January 4, 2011

Another reason to despair that I’d missed because I was too concerned with the sinister machinations of the lame duck Congress

FX has canceled “Terriers,” easily the best TV show of 2010.

In fact, “Terriers” joins (what to me is) the celebrated pantheon of great shows killed before their time — even as, eg., “Two and a Half Men” continues to pump out scenarios in which Charlie never really grows up and Ducky’s various neuroses are pricked for “comic” effect; “How I Met Your Mother” goes into yet another season-long analepsis of banal pre-marital intrigue; and on and on.

Some other great shows that should never have been canceled but were, because the American viewing audience is, by and large, sophomoric and lazy, and because we are nearing a kind of cultural bankruptcy as a society:

1. “Freaks and Geeks”
2. “Firefly”

Okay. So maybe I’m overstating things a bit.

Still. Add your own choices in the comments. Me, I’m too depressed just now to think clearly.


Ah. That’s the stuff.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:13am

Comments (183)

  1. anything involving Mr. Whedon

  2. damn. Didn’t hear about this.

  3. Better Off Ted was a gem that deserved a lot more respect.

  4. Arrested Development, Running Wilde and Mr. Show.

  5. I take great pride in the fact that I have never seen even a tiny bit of Two and a half men. My entire knowledge of the show – that it’s even on – has been gleaned from commercials.

    Personally, I’ve given up on TV. Firefly broke my heart. I’ll never trust tv executives ever again.

  6. Yeah, I really liked Terriers and Better Off Ted as well.

    In related news, if you like talent contests with dancing and singing, this is truly a golden age.

  7. I only see CBS when I fly American

  8. Portia was funny I didn’t know she was so funny she’s very funny

  9. Never saw it. Not surprising as I don’t really watch much TV outside of sports, news, and movies. My lovely wife does watch some HGTV stuff occasionally.

    I am sorry to hear when original and un-hackneyed programming bites the dust though; there is a serious derth of good writers in Hollywood these days [take the hint JeffG-go west young man :) ].

    Like yourself, I’m truly tired of being told how clever and funny two-and-one-half-men is; I saw one episode on a flight to Italy a couple of years ago and vowed to never waste synapse firings on it again…

  10. I think the not-Charlie Sheen character doesn’t look well like he has an illness or something

  11. They could fix How I Met Your Mother. Drop the central premise and any forays into dramedy. When they stick with goofy comedy (Robin/Canada, slap bets, Barney, etc) it’s a strong show.

  12. I haven’t really missed a TV series since Six Feet Under ended. I can happily say that I’ve never seen a single episode of Two and a Half Men nor How I Met Your Mother.

    Terriers was a really good show, and I figured it would get a second season, but for my money, Justified was the best new show in 2010. FX has been doing some high quality programming. All of which is a Murdochian mind control plot, no doubt.

  13. Of course, the lack of good tv is going to play really well into my “read more” 2011 resolution.

    I’m on book #2 already.

    Not counting the book I read between Christmas and New Year.

    I hope to read all those books that have been piling up. Clear the slate so I can start making new piles.

  14. I liked Justified, but it didn’t come close to “Terriers,” which got stronger and stronger as the season went on. IMO, at least.

    FX didn’t push the show, and the confusing title (which I like, by the way) didn’t help.

    A real shame. It was the first legit heir-apparent to, say, “The Rockford Files” in decades.

  15. There is still a lot of good teevee, IMO. I await the return of Justified and The Glades and Burn Notice, and NCIS is a mainstay. Television is really better than ever, and shucky-darn if it isn’t better because of competition. How many truly good shows do you remember from when there were three stations to choose from? Sure, there are some gems, but there was a lot of crap too.

    I also like the fact that niche shows are possible, such as Sanctuary and Warehouse 13 and Eureka, which I enjoy despite their flaws. Without the plethora of channels, they would never be made because they would never find an audience large enough to support a network in the “big three” system I grew up with.

  16. I never saw Better Off Ted. Will check it out.

    Starting Dollhouse now. I suspect that could be a show I’ll add to my list. Canceling Eliza Dushku for any reason seems obscene to me.

  17. Perhaps I don’t have a discerning palate when it comes to teevee.

  18. NBC canceled Life, not to say the show was a peach, but S. Shahi filled the bill as well as any Dushku.

  19. Firefly

    Strange Luck

    Dollhouse was trés intriguing but also quite disturbing, given the premise. I want to look like Dichen Lachman when I grow up.

  20. You folks are true polymaths; able to keep durrent in pop-culture as well as more esoteric subjects. A facet I’ve always been lacking…

    I used to be “with-it”, but now I’m not even really sure what “it” is! :)

  21. And type as well…


  22. Okay. So maybe I’m overstating things a bit.

    Not gonna hear me rebutting.

    Many of the shows I really like were cancelled after only a season. But I sometimes wonder about the common denominator.

    They’re good sometimes in half because they ended on a high note and left you wanting more. Most programs, if there’s cash to be made, will be rode into the ground before abandoned.

    It seems to me most American television shows have nothing more than a (potentially) interesting premise or situation, but no plot, story or narrative. They make that up as they go. Usually poorly, hackneyed, half-assed or contradictory – that’s when they even try to do that, usually they simply take an interesting situation and then show people farting around in it with nothing really meaningful happening.

    If it works and people like it, well then they certainly won’t allow any changes made to it when it’s not broken, so they continue dragging out the premise long past where they’ve substantially developed the characters, overdeveloped the characters, de-developed the characters and contradictorily re-developed the characters, and run out of amusing things to do in that same damn situation that they haven’t done 15 times. As ratings drop they do begin finally making changes, but nothing coherant, all things that reak of a desperation to whore for ratings, or to ‘refreshen’ the situation with a new amusing personality to watch farting around in the perpetual premise. By then everyone stops watching, so they do a reuninon epside highlighting likable guest characters from the past and turn off the lights.

    This isn’t always so, and there are some good stories being told on TV (with a beginning part, a middle part, and an end part and everything, and meaningful progress made inbetween). But most of it I think follows the trend of having nothing more than an interesting setting and a few likable characters, and then bilking it for all the cash you can, never delivering on the promise of a fuckin narrative or suspense or meaningful conflict or a point or anything ever actually changing or happening week after week.

