Saturday, January 31, 2009

Frak Yeah!


With a show that gives you as much emotional toil as Battlestar Galactica, that is the type of generation spanning epic space-and-morality drama that BSG is, it's occasionally hard to remember why you loved the show in the first place. BSG has had its fair share of boring episodes, and the first two episodes back of Season 4.5 have been no exceptions. Despite some supposedly "big" revelations and a mutiny brewing underneath the surface, the first two outings for Adama and Co had been remarkably... blah.

NOT SO FOR LAST NIGHT'S ACTION PACKED FORTY FIVE MINUTES. Last night's Battlestar was everything I've ever loved about the show and more. Starbuck was badass. Lee was daring and idealistic. Adama and Tigh were old war buddies struggling to do the right thing. Everyone from Helo to Athena to mother-frakking Baltar was at their show's best. On top of which, this week we finally had a plot worthy of the hype awarded to BSG.

But let's be honest, here. President Roslin is, has been, and always will be the best part about this show. Come for the sci-fi goodness and complicated political allegory, but stay for the way that Mary McDonnell has managed to make Laura Roslin the most complicated, brilliant, broken woman in the history of the whole universe (be they cylon or human).

This is the first episode I've watched thus far this season that has left me breathless for the next outing. The idea of waiting a whole week before I find out what happens to Adama and Tigh (and don't think for one second BSG'ers that I believe next week's teaser of "Colonel Tigh is dead" was anything other than a marketing trick), Roslin and Baltar, Lee and Kara, even (dare I say) that traitorous, wormy, one-legged bastard, Gaeta.

Here are a few episode highlights:

*The awesome incongruity of Roslin and Adama making out, and the visual joke of Lee and Kara staring away looking awkward, like any kid would when their dad starts macking it with his all time lady love.

*The return to funny Baltar ("I truly don't want to desert you..." while looking shiftily away towards his salvation) mixed with the legitimate arch that this character has had taking center-staged. Plus, dude, has Baltar ever looked better than he does right now?

*Starbucks gleeful bloodlust taking center stage again, rather than her whiny "am I human or am I not?" antics of previous weeks

*Tyrol proving to still be the solid, stand up guy (cylon?) he's been since season one


And looking at the preview for next week's old-school-cylon-centric episode, the only thing I'm hoping is for more badass sixery, cause Six has truly been one of my favorite characters throughout the series, and I can't wait to see all this amazingness explode.

Third Time's the Charm for Chuckles

I tried to watch Chuck when it premiered and then sort of forgot about it. Part way through it's first season I picked it up again only to redirect my attention towards more captivating series. Then, after the show won accolades from fellow My TV writer Rachael, I picked up the season one DVD and tried again. And this time it took; no, it didn't just take, it took off and soared. It took me 3 days to watch 24 episodes and now in the wee hours of the morning, the verdict is in:

I love Chuck

I love everything about Chuck. I love Chuck himself and the fact that he's the quintessential TV nerd who's sweet and goofy but really hot and kick-ass. I love how human but superhuman his surprisingly endearing fake girlfriend Sarah is. I love that Adam Baldwin is in this show, being all delightfully Adam Baldwin-y. I love how warm Ellie is and how awesome Captain Awesome is. I love the ridiculous best friend Morgan just because he's ridiculous and I love all the Buy More employees for the same reason (particularly Lester, who was the star of a Canadian kids show I watched once upon a time called Radio Active, and Anna, who is pretty kick-ass in her own right).

But mostly I love that Chuck is a Josh Schwartz show. Schwartz is a Hollywood wunderkind who is the brains behind much of the most influential TV in the past decade (The OC and Gossip Girl). What sets Schwartz apart from most of the other writer/producers in the business (aside from his incredible writing skills: snappy dialogue, interesting characters, well-paced stories, etc...) is his complete lack of pretension. Schwartz's first big show, The OC, came under major fire for being whimsical, escapist or superficial, criticism that Schwartz responded to with more well-written whimsical, escapist and surprisingly deep material. And Chuck is yet another case in which Schwartz takes a fluffy genre (the espionage thriller) and gives it a fantastic gravity without robbing it of its sense of fun. Only a touch as light as Schwartz's could ever make a box store employee with a super computer downloaded into his brain one of the most believable characters on TV. 

Friday, January 30, 2009

How Do I Loathe Private Practice, Let Me Count the Ways

I hate how selfish Addison is, especially considering that, during her time on Grey's Anatomy, she was once an incredibly engaging and wonderful character. 

I hate that every story line involves a moral dilemma or grey area of some sort. 

I hate that Cooper, one of TV's most lovable characters, is forced to exist in such a badly written world. 

I hate how immature everyone is and that Dell, the most mature of the group, never gets any screen time. 

I hate that Charlotte has a ton of potential as a character but keeps having to relive the same storylines over and over. 

I hate how overly sexual the show is; it seems so out of place among these 40 something doctors. 

