Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ugly Betty ditches the metal mouth and heads to London

   Ugly Betty has almost concluded it's four year run on ABC, but an important milestone was reached last week.  Betty (America Ferrera) got her braces taken off!  Kathy Najimy (Sister Act) was the orthodontist who got to do the honors, after a falling out with Betty's previous one, played creepily by Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family).  Of course, this being Betty, it was done in style, while the title character had her mouth stuck to a million dollar bra.

     I was slightly disappointed because most of this episode was fantasy, with Najimy playing a fairy godmother-type who showed Betty how her life would have been different if she had never worn the braces.  However, it was done to great effect.  Poor Justin (Mark Indelicato) was never born, Marc (Michael Urie) was the receptionist, Betty was evil, and Daniel (Eric Mabius) and Amanda (Becki Newton) were married, though they were cheating on each other.  This last bit was a little sad, as that is one couple I would kind of like to see end up together.

     That aside, the episode still managed to pack quite a bit of plot in around the dream sequences.  With the series finale looming, the plot involving Daniel and his family, as well Amanda's interaction with them, advanced quite a bit.  Betty's family also got some fun time, being there for Betty after the metal was out of her mouth.  It's a charming, quirky show, and there is nothing else like it on television, which is why it will be sorely missed when it's gone.

     In tomorrow night's episode, Betty will travel to London, England, where she will be reunited with best friend Christina (Ashley Jensen, Extras) and have a run-in with former flame Gio (Freddy Rodriguez, Six Feet Under).  As long as Betty gets one last encounter with Henry (Christopher Gorham), she will have a nice ending.  And it would be wise to bring back Daniel's brother/sister Alexis (Rebecca Romijn).

     Ugly Betty airs Wednesday nights on ABC at 9pm, but only for three more weeks.

Dana Delany takes a page from Castle

     Desperate Housewives star Dana Delany spent a couple of weeks off of Wisteria Lane recently co-starring in an exciting two part episode of Castle.  As a rule, I don't watch procedurals, so despite my great respect for Nathan Fillion, dating back to his days on Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, and through Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Serenity, and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog, I have not seen that show since the pilot.  What I hadn't realized was that it had really built up a splendid ensemble cast, and by the end of the two hours, I had added a season pass to my TiVo.

     Delany was wonderful, as expected.  If her taking the role seems odd to you, as she is already a series regular, perhaps it was to draw some of Housewives's audience over to Castle, or build her name recognition before her new pilot premieres.  Whatever the reason, it was nice to see her reunited with her Housewives husband, who is the title character on Castle.  She really showed a different side of her, and she brilliantly portrayed the tough FBI agent.

     Aside from Delany, Stana Katic really proved herself as Beckett, Castle's partner who was being hunted down by a serial killer.  The episodes also featured Leonard Roberts (Heroes) as Delany's partner.  It was a gripping story, spurred by a book written by Castle which was being made into a movie, and the lead character was based on Beckett.  I think the literary aspect, as well as Fillion's humor, is what sets this aside from other legal or crime dramas on television.  These two episodes involved a very devious, very intelligent serial killer, who was every bit a match for our heroes.

     Next week, Castle and Beckett will try to figure out who would drop a gargoyle on a historian.  Fun!  Tune in Monday nights at 10pm on ABC.

Monday, March 29, 2010

24 delivers best hour of season

    This has been a big week for Fox's 24.  Besides airing the best episode of the season, nay, one of the best of the series, last week, it also became known that the show is officially canceled, and will not be picked up by NBC, as previously rumored.  That's not to say that there are only eleven hours left in Jack Bauer's (Kiefer Sutherland) story.  In fact, the series finale is designed to set up Jack for a feature film, which is already in the works.  The head honchos always wanted a definitive end for Jack, and it looks like he will get one.  By their statements, it appears there will be only 24 movie, but perhaps that's a good thing.  Go out while it still works.  Speaking of working, last week...

      I always look forward to that awesome Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) episode.  It comes after Chloe has been beaten down, not listened to, and generally, dumped on.  Then she wows us all and makes her bosses listen to her.  This week was that shining moment, as Chloe pulled a gun on the jerky NSA agents and fixed CTU's EMP-blasted computer system all by herself.  Chloe, you rock my world!

     The CTU mole was revealed.  Of course there was a CTU mole.  There always is.  However, even before the mole was exposed, I stopped rooting for the character.  Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff) has been one annoyance after another, and as she strangled the poor parole officer (Stephen Root), I stopped wanting her to get away with anything.  When, moments later, she was shown on the phone with the terrorist, it all fell into place.  The writers can be forgiven for making us hate Dana so much, because we needed to hate her eventually anyway.  And the twist gives hopes that Sackhoff's talents will not be wasted on the role.

     A side character died.  24 has not killed off anyone important yet this year, and so I have begun to get tense, knowing that it's just a matter of time.  True, Agent Owen (Julian Morris) with his six episode stint was not vital, but I still felt emotion as Jack lied to him, lying dying on the pavement.  His death is surely a harbinger of the bloodbath that will ensure.  There aren't many majorly important characters left in the series to kill off, but as long as it's not Chloe, I'm cool with it.

     Speaking of important characters, I still need to see the return of three of them.  Chloe's husband, Morris, (Carlo Rota) should make an appearance, as should secret service hero Aaron (Glenn Morshower).  I am really disappointed to have not seen Karen Hayes (Jayne Atkinson) since 2007, especially after her husband's heroic sacrifice last year.  And Jack's love story with Renee (Annie Wersching) cannot ever play out to satisfaction without bringing back Audrey Raines (Kim Raver).  I don't care if I have to wait for the big screen to see any of the four, but for me to be happy about the end of the story, I need to see what happened to the four of them.  And if they want to toss me a little Martha Logan (Jean Smart), I'll gladly take it.

     24 continues it's final season Monday nights, including tonight, at 9pm on Fox.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Grey's goes to the green zone

      This week, ABC's Grey's Anatomy decided to show viewers what Dr. Hunt's (Kevin McKidd) experience in Iraq was like, or at least a small part of it.  Though it tied fairly well into a current situation at the hospital, I found myself a little disappointed with the result.  We already knew how scarred Owen was from what he saw, and seeing him let a man die who could have survived didn't really add to the depth.  What I would have liked to seen more of, but was only touched on, was his relationship with Teddy (Kim Raver).  Since it seems like Teddy is sticking around on the show, it would be nice if they showed us that instead.

        That being said, it was not a bad episode.  Dr. Hunt is one of the most interesting characters to be added to the cast in a long time, and his relationship with Christina (Sandra Oh) is certainly not going to get easy very fast.  It's nice to see their interaction, and how he has helped her to grow.

