Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter Hibernation!

Have you ever wondered why there is so much frustration among television viewers when it comes to the summer? I realize that seasons end and some for good, but we really make more out of this time off from the regular programming than we should. Why? Two reasons, actually. First, there are always unique and interesting summer shows to fill slots. Sure, these shows are more filler than anything, but every once and a while there’s a gem in there that gets put into the regular rotation and becomes a hit. The second reason that people should be so down on the summer is that quite frankly, it’s actually much better than the winter. I mean there is a delay between new episodes of almost all shows now and most are as long as summer. And yet with all the awards shows and sports, we rarely notice this. Now I don’t know about you, but I could care less about college football bowl games and one movie award show after another. If winter was like summer and had some good original programming, I guess I wouldn’t mind it so much. Then again, networks could just lesson the interruption between shows and we’d be all set!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So much good television, but not too much time to watch!

As we find ourselves in the midst of the November Sweeps, I find myself in what I like to consider a television weekly niche. While there are shows that I just don’t get to watch either when they air or via DVR, there are a bunch that I get from Netflix and watch during the summer or in the off season. Criminal Minds, for example, is a show I love, but I have to be in the right mood to watch it. So if I were to try and watch it each week, it just wouldn’t work out and I would feel like I lost my place, but by watching it after the season, I can watch it when I feel like it. I know that’s pretty much the concept of a DVR or TIVO, but DVRs only hold so much space.

So when the fall season began a while back, I was torn as to which shows I wanted to focus on. I only have so much time a week to actually watch television and with some shows not coming on till spring, I have now settled on a few shows that get DVR’s whether I get to see them the night they air or not. Sons of Anarchy, Fringe, Flash Forward, Stargate Universe, and now V, are on my weekly slate and it’s literally turning out to be a fabulous TV season. So many new ideas and shows that bring fresh faces and original idea, it can be hard to choose. But then again, there’s always Netflix.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Flash Forward Sees Good Ratings In Its' Future!

To be frank, I pretty much thought that the only creator/producer, who could put a show with a science fiction twist on a network and have it be successful, was J.J. Abrams. Furthermore, I have previously stated that people, by-in-large don’t turn out for these shows after the initial few weeks, but I hope to be wrong on both counts.

No, I’m not talking about V, which I really am excited to see this November, but having had some extra time, I got to catch up on the first few episodes of Flash Forward and to say that I am pleasantly surprised is an understatement. When I first learned of the plot I was excited for the first episode and then pretty much thought would be downhill from there. I mean what could be exciting about this show after that initial blackout, or flash forward, if you will? It turns out, a lot. I mean it was the same odl predicatable disaster recovery plan being put in place, but rather, a search for answers.

Giving away the plot and what has happened would be a disservice, but I will say that this show is for real. The writers have accomplished the most important aspect of a successful show; they have made us care about the characters and we desperately want to know what will happen next. Clever twists and crisp acting make this show a winner in my book.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Network Execs Take Gambles On Remakes This Year!

It’s not often that television show can be remade and be successful. Like movies, television remakes often fall flat to the viewers, but that hasn’t kept ABC from digging into the vault to try and dredge up some magic. Perhaps they saw that their former late-70’s series Battlestar Galactica was successfully remade and became one of the most successful cable shows ever, but the key to such success of that show lies in that it was on Sci-Fi and not network television. Save shows like Lost and to some degree, Fringe, Sci-Fi shows just aren’t successful on network television.

Nonetheless, ABC has already debuted a remake of 1991’s Eastwick, which in its’ own right, was modeled after the 80’s movie, The Witches of Eastwick. Despite a stellar cast including Lindsay Price, Rebecca Ramon, and Paul Gross, this show is destined to be on the chopping block.

With less fanfare, but perhaps loftier expectations from science fiction, V debuts on November 3rd. For those watching the tube in 1983 and 1984, the two V mini-series were huge hits, but the serial was nothing of the sort. After 14 episodes, it was gone. And yet, a remake has been discussed for years. NBC had developed a remake with the same cast, but later scrapped the project. Now ABC has round up some of TV’s bright young stars, reshaped the menacing visitor mother ships, and is hoping it can find an instant hit with science fiction and mainstream fans alike. I applaud their effort on the latter and would love to see the success, but I’m afraid I’ll only catch a few episodes before the ratings catch up to V as well.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Damn! Sons of Anarchy kicks some serious A$$!

OK, so I’ve been away from this blog for a while, but alas, it’s been for good reason; I’ve been working on my own fiction instead of talking about others’. Nevertheless, I truly felt compelled to come back here and write after I “took a shot” on a series that originally caught my eye prior to the series premiere last year.

Son’s of Anarchy had received good reviews and FX Network had become pretty well-known for putting out some good original programming, but for some reason, I opted not to watch SOA when it debuted last year. The likely reason is that there are so many other shows that I was trying to juggle; I just didn’t have the time.

Low and behold, I found my Netflix cue looking a little boring and decided to put something in between ubiquitous crime and investigative dramas. SOA fit the bill and I got my first DVD last week In a word – Awesome!

No, biker gangs aren’t new to pop culture, and SOA doesn’t put anymore of a pretty picture on the faces of these would be renegades, but it does humanize them to a degree where the viewer can almost relate to some of the emotions of the characters. Of course they follow-up by beating the hell out of someone and we take back these emotions, but for moment, the bikers are no less real and likable than any other character. To be frank, the characters, realistic or not, are quite likable. And while I’ve only watched four episodes; I’m hooked. This show has balls and FX just isn’t afraid to throw it out there and make The Sopranos look like an after school special.

Don’t believe me? Tune in to the Season 2 premiere on September 8th at 10:00pm EST.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I'm a pseudo celeb and I hate spiders!