I hate how much I love so many of the actors on this show (Paul Adelstein, Chris Lowell, Amy Brenneman, Kate Walsh) and they're not being given anything good to play.

I hate that the writers have found a way to use Cooper's friendship with Violet against him. 

I hate everything about Naomi. 

I hate that Archer is just a boring carbon copy of the Karev, Sloan, Pete model. 

I hate that the show always seems to be pushing some sort of moral agenda and that the writers don't seem to have a strong grasp on the complexity of the problems they write about (from addiction to pedophilia to abortion to polygamy). 

I hate how done up the women are just to go to work in a doctor's office and I hate how much makeup Addison wears. 

But mostly I hate the fact that unlike many shows that I watch that I know aren't great TV (One Tree Hill, True Beauty, Gary Unmarried), I completely don't enjoy Private Practice; it gives me that knotted stomach feeling of having seen something that really disturbs you. I hate that feeling and it certainly should never come from a TV show. 


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Charlie Hume

In a lovely tribute to his deceased friend and a callback to one of TV's most emotional moments, Desmond and Penny named their son Charlie, after Charlie Pace who died saving Desmond's life.

The revelation was one of few engaging moments in this week's installment of the most overrated show on the air: Lost. The other highlight was the young Charles Whidmore's role on the island in the 1950s. 

Low points included a bratty English girl who thinks she's badass, the ridiculous use of Latin as the official language of "the others" and the fact that the episode was yet another one of their forays into time travel, which I wouldn't mind so much if I had any faith at all that the writers'll make it all make sense in the end. 


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Obsessions

Tara's Family
supportive husband Max, somewhat rebellious daughter Kate and sweet son Marshall are the perfect compliment to the central craziness in United States of Tara

Scrubs
The new season is very sweet. The 8th season comedy also deserves some serious thanks for being one of the only shows with new episodes this week. 




Captain Awesome
I'm watching season one of Chuck on DVD and I have to say that Captain Awesome is pretty awesome. I love that Chuck calls him Captain Awesome. When he taught Morgan how to tuck in his shirt- priceless. 

The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty
Buster Olney's book about the 90s Yankees and their demise at the world series 2001 is a seriously fascinating read for any baseball fan. 



Oh Mother Whom Art Thou

(whom? who?... ?)

In the latest How I Met Your Mother casting news, Six Feet Under matriarch Francis Conroy has signed on to play the mother of the infamous Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris). 
The part was originally voiced off-camera by Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) in flashbacks that explained why Barney believes that Bob Barker is his father and that his brother (Wayne Brady) is black because his mother ate too much coffee ice cream when she was pregnant with him. 

She may not be what I expected for the free-wheeling mom but Francis Conroy has never let me down before, I'm sure she won't on what promises to be another great episode of my favourite sitcom. 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Best of TV Romance

If you've never been over to thewb.com, now is the time to check it out. 

The site is home to dozens of the greatest TV shows to ever grace the airwaves. It is not, however, a library of episodes. Some shows are available in chronological order, a handful at a time. Others appear thematically. 

FRIENDS, arguably the greatest sitcom of all time, is one of the shows that appears thematically. For example, over the holidays they had all of the best Christmas episodes available for streaming- it was a marathon of merriment. 

The current theme is the reason I want you to tune in, whether you're a loyal FRIENDS fan or someone who, for reason passing understanding, never jumped on that well-populated bandwagon. The episodes currently airing are the landmark episodes of the first half of Ross and Rachel's romantic saga. 

If you missed it the first time, Ross and Rachel is TV's ultimate romance. So head over to www.thewb.com to relive all the comedy and drama of their tumultuous beginning, including: "The One Where Rachel Finds Out", "The One Where Ross Finds Out", "The One With The List", "The One With Russ", "The One With the Prom Video", "The One Where Ross and Rachel... you know" and "The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break".

More Stars Head for the Alter

This time it's a couple that I didn't even know knew each other. 

Elisabeth Moss (known to today's audiences as Peggy on Mad Men but remembered fondly by me for her role as Zoe Bartlett on The West Wing) and Fred Armisen (the man behind SNL's Obama) recently announced their engagement. 

I'm trying to imagine an odder or more unexpected couple and not really succeeding. I kind of always thought Armisen was gay, and secretly wished that Moss would marry Dule Hill (who played Charlie, her boyfriend on The West Wing). 

In any case, it's happy news for the couple on every front as they prepare for their wedding, she heads to the SAG awards this Sunday as a nominee and he gears up for at least 4 more years of his now trademark SNL impression of the newly inaugurated President. 

Thursday Night TV by the Numbers


6 Actors Who Shone This Week
Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), Joel Grey (Private Practice), Chandra Wilson (Grey's Anatomy), Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty), Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), Amy Brenneman (Private Practice). 


