Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

As we bid farewell to 2008 (which for personal reasons I cannot wait to see the tail end of), I wanted to take a moment from all of us here at TV Sluts to wish you much health and happiness in the coming year.

I don't know about you, but I intend to spend all day tomorrow continuing my The West Wing Season 1 Marathon. Ah, the good old days. When Aaron Sorkin was still on coke and the world was good.

Happy New Year!

"In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, never in want." --Irish Toast

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called "Opportunity" and its first chapter is New Year's Day." --Edith Lovejoy Pierce

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man." --Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

True Blood

Sadly, I don't have HBO. This means that I miss out on a lot of great shows the first time around and have to catch them on DVD. Shows like Rome, Deadwood, and Big Love. So I had resigned myself to having to wait months, or maybe years, to catch up on the much buzzed-about True Blood. But, fate intervened! Thanks to my awesome friend Rachel (shout out!) and her on-demand capabilities, last weekend my group of vampire-loving friends got together for a 12 hour balls to the wall full first season marathon of True Blood.

Do you think it's easy watching 12 hours of television in a row? It's not. You have to make sure you move around occasionally to avoid blood clots. The more you know!

First, let me say that True Blood is awesome. Ok, that's the short review. Here's the longer one: what makes the show so great is, like most HBO shows, you can enjoy it on many different levels. Ostensibly, it's a show about a girl and a vampire who fall in lurv, two flawed people (he's a vampire, she reads minds), that find in each other what they've been looking for. So you can love it for that part of it. But you can also love it as a study of how people deal with the unknown and the different.

Vampires in the show clearly stand as metaphors for any marginalized group of people: gays, racial minorities, etc. And while the comparison is obvious, the parallels are drawn in a smart and interesting way. The show is concerned with the characters different reactions to this new marginalized group. And I would say 50% of what makes the show so interesting comes from it's setting in a small Louisiana town and the weird blend of culture that exists in that area of the country. The ingrained hypocrisies of the area influence people's decisions and lives. Just watch the opening credits of True Blood and you'll see what I mean.

In case you aren't aware of the particulars of the plot, here's a brief description from the HBO website:
Thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures "coming out of the coffin." Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out.

Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. "Cursed" with the ability to listen in on people's thoughts, she's also open-minded about the integration of vampires — particularly when it comes to Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But as Sookie is drawn into a series of mysteries surrounding Bill's arrival in Bon Temps, that tolerance will be put to the test.
Season 1 focuses on Sookie's relationship to Bill (who calls her "Suckie," because of the accent, which I find completely lame), and also the mystery of who is running around town murdering women who have connections to vampires.

True Blood is anchored by the main character Sookie, the mind-reading waitress who falls for vampire Bill. I can't think of a show from recent memory where I was so enamored by the main character. I guess I should have known better, since we're dealing with HBO here, but I was constantly surprised by how much I loved her. She's brave, smart, spunky, funny, and is able to maintain a naivete and joy about her life that is surprising, considering she lives in a swamp and is surrounded by mostly stupid people. Her reactions to events feels real, and she doesn't let Bill get away with shit. Which I like, because sometimes he does things that piss me off.

Perfect example of why I love Sookie. When Bill is sweet-talking her by discussing her juicy femoral artery, she responds with, "hey, you just shut your nasty mouth, mister! You might be a vampire, but when you talk to me, you will talk to me like the lady that I am." Sassy!

My only real quibble with the show centers on its balancing of plots. As a viewer, I was really involved in the serial killer plot, especially since some characters I like were killed. But the other characters didn't actually seem concerned about finding out who was running around town killing people, and it felt like the entire subplot was shoved to the backburner for much of the season to allow for some lameass hijinks from Sookie's brother, Jason.

Sidenote: let me just say, I don't think I have ever encountered a character as dumb or whom I wanted to see get his comeuppance as much as Jason. And when I say he's dumb, I don't mean ditzy, or flaky, but that he is literally the most foolish, borderline non-functioning, easily manipulated person on television. While he sometimes gets in some comic relief and I really like the actor, he is hands-down my least favorite character on the show and spending time with him makes my brain want to leak out of my ears. End sidenote.