     In fact, all of the original interns, well, the three left, seem to finally be adults.  Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) didn't handle losing his wife very well, but he has come a long way from the man slut  jerk he started out as.  Similarly, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) has changed into someone not so afraid of commitment, and a damn good wife as Mrs. Dr. Shepherd.  It will be good to see the three residents finally become attendings someday, and they are well on their way.

     I'd also like to note, Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) are NOT an expendable couple.  If Shonda (Rhimes, the showrunner) wants to put them through a little bit of drama with the disagreement about kids, that's fine, but it took a leap for many fans to see Callie as a lesbian, and she already had one woman ripped away from her, not to mention a husband.  She cannot be made to suffer another romantic loss.  It isn't fair.

     Also, Richard's (James Pickens Jr.) demotion and Derek's (Patrick Dempsey) rocky time settling into the job has been very well handled.  Please keep it up.

     Grey's Anatomy airs Thursday nights at 9pm on ABC.

Vampire Diaries bites back

     This past Thursday, The Vampire Diaries returned to the CW.  There's a lot of mystery in the show, and it's interesting to watch it play out.  For instance, this past week Elena (Nina Dobrev) got closer than ever to discovering the secret of where she came from.  She knows she was given to her parents by a woman named Isobel (Mia Kirshner, The L Word) who is still alive but doesn't want to be found.  My question is, why does Elena look so much like Katherine (also Dobrev)?  Surely, it won't just be that she's the great-great-grandniece or something?  I mean, they are identical!  I have high hopes that there will be some awesome explanation, like perhaps she is a reborn version of Katherine, tied into mystics and magic.  But I also have a sneaking suspicion that I may be disappointed.

     Connected to this mystery is Isobel's husband, Alaric (Matthew Davis, What About Brian), who had thought her dead.  Somehow, a ring that she gave him saved his life after Damon (Ian Somerhalder) stabbed him in the lung.  What in the world is it, and how did it do what it did?  And if they are going to pretend that Elena was actually Isobel's birthed daughter, who is the father?  Is it him?

     Also, the vampires that were trapped in the tomb below the town for the past century and a half have escaped.  How did they get out?  Bonnie (Katerina Graham) and her sadly deceased grandmother (Jasmine Guy, Dead Like Me) barely held the seal open long enough for Elena, Damon, and Stefan (Paul Wesley) to make it out.  How did others escape?  Is the seal somehow permanently broken?  I don't understand that bit.

     As far as I can tell, it's a pretty good series.  My only current complaint is that there is so much focus on characters who are only doing limited run, like Alaric, Isobel, and the new vampire group, that several of the main characters get limited development.  For instance, although Bonnie has had some plot, she was not at all relevant this week.  Tyler (Michael Trevino) in particular has had nothing to do for months.  I don't know if the CW was just trying to get the teenage cast in there to attract their typical viewer, and now wants to go deeper into back story, or what,  but if that's the case, it's time to dump a few of the high schoolers.

     The Vampire Diaries airs Thursday nights at 8pm on the CW.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Caprica ends mid-season finale with much up in the air

     ...literally.  Amanda Graystone (Paula Malcomson) was still in the air the last we saw her, as she jumped from the bridge in an attempted suicide.  How ever knew how crazy that woman was?  The Zoe Graystone Cylon (Alessandra Torresani) was also careening through the air as the van she had stolen slammed into the police barricade and was tossed up.  Also, pieces of Sister Clarice's (Polly Walker) car were in the air, as Lacy (Magda Apanowicz) detonated the bomb.  Is that enough for you?

     After a long, long wait, SyFy chose to only give us nine episodes, counting the pilot that was put out on DVD nearly a year ago, before taking six months off.  There are eight more scheduled to air beginning September 17th.  SyFy is notorious for making fans of the franchise wait way too long for new installments.  Remember the nine month wait for the second half of the finale season of Battlestar Galactica?  It just proves that the network has no idea how to handle a good thing.

    And another good thing is what they have with this series.  Despite a few fun references from time to time, the show has certainly set itself apart from the series it is technically a prequel to.  Everything we thought we know from watching Galactica has been turned on it's head, and the political and personal drama is even deeper than expected.  Aside from one or two episodes in the middle, the show has really delivered.
     Besides the Graystone saga, which has also included the slow slip of Daniel Graystone's (Eric Stoltz) morality and sanity, the Adama story isn't quite as intriguing.  Perhaps in an effort to not exclusively tie themselves into a family already established in the universe, though they are main characters, the balance has been a little heavy on the Graystones.  However, things heated up in the past few weeks as Joseph (Esai Morales) battled a V-world addiction while searching for his daughter's avatar (Genevieve Buechner).

    When Caprica returns this fall, I do expect to see the Adamas and Graystones get further intertwined, and the fallout from all the bad things the main characters did.  I also want better closure on the Tamara plot.  But assuming James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) sticks around, I'm sure it will deliver.

     Caprica airs on SyFy channel Friday nights at 9pm.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Guess who's coming to tv?

    It's spring, and that means tons of casting news.  Some people have been picked up for an existing series, or signed on in exciting guest roles.  Some have been cast in new pilots.  Here's some of the biggest stories to break in the past few days: 

Love Bites - Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer), Greg Grunberg (Heroes), Craig Robinson (The Office), Jason Lewis (Sex and the City), and Lindsay Price (Lipstick Jungle) will all be appearing in the pilot of this new comedy next fall!  The series will be on NBC, and will concern love, as told in three stories with only loose connections.  It will star Becki Newton (Ugly Betty) and Jordana Spiro (My Boys).  This raises a couple of questions, like, does that mean the end of My Boys?  Surely the guest stars can work around their roles on their own shows, but TBS already picked up My Boys for a fourth season, and Spiro is the star.  Does that mean this year will be My Boys's last?  Cause that would be tragic!  Don't get me wrong; Spiro deserves network TV, but still...

Wright Vs. Wrong - This new ABC show was written by MadTV alum Stephnie WeirDebra Messing (Will & Grace) will portray a conservative political pundit and Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) will be her liberal opponent.  Does that mean Hines won't be in the next season of CYE, if there is one?  Or at least, she won't appear much?  Not that she ended this past year with Larry exactly, but there was hope of a possible reconciliation.  Carrie Fisher (Star Wars) will play Messing's manager.

The Big Bang Theory - Judy Greer (Arrested Development, Archer) will be guest starring as a famous physicist who Sheldon (Jim Parsons) invites to spend the night with him.  Knowing Sheldon, the offer won't be in the least sexual, but it's great to see a fantastic actress pop up a show worthy of her.  Well, she just did Modern Family, so make that two shows worthy of her.

The Good Wife - Eli Gold fans celebrate, Alan Cumming will be returning as a series regular for the second season of the popular CBS drama.  For those who don't watch it, like me, though I eagerly await the DVD so I can catch up, Cummings worked to fix Peter's (Chris Noth) public image.  Looks like that image needs a little more work.

