Tag Archives: television

Prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse and Earn College Credit at the Same Time!

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What better place for a zombie to eat brains than college?

The AMC Network and the University of California, Irvine, have decided that the best way to prepare for a hypothetical zombie apocalypse is with a free online course. The eight-week course, titled “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead,'” will cover a little bit of everything pertaining to the zombie apocalypse. According to The Wrap, the course “will explore concepts as varied as post-disaster nutrition, the foundations of human survival and stereotypes in a Darwinian environment.”

I wish something like this would’ve been offered when I was in college. I probably would’ve taken it every time it was offered, just for the hell of it. But this got me thinking…what other television shows could be used for college courses?

Here’s some ideas:

  1. Batman: The Animated Series – Learn how to fight crime, solve intricate riddles, and deal with a variety of lunatics. Hone your skills to become a master detective. Construct gadgets such as batarangs, smoke bombs, grappling hooks, etc. Train in several forms of martial arts. Become the ultimate vigilante. For extra credit, take on your own ward/sidekick.
  2. Supernatural – Learn about all of the creatures that go bump in the night. Demons, angels, vampires, ghosts, goblins, and everything else. Become a trained hunter, learning now to dispatch your unearthly foes. Learn the do’s and don’ts of dealing with crossroads demons. Become fluent in speaking and reading Latin, for incantations and expelling demons.
  3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Students learn the importance of overcoming adversity by learning how the Turtles face each day as outcasts to the human world. Train to become a master of ninjitsu and learn how to use weapons like katanas, sais, bo staffs, and nunchuks. Understand the highs and lows of the effects of mutation. Experiment with a variety of pizza toppings and preparation techniques.

Those are my top three at the moment but I’m sure I’ll think up some more later on.

What are some ideas do you have for television shows turned college courses? Leave your comments in the comments section.

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The Reality TV Trap (or Why We Can’t Look Away From a Train Wreck)

Since The Real World first debuted on MTV back in 1992, reality TV has been a rash on the rear end of television that we can never seem to medicate enough to clear up. By this point, it’s become a full on plague that is beyond quarantine in need of some serious cleansing fire. But what is it about this viral infection of modern television that keeps so hooked on it that we never take our medicine?

I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that I’ve never watched reality TV. Many times I have found myself watching more reality TV than I should. There’s some that I’m not ashamed of (Battle for Ozzfest, King of the Nerds, Hardcore Pawn) and some I’m not proud of at all (Teen Mom 2, Honey Boo Boo, Real World). I would like to note that I’ve seen only one episode of Honey Boo Boo and that was enough for me. That show is the epitome of “train wreck television.”

For myself, as well as for many others, television is a form of escape. A way to take yourself out of your head and enter a whole new world and go on exciting new adventures but reality TV takes away the magic of it all. It takes you out of your normal, everyday life and puts you into a different person’s completely screwed up life while the show you why they’re screwed up week after week. All you can do is sit and watch in disbelief, thinking to yourself “How can one person be that messed up?” and never really leaving you with a definitive answer.

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Take for example any season of The Real World. MTV had the bright idea to put a bunch of strangers in a house together, all with different backgrounds and beliefs, add copious amounts of alcohol, and see what happened. What happened was a lot of sex, drama, and fighting, which is what sells on most, if not all, networks. Many others saw the potential of the format and followed suit. Survivor, The Bachelor, Big Brother, Jersey Shore, Rock of Love, Sister Wives, and hundreds more quickly crowded the airwaves and engrossed many unsuspecting viewers. Ratings soared, unwanted trends took hold of the population, and the quality of television sunk to a new low point.

Networks found it was easier to install cameras in a house and/or follow people around and film their “lives” than it was to hire actors, build sets, make costumes, write scripts, and do all the other things it takes to make a scripted television show. It was also cheaper, which meant if the show was a success and they could sell the hell out of it, they made a lot more money. But is it really worth it?

MTV is a perfect example of the real “cost” of reality TV. MTV was a groundbreaking network back in its day, the first to introduce music videos to the public. A new format for music artists to be seen as well as heard. Seasoned artists as well as up-and-comers used MTV to boost album sales and get their names, faces, and music out to more people than radio ever could. MTV was responsible for launching the careers of countless numbers of artists but nowadays, viewers struggle to find a music video on their channel and all because of reality TV. And by eliminating music videos from their programming and replacing them with reality TV shows, they’ve managed to alienate a large number of their viewers only to replace them with a new flock of younger viewers. Still the same name but not the same MTV.

Is this the solution we need?

