MYTHBUSTERS Preview: Going Out with a Bang

mythbusters

Perhaps you saw it coming. I suspected it when I heard recently that MYTHBUSTERS stars Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman had inked a deal with CBS for a new MacGuyver-type series based on their skill sets. Well, the Discovery Channel just announced that the MYTHBUSTERS episodes that begin January 9 will be their final ones. Sad to say. (Read about Adam and Jamie’s deal with CBS.)

Things have been on the decline over recent years. The subjects for myths to explore have been increasingly myopic. The ratings have been mostly just OK. And fans have revolted after presenters Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara left the show, while many fans who remained weren’t all that impressed with upgrades to the show’s graphics and concentration on show builds.

So perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised that the show is finally leaving. It has been fourteen years, and in TV, fourteen years is a long run. Fourteen years is a long time to sustain quality and viewership.

Yet, from what I have read, Discovery Channel has given MYTHBUSTERS the opportunity to go out with a bang. They could have simply canceled the series. Instead, Discovery Channel has given Adam and Jamie one more season to clean up in fashion, exploring myths they’ve always wanted to address, give Buster one more wild ride, and end everything with the mother of all explosions.

Adam and Jamie have been giving hints of what’s to come on their Facebook pages. And they addressed the announcement of their final season on their MYTHBUSTERS website and on YouTube in a video which contains more than a couple hints of the fun we’re in for this coming incredible season.

Shall we meet Saturdays beginning in January for one more series of adventures in science with the MYTHBUSTERS and watch it go out in style – go out with a bang? See the preview below.

CraveTV Review

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If you’re wondering why it has taken this TV Addict slightly longer than expected to post our review of CraveTV, Bell Media’s Netflix competitor that launched earlier this month, look no further than the service itself.

Billed as “a video streaming service offering full seasons and series of the most loved and celebrated shows ever,” CraveTV is — simply put — a TV Addict’s dream. No really. Any grammar, spelling and/or syntax errors from here on in should be solely attributed to the fact that even as we type this, we’re half-watching INSIDE AMY SCHUMER in a little window at the top left of our desktop! That’s how good CraveTV is, we cannot stop watching it. It’s a problem, a big one. But before we get into why, let’s start off with the glowingly positive shall we.

CraveTV isn’t messing around when it comes to selection. From genre-defining series that we’re embarrassed to admit we still haven’t found the time to watch (See: HBO classics such as THE SOPRANOS, THE WIRE and DEADWOOD) and half-hour sketch shows we’ve only seen bits and pieces of on YouTube (See: KEY AND PEELE, INSIDE AMY SCHUMER and KROLL SHOW) to exclusives that we’ve already started binge-watching (Hello WGN’s MANHATTAN) and classics that we can’t get enough of (See: MONTY PYTHON, SEINFELD, and FRASIER), CraveTV isn’t messing around when it comes to feeding our seemingly insatiable appetite for all things television. Suffice it to say, if you are eligible to subscribe to CraveTV — particularly at the launch price of $4 per month — it’s an absolute no brainer. No really. There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t stop what you’re doing right now, call your local cable provider and spend this holiday season holed up in your living room watching the glory that is STAR TREK’s most underrated and under-appreciated gem DEEP SPACE NINE!

Oh wait there is a reason… which brings me to that dark side of the service that I teased earlier in this post.

Related: “How Bell Media Bumbled the Launch of CraveTV”

First and foremost. As a long time Rogers customer, myself — not to mention millions of others across Canada — are shut out from this service due to the unholy war between Bell Media and Rogers that does little but infuriate customers on both sides (See: Rogers equally childish treatment of NHL fans who aren’t paying a pretty penny to Rogers each and every month). But even more troubling than Bell Media’s exclusionary policies* is that CraveTV’s new business model effectively sidesteps any regulatory issues put in place by the astoundingly ineffective CRTC in terms of their recent purchase of Astral Media. Which is to say. non-Bell subscribers to HBO Canada should all but assume that any new and exciting content will no longer be built around the traditional over-the-air model that many of us have been subscribing to for all these years but rather reserved for CraveTV’s catalogue. Case in point, Bell Media’s recent announcement** that will see a remastered, 16×9, full-frame, high definition version of THE WIRE be exclusively released to CraveTV subscribers this January rather than where it belongs on HBO Canada.

shomi Review: Why We’re Not Buying What Rogers and Shaw are Selling (At Least Not Yet!)

