Posts Tagged ‘television’

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List #16: Top Five Television Episodes

16 December, 2012

Alright, I’ve put writing this entry on my to-do list. So now I have to do it. Finally. Well done me. Anyway, as I’ve been watching all the TV I wrote about last entry, occasionally there’s an episode which catches my attention or my emotions in a way that I just can’t shake. That episode always has gone on a mental list of ones I might want to rewatch, or have rewatched, over and above the rest of the series. There are more than five such episodes, but I finally made a non-mental list of all of them, and have decided to narrow it down to five for the purposes of this entry. They are not in any particular order, but here goes:

– “Killer Within” – Season 3, Episode 4 – The Walking Dead

This is the most recent of these five episodes. Unfortunately, I can’t really divulge much of what happens in this that makes it so awesome, because there would be a lot of spoilers. But bad things happen, and people react. And more things happen.

– “Flight of the Phoenix” – Season 2, Episode 9 – Battlestar Galactica

This was the episode that made me start the list. It’s not the first one I saw, but it’s the first that drew me as much. Basically, it’s about everyone banding together in a time of desperation, to give people something to live for. Also, robots that look like people.

– “Restless” – Season 4, Episode 22 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

This entire episode is a dream (spoiler? I don’t think so…). Actually, four dreams, of four different characters. The plot is cool, but the thing that really got me was how dreamlike everything felt. The music was kind of creepily repetitive, like a fugue state in a dream, the dialog didn’t follow (but it made sense within the context until you noticed it, just like a dream) and the scenery changed suddenly but was, again, not that weird until you noticed it. I’ve seen dream sequences in shows before, but none ever felt right, except this one. Also, Giles sings.

– “The New Era” – Season 2, Episode 4 – The OC

I’ve probably seen this about ten times. Not necessarily because I wanted to, at the beginning. So maybe this one is on here just because of repeated exposure, but for whatever reason, I still enjoy it. It’s a coherent story but furthers the arc, and there are clever lines and good music (my first exposure to The Killers) and, of course, Olivia Wilde.

– “Out of Gas” – Season 1, Episode 8 – Firefly

It’s really sad that this show didn’t keep going. This episode is… well, I dunno. I don’t think it’ll have the same effect if you haven’t watched the show from the beginning, and you don’t know the characters, so don’t just go out and watch this right now. Basically it shows how everyone met, and how things came to be the way they are, but it’s essentially someone’s life flashing before their eyes, and when that end finally comes… Well, yeah. So watch it, but only after the first 7 episodes. Word.

So there’s a lot of sci-fi here, but for the most they’re not here because of the sci-fi aspects of the show. It’s more about the people than it is about the shows. And really I just watch a fair amount of sci-fi. There are other episodes that didn’t make this list, some from the same shows and some from others (two potential ones from Lost narrowly missed out, but I won’t specify because this list was only five. What are your top five?

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Far Too Much of My Life, Quantified

16 May, 2009

What follows is a list of all the television shows that I have either seen from beginning to end, every episode that has been broadcast so far, or from the beginning up to a certain point in the series, but every episode in between. There is one exception, but since it’s two episodes off from beginning to end, I figure it counts.

  • 24 [Almost] All That Exist: 164 Episodes out of 7 Seasons, 166 Episodes (Current Season Unfinished). [This is the one I haven’t seen all of, two episodes of Season 1 remain.]
  • Twin Peaks – Full Series: 2 Seasons, 30 Episodes [Not Including Fire Walk With Me.]
  • Battlestar Galactica [New Series] – Full Series: 4 Seasons, 73 Episodes [Not Including Miniseries, Razor, or Webisodes.]
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer – All Episodes up to Episode 4 of Season 6: 104 Episodes out of 7 Seasons, 144 Episodes.
  • Firefly – Full Series: 1 Season, 14 Episodes.
  • Life on Mars [UK] – Full Series: 2 Seasons, 16 Episodes. [Not to be confused with the American remake, which is actually pretty good, but I haven’t really seen much of it.]
  • Lost – All That Exist: 5 Seasons, 103 Episodes.
  • Coupling – All Episodes up to Episode 3 of Season 2: 9 Episodes out of 4 Seasons, 28 Episodes. [Only half an hour long.]
  • Doctor Who [New Series] – All That Exist: 4 Seasons, 56 Episodes. [Technically this shouldn’t count, since it’s just a continuation of the old series, which I have seen a lot of, but nowhere near all…]

