January 31, 2009

superbowl office

I can't believe I have to miss the Superbowl this year, especially because one of my very favorites is the post-show. If you don't watch The Office, I promise it will get you hooked. This preview is hilarious. I'm off.

January 30, 2009

tgif top 10

It's been a long week. The fact that it's Friday makes me want to sing. So here are my favorite TV theme songs. You don't see many of these anymore. With increased commercial time, most shows are doing away with long intros completely - nevermind writing songs for them. I actually don't mind it because I end up fast-forwarding through it anyway. I love that Grey's just does a quick screen shot of the title, and that's it. Some have held onto the intro - The Office and Dexter both have great instrumental intros. Anyway, here are my favorites from back in the day.

Top 10 TV Theme Songs
  1. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - who doesn't know the words by heart?

  2. All in the Family - that scene with them singing at the piano gets me every time.

  3. Cheers - another classic, and this show seriously makes almost all of my lists - weird.

  4. Facts of Life - frequent shower song.

  5. Perfect Strangers - I loved this intro because it told the history of the characters.

  6. The Wonder Years - not sure it's technically a theme song because it already existed, but it will be forever associated with this show.

  7. Saved by the Bell - admit it, you remember every word.

  8. Laverne & Shirley - LOVE this one.

  9. Bonanza - this is just too iconic not to have a spot on the list.

  10. The Addam's Family - for excellence in snapping.

January 29, 2009

a couple new shows

Two new shows debuted in the past couple of weeks – The Beast on A&E and Trust Me on TNT. Two totally different shows on two very different cable networks. Here’s my take on both.

The Beast is ambitious – no surprise for A&E. It stars Patrick Swayze as a notorious badass undercover FBI agent with a new partner, who’s a young, troubled newbie. To be honest, I had a really hard time following the pilot. This ain’t no Law & Order. It reminds me more of The Wire, but with fewer characters. My favorite pilots are the ones that could stand alone as a mini-movie. I expect a lot from a pilot – it should hook you, really hook you. You should get character background, key plot points, and a sense of the tone of the rest of the series. It’s a tall order, but the ones that do it well almost always succeed. Lost is one good example – one of the best pilots in history. Alias also had an amazing one. Leverage, the new TNT series that I wrote about a couple weeks ago was also great.

Anyway, I digress. From what I did understand of the pilot, Swayze’s character bend the rules but always gets the job done. He seems to specialize in catching big time criminals by working within their world. The junior guy is brooding and troubled, and he’s obviously in awe of working with Swayze, who seems to be some sort of elusive legend. I honestly can’t tell you too much about their mission in this episode because I couldn’t really follow it. In the end, we find out that the FBI hand-picked the newbie to investigate Swayze because they suspect he’s gone rogue.

I’m going to have to watch this one a few more times to see if I can really get into it. One thing’s sure, Swayze is a pro. The writing for his character is a bit hyperbolish now, so let’s hope that evens out in the coming episodes. Newbie is also a little too intense, but I’m willing to give him a chance. New episodes are on Thursdays at 10pm – this week is the third episode.

Trust Me is a show after my own heart. It’s about an ad agency, which is a refreshing change from police stations and law offices. (with the obvious exception of Mad Men - although this is nothing like Mad Men and doesn't try to be) The show stars Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) as Mason the Art Director and Tom Kavanaugh (Ed) as Connor the Copy Writer. They are partners at a Chicago ad agency. The two have an excellent chemistry onscreen, and the writing is quick and dry. I loved the pilot because it had a great plot in itself, but also had stellar character sketches and set you up to be really excited for the season. If any of my dear friends who worked in an PR/Ad agency or still do, you will love this show. You work with versions of all of these people. And the commentary about working for clients and telling them what they need to know is perfection.

McCormack is the straight man, and Kavanaugh is the funny jackass slacker. There is bromance potential. The other supporting characters are Monica Potter who plays a new copy writer, who has won all kinds of awards, but she's new to the firm. Potter is one of those actors whose face you know, but you can't remember why. I think I know her from Patch Adams. Their boss is played by Griffin Dunne, who some of you will remember as hunky teacher Mr. Jake Bixler from My Girl. Love. I definitely recommend this one. Mondays at 10pm on TNT.

