Just One More Thing

Columbo Death Jackpot badge

In my vast Canadian cable package, I get excited about the new content that comes in: 5 TSN’s, 3 Much Music’s are all vigorously consumed when they sign-on and then get relegated to a rare viewing. But one old warhorse has piqued my interest as of late, mainly for just one show. Vision TV is one of the originals of “specialty channels”, right up there with YTV and the old Shopping Channel that would just show still pictures rather than video. Mainly it’s the religions channel, not just Christian televangelists – although that is the bulk of their weekend offerings. It’s now run by TV guru Moses Znaimer and is geared towards geezers rather than churchies. “Zoomers” as they call it – baby boomers with “zip”. No moxie allowed. If you have spunk go elsewhere. You have to have zip. It’s now a mix of old British shows, movies, a strange talk show hosted by Conrad Black, and the very nub of my gist: Columbo! It used to be on weekly but now I’ve discovered it almost daily. Even though they are not making new ones – it’s one of the best shows on TV. Stephen Fry said so. So if you want to argue anything artsy or fartsy with him – you have more moxie and spunk than even the zippiest of zoomers.

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Email Roundtable #44 – Summer Television Secret Santa #2

This week, and for a number of the weeks to follow, we will be doing Summer Television Secret Santa. We each “randomly” chose a name and were given the job of gifting a television show to that person. This week we will be discussing the person we drew, the show we chose for them and why. In the coming weeks we will be pairing down our roundtable to two and interviewing our Secret Santa about the show they were gifted (or forced) to watch. The rules state that you may watch as much or as little of the show as you like and that the gift giver must have seen at least a portion of the show as well. 

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In The Name of the Father

In my Giller award-winning previous post, I went on various tangents and stumbled upon one that drew the consternation of the Twitter-verse and blogosphere. I lamented the unoriginal thought about the lack of basic competence amongst the TV dad. I talked about Carl Winslow of Family Matters fame being the last solid dad. I got some blowback, as others talked about other dads, which came from dramas and dramedies. So I went on a quest, I knew that they must be out there. A good half hour sitcom dad. Ty Burrell does not count. He sucks. I recently went on vacation, and amongst the whirlwind of activity (the ballad of Eddie Gilbert, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish inside a ball of wax) I visited my deadbeat brother. Rather than actually interact, my brother loaded up my computer with some content he thought I would like. This is always a gamble. I also think watching TV on computer is cheating. I don’t think Arrested Development should be nominated for Emmy’s. It’s a webisode. A big budget one, but its not TV, it’s a web show. Respect the box. Continue reading

Deal With It: Kid Nation and the Strange Case of the Television Oddity


Kid-Nation

As much as I love television for the way it often allows you know shows intimately and characters inside and out, as I discussed a few weeks ago, I’ve also been known to become obsessed with the television oddity. Shows that are too strange, too complicated, too expensive or too under-loved to last. These shows are on the air for a season or maybe, if they’re lucky, two and live on via DVD or Netflix or YouTube. And they also live on in memory where they often turn into something more special, more exciting, more daring than they ever were to begin with. This happened to me with My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks, which I’ve talked about ad nauseam, in those early days before I could re-watch them on VHS or DVD. It happened more recently with the incredibly strange, indelible and wholly unique Magic City, which I can’t bring myself to re-watch yet, the death of the show too new and my memory of it, almost surely incorrectly, too glowing. Or, even Ebert Presents: At The Movies, a show that attempted and failed at bringing back duelling film critics to TV (although I loved it), and one that I was reminded of this past week when one of the reviewers, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, published an excellent and sad take on the demise of the show. But these shows, despite their one-hit wonder and cult status in the world of TV-lovers, are not true-blue oddities in the purest sense.

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You Are Better Than Me If You Are On TV

I always wanted to be on TV. Ever since I was the mere wisp of a boy TV was my friend and hero. I wanted it all. To host SNL, have my own talk show, game show, make out with Jennie Garth on 90210, ride shotgun with Bo and Luke on the Dukes of Hazard and eat the lobster tails on the Ron Popeil Showtime Rotisserie. Set and forget it. I achieved my goal in 2000 as I appeared as an audience member for a taping of pro wrestling for the Aboriginal People’s Television Network. If you look close during the epic struggle for the North American Championship between “Showtime” Robbie Royce vs “The King of Old School” Steve Corino, I’m in the background. I can be heard yelling “Ol’ school, daddy” and scurrying about in my raincoat and football jersey. As my life went on I thought I would be awesome as a Chunky Soup spokesdude finally answering the Fork vs Spoon debate. Spoon, obviously. Continue reading

I used to hate Nathan For You, but now I think about it daily

To my fellow bloggers, Kerri and Graeme, you were right. Nathan For You is brilliant TV.

If you haven’t seen Nathan For You, it’s a half-hour comedy show on Comedy Central, where comedian and business school graduate, Nathan Fielder offers advice to business owners. The advice is always unique (unorthodox… silly… dumb… negligent…) and it always leads to awkward and funny results as the owners gamely try to follow Fielder’s suggestions. The first episode of season one features a segment where Fielder suggests that a yogurt shop introduce poo-flavoured yogurt to bring in curious clientele.  Continue reading