Monday, January 25, 2010

"i'm mad as hell and i'm not gonna take it anymore!"


certainly i have used this blog in the past to voice my feelings regarding tv and the networks. i love tv--always have--and love, not only the shows that have thrilled and entertained me my entire life, but also have had a warm spot for the actual networks themselves, the ephemeral atmosphere of home that each one seems to project. i love the history of television and have studied it fanatically. and while i'm generally a pretty upbeat and positive person and endeavor to keep this blog from becoming a soapbox for my own personal gripes--man, do the networks hate us or what...?
over the past five years or so (probably more on the "or so" side...), the networks have totally cut the viewers out of the equation. the viewer means absolutely nothing anymore. they focus now on the sponsors and, while i certainly understand the necessity of revenue, i feel that, as their supposed audience, we should have some voice. they continue to gauge their industry on an outdated and antiquated system. they cancel clever, well-written, and incredibly promising shows ( pushing daisies, life, journeyman, my own worst enemy...and let's not forget firefly and wonderfalls and then report astonishment when those very series' show four and fives the projected numbers in dvd sales. they battle with the writers for, in the scheme of things, a ridiculously small amount for actually creating and developing the very programs that are keeping them on the air. and then they rob the viewers by charging them full price for truncated seasons on the dvd package. much like our current government, they cater to the sponsors and special interest group and have left us in their wake.

just as with my representatives in washington, the networks have abandoned me.

it's all about money and sponsors ands commercials and i'm sick and tired and i'm not gonna take it anymore.

oh, sure, i'll never be able to turn it off completely. not yet, anyway.
i still want to see how lost ends, still need the laughs on nbc's thursday night line-up, still need my snl...

but, i'm reading more.
i'm cutting way back on tv. someone said a little while back that only way that we could change things in government would be to come together and simply vote all of the incumbents out. send a message. sure, maybe it would screw things up for a while, but aren't things pretty screwed up now?
same with tv. i'm leaving. i'm turning it off.
back in the mid- to late-80s the networks were terrified because they just couldn't get any viewers. they were panicking, desperate. (book sales, by the way, were way up back then...) somehow they came back, with good entertainment and clever shows--and, they proudly proclaimed at the time, by listening to the viewer.

i'm reading more.

that's one place that they can't get us.



man, after that rant, i hope lauren doesn't get upset that i'm plugging her book in the same post...

okay, shake it off, folks! here's something positive...

with the holidays and work and all kindsa other things coming up, i wasn't able to really sit down and read--well, re-read--the wonderful jaunt which is the slightly askew adventures of inspector ham and eggsby our good friends stephen lindsay and lauren monardo until just this past weekend! lauren was kind enough to send me a copy of the collected trade a few weeks ago and i wanted desperately to show you all and sing it's praises 'cause i really dug when i first read it in comic book form but loved it when i sat down with the whole package! you will too!
plus, the trade is filled with all kindsa cool extras--guest pin-ups, a much too enthusiastic afterword by bryan glass of mouse guard fame (but, of course, bryan does everything much too enthusiastically! : ) a much too short afterword by me--and one of my favorite features is a transcription of the conversation stephen and lauren had in creating ham and eggs and the baron and all the other colorful characters that inhabit new pork city. this unique insight into their creative process is both fun and totally cool! you won't want to miss it!

so if you didn't get the series or are one of those 'wait til the trade' readers, go check it out at


the answers to your
"five for friday"
back-up bands

i think i did this once before--or maybe just had one or two mixed in to a general group of five--but here are the names of some back-up bands for you to provide the headliner...
have fun!

1. the heartbreakers

tom petty

2. the attractions

elvis costello

3. the blue notes

harold melvin

4. the comets

bill haley

5. the crickets

buddy holly

6. the jordanaires

elvis presley

7. the j.b.s

james brown

8. the range

bruce hornsby

9. the black hearts

joan jett

10. the revolution


have a happy monday!
smell ya later!


Brian said...

Todd, I agree with you when it comes to Firefly, but then again, hasn't Sci-Fi always been a hard sell on TV. Star Trek, the original series, limped through it's original run on network TV, and that's back when network TV was all there was, but went on to much greater heights through syndication and the movies.

Bad things happen to good shows,no question, but I still find a lot of quality TV to watch on the networks and, while I am not an American Idol "idolitor," I do not think we see "Glee," my favorite new show of the year, without the success of that "reality" TV show.

Network TV is much, much too conservative when it comes to their prime time slates which are dominated by doctors, lawyers and police franchises like CSI and Law and Order, but that does not preclude the existence of good shows in those genres.

Grey's Anatomy, which charged out of the gate, and then stumbled badly, has regained it's footing and the episode they did this year where Derek removed a fellow doctor's spinal tumor, was not just one of their best episodes ever, but one of the best single TV episodes I've ever seen.

Bones, House and the Mentalist are cannot miss TV for me, based in large part on the lead actors, Fringe more than satisfies my X-Files yen and I really like Chuck and Castle.

Two and a Half Men, 30 Rock, Big Bang Theory and HIMYM make me laugh and, while I don't watch them, I'm told Cougar Town and Modern Family are solid sitcoms.

As for network inteference with a show, sometimes it can be a good thing. Lost was floundering in its third season, but improved markedly once the network and the creators got together and decided on a definite end time for the show. It really is the type of story that needs to be working toward a definite conclusion as the weekly installments were starting to feel like filler and the audience was dropping out in droves.

