Tagged: Showtime

Jen Krueger: Who Is The Most Intersting Character on “Shameless”?

While certain aspects of Showtime’s Shameless have been hit or miss, there’s a character on it who’s had such a remarkable arc over the show’s four seasons that he’s become one of my favorite characters on TV. With a father who’s barely a father, and a poverty-stricken upbringing in a bad neighborhood in Chicago, he’s had to resort to violence and scheming to make ends meet. His romantic relationships are fraught with conflict because he’s never learned how to communicate well enough to tell someone he really cares, yet even if he could find the words to say how he feels, they’d still catch in his throat because showing vulnerability to anyone is so antithetical to what his life experiences have taught him it means to be a man. And while all of these things could probably also be said about one of the show’s protagonists, Lip Gallagher, I’m actually talking about Mickey Milkovich, who started off as one of the show’s tertiary characters.

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Jen Krueger: I Love This Show, Please Kill It

Krueger Art 131224When I watched the recent season finale of Homeland, I was left speechless. If you’re not caught up on this Showtime thriller about the CIA and terrorism, don’t worry; I won’t give anything away. Confining myself to spoiler-free praise, I’ll just say it struck me as pitch perfect and was satisfying to a degree that television shows achieve rarely, if ever. I loved it so much, in fact, that as the credits rolled I found myself hoping the show would get canceled before any more episodes air.

It’s almost impossible for a TV show to stay great from pilot to series finale. I know, I know, Breaking Bad proved it can be done, but Vince Gilligan’s masterpiece is the exception that underscores the rule. There are just too many things to ruin great shows, and an executive hitting the cancellation button even isn’t first on the list. Simply being left on the air too long is more than enough to take the wind out of the sails of something once lovable, whether it’s because the show starts stretching into weird new territory like on Fringe, or because intended end points keep being passed by in the hopes of squeezing out another lucrative ratings year, like with Dexter. And of course there’s the plot and punchline recycling that can occur when a show’s left lingering, making episode formulas uncomfortably obvious (*cough cough* Simpsons).

Outside circumstances rearing their heads can be damaging too. With many shows, a featured actor leaving would minimally rock the boat, and some end up capsizing altogether rather than recovering. Just hearing that Topher Grace was leaving That ’70s Show was enough to make me tune out, and leave me completely unsurprised when I heard the first Eric Foreman-less season was also the show’s last. The 2007 Writer’s Guild strike took down its fair share of TV, from amazing shows immediately unable to sustain themselves through it like The Riches, to shows that pushed through but hobbled on forever changed, like Heroes.

But while there have been plenty of shows that have gone downhill in front of my eyes, there are of course many others cancelled before their time. If you’ve never seen the 2008 BBC show Survivors, do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s an amazing yet little known sci-fi drama that follows a small group of people who lived through a widespread virus wiping out most of the population, and it’s the best treatment I’ve ever seen of the “band of survivors must start anew” premise. The caveat that comes along with this recommendation is the fact that the second season finale ends on a cliffhanger so amazing that I was literally yelling at my television when I realized the show hadn’t been renewed for a third series. Then again, maybe letting sleeping dogs lie is best; Arrested Development‘s fourth season didn’t live up to the first three by even the most generous standards.

Yet even on the rare occasion that a show manages to go out gracefully under the pall of cancellation, I still can’t help being sad for it. The writers for the criminally under-appreciated Terriers knew there was a strong possibility they’d never see a second season, and deftly handled their finale in such a way that viewers could interpret the episode as teeing up another major story arc if renewal did come through, or as a beautiful farewell if the hammer fell, which it sadly did. Going out so skillfully even though they hadn’t gotten their narrative due was impressive, but oxymoronically reinforced that they should’ve been given another season to find a bigger audience.

