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dad1153's Avatar dad1153 08:32 AM Yesterday
TV Notes
Syfy to air five hours of Leonard Nimoy programming on Sunday
By Will Robinson, - Feb. 27, 2014

In the wake of Leonard Nimoy’s death, stars like William Shatner, to Patrick Stewart, and Spock successor Zachary Quinto have come forward to remember the Star Trek legend. On Sunday, Syfy will pay their tribute to the genre titan with a five-hour programming block.

Starting at 9 a.m. and running until 2 p.m., the channel will feature Nimoy’s appearance in the original Twilight Zone, his two-episode arc on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the final original cast Star Trek film, Star Trek 6.

Nimoy died Friday at his home in Los Angeles of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83.

dad1153's Avatar dad1153 08:36 AM Yesterday
TV Review
‘Good Witch,’ not likely to cast a spell
The greater risk is that the Hallmark series will induce stupors
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine

When a TV series is spun off from a previous TV movie, reviewers will often say that it helps to have seen the original movie.

Since we haven’t seen the series of Hallmark movies that preceded the channel’s new series “Good Witch,” we can’t judge whether that would have helped, but we hope so, because it’s hard to imagine that anyone could enjoy the two-hour premiere as is.

An endless succession of weakly dramatic or weakly comical moments, the show seems to be trying to reassure viewers that nothing tragic will happen to their favorite characters by making it increasingly clear that nothing interesting will happen to them.

In the premiere episode, airing this Saturday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m., the small town of Middleton is preparing a ceremony in honor of its former police chief, Jake Russell, who died in the line of duty.

Meanwhile, his widow, the show’s title character, Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell), is gently butting heads with the town’s handsome new doctor, Sam Radford (James Denton), who just moved in next door.

Most of the townsfolk rely on the traditional herbal remedies that Cassie sells out of her shop, Bell, Book and Candle. Sam, a man of science, suspects that Cassie’s treatments may actually be harming her father-in-law, George (Peter MacNeil), who has been having dizzy spells.

Cassie’s defense of her methods are so vehement that one starts to suspect the show’s producers have bought stock in an herbal-supplements company.

Cassie’s daughter, Grace (Bailee Madison), takes an immediate disliking to Sam’s son, Nick (Rhys Matthew Bond), a rebel who wants to move back to New York City. Then for no reason, she stops disliking him long enough for him to get her in trouble with the vice-principal.

Cassie’s stepson, Brandon (Dan Jeannotte), shocks the family by deciding to follow his father into police work. Despite the family’s misgivings, the only tough situation he faces occurs when he arrests the town’s mayor, Martha Tinsdale (Catherine Disher), for speeding.

Brandon got married in the most recent movie in the franchise, “The Good Witch’s Wonder,” which aired in 2014, but his wife, Tara (Ashley Leggatt), is written out of the series–at least temporarily–in a clumsy early scene.

Cassie’s powers are just barely supernatural. She helps Sam open a lock, lights a candle magically and has moments of unusually insightful intuition or premonition. Catherine Bell maintains a self-satisfied smirk that implies that she’s one step ahead of everyone else.

When people come to her for help or advice, Cassie tends to speak in platitudes that Hallmark would hesitate to put on its cards. For example, she tells her stepdaughter Lori (Hannah Endicott-Douglas), “I think knowing how to share our gifts with the world is as important as recognizing what gifts we have to share.”

Perhaps because they don’t want to get viewers too excited, most of the actors underplay. Catherine Disher, as the mayor, is a jarring exception, but her scenes are intended to be funny.

Sam, who is divorced, would seem to be an ideal love interest for Cassie, in an opposites-attract sort of way. But if the show is going in that direction, it’s taking its time.

Cassie says she’s not ready for a relationship. In any case, she and Sam have so little chemistry that the producers may have decided they’ll need a full season to get any heat going.

Since Hallmark has aired seven “Good Witch” movies, there must be an audience for this kind of uneventful blandness. But people who are coming to the franchise for the first time are unlikely to fall under its spell.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 08:40 AM Yesterday
TV Review
CBS' 'Battle Creek' no 'Breaking Bad 2: Electric Boogaloo,' but that's okay
Vince Gilligan created it, but 'House' boss David Shore is running it
By Alan Sepinwall, - Feb. 26, 2015

CBS' promos for its new cop drama "Battle Creek" (Sunday at 10 p.m.) present it as a team up between "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan and "House" creator David Shore. This is only partially accurate.

Gilligan wrote the "Battle Creek" script over a decade ago, but CBS passed on it during that year's development cycle. Then he went off and gave the world Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, and suddenly "Battle Creek" — set in the eponymous Michigan city, involving a local cop and visiting FBI agent who awkwardly work together — became a much more desirable property. But with Gilligan busy doing "Better Call Saul," Shore is the man in charge of day-today operations at "Battle Creek."

This isn't a bad thing, necessarily. "House" at its best was a terrific mix of standalone mystery stories (albeit medical mysteries), humor and complex characterization — the kind of thing so many network procedurals claim they're trying to be, but that so few of them can actually pull off. His sensibility isn't Gilligan's, but he's one of the first people I would call if I were mounting a show like "Battle Creek."

You just have to recalibrate your expectations if you're expecting an actual Vince Gilligan-style show — even on the level of his "X-Files" episodes (or the short-lived "Lone Gunmen" spin-off — rather than the solid cop show with a good cast and a quirky sense of humor that "Battle Creek" actually is.

As cynical cop Russ Agnew and Ken doll federal agent Milt Chamberlain, Dean Winters and Josh Duhamel make a good odd couple duo. Winters has plenty of experience in both crime drama ("Oz," "Law & Order: SVU") and comedy (his recurring role on "30 Rock" as beeper king Dennis Duffy, or his work as Mayhem in a popular series of Allstate ads(*)), and as the Battle Creek native frustrated with his department's limited budget and equipment, he nicely sets the tone for both halves of the show. In the early going, Duhamel is mainly asked to be someone whose perfection Winters can react to, but he has solid light comedy chops, and later episodes(**) allow him to have fun with the way Milt takes advantage of other people's assumptions about him.

(*) How strange that Winters and J.K. Simmons had their first big breaks together on "Oz" and two decades later are both spokescharacters for insurance companies. And when will Geico build a campaign around Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje?

(**) In a rarity for network TV, CBS sent critics all 13 episodes of this season in advance. I didn't have time to watch the whole batch, but saw the first three and then two later ones that make good use of guest stars Patton Oswalt and Candice Bergen.

It's not really a laugh out loud kind of show, but it's clever, understands the strengths of its actors — even if it doesn't always have room to give supporting castmembers like Kal Penn, Janet McTeer and Damon Herriman (Dewey Crowe!) enough to do — and lets its mysteries feel twisty in a fun way, rather than one just meant to string the audience along through the final commercial break.

