Monday, 9 May 2016

The Call of Duty Complex

Blame anyone who complained about MuchMore's relaunch as M3 back in 2013 for me saying this but, Whoever said "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" needs to be punched in the face. And kicked in the groin. And set on fire. And die.

For progress to be made, some things (especially MuchMore) NEED to be broken. Not only will they be fixed, they will be better than before. Change is a good thing, and yet, having too much of a good thing is a bad thing. So? Get rid of what makes it horrible, not what makes it great. Problem solved! That's evolution. That's change. That's the way life works.

Don't agree? Then allow me to retort: CALL OF DUTY!

Let's be honest. The main entries developed by Treyarch and, especially, Sledgehammer Games' own Advanced Warfare were better than any of the games churned out by Infinity Ward in recent years. Treyarch in particular deserve recognition for building upon what made Modern Warfare so great by adding new features and tweaking the core gameplay just a bit. Obviously, it wasn't enough, but at least it was better than Infinity Ward's "If it ain't broke..." approach.

Compare Black Ops II's Strikeforce missions, branching paths, and "Pick 10" multiplayer, to Modern Warfare 3's linear campaign and reshuffled killstreaks. ...OK, so all those changes weren't perfect, but the only thing rehashed about Black Ops 2 was the graphics. Treyarch had the right idea. For Call of Duty to stay relevant, it needs to evolve and continue evolving.

Why else do you think that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (and by extension, Modern Warfare 2, depending on who you asked) is still regarded as the franchise's high point? Compared to what came before it, it was very different. It changed the shooter game and opened a Pandora's box of imitators. Now the franchise itself has become an imitator, and its shift to sci-fi does little to hide the obvious.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Whoever said that needs to be shot. At least when MTV ditched music television, they still remained a pop culture icon to this day. If it wasn't for Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto V would still be played from a top-down perspective. People who say "If it ain't broke...", can go fuck themselves.

...Though, in retrospective, MuchMore should have never became M3. Not when music videos are still the only programs worth watching on that channel.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Netflix Went Worldwide WAY Too Soon

Once upon a time, if you put something out there on the internet, the whole world could see it. Then, one day, someone decided that entertainment companies can put something out there, but only their native country can see it. The rest of the world was like: "Wow, what a jackass!"

That last bit also happens to be the reaction from Canadians who aren't satisfied with just watching House of Cards and Bojack Horseman. That last bit is the reaction Canadians had to Netflix's border-hopping crack down. Hungry for the full catalog of titles available in the U.S? Too bad. If you try to use a VPN or unblocking service to cross the border, Netflix will deport your ass faster than you can say Bordertown.

When your streaming service is now available worldwide, the first thing you want to do is make sure your content isn't available worldwide too. That's the message Netflix is sending to Canadians. It's true that Netflix does want to have a worldwide-viewable catalog, hence the shrinking movie lineup (which could also be chalked up to them spending more money on original programming), but actions speak louder than words, and Netflix's actions as of late have said otherwise.

Since Canadians can't rely on unblockers, now they're prepared to just pirate everything Netflix offers the United States that they can't get up north. After all, it's not stealing when you take something for free that you aren't allowed to pay money for in the first place. That's the biggest problem with geographically-restricted subscription services: people who were willing to pay money for something are now "stealing" that very something because the owners, apparently, don't want their money.

Now flip it in reverse! Netflix Canada has given us new episodes of Scandal before the Americans can stream them, exclusive series like From Dusk 'ill Dawn & Shadowhunters, plus exclusive streaming rights to the new Star Wars movie. Surely someone in another part of the world is looking at us with envy. As awesome as these bonuses are (and they are FREAKING SWEET!), it would be even better if we ALL were able to enjoy them. If we could all enjoy From Dusk 'till Dawn and Star Wars, without having to use an unblocker, it would truly feel like Netflix is available worldwide. If we still lived in a world where "if you put something out there on the internet, the whole world could see it", that's would be the reality.

Instead, everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too and, once again, the customer has the short end of the stick. If Netflix truly wants to have a worldwide catalog of shows, then they need to stop making these region-specific deals. The same goes to all businesses: the only way to slow down piracy is to make your goods accessible to the customer. The pirates are winning because they provide a better service. When your business avoids anti-consumer practices, like geo-blocking, piracy becomes an afterthought.

