Category Archives: tv

True TV Show Titles

  • From Junky to Funky (“Sanford & Son” remake with J-Lo?)
  • Runway Moms (far less interesting than when I read it wrong and though it was “Runaway Moms”)
  • Medical Incredible (the crowdsourcing of diagnosing? who needs med school?)
  • Asia Squawk Box (probably a lot funnier when we were worried about Bird Flu)
  • Grow it & Mow it (is this a haircut show, gardening, or sponsored by HighTimes magazine?)
  • Nightly Business Report (not so funny, but I like that’s it airs at 5:30pm CST)
  • Look What I Did! (Oh, the horror.)
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • Buy Me (well, at least it’s honest)
  • Get Ripped in 90 Days (the “Grow it and Mow it” sequel?)
  • Bigfoot Presents: Meteor and the Mighty Monster (even Bigfoot has his own show?)
  • Dr. Phil (same thing as Bigfoot?)
  • Doppler Weather (probably the only reality show I’d watch)

SXSW: Monkey Warfare's Don McKellar

The Austinist has a short, but interesting interview with Don McKellar about his new movie Monkey Warfare.

Don is a favorite writer-director-actor from Toronto. You’re a fool if you don’t watch some his work including:

  • The Red Violin: tracking a violin’s path through history with Samuel L. Jackson (but no snakes or planes), a child prodigy, a Chinese musician in the era of Cultural Revolution and a love-triangle including the violin itself.
  • Last Night: an unusual “end of the world” movie with a small role by David Cronenberg as a dedicated power company employee dealing with the destruction of the planet in the only way he knows how – by thanking all of his customers (how Canadian)
  • Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould : wonderful and insightful and you get to learn what Glenn Gould might eat for lunch.
  • Twitch City: which recently came out on DVD and captures slacker Toronto, in the Kingston Market area perfectly. Watch this now.

The two best TV shows this week were really games

In the past, I haven’t played video games very much, but I’m thinking more about games as tools for learning and socialization (social computing games?).

Maybe that’s why this week the two most interesting (which means “best” by my own definition) TV shows have been Daybreak and The Lost Room.

In Daybreak, the main character is a police detective, who much like the movie Groundhog Day, is repeating the same day over and over – presumably until he gets it “right”. There are a number of contingencies and clues the detective must solve to make progress. Each week, the plot changes as some issues get “solved” and the detective isn’t plagued by them on the next version of his day. We gradually learn more about the detective’s world, his past and how everything fits into place.

In The Lost Room, the main character is also a police detective and needs to unravel a mystery based around understanding, collecting and using a set of magical objects. He must discover objects, negotiate with their owners and determine the object’s proper uses. In an attempt to go meta about the issues in the plot, several of the characters are written to seem very much like I’d assume people that are deeply involved in a social game (MMORPG or the like) might be as to forming clubs (even cults in show) around studying, finding and advancing skills in the use of the objects and making alliances. It seems like they’re truly playing a game about the objects within the episodes as independent characters, but overlapping with the main detective’s role in the show/game.

Obviously, these concepts: working through a game level, a quest, negotiating with characters and finding objects of power are common to many video games of the last few decades. Adding in the social interaction and high quality rendered environment (studio sets with actual actors) and it’s a bit like watching a someone work their way through a game. Is this a new trend in scriptwriting that will bring in the gamer demographic? (Am I only noticing this because these examples are more obvious than past shows?)

(Note: do people really say “video games” anymore? I’d think the people that design all the audio would start feeling left out.)

(Double extra bonus note: I just bought a Nintendo DS Lite – got any game or gear recommendations?)

Technorati Tags:


After living in Toronto, a trailer for a new show called Underfunded on the USA Network looks quite funny:

Canadian Secret Service agent (yes, they have one too) on a mission: he’s out to get some respect. Caught between working with top US Intelligence officials and his budget-conscious boss back in Canada, Darryl finds himself solving world-threatening conspiracies on a small-time budget.

The trailer has gags on the agent having to ride the bus and still using dialup to access the internet. The show is related to some of the writers and producers for Monk, a show I quite like (and also set in another city I used to live – San Francisco).