Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

I Walk the Line

Levi’s has a really nice set of TV comercials for their Straight Leg jeans. All three  feature covers of Johnny Cash’s "Walk the Line". There’s a female version, a male version, and, finally, a duet. I usually fast-forward through commercials, but when I first heard the male version I couldn’t help but stop and watch. The female version is just as good.

The takes on the song are new, but I think the ads do a very effective job portraying the original’s theme of unswerving faithfulness to the one you love. When many commercials seem to be designed for pure shock value there’s something unashamedly and refreshingly old-fashioned about the sentiment and the treatment, right down to the scene where the guy slows his determined stride to walk patiently behind the old couple. I like it.

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Mr. Yuk is Mean!

Mr. Yuk is GREEEN!

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Have any of you guys seen "Most Haunted" on the Travel Channel? What an incredibly stupid show.

Most of the show involves a bunch of highly impressionable Brits wandering around in the dark, filmed in glowy green night-vision. They pick their way through various "haunted" buildings and talk themselves into thinking they’ve sensed a mysterious ghostly touch, a cold draft, or an inexplicable thumping sound. Which, of course, indicates a spirtual presence. Then they scream like scared schoolgirls and run from the room in a blind panic.

The woman of the group is the worst of them and even the others in the group seem to get a little impatient with her hysterics. There’s also a white-haired guy who channels spirits by waving his hands a lot and conducts seances in which the group senses ghostly presences by noting vibrations in a wobbly endtable. 

It’s a hoot. Where else can you see silly people take themselves so seriously? Except in Congress, I mean.

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Bon Voyage to Gilligan

Bob Denver, TV’s Gilligan, Dies at 70

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Having a reality show fix your home for free could be very expensive:

Instead of a handicapped-friendly home that made
their life easier, they got a shoddy wreck of a house that latest
estimates say will cost $350,000 to fix, the Rosiers’ attorney, Mark
Belongia, said.

“Essentially what they did is build a movie set,” Belongia said.

remains exposed; door knobs are round, impossible for Steven to grasp;
a dryer is vented into the home rather than out of it; smoke detectors
don’t work; plywood covers basement windows; siding and plumbing was
improperly installed; the furnace has no foundation and is stuffed in a
crawl space and sod was installed directly over limestone paving,
Belongia said.

I suspect the lawyer’s got it right, and all the producers were concerned about was slapping something together that would look nice on camera — at least as long as the cameras didn’t look too closely. And in this case a financially strapped family with a handicapped child ends up with an expensive, unlivable mess instead of a home.

It sounds like financial problems were behind this decision, but anyone who turns over their home to strangers to "renovate" is just asking for trouble. The shows are run for the amusement of the audience and the shock value of the reveal, not the satisfaction of the owner. And certainly not for long-term livability.

The same goes for cars, too. If I had a classic car, even a shabby one, and someone turned it into a stupid looking ground-scraping hotrod with huge rims and day-glo paint I’d be looking for someone to run over. At least the guys on Pimp My Ride have a sense of humor.

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Once upon a time there was an obscure TV series from the 1970’s called Salvage-1. The plot of the TV movie that started it all had Andy Griffith’s character building a nifty rocket from materials found in a junkyard. They then staged a lunar mission to salvage the Apollo equipment NASA left behind on the moon. The series that followed had his team of experts doing all sorts of challenging but improbable salvage operations.

The original series isn’t available on DVD but, seriously, I think Salvage-1 would be a good candiate for a modern remake. Especially considering we have shows devoted to building cool things from junk, and even real live private spacecraft. That’s pretty cool, even if they aren’t moon rockets powered by magical fuels and piloted by Andy Griffith.

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Battlestar Galactica

I can spot most SF plots coming a mile away (though it’s often still fun to watch them arrive). But the new Battlestar Galactica just keeps surprising me. I’m also pleasantly surprised by Richard Hatch’s convincing portrayal of his new character Tom Zarich.

If you enjoy science fiction and haven’t yet given it a chance, you really should. The first season has nearly ended so you’ll be able to catch the early episodes in reruns soon.

The Sci-Fi channel is doing some other neat Battlestar-related things. Like releasing the first episode for free download with extra scenes, offering downloadable MP3 episode audio commentary from director Ron Moore, and hosting Mr. Moore’s blog, which often has interesting teasers about future developments. And, of course, they have a vibrant BSG discussion forum, too. I’ve had my quarrels with the Sci-Fi channel in the past, but it’s good to see a network that knows how to treat it’s fans.

So tune in and enjoy the series. Come. Join us…

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