SPOILER ALERT

So if you didn’t see Lost tonight, you shouldn’t read this post.

Ok, still here? Great. So a few characters get killed off at the end, but I have to wonder… the first two to die happened to be played by actors that both happened to be busted for drunk driving recently.

Coincidence? Or a nice way to remove the people that brought negative attention to the show?

Rambling about blogging and TV

I’ve long wondered when the act of blogging TV would take place. I don’t mean writing blog posts about the last episode of Lost, I mean actually snipping segments from TV and posting them for all to see. Basically doing with TV what bloggers were doing in 1999 with the web — snipping bits here and there to make a full picture of some topic through the use of quotes and links.

YouTube (and to a lesser extent Google Video) have finally reached a tipping point of blogging TV. With 1999 blogs, I knew that anything happening online that was interesting would get picked up by those few dozen blogs and eventually I stopped following primary sources like CNN and the NYT and just followed blogs. With TV, there’s no way I can keep up, but I know if something interesting pops up, it’ll be all over YouTube the next day.

I’d argue that YouTube is the king of this movement because they have such loose and lax legal guidelines. Of course, everyone that uploads claims they own the copyright and got release forms from everyone involved and cleared anything seen on camera, blah, blah, blah, but in reality, it is totally lawless and people are basically uploading random interesting TV bits they dump right off their computer. It reminds me of Napster in 1999, totally interesting, and totally illegal in the eyes of IP lawyers.

Like Napster, there are positive sides to this kind of loose fair use/infringement. It’s only because things are so lax that everyone and their brother saw the Chronicles of Narnia SNL spoof video, and SNL ratings definitely saw a spike in the shows that followed (and I noticed SNL tried to capitalize on this by putting Andy Samberg in more skits and letting cast members do funny little videos for the two following episodes).

I’m really surprised that TVeyes didn’t become the tool of choice for this type of activity. If you’ve never seen their service, it’s really incredible. The thing with TVeyes is they already record pretty much all the major networks including cable outlets. Then they digitize it all, index the closed captioning, and provide search tools for the text and automatically crunch out video segments that meet your search criteria. So for instance, if like me you watched the SNL show on your DVR the night it aired, you could say “damn, that was good, I need to get a copy to my friends” you just pop onto TVeyes, do a search on NBC for “narnia” and it would find the segment and prepare a little 3 minute video capture of the show. It’s like TiVo for all TV, with searching and quoting features built it, which is exactly what YouTube is doing, but they require that someone, somewhere recorded and digitized it.

TVeyes has been around since at least 2000, back when they’d email you whenever a word popped up anywhere on TV. Unfortunately, TVeyes seemed to focus on the enterprise, acting like a video clip service to corporate giants, but I guarantee if they kept this stuff open to all, everyone could flock to it and share the videos. Overnight, you’d have thousands of people mining the very best bits of TV and revolutionizing that industry.

In a way, I’m already starting to see the effects of YouTube and its many clones. Goofy clips are starting to pop up on more comedy shows like The Colbert Report — stuff they never did before, but suddenly they have these small chunks of random comedy (click on the charlene video) that seem ripe for viral spread through YouTube, almost like they were trying for it.

Maybe stuff like clips on YouTube vs. regular format TV is kind of like how blogging was first viewed critically in 1999-2000. Everyone was afraid people wouldn’t read 3,000 word essays if blogs took over — that it was shortening our attention span as everything had to become small, easily read chunks with links to more information. It was the death of the long format and it was going to ruin us all. But it didn’t, and I don’t think sharing TV clips is going to ruin TV anytime soon.

Is anyone else freaked out by The Daily Show’ s new studio set?

Slate has a perfect piece: Is anyone else freaked out by The Daily Show’ s new studio set?

When the show started last night, I thought I was watching something from the 1998 archives, perhaps Stewart’s first show or something. It looks dated and almost claustrophobic. The constantly shifting blue backgrounds are almost as annoying as text crawls on news shows, and yeah, the two-people-at-a-desk thing is really weird for an informal discussion format like The Daily Show.

Bring back the couch.

Ah fair use, where would we be without you?

Jason Kottke was just on G4’s Attack of the Show, and thanks to my hacked TiVo, it’s available as a 85Mb MPEG2 torrent.

Jason did great for live TV, which is just about the most stressful thing in the world. He seemed relaxed, though the host seemed a little manic. I assume a producer was screaming in the host’s ear to keep Jason moving, which caused the host to cut Jason off whenever he started sounding reflective. My favorite parts were the host violating the Adsense terms of service by goading people into clicking his ad links and the graphic “Blogging for Bling” in the background (because clearly, Jason’s only in it for the benjamins).

eBay my ride

It’s not entirely surprising to see cars from the show Pimp My Ride being sold on eBay for cash. I think this newest one makes it five or six of the featured cars that have been sold.

The show’s premise is kind of flimsy: kids in SoCal in rough situations get a crazy $30k car makeover that is supposed to change their life for the better. Speaking as someone that once owned a highly customized car in Southern California, they’re more trouble than they’re worth, making you constantly worried about them getting stolen or broken into.

When you hear about the kids on the show, it’s most often money problems, and having a playstation in your dash doesn’t quite solve that, though they frequently point to improving these kids’ self-esteem as some sort of benefit making the show worth it. So many end up on eBay, which will probably help these people out, so I guess the ends justify the means and we get some entertaining television out of it.

Pour 40Gb on the curb for your dead torrents

Bummer to see TvTorrents get shut down. I didn’t use it much, but I did become a huge fan of Arrested Development after catching one episode on TV and going back to TvTorrents to find all the previous shows. I ended up buying the first season DVD in order to get high quality versions and the extras. Torrents leading to DVD sales, imagine that.

I also downloaded a few episodes of Desperate Housewives after I heard so much good buzz but couldn’t stomach more than 3 episodes before I quit entirely. That’s a great show crippled by bad writing and caricatures instead of characters. It’s like if you took Six Feet Under and dumbed it down until Carrot Top could be a guest star.

Anyway, TV Torrents was useful when I wanted to see a show and couldn’t find it anywhere else. TV Networks should pick up on this as demand instead of piracy.

Did you hear that ABC, Fox, and NBC? I wanted to watch more TV and the only avenue was this site, which is no longer working.

Why the networks don’t allow their shows to be downloaded (heck, with ads even!) I don’t know. There are people going to great lengths to watch more of your shows you play once and then take off the air until a DVD may roll around a year later.

update: cool, a dozen people mentioned btefnet. I’m an occasional user of bittorrent but if there’s ever a program I missed and wanted to catch I’ll be sure to try them out.

Xeni on Dennis Miller, via BT

I’m trying out blogtorrent on my server here, and my first test file is a 12 minute clip (MPEG2, 224Mb) from tonight’s Dennis Miller show with Harry Shearer, Xeni Jardin, and Mickey Kaus, as they talked about blogging. I think all three were great though I can barely stomach Dennis Miller these days.

Throughout the late 90’s, I used to get HBO solely so I could see the new Dennis Miller shows live every Friday night and I used to look forward to watching them. But then everything changed and his sense of humor was replaced by anger, and his show died soon after. Oh well.