Too Much TV – Fall 2010

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Image by derekraugh via Flickr

We watch too much television at my house. We should probably seek professional help. Instead, we’re trying to figure out how to juggle DVR schedules and On Demand shows so we can watch everything we want to see… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA… [ahem]

Ok, now that I’ve had my nervous breakdown, let’s go through the list…

Last Thursday on the CW, I tried to watch the new Nikita. And though there were some good things (the action was cool, gadgets were cool, girls were beautiful) it just didn’t engage for me. I blame that not on Maggie Q, who plays Nikita in this incarnation of the story, but on the weak characters surrounding her. Shane West as Michael pales when compared to Roy Dupuis in the Peta Wilson-led La Femme Nikita of the late 1990s. And though I used to love Melinda Clarke, her Amanda pales against Alberta Watson’s Madeline from the ’90s series as well… I could go on, but suffice it to say that I won’t be watching again unless I’m very bored.

This week, we have only one show. It’s one my wife started watching and when I found time to see it, I actually enjoyed it…

  • Parenthood (ABC), Tuesday September 14, 2010 at 10pm CST/9pm MST

Next week is insane however…

Let’s start with Monday, September 20, 2010. Eight shows that we want to watch happen to air between 7pm and 10pm our time. Geez. And even if we only watch the first episode of a new series (I’m not convinced I’ll watch The Event, Chase, or Hawaii Five-O, but want to see the first episode to find out), that only reduces the list to 5 shows on a single night…

  • House (FOX), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • Chuck (NBC), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • Rules of Engagement (CBS), 8:30pm CST/7:30pm MST
  • The Event (NBC), 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS), 9:00pm CST/8:00pm MST
  • Castle (ABC), 10pm CST/9pm MST
  • Chase (NBC), 10pm CST/9pm MST
  • Hawaii Five-O (CBS), 10pm CST/9pm MST

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 is a little better…

  • Glee (FOX), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • NCIS (CBS), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • Raising Hope (FOX), 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 9pm CST/8pm MST

Wednesday, September 22, 2010, we only have a couple…

  • Undercovers (NBC), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • The Defenders (CBS), 10pm CST/9pm MST

Then Thursday (September 23, 2010) explodes again… Even though I won’t watch Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice (they’re my wife’s shows), that’s still seven out of nine shows…

  • Bones (FOX), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • Big Bang Theory (CBS), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • S#*! My Dad Says (CBS), 8:30pm CST/7:30pm MST
  • Fringe (FOX), 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • CSI (CBS), 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • Outsourced (NBC), 9:30pm CST/8:30pm MST
  • Private Practice (ABC), 10pm CST/9pm MST
  • The Mentalist (CBS), 10pm CST/9pm MST

And Friday (September 24, 2010) we only have a couple again:

  • Supernatural (CW), 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • CSI: NY (CBS), 9pm CST/8pm MST

So in the first big week of premieres, we’re looking at… 25 shows potentially.

To add insult to injury for our poor DVRs, there are more premieres scattered throughout October and November too…

  • No Ordinary Family (ABC), Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • Stargate Universe (Syfy), Tuesday, September 28, 2010,
    9pm CST/8pm MST
  • Human Target (FOX), Friday, October 1, 2010, 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • The Walking Dead (AMC), Sunday, October 31, 2010, 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • Lie to Me (FOX), Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 9pm CST/8pm MST

That’s a lot of television and I’m guessing a few will fall by the wayside before too long, but still… As Keanu would say – “Whoa.”

What are you planning on watching?
–Fitz

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FOX reveals Fall 2010 Premiere Dates!

The current logo of Fox Television
Image via Wikipedia

Hi all…

You know we watch far too much television at my house… But I’m always happy when I see that a series that I worried might have been cut gets brought back for a second series. With FOX that’s sometimes a double-edged sword, like in the case of Dollhouse, which I loved the first season of and hated the second. But hey… as Brandon Lee said in The Crow – “Can’t rain all the time.”

Shows returning include:

  • House (Premieres Monday, September 20, 2010 at 8-9PM ET)
  • Glee (Premieres Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 8-9PM ET)
  • Bones (Premieres Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 8-9PM ET)
  • Fringe (Premieres Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 9-10PM ET)
  • Human Target (Premieres Friday, September 24, 2010 at 8-9PM ET)
  • Lie to Me (Premieres Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 8-9PM ET)

There are even a few new shows:

  • Lone Star (probably not for me)
  • Raising Hope (looks cute)
  • Running Wilde (maybe?)

