Monday, January 18, 2016

Television Rating System is Flawed, Oscar Nods, Seventh Son Review, IWSG Newsletter, A to Z Challenge and Minions, Movie Trivia Answers, and Ninja News!

What’s Up With the Television Rating System?

Ever since the rating system emerged, shows have really pushed the boundaries. But sometimes, the ratings make no sense.

The Walking Dead has gotten flack over the years due to its brutal and graphic violence – and mere TV14 rating. Numerous groups have lobbied to get it labeled TVMA.

Into the Badlands also has a TV14 rating. However, it is far less violent and graphic than the Walking Dead.

What really puzzles me is the rating for the show Fargo. It’s TVMA – for mature audiences only. What? Yes, there is violence and language, but it’s nowhere near as graphic as the Walking Dead.

Any idea why Fargo is deemed more extreme than the Walking Dead? Think there are flaws in the system?

Oscar Nods

Everyone’s now seen the Oscar nominations for 2016. They are rather spread out with no clear-cut winner.

I’d like to note that Mad Max: Fury Road is nominated for ten awards. Ten! It won’t win Best Picture or Best Director, but with that many nominations, it should go home with several Oscars.

Although wouldn’t that be just batcrap crazy if the batcrap crazy movie won?

Seventh Son Review

Based on a book, The Spook’s Apprentice, it deviates a bit from the young adult story. (In the book, Tom is twelve; in the movie, he’s an adult and played by a thirty year old actor.)
This is your standard medieval sword and sorcery film, nothing terrible, but nothing notable, either.
Jeff Bridges plays the lead spook, and he hams it up and overacts the entire time. However, this isn’t a bad thing as it makes the film entertaining. (Although it was really hard to understand him in the beginning. The film almost needs closed captioning at that point.)
Julianne Moore does a good job playing the witch queen. You’ll recognize Ben Barnes, who plays Tom, as Caspian from the Narnia movies.
The effects are good (there are dragons) and the plot moves at a decent pace. But everything just seems so familiar.
If you’re in the mood for some sword and sorcery, it’s definitely worth a rental.

IWSG Newsletter!

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group will be launching a newsletter next month! And we got someone awesome to put it together – please welcome the newest IWSG Admin, Chrys Fey. (And wait until you see how awesome she’s made our newsletter.)

Here’s the official scoop on our monthly newsletter:

The Insecure Writer's Support Group Newsletter will feature articles by industry experts, IWSG members, and administrators. There will also be a dozen links to helpful articles for writers in each edition, as well as a special Member Spotlight. Even if you're not a member of the blogging group, you'll greatly benefit from these FREE monthly newsletters.

First issue goes out on February 24!

Sign up HERE. (If you are a member of the monthly blogging group, you are already signed up. Now you’ll get an awesome newsletter instead of a lame email from me!)

Ninja News

I recently made some changes to the WhatAreTheKargrandes? site. It now runs through all thirteen clues before ending with my book, Dragon of the Stars, and some reviews. If you’ve never seen the site, check it out. (And you can click on the images to make them scroll through faster.)

From Howling Wolf Records and the genius that is Jeremy Hawkins comes Six Strings, a magazine about movie soundtracks, scores, and more. Check out the site and download it for free! And watch for upcoming issues–there just might be an interview with yours truly…

DL Hammons is looking for volunteers to read the entries for this year’s Write Club. See his site for details.

A to Z Challenge Approaches!

The A to Z Challenge list opens in one week on January 25! See the site for details if you don’t know about the Challenge. (Or come back in one week, and I’ll explain it.)

This will be my seventh Challenge (I was one of the original one hundred in 2010) and my sixth as a co-host. Last year, Dragon of the Stars released in the middle of the April Challenge, and my fellow co-hosts were nice enough to relieve me of managing a section of the list. (I still manage the entire list behind the scenes, making adjustments to the Linky List.) But this year, I am back in full swing.

And I need help! I need some Ninja Minions. A group of people who will help me check on participants within a section of the list. (Much like co-hosting the IWSG.) Doesn’t matter if you are participating in the Challenge or not. You’ll get a cool Minion badge and special mentions.

So, if you can help me this year, please leave a comment!

Movie Trivia Answers

Fantasy films centered around a forest:
1 – The first in a series that should’ve been seven films, the adventure begins in the snowy winter woods. 2005  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
2 – A trip to this forest turned out to be a game to feed an ancient beast. 2011  Cabin in the Woods
3 – This fable involved a tower and naïve young woman who wants to explore the world. 2010  Tangled
4 – This epic tale has man joining a dozen others to battle a mysterious enemy that descends from a mountain lair. 1999  The 13th Warrior
5 – The first of three films has an unlikely hero setting off with a group of dwarves. 2012  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Do you think the television rating system is screwy? Have an Oscar favorite? Seen Seventh Son? Excited about the IWSG newsletter? Ready for the Challenge? Get any of the trivia right? (Pat Hatt did!) And who wants to be a Ninja Minion…?

And since today (Monday) is a holiday in the US, I might not get to everyone today, but I will return all comments this week. Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!


Rhonda Albom said...

I would be honored to be one of your ninja minions. I have my theme (but I am not telling yet) and I am ready to go. As for TV ratings, they are different here too. They don't have a bunch of different ages, just adults only or not. But they don't sensor programs or movies here, so sometimes even I am surprised at what is on TV.

Nicola said...

