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thoughts on pop culture

2009 Fall Preview – Thursday

courtesy FX Network

courtesy FX Network

Thursday

Much like Wednesdays, my Thursday schedule is packed full, with 12.5 hours of programming. Unlike Wednesday, I don’t expect many of Thursday’s shows to wither on the vine.

ABCGrey’s Anatomy and Private Practice stay in the same slots as last year, with Grey’s premiering tonight and Practice joining on October 1st. The new entry from the alphabet network is an apparent attempt to give us Lost fans something to care about until the final season premieres in January. Based on Robert J. Sawyer’s novel, FlashForward’s premise is certainly interesting–a shared vision of the future causes people to question the concept of destiny and whether or not they can change their paths. I’m mostly intrigued by the talented cast, which includes Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love), Courtney B. Vance (Law & Order), Dominic Monaghan (Lost), Sonya Walger (Lost), and John Cho (Harold & Kumar), to name a few. I’ve heard the show doesn’t delve quite deep enough for some early critics, but I think that means the show has a much better chance at winning a large audience than Lost ever did, with its complex mythology. Look for an in-depth review of the premiere episode that aired tonight once I get a chance to watch it this weekend.

CBS – A seriously awesome trio of returning series cover the CBS Thursday lineup including the 19th edition of Survivor, this time in Samoa. CSI keeps its standard spot on the schedule, and now The Mentalist joins in for its sophomore season. At first, I was pissed that they moved Jane and the gang to such a crowded night, but now I see the genius. Private Practice is no match for The Mentalist, FOX doesn’t play in the 10/9 time slot, and Leno doesn’t stand a chance. I can see the CBS press releases now, celebrating their huge ratings victory.

Comedy Central – My love of Tosh.0 is no secret. I’m thrilled Comedy Central ordered more episodes, and I’m confident that Daniel Tosh will continue to bring the funny. There certainly is no shortage of moronic web video to fill his show. New episodes begin on October 8th.

CWI hated Twilight. The only reason I watched the entire movie is so no one could accuse me of giving up before “the best part”. As far as I’m concerned, the best part would have been if vampire guy had let the girl get crushed in the school parking lot 20 minutes in. When I first read the synopsis for The Vampire Diaries, I thought it would probably just be Twilight: The Series, but I’m thrilled to see these vamps don’t sparkle or play baseball in the rain. The series premiered on September 10th, but it’s not too complicated to join midstream.

FX – What’s the funniest current show on television? That’s a tough question to answer, but for me I think the answer is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which has now entered its fifth season. Based on the premiere last week, it’s lost none of its edge.  FX attempts to round out the rest of the hour starting October 29th, when The League premieres. I’m not sure what the title implies for you, but I was surprised to find out this show focuses not on superheroes or villains, but a group of guys and their fantasy football league. It certainly sounds more believable than last year’s Testees, and I have faith that FX wouldn’t buy into just any old sitcom.

FOXFringe baby! The first season left us wanting so much more, so I was thrilled when FOX had the brains to renew this kickass trip through the multiverse. If you’re interested in all kinds of details on the show, I recommend a trip to fringetelevision.com, While you’re there, be sure to keep an eye out for Adam Morgan’s weekly episode recaps, which are great for catching up if your DVR screwed you and you missed one.

LifetimeProject Runway premiered back in August, and continues airing its nearly-lost season on its new network. There are some seriously talented designers this year, and I would definitely recommend tuning in, especially now that some of the really shitty folks are gone. Personally, I’m looking forward to the next season, which will be able to air on time now that Lifetime is through with all the legal battles it took to win the show.

NBC – Joel McHale stars in Community, the only new show being added to NBC’s Thursday lineup–filling the hole left by last year’s dreadful Kath & Kim. The show premiered last week and my full review can be found here. Returning series include SNL Weekend Update Thursday, Parks & Recreation, The Office, and 30 Rock. Everything premiered last week, with the exception of 30 Rock, which joins the schedule on October 15th after SNL transitions off the schedule.