5 Interesting Developments
Violet is pregnant (Private Practice), Izzie is sick (Grey's Anatomy), Suzuki is straight (Ugly Betty), Charlotte wants to get married (Private Practice), Kim has a photographic memory (Kath & Kim). 


4 Touching Moments
Marc stands up to Wilhelmina (Ugly Betty), Michael struggles with deceiving good people for his own advancement (The Office), Liz takes a hit to save Jack's dignity (30 Rock), Violet and Cooper have a best friends moment in her office closet (Private Practice). 


3 Ridiculous Plots
Kim tries to become the nightly news anchor woman (Kath & Kim), Lexi breaks Mark's penis (Grey's Anatomy), Kenneth tries to get Tracey to eat his vegetables (30 Rock). 


2 Promising Characters Who Kinda Stink
Betty (Ugly Betty), Addison (Private Practice). 


1 Real Question
Is Hilary Swank hot? (The Office). 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Lost in another season

Over the past 2 days I have watched 3 hours of Lost (the explanatory clip show and the 2 hour season premier) and as the minutes ticked past it became increasingly clear that I don't care. While I understand why some people find the tiny details of this increasingly ludicrous mystery to be interesting, I no longer do. 

If anyone can tell me why I should still care about Lost please comment below or send me an email at mytvpodcast@gmail.com

Bones Gets Its Groove Back


After last season's finale, in which (SPOILER ALERT) the show made pretty close to a shark-jumping move in having resident nerd/opera singer Zach turn out to be working for the season-long baddie, I wasn't one of the people who proclaimed Bones dead. But then it came back from hiatus, and severely underwhelmed. The first few episodes vacillated from bad to middling. The mysteries all felt boring and gave me the intense sensation of deja-viewed. The Angela and Hodgins breakup-turned-triangle-with-Angela's-lesbian-ex was the worst kind of contrived TV drama. The rotation of interns to fill Addy's shoes were quirky and annoying. But worst of all, the chemistry between Booth and Brennan (the type of repressed-sexuality fire that is hard to sustain on any show) suddenly felt a lot less sizzling and imminent and a lot more drawn-out and like a writer's crutch. Oh this episode's boring: let's have Booth and Brennan share a long, tension-filled stare. Boring.

But just when I was ready to submit the show's charred remains to Brennan for investigation, something miraculous happened. It got great again. The last four episodes have been classic Bones. The mystery is back. The witty dialogue. Even the interns have been better integrated into the show's plots and dynamics. But, best of all, Booth and Brennan have their snap, crackle and pop back.

The past two episodes, shown in a double feature this past Thursday on Fox, were some classic B&B. In the first one, the two go undercover as circus performers to uncover the secret of the death of the siamese twins. Yeah, okay, pretty silly stuff, but Bones has always straddled the line between slapstick and forensics (it's one of the biggest arguments in favor of the show for those of you, like me, who couldn't give a frak less about CSI). Not only did the two stay in a trailer with only one bed, fake (noisy) sex, and demonstrate their intense trust and respect for one another, but they also solved a surprisingly touching and interesting mystery. The second half found Booth himself a suspect in the death of a hockey player with whom he had previously fought. Bringing in a female investigator to take the helm while Booth was the prime suspect was a perfect way of showing how far this couple has come. Two seasons ago, Booth would have ended the episode in bed with hottie blond agent. Now? He ended it hand in hand with Brennan on the ice rink.

Upcoming in this season we're going to see the return of the grave-digger (one of my favorite all time murderers on this show, and the episode that saw Hodgins and Brennan trapped in a car was a turning point for nearly ever character on the show) as well as a promised bedroom trip featuring Booth and Brennan (hinted criptically at by the show's creator). Much like every sexual-tension driven show before it, and much like Brennan did during her short-but-sweet circus career, Bones has to walk the tight rope of the inevitable relationship. Undoubtedly, the show would lose a lot of its zing once it loses the "will they or wont they" angle. But frankly, as long as the foreshadowing (foreplay?) continues to be this good, I can wait for the final (climatic?) moment.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy Ending

After this week's Privileged I've fallen in love with this song. Here to celebrate this love are Natalli and Vincent from So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

Tear-jerkers: this week's obsessions

I realize I haven't done a list of weekly obsessions in a while so this list goes back a bit. There have been so many really touching things on the big and small screens lately, ranging from the historic (my #1) to the artistic (the Oscar movies) to the randomly lovely (my #2). So this edition of obsessions is all about things that have made me cry but I love them all the more for it. 

The Inauguration
The thing that gets me the most is the reaction, so the moments that made me cry the most were reaction shots of the crowd and the great swell of cheers when he walked into the neighbourhood ball. And, yes I'll admit it, I cried during the Obamas' first dance, when Beyonce started to cry. 

Desperate Housewives 100th Episode
It may seem ridiculous, but I cried harder in this episode than I cried for a TV show in a really long time. Eli Scruggs'll do that to a person. (So will the tour de force performances by Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria Parker). 

