Thursday, 24 April 2014

Well, This Is Weird... [MTV2 May 2014]

I was browsing the program listings on the American channels on My Faves, when I noticed something on MTV2's schedule. On Monday May 5th, Rather than the occasional Boy Meets World or Saved by the Bell rerun blocks, I saw Sucker Free, Elite 8, and You Rock the Deuce. ...Y-You don't think that...? Nah, that's crazy! American networks returning to their roots? HA! It's probably just Zap2it bugging out again, what with their crappy new layout being rolled out. Then again, if this is the real deal, this would be a nice step forward.

It's been three years since MTV2 began to, as Wikipedia put it, "reinvent themselves". To do this, they started producing original lifestyle shows that target young adult males as well as resurrect some older shows such as Wild n' Out. Being the only shows worth watching on MTV2, they quickly brought in large ratings for the channel. If MTV2 were to bring music programming back to the daytime, I believe it would entice viewers to stay for a little bit longer. And hey, as long as they don't get in the way, I'd welcome Bell, Boy, and The Wayans Bros. to stick around for a little while.

What really caught my eye about this schedule slip was that most of MTV2's programming debuts, as well as other major events in the past, have all happened in May. Citing Wikipedia again, there was the end of 120 Minutes, which was renamed as Subterranean as well as the return of Headbangers Ball in 2003. Then there was Human Giant 24 in 2007 and, just for kicks, the premiere of Hip-Hop Squares in 2012. Really, the only thing that makes me doubt this is the real deal is the status quo. Again, what happened to This Week in Jams?

Well, here's to the best. I'd say something about the Canadian version of MTV2, but I think I already made my point about that.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Fave Five: Channels I like

1) Disney XD (Canada)
Disney XD is, as you know, the boy version of Disney Channel. That's probably the reason why I sorta like it. I'm tempted to say that their sitcoms are a lot more adventurous in premise than those of Disney Channel, which are just a bunch of That's So Raven ripoffs, but I wouldn't say they're worth binge viewing. It's really shows like Aaron Stone and Zeke and Luther (both of which are finished, sadly) and their original cartoons that really got to my heart. The real stars here are the animated shows they air. Whether they're original shows or reruns from Disney Channel or even ABC Kids, Jetix and Toon Disney! It helps that they're the only "extreme" network left in Canada.

2) Action
The only channel in Canada to offer entertainment programing for the GUYS! But don't let it's name fool you, Action isn't just a channel for action movies and shows anymore. Action is very much a Canadian counterpart to networks like Spike, also broadcasting a lineup of reality shows...and TruTV shows. Most of the channel's programming are less "action"-oriented and more guy-centric. Nonetheless, if you get bored of dramas, Action should be a must-have in your subscription package.

3) Much
I'm not afraid to admit it, Bell Media ruined this channel. MuchMusic used to be so much better if you were a music fan. But enough about that, the reason why I like Much in it's present form is due very much to it's present programming lineup; most of which was stolen from The Comedy Network. Today, Much is a network for pop culture programming, intermixing comedies and talk shows (and new episodes of Degrassi, despite the show moving to MTV) with music programming. It blows the water out of other networks of it's kind, which rely on reality shows to get their kicks. And, hey, if I ever want to discover new music, I still have AUX.

4) FX/FXX Canada
Where FX in the US is mostly a basic cable movie network, FX Canada is Rogers Media's de facto equivalent to Showcase. In addition to airing groundbreaking shows from FX, the channel also features of roster of comedies, dramas, and movies. If you missed shows like Seed and Package Deal, you can find them here. Oh, and did I mention that FXC also serves as an alternate outlet for sports? Of course, nowadays I find myself watching FXX more often.

5) Teletoon
Teletoon has become more like a cross between The Hub Network and Cartoon Network in recent years, as far as programming goes. Whereas YTV has gone back to targeting kids, Teletoon still appeals to a wider demographic beyond kids and teens. Of course, while The Hub Network isn't a "cartoon network", that still doesn't give Teletoon any reason to be broadcasting live-action movies that have nothing to do with animation or comics; Original shows, maybe, but not movies. Other than that blemish, Teletoon is still one network I can turn to for a good time.

Monday, 21 April 2014

From an Outsider's Prespective: If I ran MTV2

Every time I look at how dull Canada's version of MTV2 is, I can't help but ask myself if it's better or worse than the American MTV2. On one hand, MTV2 is, to my knowledge, the only guy-centric channel in the States. Their original programming actually speaks to someone of my demo. Meanwhile, MTV2 Canada appeals more to the cancer known as tween girls, just like every other youth network in Canada. They don't even run any of MTV2's original shows despite the name, one of the prime reasons why I don't like American-branded channels. Ironically, MTV2 in Canada, back when it was the original MTV Canada, was specifically launched to target a demo that was too old for YTV, yet too young for networks like MuchMusic (network decay; don't ask).

On the other hand, there is a sharp contrast between MTV2's original programming, which targets young adults, and some of their acquired programming, which would fit more at home on Disney XD and ABC Family. Oh, and did I forget to mention that, like MTV, they chose to do that instead of playing music videos. Yes, I know, music video networks aren't popular anymore, if Fuse is any indication, but come on! You telling me you can set aside time for a Scrubs marathon and a movie, but you can't find time for an extra block of music videos in the afternoons? Also, not to call racism but, I notice that shows like The Wayans Bros. and In Living Colour are mostly played in graveyard slots, Smart Guy (and Family Matters) being the only exception(s). I'm sorry, wasn't this the network that favors urban music over rock?