CBS' long run of success over the past 15 years was built on the backs of smart procedurals like "CSI" and "NCIS" (and on their many less entertaining spin-offs and imitators). When the network deviates too much from that formula — with a "Joan of Arcadia," a "Chaos" or a "Vegas" — the audience hasn't gone along with it. "Battle Creek" is more of a compromise (in the way that "The Good Wife" was to an extent when it started): formulaic in the major details, but idiosyncratic in the smaller ones. If you go in looking for another "Breaking Bad," you'll be sorely disappointed — even if the second episode contains several visual nods to the work of Heisenberg — but if you're looking for a snappy cop show, you should do okay.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 08:45 AM Yesterday
TV Review
In ‘Last Man,’ nothing to do, no one to do it with
By Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe - Feb. 26, 2014

We’ve been obsessing over doomsday and post-apocalyptic life in pop culture, not least of all on TV, with titles such as “The Walking Dead,” “Falling Skies,” “The Strain,” “12 Monkeys,” and “The 100.” Also on the list: The nightly weather reports, which love to jigger up a snowmageddon even when it’s really only going to be a wee little flurry.

Perhaps we are rehearsing for catastrophe, doing psychological preparation, what with the actual threats of global warming, nuclear arms, ISIS anarchy, germ warfare, and the deadly urge to keep up with Kardashians. They’re all pretty serious shows; we don’t tend to imagine much humor in our lives after the end, unless you find decomposition and supply hoarding a laugh riot. That’s one reason to like the new Fox sitcom “The Last Man on Earth,” which premieres with two episodes on Sunday at 9 p.m.: It’s all about the apocalaughs.

And there are other reasons to like the show, which stars Will Forte from “Saturday Night Live” as the titular figure, Phil Miller, living alone in 2020 in a world decimated by a virus two years earlier. The series serves as a great playground for Forte, who gets his glorious freak on to show what being alone can do to a person. With mordant wit, the script has him dragging around world-famous oil paintings, the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz,” and a few Oscars as he drives a bus in search of other living creatures. He wears Hugh Hefner’s pajamas — “I washed them,” he tells God — when he’s not in his underwear blowing up cars and other sundry items for kicks.

Forte is excellent in the role, with a natural ability to evoke both gonzo absurdity and pathos, which creeps in at a number of moments — during his bashful flirtation with a mannequin, for example. He’s like a little kid with a bottomless arsenal of toys, but then he is also profoundly lonesome. At one point, Phil talks to the TV screen while watching Tom Hanks talk to a volleyball in “Cast Away.” “Balls aren’t people, dude,” he says judgmentally. A few months later, though, he is bantering with a large ensemble of balls, including a golf ball named Anton. He also takes refuge from his sense of isolation by relaxing in a Margarita pool — yes, a kiddie pool filled with Margarita ingredients, with salt around the rim.

Midway through the premiere, life changes for Phil. This is a small spoiler, so stop here if you’re a purist: But the twist involves the fact that while Phil may be the last man on Earth, he’s not the last person on Earth. He stumbles across a woman named Carol, who, alas, is not exactly his dreamboat. Played by Kristen Schaal, Carol is a persnickety lady who insists that Phil use proper grammar and who wants him to stop at stop signs despite the absence of other cars. Phil has gone primitive, but Carol is holding onto civilized ways. They don’t make a very promising Adam and Eve.

I was impressed by “The Last Man on Earth, and hope it can continue to spin stories and character development out of its somewhat narrow premise. How will Forte and the writers keep the story moving forward in such a static landscape? Like the epic Jenga tower that Phil is constructing, the show is really quite impressive, but it could all fall down just a little too easily.

Network: Fox
Show date: Sunday, 9 p.m
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 08:52 AM Yesterday
TV Review
'Secrets and Lies': Child killing in ABC mystery series
By Diane Werts, Newsday - Feb. 26, 2015

THE SHOW "Secrets and Lies"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Sunday 9-11 p.m. on ABC/7

One thing you have to give "Dexter" -- Showtime's serial killer saga set much of its brutality against Miami's tropical sunlight. It's the exception that proves the rule demonstrated once again in ABC's 10-episode "event" series "Secrets and Lies" -- dark woods, dreary rain, Christmas lights piercing suburban quietude in eerie irony, punctuating a shocking murder that couldn't happen here, but does.

Two faces make their mark immediately -- Ryan Phillippe's genially relaxed movie-star good looks, poster boy for cool suburban dad, versus Juliette Lewis' sharp features, as unyieldingly tight as that bun clamped to her police detective head. She thinks he did something to that 5-year-old neighbor boy whose body he claims to have found during a pre-dawn trail jog. And we know he's innocent. He has to be, right? "Secrets and Lies" tells the story through his eyes.

And it comes through quick on those title enigmas. Phillippe's Ben and wife Christy (KaDee Strickland) are fighting. He'd been out drinking too much the night before, with live-in buddy Dave (Dan Fogler), who's vague on the details. Ben seems a little too concerned about the dead boy's devastated mom (Natalie Martinez). He isn't coming completely clean with the wife, and maybe not the cops, either.

Then there's that shockeroo at the end of the first hour. With another whopper wrapping the two-hour debut.

MY SAY What should seem spellbinding feels more like The Same Old. Of course the neighbors turn against him, and of course his adoring younger daughter still loves him, and there's that moody music, crescendoing to commercial again. The subtext seems to be heading somewhere -- the unstated tensions of the marriage, the family, the neighborhood, the media, even the Internet "kid killer" posts -- and then leads no place in particular.

Which is essentially where Phillippe and Lewis exist. Though one of the camped-out TV trucks is marked for a Charlotte station, "Secrets and Lies" fails to create much sense of location, or character, or even jeopardy after two hours and oodles of interpersonal conflict. It feels observed, rather than lived in. Enacted, rather than unfolding.

BOTTOM LINE The whole thing needs to let its hair down.

dad1153's Avatar dad1153 08:56 AM Yesterday
Critic's Notes/In Memoriam
Remembering Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock, One of History’s Greatest TV Characters
By Matt Zoller Seitz, (New York Magazine) - Feb. 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy, who died today at 83, had a long, prodigious career as an actor, writer, and director. Despite all his other achievements, he will always be known as Mr. Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan first officer of Star Trek's Enterprise, and that's what I want to focus on here, because the pointy-eared Starfleet officer was one of the great characters in TV history. He was killed off and then resuscitated, not just officially (in the second and third Star Trek films, then in J.J. Abrams reboots, where he appears as young Spock's grizzled future self) but symbolically, in the form of new Trek characters who at times seemed like prismatic shards of Spock, and who all grappled with feelings of otherness (Geordi La Forge, Worf, Data, Seven of Nine).

From fairly early in the show's run, Nimoy seemed to realize the symbolic power invested in Spock, and perhaps to mistrust or fear it. "The network, and a good many fans, would have been happy if the show had been called 'The Mr. Spock Hour,'" confessed Star Trek writer David Gerrold in his book The Trouble With Tribbles. As a professional who prided himself on his versatility, he resisted being identified too strongly with a single role — it's the main reason he went on to play Paris, the "master of disguise," on Mission: Impossible from 1969–71 — and it was a long time before he entirely made peace with the legacy he'd done so much to shape.

After Star Trek got canceled, then became a surprise syndication hit in the early '70s — spawning a cartoon, several more live-action series, and a hit film franchise — Nimoy published a philosophical rumination on his acting career titled I Am Not Spock; 20 years after that, he published a sequel, I Am Spock. The second title was partly meant to quell fans' concerns that the first book's title meant Nimoy resented them for adoring the character. But anyone who's read both books can testify that his attitude was always conflicted and complex, mingling skepticism, gratitude, and fascination. The proof can even be seen in the books' choice of cover art: They don't signal "either/or," but "both/and." The first carries a black-and-white photo of Nimoy performing the character's split-fingered Vulcan salute, hardly the clearest way to isolate himself from his character. But while the second book's title affirmed Nimoy's basic allegiance to Spock, the cover showed him in an actor's head shot pose, with a neatly trimmed beard and close-cropped hair and a tasteful dark sport coat: civilian garb, as it were. Either volume could have been titled I Am and Yet Am Not Spock.

