Showing posts with label NBC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NBC. Show all posts

Friday, November 07, 2014

GRIMM -- Genre Show with Geeks on Staff

I've been a big fan of GRIMM since it first aired a couple of years ago. Sure, it started as a monster of the week show, but it quickly progressed into a monster hunting cop procedural that featured a grand conspiracy and a shadow war between monsters, royal families, and the mysterious Grimm. When the show first came out, there were some among my friends who called it a Buffy rip off. To a certain extent it is. The show's creator was a first season screenwriter on Buffy, but like a lot of shows made by Whedon alum this show is out-Whedoning Whedon. Tim Minear's (Firefly, Angel) show American Horror Story is a wonderful creepy ride, Once (Andrew Chambliss, Jane Espenson, others) has a great following, Arrow (Drew Z. Greenberg) is one of the best super hero shows ever to grace the airwaves -- all of them are outperforming the Whedon produced Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in either ratings or storytelling. It's a testimony to Whedon's ability to forge creative talent, but it's also a testament to how much those older Whedon shows owed to talents other than Joss.

Now that I've stirred the pot, and guaranteed that I'll receive at least 3 death threats, on to the main point of the of the reasons that GRIMM - and possibly the other shows - are out-Whedoning. I think it's because the shows are written by geeks. Now's when you come in and say...but Whedon is a geek. No he isn't, at least not in the way he once was. Whedon is now a big name with big expectations, expectations he delivers on the big screen, and that leaves him less time to be a geek than he'd probably like. He's producing several projects. Do you have any idea how time consuming that is? A friend of mine was an assistant to a screenwriter who writes comic book movies...and is a huge comic fan. You know how you are 6 months behind on your reading? This writer was years behind because the writer was writing. It's hard to be a geek/fan when you are busy creating content on a massive scale. That's what Whedon is doing, he's juggling several projects. He was a geek, but now he's too my opinion.

That brings us to the staff of GRIMM. They might be busy, and writing is difficult and time consuming, but they aren't "running a media empire" busy. That leaves them more time to maintain their geek hobbies. It's kind of like how attorneys need to do continuing education, only way more fun. If you don't spend time feeding the geek, it atrophies. do I know that the staff of GRIMM is comprised of at least one geek who's relatively up to date on continuing education credits?

It's because of a Twittersation I had with the "@GrimmWriters" today. My wife and I just watched the first two episodes of this season and we were struck by how D&D inspired the first monster of the season looked.

Image Source
I mean...that's a pretty D&D monster. So D&D that it's not in the SRD. This led me to post a tweet which received a quick response from the writer's room.

In addition to earning my permanent allegiance to the show, this tweet confirmed my suspicion in the best way. It was a great moment of fan interaction. It also makes me want to stat up the Gedachtnis Esser for Savage Worlds or d20 Modern. It also demonstrated just how geeky the writer's room (or at least the assistant responsible for the tweet) is.

Image Source

Oh...and it might just be hinting that the @GrimmWriters need to do some continuing education and buy the 5th edition rules.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Allie Goertz is Better than Rebecca Black -- D&D Tonight is Better than Friday!

The internet is filled with many wonders and perils.  It is a place where one can find beauty and horror, and one doesn't even have to look to far to find either.  It is also a place where a person can inexplicably go from moderately talented high school student to pop music sensation in nanoseconds.

The most famous case of this phenomenon is Rebecca Black, whose Autotuned voice can be heard singing two songs that are so cliche that they border on being a parody of modern pop music.  One can listen to Rebecca Black's song "Friday" back to back with Katy Perry's pop hit "Firework" and wonder where the real difference is.  Both are products of a pop-industrial machine that produces things that have a pleasant sound, but are almost completely lacking in "heart" -- even when they are attempting to be inspirational.

While Rebecca Black has been successful in promoting herself on the internet, she has also been the target of much scorn.  This is partly due to envy, and partly due to the trivial and formulaic nature of the songs she sings. It is also because there are people of greater talent, but less exposure, who put forth their artistic creations on the internet in the hopes that others will appreciate their efforts.  We aren't talking about people seeking to make a dollar, rather those who wish to share their creations.  It takes a lot of courage to promote yourself on the internet -- this applies to Rebecca as well -- it can be a cruel place.

