September 28, 2008

programming note

I will be out of the blogosphere for 2 weeks. Please try to find a way to go on. A few notes before I leave...

Last week was back-to-back premieres. Some of my favorites/thoughts:
  • Grey's Anatomy - Christina getting pummeled by an icicle and making out with hot soldier man. He is definitely coming back, by the way.
  • The Office - Jim & Pam finally got engaged. Just when I think this storyline is getting tired, the writers come through with a great scene. Overall, the episode was amazing. Great use of the entire cast, which reminds me of early Office days.
  • Ugly Betty moved to New York (for real), and I like it better.
  • I love Big Bang Theory on CBS. I celebrate my nerdiness.
  • Lipstick Jungle earned a spot on my DVR this season. Mary Tyler Moore and Rosie Perez were great.
  • New comedies: Gary Unmarried is awful (pretty much identical to every other stupid family sitcom created by CBS), Worst Week (TV version of Meet the Parents) is actually not bad, the casting is very strong.
  • Do Not Disturb (Jerry O'Connell comedy on FOX) gets the award for first cancellation of the season after only three episodes. It was really, really, really bad. How do shows like this get produced?

Next Week:

  • Look for a few new shows from last season that are looking to have a strong re-launch: Private Practice, Dirty Sexy Money, Chuck, and Pushing Daisies. If I had to pick one, check out Pushing Daisies. It's hard to explain, but this one is just cool to look at.
  • One other newbie from last season that I haven't mentioned yet is Life. The premiere will be Monday, but then it's relegated to Fridays. Friday is where networks usually send shows to die. This is a cop show about a detective who was wrongly accused of murdering his best friend and his family. He was found innocent and release from jail after 15 years (I think) and received a hefty settlement from the city. The show is about him readjusting to life outside, returning to the police force, and trying to find the real killer. It's actually really funny and really cleverly written. Just had to give this show a little plug, since I know it is probably not long for this world.
  • The last of the new shows for this season also premieres on Friday: The Ex List. The premise is: A thirtysomething woman revisits past relationships to find her soul mate after a psychic informs her one of them is her future husband, but if she doesn't locate him within a year she is destined to remain single for the rest of her life. Could be awful, could be fun. Again, unfortunate that they stuck it on Friday. CBS is obviously trying to experiment with the hour-long relationship dramedy format that ABC has mastered. Elizabeth Reaser (Ava/Rebecca from Grey's Anatomy) is the star. I like her. We'll see how it goes.
  • Also, Mad Men is back this week after a two week hiatus. The last episode was one of the best of the series. More on this when I return.

Have a great couple of weeks. Comment here if you're simply bursting to talk about TV while I'm gone.

September 26, 2008

tgif top 10

It's Friday and time for another top ten list. This week's is in honor of a new reader.

Top 10 TV Bosses
  1. President Bartlet, The West Wing

  2. Michael Scott, The Office

  3. Sam Malone, Cheers

  4. Charlie, Charlie's Angels

  5. Wilhemina Slater, Ugly Betty

  6. Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock

  7. Tony Soprano, The Sopranos

  8. Lou Grant, Mary Tyler Moore

  9. Judge Harry Stone, Night Court

  10. Miles Silverberg, Murphy Brown

September 22, 2008

premiere season check in

It’s the first day of fall, and premiere season is officially in full swing. This week, the major networks are debuting the bulk of their line-ups with a few exceptions here and there. Over the past two weeks, we’ve already seen some series and season premieres. Here’s brief rundown:

Privileged (Tuesdays on CW)
I wouldn't necessarily recommend this newbie for universal appeal, but I've been pleasantly surprised by this show. If I had a daughter who was 12 or 13 and had to pick among the teen-ish shows that are out right now, this would be it. JoAnna Garcia plays a smart, normal, sort of blubbering 26-year-old, who is hired as a tutor for two spoiled socialites. The characters are surprisingly believable and genuine. The themes are real and not insulting to normal teenagers (or quarter-life crisis sufferers for that matter). There's a strong, not too stereotypical, gay supporting character, which is always good to see. And there are silly lines that I would definitely use if I was a 16-year-old mean girl (and still might), like "I puke cuter than that outfit."

