August 27, 2008


Hump day on my week of rundowns. I realize these posts are a little nuts, but premiere season will do that to me.

Knight Rider: No Hoff, no watch.

Lipstick Jungle: Here’s a show that I really want to like, but I’m still struggling a bit. It’s about three powerful business women and best friends in NYC (Brooke Shields, Kim Raver and Lynday Price). First, it was a debate about Candace Bushnell, who wrote the book. She graced us with SATC, and no one can take that away, but she’s become increasingly annoying since. Then, it was competition with a seemingly identical show called Cashmere Mafia on ABC. That one seemed to hook me first because Lucy Lui was great. But then I started to see that the characters in Lipstick Jungle might have more staying power. They have the right balance of likeability and hateability, but I still have trouble believing in the friendship between these three women. With Mafia cancelled, I really got into Jungle by the end of the short season. Lyndsay Price (Janet from 90210) and Andrew McCarthy (always Blaine from Pretty in Pink in our hearts) have awesome chemistry. This season, we’ll be seeing the great Mary Tyler Moore as Brooke Shields’ mother. We’ll see how it goes.

Pushing Daisies: I can honestly say there is nothing else like this show on television. This was new last season. Here’s the premise: A guy can bring dead people back to life by touching them. But if he lets them live for more than one minute, another person in the vicinity dies. Also, he can never touch them again or they will die forever. Confused yet? The setting is just far enough out of reality to make you a believer. The costumes and set design are so cool. If I still don’t have you: Kristen Chenoweth. And she sings.

Private Practice: Addison, I loved you. Like really loved you. But your mid-life crisis is bringing me down. Stop whining and start saving more babies. There are some great actors here, but they really need to rethink the writing.

Dirty, Sexy Money: This is a great old newbie that also went a little under the radar. It’s a welcome departure from the parade of crime/law dramas. Peter Krause (Six Feet Under) narrates and stars in this one about a rich family that basically owns NYC city. The cast is really strong with Donald Sutherland, William Baldwin, Blair Underwood among others, including Candis Cayne, who is the most gorgeous transgender person I have ever seen. It’s sort of Sopranos meets Dallas with a little comedy thrown in. If you’re into that, check it out.

Old Christine: This gets a lot of good reviews and award nominations, but doesn’t really interest me. Does anyone watch?

Gary Unmarried: CBS is trying out a new comedy about a recently divorced man adjusting to being single again after 15 years of marriage while also raising two kids with his controlling ex-wife. How creative. Jay Mohr (Jerry Macguire) stars and Ed Begley Jr. plays his therapist. Not so much.

Criminal Minds: This would normally be too intense for my taste, but I got into it during the strike last season. It’s one of those that you can watch without any background on the characters. It’s about a group of traveling FBI profilers who hunt serial killers. The profiling is interesting, although usually pretty disturbing. The characters are likeable enough that it’s killing me to find out how they’ll resolved the cliffhanger, which presented the possible death of EVERY single main character. Who will it be?

CSI:NY: Is this the one with David Caruso? He’s weird. I don’t like it.

Bones: In the great history of star-crossed TV lovers…Tony & Angela, Jim & Pam, Ross & Rachel, Mulder & Scully… Bones & Booth are at the top. For real. This show has been chugging along for a while on FOX. The premise is an FBI investigator (David Boreanaz) partnered with a nerdy scientist (Emily Deschanel), who works at the fictional equivalent of the Smithsonian Institute in DC. The supporting cast of fellow nerds is really strong and really funny. Emily Deschanel plays an overly literal ridiculously endearing female lead. This is among my top recommendations.

Til Death: Brad Garrett (a.k.a. Robert Barone) and Joely Fisher play “two middle-aged wedded warriors” in this comedy. Yuck.

Do Not Disturb: Three things make me hopeful about this new CBS comedy, which will surely be cancelled in one hot minute: 1) Jason Bateman directing 2) Jerry O’Connell 3) Jesse Tyler Ferguson, a newcomer who I’ve really liked in failed sitcoms of the past, although I worry his gay character will be way over-stereotyped in this one.

Note: Other networks have fashion/design reality going on Wednesdays - America’s Next Top Model and Stylista on CW, and the venerable Project Runway on Bravo (more to come).

