Thursday, January 31, 2008

What I'm Watching: Law & Order

Law & Order: Season 18, Episode 6 "Political Animal" (C+)

An interesting idea to have this ridiculously oily politician slash campaign contributor represent himself; I just wish that the whole episode had been as inventive. And this guy is not Victor Vargas - he was the title character in the terrific 2003 film "Raising Victor Vargas". I would probably recommend watching that instead of watching this show. What is with McCoy being propositioned to run for some official position? Here I was thinking that character development was not an aspect of this show. My bad, I guess.

What I'm Watching: Carpoolers

Carpoolers: Season 1, Episode 9 "The Handsomest Man" (D)

I find it truly difficult to believe that Cindy, who does everything with her husband, would not be there for Dougie when his beloved cast together. I guess for some reason Allison Munn was not available for this episode, but Dougie's plotline should have been scrapped and saved for Cindy's return. Not all four of these guys need to have something going on every episode: point in fact, Gracen this episode. Why Marmaduke gets more screentime than a good portion of the foursome eludes me yet this episode he finally gets something fun to do (his best plotline yet, by far). The handsomest man gimmick gets a bit old but it is entertaining for a minute or two. This is where the similarity to "Cavemen" kicks in - some of this stuff might be funny as a commercial or a short but in full series form it is not so great.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What I'm Watching: Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad: Season 1, Episode 2 "Cat's in the Bag" (C)

This series is really running the risk of getting lost amidst all its own craziness. By dragging out the life of that one drug dealer and refusing to resolve the jumping-off point for the series, the series cannot really ever take on a life of its own without getting dragged down by its initial conflict. It is often true that the pilot episode of a show is hardly representative of both its week-to-week format and its overall quality because the premiere must introduce all the characters in some unconvential and striking way ("NCIS", or "Navy NCIS", as it was known back then, is a perfect example). By sticking by its first episode plotlines too heavily, this show has thus far been completely unable to launch itself. This show is starting to bear some similarities to "Mad Men" in its more intimate moments but it still needs a great deal of work.

What I'm Watching: The L Word

The L Word: Season 5, Episode 4 "Let's Get This Party Started" (B+)

Tina and Bette - finally a chance at them getting back together! Too back Tina could not handle her crazy date. Jodi is going to be so upset when she finds out what happened between Bette and Tina. I am glad to see that everyone still hates Jenny with a passion, and that they are really all plotting to undermine her and go over her head to make their creative decisions. By my count, only four people still genuinely like her: the actress who really wants to play her, her assistant, Shane, and Max. That is fine by me. In other news, not a big surprise that Shane could not resist the temptation to break her two-episode-long vow of celibacy. And I am of course happy that Tasha's lawyer finally came around and is now actually sympathetic to her cause.

SAG Awards Winners

I did not do very well here. I correctly predicted 1/8 of the winners. Eek. I was not so sure about the "Sopranos" sweep, so I missed out on all the drama winners. Comedy-wise, I am glad Alec Baldwin beat out Ricky Gervais especially after the replay of that brilliant clip which will win him the Emmy. TV-movie-wise, it turns out I did see both winners but I do not think either deserved their trophies unless everyone else was really bad. I am thrilled for "The Office", however.

The winners:
THE SOPRANOS (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Ensemble)
30 ROCK (Best Actor, Best Actress)
THE OFFICE (Best Ensemble)
KEVIN KLINE (Best Actor in a TV Movie)
QUEEN LATIFAH (Best Actress in a TV Movie)

That is all the awards business for now. On another note, it looks like both "Mad Men" and "Weeds" will soon resume production since their writers have been allowed to go back to work due to a WGA/Lionsgate deal. Both of their new seasons should premiere this summer.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What I'm Watching: Monk & Psych

Monk: Season 6, Episode 13 "Mr. Monk and the Three Julies" (B+)
Psych: Season 2, Episode 13 "Lights, Camera ... Homicidio" (B+)

What wonderfully funny and clever episodes tonight. I enjoy how "Monk" always incorporates its supporting characters, in this one Julie, into its plot. Thought it would have been great if the slightly spoiler-ish title had appeared a few seconds later so we could have waited to see whether this was actually Julie lying there dead. I guess that is why this show is a comedy. I particularly love how both these shows utilize film so well: "Monk" so clearly pokes fun at "Psycho" without really acknowledging it. "Psych" last week was heavily into everything and this time uses the Spanish soap opera to launch its ridiculous but highly entertaining episode. I cannot find the words to describe how clever and sharp this episode was. These, along with last week's episodes, have been the best of the season thus far.

What I'm Watching: Chuck

Chuck: Season 1, Episodes 12 & 13 "Chuck Versus the Undercover Lover" & "Chuck Versus the Marlin" (B+)

What terrific episodes to send "Chuck" into hiatus until the strike ends! I enjoyed though was a bit surprised by the entire cast appearing during every commercial break. Though he has been toned down a bit, Captain Awesome has been seemingly promoted to a major character. I am simply impressed with how this show started off so well, took a brief dive, but rebounded so well. I am anxiously and eagerly awaiting its return. These two episodes, coupled with the pilot, exemplify the excellence and brilliance of this show.

What I'm Watching: Law & Order

Law & Order: Season 18, Episode 5 "Betrayal" (B-)

How ridiculously dramatic all these episodes are. I did find the idea of the two parents being ultimately convicted and them both receiving the same sentence quite intriguing, though I wish that the central characters could be as dynamic and often powerful as the main plotline slash crime that launches each show. I have seen the fine work done by Vincent D'Onofrio on "Criminal Intent" and Mariska Hargitay on "Special Victims Unit" and I just wish Jesse L. Martin and Jeremy Sisto would perk up a bit every once in a while. And I really cannot stand Linus Roache.

Side note: I mentioned in one of my classes that I had watched this show the night before and was met with a great deal of laughter. Does no one watch "Law & Order" anymore. This is my first year, but has everyone else moved on?

Friday, January 25, 2008

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series

The nominees: “Desperate Housewives”, “Entourage”, “The Office”, “30 Rock”, and “Ugly Betty”.
For your information: “Desperate Housewives” won twice out of three nominations, and last year’s new fare “The Office” beat out other new entries “Entourage” and “Ugly Betty”. The cast of “30 Rock” is new.
Who should win: “Entourage” or “The Office”, though I do enjoy some good “30 Rock” with its wacky ensemble.
Who will win: My bet is Entourage, since unexpected shows and performers often win in years where the buzz is not strong for anything (i.e. “CSI” and Jennifer Garner for “Alias”).