Fringe (Tuesdays on FOX)
I blogged about the premiere already, but happy to say the second episode made me like it even more. Anna Torv (playing lead character, Olivia Dunham) still needs to work her emotional vulnerability because she's coming across as a bit of an ice princess. Joshua Jackson and John Noble are perfect as the father/son team. It's surprisingly funny, and they already set the groundwork for some really interesting storylines. The show has a pretty comprehensive blog if you're interested: Fringe Television.

90210 (Tuesdays on CW)
I think the second and third episodes have improved since the pilot. The young actors are still working out the kinks (and the melodrama), as are the writers. There has been considerable press coverage of the very noticeable thinness of the young actresses, which is interesting, but I can't believe it will make them eat a burger. It's possible that I'm still stuck in the nostalgia of old Beverly Hills 90210, and I will lose interest in this cast, but I'm willing to stick around to see what happens. In the news, Jennie Garth has signed on for 11 more episodes this season. As of right now, Shannen Doherty has no plans to return after her four episodes. And Luke Perry (Dylan, as we just found out, is the father of Kelly's son) is repeatedly denying any desire to appear on the show. Possible spoiler, I'm hearing Adrianna, the troubled druggie actress girl, who we've seen very little of so far, will wind up in the hospital soon, and we will be shocked by who comes to visit her. Thoughts?? Either something is going on with that teacher, Mr. Matthews, or she's Steve Sanders' illegitimate child. Either way, I don't think it's looking good for this girl, since the writers still haven't given the character a last name.

House (Tuesdays on FOX)
So, so happy to have House back. The show got some harsh criticism for last year's major cast shake up. But I think the cast was brilliant when the dust settled at the end of the season. The finale last year when Amber died was one of the best episodes of television I have ever seen. Seriously. The season premiere last week kept the momentum going really well. If you don't watch this show, you can hop on without needing too much of a back story.

Biggest Loser: Families (Tuesdays on NBC)
I didn't get to watch this last week because it conflicts with too many other shows. Anyone?

Bones (Wednesdays on FOX)
Another one of my very favorites. Sure, it's a crime procedural at its core, but I think this show has some of the best written characters on television. The season has started off well with the absence of Zack leaving a big hole in the lab, which they're filling with a different "character" every week. I like that idea. I'm not happy about Hodgins and Angela's abrupt break up - didn't seem very realistic. We'll see where it goes.

Do Not Disturb (Wednesdays on CBS)
Dear God, this show is horrible.

Look out for new series premiering this week:

Monday: Worst Week (CBS)
Tuesday: The Mentalist (CBS)
Wednesday: Knight Rider (NBC), Gary Unmarried (CBS)

And some returning shows that left us hanging:

Monday: Dancing with the Stars, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, Heroes, Boston Legal, CSI: Miami
Tuesday: NCIS, Without a Trace, Law & Order: SVU
Wednesday: New Adventures of Old Christine, Criminal Minds, CSI: NY, Lipstick Jungle
Thursday: Ugly Betty, Survivor: Gabon, My Name is Earl, Grey’s Anatomy, The Office, ER

Despite my apparent lack of a real-life life, I'm not able to watch all of these, nor do I care to in many cases (I'm talking to you, Two & a Half Men). So, if you watch something that I never write about, post a comment about it or convince me to watch it. Or if you disagree with my opinion on any of the new shows, let me know. I'm interested to hear what premieres are working/tanking.

emmy winners

Here are the major Emmy winners from last night. I'm most happy for Mad Men, but I still don't really get the 30 Rock love.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series: Jeremy Piven,
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series: Jean Smart,
Samantha Who?
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series: Željko Ivanek,
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series: Dianne Wiest, In Treatment

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series: Glenn Close, Damages

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series: Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program: Jeff Probst, Survivor

Outstanding Writing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Program: The Colbert Report
Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series: Tina Fey, 30 Rock, "Cooter"

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series: Matthew Weiner, Mad Men, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" (Pilot)

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series: Barry Sonnenfeld, Pushing Daisies, "Pie-Lette"
Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series: Greg Yaitanes, House, "House’s Head"

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Outstanding Made For Television Movie: Recount
Outstanding Reality-Competition Program: The Amazing Race
Outstanding Miniseries: John Adams
Outstanding Comedy Series: 30 Rock

Outstanding Drama Series: Mad Men

September 18, 2008

tgif top 10

It's the back-to-school season, so this week we will celebrate TV teachers young and old.

