Archive for Television

Commercials and Actor Changeovers

Posted in Entertainment, Television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2012 by urbannight

I realize that I’m better off without t.v. when I see all the commercials I’ve been missing out on.  I’m glad I’m missing them.  They are bad commercials.  Stupid commercial are even worse than just bad commercials.  Like the commercial that looks like a trailer for a really bad Christmas romcom that is actually an ad for appliances, maybe it was Sears, not sure.  And the commercial for a treatment program that claimed that because it wasn’t a 12-step program, it could actually cure, completely cure, addictions, just pissed me off.  I think it was also faith-based and that pissed me off more.  The idea that you can completely ‘cure’ alcoholism is just wrong.

I have to mention one commercial I saw for Law and Order SVU.  It ‘looked’ like a static photo.

It is a post-Elliot add and the new new people are closest to the front.  Well, except for Olivia. She was right up front.  The thing that annoyed me was that Munch was shoved in the very back.  You could barely see him.

Suddenly, Richard Belzer, the actor who plays Munch, shifts back and forth, like he is trying to fit better in the gap at the very back so people can see him.  The image isn’t a static shot.  Everyone else is just so still that it looks like a photo instead of ‘rolling’ film, so to speak.

It really bothered me that a character that had been on the show since the start was shoved all the way to the back like that.  I haven’t seen it in a few years. At least not the new seasons.  I’m almost glad.  It’s not the same show without Elliot Stabler.

When they started adding characters to Law and Order CI, without Goren and Eames, the show was not the same.  And as much as I love Goldblum, I didn’t like him on that show at all. I just couldn’t watch it.

In England, shows like this usually change out the lead characters every year or two.  That way, the show doesn’t become tied to the performers.  They want the show to be bigger than the characters.  On this side of the pond, we get attached to our characters and very loyal to them.  without those characters, the show becomes a different show and we can easily lose interest.

It is probably the one thing that really bothers me when I watch British shows like MI5 and Prehistoric.  To much cast change over drives me bonkers.  In fact, after one of the change overs, I haven’t watched MI5 in over a year.  I can’t remember how many seasons I watched.  2.5?  3?  Not really sure anymore.  It’s been a long time.

Netflix could tell me.  It remembers where I was at.

A Tribute to Peter Cushing

Posted in Entertainment, Movies and Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2012 by urbannight

Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin

 

I still have Peter Cushing on the brain. 

If you claim to be a fan of horror movies in general, or a fan of vampire movies, and you do not know who Peter Cushing is, I may have to call you a Poser.

This British actor, born in 1913, should rank up there with Bela Lugosi in name recognition.  Horror and Vampires owe as much to him and Christopher Lee as they to do Bela. 

Having an aunt who was an actress inspired his own acting dreams and he did amateur theater while also going to drama school. 

He continued to perform and decided to give Hollywood a try in 1939 when he landed a part in Man in the Iron Mask (good film, haven’t seen it in years) that same year.   But Hollywood wasn’t his style and he did a bit of acting  in Canada and on Broadway and returned to England to entertain the troops during WWII. 

He had the opportunity to perform Hamlet with Laurence Olivier and Christopher Lee was there in a bit part.  He and Lee also had the opportunity to do Moulin Rouge together as well. 

He is a perfect example of the British entertainment industry, where actors perform in film, on stage, and for television and he became a very familiar face on British television sets.  In fact, he was so well-known on t.v. that a comedian once called a television set “Peter Cushing with Knobs”.  (IMDB)

Near the end of the 1950’s, Hammer Film’s started to remake all the old horror films from the 30’s.  People saying we are in the decade of the Remake/Reboot are failing to notice that every decade does this.  They usually draw on material from 20 to 30 years prior.  What is unusual now is that they are currently drawing on material that isn’t actually all that old.

The Cushing and Lee names eventually became synonymous with Van Helsing and Dracula, at least to American viewers and apparently became best friends for life.  Cushing thought it odd that people would look at him and see a monster, he never actually played a monster.  He was occasionally the creator or a monster, Such as Baron Frankenstein, but often the man who killed the monsters, such as Van Helsing and Sherlock Holmes, who proved monsters were just humans with a bit of unusual knowledge.   It was Lee who often played the monster. 

For 20 years, Cushing performed in primarily horror programs.  During this time, although he did two films as The Doctor, he was actually the first choice for the original doctor.  I have not yet found out why that didn’t happen.  Of course, his most notable exception was Star Wars, as Grand Moff Tarkin. It is interesting to note that as many people working on Star Wars expected it to fail, Cushing actually thought kids would really like it. 

After his wife died, he seemed to have lost a lot of his will and didn’t perform as much.  His Star Wars performance was one of the few things he really did after her death.  He did do a few other bits and peices, but nothing as well know.

One of my favorite quotes by him is “You have to have a sense humor to be alive. Or a bit mad.  It helps to be mad.”  Of course, I’ve discovered that this isn’t the accurate quote.  It should be “You have to have a sense of humor, darling, to be alive.  Even a bit mad.  It helps to be mad”. (1991)

I found information on a variety of sites, I think I want to pick up either one of his autobiographies.  Most of the information seemed identical to IMDB or Wiki.  I’m not sure if wiki was based on the others or the other’s were just regurgitating Wiki.  So I primarily used IMDB for the timeline to organize the information I knew and filled in a few bits from Wiki.  Since most of what I know came from various t.v interviews and overviews over a lot of years, I couldn’t even begin to remember which programs my knowledge originally came from.  It probably came from PBS, A & E, and random stations running themed marathons where they talk about the people in the movies between showing the movies.

Of Bedtime Rituals, Beta Tests, and Ass Dancing.

