The Idiot Box

The Laugh Track

I don't know much about television sitcoms.  I didn't really study them in school, except for the one project we have in Production class.   In that class we studied, and 'performed' a 3-camera single room set up. 

I do know that many are beginning to use more film techniques for their style, like single camera or handheld.  I like that.  I like how they are venturing more into the world of film when it comes to the look of shows.  After all, the subject matter is becoming more adult and layered.

But what I can't stand, and what seems to be out of control this TV season is the stupid laugh track.  I have had to stop watching a show (not that I was all that in to it to begin with) because I couldn't handle the LT.  Maybe it's because I'm watching more comedies this year, but I don't ever remember it being this bad.  It's like TV parody bad.

They even have them on the 'taped before a live studio audience' shows.  I would much rather have a fake laugh then a computerized LT.  I don't know why it bugs me so much, but I really hate it.

I would hate to miss a great show, or to have a great show ruined because of a stupid laugh track. 



I started watching this show just because it starred Sarah Michelle Geller, AKA Buffy.  It wasn't until after I did research that I realized it sounded like an interesting show and wanted to see what it developed into.  Along with SMG, the cast is pretty good; Ioan Gruffudd and Nestor Carbonell.

I have to say, I wasn't too much into the pilot until the very end.  That twist at the end pulled me in completely.  It wasn't a bad show, but it wasn't the best show either.  You have to be somewhat forgiving for the 1st episode, maybe even season.  I liked the show and added it to my schedule.

Then the 2nd episode comes along.  Well, I was almost a goner.  I was bothered by the fact that they didn't move the story along at all.  Okay, so one problem was taken care off, but then another was brought into the mix.  Other than that, though, they pretty much just repeated the story and plot of the whole show over and over again.  Maybe they thought not many saw the pilot?

It wasn't until last night, with the 3rd episode, that I'm back on board with the show.   I don't know if I'd saw the epi was better than the pilot...No, I take that back.  The more I think about it, I like this episode better than the pilot.

I am keeping it in my that the 1st season of most shows aren't good, so I'm being nice.  I am staying mainly because of SMG, and that I want to see how she handles all that is thrown at her.  The rest of the cast isn't bad either, so that's a plus.  Besides, I love when a foreign actor (Ioan) use their own voice, accent included (British).
Well see what happens as the season progresses.   So far it's a staple of my Tuesday night viewing.


Fall TV Season, 2011

It has officially started!
Yes, FX and Sons of Anarchy started a few weeks ago, but whatever.  Prime Time starts this week and finishes rolling out the new shows next week.  My TV watching schedule is about to get really freakin'  busy.

There are several new shows that I'm excited to check out, and show that I'm going to start watching.  Of course there are the returning shows that are awesome, and some oldies but goodies.  I don't have DVR, but we do have On Demand, which is going to save my life.

The shows that I'm most excited for:
Grimm: This is very similar to Angel, but not.  The lead is a cop who ends up always catching the freaks, but then it turns out that he can sense and battle monsters cause he's the last of a long line of Grimms/monster hunters.  It's a SyFy show with fairy tale characters, I'm stoked.  Don't know much of anything about the cast, but I think that's a good thing.
The Walking Dead: Need I say more.
Luther: I have just recently been turned on to this show, thanks sis-in-laws-sis-in-law.  It's a British show on BBC America, and the second season is finally going to show in the States.  It's a brilliant show with Idris Elba in the lead as a homicide detective who gets the crazy creepy cases.  I can't wait to see what happens this season!  Last season was a roller coaster ride with a ridiculous ending.  I love it!

With more shows being written well and have interesting real-life characters (2 Broke Girls), this is one of the best falls in a while.  At least, I think it is.  SyFy and characters, my dream. 


Happy Endings

I've got a new favorite show!  I love this show.  It's about a group of 6 bffs who are in their late 20s/early 30s.  It's my friends and I!  There is only one couple, who are married, the rest are just trying to find their way.  Some have good jobs, others don't.  I love it so much cause I can relate to it.

They don't focus on the fact that you're 'suppose' to be married and have a family by the time you're in your thirties, it's the most realistic show I've seen about this age-group.  It's about friends living their life, and sometimes  not knowing what to do, but they are having fun.  It makes me happy.

