Posts Tagged ‘television’

Two video streaming services seemed like one too many. So my crew recently dropped Netflix. For now. Odds are that we’ll be back, probably when it rolls out new seasons of “Orange is the New Black” or “House of Cards.”

The surviving platform: Prime Instant Video. Not because it’s better, but because it’s linked to free two-day shipping from Amazon. And I order a lot of stuff from Amazon. Billy Madison had nudie magazine day; I have Amazon shipment day – that’s when refrigerator-sized boxes (with smiley faces on the sides) arrive filled with diapers and baby wipes. It feels good to be stocked up in terms of poo extraction supplies. (more…)

I’m finally Breaking Bad. It’s about time.

Actually, I watched the first couple episodes as they debuted on AMC right after Mad Men. But then due to busyness or business or babies, I fell off the wagon. And now I’m back, baby, getting all caught up on Walt White and Co., via Netflix. I am binge watching like it’s my job in order to be able to watch the final couple of episodes of the latest – and final season – as they happen.

That will not be a problem; I’ve blown through two seasons in less than a week. Because it’s that compelling – every episode seems to end in a cliff hanger. In fact, I wonder how people were able to watch one per week – they must have been preoccupied during the off days, the show scratching at the back of their head at random moments. Sounds an awful lot like how I imagine drug addiction to feel so maybe that was the point. (more…)

I just might be in the throws of the slowest and most preventable death in history – death by Netflix.

We nearly ended out subscription earlier this summer as a way to save a few bucks in the summer. We weren’t using it much, anyway, especially after Yo Gabba Gabba!, Dora and other kid favorites were eliminated from the catalog. But then Arrested Development made its long-awaited return. And Orange is the New Black debuted. And, now, I’ve gotten into House of Cards. Oy.

The problem is – at least – twofold. (more…)

Arrested Development is back, returning over the weekend from a seven-year hiatus. And from what I’ve seen in the first three episodes of the fourth season, it’s still excellently silly and biting. Even throw-away lines by extras are fantastic – like the peddler at the Cinco Quatro festival, shouting to potential customers: “Fill the bay with chorizo.”

Maybe you had to be there. (My only complaint: Seth Rogen as a young George Bluth. It doesn’t work, period, let alone in the company of Kristen Wiig doing a killer Lucille Bluth.)

Meanwhile, there’s a new wrinkle that’s captured my attention: The circumstance of the release. Might it be a game-changer for the future of television? (more…)

New Vice

Posted: May 20, 2013 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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Just like quarterbacks are said to get more credit and more blame than they deserve, HBO is neither as excellent or as awful as it’s said to be – at least in the time that I’ve had access to it. The truth lies somewhere in between as is the case with pretty much everything in life.

Still, the station is on a pretty decent run right now including fresh episodes of Veep, Real Sports and Game of Thrones (full disclosure: I’ve never watched it) plus the debut of the Christopher Guest comedy Family Tree and the acquisition of Wes Anderson flick Moonlight Kingdom – just to name a few.

And then there’s Vice. (more…)

That song. It’s stuck in my head again.

“Whatever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV?”

The funny thing is that as my oldest daughter has discovered Full House via reruns on Nickelodeon, I have found myself asking those very questions. OK, maybe not those exact questions. But watching a good, old-fashioned late 1980s-to-mid-1990s sitcom does have me wondering if such shows still exist.


Get ready, folks: TV is heading to TV, making his live debut as a studio analyst for Midco Sports Net on Friday evening.

And, yes, TV just went all third person on you. He, er, I (enough already) figured that would be the appropriate way to start a post about becoming a television personality for a day. Just as there are plenty of stereotypes about newspapermen (crusty, out of shape, standoffish), there are no shortage of assumed knocks on TV folks – with some of the best ones being portrayed in the Will Ferrell flick, Anchorman. (“Hey, everyone: Come and see how good I look.”)

Milk was a bad idea.

And I plan to live up to as many of them as possible in the roughly 20-30 minutes I’ll be on air.

OK, not really. That just seemed like the Ron Burgandy thing to say. The truth is, I haven’t grown a mustache for the occasion and don’t even get to wear makeup.

All joking aside, I have put in some time in order to do work that’s somewhere between “palatable” and “won’t induce seizures.” I spent a couple hours in the studio last week observing what goes on behind the scenes. I ordered and watched game film from the four NCAA Division II basketball teams that will be involved in the broadcast. I did phone interviews with all the coaches.