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Ensemble in a Drama Series

The nominees: “Boston Legal”, “The Closer”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Mad Men”, and “The Sopranos”.
For your information: “Grey’s Anatomy” won last year for its second nomination. “Boston Legal” has been nominated the past two years, while “The Closer” returns after a nomination two years ago for its debut season. “The Sopranos” has been nominated for its entire run, winning on its first nomination. “Mad Men” premiered this year.
Who should win: “The Closer”
Who will win: Popular new entry Mad Men, but watch out for departed favorite The Sopranos.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie

The nominees: Anna Paquin for “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”, Vanessa Redgrave for “The Fever”, Ellen Burstyn for “For One More Day”, Queen Latifah for “Life Support”, Debra Messing for “The Starter Wife”, and Gena Rowlands for “What If God Were The Sun?”.
For your information: Redgrave has one previous nomination and one win. Paquin received a nomination in the ensemble category for 2000’s “Almost Famous”. Burstyn was nominated for the 2000 film “Requiem for a Dream”. Latifah was nominated for “Chicago” in 2002 and won as part of the ensemble, and is nominated as part of the ensemble of “Hairspray” this year. Rowlands was nominated for the 1996 film “Unhook the Stars”. Messing was nominated five years in a row for her work in the ensemble of “Will & Grace”, winning the first year and picking up two individual nominations along the way.
Who should win: Out of the performances I have seen – Paquin, Latifah, and Messing – … no one.
Who will win: I have no idea. Perhaps Messing?

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie

The nominees: Kevin Kline for “As You Like It”, Oliver Platt for “The Bronx is Burning”, John Turturro for “The Bronx is Burning”, Michael Keaton for “The Company”, and Sam Shepard for “Ruffian”.
For your information: Kline was previously nominated for the 2001 film “Life as a House”. Turturro has two previous nominations. This is the first nomination for Platt, Keaton, and Shepard.
Who should win: This list matches up 0/5 with the Golden Globe one, so I have only seen Kline’s work, which underwhelmed me in a big way.
Who will win: Again, no clue. Maybe Platt?

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a Comedy Series

The nominees: Christina Applegate for “Samantha Who”, Tina Fey for “30 Rock”, America Ferrera for “Ugly Betty”, Vanessa Williams for “Ugly Betty”, and Mary-Louise Parker for “Weeds”.
For your information: Both Ferrera and Williams were nominated as part of the cast of “Ugly Betty” last year, and Ferrera won this trophy. Parker has three previous individual nominations and two ensemble nods. Applegate and Fey are first-timers. “30 Rock” and “Ugly Betty” are up for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series this year.
Who should win: Parker
Who will win: “30 Rock” star Fey is on fire, but newcomer Applegate may also have a shot.

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a Comedy Series

The nominees: Jeremy Piven for “Entourage”, Ricky Gervais for “Extras”, Tony Shalhoub for “Monk”, Steve Carrell for “The Office”, and Alec Baldwin for “30 Rock”.
For your information: Shalhoub has four previous nominations and two wins. Carrell was nominated for his individual performance last year but won two trophies as a member of the ensemble casts of “The Office” and “Little Miss Sunshine”. Baldwin won this award last year and has three previous individual nominations and two ensemble mentions. Piven and his cast were both nominated for the first time last year. This is Gervais’ first nomination. “Entourage”, “The Office”, and “30 Rock” are nominated for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series this year.
Who should win: Piven, Shalhoub, Carrell, and Baldwin – all fine choices.
Who will win: Beats me. My gut says Gervais, but I would not be surprised by any of these five.

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a Drama Series

The nominees: Sally Field for “Brothers & Sisters”, Kyra Sedgwick for “The Closer”, Glenn Close for “Damages”, Holly Hunter for “Saving Grace”, and Edie Falco for “The Sopranos”.
For your information: Field has four TV nominations and a film nomination from the guild’s first year of awards for “Forrest Gump”. This is Sedgwick’s third individual nomination and second ensemble nomination. Close has two previous nominations and one win. Hunter has a previous nomination for the film “Thirteen”. Falco has been nominated every year since her show started, winning twice individually and once for her ensemble work.
Who should win: Sedgwick or Falco, take your pick.
Who will win: Probably Close, but watch out for Falco or even Field.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a Drama Series

The nominees: James Spader for “Boston Legal”, Michael C. Hall for “Dexter”, Hugh Laurie for “House”, Jon Hamm for “Mad Men”, and James Gandolfini for “The Sopranos”.
For your information: This is Spader’s third consecutive double-nomination, recognized in both the actor and ensemble categories (though two years ago his work was considered “comedy” acting). Laurie has a win and another nomination. Gandolfini has been nominated every year since his show started, winning twice individually and once for his ensemble work. This is Hall’s second consecutive nomination for “Dexter”, but he was nominated five times for his work on the ensemble of “Six Feet Under”, winning twice. Hamm is a first-time nominee.
Who should win: Gandolfini was great on the final season of “The Sopranos”, but Michael C. Hall really deserves this one.
Who will win: Maybe Hall, probably Hamm. Watch out for Gandolfini and a “Sopranos” sweep.

What I'm Watching: Carpoolers

Carpoolers: Season 1, Episode 8 "First Fight" (D)

This is not working. The story is so inane and I cannot find an ounce of sense in this episode. It is also gratingly repetitive. Dougie and Cindy schedule everything, to the point where it just gets too ridiculous. The crazy character of Laird really represents this show very well, but that does not seem to be a good thing anymore. The coyote that he thoughts was a dog? Too much. Worse still, the fact that that plotline had to connect with the babysitting one is further proof that everyone is trying too hard to make something out of nothing, which this show is quickly deteriorating to be.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Friday Night on USA: Monk & Psych

Monk: Season 6, Episode 12 "Mr. Monk Goes to the Bank" (B+)
Psych: Season 2, Episode 12 "The Old and the Restless" (B+)

Delightful episodes tonight. The plot on "Monk" is strong while the comedy makes up for a definitive lack of substance on "Psych". Monk's foray into bank security is an obvious misstep and lots of fun to watch. I really enjoy the supporting characters, especially Natalie with her constant "Mr. Monk, you look like a stud" and Randy's priceless human statue obsession. This is one of the best storylines this show has entertained this season and I enjoyed every minute of it. "Psych", on the other hand, has moments of brilliance but as a whole the plot should be disregarded. I loved the "Shining" reference at the end, and that stairwell did remind me a lot of the visit I had at the possible "Shining"-inspiring Mohonk Mountain House over Thanksgiving. I love when Shawn and Gus pose as other people. Good times with this duo this week.

