Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Because I'm Not Dead and This Blog Needs More Posts

Preview guides are stupid. You really expect me to listen to one man's opinion on a show they don't like before it even airs? Ever heard of judging a book by its cover? I'd rather read a stupid comment section. Better yet, I'd rather make a slightly less stupid list of shows you should be watching.


My dream anime is a cross between Bleach and Ikki Tousen. Bleach would contribute the quirky, slice-of-life humor, kickass music, and urban fantasy atmosphere that helped the earlier episodes earn its popularity in the first place. Ikki Tousen would bring its cast of amazons, les yay to the point of it not being subtext, and its hard-knocks school rivalry setting. Throw in an actual plot with better pacing, and there you have it.


I definitely think Super Channel should take notes from Family Channel and HBO.

Family Channel looks and acts like a basic TV channel, instead of the commercial-free premium channel that it really is, but what sells it is that its bundled with actual basic cable channels. Its clear that Super Channel is completely outclassed by The Movie Network and needs to switch up their business strategy.

HBO has reach the point where subscribers are willing to pay for the channel directly, without a cable subscription. With HBO Now, the channel has granted their wish. Now imagine if Super Channel followed a similar route for fans of Ash vs The Evil Dead.


Monday, 5 September 2016

Ranking Viacom's Cable Networks

It's a little jarring to see a major broadcaster own so many channels, when we only watch three of them. No wonder Viacom has been going through changes, that's exactly what they are: a major broadcaster that owns so many channels, when people only give a crap about Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon.

Let's take a quick look under the hood, shall we?

9) Logo
Putting Logo at the bottom of the list may ruffle a few feathers. After all, gay truly is the new black, and the LGBT community needs a voice like Logo now more than ever. The problem is, ever since they cancelled all their original programming, Logo looks less like a cable network for lesbians and more like TV Land if they actually aired classic TV shows. Though I wouldn't say it's as bad as Bravo (U.S), because at least Logo didn't create The Real Housewives. They still have Drag Race, but Logo has a LONG way to go.

8) BET Networks
BET is the most popular network for African-Americans that nobody watches. Whenever BET isn't airing anything original, people are turning to networks like TV One and Bounce instead. They have the black sitcom classics no other network airs, unlike BET, where all of their shows can be found on MTV2. The fact that MTV2 has produced better unscripted series doesn't help their case either.

Centric is even worse. They now lay claim to be the first network for African-American women, but that only applies to their original slate. In the end, Centric is still the same incubator for sitcoms not airing on VH1 (or MTV2) and little more than an enabler for BET to continue to be the Bill Cosby of African-American television. Ironic, considering the accusations Bill Cosby himself made about the network. I've said it before and I'll say it again: BET is more of a brand than a cable network.

7) TV Land
How did TV Land go from being an offshoot of Nick@Nite, to being a less shitty Nick@Nite? By less shitty, I'm referring to TV Land's slate of original sitcoms that people actually watch. Do you even remember that See Dad Run was a thing? Unfortunately, with their decision to produce original programming came a shift towards more recent network sitcoms. You could blame this on the passing of time, where what's new now will eventually become retro in a decade or two, but that's not what TV Land is doing at all. What TV Land is really doing is airing the same regurgitated crap that's been rerun to death, not just on a Viacom network, but on cable television as whole.

Instead of asking "Why the hell does TV Land only air retro shows during the day?" We should be asking "Why the hell does TV Land even exist at all?" The answer is either Impastor or Younger, because those shows are the reason why TV Land is still relevant. ...Well that, and NickMom was even worse than what Nick@Nite has become. Seriously, find some different shows to air at night or don't even bother.

6) CMT
CMT is what MTV should have been when they shifted away from cartoons. Yes, some of their programming choices were questionable, but at least they still give enough of a crap about county music to avoid going down the same road as the countless networks that came before it. Also, they brought back Nashville. Lucky dogs.

5) VH1
It's a damn shame that VH1 ditched their morning music video block for sitcom reruns because they were supposed to be the Viacom network that actually gives a crap about music! Besides, and I can't stress this enough, all those shows were already airing on other networks! All signs point to MTV's new slate of music shows and the re-branding of VH1 Soul and Classic as the reason for the main channel's relapse, as if Viacom has decided to make MTV their one and only mainstream music channel. At least VH1's schedule is still dominated by their own original programming, for better or worse.

4) Spike
Spike is in much better shape than the previous entries on this list; it's also the only entry on this list that people watch less than BET. Let's face it, Spike TV has REALLY let itself go after they shifted to reality shows and became A&E for men. If it were not for MMA, boxing, and police-related shows, you'd be forgiven for thinking Spike TV was gobbled up by MTV2.

