Thursday, January 31, 2008

Linkage Ahoy!

Here are some tv-related links to keep you occupied: provides a list of things to keep in mind while watching the Lost premiere tonight. No spoilers, just little recaps on events past.

Part I of a James Marsters interview...apparently he is back on Smallville tonight, but I don't know if even he is worth wading into those murky waters...

A sort-of, kind-of, possible Buffy reunion?

And last, but not least...


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Life on Mars

Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy.
Oh man!
Wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show.
Is there life on Mars?

Life on Mars is one the shows where the Brits can pwn our asses when it comes to tv. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the Beeb is government-run and is essentially non-profit, so instead of dragging out series past the point of freshness, you get shorter, tightly plotted, well thought-out series.

Like this one.

Sam Tyler is a homicide detective in 2006 London. One day he is in a car accident and BAM! wakes up a homicide detective in 1973 London. He eventually determines that he is still technically in 2006, trapped in a coma, and is living out some bizzaro dream inside his own mind. Or is he?

Sam receives smatterings of people talking to him from 2006 through the radio, the phone, and the television, and these sequences are genuinely creepy and add to the “what is reality?” vibe of the show. The weird little girl who speaks cryptically to Sam about “going home” doesn’t help matters. But little girls are always creepy. See: Supernatural, The CW.

Sam is awesomely played by John Simms, who made a big splash on Doctor Who in the third season. And he looks totally hot in his signature leather jacket.

Speaking of which, the clothes on the show are amazing, as is the 70s soundtrack. Again, the Brits really take the time to do stuff right. But I think the best wardrobe prize goes to Liz White, who plays Sam’s love interest, Annie Cartwright. Girl can really rock a vest.

As with Mad Men, what struck me about the show is the casual racism and misogyny of the 70s. Sam is always appalled by the culture around him and the show does an amazing job of making you believe that he is really a modern man stuck 33 years in the past.

I came into the show in the second (and last) season without seeing any of the first. It took me no time to get caught up and even less time to get addicted. The finale of the show, which I won’t ruin here because I loved it, is certainly controversial, but to me, felt extremely satisfying. Did I mention the second season is only eight episodes? What better way to resolve some strike-wariness?

I'm A Supermodel Apologist

When did "reality" TV get so unavoidable? I remember the good old days ... I was free to heap scorn upon The Real World and other shows of its ilk for being meaningless drivel that only the most vapid of teenage girls could be induced to watch. And while I hated the programming itself, I loved how elitist I felt by not watching. It was a win-win.

Take The Real World, turn up the attractiveness a notch and make all the challenges about walking around in your underwear, and you've got Make Me A Supermodel ... and I'll eat it with a spoon.


It helps that they're up front about it. I mean, episode one had the models wearing swimsuits (and for two lucky contestants, thongs) down the catwalk.

You can't tell, but his butt cheeks are hanging out.

The third episode had them doing boudoir shots.

Afterwards ... *uncomfortable silence*
"How about those girls? Pretty hot."
"So hot. I love tits."

If anyone is taking this show seriously at this point, I despair for the future of humanity. Sure, it's nominally a competition. But the audience votes on who in the bottom three gets eliminated ... via TEXT MESSAGING. When I heard that, something broke inside my brain and I found myself genuinely intrigued by Make Me A Supermodel.

My #1 pick: Jacki. Of course, I like ears that stick out a little bit.

Maybe that's the key to enjoying reality TV - giving up. Giving up on meaning and going full-force for entertainment. Realizing that reality TV has nothing to do with reality, and everything to do with ratings. What healthy red-blooded individual wouldn't want to see extremely hot people crawling all over each other? And what lazy, thick-headed TV blogger wouldn't want an excuse to spam you with pictures of attractive models?

Now that's a win-win.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Torchwood: our first and only line of defense. Y'all, we are so screwed.

It's no secret that we here at tvsluts had major issues with the first season of Torchwood. Despite the presence of Captain Jack Hotness, the characters were all really unlikeable, really dumb, and all the OMG CARDIFF!!1!! scenery in the world couldn't save it.

