Friday, 4 September 2015

Fave Four: Channels I like (Vol 2?)

The herd is thinning. In a pick-and-pay environment, you count on my subscription to these channels.

1) Teletoon
Needs no explanation. Kids watch it, but my demo wishes for better. Thankfully, Teletoon is doing just that; They've ditched some of their crappier originals to Cartoon Network, while also bringing back some older series and incorporating shows from Teletoon Retro (R.I.P) to fill out weekends. On average, since 2011, they only produce one decent show per year, but this year's slate may be their best yet. It's no Cartoon Network, nor Teletoon's golden age, but at least it's getting better.

2) FEVA TV
When they called FEVA the entertainment channel I've been waiting for, they weren't kidding. A great alternative to BET's Canadian feed, FEVA TV offers a broad range of entertainment and lifestyle programming. Let's just say 4th and Forever was a better show than 4th and Loud and leave it at that.

But my favorite programming to watch on this channel are the music blocks. Finally, fresh, unfiltered, non-vanilla, music from Canadian, American, and International artists on my TV. The best part? It's not even a music channel; the channels in our country can't do this sound justice. I wish these guys the best of luck!

3) Spike
Meh, I like watching Cops, and Jail too. But the real meat of Spike's programming has to be it's combat sporting events from Bellator, Glory, and Premiere Boxing Champions; a lineup like that was worth ditching TNA's crap. All of the above is the best Spike has to offer, along with the few movies that aren't blacked out, but Bar Rescue and Ink Master are no slouches either. Out of all the crappy reality shows Spike has churned out in the last four years - not as bad as TruTV, but nowhere near as good as A&E - these two were the most intriguing. Not until the premiere of Lip Sync Battle was there ever anything better.

The best reason why Spike is "the One to Watch" is their return to scripted series. If TUT was any indication, Spike's offerings are going to get a lot better in the future. Yes, even better than 1000 Ways to Die.

4) Cartoon Network (Canada)
It's not the American version, but it'll do. The main draw of this channel is right in the name: Cartoon Network, a brand that stands for superlative animated series that kids and adults can enjoy. Even on its worst day, CN's original shows are better than half of the crap on Nickelodeon. Half of the crap; calm your rolls, airbenders.

In the past, this channel aired the definite mix Cartoon Network's best. From classics, like the Powerpuff Girls and KND, to fan-favorites, like Young Justice and Generator Rex, to modern hits, like Regular Show and M.A.D. However, as of late, it seems the channel has fallen back to newer CN shows, some of the worst Teletoon has to offer, and Detentionaire. I've always wondered if Corus Entertainment actually had the same exclusive rights to Cartoon Network's programming as they do for Nickelodeon and Disney's networks. Considering that the Adult Swim block still hasn't picked up Rick and Morty, yet Childens Hospital is on Much, I think its a safe bet.

When all is said and done, Cartoon Network is a worthy substitute for both the real deal and even Teletoon sometimes. If only they could produce their own version of Toonami, the channel can truly feel whole. You do realize it's not just anime, right?

5) ?
...There is none. I realize I don't have as broad a taste as other people, but that's because I'm not interested in mainstream sports, dramas, sitcoms, dramas, reality shows, and dramas. Also, reality shows. Yet everywhere I look, that's all I get. When I talk shit about Canadian cable networks, it's only because I want to see more diversity on the dial. If more networks moved to the beat of their own drums, instead of following the leader, cable subscriptions would be as stable as they air in the States. Declining, but at a snail's pace.

You see folks, networks like Revolt and El Rey are keeping people from completely ditching cable, because they provide programming not seen anywhere else. I guarantee you that if Fuse decided to air something like Samurai Champloo, rather than Miami Ink, more people would pay them mind. If MTV2 aired more damn videos and focused more on their original shows, instead of crappy movies and recycled sitcoms, they would truly be to MTV what Disney XD is to Disney Channel.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: I don't read charts, I watch television. These chumps in suits need to start doing the same.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

It's a Laugh? More Like a Snoozefest!

Words can not describe my feelings towards the company known as It's a Laugh Productions. As of writing, they've produced twenty-seven shows for Disney Channel and Disney XD; only three of them were decent. If there was ever a scapegoat for the low quality trash that has ruined Disney Channel, and almost did the same for Disney XD, these guys are it.

I just watch the first half of the second episode of Disney XD's newest live-action trainwreck, Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything, and I'm not watching the rest. You'd think by now, they would have gotten better, but no. The settings change, the actors change, the actual creators and their staff change, but just like Call of Duty's campaign mode, it's still the same old shit! The same crappy jokes, the same character types, the same predictable plotlines, the same shitty music, and the same old laugh track; which has become grating to my ears, because a live studio audience wouldn't find this shit funny!

