Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Christmas Charms

Happy Santa
Happy Santa Italian Charm
Santa Claus with Bag
Santa Claus with Bag Italian Charm
Gingerbread Man Italian Charm
Gingerbread Man Italian Charm
Jingle Bells in Wreath Italian Charm
Jingle Bells in Wreath Italian Charm
Smiling Santa
Smiling Santa Charm
Santa Claus
Santa Claus
Holiday Fur Tree
Holiday Fur Tree Italian Charm
Holiday Candle
Holiday Candle Italian Charm
Red Ribbon Candy Cane
Red Ribbon Candy Cane
Charming Snowman
Charming Snowman
Purple Snowman
Purple Snowman

More Christmas Charms at Italian Charms shop.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What Makes a TV Show Successful?

"Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

-Dylan Thomas

What makes a TV show a success? Is it the writing? The cast? The look and feel of the show? Originality? Well, if any of these were the case, "Firefly" would've lasted more than the 12 aired, 14 filmed episodes. It took 3 years for the show to get a big-screen reboot, and, but for some minor changes needed for transition, the movie was even better. Not that it mattered much at the box-office. And yet the DVD sales were rather good.

The show itself has, in time, rounded up quite the fan-base (I'd expect nothing else from a space western full of colourful characters). But I fear that leads nowhere. From my point of view the whole "Firefly" universe is dead and gone as far as live action TV and movies go. To have it any other way would be unfair to everyone involved. The timing is off.

But I'm not writing this for "Firefly"'s sake. I'm using it as a pretext to dig into some cancelled, some revived shows and the reasons behind. What makes a TV show a success? Devoted fans. It's the only possible answer. And even that is not enough at times.

Case in point: "Jericho". Now there's a show I liked, from the moment I saw the pilot. It had little action in its hour run, a lot of characters thrown at us, and a slow pace. But you could see it was building up to something. And the last episode of the first season proved to me it had potential(an all out skirmish between two small towns post-nuclear holocaust does have its appeal). The CBS folks didn't agree and cancelled the show. But fans were so nuts about the show they proved it. Flooded with the seed, the execs brought back the show, on a trial run. 7 episodes were to test the show's potential. But to be honest, despite a hardcore fan base of about 5 or so million people who tuned in every week, the network had already made up their mind and those 7 episodes were a sad, yet necessary goodbye to the show.

That isn't always the case. Sometimes fans get their wish and the shows endure. Like with "Family Guy" (in this case Fox stands to make a bundle from the highly popular animated show, and they're greedy enough to step on their pride, "The Simpsons" are a good example of how far they'd go), or "Cagney&Lacey" which remained on the air 4 more seasons than the 2 previously aired. Sometimes the TV shows die, but DVD movies are born. E.g. : "Stargate SG-1" (though having outlived its charm somewhere in the middle of the 6th season, continued to provide some above average episodes until its 10th season cancellation) lived to fight another day on DVD with not one but 2 movies, providing all fans with much needed closure; "Futurama" has its own future on DVD with a bunch of movies having been made or being made (how can you not like an ass kicking sexy one eyed mutant and a drunk immoral robot working for a delivery company? ).

Other times shows die, after just one season, maybe less. As was the case with the largely unknown "Day Break". Good cast, good premise, well executed, not attractive enough to the general public. Though cancelled, the 13 episodes were wholesome enough not to leave us wanting more, yet saddened that we weren't going to.

And a lot of times a show's popularity strips it of all decency. Yes, I'm talking about none other than the soapy(and soon to get even more melodramatic) "Prison Break". Despite a good cast (I'm looking at you Robert Knepper and William Fichtner) and an original plot (as far as the first season goes), the show has outworn its welcome by 2 seasons, and it's looking forward to its fourth. In retrospect they shouldn't have called it prison break, unless they are keen on throwing the main characters in prison every so often (I'd suggest Asia next, if they're going by continents).

What makes a TV show successful? Luck.

Pop culture for all it's worth

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

TV, Made Simple - And Affordable

As much as I like TV, it has also caused me some serious headaches.

These days cable is a must. While local news is good, there is so much more to be seen on CNN and other major national networks. Then there's sports. ESPN, FSN, all those big channels provide 24/7 sports action. Cable TV also has the best movies on channels like HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, BET, and the likes. No doubt about it, cable TV has become a staple among households all across the country.

However, there are a few problems I've had with cable TV. First, availability. I live in a household that owns two TV's (right up there with the national average of 2.4), but those two TV's seem to be continually used up. Thanks to my wife's interest in the food channel, one TV has become devoted to that whenever she feels the need to watch some more recipes, food trends, or ideas. My other TV met its availability downfall when my family purchased a Nintendo Wii. My children (and I'll admit, us adults as well) spend a lot of time playing games on the TV. When all is said and done, TV availability get really scarce around here. I thought about buying a new TV, but there's two problems with that. One, it costs more money, and two, I don't really have room for it. That's the first problem.

My second problem with cable TV is the cost. Our DirecTV Choice Package includes 150 channels, and costs me $45/month. I don't know about the rest of you, but that adds up when you throw that in with your other monthly payments like cell phones, rent, utilities, insurance, etc. I mentioned earlier that cable TV has become a must, but the price has almost turned it into a can't in my household.

I'd like to think that to every problem there is a solution. Whether or not that is true, thankfully, in this case, I have found a solution! It's pretty simple, and I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before... TV on the computer!

My household currently maintains three computers and two laptops. I'm not sure what the average computer per U.S. household is, but I'd imagine it is both high and rising. There is already double the amount of computers in my household than TV's. This makes availability a non-factor around here. Then there is the matter of pricing...

I searched around online and finally landed on a sweet deal. It includes 9,000 TV channels.. 8,850 more than I was getting before, but (this is the best part) is only cost me $40!! That is a flat rate fee, not to be paid monthly, costing even less than what I was already paying per month! I was a little skeptical at first, because this seemed too obvious a deal for me and many others to have passed up if it were legitimate, but a 60-day money back guarantee sealed the deal for me. I tried it out, and boy, was I impressed! Now I can go anywhere I want and watch cable TV on my laptop anytime I want to! The amount of channels available to me are more than I could ever need, and there was no satellite installment needed!

This, my friends of cyberspace, is a bonafide good deal. I suggest you check it out, they provide all the information you could need and even let you watch a sample channel if you want.

Oh, and another little perk... I have a projector, and when I hook it up to my laptop I can project the TV across the wall, creating my own big-screen TV of sorts. If you have a projector, this would be another cool deal to try out!

If you're interested, go ahead and check out my website, which can be found in my profile and gives you details as to how you can sign up.

If you have any questions or supporting comments about this deal, feel free to add input! Happy watching!!

Preston Devine

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