Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

I know, I know….I said I would write one of these blogs each week…and well lets just say I haven’t completely fulfilled that commitment. I never knew this parenting thing would take up so much time.

So really if you want to blame someone, blame my daughter. She is 18 months old, what the hell else does she need from me, right? I’m pretty sure I have already taught her everything I know. Everything.

Then there’s my wife….I barely have time to breath after all the things she expects out of me. Things like, showering, eating actual food and even getting out of bed…The nerve.

Of course don’t forget society…Don’t even get me started on those unrealistic expectations!

Anyway, in between all of the hectic demands on my plate I have been able to write a couple things. I started to write some entertainment articles at the site http://www.newsforshoppers.com . They have tons of insightful articles on a range of topics, plus many features with helpful tips for consumers.

Assuming you can pull yourself away from all of life’s insanity, check out my first article here:

http://www.newsforshoppers.com/superheroes-wage-war-dc-vs-marvel-spills-over-into-tv/36726462/

Thanks for the support – Be back soon….Hopefully. Jay Follow – @FredThePeacock

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Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

The resurgence of 24 is rapidly approaching. May 5th 2014, the clock starts ticking again. Although, whether the clock will still be an intricate thematic device with the new shortened format, is yet to be seen . What is known is that Jack is back. As always, Jack will be accompanied by a plethora of bullets, explosions, chases, double-crosses, triple-crosses and of course the fan favorite exclamation: “Dammit!”

Only one thing about the outcome of the show is certain right now. That is, when it is all said and done, some fans will be angry. It is inevitable. Fans will cry outrage and fire up their laptops or Ipads to vent on their message board of choice. This is not unique to 24. All shows have their outspoken advocates. When a show ends, no matter how the writers choose to wrap up, there will be calls for public execution (think Lost, or more recently How I Met Your Mother). The only show that got away mostly unscathed was Breaking Bad. It got a pass, as it left viewers with a satisfying ending that made sense.

How can 24: Live Another Day, avoid this backlash? It probably can’t. Below are 5 things Jack should do, and 5 he should avoid. If accomplished the writers may get the slightest of reprieve, when the clock hits its final mark.

Jack Should Not…
5. Fall In Love / Have Sex

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

It is just not a good idea Jack.

For one reason, we don’t need to see it. It is not why we watch. It has much more impact to the viewer to see him pine over his long dead wife and know that the real, ruthless Jack Bauer was born when she died.

Speaking of dead wives, lets take at look at his track record: First wife murdered (but not before he had an affair with the woman that would later kill her). Had a fling with the wife of Mexican drug cartel Kingpin, only to have her wind up dead in the back of a pickup truck. Fell in love with a woman who was brave enough to risk her life, crossing the globe to rescue him from a Chinese prison. Only to be mentally tortured to the point that her only relief was falling into a seemingly permanent catatonic state. And what happens when Jack finally has sex? Sniper takes her out right after.

How has Chole survived so long? She kept things strictly platonic, that’s how.

Stay away from the ladies Jack….It doesn’t end well…for them.

4. Assume That The Guy You Got is THE Guy

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Because it never is.

There is a hierarchy to villains in 24. Jack has to work his way up the ladder of baddies before he can confront the big bad. Whether that big bad is the original, Victor Drazen, or the calculating Stephen Saunders or the evilest man on the planet, Charles Logan, Jack will inevitably have to go through a few red herrings to bring them down.

The formula is followed year after year. So why is it when they catch the guy they were originally after they assume the threat is over? How come when the nuke is disarmed and the day is only half over they assume the coast is clear.

It is never entirely clear to Jack or the viewer who the real threat is, but you can be damn sure it isn’t the first or even the second fish caught. Jack needs to keep shaking trees until the big fish falls out. As seen in the past, it could be anyone, remember dear old daddy Phillip Bauer?

Speaking of Dad…

3. Contact Any Family

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Not Aunt Carol, not Josh Bauer, and please not Kim.

For everyone’ s sake, Jack’s family should stay out of it. Sometimes it is beyond Jack’s control when they get involved. Regardless of who brings them in, if there is a Bauer on screen they’re irrevocably a target.

As a viewer it just is not interesting. Kim Bauer was involved in possibly the most ludicrous story line in the history of television as she was stalked by a cougar and held captive in Kevin Dillion’s basement. What did this have to do with the rest of the story? Nothing, so leave it out.

We only have Jack for half the time in this incarnation of the show. We need to maximize his time on the screen and we don’t want it bogged down with pointless melodrama from the rest of the Bauer clan.