Which shows are you excited about?

(Thanks go to FOX and ComingSoon.net for posting the premiere dates.)

–Fitz

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[Music Review] VOCAbuLarieS – Bobby McFerrin

Hello there!

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I discovered the world of a cappella. A group of us from high school (and then into college) started listening to The Nylons, a doo-wop a cappella group that sang such classics as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” the “Duke of Earl,” “Poison Ivy,” and “(All I Have To Do Is) Dream.” In those few years I think we saw them at least once a year, sometimes twice as they’d tour the Front Range of Colorado. A group singing “a cappella” means that they sing without instrumental accompaniment. No drums, no backing band, just raw, naked vocal talent. It takes more than simply having a great voice – you must also be able to hear the harmonies around you and keep to your part while those around you are singing sometimes wildly different melodies or sounds.

So when I first heard Bobby McFerrin, I was already familiar with the concepts of a cappella. Yes, this is the man who sings “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – but don’t let that throw you off. “Don’t Worry” was a big hit back in the late ’80s and inspired many to take the time to stop, slow down, and enjoy life for a while. When I bought the album Simple Pleasures on tape (yes, it was that long ago), I was stunned to discover that the man who sang the slacker anthem of my high school was one heck of a talented vocalist with a range that stuns me even today and the gift to create sounds that I still have no idea how the human vocal cords can make.

Like I tend to be with many artists, I visited McFerrin’s realm several times over the next few years, enjoying his albums Medicine Music and Bang! Zoom before his career faded a bit.

In late 2009, I watched The Sing-Off with my family on NBC, which was a competition for amateur a cappella groups from around the world that lasted about a week. Though I’d listened to a few podcasts featuring some of the amazing college a cappella groups around the United States and beyond, it was great to see groups like Nota and the Beelzebubs sing their hearts out for a recording contract. And in the season finale, Bobby McFerrin walked on stage and sang “Drive” with the finalists. The chance to see him perform live with these younger artists, even on television, was enough to remind me of all of his amazing work I’d enjoyed 15-20 years ago.

Now in 2010, McFerrin has released his latest project – VOCAbuLarieS. Only a master of his own voice and singing with others would consider taking more than 1,400 vocal tracks from members of Voicestra, his singing ensemble, and fine vocalists from the worlds of jazz, opera, performance art, early music, cabaret, and rock and roll including Grammy-winning recording artists like R&B singer Lisa Fischer, Brazilian jazz innovator Luciana Souza, Janis Siegel of the Manhattan Transfer, and the stellar ensemble singers of New York Voices. This is truly a magnificent achievement.

The album starts off with the song “Baby,” which first appeared on Medicine Music in 1990. But this version definitely isn’t stuck in the 1990s. Somehow the layers and layers of voices and whistling not only add to the already rich melodies, but give a depth to the song that wasn’t in the original. It provides a good bridge to the past and to what McFerrin and his singing companions will do throughout the rest of the album.

“Wailers,” “The Garden,” and “He Ran for the Train” all seem to have a tribal African feel to them. But “Messages” had a vaguely Indian or Asian feel with the tiny cymbals in the background. And “Brief Eternity” feels like a Gregorian Chant at times in its intricately woven harmonies. So you can tell McFerrin continues to defy categorization. You can’t pin him to one musical style any more than you can trap the wind. And that remains yet another of his gifts.

Though I enjoyed the world-wide musical journey of VOCAbuLarieS, I almost feel that he’s lost his connection to the kidlike wonder that made his early albums more accessible. Simple Pleasures with its incredible energy will always be in the back of my mind when I hear McFerrin’s name. As Jon Bream said at the Star Tribune – “If Glee represents high school, the amazing vocalizing on this CD is a post-doctoral adventure.” I’m not typically one to go to the library to read someone’s doctorate, but if this is to be Bobby McFerrin’s magnum opus, it’s easy on the ears.

I hope to see him appear more often on the national stage in shows like The Sing-Off to inspire new generations of singers in person and through the infinite reach of television. And I hope that he continues to release albums – but I wish he’d visit the past to gain back some of that energy.

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

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