    I LOVE Firefly, love it, want more! But I do wonder, as epic awesome as the one sole season and movie was, if Wheedon had gotten 8 seasons out he wouldn’t have ended up with River the Reaver Slayer space soap opera and totally debased the story he set out to tell, and wore out the character’s and the setting’s welcome. For those who loved it, it may be for the best it was killed early before it’s time. When things die and people say ‘it was time’, it usually means the fuckin things been soiling the bed for 2 years and stressing everyone out, they didn’t want it around any more and they’re relieved it’s finally dead.

    Most of the shows that never got cancelled that I really liked, had writers that were like “fuck you and you 5th season cashapalooza, the story ends HERE dammit!” and in the business of TV that’s rare. And all along the way, they were moving to an irreversable end with meaningful closure and finality to the story, which limits options, and changing the story in ways that serve a purpose but aren’t focus-group tested to have even broader appeal and might offend some people or lose some viewers. None of which is great for business.

  23. The cancellations of this and this were the two greatest crimes against my childhood. Worse even than the cancellation of Battlestar Galactica.

  24. Well, I think if FX were to bring back Terriers for a new season and give Hank, say, a cousin Oliver to care for, thus complicating matters for him even more (while adding that kid candor that is so endearing!), the show would ROCK!

  25. Just started watching Burn Notice (1st 3 epidodes so far) since buying the first three seasons DVDs before Christmas on a Amazon sale. We like it a lot. To me it has echos of Rockford.

    On Dollhouse, it uses many episodes to get setup. Many twists before the end.

    I also liked the Terminator TV series which went two seasons.

    Ordered a number of other DVDs at the same tome as Burn Notice. One was the complete set of a mid seventies series “Ellery Queen” which was nice though I liked Nero Wolfe with son Tim Hutton better than his Dad’s mystery series.

  26. Burn Notice is a great show. It was my second favorite show on TV behind Terriers.

  27. FX didn’t push the show, and the confusing title (which I like, by the way) didn’t help.

    That’s exactly what the problem was, I think. It was a good series, but not so different from ample shows which find an audience on cable that it could really be said to have been “too smart” or any of the other things which typically lead to the quick demise of quality shows.

  28. Entropy, there’s an awfully eerie resemblance in that account to what’s been happening to our politics. Well done.

  29. I remember Ellery Queen. It had a bit in it where you were supposed to guess the killer when they showed you the clues.

  30. I have a (surely unoriginal) theory about all this.

    Thesis: Good shows employ a long story arc. They might contain self-contained episodic elements but the true story development occurs over the entire season/s with each week’s premise being nothing but a MacGuffin.

    Thesis 2: Shows aren’t always watched in such a manner that a long story arc can be appreciated or even understood.

    Most often when I like a show there is always a person or two I speak with who say that they couldn’t understand it. They inevitably turn out to have tried watching one episode in the middle of the season. It made about as much sense as opening up a good novel in the second act.

    If networks would allow true on demand viewing or DVD sales would immediately start after a season ends, perhaps this would change.

    And, thinking of this, I remember another good canceled show. Rubicon on AMC.

  31. I’m with Ernst – Tales of the Gold Monkey was great adventure TV. Made me want a seaplane so bad. British telly pretty much sucks these days, it’s all Idol/Talent/Dancing With Arses/reality dreck. And I have to pay the Beeb £145 a year even if I only watch FX or sports and never tune in to Minitrue propaganda.

    We never even got Terriers.

  32. Jeff,

    Happy new years!

    I, too, was sad to hear about Terriers. Great show. Lots of stuff going on but not enough to be totally lost if you came in during the middle.

    Between that, Lost, and 24 wrapping up, I may not have much of ANYTHING to watch on TV. Although Rescue Me and Sons of Anarchy are both pretty good.

    The US version of Top Gear is pretty much crap.

    Maybe I’ll start my Blockbuster online subscription with Breaking Bad. Anyone seen that one?

  33. Breaking Bad is a really great show, afscotch!

  34. Per Entropy, Farscape and Babylon 5 were both meant to be 5 years and out. B5 made it, barely, and Farscape had to take the miniseries route and compress the entire fifth season into 4 hours. Firefly probably would have gone about 4 years or so with support from the network, which is just long enough for syndication, but I can’t see it going much further. Serenity was basically the season 2 story arc, I think, though for all I know it was the end of series arc.

    Anyway, I watch too many shows I guess, so listening to me might be a waste of time.

  35. Synthesis: The long story arc is back story which becomes front story in three, maybe four episodes a season.

  36. I thought Breaking Bad was great for the first two seasons, but I sort of lost interest in season 3.

  37. My theory is the better shows are done by a single creative force in charge, usually a writer, committees make bad stories. That said when shows last too long the well of creation usually runs dry.

  38. Dammit. We are doomed.

  39. Dude! Tales of the gold monkey? That was on when I was finishing undergrad. Made me want to be stationed in the Pacific. But, as with much in life, I ended up on the other side of the world.

    And that was from your childhood Ernst? Man, I’m only a scosh past the big five-oh, and I feel like the grandpa of this group…

  40. Very true, Geoff. But it isn’t just that the well runs dry, but also that so many inferiors imitate anything approaching a novel style that it ceases to be interesting even in the original.

  41. Well gramps, I’m a scosh shy of the big four-oh and I was still in grade school when you were finishing your undergrad.

  42. Babylon 5 was and is the best sci-fi around. I wish JMS had been able to get one of the follow-ons to work.

    NCIS is one of my mainstays, and NCIS L.A. has proven to be a reasonably good spin-off.

    My wife likes Burn Notice, and used to be a major fan of StarGate (SG1 and Atlantis).

  43. Lots of great ones mentioned. To which I’d add “Jericho” and “Action”.

  44. Without the cable networks, television would be unwatchable.

  45. Jericho jumped the shark when it turned out (as it predictably would) the ever-present Enemy Within nuked the U.S. I stopped watching at that point.

  46. I find kind of an irony in it… my nickname is entropy.

    It’s eerie the way sociology sometimes charts to … um, thermodynamics. Obviously my actions are limited by what physics makes possible, but I don’t like the implication that my psyche is some deterministic clockwork with the future all graphed out and equated. Entropy increases, all noteworthy things start off distinct and devolve into bland nothingness, at which point they cease to be. It makes me want to devote time into finally reading and deciphering Karl Jung and this business about seeking collective unbeing. Corporate mission statements fall by the wayside, ‘diversification’ takes over, everyone wants to do everything and do it mediocre.

