Ian Casselberry is a freelance writer, currently based in Asheville, NC. He is an editor at The Comeback and Awful Announcing

Previously, he has been a contributing writer for Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew, and SB Nation. In addition, he was a lead baseball writer for Bleacher Report. 

You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook, where he craves your attention.

He still plans to write that novel someday. 

("Pearls Before Swine" © 2005 Stephan Pastis)
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Entries in TV (18)


The week's writes and reads, 02-14-16

More of a productive week, writing-wise, thanks to the Super Bowl. Although staying up late Sunday night into Monday morning to get those pieces done made me a zombie for the early part of the week. 

In addition to my usual appearances on ESPN Asheville, I was on the Marty & Miller show in Iowa to talk about daily fantasy sports and some baseball, as we get closer to spring training: 

Marty & Miller Show in Des Moines, IA - Thursday (02-11, Hour 3, 20:00 mark)

All righty, the week's writing and reading links are below. Thanks for checking in! 


The 10 Best Super Bowl 50 Commercials - The Comeback
Super Bowl 50 halftime: Bruno Mars, Beyonce blow Coldplay off the stage - The Comeback

The 10 Worst Super Bowl 50 Commercials - The Comeback
Hail, Caesar! lets its stars have a blast, making fun of 1950s Hollywood - The Comeback
LeBron James among NBA All-Stars to voice characters on Cartoon Network - Awful Announcing

Fox marks down DraftKings investment by 60 percent, as company’s value drops $95 million - Awful Announcing
Samantha Bee stands on her own with Full Frontal's debut - The AP Party
Watch: Conan O'Brien spoofs Cam Newton's post-Super Bowl press conference - The Comeback
Watch: Daniel Bryan says goodbye to wrestling fans; WWE Network pays tribute - The Comeback

The People v. O.J. Simpson recap: He might kill himself, but what about me? - The Comeback
Baseball writer Tom Singer passes away at 67 - Awful Announcing

Watch: Do not mess with Batman in final Batman v Superman trailer - The Comeback

Deadpool slices up superhero tropes with relish, joking the entire way - The Comeback
Where's Oscar? Mike Francesa has issues with ESPN's all-time NBA Top 100 - Awful Announcing
Claiming censorship, Kevin Kiley resigns from Cleveland sports talk radio show - Awful Announcing
Dallas Mavericks analyst says during broadcast that Saskatchewan is named after sasquatches - Awful Announcing

Proud that I could sneak a reference to Marvel Comics Alpha Flight into that sasquatch piece, which I'm sure very few noticed or cared about. Canada's superhero team! 


-- VICE seems like a media company ready to truly break out, but maybe their reach is exceeding their financial backing? But TV could change that. [Variety]

-- It's been a choppy two weeks for Marco Rubio. A bad performance in the New Hampshire debate, followed by a bad finish in that primary. But after doing well in the South Carolina debate, maybe he'll do well in next week's primary? This race is nuts. [NY Times]

-- This week's episode of FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson (which I recapped above) dramatized the June 17, 1994 Bronco chase that became a signature event in our culture. What were you doing that day? [Washington Post]

-- It's been a year since David Carr died. I wasn't entirely comfortable reading this post by his daughter, but I know writing about grief can help process it. [Medium]

-- I haven't read many Deadpool comics, though am familiar with the character. But here's a good piece on how his popularity has developed over the past 25 years. [Vulture]

-- New York Mets reliever (or former Mets reliever) Jenrry Mejia, 26, either has a significant dependency issue or is the dumbest athlete currently throwing a ball. He's failed three PED tests in the span of 10 months, resulting in a lifetime ban from baseball. [Sports Illustrated]

-- Considering how big a role Twitter plays in my life (professionally and personally), I often forget how little it matters to people who don't necessarily live online or consume media 12-16 (or more) hours a day. So that lack of importance may have finally caught up with it. [NY Times]


Fingers crossed for Fox's 'Gotham'

I know I've been quiet with the blog here. One big reason is that the pop culture stuff that I might normally post, such as a review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, has been going up at The AP Party. But I should still put shorter stuff here, when inspiration strikes. 