This was no coy actor's pose, though. Trekkers who met the actor will tell you that while he could be prickly about the character early on, Nimoy was always respectful of their love for Spock, because he realized how much he'd meant to them, and to him, over the years — how they appreciated him and identified with him because of Nimoy's lovingly detailed, obviously personal performance, which in some small way helped illuminate whatever struggles they were going through. Nimoy's attitude toward Spock warmed over time, eventually becoming something close to an unabashed embrace. While I never had the chance to interview him at length, I did speak to him briefly at a Los Angeles screening about 15 years ago, and he didn't scowl or flinch or otherwise recoil from my fanboyish eagerness to discuss the character. I asked, "Do you ever feel that in some ways the character was as much a curse as a blessing?" He said simply, "All actors should be so cursed."

As a former editor of mine said, "Grief for one who lived so long would be illogical, yet my human emotions demand it." Nimoy's talent, intellect, and moral compass demand it, too. The character was created by Gene Roddenberry and defined by many Star Trek writers and directors, including story editor D.C. Fontana, but it was Nimoy who incarnated Spock and breathed life into him, and he deserves credit for bringing so much of himself to the role, and using it as a tool to explore his own identity, and helping viewers to consider their own.

Nimoy was born in 1931 in Boston to a barber father and a homemaker mother. Both were Yiddish-speaking Russian Jewish immigrants, and his religious and cultural heritage informed many of his choices from the late '60s onward. This aspect of Nimoy's significance has barely begun to be appreciated. It wasn't until the 1970s, the heyday of stars such as Elliott Gould, Barbra Streisand, and Dustin Hoffman, that Hollywood started routinely allowing Jewish actors to read as something other than generically Jewish or ethnically indeterminate. Nimoy's performance as Spock served as a subtle bridge between eras of invisibility and assimilation, and transparency and pride. (Nimoy's stage roles after Trek's initial run included stints as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and the widowed Jewish refugee in Robert Shaw's The Man in the Glass Booth.)

This is a big part of the reason why the character or Spock — a "half-breed," per Dr. McCoy's slur, in some ways passing for human while staunchly insisting on his cultural Vulcan-ness — made such a powerful impact on viewers who felt, in one way or another, like outsiders. Counterculture-minded whites adored the character, naturally, and the show clumsily tried to capitalize on this in a silly third-season episode, "The Way to Eden," wherein Spock was basically adopted as a harp-strumming mascot by space hippies. One of the infinite number of ways to read the character was as a person who had to tamp down his undeniable individuality in order to function as part of an institution with hard rules and hallowed traditions.

But he also became immensely popular with African-American, Latino, and Asian viewers (including Bruce Lee, reportedly a huge fan of Spock); all of whom had more than theoretical experience with trying to be — to paraphrase Groucho Marx — part of a club that wouldn't have somebody like them as members. The sense of belonging yet not belonging, to both the dominant culture and one's own, was especially acute among mixed-race viewers, and Spock struck a powerfully resonant chord with them. In More Than Black: Multiracial Identity and the New World Order, G. Reginald Daniel writes of his trepidation at contemplating his own mixed-race heritage while reading an Ebony article about "mulattoes … Like Mr. Spock on Star Trek! Like twilight, that zone between day and night that we all pass through at dusk and dawn."

Nimoy and Spock inspired many such "Eureka!" moments; this made him, in a strange but vivid way, as much of a "minority" character in the original cast as George Takei's Japanese-American Lt. Hikaru Sulu, or Nichelle Nichols's Swahili-named Uhura, a character so symbolically important that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King talked the actress into staying on the show when he learned that she was thinking of quitting. The show's affinity for Shakespearean flourishes is well-documented, but in in a sense, Spock himself might be the most Bard-like character of them all: He's a green-blooded Othello who has to be twice as good as the full-blooded human officers to earn their respect, and who must tamp down his natural passions despite constant racist needling and doubts about his loyalty. Part of this stemmed from his uncomfortably "devilish" appearance, which flirted with anti-Semitic stereotypes as well as intimations of some dark-skinned Other. The character was originally slathered in red makeup, which read as dark grey when the show was viewed on black-and-white sets. The book Star Trek FAQ says the makeup was discarded because Spock "came out looking like an African-American satyr."

In the 2005 book Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish, Nimoy talked about being typecast because of his decidedly non-Waspy looks. "“Guys like me were playing all the ethnic roles, usually the heavies — the bad Mexicans, the bad Italians. And those were the jobs that I took and was happy to get for a long time. I played Indians in Westerns many times. The first Indian role that I took was a role that a Native Indian turned down because the Indian character was so unredeemably bad. I was happy to get the work, thank you very much.” Nimoy created the Vulcan greeting — a forked hand with upraised fingers — based on his memory of "seeing the rabbis do it when they said the priestly blessing." Throughout the run of the original series, you can see Nimoy, Roddenberry, and the writing staff integrating more and more culturally specific touches; the apotheosis might be Spock's resuscitation at the end of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, which takes place amid slender, jagged What's Opera, Doc? mountain spires but features Dame Judith Anderson delivering fiery rabbinical incantations; the cognitive dissonance here is spectacular and delightful, as if Wagner had momentarily been claimed for the chosen people.

Trek and Nimoy built Spock, the Vulcans, and their entire history out of bits and pieces of lived experience, which is why their world continues to exert such powerful fascination. And on a more basic level, there's Spock's struggle to be that which he's not necessarily inclined to be: cool, rational, divorced from feeling. His mother is human, his father Vulcan; he is neither and both, a warrior who always reaches first for the peaceful solution, and who is in some way doomed, like The Searchers' Ethan Edwards, never to entirely belong to the civilization he's sworn to protect.

Six years ago, on the eve of the release of the first Star Trek reboot, I did a video (CLICK HERE) that tried to get at Spock's eternal inside/outside status. I ended it with Nimoy, in one of his many rough but touchingly sincere musical performances, singing "Where Is Love," from Oliver! It's so easy to laugh at recordings like this one — like so many stars, Nimoy couldn't resist an ill-advised attempt to conquer one more art form — but if you think of Mr. Spock, the space hero whose coiled passions were rarely signified by anything other than a raised eyebrow, it's strangely moving. Where is love? Spock never really found it anywhere but on the deck of the Enterprise: in the job where he could be fully actualized, fully himself. The final frontier is contentment.
veedon's Avatar veedon 10:47 AM Yesterday
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post
TV Notes
Christopher Meloni to Star in WGN America's ...

