A don't tase me, bro t-shirt, and another don't tase me, bro t-shirt. (context)

There is nothing on the web better than lolsecretz.

Slate has a TV week series, including a slideshow on the history of the laugh track (previously) and a piece on TV character blogs. I've never gotten into these, though I do follow Xander Harris's Twitterstream.

The first ep of this season's Friday Night Lights is streaming at Yahoo TV, but I want to wait to watch it on a real TV. We'll see how patient I can be.

Here's a blog profile of composer Evan Lurie, formerly of the Lounge Lizards and now a key contributor to The Backyardigans, the brilliant children's program on Nick/Noggin that has a different style of music for each episode.

Boing Boing links to a 60 Minutes segment from 1978 about video piracy, including an interview with the late Jack Valenti. How little has changed in 30 years in the way the mainstream press approaches this kind of story. YouTube: part one, part two.

And Back to You is the first show of the new TV season that has surprised me. It's reminiscent of so many old faves, and not just Cheers and Frasier. The newsroom-family is reminiscent of MTM and Murphy Brown and the rapport between the leads is in the Moonlighting and Will & Grace tradition. Maybe part of what I like about it is the positive associations, but the talent is certainly there. In addition to its writing and performances, one thing in particular that I admire is that it has long scenes, something you rarely find in TV of any genre these days (some cable dramas are exceptions, though not The Sopranos). I hope this is a sign of a trend reversing itself. The traditional sit-com is a form that works, and it has a lot of life left in it.


Jason Mittell said...

I'm with you on both Backyardigans & Back to You (will the savvy texters start calling it B2U?). And I'd like to be with you on FNL, but have yet to catch the first season. Here's the question - how problematic would it be to dive into s2 without having seen s1? I'm assuming it's not got a Lost-esque puzzle narrative, but will there likely be material discussed in s2 that would seriously spoil s1 (a la Veronica Mars or BSG), or is it more just accrual of character backstory that I'll miss & can fill in later, more like Six Feet Under or The OC? We need your televisual advice!

michael z newman said...

Hey Jason. I would start watching FNL with s2 if I were you and fill in s1 later if you like the show. I have started lots of TV in the middle (e.g., Buffy) and never really minded that much that I was missing the backstory, which I figured out eventually anyway. And this one in particular looks like it will be different in s2 than s1: the coach has left HS for a college job, he and the wife have a baby, the wheelchair-bound former QB is now a coach. The creators would be dumb to write s2 in such a way that would alienate new viewers, since it needs people like you to stay on the air. And if you watch when it's on you can be part of the conversation about it, which I think you would agree is much of the fun of television.