Tuesday, February 02, 2010

put down your weapon

On the show "24," Jack Bauer has a reputation for beating confessions out of people. I am unbloodied and unbruised but I have a confession for Mr. Bauer nevertheless. I've been watching your show and enjoying it... from 2009.

As my DVR automatically started recording the new season 8 of "24," I began feeling bad that I hadn't seen season 7. Like many shows, I was saving the episodes to watch together with my wife. Our son viewed the whole season online while at college and raved about how good it was. Last week, after I had gotten caught up on some recent episodes of "Fringe," my wife gave me the go-ahead to watch and delete season 7 of "24" without her.

If I were doing a marathon viewing of "24" on DVD, it would be no big deal. Why does keeping it on a DVR for a year seem weird? Could it be the commercials and promos? In one of the first few episodes, I saw a news tease about the Pope's appointment of Bishop Stika.

I've also seen a lot of promos for the debut of season 8 of "American Idol." They show face after face of contestants headed to Hollywood. I recognized none of them. So far I haven't seen anyone who remotely resembles Adam Lambert or Kris Allen or Danny Gokey or Anoop Desai. It makes me think that the televised audition process is truly a waste of time. They may as well start the show with Hollywood week.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ya hear about this?

All the attention being paid to NBC's mismanagement makes it seem like their late night shows are the only ones that matter. Yes, "The Tonight Show" is a storied franchise and without it, none of the other shows would exist. However, if I were to rank the various talk shows on after 10:00 p.m., NBC's entries would be at the bottom of the list.

Jay Leno
has no business returning to 11:35. If NBC wanted him to stay there, they shouldn't have promised the time slot to Conan O'Brien. I do like Conan's statement in which he refused to participate in the destruction of "Tonight" by moving it to "tomorrow." I hope his future success makes NBC regret the way they are treating him now.

The real winners in the latest late night controversy should be Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman and Craig Ferguson. All three of them do a better show than Leno, O'Brien or Jimmy Fallon.

It's no secret that I would choose to be on "Team Kimmel." His show has had a season pass on my DVR since day one. This afternoon my son and I couldn't stop laughing as we watched Jimmy's show from last night. He did the whole hour made up to look like Jay Leno. It was reminiscent of his appearance as Jay on the reenactment of the Michael Jackson trial.

My favorite part was the way they mocked the lame musical notes that Kevin Eubanks plays after each of the real Leno's jokes. At dinner tonight, my wife said she wished she had seen it. Because I had already deleted the program from the DVR, she will have to watch the whole episode via Fancast.com or she can catch the highlights on YouTube.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, September 21, 2009

griddle me this

Each year Entertainment Weekly publishes a chart of which primetime TV shows to watch live and which to record on your DVR. It operates under the assumption that you can watch TV for three hours per night for a total of 21 hours per week. Their tastes are only a partial match with mine with 8½ hours of overlap. I decided to make my own grid. I was surprised that my total added up to only 16 hours per week. Well, 16½ if you count "Entourage," which ends its season in two weeks. Of course there will be an occasional special or primetime football game that will cause some reconfiguring.

The Amazing Race
Curb Your Enthusiasm

Dancing With the Stars
How I Met Your Mother
The Big Bang Theory

Dancing With the Stars

The Middle
Modern Family
Cougar Town

The Mentalist
The Office
30 Rock

After all the positive press, I am willing to give "Big Bang Theory" another try. I didn't like it when it debuted two years ago.

I have listed some new shows that I am going to sample. If I don't like "Hank," for example, it will get dropped quickly from my list. "Hank" gets a tryout because of its placement in the new ABC Wednesday comedy block despite its early reviews. I hope that "Better Off Ted" joins that lineup when something gets canceled.

"Community" is still on the bubble with me. The first episode was just okay. I hope that the arrival of Ken Jeong in episode two will be an improvement.

I am undecided about whether or not to sample "FlashForward."

As in years past, there is nothing on the Friday or Saturday primetime schedule that interests me. I'll take that opportunity to watch the stuff I recorded throughout the week, especially on Thursdays.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, December 13, 2008

do you know where your children are?

So much has been written about Jay Leno's new deal for a nightly 10:00 p.m. show that I didn't think there was anything left to say about it. Longtime readers of this blog know that my friend Bean suggested that very thing back in March. However, many of the articles about Leno's new show suggest that he and Conan O'Brien will be competing to book the same guests. Conan will move his show from New York to Los Angeles in June.

Other articles have pointed out that Leno's ratings drop off after the first half-hour. In other words, the ratings drop when the guests come on. Leno's people know that many viewers turn off the TV at midnight, which is why they load all the good stuff in the first half-hour and save the guest for later. Leno's strong suits are his monologue and bits like "Jaywalking." He is not a great interviewer. With the exception of Hugh Grant's 1995 mea culpa, can you think of a memorable celebrity guest appearance on Leno's "Tonight Show?"

NBC will need Leno to provide a decent lead-in to the late local news. I think he should run his most popular bits in the final quarter hour of the new show instead of interviewing a celebrity. In fact, he should have more bits and fewer guests. He can let Conan have the guests and prevent a booking war.

Network executives are claiming that the new Leno show will be "DVR proof." They say that as if no one records late night talk shows. TiVo users know that the fastest way to watch any show is to record it even if you start watching minutes after the program begins. I am always pausing, rewinding and fast-forwarding during all the shows I watch. Why should a talk show be any different?

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

trials of job

This coming Sunday's episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will show the construction of a new house for the family of a boy with several ailments including leukemia, diabetes and asthma. Job McCully hadn't lived in his Arkansas home for years due to mold and mildew that set in while he and his family were away at hospitals in Houston and St. Louis for long-term care.

