Saturday, February 26, 2011

The 2010 My TV Award Winners

It's time for the 4th annual My TV Awards. Anything that aired in 2010 was fair game for nomination (including the summer season of Drop Dead Diva, the NBC season 4 run of Friday Night Lights and the burned-off final Better Off Ted episodes). Out of the 4-5 nominees in each of our 35 categories, these are the ones who stood out the most to us this year.

So without further ado, HERE are the 2010 My TV Award Winners:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mr. Sunshine: Doggie Show

The first two episodes of Mr. Sunshine were fine. They featured witty, snappy writing and Matthew Perry at his Chandler-esque goodness. On top of that, Allison Janney was all sorts of wonderful as his whacked-out boss and the premise was pretty decent. But the show had yet to gel into something that seemed sustainably funny over the long haul. My biggest problem was that the supporting characters (with the exception of Janney) all seemed too one-note or undefined to really capture my attention. They were either playing a character trait as though it were a character (happy! cynical. CRAZY! Stupid!) or they were boring me.

Until episode number three. I'm not saying the show is all the way there yet, but for the first time Mr. Sunshine really felt like a show that knew what to do with the awesome actors it has filling in its supporting cast. With a plot that allowed Alice (Andrea Anders) to give in to the crazy competitive, just-this-side-of-craziness that she perfected on Better Off Ted, and another that actually gave flaws and personality (outside of chipper) to Alonso (James Lesure), Mr. Sunshine finally seemed like more than just a showcase for Perry.

On top of that, I was actually invested in the budding romance between office psycho Heather (Portia Doubleday) and nitwit Roman (Nate Torrence). They played Heather just the right mixture of intriguing, grounded and crazy pants, and Roman is starting to show more capacity for adult interaction than originally indicated.

If Mr. Sunshine can continue to hit this sweet spot of character development and laughs, I've got to second Kelly's call for it to get the ratings that my dearly departed Better Off Ted never did.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Actor Obsession: Kyle MacLachlan

The Twin Peaks star's presence can make almost any film or TV show better. Since his iconic show went off the air in 1991, MacLachlan has mostly filled the role of "that guy who's in everything", creating some of the most memorable television roles in recent history.

His was one of my favourite long term romance stories on Sex and the City. As Trey, Charlotte's first husband, MacLachlan was Mr. Perfect. With that comically perfect hair, impossibly chiseled jaw and classic movie star voice, MacLachlan reads as that guy that Charlotte knows from fairy tales. Add that Trey was a rich doctor from a good family and Charlotte's found the perfect man she's been holding out for, the one she wants. Add a little erectile dysfunction, some serious mom issues and general emotional ineptitude and Trey is everything Charlotte doesn't need. That was what was so great about it. Trey was everything she was looking for and was one of the biggest let downs in her 6 season run. Harry, on the other hand (husband number 2), wasn't anything like what she wanted, he was nothing like the perfect Trey, so he ended up being perfect for Charlotte. Kyle MacLachlan was the key to that dichotomy in Trey. His particular brand of off-kilter perfection told us everything we needed to know about Charlotte.

Then there's the brilliant Orson Hodge. Bree's dentist husband on Desperate Housewives was simultaneously creepy and disarming, trustworthy and malicious, sympathetic and psychopathic, abused and abusive. And MacLachlan managed to play all those things in a single shot. Over 6 seasons we learned a lot about Orson and understood almost nothing about him, except whatever MacLachlan decided to give the camera that week... and with Orson, that could have been anything.

Finally, this week's How I Met Your Mother capped his wonderful arc as The Captain, Zoe's ex-husband and Ted's feared "friend". MacLachlan played The Captain with a lot of sympathy and humanity, as a lonely guy desperate for love, friendship and someone to share his boat with. Use that bizarrely handsome, threateningly regal thing the actor has going for him and filter the character that through Ted's self-centered, romantic and overly dramatic eyes and The Captain is a threatening nemesis who is likely to kill Ted for stealing his woman.  It was pretty brilliant, and no one could have pulled off that part better than Kyle MacLachlan.