    The niche channel that started as a showcase for MUSIC VIDEOS, MTV, becomes a reality TV channel for tweens. Sci-Fi (now syphy) shows wrestling, because it has higher viewship than the stuff the channel was made for. The official reason for the change is plainly and simply, “Sci-Fi” is too limiting because people will think they only show science fiction! They want to build a ‘global lifestyle brand’ meaning they want identity-seeking morons to try to fill the void in their life by selling them t-shirts and coffee mugs and i-phone apps. Whatever the hell you may be, they want you to know that what SyFy is, is you. They want to be your literally meaningless cultural brand tag.

    They figgure if they literally stand for nothing, they can stand for everyone, as no one can find ‘nothing’ very objectionable to be worth fighting off their aggressive marketing over resisting.

    Cartoon Network shows live action children’s shows and live-action adult comedies and comic-movies like Spiderman. The History Channel is showing truckers on ice roads and lumber jacks and paranormal investigation shows. Channels like AMC and companies like KFC consistently want to shorten their names, get rid of the words and use alphabet soup, because unlike random letters words have meaning and meaning is eventually found limiting. In politics, in media, in corporate culture, in art, in entertainment, substance is rejected as too narrow.

    We had 3 ‘general interest’ channels, then we got 400 niche channels, and now all 400 of them are turning into 400 competing ‘general interests’ channels that all show the same damn thing, which usually amounts to nothing interesting. You’d think the market was saturated. But they hit plateaus with their niche – if they do it well even – and the ‘growth growth growth’ economic culture pushes them to find ‘broader markets’. Nothing can be all things everyone, the more broadly you appeal, the more mildly you appeal. The only thing that can be and be for everyone, is bland. You can be bland and inoffensive to all people all the time, and then you get mega-ratings for being the least bad concensus entertainment option.

    But if you show anything that some people might love, other people are going to hate it, and you can’t be all things to all people, just a whole lot to a tiny few. More money (and more votes) in being a whole little for an apathetic and lazy teeming multitude.

    Suffice it to say that when Jeff says the way we think about language effects all sorts of things, I’m not sure if that’s all there is to it, and correlation is not causation, but the man is on to some real phenomenon here. A common theme I see, in the way you can play games with language or in the way politicians play games or in the way they mass-produce consumer ‘art’, is all things are fundementally lacking any evidence of even a basic understanding of the concept of integrity.

    It is ‘To be, or not to be’.

    Too many miserable and fearful people actively court unbeing to escape the horror of perchance being something unworthy of being.

    That’s the ‘dumbing down’ effect of democracy some anti-democrats have classically warned of. Mildly tolerable to millions, in a democracy, always beats out beloved to a few, and so eventually everything is ‘mildly tolerable’ mush. The bane of democracy may be it’s increasing entropy charted over time. The shit just melts.

    But in the end, the universe will probably die a cold death in darkness, in a trillion years it will expand and ‘grow’ into condensated nothing where the entropy is infinite and life is impossible. So maybe it’s just the way things are.

    Also… ad execs are kind of evil. “Global lifestyle brand”? The kind of marketing gurus that write the mind-blowing pap that justified the Sci-Fi->SyFy change are working for the forces of darkness and inhumanity, if I may be slightly hyperbolic.

  47. Farscape and Babylon 5 were both meant to be 5 years and out.

    Perhaps not coincidentally I liked both of them very much. I did not know that about Farscape.

  48. I guess I should backpedal on Farscape in that they meant to end it in 5 seasons after the first two, or something like that. In the beginning I’m not sure if they knew it would go anywhere, since it was pretty out there.

  49. The miniseries was a fantastic ending. It’s been a long time, but didn’t they kill off the guy with the forehead tentacles? And Serenity killed Wash and the preacher.

    I’m not one of those people who hates happy endings, but I need sad endings too in order to appreciate them. If it’s a foregone conclusion that it ends in happily ever after, there’s no real conflict or suspense left. Sometimes people gotta die to make you appreciate when they don’t.

    I actually LOVED the ending to Cowboy Bebop anime, which is hated by a lot. I thought it fit the series perfectly. And even if it wasn’t happy-ever-after, it had a TON of finality to it that really ‘concluded’ things (despite the fact that it was still a ginormous cash-cow the writer said no-mas, not ever). And it was stylish as all hell and fit with the series and themes and message.

  50. I still love Sons of Anarchy, even though all of the main characters are a bunch of drug- and gun-dealing bikers, their assorted sluts, pornstars and corrupt cops.

    And Peggy Bundy. I mean, what’s not to like? Somehow, the writers have me wanting this particular gang of thugs to prevail over the various guest gangs of thugs. Charley

    I also like The Event, which is kind of like Lost in that who the hell knows what the real story is? I like stuff like that. Jason Ritter was also in Joan of Arcadia, which I also liked, even though I’m not into speculative religion.

    Also, I am occasionally given to watching an entire season of Damages over the space of a couple of days. Ditto Dexter. I can’t hardly watch those on a week-to-week basis; best to let the recorder store them up and then go on a bender.

  51. Also… ad execs are kind of evil. “Global lifestyle brand”? The kind of marketing gurus that write the mind-blowing pap that justified the Sci-Fi->SyFy change are working for the forces of darkness and inhumanity, if I may be slightly hyperbolic.

    There’s nothing wrong with that if they at least maintain some sort of consistency. Adapt, or die. Though nothing will explain to me why ESPN airs non-sports like poker (and women’s basketball).

  52. LOST was a great show IMO, shameless, utterly shameless, but fun as hell. At least up until the (was it the 3rd when they came back?) season, then it went downhill but it was still watchable. The ending I say sucked massive balls and was teh stupid.

    There’s a show that CLAIMED to have the story all finished and the ending set in stone after a certain length, and they had some elements of that, but I don’t entirely believe them. I think they got confused halfway through and started changing shit and it got changed poorly and lost some coherancy.

    The writers strike may have been a source of some issues with how they originally planned it and it didn’t do them any good.