The same is true of Dollhouse, though without the mutual agreement of the network and the creator. I felt that at the start of the second season they were just spinning their wheels, but once the ax came down, the story really picked up momentum and each new episode has been outstanding.

That said, all those shows are going to have to wait patiently on my DVR if a new issue of the Perhapanauts came home with me from my LCBS. ;-)

Russ Burlingame said...

Yeah, I've recently been reading with a mission; there have been a lot of things I've wanted to read or re-read for a while, and I'm working my way through them with a battle plan, by buying the next item on the list when I'm still reading this one, stuff like that. A good chunk of that comes from the fact that I don't want to have a TV going all the time when my kid is born in five months, but there's just not a lot of great TV on to start with.

Anyway, My reading list, for those who are wondering: I recently purchased the three volumes of THE FLETCH CHRONICLE, a series of 500-page, hardcover anthologies collecting three of Gregory McDonald's "Fletch" novels in each. The nine adventures of Irwin Maurice Fletcher have been keeping me entertained for a while now, intercut with reading "DC Showcase Presents The Warlord" and the complete "Bone" epic. After these books I'm going to round out my Fletch experience by reading "Son of Fletch" and "Fletch Reflected," the adventures of his son Jack, and then move on to "Don Quixote" and the Stephen King "Dark Tower" hardcovers before I lapse back into McDonald and check out the Flynn books, which happen in the Fletch universe, but which I've never read before (I have already read all 11 Fletch books, about ten years ago). I've also been taking in "The Help" on a really well-produced audiobook; anyone who hasn't read this yet or heard of it should look it up right away. It's on the bestseller shelves at Barnes & Noble and it's just fantastic.

Russ Burlingame said...

PS - With "Better Off Ted" looking to be on the chopping block, but "Chuck" picking up the couple of million viewers "Heroes" has dropped, I'm looking to shift some of my blame for the dumbing down of the TV landscape to ABC soon. NBC's had a stranglehold on that for a while now (along with Fox and Fox News), so it's nice to see that the blame can be passed around the industry sometimes.

Anonymous said...

There's always General Hospital Todd :-) It'll never die!

I'm with you guys... and at this point, I figure that if I like a show, it's pretty much the kiss of death. I really enjoy ABC's the Middle and Modern Family... Castle, Bones, Fringe and a couple others really keep my interest, but outside of that, I'll watch almost anything to do w/ Aztecs, Egypt, UFOs, WWII or anything history based on the history or natgeo channels.

I am pretty upset about Conan being pulled. I don't want to offend anyone here, but I never liked Jay Leno, as a kid, I LOVED Carson, he was hilarious...and when Jay took over, it was just a lackluster replacement for me... then Conan came along, and I laughed again! I was so excited that he inherited the crown of the Tonight Show, I couldn't imagine a better choice. He's young, he's someone the 40s and under can really identify with. I never got that w/ Jay, I always felt like he was my Dad's (and I don't mean MY DAD... just his age group in general)type of comedy... not funny. Anyway... I don't know if you saw Conan's last night, but his speech at the end was inspiring. I'm glad he went out w/ his head held high. Can't wait to see what he does next.

Brian said...


I've read all the Flynn books and you will not be disappointed.

I'd also recommend a McDonald book outside of the Fletch/Flynn world called "Safekeeping" which was a very good read.

If you like Gregory McDonald, then I think you'll also like Ross Thomas with "Missionary Stew" being a great place to start.

Warren said...

I haven't followed a network tv show in years. I started following Lost, but after the second season, it looked like they were just going pile random oddness on top of random oddness and never reach a logical conclusion, so I gave up on it. I quit watching Smallville when the producers started ridiculing capes. I quit watching the Simpsons when Conan O'Brien quit writing it.

There are a couple of cable shows I like (Burn Notice and Psyche) but network TV has been pretty dead to me for a long time.

And don't get me started on U.S. sitcoms. Why can't ours be a fraction as funny as BBC comedies!?!

alison said...

New Pork City looks good, Todd, thanks.

You guys have pretty much hashed over the TV theme with a sprinkling of reading thrown in - but what about Todd's minor rant on gov't?

My solution to the gov't woes is to have a mandatory service lottery system. Every American between say 30 and 60 has to register for legislative service and gets chosen to serve by lottery. I don't think we'd do much worse than what we've had going and might even do better.

DonKelly said...

READ MORE! I have been a reader all my life. I have been a TV watcher all my life. The last few years I've moved away from watching tv to reading more. Just last year I finished 32 books or varying length. Hoping to break that number this year..already on #4.
Even though there are shows I like to watch I find I'm less and less inclined to "make it a point" to watch them. If they are on I'll sit and veg out a while. IF I have something else to be it.
My Uncle has seen to it I read more than just the sci-fi, crime fiction, fantasy stuff..he's gotten me books on history of WW2 and the like. I've read of the early whaling days (as it happens I am from New Bedford MA the capital of whaling for a good while). Not too mention the W.E.B. Griffin novels..I could go on but I won't bore ya.

Brian said...


I've actually thought about your proposal in the past.

I think with mandatory government/civics courses in all schools and some reliable system for weeding out the loonies, that would certainly be a way to get the influence of money out of politics as well as breaking up the incumbent monopoly.