31 August 2012

Friday's Top Five: Shows That Were Cancelled Too Soon

Hello faithful readers of five! Have you ever been personally invested into a television show, only to have the bastards executives at a major network cancel the show too soon?

If the answer is OMFG yes those sonsofbitches, then read on as I share my angst and rage.
And joining me this week, as always for this feature, is Joanne from A Cup of Jo, and Junior from Juice with Junior.

I am not going to explain the plot or synopsis of the show (that's what Wikipedia was invented for - and you can click on the title to read all about said show). I will instead post my emotions. Because goodness knows, everyone wants to read about my feelings. When you are done reading my bullshit brilliant work of art, leave comments (because they are my she-ra sword) and head on over to their blogs.

In order from rage to complete heartbreak (worst to even more worst):

5. Las Vegas (NBC)
So this show wasn't exactly what one would call "stellar" {imagine me using the air quotes finger gesture}. You probably won't see this show on anyone else's top 5 list (unlike Arrested Development which everyone seems to loooooovvvvveee). But I enjoyed this show. I loved the concept of the show, the intro music, the relationships, the storyline, and James Caan. I loved how every time I watched, I wanted to fly on a plane to Vegas. What was frustrating is that it ended the season prematurely due to a writers strike. And then never came back because of an off-season cancellation. So all we were left with was pregnant Delinda bleeding at the alter in Danny's arm. All I ask for is closure. Damnit.

4. American Gothic (CBS)
In today's heavy supernatural/vampire-driven market, we take for granted the concept of the creepy gothic-weird show. But before Buffy, Vampire Diaries, True Blood and Supernatural, there was American Gothic. American Gothic was this creepy show involving a child, Lucas Black, and the details surrounding his birth (in a town with creepy things going on). It was good vs. evil and creepy as all hell. It was so well acted and completely riveting. But it was a show that was aired before it's time, in a market that wasn't quite ready for that.

3. Life on Mars (US Version) (ABC)
The way this show was handled makes me hulk-smash mad. The concept was brilliant. A modern day cop gets smacked up and wakes up, only to find himself in the year 1973. And it was so good. And you weren't sure if this was a coma, or some bizarre mind-control thing, or if this was for real or imaginary. And it was neat seeing him deal with the technology of the day, but aware of what the future held. It definitely had elements of the show Lost, but that in the end was its' detriment. It really was one of those shows you sort of had to pay attention to and watch each week. But the boneheads at ABC kept moving the show around, or not airing shows for weeks, which made that process hard. And when they did pull the plug (but allowed the show to finish the season), the end was so convenient, contrived and unsatisfying. It didn't really make sense in the context of the show.  But it was a damn good show while it lasted.

2. Carnivale (HBO)
I was utterly in love with this show, in an obsessive-stalkerish kind of way that my husband is all too familiar with. I came across this show through word of mouth. I borrowed the DVD and hunkered down. It was brilliant. The acting. The concept. The storyline. It had a plot! IT HAD A PLOT! The show was set during the dust bowl-era of the the 30's. It was the battle of good vs. evil, with religious and pagan undertones. It was a mad macabre of delight that flashed before my eyes. But alas, it was one of those shows that no one was ready for. It was a show that required emotional investment, competing against mindless reality shows. And goodness knows, we wouldn't want to actually think while watching TV. I live in eternal hope that Carnivale can be resurrected from the dead.

1. American Dreams (NBC)
This was my favourite show of all time. I loved this show like no other (before or since). It represented everything I love: family, history, relationships, music, nostalgia, J.J. and his dad, and awesome clothes.  It was an instant classic about a bygone era. So when this show was cancelled, I was genuinely upset. I did all the steps of grief:
  • shock: "why God why?"
  • denial: "It will be picked up by another network!"
  • pain: "I'm calling in sick to work and staying in bed"
  • guilt: "maybe if I had only encouraged all my worldly friends to watch"
  • bargaining: "I will buy the DVD of Season One, and you will see how popular this show is and bring it back right?"
  • anger: "I hate you NBC!"
  • more anger: "I will forever boycott the peacock network!"
  • and still more anger: "You f*ck*rs! Why won't you put season 2 & 3 on DVD?"
I'm not at the recovery and acceptance stages yet. NOR WILL I EVER BE! {Oh yes, I unleashed the ALL CAPS. Shits about to get real. The world needs to hear my anger. Except they can't really hear. So why people get mad at all caps for shouting when no one is actually saying anything baffles me. But I digress.}

The thing that makes me angry is that it's one thing to cancel the show and not bringing any closure to the show. But the bastards have rubbed salt in the wound by not releasing Season 2 & 3 on DVD!
My heart still aches for this show. I still live in eternal hope for a movie-of-the-week at the very least.

