Friday, August 8, 2014


I hope you're all doing your homework for your TV Viewing 101 Class. We're gonna do more of those in a while, and I hope you all embrace them. I have high hopes for that series of blogs, and it might be one of the most ambitious things I do on this blog. That said, ambition, goes along a way, and it also takes a little time, and we can't just overload a blog with nothing but that, so we need to mix. That said, when there isn't anything going on in the entertainment industry that I think is worth devoting and entire blogpost about, once in a while here, we do a little Mixed Bag blog, where instead of a more in-depth analysis on a single topic, we simply touch lightly on a few different subjects perpetuation the modern entertainment world and news, and we're doing one of those today. I hope you enjoy it.


I would won this bet. In my last "Mixed Bag Blog", written back in May, I talked about the under-reported story of Craig Ferguson leaving "The Late Late Show" and how his departure was gonna be possibly harder and more troubling for CBS to replace. That blogpost is below:

I also said that, if I was placing a bet on who they'd eventually get to replace Ferguson, despite every name and rumor being thrown around, I'm taking the field when it comes to who they'll eventually find for this slot, 'cause of the lack of Ferguson acolytes as well as the trouble with the spot starting before Colbert takes over Letterman, leaving it third fiddle in a two-fiddle late night lineup. And finally, after a long search they went, as I predicted, way outside the field and named James Corden to be Ferguson's replacement. Who's James Corden you ask? Well, honestly the only real thing I've seen of James Corden's work was this two-minute segment he had at the Tonys a few years ago.

He won a Tony for that btw. Well, for the play that that bit was from, and that was a crowded that included, James Earl Jones, John Lithgow and Philip Seymour Hoffman's Willie Lohman performance in "Death of a Salesman". So the guy's got some talent. He's also created or co-created and/or starred in the British series, "The Wrong Man", "Gavin and Stacey", "Horne & Corden", and he's also a writer/producer on "Us and Them", among others. He's definitely more well-known and recognizable overseas than he is here, although like Ferguson, he's basically a relative unknown in America, and he's gonna be pushed aside for awhile. Good. An unknown quantity, at a time slot where he'll be ignored enough to develop his skill and slowly bring America towards, whatever style of comedy he decides, and not be as pressured to adapt. Unfortunately he's stuck in the middle of the Letterman-Colbert exchange, but that might be a good thing. I hope he'll succeed; I don't know for sure, and frankly, CBS has no choice but to take a crapshoot anyway, so they went with one. So, Fallon's replaced Leno, Meyers replaced Fallon, Colbert replaced Letterman, Ferguson's hosting a game show next year, and Corden's replacing him, and soon, and Wilmore's replacing Colbert. And Netflix gobbled up Chelsea Handler (That came out wrong.) Whew! I think the musical chairs is complete, and this is the end, of one of the longest and most elaborate changing of the guards, ever. Does it have the same impact that Late Night once had? Probably not, but then again, there has rarely been so many unsecured late night spots before either. Basically Jon Stewart and Jimmy Kimmel of all people, are officially the kings of Late Night, and have the most coveted, untouchable permanent spots on the Late Night scene, and so far, a bunch of wannabes, trying to force their way into their territory. By this time next year, we'll know for sure who's going just be a pretender and an also-ran, and who's gonna really solidify their spot in the most competitive part of the television landscape. If I was betting, I'd say Fallon, Colbert and Wilmore will earn their crowns, or at least, a permanent spot in the King's Court of Jesters, and just to remind everyone, I've been betting pretty well on this, so far.


You know it's a weird fucking day when it's August, and we're talking about the Golden Globes of all fucking things, but they actually did, unbelievably as that sounds, do something interesting and somewhat relevant, and it doesn't even involve Tina Fey, Amy Poehler or Ricky Gervais. As the Emmy continue to quickly approach, the Globes decided to step out in front of the Emmys for once, and make a determination on the recent controversies regarding whether a series is a miniseries or a regular series. I've written about this a few times, most recently specifically writing a letter to the Academy's Executive Committee and Board of Directors; that post is below:

Well, I didn't write to the Hollywood Foreign Press, 'cause I didn't really give a damn what they did, but they did exactly what I told the Academy to do, and not let shows simply decide what categories they can compete in, and instead they've changed the definitions. The Miniseries category, will now be called "Limited Series", instead, so as to make it more clear which shows belong in which category. They've given a specific definition as well: To quote

"Limited series is defined as a program with two or more episodes with a total running time of at least 150 program minutes that tells "a complete, non-recurring story." A Drama Series, on the other hand, is defined as a series with an on-going theme, storyline or main characters," with continuity of those features as well as of title and production supervision "from year to year."

