Sunday, August 31, 2008

MONK: OCD And the Sea

I'm not quite sure why it has taken so long for me to write about one of the best and quirkiest programs on TV. MONK has been around for several years and is now into its sixth episode of Season #7 on USA. The superb Tony Shalhoub stars as the Obsessive-Compulsive bundle of nerves, Adrian Monk who just also might happen to be the most brilliant but annoying detective in the entire world. His entourage consists of his ex-SFPD boss, police Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) as well as the young police lieutenant Randy (Jason Standord) who plays the Barney Fife role of lovable incompetent. Rounding out the cast is Monk's impossibly patient assistant Natalie, played charmingly by Traylor Howard. She keeps Monk calm and supplied with wet wipes so he can disinfect San Francisco, one mystery at a time.

Monk is afraid of just about everything. He hates dirt, garbage, spots, germs, milk, and anything at all that isn't perfectly symmetrical including papers, writing, and pictures hanging on a wall. He was kicked off the police force years ago after he suffered a nervous breakdown following the death of his beloved wife Trudy. He has carried a torch for her ever since.

Two episodes this season have been classic, fabulous Monk. In one, he is enticed aboard a Naval nuclear submarine to help solve the death of a young officer. Of course Monk's OCD also includes a heaping helping of claustrophobia, so when the sub dives, Monk has a bit of a hissy fit.
Shalhoub has a field day with his character in this episode, carrying on an imaginary conversation with his psychiatrist, who talks him through the horror of being underwater on a huge submarine.

In the most recent episode, Monk falls for a Zemanian (some sort of imaginary Russian satellite country?) immigrant lady who has been falsely accused of murder. This is so completely out of character for Monk, it's worth watching, even if you have not visited this series in a while. Monk has to struggle with his unusual (for him) feelings of attraction without betraying his loyalty to the memory of Trudy.

I hope they make the Leyla character a regular, it was interesting to watch Monk's attempts to become "normal". The dancing scene was adorable.

Tony Shalhoub has won both Emmys and a Golden Globe for his role as Adrian Monk and the show itself as well as some very talented guest stars (including John Tuturro) have been the recipient of many more. It is an amazing one hour comedy-drama that still feels fresh after seven years on the air. This is the show that first put USA network on the map for original series, and it is still going strong. Tune in Friday nights at 9pm or set your DVR to see for yourself.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We're On The "Fringe": New Sci-Fi Series this Fall



We love to give a heads up to pilots that look really interesting for the new Fall Season 2008. Here's one on Fox that's premiering September 9th at 8pm called FRINGE. It's brought to us by the hotter than the sun J.J. Abrams (Lost, Cloverfield). True to form, the first episode will be mysterious, frightening and chock full of maddening plot complexities. A plane lands at Logan's airport in Boston, but there is no one on the flight left alive. What happened to Flight #627? Calling all extremely attractive FBI agents, Homeland Security officials and Mad Scientists....FOX would like your help to get some (but never, ever all) answers here so this new series can soar to the top of the ratings chart.

No big name stars in FRINGE as far as I can see, but "Lost" didn't have any either and look how far that one has traveled. The trailer (below) looks really good. Let's hope this one delivers more on the promise than the very disappointing Andromeda Strain remake that we reviewed a few months ago.

Note to J.J...do you have a bit of an anxiety problem with commercial air travel? Here comes another series I'll never be able to watch while I'm on a turbulent cross-country business trip. But I can't wait to see the first episode in the safety of my own living room. It has all the elements that (I think) might make a successful series: sex, science, long-loud explosions and people with high cheekbones. Mark your calendars Sci-Fi Nose fans!

Monday, August 25, 2008

* Does ANYONE Remember->The Misfits of Science? *



There are a countless number of websites devoted to TV Shows. Most of these sites discuss HOW WONDERFUL the shows were and how they were cancelled before their time. Authors of these sites try to give explanations as to "How can network 'suits' be so dense?" (Boy, that would take time to write.) Mainstream shows like Firefly, China Beach, Boomtown, are examples of these shows; which will be discussed in due time. However, I thought it would be nostalgic to remember some of the shows, which really did not leave their mark in the television archives. These shows made it into television history as, let's call them, footnotes. And some of these shows have individuals who, you know today, but were unknown at the time.


So, where should I start? How about the fall of 1985! The network was NBC. The time slot was Friday nights at 8:00PM. (Opposite CBS' Top 10 Mega-Hit->Dallas).


Given the above, what brilliant show did NBC air (drum-roll please); Misfits of Science! Now before you gasp in horror in how Dallas continued to dominate Friday nights; continue reading.


The show was about a group of super-powered humans and their FANTASTIC adventures. Sound familiar? The pilot was a double-length episode. An additional 15 episodes were created; however, all but one aired during its initial run. Can you image what the pitch meeting was like? "Hey, I got this idea; let's have a show about a group of teenagers/young-adults who all have special powers which no one understands. They are outcasts. They are brought together to help people, solve crimes. Stan Lee I hope you are reading this...someone owes you BIG TIME! Okay, maybe not big. Ad rates back than were like a gallon of gas today!


