Tuesday, May 17, 2005

New development on Arrested...

People bitch a lot about Fox, and they have cancelled a lot of quality shows, like Futurama, Firefly, etc.

However, that's probably because Fox is more willing to put such weird shows on in the first place. Sadly, the result is often shows that are deeply loved, but watched by too few people. The result is inevitable: Eventually, after 13 episodes (Firefly, Wonderfalls, etc.) or four years (Futurama), the programs are canned.

However, Fox is then often not given credit when it deserves it. It did keep Futurama on for four years despite consistantly lackluster ratings, although my heart was broken when it went off.

Meanwhile, probably the single best show on network TV over the last several years has been Arrested Development. Sadly, however, the show's quirks have all but assured that it has not become a big hit. Given the less than lukewarm ratings, Fox would have been more than justified in cancalling it at almost any time during its first year.

However, perhaps aided by the fact that it won the Emmy for Best Comedy, the show was miraculously brought back for a second season. Fox then pulled out all the guns. They ran mini-marathons of the show on weekday nights, hoping to allow newcomers to pick up on the program's trademark complicated, ongoing storylines. They promo'd the heck out of it. And, finally, they gave it the best slot they had for a comedy; Sunday nights after The Simpsons.

It didn't work.

I've not allowed myself to hope the show would be brought back again for a third season. This morning, however, it was reported that it will be.

Thank you, Fox. I'll bitch about you again in the future, but for today, thanks.

Monday, May 16, 2005

An interesting article at Video Business Online...

[http://www.videobusiness.com/article.asp?articleID=10511&catType=NEWS]

...details how it looks to be a slow summer in terms of recent big movies hitting DVD. Since there's little indication that the theatrical season will be much better (although there will be hits, like Star Wars and Batman Begins--although we'll see if either of them hits Spider-Man like levels), that's bad news for the studios.

Partly this is due to the lack of many good movies lately. It's hard to argue with this observation: "Based on the way the box office has been performing lately, TV is looking more exciting than most films," Newbury Comics buyer Larry Mansdorf said. "People have developed their collections already, and they're going to ask, 'Do I want to buy Constantine? I have the last two Keanu flops. Do I really need to buy another?"

However, and I liked hearing this, the TV set market is booming. I knew that, but was astounded to read the following: "In contrast, it's a blockbuster period in terms of TV. At deadline, 24 TV DVD sets were rolling out on June 7 alone. An average week produces about 14."

Those are huge numbers. The reasons for this are obvious. First, especially with the advent of season sets, which mostly now sell south of $50, sometimes as low as $30, you are getting a lot of bang for your buck with these. Also, people have emotional attachments to TV shows. If you spent eight years of your life watching something week to week, it's going to stick with you. I would also imagine a lot of these sets, again because of the generally low prices, are being bought to give as gifts. If your Pop likes classic Westerns, and you can give him a set of Have Gun Will Travel featuring 39 episodes--over 15 hours of material!--and costing about $30, that's a pretty decent present.

Shut up George Lucas you delusional hack...

Per the IMDB:

"The legendary filmmaker insisted there are plenty of fans who like the first two prequels, The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones, but that most of them are under the age of 25...[adding] that most people who dislike the two films tend to be fanatics of the original trilogy, released between 1977 and 1983. Speaking at a press conference at the French event, Lucas said, "The older ones (fans) are loyal to the first three films I made, and they are the ones in control of the media. The films that these people don't like - which are the first two prequels - are fanatically adored by the under 25s. They are always at each others throats about it."

Despite the admittedly stellar reviews for the latest movie, the contention that the last two films were "fanatically adored" by anyone is insane. Please use some of your several billion dollars to buy a clue instead of screwing around and ruining the actual good films you made several decades ago with inane CGI inserts.

Shut up Woody Allen you past-your-prime dink...

In an article on the IMDB today, Woody Allen is quoted as follows: ""I did [my latest] film in England because it's increasingly difficult to get financing in the United States. It's become more and more prevalent for studios and financiers to participate in (a) project. They want to have a say in casting and read the script. I can never work like that. I don't let people read scripts. I want the money and to give them the film a few months later, and that's that. In London, that's the way it was. There's no rigmarole from people who want to participate."

Mr. Allen, if you don't wish to have people meddle in your work, perhaps you should pick a medium that doesn't require you to get other folks to pony up ten or twenty or thirty million dollars to see it produced. Frankly, the reason you are having more trouble getting no-strings funding is because your movies over the last ten years or so have bascially stunk, while your core audience, which was once at least large enough to ensure that your films broke even, has shrunk significantly. The fact that you were basically afforded the right for decades to make films the way you wanted as long as they didn't actually lose money was not a life-time guarantee.

So here's my suggestion: Make films that make money (or at least are consistantly good enough to justify keeping you on as a house artiste); pay for your films out of your own pocket; or shut the hell up. Also, stop being such a weirdo. And thank whoever you believe in for Michael Jackson, since he makes you look normal in comparison.

Sentences you don't expect to hear...

From a radio promo for tonight's NBC Hercules movie (13th Labor--go up against the final episode of Everyone Loves Raymond):

"Leelee Sobieski and Lord of the Ring's Sean Astin lead an all-star cast."