Smallville Season 7 Confirmed

Post ImageI just watched the season six finale of Smallville and it ended in a cliffhanger as expected. And it’ll be back next season, also as expected. It was consistently one of the CW’s top-rated shows this season, so I figured it was very unlikely to suffer the same fate as Gilmore Girls. The seventh season should get underway late September or early October.

There’s a chance that Smallville may have an eight season, but that would be its last according to Executive Produce Al Gough:

We’ll officially find out about season 7 on May 17th [during the CW upfronts], but obviously we feel very confident we’ll be back. As for season 8, who knows? There are a lot of factors that will play into that decision, not the least of which is the quality of season 7, so that is what we are focusing on at the moment. If there is an 8th season, that would be the show’s last. Every hero may have a beginning, but every story has an end.

With that in mind, I hope they go the full eight seasons! It’s a nice round number (and lucky in Chinese culture). Would make for an excellent DVD set.

As for tonight’s finale, it was pretty intense. Perhaps not as good as last season’s finale, but still pretty good. I won’t give anything away here, so if you want to read some discussion regarding the episode, check out KryptonSite.

The one thing I will say is this: the Martian Manhunter was entirely underutilized. Such a waste.

Have you seen the creepy commercial from Shaw?

Post ImageRegular readers of my blog will know that I don’t worry about online privacy all that much. My gut reaction to new technologies or products is generally not “what about my privacy!” As a result, I was pretty surprised to think about privacy right after seeing the new television commerical from Shaw! A quick search didn’t turn up any videos, so here’s a quick rundown of the commercial in case you haven’t seen it:

The commercial is shot in the familiar “Apple white” environment, with lots of people running around. The voiceover starts talking about Shaw’s technology, noting that Shaw is there “for every conversation, every web search, and every online purchase.” The video depicts these scenarios. The commercial concludes with something similar to, “the greatest thing about our technology, is the people behind it.”

It’s a good overall message, and I think I understand what they were going for. It’s too bad it comes off as kind of creepy. The thought process might go something like this:

  1. Ah Shaw, yah I know this company.
  2. Web search? Oh right my ISP is Shaw.
  3. Conversations? Ahhh yes the new Shaw VOIP!
  4. People behind the technology, that makes sense.
  5. Wait a minute…web searches, purchases, conversations – they know everything about me!

Maybe I’m just reading into it too much, but I think Shaw would have been better off not highlighting all of the various things they could keep track of.

Co-Inventor of the TV remote dies

Post ImageSad news today for all you couch potatoes out there. Robert Adler, co-inventor of the TV remote, has died of heart failure at the age of 93. He had a pretty amazing career:

In his six-decade career with Zenith, Adler was a prolific inventor, earning more than 180 U.S. patents. He was best known for his 1956 Zenith Space Command remote control, which helped make TV a truly sedentary pastime.

And no, he isn’t guilty about possibly contributing to the rise of couch potatoes:

“People ask me all the time — ‘Don’t you feel guilty for it?’ And I say that’s ridiculous,” he said. “It seems reasonable and rational to control the TV from where you normally sit and watch television.”

Well said. Thanks Mr. Adler – I don’t know what I’d do without the remote.

Read: Yahoo! News

Most New TV Shows Require Too Much Effort!

Post ImageI don’t watch a lot of television, save for hockey, news, and Smallville. I guess I am “an Internet child” and that’s definitely where most of my time is spent. I think there’s more to it than that, however. Almost all of the new TV shows being produced require a lot of effort from the viewer. More effort than I am willing to put in.

Take 24, for example. People are crazy about this show. I mean seriously off the reservation, like this guy:

If Jack Bauer has to catch a shark with his bare hands and speed-dry the fin so he can make a soup to restore the President’s sexual potency, I’ll be watching. If Jack Bauer is caught in the path of a fiercely-lit green energy beam made of fuckton particles in a suspended gobbledygook matrix and inadvertently is wearing a shark’s tooth necklace and become half-human, half tiger shark – I’ll be watching.

