If you were watching late-night television in July 1998 you may have seen the half-hour informercial parody that the Beastie Boys produced to promote their upcoming album, Hello Nasty. The ad features Mike D, MCA , and Ad-Rock taking on roles to shill everything from the services of phone psychics to get-rich-quick scams to a food processor that plays songs from the upcoming LP. (Warning: video auto-loads.) [more inside]
Microsoft has unveiled their new console, and it wants to dominate your living room. How Xbox One plans to fight Sony, Steam, and everything else.
Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts: From 1958-1973, composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein (Previously on MeFi) played live, educational concerts with the New York Philharmonic that were televised nationwide on CBS. Tapes of the broadcasts were eventually syndicated to 40 countries, introducing an entire generation of children to a wide range musical concepts, styles and composers. The first concert to air was "What Does Music Mean." [more inside]
Recurring Developments: An interactive visualization of running jokes in Arrested Development
Coming this September: Joss Whedon has a new TV show set in the Avengers verse starring Agent Phil Coulson: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. [slyt]
"Now, my friend Adams was accused of a crime he didn't commit, so he escaped into the mountains, leaving behind the only life that he ever knew." In 1977, three years after the popular movie The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams introduced the story of John "Grizzly" Adams to the public, a TV show of the same name premiered. [more inside]
In Defense of Betty. "I’ve always thought that the whole point is that Betty is a victim of her time and circumstances, of the very narrow, constricted gender roles (remember the ill-fitting dress she’s holding up against herself as she contemplates being a political wife) that she and women like her were forced — expected, if that seems less loaded — to assume. Those roles were deforming, and, sure enough, they’ve deformed Betty." [more inside]
Aereo is a web service that allows subscribers to watch broadcast TV on their computers or mobile devices. The broadcast networks are furious. Aereo is ready for a PR fight, and is currently winning the legal battle. Variety wonders: Is Aereo Actually a Good Thing? [more inside]
Between 1986 and 1993, rather than showing a test pattern, Global Television would, in the dead hours of the night, broadcast long videos of walking and driving through Toronto. [more inside]
An Orange Prize nominee speaks out about her experience as a woman in literature: weakened titles, pink covers, snubbed for reviews. [more inside]
Mad Men Season 6 (and simultaneous saturation coverage) begins again tonight. As the show winds down, along with the decade that defined it, the 1960s, critics are wondering "What's the best ending for the best series on TV? Can it survive the onset of the 1970s?"
VOISEOVER: In a Citey wher thers Somuchcrimes , theDetetcive is onthe Case... DETETCIVE: Stop crimeing! VOISEOVER: But Oneproblam... Crimer! (Single link Twitter feed.)
If Matt Lauer doesn’t want to be seen with sharp knives, it’s because last summer his co-host Ann Curry was discovered with one in her back. Five million viewers, the majority of them women, would not soon forget how Curry, the intrepid female correspondent and emotionally vivid anchor, spent her last appearance on the Today show couch openly weeping, devastated at having to leave after only a year. The image of Matt Lauer trying to comfort her—and of Curry turning away from his attempted kiss—has become a kind of monument to the real Matt Lauer, forensic evidence of his guilt. What followed was the implosion of the most profitable franchise in network television.
Memories of BBC Television Centre. The British Broadcasting Corporation's central production hub for the past fifty years closes this week (though parts of it will reopen soon as a post-production facility). There have been many hagiographies, but this is perhaps the most poignant. It's a building full of the memories of millions, good and bad (SLYT).
Mad Men + Mean Girls = Mean Mad Men.
The Nielsen Family Is Dead. Nielsen Now Tracks (Almost) Everything You Buy: Credit, Debit and Bank Data Now Combined With TV, Online Viewing. Nielsen Offers Focus on ‘Zero-TV’ Homes. Nielsen Agrees to Expand Definition of TV Viewing. The 23,000 U.S. homes Nielsen currently samples are going to see some changes this year. [more inside]
Inventions that Changed the World is a 2004 BBC Miniseries in the vein of Connections (previously) hosted by Jeremy Clarkson (yes the Top Gear guy). The Gun. The Computer. The Jet. The Telephone. The Television
"This week ABC Family did something that no commercial television channel in the United States had ever done: It broadcast an entire episode of a show, “Switched at Birth,” in American Sign Language, with next to no oral dialogue."
Beyond the Swanson. Paste interviews Nick Offerman.
For your enjoyment: detailed floor plan drawings of popular TV and film homes.
The best of the worst of the oh-so-watchable cringe-fest that was Legends of the Hidden Temple.
Enlightened is TV’s best show right now—and it needs more viewers. Written by Mike White (School of Rock and Freaks and Geeks, among others) and starring Laura Dern (also the show's co-creator, Luke Wilson, Diane Ladd, and Timm Sharp (aka Marshall from Undeclared), the show has also seen an impressive line-up of guest directors, including Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs), Phil Morrison (Junebug), James Bobin (Flight of the Conchords), and Todd Haynes (I'm Not There). The show's range is astonishing – it depicts its main character as cringeworthily oblivious, yet also lets her deliver monologues which are unusually sincere for a comedy; some of its characters are ridiculous and absurd, while others are capable of deep melancholy. Mike White talks to Interview Magazine about creating Enlightened before its premiere; a year later, he talks to Indiewire about why people have such a hard time sympathizing with Amy.