Although the second season premiere (which debuted on BBC America this past Saturday) seemed to hint that Season 2 would be slightly better, the show still managed to be just so-so, mostly due to the clunkiest expositional dialogue I have ever heard. James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) was awesome, I'll grant you, but it's gonna take a lot more than a one-time appearance from one of my favorite actors to get me entirely behind this show. I will say that Owen did not bug me hardly at all during the episode, although I did cheer when he got shot. Some habits are just too hard to break.

Having said that, enjoy these bloopers from Season 1. Too bad the real actors seem so much more interesting than the characters they are forced to portray.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Truth Univesally Acknowledged...

It is a truth universally acknowledged that young ladies in possession of a good mind must be in want of Jane Austen adaptations. Just look at how many women have watched and rewatched and REWATCHED BBC's Pride and Prejudice. I mean, sure Colin Firth is totally hot, but you've also got the costumes! The witty conversations! The ridiculous parents! The awesomeness of Lizzy!

This blog is not the time or place to dissect why modern women are still so attached to the trials and tribulations of Austen's heroines, but it is the place to mention that Masterpiece Theatre has embarked on The Complete Jane Austen. For the next several weeks they are going through Austen's complete works and showing movie versions of her books.

So far the results have been hit (Northanger Abbey) or miss (Persuasion). According to our friends' across the pond who have already seen it, Sunday's Mansfield Park is probably going to land on the miss side of the spectrum. But this seems to be mostly due to the perceived miscasting of Billie Piper (from Doctor Who) as Fanny. I'm reserving judgment, but in my mind, even lame Austen is better than no Austen at all.

But, PBS? You know I love the host for these shows, Gillian Anderson. But get that girl some personality, STAT. Also? The intros you have her reading are lame. So fix that, and we'll be straight.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

... and that is why I love him

I was surfing through the channels and I came upon a Fox News anchor (*gag*) saying, "Who cares about the TV writer's strike? Not one single person I know cares!" My first thought was, "Is that how he does his research - by asking people he knows? That explains so much!" My second thought was this: "You know who cares? JERRY O'CONNELL FUCKING CARES."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Boyfriend of the week: Sock Edition.

As mentioned previously by Caroline, Reaper had a great pilot. And then it kinda went....meh. At leaat for me. I confess that I am about 3 episodes behind on the show (things got busy around the holidays and I am still trying to catch up on my DVR backlog), but even though my interest in the main character and premise waned, the thing that kept me watching was Sock. Or Bert "Sock" Wysocki, if you're nasty.

He's not the average pinup. He's overweight, is not too bright, and has kinda gross facial hair. But you know what? I would totally have him as my boyfriend. He's hilarious, would be awesome to sit around and drink a beer with, and is a great dancer.

And occasionally, he does things that are really sweet and meaningful. Basically, he's a shlubby Hufflepuff. And who doesn't love a good Hufflepuff?

Sometimes, you just want someone around who's fun.

From India, With Love

While I was in India, I realized I had a unique opportunity. Not to learn about my heritage or to see the sights in a wonderful, ancient land. Not even to spend time with family I hardly ever see. Puh-lease. Been there, done that.

This time, while I was in India, I watched television.

My favorite show, hands down, was Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs. This is a children's singing competition ("Sa Re Ga Ma Pa" being the first five notes in the scale - like "Do Re Me Fa So" - and also the title an adult's singing competition that ran from 1995-2005). Now, I am not a fan of American Idol or the forty-seven billion American shows of its ilk. But L'il Champs combines the cuteness of children ages 7-14 with ah-mazing Indian music and some really heartwarming teamwork. That's right - even though they are in competition, the kids of L'il Champs often provide back-up for each other, if their song calls for it. And isn't that more fun than watching Simon Cowell make grown men and women cry?

"But Sri," you might say. "I do not speak Indian."