Lost: Ab Aeterno

     This week's episode of ABC's Lost was called "Ab Aeterno", which translated to English means 'from the beginning of time'.  This was highly appropriate, as it was a very heavy mythology story.  Almost the entire installment was dedicated to the long awaited back story of Richard Albert (Nestor Carbonell).  As previously suspected, he did arrive on the island on The Black Rock, an old sailing ship.  It was revealed that he actually got there in 1867, and why he still looks the same as he did back then.

     The episode was also heavy on plot between Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) and the Man in Black (Titus Welliver) who have been on the island for a very long time, seemingly since the beginning of time, if the episode title is to be believed.  The big reveal here was why people were brought to the island, and to confirm that perhaps some castaways died when they made the right choices and atoned for their sins.  But this one was about Richard, and most of the Jacob / MIB plot was more reassuring past hypothesis than anything.  Obviously the MIB has chosen to take the form of now-deceased Locke (Terry O'Quinn).  This is just a guess, but perhaps he had to take a form other than his own to leave the island?  That's the only reason I can think of, besides O'Quinn's popularity and contract, that Welliver hasn't played him all season.  The question now is, who will step up and assume Jacob's role in the ultimate showdown between good and evil at the end of the season?  There will be another big mythology episode coming up shortly before the series finale, and presumably that one will tackle all further revelations about the duo that the series creators intend to reveal.

     That being said, we still don't know why Hurley (Jorge Garcia) can see and talk to the dead.  Obviously this is an extremely important point, and I want to know why.  My first instinct is to say that this rules him out as being Jacob's successor, but come on.  Many of the fans will be disappointed if it's Jack (Matthew Fox), thinking they took the easy way out.  Many of the fans will be disappointed if it's not Jack, because he is the obvious choice, and deserves the mantle.  Either way, it's going to be a delicate balancing act to satisfy all of the fans, though if any show can do it, Lost can.

     What's next for the Losties?  Well, obviously there is showdown of ginormous proportions coming.  It's good vs. evil.  People are choosing sides or trying to stay out of it, but everyone will be involved.  With only ten hours left, next week marks the halfway point.  And we've barely seen Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick).  Obviously, that's the real crime.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

United States of crazy

     United States of Tara returned to Showtime last night to begin its second season.  Centering on a woman with multiple personalities, it tells the story of a family and their struggles to get through life.  Tara is played by the superb Toni Collette, as are her alters, Alice, Buck, T, and Gimme.  Word is there will be a new alter soon, known as Shoshanna, a therapist.  Shoshanna was not to be seen in this first episode of the season, but the groundwork for her appearance was laid.

     As the episode begins, Tara has gone for three months without any of her other personalities asserting themselves.  This follows her stint in a heavy therapy situation where she sought, and failed, to discover the trauma that made her who she is in the first place.  However, by episode end, Buck made a come back, and began to woo the lovely Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy), a barmaid (see picture).  How this will affect Tara's relationship with her husband, Max (John Corbett, Sex and the City) is anyone's guess, but I'd bet he'd be happier than if it was any of her female alters taking up with a new man.

     Tara's kids are also a major draw.  Unlike in other dramas, they are utilized as full characters in their own right, with intriguing plots.  Daughter Kate (Brie Larson) is done with her sexual harassment suit attempt and has switched her manipulative skills to debt collection.  Son Marshall (Keir Gilchrist) has seemingly embraced his gayness in public, though that will be tested soon, and forgiven his mother, or rather T, for stealing his guy.  Equally fascinating, though not a child, is Tara's sister Charmaine (Rosemarie DeWitt), who after her boob job was corrected, finds herself torn between a dreamy guy who wants to marry her, and Max's portly friend Neil (hilarious, but also good at drama, Patton Oswalt).

     Bottom line is, there is plenty of crazy coming out of Tara and her crew, and I'm surely not going to miss a second.  United States of Tara airs on Showtime Mondays at 10:30pm.

Nurse Jackie is back

      Showtime's Nurse Jackie is a brilliant show.  Here's why.  It's a totally character driven drama.  Sure, other shows are character driven dramas, too, like House, or virtually any show on USA.  But Jackie does it better.  The main character (the amazing Edie Falco) is completely morally ambiguous.  She seems like a devote family woman, but she carried on an affair for a year with her pharmacist.  She frequently steals and abuses medicine, yet she goes out of her way to help patients.  She hides every bit of her personal life at work, but has the best bedside manner of anyone on the staff.  Is she a good or bad person at heart?  That depends.  Certainly she violates at least one of your decency standards, and yet, it's hard not to like her.

     She is also surrounded by a slew of interesting co-workers.  Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith, The West Wing) may be my favorite.  She's the hard nosed administrator who only occasionally let her soft side out, but it's always a delight when she does.  Dr. O'Hara (Eve Best) is Jackie's best friend, and doesn't judge her, despite knowing most of the sordid details that no one else does.  Even Cooper (Peter Facinelli, Twilight) started annoying, but has grown into a highly entertaining plaything for Jackie's mental games.

     In the season premiere last night, Eddie (Paul Schulze, 24), Jackie's spurned lover, swallows a bottle of pills so he can see her as a patient in the ER.  It seems that he will endeavor to become more and more involved in her life, even though he now knows all about her family.  The walls are also closing in on Jackie at work, as her boss is becoming suspicious that someone is stealing meds.  Also, the temp she fired last year for coming to work high has been hired full time, and he may have figured her out.

     All in all, it was a thrilling half hour, with more promising plot to come.  If you want to see television's most well developed shade of gray, tune in to Nurse Jackie Mondays at 10pm on Showtime.

Fly Girls low on altitude

     CW has a companion to it's new reality show High Society.  It's called Fly Girls, and premieres tomorrow, Wednesday, at 9:30pm.  Like HS, it attempts to be 'real', but even more so, it fails.  The flight attendants featured seem typical the way that Gossip Girl informs you about  typical New York high school students.  So, not really at all, unless you're in that tiny, elite group at the top.  The problem is, unlike HS, Fly Girls fails to provide one intriguing character.

     The series centers on five girls, who not only work together, but live together in the 'Crash Pad'.  It is presented as a house they all share rent for, but it comes across as a pad set up by the likes of MTV for them to dwell in while filming a low-class television show.  They all clash, hookup with passengers, and generally try to get their way.  Even the one with kid seems like a bad mom, video chatting for a few minutes a night while living it up in Los Angeles, instead of being there to raise the child.  There really is nothing positive I can say about this show.

