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April 2008 Archives

April 8, 2008

The Wire, BSG and TV on DVD

All has been quiet on the blog front for me lately, because I've been too absorbed in catching up with the 5 seasons of The Wire that I somehow missed. How I managed to ignore the best and most important show on television is surprising, so I've been trying to catch up.

At this point, I'm up to the beginning of season 3. The first two seasons are full of brilliant little moments, broad strokes of observation about the global economy, modern urban crime environment, the criminal justice system and humanity with an attention to detail and continuity unmatched by another series on television. More than any other series (particularly because of the "naturalistic" approach to using music cues), The Wire feels immediate and real.

Watching TV on DVD is a fundamentally different experience than watching episodes as they first air. Instead of having a week or so to digest the last episode, you can jump right in and binge on a 3 episode marathon. For a hour-long drama on a commercial-free network, that translates to 3 hour viewing session. Sure, the average American television viewer watches 4 and a half hours of television per day, but 3 consecutive hours in a single evening is a lot.

The participatory aspect of talking about TV in person or on the internet is perhaps the main impetus for watching live-- to be part of the community. There aren't many live discussions going about shows that aired five years ago.

In contrast, for shows that are on now, being able to participate without being spoiled, is a major motivation for watching live or slightly delayed.

One of the leading contenders for title of "Best Show Currently on TV" is certainly Battlestar Galactica. (I'd put Lost, 30 Rock and The Office in the mix, too for different reasons.) Some insightful discussion of episode 4.01, "He That Believeth in Me" at Sepinwall and The House Next Door. Galactica composer Bear McCreary discusses the score on his blog.

April 16, 2008

Six Degrees of Jay Landsman

In the midst of my all-consuming cram session to catch up with 5 seasons of The Wire, I also picked up David Simon's book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets.

One of the Baltimore homicide detectives Simon wrote about in Homicide was Sgt. Jay Landsman.

Landsman was the inspiration for Detective John Munch in the Homicide: Life on the Streets TV series. Richard Belzer has gone on to play Detective Munch in Law and Order:SUV as well as in cameos in Arrested Development and other shows.

In The Wire, Delaney Williams plays Sergeant Jay Landsman

Developing as a recurring role in season 3 of The Wire, Jay Landsman plays Lieutenant Dennis Mello.

Fader interviewed Landsman (the original) at the end of season 4.

April 23, 2008

Opera Today

The NY Times reports on a rare occurrence at the Met-- an encore of an aria, Ban on Solo Encores at the Met? Ban, What Ban?: "After the tenor Juan Diego Flórez popped out his nine shining high C’s in “La Fille du Régiment” at the Metropolitan Opera on Monday night, the crowd rose and cheered. Mr. Flórez obliged with something not heard on the Met stage since 1994: a solo encore. He sang the aria “Ah! Mes Amis” again, nailing the difficult note — a kind of tenor’s macho proving ground — nine more times. It was one of those thrilling moments that opera impresarios live for."

The Journal goes behind the stage to explore the rarely-seen world of opera prompters-- which aren't screens scrolling libretti, but people prompting the singers, It's Not Over (Yet) for Those Who Cue Divas: "The prompter's job combines the skills of a conductor, musicologist and linguist, with an unusual ability to listen to the orchestra, keep time with the hands and deliver the singers' lines a moment before the downbeat."

About April 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Buzz Rant & Rave in April 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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