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"Are these the shadows of the things that will be?"

Sponsored by Xerox and the United Nations, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, scripted by Rod Serling, scored by Henry Mancini, starring Sterling Hayden, Eva Marie Saint, and Robert Shaw, and featuring Peter Sellers as a post-apocalyptic pseudo-Randian cult leader in a spangly hat—it's A Carol for Another Christmas, the rare 1964 television special in which three ghosts teach a melancholy industrialist a Christmas lesson about the virtues of multilateral peacekeeping!
posted by Iridic on Dec 2, 2013 - 12 comments

"Caje, take the point"

TV's longest-running World War II drama, Combat! aired on ABC between 1962 and 1967. "It was really a collection of complex 50-minute movies. Salted with battle sequences, they follow [US Army King Company's travails during the invasion of France, starting with the landing at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 -- D-Day. It's] a gritty, ground-eye view of infantrymen trying to salvage their humanity and survive." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 2, 2013 - 33 comments

I Just Hope Grapes Comes Through This Okay

In a deal worth $5.2-billion, Canadian media conglomerate Rogers has obtained broadcasting rights to NHL games across Canada for the next 12 years. While the NHL and its players appear to come out winners, the deal is a blow to Canada's other media conglomerate Bell, whose sports network TSN has lost all national NHL programming just five years after winning the rights to the iconic Hockey Night in Canada theme song from public broadcaster CBC, home to HNIC for over 60 years. As for the CBC, they will retain rights to broadcast games for four years in what president Hubert Lacroix described as a "partnership" where they will pay nothing, make nothing, and have no control over content. Considering HNIC is the only CBC English-language programming that consistently places in Canada's top 25 English TV shows and allegedly brings in up to 50% of its ad revenue and 30% of its audience, speculation regarding the future of a hockey-free CBC, last brought up during last year's NHL lock-up, abounds, with many characterizing it as a crisitunity for a clueless and complacent corporation.
posted by Alvy Ampersand on Dec 1, 2013 - 56 comments

inb4 'i don't even own a teevee!'

TV is dying, and here are the stats that prove it.
posted by yeoz on Nov 24, 2013 - 123 comments

"We won't be signing off until the world ends"

In a storage unit somewhere in Philadelphia, 140,000 VHS tapes sit packed into four shipping containers. They contain 35 years of TV news recorded single-handily by Marion Stokes. She thought it would be a good idea to record every "network, local, and cable news, in her home, one tape at a time," beginning in 1977, "until the day she died in 2012 at the age of 83."
posted by stbalbach on Nov 22, 2013 - 53 comments

"And enough L-Tryptophan to knock you on your sorry Thanksgiving ass!"

The grand Thanksgiving tradition of the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" Turkey Day Marathon hasn't been seen since 1997. But all hail the Internet! The Marathon has been revived by none other than Joel Hodgson himself. He plans to host six classic episodes at his new website on Thanksgiving Day. If you have a suggestion as to which ones to air, then you are encouraged to tweet the man himself before the big day.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Nov 20, 2013 - 155 comments

TV Talkin' Song

"Martha, call the cable company--it's playing 'Like a Rolling Stone' on every channel again!"
posted by Horace Rumpole on Nov 19, 2013 - 45 comments

What It's Like to Fail.

Twenty-five years ago, David Raether was a successful comedy writer -- a member of the writing staff of Roseanne. Five years ago, he was homeless. This is his story.
posted by workingdankoch on Nov 18, 2013 - 92 comments

“Feminism,” she said to herself, and then put on some red lipstick.

A Day In the Life of an Empowered Female Heroine (Previously)
posted by Artw on Nov 17, 2013 - 127 comments

A bigger threat to our way of life than Russian Communism

Brass Tacks, a BBC documentary / studio discussion programme from 1977, looks at the burgeoning phenomena of punk rock. (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 16, 2013 - 11 comments

Better than Star Trek V anyway

In 1991, Your Family Could Make Its Own Star Trek Episode In the early ’90s, Universal Studios had the absolute genius idea to partner with Paramount Pictures to bring a green-screen experience to its Orlando, Florida theme park, in which Trekkies of all shapes and sizes could dress up, act out, and be inserted into a pre-filmed, Star Tours-esque episode of The Original Series. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 13, 2013 - 48 comments

Zip it.