After I finish berating you for not knowing that there is no such language I will calmly explain that you don't need to understand Hindi (or any of the hundreds of other Indian languages) to enjoy L'il Champs. I know about four words in Tamil and Kannada, all relating to food, and I love this show. Here is the basic format, so you can follow along:

1. Theme song, sung by the contestants and filmed on-location in their various hometowns. Adorable.

2. Sometimes they will start off with a group song, with all the remaining contestants singing and dancing around. Last week's episode featured the title song from an upcoming Bollywood film, Sunday. For those not in the know, Bollywood is another name for Bombay and the center of the Indian movie industry. Bombay + Hollywood = Bollywood. Ironically, we now call Bombay "Mumbai." It's all very confusing, and entirely irrelevant.

3. Introduction of the judges. There are two regular Mentors, famous singers who grade the kid's performances. I haven't seen anyone get anything below a B+, possibly because the contestant would be so shamed that he or she would try to commit ritualistic suicide. Indian kids are hardcore like that. The Mentors give the contestants constructive criticism, which must be hard to take on national television. Hang in there, L'il Champs! There are also guest judges, like Bollywood film stars, whose sole purpose is to praise the kids and drop random phrases in English (possibly to make them seem more worldly?).

4. One at a time, the children sing a short song, usually from a Bollywood film. In India the music industry is basically divided into Bollywood film songs and classical/folk music. At least, that is my understanding. Anyway, after receiving their critiques and grades, the contestants give instructions on how to vote for them. Repeat this until you're out of L'il Champs.

5. There's also a host, but you don't need to worry too much about him. Even when I can follow along with the banter, I find hosts pretty useless.

You can watch full episodes here, and the latest episode is here. And of course let me not forget the official website .

Go. Watch. Vote for Vasu.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

2007 Top Ten, redux

Well, I'm clearly late to this game, as both Maggie Cats and Monkey Sri have lapped me on the whole "Best of 2007" thing. And, as you may have noted, it is no longer actually 2007. That's not gonna stop me, though, folks! I'm slow, I'm slack, and I've been woefully absent, but I am here for you in the '08. To wit, behold the Official Dissident1L Best O' 2007:

10. Reaper. The pilot was just pitch-perfect; I don't know how much of that was attributable to Kevin Smith's "association" with the show, but after the first episode, Reaper nearly dropped off my radar. The plots stagnated; the characters got stuck in the same mildly entertaining schtick. But I've got to hand it to the PTB; somebody listened to my prayers, and the writers jettisoned the lame-ass "who's the evil soul?" song and dance and finally pulled their tunnel vision off the boring Andi/Sam "relationship." It took a long time to hit its stride, but Reaper was finally delivering on the promise of its pilot. I hope the strike doesn't erase its chances to prove it can sustain.

9. Heroes. Lucky for Kring & Co., I'm considering new episodes airing in all of 2007. It's refreshing to know that Tim got the memo re: the Wondertwins and the deadening suck of Hiro in Japan. Because, my god. That shit almost moved you down to #10, heroes. But I just can't quite turn my back on this show. It's just too gorgeous, too sweeping, too colorful, too sprawling, too big. It's a great big flying circus of a show, and here's hoping Season Three sets it back on the straight and narrow.

8. Moonlight. I've already told y'all of my deep and abiding love for Jason Dohring. And I clearly have a weakness for vampires. This may explain most of my love for this show, honestly. It sure ain't the acting skillz Alex O'Wassname (TM Annie) brings to the game, or the crack dialogue, or the Misunderstood DA Boyfriend. Maybe it's the way Sophia Miles squares her shoulders and just wades in, or the is-she-isn't-she back and forth of Morgaline's cure/not a cure. ...Or, hell, who am I kidding. It's Jason Dohring. He's that good, y'all. Seriously.

7. Supernatural. Sam + Dean + blood & guts + scary monsters = win.

6. The Office. Look, I watched Meet the Parents through my fingers. This ain't my thing. I hate watching people in uncomfortable situations. And yet, I got so hooked on The Office I made Joe watch half a season with me in a single day, because I couldn't bear not knowing, not being there. I've never even had a particularly terrible office job such as Dunder-Mifflin (although my last boss was a study in How Not To Treat Other Humans), but something about the show just clicks with me. It's not even just Pam and Jim -- the whole thing just cracks my shit up. The moments barely heard under the pillow are worth it for the LOLZ.

