Welcome back to Friday Film Review. Alright so it isn’t Friday but from here on out I will aim to have these film reviews on a weekly basis every Friday for your weekend viewing pleasure.

For my first review, I’ve chosen the film Network from 1976 directed by Sidney Lumet and brilliantly penned by Paddy Chayefsky. I have chosen the film mostly because of it’s extreme relevance to today and this past American election. It is about a madman who, perpetuated by the media to boost ratings, rants about the current troubles of the times without filter on live television. Sound familiar?

Howard Beale (portrayed by Peter Finch) is an aging newsman from the fictional television network UBS, who is going through a mental breakdown. Recently widowed and about to lose his job due to sagging ratings, Beale goes on television still drunk from the night before and announces that he will blow his brains out on live television in a week’s time.

During Beale’s final days on air, he delivers a series of on-air monologues mostly about the “BS” nature of existence and hypocrisies of American society all culminating in his messianic exclamation; “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Upon seeing this, Diana (portrayed by Faye Dunaway), the heartless, cold and calculated executive from UBS’ programming department decides that they should keep Howard on air and exploit his prophetic visions, dubbing him a “mad prophet denouncing the hypocrisies of our time” at the behest of his friend Max (portrayed by William Holden), the head of the news department. Hesitant at first, the devious and equally cold corporate hatchet man Frank (portrayed by Robert Duvall) agrees to Diane’s proposal, seeing that it will boost ratings.

This all comes to a standstill, when Beale catches the eye of CCA president (the board that governs UBS) Arthur Jensen (portrayed by Ned Beatty), when he reveals and ultimately ruins a deal between the CCA and a Saudi Arabian conglomerate. Upon discovering this, Jensen invites Beale to his ominous boardroom and gives to Beale one of the best and most thunderous monologues of film history and all in his second and final appearance in the film.

At the end of the monologue Beale asks why he is the one to deliver this message. Jensen’s reply? “Because you’re on television dummy.”

Beale leaves with Jensen’s bleak message that essentially nothing matters but the almighty dollar and to accept the current state of corporatocracy. Preaching, Jensen’s depressing message puts Beale into a ratings slump once again, not liking the “new” madman, the network decides to dispose of him in a way that is truly appropriate for outrageous television.

If we look more closely into this film, we can posit that a lot of what Chayefsky wrote has come true. Corporate structures own more media outlets than they ever have before and the mad prophet archetype built up by the media speaking of corporate good existing with Trump didn’t start with him. It also exists with people like Glenn Beck and is even further perpeutated on social media by people like the rabid and overly-emotional Alex Jones of Infowars. In this, Chayefsky’s writing was way beyond its time.

The film is a swath of thoughtful and powerful monologues given by equally powerful actors with interesting stories and themes, to boot. I didn’t touch on a lot them here but there is also powerful commentary on the convergence of politics and the media with communist leader Laureen Hobbs meeting with Diana to create a series to exploit the ultra-leftist Ecumenical Liberation Front, led by the Great Ahmed Khan, to boost ratings. Their relationship begins with this memorable introduction:

There is also the relationship between Max and Diana, revealing Diana as the result of a generation that has grown up on television. In their final scene Max describes her as “television incarnate.”

In short, Network is a clever (at times too clever) and excellently written film and it’s not hard to see why it won four Oscars with performances as amazing as Peter Finch’s and Faye Dunnaway’s. The sharp, satirical wit of Chayefsky really comes out with this flick. If you want to stay in and treat yourself to a dark satire on the hypocrisies of our time look no further than this well-aged cinematic magnum opus.

Featured image courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer and United Artists

So it looks like some people who have been downloading movies and TV shows illegally are going to get letters. That’s right, not even emails. Actual snail mail. Threatening snail mail at that.

Not sure if this will have any effect, given that our mail service is soon not going to be a door-to-door thing and also considering that these warnings are nothing more than that. There are no fines or jail time possible, they’re just toothless warnings.

But Canadians are, for the most part, a well-intentioned people. I’m sure we’d happily pay to support the shows we want if there was a way. That is, if there was a way that didn’t involve having to first pay for a cable service and then the content we’re looking for.

Such a thing exists south of the border, or rather it will exist soon. HBO is finally making it possible to purchase the GO platform, accessible through computers, smartphones, tablets and as an app on Smart TVs, without first having a cable subscription, but only in the US.

