Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have you tried forcing an unexpected reboot?

Like Maggie Cats, I too was snowed in this weekend. With no cable, and therefore no DVR, at my disposal, I turned instead to Netflix. Specifically, the magic little disc that turns my PS3 into a Netflix-ready device and allows me to watch anything from my Instant Queue. Kick ass.

I chose to watch The IT Crowd, a BBC series (read: six episodes per season) about an archetypal Information Technology department in a large corporation. The employees include two "IT guys," Moss and Roy, and one "Relationship Manager," Jen. Moss is so socially inept that he is essentially a 32 year-old child. Roy is constantly trying to be more 'normal,' often in hopes of getting laid, and always failing miserably. Jen only got the job with IT because she lied about her computer skills on her CV - she doesn't even know what IT stands for. The three do daily battle with lecherous bosses, dismissive and computer-illiterate coworkers, and Richmond, the creepy goth living in the server room (wait... what?). The basic structure, as you might well imagine, a character-driven comedy of errors.

The writing of the show is sometimes brilliant, and sometime cheesy. They go to the old standby jokes a little too much for my taste - for example, whenever someone calls down for help it's because they need to restart their computer, haven't turned it on, or haven't plugged it in. Every. Single. Time. We get it - Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair. Move on already!
But once you get past the cheese, the brilliance is well worth it - especially from Richard Ayoade, who plays Moss. His oblivious/naive nature is occasionally interrupted by hilarious moments of self-awareness. For example, in one episode Moss storms out of Roy's apartment, upset because they spend so much time together.
Moss: Can't you see - you're my wife, Roy! *stops at the doorstep, grabs Roy and shakes him* You're my wife. You're my wife! We should be married to ladies but we're married to each other. You're my wife!
*two women walk by, staring*
Roy: Could you stop calling me your wife?
Moss: You're my wife, Roy, and I can't take it anymore! *runs off*
Roy: (to the women) If anything, I'm the husband!
My one other issue with the show is that it lacks continuity. There are scattered tie-ins to previous episodes, but there is no real story-arc within or between seasons. This may be a function of the medium - with only six episodes per season, perhaps they just don't have the time. I would love it if the fourth season (due out next year, can't wait!) would work a little more on this issue. Even if it doesn't, though, I will be tuning in - if I were you, I'd add the previous three seasons to your Netflix queue, and hole up over the holidays with Moss, Roy, and Jen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On the third (and last) day of the snowstorm I watched:

--The Santa Clause 3

--two episodes of Top Gear

--the True Blood pilot from my new blu-ray set with Alan Ball's commentary (which was very interesting btw)

--The 12 Men of Christmas (I'd give it a C. Kristin Chenowith was adorable, but the movie had almost nothing to do with Christmas so it loses points)

--The Christmas episode of The Big Bang Theory

And that's the end of the snowstorm for me! The federal goverment is reopening and since I covet all my annual leave I'm headed into work where I will sit cold and alone in an empty office. Sad, isn't it? But at least I'll always have these precious snowstorm memories.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

On the second day of the snowstorm I watched:

--Mannequin (one of my favorite movies of all time. Shut up.)

--Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars

--Doctor Who: Inside the TARDIS

--an episode of Graham Norton


--and again, several hours of the local news here and there for updates on the storm

My television watching was impeded today by the several hours of shoveling it took to unearth my car (seriously, it was crazy), the hour of online bridge I played, and the bit of overtime work I got done. Still, with the federal government shut down tomorrow due to the weather, there's still another day of the snowstorm to go!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What does one watch when trapped in a one bedroom condo for days on end? I figured I would use the blog to chronicle the tv shows and movies I used to entertain myself as the DC area is attacked (yes, ATTACKED) by the worst snow storm since 1962 (when the record December snow fall was 18 inches--I think we got that beat). If you're in the same situation, feel free to share what you're watching!

On the first day of the snowstorm I watched:

--A Very Supernatural Christmas (and the episode that followed it on the DVD)

--Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

--National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

--parts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

--the end of 50 First Dates

--several hours of the local news for snow updates

--I tried to find the Season 2 finale of Damages online since I missed it when it aired but was unsuccessful. WTF, Hulu?

I did manage to squeeze in a workout, some reading, and several baking projects, but other than that it was a very successful day of tv watching!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Lighter Side of Ramsay

Tonight I witnessed something I never thought possible on FOX. A sweet, cuddly and down right charming Gordon Ramsay. FOX is really pushing their new show Gordon Ramsay's Cookalong Show. Unlike, Hell's Kitchen, Cookalong teaches the lay person how to cook english classics. Tonight we learned how to make Steak Diane and Tiramisu.

The hook, of course, is celebrities. Ramsay uses celebs as his cooking dummies. This episode featured Cedric the Entertainer, Allison Hannigan (who we all love) and LeAnn Rimes. Ramsay casually teased the celebrities. For instance he mocked LeAnn Rimes's recent car accidents and asked Allison if she learned how to cook "at band camp."

The show was relatively blah in terms of a cooking show. Ramsay was hard to follow and gave instructions like "pour in cream" neglecting to mention how much. My husband particularly loved the instruction of "cook the steak" with no directions, length of time or heat on the pan. After further research, I have found via wikipedia this show is a knock off of the same show Ramsay did in Britain. It is clear the celebs and their cooking is more the point. Ramsay even cut to Whoopi Goldberg cooking from their satalite kitchen in New Jersey.

Fox did attempt to show off their "high tech" skills by cutting to people all over the US via skype. And don't think skype didn't make sure their logo was all over everything.

Overall, this is a blah reality show with a blah premise. Gordon Ramsay does bring in the viewer, but it makes your realize he is such a jerk on HK on purpose. I might tune in next week, but with REALLY low expectations.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Schedule

Hurray for the holidays! I have to admit that I am a sucker for all those made-for-tv Christmas movies, especially ones that star Kristin Chenowith (12 Men of Christmas--Lifetime). I'm not a huge fan of the old timey animated specials since the stop motion characters always freaked me out, but the more modern specials from the Peanuts and Shrek are definitely up my alley.

But I also have to admit that I am way too lazy to have to track down every showing of every show on every channel. So I rely on someone else to do it for me. So, if you are interested in finding a complete listing of the movies and specials that make your heart warm for the holidays, look no further than here (courtesy of a poster over at

I'll also put a little plug in for A Boyfriend for Christmas (airing throughout the month on the Hallmark channel). It's adorable. And stop judging me! I can feel your scorn from here. It's the holidays, everyone is allowed some guilty pleasures.

Oh, and Happy Hanukkah, everyone! Just a little shout-out to all my fellow Jews. Shalom and Chag Urim Sameach!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Men of a Certain Age

Let me get this out of the way right at the start. I don't think I am TNT's target audience with Men of a Certain Age. Sure, I'm in the coveted 18-49 ad group, but I'm pretty sure that's not what the network was going for with this show.