Top 10 TV Teachers:
  1. Mr. Moore (Head of the Class)

  2. Miss Bliss (Good Morning Miss Bliss/Saved by the Bell)

  3. Mr. Feeney (Boy Meets World)

  4. Mr. Collins (Algebra, The Wonder Years)

  5. Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie)

  6. Mr. Kotter (Welcome Back, Kotter)

  7. Max Medina (Gilmore Girls)

  8. Molly Hudson (Ed)

  9. Lily Aldrin (How I Met Your Mother)

  10. Mr. Fulton (Punky Brewster)/Mr. Williams (Good Morning Miss Bliss) - basically the same guy on two different shows

Honorable mentions goes to Charles of Charles in Charge. Not technically a teacher, but he certainly taught us a lesson or two.

September 17, 2008

guest blog: true blood

True Blood is a new series that just premiered on HBO (Sundays at 9pm). Guest blogger, Egan Caufield, says this:

True Blood Sucks. The show takes place in a fictional small town in modern day Louisiana. In the show, thanks to the creation of synthetic blood, Vampires have come "out of the coffin" (seriously) and are able to live among humans without thirsting for blood. However, humans remain scared of the vampires and treat them as second-class citizens (see where this is going?), and taboo sexual objects. Anna Paquin, who was herself the subject of a sci-fi discrimination scheme in X-Men, plays Sookie Stackhouse (seriously), an innocent but progressive waitress who saves the life of a vampire and then, perhaps, falls for him. I should mention here that contrary to the prevailing mythos, vampires don't have permanent fangs, but can voluntarily retract them into normal-looking teeth. However, Anna Paquin does not exercise this option. In another inexplicable plot device, Sookie is able to hear the voices inside everyone's heads except for the vampire, whose name is...Bill (seriously). Unfortunately the internal monologue is done by the same writers as the rest of the show.

The show is heavy on innuendo, light on plot. In Episode 1, Sookie's brother Jason has kinky sex with a vampire fetishist--a "Fangbanger" (seriously)--who then dies, and he is taken to the police station for questioning. And...that was it. One hour, and that was the plot of the show, padded by about 40 minutes of not-so-eerie ambient vampire footage and awkward dialogue. Is the vampire who shows up in town involved? Was the fangbanger really a vampire herself? I don't actually care. I'm done with True Blood. Somewhat surprising that HBO was behind this. I mean, social commentary couched in a post-Katrina deep south vampire story? This should have been a slam dunk, right?


Dylan is the dad. All is right with the world.

September 16, 2008


Watch the full premiere of Dexter online now! The premiere isn't until Sept. 28, but you can watch VIP style now. Go here. Password: lady killer. Who loves me?

2008 emmys

The 2008 Emmys are this Sunday. I find the Emmys a little odd – the whole nominating oneself concept always makes these awards a little cynical. Bill Cosby famously took himself out of the running back in the day because he didn’t like the concept. But it’s still fun to watch all of the people in the fancy clothes.

Before I get to my picks, the Creative Arts Emmys happened last weekend. These awards are dedicated to the…well, artsy and creative stuff. Here are some highlights:
  • Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Cynthia Nixon for Law & Order: SVU
  • Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Tim Conway for 30 Rock
  • Outstanding Reality Program: Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (love it. can’t help it.)
  • Outstanding Commercial: “Swear Jar” a Bud Light spot about an office where money collected for employee profanity goes toward the purchase of Bud Light.
  • Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics: Jimmy Kimmel Live for the song “I’m F---ing Matt Damon” performed by Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon. (Sidenote: Sarah Silverman accepted the award and said, “I’d like to thank Jimmy Kimmel, who broke my heart” — and then corrected herself — “oh, who’ll always have a place in my heart.” Tear.)
  • Other multiple award winners were: John Adams (8), Mad Men (4), 30 Rock (3), Battlestar Galactica (2), Dancing with the Stars (2), Jimmy Kimmel Live (2), and Pushing Daisies (2).