I’ve never seen an entire episode of 24, so I don’t know what the fuss is all about. I just don’t get it. And therein lies the problem. There’s no way I am going to start watching 24 now – it’s too far along. I’d be an outsider, a poser almost. I would have to go back to the very beginning and watch every episode just to catch up. And that’s just too much work.

And existing fans of the show? They can’t miss an episode, no sir. They have to record it for later if they absolutely cannot be sitting down when the new episode airs. Heaven forbid they miss one. They’d be behind, lost. Can’t have that – so they put in the effort.

There’s some old shows that are guilty, like 24, but it’s the new ones that are the worst. Just look at some of the newest shows – most pretty much require that you started watching from the beginning to really understand what’s going on. Heroes? Yup. Prison Break? Yup. Friday Night Lights? Yup. Studio 60? Yup. Ugly Betty? Yup. Jericho? Yup.

I am not sure if this trend is good or bad for television. On the one hand, networks might be limiting a show’s audience by setting the barrier of entry so high. On the other hand, these kinds of shows probably sell a lot better on DVD.

Either way, I kinda miss the old shows. The shows that didn’t require a lot of effort, nor an introduction. You could just start watching any episode and you just got it. There are notable exceptions in the current most popular shows, like CSI or Law & Order or American Idol, but for the most part, I think the new shows require too much effort.

In a way, I look forward to the day these shows are cancelled so I can just get all the DVDs.

Murdoch Cancels O.J. Simpson Book & TV Special

Post ImageBesides providing fodder for the late night television shows, nothing good could have come from the book by O.J. Simpson, titled “If I Did It”, nor from the related television show that was to air on Fox. Faced with incredible outrage over the project, News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch announced today that both book and TV show are canceled:

“I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project,” Mr. Murdoch said in a statement. “We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson.”

If O.J. Simpson really wanted to confess, why not just come out and say so? There’s no need to make a mockery of the legal system and drudge up old wounds in the process. I applaud Fox for choosing decency over profits. I’m all for free speech, but there’s no need for anyone to profit from Simpson’s pseudo-confession.


Xbox 360 to offer movies and television via Live

Post ImageMicrosoft has announced that starting November 22nd, which just happens to be the one year anniversary of the Xbox 360, users will be able to download standard and high definition TV shows and movies. This is a big deal, make no mistake about it. Engadget has some more details on the service, dubbed Xbox Live Video. Pricing has not yet been announced, but we do know payment will be made in Microsoft points.

Here are some choice quotes from around the web. From Microsoft Monitor:

Rental is something Microsoft offers that Apple doesn’t. And Microsoft will offer HD content, too, which is really smart. It’s not just differentiating from iTunes or other services, but preserving the user experience. Xbox 360 is very much about the HD experience.

From Don Dodge:

Stay tuned for more Live services. It is going to be tough to keep up with all the announcements coming from Microsoft over the next few months. It just gets better every day.

And not as positive, from GigaOM:

With just 20 gigs in the consoles standard hard drive set-up, youre talking about 10 high definition TV episodes or five HD movies. Most gamers can churn through that content in days.

I would not be surprised if Microsoft announced a larger hard drive in the near future.

All of a sudden, owning an Xbox 360 is about more than being a gamer. It’s great news for people like me, a fairly casual gamer. I knew the 360 would be big on media when I bought it, but I had no idea this was coming. I can’t wait to see what they launch next!


Tina Fey blogs 30 Rock!

Post ImageI really like Tina Fey – I think she’s incredibly smart and obviously very funny. I didn’t watch 30 Rock last night, but I am hoping to catch it soon, because it looks like it will be a pretty good show (and I like Alec Baldwin too). I went to the website to see what time it airs, and I realized that Tina Fey has a live blog:

After tonight’s east coast premiere, sign on here for the live blog Q&A.

Hi, this is Tina Fey. I’m in New York at a little party we’re having for our cast and crew. We’re eating chicken wings and getting ready to watch the show and I hope you’re doing the same. Especially the chicken wings part.

I’ll be back after the show to answer your questions. Feel free to chat amongst yourselves while you watch.

And chat amongst themselves they did! That post has over 1100 comments on it! By the end of the evening, Tina had made over 20 posts talking about 30 Rock, SNL, and her movie writing career.