5. Project Runway. I worried for this show in S.3; the designers ran the gamut from boring and derivative to openly hostile. The challenges didn't do it for me, and I hated every minute of that goddamn neck tattoo. But! Season Four looks to be a return to form, with likeable, talented designers who seem genuinely willing to help one another out and have established a camaraderie in the workroom that was sorely missed the list time around. Plus, Chris March is back! Love him, love Kit, love Sweet P, love this show.

4. Doctor Who. Hrm. A tall, tousled, gorgeous doctor with hipster glasses and Chucks to match his slim-cut suits. Can't imagine what I'd like about that...

3. Chuck. Again with the tall, geeky, and gorgeous. Beyond that, though, Chuck takes a random conglomeration of seemingly tired, traditional elements -- lame sidekick, slacker-yet-scary boss at the big-box store, hot Asian computer chick, orphaned siblings, rampant punny banter, tiny droplets of action and suspense -- and manages to cook up something rather more than the sum of its individually-awesome parts. Which reminds me! Two words: Captain Awesome. Oh, and two more: Adam Baldwin.

2. Gossip Girl. I would kill for Blake Lively's hair. Seriously, watch it for the shoe porn alone. I haven't read the books, and god knows I am no friend to the voiceover, but somehow, here, it works. This show is a ridiculously over-the-top, lavish, lascivious, succulent, saturated romp. Cotton candy laced with cognac. LOVE.

1. Veronica Mars. Y'all, this is quite simply the best show of 2007, and handily makes my Top Five TV Shows Of All Time. Sharp, witty writing; believable, heartbreaking, ambiguous characters; and some of the best acting the small screen has ever hosted. Veronica sticks with you, and it's not just the casually tossed-off one-liners. It's not even Jason Dohring. (Well, not just.) The story, the pacing, the mystery, the heart of this show are simply unparalleled. Brava, V. You are missed.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Networks = Fail.

I reject reality television. I reject the hastily thrown together, slap-dash, poorly constructed substitutes for scripted television that the network producers are attempting to thrust onto the viewing public. I reject the banal, socially retarded, poor excuses for human beings that think that appearing on a reality television show will assure them fame, fortune, and a reason for living. I reject anything that will lessen the affects of the strike on the network heads and lengthen the time the stage crews are out of work as they are caught in the middle between the corporate suits and the writers. I reject FOX. I reject NBC. I reject ABC. I reject CBS. I reject CW.

I reject reality telelvision.

But does Project Runway count? I mean, it was on the air before the strike.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Strike Watch, Episode V

Once you watch the first few episodes of Freaks and Geeks, you will understand why it has become a cult classic. The characters are compelling, the plots are delightfully twisted, and the morals are not heavy-handed (or even unambiguous - which, of course, I love). What you won't understand is how NBC could have made the colossal mistake of dropping the series with several episodes still unaired. Was Freaks and Geeks, a coming-of-age comedy set in the early 80's, ironcially ahead of it's time? I don't think so. That distinction is reserved for another series cut down in its prime, My So-Called Life. Maybe this is an emerging pattern. America couldn't handle Angela Chase's or Lindsay Weir's truth.

Do we make you uncomfortable? Good!

I will always remember "The Little Things," in which Ken (played by Seth Rogen, now of Knocked Up and Superbad fame) is told by his girlfriend that she was born with ambiguous genitalia. His resulting crisis of sexual identity is both hilarious and heart-warming. It resolves when he bursts in on her band performance to let her know he accepts her as she is ... at the top of his lungs from the back of a crowded auditorium. Classic.

Except, not really. Name one other television show that has dealt with that particular issue in a similarly direct and compassionate manner. I'll wait.

And that's the real power of Freaks and Geeks. It wasn't afraid of taking on this big, weird, frightening thing we call growing up. Though the title characters are (by definition) outsiders, this show makes us realize that we are all freaks, we are all geeks. And the sooner we embrace that, the happier we'll be.

Well, maybe not happier, per se.