OK, finding something other than music videos to watch shouldn't be that much of a problem. Being a male lifestyle network, maybe MTV2 could take some lessons from Spike TV's earlier days. The wild raunchiness of Blue Mountain State would fit right at home with MTV2's demographic. MTV2 also has a history with sports and sports entertainment; does the name Bellator ring any bells? How bout the LFL? Maybe MTV2 could start syndicating Ring of Honor Wrestling and some Slamball matches. Finally, it wouldn't hurt to air some of MTV's old shows on a regular basis. Worked for TeenNick, didn't' it?

Back on the subject of music, what happened to This Week in Jams? Because, if it's not coming back, then I'd like to see the return of Sucker Free Sundays and Rock n' Jock Saturdays. A whole weekend devoted to hip-hop and rock music programming. Also, again, if you have time for Family Matters reruns, then you got time for some more music videos. Seriously, even Much has an evening block devoted to that, and that's after they got rid of the teen dramas. More music, that's all I ask.

And that's it. That's the MTV2 I've envisioned in my dreams! A paradise for someone looking for an alternative to MTV's girly crap. But, instead I see a network that's lost everything and is now trying to gain an a new identity in the shadow of it's sister network. But even then, I have to say, it's still better than the Canadian version. MTV2 is the only American network I can relate to...

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Difference Between Vortexx and Toonami

I was skeptical when heard Toonami was being revived on Adult Swim. In this modern era, where new anime is streamed online, legally or otherwise, without having to wait for the english dub, something like Toonami just seemed obsolete. Sure, they could still play western action shows... if you can find any that aren't live-action. Conversly, when I heard that Saban, a legendary name in children's entertainment, had returned and were programming a new block to replace Toonzai, I was overjoyed. Instead of more butchered 4Kids dubs, I'd finally see something of the western variety. It's been 2 years since, and I'm surprised to find that the tables have turned: Toonami is bigger than it ever was while Vortexx is becoming just as bad as Toonzai.

On Vortexx, Justice League Unlimited and a handful of other shows have been in repeats since 2013; Yu-Gi-Oh having been in reruns since 2010! Vortexx did have some fresh material including Iron Man Armored Adventures, Transformers Prime, and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. But all those shows have were cut short before they could finish their runs. More damningly, Lost Galaxy was cut to make room for one full hour of Sonic X, which was also rerun to death on Toonzai. Even when Sonic X finished it's run, rather than replace it with something else, it went right back to reruns! Right now, the only shows worth watching are Digimon Fusion and Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal, Sendokai Champions STILL hasn't premiered yet.

Meanwhile, on Toonami, when one show ends another one takes it's place. One second it's FLCL, next thing you know it's The Big O, then it's Soul Eater, then it's back to FLCL. Then just to throw you off, they add some new shows like Soul Eater, Sword Art Online, and Black Lagoon. That's how it's done! See, that's the reason why broadcast network blocks like ABC Kids, 4KidsTV, and Cookie Jar TV are obsolete; they fail to acquire new content and let E/I requirements hold them back. If Vortexx had followed Toonami's lead, they would be doing so much better right now.

*sigh* And I was so hoping for a return to the glory days of Saturday mornings. But I shouldn't give up yet. If Vortexx can find some new shows before the end of the year and dump the recycled crap, they might be able to survive. But if they can't..., well, least I still have The Zone Weekend...

Friday, 11 April 2014

YTV Does Something that Should Have Been Done a LONG Time Ago

...No, they didn't bring back Bionix. Stop asking that.

I noticed last week that YTV has begun airing Spliced, a Teletoon original production. Now I see that YTV will begin airing My Babysitter's a Vampire and The Haunting Hour starting today. It's about bloody time. ...I make no apologizes for the pun. For starters, especially in the case of The Haunting Hour, those two shows should have aired on YTV from the get-go. Whereas Teletoon is supposed to air animation, YTV was free to broadcast everything from LazyTown to Witch Hunter Robin, as long as it appeals to kids and teens. There's absolutely no excuse for these two shows to not air on YTV.

So now it begins, Teletoon is now wholly owned by Corus Entertainment and they have to take steps to make sure their programming doesn't overlap with YTV's. What we are seeing is the first step Corus has taken to do that.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

CBC Cancels 'Arctic Air & Cracked. Thoughts?
Wonderful. We knew this was coming, and yet it still hurts. The CBC just can't catch a break anymore, can they? I know Cracked won't be missed, but if Arctic Air ends on a cliffhanger... Left and right, all of CBC's shows are getting the can, all because of these damn budget cuts and Rogers stealing the NHL broadcast rights.

Good thing Republic of Doyle is almost done, I can't imagine that show lasting another season with the CBC in it's current state. In fact, a lot of comedies/comedy-dramas on CBC are still on the air; most of the shows that got the boot were police procedurals and standard drama fare. That's why I loved how Sally Catto brought up how CBC Television needed to get creative with their original programming to distinguish themselves from the other private broadcasters. Maybe the CBC needs to take some lessons from FX and AMC Networks?

Of course, without any revenue, it'll be hard for CBC to make any new shows, let alone keep their own shows on the air. It sounds like a challenge but, if we could produce SCTV, we can produce something just as great. It's all about being creative and making do with what you got. ...But seriously, between the budget cuts, the horrible Rogers deal, and a rebrand of Radio-Canada that blew $400,000, I'm starting to think someone really is trying to kill the CBC!