Browsing Tag

TV

Dun Dun!

Late last month, NBC announced it was reviving the original “Law & Order” as a prime-time series.

The news came a month after my feature examining the show’s legacy in shaping our understanding of the criminal justice system hit the stands. Surely the folks at NBC and Wolf Entertainment read it and decided they had no choice but to bring it back, right?

So, you’re welcome! Now, if I only can get NBC to bring “Ed” back.

Career Killers: “Summer in Paradise” by the Beach Boys

To borrow a pro wrestling term, Mike Love has long been one of the best heels in rock ‘n roll.

Widely hated by critics, fans, media, liberals and even fellow Beach Boys (actual headline from Vice.com: “Mike Love is Kind of an Asshole”), Love is so despised that it’s arguably more rock ‘n roll to defend him rather than pile on with his many detractors. Indeed, if anyone could have an entire arena full of people chant “asshole” at him a la Vince McMahon or Roman Reigns, it’s Mike Love. A relentless self-aggrandizing self-promoter, the only thing you can say about him is that he’s not dripping with phoniness or fake sincerity like Brother Love.

In fact, like the best heels, he believes he’s justified in behaving the way he does — especially in his eternal quest for the credit he feels he deserves for the band’s success. Brian Wilson may have been the creative genius behind the band, but Love will argue that he should get as much, if not more credit than the erratic Wilson for keeping the band going and co-writing some of their best known songs. Whether it’s suing Wilson for royalties in court many times; inflating his role in the band’s great moments and minimizing his role in the less successful ones (sometimes doing both on the same thing – like criticizing Pet Sounds or Smile when they seemed like they’d be failures and then taking credit for both when they became acclaimed); or going Vince McMahon and firing Wilson and Al Jardine from the band in 2012 after what was otherwise a successful reunion tour, Love gets very little of his namesake emotion from critics, commentators and even fans of the Beach Boys. Heck, he once used the staid and formal atmosphere of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony to deliver a WWE-style promo talking trash about a bunch of bands and musicians that, until then, probably had nothing but respect for his band and everything it has accomplished.

And much like how WWE treats certain non-PG segments from the past like they never happened, that’s how the band views the Love-led 1992 album Summer in Paradise. I guess that’s understandable, considering Summer in Paradise ended the band as a creative force and turned it into a full-time touring/oldies act.

(more…)

Jack Bauer’s Greatest Hits (UPDATED)

Originally published in 2010 prior to the end of 24‘s original broadcast run. Updated to include 2014’s 24: Live Another Day, as well as some additional content.

“Nice work, Jack. Have you noticed that there’s always a body count wherever you go?” — George Mason

“He said you were a born killer. Is that true?” — Jonathan Wallace

During his time on 24, Jack Bauer killed a lot of people. Main characters. Supporting characters. Featured stars. Unnamed Extras. You name it, Jack has probably killed it. As such, it was very difficult to narrow down the list of Jack’s greatest moments. And let’s face it. He also had plenty of badass moments where he didn’t kill anyone – instead relying on his wit, charm, resourcefulness, and powers of persuasion.

So, in honor of one of my favorite shows, I give you “Jack Bauer’s Greatest Hits” (A/K/A “The Moments that Made Amnesty International Cringe”).

(more…)

Career Killers: “Switch” by INXS

Plenty of bands choose to soldier on after the death of an iconic, seemingly-irreplaceable lead singer.

Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen went with established singers, touring and recording with Paul Rodgers of Bad Company fame before moving onto “American Idol” alum Adam Lambert. AC/DC took the opposite approach, hiring then-unknown Brian Johnson to replace Bon Scott. The Eagles did a bit of both, replacing Glenn Frey with country superstar Vince Gill, as well as novice musician and Frey’s own son, Deacon. Bands such as Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Sublime, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and even the Grateful Dead have carried on in some form, with mixed results.

