Saturday, October 01, 2016

September was a rough month. These 5 TV shows got me through it.

Oh how irony always comes back to bite us. Here is something I tweeted on the morning of September 1:

Naturally, September 2016 turned out to be a pretty astoundingly shitty month for me. The short version is that I watched my job completely burn to ashes in the span of about three weeks, which is remarkable considering I spent ten months there thinking it was a pretty great place to work - until suddenly it wasn't. It was uncomfortable to work there knowing I was pretty close to escaping, and then unbearably uncomfortable after I gave my notice.

To be honest, if I hadn't had the distraction of fall TV premiere week and all of the rest of September's new TV offerings, I'm not exactly sure what I would have done with myself. Curled into the fetal position and cried maybe? Anyway, here are five TV shows that got me through a pretty brutal 30 day stretch.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ended a year ago today. It's time we all moved on.

      Jon Stewart back behind a desk on The Late Show with Stephen
 on Thursday, July 21, 2016.
      Photo Credit: CBS
It was a year ago tonight, on August 6, 2015, that Comedy Central aired the final episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I watched the broadcast from a Winnipeg hotel room feeling a profound sense of sadness and loss. It's now exactly one year later, and to be brutally honest, I kind of hope Jon Stewart never appears on television ever again.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My hypothetical 2016 Emmy ballot

In a stunning display of competency, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences actually managed to correct a long-standing error last year by finally awarding Jon Hamm with the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his work on Mad Men. Dare I allow myself to believe they're capable of recognizing more overshadowed greatness this year and nominate some real dark horses instead of giving the same people a fifth or sixth trophy? Nonetheless, today I get to have my say in what shows, performances, scripts, and what have you should be held up as television's best. The correct list of nominees, with some picks that no doubt were entirely ignored during the last two weeks of voting, after the jump. (Look, I love ya Mark McKinney, but there's just no way.)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Mediocre "Letterkenny" headlines a frustrating experience with Crave TV

The cast of the new Crave TV comedy "Letterkenny".
Photo Credit: Bell Media
(A caveat: I feel the need to preface this anytime I write about a Canadian series, particularly one about which I have a negative opinion : I do not begrudge any Canadian television show for being made; in fact its existence in at least one aspect makes me happy. More Canadian television needs to be produced outside of the CBC. I don't care right now if the programming is not top notch. I'm just happy someone is putting in the time, money, and resources to make it exist at all. More please, and stat.)

It was around last Christmas when my brother asked me something to the effect of, "so I guess Shomi is the new Rogers thing now?" I really had no idea what he was talking about - somehow I had missed being inundated with television commercials for Rogers and Shaw's joint streaming video venture that had launched a month prior. It didn't help that my mother seemed convinced that Shomi was actually a rebrand of the Rogers On Demand service (it isn't, though Rogers sure did a good job of burying their VOD platform in service of Shomi).

Before long though, commercials for Shomi and it's competitor, the Bell-owned Crave TV, popped up everywhere and it became all too easy for me to compare and contrast the services even without actually subscribing to them. Crave offered a deeper program catalogue even before signing deals for the HBO and Showtime libraries, for less than half the cost of Shomi, whose commercials seemed to always feature the same five popular series in every single commercial (i.e., the only ones they had streaming rights to). Neither service seemed "necessary," even as I recognized that I was basically spouting the Canadian version of, "but I already have Netflix, why do I need to subscribe to Amazon?". But they seemed harmless, and if the existing daily schedules of Bell's network and cable channels was deemed insufficient as an on-demand "Big Bang Theory" delivery system, Canadians were welcome to pay $4 a month for their hit.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My hypothetical 2015 Emmy ballot

If you recall last August, I was furious - legitimately furious - with the results of the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, in which there were almost no original or inspired winners, and more statues were thrown at the overrated likes of Jim Parsons and Ty Burrell. I felt so hurt and betrayed I didn't even bother to dignify the telecast with any kind of writeup or even a review of my predictions afterward (it actually was slightly higher than normal, simply because of the repetitive voting patterns).

And yet here I am again, with the 2015 Emmy ballots released online, pretending the Emmys are worth giving a damn about. But the reason I'm so excited about this post is because this is my chance each year to list my dream Emmy nominations and winners - the names that would be read out on the morning of Thursday, July 16 in a just world where enough Emmy voters were aware that "The Americans" is a weekly program created for television and broadcast over the airwaves for consumption by a mass viewership. I swear, it is. It's on every Wednesday night. On the television. This is an actual television program, hand to God. I'm not just making it up.

So until the actual garbage nominations are released, allow me to put my fingers in my ears and say "la-la-la I can't hear you, here is the correct television". Join me after the break, won't you?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year End 2014: Started from the bottom now we're here

The last two years in which I've written a TV top ten list (i.e., the only times I've ever done it), I ended the post with a question, or even a dare. The first one was "Whattaya got, 2013?" and holy shit, 2013 responded with perhaps the best year of television drama the small screen has ever seen. And then last year, I closed my top ten post with the suggestion, "Top that, 2014. I dare you." And dare I say that...2014 might have done just that. It's easier than ever to find quality shows with so many new outlets for programming, and that only makes it more difficult to parse down my ten to twenty favourite TV shows of the entire calendar year. But I've carefully selected the ten shows I feel represent the best in television for 2014. And those shows will appear to you by clicking the "read more" button below!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Year End 2014: Close, but no cigar

The annual best of the year series continues with a look at my "second ten" for the year in television. Much like with last year's second ten, almost all of these shows would be top ten worthy in a lesser year of quality programming, but given how many outlets we now get "small screen content" from, it seems unlikely we'll ever get another slow year. But hey, no complaining from me! (Just ignore any time I tweet about how hard it is to keep up with everything currently airing, like the two or three episodes of "Scandal" and "How to Get Away with Murder" currently sitting on my DVR which will be lucky to be watched even before they both return at the end of January).

To the list!