Friday, 24 July 2015

This is why I'm not interested in Superhero cartoons anymore...

I feel as though we're living in the dork age of superhero cartoons. Right now, the only show worth a damn is Avengers Assemble. Whereas Ultimate Spider-Man is an unhealthy mix between action and widget humor and Agents of S.M.A.S.H was a horrible reality show parody (seriously, I'd rather watch Total Drama, at least that was fun to watch), Avengers Assemble is a straight-forward action show. It wants to be like it's predecessor, the far superior Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but has to play by the same rule book as it's crappy sibling shows: appeal to kids, focus on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and throw complexity and maturity out the window.

This, and other shit, is probably due to executives who don't know shit about TV. There's no reason why Young Justice or Beware the Batman shouldn't have been renewed, they just are because the "guys in suits" didn't like it. Not the audience or critics who praised both shows, the suits who have all the money and power. What they did like was Teen Titans Go so, to keep that show on the air, they screwed over the latter two. I can't prove that, I'm just making shit up, but considering how Cartoon Network and Boomerang plays episodes of Go ad nauseum, I'd say its a good theory.

Here's the thing, in a perfect world, Young Justice & The Spectacular Spider-Man would have made it to season three and Beware the Batman & Green Lantern would have been given a second chance. Why? Because those shows were made by comic-book fans, for comic-book fans, or at least by people who already knew how to tell a good story and just happened to used conic-book characters to tell it. The shows we have now are corporate-mandated and produced solely for ratings and merchandise.

I'm not saying they all suck; Avengers Assemble is still the only show worth a damn, at least until Guardians of the Galaxy arrives, and I'm glad its coming back for season three. What I'm saying is even those who liked Ultimate Spider-Man and Teen Titans Go, though I can't imagine why, have to acknowledge why those shows exist in the first place. There's was something far better on the air a few years ago and it was screwed over to make room for kiddy fodder. That's why these suits don't get any respect, nor should they.

Cockroaches are worth more then those hacks!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Tumors That Need To Be Cut

In a follow up to The Biggest Problems Facing Speciality Channels/Cable Networks Nowadays.., we take a look at the specialty channels these companies, and television lovers as a whole, would be better off without.

Bell Media
BookTelevision, Fashion Television, MTV2

Book and Fashion are examples of why decay might save a channel's life, why such a narrow focus will ultimately kill a channel. I'm not saying Book should be airing reruns of the Vampire Diaries, even though it is based on a book, I'm saying they should have been more clever with the types of programs they air. Appealing to a wider audience isn't a bad thing, ignoring shows you're supposed to air in favor of shows you shouldn't is.

It doesn't help that Bell won't even promote these channels, their press site doesn't even knowledge they exist! Networks like these exist solely for their parent's benefit, a little extra cash from cable packages that will go into promoting their more larger networks. It's disgusting.

Rogers Media
G4

At least the Biography channel is doing its job right; all it needs is a fresh coat of paint to let people know it still exists. Meanwhile, Rogers has decided to put The Shopping Channel up for sale; I guess they finally realized that promoting a friggin' shopping channel won't earn them any extra cash.

No, the real problem with Rogers Media is G4, it's sole reason for existing is Electric Playground shows. Nobody cares about Bang Goes The Theory or any History Channel show, they care about video games and technology. Apparently, Bang and History programing counts as shows related to "technology", just not the one you'd expect from the Canadian version of a American network formally dedicated to video games.

Gaming websites, even the juvenile Machinima.com, are better alternatives to networks like G4. Like BookTelevision, they should have been more clever with their programming. They should have stuck with Anime Current and introduced more genre-related shows. Instead, they did OLN & Adult Swim shows and got called out by the CRTC. On what planet was that ever a good idea?

At this point Rogers has only two options: shut it down and move EP Daily and Reviews on the Run to FX or find some new shows to air and rebrand. Sucking on revenue from cable bundles like a parasite won't save G4, it's just delaying the invertible.

Monday, 20 July 2015

The Biggest Problems Facing Speciality Channels/Cable Networks Nowadays...

Where to begin? It used to be that you had a genre or niche and aired shows related to that. But nowadays? Teletoon is airing crappy live-action movies, Much is airing crappy Comedy Central shows (not that I think TripTank was a worst show than Brickleberry) and OLN might as well be "the crappy Storage Wars-knockoff network". Nowadays, niche networks rely on mainstream programming to get their fix, since shows that they are supposed to air don't pay the bills.

Then there's the fact that mass media companies have spread themselves too thin. Even smaller companies like Rogers and Blue Ant are guilty of this. Seriously, Rogers is so small they barely had any content for FXX at launch that wasn't already on FX Canada; not that the American version was a better example! Not until the end of Sons of Anarchy were they able to fully distinguish the schedule and, even then, both of them are still burning off City sitcoms and airing reruns of Murdoch Mysteries to fulfill cancon quotas. See, that's what happens when you spend too much money importing American crap instead of making your own!

