I watched Netflix's Stranger Things over the weekend and LOVED it. This E Online article lists some of the reasons without any big spoilers, but basically if you liked ET, the Goonies and Stand By Me, you will love it, too. Those references are all ones that will surely come to mind since the show is set in 1983 and follows a group of kids trying to solve a mystery. Another story that immediately came to my mind due to the subject matter was Dean Koontz' book, Watchers. Even though two movies were made from the book, neither did Koontz' story justice, so I would like to put in my request now for the Duffer Brothers to tackle that one.
The Duffer Brothers created, wrote, produced and directed Stranger Things. I didn't know anything about them so I looked them up and learned that they are twins, Matt and Ross Duffer, and that I've already seen some of their work since they have written some episodes of Wayward Pines. I was really excited to find out that they are from Durham, NC!
I really can't think of anything I didn't like about Stranger Things. Winona Ryder and David Harbour are perfection as the adult leads and the child actors are incredibly talented, as well. (I fell in love with Gaten Matarazzo's portrayal of Dustin.) From the sets and wardrobe to the cinematography, the 80's "look" of the series is authentic enough that it could easily pass for having been made during that time. (Since Matt and Ross Duffer weren't even born until 1984, this is even more impressive). The series is only 8 episodes long, which is the perfect length in which to tell the story, and it is broken into true chapters that make sense. Add this one to your Watch List! And if you like it as much as I did, let Netflix know they need to greenlight a second series stat -- before these incredible child actors grow up!
Two North Carolinians, Majesty Rose from Goldsboro and Caleb Johnson from Asheville, landed in American Idol's top ten this season and Johnson took the top prize tonight. That makes three winners from the Tarheel State. If you were wondering, YES, that is more winners than any other state on the show. Alabama claims two American Idols.
Quick, how many contestants from North Carolina can you name that landed in American Idol's top ten? There are the winners -- Fantasia Barrino from High Point, Scotty McCreery from Garner, and now Caleb Johnson from Asheville. There's the runner up -- Clay from Raleigh. Others that placed and went on to music careers (and in one case, dance stardom) -- Chris Daughtry from Greensboro (I think), Kellie Pickler from Albemarle, and Bucky Covington from Rockingham. (I own CDs by all three of them). There was one other finalist from NC, Anoop Desai from Chapel Hill.
I look forward to hearing what Caleb Johnson does over the coming years. He has a killer voice and I love the kind of rock 'n roll he sings. It is real, old school rock.
The only other thing I have to say about it is that I really wish Sarah K was still American Idol blogging at Snark Raving Mad. She quit when "Pauler" did and it's just not been the same without her.
And it was worth the wait! In "I Will Miss Jack Bauer" I wrote about the series when it ended four years ago. I think it still holds up today. 24 isn't as groundbreaking as it was in 2001 when it began. Back then you didn't have many, if any, television series killing off main characters, or letting their hero engage in acts some viewers would surely find reprehensible (torture). But it is still enjoyable and unique in its fast minute by minute pacing.
I realized one thing tonight that I don't know how I missed until now -- Showtime's excellent Homeland series owes a lot to 24. I'd go so far as to say there would never have been a Homeland without 24.
After listening to my ten-year-old daughter talk about how she was going to die having to wait all summer for the premiere of season 4 of Chuck, I almost forgot all about the date until seeing an ad a couple of days ago. I told my daughter that the premiere was this Monday and she squealed at the top of her lungs and jumped up and down over and over again. I did too, but just on the inside. Chuck is great fun, not only because it includes one of the hottest conservative men on earth, Adam Baldwin, but because the show has it all – action, comedy, drama – and a great ensemble cast. For all the reasons to be sure to catch the new season tonight on NBC, see my Ode to Chuck. I have not watched any of the previews of the season opener, but you can see them here. I did notice on a tv promo that Chuck cut his hair over the summer. That may be a big deal. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll definitely be watching my daughter’s reaction to Chuck’s new “do.” And I’ll enjoy watching her face light up. The squeals, however, I could do without.
I love watching Celebrity Apprentice, partially because Donald Trump is so entertaining (in a train wreck kind of way), but if he tries to take credit for Trace Adkins' success one more time I am gonna scream. Evidently The Donald does not realize how ignorant it makes him sound every time he tries to claim credit for the popularity of Trace Adkins. He has done it numerous times. In the Celebrity Apprentice finale when Trace Adkins sang his song, "You're Gonna Miss This," Trump claimed credit for the song going to #1. Tonight when Adkins showed up as part of a country music artist task, Trump made another reference to himself as the reason Adkins is such a big country music star.
I realize that there are many people who don't follow country music who didn't know Adkins before Apprentice, and were introduced to him and his music through the show. But for goodness sakes, Adkins has a been a huge country star for quite a few years. Believe it or not, his huge hit Honkey Tonk, Badonka Donk had nothing to do with The Donald and there were a whole lot of people singing that song who didn't follow country music or watch Apprentice. Speaking of reaching a non-country audience, Adkins has been appearing on Bill Maher's show since way back when Maher was on ABC. Sorry Donald, but you probably owe as much to Trace Adkins for him introducing his fans to Apprentice as you do for introducing him to your fans.
UPDATE: Spoiler Alert!! Don't read further unless you have watched the episode.