2. Trust Michael Wincott

Courtesy of Miramax Films

Courtesy of Miramax Films

Jack should shoot him on first site. He is always a bad guy (although probably not THE bad guy). Wincott is probably most famous for playing the twisted, sister-loving, sword wielding villian Top Dollar in The Crow. Or as the slimy cousin to the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. He just looks evil.

Wincott is cast as a character named Adrian Cross. Nothing is known of him at this point, but he is an exciting name that jumps of the cast list as a potential threat to Bauer. Expect him to challenge Bauer more on an intellectual level than a physical one.

If he starts out the show on the “good side”, watch for the turn. It will come.

1. Kill / Cripple His Partners

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Let’s face it. Jack Bauer will not be around forever, in fact this could be the last time we seem him. However, the series doesn’t have die. It could carry on in some medium with the right successor.

The new Jack will need a lot of help to get over with fans. The best way to do that is have the character have an established relationship with the old Jack. They need to try something like they did with Indiana Jones and Shia Labeouf. Except avoid using Shia Labeouf. With the right actor, the concept of using the established star to get over the next generation is a good one. The problem in 24 land is Jack really likes being on top, as demonstrated by his bad habit of maiming or killing the people he works with.

Chase seemed like he was being groomed as a replacement. He was smart, efficient and could take a beating. He also had the quality that makes us love Jack the most, his willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Of course any chance Chase had of being an expert field ops leader was lost along with the hand Jack took off with an ax.

Then there was Curtis Manning. He was another agent that seemed to have all the right moves. At first he looked like just another suit, but as soon as he stepped into the field, the ass-kicking began. Curtis even managed to make it a couple seasons. As his character progressed so did his chances of claiming the throne. Of course that was until Jack put a bullet in his neck. Curtis died never realizing his full potential.

If Jack could let someone stick around long enough to learn a few things, 24 could have life beyond 2014.

Jack Should…

5. Eat

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

This might sound silly, irrelevant or something we should be expected to accept due to the suspension of belief we agree to when we turn on the TV. However, it has been something consistently mentioned by fans since season 1. In most shows this is not an issue, but when you are following the same character for 24 hours, you think you would see him grab a snack. Granted, Jack does not appear every scene, so he could be munching away off camera. You would think though that the amount of time we do spend with Jack, seeing him indulge in a granola bar wouldn’t be too much to ask.

In eight seasons (that is 192 hours) we have seen Jack eat three times. In the first episode we see a much more carefree Jack enjoy a pudding cup while playfully arguing with Teri about how to deal with their daughter’s lack of respect. Again in season 1, when Jack is in custody back at CTU we see him finishing up a TV dinner. Finally, Jack gets breakfast in the beginning of season 5 with his new girlfriend and her son. That’s it! Now, it should be noted that Jack by season 8 is a very different guy and it would be hard to picture him with a pudding cup, a protein bar might still be acceptable.

This could be regarded as a non-issue, as it is quite possible for a person to go 24 hours without eating. Is it a good idea, probably not. For an average person it would be uncomfortable. For a guy who spends the entire day running, shooting, fighting and yelling at people it would be near impossible.

Just have a snack Jack.

4. Be Pardoned By The President Of The United States

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

When we last saw Jack he was back on the run. He is wanted for a number of crimes, and rather than be taken and face the hypocrisy he wants worked for, he chose to disappear. If Jack doesn’t want to be found, he is not going to be.

Jack will undoubtedly be working with the authorities again. With Jack in London this time around will it be the British police or MI6 enlisting Jack’s help? Maybe the price of Jack’s help is the British government keeping the Americans off his back.

His crimes are justified by most, but some would still have him brought up on charges, similarly to the beginning of season 7.

It is not a secret that Jack’s old “friend” James Heller will be the President in the upcoming season. Once like father and son, there last meeting saw Jack contemplating shooting him. After what happened to Audrey the two former friends will never be up for a round of golf, but the office Heller now holds owes something to the man that saved the United States from utter disaster on 8 separate days.

Heller pardoning Jack and publicly recognizing Jack’s heroics would not only be a well deserved honor for Jack, it would be a fitting tribute to the deceased President David Palmer. It would be what the always honorable President Palmer would have wanted, to see Jack get what he could never give him.

3. Keep Chloe Alive

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Jack always loses some comrades along the way. People are going to die, and Jack will not be able to save everyone. One person he definitely needs to keep alive is Chloe.