When it comes to recycling shows, there's no better example then Shaw Media's networks. I just noticed that Slice is now airing Law and Order: SVU, despite it already airing on Crime + Investigation. Don't get me started on the company's fetish for NCIS reruns either. Lifetime, CI, Showcase, I wouldn't be surprised if IFC starting airing an episode of two. Have you seen DTOUR? It was nothing but 3rd Rock from the Sun and Friends reruns at launch (the latter of which, by-the-by, also airs on Slice); now it's all day reruns of Border Security, which already airs on BBC Canada and Nat Geo. How about you pick a damn channel and stick with it!?

You know what, while I'm at it, Esquire Network did the same thing FXX and DTour did after its rebrand. It's supposed to be a lifestyle network aimed at upscale men, but went from 80' action shows (not that it was a bad thing...) to NCIS and Top Chef reruns! Here's an idea; if you don't have enough genre-related content to support a new network, don't flipping launch it!

In order to save money, rather than close down lame ducks like BookTelevision, MTV2, and G4, companies would rather cut jobs and let their networks run on auto-pilot. No one even watches these channels but cable packages will keep them afloat, and the more networks a company has, the more money it makes. Laziness, that's what it is, pure laziness. They could have done something, but they didn't.

Brand overlap is another pet peeve I have, but it's mostly an American problem, since genre exclusivity largely prevents this from happening in Canada. Seriously, you have BET Hip-Hop and MTV Jams; both of which show hip-hop videos. MTV2 wants to be a comedy network, but forgot that Viacom already owns Comedy Central. Not only that, their constant need to air anything but "you-know-what" has lead them to air sitcoms that already air on BET and Centric. All I ask if you have a genre or niche, keep it to one network instead. MTV2, you know I love you, but this shit's gotta stop!

Left and right cable networks are shooting themselves in the foot because, to coin a phrase from a certain game journalist (and "Thank God for Him"), companies would rather have all the money then no money at all. Never mind the fact that their stupid decisions will earn them, indeed, no money at all. All the money will go to the Netflix's and Hulu's of the world, since they're always there to capitalize on cable's mistakes.

Here's how to survive in a pick-and-pay world. Have one genre per channel, don't rerun the same show on five different networks, and have a distinctive lineup of shows from your competitors and your siblings. It's not guaranteed and I'm no expert but, I don't watch ratings or charts, I watch television. I think I know what the hell I'm talking about.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

SPIKE is the "One To Watch" No, Seriously, it is!

Up until now, Bar Rescue has been the only show on Spike worth a crap. Well, actually, that's not true. Outside of combat sports, there's also Ink Master, Cops, and Jail; but only Cops has made headlines. Everything else was rightfully treated as C-list fodder, even TNA's programming sucked.

The rebrand in March was supposed to change that, as Spike cemented its transformation from male entertainment network, to a more general-interest channel. It didn't seem like much as first, but now, things are changing. Lip Sync Battle is quickly becoming to Spike, what Wild n' Out & Guy Code are to MTV2; the one show to watch on an otherwise irrelevant network. Thanks to Premier Boxing Champions, Spike was able to replace its pro-wrestling gout with a long-forgotten sport in dire need of a new audience outside of pay TV.

But the real meat, the main event, arrives this Sunday: TUT. Everything has been leading up to this, Spike's return to scripted programming in a very big way. Even it turns out to be a flop, the huge buzz generated ensures the network some new viewers, and there's still more to come. Reality television isn't dead, but for cable networks to survive, they gotta pretend it is. You gotta go out and create your own epic moments; nothing you'll see in TUT can be replicated by any docu-drama, unless its one of those shameless "re-enactment" shows TruTV is trying to ditch.

Really, it's been a transitional period for Viacom Media Networks as a whole. TV Land is looking towards edgy scripted series, Logo is looking for a new identity outside of being the "Drag Race network", MTV2 becoming a comedy network, MTV1 trying to stay relevant, and BET doing god knows what after the cancellation of 106 & Park. Of them all, I'm confident Spike will turn out the best. Viacom may be the American equivalent to Bell Media, but...

Nope, that's about it. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

I'm Still Using Hola. -_-

http://hola.org/blog/the-recent-events-on-the-hola-network (I know I'm late, but...)
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...Because I'm a sucker for getting shit that I can't get in Canada. To hell with this geo-blocking bullshit.

Still, if we all read the fine print, we would have been weary of the millions of viruses our computers have caught thanks to a botnet using Hola Better Internet. Better yet, if Hola was upfront about this shit, we wouldn't have this problem. I didn't know how all shit worked until it was too late. Despite the fact that their reputation is now in the toilet, Hola, apparently, refuses to apologize for all the damages they cost, asserting themselves as "a peer to peer network". You know, like LimeWire or Kazaa. ...Yeah, like Kazaa.

I know Hola isn't a major name on the internet, if it were Google, they would deserve the backlash and then some. But they're not, they're a small group who grew by word of mouth, which is all the more reason why they, in addition to the work they've done fixing their shit, should have just apologized. Two little words: "We're Sorry". It might not mean a lot these days, except for PR, but it at least better than just telling me that their fixing their shit. I know they'll fix their shit, I want to think they're doing it out of remorse.

