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Network television, and remembering…

… why I gave it up in the first place.

I made a conscious decision quite a few years back to shun network TV. The interminable and juvenile ads bugged me and there really wasn’t anything on that grabbed my interest anyways. I’m not BIG TV watcher so am picky about what I glue my eyes to for an hour or more.

It’s not that I think that all TV programming totally sucks. There has been and is some good entertainment to be found on the box. Buffy the Vampire Slayer,  Lost, The X Files and St. Elsewhere were all quality network shows. And “cable” TV did even better with The Sopranos, Rome and currently A Game of Thrones.

So, when my wife suggested to me last h=night that I watch the new Kevin Bacon flick, The Following, I was more than a bit leery.  Was this going to be an incredible waste of an hour? But, having been a bit of a Kevin Bacon fan (LOVED him in Tremors and Apollo 13) through the years, I gave it a go. And you know what? It is a pretty good show. I may watch it again. But here is what I observed after having been away from the world of Global, CTV, CBS, etc. for a while:

  • More gore. Lots more. The Sopranos was a very violent show – no doubt – but the gore level on The Followers would have made Tony dry heave. This is a significant change from the network TV I remember.
  • The ads are even more annoying than ever. Seriously. And there are more of them. They are shorter in length but in greater numbers.
  • Our own government is responsible for some of these ads. Once again, can someone PLEASE explain to me why the Harperites are still spending taxpayer dollars shilling the Economic Action Plan? Wasteful and annoying all at once…
  • Camera work has improved and the quality of the video is better – as the audio. But maybe I’m noticing that just because I now have a kick-ass TV!

You certainly won’t be seeing my TV time scream up to the Canadian national average (28.5 hours per week) – mostly due to the ads – but you might see me give a show that has given good reviews more of a chance I would have a week ago.


Weird news…

… that Neil Hope, aka “Wheels” has died – and has been dead for 5 years. 

Hope was a main character on Degrassi Junior High and later, Degrassi High. These were great ground-breaking Canadian TV series back in the 80’s.  The shows dealt with subjects that were taboo at the time, including teen pregnancy, homophobia and bullying – and it was a gritty and realistic presentation of teen life at the time.

Very strange that we are hearing about this just now – but I suppose the family had its reasons to keep it quiet for so long.



I’m in Washington DC…

… and lines from my favourite all time TV show keep coming back to me…

And right now, I hear a helicopter coming in low heading in the direction of the White House…

JOSH: Victory is mine! Victory is mine! Great day in the morning people. Victory is mine!
DONNA: Good morning, Josh.
JOSH: I drink from the keg of glory, Donna. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land.
DONNA: It’s gonna be an unbearable day.

Bartlet: My daughter asked you out?
Charlie: Yes, sir.
Bartlet: I should have locked her in the dungeon.
Charlie: I don’t think you’ve got one sir.
Bartlet: I could have built one.

Sen. Arnold Vinick: [closing remarks at Republican Convention] My commitment to strive to be worthy of the example of the great men who have gone before. Presidents walk in giant footsteps. They have magnificent legacies to uphold. I stand here on this day and put my name forth, as one who aspires to their example, who will daily make that sacrifice, who will honor not just the office, but the people that office serves. *Their* President of these United States of America.

Josiah ‘Jed’ Bartlett: I was watching a television program before, with a kind of roving moderator who spoke to a seated panel of young women who were having some sort of problem with their boyfriends — apparently, because the boyfriends had all slept with the girlfriends’ mothers. And they brought the boyfriends out, and they fought, right there on television. Toby, tell me: these people don’t vote, do they?

C.J. (approaches) They sent me two turkeys. The most photo-friendly of the two gets a Presidential pardon and a full life at a children’s zoo. The runner-up gets eaten.
BARTLET: If the Oscars were like that, I’d watch.

MARGARET: Red meat has been found to cause cancer in white rats. Maraschino cherries have been found to cause cancer in white rats. Cellular phones have been found to cause cancer in white rats. Has anyone examined the possibility that cancer might be hereditary in white rats?

And, the best of the best…yelling at the ceiling in a cathedral:

