Tag Archive for 'tv'

David Letterman Got Married

Wow: David Letterman got married!

U2 on Letterman, $4 Album Download

U2 kicked-off their historic 5-night residency on David Letterman’s Late Show last night, with a performance of Breathe. They even participated in a little sketch, where Dave had them outside on 53rd Street, shoveling snow.

The residency is to celebrate the release this week of their twelfth studio record, No Line On The Horizon. And it just so happens that you can grab a copy of it in non-DRM MP3 format for $4 from Amazon. I don’t regularly listen to U2 much any more, but this is a great thing for a major-label artist to do, and I’m more than happy to give it a few listens for that price and format.

UPDATE 3/5: Night two, the boys played Magnificent, which sounds like a classic U2 song. Bono needs to treat his voice with more care, though.

Gondry’s Flight of the Conchords

The first four episodes of season two of Flight of the Conchords were uninspired and forgettable, but that all changed with episode five. Directed by Michel Gondry, the Conchords return to the top with two great songs – the Sausagefest anthem Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor, and an ode to Jemaine’s ex-girlfriends titled Carol Brown.

I’m just catching up on this season now, but episode six has Kristen Wiig from SNL… omgz!

Mad Men, Mad Props

Mad Men is such an enjoyable show – but, typeface designer Mark Simonson takes Mad Men’s prop masters to task for their typography sins.

None of these missteps occurred to me when watching, so maybe I need to brush up on my history of typography?

Neighborhood Envy, Gossip Girl in Carroll Gardens

I’m no stranger to neighborhood-envy, but it’s nice to hear some directed our way:

Gossip Girl Invades Carroll Gardens, Olds Are Befuddled, Enraged »

I’m going to refer to my neighbors as “Smith Street whipsters (wealthy hipsters)”, unironically and with zero self-awareness, from now on.

Battlestar Galactica, Season 4

BSG-season04

A lot of geeks are going to be parked in front of the TV tonight, (even more than usual on a Friday night), for the season premiere of Battlestar Galactica. Go ahead and laugh, but over the course of its 3-plus seasons, BSG has become one of the more culturally important shows on TV:

Battlestar Galactica is one of the more beguiling series on television, an action-adventure drama that travels through time and space to explore morality, politics and metaphysics.

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Letterman Makes Deal With Striking Writers

Breaking news from late-night TV land:

Most of the late-night comedy shows are going back on the air January 2, however CBS will be the only one with writers. I still can’t fathom how John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are going to cope without their writing staff – my fear is that both shows will be slightly more awkward versions of Charlie Rose, (if that’s possible), with better production values.

Kudos to Dave’s negotiators, and let’s hope that the bigger companies step forward and offer to work out something reasonable as well.

People David LettermanUPDATE: Dave kept the beard! This photo is from the taping of his January 2 show.

Village Academies/Esquire Event

We attended a fundraiser for Lisa’s work last night, honoring Bill Cosby and others. It was held in Esquire’s swank Esquire North penthouse on Central Park North, and the magazine is also featuring Village Academies founder Deborah Kenny in this month’s issue:

In six years, Kenny’s vision has grown into a trio of charter schools under the rubric of Village Academies, located in New York precincts where a muscular poverty has thrived for generations. The numbers alone tell a compelling story. Locally, passing rates for seventh-grade math hover around 30 percent. At HVA, the rate is a stunning 96 percent.

Cast members from Gossip Girl showed up, and Tyler Hilton played a few songs, (who played Elvis in Walk the Line Johnny Cash movie).

midtown office + loved ones

At least the ladies look good – Matt and I have taken better pictures.

More photos below the fold.

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Letterman and the WGA Strike

There were rumors that Jon Stewart was going to pay his writers through the WGA strike, which turned out to be false. While I’m sure that the Daily Show host sympathizes, he doesn’t have Letterman money.

Dave is already losing an estimated $600k a week in salary, and because he owns the Late Show, CBS has stopped paying his production company, Worldwide Pants. What’s interesting is that while Dave is shelling out for employees of Pants, much of the show’s technical staff are CBS employees, according to one blog:

These employees (at least in Los Angeles) have been on the street since day 1 of the strike. CBS does not want to pay them. They’re like the bastard child nobody wants to claim.

So, this thing goes on. Letterman is doing the right thing by his writers and staff – hopefully this thing will get resolved soon. In the meantime, the Late Show writers have a strike blog, and Ze Frank has returned to the really small screen to offer his thoughts: strike day, and strike #2.

TiVo HD and Copy Protection

Why do I pay money for this?I am an avid hockey fan, since I was a kid growing up in Buffalo. I love watching the game, and I especially love watching my hometown team, the Sabres. For the past 2 years, I’ve forked over $150 to subscribe to the NHL Center Ice cable package, so that I can watch every game of the season. With our TiVo, I can record each game, and watch it whenever I have time.

That is, I did, until this season started. We recently upgraded our TiVo unit from an old DirecTiVo, to the new Series 3 TiVo HD, which apparently implements unnaturally strict copy protection on premium content. Because the new unit utilizes CableCards, TiVo has different rules for these TiVos as compared to Series 2 units, according to their support page:

Since the Series3 and TiVo HD are DCR devices, in addition to the Macrovision rules for analog content, they must also comply with the content protection policies for Digital Cable content.