In the decade that they've plagued Disney Channel (and, by extension, Family Channel), and Disney XD, only three of their of their shows have I begrudgingly called decent. There was the more family-oriented Good Luck Charlie, which had as much to offer adults as it did their children. There was JONAS: a quirky counterpart to Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide that was horrifically overlooked, due to the fact that it stars a boy band that can't rock for shit, and for being retooled as a shitty teen drama. And more recently, Girl Meets World, a worthy successor to Boy Meets World and, by god, the only decent show on Disney Channel these days.

What? You thought I was talking about Hannah Montana, or Wizards, or The Suite Life? Yes, they have their respective fanbases. Yes, they were the only shows on Disney Channel that were worth a damn popularity-wise. Yes, they did help launched the careers of some of their stars. And yes, I still like watching the original Suite Life a hell of a lot more than the crappy sequel series. Quite frankly, those three shows were better and far more memorable than any other show on Disney Channel I didn't mention. But, that's only by tween standards.

By the standards of anyone who's a fan of shows like That's So Raven, Lizzie McGuire, or The Proud Family, the shows made by those hacks at It's a Laugh Productions make Saved by the Bell look like the fucking Chappelle Show. The only reason why shit like this broke Nickelodeon's rating dominance, was because Nick's new sitcoms were a just a bit more juvenile and a lot more forgettable. As for Gamer's Guide, this show is a sign that Disney XD should just stick to cartoons, and leave the sitcoms to the professionals.

2016, the year when Family is finally rid of this shit, can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Teletoon's Power Play is VERY Unreal, Indeed [EDIT: 9/4/2015]

Maybe you're an anime fan or maybe you caught a glimpse of the U.S Cartoon Network, whatever the case, you know that animation has as much appeal for adults as kids. That's why, a few gems aside, I believe Teletoon hasn't been good since 2011; when they began incorporating CNReal-esque shit onto their lineup and skewed a brainless demographic of stupid tweens (I'm looking at you, Majority Rules) and even dumber kids (I'm looking at you, Rocket Monkeys). As the national network for all things animated, you'd expect a more diverse lineup of shows for kids, families, and adults. Sadly, Corus Entertainment is only good at pandering to the first, and Teletoon suffers because of it.

That's why the end of Teletoon Retro was so tragic for some people, it marked the end of the last safe haven for some truly iconic shows, a far cry from Teletoon's current offerings. However, Retro's end is also what makes Teletoon's power play, as I'd like to call it, all the more intriguing. We were told that some of Retro's shows would move to Teletoon, and all of Cartoon Network's programming would move to it's Canadian counterpart. Done correctly, this would be a HUGE benefit for Teletoon, and a nice bonus for Cartoon Network (which, thanks to Retro, will now be available in more homes).

What they didn't tell us, on the other hand, was that Teletoon would be bringing back some of the more contemporary shows and incarnations from days past (Tom and Jerry Tales, What's New Scooby-Doo), or that Detentionaire and the so-called "Teletoon Rejects" would also move to Cartoon Network and apparently displace some of their older programming. Yes Canada, this month, we will know how fans of the U.S version feel. Not only will we be treated to a buffet of Teen Titans Go (and Gumball) reruns, with not a single episode of Adventure Time in sight, but they will air along side what many consider to be the worst of what Teletoon has to offer. Also, again, Detentionaire; which might help wash the taste of shit out of people's mouths.

Then at the last second, we were also told that virtually every adult-oriented show, not named Archer, would move from Teletoon at Night to Adult Swim. In addition, while Adult Swim still lacks the newer shows from it's American counterpart (and Toonami), it's also gaining some newer shows of it's own. However, while TaN is FINALLY getting Bob's Burgers, it's also getting more live-action "cult films" and reduced air time; probably because, at this point, you're better off watching Adult Swim.

In the end, the once superlative version of Cartoon Network has been reduced to being even more of a dumping ground for Teletoon fodder, Teletoon at Night's future is now in question, and nobody wants to watch Disney Channel. On the upside, Adult Swim now has even more offerings and Teletoon is now airing more decent shit, while also focusing on their current shows. Clearly, Corus Entertainment hashed this out at the last second, and it will take an extra month or two to get everything sorted out. But when they do sort their shit out, I believe it'll be for the better.

But seriously, Rick & Morty; we need that shit now!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Let's Roleplay: BET + MTV2

In an earlier post, I commented on the overlap between the BET Networks and MTV's urban music channels: MTV2 and MTV Jams. I also forgot to talk about BET's low-budget presentation: what with its lack of original series, the poor promotion of upcoming events, and asinine graphics which cuts out the ending to a show and can even take up 1/3 of the screen! But now that I have, let's get back on topic. Viacom networks are all in the middle of a transition, a metamorphosis of sorts, the most recognizable being Spike and TV Land's re-brands. Now, if any other network is in need of a makeover right now, it's BET.