Yes, it is a network comedy, so some times it can be a little much, over the top, but that's okay.  It's not done all the time, and it's pretty much just one character who's like that.  We all know one person, one group member who is a handful.  

Another thing that makes me really happy is that one of the characters is gay.  It's dealt with brilliantly.  They do talk about issues, like him not being "typical" or him coming out to his parents, but it's not like there are flashing lights pointing out he's gay.  It's apart of who he is, and that's that. He's very realistic, and I appreciate that.

It's also nice to see them in smaller groups too.  Even the married couple split up and aren't always together.  Can we say refreshing!  Yes, they are married, but they aren't attached at the hip and are allowed to be individuals.  

They also don't make the characters perfect.  All of them have issues and faults, and the others work around and 'deal with' as friends.  At the end of the day, they are friends for better or worse and are always there for each other.  This show, in general, just makes me happy.  



Man, I do love watching series on DVD.  It's so much easier.  I mean, not only do you not have to worry about the commercials, but you can go from episode to episode without waiting weeks in between.  Of course, since I'm talking about Angle, I'm a few years behind the gravy train, but whatever.

My love of Buffy/Angel is because of my sister.  She's the one that got me into the series.  It really is amazing.  The writing, the characters, everything...  I love these series.  I've watched all of Buffy, and several episodes several times, but I had one more season to go on Angel (Firefly and Dollhouse are next).  

I don't know why it took me so long to start watching the final season, almost a year actually, but I'm so glad I started up again.  You never know how much you miss something until your drought of said thing is over.  I love these characters!  To top it off, Spike is in this season of Angel.

I think I will always be an Angel girl, but there is also something about Spike.  Okay, so he never was as evil, not really, as Angel/Angelus was.  He also made the decision on his own to have his soul replaced, to get a soul, unlike Angel who was cursed with one.  Spike is protective, but he also knows that Buffy can kick ass, his on many occasions, and lets her go and do her thing.  Angel was always a little too protective.  (Nothing Edward like, thank goodness.)

It's good to get back to the series, to get back to watching a show you really love.  There is something about good writing and story and characters and just make me happy.  I'm hoping others feel the same way, because this is a great feeling.  It's fun to have other forms of media/creativity fill you with joy.  Makes life entertaining. 


Stand-up Comedy

I love watching stand-up.  I always have, for as long back as I can remember.  Comedy Central used to have hours and hours of stand-up on Fridays and Saturdays.  They still do, from time to time, and I still love it.

I watched a lot of comedians and became fans way before they broke out to the masses.
Yeah, I know, I'm super cool.
Just to name drop a few; Nick Swardson, Mike Birbiglia, Dane Cook, Donald Glover, Demetri Martin...
It's awesome to see them in their first half-hours or whatever, and then see them grow as comedians and hone their skills.

For every awesome comedian, there are those that aren't my cup of tea.  Comedy is one of those things is so specific to each person, which is awesome, and everyone loves different people for different things.

With this knowledge of having watched stand-up forever, I became aware that I've been a huge comedy nerd for a long time.  I grew up on comedy, to be honest.  My siblings are several years older than me, and I was exposed to Monty Python, Kids and the Hall and the Young Ones before I knew how cool (and hilarious) they truly were.

They always say comedy is the  best medicine, and it really is.  Once you start laughing and having a good time, it's hard to  be sad or mad or whatever ever strong emotion you are feeling.  Two of my favorites are Demetri Martin and Eddie Izzard.  I have both of their stand-ups on DVD, but the first time I watched them was on TV.

I still remember the exact time and place that I watched Eddie Izzard's Dressed to Kill. 
It was the summer after my high school graduation and I was redoing my room (yep, have always done it).  I had the TV in my room on HBO and had just finished a movie.  When the stand-up started I decided to keep it on cause it was the perfect background noise.  Little did I know that that was going to be one of the  best stand-ups I'd ever seen in my young life.

Eddie Izzard isn't your typical comedian.  First off, he's an Executive Transvestite.  Second, most of his bits revolve around historical figures and events.  That combination blends together to become a brilliant hour plus.   I tend to quote that special more than most.  My favorite quote being "Cake or Death."  Oh, oh...and there's "Do you have a flag?"  No flag no country.  Great, now I'm going to have to watch it again, and soon!