Truth be told, I don’t even know the real name of show I’m about to blog about, but as my wife and I were watching TV tonight, she said that she wanted to watch this new reality show on NBC. I had seen that former Governor Rod Blagojevich had wanted to be on the show and yet the government wouldn’t let him out f the country, so his wife was going to be on it. I think the irony in that is that she, herself, may actually be indicted. So let’s let her out into the wild! Hmmm.

Anyway, I found out that it’s called I’m A Celebrity; Get Me Out of Here! Admittedly, I do like a few of the folks on the show, but this is ridiculous. I mean these two idiots from The Hills are horrible. The whole deal is that the proceeds are to go to charity and these two are so damned conceited that they think they are better than the others and even have the audacity to say they are bigger stars then John Sally – one of the best basketball players of all time. I don’t even like the guy, but how about some respect.

Nevertheless, I’ll watch it a little more before giving a total verdict for the show because there are some interesting characters on there. Granted, none are really “current” celebrities, but most have some good qualities to add to the show. So far… C!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Liam Neeson tears up Paris in Taken!

Did you even play one of those drinking games where you took a drink of beer every time a character said a word or phrase? I’m sure most of you have and many have likely adapted this game to include are repetitious things. Perhaps it’s a little weird, but this was something I actually thought about while watching the movie, Taken, starring Liam Neeson.

If you’ve followed Neeson’s on-screen career, you know that he’s not exactly known as an action hero, so-to-speak, but let’s just say that in Taken, he takes vengeance to another level.

With his daughter in the hands of Albanian child smugglers, Neeson’s character is on the loose in Paris and seemingly everyone that gets in his way gets shot, stabbed, or receives knuckle to the throat. Neeson even indulges in some Jack Bauer-esque torture tactics and for a moment you thought that he might let the guy live. Guess again.

All-in-all, Taken was surprising good. The plot had certainly been done before – Harrison Ford in Frantic comes to mind, but the action is fast-paced and the script is succinct and the movie runs around an hour and a half. This one gets a B+ for pure body count!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The first half of The Deadliest Catch comes to a close!

For yet another year, The Discovery Channel’s flagship show, The Deadliest Catch has once again proven to be a winner on the ratings scale and chock full of drama. It’s hard to put into words why this show is so compelling, but there’s just something about the raw and gritty emotion that keeps me interested when by-in-large, episodes are the same.

The narration by Mike Rowe keeps viewers on edge and these guys – who you’d probably avoid if you saw on the street – show the human side of hard work, tradition, and courage. In the second episode of the year we learned that a cod fishing boat had gone down and the following episode turned out to be one of the most haunting of all. For that one hour episode it was hard to even think about the concept behind the show because it didn’t matter. The Bering Sea showed why Mother Nature can be so brutal and that is a reality that rings true no matter what coast you set sail on or what you’re doing on the ocean.

And as the king crab season comes to a close, the crews get a brief respite before getting back aboard and heading out for the deadliest season of all.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kevin James is a hero of comedic little people in Paul Blart: Mall Cop!

I sometimes wonder if anyone really pays attention to movie critics when it comes to new movies. Yes, I understand they provide that they provide fodder for performances that may or may not be Oscar-worthy, but I can’t count how many times I’ve heard how awful a movie is and had a totally different opinion. Perhaps that’s why like what I say here, it’s all subjective.

My newest example is a movie that even I didn’t want to see – Paul Blart: Mall Cop. To be frank, I didn’t see how this Kevin James movie could even keep me entertained for 5 minutes, let alone an hour and a half, but man was I pleasantly surprised. Having seen a few episodes of King of Queens, I found Kevin James moderately funny, but never thought I would laugh as hard as I did throughout this movie. Yes, it was totally stupid and played on just about every mall cliché one could imagine, but the plot was actually half-decent and Kevin James was fabulous. We all know that this movie turned out to be a big hit in theaters and having raked in $140 mil in the US alone, the future looks bright for Mr. James.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

CBS gives the axe to another great show - The Unit!

Every spring there are casualties of television ratings. This is much more the case for shows on larger networks that need to win the sweeps season after season. While the smaller networks can afford to take risks on shows that draw moderate ratings, networks like CBS need to sustain such high ratings that shows that outperform 80% of all the other shows out there, will find themselves cut.

The above was the case with Jericho a few years back after the show averaged over 7 million viewers in a tough time slot. Fans were outraged and CBS brought the show back for a short second season, but the damage was done. Advertising investors had already lost confidence in the time slot and with no spike in viewers, the show was gone for good, well, at least until the move comes out.

Now after four seasons of always being on the edge of being cut, CBS has cancelled The Unit. Praised by critics as one of the most thought-provoking and best series on television, 10 millions viewers wasn’t enough for CBS and The Unit it gone. There will be no bags of peanuts or public outrage – the audience is different from Jericho, but the loss of The Unit is a real loss for well-scripted television and its’ cancellation is sad for those who just love a good show to lose themselves in.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blockbuster has a plan for your movie rental needs!

I think it’s safe to say that the way we watch television and movies has been forever changed over the last couple of decades. Moreover, the entertainment industry continues to grow and spawn new ideas and ways to keep us connected to out favorite movies and television series.

I admit to be somewhat addicted to both film and television. Growing up, the video store was a place of intrigue for me. Without the outlet of the internet to find out about new or old movies, I would browse the aisles of my local video store and read the back of VHS boxes till I found movies that interested me.

And yet the selection was still pretty limited, especially when it came to new releases. Blockbuster changed all of that when they started to order dozens of copies of new releases and even guarantee them being there. I found myself at the video store more than any other place and just loved it.

That being said, all the time spent at the video store meant a lot of rental and coincidentally a ton of late fees. He I recall a couple of years ago when Blockbuster got rid of late fees. If you wanted to keep a movie a few nights longer than the due date you wouldn’t have a fat late fee tacked onto your account and that was fabulous because while I still love movies and television series as much as ever, I just don’t have the time to watch them when I want.

