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Having watched the Oscars and read everyone's thoughts on FB and dished with [livejournal.com profile] bex77, I think I have figured out what the problem is: The Oscars producers think that their job is to put on a show, in which the awards happen.

So every year we're presented with a variety show. A comedian, some song & dance numbers, a few skits, some pretty girls and boys, spectacular sets--and some awards, with awkward thank yous from people who mostly never appear in public without a script.

That's not what I want to see. It's not clear to me that's what anyone wants to see. Here's what I would do as the Oscar producer:
- a five-minute opening monologue focusing on the great movies that have been made this year, not tearing people down or joking about people who aren't there, leading into a montage of all the Best Picture nominees at once--actually, I'd go back to five BP nominees and try showing clips of any movie that received some cut off number of votes, to represent more clearly the scope of the industry's output
- performances of all the Best Song nominees in 3-minute slots
- use the Best Score nominees as filler music, with onscreen titles explaining what they are
- keep the In Memoriam montage, with a live song *during* the montage
- presentation of all awards other than the Actors, Director, Music (only because of the performance aspect) and Movies at one other event shown in to/from commercial montages throughout the evening--these awards are important and interesting to some portions of the audience, but not great television simply because the recipients are not performers
- make the Nominees' Luncheon a charity affair, let the Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient choose the charity it goes to and have the honor of announcing the amount onstage in the main ceremony and talk about the work being done with the stars' money
- have exactly two presenters for each award
- present one award between each set of commercials--with the Hersholt and In Memoriam, I think that leaves us with 15 "events" which is 2.5 hours of 10-minute segments
- encourage substantive, prepared thank you speeches on the theme of "what was it like to make this movie"--I might even try doing it in interview format, with nominees getting to select in advance the two or three questions they want to answer, leaving it to the host's discretion vis-a-vis time as to how many are asked, so that there is control, but not rudeness
- end the evening by having all award recipients, whether received onstage or not, rise for a round of applause
- be done by 11pm at the very latest

I'd watch that.
lillibet: (Default)
From this week's Entertainment Weekly:

The Must List
8. HIT & MISS - On this unique U.K. series debuting July 11, Chloë Sevigny gives a bold performance as a transgender contract killer who unexpectedly inherits a family after her ex-girlfriend dies. (DirecTV, Wednesdays, 10 p.m.)
lillibet: (Default)
Jason and I finally watched the first episode of Game of Thrones last night, HBO's series based on the first book of George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series.

I have read the first four books of the series--they're promising the fifth one soon, but they've been promising that for a while and, as Neil Gaiman famously said, George R.R. Martin is not my bitch, so I'll just believe it when I hold #5 in my paws. A woman I would otherwise call a friend gave me the first three and I foolishly assumed that it was a trilogy. It's a good series--the world is well-built and the plotting is intricate. Almost too intricate at times, but Martin has been quoted as saying that after writing for television for years he wanted enjoy the freedom of the novel and write something absolutely unfilmable.

HBO's decision to bring this work to television has been somewhat controversial. HBO's head honcho himself said that he's never been interested in the fantasy genre, but that he'd learned from the experience of True Blood that if you film a cult favorite with respect, giving it a reasonable budget and recruiting quality actors and creative staff, its fans will flock to you and bring their friends. I'm delighted when decision makers actually listen to their data (as opposed to all the ones who express surprise every single time adult women go to a movie) and I've been looking forward to seeing Game of Thrones since it was announced over a year ago.

Not all reviewers were as eager. In fact, this show produced more vitriol than I've seen in quite a while. Gina Bellafante at the New York Times wrote this sexist rant, accusing the creators of the show of being "cheaters" for daring to stray out of the "realistic" canon. And Troy Patterson titled his review--if you can dignify it with that title--"Quasi-Medieval, Dragon-Ridden Fantasy Crap" and then declared that to be a technical term. In both cases, the reviewers seemed deeply offended that anyone might enjoy watching such a thing, much less spend money to make it.

So what did I think of the first episode? It's a beautiful production, without shying away from the realities of people living close to their food sources in warrior culture. The acting is first rate, which is no surprise given the cast. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister is the cream of the crop, but everyone's giving it their A game. Harry Lloyd, as Viserys, is a marvelously evil twit. My biggest question is Lena Headley as Cersei--she is a bit more sardonic and less innocently evil than I would have chosen for the role--but I'm willing to see how she plays it out.

