Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wizards and Earworms

A funny thing happened recently. I realized that the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Wizards in Winter" was playing in my head, complete with the music video. I didn't mind, since I like both the song and the video. I had it for several days and didn't realize how much I was getting into it until my husband pointed it out. He'd caught me with my head going back and forth in time to some song he couldn't hear, and as he watched, I got more and more into it, doing a hilarious lip synch to the instrumental music. Suddenly, I noticed he was watching me with a combination of amusement and utter disbelief.

As a musician and music lover, I always have a song in my head. The problem is that it isn't necessarily one I want in there. When I can't take it anymore, I have a couple different ways of dealing with the unwanted tune. You can read about them here.

If you're not familiar with the "Wizards in Winter" video, I encourage you to check it out by following the link given above. Just don't blame me if it won't get out of your head.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Love in an Elevator

When SOAPnet first started advertising its What If web series, I really didn't plan to check them out, other than the snippets that would be shown on TV. Some of the crossovers looked interesting, but not enough for me to try to watch them online.

Then one day I found out about the one with OLTL's John McBain and GH's Sam McCall. These characters are portrayed by Michael Easton and Kelly Monaco, whose onscreen pairing as Caleb and Livvie on Port Charles made them one of my all-time favorite couples. I had to see their What If. I just had to.

Wow!!! Their chemistry is still there, as I knew it would be. This 5-minute webisode, titled Love in an Elevator, shows exactly why these two were a supercouple. Port Charles fans will love the inside jokes and should pay special attention to the poster on the elevator wall. If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to click on the link above; it won't be available forever.

There are several other webisodes, involving characters from all three ABC soap operas. If you're a fan of ABC daytime, there's a good chance at least one of your favorites is featured.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Big Premiere Week

The upcoming week is going to be a doozy, considering all the season and series premieres.

My husband and I have several shows returning the week of September 20. Chuck, Glee, Fringe, Supernatural, and Medium will all be back. In addition, The Vampire Diaries has already started, and Rubicon has been on for a while now. The Gates will air its final two episodes of the season (and possibly of the series) on the 19th, just before this doozy of a premiere week begins.

As if that weren't enough, we're thinking about checking out The Event and Chase, which will really make Monday a full night.

This wouldn't be too bad if it weren't for one big problem: we're still behind from last season. I mean behind. We're going to have a busy weekend just trying to watch as many shows as we can. If we can't catch up in time, we'll have to delay watching the new episodes until we're ready.

There are a couple more new shows I'm interested in, but fortunately, they're not scheduled to start until late October and mid-November.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pedigree: Write a Post and Help a Dog

Pedigree has some of the best television commercials around. Some are funny, and some bring tears to my eyes. If I'm in another room and hear one of their commercials come on, I make it a point to go back and watch it. I can't say that about many other ads!

I don't know the official titles of any of these commercials, but in my mind, some of my favorites are "We're For Dogs," "We're for Shelter Dogs," and "Oliver Goes Home."

The ones about Oliver really get to me. Oliver is an adorable terrier mix who's found himself at the shelter. Pedigree started off his story with a short commercial showing him looking so sad from his cage at the shelter. Later, another commercial started airing; it was Oliver's lucky day. He was adopted and got to go home, where we saw him playing and just having a ball. It's a happy ending that gets to me every single time I see it.

Now Pedigree has a new commercial about senior dogs, and as always, it's a good one. This ad goes with their new Healthy Longevity Food.

Why am I writing about this on an entertainment blog? Well, for one thing, the Pedigree commercials are entertaining. However, as you've probably guessed, that's not the main reason.

Pedigree is running a promotion, and this post is part of it. I'm not getting paid for it, but shelter dogs will benefit.

The sad fact is that about four million dogs find themselves in animal shelters and rescues every year in the United States. While they wait for their forever homes, Pedigree would like to help them. That's where we bloggers come in.

For every blog post about the Pedigree Adoption Drive that is published through Sunday, September 19, Pedigree will donate a 20-pound bag of their new Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to a shelter. That's right; a shelter somewhere in the U.S. will receive 20 pounds of dog food because of this post. Isn't that great?

