Monday, March 31, 2008
Tonight, starting at 6:00 pm, Lifetime is airing its first original miniseries, "The Capture of the Green River Killer," about the true story of a serial killer who terrorized Seattle in the 1980s and 90s. Part I actually aired last night, but I was too busy emptying all of my kitchen cabinets and drawers in preparation for my condo's annual extermination extravaganza. But the entire thing is airing tonight, so no worries.
The miniseries stars Tom Cavanagh as the police detective (turned sheriff, turned Congressman), whom you might remember from Ed. I wouldn't expect to see any of his light comedic fluffiness in this drama (or Michael Ian Black for that matter), but the reviews have been good and it feeds into my enjoyment of the serial-killer-true-crime genre. So I'll definitely be watching.
Oh, did I mention that it stars James Marsters (Spike!) as convincted serial killer Ted Bundy? Hot and disturbing. Sweet.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
So this episode of the cartoon round-up is dedicated to a show that incorporates lessons without sacrificing entertainment value. If you liked Dragonheart or Ever After, you'll love Jane and the Dragon.
This medieval adventure is about a girl training to become a knight, who rescues a prince by befriending the dragon. Crazy? Maybe. But the show is made crazy awesome by the creator's attention to detail. Every character has an elaborate back-story (which you can read on the official website). As such, their motivations are complex and their emotions compelling - a rare treat in children's television.
Beyond that, the animation is really well done. Often CGI looks stiff and fake, but with a production team who worked on The Lord of the Rings and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Jane and the Dragon is freaking adorable. The style is faithful to the series of books the show was based on, written and illustrated by Martin Baynton.
Jane and the Dragon airs Saturdays at 12:30 on NBC (part of the Qubo lineup).
*Yes, I know how to use a thesaurus. Try to contain your shock.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Sci-Fi channel is REALLY trying to get you to watch Battlestar Galactica when it premieres April 4. They have a preview of the fourth season airing tonight at 10 pm, and a half-hour "documentary" looking back at the previous three seasons on at 10:30 pm. They're also running marathons every day from March 31 - April 4. So you really have no excuse not to catch up. Unless you don't have cable. In which case, how do you survive?
Also, in an interview, Edward James Olmos says he's cool if everyone on the show dies this season. Ok then.
John Krasinki! I've missed you so much. Come back, The Office!
I watched about 4 episodes of The Tudors last year before I determined that it sucked. But adding Peter O'Toole to the cast as the Pope might be enough to make me watch again. Maybe. The season premiere is Sunday at 9:00 pm on Showtime.
The X-Files Paley Fest report!
Christian from Project Runway on Ugly Betty....fierce!
USA Today really likes the new version of Sense and Sensibility airing on Sunday on Masterpiece. I remain dubious. I mean, the Ang Lee version has Hugh Laurie! And Alan Rickman! Can't beat that.
Jeff Zucker, the CEO of NBC, is causing a controversy for comments made about the writer's strike on the new My Name is Earl promo.
Also from the The Washington Post, the top 5 rated shows last week were American Idol, Dancing with Stars, and Two and a Half Men. *vomit*
(scroll down for ratings)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
In fact, Tuesday night, I didn't watch any television AT ALL. I read instead! *gasp!* And you know, those Twilight books are pretty good. Although Bella is kind of a dingbat. Seriously, it took her that long to figure out there were werewolves around?
Anyhoo, where hath all the good tv gone? I mean, the strike is over, so clearly the writers, actors, and producers are just being lazy. How am I supposed to wait until the end of April for new episodes of shows??
Thank god for Netflix.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I guess I'm supposed to be ashamed by this. Reading is clearly the morally superior leisure activity. The written word forces you to think and imagine, while moving images do just the opposite. Admitting that I prefer the Boob Tube to books is tantamount to saying I like Comic Sans better than Helvetica.
Seriously, some people hate that font.
Here's the thing ... that's all bullshit.
