Flipping through public access or PBS channels one might have seen Classic Arts Showcase with it's familiar ARTS bug. The 24-hour non-commercial free-to-air satellite channel broadcasts a repeated 8-hour mix of about 150 video clips weekly a mix of various classic arts including animation, architectural art, ballet, chamber, choral music, dance, folk art, museum art, musical theater, opera, orchestral, recital, solo instrumental, solo vocal, and theatrical play, as well as classic film and archival documentaries. The channel has no VJs and only silent interstitials encouraging the viewer to “...go out and feast from the buffet of arts available in your community.” [more inside]
In Treatment was an HBO series that ran three seasons from 2008 through 2010. Adapated - often word-for-word - from the Israeli drama BeTipul, it depicted the weekly sessions of a psychologist (Emmy-nominated Gabriel Byrne) with his patients (including Debra Winger, Emmy-nominated Hope Davis, and, in her first American role, Mia Wasikowska) and with his own therapist (Emmy-winning Dianne Wiest). The filming of the series placed extraordinary demands on Byrne - which are well described in this interview with showrunner Warren Leight. (h/t: MCMikeNamara) You can watch its entire first episode here. (possible spoilers throughout)
Alex Karras, N.F.L. Lineman and Actor, Dies at 77 [NYTimes] "Alex Karras was one of the National Football League‘s most feared defensive tackles throughout the 1960s, a player who hounded quarterbacks and bulled past opposing linemen. And yet, to many people he will always be known as an actor — the lovable father from the 1980s sitcom “Webster” or the big cowboy named Mongo who famously punched out a horse in “Blazing Saddles.”
It was on a Monday, April second - I was cruising in the vicinity of Betelgeuse - when a meteor no larger than a lima bean pierced the hull, shattered the drive regulator and part of the rudder, as a result of which the rocket lost all maneuverability. [more inside]
These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It's continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.
"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]
Popular US crooner Andy Williams, best known for singing the bittersweet "Moon River" (YouTube link), is dead at age 84. [more inside]
History Of [US] TV Theme Songs (slyt / Jimmy Fallon & "Guys With Kids" Cast)
Our home food dispenser broke and I had to wait 20 seconds at the check out counter, such inefficiency.
50 years of The Jestons and Why the show still matters. It was September 23, 1962 when ABC aired the first episode of The Jetsons. This was ABC's first color program and while it only lasted a single season, its impact, influence, and popularity is still felt today. Many of the predictions portrayed in the series are coming true.
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]
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.
"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]
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]
"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."
American public transportation commercials? Boring. Belgian De Lijn commercials? Amusing. Danish? Exciting!
Armando Iannucci's Bafta lecture 2012 - In which the creator of The Thick Of It argues that the BBC should be more aggressive, fight back against critics in the press and goverment, be more like HBO than committee-driven American network TV, and that if as James Murdoch says the only reliable, durable guarantor of independence is profit then the only guarantor of profit is independance.
"I want to encourage mainstream journalists to speak up when they discover their companies are misleading the people, doing PR for corporations and governments and disguising it as journalism."
Former CNN journalist Amber Lyon is speaking out against the network after it decided for "editorial reasons" not to air its documentary iRevolution on CNN International. Lyon worked on a 13-minute segment interviewing democratic activists in Bahrain, who risked their own safety to be heard. Glenn Greenwald reveals that at the same time, CNN was being paid by the Bahrain Economic Development Board to produce pro-state coverage as part of its "Eye On" series. A senior producer complained to Lyon about the nature of her coverage: "We are dealing with blowback from Bahrain govt on how we violated our mission, etc."
Time for Teletubbies: Radical Utopian Fiction - how the BBC children's show reveals our posthuman future.
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.''
Ever had one of those nights that made you think about giving up drinking? Lucy Spraggan says it leads her to Beer Fear. (DLYT) [more inside]
Alan Clarke was a British television and film director who produced some of those most hard hitting and controversial work of the 70s and 80s including Scum, Made In Britain and Elephant. [more inside]
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.
The Breaking Bad Art Project is on exhibit at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles through August 26. [more inside]
There is very little English-language information on the dance troupe Ballet Zoom aside from this post on GoRetro. But more information is not needed to enjoy their performances involving psychedelic cats, psychedelic see-saws, psychedelic vampires, psychedelic "tribal" dances, and psychedelic psychedelic. [more inside]
He's an outlaw. He’s an inventor. He’s a detective. He’s got better gadgets than James Bond and he looks like Dracula. He's got everything.
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.
"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. (Previously)
"Aaron Sorkin is why people hate liberals." The writer of Sports Night, The West Wing, Studio 60 and The Newsroom makes Alex Pareene's Hack List at Salon.
Just because you don't like a study doesn't mean it's wrong. Gawker takes the rest of the blog world to task for misinterpreting this new paper on women who watch televised sports. [more inside]
"The more ghoulish and extreme the show becomes, ...the more accurately it captures the reality of the cartels and their business."
"In Breaking Bad the villain is not sociology, but a human being; what destroys the mortals is not a system, but a fellow mortal."
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]
The unaired pilot for the US version of The IT Crowd (SLYT)
Herman Cain has a new joint. From Herman Cain, the main who broke the mold of bizarre political advertising, comes CainTV.
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]
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 decent songs. 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”, ”Trevor” became ”Touch”, ”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]
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)
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]
Running for Congress? Better be a straight shooter. It's not enough for Joe Manchin to shoot up the cap and trade bill (previously), or for Ron Gould to shoot up the health care bill...for all we know, an actor made the shot. Fear not, let's change the angle a bit so it's over your sholder...how about Rob Wallace shooting up some Texas water?
In all seriousness, although Bobby Bittman (né Herschel Slansky) is famous as a funnyman and singer, he has also done heavy acting in On The Waterfront Again, Caesar, and The Poor Slob.
Primetime Adventures is an innovative, rules-light system for creating your own TV series through roleplaying. [more inside]
Winner of the first Emmy Award for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, winner of a Tony Award in 1959, a pioneer for women as writers and producers in radio and television, and the inventor of the situation comedy, Gertrude Berg is - in the words of her film biographer Aviva Kempner - "the most important woman in America you never heard of". [more inside]
"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.
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]