Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The End of the A-Team

Note: I was originally going to make this an entry entirely about what I really thought of each show, but then I realized that talking about how much I liked most of them made for a really boring entry. So I decided to make the whole entry about a single show that a lot of you are not cool enough to have seen have never even seen. I made the opinions on the shows into a seperate entry that you can find right below this one.

As a few of you may know, we at Island Television¹ will no longer be showing any syndicated programming after this week, and will be switching to mostly locally-based programming. The one exception is SAW Wrestling, because they let us air that² for free.

So thus ends my favorite part of the job: Getting to sit back and just watch the shows, the way nature intended. One of the shows that I'll miss the most is The A-Team. There just aren't enough shows that are so awesomely good and awesomely bad all at the same time. Nothing combined so much great action, memorable characters and theme music while simultaneously being awesomely dumb and the most formulaic show on TV since Scooby Doo. Seriously, one time we were preparing to shoot thehosted segments that go in-between the commercials and the pieces of episodes, and the following exchange occured:

Larry: What's the plot for this week's A-Team?
Me: (Reading) "A mob kingpin threatens a restaurant owner to sell out to him or be destroyed."
Larry: Wasn't that last week's episode?
Me: Nope, last week it was a coffee shop.

And it's even educational! Here are just a few things that I learned from watching it:
  • Once a stolen plane has left the ground, there is absolutely no way of pursuing it further, and everyone chasing it will give up.
  • If the mafia or a band of thugs is harassing you and your business, don't bother going to the police, just go directly to a group of people wanted for war crimes.
  • If you're finally captured after escaping from prison, years of resisting arrest, firing at military police and destroying things in order to get away, you will only be in trouble for your original crime.
  • An attacker who is knocked into water is absolutely, positively incapacitated and will not attempt to get back out and take another shot at you.
  • Mercenaries on the lam can allow reporters to tag along with them for months at a time and continually publish stories about them without fear of being captured. Also, the military will never think to find said reporters where they work and trace said mercenaries from there.
  • Even if you're wanted by the military for war crimes, nearly all of the public will automatically be on your side. This includes large corporate entities that have to keep up a pristine public image, like Carnival Cruise Lines.

And those are just the points that I picked up myself. You can find a much more complete list of valuable lessons from the A-Team here. Teachers take note!

Another great thing about this show is that after watching as many episodes as I have, I feel like I can write entire episodes by myself. All it needs is:

- An evil person of power such as a mob kingpin, drug lord or corrupt devloper attempting to extort the owners of a small business.

- The victims being screened by a disguised Hannibal.

- Murdock getting under B.A.'s skin.

- A good-looking woman who is in some way related to the victim. There will be chemistry between her and Face that will ultimately go nowhere.

- Lots of bullets will being fired, but no one ever getting hurt. Bad guys thrown through windows or out of helicopters conveniently fall into dumpsters or into the ocean.

- The A-Team disguising themselves to get inside the villain's lair and learn that there is actually a more nefarious reason behind their plot.

- Their cover blown, the heroes get locked inside a room that happens to include a blowtorch and a ton of metal objects that can be used as weapons.

- Hannibal extolling the virtues of a plan coming together.

See? What am I doing here? I should be in Hollywood writing episodes for major network shows!

I'm giving A-Team a pretty good sendoff; I had Joey and Larry extend its run to Friday (we were going to end all syndicated shows on the 31st), so I could show an episode that is considered one of the best. So yeah, if you happen to be living on the island, you should stay in Friday night and watch TV this week. This one actually breaks nearly every rule I've listed above. Shocking, I know.

Finally, you should watch this, because it's the most relevant, awesome, and nerdy thing you will see all day:

¹ Me.
² "Air" as in "dirty socks"

Out of Syndication

So I'm finally free to say what I really think of all the shows that I've been getting paid to watch for over a year now. However, my predecessor sometimes got way ahead on certain shows, so I barely ever got to watch them. But without further ado, here is my personal, thundering, take-no-prisoners, industry-insider's critique of every show that we aired:

Roseanne: Eh, it's OK.

Will & Grace: "Your shoes are ugly!" *Laughtrack* "Not as ugly as yours!" *More laughtrack, Repeat for 22 minutes* Bleh.

Baywatch: It kept having multi-part "dramatic" episodes where someone would get injured and have to summon the courage to get through rehab. I think one of the producers didn't understand why people watched this show.

The West Wing: I've actually been on the set of this show (no, really). Outside the studio, they had a sign listing all of the awards it had won. It was ten feet tall. They deserved every one. Too bad I didn't get to see more than a few episodes.

My Name is Earl: Funny, funny show. Works even better if you grew up around white trash in the South or elsewhere. And there's an episode that mentions American Samoa. Be sure to go back and watch every single episode until you've found it.

The Office: One of my current favorite shows on TV, and the only one we showed that's still making new episodes.

Everybody Loves Raymond: I actually almost never watched this show because my predecessor had ripped EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. It has nine seasons, we show them in order, and we're not going to get past season three. Yeah. She really liked that show.

Northern Exposure: Awesome, strange show. When someone moved here from New York City, my first reaction was to ask him if he had seen this show.

The A-Team: See most of this article.

MacGyver: I've been told that this one is even more awesomely cheesy than The A-Team. Tragically, it was one of the ones that my predecessor liked a lot and I only got to see a few episodes of. Oh well. At least you have this.

Walker, Texas Ranger: You know, after you get past the whole joke thing with the famous Chuck Norris Facts, this is actually a fairly dum-*POW!*

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Manuia le Christmasi!

Somewhere, an ASPA¹ manager is crying.

I filmed,² edited, and uploaded³ it all myself. And there's 6 more clips of it here on the station's YouTube channel. Don't say I never worked way too hard to give you something for Christmas.

¹The island's power company.

²Pretty difficult, considering that the whole display was about three shots wide, and that I never knew which section was going to light up next. I think that's why all the good Christmas light shows on YouTube can fit into a single static shot.

³As anyone living here can tell you, this was easily the hardest part, since the Internet connection is powered entirely by a single hamster wheel. And they couldn't find a hamster, so they used a gecko. And geckos don't move very much without motivation.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Blog Miniseries

Those of you old enough to remember when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, or maybe just that remake of The Prisoner last month will know that in the TV business we have something called a "miniseries." It's when a TV show, instead of having a full-length run of several years, is intentionally made with the short lifespan of a few episodes that shows get in lesser countries.

Here's a link to a blog miniseries of the wacky adventures of a few researchers who came here in 2005 to try and install stations for studying earthquakes or some other silly potentially lifesaving nonsense. At least one of them happens to be from a university that I totally visited once. I'm sure at least one of you has heard of that school.

Be sure to read the entry on Mt. Alava, which I finally got to hike this past weekend.

This should keep everyone happy while I work on another long blog entry talking about the aftermath of the tsunami. Not as long as the one on when the tsunami hit, but longer than those lousy entries where I just write a little bit and leave everyone a link.