I once picked up The Devil Wears Prada in an airport gift shop, figuring you can't go wrong with a bestseller. How innocent I was then, how naive. Calling that book drivel would be an insult to drivel everywhere, and I would give anything to get back the hours I wasted reading it. The movie was better - I say this without ever seeing the movie, but secure in the knowledge that there was absolutely no way to make that book worse.
It's not the media that makes a story worthwhile, but the skill of the story teller. As demonstrated by one of Maggie's previous posts, good television can be just as moving as good literature. Besides, for every God-awful reality television show on the air there are a dozen equally terrible romance/self-help/sci-fi novels on the shelves. Not to say that's a bad thing. Sometimes, you may feel the need to curl up with some low-quality chick lit. Just don't turn your nose up at someone who curls up with Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, instead.
Give me Japanese game shows over pink paperbacks any day.
In unrelated news... 100th post! Woot.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Network Execs passing judgment (artist's rendering).
Really, Fox just couldn't handle Futurama's truth. Which is that there are some adults who enjoy the mindless violence and impossible physics that only cartoons can provide. That's why the show's syndication ratings were so great, that's why fans went out and bought the entire series on DVD. The guy at Fox who made the decision to cancel this lucrative show is probably kicking himself right now. A word to the wise: don't underestimate the power of 25-30 year old bracket. Many of us are young professionals, some of us are DINKs (double income, no kids). We've got an excess of cash and a deficit of impulse control, which means our buying power is astronomical. And we're the kind of people who like our futuristic dystopias gory, absurd, and full of freaky alien sex.
Luckily for us, Groening and Cohen refused to give up the dream. They got the cast and crew together for several direct-to-DVD releases, including Bender's Big Score - which will air March 23rd at 8pm. Four DVD releases are being divided into four episodes apiece, giving us 16 "new" episodes for the sixth season. Of course, many die-hard fans may already own the DVDs, but you can't help but get excited.
As Dr. Zoidberg would say, "Hooray!"
Monday, March 17, 2008
Paley Fest has begun, and if you, like me, are unable to blow off your job and head out to California, Michael Aussielo over at tvguide.com has your hook-up. Starting with a great report from the Pushing Daisies panel!
To piggyback on Selvi's review of Lewis Black's new show, here is an online chat with the man himself, from The Washington Post.
There's a Heroes soundtrack album.
As the premiere date for the last season of Battlestar Galactica comes closer (April 4!!), catch up on the goings on with recaps from TWOP. I don't know about you, but I've basically forgotten everything that happened on the show last season. Except that Baltar was crazy and Helo is totally going to the gun show.
It's nice to know I wasn't the only person who was curious as to how Marlee Matlin was going to fare on Dancing with the Stars. Here's a great article about the hearing-impaired and music, as well as Marlee's reality show debut.
And, finally, anybody else remember this movie? I saw it on the Disney Channel when I was younger and the banshees resulted in childhood trauma. Seriously. I did not sleep for days. It would probably make the perfect St. Pat's movie now.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
For one, Black's signature style of explosive anger and frustration at a world gone mad didn't come through. Sure, he was vitriolic. But there was no shouting, no finger wagging, no veins popping out of his neck. He didn't even clench his teeth! C'mon, Lew. You can do better than that.
"If it weren't for my horse..."
Also, there was something wrong about the ambiance. The studio audience was obviously very small and a bit nervous - which may have contributed to Black holding back. The set itself seemed awkward, with a lot of open space for three men to fill. I know comics are used to working all alone on a huge stage, and that looks fine ... when most of the cameras aren't shooting from above. Black and the Advocates looked like ants in business suits.
I will give him this - it's an ambitious project. Parts of it were a bit depressing, but cultural satire should be (in my humble opinion). It would benefit greatly from a livelier audience and a new set designer, but I can still enjoy it without those things. If you missed the premiere, you can catch clips at the official website.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Billy, Mandy, and Grim are totally BFF!
What makes the show for me is not Billy's fart jokes or Grim's Jamaican accent. I am a HUGE fan of Mandy. With her cute little dress, blonde hair, and lack of a nose you might mistake her for the fourth Powerpuff Girl.
It would be the last mistake you ever made.
