How cool of an internet-age entertainer is Louis C.K.? Here's what I got in my inbox this morning, as a subscriber to his email updates:
Netflix ordered 26 episodes of a new Hasbro-produced cartoon starring Stretch Armstrong, the iconic 1970s action figure whose rubbery body could be pulled and stretched until its skin inevitable tore or was punctured and the gross gel filling dripped out. I hope they do battle with the evil Stretch Monster! (Original TV commercial below.)
The 26-episode Stretch Armstrong series, Hasbro Studios’ first original programming for Netflix, is slated to debut in 2017. The animated animated action/comedy series is about an over-scheduled teenager named Jake Armstrong and his two best friends. Then the trio are accidentally exposed to an experimental chemical, they become Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters — a team of stretchable superheroes.
Conjunction Junction, what's your function? That iconic tune (below) and others from the "Schoolhouse Rock!" cartoon were the work of composer Bob Dorough, now 92-years-old and still playing music. (Great Big Story)
Judith Sheindlin, a television entertainer and former family court judge, is believed to be a member of the Supreme Court of the United States of America by ten percent of college graduates.
The poll, conducted by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni in August 2015 but released in January 2016, concluded from the 1,000 surveyed that college graduates "are alarmingly ignorant of America's history and heritage."
The survey also found 28.4% of college graduates correctly identify the father of the Constitution as James Madison. About 59% of college students surveyed believe the father of the Constitution was Thomas Jefferson, who was actually the principal writer for the Declaration of Independence.
Next they'll be telling me that Andre Romelle Young isn't the Surgeon General. Read the rest
At a Television Critics Association event this weekend, the tension between Netflix and traditional television networks ratcheted up a few notches. TV executives expressed the growing frustration they share over the fat that Netflix refuses to disclose ratings.
Teletext was an early mainstream precursor to the web that became successful in the UK and France: hundreds of low-res pages a day streamed in the invisible overscan margins of the TV signal. It died with analog television; archivists are finding the original data can be recovered from VHS tapes.
Technology is changing that. The continuing boom in processor power means it’s now possible to feed 15 minutes of smudged VHS teletext data into a computer and have it relentlessly compare the pages as they flick by at the top of the picture, choosing to hold characters that are the same on multiple viewing (as they’re likely to be right) and keep trying for clearer information for characters that frequently change (as they’re likely to be wrong).
It's an interesting study in horsepower: it takes such "phenomenal processing power" to accurately and reliably scan VHS recordings of text that we're only now on the cusp of being able to do so.
That hundreds, even thousands of frames of each teletext page are required to OCR each one is also a powerful tribute to just how astoundingly awful VHS is. Read the rest
Adieu, Al Jazeera America, and all the DNA it absorbed from Al Gore's once massively-hyped Current TV.
The network's closure is particularly sad news for all the great TV news journalists they recruited since Al Jazeera America debuted in 2013. Al Jazeera America will shut down by April 30, 2016, many media outlets report today. The New York Times reports that its imminent death was announced at a companywide meeting on Wednesday. The Times previously reported last year about network staff complaining bitterly of a “culture of fear.”
“There was an exodus of top executives, along with a pair of lawsuits from former employees that included complaints about sexism and anti-Semitism at the news channel.”
In a memo to the staff, Al Jazeera America’s chief executive, Al Anstey, said the “decision by Al Jazeera America’s board is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace.”Read the rest
“I know the closure of AJAM will be a massive disappointment for everyone here who has worked tirelessly for our long-term future,” he continued. “The decision that has been made is in no way because AJAM has done anything but a great job. Our commitment to great journalism is unrivaled.”
Al Jazeera America went on the air in August 2013 after it bought Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million. It promised to be thoughtful and smart, free of the shouting arguments that have defined cable news in the United States over the last decade.
From Sunday night's upcoming episode "Teenage Mutant Milk-Caused Hurdles." Last week, our sister site "Doing Doing" was mentioned on the show, so you just know The Simpsons are still relevant!
Jerry Seinfeld does 5 minutes of hilarious stand-up last night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. This guy needs a TV show!
Pop Colorture hand-colorized 1,300 frames of The Munsters title sequence, turning the grimly fiendish and funny family into the full color characters that were originally black-and-white only due to budgetary reasons. From Pop Colorture:
Read the rest
As I learned from (Addams Family colorizer) Stuart Manning’s blog post, early color television programs often chose yellow in place of white to add an extra pop of color, while still registering as a white object on black and white sets. The dress that we see Marilyn wearing in the Munsters opening was white, and this can be seen in a few color promo photos featuring the first actress to play Marilyn, Beverley Owen. Yellow seemed like the natural choice for several reasons. It adds necessary color to the shot and I have no doubt that the wardrobe department would have chosen something similar, had it been shot in color. Yellow also fits with the grayscale values of the dress, so it looks very natural. Had I tried to color the dress red, green or any other color, it would not “stick” to the gray values as easily and would not look very good. My final reasoning in choosing yellow was because recent Munsters memorabilia items feature the character of Marilyn wearing a yellow dress that looks similar to the one seen in the opening. Although it has nothing to do with the show’s original creative team, I feel that it supports my choice. The second artistic decision I made was the color of The Munsters’ drippy, melted wax logo and title cards.
Forget 8-bit videogames, the vinyl revival, and the resurgence of cassette tapes. Hundreds of households in Scotland are watching black and white television. The data comes from the organization that handles the mandatory licenses required to operate a television set. The annual fee is £145.50 to watch or record on a color set and £49.00 for black and white.
"It's astounding that more than 550 households in Scotland still watch on a black and white telly, especially now that over half of homes access TV content over the internet, on smart TVs," TV Licensing Scotland spokesman Jason Hill told the BBC News.
According to the Museum of Communications' Jim McLauchlan, "There are an increasing number of collectors throughout the UK collecting black and white sets from as early as the 1940s onwards, with some now fetching good prices. In general, younger visitors to the museum show very little interest in the black and white televisions but the occasional senior visitor will comment in a nostalgic way." Read the rest
"I can't tell you how wrong you've always been," says the Cigarette Smoking Man.
Mulder and Scully (and yes, apparently CSM too) return on January 24.