Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

Tag Archives: TV

ANCC: 90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After? (Season 3)

Join Nick, the Kiwi, Jorge, Nicole, the Family Chantel, and the rest for a look back at the 2018 season of 90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After.  Settle in, because things are going to get a bit more stupider in this extra-sized episode!

To listen to the episode, click here or on the image below.

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As always, you can check us out on iTunes here.

ANCC: TV Shows (2015 Edition)

Nick and the Gorehound come together to discuss what they are watching on TV or TV-on-Netflix.  The two discuss a wide variety of shows from The Flash and Vikings to Entourage and Chicago area legend, Svengoolie!  But that isn’t all…Nick, the couch potato that he is, decides it is a good idea to each potato chips while talking.  The results are hilariously awkward! Come and give a listen!

Click here or on the image to listen to the podcast!

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Trek Tuesday: Series 6

Big news came out yesterday that a new Star Trek television is in production for a January 2017 launch date.  While that seems like it is a long time from now, considering the series is just now entering into development (no writer or showrunners are currently attached), about a year is a standard from announcement to start.  It is being produced by Alex Kurtzman, and the press release claims that the upcoming show will “[explore] the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception”.

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This can be very exciting as it has been over ten years since Enterprise was canceled.  There have been rumors for a long time that a new series was in development since the current rebooted movie franchise has been a critical and financial success.  The previous thought was that CBS (who holds the Trek TV rights) and Paramount (who hold the movie rights) had a gentleman’s agreement that CBS wouldn’t move on a new Trek series until the movies finished its run.  Whether or not that is true, apparently the two companies were able to work something out since CBS is moving on a new series.

I am sure helping matters is that Kurtzman has a foot in both worlds.  Having produced and written the previous two films for Paramount and produced several TV series for CBS, Kurtzman was in the perfect place to be the guy to make this happen.  Oddly, Roberto Orci isn’t anywhere to be seen on this since he is pretty much in the same position that Kurtzman is.  Then again, Orci and Kurtzman have ended their creative partnerships and there seemed to be some falling out with Orci and Paramount.  That may have been a factor.

The real downside to this prospective series is that it will be released exclusively in the US on CBS All Access, CBS’s online streaming service.  This is a bit of a bummer for me as I don’t subscribe to this and have zero desire to.  I’m already have Hulu and Netflix, and I barely scratch the surface of what they offer.  Plunking down $6 a month for another service for one show is not likely something I am keen on doing  Maybe if the season drops all at once (like Netflix does for their original programming), I’ll get a subscription for a month before cancelling.  But this is all academic.  The show is over a year away.  Who knows what will happen between now and then?

That said, I do think it was wise of CBS to do something like this.  The likelihood of a Star Trek series to be successful on a mainstream network in today’s market is very low.  A streaming service is a smart move.  I can’t blame CBS for positioning a Star Trek show to launch their original content on their service.

But, who cares about any of that.  A new series is coming, and a true Star Trek fan needs to be doing one thing right now: wild speculation.  I remember when Enterprise was in the early developmental stage and rumors were running rampant on what it could be.  I look forward to that experience again, so let me throw my two cents in!

Warning: Pure Nerd Speculation!!

If I were to guess, the show will likely take place in the new continuity started in 2009’s Star Trek.  With Kurtzman involved, why wouldn’t it not be?  I suppose it could be its own thing, but the only real reason to do that would to have Kirk and Spock.  That would be redundant (especially since a 4th film in the series is already being planned).  Would it have a new cast of characters?  I guess that could happen, but Hollywood, more so today than ever before, wants name recognition.  Probably even more so since the series is supposed to make CBS All Access competitive.  Having a show just be Star Trek may not be enough of a hook to make people take notice.

As I was thinking about this last night, a thought suddenly occurred to me.  The show is launching in 2017.  Star Trek: The Next Generation began in 1987 – 30 years earlier.  Could the new series be a reboot of TNG in the universe established in the JJ Abrams films as a way to celebrate its anniversary?

I’d argue that the show is entrenched in pop-culture enough to bring that name recognition, and it would be able to be separate enough from the film series as to not step on its toes.  I don’t know.  I am just speculating.  But that would be wild.

I’m interested to see where this will go.  I’m sure I’ll be talking more and more about it as more information is released.  What an exciting time to be a Star Trek fan.

~N

ANCC: The X-Files

Just in time for the show’s return, Nick and the Gorehound discuss the popular ’90s sci-fi drama, The X-Files!  Like aliens?  Government conspiracy?  Random abductions?  Increasingly convoluted backstory?  It has it all!  The truth is in this episode!

Click here or on the image to listen to the podcast!

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Here is a special link/plug to The X-Files Files, a podcast hosted by Kumail Nanjian (Silicon Valley).

September Recap!

