Archive for the 'web' Category

Cocktail hour!

I don’t really understand the appeal of food shows in general. I’ll watch Top Chef for the competition aspect, yeah, but the shows that just demonstrate how to make stuff? With all apologies to Julia Child, I don’t get it. However, please enjoy the following hilarious spoof of such shows. (With the jump cut editing, it’s like the Food Network meets 1960s Godard! Sort of? Eh?)

2 things:

1. I want both of those dresses.

2. I already have that exact blender!

Overload!

It’s been a pretty big 24 hours for me as an entertainment junkie. Let’s talk about some stuff.

1. Emmy nomination reaction

Well, the ballot doesn’t look much like my dream one, but I’m not surprised. I didn’t really think Battlestar Galactica would get recognized outside of the writing/technical categories, nor did I have any real hope for any cast members of Friday Night Lights. But, despite the perpetual annoyance of the inexplicable infatuation with mediocrity that brings us so much effing Boston Legal and House, the list represents a lot of greatness. Plenty of the names are ones I wish I’d had room for, like Michael C. Hall in Dexter, Lee Pace in Pushing Daisies, Vanessa Williams in Ugly Betty, and Ted Danson and (especially) Zeljko Ivanek in Damages. And Amy Poehler?!? How cool that she got a nod for all her brilliance on Saturday Night Live. Pretty good job, Emmy panel. Pretty good job.

2. Project Runway season five premiere

How pissy is Bravo being with their treatment of Runway this year? Sure, I understand their anger that the show moves to Lifetime next year, but how immature. They waited until two days before the premiere to announce the cast (in contrast, they already announced the contestants for the new season of the grossly boring Top Design, which doesn’t start until September). They barely showed any promos, to the point where people I know to be big fans of the show didn’t even know it was coming back this summer, let alone this week, until I mentioned it on Monday. And then, they didn’t even have a proper opening sequence last night! Just two seconds of Heidi saying “This…is Project Runway.” Not classy, Bravo.

The episode itself pretty much satisfied me, as I do love a good “make clothes out of stuff that is not fabric” challenge. Not sure how I feel about a lot of the cast yet though, except that I’m glad the guy I decided would be the most annoying is the one who got kicked off first. With this many players it’ll take me a few episodes to pick a fave. The best moment of the night came in the previews for upcoming episodes: Tim Gunn observes what appears to be an angular, hot pink dress, and declares “It looks like a pterodactyl from the gay Jurassic Park.” Ha!

3. Part II of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog

Have you been watching Joss Whedon’s splendid “my famous friends and I had a lot of spare time on our hands during the writers’ strike” internet musical? If you’re reading this blog, I certainly hope so. The final act goes up on Saturday (ahem…actually Friday midnight Eastern time, Friday 9 PM for us West Coasties), but what I’m most anticipating is the eventual DVD release, which Joss has hinted will have an original commentary track that is ALSO A MUSICAL. Delightful.

4. Did I maybe mention this already?

I SAW THE FREAKING DARK KNIGHT!!! Neverending thanks to Neil, who made the right choice by taking moi to the free IMAX preview screening he snagged passes for. I will do a proper review this weekend after people have had a chance to see it (and probably I have seen it again). But oh, oh it is good. It is so good. Come February, we will be watching the Academy bestow Oscars on a comic book movie. I am dead serious.

Yay for so much awesome pop culture awesomeness!

It’s not over til the champagne toast

Recently, I decided to finally give this whole web series thing a shot, what with it seeming like a trend that is here to stay and all. The only thing I’d really watched before (not counting the TV version of quarterlife, and we all know how I felt about that) was the delightful Clark and Michael, starring the delightful Michael Cera and a bunch of his famous and unfamous friends, all delightful. I started clicking around, googling and whatnot, as people do, to see what else is out there. And I found something that is just so entertaining, I must do my duty in spreading the word.

It’s called Horrible People. And it is hysterical.

Behold the first episode:

Did you see the cast members from Wet Hot American Summer and Flight of the Conchords?! Did you appreciate how much they totally nail the tone and visual style of The Young and the Restless?? Did you wonder if the actress who plays “Mother” was the second choice to play Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development? Admit it—you want more! Click here to get it. All ten glorious episodes are already released.

