I can proudly say I've never seen a moment of any of the Kardashian TV shows ... but as someone buys groceries, I'm aware enough of the lot of the K-named brood and their mom, Kris Jenner. And, I guess, I know enough to get jokes like these.
Nick and I are gradually working our way through the Arrested Development episodes that were released, en masse, on Netflix on the weekend. Lots of chuckles (cue the Charlie Brown music) and new gags.
My favourite is the burned-in text on flashbacks which says, Showstealer Pro - Trial Version (look carefully at the image above), which is a fake watermark that is a subtle nod to the downloading generation, which has been accustomed to binge-watching whole series courtesy of illegal file sharing services.
When Jerry and the gang sat down to watch TV on Seinfeld (a tricky proposition, as that couch could never sit all four of the main cast), we all knew there was a wall behind the unseen television set, correct?
Here's something that makes us redefine the phrase "television set" altogether, and it's just one of a series. Behold, the plans for Jerry's modest but well-used Upper West Side apartment from Seinfeld.
The sketch is by a Spanish artist Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde, who goes by the nickname Nikneuk, and who specializes in taking the homes shown on television shows and movies (from I Love Lucy to Up to the Big Bang Theory.)
One of his popular pieces is a creation of the neighbouring apartments on Friends, which fuels the debate on how, exactly, Monica and Rachel were able to afford a spread like that in the West Village on the salaries of a starting (and sometimes unemployed) cook and a coffee shop employee. Ah, television!
Via Laughing Squid, this infographic that breaks down which popular shows were based where. New York and L.A. get more than their share, but I could have sworn there'd be more from Atlanta than The Walking Dead.
"There are two facts about humanity and they’re both undeniable. You are reminded of them every second of every breath you take. One is that we are separate. You’ll never be able to escape that. The other is that we’re absolutely together. Those two things are swirling and swirling and swirling around, and you have a choice with every breath you take and every sentence you make to celebrate one side or the other." - Dan Harmon, the creator of the TV series Community, speaking Saturday at an event celebrating the show. Harmon, who was fired last season as the showrunner, based the series on his own experiences of going to community college and surprisingly finding connections to people he had no interest in.
I've been enjoying a lazy holiday weekend, including watching the Steve Van Zandt series Lilyhammer, perhaps the best known entry in a Wikipedia list called "Norwegian comedy television series." It's a bit of a pioneering show, not for its content, but for its distribution: its the first series that Netflix made by itself (albeit in conjunction with Norwegian TV). The whole first season simultaneously went online earlier this year.
It's about an interesting premise: a mob informant (not that much of a stretch for Van Zandt, post-Sopranos) chooses to hide out in a witness protection program in Norway, largely because of idyllic memoires of the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer. "Lily-hammer" is how Van Zandt's fish out of water pronounces the city's name, and that's just the start, as the made man runs up against not just a Nordic culture, but an extraordinarily bureaucratic one at that. (Or, as it's described, "the multi-headed, but basically pleasant, troll that is Norwegian society.") Sometimes a little blackmail can clear things up...
A second season is set to start shooting soon, the shoot delayed because of Van Zandt's day job as right-hand-man to the touring Bruce Springsteen. By the time I finish the first season, I know I'll be well ready for the second.
Television shows get better and worse (and, not often indeed, better again) as the years pass. Above is a sensible appreciation of Breaking Bad, which will have a hard time in its new season of besting its last season, chronicling the demise of Gus Fring (pictured). Click here for a rather personal evaluation of a whole bunch of series.
We caught up this evening with the latest True Blood episode, the second of the season and the series debut for Christopher Meloni, who has left Law & Order: SVU to take on an uber-vampire role, playing a real piece of work named Roman. Meloni showed up at the end of the episode, presumably to play a major part in the rest of the season. It was a hoot to see him ham it up so much, I have to say.
When House was launched, the inspirations that it drew from Sherlock Holmes - a dyspeptic, antisocial genius with a drug problem and an inclination to humiliate those closest to him - were obvious.
This is a fun video that makes those connections deeper, featuring Harry Chapin's Cats In The Cradle, with scenes from House (starring Hugh Laurie), Sherlock (starring Benedict Cumberbatch) and Fortysomething (starring both).
When I heard a long ways back that NBC was about to relaunch Prime Suspect for an American audience, I have to admit that I was skeptical. I watched every iteration of Jane Mirren's classic British series, and loved how her brittle, vulnerable, relentless detective Jane Tennison was allowed to be all those qualities, and more, even as she matured and rose the ladder in police management.
I was actually impressed by the NBC version, which was smart enough to take its inspiration from the British original ... and then move on. Maria Bello's Jane (the surname was Timoney) was similar, but very different. She was also a bit of a ticket, and nobdy's fool, but her own character in her own world.
We got hooked on the show, particularly as I've been yearning for the kind of crime drama that Law & Order used to offer. A decent supporting cast, worthy plots, good writing ... about as much as I ask from prime-time TV.
Weeks ago, NBC pulled the plug on the show, which was barely through the first half of its first season. For whatever reason (personally, I think it's because the networks want bigger payoffs out of the gate, especially for complicated dramas that refuse to make their characters instantly endearing), NBC didn't see a future for the show. The remaining episodes were burned off up to and after Christmas, and the last one aired quietly this past Sunday.
Absolutely Fabulous debuted on the BBC in 1992; CBC aired it later, quite late at night, but worth setting the VCR for. Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley have revived their characters as the ultimate hard-drinking fashionistas here and there, but nothing in the last seven years.
Until this week. The BBC airs the first of a new set of episodes on Christmas Day. It'll be fun to see where things go, especially since the girls are more than showing their age and Eddy's wise daughter Saffy would have to be in her 30s now.
Actually, this is, of course, John Lithgow ... the actor with whom I'll admit I share a resemblance. Every now and again, more often when he appears in something popular, someone will say something like, "Has anyone ever told you you look like ..."
Yep, I'll nod. As I have nodded for years, particularly since my hair fell out and I looked remarkably like that guy from Footloose.
Lithgow's appearance on Dexter as the Trinity killer changed things a bit, with a few people noting that I suddenly seemed ... creepier.
This clip from the Strombo show is about that very role.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.