Underground marks WGN America's fifth straight-to-series order since the national cable network expanded into original scripted fare last year.
I don't think a cable network should be permitted to have the call letters of a broadcast TV station in its name. Can't the FCC place some restriction on the use of call letters? WGN America has nothing to do with Chicago's WGN-TV 9, and allowing the cable network to use the WGN call letters could be considered misleading, even deceptive, marketing.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 11:00 AM Yesterday
FRIDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insights' Blog.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 11:06 AM Yesterday
TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, - Feb. 28, 2015

ABC, 9:00 p.m. ET

Well, not technically. Nineties country superstar Shania Twain recently wrapped up a two-year residency as a Las Vegas headliner, whose show included dancers, a 13-piece band, a motorcycle, and even a trained horse. (A main attraction and a mane attraction!) This is its captured-for-posterity, shown-after-the-fact TV edition, and why ABC is premiering this one-hour special on a Saturday night, I’m not sure. But here it is. I hope she’s in good voice after all these years, and doesn’t get horse.

Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET

In promos for this biographical special, 16-time NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant explains that rather than write a biography or go into therapy, he’d just talk to the camera, explaining his life, his philosophies, and his work ethic. You can do anything if you apply yourself enough, he insists – but I’m not sure I agree. No matter how hard I try, the only way I can dunk is to submerge a doughnut.

Sundance, 9:00 p.m. ET

If you loved Peter Berg’s NBC series about a dedicated Texas high school football coach, and you should have, but never saw the 2004 movie on which it was based, you should have. And here it is, with Billy Bob Thornton playing the role Kyle Chandler would embody so powerfully on TV. In both the movie and TV versions, the wife is played by the same actress, the superb Connie Britton – but her role in this movie version, based on the book by Buzz Bissinger, is much smaller than in the series. But if you watch for her closely, you’ll see her: Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose…

BBC America, 10:00 p.m. ET

After a long hiatus, Graham Norton is back with new shows. (Hooray!) As always, there’s a mixture of the famous (Sean Penn, Kelly Clarkson) and the celebrities more familiar to those on the other side of the Atlantic (Celia Imrie, Ross Noble). And, as always, they all share the couch at the same time, leading to marvelous and unpredictable interactions – and, under Norton’s guidance, some hilarious stories – like how Sean Penn greeted his 16-year-old daughter’s first date when the young man came to call on her.

NBC, 11:29 p.m. ET

This first new edition of Saturday Night Live after its big 40th-anniversary special is in living color, as they used to say – but with Dakota Johnson as host, also expect about 50 shades of grey. Musical guest: Alabama Shakes.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 11:13 AM Yesterday
A little off-topic, but since this thread is about a visual medium...

Scientific Notes
No one could see the color blue until modern times
By Kevin Loria, - Feb. 27, 2015

This isn't another story about that dress, or at least, not really.

It's about the way that humans see the world, and how until we have a way to describe something, even something so fundamental as a color, we may not even notice that it's there.

Until relatively recently in human history, "blue" didn't exist.

As the delightful Radiolab episode "Colors" describes, ancient languages didn't have a word for blue — not Greek, not Chinese, not Japanese, not Hebrew. And without a word for the color, there's evidence that they may not have seen it at all.

How we realized blue was missing

In the Odyssey, Homer famously describes the "wine-dark sea." But why "wine-dark" and not deep blue or green?

In 1858, a scholar named William Gladstone, who later became the Prime Minister of Great Britain, noticed that this wasn't the only strange color description. Though the poet spends page after page describing the intricate details of clothing, armor, weaponry, facial features, animals, and more, his references to color are strange. Iron and sheep are violet, honey is green.

So Gladstone decided to count the color references in the book. And while black is mentioned almost 200 times and white around 100, other colors are rare. Red is mentioned fewer than 15 times, and yellow and green fewer than 10. Gladstone started looking at other ancient Greek texts, and noticed the same thing — there was never anything described as "blue." The word didn't even exist.

It seemed the Greeks lived in murky and muddy world, devoid of color, mostly black and white and metallic, with occasional flashes of red or yellow.

Gladstone thought this was perhaps something unique to the Greeks, but a philologist named Lazarus Geiger followed up on his work and noticed this was true across cultures.

He studied Icelandic sagas, the Koran, ancient Chinese stories, and an ancient Hebrew version of the Bible. Of Hindu Vedic hymns, he wrote: "These hymns, of more than ten thousand lines, are brimming with descriptions of the heavens. Scarcely any subject is evoked more frequently. The sun and reddening dawn's play of color, day and night, cloud and lightning, the air and ether, all these are unfolded before us, again and again... but there is one thing no one would ever learn from these ancient songs... and that is that the sky is blue."

There was no blue, not in the way that we know the color.

Geiger looked to see when "blue" started to appear in languages and found an odd pattern all over the world.

Every language first had a word for black and for white, or dark and light. The next word for a color to come into existence — in every language studied around the world — was red, the color of blood and wine.

After red, historically, yellow appears, and later, green (though in a couple of languages, yellow and green switch places). The last of these colors to appear in every language is blue.

The only ancient culture to develop a word for blue was the Egyptians — and as it happens, they were also the only culture that had a way to produce a blue dye.

If you think about it, blue doesn't appear much in nature — there aren't blue animals, blue eyes are rare, and blue flowers are mostly human creations. There is, of course, the sky, but is that really blue? As we've seen from Geiger's work, even scriptures that contemplate the heavens continuously still don't necessarily see it as "blue."

In fact, one researcher that Radiolab spoke with — Guy Deutscher, author of "Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages," tried a casual experiment with that. In theory, one of children's first questions is "why is the sky blue?" So he raised his daughter while being careful to never describe the color of the sky to her, and then one day asked her what color she saw when she looked up.

Alma, Deutscher's daughter, had no idea. The sky was colorless. Eventually, she decided it was white, and later on, eventually blue. But it wasn't the first thing she saw or gravitated towards, though it is where she settled in the end.

So before we had a word for it, did people not naturally see blue?

This part gets a little complicated, because we don't exactly what was going through Homer's brain when he described the wine-dark sea and the violet sheep — but we do know that ancient Greeks and others in the ancient world had the same biology and therefore, same capability to see color that we do.

But do you really see something if you don't have a word for it?

A researcher named Jules Davidoff traveled to Namibia to investigate this, where he conducted an experiment with the Himba tribe, who speak a language that has no word for blue or distinction between blue and green.

When shown a circle with 11 green squares and one blue, they couldn't pick out which one was different from the others — or those who could see a difference took much longer and made more mistakes than would make sense to us, who can clearly spot the blue square.

But the Himba have more words for types of green than we do in English.

When looking at a circle of green squares with only one slightly different shade, they could immediately spot the different one. Can you?

For most of us, that's harder.

This was the unique square:

Davidoff says that without a word for a color, without a way of identifying it as different, it's much harder for us to notice what's unique about it — even though our eyes are physically seeing the blocks it in the same way.

So before blue became a common concept, maybe humans saw it. But it seems they didn't know they were seeing it.

If you see something yet can't see it, does it exist? Did colors come into existence over time? Not technically, but our ability to notice them may have...

For more fascinating information about colors, including information on how some "super-seeing" women may see colors in the sky that most of us have never dreamed of, check out the full Radiolab episode.
Keenan's Avatar Keenan 11:21 AM Yesterday
Originally Posted by veedon View Post
I don't think a cable network should be permitted to have the call letters of a broadcast TV station in its name. Can't the FCC place some restriction on the use of call letters? WGN America has nothing to do with Chicago's WGN-TV 9, and allowing the cable network to use the WGN call letters could be considered misleading, even deceptive, marketing.
Same owner, Tribune Broadcasting.
Keenan's Avatar Keenan 11:30 AM Yesterday
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post
A little off-topic, but since this thread is about a visual medium...