What I'm Watching: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Season 1, Episode 3 "The Turk" (D)

I know the writers are on strike, but can we get just a few to come over and rewrite the dialogue for this show? In the words of John Connor, "wait...what?" The girl's suicide and that whole "I'm a bitch-whore" moment do not belong in a show like this. This is supposed to be about Sarah Connor, but instead it makes the same mistake as "Heroes", with its cheerleader focus, and assumes its audience wants high school drama (head over to the CW to watch "Gossip Girl" or repeats of "One Tree Hill" for enough of that). There is still time to save this show, but enabling the Terminator to come back to life and assume human form is a dangerous mistake which may plague this show from start to possible forthcoming finish.

What I'm Watching: Prison Break

Prison Break: Season 3, Episode 10 "Dirt Nap" (F)

Am I even supposed to care what happens anymore? This is the most unbelievable prison ever and the characters bear absolutely no resemblance to their previous identities. Bellick used to be a guard! T-Bag was the resident creepy pedophile! Mahone was an effective FBI profiler! Ugh. I can hardly stand this show anymore, but I need to stick with it until they break out. Which better be soon. Seriously. Jodi Lyn O'Keefe cements her status tonight as a Worst Supporting Actress contender for her continually deteriorating awful work as Gretchen.

Next week's preview: Haven't we seen this before, like a hundred times?

Pilot Review: Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad (AMC)
Premiered January 20 at 10pm

I do not think I have ever seen such a whacked-out series debut. The premise is outlandish but fascinating at the same time. The main problem here is that the show attempts to stay grounded in normalcy while clearly heading down a fantasy path. It should be either fully crazy or fully realistic; a middle ground seems ineffective. I never thought that Bryan Cranston could be so subdued after watching him flail about for years on "Malcolm on the Middle", but I do not know whether I would label this a good performance. Forget about the rest of the cast, none of them are worth it. My main question about this show is why it contains language too strong for AMC. Some of the "swear words" were edited out, but from what? This is the original version of the show, if I am not mistaken. It is as if the show was slated to premiere on HBO but at the last minute was switched to AMC and no one bothered to rewrite the dialogue.

How will it work as a series? Well, this one almost ended a few times in but I guess they can keep it going for a bit...
How long will it last? What possible audience could this show have? And on AMC? I would say this one ends at the end of the season unless people really start tuning in early before "Mad Men" reruns at midnight.

Pilot grade: C+

What I'm Watching: The L Word

The L Word: Season 5, Episode 3 "Lady of the Lake" (B-)

I am liking these Jenny's book-inspired openings more and more every time. As far as the format of the show goes, things seem a bit too casual and on the up-and-up. Kit's seemingly traumatic yet extremely brief robbed-at-gunpoint fiasco gets drummed up to be this huge deal then completely sidelined in favor of Helena's return. Helena acts like she is all that in jail and then gets released to go off on her bold adventure, which should be interesting - but is she leaving the show? I hope not. After both Dana and Carmen had to leave, I cannot stand it if the best remaining character on the show had to leave. Bette's run-in with Jodi's friends at the cabin is entirely painful and awkward. Please make that stop. I could also go for Tasha's whole trial being done. Alice needs to give Max the time of day otherwise he is going to snap and that will not be good for anyone. Although he will soon get with Tom which should be amusing if nothing else. On the bright side, I like Shane's new attitude of solitude which is sure not to last, and it is good to finally see Tina get some action.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What I'm Watching: Law & Order

Law & Order: Season 18, Episode 4 "Bottomless" (C+)

"A white guy and a black guy - and it's not us!" Where do they come up with this stuff? Not the way I expected these cops to bond, joking while mocking their suspects and exchanging feelings of affections for widowers they both find they attractive. Do chains like Duane Reade and Walmart have this same kind of internal security where people follow around their employees when they are suspected of having an affair? That is some crazy stuff. Great performance in that last scene by Ron Canada, though. He sure showed them. Let me tell you, if I was ever in a legal bind, the first person I would not call is Mike Cutter. I have not seen that man produce one shard of evidence that has not been immediately thrown out of court. Sure, D.A. McCoy is trying to let him test the waters on his own, but the guy is flopping around on land!

Second Run TV? Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Season 7, Episode 2 "Seeds" (C)

Why exactly does NBC advertise its episodes as new when this one clearly aired on USA back in October? Whatever. This "Law & Order" spin-off, now in its seventh season, needs some major retooling. Is it just me, or is this crew majorly understaffed? Vincent D'Onofrio and partner are gone from the opening credits, set to some techno remix of course, and now the cast is down to a mere three investigators. I have not watched this show in a while, but why are there no cue cards of addresses or that double-chime "Law & Order" is so well known for? Maybe it was never there on this show to begin with but then what is the point? There is absolutely no "order" except for the deals these cops try to make themselves. The pairing here always made me long for the hour to be up so that I could return to my reliably boring duo on the flagship show (although they were actually quite entertaining tonight). Chris Noth seems bored with his job and Alicia Witt does her very best to stick out at every juncture, wearing bright colors and jeans and talking like a punk. On top of that, our master emotionless villain this week has about 1,156 children but he is really not too subtle. I mean, come on, that red hair was a dead giveaway!

What I'm Watching: One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill: Season 5, Episode 3 "My Way Home is Through You" (F)

Within the first ten seconds, I realized that "Carpoolers" was a repeat. I decided that it was important to keep going with a bunch of shows so that I do not get bored with my TV this season with the strike. Instead, I guess I will just get constantly annoyed. Not one but two characters randomly say "that's kinda hot" for no reason in this episode. This show is so desperate to be sexually active that it pains me everytime I see or hear it. Like father, like son: Dan has a goatee to match Nathan's recently departed facial spasm he likes to call a beard. Someone should tell him that he also needs a haircut while he is at it. So that is Brooke's mother yelling at her all the time. Saw that one coming (I do not know if she has ever been on the show before, but the way she was introduced it made it seem like she was new and her relation to Brooke was supposed to be a surprise). Mouth and the girl who hates him? No. Please stop that plotline. And Nathan better not cheat with the nanny. That is so overdone.

