Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Growing up Online

January 23, 2008

insidep1.jpgPBS aired an interesting Frontline documentary last night about teenagers using the Internet. It will be repeated in Boston (and probably other markets) several times during the week. It is also viewable online.

The bottom line: the inmates are running the asylum. This is also a problem in typical American schools. However, at least in school there are some adults wandering around trying to shape behavior. Online, it’s like Lord of the Flies.

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High Definition

October 21, 2007

magnifying-glass.jpgAll my gadget-guy friends were beginning to whisper behind my back. They had a hard time hiding their pity and contempt. Why? Because I was still watching standard-definition TV at home.

So last week, I finally got a high-definition TV. I was surprised to learn that what I have been missing is not all good. It’s great, of course, to see every blade of grass in Fenway Park. But some shows are just not better in HD.

Take The Office, for example. Even on my old TV, The Office was uncomfortable to watch. It was kind of like listening to fingernails scratching on a blackboard. But on my HDTV, it’s like fingernails on a blackboard–with really bad skin. You can see every blemish and birthmark. You can even see the makeup. Watching The Office in HD feels a little like a scene from A Clockwork Orange. So I’m a member of the gadget-guy club again. I’m just hoping the psychological damage is not permanent.

This American Life Unveiled

February 28, 2007

glass2.jpgI had a surreal experience last night: watching Ira Glass and company performing an episode of their radio show, This American Life, live at the Boston Opera House. This American Life is on tour to promote the upcoming television version of the show (premiering March 22 at 10:30 PM on ShowTime).

In a fascinating segment that won’t be heard on radio, Glass and his director, Chris Wilcha, showed some clips and outtakes from the TV show and recounted their struggle to translate the appeal of This American Life to video.

My vote: the TV show is just as brainy and hip as the radio show. The cinematography is way cool. However, it totally lacks the meditative, contemplative quality of radio. To me, the quintessential This American Life experience is catching it in the car on Saturday and ending up parked at my destination, sitting in a trance for 20 minutes to hear the show finish. The TV version is not like that.

There used to be a TV show that had a similar effect on me. It was CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt. Sunday Morning had two things This American Life does not: long, silent nature shots and a Sunday morning (pajamas/bagels/coffee) time slot. Perhaps I will Tivo This American Life and watch it on Sunday.