Category Archives: TV

Shark Week 2011!

As some of you may know, I like sharks.  In fact, scratch that, I freaking LOVE sharks.  I have ever since I saw Jaws as a kid, which I realize is strange and unusual, but I’m a strange and unusual person, so deal with it, folks.

Shark Week, which if you’re not familiar, is a week in which the Discovery Channel blocks off it’s prime time programming for programming that consists of hour long documentaries specifically about Sharks.  This year, the running theme of Shark Week seemed to be about shark attacks: survivor stories, unusual amounts of shark attacks in one area, shark attacks throughout history, shark attacks, shark attacks, and more shark attacks.

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Reality Show Rundown 2: Storage Boogaloo

As I have stated in a previous post, I am totally into reality shows about real people doing their jobs. This summer I have become a bit obsessed with them. The latest two my wife and I are watching revolve around the people who attend storage unit auctions. When storage unit renters default and stop paying their monthly fees, the owners of the facilities will put the contents up for auction to try and recoup their losses. These two shows follow the auctions, auctioneers and the regular buyers of said units.

Storage Hunters

This show mainly follows a couple of jerks and the other jerks they run into. The couple the show revolves around, Brandon and Lori Bernier,  don’t shut up about how much research they do about who owned the units they are bidding on, and constantly get into bickering fights with the other regular bidder on the show. Seriously, check out the hair cut on the lady. What the shit? We watch it to hate them and root for them to overpay for garbage. It gives me great joy every time the open a box to find out it’s empty.  We watch this show if we stumble on to it, but don’t much care if we miss it.

Find Storage Hunters on Tru TV: http://www.trutv.com/shows/storage-hunters/index.html

Storage Wars

Storage wars is a much more entertaining show, which follows a whole cast of characters as they try to outbid each other for storage units all over California. The cast includes Jarrod “The Young Gun” and his wife Brandi, a couple who run a resale shop, and are always trying to one-up each other, Barry “The Collector,” an older hipster who is out looking for valuable collectibles, Dave “The Mogul,”, the owner of a larger consignment business, and Darrell “The Gambler,” a home-based buyer and seller looking for his next big score. The bickering and posturing between the different buyers is the fun on this show, as they each try to outdo the others. There is no real villain on this one, each buyer is likable in their own way, and easy to root for or against. This show has a season pass on my DVR.

Catch Storage Wars on A&E: http://www.aetv.com/storage-wars/

Reality(?) Show Rundown

Is it a dirty word? “Reality” show. I hate them. The manufactured, bullshit scripted dating, people in a house who stop being polite, singing contest shows. I hate the spoiled 20-something “Contestants” on them. My wife watches the worst of them, including the Real World and the Real World Road Rules Challenge shows, and I can’t even be in the room with her while she does. They make me sick.

I have discovered that while I hate those type of shows, I can’t get enough of shows about people doing their jobs. It started with Dirty Jobs, on which Mike Rowe is a delight to watch slog through the worst occupations on the planet. It grew from there.

Here I give you, my favorite “Reality” shows about people doing their jobs:

Parking Wars

Parking Wars follows the parking enforcement officers of the cities of Philadelphia and Detroit as they ticket, tow, boot and impound the vehicles of law breaking citizens. The officers are amusing characters, I will watch Ponytail ticket in Detroit, and Garfield boot all over Philly any day. The best parts are, of course, the reactions of the ticketed, booted or impounded car owners. They flip the fuck out, trash their cars trying to escape, and just do not understand the laws of the cities they live in. It’s pretty awesome. Check it out on A&E. Full epsisodes are available  on their website: http://www.aetv.com/parking-wars/

Hardcore Pawn

I just recently discovered this jem of a show, which follows the happenings at American Jewelry and Loan in Detroit, Michigan. Les Gold and his son and daughter run the shop, along with a colorful cast of characters. The family fights constantly, battling for each others’ respect. The best part, is of course, the ridiculous customers who come in trying to sell things, and get upset that they can’t get a thousand dollars for a piece of junk. they flip out even more than the Parking wars people. I guess it helps that the store is at 8 Mile and Greenfield roads, right on the edge of Detroit. This show is the only one of the three I have added a series recording of to my DVR, it’s great. watch it on Tru TV. They also have full episodes online: http://www.trutv.com/shows/hardcore-pawn/index.html

Mounted In Alaska

This is another recent discovery. After seeing it on The Soup, I have become an avid viewer of Mounted in Alaska. This show isn’t as crazy as the others I’ve mentioned, but it’s still a fun watch. The show follows the happenings at Knight’s Taxidermy in Anchorage, Alaska. The owner, Russ Knight and his staff of cantankerous taxidermists goof around and build some pretty neat things out of dead stuff. It’s a funny show to watch on a quiet evening. Check it out on the History Channel. This one only has one full episode available online currently: http://www.history.com/shows/mounted-in-alaska

Is Bret Harrison Cursed?

