Thursday, December 30, 2010

Love to the Gingers

Please find below yet another ginger fan-service post by our own guest blogger, Jason (aka Jayowolf, cause apparently animal nicknames are becoming a thing). If you are a lover of gingers, as so many of us at TV Sluts are, feel free to suggest your favorite fiery-headed fox for adoration and squee.


Not long ago, I wrote a post here that someone in my life called "gushingly" positive about Christina Hendricks. The word "gushingly" was used with that same kind of faux constructive praise, sort of like the tone of voice you use when you're trying to find something nice to say about the business contractor who just sold your house out from under you.

Now, I don't think I'm being too unfair in saying that part of the bite to the word had something to do with jealousy. And while there are probably a number of things that could have inspired said emotion, I'm going to go for the most obvious one, or at least the one that I want to believe is most true:


Don't hide from the truth, dear readers – in one way or another we're all a little intrigued by the coppertops in our lives. To that end, I offer what will hopefully become an ongoing feature on this blog – Television's Favorite Gingers.

Just in time for the New Year!

Gillian Anderson

Long before Christina Hendricks fled the sci-fi world for period dramas, Gillian Anderson had that territory mapped, charted and sold to Rand-McNally. Easily the world's sexiest doctor-cum-scientist-turned-FBI agent (granted, it's a small pool), Anderson skeptic-ed her way into our nerdy hearts as Special Agent Dana Scully from The X-Files.

While she could easily have become a staple of Comic-Con and other social-skill challenged gatherings, she skewed classy instead and opted for "serious" roles in adaptations of Dickens' Bleak House and Wharton's House of Mirth. Basically lots of time spent in corsets and drawing rooms without having to ever look at a surgical scalpel again.

Yeah, Gill – We thought the X-Files 2 script
was a little suspicious, too.

Anderson was labeled at the time the "thinking man's sex symbol", a phrase that kind of carries all the same bite as the aforementioned "gushing" when you really think about it. In any case, it may have contributed a little bit to her publicity off-camera. Although far from the train wrecks of today's modern pop culture starlets, Anderson was noted for purposefully cultivating a far raunchier image of herself in real life than she portrayed on television.

This actually was probably a smart, not to mention lucrative, move considering the last thing a serious actor wants is to be typecast. By being unafraid of showing herself as the opposite of the staid, buttoned up Agent Scully, she was also able to stick to being identified as an actress and not just the former star of The X-Files.

Also? This. Just because.

And yes, we know she isn't a natural redhead. It was out of a bottle. That why this is called "Television's Favorite Gingers" and not "Real Life's Favorite Gingers Because a Bunch of Killjoy Nitpicks Had to Get All Wicked on Our Asses."


Next time: "As unabashed in his nerdiness as he is about his small stature, he easily fits the mold of that friend that would just be cool to hang with."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting in the spirit.

Just a few Christmas-themed moments to brighten your day...

It is the season of the heart, a special time of caring.

Rock on, Linus.

Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.

(that last one had me tearing up. Damn you, Jimmy Stewart!)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tastes great, less filling.

Unless you are a total Grinch, you probably have a soft spot for holiday movies. Some of my favorites include White Christmas, Home Alone, Love Actually, Muppet Christmas Carol...I could still list about 5 more, but that's not the point of this post. No, this post is actually more of a confession. One of my favorite holiday movies is basically a lame bit of Hallmark Channel fluff, but I can't help it. I love this movie. What is it?

A Boyfriend for Christmas.

I can feel you cringing from here. In fact, you've probably never heard of it. It aired on the Hallmark Channel back in 2004, and has become a perennial cable channel favorite. So when I noticed it was airing last night on the Lifetime Movie Channel I got really really excited.

Here's a little taste of the plot:
As a 12 year old, Holly Grant meets Santa and as she thinks she is too old for traditional gifts, she tells Santa she wants a boyfriend for Christmas. He leaves a gift under her tree with a message: she will receive her requested gift in the 20th year "when two hearts are ready". 20 years later when Holly is working for a non-profit and has given up on love. Santa hasn't forgotten his promise and arranges for Ryan Hughes, to be Holly's gift for Christmas. For reasons that are too involved to go into here, Ryan initially hides his true identity from Holly, and agrees to "pretend" to play the role of her boyfriend at her family holiday gathering. But of course they start to like each other blah blah blah then hijinks and misunderstandings occur, etc, but everything works out in the end.
I know. Sounds kind of lame, right? It's full of B stars, and nothing about it is really that great, but for some reason, I just love it. It's got just the right amount of Christmas magic with Santa, a happy ending (spoiler alert!), and Holly wears this really great blue coat throughout the movie that I've always really liked. When it aired, the TV Guide reviewer said it was, "sweet but full of empty calories." Fair enough. But sometimes I want empty calories. And wouldn't it be nice if Santa could be your match-maker?

Santa, Holly, and her pretty blue coat.

So judge away, I can take it. I'm not ashamed of my love for this movie, and I bet if you did a little soul-searching, you can find some really embarrassing holiday movie that you love. Also, it's airing again on Christmas Eve on the Lifetime Movie Channel, so I suggest you set your DVR. Trust me, it's like the twinkie of Christmas movies.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The good old days.

A few weeks ago I randomly decided to start watching Alias. Like a lot of shows (Gossip Girl, Heroes, etc.), Alias had an awesome first season and then made a gradual decline in drekitude. Its mythology got too complex, the characters and plots got too ridiculous...things just went off the rails. But I have very fond memories of the first season, so I decided to give it another watch. And of course I got hooked again.

While rewatching there were lots of things that I was reminded of. And since I am such a nice person, or because I needed to come up with something to blog about, I decided to share them with you.

1. The wigs were really cool. The iconic pink one from the pilot is my favorite, but Sydney was truly a master of head and hair disguise.

2. Victor Garber is a) incredibly awesome and b) can say more just by pursing his lips than most actors can say in an entire monologue.

3. David Anders (aka Sark) is smoking.

4. The Rambaldi foolishness may have been present and planned from the beginning, but I pretty much had no idea what was going on even from the second episode. And you thought it just got complicated in the later seasons.

5. Bradley Cooper! I always felt kind of superior to everyone that I discovered how neat he was back in 2001, way before The Hangover came out.

6. Sydney's friends' social lives were always annoying. I mean, really. There are wigs and asskicking to hand out--do you think I really care about lame Francine and her relationship troubles? NOT.

7. Sydney cries at least once in every episode. Every. Single Episode.

Will I keep with my rewatch through the other seasons? I can't say for sure right now. I seem to remember Season 2 had some pretty cool moments and one hell of a cliff hanger, but do I want to waded through more of the Rambaldi stuff to get there? I dunno. Until then, I still have lots more wigs to enjoy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Can't blog...too full.

Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green beans, Hawaiian rolls, cranberry sauce...all these things were on my plate. And then there was the pie. My aunt makes the BEST pumpkin pie I have ever had. Oh, and the pumpkin crisp that my stepmom made. My point, is that there was a lot of food to be had. And now you expect to blog about television??

Oh, fine.

Like most American families, television plays an important part in my family's Thanksgiving tradition. I headed over to my aunt's house a couple hours to early to help prepare the dinner and she and I worked to a soundtrack of various holiday tunes. Of course, then my Dad showed up and then it was all, "why are we listening to this crap when we could be watching the Law and Order: SVU marathon?" So the music went off and the television went on. And yes, through our Thanksgiving dinner, we had SVU in the background. An episode with Chevy Chase, maybe? Still--it could have been worse. They all really like NCIS which I cannot stand.