I've also been trying to keep AVL Tourists Trap, the supplementary blog to my weekly Asheville Tourists column for Ashvegas, updated semi-regularly. My role at The Outside Corner has changed a bit for the 2014 MLB season. I've been writing more news and quick-hit type of posts, in addition to my columns. That's been more fun for me. 

Anyway, that's where I've been for the past month. If you've been checking in for new stuff, I apologize for not keeping things interesting.

In the meantime, here's a trailer for Fox's new Batman-related show, Gotham. It looks promising — though I'm not a huge fan of Ben McKenzie, who's playing Detective (and future Commissioner) Jim Gordon. Showing the development of Batman's rogues gallery, in addition to Batman himself as a child, is intriguing.

I do believe I'll be watching this one, while hoping it's anything close to as good as the Gotham Central comic book from years ago. 

Thanks again for clicking over. I'll keep trying to do better.


Hey, it's The Flash! 

I caught up on the second season of Arrow shortly after Thanksgiving. With baseball season being over and the "hot stove" of the offseason yet to kick in, I had the time to sit down and blow through a bunch of episodes.

But there were other reasons for choosing to get up to speed on Arrow over, say, Sleepy Hollow. Other than Hannibal — and possibly one or two others that are currently slipping my mind — there weren't that many shows from last season whose return I was anticipating. Plus, Arrow is a satisfying comic-book adaptation, unlike Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Perhaps above all, I did not want to be behind and out of the discussion when Arrow introduced Barry Allen — who eventually becomes the Flash — arguably the most anticipated moment of geek TV for this season. On Wednesday night's most recent episode, we finally got it. ("Finally" is a relative term, I suppose, since Barry Allen was only on for two episodes.) 


Lightning and chemicals. That about covers the Flash's origin, at least the one I remember reading as a kid and not necessarily whatever may have been retroactively changed to prolong comic-book continuity (i.e., keeping 30-year-old characters the same age over decades) since then. So the Arrow guys got that right. 

I mean, the writers and producers of the 1990 Flash TV series (which I perhaps misguidedly purchased recently on DVD — hey, it was on sale!) could get it right, showing it could be done. 

OK, so Allen isn't the Flash yet. The original plan was to introduce him on Arrow in a "backdoor pilot" that would spinoff into a regular series. But apparently, the CW higher-ups decided to just produce a regular pilot for the series to come. That was the right decision.

For one thing, it gives new viewers a better jumping-on point. But as cool as it was to see Barry Allen on screen, the series is called Arrow and the regular storylines involving Oliver Queen and his merry men (and women) sort of had to step aside for the Allen stuff and that slowed the show down. Frankly, Arrow has enough shit going on with so many characters to service and two separate storylines involving the present and past. 

But we'll be getting the Flash on TV. Very cool. I just hope they get the costume right. The Flash has the best superhero costume in existence. Spider-Man's is right there. All right — maybe it's even better, in terms of wacko design. Yet the Flash's design is sleek, simple and distinct. I'm eager to see it on TV. 


Which movies would make great TV shows? 

Between taking a bit of a writing break over Thanksgiving and then trying my best to keep up with the news cycle in baseball, I haven't written anything for The AP Party in a couple of weeks. But I finally got something posted there today.

With recent news that we'll soon be getting TV shows based on The Terminator, Sin City and From Dusk Till Dawn, I thought I'd put together a list of other movies that would transition well to television. But a list of five soon became eight. And if you have eight, why not just make it 10? 

One movie that seems like it would make a great TV show is Minority Report.

A sci-fi police drama? How could this not be a huge success, especially with the high concept of creating a program that is able to anticipate crimes and stop them before being committed. PreCrime! In Steven Spielberg's 2002 film starring Tom Cruise, the PreCrime program is eventually shuttered when it can't prevent a murder, thus failing to accomplish its exact objective.

A TV series could either pick up from this point and perhaps follow an attempt to revive the PreCrime program, perhaps led by the cop who exposed its flaws. Or, as with several other of the shows we've listed here, this could reboot the movie and start an entirely new story in a world where the PreCrime program has kept Washington, D.C. (or any other large metropolitan city) safe for years.

You can read the full article here. There are nine other movies on the list. And now that I'm looking everything over, I realize I forgot one or two other ideas. Maybe I'll do another list next year. 


