Archive for Television

Why oh why, Syfy?

Posted in Actual News, Geek-Out with tags on July 8, 2009 by Just Zach

In what’s perhaps the oddest bit of branding since the Gilette Fusion: Gamer razor, the Sci-Fi channel rebranded itself as Syfy yesterday.

I say odd in a very selective manner.  I don’t mean to say it’s bad.  Nether do I mean to say it’s an ill-concieved move.

The spelling is just goofy as hell.

Not to say that in itself is bad.  It’s been in fashion for years now, especially in the era of the internet domain names (flickr anyone?) to blatantly misspell a word so that one may trademark it.  Which is largely what this boiled down to- a trademark issue.  Sci-Fi is a genre.  It’s a generic term invalid for trademarking.  What’s the next best thing?  Misspell the fukk out of it.

I’m a design student by trade, so I’m a little more attuned to branding than the average bear.  This doesn’t bother me at all, but then, Sci-Fi Channel and I haven’t always gotten along.

What this spells more, to me, is a sea change behind the scenes at the company.  It started with things like them broadcasting professional wrestling and turning Starbuck into a woman, moving into things like this.  Sci-Fi used to regularly count itself among the most watched cable networks, and likely will continue to do so after this rebranding.  What these guys are after, I think, is mainstream recognition.  Just like most other geek hobbies or interests, heavy sci-fi is usually derided as ‘nerd fodder’ or the like.  While I’d argue we’re a nation of geeks already, sometimes softening the blow will still let you get a hit out.

In an interview with Wired.com, Craig Engler, (senior vice president and general manager of Sci Fi Digital) said of the new name, “It’s a brand that catches up with our programming… “It is our stake in the ground. Last year was tremendous for us, with Battlestar Galactica getting recognition as one of the best dramas on television.”

I’ll buy it.  Where else am I gonna watch the 70’s Incredible Hulk reruns?

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Look Martha! Tandem travelers trioed by a floating whale!

Posted in Geek-Out with tags on April 16, 2009 by Just Zach

Let me be completely clear in this: I love Cartoon Network. Ever since TCI added it to basic cable way back when I was a wee lad, I’ve been hooked. Over the years, I think they’ve had the stronger programming. Not trying to sell short acclaimed Nickelodeon shows like Hey Arnold or Spongebob or As Told By Ginger, but for my money I’ve always enjoyed CN more. It hasn’t been roses always, though. Though they started strong with programs like Dexter’s Laboratory, Cow & Chicken, Courage the Cowardly Dog and Samurai Jack, these great paragons of animation were quickly supplanted by dreck like Time Squad, Billy & Mandy, Mike, Lou & Og and Codename: Kids Next Door (they get links over my dead body). It’s been a little hit-and-miss since then, but shows like The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack give me hope that CN will pick up it’s mantle of quality once more.

I first saw a promo for this show during WALL-E… and I wasn’t impressed at all. It looked like someone stuck Spongebob in a Pirates of the Carribean wrapping paper and hoped for the best. Take the two most popular nautical-themed properties and remix them so Cartoon Network could try and hitch onto their successes about 4 or 5 years too late. They even have the same voice actor for both the pirate characters! I wasn’t sold in the least. I figured it’s be more drivel… And who could blame me? They cancelled everything I ever liked. Megas XLR lasted what, a season? I was not about to get my hopes up again.

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The JAN Presents: Wrestlemania 25 Predictions

Posted in Actual News, Geek-Out with tags , on April 2, 2009 by Just Zach

So Wrestlemania is this weekend. You probably don’t care, but Dan and I do… sort of. I haven’t actually watched wrestling in about a year, and Dan‘s only recently picked the sport back up- but seeing as the big dance is this weekend we figured we ought to share our two cents on it. Since that’s what we do… give our opinions on things we don’t know anything about. I’m filing this entry today, but it’s really a split writing duties kind of thing. You get our back and forth as we run down the card. I guess it was pro-wrestling week here at the JAN. Fear not, for we’ll be back to our regular geek programming next week. Until then, for Dan and myself
Enjoy your night, and clever sign-off.