After dinner, we all retired to the family room where the negotiations began. I say negotiations because we had to try to get 6 people of differing ages and temperament to agree on a movie to watch. Action, drama, comedy, classic, animated, musical...all genres were considered and all were rejected. So we went for the stand-by: Harry Potter, baby. Order of the Phoenix, to be exact. We may be a family and we may have our differences, but we all love Harry Potter.

Through the movie my aunt lapsed into a tryptophan coma, my Dad surfed his online Porsche forums, my stepbrother-in-law Scott and I pointed out various bits of HP related trivia, my stepmom played with her netbook, and my stepsister studied and read the newspaper. But the important thing is: we were gathered as a family. And without the television, it probably wouldn't have happened.

What you expect us to sit around and actually talk to each other? This was Thanksgiving, not an intervention. Yeesh.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I've got some Bones to pick

...see what I did there?

Now, I'm a fan of Bones. The mystery, the science, the sexual tension between the brainy gal and the hunky guy (it could totally happen), and of course the LOLs. Plus, I'm a late convert (I couldn't get over my David Boreanaz = Angel 4eva!!1!!11 fixation for a while), so the formula hasn't started to bug.

HOWEVER. There's always a 'however,' amirite?

The one thing that constantly sticks in my craw is how stone cold the killers always are. The first time Bones and Booth question the killer, inevitably he or she seems like a totally normal person who is not shifty or sweating or, I don't know, already halfway to Paraguay, bitches! Spoilers for last week's episode follow. (Can they still be called spoilers? Catch up on your Hulu queue and quit whining!)

Por ejemplo, this week the killer was a "chocolate engineer" who shoved his lying girlfriend into a vat of chocolate that was to become the World's Largest Chocolate Bar. He then proceeded to stick around for the ceremonial unveiling and cutting of said chocolate bar, upon which her putrefied corpse was discovered (yum!). And then, when the FBI came snooping around he was nothing but helpful, going so far as to provide the personnel file that eventually cracked the case.

Already I can think of several ways he could have been a better murderer. Maybe he couldn't have planned it any better - it was a crime of passion kind of thing, I get that - but you gotta follow through. Like, I don't know, pull the damn body out of the chocolate! And if you don't, leave town! And if you can't, do whatever you have to do to impede the investigation until you can! C'mon, guy, show some initiative.

Obviously, I'm not mad at the character. He's going to spend the rest of his life in prison and is also imaginary. I am a little disappointed with the writers of the show, cause this is not a one-time thing. More like an every-time thing. I realize it's tough to come up with plots week after week after six seasons of weeks. But completely neglecting the psychological impact that murder has on a person (while having a psychologist as one of your main characters/plot drivers) is just. Plain. LAZY.

Nevertheless, it's still an enjoyable hour of television. I will continue to watch the show and allow it its foibles. Also, Mr. Nigel-Murray is totally my type (British and slightly anemic).

Ryan Cartwright, CALL ME!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blasphemy! Well, not technically. But still!

Once upon a time, there was a camptastic movie about a cute blonde fighting monsters and falling in love with Luke Perry. This fluffy bit of teensploitation would have passed unnoticed into the annals of goofy movies, trotted out only to fill late-night airtime during the week before Halloween. But the writer of this movie had a vision - a vision so powerful it would become the gold standard for SciFi/Fantasy television for years to come. And so, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was rescued from the very jaws of banality by its creator, one Mr. Joss Whedon.

Even after the cult favorite cum damn near best show ever was canceled after seven seasons, Joss continued his brilliant work in the form of the Season Eight graphic novels. Now however, Warner Bros has (in a characteristically original move) decided that the ongoing series needs a reboot - sans Joss. I will pause, to give you time to clutch your pearls in horror.

I guess it only makes sense. Buffy still has a rabid avid following, so a major motion picture makes sense. However, they can't/won't have the original actors for the roles. For example, David Boreanaz doesn't look like an ageless, immortal vampire anymore - he looks like someone's dad (mostly because he is). So if they can't extend the franchise, they'll just start from scratch. Why not a fresh view? Why not a new writer?

Here's the thing - Joss Whedon is Buffy. I'm not saying he dresses up in short skirts and goes out staking vampires every night. Though that would be kind of cool, I don't think he really has the legs for it. What I mean is, if Warner Bros goes forward with this project - and it looks like they will - they should count on exactly 0% loyalty from the previous fanbase. The reason we love Buffy is not because she's "witty, tough and sexy." It's because Joss was a helluva writer who created fantastic characters in a richly developed world, and always always kept us guessing.

So by all means, try your best Warner Bros. I sincerely hope your new writer, Whit Anderson, does right by this concept. But realize that, before you have selected a director, before you announced your cast picks, even before a single reel of film has been shot, you are facing an uphill battle. Because Buffy fans know what we want out of our teenage vampire hunter dramas. And we want Joss.

For your reference...
Point: Joss who? Meet the writer of the new 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' film (LA Times)
Counterpoint: The Ridiculous Quest for a Joss-Less Buffy Movie (TV Overmind)

Updated to add...
Email from the blessed keyboard of Joss Himself: Joss Whedon Reacts to Buffy Movie News

Friday, November 19, 2010

Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown.

It shouldn't be a surprise that my geekiness extends beyond television. So I am sure that the sentence, "Maggie loves fantasy novels" is not shocking to you. After all, I am right in the middle of an epic reread of the entire Wheel of Time series (a series so long that the author actually DIED before he finished it) and that takes some serious commitment. So I'd say I'm more than a casual fan of fantasy.

So imagine my delight when I learned that one of the best examples of the genre, The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, was being made into a television series. And not by just any crappy network. We're talking HBO here. Which means three things are guaranteed: adult language, adult situations, and nudity. To which I say: WOO!

Because Martin's novels are not your average medieval fiction. Sure there are knights, kings, big fights, but there's also extreme violence, plot twists, and a delicious depiction of political jockeying. There's also a bit of magic here and there with witches, and did I mention the dragons? No? What about the incest? Everyone loves a good incest subplot! And don't even get me started on the under-age marriage.

The thing that's truly great about the novels, and what I hope they retain for the show, is that NOBODY is ever safe. Any character can die at anytime. Oh, you really like that character right there? Too bad! He/she just got an axe to the face. Or were horribly poisoned. Or had their throat slit. Or any other manner of delightfully gory death. I've heard this levied as a criticism of the novels, but to me, it's what steals the show. The constant surprises are why I stick around. Even though the latest book has been pending now for...let's see...five years. Seriously, get a move on, Martin. But you know I will preorder that shit as soon as a release date gets updated on Amazon.

HBO has been rather stingy with teases of the show (titled Game of Thrones and premiering in early 2011), but there is some interesting content up on the show's homepage, and just showcased an entire gallery of pics from the series and a set report. Instead of just listening to me blather on about it, I thought you might be interested to hear from some other fans of the books.

From my co-worker, Bill: What struck me most about the photos was the sense of grit. Martin stressed the poor, brutish, nasty, and short aspects of life in his novels, and I loved how no one quite seemed fully cleaned up. The photo of Jon Snow (pictured on the left) really brings that home. He has that pale skin our Shakespeare professors assured us was a good thing (Look ma, no syphilis!), and appears to have not bathed in a week. This photo of Jon Snow and Sam Tarly (pictured middle), presumably at the Wall during training for the Night’s Watch really jumped out at me. THAT was the world I had envisioned when reading the series.

