Posts Tagged ‘NBC’

The Olympic Winter Games, Sochi 2014

Friday, February 7th, 2014

The XXII Olympic Winter Games have officially begun. Man, it feels good to be back! It’s been only about a year and a half since the Summer Olympics in London but it’s been a full four years since we last hit the slopes and shaved the ice with the world’s best Winter athletes in Vancouver. Last nights’ coverage on NBC didn’t begin with the Opening Ceremonies but with two new events that heralded in what promises to be another amazing Games.

Slopestyle snowboarding is an event that takes place on a snowboard park recognizable to anyone who’s hit their local slopes, but exponentially more challenging: higher, faster, and with three towering jumps. Individual athletes cruise through this world class crafted terrain park hitting tricks as they fly downwards. It’s a judged event and if the qualifiers showed anything, they showed that it’s an event to watch.

The other new event that debuted on night one was Figure Skating Team. This event combines the four disciplines of ice skating: Men’s, Ladies’, Pair, and Ice Dancing. The scores are put together based on the relative finishes in the individual events for a team total that determines medal places. Using this event as a predictor of who to watch you have to look at Yuzuru Hanyu in the male category. He is the most graceful skater in the competition and he carries all the power of the former Gold Medalist, Russian Evgeni Plushenko. In the pairs, it was Russian duo Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov as Cinderella and Prince Charming who owned the night with their sheer power, charisma, and execution.

New events and old will combine at these 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi Russia to make two weeks of the most exciting competition in the world. The world has come to Russia, unifying to celebrate world culture and athletic achievement for all to see. Again as before, Let the Games Begin!

The Super Bowl – The Commercials

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

The Super Bowl is the premier sporting event of the year and it draws in a huge and diverse crowd of American shoppers.  Like moths to a light, companies are drawn to NBC on Super Bowl Sunday for these shoppers, even for the most expensive air time of the entire year.  At an estimated $3million per 30 seconds, a commercial is a huge risk for any company to take.  Whether or not the investment was worth it from a bottom line standpoint is not the business of this web site, but were the commercials entertaining?  Here’s a breakdown of the winners and losers:

It’s easy to start with the best as there was one clear winner, Ferris Bueller…who else?  Many people knew this one was coming as the buzz on the web and Twitter came on real strong from a YouTube teaser earlier, and this spot lived up to the hype.  It’s been 26 years since this movie’s release, but Matthew Broderick didn’t miss a beat in reprising his iconic role as a grown up, skipping work, and driving around his Honda CRV.  The only disappointment around this commercial was that we had to count its run-time in seconds instead of minutes and that it seems this was just an ad after all and not a very clever preview for Ferris 2.

Full version is like visiting an old friend, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhkDdayA4iA

And now for the worst.  Bud Light Platinum.  That’s a name for a credit card, not a beer.  And in two separate commercials, Bud told the audience nothing about it’s product.  This was as poorly constructed a set of commercials as I’ve seen with this much at stake.  The audience was really expected to buy into Bud Platinum on the visual tease of a vibrant blue beer bottle.  Forget taste or substance, people should drink this beer because it’s got an intriguing colored bottle.  This is not a strong message, even in the image conscious culture of young beer drinkers.  I anticipate that there will be many, many follow ups to those two Bud Plat commercials, but so many people have tuned out and turned off that this brand has an uphill battle to fight.  Instead of putting the money behind Bud Light, which is the strongest seller in the brand and usually the Super Bowl darling, Budweiser came out swinging with…well, who knows what it is other than its name?

In commercials, the best way to succeed is to either inspire or entertain the audience.  Don’t educate us and don’t scare us, that’s terrible.  Now inspiring commercials don’t usually get as much play as comedic or entertaining commercials, but there were two stars in this category tonight…and one failure.  The two stars were Best Buy Mobile and their phone and app geniuses and the night cap of great commercials, the NBC 24-hour Sports Network spot.  The big ad that didn’t work was voiced by a legend, but it just didn’t work.  Poor Clint Eastwood, didn’t anyone think that a quiet, word-driven commercial wouldn’t play well during a Super Bowl party?  If the audience would have watched this commercial, what they would have seen was a semi-political, preachy, incongruent, discordant, and weird (why does it switch from color to black and white?) ad that tried to win on imagery alone.  This was terrible.