Here are my picks* for Sunday (in bold):
One thing to keep in mind, actors are nominated for particular episodes and series are nominated for the season as a whole. This makes the actor category a little misleading if the episodes don’t do justice to their overall performance throughout the season (or vice versa).

Boston Legal
Mad Men

Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
James Spader, Boston Legal

Glenn Close, Damages
Sally Field, Brothers and Sisters
Mariska Hargitay, Law and Order: SVU
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

Ted Danson, Damages
Michael Emerson, Lost
Zeljko Ivanek, Damages
William Shatner, Boston Legal
John Slattery, Mad Men

Candice Bergen, Boston Legal
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers and Sisters
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Dianne Wiest, In Treatment
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy

Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Office
30 Rock
Two and a Half Men

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Steve Carell, The Office
Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Old Christine
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds

Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Kevin Dillon, Entourage
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Rainn Wilson, The Office

Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Jean Smart, Samantha Who?
Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing with the Stars
Project Runway
Top Chef

Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars
Heidi Klum, Project Runway
Howie Mandell, Deal or No Deal
Jeff Probst, Survivor
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol

* this is who I want to win, not who I expect to win

September 14, 2008


Did anyone watch the season premiere of SNL last night? The episode wasn't stellar - Michael Phelps should definitely keep his day job. But the open was amazing. It took me a minute to realize it wasn't really her.

September 12, 2008

tgif top 10

Every Friday, I will do a top 10 list. Not a lot of thought went into this. I'll just pick a theme and list the first ten that come to me. Please add more in the comments. Prize goes to the most obscure.

Top 10 TV Bromances:
  1. Hawkeye Pierce & BJ Hunnicut (M*A*S*H)

  2. President Barlet & Charlie Young (The West Wing)

  3. Norm Peterson & Cliff Claven (Cheers)

  4. Detectives Brisco & Greene (Law & Order)

  5. Andy Taylor & Barney Fife (The Andy Griffith Show)

  6. Kevin Arnold & Paul Pfeiffer (The Wonder Years)

  7. Will Smith & Carlton Banks (Fresh Prince of Bel Air)

  8. Doogie Howser & Vinnie Delpino (Doogie Howser, M.D.)

  9. Cousin Larry & Balki Bartokomous (Perfect Strangers)

  10. Dr. House & Dr. Wilson (House)

September 11, 2008

the new

If you grew up in the 90s, you probably watched a show or two on The WB. I remember it was a really big deal when the network first premiered. If you think about it, a new non-cable network targeting teens was a huge undertaking. Some classics emerged, but unfortunately, it took on too much and died in a merger with UPN to form the current CW network. CW is starting to gain momentum, but doesn't have the same fun underdog quality of old WB.

Warner Brothers is now counting on a combination of innovation and our nostalgia for the success of the first online network: It just launched, so I haven't explored much, but there are some promising features. You create a username and password (free), and you can watch old and original programming, create your own TV playlists, etc. It's an interesting concept, though I'm not sure how often I would sit down and watch shows on my laptop...maybe in the airport or traveling for work. It will be interesting to see if this catches on.

You can watch oldies, including: Dawson's Creek, Buffy, The OC, Everwood, Friends, MadTV, Veronica Mars, and Roswell (where's Felicity??)

The original programming definitely targets teens. There is some drama, romantic comedy, reality, and talk shows. Here are a few program descriptions that caught my eye (I haven't watched any yet, so they could be awful):

A Boy Wearing Makeup: If he looks this pretty, imagine what he can do for you! Check out these tutorials geared towards people of any age, any race, and any sex. The boy is here to provide you comic relief, fun make-up application, and to help you realized the potential in all of us to do and become everything we've always dreamed.

Whatever Hollywood: They're three best friends who create videos together about whatever inspires them! They make "Shorts" in addition to the reality-style "Whatever Show". They're not going to wait for fame, so, Whatever Hollywood!

Dangerous: A fiery action series about a gang of young street criminals with an interwoven tale of forbidden love between a East Suburban Princess and a crime-stricken West 'burbs guy. (West Side Story?? Will there be singing?)

In conclusion, I probably won't become an avid user, but I'm interested to see how an exclusively online network will do.