That’s right, all that fine HBO program… Yes, Game of Thrones, new season, because that and maybe True Detective is all we’re really after, right? The service should cost $12 a month and while that’s a pretty penny to pay for one show, it also may include quite a bit of the back catalogue, kind of like Netflix. That means Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, old episodes of Game of Thrones, pretty good deal, if you ask me.

I would gladly pay $12 a month for HBO legally, instead of “going to a friend’s house” (cause I’d never do anything illegal… and then admit it online). A lot of time, energy, talent and money went into these shows and I’d happily support them. Unfortunately, due to my geographic situation, I can’t. Instead, I’m free to support Canadian cable conglomerates that had no hand in creating the programming I want. I have neither the will or the funds to do that.

It’s time that Canadian media companies shifted focus away from fighting hard to reinforce a system that allows them to become rich by buying then re-selling content they didn’t make, through an outdated method, and instead creating some great content of their own and distributing it through apps and streaming services that the whole world has access to.

There has never been a better opportunity for Canadian-produced media to shine globally. Sure, Canadian companies don’t have the marketing or production budgets that Hollywood does, but that can change and will change if they stop focusing on distribution, and opt for a simple model, using something like a website and an app, and instead of buying US shows, pour that money into content production and promo instead.

Hollywood has a reason to fear the internet, Toronto doesn’t. We should let the full American version of Netflix come in without people having to be clever, same for HBO GO. Who cares what Canadian company owns what? We won’t be buying shows anymore, we’ll be making them.

The internet should have no national boundaries. Not only does that democratize things for smaller content producers, it also makes it possible for national media companies that aren’t American to get a leg up.

Unfortunately, for now, it looks like our media conglomerates are clinging to the old ways so much they’ve resorted to sending letters.

But honestly, guys, if you blow this chance, THE NORTH WILL NEVER FORGET!

Dexter is in its 8th and final season with only 10 episodes left. With speculation on how the series will play out running high amongst fans, ForumM has uncovered that IMDB lists Lauren Velez as Capt. Maria LaGuerta in episode 4, Scar Tissue. Could this be a return in the form of a video tape or flash back? Let’s wait and find out. Also, for those wondering when Yvonne Strahovski returns as Hannah McKay, the answer is episode 6, A Little Reflection.

This isn’t the first time IMDB has helped uncover spoilers and returns ahead of time for those seeking Dexter spoilers. Back in 2011, IMDB listed Christian Camargo returning as Brian Moser for the 6th episode of season 6, Just Let Go.

Worth noting, IMDB does not list Yvonne Strahovski after episode 9. Could this be her final appearance?

Also, on a final note casting-wise: episode 11 lists Kevin Brief playing a boat buyer. Does this mean that Dexter will attempt to sell his boat, The Slice of Life?

Check out my other predictions for Dexter season 8.

* This post originally appeared on ForumM.ca. Republished with permission from the author.

Startrek

Star Trek. Seeing those words flash across a backdrop of stars used to light up my face. I loved watching Star Trek, the original version on the CBC. The tapes were out of whack, the colour was usually off, but I was in nerd heaven.

I was just kid watching those shows on Sunday morning, I was outcast loner, an unappreciated young man that was looking for escape out in the stars. There were very few male role models I could relate to, but one of them was Mr. Spock. I wanted to join his culture of Vulcan logic.

Except I added a cult-type twist, I called it Logica. I would have everyone dress like we were going through a Kolinahr ritual, which meant the total purging of one’s emotions. Meaning anyone who joined the group had to wear a white bathrobe. Think of it as comparable with mainstream eastern religious philosophies:closely resembling the loss of self but subject to a methodically applied logic to all situations.

Star Trek, when you think about it, is a religion. Set in a perfect society, virtuous and good, with a social order based on equality where all the nations of the world come together and eventually establish the Federation.

After seeing every subsequent show since The Next Generation, I turned to reading stuff about Star Trek online, but lately, I realize, I’ve become a bit bitter as a Star Trek fan; I feel that while Paramount has been way too focused on catering to mass audiences in an attempt to make more money than even the Grand Nagus. I’m also still a little ticked off that JJ Abrams destroyed Vulcan without my consent. Dude, that was my homeland!

Enterprise

And now Abrams, the man who has been entrusted with the franchise, turns his back on us Vulcans and Earth and even the Klingons! He’s going to make …dare I write it.. a Star Wars movie and he’s going to do it in a galaxy, far, far away!

