Joost

So I recently got into the Joost beta, I don’t particularly remember signing an NDA, but in case I did I am going to try to keep this mini-review fairly vague.  If you do not know what Joost is, it is a program by the developers of Skype that is essentially Television over the internet. It is set up in channels and you can watch whatever you want whenever you want, sort of.

Well so I think that the tech of the program is great. I haven’t watched a full episode of anything yet to find out exactly how it works but i saw their demonstration and a P diddy video and it is looking good. The television stream is smooth, there are slight jaggies but nothing too bad, the interface is amazingly slick. The plugins are cool and i think will offer the program something different as well.

However, I do have a concern for the program. I do realize that it is only beta, but at the same time the company has been getting a lot of attention for signing on the likes of MTV, Comedy Central, and National Geographic (I think they signed with Viacom). But really this isn’t that big of a deal, each channel has about maybe 15-20 programs on it, and these programs are usually canceled ones. For comedy central the main shows they have are Stella and Freak Show… now they may have just gone this route first to test the waters, like I said this is just beta. But if this is what they come out with after launch, the program will fail.

I also wonder how they will handle live programming. Yes it is nice that you can watch what you want when you want it, like TiVo just without the recording aspect. However, some programs are best watched live. For instance they have the indy racing channel which if is anything like other channels will likely have 2 year old races. Who the heck is going to watch this? This is a bigger niche than the classic ESPN channel. Currently they have no streaming news or sports live broadcasts and this is something they need in order to really have a chance to replace TV. These things do not work the next day, they really need to be watched when or near the air time.

But overall, the program shows a lot of promise. If they can provide the right kind of content, keep it easy to navigate, and keep the UI gorgeous, they may have a winner again.

Battlestar Gallactica Finale

Well a lot happened that I figured would, but it was still good. Spoiler alert if you care.

First, the obvious Starbuck. I knew they couldn’t go long without her return, I knew she’d be back before the end of the season. I knew this because they “killed” her off in mid-season. Now what is up with her, not entirely sure. I suspect she is a Cylon, however I hope to all gods that she is not. I have heard some theories that say perhaps the storm she flew into was a portal to jupiter or something and that is how she got to Earth, I don’t necessarily buy this cause it doesn’t explain how she survived the explosion (or more importantly how the raptor did). Still I hope somehow that this is it because I really can’t stomach the idea of her being a cylon.

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The Horror, The Horror

Ok, there is something wrong, seriously wrong with television when you are essentially FORCED to watch American Idol. I mean good god! Anything but American Idol!!!!

In the evenings I like to hang out with my roommate a bit so a lot of the time I will leave my gaming behind for a bit and we generally watch TV. We don’t have a ton of money so going to the movies isn’t always the greatest plan. And we live in Wisconsin so uh it’s cold outside. So TV it is. The problem is that it seems other networks are so scared of American Idol that they refuse to put anything on opposite it, they essentially give the night to the show and it is aweful. Heck I was more willing to watch old reruns of Home Improvement last night but it just so happened that was on a channel we are having issues with currently. Two nights ago, ABC went so low as to air 2 hours of America’s Funniest Home Videos, a show I had thought had been off the air for well over 5 years!

I mean good god guys, what is wrong with you. You are making a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yeah American Idol has great ratings, has it ever occurred to you that this might be the case for the sole fact that you put on absolute shit opposite it?

The Lost Room

Well it doesn’t appear that The Lost Room will be picked up by Sci-Fi Channel as an ongoing television series. It is too bad in some sense, it is probably better that way in another.

It’s too bad in the sense that they had a really really good story premise. The idea of objects from a lost hotel room was great, and the powers that they had were kinda cool, and yet not too unrealistic. Some were worthwhile, some weren’t and that is how it should be. There was a good mystery behind the show. Why do these objects do the things they do? How were they created? Who was the Occupant? And what is the whole purpose of it? I really was drawn to the show. I wanted to know what was going on and why everything was happening. And I wanted to find more objects and see what they could do.

Yet I can’t help that perhaps  it’s better left the way it is. I can’t help but think that the whole show was leading up to a let down, not unlike Lost which had a great season or two but has turned out to be a stale program with nowhere to go until cancelation looms, so that you are more eager for the cancelation than the next episode so that you can see what is going on. The unfortunate part of any mystery show is that they won’t let go of the big secret until the show is done, and that is the only reason you watch most of the time. Other problems abounded the show. It often times contained lackluster writing, and often poor acting. I liked the main three actors of the show, and a couple of the secondary ones, but some (like Ruber) were downright aweful. I for some reason highly doubt that had the show gotten picked up that the three main actors would have come back full time. They might have shown up as cameos from time to time but they were too big of names and I think a story about an invincible man who doesn’t want to be part of the objects would be rather boring in time. I thought that the best chances for a main character in the show following the mini-series included Weasel (the guy who started the show with the pen), the black woman cop (who was barely in the show but they used in the last part to investigate Joe and Ruber which was thoroughly unneeded in the mini-series so I think they were using it to set up the series), or even Wally (though he seemed to not really want to be involved in anything that had to do with the objects, he liked his and just wanted to live his life as normallya s possible, this again would make for a bad show premise). Of course the other option may have been to have the show center around one of the cabals, the one that Angelina Margaloius was in, as a way to have a drive in the show towards an end. Still none of these is totally satisfying because they don’t include what made the mini-series good so I don’t know how they would have rectified this.