From fellow William and Mary grad, Dorilyn: So far, it looks awesome to me. HBO shows have a really high production value, so I know the costumes and sets will be top notch. Normally I worry when the cast is largely unknowns, but I understand HBO's thinking and George R. R. Martin had a say in who was picked. I think Jaime and Cersei (pictured) look fantastic.

Regarding Cersei, Bill also had to say, "she looks, well, scary." Don't underestimate her just because she's blonde, y'all. Also, don't tap that. People who sleep with Cersei tend to have horrible things happen to them.

More from Dorilyn: I'm a little concerned about Daenerys (pictured) because I know they had to age the character because of what happens to her. Avoiding spoilers, part of the reason she is what she is, is because of the horrible things that happened to her in her formative years. I know the book deals with a lot of very adult themes (and again avoiding spoilers), I hope that HBO manages to convey all of them. I'm concerned about what will be left out to make the show suitable for a wider audience. Some of the adult themes are essential to the plot and I think the show would suffer if they were left out entirely. I also hope that "fantasy" label doesn't scare people off. From the previews I've seen, I think they're going for more of an intrigue/action slant than the magic and dragons slant, which is probably good for attracting viewers. I think that the people who tune in for the pilot will be hooked.

Thanks, guys! I think you hit the nail on the head. To respond to Dorilyn's comment about the adult themes, as I noted above, HBO is famous for adult themes and has never really shied away from something before (anyone who has watched Deadwood can tell you that) so that was kind of the one thing I wasn't worried about. I think part of the appeal of pay cable shows is that we can get all the violence, sex, and foul language we want and not feel as guilty about it because it's a little more classy in the presentation--and we are choosing to have it in our homes, unlike broadcast cable (of course, you could always just CHANGE THE CHANNEL PEOPLE but I digress). Game of Thrones is definitely not going to be for everyone, but as for me, I say bring it on!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another Glee Post

Last night marked another episode of glee devoted to spotlighting a guest. Last night was the "Gwyneth Episode." Gwyneth Paltrow played a spanish speaking, singing substitute who is "down with the kids" in last night's new glee. I personally am getting sick of the guest spotlights. I get it that celebrities want to be on glee, ie Olivia Newton John, Britney Spears, John Stamos..the list continues, BUT do we have to devote an entire episode to them.

I will be the first to admit that the music in last night's episode was good. The episode began with an fun rendition of the School House Rock classic "Conjunction Junction." I thought that was uber cute. Though Gwyneth, who "sang" most of the episode's songs, voice randomly changed throughout the episode. Go back and listen to the music, you can almost pinpoint the notes they used "another" voice. It actually made me laugh at the television. We all know Whitney loves her some musical theater so I thoroughly enjoyed the Hot Honey Rag from Chicago. Lea Michelle was ok and Gwyneth can't really dance, but I love the song so it is hard to mess up. Additionally, I ADORED the Umbrella/Singing in the rain mash up. The dancing and water was really nice and I thought the mash up was put together well.

Now on to the most bizarre moment in glee history, the dream sequence. Dear Glee, please STOP DOING DREAM SEQUENCES. I have picked up on this, how have they not. For some reason in last night's episode they decided to do "Make'em Laugh" (also from Singing in the Rain). Mr. Schu in his flu ridden state has a crazy dream where him and Mike Chang ran around doing the cheesiest physical comedy bits. I get that it was suppose to be cheesy. But stuff that would be cheesy on stage, doesn't come off that way on TV. It was awful, didn't fit and seemed stupid. NO MORE DREAM SEQUENCES.

The plot was ok. Kurt got further into his relationship with the new boy, who is super cute. That was some good character development. Than there were some silly sub plots involving tater tots, sue being the principal randomly, and Mr Schu getting fired for two minutes. It is ridiculous that Glee can't extend any plot line across multiple episodes. In most cases each, plot is tied up really nicely by the end of the episode. Right now, the only plot ongoing is the Kurt and the gay footballer. Maybe they will shock me in upcoming episodes.

What were your thoughts?

On a side note, lots of people ask me (and other tvsluters) "why does whitney still watch glee." And after months of BSing an answer I finally have one. I love the music from season one. When I am in a horrid mood, nothing picks me up like "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Defying Gravity." I do have some favorites from Season two and I am slowly learning to love some show stoppers from season three. I truly do love the idea of glee and there are some great songs behind it. That is all! :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Being a fan of both television and travel is hard. When you're doing one it's hard to do the other (at least if you're me). When traveling, it's difficult to keep a routine or schedule so that you can get catch all your prime time favs, which can sometimes mean having to wait days to see the latest episode of your favorite show. But the one good thing about coming home from a long trip? Your DVR is full of new episodes of your programs!

But then you encounter the classic dilemma. What to watch first? After all, television shows aren't like children, we can and do pick favorites. So I present for your reading pleasure, Maggie's "back in town priority viewing" breakdown:

1. Glee: despite the kvetching about the show, Glee still remains appointment television for me. Sure it has flaws, but it's just so fun, and when the time came to actually fire up the telly upon my recent return from vacation, Glee was in the first position. And yes, I did enjoy the episode "Never Been Kissed." At times the dialogue and situations lapsed into cliche, but the performances were so strong, I bought it. Also, the Warblers are adorable. They're my teenage dream for sure.

2. The Vampire Diaries: This show has no business being so awesome. I remember watching the pilot last year and thinking it was so so, but since then, it has been more consistently amazing than any other show on television. The plot moves along at such a furious pace it seems the writers are in danger of running out of ideas, but they never do. On so many shows it seems like NOTHING ever happens, but on Vampire Diaries, secrets don't stay hidden for long and pretty much anybody could bite the bullet at anytime. Each episode has OMG moments, and you can never predict what's going to happen. Who would've thought Vampire Diaries would be so fucking cool?

3. Supernatural: this show has also had its problems this season, mostly with pacing, but I can't help it. I can't resist the pretty.

4. Masterpiece Mystery: Sherlock: And as I write this post, I am watching my fourth television program of the day, BBC's Sherlock. I've already raved about the show, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I couldn't wait to catch up on the most recent episode. Brilliant brits running around solving puzzles? Perfect for a first day back.

What's the first thing that you always watch when getting home?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It might take more than a rally to restore my sanity.

Have you been living under a rock? If so, then you are probably one of 3 people in the country who have not heard about The Daily Show's upcoming Rally to Restore Sanity taking place this Saturday on the National Mall.*

Wait, you haven't been living under a rock? Good for you! That means you are well aware that Jon Stewart, the whole cast of The Daily Show, and even Stephen Colbert and his peeps are descending on DC tomorrow to restore our nation's sanity and keep fear alive. Probably more of the former rather than the latter though. The media has been all over this, seeing how it seems to attract everyone's favorite age group (the elusive 18-49 year old demographic), and the nation's hippest politic satirists. Plus, this is kind of the coolest thing to happen in DC in a long time.

If you're planning to attend the rally (along with you friendly neighborhood tv sluts), you can find the break-downs of dos and don'ts and the rally's website here. You can also upload a picture of the sign you intend to carry and take a gander at all the photos people have put on the site. AND you can print out your official rally badge. Fun, right?