And while there are numerous online rental services out there, only BLOCKBUSTER has accounts that let you rent DVDs online and exchange them the nearest store for a new rental at no additional cost apart from the low monthly fee. This works great for me because I can keep a movie for as long as I want and maybe exchange others more frequently. In my opinion, there’s no better value available.

Will anyone else miss Juliet on Lost?

You know; I really am excited to see Liz Mitchell in the new V series and think that she really made a name for herself with some gutsy performances in Lost, but despite the new series excitement, I don’t really like the fact that Juliet was killed off on the show. Sure, I understand that she may appear from time to time, but aside from Locke, she may have been the most mysterious character on the show. Did anyone really know what was going on inside her head? The little smirk could mean she wanted to make out with Jake or cut off someone’s head.

I guess I just think that her style of acting was well-suited for Lost because she could play both sides of the coin so well without even tipping her hat. And yes, this will be crucial for success in a show like V, if it has any plot resemblance to the prior show, but let’s face it; we’ll all miss her on Wednesday nights.

Speaking of which… There’s nothing on tonight and don’t give me that Idol crap!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

V gets back to prime time on ABC this fall!

While it will be next-to-impossible for ABC’s revival of the cult-classic mini-series/television show, V, to outdo the original two mini-series, I think that America is again ready to embrace the visitors and the resistance.

I may be a little bias, but I was super-excited when I heard that NBC had plans to bring back the original cast of Marc Singer and Faye Grant for what became an ill-fated mini-series, but while it will be ABC that gets the chance to cash in on this storyline that in my opinion, was way ahead of its’ time for prime time television.

Replacing Singer, England, and Grant as cast members of the original series are Joel Gretsch (The 4400), Morris Chestnut, Liz Mitchell (Lost) and Scott Wolf (Party of Five).

While the two mini-series that preceded the actual television show were huge successes, NBC couldn’t seem to stick to a concrete storyline or even format when they introduced the series and it never made it to a second season. ABC has a chance to rewrite history, there’s a lot more competition these days and they’ll need some skillful writing and explosive storylines to be successful. I for one; can’t wait!

Watch great movies on demand and win with Charter!

If you’re one of the fortunate millions of Americans around the country who’ve already signed up for cable, internet, or phone service with Charter Communications, you know how great this company is. Time after time they’ve offered the absolute best deals on service bundles and combination packages that keep you connected at the lowest prices.

Now that you’ve got the high-speed internet, digital phone service, and digital cable from charter, it’s time for you to get even more out of Charter by accessing some of their 6000 movies on demand. That’s right, no other provider offers you so many options and Charter wants to reward its’ current viewers, as well as all of you that want to check out their, services by giving away some goodies!

Check out the Win 10 Grand Contest Page to find out how Charter Cable is giving away one $10,000 prize and four 52” HDTV’s. Simply go to today and during each week of May you can enter the contest by just answering four simple questions.

Keep track of the contest results by following Charter’s Twitter Feed. And just in case you think this is too good to be true, remember that it was Charter, who last year alone, gave away numerous laptops, Xbox games systems, and one luck winner even drove away in a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid. Will you be the next big winner?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Vacancy seems to have a whole new meaning!

The whole car broken down, middle of nowhere, and check into a seedy motel plot with a gruesome twists has been done to death (No pun really intended) over the years and producers seem to think if you throw a couple of well-known actors into the mix, the movie will somehow be good. Such was not the case with the movie, Vacancy.

With the strong casting of Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson, viewers might think that some validity had been cast to such a theme, but I would beg to differ. To be frank, the movie was downright boring and horrible. Every scene was predictable and poorly acted and at times it seemed like the two were going threw the motions because perhaps they signed a contract to do this movie about a motel that lures in guests/victims to produce snuff films.

While I kind of got a kick out of the evil and quirky motel manager, there was little else positive in this movie and sadly it even spawned a sequel. In my book, it gets a sold “D.”

Friday, May 15, 2009

How LOST did you get this season?

Unless you have a crystal ball, or indeed are in touch with the minds of the writers of LOST, it’s hard to imagine that you can really have much a solid idea where this show is going after the season finale. With one season left, the 5th season two-hour finale delivered more clues and twists than perhaps any other episode in the show’s history, but yet if you’re at all like me, you may have found yourself, well, lost at the end.

Did the bomb stop a catastrophic event that caused the plane to crash and return the future to the way it was meant to be or did the explosion of the hydrogen bomb just keep things the way they had been? In a way, it’s sort of the ultimate cliffhanger, but if you think about it, if the events that caused the plane to crash never happened, well then there wouldn’t be much of an exciting season 6. That being said, I thought the plot tied some loose ends while opening others. The writers intended no resolution from this episode and perhaps more questions than can possibly be answered in one final season, but then again, this show has always had a way of winging it and keeping debate alive. If nothing else, next season should be epic on all fronts!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mickey Rourke beat more than the odds with The Wrestler!

I have to admit that when the Oscars came around, I hadn’t seen many of the movies up for awards, but yet I had favorites. Having watched a documentary on Harvey Milk while in college, I was partial to the triumphant and yet tragic story of this San Francisco municipal legend, but to be honest, I felt that Sean Penn was just too political in his public life to make me want to cheer for him.

And then there was Mickey Rourke. Oh, Mickey; I know what most people think – the guy’s a whacko and perhaps their right in many ways, but who doesn’t love an underdog? Had I seen The Wrestler? Nope, but I was pulling for Rourke to win the Oscar. Why? Well, there’s that underdog thing I mentioned, there’s the fact that I used to watch wrestling for many years and had been fascinated by some of the hardships the real life guys went through, and then there was a little known movie that came out in the late 1970s, was directed by the same guy that did The Deer Hunter, and starred a young Mickey Rourke. The film, The Year of The Dragon was a gritty and dark tale of the Chinese mafia in New York and was a powerful and riveting movie that left a strong impression with me.