But seriously Abrams, if you’re going to do Star Wars, don’t come crawling back here to Star Trek apologizing with Wookie fur all over your clothing. Everyone knows that Star Wars fans and Star Trek fans don’t mix, but since he is a catch all director, let’s just get over with and call the next movie Trek Wars (written by William Shatner). We all get it, you want the franchises to meet, in a  epic movie that will vaporize the summer movie competition.Trek Computer

I divert. Anyways, to celebrate the release of the latest movie, which by the way (Spoiler Alert!) if you haven’t seen, I plan to spoil it for you and all of its seceding prequels, I’m going to check out the word Star Trek in this here boxy search engine.  Ahem…Computer, analyze data keyword Star Trek…Star Trek - DS9 - 4x06 - Rejoined

 Wired/The Lost LGBT Crewman

One of the big questions surrounding the new Star Trek movie was whether or not it would have an LGBT crewman?  Will it or will it not happen? It’s not like it hasn’t happened on other sci-fi shows?

Well I don’t think I spotted anyone who was particularly gay on the enterprise, except I knew that Zachery Quinto (Spock) is gay, but his character digs, oddly enough, Uhura for some reason. During the new movie it seemed most of the crew members were too busy running in panic somewhere on the ship or falling out into deep space to focus on their sexuality. And I do recall thinking that one of the crew members looked like a man wearing a dress, but I’m not quite certain.

An LGBT crewman was suppose to be in Star Trek: Into Darkness…but where? Even shows like Battlestar Galactica have had LGBT characters, like Geata.

It strange that Star Trek, which claims to be on the cutting edge of progressive values, has not had one gay character on the Enterprise, while it has, specifically on TNG, had many episodes dedicated to issues of sexuality and gender. It’s not like there are that many religious people who watch the show and may be offended. And how could there be, after the time Deanna Troi dealt a blow to evangelicals when she immaculately conceived a star child?

Well, this wired post has really opened my eyes.

Star Trek on Etsy

Get your Federation Emblem pasties ready! If you don’t have any, they’re on sale. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting excited by the thought of a yeomen burlesque troupe somewhere in our galaxy. Star Trek fanatics will usually treat memorabilia as relics, but new and innovative ways people are using SCI FI lore in their products is fascinating.

etsy

The Trek Collective

What’s the difference between a shuttle on a constellation class starship and one on a Galaxy class starship? Find out through blueprints available for all the ships. You can also get quite a few models through the Trek Collective site.

The Problem with Khan and Star Trek/Feministe

Whatever happened to Spanish/Mexican Khan is a good question. We all know that Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan Noonien Singh…but are there any Mexican-type male actors that could have been just as good for the character that was originally played by mexican actor Ricardo Montalbán and supposed to be from India? The strange casting on this one will be debated, but I think that the Into Darkness blog on Feministe.us gave a really superb explanation.

This post brings up a fascinating points about how Star Trek inserts persons of different nationalities in roles, like John Cho as Sulu. It also goes onto a critique on the dominance of white male captains in Star Trek and poses a real challenge to the standard ways of thinking about Star Trek as a liberal TV show.

Kolinahr

Star Trek Fan Fiction

Star Trek Fan Fiction is a forum where zealots can freely exchange fictional writing. I think it will not only make you an excellent Star Trek writer but might, in turn, expose your outlandish Star Trek writing to the world. And I have so say, there is a a lot, and I mean a lot of freaky nerd fiction here.

And  just a note: it wasn’t always like this. When the internet started picking up steam, Paramount use to actually threaten fan sites with class action lawsuits, oh how far we’ve come.

Intrepid

Star Trek Fan Made Episodes

There are countless episodes of fan-made Star Trek out there. Star Trek Fan Film News will keep you up to date on all the new episodes you can find on YouTube and elsewhere on the web that will fulfill your Star Trek fix.

The cast of Community

Because I watch it at home, curled up on the couch in my ugliest t-shirts and mismatching socks, television and I have a bond that film will never understand. Sure film may have flashy moments up on a big screen and we’ll occasionally meet up at my place, but television is there for me every week, including those moments when I want to eat a whole bag of cheetios by myself and not be judged for it.