What this means is that NHL Center Ice content is copy protected, and will be deleted within hours of the game’s completion. Gone. Irretrievable.

Continue reading ‘TiVo HD and Copy Protection’

30 Rock

30rock_pre2.jpgNBC’s 30 Rock will be on in the fall
Starring Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Rachel Dratch, & Alec Baldwin. It could be the funniest thing on NBC next year, (sorry Scrubs), if not for this horrible promotional copy:

Welcome to the set of The Girly Show, a fictional television show that serves as the backdrop to Tina Fey’s new workplace comedy. Liz Lemon (Fey) is The Girly Show’s head writer and is being pushed to the edge of reason by the show’s two stars and a demanding network honcho. In order for Liz to keep her job, and her sanity, she has to balance the egos, the mandates and the neuroses while maintaining The Girly Show laughs. It won’t be easy! In this bold, star-studded comedy, anything can happen!

Nevermind that — check out the video clip, and you’ll get a better idea. [via]

Letterman’s Politics

I still love Dave… he stood up to Bill O’Reilly on his program this week, (video here). There were two main points of contention… first, O’Reilly’s imagined “War on Christmas”, and then his calous attacks on Cindy Sheehan. Dave wasn’t as thoughtful or inteligent-sounding as he can be on political topics, but I love the way he sums up O’Reilly:

Letterman: “I’m not smart enough to debate you point to point on this, but I have the feeling, I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap.” (emphasis added)

Indeed. Oh, and get your Tshirts.

Mr. Sulu is gay?

George Takei Declares His Homosexuality… lest you think this is merely a publicity stunt to generate buzz for the play he is currently starring in, there is also this:

The current social and political climate also motivated Takei’s disclosure, he said.
 
“The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay,” he said. “The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young.”

Full-speed ahead, Captain.

The Poisoning of BitTorrent

O’Reilly Radar is reporting that HBO is “poisoning” BitTorrent downloads of their hour-long drama Rome:

HBO is now obstructing the downloads offered by other people. BitTorrent downloads are peer-to-peer, but the peers are introduced to each other by a tracker (“you’re looking for Rome Season 1 Episode 2, talk to 127.0.0.1”). HBO runs peers that tell the tracker they have all the chunks of the show, but then send garbage data when a downloader requests a chunk. The downloading client can detect that it’s garbage and will try another peer for the chunk, but the end result is that it takes much much longer to download shows.

I would care more if I didn’t have TiVo.

Everybody Hates Chris

Somehow our TiVO missed the first episode, but thankfully Google is hosting it for us:

Inspired by his childhood experiences, comedian Chris Rock narrates the hilarious, touching story of a teenager growing up as the eldest of three children in Brooklyn, New York, during the early 1980’s. Uprooted to a new neighborhood and bused into a predominantly white middle school two hours away by his strict, hard-working parents, Chris (Tyler James Williams) struggles to find his place while keeping his siblings in line at home and surmounting the challenges of junior high. This responsible resilient adolescent brings a distinct, funny spin to his everyday trials and traumas in UPN’s new single-camera comedy EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS. Thursdays on UPN (8pm EST/PST).

Poor Man’s TiVo: BitTorrent & RSS

I know a lot of you cats have TiVo, but I thought I’d share my favorite method of downloading our favorite TV shows, sans TiVo…

BitTorrent is awesome, as everyone knows… but, I hate having to continuously scan the tracker sites for the shows I want, and then, I hate waiting for them to download. Wouldn’t it be great if you could tell your BitTorrent client what shows you want, and it would download them automatically?

Why, yes. That is the point of my post.

By using the java client Azureus, in combination with its RSS plugin, you can. I’ve been using this for a couple of months, and I couldn’t be happier… especially when traveling. When we flew to Buffalo last month, I quickly grabbed a couple episodes of the Simpsons and Viva La Bam. Instant airport entertainment.

The details are available in this post: How to never miss an episode with BitTorrent and RSS.

Queer Eye Whores Out

I probably shouldn’t admit to this in public, but Presley & I are watching the season premiere of Queer Eye, and I can’t help but wondering, “when did Queer Eye totally whore out?”.

Product placements and the like were always a part of this show… but fucking JCPenney? I defy anyone to find a queer who shops at JCPenney. Ready…. go!

The whole reason us metrosexuals watch this damn show is because of the higher-end, New York product placements… the nice furniture stores, etc. But, I don’t need to see some cheap shit on my tv. I can go to Kohl’s or WalMart.

(go ahead, send me nasty emails…)

Paul is Hosting?

Someone tell me why Paul Shaffer is hosting Letterman tonight? You’d think they were taping this thing out of somebody’s basement. I’m sure there was some kind of explanation at the top of the show… but I missed it. Did he do a monologue?

UPDATE: It appears as if Dave had to run to the hospital— for the birth of his first child.

Dave Jr.

I am shocked. Anna points out that David Letterman is going to be a father.