The last subset of commercials to discuss could be lengthy because there were a lot of them, the movie preview commercial.  Big budget action movies come out in full force to a big budget event like the Super Bowl and there was no shortage of previews this year, The Avengers: John  Carter, Battleship, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and then Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.  All of these movies  are big budget releases, but they are not at all equals.  Of all these trailers, two big ones stand out above the rest:  The Avengers and Star Wars.  I’m up for a good preview any day, but John Carter will not be profitable, it’s too high-budget for its unrecognizable main character who everybody is going to confuse with John Connor from Terminator until they see him dressed up like Conan the Barbarian.  Battleship is a big stretch as well.  Using a board game to inspire a movie has been done a ton of times, but the nostalgia toy box must be getting pretty thin if Battleship is sailing onto the big screen.  And G.I. Joe 2?  Well…that’s probably all that needs to be said, except that if a bunch of ninjas with swords are hanging from a mountain by ropes and dueling with swords, I don’t know why they just don’t cut the ropes of the bad guys and save us all trouble of watching a totally unnecessary sword fight among a bunch of soldiers with guns.
The Super Bowl itself had an amazing finish, but the football definitely outweighed the poor overall quality of the commercials.  They were only entertaining in the margins and if it wasn’t for the stars mentioned above and a couple of cute Doritos spots to lighten the mood, we would have been left with very little  to cheer and nothing to spend our money on.  One last little ad to put a smile on your face from NBC:  The Olympics are coming!  London 2012, see you there!

Chuck, Chuck!

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

NBC has threatened to0 cancel Chuck so often that the show has actually had like three series finale episodes in four seasons, always wanting to give their loyal audience an ending they can live with.  The latest quasi-finale aired just this past Monday and was called Chuck vs The Push Mix.  In my last post, I wrote how I was really upset with Chuck a couple of episodes ago, but Chuck immediately brought me back in and after this latest episode I will again reaffirm that Chuck is one of the best shows on TV.  You may never find the perfect television show, but as long as you have characters that you love (and talented writers/producers) you’ll always be happy in the end.  If only network executives would see what we fans see, we wouldn’t fear losing our best television shows.  Maybe that constant fear of cancellation brings out the best in Chuck, but I can’t stop thinking how if they would have cancelled Chuck at any time before this episode, we would have all really missed out.

Anyway, the message from Chuck‘s situation is that we shouldn’t take really good TV for granted.  If we’re not watching then we just might find out that there won’t be anything to watch by the time we finally catch on.  Watch Chuck!  …and Human Target.

They’re Baaaack!

Friday, January 21st, 2011

It’s been a long and agonizing winter break, but TV is officially back.  We waited and waited and finally NBC brought back their Thursday night lineup.  Parks and Recreation has been gone forever because of Amy Poehler’s pregnancy but now we’ve got it and we should all be glad we do.  So, with Chuck on Monday night and Thursdays the way they should be, things are back to normal.

Monday is Chuck and Thursday looks like this: Community, The Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock.  What?  Oh, that’s not the complete lineup?  Are you sure.  I think it is.  Yeah, I just checked and that’s the complete…wait a second.  You don’t count Perfect Couples and Outsourced do you?  You do?  Ha, no way.  Really?  You know that those aren’t complete shows, right?  Each episode is only 30 seconds long.  Perfect Couples is the thirty second sitcom that’s stuck on my DVR at the end of Community and Outsourced is the thirty seconds at the end of my 30 Rock.  Those seconds can tell you a lot and I’ll break down those bits, too.  So, here’s how TV looks these days:

Perfect Couples: A guy that was good in an episode of Pushing Daisies has a stilted and annoying conversation with his wife who is laying really strangely in bed through their whole talk, then we see some uncharismatic no one who I can barely remember and finally a shouting match between some bearded annoyance that is the worst person, the worst person, I have seen on TV in years, shouting at his unattractive wife for taking up too much of the bed.  It’s seriously like the writers Googled “married couples cliched complaints” and picked one at random to be the springboard of their show.  I do not understand it and I wasn’t about to stick around to try.

