Saturday, January 30, 2010

Top 5 Lost Seasons

In anticipation of Tuesday's Lost premiere, here is a list of the top 5 seasons and some things to hate/love about them.

Countdown to the Best Seasons of Lost

5/ Season 4
While the fourth season did not have as many stand out moments, the ones it did have slightly out performed those of the last season. The big question this season revolved around the rescuers, who they were working for, what they wanted, and if they would in fact rescue anyone. The rescuers themselves were not all that interesting but they brought a great deal of unforgettable drama. Once they made it clear that Ben’s death was the ultimate goal, the others quickly became pawns in the game. The entire season built up to the rescue of the Oceanic 6 and began the elimination of flashbacks in exchange for flash forwards. While the back stories will be missed, the future ones were a nice replacement. Most notably of them was Kate and Jack’s future love and turmoil. Because of the Oceanic 6, season four became a pivotal turning point for the series, yet it just misses the bottom spot due to some less than exciting subplots.

Things to love about the season:
-The inevitable rescue of the Oceanic 6
-Flash forwards. All of the rescued survivors had intriguing futures, almost as interesting as their pasts.
-Future Sun who kicks a lot of ass and takes names.
-Claire goes missing. What happened?
-Jack and Kate finally get together
-Locke becomes the island leader
-The island is moved
-The Ocean 6’s return home
-The freighter blows up
-Sawyer’s sacrifice for Kate
-Sun’s emotional helicopter departure

Things to hate about the season:
-The addition of the rescue crew who were not all that interesting (Daniel excluded)
-Michael’s attempt at forgiveness
-The freighter folk. We get that they are working for Whidmore and want Ben dead but again they prove to be flat, lame characters.
-Premature deaths of Alex and Rousseau
-Jack and Kate don’t work out

4/ Season 5
Don’t get me wrong, no season of Lost really deserves the title of “worst season” because quite frankly the words “worst” and “Lost” should never be in the same sentence. That being said, season five was possible the weakest season. The majority of this latest season toggled between the surviving Oceanic 6 and the castaways who were still stranded on the island. The addition of new characters Daniel, Charlotte, and Miles proved to be lack luster at best. Daniel continued to be one of the only interesting newcomers on the island, while Charlotte’s death was, like so many other new additions, long overdue. Miles’ “I see dead people” shtick will obviously come in handy for the final season, but he never offered much minus the revelation of his father. But that was the major problem with this fifth year: everything clearly was building up for the final season. As with most great movie series, the penultimate story is never quite as good as the original or the finale (fingers crossed).

Things to love about the season:
-More badass Sun
-Kate’s newfound maternal self
-Glimpses into Rousseau’s island life
-Crazy time travel jumping
-Locke’s death
-Sawyer (his best season yet hands down)
-Sawyer and Juliet. Everything about their relationship made sense down to Juliet’s realization that she loved him more than he would ever love her. It may have never been spoken, but Juliet picked up on the hints and it was beautifully acted.
-Ben vs. Whidmore: WHO WILL WIN?!?!
-Kate’s favor for Sawyer
-Jacob is revealed
-The last 5 minutes=amazing.

Things to hate about the season:
-316ers. There are enough groups in the island without adding another mysterious lot…but we’ll give the writers the benefit of the doubt that something good is coming.
-Dharma Initiative. While the addition of Sawyer and company to the Initiative was an interesting plot development, the non-castaway members were all far too boring and not a single one proved to be an interesting character.

3/ Season 1
This was probably the hardest decision. While season 2 is without a doubt one of the best freshman seasons of any television show, it did not have a lot of stand alone moments. After being introduced to the survivors of Ocean 815, the audience is given a bit of background into each character. It isn’t until later seasons that their flashbacks become more complex and much more entertaining. Season one also introduced watchers to some of the greatest mysteries: smoke monster, powers of the island, Jack’s father appearing on the island, the yellow plane filled with Virgin Mary’s, Claire’s kidnapping, the numbers, the hatch, etc. We also quickly learned there were others on the island, and thus the never ending saga begins. Season one also ended with one of the best cliffhangers when the hatch is opened and the Others finally appear, taking Michael with them.

Things to love about the season:
-Kate’s flashbacks
-The never ending Locke debate: who is this guy? Why is he so creepy? Is he good or bad?
-Sun and Jin’s relationships (and Michael’s third wheel status).
-The Skate and Jate love triangle begins.
-Rousseau arrives!
-Black smoke/the Others impending arrival

Things to hate about the season:
-Boone’s death. Too soon!
-Charlie’s flashbacks (they get better in later seasons)
-Hurley. He way be a lovable buffoon but in season one he was always my least favorite.

2/ Season 2
While watching season two, the only thing I lost was interest in this show. Upon careful re-watching, interest in ten times regained. With the introduction of the tailies, an entire new dynamic was found among the plane crash survivors and while the new group didn’t last, save Bernard, they still impacted the show in some severe ways. The biggest shock in Lost history rocked the island when Michael killed two of the tailies and saved Ben from captivity. Which brings us to one of the greatest additions to season two: BEN! He played with our minds and taught us never to trust anyone on the island. Season 2 brought numerous twists and turns to the plot and ended in another amazing cliffhanger.

Things to love about the season:
-The introduction of two great characters: Ben and Desmond.
-The raft buddies. Michael, Jin, and Sawyer all got a bit closer after the raft was destroyed and they were an entertaining group to watch.
-Jin and Sun’s flashback to the beginning of their relationship (and her search for the missing wedding ring).
-The clever writing of “The Other 48 Days” which provided the necessary background for the tailies.
-Ana Lucia and Sawyer have some hot angry-sex.
-The mystery surrounded Henry Gail.
-Rose and Bernard finally get an amazing flashback.
-Michael’s missing days are revealed through flashbacks.
-The Others capture the losties.
-Locke stops entering the numbers.

Things to hate about the season:
-Echo’s “mightier than thou” attitude.
-Ana Lucia’s whinny nature.
-Ana Lucia killing Shannon…too soon!
-Those damn repetitive numbers.

1/ Season 3
Ask me tomorrow and I’ll probably have a different answer for my favorite season, but for now it’s definitely season three. This season had several amazing plot points but specifically the addition of Juliet and the focus on the Others places this season at the top. Juliet’s entire relationship with Jack and her subsequent banishment from the Others’ camp provided some of the best moments in Lost history. Furthermore, season three finally started giving viewers a bit more answers to questions such as who the Others are and what happened to Claire. At the end, the castaways are given a glimmer of hope for survival when a mysterious helicopter lands on the island with news of a boat awaiting to rescue them. The only problem? It’s not Penny’s boat and thus Charlie’s eventual sacrifice won’t actually save the survivors after all.