Still it is a shame. I have become obsessed with the idea of a universe with powerful objects and am now sitting here trying to think of how I am supposed to do it without ripping it off outright. I would love to see the Lost Room turned into a book or comic series, but due to the fact that it was made for a failed mini-series I don’t see this happening. So my want is to really replace The Lost Room with a similar series, without ripping it off. This is difficult. There isn’t a good way to do it, and I don’t even really know how they were doing it in the show anyway. The idea is you want this mystical series with realistic undercurrents so that it isn’t too strange. I also feel like I can’t just name things “The Pen” anymore because of the show which is a shame because I think they really did a cool thing by having them named simply like that.

Oh well.

1 vs. 100

I am watching 1 vs. 100, honestly I like the show for the most part. Bob Sagat is great, I think the fact that he spent so many years with America’s Funniest Home Videos, but he really knows how to do this job, he’s good at it. Easily the best of the prime time game show hosts (not that it is hard.) I think the format of the show is cool, the idea is good. And they don’t leave you hanging from one show to the next like Millionare used to do which I’m sure was a way to get you to keep watching every week but in reality made me forget why I was pulling for the guy (or girl). The mob allows them to have a lot of themes and celebrity guests. However, my five issues are these:

#5) Where in the world do they find the idiots in the 100!?!?!? I mean criminy most of these people are stupid! It is rare for the show to get to a point where you are answering difficult questions like in Jeopardy and Millionare, so these people are just stupid. One of the questions that was on was what are the standard IRS tax forms: NC-17, 1-800, or 1040. It amazes me to no end that 2 got it wrong! Even if you didn’t know the name NC-17 is a movie rating and 1-800 is a telephone number,  so those are automatically out. It is rediculous and I am convinced that these people are payed to get the wrong answer so that there is progression to the show. Even the contestant is an idiot, the current contestant doesn’t know how many 6s are in 99 because they don’t drink beer (it is formed in the 99 bottles of beer & 6 packs).

#4) That leads me to this one. The questions are far too easy. One of the cool things about Jeopardy and Millionare is that they are difficult.  So when you do get a question right, you feel like aww cool I got one right! And when you don’t get one right you can be like “oh that’s a cool little factoid.” In this game I don’t feel any self congratulations for getting it right nor do I think any of the questions offer any sort of interesting information like other quiz shows. I get nothing from the questions except that they are worded in interesting ways (and are more often than not they are trick questions because of it).

#3) Annoying contestant!!! Good god the contestants are annoying as hell. I realize this is likely the productions fault and not the contestants. They are likely told to act all combative with the 100 and be grandstanding and all that but in the end the contestant looks like a major asshole. In addition they aren’t bright, they get easy questions wrong, and while again I am sure they are told to work the questions out verbally for every question regardless of if they know it because it is easy or not, the working out of lame questions is iritating. All this leads up to the only game where I am actually hoping for the contestant to lose, and they almost never do lose in this game.

#2)  Almost no chance of “winning.” By this I mean that they advertise that the person has a chance to win $1 million, and in reality this chance is low. In fact I don’t think I’ve seen anyone win more than a quarter of that. The way the game is set up is that the morons in the 100 will likely be taken out in the first 5 or 6 questions so when beating a mob member is actually worth decent money, there aren’t many left to get it. I am sure this is done intentionally because they don’t want people to win the jackpot because then they’d have to pay out more money. This is a drastic change from the previous round of Game Shows which went out of their way to give out more money. Millionare had their Super Millionare where they gave out like $5 million, and Greed hell they brought in two former contestants to do a single question for $1 million just to guarantee that it would happen. The real reason it will never happen in this game is because it is all or nothing. There is no $100,000 to fall back on like in Millionare, once you are done with your helps, you’d be an idiot to not take the money, and this seems to hold true for all the modern game shows.

#1) The delay. My god the delay, it’s aweful. It doesn’t add to the tension, it adds to the annoyingness of the show. This is definitely production, it’s done top bottom to do it, and it has for all the modern games, they think it is the thinking bit in millionare that adds tension. It isn’t, it is the whether he will get it right or wrong. When it is random like in deal or no deal, or when there are idiots answering idiotic questions then there is no tension no matter how long you wait. It is just plain annoying.

I may be done watching 1 vs. 100, I was hoping it may get better, but it doesn’t seem to be. Too bad, someone had a great idea, they just let the execs screw it up.

Mad About You

I watch Mad About You every morning before class and this morning’s (and yesterday morning’s) episode is the series finale. This to me is one of the best, if not the best modern day finales for a show. These days it seems that most these shows either try too hard, or just show recaps (Seinfeld) for their finale, and they aren’t good…. In Mad About You, it was touching… it wasn’t just like they split up or something… it was the story of the rest of their marriage in 1 hour. It was surprising, it was sad, it was funny, it was happy, and it was good. Really good.

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