Here's a sum-up: three middle-aged men, Ray Romano, Scott Bakula, and Andre Braugher, deal with the trials and tribulations of manhood. Coping with divorce, obesity, overbearing fathers, and soul-sucking jobs, these guys are winding through adulthood.

Look the show is very well-written and full of great actors. But it is SO not my thing. I find these guy's stories depressing in the extreme and I have to admit I only lasted 30 minutes. While all the reviews I've read have been glowing, I just could not get through it. But then again, all those reviews were written by middle-aged men. So there go.

Like I said, the show has all the pieces of a great one, but it's just not my thing. I wish you better luck than I had with it!

They're men. Of a certain age. But not in tights. You dig?

That word... is Dollhouse.

It is just me, or are we devolving into a Glee/Joss Whedon fan blog? Not that I'm complaining or doing anything to stop this trend. Actually, I may be single-handedly perpetuating it. Who else can't wait for fandoms to collide in the Whedon-directed episode of Glee (coming in March, I believe)?

Anyhoodle, last night I caught up on Friday's double-feature of Dollhouse, aka How Eliza Dushku Killed My Hopes and Dreams for Primetime Joss. I kid, I kid. Though as Maggie Cats will attest, we found out at Comic Con that Dushku isn't as ditzy as she sometimes appears ... she's even ditzier. (P.S. Is that a word?)

I was pleasantly surprised to see the introduction of Summer Glau as the DC version of Topher... but somewhat disappointed that she was playing another crazy person. Don't get me wrong - we all miss Firefly's River Tam. That doesn't mean I want to see her pop up again with a dead arm and, you know. Evil.

Maybe I am being too harsh. I did love the character, Bennett Halverson, and her interaction with Topher. The sexual tension was awkward and delicious. Two little evil geniuses in love! They're going to make little evil babies and live wickedly ever after - yay :D

We also saw Ray Wise as the DC's answer to DeWitt, exuding the devilish charm that landed him a central role in Reaper. Alexis Denisof (Senator Perrin, nee Wesley Wyndam-Pryce) continued to grace us with his presence. Enver Gjokaj (Vincent) did an amazing job as a doll-copy of Topher. And we got more Miracle Laurie (Mellie), whom I love beyond all reason. So many people to adore, so little time ... *sniff* Okay, now I'm getting sad about the (albeit inevitable) Dollhouse cancellation (the final episode airs Jan. 22).

By the by, did anyone else catch Kilo that was Groupie #1 from Dr. Horrible, Maurissa Tancharoen, aka the mastermind behind the character Penny and Joss' sister-in-law? And while it may be true that Nobody's Asian in the Movies, some people are Asian on TV :-)

For more Dollhouse and Whedon-verse love, check out this article/interview (from Dec. 2) with Joss on "The Watcher." SPOILER ALERT: at the end of the interview, you'll find plot summaries for the last two episodes and details from the next six. I couldn't resist, but you should try to be strong.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

And the Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

Our latest guest-blogger has chosen to write about something near and dear to my heart: geeks. As a member of the tribe, I agree that it's refreshing to see my peeps start to get their due. I hope you all enjoy Jason's first essay for TV Sluts as much as I do, and you might like to know that in addition to writing about television he also bakes one heck of a pie. And if you are thinking that I courted him to write for the blog just so I could get him to make me more pie, than you are right. Just kidding! Maybe.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, geeks are pretty cool. Certainly on television, but even in real life. Emo music aside, the most popular bands? Geek-chic. The entire indie rock pantheon of bands frankly resembles a computer club yearbook photo when looked at instead of listened to. Alongside all of this, it’s been something of a sight to see this aesthetic played out on television. Geeks aren’t just in, they’re frankly ruling the place.

And the geekiness continues into reality. A friend of mine works as a teacher in magnet school that focuses on the arts. While the majority of the kids who attend are interested in pursuing a career in fine arts, a sizable minority goes to the school just because of its solid academic reputation. My friend, the teacher, reports on how different the school bullying is from what she remembers in high school. In this case, the kids that are more interested in sports or other “jock” behavior are clearly picked on and made fun of by the artsy kids. If you can’t name at least three existentialist writers, the artists are going to give you a paint swirly the next time you’re cornered in the bathroom.

What’s more, shows seem to recognize that perhaps the old cliché of bully-beats-up-nerd-and-the-pretty-girls-laugh is outdated. As teenagers get more individualized and schools develop programs and events that cater to a broader range of interests, there are more opportunities for the old high school pecking order to break down. After all, if you’re a high school principal, why spend all your millage or property tax dollars on the failing football team when your band just took states and your quizbusters team just went to nationals?

So how do we see this trend play out on television? Consider Glee. While the main characters are supposed to be outcasts and picked on (I don’t care how often they do it – the lead character getting a slurpee thrown on her is always going to be funny), they’re frankly pretty much the stars of the school. Even the pretty and bitchy cheerleaders are now following their example. And that was before the football team sang along to Beyonce. Nerds or not, these kids are calling all the shots.

Supernatural hit on this about a year ago. In their version, the Winchester brothers go back to their old high school to investigate a poltergeist that they’re convinced is the ghost of a nerdy kid only to find out that the wronged ghost is actually a bully. Turns out that because a nerd actually stood up to this unpleasant kid once, their roles became reversed and the “bully” died as a pathetic person, ruined by how mocked he was in high school, thus setting the stage for his ghostly and revenge-y return. was in high school, thus setting the stage for his ghostly and murderous return.

Likewise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer had one of its best episodes when Buffy gets the ability to read minds and hears a voice saying that he or she is going to kill everyone in the high school. In the process of trying to stop a Columbine-esque massacre, Buffy is granted full access to the entire school’s inner thoughts and learns that no matter what clique anyone belongs to, everyone has the same concerns – am I liked? Does my romantic interest like me back? Why do I look so ugly? Why is life so much easier for everyone else?

The adult market viewing isn’t so dissimilar. CSI, NCIS, and their several spin-offs are the most popular television programs on right now, a position they’ve more or less held since the trend toward technological police procedurals began about 10 years ago. The characters on these shows are unabashed about their nerdiness, preferring to spend their free time in the lab under dramatic lighting looking at carbon fibers rather than, say, date. That such a nerdtastic group of people are ruling he airwaves in the coveted 18-35 viewing demographic says something.

What’s great about these shows and this particular trope is that beyond showing that essentially we are all the same regardless of which lunch table we sat at in high school, we can see that the rules of life are fluid and that those who rule any one particular roost do so only precariously and only under specific conditions. Geeks, for being much maligned in the teenage years, are being illustrated differently on television and for a medium that’s known to not be all that realistic, it’s kind of nice to see it taking a step toward becoming so.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


I spent the past week in Phoenix for work, and as I travel pretty frequently (for work and pleasure), I have some experience with hotel televisions and the crapshoot that such stays entail.