Things to love about the season:
-The opening few minutes when the civilized life is revealed to be happening on the island.
-Sun kills an Other.
-Juliet and Jack’s relationship.
-Jack takes control in Ben’s surgery and saves Kate and Sawyer in the process.
-Kate and Sawyer’s cage sex.
-Sawyer’s love for Kate is further developed and quite heartbreaking
-Mr. Eko dies (not soon enough!)
-Juliet helps Sawyer and Kate escape.
-Juliet begs Jack to kill Ben (notice the pattern of Juliet being in the best moments)
-Juliet’s flashback shows a connection to Ethan and her introduction to the island.
-Desmond’s prophecies (he can see the future/experience his flashbacks!).
-Locke blows up the submarine destroying Juliet and Jack’s hopes for survival.
-Juliet and Kate are handcuffed together and must help each other.
-Juliet’s entrance into the losties camp and her spy status.
-Juliet saves Claire and reveals the mystery of Claire’s kidnapping.
-Sun’s paternity test and possible impending death
-James kills his namesake
-Ben brings Lock to “Jacob”
-Charlie’s sacrifice for Claire

Things to hate about the season:
-Everything about Jack’s flashbacks in “Stranger in a Strange Land”
-Nikki and Paulo
-That's all I got!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Obsessions of The Week

Project Runway's Seth Aaron: Thank God Ping is finally gone, it leaves room for wonderful underrated designers like the edgy and classy Seth Aaron who stood behind his badly-reviewed design and lovable design partner this week even after Heidi gave him an easy out in placing the blame fully on Anthony. Overall, this season's crop of designers is truly sensational, there's more talent in almost every one of them than in 90% of last season's contestants.

Amy Acker and Reid Rosenthal: This week I interviewed 2 of the 2009 My TV Award nominees. Both were sweet and candid and a pleasure to talk to. The interviews will be posted in the near future.

Big Love: talking to Amy Acker about her favourite show made me really excited to get into this current season.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Merlin, an expert opinion

There's another new writer joining us at My TV today.

Young adult/fantasy author Alyxandra Harvey shares her insights into BBC's Merlin (which aired series one this summer on CTV and NBC).

For more from Alyx, visit her website at, and check out her new series "The Drake Chronicles" at

Without further ado, here's Alyx:

Before I even turned on the television, Merlin had my attention.

First, I'm a BBC bunny, so bring on the Merlin, the Robin Hood , the Pride and Prejudice and the fourteenth remake of Jane Eyre. Second, I've been reading about King Arthur since I was thirteen years old. Which actually brings me to the not-so-good qualities Merlin has, before the first scene even begins.

By no means unusual in the Arthurian oeuvre, but still wrong: 15th century plate armour in what is generally estimated to be 4th or 5th century Arthurian Britain. Ditto the big white stone castle. This is why my husband fears watching anything Arthurian or Robin Hood with me. I will yell, loudly, forcefully and with much glee, about historical details no one else cares about. Fair warning.

Merlin also has talking dragons, which I'm not fond of, even with my love of fantasy novels and movies. Also, a voice over. Just don't like those. Generally speaking, it's over-explanation. I want the information from the story and the characters. That's what they're there for.

And yet, despite these things, I really enjoy the series and I am eagerly awaiting the third season. There are reasons for that as well.

To begin with, the sets are gorgeous and yes, this is important. In any historical or fantasy show, atmosphere is key. And Merlin has stones that look like stone and not plaster, and the castle, for all my complaining about time periods, is grand--and not a cardboard cut out! What a nice treat. The props and furniture are decadent and detailed. In fact, if someone could send over Arthur's entire bedroom set to furnish my farmhouse, that would be great.

As for the story, with magic being such an integral part of the legends, I think it was very smart of the writers to make said magic forbidden. We instantly get more mystery, conflict and character depth; It lends a sympathy to Merlin and Morgana (I'm firmly in the "Morgan Le Fay was framed" camp, by the way). The corn dolly was a nice touch and very appropriate for ancient British magical lore. And the special effects are simple and effective (the whirlwind, glowing pendant, freeze frame, for example), never jarring you out of the moment with obviously flat CGI.

Since Merlin is new to Camelot, and so are we, we get to be introduced to the characters and the traditions along with him, furthering our empathy. Colin Morgan gives a very strong performance in the title role, with an endearing quirkiness and none of the cheesiness which can be a pitfall of any fantastical production. He's real. We know, within the first five minutes, that Uther Pendragon (Buffy’s Anthony Stewart Head) is not meant to be a particularly sympathetic king, which is a nice change. And the choice of playing Arthur and Merlin as young characters gives the writers so much more to play with. I especially liked the line in the first episode: "And how long have you been training to be a prat?" and the subsequent laughter, it gave a very genuine feel to the connection between Merlin and Arthur. Also: "There must be another Arthur, because this one's an idiot." Brilliant, really.

There's loads of dramatic irony, of course, since we know the story even if the characters don't. Guinevere can say she wouldn't want to marry Arthur all she likes, but we know she's going to, eventually. The familiar characters are all there: Merlin, Arthur, Uther, Morgana, Guinevere, even Gaius who is new to the story but fills the more traditional Merlin/Old Man Guide role.

And the writers have a real sense of tradition, they seem to really respect the mythology they’re playing with. I can't tell you what a relief it is to have a character whose song is meant to be beautiful and magical, actually BE beautiful and magical. Lady Helen/Vengeful Mother's (Eve Myles) voice in the first episode is strong enough to carry the scene and the choice of faintly Gaelic words is perfect. The consequence of her magical song is very "Sleeping Beauty" and very like some of the paintings within the Celtic Twilight/Resurgence of Arthurian Lore movement in the late 1800's. It was a pleasant layer to have that recognized in some small way.

By the end of the first episode, we have a sense of the major plotlines and character arcs: Merlin learning to use magic as his rite of passage, the stress of that secret, Arthur becoming more fully rounded as a person, the burgeoning friendship between the two, Arthur and Guinevere's relationship and Uther's growing tyranny.

The story of Merlin may not be an unknown journey, but we know we're going to like it anyway.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bye Betty! I'm Glad To Have Known You.

Well, not you exactly, but your friends and family have made wonderful additions to my weekly TV schedule now for 4 seasons.

ABC just announced that this will be Ugly Betty's final season on the air. The series will have time to wrap up their 20 episode order and say a proper goodbye before disappearing forever.

While I do believe it's about time for Betty's story to wrap, it's sad to think that we'll never get to watch Justin grow up or see Mark accomplish his dream of being an editor (well, I'm still hoping that'll happen before the end of the season).

Congratulations to the cast and crew on a strong run and I hope to see many of those brilliant actors again soon (Marc Idelicato, Michael Urie, Becky Newton and Ana Ortiz each deserve a show of their very own and I'm looking forward to America Fererra being on film screens for years to come).

