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Friday, February 06, 2009

10 pm is the new 7 pm

You know I love the ABCs but right now they'll have to take a back seat to my newest obsession: ABDC.

No, not ACDC - though I love them, too - or CBGB's - RIP - but ABDC, otherwise known as America's Best Dance Crew. Its full name is actually Randy Jackson's America's Best Dance Crew, but that's a mouthful and frankly, not being much of an AI fan, I'm not tuning in because of RJ's seal of approval.

If you've watched, you know what I'm talking about. I like my reality shows to have raw talent and ambition as the entree course (see: Project Runway), not the after-dinner mint (see: any show that cribs from the Fear Factor or Survivor play book). This show delivers. Each week, the crews are assigned songs and challenges and they have to invent choreography that is fresh, tight, innovative and capable of showcasing their unique talents and personalities. Yes, I know I'm gushing, but the show is that good, possibly because it is at once ernest and self-mockingly cheesy (the same can be said for the crews themselves and the panel of judges, which includes former *NSYNC'er JC Chasez and "Lil' Mama").

My favorite crew, hands down, is Quest Crew. It's a team of about ten guys, all of whom seem to be asian-american (perhaps with a little latin derivation mixed in? hard to tell because the move so fast). They are funny, sharp and hugely talented. But all the other crews are so good, it is downright sad to see any crew leave. This week's loser crew was Ringmasters, who are a bunch of self-taught guys from Brooklyn that were doing these wacky (whacky?) bone-crush moves that often defied gravity and were almost impossible to understand. The entire set - judges included - seemed sad to send them home. If it were up to me, I'd just let them stay, stop competing and dance every week. But alas, reality TV isn't like that.

I was trying to explain all this to my kids this morning. They were understandably peeved at not getting to stay up to watch the show I've told them all about. What I don't understand is: why won't MTV run this show earlier? It is family entertainment at its best.

Yes, I know they rebroadcast it all the time (including at 11 after the 10 pm new episode each Thurs, which leads to me - oy! - watching my favorite bits again). And yes, I know this is why god invented TiVO and full streaming episodes on the internet. But somehow, those solutions don't quite explain why MTV decided ABDC was a good 10 pm show instead of a good 7 or 8 pm show (okay, they DO show ABDC Thursdays at 8 pm, but it is the previous week's show, not the new one).

It is a brave new media world, but I for one would love to see a return to the breathtaking reveal of a Sunday night Peanuts special or Wonderful World of Disney premiere of my youth. Interestingly, we now only see this in the world of kids books... The third Diary of a Wimpy Kid got a single day laydown (this critic, who actually counts the book's publisher as a client, couldn't snag an advance copy), just like Harry and Edward. Seeing as actual television broadcasting's vital signs are in critical condition, it might not be such a crazy idea.

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