I don't remember when I watched Demetri's special, Person,  but man it's Hilarious!
His easel board bit is awesome.  My favorite one on that is The Breakdown of Hummer owners.  Dammit, there's also the Pie Chart of Procrastination.  Yeah, that's my favorite.  It's just a circle.   Get it, get it.  Totally awesome.

I have successfully passed my comedian knowledge onto my friends when it comes to Demetri.  It's hard not to love that guy.  I really wish he would come out with another special.  His show was awesome, and I need to buy it.  The others, have taken a little longer.  Although, I did go to see Eddie live with two of my friends.  

The quest to make my friends comedy nerds too is taking a little longer than I expected.  Now only if they would watch Comedy Central they would see what I'm talking about.


Being Human UK

I went to this page because I really wanted to talk about Being Human.  Then I realized that I already talked about BH.  Then I realized that it was mostly about BH US, and that made me happy cause I really want to talk about BH UK.

I just finished watching the second season, and OMG that show got amazing real quick.  Amazing in the sense that the plot line took a wide left, summed up other storylines together and literally made you go, "Oh wow."  This show is so awesome!

I was behind in catching up before they began showing season 3 on BBC America, and the first episode is no longer available On Demand (but plan to buy it on Amazon), but I'm excited that I can jump right from 2 to 3.

This was the character development season, I believe.  You got to understand what each of the "monsters" are going through, why and what challenges they face when they try so hard to be human.  Each character goes through their own life altering event or situation, and in the most amazing way they all tie into each other without you even realizing what is happening.

That's what makes a brilliant show, the writing.  Okay, so I may be biased on that element of production, but you really can't go anywhere with a project without good writing.  

Most of the time in shows or movies you can figure out ahead of time where the story is going.  You guess the killer before the 55 minute mark, you figure out the problem or who is going to solve it, or who is going to end up with whom.  Predictability.  Some people like this, some people just like to watch a show/movie for the entertainment value and like the serial shows or the fact there are no surprises.  I'm not that person, and tend to move into snob territory when it comes to that sort of thing.
Don't get me wrong, I like my serial shows, but the ones I end up talking more add something extra to to that model.

I loved BHWTF moment, I want some more.  Usually I like to absorb a season to really think about what happened, and also to tell each season apart, but I can't this time around.  I want to know what happens!  I want to know what happens to Annie!!

Maybe it's the mythological element that I love so much about this show, but I'm so excited about the season 2 finale.  I want to know what happens to these characters after this crazy ending.  It does sort of suck that I know a little bit about season 3 that I know how one element will play out, or get back to normal and the element of surprise is gone.  

To be honest, that doesn't bum me out as much as you'd expect, though.  I was still shocked by things that I knew about Buffy the Vampire Slayer years before I actually watched the show when they finally happened, cause even though you know what happens you don't know how it happens.  There are also great characters and you want to see them through this, how they react and what effect it has on them.

A friend of mine compared BH to Buffy a few weeks ago.  At the time, I could see where she was coming from and agreed, but definitely thought she was feeling it more than I did.  Now, I totally see exactly where she's coming from.


Being Human

I started watching the UK version a few months ago after my sister-in-law('s sister-in-law) recommended it to me.  The premise sounded pretty awesome, and had the makings of being ridiculous.  A vampire and a werewolf live in a haunted house with a ghost.  Um, okay.  However, this is a UK show, so you know their ridiculous is awesome!  Spaced, original Office anyone!

It didn't take me long to become hooked.  The show is awesome.  It takes a very comical idea and throws reality all over it.  What if these mythical creatures, these beasts, really did exist and they just wanted to live a normal life?  We live in a educated society, not many will be fooled by mysticism or folklore.  It's an interesting idea.

Of course, an idea can go to shit if you don't have great actors to bring these characters to life.  Being Human UK nailed it there too.  
Mitchell, the vampire, has a dark side, but tries to move past it and live in the here and now, as a human.  His back-story is muddled in evil and excess, which tends to catch up to him here and there.  Of course, what makes it even more appealing is the fact that right before you meet him/before the show begins, he almost killed a one-night-stand, on accident in the heat of passion; who was then turned into a vampire by the vampire cult.  Oh, and don't forget that he's very good-looking, as all vampires should be.  
George, the resident werewolf, is still coming to terms with what he is.  He was turned, scratched, left for dead during a camping trip with a friend, who wasn't so lucky.  He had no idea what was happening and has to learn all of his aliments and precautions on his own.  George is the driving force in the pair to live a normal life, in being human (get it now?), and he hates his situation more than maybe he should.
Annie, the unwilling and confused ghost was killed in her home, the home now occupied by the others, and is trying not only to figure out what happened and why she's still here.  She had a bright future ahead of her with her fiance, and she just can't let it go.  As the show progresses, you learn more about her death and her personality, which makes it even more intriguing.

