Archives for TV
Iron Chef America on Food Network is easily one of the longest running game show/reality TV shows still running on basic cable, or on any network really. The series originally started in Japan, then it moved here and was briefly on Fox and hosted by William Shatner. That stint was very short and then the show was taken over by a burgeoning basic cable network whose entire content was to be food focused. The approach was very much that of a sporting event. Two of the best in their field would compete with a given set of rules that included ingredients and a time limit. Three judges score the competition and there’s a host and two color commentators. One of the show’s commentators was and still is food scientist Alton Brown.
For the first eight years of the show the rules remained the same; an Iron Chef, one of the best in the world would face off against a competing chef. The two chefs’ would have to each craft five dishes in one hour all featuring a mystery ingredient. As the show has continued a spinoff show started called the Next Iron Chef. On that show top tier chef’s competed in various trials to become the next Iron Chef added to the team on the main series. Last year the show added two new rules; the first is that the competitors must have their first dish prepared and served to the judges within the first 20 minutes, the second rule is that the show’s host would throw the chef’s a culinary curve ball at the halfway point of the cooking. The curve ball could be an additional ingredient but thus far it has been some sort of cooking tool that must be utilized in the chef’s dishes. The show producers have to be careful not to over complicate the set up too much and causing the whole thing to implode in on itself.
This season the series is set up to do something it has never done in its running time. The subtitle of this season is “Tournament of Champions”. The season gets that title because this time around there will be no outside competitors; the Iron Chefs will all be competing against each other. The both humorous and cool thing about this season is that the “game” is set up more like a sporting event than ever before. The season will consist of a single elimination bracket with the newest Iron Chefs competing first and working their way through to the Chefs that have been on the show the longest. This is probably the best way to set the show up because to do it any other way would immediately be saying this Iron Chef is better than that one when they are all supposed to be the best of the best.
The first episode of the season was last Sunday and it featured the show’s two newest Iron Chefs: Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. This was a fun battle because these two chefs are actually close friends. They competed on The Next Iron Chef together and after Zakarian won Guarnaschelli joined his team as his assistant. She won a follow up season of Next iron Chef and now the two are battling it out as Iron Chefs. During the battle Alton Brown referred them as the “Sid and Nancy” of Iron Chef. Is this a compliment? At any rate their secret ingredient was potato chips for which they used as breading, in a dessert, and Zakarian even made pasta with the tasty snack. In the end Iron Chef Zakarian handily defeated his good friend and moved forward in the bracket set to compete against Iron Chef Michael Simon the next time he steps into the arena.
Iron Chef America might not be football or basketball but it is a sporting event in that professionals at the top of their game are competing. The difference here is that there’s an additional level of artistry involved, which of course makes the scoring difficult. The judging of art is so subjective and so much based on opinion. There are aspects of this particular art that can be judged such as texture of ice cream or over cooked fish but when the basics are perfectly executed the scoring suddenly becomes left to the tastes of the judges. It’s a tough thing scoring art, but it’s a fantastic ride watching these pros work.
This week we got it all, new Man of Steel trailer, new Star Trek trailer, Star Wars news and more! We also have an extensive list of the most important television shows of all time and Doctor Who, Lost, and 24 are nowhere to be found on it! Scroll on down to download or stream the episode or better yet stream it from the Stitcher Radio app on your mobile device or from the widget on the left of this page. To see the trailers that we are talking about then just look down!
Reality TV offers an extremely wide array of programing options. There are obviously elements that make all of the programs similar but there are competitions, melting pot dramas, documentary style shows, and more. For me I prefer the game show competitions shows, in particular the food based ones. Since I began watching my diet a few years back it became much more important to me that the food I eat offer me a new experience, since I’m not allowing myself to go right for the junk that I love more than most other things. With that I started watching food shows and found myself extremely interested in the competitions. With those shows there’s a sports-like battle but I also manage to learn something from them. I either discovered some new fruit I’ve never tried or some flavor combination that never occurred to me or something else similar. So of my three favorite shows two of them are food battles, or well…..”food fights”.
