Not only are movie and stage actors flocking to TV for more stable and quality roles, musicians have begun to get in on this golden age of television. Musicians are putting down their instruments and picking up their acting chops, getting major and minor roles on sitcoms and procedurals. We have always had late night television performances, but those have even been ratcheted up with the help of the Roots and more artists eager to collaborate on live television. So in honor of this trend, I decided to put together a 2014 Musicians on TV Power Rankings. One disclaimer is I clearly can’t watch everything, so things like E-Street guitar player’s Steven Van Zandt’s starring role in the crime-drama Lilyhammer and Ice-T’s ongoing role in Law & Order: SVU are outside my purview. Also, I decided to leave off reality and live TV shows, so the late night magnificence of the Roots won’t be recognized on this list, either will any role from anything like The Voice or American Idol. So this isn’t a comprehensive list, but it’s my best attempt based what I’ve seen and what I enjoy.
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2012 was a great year in television. Unfortunately, that means the shows we are used to being great stayed great for the most part, without much new blood being thrown into the mix. In fact, only one new show cracked our eight selections below (the top 5 plus each of our “just missed”). New shows like The Newsroom on HBO, and NBC’s big-budget post-apocalyptic program Revolution were summarily awful (not that I expected too much out of Revolution, but come on, JJ Abrams has to have another hit in him at some point). ABC’s Last Resort showed quite a bit of promise, with an intriguing premise and solid cast, but no one cared enough to tune in, so it already got the axe. And the new sitcoms, my god the new sitcoms. They were all awful. So, back to the established shows to scratch our TV itch. Enjoy, and as always, let us know what we missed, forgot, or even if you agree.
5. Parks & Recreation
Leslie Knope & Co. just keep the train rolling during the fourth and fifth seasons, after really hitting hitting its stride during season three. The ensemble cast, anchored by Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Scott, and Rob Lowe has now been a cohesive unit for three seasons, making every interplay between the characters all the funnier. Hopefully, people keep watching at a high enough level to keep this rare network gem on the air.
Continue reading “Weak List Wednesday: Top 5 Television Programs of 2012”
The first time I really listened to Taylor Swift was last year when I heard the song “Mean”. On the surface it seemed like another sad song about a love-gone-wrong, but it turned out this catchy and clever little tune is only disguised as such. When you dig a bit deeper you find that her ulterior motives are better served as a bit of an “eff you” to all her harsher critics (including Kanye, the end all be all of critics). I thought it was a good move. I know it is a bit boastful to compare oneself to Parks and Rec’s Ron Swanson, but if there is one way I am similar it lies in the irony that as he is a man who hates government, yet works for it while I am a man who hates critics, yet I write critiques for a music blog. So I really rather enjoyed hearing Taylor sing about how successful she is while all her critics are nothing but talking heads that continue to voice their loud opinions that nobody hears. Only to become exactly what she mocked in that song, I thought I would give her new album Red, a fair shake.
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I think I like my programs a little more than Wes and Todd, so it is fitting that I should write this up. It was a pretty good year in television overall, but there were some disappointments. True Blood followed 10 different storylines at the same time and couldn’t keep it all together. Dexter fell apart in the second half. Walking Dead trashed an opportunity with a lackluster second season. And Californication started to jump off the rails in a really bad way. But all in all, I can’t complain. Here ya go.
Continue reading “Weak List Wednesday: Top 5 TV Shows of 2011”
Two/Thirds of Little by Listen (Todd and I) headed down to the land of jazz, gumbo, and downright debauchery for New Years this year, and one of the biggest highlights was the sounds heard around the city, both inside and out. If you have been to New Orleans, you know that every corner you turned, is filled with a new tune, from jazz to funk to even folk.
Continue reading “The Nawlins Experience: A Musical Journey Down by the Bayou”