Absolutely Maybe. And We Mean it This Time!

The Senate has passed yet another bill delaying the adoption of broadcast DTV. This one would make the switch “voluntary and television stations could go ahead if they wished with digital transmission on February 17 as scheduled and drop analog transmission.” (source)

Yeah… if you could just go ahead and put the new cover sheets on your TPS DTV reports, that would be great. Thanks!

The delay is being urged because apparently millions of Americans are not ready or have not managed to get their hands on the $40 coupon for that craptacular DTV-to-analog TV converter. Never mind that this change has been announced, delayed, announced again, and delayed again. I predict that few of those same millions will be ready for the transition in June no matter how many times this thing is pushed out.

The analogy isn’t perfect but, given that our government is so keen to treat us like children in other respects, it’s hard not to compare this to a parent telling a child, “Your room had better be cleaned up by supper or I’m going to count to 10 and then to 20… if that’s okay with you. Here, let me just pick this up for you.”

I should think the best incentive for people to get their poop together would be missing an episode or two of “So You Think You Can Survive America’s Top Idol Deal or No Millionaire?” Tough love, I know.

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Wayback

By your command

I’m late to the party but I recently discovered that, as part of our subscription to NetFlix, we can watch some titles from our PC without having to wait for a DVD in the mail. As a result I’ve been able to catch a few episodes of old TV shows without having to interrupt TT’s steady USPS delivery of Crime Drama Porn (CSI, Law & Order, etc.)

A few minutes ago I watched the pilot episode to the original Battlestar Galactica. I was a fan back then; I had just seen Star Wars and I was already fascinated with anything Sci-Fi. I suppose that’s why I was able to overlook the badness that was the original Battlestar Galactica. Yikes. Still, there was an element of nostalgia seeing my favorite characters: Commander Adama, Apollo, Starbuck (a boy!), Boomer (also a boy!), Athena and, of course, that hawt unnamed female communications officer with the ponytails who said, “launch vipers.” Yummeh!

I suppressed my gag reflex at the first sight of Boxie, the little space brat and his pet dagget. In more modern space epics such as the new BSG, little kids generally, you know, sorta die in horrible ways. That’s quality TV!

What really struck me was how clean the dialog was. I mean, here we find the dregs of humanity in a “rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest for Earth,” stripped of their families, loved ones and possessions, saying stuff like, “this is a terrible tragedy.” In the new BSG, after the destruction of the Colonies, every other word is “frack.” Why? Because the situation is fracked up and people stop being polite when they’re stripped of their basic comforts. That’s fracking cool TV!

But seriously, thank you NetFlix for making my life even more sedentary than it was before.

Blasphemy

Troy Patterson at Slate watched one episode of “Battlestar Galactica” and declared that the show was “Humans vs. Robots, Round 15” and that it was too dark. That’s like saying “Lost” is about a plane crash. I’ve never watched “Lost,” so maybe that should be my review of that show. I’ll have my agent call Slate. (Honestly, I’m a bit surprised since Slate generally does a better job.)

Look, BSG is not perfect. (Even this fanboy can admit as much.) But I’ve actually watched the episodes (many times over) so on the rare occasion I level a criticism, at least I can do so with hindsight and knowledge. Seems to me Slate could have hired someone with some BSG experience or perhaps rented the first two seasons on DVD so that their reviewer could grab a fistful of clue. BSG — like other multi-threaded programs such as “Lost,” “24,” and classics such as “Babylon 5” — require an investment in time to be fully appreciated. Slate’s reviewer didn’t even try.

I’ve never met the man but I’ve read one of his reviews so I can tell you with as much surety as he has on the subject of “Battlestar Galactica” that Mr. Patterson is a frakking tool.

Nuance much? Not me. Don’t disrespect the Galactica.

Update: Blast! I can’t keep up with my RSS reader. Slate completely redeems itself with this interesting breakdown of the first and second — spoiler warning — episodes as they relate to a certain current war. Spencer Ackerman has watched the program and, while don’t completely agree with his opinion, I can at least see how he arrived at one.

More on the New (old) Star Trek

I’ve been watching the reconstituted, digitally enhanced episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series on KPDX-DT and I have to say I’m impressed. Modern computer modeling would have made it possible to change the episodes in significant ways and yet, I think, the producers have shown remarkable restraint. Most of the work has gone into enhancing establishing shots such as the Enterprise in orbit or — as was the case with “Devil in the Dark” — an enhanced static shot of the mining facility and some subtle magic at the appearance of a tunneling horta. To my eyes, none of the enhancements distracted from the story.

Did Star Trek absolutely need an update? Nope. But I’m glad they did it. I loves me some Star Trek.

Must See TV

The New Fall TV Season is almost upon us and the networks stand to unleash some number of new shows greater than 2 and less than 50 Bazillion (all statistics are approximate.) With so many choices (isn’t capitalism grand?), how on earth can a person be expected to sort through the list? One way to succeed is to simply record everything.

Zack Price at the SnapStream Blog provides some of his show picks from the lineup along with pointers to Percy Bell’s advice on how to build (among other things) a $4000 Godzilla PVR with 11 (four HDTV and seven analog) tuners so that you will never miss a show again. …EVAR. I like the way these guys think.

Once you’ve paid for and built your machine, you’ll need to quit your job and neglect your family in order to watch the programs you’ve accumulated. Some endeavors require sacrifice.

Honestly, I hadn’t seen any of his work until well after I had built my own PVR. It would seem I accidentally made some very good choices. I’ll probably add a second HDTV tuner in the next month to deal with football/drama conflicts.