  53. There’s nothing wrong with that if they at least maintain some sort of consistency.

    Personally I find something very wrong with marketing ‘lifestyle’ brands. People should not be purchasing identities. People do that when they’re 14 and they’re going through ‘phases’ of the self-discovery process. They are suppose to grow out of it with experience. We should not encourage it.

    I’m a free market kind of guy but I see something horrifically commercialist in that dodgy business. Not that I want to see it banned or regulated or anything stupid, I just hate it.

    The dumbfucks are trying to sell me a sense of cultural belonging, group-defined identity and kinship in t-shirt format. The ‘SyFy lifestyle’ indentity branding and ‘indentity politics’ are not from two seperate pods, it’s individual identity being defined by and originating from a collective group identity. And the group tries to wield it’s numbers to push individual targets to comformity and conversion, rather than encouraging them to define themselves seperately, they’re like damn borg.

    I’m not really being hyperbolic I actually think they may be evil, as I would indentify what I consider to be evil.

    Not that I think they should be shot or anything, but I think they are doing bad things.

  54. What you’re missing is that marketing is inherently reactive. These distinctions exist among people whether or not businesses take advantage of them for commercial purposes.

  55. Entropy,

    Have you seen any of NBC’s programming? They’re obnoxious trying to influence everything people see on the screen. There was an episode of Parenthood in which the main character comes in from his car carrying his non-plastic grocery bag. While his wife is talking to him, he removes free-trade coffee and CFL’s. It has nothing to do with his character or their family; it’s NBC trying to program its viewers.

    Seriously f’ing annoying…

  56. And, Abe, thanks for the heads up on Breaking Bad.

  57. Second on Breaking Bad. I’m bummed that the new season isn’t on until summer.

  58. Yes, it is inherent. But that does not justify being proactive about it. “taking advantage” of this fact means intent to abuse it. Which is not to say that, again, “there oughtta be a law!” but that it is to be discouraged as it is bad and not healthy for anyone involved, and potentially not healthy for those not involved.

    That’s why ad-guys have gone so nuts about the kids, and they’re such a powerful market force. Because the dumbass children who aren’t fully developed will try to latch onto an external sense of self worth and swallow hook line and sinker, guard your brand-indentity like a wartribe and be as loyal to it as they are themselves, because they see themselves in it and part of it.

    Then you end up with fanboys, fanatics, who will attempt to crush any dissent that AMD does not make the best computer processor. Because they’ve got a hole in their own self worth and sense of being that they’ve plugged up with AMD marketing material. AMD makes the best, I like the best, therefor because I like AMD and AMD is best, this proves I like the best and have good taste and am a great person because of my association with the best. In practice it becomes something like a tribal identity.

    Such fanaticism is ‘epistemically closed’ so to speak, since your self-worth is on the line the cognitive dissonance is so great that it’s addictive. And not conductive to open-mindedness, tolerance and dissent. If that sort of neurotic behavior gains any measure of influence or power, it’s always sooner or later that the purges start.

    Because it’s defined by concensus. I won’t write another 400 page book on my thoughts about ontological differences in the way people view information, but it truly DOES NOT MATTER AT ALL to this system whether AMD actually has the best processor. Functionally what matters to maintain this structure is that everyone agrees AMD has the best processor. Whether or not they do. It can be dog crap on a stick – it is of no consequence. This psychological mechanism works so long as everyone believes AMD is best.

    If you understand that AMD is best, when I tell you I buy AMD, you will understand that I am a man of discerning tastes who likes the best, and we are of a kind.

    If you think intel is better, well… fuck. That blew up. Now you think I have poor taste and we are not of a kind and you are the other.

    Apply the same sort of thinking anywhere and it produces bad things. It does not matter whether or not we ACTUALLY help any goddamn poor people, what matters is that we agree we are both very compassionate, and so we donate to LiveAid or whatever. We both walk away secure in our compassion, because the other person believes it and reinforces it for us. And if you do not donate to liveaid? Well then you are not compassionate! You’re a horrible evil selfish person and you’re the reason why the world sucks.

    To get hung up on details like whether or not LiveAid caused the famine to last even longer and actually killed poor people is truly to MISS the goddamn point, which is why it is so infuriating! The point is not to help poor people here. The damn point is to cooperate and engauge in a shared delusion of our own compassion (which is a much easier shortcut to the emotional satisfaction of being compassionate then actually helping people out all day). What matters is you SHUT THE FUCK UP and stop pointing it out because you’re ruining it.

  59. Have you seen any of NBC’s programming?

    No, I don’t really watch networks much. But I believe you – I’ve seen some of it’s child channels – SciFi and a billion others, they’re all HUGE on the ‘green week’ crap.

  60. Here’s the first episode of Breaking Bad if you want to get a sense of it. I know not everyone’s keen on watching TV or movies on their computer, but I do it on my laptop all the time. You can download the episode at that page or if you’re scared about pilfering copyrighted material you can just click the link in the upper left hand corner to watch it online.

  61. Same deal with Global Warming in some respects.

    You get hung up on details and they get pissed at you. What matters here is that we all agree we care about the environment and nature and we’re saving the planet.

    If everyone believes that, no one can say it isn’t true, then it is true. Truth is whatever you make of it. We simply will whatever we want to be true and believe whatever pleases us.

    If everyone believes in it. The obstruction here is your dissent. You’re ruining utopia.

    If you’re dissenting, you’re trying to ruin my fantasy. You’re very existence is a threat to my sense of well being and self worth, as if you’re successful and convert everyone away from me, you’ll expose the hole in my sense of esteem I patched over with popular delusion, and leave me all alone again with cognitive dissonance and existential angst.

    So when you say you honestly think the earth isn’t warming, I fucking hate you because you’re trying to make me hurt.

  62. And it is the same damn trick they play with language, as Jeff catalogues. It boils down to the essence of meaning, of truth, perception and of reality.

    Read the part of 1984 where O’Brien has Wilson strapped to the table and finally explains to him the nature of the State. It’s “si, se puede”. Because they can. If they all choose to believe in a delusion, then the delusion becomes reality to them and they can shape reality itself as they please with no limitations. What matters is that no one can be allowed to break the illusion and destroy their reality.

    Myself and I, I see it as a manifestation of a mental illness.