The Oscar nominations have really caused a stir this year. But it's all fun and games. Nobody is ever happy. That wouldn't be very Hollywood :):)

I have decided to give the A-Z challenge a go this year. It's all rather daunting but it sounds like a lot of fun and will be motivational. I would also like to help, if I can. Please drop me a line and let me know what you need from your minions (I'll gladly participate if its doable. Luckily my April birthday falls on a Sunday :))

Have a great week.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - two offers to be minions - that's great. The newsletter with Chrys as operator sounds a good idea - I'll sign up even though I don't participate as such in IWSG. The Oscars are always interesting ... and I'll be there for the A-Z ...cheers Hilary

Truedessa said...

Good Morning Alex,

I have always found the rating system strange. Perhaps ratings are adjusted a bit to fit the target market. The Oscars could be interesting this year. Leonardo just won a Golden Globe for The Revenant so it should be interesting to see if he finally wins an Oscar for this performance. Some tough competition. I guess we will have to watch and see. Congrats on the newsletter! I will have to check out six strings.

May your journey always be filled with light!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It always seems that anything with nudity gets a more stringent rating than violence. It's almost like it needs a separate rating or something.

I watched Fury Road (unusual for me). I liked it, although, yeah, a bit gritty for me.

mshatch said...

I liked Fury Road a lot but I don't think it's best pic material. As for the trivia, I really should've known #2 dammit. As for A-Z...I can't wait!!!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I haven't watched Walking Dead so can't say why the rating is different. But I do like Fargo.

ediFanoB said...

I'm not familiar with the US TV rating system. Of course there is something similar in Germany and not all decisions are comprehensible.

It will be interesting to see if Leonardo DiCaprio get an Oscar and what will happen to The Marsian.

Congrats on the newsletter!

kaykuala said...

TV ratings are what had been decided. Us from faraway lands just take it either way. Chris Fey is an interesting personality who started very early as a writer. We should get good coverage!


Just Keepin It Real, Folks! said...

I was just watching the Oscar controversy on the news. GEEZ! That being said, I'm pulling for Sly in Creed. Cue the Rocky theme song....

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I don't pay too much attention to the TV ratings, maybe because I don't have kids.

Watched THE MARTIAN this weekend - so good! I still liked parts of the book better but very well done overall. Also saw PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: GHOST DIMENSION and enjoyed that, too.

Jo said...

The Seventh Son sounds right up my street, if there are dragons, I'm there.

Your trivia answers, I should have known two but I didn't - ah well.

Don't watch enough TV to know about ratings.

I am sure you will get lots of minion volunteers. I am dithering about A to Z this year. I will definitely sign up, not sure if I will carry through. Had the same problem last year.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr Day to you.

It'll be interesting to watch who/what bags the Oscars.

Still making up my mind on two different theme ideas for A-Z, but I'll get that sorted soon. Can't believe it's only a week today for sign-up, wow! Would be honoured and thrilled to bits to be a minion too.

Congrats on the Newsletter!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Rhonda, thanks! And I can only imagine what shows up uncensored.

Nicola, glad you are joining us! Thanks and I will email you later.

Hilary, you'll still benefit from it.

Elizabeth, they are tougher on nudity. And glad you saw Fury Road.

Deb, been a long time since he was up for an Oscar.

Madeline, never read the book, but the film was great.

Sarah Foster said...

Looking forward to the IWSG newsletter!
I'm not sure if I'm even doing the A to Z this year. If I can't come up with a theme soon and start writing my posts, I probably won't have time to. We'll see.

Sandra Almazan said...

Looking forward to the newsletter!

I haven't decided yet if I'll do the A-Z Challenge this year. It depends on if I can come up with a theme.

M.J. Fifield said...

I don't pay much attention to the TV ratings—I don't have kids, either, so maybe that's why. But I do often say that The Walking Dead is so graphic and violent...usually while watching the show while hiding behind a pillow.

Happy for Matt Damon. I thought The Martian was a great movie. Most of the others I haven't seen.

Murees Dupé said...

Congratulations on the Newsletter! Fun! Even though it wasn't popular with movie critics, I actually enjoyed 13th Warrior. Must be all those Vikings:) Have a great week.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

My only guess to the ratings is what's being killed, but that's not true either. Time it airs? I dunno, we can guess but probably never know.

It scared me when you said Bridges overacted the whole time. That can ruin a movie, but if it's entertaining it might work. Bummer about needing subtitles to understand him though.

Karen Lange said...

I agree, the ratings system is off in many respects. Plus it's subjective, what one parent deems acceptable for their kids, another doesn't. That's why I like the sites that offer detailed info on what you'll find on TV shows or films in the theater. They help parents make a more informed choice.

Karen Walker said...

Hi Alex. I do have an Oscar fave: Spotlight. Cool idea to start a newsletter. You guys are so creative.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'll probably rent 7th Son at some point. I don't pay much attention to the rating system. Maybe it has to do with how real they appear to be. Everyone knows zombies are real. Yet!
Since I'm not an administrator this year, I would love to be your minion again.

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

American Horror Story on FX has the most graphic and disturbing violence and gore I ever witnessed on the small screen. It is also a brilliantly written, produced and directed series with a top notch cast. A.H.S. has a parental rating designation of TVMA in the U.S. I am still waiting to see season 2 of Fargo when it becomes available on my subscription services. If it is anything like season 1, then it it unfair to lump it into the same category with American Horror. I agree that the rating system is flawed or broken. All networks, all cable channels, all shows are NOT created equal.

TBM said...

Hmmm, I've never really paid attention to the TV ratings system. Just started watching the second season of Fargo last night. Only finished three episodes, but I'm really enjoying it.

Looking forward to the newsletter.

DL Hammons said...

Thanks for the WRiTE CLUB mention Alex! I'm still looking for 5 more slushpile readers.

And every rating system ever designed has flaws in it and can only be useful if it adapts as quickly as the system its trying to define. :)

Pat Hatt said...

