Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Boston Legal

ABC has a prime time show that runs up against NBC's "Law & Order", and that is Boston Legal, which presents Massachusetts with a bit of a Todd Field point of view, with controversial cases with the fictitious firm of Crane Poole & Schmidt.

In December 2005 the show had gay parents battling for custody, and other times it has detailed the legal consequences of HIV testing and seropositivity.

The Oct 24, 2006 episode dealt with particularly disturbing subject matter, as a woman is accused of second degree murder of an older woman involed with her grown and attractive son, whom, shall we say, is presented in Oedipal fashion.

It's odd to see Massachusetts portrayed with the "banned in Boston" mentality, when this is the state whose supreme court protects same-sex marriage

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Good Morning America: North Korea visit

Diane Sawyer has been reporting from North Korea on ABC News "Good Morning America." Thursday, she showed a tour of a typical "upper class" apartment in the city. North Koreans are obsessed with housekeeping perfection and neatness as moral virtues, to the point that fans have covers. They are a foot shorter than their peers in South Korea because of meager diets, which are sparse even for the few well off. The City was immaculate, with every little piece of litter picked up. A beauty salon for foreingers was shown.

Earlier tours had shown the capital city of Pyongang emptied as everyone had to go out into the field and work like peasants, as in the style of a Maoist 60s cultural revolution. Kim Jong-Il, of course, has it good.

The ABC News story warns that war with North Korea really is possible if the US enforces sanctions because of the "nuclear" test. The link is here.

In the mid 1990s, the Clinton administration had been more concerned about the possibility of war erupting in Korea than it was about radical Islam.

The Nine

ABC introduced this suspense series (the title reminds one of "The 4400" doesn't it) on Wednesday nights (10 PM EDT). Nine people's lives are tied together when they are in a Los Angeles bank when it is robbed in spectacular fashion, in a manner that reminds one of the Al Pacino film "Heat" (1995). In succeeding episodes, their lives weave in and out, and we find that one or more of them could have been involved in the crime (the sliding around of a cell phone is an important clue). The most familiar cast member to me is Scott Wolf, who played a retreating doctor in Everwood, is a surgeon (Jeremy Kates) in this series. Reviewers say that this series must be watched faithfully, in every episode. It does seem like a manipulation.

There are funky scenes, like when someone discusses automating an insurance claims processing system, and the objection is raised is that the "inefficiency" of the old system makes the company profitable and keeps people working. Another clue.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What about Brian?

Title: What about Brian?
Network: ABC
Season: 2

Barry Watson, who played Matt Camden, the oldest son and doctor (who doesn't know how to turn off a cell phone in the operating room) on 7th Heaven, comes back as a "left behind" (not exactly Tim La Haye style) bachelor in a nest of upscale professional friends in contemporary LA. His best chance for a matchup is Marjorie--Sarah Lancaster, who played Madison (Ephram's undoing) in Everwood. Adam (Matt Davis) is Brian's best friend, a lawyer, who isn't afraid of a lap dance in a bar just before marriage himself. There's a lot of activity, like accidental bedroom fires, car wrecks, and the like, and the pace is quick -- even if this is a combination of "coming of age" (you expect to see Zach Braff show up) and a kind of 70s friendship movie (Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice, or Four Friends, etc.) In one scene, another girl says that Brian looks "manly."

Barry Watson had to recover from a random bout of Hodgkin's Disease, which usually requires rigorous chemotherapy, and strikes young adults in unpredictable fashion, although it has been associated with certain common viruses (like Epstein-Barr) and sometimes appears in minor clusters. Watson also appeared in the horror film Boogeyman in 2005.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Author's direct contact with television industry

I have been on or been associated with television several times.

On February 25, 1998, I gave a one hour lecture on my 1997 book, "Do Ask, Do Tell: A Gay Conservative Lashes Back." The show was videotaped and shown on Minneapolis independent television, then Channel 6 in downtown Minneapolis. It was shown in two one half hour segments, with "commercials" from the Libertarian Party of Minnesota. It was repeated a least twice and seen accidentally by many coworkers. It was broadcast on Sunday mornings on the "Liberty!" show. A trivia about the lecture is, driving back, that got my only speeding ticket while living six years in Minensota (1997-2003) at a speed trap near the railroad overpass on University Ave. in St. Paul.

On April 11, 2006 I appeared in the morning on NBC4 in Washington DC as a volunteer taking calls for other volunteer for the DC International Film Festival.

In the spring of 1976, when I was living in New York City (in the historic Cast Iron Building at 11th and Broadway) and working for NBC as a Univac programmer-analyst at 30 Rockefeller Plaza (I held the job 1974-1977), I worked for six weeks on "strike duty", opeating a sound boom when broadcast engineers working for NABET went on strike. The show as a half-hour soap called Somerset which is no longer on the air. Bruce Minnix and Jack Coffee were the directors. I stike had come about over controversies in, for the time, great advances in broadcast tecnnology with hand held cameras. Other employees worked as camera operators. I was not difficult to learn the union jobs while working as a "scab" in a studio that then was located in Brooklyn.