August 26, 2008

Zack Morris, report to Mr. Belding's office immediately.

A friend and fellow TV enthusiast recently called my attention to a new TNT law drama called Raising the Bar. The cast is comprised of Gloria Reuben (Jeannie from ER), Jane Kaczmarek (big fan), and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who earned some legit drama stripes on NYPD Blue. My first reaction was bravo TNT for getting some good talent in there, but then I caught a glimpse of this:

Apparently, our dear friend Zack Morris spent his time off playing Moses in Jesus Christ Superstar.


Tuesdays are traditionally a weaker TV night (R.I.P. Gilmore Girls), which most networks have supplemented with reality shows. There are a couple of newbies to watch out for though.

The Biggest Loser: Families: I debated whether or not to admit this. It’s a secret I have trouble admitting. I like this show. At first, I thought it was everything that’s wrong with American voyeuristic, consumer, exploitative television. But the people just get me, they are so inspiring. How many blog readers did I just lose? I’ll admit the 2-hour episodes are completely unnecessary. I fast-forward through most of it.

Law & Order: SVU: I’m an original Law & Order loyalist, but SVU is arguably the most well-written and popular show in the series. If you can stomach the ridiculously scary, disturbing, and inhuman storylines, there are some really good performances on this one. Mariska (Benson) can be a little too dramatic at times, but Chris (Stabler) is perfect, and Ice-T is…well, it’s still weird that he’s on this show. They have some really good guest stars lined up for the premiere, including one Dylan McKay (a.k.a. Luke Perry).

Eli Stone: One of my absolute favorite old newbies from last season. If you don’t already watch this, I’m nervous the description will turn you off, but just trust me that it’s a treasure. I just hope it's not impaired by the two hours of crap reality shows that will lead in. Mr. Stone, there are many blogs in our future.

Another CBS crime drama for old people. This one focuses on criminal investigation Marine and Navy personnel. I gave this one a try, but the writing and acting are absolute crap. The dialogue is actually painful.

The Mentalist: This is one of few newbies on Tuesday night. The premise is a former fake TV psychic who now uses his heightened observation skills to work as a private investigator. Snooze. Although, I’m hearing the acting/writing is quirky and funny (for CBS). Star Simon Baker was that cute dude in Devil Wears Prada. And co-star Robin Tunney of Empire Records head-shaving fame is the coolest. I may check it out. No promises.

Without a Trace: This is the sole survivor among 5 or 6 kidnapping dramas that seemed to come out around the same time. I don’t watch it, but I have tremendous love for Anthony LaPaglia (yet another Empire Records alum).

House: I discovered this during summertime rerun boredom recently. I’m obsessed. I was very weary of yet another quirky medical drama. This one is in a league of its own. Hugh Laurie is dripping with Emmys, but he deserves a goddamn Olympic gold medal. He is fantastic in this show. The supporting cast is very strong (my favorite Omar Epps). They mix it up with some cool cinematography and animation-like images of bizarro diseases. One of my top 5 shows right now.

Fringe: Two words. Pacey Witter. J.J. Abrams, who is responsible for Lost, Felicity, and many other classics, created this one. It’s described as an FBI investigation of mysterious deaths aboard a plane that landed at Boston’s Logan Airport. There are sci-fi undertones, and I’m guessing the deaths are just the beginning of the story. I have a weakness for weirdo sci-fi like Lost and X-Files. And this one’s set in Boston. Serious potential here, especially if I get to see Joshua Jackson on the screen every week.

This really deserves a blog in itself. Brenda? Kelly? Pulllease don’t screw this up!

Privileged: Sometimes you just want to watch a silly teen drama. I expect (hope) to fulfill that satisfaction with the aforementioned remake, but this newbie intrigues me too. A young Yale grad (played by JoAnna Garcia from Reba. Yup, I said it. Reba.) becomes a live-in tutor for rebellious twin teens in Palm Beach, Florida, and adjusts to life among the rich and powerful. It’s like fictional Sweet 16. You know you want to.

August 25, 2008

uh oh paula

American Idol just announced the addition of a fourth judge. She's a songwriter called Kara DioGuardi, who has written songs for Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, Carrie Underwood, Celine Dion, etc. As long as she's a little more "Before He Cheats" and a little less "My Heart Will Go On," I'm on board. Sounds like she knows the business.

