Five Things I Am Into Right Now, September 2012

Autumn is around the corner, and in my neck of the woods the leaves are just starting to change colors and my son is already talking about his Halloween costume.

He wants to be The Flash this year, but next year he wants to be Captain America with a shield which he threatens to throw around; so it’s good for everyone (especially the dog) he is The Flash this year. My daughter is Princess Leia, because I thought it would be cute and she is too young to argue; and I made sure to pick it up before the mom got a chance to say no. Yes, I am happy with this action on my part, and I will do it again in a heartbeat.

Okay, I must admit I skipped on my list last month. And that is okay, seriously, I had no time, focusing most of my attention on writing my book while listening to Fiona Apple. Yeah, Fiona’s new CD (The Idler Wheel…) is definitely becoming my mental soundtrack for this opus, but I already talked about the CD enough on this site. You don’t need to read me praising it again… Oh, what the heck– it is my favorite CD of the year so far and you should buy it.  Onto my list: Continue reading

Dear Wild Kratts, You Guys Are Awesome

PBS Kids has always been a good idea in theory. It’s the follow through where things get a bit muddled.

Each of the shows seem to have their own agendas (besides the obvious of keeping the production company working), and many times I wonder if they do involve educating my children. Even Sesame Street has problems with its obsession around showcasing celebrities (that, let’s be honest, children don’t care about) and in the end only seems to teach kids the importance of pop culture. Wonderful. Thanks.

And who knows what Arthur teaches except how not to get along with your sister.

I’ve written about my issues with the shows before (I wrote about Thomas the tank Engine and Sesame Street for a parenting site), so I really don’t need to continue my rant here. There is just so much ranting you can do about kid shows until you come off sounding a bit, well… odd; even to your understanding family.

I don’t want to be that guy. No one wants to be that guy.

Which brings me to what I consider one of the highlights of the PBS Kids lineup, the stellar Wild Kratts.

Why do I like this show above all of the other ones on TV today? Simply, my four-year old son learns from the show and that is just wonderfully awesome. Continue reading

UPDATE: So on Sunday, PBS and Masterpiece Theater finally get around to showing Sherlock to the rest of us. I still have mixed feelings about the series. Yes, I love it… but I feel guilty about that. Why does something so wrong feel so right???

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

Let me say this off the bat– SHERLOCK is one of the best written TV series I have ever had the pleasure to watch.

I love all the twists and turns and surprises in each episode. I think the actors are great in their parts and I look forward to each new episode. I’ve already seen two of the three new episodes of season two, and it is even better than the first season. As a fan, I hope the series goes on for another 10 years.

OK, I got that off of my chest.

Now, let me say I feel slight tinges of guilt for loving and supporting the series, because it is not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s vision. Oh, they are his characters (the main ones, albeit with cell phones), but they are not his stories, his world, his words, his adventures, his time period. The creators are–to…

View original post 923 more words

Why This Writer Feels Guilty For Loving SHERLOCK

Let me say this off the bat– SHERLOCK is one of the best written TV series I have ever had the pleasure to watch.

I love all the twists and turns and surprises in each episode. I think the actors are great in their parts and I look forward to each new episode. I’ve already seen two of the three new episodes of season two, and it is even better than the first season. As a fan, I hope the series goes on for another 10 years.

OK, I got that off of my chest.

Now, let me say I feel slight tinges of guilt for loving and supporting the series, because it is not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s vision. Oh, they are his characters (the main ones, albeit with cell phones), but they are not his stories, his world, his words, his adventures, his time period. The creators are–to put it bluntly and completely on the table–taking what they want from his stories in piecemeal, and remaking it for their own profit.

Again, I love the series. I want it to go on, but it does set a precedent that makes me a little concerned. Because of this series’ success are we going to see “new versions” of classics all over the place? Is that a good thing? And more importantly, does it give the respect to the original artist that they deserve for their own creation?

Consider this, if SHERLOCK wasn’t such a well-made, well-written series would we be as happy around the enterprise?

If it was crap, I can guarantee you that the Sherlock Holmes fan sites around the world would have risen in protest around it. The fact it is good, helps. So do we say, it is OK to “reinvent” an artist’s creation as long as it is good?  And who defines good? I don’t know about you, but I typically don’t trust TV executives to make that call for me. Continue reading

Doubting Thomas… Thomas the Tank Engine

An editorial on Thomas the Tank Engine and PBS Kids is up at Green Spot Blue.  Here is part of the introduction of the article:

 It all starts so innocently. 

     And it always begins the same. Thomas the Tank Engine, we all (parents and children alike) get indoctrinated via the cute little wooden railway toys.

     They are so fun and who doesn’t like putting the tracks together! My son and I always like to lead the track under furniture, but that is just us, I’m sure.

     Oh, the toys are expensive and really we parents should’ve taken that as the first warning sign to run for the hills. (Seriously, when did 15 dollars for a little wooden train make economic sense?) And like Scientology with their free personality tests, Thomas inches you forward subtly until finally, your child is sleeping in a bed covered with Thomas sheets, your TV is running episodes every day and you can’t get that blasted theme song out of your head (both the version with lyrics and without).

     I’ve been there, fellow parents.  And like an alcoholic at AA let me tell you there are better life style options out there for you (and your kids). Because when you really step back and look at Thomas and its show and its message, it’s all… well… smoke.

T0 read the rest of the article (where I also give  some suggestions on how the show could be made better and more educational), please click here.

Peep! Peep!

Lost on the Street

I have a new editorial on GreenSpotBlue.  This time I take on the problems with the modern Sesame Street.  Here is an excerpt:

There is that expression you can’t go home again, and as the older I get the more I am surprised by how much that exactly relates to.  From old haunts from my college days long closed to family gatherings where beloved members are no longer with us, things are different, changed, and never will be like they once were. It’s a sad fact of life. Yet, as a parent I never thought it would be true of Sesame Street.

Sesame Street, growing up, was one of my streets. It was real to me and I loved the show. I had favorite characters (I was Super Grover for one Halloween and Ernie for another; thanks to my mom’s amazing ability to make costumes) and I had many of the songs memorized. For example, when counting to twelve it is impossible for me, even to this day, not to sing the numbers like the Pointer Sisters.

So when I became a father I looked forward to introducing my son to the street I “grew up” on.  But the days of Mr. Hooper are long gone.  The days where stories would unfold over the hour with “commercials” about the alphabet and numbers in between has joined our favorite shopkeep. It is a show now of scheduled “segments” each one a show onto itself, losing the spontaneity, surprises, and energy that made the original an unpredictable joy to watch.

To read more of the article (including my point by point issues with the show and what can be done to save it), click here.