A Peek Inside Peacock


We named it after the old NBC mascot, but instead of a bird we thought a cooler image would be…this glow stick?

Our family prides itself on not being early adopters of new technology or services. We prefer to let upstart projects and products get up and running, figure out their processes, work out their bugs, set a price point that’s worth the venture, and build up a reputation, preferably a favorable one. Then we might give them the time of day. Maybe. Sometimes.

Streaming services are subject to the same vetting procedure. We ignored Netflix until the advent of the Google Chromecast (later renamed “Googlecast”) dramatically improved our streaming capabilities. Also motivating us: we reached the point in our newfound Doctor Who fandom at which the only episodes we hadn’t yet watched up to that point were in their clutches. For years we likewise lived well without Hulu despite a few temptations, until an outrageous Black Friday sale in December 2018 (99¢/month for 12 months!) lured me into their den.

The internet’s Baby Yoda obsession notwithstanding, we have yet to pull the trigger on Disney+. Star Trek in and of itself is not enough to justify CBS All Access. I refuse to pay a monthly price for shopping privileges and am therefore one of six people nationwide who doesn’t have Amazon Prime. Every single detail I’ve heard about Quibi implies it’s my exact anti-matter opposite. And as for YouTube Red…is that still a thing? Not for us, it isn’t.

The next contestant up in these highly competitive lockdown-era streaming wars is Peacock, a product of the NBC-Universal-Viacom multinational conglomerate. In a world where “cord-cutting” has been the trend because everyone thought that would be cheaper, Peacock is my favorite kind of service: bundled.

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American Ninja Warrior Indianapolis II: Return to the Circle of Death

American Ninja Warrior!

Once again…it’s ninja time.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover in April 2016:

Fun event here in Indianapolis this week: the NBC reality series American Ninja Warrior is filming an episode on Monument Circle in the very heart of downtown. They’re filming the initial challenges in the wee hours of Wednesday night/Thursday morning from a crowd of thirty competitors, and it’s my understanding semifinalists will continue competing Thursday night/Friday morning. If you’re a local night owl who has no use for crowing roosters or morning-drive DJs, this event was made just for you.

The ninja are back in town! Once again the ANW crew took over Monument Circle with their trucks, their rigging, their tents, their boxes and boxes of electrical equipment, and their high-falutin’ obstacle courses meant to test the mettle of anyone who wants to go on TV, look Olympian, attempt a series of stunts, and subject themselves to a spectacular pratfalls when the gauntlet smacks them down. And once again they got in the way of my weekly walk to the local comic shop on my lunch break.

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Our 2011 Road Trip, Part 7: Not Necessarily the NBC News


“America’s Most Trusted Newsman” are four words that appear nowhere in this chapter.

[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]

Once we’d had our fill of the Today set, many of the remaining minutes before our 9:45 appointment were wasted on scrounging up a meal for my son, who hates breakfast food and had refused any solids at the Bouchon Bakery because his appetite never awakens till an hour or two after he does. Some tunneling through the underground Rockefeller Center shops brought us to an everyday Subway franchise, thankfully willing and equipped to serve lunch before 10 a.m. While we strode back to where we needed to be, he did his best to cram an entire five-five-dollar-five-dollar-footlong chicken teriyaki sub into his gullet as quickly as possible without choking.

He had only a few bites left of his special-needs meal when we arrived at the NBC Studios Store to kick off our official NBC Studios tour.

Right this way for the no-photos tour, a never-before-shared video, and then a few photos!

American Ninja War Zone: Indianapolis

American Ninja Warrior!

I assume this is called the Treacherous Tower of Tremendous Terror or something.

Fun event here in Indianapolis this week: the NBC reality series American Ninja Warrior is filming an episode on Monument Circle in the very heart of downtown. They’re filming the initial challenges in the wee hours of Wednesday night/Thursday morning from a crowd of thirty competitors, and it’s my understanding semifinalists will continue competing Thursday night/Friday morning. If you’re a local night owl who has no use for crowing roosters or morning-drive DJs, this event was made just for you.

I don’t watch the show. I was just trying to take my weekly walk to the comic shop at lunchtime and their sets were in my way. But I captured a few images for the fans out there.

Right this way for more photos, plus a bonus superfluous political rally pic!