     I hate to be so negative about a show, but having watched the first two episodes, I couldn't wait to stop.  I only finished them so that I could write this article, though I admit, I was already at the computer typing before the ending credits rolled.  The series is a complete waste of time, and hopefully, after reading this, you won't have to suffer actually watching it, as I did.  Though, if you actually like The Hills or its ilk, then go ahead and watch.  You very well may like it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Life breathes life into Discovery Channel

     My article title is not a dig on the Discovery Channel.  On the contrary, I am always entertained when I sit down to watch a show.  However, the new series Life cause me to set my TiVo for a season pass.  For one, it's by the same people that brought you Planet Earth, and while I have not yet had a chance to watch that series, I have heard glowing things, and I did purchase a copy on DVD that I intend to get around to.  For another, well, do you need another reason?

     Last night, two episodes were premiered.  The first, "The Challenges of Life", brought a closer glimpse at a variety of species, and the hardship they must endure to survive.  It was a study of balance, for although I rooted for the cheetahs to bring down that ostrich, I rejoiced when the baby ibex escaped the fox.  The mother frog taking care of her tadpoles was especially interesting, and one couldn't help but feel sorry for the hippo who was denied a mate.  Florida Dolphins certainly proved their smarts.  Plants and seals were also featured, among others.

     The first episode skipped around frequently, perhaps owing to its broad topic, but its short segments were engaging.  The second episode last night was "Reptiles and Amphibians", which I look forward to viewing soon, and then next Sunday at 8 and 9pm, we get "Mammals" and "Fish".  Presumably, these may go a little more in depth, as the topic is narrower.  Ten hours in all are planned, with only one more taking a very broad topic as the first.

     The one complaint I have about series is the narration provided by Oprah Winfrey.  Don't have my head for saying it, but Oprah, as well respected and powerful as she is, does not provide the same pleasing tones that most nature show narrators do.  I would have preferred someone else, but it wasn't distracting enough to warrant major complaints.  Just a small gripe.

Breaking Bad done with its break

       Returning to AMC last night was the hit drama Breaking BadWhen last we left Walt (Bryan Cranston), his wife had left him, he had checked his partner into rehab, he had made a ton of tough, and a plane came crashing down around him.  Yet, this original show does not delve into cheesiness, and the plane was very well tied into other plot points, not just a freak accident, though it was that, too.  Now Breaking Bad begins a third season.

     In the premiere, "No Mas", the most shocking development was Walt's wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn) figuring out that he was a drug dealer.  He never intended to tell her, but it was surely a relief for the truth to come out.  However, the results were not so rosy.  While Walt would love his family back, the meth-maker's spouse now definitely wants nothing to do with him.  The question is, will she realize why he did it?  Will their son, Walter Jr. a.k.a. Flynn (RJ Mitte), stop hating her for pushing his father out?  And what of her D.E.A. brother-in-law, Hank (Dean Norris)? If he ever learned about Walt, wouldn't he have to take him down, family or not?  This family is certainly one of the most interesting on television.

     Jesse (Aaron Paul) has also taken a new turn with his life.  After the tragic overdose of his girlfriend Jane (Krysten Ritter), it appears he may finally have gotten clean and sober.  This gels well with Walt's decision not to be involved in illegal activities any more, despite a three million dollar offer to do three months more work before he quits.  Would it change the show too much if Walt and Jesse stayed on the straight and narrow?  Something tells me it may not be up to them, as some seriously bad dudes are heading their way.

     The Mexicans with the skull-toed boots left a level of mystery, thankfully not told in flashback as last season's major twist was.  Whatever happens, Breaking Bad got off to a great start, and I am looking forward to how this year plays out.

     New episodes of Breaking Bad air on AMC Sunday nights at 10pm.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Office has new leads

     NBC's The Office has new leads.  Yes, that was the title of this week's episode.  And yes, it likely referred to the 'new leads' that Sabre, the new parent company, sent to the office for them to follow up on.  However, if you have been watching, there has been a shift lately, and it's apparent who two of the new leads in the show are
     When the series began there were five character in the theme song, and that is how it has stayed during the show's run.  However, recently a sixth face was inserted.  Andy Bernard (Ed Helms, The Daily Show, The Hangover) started as a recurring character back 2006, gained popularity, was hired full time, and now is one of the people that the show focuses on.  Deservedly so.  The man who began an annoying guy with anger management issues has wormed his way into the hearts of fans everywhere.

         Last spring another new face showed up in The Office and stayed.  That face is Kelly "Erin" Hannon (Ellie Kemper, Upright Citizen's Brigade, The Onion).  She replaced Pam (Jenna Fischer) at the receptionist desk, and as soon as she established herself as part of the ensemble, it have Andy the boost he needed to be a leading man.

     For five years the romantic themes in the series were always about Jim (John Krasinksi) and Pam.  Now that they are married and have a baby, their connection has stabilized.  While this is primarily a workplace comedy, there needs to be romantic tension to keep things going.  Andy and Erin have become that couple.  They're a little bit goofier than Jim and Pam, and their trip to the altar shouldn't take nearly as long, but it's nice to get a new, fresh thing going on.  This week, they even shared their first kiss.  In a garbage dump.

     The Office airs on NBC Thursdays at 9pm.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Geek Out with Jimmy #18: King of the Final Frontier

     A new Geek Out With Jimmy airs this weekend on HotZoneRadio.  It will play at 7pm Saturday and Sunday.  It’s an hour of television news and reviews by Jerome Wetzel, author for HotZoneOnline.

This week there’s plenty of news, beginning with the death of Fess Parker a.k.a. Davey Crockett.  Sad, indeed.  Also, answers to the following questions:  Which network is interested in 24?  Is Glee not doing 22 episodes next season?  Who else is joining Parks and Recreation?  Which Battlestar Galactica alum is going to be on Castle?  What crazy thing has Paula Abdul done now?  What’s in store for the big 100th episode of Bones?  Who will soon be working in The Office?  Which True Blood star is on another show at the moment, instead of filming the HBO series?  Who is the only original student cast member to appear full time in the final season of Friday Night Lights?  Where has Amy Brenneman gone?

Plenty of shows are also tackled, including Ugly Betty, American Idol, Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, 24, Chuck, Family Guy, Community the return of Flash Forward and South Park, the premiere of Justified and Ugly Americans, and the likely series finale of Scrubs.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

The hype is Justified

     I had already read several glowing reviews about FX’s new drama Justified before it aired.  That, combined with the fact that it is set in Lexington, Kentucky, where I currently reside, got my excited for a show that didn’t look like my cup of tea.  The third thing it had going for it was that it was based on a story by Elmore Leonard, author of stories that were made into films, such as Get Shorty and Be Cool, both excellent films.  Luckily, the good things said about it turned out to be completely true.