So what famous 'Friend' got her proverbial acting feet wet on this show? I know you will not be able to sleep unless you know this:..Courteney Cox. We all have to start somewhere.


Now, let me review the pilot. Yes, as the TV Geek that I am, I do have the series. What would really be A LOT of fun would be to review the commercials from 1985...remember the MacTonight song!? Or how-about, anyone remember the name of the McDonald's sandwich that came in a large Styrofoam container (not Earth Friendly)? On one side of the container was the 'HOT' meat, and on the other side was the 'COLD' bun. Okay, I digress here...


The story opens with a crack of thunder and a bolt of lightning (It was a dark and stormy night...). Cut to an abounded storage facility where a frozen man has been since 1937! <Crack of Thunder>. Thus ends the prelude to the Pilot. Fade to black...cue the wonderful title sequence. Now, I could not resist providing you a link to the opening credits.


Now while on the topic of the opening credits, let's do a quick review of the 'stars' , their characters and where they are now:


Dean Paul Martin. He played Dr. Billy Hayes. Dr. Hayes is the so-called leader of these 'Misfits'. He has no powers. Dean Paul Martin passed away in 1987 due to a plane crash. His father, Dean Martin (one of the members of the Rat Pack) was never the same afterward.

  • Kevin Peter Hall. He played Dr. Elvin "El" Lincoln. Dr. Lincoln was a colleague of Billy. He was a VERY tall African American man who did not like being tall. So, he created a formula which gave him the ability to shrink down to doll size. The formula would only last for an hour. He kept doll clothes in his pocket; Ken's clothes. (Yes, Barbie's Ken. It was a designer label for dolls!) Kevin Peter Hall went on to star in movies such as: Harry and the Hendersons, Predator, Predator 2 and Big Top Pee-wee. Kevin contracted AIDS thru a blood transfusion and passed away in April 1991.

  • Courteney Cox. She played Gloria Dinallo. Gloria was a troubled teen telekinetic who had an extensive history of juvenile delinquency. Courteney went on to star in another famous 80's show; Family Ties. And in the 90's she stared in one of the most famous TV shows; Friends. She is currently getting ready to appear in the new season of Scrubs.

  • Mark Thomas Miller. He played Johnny Bukowski (Johnny B). Johnny was a rock & roll musician who was electrocuted on stage (Hopefully not while filming a Pepsi Commercial). This accident gave him fantastic electrical powers. These powers also gave him the ability to run at super speeds. However, these powers made him vulnerable to water. So, no walking on the beach or in the rain! That would be B-A-D! Mark currently works part time as a rescue diver in LA. In 2003 he started an engineering and development company.

  • Jennifer Holmes. She played Gloria's probation officer, Jane Miller. Jennifer's character only appeared in the early episodes. After the Misfits, Jennifer went on to appear on 80's shows like L.A. Law, Murder She Wrote and Baywatch. She disappeared from the entertainment industry after 1993. So, Jennifer if you are reading this, hope you are well.

  • Mickey Jones appeared in the pilot as the 'Iceman'. The team, in the pilot, would drive around in an ice cream truck because 'Iceman' would melt/die if the temperature got too high. However, after the pilot, he NEVER appeared again. But, the team still drove around in the ice cream truck. Wheels are wheels, right!? Things that make you go, "Hmmmm".

Act I


The act starts with an ambulance (like the one in Ghost Busters) rushing to get somewhere. At least you hope for the sake of the person in the vehicle they are rushing to get somewhere! The ambulance is going to "Humanidyne". Sounds like "Cyberdyne"? It turns out the "IceMan" from the Prelude is being rushed to "Humanidyne". Dean Paul Martin's character, Dr. Billy Hayes, has a team at "Humanidyne" who help/research individuals with S-T-R-A-N-G-E conditions. Besides being frozen, the "IceMan" starts to melt or go into cardiac arrest when his body temperature gets about thirty-two (32) degrees. Anyway, to make a long act, short, an evil military general (played by M*A*S*H's Larry Linville) sees military applications for this "IceMan". For example, freezing the enemy for questioning! After questioning, keep the enemy frozen instead of putting them in jail! (Sound familiar?) Dr. Billy Hayes disagrees with the general, stating these troubled individuals come to him and his team for help. Well, the general did not like that, so Dr. Hayes and his entire team are promptly fired.


Act II


Act II opens with Billy playing hoops with El. El, is 7"4' . El confides in Billy that he has research which could get them their jobs back at Humanidyne. El, it turns out, went into research due to his size. Growing up being the tallest, put pressures on him and made him an outcast. He thought if he could development a growth hormone to help him shrink it could help the world. Shrink tumors, etc. In addition, it could make small animals big. (Insert ANY Viagra joke!) Imagine turning small chickens into LARGE chickens? This could help increase food production, etc. Well, he admitted to Bill that he tested this hormone formula on himself. Thus, he can shrink himself down to doll size! And because of this he always carries doll clothes in his pocket. (I guess you never know when one needs to shrink down to doll size...always be prepared!).

