I can’t say I have the greatest memory in the world (it took me most of my formative years to learn the alphabet. Longer to learn love). In fact, most everything I do should be forgotten. But, wait, what was I doing?
Thanks to Tostie14 for posting the whole damn thing on Youtube! It’s always entertaining watching Lindlelof and Cuse shooting the shit on Lost. This last season cemented Lost as one of the greatest, most fucked up, television series ever to grace my hawk-like eyes. Pretenders have come (Invasion, Jericho, Heroes) have come and gone (or, in Heroes’ case, proved to be a first season fluke) while Lost continues to chug along with a full head of steam. The second season kiiiiind of underwhelmed, but the rest have been either strong or very strong.
Highlights include Lloyd growing a pair of balls and Vine “driving” a car. It was also a nice touch with Vince alone in his mansion at the end, realizing that no, he won’t be alright by himself sans the titled entourage.
Ari didn’t miss a step, using the F-word like Picasso uses a paint brush. Plus, it was an instant Ari moment what he does to Lloyd, both cruel and inciteful into his character.
What wasn’t so good? The Leno interview kind of sucked and why the fuck is Sloane still around? Honestly, her and E’s story arc in seasons past have always been amongst the boringest and here it is ignited once again. If anything it’s going to end in disaster and giving E a reason to move back in with Vince.
All in all, a solid opener that gave me exactly what I wanted – extreme bromance and Hollywood testosterone. I wished they showed some of Vince’s Scorcese flick, though. Past seasons with Aquaman and Medein (I have no fucking clue how to spell it) showed trailers and clips which were pretty awesome.
My entire week’s been dominated by Fight Night Round 4 and Hoop It Up over the weekend (apparently now named Ballers Unite, which is very gay). Seeing that my team and I did disastrously in our bid for basketball dominance (it was the first time I met and played with two of my team mates) let’s just talk about FNR4.
- Amazing graphics, but anyone reading this and actually cares already knows that. Fighters sweat, bleed and swell up all nice like. Knockouts are just as outrageous as ever, though I guess mouthpieces aren’t in the game anymore.
- Killer soundtrack. The songs included are all awesome and the ability to import your own tune for your intro is a nice touch.
- Create a boxer. I literally spent HOURS making fighters. I’ve made a Conan O’Brien, Jack Bauer, David Boreanez, amongst two dozen others. The ability to scan in someone’s picture and have the gamew build a face makes it rather addictive to populate your game with pop icons.
- Gamer face is kind of wonky. Yes, it works to a degree, but I had to manually adjust everyone to make them even resemble their real life counterparts.
- Online seems laggy. This may very well just be me and my connection, but I’d think a 10MBPS pipeline was good enough. Turns out I was wrong, I guess.
- Not a lot of modes. Just Fight Now, Legacy and online fighting.
- Legacy is broken! Nearly every time I use a menu my 360 freezes up completely. Voicing my concerns at the FNR4 forums, it seems I’m not the first to experience this. Apparently it’s a bug with importing created fighters into the world. I guess I can alleviate it if I start over and not bring Jack Bauer into the fray, but fuck that. I was mainly excited about a career mode with Michael Jackson and Roky Balboa, and fuck EA if they don’t fix this.
The other part of my week was looking forward to the new Thomas Jane HBO vehicle Hung. Well, it premiered on Sunday and…
- Thomas Jan still rocks. He’s just the perfect guy for this role, making me feel his plight.
- Fat children. Too much TV has the characters having perfectly beautiful children, but not here. Jane has two fat twins who are far from attractive and I’ll give the show kudos for that.
- Good concept and funny, to boot. It’s like Weeds and Breaking Bad, but with prostitution instead of drugs and it has the potential to be as good as Weeds. Not Breaking Bad, but definitely Weeds.
- Anne Heche kind of sucked. She was just consistently annoying at all times.
- The children are walking stereotypes. The son is a finger nails painted goth while the daughter is dating someone named Hammer. Real original there.
- The poet pimp. I like the idea of Jane having a female pimp, especially a poet pimp, but something about the actress who plays her just rubs me the wrong way.
- Multple, shrieking orgasms.
Emmy season is right around the corner, with the official nomination announcements for the Primetime Emmys coming July 16th. Of all the awards shows, this is by far my favourite on the virtue of television being a far bigger part of my life than movies, video games or music. Of course, is also means it’s the most frustrating award seeing that I rarely see eye to eye with the winners and sometimes the picks.