January 27, 2009

ugly news

Does anyone still watch Ugly Betty? I do, but sometimes I wonder if it's just out of habit. I love some of the characters, especially Mark, Amanda and Wilhemina. I was sad to see Alexis (Rebecca Romijn's tranny) go. I also think the show has been really repetitive in the last two seasons. At first, Betty's struggle as out-of-place-under-appreciated assistant in the cutthroat fashion world was complimented with a far-fetched but entertaining mystery subplot. Lately, it's been more about mediocre love storylines and Betty still struggling as an out-of-place-under-appreciated assistant. Shouldn't she be promoted by now? And that Lindsay Lohan story arc was a big ol' waste of time.

Anyway, Michael Ausiello at EW is reporting a little hiatus for Betty this spring, which does not bode well. ABC is benching Betty beginning March 26 and replacing it with episodes of Samantha Who? and the new Megan Mullally-Cheryl Hines comedy In the Motherhood (I'm looking into this one). This means Betty probably won't return until June, although they're not confirming.

I understand giving the two newer comedies a try on super popular Thursday - Betty never seemed to fit well in that early 8pm slot - but I hope this doesn't spell the beginning of the end because I think the show has potential to get out of this slump. I think I've said this before, but Ugly Betty was part of the "new ABC" - one of the shows, along with Lost and Grey's Anatomy - that put the network on top. It was really one of the first original dramedies. Plus it always gets award nominations. Although we've seen that doesn't matter much to ABC...oh Pushing Daisies, I still mourn the loss.

January 24, 2009


The 2-hour premiere of Lost was a doozie. For me, watching this show leaves me mixed between completely loving it and feeling like total idiot. As much as I love it, I've never been an "active" Lost viewer reading all the blogs and disecting the number patterns, etc. This often leads me with much more questions than answers, so I'm not sure I'm qualified to blog about it myself. But I will anyway.

Here's what I loved:
  • Hurley and his parents. Those two are perfectly cast. That's Cheech, right? Hurley really is the moral center of the show. In a way, he's the most believable of all the characters. Of course he should be in a mental hospital and trying to get arrested to get away from Ben. That would be the normal reaction to being stranded on a disappearing island with killer polar bears.
  • Rose and Bernard. I just love them.
  • Sawyer taking charge. I liked seeing Sawyer taking a leadership role in the new group dynamic of those left on the island. Let's not forget, he did a pretty incredible thing by jumping out of that plane. "So she could make it...I mean so they could make it." Oh Sawyer, you big softy.
  • Fire arrow scene. Good god. I think this may have been an excuse to get rid of some of the extras. I keep forgetting that they still have a planeful of people around.
Here's what made me feel like a total idiot:
  • Redhead and the nosebleed. I'm forgetting her name, but what's up with the Redhead? Is it because she was born there, and they're going back in time to before she was born?
  • Farraday. And now Farraday's mom? And Farraday is probably in love with Redhead, right? But we know he doesn't age because he looked the same in the flashback to the Dharma Initiative training video scene. This makes him really old, and Redhead really young. Could he be her father? Yikes.
  • Ben and Sayid. What is their deal? Did Ben kill Sayid's wife, so he could have an excuse to get him to assassinate all those other guys? Did those guys work for Charles Widmore? Does Sayid trust Ben? I couldn't tell if Sayid was trying to bring Hurley to him or keep him away from him.
  • The older lady at the end with Ben. Am I supposed to know her? I feel like I am. Is that Farraday's mom?

Favorite moment: Hurley throwing a Hot Pocket at Ben when he startled him in his parents' house. Exactly what I would have done.

Least favorite moment: The replay of Jin's death scene. No more. I cannot watch that again.

January 23, 2009

dr. ross!!!

This is a beautiful thing. It was reported earlier this week that George has finally agreed to appear in the final season of ER. I haven't watch ER in years, but the Doug Ross years were the heyday. I LOVED it back then. I better see some Nurse Hathaway. No word on the storyline or how many episodes. I do know that they've ordered a closed set and it's all very hush hush. BUT the paps caught a photo of him in full Dr. Ross gear.


tgif top 10

I spent the better part of this week trawling for celebrities in my city, which is not normally an A-list hotspot. While I did get to see some on a very distant stage, the closest I came to an in-person celeb encounter was Andy Card. Boo.