I am debating whether to record the episode on my TiVo or HD DVR or to save the disc space and just watch it online next week. Why? My wife and I visited the construction site in August during our trip through Arkansas. Our friend Tim Puttre has been working as a production assistant on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" this season. He travels from L.A. to the various locations where families are surprised by Ty Pennington and crew. He's recently been to St. Louis, Lansing, Pittsburgh and Columbus, where he met Knoxville native (and frequent Letterman guest) Jack Hanna.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, July 11, 2008

won't harm a balloon

The electronic sign at Walgreens flashed the news that they have Ped Eggs in stock as I was driving past the other day. The first I heard of the Ped Egg was last weekend when my wife paused the TiVo and called me into the room. She was watching The Weather Channel and thought she recognized the couple in a Ped Egg commercial.

My wife and I have been fans of "The Amazing Race" since day one. However I can only recall a handful of the contestants. I don't know how my wife does it. She took one look at the Ped Egg couple and knew that they had been on the Race. But what were their names? That's why she asked for my help.

Not only did The Smoking Gun verify that the two on-screen were Kelly and Jon from season 4 but it also revealed that they are suing Ped Egg for putting their commercial on TV. Apparently they thought it was going to be an Internet-only deal. Best of all is their claim that a makeup artist added some grossness to Kelly's feet for the "before" shot. I wouldn't be surprised if Ped Egg's defense lawyers make use of a sentence from Kelly's "Amazing Race" biography: "Kelly admits to being high-strung and obsessive, 'athletic, bossy and silly.'"

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, July 06, 2008

light 'em up

Like previous years, my TiVo and my HD-DVR got a workout on the Fourth of July as I tried to record as many fireworks shows as possible. I couldn't find any coverage of Nashville's display but there were plenty of other choices. Nashville, Knoxville and Washington DC used Pyro Shows of LaFollette to light up their skies.

The best part of Boston's fireworks came during the song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by Dropkick Murphys (no relation). The music and the green explosions were a perfect match. But c'mon CBS, that show needs to be in high definition like "A Capitol Fourth" on PBS.

The musical highlight of the DC show was the "1812 Overture" although it was also pretty cool to have the explosions start while Jerry Lee Lewis was on stage singing "Great Balls of Fire." The worst part was when they cut away from the fireworks to show Jimmy Smits standing at a podium. Why not just let him do his part as a voiceover? Plus the Clark Gable mustache isn't working for him.

Our local Knoxville fireworks were televised after a weather delay. Did it actually rain on World's Fair Park or was the wind enough to put the festivities on hold? The highlight of the telecast for my wife and me was seeing our friend Mike sit in with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. They had him play his accordion during a selection from the "Kit Kittredge" soundtrack. Mike plays keyboards at our church and has a day job in the symphony's business office. As nice as it is to have coverage of our local symphony, there's very little point in televising fireworks without the benefit of HD. I think the viewing audience would have been better served if WBIR had broadcast NBC's HD coverage of Macy's 4th of July Fireworks from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. They could have shown a tape of the KSO from 10:00 to 11:00 or even 11:30. As it turned out, the Knoxville fireworks didn't begin until 10:20 or so.

The music accompanying the New York fireworks had a very Broadway feel to it, whether the songs were early rock 'n' roll or from the big band era. On the song "Give My Regards to Broadway," they made a point of zooming in on an illuminated Macy's logo every time the instrumental version of the tune got to the point where the lyrics would have said "remember me to Herald Square." Okay, we get it. Macy's flagship store is in Herald Square. And there was a "Miracle on 34th Street," we know. Parts of the patriotic medley, they called it "The Nation's Overture," reminded me more of "Fantasmic" than anything else. Although the "Tennessee Waltz" put me in mind of Knoxville, the highlight for me was "Sing Sing Sing." It seemed the best fit for fireworks being shot in triplicate from three barges.

HDNet ran some hi-def fireworks on the Fourth. Except that they were from the Kentucky Derby Festival in May. To make things worse, they didn't bother to pick up the synchronized music soundtrack. Instead we heard the boom of the shells, a hint of the music in the distance and the same crazy woman whooping after every burst. Travel Channel had live coverage of the fireworks in Washington but they had no music and no HD (on DirecTV). What's the point of showing that? At least the spectators near their microphone did some normal oohing and aahing instead of all that overzealous whooping on HDNet.

For me, fireworks are made better by the addition of the right soundtrack. WENS in Indianapolis used to sponsor a fireworks show perfectly named SkyConcert. Friday's telecasts gave me two ideas that, by writing this, I will drop in the cyber suggestion box known as the Internet. The instrumental parts of "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" would make a great addition to the Boomsday soundtrack. Secondly, HDNet should bring their fancy cameras to Knoxville on August 31 to record both the audio and video of Boomsday in hi-def.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

feet in the air like you just don't care

Back in the olden days, we would look in the newspaper to see what movies were playing at our local theaters. Yesterday my son and I watched Roeper & Phillips (or whatever it's called) and then wanted to check the opening dates for some upcoming movies like "Get Smart." Nowadays, we go to the Internet for movie times and locations.

I already had a million tabs open on my laptop and was in the middle of researching yesterday's blog entry. Since my TiVo is also connected to the Internet, it was easy to use it instead. On the list of movies opening this weekend was one we've heard nothing about. It's called "Miss Conception" starring Heather Graham. From the trailer, you can tell that it's a biological clock comedy and that it won't win any awards. Not even for Heather's fake British accent. My son and I laughed when we saw that TiVo had it listed as a "horror" film. Maybe they've already seen it.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ridin' the whip

The opening weekend crowds didn't deter us from going to see "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" yesterday. It may not be the best in the series but it is certainly not the worst either. I think it's just as good as "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." The new movie is a feel-good thrill ride that hits all the points you would expect. The plot twists didn't surprise me but they didn't disappoint me either. From big ants to atom bombs to UFOs, it is filled with nods to science fiction movies of the 1950s. Many of reviewers who had no problem with the supernatural elements of the first three movies found the plot of this fourth movie to be far-fetched. Without giving too much away, it shouldn't shock anyone that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are big believers in space aliens. They probably read "Chariots of the Gods" back in the '70s too. I thought it would have been funny if the creature in the body bag at the beginning of the film looked just like E.T.