My first concern is always for channel selection. Outside the comfort of my own home and cable area, I'm never sure what I'm in for when it comes to basic cable. Sure, you can usually score HBO in some far-flung hotel, but staples like the CW, Bravo, Lifetime, etc. are hit or miss. I was in Atlanta a few months ago (soon after Project Runway had premiered) and there was no Lifetime. Sadness! And then! There have been countless CW-free nights where Supernatural, Top Model, and others (that I am too embarrassed to mention) were left to languish in some distant television market.

And of course there is always the more basic problem of hotel televisions themselves. This past trip to Phoenix, the remote control in the bedroom barely worked. I mean, it would change channels, etc., but apparently there was a millimeter-wide area where you were supposed to aim the remote. Which means I spent some evenings sitting in bed waving my arms like a crazy person trying to get the stupid channel to change. And trust me, this is not an uncommon occurrence.

There's also the ever-present problem of trying to figure out what channel is what. Just when I have barely learned the channel line-up on my own cable, I get sent to some distant city where FOX news is sandwiched between NBC and ABC and every time you turn on the television it resets on the "hotel services" channel. So. Annoying.

Finally, time zones. I'm not sure how choices like these are made, but with a two hour time difference I never quite figured out when some shows were going to air. I guess the Mountain zone follows a Central-like schedule, because most shows started an hour early (example-House started at 7), but other shows like So You Think You Can Dance actually started at the same time, i.e. 8. It made planning my evening quite difficult.

But now I'm home, safe and sound, with a DVR chock-full of all the shows I missed last week. And I will never take my cable package, working television, and Eastern time zone for granted again.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A new direction for Glee?

**Spoiler alert for Glee 1x12: "Mattress"**

No one ever has accused Glee of being anything other than a cute high school comedy. Sure, there have been touching moments, usually involving "minor" characters. Kurt coming out to his dad. Sue visiting her sister, who has Down syndrome, in the nursing home. Everything Kristin Chenoweth did or said during her cameo.

I humbly submit that KC can do no wrong. Do I hear a "woot woot"?

But for the most part, Glee is cotton candy - fluffy, sweet, garishly colored, with very little substantive value. This week's episode, though? Ho-ly freakin' cow (I can say that, I'm Hindu). Shit hit the fan when Will found Terri's old pregnancy pad - I knew she wouldn't be able to keep up the charade forever, but I never expected the confrontation that occurred immediately afterward. There was violence and recrimination. There were man-tears. It was all very intense. And as a result of this marital strife, Will slept in the school and was disqualified from coaching the kids through sectionals.

And sure, it's an old cliche that just when The Team makes it to The Big Game, their Coach/Star Player/Biggest Fan/Mascot is incapacitated, so they are forced to Dig Deep and Be True To Themselves in order to win. But Glee got there in an unexpected way, which I appreciated. Plus, the camera work in this episode was more creative, they didn't beat you over the head with the theme, and they finally killed those damned music stings between each scene (or at least I stopped noticing and being irritated by them). Overall, the whole episode felt less staged.

No witty caption here, I just like this picture.

I know that Glee is probably supposed to feel staged, given the subject matter - a kind of meta thing, you know? But that doesn't mean people loved the format. Does this episode reflect the makers of Glee listening to fan responses and reacting accordingly? If so, I hope to see a lot more Mercedes, Tina, Artie and Kurt in the future. In the meantime, though, I am eagerly looking forward to the finale next week!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks

As we inch closer to Thanksgiving (and I mean inch. Is it just me or is this week draaaagging?) we need to take some time and take stock of things we are thankful for. Family, friends, blah blah blah. I mean the things we are REALLY thankful for, like good television.

And what better way to give thanks to good television, then by watching some of the best Thanksgiving moments that tv has to offer? That way we can give thanks and be entertained. It's a win/win.

First up: one of the most classic Thanksgiving moments EVER. And for once, my use of caps is not hyperbole. I mean it, this is one of the most enduring television clips associated with Thanksgiving. Ladies and gentleman, the WKRP in Cincinnati Turkey Drop:

Next, we jump forward a few decades to a new Thanksgiving tradition: Slapsgiving. I don't know about you, but I prefer my holidays with unrepentant violence and jaunty songs:

Finally, I guess we should spend some time actually pondering what Thanksgiving is about. And I personally can't think of a better spokesman than the best politician of all time, Jed Bartlett.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, pie, light traffic, friends, and more pie.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


This past week saw two big fashion reality shows pick their winners. On the CW, Tyra crowned Nicole as America's Next Top Model, and over on Lifetime, Project Runway picked the "villain" of the season, Irina, as the season 6 winner.

What's that? What are my thoughts? Well, I'm so glad you asked!

Well, you can't deny that Nicole looks like a model. Despite Tyra's insistence that this season was all about picking a "petite" model, Nicole measures 5'7, so not really that petite. She's actually a whole inch taller than me. Because the only thing stopping me from being a model is my height. And if you believe that, I have some land in Florida to sell you.

The Top Model finale came down to two models: Nicole, a geeky, shy, and weird redhead (so you know I loved her), and Laura, a sweet hick from a small town in Kentucky or somewhere, who wore outfits made by her grandmother and spent her spare time pre-show castrating bulls. Yes, castrating. But for the first time in Top Model history, both finalists were nice, pretty, and actually really talented models. I was rooting for Nicole because we redheads gotta stick together, but would not have been upset if Laura had taken it. Honestly, they were both deserving and how many times can you say that about a reality show?

As for Project Runway, it was Irina and her collection of New York-inspired, modern warrior wear that stole the show and clinched her the win. The other two finalists' (Althea and Carol Hannah) collections seemed immature and piecemeal in comparison, so it was pretty obvious that Irina would be taking the win. Thus providing an appropriate conclusion to Project Runway's most BORING SEASON EVER. Seriously, I am so pleased this show is heading back to New York next year and Nina and Michael will be present in every episode. Because, this season has been a yawner, for reals.

There is some controversy over Irina's win, but honestly, I think it will come to nothing. I also think that anyone who viewed the final collections with an objective eye has to admit that Irina's was the most technically advanced, if not most colorful. That was a lot of black, girlfriend.

But there you go! Two fashion themed reality shows ended, and in my opinion, the right people won! I can't say whether any of them will go on to take the fashion industry by storm, but hey, that's not really the point is it? Just take some pretty pictures and show me some pretty clothes. That's all I really ask.

Oh, stop looking so smug, Irina. You may not be the villain the editors tried to make you out to be, but you're no pretty princess either.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So Sayeth the Lord

Things I love about Tim Gunn:

1) He always looks incredibly polished and put together

2) He is supremely eloquent

3) He has a fantastic sense of humor

4) He will always tell you the truth...whether you are a designer on Project Runway or a reporter

5) He says things like "looney kajooney"

See for yourself in this great Tim Gunn interview. It's nice to see someone affiliated with the show talk about how this current season hasn't exactly wowed fans or even met expectations. In fact, if I had only one word to sum up season 6, I would have to go with BORING.

Seriously, it's been so boring that everytime I try to talk about it I ju.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Monday, November 16, 2009

And in further Joss news...