My biggest question is whether I needed to see a dramatization of these books at all. In the books, much of the action is told from the childrens' perspective, while the show takes a more omniscient approach. This has several ripple effects. For one, characters that were extremely sympathetic from their own point of view become more obnoxious at a distance--this is particularly noticeable with Sansa (who is now more obviously a child, not just an overbearing elder sister) and Arya (who really is a little pest, even if she has a good heart). Secondly, the innocence of the child's perspective--where even objectively horrible events are no scarier than the boogey man--is lost to my own more adult horror at the things happening to them. This is not a pretty fantasy, where good battles evil and wins every time. And that can be hard to watch sometimes, especially when you know what's coming.

Five-Oh

Nov. 1st, 2010 11:43 pm
lillibet: (Default)
We just watched tonight's episode and the ending left me thinking...

Click for spoilers )

Five-Oh

Nov. 1st, 2010 11:43 pm
lillibet: (Default)
We just watched tonight's episode and the ending left me thinking...

Click for spoilers )
lillibet: (Default)
So there's this new show starting next week called Under Covers. It's another J.J. Abrams creation, about a couple of former spies who are thrust back into the espionage world after a few years of married life out of the game. The main characters are African-American, which is somewhat groundbreaking--I saw a quote from one of the actors acknowledging that they're "The Cosbys of the action-adventure genre".

Here's the thing that's interesting to me: neither of the actors playing the main characters are African-American. Boris Kodjoe was born in Vienna and raised in Germany, while Gugu Mbatha-Raw is from the UK.
lillibet: (Default)
So there's this new show starting next week called Under Covers. It's another J.J. Abrams creation, about a couple of former spies who are thrust back into the espionage world after a few years of married life out of the game. The main characters are African-American, which is somewhat groundbreaking--I saw a quote from one of the actors acknowledging that they're "The Cosbys of the action-adventure genre".

Here's the thing that's interesting to me: neither of the actors playing the main characters are African-American. Boris Kodjoe was born in Vienna and raised in Germany, while Gugu Mbatha-Raw is from the UK.
lillibet: (Default)
Tonight we watched the pilot of Rizzoli & Isles. Having been fans of The Women's Murder Club--the short-lived victim of the writers' strike, based on the series by James Patternson--this was a major case of dejá vu. As Jason said at one point, this was some mighty sincere flattery.

Minor spoilers behind the cut )

We like Angie Harmon--although it's really time for her to look for roles as something other than a feisty-yet-vulnerable cop--so we'll probably stick around for a little while and see if they come up with anything we didn't see a few seasons back.
lillibet: (Default)
Tonight we watched the pilot of Rizzoli & Isles. Having been fans of The Women's Murder Club--the short-lived victim of the writers' strike, based on the series by James Patternson--this was a major case of dejá vu. As Jason said at one point, this was some mighty sincere flattery.

Minor spoilers behind the cut )

We like Angie Harmon--although it's really time for her to look for roles as something other than a feisty-yet-vulnerable cop--so we'll probably stick around for a little while and see if they come up with anything we didn't see a few seasons back.
lillibet: (Default)
Jason and I watched the season finale of Treme tonight.

No spoilers, just impressions )

I haven't wept for a television character's pain in years, but tonight I was there, more than once. And yet this is not a sad show--there is great joy and creativity and energy amid the destruction and grief and frustration. This is a beautiful work of art and I am so glad that I can share in it.
lillibet: (Default)
Jason and I watched the season finale of Treme tonight.

No spoilers, just impressions )

I haven't wept for a television character's pain in years, but tonight I was there, more than once. And yet this is not a sad show--there is great joy and creativity and energy amid the destruction and grief and frustration. This is a beautiful work of art and I am so glad that I can share in it.

TV Thoughts

Apr. 3rd, 2010 11:23 am
lillibet: (Default)
Gosh, I seem to be posty all of a sudden.

