Forget all this new reality claptrap. How about the good old eighties-style claptrap? Why do I remember Manimal so fondly?
The Information War: "Every few minutes, another burst of satellite imagery and Internet information impacts among an interactive global audience. Ambushed by info, U.S. military commanders confident in their overwhelming firepower are increasingly expressing concern that the 'velocity of information' is spinning out of their control." [more inside]
Fox News "revises" its own news scroll during New York war protest. "The news ticker rimming Fox's headquarters on Sixth Avenue wasn't carrying war updates as the protest began. Instead, it poked fun at the demonstrators, chiding them. 'War protester auditions here today ... thanks for coming!' read one message. 'Who won your right to show up here today?' another questioned. 'Protesters or soldiers?' Said a third: 'How do you keep a war protester in suspense? Ignore them....' Still another read: 'Attention protesters: the Michael Moore Fan Club meets Thursday at a phone booth at Sixth Avenue and 50th Street.'" Fox claims the network "didn't mean to insult anyone."
The War is about to Start and for those of us without a TV we are part of a grand experiment to see if we can be as well informed. According to this Reuters article, Radio had World War II, Television had Vietnam, Cable TV had the Gulf War and now, the Internet may have the U.S. war with Iraq...reporters and producers with wireless laptops and handheld digital cameras will file reports from battlefields and military installations. Cameras are at key locations for live feeds 24 hours a day. Interactive, 3-D maps will update troop movements, casualties and weapons used. ''You're combining the speed of television with the depth of print,'' says Mitch Gelman, executive producer of CNN.com. ''This could define how future wars are covered.'' (more inside)
Determined viewers try to save another TV show (Salon). In this case, its Farscape, which shows its last episode on Friday in the States, and has already aired here in the UK. (no spoliers). Farscape fans are trying just about everything - from picking up 6 families in the Nielsens to fundraising to produce a last episode. Interested? Read on...
The Clear Channel of TV local news? It's like Fox News, only "live, local and late-breaking".
Hussein Translator on CBS Used Fake Accent? I thought this was an amusing tidbit in the also popular "news vs. entertainment" debate.
With Friends Like This.... Hate tv like I do? Do you rail at the idea of "must see tv"? OK....NYTimes link. But it is not NewsFilter! - more inside
Mr. Rogers Dead. Fred Rogers of "Mister Roger's Neighborhood" died of stomach cancer at age 74. To be honest, his was never my personal favorite PBS kid's show growing up (I preferred off-brand shows like "Zoom" and "3-2-1 Contact"). But my appreciation for him when I was an adult was pretty high. Anyway, it's a sad day in the neighborhood.
"Imagine, five elephants — with a combined weight of maybe 50,000 pounds — fanned out in a circle, defending their territory against puny you." Marlin Perkins might've been the host of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, all comfy and cozy in the studio, but it was reliable Jim who did all the daring face-to-face encounters with ferocious fauna. And you can relive those mid-70s Sunday nights spent in front of the television right here.
How come Dan Rather can get to him, but the CIA can't?
If you worship SpongeBob Squarepants as much as I do, then you know that superb voice talent is one of the things that makes this particular cartoon so wonderfully entertaining. But what you might not realize is just how much top-drawer showbiz talent the show's executive producer, Stephen Hillenburg, has assembled to bring his cast of wacky undersea characters to life: film actors like Clancy Brown (Mr. Krabs), Ernest Borgnine (Mermaid Man), and John Rhys-Davies (The Evil Man Ray), along with teevee legends Tim Conway (Barnacle Boy) and Charles Nelson Reilly (The Dirty Bubble). Who knows, maybe they'll they cast Gary Oldman in the role of Plankton for the upcoming film?
