Day Thirty-One – One Month Later…

31 01 2010

I’ve made it thirty-one days so far, keeping my promise of posting new content every day. Out of it, I’ve had a few talking points. For many of which, there have been a few developments.

Here’s a handful:

Day Seven – Why Does Everyone Love “Avatar”?

After watching Avatar the week it came out, I wasn’t much of a fan. I knew it was going to make money, that was without question, but I didn’t think it had the legs to push as far as it has. Not only has it surpassed Cameron’s other record-setting blockbuster, Titanic, in the world-wide grosses, but it’s making a run for the domestic title.

It begs the question, who is still watching Avatar. I know a bunch of people who haven’t seen it and don’t intend to, yet they were there to partake the mammoth run of Titanic. Still, it manages to top the box office every single weekend. This one included, with a $30 million that a first-run movie would be happy to take home. There’s going to be a push to give Avatar the Oscar for Best Picture. I’m hoping they don’t give into the pressure after passing on The Dark Knight last year.

Day Nine – It’s About Time, But It Still Won’t Work

It took until the day of posting this for the Toronto Maple Leafs to make a move to bring them out of the rut they have put themselves in. Dion Phaneuf and J. S. Giguere will definitely bring some people back to the TV broadcasts and maybe keep the ticket holders in their seats, but it’s just one step in an eventual run to the Cup. They are still far from it, but at least there’s progress. Shocking progress, at that.

Day Eleven – 3D is a Gimmick!

I’m not the only one who thinks so. A bunch of people turned on 3D after the buzz at CES died off. Roger Ebert has always been against it and G4’s Adam Sessler joined the chorus when they threatened to gimmick-up his beloved games.

Day Twelve – Can’t Go Home Again

Jay did the clichéd thing that everyone does when they have a nice guy image to restore: he went on Oprah.

Still no telling if it’ll work, but he’ll have until at least September before Conan comes back.

Day Thirteen – Why Isn’t MMA Legal Here Yet?

I got some insight into why MMA is having such a hard time coming into the city, by way of The John Downs Show on AM 640. (January 25th)

Basically, people think violence is bad, even in the form of sport. They insist that the UFC is vile and the martial arts teach you respect. That just goes to show the lack of education in the subject people have.

My problem isn’t that people don’t like it. It’s not for everyone, but to prevent me from watching it because you think it’s disgusting is just sad.

Day Seventeen – Movie Theatre Etiquette

Sadly, nothing has changed on this front. I went to the theatre the following week and one of the employees walked in and toyed with his phone in the front row, holding it up so he, and I, could see better. How will movie-goers learn the etiquette if the employees don’t follow it themselves?

Day Twenty-One – I Hate the Evening News

This video says it all, and much better than I ever could:

Day Twenty-Three – I Miss the Drive-In

I still really miss the drive-in.

Day Twenty-Five – Movies I’ve Seen Recently and Why Criticker Makes Them Fun

This was my most popular post of all-time, thanks to a link-back from Criticker’s twitter. Thanks again.

Day Twenty-Eight – Over-Hype

Everyone seems to think they’re completely original when they mention that the iPad sounds like a maxi-pad.

It’s not.

I’m looking forward to next month. Hopefully I can still find something to write about.


Day Twenty-One – I Hate the Evening News

21 01 2010

I hate the Evening News.

This war between broadcasters and providers gets dirtier by the minute. CityTV just laid off a bunch of news people and they’ll surely blame the lack of funding. I would blame it on the lack of something new to offer. They have 4 hours of news per day, not including their morning shows. Is it all really necessary? Was there not a time when the news was no longer than a half-hour? If I wanted in-depth reporting, I’ll move to the net, the newspaper, the radio or the 24-hour news networks, like CNN.

It sucks that people had to lose their jobs over a political battle for cash, but there are things that can improve all networks news ratings and have them bring money in on their own.

1. “News Voice”

“Why fantastic bars may not be so fantastic – for your health.”

It’s hard to portray in writing, but for some reason, everyone on the news feels the need to randomly emphasize words.

CityTV has cut a bunch of jobs from the network, blaming the lack of funding to support their 4 hours of news shows.

It doesn’t add any drama.

It doesn’t add any clarity.

It’s just annoying.

I doubt they talk to their friends and family with such silly voices. Is it because they read in sections? I can watch something like Attack of the Show and they don’t seem to have any problem reading the prompter naturally. Still, there are worse problems than “news voice”.

2. Everything is going to kill me

“If it bleeds, it leads”

But if it coughs and aches, it takes up weeks of coverage. The panic caused every year by some new flu virus is sickening in itself. H1N1, Avian Flu, West Nile Virus, SARS or whatever the hell comes next; watching the news alone, you’d expect the bodies to begin piling up, but almost always less than a couple hundred country-wide contract whatever virus they’re selling this year.

According to the evening news, I have a 200% chance of dying from cancer. Everything I drink, eat and breathe is causing some type of cancer to grow inside me. They don’t seem to understand the concept of diminishing returns. If everything is going to kill me, why should I bother worrying about it?

Regardless, most cases come down to common sense. If I eat a bushel of tomatoes every evening, I will undoubtedly get sick with something, but they don’t tell you that until the last line in the report.

3. Exploitation without shame

Watching coverage of the devastation in Haiti, I’ve seen how sad some reporters could be. Shoving the microphone in the faces of people who just got the news that their family has died, asking “How does that make you feel?”

We don’t need the explanation. We don’t need to see such a private moment to understand that things are terrible in Haiti.

Have a little shame.

4. Blaming technology

If I smash into a pole because I was speeding on the highway, it’ll probably be blamed on my love for video games. Midnight Club doesn’t make me drive like an idiot. Grand Theft Auto doesn’t compel me to steal a car and beat hookers.