Mandy is always angry, sometimes violent, and frequently cruel. She rules her gang with an iron fist, and never hesitates to put someone in their place (to wit, cowering at her feet). And because this particular show never worries overmuch about morals or happy endings, this tiny tyrant's uppence will never come. I love that.
In children's television, a girl is almost never the leader (unless the entire group is girls and their mission is to be the best, most sparkly fairy princesses they can be). When the leader is female, she is often the nurturing, motherly type. At the very least, it's made clear that the girl's gruff exterior is just an act she puts on to protect her tender heart. And while I'm not trying to paint Mandy as a role model, she does stand out as a singular character: female, but with nothing "soft" about her. She's completely unapologetic - something few little girls learn to be.
So if you like questionable humor, quirky characters and quietly subversive television, you will enjoy The Grim Adventures. Be sure to check out the game and the official website, where you can watch full episodes online.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
So, which is better? The X-Files or Lost?
I hate to play the semantics game, but I guess it depends on your definition of "better." Are we talking pure entertainment? Are we basing it on its ability to juggle a huge myth-arc? Or are we focusing solely on pop-culture impact?
Now, let me say that I am a big fan of both shows. Mulder and Scully were my first OTP, and when that new X-Files movie opens this summer, I will be waiting in line (but not overnight, let's not get crazy, people). And Lost has, from the moment its pilot aired, basically blew every pre-conceived notion of how a tv show should work out of the water.
There's no doubt that without The X-Files there would be no Lost. I am therefore choosing to take the question of which show is "better" to mean which show has done the best job of fulfilling its mission, i.e. crafting a television show around a series-long mystery and doling out clues here and there. With X-Files, the mystery was "what is the alien conspiracy?", and with Lost, it's "where are they?"
If this is the question that needs answering, for me the clear winner is Lost. I have always felt that The X-Files was strongest in its stand-alone episodes. While the myth-arc episodes were mind-blowing and dramatic, they were often murky and difficult to understand. Not that Lost is crystal-clear, but if you want to argue about whether the creators "know what they are doing and where things are headed," Lost is the clear winner. Even more so now that J.J. Abrams et al have announced that the series has a clear endpoint and a specific number of episodes left. The X-Files had no such target, Chris Carter was just dragging the story along until FOX decided whether to cancel it.
So, for this definition of the question, I vote Lost. For eye-candy, I would probably go with X-Files since David Duchovny is THE MAN (also, remember I hate Sawyer), and in terms of pop-culture impact I would probably also go with X-Files. It ushered in the explosion of fandom on the internet, and was one of the first true television science fiction commercial successes, and like I said, without it, there would be no Lost.
Monday, March 10, 2008
You suck. I'm sure you know why : in order to keep on such monstrosities as Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill, you cut your entire comedy department. That means there may be no more Aliens in America.
You never deserved Aliens in the first place. When I want smart, funny and heartwarming television, CW is not my first channel flip. If I want mindless drivel marketed to shallow tweens, maybe I'll turn to you. That is, if I don't commit ritualistic suicide first.
But the fact of the matter is, you've stumbled upon a rare gem and made the uncharacteristically brilliant decision to include it in your programming. So do the right thing. Renew the one show that has me consistently tuning in to your blasted network. Or else.
Friday, March 07, 2008
I'm thinking these three should have their own family sitcom. Rami's the dad, Jillian is the mom, and Christian is the funny and quirky teenage son. Who's with me?
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Probably the most popular example of adult cartoons is Family Guy. The same kind of people who were quoting Bart Simpson fifteen years ago (Don't have a cow, man!) are quoting Stewie Griffin today (Damn you, vile woman!). But while The Simpsons do, in general, try to end on a moral high-note, Family Guy has no such hang-ups.
Remember when they beat the crap out of each other? Good times.
Take the Simpsons and invert the kids (Chris is stupid where Lisa is smart, Meg is a push-over where Bart is brazen, Stewie is maliciously evil where Maggie is, well, a baby), add random pop-culture tangents, amp up the violence and sex and you've got the Griffins. My parents wouldn't let me watch The Simpsons when it first came on the air. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't approve of me watching Family Guy now, and I'm twenty-five.