The 'Hannibal' DVD is coming... and it has a gag reel!

I don't know how the hell I didn't know that the season 1 DVD/Blu-ray for Hannibal comes out next week (Sept. 24). I absolutely love the show and have been eagerly anticipating the video release so I can binge on all 13 episodes like Dr. Lecter would on an unsuspecting churl who dared cross him. 

I'm certainly glad that the video release wasn't tied to the debut of season 2, scheduled for some time next year. That seems to be the typical pattern with TV DVD sets these days, giving fans little opportunity to catch up on the most recent season before the next one begins. 

However, the best news of all may be that the Hannibal DVD includes a gag reel, some of which I screencapped above. Let's hope we get to see Hugh Dancy's Will Graham smile a bit, since he looks so tortured, addled and exhausted each week on the show. 


What's a queen-o? 

I don't know how new this Bud Light ad is, but I'm presuming it's pretty new — if not brand-new — since it ran during Thursday night's NFL opener between the Broncos and Ravens. 

I've been chuckling at "It's a queen-o" all day.

I suppose some could take offense at the "Oh, look — he's a pussy because his girlfriend is making him eat healthy food!" sentiment of the commercial. But I choose to laugh at the mispronunciation of something that health-conscious foodies and zealots are increasingly adding to their plates. 

I should include myself among that crowd, by the way. In an effort to eat healthier and add more nutritious grains to my diet, I've been eating quinoa. Along with brown rice, farro, kasha and steel-cut oats. HA — I'm a pussy! But I doubt I could be persuaded to eat a frozen veggie burger patty of the stuff. Shit, eat a real hamburger. 

Oh, and drink a better beer than Bud Light, of course. 


New gig! Ain't no party like The AP Party

Here's an announcement that I've been waiting to make for quite a while. I'll be writing for Bloguin's new pop culture site, The AP Party, which launched this week. 

When I was looking for a new baseball-writing gig, Ben Koo and Bloguin stepped up right away to recruit me. One of the most appealing parts of Ben's offer was the possibility of contributing to this new site.

As you know if you read this blog or follow me Twitter and Facebook, I'm a pretty voracious pop culture consumer and the opportunity to write about it — and cover something else besides baseball — was extremely intriguing. We've had a few starts and stops, as you might expect. But it's exciting to finally get the site rolling. 

You can read my first post, about the tricky, overwhelming nature of binge-watching television, on the site now. 

But 10 hours of TV can still be pretty daunting, especially on a weekend when college football started and baseball's playoff races are entering their stretch run. Personally, I don't think binge watching can be done every week. Maybe not even every month. The mind and body have to prepare for all that consumption. And you really do have to effectively tune out the outside world. 

The article was mostly inspired by my intention to watch the first two seasons of BBC America's Luther before season 3 began this week. It's a show that my friend A. has been nudging me to watch for years on Netflix. I'm finally getting there. But I still probably have at least three or four different shows to catch up on with her. 

(This just as easily could have been prompted by Orange is the New Black, the last show I binged on. I'd also like to get up to speed on The Walking Dead before the new season begins in October.) 

Other stuff to check out on the site includes Ben Heisler's podcast interview with W. Kamau Bell and Reva Friedel's ranking of online dating sites. Oh, this is going to be so much fun.

You can also follow @TheAPparty on Twitter. 


James Gandolfini on 'Sesame Street' in 2002

James Gandolfini was on Sesame Street?

Yes, he was — back in 2002.

I think I got some dust in my eye while watching that. Who wouldn't want a hug from the big guy? 

I realize having actors and other celebrities on Sesame Street is about appealing to the adults who may be watching with their kids. But I'd love to know how this was pitched.

"Yeah, the guy who plays Tony Soprano. The one who strangled that guy in the witness protection program while he was visiting college with his daughter. We think he'd be good with Zoe."

Anyway, here's Gandolfini talking about feeling scared. It's kind of jolting to hear his regular voice. His Tony Soprano Jersey accent and way of talking is so natural that it seems like it must be how Gandolfini really speaks. Who's this guy with the gentle, nasally voice?

But we can all agree that giant talking vegetables are terrifying, right? 

(via Vulture)