Living with Vampires

Posted in Books, TV

This post deals with the two series that started my reading frenzy of the past few weeks.

I recently got sucked into the whole craze surrounding the
Twilight Saga. I started the book series just to understand what all the buzz was about surrounding the movie. I knew that teenagers, and girls of all ages, were devouring the books and were salivating for the movie. I figured I’d give the series a shot – if it helped me understand the entertainment buzz an no more, that’d be fine. But I got sucked in. I believe I even termed it a “sickness” on Twitter.

The Twilight books were written by Stephenie Meyer and involve a love story between young Bella Swan and teenage vampire Edward Cullen. The first book was made into a movie, with star Robert Pattinson becoming an instant teen idol. It’s quite crazy. But back to the books. I really was sucked in.

I started reading while I was sick, so I had plenty of time to devour all four books in a matter of less than a week. I can’t explain the series better than this: it’s like being a teenager in love all over again. Vampires and supernatural worlds aside (the series goes into more than just vampires), the series has the crazy emotional pull of being a teenager. Plus, it’s written in a way that keeps you going and going, with very few natural breaks to stop. It’s more of a romance series than a Sci Fi series, and it’s quite far from pretentious. But it nonetheless has the power to come to life as you read it.

The first book was my favorite, with perhaps the fourth winning me over again. I was at first a little annoyed at the introduction of other supernatural creatures, and the flippant play of emotions and obvious easy “outs” that are built into the plot. But I enjoyed it quite a good deal anyway. There is a fifth book in the series that was started and was leaked online. Author Stephenie Meyer was disappointed with this and chose to put the novel on hold, but released the partial draft on her website. It was my favorite of the series, by far. It’s essentially the first book re-told from Edward’s perspective, which was fascinating.

Keeping in the theme of vampires, I decided to pursue the series that inspired the HBO drama True Blood, which was my favorite new series of 2008 (and that’s saying something). The Southern Vampire Mysteries, now known mostly as the Sookie Stackhouse Series was written by Charlaine Harris and involves 8 books so far, with another slated for release in May of 2009. This story follows Sookie Stackhouse, a barmaid telepath living in a small town in Louisiana. She has the reputation of being a little crazy, but is a lovable spunky character. Her whole world changes once a vampire, Bill Compton, comes to town (in this series, a synthetic blood product allowed them to ‘come out’ in society a few years ago) and she finds that she cannot read his mind. Drawn to his peace, she has a relationship with him, and becomes quite involved in his world. Read the rest of this entry »

Discovery Channel ‘I Love the World’ Campaign

Posted in Marketing, TV

For a few months, we’ve been inspired by a Discovery Channel video campaign, so today I decided to look it up and share it. The ‘I Love the World’ / ‘Boom De Ah Dah’ video, as shown below, was created in April 2008 after Discovery Channel changed their tagline to “The World is Just… Awesome.” A few versions of the videos were made, with altered visuals and lyrics. They all start off with two astronauts looking down on the world, inspired by a vision that never gets old, and break into song. Discovery Channel stars sing about what they consider awesome in the world. Then the whole world then joins in, singing along to the wonders they see:

After Discovery Channel created this inspiring video, which pays homage to its shows and to the world at large, fans were inspired and began making their own ‘I Love the World’ videos on YouTube. Discovery Channel created a playlist on their own website to highlight some of these great videos.

The original campaign was created by 72andSunny for Discovery Channel. It was directed by James Rouse, with further credits here.

And here’s an xkcd Boom De Yada mash-up that Ianiv is just crazy for:

Read the rest of this entry »

80s TV Shows I Almost Forgot

Posted in TV

Last night at dinner with the family, we were using the iPhone to reminisce about various tv shows we loved as kids in the 80s. There are some that I couldn’t for the life of me remember the names of, so a bunch of Googling brought them back. Here are the nearly-forgotten tv shows of my childhood (among all the dozens of shows I do recall):

The Hilarious House of Frightenstein

Read the rest of this entry »

Feist Counts to 4 on Sesame Street

Posted in Music, TV

There’s a lot of buzz going around the web for Feist’s appearance on Sesame Street and her remix of her hit song "1234" to be a counting song on the kids’ show. The remix features Feist singing and dancing with the muppets. Backstage at the Juno Awards, Feist says that the Sesame Street remix of "1234" was refreshing for her.

