Turning Over (the Remote) Control

Spring appears to have finally taken up residence in this part of the world; the nights can still get a little chilly, but for the most part all the signs of warmer weather have appeared: no jackets, restaurants have opened their patios and outdoor musical festivals are beginning. This is our reward for putting up with the long and cold winters and the warmer weather seems to put people in a better mood, at least while it is still a novelty. Three months from now we’ll be complaining about the heat and the humidity, but this is the sweet spot when we appreciate what we have.

Spring also marks the end of the traditional television season. Though new series will promote over the summer, the bulk of new series are coming to an end. In the next two weeks or so, most of the shows that I regularly watch will be wrapping things up, some for the last time (Adios, The Office. You were terrible your last two seasons).  Some shows will simply be ending their relationship with me, as I imagine I will not be returning when they come back in the fall (prime candidates: The Following, Once Upon a Time, Modern Family).

While there are summer shows that I am excited for – Breaking Bad foremost among them – I have a lot more free time as the days get warmer. I fill that with travel, baseball games, BBQs and concerts, as well as the summer movie season, but I always pick a few TV viewing projects to help fill the void. Without so many regular programs to keep up with, I like to use my down time to catch up on a show that I have fallen woefully behind on or finally get around to a show that I haven’t watched yet but have consistently heard is worth my time. For the latter, that may be a show that is still in production or it may be a show that has ended its run. With Netflix and so many streaming options, it is fairly easy these days to catch up on shows that you’ve missed.

This year, I’ve decided to turn control over to my readers and allow you to vote on what should be my summer viewing project. I’ve put together some options of shows that I haven’t seen but that I often hear come up in conversation. I’m sure I missed some great options, so feel free to suggest other shows for consideration. I tried to mix in some shows that are still running with series that are complete. I have no other restrictions, though I would generally prefer not to watch most reality show competitions. I don’t know how readily available most seasons are and if I already know the outcome, I’m not sure that’s a fair test for any show.

 

 

I currently watch/have watched: 24, 30 Rock, American Horror Story, The Americans, Archer, Arrested Development, Bates Motel, Being Human, Bent, Better Off Ted, The Big Bang Theory, Big Love, Boardwalk Empire, Bob’s Burgers, Breaking Bad, Childrens Hospital, Community, Copper, Cougar Town, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Damages, Deadwood, Dexter, Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23, Downton Abbey, Eastbound & Down, Family Guy, Firefly, The Following, Freaks and Geeks, Friday Night Lights, Game of Thrones, Gilmore Girls, Girls, Go On, Gossip Girls, Hannibal, Happy Endings, Homeland, Homicide, The Hour, House of Cards, How I Met Your Mother, The Inbetweeners, In Treatment, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Jersey Shore (no I am not proud of this), Justified. The League, Legit, Lost, Louie, Luther, Mad Men, Men of a Certain Age, Modern Family, Nashville, Newsradio, The Office (US and UK), Once Upon a Time, Parenthood, Parks and Recreation, Party Down, Political Animals, Portlandia, Rescue Me, Revenge, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Scrubs, Seinfeld, Sherlock, The Shield, The Simpsons, Six Feet Under, Sons of Anarchy, The Sopranos, Southland, South Park, Terriers, The Newsroom, Top of the Lake, Treme, True Blood, Undeclared, United State of Tara, The Vampire Diaries, Veep, Vikings, The Voice, The Walking Dead, Weeds, The West Wing, Wilfred, The Wire

I have tried and ultimately decided it isn’t for me: The Amazing Race, American Idol, Castle, Celebrity Apprentice, Dallas, Dawson’s Creek, Doctor Who, Entourage, Glee, Grimm, House, Hung, The Killing, The Middle, Project Runway, Pushing Daisies, Revolution, Suburgatory, Survivor, The Mindy Project, Top Chef, Ugly Betty.

So I leave this decision in your capable hands. You can pick a show that you think I’ll really like or you can pick a show you think I’ll hate. Whatever the winner is, I’ll watch the show (or at least a couple seasons) and then write about what I thought about. The adventurous part of me is very excited for this experiment, but the control freak/type A part of my personality finds this process terrifying.
I’ll leave the poll up for a couple weeks to allow people the chance to vote. I am your dancing monkey – just tell me what song to dance to.

 

monkey

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Get Out the Broom Edition

So the Yankees lost again last night, putting them one more loss away from elimination. At this point I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they are swept by the Tigers – even though our ace C.C. Sabathia is pitching tonight, he probably won’t get any run support. This team makes me mad.

Only one team has ever come back from this sort of deficit to make it to the World Series – the 2004 Boston Red Sox, after what is often referred to as one of the biggest chokes in sports. The team that collapsed, allowing the Red Sox to go on and end their World Series drought, taking away my favorite sports chant of all time (“1918”)?

The New York Yankees. Sigh.

On to more positive things. Here’s your biweekly roundup of pop culture stories you may have missed.