I went to my TiVo to see what Roeper & Phillips (a/k/a Not Siskel & Not Ebert) had to say about the latest Jones saga. Unfortunately some basketball game ran late and WATE joined the show in progress. Naturally, Indiana Jones was the first movie they reviewed, so I missed it. The episode is still not on their website as I write this. For what it's worth, I think Michael Phillips should get the job as Roger Ebert's permanent on-camera replacement, even if he didn't like "IJatKotCK." There is a review of "The Last Crusade" in the Siskel & Ebert archives. I didn't expect Gene Siskel to give it a thumbs down.

After watching the new movie yesterday, I tried to think about how it compared to the first three. That's when I realized that I had absolutely no recollection of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." The synopsis on IMDB.com didn't help either. Thuggees? Doesn't ring a bell. It's like I have amnesia. I'm positive that I saw "Temple of Doom" in a theatre. I'm pretty sure that it was a midnight screening on the day it first opened. Did I fall asleep? Last night after dinner we popped in the DVD of "Temple of Doom." It was really bad. No wonder I had blocked it out. Did you remember that "Temple of Doom" was a prequel to "Raiders of the Lost Ark"? I didn't.

My friend Richard Cheese sent an email plugging his version of the Indiana Jones Theme, now available on iTunes. I heard it on his MySpace page. The instrumental tune sounds like something from the soundtrack of "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

My matinée ticket cost $6.50 at West Town Mall, 25 cents cheaper than a ticket at the Pinnacle at Turkey Creek. Evening tickets cost two dollars more at each place. An article in the Kansas City Star points out that many theaters raise their ticket prices on Memorial Day weekend. An executive at the AMC Theatres chain said that their most recent ticket price increase was due to the rising cost of corn. Corn! An executive with Regal Cinemas says that movie tickets would cost $20 if not for the concessions. I don't buy popcorn and therefore I don't mind that high concession prices help keep my ticket price lower. But I don't want my ticket price to go up just to keep the popcorn price from rising. It's a double standard, I know.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, May 10, 2008

something happening somewhere

Some heavy thunderstorms in the area knocked out our electricity for a few hours last night. Everything went dark except the glowing screen of my laptop. We used it to help us find a flashlight and a little battery-powered lantern. By the time I called KUB for an update, the automated voice told me there were still about 3,000 customers without power.

Rather than just sit there, we watched two old TV shows that had been saved on my computer for almost a year. When my TiVo starts to get full, I will transfer some shows to my laptop using the TiVo Desktop software. I don't always get around to watching them, although I did make a dent in my archived collection during the writers strike.

My son and I watched an episode of "The Loop." The single-camera comedy was a short-lived favorite of ours that was never given a chance to find an audience. In almost every episode, the airline employees are asked to find ways to cut costs. Maybe the show was ahead of its time.

Then my wife and I watched an episode of "Monk," a good show that I rarely see. I only recorded this episode because it was about a radio host suspected of murder. That idea has been used before, going back to "Matlock" and "Perry Mason." I thought that Steven Weber was very convincing as a modern-day shock jock. And I should know.

When the new fall schedules are announced at the upfronts next week, a couple of shows that I had picked last year will be gone. "Back to You" and "Aliens in America" got the bad news this weekend. I'm all caught up on "Back to You" but there are quite a few "Aliens in America" episodes on my TiVo. I'll move them over to my laptop in case the power goes out again.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, February 23, 2008

feedback loop

Do big companies pay any attention to the suggestions we submit? A few years ago I wrote to TiVo about two little things that were bothering me. They have since fixed both issues. Maybe I had something to do with it or maybe it was just a coincidence.

On weeknights, I record "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on WATE. The next morning my TiVo should still be on that channel in case I want to hit rewind and see the visual of something that I heard on the audio simulcast on "World News Now." Sometimes I wouldn't turn on the TV until later when I wanted to see something on "The View" or the noon news. More than a couple of times a week, the TiVo would be tuned to the Discovery Channel instead. The TiVo had switched to it at 4:30 in the morning to record some movie trailers and car commercials that show up in the main menu. I wrote to complain that my TiVo should leave things the way it found them. I suggested that they insert a command to return to the previous channel after recording their infomercials. If there's a button on my remote to go back to the previous channel, they should be able to write a line of code for it. They must have agreed because it's no longer an issue.

On another occasion I wrote to TiVo asking them to make it easier to record future episodes of a show I had sampled. If I tried one episode of a show and liked it, I would have to search for it in the guide to find more. For shows that were still on the To Do List, they have a button marked View Upcoming Episodes. That button would go away once the show was finished recording. I suggested that they keep it around. Their solution wasn't perfect, you still have to look for it under More Options, but it is satisfactory.

I once asked the manager of a new movie theatre to lower the intensity of their hand dryers because the noise was deafening, especially when the bathroom was crowded and all the dryers were in use. They said they would.