Chopped throws a group of chef’s together with mystery ingredients and limited time to use them. There are three rounds, appetizer, entrée, and dessert that each feature different ingredients. This is an extremely simple show with very little drama but tons of energy and much to learn about food. It’s sort of veg out TV too. You know, it’s the sort of thing you can turn your brain off too but still enjoy after a long day. This show doesn’t make me feel stupid for watching it unlike others that fall into the veg out category.
Other great honorable mentions include Master Chef, Top Chef, Diners Drive-Ins, and Dives, and Iron Chef America. OK, now I’m starting to get hungry.
Face off is a fascinating competition show on the Syfy network that offers a behind the scenes look at how make up is created for horror and science fiction TV shows and movies. A group of special fx artists are given assignments each week with the worst execution sending that particular artist home. One week they may have to create a classic monster and the next an alien and so on. As a filmmaker I love to see the craftsmanship that goes into these creations. From a reality show perspective the drama can get fairly tense as the clock begins to tick away the remaining minutes of time in which they have to work.
There’s really only one similar honorable mention to Face Off and that’s another show called Hot Set that also airs on Syfy. HBO ran a series for a few seasons called Project Greenlight that’s available on DVD that takes all of this artistry to the highest levels. It’s a must see.
Storage Wars brings about a whole different sort of reality show; the treasure hunters. On this show a group of people bid for storage lockers that have been abandoned by their original owners or foreclosed on. The challenge is that the bidders only get the vaguest idea of what’s actually inside these lockers. These bidders are literally treasure hunters. Most often they just hope to be able to make a profit off what’s in the lockers that they buy but in the back of their heads they hope that one of these lockers will have that one treasure that will allow them to retire. Again there’s a competition aspect to this show but the personalities make the competition a gamble rather than a simple game. These bidding wars are often full of bluffs and multi layered gambles. For example one bidder may try to run the price up on a locker against his biggest competitor in order to get him to spend up his money making the next locker easier to win. The personalities are fairly pigeon holed by the producers of the show far as to even give each bidder a nickname that matches his personality. This show is often funny and always fascinating from a voyeuristic perspective. I find myself wondering “why would the owner of this locker leave something so valuable in there?” “WTF? Really?”
Honorable mentions include American Pickers and Pawn Stars, both good shows but somehow they just don’t end up being recorded in the DVR.
There are many other shows that I follow. I didn’t even get into the travel based reality shows that I enjoy. The cute headline limited me to only three picks! The Amazing Race is a game show at its heart but outside of that element the show offers me the opportunity to see different parts of the world at a level of detail that I might not get to see any other way. But wait, am I cheating now because this is my fourth pick?
We’ve missed a few weeks due to being slammed here at the site but we are bringing you some great teases this week to make up for lost time! We’re starting off with the latest one sheet poster for the upcoming Ender’s Game film adaptation and we have a ton of previews from Syfy Channel, oh and there’s that new little Iron Man 3 trailer, the first trailer for The Wolverine and a video interview with the cast of The Host!
Ender’s Game Poster
In case you aren’t familiar with this amazing novel and the upcoming film here is the official synopsis: In the near future, a hostile alien race called the Formics have attacked Earth. If not for the legendary heroics of International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), all would have been lost. In preparation for the next attack, the highly esteemed Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and the International Military are training only the best young minds to find the future Mazer.
Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a shy but strategically brilliant boy, is recruited to join the elite. Arriving at Battle School, Ender quickly and easily masters increasingly difficult challenges and simulations, distinguishing himself and winning respect amongst his peers. Ender is soon ordained by Graff as the military’s next great hope, resulting in his promotion to Command School. Once there, he’s trained by Mazer Rackham himself to lead his fellow soldiers into an epic battle that will determine the future of Earth and save the human race.