Marley and Me
Seriously, if you've ever had a dog this movie will throw you around like nothing else. There were parts when I was laughing so hard that I started to cry, and then, a couple hours later, I was crying the hardest I've cried all season. I'm telling you, Marley hit a soft spot. 

The Wrestler
I've never seen a film full of so much honesty in my life. That scene with his daughter... and the dancing... how could I not cry?

True Beauty: A Study in Ugliness

10 "beautiful" people, 2 judges whom I've never heard of, 1 host/judge who closely resembles a talent-less Summer Glau, a slew of pointless beauty competitions and a ton of inconclusive "true beauty" tests. And the result? Incomparable ugliness. 

The contestants themselves, who are supposed to be 10 of the most beautiful people in America, range from somewhat hot (CJ, Laura) to over-the-top (Chelsea, Julia) to actually unattractive (Hadiyyah-lah, Ray, Ashley). They all have excellent bodies but none of them are any more attractive than someone you could find at any mall in the country. One (Billy) even looks annoyingly like a built version of Mike Boogie from Big Brother (who was one of those rare BB contestants who was picked for his personality, at least I hope that's why they picked him). 

Apart from what they actually look like (nothing to write home about), the contestants on True Beauty have established themselves as pretty horrible. Sure CJ keeps passing the stupid "tests" that the producers throw his way that are supposed to prove his inner beauty, but excuse me if I don't think picking up litter is a definitive sign of someone's goodness. The man was also the creator of the "let's pretend we work for a charity so we can steal people's money and buy clothes" plan. 

Meanwhile, the average-looking lot as a whole has been strutting around for 3 episodes with a sense of entitlement, complaining about everything from an unprofessional wardrobe assistant (actually an actor sent to provoke them) to the other contestants. The only one I like at the moment is Chelsea, because no one in the house likes her (for no real reason) and I feel sorry for. 

In any case, the stupidity of this show astounds me. My boredom and curiosity, of course, will have me watching until the end, but I'm not proud of it (I really do try to watch only the shows I can at least pretend have merit). At the very least, I can take small comfort in the fact that the worst contestants seem to be being picked off in order (if the judges and I share a hit list, slutty and immature Laura should be the next to go). 

Oh, and the wisdom to be gained from True Beauty? All the really beautiful people actually have jobs. 

Privileged=Happiness... but

Will is even more wonderful than I thought. I like that his family is allowed to function as a complete and loving family without any of the dysfunction that television convention would like to place on them because of their net worth. I love that he has his flaws and often gives Megan bad advice, but at least he's trying. I like that he can calculate things quickly in his head. 
...
but Megan is a complete spaz. Like Ugly Betty, Megan can't seem to determine what are the really important things she needs to be there for her family for and when are the times she should focus on herself and her happiness. But this week she did show some interesting in other people's lives that have nothing to do with her troubles and all her flaws seem to come from a very human place. So ultimately, I'm still pro-Megan. 

Rose and Sage had a lovely story this week. Sage has really grown on me and her relationship with Luis is very sweet. With my new found tolerance for Sage, the bond between the sister has really come out and they each had scenes this week that really brought that home. 
...
but Sage is going to need to find a new goal. This week she reached the conclusion that she doesn't want to be famous for fame's sake. But since she doesn't have the same Duke goal as Rose, if she doesn't find her own goal soon she will have left her future to spend more time with a boy- bad story. 

And Marco was sweet this week
...
but I think he's boring and shouldn't be a big character.

I really loved this episode. I thought it brought the sisterly bond to the forefront again, had some interesting stories and  showed humanity, flaws and nobility in all their characters regardless of economic status or past behaviour. 
...
but I miss Charlie. Don't get me wrong, I never want him to come between Megan and Will, I just want him there to be her best friend. 



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

RIP Dawson Leery

Remember the kid who had film posters arranged on his wall in order of box office gross? The kid who believed that the answers to all life's questions could be found in a Spielberg film and that it was possible to find From Here To Eternity kind of love. That 15 year old hopeless romantic who shot horror movies on his camcorder and said that "edge is fleeting, heart lasts forever". Well he's officially dead. 

The boy I'm talking about is Dawson Leery, the title character of Dawson's Creek,who was played by James Van Der Beek until the show's final episode in May 2003. 

Now, Mr. Van Der Beek is back on TV (on the modern equivalent of his old network for that matter, and opposite his former "Creek" co-star Chad Michael Murray) and playing Dixon, another filmmaker. Only this time he's a coke head. He's a megalomaniacal self-indulgent sell-out who re-appeared in tonight's episode of One Tree Hill to manipulate his way into the coveted director's chair for Lucas' movie. 

