Thursday, September 19, 2013

2013 Fall TV Lineup!

So...this year, I am purposefully adding fewer shows than I have in years past, despite getting hooked up with the Genie from DirecTV for free!  I can now record 7 shows at once!  From what I hear, a baby will hinder my ability to watch as many shows as I used to, but we'll see ;)

We have recently lost or will be losing very soon many quality shows.  ABC failed big time by canceling Happy Endings, which was the best network sitcom since Friends.  All the other networks, USA in particular, failed by not saving it.  TBS saves garbage like Cougar Town but no one picks up Happy Endings?!  I don't know if it's the networks' fault or stupid viewers' faults who watch crappy shows instead of good ones.  Honey Boo Boo gets good ratings, right?  I rest my case!

Other shows that have come to an end are Futurama (for the final time, this time), Do No Harm, which was actually canceled back in February after just 2 'sodes which broke the record for lowest network viewership.  They burned the remaining 11 episodes over the summer and it actually got kinda good.  It wasn't a great show by any means, but certainly not the worst show ever.  Burn Notice, which was somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me, came to an end after 7 seasons. 

While Happy Endings certainly met its demise well before its time, one show that is coming to an end after a great run is Dexter.  The final episode is this Sunday and anything can happen!  (spoilers ahead)  Deb was shot last week; will she survive??  I hope Dexter and Hannah end up happy together (in Argentina it would seem).  Can Deb and Quinn have a happy ending together??

Okay, I digress.  On to the new shows!  My most anticipated one of the season is Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Anyone who's seen the Marvel movies, most notably The Avengers, will be familiar with S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Coulson, who despite apparently dying in The Avengers will star in the upcoming show about the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division from the Marvel universe.  Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury will not appear in the show, but I could perhaps see Cobie Smulders' Maria Hill appearing down the line, especially with her show, How I Met Your Mother entering its final season this year.  Time will tell if S.H.I.E.L.D. can take Marvel's film success and transfer it to the small screen.  DC has had hits with Smallville and Arrow, so Marvel decided to get into the mix and unlike the two aforementioned DC projects, S.H.I.E.L.D. will come straight from the movies while Smallville and Arrow are standalone shows.  S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres on ABC on 9/24 and will air on Tuesdays at 7:00pm MT. 

Like I've mentioned before, premium channel shows are where it's at!  Dexter, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Homeland, etc.  While I didn't stick with Ray Donovan, I will give Showtime's new fall endeavor, Masters of Sex a shot.  The dramedy stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as real-life sex doctors from the mid 20th century.

Next up, we have The Crazy Ones.  Robin Williams makes his return to TV 32 years after Mork & Mindy and he stars as an advertising executive who works with his daughter, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar.  With Williams as the star, it has potential.  Thursdays on CBS at 8:00, starting on 9/26.

Finally, we have The Goldbergs.  A sitcom about a family in the 80s.  Not too excited about this one, but the wife expressed interest, so we'll give it a shot.  Could be cut early, both from my DVR and by ABC.  It's on at 8:00, immediately following S.H.I.E.L.D.
Also, in 2014, Jack Bauer and 24 return for a "limited" 12-episode run!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Thoughts on Ben Affleck as Batman

Just hours ago, the news broke that Ben Affleck has been cast to play Batman/Bruce Wayne in the upcoming sequel to this year's Man of Steel. The initial reaction I've seen online has been mostly negative. I don't know if people are automatically thinking of his underwhelming 2003 superhero film Daredevil, which was supposed to kick start that franchise but ultimately never really did. It produced an even worse spin-off, Elektra, starring Affleck's wife Jennifer Garner.

But can Affleck work as Bruce Wayne and Batman? You know, I think this might just be crazy enough to work, despite the negative reactions so far! First off, you can't cast Affleck aside because of Daredevil. Chris Evans was okay as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, but his performance as Captain America helped elevate his career to another level. Affleck has had a very successful film career with Oscar winners such as Goodwill Hunting and Argo. While I initially liked Michael Fassbender after his successful reinvention of Magneto in X-Men: First Class, the announcement that they wanted an actor in his 40s in order to avoid a Batman origin story pretty much ruled out the younger X-Men star. The 41-year-old Affleck is certainly a seasoned actor and can bring his experience and confidence to a role that certainly will require both.

He will also need this confidence to avoid falling into the trap of trying to recreate Christian Bale's Batman. Bale's Batman is truly incomparable. Trying to duplicate that would pretty much be the worst thing they could do. That is why Brandon Routh trying to be Christopher Reeve's Superman did not work. Just because Affleck and Snyder will not be able to be Bale and Nolan isn't the end of the world for the Caped Crusader. Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy was based in "realism" with no Lazarus Pits for Ra's al Ghul and no Venom for Bane. Bale's Batman was just essentially a regular guy who beat other regular guys. For this to work, Batman will have to become a regular guy who beats superheroes and super villains like he does in the comics and cartoons. Can't really have realism when the other main character is an invincible Kryptonian.