     There is no better word to describe the main character, Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant, Damages, Deadwood) than cool.  The opening, set in Maimi, Florida, was so exciting and intense, I was immediately drawn into the world.  And he maintained that personality all though the story, despite his challenges.  It is also clear that Raylan is a true action hero, the likes of which only come along every once in awhile.  It isn’t possible to overestimate his skill.  Think Jack Bauer in a cowboy hat, but he would rather kill than torture.   And he handles smaller scale problems.

     The supporting cast is much less-defined in the pilot episode.  Raylan’s friend who has gone astray, Boyd, (Walton Goggins, The Shield) gets plenty of screen time in his show down with Raylan (guess who wins?), but ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea, Dirty Sexy Money) appears in just one scene of consequence.

     The pacing is tight, the setting feels authentic, even if it wasn’t filmed here, though producers have expressed an interest in coming to location if the show is picked up for a second season.  Which, hopefully, it will be.  It is fresh, original.  It’s sort of a Western, which is rare for television these days, and hasn’t been seen on broadcast networks since Firefly.  The humor isn’t there much, but the drama and tension is done well. 

     Justified airs Tuesday nights at 10pm on FX.

Scrubs ends abruptly

     Scrubs, after a mistaken decision to be kept on air this year with a new format, was canceled after a mere thirteen episodes.  Ok, it's not quite canceled yet, but would you believe that a portion of this article was written nearly two months ago and saved, because it was so obvious that the end was coming?  Technically, the episode that aired this week was a season finale, and was certainly not written to cap a long-running series.  However, that's most likely what it was.

     It's biggest mistake was a lack or originality. It was a mere goofier version of the original. The security guards, while funny, were just an extension of the Janitor (Neil Flynn, The Middle) character. Drew (Michael Mosley) was a mini-Dr. Cox, Cole (Dave Franco) was like The Todd (Robet Maschio), both of whom were still on the show. Lucy (Kerry Bishe) was a cross between J.D. (Zach Braff) and Elliot (Sarah Chalke), and Denise (Eliza Coupe) became very similar to Elliot as well as Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley), but with less emotion than the former. The problem was, all of these new characters resembled the old ones, instead of bringing something new to the show.

      The one positive was that it gave Dr. Cox and Dr. Turk (Donald Faison) a chance to really grow their friendship. We finally got to see them on equal footing, rather than Turk being seen as the much younger student.  And in the end, both Cole and Drew got some serious growth that would have made them much more interesting were they allowed to continue.  Dr. Kelso (Ken Jenkins), who seemed to have the most fun in this continuation of the show, was nowhere to be seen this week.  Anyway, it's likely too little, too late.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rolling Stones bore American Idol

     If you tuned in to tonight's American Idol on Fox, you may have been incredibly bored.  I sure was.  Whoever's idea it was to do a Rolling Stones week should be fired.  The Stones have plenty of great music, but it was not in evidence by tonight's performances.  By midway, I was fast forwarding through many of them.
     This season has had lots of imbalance.  For one, the girls far outshine the guys.  One has to wonder if this was done on purpose, as for the first time in American Idol history, two guys won the competition in a row the past two years.  That being said, there is still Big Mike, and occasionally others, who deliver.  They're just outshined by the girls.
     Crystal Bowersox is the clear front runner, of course.  It's her competition to lose.  She can sing circles around any of the other contestants, although Siobhan sure gave her a run for her money tonight.  However, Lilly Scott was the 2nd or 3rd best singer, and she was sent home incredibly prematurely last week.  How did Lilly go home, when people like Paige have stunk up the show four weeks running and are still there?  I actually wished for the Judge's Save, that lame trick they brought out last year and used poorly, to bring Lilly back and make a Top 13.
     Who will go home this week?  It's hard to say.  There are plenty of contestants I wouldn't miss:  Paige, Aaron, Paige, Andrew (despite his awesome Paula Abdul in Hollywood Week, he's done nothing notable since), Paige, Katie, Paige, Tim, did I mention Paige?  There are also some great ones, who should be sticking around for awhile: Crystal, Didi, Big Mike, Lacey, Siobhan, and NOT Paige.  America, do you hear what I'm saying?  Send Paige home!
     The results of this week's vote will be revealed tomorrow night at 8pm on Fox

NBC Comedy Thursday adding more great characters

     On the heels of the news that both Rob Lowe (Brothers & Sisters) and Adam Scott (Party Down) would be appearing in multiple episodes each on NBC's Parks and Recreation, comes more casting scoop.  P&R will also soon have Natalie Morales (pictured below).  Morales starred in the summer series The Middleman, as well as the first season of the new USA drama White Collar.  Apparently she was only contracted for one season with USA, unfortunately, as though her name appeared in the opening credits, she didn't get that much screen time.  Fans of hers, however, and I count myself among them, will be happy to see her bussing tables at a bar in Pawnee.  The role is for more than one episode.
     The big question in my mind is, will one of these three hilarious actors be chosen to join the cast fall time replace the departing Paul Schneider, who played Mark Brendanawicz, the city planner who had both Anne and Leslie fall head over heels for him.  Schneider was the straight man, but I guess Anne (Rashida Jones) will still be the straight woman in the cast, so it doesn't seem to be a huge loss at this point.  I may feel differently once we get into next season.
     That isn't the only story, however.  The Office will also be welcoming Amy Pietz.  Last seen as the mother in the short lived Aliens in America, but perhaps best known for her role in Caroline in the City, Pietz is a superb comic actress, and will make a fine addition to the workplace mockumentary.  She will begin her stint in April, but how long she will stick around is not being released, though word is it will be for at least a few episodes.  Could she be the new lady from corporate?  A love interest for Michael?  A temp replacing Pam?  Who knows?  Well, some people know, but I am not among them.
     Bottom line, NBC Comedy Thursday, already laugh out loud funny, looks to add even more chuckles in upcoming shows.  The Office airs at 9pm, and Parks & Recreation can be seen at 8:30pm.