While you were out at a Peace Rally or reading your 'books' that somehow use words in combination to form 'sentences', us smart folks were watching the high culture extravaganza Joe Millionaire. Yes, I know you don't own a television, which is why Television without Pity is here to get you up to speed in case you're at the next dinner party with Nobel Prize laureates and all you can talk about is Iraq. [intelligent discussion inside]
"Giant Robot attack!" as spoken by the kid every kid wanted to be, Johnny Sokko. If you haven't already seen "'Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot" aka "Giant Robot", go now and buy it on VHS or DVD.
If you jonesed for a beta capsule as a kid, and crossed your hands to zap monsters with the specium ray while playing outside, then this site is for you. Shoowatchi!
The TV Guardian is a "cuss buster," removing all profanity from recordings that are shown on your TV. Finally, something to make my movies and TV more wholesome than Mary Lou Retton (you know your career as a gymnast is in the
shitter can, when you're hawking these kinds of products).
In other news, the Washington Post is reporting that The Fairly Odd Parents on Nick is "the next SpongeBob." Film at 11 (no, I mean film at 9 pm on Fridays, 7:30 pm on Saturdays, Sat and Sun at 10 am, and Sundays at 3). I could have told you that.
Look and Read offers storylines, songs, video clips and my first introduction to Wordy from this classic BBC School series. As someone who grew up on Sesame Street and Schoolhouse Rock, I found it interesting to see the British equivalent. Plus, it's good campy fun.
Lana Clarkson, gunned down in Phil Spector's home, was the star of B movies like Barbarian Queen and Barbarian Queen 2, and also made appearances on classic television shows such as the A-Team, Knight Rider, Three's Company and of course, The Love Boat.
Is this the most non-PC TV show ever? As we become more and more desensitised to humour that makes fun of those less fortunate than ourselves, where do we draw the line?
Best. Episodes. Ever. Though I think they're wrong about the worst. In honor of the upcoming 300th episode of the Simpsons, Entertainment Weekly looks back at the 25 best episodes and 1 worst. May the arguments, and uneeded meme generation, begin.
The greatest TV show you will probably never see: Aunty Jack, a ten-foot tall, boxing-glove wearing, motor-cycling, moustached cross-dresser, was the star of The Aunty Jack Show, which ran for thirteen episodes in 1972-73 on the Australian Broadcasting Commission TV network (and was the first show broadcast on Australian TV in colour). Many of the original episodes have been lost (but records of them exist). Re-release on video or DVD of the remaining episodes is tangled up in copyright issues. The 1974 album Aunty Jack Sings Wollongong was re-released on CD, and still seems to be available. It includes such classics as 'Fish Milkshakes' and 'Teenage Butcher' and the song 'Farewell Aunty Jack', which was a number 1 hit in Australia. Some samples can be found here. There were spinoffs from Aunty Jack, most notably the Norman Gunston Show, with Norman playing the prototypical terrrible interviewer and inspiring the much later Ali G, Dennis Pennis and many others. I was two years old when the series aired: Aunty Jack's threat at the end of each episode, that: 'If you don't watch next week, I'll rip your bloody arm off!' meant that I never, ever, missed it.
Ever Wonder What Happened to Little Tibia and the Fibulas? You can find out here at the Rocklopedia Fakebandica, a classic compendium of bands that only existed on TV or in the movies. [More inside]
Snooker legend dies A very sad day for snooker lovers. Bill Werbeniuk, the only man to split his trousers on live television during a professional snooker match, has died. And he liked a pint or thirty.
Who Would you Kill? The current show in danger of losing a character is Sex and The City Gosh, where would you start? Who on your favorite TV shows would you kill off?
Sprite Is Good Food "We have obtained a rare Sprite commercial rejected by the big wigs at the Coca-Cola Company. I believe it captures just what the Sprite consumer wants to see, epecially in the targeted demographic of 5-80 year olds...it's just too bad we had to delete the scenes with the hyenas on the salad bar." Well, it certainly made me thirsty. (Requires RealPlayer!)