Stewie says, "I may kill you tonight."
It's not the inappropriateness of Family Guy that makes me love it so, but that fact that it is perfectly appropriate for my age group. I'm young enough to enjoy bathroom humor but old enough to get Dick Van Dyke references, and Family Guy has both. And I'm not alone - this show was canceled and brought back not once but twice. It doesn't have so much a 'cult' following as an 'almost everybody you know' following. Plus, it's been banned in Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Iran, South Korea, South Africa, and Malaysia.
So don't turn your nose up at Family Guy, either because its too childish or too adult. You don't know what you're missing.
A family after my own heart.
Well today buzz is starting to gather that NBC and DirecTV have reached a deal whereby they would split the cost of producing new episodes of Friday Night Lights. Episodes of Season 3 (!!!) would originally air on a DirecTV channel with follow-up presentations on NBC.
More details can be found here and here, but OMG please let it be true!!! This small-watched show (and I mean small) is one of the best things on television. It's hard to explain to those who don't watch how big an impact a show about such a small town can have, but if you haven't seen it before, check it out online, or get the first season on DVD. It's about so much more than football.
With guest judge Victoria Beckham added to the mix (LOVE her, but not necessarily her style), Heidi, Michael, and Nina hemmed and hawed and finally crowned Christian the winner. It was a bit of a surprise, I think most people had pegged Rami as the one to beat since the season premiere, but really, I would have been pleased with any of the final three.
Though Chris March (my favorite) was not among them, all final three designers showed beautifully executed, surprising, fashionable pieces. While Rami's was my person favorite, due to the wearability, elegance, and use of color of his collection, all three designers put forth collections that could have taken the win. No Project Runway contestant has yet to top Jay McCarroll's first season Bryant Park showing in my mind, but the three collections shown last night, though inspired by a similar military style, were distinct and well-done. I tend to agree with the judge's critique of Jillian's collection as discordant, and I was not bowled over by Christian's reliance on black and taupe as his palette, but overall the quality of work was amazing. It looked like a REAL fashion show, and not just some reality show finale.
So congrats, Christian!
Just in case you were wondering, here are my two favorite looks from the show last night, both from Rami's collection. First my favorite "fantasy" (as in, nobody I know could ever have occasion to wear something like this) piece:
And the "everyday" (as in, if it was available, I would run out and buy this right now) piece:
I could totally wear this suit to work, like, tomorrow. Love that draping, Rami-style!
And here is a round-up of some of the best post-finale linkage:
Bravo has a gallery of all the pieces from the collection, and of course, Tim's Take.
Project Rungay has, as usual, awesome content on everything PR.
And Jay McCarroll's blog on Elle.com makes me snort water out my nose whenever I read it. And apparently, he has a documentary about a year in his life coming out. Can't wait to see that!
See you next season, you fierce bitches, you!
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Seriously. That's Brian Austin Green, y'all. I am shocked. Dude is HOT.
Despite my lukewarm review a mere few weeks ago, since BAG (heh) has been added to the cast, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has really upped its game. The two-part season finale that aired last night was tense, well-plotted, and other than the obscene amount of commericals FOX decided to tack on, I really enjoyed it.
I am a bit disappointed that my initial prediction that John Connor would bang the hot she-Terminator within the first 5 episodes was wrong, but I am holding out hope for some BAG on Sarah Connor action next season. Assuming the show comes back.
My only advice for the next season: dial back the drums on the soundtrack. I get that you want to incorporate it from the movies, but geez. I feel like I need a freakin Motrin after watching it.
3.8 million viewers for the pilot and one Emmy nomination later, and it still took a friend's recommendation to get me interested in this show. I don't know what my problem was. After watching my first episode, in which the Malloy family barely manages to pull off a huge con and the audience is made to feel sympathy for a sex-addicted former sports hero, I knew there was something special about this show. After watching my second episode, in which a little boy dresses in drag to a dinner party and illicit drugs are snorted off a terrifying woman's chest, I knew I was hooked.
Stealing the American Dream, one hapless victim at a time.