MCC 2014 Pilot Binge #5: “A to Z”

A to Z!

Serendipity meets (500) Days of Summer, with an added twist for people who like lists, in the new series A to Z, one of NBC’s additions to its ailing Thursday comedy lineup. The title holds a double meaning: the cute couple under scrutiny, played by Ben Feldman (whose Michael Ginsberg was last seen being carried off Mad Men in a stretcher) and Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother), are named Andrew and Zelda. As described to the audience by narrator Katey Sagal, the series will detail their entire relationship “from A to Z”.

And when she says “entire”, she doesn’t just mean in-depth; it’s an implied time-bomb countdown to The End. Continue reading

MCC 2014 Pilot Binge #4: “The Mysteries of Laura”

Mysteries of Laura!

The hard-knock life of an undercover officer.

Debra Messing is back on network TV! She’s po-lice! She’s Mom! Debra Messing is…POLICE MOM!

Have you been dying for a a return to the glorious absurdity of Sledge Hammer! and Police Squad, even if the absurdity is unintentional? Do you lie awake at night wondering why Lifetime never greenlit a series based on the Miss Congeniality movies? Are you tired of shows like The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street that think real-life, hard-knock police work is more important than magazine makeup or hair care? Then your new favorite show is ready and waiting to make you laugh and cry in all the wrong places.

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“Revolution” 5/21/2014 (spoilers): Lights Out for Good

Monroe Defeats Davis!

For anyone who’s ever wanted to see a Hollywood caricature of George W. Bush threatened by an unhinged former despot, Revolution has just the finale for you!

The end is here!

A capricious NBC allowed Revolution to remain on the air until tonight’s finale, “Declaration of Independence”, but didn’t officially cancel it until it was too late for the showrunners to alter their course, aim for closure, and/or toss in some last-minute nods to us stubborn, longtime fans. The season-long arc with Willoughby and the Patriots limps toward its anticlimax, alliances change too late, plot points are dumped by the roadside, and all the Revolution fanfic writers out there (if any) receive the parting gift of a permanently unresolved cliffhanger that could serve as a pretty bouncy springboard for any number of Revolution Season-3 NaNoWriMo novels.

This way to bid Our Heroes farewell…

“Revolution” 5/14/2014 (spoilers): Preamble to the Cancellation

Revolution steam engine!

Folks in WIlloughby knew their days were numbered when the Cancellation Bear drove a runaway train through their town.

We five or ten remaining Revolution viewers heard the unsurprising news late last week: NBC is pulling the plug on what’s left of its electricity after forty-two episodes. I joked in a previous entry that perhaps the show could’ve forestalled cancellation if it had jumped to CBS and been retitled CSI: Future Texas. While waiting for the penultimate episode to begin, I came up with other useful ideas for new names if creator Eric Kripke can convince the studio to shop it elsewhere — to, say, the CW or Spike TV or Investigation Discovery or maybe TV Land. If someone bites, they could try rebranding it as:

Law & Order: Overthrow
Matheson, Texas Rebel
Charlie and the Soldier Factory
Everybody Hates Bass
Neville’s Advocate
Post-Apocalypse Idol
A Stop at Willoughby (and Other Twilight Zone References My Wife Will Love)
The Day the Nanoz Took Over
The Big Bang Dreary
Abandoned JJ Abrams Project #232
America vs. Nature
All Steam, No Punk
Mustache Dad and His Amazing Friends
Death Death Revolution
Mel Gibson’s The Patriot: 2029
Blackout is the New Orange

…none of which has anything to do with tonight’s new episode, “Memorial Day”, in which trainjackers try trainjacking a train from another group of trainjackers who were there first. Also, someone gets slapped and angry. But I had to keep my spirits up somehow.

This way for another weekly recap, now with 75% more futility!

“Revolution” 5/7/2014 (spoilers): Beware the Yellow Peril

Revolution 2.20

“The mustard is coming! The mustard is coming! THE MUSTARD, CARL!”

On tonight’s new Revolution episode, “Tomorrowland”, the desperate Patriots change up their tactics a bit. Guns weren’t getting results, poison oranges only stay fresh for so long, and brainwashed cadets were expensive to feed. Thus they unleash their newest secret weapon: mustard gas! Bright yellow cloudy death is a-comin’ to Willoughby!