Last summer I moved into a house in downtown Toronto and didn’t know too many people. As I was learning the lay of the land, I spent many nights enthralled by one of my new favorite things in the world, NetFlix. I officially want to make friends with an American just so I can watch the mythical American NetFlix. One thing Canadian NetFlix does have is the NBC show Community. After inhaling the first season in one sleep deprived weekend, Community has become one of my favorite shows.

So, of course, NBC is on the verge of cancelling it.

Let me tell you television and I may have had a passionate love affair over the years, but that’s not to say like all relationships we haven’t had our rough patches. WHY lord, does a show that’s smartly written and has an adorable cast with great chemistry have to struggle, while countless shows that are crude and require zero brain power remain on the schedule?

The agony of incomprehensible thoughts like  how my favorite American comedy of all time, Arrested Development, got cancelled after three seasons but Two and a Half Men is STILL on the air stings just as sharply as a lover’s scorn. Well maybe not, but you get the idea.

Unlike many others who work at Forget the Box I’ve never been a political person. So while I may never camp out in a public park to protest against the man, the prospect of yet another great show that I love facing a premature cancellation has got me mad. So mad that I felt compelled this week to veer off the regular Friday Film Review track so I can talk about why it’s so important to save shows like Community.

Currently in its third season, Community is about the fictional community college of Greendale. Run by a Dean who likes to wear a women’s witch costume at Halloween and policed by Chan, a former Spanish teacher who now works for room and board, Greendale is not only the weirdest school you’ll ever attend. It’s also a place for second chances.

Amongst those looking for a new start is the Greendale study group, a gang of misfits who bonded through homework and have quickly become a family. Led by disgraced lawyer Jeff (Joel McHale) who never actually went to law school, the gang has established themselves as one of the cliques on campus that everyone wants to be a part of… why else would the Dean stalk Jeff at the Gap then blackmail him into an afternoon of Mexican and karaoke?

While there may not be any happy and relateable characters on Community, indeed every character is immensely flawed in many ways, that’s not to say there isn’t an incredible sweetness behind it all. You can tell in every scene when the gang’s all together that these people love working together, and in doing so produce a show that I love to watch.

Listen NBC I get it, show or not, this is a business you’re trying to run. The numbers aren’t great and how could I possibly ever argue against the show you plan on replacing it with- the new season of 30 rock. But you’re already in a pickle these days having gone from the best rated network to one of the worst in the past ten years, and any basic internet search will tell you that Community fans are not going to forgive you for this. Do you really want to make the number of regular watchers you have shrink even more? If you really need to cancel something may I suggest Leno or The Sing Off or The Biggest Loser 47?

Watch Community while you still can, 8pm Thursdays on NBC, and don’t forget to sign the Save Community Petition on Facebook.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfdTnpV03p8&feature=related

The Yellow, Nuclear Family from Springfield USA has been around since I first started high school. Now in its 23rd season, the show was saved from the brink of cancellation the other day thanks in large part due to the cast taking a huge per episode pay cut in order to keep the show profitable. So today, instead of writing what was going to be a eulogy, I get to write about the importance of the Simpsons as they run on through until their landmark 25th season… and my 39th birthday.

The future of prime-time television’s longest-running scripted series looked in doubt earlier this week as Fox Television demanded a 45% pay cut by its six principal voice actors Dan Castellaneta  (Homer), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe and Chief Wiggum) and Harry Shearer (Principal Skinner and Ned Flanders).  Reports say Fox didn’t get all they were after and I find that just as well for without the Simpsons there would likely be no Fox Television.

While the danger has passed as they say, the uncertainty of this past week obliged me to reflect on a show that has been a part of me, effectively for my entire life. I’ll be the first to admit that the show will never be as funny as it was between seasons three and eight. The writers were better, the jokes were better and the pot was better. I can still sit down for the hundredth time to watch an episode from back then and still I laugh out loud; the difference is today I laugh sober.

One thing that hasn’t changed much in twenty three plus years is the Simpsons ability to poke fun at pop culture and social taboos, all while keeping the moral high ground. While the Simpsons sometimes seemed controversial in its heyday, it did so in groundbreaking form and was fairly victimless. Most of the cartoon sit-coms that the Simpsons helped to spawn including the Family Guy, South Park and countless others needed to be as disgusting and mean as possible just to find a viewership.

