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♪ Where Everybody Knows Your Name! ♪

"Everybody Knows Their Names: The GQ Oral History of Cheers." (Single page version.) On the thirtieth anniversary of the premiere of Cheers, GQ "sat down with just about everyone who made it." Also, Christopher Lloyd, Amy Poehler and Shawn Ryan talk about what they learned from the show. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 27, 2012 - 145 comments

♪ Believe it or not! ♪

History Of [US] TV Theme Songs (slyt / Jimmy Fallon & "Guys With Kids" Cast)
posted by zarq on Sep 26, 2012 - 30 comments

We've Got Movie Sign!

The Random-MST3K-O-Matic mst3k.me shows you random Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes on YouTube. /random gets you a random episode, /joel gets you a random Joel episode, and /mike gets you a random Mike episode. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Sep 20, 2012 - 102 comments

Cupcake Justice

Tonight, two new fall shows premiere: Mob Doctor, which is about a doctor who works for the mob, and Revolution, which is about a devastating global power outage and — more than that — a revolution. Neither of these shows particularly requires your attention, but taken together, they emphasize that essentially, all you need to make a show is the right combination of title-friendly words. In fact, if you take the correct 25 words, you can combine them (often in either order!) to create all the television we will see in the next ten years.
posted by malapropist on Sep 19, 2012 - 108 comments

New NBC Show "Revolution" is suspiciously similar to indie production "Powerless"

"Revolution" seems a little too much like "Powerless." Indie television proof-of-concept pilot "Powerless" is "about a trio who are in the woods when an unexplained and unexpected event causes electricity the world over to suddenly disappear." The pilot is submitted to a 2011 television festival where it is seen by studio executives. Then, "come February 2012, NBC picks up [a] mystery high concept pilot and reveals it's called 'Revolution' and the high concept is: An adventure series in a world suddenly and inexplicably without power." [more inside]
posted by Mo Nickels on Sep 18, 2012 - 150 comments

Giant database of current TV news transcripts and video

You know how Jon Stewart shows politicians contradicting themselves on news clips? Do it yourself by searching a giant database of TV transcripts and video on Internet Archive. The collection now contains 350,000 news programs collected since 2009 from national U.S. networks and stations. The archive is updated with new broadcasts 24 hours after they are aired. Older materials are being added. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Sep 17, 2012 - 22 comments

The Bionic Wiki

The Bionic Wiki is a collaborative project to create the most comprehensive information database for the Bionic universe as presented in the 1970's science-fiction, action-adventure series, The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 17, 2012 - 43 comments

The New New Girl

"When it debuts this month, it will make [Mindy] Kaling one of the only women of color to be both the face of and the creative force behind a network TV show. Every detail of this set, not to mention every word of every script, has had to pass through Kaling’s brain and reflect her unique worldview as a self-described “chubby” 33-year-old Indian-American female comic by way of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Dartmouth College; and eight years as both a writer and a cast member on NBC’s The Office."
posted by vidur on Sep 16, 2012 - 51 comments

Copenhagen cool

American public transportation commercials? Boring. Belgian De Lijn commercials? Amusing. Danish? Exciting!
posted by fredludd on Sep 13, 2012 - 17 comments

NO NEWS

Breaking: There Is No News A supercut of awkward silences in news reports.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 11, 2012 - 34 comments

Target: NuWho

What if New Who had Target Novelisations just like the old Doctor Who?
posted by Artw on Sep 7, 2012 - 58 comments

Dozens of planets and hundreds of moons

HTML5 Map of the Firefly 'Verse
posted by Artw on Sep 4, 2012 - 78 comments

My So-Called Life

There are some TV shows that last for years and years, and when they finally go away, they're barely missed. And then there is the phenomenon of the TV show that dies quickly but leaves an indelible mark. Ten years ago, ABC fielded such a show: My So-Called Life, produced by the thirtysomething team of Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, premiered on Thursday, August 25, 1994 -- and was quickly reduced to ratings rubble by another new 8 p.m. series, NBC's Friends. But in 19 sublime episodes, Life left a lasting pop-culture legacy. Not only did it launch the careers of Claire Danes and Jared Leto, it defined the modern family drama -- and has influenced an entire generation of television writers. Says Greg Berlanti, the creator of The WB's Everwood and Jack & Bobby, ''It's the most painfully honest portrayal of adolescence ever on television.''
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 3, 2012 - 53 comments

Syfy's fine new tv show, Alphas

The joy and X-Men like appeal of the tv show Alphas.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 2, 2012 - 58 comments

Commentary and thoughts on Honey Boo Boo

Don't judge Honey Boo Boo, because the tv show doesn't care what it's saying about American culture.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 31, 2012 - 156 comments

