Tag Archives: NBC

Don Pardo: A Voice That Meant So Much

PardoIf you are under 50, then chances are you knew Don Pardo, or at least his rich baritone. For 38 seasons (all but 1)  Pardo was the announcer for Saturday Night Live; each week he could be heard belting out his trademark line “It’s Saturday Night Live”. Whether  intentional on the part of NBC and producer Lorne Michaels, hiring the seemingly straight laced traditional announcer provided an interesting foil and an air of sensibility to the sketch comedy show. Pardo did more, though, than lend an air of legitimacy to the program.  He even appeared in a few sketches and monologues as a parody of himself.

Pardo began his announcer career 70 years ago at NBC. There he handled announcer duties for memorable programs like Jeopardy (pre-Trebek) and The Price is Right (pre-Bob Barker). Pardo was the first voice at NBC to announce an assassination attempt on John F. Kennedy.

Pardo said over the years that he paid careful attention to his voice. He semi-joked to the Associated Press in 1985 that besides being his meal ticket, it was also “my Achilles heel. When I get sick, it’s always my voice.”

He said he carried cough drops everywhere.

He appeared in Woody Allen’s movie “Radio Days,” playing a game show host, and can be heard on recordings by the late Frank Zappa and Weird Al Yankovic, in his “I Lost On Jeopardy” parody. Despite relocating to Arizona in the early 2006, Pardo continued his SNL duties long distance.

Pardo was a familiar voice to generations of radio and TV fans; though, many have never seen his face. Upon the announcement of his death, tributes and remembrances poured in from all over the television industry.

“Any SNL actor will tell u:the ultimate moment of your career was hearing Don Pardo say your name. Each week he represented a dream come true,” tweeted Rachel Dratch, who appeared on the show from 1999 to 2006.

Seth Myers, who spent years on “SNL” before recently beginning his own late-night talk program, wrote, “RIP Don Pardo. A voice that meant so much.”

Don Pardo died August 18, 2014. He was 96.

 

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Ladies and Gentlemen…the “Real” John Constantine.

A spot-on Constantine, at least the look anyway. (image property of NBC)

A spot-on Constantine, at least the look anyway. (image property of NBC)

Since the unofficially leaked pic has created such a buzz, NBC has released an official image for their upcoming television adaptation, Constantine, based on the comic series John ConstantineHellblazer. And I’ll be damned if he doesn’t look almost exactly like he came straight off the pages of the comic. This makes me incredibly excited because Hellblazer is one of my favorite comic book series’ and John Constantine being a close second to Batman as favorite comic book character.

Welsh actor Matt Ryan will be portraying the titular character in the pilot (which will hopefully lead to a series), with David S. Goyer writing the script. The pilot (and potential series) will stay truer to the comic books than the 2005 Keanu Reeves film of the same name (which I am also a fan of, even though it strayed from the comics a bit). With Goyer writing and the spot-on look that Ryan has, I have great faith in this pilot. The only thing that worries me is NBC, but not much. Constantine isn’t exactly TV-PG or TV-14 material, it’s more TV-MA, which means there may be a possibility of the network watering it down a bit. However, with shows like Hannibal, The Blacklist, and Grimm being such huge successes for the network and being of a darker, more mature nature, I think they’ll be able to keep it as close to the original material as possible.

If this pilot does well, a series should follow, and if we’re lucky we’ll finally get a Justice League Dark movie (directed by Guillermo del Toro). I could see a Swamp Thing film or television series spawning from a Constantine series, since he was a recurring character in the comics. And if a JLD film is made and does well, we may even see a Deadman and/or Zatanna film in the near future. To me, this is more exciting than a film about the main Justice League. This is even more exciting than Batman vs. Superman, and I’m a huge Batman fan.

I’m crossing my fingers that this works out.

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Season 4 of “The Voice” Just Couldn’t Hit the Right Notes

As compared to previous seasons, Season 4 of The Voice left much to be desired.

Shakira and Usher try their best to make this season special.

Shakira and Usher try their best to make this season special.

Replacing Cee-Lo and Christina Aquilera with Skakira and Usher introduced some new blood into the mix, but I’m not sure it was enough to help. I can only speak for myself, but I know I was getting bored with Cee-Lo’s “I’m weird and there’s a parrot on my shoulder, so that means I’m a unique coach” attitude and angered by Christina’s bitchy, “Your voice is okay but it will never be as great as mine” attitude. There were countless times last season when I wanted to punch the TV screen after she spewed some vain BS from mouth. So when NBC announced a line-up change, I was more than pleased and welcomed them with open arms. And as far as I’m concerned, they can stay.

