Monday, October 31, 2011

Switched at Birth: Season One

by Rachael Nisenkier

I once touted the virtues of the Hulu-enabled series catch-up on this very website, but today, in view of Netflix’s dismal stock showings, I’m here to throw the company a bone.

Netflix remains a great way to stumble upon TV shows you never would have considered during their regular schedule.

And so it was that one bored evening, when the World Series-delayed regular programming continued its absence from my TV screen, I decided to click on a random ABC Family drama Switched At Birth. Now apparently this show had stellar (for ABC Family) ratings, but I hadn’t really heard of it. But never shy to indulge in TV shows about people almost ten years my junior, I started watching.

Whitney Does Halloween

by Kelly Bedard

The Halloween Episode used to be a rarity. In 10 years of FRIENDS we got 10 Thanksgivings and what, maybe 2 Halloweens? Ugly Betty dressed up as a caterpillar in season one, and there was that one year when the Scooby gang became their costumes*. But lately it seems as though every show is onto the trend- it's not just The Office anymore, it's every show on TV. This is the week of The Halloween Episode.

But the ever-improving folks over at Whitney decided to give us something different. The sitcom is quickly becoming one of my favourites of the season and their Halloween-light Halloween episode was easily their best yet. I laughed out loud almost the entire way through.

Family Guy Gets Serious

by Kelly Bedard

Family Guy is a ridiculous show that I watch mostly just in reruns. But its diverse comic style and occasional moments of poignancy make it worth it to try and mine out the greater moments buried in some of the silliness. A perfect example is in the landmark 150th episode when one of the more beautiful explorations of friendship ever on TV (complete with Stewie's perfect line to Brian: "I love you as one loves another person whom one simply cannot do without") is hidden amidst a story wherein Brian licks Stewie's soiled bum clean. The latest offering from the Seth MacFarlane flagship was a surprisingly thoughtful one, tackling the weighty social issue of domestic abuse.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Obsessions: Grey's Edition

by Kelly Bedard

Most people gave up on Grey's Anatomy years ago. Every single one of them was wrong to do so. The Shonda Rhimes medical drama has gotten better and better since the epic slump of seasons 4 and 5 to become the well-paced, consistently engaging, excellently cast tragicomedy it is today. While the drama is still melodramatic, the characters are much more richly drawn than they used to be, a lot more mature across the board. But where the series has really been excelling of late is in the comedy. It doesn't take itself too seriously, a welcome relief after so many years of behind-the-scenes drama and "emotional' ferry crashes. Last week's fantastic tribute to the men of the show (seriously, the women barely appeared at all) was stellar, but this week's classic return to form was every bit as good. Here's a sampling of some of my favourite things Grey's included this week:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Where the Hell is Blair Waldorf?

by Rachael Nisenkier

I have stuck with Gossip Girl long past what most people seemed to consider its expiration date. I do this in large part because it’s addictive and filled with really pretty people. I’ll probably continue “XOXO”ing until the day the dialogue loses its juicy flavor and the drama stops being oddly intriguing.

But the real reason I’ve stuck with Gossip Girl through five seasons, countless boring Serena and Jenny Humphrey storylines, Empire shenanigans, and Ivy/Charlie ridiculousness is because of one character and one character alone: Blair Waldorf.
Which is, of course, why my Gossip Girl fanclub card might be about to be revoked. There are a lot of things to like about the fifth season of the CW show. I like Elizabeth Hurley, Dan is finally getting some decent storylines (Even if his hair is becoming offensively bad. Seriously, the Humphrey wardrobe is a much better parody of hipster culture than 2 Broke Girls can every hope to put together), and I’m enjoying watching Chuck try to figure out who he is without Blair. But, speaking of which, where the hell is Blair Waldorf?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Victory, a picture list

In related news, Anya won fan favourite with a massive 52% of the vote. 45% went to the oh-so lovable Anthony Ryan. 1% each was won by Viktor (a brilliant designer whose restlessness in the last 2 days made him overthink and probably lost the competition for him) and likable oddball Burt. Not a soul else even drew enough votes for 1%. This was a 2-horse race for favourite and a 3-person run for the title (Joshua put up a good show too, Kimberly never had a shot). But Anya was the clear winner in both; though I do agree with Heidi about those necklines. Even if her finale collection wasn't her best work of the season, after last year's Gretchengate, the real designer of the season just had to win this year, if only in honour of Mondo.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Love Letter to Parks and Rec

Dear Parks and Recreation,

It was rocky at first, I wasn't sure how I felt about you back in the days of Paul Schneider and the pit. But in our 3+ years together I've grown to love you more than almost anything else. Gone are the days when anyone who knows anything can get away with calling you an Office knockoff, because you've long surpassed that once-great show, becoming the best on the air.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pilot Watch: Once Upon a Time

by Kelly Bedard

Of the many promising new shows premiering in this well-above-average fall season, ABC's Once Upon a Time was one of the ones I was looking forward to the most. The fairy tale twist stars Ginnifer Goodwin, one of my favourite actresses whom I'm shocked is returning to TV so soon after the finale of the brilliant Big Love, and the show comes from proven genre scribes Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (not to mention co-producer/Whedonverse goddess Jane Espenson). And while it proved an entertaining hour, the exposition-heavy and somewhat confusing episode was somewhat of a disappointment.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A My Cinema Exclusive

Hey Whedon Fans,

CLICK HERE to read our exclusive interview with Angel/Dollhouse star Amy Acker on her role as Beatrice in Whedon's newest film- Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. News of the top-secret and star-studded adaptation hit the internet on Sunday just after production wrapped at Whedon's estate for the black and white indie.

