Posts belonging to Category Television

American Idol and Shout to the Lord

Note:  The videos of both performances are at the end of the post.

Last week on American Idol, the eight finalists joined together at the end of the show to sing the popular praise and worship song, “Shout to the Lord.” The next night, they opened the program with the same song. This created quite a stir for a number of reasons:

  1. The first night they sang it, they substituted the words “My Shepherd” for the original lyrics, which are “My Jesus.”
  2. The second night, they sang the original lyrics, putting the words “My Jesus” back in.
  3. People were surprised that a show like American Idol would feature such an overtly Christian song, twice, especially sung by all the contestants together.

There was a lot of buzz about this around the blogosphere during the week. Here are three articles in particular that I thought covered the story well and provided some good food for thought.

I work on one of the “sister shows” of American Idol … so picture an office, with all of the producers, crew, etc. gathered in watching the live feed at our CBS offices, then this song comes on … an office filled with a few Christians … atheists and agnostic Jews. You could hear a pin drop … it was awesome … the power that came through … nothing had to be said … no debates … just people being touched more than they realized … producers, writers … crew that had never darkened a church door in their lives, or their only experience with Christians was a negative one. You don’t always see the workings of us Christians that are behind the scenes … you don’t know how much prayer went into getting a song with that message on a, let us not forget, a SECULAR show. So, from someone behind the scenes, the best thing you can do is write to the producer of Am. Idol and simply state how much you appreciate the diversity they showed in having an very inspirational song in their program. Period. No criticizing. This will go farther than you realize. Also, pray, pray, pray for us Christians that have chosen Hollywood as our vocation, career and our mission field.

And finally, here are the videos of the two performances so you can check them out for yourself.

First performance (Video length: 2:56)


Second performance (Video length: 3:08)

So, did you see either of these performances last week? What are your thoughts?

Taming Television in the Home

Taming Technology in the Home series:
    ● Taming Television in the Home
    ● Taming Video Games in the Home
    ● Taming the Internet in the Home

Although television can be a valuable source for news, information and entertainment, it can also bring a number of negatives into your home. The two main issues with television are time and content. I will address the time issue tomorrow (along with video games), but today I want to talk about content. How do you protect your children from inappropriate content on TV? Here are some of the things we do.

  • Watch on DVD: One way we control content is by doing much of our TV watching on DVD. We collect movies and old favorites on DVD so that we can watch what we want when it is convenient and avoid commercials at the same time.
  • Use a DVR: We use a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) to record current programs we would like to watch without being tied to the TV at a certain time of day. As an added plus, the DVR also lets us fast-forward through the commercials. (This is a great time-saver, especially when watching sporting events.)
  • Keep it public: Our kids do not have TV’s in their bedrooms. When you are trying to control content in the home, it makes sense to limit the number of TV’s available and to keep them in the public areas of the home.
  • Set appropriate boundaries: We set boundaries with our kids for both time and content on TV. (Again, more on the time issue tomorrow!) We direct them to good content, and we let them know when a certain movie or show is not acceptable. If something comes on that is inappropriate while watching together, we set the example by switching the channel or turning it off. It is important to know what movies or shows your kids are watching and to make sure they are appropriate for your children.
  • Talk: We try to talk with our kids about what we watch. We want to teach them how to discern the various messages found in TV shows or movies. For example, we like Star Trek as a family. It has some great story lines and admirable characters. However, I don’t always agree with the worldview that is presented. So we talk about it and help our kids become active viewers of media rather than passive receptacles.
  • Block: We use the settings on our DVD player and cable box to block certain programs or channels with inappropriate content. We have it set up so that anything with a PG-13 rating or higher requires a password for access.

And here are two additional gadgets we have found helpful. These have allowed us to watch a lot of great movies together as a family that we would have otherwise passed by, either because of the language or due to certain scenes we felt were inappropriate.

  • TVGuardian: TVGuardian filters out inappropriate language from TV shows and movies. There are various settings depending on what you want to filter. You can purchase TVGuardian built-in on some DVD players or as a separate device. We have used it in our home for years, and it does a great job of filtering out curse words and religious exclamations we would rather not have in our home.
  • ClearPlay: ClearPlay DVD Players filter out both language and visual elements from regular DVD movies. ClearPlay is customizable, and you can turn off or on fourteen different filter settings relating to inappropriate language, violent content or sexual content. ClearPlay has an extensive library of available filters, and they are always adding more. They offer several price options, including a monthly membership which gives you full access to all filters at all times.

So, what things have you done to help tame the television in your home? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Click here for next post in series: Taming Video Games in the Home

Taming Technology in the Home

Taming Technology in the Home series:
    ● Taming Television in the Home
    ● Taming Video Games in the Home
    ● Taming the Internet in the Home

This series of posts will deal with three particular forms of technology in the home — television, video games and the internet. All three of these have the potential both for good and for harm. So how do you enjoy the positive aspects while guarding against the negative? This question becomes especially important if you have children in the home. You want your children to enjoy the benefits of technology, but you also have a responsibility to protect them from any possible dangers.

Some parents embrace technology in the home with little or no discernment. Ignoring the dangers, they allow an unbroken stream of media to flood their homes at all times. Other parents choose to eliminate technology from the home — no TV, video games or internet. This may take care of the problem in the short run, but it also cuts their children off from the potential benefits of these technologies. Most parents fall somewhere in between these two extremes and look for ways to tame technology in the home.

