Category Archives: TV

Turns out H+: The Digital Series just ended

I was super-psyched about H+ in September of 2011 when I first heard about and I even liked the Facebook page to “make sure” I got updates about it… That didn’t work out so well (mostly because I don’t actually check Facebook that much and when I do, it’s usually to like something my wife posted so our friends will be more likely to see it and get jealous – or maybe happy for us – or else to answer questions on the Fantasy Basketball Coaches Facebook page).

So, I just saw a Sponsored Post about it on my Facebook (which kind of tells you something about how much the Facebook algorithms are designed to make money that it takes a Sponsored Post about a page that I already liked in order to get my attention) and it turns out that H+: The Digital Series is already over (unless there’s another season coming but I haven’t watched it or read anything about it to know if that’s the case).

It actually works out quite well, because Fringe just ended (even though at the time of this writing I still have 3 episodes left to watch), so now I have something else to satiate my scifi cravings. (Although I’m not sure for how long, since, while there are 48 episodes, they all look to be about 4-7 minutes, so at most it’s about 6 hours)

Ready to Pull the Plug on Revolution

I can say that I honestly thought the computer at the end (spoiler!) was the best actor in the first episode of NBC’s new Revolution.

I hate to be the overcritical, Negative Nelsy, but seriously guys… this? I guess Journeyman was too complicated and verging on finding some real emotions, as was the more recently canned Awake. So, instead of trying to once again to find a family dynamic that works, they kill off the mom and dad right away, kidnap the brother to use him as the plot, and then throw in an uncle that the daughter/heroine has never met. So many emotional bonds to work with right off the bat! (yes, sarcasm)

Where do I go from there? I mean… Let’s see: The leader of the bad guys is black and the hunky guy who turns out to also be a bad guy is latino, but all the good guys are white. Or how about the pudgy computer geek who provides the necessary comic relief to break through all the tension that is built up? (more sarcasm) Or the obvious Katnissification of the heroine (in spite of the androgynous nickname “Charlie”) via sweet bowhunting skills? (Even if they came up with that somehow before Hunger Games, did no one think it was going to look very unoriginal [at best] or pandering [at worst]?)

Then there’s the risk taking – and lack there of. Lost took risks from the very first episode, raising all sorts of questions (that we all assumed would be answered at some point), but Revolution raised only one question: Why did everything turn off? (Okay, I guess it also, for me, raises the question of what could have turned off not just electricity, but also the batteries of cars and engines of airplanes? Perhaps I am actually too much of a geek to be able to suspend disbelief for that one – or maybe some physics geek can convince that it’s actually theoretically possible.) That question of “Why?” is a plot question, though, and I think that’s my main beef (and I realize this now that I’ve studied writing a bit). There’s no character questions. In Lost, you have plot questions about how the plane crash occurred (equivalent to the question of why the power went off), and also what the smoke monster was, but, through the ingenious/risky use of the flashback, it begged the question of what all the characters were doing on the plan and what their backstories were. In Revolution, I don’t care about any of the characters. I mean, sure I want Katniss Charlie to find her brother, but again, that’s really more of a plot device since the characters don’t really have any connection other than the assigned labels of brother and sister.

I guess I should have gone with the canceled shows part last because that’s probably I want to talk about next, but blog posts don’t have to be structured as well as fiction, right? Anyway, maybe this is just the jaded perspective of someone who refuses to get cable, but it seems like most of the shows that people watch these days are on cable. And I think they’ve started to figure it out… Let me start with an example: Breaking Bad has 13 episodes in its longest season. Perhaps more relevant to the “writing” of fiction in which I partake: Game of Thrones is only 10 episodes per season. If broadcast networks would shorten the required length of season for their serial series, then I feel like we could keep the best shows (cough*Fringe*cough) around longer. I know: syndication and all that. But seriously, 22-24 episodes is a lot. Especially once a show moves further away from an episode-by-episode arc to a season-long arc. Again, maybe it’s just the jaded perspective of a dedicated sci-fi geek, but it seems a lot harder to make shows with an individual episode plot for a sci-fi show. Fringe did a good job of this (but they basically copied The X-Files format for that), but then when you had to have actually seen the show in order to follow what was happening, the ratings wheels started falling off. (The show was just as good, they just lost a lot of viewers)

I have no real idea if it would work, but with the cable shows doing it, it seems like it has to be worth a try… It probably wouldn’t have made a difference for Revolution… but I think that overall it would/will make for better, tighter, more tense, more interesting shows (especially sci-fi) and maybe not force the networks to come up with new crap just to cancel it after half a season.