Then we'll all live happily ever after.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Machinima Update: April 26, 2016

I should have stuck to short videos, it was a lot more enjoyable making those than a full length, ongoing, machinima series. With Super Smash Bros for Wii U being the new thing, and my channel sorely lacking in original machinima, I intend to make as many movies and shorts as I want. But right now, I need closure. As I'm typing this, I'm about to edit the opening scene from the final Reycralibur movie. Yes, Reycralibur: The Movie. In other words, Reycralibur: Legend of the Miracle Beam, the SSB64 machinima series that I've been working on for over six years, is finished.

I'm not doing this because I want people to watch, not even to showcase the possibilities of SSB64 machinima. Since the beginning, I've been doing this for the same reason every machinimator takes up this hobby in the first place: for his or her enjoyment. But in the case of this long-running saga which I've grown disillusioned with, I'm doing this for closure. I'm lazy, I procrastinate, and I usually give up something before I finish it. Anyone can make a comedy video, but to do a whole machinima series takes hard work, dedication, and commitment.

Also, originality, but that never stopped certain machinimists from making the same fanfic over and over again. I mean, we get it: Peach and Zelda are only good for getting captured by Bowser and Ganondorf and being rescued by Mario and Link; Snake, Samus and Team Star Fox are the authority; and everyone else is either cannon fodder or henchmen. Cue the anime opening.

Time and time again, I've seen so many newcomers in the same boat as I am in. They announce their new series. they hold an audition, they make the flashy animesque credit sequences..., and then they just quit before they even get to the second episode. How am I gonna stand out, in an era where machinima as a whole plays second fiddle to AMVs and a multi-channel network that doesn't even give a crap about the thing its named after, if I can't even finish what I started?

Given my poor track record for setting goals and meeting deadlines, I won't bother with a release date. In fact, I'm gonna go ahead and jinx myself by saying Reycralibur Final will not be released before the next installment of the Smasherz finale, or the next episode of Brawl Universe or Fates Hand, but on my pride as a machinimator, I will get this done!

In the meantime, you can just keep enjoying the shorts. That's all I'm really good for nowadays.




Sunday, 17 April 2016

iHeartRadio, iHateBellMedia

I'm having mixed feelings about Bell Media's decision to (once again) rename the Much Music Video Awards to the iHeartRadio MMVAs. First of all, what is iHeartRadio, other than a bunch of TV specials I've seen on broadcast networks? In short, it's an app that let's you listen to radio stations, owned by parent company Clear Channel. It has gained more traction than Spotify and Pandora ever did in their early years. Most importantly, it's doing exactly to the MMVAs what Kanye West did to the Pan AM games last year: stealing the spotlight away from Canada, its artists, and their venues.

In reality, Bell Media is bringing iHeartRadio to Canada and shilling it out like a kid who got his first rare trading card. At launch, iHR Canada will allow users to steam all of Bell Media's radio stations. It will also allow Bell Media to slap the iHeartRadio name onto any music-related event to build brand awareness and generally make it sound more special to them. Case in point: the CHUM FM Fanfest is now the iHeartRadio Fest. Though, in fairness, the iHeartRadio FanFest would be an even more appealing name.

But slapping the name onto the Much Music Video Awards will most certainly not "elevate the MMVAs internationally". Instead, it cheapens an iconic Toronto event by making it play second fiddle to an American product no one has heard of, nor cared about, until now. It also shows the further lack in confidence Bell Media has in MuchMusic as a music brand, as opposed to a network for Comedy Central originals and late-night talk shows. With the likes of Revolt and Fuse/FM signaling the proper return of music television to American airwaves, its very jarring that the only thing Canada's largest music-based network has going for it, aside from Much Digital Studios, is an award show named after an American website.

On the other hand, its nice to see an American brand brought north and not turned into a cheap cash grab, just like so many Canadian specialty channels (*cough*FXX*cough*). Being Canada's largest (and most corrupt) radio broadcaster, and with Virgin Radio and CHUM already on-air in the states, it makes sense for Bell to be iHeartRadio's Canadian ambassador. Finally, am I really going to shed a tear for an event that's clearly become skewed towards pop music fangirls? Seriously, how do you have a "Fave Artist" category when, for the last six years, the same artists were nominated and the winner is always Justin Bieber? That is bullshit to the ninth degree!

So what's next for Bell Media and iHeartRadio? Will Virgin Radio and M3 change their names too? Does anyone even care about iHeartRadio now that we have Spotify? One thing's for sure: the MMVAs aren't dead, but they might as well be.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Fave Five: How I Knew From The Start That Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Wasn't Going To Be Good

I'm not one to judge a book by it's cover but...I FUCKING CALLED IT!!! ...And here's how I made that call.