And finally, any review of CraveTV wouldn’t be complete without the mention of their advertising strategy. You know those posters and billboards that have been plastered across the city? Well, they’re sort of missing a giant asterisk when it comes to that $4 per month price tag. Just to be clear: CraveTV is only $4 per month if you already subscribe to Bell or one of their partner’s cable packages. Packages, which after a quick scan online appear to range between $39.99 and $111.95 per month. (Current cable partners include: TELUS Optik TV, Bell Fibe TV, and Bell Aliant FibreOP TV subscribers)

All that being said, if you are one of the shrinking number of Canadians who, like us, fork over one hundred plus dollars a month to prop up an antiquated cable model, CraveTV is completely worth it. One can only hope that (a) Bell Media sees the error of their ways and opens up this package to all of Canada as soon as possible. Or at the very least, (b), allows me to a finish binge-watching the fantastic first season of MANHATTAN before they pull my media credentials in response to this review!

* Correction from Scott Henderson, Vice-President Communications Bell Media: We have no exclusionary policy. We have been very clear from the beginning that CraveTV is “available to every TV provider in Canada” (see release) and Kevin Crull has been clear he wants to get it into as many hands as possible. We have had meetings with all distributors, including Rogers, and we hope they come on board soon. Already Telus, Eastlink and other small cable providers have signed up and made the product available to their providers.

The TV Addict’s Response: While it’s all well and good that Bell Media doesn’t have an official exclusionary policy, I’ll believe it when I see it. Case in point, I’ve been waiting over a year, possibly two for CTV to meet with Rogers and allow me access to streaming content on CTV.ca and CTV’s mobile apps. (Photo Below)

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** Correction from Scott Henderson, Vice-President Communications Bell Media: We also announced in this fall a deal for the entire HBO back catalogue for CraveTV (see release). This is separate than current HBO programming. All back catalogue programming will be available on CraveTV, including the Sopranos, Sex and the City and, as you note, The Wire. HBO Canada features current programming – so The Wire won’t air on HBO Canada. But to be clear, this is the same situation as in the U.S. – To our understanding The Wire will not be broadcast on HBO there.

The TV Addict’s Response: According to an official HBO (US) Press Release, the new high-definition re-mastering of THE WIRE will be available to all HBO subscribers across the US on HBO GO, as well over the air. From the release, “Now, new and old fans of the series can watch the show like never before thanks to a brand new High-Definition upgrade of all 60 episodes, which will debut in December on HBO Signature® and HBO GO®”

Review: GIRL MEETS WORLD Brings a Familiar Face Home

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“Girl Meets World” hasn’t shied away from welcoming “Boy Meets World” alums back into the fold. Tonight, the show is welcoming back one of its most beloved characters in hopes of giving him the happy ending he deserves.

In the episode (which was made available early via the Watch Disney Channel app), Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) and Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong) were (finally!) reunited, and though that’s cause enough for celebration, it’s not all the show – or Cory’s daughter – appear to be after. [Read more…]

How Bell Media Bumbled the Launch of CraveTV

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After months of hype teasing the imminent arrival of “Project Latte,” a new streaming service that promised television Addicts such as ourselves with an amazing catalogue of new and old shows, yesterday saw Bell Media unwrap the details of their answer to Netflix named CraveTV.

And while Bell Media bigwigs spent much of yesterday patting themselves on the back for offering Canadians what Mike Cosentino (Senior VP, Programming, Bell Media) characterized as, “an incredible offering of some of TV’s most-watched and most-loved shows,” our reaction is somewhat less that effusive. But before we get into the massively missed opportunity by Bell Media to… I don’t know… put Canadians customers first and actually acknowledge that the ways in which our country consumes media has changed since 1975, let’s start with the good. [Read more…]

shomi Review: Why We’re Not Buying What Rogers and Shaw are Selling (At Least Not Yet!)

shomi

This week, Rogers and Shaw teamed up to launch shomi, their attempt to unseat Netflix as Canada’s go-to for streaming television and video entertainment. At launch, Rogers boasts that shomi has more than 12,000 hours of telvision and movie content. And while this TV Addict is inclined to agree with David Purdy (SVP, Product Management Video & Content) who proudly proclaimed that the service “combines binge-worthy television shows and Hollywood hits,” whether or not one should ‘shomi the money’ (See what we did there!), is another question entirely. And quite frankly, one that we’ve been struggling to answer all week. But before we get into the downside of shomi’s launch, let us start with the positive shall we.