A few thoughts about tonight's board room... Donald Trump fired project manager Goldberg. Last week he fired Selena because she didn't do enough and didn't have enough fire. He could have fired the project manager, Holly, who clearly targeted the wrong consumers (moms) and did not focus on the endurance aspect of the product as they had been instructed. Instead he fired the person who had the least to do with the task. Tonight he could have fired Brett, who did the most on the task. I don't think he should have done that because Brett did a really good job. His only limitation was the singer who refused to be made over to much extent. He could have fired Curtis, who said he was managing time for the task. Curtis did not manage time well, spending the majority of the photo shoot time sitting in traffic with the singer's wardrobe. If Brett had more time to focus on styling the singer for the shoot he might have gotten him to try more new things. Instead they were rushed to do the majority of the shoot in about 20 minutes. Instead he fired Goldberg, saying he should not have volunteered to be project manager since he was not the one with knowledge of the task. I just thought it was interesting to see how different the criteria for firing was this week from last week. I think it all comes down to who Trump wants to fire. It is his show and that is part of what does make it so interesting. You never really know who is safe and who isn't. I guess that is one of the reasons I never miss an episode.
I started watching 24 in its first season and have seen every single episode since. I even contributed to a book about the series.
For some reason, though, I have not been excited about the new season
starting. I guess I was too wrapped up in Chuck and Dexter and Pants on
the Ground to find out much about the upcoming season.
I hear we will see a softer, gentler Jack Bauer. Hmmm. Not so sure
how that will go over, but I'll give it a chance. I am even going to
give Kim a chance since she saved his life last season. I do really
like the fact that this season takes place in New York. That will
change things up a bit. I watched a nice little season 8 "featurette"
on the Fox website and found out
that Renee is back and Freddie Prinze, Jr. is in the cast. Those are
both positive things. I also learned the President is the same as last
season. I'm not so crazy about that, but I guess they can't have a new
president every season.
The season premiere airs tonight on Fox at 9 p.m. Eastern. My DVR is set. For a humorous take, check out Dave Barry's blog.
You know that song "I Was Country, When Country Wasn't Cool"? Well, when I read this story at Mediaite, I felt like singing "I liked Red Eye, when Red Eye kind of sucked." Because I did. I watched back when a blogger friend who shall not be named virtually groaned and IM'd "that show is soooo bad" when I mentioned that I was watching it. I then repeated a few of the lines Greg Gutfeld had said on the show and he had to admit they were funny. I think one was about Lindsay "Blowhan."
In the early days the show was pretty raunchy. Actually it still is raunchy, but it is much more consistent and has a faster pace than it did before. I feared it would not stick around long, but thankfully Fox spared the show the same fate as some of their other experiments. The new format and set, including the pre, mid and post show reports
from Andy Levy, are a big improvement over the earlier version.
One reason I love Red Eye is that it shows conservatives in a light not often enough seen on television. It reminds me of a book by Brian Anderson that I blurbed a few years ago -- South Park Conservatives. I can't speak for Brian, but if he were writing the book today I would not be surprised if he called it "Red Eye Conservatives." Liberals appear on Red Eye too, but we are used to seeing them as young and hip (or cool or whatever the adjective is these days). We are not so used to seeing conservatives that way.
I am an insomniac night owl, so I often watch Red Eye in real time, but I suspect they have a lot of viewers who watch on DVR. I have a couple of my favorite episodes saved on my DVR -- one being the episode where David Shuster is mocked mercilessly for his "teabagger" gag. Sorry, it wasn't technically a "gag" (I just couldn't resist the pun). It was supposed to be a news story, but it turned into the best gift Greg Gutfeld could have ever asked for. If you have not seen the show, check it out on Fox News. It isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I absolutely love it and especially love Gutfeld and his adorable mother who does occasional segments as a "senior correspondent." (The woman deserves a spin off, seriously.) Red Eye airs in the middle of the night so if you are not usually up all night be sure to set your DVR. I promise it doesn't suck any more. Not any more so than anything else on television anyway.
Rusty at Jawa
has exclusive information on the suspected terrorists arrested in North
Carolina this week. It is amazing how much information jihadists are
willing to post on their social networking sites.
on the banality of terror. You should read it for the context in
understanding the federal indictments against Ziyad Yaghi, Mohammad
Omar Aly Hussain, and six others.
At first glance Yaghi's Facebook account seemed so ordinary. Hence
why all his friends are shocked, neighbors all describe the
ringleader's family as nice people, and the "banality of evil"
reference. But on a deeper analysis of "hidden" information, it becomes
clear that Yaghi had jihadi aspirations for some time.
I think there's a joke worthy of Jeff Foxworthy here. If the very first thing you write on your Facebook page is ..
Asalamualaikum, if your a mulsim (sic, "Muslim) welcome but if ur a munafiq (arabic: hypcrite) im a kill you
... then you might be a jihadi.
Here is a link to his earlier post about the stuff found on Ziyad Yaghi's Facebook page.
Unlike some of the things that make my kids laugh, I thought Fred was
pretty funny. Tonight he will be appearing on one of my kids' favorite
on Nickelodeon. iCarly is actually one of the shows they watch that my
husband and I enjoy as well. With all the heavy, important stuff going
on in the world, sometimes it is fun to just kick back and laugh your
head off at silly stuff. It is really great if you can do it with your
kids. If you think Fred is really silly and stupid, then you would be
right. I completely understand that he is not going to be everyone's
cup of tea, but he makes me laugh. If your kids like Fred and/or
iCarly, tonight's episode should be fun.