I'm Going To Hate This One, Frequently And Loudly

Diamanda Hagan is an obsessive Dr. Who fan in scary makeup. She posts extensive, entertaining, and exhaustively nerdy rants on some of the worst episodes of Nu Who. Behold! The Beast Below, Voyage Of The Damned, Victory Of The Daleks, Fear Her, The Next Doctor, Planet Of The Dead, The Doctor's Daughter, and The End Of Time (The Whole Damn Thing) (NSFW language)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 31, 2012 - 299 comments

The secret allure of the spoiler. Think you don’t want to know the ending? Think again

The secret allure of the spoiler. Think you don’t want to know the ending? Think again "Is there a greater cultural sin than a good story spoiled? The accepted modern posture is that knowing too much beforehand about the plot of a novel, a play, a movie, even a TV series, ruins the magic of experiencing it for the first time — renders it damaged goods, not worth one’s time or money.[..]

It’s a given: Everyone hates spoilers. Except when they don’t. Two researchers in the psychology department of the University of California at San Diego recently decided to test whether we really hate spoilers, or just like to say we do. What they found surprised them: The majority of people apparently like having a story spoiled for them. In fact, we may enjoy spoiled stories even more than the unspoiled versions. Is it true? Do we secretly crave predigested plots the way some foodies sneak Big Macs when no one’s looking?" Pdf link to study. [more inside]
posted by nooneyouknow on Aug 29, 2012 - 171 comments

REMINGTONELECTRICRAZORREMINGTONELECTRICRAZOR

How did an unused 1967 commerical jingle produced by Frank Zappa lead to the Simpsons Theme?
posted by The Whelk on Aug 27, 2012 - 41 comments

Agent Scully needs a few good Gentlepersons

Mefi's own Mightygodking takes the April Fool's joke from Comics Alliance ( previously ) to the logical next step with The League Of Extraordinary Gentlepersons: 1996.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 21, 2012 - 114 comments

The Breaking Bad Art Project

The Breaking Bad Art Project is on exhibit at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles through August 26. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 21, 2012 - 40 comments

Needs More Surly Duff

Simpson Writers Pick Their 10 Favorite Obscure Characters (via)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 16, 2012 - 213 comments

Future Shock. Indeed.

'textbook definition of surrealism' In his epic new bio of James Brown, "The One"--an account of not just the man's life and music, but a panoramic view of African-American, southern and American political and cultural history of the 20th Century--author R.J. Smith briefly discusses "Future Shock," a dance show that Brown hosted in the mid-1970s. It aired on a pioneering Atlanta station, WTCG, a Ted Turner-owned UHF station that would become a satellite channel by the end of 1976. Along with the pay-only HBO (started in '75 in select markets), WTCG paved the way for a cable TV revolution. Its name would be changed to WTBS (otherwise known as Superstation WTBS) in 1979. [more inside]
posted by raysmj on Aug 14, 2012 - 13 comments

Everyone Smokes Morleys and Drinks Heisler Gold (Unless They Were Just Part of Bob Hartley's Dream)

AV Club points out 21 links between unexpectedly shared TV universes
including ubiquitous brands and crossover characters like the omnipresent Richard Belzer as Sgt. Munch (who was preceded in the 50s-'60s by Pat Harrington Jr. as Guido Panzini). Of course, it finishes with a reference to the Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis (previously here). [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Aug 7, 2012 - 48 comments

My Name is John Daker

John Daker is going to sing a song that's very popular nowadays, it's Christ The Lord Is Risen Today, and he's going to do Amore too, okay? There is a subtitled and animated version also.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Aug 3, 2012 - 35 comments

‎"[T]he only real way to do it is to tell an honest human story, but to do it in a way that people feel like they haven’t seen before."

A fascinating interview with Vince Gilligan, showrunner of Breaking Bad. The questions are as excellent as the answers.
This points to that quality of improvisation with the work you’re doing. In a traditional crime show, like “CSI,” if it were a big band, it’s a big band working off charts. The arrangements are very tightly controlled. And what I sense with “Breaking Bad” is a sense of, I don’t know, “John Coltrane on acid.” You have this sense of improvisation where you go with things you know, where you tell the story the length it needs to be told. You’re inspired collectively by a moment and you decide to go deeper into that moment. You’re in essence leading a parallel life with your characters and letting those characters take you where they want to go — not necessarily where the dictates of commercial convention say they have to go.
Meanwhile, Alan Sepinwall asks actors Bryan Cranston (2) and Aaron Paul about some of their most iconic moments on the show. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Jul 25, 2012 - 100 comments

To a deluxe apartment, in the sky...