If you'd like to help, you can do the same thing. To make sure your blog post counts, include the following bullets and add the direct link to your post to the Blog Hop below. (Bulleted info courtesy of Boulder Dog)

* Each year, more than 4 million dogs end up in shelters and breed rescue organizations. Pedigree created The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive to help shine a spotlight on the plight of these homeless dogs.

* This year the PEDIGREE Adoption Drive is raising awareness for homeless dogs by donating a bowl of food to shelter dogs for everyone who becomes a "Fan" or "Likes" the PEDIGREE Adoption Drive on Facebook. So far more than 1 million bowls have been donated.

* Special for BlogPaws West: For each blog that posts about the PEDIGREE Adoption Drive through September 19, PEDIGREE will donate a bag of its new Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to shelters nationwide. It's simple: Write a post, help a dog.

* Thursday, September 16 through Sunday, September 19, the Pedigree BlogPaws bloggers will host a Blog Hop to help raise awareness for the "Write a post, help a dog" effort.

Include the hashtag #dogsrule somewhere in the post; you should also use it as a tag or label. You'll also need to link to the Pedigree Adoption Drive Facebook fan page within your post. When you're ready to promote your post, tweet it using #dogsrule.

That's all there is to it! Just follow the guidelines, and a shelter will get a 20-pound bag of dog food.

You might have trouble fitting a post about the Pedigree Adoption Drive into your blog's theme, but please try. Somewhere in the U.S., an animal shelter and the dogs housed therein will be grateful that you did.

Monday, August 30, 2010

When Books Become Movies

As someone who likes both reading and watching movies, it's sometimes hard to decide which form I'd rather indulge in. Differences between a book and its movie adaptation can nag at me, even when they don't make a difference to the story. Because of this, I've found that it usually helps if I see a movie long after having read the book. That way, the text isn't fresh in my mind, and I can appreciate the film version better.

I found three books that I think have potential on the big screen. The publication dates range from 1982 to 2007, and I read them all fairly soon after they were published. If you're a fan of Christopher Moore, Dean Koontz, or Bentley Little, check out my picks for books that should be movies.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Update on status of Persons Unknown Episode 11 (and the Finale)

I'd intended to write about books this week, but then something happened with Persons Unknown, and I wanted to provide an update.

Until very recently, NBC was saying that episode 11, "Seven Sacrifices," would be available online only. This was upsetting to those of us who either can't or just don't want to watch shows online.

I decided to check my cable's On Demand section, just to see whether the missing episode was there. Well, to my surprise, it was.

This won't help everyone, since not everyone has the On Demand option, but it helped me, and I'm grateful that NBC made it available in a way in which I could actually watch the missing episode. (No, I haven't actually watched it yet.)

If you're a fan of this show, don't forget that the final two episodes will air tomorrow, August 28. It's a double-header; check your local listings for the time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

NBC's Latest Persons Unknown Fiasco

My husband and I were planning to check out The Event. Of all the new shows premiering in the fall, it's the one that most interests both of us. It's certainly gotten a lot of promotion. Now I'm wondering whether it's worth our time.

NBC can't even commit to a show that was planned as a 13-episode miniseries. I'm referring to Persons Unknown. For some inexplicable reason, the network is considering skipping episode #11.

As I said, it was always supposed to be a miniseries, and we were promised answers to all our questions by the end of its run. Did I ever believe that? Well, not really. Why? Partly because they can't begin to imagine all the questions viewers can come up with, but mostly because I always figured it was possible they'd pull the show before airing all the episodes. Normally, when this happens, they end the show early. I never imagined they'd yank an episode from the middle and then show the remaining two.

Most shows airing nowadays are in serial format, with no stand-alone episodes. If you miss one, the continuity is gone. This is even more true of a show like Persons Unknown. It's a huge mystery, and fans are supposed to look for clues in every episode. People like me--who don't like spoilers--don't want to find out elsewhere what happened if we miss an episode. They're called "spoilers" for a reason; they ruin the show for us.

Will I continue to watch Persons Unknown on NBC? Not if they really skip an episode. I'd rather wait for the DVDs. Am I still willing to give The Event a chance? At this point, I really don't know.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pretty Little Liars

A friend alerted me that ABC Family will be airing a Pretty Little Liars catch-up marathon on August 10. The marathon starts at 11:00 am EDT and will include the first ten episodes.

