I’m going to talk a lot about television again, but this time it’s about some of my personal likes & dislikes, as well as the current news. Let’s face it, what we grew up on and even loved as kids in the genre of situation comedy has died, but some shows just didn’t realize it. There were remnants of the vanilla, stale sitcom format that were little more than poorly made clones of the COSBY show, recycling the same plots and family friendly nonsense with no sense of risk, subsequently no sense of freshness either. The two most blatant ripoffs that also lacked any kind of humor (to me anyways) were THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JIM with Jim Belushi and Damon Wayans’ MY WIFE AND KIDS. Thankfully both have been canceled as of this week. Sometimes God does smile on me, even though she throws me an occasional left turn. 

My single most favorite show, 24 with Kiefer Sutherland has been renewed for 2 more seasons. As I explained to this cool German guy who works for Wikipedia I met in Europe in March, I don’t take the show seriously. It’s practically a farce in that the concept of 24 hours of “real time” (where mystically, no action scenes can take place during the commercial breaks, and yet the counter still goes on), and that so much happens to this one single guy that it borders on being its own situation comedy. Originally, the show was conceived as a single season, 24 episode mini series. It was so popular and so well made that they are on their 6th season, only minus the original director who brought so much style to the look and feel of the show (Stephen Hopkins), and Jon Cassar as taken over the director/executive producer reigns and does an amazing job. Now, strangely, this season has been uneven. The first 4 hours were some of the best TV viewing I’ve ever seen, but then it has staggered on the rest of the year. Since I don’t take the show that seriously, two more seasons won’t be bad. What was most odd was hearing how the German Wikipedia guy viewed the show ever so seriously and thought it was indicative of the American “cowboy” mentalities and that the violence on screen had a palpable effect on viewers. Then that bastard almost spoiled that week’s episode that I had TiVo’d to watch at home and I almost went Jack Bauer on his ass!

Lost has redeemed itself this season. Although in the minority, I thought the 6 episode season start, then long break until a February return for consecutive episodes was a GOOD idea, and it worked for me. After getting back in the groove, the stories and episodes were starting to feel like maybe the writers/producers MAY have a plan (jury is still out for me). These last few episodes have been revitalizing to me. They come on the heels of the formal announcement last week that they have absolutely set an end date for the series. Three more seasons, each one (following 24’s plan) start in January and run consecutive to May sweeps. They are also abridged seasons of only 16 episodes each year (as opposed to the usual 20-24 eps of other series). In January the Exec Producers were publicly stating they wanted to end the series at a specific date to pay off the larger storylines. When ABC announced the official end date agreement, they were more surprised than anyone… Most writer/producers want a successful series to run until it falters and dies a horrible death, but everyone made as much money as possible before that point. Here are some people who wanted to tell a story and not be embarrassed when it “jumped the shark”. As long as they keep finding excuses each season to show Kate in a bra & panties, their ratings will never slip too far, although they are down as much as 10 million views less this year.

Those are my thoughts on TV so far, although my love of the American version of THE OFFICE is not mentioned, all I can say is that next year they will be cranking out 30 episodes, some of them being 1 hour specials. The quality has maintained in every single episode over 3 seasons so far, and that is encouraging. THIS is how a sitcom gets re-invented.

11 million views so far on GROUPER.COM and that is A LOT. GROUPER.COM is owned by Sony Pictures and the people running the site like Sonnyboo movies , so that helps a lot in that I do no promotion for it, really. Some movies only have 20 views, and then there are the 3 big hitters with over 3 million views each.

My intern Rachel is widdling away at making some new HORRORS OF WAR web docs, that may get totaled up with the other docs and make an entire feature length documentary. We have over 17 hours of footage behind the scenes of the shoot, and then close to 20 hours of interviews shot over the course of a year after the movie was made. I am still fed up with anything HORRORS OF WAR, but a feature length documentary on the movie and how it was made may be a nice gift to the people who worked on it and invested in us and the movie. A 75-90 minute documentary, especially getting the educational, basics of filmmaking angles I like might make this a worthwhile venture overall. When we made the 39 minute documentary for the DVD release (which may or may not even be included on the DVD), John Whitney and I were a bit rushed and hurried. It also had the connotation as being a “DVD extra” so the music, titles, etc. were all made more for that. Plus, a lot of people who were taped in interviews never even got a line in the documentary. A total re-edit of all the interviews and clips so far would be in order and this is a tall order. In many ways, I think the journey to make the movie sums a bigger whole than the movie itself.

Goodnight Cleveland continues to be edited here too. This feature is odd. It was a bunch of comedians improvising and as happens, they tend to go more dramatic than to the funny. We (the subjective “we” since I am not involved directly in the edit yet) are also editing it scene by scene because there was no script, so no definite order of scenes, plus the director and producer both now live in California. I edited a scene last night myself to help get the amount of footage edited sped up. I didn’t want to get too involved and see a rough cut before diving in on a fine cut.

More news soon. I’m gearing up to go to Wheeling to see THE COURIER from Greg Sabo and Mark Burson. I liked everything I’ve seen so far.

Peace to the world, especially the Acolytes of Boo.

Categories: blog

Peter John Ross

A filmmaker, a dreamer, and the world's only Dan Akroyd Cosplayer


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