And even after Milk won the Oscar, I could tell that there was still pride in Mickey Rourke’s smile. Perhaps he knew that he wasn’t the sexy and popular choice among his peers, but when Sean Penn gave his speech; I sort of got the feeling that Sean Penn thought Rourke deserved it, too. Not only did that raise my respect for Penn, but it made me want to see The Wrestler more than ever.

About a week ago I sat across the dinner table from my brother-in-law and we talked about this movie. I was admittedly surprised that he’d seen it and more surprised at how much he’d loved it. I got goose bumps as we talked about the raw emotion the film evoked and the true-to-life and daring performance Rourke gave. If I could tell you to watch one movie this year, The Wrestler might be it. Why? I’ve got goose bumps writing this now!

When you want more than just great mountain bike parts!

As someone who spends a large majority of his time on the slopes, in the winter or summer, I go through ski and bike equipment like it’s going out of style. One thing that has always been important to me is being able to buy quality mountain bike parts and at the same time, get piece of mind that I’m buying the best. is the place I go because it’s more than just an online retailer – get cycling tips, news, and even neat things like cycling terminology , all in one place.

For Harper's Island, setting is everthing!

One of the aspects of the CBS show Harper’s Island is the setting. Like with anything, the right setting can make or break any situation or in this case, television show. Having a somewhat cozy murder mystery set in the wilds of Washington with it’s tall pines, rocky coast, typical coastal architecture, and even rustic furniture make the story more realistic and more appealing to people such as myself who like to look past just the plot and explore some of the details others don’t appreciate.

Do you know the right service to host you entertainment blog?

Everyday there are more and more people voicing their opinions on popular culture, not unlike what I do here on Fire Still Walks With Me. I chose my hosting site for various reasons and knew what I wanted and needed. But what if you’re the average Joe who wants to do the same, but don’t know where to go to get started with your new site? Some of the things you’ll want to consider are cost, storage space, and web options. Different web hosting companies offer different packages that may be ready for the site you envision or even some that will tailor a specific package to suit your individual needs, but before you get to that decision, you should read up on your choices and check out ratings and reviews.

When choosing a webhosting service, you also need to consider the type of operating system you have, what you plan to do, how much you want to spend on a monthly or annual basis, and even the length of time you want to commit to a particular service. Some hosting services are going to be better for sites that have lots of pictures or videos and that may be particularly important if you plan to host a website like this blog. As with anything, the more research you do, the better and more informed decisions you will make.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tropic Thunder was surprisingly good!

I’ll admit that for the longest time I balked at seeing Tropic Thunder. Perhaps it had something to do with Tom Cruise being involved or maybe it was just that I didn’t really care to see a Vietnam-era spoof. And then last Friday night I caved to my wife and we rented it up at the mountain. Suffice to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how good this movie was.

The plot was obviously far-fetched and the comedy was a times over the top, but the acting was so great for a comedy. Robert Downey Jr. absolutely killed it and yes, I thought Tom Cruise was hilarious.

Yes, this movie could be found offensive to just about every save, color, creed, etc, but I can’t remember to many other times when we’ve rewound the DVD so many times to get a double-take of a scene. If you’re at all like me and haven’t given this movie a chance, rent it now!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Harper's Island Delivers On All Fronts!

It’s easy to think of a television show that ends with far fewer cast members than it begins with as having a self-fulfilling prophecy and perhaps that is what makes Harper’s Island so refreshing. Is there an element of a slasher movie? Sure. Are there a lot of over-attractive socialites partying like there’s no tomorrow? Correct on that one, too, but lo and behold; there’s more!

With two of the main characters coming home to the island after a horrific history, the plot is far-more complex than a who-done-it scenario. Visually stunning, the cinematography is fabulous, the setting for the story is perfect, and there is a great mix of vibrant, corrupt, and yes, likable characters that you’ll hate to see killed off, but this is the premise of the show. And if that weren’t enough, there will be no cliffhanger season finale or long dragged out storyline. Harper’s Island has its’ conclusion in pone season and while two episodes are already in the books, this may turn out to be one of the better mystery shows since Twin Peaks!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Day The Earth's Audiences Gasped!

You’d have thought that Jennifer Connelly would have learned a lesson from her role The Hulk a few years back, but apparently not. Keanu Reeves, on the other hand, tends to land roles that are brilliant or downright horrible. The latter was again the case in The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Remakes are rarely better than the originals, but to make a movie this bad must have been a chore. Being a big fan of science fiction, I had high hopes for this film, but after renting it, there is a small part of my life that I would really like back.

Yes, the special effects were pretty good and the altered storyline was okay, but there were so many issues with the plot that 90 minutes couldn’t do justice to. Nevertheless, it was good to see the earth survive, but many more of these films and these actors’ careers may not!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Happier pets and happier pet owners!

I’ve been a pet lover my whole life and yet I’ve also always had some challenges to having pets – allergies. Many pet stores can tell you what types of pets are best suited for people with pet allergies, but none can tell you how to best deal with pet hair and dander for those of use that already have pets we are allergic to. That being said, there are special grooming tools that you can use to minimize shedding, which for me, is the biggest issue.

North Coast Pets has exclusive supplies like the Furminator, which is a great de-shedding tool that can be used for dogs or cats. You’ll save time, money, and you won’t have hair all over your furniture.

More important than how we are affected by our animals, is their health and unlike your local pet box store, North Coast Pets has all the information you need to prepare a great diet for you dogs and cats that will keep them healthier and happier. You’ve probably never heard of BARF, but I assure you it has nothing to do with vomiting, but rather a biologically appropriate raw food diet. My folks started using a diet like this years ago for their standard poodle and I was amazed at how much she loved it.

So whether you need the best and latest in home grooming supplies or want to find a diet solution that the pet stores can’t match, North Coast Pets is where you want to go!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Twilight just isn't for everyone!

Take a look at just about any best seller list in the country and you’ll see that Stephanie Meyer novels occupy 3-4 of the top 5 spots due to the huge success of her Twilight series. And while young adult romance isn’t really my cup of tea, I took a chance at the film adaptation of the first novel recently and had some pretty mixed thoughts.