I'd like to report some suspicious behaviour...a series of recent television commercials running on Australian TV promoting a toll free phone number to call if the viewer happens to see anything suspicious. Suspicious, you say? Don't be alarmed, it's all part of the Let's Look Out For Australia Campaign, whose motto is: 'Be alert, but not alarmed'. Then it says: 'Australians are friendly, decent, democratic people, and we're going to stay that way.' I feel alarmed, but not for the same reason. I'm alarmed that everything I once valued about my country, a humane welfare system that provided free healthcare and free education (including free university study) and an admirable and enlightened approach to multiculturalism, have been substantially compromised over the past decade. I feel so betrayed that I can no longer say with confidence that I love my country. Things have reached the point where I want to move somewhere else: anyone have any suggestions?
Why We Watch TV Revisited Sure cable is great, but what should we watch? Given the proliferation of "dumb" mass-market network TV shows (Joe Millionaire being the latest abomination), it's a relief to still find interesting/entertaining niche programming, albeit relegated to hinterland TV channels/time slots. Here are 4 Indie TV Programs worth considering (if you are lucky to have a cable company that airs them): C-Span Booknotes ; History International World Conflict ; NYMetro Strictly Personal ; WNET Theater Talk - Other suggestions ?
The Best Thing on Television in 2002 The WPIX Yule Log makes its triumphant return.
The BBC television show The Sky At Night, which opened in April 1957, is one of the longest-running in the world. Its longevity is undoubtedly due to host and national treasure Sir Patrick Moore. Amongst his other contributions to mankind, the uniquely-voiced bemonacled one plays the xylophone [Flash], is an endless source of inspiration for comedians [MP3], and was, of course, the condescending yet benevolent GamesMaster. But in this festive season, can he explain the Star of Bethlehem [Real]?
One-in, one-out: the nominations. "Who should be granted honorary British citizenship and who should have it revoked?" The BBC's Today programme has its annual poll and this year, it claims, is a little different. Various celebrities, politicians etc will be giving their opinions and the result will be announced on New Year's Day. Who will you be voting for?
David wins Fame Academy! Mix Big Brother with Pop/American Idol and you get the Fame Academy, where 12 gorgeous under-30s are thrown into a glorified stage school for a few months, and only one emerges an idol. The prize? Supposedly the 'biggest TV prize ever.' A £1 million recording contract, a fancy apartment in London, a personal shopper, chauffeur, and more. All is not lost for the 'losers' though, as they've all gained professional management and Mercury Records is considering them all for solo careers. In contrast to the 'Idol' shows, being couped up for weeks on end has caused even the wackiest contestants to grow in their singing and songwriting abilities. So will this show reach the US? Probably, given these other crossover shows.
The toughest Chelonia to every grace the media. Come on. Everyone had to love them at some point, with their pizzas and funny weapons. This page has some interesting sketch art. This one includes the complete cast of the cartoon and movies, with links to their career since said roles. This site, my favorite, has the entire "Coming out of our Shells" tape for download. Remember the classic, Cowabunga?
The therapists are divided and the film geeks are disappointed but I, for one, thought last night's "Sopranos" season finale was fantastic (mostly due to the brilliant Edie Falco). What did you think?
Walter Sickert was a renowned impressionist painter. In her new book, author Patricia Cornwell also claims that Sickert was Jack the Ripper. Whether you believe her theory or not, Cornwell is certainly getting a lot of press out of this. If all these links aren't enough for you, you can also watch a documentary on Cornwell and her Jack the Ripper theory tonight at 10 p.m. EST on The Learning Channel.
Cutting-Edge Critique of TV or Just a Lot of Guys with No Shirt On? Exhaustive website of TV shows from the 1950s to the present with discussion of overt gay and lesbian content. Also a lot of coverage of hidden homoerotic content that could be viewed as a parody of academic interpretive overreaching. On the other hand, that didn't stop Jerry Falwell from denouncing Tinky Winky's alleged sexual orientation.