Never too shy to bite the hand that feeds

The comedy of the Simpsons did not just have their characters poking fun at one another like most live-action sitcoms, their jokes and gags often times had real world significance. How many other situation comedies denounced the Iraq war, made fun of Dick Cheney or even poked fun at their owner (Rupert Murdoch)? These instances occurred after the Simpsons were past their prime, but they still managed to provoke thought in a humorous way and they did it tastefully.

Homer and his family haven’t aged a day since the Simpsons first appeared on the Tracy Ullman show back in 1987. Although a quarter of a century has nearly passed in the real world, the Simpsons continue to make me laugh by making fun of the same type of American pop culture that I despised nearly 25 years ago. More important still, occasionally they still have those story lines that revolve around the social issues of the day, subjects that no other shows dare go near, forcing people to learn if they want to laugh.

So while the great recession has caused some lower salaries in the land of Springfield, at least the depression was averted… for now.  Even if the real life nuclear middle class lifestyle of the Simpsons is dying, I hope the show never shares that fate.

Interesting Simpsons Facts:

  • 21 Simpsons staff members (past and present)  graduated from Harvard.
  • The Simpsons is the longest running animated series of all time. It passed “The Flintstones'” in 1997 and surpassed “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” in 2005 as the longest running comedy in TV history.
  • Over 600 guest stars have been featured in less than 500 episodes
  • D’oh is now listed in the Oxford English Dictionary
  • Over 150 characters are featured on the Simpsons including main, supporting and reoccurring characters
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The Real Cast

Few scripted television shows have generated as much controversy in recent memory as MTV’s American incarnation of Skins, the British program famous for its frank depiction of sex and other sordid teenage pursuits.

The American version follows the debaucherous adventures of a group of teenagers in Baltimore. It features all the hallmarks of contemporary teenage life- unrequited love, ashamed virgins lying about popping their cherries, attention-grabbing girls taking too many pills, the requisite amount of booze guzzling, and gratuitous hetero and lesbian sex scenes. The Parents Television Council is very much against it, going as far as calling on the Justice Department to investigate whether the show is in violation of federal statutes on child pornography.

Unlike most other shows that feature adolescent characters, the actors on Skins are actually played by real, previously unknown teenagers. Ironically enough, the show carries a TV-MA rating, deeming it inappropriate for the actors themselves to watch, as well as the age bracket of the characters they play.

But, just like with any other teenage pursuit, if you tell them not to do it, it only makes them want to do it more. Case in point-  despite the TV-MA rating, the show’s premier was watched by over one million people under 18, accounting for about a third of the total viewers. However, that number  plummeted by half for the second episode and has been on the decline ever since – though it has shown growth among viewers 12-17 years old.

It seems that controversy may have caused many to check it out, only to discover the critics were blowing a lot of hot air. In a recent article at the Hollywood Reporter, university law professor Ronald K.L Collins decreed that in order for Skins to qualify as child pornography, “evidence would need to exist that children had been sexually abused during production- that, say, a shot featuring simulated masturbation actually involved a real-life teen masturbating”.

Pat Mastroianni as Joey Jeremiah

Call me desensitized, but after screening the first few episodes, I was disappointed that I didn’t find the show very controversial. In fact, it reminded me of a 21st century Degrassi high, albeit with slicker production values and a killer soundtrack. And no one tried to label that as child pornography when Joey Jeremiah paraded his exposed rear end around the gym!

Accurate depictions of adolescence are tricky to pull off, especially on network television. Achieving the right balance between risqué enough to be realistic and tame enough to please censors and parents’ groups is a nearly impossible feat, one that the American Skins doesn’t quite manage to pull off. From everything I’ve heard and read, the British version comes much closer to a realistic depiction of modern-day life as a teenager, succeeding in bringing us characters that we care about, as opposed to their vapid, arrogant incarnations on the American series.

While the show may not necessarily be as groundbreaking as the creators had hoped, I believe there’s still a place for Skins, and other shows like it, on television. Teens were having sex long before television existed, and they will continue doing it, long after new forms of media dominate our culture. By showing these situations on TV and in other forms of the media, it helps youth who may be going through the same issues, thereby giving legitimacy to their own feelings and concerns. It opens up the floor for discussion, especially for sensitive matters pertaining to sex and relationships, and that’s almost never a bad thing.

Who were your influences  when you first started doing it?   Furthermore, do you think TV is causing teens to have more sex??