Usher was intense and “in-your-face” with his coaching style and Shakira was nurturing yet tough with hers. However, I don’t think they were enough to help this season. The talent this season always left me wanting more. I had a few solid picks at the beginning (Midas Whale, Ryan Innes), but they were knocked out way too early for a couple of run-of-the-mill artists. And that’s how the rest of the season remained. Just a lot of run-of-the-mill artists with decent to mediocre performances, with the exception of The Swon Brothers, until the finale when the crowned another radio-ready winner. I’m not saying she wasn’t a talented singer, but she just wasn’t my first choice.

The Swon Brothers: funny and talented.

The Swon Brothers: funny and talented.

Last season ended in much the same say, although two of my choices from the beginning made it to the final three. But this season had no Terry McDermott or Nicholas David to capture and hold my attention with every performance. I found myself falling asleep or playing on my phone during most of the performances; nothing really grabbed me. It wasn’t until the season was almost over that The Swon Brothers hooked me, and I discovered how good they were. I was really wanting them to win, but alas, it was not meant to be. There just wasn’t a lot of variety; nothing that made me extremely excited for each episode. By the end, I was glad it was over and hoping that next season will be better.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

 

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Coming Soon to a Television Near You!

Community is finally almost back! The show returns to NBC on Feb. 7. That’s a week from today!

As you undoubtedly know, Joel McHale, one of Community‘s stars, is the host of The Soup on E!. Yesterday, this new trailer was released on The Soup‘s website:

There are a lot of great shows coming back soonish!

Smash returns on Tuesday (Don’t judge. I’m allowed to watch girl shows.), The Walking Dead on Feb. 10 (Don’t forget to read my recaps!) and Doctor Who on March 30 to name several.

Are you excited for Community? What other shows are you looking forward to?

Community2

Image taken from the trailer.

 

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Mockingbird Lane

The new Munsters. (source: huffingtonpost.com)

(I’m gonna try not to give away too much, but there might be a few SPOILERS.) 

Mockingbird Lane, it’s The Munsters remake.

So, let’s just say that I’ve been waiting for this remake for a while now and was quite worried that it might not make it onto the small screen. It was originally intended to be a series, but NBC made a last minute decision to pass on it. However, thanks to some persuasive tactics on the part of Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2: X-Men United) and Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls), they managed to get the pilot run as a Halloween special in the hopes of getting the series green-lit.

Hopefully, it works!

The pilot starts off with a scout troup sitting around a fire during a camping trip, when suddenly, they’re attacked by a “baby bear,” which turns out to be a werewolf. They manage to escape to the safety of the scout master’s truck, where they wait until morning.

The next morning, one boy asks “Where’s Eddie Munster?”

Shortly after, Eddie (Mason Cook) appears from behind a bush, with no memory of the events from the night before. From there, the rest of the family is introduced.

Thanks to Eddie’s werewolf incident, the Munsters have to move. While real estate hunting, Marilyn (Charity Wakefield) discovers their new home at the legendary 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Shortly after the acquisition of the new home, Herman (Jerry O’Connell) shows up to inspect the new home. There’s even a clever throwback to the original Herman’s square head. When night arrives, Grandpa (Eddie Izzard) and Lily (Portia de Rossi) are delivered in crates, rounding out the not quite normal family.

Just like the original show, the family knows what they are…all except for Eddie. He thinks he’s normal like Marilyn and doesn’t know that he’s actually a werewolf. The pilot partially revolves around how the family will tell Eddie about who or what he is. There’s a bit of a family power struggle between Herman and Grandpa, involving who will tell him and how they’ll tell him. It’s a deciding factor in their struggle to be head of the household, which is the other plot point.

Marilyn and Grandpa visit the neighbors. [source: latimes.com]

Grandpa seems to be the focus of the show instead of just a secondary character, which is perfect because Grandpa is played by the incomparable Eddie Izzard. Quite possibly the most excellent casting choice made for this, I must say! He plays the part in a darkly cynical and humorously sadistic manner, seeming to fit perfectly in the role. All of the best one-liners from the show come from him. If you’re a fan of Eddie Izzard, you don’t want to miss this.

The one person I was worried about was Jerry O’Connell. I had my doubts about him being cast as Herman, but he won me over. He wasn’t dopey and bumbling like the original, which was a good choice for this remake. He played the part more as the charming, caring, slightly goofy sitcom father, and I think that’s what swayed me. I take back the doubts I had about him.

Portia de Rossi and the rest round out the cast quite nicely and put a very interesting spin on these old favorites.