Scientific Notes
No one could see the color blue until modern times
By Kevin Loria, - Feb. 27, 2015
This woman is a tetrachromat, check out her paintings.

veedon's Avatar veedon 12:09 PM Yesterday
Originally Posted by Keenan View Post
Same owner, Tribune Broadcasting.
Yeah, but WGN America has been getting rid of most of its Chicago-oriented programming, such as sports and news, yet it keeps those famous call letters in its name.

If you don't want to acknowledge the Chicago heritage on the air, then don't keep using the WGN calls.
Orbitron's Avatar Orbitron 12:20 PM Yesterday
I don't live in Chicago but always tuned in to WGN America specifically for the Chicago programming - now it's a channel to avoid!
VisionOn's Avatar VisionOn 12:21 PM Yesterday
This blue dress stuff is just getting ridiculous now. Especially all the news orgs trying to jump on the social bandwagon with features and scientific technobabble and over-analysis. This isn't a real world item people are looking at, it's an image on the internet being viewed on a monitor. Everyone using AVS should know what happens when images are viewed on displays. With all the uncalibrated monitors, low-quality monitors, poor image quality control and general lack of technical knowledge in the wild it is no surprise people see different things.

The entire argument can be brought to a decisive end by opening the image in question in an image editor or by using a simple tool like Color Picker which will measure the values of every pixel you are see on your screen.

If your computer is telling you in hard numbers what color you are looking at and you see something differently then you are simply wrong. If it looks different to the original on another computer then the person who uploaded that image was wrong.

But I guess that wouldn't fill out the five minutes of airtime this stupid story is getting.
Brian Conrad's Avatar Brian Conrad 01:34 PM Yesterday
Originally Posted by spwace View Post
It has actually sparked a scientific discussion about the nature of color and human perception.
Take it farther and tell people they aren't really seeing every dot that could be displayed in an MPEG encoding. It's based on how much information the eye really needs to perceive the image and it ain't 100% by any means!
thefrain's Avatar thefrain 12:58 AM Today
Originally Posted by Aliens View Post
This is a great and fun test. The wife and I have had our differences in what we see when it comes to color. She "thought" what she was seeing was correct, and in her mind I was always wrong. I skunked her in this test.
I may not be understanding the initial debate. Is this what the dress looks like in person or what it looks like given a photographed image? I copied the image of the dress ("") and cut out a section that to me looks like gold and after cutting it out it still looks gold not black.
Attached: dress_cut.jpg (21.7 KB) 
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 07:08 AM Today
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SUNDAY Network Primetime Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET)

7PM - Once Upon A Time
8PM - Once Upon A Time
9PM - Secrets and Lies (Series Premiere, 120 min.)

7PM - 60 Minutes
8PM - Madam Secretary
9PM - The Good Wife
10PM - Battlecreek (Series Premiere)

7PM - The Voice (120 min.)
(R - Feb. 23)
9PM - Dateline NBC - ESCAPE: The Wreck of the Costa Concordia (120 min.)

7PM - The Simpsons
(R - Feb. 8)
7:30PM - Bob's Burgers
8PM - The Simpsons
8:30PM - Brooklyn Nine-Nine
9PM - Last Man on Earth (Series Premiere, 60 min.)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
7:30PM - The Great British Baking Show: Final (Season Finale, 90 min.)
9PM - Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey, Season 5, Episode 9 (120 min.)

7PM - Aquí y Ahora
8PM - Nuestra Belleza Latina (120 min.)
10PM - Sal y Pimienta

7PM - Top Chef Estrellas (90 min.)
8:30PM - Movie: Total Recall (2012)

11PM - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

dad1153's Avatar dad1153 07:16 AM Today
Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
‘Last Man Standing’ & ‘Cristela’ Ratings Up, ‘Hawaii Five-O’ Down,’ ‘Glee’ Even
By Dominic Patten, - Feb. 28, 2015

There were good deeds and gifted programs on ABC’s comedies last night and some nice upticks too. Last Man Standing (1.3/4) and Cristela (1.0/4) were up 8% and 11% respectively among adults 18-49. A welcome change from the even and the drop the former and the latter were hit with on February 20 from the week before. LSM was the top scripted show of the night.

With a Shark Tank (1.2/4) repeat on last night, the real top spot of Friday’s primetime was 20/20 (1.3/4). While falling 18% from last week’s big big surge, the news mag series easily beat its fellow 10 PM time sloter, a repeat of Blue Bloods (0.7/3). Even in an encore, the CBS police drama was the 2nd most watched show of the night with an audience of 7.78 million. Still 8 PM’s LSM wasn’t far behind. The Tim Allen-led comedy had a total viewership of 7.25 million. ABC won the night for eighth Friday in a row among the key demo with a 1.2/4 rating. With 7.80 million total viewers, CBS was once again the most watched network on TV last night.

And, as usual, CBS had the most watched show of the night – though for once it wasn’t Blue Bloods. Though down 21% among the 18-49s from last week, Hawaii Five-O (1.1/4) pulled in 9.47 million viewers. The demo for lead-in The Amazing Race (1.1.4) was the same in the reality show’s season debut in its permanent time slot. Down a harsh 26% from its 90-minute Season 26 launched on February 25, last night’s TAM remained even with its Season 25 debut on September 26 last year, which was a Friday.

On Fox, both World’s Funniest Fails (0.8/3) and Glee (0.6/2) were even with last week, which means matching a low for the former. The CW’s Hart Of Dixie (0.4/2) was also even with its February 20 show. The only original on NBC on Friday was a 2-hour Dateline (1.2/4) at 9 PM. The news mag was up 19% from its last original on February 13.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 07:29 AM Today
TV Notes
Jail reality TV show sparks county feud
By Dan Horn, Cincinnati Enquirer - Feb. 28, 2015

Hamilton County's jail is the star of a new reality TV show premiering this week, sort of the Kardashians with blood, death threats, snitches and a guy who stabs people with pencils.

Sheriff Jim Neil is satisfied with how the show turned out, but not everyone in county government is happy.

Several top county officials, including county commissioners and representatives of the prosecutor's office, were consulted about the show last year and warned that it would be a bad idea.

County Administrator Christian Sigman said in an email to county officials last March that allowing camera crews from MSNBC's "Lockup" series into the jail could damage the county's image and create unnecessary safety and liability risks.

"Lockup is dehumanizing and essentially uses the misfortune of others for entertainment purposes," Sigman wrote in the email, which was obtained by The Enquirer through a public records request. "Being party to this reality TV show is not what we want our national reputation to be based on."

Despite those warnings, Neil decided to go ahead with the show anyway. His spokesman, Mike Robison, said the sheriff didn't seek out the show. But after "Lockup" producers contacted him, he decided it would be a good opportunity to share with the public what goes on inside the jail.

Film crews spent about three months filming there last spring and summer. The sheriff hasn't seen the final version of the show, but Robison said the staff is satisfied with the finished product.

"Overall, we believe it's a fair representation of life in the Hamilton County Justice Center and it gives viewers a small glimpse into what we deal with day in and day out," Robison said.

Other county officials say they didn't know the sheriff had agreed to do the show until told about it Thursday by an Enquirer reporter.

"I don't think it's the best idea," said Greg Hartmann, president of the board of county commissioners. "I'm all for transparency, but reality TV probably shouldn't be around our jail."