While this friendly chat is going on, the EVIL general is working with Humanidyne to build a Neutron Beam weapon. This weapon could destroy EVERYTHING. Billy's old boss calls him and warns him about this weapon! Billy, at this point, makes it his mission to destroy the weapon, stop the EVIL general before he destroys the world! He knows he will need help doing it. But not just ordinary help; he needs a team of 'Misfits'.

Act III


Act III is spent recruiting the team of Misfits. Billy and El recruit Johnny B first. Apparently Johnny B and Billy had some 'history'. Johnny has been living a life of seclusion due to his powers. After some convincing Johnny joined Billy and El. The next Misfit to join the team was Gloria. But, with Gloria comes Jennifer, her probation officer. Kind of ironic that a probation officer joined a team who's main objective was to essentially break the law! Ah, the 80's! With these two (2) new additions to the almost complete team, Billy and company go back to Humanidyne and free the Iceman, who was being held captive. Although Billy and El were fired from Humanidyne just hours earlier, the security guards let them in the main gate. (Guess HR was not very efficient). They freed the Iceman! The team is now complete. So, what is next for the 'Misfits'? Stopping the Evil General from building the the Neutron Beam Weapon...of course!


Act IV


Needless to say, the final act involves breaking into the military base where the weapon is being built. At this point I will not bore you with the details, or lack thereof, of how these Misfits, break into a fully guarded military base. However, I will tell you the final act was similar to a long 80's music video! It should be noted the music composer for the Misfits of Science was Basil Poledouris. Mr. Poledouris composed the music for the following movies: Conan, Robocop, Free Willy, The Hunt for Red October, Starship Troopers and the 80's classic Red Dawn!

In the end, the Misfits were able to indirectly destroy the weapon and well, the evil general, in an attempt to destroy the misfits, destroyed himself, his helicopter and the weapon. (Queue happy 80's music!).

The world is safe. After a montage of 'high fives and hugs' the end credits role! Wow, talk about excitement! I cannot wait till next week to see what happens! Do the misfits go to jail for breaking into a top secret military base, destroying government property, and breaking countless traffic laws? Bet you wonder!

Till next time!
Misfits of Science Opening Title Screen

New Blogger on Board!

We will soon be welcoming a new cohort here, known to all as MediaGuy! He's a devoted fan of television -- a real expert in the science fiction genre especially -- and will be a wealth of fascinating insight for all of us! In his real life he's a computer genius, and may be a secret superhero for all we know! Look for his first post shortly! Welcome, MediaGuy!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Young At Heart" Saves the Day at 30,000 Feet

Hello Nose Fans, sorry I have been a.w.o.l. this past week. I've had some cross country business travel and it has kept me away from the world's greatest TV blog.

The last leg of my air travel this past week was a nightmare of delays and nasty, scary turbulence. The only thing that kept me from a full blown screaming heebie jeebie meltdown on the Dallas to L.A. flight was the fact that they played a movie I had been looking forward to seeing, and it was the most delightful film experience I've ever had on an airplane. Although a movie, I'm counting it as TV, because I had to watch it on one of those tiny American Airlines 727 TV monitors that hangs from the ceiling.

Young at Heart is a documentary about a chorus of octogenarians who travel all over the world singing rock and roll. Some of them can barely walk, a few have battled bouts of cancer and one is on an oxygen tank. But nothing on God's green earth is going to prevent them from "going on with the show" as they learn to perform songs by Cold Play, Sonic Youth, David Bowie and James Brown. A couple can barely sing a note and some are amazingly good, with just enough power left in their aged vocal chords to break your heart. All of the seniors in this movie improve under the expert tutelage of chorus director Bob Cilman, who looks like Anthony Bourdain with a beard. As they practice for their big European tour, one of the members has a relapse and passes away in the hospital. His friend and fellow chorus-mate dedicates a Cold Play song to his memory and sings the most gorgeous version of "Fix You" this side of Chris Martin.

For me, the most moving moment in the film is when they go to a prison and sing Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" for the inmates. Hardened cons with tattoos and skin heads are so moved, they cry, and then burst into amazed applause. I had to use my cocktail napkin as a hanky on the plane.

This movie is now out on DVD and I intend to purchase a copy asap. It is heartwarming and funny and a very excellent reminder that advancing age does not have to loom before us like an abyss. Do not go gently into that good night. Sing! I am starting to lobby for this one to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary.


Friday, August 22, 2008

David Cook Meets "The Orange Bracelet Girl"





Great television this morning in the Tampa/St. Petersburgh area. The local Fox station captured the moment when 7 year old leukemia patient (and uber-David Cook fan) Lindsey Rose met her idol. Grab a box of tissues first!