New Season, New Reviewer, Same Old Chuck

Hey My TV Fans,
Today we're introducing a new writer to the site. With a review of Chuck's 3rd season so far, here's Tessa Cernik:

Chuck is back and the same as ever. Not to say that that's necessarily a bad thing. In fact, considering the current state of NBC, it might be nice to see a little stability over on the peacock network. But then again, wasn't it change we were promised? The end of season two brought great opportunities for Chuck to change it up: our hero got updated with a new kung fu-loaded intersect, he quit the Buy More, he was asked to be a real spy, his relationship with Sarah was about to take off – everything seemed dandy and full of possibility. But this season’s premiere was a very explicit “Just kidding!”

Don't get me wrong, I love the Buy More and all its crazy characters; Jeffster and Big Mike give great comic relief to Chuck's more dramatic love/family plots. But I was excited to see what the writers would do with a hero freed of the Nerd Herd cover. Having Chuck on missions in other locations with a constantly changing cover could have been really fun, especially with his newly acquired skills.

However, the writers clearly chose familiar characters over new experiences, which, I suppose, is comforting to a certain degree. It was nice to see Morgan back, but did he really have to fail as a chef? Was it necessary to have Big Mike promoted to take his old job as store manager? Do Sarah and Casey still have to be Chuck’s handlers?

Chuck’s relationships with his friends and family really are the heart of the show. Nothing could be better than seeing the perfect brother/sister dynamic between Ellie and Chuck (does that really exist?!) and having Captain Awesome in on Chuck’s secret adds a really fun new level to their relationship. Devon has already had two “spy missions” this season which threw Chuck’s spying abilities into a new perspective, especially when they play up Devon and Chuck’s physical disparities.

It is troubling though to see Sarah and Chuck fall into the trap of the job/love conundrum. It's been clear for years that both characters love and care for each other and want to be together, but work will always be the third party in their relationship. Hopefully the writers will be able to avoid the Booth/Bones-awkwardly-drawn-out-love-story bit. Well, avoid it from now on I mean. Maybe the addition of Kristin Kreuk to the sexual tension soup will allow for feelings to finally be acted upon, because, really, who doesn’t want to see Chuck in a relationship?

Overall, Chuck continues to be true to the nerdy charm and comic energy that's been its bread and butter for 2 seasons already. But the possibility of this amazing show falling into a rut looms ever closer. Character development really is just as important as character continuity. Let's move forward people.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Terrifying Reign of Blonde Tyranny

After last night's rose ceremony there remains only one brunette in the Bachelor mansion. Incidentally, she is the only bachelorette left who I can tolerate, I may even go so far as to say I like the girl (Gia) but overall, the pattern of crazy that seems to follow Jake around is pretty astounding. And, I would argue, somehow tied to the copious amounts of bleach that has seeped into these girls' brains over years of dye jobs.

Sure, I'm not crazy about Vienna. She seems fake, she's got terrible dark roots and fake tan lines and has yet to say anything at all that indicates intelligence. But Vienna is far from the villain of the house. In fact, no matter how terrible she may be (and I'm certainly not ruling out that she is every bit as terrible as the other girls say), the other girls have no right to treat her the way they do.

Starting with Corey's comedy act, which the Barbies all laughed at maniacally behind Vienna's back and culminating in Ali's bizarrely intense reaction to Jake's final rose this week, the show's non-Gia population have proven themselves to be outright cruel.

My early favourites, Ali and Tenley sank to the bottom of my list this week as they spent at least 75% of their screentime complaining, threatening and mouthing off about Vienna. Instead of being pleased that she received a rose herself this week, Ali went on the warpath, cursing and crying that Vienna should not still be there.

Seems to me that Jake needn't worry about Vienna's true nature so much as about Ali's secret sociopathic tendencies. Let it go, man! So what if he likes a girl you don't, that doesn't mean he doesn't like you. And yes, you are prettier, if that's what you're worried about.

So I've got my fingers crossed for Gia. Not that I think she's got a shot in hell at winning but the longer she's around the less time I'll have to spend listening to Ali's cute little mouth spout random bits of hatred.

On The Bachelorette last season there was a fair share of meatheads who did things like obey the "man code" but there was Reid, and Michael, and Kiptyn and Ed, and yes, even Jake to counteract the gross. Last season I couldn't wait to see which of the lovely guys they picked as the next bachelor. I was even excited to see who they picked from Jason Mesnik's impressive pile of rejects (in retrospect, Jillian wasn't half bad). But this crop of girls be crazy and this season, little more than an unpleasant middle school flashback.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Attention 'My Boys' Fans

If you're a fan of TBS' lovable comedy about a guy's girl and her guys, you should really proclaim it to the world by becoming a fan of the show on facebook. On the show's fan page you can find out helpful tidbits (like the show's March premiere date), do all the usual facebook fun stuff (discussion boards, show info, etc...) and follow Jamie Kaler (Mike)'s frequent updates from the set (including fabulous behind the scenes photos like this one of him and Reid Scott aka Brando jamming on the piano). If you weren't sold on the fact that My Boys has one of the most fun ensembles in showbiz, let Jamie convince you otherwise.

PS: and while you're at it, become a fan of My TV on facebook to get our posting updates, share photos of your favourite shows and take part in our discussion boards. we're closing in on 6000 fans.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Good Grey's

I love it when Grey's Anatomy is good. In a week when Private Practice made me want to tear my hair out, Grey's Anatomy made me smile.

Let's start with Karev. I always liked Izzie so I've spent 6 seasons rooting for her to be with my favourite character, Alex. But in the past year I've realized that I don't remember why I liked her. She's become selfish and hurtful, all the while Karev become more heroic every week. For him to finally put an end to their saga this week was daring but it encompassed their opposing character arcs perfectly: on his way upwards towards redemption and her way downwards to isolation they met for a brief time in the middle.

And as I realize that my love for Izzie is gone, I find it replaced by the most surprising of people: Meredith Grey. I've never liked her. I find her voice whiny and her hair wispy and wrist entire too unsubstantial. But since the post-it note wedding, Meredith seems to be so much more than the juvenile "dirty mistress" who once moped around the halls of Seattle Grace. I think the difference is happiness. While "broody" may work for some characters, I prefer my Meredeth not so "dark and twisty".

In similar news, I'm on the McDreamy bandwagon. I feel like they've taken him off his pedestal, effectively making him actually sympathetic. By turning the very phrase "McDreamy" into a joke, Grey's Anatomy has made Derek Shepherd into a person.

As for the people who were always people, Bailey's triumphant argument that the chief has checked out was small but perfect; Christina's plight to have love and learning was engrossing, complex and relatable in an odd Christina-esque way; and Arizona, Mark and Callie stole the show once again.

Easily the most enjoyable aspect of the show has, for months, been the sweet relationship between the always incredibly Callie and the wonderful new character of Arizona. This week was no different as Arizona overcame her desire to keep the relationship "sexy" to let it be ugly and real. But for years now perhaps the most engaging relationship on the show has been between Callie and Mark. They had little more than one short scene together this week but it fully captured everything that makes them wonderful. Their conversational shorthand is so specific it's like they have their own language, their chemistry is unparalleled and Mark was the only person who knew how to give Callie exactly what she needed. Their scene was simple and perfect and only made better by the complimentary scene between Arizona and Lexi, looking in from the outside on the best friends as they comforted one another.

