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Phil’s Newsletter #39, Sticks & Fists Return

Now available on the Substack, issue 39 of my weekly newsletter. In it, I discuss the labors of the week: Marathoning season 1 of One Punch Man and both seasons of I Think You Should Leave.

Over on YouTube, you can catch the most recent episode of Sticks & Fists, in which we take on Downtown Special: Kunio-Kun Downtown Special: Kunio-kun’s Historical Period Drama! which for the uninitiated westerners out there is sort of a sequel to River City Ransom. It owns and we’ll be playing it again this week, 7:30 pm Wednesday on Twitch.

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In defense of the ‘Happy Days’ ‘Jump the Shark’ episode

Written by the writer of that very episode. More than a little defensive, but it is somewhat interesting to hear the guy talk about it like this.

He seems to be confused on one point, though.

Jumping the shark doesn’t mean a decline in popularity, though. It means a decline in the qualities that made the show good to begin with. Jumping the shark is the point at which the show you liked starts becoming something else; generally something worse, at least from your perspective as a longtime fan.

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“Lost” Rod Serling Interview From 1970

Serling interviewed by University of Kansas professor James Gunn. Part 1 and Part 2.

This video was to be part of the professor’s film series “Science Fiction in Literature,” but was not included due to rights issues with Serling’s work. Blame CBS. Via SF Signal.

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Venture Bros. Season 4 Part 2 Premieres Sept. 12th

Straight from Jackson’s blogmouth, with a bonus list of the upcoming episode titles and a nice collage of screen-grabs.

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David Simon’s Open Letter to New Orleans

Preface for his new series, Treme, which begins tonight on HBO. Treme has some real big shoes to fill in The Wire, and I hope it does so with gusto.

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David Mamet’s Editorial Notes To Writers of “The Unit”

Written, as one might hope, in all-caps, laced with profanity, and peppered with utter contempt for network executives. Delicious, and mostly good advice. A sample:

ANY TIME ANY CHARACTER IS SAYING TO ANOTHER “AS YOU KNOW”, THAT IS, TELLING ANOTHER CHARACTER WHAT YOU, THE WRITER, NEED THE AUDIENCE TO KNOW, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.

Amen.

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Enhance Your Television Experience With Bland!

From the Extra Future Theater of the Air comes the following public service announcement regarding “Bland!” the hot new trend in televison:

You can, if you want, download it in a in Ogg, or m4a format.

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David Simon: “Fuck The Average Viewer”

An interview with the creator of The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Streets, from March 2009.

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Lookwell

Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel’s 1991 television pilot, starring Adam West.

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Give the Gift of Cigarettes this Christmas

HINT HINT.

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Batman: The Animated Series Writer’s Bible

Brought you by the magic of the internet (PDF). Of personal interest to me:

NO STORIES ABOUT BATMAN’S ORIGIN

If only Hollywood would’ve listened. The document itself is full of reasons why Batman: TAS is still the best Batman-related media outside of the comics-sphere, but the above rings truest to me.

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Rocky and Bullwinkle mark 50 years

Happy birthday to Rocky and his Friends. If I’m funny, there are two reasons: My mom, and Rocky & Bullwinkle. I guess that is three, but the moose & squirrel are a team.

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Edward Woodward (1930 – 2009)

BBC News has the standard obit covered, for a less formal take, see British filmmaker Edgar Wright’s tribute.

I used to watch The Equalizer all the time in reruns at a kid, and the Wicker Man is one of my favorite films, and one of the best British horror films ever.

Nobody had a poker face like Woodward.

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Nickelodeon’s New Logo

… is not very good. I wonder how many millions it cost them to have someone make their logo worse?

I have many fond memories of Nickelodeon properties on my TV (Rocko’s Modern Life, the first series of Rugrats, Invader Zim, the crappy foreign-produced ‘toons they’d show during school hours), and it’s sad to see them step on those so blatantly.

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Futurama Picked Up for 26 New Episodes

Thank you, Comedy Central.

A spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television confirms that the cable net has ordered 26 new episodes of Matt Groening and David X. Cohen’s late, great animated series to air beginning in 2010.

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David Carradine found dead in Bangkok

Sad news. He was one of the best at what he did.

Thai police told the BBC the 72-year-old was found by a hotel maid sitting in a wardrobe with a cord around his neck and other parts of his body.

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Mad Men Begins Production of Season 3

Hallelujah.

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Five Questions With James Urbaniak

Regarding his experience taping The Office season 5 finale. Fun fact: James auditioned to play Dwight.

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Everything Tracy Jordan Said

Every line spoken by Tracy Morgan’s character on 30 Rock this season.

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John Madden Is Retiring

Probably the single most visible ambassador of American football is calling it quits after 50 years. A great coach, and a great announcer. Even if you didn’t like his style, you knew he cared a lot about the game.