Category Archives: Television

Binge watching in 2015

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If this is the golden age of television, it also has to be the Golden Age of Time Commitments. It’s all very well and good to keep recommending these shows, but by gawd we’ll talking 13-hour chunks of my life, one after the another, binge or no. It’s like friends recommending one thick 19th century novel after another.

Anyway, here are the shows I watched and enjoyed (and finished) during 2015:

Last Man on Earth Season 1 and 2
Although it’s turning too dramatic in its second season, the first was a perfect portrait of venality by Will Forte. And Kristen Schaal makes every line delivery a study in comic timing.

Fargo Season 1
Like a jazz riff on the movie, along with melody lines from No Country, Blood Simple, and other Coen films. Yes, I’ve heard that Season 2 is even better.

Inside Amy Schumer Season 3
Vitally important comedy, more hits than misses

The Affair Season 2
Grew tired of this, as everybody seems miserable, no matter whose perspective we’re taking, yet slogged through! Give me a medal!

Peep Show Season 9
A fitting send-off to one of the originators of cringe comedy

Last Week Tonight and The Nightly Show
John Oliver and Larry Wilmore more than make up for losing John Stewart, Stephen Colbert and David Letterman. The former does better investigative reporting than most networks. The latter brings a much needed voice to race politics. Both will help me survive 2016 with my sanity.

Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe 2015
Six episodes (and a year-end special) is not enough Cunk and Shitpeas

True Detective Season 2
Not as much a shit-show as critics said, and Rachel McAdams was great

Girls Season 4
Nearing the end of its run, I should think, with all the fun slowly draining out of it

Better Call Saul Season 1
A different beast from its father, but a very American story of hustling and capitalism. Mike’s surveillance scene scored to THIS TRACK was pure visual storytelling.

Mad Men Season 7
Creepy Greg: Died in Vietnam. Enlightenment can sell Coke/Coke is enlightenment

The Jinx
Proves that you have to make a fiction film and then a million dollar documentary to catch a rich murderer. (Compare to Steve Avery.)

Doctor Who Season 09
Had some crackin’ good episodes and Capaldi was always a joy to watch. I watch it for the laughs.

Master of None Season 01
Like Amy Schumer, a dispatch from the trenches of modern, socially-networked life

Jessica Jones Season 01
One of the best subjective representations of surviving rape and abuse, including the never-ending paranoia, but cleverly wrapped in superheroism.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 01
Ran out of steam by the end, but those first five episodes were absolutely charming and that THEME TUNE!!! And not to forget THIS.

We also watched loads of food/cooking shows
Top Chef
Master Chef
Iron Chef
The Layover
The Great British Bake Off
(the zen garden antidote to Ramsey’s trials by fire)
…however, none of these shows teach you a damn thing about cooking apart from avoiding clocks and shouty people

And I gave up or forgot about these shows:
The Mindy Project – got too dramatic and lost its edge
Scream Queens – disappeared up its own reference and I stopped caring
The Grinder – Rob Lowe has great comic timing, but show couldn’t make up its mind on tone
Difficult People – Stopped caring after two eps
Wayward Pines – Never found out if Matt Dillon was Number 6 or if he escaped The Village
Aquarius – Does this really need to be more than one season?
Bojack Horseman Season 2 – Nothing wrong with it, just forgot to keep watching it
Daredevil Season 1 – Just lost interest, whatevs

New Year’s Resolution: watch more docs and more “movies”, you know those things that only take 2 hours.

Dante Di Loreto, producer of TV’s “Glee” and also “American Horror Story,” speaks at Channel City Club

Dante Di Loreto, left, is interviewed by John Palminteri at the Channel City Club luncheon on Monday at the Fess Parker Doubletree. NIK BLASKOVICH / NEWS-PRESS
Dante Di Loreto, left, is interviewed by John Palminteri at the Channel City Club luncheon on Monday at the Fess Parker Doubletree.
NIK BLASKOVICH / NEWS-PRESS

“A producer is someone who brings people together in an opportunity to create something,” said Dante Di Loreto, who has hit television gold not once but twice in the last decade, and with two completely different genres. “Glee” is an uplifting musical comedy-drama about “the best high school you wish you had gone to” as Mr. Di Loreto said, and “American Horror Story” – in the words of one audience member at yesterday’s luncheon – “is the scariest thing I have seen on TV.”

“I use the analogy of a ship at sea,” he continued. “The director thinks of himself as the person behind the wheel steering the ship. The actor sees himself as the bow cutting through the waves. And the producer is the guy who built the boat, put it out on the water, and hopes it comes back in one piece.”

Continue reading Dante Di Loreto, producer of TV’s “Glee” and also “American Horror Story,” speaks at Channel City Club

Unity Shoppe Telethon features surprises

Unity Shoppe Executive Director Tom Reed, left, speaks with Jeff and Susan Bridges. KENNETH SONG/NEWS-PRESS
Unity Shoppe Executive Director Tom Reed, left, speaks with Jeff and Susan Bridges.
KENNETH SONG/NEWS-PRESS

The 28th annual Unity Shoppe Telethon got some surprise help this year, in keeping with its slogan “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”

Still hosted by KEYT, the four-hour event tries to keep to its tried-and-true plan of musical guests, interviews and tours of the large facility that provides low-income families with a chance to shop for the goods they need, not rely on random handouts and gifts.

Continue reading Unity Shoppe Telethon features surprises

Raise Your Glass – ‘Cheers’ writer Cheri Steinkelner helps celebrate the sitcom’s 30th anniversary

Cheri Steinkelner wrote for the television show "Cheers" for several seasons. Courtesy photo
Cheri Steinkelner wrote for the television show “Cheers” for several seasons.
Courtesy photo

Sometimes you wanna go to a 30th anniversary show where everybody knows your name. And on Saturday, Cheri Steinkelner will do that when she chats with brothers Glen and Les Charles and James Burrows, the creators of “Cheers,” the classic TV sitcom set in a Boston bar. Ms. Steinkelner, along with her husband Bill, wrote for the show from season four until its penultimate tenth season. She even became one of the executive producers.

The actual “Cheers” anniversary took place in September of last year, celebrating the broadcast of its first episode, but the celebrations continue in this Pollock Theater exclusive chat, which also includes a visit from actor George Wendt, who played bar regular Norm.

Continue reading Raise Your Glass – ‘Cheers’ writer Cheri Steinkelner helps celebrate the sitcom’s 30th anniversary

The Doctor Is In: Dr. Drew cuts to the chase in a fast-paced lecture

Dr. Drew Pinsky, the keynote speaker for last weekend's New Noise Music Conference, spoke at length on biology and addiction and more Thursday night at the Arlington Theatre. MATT WIER PHOTO
Dr. Drew Pinsky, the keynote speaker for last weekend’s New Noise Music Conference, spoke at length on biology and addiction and more Thursday night at the Arlington Theatre.
MATT WIER PHOTO

Dr. Drew Pinsky is half clinical psychologist and half mentalist. With a skill honed by years and years of listening to the same unique problems over and over again, he is able to dish out advice to those who don’t even think they need it. It was a disconcerting talent that he employed several times Thursday night at the Arlington.

Pinsky came to town as part of New Noise Santa Barbara event, and the doctor aimed to provide insight into the celebrity culture that the music business no doubt touches. Yet he also came as guest of several support, rehab, and counseling groups in Santa Barbara. His meat and potatoes is addiction, which he defines as a disease in the same league as cancer and diabetes. To Pinsky, addiction — alcohol, meth, marijuana, is the most destructive disorder of our times.

Continue reading The Doctor Is In: Dr. Drew cuts to the chase in a fast-paced lecture