Monday, February 08, 2021

TV Talk (Stan, Ava and C.I.)

Repost of Stan's talk with Ava and C.I.:



TV Talk



That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "DiFi Ethics."

Okay, new content went up at THIRD today:




The TV piece, the WSWS piece and the KINDLE UNLIMITED interview with me were all done by Ava and C.I.  And I invited them to do a brief TV talk with me here.  Ava and C.I. cover TV for THIRD.  Correct me if I'm wrong on this, you didn't want to cover TV?


Ava: Right.  The site started in January of 2005.  We didn't see the point in covering TV.  Jim did.  Jim especially but probably everyone.  Back then, Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and I were in college and as Jim pointed out, easily two-thirds of the people in our classes were watching TV and talking about it.  Everything was group pieces the first edition -- including TV.  C.I. and I were sort of off to the side making silly remarks.  We did that for the first few weeks and Jim will tell you -- and noted in real time -- that the readers were responding to this.  So the others kind of turned it over to us.  And I don't know exactly when that was.  I could tell you if I looked at the stuff.  But sometime in February, Jim noted that we -- C.I. and I -- were doing the TV pieces.  They were getting compliments and Jim wanted to be clear who was writing them.


Well you two do a wonderful job and I agree with Dona who has stressed for over 10 years now that Ava and C.I. have created a body of work.  You two really have.  Is it intimidating?


C.I.: If we think about it.  We don't think about.  We keep our heads down and focus. If Jim starts talking page views, it'll intimidate us.  We don't want to know.  And we don't try to top ourselves.  If we feel like we've written something really good, we're going to try to cover something completely different the next week.  Expectations?  We don't want them.  


You have stated that you are presenting a feminist take.  Over and over, you have stated that.  And that's because?


Ava: Feminism is not one view.  It's many views.  We're presenting our view and there are other views out there.


You started covering TV in 2005.  It's 16 years later.  A lot has changed.  What's the big change?


Ava: Streaming for sure.  As late as 2014, my younger sister moved into a new area and everyone was telling her about cable and which one to use and when she said she wasn't getting cable, they looked at her like she was crazy.  She said she had NETFLIX and HULU PLUS -- which didn't have live TV at that time -- and AMAZON PRIME.  What did she need cable for?  And people who lived around her thought she was crazy or something.  Almost seven years later and no one would bat an eye at her statement, not with YOUTUBE TV and HULU PLUS LIVE.



So far this year, you two covered the streaming services in "TV: The big ripoffs" and "TV: AMAZON wins the race to the bottom."  I want to be sure people have read those two.  What about The Water Cooler Set?  You don't see yourselves as part of that.


C.I.: We don't.  When we started and we would talk about representation -- gender, race -- we would be told that wasn't important -- be told that by critics paid to cover TV for this or that outlet.  I don't think anyone of them would make that statement today.  But we're not part of the nonsense.  It's a big circle-jerk that celebrates any sexist piece of entertainment.  We had problems with Louis CK, for example.  And we warned people.  He was far too in love with, for example, the f-word -- the slur for gay men.  That should have been an issue but instead you had Terry Gross giggling and embracing him.  By the same token, there was a fall TV season not all that long ago where a network offered one new program after another and not one of them had a female lead.  We're the only ones who noted that.  And we have to wonder how do you miss that?   We're not trying to be cool or liked or part of The Water Cooler Set.  


You really have led on so many topics -- long before others were worried about White voices doing ethnic and racial characters on TV shows, you were raising the issue.


Ava: You know, if it's SOUTH PARK and it's two people doing voices -- which I think was a thing at one point, I'm not going to care.  But when you have an entire cast doing voices and the African-American character is voiced by a White man, for example, I am going to say what's going on here?  


Where would you rank a la carte viewing?  My aunt asked me about that?


Ava: Well it's got a term today but it did occur before.  We had DVRs and before that we had VCRs.  People have been watching according to their schedule for some time.  It is more common today but it's been going on for awhile now.


C.I.: Agreed.  And binging has as well.  You could record or buy on videocassette, DVD or BluRay your favorite show -- GOLDEN GIRLS, THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, etc -- and binge on it.  And LIFETIME used to offer non-stop episodes of shows when they'd first start airing on LIFETIME -- shows like ABC's CHINA BEACH --but where binging is news is that NETFLIX, to cite one example, now posts brand new, never seen before episodes of a show that you can binge.


That's a good point.  I don't like binging.  I don't have that kind of time most days.  I was glad season two of THE BOYS unfolded a week at a time.  THE BOYS was a good show, do you see much off the network that you would praise?


Ava: Sure.  The networks still have strong content though -- you love PRODIGAL SON and that's a strong show that happens to be on FOX.  THE CW's CHARMED is a strong show -- and fastly becoming a stronger show than the original.  AMAZON's had THE BOYS and SIX SCENES IN CRISIS and other shows.  NETFLIX has had HOUSE OF CARDS, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, SENSE8, GRACE AND FRANKIE, LUPIN and so much more.  There's a lot out there.


Sometimes it seems that way, sometimes it really doesn't.


C.I.: Well, is that more recent? Reason I'm asking is COVID left pretty much everyone but NETFLIX short handed.  NETFLIX delivered.  HBO can't even deliver -- they're supposed to have a new film every Saturday night and they've done that since the 90s but recent weeks have offered KILL BILL and, last Saturday, Brenden Fraiser's THE MUMMY.  PEACOCK never should have started last July when they were obviously not ready and had no original content worth sharing.  It remains the worst streaming service.  AMAZON had some stuff to offer and NETFLIX was on its normal footing -- and has already announced it plans to do the same this year.  But you had networks that barely offered anything last fall. 

I think that has a lot to do with it.  Last fall, TV did nothing to urge us to feel normal with their programming and with so many home-quarantining you'd think the networks would have tried to offer more.  You two covered this with "TV: Can anything be worse than fall 2020?" and it really wasn't like fall.  I want to wind down by jumping over to books and the interviews you are doing each week with us about the books.  So why the interviews?

Ava: Sometimes when you write a review, there's more that you could have said or would have said with more time so one thing is to make sure everyone's got a chance to share what they wanted to.  The other thing we're going for is that we're trying to make sure we're also grading the service -- KINDLE UNLIMITED -- because it does come with a price tag.  Is it worth it?  Each week, we get to explore that and readers can judge for themselves based on the observations.  

C.I.: Well said.  Also true, the community wants more book coverage and that's a way to offer more.  

Okay, well I thank you both so much.

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"



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