  • Questlove of The Roots and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon will be teaching a class at NYU.
  • R. Kelly is bringing you twenty more chapters of Trapped in the Closet. I’ve got some catching up to do.
  • The trailer for the wholly unnecessary Carrie remake has been released:

 

  • I don’t normally watch Raising Hope, but this might be enough to get me to tune in – Christopher Lloyd will make an appearance in a DeLorean. Great Scott!
  • Jim Carey is in discussions with Lorne Michaels (SNL) to star in Loomis Fargo, based on a real life armored car heist.
  • Marinate on this – Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers is 50.
  • This weekend during football, one TV at the bar was turned to Felix Baumgartner’s space jump. It wasn’t all that impressive and seemed like a tremendous waste of money. But if you missed it, you can check out the Lego recreation:

 

  • Bill Murray continues to live an awesome life – he recently crashed a kickball league. He also loves the movie Roadhouse. He is full of surprises.
  • Imagine this – you go to get on the subway in NYC and there is Rick Springfield leading a sing-a-long of “Jessie’s Girl.” That’s what happened last Wednesday. I like the song, especially for its proper use of the word moot.
  • The New Yorker has a profile of historical fiction writer Hilary Mantel. I had trouble getting into Wolf Hall, but I’m determined to revisit and and see if a second attempt goes more smoothly. Her choice to write in the third person was a challenge for me, but since I am fascinated by this time period, it’s worth another go.
  • Grub Street has compiled the best lines from the roast of Anthony Bourdain (they roast chefs? There has got to be a joke in there somewhere).
  • Speaking of Bourdain, the finale of No Reservations (airing on November 5th) finds Bourdain sampling the cuisine of Brooklyn (Crown Heights) with his special tour guide Michael K. Williams (Omar from The Wire)
  • It’s a pairing that has been fruitful in the past – Ben Affleck is in talks to adapt the newest Dennis Lehane novel, Live By Night. Affleck made his directorial debut with another Lehane adaptation, Gone Baby Gone.
  • Presented without comment – they are making a new version of Little Rascals featuring one of the little girls from Toddlers and Tiaras (NOT Honey Boo Boo)
  • As if I wasn’t already excited enough for the premiere of American Horror Story tonight, Ian McShane (Deadwood’s Al Swearengen) will be appearing this season.
  • You can stream the new Kanye West song “White Dress” online. It will appear on the upcoming soundtrack for the film The Man With the Iron Fists.
  • ABC is going to make a comedy starring Michael Bolton. Yes – THAT Michael Bolton who is, in the words of Office Space, a “no talent ass-clown.”
  • Someone put together a supercut of celebrities that have appeared on the various Law & Order franchises:

 

  • R.I.P. Alex Karras. Though he was probably best known as a longtime member of the Detroit Lions football team, he will always be Webster’s dad to me.
  • This really needs no further explanation  – Christopher Walken reads lines from Honey Boo Boo:

 

  • Rebel Wilson has landed a deal to write, act and produce a yet untitled project at Universal.
  • This sounds like one of the levels of hell to me, but Regal Cinemas are doing an all-day marathon of all the Twilight movies for $20 on November 15 to coincide with the release of the final film.
  • It’s only one episode into the third season, but I already feel like Walking Dead has fixed some of the problems that plagued the second season. I’m cautiously optimistic.
  • File this under totally random – Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Pierce Brosnan were hanging out together at a Radiohead concert.
  • Amber Tamblyn and David Cross were married last week at what looks to be a pretty cool wedding. Even though I was too old for the books or the movies, I somehow think it’s nice that all the girls from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants films attended.
  • At a recent Peter Gabriel concert at the Hollywood Bowl, John Cusack came on stage and handed Gabriel a boom box during “In Your Eyes.” Awesome.
  • Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian-Odom will join the X-Factor as hosts. Still not watching.
  • Snoop Dogg Lion is now a spokesman for hot pockets

Hard to believe this guy was once on trial for murder. This may be the most non-gangsta thing I’ve ever seen.

  • Harper Lee, the author of my favorite book To Kill a Mockingbird, penned a letter to Oprah about her love of books. This reminds me that I am overdue for another read through of this classic.
  • Since the last round up, another celebrity couple has decided to separate – Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito call it quits after 30 years of marriage.
  • Hugh Jackman, dressed as Wolverine, doing “Gangnam Style” with Psy – it happened!
  • Tunes by Frank Sinatra and Adele make the list of most requested funeral songs. Is this a British thing? I don’t think I’ve ever been at a funeral where there were pop songs played. Is this something I should be worrying about?
  • Someone made a documentary about the 80s television show (and Nickelodeon staple) You Can’t Do That on Television. Why? I don’t know. *slime*
  • I’m on a quest to try the limited edition Candy Corn Oreos, but can’t seem to find them anyplace. I refuse to order them online, as they were $12 a package and I’m sure they aren’t that good. If anyone seems them in the Capital Region, let me know.
  • And finally, someone wrote a love song that is chock full of Arrested Development references: