Sunday, December 29, 2013

Chris Colley's TV Blog*'s 10 Lumps of Scripted TV Coal I Received And Watched In 2013 (Euphemism For 10 Worst, Because Worst Is Too Strong)

I gave you my 10 favorite shows, now it's time for me to tell you about 10 shows I was extremely disappointed in during 2013.  A lot of these shows were canceled, or are going to be canceled.  Being ranked number 1 on this list means I thought you were the worst of the worst.  Being ranked on this list doesn't mean I didn't watch every episode (or even that it was overtly terrible), it's just that I thought the shows could have been done a lot better.  However, some of these shows were overtly terrible, and yet I still couldn't avert my eyes.  Again, Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!

1. The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC)

How in the world do you make a show loosely based on Michael J. Fox's life (one of the most likable movie stars around back in the day) fail so miserably?  I have no idea, but this show proved it was possible, really really possible.  I gave up on the show after the Thanksgiving episode, and I can't imagine many people will make it to the surely bitter end this show is headed toward.  Good job, good effort, NBC, and whoever it was who couldn't figure out what they wanted to do with this show.

2. Low Winter Sun (AMC)

In a running theme, how do you make a show starring Lennie James suck?  I have no idea, but this pathetic joke of a show proved that it was possible.  It thought it was grit with no grit, stylistic with no style, telling a deliberate story while just being boring, and it ultimately was just too hard to get through.  This show was so bad that Breaking Bad fans had multiple aneurysms waiting for the promos for Breaking Bad that they would hold back until during Low Winter Sun.  This show was a complete and total disaster.  Sorry if my feelings about the show weren't clear enough.

3. Ironside (NBC)

Continuing on the theme, how do you make a show starring the lovable Blair Underwood not work?  Oh, they figured this one out, no doubt.  You make him unlikable.  You put a character as a cop who was one of the most despicable villains in Law & Order: SVU's history a cop.  WHAT THE WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, NBC?  Don't you see the episodes of your shows before they air?  Certainly you could have chopped that character right out of the show before beginning production of season 1 of Ironside, and done some re-shoots.  Or done something else, anything else.  A show with massive potential was ruined.  If it weren't for the terrible disappointments of the two shows above this, it easily could have been number 1.  Disasters like this really make me miss Law & Order: Los Angeles (the Skeet episodes), a show that seemed like a total disaster at the time.  Little did we know...

4. Red Widow (ABC)

Was a terrible show.

5. Zero Hour (ABC)

Through about 3 or 4 episodes, this was a terrible premise with excellent execution.  The execution ultimately caught up with the premise, and I have no effing idea how I made it to the end of this extremely dumb show.

6.  Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)

My breaking point was finally reached, and I gave up on the show.  I just...could...not...take...it...anymore...

7. The Goldbergs (ABC)

This was a show that should have resonated with me.  I was in high school in the 1980s, and this was supposed to be a show about that time.  Instead, it played the least resonating moments for me throughout the show, and had an absolutely butchered chronology.  I'm sure the intent was to make a The Wonder Years for my generation.  Instead, it just made me wonder what they were thinking, by jumping around all over the place.  It certainly has its moments, but it's definitely a disappointment, and deserving of being on this list.  That said, I'm still watching it, and will until the bitter end.

8. Revenge (ABC)

This show has been on a long ski jump ramp of suck since midway through season 1.  At the point that we found out Victoria had a son she abandoned (in addition to the daughter she abandoned), I decided to abandon the show myself.  I had no investment in the show or characters, at that point, and I had to say adios to this turdburger.

9. The Mindy Project (FOX)

Last year, this was a seriously funny show.  I felt it was EMMY caliber, especially in the writing.  Unfortunately, they kept tweaking past an advisable point, and now the show, while still watchable, is really disappointing in season 2.  It's not looking good for a renewal, and I will certainly stick around to the end.  Hopefully they'll fix some of the issues I have with the show, but it's probably way too late for that.

