August 14, 2013

Here We Go Again | State of the URBMN Address 2013

Filed under: URBMN 2008-,URBMN Mediamedia — Tags: , , , , , — Cameron Archer @ 10:31 pm
I know.  It’s another boring state-of-my-site address.  This year, I’ll cut the shit.  I don’t have the interest in Canadian television that I did in 2008-11.  I don’t think the Canadian television industry will ever get any better, especially not in the wake of the Bell-Astral deal.  Given that Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and other online outlets recently entered the mainstream content fray, there’s no longer a reason to prop up the “traditional” television business model.  In my opinion, that model is dying by leng tch’e.

URBMN will eventually become Gloryosky, or whatever I decide to call a revamped version of this site, as it transitions into generalist entertainment (yeah, I know, where have you heard that before?)  I won’t leave Canadian television altogether, but there’s no reason to cover a beat I haven’t trusted for at least three years.  My interests have changed.  So must I.

The 2013 Canadian television upfronts – at least, the two I was invited to this year – have let me know that in the face of changing viewer tastes, Bell Media, Shaw Media and Rogers Media will continue to do nothing beyond buying American shows, and marginalizing their Canadian content.  The kicker, for me, was attempting (and failing) to obtain a reason why Shaw Media wouldn’t let me attend its 2013 upfront, after I attended it from 2010-12.  I don’t complain about the exclusion; I complain about receiving no answer to questions about the exclusion.  As it turned out, Shaw Media’s big announcement was DTOUR, so I missed nothing.

Shaw Media sent me a screener disc, which is useless to me.  I don’t normally review prime-time American network shows, nor am I interested in prime-time American network programming.  I am interested in FOX’s Animation Domination High-Def, as that’s a concerted effort to reach out to an audience that doesn’t watch network television.  If I post more stuff for URBMN/Gloryosky, I won’t beat myself up looking for obscure new Canadian shows to review and/or promote.  Canadian television didn’t promote me much when URBMN was active, and I realize it’s not designed to.

The last thing I posted for URBMN was on August 28, 2012, about a crowdfunding initiative I had to abandon, when it was apparent I wouldn’t earn even $50 of the $500 I asked for.  Don’t look for the crowdfunding post; it was on the front page months after I suspended the IndieGoGo campaign, and I feel no need to draw attention to it.  While I’ve published stuff outside of URBMN since August 2012, not only do I not like the direction the Canadian television industry is going, I don’t like the direction I’m going – bitter, defeated, depressed.  It comes from living in a rural area.  I don’t live in Stirling, Ontario by choice.

I have patient supporters in Paul Corupe, Diane Wild, David Kinahan, Mike Valiquette, Marc Weisblott, the good folks at Gravedigger’s Local 16, and anyone who’s a fan of me in social media.  If I’ve snubbed anyone, I apologize.

I also apologize for the long periods of inactivity, with regards to this site.  I’ll post more content for URBMN/Gloryosky in the next twelve months.  Most likely, this will involve a serious rethink of what I post on URBMN/Gloryosky, and/or the retirement of the sweetposer.com domain.  I want my next few years of writing to be happy ones, and I’m not going to accomplish that trying to understand the Byzantine, inner workings of the Canadian television scene.  I realize this is one year to the date of my last “hey, I’m not dead” post, but better this than feeling miserable all the time.

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August 14, 2012

URBMN 2012: An Update

Filed under: URBMN 2008- — Tags: , , , , — Cameron Archer @ 8:20 pm
You’ve doubtless noticed how I haven’t updated URBMN this year, more than seven months in.  In fact, I updated URBMN once after September 6, 2011.  That’s not right!

In the meantime, I’ve written for Canadian Screenwriter, TV, Eh?, and Canuxploitation (okay, Canuxploitation’s blog section, but that’s just splitting hairs.)  URBMN was always in the back of my mind, but the real reason I needed to update this site is simple: you can’t be invited to industry functions as media, if your site hasn’t been updated.  This makes me read like a selfish asshole, but it’s the truth.  It’s awkward at best when I represent other people.

After spending quite a few months writing for other people, and using Google+ as my sounding post for industry bunkum, I find my current strategy just doesn’t work.  At heart, I want to work in the television industry, not observe from the sidelines.  No one respects you from the sidelines.  Working in television is a dream I’ve had since I was a child, in the late 1980s.