It would be bat crap crazy if Mad Max won. Doubt it though. Ratings are screwy, but people are gonna watch if they want to watch,ratings be damned. Not sure why Fargo was worse, way less violent than say something like 24 and that was network tv.

Jeremy Hawkins said...

So happy Mad Max: Fury Road is getting the attention that it really needs to get. Thank you for the mention, you are very kind to say nice things... I hope this project is the one that finally works.

Have a super day!


Mason Canyon said...

I have never understood the TV ratings. They've always seemed off a bit to me. Congrats on the IWSG Newsletter and Six Strings sounds interesting. If you still need help and you think I could fit the bill, I'd be happy to be a Ninja Minion.

Shell Flower said...

It really is surprising that the Walking Dead doesn't have a mature rating. The system is quite screwy. I loved Mad Max Fury Road, so it will be interesting to see what kind of Oscars it wins. I really liked The Martian, too. Nt sure if I'll do A-Z this year. I always decide at the last minute to do anything :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

America has never shed its Puritanical roots. Does Fargo have more sex than The Walking Dead? That alone will get it the TVMA rating over TV14.

Guts and blood and dismemberment? Eh, let the kids watch.
Sex? Eeeeek! Protect the children!

It's kind of a screwed up mentality, don't you think?

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I like the idea of a newsletter. Chrys will be great at it.
I seldom watch TV, but think the ratings should be accurate so people will know what to expect when they watch a show.
Yep, ready for the challenge. Time to start finding things to post about.
Have a super week.

Stephanie Faris said...

I'd love to be a minion. You know where to find me!

As for ratings, it sounds like the issue is with The Walking Dead not being rated correctly. I wonder what the deal is with that? I found the show more violent than most movies. I do know that over the years, the ratings people have been FAR stricter on nudity, sex, and profanity than they have on violence. That's an American thing. People in Europe are amazed at our puritanical views on nudity while we're watching people get their heads chopped off for entertainment.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Hi Alex!

I'm surprised anyone actually pays attention to the ratings anyway. If I even think it will be too mature for my son, I don't let him watch it. I'm a bad parent though, cause I let him watch all kinds of stuff he shouldn't!

Best of luck to Chrys and IWSG on the new adventure!

I can't believe I didn't get Cabin in the Woods! URGH!

Oscars? What are those? :)


Charles Gramlich said...

Guess since my son is grown I don't pay attention to the TV ratings anymore. Does seem kind of strange, though. Definitely Walking dead is pretty graphic.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jo, just do it.

Nilanjana, thank you! Be honored to have you.

Sarah, that's why I need to get cracking.

Murees, I liked that movie as well.

Holly, it is entertaining! And just subtitles in the beginning. He levels out after about fifteen minutes.

Karen, that is needed.

Susan, thank you! I was worried I'd lost all my Minions.

Shady, no they aren't! Fargo has its fair share, but not to the tune of American Horror Story or Walking Dead.

TBM, the second season is even better - you will enjoy!

DL, you're welcome, and hope you get them!

Pat, exactly. And I'm not holding my breath that Fury Road will win any of the big awards.

Jeremy, you're welcome!

Mason, that would be awesome!!

Shell, guess you will be winging it then!

Dianne, yes it is! I don't watch Walking Dead anymore, so not sure if it has as much sex as Fargo.

Stephanie, thank you! And it has to be the violence. So wrong.

Heather, I watched things I shouldn't have as a kid and I turned out all right.

T. Drecker said...

Rating systems often leave me doing eye rolls. But I guess they try...kind of. No Oscar favorites (although it's fun to see MadMax in there like that). Can't wait to see the newsletter. My the IWSG team is busy! Thanks, guys :)

nashvillecats2 said...

Thanks Alex for such an interesting post. Lots of news to digest.
WOW! nearly time to sign up for A to Z Challenge? my dosen't time fly?
Have a great week.

Bish Denham said...

I don't pay attention to TV ratings as all ratings (even for the movies) seem rather arbitrary to me. As for the Oscars... I must be living under a rock.

Looking forward to the IWSG newsletter. Chrys will do a wonderful job!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I couldn't make myself watch Mad Max Fury Road past the first 15 minutes even though I'm a big Charlize Theron fan.

I'm tentatively planning to participate in the A to Z this year, especially since I had to sit out last year for the first time since the beginning. I wish I could volunteer to help, but I'm already overbooked with my writerly organizations.

Sandra Cox said...

Congrats to Chrys. Thanks for taking us on:)

Did you get snow, Alex? said...

I agree about the TV ratings, and I think some of the movie ratings are screwy, too. I've seen some movies rated PG-13 that in my opinion should be R. I haven't looked at all the Oscar nods yet, but it should be interesting. I liked Seventh Son all right. As you said, Jeff Bridges was entertaining. Looking forward to Chrys Fey's first IWSG newsletter! I haven't decided yet about doing A to Z this year. I'm hoping to have my second book out around that time. You did a great job with Dragon in the middle of everything, but I'm not sure I'm up to that. We'll see. I would have gotten three of the trivia right if I'd read it last week. Sorry I missed it.

Joanne said...

I think the ratings for tv and movies have a lot of shades of gray AND I think a lot of people are idiots and don't even check the ratings before turning on the tv or heading to a theater. Then they are Shocked, Shocked at what they are viewing.

Oscars - oh Alex - I'm still not on your Mad Max Fury bandwagon (respectfully). I liked Spotlight a lot and think it's worthy. However, it's fading in the horse race. Revenant is the "hot" one.

I'm going to sign up for the ISWG newsletter. I'm not sure I'll go A to Z this year, but maybe I'll be hit by a bolt of inspiration. It is darn fun

It's a bit brisk in TX today - our morning started at 29 deg. Have a good week said...