Ever since 106 & Park came to an end, the only thing keeping people from changing channels was BET's scripted series and special events like the BET Awards. They come for those shows, but once they're finished, they head back to greener pastures, since they've already watched Life twenty times and can watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, without commercials or irritating bugs, on Netflix.

Meanwhile, MTV2 is scoring record ratings.. on its own channel because, up until now, nobody watched their channel, not even for Bellator. Thanks to the popularity of Wild n' Out and Guy Code, they've begun producing better, sensible, more notable shows. A lot better than most of the crap MTV makes. Unfortunately, said shows are never around for more than 10 episodes; meaning all MTV2 really has to offer is reruns of MTV shows already airing on the main network, syndicated sitcoms that you've already seen on another channel, and really crappy movies. It's pointless to remind you, but isn't this supposed to be the MTV network that's actually about music?

Here's my solution: a merger. I purpose we shut down MTV2 (and MTV Jams) and let BET be the hip-hop network; like how CMT is the country network, and VH1 is the "adult" music network. Since virtually every show on MTV2 not named Guy Code & Wild n' Out hasn't lasted more than a season, and most of BET's new programming are just cheap reality shows, I believe we should incorporate MTV2's programming into BET's lineup. Hell, with their reboot of Punk'd, they've already starting taking MTV shows as their own anyway. MTV2 and BET both target the same age range, the demographics are different, but you'd wouldn't know that since they both air the same damn sitcoms.

At this point, the only reason why MTV2 (and BET Hip-Hop) exists is to drive profits for Viacom, to the point where if just one of their networks aren't on cable or satellite, none of them are. I still wonder what kind of strategy that is; if the provider doesn't want to carry their channel, it's probably because it's a piece of shit...or because said provider was DirecTV. It's as if everything, everything, from the cancellation of TRL to the launch of NickMom, was for no other reason but to cut costs and drive ratings. That's fine, but what's the point if it ends up damaging established brands and turns away viewers, since the network they used to love has become a shadow of its former self? Now that the cord cutting revolution has begun, Viacom is desperate to milk as many cows as they can before they, and other companies, are reduced to the same level playing field.

Of course, just shutting down worthless channels isn't a sound business strategy, not if they can still be revamped. MTV2 could still shift back towards actual music programming, and leave non-music programming to MTV1. Of course that's about as likely as Oxygen making a reality show that isn't a trashy piece of shit (Too soon?). Instead of milking dust, what I'm proposing will give those chumps at Viacom a fresh new cow to process. After all, what's the point of keeping around channels if you're not going to put in the effort to make them stand out; if all you're going to do is stick with a few exclusive shows and fill the rest of the schedule with rehashed shit? At least NBC was able to figure that shit out!

...Oh dear lord, Viacom really is the American Bell Media: twice the money, double the stupidity. Prey for BET, folks. Prey.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Fall 2015: The Full Package

CTV
http://www.ctv.ca/TheCTVInsider/Articles/News/More-Better-CTV%E2%80%99s-2015-2016-Schedule-Revealed.aspx

Global picked the wrong season to dump Sleepy Hollow, they could have benefited from that show's crossover with Bones later this season. Not to mention, who watches CTV Two? If I had any problems with CTV's lineup this year, its that it's owned by Bell Media. 

My Picks for CTV and CTV Two this season are Blood & Oil, The Goldbergs, Gotham, Lucifer, the Arrowverse (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow), Sleepy Hollow, and Best Night Ever.


Global
http://www.shawmedia.ca/Media/PressReleaseDetail.aspx?pressReleaseId=6442462338

When Shaw Media said CTV "showed them the way", they weren't kidding; just look at that schedule. From CBS, co-owners of The CW, and the people who brought you the Arrowverse comes Supergirl. Hopefully this show won't get screwed like Constantine was last year. Thanks, NBC. Meanwhile, on that same network, Heroes is making a comeback in the form of Heroes: Reborn. Thank you, NBC! It's gonna be a homecoming on both sides of the border, since Global also aired the original series back in the day. Hmm? Do you notice anything else different about this lineup? 

My picks for Global are Supergirl, Heroes, The Blacklist and Elementary (aka the best things to happen to crime dramas, ever).


City

City has a whole lotta FOX to give this year. From returning series like The Last Man on Earth, The Mindy Project & Bob's Burgers, to newcomers like Scream Queens and the Grinder. Also, Bordertown. They also got The Muppets, Rush Hour, Empire (which will move from Omni 2) and CBC's Mr. D. Speaking of Canadian shows, Sunnyside is back this fall (Yay!) and so is Hockey Night in Canada. Overall, a huge improvement from last year's barebone offerings.