But just because they can't have Nolan's realism doesn't mean they're doomed to Adam West/George Clooney campiness. The DC Animated Universe and DC Animation have been doing it great for years. Kevin Conroy is the most underrated Batman of all-time. He created a dark, serious Batman during the 90s when Joel Schumacher was making its film counterpart increasingly campy. He bagan with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 all the way through Justice League Unlimited and Batman Beyond. He has even reprised the role in various standalone movies such as Justice League: Doom and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. That is the Batman Snyder and Affleck should aspire to. Don't try to be Bale and certainly stay away from the campiness of the Burton/Schumacher series.

Ben Affleck was not my first choice. He very well may not be yours either. Was Henry Cavill your first choice to play Superman? Had you even heard of him before? I hadn't, but he certainly exceeded all expectations. Heath Ledger's casting was met with some skepticism and he went on to put on one of the greatest performances in movie history. Anne Hathaway's and Tom Hardy's casting was met with similar criticism as well. So...maybe...Ben Affleck is the Batman we deserve AND the one we need right now...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ryan O'Byrne Incurs the Wrath of Avs Fans

Ryan O'Byrne played in parts of three seasons for the Colorado Avalanche.  He always seemed like a popular guy amongst his teammates, who affectionately referred to him with nicknames like "O.B.," "Burner," and of course "Beauty Alert."  O'Byrne was also fairly liked amongst Avs fans, although his popularity slipped this year, with his porous defense at times, but in his defense, the Avs defense as a whole has been just plain abysmal all year long.

Earlier today however, Denver Post writer Adrian Dater tweeted the below quote from O'Byrne:
Ryan O'Byrne: "Playing in Colorado you don't have the fan support & then you come to TO & you have that passion."

Since then, Avs fans have been laying into O'Byrne for trashing Avalanche fans.  O'Byrne is not the first player to say less than stellar things about the Colorado Avalanche organization after his trade away from the team.  Both Craig Anderson and Kyle Quincey expressed their contempt for Avalanche management after they were traded.  The difference between their comments and O'Byrne's is that they both directed their animosity toward the Avs' front office; O'Byrne criticized the Avs fanbase.

All three players have taken heat from Avs fans for their comments, but were they wrong for speaking out?  There is no sugar-coating the fact that the Colorado Avalanche, a team who won two Stanley Cups and used to be among the league's elite each and every year, has fallen very far since then.  The Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche set and NHL record for winning nine consecutive division titles.  This year will mark 10 years, a full decade since the Avs last hoisted a division title banner.

The Colorado Avalanche also set an NHL record for the longest home sellout streak of 487 games from 1995, the year the team debuted in Colorado until 2006.  Lately, the Avs attendance has been in steady decline and is currently 26th out of 30 NHL teams.  On any given night, you will find many vacant seats at the Pepsi Center for an Avs game.  The few sellouts the Avs have had this year have been due to the other team's fans occupying a very large portion of The Can.  When the Avs ended the Blackhawks point streak, the Pepsi Center was half full of Blackhawks fans.  The Red Wings, still the Avs most hated opponent, will fill the stands with red whenever they come to Denver as well.

Which of course brings me back to O'Byrne's controversial comment.  Of course, it can be interpreted that he is figuratively spitting in the face of Avs fans and essentially calling them bad hockey fans for not supporting their team the way Leafs fans support their club, who just clinched their first playoff berth in nine years.  Obviously, they are excited to end that drought.  It would be an understatement to say that they are passionate about their hockey up in Toronto.

I've lived in Colorado my entire life.  Colorado sports fans are great!  However, aside from the Denver Broncos, who will get round-the-clock coverage and support regardless of their record, Colorado fans can be sort of fickle.  Case in point, the Colorado Avalanche.  The Nuggets have a pretty consistent fanbase right now, but not so much 15 years ago when their position wasn't so favorable.  The Rockies get a quick bandwagon following once in a blue moon when they make the playoffs.

So were O'Byrne's comments out of line?  Personally, I don't think so.  If you go to any given Avs game, you will find plenty of empty seats.  Recently, you could find tickets to an Avs game for as little as $1 on, a very far cry from the heyday of the sellout streak and the Stanley Cups.  Sure, O'Byrne could have expressed his excitement to be playing for the playoff-bound Maple Leafs without directly or indirectly throwing Avs fans under the bus, but saying that crowds at Pepsi Center enthusiastic sellouts, isn't an insult, it's simply a fact.

I don't think he meant to insult those of us who are filling the seats at Pepsi Center.  Even through the tough times the Avs have been experiencing since the NHL implemented a salary cap, I have still been spending my money on tickets, jerseys, hats, and t-shirts, including a t-shirt signed by none other than Ryan O'Byrne from the Military Night mystery t-shirts last year.