1) A Good Superman movie? WRONG!
As far as live-action films go, there hasn't been a good Superman flick since Superman II. Animated flicks, definitely, but either you tolerated Superman Returns or disliked Man of Steel. Either you enjoyed the epic "Clark v Superman" scene from Superman III or you hated all of Superman IV. Either you thought the first Superman movie was pretty good, or you thought the sequel was way better. Either way, live-action Superman movies are garbage, and BS wasn't going to change that.

Even the bad Batman movies (for lack of a better term describing ANY Batman-related film not named Batman & Robin) had more redeeming "qualities" than any S-emblazoned ripoff.

2) It was directed by Zack Snyder
I didn't watch Man of Steel, but I did watch Sucker Punch and I did not appreciate someone taking advantage of the sexist pig in me who only came to see a fun action girl romp but got his mind screwed instead. It wasn't a terrible movie, because at least I get the message it was trying to send, but I was not amused. I was not going to take my chances watching one of the biggest superhero movies in history knowing this guy was in the driver seat.

3) Big-budgeted action films are simply glorified pornography
The best part of watching Transformers: Dark of the Moon was the TOTALLY AWESOME set pieces in-between all the other crap I didn't care about. The same could be said of anyone trying to defend the American Resident Evil films (or really, any American video game adaption) or any other film in its genre. For all the explosive, heart-racing awesomeness movies like these deliver, they really stink up the place when they try to tell a good story. A task that really isn't that hard.

In fairness, at the end of the day, the human race was willing to sacrifice millions of dollars in theaters just to watch giant robots duke it out over some shit related to Apollo 11. They have no right to complain when the film surrounding said giant robots was too complex for its own good. That being said, if you were expecting a good story out of a film like BS, you are an idiot and you deserve to be broke.

However, the fact that Hollywood can still churn out films like these knowing how stupid people are, yet still make back the money needed for the sequel, just goes to show you how necessary it is to save your money and rent the DVD instead. Or just bootleg it; movies like these deserve to be pirated anyways.

4) They spoiled EVERYTHING in the trailers!
...Well, not exactly. They spoiled almost everything in the trailers. Still, who does that, and why do they think that's OK? Part of the fun of watching any movie is in the twists and turns and how everything plays out. As we've already pointed out, watching explosive, action set-pieces are the only reasons why people like me bothered to watch films like these. These set-pieces are given so much focus, that the plot is guaranteed to suck.

So when you spoiled the big brawl between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel, and the appearance of Wonder Woman, then what do I REALLY have to look forward to before and after the bell rings? Because, at this point, an episode of Teen Titans Go is looking pretty good right about now.

5) Everything else DC made was better
When the crew tried to defend themselves, they pointed out that BS was "made for the fans". Really? Because, last time I checked, the real reason why they went forward with this was because DC Comics is trying to create their own "Cinematic Universe" to compete against Marvel's. You know who else tried doing that? Sony, with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and look how that turned out. This follow the leader crap is going to be the death of the genre, or it could "dumb it down" to levels reserved for the live-action Alvin & the Chipmunks movies.

This is in sharp contrast to DC's far superior animated movies, which are straight adaptions of acclaimed stories or great original stories in their own right. The fact that they don't share the same setting and continuity only makes these films more greater in their own right. If DC's live-action films were more like their animated films, they wouldn't need to sweat what Marvel's doing. It's not like every Marvel film was the best film ever made either.

DC is already putting out so much product outside of theaters, and outside of comics, that it's hard to care about something that looks too similar to the grey, gritty crap I've already seen in other movies. When it comes down to it, I was more hyped for the fun and flashy Suicide Squad movie than BS. I was more hyped for the Supergirl/Flash crossover than BS. I was more hyped for Teen Titans vs Justice League than BS. I was more hyped for any DCTV show than BS. Yes, even an episode of Teen Titans Go, because at least that was made with the fans in mind (mostly).

When all is said in done, BvS was just going to be BS. Take it from a guy who watches nothing but action movies and shows. I can't talk too much crap about something I've never seen, but I have seen enough of this crap to know how this ends up.

...Up, and a-Way too soon for this shit.