Back in 2004 before the newly merged Conservative Party won their first minority government, Stephen Harper made his views on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation quite clear. “I think when you look at things like main English-language television and probably to a lesser degree Radio Two; you could look there at putting those on a commercial basis.” He said.

Before he was even Prime Minister, Harper was advocating the defunding, sale or commercialization of the government owned CBC. Since taking office, the conservatives have done what they can to diminish the importance of the CBC. First by defunding the station by about $75 million a year, next by appointing Hubert Lacroix as the president of the CBC. Lacroix is a mergers and acquisitions lawyer (and Conservative party donator) with no management experience in radio or television production.

More recently the fate of the CBC has been in the news again thanks to comments made by Dean Del Mastro, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. He pondered openly about cutting all funding to the CBC saying “do you think it’s time that the Canadian government looks at it and says maybe it’s time we get out of the broadcasting business and get into investing more money into content?”

By investing in content Del Mastro meant he would rather help fund bigger television companies make bigger programs. I’d rather not give Shaw Media (Global) or CTV Globe Media my tax dollars thank you. A couple hours of Canadian content per week just doesn’t cut it; even then it’s mainly news.

Dean Del Mastro wishes to do away with the CBC

Unlike the other national networks, the CBC produces good Canadian entertainment and information broadcasts rather than buying endless amounts of American programming. The CBC is and should always be run and owned by the Canadian people; otherwise we lose part of our identity. Imagine this country without HNIC, David Suzuki, Kids in the Hall, SCTV or even Little Mosque on the Prairie.

Canadian tax payers fork out a billion dollars annually to fund the CBC and much to Stephen Harper’s displeasure the people don’t mind. According to Nanos Research, 63% of Canadians don’t mind funding the network in contrast to the 23% that do. That 23% represents about the same percent that make up the conservative base in Canada, coincidence?

Stephen Harper and his old Reform Party buddies all went to the same school of Republican Conservatism and won’t be truly satisfied until most government assets are either sold off or privatized. You’ll never get them to admit it at present with a minority government, but if they were to win a majority our public schools, public health care and public broadcaster would never be the same.

Luckily there are many of us that care enough about the CBC to take a stand against this type of thinking. This includes Ian Morrison; spokesperson for FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting, a non-profit watchdog group for Canadian programming. Back on December 13th Ian Morrison and FRIENDS launched an online petition in order fight back against any threat from the conservative posse. In this short time they already managed to acquire 60,000 signatures. If you haven’t already, I encourage everyone to take two minutes and sign the petition. After all, it’s our CBC.

After more than 25 years in the subscription adult entertainment business, Playboy TV has announced a change in their overall format.   In lieu of the softcore pornographic movies, Playmate specials and adult-oriented game shows they’ve been using to lure in the traditional male porn consumer, they’re reaching out to the fairer sex with new shows like ‘Brooklyn Kinda Love.’

In an attempt to cash in on the reality TV boom that has caught on worse than a bad case of herpes, ‘Brooklyn Kinda Love’ is a docu-reality style program that traces the relationship trials and tribulations of four real couples.   Remember, we’re talking Playboy TV here, so this includes an emphasis on intimacy over blatant pornographic imagery, growing together as a couple over a growing number of guys in the gang bang and the budget behind the high production values synonymous with the Playboy name.

All in all, the channel plans to add six new programs in this vein to its schedule within the next year.   Before you get your panties tied up in a knot, the content of these new shows does remain firmly sexual without being overtly misogynist, hoping to fill some sort of niche in the subscription adult entertainment market.   For example, approximately one in every four visitors of online porn sites is female, so clearly there’s at least some demand in the marketplace.

The societal trend researchers who came to the conclusion that this is something that would succeed for Playboy TV found that pornography needed to contextualize sex, demonstrate real chemistry between its characters and feature a variety of non-enhanced body shapes to please the average young female consumer.

As Sharon Lee, founder of the societal trend analysis firm Culture-Brain, told the New York Times, ‘They want the romance to flow organically from the story and not pop up in a forced fashion as is the case in so many adult movies.”

I don’t know if it’s just me but I really don’t think Playboy can make porn that’s not inherently cheesy.   I mean, give it as much budget as you want, but in the end, it’s still a carnal crass act that no amount of organically flowing romance can make it seem the type of ‘beautiful’ that turns ‘normal’ women on.   And if you lay on the romance too much, it just comes off cliché and trite, since most women have a different idea of what they mean by romance.   One woman’s dozen red roses is another woman’s front row monster truck spectacular tickets is another woman’s bondage play.

