Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One Less Show Live From New York

I was going to write about MTV after the VMA’s, which beyond Russell Brand rambling semi-coherently and offending a bunch of people, just made me feel old and weep for the future of the network. I dismissed the idea of doing that, but then Dill sent me an e-mail outlining pretty much the same thoughts I had, which I suppose is a natural transition when your age moves beyond the target audience and some random band from Germany wins Best New Artist.

The MTV of yesteryear took another step towards a Brave New World when the distributors of Moon Men announced they were getting rid of TRL. I don’t think anyone actually watched the daily countdown of the top videos anymore, simply because entertainment is pretty much on demand at this point. Napster took away any reason to gather around the radio to listen to a particular song, with YouTube then eliminating the need to tune in for your favorite video. Not that Carson Daly’s child grew up to actually show more than four seconds of any particular video, but it’s still sad to see it go.

While MTV doesn’t actually show music videos any more, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have anything to offer. With that blatant segue and mini-eulogy, a look at the Tivo recording schedule as we get halfway into the new season of television premieres and some cuts may have to be made to the season pass manager.

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Island: This is a mix of your basic Challenge, Survivor and Paradise Hotel. The worst host in reality show history returns with TJ Lavin captaining the ship, but enough quality regulars are back – plus Dave from Hollywood and most of the crazies from Sydney – to make it worthwhile. There is no Isaac, sadly, which would have put the show over the top, but rejiggering the normal rules of Challenge and changing the locale slightly gives it a breath of fresh air. Congratulations to MTV for just embracing the fact it would be easier to make things entertaining if they just made up the rules as they go along, ala the immortal Paradise Hotel. Chances of it staying on the season pass? As good as the majority of the every contestant either being naked, drunk and/or irrationally angry during the course of the season, so close to 100%.

Gossip Girl: Three episodes in, and while it hasn’t quite hit the high points of last year, the stage is being set for quality Upper East Side hijinx. Our fashionable heroes aren’t even back to school yet and you have Nate whoring himself out to a titled cougar, Chuck using all of his Potential Best Character on TV potential to woo/seduce/etc. Blair away from a British lord and the upcoming Serena/Dan war, where they both realize how awful the other person can be. Toss in Lily’s return and eventual will-they-or-won’t-they with Lincoln Hawk’s lead singer Rufus Humphrey and any senior year drama they might actually delve into, and season two’s ratings will continue to rise. Chances of it staying on the season pass? You would have to pry the Tivo from my cold, dead television stand and toss it off of our never used balcony for me not to record GG every week.

90210: Started out with some potential, but it’s absolutely horrendous at this point. They have no idea who the target audience is, with it oscillating between trying to appeal to those who watched the original show and those who didn’t. There seems to be a disconnect compared to the warmth of other Rob Thomas efforts and the storylines are predictable even for a high school show, and perhaps the most egregious sin of all is not using Jessica Walter. The series peaked immediately on with the implied oral sex that made the PTC mad (points for that), had a slight spike when everyone went bowling and enjoyed it because bowling is awesome, and then crashed and burned in epic fashion. Chances of it staying on the season pass? As slim as the actresses on the show.

Random links:

  • And finally, the best news ever, as David Simon, who created one of my favorite shows, takes on one of my favorite subjects, the Lincoln assassination, using a book I really enjoyed as the template. I’m not sure I can tell you how high my expectations are going to be for this.

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