Wait, didn't we just finish the challenge? Martha is cursing at me. But she always does.
Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Lily Cate said...

Ratings...ugh. I don't pay attention to TV ratings, and I barely pay attention to movie ratings. My son has seen a few R rated movies that I didn't think warranted the rating, and there have been more than a few PG-13s that he won't be allowed to watch anytime soon.
Oscars? Meh. Maybe it's because I read about Alan Rickman's death right before I read the nominations, but I'm fairly underwhelmed this year.
I didn't do A to Z last year, because I was busy editing a book, but I'll be done with that this year, so I might just jump in on the fun. I've done it before, and loved it :)

Chrys Fey said...

What's funny with The Walking Dead is that my God son has watched it since he was born. He's 5 now. And my nephews have watched it from the beginning. They are 8 and 9.

Thanks for the welcome. I am feeling very loved. :)

cleemckenzie said...

Congrats to IWSG and Chrys. I'll bet she does a super job with that newsletter. I have to admit that I pay little attention to the rating system, all except for when I'm looking for a kids movie. I'd love to be a minion, but not this year. I already had to bail on the AtoZ Team because I'm overbooked. You'll have dozens of offers of help, so I'll just cheer everyone on this year.

Liza said...

Oh dear. How out of touch am I? I didn't even know TV shows were rated...

Carrie-Anne said...

I don't watch much TV anymore (and didn't watch much even when I still had a TV in my own home), but I've never been a fan of the rating system itself. Somehow we managed fine without it, and one person's MA-worthy rating could be another person's TV-14. I also always felt it kind of is meant to act like a babysitter for parents who don't know how to manage/monitor their own children's TV viewing without ratings.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Yeah the TV and Movie ratings are screwed up as hell. Thank goodness I am grown. I can watch whatever I want at 31. I'm totally in for 2016 A-Z challenge and you know what...I will be a minion for you Alex. I did not participate last year but became a minion for J.L. Campbell's team. This year I am on yours. Plus I got this dandy laptop at my side. There is a nagging voice at the back of my mind but I hit it with my imaginary broom stick (lazy bum voice). I'm in Alex, add me to your list.

Yolanda Renee said...

Alex, I'd love to help out, be one of the minions. I still haven't decided on a topic but I'm sure it'll have something to do with murder. :)

Chrys will do a wonderful job, she's so talented!

I too, wonder about the ratings, makes no sense whatsoever! I stopped watching American Horror Story because of the that scene with all the children - it was too much! I hope no child saw that!

D.G. Hudson said...

Good Luck with the new venture, and congrats to Chrys! IWSG moves onward. . . I'm considering the A to Z Challenge, so may be able to make it. . .will decide next week.

Patsy said...

I'm looking forward to the IWSG newsletter.

Birgit said...

Fury Road is up for BP but why not Star Wars? I hear nothing but rave reviews. Ridley Scott has been snubbed. I want to see The Ravenent and Spotlight for sure although...I want to see all of them. Oscars are always fun to watch because there is always some drama going on. I can see a lot of younger folks digging the Walking Dead but not as many watching Fargo or the others so, it comes down to money. The more viewers, the more money they make. I didn't get any right because I was stumped! I love the 13th Warrior even if it bombed and I should have gotten the Hobbit. I was kind of right with Rapunzel but didn't even think about Tangled. I am joining in again with the A to Z and know what i will write about but haven't started yet. I will soon

Stephen Tremp said...

Alex, I need to do some Netflix and FX binge watching and catch up on many series. Fargo is one of them.

Cathrina Constantine said...

I actually did rent The Seventh Son and enjoyed it!!! I also recommend it as a rental.

Have a great week Alex.

Elephant's Child said...

Of course the rating system is flawed. Over here at any rate sexuality (explicit or not) is MUCH more likely to increase the rating than violence. Of the two I know which I would rather children saw.
A to Z time already? Good luck. To the organisers and the participants.

Saumya said...

I'm making a slow return to the blogging world and I can't tell you how amazing it is to come here. Any of us would be honored to be a Ninja Minion :) And no Oscar favorites but there are a lot of good movies to check out. Also, the newsletter sounds wonderful! I can't wait to spread the word about it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Patricia, no worries - just good to have you with us again.

Sandra, no! Just frost.

Lori, it was difficult to juggle both, but not impossible.

Joanne, and if they don't look it up first, they should be shocked. Glad you signed up for the newsletter. And we were even colder than that this morning.

Lily, please join us!

Chrys, we are lucky to have you!

Sheena-kay, appreciate that!

Yolanda, thanks! And that's not a show I watch.

DG, hope so!

Birgit, you may be right about money, although Dead's ratings are sagging now.

Andrew Leon said...

The rating systems for movies and TV are just... strange. And outdated at this point. The things they look for are arbitrary but pretty clearly laid out. So, say, one use of the word "fuck" used to be an automatic R. Now it's only a PG-13, but, say, three uses (I think it's three) gets an R even if there's nothing else in the movie to warrant it.
Basically, there's no balance at all to how they determine these things. It's a numbers game with no actual attention being paid to the overall product.

Gail said...

Does following mean I'm will get the newsletter? See why I can't write a book?

I am always amazed with the amount of information you can fit in one post and make it enjoyable to read.

Keep up the good work.

Michelle Wallace said...

It's great to have Chrys on board. She's so talented...and hard working too!
This will be my 6th A to Z Challenge. I only missed the first one.
I'm still two-minded about my A to Z theme. Not good. Not at all. I need to sort it out within the next week so I can start drafting my posts.
Hope you're enjoying your holiday!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I think I will stick to participating in the A to Z through the IWSG site.