Hartmann, a Republican, said Neil, a Democrat, asked for the opinion of the county administration and was told in no uncertain terms that doing the show would be a mistake.

"We told him not to do it and he did it anyway," Hartmann said.

Emails obtained by The Enquirer show that the county's risk manager, prosecutor's office and administration all agreed the sheriff should turn down MSNBC's invitation. In Sigman's email to commissioners and staff, he warned of safety risks, legal liabilities and damage to the county's reputation.

"It is highly unlikely that viewers of "Lockup" will visit or invest in our community after watching," Sigman wrote. "In fact, I believe the show would have the opposite effect."

As an independently elected office holder, the sheriff runs his own department and is not required to take advice from other county officials. But county taxpayers own the Justice Center, and the sheriff works with commissioners and county administrators on his budget every year.

Any lawsuits or worker compensation issues that arise from activities at the Justice Center would ultimately go before commissioners, and taxpayers would cover any of those costs.

Commissioner Chris Monzel said he advised against doing the show last year and still thinks it was a mistake that could come back to bite taxpayers.

"I personally wouldn't go off and do it," he said. "To me, it's a risky proposition."

Judging from the trailer on MSNBC, life in the jail is also a risky proposition. Scenes from the show include the aftermath of a bloody fight, bags of contraband tobacco hidden in pillows, and inmates shouting obscenities at each other and corrections officers.

One inmate complains that the jail is so full of informants that the city should be called "Snitch-innati." Another discusses stabbing a man with two long, sharp pencils.

"If they cage you like an animal, you will ... act like an animal," says one prisoner.

The show, called "Lockup: Cincinnati," premiers Saturday at 10 p.m. It's the latest installment of a series that has filmed inside jails across the country and around the world.

Robison said the sheriff's office was not paid for allowing MSNBC inside, but producers of the show did reimburse the department for any additional expenses, such as overtime related to escorting the film crew or doing interviews.

He said the sheriff's staff also reviewed video shot in the jail before allowing the production crew to use it on the show.

MSNBC says no one was paid for interviews and the show is considered a news program, produced by NBC's news group.

"Lockup" isn't the first TV show permitted in the Justice Center, but it appears to have been given more access over a longer period of time than others. In 2007, when Republican Simon Leis was sheriff, the Spike TV show "Jail" featured a segment on the Justice Center that included video of new inmates as they were processed into the facility.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 07:36 AM Today
Nielsen Notes (Broadcast)
NBC’s ‘Tonight Show’ hits 11-month high
By Media Life Magazine Staff - Feb. 28, 2015

To celebrate Jimmy Fallon’s one-year anniversary as host of “The Tonight Show,” the late-night program had its best week in 11 months.

“Tonight” averaged 4.23 million total viewers and a 1.3 rating among viewers 18-49 during the week ended Feb. 22, according to Nielsen, the show’s best numbers by both measures since the final full week of March 2014.

That helped the usual late-night leader finish No. 1 again for the week among both total viewers and 18-49s, and by comfortable margins.

Among total viewers, CBS’s “The Late Show with David Letterman” was more than 1 million behind “Tonight,” averaging 2.81 million. ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” was third at 2.78 million.

In late late night, ABC’s “Nightline” averaged 1.73 million, with NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” at 1.68 million, CBS’s “Late Late Show” at 1.24 million and NBC’s “Last Call with Carson Daly” at 0.92 million.

Among viewers 18-49, “Kimmel” averaged a 0.65, or exactly half of “Tonight’s” rating, with “Late Night” at a 0.56, “Late Show” at a 0.55, “Nightline” at a 0.40, “Last Call” at a 0.32 and “Late Late Show” at a 0.31.

Monday’s NBC shows and “Nightline” are excluded due to Presidents Day. Also, Friday’s “Kimmel,” “Late Night” and “Last Call were reruns.

In other dayparts ratings:

In evening network news for the week ended Feb. 22
, NBC’s “Nightly News with Lester Holt” was first with 10.10 million total viewers and a 2.1 rating among adults 25-54. ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” averaged 9.69 million viewers and a 2.2 rating, followed by CBS’s “Evening News with Scott Pelley” with 8.50 million and a 1.7 rating.

NBC’s “Meet the Press” was the most-watched Sunday morning show on Feb. 22 with 3.27 million tuning in. CBS’s “Face the Nation” was second with 2.61 million, ABC’s “This Week” third with 2.45 million and “Fox News Sunday” fourth at 1.26 million.

In morning shows during the week ended Feb. 22, ABC’s “Good Morning America” averaged 5.66 million viewers, with NBC’s “Today” at 5.33 million and CBS’s “This Morning” at 3.55 million. Among households, “GMA” averaged a 4.2 rating and 15 share, with “Today” at 3.9/14 and CBS’s “This Morning” at 2.5/10.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 07:42 AM Today
TV Review
‘The Last Man on Earth’: Post-Apocalypse Done Funny
Comedian and actor Will Forte’s new Fox show, ‘The Last Man on Earth,’ imagines the end of humanity—but not the end of humor
By Caryn James, Wall Street Journal

Amid a glut of movies, television shows and novels about the end of the human race, “The Last Man on Earth” stands out as a nonapocalyptic apocalypse story. The television series is set two years after a virus has left a laid-back temp worker named Phil Miller the sole survivor (as far as he knows). He is played by Will Forte, also the series’ creator, main writer and executive producer. The show is less interested in world-ending doom, though, than a comic “What if?” fantasy. “It’s something everyone has thought about in their lives, what they’d do if they were the last person on Earth,” Mr. Forte said. “How would you keep water running? Could you ever get electricity? What do you do about toilets?”

What Phil does is drive a bus cross-country searching for other survivors, finally squatting in a Tucson mansion he fills with booty from his trip, including a van Gogh painting, Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls jersey and the U.S. Constitution, which he casually uses as a napkin. He lounges in a wading pool filled with margaritas because—why not?

Mr. Forte’s critically praised role as Bruce Dern’s son in the Oscar-nominated “Nebraska” seemed like the perfect bridge from his days on “Saturday Night Live” to a serious film career. By the time “Nebraska” was released in the fall of 2013, though, he was well into “Last Man.” The name Phil Miller offers a clue to the series’ DNA. It is a combination of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Mr. Forte’s collaborators on the project and directors of the “Jump Street” films and “The Lego Movie.” They share with Mr. Forte an offbeat style that blends silliness and satire.

Mr. Lord and Mr. Miller have a way of turning what seem like boneheaded ideas into commercial hits that sophisticated viewers can embrace. “Jump Street” wasn't a reboot but a spoof of buddy-cop films. “The Lego Movie,” which sounded like a crassly commercial project based on a toy, was a critique of big business that gained critical respect and made nearly $500 million world-wide. That comic approach meshes well with Mr. Forte’s previous characters. Sometimes Phil Miller is deadpan, like Tim Calhoun, the tightly wound mumbling politician on “SNL.” But he can explode like MacGruber, the action-hero character Mr. Forte played on SNL and in a spun-off film.

