WHAT IS TELEVISION?

In what appears to be as the never ending saga of the ever changing status of the “idiot box”, that so-called “box” really isn’t a box anymore. It’s now either a large sized picture frame that carries moving imagery with sound, a notebook sized picture frame that dose the same thing its large sized cousin dose, or it can be a hand held device that also dose the same thing. This time, the picture is tiny and its sound isn’t of any better quality or even louder!

All three devices are television machines, or so says a recent report from the marking group GfK MRI. The report addressed the aspects on how people receive their programming choices. And it notes that its new selection is what’s called streaming, a method where video and audio content is delivered through an internet based connection. This study focused on the attitudes and behaviors from 10,000 people across the US within the last few months.

This study divided those polled and researched into two unique groups of viewers. One group called “cord cutters” are those that once subscribed to cable and/or satellite TV for a monthly service fee, and those called “cord nevers”, those that never held a subscription to cable or dish delivered TV signals.

The former CATV subscribers tended to be middle aged, around 43 or so years old (i.e. “Gen Xers”), while the cord nevers were younger, around 34. The latter age are the Millenniums that advertisers and marketers tend to love and embrace,. Never mind the fact that that age groups hold plenty of debt through student loan payments, they aren’t necessarily earning a lot through their newer entry into the work force, not to they hold a lot of equity. But they are tech savvy, and that’s what matters for the moment!

Anyway, both the cord cutters and nevers receive their television through streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon, HBO Go, and the granddaddy of them all, Netflix. Although each one dose charge for their services, it’s usually for a cost that’s a whole lot cheaper than what cable/satellite would want each month. And unlike traditional cable where programs are aired when the programmer decides when to air the shows, streaming allow those to watch whatever they want when they want, without going through the trouble to setting up a digital video recorder (DVR) to capture a specific program on a specific channel on a specific date.

The report when on to state that the cutter and the nevers have their own lists of favorite programs they stream each session, either as single installments or as watching in bulk a.k.a. binge watching. Their “top-10” list of programs have similar interests as streaming only titles. The cutters stick to Netflix exclusively, while the nevers do enjoy Netflix titles, or do have favorites streaming on both Hulu and Amazon.

And what are those top-ten faves? The cutters choose (in order of preference from one through ten), Orange Is The New Black, Stranger Things, House of Cards, Fuller House, Making a Murderer, Luke Cage, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Black Mirror, and Arrested Development.

As for the nevers? Their picks are (again, from one through ten), Orange Is The New Black, Fuller House, Stranger Things, Daredevil, The Mindy Project, All or Nothing, Narcos, Black Mirror, Arrested Development, and Man in the High Castle. The Mindy Project is a Hulu series, while All or Nothing and Man in the High Castle come from Amazon. Nexflix takes on the rest.

So where is all of this going? It just presents how habits are shifting within TV viewers and the stuff that they take a peek at. Although streaming is the new method of TV consumption, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the standard way of presenting TV fodder is going on the wayside, yet along what device is used. It that is really the case, it’s not going to be that way for quite a while. After all, even if one does hold an opportunity to binge on a program series doesn’t mean they will actually do that. It’s not really easy to binge watch a series on a screen 2” in size. That’s just asking for a lot of eyestrain!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Road Theatre Company of North Hollywood closes their 2016-17 season with the Los Angeles premier of Nicky Silver’s THE LYONS, a rather darkish comedy about a family that undergoes one crisis to another with the (almost) expected results.

The Lyons family could be described as a typical Jewish middle class clan that lives through their content life, but they are anything but happy! And if they are, they are all pleased for the wrong reasons. The scene opens in a hospital room somewhere in midtown Manhattan. Ben Lyons (James Handy) the patriarch of this group, is dying of cancer. His visitors in his large yet private “suite” consist of his wife Rita (Judith Scrapone) and their two adult kids, Lisa (Verity Branco) and sibling Curtis (Chad Coe). Lisa, a recovering alcoholic, has recently divorced her husband while getting custody of her kids, and Curtis, a struggling writer of short stories, has his own issues with his domestic partners–assuming that they actually exist! Rita and Ben have been married for some time and it shows! Even when he’s lying on his hospital (death) bed, he continues to bicker with Rita and anyone else within reach. Although everyone has their own dealings to face, it doesn’t seem that anybody has any desire to care for anyone. And that scenario is just the first act! The second act has Curtis looking for an apartment meeting with Brian (Kris Frost), the real estate agent. That innocent episode turns into something more intense than inspecting dwelling places that are far from Curtis’s affordability based on what he earns as a writer. Whatever the outcome, this “happy” family shows off their true colors to one another and then some!

This play by Nicky Silver takes upon a subject that can be extracted from a post-modern yet melodramatic “art” film, and turns it into a comical episode that is indeed a hoot, in spite of the fact that is features a character getting closer to death. This form of expiration only brings the comedy factor towards a higher level, as all of these family members are just as F-ed up as the rest! The four leading players as seen in their performance mesh together as a family that has no bonding, unless the bonding has something to do with an “every-(wo)man-for-his/herself” attitude! Scott Alan Smith directs this production in a rapid pace, meaning that most of the fighting is somewhat limited to verbal barbs rather than physical i.e. throwing fists. That is the method normally used in domestic brawls. But this normal family as depicted on the stage are far from bring normal, so there goes one’s proof!

Special note is taken to Sarah B. Brown’s scenic design of the hospital room that factors with what one would find in a upper scale hospital, complete with bland hotel-type decor along with the standard medical fixtures placed. Ditto for a second scene location (an empty apartment) that is transformed through a clever scenic change method.

Also appearing in this production is Liz Herron (alternating with Amy Tolsky) as the hospital nurse–the only “normal” character of the bunch.

THE LYONS is indeed a very black comedy that is funny for both the correct and incorrect reasons. Although the name of this play gives out the title of the family moniker, one may believe that “The Lyons” is part of some majestic bloodline that holds a prestige lineage. But as reality as it is, it’s just another depiction of a dysfunctional family that is just as s#itty as the next! That may not hold much status, but it’s a whole lot comical than that!

THE LYONS, presented by The Road Theatre Company, and performs at The Road on Lankershim, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, until July 1st. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For tickets or for more information, call (818) 761-8838, or online at http://www.RoadTheatre.org
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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