Those same dryers gave me the idea for my next suggestion. In the locker rooms at the UT Student Aquatic Center and at most fitness centers, they have hand dryers placed at two heights on the wall. One is for drying hands, the other for drying hair. My idea is to add a dryer lower on the wall for drying feet. I gave my idea to the front desk staff at one branch of a health club. Meanwhile, a friend and co-worker of mine is about to take a new job in marketing at The Rush, a fast-growing chain of fitness complexes based here in Knoxville. I will bug him with my idea until he talks his new bosses into doing it.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

rats, race

USA Today came close to actually calling BS on the broadcast networks yesterday. As anybody with high definition TV can tell you, everything looks better in HD. I suspect that every HD viewer has watched a show for no other reason than that it was available in high def and looked so good. Once I even watched a few minutes of a NASCAR event before snapping out of my HD-induced trance.

I still watch some of my regular shows like "Access Hollywood" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live" via the upstairs, standard definition TV and TiVo. Neither show is available to me in HD, so it doesn't matter. For shows that I watch together with my wife and son, it's more convenient to use the big screen TV in the living room. Most of the shows we watch are broadcast in glorious high def except for two glaring omissions.

As USA Today pointed out, neither "Survivor" nor "The Amazing Race" are shown in HD. The paper quotes an "Amazing Race" producer as saying that high def cameras couldn't stand up to the travel on their show. "Survivor's" EP says not now, but maybe someday they'll go HD. Both producers cited the additional cost of new equipment. Repairs could be a problem when in a remote locale too. I half expected them to start worrying about getting beach sand in the camera.

The USA Today writer then points out that several cable shows are high def including the very messy "Dirty Jobs." Best of all, the article points out that the fancy schmancy HD cameras went to the middle of the Bering Sea to film a season of "Deadliest Catch." If it's worth the risk to expose high def cameras to waves crashing over the side of the ship (and it is), they could certainly do something to make the "Race" truly amazing.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, January 10, 2008

oodles of noodles

Unlike some viewers, I am not suffering from "TiVorexia" because of the writers strike. There are still plenty of shows for me to watch on my assorted DVRs. Here's my advice for those people with nothing to watch: lower your standards. I've started recording some movies on HBO, Cinemax and Starz now that they are broadcast in HD. I haven't watched them yet because I haven't run out of regular shows.

In addition to a backlog of shows like "Smallville" and "Reaper" recorded this fall, I can once again choose to watch every new "Jimmy Kimmel Live" show. The other night Jay Thomas was the guest. I will always be thankful to Jay for casting me as an extra on one episode of his sitcom, "Love & War." He started the segment by saying that he and Jimmy had never met before. It was a little surreal for me. I mean it's not everyday that you see co-workers from two different jobs having a conversation on national television about a third person you know. I worked with Jay at KPWR and with Jimmy at KROQ. Most of the segment centered on Jay's story about going "noodling" for catfish in Oklahoma with my friend Rodney Lee Conover. Rodney now works with Jay at Sirius and also worked at KPWR when I was there.

Jimmy got Jay to name all the cities where he had worked in radio. Knoxville was on the list. I either didn't know or had forgotten that Jay passed through here. I knew that Mark Thompson, a co-worker of mine from KLOS, had Knoxville on his résumé. I think Mark was on the air at WRJZ. Anybody know what station Jay Thomas was on? Sounds like a good question for Knoxville Radio History 101.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Monday nights bring a plethora of TV choices. On my upstairs TiVo I record "How I Met Your Mother" and "Aliens in America." I have a large backlog of episodes of both series that will help tide me over during the writers strike.

On the HD DVR, I record four other series. My wife and I watch "Dancing With the Stars" together and sometimes vote for our favorites. To do that, we make sure to watch it on Monday nights as soon as she gets home from the weekly Knoxville Choral Society rehearsal. It's funny to see random celebrities in the audience. Florence Henderson has been there a lot. On tonight's final show, I saw Gloria Allred sitting in the front row. You don't think they'll turn up as dancers on a future season, do you?

My wife and son watch "Chuck" and "Heroes" with me. We try to stay current with both shows, meaning we usually watch them within seven days. "Chuck" has been consistently enjoyable while "Heroes" has gotten better, except when Maya and her brother are on screen. When the others are out of the room, I get to watch "Journeyman," which I have previously described as a guilty pleasure.

During the past few episodes, I felt like I missed something on "Journeyman." It's as if they left out scenes in which Dan explains his time travel to his brother. I looked online for reviews that would explain the episodes and ended up finding yet another guilty pleasure. The reviewer on a site called "The Recapist" hates "Journeyman." Absolutely hates it. But that's why M. Wilson Burdorff's reviews are so much fun to read. He eviscerates the show, pointing out all the plot holes and timeline inconsistencies. The negative reviews give me all the more reason to tune in. I don't want to miss a single reference in the recap. On last night's show, Dan traveled back to 1980 after being shot. The emergency room doctor was intrigued by Dan's iPhone. The Recapist posted a photo of that scene with the clever caption: "Steven! It's your cousin, Marvin! Marvin Jobs!"

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, October 08, 2007

watch list

It is difficult for a near-completist like me to drop a television show, especially after watching every episode for two or three seasons. You may think it's overdue but I have just given up on two shows in two days. Yesterday I skipped "Desperate Housewives." Tonight I bailed on "Prison Break." Both shows' Season Passes have been deleted from my TiVo even though I had been with them since the beginning. My hard-drive housecleaning was inspired by a blog entry from Whitney Matheson on USA Today's Pop Candy site. She listed the shows she's watching and the shows she's not. The mini-cull was also partially because I forgot to manually record "How I Met Your Mother" on the antique downstairs TiVo a week ago. The CBS comedy now has "Prison Break's" place in my To Do List. I think I can still watch the missed episode online.

