Sunday, November 4, 2007

Teevee Maven

Teevee Watching Maven
Our teevee watching is rarely done live anymore as the commercial vs. entertainment ratio just eats up time we can never get back. Between the old PVR and DVDs we are pretty set with our entertainment. It takes patience to wait and not read any spoilers until series getson DVD, but the quality of sound and picture is worth it. We do make a slight exception for Heroes, which we watch live for the High Definition broadcast.

The Sopranos DVD Season Six Part 2
We finally watched the final half of the last season of The Sopranos. Last night we watched the final, final episode. We could see why fans who watched it when it broadcast were disappointed. The first half of the last season was the strongest and reminded us of themagic of the first two seasons.

Popping in the second half revealed a dark turn of Tony Soprano's self-destructive spiral. We kept telling each other thatthis was going to end badly for Tony and family. We were expecting an almost epic Greek tragedy ending -- a logical ending a socio-path's life. It really didn't end that way and we were disappointed.

Tony's character needed to be punished for his behavior. He needed to lose both families and have real consequences for his actions.He needed to be arrested, in jail, and facing a long time in jail with the knowledge of his wife and daughter being killed and his son committing suicide. We needed him to call Malfi to the Jail where she finally tells him that she couldn't help him, and in fact, she may have been enabling him. It would have been a more impactful scene if it would happend after he lost his freedom and more members of both of his families.

It could have ended in the prison yard and you could have ducks flying referencing the first episode'sduck symbolism. Except the ducks would symbolize freedom as well as symbolizing that his family is slipping away.

It felt more like a season ender (a mediocre one at that) than a series ending episode.

The first season of Heroes was clearly the best series we have seen in a long time. This season is being carried by our admiration of the first season and that we actually care what happens to our characters.While nothing really happened until the very end of last week's episode, we expect things may start hitting the fan for our heroes.I have heard some interesting spoilers/theories about the identity of Adam, which make pretty good sense, but I will let you google that information on your own.

Flip This House
HGTV is known for its home improvement porn, and I recently discovered a show that was born during the real estate boom. People buy property, set a budget and schedule to fix it up, fall out of budget and behind schedule, and hope to make money on their "flip".My opinion of flipping is it contributes to the unaffordability of housing these days. Homes should be for shelter, not speculation. I do like when they take a house that is blighted and unliveable and fixes it up so it is liveable. At least, you are creating more housing that wayand helping turn neighborhoods into places where the working class feels a sense of pride.

From watching this show, I found that you should be skilled in contracting and have lots of family who are too to keep labor costs down. Plus, you need to make sure you don't make improvements that are more pricey than the neighborhood will bear.

The Next American Band

This music competition reality show is by the same folks you brought you the next American idol. We are and always will be a non-voting fans of American Idol, and so we decided to give this show a try.The Next American Band is even more enjoyable because you get people who can actually play instruments and writemusic. I think you get a better caliber of contestant than you get in American Idol.

I think my favorite band is Franklin Bridge, who are a funky jam musicians that remind me of a little Prince and Jimi Hendrix mixed with hip-hop. They may not last if they keep jamming and do not fit into the commercial packaging of songs that the judges are looking for.
I also like Dot Dot Dot, a band that has the 80s sound down to a science and an art form. Their sound could easily be a soundtrack for a John Hughes movie. I like this band because they don't take themselves so seriously and really embrace who they are in and entertaining way.
I think some of the most talented bands play genres I normally do not care much for -- country and bluegrass.The Clark Brothers are an all-string old school country, roots trio who just cook on their instruments and truly belong in the competition.

Cliff Wagner and The Ol' #7 are an incredibly tight bluegrass band, who visibly have fun and are comfortable with what they do. These guys were asked by the judges in their tryout toplay Madonna and went into "Like A Virgin" like pros. You cannot hate these guys. They make me smile.

Light of Doom is what happens when you cross metal with the Hansons. They are extremely talented and it is crazy to think what they will be like if they stay together when they are adults.

My secret favorite band is Rocket, the all-girl bandwho are a cross between the Go-Gos and The Ramones. Like Dot Dot Dot, they appeal to my own sense of musical nostalgia of living my formative years in High School and College in the 1980s. The problem with Rocket is that the lead singer does need to strengthen her vocals. She did a better job with the original song this week but butchered the Elton John cover. To be fair to her, Elton John is a tremendous vocalist and it will be very difficult to outsing Elton.

There is also a swing band called Denver and the Mile High Orchestra. Denver, thelead singer is pretty much a drag on a very talented and tight big band orchestra. With a different front man, they would be real contenders even though they have no chance to actually win.Big Bands are not pop bands and haven't been for 60 years.

The Muggs are this deep 70s motown rock band where all three musicians are incredibly talented. The lead singers gravel voice sometimes suits the material, butlike Rocket the vocalizations often fall short. He is an awesom guitar player, but not so strong at singing. The Muggs appeal to us old folk who remember the 1970s.

There is a pop-Country band, Sixwire, that is very professional but I personally do not like them. I prefer more old school country, roots, and bluegrass to the bland corporate crossover-country that they serve out.

Of all the bands, the Sixties-nostalgia band, Tres Bien, is fun, but feels too novelty to last in the competition.

The bands that were eliminated so far have deserved it and there are still a few more to go. We will see how it goes.

One thing I do not care for is that this show has an austrailian host and an aussie judge. You would figure that a show called, "The Next American Band" would at least have an all-american host and judge panel. I am getting tired of the accents already. I love Sheila E. I think she is better suited than Paula Abdul to be a music critic. I actually have seen her in concert with Prince and she really rocks. She carries herself really well, where Paula often acts a bit loopy. There is also a judge from the Goo-Goo Dolls who does okay. I would have prefered Tommy Lee, because he was highly entertaining in his stint on Rockstar: Supernova.


WX said...

DVD comes with its own set of trouble. A few days back, I was shocked to find my kids watching some X rated show.

You know, this was a trailer in one CD I bought for my favorite kids movie - "Neverending Story". I wonder, what pleasure these guys have in putting filth, in some kids CD.

Marinmaven said...

As a mother I can appreciate your concern. If you buy a DVD that is intended for and marketed to children, you should expect that the materials on the DVD are age-appropriate.

We have trained our son early that as parents we are in charge of the DVDs and television watching. This partially has to do with we don't want any DVDs missing or damaged, and partially we want to make sure what exactly our son will be watching. We also want to encourage activities other than watching television.

Generally, I have less problem with sexual content than violent content. There is such a thing as responsible and respectful sex, but there is no such thing as responsible and respectful violence.

WX said...

Hmmm..., you can do that with 4yr old, try that with 13yr old.

Although, we perceive sex and violence differently, it is historically proven fact most violence are committed for sex than any other reason. It is more correct for youngsters.

Marinmaven said...

Television watching is a privilege in our home. It is our home, our television, our rules. You earn the right to watch television. There is no right to watch television in our home. Our son will not have a television or computer in his room.

While 13 can be a difficult age, you can still enforce rules and can continue to until they leave the house. As parents we have the right to set limits and rules in our home. We have been starting early and are consistent and even handed. We even call ourselves out when we break the rules.

When our child misbehaved, we took away his television privileges, but allowed him to play soccer and take walks because it is a right to be able to exercise.

Are you saying that it is impossible to instill responsibility and limits to teenagers? Are you suggesting that when they turn 13 that we will be unable to enforce rules?