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All 25 Posts in the Category: TV

Apr 19

Weekly Wrap Up

TV: The TV season is changing over. Of the shows I watched, Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery wrapped up this week and The Orville has its season finale next week. Big Bang Theory would normally be ending around now, but it’s the end of the series and they’ve scheduled their final one-hour episode in mid-May. And of course, Game of Thrones is back! As is another season of The Amazing Race.

+ GoT Season 8. From a little over 2 million viewers for its series premiere, to over 12 million for the Season 7 finale (at the time of airing), the world’s most expensive TV show ($850m to make!) starts its final run. Apparently there is a 40 minute battle scene in an upcoming episode…

+ TAR is getting tired as a format, but my wife and I continue to watch it out of tradition.

+ Discovery flourished this season. As a die hard Trekkie, I found Season 1 really tough to digest given that it was meant to be canonical (why have we not heard about the mycelial network or Discovery or Spock’s sister before?). But Season 2 papered over the cracks in the timeline enough to satisfy me. I also found the idea of bringing in some key characters only for a season interesting (like Anson Mount’s Pike and Ethan Peck’s Spock). Now it looks like the Discovery is 930 years in the future. I have been waiting for a new Trek franchise to be set further in the future for a couple decades now, so this is an exciting turn.

+ Trek seems to be getting a lot of spinoffs. There’s Picard’s new series, Georgiou’s new Section 31 series, and now talk about a Pike spinoff. Oh, and there’s Short Treks.

Music: This is the best cover of Dire Straits’ Sultans of Swing like, ever. 

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Apr 15

Silicon Valley (TV series)

I gotta say, I find the HBO TV series Silicon Valley absolutely hilarious, but I wonder how many people outside of the Valley understand all the jokes?

The thing is, with a lot of the stuff on the show that seems exaggerated… that shit actually happens IRL. And, being a Valley lawyer, I found this exchange on the last episode priceless where the lawyer is listing out all the “boilerplate” things Pied Piper is being sued for:

Ron LaFlamme: “…breach of non-solicitation and the hiring of someone named Donald Dunn.”

Richard: “That’s Jared. We call him Jared.”

Ron: “Changing his name to get out of it. Clever, but irrelevant…”

And then in an example of how stuff seems exaggerated but it’s not:

“We’re going to have to lawyer up.”

“Waaaait. Aren’t you our lawyer?”

“I’m not a litigator. That’s what you need.”

“Another lawyer. Really?”

Lawyers, Richie. You don’t wanna mess around here.”

In recounting this exchange, one reviewer observed how LaFlamme “immediately distances himself from the hard work of the lawsuit,” but the truth is, that’s exactly what a corporate lawyer in the Valley (and outside the Valley for that matter), would say.

And in season 1 there’s a scene where Jared (the biz dev guy) creates a scrum board to manage the team’s projects. A couple weeks later, I walk into a meeting room at work, and the biz dev guys had put up a scrum board on the wall. (I then printed out the picture below and stuck it on their board. They took it in good humor.)


Click here to see the full scene.

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Dec 13

Survivor: Blood vs Water thoughts

Survivor: Blood vs Water was one of the most entertaining seasons of Survivor I’ve seen. The theme really gave the season a totally fresh dynamic.

Tyson was the clear leader from about midway through the season. Gervase, as his right hand man, never had a chance. Tyson ran the show, finding both hidden idols, winning immunity challenges when it most mattered, and threading the needle with his social game. I felt he had a bit of fortune in that his alliance never had the imagination or skill to make a big move and turn on him as it became clearer and clearer he would win a final tribal council. But credit to him for managing to gather the right group together.

I was really impressed with Ciera in her last few episodes – she went from being this young, wet-behind-the-ears player to someone who final “got it” when she flipped over and tried to make a move. She even won an individual challenge at a key moment. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out, but she converted a near-certain immediate demise into a 1 in 3 shot, forcing Tyson into a rock-draw that would have put her in pole position to win. She did and said all the right things with Hayden in the couple episodes afterwards, but they just couldn’t sway Monica, who is this season’s resident #3. The emotional, unpredictable, irrational player who doesn’t know they simply don’t have a chance in the final vote. Had Monica flipped a few episodes earlier, it would have blown the game wide open again.

But as things stood, there was nothing surprising about the final outcome, except that the vote was 7-1-0 instead of the 8-0-0 I was expecting.