Other bands chose not to try and replace the irreplaceable. Nirvana broke up after Kurt Cobain died by suicide – as did Mother Love Bone following Andy Wood’s fatal heroin overdose (although two members of the band ended up forming Pearl Jam). The surviving members of The Doors continued as a trio after Jim Morrison’s death, releasing two uneven albums on their own before calling it a day. On the other hand, Chicago decided not to break up after Terry Kath’s death and became an adult-contemporary powerhouse under Peter Cetera in the 1980s. And perhaps the most famous example is New Order, which formed out of the ashes of Joy Division after frontman Ian Curtis’s death, and achieved more fame and success than its predecessor.

Then there are some bands that give it a go with new singers, only to flop badly, ruin their legacy and confirm to everyone that they should have just let their band die with their late vocalist.

INXS was one such band.

(more…)

Nixon on Mt. Rushmore?

I enjoyed watching the Watchmen pilot on HBO last week. This little Easter egg caught my attention. Apparently, in the Watchmen universe, Watergate never happened and Nixon won the Vietnam War. As such, he was so beloved and successful that they repealed the 22nd Amendment so he could run for three more terms and then added his face to Mt. Rushmore during the 20-something year tenure of his successor: Robert Redford. No word on whether or not Nixon still served as public partner for a major Wall Street law firm in the Watchmen universe.

Fun fact: The firm that eventually became Nixon Mudge once had Charles Rushmore as a name partner – a man whose claim to fame was that he had been the namesake for the famous monument.

Review: “Two and a Half Men” Series Finale

Let’s get this out of the way. “Two and a Half Men” is a horrible show. It’s a horrible, no-good, very bad, I’d-rather-watch-milk-spoil-then-drink-it kind of show. The writing is lazy, the jokes are obvious and none of the characters are particularly appealing. The fact that it lasted 12 seasons (and spent many of those seasons as the top-rated comedy in the United States) is a testament to the triumph of mediocrity and how appealing to the lowest common denominator is not only a #winning strategy but a highly lucrative one. By all accounts, the show is a vertiable cash-cow and does well in syndication, which means we’ll never be able to escape it.

That being said, the “Two and a Half Men” finale was a fascinating meta-episode that doubled as a prolonged “f-you” from series creator Chuck Lorre to his many, many detractors. CBS’s most valuable asset poked fun at all the criticism the show has taken over the years and responded with a simple shrug of the shoulders while using a proverbial hundred dollar bill to light one of his victory cigars.

(more…)

“24: Live Another Day” Trailer Review

At a time when the use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques is back in the news, it’s fitting that the crown prince of torture, Jack Bauer, returns to the airwaves in May for the first time since 2010. Yesterday, FOX released an extended trailer for Season 9 (ORIGINAL WAS REMOVED- I’VE LINKED TO A FAN-EDIT THAT IS SIMILAR)- which will feature 12 episodes that jump around in time instead of the usual 24 episodes occurring in real time. If that cuts down on filler plots like Terri’s amnesia or Kim’s cougar problem, then I’m all for it.

When we last left our hero, he had finally gotten with the extremely cute and mentally unbalanced Agent Renee, only to lose her to a Russian sniper. So, he did what anyone would do. He waged a one-man guerrilla war against the United States and Russia by taking out several Russian diplomats while threatening to kill a former President of the United States. Of course, he escapes and ultimately ends up spending the next few years on the lam, reinventing himself as a reporter with an autistic son.

(more…)

Celebrity Death Pools Make a Killing

Original article at Columbia News Service (archived here).

The reviews are coming in:

Looks like someone Dugg it.

Stiffs.com seemed pleased with my work. And I now write for Columbian Ewes Service, apparently. I guess. After all, Columbian Ewes need representation, too.

Elizabeth Taylor hasn’t been this popular since “Cleopatra.” The Rev. Billy Graham, who was recently ranked the most influential preacher in the world, has another No. 1 ranking – one that he’d rather not have. And Fidel Castro, after many near misses in the past, might finally accomplish this year what many have long hoped for him.

Strange as it sounds, people are rooting for them to die this year.

(more…)