September 10, 2008

fringe premiere

Last night was the Fringe premiere on Fox. I was really looking forward to this new series. And the pilot definitely delivered (if you missed it, it repeats on Sunday at 8pm).

The story starts with a plane crash at Logan Airport that appears to be the result of some sort of chemical weapon of the flesheating persuasion. A team of FBI, CIA and DHS staff collects in Boston to start the investigation. Already, I'm totally into this. Olivia Duham (Anna Torv) is an FBI agent called in to help. Pulling off a smart, badass, but not bitchy female lead is tough. So far, she's a little lacking in emotion, but definitely has potential.

I won't go into full recap just in case some people still want to watch, but here's what you need to know in preparation for becoming hooked on this show. Olivia has a cute partner, who you know is in trouble from the moment he tell her he loves her. Sure enough, while they are investigating the plane crash, he falls victim to a chemical similar to what affected the passengers. We're introduced to the other main characters as Olivia investigates the source of the chemical attack in order to save his life.

And here we meet the great Joshua Jackson. Put aside my teenage crush for just one minute, and let me say, he is brilliantly cast for this role. The character, Peter Bishop, is the son of a mad scientist, Walter Bishop (John Noble), whose top-secret work in the 1970s has been linked to the recent bizarre phenomenon/terrorism. Still with me? Peter is sort of a nomadic genius con artist,. Walter has spent the last 17 years in a mental hospital after an experiment mysteriously went wrong. Father and son are estranged, but Olivia needs Walter's help to figure out how to save her boyfriend/partner. Peter agrees to check his father out of the looney bin, and they revive his old basement laboratory where we find out he was experimenting with "fringe science" - reanimation, teleportation, genetic mutation, etc.

In terms of the aesthetics of the show, it was written and created by J.J. Abrams, the father of Lost, and the connections are pretty obvious. The cutaway style is very similar - fade to black with a seemingly arbitrary graphic, including a 6-fingered hand x-ray. The music is very similar too - creepy sounds when something weird is about to happen. They also do a strange/cool graphic thing with captions - incorporating the graphic into the background scenery. One aerial scene of Bagdad shows the plane flying through the "B".

The pilot did a great job of setting up a really interesting mystery, which looks like it will play out like some combination of Lost and X-Files. The father/son combo will definitely provide the comic relief needed to offset the intensity of the other characters, including Agent Broyles (played by Lance Reddick from Lost and The Wire) who is leading the investigation into this pattern of unexplained phenomenon (the plane crash has proven to be the tip of the iceburg).

I'm doing a crappy job of explaining the show. Suffise to say, I recommend it. Check it out.

September 8, 2008

what happened to mtv?

Last night, I had one of those moments when I feel old. I was watching the VMAs, and it was totally lost on me. Great, I'm doomed to buying greatest hits albums and saying things like "kids these days." Then I realized, it's not me, it's MTV. What the hell happened to MTV?

Did anyone watch the VMAs? There were actually some things that I liked. It was great to see Britney looking good, and I'm glad she didn't perform (but I'm still wondering when she's going to get that hair situation figured out). Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Rihanna all gave really cool performances. I liked DJ AM and Travis Barker as the "orchestra pit."

I guess it was just the whole feel of the thing. There was a lot of controversy last year because they went way over the top with a main stage and live broadcasts from satellite stages in Vegas, NYC, and Miami. It was too much. This year, they seemed to do the opposite. It looked like a Disney production. Except of course for the dirty British comic, Russell Brand, whose comedy was completely lost on the audience. You don't use ironic British comedy on an audience of hip hop moguls and preteen pop stars. And the slightly serious political commentary seemed very awkward after the 72 Jonas Brothers virgin jokes. (They cut to the brothers a few times - not amused. I'm hearing he apologized at the end of the show)

My other issue. Why can no one read? I know teleprompters are tricky, but the presenters were reading 2 maybe 3 sentences. Almost no one could do it. Britney looked like a deer in headlights and held the microphone in front of her face. Although, she did make nice, short, composed acceptance speeches (again, are these the VMAs??). Lyndsay Lohan cannot read. Michael Phelps leaked all of his enthusiasm in the water cube pool. Demi Moore gets lost and also cannot read. We won't even talk about Lauren Conrad.