For those of us who remember, it's hard to believe that the "Morton Downey Jr." show (and consequently the height of Downey's stardom) lasted just two years. A new documentary has attempted to fill in the blanks of his life before and after that very brief celebrity. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Nov 6, 2013 - 28 comments

Wait For It

Norway's Slow-TV Revolution
posted by box on Nov 5, 2013 - 32 comments

'It's not that I want to believe – it's impossible not to'

Shaun Ryder on UFOs
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 2, 2013 - 33 comments

Broadcast Quality

Script excerpts and development materials from The Top 20 Best Written TV Series [exhibit] from the Writers Guild Foundation collections. [more inside]
posted by maggieb on Oct 28, 2013 - 65 comments

Blind Bets vs Sure Things

Few industries would routinely pay millions per unit of an item, sight unseen, with minimal (and sometimes no) market research. So how can the TV business afford to operate this way? To understand the economics of scripted television, we need to examine the idiosyncratic journey of a show from concept, to pitch, to script, to screen. And we’ll see why, in a business where only a few hits stand out any given year, lavish spending is the cost of staying relevant. -- The Economics of a Hit TV Show
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 23, 2013 - 56 comments

Bart to the Future

How to Make The Simpsons Relevant Again: The Characters Should Start Getting Older
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Oct 22, 2013 - 88 comments

"Really Rosie"

In 1975, CBS aired the half hour animated special "Really Rosie" with story and lyrics by Maurice Sendak (based on five of his children's books) and with music composed and performed by Carole King. Many have fond memories of the broadcast ("Chicken Soup with Rice" is a particular childhood earworm), and though it has yet to make it to DVD, you can watch it in full on YouTube. The special was later turned into an Off-Broadway production in 1980 and continues to be performed by kids across the country.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Oct 22, 2013 - 34 comments

RIP Ed Lauter

Character actor Ed Lauter has died. In a career that spanned over forty years, he was a familiar face on both television and film (and active until the end with appearances in "Trouble With The Curve" and "The Artist"). And with the greatest respect and affection, he also costarred in one the greatest bad films of the eighties.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Oct 17, 2013 - 23 comments

Ziggy Ziggy Sputnik

The Day My Kid Went Punk Afterschool Special - Teen decides to make himself noticed from the rest of the crowd by becoming a Punk Rocker (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 15, 2013 - 43 comments

Which Is Creepier: Mom's Costume, or the One In the Box From the Store?

Josh Clark from the Stuff You Should Know Podcast, has put together two amazing galleries of old Halloween costumes. Really old, homemade costumes, and Seventies and Eighties costumes.
posted by Toekneesan on Oct 10, 2013 - 49 comments

The New Canon

Media Studies professor Anne Helen Petersen writes about the dominant role of Netflix in her students’ film and television consumption, and its effect on the lasting influence of works that are — or are not — available there:
Through this reliance on Netflix, I’ve seen a new television pantheon begin to take form: there’s what’s streaming on Netflix, and then there’s everything else…
[more inside]
posted by mbrubeck on Oct 7, 2013 - 173 comments

Come at me, bro.

Phonte has thought a lot about which rappers correspond to which classic television shows.
posted by mysticreferee on Oct 3, 2013 - 14 comments

This ain't chemistry. This is Art.

With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 29, 2013 - 974 comments

The epic journey....