And Mark and Lexi? They made for a great ending to the episode as they each confessed their transgressions. And Mark, like Karev before him, finally stood up and said, in more eloquent words, "I needed you and you weren't there", finally pointing out the real difference between them. On the surface, Lexi is too good for bad boy Mark, but when it comes down to the clutch, it's Mark who'll show up to comfort a friend who has chicken pox and Lexi who'll run scared when the man she loves is in crisis.

The surgery-of-the-week story about a singer who couldn't live without singing perfectly touched upon the other stories of the episode, a great feat.

So Thursday night TV this week came out on the plus side of the balance. For every awful minute of Private Practice, Grey's made up the difference. Decent offerings from Community and 30 Rock compensated for an Office clip show and The Deep End was mediocre but far from offensive. Project Runway and Models of the Runway are still sitting on my PVR but it's a rare week when they disappoint.

Pilot Watch: The Deep End

A ton of great guest stars (including the erstwhile Harold Abbott, Ellis Grey and Andy McPhee) couldn't distract from the many MANY problems that plagued The Deep End's first episode. Then again, Grey's Anatomy's first couple episodes were next to unwatchable in my opinion and it turned into a monster hit (and, at times, a thoroughly enjoyable watch).

Clearly little more than a desperate attempt to replicate the success of Grey's, The Deep End is an experiment in transplantation. What if "the network that brought you Grey's Anatomy" brings in a production team that has never worked on Grey's Anatomy and asks them to replicate the basic plot and tone of Grey's Anatomy and plops the product into the most popular TV setting after a hospital (a law firm)- great idea right? They can do pretty, happy things that Grey's does like have overly attractive people all sleep with each other, no matter how unprofessional it is and they can use heavy handed metaphors like drowning to make sure the audience really understands how hard it is on these poor brilliant kids in their first year at their dream job. The whole ordeal lacks any imagination of any kind.

Then again, I do really like Billy Zane and Rachelle Lefevre (she has incomparably pretty hair, that's important on shows like Grey's Ana... sorry, The Deep End). And I will watch Tina Majorino in absolutely anything (predictably, she's already the highlight of the show). I'm excited to see that Matt Long has a job (in related news, the Bobby to his Jack is also working, starring in the upcoming film "The Lightning Thief", which is just further proof of the stupidest cancellation in WB history). On screen, Norbert Leo Butz never maintains the appeal that he has on stage but I like him enough to not really care. And the creator of the show spent a significant amount of time working on How I Met Your Mother so he can't be completely lacking in funny. Right?

In conclusion, this show is pretty bad. And I will watch it every single week until it gets cancelled, which I don't see happening any time soon. Resistance is futile.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pilot Watch: Life Unexpected

So, the daughter (Lux: stupidest name in the world) is pretty vile and it falls into way too many traditional TV traps (having the characters fall back into bed together, that obnoxious "snarky sarcastic thing" that someone clearly thinks makes the characters sound clever, childish adult characters, etc...) but Life Unexpected is not unexpectedly charming.

The show's principal virtue is its engaging cast. My TV favourite Kristoffer Polaha has finally landed himself a role that shows off his incredibly charm to its full extent. Who knows, with such a strong opening, Life Unexpected may be a rare Polaha vehicle to make it to a second season (previous beloved-but-cancelled gems include Miss Guided and Valentine). The other male anchor of the series is Kerr Smith, someone who earned my love in Dawson's Creek and kept it through stints on Justice and Eli Stone. As the fiancee of the mother character, Smith plays the master of the witty banter and the true grown up among the grown ups of the series. Shiri Appleby is acceptable as Cate, the sudden mother and Brittany Robertson will hopefully grow to be unoffensive as Lux.

The pacing is very Gilmore girls and the tone is a little too forcibly current but sometimes those 2 combine for an excellent effect. The bond between Baze and daughter Lux is really well defined already just with simple scenes like them watching YouTube videos and the relationship between Cate and her fiancee/radio co-host Ryan is centered on comfortable banter. Baze's friends' distinct and likable presences shows promise for an excellent supporting cast and the premise allows for easy plot development.

All in all, though it's plagued with flaws, I expect Life Unexpected to hit a chord with a young audience that feels left out of the loop with shows like Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries as the principle teen-oriented fare. I think it just might shape up to be something I look forward to for years to come.

Friday, January 22, 2010

4 and Out

It seems 4 is the limit for Rob Lowe, who's just announced that he's leaving Brothers & Sisters at the end of this season.

Citing some crap about being "underutilized", Lowe is currently in talks with ABC for his own show, on which he will have more of a central role.

Ensemble work is clearly not Lowe's forte since he also departed The West Wing at the end of its 4th season because he was not playing a large enough role.

The character of Robert is expected to be written out rather than killed off so that Lowe can continue to guest star, which means there must be trouble ahead for Kitty and Robert, the couple that's only just renewed their wedding vows and declared themselves unshakable. Word on the street is that this means the return of my beloved (my tv award nominee) Matt Letscher as Kitty's crush, which I'm sure will soften the blow.

Nevertheless, Lowe's departure is sure to leave a hole in the Walker family dynamic. Luckily, the show has such a strong ensemble that the other (dare I say it, superior) in-laws can step up to fill the screen time in his place (here's lookin' at you Scotty!) and Robert was a late character addition so is not actually integral to the balance of the series.

I doubt Lowe's new project will make it far but if it does pop up somewhere down the line in a pilot season I'll be curious to see if he can make it, someday, to a season 5.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Casting News

Grey's fans get excited for February because 2 TV All-Stars are coming to play the younger versions of The Chief and Ellis Grey. The star-crossed lovers will be played by Angel's J August Richards and Studio 60's Sarah Paulson. (Which brings the Shondaland/Buffyverse crossover count to 7, unless I've missed one).

In other exciting casting news, the most predictable thing in the world is happening over at Glee- they've got Neil Patrick Harris coming on board for May sweeps (perfectly, in the episode being directed by Joss Whedon). The song and dance comedy master is the perfect man for a job on Glee.


Billy Baldwin is set to play Serena's absentee father on upcoming Gossip Girl episodes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tyce Diorio Responds to His My TV Award Nomination

"Thank you so much. What an honor! I love Canada"

-Tyce Diorio
My TV Award Nominee: Best Choreography- "The Woman's Work" (So You Think You Can Dance)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What Happened to Addy?

If you go to iTunes and download the My TV Podcast Grey's Anatomy Special, you'll hear me and my co-host Tessa in early 2008 talking about a Grey's Anatomy that is 4 and a half seasons old and a Private Practice still hobbling its way through its first season. There's a point at which we try to determine our favourite characters in the world of Seattle Grace then spend quite a substantial bit of time proclaiming our love of Addison Montgomery.

