The Three Best Sports-Themed TV Shows


Credit: Gage Skidmore
 
Despite national broadcasts of popular sports bringing in viewers in their millions, the primetime sports-themed TV show has struggled to gain even a fraction of this audience.
The issue seems to be that these comedies or dramas either risk losing casual viewers by focusing too greatly on the sport itself or turn off sports fans by not devoting enough time to the intricacies of the subject matter. [Read more...]

Check out March 13th for full on hanky action


Credit: A National Acrobat?

Don’t you love a good tear jerker? Sometimes there is nothing quite like having your heart strings well and truly strung out. When I was a kid, Lassie floored me on a weekly basis. I still can’t watch Bambi, and the ending of Lost left me weak kneed and weepy for the better part of a fortnight. Sometimes, it does you good to just give it all up to the drama and let all that emotion pour out. It’s a kind of catharsis, an emotional spring clean.
Have you seen that Dustin Hoffman trailer for the movies where he stands on a rooftop and does that hopelessly sincere, cracked voice thing that he does like no-one else? He says, ‘really, when it comes down to it, the movies are all about feelings.’ To be fair, Dustin Hoffman is one of the all-time great tear-jerkers. Never mind  Esiotrot, even Tootise had its moments.


Credit: rhyzy

When a character has worn his or her way into your sympathy, and when the plot twists in just the right way, there are few things as delicious as that dramatic welling up of emotion. And that’s when the eyes start to smart and the chin starts to wobble… Nobody said this was about looking good. A good weepy is about as self-indulgent as it gets.

Now, it’s all well and good when you know what to expect, but there are some times when events catch you by surprise. That can be as part of a play or a film – when Mr Wilson the football floated away from Tam Hanks in Castaway, I was heartbroken – or it can come even more out of the blue than that.

So here’s a hanky alert. This is one for those whose interests extend beyond their fictional fix.


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There is going to be an outpouring of emotion at this year’s Cheltenham Festival of UK horse racing that will take over the news bulletins and dominate the front as well as the back pages of the nation’s newspapers. When the veteran jockey Tony ‘AP’ McCoy rides at the festival, it will be for the very last time. The former  BBC Sports Personality of the Year is hanging up his whip and after 20 years spent delighting and amazing racing fans with his courage and his incredible dedication. When he rides down from the finish line for the last time on Friday March 13 there won’t be a dry eye to be seen.  All Cheltenham bets, big and small alike, will be well and truly off. McCoy’s parting at the end of one of the most remarkable careers in sport – forged day in, day out in hard graft, self-sacrifice and an incredible toughness - will have the hankies out like you have never seen. Bambi and Tootsie will be nothing by comparison.

It’s hard to find a comparable fictional character because, frankly, what McCoy has done – year in and year out is too unbelievable. And it’s not just what he’s achieved that’s so moving. It’s the way that he’s done it. Amidst the ego-fuelled world of professional sport, McCoy is modesty personified. He is – that rarest of things – both loved and admired across the world in equal measure.

A Singular Sporting Drama


Photo Credit: Paolo Camera

It doesn’t matter how much of a drama fan you are, there are some sporting events on TV that you simply can’t ignore. The World Cup, The Super Bowl and The Olympics are to name just three. They are the sort of great, big schedule-busting spectaculars that sweep everything else before them and make a mockery of the ratings and advertising revenues. Whether you’re a sports jock or someone who just considers ball games mundane, these are the sort of events that there really is no getting away from.

But there are also sporting gems that are worth going out of your way to witness. They don’t necessarily make a great impact on the public consciousness and they may not necessarily even be American, but every once in a while something takes place that manages to capture the imagination in a way that is every bit as gripping as the most riveting drama.

The example that jumps out of the schedule ahead is the Great British  Aintree Grand National horse race. In the UK it is more than just a sporting event, it is a national institution in its own right. Every household up and down the land will tune in to watch the drama unfold. It is – year after year – one of the most watched TV spectacles.

Of course the British, including the Royal Family, are incredibly sentimental when it comes to animals in general, and horses in particular. For all the human drama – and there is no shortage of that – it is the equine competitors who are the real heroes and heroines of an event that attracts worldwide television audiences of more than a billion viewers which is famously dangerous.

Over the  175 years since the great race was inaugurated, it has seen numerous accidents and even fatalities. These have been human as well as equine. For many years the race was notorious not only for its energy sapping length – four-and-a-half gruelling miles – but also for the size and difficulty posed by its 30 enormous fences. In fact, some of those obstacles have become famous in their own right. Names like Becher’s Brook, The Chair and the Canal Turn are immediately recognizable throughout the length and breadth of the UK.

