Sunday, January 20, 2013

TV: Like soggy cereal

Last week was a feast of TV offerings.  To cite only a few, you had the return of audience favorites Scandal, Revenge, Arrow and Nikita, you had high profile guest stars like Megan Mullally (30 Rock),  Mark Paul Gossner (Happy Endings), Colin Ferguson (Happily Divorced) and Reggie Wayne and Andrew Luck (Parks and Recreation) and you had Fringe wrapping up a five year run with a two-hour finale.

After several weeks where only TV Land provided new content, prime time programming returned.  And this is when Crackle decides to debut its new series?

Crackle was Grouper until Sony Pictures bought it in 2007 with the plans to use it as an experimental format for emerging artists.  It was then renamed Crackle and the one-time YouTube-like channel began showing 'emerging artists' like Jerry Seinfeld.  For over five years, Crackle's big claim to net-fame was offering up old episodes of Seinfeld.

Other than that exclusive, they're pretty much like Hulu but with less choices.  Both show commercials, both offer old TV shows and movies.  It hasn't had much drawing power and has been considered a second-rate Hulu.  Last week, Crackle demonstrated yet again that it is not to be taken seriously.


They finally had new content that didn't look like something that might be shown on Current TV, a  tight, six episode series entitled Chosen and starring Milo Ventimiglia of Heroes and That's My Boy fame.  That's My Boy fame?  Though conventional wisdom is that no one came off good in that film, Milo's nude scene has been one of  2012's most talked about scenes by straight women and gay men.  For (not work safe) examples, see's "Milo Ventigmiglia Incredibly Hot Nude Scene in That's My Boy" and OhLaLa Mag's "Milo Ventimiglia Hotness in 'That's My Boy'."

You can't buy that kind of heat and Milo has it right now.  As Ian Mitchell, he's separated from his wife Laura (Nicky Whelan) who arrives to pick up their daughter Ellie (Caitlin Carmichael) and, shortly after she leaves, there's a box left on his doorstep and he's shot at.  The box contains a photo of a man he's never met, Daniel Easton played by Diedrich Bader, and Ian's expected to kill him.

If he doesn't, his family will be harmed.  Can he do it? Can he kill someone in cold blood?

As much as That's My Boy was a showcase for Milo's body, Chosen is a showcase for his acting. 

Or would be if people could see it.

Crackle had the ideal time to showcase this series over the last weeks when there was no new prime time programming from CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and The CW.  A well crafted suspense series could have owned the net during that time period.

But instead Crackle elected to start the series on Thursday, January 17th.  Just past the middle of the week.  And instead of doling out an episode at a time to build interest and talk, they dumped all six episodes on the same day. 

In its nearly six years of existence, Crackle has remained pretty much a secret or a joke.  Last week demonstrated that was no accident.  Crackle fails to crackle or snap or pop.  It just sort of floats there in the bowl like cereal left too long in milk.

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