The keyword here is think. "Sorry" won't fix the adware that has plagued my computer for sometime but, if they ever hope to get back into good graces, it's a better start. Not that I think fandom and viewership should be top priority. ...Especially as of late... Despite this, I'm still using Hola. As long as they fix their shit, I'm still gonna use it because, again, I'm a sucker for free shit and I hate geo-blocking. Of course, I won't be an idiot and tell everyone else to use it too. Clearly, you'd be better off with something like Hotspot Shield. Unless you want to watch Hulu, in which case, sucks to be you.

Did I mention I hate geo-blocking? I really do.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Boomerandom

Ratings aside, I'll never understand Discovery Family; it might as well be a separate channel from what used to be The Hub. Clearly, Discovery is not fit to be a youth broadcaster and should just stick to lifestyle shit. But that's a clear picture compared to Boomerang nowadays.

After years in purgatory, the Cartoon Network spin-off finally got a fresh coat of paint and set the record straight; re-branding as a network for contemporary programming. What that means is you get classic series and modern shows. Oh, and more reruns of Teen Titans Go and Gumball, as if Cartoon Network didn't overexpose them enough. Never mind the fact that Gumball is a better show, in my opinion, and Titans should have been cancelled a long time ago as opposed to, I don't know, the rest of DC Nation!

The daily schedule is just a random mishmash of old CN series and less-than-memorable incarnations of classic franchises. Hey, I liked What's New, Scooby-Doo, but I loved Mystery Incorporated. Where the hell is that show? Or, where the hell is Garfield & Friends? Because I'm pretty sure most people would rather watch that then The Garfield Show. I'd go on but, it's obvious that Boomerang couldn't afford the more acclaimed titles, so they had to rely on shows produced for Cartoon Network. At least they brought back Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries, I miss that show.

But I think we can all agree that the worst part about Boomerang nowadays is it's lineup of acquired shows. Or at least, I think that's the worst part. I don't know what people are saying about Teletoon's Grojband or the Inspector Gadget reboot (yes, I know it's supposed to be a sequel, but it might as well be a separate show), but I just KNOW that YTV's Numb Chucks will continue to send the message that Canadian animated shows are garbage; which really irks me because we do produce some good shit (as opposed to roughly have the shit on Nickelodeon nowadays). Nonetheless, Numb Chucks on Boomerang sends a message that they would rather focus on kiddy fodder and "fuck the classics".

Now compare that with Teletoon Retro, currently one of the most-subscribed to channels in the country. It's lineup is all classic, all the time. That's because Retro nowadays focuses on Saturday Morning cartoons and other fan-favorite shows. Titles will fade out over time, because there's a limit to how often you can air the same thing over and over again. Not to mention, the definition of "retro" is constantly changing as the years go by.

Yet, Teletoon Retro still manages to go with the flow, introducing new shows as time goes by and, because of that, somehow they got away with introducing live-action fare like Fraggle Rock, Power Rangers, and Batman. Hell, they even have the gull to air more recent movies based on classic series. If it were any other network, (or Cartoon Network) it would be a case of jumping the shark. But because Teletoon Retro has done a good enough job at re-introducing people to the classics, people just seem to roll with it. And really, in an era where homogenized networks offer the same crap over and over again, is it any wonder why one of the most subscribed networks in this country is a network for old shit? Pay attention TV Land, you might learn something.

So, what have we learned here today? Because I learned that you can't beat the classics, you can still stick to a defined format without jumping the shark, and that I'll probably only subscribe to Teletoon Retro (and FEVA TV) when the pick-and-pay revolution begins. Also, Teen Titans Go is the worst show on Cartoon Network and is just as bad as Numb Chucks; I can't be bother with either.

I'll apologize for Numb Chucks, if you apologize for that shit.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

"Post-Episode Update" Update

Still planning on returning to Brawl machinima, I just hit it a pothole is all. In the meantime, I was thinking of finishing Reycralibur after all, instead of just leaving it to dry. Not that it means Aile x Opal, the reboot, is cancelled, it just means I have something else to occupy my time when I'm not working on that series. I cancelled Reycralibur a few months after I finished episode twelve, which would have reveled EVERYTHING, and a remake of episode one, which would have tied it all together. The series was just an episode or two away from wrapping up completely.

I cancelled it because I became disillusioned with everything I've done up until this point. There's a reason why I called this show the "Crysis of Smash Bros. machinima". But, as I was doing the AxO pilot, I grew a bit frustrated coming up with a story. I realized that, for better or worse, I had something with Reycralibur, and I was going to throw it away in favor of something completely different. All because I didn't want to do another Smash Bros machinima with Link as a protagonist.

I will get around to releasing episode twelve, and the remake, once I've had some time to polish things up. Then, rather than leave the show hanging, I'll do...something. I won't jinx things like I always do but, I'm going to do something with Reycralibur, rather then just release episode twelve and leave people hanging.

In the meantime, I've decided to come out of my basement and join a new machinima group. Yes, another one. They call themselves RetroPixels and their ranks include SmashingTheNew, WisemanThe13th, TeamRegiGigas, HylianPrincessLida, and some other jobbers that didn't make it into Virtual Smash (or Digital Shadows). Check us out, we need the subs. ...Well, they need the subs, I just want brownies.