Last year surprised me because of Alec Baldwin and Bryan Cranston’s deserved wins. I didn’t really expect it, but damnit I wanted them to make it. I was glad to see the judges weren’t all retarded chimps.
I know the actual awards ceremony isn’t on until September, but with most of the shows it’ll be focusing on over and done with I think we can all indulge in a bit of early speculation. Here are my personal predictions on the nominees and winners for the major categories.
Drama Series: I would think Lost was a shoe in for a nomination, but it’s heavy sci-fi flavour would definitely alienate a good deal of the voters. I would personally love to see Breaking Bad win but I doubt it’d even be nominated, so I’ll settle with AMC’s other big gun in Mad Men. Dexter definitely deserves a nomination for last season’s spectacular return to form and here’s hoping House gets some attention for a fantastic year. The critics seem to love Rescue Me, but my choice of winner? The fucking Shield. The final season was disturbingly, violently epic and deserves the kudos.
Lead Actor – Drama: It’d be kind of ridiculous if Bryan Cranston, last year’s winner, doesn’t at least get a nomination especially for an even better performance. I hear Gabriel Byrne was nice in In Treatment, but I haven’t seen it yet myself. Michael C. Hall, Michael Chiklis and John Hamm are signed and sealed as nominees, but the winner will in all likelihood be the always inexplicably snubbed Hugh Laurie. He’s won two Golden Globes but never an Emmy, so this has to be his year, especially after the best season of House in a long time.
Lead Actress – Drama: Kyra Sedgwick and Glenn Close are probably in for a two horse race this time around. Close was great in Damages and Sedgwick is a critical darling (I haven’t seen The Closer yet). The dark horse would be Anna Paquin for True Blood, but I’ve always thought her character was far and away the weakest aspect of a great show.
Comedy Series: The most predictable category, really. The Office and 30 Rock are a lock to be back, but seeing that both have won already I don’t know if their chances are good to repeat despite being the two funniest shows on TV. The Big Bang Theory probably has the biggest chance at winning by virtue of being the only other viable candidate even though How I Met Your Mother is by far the funnier multi-camera sitcom. For some reason, the Emmys hate Mother. The show I really want to see nominated is Chuck but there’s a snowball’s chance under Kristy Ally that happens.
Lead Actor – Comedy: Steve Carell will probably get a nomination for another outstanding year as indefensible, yet lovable, Michael Scott but really, who are we kidding? Alec Baldwin has this category locked down tighter than Fort Knox. Baldwin’s been a comedic tsunami since 30 Rock began and even if you don’t like the show, you like him.
Lead Actress – Comedy: You can say names like Poehler (she was good in a really crappy show), Ferrera, and Collette, but the only name you need to know is Fey. Hopefully another Emmy for Tina can propel 30 Rock with a much deserved ratings boost. Damn the show is funny.
I’ll be the first to admit that I kind of despised True Blood when it first aired. I gave the series three episodes to hook me, but it just kept pissing me off more and more. The story was weak and the characters were pathetically one dimensional. I was a huge fan of Six Feet Under, Alan Ball’s previous show. I’m of the opinion the final episode of SFU is one of the greatest pieces of television ever produced, especially the final ten minutes. It gives a new meaning to “finale.”
This is why I was so disappointed in True Blood at first. Was this just another John From Cincinnati? Where an awesome show creator comes off a creative high and just bombs? With John you had David Milch coming off of the incredible Deadwood to create the most mind numbingly awful shows in recent memory. Could True be Ball’s John? It sure looked like it.
But last summer when there was absolutely nothing else to watch, I loaded up the serie’s first season and decided I needed something to laugh at. And laugh I did. Many things about the show are laughable, from the writing to the acting, to the general production values. Then a realization struck me – I wasn’t laughing at the show anymore, I was laughing with it.
This is a show whose cast and crew don’t take seriously themselves, despite the plot being deadly serious. It’s like intentional B-rated television with a AAA production budget. There’s something oddly heroic, albeit a bit stupid, about that. As long as you don’t take any of the characters or situations seriously, there’s a lot of fun to be had here. Lots of nudity, bucket loads of gore and a good deal guilty pleasure likability.
Not high brow in the least, but damn fun to watch.