Unfortunately, my last post was pretty much a “fuck you” to the Canadian television industry.  Fry that up with a can of hash.  You don’t want to read my complaints.  I don’t want to read my complaints.  Things won’t be what they were at URBMN…for however long the site’s name stays URBMN, anyway.

I’m still not sure what URBMN (or its successor site, if/when that becomes a reality) will be in the future.  It’s amazing that this site is still active in 2012, given that it started life as a metal music review site/proto-blog called Unbelievably Retarded.  Why I’ve wasted a whole decade on this thing, is a question I don’t want to answer.  I turned the comments off for this post, anyway.  Let’s not speculate.

All I can say is, expect changes.  I can’t give a specific date or direction – yet.  URBMN’s still here, and I haven’t forgotten about it entirely.  For some reason, sweetposer.com still gets around 50,000 visits a month.  I might as well give you readers a reason to care about what I do, again.

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December 15, 2011

State of the URBMN Address: 2012

Filed under: URBMN 2008- — Tags: , , , , — Cameron Archer @ 8:20 pm
This is the first post I’ve written for URBMN in the past few months.  I haven’t “retired,” inasmuch as anyone retires from a self-written blog.  I’ve written a W File for Canadian Screenwriter, and a couple of pieces for Canadian Animation Resources.  Sadly, this is one of those State of the URBMN Addresses I don’t like to write.

The reason I haven’t written for URBMN in months is simple: I don’t like what I’m covering anymore.  In fact, I actively hate Canadian television right now.  Despite there being little difference between leading competitors Shaw Media, Rogers Media and Bell Media in programming strategies – heavy American prime-time influence, only as much original content as is mandated by the CRTC, reruns of said original content – the three organizations feel the need to brag about the things they’re tops in.

CTV, for instance, brags about its strong lineup and #1 status.  Citytv, for whatever reason, feels the need to mention that it’s growing faster than CTV.  Keep in mind, CTV and Citytv’s parents bought a controlling interest in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment last week.  That’s like the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom fighting each other, then teaming up for no reason.  At least Sun News Network is consistently against the CBC.

It’s bad enough when CTV and Global pull the “duelling media releases” schtick.  Every program service and network in Canada has the right to trumpet a victory, but the prevailing strategy for everyone besides CBC, educational stations and APTN is “load up on American shows and pit them against each other.”  That’s been the prevailing strategy for decades.  Small players, like GlassBOX Television, Stornoway Communications and Channel Zero, fight for scraps.

I understand how expensive and risky mounting a television show – even the cheapest, tawdriest, voyeuristic reality show possible – is, but cry me a river.  It’s expensive and risky anywhere.  The Canadian shows that do make it onto Canadian television are relatively few and far between, and come across as afterthoughts, unless they prove themselves in the BBM Canada ratings and/or America.

I genuinely don’t understand why, say, The Comedy Network will program Picnicface at least four times a week.  Shaw Media has a long-standing habit, inherited from the Canwest days, of airing a show across multiple cable channels.  Corus airs recent animated, direct-to-DVD films like Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow on Teletoon and Teletoon Retro.

Those aren’t programming strategies.  They’re financial strategies.  They’re things companies do when they want to save as much money as possible, never mind what their viewers pay for.  I’m not entitled to anything when it comes to entertainment, yet it’s easy to spot when a channel is growing complacent.

Most of my time these past three months has been spent on Google+.  Each week, I see at least three press releases that kill my faith that Canadian television is improving.  Whether it’s Bell Media’s habit of slotting shows to meet CanCon requirements, MTV Creeps, or bouts of collusion between two or more media giants, I find something new to hate about the Canadian television industry every day.

To that end, URBMN will revert to its original purpose – as a weirdly-named, generalist blog – starting January 1, 2012.  I’ll still talk about Canadian television at times, but this site’s been semi-active for almost a year.  I don’t know what I’m going to do in the near future, but I’m not enjoying what I do right now, and it shows in my writing.  Everyone who reads me deserves better.  Stay tuned.