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September 24, 2009 Posted by | Banished, Comedy, Drama, Internet, New Series, Premiere, Reality, Renewed, Scifi, Technology, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2009 Fall Preview – Thursday

Community Episode 1: Pilot

Despite my aggravation with The Peacock, I’m happy to report that at least one of their new shows left me wanting more. The pilot episode of Community has shown us that fast-paced, smart comedy did not end when Arrested Development was cancelled. Keep in mind, the similarity between the two is no accident, considering Anthony and Joe Russo have been at the helm for both.

Joel McHale turns in a good performance as smarmy lawyer Jeff Winger, and The Daily Show’s John Oliver is a lot of fun as Jeff’s former client and college faculty member Duncan. The cast is rounded out with Chevy Chase (who is great, but I’m not sure will be content to be a bit player) and a host of fresh faces. One of those faces belongs to Danny Pudi, whose short list of credits includes appearances on ER, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, Greek, and the recent direct-to-dvd sequel, Road Trip: Beer Pong. Pudi stole the spotlight in this pilot episode, and in the process gave us one hell of a Judd Nelson impression.

The next few weeks will paint the full picture, but at this point the ratings outlook is good, especially considering McHale & company held over 90% of the 18-49 demographic from their lead-in, The Office. As long as creator Dan Harmon and his writing staff can figure out how to let each member of this ensemble shine, I think Community has an excellent shot at filling the fourth spot in NBC’s Thursday comedy lineup.

The Onion A.V. Club has a great interview with McHale here.

September 20, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Comedy, dvd, Home Video, Movies, New Series, Premiere, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NBC Hates the Internet

Old Media doesn’t understand New Media. This trite statement has been floating around the web ever since it stopped being used exclusively in university laboratories and went mainstream. I’ve been along for the ride the entire time, although from my first session on Prodigy until now, I’ve never had an Old Media encounter of my own to talk about. Now I do.

I started kingoftv.net one year ago so I could exercise a few creative muscles and put all my hours in front of the television to better use. Somewhere along the way, I decided to treat this more like a job than a hobby, and I believe that has directly resulted in the steady traffic increase I have seen since the beginning of 2009.

As part of my effort to be more professional with the site, I have endeavored to seek out many resources to both verify the facts I post, and ensure that I’m using authorized media in conjunction with my content. That means going directly to the networks in many cases to get images that are approved for use by the media. Each network has their own method for sharing their media, but it generally involves some kind of sign-up process where I share information about this site and myself. I haven’t signed up everywhere yet, but I can tell you that FOX and ABC make it pretty easy to get in. At first glance, I thought NBC Universal would be very similar, especially since their process was almost identical to the others.

The difference came yesterday when I received the following message.

“We were unable to process your application for NBC Universal Media Village.

The site is restricted to domestic credentialed media and for use in conjunction
with NBC programming only.  Denial of your account is based on the foregoing
criteria.

If you believe your account has been denied in error or if you have any
questions, please contact NBCUMVSupport@nbcuni.com <mailto:NBCUMVSupport@nbcuni.com>.”

The one positive thing I can say is that this response did arrive within the promised 24 hour time frame. Otherwise, this form response shows me exactly why NBC has found itself playing catch-up. It’s time for NBC Universal to wake up and smell the bits and bytes that are driving the conversation. We live in the age of Facebook and Twitter, where viewers no longer wait for print media to tell them what to watch. A quick search for #community on Twitter shows just how many people have already shared their thoughts about a show that just premiered two days ago. Admittedly, I am much more like a columnist than a reporter, but sharing my opinion doesn’t mean what I do here isn’t journalism.

I believe embracing the kind of attention the web brings and helping it flourish would be a winning strategy, but NBCU doesn’t seem interested. Or more likely, they just don’t get it. That’s the kind of mindset that will lead them to a third straight year at the bottom of the ratings.

September 19, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Internet, kingoftv, Premiere, Technology, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thursday Premieregasm Tonight!

Just a quick reminder of tonight’s big premieres:

Survivor: Samoa
Fringe
SNL Weekend Update Thursday
Community
Parks and Recreation
The Office
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

I’ll be recording them all, but I’ll probably only watch Fringe, The Office, Sunny, and Survivor tonight. The rest (plus a new Project Runway) will have to wait for this weekend.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Drama, New Series, Premiere, Reality, Renewed, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Thursday Premieregasm Tonight!