What I'm Watching: NCIS

NCIS: Season 5, Episode 11 "Tribes" (B-)

This episodes tries to tackle the question of religious persecution a little too neatly, positioning its players far too decisively. Ducky is ethically pure, Ziva is compassionate and understanding, Palmer is naive and ignorant, and Gibbs just does not care about anything. This show has had some of its best moments both dramatically and comically, but I think that such a serious plotline might not be the route best taken by this show. This episode does show that Cote de Pablo and Michael Wetherly work wonders together as Ziva and Tony, quizzing each other on movies (I love it!) while investigating their cases. This is the last episode for now due to the strike.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Round Two: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Season 1, Episode 2 "Gnothi Seauton" (C+)

This show could do well if it tried even a little with its writing. It is so desperate to both be hip and to make 2007 seem like this foreign place and it comes off as obnoxious and dumb. The dialogue is for the most part abysmal, and I find it hard to sympathize with any of the characters at all. While it is cool that the Terminator is walking around with no head, that is hugely problematic. There needs to be a way to kill them, otherwise the show can never take off. The point was that they were in the future and no one knew they were there except for the humans, so in that way it departed from the premise of the films and made it so the bad guys were actually sort of good guys (the detective and the would-be husband). Instead this weapon which was supposed to destroy the Terminator did nothing except transport him to the future with them. That is not going to fly. Also, humor is fine, but John looking around to ensure that his computer was not being watched when it was up on the big screen? Too much. He is supposed to be smart. There are seven more episodes of this show that have been filmed, and I think that in this time of light television, I think I will keep up with this one.

What I'm Watching: Prison Break

Prison Break: Season 3, Episode 9 "Boxed In" (F)

This show is still on? I thought maybe they broke out or all got killed during the hiatus time. All I can say is that whatever secretive plan that Michael, Whistler, and Gretchen are hatching better be worth it. Getting the general killed was ridiculous. He did deserve it though, for walking in front of Gretchen and just assuming she was telling the truth rather than, I don't know, checking the building carefully or not getting himself killed? Neat trick by Bellick but 1) we do not need the flashback (read my thoughts on unnecessary flashbacks here) to show us what we already saw happen and 2) who cares that Bellick, T-Bag, or Mahone is still in jail or alive? For that matter, who cares about all this rivalry between Lechero and Sammy and the guy Bellick killed? Not me. Sucre and Lincoln should just come in, guns out, and break them out. That would make for a more compelling show. This is the 53rd episode of "Prison Break". I think that is a problem within itself. No show like this should ever make it to 50 episodes. Worse still, there are four more installments produced to be aired over the next month. That makes for thirteen episodes this season - will they wisely wrap it up or will they try to drag it on just as long as they can?

Monday, January 14, 2008

What I'm Watching: The L Word

The L Word: Season 5, Episode 2 "Look Out, Here They Come!" (B+)

Alright, I am officially down with this show. Everything has really come back into focus and the quality of this show seems to be back, at least for the moment. Rose Rollins is quickly shaping up to be this season's MVP for her portrayal of Tasha, a character who when first introduced bore a striking resemblance to Helena's formerly silent and butch cellmate. Fortunately, both each have a story now which is compelling and interesting. I particularly loved Dusty's reaction to Helena thinking she was a murderer - "Tax fraud!" Shane is back to her old ways, getting with three different women from the same family at a wedding (though wisely spurning the bride). Tina really does need to get a date sometime soon. Otherwise, things seem pretty good here. And I did enjoy that opening scene with Tom liking Max.

Pilot Review: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

The Sarah Connor Chronicles (FOX)
Premiered January 13 at 9pm

The big question here is whether a premise that barely sustained a trilogy of films can be intriguing and inventive enough week-to-week to work as a series. The first forty-five minutes of this action-heavy show say no. The last fifteen, however, say absolutely yes. While the dialogue is iffy and I doubt that the characters of either John or Sarah will ever really become deep, thought-out souls, I liked the fast-paced opening. For most of the first episode, it seemed like simply a PG-13 rehash of the films (more like "Terminator 3", since no liquid metal was involved). The youngest terminator ever to live (played by 26-year-old Summer Glau - maybe she just looks really young) has little depth but seems to be harboring some great secrets. The line of believability becomes thinner when you think about the fact that the resistance was able to re-program at least three different terminator models to do their bidding. But maybe this new terminator was designed by the resistance? Anyway, this waning hour picks up remarkably in its last quarter with a game-changing shift that got me really excited. The half-villains in Richard T. Jones and Dean Winters should serve well to follow along with the preventative exploits of Sarah and crew. I could definitely get into this show, I just need to make sure that tonight's second episode takes after the last part of the first episode, and not the earlier stuff.

How will it work as a series? The ending of the first episode indicates that it could actually have a remarkable run provided that it steers clear of formulaic terminator vs. terminator plotlines every episode.
How long will it last? I am sure this show will have no trouble finding an audience. If "Bionic Woman" was able to get great numbers towards the beginning of its run, this show will be fine. It is a bonus that FOX really is the perfect network to air this show, and should be kind to it. Pairing it with "Prison Break" is a great move.

Pilot grade: B-

Golden Globe Reactions

Read my reactions to the ceremony on Movies with Abe. The TV winners, several of which were altogether ignored and not announced, are not nearly as exciting as the film winners. New shows did well in the drama category ("Mad Men", Jon Hamm, and Glenn Close) and David Duchovny won but otherwise not so much for the new stuff. Tina Fey winning is fine by me, and sort of cool since you would think she would be the last person to win an acting award because she tends to cast herself as the "straight man" and she's just writing all the funny dialogue. I am going to pretend that "Extras" winning Best Comedy Series over four stellar nominees did not happen. Good for Jeremy Piven. When some people keep winning awards over and over (Hugh Laurie, Tony Shalhoub), it gets tiring, but Piven works for it every moment. The best part of the winners is the three trophies for "Longford". The Emmys got it so wrong with "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" but here they got it right. It is almost enough to make you forgive them for awarding Queen Latifah for "Life Support".