Sherman Alexander Hemsley died today at the age of 74. Perphaps best known for his role as George Jefferson on All in the Family and its spin-off, The Jeffersons, Hemsley's career spanned over four decades, including working on stage, in films, and of course, appearing (or starring in) in many TV shows.
posted by KillaSeal on Jul 24, 2012 - 71 comments

"The more ghoulish and extreme the show becomes, ...the more accurately it captures the reality of the cartels and their business."

The Uncannily Accurate Depiction of the Meth Trade in “Breaking Bad”
posted by reenum on Jul 16, 2012 - 58 comments

Viacom Pulls Free Daily Show and Colbert Report from the Web

Viacom pulls free Daily Show and Colbert Report from the web. The move comes after satellite broadcaster DirecTV stopped carrying Viacom's cable channels Tuesday night. One of DirecTV's issues with Viacom is the amount of content the cable programmer puts online for free. DirecTV and other distributors fear that giving programs away online undermines the pay-TV business model. As if sitting through hundreds of this was not price enough to pay.
posted by Danf on Jul 11, 2012 - 112 comments

writer/director/actor

Louis C.K. on eating pressure and providing an alternative to The Man - "I ask him to think about what he really needs; when he tells me, I give him a little more. It buys me goodwill with this person; I feel good about what I'm paying them. I like to give people a little more than they want, and I like to ask people for a little less than they're willing to give." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 6, 2012 - 40 comments

We've finished our news, homo sapiens have outgrown their use, all the strangers came today, and it looks as though they're here to stay

"None of us are gods, evil, good, or any other kind of god. We are mortal. If I am cut, I bleed. If you are cut, you bleed. We are all flesh and blood. We are born. We live. We die. The only thing that makes us different is that we are a new kind of human being , One day everyone in the world will be like us. We are Tomorrow People, Hsui Tai, and you are one of us!" [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Jul 6, 2012 - 32 comments

A slice of Vice on HBO

Bringing VICE to HBO: To win over the cable network, the Vice team assembled a “best of” reel that included stories on North Korean labor camps, Liberia and the gun markets of Pakistan and later produced a pilot that included stories about Afghan suicide bombers and underground heroin clinics. [more inside]
posted by thisisdrew on Jul 3, 2012 - 22 comments

Native Tongues TV

A Cultural History of Black Sitcom Theme Songs
posted by latkes on Jul 2, 2012 - 58 comments

The Tribe Has Spoken: Survivor is Reality TV's Finest Achievement

Is Survivor the only great reality TV show? The AV Club argues yes.
posted by The Gooch on Jul 2, 2012 - 127 comments

How can something so rapey be so good?

“Racist rape-culture Disneyland with Dragons” -- Laurie Penny on the popularity of George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire and the critically acclaimed HBO dramatization Game of Thrones. (Hint: Despite the obvious gender-racial-class problems, Miss Penny really likes the show.) [more inside]
posted by bardic on Jun 27, 2012 - 321 comments

STAR WOLF, or, he tried to kill me with a forklift!

スターウルフ, "Star Wolf," was a half-hour sci-fi TV show produced and aired in Japan in 1978. (TV Tropes page -- addiction warning) It had somewhat cheesy special effects, understandable being a TV series made just one year after Star Wars, but it made up for it with style, energy, and ACTION PACKED MUSIC.

American viewers will know it best as the show ripped apart and reassembled into two Fugitive Alien movies by Sandy Frank Productions, then shown on two memorable episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. (Episodes on YouTube: Fugitive Alien, its sequel.) Although the Japanese show got at least two seasons (the second under the title Space Hero Star Wolf), only the first four episodes appear to exist on the internet. Here they are: One - Two - Three - Four. (There are no subtitles, but you should be able to figure out what is going on if you've seen the MST episode.) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 27, 2012 - 26 comments

And you know it

Sorkinisms - A Supercut (previously).
posted by googly on Jun 25, 2012 - 142 comments

Reading Rainbow 2.0 (& every single episode of Reading Rainbow available on YouTube)

Reading Rainbow is back (includes video interview with LeVar Burton, ~4.5 min.) - "rebooted as an app for tablet computers" (Android? yes, soon); reviews from Gizmodo & Engadget. Here's a recent convention Q&A with Burton where he announces the app (video, relevant part starts at 3:30). But if this announcement is simply making you nostalgic for the television show, all 155 episodes of Reading Rainbow are available here on YouTube (neatly sorted into playlists by season, or you can just start here for every single episode in order). (previously: LeVar Burton goes behind the scenes of Star Trek: The Next Generation in a Reading Rainbow episode - Reading Rainbow ends its 26-year run)
posted by flex on Jun 21, 2012 - 53 comments

I think I might be the voice of my generation. Or at least _a_ voice of _a_ generation.

