.the ramblings of a radman.

Category: TV (Page 2 of 3)

The 5 Greatest Father Figures in Television History

Last night, while I was taking a shower before bed, something my cousin mentioned on Twitter came to mind. He had been talking about Alan Thicke, and during the course of the day I attempted to find Alan Thicke on Twitter. I found an account (which is most likely not his) that referred to him as “America’s Favorite Dad”.

And so it happened that last night, while in the shower, I decided to create a list of The 5 Greatest Father Figures in Television History. The only problem, of course, that I haven’t seen every television show in history. As a result, I will accept contentions so long as valid reasoning is included.

So without further ado, my list:

  1. Jason Seaver – played by Alan Thicke, “Growing Pains” – Any child of the 80s remembers Mr. Seaver. He’s the father we all wished we had—unless you liked your dad, as I did. He was cooler than most, he had a deep, imposing “dad” voice, and he had excellent hair. It’s safe to say he trumps all other father figures on television.
  2. Rupert Giles – played by Anthony Stewart Head, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” – While not a father on the show, Giles was the closest thing that Buffy ever had to a father during the course of the show’s 7-year run (despite her own dad making an appearance a few times). Best of all, he was the kind of father that could kick serious demon ass, when necessary (though like Bruce Banner into Hulk, rage was a necessary factor).
  3. Cliff Huxtable – played by Bill Cosby, “The Cosby Show” – I spent a great deal of time with Dr. Huxtable during the years, probably more than any other TV dad. My father loved “The Cosby Show”, which meant we all watched it and loved it as well. He helped me prepare for my time as a father immensely. He taught me that sometimes your children will say and do something that leaves you utterly speechless, and your best response is to simply laugh, inwardly if necessary.
  4. Ward Cleaver – played by Hugh Beaumont, “Leave It to Beaver” – The first televised father figure for most of us, and a favored memory even if he isn’t. Stern, yet fair, Mr. Cleaver is a paragon of fatherhood in the ’50s and as strong an example of a patriarchal society you will ever find on television.
  5. Andy Taylor – played by Andy Griffith, “The Andy Griffith Show” – Andy Griffith has been a part of television for many years and is the quintessential “small-town father”. Despite some strong similarities to Ward Cleaver, Mr. Taylor was a far more jovial fellow and a much more rounded character. Instead of being a stereotype, Griffith portrayed a well-rounded character seen in a great many situations (likely due to the fact that he was the titular character).

V: Not for Victory, but for Vanilla

So I watched the pilot for V this week, but have been putting off writing a post about it until I could assemble my thoughts. But if I wait much longer, everything I’ll have wanted to say will have been said already, and I don’t want my faithful readers (all two of you) to feel that I am unoriginal.

There are spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

So far, I’m cautiously optimistic about the show, but the reasons why are what’s really important.

To begin, I’ve seen the original miniseries and found it remarkable. It was well-paced, fairly well-acted (despite the involvement of The Beastmaster), and had an excellent subtext hearkening back to the Nazi rise to power before World War 2.

Having said that, I’ll explain what I liked about the reimagining. For starters, the opening 10 minutes is really solid, with a well-crafted portrayal of the various primary chracters going about their daily lives as the V’s arrive. A plane falls out of the sky, its pilot unconsciously parachuting to the ground. The ships appear overhead and cause fear and panic. There’s even an excellent tongue-in-cheek moment where a kid being interviewed for the news points out that the V’s entrance is right out of Independence Day, while his friend comments that ID4 was a rip-off of many movies that came before.

Another thing I like about it is that it’s going to give us the opportunity to see a lot more of the story, as the original incarnation of the show was canceled during its first season, leaving much of the story unfinished. Assuming this show makes it two seasons, it would be enough to complete the cycle satisfactorily.

The show has some excellent cinematography. The leader of the V’s and her right-hand man are often shown at angles that make them seem imposing or menacing. There are even scenes where Ana (the leader) is made to look even more lizard-like through the use of lights, shadows, and angles.

Lastly, the show hints that the current instability in our world is due to alien agents causing wars and economic depression. My wife has taken that to mean that the show is trying to tell us that GWB is an alien.

But unfortunately, there are things about the show that aren’t so great. For starters, having seen the miniseries, I was disappointed with how quickly the key secrets of the story were given away much too quickly. Essentially, the first 90 minutes of the V miniseries was compressed into one episode of the new series. I had hoped the series would go the opposite direction and stretch out the story, not shorten it.

