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Monday, Mar 22, 2010

Have you recently bought a high definition television set and are not sure what all the fuss is about? Well stop worrying, the fuss has been justified.


On Sunday, the Discovery Channel debuted Life, the breathtaking new 11-part nature documentary that serves as de facto sequel series to the equally stunning Planet Earth. Unlike Earth, which focuses on terrains and ecosystems, Life takes a deep look at the wide variety of life on our planet and the fascinating behavior it often displays.


Every shot of the series makes you stop and wonder how it was accomplished, and the documentary even contains footage of wildlife behavior that has never been caught on film before.


The above clip showcases the first known footage of Komodo dragons on a hunt as they take down a water buffalo, and it’s nothing short of incredible. For the full experience, be sure to check it out Sundays on the Discovery Channel.


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Saturday, Mar 20, 2010
ABC considers a new version of the '80s hit

I recently wrote a post about all the sequels and remakes that are coming to the box office, and wondered if this was because of a lack of originality in Hollywood. But it seems as though the world of television might have the same problem. New versions of Melrose Place, V, and 90210 are currently on air, and this fall might see updates of Hawaii 5-O and The Rockford Files.


I can’t criticize those shows before I see them, but I can spread some light on what’s probably the worst idea out of all the networks this year: ABC’s plan to resurrect Star Search. The original amateur hour talent search aired in syndication from 1983 to 1995, and introduced the world to many future celebrities, including Britney Spears, Beyonce, Brad Garrett, Tiffany, Justin Timberlake, Ellen DeGeneres, Alanis Morissette and more. However, bringing the show back is an old idea. CBS remade it in 2002 with Arsenio Hall as host and a frequently changing group of celebrity judges. It tried to capitalize on the success on American Idol, but it was canceled a year later. Prior to that, original Star Search host Ed McMahon hosted and produced the extremely similar Next Big Star. It aired on the now-defunct PAX network in 2001. Every episode referred to and showed clips from the original Star Search, and the series was canceled a year later.


Now rumor has it that ABC offered former American Idol judge Paula Abdul a large sum to be a “combination of a host and a judge”, but she turned it down. Maybe she realizes that Star Search doesn’t have too much potential, or perhaps she’s just waiting to be on FOX’s spin-off of American Idol, X Factor. Either way, it’ll probably last a year.



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Friday, Mar 19, 2010
by PopMatters Staff
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Friday, Mar 19, 2010

In the premiere of its 14th season, South Park decided to take the time to address the Tiger Woods scandal that happened during the hiatus. As usual, the show makes some refreshingly insightful commentary on the scandal, as well as the deeper seated issue of infidelity and “sex addiction”.


To sum up: most men in a position of power and wealth would have the desire to have affairs with as many women as possible. There is really no mystery why they would want to.


All in all, a really solid episode, especially since the show has been a little off and on in recent seasons. The South Park Studios site doesn’t have an embed option, so you’ll just have to watch it here.


Looking forward, the show will celebrate its 200th episode on April 14th, and for further reading I would suggest this recent New York Times interview with creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.


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Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010
The kind of show you wished MTV would make.

When music videos first really made their mark in the 1980s, broadcast channels devoted their Friday nights to them. As MTV and other cable channels gained dominance over the field in the 1990s, shows like Pop-Up Video and TRL pushed the networks out. While record labels threw big budgets at flashy videos, knowing that they served as both great publicity and entertainment, the cable channels realized they could profit more from cheap reality shows and “music based programming”.


Nowadays, the majority of music videos are watched on the internet, and their quality has mostly suffered as a result. In fact, some people say the music video is dead. But the music video is not dead. In 2007, OK Go became famous for their inventive treadmill routine in the “Here It Comes Again” video. Currently, Lady Gaga and Beyonce’s nine minute long “Telephone Line” is making a name for itself on the internet.


Nevertheless, aren’t music videos, as a valid art form, worthy of more than a tiny screen on a website or MP3 player? They should be viewed in a larger screen, on a medium that’s free and available to everyone, regardless of bandwidth. While we don’t have the power to add music videos to broadcast television, after all there are infomercials and sitcom reruns that need to be aired, someone is trying.


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