Forget the "heart" that Dawson believed would last forever, this new incarnation is nothing but soulless edge. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

All's Fair In... never mind

Rufus and Lily grow closer, Chuck finds redemption and family, Erik shows off his German and Serena finds her place in the world. But, meanwhile, Nate and Vanessa seem to cease to exist, seeds are planted for Dan to go down a dangerous road and Blair's world falls apart. 

On the Upper East Side if there are two things that are never fair it's love and war. And at the center of the upcoming saga is Ms. Carr, the new teacher. Not only is she a threat to come between the show's (central?) love story but she'd better watch out because Blair Waldorf's just declared war. 

Though peppered with bits of comedy (everything Erik) and hope (Chuck, Lily and Rufus), this week's Gossip Girl was as foreboding as an Act 1 finale to an operatic tragedy*

*please be advised that this is not me being pretentious; the characters went to the opera this week, I'm being thematic. 

"Three Days of Snow"

"Totally" -Ted
"Awesome" -Barney

The misadventures at "Puzzle", the chronology twist, the rare and wonderful pairing of sentimental Marshall with realist Robin, the hilarious bar montage, the return of Ranjit and an ending that'll go down in How I Met Your Mother history; this episode has officially become one of my favourites of the series. 

United States of Tara

Tonight marked the premiere of a new show on Showtime that has everything going for it. 

United States of Tara, a half hour comedy about a woman with multiple personality disorder, is incredibly promising. The first episode was funny and engaging and absolutely unique. I'm hoping the show proves unsinkable, and the evidence is on my side. 

First of all, the show was conceived by Steven Spielberg- yes THAT Steven Spielberg. Then it was developed and written by Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, whose unique turn of phrase and knack for developing interesting characters and relationships is what made her famous. Next is the force that is Toni Collette. Playing Tara and the many characters that come with her, Collette is remarkable and one of the few women in Hollywood who could pull off such a challenging feat. Then there's Tara's husband, who happens to be played by one of the most charming and endearing men in the business, John Corbett. Here, Corbett uses his trademark sweetness as the head of an incredibly understanding family who loves their mother no matter what. The cast also features Rosemarie DeWitt whose memorable turn as Anne Hathaway's sister in Rachel Getting Married remains one of my favourite performance of the year. And Nathan Corddry (whom I learned to love while watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) is slated to appear in most episodes to come. 

I already love this family. I love that we're joining them after they've already been dealing with the reality of Tara's illness for years. There's none of that annoying "learning to adjust" crap that comes with most pilot episodes. The illness is just a twist in their life, something that, as Marshall (the youngest) says "makes them interesting". I love the dynamics that (only 22 minutes into the series) have already begun to make themselves clear. I love that Kate (the teenage daughter) finds a friend in T (the rebellious 15-year-old "alter" aka alternate personality) and that Marshall is a bit afraid of Buck (the male hillbilly alter who mocks him for his sensitivity). I love the dichotomy of Kate's rebellious persona and her classical ballet training and honest appreciation for her challenging family. I love that Marshall bakes his sister "muffins of triumph" for her ballet recital. I love that Max has to struggle with relating to each alter as separate from Tara herself and that Tara's sister Charmaine (DeWitt) can't seem to understand even though she's lived with it all her life.  

United States of Tara is simply really cool. For 22 minutes tonight I wasn't guffawing weakly at the screen, I wasn't trying to remain invested and I wasn't playing tetris while watching. United States of Tara had me invested in mere minutes, and I stayed that way the entire way through. 

I've had my heart broken many times recently: I lost Valentine and My Own Worst Enemy only a couple episodes in and Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money were taken from me in one fell swoop. So can United States of Tara survive this dangerous TV climate? I really think it can. Because if Spielberg, Cody, Collette and Corbett can't do it, who can?

Here's to You Eli Scruggs

Maybe I was in some sort of mood but tonight's Desperate Housewives was a 5 Kleenex event. 

In the series' 100th episode, co-written by series creator Marc Cherry, guest star Beau Bridges plays Eli Scuggs, the local handyman, who dies as the episode begins. For the 43 minutes that follow, Gabrielle, Bree, Lynette and Susan plan and attend his memorial service. As they do so, they remember how Eli affected each of their lives in small but important ways. 

Though we as viewers had never met Eli before, the episode paid great tribute to the history of the series. In Gabby's memory we see her as she first moves to Wisteria Lane and faces terrible loneliness, before being introduced to her future friends by a certain handyman. Next up is Bree, who flashes back to a time when Rex was still alive and she first had her idea for her cookbook, a dream which Rex promptly squashed. We also see a slightly older Bree, just after Rex's death, re-inspired by a gesture from Eli. Edie's story was less affecting, though in it's own Edie-ish way it was quite sweet and showed us some of Edie's history that had been heretofore unacknowledged. Lynette's flashback, similarly, showed us her before the series began but explored the professional/familial juggling act that was Lynette's central struggle for much of the series' beginning. Susan's bounced around the timeline, establishing Eli as a solid figure in her tumultuous life. 