    As far as ad execs go, read Huxley’s essay “A Brave New World Revisited” for some interesting juxtaposition between advertising strategies and governing philosophies.

  63. Yes, they killed Kal Dargo off at the end of the Farscape miniseries.

  64. I was an AMD fan as long as they were better. Once they stopped being better, I went back to Intel. Simple.

  65. They never stopped being better, cranky. You just got hit on the head one too many times, or drank a bottle of Drane-O, or something like that.

    I remember when you used to be a name I could trust. Somebody who really knew what was going on. What happened to you, man?

  66. See? I told you so. Now we’ll be plagued by fanboys and a war will start and Squid will kill cranky with a trident.

    Under the desks, children, this shit escalates quickly.

  67. But for what it’s worth I’ll die with Cranky. AMD was better until they got cocky and jacked up their prices right before Intel’s 45nm chips kicked the shit out of them and they had nothing in the pipe to counter.

  68. Squid may have pitchforks, but I have cudgels. I’m ready for it.

  69. Now I see — you quality-tested your cudgels on your own noggin ’til you believed Entropy’s lies about Intel! I bet he’s got plenty of stuff “in the pipe,” NTTAWWT.

  70. (I’d forgotten just how much fun a pointless tech crusade could be. Thanks, guys!)

  71. There are sooooooooo many good cable shows – Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Rescue Me, The Glades, Burn Notice, Jersey Shore, Covert Affairs … I confess to enjoying two and a half men, like Barney on Before I met your mother, and Big Bang Theory. NCIS is a classic.

  72. Yes, it is inherent. But that does not justify being proactive about it. “taking advantage” of this fact means intent to abuse it. Which is not to say that, again, “there oughtta be a law!” but that it is to be discouraged as it is bad and not healthy for anyone involved, and potentially not healthy for those not involved.

    That’s why ad-guys have gone so nuts about the kids, and they’re such a powerful market force. Because the dumbass children who aren’t fully developed will try to latch onto an external sense of self worth and swallow hook line and sinker, guard your brand-indentity like a wartribe and be as loyal to it as they are themselves, because they see themselves in it and part of it.

    Then you end up with fanboys, fanatics, who will attempt to crush any dissent that AMD does not make the best computer processor. Because they’ve got a hole in their own self worth and sense of being that they’ve plugged up with AMD marketing material. AMD makes the best, I like the best, therefor because I like AMD and AMD is best, this proves I like the best and have good taste and am a great person because of my association with the best. In practice it becomes something like a tribal identity.

    Honest to God, 15 years in the advertising businessand I have no idea what you’re talking about. For starters, children’s advertising is about on the same plane as pharmaceuticals in terms of the competence-level of people who are attached to it. So you’re mistaken to think there are some sort of sinister, manipulative geniuses at work to poison peoples’ minds. They’re both professional Siberia. All advertising does, or even can do, is sort of reinforce an emotive brand loyalty which already exists. Rather than getting into the weeds in terms of processors, think computers since they offer the most extreme example. There are distinct differences between Mac users and PC users, and Apple exploits the psychological attributes of their loyalists to the hilt. But they have to, as their entire business model is predicated upon appealing to a distinct subset of the population. Most brands don’t have the slightest ability to go down that road.

    Where advertising does have power to adversely affect the culture is in media buying. When, for instance, the SciFi Channel alters its programming

  73. Disregard that stray sentence.

  74. Mr. Dargo didn’t die.


  75. here is a story the Farscape guy wrote what takes place way after the Peacekeeper Wars

  76. Forgot to add: another of my favorite shows of late is “Men of a Certain Age.” Great writing.

    It’s destined to be canceled, as a result.

  77. I haven’t watched a TV series since Sopranos. Oh, you mean ‘mainstream’ TV? None at all for the last decade or so. I used to watch ‘Dallas’, believe it or not.

  78. Bacula’s character is outstanding.

    Friday Night Lights, one of my all time favorites, got even better when it left the network.

  79. I’m sort of the opposite on Friday Night Lights. The writing is still excellent, but the football aspects of the show have gotten completely silly and now it feels like some left wing New York twit’s imagining of life in Texas rather than anything authentic.

  80. Good point. I haven’t started Season 5 yet.

  81. nobody said anything about the walking dead

    it is very good show plus also it has zombies

  82. plus the walking dead is exploring a new paradigm in scripted tv production

  83. I could probably share a remote with most of you peoples.

    Admission: I really dislike Burn Notice yet I honestly don’t know why.

    Admission number two: I don’t really get into any show based on a new dead body, legal case or illness each and every week. House is excluded because House is about hot chicks and a funny asshole.

  84. Burn Notice has the annoying narration where he says dopey shit like “when someone points a rocket launcher at you, you always have to remember that should that in the even this rocket launcher is fired, a very explodey rocket will be heading your way and you’ll have very little time to react”

  85. in the *event* I mean

  86. sorry I screwed that whole comment up really cause New Girl needed something and she interrupted my head – she’s settling back into things

    also it’s baby A’s first day at daycare – we had two updates

    he slept and ate and then he sat in his chair and then he slept

  87. That’s exactly what I did after New Year’s. He might be very mature for his age… or an alcoholic. I’d keep an eye on that.

  88. I actually LOVED the ending to Cowboy Bebop anime

    Me too but then I liked the ending[s] of Evangelion and Lain and enjoyed things as different as Utena, Excel Saga, KOR, Maison Ikkoku, BGC, and Urusei Yatsura.

    For me it was the 90s when I couldn’t stand 99% of the network stuff and turned to Japanese Anime for things to watch. The only shows I cared for that I recall from that decade were Babylon 5 and Twin Peaks.

    Joan of Arcadia was quite good and missed here too.

    Nowadays in addition to all the good stuff on the cable channels I do like some of the network offerings. Criminal Minds, Bones, Medium, Castle, House. Who-done-its all to one extent or another.

  89. Who likes sesame noodles?

    Say please?

    Then say the most important thing about them for you, if you will, the key thing being: to aim to get them right. For they are on the menu and I don’t know with certainty where to point the flavor.

  90. The narration bugs me. The protagonist himself bugs me. Anwar’s messed up Irish accent and fucked up plastic surgery bugs me.

    Does have Bruce Campbell though.