Is this the solution we need?

TLC, Bravo, and many other networks have all started following MTV’s example and are quickly on their way to leaving behind the programming themes they began with in order to bring in higher ratings and rake in the bigger bucks. So what is it that draws people in and keeps them watching these shows? One reasons is the entertainment value, slight as it may be. Viewers get some form of enjoyment watching the subjects of the shows making complete fools of themselves in whatever they may do. The more of an idiot the subject appears to be, the more the viewers will watch. Another reason would be that the shows make the viewers feel better about themselves. No matter how screwed up the subject of the show is, the viewer feels that they are nowhere near as screwed up as them. It makes them feel as though their problems aren’t as bad as they thought they might be. In some cases, the viewer might even connect with the subjects of the shows. Depending on the topic of the show, the viewer may be able to form some sort of bond and that’s what keeps them hooked. So where scripted television can be an escape for viewers by taking them into a new, fantasy world that they aren’t accustom to, reality tv is more of a grounded escape that connects them to somewhat realistic people.

But is that slight sense of a connection worth the degradation of quality television? Personally, I say no. While I have found a few reality shows that are actually worth watching, I would much rather be watching scripted television. I enjoy the characters and their adventures and lives and the escape that comes with the show. I enjoy losing myself in the story of the show. I can’t do that with a reality show. Most of what I get is anger and frustration from seeing how stupid some of the subjects can be. More often than not common sense is lost on these people and that’s what frustrates me most. If networks were to cancel all reality tv tomorrow, I wouldn’t shed a tear and I think the quantity of quality scripted television would greatly improve. The world might end up being a slightly better place because of it.

What are you thoughts on reality tv?

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Recaps & Ramblings

I wasn’t really sure what to write about this week; I didn’t have a super-stellar idea for an article, so I thought I might just talk a bit about what’s going on in some of my favorite, and possibly NEW favorite shows, and offer my thoughts and musings.  Potential spoilers lie within.

Arrow

Arrow [source: megavideozer.com]

Honestly, I’ve only seen the first episode of this (the lack of cable television make it difficult to watch things on a regular basis), but it seems like it has potential. I know TJ has talked about it, but I thought I might offer some additional words. I was skeptical about the show at first because Justin Hartley wasn’t playing Green Arrow, but the new guy, Stephen Amell, seems like he might be okay. His acting comes across as a tad stiff sometimes, but hopefully he’ll grow out of that. Actually, I’m still warming up to most of the cast. It may take a few more episodes.

The stunts and fights have been pretty on-key, and his archery skills aren’t too shabby either, making for the potential of a great Green Arrow. There’s hints towards key characters, mainly Deathstroke, and they’re done very subtly, hinting that the writing might be pretty decent. And I’m stoked to see how John Barrowman’s character is going to fit into the mix. This show may end up being a new regular of mine.

Dexter

Dexter [source: wikia.nocookie.net]

I knew after last season’s ending that this season was just going to be amazing right from the beginning– it’s delivered. I mean, Deb figures out pretty much everything before the first episode ends. Well, the basics anyway. Sure, she took 6 seasons, but whatever, she knows–and there’s no going back now. This means Dexter has to be more restrained and a lot more careful with his kills because she is watching him like a hawk. It’s going to be incredibly tough for him, but I think he can pull it off. Just thinking about the tricks he might pull to get a kill gives me goosebumps. Also a plus, Ray Stevenson, aka “the good Punisher,” is on the show this season as the potential main bad guy, which means he has work. And that always makes me happy. I still have yet to see the latest two episodes, but I’m sure that they are incredible.

 

Supernatural

Supernatural [source: wikipedia.com]

This show just gets stranger and stranger, which I guess works for a show of its nature. The first five seasons had this huge story arc involving their dad, the yellow-eyed demon, and the Devil, all of which lead up to the apocalypse. After that, it’s pretty much gone on a season-by-season basis with tie-ins here and there, possibly leading up to something big. Not quite sure.

Series creator, Eric Kripke, only planned for fives seasons, so after the fifth ended and CW wanted more he handed over story control to someone else and became an executive producer. That might have something to do with the new weirdness. Season six was about Castiel‘s search for Purgatory, then finding and absorbing it to become “God,” then things got out of control so he tried to put it back but the Leviathan got out, and that’s where season seven took off. Seven was all about Leviathan and the brothers stopping them from using humans as a continual food source. Well they stopped Leviathan, but Dean and Castiel ended up in Purgatory and that brings us to the current season. Dean gets out (because it seems that neither Hell or Purgatory can hold Dean) by making buddies with a vampire and hitches a ride though some portal, but Castiel doesn’t escape. Apparently he’s dead, but probably not. It’s possible Dean may have left him there.