As part of this weekend's Guardian series: 50 years of Doctor Who, six of the actors who have played The Doctor's companions - Louise Jameson, Freema Agyeman, Katy Manning, Carole Ann Ford, Billie Piper and Karen Gillan discuss their experiences on the show in video interviews. (Links to print interviews within.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 28, 2013 - 26 comments

Turing it off

So Breaking Bad isn't the only series having it's final episode this weekend. The IT Crowd hits end of program with a one off special.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 27, 2013 - 121 comments

“I have to go,” he said. “I have to go do crimes.”

A Day In the Life of a Troubled Male Antihero
posted by overeducated_alligator on Sep 27, 2013 - 99 comments

Give it a good bash!

Percussive Maintenance (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 25, 2013 - 40 comments

Minimalist Breaking Bad Posters

Francesco Francavilla is an artist who has been producing minimalist posters for each of the last 8 episodes of Breaking Bad.
posted by reenum on Sep 23, 2013 - 9 comments

It warped my fragile little mind

Now Showing | 234 episodes, 16 seasons, 95 hours, 1 epic marathon #hellyeah #nosleeptilsouthpark [more inside]
posted by maggieb on Sep 21, 2013 - 17 comments

It will shock you how much this... happened.

‘Mad Men’s’ Split Season 7: You’re Killing Me, AMC
posted by crossoverman on Sep 17, 2013 - 97 comments

Good luck, bad luck, who knows?

In 1987, alongside another popular first-run syndicated show (perhaps you've heard of it?), a horror anthology series premiered, and together they spearheaded a massive wave of first-run syndication genre shows including, but by no means limited to, "War of the Worlds", "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys", "Xena: Warrior Princess", "Forever Knight", and "Babylon 5". [more inside]
posted by Mister Moofoo on Sep 12, 2013 - 22 comments

Be Champions!

Coming soon to children's television near you if you live in Portugal: Mourinho and the Special Ones
posted by TheWhiteSkull on Sep 12, 2013 - 6 comments

"This Was Not A Show In Which Good Things Happened"

In the summer of 2000, the top executives in charge of the basic-cable network FX—which was mostly known for showing reruns of The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer—were eager to make a change. They believed that in order to be relevant, they needed to present audiences with an original, prime time scripted drama that would be so provocative it would completely alter the way the network was perceived. Good Cop, Bad Cop: An Oral History of The Shield
posted by Ghostride The Whip on Sep 10, 2013 - 70 comments

I'll never look into your eyes again

How To End It All - Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Alan Ball (Six Feet Under and True Blood) and Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (Lost) talk about making television in this goldening age, wrestling with expectations, and the very difficult, quasi-existential task of ending it all. Explaining The Sopranos' final scene
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 6, 2013 - 91 comments

Sell, Mortimer, Sell!

Why It Makes Perfect Sense for MTV to Host the VMAs and Not Show Music Videos
posted by reenum on Aug 31, 2013 - 39 comments

The Woman Behind Walter White

Dr. Donna Nelson is the science advisor for Breaking Bad. After reading an interview where show creator Vince Gilligan said no one on the show's staff had a scientific background, she reached out to the Breaking Bad creator. The rest is history.
posted by reenum on Aug 29, 2013 - 33 comments

the bleep is a literal demonstration of First Amendment principles

"Curses! The birth of the bleep and modern American censorship" by Maria Bustillos
"The bleep of censorship invariably draws attention to the material it was intended to conceal; circles it, if you like, by loudly omitting it. Bleeping also serves as proof that there is a watcher: someone looking out for us in advance. In the bleep lies the evidence that you are being “protected” — but by whom? Why? And from what?"
posted by andoatnp on Aug 27, 2013 - 15 comments

Turning back time with Quadruplex videotape

A clip of the Edsel Show (Oct 1957) is the oldest surviving broadcast video recorded electronically to videotape, a turning point in an era where TV shows were preserved on film (Feb 1958) and kinescope (Sep 1960). Kinescope was achieved by training a film camera on a television monitor, showing camera cuts just as the audience at home would see it. Some studios were able to print video directly onto the film (Feb 1956) with great results, achieving something close to video. The year 1958 saw the earliest surviving color video clips, such as an address by President Eisenhower (May 1958), An Evening With Fred Astaire (Oct 1958, restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive), and Dinah Shore (Nov 1958). [more inside]
posted by crapmatic on Aug 23, 2013 - 21 comments

Diamonds, Daisies, Snowflakes... New York!

