Follow Monsters of Television on Twitter

Thursday, 21 of September of 2017

Category » Industry

Dan Harmon Leaving Is Okay

Or how Community will be your new Sugar Ray

Oh noooooooooooo!

I promise this won’t be another blog post about the rise and fall of Dan Harmon or one that bemoans the death of greatness at the hands of an industry that can’t appreciate talent or one that demands Dan Harmon be installed as supreme leader of Must-See TV or I WILL BURN THIS PLACE TO THE GROUND. We here at Monsters of Television tend to have a more sober approach to television scandals and news (sometimes to our own Google-Analytical demise, see the low statistics for our thoughts on Girls) and the same will be said for a look at the changing of the guard on one of our favorite shows. I won’t speak for Noel (I’m sure he’ll have his own addendum or companion piece [dissenting opinion?] if this doesn’t line up precisely with his thoughts) but here’s my take on everything, based on the last twenty-four hours of the Twitter news cycle.

It’ll be fine. It won’t be the same. But it’ll be — fine.

Read more »


The Perils and Problems of Toonami’s Return

Toonami was a programming block on Cartoon Network the started in 1997. Airing in the afternoons, no doubt modeled after (and to compete with) The Disney Afternoon block, the block was retooled in July of 1999 and began airing as the Toonami Midnight Run on Saturday nights starting at midnight. From there on, it was 6 hours of anime and the block’s host T.O.M., a 3D CGI robot voiced by Steve Blum (known for his work as Spike in the dub for Cowboy Bebop).

Toonami Website

Really? "Bitches"? Sigh.

The Midnight Run programming block was dropped after a little less than a year (around March 2000 or so) and was retool with multiple shows airing during its block during the afternoons and then Saturday evenings, mostly anime but some American animation as well before finally being shut down in 2008.

The Midnight Run block was arguably the most popular iteration of Toonami. It laid the groundwork for its ancestor, the wildly successful Adult Swim, with its use of bumps and interstitials between commercials and the shows, and speaking to the audience though those (Adult Swim would, of course, engage in a more minimalist approach). A case could be made for Toonami popularizing anime in the United States (I wouldn’t argue it was the only thing, but probably a contributing factor), which in turn was assisted by Adult Swim’s early emphasis on anime, before they started producing their own program.

On April 1 of this year, Adult Swim was suddenly reprogrammed and it was Toonami Midnight Run again. (You can see all the bumps and interstitials here). And then on May 16, the return of Toonami was announced for May 26.

But why in the world is it even coming back? Read more »


Nick and Noel Talk about Chuck (Probably) Being Renewed

So rumors are circulating that Chuck will be picked up for a fifth season of 13 episodes (and, knowing NBC, it will then get a surprise back order to fill the hole left by Wonder Woman). Like with House, we discuss what we think they show could do in this (yet another) miracle season, why only G4 would want this show for syndication, and that it’s probably time to do away with the Buy More. For real this time.

Noel: WHY. Why, Nicholas? Why.

Nick: I can’t explain it.

Noel: I mean…What happens if NBC needs to fill 11 more weeks? AGAIN? You may kill youself.

Nick: Which they almost assuredly will. I mean, Wonder Woman is part of their development program.

Read more »


Matt and Nick Talk about House Being Renewed

Watch the whole thing, please.

In case you missed it, House, MD was finally renewed after some minor squabbling and some folks taking some pay cuts. Here to discuss what that means for us, the audience, are Matt and Nick

Matt: SO. Finally. Season 8.

Nick: The only thing really surprising is how long it took to get there.
It’s not like they were going to cancel House. Even if Donal Logue was on it.

(Which, I think is in the TV rulebooks that, if Donal Logue makes an appearance, the show has to be cancelled)

Matt: So what would happen if he were to be on a show with Summer Glau?

Nick: That episode would never make it to air.

Although there would be leaked photos of Summer Glau.

Matt: Mmmm. I’m okay with this.

Nick: And if that episode was written by Tim Minnear, well, that would have to be burned.

Read more »


Sports are the Porn of Television -or- How Networks Might Be Testing the Waters for Internet-Enabled TVs (if they’re smart)

MLS MatchDay Live showing Replay of Chicago Fire v Vancouver Whitecaps (5/7/11)

MLS MatchDay Live showing what amounted to watching a Benny Hill sketch about soccer.

So I’m watching the MLS MatchDay Live free preview weekend, bored to tears by the Chicago Fire taking on a fledgling Vancouver Whitecaps (in NFL terms, like if the Vikings took on Carolina — yeah, that messy) while missing a blacked out Galaxy/Red Bulls game and can’t help to pay attention to Silverlight-based application I’m using. You see, I’m watching the game on my computer, as I’ve done for many a sports broadcast over the past year or so. Along with this I’ve also enjoyed some Premier League and Serie A soccer on ESPN3 and the NFL on NBC’s Sunday Night Football application.

