Saturday, 25 October 2014

Some new Developments [October 2014]

Flow 93-5 has shifted to a new format of throwbacks and new music, ending the dreaded Bell Media era once and for all. G98.7 owner, Fitzroy Gordon, has gotten the greenlight from the CRTC to launch a new television service targeting the Caribbean community. Finally, all anime (even Power Rangers) on YTV has moved to Teletoon, as part of YTV's more comedic shift in programing (I'm getting a nasty case of Deja vu). All in all, Fall 2014 is looking pretty good for specialty services.

In personal news, I'm still having doubts about making a new series after Reycralibur. Would you believe me if I told you that, after all this time, I only have two scenes done? If you can, then you'll understand why, if not retire from machinima (HELL NO!), I would like to focus on more short-form stuff. I actually got started on a new gag dub yesterday and I was planning to to start recording lines today. But first, I have to film something for Reycralibur, episode 12. Once I grab the Gamecube Adapter, I will definitely make more Brawl machinima. I've been itching to do so for a long time.

Question is, what am I gonna do now?

Sunday, 5 October 2014

October 2014 Update

I've officially begun work on Reycralibur, episode 12. Though, at this point, I'm fighting the urge to cancel the series altogether. With the release of the GameCube adapter edging closer and closer, I'm getting more and more anxious to just start a new series filmed in Brawl. The beauty of my next project is that it will be a non-serial series, much like Typhoon School was. It has no beginning or ending so it won't end on a cliffhanger due to laziness like so many other web serials (ie. Super Mario Bros. Z).

Thankfully, the end is near. Right now, I'm estimating three more episodes of Reycralibur are left. It'll be bittersweet that I bring this project to a close, SSB64 machinima feels like the one thing I'm actually good at. Of course, I won't stop making SSB64 machinima, but I am looking forward to trying my hand at something else. For now though, after Reycralibur, my sole focus is on Brawl machinima.

Speaking of which, I know I haven't started on The Abridged Knights of Brawl: Bjohn's Quest yet. I'll get around to that eventually.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Toronto's Music Radio (Aka, why I don't listen to Flow 93-5 anymore)

MuchMusic doesn't give a crap about Canada's music scene or music in general. If they do, it's probably to shill out that Top 40 bullcrap. AUX is more of a music channel than MuchMusic will ever be. Unfortunately, it's editorial staff is run by elitist hipsters who are more than happy to talk shit about mainstream music. Apparently, Canadian music journalists think Nickelback is still relevant. Next thing you know, they'll be making jokes about K-Fed and Blood on the Dance Floor. ...Exactly.

Unlike television, FM radio is a MuchBetter (pun intended) outlet for music, thanks to stations like Indie88 (CIND) and G98.7 (CKFG). Unfortunately, while it's more diverse than television, it still has it's share of problems. Chief on my list is Flow 93-5, aka CFXJ. Thanks to those scumbags at Bell Media, Flow has regressed from being the only urban station in Toronto to just being another Top 40 station.
Most damningly, when G98.7 first attempted to launch, Bell and host of other major media companies, even the flippin' CBC, got in their way! And to think, this was the same hurdle Flow had to deal with when they first launched. The reason why Flow and G98.7 existed to begin with? To play music other stations won't.

This is why Indie88 is so popular. It's one of the few music stations playing an underserved genre of music, much like The New Classical 96.3 FM (CFMZ) and JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT). ...Hey, CBC Radio 2, how ya doing? Anyway, it's a shame this principle hasn't been applied to other music stations. It's been a couple of months since Flow was mercifully auctioned off to NewCap radio, owners of Boom 97.3 (aka CHBM, a station for oldies), yet it's still as dreadful as it was under Bell Media's ownership. Apparently, the new owners would rather try to butt heads with Virgin Radio and Kiss then try something new.

Perhaps this is why 102.1 The Edge (that's CFNY for you, alternative fans), in the wake of the Dean Bundell incident and the return of Alan Cross, is switching up their setlist. To fans of CFNY, Indie88 is the modern day "Spirit of Radio", and The Edge recognizes that they now have an opportunity to remind people who the crap they are. Between that, G98.7 becoming Toronto's de facto urban station, Indie88 growing in listeners, and New Classical & Jazz succeeding where Radio 2 failed, It's no wonder why no one watches music on TV anymore.

Forget television, radio is where the real music is at.

Monday, 1 September 2014

I Don't Play Many Games

When we downgraded our cable package, I realized that I don't watch that many TV channels. So I went ahead and deleted some the channels on my Yahoo TV faves. In the same vein, I realized that I don't play that many games in my spare time. The only games I've played over the summer were Team Fortress 2 & Hawken. I've barely touched my PS3 in months!

So, with games like Destiny and Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution on the rise, I decided to pick up my controller and get back into the console scene. But first, I wanted to clean out my PS3's hard drive by getting rid of all the games I don't feel like playing anymore. In the end, I was left with games like Injustice, Remember Me, Saints Row, and Reckoning: all games that I really enjoyed playing but, in the case of the latter three, didn't finish.