Sadly, I have only seen the first season.  Don't worry, that will change soon as I finally got the second season, disc 1, from Netflix.  The brilliant thing about the first season is that a lot of things happened to each character, things that are going to be explored more in the seasons to come (they are on season 3 at the moment....thank goodness they past the normally 2 season standard of my other favorite Brit shows), but they never put too much in front of you that you couldn't handle what was given.  Gotta love well written shows.

Since there seems to be a trend in the American film industry to recreate/reinvent other countries gold (or remake movies, or steal from comics (even though Scott Pilgrim was awesome!) or books), it was only a matter of time before we got a Being Human US version.

I had mixed feelings about this.  The UK version was still on air, and still had steam to keep going for a while.  It didn't make sense to remake a show when the original could still be actively found.  Oh-well, I still planned on watching it.

And I did.  And I still had mixed feelings.
For one, the US vampire looked like he should of been in a Twilight movie with his pale skin and strong jaw.  Don't get me wrong, he's not bad to look at (long and often), but he was too stereotypical of recent stateside vamps.  I did like how they named him Aidan, after the actor who plays Mitchell.
I was excited about the werewolf, Josh, cause I really liked that actor.  He was a teen actor that popped up in everything and I was interested to see him really act.  And, I think he's the best one out of all of them.  I like the way he plays confused and all messed up inside.
The huge downside, which caused my sister-in-law('s sister-in-law) to stop watching the show, the US version of Annie, or Sally.  Both of us really liked Annie (I even bought the same boots, different color, she wears on the show. )  Annie was vulnerable and you watched her gain her strength throughout the show.  Sally, the US ghost, is annoying.  She's very self-centered and naggy and sometimes childish.  It's a chore to watch her most of the time.

It took me about 3-4 episodes before I really starting liking it (minus Sally, most of the time) and before I believed it came into its own.  The reason I stuck with it for so long was because I didn't want this to become another 'The Office.'  I stopped watching that show cause it copied the first episode exactly from the original and was annoyed.  Fast forward a few years later, the US Office has become a huge hit and became it's own show.  At this point I've missed so much it's too hard to go back and catch up on.  I didn't want to be in the same situation with Being Human, a UK show I love.

The thing I appreciate is that while the US version has a lot of the same elements and storylines as the UK version, they are also different from the beginning.  A few examples, the way Sally dies is the same as Annie, but for a different reason.  Josh has a family that is involved while George was on his own.  Aidan has different folklore attached to him that Mitchell, example being that Aidan has a reflection and Mitchell did not.  I think it's these elements that are making me stay to see what happens with these characters.  Not to mention that there little bits of humor sprinkled throughout an episode/situation at makes it entertaining.  Also, no matter what, Aidan and Josh has great chemistry.

But I can't help asking myself; Am I watching this cause I like the US show, or am I watching it cause I'm craving Being Human UK?


I believe it's a perfectly debatable synonym for television.  So many shows lately have been stupid reality shows, or rip off of other material, or formulaic annoyances.  However, some of those shows that technically fit in that category are quite good, and there are also some really good shows out there.  Granted, most of them are on cable networks, but you know...At least there are some television writers who are still amazing.

My favorite station at the moment is FX.  With shows like Sons of Anarchy, The Shield (RIP), The League...So many others.  I'm more inclined to start watching a show if it is on FX.  For example, Lights Out.  I recently watched an episode, and love it.  I love the working man/troubled man element of the show.  I'm excited to watch more episodes.  I don't want to go too much into it now, since I've only seen the pilot.  Need at least two shows to digest it.

However, with my love of FX, I have recent hate.  Hate in the fact that they canceled one of my new favorite shows.  They canceled Terriers.

Okay, so the marketing was bad, and whatever, but who cares.  The show was great, and I loved the first season.  So many different directions they could of gone with it.  I'm sad to see it go.

Minus that little snag, this channel is awesome.