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Apr 12

Survivor One World

I’ll call it now: Kim will win this season of Survivor. She and Chelsea are running the show, but Kim is playing a great social and physical game. Troyzan is the only one up to the task of taking her on – he might have been able to turn things around last week, had he had intelligent tribemates, but now that prospect has gone.

Kat, Christina and Tarzan are so blind.

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Mar 12

Survivor 24×4

This is the first time I’ve felt physically disgusted when watching an episode. The men’s team went completely freaking crazy. I don’t like any of them. They deserve to lose. ALL of them. Tribal was so incredibly f’ed up. Beyond stupid.

I’m going to call it now – the winner will be a woman.

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Nov 11

Survivor South Pac

Just saw this week’s episode of Survivor. The Savaii tribe’s treatment of Cochrane was brutal. Cochrane was always on the outer rim of Savaii, and that only amplified the negative reaction of this former tribesmates. They weren’t laying into him because he betrayed them, they were laying into him because he dared to betray them. It was a pretty typical reaction of a bully who later tries to paint the picture like they were actually helping the little guy. I’m not sad to see Savaii go – Jim, Whitney and Ozzy give off pretty nasty vibes to me. More power to Cochrane. One other thing – I’ve been very impressed with Coach this season. He’s incredibly more grounded and wiser than a few seasons ago. I’ve got my money on him making it to the final four.

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May 11

Farewell SGU

Stargate Universe had a shaky first season. I kept watching when the second season aired because there aren’t many other sci-fi series on the air right now. Just when they announced that SGU would not be renewed for a third season, the show started getting better. The last 5-10 episodes have all been consistently strong – among the strongest sci-fi eps I’ve seen and it seemed like the writers had hit their stride. The show wasn’t afraid to make some tough moves, and it started to ease off the reset button between episodes (where everything miraculously goes back to normal after some catastrophe, as if there were no lasting consequences to anything they did). The series ended on a poignant, tasteful cliffhanger and a very appropriate closing shot, but unfortunately without a movie to conclude the series, we’ll never know what happened to the crew of Destiny.

Luckily, the latest new series I’ve started watching, Game of Thrones, is looking really good.

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Dec 10

Survivor Nicaragua Ep 12

Bunch of freaking quitters. Weak. WEAK. Zero respect. And a lifelong regret for the two of them. There’s just something about this that really annoys me. Incredibly disappointing.

Now pulling for Jane or Holly to win. They are both impressive women and deserve it.

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Sep 10

The Amazing Race 17.01

We’re back with another season of TAR. Right off the bat, I was struck by how strong the teams are on paper. I think this is the strongest season so far. Multiple celebrities, teams in professions traditionally associated with intelligence, and physically competitive teams. There’s eye candy as usual, but this eye candy seems capable too. No spoilers for this week’s post.

For celebrities we have home shopping tv show hosts (of watermelon headshot fame – which has to go down as one of the best TAR moments ever), Miss Kentucky, Asian YouTube celebs. There’s a couple doctors who work together (one with diabetes), a couple Princeton undergrads, and a team of actors (one of which is a Stanford alum). The standard team of hot blondes have been playing beach volleyball together for 5 years, the generic boyfriend/girlfriend pair is pretty fit (guy is a football player), and the tattooed couple look hard core. The human interest team are a biological mother/daughter pair (who only recently met each other – the daughter was given away for adoption at birth). Lots of strong all female teams this season… could this be the first time 17 seasons for one to win? This is their best chance yet.

(But come on, how can you not have heard of Stonehenge? And, “Thats right, the country of London.” Thick as bricks.)

And, next week: Africa. Excellent.

Sidenote: casting started for an Australian version of TAR. Should be interesting if they run it like the US version.

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Sep 10

Survivor: Nicaragua ep 1

Gonna be an interesting new season. The old/young split is different. It’s tempting to write the old people off but there are no certainties with Survivor. The young team has a lot of really hot girls, and I found it hilarious how the male model immediately earned the nickname of Fabio. Having the first amputee (leg) on the show’s history will be very interesting… but being different tends to make you stick out in Survivor and that’s rarely a good thing – just look at all the heat on the Superbowl-winning coach. Too early to make predictions at this stage. I thought it was unfortunate that the goat rancher was the first to go – she seemed bubbly, slightly neurotic, but pretty harmless and I suspect she would have made a good ally for someone who knew how to handle her.

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Sep 10

Watermelon Headshot!

