It's back!

  • Oct. 18th, 2010 at 6:24 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
By 'it' I of course mean the Dutch version of So You Think You Can Dance, and by 'back' I mean 'awesome!'

They've had their first two live shows, and as expected the quality of the dancing and the choreography varies, but it's still very fun to watch. I ended up dropping the current season of the Canadian version due to extreme boredom and my failure to recognize any of the dancers from one week to the next. With the Dutch version, I'd already gotten invested in several dancers after only seeing this year's final audition/boot camp episode, and I can remember who's who even when I can't remember how to spell their names (or understand why 'Caggie' is apparently pronounced the same as 'Chuckie').

They did something very cool that I can't link to because I'm on the train and Amtrak blocks YouTube, but if you're curious do a search for 'Don Diablo Animale' or I'll come back and edit the link in later. Basically, the group dance last week was set to electro-ish DJ Don Diablo's forthcoming song, and then was turned into a promo music video that looks really good.

Huh, this is ridiculously unpersuasive -- here's my first post reccing SYTYCD Netherlands, and if you check back on my SYTYCD you'll hopefully find videos of past routines. It's basically the most hip hop of all the SYTYCD versions I've seen, with adorable male/female co-hosts who look very MTVish. Plus Euvgenia is back as a judge! And this week during rehearsals there were three separate incidents of choreographers making dancers cry through their tough love! Also the audience tosses stuffed animals on stage for their favorite dancers at the end of their performances!

Links roundup linked

  • Aug. 20th, 2010 at 12:23 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
Fresh from Symposium Blog: Fans, geeks, wrestlers, and Sherlock Holmes: links roundup.

Also new: Karen Hellekson, co-editor of OTW's Transformative Works & Cultures online journal, on Breaking the primacy of print.


Has anyone been watching the new season of SYTYCD Canada? Apparently there are four episodes out already. After the fiasco of the most recent U.S. season, and the cancellation of the Australia version, I'm just not sure I'm ready to plunge into yet another cycle so soon.

Suuuundaay!

  • Jul. 25th, 2010 at 8:23 PM
crypto: actor glynn turman (glynn turman)
Hallyu in aisle 3: I went to Whole Foods today, and my cashier and the two next to him started singing Nobody by the Wonder Girls and then debating how many members were in the group. I was so stunned that I couldn't say anything! I know they recently did a U.S. tour, but are they being played on the radio now or something? Is k-pop the latest hipster fad? Or is it just something about my branch of Whole Foods (I swear another cashier there looks like she could be Janelle Monáe's little sister who ran off to start her own punk/ska band...)?

I was very satisfied with the finale of MasterChef Australia, except for the part where the season is over. Everyone involved with the show, from the contestants to the hosts/judges to the celebrity chefs, was basically adorable. But I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be watching MasterChef Australia Junior with 8-12 year olds cooking off. Still, it was such an enjoyable reality TV show, especially in contrast to the current disastrous U.S. season of SYTYCD.

Oops, I forgot to catch up on season 3 of Mad Men -- I'd really had the best of intentions to watch this season as it aired. How bad would it be viz. spoilers  if I watched the season premiere tonight before going back to watch last season?

I really think Joss Whedon's Avengers movie is going to be terrible, but that's probably because I loathed the second Iron Man movie. Bendis schmendis, I think the whole Avengers mythos has gotten pretty bankrupt creatively.

Crypto watches television

  • Jul. 5th, 2010 at 10:58 AM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
The Gates: My expectations couldn't have been lower going in to this (trust me, I learned my lesson after the crushingly disappointing discovery that Vampire Diaries was actually not the second coming of Dark Shadows), and the show still failed to meet them. Here's hoping that in this decade following Twilight, we'll finally see the rise of the fangirl-auteur in Hollywood, because that sensibility is totally absent here where it's so desperately needed.

Stargate Universe: So I'd been meaning to sample this show at some point when I heard via fannish osmosis that there was a particularly strong episode. Except that I haven't heard anything -- I'm not sure whether anybody on my flist is even watching the show. Certainly I would have remembered if someone had posted about an episode directed by Ernest Dickerson non-plot spoiler )! But then [livejournal.com profile] kiki_miserychic made a gorgeous SGU vid, We Are All Connected, and that was more than enough to get me to check out the series. I'm still working my way through it, but I have to say that I like it. I was never a fan of SG-1 or SGA, so when SGU was announced, I had little confidence in the ability of the producers & writers to deliver on the premise. But so far they've done a pretty decent job -- though I do wish the female characters were more developed & central, and that they'd cast more people of color. Still, it's a solid show, with more of an ensemble (vs. team) approach and a Battlestar Galactica (minus the robots) tone, and Robert Carlyle does some great work that really elevates everything.