Movin' On Up: A skewed history of New York City as depicted by the opening themes of 1970s TV shows
posted by scody on Aug 23, 2013 - 45 comments

“Live, from New York, it’s ‘Saturday Night’!”

The God of ‘SNL’ Will See You Now. "How do you please Lorne Michaels? Twenty-two ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast members – and one who came close – share tales of the audition that can make or break a career." Also, extended interviews with Kristin Wiig, Will Ferrel, Chevy Chase, Dana Carvey, Jimmy Fallon and Molly Shannon, on what it took to get hired for 'SNL.' Check out audition tapes from: Phil Hartman, Andy Kaufman, John Belushi, Jimmy Fallon, Dana Carvey: 1 & 2, and Dan Aykroyd. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 22, 2013 - 27 comments

What might be right for you, may not be right for some.

A “very special” Diff’rent Strokes that’s terrifying for all the wrong reasons. The AV Club looks at a "very special" episode of Diff'rent Strokes as part of their TV Roundtable, which lately has been focused on controversial episodes: Ellen, Amos & Andy, South Park, I Love Lucy [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Aug 21, 2013 - 42 comments

YouTube Hall of Drunk

Grantland writers put in their two cents on the all-time great drinking scenes in TV and movies (Available on Youtube Edition). [more inside]
posted by dry white toast on Aug 21, 2013 - 51 comments

All the princesses know kung-fu now

Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong. - I hate Strong Female Characters.
posted by Artw on Aug 15, 2013 - 115 comments

"Maybe she'll....

Explaining death to a four-year-old through Doctor Who
posted by zarq on Aug 14, 2013 - 65 comments

Fight the future

The X-Files 20th anniversary reunion panel at San Diego Comic-Con (Youtube) (Podcast version here) (Summary and slideshow), featuring Chris Carter, Vince Gilligan, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan, Jim Wong, John Shiban, Howard Gordon and James Amann. sex scenes, a third movie and Home are discussed. The Lone Gunmen will return in Season 10. The Guardian picks 13 best X-Files episodes but somehow misses Jose Chung's From Outer Space.
posted by Artw on Aug 10, 2013 - 115 comments

The Uncertainty Principle

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 5, 2013 - 820 comments

These are the voyages of the starship 2511

The Solarnauts could've been a groovy, British Star Trek but unfortunately the pilot was never broadcast. Produced by Roberta Leigh and Arthur Provis, starrring John Garfield as "Power" and Derek Fowlds as "Tempo", it's now available in all its Gery Andersonesque glory on Youtube.
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 4, 2013 - 13 comments

The Daily .WAV -- drowning officemates with soundclips since 1999

The Daily .WAV has been online for at least fifteen years, bringing you fresh soundclips every day! Search the vast library to your heart's content.
posted by not_on_display on Aug 2, 2013 - 11 comments

Full course meal

It goes back to honoring Thomas Harris and imagery we have in the books, in the Hannibal Lecter books. So we knew that we had to have fantastic imagery that you wouldn’t see on another crime-procedural show. Being competitive and wanting to be completely different from what you see on other shows, which is usually, on a crime procedural you see a body in a room splayed out and blood, but you rarely get to see people covered with mushrooms or impaled on severed stag heads or blood eagled and the totem pole. We would sit in the room and say, “What is the image? What is the death tableau? What are we going to see that’s going to be so striking and cinematic and beautiful at the same time, but will actually be a horrible crime scene?” So every crime scene that we have has to have this element of beauty and art to it.
Bryan Fuller, showrunner for NBC's Hannibal (previously), discusses each episode of the first season with the AV Club. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.
posted by figurant on Jul 26, 2013 - 87 comments

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