The National – as it is known – is the most valuable race in Europe. Its difficulties are also added to by the enormous fields that it attracts. With so many runners and riders desperately scrambling their way around what is one of the most testing courses in the whole of horse racing, accidents are inevitable. In recent years steps have been taken to  reduce the danger that is inherent in the race. The fences have been reduced in size, but this has had the unforeseen impact of encouraging the competitors to take them at greater speed. This has therefore counteracted the attempts to make the event less dangerous.


Photo Credit: Paolo Camera

The knowledge that every one of those giant fences may prove fatal for each of the competitors adds a compelling anxiety to the race. Followers are not merely concerned for their own selection’s winning prospects, they are also bound into a layered concern for each of the magnificent animals involved.

The human drama is rarely as serious, but it is no less gripping for that. This year’s running will mark the end of one of the most astonishing careers anywhere in sport. The jockey AP McCoy has beaten all comers to the British Champions’ Jockey prize for the last 19 years. Rarely has any athlete achieved such sustained dominance. The scenes when McCoy returns to the grandstand at the end of this year’s race promise to be amongst the most stirring and emotional of the entire sporting year. And, of course, were he to win, it would represent a storyline to compare with any other in any setting.


Photo Credit: Paolo Camera

If you have not seen this remarkable British event already, make a note in your diaries. It takes place on April 11th and will be available online.

JANE THE VIRGIN Chapter Twelve: Will the Real Sin Rostro Please Stand Up?

jane the virgin chapter 12

In typical JANE THE VIRGIN fashion, Chapter Twelve unravelled at rapid speed. One minute Jane’s making headway as an intern on The Passions of Santos, the next, Sin Rostro’s finally revealed. How the writers over at JANE THE VIRGIN so masterfully bring us from one plot point to another, with all of the telenovela nuts and bolts in between, I’ll never know. That’s probably why Gina Rodriguez just won a Golden Globe — a phenomenal actress clearly shines when given the right material!

But, I digress. [Read more...]

For Canadian Eyes Only: CTV Reveals 2014 Fall Schedule

Press Release: CTV unveiled today a powerful 2014/15 primetime schedule featuring a peerless mix of returning Top 20 hits and television’s most-promising new programs, immediately strengthening Canada’s most-watched network. Delivering the most reliable television schedule available in North America, CTV has maximized scheduling opportunities, made strategic timeslot moves, and introduced key new series on four out of seven nights and in all timeslots. In addition to its previously announced new acquisitions of nine new dramas and two new comedies, CTV also revealed today it has secured two more instant hits for its fall schedule: America’s #1 new comedy, THE MILLERS, and Sunday-night success story RESURRECTION. In total, CTV’s fall schedule features 19 hours of primetime simulcast programming weekly, more than any other Canadian network. CTV’s 2014/15 schedule – featuring six new dramas and two new comedies premiering this fall – will be presented by Phil King, President – CTV, Sports, and Entertainment Programming, at the #CTVUpfront presentation today in Toronto.

Remarked King: “Some networks program to women, others to men. We’re not the home of comedy, nor the home of drama. CTV is the home of hit television, delivering mass audiences every night of the week, in every timeslot, in every genre. It’s the result of programming diversity, scheduling balance, and staying ahead of trends, all which are represented in our new schedule.” [Read more...]

Mark Your Calendars: Your Definitive Guide to Summer 2014′s New and Returning TV Shows

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Summer television has been always a bit unpredictable as the Big 5 networks used to avoid launching new original programming during the summer months since so many television watchers were enjoying the great outdoors. But after a decade or more of watching cable television secure significant audiences for summer run TV shows, the Big 5 have begun to dabble with summer programming.

That does not mean it is any easier to figure out what TV shows are on or which are worth checking out. So in order to try to provide a list of what TV shows are upcoming to keep an eye out for and which to sample, here is a nice quick reference list for the Summer 2014: [Read more...]

Check Out DISORDERLY

Check out DISORDERLY, a funny new web series about three buddies who work as orderlies in a mental health center and have more issues than their patients. The show follows Mookie, Lionel and Ira, as they balance their disorders with those of the patients. The show uses honest and grounded humor as a way into the very prevalent issue of mental health. More info can be found at wearedisorderly on Facebook.