For those who don't know, a couple of weeks into "American Idol" Season 7, David Cook met Lindsey's father Charlie Belcher, a reporter for WTVT MyFoxTampaBay. Belcher told David about Lindsey Rose and how she picked him to win the moment she saw him. He told David about orange wristbands family and friends are wearing to show their support for her. David asked for one, and has worn it during every performance since - through the rest of AI Season 7, during his TV appearances after his big win, and on the AI Live Tour this summer. Belcher says during each performance, Lindsey Rose would completely forget about her illness. I will post some links so you can read more about this heart warming story.

Yesterday David kept his promise to meet her when the AI Tour stopped in Tampa. She spent the afternoon with him, saw the concert (he dedicated "My Hero" to her) and then hung around with him after the show. Tears.










Left: Lindsey Rose with David during afternoon fan "meet & greets." Right: Lindsey is thrilled to sign autographs!

Links to background articles:
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/mar/1 4/132344/little-lindsey-roses-favorite-idol-singer-wears-wr/
http://www.accesshollywood.com/article/9717/david-cooks-today-show-cougar-frenzy/www.tvguide.com

Thursday, August 21, 2008

DEXTER SITING

Some Dexter fans know that some of the Miami based show is really filmed in Long Beach, California. (Actually quite a few shows can be found filming in and around Long Beach. My boyfriend once saw a bunch of Miami Dade Police cars in El Dorado Park in Long Beach getting ready to film a scene from CSI:Miami). Check out this article from the Long Beach Press Telegram about this. Also mentioned in this article is the website www.seeing-stars.com/dexter .

Not having Showtime, I have just recently watched the first season of Dexter and I have not had the incentive to search out these places myself, until now. But, by chance last night a actually had a Dexter siting in my own city of Downey which is just a little ways from Long Beach. So here is just a little tidbit for Dexter fans.

While driving to the store, I noticed a bright orange sign (the kind that is known to designate shooting sites) with the words DEXTER large as life and some arrows pointing down the street. I was not going that way, but on my way home, I took the detour and followed the arrows to see what I could spot. Only a few blocks away, I happened upon a bunch of trailers and cars in a church parking lot (actually the church I had been married in about 25 years ago by coincidence). Being a Wednesday at about 8 pm I doubted that it was a church function and presumed that it was the Dexter shoot. I went around the block so that I could drive by again slowly and in doing so found that a residential street a short distance away had been blocked off for no apparent reason, except in my mind it was for the Dexter shoot. I drove by slowly this time and saw a bunch of people roaming about, but alas no siting of Dexter himself. I was kicking myself for not having my camera, but isn't that always the case. So, I am hoping that when I eventually watch Season 3 of Dexter I will be able to recognize that scene and know it was filmed just a mere blocks away from my house!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

BBC2's "Maestro"


Normally, we write about shows we have seen and probably love or shows we are waiting for with great anticipation. I am looking forward to seeing many of the new shows coming this fall, but I am also looking forward to seeing a show that may never air in the states. Friends of mine in Great Britain have been emailing me about a reality show that they say is the single best reality show ever! I am not much of a fan of reality shows, but this is one I am eager to see. If anyone has any information about how we Americans can get this show or if there are plans for BBC America to air it, please let us know at the Nose.

The show is called "Maestro" and it features eight famous folk all attempting to become a conductor and their eventual prize will be to conduct before 30,000 people. That is it in a nutshell. Yes, it sounds highbrow, but I like highbrow. I love music and I have long been fascinated with classical music (particularly Beethoven, Bach and Handel). I would welcome the opportunity to see posh people learning and loving the craft of classical music. It's airing on BBC2 on Tuesday evenings and features British celebs.. The only two people that would be recognizable to American audiences are American actor David Soul and British actress/author and food entrepreneur Jane Asher. I am a huge Asher fan. She's a gifted actress (films - "Alfie," "Deep End," Roger Corman's classic, "The Masque of the Red Death," last year's "Death at a Funeral," television - "Brideshead Revisited," "Voyage Round My Father" and many London stage productions) and I love her entertaining and cake decorating books.




If anyone out there knows how we Nosers can get our hands on this show, please let us know.

The other folks on the show are Alex James from the group Blur, musician Goldie, broadcasters Peter Snow and Katie Derham, comedian Sue Perkins, and actor Bradley Walsh.

Sneak Peek at Upcoming "Dexter" Season!



Zap2It has a nice interview with Dexter executive producer Clyde Phillips on the series' third season which begins on Showtime September 28th. If you're an aficionado of the show you'll want to read a little about what's in store for Dex and the gang, and if you haven't yet become a member of the Dexter cult, you still have time to catch up on Seasons 1 & 2 before the new season preem.

Some of the tidbits revealed include more information about the addition of the always watchable Jimmy Smits to the show, and also about another new character played by Anne Ramsay. (You probably remember in her role as Helen Hunt's sister in Mad About You and she also was in a couple of ST: TNG eps, and The L Word, among many other credits.). Phillips also talks about Dexter's time on CBS, which introduced the show to a larger mainstream audience.

Be sure to keep checking our Dexter Countdown widget in our sidebar, and here's a little video to whet your appetite for what is certainly one of The Flaming Nose's favorite series ever.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Emmy Awards Countdown Begins!