This way for better dying through chemistry…

“Revolution” 4/30/2014 (spoilers): Miles Beneath the Surface

Secret Agent Miles

Miles Matheson, Agent of R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.

Four weeks after it latest Major Character Death, Revolution returned at last with tonight’s new episode, “$#!& Happens”. That’s the actual title, character-for-character. I think it’s pronounced “Dollarsharptokand Happens” and may be a reference to an old Sigur Ros album.

In this grim installment: Miles falls from grace; Charlie breaks some bad news to the last person in the world she needs to see; Bass and Rachel finally find common ground; and Aaron introduces the nanobots to ’80s Top-40 rock. It’s anyone’s guess as to who tonight’s biggest loser was.

This way down into the hole!

Top 13 Ways “Revolution” Hopes to Improve Its Ratings

Aaron and Priscilla Pittman

15 years after the blackout, Aaron and Priscilla Pittman attend a reunion for the few remaining Revolution fans. Or maybe this is a month from now.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Quick programming note for those MCC readers who follow along with NBC’s Revolution: as previously suspected, the show will be taking three consecutive Wednesdays off so NBC can regale us with an unsightly lineup of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit reruns they think Nielsen commoners would rather watch instead.

We’re now in the second week of its three-week unpaid suspension from the TV force. It’s no secret the ratings have been floating downward pretty much from the pilot onward. Every news outlet remains skeptical about its renewal chances, though I take small comfort in the fact that NBC already renewed the lower-rated Parks & Rec and therefore nothing is foregone. Granted, Parks & Rec is surely cheaper to produce, especially after losing two cast members this season. I’m not convinced the way forward for Revolution is to trim the roster down and shoot twenty-two straight bottle episodes of just Miles, Bass, and Tom arguing in rooms. That tactic isn’t helping Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and it won’t help here.

This way for the surefire keys to winning at Nielsens!

“Revolution” Takes Three-Week Bereavement Hiatus, Uses Up All Its Remaining Vacation Time

JD Pardo WAS Jason Neville IN "Revolution"!

Quick programming note for those MCC readers who follow along with NBC’s Revolution: as previously suspected, the show will be taking three consecutive Wednesdays off so NBC can regale us with an unsightly lineup of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit reruns they think Nielsen commoners would rather watch instead. (The following paragraphs assume you’ve already seen the April 2nd episode, “Austin City Limits”. The MCC episode recap link is at the bottom of this entry; beware the spoilers between here and there.)

This way for the show’s skip dates and return date!

“Revolution” 4/2/2014 (spoilers): Give My Regards to Manchuria

JD Pardo, Mat Vairo, Revolution, NBC

This week: Charlie is forced to choose between Jason or Connor for the Willoughby Senior Prom!

“Nothing will prepare you when one of your favorites pays with their life!”

We were warned. We were promised death in tonight’s new Revolution episode, “Austin City Limits”, and sure enough, there would be blood. The showrunners have offed major characters before, but they believe it’s time for another sacrifice to be made to the Nielsen gods so that their creation might be granted a stay of execution until at least the season finale. Best-case scenario: the sacrifice works and ratings uptick enough to convince NBC not to move the show to a Saturday night death slot for its next four episodes.

And tonight we bid farewell to this one guy…

MCC Q&A #7: “Revolution”: Who Dies Next?

Revolution cast, NBC

Our Heroes bide their time, waiting to find out who’s next to be chopped. (Left to right: Mat Vairo, Tracy Spiridakos, Billy Burke, David Lyons.)

“Nothing will prepare you when one of your favorites pays with their life!”

The last line of the promo for NBC’s next episode of Revolution has driven fans to the internets in search of hints or spoilers for the identity of the show’s next victim. In thirty-seven episodes the lengthy role call of the dead already includes two Matheson Family members, a British doctor anyone barely remembers, two high-ranking villains, countless minions, the entire populations of Philadelphia and Atlanta, and nearly every ex-girlfriend we’ve ever met. Judging by the search terms and traffic surge I’ve seen over the past two days, the fans are livid and demand to know: who’s the next Revolution character to die? And whose ex-girlfriend will she be?

Full disclosure: I do not have that answer, only my guesswork. But I’m less interested in the question of “Who will die?” than I am in the question, “Who should die?”

This way for my half-baked Revolution theories, 100% accurate on some alternate Earth!

