Here is a deep-about-shallow guide to TV.
Daily Shows (listed in chronological order):
Your LA (NBC-Los Angeles) A half-hour program that highlights various leisure activities one can do in Los Angeles. For example, a 3-4 minute long segment on a West Hollywood bar for pets and their owners, a guided tour of Korea town restaurants by an up-and-coming actress, and a segment about a Hermosa Beach clothing store whose profits fund breast cancer research. Though Your LA acts as an advertisement vehicle for the businesses it features, it at the same time is practically informative and manages to create a quaint sense of genuine local involvement though focusing only on businesses that are unique to LA and also through maintaining the home-video style of the viewer/small-business submitted segments the show regularly airs and encourages. â€˜Grass-rootsâ€™ advertising made more presentable by the fact that many people and businesses in LA know there way around a video camera and an editing program.
1st and Ten (ESPN) A half-hour show on which two sports analysts debate the 10 hottest sports related topics of the day. Debatefully analytical.
TRL (MTV) A live one-hour show organized upon and around 1-2 minute snippets of the 10 most voted on videos of the day. The show is hosted by VJâ€™s, includes in-studio and on-location interviews of guest musicians and actors, and also typically includes a variety of games that involve studio-audience and viewers-at-home participation. Visual, fun, fast-paced, teenager-aimed entertainment.
E News and The Daily 10 (E!) Two very similar, sequentially scheduled half-hour shows that highlight the entertainment news of the day. Flightfully informative.
The Nightly Business Report (PBS) An uninterrupted half-hour program that summarizes the stock market activity of the day. Includes two hosts, guest stock market analysts, and a standard variety of charts and statistics. Objectively and quietly informative.
SportsCenter (ESPN) A one-hour sports highlight show broadcasted multiple times daily. Well edited, charismatically hosted, and visually appealing.
Charlie Rose (PBS) A one-hour uninterrupted program that involves one-on-one or panel interviews by host Charlie Rose. Guests are usually either from the political, business, or entertainment worlds. The most inquisitive and deeply informative show on TV.
â— I do occasionally check out and gain insight from Tavis Smiley (KCET-Los Angeles), despite the fact that his singular focus on the African-American aspect of every topic narrows the scope of his inquiry. I also sometimes watch the network late night shows when celebrities I am interested in are guests, but I only tune in for the actual interviews themselves because the intro monologues and subsequent comic bits are generally minimally entertaining. Conan Oâ€™Brien and David Letterman are the best host interviewers of the bunch, but Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel are also serviceable. However, all of the late night network shows are hindered by the short amount of time they allot for interviews.
Heroes (NBC) Depicts the separate and connected lives of people with various superhero powers. Deftly translates the comic book genre into live action, most directly through having one of the showâ€™s characters be a painter whose talent is to paint graphic scenes of the showâ€™s future. The comic book genre is also referenced through the discrete employment of extreme camera angles, contrast lighting, quick dialogue pacing, layered characterization, and heroic action and themes. However, the showâ€™s violence at times feels thematically and spiritually empty.
Laguna Beach and The Hills (MTV) First two seasons of Laguna Beach were a uniquely original pop depiction of modern teenage life. Visually and musically stunning. Subsequent seasons of Laguna and itâ€™s spin-off The Hills have perhaps inevitably become a little tired and self-conscious, but we keep watching because we now know the people and the places and we continue to enjoy vicariously experiencing the superficial-tinged highs and lows of their California idyllic lifestyles.
Greyâ€™s Anatomy (ABC) A one-hour show that focuses upon the romantic and plutonic relationships that develop and evolve among surgeons within the high-drama setting of a major urban hospital. The show is built upon good writing that is well-scored with relatively undiscovered music, all of which is deepened by the palatable chemistry of the cast. Sidenote: The show is distinctly romantic, but rarely portrays any actual sexual activity.
Beyond The Break (Noggn) Pretty late-teen girls who live together and surf. Fairly standard teenage storylines decently acted out. Shot in Hawaii in notably vivid color, but the production skimps on the frequency of main character surf scenes and, further, does very few close-up shots during these scenes (presumably because the surfers being filmed are stunt-doubles and the show doesnâ€™t have a huge budget for CGI over-lays). This fairly integral omission is made more forgivable by its obviousness and by the fact that the show airs on a relatively obscure channel, but the show would artistically benefit from having the actual surfing be more fully integrated into the characters and storylines.