Lily Munster and some unorthodox fashion designers. [source: joblo.com]

The special effects weren’t overdone just for flashy spectacle; everything fit nicely. Grandpa’s initial transformation from a large group of rats into his undead form and his giant bat-like form, Lily forming from smoke into herself and spiders dropping down to form a dress of webs around her, as well as the first and only appearance of Eddie’s faithful pet dragon, they all looked and worked beautifully. The story was solid, an edgier and darker twist on the original without losing any charm or humor.

This wasn’t The Munsters of yore. This was The Munsters for a new era, and one I hope is ushered in quite swiftly by NBC, because the pilot felt like the story was unfinished and left me wanting more. I mean, it is and I do, which is what a good pilot is supposed to do…leave you wanting more.

This is just the setup, reintroducing us to The Munsters, and the story needs to be continued, so we can get to know the “new” family on the block. But, if this is what NBC is going to leave us with, I’m going to be saddened and disappointed for quite some time.

At least until Bryan Fuller’s next project.

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October 19 is a State of Mind for Community Fans

They look so happy! It was a happier, simpler time. Or maybe it was just because Chevy Chase wasn’t with them… Image courtesy of NBC.

NBC has postponed the fourth season of Community indefinitely.

It’s pretty obvious that they’re trying to make this great little show go the way of the dodo bird, and that really cheeses me off. But, the cast seems to be taking it rather well…at least in front of the camera.

Take a look at this video they posted today:

“Troy and Abed airing someday.”

*sniffle*

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When Are My Shows Back?

I think I probably watch too much television. It’s kinda hard not to, though. With so many good and promising new shows on TV these days (even on the networks, shockingly enough), it’s difficult not to pay attention…or, at least not to pack up the old DVR like a fat kid at a cake buffet.

(What? They don’t have cake buffets? Cake buffets totally need to be a thing.)

Some of my favorite shows are already back for the fall season. Doctor Who is back on BBC America at 9 p.m. on Saturdays. I love me some Doctor, and we have a great recapper/reviewer here on The Cool Ship, so make sure you check him out (both the Doctor and the writer!). His articles are here, here, and here.

Alphas and Warehouse 13 on SyFy premiered weeks ago, and I’m already dreading when they go on hiatus. They’re on Mondays at 8 and 9 p.m., respectively. SyFy has branded the block “Powerful Mondays,” a moniker I’m not convinced is the best. I’m a fan of alliteration, though. Meh.

ABC’s Revenge is definitely on my list. Because Emily will get them all. SHE WILL GET THEM ALL! Image courtesy of ABC.

NBC is really pumped about Revolution. It premiered last Monday, and you can’t hope to miss the advertising for it if you happen on the Peacock for 60 seconds or less. But, other than the annoyance of over-saturation, I must say that I’m still interested. I caught the premiere and saw enough that made me want to come around for another view. It’s on after The Voice, which is usually 10 p.m.

Then, there’s a whole slew of returning comedies I pay attention to (Whether I watch them or not is a different story.):

NBC

Up All Night – Already premiered. Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.

The Office – Already premiered. Thursdays at 9 p.m.

Parks and Recreation – Already premiered. Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.

30 Rock – Oct. 4 (Thursday) at 8 p.m.

Community – Oct. 19 (Friday) at 8:30 p.m.

CBS (Step up your game, CBS. You don’t interest me much.)

How I Met Your Mother – Monday (Sept. 24) at 8 p.m.

FOX

Glee – Already premiered. Thursdays at 9 p.m.

New Girl – Tuesday (Sept. 25) at 8 p.m. Looks like there’s another new show at 9 p.m. that night, too, which is when I’m guessing it’ll live since…

Raising Hope – Oct. 2 (Tuesday) at 8 p.m.

ABC

The Middle – Wednesday (Sept. 26) at 8 p.m.

Modern Family – Wednesday (Sept. 26) at 9 p.m.

Happy Endings – Oct. 23 (Tuesday) at 9 p.m.

Last Man Standing – Nov. 2 (Friday) at 8 p.m.

Okay, let’s talk dramas. I have to say that I’m eternally grateful for my DVR. Not so much because there are so many, but more because a lot of them start at 10 p.m. or are on days that just aren’t convenient for me. I’m old; I like to go to bed at a reasonable time. Jon Stewart be darned!

NBC

Parenthood –  Already premiered. Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

Grimm – Already premiered, but already on hiatus. Returns Sept. 28 (Friday) at 9 p.m.

Smash – There’s no posted return date. This worries me.

ABC

Castle – Monday (Sept. 24) at 10 p.m.

Once Upon a Time – Sept. 30 (Sunday) at 8 p.m.