"The world of entertainment still, all too often, values women only as objects of beauty to be placed on screen and ogled. [...] [T]he world is full of other women who have profound, intelligent, often hilarious things to say, and Dunham is very quietly making a space for those voices on TV, in a way that’s revolutionary both in terms of the show’s gender politics and in terms of its presentation. - AVClub critic TodVanDerWerff on "how [the HBO show] Girls challenges the masculine expectations of 'good TV.'" [more inside]
posted by coraline on Jun 20, 2012 - 155 comments

RIP Эдуард Анатольевич Хиль

Eduard Anatolyevich Khil, aka Mr. Trololo, has died at the age of 77. [more inside]
posted by alexoscar on Jun 4, 2012 - 50 comments

Richard Dawson 1932-2012

Colin Lionel Emm, known to the world as Richard Dawson, has died. [more inside]
posted by evilcolonel on Jun 3, 2012 - 80 comments

"Villains used to always die in the end. Now the nightmare guy comes back."

Bad Guys: The GQ Villains Portfolio (Movies + TV) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 1, 2012 - 26 comments

"I will lead the attack!"

"First of all, we almost had no battle at all. For budgetary reasons we came very, very close to having all the action take place off-screen, the way plays have handled battle scenes for a few thousand years." - How the epic battle at the heart of the latest episode of Game of Thrones, Blackwater, written by George R. R. Martin and directed by Neil Marshall, came to be. Mentor relationships in Game of Thrones (and Mad Men). The National's Lannister song. And, perhaps sriking closest of all to the central themes of the show, Jezebel plays Game of Thrones: Marry, Fuck, Kill.
posted by Artw on May 31, 2012 - 241 comments

series highlight or jumping the shark?

Linda Holmes, NPR: "It probably speaks to the complexity of Mad Men that the same episode can be a highlight of the series for some and a lowlight for others. Sunday night's episode, "The Other Woman," instantly became a favorite of a lot of observers and writers, but for me, it was a rarity on Mad Men: a serious and profound misstep." (spoilers in links) [more inside]
posted by flex on May 29, 2012 - 665 comments

Dumb, Drunk and Racist

Dumb, Drunk and Racist - Joe Hildebrand, writer for the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, has a new TV show coming up on Australian TV, called "Dumb, Drunk and Racist", which was the phrase famously used during a training session in an Indian call centre about Australians. The show features four Indians from varying backgrounds visiting Australia - looks like very uncomfortable viewing (if you're Australian). (Slightly NSFW because of drunken boob-showing).
posted by awfurby on May 28, 2012 - 138 comments

And Guest Starring: Cameraman and Fly

One of the side effects of being a 5-day, live show was that the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows featured regular technical and acting flubs. Many, many, many flubs [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on May 19, 2012 - 25 comments

At least it was here

Dan Harmon out as showrunner of Community. He responds
posted by whitneyarner on May 19, 2012 - 275 comments

“I suppose the first thing I should do is apologize for the billions of dead.”

A famously reclusive writer, John Swartzwelder is responsible for many of The Simpson's iconic episodes. He stopped writing for the show in '04 and began to self-publish a series of increasingly absurd Sci-Fi Detective novels.
posted by The Whelk on May 16, 2012 - 47 comments

Television: chewy chicken for the eyes

Canadian food chain Swiss Chalet decided to buy an entire cable channel devoted to 24 hour coverage of rotisserie chicken. That's it. Oh and dancing dipping sauce containers.
posted by The Whelk on May 12, 2012 - 55 comments

Shadowplay

A Dark Shadows crash course
posted by Artw on May 10, 2012 - 49 comments

Whiz Kids

In the early 80’s, personal computers were a new innovation. Films like WarGames made it seem as if a kid with a keyboard could hack into anything: a school or corporate mainframe, NORAD, the US nuclear arsenal or your neighborhood bank. Hoping to capitalize on this, in 1983 CBS premiered a show which could have been considered WarGames’ intellectual successor. It featured a group of resourceful kids who solved crimes by hacking and cracking, led by Matthew Laborteaux, child star of Little House on the Prairie, and advised by a Gavilan SC-toting, mustachioed reporter played by Max Gail, formerly of the show Barney Miller. Whiz Kids lasted only a single season: 18 episodes, but all of them live on in cyberspace, on YouTube. Complete episode links contained within. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 8, 2012 - 41 comments

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