Not every 12 year-old is sexting. Most girls don’t have a phone good enough to do so and if they do, that’s easily manageable. You’ll notice when your bill has $300+ in MMS all to some guy’s number.

5. Spending an hour telling me 15 minutes worth of news

When I watch the news, I just want to know what’s going on without being forced to sit through melodrama. What happened where and why. That’s all I want. I don’t want to watch a recent widow crying. I don’t want to know that we all may die of something, that probably won’t even get near us, and watch a five minute video created by some kid who just learned to use After Effects on how it’ll attack my immune system.

I just want an update and to get on with my day.

I doubt that any of this extra padding is bringing in any more ratings than just reporting the news would.

Day Fifteen – “The Late Night Wars 2” Continue…

15 01 2010

It seems like by the end of next week, the late night landscape will change once again by trying to recapture what NBC already had at this time last year. After the Olympics, The Jay Leno Show will cease to exist and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno will be reborn. Conan will surely find work in no time, especially with the online presence his show has lately, including a 40% bump in his TV ratings since the drama all started this week. Jimmy Fallon will remain irrelevant and Carson Daly even more so.

Conan, sporting his writer's strike beard, won a few fans with during the strike while Jay lost a bunch by coming back to air.

There are a few interesting things that have come out of this mess:

1. Not Too Many Watch Late Night Late at Night

The day of the DVR/PVR has changed the way we watch television. The ability to record TV isn’t new. I would record TV shows I would otherwise miss on my VHS all the time, but my options were limited. If there were two shows on at the same time, I had a choice to make. Especially if I didn’t have enough tape. I now have a 750 gb hard-drive that will store plenty of late night television for me, automatically, at the touch of a button.

The National Post thinks this is why Conan has failed. I disagree. Conan hasn’t failed, but NBC has with how they handled the situation. Conan made the point in his open-letter that The Tonight Show has a tradition of being on after that nightly news and to change that would be to destroy the franchise. He acknowledged that most viewers will be watching in DVRs in the future, but instead chose to leave the show.

If they had handled their choice to shuffle late-night a little more diplomatically, rather than giving into the pressure of the TCA and having Conan find out the news through the media, they could have kept Conan happy and an audience that would follow his regardless of his time-slot. Instead, they made everyone upset; aside from Jimmy Fallon who is, as he put it, just happy to be employed. This is just another case of NBC folding to pressure and making horrible decisions.

2. Did Conan Fail NBC?

No. The ratings system did. The Nielson system is outdated and is in dire need of an update.  If I watch Conan at 11:35pm, 5:00pm the following day or at all doesn’t make a difference, since I’m not registered under the Nielsen Ratings System. It all depends on the person who is for my demographic and region.

In the USA, only 25,000 homes are Nielson homes. They account for the 114,000,000 homes with TV in the USA today. This doesn’t count the many other outlets to view The Tonight Show, but we’ll stick with TV for this example, since it was the motive behind NBC’s move.

Digital boxes are able to both receive and send signals.  Given the proper co-operation between cable and satellite providers and ratings companies, we could get an accurate measure of what people are watching, when they are watching it and how they watch it. Instead, we have a few lucky decision makers who speak for us.

3. Conan Didn’t Fail, Jay Did

People seem to misunderstand what the controversy is. Conan O’Brien did lose the #1 spot, long-held by Leno, to Letterman, but it’s not his show that had affiliates revolting. The Jay Leno Show was the failure, but the network would have you believe that The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien is the problem.

Their solution is to put Jay back in his old time-slot and hope that everyone comes back to see Jay at 11:35pm. Is it really the time slot that made Jay’s show fail?

I never had anything against Jay Leno, but I would watch The Tonight Show from time to time. For what ever reason, I couldn’t sit through The Jay Leno Show at all. The jokes felt forced, but that didn’t change. The gags were too easy, but that hadn’t changed either.

The only thing I would watch The Tonight Show for was the guests. They seemed to take a backseat to driving electric cars whilst avoiding cardboard cut-outs and The Jay Leno Show was promptly removed from my DVR.

4. Jay Leno is now a villain

By ousting Conan from his promised time, due to Jay’s and NBC’s failed experiment, Jay Leno has brought a ton of contempt among himself. The internet seems particularly one-sided in this debate, as do the other late night hosts. The relevant ones, at least. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno 2 will be fighting an uphill battle to convince people that he’s not a bad guy.

In my opinion, having Jimmy Kimmel on his show was a step in the right direction. He was self-aware. He took the criticism and threw a jab in himself with his final question. Some websites would have you believe he was completely slaughtered on his own show, but I think it’s the opposite.

Jimmy seemed to be struggling to make his jokes fit the question. It seemed like an eight year old trying to wrestle his dad to the ground while his dad ignores his attempts completely. See for yourself:

5. The Tonight Show Will Go On and All Will Be Forgotten

Note in the title of this post, there is a “2”.

Jay Leno has seen this before. He’s been the villain and went on to host the #1 show in late night for 17 years. People will get over this ordeal in a few months time. Conan will be back on TV, one way or another. Leno will probably be on top again and NBC will rub it in while you try to watch the latest episode of The Office.

It’s unfortunate that Leno could just walk in and oust someone he passed the torch to, but there’s a reason for that. People like Leno. The internet doesn’t, but the people who still stay up and watch late night do.

To NBC, that’s all that matters. Though this whole ordeal has been interesting, it’ll all be a distant memory by this time next year. NBC has bigger problems to deal with in prime-time. Now that Jay is out of it, they can focus on that.

But, for the record, I’m with Coco.