Screw You Cable!!!

Okay. Off the bat, I’m a little mad right now. My cable pretty much got taken from me because all my channels were switched to digital and I don’t feel like having to pay yet another charge for a box to watch basic cable. I figured, ‘no sweat. I’ll watch my shows online.’ WRONG! Now it seems all the channels are requiring you to supply a password from your cable account to watch content that was, up until a few months ago, freely available. On principle this annoys me. If you already have the cable, why would you watch these shows online instead of on the television? It always seemed to me that making the shows available online was a tool to make the shows accessible to those who didn’t have cable. And even Youtube is getting greedy. If you want to see an episode of ‘American Dad’ from the new season, you have to pay them $1.99. Bull$h!t! You can’t start up your format and offer free content after so many years and then suddenly decide you want to make money. Besides, if you weren’t charging before and still making money, why charge now? I’m sorry, but if the entertainment industry is so anxious to get digital, they’re going to have to realize that it’s a little too late to change the rules to suit them. They set the precedent. They have to live with it. Besides, I don’t see how this new shift is going to make them any more money. I can only see how all of this digitizing and streaming is actually going to cost them. More people watching online, less watching your network. Ratings plummet. No advertisers because they’re doing free Facebook campaigns and they put money in online promotion, which doesn’t come close to matching what they used to spend in television promotion. Let’s face it, a 60 second spot during the Super Bowl now costs eight figures. Do you think a stream of the Super Bowl is going to pull that same kind of price? No. A friend pointed out to me, and I’m surprised I never thought of this, that all of these online shows and Youtube videos don’t have the same audience as television. You choose which videos and shows you watch online. They aren’t just broadcast and made available for public viewing. You get to pick and choose your program schedule yourself. This is factor that alters the entire role of advertising. I’ve seen this coming down the road for a long time and it’s starting to take form. The end is coming. The lesson shall be just because it’s new and ‘cool’ doesn’t mean it’s better. These leaps forward in technology are wiping out huge sections of our economy. It’s a domino effect that will leave turn this whole country into a vast wasteland with constant double digit unemployment and decaying cities. Maybe my vision is a little over dramatic, but the truth lies somewhere within.

What the…?

Okay. Must vent. I was just watching The Colbert Report and he spoke of something referred to as ‘dinosaur erotica’. For a second I thought he was joking, but then I dashed onto and checked and lo and behold, he was right. There are many books in this genre in fact. I’m not going to review them, as I will not read them, but much to my surprise, they are receiving praise. Mostly from people who think they’re a joke, which they might be, but they seem like they were written as real erotic novels, with dinosaurs.

What makes me mad is that these people are getting boatloads of orders for their books now because of this single moment in the spotlight. They crank out these short stories (19-20 pages per), sell them for 2.99 and now they’re laughing all the way to the bank, while I toil for months on one of my books and it’s like pulling teeth trying to publicize them and to get any sales. UUURRRGGGHHH!!! So is this the lesson? Write something so impossibly stupid no one will believe it’s real and you’ll succeed? It feels like at some point the whole world flipped over on its side and what I thought was true, hard work paying off and the rewards of effort, became false and now we reward those who put in the least amount of effort and work into their endeavors. Reality television rules the airwaves. The Kardashians don’t seem to be losing steam. People who generally choose the low, easy road win. It just feels like after every generation we dig ourselves deeper into this hole. We keep showing the generation after us that it’s best to take the shortcuts. Why work hard for years when you can have everything you want right now and all you have to do is betray everything you are? Until we start demanding better from the world, it’s only going to get worse. Keep in mind now we have television shows where you watch other people watching reality TV. You have shows where the content is just commenting on celebrities tweets about current events and other shows that just show videos from off the internet. If you think we can do better, then step up and let your voice be heard.

New Television Season Report Card

Okay. We’re two weeks into the new TV season and I’ve seen what they have to offer. Here are my thoughts.

The first notable change this season is that CBS actually has some shows that I watch. Keep in mind, this is the first time I’ve made it a point to watch anything on CBS since the ’80’s. I like ‘Mom’ on Monday nights. The comedy isn’t terribly fresh, which is typical of a Chuck Lorre show, but with two very likable stars (Janney, Faris) the show has a charm and sometimes catches you with big laugh when you least expect it. Another program I’m enjoying this season on CBS is ‘The Crazy Ones’. I had seen trailers for this show at the movie theater and it looked promising and I was right. Robin Williams is in true form in his first television role since Mork. Sarah Michelle Gellar also shows definite comedy chops playing the sensible daughter to Williams’ out there dad. I have to admit so far I’ve only seen the first episode as I missed last week’s installment, but for me to give this much praise to a pilot episode speaks volumes, I think.