If you don't really give a crap about the reality of the rally and just want to see some good old fashioned satire, check out the Washington City Paper's memo on employees attending the rally. Apparently, to be non-participatory you have to chuckle at ALL the jokes, even if you don't really find them funny. No outright laughing...just chuckling. Except for jokes about terrorists...those are fair game.

Lisa de Moraes over at the Washington Post has also clued us in on the proposed schedule for the event, based on the National Park permit obtained by the show. The website may say noon, but don't be fooled! Things aren't really going to kick off until 1:00. Until then, we'll have to sit through the pre pre pre show. No skin off my back, I'll have homemade mac and cheese courtesy of my pal, Chris, to keep me busy. The article also includes information on watching the rally from home for all you lazy people out there.

Finally, USA Today wants to know, does any of this really matter? Do people think the rally is going to actually change anything or even spark any real political discussion? To which I say, yes. Sure, a lot of people are showing up to see some celebrities and have a few laughs, but I think they are going to be surprised by how serious a lot of people are about using this forum to have a frank discussion about our current political situation. Sure, Jon Stewart can do funny, but he can also do real, and I think we are going to get some serious discourse going here. In between all the terrorist jokes, of course.

See you all on Saturday!

* Btw, the other people who have not heard of the rally are a housewife in Kansas whose husband doesn't allow her any access to the media since it might "put ideas in her head," and a 20 something white male serial killer who drives America's lonely highways 24/7 trolling for foolish young women who hitchhike. His XM radio is broken.

Oh, yeah? Well your idea about how to end the economic crisis is STUPID.

Ah, elections. What should be a forum for the exchange of differing ideas of how to best improve our country and localities through mature political discourse has clearly devolved into petty feuds and people SHOUTING at one another because they are RIGHT and you are WRONG (can you tell I'm a little bitter?). Our guest-blogger, Pete, whom you might remember from his past posts sent from Switzerland, weighs in on the current state of political ads. Also, Happy Birthday, Pete!

It's that time of year again. The weather jumps back and forth between summer and fall (in Virginia at least); the world series is about to begin. And I can't watch 20 minutes of tv without seeing a stupid political campaign ad. The ads have even invaded Hulu! Now I don't mean to start a discussion about partisan politics (the congressional race here isn't even close), rather I want to vent about the dreadful tv spots. For instance check out this gem (note the sarcasm):

This ad clearly states that Tom Perriello supports "Threatening Hospitals & Seniors" and "Over 50,000 Jobs Lost". Gimme a break. They really should be focusing on this guy's lack of a neck.

Seriously where is it? And it's not like the other campaign is any better. Watch this ad where they literally make fun of the other candidates name at the 0:27 mark.

C'mon who does that? Are these "men" running for federal office or 4th grade class treasurer? I just can't wait for this nonsense to end.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rocky Horror Glee Show

Last night Fox aired the Glee Version of the Rocky Horror Picture show. For those not in my family, and therefore have not grown up with the RHPS, its a musical which gained popularity in the 80s. Most famous for the thousands of live performances around the country, the RHPS introduced us to a young Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Tim Curry (though he still denies it) and Meatloaf! The musical movie really has a nonsensical plot and focuses more on sex and whimsy. So needless to say, I was stoked when I heard Glee would be doing an all Rocky episode for Halloween.

Let's begin with the good. The musical numbers and the costumes were some of the best of the season. Each musical rendition was true to the musical (despite ridiculous word changes I will address later) and left me dancing or singing along. For me this is the sign of a true good glee episode. The costumes were both true to Rocky, appropriate for high school and made me giddy (Sam in those skimpy gold shorts made the night for me). It was also nice to have a non Rachel based episode. In fact, I was shocked at how little she sang in this episode.

My favorite number, hands down, was "Toucha Toucha." I liked how it fit the show plot AND was an homage to the brilliant Susan Sarandon performance. The number done by the Emma character is about a woman letting out her sexual desires. Plot meshing well!. I also loved the sub-element of Britney and Santana watching (just like Magenta and Colombia in Rocky). The end of the number was a mash up of all the other characters like the movie too. I thought it was the perfect Glee plot/ Rocky honoring balance.

Now for the not so great. I am a Rocky fan! Ive seen it live SEVERAL times and even support GW's FPP performances (shout out to GW student theatre!). Therefore, I was able to keep up. Though I am curious if non Rocky fans had any idea what was happening. The plot for the movie was never really explained and there were several insight jokes. For instance, the toast throwing reference Sue Sylvester made probably went right over the average persons head. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoyed the Barry Bostwick and Meatloaf cameos, but how many non rocky fans knew they were even in the regular flick, making their presence kinda silly. Please non rocky fans comment on if you were able to follow what was even happening in the show.

Now plot...**Spoiler Alert**. Oh wait nevermind, I couldn't even tell you the plot of this episode. Its like they have truly given up on plot. Let's see...there was Finn's ab insecurities, Mr Sch putting on what truly is an inappropriate play just to get with Emma, and sue exploiting that for an Emmy. None of these make a solid show or plot point. I am disappointed. In fact, at what high school would random adults and teachers just enter production. I did theatre all through hs and college and that never ever came close to happening. Also speaking of reality, after the amount of money they put into costumes and sets, how could the not put on the show...Bellaire High School would have put on the show just because of the expense the program already endured.

My final complaint is on LINE CHANGES! Uggh. Look there were some made complete sense, FCC and all. In toucha toucha they changed "heavy petting" to "heavy sweating" and "seat wetting" to the "deep fretting." As much as I loathed the latter change they made perfect sense. But the one that PISSED me off and had me yelling at the tv was the removal of the word transexual from "Sweet Transvestite?" Early in the show several people referred to tranys. And what is wrong with the word transexual?

That is it for your friendly glee hating reviewer....Comments are always welcome

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Boo! And not in the fun Halloween sense.

I just popped over to Entertainment Weekly while taking a little break from work, and DAMMIT. ABC went and canceled The Whole Truth. I know it wasn't doing stellar in the ratings, but it was actually one of my favorite new shows from this season. Monkey Sri mentioned it in her post about ABC's Wednesday night line-up and I wrote about my love for the show in the comments, so I am kind of upset.

The thing that the show did really well, that a lot of other legal dramas don't seem overly concerned with, is showing the why of how certain evidence ends up before a jury in a trial and other evidence is excluded. For a show called The Whole Truth, it's not really concerned with the truth: only showing how advocates on both sides build and present their case and what version of the truth appears before a jury. It's only in the very last seconds of the show that the "whole truth" is revealed...and that's what made the show so interesting!

So poop on your, ABC. You can mitigate the damage somewhat by choosing to air the remaining 13 episodes.

But wait! Glee is releasing a Christmas album on November 16, and having a Christmas themed episode on December 7! Ok, now I am somewhat cheered.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mr. Holmes, I presume?

I was reticent. Oh, yes, I was reticent.

First, I heard that Steven Moffat was writing a new Sherlock Holmes for BBC and I was stoked. But then I watched the disappointing new season of Doctor Who. And then I heard that not only was it a new Sherlock Holmes, but it was a modern update of Sherlock Holmes. And since half my enjoyment from Sherlock Holmes comes from the Victorian setting...cue reticence.