Pretty Little Liars: Once again I went in to this with low expectations (because honestly, when your starting point is Gossip Girl-meets-I Know What You Did Last Summer, you don't need to be an Ibsen to satisfy and entertain), but I'm very pleasantly surprised at how much I'm enjoying it so far. While the acting is largely nothing special, the plotting and pacing are more than competent, and the thriller elements balance out well with the high school drama. Plus, it's about as Bechdel test-friendly as television gets. Also bonus Laura Leighton!

So You Think You Can Dance: I still have some ambivalence about the format, and the judges are worse than they've ever been, but I'm enjoying this season more than any on the U.S. version of the show since season 4, so that's something.

Doctor Who: I MISS YOU! PLEASE COME BACK SOON!!!!
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
...and yet, after Wednesday's episode, I think I accidentally started shipping Marion/Callum. I mean, I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure it counts as shipping when you're mentally shouting at the screen "Just kiss each other, already!" during their cab ride through Paris, despite them showing no particular signs of romantic interest or sexual chemistry towards each other?



I don't know. But I've definitely developed a weakness for Australian reality TV competitions, because the contestants always seem relatively guileless and innocent. At least compared to U.S. equivalents, where everyone's so comparatively poised and polished in front of the camera, as though part of U.S. culture is spending your life mentally readying yourself for your close-up. When I watched the first season of Australia's SYTYCD, I remember being consistently charmed and delighted as I kept thinking how wonderful it was to watch people who don't come onto a show already "knowing" how to present themselves for television audiences.

Coming up for air

  • Jun. 18th, 2010 at 6:20 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
I'm not sure how this month got so out of control so quickly viz. work, but it did and it's barely halfway over. I'm on my way home after being in DC doing meetings for the last few days, and, well, interesting/depressing/scary times (the media/security/spectator scene outside of the BP hearing yesterday was pretty wild). But I don't have to go back until the end of the month, and then I get a couple days in San Francisco next month, so overall it looks like things are calming down.

I'm basically behind in everything fannish. I managed to spend an afternoon catching up on the last few months of the comic books I've been reading, only to remember why I got behind on so many of them in the first place. The combination of soul-crushing mega-events (DC's Blackest Night, Marvel's Siege plus whatever they're calling the latest X-Men atrocity) really left a bad taste in my mouth. Though I'm still charmed by Barbara Gordon mentoring Stephanie Brown as the new Batgirl, so at least there's something I can still look forward to each month.

I think I'm still watching TV, but I can't remember anything more complicated than Masterchef Australia (the contestants are all adorable! and they love each other so much!), which is surprisingly enjoyable even if you don't really cook or aspire to cooking, and have no idea what most of the stuff they make is supposed to taste like. I usually end up falling asleep half way through it, and then watching the half I missed plus starting the new episode (it runs six days a week) the next night.

Does anybody have any thoughts about the new season of SYTYCD/US? I'm predictably behind a week, and still not sure if/how the revamped format will work out.

Oh, wait, I remember -- I'm watching Doctor Who! Well, not right at this moment, but I can tell I'll be on the edge of my seat at the back of the sofa for tomorrow's episode. I just want to bake cookies for MSmith & KGillan, they've really let me fall in love with the show all over again.

SYTYCD Australia

  • Feb. 2nd, 2010 at 10:15 PM
crypto: actor glynn turman (glynn turman)
Maybe it's due to a severe case of Nigel Lythgoe fatigue after two back-to-back (and largely uninspiring) seasons' worth of the U.S. version, too soon followed by the underwhelming still-in-progress British edition with yet more Nigel, but -- damn is it good to see Jason Coleman again. I'm even feeling a sneaking fondness for Bonnie, which probably won't last. And I truly hope they don't bring Nacho Pop back to choreograph.

But I think, even ignoring the bar-lowering mentioned above, it's going to be another awesome season.

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Live, from the Netherlands, it's SYTYCD!

