Saturday, October 7, 2017

TV update

My last post was in September. Of 2016. I apologize.

I'm a lucky guy. A busy guy. My day begins working on the Stern Show and culminates hosting LoudMouths at 530. Killer combo - Howard and sports. Rockefeller Center to 4 World Trade Center, then back to my apartment on the west side of Manhattan.

On a side note, we moved earlier this year into the city. Now I wonder why I waited so long to do it. I thought I would miss my house. I thought wrong. Highly recommended.

The view next to my TV. Distracting.
Back to my schedule - which has led to cutting back on my TV time. It hurts.

But I felt it was time for an update on what I've watched and also what's coming down the pike.

On My Radar

Sports - I would watch anyway, but I need to tune in for my SNY gig. Weekends are college football (Go Blue) and pro (Here We Go Steelers).

Halt and Catch Fire (AMC) - The best show no one is taking about. Sadly, like AOL Instant Messenger, it's coming to an end. If you ever cared about a computer, this is for you. Plus the acting is fantastic.

Better Things (FX) - Debbie and I enjoy Pamela Adlon dealing with her 3 daughters and mother as only she can. Good moody stuff.

This Is Us (NBC) - Another one I watch with my wife. It's well done sappiness - especially for network television, which is notably absent from this list.

Survivor (CBS) - My daughter Rachel and I have been watching for years. It's not about the people - it's all about the game. Jeff Probst, keep it coming. This is the only "reality" show I can stomach.

The Deuce (HBO) - David Simon creates a show, I watch it. I recommend you do the same.

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO) - Long wait over. Foisting helped Larry pick up where he left off. Welcome back.

Last Week Tonight (HBO) - John Oliver deserves those Emmys.

30 for 30 (ESPN) - I've caught myself rewatching some of these. Subject matter is irrelevant - it's always quality. The Two Escobars didn't win an Oscar, but it's the best of the bunch.

The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu) - Worth the hype. I miss Peggy Olson.

Ozark (Netflix) - It's not Breaking Bad. Adjust your expectations. But it's very good. The family struggles are more compelling than the crime, but Jason Bateman is excellent. And you can never go wrong with Laura Linney.

Narcos (Netflix) - Still gritty and well done. Season 1 was the best, but 2 and 3 aren't very far behind.

Last Chance U (Netflix) - Loved the first season. Liked the second season. Glad they're going elsewhere for season three. Now I understand how a Juco works.

The Fall (Netflix) - Great first season. British crime drama. Get to know the bad guy and the good gal, and both aren't so good or so bad. Use subtitles - it helps.

The Crown (Netflix) - I've fallen asleep during every episode, but it is still done well. Masterful acting. And some history too!

Coming Soon

I will be watching Stranger Things (how can they top that trailer?) and The Walking Dead (I'm not sure why at this point).

I'm looking for the other "great shows" worth checking out. I know I'm missing some stuff. It can be old shows too. I'll take any recommendations you're willing to give.

Thanks, and happy viewing.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

I Want My Good TV

I'm a TV snob. I freely admit it.

I don't watch to kill time, or to have something on in the background, or because it's there. 

I want to pay attention - to actually think or become emotionally invested while I'm watching.

Bravo and E! will never appear on my screen. I get why people are entertained by mind-numbing pseudo-reality programming, but it's just not for me. The same goes for any "reality" dating series - I wish them all phony happiness.

I love sports. A good game will always get my attention.

But I'm on the hunt for quality scripted TV programming. And it's slim pickings these days, particular on the big networks.

So I'm reaching out to you. I'm open for suggestions. In this "golden age" of television, there's way too much fool's gold.

Here's what's currently on my radar:

- Mr. Robot (USA)

- Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)

- Last Week Tonight (HBO)

- Narcos (Netflix)

That's all I've got. I'm desperate. Let me know what I'm missing!

Please tweet me @jonhein and help me build up my queue.

Thank you.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Summer TV Secrets

The Olympics are destined to be the top-rated program on television this summer. Big ratings. Lots of NBC crowing about the success of Rio. Get ready for it.

I won't be watching.

I'm not anti-American. I hope our guys and gals bring home bags of Gold, Silver and Bronze. I find most summer Olympic events to be a lot of hype - you blink, and they're over.

Unlike the Winter Olympics, I can see how much better shape all of these athletes are in than yours truly. That's depressing. I'd rather watch baseball, or even pre-season football.

But forget about my Olympic viewing preferences, here's a little secret about summer TV success - there's hardly anything else on worth watching, so it's not very difficult to be number one (on network television anyway).

I don't get this. We all watch TV year round, but most networks simply punt for the summer. The viewership IS there. People WILL come.

This was poised to change with the summer success of Survivor back in 2000 with roughly 50 million people tuning in for the Richard Hatch finale. No one watches during the summer, huh?

The network television landscape 16 years later? Find a reality or competition show that clicks (AGT, Bachelorette, etc.) and that's that. 40 million of us have decided to do something else with our time.

If anyone was actually working at a network during these months, I'd ask why they don't use the summer to air quirkier pilots or other shows they've invested in?

