March 8, 2008

No more hiatusing.. I promise..

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:58 am by Give Me The Remote

Just like a struggling TV show, this blog is undergoing a bit of a format change. This life thing that I’ve been trialing for the past score years or so has become a bit more hectic of late and there is much less time for me to be updating this blog as I once was.

Previously I’ve tried to bring lots of news stories that let’s be honest, are being covered elsewhere on the net (usually many times on blogs). It’s just too time consuming for me! Instead, this blog is going to become more opinion based and random in its thoughts. By ‘its’ I mean mine, of course.

Onwards, and upwards! (or outwards.. either way)

December 29, 2007

The Year 2007 in Review

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:58 am by Give Me The Remote

.. or not.

Everyone else seems to be making lists and reviews left, right and centre. I never read any of them, so I figure I won’t bore you with my own.

Talking Television has a nice series on the ‘Year that Was’..

TV Tonight has a multitude of posts about the year from dead people to yearly network reviews

Give Me The Remote has nothing (yeah, I know, pointless self promotion)

However, I will say this. My most popular post by a country mile since this blog begun has been this one about ‘The Mint’ and how dodgy the games on it are. Like 3-4 times as many hits as the next best. What does this tell me? A stack of people are really annoyed about the fact that this program is an absolute scam. But seriously folks, was it any worse than National Bingo Night? Actually I think they’re probably just about as bad as each other.

The Mint wishes you a Happy New Year

December 2, 2007

How good is summer TV this year?!!

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:09 pm by Give Me The Remote

Let me just clarify something first.. I seem to always love summer TV. I think it’s all the dodgy comedy that don’t usually rate too well. It’s the comedy’s that are either really ridiculous/stupid or a bit too biting to make it in the cruel ratings season.

30 Rock
Tracy Morgan, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin

Okay, but having said this.. summer TV looks sooo good this year!!! I’m excited… Here’s a snapshot of what’s on offer:

  • 30 Rock – I really thought that this program deserved a ratings period timeslot.. but obviously there’s a bit of a lack of faith in this one to be a ratings killer.. but it’s Emmy award winning! It’s on twice a week.. which personally I think is too much.. it’s sort of like saying ‘We just want to get this program over and done out of the way’ (Monday 10:30pm, Wednesday 10:30pm Seven)
  • The Big Bang Theory – I really have no idea how good or bad this will be but I have a feeling that it’ll be trashy American sitcom.. should be  interesting, no less. (Monday 7:30pm Nine)
  • Kid Nation – Controversial in the US.. curious to see how it goes over here… dodgey timeslot (Friday 7:30pm Ten)
  • King of Queens – This has been Nine’s staple Temptation replacement for the past couple of years. I always have a ball watching this one. The jokes are stupid, but Jerry Stiller is funny. (Weeknights 7:00pm Nine)
  • Weeds – Well this one was already going.. but at least they’re keeping it on. (Monday 10:30pm Nine)
  • Men in Trees – and so it returns.. another one of those US programs that Nine didn’t give enough of a chance. (Wednesday 7:30pm Nine)
  • The Starter Wife – based on the novel, filmed in Australia, stars Debra Messing.. nominated for 10 Emmys.. about a 41 year old lady who is forced to fend for herself (and her kid) after her rich film husband abandons her (Wednesday 8:30pm Ten)
  • Cane – very decent show.. starring Jimmy Smits.. sort of Cuban/American Godfather style thing about warring families in the rum/sugar business in Florida (Wednesday 9:30pm Ten)
  • American Dad – it’s about time that some of Seth MacFarlane’s work got back on our telly screens. I actually prefer this one to Family Guy (Thursday 10:00pm Seven)
  • Friends – not my thing.. but for such a ratings hit of its time, I’m surprised that it’s taken this long to come back to our screens (Sunday-Friday 7:00pm Ten)
  • Don’t Forget the Lyrics – very similar to the singing bee (mixed with a bit of Who wants to be a Millionaire).. hosted by Wayne Brady.. (Sunday 7:30pm Ten)

 Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory – Kaley Cuoco and Simon Helberg

Not a bad summer lineup really.. can’t wait to check some of this stuff out.

October 18, 2007

Star Wars TV Series Coming Soon

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:01 am by Give Me The Remote

Star Warsies rejoice (what do you call the Star Wars equivalent to Trekkies anyway?). Okay start again. Star Wars fans rejoice, a new television series is on the way. To add to the gazillion other little books, comics, radio plays, games and trading cards in the franchise, George Lucas has decided that we need another telly series.

