CW Greenlights Smallville 9th Season

smallville1I know, I can’t believe I’m saying it, especially the vast difference in coming into season 8 from season 7–and I was definitely among those who thought a season 8 was a mistake–fans, we have a season 9!  It’s official.  From the CW press release:

Also renewed were the network’s established Thursday team of SMALLVILLE, in its ninth season, and SUPERNATURAL, which after posting ratings growth this season, will enter its fifth season next year.

Check out Kryptonsite.com for more details, but I’m hoping we’ll see flights and tights with this news. If the new producers can keep the stories going strong as they have for this season, and bring us into a finish with season 9, I think I can forgive all mistakes and still call this one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen and definitely one of the best renditions of Superman we’ve ever seen (if not the best).

Congratulations Smallville, and keep your fingers crossed for a great finish to season 8, and a great finish to the series in season 9.

Pushing Daisies Cancelled??!!?

It’s not like this was unexpected, but HONESTLY ABC what are you thinking???  Pushing Daisies has got to be one of the most original and refreshing shows out there.  The “Oh, Oh, Oh… It’s Magic” episode was one of the more brilliant ones aired as of yet, but rather than give Daisies the proper time to grow its fanbase, they’ve decided to give it the axe.

So what can you do, aside from crying and posting on the ABC forums how much you hate them a million times?  Organized effort is better (see Jericho and CBS), and there’s a website organizing the fans.  Click on the picture below to find where you can sign a petition to keep it on the air, how to complain to ABC, and how to tell WB that they should simply move Daisies to a better network. The e-mails don’t take you very long, and if all the fans work together someone’s got to take notice.  Maybe we won’t get it back on ABC, but a new network continuing our show is better than complete cancellation.

Do your best fellow Daisies fan, and let’s not let this show die, at least not without a big fight!

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Doctor Who Season 3: Same Doctor, new cast

dr_who_tennant_narrowweb__300x4300I’m excited for season 4 to finally be released on DVD, and in honor of its release, a long overdue review of season three is here.  First of all SPOILER ALERT.  I’d suggest you start with season one to make your decision of yay or nay on the Doctor.  Anyways, you’ve been warned.

All right, could there be anything more heart-wrenching than the forced separation for good of the Doctor and Rose?  Seriously, the end of season two was a little hard for watching, and I was super sad to see Billie Piper go.  It doesn’t seem like this show can hold onto its cast, but I still love it.  Interestingly enough, while most shows will soon forget a cast member they say goodbye to, I really appreciate the Doctor actually dealing with the loss of Rose on the show.  Even Captain Jack gets in on the sorrow.  So in that aspect, an appreciated move for the season.

martha-jonesWho is the new assistant following the Doctor around this time?  Introducing Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), who was introduced to the Doctor in a great time travel way.  (Seriously, this show has the time travel thing down without overdoing it.  Maybe Heroes creators should take notes).  I, like Martha, was also puzzled by the way the Doctor approached Martha in the beginning of the first episode, but as usual it becomes clear.  Martha is intelligent, fun, and witty, and a doctor herself–at least almost, medically speaking.

This season holds some of the best episodes of the rebooted series.  Once again, it’s hard to play favorites with these, but here we go:

THE SHAKESPEARE CODE
Some gentle cracks at Shakespeare, but the best part for me was the Harry Potter crack at the very end of the episode.  It makes the whole episode and it’s worth watching just for that.

s3gridlockGRIDLOCK
The Doctor and Martha go to the underbelly of New New York City, but everything seems to have gone wrong.  It was an interesting, whether intended or not, examination of when to question authority or the situation.  The citizens have been driving around in circles and police aren’t available, but they’re content to keep on driving.  I suppose a reason I love Doctor Who is the philosophical questions it poses and most of the time makes you come up with your own conclusions.

HUMAN NATURE & THE FAMILY OF BLOOD
The Doctor turns human for awhile to hide from “The Family” and Martha, feeling mostly slighted by the Doctor most of the time anyways, feels ultimately slighted when he falls in love with a human.  Plus I just really liked the ending narration from the family after the Doctor comes and takes care of the problem.  Also a great episode to set us up for the big upcoming villain.

angelsBLINK
Wibbley-wobbley, timey wimey.  One of Steven Moffat’s best in my opinon, Blink does well as an episode without but about the Doctor–for the most part.  Most of the time when shows do an episode kind of discluing their main character, they suck, and we wonder why they just didn’t take a week off.  This is not even close to that case.  The whole timey wimey-ness of time travel and the space time continuum story telling is at its best with killer stone angel statues and cleverness from the Doctor.