Except for football (should have been baseball too, thanks Mets) and news, I won't watch anything on the Fall schedule in real time. As such, I was interested in an article in the Nation's Newspaper last week about how DVRs have changed our watercooler talk or about TV. Below is a list of the series we can chat about. I put asterisks in front of the shows that have at least one episode waiting on my TiVo and my HD DVR (including tonight's episodes).

NFL Sunday Ticket

*Curb Your Enthusiasm

Dancing With the Stars
*How I Met Your Mother
*Aliens in America

Dancing With the Stars

Back to You
Pushing Daisies

My Name Is Earl
Survivor: China
30 Rock
The Office

Best Week Ever

Saturday Night Live

I plan to watch these shows when they come back:
The Amazing Race
American Idol

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, September 13, 2007

trend setter

An article in this morning's USA Today describes something I did yesterday. My TiVo Central page had a new menu item: "Download NBC Pilots for FREE!" The shows are available through Amazon Unbox and would be sent directly to my TiVo via the Internet. I used the remote control to click through the various steps of entering my Amazon.com log-in information. Even though I was only interested in the free downloads, I had to go to the computer and link a credit card number to the Unbox account. That part was easy. Amazon had remembered the credit card number I used the last time I bought something from them. I could have gone back to the television to choose my downloads. Since I was still online, I just did it from the laptop before taking my nap.

When I woke up, the pilot episodes of "Bionic Woman" and "Journeyman" were waiting for me. I didn't get to them right away because I had some other stuff I wanted to watch with my family last night. Today I had time to watch "Journeyman" while I was reading my email. "Bionic Woman" can wait until tomorrow when I can watch without distractions.

"Journeyman" wasn't bad. I don't know that I'll give it a Season Pass, but I might leave it on if I'm watching "Heroes" in real time. In the pilot, Dan Vasser has to figure out that he travels back in time but has no control over his quantum leaps. His family, friends and co-workers assume he's on drugs when he goes missing for days at a time. He'll be lucky if he can keep his wife from throwing him out and his boss from firing him. It was fun to see the 1987 technology in contrast with today's. In one scene, Dan flashes back while wearing his goofy looking Bluetooth earpiece. He looks like a weirdo to a guy talking on one of those brick-sized cell phones.

Something else turned up on my TiVo Central menu today, a preview of "The Big Bang Theory." I didn't have to do anything, it was just there. I was curious to see how much of the episode they pushed to my machine. It appears to be the whole thing. They completely redid the opening scene in the genius sperm bank. In the new version Sheldon and Leonard leave without making a donation. In the earlier preview I had seen, they have second thoughts and try to get their donation back from the nurse. They changed at least one other scene too, about halfway through when the lead characters are driving. The new dialogue is a bit better.

Last night my family and I started watching DVDs of the new Fox shows that our local affiliate was kind enough to send me. I'll write about them in the days ahead. So far, my high expectations for one new show have been exceeded but I was disappointed by a returning favorite. Here's a hint: I might be able to alleviate some Monday congestion.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

while drinking water

The singing, impersonating ventriloquist is in the final eight on "America's Got Talent." Or at least that's what I've heard. At the beginning of the summer I decided not to watch "America's Got Talent" this year, mainly because it was scheduled for the same night of the week as my improv show and because recording space on my TiVo was scarce. I've seen enough clips on "Access Hollywood," "Best Week Ever" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to feel like I haven't missed it. Plus they would sometimes repeat an episode on Saturday nights, which I could leave on in the background while doing something else. I think the winner will probably be a singer, just like last year and just like on the British version. My wife is hoping that ventriloquist Terry Fator wins. She saw him perform at a Catholic school here in Knoxville earlier this year. If Terry does advance tonight, I'll know that he was the beneficiary of some extra prayers. By the way, who is the patron saint of ventriloquists?

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, June 25, 2007

the monkey's got a hockey stick

Fox is burning off the remaining episodes of a funny show called "The Loop" this summer. The show has not been renewed for next season, which is a shame because it provides several good laughs per episode. The network has scheduled it at odd times. Last night they ran three episodes, one each at 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30. I gave the show a Season Pass on TiVo so that I wouldn't have to worry about the weird scheduling. As it turned out, I was able to watch the 8:30 episode in real time on the plasma screen in glorious over-the-air HD. Before going to bed, I made some room on the upstairs TiVo by deleting the episode I had already watched downstairs. First, I skimmed through it to make sure it was the same show I had watched earlier. The episode on my TiVo had been recorded in SD via cable. As usual, the picture quality from my cable company wasn't very good. I noticed that our local Fox affiliate plastered huge weather warnings over the bottom third of the screen. But when I had watched the same episode in HD, the warnings were not there. On the one had, I'm glad that my HD viewing experience wasn't interrupted by a larger-than-necessary storm warning that didn't affect me directly. But on the other hand, what if the storms were headed my way? Does my local affiliate not care about HD viewers? Or are there so few of us that it doesn't matter?

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, May 11, 2007

yau-za, yau-za

"Survivor" used to be king of the unscripted television shows. It still gets decent ratings but it no longer has the morning-after buzz that it once did. Last night I chose to watch "My Name Is Earl" and "The Office" in real time on the HDTV. We recorded "Survivor" with the intention of watching it after "The Office" ended. As it turned out, my wife and I were too tired and decided to save "Survivor" for today.

A few years ago, I wouldn't have made it through this morning without hearing who had gotten voted off the island in last night's episode. Nowadays it's that way with "American Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars." Many entertainment websites, like TV Squad, make it easier for the TiVo generation to avoid spoilers by requiring you to click on a link to read past the introductory paragraph of an episode recap.

