“Let’s see what’s on Netflix” is a phrase becoming all the more common. It seems to be said more often that the traditional phrase “Let’s go to the movies.” More people than ever seem to be turning on the remote (or computer mouse) instead of going out to the movie theater. While the film industry has had several disappointments, TV seems to be thriving more than ever.
In 2013 Netflix released a slew of original programming including the political drama House of Cards, the Arrested Development comeback and the much-beloved women’s prison drama Orange is the New Black. Two of Netflix’s shows received Primetime Emmy Award nominations, a first for web syndicated television content.
With big-budget flicks disappointing and movie making becoming more riskier, TV seems to be a safe haven that many are flocking to.
Anna Faris: Launched to the spotlight after starring in the horror parody film Scary Movie, Faris had a good amount of films under her belt. In 2013 she shifted gears and accepted her first full-time television gig, playing a single mother with her recovering alcoholic mother in the CBS series Mom.
Kevin Bacon: No need to watch Footloose again, Kevin Bacon leads Fox’s thriller drama series The Following.
Kerri Washington: Known for her wide array of film credits, in 2012 Washington became the first African-American actress to lead a prime-time network series in 40 years. Scandal airs on Thursdays on ABC.
Olivia Pope finished her clean-up duties during the April 17th season finale of Scandal. Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano got together in The Mindy Project season finale. Jake Peralta went undercover at the end of Brooklyn-Nine-Nine’s season one. Everything is all wrapped up for network shows. Quality TV, however, doesn’t stop in May. A batch of new and returning shows are looking to capture TV fanatics.
Memorial Day weekend has happened and the summer TV season has *unofficially* started.
Under the Dome (CBS: June 30)
The show is based on Stephen King’s bestselling book of the same name. It centers on a mysterious clear dome that encases a small town. Trapped under the dome, the corruption and dirty secrets of the town start to come to light. The show has been criticized a bit for its sometimes overacting and writing. Nevertheless, with new and expanding storylines and a host of well-developed characters, it’s worthwhile to watch.
24: Live Another Day (FOX: Mondays 9/8c)
Okay so this show has already started, but it’s worthwhile to catch up on (via Hulu) and start watching new episodes. The limited 12 episode event is based on the popular TV show. The special limited event series can be enjoyed even without ever having watched 24.
The 12 episodes center on Jack Bauer, still a federal fugitive, is recruited by the CIA to assist in the investigation of a presidential assassination. He is promised amnesty in return for his cooperation. He’s Jack Bauer so he can pretty much do anything. One of the prominent badass heroes of television. He was popular…before TV even became super popular (if you get what I’m saying…). Anyways, digging deep into the investigation, Jack soon realizes that more is at stake than just a presidential assassination. The world…could be on the brink of war. No biggie, right? Jack’s up for the job.
If your dissatisfied with action movie selection this year/summer, Jack Bauer will surely pull you into the action TV landscape. As they say…Jack is back!
Orange is the New Black (Netflix: June 6th)
Everyone surely knows all about Orange is the New Black, right? The suprise hit series no one saw coming? A quick synopsis of this show doesn’t even do it justice. It’s one of those shows you just have to watch to see if its good…and it is. The dramedy prison set series centers on Piper Chapman, a woman who is given 15 months in prison for a drug money smuggling deal. Orange is the New Black is one of those shows that is very character driven (it centers on a different character every episode). It shows each of their motivations, desires, goals, and emotions. The gritty nature of prison drama is shown (albeit a little watered down). It’s one of those shows that really makes you think and feel for each of the characters. June 6th can’t come soon enough.
This isn’t a new show. It’s been off for a year now but continues to provide laughs. The show has three seasons: first season on Hulu Plus. Clips of the second and third seasons can be seen on Yahoo Screen. The show is a parody on reality shows like The Bachelor and Bachelorette. It takes the dumb nature of the two reality competition shows and pokes fun at them. A string of familiar faces including Kristen Bell, Jennifer Aniston, Adam Scott, and more pop up. The show really makes you see just how dumb reality shows can be all while providing great laughs.
It’s easy to think that more people would be in the Veronica Mars fandom if the show had aired during the current binge-encouraging TV community. The show ran from 2004-2007 on UPN/CW. It was low-rated but beloved for its writing, format and acting.