This show is based on Sara Shepard's book series of the same name. Although teens--especially teenage girls--are the target audience, it has broader appeal.

I knew about Pretty Little Liars before it premiered, and I was interested. The problem was that I couldn't justify adding yet another show to my schedule, so I decided to pass. I regretted this decision after finding out that Nolan North was playing the father of one of the liars.

Port Charles fans know Nolan as Chris Ramsey. Since its cancelation in 2003, he has become a prolific voice actor. In fact, if you're a gamer, there's a good chance you've heard Nolan's voice many times.

I like to watch shows in order, and I don't watch shows online. Now, thanks to the upcoming marathon, I'll be able to watch Pretty Little Liars from the beginning.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thoughts about last week's Y&R, AMC, and OLTL

I usually watch The Young and the Restless, All My Children, and One Life to Live on weekday mornings, when SOAPnet airs them in a three-hour block. I don't actually sit there the whole time and watch them with the same intense concentration I do my primetime shows, but I do like to keep up. With that in mind, I have a few thoughts about last week's shows.

Y&R: Victoria shouldn't have shown up at the dinner at all. After having been ordered to attend, that's the last thing she should have done. It doesn't matter that she intended to take Billy with her to annoy her father; the fact that she showed up at all means that she's still unwilling to completely defy him. That doesn't mean she should act like Abby, because there's something seriously wrong with that one.

I do have to give the writers credit for not dragging out the "Chance cheats on Chloe" secret. I didn't even know they'd done it; I knew about the kiss but thought that was as far as it had gone until I saw the flashback.

AMC: I really, really, really want Caleb to mop the floor with Junior. Really. Speaking of Caleb, the way he kept referring to Jackson's "perfect hair" was priceless. It's annoying that Bianca has no intention of keeping her kids out of Caleb's wing of the house. It's going to be even more annoying when he tries to shoo them away and they end up chipping away at his gruffness, and you know that's what will happen. And, to risk overusing the word, Bianca is even more annoying than ever.

I can't forget to mention Angie. That woman is a menace. I don't even like Ryan, but the guy doesn't deserve what would have happened to him if Jake hadn't taken over in the E.R. Angie is supposed to help people--first do no harm--but she's too stubborn to admit that she shouldn't be practicing medicine right now.

OLTL: I actually saw less of this than the other shows last week. One thing that stood out was Charlie and Viki's plan to get David and Dorian back together. It was silly but still fun and hilarious.

I keep waiting for Starr to dump Cole. It looks like that's the direction they're heading, but she's being stubborn about it.

I'm also waiting for an explanation about Elijah/Bennett. What did he have against Kelly's mother and Marty?

That's it for now. I'm sure I'll think of a few things I neglected to mention, but they'll just have to wait.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Some of My Favorite Love Songs

I did something that was almost impossible. I compiled a list of my favorite love songs. Think I'm exaggerating about how hard it was? I'm a music lover. I always have a song in my head. Sometimes it's one that's been around for a while--a couple months, several years, a few decades--and sometimes it's a new release I just can't get enough of. When you take that into account, I think you'll have to admit it's hard to come up with a list of favorites.

I compromised a bit. I started by listing 20 of my favorite rock love songs. The only way to do it was to think of songs guaranteed to have me cranking up the volume. I went back pretty far but did include some newer selections.

When I finished that list, I started working on another one: 20 more great love songs that weren't necessarily rock. Again, I went back pretty far, but I didn't duplicate any from the other list.

I suppose I'll have to do some updated lists at some point. After all, great new songs are showing up all the time.

Awesome: The Best Word to Describe Chuck

Chuck is a fantastic show that has it all: action, adventure, romance, humor, and drama. In spite of this, the fans, cast, and crew are put through the wringer every year while NBC makes a decision about whether to renew or cancel. I just don't get it; Chuck is such a great show, yet the ratings are never what they should be.

If you don't watch Chuck, why not? "Awesome" is more than just a catchphrase in this show; it's also the best word to describe Chuck.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

A&E Haiku

Back in April 2009, I wrote a few haiku-style poems for National Poetry Month. One of them, "Classic Journey," shows the connection between the band and a popular show from a few years ago. In fact, whenever I watched the show and Journey came up, I had to chuckle. One character loved them, while his best friend just didn't understand their appeal and preferred Death Cab for Cutie.

