Showing 1 - 10 of 152 posts found matching keyword: television
Friday 1 September 2023
The 18th Annual Wriphe.com Batman and Football Month got off to an inauspicious start last night when my cable provider Spectrum unexpectedly dropped ESPN from its lineup without warning just as Florida was preparing to kick off the season against Utah.
Apparently Disney wants Spectrum to pay a boatload for the privilege of sharing the same content you can get directly through a subscription to Disney+, and negotiations have stalemated as Spectrum rightly fears trying to pass that charge along to their subscribers like me, who are already paying $110 a month for a package that somehow no longer includes ESPN or ESPN2 or the SEC Network (or Disney or FX or nearly a score of others I can't say as I watch much).
I assume this tactic is intended to make me call Spectrum and demand they raise my rates to get ESPN back. Given that Disney and the other Hollywood producers don't seem very interested in paying writers or actors to create other content — today marks day 122 of the WGA strike and day 49 of the SAG strike — they rightly recognize that live sports is currently (and perhaps for perpetuity in the age of AI) their most valuable commodity.
While I respect Disney's right to try to negotiate for Spectrum's 15 million subscribers, I'm not particularly happy about becoming a pawn in these hardline tactics or the timing of all of this coming at the dawn of football season, especially since for the foreseeable future, it looks like I'll have to leave my house if I want to watch Monday Night Football or a wide selection of college games. It sure seems like Hollywood doesn't really care who they inconvenience in their quest for the biggest possible buck, and that just plain sucks. I won't forget this. As my father always says, pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered.
And Gators... Gators lose 11-24, according to my local evening news. So it's not all bad. The University of Florida football team losing is a good start to any season.
Saturday 8 July 2023
From the Wacky Neighbor Department:
Peacemaker Tries Hard #1, July 2023
James Gunn's Peacemaker show on HBO was a big hit, so of course its star eventually found his way into his own comic book, bringing the continuity of his DCEU — that's "DC Extended Universe," by which we mean the setting and characters of the Warner Bros movies featuring DC Comics intellectual property — with him.
In this particular case, that's a good thing, because it lets us spend time with characters who, in the comic book DC Universe — the "DCU," 'natch — remain dead.
Characters like the Red Bee.
That's him there, in his civilian identity. Back in the day, Rick Raleigh was an assistant district attorney. But that's not so far removed from being a parole office for super criminals.
It would seem that an old man with a beard like that would be retired from super-heroics, and there's no explicit reference to the "Red Bee" nom de guerre in this particular issue. But keep your eyes out, kids, because something* tells me we'll be seeing more of the Red Bee in issues to come.
* That "something" is the retailer solicitation for advanced issues.
Thursday 22 June 2023
Today I saw Seth Meyers perform stand-up comedy at Atlanta Symphony Hall. He was *so* funny. I laughed so hard, I spit.
His act was mostly jokes at the expense of his family, especially his wife and kids. There were also bits about the Muppets, the pandemic, weddings, and sports. There was no explicit talk about Late Night, which remains on hiatus during the ongoing writers strike.
I sat in the front of the Logue Left section, which gave a great view of the stage. I had the middle of five seats, but I did not know my seat neighbors. I went alone. So far as I could tell, I was the only person in the whole auditorium who did.
I didn't even ask if any of my friends might want to accompany me. I usually watch late night talk shows alone, so I jumped ahead to the conclusion that I didn't need any company to enjoy this, either. I'm glad to report that I was right.
John Oliver is coming to the Fox Theater later this summer. Since there's no sign that Last Week Tonight will be filming new episodes by then, I might have to go to that, too.
Thursday 23 February 2023
I was already having a bad day — Dad continues to be A) confused about what medicine to take when, and B) very resistant to any means to address that problem — and then I saw that the new Powers That Be at the recently merged mega-corporation Warner Bros Discovery have decided to axe TCM Underground, effective immediately.
Dear whoever made that decision: Fuck off.
If you weren't aware, Underground was TCM's wee-hours-of-Saturday-morning block of programming that presented... shall we say "niche" movies. The kind that were generally made by or for unconventional audiences. You know, the kind of movies film nerds traded on VHS tapes and college art professors showed to their impressionable students to stimulate creativity. (Rest in Peace, Bill Marriott!)
