Tuesday, October 27, 2015

When is a 23 episode TV season simply too much? Does a shorter season equal better programming?

One of the problems with some of the main network shows (ABC, NBC, CBS) is that they run their shows for upwards of 23 episodes a season. That may have been prudent back in the day - you know, the ancient times with only three channels and no remote control - but today it may be to their detriment. At the very least to the detriment of good quality programming .

An example is Once Upon a Time. An average season is about 23 episodes. Most seasons have an amazing beginning, fantastic ending, and filler in the middle. When I watch Once Upon a Time, after about episode four or five I realize it's already dragging, and there's a ton of excess story-lines that quite obviously is to fill up the season. I find myself fast forwarding through a good 70% of almost every episode until about episode eighteen-ish. That's when the main arc of the season picks up steam again and we're on our way to that fantastic season ender. My point being that if Once Upon a Time had ten episode seasons it would be an outstanding show. 

Now you could argue that this is more true with fantasy genre shows, especially when you look at some of the most popular fantasy shows on television today - The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who - it does seem to be true that less is more. However, even some of the more critically acclaimed dramas like Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire, along with top streaming shows House of Cards, Transparent and Orange is the New Black have formats of 10-13 episodes a season. It makes for better programming because writers aren't worried about a story arc lasting twice as long as it probably should. This is nothing new. Arguably, one of the best HBO series there's ever been, The Sopranos, had short seasons (except the last one) back when American television had never heard of such a thing.

Needing a short season isn't the case with every show out there. There are shows that can handle 23 episode storytelling. Most of them are procedural style shows or sitcoms that aren't focused on one main story arc.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Vin Diesel playing D&D with Critical Role!!

The video is here! Vin Diesel playing Dungeons & Dragons with some of the Critical Role​ cast!!

I have to say this may be short (30 minutes) but it's really a great session. Whether a Vin Diesel fan, Critical Role fan or just an RPG fan, I highly recommend checking this out.

Matt Mercer, the Game Master, was in peak form for this game, and quite honestly, no offense to Mr. Diesel, but the voice actors blew him out of the water. You could tell Diesel hasn't played in a long time, so not knowing right away what to do is understandable. But when it came to the actual roleplaying, a big part of D&D but also a huge part of the success of Critical Role, Diesel fell flat. In his defense I will say that not all actors can improvise. Some of the greatest actors known today are lost without a script. 

With that in mind, I don't think we should judge him too harshly. He was definitely having fun - especially when he crit! (Crit = rolling a natural 20, before adding modifiers, the highest number you can role.)

The session came about due to Diesel's new movie Witch Hunter coming out. Mercer and the Critical Role cast had always said their dream celebrity guest would be Vin Diesel, knowing he was a D&D player for years. So, for this game Mercer created a Witch Hunter class just for Diesel, since witch hunters are not a character option currently in D&D.

I also want to say kudos to Mercer for making a 30 minute game. Not an easy task. It was a fun half hour. My only negative is that I wish it was longer!

Watch it on Geek & Sundry!


Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's the Doctor and River Song's 4th wedding anniversary!

I can't believe it's been 4 years since the Doctor Who​ episode The Wedding of River Song aired. Has it really been that long? It's one of my favorite episodes.

I'm a big River fan and loved her story arc. I can't wait for River's return in this years Christmas special.

From the BBC on September 2nd:
Alex Kingston returns to Cardiff to reclaim her role as Professor River Song for the highly anticipated 2015 Doctor Who Christmas special, part of BBC One’s essential seasonal viewing.
Award winning Alex Kingston comments on her reappearance, “To be honest, I did not know whether River would ever return to the show, but here she is, back with the Doctor for the Christmas special. Steven Moffat is on glittering form, giving us an episode filled with humour and surprise guest castings. I met Peter for the first time at Monday’s read through, we had a laugh, and I am now excited and ready to start filming with him and the Doctor Who team. Christmas in September? Why not!”