Feist made her apperance on Sesame Street in the 39th season of the show. Shows to appear on this season of the show include Jessica Alba, David Beckham and Heidi Klum. The Feist episode will air on August 11th.

Other upcoming parodies of pop culture include "30 Rocks", "Pre-School Musical", and "Are You Smarter Than an Egg Layer?"

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nextMEDIA and Banff World Television Festival

Posted in Events, TV

Last week, we drove from Vancouver to Banff to attend nextMEDIA and the Banff World Television Festival. I learned, on the long drive there and back, that I really love podcasts of stories. It really helped keep me awake on the drive. We listened to about 6 months of the Vinyl Cafe (though not all podcasts have stories, which was disappointing) and a book and a half by Cory Doctorow.

We arrived in Banff part way through the first day of nextMEDIA, but in time to catch a few good sessions. Jeremy & b5media were featured on Canada’s Digital Media Giants panel. It was also announced that b5media is a finalist in the Candian New Media Awards for Most Promising Company of the Year.

It was great to spend some time with Jeremy at the conference, as well as fellow b5ers Jeanne & Jyle Dupuis. We took a "b5 family" photo before Jeremy headed back to Toronto.

Jeremy had a good talk with Kris after speaking at nextMEDIA. Check it out:

The next few days we attended an endless stream of sessions and networking events at the Banff World Television Festival, including the Banff World Television Awards where Kim Cattrall was honored. Our hotel wireless was broken for our entire stay, so that put a bit of a damper on the ability to keep up with work and post timely news on the conferences. It definitely set me a few days back on my return.

The festival was aimed at the business side of the tv industry – for producers, executives, writers, etc. I learned a lot from attending the sessions – they had a great lineup of speakers, and I was only disappointed not to be able to attend more than I did. The networking events were also very well put on – we didn’t attend many after-parties, but the days themselves were full of networking breaks and the BBQ was the best of the bunch.

You can read some of my posts on the sessions I enjoyed the most here:

You can visit the full Flickr set here.

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The Youngest Finalist on “America’s Got Talent”

Posted in TV

I am a fan of the reality competition America’s Got Talent, primarily because I think the criteria are broad enough to really allow for more talent to be showcased. The audition stage, unlike with many reality competition shows, will showcase more good (vs bad) auditions.

Although I missed the show last night, Jeanne tipped me to the video of Kaitlyn Maher, who just turned 4 years old. She sang on the show and has now become the youngest contestant ever to get through to the next round.

I think Disney should hire her. Adorable. She even has a MySpace.

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WGA Strike is Over

Posted in TV

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike is now officially over. After 100 days on strike, 92.5% of WGA members voted to end the strike and go back to work starting tomorrow. Another vote will ratify the deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers

“We are profoundly aware of the economic loss these fourteen weeks have created not only for our members but so many other colleagues who work in the television and motion picture industries,” wrote WGA West president Patric Verrone and WGA East president Michael Winship in a letter to members following the vote. “Nonetheless, with the establishment of the WGA jurisdiction over new media and residual formulas based on distributor’s gross revenue (among other gains) we are confident that the results are a significant achievement not only for ourselves but the entire creative community, now and in the future.”

Late Night shows will be the first to reap the benefits, as writers return (for those shows without private WGA deals) and actors who previously showed solidarity to the striking writers return to the show circuit. Many networks have already announced plans to shoot new episodes for the season. Here is what we know so far of those shows…

Shows returning to production for the season:

Shows not returning to production this season:

  • Heroes will not be shooting new episodes this season, as Chapter 3 would be too short. New episodes will defer to next season.
  • 24 will be postponed to January 2009
  • Aliens in America will air the remaining 8 episodes, but not film the additional 4 ordered for the first season
  • Chuck is done for the season
  • Pushing Daisies is done until Season 2

For more of which shows are returning and which are not, check TV Guide.

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