It got me thinking about this age of celebrity access with the booming paparazzi industry due to sites like TMZ and Perez. But really one of the strongest forces that got many of us hooked on celebs has been the celebservation reality programming industry. It's a little out of control now - Denise Richards, really? But the success of some of the early shows came with unprecedented ratings and essentially "built" or "rebuilt" stars. I'm certainly guilty of watching - these have been some of my guiltiest pleasures.

Top 10 Celebservation Shows:
  1. The Osbournes - First family of reality programming

  2. Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica - I'm still not over the split

  3. Rob & Big - This is some of the best stuff on television. Seriously.

  4. Breaking Bonaduce - Painful to watch, but totally addictive.

  5. Meet the Barkers - I know, I know, but there was something about them.

  6. Being Bobby Brown - Oh Whitney.

  7. Life of Ryan - That little Ryan Sheckler gets me every time.

  8. Keeping Up With the Kardashians - I can't explain it. I do love that Bruce.

  9. Two Coreys - Worst best show ever.

  10. The Ashley Simpson Show - Come on, she was cute back then.

January 22, 2009

on board air force one

This may solidify my geek status, but I am super excited about this new show on the National Geographic Channel called On Board Air Force One. It's a documentary-style show chronicling business on Air Force One during the previous Administration.

Here's the premise: Journey inside the most secure aircraft in the world, Air Force One, as it carries the President through the confusion and terror of 9/11, a secret mission into Baghdad and a whirlwind diplomatic mission through the Middle East. With unprecedented access, National Geographic introduces you to the presidential pilot and the crew charged with operating this global command center in the sky.

Whatever your political proclivities, I think this will be a really interesting insight into how the whole operation works. It premieres this Sunday night at 8pm, which is good because my Sunday night television is a little bare.

January 21, 2009


If you're a true fan, you don't need a reminder. You probably need a Valium. Season 5 premieres tonight at 9pm with an hour-long (and much needed) recap at 8pm.

There have been many previews and spoilers online, but I won't go there. We do know that Lost will end in 2010 after two more 16-episode seasons, including season 5, which will go repeat-free through May.

January 16, 2009

tgif top 10

We are all abuzz with inauguration anticipation. This is truly historic event for President-Elect Obama, and everyone is talking about him. What will he say? Will he walk the parade route? What will Michelle wear? But we can't forget about our dear friend Joe Biden. This is a huge day for him! He's had an amazingly long career and the VP spot is a huge one. After all, where would any superhero be without his trusty sidekick?

Top 10 TV Sidekicks
  1. Barney Fife, The Andy Griffith Show

  2. Dr. Wilson, House

  3. Ethel Mertz, I Love Lucy

  4. Paul Pfeiffer, The Wonder Years

  5. Six LeMeure, Blossom

  6. Barney Rubble, The Flintstones

  7. Carlton Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

  8. Jack McFarland, Will & Grace

  9. Rayanne Graff, My So-Called Life

  10. Morgan Grimes, Chuck

January 15, 2009

award awards

I have been dying to write about the Golden Globes but kept being interrupted by pesky real life obligations. Alas, I finally had the chance to sit down and blog with my new friend and colleague, Charlie Brown (moniker of my fancy new laptop). I could probably write a ten page description of my thoughts on dresses, award recipients, presenters, etc. I will try to make it more concise with my very own awards for the evening.

May I present...The Unofficial Golden Globe Award Awards

Best Beard
Tie between Sting and Steve Carell - Boys, you make me proud.

Sexiest Lady
Maggie Gyllenhaal - I just love her.
Gentleman Award
Leonardo DiCaprio - He walked the carpet and did pre-interviews with Kate Winslet helping her walk through the crowd in her precarious shoes and dress, and graciously accepted her praise during the awards. The man is a class act.

Boss Award
Bruce Springstein - Your coolness is immeasurable.

Douchebag Award
David Duchovny - It pains me to say it, but his constant reference to his wife and kids in light of recent events was obviously PR-induced and borderline disrespectful.

Worst Hair
Drew Barrymore - Since when is she in a romantic relationship with Jessica Lange? Bizarro.