     Wow.  I just completed a three episode mini-marathon of Fox's 24, ending with last night's, and I just have to say, wow.  An essential part of the show has always been the CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) Los Angeles, until last season.  Prior to last year's episodes, CTU had been disbanded, its practice weres under review by Congress, and the FBI picked up the slack, although in a different way.  I was very happy to see the glossy new CTU New York building in Day Eight's premiere in January, staffed with a whole new crew of agents, and of course, Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub).
     Then last night happened.  An EMP pulse effectively wiped out their entire operation.  Only halfway through Jack's (Kiefer Sutherland) eighth bad day, his support system is kaput.  Yes, he managed to save everyone last year without them, so the tension there is off, despite the startling preview for next week's hour, but that doesn't mean it isn't shocking and sad.  Chloe, Hastings (Mykelti Williamson), Arol (John Boyd), and Dana (Katee Sackhoff) are there!  What do they do now?  It would be nice if Rene (Annie Wersching) could step up and help them out, but I'm not counting on it.
     Well, surely Dana will continue her very annoying, and far too long drawn out plot of covering up her past life as Jenny.  This story, which, at the latest, should have ended two weeks ago when she disposed of the bodies, was made slightly more interesting by the appearance of another great actor on the case, Stephen Root (True Blood, Pushing Daisies, The West Wing).  However, as previously noted, Katee is a great actress, too, and that hasn't been enough to save the plot, so it is doubtful Root, despite his considerable talents, can help.
     24 does do some things right, though.  Besides the dramatic taking out of CTU, the subplot between Kayla (Nazneen Contractor) and Tarin (T.J. Ramini) was done well.  There was real emotion between the two, and I was kept guessing what Tarin would do throughout.  First he was thought to be guilty, then innocent, then guilty, then guilty but having a change of heart, and now, he's fully on the wrong side of things.  How the two of them may further affect the plot is a point of interest, although it seems unlikely that a happy-ever-after is in their future.
     24 still has twelve hours left, and will continue Monday nights at 9pm on Fox.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The battle for The Pacific has begun

      In 2001, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg created a very popular ten part mini-series called Band of Brothers for HBO, which told the story of a group of American soldiers during World War II in Europe.  Now they've teamed up again to tackle the Pacific theater of conflict in The Pacific.  The story centers on three real life marines, and is based on books by two of them, as well as other true source material.  The marines are Sgt. John Basilone (Jon Seda, Close to Home), Pfc. Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale, 24), and Pfc. Eugene Sledge (Joseph Mazzello, Jurassic Park, The Lost World).
     In the first part of a ten week saga, it was hard to keep track of exactly who the main characters were.  Quite a few soldiers were featured, and as most of them were in one group that the bulk of the episode followed, they all sort of blended together for me.  In fact, a second group was introduced early in the story, and I looked for them repeatedly until they finally showed up again at the end.  However, even without being able to accurately track all of the people, it was still an intriguing show.
     The realism, tone, and pacing make this mini-series.  Right from the start, the men are getting ready to go off to war, and in fact, much of the first part is set in the battlefield.  The look is spectacular, and the emotions feel real.  Some soldiers were torturing a Japanese soldier they caught, shooting him over and over so that he kept suffering.  When one brave man stood up and shot him through the heart, it certainly made the point that the enemy would not be a one-note , stereotypical villain, but treated as people, too.
     I can't exactly say why I enjoyed The Pacific so much.  It was more the overall feeling it gave than a few characteristics that I can easily pinpoint.  Suffice it to say, it appears there is something really great here, definitely worth watching.
     The Pacific will air for nine more Sundays on HBO at 9pm.

Sons of Tucson

     I am mad at Fox's new Sons of Tucson, which premiered last night, and here's why.  There was a fantastic show on the air for two seasons on the CW called Reaper, where three guys helped capture souls for the devil, and one of the stars was Tyler LabineReaper was canceled well before its time, and while there were rumors that it was being shopped around to other networks, including cable, nothing came of it.  I do not have any proof that the reason, or part of the reason, was that Labine was already attached to a new pilot and possibly would not be available, but were I a network considering the series, I would have considered not picking it up if Labine was not in it, as he was definitely a necessary component for making it work.
     That being said, Sons of Tucson is not completely awful.  I certainly can't call it great.  The show revolves around three kids whose dad is in jail and mom is gone.  Worried about being sent to separate foster homes, they pay a dolt named Ron (Labine) to pretend to be their father and enroll them in school.  Labine does it for the money, then negotiates his way into their home, or rather, the shed behind their home.  Better than sleeping in his car right?
     There were funny moments.  Labine basically plays the same character he played on Reaper, but without the other guys to balance him out.  In the pilot, at least, the kids' personalities were not really apparent.  They all sort of seemed the same.  Hopefully this will be corrected if the series continues, which I find unlikely if it is kept during the Animation Domination Sunday lineup.  The last time a live action sitcom was inserted there (The Winner, three years ago), it was quickly pulled off the air.
     I've been hedging around the bush, but the show really isn't very good.  I can't in good conscious recommend it, even though Labine is funny.  I will continue to watch, for now for that reason, and hope it improves drastically.  Sons of Tucson airs Sunday nights at 9:30pm on Fox.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Don't count out Jack Bauer yet

     It has widely been noted that Fox's 24 has been slipping in the ratings and may soon face cancellation.  How far has it slipped?  Down to third for the entire network.  Yes, the show that ranks only behind American Idol and House is considered lagging.  I guess it takes more than 12 million viewers a week to still be considered good enough to keep on the air.  And yet the network continues to air 'Til Death.
     Seriously, though, after eight years, the budget has gotten pretty high, and if the downward ratings trend continues, then 24 might cease to be a valuable, marketable commodity.  That would really screw things up for Fox when they try to begin putting Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) on the big screen, and need to sell a few more than 12 million tickets to turn a profit.
     Which is why it comes as a surprise to learn that 20th Century Fox, the studio that makes 24 for the Fox television network, is talking to NBC about taking over the adventure.  Yes, this is a rumor, but multiple sources confirm that these talks are happening.  The price tag to keep the series going is, of course, a major sticking point, and may cause the deal not to happen.  Also, keeping Jack on Fox might mean a delay in the feature films, the first of which already has been given script treatment, though it's not at a final draft stage, awaiting approval, or anything.
     Should 24 continue?  It's debatable.  I still love me some Jack Bauer action, but this season has been dragged down considerably by the Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff) subplot.  The show has plenty of time this year to redeem itself, and if past performance is any indicator, it will.  Yet, as the television movie, 24: Redemption, aired in fall of 2008 showed, a fresh take on things benefits the plot.  It may be time to turn in the gun on the small screen, and take things to the next level.
     24 airs Mondays at 9pm on Fox.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Geek Out With Jimmy #17 - The Rush - 7pm ET Tonight!

     Geek Out With Jimmy #17 “The Rush” is now available through HotZoneRadio.  It will play today at 7pm and tomorrow at the same time.  It is a podcast hosted by Jerome Wetzel, a staff writer for HotZoneOnline.com that covers television.
     This week’s episode deals with a lot of casting news.  There are actors joining and or leaving Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Burn Notice, Parks & Recreation, White Collar, and more.  Find out which shows were newly renewed, and which ones are ending soon.  Lindsey Vonn will be popping up on a show, and Keri Russell is joining a pilot.
     I also review many television shows, including Scrubs, Mercy, Grey’s Anatomy, Burn Notice, Psych, White Collar, Parenthood, Gossip Girl, the Oscars, Ugly Betty, Lost, and Chuck, which had the best moment of the series so far.  The three USA shows just completed their seasons, so find out how they ended!
     I also interview potential co-hosts.  Check out Geek Out With Jimmy on HotZoneRadio!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Benjamin Linus: Great character, or greatest character?

