Friday, May 27

TV Month 2016 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 5).

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In March of 2013, I kept a log of every television show I watched for an entire week. Every single program, good or bad, no exceptions. As a result, I also inadvertently kept a log of nearly everything else I did during that time. Here are the links:

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

I had a lot of fun doing this, so I wanted to bring it back for TV Month 2016. Here then, Part 5 of the TV viewing habits of yours truly, for better or for worse. Let's go.

FRIDAY, MAY 13

4:30-5:00pm - Pardon the Interruption
5:00-5:30pm - UFC 198 Weigh-Ins (DVR)
5:30-6:30pm - Antiques Roadshow (DVR)
6:30-7:00pm - Animals Gone Wild (Partial)
7:00-9:30pm - Raptors vs. Heat
9:30-11:30pm - Legacy Fighting Championships (Partial DVR)

I was drinking with friends on this night, and they refused to watch the basketball game, opting to confiscate the remote and watch Animal Planet (they're particularly fond of My Cat From Hell). I responded by watching the game in my office and drinking with the cats. I was still a good host, however, coming downstairs to mix drinks when requested.

SATURDAY, MAY 14

12:00-1:00pm - Ring of Honor
1:00-2:00pm - UFC 198 Countdown
2:00-5:30pm - PGA Player's Championship
5:30-7:00pm - UFC 198 FightPass Prelims
7:00-9:00pm - UFC 198 Prelims/Bellator MMA
9:00-11:30pm - UFC 198
11:30-12:00am - UFC 198 Post-Fight (Partial)
12:00-12:25am - Dragon Ball Z Kai (DVR)
12:25-12:50am - Dimension W (DVR)
12:50-1:15am - Hunter x Hunter (DVR)
1:15-1:40am - Samurai Champloo (DVR)
1:40-2:05am - One Piece (DVR)
2:05-3:10am - SNL: Drake (DVR)

I still count all the post-midnight stuff as technically Friday, as I hadn't yet gone to sleep.

MMA, Golf, Anime and Drake. The Mount Rushmore of sleeping on the couch.

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So check this out; TV MONTH AIN'T OVER. It's still May for a few more days, so we will have new essays on Monday and Tuesday to round out this cavalcade of test patterns and fuzzy nostalgia. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

MONDAY: THE SERIES FINALE.

Thursday, May 26

TV Month 2016 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 4).

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In March of 2013, I kept a log of every television show I watched for an entire week. Every single program, good or bad, no exceptions. As a result, I also inadvertently kept a log of nearly everything else I did during that time. Here are the links:

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

I had a lot of fun doing this, so I wanted to bring it back for TV Month 2016. Here then, Part 4 of the TV viewing habits of yours truly, for better or for worse. Let's go.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11

4:30-5:00pm - Pardon the Interruption
5:00-5:30pm - NBC 15 News
5:30-6:00pm - NBC Nightly News
6:00-6:30pm - NBC 15 News
6:30-7:00pm - Wheel of Fortune
7:00-7:30pm - NXT
7:30-8:00pm - Lucha Underground (Partial DVR)
8:00-8:25pm - The Middle (DVR)
8:25-8:50pm - The Goldbergs (DVR)
8:50-10:00pm - Heat vs. Raptors (Partial DVR)
10:00-12:15am - TrailBlazers vs. Warriors

THURSDAY, MAY 12

4:30-5:00pm - Pardon the Interruption
5:00-5:45pm - The Ultimate Fighter (DVR)
5:45-6:10pm - Modern Family (DVR)
6:10-6:30pm - NBC 15 News (Partial)
6:30-7:00pm - Wheel of Fortune
7:00-9:00pm - Thursday Night SmackDown
9:00-10:30pm - Spurs vs. Thunder (Partial DVR)

My viewing habits this week have been more akin to a geriatric than a 34-year old creative type. But shit, it's mid-May! Most season finales have already finale'd, my DVR is empty and I've got nothing to watch on Netflix. These things happen.

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I think my favorite news coming from the 2016-2017 upfronts was that not only were we getting another season of ABC's The Goldbergs, but that it would now lead off the Wednesday Night block at 8/7c. The Middle will be moving to Tuesdays as a lead-in to Fresh Off the Boat, Agents of SHIELD and debuting sitcom American Housewife, while The Goldbergs will kick off a night that includes Modern Family, Black-ish and newcomer Speechless. More on all of that during my Fall TV Preview in late August/early September.

If you are anywhere near my age and aren't watching The Goldbergs, I don't know what to tell you. They quite simply get it right every single week. They've already devoted entire episodes to countless aspects of 80's Pop Culture, such as...