Other more-than-watchable series I found on my quest: We Need Girlfriends (here), Break a Leg (here), The Guild (here). That last one should especially be of interest to Joss Whedon fans, as it was created by and stars Felicia Day (the red-headed potential slayer Vi in season seven), who stars in Joss’s very own upcoming web series, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. That project also involves Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and musical numbers, because Joss wants to kill us all with awesome. That fiend.

Dumb name, cool service

On October 28 last year, beta testing began for a service from NBC Universal and News Corp called hulu. The idea is to provide a free online library of content from the companies’ studios and networks (this includes not just NBC and Fox, but cable networks such as FX, Bravo, USA and Sci Fi). Moderately intrigued, I signed up for the waiting list to get a password. A couple of weeks later, I got a happy little email inviting me to come join in the beta fun.

Besides current NBC and Fox stuff like new episodes of The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live and whatnot, I was pleased to see a lot of older shows: Hill Street Blues, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Really cool stuff. Most of all, I was excited over the inclusion of the first two seasons of The Practice, the first show I can remember being truly obsessed with. (I know it got dumb towards the end, but before that whole nun serial killer storyline and the thing about Lindsey’s stalker, this show was incredible. Once, the power went out just as a verdict was about to be read, and I scared myself with my own rage. I think I was 14.) There are also a lot of good, random movies on the site.

And now beta testing is over and everyone can join in on the fun! It’s free, free, free, and I’m pretty sure since the strike is over and the writers are getting some money from online stuff we don’t need to feel too guilty about watching to our hearts’ content. You, too, can do as Becca did with a beta password when she was sick and lay in bed watching the first season of Doogie Howser, M.D. Awesome! (Confidential to Becca: browsing around today I found some newly added episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show! Sweeeet. Also, hope you don’t mind me sharing that whole Doogie thing.)

Check it out next time you’re bored. I just discovered they’ve got the first season of Sliders up now, too! My nerdy side is soooo happy right now.

How not to do a show about twentysomethings.

Uuuugggghhhh.

A pretty big part of me wants to wrap it up right there with my review of NBC’s new series Quarterlife (technically there is no capital, but I cannot abide by that sort of thing). But, since the genesis of the show is actually interesting and relevant to the business of television today, and since I can never resist a good opportunity to rant, I’ll continue on.

First, the business part. Quarterlife is really a web series, comprised so far of 36 8-minute episodes (none of which I have watched). The series was created and is owned by prominent writer/producers Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, most beloved to me for being the guiding hands behind My So-Called Life, but with many other impressive and/or lucrative types of projects on their resumes. Now NBC has licensed their show to repackage into six hour-long installments, and I assume if these are successful the network will want to eventually show more.

This arrangement is interesting considering how much of the recent writers’ strike had to do with writers getting shafted over online distribution of their intellectual property. Herskovitz and Zwick own their show and can do whatever the hell they want with ita situation that’s pretty much every television writer’s dream. If NBC wants to “cancel” the show and not distribute it anymore, the producers can keep it going online as long as they want to and can finance it. Despite what executives keep saying, everyone knows that there is a big profit to be made with online content, even if the numbers aren’t particularly impressive just yet. Some info on this particular situation: Quarterlife episodes are available at quarterlife.com, Myspace, YouTube, and other sites. The YouTube numbers currently show 794,288 views for episode one, and 29,973 views for episode two. No, I didn’t leave a digit out of the second number. Now, perhaps all those people who saw the first episode on YouTube were so impressed that they skipped right over to the official site and watched the rest of them there…but I’m guessing that’s not the case. Because the show pretty much sucks. (Consider that my segue into the “rant” portion of this post.)

Our main character, Dylan, is like the most insufferable version of Meredith Grey, if Meredith had no real problems in life (which we all know she doesI would not trade lives with poor Meredith). Dylan is a whiner. She appears to have a cushy job as an editorial assistant at a magazine, which is not an easy sort of job to get, and yet she does nothing but bitch about it. To thank the people who have agreed to be her friends despite her utter lack of appealing qualities, she begins a video blog titled “quarterlife” in which she “writes” about them. Example explanations for her actions: “It’s my curse that I can see what people are thinking,” and “Things just come out of me, I’m a writer!” Except that last time I checked, telling the whole internet about your roommate’s sex and alcohol habits and outing a friend for being in love with another friend’s girlfriend is not writing at allit’s gossiping. Pretty fucking vicious gossiping.