That’s all I’m sure of. I’m pretty certain I’ve seen at least two-thirds of Arrested Development consecutively, but I don’t know when I stopped, so I’m not counting it. And things like the OC, which I haven’t seen the first part of the first season of, but everything else, are also not on the list. Things like House, Bones, Numbers, which I’ve seen massive amounts of, but not consecutively are not marked down.And some other shows I’m too embarassed to put down. So it’s not perfect. But what can we learn from this? Well, for one thing, you can tell what kind of stuff I like watching. Sci-fi, stuff with a slightly creepy air that’s otherwise normal, and, umm… well I don’t really know where 24 and Coupling come from. You can also see how much of  at least my life, and probably yours too is spent watching television. Just the shows counted is roughly, including the ads (because it’s easier to calculate, although most of these I watched on DVD or streaming online),  564.5 hours, or 23 and a half days. Add to that all the hours I’ve spent watching shows or episodes that I’ve forgotten or not included for other reasons, and you get at least a full month. Which is pretty impressive. And not necessarily in a good way. I’m sure I could have used that time better. But really, I have no regrets (except for some episodes being pretty bad. Maybe those could go.)

And if you add in the time watching movies then… well, that’s not for today.

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Musicals You Should Listen To

13 March, 2009

I’m a reasonable fan of musical theatre. I’m a bigger fan of weird musical theatre. I could honestly care less about big shows like Rent, Chicago, and so on. I’m much more entertained by, say, Zombie Prom, or Evil Dead the Musical; tongue in cheek revues that really have no connection to the mainstream. Or, a connection that is so odd that it’s just perfect. It’s two of these last category that I’m about to share with you, and, what’s more, they’re free online, so you have no reason NOT to listen.

24: The Musical—This is basically amazing. By the same people who apparently wrote a musical version of The Silence of the Lambs, it’s a musical of the second season of 24. I mean, honestly, there’s not much I can say about this that wouldn’t be better experienced by listening to it. It also has a somewhat specific base of experience, it’s going to be much funnier if you’ve seen 24 at all, and even more the second season. The one track not to miss is “I Will Torture You,” which includes such choice lines as “I will yell at you in my angry voice [if you’ve seen 24 you know exactly what this means].” Similarly, “Three Countries in the Middle East” (which also makes fun of the very unspecific threats consistent in 24) contains a reprise of the following: “Bauer: I will torture them! David Palmer [president]: Please don’t torture them! Bauer: Let me torture them!” Occasionally melodies are based on the relatively stupid incidental music by Sean Callery, which makes his music much better. There’s also one moment where the best phone ring ever is used melodically, somehow.

Star Wars: The Musical—This is good in a slightly different way. Some of this music is unbearable, in my opinion, but it’s still an entertaining concept. But what makes this one especially interesting is that one song is, well, actually, really good. The special edition version of “One Season More” is produced and written incredibly well. I’m impressed.

Anyway, I just thought I should share.

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Far-Seeing Gods…

28 January, 2008

I’ve recently become a TV junkie. Not to say that I wasn’t before, just that I was taking an… extended break. Perhaps this was due to being at college, with no easily-accesible television. But in the past few weeks, I’ve discovered my long-lost friend. From a variety of sources. Hulu is a project (unfortunately only in invitation-only beta at the moment, although you can easily request an invite) which is taking the streaming media (legally!) from all of the major networks’ individual sites, and compiling it all in one place and one player for easy access. This was the first stage of my descent into darkness. I have always been a big fan of Joss Whedon; I loved Firefly and liked Serenity a lot, but I had not really seen much of his first masterwork— Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Hulu, thankfully, had the first season, which called to me when I should have been studying. So I watched it. And then the second season, out on loan from my college library’s astounding collection of DVDs. And the third is on call. Needless to say, I grew very fond of this show very quickly. It was moving at times, clever and funny always, and had demons. I mean, what more can you ask for? So Whedon has not let me down.