So, what about the season premier? Well, think of it less than an explosive premier and more a direct continuation of last season’s final episode. There are no shocking revelations to be had here, just the characters going about their business. Sookie is still stupid, idiotic Sookie and Bill is still hilariously deadpan Bill. Nothing new there, except for that vampire Bill had to change. She’s annoying as hell, but hot nonetheless. Jason is still enthralled by the anti-vampire cult, but who honestly doesn’t see him sleeping with the preacher’s wife?
The only “big” events were Lafayette’s capture (the reveal of his captor is awesome and makes sense) and more information on Sam’s relationship with vibrator woman. Apparently she statutorily raped his ass. Not necessarily a bad thing seeing that she’s a fine piece of tail.
Hmm, it really doesn’t sound like a glowing review does it? But that’s the point. There’s nothing glowing about the show. It is what it is, and it makes no apologies for it. The writing isn’t any snappier than it was and the acting is definitely still an inch or two about ludicrous. But that’s its charm. If you liked the first season, you’ll like this premier. If you hated the show (and I know a lot of people do) then this is just more of the same. No attempts were made to transcend itself. If anything they went the extra mile to stay the same.
According to Variety the show had the highest rating since Sopranos for HBO so obviously the show grew a larger following due to DVD sales. With 3.7 million viewers, it was 1.7 million more than last season’s finale and has positioned itself as the highest rated show for the network.
…relative to his predecessors. I anticipate him to do as well, if not better, than Letterman but The Tonight Show is an institution of television. Wind or rain on the TV landsape, you always knew The Tonight Show would always be there as a tender, loving constant. As such, its consistently garnered the highest ratings of the late night landscape.
I just don’t think Conan can live up to that.
I adore Conan O’Brien. He’s to me what Johnny Carson is to the older generation – extremely likable, hilarious and best of all he’s familiar. His schtick hasn’t changed in over a decade, keeping up the self-deprecation and mixing in the absurd. Where else do you get a masturbating bear or a celebration of Fall Foliage day with Mr. T? Hell, where else will you get this much Mr. T at all? And what of Abe Vigoda? What’s to become of him now in the wild of Central Park?
But now he’s moved to 11:35 and Los Angeles, where being smart, abstract and generally intellectual won’t fly in a town where its stars don’t want to look like fools amongst their peers. Sure, they can let loose when they’re all the way on the east coast, but many stars don’t want any of that at home. They want to go on a talk show, talk about themselves and get a brief spike in exposure. That’s it. That’s why they love Leno so much – Leno does nothing but pucker up for every celebrity’s ass.
In this sense, Conan is closer to Letterman where he uses his head to guide interviews and keeps things interesting by recognizing the absurd and capitalizing on it. He isn’t as cold as Letterman seems sometimes, but it’s still very much in the same vein and it can get alienating. Great for the audience, not so much for celebrities not interested in mockery.
So, new show, new time, new location…how is it going to work out? I’m afraid it won’t be well. I want him to be a smash success, but what’s usually the case with critical and intellectual applause is that it simply doesn’t take with the mainstream.
Even NBC eventually realized this, giving Leno a primetime show fearing Conan’s Tonight will pull in far fewer viewers than Leno’s. They knew they couldn’t afford to lose Big Red to a competing network, but they knew he simply doesn’t have the mass market appeal to live up to past Tonight alumni.
UPDATE – The week and a half review.
He’s been handling the show pretty well so far. He isn’t as off the wall as he was on Late Night, but he didn’t exactly conform to mediocrity, either. I miss the string dance and being more intimate with the camera, though. So far the guests have been more or less outstanding, with Conan bringing on the tried and true like Will Ferrel and Tom Hanks. He has a particular repartee with these people, usually ending with them demeaning him, that is really nie to watch.
Reminds you of his time in New York.
Of course, changes were made and the biggest one is that beautiful set. I mean, holy shit that’s a goregous stage. I really love the art deco motif (God did I really just sound that douchy?) and it’s just so much bigger than his old set. But could it be too big? Shots of the audience are rare outside of the occasional cut to poor old Andy, banished to the far nether regions of the stage. It just hasn’t felt like there’s much of a connection with the rather large audience with them being so far away. Late Night made it a point to have the audience be a part of the show rather then just being the obligatory viewers.
Also, the antics have been curbed to a noticeable degree. Besides a really welcome In the Year 3000 update to a beloved skit, it’s mainly just been talking about how different LA was to New York and footage of Conan locally, doing Conan-ish things.
In all, it’s Conan-lite: A softer, less wild version that’s easier to consume. Still, it’s 79 times more watchable than Leno.