My picks for City this year are Scream Queens, The Grinder, The Muppets, Rush Hour, Sunnyside, and Empire.


CBC 

I don't really watch CBC all that much since Republic of Doyle ended, so please excuse me if I cut to the chase. My picks this year are Young Drunk Punk, courtesy of City; Murdoch Mysteries, also courtesy of City, by legacy; Still Standing, Jekyll and Hyde, 22 Minutes, and the Rick Mercer Report.


CHCH

After going who knows where (M3?), Supernatual is back where it belongs, and it joins fellow CW series The Originals. I'm a little disappointed that they didn't pick up more series from the CW, because they're definitely not the broadcast equivalent to MTV anymore. Also new this fall are Rosewood and Nashville, which might have aired on a previous network, but I don't really care all that much to look into it. 

CHCH is truly an alternative for those who are two low-brow for CBC, yet don't find anything on the other networks all that appealing. That being said, I have to ask. Seriously, more reruns? Surely they could have aired a movie on Friday instead, since it's nothing but reruns. In fact, since movies saved this station, they should be airing more of those instead! However, CHCH is owned by a small company, a company that's launching a Canadian Bloomberg channel this year, so it's probably for the best to play it safe for now.

My picks for CHCH are Supernatural, Rosewood, and Canada's own The Pinkertons!

There you have it folks, set your PVRs!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Oxygen Media: Why Does It Still Exist?

When Style Network was replaced with Esquire Network, I questioned why NBCUniversial didn't shut down Oxygen as well. Unlike E! (which focuses on pop culture and entertainment) and Bravo (which focuses on fashion and...pop culture?), Oxygen is more of a general-interest channel. That means they can air programming that its siblings can't, like Olympic coverage.

However, because of it's lack of exclusive programming, Oxygen is almost nothing but syndicated TV series and shows recycled from it's siblings; the only exclusive show they have out their entire acquired slate are reruns of America's Next Top Model. However, its original shows aren't much help either: while Snapped has been syndicated to other crappy networks like LMN and REELZ, every other reality show they've ever produced has been overshadowed by their flagship series, The Bad Girls Club, a show so horrible it makes The Real Housewives look tame.

As I said in an earlier post, I don't base my opinions on ratings and demographic charts, I based my opinions on simply watching television. When I watch a TV channel, first and foremost, I expect to see shows I haven't already seen on another cable network. When you compare Oxygen to Lifetime, not only does the latter have more original content than acquired, said original content is a lot more notable, and watchable, then anything on the former.

Oxygen is almost worthless as a cable network, far more so than WE TV. The only people who find value in its existence is NBCUniversal, which makes it bittersweet to know that they are still trying to turn dust into diamonds with this channel. Even down south, people would rather watch Hulu than anything on TV these days. So NBC better work hard to bring Oxygen up to the same standard that E! and Bravo are held to in their portfolio. They should have did something different with this channel; target a different demo, find different programming, anything but the same old shit we've seen everywhere else.

Then again, maybe you'd be better off watching WE.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Why Do Moviegoers Always Pull This Shit?!

You know, there is something really wrong with the world if Hitman: Agent 47, a movie that we all knew was gonna suck, still made more money than something like Amercian Ultra. Sure, the critical dissonance over the Need for Speed movie gave the slight hope that non-Japanese movie adaptions of video games were finally getting better, but be realistic. Need for Speed had no plot to adapt; the positive reviews from that film just means the plot that they thew together was either good enough, or not terrible enough, for people to say "Well, at least it was better than King of Fighters."

No, I don't think "original ideas are over", I think there are far too many rich kids out there who spend a lot of money on shit, or just haven't learned their lesson yet. For example, how did the Resident Evil and Transformers film franchises get so many sequels, when they didn't even deserve one? The answer: movie goers kept throwing money at them, when they should have been throwing stones. If you didn't like the first movie, why the fuck would you pay money to see the sequel?

At least Twilight has the excuse of being an adaption by an equally crappy book loved by fans worldwide, but these other movies have no excuse. These sequels and reboots should have been produced on mockbuster budgets and sold in bargin bins. If they were truly terrible films, they should not be making that much green. There are really only two logical explanations: either there are millions of idiots with too much money on their hands, and just as much free time, to do with it; or, there is actually a market and audience for these so-called adaptions, a safe-heaven for those who love guilty pleasures, and those who couldn't create a decent movie to save their life. Or, in Michael Bay's case, a decent adaption, speaking of critical dissonance...

In all seriousness, people, the only films that should have this much luck are the films by Friedberg and Seltzer, their films are cheap enough that they can keep making more despite critical mauling. There is something wrong really wrong with the world if Hitman: Agent 47 made more money than something like Amercian Ultra, and guess what? It's you. Stop spending money on crap!

...And yes, stones, not popcorn; don't waste food.