My wife watched last night's "Survivor: Fiji" early this morning while I was at work. She said that the episode was good but failed to mention that it may have been the best episode of "Survivor" ever. My son and I watched it this afternoon and were impressed by how great it was. The reward challenge, Exile Island and the hidden immunity idol all came into play. The current season got off to a slow start. At first I didn't think that Yau-Man was a serious contender. Before long, he became my favorite member of the current cast. I'll be watching Sunday night to see if Yau can avoid elimination again and maybe even win this thing.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, May 07, 2007

you had to have watched season 4

The email from my friend Russ had some intriguing "24" intel. I've been timeshifting "24" and watching the HD broadcast of "Heroes" in real time. After reading the message from Russ, I want to make sure I get caught up on "24" before the season 6 finale. There are two episodes waiting on my TiVo, last Monday's and tonight's.

According to Russ' source, the current season ends as Jack Bauer climbs into the passenger seat of a car. The script lists the driver only as "Person TBD." Jack is "struggling to get past the shock of who he's seeing" after Person TBD says, "Get in Jack. There's a lot I have to tell you." Who could the mystery person be? My immediate reaction was that it must be Behrooz!

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, March 22, 2007

worth what you paid for it

Here's some free advice for ABC. Call TV Guide and change the listings for next Tuesday so that the "Dancing With the Stars" results show begins at 9:07 p.m. instead of 9:00.

It's obvious that ABC has tried to schedule "DWTS" around "American Idol." First, they moved the performance show to Monday nights to avoid "Idol." Then they decided to not even have a results show this past Tuesday. Coincidentally "Idol" was having a two-hour performance show that night.

Since I'm busy every Tuesday night, I tried to set my TiVo to record the 9:00 p.m. "DWTS" elimination show on ABC. It asked me to choose between "DWTS" and the episode of "Idol" that was already on the To Do List. The programmers at Fox have scheduled Tuesday's "Idol" performance show to run from 8:00 to 9:07 p.m. Because the overlap is longer than 5 minutes, my TiVo won't clip the beginning or end of either program. I had to manually program it to record "DWTS" by setting the record time for 9:10 and then telling it to start 3 minutes early.

If fans of both series have Season Passes set up on their TiVos, only one of the two shows will be recorded that night unless each person sets up a manual recording like I did. ABC could fix it for everybody by just changing the official start time of next Tuesday's "DWTS" to 9:07. With Gwen Stefani as the guest coach, I don't want to miss the last few minutes of "Idol." That might be when Tranjaya comes on to sing "Just A Girl."

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

did get fooled again

Between TiVo and online streaming, it's getting harder to miss your favorite TV shows. Yet I missed one of my favorites on Sunday night through no fault of my own. When the bloated Oscar telecast finally ended 53 minutes behind schedule, I manually reprogrammed my TiVo to record "Jimmy Kimmel Live" with a couple of minutes of wiggle room on either side. Today when I sat down to watch Jimmy's post-Oscar special, I was extremely disappointed to find that our local ABC affiliate did not carry it, even though the TV listings said they would. After the Oscars, their local news was followed by an old episode of "CSI Miami" which was followed by that night's edition of "The George Michael Sports Machine." Instead of Kimmel, I got Caine. Jimmy's post-Oscar special must have been pretty good. It's supposed to be repeated when he goes on vacation next week.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, January 22, 2007

the access number is on the back

Mondays are almost the new Thursdays at our house. I recorded five hours of primetime programming tonight, of which I was able to watch three so far. I had to choose which shows to watch in high definition (but in real time) and which shows to watch in medium quality on the TiVo (but with the ability to rewind and fast-forward). I am reluctant to spend the $300 that the satellite company wants for an HD DVR. Of course, I'm spoiled from getting the HDTV setup as part of an endorsement deal.

My son and I watched "Prison Break" and "24" in HD. I also recorded those shows on the upstairs TiVo as a backup in case my wife wanted to see them when she returned from choir practice. After "24" we all went to another room to watch "Heroes" on the TiVo. Next week my son and I may choose to watch "Heroes" in HD and save the "24" for TiVo replay. Although having "Heroes" on TiVo was helpful because there were scenes that we rewound to watch again. At one point we paused the show and I called the toll free phone number displayed on the Primatech Paper business card. Oh yeah, NBC sent out a press release today about the extra features available to fans online and over the phone. I just hope they don't go overboard with the extra stuff like "Lost" has.

What are the shows I recorded but haven't watched yet? "How I Met Your Mother," "The Class" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." I'm not sure how much longer I will continue watching "Studio 60." Yet I say that while realizing that I am a completist when it comes to TV shows. If I decide to watch a series, I want to see every episode starting from the pilot through its eventual cancellation. "Studio 60" started out pretty good but got too "West Wing-y" too soon. Meanwhile, "30 Rock" gets better each week, giving me everything I would want in a behind-the-scenes at an SNL-type-show show.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

what a hamburger's all about

Watching the Rose Parade became a New Year's tradition in our family as soon as we all arrived in Los Angeles. I had been living in L.A. for almost eleven months before the rest of my family could join me. We moved on New Year's Eve into an apartment that was empty except for the TV I had bought for my semi-furnished "bachelor pad." We slept on the floor and spent New Year's Day watching endless reruns of the Rose Parade on KTLA.

Before moving west, we lived in a D.C. suburb. During those years, our New Year's Day tradition was attempting to decipher "The List" in the Washington Post. Like anyone, we hoped that we recognized more things on the "In" list than on the "Out" list. We kept up with it while living in California, but always a day or two later. This was partly because every January 1st, the only in and out in our lives were the Double-Doubles we'd have for lunch at In-N-Out Burger. At least one of those years, I ordered mine "Protein Style."

For a few years, my sister or her husband would fax us "The List" on their first day back to work after the holidays. Eventually the Internet made it ridiculously easy to read "The List" from anywhere and to look up all the obscure names and terms. Some habits die hard though. Now I never remember to look for "The List" until January 2nd. Hey, that's today!