Wolverine Teaser Trailer:
Iron Man 3 New Trailer:
Here’s a little Syfy Goodness!
Defiance—Premieres Monday, April 15 at 9/8c
Changed World – Trailer
SUMMARY: They arrived. The earth changed. Defiance premiering April 15, at 9/8c on Syfy
Haunted Collector—Airs Wednesdays at 9/8c
Island of Fear/Tropical Terror – Sneak Peek
SUMMARY: On this episode of Haunted Collector, John Zaffis and his team of investigators travel to the island of Puerto Rico, where restless spirits and the paranormal appear to be thriving. Their first stop is the historic Casa Blanca in Old San Juan, once the residence of the famous Ponce de Leon family and now a cultural landmark.
Jesslyn Gets Locked in the Showers – Clip from Ep.303
SUMMARY: Terror & panic ensue when Jesslyn’s trip to investigate a flashing light ends up with her locked in the showers. This could be the most horrifying moment of her career as a paranormal investigator.
Eyewitness to a Haunt – Bonus Scene
SUMMARY: John and his team get an eyewitness account to a haunting in the prison.
Stranded—Airs Wednesdays at 10/9c
Three Valley Chateau – Sneak Peek
SUMMARY: Yarc, his girlfriend Princess, and their friend Stephen leave the comforts of Brooklyn NY to check into the sprawling Three Valley Chateau in the snowy mountains of British Columbia. Yarc is a devout believer in the paranormal, Princess is an adamant skeptic, and Stephen thinks there’s “something” to be discovered, but doesn’t have proof.
She’s Freaking Out – Clip
SUMMARY: The cast has a freak-out session due to some paranormal evidence.
Cast Interviews for THE Host:
Bonus Round! Horror hounds here’s a trailer for Hatchet III hitting theaters in June!
This week we have a film ball showdown, Niko says cock, JJ Abrams talks trash about Trek, HBO Goes, and much more!
Want the video? Here ya go! We stream on Stitcher Radio also if that’s your thing. Get it in the app or check the sidebar of this very website!
Video streaming by Ustream
How can any true aficionado of pop culture completely overlook reality TV? Sure you can call it low brow TV or guilty pleasure TV or whatever you like but there is truly something out there for nearly every taste. Maybe you aren’t into the drama of Bridezilla but you’re a car buff. Well guess what, Top Gear (the BBC version) is reality TV. It seems like a magazine show but some of the scenarios the cast sets up pushes it more into the reality stratosphere. There are competition shows such as Amazing Race and Survivor. These are hybrid reality TV and game show as are cooking shows such as Top Chef and Chopped. There are other personality in a mixing bowl shows such as Duck Dynasty that are more about voyeuristic looks into a side of culture and an eclectic grouping of people that you might not be able to see everyday.
The reality show has its base in documentary story telling. When this sort of TV first began it was more documentary than scripted but now most of these shows are so manipulated that they are virtually scripted. The cast may not have words being placed in their mouths but they are being put in situations where the producers of the shows can predict and control the outcomes and the reactions of the cast. Most reality shows these days call themselves “unscripted television”. At first I was very appalled by these shows calling themselves “reality” and stupefied that the general public can’t tell how set up most of these shows are. I’m still shocked at how ridiculous it is that most mainstream viewers believe what they are seeing is simply reality but the idea of unscripted TV bothers me much less than it once did.
At the heart of what’s on the tube is entertainment. At the end of the day was I entertained? That’s really what this boils down too. If the show takes the format of “mockumentary” is it still entertaining? If the answer is yes then the show is a success. To believe that anything on television isn’t tinkered with is nonsense so to get mad that a show is trying to look like a documentary but actually be semi-scripted is just an esthetic decision that’s as valid as any other night time drama or comedy.
There is room to argue that the people on these shows are exploited and that in fact the actions of the producers and the shows could be fairly detrimental to the cast but these are adults that signed a contract and in most cases went through a lot to be exploited. The only time I have issue with the situation is when it comes to children, and there are those shows out there.