You know how when you stop playing a game, how hard it is to get back into it? That's what happened with Dragons Dogma and Reckoning. It doesn't help that Dogma only has one save file, an over-reliance on autosaving, no fast travel, multiple load times, and boring title music thanks to the Dark Arisen update. I almost feel like starting over. Luckily, Reckoning and Remember Me are much easier to get back into.

I ended up getting rid of most of the fighting games on my hard drive too. All I have left was Injustice, which is a hella fun to play, and Mortal Kombat 9, which is also a hella fun to play too once I've warmed up! Meanwhile, I might end up getting rid of all the shooters on my drive by the end of the year if the player count on Gotham City Imposters gets any lower. I tried getting into Defiance but, for me, it would have been easier winning a game of deathmatch on Call of Duty. Destiny may very well be the last online game I buy for a console.

I got a Wii U this year for the sole purpose of making Brawl machinima. With my Nintendo Network ID linked to another console, I purposely forbid myself from playing online; an act of protest against that absolutely stupid idea of not letting me use my ID on multiple consoles. But, with games like Smash 4 and Hyrule Warriors being released, I decided to make more use of my console beyond just machinima. Maybe I'll pick up Bayonetta while I'm at it. Just because I can't play online, doesn't mean I can't play offline!

This fall, since I won't have anything to watch on TV in the afternoons, I might as well spend more time with my PS3 and my Wii U.

M2, a new spinoff channel from Bell Media

Say Bell Media decided to do to MTV2 what they did to Much & M3 last year. In concept, last year marked a refresh for these two channels as they edged further away from their roots, their purpose and, arguably, their mediocrity. As a result, MTV Canada is finally playing the U.S version's scripted programming, plus Degrassi, positioning them as BM's de facto teen channel. However, aside from a lineup refresh, MTV2 was once again left to rot.

Here's the thing, MTV is licensed as a channel for talk shows. There are only so many shows they're allowed to play. On the other hand, MTV2 is, in fact, licensed as a network for teens. If MTV can't play it, they can. Teen dramas, sitcoms, documentaries, even music videos. That being said, for Bell Media to not take advantage of this, choosing instead to cram dramas and old sitcoms into Much and MuchMore, is yet another testament to their incompetence.

So here's the thing. Let's say that, in addition to M3, Bell Media launched a companion channel: M2. M2 is a rebrand of MTV2, targeting the same audience but with more contemporary programming. In addition to shows like Saved by the Bell, Malcolm in the Middle, & Degrassi, M2 would also air The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars and Reign. Other programming would include music videos, movies, documentaries, and pretty much anything that teens are into nowadays.

There's so much good this relaunch could do for the MuchComedy division. With M2 carrying some of the weight, MTV can air more of the American version's shows (even shows from MTV2!) while fulfilling their license requirements. With M2 capturing young adults, M3 can focus more on the "30-something crowd". If they're any flaws with this rebrand it's that, unless Bell negotiates with cable service providers, the new channel will STILL be bundled with actual music networks. Seriously, it's 2014, why the hell is this still an issue?!

Alternatively, Bell Media can just shut down MTV2 and incorporate it's programming onto M3. After all, M3 is more wildly available, and it's not like BM will air any of the American version's shows anytime soon. Plus, between The Marilyn Dennis Show, Gilmore Girls reruns, and a slew of shows that should be on Bravo, Space (I'm looking at you, Supernatural), & the Comedy Network, M3 could use some new programming.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Notorious YTV

It's not often I do this. In fact, I never did this before. But that's before I learned about the power of social media. In my MuchMusic Fall Schedule post which I shared on Much's facebook page, I actually got my first comment for this blog. I normally wouldn't care about comments in general, but one comment that took what I said and... Well, just read it for yourself.

So, I figured. Hey, why not take the request and talk about YTV for a second. It seems as though YTV has gotten some infamy lately. Though, I wasn't sure why. The announcer is still as funny as he was back in the day, The Zone has expanded to become THE hotspot on YTV's schedule, and YTV still maintains a healthy relationship with Nickelodeon. What could be the problem? That's when I remembered my little rant from Channels I don't like Vol. 1. Oh yeah. THAT'S why.

I don't know. There's something about YTV that's feels so..unnatural. Hollow. Soulless. Maybe not a ghost of it's former self, but still. Why am I thinking about Bleach all the sudden?

The on-screen graphics have gotten dull. Blue & abstract, like it's still 2007. The credits pushback has been ruined because now I can't even see the credits. Original scripted programming has gotten lazy. Spongebob knockoffs and Disney Channel knockoffs; nothing memorable in the least. The shows from Nickelodeon aren't any better; all the good stuff is on the Canadian version.