Buffy Season 8 Animated Webisodes!

Slightly disconcerting quote from linked article:
"Now that Dollhouse is winding up, Cabin in the Woods is delayed until 2011 and there's no new Dr. Horrible on the immediate horizon, this is the best news yet for a Whedonite."

Don't say it like that, SciFi Wire! It sounds bad when you say it like that! Though I don't really care about Cabin in the Woods. Take your time on that one, Joss. Prioritize.

TV Slut Reaction:
Maggie Cats - Cool! I hope the voice actors they get don't sound like cheap imitations though.
Monkey Sri - For serious.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Totally Called It!

SciFi Wire: Serious work on Dr. Horrible sequel could start soon.
Whedon's brother and co-writer Zack Whedon tells MTV that the sequel will get seriously underway once Joss' just-canceled Fox series Dollhouse wraps for the season.
Huzzah! And thanks to Maggie Cats for the link :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This Just In

In rather un-shocking news, it appears that Dollhouse has been canceled. Informative links:

The Live Feed: Fox cancels 'Dollhouse'
Comments on Whedonesque (including Joss)

The feeling in the air is not so much indignation as resignation. I mean ... c'mon. Who didn't see this coming? This is just further evidence that Joss should stick to teh intarwebs where he is appreciated and can practice his art free from oppression.

Dr. Horrible Part IV, plz kthx.

Un. Comfortable!

I'm a big fan of Glee. Let me just make that clear at the outset. Last night marked its return with new episodes after three weeks of reruns. I was really excited; I had heard good things about the episode, Wheels, and was looking forward to the return of the show and the songs, specifically, Defying Gravity from Wicked.

And while last night's episode had some serious moments of win, specifically Kurt's father, and Sue's tenderness towards her sister with Down Syndrome, parts of it made me uncomfortable. Scratch that, extremely uncomfortable.

Things got off to a bad start when Will brought up to the entire Glee club that the school could not afford to pay for the wheelchair-accessible bus that would be needed for Artie to ride with them all to Sectionals. Way to embarrass the kid in front of everyone, Will. Seriously, maybe we could have displayed some tact there? Then, the kids reacted with surprising and casual cruelty stating that Artie could just get a ride with his Dad. After all the talk about sticking together no matter what, it didn't fit with the characters for them to be so dismissive. Finally, when Will observed Artie struggling a bit to tie his shoelace, he said, "Let me help you with that!" and promptly bent down and tied it for him.

Now look, I'm no etiquette expert, but I would never presume to tie someone's shoelace who was in a wheelchair without asking their permission first. It seemed totally rude, and even though Artie seemed cool with it, it bothered me.

Things picked up from there, as I noted above with instances of awesomeness from Kurt's Dad, and weirdly, Sue, but at the very end of the episode when Artie announced that he would use the money from a bake sale to make the school auditorium wheelchair-accessible, Finn busted out with some comment along the lines of, "that'll be loads easier than lifting you up and down the stairs everytime!" and everyone laughed along. Awkward.

This is definitely not the first time that Glee has pushed the boundaries of good taste. In the past, I always defended the show, noting that it was firmly grounded in satire and fantasy dance sequences. But the parts of last night's episode that I described above didn't have that feel to me. Maybe it's because the jokes themselves weren't actually funny, or that the writers were having characters act, well, out of character.

Or perhaps it's my own hang-ups: maybe I'm more comfortable when the show makes jokes targeted at the kids' races or sexuality because that's somehow ok these days. But in any event, the weird comments and actions regarding Artie, and to some extent, Becky (a special needs student that Sue put on the Cherrios) made me uncomfortable.

I wasn't "offended" per se, in the clutching of my pearls sense, and I'm not going to stop watching or even make more of a haboo about this than I already have. But I just wanted to register my distaste to some things that went down last night. I think I'm going to chalk it up to the show still finding that balance between humor, pathos, and satire, and leave it at that.

Anybody else have a similar reaction? Or think I'm just overly-sensitive? Comment away!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I always wanted brothers like that...

Several months ago, Jeff was kind enough to lend me The Black Donnellys on DVD. I remember enjoying the first few episodes of the show before it was unceremoniously canned. According to Jeff, the later episodes of the first (read: only) season just kept getting better. This glowing review convinced me to take a second look at this short-lived show.

Well, that and the pretty. Pictured: Tommy and love interest, Thirteen Jenny Reilly.

Within the first minutes my love of the show's extremely unreliable narrator, Joey Ice Cream, was born anew. He tells the story of the Donnelly brothers (Jimmy, Tommy, Kevin and Sean), four good, Catholic, Black Irish boys ... who happen to be mobsters. Well, kind of. Constrained by their circumstances (including their neighborhood, socioeconomic level, and tumultuous family history) the Donnellys have two choices - eat or be eaten. Tommy, protagonist and de facto leader of the family, has done everything he can to "get out." But his love for his brothers leads him down a dark path full of extortion, violence, and murder. Joey's narration is brilliant not only because he is a sidekick/accomplice; he is essentially an aspiring Donnelly. His point of view elevates the most morally ambiguous (at best) actions to the level of heroic feats. And because he loves the Donnellys, we learn to love them too.

Such an adorable little stool pigeon.

For a while after cancellation, NBC made episodes available on their website - according to Wikipedia, it was the second-most streamed video (right after Heroes). Hmm... maybe a signal that the show deserved a second chance and a second season? Perhaps. Sadly, I only had time to watch the first six episodes before I could no longer conscience holding Jeff's DVDs hostage. Netflix to the rescue!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

I had high hopes for Battlestar Galactica's The Plan. I was really hoping it would explain what the hell the The Plan was. I mean I get that the final five cylons were kind of sort of the first five cylons who traveled from Earth to the colonies and created the other cylons who eventually conceived the plan to destroy all humanity blah blah blippidy blah.

But what the crap was the actual plan?

Alas, after watching the The Plan I am still confused and will have to visit the Battlestar Wiki to get the full answers. Because, to paraphrase Jeff, "it's not The Plan. It's more of How the Plan Completely Fell Apart."

If you want a well-acted, well-written companion piece to the BSG series, then The Plan is for you. It chronicles the destruction of the 12 colonies from the cylon point-of-view, and also shows how their entire well thought-out plan to destroy humanity went to shit about 10 seconds after the nukes fell due to the survival of the Galactica and her crew.

But that's not really what I wanted. I mean, it was interesting, and like I said, really well done. But I wanted to start on Earth, to see Ellen and the other final five come up with you know, THE PLAN. To learn what was up with Daniel, the first boxed cylon, to see how the final five created the others, and how (and why) they integrated themselves into humanity.

While The Plan answered some questions, it didn't answer the really important ones. I guess now we're left asking, will we ever get answers to those questions? Is this some brilliant ploy on the part of Ron Moore to keep the fandom begging for more movies? And who the crap did Dean Stockwell have to bribe to get himself so many scenes where he makes out with hot cylon chicks?

Seriously? That guy and this girl? No effing way, yo.