UTOPIA et al.
The Master proved a great villain in the last three eps of the season and the Doctor the ultimate hero, and a bit more of a Christ-type in this episode.  (Sorry religious haters).  Able to forgive and continue to love, the last of the timelords is truly great and proven so in these episodes.  I also like the presented philosophy that an idea can be a more powerful thing than all the armies on the earth.  Good stuff, but also sad.  Like I said, this show has trouble holding onto its cast.  Luckily in exchange for one cast member we gain a familiar face and thus my excitement for season four.

Yeah, I probably could find season four on the internet somewhere, but I want quality viewing when it comes to the Doctor, so next week is soon enough for me.

In other super sad news, for those that didn’t know, it’s official that David Tennant will be stepping down as the Doctor, though he’ll be making a few specials in 2009.

I really don’t know if I can get myself attached to yet another new Doctor, but when the new Doctor hits DVD I’ll give the first few eps a look and let you all know if it’s worthwhile or not.  Either way, we got 3 1/2-ish good seasons out of Tennant, and as far as I’m concerned, my favorite Doctor of them all.

Somebody Surprised Me: Smallville Continues

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Finally!  Investigative reporter emerges.

Finally! Investigative reporter emerges.

I’m a die-hard fan of Smallville, but if you read my previous article, well, I just want things to come to an end before they become terrible.  I was not happy about an eighth season making its debut.  Let’s face it, there were some pretty good moments in the last couple of seasons, and I did like the Supergirl story at times, but mostly it was stink–at least in comparison to what the show used to be.

Keeping them unders finally under, nice suit!

Keeping them unders finally under, nice suit!

How do I feel now that we’re seven episodes into the eighth season?  Shocked and amazed, but in a good way.

I kept asking myself, Dee, why is it you’re sticking with Smallville?  Is it your undying adoration for the man in blue?  Well, why was it I was ready to call it quits on Smallville in the first place?  I think we can all point to the fatal flaw, which is: Lana.  Hey, it’s nothing on Kristin Kreuk and her abilities, the Clana storyline was tired 3 seasons ago.  When I heard Kristin would not continue to be a regular, I said ‘hooray’ and shed a little tear hearing the same about Michael.  However, I don’t think any of us could have anticipated the breath of fresh air a cast shake-up would do for the show.

Now, though I’m still a little hesitant to fully proclaim it: I love this show again!  Clark has finally moved to Metropolis and about time.  I’m glad the producers finally took the show to where it needed to be, because Smallville (the town, not the show) was a tired place with tired plots.

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Ever feel like we're destined to do this every week?

Instead of the boy who would be Superman we get to see the young man becoming Superman and it works.  (And having the Green Arrow and some Justice League members frequent doesn’t hurt either).  Plus we have the we-know-it-isn’t-doomed-from-the-beginning relationship budding between Clark and Lois.

And can I just say Erica Durance makes my favorite Lois thusfar?  She’s perfect.  Honestly, can we get the movie producers to take a look at what Smallville’s done for Superman and leave the Bryan Singer yoga Supes out of it from now on?

Anyways, apparently Lana is making an appearance for a few eps and she and Clark will kiss (spew), but I’m hoping these episodes prove we jumped the shark on that relationship long ago and it’s time for Clark to move forward with Lois.

Hey, the disguise still works.

Hey, the disguise still works.

I really, really, really want to see him get into a suit, and if the above photo is the concept, I’m all over that.  They figured out how to get Bruce to stop wearing his underwear on the outside, why not the man of steel?

I’m a huge spoilers gal, so if you’re like me and want the poop, the scoop, etc. head on over to Kryptonsite.com They do an excellent job of keeping us up to date on Smallville show happenings with photos, spoilers and episode recaps.  Plus they have a pretty decent little Heroes site if you’re interested in more things superhero.

"Chloe, you're braniac!"  "Whoa, Clark! Save that for later in the season!"

"Chloe, you're braniac!" "Whoa, Clark! Save that for later in the season."

Well done to the producers and execs over at the CW.  I didn’t think keeping Smallville going was a wise idea, but it turned out to work great–and is likely the one thing keeping that poor network afloat.  Can we get a petition going to see Clark fly this season?  Anyone?

Hulu and Online Viewing: Way of the Future

Some of you may not know of the Hulu.com and I pity you, though some of you may not know how to do more than check your e-mail, so it’s understandable (and amazing that you’re here reading this if that’s true).  So, what is Hulu.com?

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Quite possibly the greatest online viewing site of all time (and it’s legit too).  Sure, you have to watch maybe 30 second ads every now and again, but hey, you’re not stealing and it’s at your convenience.  Why is Hulu so great?  Well, let’s take a look at the options.

youtube_logo3-croppedYouTube: Well, the quality is often not great, and finding your fav TV show is tough and usually in parts, since youtube is not sponsored by the networks.  Hulu is and in better quality.

divx_logoDownloading Divx: Well, aside from it being participating in pirating, it takes time and HD space.  The quality factor is good, waiting isn’t.  Plus if you only have internet access to a public computer, its likely you won’t be able to watch.

