 29 comments

John is the new Jon

With a combination of humor and fearlessness, Last Week Tonight has done an unlikely thing: spurred action. John Oliver’s segment on net neutrality this past June perfectly summed up what his HBO show Last Week Tonight is so good at: transcending apathy. It’s an ingenious formula that’s making a difference in the real world. “Making a difference” isn’t hyperbole. The FCC’s website actually crashed from overwhelming web traffic the day after Oliver’s segment originally aired. The Atlantic looks at How John Oliver Beats Apathy.
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, previously
  • John Oliver on net neutrality, previously
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on FanFare

posted by Room 641-A on Aug 16, 2014 - 89 comments

RIP Robin Williams

Robin Wiliams famous for his impressions, role as Genie in Aladdin, standup comedy, Mrs. Doubtfire and many other comedy roles has died at the age of 63.
posted by Carillon on Aug 11, 2014 - 856 comments

"An awfully classy hook"

The Wonder Years. An Oral History.
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2014 - 21 comments

Jessica Fletcher Eternal

The Formula For An Episode Of Murder, She Wrote
posted by rollick on Aug 8, 2014 - 55 comments

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