Final thought: if you're a BSG fan, check out The Plan. But don't expect it to actually explain The Plan. Think of it as a fun little post script to one of the finest dramas ever and you won't be disappointed. But if you expect to live up to its title, then I'm afraid you're bound to be let down.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Not sure what to think...

This week, on America's Next Top Model ...
Tyra exploits stereotypes?

In an episode with the innocuous title "Let's Go Surfing," Tyra paints the models brown and dresses them up in "ethnic" clothing. I think I speak for many when I say, the hell is this? Check out the comments on one of my favorite blogs, Sepia Mutiny, for some good discussion and some obligatory ranting.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bless the USA... network

White Collar. Yet another quirky crime procedural from USA. It follows in the footsteps of established favorites like Monk as well as the latest, MacGuyver-inspired generation (Burn Notice and Royal Pains). But White Collar is most like Psych - it's a bromance... I mean, buddy flick.

The protagonists are Neal Caffrey (played by Matt Bomer, who you may recognize as Bryce from Chuck), a silver-tongued con-man fresh out of prison, and Peter Burke (played by Tim DeKay, who you may not recognize... I didn't) as the staid yet brilliant FBI Agent who caught him. The premise is that Caffrey has been released on a probational basis to help the FBI catch white-collar criminals like himself. He and Burke have an extremely congenial relationship for two former adversaries - so much so that Burke asks Caffrey to help him pick an anniversary present for his wife. You get the impression that this friendship is one of the only things keeping Caffrey from ditching his FBI babysitters and taking off after his ex-girlfriend (his real motivation for wanting out of prison).

Wifey is played by Tiffani-Amber Thiessen

As expected from a USA series, the crimes are clever and the minor characters are adorable. It reminds me of that late-nineties NBC show Players, which may have overstretched itself by including three ex-cons and a sexy female FBI agent. And if I remember correctly, it didn't delve too deeply into what it meant to the characters to be imprisoned-but-not, kept on a short leash by the FBI. White Collar has already brushed against this, and I do hope they develop it further in future episodes.

Did I mention the clothes are spectacular?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

V for adequacy

Last night marked the premier of V. I think maggiecats blogged on it after comi con but i wanted to throw my two sense in. The show was meh. I never watched the 80s version so I had no preconceived notion on how the show should be. For those of you who don't know V is about alien "Visitors"' arriving to Earth. They appear all nice and sweet asking for water in exchange for technology. But we quickly realize they are not all smiles. All the critics out there are slamming the show because the Americans burst into applause when the aliens said they were "of peace." It was slightly ridiculous, but I think they were just excited aliens practically said "We come in peace." I would clap for that.

It was nice to see the return of some of our Sci Fi favorite actors. First Juliet was ok as an FBI agent who comes across a sleep cell of the "bad" visitors. Of course her name is actually, Elizabeth Mitchell, but who doesn't know her from Lost. I was happy to see that the lead male was the agent from the 4400, Joel Gretsch. The 4400 was USA's Xmen style show, which was canceled mid plot (and left me sad and mad). In fact, the writer on V was also on 4400. I see that as promising, but I understand why others are concerned. I love how they threw in Scott Wolfe to "bring in the ladies." LOL! This is not the early 90s, he doesn't "do it" for anyone anymore.

I don't think this show will have the buzz ABC was counting on. However, I think I will still tune in next week. Catch in on and make your own judgment.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Secret Boyfriend(s) of the Week

This is Mitchell and George.

Mitchell is a vampire. George is a werewolf.

Do you prefer tall, dark, and handsome? Maybe with a side of danger? Mitchell's got you covered.

Likes include: trying to blend in with humanity, but occasionally helping vampires take over the world. But only occasionally.

Or do you perhaps prefer an adorkable cuddly guy with little spectacles who once a month gets a bit wild in the sack?

Likes include: working in the local hospital, stuttering when upset, and occasionally turning into a violent, mindless animal. But only occasionally.

If you'd like to learn more about Mitchell or George, visit them at Being Human on BBC America or DVD. You'll also get to know their friend, Annie. She's a ghost. And enjoys making tea. Lots and lots of tea.

As for me, I can't really make up my mind between Mitchell or George. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. Good thing I can have them both every Saturday night.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

After perusing many Halloween-themes clips to find one that I thought was worth sharing with y'all, I decided on (drumroll please)...........

Drunk Ewoks take over a segment on The Today Show.

Best quote:

Ann "Darth Vader" Curry: "Try to make sure your kids don't have too much candy."
Al "Han Solo" Roker: "Try to make sure your kids aren't drinkin."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

International Woes

Here at TV Sluts, we are always on the lookout for a roving reporter. First we had Cheryl, reporting on the Glee tour from Dallas, and now we have someone giving our blog a little international flavor. Specifically, letting us know what a giant pain in the ass it is trying to watch American television in another country. Here's an update from Pete, currently living in Switzerland (mmm...chocolate), who took some time to update us all on the trial and tribulations of a fanboy who lives abroad. PS: It's also Pete's birthday today, so a big Happy Birthday goes out to him from across the Atlantic!

Hi everybody, my name is Pete, a college friend of some of you all. Right now I am stationed in Europe taking data for my dissertation. For those curious, the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen Switzerland has the best Pion beam in the world. Since I study pion decay, here I am. For the uber curious I am studying radiative decay modes using the stopped beam approach with a 3pi-steradian pure CsI calorimeter. (Editor's note-you lost me at Pion. Also, "pion." tee hee hee!).

While data taking is way more fun that it sounds like (in actuality it's not) I can't spend all of my time in the experimental hall. When I get home I want to unwind and relax. But there is a problem. My place here does not have a tv! So what am I to do? Watching no tv is simply not an option. Hulu? Not a chance, when you try to load a video a nice mesage appears:

Sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed from within the United States

Hulu is committed to making its content available worldwide. To do so, we must work through a number of legal and business issues, including obtaining international streaming rights. Know that we are working to make this happen and will continue to do so. Given the international background of the Hulu team, we have both a professional and personal interest in bringing Hulu to a global audience.

If you'd like, please leave us your email address and the region in which you live, and we will email you when our videos are available in your area.

Having been thwarted by the mothership I had to resort to drastic measures. Back home I have a friend who built a tivo (it's a mythbox for teh nerds out there). He puts the files of my favorite shows up and I can just rsync them to my net book.

Now that I can watch any TV I'm set to go, but wait. With whom am I going to discuss/make fun of the episodes? I don't know if you have ever watched an episode of Dollhouse or Top Chef by yourself, but if so then you know what I'm talking about. For those that have not, try it just once. You will soon realize that the pain caused by these shows is too great to keep in. Television is ridiculous sometimes and you just need a friend to say WTF.

My solution to the problem is gchat. I open a chat to a friend in the states who has already seen the episode and fire away. I am not a psychologist so I don't know why it is such a relief to know that someone else can't stand how stupid a certain character is, but it is.

