Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Run! Don't walk!

NBC has a great show running called Heroes. I read somewhere that if Buffy the Vampire Slayer (one of the best shows) is like a comic book guy (Joss Whedon) doing a TV show, then Heroes is like a TV guy (Tim Kring) doing a comic book. It's layered and intricate, thoughtful and exciting, full of the surprises and connections that made Buffy so great, and it has a warm human heart at the center of a very intellectual, meta take on heroism and courage. Do not miss it!

Sarah saw a few episodes of Heroes out of order, then came back when I watched them all in order (I am a stickler about this kind of thing). She was constantly saying, Oh, I totally didn't get that before but now it all makes perfect sense. The order is important, and there's actual integrity that should be observed.

So, friends, welcome to the future of TV and the internet:

There won't be a new Heroes episode on until January 1, so NBC decided to stream every episode online. Take my strong advice and watch them immediately. You have a few weeks to get through them.

To my mind, this solves the major problem until now with primetime serial adventures and dramas. There are a lot of these twisty shows now, like 24 and Lost. I watched 24's first 7 or 8 episodes, then I missed one, and I didn't want to pick up with a missing episode because the whole thing seemed so integrated and full, like a novel. You wouldn't read a novel with a few chapters missing out of the center, and however many years later, I haven't seen any more 24. The networks are obviously picking up on this, and they don't want to lose me for another five years by these little accidents of scheduling.

I felt the same way about it as NBC, but I didn't know they were doing this (up to now, I think they were only doing "this week's episode" for free online), so I downloaded about 7 using BitTorrent and taped two more on Scifi (which has a syndication deal or something) so Sarah and I could catch up. Is it that much different from what NBC did? If I had a TiVo, I'd just tape them anyway. The sooner the networks embrace time-shifting and file-sharing, the better off they'll be. There's a real sea change going on right now as primetime TV struggles to come to terms with the internet. I personally don't think they'll ever catch up, but it'll work.

And the last thing: if you watch Heroes online, you'll be watching (or ignoring) ads at the beginning of each segment (six per hour). NBC has found out how to make money on the internet, and it's uncanny how similar it is to how you do it with television sets.

And one more. There's an amazing Beatles album out there called Love. I'd only seen prancy, goofy commercials full of clowns noting the fact that the Cirque de Soleil is using it as a soundtrack for one of their shows. Here's what it really is: an authorized remix (or mashup, if you will) of the Beatles catalog by Sir George Martin and his son. Here's the site, where you can hear samples and interviews with Mr. Martin, Paul, and Ringo explaining why and how they made the album. Every song is full of cuts and quotations and pieces of other songs. The version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps is just beautiful.

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