Best Underdog
Kate Winslet - Won two awards after going 0 and 10 on Oscars and Golden Globes.

Best Family
The Learys - Dennis Leary brought his wife and two children along on the red carpet and did all interviews with the whole family.

It's Not 2001 Award
Jennifer Lopez - You are still a diva star, but that dress is a day late and some scotch tape short. You are no longer Diddy's girl.

Wasteful Porcelein Veneers Award
Angelina Jolie - Smile damnit.

A few additional notes...

Favorite Quotes:
"Wrap up? You have no idea how much I'm not wrapping up." - Kate Winslet
"We're TV actors." - Rain Wilson introducing himself and Blake Lively as presenters
"At the end of the day, I think what we all do in some way shape or form is about love. Curiosity is love. It's ignorance's nemesis." - Collin Farrell (who knew?)
"If you ever start to feel too good about yourself, they have this thing called the Internet. You can find a lot of people there who don't like you." - Tina Fey
"A black man can't get no love at the Emmys. I love you Europe!" - Tracy Morgan (what?)

Things I learned:
1. European men hug each other with much more enthusiasm than American men. I dig it.
2. Stephen Spielberg is kind of boring in real life.
3. Who Mickey Rourke is.

January 9, 2009

HUGE dexter gossip

Dexter and Deb got married. For real.

Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter, who play brother and sister on Dexter, are husband and wife.

Apparently, they eloped in California on New Year’s Eve. They have always been secretive about their relationship. Probably because everyone thinks of them as brother and sister, and that's sick. But they plan to walk the red carpet together at the Golden Globes on Sunday — the first time publicly acknowledging their relationship.

tgif top 10

It's back to work this week after a holiday vacation or at least a couple of short work weeks for most of us. It got me thinking about TV workplaces and what fictional jobs would be the most fun. At first, my list consisted of Seattle Grace working with all of the McDoctors and The Office because I love it, but then I realized I would definitely not want to be a surgeon and selling paper would be painful. So, here's a list of TV workplaces that I love, but I could also see myself doing the job.

Top 10 TV Workplaces:
  1. Sugarbaker and Associates, Designing Women

  2. Pacific Princess, Love Boat

  3. Montecito Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

  4. Stuckey Bowl, Ed

  5. Miller Gold Talent Agency, Entourage

  6. Mayor Randall Winston's Office, Spin City

  7. Peach Pit, Beverly Hills 90210

  8. Cheers, Cheers

  9. Mode Magazine, Ugly Betty

  10. Studio 60, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

I am on the fence about Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency. I would have to be a dude (sorry Joan).

January 8, 2009

the people chose

Last night were the People's Choice Awards. I always forget to watch them. I don't even know how one chooses. Is there a website? I'm guessing the voter poll is skewed young, but it's still interesting to see who the "people" choose in contrast to the grownup award shows. Here are the TV awards. I was glad to see House get some love.


Two and a Half Men

The Simpsons


Dancing with the Stars

Deal Or No Deal

Hugh Laurie

Christina Applegate

Ellen DeGeneres

Robin Williams on Law and Order: SVU

Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson on The Closer

The Mentalist

Gary Unmarried

January 7, 2009

inaugural opening ceremonies on HBO

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that HBO won the bid to broadcast the opening ceremonies of Obama's inauguration on January 18th. At first I was panicked, as I suffer from a premium channel deficiency. Have no fear, HBO is negotiating with a bunch of cable and satellite distributors to air the event - meaning it will be live and commercial free for free, which is pretty cool.

I don't know much about the opening ceremonies except that they take place at the Lincoln Memorial and Obama and Biden are expected to attend. There is entertainment and all that, but nothing has been announced as yet. Sounds like a good excuse to booze.

January 6, 2009

my name is maura, and i'm addicted to degrassi

After being sick with a yucky cold and confined to my apartment last week, one thing has become abundantly clear: I cannot be trusted alone with my television for four straight days. After running through what was left on my DVR since the winter hiatus began, watching all Netflix DVDs in my possession, and viewing all worthy OnDemand movies (incidentally, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is wonderful), I started flipping around, which I actually rarely do. I discovered "The N" - which is basically Nickelodeon for teens. Most of the content is tween shows like Kyle XY and Zoey 101, but I first tuned in for the many reruns of That 70s Show - one of those shows that I can mindlessly watch for hours.