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March 17, 2011

Let’s Watch YOB! Watch TNA Impact!: 3/17/2011

Filed under: TV Reviews,URBMN 2008- — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Cameron Archer @ 10:35 pm
This recap was originally going to be for thePOWERBOMB.com.  I’m not sure what’s going on there day-to-day right now, so fuck it, it’s here.  It’s not like I’m updating URBMN regularly these days.

This week’s Impact! begins with Sting revealing a new design for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.  The belt looks nice.  Too bad the promotion is so shitty, but what’s another few thousand down the sinkhole?

Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan come out.  Sting says that evil Hulk Hogan turned Darth Hardy evil.  Hogan announces that Immortal has killed Hardy.  Enter Darth “Bully” Ray.  Ray, AJ Styles and Mr. Anderson come out and demand title shots, so the Anderson/RVD contender’s match – which wasn’t resolved at Victory Road 2011, fact fans – becomes a Fatal 4 Way.

I know I should be picking at the bones of this segment, but no one’s saying anything.  Anderson and Hogan go through a vaudeville routine.  Anderson back-drops himself for no reason.  RVD fails to come out.

Are the pay-per-views selling Impact! now?  All I know is, that’s a tsunami of wrestling, right there.  Impact! is like an earthquake after Jeff Hardy’s meltdown!  That might be a tasteless joke, but so is watching twenty-odd minutes of useless filler.

Madison Rayne defends her TNA Knockouts Championship in the third week of her Open Challenge.  This week, we reach right into the TNA Knockout ball bag for Alissa Flash.  They roll around, scream and act bitchy.  They don’t have a match, but who cares?  Men like tits, right?

The Pope D’Angelo Dinero comes out and “heals” people, still hating on Samoa Joe.  Samoa Joe chases The Pope, after The Pope beats up on/tortures Okada.  You might as well have The Pope and Samoa Joe masturbate on each other at this point.  That would be an athletic demonstration, at least.

Kurt Angle brains Jeff Jarrett with a guitar after the Angle/Jarrett peace talks break down.  Wow, Angle finally uses a weapon to hurt someone?  That’s about two weeks too late, but the Jeff Hardy Victory Road brouhaha has conveniently caused the Jarrett/Angle feud to be only the second-worst thing about TNA.  Fate’s awesome!

TNA remembers it has the Television Championship, letting Gunner, Murphy and Rob Terry at it.  Gunner wins, since TNA and fuck you.

Matt Morgan, Angelina Love and Winter fight Hernandez, Sarita and Rosita.  Why two disparate angles are lumped together like this, I don’t know.  Who won?  Certainly not fans of decent wrestling.

Wait, I realized the Mexicans in TNA are now part of a supergroup!  How Mexicools!

Last on the agenda is the #1 contender’s match.  RVD and Mr. Anderson hit the double pin, which is nice, since it draws out a feud instead of setting a strong tone for Lockdown 2011.  Good use of “Bully” Ray and AJ Styles, by the way, having them be an added attraction instead of the main event itself.

Also, what a useful bump AJ took.  It makes the kayfabe injury angle the highlight of the show…which isn’t saying much, given the awesome entertainment shown before the #1 contender’s match.  There were, I think, tits and half-naked men.  Oh, and Hulk Hogan babbling.  Fun.

What an exciting, non-retarded version of Impact!  I’m proud to have watched that thing.

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September 4, 2010

List: Seven historical reasons why the Gemini Awards are a joke

On August 31, 2010, the 25th Annual Gemini Award nominations were announced.  Less than 24 hours later, the first “Gemini Awards are a joke” columns started coming out.  Here’s Bill Brioux’s column, and John Doyle’s.  I’m sure two more articles will plop forth in the coming weeks.

I’ve come to accept that the Gemini Awards are a joke, myself.  What I almost never see from these “Gemini Awards suck” articles are historical, debatable reasons why the awards lack credibility, aside from the $350 chicken dinner and CTV News’ bowing completely out of Gemini contention after 2006.

While this article isn’t a scholarly tome on the Gemini Awards’ uselessness, here are seven specific reasons why people (well, television critics, but why haggle?) tend to bag on the Geminis.  The list is broken down into six nominations, and…this.  I’m amazed I can pare the list down to just seven entries.