Star Wars

It’s going to be live action and not include Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker. George Lucas told the LA Times that “The Skywalkers aren’t in it, and it’s about minor characters.” It is likely however that main characters from the movies may make cameo appearances – perhaps Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca.

Yoda & Obi-Wan Kenobi
Yoda & Obi-Wan Kenobi may have cameo roles

The program is set to debut in 2009 and will be set between Episode III and Episode IV (between the old and new movies).

Imagine if it were a half decent series. Can you imagine watching Star Wars in primetime. That would be totally weird I reckon. Lucas has said that if the series is successful then there could be more. Obviously he feels he hasn’t squeezed this sucker for all it’s worth yet.

September 24, 2007

How to achieve a career on television (play sport)

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:20 pm by Give Me The Remote

So I flicked on the telly today and saw Dermott Brereton hosting a show called Commercial Breakdown. The show seemed fair enough, same old sort of recycling advertisements with cheesy liners in between. Good, usually high rating television filler – not to adventurous and relatively risk-free.

But I guess the curious thing about this television offering was the host, Mr Dermott Brereton. For those not bred on AFL football, ‘Dermie’ was a pretty legendary player for the Hawthorn Hawks throughout the 80s (and early 90s). Since his 211 game, three club, on-field career, Derm has appeared across various media, appearing on various television and radio programs, as well as writing regular sports columns for newspapers.

Dermott Brereton

This is all fairly standard stuff though. Given their insider knowledge, AFL players often go on to commentate on the game. A year or so ago, Derm started to appear on Postcards (or whatever the touristy show was) and then had a crack at ice skating on the not-so-well-rating Torvill & Dean’s ‘Dancing on Ice’. So to cut a long story short, he now appears regularly on Getaway and this new ads show. He’s made the transition now, he’s become a general media personality (no longer just the sporting shows).

So this has got me to thinking of other sportspeople who have gone on to host non-sporting related shows. One show that springs to mind is ‘What’s Good For You?’, featuring Michael Slater, Giaan Rooney and Brooke Hanson.

So there, it’s simple. Forget NIDA, forget the journalism degree. Work on your footy, or swimming or cricket even.

September 19, 2007

Ad scheduling in Californication (take 2)

Posted in Network Ten, Uncategorized at 5:00 pm by Give Me The Remote

After reading this blog post about the amount of advertisements in this weeks episode of Californication, I decided to go back to the tape and see how this week’s (episode 4) scheduling compared with week 1.

Okay, so this was week 1:

 Californication Ad Spread

The actual program segments are coloured in red, whilst the ad breaks are the little black wedges (the show had a duration of 40 minutes). As you can see, about 7-8 minutes or so of advertising – the first three breaks are barely even there.

Now for this week’s (ep 4):

Californication week 4

Yup.. the black wedges have got decidedly bigger. You’re (hopefully) hooked into the program by now and so the advertisements come thick and fast. It’s pretty much about double the amount of commercials that were in episode 1.

Californication

Oh yeah.. and while I’m on the subject of commercial breaks.. how excruciatingly annoying is that ad that says ‘Don’t go anywhere.. this program will be back in 60 seconds.’ If they cut out that little annoying clip then the break would be 10 seconds quicker!

September 17, 2007

Timeshifting 101

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:06 pm by Give Me The Remote

Big news from a couple of days ago was the announcement by Ten that they would begin broadcasting a new High Definition (HD) channel by the end of the year. Channel 7 quickly followed suit to and announced that they would do similar in the coming months. (Read the story here).

One particular very important feature of these new channels will be the timeshifting of various programs (11 hours of it on Ten).

Timeshifting? This use of the word does not relate to what I know the word to mean.. Apparently there’s two different meanings of the word. I imagine other people may have been confused like me.

So here’s the 101 on ‘timeshifting’.

Definition 1 – Timeshifting is a function of digital television recorders (e.g. TiVo) that allows viewers to tape a program and view it at a later time. People often turn on timeshifting at the start of a program and then start watching it about 5-10 minutes in. This way they can skip forward through all of the advertisements and finish watching the program at its scheduled finish time.

TiVo

Definition 2 – Timeshifting in relation to television channels is where a network has an alternative channel that they use to broadcast the same programs at a different time. So it basically gives viewers a second (or third) chance to catch a program if they missed its premiere screening. A few channels on Foxtel have dedicated timeshifted channels, eg. Arena, W and UKTV.