Fringe is Ending (The Good Way)

FOX was kind enough to give Fringe a renewal for a final 13 episode season. I’m not sure if JJ Abrams had to pay someone off to get that, but if he did, I appreciate it. I still have a couple episodes to catch up on before the final 3 of this season come out, but I’m very relieved to know that the writers (producers, actors, etc.) will be able to finish out the show in (what I imagine is) the way they want it to end. Much better than Firefly, which had to cram in 2 hours what was probably 3-4 seasons worth of material (or in Joss Whedon’s case maybe 8-9 more seasons).


Look, it’s the smaller final season of Fringe

Watching The Fringe on Hulu

or: WTFH

Email received on January 26th:

On the morning of January 26th, I watched about 15 minutes of Episode 9 of Season 4 of Fringe, entitled: Enemy of My Enemy on the El Train to work. After work, I returned home, excited to watch Fringe for the first time ever on my Roku.

But it had already been removed from Hulu Plus.

Did I missing something? Am I the only one affected by this? Perhaps I am because evidently Fringe’s ratings are so horrible that it will probably be canceled after this season. Maybe I really am the only person who watches it on Hulu.

H Comes After G

So, I was working on a post about Person of Interest and despite the credits for JJ Abrahms and Jonathan Nolan, the fact that it’s on CBS just kept hanging around the back of mind… and then I saw this tweet from HardScifiLass about the new web series H+.

Witness:

Wow.

The post linked from Twitter also mentioned that it’s produced by Bryan Singer (to which I said “Who?”) who produced and directed The Usual Suspects (to which I said “Holy shxt!”). The Usual Suspects was my favorite movie for at least 4 years, and even now, the only movies I can think of that I like more are all Christopher Nolan’s. Anyway, Singer also wrote and produced X-Men: First Class (which I will watch as soon as they get it on Netflix), wrote, produced, and directed Superman Returns (overrated but good), and wrote, produced, and directed X2 (awesome).

The fact that H+ is a web series gives me hope that unlike TV shows with streaming episodes, they’ll actually leave the entire series up so that people can start watching it any time and go all the way up to the current episode.

It doesn’t hurt that they have Caitriona Balfe (once again, “Who?”) playing someone in the show ’cause…

It doesn’t look like there’s a release date yet (and they could have picked a more Googleable name, particularly for a web-only show), but I Liked them on Facebook, so hopefully that’ll let me know when it starts. Also of note, the Facebook page calls it H+: The Digital Series so as to distinguish it from a “web series” and to try to avoid the stigma that comes with being labeled as such. That said, the preview above does make it look like a much higher quality production than your typical web series, and I would say it looks like it has better production values than most regular broadcast/cable/satellite-delivered TV shows, as well as many big budget movies.

Fringe Has Survived!

Thanks to Sci Fi Stuff UK on Twitter I have found out that Fringe has been renewed for a 4th season! (Confirmed by MSM news source SF Examiner)

Time to catch up now! I’ve got three episode on Hulu that I’m planning to watch today! I am looking forward to seeing the further development of Anna Torv’s acting skills (because come on, you have to admit, she struggles a bit with any sort of deep emotion. She certainly excels at being geek eye candy, though, right?). I am also interested in Joshua Jackson’s transformation into the new George Clooney (not my words! A friend – who is a girl – actually said that. I know, right? I mean, I have a total man crush on J-Jax, but Clooney? We’ll see…) You can tell I’m excited because of all the random parentheticals and use of pop culture blog like abbreviations!

Can Advertising Sponsors Save Fringe?

(Or, the technologist in me wonders, can Android and Sprint save Fringe?)

The answer, were I to answer the question, is of course: Yes. But then, if I were answering this particular question, I wouldn’t actually be asking this particular question, because the question of Fringe being canceled would not even exist. But the real answer? Well, despite the Friday Night Death Knell, I’ve noted a few little plugs (okay, maybe they’re more like hair plugs that you can’t really help but notice and just overlook because you know you’re not supposed to notice) in some recent episodes of Fringe.

Pictographic evidence:

(Thanks for the Qik Pix)

Obviously I hope that these little bits ‘o sponsorship from Sprint are bringing in enough money to continue production of Fringe, but the realist in me knows that it’s probably not. Fringe doesn’t strike me as a “cheap” show to make (what with all the special effects and large supporting cast). You would think at this point that JJ Abrams could pretty much do whatever he wants, but even a man with his record is constrained by the limits of the industry.

I would try to get involved in some sort of Save Fringe campaign (I’m sure there’s already at least one), but I’m not sure that’s ever actually worked (at least not for two of the best shows ever: Firefly and Arrested Development), so I’m going to devote my time instead to just blogging about lamenting it I guess.