I know it seems as if his cultural relevance has completely vanished in the past 7-8 years, but he is the guy who transformed Late Night TV. You look at The Daily Show, Conan, Rosie, and even The Man Show, and it’s impossible to imagine them existing without Dave, (never-mind that only Conan and Jon Stewart have even approached Dave’s brilliance).

And if the announcement isn’t reason enough to tune in tonight, Simon & Garfunkel are performing.

Blur in a blur

blur liveLast week was Blur Week.

We were given tickets to see the boys tape a few songs on Last Call w/ Carson Daly in New York on Wednesday, and were able to catch them live at Avalon in Boston on Friday night. And the best part was that there were no mishaps this time ’round.

Carson Daly is really misunderstood by music fans– especially those who fancy themselves hipper-than-thou. Maybe it’s because they blame him for the dominance of boy bands and Brittney in the past few years… or, maybe it is just that they think he’s a massive tool.

I think this is unfair— the guy is doing more with his little 1:30 am show than most other talk shows… he has terrific bands on, many that you won’t see on MTV or Jay Leno, and I think he’s truly a music fan first. I mean — they guy is always playing air drums in-between commercial breaks… I’m there with ya Carson!

Anyway, Blur. They played an acoustic set of Out of Time and Good Song from their excellent new album Think Tank. Make sure to tune in to NBC Friday, July 25 after Conan. We’re the two embarrassed jerks sitting in the second row, with plastic-rim eyeglasses.

Fridays show was really special– they played a wide ranging set that stretched back more than 10 years, including favorites For Tomorrow, Girls and Boys, the Universal, and the ever-moshing Song 2.

Damon was in top form, jumping around and really singing better than I’ve ever heard him sing. He doesn’t really play keyboards anymore, which is a minor peeve, but he’s doing his frontman thing well with the help of an electric guitar.

At 35 years, post-Gorillaz, he seems to have something more to prove — and 2,000 people and I were glad for it.

Bruce on Dave… Also, Regis and John McEnroe

I turned on David Letterman wednesday night, and guess who is emergency guest-hosting? Bruce Willis.

The truly sad thing is that the producers made him talk to Dan Rather about his recent interview with Saddam Hussein. Mr. “Die Hard” hardly smiled on camera, mumbled incoherent questions, stared at the desk, and … wait, I’m talking about the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

“It’s always been my dream to do the Bruce Willis show…” – comic Brian Kiley

How disappointed was this comic? You wait all your life to perform for David Letterman, and Hudson Hawk is there to greet you. At least he’s intentionally funny.

And while I’m rating talk show hosts, I’m enjoying the new shows of both Dave Chappelle, and Bill Maher. I laughed at Ali G, but it’s just not that good. Just like South Park is not that good… sorry kids.

mcenroe.jpgUPDATE: OK, thursday night, the guest host for Letterman was John McEnroe!

He did a really good job, and the staff excused Paul Shaffer for the night…. and brought in Fred Schneider of the B-52s !

The best part was when John sent a camera crew back-stage to a benefit at the Roseland. It was hilarious, as the crew caught up with Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti from the Sopranos), and Macaulay Culkin…

Next door at Roseland, a benefit gig is scheduled and a lot of the big stars are there. We send a camera crew outside to take a look-see. Expecting to be stopped before entering, we thought this would be a “quick and done.” Nope. We made our way in and explored.

Regis Philbin is scheduled to host Friday night… I’m going to assume he’ll do a fine job… What KIND of NAME is CODY?!

Curb your Anger

I’ve been enjoying Larry David’s show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, lately… I hated it’s improvised format in the beginning, but it seems to me that a) the actors are getting more comfortable, b) Larry is such a prick and i love it, or c) i just got used to it.

Speaking of being a prick, Mena of Moveable Type tells an amusing story about Ben (co-creator, husband), and calling a preist a “prick”. Time to manage that anger, turn the frown upside down, yada yada. I need some of that positive vibe– I’m such a drag latetly.

Remember the Real World New

Remember the Real World New Orleans? I don’t either. I think I remember Melissa, the stripping alcoholic though. she was fun.

Tanya Harding vs. Amy Fisher

If you’re broke, you can always pitch a ridiculous tv show idea to the Fox Network. Celebrity Boxing, Who wants to Marry a Millionaire?, When Animals Attack, Pleasure Island, Ally McBeal. I can’t believe there is a market for this crap.

Watching Ellie on my tv

Take Seinfeld, add the visual style of 24, and you get Watching Ellie. That damn clock in the bottom corner of the screen is pointless– it just makes me nervous as Ellie bumbles her was through her day. scratch that– through her 22 minutes. The writing isn’t so bad, and the characters are all good (with the exception of the blonde english boyfriend)… I especially liked her building super, played by Peter Stormare (one of the nihilists from the Big Lebowski).

So, what’s with the real-time stuff? Are we so neurotic a culture that we find this kind of thing interesting? One of the reasons i like Frasier so much, is because of the way they transition between scenes. It gives a second to catch our breath, muse over whatever clever title they give the next scene, and then we see it unfold. Sitcoms are stale, i realize this– but Watching Ellie isn’t more than an experiment. I doubt it will catch on without some rethinking.