But I shouldn't have worried. Because the new Sherlock? Is awesome. Quick plot, quick dialogue, quick establishment of characters...but somehow it all comes together in a rich, dense, warm show. It's the chocolate tort of television. Deceptively simple and immensely satisfying.

Also, adorable! Because Dr. Watson is played by Martin Freeman (The Office UK, Hitchhiker's Guide, and future hobbit) and Sherlock is played by some weird looking dude I've never heard of who still comes off as attractive. Also, Sherlock hasn't lost any of his...shall we say eccentricities. But now he's addicted to texting, has a website, and uses a smart phone. Of course, he's probably one of the only people who is actually smarter than his smart phone. Oh, and he still plays the violin, although we don't get to see it in the first episode. *grumble*

My only complaint, and it's not even really a complaint: the music of the series is very very similar to the music used in the Robert Downey Jr. movie. I liked the music in both circumstances, but it just seemed kind of distracting and almost like pandering to have the soundtracks be so close. Maybe just a coincidence or I'm crazy? Could be.

As for the mystery in the first episode, it was twisty enough to be not obvious, but I followed all the clues, and didn't figure out the killer until the appropriate time. You don't want your audience to feel stupid, but you also don't want them outsmarting your main genius detective. The show does a great job of sometimes letting us follow along with Sherlock's thinking, while other times we have to wait with Dr. Watson for the answers. I might have known who the killer was at the same time as Sherlock, but there were still enough surprises left to be uncovered to keep me interested. And unlike some other BBC shows, I wasn't completely lost in a too-dense plot.

Sherlock Holmes: he's a high-functioning sociopath, not a psychopath. Do your research. And watch the show. Because it's really really great.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's not you, it's me.

Well, we had a good run, Chuck. But after three years (has it really been that long?) it's time for us to go our separate ways. But please believe, it's not you, it's me.

I know that's a break-up cliche, but it's really true. You're just as adorable as you always were...and maybe that's the problem. At some point there should be character growth, right? It's not like they haven't tried: they gave you kung-fu powers, reunited you with your Dad, got you and Sarah together, even blew up the Buy More. But for some reason, it just seems like we are standing still. And as promising as this season's premiere was, especially with the addition of Linda Hamilton to the cast, I just don't think I can carry on. Watching you has become a chore, something that I have to do, and that's no way to have a relationship.

I think part of the problem is that you insist on keeping things from your family. When Captain Awesome found out about your spy status and got involved in the action, those were my favorite episodes. But still, Ellie can't be told this and can't be told that and so we still have those "hilarious" mishaps and communication problems where everyone is keeping something from someone else and....I just can't do it anymore. I'm sorry.

And while I will miss you and your poofy hair, Chuck, I think I will really miss Adam Baldwin most of all. But since the man doesn't appear to age (seriously, someone should check his walls for a Dorian Gray-style portrait) I can always cling to my Firefly DVDs when I need a Baldwin fix.

This doesn't mean it's the end for us, though. I'm willing to bet the show will get syndicated soon so we'll always have our reruns. And since you guys are one of the funniest casts ever, you better believe I'll be seeing you at Comic Con next year. After all, how can I miss another Jefster performance?

So hang in there, Chuck. Eat some ice cream and cookie dough, and hey, things are already looking up! Over at, they are reporting that your back 9 pick-up is coming soon. So yay! But you're going to have to just carry on without me.

Stop crying, dude. Seriously, it's pathetic.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Does She Come With the Dream House Playset?

The good people from the late Dollhouse have come back together (if only briefly) to give us a bit more from that world. Sorta. Cast and crew recently filmed a video for the song “Remains,”which fans of the show will remember as the song used in the final scenes of the first season finale episode, “Epitaph One.”

While clearly not an exact slice of the Dollhouse universe, despite the presence of a few alums, the video is pretty in keeping with the themes of the show. Where Dollhouse was always metaphorically about disposable people, this video just takes the metaphor and makes it literal.


There are two glaring conclusions that we can draw from this semi-addition to the Whedonverse: first, even in an alternate version of Los Angeles, Topher is still a dick. Second, Holy Great Muppity Odin is Maurissa Tancharoen ever tiny! She literally fits in a box!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I didn't hate Glee this week!

Yay! I know we all look forward to my ranting and loathing of glee. But this week I was incredibly satisfied by both the plot and the songs of this week's episode of glee.

For those who have not seen it...**Spoiler alert** Don't get me wrong, there was still some of the same choppy plot development I have been complaining about. For instance Britney and Santana hooking up (girl on girl action for the few straight male viewers) was kinda random and the Britney/Arnie bit was surprising. Though I did enjoy the interaction between them. It was shockingly honest, especially when talking about sex. It was the first episode this season where I felt there was actual character development.

The highlight for me HANDS DOWN was the Mike Chang duet! Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and her new boyfriend Mike (Harry Shum, Jr.) performed, as a duet as the title of the episode instructs, Sing! from Chorus Line. The duet was perfection because they highlighted a previously untapped resource in Harry. Normally seen as the behind the scenes dancer, it was nice to see Harry highlighted last night. For those of you not familiar song, its all about a guy who can't sing. I also did enjoyed the Rachel/Finn "Don't go breaking my heart" rendition, and it is still stuck in my head.

Additionally, I don't hate the new kid. Chord Overstreet (worst name ever) plays our new Gleer and romatic interest for Quinn is a decent actor and great singer/performer. I completely don't hate his addition to the cast. And as a complete side note, I think he would make a great Peeta (for those of you who get that feel free to comment).

I am EXTREMELY pumped for the Rocky Horror episode in two weeks! Are you pumped too!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Empire Strikes Back

Sunday was the third episode of HBO's new series Boardwalk Empire. For those die hard HBO fans, this show has taken True Bloods Sunday night slot. I waited until the third episode to review it because I was wanted to make sure I got far enough in to give an objective perspective. So far, its good. I am not going to lie I set the season pass to continue to record, but I am lacking that desire to run home and watch it.

For those of you who haven't seen the 1000 commercials on HBO Boardwalk Empire centers on Atlantic City in the prohibition era. If you have been missing the Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire is a good alternative. It centers on AC's town Treasurer, Nucky Thompson (played by Steve Buscemi) foray into the underground alcohol ring. It follows several of the gangsters in his crew as well as his family that makes up the town's sheriff and muncipal offices.

For me, the highlight of the show is the return of Michael Pitt to television. According to IMDB Pitt has been working on various projects here and there, but die-hard Dawson's Creek fans will remember him as Henry Jen's boyfriend. On the Boardwalk he plays, young Jimmy Darmody who has returned from war a rough and changed man with great asperations. So far he has teamed up with the infamous Al Capone to make some dough smuggling booze. Geez this show has me writing like a gangsta!

As a whole I am enjoying the show. Much like the appeal of Mad Men, Boardwalk is a great display of a show that is essentially a period piece. I am enjoying getting a glimpse of AC in the era. It is interesting the detail they have gone to to make you feel like you are in the roaring 20s.

The plot can be a little dry and show can drag at times, but I am pot committed. My main criticism is that perhaps is Buscemi is too old for the part. He has not aged well.

Check it out on Sunday Nights!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Bits and Pieces

I don't have a big themed post for y'all today, but some scattered tv-related items that have been on my mind lately. Hey, you can't blame me, I'm going on vacation (again) in about 8 hours. So you'll take what I give you and be happy about it!