If I’ve learned anything so far, it’s the affirmation that print folks have definite advantages in being assigned consistent beats. I’ve gotten used to knowing pretty much everything about every team I cover; it’s hard to have to pick up anything more than obvious insight on players, coaches and programs you don’t follow every day (or, well, ever).

To review, I’m taking on extra work that comes less naturally to me than my actual work. So why am I doing this again?

Most simply, because someone asked. They saw my multimedia content and liked it enough to invite me to give this a shot. Of course, I could have said no. But I didn’t. Why? A few reasons, I suppose. It’s good exposure to a new audience (that can’t hurt my print career); I’ll be getting paid (which will help offset a future furlough); it’s a new experience that has the potential to be fun (my temporary co-workers are good dudes); and to test my mom’s theory that I have a face for television (isn’t that the quintessential mom thing to say?).

Actually, there’s something to that last part. Plenty of people, including my mom, see television as a step up from print in the media hierarchy. Frankly, I’m not entirely sure why, although it probably has to do with the perception that there’s more money and fame involved even if that’s not necessarily true locally. This rings true at the highest levels. Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon were both brilliant and accomplished writers at the Washington Post, but remained relatively anonymous outside sports-nerd circles prior to breaking into television via PTI. (Sidenote: Wilbon now writes only occasionally, while Kornheiser has given it up all together, believing he lost his fastball.)

In a sense, this seems like what I’m supposed to do, the next step in my career. That’s sort of unfortunate. I have (and will continue to) embraced the online movement, the idea that newspapermen are now reporters who use a variety of mediums: Twitter, Facebook, blogs, podcasts, videos and whatever is next. When used properly, these tools can enhance our stories and – hopefully – help save our industry.

However, I do fear that I’ve become a jack of all trades and a master of none. I still make an concerted attempt to hone my writing – I really do. But there’s no question that the time available to do so is limited because I’m spread thin across multiple platforms. And I rarely have time to read anything longer than 30 inches. I know that’s not good for my development as a writer.

I doubt I’m alone in thinking this way, that the craft is writing is being neglected. Yet my response has been to take on a new task (this one-time TV gig) instead of simplifying, getting back to my bread and butter.

Of course, the situation could work itself out. If I stink on ice in a TV studio, then it’s back to the salt mines, so to speak, to frantically hunt-and-peck on my typewriter away from the light of day.

On the other hand, TV might be glorious on TV, more charming and manly in high definition than he is in real life. … Nope. Feels forced and downright untrue. You’re safe for now, Burgandy.

The $699 Law & Order box set

Posted: November 15, 2011 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
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So it’s mid-November and you’re complaining about the number of Christmas advertisements that have already popped up on TV and in stores, but at the same time you’re worried about falling behind on your shopping. And for awhile now you’ve been on the lookout for the perfect present for that shut-in relative who’s lived without NBC or TNT for the past two decades but loves watching DVDs.

You’re in luck.

All 20 seasons of NBC’s Law & Order are now available in one box set. It contains 104 discs and 456 episodes, costs $699 and will weigh more than the couch you’re sitting on when you unwrap it. In fact, when it’s pulled out from under the Christmas tree, grandpa, dad and a pair of grandkids will have to team up to lift it off the floor.

It’s an orgy of murder, betrayal, assaults, kidnappings, seen-it-all detectives, bumbling beat cops who mess up the crime scene, sleazy defense attorneys, corrupt judges, rabble-rousing preachers with secret agendas, serious voice-overs informing us the criminal justice system is made up of two separate yet equally important groups, the dun-dun sound (or however you spell the most famous sound on TV), Solomon-like District Attorneys, pretty assistant DAs who threaten to turn their boss in to the ethics board – but don’t, witnesses who say they didn’t see anything but five seconds later say, “Oh, wait, now that you say that I did see a guy get shot in the head”, decapitated corpses in Central Park, armless corpses in the Hudson, crass jokes about headless, armless corpses found in an alley, evil schoolchildren, race-baiting lawyers, baseball players who kill because they’re afraid of being outed, directors who kill because they hate their ex-wife, U.S. attorneys who trample on the state’s case, murderous militias, parents who take the blame for murders committed by their kids, kids who blame abuse for the murders they commit and a hell of a lot of Jack McCoy.

God I want it.