The best drama series on TV defy easy categorizations — they’re procedurals with deeply nuanced characters, supernatural thrillers with political ramifications, period pieces impeccably dressed. Some of them invented a whole new way of thinking about television, paving the way for future classics. Others, well, they’re just one-of-a-kind.
When Hollywood is angling to drum up some easy box office returns, they invariably raid an old TV series for a remake that they can pull off with higher production values and bigger stars, if not always larger amounts of vigor and imagination.
Most recently, 21 Jump Street joined the legacy of TV-to-movie epics like Mission: Impossible, The A Team, Charlie’s Angels, The Mod Squad, The Flintstones, and a whole bunch more, the results ranging from sheer escapist fun filled with misty memories of shows that helped shape our characters to sheer torture that should have stayed in the tube, where it died a gruesome death long ago.
Article: How do you pitch a reality show?
That’s an easy one: You don’t!
Your chances of getting a show on the air are as slim as those of finding Willie Wonka’s golden ticket in your mail or chomping down on the Hope Diamond in your lo mein.
Oh sure, once in a blue moon an unsolicited pitch can lead to something—but when was the last time you saw a blue moon except for the SMURF movie? I’ve even done pitches with big people—household names, I swear–who actually had development deals with networks, and they went nowhere faster than a BUCKY LARSON sequel!
Article: Car crash sex on TV
We recently ran a post on EMandLO.com about television shows with hot sex scenes, but if we’re being honest, the stuff that really floats our boats is the hilarious, cringe-worthy stuff that just seems a lot more realistic — after all, sex is often awkward, full of miscommunication, with some head bonking and disappointment, maybe tears. Which is why we loved, loved, LOVED last night’s episode of New Girl on Fox. We’ll admit, we were pretty eh about the pilot — it was close, but no cigar. So we never scheduled a second date with the show. But a friend encouraged us to give it another chance last night and we are so glad we did — because we can’t remember the last time we laughed so hard, especially not from of a television show (we’re talking tears and stomach pain). Not to get your hopes up, but it’s one of the best sex scenes we’ve ever seen on TV* — it should win an Emmy. We liked it so much, we went online so we could watch the earlier “penis” episode (officially titled “Naked”), which also did not disappoint. Oh, if only the same could be said for sex.
I’ve previously shared the rise of .gif animated images, which have crawled out of “the seedier corners of the Internet, in profiles of message board users and the like” and “have started to emerge as a medium of some artistic merit in their own right.” A sub-genre of .gifs have been given the fancy pants title of “cinemagraphs.” As an example, check out these 30 cinemagraphs from Kubrick films.
GIF.TV brilliantly jumps on this digital bandwagon. It’s your one-stop-shop to view .gifs within the familiar medium of a TV set. Flip the switches to find new, randomized .gifs, which are occasionally breathtaking in its artistry, but, more often than not, are simply hilarious in their repetition.
Gems unearthed like this letter, written by Mister Rogers to 6-year-old Christopher Barranco (today a grown-up Redditor) kindly turning down the child’s request to visit his house, continues to reinforce my belief that Mister Rogers might be one of the kindest and most thoughtful human beings to have ever walked this planet. After receiving this…
Article: What THE KILLING has going on
Executive Producer Veena Sud’s THE KILLING premiered on AMC last weekend, and it’s got a lot going on. First of all, in concept, it proves the brilliance of European storytellers. Based on the Danish series Forbrydelsen, the premise is one episode per narrative day – so one 13-episode season equals 13 days on a murder investigation. Three stories surrounding the murder of a Seattle teen intertwine: the police, the grieving family and the suspects. Now why couldn’t an American think of that? It subverts the entire cop procedural formula, allows for a type of storytelling that is practically non-existent in the States, and pairs a crime story with serious character investigation — a joy.
Article: How to be a TV talking head
I’ve spent half my adult life appearing as a talking head on various TV channels, so by now I have the art of on-camera gabbing down to a T and know just what to do, what to avoid, and whether to watch the clip afterwards with one eye covered.
Live appearances on cable news are way different than pre-taped ones (like “101 Celebrity Meltdowns” or “The Fab Times of Lindsay”), so I’ll separate them in offering my unsolicited but extremely useful advice to anyone brazen enough to want to join the unpaid talking head population.
For live shows:
*Have your first answer ready. The worst thing imaginable on live TV is dead air, so you want to avoid ever pausing to think or stammering stuff like “Um, uh…” If your first answer doesn’t match the first question, then say it anyway—and make it match the question.
*Speak in four or five sentences at a time, trailing off when you’ve sensed that you’ve had your say on that particular subject and it’s time for someone—anyone–else to speak. Don’t be a monosyllabic caveman, but don’t monopolize the whole show either. Find a happy medium.
Rolling Stone published a great photo gallery of behind the scenes of Mad Men, including this awesome photo of “Ken Cosgrove and Harry Crane” accidentally stumbling upon a MacBook Pro left behind accidentally by a time traveler.
Article: 2010 Emmys round-up
So the Emmys happened on Sunday night and I watched it right until Mad Men at 10 pm. NY Magazine’s Vulture blog had a nice round-up of the show’s highlights and lowlights with a headline asking “Were these the best Emmys ever?” (no), as well as the attendees’ sartorial selections. Side note: My favorite observation of the show was by my friend Ayo with whom I was watching the show in his apartment. Ayo asked, “Has anyone seen a photo of Betty White when she was younger? I bet she was hot. I’d get after it.”