While I was flying toward that wonderful -- and geeky -- annual celebration of hobby gaming called Gen Con, another young voice was being uploaded to the internet.  It is a wonderful voice.  Where Rebecca Black's song is formulaic with industry-esque production values and Autotuned vocals, this new artist's song is recorded by a microphone attached directly to the computer with a video recorded by a webcam.  Where Rebecca Black's song was written by professionals and sounds as if it were programmed by a "pop song writing machine," the new artist wrote her own song about something she enjoys.

That new artist is Allie Goertz.  Her voice sounds like a combination of Xenia and Dia Frampton of NBC's "The Voice."  Her lyrics combine her own love for Hobby Gaming with a touch of Tom Lehrer.

So give a listen to Allie Goertz's song "Tonight."  She's an artist so humble that she apologizes for sounding too pretentious when she says the word "essentially."  Though I think that's just her being a little "punny" regarding the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hulu Recommendation Friday: Journeyman

When NBC released Journeyman for the fall 2007 schedule, I was a bit skeptical. It was hard for me to imagine a "lost in time" television series without thinking of it as a derivative of either Quantum Leap or Time Tunnel.

The show's premise seemed similar enough. Dan Vasser is a time traveler who jumps from point in time to point in time without being able to control his destination. At each point in time Dan has to help some person from the past achieve his or her destiny. The lack of control regarding the destination in time the time traveler ends up at in each episode is a unifying factor for shows of this kind. As a narrative device -- it is also a feature of the Gen X cult time travel show Voyagers -- the "lost in time" trope allows for almost any story to be told. It frees writers in that it allows them to write episodic narratives, with little concern for continuity. Though in the end most of these shows have tended to create an internal continuity in order to maintain audience interest. There is almost nothing devoted fans to any entertainment medium enjoy than debating the "history" of a fictional property. Just look at fans of Sherlock Holmes and how they attempt to "solve" various narrative inconsistencies, or better yet listen to comic book fans deliberate on the various timelines of pre-Crisis DC Comics.

I really had very low expectations for Journeyman, as did most of America apparently since the show never really took off. This is too bad, because Journeyman ended up being one heck of a show and this was due to two key differences between it and past time travel television shows.

Where other shows added a continuity after the show had been running for a while, Journeyman begins with continuity as a main component of its narrative structure. Dan Vasser's jumps through time are all related in some way. Dan doesn't know how they are related, but it quickly becomes apparent that they are. Added to this that Dan's travels through time occur spontaneously. Dan is a journalist, not a scientist, and he just starts jumping through time without ever wanting to. Why Dan is traveling through time, who is responsible, and to what purpose are all a part of the initial mystery underlying the series.

Additionally, a major part of the show is devoted to Dan's modern day family relationships. One could even argue that the show is really about how a person who randomly jumps through time is able to maintain a normal life and keep his family together -- especially when they think he may or may not be insane/using drugs. Dan's family has some nice character conflicts built in and the show explores them in dramatic fashion. Given Journeyman's lack of success, one wonders how well The Time Traveler's Wife will do in theaters as it has a similar conflict.

Kevin McKidd does a good job as Dan Vasser. McKidd is the kind of actor I like to call "a worker." His filmography ranges from cult horror films and video games to "respectable" roles. Any actor who is willing to do voice work after getting a role on Grey's Anatomy deserves respect for his/her work ethic. The fact that McKidd is a very good actor is icing on the cake. Gretchen Egolf and Moon Bloodgood are both good as Dan's love interests -- present and past -- and Reed Diamond is great as the brother who knows all about Dan's dark side and suspects his brother may be relapsing into some nasty behavior patterns.

Journeyman was an enjoyable show that never quite found its audience.

As always, hit PLAY...then FULL SCREEN...and enjoy.