  91. #83

    Well we do like some of the same movies.

  92. Does have Bruce Campbell though.

    And the poolside and beach shots employ otherwise out of work modelettes.

  93. The Burn Notice protagonist bugs me too. I sort of like the narrated spy tips – I always think to myself, hmmm… maybe that’ll come in handy one day if I need to do espionage or protect my property from nefarious underworld types. But my problem with the show mainly is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. And it has all the dramatic tension of The A Team because of it.

  94. Burn Notice haters need be waterboarded then thrown from a helicopter. Or at least, shut their damn fool mouths.

  95. But, as he’s repeatedly asserted through monologue, Michael Westen is opposed to waterboarding.

  96. The thing to remember about being waterboarded and then thrown from a helicopter is to make sure you have…

  97. Heh, I won’t pretend to be the arbiter of good taste though. I watched every single episode of the The Challenge: Cutthroat on MTV this year.

    And I’m doing it again next season! No one can stop me and I’m utterly without shame!

  98. I’m probably the only one that will miss The Good Guys.

  99. Deadwood. Life is less good because they canceled that show.

  100. And by they I mean the bastards who done did it.

  101. Abe, please consider a couple things about what I am saying:

    Honest to God, 15 years in the advertising businessand I have no idea what you’re talking about. For starters, children’s advertising is about on the same plane as pharmaceuticals in terms of the competence-level of people who are attached to it.

    I’m not really talking about children’s advertising, the adverts actually aimed at the kiddies for Spongebob are pretty harmless. I’m talking about how children respond to advertising (and not children’s advertising, and maybe not even what you might conventionally think of as ‘ads’). And by ‘children’ I mean tweens and teenagers, not actual rugrats. And not explicitly them, they’re just an example. In fact, just forget them entirely.

    Secondly, as I see it, this is something people do. It’s not about the ads, it’s about the people who do that sort of thing. It’s not that the ads ‘made them do it’ or somesuch. No brainwashing here. It’s the psychology of the people who do that that I am talking about above, not the ads themselves.

    And you can’t blow it out of proportion either. Above, I refered to it as a mental illness. Mental illnesses are a spectrum, not boolean. Everyone – including me and you – has a tiny bit of this or that mental illness and still functions sane. Because it’s a spectrum. There is no true ‘normal’. The median is not the mean. When you get to the point of a dysfunctional person with a diagnosable mental illness, you’re way way out there on the spectrum.

    Please take that idea into mind about this. This sort of behavior can be minor and innocous and perhaps unavoidable, or it can go way overboard.

    My comments are meant to reflect the psychological structure of what is occuring there, nothing about the advertisements themselves. You don’t even need any ads – people might still do that with your stuff if you don’t advertise or if your ads suck. It has nothing to do with ads. You can do this with politics. As a side note – though you might not think of it immediately as ‘advertising’, politicians use advertising techniques to sell candidates.

    Hell, Obama created quite the fuss with his campaign and it’s tactics, supposedly very very savvy with modern marketing strategies. And they worked – he scored wide appeal and sold a hell of a lot people an empty vessel full of nothing. As an ad guy, what do you think of him selling people on the idea that a vote for him was a purchase of racial harmony and reconcilliation? Just plain good strategy?

    Now… did he sell them or did they just buy? People are liable to think that even if he told them not to. He can’t help he’s black. But if – and that’s the if – he actively encouraged that sort of thing (which he did), I find that abusive and dishonest.

    I am not blaiming any of this on ad agency guys. People (by which I mean the consumers) do this. But I do think that this is a bad thing that no one ought be encouraged to do, and while it will happen if you try or not, if as an ad guy you’re actively trying to exploit it, that’s a bad thing to do. Not what I’d call an ‘honest’ living, myself. I’d put it up there with senators and lawyers and used car salesmen. But before you respond to that please do note specifically what I am talking about – I’m not saying all ad guys or all ads.

    And I’ll bet dollars to donuts the guy who wrote “global lifestyle brand” is a rabid moonbat. There’s a correlation there.

    My hunch is it’s because the cause is the same source, it shows a certain way of thinking fundementally.

    Google “global lifestyle brand”. You’ll find several, and they’re all metropolitan lefty. There’s no one promoting a ‘global lifestyle brand’ for christers. Because the kind of person who thinks it’s a good idea to brand a lifestyle tends a certain way.

    From wiki on “lifestyle brand”:

    Each individual has an identity based on their experiences and background (e.g. ethnicity, social class, subculture, nationality, etc.).

    I may be a bit hyperbolic. Nobody is (probably) going to stab anyone over who makes a better CPU. If they do, it’s because they’re nuts and it’s their own fault. It’s a spectrum thing.

    But the structure of the logic behind this way of thinking lends in a certain direction. The people who engauge in it do so along a spectrum, so it’s not ALL off the deep end. But the way this sort of thinking works propels it toward certain conclusions. Things follow. Structurally, when one commits to this sort of thinking, operatively, truth doesn’t matter, concensus does.

    And please do note that when I say that – I’m not talking about the ad strategy of marketing to people who think like that, I’m talking about the people who think like that and respond to that sort of marketing (when they think like that, it may even not be with everything they do). I don’t know that anyone can be totally immune to any of it.

    But to the extent that you say businesses are at no fault for exploiting that, I disagree. That it happens is not their fault. But if they’re out there encouraging it, they’re encouraging it. And if they’re conciously exploiting it, they’re conciously exploiting it. And if it’s a bad thing, as I think it mostly is, at least on the mass level, then knowingly encouraging and exploiting it isn’t very nice.

  102. I never had a sesame noodle before. I get the sesame chicken at City Wok sometimes. Me and NG went to the Ramen noodle place on Monday it was very very tasty they use pork belly for their broth and it makes it very flavorful

  103. I thought I knew some of you people, en you go hating on Burn Notce, and of all things, Gabrielle Anwar. Being water boarded by a rabid mongoose and thrown into the pool of molten lava in an active volcano would be a merciful ending for you.

  104. I get to have sushi with serr8d this week.

  105. here for you to see is a crazy owl

  106. It is like I never even knew some of you.

  107. Somewhere between Scent of a Woman and Burn Notice, Gabrielle Anwar was possibly attacked by a rabid mongoose and thrown into a pool of molten lava.