Sexism Against Men (Also, Some Crap About Reboots)

You know it's time to take a break from TV Talk when someone starts complain about how much reboots suck, despite numerous points to the contrary. I won't say who, but his/her website shares the name of the fifth season of Archer and, depending on who you ask, they suck even harder! ...Well, it actually wasn't THAT bad at all, but you get the idea. Word of advice: Keep your personal crap on your blog and off the news. We read to be informed, not to care about your stupid opinions.

Speaking of double standards, has anyone noticed how absolutely rubbish the male image really is? Of course not, we're too busy fighting for women's rights and reminding North Americans that it's 2016 and black lives DO matter that we don't notice that, when it comes to sexism, women aren't the only victims.

For starters, how come boys and men can't talk about their feelings and write cheesy pop songs, yet we don't mind when women do it, (even if said songs are worse)? Are we still living in an age where men aren't allowed to be sissies or get help from their friends to fight their battles?

"Men need to drive fancy cars and play sports and have sex with a bunch of women." "A real man wouldn't drive cheap rides, or take up ballet, and have sex with other men." Yes, other men, because this isn't a crappy slashfic, it's the real world in 2016. Get over it, homophobes. I'm really sick of guys parading around this idea of what it means to be a "real man". If I want to know what it truly means to be a real man, I'll watch Yu Yu Hakusho. I don't need to be told what a man isn't supposed to do by caveman and thick-skulked morons.

Well, there you have it. I just proved sexism against men is real and that it's a real problem, because it's men who brought it onto themselves! And now, back to more TV stuff.

Moonbeam City shouldn't have been cancelled, Cassius and Clay should have been greenlit, and the Much Music Video Awards shouldn't be riding the corporate pen of a service no Canadian has ever heard of! And again, if creatively bankrupt scrubs are to blame for the likes of Thundercats and Hunter x Hunter, I say keep the reboots coming and may the naysayers and critics forever lick my balls.

Although, in fairness, Full House was not the best idea for a reboot...and who the hell thought Rush Hour was?!

Friday, 1 April 2016

The Bright Side to Teletoon at Night

Teletoon's after dark lineup has been pretty dope since they cutdown Teletoon at Night's runtime (Mon-Thurs, 10pm-12) and started airing more superhero and comic book-inspired fare after dark. Sure, it's not as good as the Detour days, but that's why Corus Entertainment has been flexing their muscles with their version of Adult Swim, which shares channel space with the far more mature Cartoon Network. After all, as we've already established, Corus has no intention of making Teletoon anything more than a network for kids shows and tween fare.

You gotta see this from a business perspective, or at least a business-minded person who knows what the hell their doing most of the time. Ask yourself, in an age were people only subscribe to the channels they want to watch, what money can be made from having two channels airing the same shows? Ultimately, you're going to pick one or the other to save money. Realizing this and seeing the opportunity to experiment, play, and ultimately refresh two late-night blocks in need of a shakeup, is the most logical reason for some wise moves (and not so wise moves) by Corus in the past winter.

That being said, you'll be glad to hear that Corus has thankfully decided not to leave Teletoon at Night high and dry in favor of Adult Swim. For starters, TaN FINALLY ditched the random live-action movies. Between the likes of Action (thanks to Shaw Media), and youth stations like YTV, there is now ZERO reason for Teletoon to air unrelated live-action programming.

More good news: Archer; Teletoon at Night's flagship show and one of the few reasons for millennials to even bother sticking around, is back where it belongs. As is Bob's Burgers, which only aired for about THREE months before it was shunted off to Adult Swim; a dick move if I ever saw one. TaN even returned the favor done by Adult Swim by taking Axe Cop (at least until Archer returned) and freshman series Night Sweats. Not bad for a two hour block, but I guess it helps that Adult Swim proper (in the U.S) is more into live-action comedies than adult animation these days.

One last thing to bring up is Bento Box, the studio behind Bob's Burgers, who are developing some new shows for Teletoon at Night. The one thing EVERY cable channel needs in this age is original programming that, at the very least, brings in ratings. With Teletoon's french originals and Fugget About It airing on Adult Swim, Teletoon at Night will need some creative shows of its own if its going keep those eyeballs glued.

In the future, I don't see Teletoon at Night becoming a standalone brand like Adult Swim, but more of an adult equivalent to The Zone on YTV, and that's fine with me. As long as they stick to what they do best, and restrain themselves from playing fast-and-loose with their programming, I think the block will do just fine as is.

...Of course, I won't object to Teletoon at Night airing FLCL.