Further, what made the miniseries so great was the use of a character that had survived Germany in WW2 and spoke about how the same shift in power and loss of civil rights was happening again. While it would not make sense to have the same character in this story due to the 20 year time difference, I do hope that some sort of parallels are drawn as the series progresses.

Lastly, I mourn the death of Alan Tudyk’s character so early in the show. Having a mole in the FBI during the course of the series would have been an excellent way to drive the plot and characters forward. Revealing their true identities so early and ending their characters’ lives eliminates the possibility of having those elements for at least several episodes while they set up new characters to replace Alan Tudyk’s dead one.

All-in-all, V is about what I expected it to be. I had little hope it would be a great show, and wasn’t even sure it would be a good show. I’ll tune in next week to see where the series progresses, but I’m not expecting anything extraordinary. But it’s fun sci-fi/action with pretty actors, so it’ll do to fill my down time at work.

All this has happened before, and all this will happen again

On October 27, David Eick, Ronald D. Moore, Jane Espenson, and Edward James Olmos released upon the world Battlestar Galactica: The Plan. The film follows the story of the Cylons from just before the destruction of the colonies to just before they settle New Caprica. It deals with the reason for their attack on the colonies, what they had hoped to achieve through the destruction of the human race, and why they continuously failed to do so.

But that’s all beside the point. That’s cold, unfeeling words that describe what happens. That’s not what the movie is.

BSG: The Plan is a gorgeously crafted, perfectly choreographed new dance to the same old tune (the one that you kept hearing from the end of season 3 onward). It is a love letter, penned by a poet, and written as a tribute to the fans of the series. It is jaw-droppingly beautiful. It is gut-wrenchingly painful.

It is a testament to the world crafted during the course of this series that it could be tied so neatly together in one 2-hour package. Not only that, but by revisiting key scenes throughout the first two seasons with gaps filled in, you finally understand how certain characters could change so much by the end of the series. You even begin to see how the decision to work together first came to light.

I highly recommend that anyone that has seen the series to its end watch this. Twice.

Oh, and don’t turn it off when the credits roll. The music has to be heard to be believed.

Dollhouse, final two episodes of first season on Hulu

At the suggestion of @pulletsforever that bloggers embed episodes of Dollhouse on Hulu into their blogs, I thought I’d give it a shot. Here are the final two episodes is a link to the final episode (because Hulu does their embeds stupidly) of the first season below. I recommend going back to watch the episode prior to the finale if you haven’t seen it already. If you have seen them already, watch them again. Nothing says “money” to execs like repeat viewings. Enjoy!

An open letter to Fox executives concerning Dollhouse

To whom it may concern:

I would like to take a moment of your time to plead the case for Dollhouse. It has had a rocky season and it needs all the help it can get.

First, I would like to thank you for the little things that were different in the way Dollhouse was handled versus Firefly. I’m sure the number of fans that assaulted your company was very high when Dollhouse first began airing (and they feared that the show was being “mangled” by the studio), crippling its chances of success. Likewise, a similar situation probably occurred when it was believed that the studio was intentionally holding back an episode of the show instead of airing it (due to the issues with funding for a pilot that was never aired versus a DVD release of 13 episodes.

I would like to apologize on behalf of those fans. They desperately want this show to succeed and don’t always realize that they may be hurting its chances rather than helping.

Now, on to the meat of the matter. As I’m sure you are aware, Dollhouse is a show that faces some stiff opposition. In a technological landscape that allows fans to download complete episodes of their favorite shows the day after they air (both legally and illegally), watch them for free via websites that are already looking to the future of broadcasting (such as Hulu), and record their preferred shows via DVR and skip past the commercials, advertising dollars for big-budget shows like Dollhouse can be hard to come by. On top of all that, the difficulty in getting reliable viewing numbers with the antiquated Nielsen system make shows like Dollhouse difficult to keep spending money on. How can you be certain you’re getting a proper return-on-investment?

Unfortunately, you can’t anymore. Not until the DVD release is available, not until the second season starts, and not until a method is in place for reporting accurate internet views and live and recorded viewings on televisions. With advertising on sites like Hulu and other streaming media locations a much smaller source of income, the profits for a show like Dollhouse dwindle as the world gets better educated and more connected.