Chloe looks pretty beat up in the trailer and it seems that Jack is pretty  much dragging her along. Hopefully safety isn’t too far off.

We have lost a lot of beloved characters along the way: Michelle, Edgar, Milo, Palmer and every other character that earned the legendary silent clock. Chloe should not be one of them.

Jack needs Chloe, her expert hacker skills aside, she give Jack humanity. At times she is his much needed conscience, other times his only true defender. Chloe has had Jack’s back since season 3. She has put in her time and deserves to see this through to the end.

2. Find Peace

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Season 3 ends in a whimper. It is subtle, perfect and completely summarizes the character of Jack Bauer. After saving the day again, we find Jack in his car in a rare moment of solitude. He finally has a moment to reflect on everything and comes to terms with what he has done. What does Jack do when he is faced with himself? He cries. Jack shows his humanity, and everyone can emphasize with him. However, his moment of self reflection is short lived. As Jack is breaking down a call comes over the radio. After a few seconds of hesitation, he answers the call, because that is what he does.

Anyone would be hard-pressed to find another character in television who has given more and suffered more. Each season it was harder and harder to watch Jack go through the physical, mental and psychological torture. The viewer was left asking the question, what else can they do to him?

Over the years he has become a shell of his former self, as his actions have become more mechanical and reflex oriented. It would be nice to see some new life be breathed into Jack. We need to see more moments like we saw in the car at the end of season 3. We need to see a more vulnerable Jack processing the journey he has been on. He needs to accept who he is and more importantly he has to forgive himself.

1. Die
jack-bauer

Yes, Jack Bauer should die.

The subtitle ‘Live Another Day’ is less than subtle. We need Jack one more time. We need him to answer that call and save the day again. Then maybe we can finally let him die.

He obviously doesn’t fear death. He has died once, if only for a few minutes. Jack has welcomed death on multiple occasions, always ready to sacrifice himself for the greater good.

As he looks over the cliff at the rocks below at the end of season 6 the viewer knows what he is thinking. What saves him from going over that cliff is the same thing he said at the beginning of the season : “I didn’t want to die for nothing.”

He will gladly give his life for the right reason, for a purpose. In the upcoming 24 swan song, Jack needs to be given that purpose and be given a reason to die that is worthy enough of the life he led.

24 needs to end with one final silent clock mourning the death of Jack Bauer.

And we as the viewer need to let him go.

Other things you do or don’t want to see in the upcoming season of 24? Share in comments.

Thanks for reading,

Jason

Follow – @FredThePeacock

Courtesy of Escobar Studios

Courtesy of Escobar Studios

Television has become the monster in my house that I am afraid to confront. The second I click ‘power’ the blue glow fills the otherwise dark room, because, of course I turned the TV on before the lights…Because who needs lights when you got TV? I know as I sit in the shadows in awe of its grandeur and presence, something that once was simple and intoxicating, is now daunting and complicated. The sheer volume of choices that bombard me as I scroll through the screen, triggers the impulse to pull my knees up to my chest and rock back and forth, humming to myself until the madness ends. I remember being a little boy and grabbing my bowl of fruit loops plopping down in front of the TV, clicking on the cartoon channel watching The Mighty Hercules (“Hey Herc, Hey Herc…..”) and giggling to myself as milked dribbled down my chin. Now, two and a half decades later, I am stilling grabbing my bowl of fruit loops (don’t judge) but, by the time I have found something to watch they have disintegrated into a soggy bowl of rainbow sludge. We have over 700 channels at my house. Do we want them all? No we don’t. Do we need them all? Absolutely.

Why do we need them? Because it is a drug, and we are addicted. We have always been addicted, and now everyone wants to cash in on that. It wasn’t enough that Oprah got her own (pun intended) channel, she is a brand onto herself. We will give that to her. But, Robert Rodriguez has his own channel now. Yep the filmmaker who brought us the Spy Kids and From Dusk till Dawn franchises. Do you know what the flagship show Rodriguez’s network El Ray is? It is From Dusk till Dawn the series. After one mildly successful cult hit with Tarantino, the Dusk franchise produced two direct-to-video sequels that I am sure Danny Trejo couldn’t even sit through. Apparently, these blood soaked, sex infused classics warranted a TV show. Now do you think I am going to watch this questionably produced show?… Absolutely, it looks fantastic! The point is, anything can be a show now, and anything is a show now…Look at reality TV. Would you have believed someone if they told you ten years ago that one of the most successful shows in the world would involve watching rednecks make duck calls? Yes you would? Okay, then you are a liar. Here is a bucket of water to put out your pants.

