Archive for June, 2011


Popspotting #72: “Hockey and Parenthood” (June 17, 2011)


ParenthoodFor this “Feedback Friday,” Jen issues a big mea culpa for her hockey faux pas, we hear from yet another fan of NBC’s “Parenthood,” we’re encouraged to read some Jeannette Walls, and fellow geek Steve Bryson shares a list of his favorite iPhone apps.

It was a relatively quiet week, and listener Amber notes that it can be tricky to keep up with a daily podcast. To help, we’ve set up the ability to subscribe to our show via email. Using the form on the right, you can get each new Popspotting episode emailed to you, so you can easily see what’s on tap or catch up if you’ve missed a few days.

We also want to thank our listeners who are checking into “Popspotting” on GetGlue, and to send our deepest gratitude to those who’ve written reviews of our show in the iTunes music store.

Hard to believe this episode already marks four weeks of daily shows. And so far, it’s been a fun and rewarding experiment. But we rely on you and your feedback to know how we’re doing, to know what we should be doing, and to keep going.

We appreciate every comment, tweet, like, email, and call. Thank you for all your support!


Popspotting #71: PopTalk with Catherine Parkinson (June 16, 2011)


@CatparkyIt’s our first international PopTalk & Trivia Thursday! Joining us all the way from Huntingdon near Cambridge in the United Kingdom, Catherine Parkinson (@catparky on Twitter). It’s great to hear the perspective of someone outside the American bubble, and she shares her favorite TV shows with UK roots… but can she hold her own in our very America-centric trivia round?


Popspotting #70: Photo Apps (June 15, 2011)


InstagramAnd now for something completely different. Finally pushing the envelope for our “Wildcard Wednesday” show, we go geeky with a look at our favorite smartphone photography apps. As iPhone users, these picks are iPhone centric, but several of them are also available on Android.

Jen is an iPhone camera app junkie, and has tried over a hundred of them. (Of course, there are thousands out there.) Among the apps making the cut are HipstamaticInstagram, PicPlz, Burstn, and Camera+,

Do you use any of these photo apps? Are there any you’d recommend? And if we do another app show, what sorts of apps would you suggest we check out?

And if apps are not your thing, nor music nor books… what else should we do for our Wednesday shows? Anything goes!

Breaking Bad Poster

Popspotting #69: “Breaking Bad” (June 14, 2011)


Breaking Bad PosterWhen it comes to solid drama and knockout performances, our absolute favorite show right now is “Breaking Bad” on AMC.

It was the series most often recommended to us when we were wallowing in a post-“LOST” fugue state, and it deserves all the acclaim it gets. No, there’s no science fiction, and just a smattering of science. But “Breaking Bad” is intense, gripping, mesmerizing television. Some of its lightest moments are also its darkest, and some of the humor is beautifully painful. We can’t recommend it enough.

The Season 3 DVD just came out last week, and Season 4 premieres on July 17. So if you’re not yet aboard, you’ve got just enough time to catch up.

And if you love “Breaking Bad” as much as we do, Gavin here in Honolulu points out that you can’t miss the “Breaking Bad Insider Podcast.”

If you’re not watching, why not? And if you are, how much do you love the show? Jen suggests that Aaron Paul (as Jesse) has an even tougher job than Bryan Cranston (as Walter)… and given where Season 3 left off (no spoilers!), I think things will only get more amazing for both of them this year.

Super 8 Poster

Popspotting #68: “Super 8” (June 13, 2011)


Super 8 PosterAs “slobbering fanboys” of J.J. Abrams, we’ve been looking forward to “Super 8” since the moment we first heard about it last year. Written and directed by Abrams, and with Steven Spielberg aboard as executive producer, the movie has been shrouded in secrecy and promoted with an air of mystery. Now that “Super 8” has finally hit the big screen, was it worth the wait?

We think so. “Super 8” is at once an unapologetic tribute to classic Spielberg films like “E.T.,” “The Goonies,” and “Close Encounters,” as well as a straight-up, full-bore alien-slash-monster flick. It’s a touching coming-of-age story, fortified with a healthy serving of explosions and gotcha moments. Although the alien-slash-monster plot fell just a little short, the spectacular young cast made up for it with more than enough heart.

