Friday, November 25, 2016

The First 50, Part II: From Creepy Weirdo to Chrome Microphone of Excellence

Continuing where I left off in my reflections on the first fifty episodes.  The links were slowing down the page, so I cut it in half.

TVCU #21 - Hannah Lackoff

As James pointed out, her story made me cry.  It made me feel joy, and anger, and sadness, and surprise.  This was another of James' guest choices, and another award winner.

TVCU #22 - Sam Gafford

We lost him for a minute in the middle of the interview, and he was still one of our best guests.  This was perhaps the culmination of our Carnacki theme, as Sam Gafford is the authority on William Hope Hodgson.  He shares with us an amazing piece of history in this episode that could have led to very different lives for two historical figures.  And cool accent.  Another of James' picks.  By this point, James was more actively advocating for more guest picks, something I had been advocating for the co-hosts to do from the beginning, but Ivan and Chris were a little slower on jumping on board with giving me picks.

TVCU #23 - Dave Elliott

Dave Elliott dropped some great "You heard it here first" announcements on this show.

TVCU #24 - Jesse Thomas Cook

This was the first guest who wasn't an author.  Jesse Thomas Cook did a fun movie with crossovers called Monster Brawl.  I really enjoyed talking with him about his mixing of two of my childhood loves, monsters and wrestlers.  We only had him on for a few minutes as he was tightly squeezing us into busy schedule.

TVCU #25 - It's All Connected: Filmmakers and their Worlds

One of my favorite discussions.  We talked about films that are connected as sequels but by recurring minor characters, fictional brands and locales.  We cover John Hughes, Quentin Tarantino, and Kevin Smith.

TVCU #26 - Batman v. Superman v. Civil War

Our first two parter.  So our recording schedule got screwed up, so we had to alter our schedule plans last minute and this led to a few non-guest episodes.  We decided to do a two-parter.  Part I was a discussion of Batman v. Superman and Civil War.  I defend Batman v. Superman, and James tears it a new one.

TVCU #27 - DC v. Marvel

And in part II, we expand to cover DC and Marvel's adaptations in general, focusing mostly on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Arrowverse.  I have to say this here, I really think that we have talked about the Arrowverse way too much on this show.  There's a lot more crossovers out there to discuss.  I think we've exhausted the Arrowverse topic.  And yet, we keep going back there again and again.  

TVCU #28 - Derrick Ferguson

We were fortunate that Derrick Ferguson was able to record an interview during our scheduling issues.  We recorded this hours before Scare-A-Con, and so this was the first interview where I didn't prepare at all, and let James and Chris conduct the interview, and I still maintain that I made the right decision.  It was an excellent interview.  

TVCU #29 - Scare-A-Con Special Event

Probably not the best interviews.  Certainly not the best sound quality.  But for a weekend, the TVCU Crew were rock stars.  James couldn't come, but Ivan, Chris and I were invited to Scare-A-Con, a horror themed convention in Springfield, MA.  We had a table.  We had press passes.  I spoke on two panels.  And we spend a few days harassing some pretty awesome celebrities, some of  which even came on our show.  The one I really thought would impress people more than it did was the guys from MST3K.  But the most memorable one, that made it all worth it, was James Lorinz, who told me that I reminded him of Cid Caesar in my comedy skills, which really made my weekend.  

Also, pulling back the curtain a bit, before this episode, the Crew was suffering a little internal discord, and this episode was a pretty good bonding moment.  This was the first time that Ivan, Chris and I had all been together at the same time.  Despite the illusion we cast in the shows. most episodes, Ivan and I were in the studio, while James and Chris skyped in from other states.  Following this episode, we would stop going to the studio.  I blew up my truck during this weekend and Ivan's work schedule made it harder for him to get there.  But the show went on.  We became the only show on the network where no hosts were physically in the studio.

This episode was so much fun that Ivan, Chris and I had planned on doing another show at Rock and Shock.  However, those plans fell apart as I'll explain later in this post.