My theory: this is a plot of get rid of Paula. It has to happen. She is completely loony toons. They bring Kara in as the fourth for one season, and then Paula decides to move on to pursue other opportunities.

Idol returns in January. Does anyone still watch? I've been off and on (especially with the tryout episodes), but I went crazy for Cook this season.

Please discuss.

August 22, 2008


I've awoken from the Olympic coma. And it's about to be the most wonderful time of year. Fall premieres. Season-ending cliffhangers from last year will be revealed in, let's face it, usually unsatisfying ways. It's like Christmas. In preparation, I will give you a day-by-day rundown of what's on.

Because of the writers strike, we have four unique categories of shows.

1) newbies: brandy new pilots
2) old newbies: last year's premieres that are basically restarting because they were shot in the foot by the writer's strike
3) oldies but goodies/not so goodies: been around for good or bad
4) reality shows: I won't write much about reality shows, but some got a big boost in the butt from the writers strike

Here's the menu for Mondays this fall:

Chuck: One of my favorite old newbies. Thanks to the Olympics on NBC, Chuck has gotten a fair amount of promo time in the last couple of weeks. This is a fun show with equal parts comedy, action and attractive people. Ok, Chuck is fricken adorable. It's a procedural (every week, different crime/crime-fighting/resolution sequence, i.e. Law & Order) with a strong enough plot to keep you coming back. Pretty sure this qualifies as an action show for the ladies.

Heroes: I'll call it an oldie but goodie because of the ratings, but I don't watch it. I tuned in for the first half of the first season. It got too complicated and too ridiculous for me. And just inflated. Also, Milo what's-his-name creeps me out. Gentlemen, don't date teenagers.

My Own Worst Enemy: This is the newbie with Christian Slater that is being promoted up the butt. It looks like a Jekyll & Hyde story with a lot of explosions. What happened to Christian Slater? He used to be the coolest, now it's painful to see him on screen for some reason. I'll probably check it out, but no guarantees of permanent DVR status.

Dancing with the Stars: I go hot and cold for this show. I usually watch the premiere to see if it hooks me. Here's this year's line-up: Toni Braxton, Lance Bass, Ted McGinley (actor), Cloris Leachman (82!), Warren Sapp (football), Rocco DiSpirito (chef), Kim Kardashian, Maurice Green (track Olympian), Misty May-Treanor (yay!), Susan Lucci (soaps), Jeffrey Ross (comedian), Cody Linley (Disney actor), and Brooke Burke (most likely to hook up with partner).

Samantha Who?: Here's an old newbie that seemed to fall under the radar last season. Good comedies are scarce these days for sure. Christina Applegate is funny. And the best friend character, played by Jennifer Esposito, is hilariously written. They also have great clothes. Like the kind of sexy work clothes that I always wish I owned, but just end up finding the H&M version. It's worth watching. Also, Jean Smart plays Samantha's mom. Charlene Frazier Stillfield? Come on.

Boston Legal: I don't watch this, but my dad loves it. They own the Emmies. Feel free to guest blog.

Sidenote: CBS is weird. They have a teeny tiny supply of worthwhile comedies and a whole heapload of disturbing crime-related programming.

The Big Bang Theory: Love this show. Love. It's a sitcom about a group of best friends who are genius scientists. Jim Parsons (Medieval Times knight from Garden State) plays Sheldon, and he is absolute perfection. Again, we're starving for good comedies these days, but this one is bursting at the seams with talent. Check it out.

How I Met Your Mother: Let's be honest, it's sort "replacement Friends" for most of us. Twenty-something love and life drama with good laughs. But it's little more creative. Neil Patrick Harris makes this entire show.

Two and a Half Men: Who the hell watches this? I love you Ducky Dale, but this show is crap.

Worst Week: Newbie comedy described as "An engaged man tries desperately to impress his fiance's parents but his attempts inevitably end in disaster." Meet the Parents on TV. I'm skeptical.

CSI:Miami: Is this the one with David Caruso? He's weird. I don't like it.

Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles: Here's an old newbie that I didn't expect to make it. Is Sarah Connor the Terminator's daughter? Wasn't he a robot? It doesn't appeal to me, but feel free to disagree.