ABC has a spiffed-up webpage for the upcoming Emmy Awards airing Sunday, September 21, 2008, including voting for Television's Most Memorable Moments. That's right up our alley around here, and we highly recommend a visit to make your choices known! Many Nose favorites are in the running, including a scene from ST:TOS episode City on the Edge of Forever, I Love Lucy's Job Switching, and many others. Get on over and vote!

Here's ABC's neat Emmy widget, too!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

HBO Documentary Series is All Together


Lisa mentioned a few posts earlier some of the great work HBO is doing with their documentary film series. One of the most recent examples was "We Are All Together", the saga of a band of AID's orphans in South Africa, who form a singing group and against all odds make a CD and travel to NYC to showcase their music. The story is uplifting, the music is gorgeous...and like any HBO documentary effort, the production is top, top notch. Check the HBO website for times and your heart will soar with the journey.


Don't Miss "Mad Men" Tonight on AMC!

Another intriguing episode of Mad Men up tonight on AMC! It's the kind of show that after you've watched it you just kind of sit back and sigh. Neat! Here's a promo for tonight's show which is entitled "Three Sundays" --



Be sure to visit AMC's great Mad Men website for more information and video!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Helen Thomas on HBO: "Thank You, Mr. President"


The HBO Documentary unit has been premiering a new documentary each Monday night this summer, and they've come up with a very pertinent topic for this week. Thank You, Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White House examines the career of stalwart White House Press Corp member Thomas, the tough reporter who's been covering the Presidential beat since Kennedy. Helen Thomas has always been a tireless defender of journalism and the public's right to know, and need we mention that today's media could use a good dose of what Helen had, whaddya think, huh?




Filmmaker Rory Kennedy (daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, born six months after his assassination in 1968), whose most recent project was the chilling Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, winner of the 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Special, calls the special "uplifting", and it should be required viewing for anyone interested in media and the political process. Thank You, Mr. President (a phrase and a tradition originated by Ms. Thomas, btw) premieres this coming Monday, August 18th at 9pm and replays frequently; check the HBO website for additional airtimes. Helen Thomas hasn't fared so well with the current White House administration, and perhaps you'll understand why after viewing this intriguing documentary.


P.S.: I also very much enjoyed the Heidi Fleiss documentary from a few weeks ago, Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal, a fascinating look at the current life of former Hollywood Madame Fleiss in out-of-the-way Nevada as she works on a new business and cares for a menagerie of exotic birds inherited from a friend. It plays again on 8/20 at 1:35am, and I highly recommend catching it. Very touching in parts.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Simon's Cat














We're all cat lovers here, so get ready for a thrill. A series of award-winning short films by Brit Simon Tofield collectively called Simon's Cat is the best filmic representation I've ever seen of both cat behavior and cat-owner behavior. It's creating a deserved sensation on the web, with tribute videos and everything, and there are only three short episodes made as of yet. But I definately wanna see more. In Homer Simpson's immortal words "It's funny, cuz it's true!" If you don't have a furball that purrs, it's just like this, my friends. I love my grey ones Marty and Angelo (pictured above--they're brothers) despite of and because of it all. Enjoy!!!



I know you're smiling now. And clicking on 'em to see 'em again!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fastest Human Swimmer Alive

OK, I don't want to go overboard, but the Nose is all about television, and these days absolutely everyone in the US is watching the Olympics on NBC. A lot of that interest is being driven by the super-human athlete Michael Phelps, who is now 6 down, 3 to go for winning the most gold medals for swimming in Olympic history.

You really have to watch him in the water to get it, he is surreal. He goes so fast, he actually leaves a wake, like a motorboat. There are, apparently, no human beings on the planet who can even come close to his ability in the water.
Today's press was speculating, that after these Olympics, Phelps will have the highest value for advertising sponsors in the history of sports. Something in the realm of $50-$100 million dollars. I'm guessing this 20-something super hero will not retire on that money. I hope he will donate just a little bit of it to helping preserve the habitat for the only other mammal on the planet faster in the water than him.

Go for the gold MP!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Viral Video Moment: The Mavid Dance