Maybe the main reason most women aren’t really that into porn isn’t that we’re hardwired against it, but that the majority of us explore the circuits in the first place.   It wasn’t really around much, if at all, during the formative years of my sexuality.   And with today’s hypersexualized landscape, most young women don’t even have to pay $15 dollars a month to witness all the soft-core shenanigans they desire on TV, not to mention the ridiculous treasure trove of pornography known as the Internet.

I’d like to think had I discovered this female-focused Playboy TV as scrambled porn while babysitting after the kids were soundly asleep, it could have aided at awakening my already burgeoning sexual desire.   I didn’t need Playboy TV because I had my imagination, which was, and still is, much sexier than anything the executives at Playboy could ever dream up.   And that certainly doesn’t cost me a cent a month… well, other than the cost of batteries.

I get enormous pleasure writing this column for Forget the Box but sometimes I also wish I could write about another great love of mine, television. So this week I’ve found a way of combining my two loves; by creating a list of my top five television shows I’d love to see adapted to the big screen:

1-NORTHERN EXPOSURE (1990-1995)

Starring Rob Morrow, Janine Turner, John Corbett, John Cullum, Cynthia Geary and Barry Corbin
Created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey

When I worked at a video store a few years ago, my manager and I would often watch this quirky 90s comedy about a New York City doctor who tries to readjust to life in small town Alaska.   I quickly went through the first two seasons we had at the store and over the years I’ve managed to watch the rest of the series through the joys of syndication.   Besides having an adorable cast who have a great chemistry, I love the warmth, charm and the smart writing of this series.   I think if the script was done right this could be an easy pitch to studios.

2-ALIAS (2001-2006)

Starring Jennifer Garner, Victor Garber, Ron Rifkin, Micheal Vartan, Carl Lumby
Created by J.J Abrams

Even though the last two seasons are one giant mess, seasons one through three contain some of my favorite episodes in television.   I loved that as the focus of the show Sydney Bristow wasn’t a sexy sidekick to a male spy but rather was the one who made the split second decisions and did all the ass-kicking.   While women do flock to see crap like The Proposal or 27 Dresses, thank god there’s also a market for women who want to see more movies where women kick ass- or else Angelina Jolie wouldn’t have a career.   It’s only been three years since the show’s been off the air so the original actors from the show could still be in the film version.   I know you wanted to move on Garner but just one more time, pretty please?

3-FREAKS AND GEEKS (1999-2000)

Starring Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogen, James Franco, John Francis Daley, Martin Starr, Becky Ann Baker, Joe Flaherty
Created by Paul Feig

Finally getting my hands on the DVD set of Freaks and Geeks was a very exciting moment for me.   I couldn’t really afford it but damned if it didn’t go on my credit card anyway.   Just like any other fan I love Freaks and Geeks because it reminds me so much of how confusing/exciting/just plain awful it was to be in high school.   I also love this show because it introduced me to the madcap world of Judd Apatow.   The actors are too old now to play high school kids, even by Hollywood standards, but I could see some of the protégées of the Apatow gang taking over some of the roles… I could see someone like Emma Stone being Lindsey and McLovin being a geek…what a stretch, I know…

4- ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS (1992-2004)

Starring Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Julia Sawalha
Created by Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French

Ab Fab is my favorite British comedy show of all time.   While I’m disgusted by the idea of an American adaptation (I was just searching on IMDB and saw an American pilot has already been shot! gasp!), I love the idea of a big screen version.   The wild adventures of two hedonistic middle aged fashionistas just doesn’t make sense unless portrayed by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.   A main character having a baby usually means death for a show, but I found the last season just as entertaining as hilarious when Edie became a grandmother- I think there’s still more then enough material to make for a great film version because Sin is still in baby.

5- ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (2003-2006)

Starring Jason Bateman, Micheal Cera, Portia DeRossi, Will Arnett, David Cross, Tony Hale, Jessica Walter, Jeffery Tambour, Alia Shawkat
Created by Mitchell Hurwitz

While 30 Rock is coming pretty darn close, to date Arrested Development is still my all time favorite American comedy show.   There have been quite a few rumors about this show being made into a film and all I have to say that if it doesn’t pan out there’s some studio execs who are going to get it.   And by get it I mean a very strongly worded letter from me about how much they suck.