In 2005, Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks produced a 6 episode miniseries that spanned the period of expansion of the United States into the American West, from 1825 to 1890. Through fictional and historical characters, the series used two primary symbols--the wagon wheel and the Lakota medicine wheel -- to join the story of two families: one Native American, one White settlers, as they witnessed many of the 19th century's pivotal historical milestones. The award-winning Into The West
can now be seen in its entirety on YouTube
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Sep 20, 2012 -
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 -
"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 -
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 -
Suppose I could offer you a choice of two technologies for watching TV online. Behind Door Number One sits a free-to-watch service that uses off-the-shelf technology and that buffers just enough of each show to put the live stream on the Internet. Behind Door Number Two lies a subscription service that requires custom-designed hardware and makes dozens of copies of each show. Which sounds easier to build—and to use? More importantly, which is more likely to be legal?
If you went with Door Number One, then you are a sane person, untainted by the depravity of modern copyright law. But you are also wrong. The company behind Door Number One, iCraveTV, was enjoined out of existence a decade ago. The company behind Door Number Two, Aereo, just survived its first round in court and is still going strong.
Why Johnny can't stream: How video copyright went insane
by MeFi's own James Grimmelmann
posted by Horace Rumpole
on Aug 30, 2012 -
"For Iron Man 2, there was a massive set built for the Stark Expo. It was the largest blue screen ever used in a film. It was so funny being there and having Jon explaining that to me, realizing we had done the same thing years before." A comprehensive behind the scenes interview with the creators of Nick Arcade
posted by yellowbinder
on Jul 26, 2012 -
At the end of November, 1979, this band was just a year and half old and had played fewer than 40 sets. They had a handful of embryonic songs influenced by Television and Magazine, and a 3-month old, 3-song EP with two
. Then they went to London to play a bunch of gigs behind that EP, and in just 6 months, over 40 gigs, they exploded.
They watched in the studio during the January 1980 recording of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,”
wooing Joy Division’s producer Martin Hannett; appeared on TV that month with a song they had only played 4 times
, and released a forgettable single
at the end of February. Suddenly new songs poured out at a remarkable rate: ”Twilight”
, “Things to make and Do
,” “A Day Without Me
, ”Silver Lining”
transformed into a second single
(produced by Hannett). They signed a record contract in March, and immediately began recording a stunning debut album
. By the summer they had more songs: a psychedelic/sexual horror tune
, and a hot new single
It all became
bloated and sucky
commercial and atmospheric soon after, but for a while there, boy
did they rock. [more inside]
posted by msalt
on Jun 30, 2012 -
In the late 1970s the UK's Anglia Television ran a respected weekly documentary series: Science Report.
But when the show was cancelled in 1977, the producers decided to channel Orson Welles in their final episode. The result was Alternative 3
. Over the course of the hour, the audience would learn that a Science Report
investigation into the UK "brain drain" had uncovered shocking revelations: man-made pollution had resulted in catastrophic climate change, the Earth would soon be rendered uninhabitable, and a secret American / Soviet joint plan was in place to establish colonies on the Moon and Mars. The show ended with footage of a US/Soviet Mars landing from May 22, 1962. After Alternative 3 aired, thousands of panicked viewers phoned the production company and demanded to know how long they had left to change planets. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 20, 2012 -
"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 -
When Captain America
throws his mighty shield, all those who chose to oppose his shield must yield. Doc Bruce Banner, pelted by gamma rays, turns into The Hulk
; ain't he unglamorous? Tony Stark
makes you feel; he's a cool exec with a heart of steel. Cross the Rainbow Bridge of Asgard, where the booming heavens roar, you'll behold in breathless wonder the god of Thunder, mighty Thor
. Stronger than a whale, he
can swim anywhere; he can breathe underwater and go flying through the air. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on May 17, 2012 -
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 -
In the Warhol episode, Marion Ross (TV mom of Ron Howard in Happy Days) is a former Warhol superstar, married to stodgy Tom Bosley (TV dad of Ron Howard). Bosley doesn’t know about Ross’ past in underground film, and she’s afraid that they’ll run into Warhol, playing himself, aboard ship.
Andy Warhol takes a pleasant cruise on The Love Boat
posted by scody
on May 8, 2012 -