Even the death rattle has a boppy J.J. Abrams score

A week or so ago in Salon Heather Havrilesky ripped TV a new one:

The golden age of television may be over just a few short years after it began. 2008 not only marked one of the worst years of TV in the last decade, but all of the momentum and promise of the past few years seemed to vanish in a haze of crappy, unoriginal new programming, lackluster sophomore shows, flaccid sitcoms and pointless cable comedies.

Deservedly so, too. Just months and years removed from the likes of The Wire, Six Feet Under and The Shield, we’re now faced with this harbinger of doom:

And has there ever been a more depressing sign of TV’s demise than the move by NBC to give Jay Leno, the epitome of a guy who’s flatly bad at his job but continues to be promoted for reasons utterly mysterious to mortal man, a whopping five hours of prime-time real estate, thereby saving themselves from the unpleasant work of finding worthwhile programming to fill their nightly 10 p.m. slot?

The Star also weighed in with a recap (less with the doomsday, more with the funny) of the past year’s horror show:

Herbie Hancock wins Album of the Year at the “Granny” Awards as music pundits slap their foreheads and check their calendars. Nope, it’s not 1983. Ratings plummet.

Cloris Leachman dresses like a rapper and asks, “What’s up, homeys?” in an old school hip-hop number on Dancing With the Stars. Viewers, horrified at the spectre of the 82-year-old Emmy winner in short shorts and rapper’s cap, vote her off the following week.

The concept of TV as art seems to be just about dead. Apart from the seven shows I actually care about — 30 Rock, Battlestar Galactica, The Daily Show, Friday Night Lights, Life, The Office and The Unit — I’m increasingly seeing the TV as nothing more than a sports & movie delivery device.

Just declare the 4 big American networks 24-hour reality TV channels and be done with it. HBO can buy Netflix and we’ll all be happy.

"I left my thimbles and socialist reading material at home."

.:.

Wow, three days without blogging. That’s probably a record. I can explain: busy Friday, busy Saturday and today I feel like ass.

Friday I was at work until about 7:30, and by the time I got home all I really had the energy to do was eat and watch Friday Night Lights and The Wire.

Yesterday we intended to see There Will Be Blood but when we got to the theatre we found that the new Eye Weekly film listings had lied to us. No wonder Torontoist hates them. No other showtimes worked so we had one last meal at the Biryani House in Roy’s Square. It’s closing in two weeks (moving just around the corner onto Hayden Street) to make room for 1Bloor. Mmmmm…samosas and pakoras and shrimp masala…tasty. After lunch we walked back down Church street, cleaned up a little and waited for CBGB to arrive. They joined us for dinner and a couple of tasty drinks at Smokeless Joe (hence the picture above), then back at ours for a bit.

All was going well until I woke up this morning stuffed up, with a sore throat and a pounding sinus headache. Last night I had nothing; by this morning I was deep in the throes of a cold. Shitty. I feel very unpleasant right now. As such we did next to nothing all day; I have no energy. My day has been limited to lots of basketball, football and movies.

.:.

The first movie we watched today was Stranger Than Fiction (imdb | rotten tomatoes) which, based on the ads, I’d all but dismissed as typical Will Ferrell clowning. It was, in fact, very funny, clever and sweet. Ferrell is so good at the subtle humour he showed here and in Winter Passing that it kills me to see the ads for crap like Semi-Pro. A few times in this movie I laughed out loud, and I rarely laugh at Will Ferrell movies.

We also watched Marie Antoinette (imdb | rotten tomatoes) this evening. The first half was interesting, but it completely lost steam in the second half. It was like watching a dessert cart being paraded around…it looks lovely and inspired at first, but after you stare at the same sweets for two hours it loses something. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it that much to begin with; Sofia Coppola had me in the first half, but lost me again in the second.

I forgot to blog last week about Italianetz (imdb | rotten tomatoes), yet another foreign entry at a past film festival that I wanted to see. The story was about a Russian boy set to be adopted from an orphanage by an Italian couple (hence the title) but who worries that he has a mother somewhere that, should he go to live with another couple, he’ll never see again. The plot takes him on his search for her, but the real star was Russia itself: a dirty, drunken, stormy, barren, corrupt plain of despair…that one little boy refuses to give up on. Worth watching, if you can tolerate the dodgy subtitle translations.

[tags]friday night lights, the wire, there will be blood, eye weekly, torontoist, biryani house, 1bloor, smokeless joe, stranger than fiction, marie antoinette, italianetz[/tags]

Dan Dickinson's Day Off

Yes, just like Ferris Bueller, except I wasn’t pursued around the city by a sex offender.

Around 2:00 yesterday afternoon I got the best news I could possibly have received: my class got an extension on our assignment. I had my weekend back! Oh, frabjous day! Calloo! Callay!

After plowing through a bunch of work and a last-minute crisis (deftly handled by T-Bone and, in a supporting role, myself) I arrived half an hour late to meet Nellie and CBGB at beerbistro. A glass of Stiegl Pils and some frites later I put the Blackberry away and settled into the weekend. I had butternut squash ravioli with sliced plums (delicious!) paired with a Brooklyn Brown Ale (ditto!) and a piece of chocolate swirl cheesecake for dessert. We all called it an early night after that; it was a long-ass day and we had plans for the early morning.

Today’s been both productive and relaxing; it’s like found time for me, so I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. We got up early and hit St. Lawrence Market for some pastries, seafood, tofu and vegetables, then grabbed ingredients for dinner at the Dominion on the way home. We sucked back the pastries while we watched Friday Night Lights and The Office on the PVR. Next leg of the trip was to walk up to Henry’s and collect some prints we’d ordered online. We’re planning to put some of our pictures on our walls, so we got some B&W prints from recent trips.

After dropping those back at home we struck out for MEC to buy me a jacket, stopping at Chapters on the way back and then grabbing lunch (all-day breakfast, in truth) at
Over Easy. On the way home we bought some picture frames for some of the afore-mentioned pictures and picked up dry cleaning. Back out we went to the {shudder} Eaton Centre, grabbing some more picture frames and a very nifty little charging station at Pottery Barn before escaping the mall as rapidly as possible. One last stop at The Bay for towels and our credit cards were begging for mercy.

Home again we gave the place a much-needed clean and then turned to neglected email accounts and feed readers. Tonight we’re laying low, enjoying the pardon (ok, reprieve) and looking forward to tomorrow.

.:.

Good luck, Atlantic Canada. Hold on tight.

[tags]ferris bueller, beerbistro, st. lawrence market, friday night lights, the office, over easy, eaton centre, pottery barn, hurricane noel[/tags]