Sunday, January 31, 2010

Clearly, I was a good luck charm.

I blame it on the snow. I had been stuck inside all day, hadn't had any human contact for hours...and it just sort of happened.

I watched the Miss. America pageant.

I was hoping just to catch the evening gowns, but I basically tuned in at the beginning. And then! Miss. Virginia and Miss. DC got into the semifinals! So I really didn't have any choice but to keep watching because someone had to cheer on my hometown girls.

Swimsuits were Mario Lopez talked about how the point was to show athleticism, fitness, and confidence, but come on. It's pretty girls in bikinis. They're shoes were pretty awesome though. The evening gowns were a pleasant surprise, only one or two were ridiculously pageanty dresses, and most of them were really pretty and sparkly. I'm kind of a sucker for sparkly.

The talent competition was also better than expected. Miss. California kicked ass with her opera, and there was some ballet, piano playing, lots of singers, jazz dancing....but no batons. Which sorely disappointed me.

The last hurdle for the contestants is the "interview," or question and answer period. This year they had folks on the street ask questions of the ladies, and for the most part they were kind of lame. Miss. Virginia pretty much blew it out of the water with her response to the question, "how can we stop childhood obesity?" Her answer was for parents to turn off the television, take away the videogames, and get their kids' asses off the sofa and outside to play. Of course, she was much more eloquent than that, but you get the gist.

By this time, I had managed to drag my friend Monique into watching the pageant with me. And then came the big moment. The winner would be announced! And it was....

Miss. Virginia! You go, girl! I'm convinced that it was because I was watching. After all, I am a big Virginia fan and am always sticking up for my home commonwealth. So she owes the win to me. Or maybe it's because she had such a great answer to her question and sang really beautifully.

Nah, it was all me.

There she is.....Miss. America....just remember who got you there, honey.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Caprica: Who in the what now?

The 2 hour pilot episode of Caprica (the Battlestar Galactica prequel) has been available on DVD for months. But I haven't watched it. Why? A whole host of reasons: laziness, a backed-up DVR, reliable sources told me it wasn't engaging, but mostly laziness. Now that the show has actually premiered I finally sat down and watched it. Here's the thing though.

I had no idea what was going on.

I mean, I knew what was happening on the screen, but I had no idea what was going on in the grand scheme of things. Our story takes places on Caprica almost 60 years before the destruction of the colonies by the cylons. Ok, got that. Apparently, Caprica is basically an orgy of excess, think of it as a futuristic Gomorrah. Teens like to escape into a virtual reality dance/sex/killing club, but some teens are using it as a base for their One True God group (since Caprica is a polytheist society). And one of the teens, Zoe, is planning on running away from her super rich parents (including her computer genius Dad).

But one of her friends decides to turn all terrorist and blow up the train they are on to get people to worship this one God? But Zoe created a virtual avatar of herself using some new tech crap so the avatar actually has all her memories? And her Dad finds out about it and gets obsessed with building a mechanical body for the avatar to download into? And that's how the cylons started?

Oooooh, now I get it.

But having to wait two hours to figure out what the point of the show was not a great way to start. Look, people know this is BSG prequel. But other than featuring Adama's Dad (and Adama himself as a kid), there didn't seem to be much of a connection. If it's an origin story, maybe they should have made that a little more clear up front. If I hadn't chatted with my friend Dave at work about the show and he clued me in to where it was headed, I can't guarantee I would have stayed watching.

Even though we're off to a slow start, I'll keep up with the show; I found the BSG miniseries to be unbelievably boring, and look how awesome that show turned out. So I'm not going to judge this one based off the first episode. But they need to step it up quick. Get the plot moving, give me a general idea of where it's heading, and try to be more up front about linking it to the previous series. Or they're going to lose me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

This could get ugly...

Breaking News!

Ugly Betty has been cancelled!

I know!

What a bummer. After a kind of lackluster season last year, the show has really been on top of it's game this season. I think we can all agree that this is due to the move to Friday evenings in the fall, or as it's known, "the time slot of death." While ABC moved it back to Wednesday for the spring, I think the damage was done and people just stopped watching.


"I've had to say good-bye more times than I may have like, but everyone can say that. And no matter how many times we have to do it - even if it's for the greater good, it still stings. And although we will never forget what we've given up, we owe it to ourselves to keep moving forward. What we can't do is live our lives afraid of the next good-bye because chances are they are not going to stop. The trick is to recognize when a good-bye can be a good thing - when it's a chance to start again." --Betty

Unexpectedly Good

"Oh, great," I thought. "Here we go. The CW must have gotten bored with all it's scripted dramas focused around shallow gorgeous teenagers so they're trying to recapture some of their former WB family-oriented drama glory by creating this new show, Life Unexpected. So now it will be focused around a group of shallow gorgeous hipsters and a teenager."