“Revolution” 3/19/2014 (spoilers): That Stupid, Selfish Thing You Do

David Lyons, Revolution, NBC

Once again the day is saved thanks to Bass the tyrant king!

Tonight’s new Revolution episode, “Why We Fight”, is the first time in series history in which the episode title makes perfect sense and occurred to me before I looked up the episode title after the episode ended. The theme pops up in the dialogue more than once as characters take turns questioning their motives for hanging around the town of Willoughby and shortening their life expectancies in the War on Patriots. Why not go hide in a seedy bar and wait for death to come? Besides the fact that it would make for dull TV?

This way to glorious victory with Commander Bass!

“Revolution” 3/12/2014 (spoilers): Spy Kids Must Die!

Elizabeth Mitchell, Revolution, NBC

The lead photo from an upcoming True Romance article titled “Will Our Love Be Ruined by Underage Enemy Soldiers?”

Tonight’s new Revolution episode, “Exposition Boulevard” (a common street name in California? I guess?), picks up where we left off two weeks ago, with a Mexican standoff between the Mathesons and the Nevilles. Once that threat fades into nothingness, the road beyond it runs afoul of Patriot Youth, a belligerent Chief of Staff, a love triangle, a new alliance, and more screen time than usual for Steven Culp as Ed Truman, Patriot at a crossroads.

This way for more sinister Patriot shenanigans…

“Revolution” 3/5/2014 (spoilers): Me and Beardy McGee

Zak Orth, Aaron Pittman, Revolution, NBC

This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife! Come to think of it, reality doesn’t have those, either!

Is it a hoax? A dream? An imaginary story? A holodeck accident? A parallel world ruined by Walter Bishop? A mess for the Doctor to straighten out? A pilot for a new spinoff series called Leave It to Google?

Tonight’s new Revolution episode “Dreamcatcher” throws brainy sidekick Aaron Pittman into a strange old world filled with working electricity, first-world tech-biz problems, cold beer, product placement, and familiar faces in incorrect places. As with most such stories, the question isn’t whether or not Our Hero has awakened to true reality — it’s about how many levels of unreality he’ll have to escape before he’s back on his old show.

Travel this way inside the mind of Aaron the hapless genius!

“Revolution” 2/26/2014 (spoilers): Father/Son Steel Cage Death Match!

Mat Vairo, David Lyons, Revolution

“My name is Connor Bennett. You killed my mother. Prepare to die.”

After a three-week vacation to allow for Sochi Winter Olympics fever, Revolution returned tonight with a new episode, “Fear and Loathing”, in which tenuous alliances are formed, leftover cliffhanger threads are sewn up, Grandpa Gene has the night off, and what happens in New Vegas slays in New Vegas.

Right this way for the main event!

“Revolution” 1/29/2014 (spoilers): The Fight Club Job

Bret Michaels, Poison, Revolution, NBC

Humanity’s lived for fifteen years without electric guitars, CD players, or iTunes, and yet hair metal refuses to die.

Tonight’s new Revolution episode, “Happy Endings”, featured a very special cameo by the first known celebrity to survive the blackout: reality-TV star and Poison frontman Bret Michaels! When three of Our Heroes travel to the sideshow campground of New Vegas, Michaels appears as himself, alone on a tiny outdoor stage, cradling his acoustic guitar and lip-synching “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” while the original single plays as background music. Yes, folks, while humanity tears itself apart, all the Top-40 hits of your teenage years will live forever, even without a recording medium to preserve them.

This way for a sad, sad song…

“Revolution” 1/22/2014 (spoilers): It’s Not Lupus


One of the tense researching scenes from tonight’s CSI: Willoughby.

Tonight’s new Revolution episode is titled “Captain Trips”, another in the show’s long line of references to Stephen King’s The Stand, which in turn referenced Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead. It was also the name of a drug-fueled super-hero from George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards shared-anthology series, which blew me away when I was a teenager, even though I might’ve been grounded for a decade if my mom knew about the content.

I’d much rather rattle on about that etymology chain than cover tonight’s main story about the town of Willoughby suffering from the heartbreak of widespread typhus. As I previously complained when it was Sleepy Hollow‘s turn to use the epidemic plot device back in October, “Diseases can be a really dull antagonist.”

So is it really typhus?…

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