Despite (very persistent) fan attempts for a movie to be made, Warner Brothers (the studio that financed/distributed the show) opted not to fund the possible film. Fast foward six years to 2013 and a Kickstarter campaign was launched, raising $5.7 million in 30 days. The movie was officially happening
The prowling teen detective, covering the seedy happenings at Neptune High School and its town, is back.
Veronica Mars was last seen at the end of season three, her freshman year of college, getting recruited by the FBI (Great career planning!). Nine years later she is living in New York City with her college boyfriend “Piz” and pursuing jobs at a few law firms. In the midst of landing a pretty sweet gig at a law firm, she gets contacted by her ex-boyfriend Logan Echolls. He’s in trouble, having been accused of the murder of his girlfriend Carrie Bishop who was a fellow student at Neptune High.
Bishop, who went on to become a successful popstar under the stagename Bonnie DeVille, was found dead in her bathroom. Echolls, a lieutenant in the US Navy and son of movie star Aaron Echolls, is the prime suspect. Lawyer offers being thrown in his face, Veronica treks down to Neptune to help him clear his name.
During her 10-year high school reunion, she realizes that Bishop’s murder is connected to the death of her best friend, Susan Knight. Knight mysteriously disappeared during a boating trip nine years prior.
The ensuing plot involves Veronica working to clear Logan’s name while dealing with the seedy and corrupt nature of small town Neptune.
The film was well-paced and had a steady plot and resolution. A quick two minute introduction at the start gives non-viewers of the TV series a brief history of Veronica Mars and company and allows the film to be enjoyed without ever watching the series.
The only qualms a non-viewer of the TV series would experience is the pop ups of various characters from the TV show. The instances aren’t too distracting to keep the viewer from enjoying the movie as a whole.
While the film was good, I noted a few disruptions to it
Interaction among characters was big in the TV series. In the film it isn’t, all the side characters from the series have few scenes and aren’t really engaging to the plot of the film.
Movie feels a little weird. It plays like some TV movie. Veronica Mars isn’t meant for film. It’s writing serves best when restricted to hour-long TV formatting.
Will the Veronica Mars film be counted as a success? Many already consider it so (it was finally made into a movie after seven years after all).
Box office and movie insiders are looking closely to see whether actually will be a success or not. The film cost a reported $6 million to make. To be classified as a success it would have to make double its budget back, $12 million. A figure that doesn’t seem likely to be happening.
Opening weekend: $2 million from 291 theaters for its opening weekend.
Second week: dropped 76.5%, obtaining around $470,000 from 347 theaters.
Making back its budget from theater box office doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Video on Demand sales may be its saving grace. No report has been released on the exact state of its VOD viewing numbers (distributors have a frequent history of not releasing on demand numbers).
A long time ago, we used to be friends…and we still are. Veronica Mars, despite its few quirks, works well for a night of movie watching outside of the typical slapstick comedy genre. A-
(Day 4: Monday March 10,2014): The day consisted of a panel on psychology and technology in mobile applications, The Golden Age of Drama on TV panel and a taco party hosted by a Texas State mass communication professor.
Nicolas Cage was at SXSW Interactive for day four for a conversation moderated by David Gordon Green. I decided to skip it for something more educational (Yes I know it’s Nicolas Cage, but I wanted to learn stuff at SXSW). The panels I chose involved what I wanted to know more about.
The first panel, Can You Feel Me Now?, discussing the convergence of psychology and technology in mobile applications was a bit of a bust. The speakers included Cameron Clayton, president of Digital Vision; Gary Klassen, principal architect at Blackberry; Giorgos Zacharia, chief scientist at Kayak. The panel didn’t really discuss much about the psychological techniques used in created better mobile apps. The main thing repeated throughout the panel was how more people are becoming digital natives and wanting something that is easy to use. It turned out to be an okay panel.
The Golden Age of Drama on TV was a panel on the increased quality of drama TV. Drama series have started to produce quality material that is comparable to theatrical films. Budgets for drama TV has increased, script quality has increased and character development has become way more in depth.