I remember, back in 2008, an Addison who was strong and funny and smart, who was quirky and compassionate and mature. The Addy I remember was a teacher, she put others first, she tried to overcome her faults, she had a head firmly on her shoulders. Kate Walsh came into Seattle Grace as the season-ending twist that broke up Grey's central couple and by the time she left for LA she'd made Addison one of the most beloved characters the series had. At least that's how I remember it.

But these days I can't stand the Addison of Private Practice. Every decision she makes, every revelation she shares (boy, this week's was a doozy- or did we know about her NY pregnancy before and I've just blocked it out?), every preachy speech she makes makes me like her even less (even her hair is less likable these days).

Now it's no secret that I just don't like Private Practice as a show and it's also perfectly clear that I'm not a Meredith fan so maybe I was cheering more against Meredith than for Addison in the early days. But I have a sneaky suspicion that Addison hasn't undergone some horrible character transformation. I've got a feeling that she was never the girl I thought she was. Could it be me that's changed? Maybe what I valued in Addy before just isn't as important to me now as the virtues that she never possessed. Or is it true that she's grown pathetic over the years, trading in her salmon-coloured teaching scrubs for an easily-removable business skirt and a set of un-sensible pumps?

Either way, as I made my way through this week's Private Practice I found myself thinking about that old podcast and the days when my favourite character was Addison Montgomery, wondering what is was that changed my mind.

Unbelievably Sad News

Michael C Hall, star of Dexter and Six Feet Under and simply the best television actor of his generation, recently announced that he has Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Hall, 38, is receiving treatment for the cancer, which was caught early and is very treatable. Word is he is currently in remission and is expected to be alright. (Just in time for the Golden Globes tomorrow, where he had better win for best actor in a television drama).

Our thoughts are with you Michael, please be ok.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2010 Spring TV Schedule

It's Here! The spring TV season is among us so we at My TV have made you a handy dandy (and pretty, if we do say so ourselves) schedule of what we're watching and when and where you can find it for yourselves (which you absolutely should do). Click on the image for a larger version.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beau Bridges Responds To His My TV Award Nomination

"Thanks so much for acknowledging my guest performance on Desperate Housewives. Marc Cherry wrote a great episode, and it was so much fun working with all the wonderfully talented ladies of Wisteria Lane."

- Beau Bridges
My TV Award Nominee: Best Male Guest Star (Desperate Housewives)

Monday, January 11, 2010

To 100 and Beyond: the creators talk HIMYM

This week I got the opportunity to participate in a conference call with Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, the creators and executive producers of one of my favourite shows on television, How I Met Your Mother. This coming Monday is the 100th episode of the series so Craig and Carter took some time to speak to reporters about the upcoming episode, the amazing talents of the cast and everything else How I Met Your Mother. In between sweet buddy banter and a well-placed joke about buying weed off one of the reporters back in college, Craig and Carter shared the following info:

The Episode-
The 100th is the most that’s ever been packed into a single episode, everybody gets something fun. The two main stories belong to Ted and Barney. First off, Ted meets the first of 3 highly anticipated guest stars (Rachel Bilson) who may or may not be the mother of his children (I’m going to take that to mean she isn’t). Apparently Bilson’s character is very important to Ted’s overall arc and the producers would anticipate having her back in future episodes.

The episode’s other 2 guest stars, Tim Gunn and Stacey Keibler, factor into Barney’s story: in his quest to nail a hot bartender who hates guys who wear suits, Barney has to choose between his libido and his motto (“suit up”). The result is, of course, a musical fantasy sequence.

The Musical Number-
When asked if the success of Glee has anything to do with wanting to do a musical number on the show, Craig and Carter explain that they met while in a band so their love of music is in everything they do (fun fact: the theme music is actually from their song “Hey Beautiful”). Also, they have a strong cast of singers (they call both Neil Patrick Harris and Josh Radnor “song and dance men”, though Josh is certainly more secretly so than Neil) so when better than the 100th episode to have some fun with music? As fans of Glee, Craig and Carter say that the FOX show has made it clear that musicals can be done today on TV. And the number is choreographed by (My TV Nominee, Glee choreographer) Zach Woodlee, so it’s like they and Glee are in this together.

The number involved 65 dancers in suits who showed up at 5am to learn their steps. What usually shoots in 3 days took 4 for the 100th episode because 2 full days were spent on the musical. A 50 piece string orchestra was conducted by the series’ composer (who had never conducted before) and the song itself was composed by Craig and Carter (who’d only ever composed cute little songs for the show before).

Though the rest of the cast is game to sing whenever (Jason Segel sang in “Slapsgiving” and Cobie Smulders is Robin Sparkles) Alyson Hannigan is so shy about her voice that they have to arrange the musical elements around her so the most she ever has to do is “speaksing”. Craig and Carter swear that if you catch her just singing for fun on set she actually has a beautiful lilting soprano but they’re sure they’ll never get it on camera.

And speaking of Alyson singing, the guys consider “Once More With Feeling” to be a perfect TV musical episode so the thought of doing a full episode and having to live up to the standard Buffy set is very daunting. They joke that maybe they’ll do a How I Met Your Mother Broadway musical when the show is all over, apparently that’s more likely than them ever doing a full musical episode- and someone pitched the idea of doing it on ice, which seemed to be the winning concept. As for the musical number in the 100th episode, Craig and Carter say “an Emmy [for best original song]?, we want a Pulitzer!”.

Neil’s Many Talents-
Of course, when talking about How I Met Your Mother, you have to talk about the show’s biggest name. And since that name got substantially bigger this year, some reporters asked the questions I’m sure Craig and Carter are always answering “how much did you know Neil could do when you cast him?”

When they were casting the show 5 years ago, everything the creators knew about the singing, dancing, magic-doing, tightrope-walking, “showbiz ninja” (as they called him) that is Neil Patrick Harris was from Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. Sure they’d seen Doogie Howser and he did a 110% commitment shoulder roll in his Barney audition but Neil pretty much got the part based on the stoner movie. Now the Emmy-nominated jack of all trades is one of TV’s biggest names, stealing every episode of the show and even directing #101.

How I Met Your Mother History-
The title of the show was the first thing that came about. Craig and Carter didn’t know if it was a book, a movie or a TV show but they knew it was a universal concept that any audience could relate to.

One of the show’s most famous elements, the slap bet, was apparently something they used to do in high school “in lieu of having girlfriends and lives”. When they first put it in the show they were expecting to get letters of complaint; when they wrote in the slap bet board game they were expecting to get sued, instead they got requests from fans asking where it was available for purchase.

Craig and Carter also shared their favourite episodes and moments from the history of the series so far. They say that the season 1 episode “Drumroll Please” set the romantic tone that they all love about the series and that the final moments of the first season after Ted gets Robin then finds Marshall out in the rain was when they realized the true potential of the show.