I'm not alone.  There are many of us faithful Avalanche fans who will not jump on and off the bandwagon, we will continue to support the team through thick and thin.  While I don't think it was necessarily his intention, O'Byrne could have been criticizing the Avs fans who are no longer there.  The ones who would gladly fill the Pepsi Center for a winning team, but are nowhere to be seen for team that is in the dreaded rebuilding phase.  Honestly, I don't think he thought too much about it before he made his statement.  I think the point he was trying to make was simply his excitement to be playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs in a Leafs sweater.

I don't blame the fans who aren't at the games though.  It's tough to spend your hard-earned money to go see a last-place team and a team who will miss the playoffs for the third consecutive year.  You can't compare a Denver hockey fanbase to one up in Canada's largest city.  There is of course one simple solution that will undoubtedly restore the energy and passion back into the Pepsi Center for hockey games, and that is simply to win.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Possible Lines for the Avs tonight in Vancouver

Per Adrian Dater, Landeskog did not skate this morning and will not play tonight.

The Avs will have a bit of a new look tonight with 20-year-old former OHL scoring champion Michael Sgarbossa likely to make his NHL debut.  Here's how the lines could possibly shape up tonight.


Of course, the million dollar question is the status of captain Gabe Landeskog, who missed the first game of his NHL career Monday night in Edmonton.  Obviously, the best case scenario for the Avs will be that he will be good to go tonight and we could see the above lineup.  Sgarbossa could fill in the 4th line center position that was held on Monday by Brad Malone, the player he replaced on the Avs current roster, but I would actually like to see Sgarbossa on at least the 3rd line in order to get him a bit more ice time in an NHL game and with scoring wingers like Milan Hejduk.  Olver-Sgarbossa-Hejduk would be a small line, but there would also be scoring potential there, which the Avs desperately need.  You could even switch Olver and McLeod to give the 3rd line McLeod's grit and size.

If Landeskog's symptoms have not yet cleared, we could see McGinn up on the 1st line with Duchene and Parenteau just like we did Monday night.  Playing with Dutchy and PAP helped McGinn earn his first point of the season and the Avs are of course hoping that will open up the flood gates for Ginner's scoring.  If that's the case, then why not give Sgarbossa a shot with Stastny and Jones?  Stastny and Jones are due over $10 million worth of offense and perhaps the young scorer can help spark the 2nd line veterans.  Of course, if Landeskog is out, Chuck Kobasew would be inserted into the lineup as he'd be the last avaialble forward.


It's unknown who will start in goal tonight, but with back-to-backs tonight and tomorrow, it seems very likely that veteran Jean-Sebastien Giguere will get his first start of the season either tonight or tomorrow in Calgary.  Jiggy was perfect in his only appearance so far this season, stopping all 17 shots he faced when he relieved Semyon Varlamov against the Sharks.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Varly, Landy, and Dutchy power Avs past Kings

Last Saturday, the Colorado Avalanche opened up their shortened 2013 season in Minnesota and fell to the new-look Wild, despite playing a good first and third period.

Three days later, the Avs made their season debut on home ice, where they faced off against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings.  Despite the fact that the Kings went on to win it all last year, the Avs actually had great success against Los Angeles, sweeping them in all four meetings last season.

The Avs and the Kings both entered last night's matchup 0-1 on the season and looking for their first win of 2013.  The Kings' best player is unquestionably their goaltender, reigning Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick, so Avs netminder Semyon Varlamov had his work cut out for him to match Quick.

Varly was outstanding last night.  He surrendered a first period goal, which was the result of young defenseman Tyson Barrie failing to tie up his man across the low slot.  The Avs did get themselves into trouble, taking six penalties on the night, but Varly and the penalty killing unit were spectacular, killing of all six Kings power play opportunities. 

The game was 1-0 in favor of the Kings through two periods and the Avs failed to capitalize on a 5-3 power play advantage late in the second, despite getting some good looks. 

Enter Gabriel Landeskog.  The 20-year-old Swede was not named the youngest captain in NHL history for some gimmick or fluke, this kid is the real deal.  It's cliche in pro sports, but in order to win, your best players have to be your best players and Landeskog showed why he is just that.  Landy received a somewhat fortunate bounce from defenseman Jan Hejda, but he used his hockey awareness and strength to be in the perfect position and he put the puck home past Jon Quick for the Avs' first goal on home ice this year.

Barely over a minute and a half later, sniper David Jones, fresh off a new four-year contract, snapped a wrist shot over the shoulder of Quick to give the Avs their first lead of the night.  Not bad for Jonesy to get the eventual game-winner at the first game his six-month-old son was able to attend!