I guess I really didn't realize it before, but my international isolation has shown me that television watching is a social activity and I need my friends who watch the same shows. I'm not a "loser" for staying home on a friday night to watch tv. I'm a friend who can't wait to watch tv on a friday night because OMG!!!!!11! WE GET TO FIND OUT WHO THE FINAL CYLON IS!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A few thoughts on Heroes

In watching the last two episodes of Heroes, something occurred to me. One of the major problems with the show is that it was constantly "rebooting," starting from scratch instead of building on what it had already done. This necessarily involves forgetting a lot of its own back story, which is endlessly annoying to die-hard fans. For example, at the end of last season, why didn't they try to use Claire's regenerative blood to save Nathan? Okay, I totally stole that from TWOP, but still.

These past episodes have seen both Sylar and Hiro flashing back to the past, which at least acknowledges that something happened before this season. Also, Claire mentioned her regenerative blood as a possible cure for Hiro (How did HRG know that wouldn't work? Maybe they did experiments when Claire was a baby!). Sure, this self-referencing was heavy-handed at somewhat awkward. But it was a small step forward towards a better, more coherent Heroes.

Plus, I heart Deanne Bray.

... which was immediately followed by two steps back. At the end of the episode, Peter finds a Hiro's new bucket list, which just says "Save Charlie." First of all, why would Hiro write a note to himself in English? I guess it was done so Peter could read it ... but why does he need to know? The audience knows where he's going - and in the very next scene we're shown that he has indeed traveled back three years. It's not like Peter can follow him, since he has that healer kid's power now. But what's this thing where Peter can only have one power at a time? Was that explained and I just missed it?

AND there's no more Mohinder - What. The. F*ck?!?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Never saw that one coming.

Updated: I just discovered that the episode talked about below (which was my favorite of the series so far) was directed by none other than Jonathan Frakes. And if you don't know who he is, then SHAME. For he was Commander Riker on STNG. I am very impressed since the direction of this episode, especially the sequence where Topher et al. had to dispose of Nolan was beautifully done.

Wow, I never thought I would say this. But...I kind of liked Topher in Dollhouse this week.

Up until this point, I've really hated Topher. And I haven't been exactly quiet about it. He just came off as a cheap imitation of Andrew from Buffy, but without any of the underlying sweetness (as much underlying sweetness as someone who brutally murdered his best friend could have). Topher was always just too much of a smartass and instead of coming off as funny, to me he always came off as asshatty.

While at Comic Con we saw a screening of the unseen Dollhouse episode, Epitaph One. In this episode (set in the future) we saw Topher had been driven insane by as of yet, unknown events. I think in this past week's episode, we might have seen the beginning of the cracks in his psyche. And it made him more interesting, and more importantly, more quiet.

I used to think that Topher's annoyingness might be the fault of the actor, Franz Kranz, but after seeing Belonging, I realized that I really underestimated him. The way he portrayed Topher through the entire last act was really surprising. I mean he had to show Topher dissecting and dissolving a dead body in sulpheric acid. That's not easy to sell, but darn if he didn't do it.

Throughout the series Topher has been portrayed as incredibly amoral with a touch of sadness, but now for the first time he struggled with a real ethical dilemma and made a choice with disastrous consequences (see above dissecting and dissolving dead body). Who's to say if he had made the other choice things would have turned out better, but in any event, I'm loving how this season is showing Topher's infallibility and ego slowly wither away.

I'm not completely willing to admit that I was wrong about Topher, I stand by my hatred of his first season self, but I'm definitely liking what I'm seeing so far in Season 2. In fact, observing the evolution of his character will probably be one of the things I miss most when the show is inevitably cancelled. I think it just goes to show that Dollhouse is a far superior program when it takes the focus off the black hole of fun that is Echo.

Topher, you're so much more adorable when confronted with an ethical and moral dilemma! Also, after I found out that you have a tattoo on your ankle that reads, "NC1701." Awesome.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's not a gimmick... it's three

Last week I caught an episode of Modern Family. For those who are not familiar, this show centers around an extended family consisting of (a) the "traditional" TV nuclear family (with a neurotic mother and a clueless father), (b) a gay couple and their adopted baby, and (c) a May-December marriage. Originally I avoided the show due to this gimmicky premise. But hey, sometimes a show can be greater than it's promotional materials. I decided to give it a chance.

One of the show's major strengths is the cast, which includes a grizzled Ed O'Neill as the patriarch of this little clan and Julie Bowen, who I always remember as perennial love interest Carol from Ed. Rico Rodriguez, one of the child actors, really shines as a future comic genius. The episode I saw, "The Incident" featured a hilarious cameo from Shelley Long as the crazy mother/ex-wife. But this is not enough to save the show. Most of the jokes were worth a chuckle, but they were completely predictable. For all that it purports to do something new, Modern Family comes off as just another rehashing of the same sitcom cliches.

That's not to say that the show doesn't have it's good points. It's really well put-together, with a plot that neither speeds nor drags - there are no throwaway lines. You get a good sense of each character in each scene, and quotable lines do crop up here and there. The close camera angles make you feel like you're just another member of the family, sitting on the couch and watching the drama unfold. And who knows? Maybe once the show establishes itself, it will stray more from the sitcom formula.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fangirl explosion

Holy crap, you guys!

Joss Whedon to direct an episode of Glee.

Woah. I guess dreams really can come true.

No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency

My bookclub read The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency last month, and since I enjoyed the book so much I decided to check out the HBO/BBC series based on it.

Set it Botswana, the show (and book) are about Precious Ramotswe, a woman who opens a detective agency in her hometown. Seeing how she is a lady, she decides to name her agency the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. She faces a lot of laughter and strange looks at first, as detectives aren't common in Botswana and female detectives even less so, but she manages to win most people over with her best quality: competence.

So many shows (especially crime procedurals) have characters that rely on technology or some quirky knowledge to investigate and solve mysteries. It's so refreshing to see a woman who can get the job done just by keeping her eyes open and using common sense. Precious isn't flashy, she's a large African woman who is smart, spunky, and wise. It may be lame to say that she just exudes an aura of competence, but it's really the best way I can describe her. If she takes your case, you can bet she'll solve it. She's a real person, not perfect, but just...wonderful.

The show is filmed in Botswana, with all the accompanying beautiful scenery. And as someone who doesn't know anything about life in modern Africa, it's fascinating to see how similar and different the problems faced by everyday people are. Women still suspect their husbands of cheating, fathers are still concerned that their teenage daughters are seeing boys, and children still get kidnapped by witch doctors who include their finger bones in hex bags. Ok, so maybe that one might be a unique problem, but that's part of what makes the show so interesting.

Precious is surrounded by fun and caring people, inlcuding her Secretary (who scored a 97% at Botswana Secretarial school), the gay hairdresser next door, and a local car mechanic who has had his eye on her for a while. Each one feels like a real person, fleshed out with their own problems. But they all care about Precious and help her with cases in their own way.