Best Drama Series: MAD MEN
Best Comedy Series: EXTRAS
Best Mini-Series/TV Movie: LONGFORD
Best Actor in a Drama Series: JON HAMM, MAD MEN
Best Actress in a Drama Series: GLENN CLOSE, DAMAGES
Best Actress in a Comedy Series: TINA FEY, 30 ROCK
Best Actor in a Mini-Series/TV Movie: JIM BROADBENT, LONGFORD
Best Actress in a Mini-Series/TV Movie: QUEEN LATIFAH, LIFE SUPPORT
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: JEREMY PIVEN, ENTOURAGE
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: SAMANTHA MORTON, LONGFORD

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Comedy Series

The competition: Showtime’s “Californication”, HBO’s “Entourage”, HBO’s “Extras”, ABC’s “Pushing Daisies”, and NBC’s “30 Rock”.
For your information: This is the first nomination for all these shows except “Entourage”, which has now been nominated for every one of its seasons.
Who should win: I am thrilled because I have seen all of the episodes of all of these shows that are eligible for this year. “Californication” is my personal favorite, but “Entourage” was terrific and “Pushing Daisies” and “30 Rock” are growing on me every day.
Who will win: Popular newbies usually take this trophy. Give it to Pushing Daisies.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Drama Series

The competition: HBO’s polygamy drama “Big Love”, FX’s legal thriller “Damages”, ABC’s medical soap “Grey’s Anatomy”, FOX’s medical drama “House”, AMC’s period advertising show “Mad Men”, and Showtime’s King Henry VIII show “The Tudors”.
For your information: “Grey’s Anatomy” won last year with its second series nomination. “Big Love” was also nominated last year. Though it is not a new series, this is the first time “House” has been included in the list for best series. Every show but “Damages” has one acting nomination, while “Damages” has three. Both “Grey’s Anatomy” and “House” aired more episodes in 2007 than the rest because they have longer seasons and 2007 combines the second part of their previous seasons and the first part of their current seasons.
Who should win: I am not psyched about any of these, but I do think “Mad Men” is pretty good. To be fair, I have only watched the pilots of “Big Love” (B+) and “The Tudors” (B-).
Who will win: Battle of the new critically-acclaimed series. I think Mad Men takes it over Damages.

TV Movies: As You Like It

As You Like It
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Originally aired August 21, 2007

This all seems like a foreign language to me, perhaps moreso because this is not a work of Shakespeare that I am familiar with. Kenneth Branagh, proven Shakespeare enthusiast and an Oscar nominee for his direction of "Henry V", directed this adaptation and I suppose he is probably being faithful enough. To me it just seems proposterous that two people in love could not just be immediately merry but instead the woman should disguise herself as a man to toy with her would-be lover and drag on the film for an hour and twenty minutes. It took me long enough to figure out what was going on and to me that just seems tedious. But alas, it is Shakespeare. As a film presentation, there are a lot of bright colors and lengthy speeches but all in all it is just a bunch of people traipsing throguh the woods and I do not think that makes for a truly memorable experience. The performances are fine, and the cast is diverse and interesting. Bryce Dallas Howard and Alfred Molina in particular do a great job, while Kevin Kline and Brian Blessed are not very much worth mentioning. All in all, there is a lot of talking, and even some singing, and it is just not for me.


TV Movies: Life Support

Life Support
Directed by Nelson George
Originally aired March 10, 2007

Plain and simple, this is dull as anything. There is little more to say. The poorly developed story of an HIV-positive former drug addict who works as an activist never takes off or really goes anywhere. It is supposed to be quiet and affecting but is ultimately unconvincing and truthfully hard to hear. The performances are nothing special, especially Queen Latifah, nominated for an Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG award though she really does not merit it. Rachel Nicks does a good job, but Anna Deavere Smith's performance is horrific. Luckily, the film's ninety-minute runtime ends with a decently moving scene. Otherwise, skip this one.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Mini-Series/TV Movie

The competition: “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”, “The Company”, “Five Days”, “Longford”, and “The State Within”.
For your information: “Bury My Heart” and “Longford” are TV movies from HBO. “Five Days” is also from HBO, but like “The Company” (TNT) and “The State Within” (BBC), is a mini-series. “The State Within” has one acting nod, “Bury My Heart” has two, and “Longford” has three.
Who should win: I neglected to watch “The Company” or “Five Days”, but “Longford” reigns supreme compared to the other two. It would be cool to see “The State Within” take it also.
Who will win: I am going to go with Longford although I am really scared by Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’s chances.

Friday Night Returns: Monk & Psych

Monk: Season 6, Episode 11 "Mr. Monk Joins A Cult" (B+)
Psych: Season 2, Episode 11 "There's Something About Mira" (B+)

In the midst of this strike and all the television it is keeping off the air, these pleasant Friday night USA offerings are a welcome return. The "Monk" episode was certainly fun though it was a touch bizzare, and the stunt casting of Howie Mandel of all people as the leader of a cult was outright weird. Monk's adjustments to life in the cult were hilarious to watch. On "Psych", the plotine is loopy and maybe a bit underdevloped but you have to love Gus' secret marriage and the test-score rivalry between Lassie and O'Hara. The craziest thing about "Psych" was the guest performance by Kerry Washington as Gus' ex. Never before have I seen such fascinating, inexplicable and unbounded energy from a character. I will truly remember Washington's guest spot for a while. I was pretty blown away. She was so chatty and talkative yet never really got annoying. That is impressive.

What I'm Watching: 30 Rock

30 Rock: Season 2, Episode 10 (B)

What a bizarre episode. Why did they suddenly start singing? I do not get it, but I did not dislike it. Is Jack McBrayer leaving the show? I hope not, though he (and Jane Krakowski, for that matter) were far more entertaining and well-utilized last season. It is always a weird moment when Tracy Morgan/Jordan seems like the most normal one in the room. Liz's plotline was also strange this episode, and Tina Fey gives the most unexpectedly crazy performance I have seen in a while. To keep it all grounded, oddly enough, is the fantasy world that Jack and C.C. try to live in, in the coal mining station which is exactly halfway between New York and D.C. For all of its indiosyncracies, I do love this show. Too bad this is the last pre-strike episode.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a Supporting Role