This clip from a Mavid fan named Kristen has gone viral because it is a wonderful compilation. It covers the first Mavid Dance (early July) through 8/10/08 (the last one before they we're told to stop it), plus some extras!
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For those who don't know, Mavid is the combination of singers David Cook and Michael Johns. Michael+David=Mavid. The two became fast friends during Hollywood Week of American Idol season 7. By the midpoint of the season, their friendship had blossomed into a full fledged "Bromance." MJ is the jokester of the group (some of his fellow Idols say prankster is more like it). Cook, of course, is the AI winner and brainiac. Together they took it upon themselves to turn what would normally be the worst part of the AI Concert Tour into one of the most anticipated each night. At the same point each night, about 3/4 of the way through the cheesy group number "Please Don't Stop the Music," Johns got the idea of taking 7 to 10 seconds and doing a "routine" with David. It started the second week of the tour with them doing "the robot" and then it just took off.
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So how did this become an "internet thing?" The concerts on this tour are among the most taped and posted events in web history (you can thank the high number of insane Cook and David Archuleta fans). With 11,000+ registered members at david-cook.org and hundreds more on rickey.org and mjsbigblog.com, every night fans gather together online to virtually experience the concerts via "cell-certs" (fans attending the concerts actually sign up and volunteer to do a live audio-cast with their cellphones), and then wait patiently for audience members to get home and post their videos on youtube. After several hilarious routines by Mavid, fans started calling it the "Mavid Dance" and the "Brodance" (to rhyme with bromance). These "bits" caught on and all of the Idols quickly became aware of how the fans not only got the joke, but looked forward to it each night. Mavid got more and more elaborate, and last week they went so far as to do a takeoff on "Titanic" with Michael holding David, with David's arms out like Kate Winslet. Then they did ballet pirouettes (a takeoff on "So You Think You Can Dance"). Then they got in trouble!
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The Powers That Be told them to knock it off, thinking it mocked the show. They also claimed some fans were not amused. Turns out 99% of the fans WERE amused... to the point they got pissed off and started petitioning TPTB to bring back the "Mavid Dance." In Manchester, NH, many held signs during the concert saying "Please Don't Stop the Mavid." Mavid and the 10 Idols played it cool... sticking together and putting on a lifeless group number. Within two days Mavid and their fans won the battle and the "Mavid Dance" returned in Baltimore last night to the roar of the crowd.
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It was fitting that the Baltimore "Mavid Dance" (Tuesday, 8/12) had MJ and Cook boxing like Rocky. Victory! Here's a clip from last night. The "Mavid Dance" starts :25 seconds in:

Saying Goodbye to Sandy Allen, the World's Tallest Woman



If you'd ever tuned into any of several documentaries on one of the Discovery networks and saw Sandy Allen, you'd remember her. Not just because she stood taller than everyone else (all the women, at least), at 7' 7 1/4 ", but because she seemed like such a nice woman. Always with a smile on her face, and a genuine one, watching Sandy Allen interact with a fascinated public was enlightening. Intelligent, patient and with a winningly self-deprecating sense of humor, Sandy was a wonder.





She died today in Indiana, where she was living in a rest home as her health deteriorated, suffering from a variety of ailments directly or indirectly related to the medical condition which caused her extreme height. Sandy was only fifty-three years old, and I hadn't realized she was exactly one year and one day younger than me. As a fellow Gemini, no doubt Sandy had a side to her that the public didn't see, probably one that contemplated the quirk of birth that thrust her into the spotlight as the world's tallest woman. I especially admire this quote about her time working as an attraction at the Guinness Museum in Ontario, Canada: "At Guinness there were days when I felt like I was doing a freak show," she said. "When that feeling came too often, I knew I had to come back home." (Born in Chicago, home for Sandy was Indianapolis, and at the time of her death she was living in nearby Shelbyville, interestingly at the same facility where the current world's oldest woman still lives.)




I've always been in awe and impressed by Sandy Allen, a woman who took the unusual lot that life handed her and made the very best of it. Many of us came to know her through her television appearances, and The Flaming Nose extends our deepest sympathy to all her family and friends. She made so many of them during her remarkable life, whether she knew us or not.





Sandy Elaine Allen, 1955 - 2008.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mad Men: Deeper, Darker, Better

Time for a Mad Men update. We are three episodes into the new season and it is better than ever. More of the dark machinery driving the ad business, more of the hidden lives and shenanigans in the 1960's. This week's 3rd episode (The Benefactor) finds our mysterious hero Don Draper in a weird power struggle and really steamy sex tryst with the wife/agent of a loose cannon comedian who stars in one of Sterling Cooper's big account commercials. Meanwhile, Don's ice queen spouse spends her days riding horses at the country club where she has become MILF eye candy for a rich young college boy. My favorite moment of the night? Don breaks out of his passive indifference and (literally) applies the pressure to get Bobbie the agent to make her crazy husband apologize to important clients at ritzy NY restaurant. It's a surprising and red-hot moment for basic cable. Keep your fingers on the DVR rewind for this one!

In the historical accuracy department, there is a fabulous B story about Harry the Media Buyer manipulating a raise to the (lofty) amount of $220. per week. He doesn't realize it yet, but being made head of "television" at Sterling-Cooper in 1962 is the real prize.

Post-script--Don fires his dud of a secretary (thank God) and Joan the red haired office goddess moves into the position temporarily.

Oh, how we wish we could watch every single episode of this series at once. The only thing bad about Mad Men? Waiting until next Sunday's episode. The promo below gives a little taste of what you'll get when you tune into the controlled insanity on AMC's MM.

