Friday, October 31, 2008

Rays Lose First World Series, And No One Notices

So, after 10 years of being the laughing stock of the American League, the Tampa Bay "Don't Call Us Devils" Rays have gone to their first World Series...and got smoked in very convincing fashion. Even with a "do over" game, they still couldn't keep from getting knocked out in five games. And, based upon the TV ratings, not a damn person cared.

This year's World Series holds the dubious distinction of being the lowest-rated Series ever, 17% lower than the previous low series. The only night the World Series won in the ratings was the night of the Obama infomercial. It was an all-around loser of a Series. Not that it's a surprise.

The previous lowest-rated series was the '06 Series between the Tigers and Cardinals. Even though those are big-market teams with large fan bases, that was like the 50th time those two have played each other in the World Series. Hell, there was one Series that was watched by no one. THAT SHIT IS BORING!

The second-lowest-rated Series was last year's contest between the Red Sox and Rockies, which is self-explanatory, as, since the Red Sox have broken their curse, and appear to be capable of winning the Series every couple years or so, they've basically replaced the Yankees as the team everyone hates. And that brings us back to, ratings-wise, the worst World Series ever.

The last team the Phillies took to the Series was a rag-tag bunch of hillbillies and scumbags that fascinated the nation. A lot of people watched that Series. This year's team aren't fascinating in the least. Other than Ryan Howard, I can't name any other Phillies. Is Von Hayes still with the team?

And as Tampa Bay is not a city, but a body of water, I can't see what kind of fanbase a team that plays there would have. (Seriously, do you know ANY fans of ANY Tampa sports team? If you say "yes," you're a fool for believing whoever told you those lies.)

So, when you put these two forces of nature together, it only stands to reason that nobody's going to watch.

I know I didn't.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ABC Doesn't Air Obama Infomercial? Blasphemy!

In opposition to all the other major networks and a couple of cable networks, ABC chose not to air Barack Obama's personal infomercial. Even Fox, which had to delay the start time of a World Series make-up game, aired the infomercial.

Instead of the infomercial, ABC aired a new episode of Pushing Daisies (the best show on TV, IMO), which might have been a bad move, since Pushing Daisies is reportedly on the cusp of being canceled due to low ratings.

I like the out-of-box thinking, which chose not to drink the Kool-Aid and made their own programming choice. "Hi, I'm Barack Obama, and I've got a half-hour infomercial all about me which we're offering to air on your network. Would you like to partake?"

"Pass." Nice move, ABC.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rudy Ray Moore, 1927-2008

Just wanted to mention the passing of Rudy Ray Moore, better known to the world at large as Dolemite.

I'm not sure why a hard-ass pimp brother like Rudy Ray would take the name of a relatively weak, usually white mineral as a moniker, but I guess he liked the name more than the chemical properties that went along with it. I'd say obsidian or onyx would be better picks, but, hey, to each his own.

Anyway, tip out a 40 to one of the good ones.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Annual Fall Shows Rundown

Here's a brief recap of the fall shows I've seen far, as well as my thoughts on a couple of returning shows that got the "Writers Strike short shrift," and one that has been hideously retooled:

Life on Mars (ABC)
It's always a really bad sign when, mere months before it airs, a network completely restaffs, recasts, rewrites, and reshoots a pilot episode. It basically says that that original pilot was not good at all (possibly because it had Lenny Clarke and Colm Meany in it). What I don't get is how this "new and improved" version of the pilot is an improvement, as it's a scene for scene remake of the pilot of the British version of the show, complete with allusions to future episodes of the show identical to those in the British version. Is that what this rework amounts to: copying the British show to a "T"? If so, you've got 15 episodes until you're on your own.

Gary Unmarried and Worst Week (CBS)
With dreck like this on the air, it's no wonder that the sitcom is essentially dead. What astounds me is that CBS just keeps cranking them out, all equally unfunny. They have nearly succeeded in making their programming 50% crime shows, 50% sitcoms; they air more of each than every other network combined.

My Own Worst Enemy (NBC)
A great concept: A man comes to learn that he's the split personality of a secret agent. You really couldn't come up with a better starring vehicle for Christian Slater. And M├Ądchen Amick, whom I hadn't seen in nearly 20 years, still looks great. All that being said, this will probably be canceled after next week.

Pushing Daisies (ABC)
Hands down, the best show on TV right now. While all the other "Talking to the Dead" shows take the "scary" route, this one turns the same concept into the blackest of comedies. The casting, the writing, the production design, everything is perfect. If you're not watching this, you probably shouldn't watch TV at all.

Lipstick Jungle (NBC)
Sex and the City without the sex (as this is network TV). I don't understand how Candice Bushnell can continue to crank this crap out, because, pushing 50, she's just about out of the demographic for this show.

The Ex List (CBS)
A psychic tells a woman that the man she will eventually marry is one she has already dated. So, she must go through her "ex list" to find Mr. Right. This is about enough material for a 90 minute movie, not a 26-hour series. In fact, I'd lay money down that there's something very similar to this airing on Lifetime as we speak.

Kath and Kim (NBC)
I don't claim to be the smartest person, but this show is either a) way too smart for me to understand, or 2) stupider than I am by half. I'll guess, um...

Sanctuary (SCI FI)
This starts out to be like Millennium, but turns into...I don't know, Munsters Go Home? Not worth a second look.

Sons of Anarchy (FX)
I generally enjoy every series on FX. Unfortunately, most of them take a while to get going, like the recently-canceled The Riches, which took two boredom-filled seasons to go nowhere. This one's a slow starter, too. I'll give it 'til the end of the season.