Weird Al, Double Dare, the Beastie Boys, Hands Across America, Scrambled Porn, Say Anything, Life Alert Bracelets, Gimbels Department Store, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, Slap Shot, Star Wars, The Goonies, the Presidential Physical Fitness Test, Laser Tag, Punch-Out, WWF, Mixtapes, Trivial Pursuit, Back to the Future, Mall Modeling Scams, New Kids on the Block, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Cabbage Patch Kids, a $900 Compact Disc Player, The Noid, Just Say No, America's Funniest Home Videos, American Gladiators, The Princess Bride, Dance Party USA, Milli Vanilli, Jazzercise, Strawberry Shortcake, Short Circuit, We Are The World, Troop Beverly Hills, New Coke, Lionel Richie's 'Hello' Video, Dirty Dancing, Columbia House, David Copperfield, Rush, Space Camp and Dungeons and Dragons.

These aren't just passing, winking references, either. Everything I mentioned was either the subject of an entire episode or a major character arc. It also boasts the greatest soundtrack since The Adventures of Pete and Pete (or The Wonder Years), and the whole thing is narrated by Patton Oswalt. Oh, and since the show is based loosely on the real-life family and experiences of Adam Goldberg, we often get home movie footage at the end of the episode, sometimes replicated shot-for-shot earlier in the episode. It's absolutely fantastic.

We wrap it up tomorrow, and TV Month 2016 begins to draw to a close.

TOMORROW: THE NUCLEAR NIELSEN FAMILY (PART 5).

Wednesday, May 25

TV Month 2016 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 3).

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In March of 2013, I kept a log of every television show I watched for an entire week. Every single program, good or bad, no exceptions. As a result, I also inadvertently kept a log of nearly everything else I did during that time. Here are the links:

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

I had a lot of fun doing this, so I wanted to bring it back for TV Month 2016. Here then, Part 3 of the TV viewing habits of yours truly, for better or for worse. Let's go.

TUESDAY, MAY 10

1:00-2:00pm - Hannibal Buress: Live From Chicago
2:00-2:30pm - NFL Live
2:30-3:00pm - The Jump
3:00-3:30pm - SportsNation
3:30-4:00pm - Highly Questionable
4:00-4:30pm - Around the Horn
4:30-5:00pm - Pardon the Interruption
5:00-5:30pm - NBC 15 News
5:30-6:00pm - NBC Nightly News
6:00-6:30pm - Seinfeld
6:30-7:00pm - Wheel of Fortune
7:00-8:00pm - The Flash
8:00-9:30pm - Heat vs. Raptors (DVR)
9:30-9:55pm - The Grinder (DVR)
9:55-12:15am - TrailBlazers vs. Warriors (Partial DVR)

As you can probably tell, I did not work on this day. I mean, I handled some domestic stuff, hit the treadmill and mailed a letter, but I mostly had the TV on for background noise. And my background noise is usually always ESPN. It's comfort food. Mac and cheese. There's nothing I like hearing more than the same five talking points, over and over again, spanning eight hours and 16 different shows.

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Apparently the willingness to test the Missus' patience was high, because I then took in two basketball games in primetime after The Flash.

But hey, I also had time to cook dinner with my wife, AND take in a stray cat that wandered onto our porch during a thunderstorm. No joke. Right in the middle of mincing some kale or whatever, we hear a noise and five minutes later, we have a cat taking refuge in my office. A long stroll through the pouring rain and about an hour later, and the cat was safely returned to a neighbor down the street.

Dinner was delicious.

TOMORROW: THE NUCLEAR NIELSEN FAMILY (PART 4).

Tuesday, May 24

TV Month 2016 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 2).

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In March of 2013, I kept a log of every television show I watched for an entire week. Every single program, good or bad, no exceptions. As a result, I also inadvertently kept a log of nearly everything else I did during that time. Here are the links:

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

I had a lot of fun doing this, so I wanted to bring it back for TV Month 2016. Here then, Part 2 of a week in the TV viewing habits of yours truly, for better or for worse. Let's go.

MONDAY, MAY 9

4:30-5:00pm - Pardon the Interruption
5:00-5:30pm - NBC 15 News
5:30-6:00pm - The Simpsons ('Lisa Gets a Pony')
6:00-6:50pm - Fear The Walking Dead (DVR)
6:50-7:05pm - Talking Dead (DVR - Partially-Watched)
7:05-7:55pm - Fear The Walking Dead (DVR)
7:55-8:10pm - Talking Dead (DVR - Partially-Watched)
8:10-10:10pm - Monday Night Raw (Partial DVR)
10:10-12:15am - Warriors vs. TrailBlazers (Partial DVR)

'Tis slim pickings when it comes to my DVR these days. It's down to pretty much nothing, now that I'm all caught up on Fear the Walking Dead. A season-and-a-half in, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. There are only three characters I really care about (Nick, Madison and Strand), and that feels pretty unacceptable on their part.

I mean, look at The Walking Dead or Lost. These shows had/have literally dozens of characters that elicit an emotional response from the audience, because the writers/producers did the duty of using backstory and standard development to get us on board with all of them. Even the players we didn't initially like were eventually given redemption stories (or promptly killed off).