The Future of the Series-
The second half of the season will feature lots of guest stars including Carrie Underwood, Amanda Peet and Yankee players.

Apparently the Monday after the Superbowl is home to a pretty epic Barney episode so be sure not to miss that.

As for the series as a whole, they hope not to introduce the titular “mother” anytime soon. Though they recognize that there are stories to be told after Ted meets his future wife and that all series that have long runs like 10 seasons have to move forward into new phases, to the creators, meeting the mother would signal the end. They say there are 4 other interesting characters and each of them has an interesting journey to enjoy before Ted meets the resolution of his.

The writers joke about all the people demanding that they introduce the mother character, “it’s like watching MASH and saying ‘gah, end this war already’”, one says, as the other quickly responds “because being single in New York is EXACTLY like being at war in Korea”.

How I Met Your Mother is nominated for six 2009 My TV Awards: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy (Neil Patrick Harris), Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy (Cobie Smulders), Best Writing for a Comedy (Craig Thomas & Carter Bays, “Definitions”), Best Comedy Series and The Be-My-Best-Friend Award (Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan).

The 100th episode “Girls vs. Suits” airs tonight (Monday, January 11) at 8pm on CBS

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Doll of a Doll

Over at My TV we live and breath Joss Whedon. Ask any of our writers and I would bet that at least two of his shows are in the top 10 on all of our lists.

For me, Buffy and Angel will always hold the top spot (the only non-Whedon series coming close would be Six Feet Under) and Firefly definitely earns a spot in my favorites, but up until recently Dollhouse's position wasn't so secure.

With a premature cancellation, I found myself watching less and less of Whedon's newest offspring. But throw in a winter vacation and some intense alone time and I'm almost caught up. Well, Whedon you've done it again: I'm overwhelmingly hooked. It's a shame that Dollhouse only has a few episodes left because I really could see this show growing. The only flaw at the moment is the speedy plot which was clearly done to bring some sort of closure to the series.

But instead of getting into the details about why I love Dollhouse (don't worry I'm sure once I finish the latest two episodes a full report will follow), I'd like to send out a quick plea to casting directors world wide.

Whedon has found the next big television/movie star/heartthrob: Enver Gjokaj. As the doll Victor, Enver steals every scene and looks good while doing so. Most recently his acting chops have surprised with with a spree of dramatic and comedic turns. After a remote wipe the serial killer persona in Victor switched places with Echo's seductive college female and the result was the most hysterical club dance scene ever. Watch as Victor flirts with men and shakes his booty. Watch as Victor dances better than I will ever dance. Watch as he attempts to seduce a local straight college boy and then punch him in the face. After that turn, Victor is implanted with the personality of Topher and Enver does a spot-on impression which is so realistic (and funny) that it's almost frightening. In the most recent episode I watched, "Stop Loss", Victor is released from his contract with the Dollhouse but quickly joins his old troopers in the Rossum army where he is implanted with a chip forcing him to robotically do as they say. With a little help from Sierra and Echo, he escapes the army but not after turning in some amazing dramatic work.

It's just a shame that the Emmy's are so predictable and never really awknowledge a show like Dollhouse. While it would never be nominated for dramatic series, there are some high quality actors, like Enver, who deserve much needed credit. So what does Enver have in store next? So far just a small role in a movie as Robert De Niro's younger self. Seriously? That's it! Casting directors, now's your chance to get him while he's still relatively unknown and always amazing.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Heroes and Villains

After the actual list was leaked weeks ago, CBS has officially announced the cast of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. Overall, they did a fairly good job at selecting some of the most likable and hated castaways. Check out the cast below complete with a countdown of the ten villains and ten heroes I'm looking forward to watching this season. Season 20 premieres February 11th.

The Villains
10. Tyson Apostol
Previous Season(s): Tocantins
All-Star Status: He won a couple of individual immunity challenges, aligned himself with an even more despicable character (Coach), and was mostly just a jerk to others he thought had no power like Sierra
My TV Take: Tyson had himself a strong alliance with JT and Coach, but his physical strength in the challenges cost him the game. While Tyson may not be the best choice for this new all-stars season, his previous blind side may prove interesting if he makes it to the merge against JT. As long as he keeps the rude insults to himself, I'll be happy...but I highly doubt that will happen.
Sole Survivor Chances: Tyson probably has a decent shot at the merge, but if he continues to do well at challenges and keeps up with the poor attitude, he won't last much longer than that.

9. Sandra Diaz-Twine
Previous Season(s): Pearl Island
All-Star Status: She was the sole survivor of her season. Not sure exactly how that happened.
My TV Take: Sandra may have been outspoken but she wasn't exactly much of a villain. Her spy skills and manipulation of others' paranoia helped her reach the final 4 spot during her season, but the final 2 spot was simply due to the fact that she wasn't perceived as a threat. Sandra famously told the jury that her strategy was quite simple: as long as it wasn't here, she didn't care who left.
Sole Survivor Chances: Either one of two situations will happen. First, Sandra may be on the first eliminated simply because she won before. The other option is that she tones down the attitude and once again slides her way to the merge and possibly even the final 4. Sandra has zero chances of actually winning this season because I don't see her being a huge power player and these castaways will respect the outwitting over everything else.

8. Randy Bailey
Previous Season(s): Gabon
All-Star Status:
Randy's main strategy was to bully others who wouldn't join his alliance. He had a few solid alliances and did fairly well in the competitions, but his dramatic nature earned him an all-star spot. He's also infamous for playing a fake immunity idol which Sugar made Bob give to him. My TV Take: Randy was one of the hardest castaways to watch. It's one thing to be rude as a strategy but it's another thing to be rude solely to hurt others. Chances are the bigger personalities will overshadow him and hopefully he'll prove to be less annoying this season. Perhaps his ongoing feud with Sugar will add some spice to the show if they both make it to the merge.
Sole Survivor Chances:
Again, Randy may not be seen as such a threat since his strategy was never his strong suit. This means his chances of making at least the merge are pretty good. He won't win the game because, like Sandra, his strategy is not strong enough to gain respect from others.

7. Danielle DiLorenzo
Previous Season(s): Panama
All-Star Status:
Danielle had a few key moves early on in her season, most notably aligning with her female tribe mates to vote out a few of the stronger men. After the merge, she created a brief alliance with Cirie and Aras. Her alliance was quickly destroyed when she and Cirie were tied for a vote resulting in her defeating Cirie in a fire-making contest. She made it to the finale two and was defeated by Aras. None of these things really deserve all-star status, or villain status for that matter, but she may be an interesting addition.
My TV Take:
My first reaction was Danielle who? She's probably the least deserving player of the 20 to return for the game, but that doesn't mean she won't fight hard.
Sole Survivor Chances:
Remember the last time an all-star returned and everyone questioned why she was considered an all-star? Yup, that was Amber and she won the million dollars. I'd say Danielle's chances are completely unpredictable but the underdog just might pull through.