Your friends at My Cinema

The Situation is a hit on Chelsea Lately

by Kelly Bedard

I've never seen an episode of Jersey Shore but I've got to say from public appearances alone (and the occasional glimpse on Dancing with the Stars) I kind of like The Situation. He's making the most of his 15 minutes, that's for sure (well, at this point it's got to be at least like an hour and a half) and he's got this weird guilt-inducing charm thing that's quite frankly dangerous. The story about his thought process after purposefully running into a wall is idiotic but told with such self-aware humour that you've just gotta laugh with him, instead of at him- it's a weird phenomenon. I know, I know "watch the show, you'll change your mind" but I sort of don't want to. I like liking the people I'm not supposed to like, even if I mostly only like his carefully-crafted talk show self. Now would I ever in a million years want to meet the guy? That's a different story.

Click Here for the video of The Situation on Chelsea Lately.

Happy Halloween from the Cast of Bones

Catch the season premiere of Bones, Thursday November 3rd at 9pm on FOX.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pilot Watch: Last Man Standing

by Kelly Bedard

ABC was very "man"ly this week with the premiere of the atrociously sexist (or, rather, atrociously bad and offensive to all well-rounded and sensible people) Man Up!, a pretty-great-actually male-centric Grey's Anatomy that contradicted Man Up's theories of Neanderthal superiority and the premiere of Tim Allen's new show, complete with trademark grunts and "I'm a man!" humour. And while Last Man Standing isn't nearly as offensive as its Tuesday night programming buddy, it's still pretty misguided and almost as badly executed.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Whitney, 4 Episodes In

by Kelly Bedard

I'm at best a casual viewer of NBC's Whitney. I've seen all 4 episodes but never on the night they air and I haven't been expecting much of the poorly reviewed series. But it's for those very reasons that Whitney was able to sneak up on me, becoming one of my favourite new shows of the season.

The episodes are getting a bit repetitive already and the supporting characters could use some work (Roxanne especially), but I like Whitney Cummings' observational humour (the movie-watching commentary that kicked off episode 4 was particularly fun) and she's a fresh and relatable character with her gawky 5'11 frame and overly competitive nature.

Pilot Watch: Man Up!

by Kelly Bedard

Every once in awhile I'll be watching TV late at night, computer shutdown for the day, when something makes me react so strongly that I come downstairs, restart my laptop and set about writing a very early morning review. The pilot episode of ABC's new Tuesday night comedy Man Up! was such a show, and not in a good way.

Man Up! is somehow both derivative and shocking. Retreading the boring comedy ground of marriage, bromance and the plight of the modern man-child, the new show is essentially last season's very hated and early canceled Traffic Light, except I actually thought Traffic Light was underrated- its relationships were believable, its actors were engaging and it explored the stages of courtship in entertaining and new ways ("new" being a relative term). Man Up!, meanwhile, presents 3 childlike grown men, none of whom are remotely charming or likable in any way, a three-sided friendship that seems to have no roots, a boring portrait of marriage and fatherhood, an even less interesting take on bitter divorce and a condescending view on sentimentality in singledom and a point of view that seems unclear whether the men's gaming habits are fun or deplorable. It's also got Teri Polo, who I've never really warmed to, and a weird second rate Isaiah Mustafa substitute doing a sort of long form Old Spice shtick.

But it's one thing to be predictable, boring and uninspired. It's another thing altogether to get the majority of your comedy from men insulting each other with feminine comparisons. Ooh you did a kind and generous thing, you showed an artistic impulse, you just shared a feeling- you must have a vagina! HAHAHAHA! Add to that the fact that the show outright stated that spending an afternoon trying to think of a special birthday present for your son is somehow beneath a "real man" and you've got a show that's really pissed me off.*

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

I Officially Like New Girl

by Rachael Nisenkier

I didn’t want to. It felt like a meager replacement for My Boys, Zooey Deschanel was basically playing Zooey Deschanel, and in the first episode the leading guys consisted of two thinly sketched caricatures and an overly nice everyman. Even the marketing ticked me off, constantly referencing Deschanel’s “adorkability” (a term that simultaneously made me seethe with rage and kind of jealous that no one’s ever described me that way).

The Office Season Premiere

by Kelly Bedard

I know, I know, I'm more than a week behind the ball on this but I just had to take a moment to share my love of the Office season premiere. 

In what is already turning out to be a really smart move, the writers moved James Spader's hilariously powerful Robert California to Kathy Bates' tired CEO position and had him appoint great character/mediocre salesman Andy as Regional Manager in his place. The well meaning go-getter spearheaded a really clever and terribly sweet episode that almost had me crying like hormone-charged Pam.