  • Nov. 10th, 2009 at 10:08 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
Well, not live, due to the torrent time delay, but still -- here's your dance of the week, from Sunday's Top 10 episode, choreographed by Lloyd Marengo. Some lovely stuff here:


ETA: But wait, there's more! Because the next routine is stunning:


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Top Shit

  • Nov. 3rd, 2009 at 11:48 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
 I've been meaning to do a Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Be Watching The Netherlands Version of So You Think You Can Dance (reason #6: the only version where they say 'shit' on TV, and 'Top Shit!' is the highest form of praise!). But I just started watching Sunday's Top 12 show, and was blown away by the first hip hop routine, and couldn't wait to share it. Fortunately, it's up on YouTube:


This truly is the best SYTYCD variant for hip hop.

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Highlight reel

  • Oct. 26th, 2009 at 1:03 PM
crypto: actor glynn turman (glynn turman)
To stave off slipping back into lurker mode, I was going to do a "hits and misses" for my last week's worth of media consumption, but I'll just focus on the hits because the misses weren't interesting enough to mention.

Randy Orton, You're Beautiful, Kelly Cutrone, The Office, SYTYCD NL )

The Nicholas Brothers: In her recent post on Glee, [personal profile] hazelk  included a YouTube clip of their classic Stormy Weather dance number, which led me to the following tribute vid set to Kanye's "Stronger" -- perfect song choice, amazing dancers:




Wow

  • Oct. 19th, 2009 at 10:08 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
 If, like me, you've been underwhelmed by the current season of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, and the summer season of the U.S. mothership, I have good news: the Netherlands' SYTYCD is now available online via the torrent. I've been marathoning last year's first season since last week (the second season is currently airing), and I'm here to tell you that it's great. I'm about to watch the top 6 results show, and I'm on the edge of my seat because I love all the remaining dancers.

They largely retain the same format as the U.S., Canada, and Australia versions, down to the dance styles and even song choices. Interestingly, the Netherlands' first season has been dominated by the hip hop dancers, and much of the best choreography has been the hip hop routines. The choreography overall is the usual mixed bag, and usually not as adventurous as the Australian show's, but they really excel at hip hop.

Unfortunately, the camerawork and lighting is the worst that I've seen on any incarnation, but they only intermittently (albeit sometimes spectacularly) mar the performances. Oh, and the show's in Dutch, which I don't speak. But I found that if I don't listen too closely, it sort of sounds like English; when I do pay attention to the words, it sounds closer to German. It's still mostly easy to follow; if you know the format of the show, you can generally guess much of what's being said. By now, I'm even starting to laugh at the jokes in Dutch. And Dan Karaty from the U.S. show is a judge, who does his judging in English; that's especially helpful during the results shows, when he's generally the one who reveals the judges' decisions and rationale.

Basically, watching this version has made SYTYCD feel fun again, which it hasn't been the last couple of go arounds. Oh, and the audiences tosses stuffed animals on the stage as gifts for their favorite dancers after their performances, which is kind of sweet.

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Stuff I've enjoyed recently

  • Sep. 9th, 2009 at 12:10 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
Wrestling: The amazing match on last Friday's WWE Smackdown between Rey Mysterio and John Morrison for the Intercontinental Championship. Nearly half an hour in length and never a boring moment. Rivals the tables, ladders & chairs match between Jeff Hardy & C.M. Punk at Summerslam for the best wrestling I've seen since I started watching again.

Honorable mentions )

Soap opera: Stacy Haiduk's riveting performance as Patty Williams aka Mary Jane Benson on The Young and the Restless. Normally, I abhor the whole Fatal Attraction-style woman-spurned-turns-psycho trope -- like, I really, really hate it with a passion. I think it's the idea that this trope needs no further explanation -- that we're supposed to assume that women's psychology is such that they're only one romantic rejection away from insanity. And this case, at least on paper, should be no exception, especially on a show that already has two other female characters in the midst of nervous breakdowns (no, seriously! Driving one to random acts of shoplifting that landed her in a mental institution, and leading the other -- victim of a gaslighting plot preying on her history of mental illness -- to hallucinations, a hit-and-run accident, and a miscarriage-turned-hysterical pregnancy).

But Haiduk is so mesmerizing that I don't care. Even when the storyline has faltered, as it has many times, Haiduk infuses such conviction and commitment into the role that it smoothes over all of the plotholes and dubious motivations. And the layers and subtlety that she brings to the role somehow manage to keep her character sympathetic even when she's committing unforgivable acts (though it helps that most of the other characters involved with her aren't particularly sympathetic themselves).