6. Jerri Manthey
Previous Season(s): Australian Outback and All-Stars
All-Star Status:
When you think of Survivor villains, Jerri's name is typically the first one to to come up. Her strategy is sub-par and her strength is not much of an asset, but being Survivor's reigning bitch gets you a spot in the all-stars.
MY TV Take:
Jerri is pretty much considered a villain because of her history of conflicts with fellow cast members. She couldn't shake the audience hatred in the All-Star season and even walked out of the reunion because of it. Jerri has promised to bring back the bitch from Season 2 so maybe she'll be more interesting during her third go.
Sole Survivor Chances:
Slim to none. Jerri continues to be hated by audience members and fellow cast members alike. I don't see her making it to the merge.

5. Ben "Coach" Wade
Previous Season(s): Tocantins
All-Star Status:
Coach was both a strategic player, a decent competitor, and a huge weirdo. He constantly feuded with others and brought tons of drama. He also knew how to form great alliances, but wasn't so good at keeping them. One of Coach's best moves was creating a lie about Sierra's attempt to form an alliance. While Stephen and JT eventually realized it was a lie, the drama caused focused attention on Sierra and Coach managed to stay in another few days.
My TV Take:
Putting Coach as number five was the most painful thing about this blog. I hated Coach with a passion but he will likely make for some good television. Had his alliance with Debbie and Tyler actually lasted, he probably would have won the million.
Sole Survivor Chances:
Coach is bound to rub people the wrong way. I truly believe he won't attempt to make enemies but that's just his personality. Chances are he will be one of the first to form an alliance and my guess is it will fail again.

4. Rob Mariano
Previous Season(s): Marqueses and All-Stars
All-Star Status: Rob is the epitome of an all-star. His cocky attitude combined with his strategic skills earned him a spot on every single all-star that will ever be made (one can assume). His biggest claim to fame: convincing the opposing team to keep Amber with a simple sentence...seriously, he's that good.
My TV Take:
So excited to see Rob back and without Amber (who is home with their newborn awww). He is the perfect villain to have on this season and he's guaranteed to make for some good television. I only hope he lasts long enough to make a real impression.
Sole Survivor Chances:
Rob might have to do the unthinkable and befriend some castaways this time around. His very public relationship with Amber means he won't be flirting his way into any alliances this year. Rob's best bet would be to grab a hold of the new guy and make a final 2 pact (RUSsELL+ROB=AMAZING). If he can cement a strong alliance, Rob will go far, but his attitude will prevent him from winning.

3. Courtney Yates
Previous Season(s): China
All-Star Status:
Courtney accomplished a rare task by forming an alliance early on which stuck til the final four. She got into some trouble with her alliance after continuously pleading to oust Jean-Robert due to her own personal distaste for him. Courtney also barely deserves the title of all-star but she was one of the more enjoyable aspects of Survivor: China.
My TV Take:
Courtney's good choice in friendships and excellent choice in enemies gained my respect from day one of Survivor: China. While she didn't necessarily play the game until a few episodes in, she still was a riot to watch. I predict during her second go around, Courtney will up the game play.
Sole Survivor Chances:
She placed second in her season and gained a few votes because of her brutal honesty. If she can find a healthy balance between honesty and manipulation then she might do fairly well. I have a feeling her future in the game might rely on Russel. He may take her in as the new Natalie or they might clash causing her to be sent home. I'd still wager that Courtney makes it pretty far as a low key player.

2. Parvati Shallow
Previous Season(s): Cook Islands and Fans vs. Favorites
All-Star Status:
In Cook Islands, Parvati flirted her way to the merge and showed off a few strategic moves. Her game play was enhanced during her second time around, when she formed a powerful alliance with Ozzy, Amanda, and James. Her defining move came when Cirie convinced her to blindside the biggest threat and Ozzy was sent packing. This eventually lead to her winning the title of sole survivor.
My TV Takes:
On a strictly personal level, Parvati is probably the person I'm most excited about. I would argue that she has the third best strategic moves out of all of the returning castaways. Parvati manages to form strong alliances yet make gigantic splashes wherever she goes. I suspect this time she'll be weary of reforming an alliance with Cirie but her and Amanda might get back together. Sole Survivor Chances: Sadly, I doubt Parvati will do well. She won a million already which places a huge target on her back, and shes proven to be completely untrustworthy after turning on Ozzy. Even Amanda would be dumb if she didn't at least have some reluctance in trusting Parvati. If the players are smart (and I think they are) they will eliminate the largest threat in this game: Parvati.

1. Russell Hantz
Previous Season(s): Samoa
All-Star Status:
Russell placed second in his season but earned the title of the best Survivor contestant ever. Whether it was finding multiple immunity idols without clues, forming a plethora of alliances, or evicting every single jury member, Russell always found a way to dominate the game.
My TV Take:
Russell is the major wild card this season. Samoa did not air until after Heroes vs. Villains began to shoot so nobody really knows anything about Russell. This is a huge advantage for him because he can essentially play the exact same game. Russell, no matter how powerful, would never have made it to the finals without his core alliance so what I'm even more interested in is seeing who he chooses this time.
Sole Survivor Chances:
Russell has a pretty good chance of doing well only because nobody knows who he is. If he tunes down the strategy for a few votes and gains respect from his tribe mates, he can completely repeat last season and take over. With so many players assuming they are the best, Russell will easily fit in and probably do a good job of hiding his plotting.

The Heroes

10. Rupert Boneham
Previous Season(s): Pearl Islands and All-Stars
All-Star Status:
While his game play remains forgettable, Rupert is the most loved contestant to date. He won the million dollar award for Survivor: America's Tribal Council.
My TV Take:
The world may love Rupert but I surely do not. More than any other contestant, I find trouble seeing what America sees in this boring man. Sure he looks like a pirate, had some strategy, and is incredibly childish, but what did he really do? Frankly, I can barely remember.
Sole Survivor Chances:
Zip. Everyone knows that everyone loves Rupert. Bringing him to the finals would be disastrous. Not to mention he already won a million simply because the audience liked him...undeserving.

9. James Clement
Previous Season(s): China and Fans vs. Favorites
All-Star Status:
James was an audience favorite who never did much on the show other. His big claim to fame in China was stupidly refusing to play either of his two immunity idols and being blind sided by Todd's powerful alliance. When he returned for a second chance at the game, James formed an alliance with Parvati, Ozzy, and Amanda which quickly was torn apart by Parvati's scheming ways. James was then removed from the game due to medical problems, but still remained a fan favorite.
My TV Take:
Like Rupert, James also bored me. Never particularly understood the appeal (other than the visual appeal). He never really did anything to prove his status as a real game player, and I bet he still won't. James is a bit too easygoing to play this game.
Sole Survivor Chances:
Slim. While James doesn't win many challenges or even use his brain all that much, others always consider him a huge threat. He'll probably be blindsided at some point.