Designing the Music- a joint article with My Music

*The following is a joint article with My Music. Go check out the original posting on our newest branch*

by Kelly Bedard

Last week Project Runway played host to Saskatchewan- based rock band The Sheepdogs. The winners of Rolling Stone's "Choose the Cover" competition, the guys became the first unsigned band to grace the cover of the famous magazine. They've since been signed by Atlantic and raking in awards along with appearing in the Project Runway tie-in Garnier ads in Marie Claire and Rolling Stone.

The episode, entitled "Image is Everything"* asked the eight remaining designers to come up with a new look for one band member- 2 looks per musician. The results were an underwhelming spattering of 60s worship and bad tailoring (and a win for Viktor and his pleather fringe jacket). Along the way I got to see The Sheepdogs interact for the first time and came to really like them.

Pilot Watch: Revenge

by Kelly Bedard

Do you remember Amy Abbott? I do. She was sweet and funny, good natured and forgiving. Do you remember Rebeca Harper? I do. She was smart and self-assured, easy going and charming. Now, the woman who gave life to both is back on network TV in a dark show about the need for ruthless revenge. And who is Emily Thorne? Well she's actually Amanda Clarke, but she's also smart, self-assured, easy going, charming, sweet, funny and good natured. She's every Emily Van Camp character, sort of. I left out one important adjective, the absence of which undermines all the others, because, as we're told at least twice in the pilot alone, "this is not a story about forgiveness".

Pilot Watch: Charlie's Angels

by Kelly Bedard

The new Charlie's Angels has more problems than anything that should ever have made it to series.

First there's the simple issue of the outdated premise- one Hollywood seems to think is "classic" and everyone else knows to be played out. There's the tone- the franchise thrives as a comedy (see the tongue-in-cheek films and their surprising success), as a drama it feels lightweight, in a bad way.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Pilot Watch: How to be a Gentleman

by Kelly Bedard

Watching the CBS Upfronts last May I was really impressed by 2 Broke Girls and thought How to be a Gentleman looked pretty darn stupid. But as 2 Broke Girls enters its third week of existence I'm disappointed to find it going down in quality pretty quickly (though I am enjoying this Johnny character and Caroline is still enchanting, even if the dialogue is overwrought). Whitney Cummings' other show Whitney, on the other hand, is so far getting better. Meanwhile, back on CBS, I was surprised to find the premiere of How to be a Gentleman thoroughly enjoyable, if not particularly groundbreaking.

Pilot Watch: Unforgettable

by Kelly Bedard

The inherent empathy of someone who remembers every detail she ever learns about someone makes for an intriguing concept. But Unforgettable never makes good on that promise. The Poppy Montgomery-led CBS drama is as typical as it is procedural.

Perhaps based on the high enjoyment factor of Without a Trace, CBS has put a lot of stock in the Australian actress, but I'm not sure her leading lady chops have the weight the network was expecting. She struggles with covering up her accent for the NY-based role and brings limited sparkle to a part that doesn't allow her much help in the way of witty writing or palpable relationships. I enjoyed the addition of her mother- a good Alzheimer's-stricken parent story always bring a character some much-needed empathy- but even that plot is long past fresh.

Ultimately there is nothing new or particularly intriguing about CBS's new police drama (like they needed another one of those!). In fact, if I could pick just one word to describe it, I would happily embrace the little bit of entertainment I can get out of this boring show by choosing the word "forgettable".

Pilot Watch: The Playboy Club

by Kelly Bedard

It was unlikely that I would like The Playboy Club (hence the unforgivably late review). Not only is it so far from being a hit that it's already facing cancellation rumours (though NBC swears they're being patient this year), generally speaking female-driven stories aren't my thing, certainly not corset-clad female-driven stories. But armed with seriously low expectations and almost no foreknowledge of the series, I kind of really liked The Playboy Club.

The show kicks off with the accidental murder of a mob boss- Oh, uh...well, I did not see that coming. Okay, it actually starts off with an attempted assault and our little ingenue kicking some "standing up for herself" butt, which results in the accidental murder of a mob boss. There's the revelation of his identity, a threat against her life, a quick-thinking cover up and we're off to the races.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Pilot Watch: Ringer

by Kelly Bedard

Apologies for the delay on this one. As major Buffy fans, we at My TV have been somewhat timid when it comes to jumping into Ringer. Turns out, trepidation was the right instinct.

The CW mystery has perhaps the worst production values I've ever seen in primetime. The overuse of cheap green screen in the pilot alone is shameful and sets the audience up to not take the series seriously as it moves forward.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Obsession of the Week: Seth MacFarlane

by Kelly Bedard

If given the chance to meet just one celebrity in my life, it wouldn't take long for me to come up with a remarkably short list of whom I would choose. Very near the top of that list would be the endearing and multi-talented Seth MacFarlane.

If you watch an interview with the Family Guy/American Dad/Cleveland Show creator/showrunner (preferably his superb episode of The Kevin Pollak Chat Show), his easy charm, quick wit and everyman humility are so irrefutably endearing that it's hard not to fall in love with him.