Revenge – Sept. 30 (Sunday) at 9 p.m.

I’m not even going to talk about new shows on the networks, because there are lots. Lots seem to be bad ideas (I’m looking at you, The Neighbors), and lots look too melodramatic.

Not that I can talk about melodrama…I mean, look at my choices! REEEEEEVENGE!

I know, I’m a walking contradiction, and I’m proud of it!

And cable? Gosh. Too much. My DVR would explode.

What shows are you looking forward to this fall season?

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I’m Not Ashamed to Admit That I Enjoy “The Voice”

I LOVE The Voice! And if you would’ve asked me a couple of years ago, I don’t think I would’ve said the same thing. I didn’t really think anything of this show until last season when my girlfriend convinced me to watch it. Despite what some might think of it, maybe writing it off as just another lame competition show, it’s not. The Voice is much better than all the others. I’ll explain why:

  1. It’s called The Voice because that’s what they focus on, the voice. It’s not about image, it’s about how well you can actually sing. The show starts off with a few weeks of what are called “Blind Auditions,” where the show hopefuls will perform onstage while the judges sit in their chairs with their backs turned, unable to see each singer. The singer has an allotted amount of time to sing a song of their choosing and convince the judges to turn around. If the judges like what they hear, they press a big red button and their chair turns around.
  2. Once a judge presses their button, they are able to see the performer. Judges who don’t press their button will turn around once the performance is done. The judge or judges who pressed their button(s) will then praise the singer for what they liked about their singing ability.
  3. It is then up to the singer to decide which judge they want to go with during the “Battle Rounds.” (I’ll explain those in a bit) If only one judge picked them, they are defaulted to that judge. But most of the time, there are multiple judges.
  4. Now if no judge presses their button, the singer is of course not selected. But unlike The X-Factor and American Idol, the performers aren’t beaten down with comments like “You were completely dreadful” and “You suck,” they’re actually given constructive criticism to use towards bettering their ability. Yes, they might leave saddened because they weren’t picked, but they’re also more motivated to become a better singer thanks to the judges’ advice.
  5. Each judge has a team and once each team has twelve members, they move on to the “Battle Rounds.” During this time, the judges become coaches as well and teach the singers how to become even better performers. The judges/coaches will then have two of their team members vocally battle against each other by singing the same song together, then the coach chooses which team member to advance to the final round. Eventually, through multiple battles and the judges and viewers voting (Yes, viewers get a say in this show), the performers are eliminated down to “the final six.”
  6. The singers compete again, eventually becoming “the final four,” one singer for each team. Once they get to the final four, they will perform for one last time and it becomes solely up to the public to decide who wins the competition. The winner is then given a record deal with Universal Music.

The “Battle Rounds” are in interesting take and typically fun to watch. That’s when the really good singers generally shine through.

Cee-Lo, Adam, Christina, and Blake

The best part about this show are the judges. You don’t have some smarmy British douchebag, with no musical talent at all, telling contestants they suck. There’s no Randy Jackson saying “Yo dawg, that wasn’t good.” No Britney Spears or Demi Lovato. You have judges on this show with actual talent, each from a popular genre, offering sage advice and wisdom with a little bit of humor. For rock, they have Adam Levine (Maroon Five). For pop, there’s Christina Aguilera. For rap/hip-hop/R&B, there’s Cee-Lo Green (Goodie Mob/Gnarls Barkley). And for country, they have Blake Shelton. All highly acclaimed, highly accredited artists; not producers or record executives or talentless, former Disney Channel stars. Unlike with other shows where the judges just seem to be there for the paycheck, these judges are here to find new talent, bring attention to this talent, teach and nurture this talent to help it grow, and then send it out into the world in order to better the music business. They also give off a great sense of camaraderie, like they enjoy being their with each other. They bicker, joke, poke fun at each other, compete for singers to join their teams; and they it’s all in good fun.

Carson “Crazy-Eyes” Daly. (source: stuffandsuch.wordpress.com)

Also, I want to point out that this show has convinced me that Carson Daly is actually pretty cool. He hosts the show and does a “Meet & Greet” with the contestants. He gets a bit of their backstory, why they came to the show, hangs out with their family and friends backstage while they view the performances, and then chats with them afterwards to wrap things up. And there’s just something about the way he does all of that that makes you really like him and care about the contestants even more. Good job, Carson Daly.

I’ve never really been a fan of reality tv. Ninety-nine percent of it is garbage. And the more that networks air the stuff, the more I think they’re running out of ideas for good television. There have only been a few that I actually like: Battle for Ozzfest, Kitchen Nightmares, Hardcore Pawn, and The Voice. So if this show is good enough to make me watch on a regular basis, not to mention give me hope for the music industry, then I think it’s worth a view from you.

