Thursday, February 28, 2008

High Def War OVER

In case you missed it, there was a "war" going on between HD-DVDs and Blu-ray discs as the format of choice for high-definition movies. And just this month, according to my sources in Techno-Geekdom, Blu-ray finally won out. Why should you care? I'll tell you why - compatibility. Blu-ray discs don't play in HD-DVD drives.

Personally, I don't know how I feel about high-definition. Sure, it makes it seem like you're really there ... but that takes away some of the magic. The Fantasy of Television will be much more difficult to maintain once we can count our favorite actors' nose hairs. Like the Rise of Mac, however, I fear that succumbing to high-def is inevitable. That's why this "war" is such a hassle - if you're going to make me switch, at least tell me what to switch to. Not since the "VHS or Beta" debate of the late 70's has incompatibility been so relevant to our day-to-day lives.

Ah, Betamax ... I'm sure there was something good about you.

Blu-ray had been pretty much kicking HD-DVD's ass, pwning 77% of the market shares. The killing blow was struck at this year's Consumer Electronics Show on February 19th. There, Sony (the backers of Blu-ray) announced a $400 million deal with Time Warner for the media giant to switch exclusively to their format. Soon big names like Paramount, Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Netflix were hopping on the Blu-ray bandwagon. At the end of the day, Blu-ray claimed 93% of the market shares and HD-DVD had no choice but to throw in the towel. Toshiba and Microsoft, the original proponents of HD-DVD, announced that they would no longer manufacture/support HD-DVD drives.

For all of you who invested in HD-DVD drives, look on the bright side. Sony's Playstation 3 plays Blu-ray discs. That's as good a justification as any to finally buy yourself a gaming console. Who's up for a little Guitar Hero?


Thanks to my brother for all the information. More can be found here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar! (the grouch)

I love the Oscars. But I love them more in theory than in reality. I would much rather look up the fashions on the internet the next day, read a list of the winner and peruse youtube for the best moments. Because in real life? People forget how boring the Oscars really are.

Aside from one surprise win (Marion Cotillard for Best Actress), everything played out pretty much the way we expected. And while I love Jon Stewart and laughed out loud at many of his quips (including the Gaylord Titler bit), I wasn't blown away. I think he's a great host, but I think he played it a little safe.

I WILL say that him bringing out Marketa Irglova to give her speech after the commercial break was one of the classiest, nicest, best host-like things I have ever seen on an Oscar telecast. I wold feel safe in predicting that Mr. Stewart will make a return to the Academy Awards as a host in the near future.

Tilda Swinton was funny, Steve Carrel was funny, many things were funny, but not much was hilarious or surprising. What I did really enjoy was seeing the clips of past winner and past speeches. It helps put things in perspective. And I totally teared up again when they showed Halle Berry's acceptance speech. I can't help it! It was moving!

As for best dressed? Helen Mirren. AGAIN.

I mean, she just looks amazing. Like I have said before, it's easy to look hot when you are 28 and have a perfect body and a stylist, but this woman is in her 60s, and still looks GORGEOUS.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

News to me...

So, apparently the writer's strike has been over for a week now. Who knew? We here at TV Sluts have had a lot of unrelated-to-television drama in our lives, so I apologize for the delay. Here is an invaluable link: When's My Show Coming Back, Yo?

The highlights -

Aliens in America: Eight pre-strike episodes remain and will air March 2 to March 23 and April 27 to May 18.

Burn Notice: Production on Season 2 expected to get under way in late April. New episodes could start airing as early as July.

Heroes and Pushing Daises: No new episodes expected until fall.

Supernatural: Final pre-strike episode airs Feb. 21. Expected to shoot 4 additional episodes to begin airing on April 24.

Ugly Betty: Expected to shoot 5 new episodes to air in April/May.

You're welcome.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Before I post my thoughts on the return of Lost (and whether it managed to address my previous concerns), click on this link and try out the Sawyer nickname generator.

My nickname: Brainpan.

The best part is the little heart underneath your nickname. He's not trying to be mean, he's just keeping it real. And being real to Sawyer means being a total douchebag. I'm sorry, nothing will ever make up for him squishing the frog last year.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chroniclezzzzzzzz

Hey! Its that new show! With Not Gay Zach from Heroes, and River from Firefly, and...that chick from 300. Is it good? Yeah! Really good? Eh.

So, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (T:TSCC) has had about 3 shows on now. I feel that is enough to be completely judgmental as to its performance, don't you agree?

I remember reading the reviews of this right before it aired. Most people agreed that it was everything the Bionic Woman was not. A refreshing look at a some-what stale franchise. After all, it had been several years since T:3 came out, and I think we can all agree that the movie was meh, at best. And it didn't feel like the public was yearning for some new terminator mythology.

Despite the glowing reviews and the writer-strike starved wasteland that was new scripted shows, I was only so-so excited about T:TSCC. And despite liking the pilot and subsequent episodes, I am still only so-so about it. Nobody is more disappointed by that fact than me.

