I haven't had a good rant on this blog for a long while. At least, not one that isn't part of tearing apart a terrible game in a review. But I have something that's been really grinding my gears throughout all of 2016, and I need to say something about it: I really dislike advertising. I have an especially intense dislike of internet advertising practices. It's not the ads themselves that get on my nerves; it's the ways in which websites and advertisers chose to deliver them. So many websites are crammed full of ugly, intrusive, and obnoxious ads that really hurt the experience of the user trying to actually view and navigate the website.

Streaming services like Comedy Central insist on crashing the video in the event that there's even the remotest hiccup in loading one of the five advertisements that it must play during the four advertising breaks that it includes in its half-hour episodes. I routinely run into issues in which the pre-episode ads fail to load, and so the whole episode refuses to load, and I have to ctrl-F5 to reload the page until it selects a set of five advertisements that actually work. But then it gets to one of the mid-episode commercial breaks, and even if the advertisements do load and play, the actual episode refuses to continue. Sometimes, I can hit the "rewind 10 seconds" button to fix the problem. Other times, I once again have to ctrl-F5 to reload the page, sit through the pre-episode ads again (hoping they don't cause yet another failure), then skip past the ad break in the timeline, watch the mid-episode ads (and hope that they don't also fail), and then maybe I can continue watching the content. This is why I haven't seen an episode of The Daily Show in a couple months and have no idea if new host Trevor Noah has finally hit a stride yet. I have similar issues with CBS steaming, which is why I also haven't been able to watch much of Stephen Colbert's new late night talk show. Sorry Stephen, I love you, but CBS apparently doesn't want me to watch you.

advertisement
Issues with Comedy Central's ad-delivery abound: ads play over the actual content, their failure to load
prevents the content from playing, they have multiple ad breaks and not enough unique ads to fill them, etc.

To make matters worse, Comedy Central and CBS often doesn't even have enough distinct ads to fill up all these advertising breaks. I often see the same three or four ads in every ad break. Sometimes, the same exact ad will play back-to-back during the same advertising break!

Is this supposed to be punishment for not watching the show on cable TV? I actually do (at the time of this writing) have an active cable subscription, and that subscription does include Comedy Central and CBS. I could easily just DVR episodes of The Daily Show or Late Show with Stephen Colbert and watch them at home, but I prefer to watch them during my sit-in lunch breaks at work because it's just a more efficient use of time. Or at least, it would be, if it ever actually worked. Heck, on the DVR, I can just skip past the damned ads. I can't do that when streaming on the internet.

Comedy Central is far from unique in this regard. I've already pointed a finger at CBS as well, and this is one of the reasons that I'm not happy about Star Trek: Discovery being exclusive to CBS All-Access. I really don't want to pay for a streaming service to watch one show! Especially if it's still going to contain content-breaking advertisements that prevent me from even watching the show that I'm paying to watch...

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I have really missed Stephen Colbert while he's been off the air. It certainly didn't help that John Stewart also recently retired from his stint, leaving me without the Daily Show as well. So without any humorous political punditry, I've been stuck having to get all my news regarding politics from - ugh - the news. But fortunately, Stephen Colbert is back on the air after taking over the Late Show from David Letterman earlier this month.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert introduces the newly-renovated Ed Sullivan Theater.

I was actually really surprised at just how similar the first episode of the Late Show felt to the Colbert Report, right down to the audience chanting "Stephen, Stephen" to open the show. After the opening monologue, one could easily confuse the show for an episode of the Comedy Central series that preceded it, only with a cooler color palette and jazzier soundtrack (thanks to Jon Batiste and Stay Human being the on-stage band). Stephen even put himself back into character as a narcissistic ego-maniac. This was possibly an attempt to pander to his old audience, or at least to ease them into the new show.

Fortunately, he's toned down the narcissism (while retaining his charming confidence) in the past couple week's worth of shows. I'm glad he did too. It worked very well on the Colbert Report as part of an obviously satirical, over the top character. It doesn't work so well in a non-satirical talk show, and might even have been off-putting to viewers who weren't familiar with Colbert's old character.

But hammed-up, satirical personality flaws aside, much of the structure of the Late Show in these first few weeks has been more similar to Comedy Central's Colbert Report than to CBS' Late Show with David Letterman. It's broken up into clearly-delineated segments (some even coming with their own title and intro graphics), the joke delivery is very similar, and the preferred subject matter so far has been politics (along with plenty of digs at the NFL), and there's plenty of clip montages from CNN and Fox News. In his first three weeks, he's already hosted political figures such as Jeb Bush, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump. Familiar segments from the Colbert Report, such as "Threat Down" or "The Word" wouldn't feel very out of place at all, and I wouldn't be surprised if they do return in some form (assuming that Comedy Central doesn't have some kind of trademark on them). Viewers expecting Colbert to read off Top 10 Lists and judge stupid pet tricks might be disappointed, but viewers of The Colbert Report should be getting more or less what they expect.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Politics still seems to be Colbert's favored topic. We'll see if that holds up after the election is over -
or at least once Donald Trump is out of it.

But even though Stephen is back behind a desk in front of a camera, and he's making roughly the same jokes, on roughly the same subject matter, with roughly the same delivery, it still just isn't the same...

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - character poster

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a pretty tough story to screw up. The book was written as a simple children's adventure tale told from a singular point of view, and that is what it is loved for. Peter Jackson doesn't seem to understand what he's trying to do with the film adaptation. The movie struggles just to figure out what it is trying to do and tries so hard to pad itself with irrelevant Tolkien lore that it eventually starts to fall apart cinematically.

Not content to simply tell the first-person (well, technically "second person") account of Bilbo Baggins' adventure to The Lonely Mountain and back again, this Hobbit film tries to incorporate other plot threads from the complex tapestry of Tolkien's extended Middle-Earth lore. This creates two problems:

  1. The story loses its narrative focus and suffers cinematically from poor pacing and confusing scene transitions,
  2. The movie's tone shifts wildly from light-hearted fantasy to overly-serious forebodence.

Colbert Report - Hobbit week interview with Martin Freeman

If only you hadn't been blinded by your fanboyism, Stephen; you could have warned us!

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Last Friday night, the Colbert Report aired the following Threat Down segment:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
ThreatDown - Superman, Madden NFL 12 & Glee
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

It's definitely not the first time that Colbert has has let out his inner geek. He's been known to talk about The Lord of the Rings, make Star Wars references, and show clips from video games. But this segment was probably his geekiest yet!

Comic books, video games, and Glee all in one Threat Down? He might as well have made "geekiness" be the one and only Threat in this particular ... um ... Down.

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I can't help but comment on this response from last night's The Colbert Report about Colbert's challenge that Jimmy Fallon donate $26,000 to DonorsChoose.org:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jimmy Fallon Promises a Performance by Stephen
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Donate now!

I just donated $50 to "Let's learn team sports with real equipment" by going through the link on www.ColbertNation.com, and I encourage my readers to do the same!

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Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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The Late Show maintains Colbert's style, minus the satireThe Late Show maintains Colbert's style, minus the satire09/23/2015 I have really missed Stephen Colbert while he's been off the air. It certainly didn't help that John Stewart also recently retired from his stint, leaving me without the Daily Show as well. So without any humorous political punditry, I've been stuck having to get all my news regarding politics from - ugh - the news. But fortunately,...

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