I doubt there's anyone who hasn't gotten into a show, only to realize that the ratings aren't great and the network might give up on it. It happens to me all the time. When it's time for decisions to be made, each show is reported as being either renewed, canceled, or on the bubble, meaning that it could go either way. "On the Bubble" is a set of three haiku poems about the agonizing wait for the network execs to make up their minds. One of the shows mentioned is still on today, but the other was unjustly canceled. I still miss it.

What does this template have to do with arts and entertainment, anyway?

Wondering why I chose this particular template? Funny how that happened.

I was looking at templates, rejecting quite a few but adding almost as many to my list of maybes. When I saw this one, I knew I had to have it. I just didn't know where I was going to use it.

I narrowed down the list to a more manageable size, still trying to assign templates to each blog. When I saw this one, I actually thought, Ellie's Couch.

If that were the scene outside my window, I'd want to curl up on the couch and read a good book or maybe watch TV. Either that or just enjoy the gorgeous view.

Then when I asked for my husband's opinion about which templates to use on which blogs, he also chose this one, but for a different reason. "It's cinematic," he said. I realized he was right. That gorgeous scene could easily have been taken from a movie.

So, that's how it happened. I realize that most people probably won't see it as a logical choice, but it makes perfect sense to me. Maybe someday I'll change it, but for now, it's here to stay.

Atta Boy, Luther: A Review of The Ghost and Mr. Chicken

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken is a 1966 film starring Don Knotts, who plays scaredy-cat Luther Heggs in what is arguably his best work. Spooky, hilarious, and just plain fun, this is my all-time favorite classic movie.

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Strange Turn of Events: A Review of Being Erica

Poor Erica Strange just had a terrible day. First, she got fired from her job at the call center--for being too bright. Then she got dumped so that the guy she'd been seeing could go to the gym. After getting drenched in a sudden downpour, she sought shelter inside a coffee shop and ended up having an allergic reaction to a free sample. That's what landed her in the hospital, where she met the mysterious Dr. Tom.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Motel Hell: Cult Classic from the '80s

Motel Hell is a hilarious classic horror movie from 1980. The title is something of a play on words, depicting both the name of the motel and the general state of affairs for the unfortunate soul who wanders anywhere near the motel and its proprietors. The story takes place at the very rural Motel Hello. However, the letter "O" on the sign has a bit of trouble, its light flickering on and off. The light on the other letters are fine, so that when the "O" is out, only the first four letters of the word remain. "Hell" is a good description of the motel, as you're about to learn.

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Review of U2's The Joshua Tree

If you've ever listened to the radio, you're probably already familiar with several tracks from The Joshua Tree, U2's Grammy-winning album from 1987. "Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," and "With or Without You" seem to have received the most airplay, at least to my recollection.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

New Night for Persons Unknown

I pulled up my cable guide last night to check the time for tonight's episode of Persons Unknown. It had aired in an early timeslot for two weeks, and I wanted to find out the story for this week's episode. Well, I wasn't happy to see that it wasn't even on the schedule. I thought it was possibly on hiatus--which happens all the time--but thought it was more likely that the network had canceled it. Since it was already pretty late, I decided to wait until this morning to investigate the situation online. I was relieved to learn that it had been moved to a different night. Instead of Mondays in varying timeslots, it's now scheduled for Saturdays at 8:00 pm EDT.

This is both good news and bad news. Persons Unknown was doing poorly in the ratings, and NBC decided to move it instead of canceling it--yet. I don't know what the network will ultimately do with the show, but my guess is that the move will actually save it. The ratings probably won't improve, but the networks don't seem to care as much about ratings on Saturday nights anyway.

We'll see what happens.

Welcome to Ellie's Couch

When I watch TV, read, or listen to music, I'm usually on the couch. For me, it's the most comfortable place for those activities. That's why I chose "Ellie's Couch" as the name for this blog about books, television, music, and movies. I won't be writing about everything I'm watching, reading, or listening to; that would be a monumental task. Instead, I'll choose the most interesting ones and see how that goes.