For all 5 of the main housewives the episode explored unexplored history within the context of their arcs for the entire series. But it was the presence of the 6th and most elusive housewife that made this episode particularly distinct. Eli, it seems, was given his start on Wisteria Lane by none other than Mary Alice Young (the series narrator). Mary Alice establishes herself in this episode as thoughtful, kind and empathetic, which makes the re-telling of her suicide at the end of the episode all the more jarring. 

I wept. I'll admit it, Desperate Housewives made me cry. From Gabby's heartfelt appeal for friends to the rekindling of Bree's dashed dreams to Mary Alice's hopeless death to the remarkable attendance at Eli's funeral, almost every moment of this episode hit me like really good fiction should. 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Taking Another Look

If I've learned anything from my experiences with The OC, Lost, Grey's Anatomy and Chuck, it's that sometimes a show that you think you'll never be into can turn into something you really enjoy. I gave all those series a second chance that resulted in serious bandwagon jumping, so it was only appropriate that I give 90210 the same consideration. I liked the original (though Ive only seen the Brenda years) so I tuned in to watch The CW try to remake one of TV's most influential shows. Within 10 minutes of the beginning of the pilot I hated it so much that I turned it off and never watched again. 

But then Tristan Wilds (Dixon) wowed me with his performance in The Secret Life of Bees, and I caught some YouTube videos of the West Beverly production of Spring Awakening that Annie starred in, then I heard that not only was Tori Spelling (Donna Martin) joining the show but that Shannon Doherty (Brenda Walsh) would be back, and I love her. So I came back; and now, after 13 episodes have aired, I've finally caught up on what I missed, and I have to say- I'm kind of shamefully loving it. 

Both Annie and Ethan have that annoyingly perfect thing going on but I somehow don't hate either of them at all. Naomi is less sympathetic than they want her to be but is more sympathetic than I thought she'd be. Dixon is pretty kick ass. Silver is fantastic. I'm completely in love with Navid and Adrianna was a surprising delight as a character, once she got her act together a bit. 

When I first heard that Adrianna was replacing grandma Mills in the principle cast I was skeptical, but as the series has progressed I found myself wanting to see more of her, and especially more of her relationship with Navid. Dixon and Silver's relationship is equally intriguing and delightful. The parents are a little much and I could do without them but Ryan, the teacher, is pretty cool and I always like seeing alum from the original series. 

The show is not nearly as stupid as the pilot would suggest. Also: the theatrical leanings of Annie, Adrianna and Brenda have already led to Spring Awakening and Macbeth references, so I'm sure there's more delightful nerdiness to come. 

The old 90210 was the first of its kind, a benchmark for all the teen shows that followed. The new 90210 has more of an unimportant and indistinct place in the cannon, but it's a fun hour every week. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Night Lights Season 3

Tonight 9pm NBC. Be There. 

Who's That Voice?

Could you identify the talent behind tonight's 30 Rock original song? 

Scroll down for clues as to the identity of the singer who satirically sang while Alec Baldwin, Selma Hayek and the old man went out on the town. 


1. He was discovered while performing at a wedding

2. He's Canadian

3. He dated British actress Emily Blunt for 3 years

4. He's famous for singing jazz and American standards


Find the answer in the Comments section

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bottom Chef

So this season's Top Chef candidates kind of suck. 

With only 9 contestants left, this was the week to step up their game (a game that already should have been way higher than it was). But no one did. In fact, this week there were 2 chefs who barely contributed at all. 

And this new judge is terrible. Toby Young contributes nothing helpful at the judges' table. He speaks in painful cliches, shows a lack of understanding of the contestants and is unfoundedly harsh. This week he made an off the cuff and unfair comment about Ariane, saying "she can't cook", to which Padma immediately responded by defending Ariane's previous work and subtly pointing out that the new guy doesn't know what he's talking about. Gail (whom Toby is replacing) was the complete opposite, always fair and helpful as well as tough. So not only are this year's contestants failing to impress, the judges panel is lacking as well. 

My thoughts on the 8 remaining underwhelming contestants are as follows:

Jamie: though a little full of herself, Jamie is one of the best of the lot. Too bad that the best of this season can't compare to the middle of the last pack. 

Stefan: even more full of himself than Jamie (and everyone else for that matter), he's so obnoxious that I don't care if his food is any good at all (and I don't think it's as good as he thinks it is anyway).

Carla: ok, so she's a little crazy but at least she's humble (a rarity in this group), and she makes good pastry.

Radhika: boring, mediocre, blah. 

Fabio: I think Fabio may be my favourite. He's consistently good, not too pushy, not too crazy and kind of amusing. 

Jeff: always overcomplicating, Jeff can't seem to form a coherent dish, but he often saves himself with inspired side dishes that the judges love (fried green tomatoes, vegetable sorbets, etc...)