ESPN has been on the front lines for the industry in terms of technology, first pushing high-definition along with The Discovery Channel (and, arguably, selling the nation on its value) and, now, being on of the first cable networks to offer 3D (no matter how completely ridiculous you think it is for entertainment to sink its money into that pit). Naturally, their ESPN3 nee ESPN360 was one of the first serious internet-based sports viewing applications. As other networks pick up on the trend, and internet-enabled televisions pick up some steam in the marketplace (makes more sense than having to put on battery-powered glasses everytime you want to watch TV), I can see how this could be a testing ground for the grand assimilation of internet and old(er) media. It’s like TV is giving internet a drawer, maybe a key, that could lead to moving in together before eventual marriage.

Other TV streaming options like Hulu or Netflix are great for recorded television but live television is a different animal, especially since it’s a goldmine for data. Gauging audience participation during a live (or first-run) event using the power of the internet? Being able to create your own application for your channel to offer audiences extras and options and your advertisers real-time data and interactivity for promotions? Why wouldn’t you want to do this?

Sports, as a genre with ample live value and strong audiences, is a natural fit for testing the waters in a new manipulation of the medium and the applications are getting stronger. But what’s good and bad about them so far?

Read more »


Oh, yeah, the Emmys. Right.

Jaime Weinman already kind of yawned about today’s Emmy nominations. Let me extend his yawn to a full on yawp.

She's shiny and pointless

YAWP.

While Myles has done some extensive Emmy coverage and Cory did some Emmy ballots, I’ve done nothing. And I’ve had the time. Kind of (another project has cut in on some of my time for the past month or so), but I haven’t had the motivation. Because I kind don’t care about who wins at the Emmys.

It isn’t that I’m not glad to see some folks nominated (The Friday Night Lights fans can be a little less bitter now), but it’s just, well, I’m tired of seeing everyone else who was nominated get nominated (Tony Shalhoub…again!). I’m tired of knowing who and what will win before it ever happens (Congrats, AMC (it’ll be Mad Men or Breaking Bad) and Modern Family!).

There’s mildly interesting things, like Leno getting snubbed while Conan will go on to win an Emmy (TBS is thrilled) or the debate about whether Glee is a comedy (it isn’t). But, in the long run, the Emmys tell us more about the industry than anything else, and that’s ultimately all they’re good for.

Read more »


The Next Food Network Star – “Grammy Award Celebration”

Dzintra loves to twirl.”

Last week’s recap was a bit more straight-up (and thankfully shorter) than the first week’s. This week will not have a lot of the snark and pithy comments that I’ve been using (maybe next week), because we need to talk a bit more about how this show is AN AMAZING marketing device for Food Network. Because it is. The competition is painfully (obviously) secondary.

I wish this was causing me to dislike the show more (this show is pretty dull), but it just drives up my fascination as I try and guess not what the contestants will make or do or say, but how everything, and I mean everything, will synergize and cross-promote around this show. Read more »


Law & Order Cancelled

In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”

chung CHUNG

Law & Order was cancelled today after 20 years on the air with 4 (soon to be 5) domestic spin-offs and a few international variations. The series will tie Gunsmoke as the longest running prime time drama at the end of this season. Certainly not the show that invented the procedural series, Law & Order nevertheless perfected it. Creator Dick Wolf’s goal to look at the development of a case from the police perspective and then to the lawyer perspective allows the show to essentially be a police procedural and a law procedural in one show. Drawing from shows like Dragnet and Trial and Arrest, the series never delved into the personal lives of its characters, one its signature narrative goals, something that most procedurals these days can’t live without. Read more »


Double Whammy: Conan on TBS and L&O:LA

In light of April being the cruelest month, I’m taking a small, academically mandated vacation for a couple of weeks. Reviews will still be posted by me (Nick will keep chugging along, I’m sure), just less consistently. I guarantee Lost and probably Doctor Who, but anything else will hinge entirely on my schedule and how well the final push of the semester goes. This week, for example, will be a little sparse. (Maybe HIMYM later in the week; I haven’t even watched the episode yet.)

To make up for it though, I’m giving you some brief thoughts on two things near and dear to my heart: Conan O’Brien and Law & Order. Read more »


Finding the Formula in the Characters

With Lost’s upcoming return, I wanted to take a brief moment to discuss the shows that aren’t exactly innovative in terms of narrative or character or having a big honking mythology. Yes, I’m talking about the other hour-long dramas that are on TV and that, let’s be honest, may not necessarily get the critical love and attention that they may deserve. More importantly though, I want to, hopefully, parse out some of the differences in between these shows and see how they ultimately survive compared to other shows like Lost that burns us up inside, but fizzle on screen.

I’ll admit that Lost’s return isn’t the only motivating factor here. Burn Notice is on tonight, one of my favorite formula shows, and ABC’s Castle was just given two more episodes (presumably based on either the strength of last week’s series high ratings or to cover some post-Ugly Betty spots in the schedule, but in either case it’s a sign of confidence in the series), so it seems appropriate to discuss the issue of formula on TV right now. Read more »