television

The Case of the Nude Actress

In this week's BBC-aired episode titled "A Scandal in Belgravia," Holmes has a close encounter with a whip-smart dominatrix, Irene Adler (Lara Pulver), who gets under his skin by flashing much of hers. Some detractors said the scene was too racy to air early in the evening, when children are more likely to be watching TV.

I have been seeing the name Benedict Cumberbatch a lot lately, ever since Farrah and I started watching BBC's Sherlock on Netflix streaming last weekend. Earlier this week he was cast as the possible villain in the next Star Trek film. And now there appears this story about nudity in one of the upcoming Sherlock series two episodes.

One distressing item to read in this article is that there may not be a third series. I guess Mr. Cumberbatch may be too popular for television alone.

What's on TV?

I've always watched way too much television. I'm sure this will change in the very near future, but for now things are staying the same. Here are a few shows we are watching, a few we are looking forward to seeing again, and a few we've given up on.

Still Enjoying

  • Lost - This year there are more answers then questions. This final season is turning out to be their best season. It almost makes me sad to see it go.
  • Human Target - New action series. Likable characters, combined with action and light zippy dialog, make this series successful.
  • The Amazing Race - Fun to watch the team conflicts taking place in great locales. I just wish they'd shoot it in HD.
  • The Real Housewives of New York City - Out of all the "Housewives" series on Bravo, this is the one to watch. Did I just type that?
  • Big Bang Theory - The only comedy show I watch consistently. Not gut-busting funny, but funny enough.
  • Criminal Minds - Solid CBS crime drama. It's just a bit on the violent side.
  • CSI - Still fun to watch even without William Petersen in the cast.
  • The Vampire Diaries - This is a show Farrah watches, so I'll deny it if asked, but actually like this show. I haven't sat down and watched a full episode. But I've had my back to the television while Farrah is watching. The characters are likable and have some edge to them. The only thing I don't like is the flashback scenes. They seem poorly done.

Watching, But Not Sure Why

  • 24 - Jack Bauer is still fighting the good fight. Too bad his storyline is the only interesting one. All the other supporting characters, with the exception of Chloe, are very dull.
  • Project Runway - It's still a good show, but this season I haven't found anyone to root for. I'm happy that the show is back in New York!
  • America's Next Top Model - Tyra Banks can get very annoying with her antics. Luckily, there seems to be some interesting contenders this year.
  • Shear Genius - Why did they get rid of Jaclyn Smith? I can barely watch the new host.
  • Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy, and Private Practice - A few shows I happen to watch because I'm in the same room at the time they're airing. Of the three, I think I find Grey's the most interesting. 

Gave Up On

  • American Idol - I only found one of the singers interesting. This show is no longer in the DVR rotation. Honestly, I probably should have stopped watching a few seasons ago.

Recently Wrapped Up

  • Burn Notice - A solid season ending on a nice cliffhanger. I can't wait until the next season.
  • Leverage - A weak second season. Character development and interaction seemed off this season. Hopefully they can recover next season.
  • Numb3rs - My Friday night staple has unofficially ended its series run. It was a weak ending for the show. I'm sure it was intentionally so, just in case the show is picked up for another season.
  • Big Love - I really couldn't get into this season's episodes. I may need to watch them in reruns because, frankly, I forgot what happened. It's all just a jumble.

Wait and See

  • Fringe - I never was into X-Files, which this show seems similar to in nature. This show works very well on the mysteriously creepy level. New episodes are starting up again soon.
  • Dancing with the Stars - Interested in seeing how certain celebrity do this season.
  • Top Chef Masters - The series was good the first time around. I hear some of the same Masters are returning. Hopefully, that won't be a bad thing.
  • Law and Order: Criminal Intent - The show has been getting stale lately. I don't think it helps that Vincent D'Onofrio is leaving. But Law and Order shows always had a revolving cast. It should survive.
  • Royal Pains - When is this show starting again? It feels like its been off the air for a long time. Hopefully, the magic of the first season carries over to the second.
  • True Blood - New season looks like it'll start in the summer. Can this season be as good as the last? Possibly.

Samsung LN46A630 - A Review

[Note: My reason for documenting my HDTV purchase is to simply share my experience. I'm just your average Joe trying to figure this out.]

I was only slightly hesitant in ordering a HDTV through Amazon. I heard good things regarding their white glove service when you order an HDTV directly from Amazon. They deliver the TV to your home, unbox it, place it where you tell them, and they will even take the box away if you desire. They wait while you hook up the TV, turn it on, and inspect the TV for any damages. Pretty sweet service. Just to get it out of the way, for this purchase they did all of the above very well. I was very happy with the delivery of our first HDTV. Now onto my thoughts regarding the Samsung LN46A630.