I discovered Degrassi. Do people know about this show? I think I have been way out of the loop, and also not living in Cananda. It's a Canadian teen show. After further research, I understand that I'm watching Degrassi: The New Generation. Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High were wildly popular in the 80s, and this is the remake. Don't let "New Generation" fool you. This is no Saved by the Bell new class. This show is gold. I'm telling you, I cannot get enough of these kids. How did I not know about the treasure of Canadian television? They actually deal with real issues (in a teen show no less) without being preachy or schmaltzy. Gay marriage, teen pregnancy, cancer, school shooting, bipolar disorder, cutting, STDs - seriously, these kids have seen it all. Oh the drama.

I may or may not have programmed my DVR to record all new and old episodes. I may or may not have stayed up until the wee hours of this morning watching a particularly heart-wrenching episode. I may or may not have cried.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step.

Oh, and they show Degrassi music videos during the commercial breaks. Good god.

January 5, 2009


Leverage is a new show on TNT (Tuesdays at 10) that premiered in late December. The show caught my eye for two reasons - the lead actor is Timothy Hutton, and TNT has been putting out some decent offbeat dramas in the past couple of years leading the wave of alternative networks (i.e. AMC with Mad Men) that are taking chances with some nontraditional series.

The premise of Leverage is a former insurance investigator called Nate Ford (Hutton), who worked to uncover stolen goods, fraud, etc. in order to prevent the insurance company from having to pay the big bucks. After the insurance company refuses to cover an experimental treatment to save his ailing son, Nate quits and basically withdraws from society. Until an aeronautics executive hires him to steal airplane designs that were stolen from a rival company. Nate accepts the offer and is joined by a team of four of the best thieves, hackers and con artists in the world. Without getting into too many details of the pilot, the team finds out they were essentially conned by this aeronautics executive and were actually stealing the plans for him. They team up to get revenge on this guy. What's born is a team of highly successful thieves, who find some inspiration in working with Nate on "jobs" that involve sticking it to the man. Targeting big companies, etc. that have cheated someone out of what is rightfully there's. So, they form a team called Leverage to basically serve as modern day Robin Hood thieves.

The team and the writing has a very strong Ocean's 11 feel, which I love. Hutton is obviously the actor in the bunch, but the others are starting to come into their own as well. The group consists of:

Alec, a genius hacker played by Aldis Hodge (Voodoo from Friday Night Lights if anyone remembers that character). In the pilot, it seemed like he was doing a Chris Tucker impression, which turned me off. But they tweaked his character a bit and toned down the blatant humor. Now he seems to be the champion underdog of geek, a creed that I subscribe to. At one point, he says "This is the age of geek. We run the world." I'm on board.

Eliot, the badass fighter of the bunch who doesn't believe in guns - played by Christian Kane who I think played a recurring role in Angel. He has great fight scenes, and pulls off a cowboy charm. His hair is unfortunate, but I can look past it for the time being.

Parker, a daredevil female thief who always seems to take the riskiest assignment like throwing herself off the side of a building. She's played by Beth Riesgraf, who is the weakest actor at this point. As far as I know, her biggest claim to fame is having a baby with Jason Lee and naming him Pilot Inspektor Riesgraf-Lee.

Sophie, a seductress con artist capable of playing any character or nationality. She tends to be the "face" of most cons. She also has a history with Nate, who investigated her when he was on the "right" side of the law. Played by Gina Bellman, she might be my favorite on the team. Her dream is stage acting, but she is horrible at it. Yet she plays the con characters perfectly.

And then there's Nate played by Hutton, who has had my heart since Beautiful Girls, one of my favorite movies of all time. Hutton is a master of subtlety in acting, and I love to watch him. This character is the leader of the team, and he has some interesting good vs. evil, dark past, destructive behavior, safe the world thing going on.

I gave this more blog time that I usually do for a new series. Partly because everything else is in repeats during the winter hiatus, but also because this is one of my favorite new dramas in a while.

My recommendation - watch the pilot, which I'm sure is online. It plays like a mini-movie, and you'll know whether you're into this show pretty much right away.