The first season is available on DVD, and while I'm not sure if a second season is in the works, it's a charming, beautiful show about a woman who is determined to make her own way.

Botswana, represent!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Maggie Cats on the News

Here is my take on the latest television news.

--Mia Michaels is leaving So You Think You Can Dance.

Eh. She's a great choreographer, but the way everyone on the show, including the dancers, creams themselves over her is getting annoying.

--The FOX reality channel is shutting down.

FOX has a reality channel?

--Grey's Anatomy is adding a bunch of new characters when Seattle Grace merges with Mercy West.

Whatever. I don't watch it, but recently discovered that my mother does. Which I am convinced is the first sign of the Apocalypse. I was talking to her on the phone the other day and she literally said, "I can't talk anymore, Grey's Anatomy is coming on."

--Heroes is killing off a major character.


Cougar Town: Deeply Shallow

Last night I caught an episode of ABC's new comedy, Cougar Town. As you might guess, the protagonist is a "cougar," a woman over forty who dates younger men. Aka, the cliché du jour. I swear to god, if I see another magazine article, blog post, or Facebook group about cougars, I am going to punch Ashton Kutcher in the face.

But I was going to do that anyway.
No worries, Demi. We're cool.

Needless to say, I didn't approach Cougar Town with the most open of minds. Within the first few minutes of watching the vapid protagonist, Jules (played well by Courteney Cox, but still irritating as shit), I was about ready to give up. Here are the three reasons I stuck around:

1. Christa Miller. I liked her as Kate on The Drew Carey Show, I loved her as Jordan on Scrubs. She plays Jules' age-appropriate friend.
2. Busy Philipps, who plays the Jules' friend/employee, will always be bad-girl Kim Kelly (from Freaks and Geeks) to me.

3. My sweetie lumpkin cakes, Dan Byrd. I can mute the television and pretend I'm watching Aliens in America. Except, as Jules' son Travis, he dresses better. And there's no Adhir Kalyan. *pout*

Let me be clear - I am in no way, shape or form recommending Cougar Town. It's a fluffy bit of nothing, flitting briefly along the surface of how our youth-obsessed culture punishes women as they grow older. There's just not much there there, you know? But Cox's star power, coupled with a supporting cast comprised of some of the most talented and energetic actors in the biz, will likely keep Cougar Town afloat for at least a season.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

MSCR: Naruto Shippuden

I have previously blogged about the awesomeness/ incomprehensibility of anime. There's always at least one crucial element that completely defies all logic. A young boy finds an old board game, only to be possessed by the spirit of an Edo-era grand master. The classic super-human alien baby (a la Superman and isn't that weird enough already?) also has a monkey tail. Girl meets boy... by falling down a well into an alternate dimension. Oh, and the boy's a half-demon samurai.
Those are all actual shows. For serious.

In the anime series Naruto, however, there isn't one odd central element. There are, like, five.
1. The setting is feudal Japan, only there's electricity and running water and other technological advances. No explanation is ever given for this.
2. The characters are adolescent ninjas, who can channel the body's energy (chakra) into superhuman abilities. This is sometimes determined by heredity, sometimes achieved by just working really really hard.
3. The title character, Uzumaki Naruto, is an orphan who has been used by his village leaders to contain the spirit of a powerful nine-tailed demon fox. Sometimes he has conversations with it.
4. There are many other people who have been used as vessels for various other demons. One of them is a sociopath from a neighboring village who becomes a good guy when Naruto kicks his ass.
5. Naruto has a best frenemy named Sasuke, who is the constant focus of all his considerable energy. Sasuke runs off, leaving Naruto to pine for three years.

Sasuke on left, Naruto on right.
It's moments like these when I'm not entirely sure this show isn't shonen-ai.

That's just the first 220 episodes. After that, in the sequel Naruto Shippuden, shit starts to get really weird. And the funny thing is - it's a fighting show. Most of the episodes are spent entirely on battle scenes. The sheer amount of WTFery they cram into the remaining minutes is truly remarkable.

What makes this show good is that it plays by its own rules. People are constantly unveiling ninja skillz that should be impossible (even in this impossible world), but on further explanation actually aren't. There's a lot of exposition of 'this is how I just kicked your ass,' which drags the action down, sometimes to an interminable snail's-pace. Somehow, though, the intricate world is compelling enough to keep my attention. Also, the vague hope that one day Naruto and Sasuke might make out (again).

Accidental smooch!

Naruto was originally available via Bit Torrent for the dedicated few. I think it got picked up by Cartoon Network at some point, but it was the inferior, dubbed version (when it comes to anime, sub-titled versions are almost always better). Naruto Shippuden (sub-titled!) is licensed by Hulu, and an episode goes up every Thursday, on a seven-day delay from when episodes air in Japan.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh, Beefaroni. I think I'll miss you most of all.

The central plot line of last night's Big Bang Theory was that Koothrappali had lost his job and was about to be deported. As such, it was chock-a-block with jokes on our shared 'motherland,' India. "I'll have to put up with the sarcastic remarks from my cousin Sanjay," he opined. "Or as you may know him, Dave from AT&T technical support." Up for comedic grabs was also the Hindu lifestyle that so many Indian Americans give up, specifically in regards to beef (see the title of this post).

For me, when I gave up beef in the 10th grade, it was Arby's ...
until I realized I was just addicted to the special sauce.

In my freshman year in college, I was deeply offended when a character on Will and Grace remarked of a threesome she had actually backed out of, "There were arms and legs everywhere - Hindus were worshipping us!" This off-handed slight caused me (and possibly other Hindus, though one can't be sure) to abandon the show until it went into syndication. A few years earlier there was a huge uproar when Xena: Warrior Princess and her 'sidekick' (*cough*lesbian lover*cough*) Gabrielle met the Hindu god Vishnu. In blue-face. The principals had to appear in a PSA to beg forgiveness alongside a prominent figure in the Hindu community (for what that was worth - we're not like Catholics, we don't have much of a hierarchy). So how did I react to last night's fresh blandishments of Indian society and Hindu culture?

I closed my eyes and chanted "Ommmm..." NOT.

I laughed my ass off. And you know why? The jokes on BBT were being made by and Indian. There's a huge difference between saying, "aren't we funny?" and saying "aren't they funny?" For all that comedy = tragedy + distance, jokes that are inherently distancing are just not fun for me. When white characters make a joke/utilize a stereotype about India/Hindus, it makes me feel like I'm the only one of my kind in the world. When Koothrappali jokes about how dirty the Ganges is, or erroneously states that Hindus believe cows are gods, I feel closer to him as a character. I can't claim to speak for every Indian (American or not, Hindu or not) but I thoroughly enjoyed what felt like, to me, good-natured ribbing from one of my favorite shows.

Stay classy, Big Bang Theory.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Son of a Witch

I did not have high expectations for Eastwick. I enjoyed the movie back in the day, but never read the book and thought the show looked like it was trying to be too cutesy. Three gorgeous women! Who are witches! And meet a mysterious stranger who may or may not be the devil! And there are hijinks!