Network Sites: This is actually a decent (and often required) option, now that online viewing is the way of the future.  All the major networks are in on it now, even the lil CW.  So, from worst to best, the network sites.

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PROS: You don’t have to try and find a version of it somewhere on the internet.  The player is so, so.

CONS: The player is so, so.  All you can do is go full screen (which isn’t true full screen, more of a kind of bigger option) or watch it in its lil window.  Post time, at least for Smallville, is sluggish.  Other networks have it up for you the morning after, the CW when they get to it, but at least before the next episode.  Also, they’re among the first to take old episodes down (meaning older eps from the current season).  You’d think for being a “struggling” network they’d jump on the digital bandwagon quicker.  No CC.  No Hulu.

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PROS: They’ve got good quality and HD options.  Plus you can chat as you watch (I think they’re the only one offering that option), and discuss the show with other fans.  I don’t watch many CBS shows, so not sure about the posting time.

CONS: If you don’t want to watch it full screen, there are no size options.  And much like the CW, small it has to be in the site’s window, and with lighter colors around it (you’ll see why that’s less good with the next networks).  No CC.  No Hulu.

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PROS: Like CBS, they have a standard and HD option.  They also have a sort of pop out video player, which is less distracting than the CW/CBS options, and it dims out the background while you’re watching.  CC available. Posting time is decent, usually next day late morning, sometimes later…

CONS: You’ve got to download stuffs to get the player to work, though it’s only a one-time thing.  The ads are short, but you have to click to continue, which is obnoxious if you’re watching on your PC hooked up to your TV.  Lastly, and this is a small thing, but the video will occasionally start off in youtube-ish quality until the pixels align with the stars–or for whatever reason become clearer.  No Hulu.

Overall, though, a pretty good player.

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PROS: An actual dim lights option, all though the background isn’t all that distracting.  Boasts only HD viewing.  Looks like CC is planned for the future, but not available yet (at least not for Fringe).  Posting has been early to late mornings most of the time.  Hulu poster.

CONS: Not many.  I’d like to adjust the size, instead of just small and full screen.  I occasionally have lag troubles with the player, but it’s not often.

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nbc-logo

If there were no Hulu, I’d look to NBC to lead the digital future.  They’ve been on the ball with getting their content online, both on their site and elsewhere.  I think the majority of clips I watch online are NBC related (well, SNL).  Not only do they have a good player, they also let Hulu show most (if not all) of their content, and they’ve let Netflix Instaview post Heroes: Season Three.  I think NBC is the company that’s getting it.  Give the people what they want and they’ll keep coming back to you.  As for the player:

PROS: Gives you a few sizes options as well as full screen.  Background isn’t distracting.  It’s easy to find episodes.  They post in the early a.m. and as I recall before everyone jumped on the digital bandwagon, was among the first to have quality streaming.  You can even select chapters of episodes (although I suppose you can just click on the buttons on the timeline, the thought is nice, like a DVD). Hulu poster.

CONS: Not many.  I suppose the inability to pop-out, and that the player has occasionally been finicky, but all in all a good player.  No CC.

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netflix01Netflix was a toss up for me to include in the list.  It is streaming some shows (Heroes, Jericho) along with the season now, and has probably been one of the biggest proponents of online viewing, yet its variety is still somewhat lacking.  I’m hoping their player will continue to improve (whatever happened to the player they expo’d in 2007 with all its sweet features), but as it stands they aren’t the favored place to watch recent clips.  Still, I’m in it for the DVDs, so bonus online content is just that: a bonus.

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Again, why is Hulu.com so great?

You’ve got SD and 480p options (at least 720p would be nice), dim lights, sharing, embedding, and my favorite, the pop-out.  I may want to catch up on my favorite shows while doing other things on my computer, and I like having a resizable window at my disposal.  Related clips are easy to find, you can rate and comment on episodes, and you’ve got sorting options (popular, recently added, etc.)

And I’ve really just been discussing TV.  They’ve got a library of movies, older TV shows, and tons of video clips.  Want to watch an SNL clip in better quality than youtube?  Well, thank NBC and Hulu, because now you can.  So while I’m grateful to these networks for making decent players, I like the Hulu standard best of them all.  Plus, it’s the most user friendly.  (No extra software, at least if you keep up your flash player).

Of course, Hulu wouldn’t be Hulu without those networks and companies that support it.  So another thanks again to NBC for getting what this new generation of viewers wants and giving it to us.  Check out Hulu.com now, you’re bound to love it!