Which brings me to the point of my e-mail. We love Dollhouse. We love it because Joss Whedon created it and we feel that we got shafted on Firefly and so we fought so hard for this show, even though the first three episodes kind of sucked (we’re not pointing fingers, we’re just saying). But we also love it because it is an incredible show, one with depth and controversy and incredible writing. No other show on television will be able to touch on the subject matter that Dollhouse can (voluntary / involuntary slavery, who are we without the experiences that define us) which makes it an important piece of television history. Or, it will, if it’s allowed to live.

As the world has moved more and more to delivering content over the Internet at a time of the viewer’s choosing, viewership during live broadcasts have tapered off dramatically. The secret is not to create more reality TV or to cancel good shows to give other shows a try. The answer is to embrace the Internet. And if any one man knows how to get the most out of the Internet, it’s Joss Whedon. Look at Dr. Horrible. A low-budget project with big names and incredible talent. Think of what you could do if you were the first studio to truly embrace the Internet. Air episodes of Dollhouse with the SAME commercials you air on television during the first week it’s online. After the first week, let it become just like all the other episodes on Hulu with the same commercial shown 4 or 5 times during the 45 minutes it takes to watch. Or get a corporate sponsor for the show that already embraces the Internet. Put a single 60 second advertisement at the beginning of the episode and let people stream it commercial free. Create an alternate-reality game to prep people for the second season. Ask fans of the series to market the show for you via guerilla marketing tactics. All of these are ways to increase viewership. And if you really want to help, keep the episodes online for free all summer long and encourage fans to share them with their friends and family so that when the new season starts, they’re caught up, too.

I promise you, that if you make the effort to push this show, and let Joss do what Joss does best, he won’t disappoint you.

But don’t tell him I said that, he doesn’t need the pressure.

Thank you for your time,

Jared Cash
Dollhouse Fan

TV Show ringtones, Updated 3/1/09

These ringtones are all from various TV shows (which, I think, would be apparent from the subject above and the list below). Enjoy!

Red Dwarf Theme – iPhone – NEW!!!

True Blood Theme – iPhone – NEW!!!

Battlestar Galactica Classic – iPhone

Battlestar Galactica Intro – iPhone

Battlestar Galactica Title – iPhone

Crusoe Theme – iPhone

Angel Theme – iPhone

Buffy Theme – iPhone

Do the Mario – iPhone

Firefly Theme – iPhone

Friends Theme – iPhone

Heroes Theme – iPhone

The IT Crowd – iPhone

Jack of All Trades – iPhone

Jetson’s Doorbell – iPhone

Lost Credits – iPhone

Lost Intro – iPhone

Lost Signature Tune – iPhone

Power Rangers – iPhone

Power Rangers Zeo – iPhone

Stargate SG-1 – iPhone

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – iPhone

Star Trek Theme 1 – iPhone

Star Trek Theme 2 – iPhone

Super Mario Bros. Cartoon – iPhone

What I’ve gleaned from rewatching Lost, Season 4

The finale for Season 3 and the premiere for Season 4 are significantly more emotionally impactive when watched back-to-back. For those that haven’t seen this yet, you’ll know why when you get there.

By the time I reached the end of Season 4, I had completely forgotten about the significance of each of the 4 members of the team that land on The Island. Watching it again makes me wonder what could have been had there not been a Writer’s Guild Strike to shorten the season. Particularly Daniel appears to have suffered some sort of trauma that has only been remotely touched upon that resulted in memory issues. As it stands, still an excellent season, but some details may have been glossed over due to time. Or, perhaps, they’re just moved to Season 5. We’ll find out on January 21st.

Ben has significant influence outside of The Island. Either that, or he has a reputation that creates fear. When he goes to the hotel in Tunisia, the desk clerk appears to be startled once she looks up his name in her book. Clearly he is a man of importance outside of the former Dharma Initiative and The Others.

When Sun goes to talk to Charles Widmore in the season finale, she mentions that they have common interests. At first, I thought she only meant finding The Island again, however I think there may be more to it than that. Desmond and Penny are finally reunited, but to prevent people from finding the island. Sun indicates to Widmore that he knows the Oceanic Six weren’t the only people to get off The Island. Perhaps he knows that Desmond is back but has been unable to find him.

“Jeremy Bentham” will have to be resurrected by The Island (either as an avatar, or actually resurrected) in order to play a significant role in the new season, else he’ll only be visible in flashbacks. Hopefully the first flashback will deal with him coming to visit Jack, Kate, Hurley, and the other survivors.

Tune in on January 21st to find out!