Monday, May 14, 2007

NBC Announces Fall Line-Up

NBC's Upfronts may be at 3pm EST today, but that didn't stop Variety (among others) from reporting NBC's upcoming fall schedule. Though I was sad to see that Raines wasn't among the listed shows (I didn't really expect it to be), the list looks pretty interesting. Below is the line-up with my thoughts (new shows in italics):

8-9 p.m.: "Deal or No Deal" -- I know that this show gets good number, but I just don't get it. All I can do as I watch this show is chant "Choose Wisely" like the knight in Indiana Jones 3. I just can't take seriously a show that adds dramatic tension to a hidden information game where the contestants seem to be selected based on their ignorance of probability.

9-10 p.m.: "Heroes" -- This was one of my favorite new shows this year and I am glad to see it has been renewed for the fall. I also can't wait for the "fill in" show "Heroes: Origins" which will be running this while the main show is on hiatus.

10-11 p.m.: "Journeyman" --Based on the description (below) this is a combination of "Quantum Leap" and "The Unit." Not only do we get the "Sam travels through time fixing stuff" narrative, but we also get the "what's happening in his home life" as well. It sounds like an interesting enough combination for me to watch a re-envisioning of an idea I enjoyed before. The added element of the protagonist having to deal with his home life does intrigue me, so I'll be either staying up or Tivo-ing this show.

"Journeyman"-- From Emmy Award-winning writer-producer Kevin Falls ("The West Wing") and Emmy Award-winning director-producer Alex Graves ("The West Wing"), "Journeyman" is a romantic mystery-drama about Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd, "Rome"), a San Francisco newspaper reporter and family man who inexplicably begins to travel through time and change people's lives. Along the way, he also must deal with the difficulties and strife at work and home brought on by his sudden disappearances. However, his freewheeling travels through the decades reunite him with his long-lost fiance Livia (Moon Bloodgood, "Day Break") -- which complicates his present-day life with wife Katie (Gretchen Egolf, "Martial Law") and their son. Reed Diamond ("Homicide: Life on the Street") and Charles Henry Wyson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") also star. "Journeyman" is a production of 20th Century Fox Television. Falls is executive producer and writer; Graves is executive producer and director of the pilot.

8-9 p.m.: "The Biggest Loser" -- Ah, lame reality programming, renewed. I'll pass.

9-10 p.m.: "Chuck" -- A new show from Josh "pop culture" Schwartz and Mc"king of high concept"G, that seems to be an interesting combination of "Jake 2.0," "The Six Million Dollar Man," and The Computer Wore Red Tennis Shoes. Based on the creative crew, "The OC" and "Supernatural" are two of my favorite shows, alone I was sold. Add a semi-SF/espionage back story and Adam Baldwin from "Firefly" and I'll give the show 8-10 episodes to prove itself to me.

From executive producer, Josh Schwartz ("The O.C.") and executive producer-director McG ("Charlie's Angels," "We Are Marshall") comes a one-hour, comedic spy thriller about Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi, "Less Than Perfect") - a computer geek who is catapulted into a new career as the government's most vital secret agent. When Chuck opens an e-mail subliminally encoded with government secrets, he unwittingly downloads an entire server of sensitive data into his brain. Now, the fate of the world lies in the unlikely hands of a guy who works at Buy More. Instead of fighting computer viruses, he must fight assassins and international terrorists. With the government's most precious secrets in Chuck's head, Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin, "My Bodyguard") of the NSA assumes the responsibility of protecting him. His partner is the CIA's top agent (and Chuck's first date in years) Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strzechowski, "Gone"). They'll keep him safe by trading in his pocket protector for a bulletproof vest. Also starring are Joshua Gomez ("Without a Trace") as Chuck's best buddy Morgan and Sarah Lancaster ("What About Brian?") as Chuck's ever-supportive sister Ellie. Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak wrote "Chuck," which is produced by College Hill Pictures and Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television.

10-11 p.m.: "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" -- Don't watch it. Not because it's bad or anything, just not enough time in the day.

8-9 p.m.: "Deal or No Deal" -- Two days a week of bad decision making? No thanks.

9-10 p.m.: "Bionic Woman" -- My demands of remakes of my favorite childhood shows are very high. Given that this has "Battlestar Galactica" connections, I expect to be disappointed.

