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Swingtown and the curse of being cancelled after one season.

This week (since I spent a lot of time at home, and there was no Gossip Girl, HIMYM or Criminal Minds to catch up on) I watched all 13 episodes of CBS’s 70s Suburban drama, Swingtown.
It was amazing. The casting was perfect, the pacing never failed, the acting was sublime the narrative twisted and turned along the way life does, never jarring –  and it looked so much like the 70s that I spent a big chunk of this week feeling sentimental for the decor of the first house I lived in.

It follows the lives of 3 families living in Suburban Chicago throughout the summer of 1976, and the way that their lives begin to change as the sexual revolution and feminism begin to seep into their previously safe little world.
I cannot extol the virtues of this show enough, I’m not going to write a review here, but I’m thinking about writing a paper on it, just for fun, ‘cos that’s the kind of TV nerd I am.

swingtown

So why, oh why then did it not get renewed for a second season? With this show I can think of two specific reasons. 1) terrible, terrible marketing – people were hardly even blogging about it, it wasn’t a big deal at the upfronts and VIPTV for some reason have it in their “comedy” section. 2) CBS started the show in June, mid season OUCH! For a show to succeed it has to be a part of the fall schedule, we all know this. As if that wasn’t recipe for failure enough they then moved it to the Friday Night Death Spot. Even Joss Whedon couldn’t survive that.

More generally, there is a giant list of amazing TV shows that can’t survive more than one season, while Everybody Loves Raymond can survive ten, TEN! of ‘em. The fault can be divided quite neatly between the studios, and (I’m afraid it’s true) US. The studio’s still have no clue how people watch TV, they’re only now catching on a growing number of people (and in amongst them the hardcore TV fans) watch TV almost exclusively on the internet. I’ve worked for a legal film and TV internet service for the last couple of years and it’s a really drawn out process to get them to agree to rights issues. They don’t know how to get accurate data on the viewing figures and thereby the show gets cancelled.
The part, where we, the potential audience are responsible is upsetting to explain. TV still has such a stigma attached to it, specially in smart/indie/punk/academic circles. People don’t have TVs and feel that watching TV is somehow not a valid pastime, whereas film can be. I’m not going to launch into the film vs. tv diatribe again, I just wanted to make the point that these fantastic shows having difficulty in finding an audience due to snobbery is one of the saddest pop culture casualties I know.

My Top 5 Cancelled after 1 Season shows are:

Swingtown
Freaks and Geeks
My So Called Life
Tell Me You Love Me
Carnivale (I know this was 2 seasons, but it was in the MIDDLE of it’s story)

I am chuck bass

I’m not miserable today. The sun is shining and I found I AM CHUCK BASS.COM and for some reason, knowing other smart people take Gossip Girl as seriously as me makes life better. It’s priceless. Lou and Tish are going to love it.

On a side note, I’m listening to the Van Pelt for the first time in ages. The Van Pelt were awesome.

why the fall schedule rules.

It’s happened, the fall schedule is officially in full swing, and this weeks influx of all our old favourites has been the icing on the cake called september.

No longer do I have to actually talk to the real people I know in the world, that kind of behaviour is reserved for televisual wasteland of pesky summer. Now I can resume my regular slightly less sociable pattern with my old pal rapidshare and clever use of google. It also means that given I suck at giving up going out midweek I am sleeping far, far less.

Anyway, this week. Heroes. Hmmmm. I’m not 100% on how I feel about the first two episodes yet, apart from Kring is SUPER into his multiple plot lines this season, and he was REALLY into them for the first two. Mohinder suddenly got hot when he injected the serum, Hiro may be beginning to annoy me. I’m back to being in love with Sylar now he’s all evil and strong again, I wish he HAD killed Clare. Nathan’s I love God routine I find interesting, future Peter at least has some balls, I’m glad Parkman is wondering around in the middle of nowhere (I just wish I didn’t have to see him do it) and Angela being in charge of Primatech? g-e-n-i-u-s. Look, all of that and I didn’t even cover half of the narrative threads. Woah.

Gossip Girl, I’m really glad the boring Dan and Serena thing is over, I (for one) am completely over Dan, yes, he may have started to look good in a vest this season, but his self righteous working class hero routine is starting to grate on me. Mean Serena also fucking RULES. She is no longer whiny and needy, if this carries on I might start to like her more than Blair. Wowzers. Also really happy Nate has told old Brooklyn bad hair to fuck off too, we love Nate. Chuck Bass, what are you wearing this season?

HIMYM – Is it me or did it start a little weak? And who hates Star Wars ? and I miss Barney being Barney.

Supernatural – When I first started watching this show it was entirely based on the fact that it had hot boys (I love Padelecki from back in the days of Gilmore Girls) and monsters in it. It wasn’t supposed to be good, and for the first season it really wasn’t, but a crazy thing happened over the course of the next couple of seasons, and it actually started to get awesome! Someone sorted out the script writing, it literally became darker in every-which-way and also everyones hair really improved. I heart Supernatural, and the first two episodes of season 4 have been every bit as good as their season 3 predecessors. Dean punches his way out of the grave ? Hell, it worked for Buffy.. and now there are angels (but mean badass ones) and demons fighting out the prequel to Armageddon on earth. I’m totally sold. I’m such a sucker for good vs evil, and I’m practically orgasmic for anything end of the world-y.