The Office:  Doesn’t that name look good in print.  That is a good looking name for a show and I’m glad it starting treating itself that way after many mistakes.  Michael Scott finally pulled back and showed that he’s capable of acting human again and that made him totally likable.  Michael films a video to talk himself up or down depending on some news he’s expecting and when the news comes in the scene that follows is the best scene in The Office since Jim and Pam’s wedding.  It was so good.

Parks and Recreation: This is the one.  It was the best show on Thursday all of last year and it came back right in stride this time around.  It was worth the long wait.  The only thing I don’t understand is a real small thing, but really annoying, too.  Just to set up my point, this show is filmed in a mockumentary style just like The Office.  That means that it’s supposed to seem like a real-life documentary, just funny.  Having said that, they made a change in scenery that is really hard to understand.  Parks and Recreation centers around the Parks Department of Pawnee, IN.  The characters often eat lunch in a little courtyard of their building, it’s really nice to see as a viewer.  There are live green plants and sunlight and wind and air and good dialogue.  But somehow while they were away, they took away this picturesque courtyard and changed it to take place in a soundstage that we’re supposed to believe is still the same courtyard.  It looked totally believeable, too…if this was Sesame Street!  What were they thinking?  Did they think we wouldn’t notice?  Cutting corners is one thing, but how could they film a documentary style show on a soundstage?  That’s it.  Great writing, great acting, it’s the best show on Thursday night.

30 Rock:  Well, it’s still 30 Rock.  Not 30 Rock from Season 1 or Season 2, but it’s definitely one of the better shows on TV.  Outsourced doesn’t even deserve to have it’s name written so that will be the last time for a while.  I don’t watch it.  I don’t know why anyone would.

Now for Chuck:  This show is great, but the last minute of this past weeks’ episode is as infuriating as anything I’ve seen on TV ever.  Ever.  Ever!  You can’t stretch a rubberband forever, eventually it will break.  My enjoyment of this show was almost totally shredded by the casual and sudden and obtuse manner in which the writers of Chuck expected us to swallow a HUGE plot change without any setup as if we’re just going to take this and roll onwards.  Don’t tease me, you know?  Everyone has a breaking point, so how about Chuck gives me a break and just gives me what I want.  If you set my expectations don’t be suprised that I’m expecting something to happen.  Man.  The one thing that saved me from boiling over completely was the preview for next week’s episode that gave me some hope that this ridiculous delay tactic will be settled sooner than it seems.

All in all, I’m glad my DVR is filling up again.  Oh, and Go Bears!

Look-e-Likes

Friday, February 5th, 2010

I was watching the video for the Snow Patrol song, Just Say Yes, and I couldn’t shake the idea that the lead singer looks just like Jamie Kennedy.  That happens to me all the time.  Either people look like someone else directly, or they’re like a combination of people.  There’s this new girl at work and I nudged my buddy and said, “She looks like a mix between Maggie Gyllenhaal and Dominic Monaghan.”

“Who’s Maggie Gyllenhal?” is what he says.  But this other guy who overheard us goes, “Yep.  I see it.  Wow, that’s weird.”  That’s about as good as it gets.  The room was split when we were watching this year’s American Idol and I said that Bosa Mora’s dad from episode one looked like the Nigerian Jim Lampley (Lampley does boxing commentary and the daytime Olympics coverage on NBC).  Half of us were cracking up and the other half were just plain hatin’ when they said they didn’t get it (because I know they got it, the guy looks just like him).

A Clip Show? A Clip Show?! – The Office

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The NBC lineup took a break for the holidays and all of the shows came back on January 14th.  The Office went off the air on December 10th and then they waited an extra week to come back on the 21st unlike everybody else.  They really made us wait.  And then. Then.  They come back with a clip show?  Now, this clip show was relevant.  It had funny moments.  But it featured Toby, who is really good in small doses, but it had no Stanley.  Worse than that, where was Jim?  They made us wait six weeks and then they come back with a No-Jim Clip Show!
No one’s ever going to call me a patient man, but really, I don’t know who wouldn’t be annoyed by this.  Clip shows are a midseason thing, not a, “Hey, we’re back,” kind of thing.  Oh, and by the way, the next episode is February 4th.  Good for them.

I almost don’t want to mention it, but after February 11th they’re going off the air again till March.  This time with good reason.  THE OLYMPICS!  I. Can. Not. Wait. For the Olympics.