Alex Cary, executive producer of TNT’s Legends; Hank Steinberg, executive producer of TNT’s The Last Ship; Rob Moynihan, LA correspondent of TV Guide Magazine; and Stephen Kane, executive producer at Turner Broadcasting were speakers for the panel on The Golden Age of Drama on TV.
The new nature of character development and scripts was talked about.
“There used to be a lot of resistance to character development of TV characters” Steinberg said, “with DVR, serialized shows like Lost started to get popular”
Steinberg mentioned that studios have for the most part abandoned mid-level movies. They have opted to focus on shorter, smaller movies and $200 million dollar high packed movies. He said people and studio executives have been looking to TV in the past few years to fill the empty mid-level movie void absent from film.
Steinberg said shooting 10 or 12 episodes of TV provides great efficiency and opportunity for character development. He said it is more optimal to do rather than doing 22 episodes a season without all the scripts ready.
“I’ve never had this before where we have all the scripts ready before shooting. It was great efficiency” Steinberg said.
The last event of the day was a taco party hosted by Cindy Royal, a Texas State mass comm professor who is currently a Knight Fellow at Stanford University. The event was great. I got to talk with a lot of graduates from the graduate program at Texas State. One of them works at NPR now and recently did a panel at SXSW. Another one works at a food bank in Austin. Also there were free tacos and chips at the party so that made it all the more awesome.
The greatest thing of the day was getting to meet Burt Herman, co-founder of the social media storytelling service Storify. He was pretty awesome and even asked for my website URL.
Feeling accomplished. Day four was a success. Whenever a day includes free tacos (or any food for that matter) you know it’s going to be great.
Things were planned for the day of Sunday March 9th: Mindy Kaling’s panel, Brooklyn-Nine-Nine and the Fifty Shades of Creativity panel. Getting to the convention center around 8:10am, I thought I would get to the Mindy Kaling event early (and get a front row seat!). One problem: forgotten badge.
A 1.5 hour round trip bus excursion later and I had my badge. First up was the panel Running the Show: TV’s Newest Queen of Comedy. Mindy Kaling, Ike Barinholtz and Adam Pally from Fox’s The Mindy Project were in attendance. The discussions included the changing nature of the television landscape. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu changing the way people watch TV. It was discussed how cable and network shows differ, process of writing an episode and the increasing diversity of people in TV.
I toted a good ol’ point and shoot camera to all of my events for the day. I’ve gotten a few looks from people, suprised that I have an actual camera and not just an iPhone with a camera app. One of my professors even called me out on it the other day. This is how to conversation went:
“So I noticed you have an actual point and shoot camera. “-Professor
As you can tell the conversation went very well! Anyways, the Mindy Kaling panel went great. Despite the funny looks I got with my camera, it took some great pictures with it’s 20x optical zoom.
Kaling was sitting at a lounge after the panel to do an interview. People hovered around closely. Many tweets from Twitter had similar message: “Breathing the same air as Kaling/In same room as Kaling” with a boatload of exclamation points afterwards.
Since I sat at the back of the crowd, when it was time for autographs, I got to be one of the first in line! I got to take a picture with one of my TV writing role models.
I was content after this picture. I could die right at that second and be happy. You know what I mean? After the picture was taken I thought about going to a data journalism presentation by a Texas State alumna. For some reason I felt this urge to stay. I had no idea why but decided to go with it. I sat down outside of the lounge and started doing some work on my laptop.Actors Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz from Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine would be there at 3pm so I stayed. I’m so glad I did.
“Can I plug in next to you?”
A woman stood next to me as I was sitting against the wall with my laptop plugged in.
“Sure” I agreed.
She plugged her phone in and turned and asked what was going on in the streaming lounge. I told her about the people from Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine doing an interview there. She talked about how her husband liked the show. When asking where she was from, she said Chicago. I told her I maybe wanted to move to Chicago after my graduation in December 2014. She asked about what my college major was and what kind of work I wanted to do. This is where things got weird and cool at the same time.
I pulled up my about/portfolio website that I had been making for my Web Design and Publishing class. I showed her my Twitter bootstrap site covering mumblecore film.
“Oh, one of my friends does that” she said.
“Cool. Who is he?” I asked.
My body simultaneously went numb and filled with excitement at the same time. I had Joe Swanberg featured on my mumblecore website (located here). Only seeing two of his movies, Joe Swanberg was already one of my favorite directors. The woman was suprised that I knew who he was and even more suprised that I liked him as a director so much.
The next 10 minutes I got to talk with her about her high school days with Joe. The early films he did. The projects he has going on now. It was great. It was more than great. It was perfect. She was really happy that I coached her into taking a photo and getting an autograph from the Brooklyn Nine-Nine actresses.
“My husband’s going to love this!” she said.
By the end of the day I was pretty happy. Getting to meet Mindy Kaling, Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero, and a longtime friend of one of my favorite directors? Sunday, March 9, 2014 will go down in my personal history. South by Southwest is freaking awesome!
Emmy-nominated writer Mindy Kaling made a trip to SXSW to give a panel about the changing nature of television and its new dynamics.
A challenge to send a tweet in less than 45 seconds started off the event. No pressure right? Mindy Kaling is awesome. She managed it in a mere 17 seconds with saying “Where am I?” (and was sadly later deleted).
Kaling talked about her presence on social media. For her, Twitter is just for fun and something to be used to tease her writing staff.
The moderator asked the question of the writing process/writers room and creating an episode. Kaling responded with how writers all have creative (and out there) conversations about what’s going on in their lives. What they have been noticing.
“Our writer’s room is very gentle and loving. All the guys would identify as feminists. It isn’t sexist like other writer’s rooms,” Kaling said.
Kaling provided some humorous lines that made the nearly all of the hundreds in attendance laugh.
“I think recycling makes american look poor-Mindy Lahari”-Mindy Kaling
“I always wasn’t one of those sunny, cheerful kids. I was plotting.” Mindy Kaling on wanting to have her own TV show since 8 years old.
Kaling’s The Mindy Project castmates Ike Barinholtz and Adam Pally were alongside in the panel to give commentary.
“My cast doesn’t drug women,” Kaling
“We take drugs with women,” Barinholtz
Moderator: Pet Peeve?
“Mindy’s moodiness,” Pally
The panel went into the discussion on the format of the show and how it differs from cable and online streaming counterparts. Kaling acknowledged that the structure for network shows and cable shows is different. Having HBO shows like Nurse Jackie and Shameless in the same categories as network shows doesn’t seem to fit, Kaling said. The shows are different and have vastly different structures, she said.
Adam Pally added on with how cable and network shows are different because of the episode counts. Cable shows usually have 13 episodes or less while network shows have the usual 22 episodes.
“When you’re only making 12 or six episodes you can say ‘okay let’s follow this character for the season’, you can’t do that with 22 episodes,” Pally said.
The panel did get a tad awkward at the end times when audience members repeatedly asked questions about the racial and gender concerns of the show. The issues were something that Kaling subtly dropped hints that she didn’t want to focus on those concerns.
Despite the audience repetitive questions, the panel went great. Kaling has proved herself as a book writer, television writer, actress and leading a strong work ethic. Kaling is a jack of many trades and has many great years ahead.
On Monday (February 24th) I hit 50 followers for Reel Deal Film/TV. I’m super happy about it. I originally started this blog back in September 2013 as a class project for my Fundamentals of Digital and Online Media course. Since the ending of the #fdom class in December 2013, this blog has really grown into something of its own. I tweaked the topic, changed the layout and added some new things. I really like the progress I’m making with this as I near my college graduation later this year (December 2014).
I’m taking a web design class this semester with the same lecturer I had for Fundamentals of Digital and Online Media. The class exposes me to a lot of new skills to learn (HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, iMovie) so I’m excited to see how I can incorporate some of what I learn there into this site. Below is a before/after picture of my site redesign for colinashby.org
Well this series has gotten a part II so I feel a bit accomplished. I created this series to refer to some interesting articles and news from the week. This week has been filled with a lot. The thing on most people’s minds was probably the grateful comeback of Netflix’s House of Cards. All the lonely hearts can happily spend today (Valentine’s Day) binge-watching on all the 13 episodes of season two with no regrets (“no ragrets” if you’ve seen 2013’s We’re the Millers).