--Wonder Woman is coming back to television with show-runner David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, The Practice, Boston Legal). Let me guess. She'll be a wacky attorney working with other eacky and morally ambiguous attorneys. But instead of super short skirts, it'll be super short shorts! I love Wonder Woman as much as the next girl-power enthusiast, but I still can't help but think what could have been if Joss Whedon had ever gotten his movie version made. Le sigh.

--Dammit, Glee! This is the way it's supposed to work: you present a fun hour of one-liners, catchy musical numbers, and messy plots and I laugh, have fun, and get to come read Whitney's rants about the show the next day. You are NOT supposed to give Kurt's Dad a heart attack (a storyline which hit way to close to home for me) and make me cry 3 times during one show. You are not playing fair. Also, Chris Colfer was amazing in last night's Grilled Cheesus episode. But can we have a lighter entry next week, perhaps? I don't need to be bawling at 8:30 at night on a Tuesday.

--And another one bites the dust. ABC Family has cancelled Huge, it's drama about a bunch of teenagers at a weight-loss camp. I haven't actually seen the show, but I adore it's star Nikki Blonsky. This comes on the heels of cancellations for Lone Star and My Generation. I hadn't seen My Generation either, but really enjoyed Lone Star even if the pilot was a bit slow-moving. And the concept (a con man who decides to try living on the straight and narrow...while still juggling two families) seemed to me better suited for a movie rather than a tv series. Have a guess as to what show will be next to get the axe? Stay updated over at TV Series Finale for the latest. Mo Ryan over at TV Squad also has some interesting thoughts for what the cancellation of Lone Star means for network television.

--I've got Halloween on the brain, even though it's still 26 days away. But it's never too early to get into the holiday spirit, right? Especially when said holiday revolves entirely around scaring the bejesus out of people and stuffing your face with candy. Epic Win! To get yourself in the mood, check out these lists of the best Halloween themed television episodes. Personally, I think TWOP pretty much nails it.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Hit Britney One More Time

Im back, the Glee loathing critic of yore (yes, I wrote yore). One might ask at this point, Whitney why ever are you still watching Glee if you loath it so much. To be honest, I am holding out hope that Glee will go back to being the glee I fell in love with months ago. The Glee that introduces us to new music and helps us fall in love again with music we once loved. Additionally, the first mini season of Glee did have some fun and addictive plot.

Ok, on to my article on this week's Glee. As we all know, it was the SPECTACULAR, LIFE-ALTERING Britney episode. This episode personfied exactly what I have been talking about for months. Instead of fitting songs into a steady plot, the producers of glee are trying to force songs into a choppy and practically nonexistent plot. This episode not only lacked a cohesive plot but the song numbers were completely un creative. Each of the Britney numbers were done as "dream sequences" that were direct duplicated of britney spears performances. I will admit they looked great for the duplicates that they were.

I will admit I was shocked at what an excellent performance Heather Morris who plays Britney S. Pierce. Her singing wasn't bad but her dancing really was spectacular. Though some scenes may have been stunt doubles, her general performances were good (especially for a practically under used character).

Overall the show stunk. If you are a Britney fan, you may have enjoyed the music. But the plot was stupid both the Rachel Finn plot and the Mr Shu mid life crisis. The Spears cameos were awful. Poor girl couldn't act her way out of a paper back.

The final groupd number of the show wasn't bad. It was a more traditional glee style performance (despite an awkward teacher presence). I thought it wasn't bad and is below for your viewing pleasure.

As a complete side note, Lea Michelle this is a cry out for you. Eat girl! Do not turn into one of those awful stick figure starlets. I am depressed on how she has let the pressures of hollywood get to her.

Friday, October 01, 2010

This Just In! News-y Update!

This timely post is brought to you by our guest blogger, Jason.


In an attempt to actually write something relevant instead of just retrospective, your TV Blog contributors have just learned of potentially amazing news that we feel compelled to share with the world. Michael Ausiello is reporting that NBC is rebooting classic 1960s comedy show The Munsters.

The original cast, including Betty Draper. 'Cause you know…scary.

While we're only lukewarm on reboot attempts (I'm looking at you, V), this has the potential for being awesome for one reason: the show is being written and produced by Bryan Fuller, he of the Pushing Daisies fame.

For those who didn't have Nick at Nite as a kid, The Munsters was a sit-com about your average, hard-working middle class family. Who are dead. Well, kind of. The main characters were all monster movie mainstays who somehow got together, formed a family and had to live together. So it's like what would happen if the cast of True Blood went on a reality show.

So to recap, Bryan Fuller writing a show about monsters and fiends living together that is not-so-subtly subverting the nuclear family trope of most sitcoms? Oh, I am so going to watch the HELL out of that show. (See what I did there?)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

ABC Wednesday Line-Up

Don't ask me how, or why. Blame it on boredom, or the fact I was cleaning and needed a bit of distraction. But somehow, I ended up watching the entire prime time line-up on ABC yesterday... I'm not proud. On the upside, I can give you a run-down of ABC's Wednesday night!

8pm - The Middle
What I love: The uncomfortably honest portrayal of a middle-class, Midwestern American family. They struggle financially, their kids are average (no one's a genius, a world-class athlete or secret rock star), and they're basically good people... most of the time. It's Rosanne without the despair. It's Malcolm in the Middle without the slapstick. Also, I heart Neil Flynn.
What I hate: Because it resembles other well-known shows, The Middle tends to be somewhat... forgettable.
Overall feeling: I'd watch it again.

8:30 - Better With You
Love: There was a nice moment where one of the protagonists, up until then a shiftless loser idiot, displays remarkable artistic vision.
Hate: That scene was the single point of interest during an interminable half-hour of television. Better With You chronicles the lives of three couples that form a single family - retirement-age parents have two adult daughters, both of whom are married. It uses every tired TV trope, creates caricatures rather than characters, and goes for the cheap laugh. A few diamond-in-the-rough moments of entertainment are not enough to make up for all of that.
Overall: There's a tiny glimmer of hope for this show - it's got strong (though not A-list) acting talent. Throw away some of those cliches and we'll talk.

9pm - Modern Family
Love: Everything.
Hate: Nothing.
Overall: Appointment television - I sat my ass down and promptly laughed it off. I didn't love this show at first, but I now recognize and acknowledge its sheer awesomeness.

9:30 - Cougar Town
Love: DAN BYRD. It is one of the greatest tragedies of our times that Aliens in America got cancelled. I previously blogged about this show as well - and I must say, without the weight of expectation, it was much more enjoyable on the second go-around. Possibly I also liked it because it was a Travis-centric episode.
Hate: I still think this show could be something more... a satire on our youth-obsessed culture, perhaps. That's probably just me.
Overall: Sure, why not.

10pm - The Whole Truth
Love: The cinematography is interesting - characters are presented as parts of their environment, rather than in a strict foreground/background approach. As a result each shot is crowded, but not cluttered. Something about it is more... organic? Immediate? I don't know, but it's good. Also, seeing the same story take on different meanings from the protagonists' individual viewpoints is a great representation of the adversarial legal system.
Hate: So far the characters seem pretty two-dimensional. Jimmy Brogan is a defense attorney, born of humble beginnings but with a heart of gold. Kathryn Peale is a tough female prosecutor just trying to get by in this man's world. Shared history, sexual tension, courtroom drama, blah blah blah.
Overall: I like the idea of it, and the way it's put together cinematically. Other than that... meh.