The 46-inch HDTV looked physically very nice. I'm not much into red, probably one of my least favorite colors, but the red tinge on this model was barely noticeable. One of the first things I learned about HDTVs is that they don't look great with their initial settings. I went forum post and a personal blog - here, and here - to get advice on settings. The menu system is easy to navigate. The remote buttons are big and labeled well.

Once I tried a couple of the settings presented in the postings, the TV pictured looked good. It even looked better when popping in a blu-ray into the Sony PlayStation 3. Standard Definition (SD) channels looked fair, some bad and some good. High Definition (HD) channels looked very good. We lived with the Samsung for three weeks with everything going fine. I watched Super Bowl XLIII in HD and enjoyed the experience.

But there are two downsides with the Samsung that became apparent after time. The first is sound. Now, I know it should probably be hooked up to a nice AV system, but the TV is in a small room. The speakers on the set are on the bottom grill pointed down, similar to an iMac. The sound is projected downward, and at times, seems muddled. I don't have the greatest hearing so I need to pump up the volume a bit.

The second issue for me is the quality of off-axis viewing. At times I am about 30-degrees to the right of center when watching TV. Why? Well, I'm on my desktop computer. From where I sit, the colors become extremely washed out. It is watchable, but painfully so, knowing the quality of the picture could be better. I understand this is prevalent with LCD sets, whereas plasmas are more forgiving. I don't know.

I'm looking, still, at the Sony KDL-40XBR7. We'll have to see how it compares to the Samsung.

Trying to Figure Out the HDTV Thing

[Note: My reason for documenting my HDTV purchase is to simply share my experience. I am, by no means, an expert in this or have a particular 'eye' for TVs.]

I've been lusting after an LCD TV for about a year.

In general I like to research purchases as thoroughly as possible. I avoided researching TVs because I couldn't get the green light for an LCD TV purchase from Farrah. Well, recently she relented. Off I went to research.

I knew zero about LCD and plasma TVs. I relied on three resources for my research:

First, I thought about the room the TV would be in. It would be placed in a spare bedroom. The viewing distance would be about 5-7 feet. From the chart on Amazon.com the size of the TV would be anywhere from 26" to 46". I was always told to go bigger than you think you should get, so I narrowed it down to either a 40" or 46" TV.

You can find various reasons to go for either a plasma or LCD TV. For the type of room and the price range I was interested in, an LCD TV instead of a plasma fit my needs.

I looked at all the brands, settling on Samsung and Sony. All of the TVs I have personally owned have been Sonys, the last being a 36" XBR monster weighing a ton. I've heard good things about Samsung though and wanted to seriously consider an alternative to the pricey Sony sets. I narrowed the field of sets to three: the Samsung LN40A650, Samsung LN40A750, and a Sony KDL-40XBR7. I went to Best Buy, a Sony Style store, and my local Fry's to see the three sets in action.

All the sets I saw looked great picture-wise. I've been told when you head into the showroom to look at TVs know that the sets are calibrated to look their best. When you get home with your new TV you will need to do a bit of calibration to get the TV to look right. (Luckily there are a lot of good posts on avsforum.com to help you out.) From a design aesthetic, the Sony KDS-40XBR7 was the most pleasing. But when you think Sony you must also think extra dollars.

After fielding responses to the question of Samsung versus Sony question I posted on Facebook and twitter, I placed on order through Amazon.com for the Samsung LN46A630. Wait, that wasn't on the list of TVs I cited before?

Well, I exchanged email messages with Tage, who sold me on some details on the LNA630. The LNA630 is basically the LNA650 but with a semi-matte screen. I chose the 46" instead of the 40" because, like a mentioned before, you should go bigger than you initially think if possible.

I'll let you know what I think about the Samsung LN46A630 in a later post.

QotD: Set Your DVR

What TV show(s) will you be watching this season? Why? 

Submitted by ducnly.vox.com.

Since I got a my first Tivo from BossaNova, watching televison has never been the same.  But that story is for another day.   I've finally gotten this entry finished.  Ok, let's do this in alphabetical order, shall we?

The Amazing Race 10 - Just goes to show that couples can fight with each other in any country.

America's Next Top Model - I like all the drama.

Battlestar Galactica - Never thought I would like a remade version of a childhood show, but his sci-fi stuff is gritty and bleak.  Oh, and there are the sexy women on the show as well.

Brothers & Sisters - Not sure how this drama is going to unfold, but it has me (slightly) interested.

Criminal Minds - I didn't like this show at first, but for some reason it grew on me.

CSI - The one true CSI.  No substitutes, baby!