Primetime sucked before Teletoon and the Hub Network's shows took over. Still sucks because YTV has to rely on Just for Laughs Gags and movies. Movies, movies and more movies. That's all YTV does in primetime anymore. Maybe they should have kept reruns of Naruto and seasons one through three of Bleach. At least that's different.

I know I'm nitpicking, but, something feels off about YTV. It's a kids network, so I shouldn't care. But, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, The Hub Network, Teletoon, Teletoon Retro and Disney XD look so much more appealing to me. I don't have a choice but to make comparisons. They got some great shows and a burst of energy to go with them. Especially Disney XD, which is SO MUCH better than Disney Channel and even Family Channel.

...Dear god. That's right. YTV is a kids network, it isn't for teens or adults! THAT'S the problem! Think about it. Everybody Hates Chris, 8 Simple Rules, anime, Smallville, Friday Night Lights, Freaking Buffy! All of these shows appeal to the "older youth audience" mentioned in YTV's viewer advisory bump.

In the wake of CNReal, Cartoon Network has found new success with it's original shows attracting young adults. Disney XD targets the same audience as Disney Channel, tweens, but does it with action and comedy programming. The time range of retro programming has changed, but Teletoon Retro and Boomerang still offer shows that are as appealing to the adults who watched them, as the kids who watch them for the first time. And I don't even need to talk about the Hub Network beyond the reason why it was created in the first place.

Kids networks don't just appeal to kids anymore, they appeal to their families as well. That's why YTV feels so wrong. They're pandering to kids, while alienating their older siblings and their parents. So, "Anonymous", as for what YTV is serving up this fall, it doesn't really matter. It's all the same bull we've seen before that will only appeal to kids, not anyone else. YTV is as appealing as the average YouTube original show. (ie. AwesomenessTV)

There you have it, the mystery is solved. Going back to being weird won't help YTV in the public eye if they keep doing what they're doing now.

Friday, 22 August 2014

MuchMusic 2014 Fall Schedule Thoughts

I know I talk about Much as often as I criticize MTV2 Canada, but I REALLY need to get this off my chest and out of my brain.

First off, applause to Much for having one of the only coherent schedules among the Much MTV Comedy Networks this season. By cutting down on shows that people really didn't need to see (no offense, Exit), they now have more time to spend on the two things they should be broadcasting: music and pop culture-related programming. Meanwhile, The Comedy Network has very little to offer now that most of Comedy Central's programming airs on Much, M3's lineup is mediocre times three (apologizes), and MTV2 Canada... Well, who gives a crap?

The weekday comedy block has been largely pushed to primetime. In it's place, Much will continue to air repeats of The Tonight Show and will now add repeats of Jimmy Kimmel Live, which will transfer from Citytv to The Comedy Network this season. I'll bet you fans of Conan will take this with envy as they know damn well Much could have done the same for their show last season.

It gets better, because the Comedy Network will air JKL this fall, @midnight will move to Much. Because of this, having already been pushed back to midnight due to Simpsons reruns, movies, and the Countdown, Conan will now be pushed further back to 12:30. Seeing as Much had a legitimate reason for the move (for once), I can't help but blame Peachtree TV for this.

The 10pm slot has been controversial last year. With the exception of South Park, Tosh.0, Comedy Bang Bang and few others, few of these new shows have anything to do with pop culture. If anything, it's further proof that Bell Media wants to turn Much into an entertainment network and they don't give a CRAP about Canada's music scene. At least CMT Canada is somewhat committed to country music which, for a network owned by the same company that killed Bionix, Scream, CLT and nearly killed The Edge, is saying a lot.

Anyways, this year Much will air TBS's Men at Work and Angie Tribeca, which are just sitcoms that no one has heard about and, thus, should air on the Comedy Network. Keep in mind that Angie Tribeca will air mid-season, so its your guess what Much will air in it's place. On the other hand, Much will also air Parks and Recreation, which does have some connection to pop culture as it stars SNL alum Amy Poehler.

Finally, on Fridays, Much will air an episode of Workaholics. You heard me. One episode of Workaholics per week. Bad enough it's yet another show that should be on the Comedy Network but, at fifty-three episodes, it's good opportunity to air the show in strip. In fact, what really irks me about Much's primetime schedule is the way they treat Comedy Central shows. No, I'm not a fan of shows like Tosh.0 and South Park. Sue me, but that's not the point. 

The point is, had these shows been airing on the Comedy Network, not only would they be able to air the new season, but they'd be able to air past episodes as well in primetime. Instead they're stuck on Much, were they're limited to graveyard slots and serve no purpose but give the network some extra ratings after dark. 

The most infuriating part is that, in all cases, they have been pushed back because of Simpsons reruns. Hell, the Sunday night South Park Block has been pushed back for reruns of Simpsons reruns. It's obvious that this lineup is "Too Much for Much" and they need to give some it's shows to Comedy and M3. Furthermore, in the future, Bell Media needs to just GIVE UP trying to turn Much into something that it's not. 

You want to do "pop culture"? That's fine. But Much is not a comedy network, it's a music network.