Between Bar Rescue, Ink Master, and new episodes of Cops and Jail, Spike produced a dozen reality shows hoping they'd find the next Storage Wars. All they really did was kill Blue Mountain State, 1000 Ways to Die, Deadliest Warrior and all of their best shows for a bunch of crap no one even watches. TNA Impact was more entertaining than Catch a Contractor, and even then...!

Despite all this, Spike has survived long enough to launch Lip Sync Battle, which became its flagship show in a matter of weeks, and rolled out international versions with arguably better shows. Only time will tell how long Spike's upward swing will continue.

3) Nickelodeon Networks
I never thought I lived to see the day Nickelodeon went back to producing decent shows not named TUFF Puppy or The Legend of Korra, but enough about Harvey Beaks. The way I see it, there are only two things wrong with Nickelodeon: Spongebob Squarepants marathons and Nick@Nite. I love Spongbob as much as any sane person would, but Nickelodeon's obsession with the show has turned it into punchline of children's television, and dragged the rest of the network's quality down with it. You'd think The Fairly Oddparents would have it worse, but the network barely airs that show anymore, just like another Frederator cartoon on another network.

If Nickelodeon wants to show nothing but Spongebob, the least they could do is cutback Nick@Nite's runtime. Which brings me to my next gripe with the network: they need to cutback Nick@Nite's runtime! Nick@Nite is lucky enough to be airing shows that aren't as rehashed as the other acquired fare Viacom owns. When your program block is reduced to airing nothing but sitcom reruns and movies, it's time to step back and make room for the network-produced shows Nickelodeon forgot to cancel.

One last thing, can we STOP with the live-action programming on Nicktoons? Power Rangers is fine, but Nick already has a dumping ground for Nickcom reruns. It's called TeenNick, and they should have moved Winx Club there. Moving the show to Nick Jr, the same network they launched NickMom, speaks volumes about the morons running that outfit.

2) MTV Networks
Lately, MTV has become a dumping ground for Comedy Central shows. You know MTV has took it to a new low when they would rather air better shows from a better network than any of their own original programming. I wouldn't be surprised if Broad City moved to MTV next season. While I applaud the decision to bring Wild n' Out back home to MTV, I still question their decision to bring MTV2's own original series with it. They might as well shut down MTV2 while they're at it, because without an attention-grabbing original series, MTV2 is little more than another sitcom rerun farm.

Still, between the launch of MTV Live and MTV Classic, and the fact that MTVu still airs nothing but music videos, MTV's future is looking a bit more interesting.

1) Comedy Central
There's no denying it, Comedy Central is still number one. Yes, I'm still pissed that they cancelled Moonbeam City and greenlit a spinoff of the absolute worst skit from TripTank. Yes, I do consider their animated shows to be little more than juvinile trash. And yes, The Comedy Network isn't even a poor man's counterpart to Central anymore, because MuchMusic airs the Central shows people actually watch.

Nonetheless, Comedy Central is still the one network that gets more buzz than any other Viacom-owned outlet. It's original slate is more popular than MTV's and of higher quality than anything on Nickelodeon. A sea of generic reality shows and overplayed sitcom reruns overshadow some of cable's most interesting scripted series (and Hit the Floor), but Comedy Central has never had this problem. They give the people what they want, the best damn shows on television (and Brickleberry) & the funniest movies, and the people give them ratings in return.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Kids' Shows for Grown-Ups: Screwed By The Network

For teens and adults who watch animated shows, children's television has become cable's equivalent to NBC. Or FOX, whatever your preference. Cable networks are so desperate to attract an audience that has all but shifted to online streaming sites, that any show with critical praise and viewer approval are shunned in favor of shows that bring in ratings; even if that high-rated show is a piece of crap.

Look no further than Nickelodeon's high-profile screwing of The Legend of Korra, and lesser-acknowledged screwing of Winx Club, which saw both shows move online late into their runs. You'd think they'd at least move to Korra to Nicktoons or the almost barren wasteland known as TeenNick (before they brought back the 90s), given the show's popularity with the older crowd. Of course not, because this is the same network that moved Winx Club to Nick Jr. of all places!

Meanwhile, Cartoon Network's flagship shows, Adventure Time and Regular Show, have almost no presence among the lineup aside from selling merchandise. The blame could be pinned on the current network head, Christina Miller, who just so happens to dislike both shows for their..."edginess" and find them too inappropriate for children. Her actions have shown that she favors Teen Titans Go, the infamous black comedy that has taken over the channel and pissed off numerous other fandoms (from comic books to Transformers) for screwing over their shows with its multiple episode blocks. That, and the show was terrible to begin with.

Even live-action shows aren't safe.

On Disney Channel, rumors are swirling that Girl Meets World is either being cancelled or its moving to Freeform. It's no surprise that Disney Channel would cancel GMW after its third season, because this was the most mature show the channel has had in a LONG time. So, of course they're gonna screw it over for more crap like Jessie, a show that lasted four seasons on high-ratings and critical-scorn. Disney XD did the same thing with Arron Stone.