I think this blog is an incredibly smart thing for NBC to do. In a way, it is like a return to the golden days of television, where everyone would watch the same show and then chat about it the next day at the watercooler. Now obviously not everyone is watching 30 Rock, but the blog brings back that conversational aspect to watcing television. And I realize there are popular TV show forums and things online, but they are created by fans, not by the producers and creators like this blog is! It’s television conversation on a whole new level.

Very cool, and I hope they keep it up.

Read: 30 Rock Blog

Audio: Review of Dragon's Den Episode 1

Post ImageWednesday night was the first episode of CBC Television’s new business reality series, Dragon’s Den. I found out about the show a long time ago through VenturePrize when the show’s producers were looking for contestants. Dickson and I considered throwing our names in the hat, but we decided we didn’t necessarily want the exposure (at the time we still hadn’t launched Podcast Spot). After watching the first episode, two things were confirmed for me (barring any changes in future episodes):

  • Had we participated, we’d have been the youngest ones, which is pretty normal for us.
  • I think our idea would have fared really well compared with the other contestants.

What I didn’t expect, was that I wouldn’t really like the show! As a result, I decided to do a review. I have always thought that podcasting is a great way to do reviews, because they are usually somewhat boring to type and somewhat boring to read. It’s much more interesting to listen to or to watch a review I think. So with that in mind, here’s my audio review of the first episode of Dragon’s Den!

I’ll probably watch again next week, just to see if my opinions change at all. And to see if any of the contestants have really interesting ideas.

Read: Audio Review

Great Canadian Inventions

Post ImageAs usual (well when he decides to post anyway), Dickson has an interesting post up on his blog, this time about the CBC’s poll of the greatest Canadian inventions. There are 50 different inventions on the list, and CBC wants you to cast your vote. A special two-hour show featuring the inventions and a bunch of famous Canadians will air on January 3rd, 2007.

Here are my top ten picks (in no particular order):

  • Bloody Ceasar – Seriously, where would we be without this fine drink?
  • Canadarm – Showing them how it’s done in Space, since 1975.
  • Zipper – It’s the one thing I can properly operate after all those Caesars!
  • Poutine – When made right, super yummy.
  • Electron Microscope – Don’t forget about the small stuff!
  • Snowblower – Nothing says Canadian like a huge machine to move the fluffy white stuff around.
  • Insulin – A very worthy invention. Until the next major breakthrough renders it obsolete.
  • Wonderbra – I feel very proud to be Canadian right now.
  • Instant Replay – Though less important now thanks to TiVo and other PVRs, this is still a pretty cool invention.
  • Java Programming Language – Java is important to me for two reasons: it’s initial success partially led to the creation of .NET, and it’s continued bloat/politics/other problems clearly demonstrate why .NET is so much better now 😉

There’s some really interesting inventions on the list, some really old, and some more modern. It will be interesting to see how they are compared on the show.

What are your favorites?

Read: CBC

Lonelygirl15 dances with Tucker Carlson!

Post ImageI was just watching The Tonight Show, and Jay Leno did a segment called “videos we found on YouTube”. Of course, he showed one of lonelygirl15’s videos (not sure who I am talking about? read this NYTimes article…it will bring you up to speed). And right after that, she came out on to the stage! She basically confessed everything we already knew (well if you have read the article linked above anyway). Then she said she wasn’t so lonely anymore, and Tucker Carlson (who Jay had made fun of earlier for getting kicked off “Dancing with the stars”) came on stage and they danced! It was pretty funny. Even though I really don’t like Tucker Carlson.

Lonelygirl15 is actually aspiring actress Jessica Rose (and she’s 19, not 15). Apparently she’s pretty amazed with the attention she is getting. There’s lots of commenters out there who just keep calling her “fake” and are angry that they were led on. I say, does it matter? Her and her three buddies have done something pretty amazing! I can’t wait to see what else is created now that they have “broken new ground” in a sense. You can’t be mad at them for being creative!

Here is lonelygirl15’s page on YouTube. I can’t seem to find a clip from tonight’s show, but by the time you read this, it’ll probably be up on YouTube somewhere.