Let’s Be Upfront 2012: FOX & NBC

This week is a special time for fans of television as each of the major networks roll out their fall schedules, announce what current series are being cancelled, reveal what new shows their picking up. So basically it’s Christmas morning, complete with the excitement of beautifully gift wrapped new toys, and the disappointment of said new toys once unwrapped and revealed to actually be a stack of tube socks. Thankfully this year few beloved series have been cancelled, albeit a handful will return with fewer episodes (most notably Community) and one had to jump networks (Cougar Town). But now that we know what shows are returning it’s time to change the focus to what new shows will be out come next season. The following are my first impressions from the short one to four minute previews the networks have made available online. There will be a handful of series I won’t cover as I no interest in spending any time on shows like Mob Doctor (she’s a doctor that has to work for the mob) and the majority of the discussion will focus around sitcoms as that’s my main area of interest. Without further ado here’s my thoughts on what FOX and NBC have to offer.

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Remotely Interesting Retrospective 2011 – Other Shows

It’s the end of December which means its time to look back on the year an evaluate the various television shows that aired throughout 2011. Yesterday I posted  my Second Tier series of the year, but rather than go ahead and post my First Tier series right away, I thought I’d list my thoughts on all the other shows I’ve been watching all year. These are the shows that I watched every single episode of that aired in 2011, but didn’t make my top ten list.

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From Meek Freaks and Geeks to Chic Winning Streak

For Research Writing we had to do a profile on someone or something, so naturally I decided to write it on one of my all time favorite shows, Freaks And Geeks.  The paper focuses on the show’s lasting impact on the world of comedy and where it’s major players have ended up.

Today the name Judd Apatow goes hand and hand with the term comedy, but in the fall of 1999 the name held no such power as the dreary but sweet pilot of Freaks and Geeks came and went with little fan fare.  The series aired twelve episodes before it was quietly cancelled.  At the time it seemed as if it was the end of the show’s legacy, but the series would go on to become one of the most defining cult classic TV shows once it’s 2004 release DVD, and launched the careers of over a dozen huge actors such as James Franco, Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, Linda Cardellini, Busy Philipps, John Francis Daley, and many more.  Even Shia LaBeouf and Jason Schwartzman had brief appearances on the show at the start of their careers.  Freaks and Geeks is significant not just because it’s one of the greatest short-lived series created, but also as it became the building block for a large portion of modern comedy.

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Parks and Recreation – Pawnee: First In Laughter, Fourth In Obesity.

This a review of the first six episodes of Parks & Recreation’s third season, written right after the premiere of “Indianapolis”.  It covers all the episodes leading up to  “Harvest Festival”.

When Parks and Recreation first aired in 2009 it was little more than a clone of The Office.  It used the same mockumentary filming style and contained many of the same characteristics to the series.  But just as in season two of The Office when the American version broke away from the British counterpart its based on, so did Parks And Recreation in season two brake away from The Office.  In what seems like no time the show went from the weak link in NBC’s comedy lineup to easily the highlight.  Season three, which began late in January, has continued this trend with being one of the most reliably funny show of the night.  While Community overshadows it in ambition, The Office in ratings, or 30 Rock in awards, it remains the most consistently comical series on NBC (I’m not even going to mention Perfect Couples or, worse, Outsourced).  No matter what episode, the series remains hysterical and fully entertaining.

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Big Tuna In An Even Bigger Pond: Aimless 20-Something Year-Old Everyman Jim Halpert

NBC’s The Office began as a series with plots as simple as its title.  Each episode focused on the simple drudgery of working in an office that you’re not too found of.  While Steve Carrel’s Michael Scott is playbilled as the lead, the reason viewers began to tune in wasn’t for the boss’s crazy antics, but rather for the simple pranks of everyman Jim Halpert.  Jim Halpert starts the series as a mid to late twenty something year-old paper sales representative at paper supplier Dunder Mifflin.  He is bored, uninterested, and apathetic towards his job.  He dreams of a life better than the one he has; yet he does little to change it.  He has no higher ambitions for his life other than one ending up with the secretary he spends all his free time flirting with.  He is for all intents and purposes, a fictional representative of the recent phenomena that has taken over twenty something year-olds today.

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Branding The Cattle: Assessing Product Integration In Modern Television

Community (NBC)- “Basic Rocket Science”

Preface: The following is an essay I wrote in October for my Intro To College Writing course with the topic of advertising and branding. I focused on product placement and integration talking about areas such as The Office and KFCs October advertising on Community, Running Wilde, and The Good Guys.

Coke or Pepsi? At first this might come off as a seemingly simple question, but rather it is one that can tell a great deal about a person.  Someone who drinks Coke relishes in nostalgia, it takes them back to being a little kid and grabbing an icy cool Coca-Cola bottle out of the fridge.  On the other hand a Pepsi drinker is someone who enjoys being hip and staying up to date with modern trends.  The product is essentially the same, yet the market and advertising is completely different.  It’s not the product that matters much, but rather the brand.

In 2002 the UK business magazine The Economist ran an article titled Who’s Wearing The Trousers? that directly captures this style of marketing, “The new marketing approach is to build a brand not a product – to sell a lifestyle or a personality, to appeal to emotions.”  Advertisements try to convey this in quick thirty-second spots, attempting to derive emotion from situations with little or no context.  Needless to say this is a difficult task and one that is becoming less and less important when compared to rising use of a tactic known as production integration.  Product integration, also known as product placement, involves placing existing merchandise into a TV show to help further get a brand’s name out. By directly incorporating products into television shows the item becomes apart of a character’s life and can be a factoring point in creating their fictitious personality.  An ad can sell a product, but it’s product integration that can truly help sell a lifestyle brand.  And if done right, product placement can be an exceptional way to get an item on consumers’ mind without them even noticing.

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