Top it all off with his fantastically controlled performance as Claudius in Michael Almereyda's crazy, modern Hamlet film and MacLachlan is officially one of my favourite actors in the business.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

When Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with cancer and forced to take a break from the television show that truly redefined what gratuitous nudity meant (as well as providing incredibly solid plotting and acting), the network stepped in and decided to provide a stop-gap measure: a six season mini-series that would follow the travails of some key Blood and Sand players five years prior to the events of the main series. The idea, I'd imagine, was to satiate the blood lust of the audience while allowing the star to recover, get back his six pack and come back to the series.

Unfortunately, the second goal was successfulness (Whitfield is still battling cancer, and the series itself resumed shooting in the original timeline with a new star who has very big shoes to fill). But in terms of creating a compelling tv show...

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena could easily have been an entertaining diversion. With the ending a seemingly foregone conclusion and with the star of the original show, Gods of the Arena probably should have been a suspense free exersice in enjoying the endless variations of "Jupiter's Cock" that Batiatus is capable of creating.

Instead, Gods of the Arena has taken the excellent plot lines, character development, set dressing, and yes heavy use of the Roman-period to excuse orgies that were Blood and Sands' bread and butter, and has managed to actually elevate the show by adding in a sense of thematic and moralistic brilliance that was just beginning to develop by the end of BaS. It has infused the series with a fascinating debate of "fate versus freewill" that has reinvigorated my belief in the power of genre television to speak to infinite life truths.

On top of that, its taken the violence and sex that had seemed mostly like window dressing (and button pushing) during the original series and laid grief, pain, pleasure, and pathos into them. You feel the death of the gladiators in the arena, the helplessness of the slaves in the ludus, and the desperate lust for power that drives its principal actors, Lucretia and Batiatus, towards increasingly stupid and reckless moves. Knowing where the characters end up gives the series a tragic glow that does nothing to damper the shocks at watching the way that their options were whittled away.

Almost more impressively, the show deeply invests us in new characters despite our knowledge that they weren't around five years later (and therefore are probably dead). This keeps anything from seeming concrete in terms of what we think we know.

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena may be the brainchild of tragedy, but it is a shining example of how great television can remain regardless of the reasons for its creation. Part of me almost wishes they were always planning on telling this story, because it's a great one.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Please Don't Take My Sunshine Away

I would really love it if TV world gave me a present this year and Mr. Sunshine did very very well. It's a clever show, and clever is certainly something we need more of. You know what else we need more of? Allison Janney, I could always use more of her. And more of Matthew Perry, my favourite of my beloved FRIENDS. Mr. Sunshine is chock a block full of lovely things. And, to steal a line from Josh Groban, it's witty goddamnit!

Allison Janney quips her way through the world her character owns with the optimistic swagger of someone who 90% of the time isn't quite sure where she is. As far as engagingly horrible bosses go, she's top notch. Matthew Perry, as the titular ironic-faced stadium manager, is all deadpan dry wit and sarcasm, in the best way. Then there's the fun supporting cast populated by familiar faces Andrea Anders (who's been on more good but failed shows than I can count), James Lesure (who's just been in everything), Portia Doubleday (who's so funny we can forgive her for Youth in Revolt) and Nate Torrence (a delightful throwback to that other lovely Matthew Perry vehicle, Studio 60). The pilot guest starred the much-missed Jorge Garcia (Lost), and the second episode featured the cutest/sweetest Jonas brother (I think it was Nick) as a delightfully demanding teen pop star.

The possibilities are endless for the parade of interesting things and people that could come through the Sunshine Center. So far we've had the circus and a fictional teen idol but the door is wide open for super celeb cameos from athletes and pop stars to evangelists and politicians (and between Janney and Perry, the social circle of the show is pretty big, so some of those celebs might actually show up).

My favourite thing so far? Nick Jonas demanding season one of Brothers and Sisters on DVD, prompting the repeated line of "just because they're grown up doesn't mean family gets any easier" to recur throughout the episode until he finally got what he wanted, and promptly threw it in the trash. It was just plain funny.