So, it’s with all of this in mind that we launch “The CineGeek Reality Blog” with two new contributors to the site! In this blog they will discuss the world of reality television and all that’s good and bad in it. Coming very soon we will also be adding a fully interactive webcast/podcast called CineGeek Gets Real where they will discuss reality TV live and in mp3 form in a similar vein to our flagship series “The Official CineGeek Webcast”. So jump on in with us, tell us your favorite reality TV shows and let us know what you’d like us to cover as part of this new initiative!
We’re starting the weekly tease off with a bang by dropping some new Hunger Games Catching Fire posters on you! What you don’t know this movie is coming? Yeah you do! That’s not all! We also have robots fighting it out for supremacy! That’s right, the dream of fans of low budget scifi films everywhere has come true: there is a Robot Combat League! The new sporting event is currently running on Syfy and we’ve got some behind the scenes clips! Scroll on down to check out all of the teasary goodness!
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE will be directed by Francis Lawrence, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. The novel on which the film is based is the second in a trilogy that has over 50 million copies in print in the U.S. alone.
Lionsgate will release THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE on November 22, 2013
Robot Combat Leage is happening! It’s on Syfy now. Check out these clips:
In this epic episode we discover the winner of this year’s Oscar game, update the movie film ball numbers, discuss the new Spider-man costume, the new Mary Jane, and still find time to laugh at NBC’s total suckatude and check out the Chubby Checker. Yup it’s a long episode!
We have some fun stuff for you this week! Battlestar Galactica lives on with a new movie; Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome airing on Syfy. We got an early sneak peek! Also Syfy will be throwing down some robot battles arena style and we have an interview with wrestler Chris Jericho talking about hosting this new fun series for Syfy. We have more Defiance and Merlin for you too! Finally the great home video company Shout Factory! Has a kids category of shows and films and we have early clips of their latest release!
Continuum—Airs Mondays at 8/7c.
A Test of Time – Sneak Peek
SUMMARY: Kagame’s return begins with a reset of Liber8′s agenda, away from violence and towards blending into the community and fostering their revolution through co-opting existing structures. But they have a vulnerability – the possibility that if their ancestors, living in this time, are murdered, they might cease to exist. A test of this theory is devised and Kiera and her grandmother are the guinea pigs.
Robot Combat League
So we all new it was inevitable, Syfy is launching a series called Robot Combat League in which human opponents duke it out via giant robot avatars. This seems like the Hugh Jackman movie Real Steel come to life. Let’s just hope this doesn’t bring about the reality of the rest of that film! At any rate we have for you an interview with wrestler Chris Jericho who will be hosting the show. He talks about his interactions with the robots and the show in general. Check it out:
Defiance—Premieres April 15 at 9/8c.
Fight Risk – Trailer
SUMMARY: This is a town worth fighting for. Join the fight with Defiance premiering April 15 at 9/8c.
Merlin—Airs Fridays at 10/9c.
The Dark Tower – Sneak Peek
SUMMARY: When Gwen is snatched from Camelot without warning, Merlin knows there can be only one person responsible: Morgana. Watch a sneak peek into “The Dark Tower,” when Merlin meets Queen Mab.
Colin Morgan Talks Ep. 505 – Recap
SUMMARY: Merlin star Colin Morgan talks about the important events from episode 505 ‘The Disir.’
Mordred’s Moment – Clip from Ep. 505
SUMMARY: Mordred sacrifices himself for the sake of his king.
For the Druids – Clip from Ep. 505
SUMMARY: A druid elder spends his last breath pleading with Arthur to make amends with the old religion.
Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome—Premieres Sunday, Feb. 10 at 9/8c.
Blood & Chrome – Trailer
SUMMARY: The story you never knew of William Adama. Catch the premiere of Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome on air, premiering Sunday, Feb. 10 at 9/8c.