  108. Me too but then I liked the ending[s] of Evangelion

    See now that blows my mind. You are a pervert. Nobody likes the original ending of Eva, not even the author liked it. It was incomprehensible and he readily admits to screwing way the hell up because of time constraints and funding problems and because the psychotic nutjob artist author was trying to stretch the medium well past breaking even without time constraint and funding issues.

    On the whole I do love Neon Genesis Evangelion though, and “End of Evangelion” – which is the same ending, but in a more coherant 90 minute format – is a suitable ending.

    But that show ended and I – like every other person in the world besides you, I think – said …. WTF? WTF just happened? How did it end? Is that really it? WTF? Huh?

    Like seriously though, have you wikipedia’d it to see what the author was trying to convey? Did you actually get that from the last 2 episodes without looking it up? HOW?

    Another one in that vain was Boogeypop Phantom. I liked it despite not quite getting all of it, and since I read the wiki it makes sense… but there’s virtually no way to decipher that without extracurricular material if you haven’t read the book. It’s incomplete on it’s own.

    Serial Expiriments Lain and Revolutionary Girl Utena I’m aware of but haven’t seen. Excel Saga I own on DVD and have seen… but not the ending. The rest I haven’t seen or really know anything about.

    For me it was the 90s when I couldn’t stand 99% of the network stuff and turned to Japanese Anime for things to watch.

    Pretty much the same reason. Maybe it’s just because I’m picking the cream of the crop that gets English translation (the Japanese have lots of ‘lets milk this situational monster-of-the-week cash-cow’ stuff too) or maybe they just have, on average, much better TV. But I can find stuff like Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist, Trigun, Elfen Lied, Evangellion, with the length and meat of a TV show but the polished narrative and depth of a film or novel. There’s some, but it’s not easy to find a lot of that on TV.

    At 90 minutes movies are short, like short stories. I think they cannot – or at least, usually can not with rare exception – have the breadth or depth or complexity of a novel. Which is why novel adaptations are usually so dumbed down. But a TV series CAN, because they can be 13 hour movies, but rarely do, because they often don’t even have narratives at all so far as I can see.

  109. I liked Gabrielle Anwar in the Disney remake of The Three Musketeers. Does that count?

  110. Imdb says that was only a year after Scent of a Woman so I assume she still looked great.

    Before the Joker’s plastic surgeon got to her.

  111. I like the new Dr Who, even with all the crying. I loved the first seasons of Homicide, before they hired all the new people and the Sopranos made staying in hotels bearable. But Miami Vice (pre-Testarossa) and the Sandbaggers are my favorites of all time.

  112. Who is posting under bh’s name?!

  113. I’m right under bh, but I’d rather be under that Anwar chick. I think she’d sound like a really nice wind chime.

  114. This is a public service, JD.

    She used to be one of the preeminent hotties of my youth. We need to stamp out this unnecessary plastic surgery nonsense before it claims… Alyssa Milano. Vigilance.

  115. Don’t be throwing me in with Burn Notice haters now. I’m a Cowboys fan after all. Sheesh.

  116. Alyssa Milano is in a movie coming up pretty soon I can’t remember which one but it’s a for reals one not a Milo Ventimiglia one

  117. leighton meester is in all the other movies cause she’s a star is why bitches

  118. Blake Lively is like Leighton Meester but with big cans and acting talent.

  119. Man, I’m so glad these teams have such awesome defenses tonight.

    Final combined score above or below 75?

  120. I’ll take the over.

  121. But that show ended and I – like every other person in the world besides you, I think – said …. WTF? WTF just happened? How did it end? Is that really it? WTF? Huh?

    I didn’t say I got it. IIRC I saw the original version on a tape that a friend had had sent to him from Japan. I’d heard about the troubles but took the end as a puzzle to figure out. When the LD came out I bought that (Japanese)and it contained a different version, closer to the final, then the individual DVDs and then the movie.

    It’s been years since I’ve watched any of it I just remember not being terribly put off by it. less bothered than the way Twin Peaks died anyways. Watched too many things fansubbed or with just xeroxed “scripts” where not everything was comprehensible. Plenty of WTF moments where much later someone in a newsgroup explains what happened. Besides it was Gainax. Kare Kano and FLCL are also very odd.

    I dropped getting any new stuff probably 6-7 years ago. Nothing grabbed me except Miyazaki whose work I’ve always liked.

  122. Yeah, the avatar is Gendo.

  123. Resolution 2011.0003.a:

    Continue to refuse to watch networks with less than three initials.

  124. I don’t want to be dismissive, entropy, but you’re bouncing around so much that you’re sort of making me dizzy. I understand where you’re coming from as a purely visceral matter, but you’re conflating so many things – some tangentially related, some which have nothing to do with one another – that I’m sort of at a loss as to how to answer in a way that satisfies you without writing a novel – and as a general rule my comments here never consist of more than a paragraph and twenty seconds of thought.

    Wouldn’t you say that Wal-Mart is a lifestyle brand? Wrangler Jeans? Chevy Trucks? As a general rule, it’s a good idea for people to ignore marketing buzzwords like “Global Lifestyle Brand” as they go in and out of favor and really don’t mean the same thing from one utterance to the next. What is political in a hotel chain seeking to maintain a consistent brand image throughout the world? Or a fashion line? When you talk about them appealing to “metropolitan lefties,” you’re really not isolating a political class so much as people with money and aesthetic sensibilities who happen to be much more alike across the world than are people from – for lack of a better word – the interiors of various countries.

    As far as the Obama campaign goes, there were so many complex issues ranging from the economy to Bush fatigue to forgetfulness about what a boob the last true lefty (Carter) was to rampant media bias to a gross disparity in campaign funds that giving Obama’s marketing much credit when he literally faced no resistance is a little hard to buy. Sarah Palin seems to inspire the same kind of madness in her supporters and her only marketing has been to present herself as a thoroughgoing mediocrity while a million arrows plunge into her back. She’s essentially a lifestyle brand though, no?

    You’re right that the left is increasingly carving out a separate culture from everyone else in this country though. And that it is largely emotion-based. If nothing else, you can see it in how the left flipped out upon discovering that the founder/CEO of Whole Foods is a libertarian. Or that the founder/CEO of Urban Outfitters is a conservative. Nobody on the right is that emotionally invested in their basic shopping choices as forming the core of their political identity. But this is an altogether separate matter from a lot of the other things that you’re throwing out there.