Jason: hot, but not the sharpest tool in the shed. Actually, scratch that. He's more like a tool that's been left out in the yard for years and has completely rusted over. Ugh.

I have a feeling that the balancing of subplots will improve with season 2, and it didn't lessen my enjoyment of the show. And it's probably the kind of thing that doesn't get noticed when watching week to week; it's only some crazy person who sits there for 12 hours in a row that would catch it.

So, yeah, True Blood is awesome. And I might have to actually break down and get HBO. Dammit.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Die Hard FTW!

I thought I would take a brief moment on this holiday week Monday (ugh, why am I not still in bed?) to give a Colbert-esque "tip of the hat" to Chuck, who had perhaps the most awesome shout-out homage ever.

In last week's episode, Chuck vs. Santa Claus, the folks at the Buy More found themselves in a hostage situation. One of the police officers on the scene outside the store was Big Mike's cousin, Sgt. Al Powell. Now, those of you who are huge geeks (like me) surely recognized the actor, Reginald VelJohnson, from the movie Die Hard (and Die Hard 2) where he played a cop by the name of, you guessed it, Al Powell! In fact, it was the same character, and he still has a love for twinkies! At least he's given up the pretense of claiming they are for his pregnant wife.

I have to confess, I might have teared up a little when at the end of the episode when Big Mike and Al were reunited and ran together and hugged, all to the tune of Ode to Joy (which is also used in Die Hard).

And yeah, I know Reginald Veljohnson was also in Family Matters as Carl Winslow, but come on, it's all about Die Hard!

Chuck writers/producers/etc., from one nerd to another, I salute you!

Reginald rulz.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hey, guess what has two thumbs and still gives a crap?

Bob Kelso Monkey Sri! I think we've met.

Sorry for the blog silence! Real life is always getting in the way, you know? Anyhoo, word on the street has is that everyone's favorite Doctor Drama is moving to ABC. Scrubs has been in syndication for so long, it won't be too weird to watch it on another station (see also: Comedy Central, Fox, TV Land and WGN America). You know what is weird?

1. JD's facial hair in the new season. A literal beard to replace is figurative beard, Baby Mama and Mary Sue extraordinaire Dr. Kim Briggs? You're not fooling anyone, guy.

JD loves his Chocolate Bear.

2. Elliot doing underwear commercials. Though Sarah Chalke does bring a certain comedic je ne sais quoi to picking a wedge. Observe:

3. Pur water filtration systems ... a la JD. Zach Braff is lending his power of voice over to Pur for their latest ad campaign. What's up, Braff? Have you been burning your money?

Maybe I'm been too harsh. Maybe he just loves water.

But even with sell-out stars and questionable personal grooming, Scrubs remains one of the most enjoyable things on television. So you know I'll be making the transition to Tuesday at 9pm (we get hour-long double eps for a couple of weeks before switching to half an hour starting a 9:30) on - say it with me now - ABC.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Best/Worst Show You Aren't Watching

Sunday on HBO has become a dumping ground for the WEIRDEST and most entertaining shows. I previously blogged about the Life and Times of Tim that was on HBO (though the season has ended). HBO is currently showing Summer Heights High our newest import from New Zealand. This show perplexes the mind.

It is about a high school and the central story revolves around three characters: Ja'mie (not Jamie), Jonah and Mr. G. Ja'mie is my favorite character, she is a Junior in High School and is a complete stuck up snob. Last weeks episode she pretended to be a lesbian so she is the center of attention. Jonah is a freshman who is a "poly." Apparently that's a normal way to refer to a polynesian boy. Finally, Mr. G is an over the top drama school teacher. The quirk is all three characters are played by Chris Lilley, a 34 year old Comedian originally from Sydney. Lilley is also the write and director of the show.

The show is weird, but INCREDIBLY addictive. Overall it is a comedy and I really enjoy it. Keep in mind it isn't deep. You will not be moved or learn anything, however, I enjoy Lilley's commentary on these age groups and characters.