The competition: Rachel Griffiths’ company president on “Brothers & Sisters”, Anna Paquin’s passionate teacher in “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”, Rose Byrne’s up-and-coming lawyer on “Damages”, Katherine Heigl’s frazzled doctor on “Grey’s Anatomy”, Samantha Morton’s repentant killer in “Longford”, and Jaime Pressly’s crazy ex-wife on “My Name is Earl”.
For your information: Only Heigl is a returning nominee from last year (her first nomination), and Morton and Paquin have one nod apiece for their work in films. Griffiths won in this category in 2001 for “Six Feet Under”. Byrne and Pressly are new to the Globes.
Who should win: Though I like some of the actresses here (Griffiths, Heigl, Paquin), these are not the performances that should be garnering them nominations. Morton is the only one deserving of any award for her performance, and what a performance!
Who will win: Based on the many nominations for “Longford”, Morton should be able to take this one home, but this award could go to anyone in this category (please not Byrne!), especially recent Emmy winners Heigl and Pressly.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a Supporting Role

The competition: William Shatner’s wacky lawyer on “Boston Legal”, Ted Danson’s white-collar criminal on “Damages”, Donald Sutherland’s family patriarch on “Dirty Sexy Money”, Kevin Dillon’s faded actor on “Entourage”, Jeremy Piven’s smarmy agent on “Entourage”, and Andy Serkis’ unrepentant killer in “Longford”.
For your information: Shatner won in 2004 for “Boston Legal” but this is his first nomination since. Danson has ten previous nominations, while Sutherland has seven. Dillon and Serkis are first-time Globe nominees, while Piven has his fourth consecutive nomination in this category.
Who should win: Piven deserves a win for his unendingly amazing work on the show. Sutherland is great on “Dirty Sexy Money”, and Serkis, though he was fantastic, had a very minor role in “Longford”.
Who will win: It is between Danson and Sutherland, and Danson has multiple nominations for his show behind him. I still give the edge to Sutherland.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a Mini-Series/TV Movie

The competition: Bryce Dallas Howard (As You Like It), Ruth Wilson (Jane Eyre), Queen Latifah (Life Support), Sissy Spacek (Pictures of Hollis Woods), and Debra Messing (The Starter Wife).
For your information: Howard and Wilson are newcomers and Latifah has one previous nomination. Spacek and Messing both have six previous nominations, albeit for very different work. Spacek is the only previous winner, having picked up three trophies since 1980.
Who should win: I have not seen Spacek or Wilson in their nominated roles, but Howard should definitely beat Queen Latifah and Messing.
Who will win: Probably Messing, but it could be anyone.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a Mini-Series/TV Movie

The competition: Adam Beach (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee), Ernest Borgnine (A Grandpa for Christmas), James Nesbitt (Jekyll), Jim Broadbent (Longford), and Jason Isaacs (The State Within).
For your information: This is the first nomination for Beach, Isaacs, and Nesbitt. Broadbent has two previous nominations and one win. Borgnine only has one previous nomination (from 1955!) which we won.
Who should win: I did not watch “A Grandpa for Christmas” (why would I?) or “Jekyll”, but out of the other three, Broadbent deserves this, no contest, for his completely absorbed portrayal of Lord Longford. Isaacs was great too, and it would be nice to see him pick up an award.
Who will win: It should be Broadbent, but the Globes often like BBC (Nesbitt, Isaacs).

What I'm Watching: Law & Order

Law & Order: Season 18, Episode 3 "Misbegotten" (C+)

I am just not that into this show. Maybe I should not be forcing it on myself since I am really only watching it because of the strike and the fact that little else is on. But the undynamic duo of Jesse L. Martin and Jeremy Sisto followed by the just-as-undynamic duo of Linus Roache and Alana De La Garza (whose bright-light characteristic from last week is now gone) and supplemented with a bit of grouchiness by Sam Waterston and S. Epatha Merkerson does not make me want to watch this show. While I understand that it is a procedural, and I really do not watch procedurals ("NCIS" is a slight exception, though the characters there really drive the show moreso than any other such series I have seen), there is nothing there to attract me. The plot this week was fairly predictable but I still did not quite get who commited what crime. Far-fetched does not necessarily mean good.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy

The competition: Anna Friel’s perky reincarnation on “Pushing Daisies”, Christina Applegate’s amnesiac on “Samantha Who?”, Tina Fey’s frazzled showrunner on “30 Rock”, America Ferrera’s secretary on “Ugly Betty”, and Mary-Louise Parker’s creative mother on “Weeds”.
For your information: Ferrera won last year, and Parker the year before. Applegate has a previous nomination for 1998’s “Jesse” in this category. This is the first nomination for both Fey and Friel.
Who should win: Parker was astounding this season on “Weeds”, but I feel like this is Applegate’s only chance since her show is rapidly going downhill. Fey is great too.
Who will win: The newbie in a popular show, Applegate, should take it, but Fey and last year’s winner Ferrera have a shot.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy

The competition: David Duchovny’s sex-prone writer on “Californication”, Ricky Gervais’ struggling film actor on “Extras”, Steve Carrell’s inefficient boss on “The Office”, Lee Pace’s pie maker on “Pushing Daisies”, and Alec Baldwin’s corporate honcho on “30 Rock”.
For your information: Every actor has been nominated previously. Baldwin won last year, and Carrell the year before. Gervais won for “The Office” in 2003, and Duchovny received four nominations and one win for “The X-Files”. Pace was nominated for the TV movie “Soldier’s Girl” in 2003.
Who should win: Duchovny was terrific this season, but I would be happy with either Carrell or Baldwin.
Who will win: I think Duchovny can pull it off, but I am really worried about Gervais. This could easily go to any one of these five.

What I'm Watching: Carpoolers

Carpoolers: Season 1, Episode 7 "The Seminar" (D)

Eek. This is not what I signed up for. This show is rapidly headed for the depths many always thought it was in when they placed it on their bottom five television shows of the season. I know nothing about this show is meant to be taken seriously, but come on! The gift-wrapping of the porn was so painfully forced and conveniently cramped in to the right moment that it was painful. Marmaduke seems to be becoming dumber by the second, and I do not know why an entire quarter of the plot this episode was devoted to the underperforming Faith Ford and T.J. Miller's Marmaduke. A sign-spinning contest? Not nearly as clever as the page-off that almost was on "30 Rock". And the sexual harassment plotline? A complete flop.

What I'm Watching: One Tree Hill (Season Premiere)

One Tree Hill: Season 5, Episodes 1 & 2 "4 Years, 6 Months, 2 Days" & "Racing Like a Pro" (F)

I have not watched an episode of this show since the dreadfully hilarious Peyton-kidnapping episode last season but I suppose there is something reliable about the fact that it is still hands-down the worst show on television. It saddens me that this crap outlived "The O.C." and that there is absolutely nothing believable about a thing that transpires on the show. I saw a glimmer of hope when I heard that this new season would be fast-forwarding four years and that maybe some quality could be dredged up once the plot was completely jump-started anew. Sadly, no such luck.