TV Ratings: Nielsen You’re Old School

What is it that makes network execs decide to keep or cancel a show?  Ratings.  If the ratings aren’t high then potentially the show isn’t getting watch enough and if not enough are watching, advertisers would rather spend their money elsewhere.

Basically, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  We may enjoy the major networks for free, but advertisers foot the bill and if they don’t think they’re reaching enough of us, they pull their money and in turn shows get pulled.

How are these ratings determined?  A company called Nielsen Media Research places boxes in houses or has viewers keep diaries on what they’re watching.  This may have worked 10 years ago, and though Nielsen is making an effort to see what’s recorded on DVR to be watched later, the new generation of TV watchers doesn’t watch like they used to.  Now with streaming video online (often as good as or much better than SD) as well as DVR, the face of viewing has changed.

I think for a lot of us, if ratings were determined on us actually being at home and sitting on our couches watching when the show aired (which they are), a lot of shows would get canceled (and they have been).  I watch Heroes, Fringe, Pushing Daisies, Dexter, and Smallville currently (add 24 and BSG when they’re on).  But due to my schedule, I’m rarely ever present at home when these shows air.  It was either record for later, or my current preferred method, watch it online the next day.

If I had a Nielsen box in my home, ratings contribution would be low.

With the digital age comes the technology to watch everything on demand (at least after the TV premiere), or later on DVD, because that’s the way a lot of us prefer it.  I suppose I bring this up because I know Pushing Daisies hasn’t been doing well as far as Nielsen is concerned, but I know a lot of people who watch it, and those who do are avid fans.

So are the networks even comparing the online numbers?  True, people could be rewatching vids the next day, but looking at the hugely popular Hulu.com doesn’t it click with the execs that we’re hardly the audience who will be sitting down at the time they demand?

We do have to give credit to a part of the online appeal being less commercials, but for me if it came down to having my favorite show canceled and upping the commercial time online, I’d take more commercial time.

Nielsen, currently you are old school.  And networks, the new generation doesn’t want it when you decide to give it to them, they want it when they want it.  I think once they get it, they can start gaining their money another way, and we can keep our shows.

Anyways, keep your fingers crossed for Pushing Daisies.

Netflix Instant5 (Oct6)

What is the Instant5?  It’s five recommendations I make for wasting time and more importantly getting your money’s worth out of your Netflix subscription.  Let’s be honest: the way Netflix has it set up now is only “sorta kinda” helpful in finding something to view.  So without further ado:

THIS WEEK’S Instant5

1. Inspector Gadget

No, fortunately not the Disney film of the same name with Matthew Broderick.  This is the original animated series, which should please nostalgic ’80s cartoon fans such as myself.  This is volume one of the series which includes all 22 episodes of that volume for your instant viewing pleasure.  There is no volume two in the US as of yet, although there are rumors of a 25th anniversary collection set, nothing is confirmed, but at least you can watch a better-than-youtube quality version of the first 22 eps.

2. The TV Set

Mac reviewed this movie not too long ago.  From Wiki: The plot follows an idealistic writer (David Duchovny) as he tries to navigate his TV pilot down the mine-laden path from script to production to the madness of prime-time scheduling – all while trying to stay true to his vision. Along the way he has to juggle the agendas of a headstrong network president (Weaver), volatile young stars, a pregnant wife and an ever-optimistic personal manager/agent (Greer).  I have not as of yet watched this, but now that it’s on Instant, it’s on the list.

3. Shut Up & Sing

Remember the Dixie Chicks?  I’m sure most think of their bigger-than-Jesus comment that flushed their career for a time.  To be honest, I don’t like the Dixie Chicks, still don’t, but I did enjoy the documentary because I felt like it was mostly honest about the event and how it did get blown out of proportion.  So love them or hate them, if you truly like to be informed this is worth a look.

4. The Shadow

The superhero from the old time radio comes to life via Alec Baldwin pre-annoying days.  It’s not like this is the epic superhero movie, but there was always something about The Shadow that appealed to me, and I love the Dick Tracy-like production design of the film.  I think it’s worth seeing once and now that it’s in instant I’ll probably see it a few times.

5. James and the Giant Peach

Ok, so it isn’t the Nightmare Before Christmas, but there’s still something about this show that I love.  Probably the stop-motion animation, probably Roald Dahl, I love this movie and I’m glad to see it on Instaview.  Good for kids, but there’s just some kind of magic in there that holds my appeal.

Under “genres” they have a new section called Starz Play which has added to the selection of Netflix instaview library tremendously.  I recommend looking under there for newer movies to see.  Until next time!