Posted in Entertainment, Gaming, Life, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2012 by urbannight

I wanted to make this more general and less about me. But it is too much about me and I couldn’t keep it to a minimum. I blame it on sleep deprivation. If you want to know about it, or you just want to get to the part about ass dancing, read on.

It seems like today will be a very long day. I’m exhausted and back, shoulder, wrist, hand and ankles hurt. I feel like I spent an entire weekend gaming but it was exactly opposite of that.

My roommate preordered Guild Wars 2. This weekend was the beta event. But it took more of the weekend to download than he had left to play. He stared it Friday and it wasn’t finished until Sunday morning. Paying for a fast download speed is irrelevant if the server it comes from is sending at a slower rate and is very busy. This meant I couldn’t do any online games, WordPress would never load, and my email, home page, and FB loaded very slowly. Online stuff was out of the question. So was Netflix.

So I treated myself to a Firefly marathon Saturday. I also got a lot of stitching done. I got a lot done but didn’t quite make it to Serenity. Really great progress was made on the Elegant Pumpkins. Normally, stitching does not produce the same type of hand and wrist fatigue as gaming all day does. My my hand and wrist feel awful. Right up into my shoulder.

Which reminds me of something. Isn’t it odd how in formal writing we object to the incomplete sentence. But it is very common in novel-writing. And in natural speech. We say something, stop, and then add something to clarify. In writing, one sentence might give the impression that there was no pause or only a slight pause. But the reality of natural speech is that it is often a much longer pause. And novel-writing tends to reflect a more natural mode of speech than formal writing. We want people to really feel as if they are seeing and hearing the novel rather than reading it. Show us don’t tell us.

So, my weekend was a marathon of television and stitchery and not much of anything else.  Although I did play two hours of the Beta Test before bed. Not something I planned on. But it was going to end and there is still no release date for the game. So I figured if I was going to try it out, that was the only time to do it. Still, it wasn’t enough of a gaming stretch to bother my joints. At least, it shouldn’t have been.

Instead of getting ready for bed and relaxing at 9:00 I didn’t get started on that until 11:00. My normal routine is to get ready for bed and lay down on the couch and watch a cartoon. In the past, this was not an effective ritual. At the time, I was staying up later than my already late bed time so I could watch an hour and a half of Disney Channel Cartoons. Emperor’s New School, Replacements, and Kim Possible. These were great cartoons but boy were they on late at night. Saying up until 1:30 am is not an effective bedtime ritual.

After they canceled them, I tried to find some online versions of them. I discovered a good reason not to make a teenage cartoon for middle school kids or younger too sexy. There is a massive amount of Kim Possible porn out there.

But I did find a show that worked great for helping me relax and I almost always fall asleep during. Not because it is boring but simply because I’ve seen the show SO MANY times. Shin Chan. It is amusing, entertaining, short, mostly light, and once you know the show by heart, easy to unwind during and fall asleep with it in the background. Eventually, I watched it SO many times I wanted a bit of a break. Invader Zim is not so go for unwinding and falling asleep. But Phineas and Ferb is fantastic. The show is cute, the characters interesting, the format is always the same, each episode is two separate segments.

It is perfect for slowing the brain down to sleepy time levels and drifting off in the middle of the program. I wake up later, momentarily, to stumble into bed and fall asleep before I know it, with none of the tossing and turning that normally happens. Like on Friday and Saturday when I didn’t have my bed time cartoons available.

Recently, my roommate saw that I wasn’t watching Shin Chan anymore and asked my why. I told him I needed a little variation and P & F worked just as well. He said I must be waiting for Ferb to drop his drawers and ass dance. No, I’m not. He seems to thing that is the entire purpose of my watching Shin Chan. This is not true. It is amusing. But I don’t watch it for that. Although the episode totally devoted to butt cheeks is one of the best episodes.

Mitzy buys some dolphin goo for her face. Shin happened to see the commercial for it when he was at home while she was out shopping. He overhears a conversation between Mitzy and the neighbor lady and totally misunderstands. He thinks his mom is planning to use Hima’s (his little sister) skin to replace her own skin so she will look 5 years younger and have the skin of a baby. He and Hima then have an ass dance dance-off in which Hima can’t keep up but she wins because her butt skin glows and shines with divine baby light. Shin sees the bag for the dolphin goo and recognizes it and remembers that the commercial says it will take 5 years off. Since he is 5, he will have the skin of a baby too. He can save Hima. Mitzy walks into her room to see Shin in front of a vanity pouring the last of the entire bottle of lotion on his butt. It is very very funny. I’m not sure my description does it justice.

Which brings me back to last night, where I lay down at 11:10, put on a 20 mintue episode of Phineas and Ferb, both of whom are too smart to find ass dancing a good use of their summer vacation. I drift of to sleep. Then I half wake up and go to bed. I wake all the way up at 2:00 am and can’t sleep. I end up being up until 4:30. I want to run screaming out onto the balcony, ripping at my night-shirt, yelling,”WHY? WHY?”, Marlon Brando style, which would look a little funny coming from me. I’ve been working really hard getting myself to go to bed earlier and get eight hours of sleep at night. Instead I had a 3 hour nap, was up for 2.5 hours, and then got another 1hr 45 mintutes of sleep.

I was glad this wasn’t a Monday where I had to drive to work. I wasn’t sure I was awake enough for driving. I was really looking forward to a good hour to 90 minute nap after work before gaming. But now I have to go do some emergency dog siting for a couple of hours after work as the one owner is out-of-town on an emergency and the other owner had finals and couldn’t get home between work and classes.

I’m glad I stopped at the gas station to pick up Rooster Booster slushy and two 5 hour energy shots. I just may survive today after all. Hey, where’s Perry?