I'd be more disappointed than I am if I hadn't already enjoyed TCM Underground for nearly 2 decades. Everything has a natural lifespan. (As they say, "Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.") Underground's 18 year-run was a very, very long time in the entertainment industry, which only thinks in terms of how much money it can make today. It deserves praise for its longevity more than mourning for its passing.
There were great things before Underground, and there will be great things after. It's the same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea. All we are is dust in the wind.
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Wednesday 4 January 2023
I'm not sure I would call myself a connoisseur of kids cartoons, but I sure liked 'em a lot when I was a kid. And a teenager. And an adult. And now as old man. The good ones remind you what's great about being a kid. The best of them remind you what's great about being human.
If you have little kids right now, you can already guess that I'm talking about Bluey.
Bluey is an Australian Broadcast Company/BBC show about talking dogs. More accurately, it's about raising children by allowing children to be children, but it takes place in a world of talking dogs. I'm not so nuts about children, but I love talking dogs. Especially this one.
click image to toggle 3D on/off
That's Bingo, Bluey's little sister. Mom's beau asked why I would paint Bingo instead of Bluey. The answer is pretty simple: I like Bingo better.
She's my kind of talking dog.
Sunday 18 September 2022
Everytime I'm about ready to swear off visiting Twitter forever, I find something like this that changes my mind:
I really miss those moralizing PSAs at the end of television shows so common in the 70s and 80s. I guess they did their job so well that we don't need them anymore. Thanks, He-Man!
Friday 16 September 2022
How'd that old commercial go? "You got chocolate in my Batman!"
I didn't know it when I picked this up at my local Fine Foods Store, but this is the third year Hershey's has produced a DC's Super Hero Bar. I think it's a fun idea, even if the candy itself doesn't really seem to understand how sequential art is supposed to work.
This reminds me that back in art school in the 90s, I made a white chocolate candy bar in which each "panel" told a different chapter of my life-up-til-then story. I created a custom wrapper, too. I assure you, it looked better than it tasted.
By the way, don't miss out on International Batman Day 2022, which Warner Bros has decided is tomorrow, September 17. (It used to move around the calendar a lot, but this "holiday" seems to have settled into the third Saturday in September in recent years.) Celebrate it however you like.
Personally, Batman recommends chocolate.
Monday 25 July 2022
It bothers me that to get to the 2AM Monday morning re-broadcast of Meet the Press on my local NBC station, I have to wait through two hours of give-me-all-your-money-because-God-wants-me-to-have-it "Christian" prosperity gospel infomercials.
These really can't be for the same audience, right?
Sunday 12 June 2022
After years of pandemic-driven disruption, the 44th annual Metropolis, Illinois Superman Celebration returned to its traditional calendar slot this weekend. The highlight of this year's event was last night, when Smallville Superman (Tom Welling) and Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) reunited to re-enact scenes from their television show on stage.
As it happens, the 2022 Celebration is marking the 50th anniversary of Metropolis being the "Home of Superman," a title they gave themselves. While 1972 was inarguably a significant milestone for Metropolis in several aspects, not the least of which is the agreement with National Periodicals to license Superman's name and likeness, many websites, including Wikipedia, mark the start of Metropolis' official relationship to Superman with the June 9, 1972, passage of State of Illinois General Assembly House Resolution 572, which reads:
Whereas, Metropolis is, as everyone knows, the base of operations of SUPERMAN, the Man of Steel, battler for Truth, Justice, and the American Way; leaper of tall buildings in single bounds; overpowerer of powerful locomotives; outspeeder of speeding bullets; changer of the course of might rivers; and performer of other important functions of not inconsiderable civic utility; and
Whereas, the civic leaders of Metropolis, Illinois, have finally decided that their illustrious citizen is, in fact, neither a bird nor a plane but a resource of not inconsiderable civic utility; and
Whereas, the familiar red and blue caped Superman uniform has been seen of late draped on other prominent citizens of Metropolis on important civic occasions (giving one pause to reflect that Clark Kent must have been considerably embarrassed when he last dashed into a telephone booth to strip for action and found that his Superman uniform had mysteriously disappeared);
now therefore be it Resolved By The House of Representatives in the seventy-seventh Session of the General Assembly, that we do hereby commend and congratulate Mr. Robert Westerfield, Mayor J.P. Williams, and Mr. C. Harold Mescher of Metropolis, Illinois, for conceiving and organizing ‘Project Superman’ by which outstanding citizens are honored as recipients of the Superman Award for their contributions to the civic welfare of Metropolis; and we extend the thanks of the civic leaders to Mr. Carmine Infantino of National Periodical Publications, Inc., for his kind permission to use the Superman format and for supplying the original uniform of the television Superman to use in the promotion of Project Superman; and finally we congratulate the Reverend Charles Chandler on his selection as the first recipient of the Superman Award and find it wholly appropriate that a man of his calling be so chosen;
and be it further Resolved, that a suitable copy of this preamble and resolution be forwarded to Mr. Robert Westerfield for acceptance by him on behalf of the Project Superman Screening Committee.