I guess part of the problem was that I went into it thinking that it would have had a lot more action and mystery, but didn’t realize that 90% of it was really a story of romance between two teens. Well, one teen and one 200-year-old vampire. I found that while their courtship was dramatic and interesting at times, it was overdone. I mean, come on; we get the point – they’re in love with each other and it’s a little odd because she’s alive and he’s undead.

Nevertheless, it was a fairly well-made movie and the scenery and cinematography was nothing short of stunning. Then again, this is not your typical vampire movie and you’d be well-served to know that going into it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

SciFi Needs to Get Back to Science Fiction!

As much as I love the Scifi Channel, I am often bothered by their constant need to put on useless reality shows that take up time slots that would be better suited for reruns of older shows or syndication. There are currently reality shows that pit people against each other in a quest to become the best video game player and then there are a couple of silly shows that are like cheap obstacle courses with nothing exciting about them and clearly nothing “science fiction” related.

Oh, and don’t get me started on Scare Tactics. I really don’t have the time to cover this monstrosity of a poor man’s version of Punk’d meets Candid Camera!

All of that said, I have been a fan of Ghost Hunters for some time, but even that show seems to really have run its’ course. I know it’s really popular and even has it’s international spin off, but the original show is getting boring because it’s really the same thing over and over and over.

Having watched some of the best original programming on television, on Scifi, over the past decade, I would really like them to get back to the scripted science fiction series that really make people say, “If.”

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

One Week To The Deadliest Catch - Season Five!

There aren’t many things I like about skiing’s off-season, but unlike a lot of people, I happen to be a fan of summer television. While most networks put their second tier shows on or throw down a line up of untested reality shows, spring and summer is prime time for the cable networks. OK, so I don’t really know if that is accurate, but in my opinion there is some great programming.

Now, I don’t want to give away all my summer television secrets just yet, but given that the show starts season 5 next Tuesday, I thought I would mention one of the only reality shows I watch on a regular basis – The Deadliest Catch.

Having grown up on the ocean, there is something I can relate to on this show. No, I’ve never fished for crab in Alaska, but in Maine we know a thing or two about rough seas and the dangers presented on the ocean. Watching The Deadliest Catch is like a constant reminder that no matter whether you’re heading out for a relaxing sail at sunset or embarking on an offshore leg of a trip, danger is ever-present.

Personally, I can’t wait for season 5 to begin and hope that most of the cast from season 4 is back on board. Pun intended!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A creative departure from the typical vampire movie!

When it comes to vampire movies, most people think of Twilight and the series of movies that are sure to follow, but to mix it up a little last night, I rented a theatrical release from a couple years ago – 30 Days of Night. Yes, I saw the movie a while back, but for some reason I was compelled to watch it again.

Set in the northern-most reaches of Alaska where inhabitants go weeks on end with no darkness and conversely weeks on end with no daylight, 30 Days of Night is by no means your conventional vampire movie. With a cast including Josh Hartnett and Melissa George, it also strays from the typical B-movies that take no name actors and thrust them into impossible and often inescapably gory situations. Instead, the movie is an adaptation of a graphic novel of the same name and is surprisingly well-written and creative.

True, it’s the classic good guys versus evil Vampire scenario, but the landscape and inhabitants of the small town really add to this story which is as much about survival and relationships as it is about the undead. If you like a scare and don’t mind stretching the imagination a little, check this one out.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On 24, Jack Bauer to fight back from an impossible end!

Less than 12 hours after I watched the latest episode of 24, I heard that Keifer Sutherland has decided to come back for an eighth season. I found the timing of the announcement to be a bit odd when the show is continuing to try to build suspense and momentum. Why? Well we left off last night with Jack Bauer having tested positive for exposure to a rare disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. While he was intentionally exposed via a terrorist bio-agent, it is explained in the show that there is no cure and that 100% of patients die.

So to me, that begs the question of how Jack gets out of this one. I mean it’s not like they are going to come up with a cure to a disease that has no cure. So what will it be? A false positive? Presumably that would have to be it unless they stretch the truth so far as to come up with an anecdote. While that may work for the show, it’s just not in the cards in the real world right now and having just had a friend pass away from the disease, I know many people who want answers as to the future of research. No, I don’t expect to get answers from 24, but it should be interesting to see what happens and I’m definitely psyched that Jack will be back again next year!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dancing With The Stars just isn't my cup of tea!

I’ve thought about writing a post about Dancing With The Stars for quite some time and haven’t gotten around to it for two main reasons. First, I hadn’t watched enough episodes to give an opinion and second, because after I starting watching it, I hoped the show would grow on me. Sadly, it has not.

While this show has had great success and as my wife, puts it, “is good clean fun,” I think the trouble I have with enjoying it is that I just don’t like dancing all that much. I suppose a good counter-argument to that would be that it’s fun to watch the “stars” progress as the show goes on, but unlike her, I don’t find myself interested in these people on a dance floor. The odd thing about it for me is that I actually have a friend and former classmate in the show right now, but I still don’t find myself interested.

I do think that there is a lot of hard work that goes into the routines and some of the dancing is beautiful and at times, exciting, but after a long day at work I would rather watch one of my favorite shows that try and find enjoyment in something I clearly don’t grasp like so many millions of others.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

No Holds Barred In Battlestar Galactica Finale!

There’s a moment towards the series finale of Battlestar Galactica that literally transcends generals over science fiction fans. While I don’t want to give any details of the two-hour finale away, I can say that for a brief moment there was a melding of the old and new Battlestar Galacticas. As if in homage to Glen A. Larson’s 1978 short-lived television series, and even perhaps a nod to 1980’s Galactica 1980, the theme most to these two shows played lightly as the fleet traveled together towards the sun. As a fan of all three, I was almost overcome by a sense of pride, and yes, some sadness as well.