I'll be pulling for Mad Max.

J E Oneil said...

I would say that Fargo has a higher rank because 1) the target audience is adults, not teens and 2) it's realistic violence instead of zombie violence. But yeah, it does seem like a stretch.

I can't wait to sign up for the Challenge!

Suzanne Furness said...

The IWSG newsletter sounds like a great idea. I look forward to reading.

dolorah said...

Who knows why some shows get the ratings they do. Sometimes I think a TVMA is just to get people to watch something more intelligent than Kill Bill, lol.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Hi Alex,

I'd be happy to help, but I'm not sure of the time commitment or what it entails. I'm only available until April 19th, so earlier in the month would be best! I'll be participating in the Challenge, but I have to write quite a few of my posts in advance.

I think the newsletter is an awesome idea! And Chrys was just the right person for it. I look forward to seeing the first issue!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Chrys will make the newsletter something great. I have confidence in her. Any rating system controlled by humans will be screwy since humans are naturally that way. I think I will make the A to Z theme a surprise -- since it will probably be a surprise to me too!

Patrick Stahl said...

I have my A-to-Z Challenge plan, now I just have to execute it. Hopefully I'll have most of my posts done prior to April. I might write one post today.

LynNerdKelley said...

Happy New Year, Alex! You were one of my top commenters in 2015, so thank you so much for following my blog, poor neglected thing! I signed up for the newsletter. What a huge impact you've had on the blogging community. You go, Alex!

Ann Bennett said...

If you need a minion, I would love to help. I see from preceding comments that you have several volunteers. It would not bother me if you sent my name to anyone else to help. A to Z is so large, it does give me a bit of structure to read.

Ratings, meh - I am corny. I love a G-rated world. But the world is not always G-rated. I am so behind pop culture. At least I don't wear a 1970's hairstyle.

Jemi Fraser said...

I didn't realize today was MLK day! I was at a workshop, so I'll chat with kids at school tomorrow and see what they know. Such an important day.

Those ratings are crazy. i've seen brain scans of what violent images do to children's brains and it is devastating. the rules have to be tougher!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Saumya, thanks! Appreciate it.

Gail, you'll need to subscribe - just those who are part of the monthly blog posting are already subscribed. And thank you - I try to make it enjoyable!

Michelle, you are a veteran.

JE, it is a stretch.

JH, no worries. Focus on your own posts.

Roland, I like your theory best!

Lynn, thanks to you as well!

Ann, I will take all the help I can get!

Jemi, scary.

ilima said...

I couldn't even sit through Seventh Son. We turned the DVD off. As far as ratings go, we Americans seem to give a lot of leeway for violence than anyone else. It's weird.

Patricia Lynne said...

Alex, I'll be a ninja minion. Last year I was C. Lee's minion and it was lots of fun. I'd like to help out again this year.

Liz A. said...

The problem with rating systems is that they're administered by people. They usually require opinions of those viewing the show. Rarely is there some sort of rubric that is applied across the board. Even if there were, the makers of the shows would then lobby to change their rating if they're displeased with it. Which is why I generally ignore a show's rating.

I think I'm dreading the Challenge. Kind of. I'd volunteer to be a minion, but I'm not sure how busy my April is going to be yet. But I'm sure you already have your contingent by now.

Christine Rains said...

I do think some shows need different ratings, and more specific ratings. Some violence is not the same as other violence. If that makes sense! I did watch Seventh Son on a free HBO weekend. I loved the books it was taken from, but it's very little like the books. What amused me the most about the film was I kept seeing The Dude and The Goth Lady. It made me giggle! Have a terrific week, Alex.

Dean K Miller said...

Ratings, both TV and Movies are generally a joke and run by those who want to control/engage the market they choose. How about parents step up, preview what their kids want to watch, and then choose/parent wisely?

Helena said...

Maybe because I don't have kids I don't pay attention to TV ratings. But the violence on a few shows is for me sometimes overdone, as is the influence of porn as opposite to genuine sensuality.

My own favorite movie of 2015 is Bridge of Spies, but it likely won't win. Too many times the Oscar goes to movies critics love but audiences don't.

Arlee Bird said...

Television is always pushing the boundaries. Nothing surprises me too much anymore.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out
Wrote By Rote

Misha Gericke said...

I actually don't know if I'll be doing A to Z this year.... Oh who am I kidding. I probably will.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Great news that Chrys will be working on the IWSG newsletter! I think that there's always been problems with TV ratings, but it's also
been an incredible year for quality programming.


Spacerguy said...

Great idea creating a newsletter. Theres such a trippy vibe buzzing about in show business these days. Now with the Oscars and Aprils A to Z blogfest looming on the horizon - it'll be all hands, battle stations.

Madeleine Sara said...

I can see why some call the Oscars 'the Lily White awards'. There are so many brilliant black actors out there that should be awarded. My favourites include: David Oyelowo, Sophie Okonedo,Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L Jackson, Naome Harris and so many more.

Gosh an IWSG newsletter. How brilliant! Thanks for the reviews and news Alex.

Beate said...

What? TV14 for The Walking Dead? We just watched the opening episode of season 5...I'm not even sure that was something I want adults to see let alone 14-year-olds. (By the way, that's another show Keith got me totally addicted to ;)
TV ratings don't seem to follow any rules, maybe just money...

I'd love to be a minion, too :D

Have a wonderful week, Alex!

J.L. Campbell said...

Yup, those ratings do seem a bit weird.
Looking forward to the newsletter and the Challenge.
Getting my post up later today on what's to come.

Sandra Cox said...

Sounds like the newsletter is going to be very helpful.
Have a good one, Alex.