Reality TV is a massive topic, which I have a lot to say on. However, I will leave it for a future post and instead concentrate on the bigger problem. The problem is not the choices. The problem is that you no longer need to choose. The viewer has been given the ultimate power, and with the latest technology you can now watch everything. With DVRs, Tivo, timeshifting channels, Netflix, Apple TV, you can literally watch every show on TV and you can watch them when you want. I have a four month backlog on my DVR right now. I just finished watching the show Hostages…The finale aired months ago. That is the freedom technology has given us. We were already addicted, now we are hopeless. The implementation of DVRs to a TV viewers life is the equivalent of a stoner using their first bong or Rob Ford discovering a crack pipe (leave me alone, it’s topical!) The delivery method of a DVR is like a needle to your arm, injecting you with the brutality of Game of Thrones and the absurdity of the Kardashians.

The biggest stressor currently in my life, is not money, or my job, or my child’s future. It is when that status bar on my DVR turns red letting me know I have gone over 90%. That is when the sweating starts…When I sit down with my elbows on my knees and run my hands through where my hair used to be and prepare to make the tough choices. I have to decide what to let go. First I look to the kid shows. I can justify to myself that my daughter should not be watching TV, it is bad for her. She should be playing with stuff in the corner, while daddy watches his stories. If there is not enough there, I turn to the wife’s shows…What can I convince her has “magically” disappeared? (“No, I swear it was there earlier…the box must have screwed up again….”). When all else fails, I have to look to my own shows and decide what I can live without…When I recover from the crying and wailing most often associated with losing a loved one, I decide that instead of erasing, I will just fast-forward through a couple shows to get rid of them quicker….What is the best way to experience the classics of today?…At 30 times their normal speed…That is what it has come to.

Don’t get me wrong…I love my DVR. Do I watch more shows than I need to? Yep. Are there better uses of my time? Definitely. Do I care? Nope. When I am eventually able to pull myself away from the television to do this like; go to work, raise a child, have a meaningful, romantic relationship with my wife; I find it funny that a device made to simplify our lives has complicated it so much. At the end of the day, when it is just my wife and I and we decide to unwind in front of the TV that has over 700 channels and the DVR that has hundreds of hours of TV recorded, the same questions gets asked: “What do you want to watch?”, “I don’t know what do you want to watch?”.  This back and forth repertoire will continue for a few minutes until one of us will cave and pick something that they don’t want to watch, because they think the other one wants to watch it, even though they actually wanted to watch the same show the first person wanted to watch. We will then watch about fifteen minutes of said show that neither of us wanted to watch, and then give up, pause it and go to bed. We will eventually get back to that show in about four months.

Oh TV, I have never hated something I love so much.

 

Cheers,

 

Follow @FredThePeacock

 

Sometimes I think I should turn off the TV and do something more productive….I know I need to clean the basement… Haven’t really had clean clothes in a couple of days…What is that smell??… The dog looks like he wants something not sure what, but damn it is cute when he carries around that food dish…Why does my work keep calling?? I think I was there on….Oh my leg is bleeding, a lot. Is that my femur?? Probably should try and stop the…Oh wait TMZ is on, better turn it up, that baby crying is getting pretty loud.

Yeah I know what you are thinking….TV really is awesome. Alright…I admit it, watching TV may occasionally get in the way of other supposed important tasks, like the ability to say to entire word…Television. It takes a long time to say four syllables (Wait…four?? Let me clap that out – TEL (clap) – E (clap) – VI (clap) – SION (clap)….Yup four. Thank God for whoever came up with that infallible form of grammatical measuring). I don’t have time to say television, that Cheers episode I have seen over thirty time where Gary from Gary’s Ole Towne Tavern encases the bar (and Woody) in cinder blocks, is on in a few minutes. Sometimes I really don’t know how I get anything done. Some may say that TV is detrimental to your lifestyle. Those are the people who can’t afford cable…I am sad for those poor souls…Why is there no charity for this underprivileged group?? I should start that, we could have a fundraise…..Hey look! Criminal Minds marathon, awesome…Wait what was I talking about?? Right, TV equals awesome…Not just for its aesthetically pleasing pictures or nurturing sounds, but also how it has helped me become a better person.