Like it or not, TV, video games and the internet are a part of life in the twenty-first century. We should protect our children from any negative aspects while teaching them to make wise decisions concerning technology and media in their lives. In this series I will be sharing some of the tools we have used with our children to help tame technology in our home. I invite you to come back and visit the series during the week and share your thoughts on any of these areas. You can also click here to subscribe to this blog by email or feed reader.

Click here for next post in series: Taming Television in the Home

Storming Omaha Beach on a Shoestring

When Steven Spielberg shot the beach scene for Saving Private Ryan, he used 1,000 extras. Watch how these three graphic designers convincingly recreated the storming of Omaha Beach on a shoestring budget in just four days using only themselves as actors and a single carload of basic props.

(Video length: 4:02)

This scene was created for the TIMEWATCH program “Bloody Omaha” shown on BBC.

HT: Evangelical Outpost

Full-Sized Lost in Space Robots For Sale

Lost in Space Robot Full Size Replicas

“Danger, danger, Will Robinson!” Oh, how I loved this show when I was a kid! It sparked my imagination and gave me a taste for science fiction, adventure, space and fantasy that I still enjoy today. We have all three seasons on DVD, and I enjoyed re-watching them with my boys when they were younger.

Of course, the Lost in Space Robot was one of the main attractions of the show, along with the adventurous Will and the villainous Dr. Smith. My boys still have a toy version of the Robot, but now B9Creations has announced the production and sale of Full Size, Limited Edition, Fully Licensed Replicas of the famous Lost in Space Robot.

They have really gone all out to make these as authentic-looking as possible. The parts are all based on the original molds. You can activate the Robot by remote control. Functions include turning the Robot’s torso left/right, directing the Robot’s voice to respond “Affirmative/Negative” and activating the Robot’s soil sampling sequence. The Robot also comes with over 500 voice tracks by Richard Tufeld, the voice of the original Robot. And here is a neat feature: it has a functional power pack. Pulling the Robot’s “power pack” will shut down the Robot with the “Aaghhhhhh…” sound, just as it did in the TV series.

However, with a price tag of $24,500 I won’t be buying one of these anytime soon. At least the price includes shipping!

HT: Instapundit

Lonesome Dove / Comanche Moon TV-DVD Dates

Update: See comments below for chronological order.

Comanche Moon Early Cover ArtNext week CBS will air the new mini-series, Comanche Moon: The Road to Lonesome Dove (January 13th, 15th and 16th). This is the final installment in the Lonesome Dove series. (Chronologically, Comanche Moon fills in the gap between Dead Man’s Walk and Lonesome Dove. Streets of Laredo closes out the series.) Then on February 26, Sony will release the 2-DVD set of Comanche Moon: The Road to Lonesome Dove – Extended Edition, with extra footage only available on the DVDs. Here is a picture of the initial box art for the DVD set.

I am a huge fan of Larry McMurty’s Lonesome Dove series. I have read all the books and seen all the television adaptations. So I am really looking forward to Comanche Moon next week. However, I must warn you, that the Lonesome Dove books and films are not for children and not for the faint of heart. McMurtry pulls no flinches in portraying a rugged American West where people live and die hard, often in extremely brutal ways. Comanche Moon was probably the toughest read of the four, so this mini-series will not be everyone’s cup of tea (or jug of whiskey as the case may be).

Any other Lonesome Dove fans out there?

Celebrating Ruth Bell Graham – TV Special

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is airing the television special Celebrating Ruth Bell Graham in the month of December. In my area (Massachusetts) it will show on NBC on December 8th at 7:00 p.m. You can check TV listings for your area here.

You can also watch the program online at this link at the following times:

  • Tuesday, December 4, 7 p.m. Eastern time
  • Saturday, December 15, 10 p.m. Eastern time
  • Wednesday, December 26, 7 p.m. Eastern time

If all else fails, you can always order the DVD of the special for $16.95 (shipping 12/10 – should make a nice Christmas present). And I expect they will eventually add this to their online archive of previous TV specials here.

Here is a brief preview of the program. (Video length: 1:31)

From the war-torn countryside of ancient China, to the impressive halls of America’s White House, Ruth Bell Graham’s life took her on a journey that few could imagine.

Meet this unique woman who captured the heart of Billy Graham and gained the admiration of countless others. Discover why her husband called her, “…the greatest Christian I’ve ever known.”

Laugh with those who knew her best and discover fresh insights from those who loved her deeply. Find out how her “behind-the-scenes” wit and wisdom helped produce an extraordinary legacy.

Plus, be inspired by world premier music videos from Avalon and Fernando Ortega, and enjoy a special performance from the Gaither Homecoming Friends.

Watch the Billy Graham Television Special this December as we celebrate the “very full life” of Ruth Bell Graham.

Related articles:

Last Day to Take the TV Survey

Today is the last day to take the TV survey (for Christian parents). It is free, it is easy, it only takes a few minutes of your time, it will help out a graduate student with her research, and there are cool prizes involved. Plus, the graduate student just happens to be my niece. So if you have not already done so, click here for more information and take the survey today.

Survey on the Television Viewing Habits of Christian Families

My niece, Kathryn Post, is a graduate student at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania where she is currently conducting research for her masters thesis. Kathryn is studying the television perspectives of Christian parents and needs Christian parents to volunteer to take a brief survey online.

By taking part in her study, you will be supporting Christian research and helping a graduate student. As a thank you for participating, you will be entered in a drawing for one of four $25.00 gift cards.

The survey can be completed between now and May 1st. Click this link to go to the survey: Parent Survey

Thank you for your support!