Article: Peek into Mad Men's closet
My roommates finally got me hooked on Mad Men and like everyone else I’ve become quickly obsessed with the clothing, especially those suits (God, those lapels: Drool!). This video of Mad Men’s costume designer Janie Bryant giving a tour of the closets of Don and Co. is a treat for any fan of the show.…
The ending of Lost, which is the 55th most watched finale of all time, provided material for some funny bite-size comedy on the Internets that could be appreciated even by, or especially by non-Lost fans. I’ve compiled a couple of my favorites below. My favorite: A GIF of how Lost should have really ended. Michael…
“The Good Wife” is very, very alluring. Even though I have excellent intentions to spend hours in front of the television – you know, “Glee,” “Hoarders,” “Lost,” “The Lazy Environmentalist,” “Dead Wood” on DVD — somehow I … sigh … just can’t get to it, so the only thing I watch, ever, is “The Good Wife.” Flipping to it doesn’t feel so different than settling in for some good comfy “Law and Order.” But guess what? It’s so much more satisfying! Why, you ask? There have been plenty of lawyer shows on network television, plenty of political thrillers, plenty of who-done-it, how-do-it, do-it, and un-do-it. Why is this one so different?
Article: Mad Men Barbies
Mattel is set to release four new Barbies ($75 each!) based on characters from Mad Men this coming July to coincide with the start of the show’s fourth season. There’s main character Don Drapper and his soulless wife Betty, company head Roger Sterling and his one-time mistress and office manager extraordinaire, Joan Holloway. While Mattel chose to leave out the “inappropriate,” sinful accessories like martinis, packs of Lucky Strike, and silk panties in suit pockets that are ever-present on the show, it’s still a bold choice for the company to celebrate such a debauched group of alcoholic adulterers. But then again, Barbie was created in 1959, right around the time Mad Men takes place — a time when women were expected to simply look pretty and shut up, make a nice home, and expect their husbands to cheat. So maybe this licensing agreement is not so bold, maybe it’s just eerily perfect.
Article: MTV's first day
MTV recently updated their logo (analysis here) to downplay their former music life, while emphasizing their ‘reality’ and lifestyle programming today. It’s common knowledge that “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles was the first song aired ever on this new and revolutionary channel when it launched on August 1, 1981, but in remembrance…
Article: Mark Bennett's Blueprints
Blurring the line between fiction and reality, Mark Bennett created detailed, if not slightly obsessive blueprints of domiciles belonging to various fictional characters and families, such as Batman’s mansion to Fred and Wilma Flintstone’s bedrock to Lucy and Ricky Ricardo’s home. The blueprint of Jeanie’s lamp is also quite a trip. [Via]
It would take a lot to get me to agree to go on a vacation to Kentucky. No judgment there, just not my thing. But after seeing the above television ad I just might change my mind. Lampooning the ridiculous ads for erectile dysfunction medications this spot proves that there are some pretty funny people…
Article: Pee-wee's back
Paul Reubens, he of public masturbatory fame, is reviving the character that made him world famous: Pee-wee Herman. Herman started out as a crude stand-up act and then became a popular children’s TV show and a feature film directed by Tim Burton. Beginning in November, Pee-wee will be performing live at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood. And yes, Chairry, Pterri the pterodactyl and Miss Yvonne will be present. Maybe a trip to LA is in order?
Article: Palin poetry
How can you not love William Shatner? He was dashing, and kitsch, as Captain Kirk. His Denny Crane was a brilliant reinvention. And I actually watch his Priceline commercials. And who watches commercials these days? No one. Exactly. In his 70s now, Shatner’s career has gone up and down. But this week he returned to his spoken-word…
Article: 101 muppets
In honor of Sesame Street’s 40th anniversary, Canada’s National Post has an illustrated interactive feature with 101 characters from the popular children’s show. You can scroll over each character to get their name, brief bio, and the season in which it first appeared. For some additional pun chuckles visit parody muppets, such as Barbra Streisandwich,…
Article: The real artists of New York City
Bravo, the network that made Project Runway, Top Chef and all those Housewives famous, is at again. This time they’re going high-brown rather than the usual low. Casting a new series, produced by Sarah Jessica Parker, the network held a call for artists looking to be the next big Warhol. Yes, a reality show competition…
Article: Green tech finds (7/6/09)
If fireworks and gas grills didn’t feed your techie jones last weekend, here are some of the latest stories in the green tech world.
Drive time: Danielle Brigada, social media guru at the National Wildlife Federation, just loves the ’10 Ford Fusion hybrid.
Wearable lighting?: That’s one potential use envisioned by art students for GE’s planned “flexible, paper-thin lighting panels” featuring organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). (via OLED-info.com)
Mashable, the site devoted to coverage of the social-media industry, posted a cool report about SplashCast, a widget that adds revolutionary commenting capabilities to offerings from Hulu and other online video providers. It’s easy to add a comment to the discussion thread on, say, a YouTube page, but SplashCast, or “Social TV,” as they call it, is different.
Article: TV + literature = brilliance
If iconic television and solid literature got married, Slaughterhouse 90210 would be the resulting offspring. This blog pairs up television images with memorable literary quotes. Check out some examples below:
Flickr user Hot Meteor recently made a series of brilliant faux-vintage print ads for the Dharma Initiative, the shadowy, mysterious organization whose activities are central to the plot of Lost. Here’s one of the best: Click through for a larger version (with readable text). [via Jason Kottke.] By the way, if you’re a fan of…