Monday, October 22, 2007

My Apple iTV Life

Below, L-R: Scenes from Mad Men: Left & right - parking lot (right - with Betty Draper);

Betty Draper discovers the sensational sexuality of an unbalanced washing machine (sit on it girl!)

Vagabondblogger noted in another post (here), the hissy fit NBC and Apple had over their iTunes contract. Obviously, NBC did not read Vagabondblogger's memo. There's nothing quite like being ignored, is there?

Vagabondblogger downloaded a bunch of free shows from iTunes. She liked several so much, she decided to subscribe. For awhile Vagabondblogger had tried to access the new episodes of HOUSE, which is shown on the FOX Channel, but no new episodes were offered on iTunes. On the other hand, new episodes of My Name Is Earl, which is shown on NBC, were offered. That's because HOUSE is produced by Universal Studios a subsidiary of NBC, and My Name Is Earl is produced by Twentieth Century. After doing a little research, here's what Vagabondblogger discovered: The following shows are produced by Universal Studios a subsidiary of NBC, and thus the new season will not be offered on iTunes:

30 Rock (NBC) / Andy Barker, P.I. (NBC) / Angela's Eyes (Lifetime) / Battlestar Galactica (SciFi)
The Black Donnellys (NBC) / Curious George (PBS) /
Eureka (SCI FI) / Friday Night Lights (NBC)
Heroes (NBC) / House (FOX) / The Land Before Time (Cartoon) / Law & Order (NBC)
Law & Order: Criminal Intent / Law & Order: Special Victims Unit / Monk (USA)
The Office (NBC) / Psych (USA) / Raines (NBC)
American Dreams (NBC) / Complete Savages (ABC) / Committed (NBC) / Crossing Jordan (NBC)
Las Vegas (NBC) / Law & Order: Trial by Jury (NBC) / The Office: An American Workplace (NBC)
Will & Grace (NBC)
Blow Out (Bravo) / The Biggest Loser (NBC - Reveille) / Dennis Miller (CNBC)
Fear Factor (NBC) / Last Call With Carson Daly (NBC) / Late Night with Conan O'Brien (NBC)
Nashville Star (USA-Reveille) / Queer Eye For Straight Guy(Bravo) / Queer Eye For Straight Girl(Bravo)
Saturday Night Live (NBC) / The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC)

Notice Project Runway, Top Chef,and Top Design are not on the NBC Universal Lists, even though they are played on BRAVO, a member of NBC Universal. Why is that? These shows are all produced by independent companies. On the other hand, The Black Donnellys (see above list) was a mid-season offering by NBC, which after ooh, say three weeks (?) they cancelled, but offered the continuing saga on, iTunes! NBC cancelled Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, which was not a huge hit, but had a good following and excellent reviews, and then substituted The Black Donnellys - same, same, as they say here in the Middle East. Maybe NBC should rethink their programming, cuz some of us out here are starting to think that they don't know what they want, or what the viewers want. Maybe they don't care either, but they are starting to display some very unstable tendencies. Here's another example of NBC's total insanity,
for those of you making your own YouTube videos - beware. NBC Universal has become so anal, and zealous about prosecuting copyright violations, some people have decided to fight back: Standing Up To Takedown Notices

On a chilly February day, Stephanie Lenz decided to show her family and friends what her bouncing baby boy could do. She plopped 13-month-old Holden, then learning to walk, on the floor, cranked up Prince's song "Let's Go Crazy" and whipped out the digital camera.

In the 29-second YouTube video that resulted, Holden smiles and bobs up and down to the music. According to Universal Music Publishing Group, he also helps his mom commit a federal crime: copyright infringement.

"The idea that putting a little video of your kid up on YouTube can mean you have to go to court, and maybe declare bankruptcy and lose your house, is just wrong," Lenz said. "I don't like being made to feel afraid, and I don't like being bullied."
Thanks go out to NBC for not only trying to squeeze the consumers dry, but for assaulting perfectly innocent people in their quest to make another buck! Copyright has little to do with NBC Universal's strategy. This type of move just puts the capital g on the word Greed! Aw - let's just capitalize the whole word: G-R-E-E-D!

Now that Vagabondblogger has vented her anger (again), at NBC Universal, let's look at the bright side of TV life. Not only is the 'Colbert Report' going global, but the Daily Show is actually on Showtime daily now! Last week Vagabondblogger was flipping channels, and saw Jon Stewart, on the Daily Show, interviewing Ben Affleck about his new movie Gone Baby Gone! It has happened that fast folks!
The new 40-episode half-hour has been especially adapted for international auds and will be distributed alongside the original series, which has been picked up by CTV in Canada and Foxtel in Australia since its international launch last year.

The "global edition" concept has proved a success for "The Daily Show," which has built a strong following on international broadcasters such as CNN,Blighty digital web More4, CTV in Canada and France's Canal Plus. Most recently MTV Nets Intl. has struck deals for the series with broadcasters including Showtime in the Middle East, DBS in Israel, CNBCe in Turkey, DR in Denmark, OBN in Bosnia and Norway's NRK.