Yeah, I was wrong.

This might comes as I surprise, but I am perfectly willing to admit when I am wrong. Especially when it has such a nice result. My judgmentalness (I...don't think that's a word) towards Life Unexpected turned out to be completely unwarranted, since after seeing two episodes I can state that it is in fact a sweet, touching, and funny show. Some critics have compared it to Gilmore Girls and Everwood (both aired on the WB, natch), but it definitely has a different vibe than them. But still, it's good and you should watch it.

Premise: After spending her life bouncing from one foster family to another, 15-year-old Lux has decided to become an emancipated minor. Her journey through the legal maze leads Lux to her biological father, 30-something Nate "Baze" Bazile, who lives like an aging frat-boy and is astonished to learn he has a daughter. Lux is equally astonished to learn that her mother is Cate Cassidy, a star on local radio, along with her boyfriend, Ryan Thomas. When a judge grants temporary custody of Lux to Baze and Cate, they agree to make a belated attempt to give Lux the family she deserves.

Yes, it sounds twee, but it's not. And yes the people are pretty, but they are realistically pretty, not tv-land pretty. It shouldn't work, what with the hipsters! and foster teens! and wacky plot twists that result in joint custody! but it totally does. Maybe because the actors are all so likeable, or because when you think the show is steering into "lesson of the week moments" it holds back just enough to avoid sappiness. I don't know how or why, all I know is that I like it and I plan to keep watching.

"We have a daughter?? Oh, shit! I mean...great!"

I mean, there are some concessions to the tv world. Lux has ridiculously awesome hair for a down and out teenager, and her attic bedroom would be FREEZING in Portland, but it is the CW after all. And I can't really think of another complaint, which says a lot right there. It's just a really nice little show.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A woman's home is her Castle... or something like that

I'd basically given Castle a pass until I went home a few weeks ago. My brother brought the first season on DVD and the whole family plunked down in front of the TV to watch. Four episodes later, all of which I had already seen, we had to be pried away with a crowbar and hustled off to bed. My interest in the show was rekindled in a big way, so I made a point of picking up the new season when I returned to DC. I was all excited, but when show time came ... meh. I puttered around my apartment (not just during commercials), surfed the web, even put the show on mute so I could read for a bit. Which left me wondering ... why is TV so much entertaining at home?

Then, it hit me - sometimes, the difference between a good show and a great one is the company. At home, my mother will pop up every few minutes and bring back snacks. My father will alternate between admonishing the main characters and taking unintentional naps. And my brother and I will indulge in our old game of guessing aloud "whodunit?" Without them, the show wasn't enough to hold my attention. With them, Castle becomes fun for ... wait for it ... the whole family.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Human Target: rate it OK for....being just ok.

I remember watching the ads for Human Target and being pretty excited. First of all, it stars three of my favorite actors: Mark Valley (who first landed on my radar back in the day with Keen Eddie), Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies, FTW!), and Jackie Earle Halay. It also looked pretty badass, with lots of BANG, POW, and BAM! Oh, and explosions. You gotta have explosions.

While it might be harsh to say that I found the show disappointing....if I'm honest, I need to say that I am a bit disappointed. Granted only two episodes have aired so far, and the show is shaping up to be a solid action procedural, but I was hoping for some kind of Big Bad arc-type thing. Think more Alias (with less Rimbaldi, yeesh). But, I am going to keep watching, because like I said, there have only been two episodes and it is definitely a solid show.

Here's the basic premise: Christopher Chance (his name is Chance, subtle, no?) is in private security and, "when there is an unusual or imminent threat that can't be solved through 'normal' means of protection, Chance is hired to completely integrate himself into his clients' lives - to become the human target." So basically, instead of just protecting people, he tries to draw out the person trying to kill them and take them out before they get the chance to do the same to the client.

He's aided by his business partner, Winston (Chi McBride) and a "hired gun," Guerrero (Jackie Earle Halay). Here's another itty bitty complaint: if you get such great character actors like Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Halay, you need to use them. Sure Chi has gotten some opportunities to be funny and put upon, but not that many, and sure Jackie has gotten to do his patented, "I am so motherfucking crazy I could kill you where you stand," but again, not many. I hope the show finds a way to give these guys material that lets them do what they are capable of, because right now I ain't seeing it. Maybe we'll start delving into their backstory and see more soon...

So if you're looking for a solid action procedural, this is definitely the show for you. If you were looking for something with a little more meat and perhaps a non-paranormal themed season long arc, this might be the show for you, but right now I'm not so sure. I'll definitely stick with it for love of the actors, but it needs to step it up or I could quickly get bored.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Telethon?