I think part of the reason it only lasted 3 years, when it had so much more story to tell is simple: for all the crap you hear in the news about people wanting a show about "American/family values" is a bunch of horse dung. People want shows like Honey Boo-Boo and The Kardashians so that they scream about values, but they don't actually want to have a show about values.

And for funzies, watch this clip of the intro while I crawl  into the corner and cry.

So there you go folks! That's another rousing edition of the Friday Five! Don't forget to leave comments, and then mosey on over to see what Jo and Junior has to say.

Question for the world: What are shows you think were cancelled too soon?

24 August 2012

Friday's Top Five: Things I Love and Will Miss about The Olympics

Hello faithful readers of five! I want to introduce you to a new weekly theme - with a twist! Every week, I will post a list of top five things. They will be a list of five things on a variety of topics. The twist is, I will be posting my independent thoughts and opinions on the same topic as my blogger (and bestest) friends, Joanne (and on occasion, Junior).  So once you are done reading my blog, head on over to A Cup of Jo and Juice With Junior to see their perspectives! Leave comments if you wish on what we have posted. Comments are like a She-ra sword in our world.  {Editor Note: Due to a previous committment involvling caftans and John Cena, Junior will not participate in this week's theme}

Without much further ado, here are a list of five reasons why I love and will miss the Olympics! {Insert fanfare and trumpets here}.

5) The Opening (& Closing) Ceremonies:  There is something about Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies that instill pride and national embarassment. On the one hand, you get an opportunity to see a hosting nations culture on display and for the most part, you can't help but feel a sense of patriotic pride, even on behalf of a country you don't in which you don't live. On the other hand, for the citizen of said hosting nation, these ceremonies can occastionaly dabble in what I love to call 'did-they-just-do-that-omg-i'm-so-embarassed' moments.  Take the Whister Winter Olympics in 2010 for example. I was stoked to see Wayne Gretzky carry the torch. But then they brought out the big giant beavers at the closing ceremonies. Makes for great fun if you are playing a drinking game. Or just drinking. Or possibly smoking some wacky tobaccy. The London 2012 Summer games had moments of pure brilliance (The Queen/James Bond scene) and moments where I went "huh?" Yes, I am talking to you Annie Lennox. Good or bad, awsome or awesomely funny, they bring excitement at the beginning, and sadness at the end. And because I won this year's self-imposed drinking game, I think they rock.

4) Everyone is either a sports expert or a comedian in 40 characters or less: When I reluctantly joined Twitter, I didn't think that it would lead to an enhanced experience of my Olympic watching. Boy was I wrong. I got to expereince the Olympics in a whole new way. A lot of olympians had twitter accounts, so it was fun to see the experience through their viewpoint and pictures. Their joy, sadness and emotions were out there for all to see. Then there are what I like to call the arm-chair athletes, who all-of-a-sudden became experts at sports they never watch on any given day in any other year. Oh, the injustice of a referee making a call on a legitimate rule! #aretheyeffingidiots? Then there is the excitement when our country wins a medal, or "our" athlete is trending!

But the best part for me personally? Watching the closing ceremonies with my tweeps and more importantly, finding the fake account of the Queen. {Handle: Queen_UK}. Here are a sample of tweets that had me laughing:
  • There's only One Direction one wants to see these little girls heading and that's the exit. {referring to the band One Direction}
  • The whole world inside the Union Flag. Brings back memories.
  • It's all about the money to be fair. {referring to Jessie J's performance}
  • Those Rolls Royce better come back clean or one will have someone's balls on a silver plate, one can assure you.