I know that BSG will live on in several forms. Caprica, the BSG prequel series has been in production for some time and there are also two movies planned, based on BSG, but standalone. Nevertheless, suffice to say, the end has truly come for what some would consider the most impressive sci-fi television shows ever created.

On Friday night as my wife and I were sitting in a mountain hotel, her preparing for bed, and me getting ready to watch the finale; my wife asked my sort of half-jokingly if I thought this would be the best episode of the show I’d ever seen. I told her I didn’t think that it would be and to be honest, I was wrong. I was so blown away by everything that took place during those two hours. What more could one ask for in a series finale. There was triumph, defeat, death, life, and finality. Unlike most science fiction stories, the one thing that carried into the finale that has always made Battlestar Galactica special is that it has always embraced a theme of humanity above all. I know for a fact that there’s a lesson in there!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The legitimacy of American Idol...

To this day, I’ve still never seen a full episode of American Idol and although I often find myself somewhat curious, I can’t say as though I really have plans to. It’s not that I have anything against the show or the contestants, but I can’t help feel that there are a ton of highly talented musicians who will never get discovered while those chosen to be on this reality show can make millions without ever playing a smoky underground night club or packed up their van to tour towns where no one’s ever heard them.

I understand that the American people want other people they can cheer for and in a small way, it’s part of the American dream, but what about the dream of a singer who may happen to be 30-years-old (You must be under 30 to enter the contest) or who is dedicated to their band and doesn’t want to break from them to attend on of the try-outs? Millions of artist make their way up through hard work and years of perseverance while individuals who may or may not be able to write a song or play an instrument, get a chance to be a start in a manner of weeks. For pure entertainment value, I get the premise, but as for idols; I just don’t think they’re truly being represented.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Too many gimmicks and not enough substance in Quarantine!

Now and again we like to get some cheap thrills from a movie. These may be at our expense, or more importantly, not at the studio’s, i.e., through cheap production. Nothing was more evident of this than The Blair Witch Project, which had the right gimmick and enough suckers to buy the story line. That being said, it was scary and in the end, that’s all that matters.

Not unlike The Blair Witch Project or even Cloverfield, Quarantine is a movie that asks the viewer to watch through the lens of one of the characters and tries to show the plot unfold through real time drama. I recall when watching this, my wife asked me if it was “Cloverfield Jr.,” most likely due to the lesser known actors and lack of special effects.

Being the movie fan that I am, I hardly noticed many of the aforementioned gimmicks or even similarities to pervious movies. The issue I did have was the character build-up. I mean Jay Hernandez is awesome as an actor in anything he does and I loved that he was in this, but we didn’t need about 30 minutes to introduce us to the fire station crew. Why? Only two of them matter a few minutes later, and then shortly after that, one.

My point is that this movie has suspense, drama, horror, twists, and some shocking revelations, but they take too long to get to. Too much of the plot is predictable and this leads us to an ending that is reminiscent of The Descent. I suspect they went that route
‘cause there was no where else to go.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hall & Oates still resonate with music lovers after 30 years!

Yesterday decided to talk about literature and for a second day in a row I continue to branch out into other pop culture arenas. Now it’s no secret that I’m a fan of music and even love to sign a note or two. On my other sites I’ve discussed some bands in particular that I’ve become quite fond of over the years.

And so with that, I think that I will do at least a weekly feature on a musician or band that resonates with me in some way. For my first selection I’ve chosen one of the most popular musical dues of the 70s and 80s and at the same time, one of the most over-looked bands regarding their fabulous contributions to the music scene.

While Daryll Hall and John Oates – together as Hall & Oates – formed as a band in 1969, it wasn’t until 1972 that they released their first album and four more years until they had their first top ten hits with “Sara Smile” and “She’s Gone.” The band’s mix of soulful riffs and poignant lyrics shot them to the top of the music scene in the 1970s, but they are often labeled as an 80s band. Not so. Yes, they had some hits in the 80s, but the crux of their best music was released between 1975 and 1980.

And I’d be remiss not to mention that until recently, I didn’t quite appreciate the musical impact these two had on others. Yet each year when the powers that be meet to discuss who should be on the ballet for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hall & Oates continues to get snubbed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Shutter Island deserves a read before the 2009 movie premiere!

When it comes to comparisons between novels and movies, I consider myself a book guy. That is to say that I find it rare that a movie adapted from a book or novel can live up to the original work. Such scrutiny is typically heightened when the novel in question is by an author I’m particularly fond of. That being said, I really think that Dennis Lehane’s novel, "Mystic River" was done extremely well and was able to retain the soul and feel of the story as told by the greater-Boston native.

While "Gone Baby Gone" was a decent movie, there were quite a few changes and necessary omissions that didn’t do the story or characters justice. Now with Martin Scorsese directing one of Lehane’s most ambitious works in that of "Shutter Island," I really am curious. If you’ve read the novel, you know that the story is not only mesmerizing and complex, but is done in such a way that the reader can’t help but be totally thrown off by the ending. I of course, won’t give that away, but I highly suggest that you go to your local bookstore and read the novel before the movie comes out next fall. For first time Lehane readers, I guarantee you’ll find yourself buying more of his work and you will understand why this mystery fiction master has had so much of his work transformed into major Hollywood productions.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

There's always time to watch one's favorite show!

There are several television shows that I watch throughout the week. Some are ones that I DVR and can’t wait to tune in and then there are those that I watch because my wife enjoys them. That’s isn’t to say that I don’t like them, but it’s suffice to say that The Biggest Loser isn’t my first choice for shows to watch when there are alternatives like the Sci-Fi Channel and some cool shows on the Discovery Channel. That being said, we are both still in the first several months of our marriage and I think that it’s important to have some give and take. I know full well that if I really wanted to watch Battlestar Galactica, Julie would either go upstairs to another tv or just switch it, but the point is for us to be together. It doesn’t really matter what it is we’re watch because family time is family time. This is of course when the DVR becomes such a great thing to have. We can watch The Bachelor all night long and I don’t mind because I can still watch Jack Bauer take on the rest of the world after she goes to bed!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cloverfield - Not a new idea, but masterfully done!