Prison Break: People go crazy for this show. I watched the first season and the second season made me feel so anxious every episode that they would be caught or killed, I had to stop for my own safety. Let me know what you think of this season and maybe I'll get back on board.

Gossip Girl: I'm embarrassed to say that I don't watch this. I feel like I'm way out of the loop. I never got into it at first because all of the characters seemed like the kind of people I was scared of in high school. I'm expecting guest blogs.

One Tree Hill: Admittedly, I watched the first couple of seasons, but how the HELL is this still on?? Chad Michael Murray, you are not aging well.

And that's just Monday.

August 14, 2008

capture the moment

One of the best parts of the Olympics is the opportunity to capture photos of athletic greatness. Like this:

After careful scrutiny, I've found the winning sport. Move over Phelpsy, the gold goes to table tennis.

August 11, 2008

the olympics

I'm currently watching a nearly identical obscenely muscular pair of Ukrainian men take a shower in teeny tiny bikini bottoms. And they just hugged. This is the closest I've ever come to gay porn. And Bob Costas comes in to ruin the moment.

The Olympics are ridiculous. And I'm all over it. Jumping up and down on the couch, crying over a fencing final, cursing at those arrogant Cuban volleyball players. This will surely be the most emotional two weeks of my life. By the way, women's water polo is the most vicious sport in history. They try to drown each other. Constantly. Pretty sure NBC cuts out the dead body collection that goes on at the bottom of the pool after a match.

A friend recently described the Olympics as the ultimate freak show. This is a perfect description. In the grand tradition of bearded ladies and red-headed midgets, people stare open-mouthed. The best part is, we can do this from the comfort of our couches. No big top tent necessary. And don't deny it, Michael Phelps is the king of the goddamn freaks. Have you seen that condor thing he does with his arms when he steps up on the block? Freak. Also, I'm pretty sure Shawn Johnson can crush my whole family with her thighs. Badass.

But it's not just the parade of freaks. It's all of the cheesy cliches that become completely acceptable during the Olympics (thank you NBC). It's the dreams coming true. The childhood dream that we all had. At 26, I'm still not ready to admit that I will never be an Olympian. I might be the best Cinderella story that Matt Lauer ever tells. It's the moments of crushing defeat. You feel it. You see the parents, the coaches, and you feel like one of them. It's the patriotism. You swell with pride watching Americans win a race or game or a match. And a little pride doesn't hurt right about now.

And it's China. Something about China is so mystical. One billion people (all of whom performed at the opening ceremonies - except for that poor little ugly girl who sang, but wasn't allowed to show her face). I find myself rooting for the Chinese athletes and fearing them at the same time. They have a combination of vulnerability and intensity that is...well, a little creepy.

And we're not even half way through. Gotta go. Condor is up.

20 years

This blog has been 20 years in the making. Before I could tell time, I would ask my mother how long a road trip would be based on the number of Brady Bunch episodes that could be completed during the trip (one hour left equals two episodes, two hours equals four episodes, etc.) This provided a definitive method of determining whether I could survive the remainder of the road trip without kicking my sister or peeing my pants. A television show was my measure of time. To say television has become my measure of happiness would be an exaggeration...sort of. Let's just say, that Brady Bunch mentality never left me.

My sister would notice me day dreaming when I was a kid and ask what I was doing. I would simply say "watching Growing Pains." Yup, in my head. Except in my head, the Seavers never moved to DC in the season finale. That was just unacceptable. In "watching" television in my head, I took the opportunity to make the changes I deemed necessary to my favorite shows. Mary from Little House on the Prairie obviously got her sight back in a freak house riding accident, Jessie Spano and AC Slater never broke up, and Brenda sure as hell didn't move to Paris. Years later, I've stopped watching, reviewing and rewriting shows in my head. Mostly. And there you have the reason for this blog.

I watch TV. A lot. I have a life and a job and all of those wonderful things, but when I want to ignore them, TV is there. I like a lot of stupid shows, and I hate a lot of good shows. I'm going to write about them all, what's happening to TV, the industry, and everything in between. Comment, contribute, I'll post whatever - unless you believe Brenda belonged in Paris.