Viral Video Moment: Cloud Surfing with Coldplay



Starting a new Flaming Nose feature: great YouTube or MySpace or other viral videos that should be noticed.
Here's a glorious five minute video break, compliments of YouTube, featuring a VFA-192 aircraft. If you've had a bad day, good day, or even indifferent day, you will feel a little bit better after spending a few moments soaring through the clouds in this jet with Cold Play in the background. Leave the motion sickness pills on the ground and enjoy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Top Five Reasons Why the Olympics are not Just for Sports Fans


First let me make this perfectly clear. I am not, nor have I ever been any kind of sports fanatic. But I have to admit, the past few NBC television covered Olympic events have been pretty interesting to me, even as a total sports moron, and here's why:

#5) NBC gives a great back story to most of the top Olympic champions, in between their featured competitions. It's classic reality television. Want to know where the Chinese athlete grew up, or what the Norwegian sports hero did to rally after his childhood tragedy? Want to know what their favorite food is, or if they get along with their mother? It's all there. NBC brilliantly realized that many viewers could be hooked by getting a little taste of history on some of the folks in the competition.

#4) My cats like it. I can't begin to imagine why. But since Friday night's opening ceremonies, I've usually had one or two TV's on throughout the house tuned to the Olympic coverage and I can usually find a cat or two flopped on the floor giving it rapt attention. They do not feel this way about any other TV programming other than Animal Planet, so I feel it's worth mentioning.

#3) Some of it's actually "Live". You can pretty much catch coverage 24 hours a day on the various NBC properties, including MSNBC, USA cable, Universal HD and CNBC. I'm a huge fan of live television because "anything can happen". Mostly nothing weird ever happens, but you never know. What's cool about the "off prime" sub-channel coverage, is that they show some of the competitions that you wouldn't think would necessarily be an Olympic event. Like synchronized swimming. Who could not like that? It's like a Busby Berkeley movie. I also caught a fascinating bit early in the morning about women weight lifters, and actually saw the winning Chinese strong-girl lift her way to a gold medal.

#2) Michael Phelps. If Wheaties held a billion focus groups to invent the perfect sports champion, their creation could not be better than this real life athlete. He's a lean, mean swimming machine that seems like the nicest guy on the planet, and he looks amazing in the new spandex swimming things that they are allowed to wear now to cut the resistance in the water. All the headlines are saying he will be the one to challenge 1970's swim hero Mark Spitz for getting the most gold medals.

#1) It's mid August...hello? All the basic cable nets have already premiered their new stuff, while broadcast and pay-cable nets are waiting for September. Remember a couple of decades ago when Springsteen came out with that song, "57 channels and nothing's on?" Doesn't that seem quaint now? 500 channels, and until the new fall season, the Olympics look pretty good sometimes to this non-sports fan. I mean come on... one episode of Mad Men per week doesn't stretch that far.

A final post-script: Apparently the Nielsen ratings for the Olympics on NBC this time are the highest recorded since 1976. The Opening Ceremony delivered a 19 rating, 36 share (32.4 million US viewers), which represents a 27% increase over the last summer Olympics in Greece. For the complete story, visit MediaLifeMagazine online.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A "Spectacular Spectacular" in Beijing

Using a Moulin Rouge reference, last night's opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics was nothing short of a "Spectacular Spectacular." I will keep this short, since I think most (or all) contributors on TFN will want to weigh in.

The hype was high, but the Chinese delivered. And so did my new HD Plasma TV! I'm not sure how this would have looked in standard def, but the combination of the colors, costumes, fabrics, giant LED scroll on the field, video scrim surrounding the "Birds Nest," and plethora of glorious fireworks made for the most visually stimulating - and stunning - night of television in years. Add the music and those 2008 drummer boys, and WOW! The themes and segments were cohesive and told a wonderful abstract story of Chinese culture and history.

NBC jam packed in the commercials, especially during the "Parade Of Nations," but at least they recapped the nations that marched during the break. Some of the commercials were stunning as well. I loved the Audi ad where the house was "virtually" remodeled with the help of some cool animation.

For me, the added bonus came at the end of NBC's coverage in the USA. They rolled a montage of the evening's events to David Cook's smash hit single "The Time of My Life." I knew that song would make it somewhere during the Olympics, as it did in the Espys. There it was on the very first night! No, I cannot resist throwing in any relevent David Cook references.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Carolina Liar boosted by MTV's "The Hills"

Ok, I'm back from a brief hiatus and just plugging away here! I've been wanting to tell the world about my favorite new alternative rock band, but alas I don't contribute to any music sites. But then I remembered a big TV connection here!