Resurrecting a Rotting Corpse: Arrested Development

A month ago, Zack and I did a podcast about Arrested Development, the canceled Fox comedy series from 2003-2006.  The other day, news came out that the show was going ahead with a new season of approximately 10 episodes. These would then lead into the oft-mentioned Arrested Development movie. Needless to say, in various parts of the internet, AD fans exploded with excitement and anticipation. I don’t want to be “that guy”, but I really don’t want the show to come back.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the show during its run, and I think it is the best comedy series of the 21st century. But it ended, and it ended on a strong note. All the plot lines and character arcs were resolved, and there was a sense of closure to the series. Michael (Jason Bateman) and his son (Micheal Cera) literally went off into the sunset. What more is there to tell with this story without it seeming tacked on or becoming too distant from it’s core concepts?

Plus, hasn’t it been too long for a continuation to be relevant, especially with all the political connections to the show’s narrative? And why bring it back as a half season? I suppose the plan is to have it build up to the movie by spotlighting the characters, but Mitch Hurwitz (the creator of the show) had the opportunity to take the series to a different network in 2006. He declined at that time for various reasons including some doubt he would be able to keep the show at the same level of quality. What changed this time around?

I also have to question what sort of financial gain does any studio plan on? The show, though critically acclaimed, was a ratings disaster to the point that Fox burned off the remaining episodes opposite of the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies. Since cancellation, the show has developed a cult following, but how much can that possibly translate to a successful feature film? Take a look at the Joss Whedon show Firefly. Despite critical acclaim for the series and being a high DVD seller, the film was a flop at the box office. I honestly can’t see AD being that successful.

It has been five years since Arrested Development ended. It probably won’t be until another year before the series returns and another year after that before the movie hits. I can’t see this being successful, and it almost comes off as a kind of cash grab. Truth be told, I want to be wrong on this. I want to see this new season and movie and fully enjoy myself as I did when I watched the first three years on Fox several years ago. I’m just not very enthusiastic about it yet.

~N

PS. Before anyone comments, yes, I know shows like Star Trek, Futurama, and Family Guy came back in some form after an absence and were successful. For starters, Star Trek‘s situation was completely different than AD’s. In regards to Futurama and Family Guy, I don’t think they have been very good at all since their rebirths. To me, that is more evidence that a resurrected show will be weak in quality.

“Curb Your Enthusiasm – Season One”

With nothing better to do, I checked out the first season of the Larry David (Seinfeld) comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm from my local library. Though I’ve heard good things, I’ve never watched the show before and figured I’d finally give it a try. The show centers around a fictional version of Larry David as he goes about his daily business and gets into various mishaps involving misunderstandings, poor-timing, and arguments over common, everyday items. If you are thinking this sounds like Seinfeld, you would be correct.

As I watched through the first few episodes, I didn’t know if I like the show or not. I like elements of it. The cast is fun to watch, I love how the show is shot, and the improvised style of the series gives it a bit of unpredictability. The situations are funny, but most of the humor, I felt, is very mean. I don’t mean to suggest the show is mean-spirited. It isn’t. However, many of the characters that Larry encounters are just plain mean for very little reasons.

For example, in an early episode Larry looses his shoes, goes to the store, and has the salesperson special order a new pair. Shortly thereafter, Larry finds his original pair and, coincidentally, runs into the salesperson on the street. The salesperson sees Larry’s original pair and goes off on him assuming that Larry was intentionally trying to screw him over (canceling the shoe order would cause a loss in commission). Before Larry could fully explain, the salesperson storms off. Later on, Larry goes to the store to return a shirt he didn’t like, and the salesperson refuses to take the shirt back based on their earlier encounter.

Stuff like this bothers me in shows. I realize the nature of the comedy from Curb… comes from Larry wronging someone, the wronged individual overreacts and, ultimately, Larry suffers for it. I just become annoyed at the cliché of minor transgressions causing major reactions.

I was also beginning to become frustrated with the levels of awkwardness in the show. There are several moments in the early episodes where the situation gets so out of control, that the awkward feeling goes from being funny to uncomfortable. The line between funny and uncomfortable is very thin and can make or break a show. These awkward moments usually ended up in shouting matches between the characters.

However, about midway through the season, things changed. It seemed as if the writers knew what was working and what wasn’t. The show became much more fluid and the awkwardness stayed firmly on the side of funny. The show didn’t get retooled. Every episode had Larry in some unfortunate situation. Only various were made and handled in such a seamless transition, that I didn’t noticed the improved style until an episode or two after it began. This is an impressive feat considering that the season is only ten episodes long. By the season finale (which, incidentally, is the season’s best episode), I knew this show had found its footing and earned the praise which has been showered upon it over the past eleven years.

I recommend Curb Your Enthusiasm. It starts out very rough, but after the first four or five episodes, the actors are comfortable in their roles, the stories become stronger (both in pace and narrative), and everything happens in a much more natural manner. This is a very funny show, and I am looking forward to checking out season two!

~N

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