So come on silly TV audience and executives. You don't want Mike and Molly or Outsourced, you want THIS. This is good TV with good writers and good actors and lots of promise. Mr. Sunshine is telling new jokes, dipping them in irony and serving them up on a platter held up by TV legends, Enjoy It.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

True Love: Other Stuff Edition

It's Valentine's time and TV is in full romantic bloom. Here are our favourite romantic episodes of the week:

1) Glee 
(We've covered this already. Twice)

2) Community
(This too. Just once)

3) Modern Family
The reprisal of Clyve and Juliana, Gloria turning Valentine's day into a competition, Manny's quest for Hayley's love, Cam and Mitchell's jealous search for attention, the triumphant return of Dylan! Brilliant.

4) Raising Hope
It wasn't romance, it was bromance, but it was awesome. "Romeo and Romeo" was the hilarious story of two star-crossed single dads in desperate need of a friend. Hilarity ensued.

5) 30 Rock
Not overtly Valentines-themed but based almost completely on couples when the show almost never is, this week's 30 Rock saw the return (and dismissal) of my (and everyone else's) beloved Matt Damon (seriously, who doesn't love this guy?!).

6) The Office
An awkward (but cheeky) Pam and Jim plot and a sweet but strange one for Michael and Holly made this episode of the office slightly above average. What made it significantly above average (at least for the current season) was Erin's Valentines treasure hunt. It was designed for her by the wonderfully deadpan new character Gabe and followed by my favourite character in the office, Erin, and her endearing ex Andy. It was sweet, it was melancholy, and it disrupted the office wonderfully (the scene with Darryl is classic).

True Love: Community Edition

Never was a story of truer love than that of Troy and Abed. This week's Community Valentine's Day episode shined a light on one of TV's greatest friendships as Troy and Abed struggled with the fact that they were both attracted to the same woman. Unlike many a bromance before them (Dawson and Pacey, Alan and Denny, hell let's go all the way back to Arcite and Palamon), Troy and Abed were distressed more by the possibility of losing their friendship than by losing the girl. So they made a plan: they'd meet her at the dance and whomever she chooses, no hard feelings. It could have been a very flawed plan, but Abed's highly logical brain allowed him to walk away happily when sexy librarian Maria (predictably) picked Troy. But here's the rub: Troy couldn't deal. He began obsessing over why she hadn't chosen Abed, demanding "what was wrong with him?!" Troy was more defensive of his friend than Abed was of himself- true love! The deal breaker for Troy? "She called you weird!" Instantly, the girl he'd desperately wanted to date inspired a chorus of "I hate her, I hate her"s under his breath. Ladies and gentlemen, the best friendship on TV.

Also excellent on Community this week:

- Brita befriends someone who she mistakenly thinks is a lesbian who it turns out befriended her because she seems like a lesbian. It was a beautiful ode to political correctness as ignorance.

- "I'm a stylish American, I've been forcing myself to be interested in soccer since 2004"

- Jeff is noticeably upset when he doesn't get the 37 voicemails he pretends to be dreading from his friends whom he's ditched.

- The human side of Chang.

- A dark cliffhanger for Pierce which hopefully will have interesting consequences.

Maria: "he talked about the Saw franchise for 2 hours" (about Abed)
Troy: "it is 8 movies long! And the first one did completely redefine the genre..."


Rachael's already posted about how great the second Glee of the week was, but having just watched it (finally), I have to put my two cents in, if only because I am a firm believer in expressing your love when it's there, especially if the last thing you did was express something less lovely.

Click Here to continue reading

Friday, February 11, 2011

Writer Rob Sheridan plugs "Mad Love"

Canadian comedy scribe Rob Sheridan just moved to Hollywood. A staple of quality writing at the CBC, Rob now makes his home at CBS where he's working on the new sitcom, Mad Love. The romantic comedy, which stars Jason Biggs, Sarah Chalke, Judy Greer and Tyler Labine, premieres this Monday at 8:30. I asked Rob if he could take minute to talk about the show before the premiere, here's what he had to say:

"Mad Love has been an enormous amount of fun to work on, and particular kick for a Canadian boy like me. It's hard enough to get staffed down here when you're new in town, and harder still to be staffed in a senior position on a great show. So I'm thankful to creator Matt Tarses and executive producer Jamie Tarses for taking me on. The writers and cast are amazing. The show really explores romantic love from two perspectives, the believers (Sarah Chalke and Jason Biggs) and the cynics (Judy Greer and Tyler Labine). Personally I tend toward the cynic's view (being a single guy in LA doesn't help) but hopefully we'll run for many, many seasons and eventually I'll be won over by the believers."