Leah: ew. She's boring, mediocre and blah (like Radhika) but she's also conceited, immature, kind of bitchy and a little whorey. Again, I say ew. 

Hosea: and I thought I liked Hosea but then in this episode he seemed stuck in the mud and unwilling to accept blame or failure. Stefan didn't win the quickfire challenge because Hosea gave him an ingredient, he won it because his food was better; Hosea tells the story differently. Why are these people all so immature?

Where's the innovative Richard or the clam cool and collected Antonia or the fun and easy going Stephanie? All of whom were phenomenally talented chefs who could wipe the floor with this season's lot. 

Romantic Entanglement

This week, one of TV's most complicated couples fell back into old patterns. With a heartbreak and hurt littering their romantic history together, should JD and Elliot really be putting their newly re-formed friendship on the line to try again at romance?

Why not?  With only a few months to go before Sacred Heart probably leaves the small screen forever, the writers can't possibly pull them apart again. After all, these two deserve a happy ending. 

The CW Announces a "New" Series

In a move representative of their usual amount of innovation, The CW recently announced that a Gossip Girl spinoff is in the works. 

The new show will follow a young Lily van der Woodsen (Serena's mom)'s adventures as an 80s wild child in LA. I'm going to assume that Rufus Humphrey and his rock band will be major players in the saga as well. 

The CW hasn't come up with a new idea in ages and greenlighting a spinoff of their most successful show certainly doesn't count; but the idea is fresh, unexpected and welcome. Not only is Lily and Rufus' love story one of Gossip Girl's more engaging elements but I welcome anything from the mind and pen of executive producer Josh Schwartz with open arms. 

The 2008 My TV Award Winners

To hear Kelly and guest host Lauren discuss this year's winners please check out "The My TV Podcast" by clicking the link on the right hand side of this page. 

Without further ado, this year's winners are:


Best Drama: Brothers & Sisters

Best Comedy:  30 Rock

Best Reality/Game Show: Top Chef

Best Variety/Talk Show:  Saturday Night Live

Best Ensemble Cast in a Drama: Dexter

Best Ensemble Cast in a Comedy:  My Boys

Best Actor in a Drama: Michael C Hall (Dexter)

Best Actress in a Drama: Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)

Best Actor in a Comedy: Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies)

Best Actress in a Comedy:  Tina Fey (30 Rock)

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl)

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama:  Yun Jin Kim (Lost)

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Michael Urie (Ugly Betty)

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?)

Best Late Night Personality:  Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live)

Best Reality Star: Dan Gheesling (Big Brother)

Best Reality Host:  Cat Deeley (So You Think You Can Dance)

Best Reality Judge:   Lil C (So You Think You Can Dance)

Best Choreography: “Bleeding Love”- Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo (So You Think You Can Dance)

Best Writing for a Drama:  Grey’s Anatomy “In The Midnight Hour”- Tony Phelan & Joan Rater

Best Writing for a Comedy:   30 Rock “Reunion”- Matt Hubbard

Best Costumes:  Ugly Betty

Best Guest Star:  Amy Ryan (the Office)

Best Network Lineup: CBS

Most Ridiculously Good Looking Male: Eric Dane (Grey’s Anatomy)

Most Ridiculously Good Looking Female: Blake Lively (Gossip Girl)

The Marry- Me Award: Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies)

The Be-My-Best-Friend Award: Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)

The Moment of the Year Award:  Tina Fey’s first Sarah Palin sketch (Saturday Night Live)

Well, That Was Fun.

I just spent an hour watching this week's One Tree Hill and thoroughly enjoyed myself. 

There was funny karaoke, cute little kids, sweet budding romance and lovely family bonding (fiancees, husband/wife, brother/brother, father/son, uncle/nephew). 

For the first time in a long time on this series (ever?) I like everyone. I could do without Marvin and Millie, and Chase has a bit of a bumpy past, but I'm really liking the whole cast of characters for the most part. 

Brooke, consistently my favourite, has finally been given a romance that I buy, as well as some inner turmoil about it. She's also being forced to relive her highschool troubles (and reminisce with the audience about earlier seasons) as she designs costumes for Lucas' movie. She had a lovely moment when she found out Peyton was pregnant and her double sided reaction to Millie's revelation was very true to character. 

Nathan and Haley are up to their usual sweetness with Nathan really stepping it up with the goofily endearing comedy this week. Jamie and his friend Andre are always cute. Lucas and Peyton are at their most endearing when they're at their least dramatic and I quite like Mia so found her story fun as well. 

There was no Dan, no Deb, no awkward sexlife Skills. There was limited Marvin and tolerable amounts of Millie and Sam. There were no scary parents, no psycho stalkers, no crazy nannies and no masked attackers. There was no reason for a character to pull a gun or run away or punch anything or anyone. 

