October 29, 2014

Social Media | Arrow 3.4 Live-Tweet

Ra’s al Ghul makes his Arrow debut here, Arrow’s fiftieth episode. There is the niggling question of why a top-tier Batman villain appears on Arrow first, and not Gotham. This ignores the nature of the DC multiverse – he can exist both in Arrow and in Gotham, and not be the same character. I’ll start to worry once he appears in Teen Titans Go!…wait, that sort of happened.

Also, I wonder how much longer Arrow will let viewers know the dead Sara Lance is still dead, thanks to her getting killed and stuff.


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October 28, 2014

Social Media | The Flash (2014) 1.4 Live-Tweet

The thing that most annoys me about the first three episodes of The Flash is how non-Flash elements are shoehorned into the series so early – Multiplex, Java, STAGG Industries, Caitlin Snow, Ronnie Raymond, and The Mist – yes, the last one’s a Starman villain.

I realize The Flash and Arrow share the same executive producer in Greg Berlanti, and Metamorpho was hinted at in Arrow, yet The Flash is one of the founding Justice Society of America and Justice League of America members. The character boasts a one-season show on CBS, a film slated for 2018, and a wide cast of supporting characters. It’s like Superfriends establishing Marvin, Wendy and Wonder Dog’s backstories extensively, when the audience is there to watch the Justice League stop whatever crack plot the Hanna-Barbera employees shit out that episode, and to laugh at Aquaman.

On the plus side, Captain Cold appears for the first time, played by Prison Break star Wentworth Miller.


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October 27, 2014

Social Media | Strange Empire 1.4 Live-Tweet

I’ll be honest. Strange Empire is the hardest show for me to live-tweet this fall. The show was promoted by CBC as a female-oriented Western, which it is, yet the show is more about business establishment and corruption than anything else. I’m still not sure about Strange Empire’s pacing or dialogue.

Strange Empire doesn’t have Durham County’s sense of storytelling economy, which isn’t surprising when comparing a six-episode season to a thirteen-episode one. I like Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik, yet I wonder if Strange Empire’s ambition exceeds its reach. If viewers want a female version of Young Guns, this show isn’t it.


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Social Media | Gotham 1.6 Live-Tweet

Goat!

GOAT!!!


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Social Media | Constantine 1.1 Live-Tweet

Apologies in advance for the way this post looks. Keep in mind, this is still an experiment for Gloryosky – that, and I realized I can embed a Storify story. I’m just that stupid. In any case, look for Gotham and Strange Empire live-tweet results later in the night, as I continue following Canadian dramas and DC live-action shows until everything coalesces into a Gotham by Gaslight storyline.

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October 15, 2014

Social Media | Gloryosky Live-Tweet Schedule – Fall 2014

Since the debut of Gotham on September 22, 2014, I have live-tweeted certain shows – the DC Entertainment network shows, and selected Canadian television dramas – to see if this will become a more established thing for Gloryosky. While the live-tweets are partially there to make up for Gloryosky’s spotty 2014 update schedule, I have never followed shows like this in the seven seasons URBMN/Gloryosky has covered television. I will review shows on Gloryosky itself, as work and/or time constraints permit.

The shows being live-tweeted for fall 2014 are:

Arrow (CTV/The CW): October 8, 2014- , 8:00 PM ET
Blackstone (APTN): November 11, 2014- , 10:00 PM ET
Constantine (Global/NBC): October 24, 2014- , 10:00 PM ET
The Flash (CTV/The CW): October 7, 2014- , 8:00 PM ET
Gotham (CTV/Fox): September 22, 2014- , 8:00 PM ET
Strange Empire (CBC): October 6, 2014- , 9:00 PM ET

Stay tuned to Gloryosky for further updates. Keep in mind, I will stop live-tweeting a show if I lose personal interest in it, the response to the live-tweets aren’t enough for me to think the show’s worth continued coverage, and/or (this is the most obvious one) the show is cancelled.

Update (October 17, 2014): Due to CBC moving Ascension to January 2015, Ascension is removed from the list. It will be live-tweeted if I decide to carry the live-tweets into 2015.

In its place is Blackstone, a show I’m surprised I forgot to list earlier. I’m not sure if I’ll include the fourth season of Cashing In; I’ve seen the show, but don’t follow Cashing In to the degree I do Blackstone.

As always, follow the Gloryosky Twitter account for television-related news, promotion, and/or other relevant transmissions. Consume. Watch TV. Don’t kick ass and chew bubblegum.

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August 28, 2014

Article | The ones behind the One in Entertainment One

The problem with proclaiming one company the “last great independent” in its category is that the next one might be close behind, ready to rabbit punch. In this case, Canadian television ten years ago could not have seen the growth of Entertainment One, who acquired Force Four Entertainment on August 28, 2014. Those who watch Saving Hope, Haven, Bitten, Call Me Fitz and/or Rookie Blue watch an eOne show. eOne is a major home entertainment company in Canada, possibly the independent in this country.