Mr. Lord and Mr. Miller directed the first two episodes (which will be shown back-to-back March 1, on Fox), and are also executive producers. They started working together as students at Dartmouth College 20 years ago, and have known Mr. Forte almost as long. They began kicking around possibilities for a series with Mr. Forte and mentioned the “Last Man” idea. “Will just ran with it and turned it into the most Forte thing I could possibly imagine,” Mr. Miller said. Mr. Lord explained what that meant: “He wanted to smash as many things with a bowling ball as possible,” which turned into a scene in the first episode, in which Phil sets up lamps and fish tanks as bowling pins in a parking lot. “A lot of [Will’s] early sketch material is about repetition and obsessiveness and desperation, and this show has all those things,” Mr. Lord said.

The story goes beyond physical comedy, survival and wish fulfillment. “Part of it is the loneliness factor,” Mr. Forte said. “If you buy into the concept, it’s all very relatable stuff.” And despite the title, “Last Man” is not a one-man show. Kristen Schaal, January Jones and Mary Steenburgen are among those who will appear. The creators are tight-lipped about those actors’ roles except to say some will appear in flashbacks and some in fantasies, which opens the door to romance in the lonely-guy story. It’s also worth noting that the show isn’t called “The Last Person on Earth.”

The series has a lot in common with “Jump Street” and “Lego.” “They’re all trying to say something real and trying to be more intelligent than you would expect for what it is,” Mr. Miller said. “There are a lot of big questions the show asks about society, like what customs we should keep and what customs we wouldn’t need to keep if we started over.”

Mr. Forte also hopes that some of his partners’ commercial touch will rub off. “It’s not like a ton of people went and saw ‘MacGruber’ at the box office,” he said. That movie flopped on release, and was dismissed as frat-boy humor, but has developed a cult following. He said of the film’s failure, “It’s hard not to let that affect your attitude toward it. Over time, that initial weekend passes from your memory, and you’re left with your true feelings about it. I wouldn’t change a thing about that movie.” He stopped to laugh at himself. “That sounds crazy because it’s just this filthy movie that disgusted my grandparents. I won them back by being in ‘Nebraska.’ ”
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 07:52 AM Today
TV Review
Winningly ill-matched in 'Battle Creek'
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times - Feb. 27, 2015

Vince Gilligan, who created "Breaking Bad," and David Shore, who created "House," have a new show together, a semi-comical, sometimes dramatic police show called "Battle Creek."

Based on a 10-year-old unproduced script by Gilligan, it premieres Sunday on CBS, home of the world's most successful procedural franchises (your "CSI," your "NCIS"). This is mostly not like those, in ways that I would call good. But it is also a little like them and other shows of its substantial ilk.

It is also mostly not like "Breaking Bad" or "House," except in its mix of light and dark — here to a lighter effect — and the presence of Kal Penn (who was on "House") and the fact that "House" was kind of a detective show. The Gilligan-related show it more resembles is "The X-Files," on which he was a writer and producer, in its teaming of a skeptic and a believer, looking for the truth that is out there, albeit not quite so far out there.

Dean Winters plays Russ Agnew, the skeptic, a senior detective in the "understaffed and underfunded" Battle Creek, Mich., police department. Josh Duhamel is the believer, Milton Chamberlain, a federal special agent who has materialized across the hall in a fancy new FBI branch office, which all your tax dollars have evidently gone to decorate and which he occupies alone. Jurisdictions notwithstanding, cop and fed will work all their cases gratingly together.

The title "Battle Creek" names the setting — where the cereal comes from, a fact that will be acknowledged in an upcoming episode, "Cereal Killer," featuring King of Guest Stars Patton Oswalt as the mayor — and also nods to the friction between the two main characters. It's a friction as old as, well, two characters: Adam, he goes by the book; Eve, she makes her own rules.

With a face that seems to have been created, like a work of art, to embody the idea of handsomeness, Duhamel's super-agent is effortlessly charming, with a professed faith in human goodness and friends in high places. Yet his extreme composure suggests a walled-away Dark Secret that forms the answer to Russ' constant question, "Why are you in Battle Creek?"

Russ: "Everyone seems sincere to you because you have a gracious mind."

Milton: "Thank you, Russ."

Russ: "You see, you thought I was being sincere."

Winters, recently of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" but perhaps most memorable as Liz Lemon's bad boyfriend Dennis on "30 Rock," brings his familiar brand of rumpled pugnaciousness to Russ. He pitches his volume low and handles potentially loaded lines like "She cares deeply about the truth, but she cares even more about justice" without excess drama. I like him very much.

As with nearly every procedural now on TV (see Fox's "Backstrom" among other mid-series premieres), the leads are surrounded by a quirky coterie of colleagues, superiors and subalterns, who will come in and out of focus and occasionally get a story line of their own to carry. Alongside Penn, there are detectives played by Edward "Grapevine" Fordham Jr., Damon Herriman (who was the hapless Dewey Crowe on "Justified," and here is very much not) and "NCIS" vet Liza Lapira, with Aubrey Dollar as the office manager, Meredith Eaton handling the forensic stuff and Janet McTeer, OBE, as the commander who rules them all.

All the performances are well shaded and, among the regular cast, get deeper and more individuated as the season goes on. (CBS made all 13 episodes available for review.) Shifts in tone are well handled within in each episode and from week to week: The show incorporates a satisfying range of subjects and styles, from straight drama to straight-out farce; it even finds time to parody "Breaking Bad" in its maple-syrup-themed second episode.

"Battle Creek' may be a little low-boil compared to other network mysteries, which I don't account a fault; even when it runs to caricature, it stays convincing. And if it doesn't break any new ground, it nevertheless feels fresh and genuine. It will make good company as winter turns to spring.

'Battle Creek'
Where: CBS
When: 10 p.m. Sunday
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 07:58 AM Today
TV Sports/Business Notes
Why FIFA Made Deal With Fox for 2026 Cup
By Richard Sandomir, The New York Times - Feb. 27, 2015

When FIFA sold the 2026 World Cup rights in the United States to Fox Sports and Telemundo this month, the announcement came with few details and no explanation for its timing.

Why, 11 years before the tournament was to be played, did the agreement need to be made, especially if the United States had a chance to host the Cup?

Why, without having televised a single World Cup match under their 2018 and 2022 deals, were Fox and Telemundo being rewarded with a third cycle of World Cup events?

And why would FIFA’s TV director later that day say the deal was made after “reviewing the market for its media rights” without talking to ESPN and Univision, its former rights holders, in that review?

Earlier this week, FIFA dropped its drawers a bit to provide a glimpse at its motivation. Jerome Valcke, the organization’s secretary general, said the deal with Fox was made to avoid facing a lawsuit from the media giant over shifting the 2022 Cup from the heat of the Qatari summer to the late fall and winter. The admission was surprising, but it made sense.

The summer is a less competitive time for viewers and advertisers than the late fall and winter, so Fox was unhappy at the prospect of FIFA moving the World Cup from its traditional June-July time frame — a decision that is now a fait accompli. Fox might have been fighting a losing legal battle because FIFA contracts do not disclose the time of year that a World Cup is to be played, just the year, according to executives who have seen them. But a potential court fight raised the delicious possibility of deposing Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s president, and other executives, on American turf.

FIFA executives would prefer to keep their organizational secrets out of the American court system. The organization has done its best to quash the full disclosure of a 430-page report by its chief investigator, Michael Garcia, into allegations of corruption in the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Garcia had dug into those allegations for more than a year but resigned after only a summary of his report — one that he said had distorted his findings — was released. A fuller but redacted version, which FIFA said last December was forthcoming, has yet to come forth.