Mostly this episode was funny. It was sweet and cute and simple. No car crashes, dangerous people or life-threatening diseases. Just some karaoke, some ice cream and a couple of walkie talkies. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bad News Boys

FOX announced today that they've finally given the axe to Prison Break

Certainly the show hit some serious creative snags when, you know, they broke out of prison. And sure it's been years since the show was the bonafide ratings hit that it was in season 1. But I still liked it. 

Prison Break, week in and week out, was entertaining. The action was consistently exciting, many of the characters were engaging and surprisingly deep, Robert Knepper and William Fichtner remain some of the most detailed character actors in the business and Wentworth, not to diminish his talents or anything, remains one of the most beautiful. 

So I'll have to learn to live without my weekly dose of misunderstood but beautiful convicts.

But where does that leave FOX? The cancellation of Prison Break means that there is officially NOTHING I watch on that network from the moment So You Think You Can Dance ends to the moment it premieres again. They'd better hope Dollhouse is freaking amazing. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Golden Globes Highlights

Tonight's Golden Globes Award Ceremony left much to celebrate. The most notable being:

- KATE WINSLET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After countless fruitless award nominations, my favourite actress finally gets rewarded for her hard work and immeasurable talent. She wins Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her flawless portrayal of Hannah Schmitz in The Reader, giving a beautiful and humble acceptance speech.

Also, she's been adorable all night with her best friend and co-star Leonardo DiCaprio and her husband and director Sam Mendes at her side.

Oh, and SHE WINS ANOTHER ONE!!!!!! Best Actress in a Drama also goes to Kate for Revolutionary Road. She can't believe it. I can't believe that she manages to be so freaking awesome, even when freaking out.

- Mickey Rourke. His performance in The Wrestler was a tour de force like I've never seen. He wins Best Actor in a Drama and gives a lovely and not at all embarrassing speech.

- Heath Ledger rightfully wins Best Supporting Actor for playing The Joker. Everyone stands. Chris Nolan accepts on his behalf.

- Tina Fey wins yet again for 30 Rock and gives another flawlessly funny self-effacing speech. Jane Krakowski has a conniption when reading the envelope with Tina's name in it.

And when 30 Rock again wins Best Comedy Series, Creative PoohBah Tina lets Tracey Morgan accept the award instead of her talking again. He says that they had a deal that if Obama was elected Tracey'd get to speak for the show.

- Ricky Gervais congratulates "Winslet" by bringing up her guest spot on his sitcom Extras, in which she, playing herself, says that if you do a Holocaust movie you win awards.

- Emma Thompson jokingly offers to help an adorable Sally Hawkins as she nervously stumbles through her acceptance speech for Best Actress in a Comedy for Happy-Go-Lucky.

- Martin Scorsese presents the lifetime achievement award to his best friend, Steven Spielberg.

- and Kate Winslet. Did I say that already? Oh well, she's awesome, I'll say it again: KATE WINSLET FINALLY WINS AWARDS!!!

Breaking News for Dexter Fans

Co-stars Michael C Hall and Jennifer Carpenter (who play siblings Dexter and Debra Morgan) eloped last week on New Years Eve.

The couple has kept their relationship under the radar for over a year and a half and will be making their first official appearance together tonight at the Golden Globes (where Michael is nominated for Best Actor in a Television Drama).


Congratulations Michael and Jennifer! Don't worry, I don't think it's that weird that you play siblings.

Blondes have a lot of Saturday Night Fun


Tonight was Saturday Night Live's first episode of 2009, as well as their first episode since the departure of Amy Poehler. And they coped remarkably well, at least in my biased opinion. 

The very fact that Neil Patrick Harris was the host made me like the show. It could have been the worst episode in history and I wouldn't have minded because it's an hour and a half more of NPH than I would otherwise have had. 

The sketches were a mixed bag. Obviously, Penelope's always a big hit and the cameo by Liza Minelli was a treat. The Broadway sketch, of course, made me giddy. I found the Whopper Virgins sketch borderline offensive (mostly because it wasn't funny) but very much enjoyed the Two First Name Talk Show and the Frost/Nixon parody (Darrell Hammond's impressions really are remarkable). The cold open and monologue were both decent but the digital short went straight over my head. 

Seth Meyers handled "Weekend Update" with his usual ease, though it makes me sad to see him all alone. I hope they name Amy's replacement soon so Seth has someone to play off of. It was a Kenan-heavy episode so I could have done without the Charles Barkley impression but I enjoyed Will Forte's song (which is saying something, because I usually don't like him much at all). 

Taylor Swift was the musical guest. Now, for some unknown reason, I am on a bit of a Taylor Swift kick lately and I genuinely like the girl (from what I know of her). So though she performed pretty terribly on tonight's show (OK, make that REALLY terribly), she looked like she was having the time of her life, so I'm OK with it. She has catchy songs and is absolutely adorable (she played Annie in the Broadway sketch, jumped up and down after her first song, and did you see her hug Neil at the end?) I don't need flawless vocals. 

All in all, a good start to the year.