ABC is also winning in my eyes with its Tuesday night shows. ‘The Goldbergs’ is at times uneven, but ultimately a very enjoyable show with a cast that seems to really work together and they create a sincere family vibe. I love the actress who plays the mother. I’m sorry, but I can never remember her name, but I remember her best as Clementine on ‘Reno 911’. She has always been so funny in whatever she’s put in and this show is no exception. She hits all the high notes of the TV mom. Her passive aggressive rage hidden behind that sugary sweet smile is classic. It’s also nice to see George Segal back and he is great as the eccentric grandpa. ‘Trophy Wife’ following is also a surprise  hit for me. I like the lead actress but I find that I’m really enjoying Marcia Gay Harden as well.  I was surprised to see her pop up as a regular on a sitcom as I remember her from movies and only guest starring roles on some dramatic shows. The show is funny but doesn’t try too hard to impress and in that it succeeds.

Wednesday nights still belong to ABC as far as I’m concerned. ‘The Middle’ is maintaining its charming humor and even with one of the kids heading off to college, they are still managing the family dysfunction as good as ever. This show has always been a consistent favorite of mine and continues to be. ‘Back In The Game’ did not impress me the first time out, but last week I felt myself warm to it a bit more. While not a new favorite, I guess I can hang on and see how it develops. Do I need to say anything about ‘Modern Family’ other than friggin’ brilliant? I love love love this show so much and it just gets better with every season. The season premiere episode alone proves it is the show to beat this season. ‘Super Fun Night’ premiered last week and while it was a bumpy introduction, I walked away liking it. Rebel Wilson has always made me laugh and this show seems to be a great showcase for her to truly shine. I have high hopes for this show, but I have a feeling it may have more of a cult following.

On Thursday night, ‘Parks And Recreation’ returns with another stellar season. I got into this show two season ago and I have really fallen in love with it. Amy Poehler has always been a favorite of mine and this show has placed her in the midst of a cast that adds to everything in every scene.

Now for the low points. ‘Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ left me wondering what all the hype was about. I actually found it rather boring. I just can’t help but thinking about all the superheroes and supervillians running around in their world that we don’t see. How can these people be dealing with these issues on this level and not cross paths with even a third string bad guy? They make enough references to The Avengers and other Marvel characters, but it’s like watching a Disney show  but never seeing Mickey.

I haven’t really been able to get into ‘The  Michael J. Fox Show’. I don’t know why, but I just can’t really connect with it. I guess maybe because the premise is really so tired and worn out. Another family comedy. Great for them to deal with Parkinsons issue rather than avoid it, but that’s not quite enough to make this one stand out. Another disappointment was ‘Sean Saves The World’. I was looking forward to this one too but when I watched it, the humor was flat and I really checked out when they tried to save the thing with some poorly executed physical comedy.  It’s great a gay single dad has made it into the prime time line up, but hopefully next time they could also make him funny. It’s not my final judgment. I’ll give it a chance, but I gotta tell you, they better get their act together. Even Thomas Lennon, as Sean’s crazy boss, failed to impress.

I have just gone over the shows I’ve actually watched. I did not watch any shows on Fox or The CW, although I am aware of some of their ‘hits’. I avoid The CW because I really don’t care for shows based on young adult novels and so far that seems to be all they have to offer, and while the returning shows on Fox up holding up (The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, etc) This ‘Sleepy Hollow’ nonsense had me turning away when they made the  horseman one of the riders of the apocalypse and now they’re pulling American history into it and basically taking a huge B.M. all over it. For me, I think it’s disrespectful to take actual historic events and add some substory that makes it a part of their stupid story. Couldn’t they have created a fresh and original story for the show? I mean, really. What are these writers getting paid for anymore?

Okay Rant over. Bottom line, ABC is a good bet most nights of the week. I’m waiting on NBC to bring back Community (I heard they got renewed and it may be a weird show, but I like it.) in order to fill out their Thursday night line up, but whatever you choose to watch this season, enjoy and try to avoid the reality shows. Let’s do what we can to put an end to that.