3) Exposure to obscure sports:  To be fair, anything outside of hockey in Canada is probably considered an obscure sport. With the summer Olympics however, obscure sports takes on a whole new meaning. One day, I was at home, slumming in my pj's, thinking to myself "geez I wish I was athletic" as I noshed away on some junk food. And I turn on the t.v. and see a group of athletes walking through the streets of London, walking like they have to go to the bathroom or they will have an ass-plosion.  WTF?  Turns out speed walking is a qualified Olympic sport. Who knew? But I could not turn the TV to another channel! I had to watch to see if Deng* would beat Hong* to be the supreme speed walker of China. Would Razimanof* from Russia make a burst of speed? Whoa-where the hell did that french guy LePeu* come from? It made for some intense stuff my friends. Intense stuff.  {*may or may not be their actual name}

The ultimate exposure came one day when my loving husband and I were lazing around in our pj's (a common theme of the Olympic watching experience). We turn the channel, and there are these horses, kind of prancing around in a picket-fence enclosed spot. What in the name of the wee donkey is this? Well it turns out, there is a sport called Dressage. Have you ever heard of that? Me neither. It's sort of like me at Zumba, but slower and more graceful, and with a horse. Riveting stuff my friends (I say as I drink my port wine, pinkie extended).

I love it when I get the chance to watch obscure sports. And the Olympics are the only stage in which I am likely to do so.


2) When athletes achieve their/our personal best or overcome obstacles: There is this natural obsession that happens when the world meets to compete - the desire to win the most medals (especially gold ones). While that is admirable, a medal count or an athlete winning a medal doesn't inspire me as much as it maybe should. For the majority of countries (Canada included in some sports), the government (vis-a-vis the people) do not place athletic competition as a priority. In powerhouses like China and USA, state of the art facilities are built. But in most countries, athletes are lucky if they have a local gym. It's hard to believe that in a country like Canada, some athletes train out of church basements because that is all they have.

With this in mind, and the fact that we compete against 302 other countries, we should not be disappointed when our athletes don't medal. We especially should be cheering them on loudly when they do their personal best or rank higher than expected for certain events. If Canada places in the top 10 in things like gymnastics, that's a pretty big freaking deal. When we place top 8 in running against countries like Jamaica, most African countries, and the USA, that is a pretty big freaking deal. If an up-and-coming athlete does their personal best, that is a pretty big freaking deal and bodes well for future competitions. Heck, even if we place last place, they are doing better than us who sit on the couch. We need to look beyond medals, and recognize and celebrate athletic achievement for what it is.

It is particularly inspiring though, when an athlete overcomes huge obstacles (such as gender for the Saudi Arabian female athletes) or disability (like South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee) and competes on the world stage. Oscar Pistorius ran with carbon legs people. That's a pretty big freaking deal. Sarah Attar, a female from Saudi Arabia competed, covered in a burka from head-to-toe. That's a pretty big freaking deal. An American athlete continued to compete in a relay race with a broken leg. A BROKEN LEG! That's a pretty big freaking deal. Canadian athlete Paula Findlay finished a race in last place with a painful hip injury. She was hurt, but she finished. That's a pretty big freaking deal.

I love pretty-big-freaking-deals I tell yeah. I do.

1) The Agony of Defeat: There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that stirs our collective national pride like close-call defeats. You want to get Canada's knickers in a bunch? Don't win a gold, as exciting as that is. Lose an important medal-contention event in a controversial manner! Then watch Canadians come together in a collective chorus of national identity.

When the Canadian women's soccer team lost a semi-final match because of a controversial call, all of a sudden, the bronze medal soccer match was the sport to watch. All of a sudden, a barely watched sport became Canada's national sport event. Tempers were flaring over a perceived or real botched-call (I'm no soccer expert so what do I know if it was fair or not?). So it was IMPORTANT that we win a bronze medal. Our country pride was on the line. Canada held their collective breath and then cheered as if we had won gold.

When Canada's 4x100 men's relay team won the bronze, most of Canada was pretty stoked for a few minutes. But when they were disqualified for what seemed like a tiny mistake, we were collectively distraught and heart broken. And after that disbelief, we rallied, as a nation should, behind our guys. We rallied behind Jared Connaughton when he stepped up and accepted blame for stepping on the line, the heartache clear. We rallied behind them and cheered them on, knowing in our hearts that they were winners.

Maybe we rally because we see ourselves when defeat happens. Maybe we can all relate on a personal level when your dreams are snatched away at the decision of others. Or when you don't quite feel like you are professionally or personally where you want to be. Or maybe, just maybe, it is because as a country we feel disconnected from each other, and the Olympics give us a collective experience to share.

There's my list folks. There are other reasons, but hot Olympic men isn't the most appropriate thing that a newly married women should blog about.

Be sure to go visit my homie Joanne at A Cup of Jo, where she shares her Friday Five Olympic moment.

And leave comments. Remember: comments are my She-ra sword!

What are your top five moments?