     Last night's episode of ABC's Lost was called "Dr. Linus", and assuming it was clearly a Ben story, I eagerly tuned in.  I was far from disappointed.  Ever since we caught a glimpse of Dr. Linus, the history teacher at the high school where John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) was working as a substitute teacher, I yearned for more information.  Last night, we got it.
     Dr. Linus cares as much about his students as the Ben of the island cared about the people he lead.  And what's more, even though he seemed like a much better man, he is was still ready to resort to the deep, dark tricks he pulled in the other timeline.  Yet, here, he did not pull the trigger.  He did not call a bluff.  He held back, and it proved that Ben has something in him better than anyone expected.
     This brings up to further debate on an age old questions: do circumstances determine who you are?  In Ben's case, yes.  Island Ben was pushed to the breaking point over and over and it led him do become a pretty nasty psychotic.  When we saw young Ben in the 1970's, clearly he was not that way.  Alternate path Dr. Linus was not either, and it was with supreme irony that his father told him they should have stayed on the island, it would have been better for him.
     Back on the island, Ben had a breakdown that reminded us once more why Michael Emerson wins Emmys for the role.  He proclaimed he would go with the smoke monster because no one else would have him.  True, at this point, who would take that Ben?  But Ilana (Zuleikha Robinson) took pity on him, and agreed to take him, just when the audience needed to see someone accept Ben.
     You seen, while Ben has done unspeakable evil, the writers of Lost have somehow managed to make us see why he did what he did.  After last night, we also saw the potential for greatness in him.  Does Island Ben deserve redemption and a happy ending?  Probably not.  But he should get one.  He should get one because they made the viewers truly care about him, and many of us will be highly disappointed if he does not.  Ben Linus will go down as one of the most truly interesting, complex, dynamic characters ever created in any medium.  Michael Emerson, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, be proud of your creation.  We are.
     Plus, the episode had Leslie Artz (Daniel Roebuck), and that's always a good time.
     ABC will present 9 more episodes of Lost before the series finale Tuesday nights at 9pm.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chuck is more than just a flash of genius

     Having just watched last night's latest Chuck on NBC, only two words spring to mind: Mind Blowing. Ok, I guess I can write a few more.  When I say Best Episode Ever, it is not something I take lightly, as Chuck has had a number of amazing events, from Chevy Chase and Scott Bakula, to Ellie's (Sarah Lancaster) wedding, to her husband Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) discovering that Chuck (Zachary Levi) is a spy. All of that pales in comparison with the events in "Chuck vs. The Beard".

      Morgan found out. That's right, Chuck's best friend, Morgan Grimes (Joshua Gomez) found the CIA base under the Buy More and now knows everything. It could not have come at a more opportune time, with Chuck breaking down and losing his skills due to pent up emotion. He had to spill his secret, and only to Morgan could he spill it fully. Their scenes together in the bunker sent chills up and down my spine, and I still can not adequately express the elation it evoked.

      That in itself would have been enough to earn this episode a perfect rating in my book. But the ante was upped even more by a spectacular Buy More sub plot, wherein the employees revolted in an attempt to keep their jobs. Buy More has always seemed like it's own country, something of a unique world, separate from outside reality. This was reinforced even more. The Guitar Hero was all part of the charm.

      Where does Chuck go from here then? We are only nine episodes into a nineteen episode season. In fact, that is six more stories than originally ordered for this year, and for the first time in it's three season history, it will not take a miracle to save Chuck from certain cancellation. In fact, it looks solid. Further drama will surely erupt as Captain Awesome faces a breaking point. He is not handling keeping all of these secrets from Ellie well, and it looks like he will either have to spill the beans, or the two may go into witness protection, or both. Other than Ellie, though, there are no other characters that need to eventually discover Chuck's secret.

      Wholly satisfying storytelling. Amazing performances. Edge of your seat action. Chuck started life as a nervous nerd, and is shaping up to be a hero of a tale. Chuck airs Monday nights at 8pm on NBC.

Not so high on High Society

     When I got the screener for the first two episodes of the CW's High Society in the mail, part of me was tempted to throw it away and not watch it.  Then I remembered how much I liked Gossip Girl, and I admit, after months without it, I was missing those socialites and their dramas, so I gave it a shot.  Writing this immediately after watching, I'm not sure I'll watch any more.
     The show is a reality / documentary program centered on the life of Tinsley Mortimer.  I, like most people, had never heard of her, though if you move in high class circles in New York City or the fashion world, you may have.  Apparently, she even made a cameo in the season two premiere of Gossip Girl, a year and a half ago.  Tinsley herself is sort of interesting.  She comes off as human, and not just because of the clearly staged crying while thinking of the pain of her divorce.  In episodes one and two, she moves into an apartment (gasp - in Midtown!) and goes out with friends, but doesn't party too hard.  Yes, she has a little air of rich snobiness about her, but it's not overwhelming.  If I continue to watch, it will be for her.  She is clearly the main draw, the most grounded (or at least portrayed that way).
     The supporting cast is less so.  Her mother, Dale Mercer, though divorced herself, has made it her mission to get Tinsley back with her ex.  Her sister, Dabney Mercer, paints her fingernails while she is supposed to be helping Tinsley unpack.  Her friend Paul Johnson Calderon, is obnoxious, always talking about who he 'really is', but acting the opposite as the cameras role.  The only character less likable than him is the girl her fueds with, Jules Kirby, a bigot, but at least she seems authentic and is up front about her biases.  The other two 'leads', Alexandra Osipow and Devorah Rose, made no impact at all.
     The question is, how real is the series?  Kirby skipped the premiere party because of the way she being shown.  Tinsley is dating a German prince in the first two episodes, but he gets angry when scenes are not being filmed the way he wants, and Tinsley veers 'off script'.  Later in the season, American Idol contestant Constantine Maroulis will appear, but it was revealed that he was actually cast to play her boyfriend.  Also, several friends, and even Tinsley's half brother refuse to be filmed, and every time her ex is shown, his face is blurred out.  It appear it may all be completely fake, although that never killed the popularity of a similar show, The Hills.
     I frankly can't decide whether to recommend anyone watch this series, but as I have outlined what it is about, you should be able to make up your own mind.  Eight episodes have been ordered for the first season, and High Society premieres tonight at 9:30pm on the CW