As if a line like "their house is a museum, when people come to see 'em, they really are a scree-am" (heard, of course, in the Addams Family theme) wasn't playfully brilliant (and brilliantly playful) enough, the same fellow happened to also have written the Green Acres theme. If you're an American of a certain age, you'll remember these two songs from their original TV runs during your childhood, or perhaps from reruns if you're a bit younger. Anyway, the composer of these catchy, familiar ditties was one Vic Mizzy. Hear Vic talk about the Addams Family theme and his degree in advanced finger snapping here. Thanks Vic!
In 1959 Fred Astaire hired renowned makeup artist John Chambers to work on his television special, Another Evening with Fred Astaire. The assignment? Turn Fred Astaire into Alfred E. Neuman. The results were predictably strange. [more inside]
Somewhere between Buggin' Out and Gus Fring, Metafilter favorite Giancarlo Esposito starred as Paul Gigante, a city cop transplanted by family circumstances into a dysfunctional small town police department and frustrating partnership with the imbecillic Wade Preston, in Bakersfield P.D., a short-lived comedy gem from Fox Network. Partially available for your viewing pleasure in grainy video on a YouTube playlist, with German subtitles and no laugh track. [more inside]
House of Cards is a new original "TV" series that is not destined for any TV distribution channel. Instead, it was developed by, and is only available through, Netflix. Netflix posted the entire first "season," 13 1-hour episodes, on Friday. (Is this the new thing?) Some of us, cough, watched the whole thing. [more inside]
In 1984, Grenada Television produced a television series called Sherlock Holmes. The famous detective has been portrayed by numerous people including Robert Downey Jr., Basil Rathbone, and Benedict Cumberbatch, but British actor Jeremy Brett played one of the most holmesian detectives ever put to screen. Brett was known for his passion and skill as Holmes, as well as the humor and grace that he brought to the role. He was accompanied by a Watson played by David Burke, no slouch himself in accompanying the consulting detective. Granada was able to adapt 42 of Conan Doyle's stories during the show's ten year lifespan. Below is the entirety of the series on various youtube channels. [more inside]
The New Yorker's take on Dr Mehmet Oz.
The Lasting Limberness of 30 Rock. 30 Rock is uniquely skilled at eating its cake and having it, too, while crowing “Isn’t cake ridiculous?” and making you crave cake. 30 Rock ends its seven season run this week. Here's Vulture's thoughts on its 10 Best Episodes. The AV Club's 10 Episodes that tweaked the sitcom formula. And the original pilot with Rachel Dratch as Jenna DeCarlo.
"TVGuide.com talked to stars John Noble (Dr. Walter Bishop), Joshua Jackson (Peter Bishop), Anna Torv (Olivia Dunham), Jasika Nicole (Astrid Farnsworth), Lance Reddick (Phillip Broyles), Blair Brown (Nina Sharp), Mark Valley (John Scott), series co-creator Abrams, executive producers J.H Wyman, Jeff Pinkner and Bryan Burk, Warner Bros. President Peter Roth and Fox's Chairman of Entertainment Kevin Reilly about the bumpy road to the series finale, starting with the conception of the show. This is the first in a four-part series. Check out Part 2 and Part 3." (Part 4 is pending.)
Lena Dunham shows her art-world roots in her 2009 web-series: Season 1 at Index Magazine, Season 2 at delusionaldowntowndivas.com. Meanwhile Season 2 of Dunham's HBO series "Girls" arrives Sunday night, expect online fireworks.
The Best Of Star Wars: Clone Wars - The CGI Star Wars spin off that made the franchise fun again for young and old reached it's 100th episode today.
The story of a guy who went to LA with one goal in mind, get somebody from his party into Contestants Row on The Price is Right.
In 1980, director David Jove created New Wave Theatre, an L.A.-based music show showcasing live performances by California hardcore punk rock bands. [more inside]
Front Row (BBC Radio 4), 28/12/12 – 30mins. British stars of big American series like Homeland & House discuss why US TV and movies are so keen to employ UK actors right now. Answer seems to boil down to (a) proper theatre training (b) greater willingness to play unsympathetic characters and (c) botox-free faces still able to move in reaction shots. Damian Lewis, Hugh Laurie, Thandie Newton, Adrian Lester, Clive Owen, Ashley Jensen and Stephen Frears all take part. It’s an interesting discussion, though perhaps a little smug in its assumption of British superiority. I’d be interested to hear what American listeners make of it.
This year's festive Doctor Who Christmas episode will feature a new companion, a new theme tune and title sequence and a new look to the Tardis interior! But look out for those scary Snowmen! [more inside]
Television viewers in China were shocked last Friday when state broadcaster CCTV aired V for Vendetta unedited in prime time. Previously, Chinese search engines would not even return results for the anti-totalitarian 2006 film; CCTV-6 did at least harmonize the title by translating it as "V Special Forces", rather than the more common translation given in pirated DVD editions, "V the Revenge Killing Squad". [more inside]
The most-watched show in the history of the National Geographic Channel isn't Wild, Taboo or even the longest-running documentary series on cable tv: Explorer. It's Doomsday Preppers, a show that documents the "lives of otherwise ordinary Americans" as they prepare for the end of the world. [more inside]
Horrible Histories, the historical sketch show on the BBC inspired by the books of the same name, has been featured previously on Metafilter. Not mentioned, however, were the real gems of the show, Historical Desktops [MLYT]: [more inside]
James Lipton interviews Dave Chappelle. Dave Chappelle interviews James Lipton. And while we're at it.... [more inside]
(minor Spoilers should be assumed for most of the post) Fringe, which many have called a cult show, has a pension for playfully populating its episodes with pop culture references and has continued to do so into its fifth and final season. [more inside]
Titles sequences for all five series of Breaking Bad in the style of The Wire (SLYT)