10. Homeland (Showtime)

Finally, this show lands on this list without being on the 10 favorites.  Why in the world did they focus like 5 episodes on the Dana character?  Who effing cares?  There were a few good episodes in the season, but if anyone was in doubt about the huge drop in quality of this show, they can't deny it anymore.  After the end of season 3, I think most people are rightly baffled in having no clue where this show is headed.  Good thing the writers have never seemed to have a clue where it's been headed since it began.  We'll see if they continue to brainstorm on the toilet in the writers' room next season, or whether this show ever reaches its full potential.  I'm going with the former.

Chris Colley's TV Blog*'s Ten Favorite Shows of 2013

Everyone loves doing best of lists at the end of the year.  In the case of this list, it's not a best of, it's just my 10 favorite shows of 2013.  This year, no shows have been canceled on this list yet, and THEY BETTER NOT BE!  I hope you all have a prosperous and safe 2014!  Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!
  
1. Person of Interest (CBS)

To me, there is no better show on network TV, right now.  That doesn't mean this is the best show on TV or the best show on network TV.  It just means that nothing else on network TV beats this show for me, right now.  It has been an unforgettable third season, as the universe continues to expand in bigger, better, and worse ways (a major character death in the series definitely stings).  Without question, this show is THE best hybrid-serialization on TV.  Every future successful hybrid-serialization would do well to copy every basic storytelling stylistic decision this show makes.  Its first true "clone", NBC's, The Blacklist, has followed its "template" very well, and it's already been renewed for a second season. BRING ON THE CLONES!

2. Breaking Bad (AMC)

I wouldn't have felt guilty, at all, if I had made this show number 1.  However, just about everyone has this show as their number 1 show of the year.  It was a great final half of the season and series (as of last year's list I had not watched the show), but the more I thought about it, I just enjoyed watching Person of Interest more.  If you have a problem with that, f.u. ; )

3. Veep (HBO)

I thought season 1 was fantastic, but season 2 really stepped it up.  I LOVE this show, and unequivocally think it's the best comedy I watch right now.  If you don't agree, I hope you like sex, and I hope you like travel, because if you do, you can...

4. Hannibal (NBC)

This show was amazing.  I was really disappointed that it didn't get any EMMY notice.  I wouldn't expect POI to get notice, because the Academy looks down its collective nose at shows like that, but the other two shows above this were nominated (in Breaking Bad's case it won) in their respective categories for Best Series.  This show WAS in the Academy's wheelhouse, and they completely ignored it, despite it being EMMY caliber in a bunch of categories.  I sincerely hope you watch the upcoming season, because this show was a true treat on network TV.  No show has ever gone further than this one on network TV, and that alone makes it worth watching.  Don't miss it.

5. The Bridge (FX)

Those top 4 shows are absolutely top tier shows, in my opinion, and could almost be interchanged on any list of favorites.  Once we hit number 5, the shows aren't on that elite level anymore, but these shows are my favorites of the rest.  Last year, all anyone talked about was a dumb show on FX called The Americans.  I personally enjoyed The Americans as something to watch, but the story was so pat and told from the "winners' perspective" that it robbed true enjoyment from the show.  I hope they'll fix that in season 2, but I shouldn't even be talking about that show right now.  I should be talking about the show that you SHOULD be talking about, The Bridge.  This show is very close to being a top 4 show, and how next season unfolds could easily put it in the top 3.  I recently watched the show as a marathon with my mom and otra madre, and came away with an even better perception than I originally had.  This show is a success everywhere The Americans failed.  If The Americans took drama tips from this show, that show would very likely make this list next year.  If you didn't watch The Bridge, you should, before it comes back next Summer.  If you don't find it a great dramatic watch, there's probably something wrong with you.  It's not on Breaking Bad's level, but it could get there if it lasts more than two seasons.

6. House of Cards (Netflix)

This very easily *could* have been the number 1 show on this list for me.  Unfortunately, after about 8 episodes, it completely ran out of steam, and only became the 6th best show for me.  I don't know what season 2 will be (season 1 had the most uneventful ending in TV, err, uh, whatever this show is, history), but I am confident the show can move up the list next year.  Nearly all of the performances were outstanding, and its look and sound make it worth a watch on those merits, alone.  It certainly would be a reason to get Netflix Instant Streaming.

7. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)

I LOVE THIS SHOW!  And it's not even as good as it's going to be yet.  Any network comedy that beats Parks and Recreation on my list has to be unbelievably funny or filled with potential.  This one wins on both counts.  I hear lots of people rag on Chelsea Peretti, but Chelsea, I'm down.  I think you're a consistently funny character in the right doses, and I'd miss you not being on the show.  I also like every character on the show.  My personal favorite is Charles, but I really like them all.  This show could end up being one of the top comedies of the last 10 years, if it continues on its current potential trajectory.  It might be a nail biter, but this show absolutely should get a second season.

8. Justified (FX)

This is another show that was not on my radar the last list I made.  I can confidently say that this is a top 15 of all time TV show, even with the quality drop off in season 4.  I personally like this show better overall than Breaking Bad, but it's pretty close.  I just love the writing, the characters, the casting, the chemistry, the good and evil blurring lines, and really just about everything about it (minus a few things I won't mention).  I fully expect this show to return to its initial first three seasons' greatness, next season, and it's still quite deserving of a spot on this list.

9. Parks and Recreation (NBC)

I still love this show, and it will not exit this list until it's canceled (which will probably be at the end of this season).  I'm greatly looking forward to the Rob Lowe exit, which can't happen soon enough.  If you're looking for an "adult oriented" version of this show, check out Veep.

10. Rectify (Sundance Channel)

This was a beautifully shot show, that was very artistically done.  It took its own time with the storytelling, something it could never get away with anywhere else other than indie films you've never heard of.  Most people who watched this show really loved it, and thought it was great right off the bat.  I'm not one of those.  I thought it was really well done (certainly deserving of the last spot on this list), but it's really here because of its potential.  The lead character is largely untapped, and I'm looking forward to seeing him come out of whatever shell he's been hiding in since he entered prison.  There's a whole lot to mine with this show, and if the next season is done well, it may leap up much higher on this list.  If it doesn't deliver, it will probably fall out of the list, and might even end up on the lumps of coal list next year (as will The Americans, if it doesn't improve).  If you're a patient viewer, this is well worth a watch.  If you're not, this show definitely will not be for you.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

View Some Of Chris Colley's Sound Mixing Work Related To The Making Of Mob City (TNT)

If you've ever wondered what I do for real, now is your chance to check out some stuff I did the final sound mixes on for the new Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Walking Dead) TNT TV show, Mob City.  I specialize in the final sound mix of behind the scenes material for movies and TV shows, and I'm particularly proud of my work done in conjunction with the making of Mob City, which begins airing tonight (TNT, Wednesdays at 9pm ET).  You might have to live in the U.S. to be able to watch some of this, but I'll post it for everyone, just in case there is any interest.

The first piece is available on amazon.com here:

The Making of Mob City

You'll have to log into your amazon.com account to get it, but it's free.  And don't act like you don't have an amazon account, because I know you do.

In order to access some of the other material I worked on, you need to have TNT On Demand.  There are two pieces I mixed that are available on there now.  They are the last two pieces that were put on their On Demand, but are very poorly organized.  So, I'll just have to try my best to guide you there.  First, you access On Demand.  Then, you probably need to go into the equivalent of "My Primetime".  After that, click on TNT.  Once you've done that, you can then scroll down to Mob City or Mob City HD depending on how you're set up.  After selecting that, you'll see seven supposedly "behind the scenes" pieces without any descriptions.  You'll want to select one that is 7 minutes long, and the other might be the last one.  In a perfect world, it would be the last two pieces of content on there, but it probably won't be a perfect world.  The good news is that the pieces are very differently branded than the rest of the content on there, so after watching the the first 20 seconds or so of the pieces, you'll know you're in the right place.  The names of the two pieces are "The Style of Noir" and "The Look of Noir", and they're right on the title card once the piece begins after the TNT On Demand opening graphic.  So, if you have the guts to be up for the challenge of finding and watching them, hopefully they will be a rewarding experience for you.  Thanks for reading, and if you watch, thanks for watching.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

RENEW/CANCEL NEWS: The Blacklist (NBC)

Coming as a shock to absolutely no one, other than how quickly it was done, The Blacklist (NBC, Mondays at 10pm ET) has been renewed.  Last night it even tied its lead in.  The first Person of Interest "clone" is a success!  Thanks for reading.
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