  125. Blake Lively is like Leighton Meester but with big cans and acting talent.

    Someone watches Gossip Girl.

  126. Heh. Worse, a Ben Affleck movie.

  127. I’ll miss Good Guys. And I like Burn Notice. A lot.

    How about good shows that hung on too long? The West Wing (And I loved The West Wing)–should have known it was over when Garafello was introduced.

  128. “Nobody on the right is that emotionally invested in their basic shopping choices ”

    dude it is a scam the left uses to tell flyover country “don’t go there”.
    f**k the left where ever possible.

  129. Hey, RTO, Maggie mentioned in passing that you’ll be out of country this year. Where you off to?

  130. That might be a silly question. If so, good luck and stay safe.

  131. If the answer being Af-again-istan makes it a silly question, so be it. :)

    This stuff is old hat now, right. So long as the bad guys remember that they are scared of me, we’ll do okay.

  132. The sweater vest is going to make my cold dark heart stop beating.

  133. “Sweater vest?”

  134. I was wondering the same thing. Is this some odd euphemism I’ve missed?

  135. Ohhh, the football coach is wearing a sweater vest.

  136. I respect that the creator of The Wire killed his show. I just wish he would come up with another one that was as good. Because the one time I saw Trieme, I wished New Orleans stayed underwater and then monsters came and killed everyone else, it is that treacly.

    I thought the Pacific was pretty decent as far as miniseries go, but then I knew the begining middle and end. The Boardwalk is every other Steve Buscemi vehicle…he does a fine scumbag, plenty of mob hits and he has a lot of sex.

    PS–Abe, I see you posting ar Dealbreaker…I’ll invite you to my book party when it comes out….
    or anyone else in NYC…..

  137. I like Coach Tressel. But his uber-conservative playcalling with a lead drives me insane. He nickname is The Vest. Ohio State let that fucker Petrino get back in this game. Pryor is a freak.

  138. Good shows that wore out their welcome?

    NYPD Blue should have died with Smits, Law and Order with Claire Kincaid (can’t remember the actress).

    The entire Star Trek Universe should have died returned to the Prophets with DS 9.

    I stopped regularly watching the red-headed Ray-ban model when they did some episode with military contractors using the Patriot Act to carry out vigilante justice or some damn thing (turned the TV off when they used military contractors and Patriot Act in the same sentence, so no idea what the hell was supposed to be going on).

    ER probably jumped the shark before they dropped the helicopter on the attending sonofabitch, but that’s when I stopped watching altogether.

  139. Review!!!!!!!!

  140. I fucking hope that The Vest pulls this out and Vick’s dogs visit Petrino in the dark of night. Son of a bitch!

  141. You’re a cool girl, S. You’ve probably heard this before.

  142. Mwah!!!

    Somebody get Tressel a sack now!

  143. Mallett’s got just a little too much adrenaline flowing. That and Petrino’s steroids…

  144. I’m kinda looking forward to at least a couple of episodes of Rush’s Haney Project dealer, just to see how it goes. Could be entertaining as all get out. Then again, could be cut for other purposes.

  145. Me, too on the Haney Project. I really enjoyed the 10 days or whatever it was of the playing lessons from the pros in December. I actually played bogey golf today and the short game tips were a large part of it.

  146. Go for it!

  147. Pitch or Reverse!

  148. Shoulda listened to me.

  149. I need a scotch. A Double, straight up.

  150. Attempt to go straight up the middle on the best 3rd and short team. Boring and stupid.

  151. POwer backfield fake it and run up the strong side.

  152. MVP???

  153. Nice APOD this morning, check it out.


  155. Holy crap.

  156. Tressel is so tight he could shit diamonds. Horrible call on safety. Did they really just block a punt?

  157. blocked

  158. this is nuts

  159. well that was that

  160. Holy crap again.


    May the ghosts of Vick’s dogs visit you in your sleep, Petrino.

  162. i like duke in basketball
    fast, big and deep

  163. Crazy ending.

  164. Big difference in the interview from Luck to Pryor. Like, 50 IQ points, like.

  165. I think I blacked out, or was hallucinating.

  166. I spilled a nice glass of Johnny Black. The puppy enjoyed it, though.

    For sale, cheap. One MVP trophy from the Sugar Bowl. Or will trade for a tattoo.

  167. Suck on that, SEC ;-)

  168. Wait… Are you a possible Duke fan, Roddy?

    I almost missed that.

  169. I am a Coach K fan, but do not like Duke.

  170. I think that still sorta counts, JD.

  171. Did RichRod get fired, or not?

  172. Would you say that you’d like to get married to Christian Laettner if Coach K was allowed to officiate the wedding? I assume so. Same with Roddy and Danny Ferry.

    Maybe it could happen at center court. That would be very beautiful.

  173. May the rabid ice weasels visit you in your sleep.

  174. Not yet. He’s got another meeting tomorrow with the AD or the Pres or someone. What will change between today’s three hour meeting and tomorrow, I have not a clue.

    Begging is so not manly. Or football-ly. Unless you count those Euroweenies begging for fouls in that international sport. Which I don’t. They’re just frustrated cause they can’t touch their balls. If they had any.

  175. Off to Nashville in the morning. COLTS versus Jabba the Rex on Saturday!

  176. Go Peyton!

    Mattie Ice will enjoy the comfort of his barcolounger this weekend. YMVVW.

  177. I can’t believe that there are still 5 bowl games left to be played. 3 bullshit bowls and two real ones. At least the Godaddy.com bowl will have some hot commercials. And the Cotton Bowl is being played in Jerry Jones’ Compensation (IYKWIMAITYD) Stadium not the Cotton Bowl..S’up wit dat?

    I didn’t think it was possible to OD on football – the playoffs haven’t even started yet.

  178. Overthinking a bit, but don’t give Obama any ideas.

  179. Resolution 2011.004.a:

    Continue to grow into my recently diagnosed madness.

  180. Forgot to mention that I love, love LOVE “CSI: Miami”. Mostly because nobody on that show could act their way out of a wet paper sack. It’s like watching a slow motion train wreck EVERY week!