Television

My problem with True Blood

True Blood continues to try my patience this season.  I think it needs to do two things to really get back on track:

  1. Ditch some of the subplots: I don't really care about Layfayette and his boyfriend enough to sit through an extended dream sequence / drug trip and Jason and his panther girlfriend are excruciatingly annoying.
  2. Realize that not everyone is magic: One of the strengths of the first season was that the world was pretty much just like ours, except that vampires had revealed themselves to humans.  The premise seemed to be that they were rather rare, and it was a big reveal that Sam was anything but Sookie's boss.  Now every new character that arrives on the show is either introduced as being supernatural or if they're not they're clearly hiding something and turn out to be.  The new waitress at Merlotte's spent a few episodes being weird and then is now clearly going to turn out to be a witch.

The show is still good, and has the ability to provide some excellent moments such as Russell Eddington's murder of a television newscaster live-on-air.  It's best when it's focused on Billy, Sookie and Eric.  When it strays from the main narrative it starts to feel diluted.  

Remembering Conan on NBC

Conan O'Brian's last show on NBC was on Friday night.  Unfortunately due to a bout of insomnia the night before I couldn't stay awake for the whole thing.  However I do remember seeing Beck at one point, but that may have just been a fever dream. Now all we have left are YouTube clips of O'Brian during his time on NBC, whether it be the short lived Tonight Show or Late Night.

Hopefully he'll turn up eventually, once the period he's not allowed to host a show expires.  The rumours still is that he might land on Fox where he once worked as a writer for The Simpsons and wrote one of the all time best episodes, the one featuring the monorail.

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Conan O'Brian's statement on the NBC, Leno scheduling snafu

Jay-conan
Having entered, as of this afternoon, a some what similiar period of uncertain continued employment I sort of know what O'Brian's going through, though I'm not a beloved comedian and probably less capable of weathering an extended period unemployed.  Conan's show is the most enjoyable The Tonight Show has been in my memory.  I was too young to stay up to watch Johnny Carson's version, and Leno has been dreadful. 

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over “The Tonight Show” in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004, I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my “Tonight Show” in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the “Tonight Show” to 12:05 to accommodate the “Jay Leno Show” at 11:35. For 60 years, the “Tonight Show” has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the “Tonight Show” into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The “Tonight Show” at 12:05 simply isn’t the “Tonight Show.” Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the “Late Night” show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard, and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of “The Tonight Show.” But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet, a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the “Tonight Show,” I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.

Yours,

Conan

Link via Daring Fireball [df] and the New York Times [nyt].

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Cookie Monster eats a machine

Nathan showed me this clip on YouTube the other day. Originally broadcast on October 8th, 1967 the clip shows Cookie Monster eating a talking bit of machinery. It shows the wonderfully weird early years of Sesame Street, a weirdness that was channeled into The Muppet Show, as well as just how much of an attention span we've lost since then. I can't imagine a kids show putting a four minute clip on like this today.

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Fraggles are not Muppets

I was talking to someone the other day about our favorite Muppets, and his was one of the Fraggles [wp].  I'm sorry but Fraggles are not Muppets.  Sure they were created by Jim Henson, but that doesn't make them Muppets.  Not to get all Mr. Continuity here, but the Fraggle's world and the world of the Muppets are separate and have never crossed over, unlike the Muppets and Sesame Street.

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