Personally, I'm not particularly confident about that June 9 date or whether the Illinois Senate ever had anything to do with this particular resolution. The actual online records of the 77th Illinois Senate meeting that day do not remark on that specific piece of legislation. Admittedly, that does not necessarily mean the date is incorrect, as the online records themselves warn of their incompleteness. The text above is taken directly from the Illinois House record for April 25, 1972, the date the resolution was introduced and passed the House.
And while we're on that topic, I should mention that House Resolution 572 was just one of many non-binding resolutions passed that day. Resolution 569 congratulated a congressman for staying married to the same woman for 19 years. Resolution 571 gave Chicago Cubs pitcher Burt Hooton a pat on the back for throwing a no-hitter, and Resolution 573 pledged undying loyalty to the Chicago Black Hawks "no matter what."
But the real kicker is House Resolution 575, congratulating Illinois native Gene Hackman for receiving the Oscar for Best Actor (in The French Connection). Though Superman: The Movie would be six years in their future, the Illinois House of Representatives still managed to praise both Superman and Lex Luthor in the very same meeting!
That's congress for you.
Monday 28 March 2022
About halfway through my hatewatching of last night's Oscars telecast, I was planning on writing today about how Dune won 6 Oscars last night despite the fact that I strongly disliked it. Sure, it's well made from a technical standpoint, but it's all in service to the pretentious direction of a very undeserving script with two-dimensional characters in a world with only two colors: brown and browner. To their detriment, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn't ask my opinion about any of that.
Instead, what I am writing about today is Will Smith's battery of Chris Rock live on-stage after the comedian made a joke about Will's wife's short-cropped hair. That was captivating television!
Smith's behavior was not telegraphed. Before walking onstage, he initially appeared to be laughing along with the joke. Thirty seconds later, he was telling Rock to keep his wife's name out of his f-ing mouth. At least I think that's what he said. In their infinite wisdom, ABC chose to keep the cameras rolling but cut the sound. (Despite what we tell children about sticks and stones, in America violence is acceptable but a few choice words are not. Our ears are delicate and need to be defended. Much like Will Smith's wife.)
I did not at the time know that Jada has lost her hair because of alopecia. If Rock knew, I'd agree he made an inexcusably tasteless joke on live television. I'd also agree that's good cause for holding a grudge, but physically slapping the comedian in front of the audience seems a bit over-the-top. Be a professional, Will! That's what backstage is for. (One can only imagine the carnage of Will Smith watching a Don Rickles performance.)
If the Academy Awards was a sporting event and not a movie industry circle-jerk, Smith would have been sent to the locker room for his outburst. Instead he was given the Best Actor award and allowed to demonstrate he deserved it by playing the teary-eyed victim in the solo spotlight. Give that man a second statuette!
Frankly, when first I saw it all, I thought it was staged. I was glad to discover it wasn't, if only because that meant that Rock and Smith hadn't collaborated on creating an artificial Jerry Springer moment just to break up an otherwise dull evening of entitled movie stars delivering political screeds. The Awards could use a little more unscripted drama — though I'd prefer it to be of the sort where Faye Dunaway (rightly) gives away Moonlight's Best Picture award to La La Land. A little genuine spontaneity isn't always such a bad thing.
Speaking of bad things...
38/2047. Dune (2021)