I don't mean burning off shows - I mean serving up some quality stuff that someone there once believed in. There's a good chance brilliant higher-ups might have misjudged one or two of those programs. Why not take some chances?

Well if you're not all caught up in Rio, there's still cable, Netflix and Amazon.

Here are my Top Five summer programs:

The Night Of (HBO)

When HBO gets it right, their dramas are simply the best. There are so many layers to this NYC murder mystery explored in each episode. It's slow paced, gritty, and truly fascinating. I continue to look forward to Sundays at 9 on HBO.

Mr. Robot (USA)

My favorite new show of 2015 picked up right where it left off. You must pay attention to this show. It's trippy, smart, and has characters who continue to grow multi-dimensionally. It's another slow-paced show that feels like a movie. Fine by me. Can't wait to see how things turn out for Elliot (don't hack this post).

Stranger Things (Netflix)

Believe the hype. I'm not going to spoil a thing here. Nice job, Duffer Brothers. Binge and enjoy.

All Or Nothing (Amazon)

I thought I knew what happened to the Arizona Cardinals last football season. I love Hard Knocks, and will watch anything NFL Films puts out. This show is a football fan's dream, even if you're not a Cards fan (here we go, Steelers!).

unREAL (Lifetime)

I don't watch this, but my oldest daughter Rachel swears by it. A behind-the-scenes look at a fictional dating show (as if network ones are actually real) is biting satire. I'm no reality show fan, but I do value my daughter's TV expertise.

The networks might change their summer programming minds one day, but it'll be too late. They have no one to blame but themselves.

Hope you're having a good summer. Thanks for reading.

P.S. - Following the rousing success of the Ryan Fitzpatrick Beard Challenge that Chris Carlin and I did on Loud Mouths (not shaving for 44 days), I've decided to bring back the beard. Very excited not to be shaving, but it won't be 44 days this time.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Television Prioritization

I need more TV time.

My workday begins with Howard, then Wrap Up with Gary, and concludes talking sports with Chris Carlin on Loud Mouths on SNY.

I leave my house before 5am and walk back in the door after 8pm. (I know, "waah")

I'm lucky to do what I do for a living. But it comes at a price.

I miss the early evening hours with Debbie, but my wife loves how I'm living the dream. Now I get home, eat dinner, watch TV for maybe an hour, and then hit the sack. Exciting, no?

If you're reading this, you know how much I love TV. My schedule is crunched, and catching the Penguins on their quest for the Cup makes it even tighter (Go Pens!).

I've had to prioritize. So here's what has made my recent TV cut:

Game Of Thrones (HBO)

Easily the best show on TV. Every episode has been better than the next. Howard and Robin say they're lost, well they need to pay closer attention. If not, just leave Westeros. My only disappointment is the map not changing all that much. Every subplot has gotten more intense, and thankfully they've moved away from Dorne. I catch this one live every Sunday at 9pm. If you're not watching - shame!

Silicon Valley (HBO)

I record this and watch it later in the week. Love that it's only 30 minutes, and man is it funny. The geek in me loves following the troubled saga of Pied Piper. It was the most improved comedy last season, and this season has not let up at all.

Veep (HBO)

Another half-hour show I record and watch during the week. It's slipped a bit, but still worth some belly laughs. Julia is excellent, and the supporting cast is arguably the best on TV. And just when you think they've gone too far, our "real" election reminds you that they haven't gone far enough.

Last Week Tonight (HBO)

I've professed my love for this show before. Always biting, informative and a quick half hour (see a pattern here?). John Oliver never lets up or varies his format. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I save this one for the weekend.

The Americans (FX)

Oh the places Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys will go. The disguises are still comical, but this show isn't afraid to take out anyone at anytime. The intensity has racheted up since Paige learned about what her parents "really" do and confiding in Pastor Tim. The 80's references are always a plus. This is a "catch up when I can" show.

Orphan Black (BBC America)

Didn't love last season, and the new season is building up on my DVR. I will get back to Tatiana, who deserves an Emmy for every season she does. Last season's male clones definitely slowed me down.

That's all I have room for. Before you tell me what I'm missing, some goodbyes:

The Good Wife (CBS)

I choose to remember the Florrick saga from its earlier spectacular seasons. This last one was a rush to wrap up everything, and it left out all of the little things that made The Good Wife work. Great to see Will at the end, but it reminded me of how weak Alicia's other romances were. The workplace dynamic desperately needed Kalinda, or more Cary, or something besides Diane's struggle. I loved this show early on, but when Will was gone and Kalinda soon followed, they might have had the right idea.

Banshee (Cinemax)

The best part of Banshee is how it never pretended to be anything more than what it was. Lots of action, violence, sex and a very slight degree of plausibility. Loved the opening credits and the bonus scenes at the end of each episode. Few shows had better fight scenes. Lucas Hood and crew made sure each trip to Banshee was going to be entertaining. I'll miss that Pennsylvania town.

I'm out of time to write. Back to work. Let me know what TV I'm missing!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Loud Mouths - Week 1

I've got one week in the books as co-host of Loud Mouths on SNY. We tackled the Mets starters, Jets QBs, Melo and Lebron, Letterman's beard, White Castle and so much more.