I was gonna do Criminal Minds and True Blood here, but I just re-read how much I’d already ranted and figured I could save them for tomorrow. (this is what happens when I stay in on a saturday night after coffee with poke in the diner.)

I loved you Guinevere..

Know what I love ? Sunday afternoons on my own. All listening to Death Cab and Built to Spill and lounging around reading… I think when I was at my loneliest it was because I hadn’t realised that it was as simple as it being my choice to spend time alone, I felt like I should be around people more. I’m over that – and now I’m not lonely anymore.  I just like being alone.

Introspection aside, I’m all excited about this week – the office party promises to be a drunken affair (this not drinking thing is not going amazingly, but better than I expected it to) and then it’s Alkaline Trio in the evening and my guiltiest of all guilty pleasures the next night. Oh poppy slightly emo indie rock how I love you. And Adam Lazzara, I still love the Lazarra.

I finished Buffy season 7 again last night, no matter how many times I do that it never gets any easier. I miss having Buffy in my life. I love other TV shows (duh) but nothing has ever really taken Buffy’s place. I found this article over at Pop Vultures, while they were having their Film vs. TV week. It was nice to see someone else speak up for TV for a change, I’ve studied film for more years than I’d care to admit, but these days I’m far more about television. Seems there’s been a shift of recent too, where film seems to be more about catering to the lowest common denominator than TV does. Television shows don’t really need to, they’ve got reality shows to do that, leaving the smart folks to write smart scripts for the smart audiences.

Tara is getting here on September 13th, I’m stoked and taking time off work to prove it. We’re gonna have fun in this godforsaken town if it kills me. Did you see her new car decals? It’s the type of shit that makes me want to drive.

what's it all abooot?

I have to work from home for a couple of days, I managed to tear the ligament around my hip or something, and then as a result of walking weird from doing that, I fucked up my foot. Result. Walking = Giant OUCH. On lots of painkillers, yum, but staying stationary doesn’t help at all with my crazy new activity regime.

Stayed in the whole weekend, cos of not drinking/shopping and severe lack of funds. On the bright and sunny side though, I did get a pretty phenomenal amount of pop culture injested.

Eventually got around to watching Cloverfield, I actually enjoyed it in the end. I have to be one of the very few people who doesn’t mind huge amounts of camera shake, reminds me of watching back the days sabbing videos way back when. The monster was ugly, and the NY destruction scenes were way impressive,  Matt Reeves wants to sit down with Roland Emmerich and discuss what it is they hate so much about American landmarks. I really liked exploding head girl, she was the only character I was a little bit upset about being killed off. It was nice to see the US Military being powerless for once and for this reason I’ll probably watch the sequel.

I saw Hellboy II on Friday at a press screening, but I’m not allowed to talk about it yet, I can imagine you’re all crazy disappointed, but it won’t be long. haha. Sorry, I was distracted by the thunderstorm that is going on outside my window as I type.

On Sunday night I watched The Wackness and on reflection, I sort of loved it. Jonathan Levine is fast becoming one of my new favourites, I thought All The Boys Love Mandy Lane was ace, and The Wackness, although a slow starter was hugely watchable. It made me yearn for the nineties, empathise with the protagonist (but from enough of a distance that neither one of us felt uncomfortable), and really think about what it felt like to be that age, around that time. I thought Josh Peck was great as Shapiro, and Ben Kingsley didn’t irritate me very much at all, and for me he’s usually Gwyneth Paltrow annoying. The ambiguous tone of the downbeat endings of Levine’s films leave me with the best kind of cinematical confusion. I’ll probably write a proper review of this for work soon.

I watched a load of Season 6 of Buffy too, around where she’s getting it together with Spike. Buffy is more comforting than cocoa to me, seriously, I just slip into it and everything else matters far far less.

Oooohhh, and I got around to watching the screener for True Blood today. Wow. I’m so stoked on this, hurry up late september and the next episode. Southern Vampires = Best Thing Ever. Also, Anna Pacquin is ace.

Right, I’m off to watch “Ocean of Fear – Worst Shark Attacks Ever” see you soon.

stoked on the future

I really am, for pop cultural reasons including.

  • Breaking Dawn being out 2 weeks today
  • Gaslight Anthem playing August 25th
  • New Gossip Girl September 1st
  • New Heroes September 22nd
  • My birthday the same day
  • True Blood at the end of September

HBO show about Vampires based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries. Wait – Vampires ? The South ? HBO ? I’m so in. And like Poke and I were saying today, if it goes well they’re going to have to green light Preacher, which would make the world a far better place.

As soon as pesky “summer” is done and fall can start things are gonna get AWESOME.

Right, I’m off to do a pedicure and watch the wackness.

I don't like nature – it reminds me of hippies…

I’ve watched the first couple of episodes of jpod today.
It’s not quite as bad as I expected it to be (and by that I mean, slightly better than chuck) but it’s not good. They’ve got Ethan pretty much spot on, but Cowboy is completely different than I imagined him. And they’ve made Bree asian, in the book she was a Betty Page type, the father is either the most annoying or the most awesome character ever, I haven’t quite decided yet.
This is the way I spent my last sunday at Miles house.
Should hear back about reference checks and put down a deposit in the next couple of days, and if all goes to plan, I’m moving on Thursday. I’m excited about the cat, and my own space. I’m less excited about sleeping alone, but it has to happen….

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