TVCU #30 - John Linwood Grant

This guest has been on our show twice, and I've never gotten to interview him.  I was in the hospital when episodes 30 and 31 were recorded, and Ben Kasson stepped in last minute to fill my shoes.  Ben would also host the next episode, and has since become a recurring host on the show.  I'm pretty sure he's going to be a weekly host now, something I've been suggesting to James for a while.  (He makes the decisions now.)  I was told that Ben would only be a guest co-host but Ben's really good on the show, and James, M.H. and Ben work really well together.  

TVCU #31 - Guy Adams

Another two time guest that I never got to talk to, other than in scheduling.  

TVCU #32 - Jim Beard

James mentions this in episode 50.  This was the episode where we knew more about the guest than he expected us to.  Creepy weirdos, indeed.  Also, another "You heard it here first" episode.

TVCU #33 - Godzilla

This is more of a lecture than a discussion.  Chris Nigro takes the lead to school us on the history of Godzilla and his shared universes, while Ivan and I heckle mostly.  A lot of Godzilla podcast episodes came out around this time, many that aired before ours, but we recorded ours first, and I would argue that Chris is probably one of the most knowledgeable guys I know on kaiju.

TVCU #34 - Micah S. Harris and the Return of Becky Sharp

For those of you who know, I was partly expelled from the Wold Newton community for suggesting that Hannah Montana was in.  (I was also expelled for being passionately opinionated and extremely dramatic.)  So when I learned that Wold Newton favorite Micah S. Harris, also a friend of our show, was a fan of Liv & Maddie, I had to take the opportunity to get him to talk about Disney Channel shows, just after talking Philip Jose Farmer.  Probably one of my favorite moments on the show.

TVCU #35 - Felissa Rose

We met Felissa Rose at Scare-A-Con, but didn't get a chance to interview her there.  Chris was a huge fan, and so I made this interview happen.  Felissa, both at the con and on the show, was just so excited to talk to us.  So much so that she cut out during the show because she was pacing while telling us about her new film.  It was such a pleasure having her on the show.  Yes, I've been called out that she really had nothing to do with our crossover theme.  I don't care.  It was worth having her on.

TVCU #36 - Erik Burnham: Tobin's Spirit Guide

Erik said in his first interview that when Tobin's Spirit Guide came out, he'd come back on the show, and I held him to it.  Actually, he was very happy to come back on and wished he could have come on sooner, but as I said, we were booking guests a few months ahead.  We came across a copy of Tobin's at Scare-A-Con, before it was officially out, and I sent Erik a picture of Ivan and I with the book, with an invite, which again he responded to quickly.  This time, Ivan was able to make it onto the show, and I was so happy about that.  Since James and I had interviewed Erik the first time, we let Ivan and Chris do most of the talking this time around.

TVCU #37 - David MacDowell Blue

This is the beginning of the era where we started trying to get each co-host to pick a guest for that month, and I do believe this was Chris' first pick.  David is a long time friend of the TVCU.  I had once done another TVCU podcast, and David was my frequent call-in guest.  David also created our first TVCU logo.  But what we got on the show was a really delightful and insightful, in-depth discussion on Carmilla.  

TVCU #38 - Stranger Things

Some of our co-hosts think this was one of our best.  I thought it was a little disappointing, mainly because we spent less time on the crossovers than I would have liked.  And Ivan's call kept fading in a and out, which was frustrating because he had a lot of great insights to share that weren't heard.  What I did like about this episode particularly was that I finally found a way to get Patsy the Angry Nerd, part of the Grand Guignol family, onto our show.  All the other shows in the network have a lot of crossover.  I myself had been on Trick or Treat Radio and Unchayned before we even recorded episode 1 of our podcast.  So it was great to finally get someone from the network on the show.  I had known Patsy through the Trick or Treat Radio community, and finally met him in person at Dynamo Marz' party some time before, where we spoke for hours.  At that time, I had invited him on to talk at some future date about a crossover subject of his choice, which was going to be Futurama.  But as I said, we book ahead. It ended up being fortunate that we had just chosen at the last minute to do this discussion episode after another guest cancellation, and then seeing Patsy's online comments about Stranger Things crossovers on Facebook, led to fortunate circumstances.  Had I not left the show, I had planned to have all of the hosts of the other Grand Guignol shows on, with Dynamo Marz the next on the invite list to help promote the release of the 2nd edition of the Horror Crossover Encyclopedia.

