Archive for the ‘TV’ Category


My So-Called Life | Retro Review

Today TV is littered with so-called teenage dramas, mostly unwatchable and predictably base. In comparison My So-Called Life, which ran about 15 years ago on ABC stands out like a diamond in a landfill.

The show was so far ahead of its time that there will probably never come a time when its time arrives. It perfectly captured the agonizing teenage quest of identity and purpose without being pretentious or careless. And it had the heart of a lion. Lead by Claire Danes in her unforgettable breakout performance, the cast of characters made you feel every emotion and you could relate in some way to all of them. You celebrated the good times and your heart wrenched with the bad, because everything that happened on the show felt real, like it was something that happened to you or could happen next week. If you’re a fan a show, you know how just hearing the theme music conjures up nostalgia, heartache, hope, angst. The writing, acting, and execution all seem flawless, but what I can’t stress enough is the realness of it. It’s raw yet refined. As today’s shows drift further and further into fantasy and superficiality, MSCL stands as a beacon of authenticity.

My So-Called Life

Inconceivably to it’s viewers both past and present, it only ran for one season. The entire series is only 19 episodes, but that only adds to the show’s mystique. Had it continued on it likely would have been the victim of network pressures and ratings chicanery. So maybe it’s better that way. For that one season they captured perfection on film, and its audience is better for it. Short-lived, yes, but timeless.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here are some links. Whether you are a teenager, were once one, or are thinking about becoming one, I think you will like it.

DVD box set




Why are stand-up comedians so foul?

I recently attended a Flight of the Conchords show. If you haven’t heard of them, check this out (their stage is a little more elaborate nowadays). Two of the funniest guys I’ve ever seen, and they put on a great show. Unfortunately opening up for them were three separate stand-up comic acts – Arj Barker, Eugene Mirman, and Kristen Schaal. All three of them are very talented and have obviously worked at their craft for many years. But while their delivery and timing were very much refined, their subject matter was not. Each act predictably degenerated into obscenity-laden discourses and perverted soliloquies. Continue Reading…


Why LOST is the last television drama I’ll ever watch


That’s not hyperbole. I don’t watch that much TV anyway, especially primetime dramas.

I didn’t watch the series premiere of LOST when it aired. In fact I didn’t watch any of the first season. In 2005 I was working at the company that was producing the DVDs for season 1. Often during my lunch hour I would watch TV shows or movies that we were working on since I had easy access to all files on our internal network. I had overheard many conversations amongst co-workers about LOST, and decided one day to see for myself what all the fuss was about. I was instantly hooked after watching the pilot, and mowed through the first season in a week or two. Same for my wife. We’ve watched the series faithfully ever since.

I had the island map from the interior door of the Swan hatch as my computer desktop. At work we had regularly scheduled meetings to discuss the previous nights episode. I got to program the season 2 Bonus Features DVD, which included a Connections feature that explored all the connections between the characters in their flashbacks through the first two seasons. I thought it was really cool that we got Francois Chau (Marvin Candle, Dr. Chang, etc) to host the disc. The island mythology was fascinating and the storytelling was unlike any I had seen before.

Turns out that all along it was the writers that were "LOST".

By the end of season 2, the mysteries of the island and its inhabitants were really starting to pile up on each other, and fans of the show were starting to get frustrated. I had one foot in that camp, but I kept the other planted in the LOST universe. I didn’t want to stop watching the best TV series I’d ever seen. I had faith in the highly acclaimed writers and producers that they had a plan. I enjoyed coming up with theories of my own and debating with others about theirs. All this was done with the belief that someday we’d get answers. Continue Reading…