Basically, they've become the ones that have officially declared "True Detective" as well as several other shows like "American Horror Story" and other anthology dramas as a "Limited Series", and not as a drama series. They did be clarifying the rules, and also by bringing back the term "Limited Series", which by the way, they didn't invent. In fact, the Emmys used the term "Limited Series", instead of miniseries, a practice they stopped back in '85. (TV movies were also generally called "Specials" for awhile too.) Of course, the term "miniseries was around before then, but this was a way to distinguish between "Columbo" and "McCloud" from "Roots" and "The Thorn Birds". (Shows like that, were essentially one-offs, like a TV movie today, but the networks actually aired them in something you don't see much today in the original form called a rotating schedule, where, one week it'd be "Columbo", the next week, "McCloud", the next week, "McMillan and Wife", etc. etc. and they wanted to place them into miniseries, as opposed to a drama series, 'cause the number of episodes per year, and the length of an episode more closely approximated a miniseries. Not quite, considered their own separate TV movies, but they didn't exactly have enough to form a complete category for them yet either) This was also back when the traditional-style "Anthology" series like "The Twilight Zone", "The Outer Limits" or "Love, American Style", more naturally fit into drama or comedy series category than the ones we have today. It's the name-changed however that's the story, (And frankly, I actually hate the term "Limited Series"; I don't think that's as accurate a representation of these shows as "miniseries" are) but they've done what the Emmys have really failed to do, and that's determine what categories the televisions show are as opposed to letting the producers of the show, submit the show into whatever category they strategically feel is most beneficial to them. Yeah, there's obvious subjectivity to some of these decisions, but that should still be in the hands of the Academy, or in this case, the Foreign Press. That's the key, taking this out of the hands of the shows, especially since there are so many subjective and debatable ones now, and possibly more on the way, take it out of their hands. So, I guess, kudos to, the Hollywood Foreign Press, for, uh-, being the ones to, I don't know, force them to- I don't know, just kudos to them for-eh, deciding to do that, and hopefully inspire the Academy to do the same.

(NOTE: Oh, also-eh, they determine that animated films that originate in a foreign language are eligible in the-eh, animation category. I think, is that right? Ah, who cares. Something about animation and foreign languages and something.)


It's not particularly unusual to hear about a studio, possibly closing it's doors, that's usually a rumor that's associated with pretty much every studio at one point or another, but when Studio Ghibli seemed to be making the announcement, this one felt different. Lucky, while the alarm is certainly sounding off, it might not be so bad, as Ghibli's official stance is that they're simply taking a break from producing films in order to focus on a restructure, in light of Hayao Miyazaki's latest retirement. Well, the "closure announcement" of the stupid, seems to be a bit premature and Toshio Suzuki has promised they'll reopen and even that "maybe", being the keyword, Miyazaki will come back and possibly work on a couple short films for Ghibli's museum and possibly work on other projects. True, Miyazaki has retired more often than Brett Favre and he continues to keep coming back, but that said, he's seemed more serious this time, and frankly, I gotta be honest, I'm not feeling it. I think the nail's coming in, and you know, hopefully I'm wrong, 'cause Studio Ghibli has just produced some of the most amazing films of the last thirty years. Even Disney regards the work of Studio Ghibli to be the premiere animation studio in the world, and more than anybody else,- there aren't too many studios out there, that really represent quality and have such a distinctive look and feel about their work. It's mostly animation studios frankly, Pixar, and Studio Ghibli, and Disney to a certain extent where you know you're gonna get a certain kind of product, a certain level of quality and in this a continuously high level of quality- Once upon a time, I think you could distinctly tell the difference between a Paramount film and a United Artist or a Columbia film, etc. Studio Ghibli you knew their product the second you saw it, and you also knew they were only gonna give us films of the highest quality. It's a sad day if they don't survive through this. I'll be watching "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Princess Mononoke", and "Spirited Away" and "The Secret World of Arrietty", and "Pom Poko", all these great films for a long long time, as will most all of us. I think somebody will take the mantle, hopefully, if Ghibli doesn't make it through this, and they're legacy will continue on, but if the worst case happens, thankfully, they've produced a nearly 30-year legacy of some of the greatest films of all-time, and have probably more than anybody are responsible for the growth and popularity of Japanese anime spreading out worldwide. I mean, it wasn't that long ago that most people when asked about Japanese animation probably thought about "Speed Racer" and "Hello, Kitty", Studio Ghibli played the biggest role of anybody for changing that perspective. Well, something to keep an eye on.

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