Newcomer P.A. Parenteau would later get his first score as a member of the Avalanche and put Colorado up 3-1 for good.

Although he only recorded one assist on the night, center Matt Duchene was unquestionably one of the best players on the ice throughout the entire game.  From the opening face off, Duchene was flying, using his trademark speed to create space for him and his linemates.  He set up the play nicely that led to Landeskog's goal and he was good in all three zones. 

With fan-favorite Ryan O'Reilly still playing over in Russia as he has been unable to agree to a new contract in Colorado, Duchene's already important role with the Avs increase exponentially.  During the first two games this season, Duchene has been frequently used as a penalty killer, a role that he has not been known for throughout his young NHL career.

Over the summer, Duchene trained with Sidney Crosby, arguably the world's best hockey player and his trainer to work on his game.  Duchene eliminated gluten, sugar, and dairy from his diet to get into the best shape of his life.  He excelled in Sweden and Switzerland during the lockout and looks to be hungry to take his game to the next level with the Avalanche.  He is playing a more physical game it seems thus far.  He appears to be stronger and not afraid to get into the gritty areas of the ice.  On the set up of Landy's goal, he casually brushed off defenseman Rob Scuderi to get to the front of the net.

Duchene was also involved in a scary incident last night after he blocked a shot by Kings all-star defensemen Drew Doughty, who certainly has a cannon of a shot.  Duchene took the shot up high and immediately skated to the bench and into the locker room.  Just a couple short minutes later, Duchene returned to to game with a bandage on his jaw.  He would require stitches after the game and said he was lucky the shot didn't hit him higher, otherwise he probably would have lost all of his teeth.  Head coach Joe Sacco praised Duchene's play and his toughness for returning to the ice so quickly after sacrificing his body to block the shot.

Whether or not O'Reilly returns to Colorado, and of course we all hope he does very soon, Duchene will be a key piece for the Avs. 

The Avs are back at it at home tomorrow night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.  The Jackets traded the longtime face of their franchise and former captain, Rick Nash over the summer, but the new-look Jackets are not to be taken lightly.  In a short, 48 game season, every game is an important one.  The Avs' key to success will be for them to use their youth and energy night in and night out and to not take games and even periods off.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The X Factor

After a long, frustrating, and arduous lockout, Colorado Avalanche fans are finding themselves victim of another maddening dispute.  This time however, it is between the Colorado Avalanche and their popular center Ryan O'Reilly.

Now, while the official party line is that talks remain ongoing between Colorado Avalanche General Manager Greg Sherman and O'Reilly's agent, Mark Guy, the fact remains that an already shortened season has begun, and the Avs are without their leading scorer from a year ago.

Much like the lockout itself, both sides have legitimate claims.  Over the course of his short three year NHL career, O'Reilly has certainly proven his value.  From the get-go, he established himself as a reliable two-way center who was very responsible in his own end as well as in the face off circle.  Last year, he saw his offensive abilities blossom as he nearly equaled the output from his rookie and sophomore years combined.

Greg Sherman and the Avs front office however, still have a business to run.  The Avs are still a very young team with budding talents and emerging superstars.  If they comply with the O'Reilly camp's demands and overpay the young center, it may be setting a dangerous precedent when the contracts of key players like Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, and Semyon Varlamov expire in two years.  The Avs are well under the salary cap now, but if they shell out big bucks for all of their young, talented players, they may not be able to afford to keep them all down the line.  A hockey guy and a team guy, O'Reilly should understand that.

There have been reports as to what the Avs have offered and what O'Reilly has reportedly turned down.  Yes, the numbers are important for the team and O'Reilly now and of course in the long term, but much like the lockout, we fans don't care.  The CBA is certainly a necessary evil, but it was completely unnecessary that we had to wait until January to watch our first NHL games of the season.

Signing O'Reilly to a contract that is fair for both him and team is important, but all we fans care about is that he is in the lineup, representing the Burgundy and Blue and helping this young team win games in a very competitive Northwest Division.

The longer this drags out, the worse it will be for both the Avalanche and Ryan O'Reilly.  Owner Stan Kroenke has developed the reputation as an owner who won't spend money to help improve his teams and Greg "from Accounting" Sherman has been labeled as a numbers guy, not a hockey guy.  This certainly isn't helping to cure those rumors.  We've been told for years now that no one loves the game of hockey more than O'Reilly.  The team's biggest "rink rat," always the first to arrive and the last to leave.  Well Ryan, prove to us that you do love the game and that nothing means more to you than playing hockey at the highest level possible   Not some second-rate league like the KHL, the National Hockey League.

We were cheated out of 34 regular season games this year because of people's greed, arrogance, and stubbornness and now we are being cheated out of watching a young, talented, valuable player help the team who turned him into a bona fide NHL center as he wastes away in the KHL.

Bettman, Fehr I mean Sherman, Guy, get a deal done!