Sorry, guys. Got to tell it like it is.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

God in America

Last night I had the opportunity to attend an advance screening of the upcoming PBS series, God in America. A combination of documentary footage, dramatization, and expert interviews, God in America explores this country's religious history as it impacted public life. The screening consisted of three clips from the six-hour series, telling the stories of Anne Hutchinson, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and their experiences with faith and politics.

The dramatizations were extremely well done, with several recognizable faces - Michael Emerson as Puritan leader John Winthrop and Chris Sarandon as Abraham Lincoln, to name a few. Which brings up an interesting question: are big-name actors a help or hindrance to a project such as this? On one hand, you want people with enough experience to do the heavy lifting. On the other hand, seeing someone you know as Linus from Lost might be a bit jarring. Especially with all the time travel that guy got up to...

Who's to say he didn't go back to sentence Anne Hutchinson to death banishment?

But the creators of the film had a good answer to this question. As you go back in history, you're eventually going to run out of video, photographs, and paintings of historical figures. As executive producer Michael Sullivan said, "We couldn't do it all with engravings." The dramatizations were intended to allow the audience to connect with these historical figures on deeper level, both intellectually and emotionally. In order to facilitate that connection, they hired great actors to embody these stories - rather than hire good actors to merely put on a show. It's a choice, but one I find that I can definitely get behind.

Watch the preview online at the website: God in America, and catch the whole series on PBS: Oct 11-13 (check your local listings for times).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

When did Texas get progressive?

Weighing in on another new show of the season, here's our guest-blogger, Jason!

So let’s just get the embarrassing admission of out the way: in the compliment of new characters this season on television, my favorite one is probably on the lamest show the lineups have to offer. What she lacks in a quality-written drama, though, she definitely gains in a pretty wicked pedigree.

I speak of Annie Frost, the lead character in NBC’s new police procedural, Chase. Played by Kelli Giddish, Annie is a U.S. Marshall based in Houston, Texas. She spends her days, Tommy Lee Jones-like, hunting down the worst of the worst and being haunted by a horrific past (natch) that has something to do with her father.

Midriff baring shirts are fast becoming the uniform of choice at Quantico.

Despite the hard-boiled teaser, the show (at least the pilot episode) doesn’t quite live up to its expectations of itself. With television being clogged with procedural dramas, the viewer needs something to set a new one apart. In that respect, Chase fails pretty spectacularly. No high tech camera angles whereby we learn that the mud actually came from a vulcanized rubber boot heel only manufactured in a San Bernardino warehouse. No stories wherein the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. Just a bunch of Texans drawlin’ ther way through the scenery ‘n catchin’ the bad gah.

Despite this, Annie herself shines through for a couple of reasons. First, and let’s not underplay this too much, this is a story about hard-hitting police officers that take down extremely dangerous criminals. And the person that they trust most to do it? A girl. Throughout the pilot, Annie competently and capably leads the team, including the requisite comic relief sidekicks, to a successful apprehension of the villain. And while the show certainly doesn’t seem to be aiming to take any story-telling risks, such as maybe letting the villain get away, Annie is consistently portrayed as the best one for the job without the show hitting you over the head about it. Her coworkers, even the good ol-boy alpha males, accept Annie’s leadership without a second thought. It’s not odd for them to look to a woman as their commander. We don’t have to sit through some awkward “yes, but can this little lady really handle the pressure?” conversation from the men-folk. It’s never questioned that Annie can do the job and, more so, the show doesn’t feel the need to raise the issue. This isn’t girl-power: this is just confidence.

Well okay, that and firearms.

The second point of cool for Annie is that she’s an extension of a lot of familiar people that we’ve already seen without being a total copycat. She’s Veronica Mars, if Veronica had decided to leave southern California and eat more red meat. There’s more than a little Philip Marlow in her. She’s really more archetype than character, but one that’s played against expectations of gender, owing more to Alan Ladd’s Shane than she does to Gloria Steinem.

The third reason for Annie’s success is undoubtedly her primary creator, Jennifer Johnson. Ms. Johnson is a long-time television writer who most recently put her talents writing for Lost (and winning awards for it) back in the first couple of seasons. You know, the ones where the show was still good. Johnson writes Annie realistically, sympathetically and smartly. While the pilot certainly had to make a couple of sloppy character-by-numbers points to get going, Annie feels like she’s got an entire history behind her that’s compelling.

And frankly, it’s just cool to see a gritty-ish crime drama created and launched by a successful woman writer, featuring a strong woman character. Although the pilot did very little to establish itself as a particularly good show, there’s a least some consolation to be taken from a new iteration of an old form – a female-centric show that doesn’t have to try to be as tough as the boys.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

Right when my love for Kristen Bell starts to slacken (*cough When in Rome cough*), she goes and does or says something awesome. This time she stated that she would be willing to personally finance a Veronica Mars movie, or even a web series.

I love you, Kristen, and all is forgiven.

Now if only Warner Brothers would get off their ass and surrender the rights. Come on, people! I need some new Veronica Mars!

"After all these years, do you not instinctively fear me? Maybe you should write yourself a note."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hawaii Five-0

Hawaii Five-0 had a couple of things going for it right off the bat. First, James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) appeared on screen within the first 3 minutes, so right there I was excited. Second, there were lots of explosions and gun-play in the first 5 minutes, which again, was hitting all my buttons. And third, Scott Caan is really funny.

As some of you may remember, Hawaii Five-0 began as a cheesy cop show in the 1980s with Jack Lord. Now it's a serious minded cop show in the 2010s. The pilot was slick, well-written, and interesting, but I think it was a bit too serious. I'm hoping the show is able to break out of the "CBS procedural" mode of shows that are too impressed with their own cleverness, and just make it fun. They're cops! In Hawaii! And they catch bad guys! Keep the good writing and quick pace (and the explosions and shooting), but don't take yourself too seriously, guys. Right now, Scott Caan is kind of the only light part and it seems like they could do better.

I definitely plan to keep tuning in, and I've heard they are setting more of an overall arc to the show, which sounds promising. The last thing CBS needs is another CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, blah blah blah, and from what I've seen so far, Hawaii Five-0 seems to be breaking out of the pack. So give it a try!

Also, as much as I remember Moonlight fondly, someone needs to get Alex O'Loughlin a personality, STAT.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I also accessorize my bikini with a side of whoop ass.

Well, color me shocked, but so far the CW is 2 for 2. Their second new show, Nikita, turned out to be really entertaining and (shocker) well made and acted...although to be fair, I haven't totally made up my mind about Shane West.

If you want a good brief recap of the show check out the recaplet from TWOP, but I am sure you know the basics. Girl in prison is recruited by super secret government agency to become an assassin. Girl is awesome assassin, but then then falls in love. Secret government agency murders her fiance. Girl swears revenge!

Nikita picks up three years after the above events. Nikita has been hanging out under the radar for awhile, but has now decided that it's the right time to kick things into gear and bring down The Division (the above referenced super secret government agency). Not only do we see what Nikita is up to (which in the pilot is basically leading the Division guys around by the nose), but the show also follows Alex, a new recruit in The Division. This keeps the show really interesting; we get to see what a broken mess Nikita is, but also get a good idea of how she got to be that way by watching Alex's experience.

The pilot was nice to look at, kept my attention with its action, and had plenty of twists and turns, including an awesome surprise at the very end. Maggie Q seems pretty badass, and while I think she is way too thin to be the sexbomb she portrays, I like her. Especially when she convinces Shane West's character to let her go from a tight spot...and then shoots him in thanks. My kind of girl.