The characters are made to look all "adult", which is pretty ridiculous because with the exception of Nathan (James Lafferty is 22), the entire cast is at least four years older than they are supposed to be in this new future. Nathan in particular, now playing his age, looks preposterous with his freakishly long hair and forced goatee. The characters talk as if they are so much mature but they are really just speaking slowly and using big words. I feel like I have seen this entire thing over and over on this show. There is really no hope for redemption. I may continue watching this but I do not know why. If there was more television on, I certainly would not but for some reason I just do this kind of thing over and over again ("Daybreak" syndrome). The show does have a whole twelve episodes prepped and ready to go.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama

The competition: Sally Field’s worried mother on “Brothers & Sisters”, Kyra Sedgwick’s detective on “The Closer”, Glenn Close’s lawyer on “Damages”, Patricia Arquette’s clairvoyant cop on “Medium”, Minnie Driver’s impostor wife on “The Riches”, Holly Hunter’s troubled cop on “Saving Grace”, and Edie Falco’s mobster wife on “The Sopranos”.
For your information: This is Falco’s seventh consecutive nomination for “The Sopranos”, and she has won twice. This is the third nomination for both Sedgwick (last year’s winner) and Arquette. Though Field and Close are new to this category, they both have eight previous Golden Globe nominations for their work. Hunter has six previous nominations. Minnie Driver is the only one who is new to the Globes, receiving her first nomination.
Who should win: Driver for her stunning work on “The Riches”, but Sedgwick and Falco were both great this year as well.
Who will win: I think the juggernaut known as “Damages” starts its path of destruction here with a win for Close, though I am still pulling for Driver to upset. Anyone except for Arquette can easily win this one.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama

The competition: Bill Paxton’s polygamist on “Big Love”, Michael C. Hall’s serial killer on “Dexter”, Hugh Laurie’s cranky doctor on “House”, Jon Hamm’s advertising man on “Mad Men”, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers’ King Henry XIII on “The Tudors”.
For your information: Both Paxton and Hall were nominated last year for the first seasons of their respective shows. Hamm and Rhys-Meyers star on shows that debuted this year. Laurie is the reigning champ, having won this award the past two years.
Who should win: Hall rises above the rest as the cunning but troubled Dexter Morgan on the Showtime series.
Who will win: The major buzz seems to be for Hall, but watch out for last year’s winner Laurie and “Mad Men” star Hamm.

What I'm Watching: The L Word (Season Premiere)

The L Word: Season 5, Episode 1 "LGB Tease" (B)

The fifth season premiere of this show is certainly enjoyable, but I feel like it is mostly wrapping up storylines from the last season rather than delving into this season's own issues. Papi has vanished into thin air, which is sort of unfortunate especially because her legendary entrance last season should have demanded even a minor acknowledgement of the fact that she does not appear to be on the show anymore (she does not appear on the show's website at Dallas Roberts as Angus has also vanished, leaving the obligatory lone male slot (Tim, Mark, then Angus) unfilled for the first time since the show's debut. Helena is in jail and does not seem to be coping well. That could be interesting but I worry that keeping characters completely sealed off from the rest of the show is a dangerous thing that could weaken the cohesion of the season. Tasha is back from Iraq, which is good along those lines, though her presence is completely unexplained. I like that Phyllis seems to be sticking around and is eager to explore the vast lesbian world. Shane cheating on Paige seems repetitive, but the arson incident at the end could prove interesting (though I assume that Kristanna Loken had planned to leave the show because she got her own now-cancelled series, "Painkiller Jane"). Bette being a control freak was tried and beaten to death last season, so hopefully the love triangle with Tina will get front-and-center treatment ASAP. The most gratifying thing for me is the complete villainizing of Jenny. I have hated her so much for the past three seasons and now it is clear that everyone (except Shane) really despises her. Her complete rewriting and fictionalizing of her "Lez Girls" is crazy and a sure sign of her impending downfall. I will definitely be there to see that.

Monday, January 7, 2008

TV Movies: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

I was disappointed by this 2007 entry into the otherwise stellar portfolio that is HBO films. The pacing was extremely slow, and I expected it to pick up somewhere along the way, but it just kept going slowly and then sort of suddenly wrapped itself up after about two hours and ten minutes. The story is an important one, but the execution is nothing more than decent. All the characters enunciate all the words to make them seem more important, but all in all this is simple a collage of speeches and half-hearted battle scenes. The performances are in line with the film, and I see no reason that Aidan Quinn, August Schellenberg, and Anna Paquin all deserved Emmy nominations or why Adam Beach got a Golden Globe nomination. Decent actors, sure, but this is not their finest work. The film certainly did not merit its victory in the Made-for-TV Movie Emmy category over HBO’s vastly superior TV movie “Longford”. This one may have historical significance, but I cannot imagine I will remember it a week from now.


TV Mini-Series: The State Within

Best as described as a British version of “24”, this taut mini-series about the British ambassador to the United States starts off with a bang. I do not think I have ever seen such extensive background development for a series. The most recent season of “24” has nothing on this show. The conspiracy on “Prison Break” is an embarrassment. This is a brilliant example of how a conspiracy can start out seeming excessive but in the end come together and actually make sense. While I am not sure if I really understood what was going on by the end, I had a great time watching in and finished all six parts in a day. Jason Isaacs, recently seen as Captain Hook, Lucius Malfoy, and mobster Michael Caffee on “Brotherhood”, plays completely against type as the do-gooder ambassador, but he does a terrific job. The rest of the cast is more than able and work together quite cohesively. I was not completely into some of the story along the way, but looking back on it all, I do not think I would have cut out anything. Anything that seems irrelevant comes together by the end, and that is really commendable. The last fifteen minutes are awesome, and the ending is one-hundred-percent fitting and just blew me away. If you have six hours to kill and enjoy a good thriller, check out this Golden Globe-nominated BBC mini-series on DVD.


