Pre-PVR Creative Solutions to Complex TV Issues

TVPlease hold your laughter while I confess something. American Idol is appointment viewing in my household. In fact, it's the only show the entire family watches together. My kids absolutely adore this show, and it's a big deal to them that Mom and Dad watch it with them and critique the karaoke with Simon and the gang.

Last night, American Idol aired at 8pm. We had to watch it, but I had a television quandary. Last Wednesday I screwed up the VCR recording of Lost. I've actually ordered a PVR from Rogers since that error, but it's being shipped and hasn't arrived yet. So last night I had to think fast on my feet...

Last week's Lost was airing on Buffalo's ABC affiliate at 8pm. Victoria's A Channel was airing the new episode at 7pm their time, to accommodate some dancing reality show. 7pm Victoria time is 10pm Toronto time, so I could tape last week's episode at 8pm while watching American Idol with the family at 8pm, then Taryn and I could watch last week's episode at 9pm and this week's episode at 10pm.

Sounds like a plan, right? Well... my Rogers digital terminal won't let me record a station I'm not watching. If you have a digital terminal, you know what I mean. The television has to be on channel 3, hence this inconvenient limitation. That's when I rolled back the technology a few years to solve our dilemma.

I cut the digital terminal out of the loop and kicked it old school by connecting the cable directly into the VCR and then connecting the VCR to the back of the television. Now I could record Buffalo's ABC affiliate to VHS while watching American Idol on CTV. Then, at 9pm, we watched the enhanced airing of "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" before reconnecting the digital terminal so we could watch the Victoria A-Channel affiliate's feed of "LaFleur" at 10pm.

We're caught up with Lost and the Kids got to see AI. Hopefully the PVR arrives today.

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Mercy Killing The Simpsons

SimpsonsFox has ordered another two seasons of The Simpsons, extending the longest-running series in prime time history through its 22nd season. That will put The Simpsons at 493 episodes. The Simpsons has won 24 Emmy Awards, 23 Annie Awards, four Genesis Awards, nine International Monitor Awards, seven Environmental Media Awards and a Peabody Award. It also won my heart nearly the moment it debuted almost twenty years ago.

I could take this opportunity to gush about my all-time favourite show and sing its praises. I could do that, as I've done it several times before, but that's not what I'm feeling these days.

It wasn't long ago that I simply refused to miss an episode, but I no longer feel that way. When I catch a new episode every now and then, I still find it somewhat amusing, but I find myself missing those first nine or so seasons of solid gold. I miss the glory days of The Simpsons, when it was televison I simply couldn't afford to miss.

Part of me is happy to see the show continue, as it's still decent and I like seeing Homer and the gang, but another part of me fears it's simply diluting the show's previous excellence. With 500 episodes in the can, will that overwhelming quantity detract from the quality of those initial 150 episodes?

Here are some posts from happier times. I never thought I'd say this, but I think it might be time for a mercy killing of my all-time favourite show.

James Clobbers Homer

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Taking the PVR Plunge

TVI'm about to take the PVR plunge. The final nail in the coffin was when I forgot to record the Vancouver A Channel feed of Lost last night. Today, I was ironing out the details with Rogers.

Rogers wants me to exchange my current digital terminal for a new one that will give me all my current features and PVR capabilities for an additional $15 a month. I'm thinking it's time I join the PVR club. It's time to slay the VHS VCR beast.

Does anyone out there use Rogers' PVR? Am I doing the right thing?

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Andy Richter and Conan O'Brien

conanAndy Richter and Conan O'Brien will be back together again on the Tonight Show.

It's been a while since I've been up late enough to watch Conan O'Brien's talk show, but there was a time I wouldn't miss it. Here's something I wrote six years ago.

I have nothing but positive feelings about Conan O'Brien. I knew him first as a writer and producer of some of the funniest Simpsons episodes ever. He wrote Homer Goes to College and Marge vs. the Monorail, two of my personal favourites. As a late night talk show host, he's certainly one of the best. My brother Steve and I made it a point to stay up and watch Conan during his first few seasons. This was a time when it was perfectly reasonable for me to go to bed at 1:30 in the morning. Conan O'Brien is directly responsible for a great deal of the laughter I have expunged throughout the past decade.

The next year, my brother Steve and I watched Conan tape his show at the Elgin Theatre. You might remember that infamous episode as the one in which Triumph the Comic Insult Dog took a poop on French Canadians. There was quite the outrage, as I recall.

Conan was never funnier than when he had Andy Richter by his side. Here's hoping they don't have to water things down for the 11:30 slot.

February 12, 2004 - Conan O'Brien

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I Got Hurt Feelings, I Got Hurt Feelings

musicEpisode two of this second season of Flight of the Conchords is a true gem. It's the best episode I've seen since the first half of season one. I just finished watching “The Tough Brets” for the second time, and it's deserving of a third viewing.

This one clicked on all cylinders. There was the great rapper dis in the library, classic Murray meeting confusion, gang practice, Oz jerks, a great tune called "Hurt Feelings" and a reprise of "Hurt Feelings" in Magnolia style. Oh yeah, and there was a West Side Story sequence near the end.

Here's "Hurt Feelings" from Flight of the Conchords.

Here's the return of "Hurt Feelings" in Magnolia style, with different characters singing the same song. Awesome!

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Rogers on Demand 300

TVI've been coughing up coin on a monthly basis to Rogers so I can get TMN and Rogers on Demand. I've been doing this for years. You can blame The Sopranos.

A few months ago, Mike, a reader of this blog, let me know about channel 300. I've always watched movies and cable shows On Demand on channel 308, but I didn't realize there was free stuff on channel 300. I assumed that was all pay-per-view, something I have no interest in.

Rogers On Demand is now how I watch The Office and 30 Rock, two shows I always seemed to miss when they air. If you're PVR-less, like me, and you already have a digital terminal from Rogers, you might want to check out the free shows available on demand on channel 300.

This message was not brought to you by Rogers...

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Dave Devall Retires After 48 Years

TVHave you heard Dave Devall is retiring? He's one of North America's longest serving meteorologists and he'll officially retire as CTV Toronto's Weather Specialist on April 3, 2009.

I never got my news from CTV. I suppose we all have our favourite television news stops, and mine has changed over the years, but it's never been CTV. Still, I knew who Dave Devall was. When you know a weatherman you never actually watched, you know he's a fixture of the Toronto media scene.

Here's Dave Devall, then and now...

dave dave2

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Global Toronto News at Noon Gets the Axe

TVI just got the email below form Horonymous.

Hi Mike.

Looks like Global Toronto will be canceling their noon news show. No idea how this will impact staffing levels.

Take Care

Advertisers drive media and in tough economic times advertisers typically show restraint. I feel for members of the Global News staff who may lose their jobs, but I don't think I've ever seen a minute of this program.

Will Global stations eventually become E! television stations?

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Catching Up With Lost

TVThe only network drama I still follow is Lost. I dig it. The way I've always watched Lost is on DVD, and I've always been one full season behind the rest of you. Until now...

We have only the season four finale to watch on DVD before season five premieres on Wednesday night. Then, for the first time in the history of this series, I'll catch Lost on ABC Television.

I hear Wednesday's Lost is three hours long and consists of a clip-show and two back-to-back new episodes. I also hear next season will be the final season and we're promised a shocking finale. This should be fun.


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Orchestral Doogie Howser

TVFact: Doogie Howser was the world's first blogger. Think about it... he sat at that computer and typed out crap nobody but he would care about. Now that's blogging!

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