So if it’s so hard for shows on TV to stay great and for great shows to stay on TV, why do I want one of my favorites off the air? Because, intentionally or not, the writers served up a season finale to Homeland this year that put the perfect cap on the show. Yes, there are some signs about what season four will entail, and yes, the writers of this particular show have proven time and again that they’re capable of taking the story and characters into increasingly compelling territory even when it seems they’ve already struck a narrative critical mass. But the way this finale wrapped up a major story arc (again, no spoilers!) left me with the rarest of my potential reactions to a TV show: content. I could walk away from these characters now and be happy to leave them because I know they’re all right where they should be.

Of course, I realize I could preserve this feeling of contentment by choosing not to watch the fourth season of Homeland when it debuts. But I’d be lying to myself if I pretended to have the willpower for that. I mean, did you see how amazing the third season finale was?!

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis (maybe)

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold (definitely)

 

Martha Thomases: TV Jones

Martha Thomases: TV Jones

Last Friday, in eight major television markets, CBS stations disappeared from televisions served by Time-Warner Cable. In addition, stations owned by CBS, including Showtime and the Smithsomian Channel, are also off the air.

Except there isn’t any air. And that’s part of the problem.

When television first became a business, the various stations broadcast over airwaves owned by the people and licensed by the government. Having a broadcast license was like a license to print money, and, in exchange, the owners of the license were expected to do things “in the public interest,” like news programs and public service announcements.

Because of, you know, capitalism, people learned how to make money from these forms of public service. News divisions must now be profitable. Public service ads are often underwritten by for-profit corporations, which use them as occasions to build their brands.

In other words, CBS (and the other networks) became corporate powers in no small part because our tax dollars allowed them to reach a mass market.

And then, cable.

Now, cable also depends on an infrastructure that owes its existence to public investment. Phone lines, the Internet – all came about because the government supported them. It is therefore not unreasonable to expect cable (and fiber optic and satellite) companies to do things in the public interest.

One of those things, mandated by local-carry laws, has been to carry local stations, including those affiliated with broadcast networks. In New York, that means the five major networks (ABC, CBS, the CW, Fox and NBC) as well as Channel 9, which is owned by Fox but doesn’t broadcast network programming, but does have a lot of baseball.

Several years ago, Congress, in its wisdom, decided that these poor network affiliates were being discriminated against by the nasty cable (and satellite etc.) companies. Cable stations get a fee for every subscriber, while the broadcast channels do not. Therefore, Congress allowed the broadcast channels to get a fee for every subscriber as well.

Which brings us to our current situation. In New York, CBS wants to raise its fee from $1.00 per subscriber to $2.00. Time Warner doesn’t want to pay that much. The previous contract expired in June, and, until now, Time Warner allowed CBS to continue to use its system to reach customers. However, with football season on the way, and new fall shows about to debut. They wanted to get the matter settled.

Which they are doing, in a manner that pleases no one.

If I lived anywhere else, I might consider switching providers. However, in Manhattan, satellite is not a reliable choice (skyscrapers get in the way), and not every building is wired for other cable providers. I don’t claim Time Warner is the best, but I’m generally happy with it.

I don’t get Showtime, and I don’t watch a lot of CBS. I like the first half-hour of their morning show (because they sometimes have actual news on it). I like Scott Pelley for my news anchor, but not so much that I can’t watch Brian Williams. I like Elementary, but it’s in reruns. Under the Dome is great, but I can see it on Amazon (although not until Friday and the folks at CBS are being such dicks that I can’t see it online because cable is how I get my Internet). None of this is so disturbing that I need to take extraordinary measures to survive this inconvenience. In other words, I’m not getting an antenna.

Would I pay an extra dollar a month? Maybe. However, if I’m going to have to pony up for CBS, I want to be able to decide what other stations I get – or, more important, don’t get. Of the Viacom stations (corporate cousins of CBS), I don’t need MTV or VH1, but must must must have Comedy Central, and sometimes Logo. I bet my choices would cost them more than they’d get for me to see The Late Show with David Letterman the few times I’m awake that late.

And I would really love the opportunity to get Fox News off my signal in any way, shape and form.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

The Point Radio: ALCATRAZ = LOST 2?