We've just finished the second season of the UK version of Life on Mars and I'm very curious what other people thought about the ending. A question for people who've seen it. )

I don't watch The Tudors, but I read about it and see pictures in EW. I'm pretty familiar with the history of that era and I've just been reading a meticulously researched mystery series set in that time. While I love Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and can certainly understand that people would rather watch an attractive guy than a disgusting one, it seems to me--from this distance--that the show is really changing the historical dynamic by the inaccuracy of his portrayal. By the point that Henry VIII married Catherine Howard (where the show is this season), the king was grossly fat, no longer able to ride, and had a suppurating ulcer in one leg that generated an appalling smell. Observers mourned the fate of a man once called the best athlete in Europe and many were horrified to think of that aging pile atop a seventeen year old girl, although there was also much speculation that the king was impotent by that time. As I say, I haven't watched the show, but based on, for example this video, he may be limping, but Rhys-Meyers' Henry is hardly a disgusting ruin of a once-able man.

TV Thoughts

Apr. 3rd, 2010 11:23 am
lillibet: (Default)
Gosh, I seem to be posty all of a sudden.

We've just finished the second season of the UK version of Life on Mars and I'm very curious what other people thought about the ending. A question for people who've seen it. )

I don't watch The Tudors, but I read about it and see pictures in EW. I'm pretty familiar with the history of that era and I've just been reading a meticulously researched mystery series set in that time. While I love Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and can certainly understand that people would rather watch an attractive guy than a disgusting one, it seems to me--from this distance--that the show is really changing the historical dynamic by the inaccuracy of his portrayal. By the point that Henry VIII married Catherine Howard (where the show is this season), the king was grossly fat, no longer able to ride, and had a suppurating ulcer in one leg that generated an appalling smell. Observers mourned the fate of a man once called the best athlete in Europe and many were horrified to think of that aging pile atop a seventeen year old girl, although there was also much speculation that the king was impotent by that time. As I say, I haven't watched the show, but based on, for example this video, he may be limping, but Rhys-Meyers' Henry is hardly a disgusting ruin of a once-able man.
lillibet: (Default)
I have a guess about True Blood. If I'm right, it would constitute a spoiler. Or it's possible that it's completely obvious. So, if you watch the show and you don't mind a guess, click away.

Possible spoiler )
lillibet: (Default)
I have a guess about True Blood. If I'm right, it would constitute a spoiler. Or it's possible that it's completely obvious. So, if you watch the show and you don't mind a guess, click away.

Possible spoiler )

Castle

Apr. 28th, 2009 02:06 am
lillibet: (Default)
Jason and I have been very much enjoying Castle, Nathan Fillion's new show on ABC. For those not watching, he plays Richard Castle, a very successful crime novelist who tags along with an NYPD detective and her team. While there are flaws (do they have to explain every single joke?) we've liked it enough to keep watching and generally find his character well balanced as a likable-jerk type.

But in tonight's episode... )

Castle

Apr. 28th, 2009 02:06 am
lillibet: (Default)
Jason and I have been very much enjoying Castle, Nathan Fillion's new show on ABC. For those not watching, he plays Richard Castle, a very successful crime novelist who tags along with an NYPD detective and her team. While there are flaws (do they have to explain every single joke?) we've liked it enough to keep watching and generally find his character well balanced as a likable-jerk type.

But in tonight's episode... )
lillibet: (Default)
On Entertainment Weekly's Must List this week is the following entry:

#7 TRUE BLOOD supporting cast Suck it, vamps. Humans like combustible Tara (Rutina Wesley), "fangbanger" Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), and himbo Jason (Ryan Kwanten) truly give the HBO series its bite.

Several of you have probably heard me waxing rhapsodic about the acting on this show. Yeah, yeah, the leads are fine, but what's going on in the background is really compelling. The one that makes me catch my breath almost every time she's on screen is Adina Porter. She plays Tara's mama, Lettie Mae, with a power and vulnerability that is awe-inspiring. We spend so much time, as human beings, keeping up appearances, trying to appear strong and together and rational. Seeing someone strip themselves of all that and take on the role of a complete wreck of a human being...it's sometimes painful to watch, but I can't take my eyes away. The others EW mentions are all excellent, too, and I'm pleased that they are getting some attention.

Of course, this probably means the show is doomed to cancellation.

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