July 2000

Making the band...

    A couple of weeks ago I caught one of the many 'reality' shows that now populate television; this one happened to be another offspring from the mother of them all, MTV ... This show covers a topic near and dear to my heart - music - so right off it caught my attention; it's called Making the Band and is on 8pm to 9pm every Friday night, although the first half hour is a repeat of the previous week. The general concept of the show is that you get to see the behind the scenes creation of a teen idol band, such as Backstreet Boys ; from how they go about selecting the members, training them, and on until they perform.
    Initially when I saw the show I really didn't even pay much attention to it (my debugging computer doubles as a TV when not actually debugging) and while it was somewhat interesting it really smacked too much of the 'Road Rules' or 'The Real World' which were not my favorites. What really caught my attention was when they were getting advice from the pro's that are part of the team making them into a band - and I was impressed! I don't claim to have the inside track to becoming the next big band (or I would be myself! heheh), but everything they said seemed to really make sense and what I have experienced verified what they were saying... Needless to say the ability to get to see the behind the scenes operations of a potentially big band was enough to hook me, and I made it a point to watch it each week.
    I have to admit that I have always considered these manufactured bands to somehow be less of a 'band' than normal bands the fight tooth and nail to get to where they are - sure, many of them are talented, but I just sort of wrote them as I think many other musicians do. This show has certainly made me re-evaluate my impression of these sorts of bands - while some of the cast definitely fit the stereotype, most of them do not which makes it even more impressive. Consider this, with the band that works their way to the top, it's not too terribly difficult for them to continue along the same lines as they have in the past - there's more money involved, and the egos get larger, but everything is basically the same and you're working with people who you know pretty intimately. In the manufactured band scenario, you're thrown together with 3 or 4 other people who have totally different visions of what the band will be, totally different creative views - plus there's even more money involved along with larger egos!
    I certainly now have more respect for what these people do, but I guess you almost always end up having more respect for people once you actually realize what most people have to go through. Bottom line, I enjoy the show and it's very interesting to see the dynamics of the people involve; of course it's even more interesting to hear the experts thoughts in general... Hmm, perhaps that could be a new show - Making Making the Band! Just imagine, you follow around the people who actually piece together these bands and see what they do, then at the end of a season all the viewers call up a 900 number and pick their favorite - thus crushing the dreams of all the other bands and embittering them for life. Well ABC?

Saturday morning...

    I surf around on the net every so often by following any random idea that I can come up with via links provided by a search engine (usually either AltaVista or Google ). The last time I did this, I came across one of the coolest sites I've seen in a while - and it really brought back some memories! It's called YesterdayLand , and it's dedicated to Saturday Morning entertainment (cartoons, live action shows, etc). VERY cool! I started off with an easy show, one that caused me to have an epiphany - Robotech ... It wasn't the first Japanese cartoon show I'd ever seen, but it was the first one that actually hooked me with the story. Of course, the site had no problem finding this one, so I felt pretty confident upping the stakes a bit.
    Where I grew up was very rural, and I only had two TV channels so I didn't have much in the way of selection when it came to TV. When my family would go visit my grandparents (in California), I would get to see all kinds of cool shows, once of which I remembered as being something about space cowboys (don't laugh, it's really a cool cartoon). I checked out their handy Overview of the 80's and rediscovered Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers ! This show was much more adult than any of the other cartoons I had seen at the time, plus it had some computer generated graphics which I thought was pretty hip at the time. Ok, now for something really challenging...
    I vaguely remembered a show that was about these people who used to travel around in some sort of big futuristic mobile-home thing after a nuclear war (or some such catastrophe); I also recalled that they used to say something along the lines of "Ark 5 standing by...". Yeah, that's a pretty weird thing to remember, but what can I say? Sure enough, I found Ark II and I was off and running! Then I remembered another live action show from around the same time called Jason of Star Command ; I don't remember much of the show, just the impression that I liked it; oh, and I remember how they said the name of the show in the beginning credits.
    The bottom line is that I had one of my more enjoyable experiences on the net taking a stroll down memory lane... They appeared to also have some shows originating in countries other than the US (I didn't know any, but I did stumble across a few in my explorations). What I want to know is where's is the buy button on the site for copies of these old shows? Of course one of the very few times I want to buy something (talk about an impulse buy) the site doesn't see anything. It's going to be a huge task for them to grab all the archives of these shows and capture them into some sort of digital format - but it will happen.