Being an avid TV watcher I am much more efficient than the average ‘Joe Bookreader’ (You are not better than me Joe….For one I have never got a paper cut from watching TV….Haha…TV -1 Books – 0). TV has conditioned me to get the other essential life sustaining tasks done in a much shorter time span. The average commercial is 30 seconds long and there are usually 5 per commercial break. Which means that every 8 minutes or so I have 2 and a half minutes to get done the essentials. That is all the time in the world…Throw pizza pockets in microwave, go to bathroom, get Mountain Dew from fridge, grab aforementioned pockets and head back to couch just in time to see how Sam and Dean get themselves out of this one. 8 minutes later, I now have an open slot to ask my wife about her day…8 minutes after that I finally figured out why the dog has been carrying around that food dish…

Speaking of the dog…TV must be a very curious thing for him. Occasionally he will notice the TV if another dog is on, and he will sit down and look at the screen with a tilted quizzical stare. Or if George Clooney is on TV, then his fur will go up, and his teeth will come out and growls will sound out of his throat. My dog hates George Clooney. I am not sure why, but it might have something to do with the fact my dog used to date Stacy Kielber…wait…What!? Oh what is that??? Saved By the Bell reruns….awesome. Anyway….Often the dog just stares at me. He looks at me like I look at Paris Hilton. As if he is thinking “Is there nothing else….anything else you could be doing right now than staring at the bright, loud, magical box for hours on end.” But I don’t put a lot of stock in my dog’s idea of time management. On our last walk he investigated a rock for 20 minutes.

TV has just been a huge part of my life since I was little. The lessons I learned as a child from those shows have carried me through high school, university and my day to day adult life. So many valuable lessons….How could I have gotten through High School physics without the lessons I learned in Looney Tunes?? Thank you Wile E! The Muppets taught me that any obstacle you face can quickly work itself out by the time you are done signing your song. The Smurfs taught me about intolerance and racism. Gargamel was the ‘White Man’ keeping the blue man down. That wasn’t cool. Because of that show I always thought of blue people as equals. Transformers gave me a greater respect for vehicles. I was always nice to cars and trucks out of fear that they would come to life as robots and kick my ass for missing an oil change. Sesame Street opened my eyes to be able to see the day to day annoyances of people who live in garbage cans. I can now empathize with these individuals. To this day there is always a spot on my curb open for them. I could go and on about the invaluable life lessons I have learned. I would not have become a well adjusted adult if not for these and many other educational programs.

This is my love letter to TV. I went to Hallmark to buy my TV a card, but there was no such card. Our relationship is too deep, beautiful and complicated for even the wise words of Hallmark. But in every great relationship there is a dark side, so it wouldn’t be fair for me to not point out the negative aspects of TV. There are bad shows on TV that hurt me deep down in my soul. I call these programs: “The Wife’s Shows.”

I wish I could give you more of a warning so you could avoid such debacles, but I can’t out of fear. Fear my wife will read this and take the TV away. Even typing that last sentence created enough separation anxiety for me to shutter. No, I can say no more on this topic. Just know that sometimes you have endure the dark times. Love will endure.

I will admit that TV has had other effects on me. It has, to a degree, desensitized me to reality. I don’t see this so much as a bad thing, more of a mildly amusing side effect. For example, I have found myself angered by the last few season of Survivor…I get mad because they give the people food. I know somewhere deep down that it is wrong to feel anger when starving people are given food, but I feel anger nonetheless. It’s Survivor! How dare you give them rice! Make them eat bugs and chase boars with sharpen sticks…I want to see the camera cut away to the disgusted vegan’s face when they have to slaughter their pet chicken….

I also tend to immerse myself in my favorite shows. I often think that I am one of the gang. This might have gone too far recently. My wife and I have just discovered Criminal Minds….which is awesome by the way. It is the kind of show the gives the people on Law and Order nightmares. We have spend the last couple months getting caught up on the DVDs. One night we were taking a break from it and were watching the news. A story came on about a rash of killings across the country. I immediately got up, turned to my wife and said, “wheels up in thirty” and left the room. I spend the next half hour sitting in my car looking at an empty file folder until there was a knock on the glass. I looked to see my wife standing there holding something. I rolled down the window.

“What’s that?” I said.

“Your pants. Remember those?” She said.

“Honey…..I think I have a problem.”

“I think so too dear.” She replied and passed the pants through the window.

“Will you take me to get some help?” I asked as I clung to my pants.

“Yes of course. But The Bachelor is on in a few minutes…….I will take you after that…..”

“………………I think I will go clean the basement now….”

-Jason
Follow – @gskewedview