Eleventh Hour (CBS)
Yet another "imported from Britain" series clogging the airwaves (three of which are on CBS). This might be something I would watch...if Fox hadn't already been airing a better, nearly-identical show for the past four weeks. Yes, Fringe is the better of the "If You Liked The X-Files, You'll Love..." shows.

The Mentalist (CBS)
One of CBS's plethora of Crime Shows, it's another Psychic Who Solves Crimes Show, with a twist: the protagonist is not actually psychic, but literally played one on television. A pretty clever take on a pretty tired concept, I think this one has some wheels.

And the show that has been retooled within a inch of its life? Why, it's...

Prison Break (Fox), of course.
For a show that had the best first two seasons in recent memory, it sure has had the worst last two seasons I've ever seen, capped off by this new and improved "caper-filled" season. It's like Ocean's Eleven, except that there are only seven in the Scofield Gang. (There was even an episode set in Vegas the other week. How embarrassing.) You know it's gotten bad when the writers ankle the best villain on TV with a subplot in which he sits in an office and reads a bird book all day. (No, seriously, that's all he does.) By Season Two, this show had assembled the best cast on TV. Now, that same cast is reduced to slogging through the same plot, week after week: Steal x from y for z. They even miraculously brought back Sara Tancredi from the dead; maybe they'll bring back John Abruzzi, too, as death is apparently not final on this show. (Not that I'm complaining, as it's nice to have at least one female in this sausage fest, but how do you survive a decapitation? I'd really like to know.)

Hopefully, this will be the last season of Prison Break. It'd be the only way to preserve any sort of legacy this show has. It can't get any worse.

Don't check it out. I want them to cancel this.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Last Five Movies

Eagle Eye (2008)
Standard fare action movie drivel. I'm not sure how Shia "The Beef" LaBeouf became an action star, considering he looks like a guy who couldn't get a prom date unless he paid for one. I like it when Hollywood tells me who I'm supposed to think is cool.

Blindness (2008)
Really high-concept stuff here, based on the work of a Nobel Laureate. Incredibly depressing, with the scenery switching from pitch blackness to whiteout within seconds. This got slaughtered at the box office, only to be outdone in ineptitude by...

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008)
Maybe if this movie had been more true to Toby Young's book (which I hear was actually more outrageous than the movie) it would have been more enjoyable. Instead, it's just a cheesy romantic comedy that wastes the talents of everyone involved, particularly those of Simon Pegg and Gillian Anderson.

Body of Lies (2008)
Yet another in a long line of "Hate the Government" movies that worries more about the message it's conveying than about actually being entertaining. It is possible to do this kind of movie correctly (like in Blood Diamond), but this ain't it.

With movies like these in release, it's easy to be the best with a little effort...

Appaloosa (2008)
A Western written by Robert B. Parker (of all people), adapted and directed by Ed Harris. It takes some balls on Harris' part to not even give himself the best role (that honor goes to Mortensen). Harris has only two directing credits to his name, and they've both been great. If only he wouldn't wait so long between films.

Check it out.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What I'm Listening To

Not as though you care, but just so you know, here's what albums are spinning in my CD player:

Ozzy Osbourne - Tribute
Osbourne's somewhat-belated live album tribute to the guitar virtuosity of Randy Rhoads, recorded over several shows of the Diary of a Madman tour. Would probably be a perfect live album, if it wasn't for Osbourne screaming "STAND UP!" at the audience every 15 seconds.

Black Stone Cherry - Black Stone Cherry
Debut album of the Kentucky hard rock band. If all debut albums were as good as this, no band would ever release a second album.

Queen - Live Killers
I know some would say the Live at Wembley '86 is Queen's best live album, but Live Killers has all of their early hits, not just "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Will Rock You."

Metallica - Master of Puppets
Metallica's major label debut is also the one that put them on the map. Probably the most influential metal record ever. Metallica would keep up this frenetic pace for one more album before they essentially turned into Nickelback.

Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain
Prince lets his inner Hendrix fly, and comes out with a record that wins two Grammys, an Oscar and sells 13 million copies. Albums don't even attempt to achieve this level of genius anymore.

Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction
Remember what I said earlier about debut albums? Case in point, right here. GN'R put out an actual heavy metal record at a time when other metal bands had gone glam. They also had the distinct misfortune of being a truly great band to release their first album T minus four years before heavy metal was made irrelevant by the release of Nirvana's Nevermind.

Ya know, after actually writing all those down, it's occurred to me that it's '80s Flashback Night in my CD changer. For a guy who claims to loathe the music of the '80s, I sure do listen to a lot of it. Next thing you know, I'll be listening to Men Without Hats and The Human League.

I shudder to think.

Monday, October 06, 2008

O.J. Is Going Away

If you hadn't already heard, O.J. Simpson was found guilty on all 12 counts in his robbery and kidnapping trial.

Now, no sentence has been passed down yet, but I suspect it will be the absolute most years you can receive. Maybe even a number that doesn't even exist: "Orenthal James Simpson, I hereby sentence you to 70 gabillion years in prison, with no possibility of parole."

It may have taken 13 years, but I think justice has finally caught up to this motherfucker.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

First Time In 25 Years...

...That the Milwaukee Brewers have lost a postseason game. Mind you, they haven't been to the postseason in 25 years, and have only had two winning seasons in 15, but you've got to hope for something. I honestly don't expect the Brewers to advance past the first round, because I have realistic expectations, unlike Cubs fans, who are completely delusional.

I had the pleasure to attend the Brewers-Cubs games last weekend, and all I heard from the Cubs fans was that they were going to win the World Series. I suspect they won't win the World Series, much as they haven't for the past 100 years, or even go, because they haven't in 63 years.

Hell, even the Brewers went to a World Series fewer years ago than that.