Bartlet: You’re a son of a bitch, you know that? She bought her first new car and you hit her with a drunk driver, what, was that supposed to be funny? “You can’t conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God,” says Graham Greene. I don’t know whose ass he was kissing there ’cause I think you’re just vindictive. What was Josh Lyman, a warning shot? That was my son! What did I ever do to yours but praise His glory and praise His name? There’s a tropical storm that’s gaining speed and power. They say we haven’t had a storm this bad since you took out that tender ship of mine in the north Atlantic last year. Sixty-eight crew. You know what a tender ship does? Fixes the other ships. Doesn’t even carry guns. Just goes around fixing other ships and delivers the mail. That’s all it can do. Gratias tibi ago domine. (I give thanks to you, O Lord.) Yes I lied, it was a sin, I’ve committed many sins. Have I displeased you, you feckless thug? 3.8 million jobs, that wasn’t good? Bailed out Mexico, increased foreign trade, thirty million new acres of land for conservation, put Mendoza on the bench, we’re not fighting a war, I’ve raised three children. That’s not enough to get me out of the doghouse? Haec credam a deo pio? A deo iusto, a deo scito? Cruciatus in crucem. Tuus in terra servus, nuntius fui. Officium perfeci. Cruciatus in crucem. Eas in crucem. Am I really to believe that these are that acts of a loving God? A just God? A wise God? To hell with your punishments. I was your servant here on Earth. And I spread your word and I did your work. To hell with your punishments. To hell with you. You get Hoynes.

I’m going to climb the steps of the Congress  building today.


Lost – WTF?

Unanswered questions from Lost – this is good


What’choo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

One of my fave child stars from bygone years, Gary Coleman, has died at an oh-too-young of an age of suffering a fall at home… he was only 42…

Lots of good memories of watching Diff’rent Strokes... and it’s contemporaries like Three’s Company, M*A*S*H* and WKRP in Cincinnati

Good times, man….


Lost – alternate endings…

I can so see Harpy in the role of Benjamin Linus… sneaky, manipulative and willing to eat his young to further his agenda.


I don’t get revved up for TV shows…unless it’s election night…

…because most of the content is crap that isn’t fit for the consumption of a semi-intelligent human being!

I have always liked shows that were a little edgy and most definitely NOT formulaic. That’s why I have usually shied away from the traditional cop and medical dramas. They’re all pretty much the same, IMHO.

But once in a while something different, edgy and non-formulaic emerges from the landfill. Lost is one of those shows and it kicks off it’s final season tonight.

I’m not going to go into the convoluted multilevel plots lines or the multi-dimensional characters. Only Lost fans would understand anything I would say and it’s not my purpose to alienate any of the hordes (1) of my faithful readers. But I will say this: if you are turned off by conventional television, it might be worth your while to rent the past seasons of this innovative show. Start with season one and go through the series in order or you’ll find yourself as lost as the island castaways.

Other television that has been worth my time over the years:

Arrested Development – this short-lived series about the world’s most dysfunctional family always had me rolling on the floor in laughter.

Buggy the Vampire Slayer. Dry wit. Social commentary. Great writing and acting. This show had everything.

Dead Like Me – another short-lived series about a teenager who, after being killed by a toilet-meteor, becomes a “reaper” who helps the recently dead find their way to, uh, somewhere else. The sticky note industry was a direct beneficiary of this series.

St. Elsewhere – Where Howie Mandel worked before making deals with game show contestants. Riveting. Well-acted. And an amazing script. Way ahead of its time.

M*A*S*H – Yes, this was laugh-track comedy. But the show could whack you upside the head once in a while with a commentary on the horrors of war. I clearly remember watching the show as a 12 year old when Radar uttered the following memorable line in the OR:

“I have a message. Lieutenant Colonel… Henry Blake’s plane… was shot down… over the Sea of Japan. It spun in. There were no survivors.”
Corporal Radar O’Reilly[1]

Damn fine TV.

1. The definition of a “horde” is being used quite liberally here.


Grasshopper is dead!

We’re interrupting the “Trashy goes to Paris” series for this breaking announcement. David Carridine, star of the most excellent TV series of the late 1970’s, Kung Fu has died in Bangkok – apparently by his own hand.

But maybe not. The family has asked the FBI to investigate as they say that Grasshopper was happy,bought a new car, etc. Plus (cover your kids’ eyes parents) he hanged himself by his neck and his, uh, genitals. There is talk that he accidentally killed himself while partaking in a dangerous sex game. Um. No. I’m not gonna Google what that might mean.

Be that as it may, I was a big fan. And this is sad to hear.



Zee plane Mr Roarke, Zee plane!

Zee plane has taken one last swoop around that isle of fantasies.

An iconic force on this small planet, has died.

My memories of Fantasy Island coincide with the A-Team, WKRP in Cincinnati (I really thought turkeys could fly!) and M*A*S*H – all great series of the late 70’s and early 80’s.

As a teenager, I loved these shows. Though, admittedly, my admiration for Fantasy Island was geared toward the hot babes on the show rather than the uh, complex plots lines.

Much like Charlie’s Angels and The Love Boat.

Hmmmm.. Farrah Fawcett

But Ricardo really made his mark in the two Star Trek landmarks – first playing a meglomaniac superior race leader and the second playing a, uh, same thing. But later. And more bitter.

In any case, another icon of my youth has gone to that grand beach that we only see when we have reached the horizon of the jungle…

Look for zee plane, dude!