Also, the latest show on Vagabondblogger's favorites list, Mad Men, is now airing locally (in the Middle East / Africa) on MBC 4 ! It started October 21st. Vagabondblogger had hoped to get this post out in advance. Here's an article from TimeOut Abu Dhabi with more information. And the good news doesn't stop there: AMC Renews Mad Men For a Second Season. The second season will consist of 13 episodes beginning in the summer of 2008. The Season One finale aired on Thursday, October 18th at 10PM | 9C.

Ever since the show started Vagabondblogger was able to download her show on Friday evenings here in Cairo. Two weeks ago a glitch occurred. I'm sure Apple received loads of angry letters (not from Vagabondblogger though) since the new show did not become available until that next Wednesday. Then on Friday, as usual, the most recent one became available too. Apple sent Vagabondblogger an apology, and credit for a free TV download of her choosing. For anyone who questions Vagabondblogger's
recommendations, let her add that this show is produced and created by the same man (and many of his staff) responsible for the Sopranos. It was offered up to HBO, and other networks first. They have no idea what they lost. A.M.C. will start re-running Mad Men early November for those in the U.S.A.. As they say, "check your local listings."

From Salon Magazine: (Vagabondblogger is quoting here bits taken from the article, without divulging any spoilers. requires a subscription.)
You really have to hand it to the writers of "Mad Men" for offering us scenes that are not only utterly original and imaginative, but that also reflect, with every word, the central premise of the show: Is it possible to foster close connections in a society that, for all of its potential, is built on the laws of supply and demand and is, therefore, cold and unforgiving by nature?

In each scene, the writers revisit the impossibility of living an honest life in an essentially corrupt world.

The sad message of the show is that, in a world built on lies, ethics are a barrier to both success and happiness.

The characters of "Mad Men" are thus resigned to live double lives, and the more comfortable they are with their deceit, the happier they'll be.

This is what a good dramatic work should do: ask important questions that have no easy answers. But that's not all we get from "Mad Men." We get weighty, nuanced scenes that we've never seen before, and that we can't predict as they're unfolding. We get fantastic acting, incredible art direction, and dynamic, fun storytelling with a wicked sense of humor. "Mad Men" is easily the best new show of the year, a true work of art grounded by sharp social commentary and poetic insights into the American experience.

You can also watch some of your favorite shows on the Internet, since Networks Start to Offer TV on the Web. The article lists each major player, and needless to say, NBC comes on the scene a bit late, and with little to offer. For you expats out there, these Web shows are only available for Internet users in the U.S.A.
The TV networks have begun to put programs on the Web. The selections are crisp, clear, legal and free. But there aren’t many choices, and they don’t stay on the Web long enough.

I've listed channels and times for both Mad Men and the Daily Show at the end of the blog, using GMT.

Since plenty of new shows have started their new seasons, Vagabondblogger has been asked over and over again, "what are you watching?" Everyone has a list of what's on their iPod playlist, well this is what's loaded onto Vagabondblogger's iTV:
Kitchen Nightmares - FOX (as usual with an "in your face" dose of Gordon's tyranny);
I Love New York- VH1 (purely brazen, trashy entertainment - New York is definitely a skank);
America's Most Smartest Model - VH1 (dumber than dumb but with Ben Stein, who is actually smart, a radical Republican, but still funny),
Mad Men-AMC (need I say more on this one),
Aliens in America - CW (reminds Vagabondblogger of That 70's Show, but with sentimentality),
Numbers-CBS (I can't explain why I love this show - Okay, Okay - mathematician brother reminds Vagabondblogger of Number One Son.)

Below L: Gordon Ramsey does not like the Korombiedes made by the Greek owner's mom, at the Seascape Restaurant.
Below R: Tiffany, I mean, New York, who apparently got fitted for her outfit
before her breast enlargement surgery!

Middle East / Africa Schedules:GMT
Mad Men: MBC4
>Sundays: 20:00, 23:30 / Mondays: 14:00 / Fridays: 02:00
The Daily Show: Showtime Comedy Channel:
Mondays: Global Edition 19:00 / Tuesday - Friday: 19:00
The Daily Show: Showtime Comedy Extra:
Mondays: Global Edition 21:00 / Tuesday - Friday: 21:00

Okay, while Vagabondblogger was writing this post, and watching TV, she saw an ad for a totally great show, Big Love, on America Plus. (Yes, we have both Orbit and Showtime, but in different rooms.) Those of you out there reading this, who have more than one wife, will totally relate! Warren Jeffs, the overlord of his sect,only wishes he had it this good, but, like NBC he got a bit greedy, and decided to marry many more woman, including underage girls (which equals rape.) The Boss Man would like three wives too, but can't afford it, plus Vagabondblogger thinks he has does not have the stomach for all the cat fighting that goes on. Or maybe he would, if it was all about him. But then, on the other hand, the main character requires Viagra to keep up with all of his husbandly duties.


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