But what, you might ask (please do, or else this paragraph makes no sense), are you doing while waiting for the next season to arrive on DVD? Well, I’m glad you asked that (See? That would be weird, if you hadn’t asked), because what an answer I have for you. First of all, this disease of mine seems to be catching. Also to postpone studying, (this is a common trend at college) my roommate took out the first available season of the X-Files from the library. This is something I used to watch a lot. It was always on just after I got home from school, and the added tingle of it being something my parents had once forbade me from watching just pushed it into a daily tradition. Week-daily, that is.

But that’s not all. Partially in preparation for seeing Cloverfield (which I saw tonight and will review sometime soon), and partially just because I was interested, I started watching J.J. Abrams’ Lost online, linked from the wonderful (but much much less legal) compilation site Alluc (that’s pronounced All-you-see. Get it?) And I’m hooked. Although, I don’t know how long that will last. I’ve heard that it gets disappointing after a while, as nothing is ever really revealed, and new mysteries keep showing up. I’ve also read that even the producers and writers don’t really know where it’s going, which is not an endorsement. But it’s fun, for the time being. It’s also interesting, because there are huge amounts of main characters. Something like 9 or 10, but you know their names, some of their stories, and you care about them. It’s hard for a show to make you feel for more than one or two, but Lost succeeds.

And so a final point: It’s interesting that so many shows these days are known for their producers: Joss Whedon’s Buffy and Firefly, J.J. Abrams’ Lost, and… well that’s all I can think of right now. But I guess it’s a good thing. Now we can say that we know who is responsible for the shows we know and love.

So that’s been my life recently. But don’t worry, I’m still working my way through Dickens’ Great Expectations at a rapid pace. Culture isn’t completely lost on me. Although I do like it less than I have his other works that I have read and loved (namely Bleak House and Hard Times). Is that normal? Also, I just voted. So that little internal conflict is over. Obama it is! Er, was. (Or was it? I guess I shouldn’t say these things in the open. Does it matter?)

And the title of the post is stolen from the literal meaning of television. Why? Because I couldn’t think of anything more clever. Sorry guys.

EDIT: ABC.com has almost all of their shows in HD streaming, with no ads. So, that’s awesome. I’ve switched to watching Lost there. Check it out!

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Based on the…

11 December, 2007

Well, I haven’t written a post that wasn’t a review or a roundup in a while, so I’m going to try to get back into the swing of things.

Whatever happened to creativity? So many movies nowadays are not original; they’re either a remake, a sequel, or based on a TV show, true story, or book. Sure, there are always the great ones that aren’t, but those usually slip through the cracks, more so now than they have in the past. But whatever happened to wonders like Star Wars, or the Godfather, or… Well, once you think about it, many of the great movies of the past have been based on things too, like Lawrence of Arabia, or Schindler’s List. Ok, that one’s not too old.

Now we’re stretching further than we have. One of the top-grossing movie trilogies recently was Pirates of the Caribbean, which was based on an amusement park ride! How low can we really go, people! (Note: I loved this trilogy. Well, not the second one. But the first and last, so my commentary should really be a bit more tempered.)  So where has everyone gone? My family has a screenwriter friend, and his two most recent works were both rejected, and they were original concepts (well, one was a sequel but he wrote the first one so it doesn’t quite count).

I think many of the screenwriters must have gone to the smaller screen. Television has so many great shows on right now, and perhaps the talent from the film studios has gone to that medium.

But then again, a remake doesn’t have to be bad. One of my favorite shows, something that has been said to be the best drama on television numerous times, as well as winning many awards, is a remake. I’m talking about Battlestar Galactica, which was a hilariously tacky science fiction show from the 1970s and is now completely re-imagined into a new, wonderful, dramatic universe. The plot is essentially the same, but much more nuanced and a lot less of people simply blasting robots into slag. Yes, there is still a lot of it, but, in my opinion, it has a lot more meaning, a lot more depth. And that’s just one of the many remakes or “based on the…”s that I like.

So there’s hope. Even though an idea may not be new, what a writer does with it can be completely innovative and wonderful.  What are your thoughts? Is the writing industry going to hell in a handbasket? Are we running out of ideas? Or is it just harkening back to the past, learning from it, and creating things anew.