The Blog Formerly Known as Rebel Prince

Cult TV, Gen Y rants, and endless opera.

Archive for the ‘late night rant’ Category

25 best, 25 worst “Frasier” episodes

Posted by therebelprince on July 13, 2017

Frasier is one of the great sitcoms of the 1990s – and certainly the greatest spin-off of them all. Transplanting Kelsey Grammer‘s Dr. Frasier Crane – now divorced – from his lengthy run on Cheers across to Seattle, where he is reunited with his uptight brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce) and his down-to-earth curmudgeon of a father (John Mahoney) was perhaps not that original, but the series proved its genius very early on. Like all of the best sitcoms, the series could wear multiple masks – family comedy, workplace sitcom, grand farce, character analysis – and reveled in luxury guest stars. Today, I wanted to explore the series’ 25 best and 25 worst episodes.

Readers of my writing, here and elsewhere, know that I’m usually a “redemptive” reviewer. It’s very hard to write 22-24 episodes a season, and sometimes an idea just doesn’t land, or the timing just runs out and an episode gets made. What’s remarkable about Frasier is that any one of its 264 episodes carries some charm, and I’d only consider perhaps 5 of them to be truly lamentable. This was a series that respected its audience, both in its consistent wittiness and its faith in character. All of which is to say: many episodes that didn’t make it into the Top 25 are still remarkable. And even some of those on my Bottom 25 are quite good by average sitcom standards. But this isn’t an average sitcom. This is Frasier.

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Mad Men’s “Megan Problem” (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Jessica Paré)

Posted by therebelprince on April 1, 2013

The sixth season of critical darling/reviewers’ bugbear Mad Men is but one scant week away and, as usual, creator Matthew Weiner is keeping his cards close to his chest. In turn, wary fans are already tearing each promotional photo to pieces while having all-caps forum debates on such subjects as “MATTHEW IS A GENIUS AND YOU LEAVE HIM ALONE!” or – more likely, it seems – “THIS GUY IS RUINING TELEVISION BY LYING TO US WHEN WE ASK ABOUT PLOT DETAILS!”

Jessica Pare as Megan and Jon Hamm as Don in "Mad Men"

Jessica Pare as Megan and Jon Hamm as Don in “Mad Men”

Now, it’s risky business to throw oneself into the world of internet fandom but as I’ve rewatched the end of the show’s ball-breaking fifth season, part of my research has involved visiting forums and keeping up to date with what fans (and detractors) of the show are saying. A large part of this discussion – the part not centering around the anatomy of certain other  cast  members – seems to involve fandom’s dislike for one character: Megan Draper, nee Calvet. And it’s intrigued me so much, I just had to throw my thoughts into the ring.

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In Defence of the Sitcom

Posted by therebelprince on April 11, 2012

Khandi Alexander, Dave Foley, and Phil Hartman in “NewsRadio”

I have a lot of free time at the moment. I could use this to write, to go to the gym, to work on those thousand paper cranes that I’ve been meaning to get around to… Instead, I watch classic sitcoms. And all this time spent in front of the idiot box has got me thinking about laugh tracks: they’re something most older audiences took for granted, but which far too many people my age are willing to write off as “dated”, “fake”, “patronising”, and what have you. These can all be true (anyone who ever watched travesties like Less Than Perfect or According to Jim can attest), but it’s by no means universal. The laugh track is a vital part of sitcom history, and I think it’s more important than many would like to believe. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ad-Free TV, or a world without windows

Posted by therebelprince on April 2, 2012

Thought of the day: is life better or worse without television commercials?

Jenna-Louise Coleman. She’ll be joining “Doctor Who” in nine months. For some reason, the BBC would like you to know that now.

We live in an era where the commercial is becoming redundant, if not to the casual making-dinner-and-chasing-the-children viewers (who are assumedly the audience for Two and a Half Men and its ilk), then at least for semi-serious TV viewers. Increasingly, people are TiVo-ing their programs; if you wait ten minutes, you can watch the episode ad-free! Alternatively, there are a host of downloading options – legal or otherwise – allowing people in other countries to enjoy programming the same day it airs in its homeland. (There are, of course, numerous ways for networks to circumvent this: Australian networks have begun showing popular American shows in the same week as their U.S. broadcast to avoid losing viewers, for instance.  Beyond this, there’s the rise of product placement – or “vertical integration”, which I assumed was just a quote from 30 Rock but is probably a real term.)

Increasingly, I’ve begun to realise that I literally never view television commercials. Most material that I view is older (my current repertoire includes The Dick Van Dyke Show and Carnivale), and new TV is watched via TiVo, DVD, or download. The only sport I watch is baseball on cable, and I’m an internet news kinda guy. Yet, while I was happy to be without ads, I’ve now begun to worry that I’m missing out on a fair chunk of pop culture, not to mention a very different atmosphere when watching new TV.

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On why I’ll miss the good old video store…

Posted by therebelprince on February 29, 2012

Simone Simon in “Cat People”

My local video rental store is closing this week. I’m choosing not to take this personally, although it is the third time I’ve moved house and instantly seen the local infrastructure crumble before my eyes. But I can’t help admitting a pang of sadness when I saw the “closing down sale” sign. Maybe it was just guilt, that I rented Date Night six months ago and then never went back. But I think it was something more; I believe that the loss of the video store is more dangerous than just a loss of the ’90s way of life…

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The HBO Rankings: #11 – #1

Posted by therebelprince on February 3, 2012

Bret McKenzie in “Flight on the Conchords”

Hi there, folks! This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post, in which I ranked HBO’s major series from worst to best. (Well, from least great to greatest… I kinda like them all, so it seems unfair to say otherwise…)

Please check out those rankings for some explanation of my views, or just dive in below:

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The HBO Rankings: #23 – #12

Posted by therebelprince on February 2, 2012

Alexander Skarsgard as Eric in “True Blood” recently ranked the major HBO dramas from worst to best, and the article got me thinking about my own feelings. Inevitably, here come my own biased views on the matter. Submitted for your consideration, my thoughts on HBO’s major programming of the last 15 years.

[This will be in two parts, with the bottom 12 today, and the other 11 coming in the next couple of days.]

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Review: “The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn”

Posted by therebelprince on January 2, 2012

Today, I’m reviewing the film The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn.

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The New Adventures…

Posted by therebelprince on July 21, 2011

Hiya folks,

Okay, so – as is my wont – it’s been many a month since I posted here and, at present, I’m not eager to start back up again. There are occasionally scattered shows I wish to talk about, but rarely on an episode-by-episode basis. For now, I’m trying to focus on writing something substantial, and on my acting “career”, but I’m never one to give up on an idea completely (it may take me decades to finish Dark Shadows but, by God, when I get in a passionate mood, I fly!), so you’ll see me again.

In the meantime, you can check out the fruits of my 2011 procrastination at The Agatha Christie Reader and (although on temporary hiatus) The Tintin Review.

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Some Thoughts on “Clue”

Posted by therebelprince on September 30, 2010

I’ve always held that Nashville is my favourite film of all time. But when it comes to my favourite cult quote-every-line movie? It’s gotta be Clue. Yes, perhaps there are more truly classic comedies – Harold and Maude, Some Like it Hot, Manhattan spring to mind – but none have me hysterical on every. single. viewing.

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