Check it out 11pm on HBO.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Hiatus Blues

I remember when I used to look forward to winter hiatus, mostly because it gave me a chance to catch up on my DVR backlog. But now that the DVR has dropped below 30% (I refuse to delete this season's episodes of Pushing Daisies and Supernatural) and I'm not recording hardly anything anymore...I find myself getting kinda sad. And kinda twitchy.

I miss the anticipation of the latest episode of my favorite shows! And the hustle and bustle of trying to keep up with the latest happenings. It's like how excited you are the night before a big event: your birthday, Christmas, a vacation, etc. etc. etc. And then you wake up the day after and realize it's all over and you have nothing else on the horizon to look forward to. And then you get depressed.

So I guess I have winter hiatus depression. With nothing but weeks and weeks ahead of repeats to look forward to, what am I going to do to fill my time? Read? Interact with people? In the words of Emerson Cod, "oh, hells no."

No new episodes makes Maggie a sad snowman. *cries*

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What happened to my DVDs?

So in May I moved to VA with my wife. And one of the perks for us was being close to her family. One of the perks of the family was my DVD collection. While in college people constantly raided my VHS movie collection, well, now it's movies and TV shows. Having arrived I found Veronica Mars, West Wing and others constantly being raided. Then in Sept my sis-in-law took off for Boston and somehow some DVDs disappeared, including Sports Night.

I feel in love with that show during its second and last season, and was thrilled first when it reran in its entirety on Comedy Central and later when it came out on DVD. Recently I noticed they released a new version, the 10th Anniversary DVD with commentaries, special features, and interviews. I'm not sure why, but I soon forgot all about the show. But then two weeks ago I started really wanting to watch it. Don't get me wrong, when I want an Aaron Sorkin fix West Wing is my choice but I was a little burnt out on the the political angle and I wanted to relax in the embrace of wit, charm and a never-ending parade of words that characterized Sorkin's first real TV show. And what's not to love about Krause before Six Feet Under and Huffman before Desperate Housewives and Charles before In Treatment and Malina before West Wing? But of course, I could not watch this behind-the-scenes show because my DVDs were gone. So I settled for Studio Sixty.

I don't mean to denegrate Studio Sixty because when the show was on I loved it. And I could never understand why the critics were so critical of it. Sure it premiered around the same time as 30 Rock and I freely admit the sketch portions of the Studio were never as funny as but the show was never the show. It was about the people behind the show. And being aware as I am of the inside-baseball I knew that Danny and Matt were stand-ins for Tommy Schlamme and Sorkin I sometimes found the shows a little too apologetic. But it was good. It was funny. At least it's on DVD, but it makes me miss Sports Night even more.

I only hope that for Christmas instead of getting my old DVDs back I have something new to check out. And maybe wish that when Sorkin stated recently that he would snatch up Krause and Huffman for another season that it might actually happen. Well, TV can make us all dream.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Golden Globes

The Hollywood Foreign Press announced the nominations for Golden Globes this morning, and as usual all I can say "really?!" followed by a "meh." Usually the Golden Globes come closer to the mark than the Emmys, but really, they both seem so out of touch that all you really do is shrug you shoulders and carry on with life.

The only thing that really got my goat this time was the lack of a nomination for Pushing Daisies (and Kristin Chenoweth). The nominations for best television show comedy or musical are 30 Rock, Californication, Entourage, The Office, and Weeds. Really? Entourage? By all accounts that show is breathing its last, and while I enjoy Californication and Weeds, I wouldn't say they're the BEST. But to not include Pushing Daisies really pisses me off. I understand that the show is not for everyone, but COME ON. And don't even get me started on the lack of a nomination for Kristin Chenoweth (although I get that all the actresses get lumped into one category--there's no supporting category like with the Emmys).

As for best drama nominations there was one surprise. HBO's In Treatment (which I have barely heard of and never seen) got a nod, as did Dexter, House, Mad Men, and True Blood. That makes only one nominated non-cable network drama. Shocking! Or not. With the glut of crime procedurals on network tv right now, it's hard to distinguish them. Especially NCIS and CSI. Get some new letters, people!