When Cloverfield came out on video last year, I was excited to see it. This J.J. Abrams monster-thriller had been hyped up a great deal and the reviews were pretty good for what is a essentially a horror flick. Admittedly, it actually took me a couple nights to watch it and it’s quite short. It’s not because I didn’t like it, but rather, I think it was because I had a lot going on. Anyway, the point is that I didn’t really get a chance to take it all in.

So when last weekend, Julie and I decided to stay home and rent a movie, decided that I wanted to see it again. Julie had mentioned an interest in seeing the movie after I had rented and so it was an easy choice.

For those that don’t know, the movie is basically filmed entirely from the point of view of a guy with a video camera. And while the person shooting the film changes from the beginning, there are no multiple camera angles or neat camera tricks. What we see happen in the movie we see through the eyes of one of the characters. This isn’t the first time this type of filming has been done, but I think that it was one of the more effective portrayals because throughout the drama, action, and horror of the events, we get a fairly intimate picture of how a group of friends in New York, cope with what has been thrust into their lives on a single night.

And like any review of sorts that I do, I won’t go into the plot or give away any details, but I can say that the movie is both shocking and even rewarding. Rewarding in the sense that the whole story is told and no loose ends are left untied. The shocking part… well, you’ll have to watch it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's more than an Oscar show, but like, a whole day!

Let’s be frank, I’ve been sitting here for the past 5 hours watching Oscar related television and I’m about to pull my hair out. Am I the one that wanted to watch all the red carpet show? No, that would be my wife. Are there other televisions in the house I could have used? Yes, but then again, I could have done something else all together and yet I didn’t.

If you go back to an earlier post, I think I may have mentioned my thoughts on all the garbage that goes with award shows. The “red carpet” is the epitome of this. I mean who the hell really cares what the stars are wearing and how they feel about the awards? Okay, I understand that millions and millions of people care, but it’s so damned boring. That being said, watching all of this invested me in this year’s awards show. I mean I can’t just not watch even that my wife has gone to bed. So I sit here so I can basically see who wins the award for the one category that I’m really interested in. Wonder how many guys sit in my shoes right about now?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Who will win on Sunday night at the Oscars?

Is it unreasonable that I have an Oscar favorite for Best Actor and I haven’t even seen the movie? How about the fact I have a favorite for Best Picture and I haven’t seen that movie either? Well, suffice to say, I haven’t been to the theaters all that much this past year, but even it I had, it’s unlikely that I would have seen The Wrestler or Milk. Sure, I could have seen them recently, but for some reason, most Oscar-worthy films become Oscar-worthy before they even hit the screens.

I know I would like to see movies having been released for a certain period of time before being able to be nominated for Oscars. Granted, Oscar winners are often times movies that have smaller ticket sales than summer blockbusters. With the exception of The Dark Knight, which got snubbed in almost every category except for one, this years choices have a decidedly indy feel to them.

All that being said, I truly hope that Mickey Rourke gets the nod for The Wrestler and Milk wins for Best Picture. I see Rourke as the ultimate underdog and having seen a documentary about Harvey Milk several years ago, his story is exceptional. Perhaps you ask why I wouldn’t choose Sean Penn and quite frankly I think he’s the biggest competition for Rourke, but aside from his early roles, I think that Penn is an ass. The same could be said for Rourke, but with both perception is key.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Open your imagination to Due South - You won't regret it!

Long before winning his first Oscar for the original screenplay he wrote for Crash and the multiple nominations for Million Dollar Baby, Paul Haggis was already a successful writer, producer, and director. Having created several television shows, the native Canadian created one of the most beloved series ever to grace TV screens across Canada and, for two seasons, the United States.

In 1994, Due South debuted on CBS with mixed reviews. Critics liked the witty writing and the seemingly intriguing storyline of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who traveled to Chicago to track his father’s killer.

Billed as a comedy-drama, Due South was seen as a bit odd by some and brilliant by others. While each episode was mostly self-contained, the aforementioned theme of solving the mystery of his father’s death turned to Constable Benton Fraser (Paul Gross) chasing mob bosses and common criminals with Chicago Detective Ray Vecchio (David Marciano), all the while be followed around the sprawling city by his deaf half-wolf Diefenbacker.

The show only lasted two seasons in the US, but aired for another two in Canada and made Gross one of Canada’s most-loved and revered actors. With special guest stars in almost every episode, a fabulous soundtrack that spawned two albums, and creative writing that was second to none, Due South became known as one of those rare gems that America just didn’t get.

Fortunately, I returned to this show about 5 years ago and prior to their release in the US, I was able to get all four seasons imported from Canada. All the DVDs are now available everywhere, but the show still remains a mystery to most viewers. And yet whether you use Netflix or Blockbuster, I would highly recommend adding the Pilot and Season 1 to your queue. Due South remains as one of my favorite television shows of all time and made me proud to recognize the true talents of our fine neighbors to the north.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Awards shows and DVRs

We all know that it’s impossible to annotate your DVR recordings, but wouldn’t it be great if you could at least press fast-forward once and have it automatically skip through a set of commercials? Sure it would, but it would be even better if there was a switch made especially for award shows!

Okay, this really is in jest, but for anyone that has any inclination to watch a show like the Oscars, there is so much you just don’t want to see or hear. Some people just want to know exactly who won the top awards and that’s it. Zip – press the new button on the DVR and you’re there. Others like the musical performances and the top awards. This would require multiple zips, but a little preprogramming could keep you away from the award in the “Best Editing in a Feature Length Documentary Made Before Bush Came Into Office” category.