I will update this article to correct errors, and as further acquisitions happen. While I’m ambivalent about eOne – I respect its television division, hate its aggressive acquisition strategy, and lament that it’s the only home entertainment company as active as it is in the Canadian TV-on-DVD market – I think it’s important to chart eOne’s growth. Given its summer 2014 run obtaining a film/home entertainment distributor and two production companies, eOne’s been on a tear lately.

I realize the company used E1 as shorthand, before adopting the current eOne branding. I call the company eOne for convenience.

For readers confused by the article’s title, I paraphrase Paul Heyman’s current catchphrase; eOne has distributed WWE Home Video titles for years. Those WWE Home Video titles made me jump to my feet, took my breath away, and left me in amazement!


1973: Vito Ierullo and Don Ierullo found Records on Wheels Limited, with a focus on retail sales of recorded music (initially from a bus, hence the name). By the late 1970s, ROW Limited/ROW Entertainment expands into music distribution, and expands into home entertainment by the 1980s/1990s.

2001(?): ROW Entertainment acquires CD Plus’ assets. The CD Plus site still does business, as Play Stop. Darren Throop comes to ROW Entertainment from CD Plus; he is eOne’s current chief executive officer.

November 2003: ROW Entertainment first lists on the Toronto Stock Exchange, as ROW Entertainment Income Fund.

August 1, 2004: ROW Entertainment acquires Video One Canada Limited, a home entertainment distributor, from Standard Broadcasting Corporation Limited. The deal is worth CAD$72.4 million.

May 17, 2005: ROW Entertainment acquires KOCH Entertainment, a music and home entertainment distributor, for USD$80 million. By this time, ROW Entertainment rebrands as Entertainment One.

May 31, 2005: Entertainment One buys the assets of wholesaler Reel Choice Video Limited for CAD$1.9 million.

March 29, 2007: London, United Kingdom firm Marwyn Investment Management LLP takes over Entertainment One for CAD$188 million. The deal includes CAD$68 million in assumed debt. As a result of the takeover, Entertainment One gains a listing on London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, and loses its listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

June 14, 2007: Entertainment One acquires UK television/home entertainment distributor Contender Limited, for GBP£49.4 million.

August 20, 2007: Entertainment One acquires Seville Entertainment Inc., a theatrical, television and home entertainment distributor/international sales agent. The Seville name is eventually retired in favour of eOne Films.

September 20, 2007: Entertainment One signs a multi-territory (i.e., Canada and the United Kingdom) all-rights agreement with Summit Entertainment. Why is this important? Three words: the Twilight saga. Summit is now a subsidiary of Lionsgate; Lionsgate is itself a former Canadian company.

September 24, 2008: For CAD$51.5 million, Entertainment One acquires film/television production companies Barna-Alper Productions Inc. and Blueprint Entertainment Corporation, and international film/television distributor and international sales agent Oasis Pictures Inc. The deals also include Maximum Film Distribution Inc. and Maximum Film International Inc., which acquired Canadian rights for international films.

For Canadian television, this is the most important move. It builds the backbone of eOne’s television production, distribution and sales arm. By 2009, Barna-Alper, Blueprint, and Oasis fold into eOne Television.

September 29, 2008: Entertainment One attempts a reverse takeover of DHX Media, in a CAD$68 million deal. The intention of the reverse takeover is to restore eOne’s spot on the Toronto Stock Exchange, as well as exploit DHX Media’s back catalog. The deal falls through on December 12, 2008, due to DHX Media’s share price losing almost half its value in the ensuing two and a half months.

April 12, 2011: Entertainment One purchases Australia company Hopscotch Group’s distribution and home entertainment divisions for GBP£12.9 million.

November 2, 2011: Entertainment One agrees to take over Vivendi Entertainment’s Canadian home entertainment distribution business; the takeover goes into effect January 1, 2012.

January 8, 2013: Entertainment One acquires the assets of Alliance Films Holdings Inc. for CAD$225 million. Alliance Films produced and distributed films; it was also a major Canadian home entertainment distributor. Alliance Films also held Canadian rights to select television content produced by predecessor company Alliance Atlantis.

March 26, 2014: Seville International reactivates as Entertainment One’s independent/arthouse film distribution and international sales division.

June 2, 2014: Entertainment One acquires Phase 4 Films, a film and home entertainment distributor. Phase 4 Films also develops television programs with Take 5 Productions. The Phase 4 Films deal includes children’s home entertainment subsidiary Kaboom! Entertainment. Terms of the deal are not yet disclosed.

July 17, 2014: Entertainment One acquires Paperny Entertainment, the film/television production company behind Food Network Canada’s Chopped Canada, for CAD$29 million.