Al Diaz said...

I'm sure it will be a great newsletter. Best of lucks with the Challenge. Didn't like Fury Road much but MD liked it so much she wanted to watch it twice.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I've been so out of the loop when it comes to the Oscars for over 10 years, I bet. Don't get to see enough of the movies living out in the boondocks. Looking forward to the newsletter. Look at us! A Newsletter!

Misha Gericke said...

I've always found ratings to be a bit skewed, but then, I've been sneaking in stories and reads that were way above my age range since I was in primary school.

And hey, I do believe I've come through the end unscathed. The thing is that the ratings seem to slide, with more and more violence etc being allowed even in the low ratings.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Patrica, thanks! I'll email you.

Liz, eleven volunteers so far, so no worries.

Christine, the Dude - funny!

Spacerguy, fire up the photon torpedoes!

Beate, I'm sure money has something to do with it.

Al, your mother rocks.

Joylene, I know! We're going places.

Misha, I watched R rated movies as a kid and I turned out all right.

Mark Noce said...

I feel you on the rating system. What gets me too are the amount of curse words that are no longer bleeped or anything. The commercials don't get rated either...i.e. around Halloween time sometimes really graphic horror movie ads show up, even on the Disney channel...WTH! :)

Elizabeth said...

There definitely seem to be some flaws with the rating system, and like some people above have said, even commercials are getting out of control with violence, sex, and cussing.

Congrats to Chrys and the newsletter!

I am ready (almost) for the A to Z Challenge! Looking forward to signing up :)

Susan Kane said...

I didn't try the trivia (had busy company), but Tangled is probably the only one. Oops, The Hobbit also.

Oscar favorite...Brooklyn, I believe.

Annalisa Crawford said...

One year I hope to have watched enough films to have opinions on the Oscars!

L.G. Keltner said...

The ratings system is definitely flawed. I've seen plenty of examples of ratings that left me scratching my head.

I'm definitely excited to see how the IWSG newsletter turns out (I'm sure it will be great), and I'm looking forward of another A to Z Challenge.

Sherry Ellis said...

I don't understand how they rate things. You're right - the ratings do seem to be inconsistent.

I'm so glad to see Chrys is joining the IWSG administration. She's a great asset!

A Beer For The Shower said...

I've actually never paid attention to those tv ratings, so I didn't know Walking Dead was TV-14. How funny. I would have thought that it was MA. Not that it really matters or would have affected my viewing either way.

And yes, the A-Z doth approach, and we're just over here cutting down on post times. Doing full color/shaded comics once a day? I faint at the very thought. Good luck to you and the other participants, though!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Aw, Alex, I always enjoy getting one of your lame emails! But the newsletter sounds great, especially for sharing pertinent information on our WiDo Publishing Facebook page. I'll definitely sign up.

Karen Peterson said...

I never noticed that The Walking Dead was changed. Because in the beginning it very definitely WAS rated TVMA.

Cherie Reich said...

I rarely pay attention to the TV ratings. Then again, I'm an adult, so I can watch anything I want. LOL! That's awesome about the IWSG newsletter!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mark, sometimes it amazes me what I hear on television.

LG, it will rock!

Brandon and Bryan, I've seen two people do that - one was a drawing a day and the other a painting a day. I can't imagine it either.

Karen, awesome! And they were lame...

Robin said...

The rating system is a mystery to me. I don't watch Fargo, so I can't explain this particular mystery (not that I could if I watched it). Because it's a MYSTERY.

Toinette Thomas said...

I've always had issues with rating systems in general. I think the video game rating system is the best, currently.
I'm not sure how interested I am in the Oscars this year, but I am happy about Fury Road. That movie deserves some love.
Seventh Son is on my TBW list. I'll get to it eventually.
Cool trivia.
Happy MLK Day!

Cathy Keaton said...

I don't watch that much TV, so I don't worry too much about the whacked rating system.

I have, however, started watching the Chronicles of Shannara and it's really good! So far, I like it.

Deniz Bevan said...

That Jeff Bridges movie sounds like lots of fun. I'll see if my sister's already watched it (we usually watch these sorts of things together).

Congratulations to Chrys!

Darn, I wish I could volunteer as minion. I did it one year and it was great fun.

Crystal Collier said...

I'm still trying to decide if I can manage the A to Z Challenge this year. Probably not. Life is so busy I'm finding it hard to squeeze in an hour of writing time a day. What can you do?

You know, at first I had a hard time with The Walking Dead. I would have said it needed to be rated differently, but where it's currently at, the rating sounds about right. We tried Fargo and it was MUCH darker. (Enough that we didn't get past the first episode.) *shrugs*

Sandra Cox said...

I'm probably one of the few people that don't follow the Oscars.
Have a good one, Alex.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

If I had to guess about the rating with "The Walking Dead," it would have to be centered around it being a comic book and/or young adult thing (zombies are young adult monsters featured in young adult dystopian books). Anyway, you make a good argument. I'm just trying to explain why it may have the rating that it does.

Also, Mad Max: Fury Road will win Best Picture. I said it like six months ago. You'll see.

Melanie Schulz said...

I'd be happy to help again, if you'd like.

Madilyn Quinn said...

Don't watch the Oscars so... It's cool Mad Max got nominated for so many, though! I though Seventh Son was pretty good, but I really like sword and sorcery movies - particularly if they're all cheese, which Jeff Bridges so completely is in that one haha

farawayeyes said...

The rating system for TV and Movies is so flawed it's hard not to believe there isn't some sort of payola involved. Of course ratings are always going to be somewhat subjective, but one would think there is some sort of criteria. Nope, it certainly doesn't appear that way, it seems more like a joke.