The new Fox Series, ALCATRAZ, might seem a little familiar to LOSTies – there’s JJ Abrams, an island and even Hurley but there’s a lot more hidden in the mystery than you might think. Jorge Garcia and Sarah Jones join us to talk about what you can be sure will be different this time. Plus DC breaks the line and goes to $3.99 on Bat-Books.

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The Point Radio: How Far Will SHAMELESS Go?

There is no doubt that the Showtime series is outrageous, but how far is TOO far? We talk to the cast about where they draw the line – plus Kevin Smith is headed to AMC and DC Comics brings us back to Earth Two.

The Point Radio is on the air right now – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or mobile device– and please check us out on Facebook right here & toss us a “like” or follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

“100 Bullets” as a TV Series?

“100 Bullets” as a TV Series?

100 Bullets: First Shot, Last Call TPB (2000) ...

Image via Wikipedia

This weekend, Bleeding Cool found a potential slip by Geoff Johns that hinted the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning Vertigo comic 100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso was coming to TV as a series.

Now Deadline reports that screenwriter and comic writer David S. Goyer (Blade, The Dark Knight) is going to write and executive produce the show for Showtime .

If you aren’t familiar with the series, here’s the setup: a man comes to you and gives you a briefcase with a gun, 100 untracable bullets, and proof incriminating the person who done you wrong– offering you a chance to exact justice for themselves with no danger of being caught. What do you do?

(Incidentally, I’m impressed with Deadline’s comment threads– more bile than Newsarama comments, possibly because much more money is discussed than what you usually see spent on comics.)

#SDCC: Penn & Teller do something you have never seen before!

#SDCC: Penn & Teller do something you have never seen before!

Good evening, that’s Penn Jillette on the left, and his partner Teller on the right. Together, they are Penn & Teller, stars of stage and screen and hosts of Showtime’s Penn &
Teller: Bullshit!
They came to San Diego with half of the rest of the Showtime original programming crew to share insights into their 35-year-long careers with audience…

…wait a minute…

…what’s that thing in Teller’s hands?

That looks like a microphone.

But that can’t be. Teller doesn’t speak.

Wait– what was that noise?

It sounded like human speech! And it came from Teller!

Amazing! I never knew Penn was also a ventriloquist!

The Point Radio: Explaining WEEDS To A Ten Year Old?

The Point Radio: Explaining WEEDS To A Ten Year Old?

Alexander Gould (Shane) is one of the biggest parts of the Showtime series WEEDS. Over the last five se4asons, his character has been embroiled in some pretty heavy storylines. So, how did this all work for Alex who was only ten when he started the series? He explains what is was like growing up on cable, plus GL makes it to 3-D, MASS EFFECT is headed to the troops and somebody is still interested in THE SHADOW.


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The Point Radio: Uncle Andy Comes Out Of WEEDS

The Point Radio: Uncle Andy Comes Out Of WEEDS

If you’re a fan of the Showtime series, WEEDS, did you know that good old “Uncle Andy” has all new webisodes running right now before Season Six gets underway? Justin Kirk joins us with all the scoop, plus who could EVER play Jim Rockford, or direct a FLASH movie or be Carly Simon’s secret 70s lover? We’ve got it all right here!


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And be sure to stay on The Point via iTunes - ComicMix, RSS, MyPodcast.Com or Podbean!

Follow us now on and !

IMPORTANT NOTE: Next week we will have just one (big) broadcast – direct from TOY FAIR 2010! Look for us mid-week right here!

Don’t forget that you can now enjoy THE POINT 24 hours a Day – 7 Days a week!. Updates on all parts of pop culture, special programming by some of your favorite personalities and the biggest variety of contemporary music on the net – plus there is a great round of new programs on the air including classic radio each night at 12mid (Eastern) on RETRO RADIO COMICMIX’s Mark Wheatley hitting the FREQUENCY every Saturday ay 9pm and even the Editor-In-Chief of COMICMIX, Mike Gold, with his daily WEIRD SCENES and two full hours of insanity every Sunday (7pm ET) with WEIRD SOUNDS!

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN LIVE
FOR FREE or go to GetThePointRadio for more including a connection for mobile phones including iPhone & Blackberrys