August 28, 2014: Entertainment One acquires Force Four Entertainment, the film/television production company behind City’s Seed and The Bachelor Canada, and National Geographic Channel’s Border Security: Canada’s Front Line. Terms of the deal are not yet disclosed.

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August 25, 2014

Article | Thoughts on Adam Hines’ Canadaland appearance

Some thoughts on the Canadaland podcast with Adam Hines. Hines is one half of the now-defunct Guys With Pencils podcast, which he records with Andrew Murray. I realize this article is two weeks late, yet it’s still not as late as Teletoon’s 2014-15 fall schedule announcement. Just sayin’.


In the intro to this Canadaland episode, Jesse Brown mentions John Kricfalusi, Norman McLaren, and NFB shorts. Brown ignores Danny Antonucci, whose Cartoon Network show Ed, Edd n Eddy was spearheaded by Antonucci’s a.k.a. Cartoon in Vancouver, and commissioned by Cartoon Network. Granted, Brown admits he doesn’t know much about how the commercial animation business works, but it’s odd to ignore the rare Canadian-made television show commissioned by an American channel – the normal procedure for American television is to acquire a Canadian show through the production company (see: DHX Media’s Supernoobs). Ed, Edd n Eddy managed sixty-nine episodes and the Ed, Edd n Eddy’s Big Picture Show television film. Ed, Edd n Eddy is also the last major North American animated television series to switch from cel animation to digital ink-and-paint.

Ed, Edd n Eddy was the last of what Cartoon Network terms the Cartoon Cartoons when it ended in 2009. Unfortunately, as Ed, Edd n Eddy was commissioned by an American channel, the show isn’t considered Canadian by the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office. It’s a strange quirk of the Canadian television business. Had the show gone through the usual Canadian channels (YTV, Family Channel, Teletoon), the show would have triggered fund money, but it’s hard to say whether Ed, Edd n Eddy would have earned the creative control Cartoon Network gave it. Hell, it was a risk to give Antonucci a children’s show after a.k.a. Cartoon made The Brothers Grunt for MTV in 1994; those who have seen The Brothers Grunt know what I’m talking about.


When people mention “shitty Flash cartoons,” they refer to vector-based animation that is reliant on computer-based inbetweening, which Hines explains to Brown. Canadian broadcasters greenlight a lot of these type cartoons – Total Drama, Numb Chucks, Rocket Monkeys, etc. A reason these shows exist is to increase the available amount of content in a company’s catalog. Corus and DHX Media own cable properties (Corus with Teletoon, Treehouse and YTV; DHX Media with Family Channel), which gives them an edge over independent Canadian animation companies. Corus also owns animation studio Nelvana and animation software company Toon Boom, while DHX Media owns what used to be Studio B Productions.

If there’s a current need to knock out five times the amount of content compared to Warner Bros. Animation/Warner Animation Group (a company Hines mentions in the podcast), it’s because Time Warner owns the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies and MGM cartoon libraries, the Hanna-Barbera and select Ruby-Spears assets, Cartoon Network, and the library of animated series/films based on DC Entertainment properties. The legwork for what is currently Time Warner began in 1967, when Kinney National Services bought National Periodical Publications (i.e., DC Comics); Warner Bros./Seven Arts joined the conglomerate in 1969. Even then, Kinney’s objective was to diversify beyond parking lots, funeral homes, cleaning firms, and wood flooring. Amassing a content library was nowhere near as important as it is now.

Nelvana’s animation catalog only dates back to the early 1970s. DHX Media has a large animation catalog due to the company being a series of mergers and acquisitions; 9 Story Entertainment is in the process of building its own sizable catalog. It doesn’t matter about a show’s quality so much as if the reruns can still sell. Canadian television animation is a producer’s market; Corus and DHX Media are shrewd enough to have vertically integrated models, while everyone else is in the business to survive.


The question of “why doesn’t Canada have its own Adventure Time?” is a cheat. Adventure Time began as a short on Nicktoons Network; two pitches by show producer Frederator Studios to turn Adventure Time into a Nicktoons series were rejected. It took a commitment by Cartoon Network, and a major retool on Pendleton Ward’s part, for the show to become what it currently is. It’s hard for America to build its own Adventure Time, never mind Canada. That’s not to say Canadian companies can’t make their own Adventure Time. Bite on Mondo is a start. Blue Ant Media wants to build Bite into a legitimate competitor to Bell Media’s Comedy Network, while affiliating itself with an American company it might want to acquire a few years down the road. In today’s corporate culture, BoM is as shrewd a business decision as any.


A weird thing about this episode of Canadaland is that it doesn’t mention Guys With Pencils’ recent decision to shut down its podcast. I’m not sure if the interviews are banked beforehand, and if they are, for how long. I just find it an odd thing to omit. To be fair, I’m surprised Canadaland even talks about Canadian animation, or else this article wouldn’t exist.

Also, The Raccoons is not the apex of anything.

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