Behold the Brad Pitt and George Clooney of sports talk.




Chris Carlin is great to work with, and Sam Pepper is a fine producer in spite of him cutting anything having to do with the University of Michigan out of the broadcast.

There are other videos to peruse at SNY - just scroll down to Loud Mouths.

Thanks for tuning in!




Sunday, March 20, 2016

Loud Mouths

Monday, March 21st will be my first night as permanent co-host of Loud Mouths with Chris Carlin. The two of us will be talking sports weeknights at 530pm on SNY.

Here's Bob Raissman's Daily News story (after the latest on A-Rod) about my new gig.

Two guys talking sports who shouldn't be wearing suits.

I had a great time with Chris on previous Loud Mouths guest spots. The man knows his sports and certainly has his opinions, and our conversations feel like we're sitting at a sports bar giving our two cents. I can't wait to do this every night of the week.

Howard in the morning. Carlin in the evening. I'm a lucky guy.

Hope you can tune in (check your TV provider for channel info; it's channel 60 on Cablevision).

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oscar, Oscar, Oscar

Right after tonight's Michigan/Wisconsin hoops game (Go Blue!), the Heins will tune in for the Academy Awards, which aren't exactly bursting with excitement this year.

Can't wait to see what Chris Rock is going to do, but after that, it's all about the picks.

Last year, I nailed 'em all except for Best Picture, where I flip-flopped from Birdman to Boyhood. Still stings. This year, I think I learned my lesson.

For the "big six" categories:

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Jason Leigh - The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara - Carol
Rachel McAdams - Spotlight
Alicia Vikander - The Danish GIrl
Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs

Might as well start with the toughest category of the night. JJL is always great, Rooney Mara held her own with Cate, Rachel McAdams was also pretty good in True Detective, and Kate Winslet can do anything. Excellent performances all around, but Vikander is the one who shines above all others (she really stands out in Ex Machina). I thought The Danish Girl dragged quite a bit (pun not intended), but Vikander more than held her own during Eddie Redmayne's transformation. She will punch the Oscar winning ticket that I'm sure Eddie expected. If Winslet takes this, it could be an interesting night.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale - The Big Short
Tom Hardy - The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo - Spotlight
Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone - Creed

Rocky...Rocky...Rocky.  This is Hollywood, people. Bale was quirky and fabulous as always, Hardy continues to be underrated and not appreciated, Ruffalo was stellar, and Rylance gets lost in the shuffle. This category goes the sappy route, and Stallone's story is too good for Oscar to pass up. And by the way, he is VERY good in Creed.

BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett - Carol
Brie Larson - Room
Jennifer Lawrence - Joy
Charlotte Rampling - 45 Years
Saorise Ronan - Brooklyn

Very strange when Jennifer Lawrence comes up fifth in an Oscar category, but she does here. Charlotte Rampling is a stellar actress, but she's not winning this Oscar. Cate Blanchett is too good these days - quickly drifting into Streep territory. Saorise just picked the wrong year - this one belongs to Brie. And how can the kid in Room not be nominated? That's just wrong.

BEST ACTOR
Bryan Cranston - Trumbo
Matt Damon - The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant
Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl

Matt Damon is always solid and The Martian is entertaining, but not Academy Award worthy. I love Bryan Cranston, and he's great in Trumbo. He's got Emmys. Eddie Redmayne got his win - not gonna happen again this year. Fassbender will get one down the road, but his Steve Jobs felt like an Emmy winner, not an Oscar winner. Leo is too tempting for Hollywood to resist, and he's paid his dues with other projects. Slam dunk.

BEST DIRECTOR
Tom McCarthy - Spotlight
Adam McKay - The Big Short
George Miller - Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson - Room

This one kills me. McCarthy and Abrahamson have much to be proud of, but they are 4th and 5th in this horse race. McKay did a great job making financial material interesting and deserves kudos, but not an Oscar. George Miller DESERVES this Oscar. All of those practical effects in Mad Max: Fury Road are nothing short of amazing. He's in his 70's. Hollywood should eat this up. But they won't. I think Leo fever plus Inarritu's recent success and acclaim will bring him a second Oscar. I wouldn't mind being wrong here.

BEST PICTURE
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

Let's narrow this down quickly. Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, The Martian, Room - all good films, thanks for playing. The Big Short tells one heck of a tale, but it ain't Best Picture. Mad Max: Fury Road was an incredible ride, but there's no way it's taking home the big prize.

That leaves The Revenant and Spotlight. The Revenant is getting its acting and directing Oscars, and it doesn't need (or deserve) this one. I know Hollywood loves this movie and it's got so much buzz that it's tough to resist, but I'm holding back.

Spotlight had it all - excellent screenplay, direction and very fine acting. Plus a story that could have been portrayed in a completely different way, and it wasn't. It is the best movie I saw this past year, and I think it will win Best Picture. I also thought Boyhood would carry the day last year.

My Big Six:
Vikander
Stallone
Larson
DiCaprio
Inarritu
Spotlight

Remember, the best man/woman/film doesn't always win (or even get nominated). This is Hollywood after all.