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The Lowest Form of Entertainment: Sci-Fi Channel Original Movies

Posted in Rants and Raves with tags , on February 20, 2009 by Just Zach

Forget everything you’ve ever heard ever about lowbrow entertainment. Monster truck rallies? Softcore Skinamax pr0n? Celebreality? None of these things hold a candle to what has to be single lowest form of entertainment avaliable today: (Larry the Cable Guy not withstanding) The Sci Fi channel original movie.

These things have been a plauge on our television screens for years now. Everyone’s seen them. You’re surfing the television about 9pm on a Thursday night, sick of CSI reruns, so you just sorta meander around the channel lineup, not really expecting much.

CSI rerun. Infomercial. 700 Club. Antiques Roadshow. QVC.

:sigh:

CSPAN. The Weather Channel. CNN. You come up on Food Network with high hopes, but it’s Paula Deen and you really don’t feel like fighting with her accent right now. You stop on Comedy Central, defeated, only to find it’s currently showing that same damned Comedy Central Presents you’ve seen six times already which wasn’t funny the first time you sat through it.

:sigh:

You click again, hoping for something… anything to watch. And there it is.

Maybe it’s some cinematic gem like Frankenfish or Mansquito or The Man with the Screaming Brain. Perhaps it’s a modern day classic like Supergator or Anaconda 3, or maybe if you’re lucky, Dungeons and Dragons 2: Wrath of the Dragon God. It doesn’t really matter which. You’re already exposed.

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Time Warner ends standoff, still stucks.

Posted in Actual News with tags on January 2, 2009 by Just Zach

So the new year began with Spongebob and Colbert after all.  Screw Time Warner for thinking they were bigger than Viacom.  It’s as Vincent Flanders of  webpagesthatsuck.com says.  “Content is king.”

Time Warner to drop Viacom in 09

Posted in Actual News with tags , on December 30, 2008 by Just Zach

Terrible news to countless cable subscribers around the nation surfaced this weekend, as Time Warner Cable has announced that come January 1 of 2009, it will suspend all Viacom channels due to carriage fees. Come the new year, the media conglomerate responsible for some of the most watched and influential shows of the past decade WON’T be seen on the 2nd largest cable provider in the nation.

I’m no professional, but I can’t see this doing anything but hurting Time Warner. I’ve been ambivalent with their cable internet service for a while now, but taking away such staple networks of my tv watching will spur me on to seek a new cable service. I can’t believe it. They’re going to willingly stop broadcasting such culturally relevant (and reliable ratings attractions) shows such as The Daily Show, Spongebob Squarepants, The Colbert Report, The Ultimate Fighter, South Park, and the like. It makes not a bit of sense. I mean, I understand the economy sucks badly, but the entertainment field is a bit insulated from such things. Life may suck seven ways to Sunday, but Americans will still pony up their hard-earned cash and their valuable time for video games, movies and television. Why they think they don’t need Viacom is beyond me. The stuff they put out is major scratch for advertisers.

The list of affected channels after the jump.
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Screw Carlos Mencia.

Posted in Rants and Raves with tags on December 27, 2008 by Just Zach

I’m usually a pretty chill guy. Ask anyone who knows me. I’m understanding, apathetic, respectful of personal choices (stupid as they may be), and most importantly, willing to put up with a lot of shit. However, there are three things that short circuit my tolerance for bullshit.

Firstly, I hate Carlos Mencia. I hate him with a firey passion. Well, let me qualify that statement. I hate him with a firey passion when I actually see him, which hasn’t happened in a good long while now that his show is more or less defunct. Don’t get me wrong here, when he first debuted, he was fresh and a little edgy and something that could fill the gaping hole Dave Chapelle’s sudden disappearence left, if only slightly. His jokes were new, he was certainly energetic… but most importantly, he had social commentary. Heartfelt social commentary about all sorts of issues, societal to political to everything in between. The first season was okay. The second season rolls around, and it’s more of the same. But why fix it if it isn’t broke? Worked well enough the last time around, right?

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