10-11 p.m. "Life" -- "A cop given a second chance after serving time for a crime he didn't commit?" Like the old Life cereal commercial, I'll be like Mikey. I'll try it out, but I don't expect to like it. Who knows...It might be good. It might be terrible. I'll find out what I think.

8-8:30 p.m.: "My Name Is Earl" -- I don't watch it, but Fritz thinks it's very funny.

8:30-9 p.m.: "30 Rock" -- I don't watch it, but it looks very funny.

9-9:30 p.m.: "The Office" -- One of my favorite shows.

9:30-10 p.m.: "Scrubs" -- Just when you think ratings are the only consideration when renewing shows, they renew "Scrubs." Not that I'm complaining, I really like this show. I'm just saying. It's not every show that looses 2.1 million viewers from the previous hour that gets renewed. (On May 3, "The Office" had 7 million viewers, "Scrubs" had 4.9).

10-11 p.m.: "ER" -- This show will be on in twenty years. I stopped watching it when they dropped a helicopter on one of my favorite characters. That was a year or so after they had a helicopter cut the same character's arm off. It was just too much for me.

8-9 p.m.: "1 vs 100"/"The Singing Bee" -- Could we get a new host for "1 vs 100"? I like the concept, but Bob Saget? As for "The Singing Bee," I might just watch this to see how many interpretations of "Blinded by the Light" I can hear.

9-10 p.m.: "Las Vegas" -- Until a show demonstrates just how dull and mechanical the behind the scenes of a casino is, I will be disappointed. As someone who was a 21/Craps dealer for a couple of years, I can't watch the "Casinos are so exciting" narratives. Puhleese. It's all about old ladies loosing their Social Security money in the hopes that the few moments of "friendship" they receive from casino staff can substitute for family who doesn't visit or call. Casinos are dull, depressing, and filled with the desperate.

10-11 p.m.: "Friday Night Lights" -- It makes more sense to me that this show be broadcast on Fridays. Well...except for the fact that a good part of their target audience are out watching the games that this show fictionalizes! Hello?

8-9 p.m.: "Dateline NBC" -- Um...there's still cable news and the internet right? Pass.

9-11 p.m.: Drama Series Encores -- Space for "Raines" here if they give it a shot again. I'll go light a candle.

SUNDAY (Fall 2007)
7-8 p.m.: "Football Night in America" -- I'm a baseball and college football guy myself, but I'll probably watch this semi-regularly.

8-11 p.m.: "NBC Sunday Night Football" -- Ditto.

SUNDAY (January 2008)
7-8 p.m.: "Dateline NBC" -- The internet still here at this point of the post? Same answer.

8-9 p.m.: "Law & Order" -- Long after our society crumbles, the Eloi will still be watching this show.

9-10 p.m.: "Medium" -- Sorry, I read James Randi's website during this hour.

10-11 p.m. "Lipstick Jungle" -- Maybe, maybe not. If it is just another show about catty women sleeping around in the workplace, no. If it is a show about the genuine obstacles women face in the entertainment industry, yes. As someone with friends, and family, who hope to be in the basic circumstances of some of the characters in this show, I'm intrigued. But I still don't trust it. The fact that the show stars Brooke "nothing gets between me and my Calvin Kleins" Shields leads me to believe that the show will likely be the first. Based on the description though, I am ordering the novel today.

Based on the best-selling novel by Candace Bushnell ("Sex and the City"), this fun dramedy follows three high-powered friends as they weather the ups and downs of lives lived at the top of their game. Nico (Kim Raver, "24"), editor-in-chief of a hot fashion magazine, wants to replace her boss as CEO. Movie exec Wendy (Brooke Shields, "Suddenly Susan") finds even her most earnest efforts may not be enough to balance career and family. And free-spirited designer Victory (Lindsay Price, "Beverly Hills, 90210") longs to make her dreams come true, and maybe find Mr. Right along the way. Armed with humor and strength, these three modern New York women support one another through the triumphs and tears that are all part of making it big in the Big Apple. Written by executive producers DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler (both for "How I Met Your Mother," "Three Sisters") and based on the book by Bushnell, "Lipstick Jungle" is from NBC Universal Television Studio. The pilot is directed by Gary Winick ("13 Going on 30").