Foxtel

.. and that’s all there is to it. So the new HD channels that Ten and Seven (and inevitably Nine) will be providing will have timeshifted programs (definition 2), but if you want to keep out the ads, buy a recorder and timeshift (definition 1) the programs.

(TimeShift is also an xBox game – but this is of little relevance when speaking about television)

Emmy awards announced… (spoilers)

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:22 pm by Give Me The Remote

Here they are folks.. if you’re gonna watch it on Foxtel or the abridged version on ten.. stop reading now.

Outstanding Drama Series
Winner: “The Sopranos” (1999)

Outstanding Comedy Series
Winner: “30 Rock” (2006)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Winner: James Spader for “Boston Legal” (2004)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Winner: America Ferrera for “Ugly Betty” (2006)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Winner: Sally Field for “Brothers & Sisters” (2006)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Winner: Ricky Gervais for “Extras” (2005)

Outstanding Reality Competition Program
Winner: “The Amazing Race” (2001)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Winner: Helen Mirren for Prime Suspect: The Final Act (2006) (TV)

Outstanding Made for Television Movie
Winner: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007) (TV)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Winner: Judy Davis for “The Starter Wife” (2007) (mini)

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special
Winner: Tony Bennett: An American Classic (2006) (TV)

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series
Winner: “The Daily Show” (1996)

Outstanding Miniseries
Winner: Broken Trail (2006) (TV)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Winner: Robert Duvall for Broken Trail (2006) (TV)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Winner: Katherine Heigl for “Grey’s Anatomy” (2005)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Winner: Thomas Haden Church for Broken Trail (2006) (TV)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Winner: Jaime Pressly for “My Name Is Earl” (2005)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Winner: Terry O’Quinn for “Lost” (2004)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Winner: Jeremy Piven for “Entourage” (2004)

Outstanding Reality Program (Previously Announced)
Winner: “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List” (2005)

Outstanding Animated Program (Previously Announced)
Winner: “South Park” (1997)

IMDb

For those curious about 30 Rock (Outstanding Comedy Series) – it’s a sitcom set at 30 Rockafeller Plaza (NBC studios) about a fictional cast of a Saturday Night Live style sketch comedy program. Confused? It’s a comedy show about a fake comedy show. It had already won a Golden Globe and stars Tina Fey (Mean Girls, SNL) as well as a large ensemble cast including: Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski et al.

30 Rock

Channel 7 have the rights to this program and should definitely screen it in a nice slot now that it’s been Emmy recognised.

August 15, 2007

The effects of the internet

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:12 pm by Give Me The Remote

At least the internet is good for something.

Well it’s good for lots of things, but this things is an out-and-out good thing, not a bad thing wrapped in good things clothes. It’s good for the consumer anyway, although probably makes the local networks just that little bit more nervious.

Okay so you’ve got this far and you’re thinking what am i talking about? Well you know how in the past we’ve had to put up with receiving American (and British) television shows anywhere between 6 months and 2 years after they’ve screened in the US. Well this is generally because the local networks here want to see how they fare over a whole season (or two) before opening up their wallets. So we get used to being at least 6 months behind American TV (and everything else sometimes it seems).

Enter internet. Anyone remember trying to avoid hearing the result of Survivor and you get on the net and there it is splashed across everywhere ‘Richard Hatch wins Survivor’ or somebody spoiling the ending to Seinfeld etc etc. This is has been extremely irritating for a little while now. Thanks but no thanks Mr. Internet!

Richard Hatch wins Survivor

Well it’s taken a while but we’re finally seeing some faster internet down here, which also means we’re seeing more streaming content, which means we have access to television over the net – although not quite totally legally yet. But the networks don’t like this and so what do we get? American programs down here within days of them being broadcast in the states. House, Heroes, Prison Break will follow the trend of the OC and the current Survivor and will be seen almost at the same time as our North American cousins.

Heroes

So what does this mean for Aussie viewers? Less chance of seeing endings of our fave programs spoilt on the internet and less waiting time from seeing the programs on ET and actually airing on our screens.

What does this mean for networks? They’re going to have to take a little bit more of a risk with US programs and cop it on the chin when some flop.

What do I predict? We’re going to get some really good late night viewing. A few of these new American programs eg Life, Californication, will undoubtedly flop and the networks will end up screening them just before (or after) Letterman. Torchwood, The Office anyone?

The Office

Set your alarm clocks kids, you’re gonna need them.