Luckily for us, Dylan’s idiot friends are almost as annoying as she is. There’s Danny and Jed, apparently using their filmmaking skills and Danny’s daddy’s money to attempt to start their own ad agency (later, Jed will condescendingly refer to our “consumer-driven society”OH THE IRONY); Debra, taking second place in the whiniest whiner competition because Danny isn’t spinning cartwheels everyday over their plans to move in together; and Lisa, the aforementioned roommate slut who we find out actually can’t even have an orgasmOH THE IRONY REDUX! All of these nitwits forgive Dylan for her betrayals in about five minutes, and begin the task of learning valuable life lessons based on her evaluations of them. They shall now all be honest with each other, and themselves! It shall be, like, totally revelatory, guys! OH MY GOD I HATE THIS SHOW.

Alright, so that I’m not just spewing hatred out into the world I’ll try to say something nice now. Here I go: the girls’ apartment looks like an actual, real-world twentysomething apartment; that one guy is sort of cute in a Saved by the Bell: The New Class sort of way; and, uh, the product placement is pretty creative.

That’s all I’ve got.

The morning after!

Wow. Even after all the anticipation and obsessing on my part, I forgot just how fun it is to watch a new episode of Lost.

And it was a really great new episode, wasn’t it? Hurley-centric, which is always good, and also appropriately tense, creepy, and heartbreaking. Jorge Garcia’s performance was uniformly excellent, from his last moments of glee at the beach to his devastation at the news of Charlie’s death to his horror and denial when faced with the ghost (or whatever) of Charlie in the future. Save this episode to submit to the Emmy panel, dude.

If your Lost addiction has come rushing back as much as mine has, and waiting another six days for the next episode sounds about as bad as the last nine months have been, I suggest you check out Lost: Missing Pieces at the ABC website. These are the 2-3 minute “mobisodes” (mobile episodes? is that what that is supposed to mean?) that people with Verizon could watch on their cell phones once a week since November. I just got around to watching them because I assumed they would be lame, but most of them are actually cool. I especially liked the one where Ethan introduces himself to Jack, and the ones that allude to what went on with Walt while he was with the Others. I appreciated the entertaining appearances from Dr. Arzt as well. The 13th and final installment isn’t available online yet, but from the description I read, it sounds like a good one. On the island just after the plane crashed, Christian Shephard encourages Vincent to go wake Jack so he can help the wounded…sweet.

Another excellent diversion is this J.J. Abrams speech that a friend recommended to me today (hi, Jess!). It’s very funny and he talks about the issues of mystery and unanswered questions in a way that enlightens his philosophy when it comes to writing the show. Good stuff.

Countdown to Thursday at 9:00!

For the last time, NO.

So, last week ABC announced that Lost will be returning to the schedule on Thursday, January 31, taking over the 9PM slot currently housing Grey’s Anatomy. (I usually do bar trivia on that night but I’ll follow the gospel of Tim Gunn and make it work.) We’ll see the eight episodes that make up the first half of the season, and hopefully the wait won’t be too long for the second half once the writers’ strike is over. Great, okay.

That’s all I freakin’ want to know.

So why then, why why why, must all the entertainment sites I like to read be forcing the new season four trailer on me like a life jacket on a struggling toddler as the boat capsizes? Go ahead, Google “Lost season four trailer” and see what comes up. Crazy town, that’s what! Third entry down, from tvsquad.com: “I went through the season four trailer frame by frame…” You did what?! Stop, just stop. I like to obsess over a show as much as the next person, but I usually focus on what’s already been aired. Sure, it’s pretty much impossible not to speculate about where the story might go next, but once things pass conjecture, it’s not fun anymore. When did we stop liking to be surprised? The producers themselves gave away months ago that Michael would show up again, something I would have definitely rather not known. I’m trying to trust that they have better surprises that won’t be on a glaring headline for TVGuide.com’s Ausiello Report three weeks before they happen. Given how well they hid the season three finale’s twist, I do have hope. But based on what’s happened in the past, once new episodes start airing it’ll be practically impossible not to hear often-all-too-true rumors about who’s going to get killed, who’s going to betray who, who’s coming back, etc.

However the odds are stacked against me, I’m going to do my best to limit how many spoilers I’m exposed to. I want surprise, dammit. So no, I will not be watching that season four trailer, no matter how they try to make me. No, I say, a thousand times no!


Other projects:


Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

I love Twitter.

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