Music and Television

Times have really changed. Used to be hit songs wound up on TV shows and in the movies. Now TV has become the hit maker for unknown artists, such as Carolina Liar. Let me just say I have a tough time deciding whether this amazing band's major label debut album, "Coming to Terms," is my favorite record of the year, or if that goes to Coldplay's "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends." Yes, Carolina Liar is THAT good.
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Ok, let's start with the TV connection. The producer of the MTV reality series "The Hills" heard "Coming to Terms" and immediately licensed it for the show's soundrack. Before long, five tracks were playing on "The Hills" in various episodes, much to the surprise (and joy) of the band's frontman, Chad Wolf. That helped their first single, "I'm Not Over," soar into the top 10 on Billboard's Hot Rock Tracks chart. If you listen to 98.7 FM or KROQ in LA you've heard it. I decided to download the single on itunes back in June. I kept seeing the 5-star reviews from those who purchased the entire album. I decided to "complete my purchase" and get the whole album, which includes three bonus tracks (for a total of 15 tracks!). Let me say this album blows me away. The music, the lyrics, the vocals, the cohesiveness, the arrangements, the balance. First time at bat and they hit it out of the park. This is an example of what happens when a great band collaborates with a great producer. It is simply flawless. There isn't a single track that I don't love. I often listen to the entire album from start to finish and never skip over any of the songs. It's rare that I buy an entire album these days, much less love every song on it. Coldplay, David Cook, U2, REM and now Carolina Liar are in that elite group.

What about live?
I had the pleasure of seeing Carolina Liar at a free concert at the Santa Monica pier last month. They are every bit as good live! I met the band, including Wolf, and they are the most down to earth guys. They're still playing clubs (like the Troubador in WeHo) and opening for other bands. If you like rock and have a chance to see them, go for it!

So now, I'm just waiting for Mr. Cook's album to debut in November. I think I will end up with three favorite albums in 2008! As for "The Hills," I still have to catch an entire episode, but it seems like a pretty interesting show. More on that in a later post!

Mad Men in HD

"Mad Men" is off to a great start. It's even greater if you have an HD plasma or LCD television that shows off the visually stunning sets and wardrobe! Problem is most cable providers don't carry AMC as a digitial HD channel. BUT... many cable companies, like Time Warner (my provider) do have HD on-demand. That's where you find movies and series from premium and basic cable channels available for you to watch anytime. For example, "Mad Men" episodes are available in full 16x9 HD in the HD Showcase section of TW's on-demand, right after they air on Sunday night. If you've got a big screen, it's well worth the short wait to see it in crisp, clear, vibrant colors. Otherwise, with standard def, it really softens when you expand it to fill the screen.

That's my tip for the day!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Nosetalgia: Winky-Dink and You: The First Interactive TV Show


Here's a little blast from the past. I was thinking about how interactive today's 2008 media world is, when I recalled that the first TV show that required the viewing audience to participate was a little known children's program called Winky-Dink and You.

Hosted by ubiquitous game show host Jack Barry, this CBS kid's show required that you purchase a special kit which included a clear plastic sheet that stuck to your TV set by static electricity and a box full of magic crayons. Winky Dink was a cartoon character, and whenever he got into trouble, you had to take out the kit and actually draw him a way out right on the TV set. If he needed a bridge to cross a canyon, you drew it. If he needed a chair to sit down, you drew that too. Parents hated it because kids would often forget the plastic sheet and draw right onto the TV tube glass. Winky Dink also had a maddenly cheerful theme song, which would be a great open for a Twilight Zone episode.

The original Winky aired 1953 to 1957 and then was revived in syndication in 1969. But some great ideas never fade away, and a Winky kit with video, plastic sheet and crayons can still be purchased at some toy stores and on the Internet. Vintage video below so everyone can enjoy the insanity of the theme song...


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nose-talgia: "The Pruitts of Southampton"

Boy, here's an obscure one for you! I don't particularly remember the show itself, though the theme song and lyrics have been etched in my memory with razor sharp clarity for over forty years. Small wonder, since it was written by the amazing Vic Mizzy, and I recommend visiting his wonderful website for more information and some great audio clips. I'm sure you recall his terrific theme for the Don Knott's feature film The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and there are so many more! Phyllis Diller starred -- you'll learn the basic plot from the lyrics -- and she's completely adorable in this opening theme sequence to CBS' The Pruitts of Southampton, from 1966. (Interesting side note: the novel upon which the series was based was written by Patrick Dennis, who also brought us the unforgettable Auntie Mame.) Enjoy!


Monday, August 4, 2008

True Blood Premiers on HBO This September

Here's an early heads up from the Nose for a new series premiering on HBO this September 7th at 9pm. True Blood is the latest creation from Alan Ball, who brought my favorite TV series of all time (Six Feet Under) to life. And a wonderful life it was, as it introduced us to the dark but incredibly sympathetic Southern California world of the Fisher's and their family owned funeral home.

Mr. Ball must love the death/life/immortality venue, as True Blood looks to be part vampire fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi and potential apocalypse. The website seems purposely ambiguous and strange. It has a whiff of that J.J. Abrams (LOST, Cloverfield) intentional confusion and mystery about it. One needs to have a lot of time to figure out what they might be getting at. I suspect the marketing might gather a little more clarity as we get closer to the September debut.

I've never been a fan of the Vampire genre, but I will give anything from Alan Ball a very serious first look. Here's the promo, it seems to be targeted to a young (18-24) demo.

We'll try to get the information out on as many new Fall programs as possible, as we head towards September.

Promo for Next Week's "Mad Men" Episode on AMC!



How did you like this week's show?