I should have remembered that Driver shined as the female lead in Gross Pointe Blank, one of my favorite black comedies of all time. And no one can have as whimsical a stage persona as Izzard without harboring a secret dark side. He probably refuses to recycle and hunts kittens for sport. Incidentally, the idea that the youngest son of the family, Sam, likes to wear his sister's dresses (reportedly) predates Izzard's involvement with the project.
"You there - cake or death?"
The Riches is actually a deeply disturbing and wholly engrossing send-up of the All-American Good Life. The Malloys, modern-day gypsies, are cast out of the caravan in a power struggle with their fellow 'travelers.' After being involved in a fatal car accident (well, fatal for the real Riches), they are presented with the opportunity to attempt life as 'buffers' - ordinary people. The family is resistant to the idea, but they follow their struggling patriarch on this madcap adventure because they don't even consider doing anything else. Their devotion to one another (amidst death, destruction and the cynicism of other travelers and buffers alike) is like an unexpected hug. Heartwarming.
I have no idea what's going on here...
but I can't wait to find out.
And there's so much more to this show that I haven't even mentioned - the beautiful music, the colorful traveler terminology, the amazing cast. So Netflix season one and mark your calendar for season two (Tuesdays at 10pm on FX, starting March 18th). You can't afford to miss The Riches.
Monday, March 03, 2008
So this week, TV Sluts is sending a shout-out to Ronnie, the obviously talented, obviously pretty, and obviously model-esque participant on Supermodel. Not only do I love him because he's hot (duh), but he has shown that he can handle himself with class, grace, and poise.
For those of you who are uninitiated, Ronnie has developed certain feelings for Ben, his straight and married roommate. While the producers keep trying to make us believe that Ronnie has an evil plan to break up Ben's marriage, turn him gay, and run off with him, I think most viewers have figured out that Ronnie sees Ben as a good friend whom he also happens to harbor a big-fat crush for.
This past week's episode saw a new side of Ben emerge, however. Apparently Ben is very "competitive," and to him this means that it's ok to spew insults at people and make homophobic comments. While I, like Ronnie, believe that these comments were not borne of malice and are probably considered normal ways of communicating among hetero supposedly-macho males, it was very offensive. But instead of yelling and screaming and carrying on as most reality stars would, Ronnie talked to Ben in a rational and mature manner, and secured my affections forever. Seriously, his ability to make Ben aware of how hurtful his comments were without making a big production out of it was surprising, especially for television.
So, Ronnie. Welcome to the Secret Boyfriend of the Week pantheon. I hope you win and become a supermodel for the ages.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Maybe it's because it started airing when I was in school. Or because it was on The WB at a time when the other thing that channel had going for it was Buffy. Or...I don't know, because life is crazy and I just never got around to it so leave me alone, ok?
ANYWAY. Since my Mom has been laid up at home for several weeks recovering from a heart attack (she's doing fine, but this accounts for my lack of updates lately), I got her a gift subscription to Netflix. Imagine my surprise when she said the first thing she wanted to see was Gilmore Girls. Apparently, she recorded the show every day on her DVR since it is running in syndication. Our discs arrived and we settled in to watch the Pilot.
Yeah, so I officially love this show. It's just so clever. And my Mom must have thought I had lost my mind when I busted out laughing when a very young Jared Padalecki (of Supernatural fame) popped up on screen with late 90s skater-hair. And don't even get me started as to my reaction when Chad Michael Murray appeared. I believe the words "loathe" and "douchebag" were used. Although I'm not sure my Mom knows what douchebag really means. But I'm sure she was able to figure it out from the context.
I'm almost done with the first season, and I have to say I am surprised at how quickly a clip the show moves along. So far Christopher has returned, Luke and Lorelai have almost gotten around to asking each other out, and Rory and Dean have already gotten together and broken up. How are they going to drag this out for another 6 seasons??
It is, of course, not a huge surprise how the story ends. As someone who follows television, I couldn't help read about major plot points as they occurred, or be aware how the series closed out. But I don't think that it has affected my enjoyment of the series thus far, and I am hopeful that nothing will change.