These are the things that made me feel old: Lil' Wayne's pants were literally around his ankles. His entire bum was exposed. I couldn't focus on the performance because I was too concerned with wanting to reach through the TV and pull his pants up. And I did not know the Best New Artist. How is that possible? That's supposed to be the biggest award. They did it American Idol style this year and had viewers vote throughout the show. Tokyo Hotel won. Who the hell is that? I swear to god, I did not know if the lead singer was a boy or girl until he/she opened his mouth. And I'm still not sure.

Overall, it was just weird. What happened to a cool looking stage with crazy performances one after another and letting drunk people on the stage (Madonna/Britney kiss, Diana Ross/Lil Kim boob grab, Michael Jackson/Lisa Marie makeout, Nirvana bassist hitting himself in the head with his guitar). What happened to MTV? The lighting was way too high - looked like a high school auditorium. The performances on "back lot" sets were a cool concept, but ended up looking really cheesy. Except for Pink - she slid down a rope and there was fire shooting up behind her. I love her.

Admittedly, I did miss the very end after DVR got caught off, so I didn't see Kanye close the show. After his big stink last year about not receiving enough awards and not having a prominent spot in the program, he actually did a press tour and formal statement saying he would never perform for MTV again. Funny what a lot of whining can do. I did hear that he performed an unreleased song. Arrogant.

September 5, 2008


I finally got to see the premiere of 90210 last night. Initial reaction: I liked it more than I thought I would. The flow was a little awkward - set up almost like acts in a play. Each segment between commercial breaks seemed to have a climax and conclusion. That may have been the writers trying to set up too many storylines in the pilot.

I'll do my best not to compare it too critically to the original. Keep in mind that early high school Bev Hills was very different than what came to be in the end. It was basically an afterschool special that revolved around teen issues. New 90210 definitely moved in that direction covering all of the major "issues" in the very first episode: sex, drugs, alcohol, stealing, cheating, and dysfunctional parents.

The adult characters are pretty strong - Rob Estes and Lori Loughlin ain't no Jim and Cindy, but they have chemistry and a wholesome quality that works. Kelly Taylor. What can we say? She was actually great in this first episode. The character seems to fit well without looking like a stunt. Brenda Walsh, on the other hand, seemed a little unnecessary in this episode. I love me some Shannen Doherty, and I'm so so glad that Brenda's back, but I hope they use her better in the coming episodes. I like that other teacher dude too - using the teachers as more major characters will be helpful to broaden the audience (to people like me who still like high school dramas).

As for the kid characters, a little disappointed. Annie, played by Shenae Grimes, is pretty good. Likeable but not annoying, and her acting is surprisingly strong. But girl needs to eat a sandwich. And then another sandwich. Naomi, played by the much too old-looking AnnaLynne McCord, is over-the-top MTV stereotypical. If this is supposed to be the Kelly Tayloresque character, they need to make her more sympathetic. As for the boys... Ethan is cute but the good guy/bad guy thing was a little cliche. Dixon isn't bad, but I'm confused about whether he is sharing "main character" status with Annie like Brenda/Brandon. I would like to see more of him. Last, but not least, Silver (Erin Silver, sister of Kelly and David) is brilliant. I want to be her best friend.

Favorite things:
  1. Silver's blog
  2. Grandmother played brilliantly by Jessica Walter
  3. Hannah Zuckerman Vasquez cameo "What is she like 30?"
  4. Nat!
  5. Musical theater
Least favorite things:
  1. They used the p-word and the v-word in the same episode. Gross. Yes, I'm 8.
  2. Peach Pit as a lame coffee shop
  3. Druggie actress girl. What's her deal?
  4. Zach Efron lookalike rich boy from the play - yuck
  5. Annie eating a teeny tiny salad at lunch. Sandwich I said!

Ok, I'm actually writing like a teenager.

Best lines:
"I need to finish my memoir before my friend Virginia does. We've slept will all the same men."
- the grandmother

"My dad has two rules. No watching porn until I'm 21, and we always have dinner together."
- the nerdy video kid whose father is a porn producer

September 3, 2008


I fell a little behind, but I didn't want to abandon my mission. Here's Thursday, and then we're getting down to business. Shows are premiering this week already...more to come soon on Gossip Girl, 90210, and the Bones 2-hour premiere tonight.