On February 12th, Shout! Factory Kids, in collaboration with Nerd Corps Entertainment, will release SLUGTERRA: RETURN OF THE SHANE GANG on DVD! Check out these clips:
So our previous fan poll is over and Joss Whedon took the most votes for who might be the perfect pick for the follow up installment to the Star Wars franchise after JJ Abrams completes the first film in the new series. The man that made the Avengers received over 41% of the votes. The next closest pick was Brad Bird at nearly 24% and Mathew Vaughn was third with nearly 18%. We’ll discuss our thoughts on this week’s episode of the CineGeek webcast live on Ustream Wednesday nights starting at 6:30 central and available in audio form from Stitcher Radio and in iTunes Thursday mornings.
With this week’s premiere of the Netflix original series House of Cards we started wondering, how do you consume your media? Where do you watch the most of your television shows and other media? Hit the pole and let us know. Check the poll in the right sidebar here at the site and give us your answer. That’s right, the pop up was even starting to annoy us and we have a pretty high tolerance for these sorts of things!
Poll closes next Tuesday morning so vote fast!
House of Cards isn’t technically Netflix’s first full season release of new programming but it is the first high profile one. With the release of the Kevin Spacey political drama one has to wonder what the future of TV truly is. I became obsessed with this show and barreled through the entire 13 episode season in just a few days. I know that probably isn’t the norm, or is it? A large majority of people that I talk to tell me that they “marathon” entire seasons, or at least huge chunks of seasons of shows on Netflix. So the old idea of a season of a show lasting a number of weeks congruent with the number of episodes could be going the way of the dodo bird. I find myself having viewers’ remorse now because I could be waiting as much as a full year before season two of the show hits the streaming service.
So now I wonder if the Netflix approach to scripted material takes hold what is the future of consumption? Netflix will be offering a full season of a new series each month for the next three months. Are they hoping that we’ll just move to the new show from month to month? I find myself hungry for new content on Netflix more often than I like already. I enjoy watching documentaries via the service and am constantly frustrated when I pull up the new additions to the service and don’t see anything new to watch. Looking for new release fiction is almost not worth doing although there are a few surprises here and there, most notably the fairly fast move that Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol made to Netflix. As far as the new shows coming in the next two months go they are quite a bit different than House of Cards so if you aren’t someone who enjoys a lot of variety in your TV diet you’ll definitely be yearning for season 2.
If I were a betting man I’d wager that this form of releasing projects by Netflix is only a stop gap solution while technology catches up to the streaming giant. They have often said that they want to be the next HBO. An executive went so far as to say in a GQ article that Netflix was getting closer to becoming HBO faster than HBO is to becoming Netflix. It’s easy to see the potential for Netflix to move to live streaming episodes of new shows. So, each week they’d live stream a new show and immediately afterwards make it available for streaming. Microsoft has been dipping its toe in this area with the XBOX 360 off and on for some time. If this is the direction Netflix goes it would be disappointing because I’m looking for innovation, for a new paradigm to continue.
It could simply be possible that the company plans to just bring us a lot of content, offering up something new to watch every month for a given number of months crafting their own “Season”. That could absolutely be interesting although again you’d need a pretty open pallet for programming as they already have the political drama one month, a horror based series the next month, and a quirky comedy the final month. Whatever the future holds the company is doing one thing right: building an audience to follow them on the adventure. They had us with their streaming movies and previous seasons of network and cable shows and they’re keeping us with big name producers, stars, and series that already had a cult following before moving to the service. It’s a fascinating time to be following media because the possibilities for streaming and Netflix as an independent network are history making.