With all the technology surrounding us in 2010, who would have thought that as a society we would still be using the 1950's telethon. Granted, they are slightly more high tech than turning numbers on the big board. Last night was the Hope for Haiti telethon, orchestrated by our modern day Jerry Lewis of telethons, George Clooney.

I have no idea how anyone who watched tv could have missed the marathon. It aired on 31 networks, including all the majors ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and then some lesser cable networks, HBO, Comedy Central, MSNBC, CNN, E and the Green Network. Twitter was a flutter with the fact that Fox News was the only major news network not airing. In fact, O'Reily actually went against the telethon live.

I have not yet viewed how they did, but according to the thousands posting on twitter, the phone lines were impossible to get through. Perhaps celebrities are not the most efficient operators (*yes I am aware they aren't really operating the lines).

The highlights of the event included an excellent performance of Halo by Beyonce, a beautiful rendition of Lean on Me by Cheryl Crow, Keith Urban and Kid Rock, and Brad Pitts DISGUISTING beard. Madonna also did a rendition of "Like a Prayer" but it wasn't her best work.

The music is all available on itunes for download and you can still make donations at

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

That's it, I'm out.

Alright, this is it. This is the moment. I have officially given up on Heroes. I know, I'm like 2 years behind the curve on this one (since most people stopped watching during the lackluster second season).

But still, it hurts.

I mean, I've been a fan since the beginning. It may not have always been the best show, but it at least had pretty people and some good performances (Jack Coleman, woot!)...but I'm sorry. I just can't do it anymore. Its lost its verve and spark, and the episodes this season have been languishing on my DVR when I can't bring myself to watch them. And that's what really clinched it for me. Watching the show has turned into a chore, and who has time for that? There are real chores enough, and trying to slog through Heroes shouldn't be one of them.

I'll just have to hope that Zachary Quinto can forgive me and that Masi Oka finds a role that takes advantage of his talent and doesn't make him constantly act like a retarded 12 year old.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hurray, meh, and yikes.

The Golden Globes last night may have been semi-entertaining, but Ricky Gervais was frankly a little disappointing, there were very few obviously drunken celebrities, and most of the people I was rooting for didn't win.

I mean, James Cameron? Really? His speeches were the worst of the night for realsies.

But there was at least one bright spot! Glee took home the award for best televisions series comedy or musical. Even though Jane Lynch was robbed in the supporting actress category (seriously, she is brilliant), at least the show in general got recognized for making such a funny, entertaining, and joyous show.

Other than that, meh. Meryl Streep's win was definitely deserved, but I was really rooting for Katherine Bigelow to win Best Director (for The Hurt Locker), Hugh Laurie to win for House (mostly because his acceptance speeches are usually awesome), and Gabourey Sidibe to win for Precious.

Sidenote: even hearing people talk about Precious is enough to make me want to cry. It looks like an astounding film, but honestly, I don't know if I could handle it.

While it was nice to see the broadcast and the celebrities acknowledge the situation in Haiti, it's a little hard to get excited about gowns, jewels, and acting awards when there are people struggling for survival and to find the most basic of human necessities. I'm not sure what could have been done about it, other than what NBC did do which was to remind people to donate and promote the upcoming George Clooney telethon, but it still made for a weird night. And James Cameron waving his Golden Globe around and yelling for the Hollywood millionaire establishment to "give itself a hand!" during his Best Picture acceptance speech certainly didn't help my feeling of discomfort.

But at least they're adorable, right?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Late Night Drama

Oh, NBC, why must you be so consistently retarded? When all this mess is said and done, it looks like we are going to end up right where we began: with Jay Leno hosting The Tonight Show at its usual time. Conan is going to exit stage left (but not before NBC gets in one last dig, telling the New York Times this is all Conan's fault because ratings were so bad on The Tonight Show while he hosted) and move on to hopefully greener pastures.

I haven't weighed in on the this whole late night kerfluffle before now for one clear reason: I don't really give a shit. Look, I think Conan O'Brien is quite funny, I enjoyed him hosting the Emmys a few years ago and when I was in college I would occasionally watch his show. And I am sure that Jay Leno is a very nice man and old people think that he is very funny. But I do not understand why people care about this late night stuff so much. I mean, who are the people that can stay up until 2 in the morning watching talk shows? Don't these people have jobs?? And are there so many millions of them that it's really worth all this annoying network bitching and back-stabbing?

