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.

http://assets.bellmedia.ca.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2014/02/MUCH_Schedule_Fall_2014.pdf

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.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Fall Update [August 2014]

"We're superheroes...."
"We can save the world together..."

...Huh? Oh, sorry. It's been a while since I did an update, so here you go. I'm not currently working on anything. But, I will eventually get around to the Abridged Knights of Brawl: Bjohn's Quest and Reycralibur, episode 12. You can expect to see Bjohn's Quest first.

If you saw my little test video back in July, you might have guessed that I was trying go get back to doing Brawl machinima. You'd be right, but there's a catch. I'm planning two new series; both of which are adaptations and re-imaginings of infamous web serials. I'll give you a hint, I've already adapted one of them as an Abridged Parody and the other one is a certain web comic you might have heard about in the past.

However, there's a catch. First off, with the lack of interest I have in Reycralibur, I fear that I might show the same "work ethic" when it comes to these new shows. So, for the sake of productivity, I'm going to finish the final five episodes of Reycralibur first. Secondly since, by some miracle, I haven't sold off my GameCube controllers, I'm gonna wait until the new GameCube adapter, included with Super Smash Bros for Wii U, comes out before I start filming. Saves me the trouble of buying those god awful Wiimotes and Nunchucks.

Finally, since I will be using my PVR for Brawl machinima, I need to figure out the proper settings that I should use for capturing, converting, and rendering. The only thing more frustrating then filming the test video was editing the test video. The end product was also unsatisfactory; I noticed some chopped frames. As you can see, there's A LOT of work to be done before I can even begin production.

So, in the meantime, I'm going to continue work on the projects I have now. ...At least I will, when I feel like it.

..."Life is what we make it..."

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Canadian Television is Boring

When Spike claims to have television's most intriguing content, they aren't kidding! In fact, a lot of my favorite networks are all owned by Viacom. Their Canadian counterparts, original or imported, are no substitute from the hours I spend watching their networks. Action, despite its name, doesn't get as much action as Spike does. MuchVibe, an all urban music video spinoff isn't enough of a distraction from BET's Canadian feed - which is one-third music videos from around 2007! Hell, MTV is a lot less appealing then Much but, as you all know by now, I'd rather watch MTV2.

Shall I go on? Much like MTV, CMT has become a lifestyle network, but one that never forgets it's southern roots. CMT Canada is in name only and, aside from actually supporting country music, serves of another example of how Corus' ruined niche television. Comedy Gold and Dejaview lack the iconic shows that make up TV Land's lineup. Do I even need to compare Comedy Central to the Comedy Network nowadays? Thanks to years of relying on Central's programming and Much's new comedy gimmick, Network is now the new BiteTV. In fact, BiteTV arguably has a better line up than Comedy Network, and it's owned the same company that owns a music network that actually focuses on music.

Let's take it a step further. Adult Swim Canada and Teletoon at Night severely lack the diversity the O.G Adult Swim has. G4 in Canada might have finally returned to programming related to technology but it's a snoozefest compared to the slate on it's american counterpart. Yes, the same network that has all but been abandoned by Comcast, is still more interesting to watch than it's northern spinoff despite the fact that it is now a wasteland. Go figure.

See the problem is that, with the exception of MuchVibe, Canadian networks play it safe, and stick to what makes them money. American networks on the other hand, are more willing to take risks with what they can and can't do. It's precisely that reason why FX and AMC networks have become so well regarded in recent years. The moral of the story is: if it ain't broke, then don't just fix it, MAKE IT BETTER!

...Or just don't do what Corus, Bell, and Comcast are doing.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Building a Website

http://speedy149.wordpress.com/

I thought about getting a new website for my blog, somewhere far away from the Google machine. But, ultimately I've decided to stick around here. I'm a minimalist kind of guy when it comes to design. I'll keep the Wordpress site open, just in case.