My TV Celebrates 1001

Ladies and Gentlemen, My TV readers of all shapes and sizes,

This marks the 1,001st post appearing on our little website.

Since our very first article on September 24th, 2006 (touting the premiere of the short-lived Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and praising the second season of How I Met Your Mother), My TV has welcomed 5 new writers and expanded to include news, reviews and editorials from across the television landscape. We've had the pleasure of interviewing beloved actors, showrunners, writers and reality stars and featured 4 editions of our annual My TV Awards. With more than 6000 Facebook fans and upwards of 50,000 hits, My TV's presence has expanded throughout the web and though the podcast upon which the website was based no longer exists, it's world has expanded. My TV led to the creation of the umbrella network My Entertainment World, which includes sister sites My Theatre, My Cinema, My Bookshelf and My Sports Stadium.

We love writing for this site and sincerely thank you for giving us someone to write for.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Best Twist Ever?

A week from tonight, Survivor: Redemption Island premieres at 8pm on CBS. This season, along with the return of fan favorites Rob and Russell, a new twist has been added to the game. Each week the eliminated castoff will be sent to live alone on Redemption Island. When the following individual is voted off, the two will compete in a duel and the loser will leave the game for good. Eventually, the remaining player on Redemption Island will rejoin the game and have a shot at the million dollar prize.

Today, we had the opportunity to listen in as executive producer Mark Burnett explained the new twist, offered some useful insight, and made several random metaphors (something about the show being an envelope and each season the letter which contains different words...lost me there). New details were revealed, anticipation was built, and several questions were left unanswered.

Click Here for more

Exclusive Interview: Brooke Elliott

 Before we announce the winners of this year's My TV Awards, we're proud to present the 2010 My TV Interview series. 

Today's interview is with Brooke Elliott, the remarkable star of Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva. Brooke is nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy for her work as Jane Bingum, the soul of a supermodel in a size 16 lawyer's body. 

Click Here to read the full interview
and be sure to check out the My TV, My Theatre and My Cinema award nominations.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Silly Love songs

After an underwhelming (to some down right maddening) post-Super Bowl episode, Glee returned tonight with something that was so perfect I almost wanted to vomit.

Mostly that vomit came from how damn uncomfortable I was through half the episode. Unrequited love always makes me uncomfortable on the screen, and seeing the season long flirtation between Kurt and Blaine teeter dangerously close to Kurt getting his heart broken for realsies was almost enough to make me die from embarrassment. On top of that, Puck singing his heart out to the newest member of Glee club to the tune of "Fat Bottom Girls" or Rachel trying desperately to vie her way back into Finn's affections despite his recent reaffirmation of his feelings for Quinn...

This was Glee at its squirmy best. I was so excited when Lauren turned down Puck (because, seriously dude, what girl wants you to sing to her about how, yeah she's fat but you want to bone her anyway?). And watching Kurt "man up" and help his friend Blaine out even when it hurt him was nothing short of brilliant. Even the aforementioned (and somewhat painfully perfect) Blaine's overly sincere sung valentine at The Gap was painful goodness, so much so that I am literally covering my eyes and squealing at my computer. And Kurt finally fulfilling the brazen badassness inherent in his character and TELLING Blaine what he thought was going on with the two of them? OH MY GOD. Pitch perfect, painful, and a gorgeous note for the character. Even if it didn't lead to immediate "macking out" (thanks Puck, for bringing that expression into my lexicon).

On top of that, the over-the-top ridiculousness was played pitch perfect with Santana's mono-induced revenge scheme. I even liked Finn's sudden transformation from somewhat-dumb but ultimately good-natured to conceited schemer. And Tina breaking down into melodramatic tears during "My Funny Valentine?" I can do that level of melodrama, Glee, even if it did leave me slightly bemused.

