Tag: TV

Conspiracies, Fiction, and New TV

July 8, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More
Conspiracies, Fiction, and New TV

Time out for a bit of pop culture. Indulge me, this is only marginally serious.

I just finished watching the new show on SyFy called Warehouse 13. I enjoyed it, it was a good ride, even though they clearly went after the X-Files crowd with this one. It could be worth a few hours to see where they go with it. They took the endless warehouse from Indiana Jones, added some National Treasure grace notes, stirred in a dollop of Muldur and Scully, and introduced a bit of humor. That last is very important, because when you have a premise that is this borderline, taking it too seriously is risking alienating a lot of audience. The main reason the X-Files worked was the mood, the color, the textures that Chris Carter wove into it, and he played the conspiracy theory game like a master. But for me, it got very old very fast.

The problems with the X-Files were manifold and manifest. The biggest one was Scully. She was the dumbest “scientist” I’d ever seen on television or read in fiction. To remain so obdurately unseeing through all that she was put through required zero imagination in the character, zero sense of humor, and probably some sort of serial fixation or related pathology. If they’d played that up it might have worked, but for pity’s sake she was just dense. And therefore unbelievable.

Not to mention, of course, that much of the “science” in X-Files was atrocious. But that’s a charge that can be leveled as many shows on television, many movies, and quite a few novels.

(It would seem to me, though, that when a show is based supposedly on science, even fringe science, an attempt would be made to Get It Right. It wouldn’t take much in most instances, just someone on staff who could say “That won’t work” and then offer a way that it would. I understand some shows have such a person, but he or she is more often ignored than heeded, probably because the recommendations wouldn’t be dramatic. But I often wonder if the real reason they’re ignored is because the assumption is made that putting in valid science would make the audience feel stupid—since clearly it makes the producers of the shows feel stupid!)

The other problem with it was the profundity of the secrets ultimately being kept. It worked well when Muldur was just going through a bunch of old case files no one wanted to tackle because they led to bizarre places. Kept modest like that would have allowed the concept to work on the fringe, where it started out, and could have been very entertaining. But when it became this all-encompassing, “the aliens have been here and we are in league with them” kind of schtick, it became ridiculous.

Because they were trying to keep it consistent with mimetic fiction.

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Youtube and copyright

February 8, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More
Youtube and copyright

Word is getting around the Internet that Youtube is no longer the wild west. Youtube is pulling down numerous video due to copyright violations. What is a copyright violation? Youtube has published this succinct set of guidelines, including various links for further understanding. It’s a good starting place for anyone tempted to make use of the creative works of others without their explicit permission.

Here’s a hint: “Fair use” doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want.

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Turn off your TV to be happy

November 14, 2008 | By | 3 Replies More
Turn off your TV to be happy

Sociologists at the University of Maryland have concluded that “unhappy people watch more TV, while people who describe themselves as very happy spend more time reading and socializing.” The study appears in the December issue of the journal Social Indicators Research. The study was based on 30-years worth of national data from time-use studies.   Here’s […]

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Excerpts from “Network”

October 17, 2008 | By | Reply More
Excerpts from “Network”

This is a YouTube complilation based on a speech made from the 1976 movie Network. This tube is the gospel . . . Television is a god-damned amusement park . . . you’re never going to get any truth from us . . . Turn off your TV. Related post: Just say “no” to TV. […]

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Stop rubber-stamp license renewals for TV and Radio stations

July 31, 2007 | By | 1 Reply More
Stop rubber-stamp license renewals for TV and Radio stations

That’s what the broadcast license-renewal process has become:  a rubber stamp procedure.  The following are the words of FCC Commissioner Michael Copps: [U]nder pressure from media conglomerates, previous commissions have eviscerated the renewal process. Now we have what big broadcasters lovingly call “postcard renewal” — the agency typically rubber-stamps an application without any substantive review. Denials […]

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