Television


Street Cents and Me

If you listened to my interview with Jonathan Torrens, you know I was a big fan of the Saturday morning CBC show Street Cents. It was appointment viewing for me.

Jonathan Torrens Leaving my Place

I was way older than their targeted demo, but I loved it. There was nothing else like it on television. It was, dare I say, an intelligent show for teens, and unabashedly Canadian. I was pretty ticked when they cancelled it in 2006.

But do you know what's not fit for the pit? This oral history of Street Cents by Vice. It's a fun read if you're a fan of the show.

And Benita Ha, if you're reading, you're welcome on Toronto Mike'd anytime.

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The Only True Power is Violence

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Rogers Hockey: What Do We Think?

A few months into a 12-year contract, I thought I'd take the pulse of this nation's hockey viewers and learn what you think Rogers Hockey telecasts thus far.

rogers

What's working? What's not? What would you change?

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Broadchurch

Over the last few nights, my wife and I watched Broadchurch, a BBC crime drama. I must say, it was fantastic.

The acting, writing and cinematography were all top notch. In fact, as good as True Detective was, I think I enjoyed Broachchurch a little more.

broadchurch

The first season is only eight episodes, and you'll burn through it. A second season (or as the Brits say, "series") is on the way. You can watch Broadchurch now on Netflix Canada.

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Hate-Watching The Newsroom

When it comes to scripted television, I watch very little. I caught The Simpsons Christmas episode on Sunday, but mainly to recapture some of the joy I experienced watching that show in the early 90s. I'll watch the odd episode of Seinfeld or Modern Family in syndication if I'm feeding the baby, but otherwise I'm really just waiting for the final episodes of Mad Men to air.

Oh... and I watch The Newsroom. Not the Ken Finkleman Newsroom but the Aaron Sorkin Newsroom. I started watching because I really liked Sports Night and The West Wing and I kept watching because it's wonderfully awful.

acn

Other than the great opening scene in the pilot and a couple of fantastic scenes in the penultimate episode that aired last weekend, it's scene after scene of cheesy convenience, cringe-worthy moments and holier than thou attitude from the sanctimonious ACN crew. One storyline this final scene actually concluded with the HR Manager revealing it was all just a joke. I found that fitting, because this entire series is a joke.

When I watch The Newsroom with my wife, I literally yell at the screen. I yell at the web guy when his top notch digital research consists of searching Twitter, I yell at Jim for being so pathetic and condescending and then I yell at everyone for loving Jim so much. But I do watch.

I can't wait to see how Sorkin ends this.

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Star Trek Finale at SkyDome

Back in 1994, 40,000 people watched the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation at SkyDome. Yes, this actually happened.

Here's a clip shared by Retrontario featuring Monika Deol and some guy named Howard from CFNY.

Were you one of the 40,000 Star Trek fans at SkyDome that night?

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is This the Worst Ad in Toronto History?

I'm sure the Cashman could give this guy a run for his money, but I believe this 1986 ad for National Furniture is the worst ad in Toronto television history.

If you can think of a worse ad, let me know in the comments.

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My Thoughts on True Detective

My Thoughts on True DetectiveThe Wire has pretty much ruined my television watching experience. Since I watched all five seasons of The Wire, I'm been disappointed by pretty much everything I've seen on the small screen, except for my second viewing of The Wire.

It's got to the point where I rarely watch anything, because I'm always left a little disappointed. Yes, I enjoyed Breaking Bad, but the finale ticked me off royally until I decided it was not as it seemed. (Don't click through that link unless you're ready for a monster spoiler).

I'm still watching (and enjoying) Mad Men, but that show is a little different. Nothing really happens in Mad Men, it just looks and sounds awfully cool. I can't wait to see how they end it.

I didn't even bother diving into The Walking Dead or Boardwalk Empire or Sons of Anarchy or Game of Thrones or House of Cards or Homeland or any of the other dramas people rave about. I get enough drama from the Leafs, Raps and Jays.

Enough people who loved The Wire told me I should see True Detective, so my wife and I decided to bang off the eight episodes last week. This entry is about that experience, and if you haven't seen True Detective yet, you might want to stop reading now.

true-detective

I loved the look and feel of True Detective. The production values were top notch, and the shots of Louisiana were stunning. And the way they aged the two stars over 17 years was pretty awesome. You would likely enjoy this series on mute.

And those two stars, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, are both great in True Detective. I've never seen McConaughey this good, and that includes his Oscar-winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club. Of course, it's easier to be good when the writing is so strong.

I was loving True Detective by the half-way point, and still digging it heading into the finale, but True Detective failed to maintain it's brilliance for the full 8-hours. And this is significant, as it was only eight episodes and difficult to compare to much longer series like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire and Breaking Bad.

I'm glad I finally saw True Detective, but I wish the second half was as strong as the first half. And no, it didn't come close to The Wire.

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The Key to a Good Crossover is Subtlety

The Key to a Good Crossover is SubtletyI watched The Simpsons / Family Guy crossover episode yesterday. It was okay, but not nearly as clever and funny as any episode during the first six seasons of The Simpsons. It was a full throttle crossover with the entire Griffin family ending up in Springfield and will likely result in a ratings spike.

The key to a good crossover is subtlety, and The Simpsons / Family Guy crossover was as subtle as a sledge hammer. I far prefer how The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street crossed over with an appearance by Richard Belzer's John Munch.

Here's 30 seconds of Detective John Munch on Homicide followed by 30 seconds of Detective John Munch on The Wire. I have no idea why this footage is so dark.

John Munch, by the way, has appeared on 10 different shows, which is surely a record.

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Questions for Mark Hebscher

Questions for Mark HebscherI will be sitting down later this week with Mark Hebscher, best known as co-host of Sportsline. He'll be dropping by to record an episode of my podcast Toronto Mike'd, and I get an entire hour to ask him anything I want.

mark-hebscher

I know what questions I'll be asking him, but I'd love to know what you would ask him. What questions would you like me to ask Mark Hebscher?

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