House of Cards: Season two streaming (Netflix)
Binge-watchers, couch potatoes and TV fanatics can rejoice! The online-only political drama series released season two for streaming in the wee hours of February 14th (Valentine’s Day). A new batch of political secrets, arguments and suspense awaits. With all 13 episodes of season two streaming, everyone is sure to have something to snuggle up to for V-day.
It was announced earlier this week that Comcast, the nation’s No.1 cable provider, is going to buy Time Warner Cable, the nation’s No.2 cable provider. The agreement happened for a reported $45 billion. With a huge backlash voiced on Twitter, many are worried the deal will create a weak future for filmmakers, content creators and consumers. Many wondered the same question: Will the merger create a too powerful company that will dominate the film and media industry? Read about it here.
Behind the Scenes of Oscar-Nominated film American Hustle
“American Hustle: The Art and Soul of Survival” is a 30-minute special that goes into the making of the David O. Russell directed film, actor performances and more. Note: It’s okay to freak out in excitement.
Creating Meaningful Content for a Blog
FastCompany is great site for smart working tips (among other tech/media news). The article covers ways to create good content that isn’t just in similar patterns that other related blogs have. It details ways to make content pop and keep visitors coming back for more. Click here to read.
Remember last year when a Zombieland TV pilot popped up on Amazon and was panned? It eventually got “hated out of existence” (Rhett Reese, creator of the TV adaption’s words). Well fear not, a new batch of television pilots have been released on Amazon and nothing to negative has been said so far.
On February 6th, Amazon released 10 new pilots for free. Continuing the plan they had last year, viewers watch and vote on what pilots live and what pilots bite the dust. Out of the several pilots released last year, only two made it through the chopping block. The first was Alpha House, a show starring John Goodman that revolved around four U.S. Senators. It was met with acclaim and positioned Amazon as a serious contender against Netflix and its original programming.The second series that received a series order was Betas, a program showcasing a group of app developers looking for an investor.
Below is a list and description of the different pilots to take a look at.
The After:An apocalypse show from the creator of The X-Files. It centers on eight people of various backgrounds (lawyer, actress, etc.) as they face the events ahead.
The Rebels:Sports comedy revolving around a woman who must take over a team of football players after her husband passes away. It seems brainless, overdone and generic but worth a shot to watch. Plus it has Josh Peck (Drake & Josh) so you know it has some funny laughs to give.
Transparent:Not your typical sitcom comedy but it serves well. It involves a family as they face their host of problems. Three not-so adults including Jay Duplass (brother of Mark Duplass and mumblecore filmmaker). One might think it follows a bit in the footsteps of Arrested Development since it features Jeffrey Tambor. Rest assured it holds it’s own by providing good dialogue that doesn’t just go for cheap laughs.
Whatever happened to TV show theme songs? It seems to be a thing of the past. A quick flip of the remote (or computer mouse) and you’ll see a quick burst of a sound clip before going onto the show. What the heck?
Theme songs seemed to have taken an evolution of some sort. The intro songs used to establish a vibe for show the viewer was about to watch. The catchy tunes established a show’s brand that for many continued on long after the show went off the air (Pokemon, Happy Days, Dukes of Hazzard). Things have changed. Many shows have shifted to having nothing more than a pleasing tune and rolling credits. Several jingles clock at just a few seconds. ABC’s Modern Family has an intro tune that runs for just 13 seconds. Fox’s the Mindy Project recently shortened their opening jingle from 15 seconds to around four seconds.
It must depend on the show runners and whether they see a need for them. Arrested Development, a sitcom revived via Netflix streaming, has an elaborate mini story within opening. The viewer is out right told of a family and its riches to rags story in just 18 seconds.
TV show runners should consider the benefit that comes from producing a proper theme song and intro. It helps to establish a shows brand among the viewers. Whenever people hear the words “Hanging out, down the street, the same old thing…” many would be quick to answer that it’s from That 70’s Show. When “West Philadelphia, born and raised,” starts up an image of Will Smith in shades and proper 90’s attire instantly pops up.
Theme songs establish a brand to a show that can have a lasting impact on viewers. TV show runners should plan accordingly.