My Name is Earl: This show has some really great characters, but it never really pulled me in. I know it has a loyal fan base, but I think the premise is getting tired. It would have been a better movie.

Kath & Kim: This newbie is a remake of an Australian comedy. Molly Shannon and Selma Blair play a dysfunctional mother and daughter in middle-class suburbia. I’m skeptical about this "comedy" team, but the outfits alone are worth checking it out.

The Office: I have been having some pretty heated discussions defending this show lately. It seems that people either love it or hate it. Admittedly, both the show and Steve Carell have received tons of attention since it gained momentum, and that’s tiresome for some people. When the show first premiered, no one expected such an offbeat comedy to survive, so the Cinderella story got a lot of attention, which understandably opened the door for harsh criticism. I’ll say two things 1) whether he is overrated or not, Steve Carell and the writers do an amazing job with the character of “Michael” making him equally ridiculous, sympathetic, and completely intolerable; 2) the deep pool of talent in this ensemble cast is unmatched by any other show, and if you work in an office, you work with at least one of these characters.

SNL Election/30 Rock: These two shows are splitting a timeslot. I’m not sure how it works, but I think SNL will be running these Thursday political specials until the elections. Will this get people watching SNL again? I’m holding out hope. 30 Rock has huge fans and lots of awards nods, but the ratings are still pretty dismal. I always think the episodes are funny when I catch one, but I’m not attached enough to any of the characters to come back every week. Sorry, but Tina Fey just doesn’t do it for me.

ER: I remember when this show first came on 30 years ago. It was so edgy. ER? What does that even stand for? Who is that salt & pepper hottie? Remember what a big deal Clooney’s initial Julius Caesar haircut was? We’ve been through a lot with this show. There have literally been 74 main characters. Remember Jeannie? Remember when Mariska Hargitay played Dr. Greene’s pathetic girlfriend? Remember when Dr. Greene died? That was just wrong. The show has experienced a shift from cast focus to patient focus with the weakening main characters and shrinking audience, but it still held on. I’ll tune in to see how it all ends. You know Dr. Carter will be swooping in from Africa to save the day at some point.

Ugly Betty: I sort of think of Ugly Betty as one of the founding fathers of new TV. This was the first in a wave of shows that look and feel different from years of sitcoms and procedural dramas. To be cliché for just a second (or possibly every time I blog), it broke the mold in a way. Ugly girls and trannies? This was unprecedented. The show struggled a bit last season, partially because of the strike. I’d love to see it get back on track, and I think we were getting there in the last episodes. The writing is at it’s best when there’s a balance between the mystery, the funny, and the schmaltz (Ms. Korin, if you’re listening, please confirm the accurate usage of that word). Also, Mark and Amanda. More of them. Please.

Grey's Anatomy: I hate this show. Ok, not really. I was among the obsessed when it first came out, and then it turned into some neurological programming requiring me to watch and hang onto every word each week. I shook that feeling this past season and tried to really look at it objectively. I hate Merideth. I can’t help it. Am I supposed to? Is this all part of the neurological programming? I find real life Katherine Heigl very annoying too. But Shonda Rhimes can write patient stories like no one’s business. I don’t know what else to say…damn this show.

Life On Mars: Here’s another British remake. This newbie features a modern police detective, who wakes from a coma to find himself working as a cop in 1973, and must readjust to life even as he seeks a way back to his future. David E. Kelley is responsible. He is obviously a hitmaker (Doogie Howser, Picket Fences, Ally McBeal, The Practice, Boston Legal), so it will be interesting to see how this one does.

Gabon: Survivor is still going strong, and the people look scarier and scarier every season in the previews. Feed them!

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

Eleventh Hour: Thursday seems to be the night of remakes. Here’s another new one from Britain. The premise is a special scientific advisor to the FBI who lends his particular skills to criminal investigations. That doesn’t give us much. The producer says this is a “science fact show, not a science fiction show.” Read: boring. Nothing stands out except Jerry Bruckheimer is involved. And the villain is Noonan from Caddyshack.