The appeal behind these shows could be their fast-paced episodes for some, their light-hearted or mature nature for others, or their unbiased escapism compared to TV dramas and traditional sitcoms. On the flip side, it really is more about the show than the network that airs it, but given all the evidence, its not hard see why. If a show pleases a certain audience, but does almost nothing for the network as a whole, it's understandable if the network wants to back down.

But when a show is deliberately given piss-poor treatment by its parent network for reasons beyond just ratings, especially when that network's screwing is causing the low-ratings to begin with: that's unacceptable! It might not hurt the ratings, but it will guarantee that would be producers of the next big thing in children's entertainment will think twice before going to a cable network with their show. It might actually be for the better, given the prejudice these networks seem to have for decent youth television, the accessibility and flexibility of streaming sites, and the fact that anyone over the age of twenty REALLY shouldn't be watching Disney Channel these days.

Business is business, bullshit is bullshit.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Re: Corus not making radical changes to lineup yet in wake of Shaw acquisition

Don't get me wrong. People who say "if it ain't broke..." need to be bashed in the head with a shovel and buried alive; those idiotic cavemen. However, for Corus to tell the press (and savvy viewers) that they weren't making any major changes to Shaw Media's channels (yet) shows that they've also inherited the wisdom that made Shaw Media the most coherent portfolio of specialty channels I've ever seen.

Still, I lament that networks like Action and IFC, which are in need of a shake up, are still on the back burner, at least until Corus "figures out how to make channels that once competed now co-operate and complement each other."

Clearly, they were talking about the women lifestyle networks.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Anyalsis: FXX (Canada)

Ever since the NHL deal, Rogers has become a born again broadcaster. In recent years, they've shifted their broadcasting outlets towards a LONG underserved demographic of young adult men. This shift was punctuated with the demise of the female-skewing, in-name only, Biography Channel and the rise of Viceland.

The Canadian version of FXX, another network aimed at young adults, was created to continue this trend and keep in line with FX Networks in the U.S. FX and FXX have aired new original series at the same time, so it makes sense to launch another network to air the new stuff day-and-date with the U.S, rather than keep them all on the same network and deal with all the nonsense. However, whatever complaints viewers in the U.S had about FXX might be justified in the case of the Canadian channel.

The problem with FXX Canada is that it's barebones. Rogers lacks the stacked content libraries that Corus Entertainment and Bell Media have and because of this, at launch, the channel was siphoning off or outright recycling shows airing on FX Canada. Case and point: Murdoch Mysteries, a drama that used to air on Citytv. Since FXX is geared towards comedies, Murdoch sticks out like a sour thumb and is only there to fulfill Canadian content requirements.

Are you telling me they couldn't have at least picked up the rights to another Canadian show?  For instance, Republic of Doyle - a comedy-drama which would have been a perfect for FXX's comedic slant. What about all those animated comedies, like Odd Job Jack or Chilly Beach? They would have been a nice compensation to FXX's short-lived Animation Domination block. Instead, Rogers decided to recycle the handful of scripted series they already have, rather than pay money to acquire something different. Rogers is trying to avoid taking risks, but they come across as lazy instead.

FXX Canada does its intended job correctly, airing premieres at the same time as FXX in the U.S. As for reruns, The League is gone but It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia still has a strong presence on the channel. However, I feel FXX Canada doesn't fully utilize the rest of its acquired slate to its fullest.

Given Family Guy's popularity and the fact that FXX Canada has a lot more stretching room than Teletoon at Night or Adult Swim Canada, you'd think Rogers would capitalize by airing the show more frequently, just as FXX proper did with the Simpsons. Instead, it only airs once a day, twice on the weekends (repeats don't count). My hypothesis is that Rogers shares rights with Corus Entertainment, who program Teletoon at Night and Adult Swim, and have some sort of arrangement. However, as of writing, FXX is the only Canadian network that airs Family Guy, so you can't help but feel that things are about to change.

The Mindy Project and Bob's Burgers haven't been on as long as Family Guy has, so a daily strip is fine. But while Bob's Burgers also airs on Teletoon at Night, The Mindy Project only airs on FXX as a season encore on Tuesday Nights. Meanwhile, endless repeats of Seed and Package Deal, the other two recycled shows Rogers owns, completely takeover weekend nights. So, instead of the "premium, anti-formula" programming people subscribe to watch, does Rogers expect them to settle for low-rated Citytv burnoffs?