For me, the highlights of this year's "List" include "How I Met Your Mother," Vince Young, the "Young Frankenstein" musical and "Heroes." But I'm bummed about Jamba Juice being on the "Out" list. My family and I have finally started watching the backlog of "Heroes" episodes on my TiVo. Yeah, it's as good as everyone says.

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, January 01, 2007

sting like a bee

Choosing which Rose Parade coverage to watch this morning was easy. I went with the high-def, commercial free telecast on Discovery HD Theater. It turned out to be (as I had suspected it might) a simulcast of KTLA's coverage. I would have thrown my support behind Knoxville-based HGTV's coverage if it had been available to me in HD (hint, hint for next year, HGTV). The difference in visual quality was enough to keep me from changing channels even if it meant getting irritated at a couple of things about the way KTLA covered the parade.

My blog got a lot more hits than usual today from about 148 people looking for information about Stephanie Edwards' absence from KTLA. Given all the interest, one of the other networks should have hired her for the day (hint, hint again, HGTV). Many will disagree but I thought that Stephanie's replacement, Michaela Pereira, did a very good job. As I listened to her speak after one of Bob Eubanks' comments, the word that kept coming to mind was "perseverance" because it certainly wasn't "chemistry." At the end of the parade, Eubanks announced that his contract was up and that he didn't know if he would be back next year. Now that Stephanie is gone, they may as well replace Bob too. Didn't Bob and Stephanie used to also host KTLA's telecast of the Hollywood Christmas Parade before being replaced?

It's too bad the floats couldn't have been driven a little more slowly. After the last parade entry rode past, Michaela and Bob still had to fill about 25 minutes of airtime. With a two-and-a-half hour time window and no commercials, we should have had plenty of time to see each of the 45 floats and to hear each of the 21 bands. I felt that KTLA spent way too much time instead on the 23 equestrian units. Make that 22 equestrian units plus one llama unit, which was actually somewhat interesting. During one of his overly verbose descriptions of yet another one of the horse entries, Bob described a rider as one of the most famous charros in America. At this point I was thinking that Bob should have just gone ahead and declared him the most famous charro. I mean, can you think of another, more famous charro?

My biggest disappointment was the minimal camera time given to the Grambling State University marching band. The band members were dressed as imperial officers from the "Star Wars" films. The KTLA cameras focused on Darth Vader and the marching stormtroopers and mostly missed the fancy moves of the Grambling band.

KTLA dropped the (audio) ball during Katharine McPhee's performance and during the appearance of their very own Stan Chambers. I understand the difficulty of creating live television but if there is one person on a float that the KTLA audience should have been able to hear, it was Stan Chambers. The audio mistake with McPhee was frustrating but perhaps KTLA can take some consolation in the fact that NBC had a similar audio problem with another "Idol" reject, Lisa Tucker.

I recorded NBC's coverage of the parade and listened to it this evening. I say "listened" for two reasons. First, it was a standard def telecast recorded in medium quality on my old Series2 TiVo, so the floats didn't look anywhere near as good as on the live, HD telecast. And second, I only recorded NBC to hear the banter between Nancy O'Dell and Billy Bush, who did a fine job of being both entertaining and informative. They are comfortable enough to ad-lib with each other and smart enough to revert to the script at the appropriate times. I heard them say their telecast was available in HD. I would have watched them live on my plasma screen if they had been commercial free and if they hadn't gone off the air after only 90 minutes. Best of all, they seemed to spend less time on the equestrian units, except for the llamas, which were somewhat interesting.

For a while I thought that Oklahoma had invaded California and taken over control of the parade. All the famous Oklahomans were riding on the state's two floats. Nothing says Oklahoma to me more than Nadia Comaneci. Too many of the floats featured butterflies and hummingbirds. I especially enjoyed the float from the City of Palmdale. It depicted a family of desert tortoises, much like my late great pet Mo. Unfortunately, Burbank's float didn't win anything this year. The best float was the one with the fire-breathing dragons from Honda.

Here's a final suggestion for KTLA. Stan's grandson, Jaime Chambers was really good on the parade pre-show. Maybe you should test his booth chemistry with Michaela. Or with Lu Parker.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, December 08, 2006

rush party

TiVo alert! This week's episode of a popular network TV series is set in Knoxville! And I'm not talking about a rerun of that famous episode of "The Simpsons." On Sunday night, the detectives of "Cold Case" head south to "delve into the country music world." (If you do actually set your TiVo, pad it with an extra hour in the Eastern and Central time zones to allow for the overrun of the Broncos/Chargers and/or the Bills/Jets games.) The TiVo listing says that the character of Scotty is reluctant to visit here. It doesn't say anything about Lilly being reluctant, so let's assume that she is eager to see all that K-town has to offer. At first, I thought there must be a mistake in the listings. It seemed unlikely that the detectives would investigate country music in Knoxville, unless the story took place back in days before the country music industry migrated west to Nashville. The TV Guide listing makes a little more sense. It says that the episode's murder happened in 2000 and that the detectives go to both Knoxville and Nashville. I don't recall hearing about "Cold Case" filming on location in Knoxville but I can hope that they at least use some stock footage of the Sunsphere, which is not a wig shop.

TiVo alert #2: "Hardball with Chris Matthews" will be recording a show from the campus of The Final Four's George Mason University on December 14. The program is not about basketball however. Instead Robert DeNiro will be there to discuss his new movie about the CIA, "The Good Shepherd."

TiVo alert #3: The Brian Setzer Orchestra will be on the "Rachael Ray Show" on December 18 or 19. Speaking of the BSO, did anybody make it to their concert in Nashville last night? I just watched a brief video of the Orchestra playing the "Peter Gunn Theme" with special guest Duane Eddy at the Ryman.