If this keeps up, the CW is going to be my number one channel this Fall. Actually, come to think of it, it might be already. And I can't decide if that means I am happening or just sad. Especially since their target audience consists of 18 year old girls.

You may be able to snap a guy's neck like a twig, but you shouldn't look like one. Eat a cookie, honey.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Hellcats: Not as bad as you've heard

Perhaps it's because I'm a girl. Or because I'm a sucker for a good musical montage (of which this show has many). Or maybe....oh, I don't know, maybe I'm just crazy. But I didn't hate Hellcats. In fact, I kind of like it.

So the show is not good, but it is fun and I think it's the guilty pleasure of the season. The acting is just ok, the writing isn't all that clever or even cute, and all the people are impossibly pretty (which is actually beginning to seriously bug), but I still find myself liking it. Basically, if you are like me and watch Bring It On every time it airs on cable television, enjoy plucky heroines, and lap up dance montages, this show is for you!

So the deal is some hipster rocker chick (who apparently has some amazing secret gymnastic skillz) has to get herself on the cheerleading squad at her Memphis college to secure a new scholarship when her academic scholarship gets canceled. She instantly butts heads with the perky "no pessimism" allowed captain of the squad played by a post-nose job and post-High School Musical Ashley Tisdale. Although I have to say: as annoying as Tisdale's character may be, she's actually not really that bitchy. She's kind of nice, which is an interesting twist on what could have easily been a one dimensional character. But don't worry: there are plenty of bitches to go around.

And I appreciate how the actresses on the show have lots of different body-types. Most of the background girls on the squad are believable as hard-core athletes and you couldn't really describe any of them as "waifs." Even the main character has some curves on her. Of course they are probably still under 100 lbs, but baby steps, right?

So to sum up: thumbs up for this guilty pleasure for me, but don't blame me if you watch it and decide you hate it. I make no promises. If you dig on Bring It On, Center Stage, Stick It, etc, give the show a try.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Birthday Blogging Buffy

The Birthday blogging extravaganza continues with guest poster, Cheryl, commenting on what is probably the most universally loved show here at the blog: Buffy.

Sadly, very few of my favorite shows ever make it to the four year mark. I like to think it’s because I’m so edgy and ahead of my time, but, if I’m honest, it’s probably just because I’m weird. The flip side of my weirdness, though, is the shows I do like that make it that long are usually really, really good so choosing just one took some thought. I considered Ed Stevens and Carol Vessey’s “perfect” wedding finale on Ed (long live the ten dollar bet), as well as the brilliantly deranged musical episode, “The Nightman Cometh,” from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but in the end, there was no choice. No show could ever beat Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Joss Whedon completes me.

From the beginning, Buffy changed the landscape of television so thoroughly, blew the hinges off of so many closed doors, that it’s hard to remember what things were like before it hit. Back when the strong, female lead was virtually non-existent. Sydney Bristow, Veronica Mars, even new kid on the block Annie Walker all owe a direct debt to Buffy Summers. As do Lorelai and Rory Gilmore and their pop culture-rich vocabulary. And long before Jack Bauer realized he came to the rescue a little too late to save his wife from terrorists, Joss was already an old hand at killing off regulars – the more tragically, the better. I could list the examples of its legacy all day, but if you don’t already know them yourself, you either don’t care to or can easily find hundreds of more articulate summaries with a Google search. No pitiful analysis I could come up with would ever do justice to just how revolutionary and empowering that silly, little vampire show was for those of us who felt we had no power.

Unfortunately, groundbreaking or not, it wasn’t immune to the bane of all high school dramas – what do we do after graduation? To borrow the show’s tendency to write life as a metaphor, it seemed as though just as Buffy the girl was trying to discover who she was after high school, meeting new friends, saying goodbye to some old ones, Buffy the show was having growing pains of its own, struggling to find its place in the much larger world it was creating. But throughout that difficult process, the one thing the fans could rely on was the writers’ unfailing ability to write clever and believable dialogue. Even the episodes that failed to click dramatically were still better than most of what was on television at the time simply because of the witty exchanges of the Scooby Gang. This is part of what made the episode I chose, “Hush,” so remarkable.

In Hush a group of fairy tale monsters known as The Gentlemen come to town and steal everyone's voices, leaving their victims unable to scream as they go about cutting seven people’s hearts out of their chests. The upshot of this is that nearly 30 minutes of the episode’s 44 minute total pass with almost no dialogue spoken. A bold choice, but it paid off. “Hush” was not only well-received when it aired, earning Whedon the show’s lone Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing – a travesty only surpassed by the fact that he didn’t win – but it is also always included in any discussion of the best episodes of the series. One of the largest reasons why it was so successful is the top-notch acting. Particularly from the always great Alyson Hannigan and Emma Caulfield who played my personal favorite, Anya. The way she casually continued eating her popcorn after Giles put up his images of a Gentleman ripping out the heart of an innocent person – so perfectly Anya. Like all silent film, it was necessary for the acting to be over-the-top to register, but the deftness of the cast keeps the pantomime from ever crossing the line into silliness.

It was also our first introduction to Tara. Tentative and shy, Tara along with Giles’ girlfriend, Olivia, serve as a juxtaposition to the cynical Scoobies. Their totally justifiable fear serves to make the scenes with The Gentlemen much more frightening. Not that The Gentlemen need any help in that department. They are easily the scariest TV villains I have ever seen. Looking like James Carville and floating down the streets of Sunnydale with straight-jacket clad minions sprung from the local insane asylum, it’s not just their intent to collect people’s hearts that makes them terrifying (although that would certainly be enough) it’s the polite detachment they exude as they go about their task that’s truly disturbing. Couple that with a seeming lack of motive, and it’s really no wonder I still can’t watch the episode with the lights out. Nicholas Brendon has called “Hush” the most frightening episode they ever did. I’m inclined to agree with him.

(Editor's note: eek!)

Tara’s appearance is also noteworthy, of course, because of what she would eventually become. The relationship between her and Willow that would start later in the season would be the first long-term lesbian relationship in U.S. television. According to the DVD commentary, the writers were uncertain at this point that the relationship would become romantic but still wanted to make the scene in which Tara and Willow move the vending machine by working together, “sensual and powerful,” and “a very empowering statement about love. That two people together can accomplish more than when they're alone.” In fact, Whedon called it “the most romantic image we've put on film.”

The fact that they were able to create that image without saying anything speaks to the heart of the episode. Sometimes words just get in the way. Whether it’s Tara mustering up the nerve to connect with Willow, or Riley and Buffy’s first kiss, or Xander showing Anya he is in fact interested in her for more than “just orgasms,” actions speak louder. At the same time, words are shown to have an incredible power of their own. Riley almost being killed by the Initiative elevator and Spike being unable to tell Xander why he had a bloody mouth, could both have been avoided if only those involved could speak.

We rely so much on voicing our thoughts and feelings that being confronted with the inability to do so makes us feel vulnerable and is another big reason why The Gentlemen are so powerful as villains. However, their theft of that capability was what allowed the characters to solve many of their conflicts. By balancing those two ideas, Whedon effectively questions the role of speech in our lives. Do we lean on it too much or is it an indispensible gift? The answer is left for the viewers to decide while Joss leaves us speechless yet again.