Gossip Girl returns with more scandal

It’s been since a long wait since we last saw life on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, but last night Gossip Girl returned with the first of ten new episodes.  When we last left them, Dan (Penn Badgley) was falling for his best friend, Vanessa (Jessica Szohr) after having a threesome with her and his girlfriend.  Of course, the relationship quickly fell apart, and he realized he had feelings for Vanessa, while she may have gotten over the torch she had been carrying for him.  Vanessa was nowhere in sight in the first episode, and not returning Dan’s phone calls.  Hmm.  Poor Humphrey.
The other new, but long anticipated, relationship is between Serena (Blake Lively) and Nate (Chace Crawford).  Though they had been friends forever, they decided to take things up a level.  Last night’s episode featured a few missteps, but nothing so bad as to threaten the new fling.  Could this be GG’s big romance?  The other two established ones are certainly falling apart.  Though Blair (Leighton Meester) stood by her man, Chuck (Ed Westwick), the fact that he lied about the woman at the grave in the first place could spell doom.  Or perhaps not.  Blair certainly rose to his defense.  And Rufus (Matthew Settle), who had finally gotten with the woman he’d loved for decades, Lily (Kelly Rutherford), appears to be throwing it away because of a lie she told, and last night found Rufus seeking comfort in the arms of another woman.  It was so hard to get them together, and it felt so right, their dissolution would be highly disappointing.
Much is in store in the next nine weeks.  ***SPOILER ALERT!!!***  Serena’s father will finally show up, played by none other than Billy Baldwin.  Eh, he’s not Alec, but at least he’s not Stephen.  The season finale will also feature the return of my favorite character, Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg)!  Though the actress is currently starring in Mercy on NBC, she was given time to pop in on some more juvenile drama, and really, we would miss her deeply if she stayed away too long.
In other news, Leighton Meester will be starring in a romantic comedy with Hugh Laurie (House), which is awesome, because she played his little teenage stalked on his show for a few episodes years ago.  Should be great fun.

Actors joining Burn Notice, leaving Desperate Housewives

   USA is not known for adding characters to its shows.  Sure, Natalie (Traylor Howard) joined the cast of Monk to replace Sharona (Bitty Schram), and there was Anne Dudek (House) playing a police detective that was not Juliet (Maggie Lawson) in the pilot of Psych, but generally, USA dramas keep the same cast year after year.  That's about to change as the four actor ensemble in Burn Notice adds a fifth next season.
     The new series regular is Jesse Garcia, played by Coby Bell (The Game, Third Watch).  Word is, the new guy in town will have many of the same talents as Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan), including playing different characters, smooth talking, and reading people.  Basically, spy stuff.  So will he just hang around for one season, or will he stick?  Only time will tell.  Just please, please don't mess up the balance that has been perfected among the regular cast.
     Over on Wisteria Lane, though new characters will surely be announced, it's the women leaving that are getting the attention.  It took several tries to get a fifth housewife that could hold her own and click with the other four, but after recent plots, it appear Katherine (Dana Delany) has fallen out of favor.  Just her character, not the actress.  ABC has a pilot called Body of Evidence that they'd like her to star in, and she has accepted.  Delany hopes to still pop up on Desperate Housewives occasionally, if her series is picked up.  If not, she may stick around.  Or if it is picked up and quickly canceled, she may come back.  Creator Marc Cherry has vowed not to kill her off, and is happy to leave the door open for her return.  Katherine's new lover, Robin (Julie Benz, Angel, Dexter) also has an ABC pilot, No Ordinary Family, so perhaps the two could leave and live happily ever after together?
      Burn Notice has just completed it's third season, but will return to USA soon.  Desperate Housewives can be found on ABC Sundays at 9pm.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gossip Girl returns, and it's here to stay

    Back in December, I lamented that Gossip Girl was taking a far too long break on the CW.  The excruciating wait is finally over, as of 9pm tonight, as the first of ten consecutive episodes premieres.  Ten hours of guilty pleasure drama, wrapped in the riches of Manhattan's upper east side.      Of course, GG being what it is, there will be lots of roller coaster twists before the spring finale.  In fact, it is promised that there will not be one big event built up to for the rest of the season, but many intertwining plots, tightly strung together, brimming with surprise and excitement, culminating in not one, but TWO huge moments!  I know, I know.  Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.  Maybe the show won't live up to that excitement.  However, the only way to find out is to watch.
     Some surprises have already been dropped.  SPOILER ALERT.  Serena's (Blake Lively) missing father is finally found, and he is played by none other than Billy Baldwin!  While it's certainly sad that brother Alec was not available, be glad that it wasn't Stephen.  Billy hopes to not only be a part of this season, but to return next year as well.  Of course, that depends on how he is received by fans.
     There is even bigger news, though.  By the season finale, the b*tch will be back.  That's right, Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg, squeezing it in with her Mercy duties) is returning to star up the trouble.  No Gossip Girl season is complete without a dose of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's little sister gone bad, and thankfully, this one will be no different.  True, we got some of her in the fall, but a little Georgina is never enough.
     In other Gossip Girl news, Leighton Meester, who played Dr. House's teen love temptation for a few episodes a couple of years ago, will be starring in a romantic comedy movie with Hugh Laurie.  Wow!
     Gossip Girl airs the next ten Mondays on the CW at 9pm.

Neil Patrick Harris only bright spot of The Oscars

Wow, what a disappointing Academy Awards!  Gone were the performances of the Best Song, past winners presenting to new winners, and even the tribute song seemed a little short.  Where was Farrah Fawcett in there?  Overshadowed by Michael Jackson again!  The winners really had few surprises.  All of the acting categories went to who was expected, even it was the disappointing Sandra Bullock.  The Hurt Locker took far more awards than it deserves, especially Best Director.  James Cameron created a whole new camera system and spent ten years making Avatar, single-handedly launching 3-D movies into newfound popularity, and he gets snubbed?  Even if the plot of his blockbuster was only so-so, he deserved the Director award.  Avatar did take a few awards, and it was nice to see Star Trek get one, even if it was just makeup.
The hosts continued the snoozefest.  Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin have wicked chemistry!  Have you seen their Saturday Night Live rivalry?  Why, then, did they just stand around and make mostly dumb jokes?  I was excited when it was announced they were doing the show, but wholly disappointed in what they did.
The biggest, best thing at the Oscars was Neil Patrick Harris.  Star of How I Met Your Mother and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog, Harris recently hosted both the Emmys and the Tonys, among other things, and was tapped to open the show with a big number.  Is it clear to anyone else he should have taken the full duties?  His star has never been higher.  He will appear in the Joss Whedon-directed episode of Glee this spring, and then starring in the Smurfs movie, as well as doing a sequel to the internet smash hit Dr. Horrible.  Why not NPH?  despite being snubbed at the Emmys, he has massive popularity.
Oh, well.  There’s always next year.  If anyone is still tuning into the Oscars by next year.  Ratings have been on an overall downward trend for years, and last night’s lackluster performance will only drive them lower still.