Having fostered such opacity to maintain its self-preservation, FIFA must have calculated it was best to mollify Fox, not fight it.

What has financial hardball yielded for Fox? An apparently sweet deal. According to an executive made aware of the terms of the contract, Fox will pay about 10 percent more than in its current contracts for 2018 and 2022, which are worth a total of $425 million. In Canada, CTV and TSN, networks owned by Bell Media, will pay about 4 percent more than the $40 million they are scheduled to pay in 2022, and will pay an extra 10 percent if the United States hosts the 2026 tournament.

This is an odd way to value elite soccer rights. Two days before the 2026 deals with FIFA were announced, the English Premier League announced that Sky and BT had agreed to pay $7.8 billion to carry its games from 2016 to 2018, a 70 percent leap above current payments.

Juan Carlos Rodriguez, the president of sports for Univision Communications, said in a phone interview Thursday that FIFA failed to maximize the value of the United States rights in its deals with Fox and Telemundo and that the agreements jeopardized the possibility of the 2026 World Cup coming to America.

“If the rights are already fixed,” he said, “there’s little incentive to FIFA to award 2026 to the U.S.” He added: “If we had been asked to bid, we would have taken it very seriously.”

It is rather backward to sell the TV rights before the host country is chosen, especially if you’re selling rights to American networks for what could be an American World Cup.

John Skipper, the president of ESPN, said by phone, “We’re puzzled as to why FIFA wouldn’t talk to their former partner, which did an outstanding job.” But, he added, he understood why it happened, thanks to Valcke’s comments. “They were forced to do it in order to avoid legal consequences,” Skipper said.

ESPN and Univision, which are still stung at losing the open bidding for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, are smarting at being excluded from bidding for the 2026 Cup.

They felt blindsided, as did M.L.S., which would have liked to be embedded in the deal as a way to build the sport in the United States. All sides were hoping that they had gotten a heads-up that the 2026 deal was in the works — as long ago as early December — from Sunil Gulati, the president of U.S. Soccer and a member of the FIFA executive committee.

How much and how well he lobbied to open the bidding is not known, and confidentiality kept him from informing anyone, even the U.S. Soccer board, about his knowledge of the coming deals.

Those who hoped for Gulati to strongly object over the sweetheart deals during FIFA’s direct talks with Fox and Telemundo doubtlessly wanted him to follow the lead of the former American soccer powerhouse, Chuck Blazer. In 2005, from his seat on the FIFA executive committee, Blazer persuaded the organization to stop considering a pre-emptive offer by NBC and Telemundo for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and open up the bidding, which was won by ESPN and Univision.

Blazer seemed almost heroic to ESPN, Univision and M.L.S. back then. But in recent years, he has been accused of many counts of corruption.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 08:14 AM Today
TV Review
ABC's Secrets and Lies: a murder mystery without a strong enough pulse
By Ed Bark, - Feb. 26, 2015

The media hounds are omnipresent in the first two episodes of ABC’s Secrets and Lies (9 pm Sunday).

Not the “Social Media” ones, but the traditional pack of salivating, question-shouting curs. They bedevil “person of interest” Ben Crawford (Ryan Phillippe) while also making his little daughter, Abby (Belle Shouse), cry. It’s the Christmas season but this is no hallelujah choir.

Ben’s guilt or innocence is very suddenly in question after he finds the dead body of a 5-year-old neighborhood boy whom his snippy teen daughter, Natalie (Indiana Evans), used to babysit. But quick justice for the not-so-stereotypical media mob would be a lightning bolt or two from on high. No one would question that verdict after watching the early stages of this determinedly dreary murder mystery.

Suburban Ben, a married man whose wife has grown weary of him after 17 years of marriage, is also bedeviled by detective Andrea Cornell (Juliette Lewis). She wears her hair in a tight bun and has a demeanor that begins and ends with dour. Lewis plays this role in a manner that gradually makes the character almost laughable. She lurks, she badgers and she assures Ben that “I don’t stop.” If only she’d take a long vacation to Siberia and turn the case over to a detective with a semblance of wily charm.

Adapted from a same-named Australian series and scheduled to run for 10 episodes, Secrets and Lies is billed in ABC publicity materials as a “thrilling who-done-it” in which the accused “peels back the layers of these suburbanites’ lives in their quiet cul de sac, revealing their dirty little deceptions and all-too-crowded closets overflowing with skeletons.” But Desperate Housewives had a lot more fun doing this -- at least in its early seasons.

Ben, of course, has a skeleton or two in his own closet. But his wife, Christy (KaDee Strickland), is ready to toss him out even before the biggest one is divulged at the end of Episode 1. “You’re the same person. I’m not,” she tells him. In the physique department that’s very true. Ben, in the person of Phillippe, certainly hasn’t let himself go. He’s still a hunk and a half who runs daily and finds the dead body during one of his jaunts through the woods.

Secrets and Lies also co-stars Dan Fogler as a shlubby, bearded buddy to end all shlubby, bearded buddies. As Dave Lindsey, he’s been Ben’s best friend since high school. Now he’s a layabout, too, crashing at the Crawfords’ house and literally never seen without a beer grafted to his hand during Sunday’s back-to-back hours. Ben and Dave went out drinking -- heavily -- on the night of the murder. And Ben, who had again been spurned by his wife, got so blasted that he can’t quite remember all that happened thereafter.

Meanwhile, Ben’s neighbors turn on him in lightning quick fashion while little Abby yearns to put up the Christmas decorations. “I know you didn’t do it, Daddy,” she says. It’s a nice moment in a series that so far is brimming with ominous music and an abundance of trips to the cop shop for more questioning.

This is supposed to be a spellbinding page-turner, but the pages tend to get stuck together. The original Australian series ran for just six episodes, which no doubt made for a better pace. ABC’s elongated version loads up on angst and redundancy, tending to plod along at a pace that would fall well short of providing a decent cardio workout for jogging Ben.

An arresting performance or two would enliven matters. But Phillippe and Lewis as the two principal characters are not potent enough to get the juices flowing in an unfolding crime tale that’s neither terrible nor scintillating.

dattier's Avatar dattier 08:58 AM Today
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post
A little off-topic, but since this thread is about a visual medium...
Dad1153 gives us an article by Kevin Loria on that asserts,
As the delightful Radiolab episode "Colors" describes, ancient languages didn't have a word for blue — not Greek, not Chinese, not Japanese, not Hebrew. And without a word for the color, there's evidence that they may not have seen it at all.
If ancient Greek had no word for blue, what gave us the root cyano-?  If classical Hebrew had no word for blue, how do the writers of Radiolab explain "t'kheleth" in Numbers 15:38?  Since the dye in that color came from a Phoenician discovery (a fish called "chillazon" in Hebrew), how could only the Egyptians have had blue dye (as Loria asserted farther along)?

I've never heard of Radiolab before, but I've heard enough now never to watch it, whatever it is, nor to trust anything from Kevin Loria.

Anyhow, as a person who has seen off-white and bronze in all images of that dress (except the video of it on ABC News two nights ago, where it was clearly blue and black, but that was a moving shot in bright TV lighting rather than a still shot in tinted lighting), I'm left wondering how a photograph, reflecting ambient light rather than being a glowing image on a screen, would appear to my eyes.
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