8. Tom Westman
Previous Season(s): Palau
All-Star Status:
Tom won Palau, was a huge fan favorite, and kicked some serious ass in the challenges winning 5 out of 7 individual immunities (and he's over 40!).
My TV Take:
While Tom's winning streak ties a few other past contestants, his record still seems the most impressive. Partially because he was part of a tribe which dominated the challenges resulting in only one remaining member of the opposing team. Tom's strategy was just as good as his strength, since he formed an alliance with Ian and Katie on day one and their alliance lasted until the end.
Sole Survivor Chances:
Tom's an incredibly likable guy but his challenge history doesn't bode well for him. My guess is his personality and strength end up hurting him and he's voted out early on.

7. Colby Donaldson
Previous Season(s): Australian Outback and All-Stars
All-Star Status:
Colby was one of Survivor's first fan favorites, dominated challenges, and made it to the final two. His biggest downfall was his kindness when he chose to take the personable Tina to the final two because he would rather lose to someone who he thought warranted the million dollars. His turn in All-Stars was barely memorable since he was voted out early on.
My TV Take:
Colby's always been a pleasure to watch and he will most likely make a bigger splash this time after his poor showing on the all-star season. But as the first player of the game in this bunch, he might not have what it takes to compete against the fresher faces.
Sole Survivor Chances:
Somewhere between his first attempt and his second. Colby will likely stick around a bit longer but not final four long. He's still too likable and too strong so this threat will be eliminated before the final four.

6. Candice Woodcock
Previous Season(s): Cook Islands
All-Star Status:
Candice was one of two members to mutiny when the option was given for the first time in Survivor history. She formed an alliance with Jonathon and the two decided to switch tribes when the option was given. Unfortunately, her decision backfired before she really got a chance to play the game.
My TV Blog:
I remember my jaw dropping when Candice mutinied. If someone has the balls to do that, chances are she's willing to make some bigger moves as well. Candice could have succeeded on Cook Islands with her spontaneous attitude but maybe she'll play a bit more low key.
Sole Survivor Chances:
I might go ahead and predict a final four for Candice. I don't see her making too many enemies early on and my guess is she'll fade into the background for a while. I can almost her the final tribal council as the bitter jury accuses her of "riding coattails."

5. Amanda Kimmel
Previous Season(s): China and Fans vs. Favorites
All-Star Status:
Amanda made it to the final three in China and the final two in her second season. While she never won, she does hold the records for the only contestant to make the finals twice, the first female to find the hidden immunity idol, and the most days on Survivor (72). Her alliance with Todd, Denise, and Courney paved the way for her first final tribal while her manipulation and game play secured her place in the second final tribal.
My TV Take:
Amanda knows how to play this game more than anyone at this point. She's been backstabbed, done the stabbing, formed alliances, ruined alliances, and played idols. I'm desperate to see if her and Parvati connect again or if Amanda will find a new power alliance. Either way she's sure to enterain as long as she lasts.
Sole Survivor Chances: Once again, if the others are smart Amanda will leave early on but then again she sucks at the final tribal questions so maybe she's a good luck charm to bring to the end. It really could go either way but I see Amanda lbeing blindsided early on. Look for Stephanie or Cirie to target this powerhouse.

4. Stephenie LaGrossa
Previous Season(s): Palau and Guatemala
All-Star Status:
Stephenie was the only castaway ever to be the sole survivor of her individual tribe. She earned the audience repsect when she survived entirely on her own and even earned herself a surprise spot on the following season. In Guatemala, Stephanie upped her gameplay and finished in second place.
My TV Take:
My heart went out to Stephenie in Palau and she was the definition of underdog. I routed for Stephenie to take the win in Guatemale but she was beat out by Danni. Not only can she conquer the strategic aspects of the game, but Stephenie is a powerhouse at competitions. I cannot wait to see what she has to offer.
Sole Survivor Chances:
Unlike most of these all-stars, Stephenie isn't used to competiting with so many previous Survivor's. Their reaction to Stephenie will determine her fate in the game. While she is a strong player, Stephenie isn't viewed as a huge schemer so this will probably help her out. I definitely see Stephanie making it near the end and I hope we can see a final four finish!

3. James "JT" Thomas
Previous Season(s): Tocantins
All-Star Status:
JT won his season after tightly aligning with fellow schemer Stephen. He turned on several other allies to claim the top prize, but his adorable personality helped him out tremendously.
My TV Take:
I'll never forgive JT for turning on Taj but his personality even won me over. He's the southern boy next door and what's not to like? Rumor has it he and Sugar begin flirtations early on this season.
Sole Survivor Chances: Survivor romances don't always pan out for the best but in the last completely all-stars season it did. Will JT and Sugar be the new (and much better) Rob and Amber? Doubtful. JT will probably have the best chance of the winners to actually win again but his personality will be seen as too much of a threat. He'll probably take the leader role among the heroes and then be turned loose.

2. Jessica "Sugar" Kiper
Previous Season(s): Gabon
All-Star Status:
Sugar was the cute, outspoken pin-up model who feuded with Randy throughout her season. She won runner-up status falling behind Bob for votes. It was Sugar who implemented the fake idol plan to bully Randy back after bullying her. She was adorable, she was strategic, and she was loyal.
My TV Blog:
Sugar is one of my favorite contestants to ever play the game. My love for her is purely personal and I doubt that her gameplay is all that great but expect it to be dramatically improved this time. Also, look for her and JT to ruffle some feathers and cause a lot of paranoia among the tribe.
Sole Survivor Chances:
Sugar will probably form the first alliance of the game with JT. Lukily for her, JT will be perceived as the bigger threat so I can see her sticking around for a while. Her outspoken nature makes her the perfect person to bring to the final two, so I predict Sugar just may go all the way again this year.

1. Cirie Fields
Previous Season(s): Panama and Fans vs. Favorites.
All-Star Status:
Cirie is the best player to ever play this game. I realize that distinction has already been given to Russell, but I strongly believe Cirie's been overlooked. During her stay in Panama, Cirie was going to be the second voted out from her tribe but she used her social game and private scheming to secure her place in the tribe. Her strong connections with fellow castaways paved the way for a final four finish. Cirie returned to the game for Fans vs. Favorites and quickly became the needed swing vote in the couples alliance (Parvati, Amanda, Ozzy, and James). Cirie used her newfound positition to convince the group to vote the way she wanted as she eliminated threat after threat. Cirie even devised a plot to have Erik give his immunity necklace to Natalie and blindside him (which was, surprisingly, successful). Cirie's social game allowed her to flip flop alliances until she finally made the final three with Parvati and Amanda.
My TV Take:
Hands down the person I'm most excited to see return for a third time. Cirie was robbed of the finale twice and here's hoping it won't happen again! My number one pick for favorite castaway this season, hands down.
Sole Survivor Chances:
This may just be wishful thinking, but if Cirie continues with her social game and strategic manuveurs she will make the final 3 again. She may not win but she definitely deserves it. My pick for sole survivor!