Bret Harrison is one of my favorite television actors. I first became aware of Bret when he briefly guest starred on That 70’s Show when Topher Grace left the show. His part was funny, sending up the typical replacement characters sitcoms had seen over the years. Unfortunately, all of the terrific shows he has starred in since then have been short-lived. In all 3 of the shows we have seen him star in, he has basically been the charming straight man to a cast of oddball characters, trying to make sense of a situation he was thrust into. Bret is easy to identify with in each role, and manages to be funny and charming, and the underdog we root for in each series.

The Loop – In this short-lived Series, Bret played Sam Sullivan, a young airline executive, struggling to fit in at work with his older co-workers, and to satisfy his boss. He also tried to fit in a social life with his friends, who were still living the care-free life of the typical early twenty-something. The show was hysterical and charming, typically finding Sam’s personal and professional lives at odds, and him struggling to make both work. TheLoop unfortunately ran for only two abbreviated seasons on FOX from 2006 to 2007, being cancelled before episodes of season 2 ever began airing.

Reaper – Lasting three seasons, reaper focused on Bret’s Character Sam Oliver, whose parents had sold his soul to the devil, resulting in his life of servitude to the Devil, expertly played by Ray Wise. Sam, along with his friends, was tasked with capturing souls escaped from hell and returning them through a drop-off in the DMV. The best part of the show was the interaction between Sam and his friends, Sock and Ben, played by Tyler Labine and Rick Gonzalez as they chased escaped souls while working at the Work Bench, a home improvement store that inexplicably carried every item they could ever need to aid them in their task. The series also built up a pretty impressive mythology in its short run, introducing the devil’s slick son, a demon girlfriend for Ben, and Sam’s dad turned into a zombie, living in a chest freezer in the garage. Reaper ran from 2007 to 2009 on the CW network, and was dropped after the third season ended on a cliffhanger, seeing Sam lose his girlfriend’s soul to the devil.

V – Bret played a scientist drafted into the human resistance by the series’ main characters. The role was small, and the show’s ratings were already low when he joined late in the second season.

Breaking In – A new show this season on FOX, Breaking In followed Bret’s character Cameron Price, a computer expert who is recruited by a security firm that specializes in breaking in to secure locations to test their existing security systems. In its brief run, the series sawCam pine over his beautiful co-worker Melanie, played by Odette Annable. The cast also included cash, a nerdy fanboy gadget expert, who was constantly dropping references to pop culture, including re-making the entire Star Wars trilogy starring him in every role. Christian Slater played Oz, the owner of Contra Security, the eccentric boss who was constantly manipulating the staff into doing whatever he needed. The show was full of funny and nerdy moments, including an office-wide Nerf gun fight that ends with Oz firing a very real arrow through the water cooler to break it up. Or cash having to face off against a Ninja Turtle at Comicon to retrieve a copy of Goonies 2, a movie they had been hired to protect. Apparently a victim of low ratings, the show only lasted a brief 7 episodes on FOX this season.

Three times now, (four if you count V) I have been burned by shows starring Bret Harrison, but I will keep tuning in whenever I see him in the cast of a new program. I hope the next one sticks, and America sees just how brilliant and funny a comedic actor Bret is.

I checked, all episodes of Reaper are available on Netflix instant watch, and the Loop is available on DVD from them as well. Do yourself a favor and check them both out.

Re-watch it With Your Kids: The Littles

As a parent, if you’re like me, you want to share things from your own childhood with your kids. As a child of the 80’s, I naturally wanted to share some of my favorite Saturday morning and after school cartoons with my boys.  Unfortunately, many of the shows I remember fondly do not hold up well at all. My most glaring example of this was Voltron, which now I realize is terribly cheesy and badly written.

Imagine my surprise, then, when one of the shows I remember as pretty cheesy turned out to be much better than I remember. My wife started the boys watching the Littles, a show about a group of mouse-sized people who live in the walls of regular-sized people’s homes.

The Littles ran for three seasons on ABC on Saturday Mornings from 1983 – 1985, and had a movie, Titles Here Come the Littles in 1985. The main characters are a family of Littles, Including the young Tom and Lucy, their parents Frank and Helen, their older cousin Dinky and their Grandpa, imaginatively named Grandpa Little. They all live in the walls of the house of Henry Bigg, a human who accidentally discovered their existence, and has come to be a friend to them.

The show follows the Littles as they get into and out of all sorts of trouble. The real surprise to me, though, is the mature themes the series deals with fairly regularly. The Littles are often in danger of capture by a scientist named Dr. Hunter who is obsessed with proving their existence to the world. In one episode, the Littles help a little girl whose mother has a problem with prescription drugs by tricking her into thinking she’s hallucinating. In another, they are run out of their homes by giant evil-looking rats. They also deal with drinking, and in a later episode, a couple of guys who would be called terrorists today, who try to gas an entire art museum full of people. Later episodes see the Littles following the Bigg family (Henry’s parents are archeologists) on trips around the world.

 

The show is still aimed at children, of course, and more often deals with lighter themes, but it is refreshing to watch a show that doesn’t write for children as if they are all stupid, as so many of its contemporary shows did. Yes, it’s almost thirty years old, but I you have kids and want to share a bit of the 80s with them, check out the Littles on Netflix, the movie and all 29 episodes of the show are available to view instantly. My 3 and 5 year old boys  can’t get enough of it.