And while all those things are true, the show has a dark streak I wasn't expecting. I won't go into to much detail since I don't want to spoil it, but suffice it to say I was surprised by some of the plot points, especially those involving horrible death. Which, I don't know about you, is always welcome in my television shows.

I was also surprised by the clever writing. The show has some very funny bits (usually coming from Rebecca Romijn's character), but all the characters are likable and get in some quips. Also, Paul Gross as the mysterious Darryl Van Horne is clearly having a ball. While not as seemingly evil and crazy as Jack Nicholson (but who is, really?), he has that devilish charm thing down pat. And I've basically been in love with him ever since he played Constable Benton Fraser, a Canadian Mountie, in the dearly departed show Due South, circa 1997.

So to sum up, I really like the show, find none of the characters annoying, and am pleasantly surprised by the dark streak running through the show's core. I was sure the basic plot premise would be difficult to maintain, but they seem to be setting up some interesting mythology and arcs to carry onward. Y'all should watch it; all three current episodes are available on ABC's website.

Oh, did I mention the eye candy?


Saturday, October 10, 2009

As long as the braces come off this year, I'm happy.

While Ugly Betty had a stellar first season, the shows seems to have lost a bit of its sparkle as it's gone on. The perfect balance of comedy/drama/soap opera that the show started with seems to have petered off. All the characters are still wonderful, and the show is still bright and sparkly, but it just seems to have floundered a bit.

One of fans' biggest complaints is why Betty hasn't gotten the memo to spruce herself up a bit. While you can definitely see how her wardrobe has gone through some improvements since the first season (no more ponchos thank GOD), her hair, eyebrows, and braces haven't really changed. And her relationship with prints could use some TLC. I know the show is called "Ugly Betty," but she works at a fashion magazine for goodness sake.

But, wait! There is hope on the horizon! Season 4 is starting next Friday and in anticipation ABC has released some promo photos of the cast. And check out this one:

The hair! It's pretty! And the eyebrows looks more...separated. And the outfit is classy, professional, and appropriate. Could it be? Has Betty finally stepped up her look? I see the braces are still there, but I've heard rumors that they are coming off this year. Which frankly, is still way over due. I mean she's been wearing them for over four years, come on now. Even I only had to wear them for three, and my jaw was crooked.

If you want to check out the other cast photos you can find them here at Just Jared. And remember that the new season of Ugly Betty starts this coming Friday at 8pm on ABC.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I Know It When I See It

I finally got around to watching the first few episodes of Secret Diary of a Call Girl (courtesy of Netflix), previously blogged-about here. And ... yeah. Have you ever seen soft-core pornography? Neither have I, but I know it when I see it. Or rather, when I see Billie Piper's boobs. Props to Billie, though, for letting it all hang out. In a show about a prostitute, it would be kind of strange if there wasn't any nudity. And she didn't, as I previously feared, completely obliterate her curves with an all-celery diet. The protagonist, Hannah, is more Bettie Page than Kate Moss.

Don't get me wrong - there's lots more to the show than the sex. It portrays a woman who chose to become a prostitute because she (a) loves sex, (b) loves money, and (c) is inherently lazy (her words, not mine). But neither is she a "happy hooker" - Hannah struggles with the consequences of her career choice, and does her best to keep it separate from her personal life. Of course she can't keep them completely apart, which seems to be the central conceit of the current story arc. In the last episode I've seen, she essentially "comes out" to her best friend, Ben. Now I have to wait for the next disc to see the fall-out. Which means watching more pr0n. *sigh* The sacrifices I make...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Secret Boyfriend of the Week: Adorable Gay Edition!

He can dance, sing, kick the shit out of a football, and is pretty much all around adorable. This week's Secret Boyfriend is none other than the multi-talented Kurt from Glee.

Hello, ladies.

More than any other character on Glee, Kurt has really hit a chord (get it?) with members of the audience. After all, the first time we saw him he was getting thrown in a dumpster...who wouldn't sympathize with that? And he also looked fabulous, making sure to spare his couture. Sensitive and smart.

But the big connection for me and Kurt came from the episode Preggers, when he 1) performed Beyonce's Single Ladies dance, 2) taught the entire football team how to dance, 3) won the big game (and looked stylish doing it), and 4) came out out to his Dad.

The scene where Kurt tells his Dad he was gay could have gone so wrong, could have been handled so poorly, but Glee managed to balance realism with a happy result. And Chris Colfer was simply beautiful in it. He expressed fear, vulnerability, hope, and longing for acceptance from his father. Until that scene, we didn't know that Kurt's mother was gone, that it had just been him and his Dad. But it just made so much sense. I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried and yelled at the screen (something like, "just tell him!" as Kurt paused to get out the words).

But come on, enough of this heavy stuff. The reason we here at TV Sluts love Kurt is because of his overall fabulousness. Not everyone could rock a black unitard in one scene and wear a football uniform in the next, but Kurt pulls it off with aplomb. He's all adorable, but remains enough of an outcast that we'll always root for him. But more importantly, he knows who he is and doesn't care if you like it or not. He is always true to himself, and how many nice people can really say that?

But I'll let him speak for himself. Hit it, girls.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Tempy and Seely, sitting in a tree...

... T-E-A-S-I-N-G.

Last night, I got home around 8:30 with the intention of finally watching the season five premiere of Bones (bless you, Hulu) and turning in early. Three hours later, I'm powering through the latest episode (damn you, Hulu!) in a fit of Brennan/Booth shipper glee. Booth has been hit with a giant-sized clue hammer, in the shape of the kick ass, Love-Letter-to-All-Fangirls season four finale/coma dream. Hearts and flowers, he sweeps her off her feet and they live happily ever after, right? Ha, of course not.

Before our boy can confess his feeling, Cam and Sweets introduce a seed of doubt - Brennan seems all tough and robotic, but underneath is a scared little girl. No one actually said, "if you fuck this up, we will fuck you up." But I thought it was rather implied.

So he does the logical thing. He tells her he loves her - and then takes it back. Anybody else flashing back to The Nanny? The actual line is, "I love you ... (awkward pause) ... in a professional, atta-girl kind of way." *shoulder punch* I laughed my ass off. The beauty is that Brennan fails at emotions, so even though he's giving her the Soulful Puppy Eyes (SPE) the whole time, she doesn't get it. The next two episodes include further SPE moments and further obliviousness from good ol' Tempy.

I imagine that hardcore fans of the show might be tired of the writers teasing them like this. They're probably screaming 'JUST GET IT ON, ALREADY!' and trying to reach into their TVs to force Booth and Brennan's faces together. Or maybe last season's finale was enough of a pay-off that it will keep the rabid fangirls at bay ... for now.

Personally, I've joined the party late enough that I still find these shenanigans amusing. Plus, there's definitely a feeling that something big has changed (at least, for Booth). I don't get the impression that they're going Mulder-and-Scully us forever. In the meantime, enjoy this picture of the Soulful Puppy Eyes.