I admit that I'm disappointed to see a movie like Mad Max make it into the Best Picture for an Academy Award. I know, I know...different tastes and all that jazz, (I did see it - somewhat against my will, but I did watch the whole thing and kept looking for some redeeming value and found none), but there are other really good action type movies out there that actually have a plot and require a person to think, even if just a little bit, that are continually passed over for the more intellectual type of film. Then the Academy chooses to nominate Mad Max as their first entry of this type of film. Back to that old payola thing.

I suppose both of those comments will cement my place in the grumpy hall of fame, but seriously folks. And it's just my opinion anyway.

I was set to get myself back into the IWSG posting habit at the beginning of 2016 and instead came down with pneumonia. I'm going to give it a hearty try again next month, but the way things have been going lately, I don't hold out much hope.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Toi, they do well with the video game ratings.

Cathy, awesome!

Crystal, it probably has to do with Fargo's more adult themes.

Michael, that would be batcrap awesome if it did!

Melanie, thank you! Will email.

Madilyn, he is! The big cheese.

Faraway, there are other violent action films that have won.

M Pax said...

I haven't paid much attention to the TV ratings. OK, I'm so hooked on the Shannara Chronicles now...

I don't pay much attention to the Oscars anymore. It's no fun without seeing what Cher is wearing. Anyway, I really enjoyed the Mad Max movie. Somehow they made a 2 hour car chase awesome. I'm not sure it's an Oscar-worthy film though. It was definitely fun and one of my favorites from our holiday movie fest.

Nick Wilford said...

There's no TV ratings system in the UK. If it's after the watershed (9pm), it's assumed that parental guidance is used. I don't know how it would be policed, and it does seem odd based on those examples.

Chrys'll do a great job on the IWSG newsletter! She always seems so organised.

John and Tyrean Martinson said...

I like the Canadian system better - a warning after every commercial that states what the program has in it: nudity, language, violence, and the ambiguous "mature" content. It doesn't give an age (or at least not that I can remember), but at least you have a pretty good idea of what you're getting into after every commercial break.

I finally watched Mad Max, and . . . although I liked it, I'm surprised it's up for that many nominations (sorry, Alex, it's just so unlike the Academy).

I want to see Seventh Son, although I still haven't forked over any money for it yet.

Hope you have a great week, Alex!

John and Tyrean Martinson said...

Ack. I replied with the family gmail address - it's just me, Tyrean. No new post today.

Denise Covey said...

I'd love Fury Road to pick up some Oscars. Why not? But I think the Oscars are pretty political!

Medeia Sharif said...

I don't watch a lot of TV, but when I do I don't pay too much attention to those ratings. I don't watch the Oscars, but do read the list of winners the next day. Yay for the newsletter.

Cindy said...

I still haven't seen Fury Road. Hope to soon. Unfortunately, I'm not doing the A to Z challenge this year, but I will be watching.

mail4rosey said...

I haven't seen The Walking Dead. I saw Fargo though and it gave me the chillies. My second oldest son puts the Fargo WoodChipper Screen Saver on my desk computer sometimes when I'm not looking. Disturbing child he is, lolol, but I love him so. ;)

Shadow said...

i do not take ratings seriously anymore (fortunately no little ones to 'protect'). Mostly, these are rated according to someone else's standards, i think differently to them, so understandably, they don't make sense to me...

G. B. Miller said...

I don't pay much attention to ratings, especially to those on regular network t.v. I pay much more attention when they use those on the premium channels, since they're much more descriptive than what you usually get.

BTW, The 13th Warrior is a phenomenal movie. Fantastic twist on the old Beowolf story.

Father Nature's Corner

Tess Julia said...

I don't get the whole Walking Dead thing anyway. We actually had to stop watching TV because the commercials are so graphic they send my daughter into flashbacks.

Mackenna Lynch said...

The hype about "The Walking Dead" seems to have "died" out...ha ha.
But what would I know

Al Penwasser said...

Good grief! The A-Z Challenge. How time flies. I'll participate again, although I haven't figured out what kind of theme I want to do (besides winging it-I may do that because it was kind of fun). Last year, as you know, I did haikus. Not sure this year. Thank goodness I have a little time.

klahanie said...

Hi Alex,

I've always wondered about TV rating systems, no matter where I live.

The Oscars have been rather controversial this year.

IWSG, never mind :)

Thanks for all the links.

Of course, you know my thoughts on that alphabet thingy. Might take the month of April off from blogging.

Take care, dude.


Jeff Bushman said...

I haven't even bothered to look at the ratings in many years now that the kids are "adults"
Although I will have to in the future! LOL

Donna K. Weaver said...

I wonder if the TV rating thinking for those differences is similar to the ones they used for the LotR trilogy. One reviewer said of the LotR orcs had bled red, it'd have been rated R. I wonder if since so many of the things getting their heads graphically blown up are zombies, they're not counted as heavily.

John Wiswell said...

I was utterly unaware that Walking Dead was rated TV-14. That is ridiculous. The show is profoundly violent, explicit, and even sexual. I don't think standardizing ratings cut-offs at specific ages make sense, but if you're going to, Walking Dead has long been an obvious Rated R project.

Tara Tyler R said...

well, ratings are in the mind of the beholder...
it's like Jaws was rated R, but it would be PG13 these days... TV14 is PG13 which covers a gammit of sins and filth. So to be rated R or TVMA, it's got to be really bad. To me, Dead is completely disgusting and worth the TVMA, but the producers probably pled their case and squeaked into TV14 for the better timeslot. and thats my 2 cents on the matter

yay for Chrys the editor!

still debating on a to z, takes so much time... if i do it, i go all out and feel terrible if i miss a day/letter of visiting. but it's always such an awesome experience! hmmm

have a great weekend!