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

islands in the stream

The old TiVo in the family room refused my request to record one more show. We were on the way out for the evening and I had to make a snap decision. What should I delete to make room for "Dancing With the Stars?" Ultimately I chose to delete an episode of "Survivor" that I had not yet watched because I had faith in the "CBS innertube."

I've been sampling some of the full episodes of shows posted online at the ABC, NBC and CBS websites. Some have worked better than others. The episodes of "Ugly Betty" and "Desperate Housewives" that I tried to watch on the ABC site both cut off after about 20 minutes. An episode of "30 Rock" worked fine on the NBC site. However my best web viewing experiences have come from the episodes of "CSI: NY" on CBS.com.

Showtime, a subsidiary of CBS, has hooked me with their delightfully creepy show "Dexter." You can watch the first two episodes on the Showtime website or you can get caught up with a marathon of the first four episodes this Saturday night. I haven't tried watching "Dexter" online because it's so good that I watch each Sunday night episode on the TiVo as soon as I get home from work on Mondays.

If recorded shows waiting to be watched are on my "TiNo" list, which shows are on my "TiYes" list? In addition to "Dexter," I am caught up on "The Amazing Race,"
"Prison Break," "Dancing With the Stars," "Lost," "My Name is Earl" and "The Office."

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, October 20, 2006

to the TiVo!

The saddest website I saw today is probably this one, with instructions on how to get a refund for the tickets you bought to see the World Series at Shea Stadium.

At one point last night I thought that today's blog entry would be all about a Mets win and about the incredible catch made by Endy Chavez in the sixth inning. It turned what would have been a two run home run into a double play. If you didn't see it live, you should watch the video on the Internet. I also thought that I might scan and upload my ticket stub from the World Series game I attended as a child. Maybe next year.

I'm not the only one who thought that the Mets would win. On Wednesday, a Tigers fan (I assume) in Portage, Michigan somehow found my blog by searching for the phrase "where can I buy cigarettes near Shea Stadium?" That smoker is tenacious. My site turns up on page 20 of the results because I wrote about the Mets on August 10 and about smoking on August 11.

During the NLCS, my TiVo got completely filled up with various prime time shows. I had the same problem last month when I wrote a guest blog for Terry Morrow. Now that I don't need to watch the World Series, I can catch up on some of the shows I have "TiNo'ed." That's a new term coined by San Francisco TV critic Tim Goodman for those shows you've recorded but not watched. One of my favorite sites, TV Squad had the link.

As of tonight, my TiNo list includes multiple episodes of "Heroes," "Friday Night Lights," "Veronica Mars," "The Nine," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "Shark." What's on yours?

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, October 13, 2006

sports night

The Mets are struggling in the ninth inning as I write this. It looks like the Cardinals will even up the NLCS after a great Mets win on Thursday night. Tonight the Mets could have used some of those terrific defensive plays from last night. Hey, did you notice the signs at Shea Stadium for losmets.com?

I guess I'm a bigger sports fan than I realized. Since 7:30 p.m. I have been flipping between an exciting high school football game and the Mets playoff game. I left the downstairs TiVo tuned to CSS and the upstairs TiVo tuned to Fox. A couple of times I was able to rewind to see a home run or a touchdown that I would have otherwise missed. At 11:00, I flipped between the three network affiliates to see their coverage of the football game I had just watched between the top two local high school teams. Both Catholic and Fulton were undefeated going into tonight's game. KCHS won the game, 27 - 14.

If I'm still awake at 12:30, college basketball gets added to the mix, as I told you yesterday. I will probably just go to bed and save my Mason Madness viewing for tomorrow.

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

guaranteed to have the time of your life

Everyone born in the '60s or earlier can remember where they were and what they were doing when Spiro T. Agnew resigned the vice presidency. Right? I was with my dad at Shea Stadium watching a playoff game between the Mets and the Reds when the news was flashed on the big scoreboard in centerfield.

The postseason started today for fans of the Twins, Athletics, Cardinals, Padres, Tigers and Yankees. Fans of the Mets (like me) and Dodgers have to wait until tomorrow afternoon. This year marks the seventh playoff appearance for the Mets. Game 1 is inconveniently scheduled at 4pm, during my nap time. Game 2 starts Thursday at 8pm, as if I didn't already have enough stuff to watch in that timeslot. Obviously I will record all my regular shows and watch the baseball game live.

My dad did some public relations work for National Bohemian, a major sponsor of the Baltimore Orioles. As a result, he was able to go to the 1969 World Series with his clients from the beer company. In 1973 it looked like the Orioles and Mets would have a World Series rematch. When the O's lost to the A's in the playoffs, Dad offered to buy the World Series tickets that National Bohemian had already purchased for the three games at Shea Stadium. Trying to look like a good guy, he must have bought several hundreds of dollars worth of tickets. I got to go to a game and so did some of my grammar school teachers and principal.

In 1986, I was working in the promotion department at WAVA. The station had chartered a plane and arranged for 105 Redskins fans to fly to New York to see a Monday Night Football game against the Giants. After the Mookie Wilson miracle in Game 6 and a rain delay the next night, Game 7 of the World Series would take place on Monday, the same night as the football game. I was at Giants Stadium with our contest winners. There were times during the game that the Giants fans would cheer wildly even when the Redskins were doing well. It turned out that many people in the stands had brought portable televisions and that they were actually cheering for the Mets.

My good friend Bean just sent me a fantastic belated birthday / early Christmas gift. It's a DVD of Vintage World Series Films from 1969 and 1986. I'm and psyched and ready to sing the song. Who's with me?

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button