Keep in mind, this list is subjective.  I’m sure readers have their worst-ofs.  Worst-ofs tend to be more prevalent than best-ofs.  I’m just saying, Canadian television, you know?


CODCO
Best Comedy Series
Won, 1989

The only nominee in its category.  Bizarrely, Kids in the Hall won a Gemini that year for Best Variety Program.  If this wasn’t a way for the Geminis to recognize both CODCO and KitH, however convoluted the setup, I’ll eat my hat.  Besides, what else was there to nominate in 1988-89?  Learning the Ropes?


Mosquito Lake
Best Comedy Series
Nominated, 1990

Want to know how weak Canadian television comedy was in 1989-90?  The nominees were this and Material World.  Yes, two nominations and neither Kids in the Hall nor CODCO were listed.  Figure that one out.  I can’t.

Seriously…Mosquito Lake?!  That show wasted the talents of Mike MacDonald, Tara Strong and Dan Redican.  Whenever bad Canadian sitcoms are brought up, Mosquito Lake pops into mind.

Nominating You Can’t Do That on Television or The Super Dave Osborne Show for Geminis in 1990 would have made more sense.  They weren’t Gemini Award material, but neither was Mosquito Lake.  For heaven’s sake, one of Mosquito Lake‘s episodes centred around a dead fridge.


J. Michael Straczynski, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future
Best Writing in a Dramatic Series
Nominated, 1988

“Hey, wait!,” you say.  ”J. Michael Straczynski is a good writer!  He created Babylon 5, and Captain Power kicked ass!”  I should point out how Captain Power was a children’s show competing against adult series.  Mind you, Captain Power was expensive for its time, but still.

I actually hate to put this nomination in a Gemini worst-of.  Captain Power‘s writing was surprisingly sophisticated for its genre.  It just seems weird, in retrospect, to put Captain Power up against Night Heat, Adderly, He Shoots, He Scores and The Beachcombers

…on second thought, that nomination isn’t weird at all.


Rick Mercer, Made in Canada
Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety Program or Series
Won, 2002

What makes Made in Canada‘s 2002 win so bad?  No other shows were nominated in this category.  Made in Canada was literally competing against itself.  Specifically, Mercer was competing against Mark Farrell, Alex Galatis and two Ed Riche entries.  Made in Canada wasn’t a terrible show, but was Canadian television in 2001-02 that fucking weak?

Before you say yes, Trailer Park Boys earned a token Gemini nomination in 2002, under Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series.  Who won that category?  Made in Canada, with three out of five nominations.  I refuse to believe Made in Canada was that good in 2002.


Henry Sarwer-Foner, Made in Canada
Best Direction in a Comedy Program or Series
Nominated twice, 2002

Henry Sarwer-Foner, This Hour Has 22 Minutes
Best Direction in a Comedy Program or Series
Nominated, 2002

Jon Greyson won this category in 2002, for (get this) Made in Canada.  This isn’t a slight on Sarwer-Foner, who has won seven of the twenty Geminis he’s been nominated for.  He’s a decent director, but this is a rare case of the Geminis heavily favouring a person.  At least Sarwer-Foner didn’t sweep his category.


Henry Czerny, Flashpoint
Best Performance by an Actor in a Guest Role, Dramatic Series
Won, 2009

This category made up four out of Flashpoint‘s nineteen nominations last year.  The lone non-Flashpoint nod in this category was Damir Andrei, for Being Erica.  Czerny’s awesome, of course, but how could Flashpoint lose this category?

The Geminis have not shown the same favouritism to Flashpoint in 2010.  Flashpoint has only fifteen nominations this year.  It’s like the show is mortal now, or something.


This, from the 2009 Gemini Awards:

Yeah.  Some Canadian Idol winner, Ron James and Mike Reno.  Try to hold your enthusiasm.

At least this clip balances the audacity of Ron James singing:


I think we all know who the more dignified presenters were.

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January 28, 2010

News: VH1 picks up Peak Season for February 2010 airing

Peak Season has recently been picked up by VH1 for American consumption.  The reality show follows the daily lives of twenty-something Whistler, BC residents.  Peak Season will air on VH1 nightly at 11:30 PM ET/PT, beginning Sunday, February 14.