Reality dance competitions: Okay, despite my fears, the America's Best Dance Crew Bollywood challenge last week ended up with some awesome choreography & performances. One especially welcome choice -- they assigned each crew a different "Bollywood" dance style to incorporate into their routines. A very strong episode overall, and tied with the excellent  "Bollywood" group routine on last week's results show for So You Think You Can Dance Canada, choreographed by Slumdog Millionaire choreographer Longinus "Longi" Fernandes.

Comics: Nothing special that was new out last week (Invincible Iron Man lost a bit of momentum after the last few issues), but I'm enjoying catching up on some stuff I'd missed -- most notably the sadly canceled Manhunter. It reminds me a bit of one of my favorite '80s comics, Steven Grant's Whisper.

SYTYCD Canada results show

  • Aug. 26th, 2009 at 10:52 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
 Insta-reaction:

let's say spoilery to be on the safe side )

In other news, next week's theme on America's Best Dance Crew is Bollywood. *crosses fingers*

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Don't need no hateration, holleration

  • Jun. 5th, 2009 at 1:38 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
I haven't seen last night's So You Think You Can Dance yet, but I was curious enough about who made it into the Top 20 to go to the SYTYCD website. Based on the auditions, it seemed possible that half of the dancers who made it into the competition this year would be people of color, but then on Wednesday night it looked like they were sending a high rate of people of color -- especially women of color -- home during Vegas week. Based on the FOX SYTYCD blog, I'm tentatively guessing that the numbers didn't quite reach 50%, but are still eight or nine out of twenty?

For future reference & comparison, here's part of a comment that I left in one of [personal profile] oyceter 's posts last year:

I watched season 3 of SYTYCD for the first time this year, and tried to keep track of the proportion of people of color at each stage of the competition, to see if they were eliminated at a higher rate than white contestants. What I found was that at every stage, about 30-35% of the dancers (plus or minus 5%) were people of color, suggesting that they weren't more likely to get cut. And then of course, there were two people of color in the final four, and (awesomely!) Sabra won with Danny as runner up.

This year, things seemed to follow a similar pattern for the first half of the season, though the percentage of people of color was a bit higher on average -- maybe 35-40%. [After that point, people of color made up 6 of the top 8, 4 of the top 6, and ultimately took the top 3 slots.]

I don't know how this compares to other competition reality shows like American Idol, but in [personal profile] oyceter 's words, "it's so much easier seeing non-stereotyped POC on SYTYCD than it is on most network tv shows."

And of course these numbers don't even begin to capture SYTYCD's complex racial and cultural issues -- but at least they suggest that the positive trends from the last couple of seasons will continue this year.

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I wish I were writing about Werner Herzog

  • Jun. 3rd, 2009 at 3:56 PM
crypto: actor glynn turman (glynn turman)
So it's only been a few days, but I am already having misgivings about following reality show demi-celebrities on Twitter. Do I want to know that one of the choreographers/guest judges on So You Think You Can Dance is going through a very bad breakup? And that the show's executive producer called him and "may have saved [his] life"? And that one of his fellow choreographers/guest judges encourage people to Tweet their love and support for his heartbroken colleague, but I didn't, and should I feel guilty now?

In other SYTYCDverse Tweets, one of last year's contestants is falling in love, and they don't want to be falling in love, and they're angry at the person who made them not want to fall in love again, and wow I'm feeling creepily voyeuristic now.

I am also following on Twitter someone purporting to be the sister of Heidi Montag, yet I suspect an impersonator. Should I alert the authorities? Who are the relevant authorities for celebrity realness?

On the television front, following a dangerous flirtation with Jon & Kate Plus 8 and I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!, I made my triumphant return to scripted drama spectatorship last night. My rescue from the flotsam and jetsam of reality TV came in the form of Australian navy series Sea Patrol, which is just as good as it sounds. But also just as good as it needs to be, considering that the episodes feature pirates, offshore brothels, and the occasional rogue monkey. Go, Sea Patrol, go!

crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
 A young Nigel Lythgoe dances, and sings, and -- okay I really have no idea what's going on here:


via someone's Tweet to Nigel.

I'm on the verge of breaking down and getting a fannish Twitter account to follow the respective reality show 'verses of The Hills* and So You Think You Can Dance, which collectively adds up to at least two dozen people that I've seen on Twitter so far. Is that wrong? Or weird? Or just very 2009 of me?

* Which 'verse incidentally now includes Chris Pine, since he's been hooking up with Audrina from The Hills recently, but even if he were on Twitter I really really wouldn't want to follow actors there. Somehow following reality tv stars feels different, which probably makes me old-fashioned or puritanical or repressed or something.