On Fear, we have a main cast of just seven people, and they almost flat-out refuse to create backstories for half of them. Ophelia barely speaks. It's ridiculous. Perhaps it will evolve with time, but it's been anything but smooth sailing (lololol) thus far. At least we have Better Call Saul on AMC with Preacher* coming up, which should be something to behold.

(*This was written before the premiere.)

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I typically don't stay up until midnight on Monday anymore, but I drifted off with the Warriors/TrailBlazers game on TNT. I've been more captivated with this NBA season than I have since I was a kid, and it sort of takes me back.

On Monday night in 1990, there were not one but two TV adaptations of 80's comedies. NBC had a Ferris Bueller spinoff that lasted 13 episodes and got replaced by Blossom, and CBS had an Uncle Buck spinoff (sound familiar?) that got steamrolled by Full House. MacGyver was also a ratings hit, which will, as per usual, be rebooted by FOX this upcoming season. Jesus H. Christ.

I think my favorite Monday show of this past season was Superstore, an NBC comedy that premiered midseason and slipped mostly under the radar. Fortunately, they were not only renewed for a Season 2, but will premiere immediately following the 2016 Summer Olympics, hopefully to a robust ratings boost.

TOMORROW: THE NUCLEAR NIELSEN FAMILY (PART 3).

Monday, May 23

TV Month 2016 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 1).

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In March of 2013, I kept a log of every television show I watched for an entire week. Every single program, good or bad, no exceptions. As a result, I also inadvertently kept a log of nearly everything else I did during that time. Here are the links:

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

I had a lot of fun doing this, so I wanted to bring it back for TV Month 2016. Here then, a week in the TV viewing habits of yours truly, for better or for worse. Let's go.

SUNDAY, MAY 8

10:00-11:00am - UFC Rotterdam Pre-Show
11:00-1:00pm - UFC Rotterdam Prelims
1:00-2:00pm - SNL: Brie Larson (DVR)
2:00-4:00pm - UFC Rotterdam (Partial DVR)
4:00-4:15pm - UFC Rotterdam Post-Fight (Partially-Watched)
4:15-5:15pm - Cavaliers vs. Hawks (DVR)
5:15-5:40pm - Dragon Ball Z Kai (DVR)
5:40-6:05pm - Dimension W (DVR)
6:05-6:30pm - Hunter x Hunter (DVR)
6:30-7:00pm - One Piece (DVR)
7:00-7:30pm - America's Funniest Videos (DVR)
7:30-7:55pm - The Simpsons (DVR)
7:55-8:20pm - Bob's Burgers (DVR)
8:20-9:45pm - Spurs vs. Thunder (Partial DVR)
9:45-10:10pm - The Last Man on Earth (DVR)

I like sports, okay?

You might not believe me, but with each new TV season, I actively try to cut back on the amount of new TV shows I watch. Fortunately, based on the quality of most new network comedies and dramas, it's become easier to do. Even though I look forward to each new Fall season with bated breath, I typically only pick up 2-3 new shows a year, of which 1-2 of them are canceled after only 1 season.

Furthermore, we're into May, which means Season Finales followed by a whole lotta nothing. However, this is where I shoot myself in the foot. Not watching many new shows should mean that I spend more time away from the television, when actually it just means I have more time to watch sports. And this is how Sunday began, with nearly four hours of MMA action, live from the Netherlands. I also had time later in the day to check out not one, but two NBA playoff games. The Missus was thrilled.

I quickly knocked out SNL from the night before (it was alright), before clearing out Saturday's Toonami block as well. Toonami airs seven shows in a row, but I'm only invested in four of them, which means I can do it in less than two hours. This gave me time to spare for Sunday night comedies on FOX, and a reasonable bedtime.

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It's interesting to me how TV viewing habits change. When I was younger, Sunday night was death sentence for most shows; a throwaway night even worse than Friday. Now, it's the marquee evening for just about every major drama out there, and it has been for years.

Looking back at the 1993-1994 national TV schedule for Sunday night (9-10pm), we have made-for-TV movies on three of the four major networks, and Married...With Children on FOX. That's it. I'd also have to assume that, when there wasn't a made-for-TV movie to air, these networks would show reruns, a word that essentially is no longer existent when it comes to Primetime programming.

By the 1999-2000 season, 10 of the top 40 shows on TV aired on Sunday nights, including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, which was far and away the most popular show of the entire year. I think though, that the network move to load up their Sunday schedule had more to do with Cable (HBO in particular) than anything. With The Sopranos and most other standout HBO dramas premiering on Sunday, this spelled not only the next Golden Age of Television, but a movement that saw cable beating national TV in quality when it came to scripted programming.

All very interesting...right?

TOMORROW: THE NUCLEAR NIELSEN FAMILY (PART 2).