For those of you unfamiliar, here is a brief synopsis:
Based on the heroine of the Terminator series of films, Sarah Connor (Lena Headey), The Sarah Connor Chronicles begins where Terminator 2: Judgment Day left off. Sarah had just vanquished the Terminator sent from the future to kill her son, John (Thomas Dekker). Now, Sarah and John are alone in a complex world as fugitives as they constantly look over their shoulders for more enemies from the past, present or future that could attack them at any time. Tired of running, Sarah opts to go on the offensive against the Terminators set on ending her life, as well as the world.
I mean, the show has some great action scenes. Watching River, oh, I'm sorry, Cameron, kicking anybody's ass is pretty exciting, but other than that...*yawn* The sub-plots just aren't doing it for me. It's pretty much been the same thing, "we gotta get John ready for the apocalypse instead of being a whiny little brat like he is...we have to track down people who might be rebuilding SkyNet...blah blah blah." And then Cameron wails on somebody.

Am I being unfair? Probably. But unless someone is getting their face pounded, my attention wanders during the show and I find myself working on something else while I watch.

I'm not even sure this is the kind of thing that needs to be fixed. Unlike Reaper, that needed to move its plot and mythology forward, T:TSCC seems to be doing just that. I guess its non-violent parts are just not my cup of tea. Which is why there are 3 gazillion other channels. And I'll keep watching this show, but it might languish on my DVR for a while before I get to it.

The soundtrack with all the drums is all kind of awesome, though.

So, a Spartan, a not-gay-teenager, and a psychic assassin walk into a bar....

Strike Watch, Episode VI

If you believe in Christian theology, Angels in America has the potential to be a powerful religious allegory ... or, possibly depending on your denomination, a dangerously blasphemous parody. If you reject Christian theology, this HBO miniseries depicts the elaborate fever dream of a dying man. Whichever way you take it, it is absolutely captivating.

Angels in America is the story of Prior Walter (played by Justin Kirk). Recently diagnosed with AIDS, Prior is visited by an angel. This angel informs him that he is a prophet and charges him with the task to halt the world's progression towards the End of Days. As he grapples with this revelation, he must also deal with being abandoned by his lover and with the devastating reality of his disease. Throughout he is heart-wrenchingly human, and one of the most lovable characters imagined.

"I believe I've seen the end of things, and having seen I'm going blind
... as prophets do."

Angels in America started it's life as a play, and it shows. The complex and meaningful dialogue, the heart-stopping imagery, the sweeping storyline all recall the the grandiosity of the theater and help the message transcend the usual banality of the small screen. As in the theater, most of the actors play multiple roles. Such talents as Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Mary-Louise Parker, James Cromwell and Emma Thompson lend the show major star power.

"I am the continental principality of America! I am a bird of prey!"

So, regardless of the beliefs you hold or the beliefs you think you hold, add
Angels in America to your Netflix queue. It is a rare and beautiful spectacle that must be witnessed. If only for the witty repartee.

Prior: [wrestling the Angel] I will not let thee go, except thou bless me! I will not let thee go, except thou bless me!
The Angel: You have prevailed, Prophet... Now release me; I have torn a muscle in my thigh.
Prior: Big deal. My leg's been hurting for months.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Happy Birthday, Maggie Cats!

We here at TV Sluts would like to wish Maggie Cats all the best today, her birthday! And what better way to celebrate the occasion than to blog about a very special person who was also born on this day? No, I'm not thinking of Elizabeth Blackwell (the first female physician) or Henry Heimlich (inventor of the Heimlich maneuver), or even of Dave Davies (from The Kinks) or Morgan Fairchild (of Dallas fame - also born in Dallas, go figure). I'm referring to the O.G. kid's show host, Fred Rogers of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

Pictured here with King Friday. Where did he come up with this stuff?

Imagine pitching Mr. Roger's Neighborhood today. "Hey," you'd say to the studio execs. "How about we get a grown man to take his clothes off in front of children? And then there can be this little red train that goes through a tunnel and into a magical make-believe world! The sidekick's named 'McFeely!' It'll be great!"

Security would've had you out of the building in 30 seconds or less.

Mr. Roger's Neighborhood belongs to a simpler time, when all you needed for a successful kid's show was a couple of hand puppets and a voice like auditory Valium. No need to teach the kids Spanish or force them to exercise with inane dance routines. Just talk about friendship and acceptance, feed the fish, throw in a documentary here and there and you're done!

Remember the trip to the crayon factory? Oh, man, good times.

And you know what? The show is still on the air. Fred Rogers was awarded several Emmys and Lifetime Achievement Awards. His red sweater is on display at the Smithsonian (ironically, he was red-green colorblind). And while he was never a Navy SEAL, he was one BAMF.

"I got into television because I hated it so. And I thought there's some way of using this fabulous instrument to nurture those who would watch and listen." Direct quote. LOVE.

Fred Rogers saw television not as it was, but as it could be. I can think of no one better to share a birthday with my oh-so-cynical, secretly idealist friend. Here's to you, Maggie Cats.

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So let's make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we're together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?

After writing this post, I discovered that Mr. Rogers was actually born on March 20th. Stupid internet. Oh, well's the thought that counts. Right?