As advertised, shomi has done an admirable job of replicating the Netflix experience by offering up a colourful collection of popular television shows and movies available across all devices. By combining catalogues from parent companies Rogers and Shaw, there is quite something for TV Addicts of all ages. What’s more, in an attempt to differentiate themselves from the incumbent, shomi has cleverly hired actual human beings to curate collections such as “Comic Con Hangover,” “The Art of War” and “Gretzky has the Ball” to name a few. Also of note, their “shomi later” and “shomi history” features, the former of which allows viewers to create a playlist of must-sees to watch later with the latter allowing users to see their viewing history and continue watching shows they may have stopped part-way through.

Content wise, shomi has plenty of binge-worthy television shows and a handful of popular movies. And while we’re not going to complain about any service that makes available such TV Addict favorites like THE WEST WING, BUNHEADS, JANE THE VIRGIN, ALIAS, PART DOWN and many more we’d list by name if the service would allow us to log in*, the majority of the shows aren’t exclusive to the service and are also available on Netflix. Which brings me to the first of our two serious issues with shomi.

* Since shomi is technically launching in “beta,” we are going to gloss over the plethora of technical difficulties it seems to have launched with. Including but not limited to… the fact that it hasn’t been able to remember where we stopped watching Notting Hill, a somewhat sluggish interface and a serious unreliability when it comes to logging in and out of the service.

The single biggest issue we have with shomi is that it is completely devoid of original content.** And while the service gets point for launching with plenty of kids content, quality television shows and movies we love (“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy…”), there is no must-see show akin to Netflix’s HOUSE OF CARDS, or Netflix’s ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK or Netflix… well, you get the idea! Look, if we were one of the increasingly large number of Canadians cutting the cable cord, it would be a different story. But since we still pay for cable (You’re welcome Rogers), subscribe to Netflix and don’t have kids to entertain 24/7 (Sorry Mom!) we simply can’t justify recommending a service that offers very little we don’t already have access to. We also won’t tout a service that is only available to a handful of Canadians, which brings us two issue number two.

** shomi recently announced plans to launch an original Canadian drama to be produces in partnership with Rogers and, curiously enough, rival network Netflix.

WIth shomi’s launch leaving Bell customers out in the cold, I’m once again left with the unsettling feeling that parent companies Rogers and Shaw care more about the bottom line then they do building an amazing product. When will Rogers, Shaw and Bell learn that GREAT companies like Amazon, Apple and Netflix release products that put their customers first while companies more interested in serving shareholders release a product with strings attached***. Suffice it so say, if there is any truth to the saying “you only get one chance to make a good first impresesion” shomi failed spectacularly so. Worse still, launching shomi as an exclusive for Rogers and Shaw customers all but guarantees that when Bell releases their currently-in-delveopment “Project Latte” it will be exclusive to their customers. Thus, continuing the petty and small-minded pattern of Canadian cable conglomeretes doing nothhing but infuritating hard-working and honest customers for choosing one service over the other. But I digress.

*** Strings like tacky upsells upon sign up that offer shomi to Rogers customers free of charge, but only if one agrees to sign up for far pricier tier of internet service.

The bottom line is, that despite the fact that we will not commit to spending $8.99 per month for shomi until they expand their offerings and produce original and compelling content that we can’t see anywhere else, we approve of their service and look forward to checking back with them once they drop the “beta.” If for no other reason than competition is not only good for customers, but something we’re sorely lacking up here in Hollywood North.