TVCU #39 - Matthew Dennion & Josh Torrito

Matt returns and brings along his artist.  I love Matt.  But Chris and I were the main proponents for him coming on the show, so I'm not sure if he'll come back again, but I will continue to follow him and his work for sure.  I was not aware of it, but this would be my last regular episode...

After this point, I left the show.

I've explained part of the reason.  I've posted on Facebook and James read an announcement in episode 40. There were numerous things that were all piling up on me.  I had to take on a part time job and between that and my health issues, I was tired.  I didn't have the time to do all the research for every guest.  Remember that I started this show thinking it would be mostly discussions.  But the show took a life of its own and decided it was going to have authors on every week and I needed to read a lot of books.  And I'm a slow reader.  And then in an evening when I was feeling really overworked and underappreciated, one thing too many happened, and in a moment of spontaneous anger, I handed the show over to James and walked away.  

I immediately regretted it.  And many people tried to get me to reclaim the show.  But James Bojaciuk has been my right hand man for this and many other projects and he was better suited to host the show that it had become.  And I really wanted to see what he would do with it.  And he hasn't let me down.  Sure, I send him private messages grumbling once in a while about little things, but it's mostly that I'm just grumbling because he's not doing it my way, but he shouldn't be.  I gave him the show.  He needs to put his stamp on it.  It should feel different.  

So one thing that I didn't expect was that Ivan and Chris were going to leave.  I was very disappointed that this happened.  James has replaced them with excellent choices.  So I am happy with new Chris (M.H.) and new Ivan (Ben).  Sorry, guys, that's who you are in my mind.  But clearly you are also you and you bring you to the show.  The show is different now with new personalities, but it is also still the same show.  Same format, except for a few tweaks.  Same great guests.  Still too much Arrowverse talk, but that's never going to change.  

The first few guests after I left were guests that I had booked, but in the past few episodes.  But now my scheduled guests have all gone through, and now I'm no longer involved in the scheduling.  

I was also still funding the show for a bit.  You may have noticed when James took over, it was still "Super Entertainment Presents", and now it's "18thWall Presents".  Along with my part-time job, and measly royalties, my primary income comes from disability, and for a couple months a paperwork snafu caused me to stop getting paid,  So I had to turn over the final thing that I was holding onto to continue to be part of the show.  

For a while, I was hinting at a potential new podcast, one that would reunite Ivan and I (and for a while, Chris) to just do fandom discussions.  We even were in talks with the Grand Guignol Network to have them carry the show.  But that above mentioned financial snag ruined that too.  

So now, other than being credited at the end of each episode, and owning the names "Television Crossover Universe", "TVCU", and "TVCU Crew", have nothing to do with the show.  And I'm so very sad about that.  

I really, really miss it.  Ironically, my finances now are better than ever, and Ivan and I would love to jump into a discussion podcast, but now we don't have a network, and I lack any skills to independently run a podcast without the technical ability.  

Chris, Ivan and I will be returning to the TVCU Podcast for a special reunion episode that will air on December 20.  I think it will be very cool to have both Crews together.  I love the new Crew.  I still listen every week.  I'm a fan.  But I sure miss it.  

I am so grateful to James for carrying on what I started, and applaud him on what he's done in the last fifty, and especially the last ten, and I look forward to listening every Tuesday at work.

However, if someone out there wants to put me behind a mike again, I'm really, really ready.  Just don't give me a lot of books to read.

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