Brinda said...

I forgot that I wanted to watch that Mad Max movie. I'm glad you reminded me. :)

Kristin Smith said...

I agree with you on the television rating system. It is screwy! My husband and I watch Walking Dead and it is very graphic and violent. It probably should be deemed as TVMA. Not sure how they are deciding on these ratings, but I wish there was a better system so I would know beforehand if something is appropriate for my kids (or even myself!) or not.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mary, Fury Road was Road Warrior times a hundred!

Tyrean, that's a good way to do it. And It was on so many critics' top lists, I think it got the nods just to appease them.

Rosey, that's hilarious!

GB, yes it was!

Al, I'm sure you'll come up with something awesome.

Gary, but you're our official anti-A to Z spokesperson!

John, I agree.

Tara, your two cents are probably right. And hope you can join us.

Jeffrey Scott said...

Newsletter - I already congratulated Chrys on her site, but I'll do so again here.
Congrats Chrys
Looking forward to seeing the new newsletter.
TV Rating - I still have trouble figuring it out from time to time.
AZChallenge - I'm looking forward to this. Can't you wait to open on the 26th? I like the 26th of January better. ;)
I was considering re-opening my Dr.Who/Sci.Fi. blog to do a second AZ challenge. Though I don't know if that's allowed.
I'd certainly be willing to be a minion this time around. I may even be tempted to help with the IWSG one of these months.

Julie Dao said...

That is so crazy about The Walking Dead's ratings! There is gruesome gore and sex and language and everything! Re: the Oscars, it's sad to say I haven't seen any of the nominated movies. I bought my brother Mad Max for Christmas, though, so I may just have to watch that what with all the amazing reviews and accolades it's gotten!

Lexa Cain said...

Weird about the rating discrepancies. It almost seems political, like they're just afraid to take any audience from such a hit show.

Congrats to Jeremy and good luck to DL!

I haven't seen anything that's up for an Oscar, so whatever happens will be a surprise!

Libby said...

I used to be a HUGE film buff. Once I really started watching a lot of smaller and/or foreign films, I grew disenchanted with the oscars. So many films I loved were passed over for even a nomination. Oh well, we can't have everything.

T.F. Walsh said...

Seen Seventh Son... Hmmm, enjoyed it, but didn't love it.

Erika said...

Hi Alex. I don't pay much attention to the rating system as I feel any system has flaws dependent on who supports what. To me sometimes it seems disappointingly, it's who you know. As far as the oscars, I havent paid as much attention as I would like to but I always love reading your great reviews. The challenge? I think it depends on how much writing I get done this weekend. I am excited for the newsletter. Yay! I need all the help and tips I can get. Thank you!

DMS said...

I didn't realize that Fargo has a higher rating than the other shows you mentioned. I didn't even really realize that tv shows were rating- but now I remember seeing the ratings before. I am curious about the differences now. :)

Sandra Cox said...

Stay warm and safe.

Chris Phillips said...

I didn't finish 7th son, and i don't feel bad about it. Also I thought fury road was awful.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Great posts. I read the last two. My kids have read most of the Shanara series. They watched the show and seemed to like it. I'm almost ready for the A to Z Challenge. Still haven't quite decided on my theme.

Donna McDine said...

Alex, are you still looking for ninja minions? If yes, I'd like to help. -

Rachna Chhabria said...

I like the idea of a IWSG Newsletter. And please don't say that your emails are lame, they aren't. I look forward to getting your emails.
I bought two of your books on Amazon, but sadly wasn't able to read them over the holidays. Over the next few months, I'm going to read both your books.

Walter Knight said...

Was I the only one caught off guard by the UFO at the end of "Fargo?" I did not see that coming.

Kerri Eckes said...

Forgive me if someone else already asked this. I scanned the comments and did not see the question...

Can you explain what the rating terms mean (TV14, and TVMA)? I'm guessing TVMA means mature audiences.

We had to stop watching Walking Dead. We got like halfway through the first episode of S4, and it was just too much. Which I know wasn't the question, but I do agree that it should be only for Mature Audiences. There is too much graphic violence on tv, although I'd say the same thing for nudity. I can't believe some of the junk that's on tv.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jeffrey, thanks! Will send you an email.

Julie, you need to watch it.

Libby, as a fan of the big blockbusters, I see those often snubbed as well. That's why I'm glad Mad Max got so many nominations.

Erika, hope the newsletter helps!

Chris - blasphemy!

Donna, you bet! Will email you.

Rachna, thank you - appreciate that.

Walter, there were other sightings earlier, so it didn't surprise me.

Kerri, TV14 is like PG13, and TVMA is for mature audiences. And it stuns me what slips onto television these days...

EEGiorgi said...

Sorry I got here a bit late, anyway, wanted to thank Chrys Fey for putting together the newsletter, that's such a great idea. I'm sure many of us will benefit from it.

Raquel Byrnes said...

So glad you stopped by and left some encouraging words. I am so excited for the newsletter! As for the Oscars...oy vey! What a hubub surrounding them this year. Yikes.
Edge of Your Seat Stories

Mason T. Matchak said...

I remember seeing a preview for Seventh Son way back when, and thought it looked like cheesy fantasy, almost Xena-level. Good to hear that it's entertaining, though. :P And I never would have guessed that Mad Max would get any Oscar nominations - movies like that usually get completely passed over. If it wins any of the big awards, I'll be shocked. Pleased, but shocked.

Blue Grumpster said...

The television rating system is screwy, all right, but what I find even more annoying is that movie studios basically want all movies to be suitable for teens. Ka-ching!