Seriously, we all read and watch a lot of shows and the like, about annual awards, but the shows themselves are overkill. So I think everyone should just set their DVRs and do something else until the end. Facebook anyone?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Unit - Intelligent and Addictive Television

The Unit debut on CBS a little over 4 years ago as a mid-season replacement with a trial run of 13 episodes ordered, a strong cast, but a show that wasn’t given much of a chance to make it past a few aired episodes. Anchored by Dennis Haysbert and Robert Patrick, The Unit has always been a show of two plotlines – the Special Forces unit of elite Army Rangers, who’s missions and true identities are classified on every level and the wives of these men who share in their bond of knowledge, but stay home and worry if their husbands will come back alive.

While I was one of the many that didn’t think the show would survive, it’s success has been a pleasant surprise. Each episodes it by-in-large stand alone although there are subplots that certainly extend from episodes to episodes and season to season.

While Haysbert and Patrick may have brought relative star power to this topical action-packed show that sometimes gets close to that fine line between truth and fiction, Scott Foley and Max Martini often give the performances that have made this show one of the most watched action series on television today. And while the 4th season nears its’ end, there is a good chance that this show, like many, will once again find itself on the chopping block. That may be the stark reality for most scripted television shows these days, The Unit is a well-written and provocative show that is not only highly intelligent, but outwardly patriotic and honest. If you haven’t tuned in yet, don’t wait any longer. You may just find your new favorite show.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Deep Winter is more than just fluff!

While I can’t say as though I’m typically a big fan of straight to DVD movies, there are times when one can find a hidden gem that was overlooked by the big studios for one reason or another. Such films are typically geared towards a certain demographic that doesn’t support a major release and more often than not, the movie hasn’t a chance to make any money given the limited budget for advertising and promotion.

Being a passionate skier, I search the shelves of my local Blockbuster every year looking for any new movie having to do with skiing and/or snowboarding. Let’s face it, the lifestyle sports theme isn’t a big sell and I can think of only a handful of movies that made it to the big screen. Hot Dog and Aspen Extreme made their marks on Hollywood with the former attaining nothing short of cult status, but most other scripted skiing movies are pretty damned awful and rarely have much of a plot to follow.

All that being said, I was fortunate to find one of those rare gems last week on that shelf I was talking about earlier. When I rented Deep Winter, I admittedly had pretty low expectations. While the casting of Michael Madsen as a former big mountain skier turned heli-ski guide was a little promising, it was the description on the back of the cover that caught my attention more. A ski racer, who had fallen from the graces of the U.S. Ski Team returns home to make the harrowing first descent in Alaska with a childhood friend. Add a beautiful love interest and some very well-shot big mountain footage and you’ve got the making of a watchable movie.

With skiing doubles such as the Seth Morrison and Dan Treadway and being co-written by big mountain skiing pioneer and freelance writer, Micah Abrams, Deep Winter not only held my attention, but left me wondering why this film has gone unknown, even through skiing circles. I would have thought that with Morrison’s and Abrams’ connections, some free publicity would have made a name for this flick, but sadly, I’m one of the few who knows about it. And while I really don’t want to give away a lot of the plot or storyline, I will say that this movie is not only visually stunning, but well-written and exciting. I highly recommend you add this to your queue or stop by your local store. I plan to buy it myself.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Battlestar Galactica lets it all hang out for the final episodes!

If I were to sum up the first few episodes of the final half season of Sci-Fi’s hugely successful show, Battlestar Galactica, in two words; I think they would be despair and anarchy. I k now; not the most pleasant of thoughts, but yikes, these people have been through hell and it only gets worse. The alliance with the Cylons makes sense, but what about the Cylons, who are still evil? That’s a huge loose end that they either need to tie up or perhaps hang it out there for a separate movie after the season ends. Additionally, I’m okay with Earth being destroyed, but the final five having come from Earth is a little silly. Scratch that… Being from Earth is fine for the storyline, but to insinuate that the 13th tribe were all Cylons is just too much, in my opinion.

So with 8 or so episodes left, there is lots of work to be done and to be frank, BSG cannot be left out floating in the middle of space. I think that they have to either find away to return to the colonies with a defeat of the bad Cylons or find a new world or civilization. I suppose they would just be destroyed, but we know that isn’t gonna happen. There is just no way they would kill off Apollo and Starbuck, although it’s not like the latter hasn’t happened before.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Are you LOST?

Between season 4 of LOST being available on DVD and the Sci-Fi Channel airing the who show from start to finish of the past few months, people wanting to get into the series don’t have much of an excuse to not be caught up to speed by now. Of course when it comes to LOST, all things are relative (to what, who knows?) and being up on everything that has gone on of the past 4 seasons doesn’t mean people won’t be confused by the nonlinear timeline and ever-changing alliances.

If perhaps you were a fan and watched the show through the first three seasons and then decided to come back now, well, let’s just say things have obviously changed quite a bit. The Oceanic 6 have gotten off the island, but then again, several people have gotten off the island. And then there’s that little part about the island having moved… Yeah, that’s more confusing than one would imagine because initially we were to believe that the island physically was moved, but yet the folks that stayed behind have been moving back and forth through time. I kind of think of that as a different type of movement, but nonetheless, we are to believe that the folks still stranded can be saved from a horrific end if the 6 who left, go back. So if they go back and get stranded again, does this mean they can never leave the island? And what about Ben? Can Ben come and go along with the “others?” And what about the “others?” Where are they? There are so many questions and only about 30 total episodes in which the story will be told. The writers and producers say they have an endgame, but do they, or are they too, LOST?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

24 - Jack is back after a year off!

The last two nights have been quite the relief after over a year without the Power of Bauer. Yep, Jack is back and things are a bit different in the ever-changing world of “24.” While I wasn’t all that impressed with Redemption, I was pleased with the opening 4 hours of the new season of “24.”

Now I’d be remiss to not mention that I’m not too pleased with how Jack is being treated after saving the world more times than Superman, but we all know that Jack is always the hero and both the Department of Justice and the FBI are just jealous. Nevertheless, there were the usual twist and surprises and many have already panned out in pleasing fashion. My only complaint is having to wait a week till the next episode.