Pilot Review: Cashmere Mafia

Cashmere Mafia (ABC)
Premiered January 6 at 10pm

I knew I would not like this one, but I expected more energy and more spark. This is a perky show about four high-powered women running around New York City trying to manage their personal lives. While I will concede that not every show needs to be original, this truly has nothing in terms of intrigue to offer. The most lacking element is the extremely limited time that each of these women is shown actually doing any kind of work. Their reputations precede them, but they do nothing to live up to them. The biggest disappointment is Lucy Liu. I expected something like the razor-sharp, cunning villain she played in "Kill Bill" but instead get a shockingly tame and uninteresting lead. What is worse is that the character arc is still written as if she is the "Kill Bill" villain yet she does not play her that way, which creates a true sense of emptiness. Less than two hours after watching the premiere, I am already forgetting what happened. The only interesting storyline is that of budding lesbian Bonnie Sommerville, but that girl really eneds to stop drinking so much coffee every morning. Her energy level is way too high.

How will it work as a series? It is devastatingly formulaic and highly predictable, and I foresee no real changes anytime soon. It is pretty much on par with NBC's forthcoming "Lipstick Jungle", and I think the two should share the same audience.
How long will it last? In this climate with sparse original programming, this show has a better shot than it would have at any other time. Its launch was wisely delayed from November so that it has less competition and I think ABC will air all the produced episodes but I am not sure if it will last beyond that.

Pilot grade: F

What I'm Watching: Desperate Housewives

Desperate Housewives: Season 4, Episode 10 "Welcome to Kanagawa" (F)

I cannot find a thing to like about this episode, with the possible exception of the slowly moving-along Dylan/Katherine/Adam storyline. Otherwise, plotlines are being continually recycled. Susan is just too babyish and immature, and Bree's charade to "pimp out her son" (my thoughts, then his words a few minutes later) was painful. Anything related to Gabrielle is just too wildly preposterous to be worth mentioning. Lynette's family is far too swiftly rescued, and Ida's death is a real cop-out in terms of killing off major characters. Lynette always needs to make a problem out of every single thing in her life, and she always seems like she is in a much more serious show. On that note, it is far too easy to tell when the tone of the show will shift insanely dramatically from comic to dramatic. This show used to be great, but I do think it is beyond recovery at this point. This is it as far as episodes go until the strike is over.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

What I'm Watching: Women's Murder Club

Women's Murder Club: Season 1, Episode 10 "FBI Guy" (B+)

This show makes me wish sometimes that it was a bit less light and more like NBC's 1996-2000 drama "Profiler", especially now that Lindsay has a similar relationship to the Kiss Me Not killer that Sam did to Jack of all Trades on the latter show. Nonetheless, this is still a fine episode. Special applause for Jacobi. Who knew Tyrees Allen had it in him to deliver a ferociously harsh but heartfelt speech? This show and its club deserve to go on in new episodes once the strike is over. That is it for now, however.

What I'm Watching: Law & Order (Season Premiere)

Law & Order: Season 18, Episodes 1 &2 "Called Home" & "Darkness" (B-)

It is hard to believe, but I had never actually watched a full episode of the original "Law & Order" series before this. I had seen a couple "Criminal Intent" installments, some with Vincent D'Onofrio, and another when I heard that Annabella Sciorra was joining the cast (what a disappointment that turned out to be). Additionally, I watched the past two Emmy-submitted episodes of "SVU" for Mariska Hargitay. But the original eluded me. What better time to start than when the strike is keeping basically every other show off the air?

The two episodes both had their merits, and I was half-invested in each of the cases. I could use a bit more dynamism from the central cast members. The addition of Jeremy Sisto to the cast is pretty much unexplained and he is one of the blandest characters I have seen in a while, in stark contrast to his vivid portrayal of the often psychotic Billy on "Six Feet Under". Jesse L. Martin and S. Epatha Merkerson seem jaded and generally uninterested. Sam Waterston grumbles like an old man while constantly chastising the hotheaded executive assistant D.A. played by Linus Roache. Roache is by far the least appealing character on the show, constantly glued to his cell phone and just generally obnoxious. The only one I find remotely interesting or alive is Alana De La Garza as the assistant D.A. The show's procedural nature hardly helps matters. In any other season, this show would be quick to be dropped off my list. But after a quick look, I realize that there is absolutely no television I will be watching on Wednesday nights any time in January so this looks like my default Wednesday night show for the next few weeks, if it holds my interest.

Friday, January 4, 2008

5 Great TV Shows On DVD To Get You Hooked: #1

Looking for something great to get into while the writers’ strike is going on and all your TV is off the air? Below is one of five shows that you can get into in the meantime.


Lost Season OneLost Season TwoLost Season Three

This slightly supernatural drama about 48 survivors of a plane crash on a desert island is fascinating and utterly addictive. The show prides itself on an equal balance between character flashbacks and present-day island parallels, with just enough eerie goings-on to keep you on your feet (sometimes too many). While it may not be as fast-paced as “24”, the ongoing questions and mysteries will ensure that you continue to tune in.

When you should be hooked: By the end of the second part of the pilot. This is crucial. I did not watch the show after I was underwhelmed by the first part of the pilot. Make sure to watch both parts, and then you will know.
How long you should keep watching: The second season gets a bit ridiculous, but the game-changing payoff at the end of the third season is worth going all the way through.
How you can get access to the show: The first three seasons are available, and the show returns on January 31st for eight of its remaining 48 episodes. If you just can't wait for more, watch the preview by scrolling down the sidebar to the left.
Other shows you might like: Alias, Invasion, John Doe

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

5 Great TV Shows On DVD To Get You Hooked: #2

Looking for something great to get into while the writers’ strike is going on and all your TV is off the air? Below is one of five shows that you can get into in the meantime.

24 Season One24 Season Two24 Season Three24 Season Four

Way back when, before this show was overwhelmingly popular, it was by far the most original and daring series airing on television. All the action takes place over one day, each episode taking up one hour of real time and ending in a cliffhanger. The first season is my absolute favorite out of any television show season I have seen. Kiefer Sutherland stars as greatly overworked Counter Terrorist Unit Agent Jack Bauer. This is another show made to watched in marathon from. The question is, do you have 24 hours to spare?

When you should be hooked: By the end of the first episode, but watch a few more hours if you are not sure.
How long you should keep watching: The first season, as I said, is the best. The second, third, and fourth seasons all do well enough. I strongly recommend stopping after that because the fifth and sixth seasons are actually really bad. Preserve your image of this show by ending it for yourself before it ends.
How you can get access to the show: All six seasons are out on DVD. The hopefully retooled seventh season has been delayed due to the writers’ strike, but should air sometime this fall or next spring.
Other shows you might like: Alias, Sleeper Cell