The big finish, with Gleeclubbers past, present (and dare I say future, Blaine?) hanging out with the Warblers as they celebrated the holiday was a nice little bittersweet candle, whether because Blaine singles out Santana as the one most likely to never fall in love, or for the confused and yet blatantly sexual looks shared between Blaine and Kurt throughout. This episode rebuilt the casts relationships even as it tore them down, restating not only the legitimacy of Finn's feelings for both of the women in his life and Puck's feelings for anything with breasts, but also instilling in the club a sense of friendship and genuine affection that has been sorely lacking in episodes more concerned with spectacle than substance.

Also, side note, any time Mike Chang can do a random and pointless dance number in the middle of the show.

Additional side note, while I love the ego-kick of making Kurt sing mostly back up now, how is it that Blaine is the only person to EVER have solos?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Damnit Glee

So they were given the coveted post-Superbowl slot and all the screws came loose.

I could not have been happier about the fact that since the second season premiere (excepting the atrocity that was "Britney/Brittany" and the half brilliant/half horrifying "Grilled Cheesus"), I have either decently enjoyed or really really liked every single episode of Glee. From the pleasant decentness of "Duets" and "Special Education" to the loveliness of "Furt" and "The Substitute" to the true excellence of "Never Been Kissed" and "The Rocky Horror Glee Show", the fall of 2010 was a season of tremendous growth for my old least-favourite show. The writing got better, they evened out their absurd outsider complex and post-modern ideology, they developed their supporting cast, allowed us to see Sue's heroic side, downplayed Rachel and rescued the badly-written Kurt. It was an exciting time.

And then there was this. Maybe they were trying too hard and lost their way a bit or maybe it was just the law of averages that eventually Glee's gross, predictable, backwards core would reappear. Either way, this week sucked.

Let's just start with the fact that the show is coming to the zombie party months/years late, but who really cares. Onto the things I super hated:

- "lady chat"?! Kurt just took leaps backwards in development. "Blaine loves football, I love scarves"?!!!!!!!!!!! EWWWWWW. I'm all for the stereotype-defiant Blaine getting new details, but I cannot believe they are putting this swill in Golden Globe winner Chris Colfer's mouth.

- Oh, and the tremendous anger inspired by the silly feminist statements around the girls volunteering to play football then the undermining "after the snap we're just going to lie down on the field"! And Tina's triumphant foray into actual participation? Somehow it unfolded as a display of feminine fragility. I'm not quite sure how that happened, but okay.

- "It'll be worth it" from Santana was golden after Brittany expressed her fear of death by cheerleading canon, but the fact that those girls quit Cheerios essentially because Finn told them to was just stupid. Santana doesn't need prompting to make whatever decision she wants to. If she wanted to be doing glee that's where she would have been the whole time. I'll grant the peer/Sue pressure issue with Brittany, but if I have to hear one more character tell me how strong Quinn is when she's already proven it herself I'm going to explode. The girl's an icy queen bee who has consistently stood up for her ideals- why do we need quarterbacks to validate her all the time?

- "This is the moment of our lives". Really Puck? It's a high school football game. Perspective please.

- Why the hell did Karofsky join "Thriller"? Did he just catch boogie fever or something? It was genuinely bizarre (not to mention convenient). If the man really can't help but dance then glee club would have had him dancing a season and a half ago.

- Even the usually wonderful Warblers couldn't cheer me up with a silly 90s pop song. They were over-choreographed, somewhat out of character and completely irrelevant to the episode, it was depressing.

- Oh, Beist got lines though! I love it when they give Beist something to do. She is truly excellent. But she's not enough on her own. 

The whole thing seemed like an exercise in formula writing. By the end everyone was left back exactly where they started at the beginning. The plot unfolded as a "here's a tiny problem+ obstacle+ another obstacle+ 1 more obstacle then climax and solution" situation. No one's motivations made any sense, arguments we've had 8 times already with all these characters were rehashed ("we want to be popular, but oh we love glee so much, whichever shall we choose?!") and even the musical numbers were more forced than usual (that first song wherein Lea Michele strutted around for 3 minutes of my life was truly painful). 

Oh, and really? We're throwing season one pairings back together? That's not a cliffhanger, that's a misdirect. Is there anyone out there who actually cares about Finn's love life? At all? The only thing that stupid kiss guarantees is more whining from Rachel- YAY!

That sucked. And now my heart hurts.