This is brutal, but superb:

…as is her partner’s lack of sympathy:

“I have the worst headache ever.”
“I don’t doubt it.”
“Ok, so what do we do now?”
“You have to finish.”
“What?! I can’t even see straight!”

Looking forward to the next season of TAR starting up.

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May 10

World Cup 2010 – on the tele

As the World Cup draws nearer, ESPN has announced its television coverage of it. Happily, many of its games will be broadcast online through ESPN 360, which means it will be possible for people to watch the games at work. All of the Australian games except one are on the weekend. We have 3 Aussies in our company, so hopefully no one will mind if we tune out for a bit during the Serbia match… it overlaps with lunch, anyway. :)

Here are all the Australian games (times in Pacific Daylight Time):

  • Sunday 6/13 – 11.00am – ABC – Germany vs Australia – Durban
  • Saturday 6/19 – 6.30am – ESPN/ESPN360.com – Ghana vs. Australia – Rustenburg
  • Wednesday 6/23 – 11.00am – ESPN/ESPN360.com – Australia vs. Serbia – Nelspruit
  • Saturday 6/26 – 11.00am – ESPN/ESPN360.com – Rustenburg (if Australia places 2nd in Group D and moves to the 2nd Round)

So looking forward to this. Me and a bunch of mates have a quadrennial tradition of joining a Fantasy League competition. It’s on again this year, and the shit-talking has already started:


I can’t wait to dominate the Fantasy World Cup.

Despite my impending victory, in a gesture of my magnanimity and greatness and in the interests of bolstering otherwise frail competition, I thought I would give you peasants some crumbs to feed on.

[Link to some World Cup analysis]

Keep talking. Just more words for you to eat later.

  7:31pm  •  Sports  •  TV  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
May 10

Survivor 20.12

Spoilers after the jump.

» Continue reading whole article »

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Apr 10

Survivor 20.11

Wow. What a tribal council. Spoilers after the jump.
» Continue reading whole article »

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Apr 10
Mar 10

Survivor 20.6

Spoilers after the jump.

» Continue reading whole article »

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Feb 10
Feb 10

Amazing Race 16.01

Diversity is restored this season.

Black couple? Check.
Asian couple? Check.
Pair of ambitious women? Check.
Pair of strong men? Check.
Lesbian couple? Check.
Brothers? Check (but, in a twist, only one is gay).

But, this season also brings…

71 year old triathlete and granddaughter
Former Big Brother winner and housemate
“World Champion” professional cowboys
World series winning team coach
Miss Teen South Carolina

First challenge is: make your way from downtown LA to LAX… using public transport. Brutal.

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Feb 10

Survivor 20: Heroes & Villains – Episode 1 rundown

The landmark 20th season of Survivor is a special “Heroes and Villains” season. Set in Samoa, they’ve brought back 10 of the most well-liked and 10 of the most devious survivors.

It promises to be a fascinating and really entertaining season. The survivors are all experienced hands. Some are back for the third time, others have played together on the same season. With that comes natural alliances, people trying to mix up their gameplay style, and a whole new set of team dynamics. Continued after the jump (contains spoilers).

» Continue reading whole article »

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Jan 10

Ad for Glee in Japan

Glee is being aired in Japan and this is the ad they had for it. It’s umm… very Japanese, and it features Akebono – the former yokozuna – who is seen here breaking out into a rendition of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’. (I highly recommend Glee, btw. It’s a fun show to watch.)

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Jan 10

Top Gear Bolivia Special

Top Gear occasionally puts together a special episode where they drive through some weird place. They’ve driven to places such as the North Pole and through the Sahara. Their latest one, driving through Bolivia and Chile is fantastic. Dumped on a river bank, they drive through the dense Amazonian rainforest, over gullies, through rivers, across the Andes on Yungas Road (nicknamed “Death Road”), into La Paz, across the Altiplano and a high mountain road pass (over 5km high) near an active volcano, across the Atacama Desert (the world’s driest place), and down a massive sand dune to the Chilean Pacific coast. All in really dodgy cars they bought off the internet, sight unseen.

It’s great watching, and there are several occasions where Clarkson and crew are in genuine peril. The scenery is also extraordinary. Driving that high mountain pass would be an awesome experience… I’d love to do it one day (in a newer car).

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Dec 09

Survivor: Samoa post-season comments

Spoilers after the jump (sorry feed readers!)

» Continue reading whole article »

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Survivor: Samoa predictions

Finale is about to kick off for this evening, so here’s my thoughts on how it might go down tonight.