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NBC Keeps on Failing

From Wikimedia Commons

NBC keeps failing.

As I watched the coverage of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, I couldn’t keep myself from yelling at Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira to just shut up and let the program happen. It wasn’t a freaking parade!

Then, I started to wonder why NBC keeps screwing up so royally on everything. I still don’t have a definitive answer, but I do miss the ’90s when they were running shows like Friends, Seinfeld, and Mad About You.

So what, that I can see, is NBC’s problem?

A lot of things.

Identity – NBC is struggling to figure out what kind of network they are. Remember how I mentioned the ’90s? NBC used to be a darling for acclaimed shows. Law & Order, Friends, Seinfeld, Frasier, etc. were all widely watched and critical hits. However, after the ’90s ended, cable channels began to rise in prominence, bringing the new critical favorites: Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Monk, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Weeds, and others. The list goes on and on.

Cable channels can do things that NBC can’t. Now, NBC is left trying to make poor copies of what cable is doing (The Playboy Club…really, NBC?).

As for Law & Order and its million spin-offs, it’s been replaced by CSI, NCIS, Person of Interest, Hawaii 5-0, and all their billion spin-offs.

What NBC is left with is… nothing.

The audience that NBC wants right now seems to be young, smart, media-savvy people, who like to have their media choices scheduled by corporations. (Pro-tip: I’m not sure that audience exists. Too bad for Community.)

The Writer’s Strike – Of the Big Four networks (CBS, ABC, Fox, NBC), NBC was hit the hardest by the 2007-2008 writer’s strike. None of the shows it put up to replace the scripted shows were a success, and ad-revenue and ratings dropped by around 10 percent. Making Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno return without a writing staff didn’t garner any good will from the Writer’s Guild, either (It should be noted that David Letterman managed to come to an interim agreement with the WGA).

The Writer’s Strike also managed to shorten the season of NBC’s most popular show at the time, Heroes. It’s my opinion that the show never recovered from the shortened season, and the quality of the show plummeted during season two.

The Tonight Show Controvesy – This debacle probably hurt NBC the most in terms of public relations, but it also hurt them  in the ratings.

When Jay Leno was moved to his prime time slot, and ultimately failed to get the ratings (affiliates were pretty upset), NBC was left with a hard decision. Rather than have a show fail in one time slot, though, it effectively failed in five. NBC had to find a way to fill five prime time slots, none of which went on to garner huge ratings (I believe that the only show from that time that is still airing is Parenthood, which I think is a great show, by the way).

The firing of Conan O’Brien really hurt the network in the PR department. Many celebrities and fans immediately rejected Leno as The Tonight Show host, and although Jay’s ratings have recovered, his image was permanently damaged.

The Today Show- NBC’s biggest moneymaker is the morning show staple, but even its ratings have been declining as of late. I’ve heard a lot of reasons given for this, but I’m going to focus on two.

1.) Matt Lauer is getting harder and harder to work with. Rumor is that the guy isn’t very nice to his co-workers and was basically behind Ann Curry being fired.

2.) It’s become waaaay too pop culture oriented. I don’t watch a whole lot of The Today Show, but what I see when I watch is coverage of popular YouTube videos, news sensationalism, and interviews with useless pseudo-celebs. If other channels are picking up the slack and covering real news, I can see why the ratings are slipping.

Asim Bharwani [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Streaming, Cable, YouTube, Video Games – NBC, like most of the networks, wasn’t ready for the Internet entertainment revolution. NBC also doesn’t seem to understand that the younger demographic they are targeting with shows like 30 Rock and Community aren’t going to watch a lot of TV when it initially airs. There are too many other entertainment choices out there. Plus, NBC hasn’t figured out a way to make a lot of money from Hulu, yet.

The Olympics -This is what got me thinking about the topic in the first place. I’m not sure how NBC could do the Olympics better, but they could start with not airing promos including who won the gold medal before they publicly air the event.

Also, could they air better events? I’m sick to death of gymnastics and swimming. Let’s see some fencing, boxing, judo, and other events where people fight. Those things are awesome.

Cris Colinsworth – I hate this guy with a passion, so I had to include him.

All-in-all, these are the reasons I think NBC is failing in the ratings game. Its biggest problem is that it just doesn’t know what it is anymore, especially since other cable networks are doing it better than they are.

Also, The Office has overstayed its welcome. Can we let it die already?

Also too, just give Alison Brie her own show.

[Featured Image: By ASTaylor [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

 

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