PCR past banners Now in our fourth calendar year
PCR #196  (Vol. 4, No. 52)  This edition is for the week of December 22--31, 2003.

Will and Karen's Excellent Adventure to South Florida - Part Two....Plus, Year-End Summary
by Will Moriaty
Cold Mountain
 by Mike Smith
2003 Year-End Edition
 by Vinnie Blesi
The Top Ten Albums of 2003
 by Terence Nuzum
The Top Ten Movies of 2003
 by Terence Nuzum
At The Movies....In Closing...
 by John Lewis
'Twas The Night Before Christmas And At PCR...
 by Matt Drinnenberg
The Year That Was....Why God, Why?....Do What We Say, Not What We Do....Yoko Again....Classic Lines....My Top 10 Movies, Phillip's Top 5
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR
Couch Potato Confessions by Vinnie B.
   A sardonic commentary on America’s favorite pastime.

Couch Potato Confessions, 2003 Year End Edition
I would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year and peas on Earth. I would also like to thank Nolan B. Canova for letting me have this little piece of cyberspace to vent and rant. And for everyone who missed the special holiday episode of “Cops”: Ho, Ho, Ho!

It was the end of 2002 that I got a Tivo digital video recorder. I had no idea how much impact this one device would have on my television viewing. Instead of being at the whim of the network programmers, I have available, at anytime, up to 30 hours of recorded material waiting for me. I’ll be honest with you, I never mastered the VCR programming thing. Too many times have I recorded something only to find out that I had AM selected instead of PM or some other stupid blunder. Tivo recording is so easy even my mother could do it and you can fast forward through the commercials!

The other great feature of TIVO is their suggestions, so even if you don’t have anything programmed the unit will record programs it thinks you will like, based on thumbs up or thumbs down ratings you give to programming. Except for the two times it went crazy and was recording all religious programs and then “Judge Judy” shows, the recommendations feature works about 90% of the time. I have caught a few very good independent films this way.

So ever since I got the Tivo I realized that most of the good TV programming is on in the middle of the night, and I don’t mean infomercials or “Girls Gone Wild” ads. Turner Classic Movies, for one, often shows old cult films in the wee hours. And the Sci-Fi channel often shows reruns of old Twilight Zone and Outer Limits episodes. These are two shows that have held up to the test of time and remain in my opinion still some of the finest programming available on television today. (I absolutely agree on all counts, especially about after-midnight programming. If I ever get cable back, it will be primarily to restore that.---Nolan)

2003 saw the lowest point in Sci-fi television in recent history as the Sci-fi channel prematurely pulled the plug on the the best current sci-fi show on TV, Farscape. Over all, except for the previously mentioned Twilight Zone and Outer Limits reruns, the Sci-Fi Channel overall gets a “D” grade for the year 2003. From the sleep-inducing Dune miniseries to the recent and controversial, Battlestar Galactica miniseries, the network has shown a lack of commitment to quality programming and a commitment to demographics and marketing. The good news is that rumors have it that Rockne O’Bannon and Jim Henson studios are gearing up for a Farscape miniseries to resolve the hanging plot lines and cliff hanger ending. We can only hope this is true.

UPN is to be equally spanked for there continued airing of Enterprise, with a Baywatch theme song, these guys just don’t get it. Having T’Pau dress in even tighter clothes is not going to make this show better. If UPN had any balls they would have the Enterprise get blown up and all the characters die, and start over from scratch with some good actors and characters. Scott Bakula, BARF!

The only redeeming sci-fi show on television continues to be Andromeda, with another great season dealing with the Great Abyss and an ongoing struggle in the universe between good and evil, ripe with subplots of deceit and internal conflict.

2003 also saw the music recording industry suing fans, including children, over sharing songs over the Internet. It also ushered in a new era of evil computer programs such as Kazaa, which install programs such as the Brilliant network which take over your computer to show you ads and who knows what else. Could the Matrix be coming or could it be here already? If you are not using Ad-aware I recommend you get it immediately and if you have a cable or DSL Internet connection a firewall program is recommended. Kerio offers a very good free software firewall, http://www.kerio.com/us/kpf_home.html

In the world of music, we saw a plethora of retro bands. I’m sorry but “Jesus and the Mary Jane" and “The Velvet Underground” did it better the first time around. The best CD of the year you haven’t heard is without a doubt by Placebo, “Sleeping with Ghosts”. They also happened to perform the concert of the year at a recent show here in Tampa Fl. The high energy didn’t stop for an hour an a half, and left this old rock-n-roller drained. Coming a close second to best live show of the year was the reformation of the original “X”. Another high energy set and not a bad song in the bunch.

Looking at the recent TV ratings, with Survivor holding the top 3 spots, I fear the new year only holds more of the same old, same old, lame television programming. Looking at the music charts there also isn’t much hope for any revival of good music. Just keep looking to the Underground, it's still out there, the computers in charge just don’t want you to know about it.

Take care and see you next year,
Vinnie Blesi.

"Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2003 by Vinnie B..  Couch Potato main graphic by Vin Blesi and Nolan Canova.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.