Well, there goes all my free TV watching. Megaupload is the largest filesharing site on the world, and their streaming service Megavideo has thousands of hours of free TV on it. The New York Times is reporting the site was shut down by US lawmakers. (Not sure how this relates to SOPA)
More from The New York Times:
McLEAN, Va. — Federal prosecutors in Virginia say they have shut down one of the world’s largest Internet file-sharing sites, Megaupload.com, and charged its founder and others with violating piracy laws.
An indictment accuses the company of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated films and other content. The indictment was unsealed Thursday, one day after Web sites shut down in protest of two Congressional proposals intended to thwart the online piracy of copyrighted movies and TV programs.
Megaupload.com has claimed it is diligent in responding to complaints about pirated material.
The indictment says that at one point, Megaupload was the 13th most popular Web site in the world.
Shameless: The Disgusting, Vile, And Completely Inappropriate Feel Good Show Of Our Generation
By Charles Hamilton
Shameless is a feel good TV show for the 21st century. Yes, it’s ridiculous. Yes it is disgusting and vile. And yes, William H. Macy’s character, Frank, is one of the most despicable characters out there. But if you do away with all its grittiness, illicit drug use and excessive drinking, Shameless has a good soul. And in a really roundabout way, it is one of the most heartwarming shows on TV.
Showtime’s Shameless is remake of low-budget but critically acclaimed UK show of the same name. (I watched a few episodes of the original and I can safely say the higher-budget American remake does the original justice.) The show centres on the lives of the Gallaghers, a family struggling in economic climate of inner-city Chicago. The family is full of lovable misfits: there’s the oldest brother, a genius who spends his time selling pot and writing other people’s college entry exams; there’s the younger brother, whose coming out the closest experience is complicated by the fact that he’s having an affair with his boss, who is devote Muslim. But the heart of the show is Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum), one of the most truly admirable and insanely attractive people on to ever grace the small screen.
So why do I love Fiona so much? She’s beautiful (ok, who am I kidding she is drop dead gorgeous), but it’s not simply because you get to see her boobs all the time that I love her character. I love her because she is real. And that’s what I love about this show.
For all the hijinks and hilarity, Shameless has sense of realism that is often lost in comedies. Every detail of the show right from the opening credits — which feature a time lapse shot of the family dishevelled bathroom — to the clutter-filled house stacked high with laundry and dished, is well thought out. The house they live in feels real, the bar Frank drinks at feels real, and above all the characters are real — even if Frank’s escapades can seem a little over the top sometimes.
It is this realism that defines the show. All the critics who called this show “crude” or “uninspired” just don’t get it. This show is not about the swearing, the nudity or the alcoholism or absentee fathers. It’s not even really about the struggle about the lower class America. All this is the background noise. At its heart, this show is about family, love and relationships. That’s why it tops my list as the feel good show for our times.
The future of creator-driven TV (as opposed to committee driven TV) is the subject of this great piece by
from The National Post
On July 22, Frank Darabont, The Walking Dead’s chief creative honcho, received a hero’s welcome at the annual Comic-Con convention in San Diego. And rightly so — the filmmaker best-known for his adaptations of prison-set Stephen King novels (The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption) had just successfully shepherded an epic, gory graphic novel about a zombie apocalypse from fanboy fever dream to cable-network triumph, delivering critical acclaim as well as record ratings for AMC.
What’s more impressive, though, is that Darabont accomplished the feat almost single-handedly — the executive producer practically stick-handled development of the entire first season, including writing and directing the stunning pilot. As he bounded up to the stage in Ballroom 20 to answer questions that day, though, little did the show-runner know he was, like his title characters, a dead man walking. Just three days later, AMC fired Darabont, with rumours circulating of overspending and an unmanageable ego.
The network should have stuck it out. By canning The Walking Dead’s lead creative voice, AMC execs turned a visionary, auteur-led series into a drama-by-committee slog. If only the execs had been paying attention, they would have realized one of 2011’s most important lessons: that TV series are now best left in the hands of a single creative voice.
Read More at: http://arts.nationalpost.com/2011/12/27/best-to-make-it-a-one-man-show-when-it-comes-to-tv-series/
By Charles Hamilton, Bridges
In true spy novel fashion, in Showtime’s Homeland nothing is as it seems. Tense and compelling, full of intrigue and suspense, at its heart this recent addition to the slew of post-911 dramas is about the characters, not terrorism. That fact alone sets it apart from most spy thrillers on TV.
Any show that has America’s homeland security as its central driving drama has the potential to become formulaic and tiresome. But Homeland finds a way to remain relevant in a world cluttered with all the background noise of post -911 America.
When this show first started, I had no idea how they were going to pull it off. First off, it’s hard to do a show about post-911 America without falling into the traditional narrative off terrorists are evil and the CIA is awesome. But Homeland resists all these temptations.
When I heard the premise, I also had no idea how they were going to keep it going past the first season. Without giving too much away, let’s just say the first season hinges on a central mystery. My initial reaction was, “How are they going to keep this thing going? If they don’t solve this, I’m going to mad but if do solve it there will be no show left!” But with its final episode wrapped, I am ready for more. This show has legs.
Claire Danes is truly what holds this show together. She is definitely one of the strongest female characters on TV and her depth is the launching pad that makes Homeland’s war on terror more complex than the usual good guy bad guy narrative.
The fascinating relationship between Danes and Damian Lewis — who plays a U.S. Marine who was held captive for eight years by an Al-Qaeda-type terrorists — is one of the truly engrossing relationships on TV. It’s somehow simultaneously highly dramatic and hyper-realistic. I know those two things seem counter-intuitive, but this show pulls it off.