I would like to say "yay!" to nominating January Jones for her work as Betty on Mad Men. I think she is really under-appreciated, but does a fantastic job.

Anyway, here's the complete list of nominations if you care. If not, you can tune in like me and watch for the pretty dresses.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Secret Girlfriend of the Week: Tina Fey

This season I finally got into 30 Rock. I remember when it premiered; I watched the first few episodes, but wasn't impressed. But after it's run at the Emmy's this past year, I decided to give it another shot. And I have been pleasantly surprised.

The wacky characters, who seemed jarring and disjointed when I first watched the show, have gelled, and the show has settled into a good rhythm. While the comedic highlight of the show is still Alec Baldwin, who can make my knees turn to jelly with the timbre of his voice, it's Tina Fey's Liz Lemon, who sits at the eye of the storm, that I have really connected with this year.

Liz Lemon is the lone voice of reason in the mayhem, but she is also flawed. And that's what I love. She uses her sharp wit as a weapon, is desperate for approval from almost everyone she meets, and really needs to work on her social graces, but you know what? That's what makes her real. If she was just some typical middle-management woman running around, throwing her arms up at the circus around her, and giving the audience a wink everytime she got embroiled in a wacky plot, that would get boring. We root for Liz, but we also know that in her own way she is just as crazy as everyone else around her. And I kind of feel that's how Tina Fey is in real life.

She's definitely willing to make fun of herself, which is always attractive, and she is the creator and head writer of 30 Rock. Which is actually really badass. She's a woman in charge! In all her interviews, she comes across as witty, self-deprecating, and smart. Also, I think she's really pretty.

See? Funny and smokin.

There's also an air of mystery about her; I'm sure you noticed the scar on the left side of her face. She never talked about in interviews until recently (basically saying she didn't like thinking about it and it's nobody's business so STFU nosy people), so it lent this whole aura of secrecy. Like maybe she used to work as a government assassin and she got in a fight with a ninja and went through a plate glass window...or maybe I need to not watch Grosse Pointe Blank while writing blog entries. There is even a whole blog devoted to that scar!

In any event, Tina Fey rocks my world, I have definitely developed a girl crush on her, and she is therefore the Secret Girlfriend of the Week.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Happy Birthday, Monkey!

Ah, the joys of growing older. Here at tv sluts we are celebrating the birthday of one of our contributers, Miss. Monkey Sri. I won't say how old she is, because I value my life, but I am sure you can all join me in saying, Happy Birthday!

Here is a TARDIS cake, all for you, Sri! Maybe there is a cute, lonely, 900 year old Time Lord inside. Hey, at least you would know there is someone out there older than you. Hahaha...ha?

And you can check out other fun cakes (with lots of tv themes) at the Coolest Birthday Cakes website.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Boston Legal: Breaking Down Walls

Last night, ABC surprised us with a rather entertaining episode of Boston Legal. I will admit that Boston Legal is not one of my shows. Its one of my husbands rare shows. However, I was thoroughly entertained by last night's episode. Boston Legal not only mocked the ABC but Television as a whole.

A section of last night's show included an elderly woman (played by DARLING Betty White) suing the network broadcasting companies for not providing entertainment for people of 50. Though to quote my lawyer husband the "lawsuit was Ridiculous" the premise wasn't. I may only be 26, but ever so slowly the shows I can tolerate are lessening in numbers. Reality and brainless television are winning the ratings wars and shows with genuine plot and witty banter are falling by the wayside.
The episode of Boston Legal last night came out and said the only show with a prominent cast over fifty was "Boston Legal." Though to more accurately quote David Arquette he said "B...well that would be breaking down the wall." His, well the character's but you get the drift, argument continued to state that the over 50s make up half of the retail market and half of the television watching community. So where are the shows for the Blue Hairs? There hasn't been a REAL show about people over 50 since Golden Girls (which I have several friends who remain devoted fans, thought they are in their late 20s and gay, beside the point). Where are the shows about growing older? I feel today, at 26, I am older than most of the characters on television.

Boston Legal continued to poke fun at ABC by stating that "we don't get any advertising." Which when I thought about true.

Try to catch last night's episode on It will make you think!