Television Secret Santa – Olive Kitteridge

Over the holidays we decided to treat ourselves to some quality shows by doing another round of TV Secret Santas. This time, instead of picking shows for each other, we all wrote down the names of various shows (which we had either seen and wanted others to watch or hadn’t seen at all) and did a random blind pick out of a Santa hat (or in our case a Ziploc bag). This week Kerri discusses her pick, Olive Kitteridge. 

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Keeping it Casual

Recently there has been a trend on TV of what I like to think of as “small” shows. And I mean no disrespect by that moniker. I love small things. I love things with compact, precise focus. Grand things aren’t usually my style. These small shows are generally half-an-hour long but aren’t sitcoms in the traditional sense. They are shows that walk the line between comedy and drama and their focus is usually relationships on a micro level. I can think of a handful of shows like this that I watch and enjoy (You’re the Worst, Catastrophe, Transparent, Red Oaks). These shows all air on smaller networks or streaming services (FXX, Amazon, Hulu) – another trend that is allowing for more of relatively inexpensive content to be created. These shows look and feel different from brightly lit network sitcoms. They remind me of indie films in the late 90s – more raw, a little less polished, dimly lit, taking place in houses that don’t have matching furniture – but, aside from the astonishing Transparent, not about anything particularly groundbreaking. These shows are immediately familiar, if a little bit odd. Continue reading

Awful Americans and Great Americans

Before I go into the very nub of my gist; I believe I have found a new program that vies for the title of worst show on TV. I do love me some awful TV. I wrap myself in the world of the show, pitying those who are involved and celebrating their effort to purposefully make a terrible product. These shows basically just take the best/worst parts of Melrose Place and make a reality show from them. Melrose Place was soapy fun. Pretty, wealthy people scheming and backstabbing each other. The reality shows that follow this model just take out the pulpy enjoyable dialogue and semi-likeability of the characters and go for decadence and backstabbing. Continue reading

Crackle in the Shield

Many people that I chat with have taken to the act of “cord cutting”. Getting rid of one’s cable service, and relying entirely on online streaming. I see the benefits, but the act of television viewing goes beyond the watching. Flipping is a main cog in the TV experience. I really enjoy aimless wandering around the dial. Often getting lost during shows I’m watching to meander around my vast cable package. I really couldn’t tell you how many channels I have. It’s in the 300 range, but some of those are just music feeds and/or Greek news. Continue reading

Email Roundtable #51: TV in Fits and Spurts, or what we watch when we are busy

Kerri and Jane attempt to discuss how they fill their down-time during busy times.

Jane: So, full disclosure, Kerri and I are both fully immersed and crazily busy with the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. Obviously, we still have time for TV; meaning we have some things to say this week. We’ve discovered that both of us turn to cooking shows during those hectic, busy days when we have a bit of time to ourselves. Kerri, why are cooking shows so important to your down-time and what are the favourites that you rely on? Continue reading

A Great Little “Catastrophe”: Channel 4’s charming show about life’s best mistakes

“Fully Formed Human Beings”. That’s what my co-worker Sandra calls them. You might know them better as adults. Those people who have lived long enough to know that they really don’t know anything and ask the right questions and probably worked a shitty job dealing with the public at some point in their lives. People who know when they are feeling like crap and why they are feeling like crap (probably because they haven’t eaten) and when they are happy and why they are happy (probably because they have eaten). When I was a kid adults always seemed like they had a script and knew exactly the right lines to say at all times. But, of course, they didn’t. They were messing up just like I was. Because, really, when can we say we are fully formed? When can we say we’ve stopped growing and changing and learning and fucking up? Sometimes it feels like adulthood is just a series of awful mistakes. Continue reading

Dropped The Ball

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When word came that Ballers was coming to HBO, I was pretty damn stoked. Game of Thrones isn’t for me. It’s about wizards, right? – Just not my bag. The Newsroom was so ham-handed that I lost interest. Those other HBO offerings never got me excited, But Ballers! I mean – its Ballers! Let’s throw together things I really like and produce it slickly. Good job, HBO. Continue reading

Email Roundtable #50 – Jane Makes Kerri Watch Parenthood

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This week Jane attempts to convince Kerri that the NBC drama Parenthood is the perfect show for her.

Jane: Parenthood is my show. I know we could be round-tabling about the brilliant last episode of Community or the crazy-butt-crazy things happening on Hannibal (or not happening, I can’t tell,) but those shows haven’t been consuming my TV life in the same way. I want them to consume Kerri’s life too. If there is one thing I know, Kerri will love this show as much as I do. Kerri, you need to watch this show and you need to start soon because I really, REALLY need to talk to you about it! To get down to basics, I know you will love this show because it is about good people. They are flawed people sure, but they are trying to do what’s best for the people they love. What I think creator/writer Jason Katims does so well is present and perfect tired TV clichés (a son with a disease that makes him different, grown children moving back home, balancing work and family life) in new and surprising ways. Katims reveals many sides and corners to previously one-note stories by populating Parenthood with well-intentioned characters and not passing judgement on them. Life is hard and everyone is trying to do the right thing. I think as a lover of good people and creative melodrama, you will fall deeply in love with this show. I really do. I know you’ve seen the pilot. What were your initial thoughts?

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