While most shows about America’s War on Terror have a tendency to devolve into simplicity narratives, these character’s motivations are almost inexplicably human — nothing is black and white, nothing is the simply good versus evil.
Homeland is not just another spy show. It’s not just another show about terrorism. It’s about a people and relationships undergoing extreme amounts pressure and somehow surviving. It’s as good as any drama on TV.
Louis CK Gets Rich off of the Internet:
Comedian Louis C.K. has made $1 million selling his new comedy special directly to fans.
Since releasing his comedy special online 12 days ago for the low price of $5, over 200,000 people have downloaded and paid for Live At The Beacon Theatre.
The comedian invested all his own money in the project and did run around on the traditional distribution model by selling the comedy special directly to his fans using Pay Pal.
A statement from C.K.’s website:
So it’s been about 12 days since the thing started and yesterday we hit the crazy number. One million dollars. That’s a lot of money. Really too much money. I’ve never had a million dollars all of a sudden. and since we’re all sharing this experience and since it’s really your money, I wanted to let you know what I’m doing with it. People are paying attention to what’s going on with this thing. So I guess I want to set an example of what you can do if you all of a sudden have a million dollars that people just gave to you directly because you told jokes.
Besides covering the costs of production and keeping a little for himself, C.K. is donating money to charity.
Read Louis C.K.’s message on his website at:
HBO Cancels Best Comedy On TV:
HBO just made the biggest mistake since cancelling Rome and Carnivale…They cancelled the best comedy on television, Bored To Death. This doesn’t make much sense to me since they decided to renew, “Enlightened”. They also cancelled two other decent shows, Hung and How to Make it America…Don’t ask me. Just morn the death of this great achievement in TV by reading my review of the series published in Bridges. And go re-watch Bored to Death. It’s great.
Now the Review:
Stoner comedy has never been this clever
But somehow, this little half-hour show breaks all the rules about comedy. It refuses to be formulaic and contrived; instead it is insightful and strangely intelligent. The entire show is littered with jokes about potheads and awkward sexual endeavours. But as its third season wraps it is still somehow one of the smartest things on TV.
Bored To Death feels like you are watching some witty autobiographical memoir pulled from the pages of The New Yorker magazine. And, in some ways, you are. The show’s creator, Jonathan Ames, writes every single show. He has made his mark in the literary world by exposing his insecurities. He’s been called the X-rated Woody Allen. By trade, he’s a writer of witty, semiautobiographical fiction.
In this latest venture, Ames has created a highly fictionalized version of himself (named Jonathan Ames) played by Schwartzman. With amazing performances from Ted Danson as George, his editor, and Zach Galifianakis as Ray, his best friend, chaos and comedy follow the fictional Ames wherever he goes.
But Bored To Death refuses to follow the simple formula the premise provides: each episode is more than just another case Ames is trying to solve. Nor does it fall into the trap of making clowns out of the supporting cast. The three main characters are hilarious, pathetic and inspired all at once.
Unlike some of my other favourite comedies like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, watching this show isn’t a guilty pleasure. The characters aren’t loathsome sociopaths or perpetually awkward narcissists (see Curb Your Enthusiasm). The show is about love and meaningful relationships as much as it is about sex jokes. It’s as much about the push and pull of modern life in New York City as it is about suiting up for ridiculous private eye missions. It’s as much about the neurosis of the modern artist as it is about smoking pot. That’s why I will never get bored watching Bored To Death.
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
Beating out Netflix
Pay-TV chiefs don’t see a threat as subscriber bases grow
Canadian pay-television executives are playing down the threat of further disruption from Netflix Inc. on the Canadian market this year, even as the online entertainment provider plans to double its investment in the domestic service.
At meetings with investors in recent weeks, senior corporate managers of Corus Entertainment Inc. and Astral Media Inc., owners of the two largest movie networks in the country, said the impact of Netflix and other online content services in the past 12 months has been minimal, and would remain so in fiscal 2012.
"The over-the-top offers are negligible as a competitive threat," said Doug Murphy, chief of television at Corus, which operates Movie Central and owns HBO Canada jointly with Astral.
Read more: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/entertainment/Beating+Netflix/5869647/story.html#ixzz1h5tyIdo3
Dexter Top Downloaded Show of 2011:Torrent Freak
Torrent Freak, the web’s most prolific BitTorrent blog, compiled this amazing list. Dexter, the top downloaded show, had more people download it then watch it live on air. This doesn’t even include people who download or stream for other non-BitTorrent sites. The times they are a changing.
A a great little piece by
From the TV set to the Internet
When we talk about the effect of the Internet on entertainment, we usually don’t get much past the economic bottom line. More than simply how we pay for our consumption, though, the Internet is affecting that very consumption itself, and nowhere is that more true than television, the red-headed-stepchild-turned-Harvard-accepted-prom-queen of the art and entertainment world.
It is doubtful that any medium has had its image so radically altered in such a short period of time as television in the past decade or so. From the premiere of The Sopranos to the dramatic heights of Breaking Bad’s latest season, television has gone from the ultimate mass-appealing pabulum to the home of some of our generation’s most compelling and worthwhile stories. And though we have to give due credit to the forward-thinking creators and enabling network producers who put those shows on the air — there’s no chicken/egg argument here — we also can’t overlook the effect of television’s most devoted audience: online critics and commenters.
Excepting itself, there is simply no better popular medium for the Internet’s attention than television. For starters, the Web’s constant craving for new content lends itself to visualized serials: where our favourite authors, filmmakers and musicians take months and more typically years to produce new work, our favourite shows are on every week.
Read More At: http://arts.nationalpost.com/2011/12/19/from-the-tv-set-to-the-internet/