If the problem is that Rogers only has rights to the current season of The Mindy Project, and that they only air Bob's Burgers and Family Guy at a specific time, then they should work on their negotiation skills. These three shows are the only things keeping viewers from asking the inevitable question: "Why am I subscribed to this channel?" It would be beneficial for Rogers to hang on to these shows and make sure people know FXX is the only channel that airs them. If money is the issue, Rogers owns a dead weight of a network called G4 that needs to be put down. Cable bundles won't save it forever and, unless Rogers is willing to put in the work to revitalize the channel so it can make more money, it's not worth keeping around.

A channel like FXX Canada hasn't existed in years, so I'm pulling for it to stick around. Its current state is the best its been since its launch two years ago, I expect it to get better from here on out.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Teletoon and the Animation Age Ghetto

When Cartoon Network and Adult Swim's programming left Teletoon for its domestic counterpart, it felt like the rapture. Finally, fans of shows like Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Robot Chicken won't have to watch the same network that airs Rocket Monkeys and Fugget About It: juvenile shows for a juvenile audience. Instead, they can settle for a network that caters to "big kids" and ditch Teletoon altogether. Why shouldn't they?

Personally, I only watch Teletoon for Totally Spies reruns, Transformers, and maybe some Power Rangers. Other people might stick around for what little classic cartoons Teletoon still airs, anime like Yo-Kai Watch and Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V, Teletoon at Night, or the action shows and superhero movies that have displaced that block. Since Teletoon caters solely to kids, most of their shows make the idea of "grown men who watch cartoons" look more and more like a taboo with each new production.

From the beginning, Teletoon's original shows are designed for a specific audience and are not meant to have a lasting impression on its viewers. If 6teen has had that effect on you, it was unintentional. Shows you liked as a kid or teenager might not look as good when you watch them as adults, especially in the case of shows like Johnny Test and Total Drama.

Whatever the motivation before, Teletoon originals are now designed to pander to kids and be sold to other youth networks worldwide. Ratings don't really mean all that much to them, since the success of their shows mostly depend on how their treated internationally. If that was the goal, then Teletoon is hopefully doing better everywhere else than in the United States; what with Disney XD screwing over their shows and the shows on Cartoon Network being scapegoated as everything wrong with animation.

What I lament the most about Teletoon is that their focus on kids pushed aside Canadian-made adult animated shows in favor of Archer and shows from Adult Swim. Fugget About It got off easy, NONE of the other adult shows Teletoon created lasted more than 26 episodes. They were doomed to rerun hell, airing the same 13 or so episodes over and over again. When the American-produced shows briefly left Teletoon at Night in 2015, the audience left with them. There was nothing left for them to watch that was worth a damn, since none of Teletoon's shows could stack up to the likes of Rick and Morty and Family Guy. The very same can be said of Teletoon's daytime originals.

Teletoon's adult lineup has NEVER had as much variety as it does now, with encores of Knuckle Heads and Night Sweats being the most original, if not tolerable, Canadian programming seen on Teletoon at Night in a LONG time. If the people behind these shows at least put this much of an effort into kids cartoons, Dr. Dimensionpants would have turned out much better than it did, shows like Endangered Species would have been the standard, and shit like Rocket Monkeys would have never been made in the first place.

My point is, as Canada's designated animation brand, Teletoon's content should be better than it is now; it shouldn't be overshadowed by American fare. Canadian animation should be as diverse as the country its from, with shows for families and for adults. Cookie-cutting crap that panders to kids is only as good as the money it makes.

Of course, if you follow that logic, YTV is bankrupt.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Why We NEED a Film like Sausage Party

For better or worse, I'm glad something like Sausage Party exists. Not since the days of Heavy Metal have I seen profile theatrical animation for adults. We're not talking about the lack of "mature" storytelling, because there are plenty of those in the CGI-animated family films that plague theaters nowadays, but those films are lumped in with the factory-produced, cookie-cutter crap created to sell merchandise and shill famous actors. It's the polar opposite to television animation, with its many different styles and age appeal. Whether its Japanese anime or western animation, comedies or action shows, 2D or 3D, there's always something for everyone.

In Hollywood, 2D animation is extinct. Some jerk in a suit decided that EVERY film had to be computer animated, had to have a celebrity in the booth, and had to be a movie for kids. Two stop-motion films in particular that dared to be different, the adult film "To Hell and Back" & the partially CGI-animated family film "The Little Prince", were screwed over and banished to Netflix. I'm inclined to believe that the only reason Sausage Party survived was because it was, in fact, a CGI film with a celebrity voice cast and they didn't know what they were getting into until it was too late. If that were the reality, the fact that Seth Rogen's name was attached to this should have been a major red flag, and the big wigs ignored it because they were total idiots.

Regardless, I'm glad Sausage Party made it, because it seems the only to fight this "theatrical animation ghetto" is to fight fire with fire. Only then will we take the first step in bringing diversity back to theatrical animation. There's nothing wrong with how things are, but things used to be better.