Brett came out of nowhere, and clearly he’s the biggest threat for the million. With the jury stacked with embittered Galu members, there’s going to be quite a bit of resentment there against Foa Foa. I don’t think Brett has put anyone on the jury offside, and he’s never had a vote cast against him. If he fails to win at the immunity challenges, he’s gone.

Foa Foa have had an amazing run, which goes to show how even if you suck at challenges, the social engineering side of the game is really the trump card.

They’ve all been under the control of Russell, who is one of my favourite all-time competitors (along with Yau Man and Yul). He’s the most impressive manipulator I’ve seen. The guy is cocky, but he’s not cocky to the point of being deluded – he knows when he’s in trouble. And you gotta hand it to him – three immunity idols with no clues. But even more impressive is he knew exactly how to use them. He played it when he should have. He displayed it when he should have. And the best part was in the last round where he was so confident he didn’t even bother playing it: “I’m keeping it as a souvenir, Jeff!”

I don’t know how he’d go down with the jury, but for sheer, “outwit, outplay, outlast” I think he deserves to win. So if I was Mick, Jaison or Natalie, I would be angling to blindside him if Brett wins immunity.

Jaison has been the biggest underperformer. I expected more from him physically and mentally. He’s pretty much been with Russell, which is fine, but it means he’ll get overshadowed by him when it comes down to the jury vote – unless Jaison gets Russell off first. If that’s his plan and he pulls it off, that’d be a masterstroke.

Mick is also nice, but he’s really part of the Russell coattails crew. He’s kind of in the same position as Jaison. Puppets – they’ve never really executing any gamechanging moves.

Natalie is nice… in all senses of the word. I’m not sure that she’s under Russell’s thumb as much as Russell thinks, especially as she has recently discovered that she and Brett are brothers and sisters in Christ. But the interesting thing is that Russell, Mick and Jaison are all pretty well off. Russell’s a millionaire. Mick is a specialist, who’s gotta be pulling in a healthy multi-six-figure income. Jaison is a law student at UChicago, and assuming he can find a job in this economy, will earn a healthy salary. I wonder if these things will play into the minds of the jury.

If I was Jaison, Mick or Natalie, I’d be seeking to ally with each other and try to kick off Russell and Brett. If either of those two make it through, it’s an uphill battle to get the most jury votes.

So, my predictions:

In a three-way with Russell, Brett, and one other, it’s a close call between Russell and Brett, but I think Russell can swing enough votes with that sweet talk of his. He’s a master manipulator, but he’s never really pissed anyone off except Laura and maybe Monica. He certainly hasn’t backstabbed any jury member in a way that would constitute betrayal (Shambo seems to be ok with what happened last week).

In a three-way between Natalie, Mick, and Jaison, it’s too close to call. I would be happy if any of them won.

In a three-way between Russell and two Foa Foa, I call Russell.

In a three-way between two Foa Foa (not Russell) and Brett, I call Brett.

I’m cheering for Russell.

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Nov 09

One of the Best Episodes of Survivor. Ever.

Spoilers ahead!

That was such a cool episode. Russell is THE MAN. I really hope he survives through next week – he deserves it. I loved Erik’s reaction when Russell pulled another idol out of the bag (and Laura’s disgust at him… not that she can do anything about it). If the old Foa Foa tribe can somehow pull off a comeback after being smashed in the team challenges week after week, that will be one of the most impressive comebacks ever. At the moment they’re down 4-6 along tribal lines. I thought Shambo would have crossed team lines, but she voted Russell at tribal, so I’m not so sure now. But it’s more likely that her voting for Russell was just to preserve the facade that she was still on board with Galu since she knew Russell had the hidden immunity. But it’s doable for Foa Foa. So, next week: Laura vs Russ.

This really says it all:

  1:12am (GMT -7.00)  •  TV  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Sep 09

A new season of TV

After watching the first episode of Season 9 of Smallville, it’s a mystery why this show is still on the air. The quality of writing has declined from mediocre to awful. What’s an even bigger mystery is why I still continue to watch it.

Not sure about Heroes. First episode didn’t really grab my attention, the same themes seem to be getting replayed.

New season of Survivor is shaping up well. Burning a sock. What a prick, but what twisted genius. Certainly makes for interesting viewing. Amazing Race has started up too.

Entourage continues to impress, as does The Office. And Californication! It’s been too long. Now they just need to have a decent sci-fi show on air…

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