Battlestar Galactica Poster

Popspotting #67: Feedback Friday (June 10, 2011)


Battlestar Galactica PosterIf you missed the awesomeness that was the “Battlestar Galactica” reboot, you’ve got another chance. BBC America is going to start running the show as part of its “Supernatural Saturday” lineup beginning tomorrow, June 11. That’s just one of the things we learned today from our listeners during “Feedback Friday.”

Also mentioned, “Galaxy Quest” and “Justified,” plus more love for Lady Gaga, the Foo Fighters, “Modern Family” and “Sons of Anarchy.”

We thrive on feedback, so please don’t hold back. Share your thoughts on movies, TV, music, books, or anything else, and we’ll try to include it in the show! You can leave a voicemail at 815-310-0808, email us at, or comment here on the blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter.


Robin Burdge

Popspotting #66: Robin Burdge of Media Junkyard (June 9, 2011)


Robin BurdgeFor our third “PopTalk & Trivia Thursday” outing, we welcome Robin Burdge, co-host of “Media Junkyard” and “Movie Snobbery.” He is also the host of Vermont’s most popular trivia gatherings (or, at least, it should be), making him the strongest candidate yet to face Jen’s tough questions.

Before the battle, however, he shares his love for the movie trailer for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (coming in December), “Bridesmaids,” and “Game of Thrones.”

We’ve known Robin for years, and have been lucky enough to hang out with him and the Media Junkyard crew at Comic-Con. It was a distinct pleasure having him on the show.

And yes, this is our longest show yet.

Would you have done better with our Ferris Bueller trivia questions? Want to be a guest on Popspotting? Drop us a line! We may even be able to schedule it so you don’t have to be up at one in the morning.

Catching Fire

Popspotting #65: Catching Fire & Extremely Loud (June 8, 2011)


Catching FireBook talk returns for “Wildcard Wednesday”! As promised, Jen returns with her report on “Catching Fire,” the second book in the “Hunger Games” trilogy. She also shares her thoughts on “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” a post-9/11 novel by Jonathan Safran Foer.

It’s hopefully not much of a spoiler to say that Katniss Everdeen makes it out of the first “Hunger Games” book alive, and the second novel explores what her successful survival means to her and her people. While she remains front and center, other characters are given a chance to shine. And while this young-adult novel heads where you might expect early on, there are still surprises.

As for “Extremely Loud,” a story told from the point of view of a 9-year-old can be a bit over precious, but the novel nonetheless strikes a chord and is the first to really make Jen cry in some time.

There’s more book talk to come, but for next Wednesday, Jen’s thinking of mixing it up by sharing some of her favorite iPhone apps. Got your own suggestions? Let us know!

Pushing Daisies

Popspotting #64: Dead Like Me & Pushing Daisies (June 7, 2011)


Pushing DaisiesThis week we shift from current shows to long-lost shows, focusing on a pair of quirky death-centric stories created by Bryan Fuller. “Dead Like Me” saw two solid seasons on Showtime and a less-than-solid straight-to-DVD movie a few years later. “Pushing Daisies” couldn’t catch a break, stumbling through only two partial seasons on ABC. But both are worth checking out today, on DVD or via Netflix streaming.

“Dead Like Me” follows the post-death life of Georgia “George” Lass (Ellen Muth), who becomes a Grim Reaper and receives regular assignments to collect the souls of the soon-to-be dead.

“Pushing Daisies” is described as a “forensic fairy-tale,” in which a pie-maker with a magical touch (Ned, played by Lee Pace) and a murdered childhood love (Charlotte, played by Anna Friel) join forces with a private investigator to solve crimes while uncovering secrets in their own lives.

“Pushing Daisies” is described as a spinoff of “Dead Like Me.” We love to imagine on our own how the two worlds might intersect.

Are you a fan of either or both of these shows? Any other Fuller projects (Wonderfalls, Star Trek: DS9) we should check out?

X-Men: First Class

Popspotting #63: X-Men: First Class (June 6, 2011)


X-Men: First ClassAgainst all odds, we make it out to another new release: “X-Men: First Class,” a prequel to the previous four “X-Men” films. For a superhero movie, this movie doesn’t forget that character counts, and that the conflict within is just as important as the conflict between characters and people.

James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne… almost the whole ensemble brings their best to the screen. Almost.

With a strong plot, great performances, and nearly flawless effects, our expectations were beyond met. In Matthew Vaughn’s capable hands, this summer blockbusters sets the stage for a solid reboot of a well-established franchise. Even though we’ve seen a lot of where they end up, want to see what comes next for these young mutants.

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