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - We watch this show together to see who will cry first. (Yes, I have cried during this show - he admits reluctantly.)

Family Guy - I actually watch this show more religiously than the Simpson!                               

Family Guy - Wheel Of Fortune

Family Guy - Wheel Of Fortune

Gilmore Girls - Because my wife watches it.

Grey's Anatomy - Yeah, hooked into the melodrama.  I'm just hoping George is really moving on, cause I'm tired of his whiny self.

Heroes - Who doesn't want to see superheroes?

House - I just love this guess this disease show!

How I Met Your Mother - Funny show, lousy title.  See below for more lousy titles.

Men in Trees - Because my wife watches it.  Plus, I don't think there is much else on Friday nights.

Law and Order: CI - Oh man, Annabella Sciorra isn't on there any longer?  Oh, but Vincent D'Onofiro is still going strong.

Lost - Because I need to find the answers to all the freakin' questions from the last two seasons.  What do you mean there will be more questions???!!!!

The Office - So, whree do Jim and Pam go from here?

NCIS - Good cast, weak but watchable stories. 

Project Runway - Yeah, I'm into the drama...and Heidi Klum isn't bad to watch.

Smith - Not sure this one will last, but Virgina Madsen is always nice to watch.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - Lousy title, but (hopefully) some good writing.  The pilot episode was good.

Top Chef - I like cooking, and what beats this Project Runway meets Iron Chef show?

24 - Because Jack Bauer kicks butt!

The Unit - I can do without the household melodrama parts, but I guess that's part of the show.

What About Brian? - Lousy title, but I got hooked last year.

By the way - if you watch a lot of TV, you might want to check out MeeVee.

Everyone Wants To Be Jack

It seems that anything with a modicum of success is cloned.  For this entry I'm focusing on the cloning of Jack Bauer.  At least, to me, it seems that is happening this year.  For those of you who don't know who Jack Bauer is, he is the hero in Fox's 24.

24 - Season Four

24 - Season Four

I'll be the first to tell you I didn't catch onto 24 until last year.  While I was working at Yahoo!, friends in my group would watch and talk 24 for days on end.  Well, I checked out season 1 and 2 - easy when it's on DVD - and I was hooked.  I then quickly added season 3 and 4 followed in my Netflix queue.  For the two weeks all farrah heard was the theme to 24 on our television screen.

This fall season there seems to be a series of shows that are, in essence, trying to capture the flavor of 24.  Neither of them, however, successed on any scale.

First up is Kidnapped.  I watched this show on DVD.  It seems NBC wanted to release two of its pilots on DVD before the start of the fall season.  The other show on the disc, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, looks very promising.  But I'm writing to talk about Kidnapped.  It stars the guffy likable Jermey Sisto from Six Feet Under as a man who can get retrieve a loved one who has been kidnapped.  Get this: he only charges you if the kidnapped victim comes back alive. Oh, how nice of him.

Kidnapped

Kidnapped

Jeremy must also must deal with the FBI in the form of Delroy Lindo - who is basically playing the same role he did in the movie Ransom.

The parents of the kidnapped victim are played by Timothy Hutton and Dana Delany, both in pretty much wasted roles.  You can see the writers trying to setup the twists-n-turns that will weave there way through the season (Why was he kidnapped?  What's the wife hiding? What did Jeremy Sisto's character leave the FBI?  Should I really be watching this show?)  There is no ticket clock on this show, but I'm sure the show is set to resolve itself by season's end.

Vanished

Vanished

The other kidnapped based show is Fox's Vanished.  It stars former Queer as Folk actor Gale Harold.  Gale plays an FBI agent with "something to prove", trying to find the missing wife of a US Senator.  His acting in this show is pretty flat and emotionless.  If he's supposed to be the tough guy lead, at least exude some charisma, will ya?  I'm not really going to get into this much, as the show is as flat as Kidnapped. The only thing going for this show is it has Ming-Na in it.  Too bad they don't give her much to do.

I guess I'll turn off my television and wait until the new season of 24 starts.

get lost

our favorite new television show this season has to be [lost] wednesay @ 8pm on abc.

Is this a class picture?

quick shot: plane crashes on a deserted island.  survivors try to figure out where they are, how to contact someone for help, and who they can trust amongst their group.  it's a dramatic gilligan's island!

what we like (so far): the story has many mysterious elements surrounding the island as well as passengers on the plane.  when i say 'so far', you just never know if the show's storyline will tank as it moves forward.  the characters not only 'purtee' but have some depth.  the writing is strong (again, so far).  this is a show brought to you by the makers of felicity and alias.

what we didn't like: that it's only on once a week.  ugh!