Related: We Review Bell Media’s shomi competitor CRAVETV

Review: PLAYING HOUSE

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I have to admit when I saw the ad for PLAYING HOUSE in my issue of Entertainment Weekly I wasn’t too interested. I thought it looked like it could be a good show but I didn’t think I would love it. I wish I could say that I didn’t laugh throughout the entire Pilot. Or that I didn’t absolutely adore the shows two stars, Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair. But I can’t say either of those things because truth is, I loved the show. PLAYING HOUSE is so witty and so fresh, the writing on the show is fantastic. Is it too early to say I’m completely hooked? [Read more…]

BAD TEACHER Review: A Hilarious New Comedy Starring Ari Graynor and Ryan Hansen

bad teacher cbs

With so many stellar comedy series on television right now, it is hard to stand out in the crowd. So CBS was smart to cast Ari Graynor and Ryan Hansen as its comedic leads for its new series BAD TEACHER.

Taken from the concept of the movie that starred Cameron Diaz, BAD TEACHER looks at the life of a rich socialite, Meredith Davis (Ari Graynor), as it disintegrates around her upon her divorce. Destitute and desperate for money, as well as the opportunity to meet eligible young, wealthy men, Meredith talks her way into a teaching job.

Confident that her luck must be changing, Meredith just knows that the right man with the right bank account will fall right into her lap if she just makes herself available and puts herself in his path. The “right place, right time” strategy is fairly fool-proof. Yet, interestingly, Meredith discovers that there is more to life than marrying a rich man.

Inspired by the kids around her, she finds herself a champion of the school under-dogs. Unable to just stand by and abide the bullying prevalent in the school, Meredith is soon mentoring in the art of “fake it ‘til you make it” and teaching how confidence is all you need to get exactly what you want out of life.

It is a plucky, poignant tale of a young woman inspired to be more than she ever dreamed she could be; and how that courage and can-do attitude inspires the kids to do the same. [Read more…]

ORPHAN BLACK Preview: The Clone Club Is Back With a Vengeance for Season 2

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If you were one of the privileged few that discovered this gem of a television series last year when it first aired on BBC America, then you are a bone fide member of Clone Club. But, hey, anyone who subsequently discovered the series online or through the DVD’s also qualifies, because Clone Club welcomes all members to the ORPHAN BLACK universe as the show returns for its second season. As fans are already well-aware, it is going to be a global social media party as Clone Club rises up to dominate on Twitter, Facebook and all other social media venues on April 19th.

So what does Season 2 of ORPHAN BLACK have in store? The answer is obvious: more clones. That’s right – plural. In a nice twist at the end of the first season, ORPHAN BLACK’s hero Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) came face-to-face with the original clone Rachel Duncan. Rachel joins the ranks of the known clones: Sarah, Beth, Cosima, Alison, Helena, Katja, Danielle, Aryanna, Janika and Rachel. The other new clone that viewers will meet in Season 2 is Jennifer. [Read more…]

Must READ TV: Carol Leifer’s New Book “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Crying”

How To Succeed In Business Without Really Crying

To say Carol Leifer’s book How To Succeed In Business Without Really Crying left me feeling inspired is an understatement. As a college student I’m surrounded by people who have the same dream as me. Thousands of people my age are trying to work in television. Leifer’s book really gave me insight on how to make myself stand out and she taught me how hone my skills.

There aren’t many books that I personally can identify with, (not saying I’m a comedic genius like she is) but with this book I noticed a lot of what she spoke about is stuff that I am currently going through. She touched on interviews and how to not embarrass yourself during one. How to deal with hecklers at a standup comedy show, and how to keep pushing yourself so eventually you’re versatile in your field.

In Leifer’s book she did a “Top Ten” much like her old friend David Letterman does on his show. I decided to list ten reasons I LOVED this book. [Read more…]

Review: SILICON VALLEY

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You don’t have to be a genius working at one of the top computer companies in the country to see how awesome SILICON VALLEY is. The new HBO comedy debuted last week and has received great reviews, and for good reason. The nerd fueled comedy centers around Richard’s (Thomas Middleditch) web design for a program called “Pied Piper” Richard was offered millions for this design but opted for the deal that offered him creative control over his company. The problem is Richard has no clue how to run his company, the only thing he does know is who he wants working on it, his friends. Richard’s team includes Erlich, (T.J. Miller) Gilfoyle, (Martin Starr) Dinesh, (Kumail Nanjiani) Big Head, (Josh Brener) and Jared. (Zach Woods) [Read more…]