What I’ve gleaned from rewatching Lost, Season 3

The funeral that The Others hold speaks strongly of cult-like behavior. For example, the attendees are required to wear special, entirely white clothing. While not technically a cult (depending on whom you ask), the Mormon Church requires members that enter the temple to wear special clothing that is entirely white and contains 4 marks on it that are considered holy symbols. There are other religious sects that require similar dress codes for holy events.

Ben’s father is played by the same actor that played Lazlo Hollyfeld in Real Genius? Coincidence? I think not. In fact, I think that this is a clue to the origins of some of the characters on The Island. Ben is not, in fact, Benjamin Linus. He is Benjamin Hollyfeld and Lazlo is there posing as a janitor to undermine the research, but fails when Ben turns on him.

The above statement is absolute hogwash.

Ben can no longer hear what Jacob is saying and has begun putting on a show of knowing what he’s saying to retain his leadership role within the group. Either that, or he has chosen to ignore what Jacob has asked of him in the past and is no longer Jacob’s chosen emissary.

Early in the season, Desmond goes back in time and sees Charlie singing on the street. He remembers him, initially because of his time spent on The Island, but during that scene he also remembers that it rains on them (which it then does). When Charlie has a flashback to the exact same scene toward the end of the season, Desmond is not there. This indicates that when Desmond is sent back in time by the fail-safe that he is merely reliving the past events and is unable to actually change them. It would seem that he either entered into an alternate timeline, or his decision to leave Penny and enter the race around the world and get trapped on The Island “reset” the timeline to its original state, erasing the minor alterations he had made up to that point.

The Others, as an organization, do more than just work on The Island. Ben told his people that Bonnie and Greta were on assignment in Canada. While it’s possible that they were recruiting more people to their cause, it’s also possible that there are other avenues of study that Ben has not informed his people about. It’s possible that Ben has assumed control of more than one Dharma Initiative facility and is using its resources to further his goals on The Island.

What I’ve gleaned from rewatching Lost, Season 2

The command line prompt on the computer in the hatch is a greater-than sign, a colon, and a cursor. It looks like this:


While not important to the story, it’s funny because it looks like an angry face.


The food found in The Swan station and airdropped in via resupply has the same series of numbers and letters on every item. Some research over at Lostpedia indicates that it may designate where the airdrop originated from (in this case, Nigeria). It’s also possible that it somehow denotes the location or operating number of the installation/island, though this is merely conjecture and has no supporting evidence.


While not exactly a revelation, watching Season 2 again confirmed my belief that the hatch was a very important installation on The Island and that the fail safe was not used earlier because the DHARMA Initiative wanted to study it rather than detonate it. They obviously felt that the risk of studying it was worth it and that the potential knowledge from the magnetic anomaly was more important than the safety of Island-/world-/overhead-travellers. The real question is whether or not the fail safe destroyed the hatch, or merely “moved” it, similarly to the finale of Season 4.

What I’ve gleaned from rewatching Lost, Season 1

The first 10-15 minutes of Lost are still some of the most intellectually compelling, visually stimulating, and cinematically breathtaking minutes I’ve ever seen in television.

Jack as a “healer”, not a doctor. J.J. used jump-zooms as Jack was banging on Charlie’s chest. Some could say this was for dramatic effect, but it’s never just that simple with J.J. I think it was his way of showing that something out of the ordinary was happening. That Jack’s force-of-will was so strong, so powerful, that Jack wanted Charlie to live so strongly, that Jack somehow made it happen.

Arzt is a duplicate of my friend Joe. Only Joe knows even more than Arzt and isn’t the most annoying person to ever be exploded on television.

The last 5-10 minutes of episode 21, “Exodus, Part 1”, when the survivors launch the raft are still some of the most heartwarming minutes I’ve ever seen in television.

The production and writing teams had planned a lot of stuff in Season 2 (the stuff I can currently remember) before or during production of Season 1. However, from what I can tell so far, very little of what is discovered in Season 3 is foreshadowed in Season 1. Perhaps, though, I’m just not remembering the latter details, yet.

One thing I did notice is that Boone tells Jack he’s letting him off the hook for his promise to save him before Jack’s then-future/now-ex-wife does. Which I thought was a nice touch, and indicates either excellent planning of Season 2 during production of Season 1, or just an opportunity seized upon by the writers to make themselves look awesome by reusing a piece of dialogue. But, Jack’s reaction certainly makes it seem as though they knew he had been told he was “off the hook” before and it struck a chord with him, even if it didn’t mean anything to us, yet.

That’s all for now. I’ll have another post about Season 2 when I finish it.

« Older posts Newer posts »