Iconoclasts (Sundance) This show brings together two major culturally celebrated talents and films them as they converse and hang out in each others worlds for a couple of days. The Quentin Tarantino/Fiona Apple episode was a particularly enlightening look into the lives and minds of two linguistically brilliant artists.
City of Men (Sundance) A half-hour show set and filmed in Rio de Janeiro about the lives of two teenage boys from the favela, Brazilâ€™s rough equivalent to the American ghetto. The directors employ the same gritty on-location documentary style they used in their feature film City of God and create a very authentic feeling dramatization of every day life.
Square Off (TV Guide Channel) A one-hour program that examines the cultural impact and everyday machinations of the TV world. The show is hosted by two entertainment print journalists and includes guests from behind, in front of, next to, and in the same building as the camera. The show at times dips in energy and would likely benefit from having the budget to include clips from the shows they are discussing, but justifies its place on the dial through its very practical and uniquely revealing look at the inner-workings of the TV industry.
Entourage (HBO) Depicts the Hollywood life of a rising young film star and his friends. Boyish dramedy in which things pretty much always work out for the best. Well cast and knowledgeably scripted.
â— I also definitely enjoy red carpet and post-awards shows. I like the fashion and the casual personal nature of the interviews. I skip the actual awards shows because the acceptance speeches are generally cringefully platitudinous and depthlessly insular (like my sophomoric over-use of big words). E!â€™s red carpet productions are superior to TV Guideâ€™s primarily due to the obtrusiveness of Joan Rivers antics and voice tone, though I do often end up watching the TV Guide red carpet show as it is re-run.
â— I half-watch and semi-enjoy various reality shows such as Project Runway (Bravo), Top Chef (Bravo), The Real Housewives of Orange County (Bravo), Americaâ€™s Next Top Model (CW), Miami Ink (A&E), Real World (MTV) and its spin-offs, 8th and Ocean (MTV), and The P.A. (Fuse). The last two shows were a particularly charming encapsulation of oblivious innocence, an essence that would be difficult to repeat in subsequent seasons (a sentiment evidently shared by these showâ€™s producers who have not attempted, as of yet, to air second seasons of their respective shows).
â— I also occasionally watch the Food Channel, despite the off-putting cloyingness of many of its hosts and productions. The charm and charisma of Nigella Lawson and Tyler Florence are full exceptions to this tendency. Giada De Laurentis is nice to look at and her short-person personality is only slightly annoying. Emeril Lagasse is tolerable in his at-home-alone cooking show, The Essence of Emeril. Alton Brownâ€™s Good Eats is the most informative show, but his cheesiness is painful. Rachel Ray is ok in very infrequent doses. Anthony Bourdainâ€™s No Reservations on the Travel Channel is adventuresome despite his weary tone.
â— When in the New York area, I get to be mesmerized by the fashion runway shows of Full Frontal Fashion on Metro TV. Very basic in production, the runway shows are the show, but that's good enough.
â— And, finally, I also watch a little sports. Mostly just the highlights and analysis, but occasionally the actual games themselves. The best announcer/analyst teams:
NFL: John Madden and Al Michaels (NBC)
Chris Berman and Tom Jackson (ESPN)
College Football: Kirk Herbstreit/Lee Corso/Jay Crawford(ABC/ESPN)
NBA: Greg Anthony/Stephen A. Smith/John Saunders (ESPN)
College Basketball: I am not huge fan of any of them, but Digger Phelps (ESPN) and Dick Vitale (ESPN) stick-out and do occasionally have unique and revealing things to say.
MLB: Joe Morgan and Joe Miller (ESPN)
Highlights: Stuart Scott and Dan Patrick (ESPN)
-Additional Sports Note: The NFL channel's pre-2007 draft coverage has astutely filled a here-to-for underfed appetite for more extensive coverage of the NFL draft. In-depth breakdown of each major prospect's game-tape, combine performance, and draft projection. Hip-turn, ankle-flexion, 40 time, oh my!
Thatâ€™s all folks.
Or all that I can think to put into a look-how-smart-I-am-about-dumb TV summary for now anyways. Thank you for reading.
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Copyright © 2010 Theblueswink
I Watch A Lot of TV
Copyright © 2010 Theblueswink
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