Oregon Media Watch: Music, TV Fall Schedule, Political Ads, Video Games
|Manic Street Preachers hit Seattle, 2009
(Portland, Oregon) – It's the first of a new feature here at OregonTravelDaily.com. Since this publication covers much national and international subjects in the travel world, these occasional commentaries on regional, national and international media concerns seem like a fascinating new direction to add to this publication.
The TV fall schedule has arrived like a brand new baby left on your doorstep, political ads are swarming the airwaves, some strange international music copyright agreements have come to light, and one extremely popular online video game may have sounded its death knell.
September just ended and the biggies (on broadcast networks, anyway) have let loose their gaggle of goofy new TV series and the season premieres of some regular favorites.
“The Event” seems to have been the most pumped up event for TV, giving off a LOST vibe in its teasers. Indeed, for serious fans of sci-fi and other geeky types, this one provides plenty of satisfaction. It’s got that irresistible mix of soap opera, government intrigue and supernatural stuff to make a lot of LOSTies happy. But it’s hard to say what it’s going to do for a more general audience that’s not so sucked in by sci-fi or straight up horror.
Still, in spite of the show’s comparisons to LOST and 24, it does have its own thing going. This looks like the best contender for big things out of the whole new season.
In the semi-LOST vein, “Fringe” came roaring back with some wild, intense season openings, that had lovely Agent Dunham split between two universes and a whole mess of new, crazy plotlines to explore over the next season – or two. This is going to be awesome as well.
On CW, “Vampire Diaries” reopened its tomb with quite the reveal – or two, or five. This sexy sucker just got more interesting, to say the least.
Also on CW, “Supernatural” returned – and that’s unclear why. The series seemed to end nicely, although it left you wanting more, back in the spring. But so far, not much has made sense with the return of the hellbound brother Sam, and something about the whole energy of the series and storylines seems off.
“The Office” returned with a big bang, starting off with a rather impressive musical number. This is apparently Steve Carell’s last year with the Ricky Gervais brain monster, and the laughs have been slowing a bit the last two seasons. Perhaps this will be the swan song of the comic creation – or it’ll be a shot in the arm for the thing to reinvent itself.
Other awesome debuts for the year include “Community,” “Hawaii 5-O” (featuring folks from Battlestar Galactica and LOST), “Modern Family,” “Big Bang Theory,” more of PBS' “History Detectives,” CBS’s Craig Ferguson and his wondrous robot and gloriously foulmouthed bunny, and CW’s “Smallville” and its final season.
Unfortunately, we’re stuck with more “Dancing with the Stars” and other horrid such reality TV fare.
On TV in the Oregon/southern Washington area, like everywhere else, the political ads now dominate.
Let’s face it, Oregon’s governor’s race is lame beyond belief. We have the choice of a former jock (which aren’t the smartest breed to begin with) that sounds like either Scooby Doo or Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys; or we can rehash the 90’s with a kind of so-so gubernatorial figure from days gone by. If you think that’s bad, you should see the attack ads.
Kitzhaber’s ads are definitely the worst, very much coming across as nitpicking about various aspects of Dudley’s life and career, and glaringly appearing as if they’re blowing things out of proportion and taking facts out of context, even if you don’t know what the ads are talking about.
The most depressing are the Jim Huffman vs. Ron Wyden ads in Oregon, or the Washington ads from Denny Heck and his various opponents (which include several Republican organizations), all of which attack each other with strange accusations.
The end result is that all these ads are about as informative as an info-mercial for a financial scheme that features former Playboy models. Unfortunately they simply have to play to the attention span and lack of understanding of the American people. This is, after all, the age of American Idol, or even the Tea Party – which, let’s face it, does thrive on misinformation and bizarre spin.
On a different kind of political note, one of the most popular bands in the world – Manic Street Preachers – just released its latest album, “Postcards from a Young Man.” This would normally be a joyous occasion, especially for some staff here at OTD, but instead it’s turned into an ugly display of some kind of mysterious fight or shadowy contract between the U.S. and European music markets, which don’t allow the record to show up here. Try downloading it on Amazon or even the UK version of Amazon from the U.S., and you get scary messages that hint you might’ve already broken international laws. Even try checking out the new songs on YouTube and you’re blocked with similarly ominous messages.
Come on, Manics: you left your U.S fans behind long enough by not appearing here for ten years. Then 2009’s “Journal for Plague Lovers” wasn’t released here until nearly six months after its British drop date.
One staff member here at OTD has had the “Postcards” album on order from a local record store for a couple weeks now, and nothing has shown up yet. It had to be ordered as an import.
What other bands are being deprived of U.S. ears because of odd copyright agreements like these? In the age of the Internet, satellite TV and other mediums, how many times can you shoot yourself in the foot, dear record companies? And you wonder why you have major business woes…
Finally, the video game Half Life 2, from innovators Steam, recently shot out an update that disrupted the entire online play capability. Many servers don’t show up anymore, the play action is different, and the entire way you see online play servers has changed in an awkward way.
There have been numerous changes at Half Life 2 in recent months, a couple of which have messed up the online action aspect of the hugely popular game (called “Half Life Deathmatch”). But this update took away the possibility of playing with bots (non-human players) on the servers and has seemingly wiped away the existence of numerous popular game servers where hundreds and hundreds play each day.
Has Steam conjured its own Grim Reaper and sounded the bell of its own demise? Some are saying this is just a temporary glitch, but others say this may be the new normal at an online video game service that has been legendary – perhaps until now. Clean up the situation, dear Steam, or at least let customers know what they’re in for from now on.