"Pigman is trying to prove the Caine-Hackman theory. No matter what time it is, 24 hours a day, you can find a Michael Caine or Gene Hackman movie playing on TV." If only he had TV-Now.com, which exhaustively roams schedules for whatever actor or genre you choose. I'm planning an All-Corey month myself. Call me for the shower scene in Dressed To Kill.
ABC lets Koppel do his thing. Have you watched "Up Close", Ted Koppel's in-depth interview segment? NYTimes does a good job describing how Ted has chosen to be himself (i.e., high-brow and ministerial) with scant disregard to ratings. Is this type of program the antidote to the media's obsessive and corruptive focus on ratings?
What's Joe's Big Secret? The FOX network has quietly finished production on "Joe Millionaire," a seven-episode series that combines elements of Fox's "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" with ABC's "The Bachelor." I won't spoil the "secret" for anyone who cares but isn't someone's financial status a valid factor when forming a relationship. If you lie to someone the entire time during a relationship doesn't that effect your perceptions and feelings towards the person who lied to you?
Yesterday's NYT magazine section (reg req'd) featured a profile of Jack Osbourne---whose family's show premieres its second season tomorrow---and discussed the unpleasant repercussions of his new fame: a prescription to Zoloft, a discontinued high school education and severe threats that warrant his own eye-patched bodyguard. Is this kind of exposure (especially in a reality TV context) too much for a 17 year old kid to handle?
Video on Demand Is Finally Taking Hold by the way of Time Warner Cable. We've read this news before, but this time they're promising to start providing the service at buyable prices "by the end of the year throughout 1.2 million subscribers in New York City" (the slogan "Now Anything's Possible" is already on their site). Choose, play, pause and rewind any program you want, from film to tv series, it's all there for you. It "may be the most significant development for the Couch Potato Nation since the remote control". And the cable tv providers take the lead over the satellite television providers (DirecTV, EchoStar), who just can't offer video on-demand like that.
Bill Maher back on cable? AP is reporting that Bill Maher will host a late-night talk show on HBO starting Feb. 21. The hour-long news and comedy program, which has yet to be titled, will air once a week for 20 episodes. I personally think ABC were a bunch of pussies for cancelling him, and I think the new show will rock. What do you think?
Why We Tuned Out "We don't allow our kids to watch TV. Period. Not at home, not at friends’ houses; and they don’t watch videos or movies, either. We want our daughters, Jazzy, now nearly 6, and Gigi, 3, to be as active as possible, physically and mentally." What's the best approach with kids and television?
The Cowbell Project Inspired by the SNL/Christopher Walken sketch, a database of recordings that feature the cowbell, and a list of other songs that maybe should have considered it...
Trial by Tabloid? Top BBC presenter Angus Deaton has been sacked after a sex & drugs scandal. He has presented comedy news quiz Have I Got News For You for over ten years. So, is ti right for him to be sacked after trial by tabloid? Do we actually care what our T.V. presenters get up to after the cameras are turned off?
Drew Carey had a date with a Furry on last nights episode. Can you think of any other occasions where internet based subcultures or fads have broken through to prime-time? Is it only a matter of time until someone on 7th Heaven gets in trouble because of a post on a weblog?
Dictator and/or Television Sit-Com Character Remember this site? For two years now it's been sitting there, growing stronger. Are there other game sites where you should just forget it, they know too much?
The West Wing debunker. I have grown to hate this show even though I agree with its politics. The show occasionally brings up interesting topics but it is so goddamned sanctimonious. I worry that people think this is how our executive branch works. I hope this isn't a double post.
Space Needle Missing from the Seattle Skyline? (subscription) The rumor is someone bought the Space Needle in Seattle and moved it to their house. No! It was an ad for the lottery. Do TV channels need to make it clearer that something is an ad, or do people need to be more careful watching TV?
An example of innovative web design This was a site made for last tuesday's Buffy episode. I thought it was a really good example of what could be done with design...and there's not even any flash. Just the poems and pictures of a fictional girl who knows she's about to die.