The show is referenced by VH1 as Peak Season: Vancouver.  Why not call the show Peak Season: Whistler?  I know Vancouver is host city for the XXI Olympic Winter Games, but the title’s inaccurate.

I’d like to congratulate the show for making the big American sale, but I don’t watch MTV Canada.  I have no way of comparing Peak Season to The Hills, Laguna Beach or Jersey Shore, as I’m opposed to the MTV reality show house style on principle.

Good on MTV Networks for bringing Peak Season Stateside, I guess.  I just wish I could give a damn about the trashy shows Peak Season emulates.  I’m sure I’ll get a few nasty comments my way for this post, but this is like Fuse airing Keys to the VIP.  Canada can do better.

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November 27, 2009

News: Possible second season for Producing Parker

A second season of Producing Parker is in the pipeline.  This item was mentioned by the Channel 56 blog, and confirmed on Breakthrough Films & Television’s website.

The show, originally set to debut on Canwest’s now-defunct E! network, debuted on TVtropolis this May.  Reruns currently air on Global and TVtropolis.  This entry will be updated as more information becomes available.  As of this writing, news is limited to “Producing Parker 2: until 2011.”

I assume this item has been up since October, as this Google cache mentions Breakthrough’s non-broadcast Gemini Award wins.  Producing Parker 2 was then in production “until 2010.”  I guess no one bothered to notice until this week.  I don’t know.

I’m not sure what to think of this.  Producing Parker is aired on TVtropolis far too much, sometimes in odd timeslots.  ”Twat” references and bare breasts at 6:00 PM on Sundays?  I understand cable channels are lax on censorship, but that’s bizarre scheduling.

The only Canwest specialty channel appropriate enough for Producing Parker is Showcase Diva.  While I’m not a big fan of Producing Parker, it deserves a better home than TVtropolis.  The show’s better than Bob & Doug, but so is colonic irrigation.

I’m surprised Producing Parker is a more-than-single-season wonder.  Are CanCon regulations keeping this show alive, or is there something to Producing Parker that I’m missing?

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November 26, 2009

News: CBC Television introduces Winter 2010 schedule

I know, CBC’s midseason 2010 lineup is day-old news by now.  Weirdly enough, the news is still current.  Odd, that.  Program highlights from CBC’s Winter 2010 schedule:


New Shows

Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town | Tuesday, January 12: 9:00 PM
18 to Life | Monday, January 4: 8:00 PM
Republic of Doyle | Wednesday, January 6: 9:00 PM
Best Recipes Ever | Monday, January 4: 3:00 PM (weekdays)


Miscellany

The Border will end its current season January 7 and 14 in the Thursday 9:00 PM timeslot.  Doc Zone will move to The Border‘s Thursday timeslot starting January 21.  Frankly, I like Doc Zone much better than The Border.

Marketplace will debut its 37th season Fridays at 8:30 PM, after a rerun of Tuesday’s Rick Mercer Report.  The Nature of Things will move to Thursdays at 8:00 PM by January 7.  Steven and Chris will return with new episodes, starting January 4 at 2:00 PM.

There will be a few specials.  Test the Nation: IQ will air Sunday, January 24 at 8:00 PM.  Gordon and Leah Pinsent’s Love Letters will air in the timeslot the following week.  Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story, a miniseries, will air March 28 and 29 at 8:00 PM.


CBC’s midseason prime time shows sound better than usual, in that I don’t automatically hate any of them.  There’s no sure-to-fail idea like MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives or The One.  There’s no surefire hit, but not everything on CBC can be Dragons’ Den or…ughBattle of the Blades.

I “love” the comments at CBC.ca’s site.  Life with Derek is a “never heard of canadian drama”?  Life with Derek was on Disney Channel for four seasons, and that’s in the Hannah Montana/Jonas/Wizards of Waverly Place hypermarketing-to-tweens era.  What an obscure show.

Also, nothing’s good on CBC Television save hockey, Canadian content is shit, yammer yammer yammer.

The trailer for 18 to Life isn’t that bad.  It’s certainly more engaging than Little Mosque on the Prairie.  Peter Keleghan plays his patented WASPy Dumbass character, but 18 to Life doesn’t seem forced like Republic of Doyle.  Watch some trailers and judge for yourself.



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