The problem that remains is that Netflix’ success rests so heavily on companies that are also competition. High speed internet is gripped by companies that also have some involvement in traditional TV broadcast so they’d rather not see Netflix succeed. Their answer is to govern internet speeds and bandwidth usage. These companies also hold a great deal of control over Netflix catalog titles of TV shows and movies. Starz for example freaked out when House of Cards was announced and decided not to renew its contract with Netflix meaning that Starz owned programming would be disappearing from the service. This was sort of a big loss for Netflix because they were getting Starz original programming right after it had aired on the pay service. So subscribers to Netflix could see Party Down and Spartacus without subscribing to Starz. Other distributors also dropped out of Netflix in the aftermath of the announcement about House of Cards. Netflix has recently answered back with exclusivity deals with Disney among others. The true future of Netflix resides in the back end, the connection speeds and bandwidth. If the company can partner with someone like Google, who is working on their own independent high speed internet access, they may be unstoppable.
The question still remains, how will we consume media in the future? Will we eventually go back to seasonal viewing via live streaming or is getting entire seasons in blocks the way of the future?
There’s a link at the top of our page you may not have clicked called “CineGeek TV”. On the page that follows the link you’ll find that we are posting CineGeek projects including our documentary series called Con Trek and Culture Smash specials but there you’ll also find that we have begun curating for you some of the what the internet has to offer as far as original genre content. We kick the whole process off by bringing you the entire first season of the Bryan Singer produced sci-fi series called H+. There are 39 episodes of the first season with each episode being under ten minutes. If you’re a fan of mysterious genre shows such as LOST this is a must see. Productions values are very high for internet TV and the execution of the story is pretty great.
We’ll be scouring the web and putting more great content on this page either via direct embeds or links so keep an eye out for more. Let us do the work for you! If you know of a web based series that we should consider for the page drop it in the comments below and we’ll take a look. in the meantime head on over and get caught up on H+!
This week we cover a lot of ground including beer made with bull balls to The Last Stand and the rest of the box office. Also we talk TV including The Following, and a Zombieland TV series on Amazon Prime.
We three biggies for you this week! We’ll start with a Merlin catch up video. If you haven’t seen the first four seasons of the series now running on Syfy Channel this video will get you all caught up so you can jump in to the final season. Direct TV is getting into the original programming fun with their new project Rogue, check out the trailer below. We’ve also got the first four minutes of the upcoming zombie romance Warm Bodies!
Merlin airs Friday nights at 10/9c.
Season 1 – 4 Recap
Get caught up on Merlin before tonight’s premiere of the final season on Syfy!
Warm Bodies The First Four Minutes
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is nearing its launch and with that are advance announcements of new gadget goodness. Coby Electronics has announced that their new line of LED TV’s will be bundled with the Roku Streaming Stick. The Roku streaming Stick is basically the Roku box that we all know and love compacted down to a device the size of a USB flash drive. This is something that should have been done a long time ago actually.
Coby products are budget priced typically so knowing that these new TV’s will be Roku ready right out of the box is pretty exciting. If you don’t already own a Roku and have always wanted one this will save you the cost of buying the box and free up some valuable real estate on your home entertainment center.
From the press announcement:
“The Roku Streaming Stick is like a one-stop-shop, instantly turning a TV into a Smart TV,” said Chas Smith, general manager, OEM at Roku. “Coby has selected Roku to give its customers the most comprehensive selection of streaming entertainment available right from the comfort of their homes.”
Coby’s debut M Series LED TVs – the LEDTVM4278 (SRP* $479) and LEDTVM5078 (SRP $599) – will be bundled with the Roku Streaming Stick, providing a seamless, fully integrated streaming experience. The wireless Roku Streaming Stick is approximately the size of a USB flash drive, and plugs directly into the TV’s MHL port. Once connected, the Roku Streaming Stick is recognized by the TV and enables users to access a huge variety of entertainment using the TV remote. Roku’s channel library includes instantly available movies and shows (with a sizable selection in 1080p) from popular services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu and more. Consumers can also take advantage of authenticated services like HBO GO and EPIX as well as a rich selection of live sports, music, casual games, news and beyond.
We’ll try to get a look at these new devices and give you the low down!