Sam tried to live a normal life and Dean got pissed because he didn’t try to find him, but they got over it. There was also an auction where some creepy old guy bought Mjolnir with five-eighths of a virgin, which I just shook my head at. (I thought you had to be worthy of it to possess it, but apparently you can buy it at auction. I’m gonna check eBay.) I hope this season doesn’t turn into a confusing ball of “When is this getting cancelled?”

Finally, my favorite:

Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy [source: Collider.com]

By far, the best show on television. Hands down. And I know that I’ve already talked once about the show this season, but I have to speak again. I just finished the past week’s episode (“Small World”), and eagerly await my chance to watch this week’s episode (“Toad’s Wild Ride”), and let me just say that my mind has been blown once again by this show’s awesomeness. First off, the title “Small World” makes me happy. If it had not been titled as such, then it should have been titled “Opie’s Redemption.” Because that was the best thing about this episode, payback for Opie’s murder. I breathed a sigh of relief when it all went down and smiled devilishly when it was over. Does make me slightly sadistic? Some more stuff happened that was also pretty damn good, including a total WTF ending, but the redemption part was the best. I can’t wait to see where this season is going.

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The Week in Geek: Oct. 19, 2012

I’m taking time out of my busy birthday (that I’m sure you care about so much) to let you know what we’ll be talking about at my party.

Snow White and Death by Amy Mebberson

Uno is a great way to pass the time waiting on a prince. Illustrator Amy Mebberson has some brilliant work on her site and Tumblr. Everything from pinups to modernist posters to cute pincesses. Check her work out! Image courtesy of Amy Mebberson.

First and foremost, as if there were any other news this week, AGENT PHIL M*****F***** COULSON IS COMING BACK!

Speaking of people with M*****F***** as a middle name, Bill Murray crashed some dude’s kickball game because he’s Bill Murray. If you have to ask why, you’ve clearly never heard of a Bill Murray Story.

After many years of having games played with our hearts in ways that that Backstreet Boys could never have imagined, it looks like Ghostbusters 3 is moving forward….without Venkman. Here’s a history of this film’s risen from the grave yet again.

When he isn’t impersonating Honey Boo Boo Child, Christopher Walken is playing a pretty mean Boarderlands 2.

You know those TED Talks that we all think will change the world but secretly know won’t (and we’re actually only checking out because it looked like it was about dinosaurs or sex or dinosaur sex)? Well, The Onion has started their version creatively called “Onion Talks.”

Grover Batman by Amy Mebberson

Grover’s not just the monster at the end of the book, he’s also the night! Image courtesy of Amy Mebberson.

There’s a new plot summary for Iron Man 3 out and it’s as vague as you assumed it would be! Excise “Iron Man” from this paragraph and it literally could be about any movie ever.

As the Ponds swim off to new lakes and streams, Rob won’t be weeping for them.

Lots of people get paid lots of money to be on the teevee, but the Internet would respectfully disagree with who pulls in the big bucks. Here’s how they’d like to see it in their happy little world.

No, sir, I do want to put these monsters in my pocket! I don’t care if they’re called Pokemon! Those realistic illustrations are just too freaky! I said good day!

Liberal level 9000 that I am, you should be proud that I waited this far in the article to link to the Binders Full of Women Tumblr.

Capt Kirk-met by Amy Mebberson

Captain Kirk-met directs his ship to the Pig Planet for reasons unknown to his crew. Image courtesy of Amy Mebberson.

In news that ruins your hypothetical childhood, if you ever imagine what life would be like if you were nine last summer, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Helicarrier  wouldn’t work. You can trust them because their website has the word “tech” in is and it is on YouTube.

J. Fortune has learned more from the space dive than just that it is really cool when someone jumps to the planet from space, a’la the most recent Star Trek.

The Avengers are back….as pugs. And it’s adorable. And it’s why the Internet exists. And the end, when Pug Thor can’t take off his helmet is hilarious.

Julie wants you to remember to takes the Zombie Survival Guide’s advice and organize before they rise.

The secret to getting Wolverine claws is to come up with a catchy viral K-Pop song. Who knew?

New York Comic Con was last week, and people were in costume, cosplaying as we in the geek industry would call it. Sorry to throw jargon at you. I don’t like to brag, but I’m preeety geeky. Aynwho, here and here are some badass cosplayers. Gabrielle agrees that costumes are for more than Halloween!

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