I get that The Tonight Show is part of television history and people still really really love Johnny Carson. But I think those days are behind us. I think most everyone can agree that there will never be another Carson and it seems to me that he was really what made The Tonight Show worth watching. From what I've seen Craig Ferguson is a pretty funny guy, and of course there's always David Letterman, but I guess my opinion on the whole late night tv genre is that I just don't care. I don't watch it, nobody I know watches it, and I don't have the free brain space to devote to arguing or debating about it.

So if you are avid Conan/Leno/Letterman/Ferguson/Fallon fan, good for you and I hope this all shakes out in a way that pleases you. But I think most people are in this whole debate just for the drama aspect of it and haven't watched a minute of late night tv in years. Because, like me, they have jobs that require them to get up at 5:30 in the morning, so watching someone crack wise after midnight isn't really ranking high on the priority list over, say, getting some actual sleep.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

He knows Kung Fu....sometimes.

Ladies and gents, Chuck's back!

Everyone's favorite spy has returned to airwaves, and if you recall from last year's finale...he knows kung fu. Or more accurately, he can sometimes access the Intersect to download various skills directly into his brain ala The Matrix. Unfortunately, it doesn't work when he's emotional and if you know Chuck, you know he is often very emotional.

It doesn't help that things are still complicated with Sarah; I get that it can ruin a show when characters resolve their sexual tension, but now that Chuck is officially a spy, having him and Sarah trying to balance a real relationship and a fake-spy relationship would (I think) be pretty interesting. But having them continue to dance around one another after three years of the same old same old is starting to get a little ridiculous. Especially after Sarah came out and asked Chuck to run away with her. To which he said no, the patriotic fool.

Of the three episodes that have aired so far, yesterday's episode where the team and Captain Awesome try to keep a communist dictator alive from assassination was by far the most entertaining. I've always thought that Chuck was at its best when it had all parts of Chuck's life interacting with one another around a mission. When Awesome finally found out about Chuck's double-life, it injected new life into the show and having him involved in last night's plot made it all the more interesting.

(side note: thank god Awesome isn't dead because otherwise I would be really really pissed).

Next week looks to have more Awesome, which is always a good thing, and perhaps Ellie will finally find out about Chuck? Honestly, I'd rather have Morgan jump on the bandwagon, I think he would be hilarious working alongside the spy team and there's about a 50/50 chance he would be actually useful! I mean, he has a lot of knowledge about, oh, video games, slacking, and Star Wars. Maybe the team will have to break up a ring of lazy World of Warcraft-playing evil masterminds who enjoy dressing up as stormtroopers.

It could happen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Return of Big Love

Last night was the season premier of Big Love and I had mixed feelings. It really does pick up where the show ended last season. Plot lines centered around the new casino, Nikki's daughter, Nikki being accepted back into the family and the death of Roman. The episode was good and it was a good premier. Unfortunately I have one major complaint.

They Changed the Opening Credits! This baffles me. I will never understand why shows do this. I understood when the Simpsons shortened their opening theme music (and relengthened it again) and I respect the creators of Lost bypassing the whole opening credits for the "Lost" logo. But why would you change the opening mid series. It seems to be the trend in the premium networks. Who can forget the debacle of Weeds getting rid of its "little boxes" opening that was complete gold.

And to be honest, I couldn't get passed it. I wanted my fill of "G-d only knows what I'd be without you..." and in fact, I am still singing the old theme song this morning.

Here is the new opening for you Big Love Fans who couldn't tune in last night

and here is the classic old

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Live Update

When I posed the question to my Dad, "what should I write on the tv blog?" his response was that I should talk about what we are doing right now. And I thought, good idea, Dad.

Wednesday nights are typically spent over at my Dad's. It's kind of a remnant of our scheduled "every other weekend" visits (since my parents are divorced), and having a regularly scheduled visit ensures that I get good quality time with the Dad and ES (that's short for Evil Stepmother).

Of course, you have to remember that "quality time" in this family means that we sit on the couch on our asses watching television. Hey, don't judge. The point is that we are visiting. So what if I have to watch my Dad endlessly flip through crime show procedurals (CSI, NCIS, Bones, Law & Order, Criminal Minds, etc.). Actually, to be honest I don't like procedurals, and it's kind of annoying watching someone flip channels endlessly, but it's all worth it to soak up the family time.

Plus we have a tradition, that I think I have mentioned before, where we work our way through a show episode by episode. Usually we go with premium channel shows since I don't get them and they are available on-demand. We're juuuuuuust about done with the first season of Nurse Jackie (which I'll probably post about next week after we finish it), but the more violence, profanity, and nudity the better. Except watching those sex scenes with the Dad can be a little awkward.

Next up on the television night docket: the latest season of Dexter. I've been able to remain spoiler-free (which is basically a miracle) so I'm really looking forward to it.

Best Wednesday night with Dad quote: "I like the second season of True Blood a lot better than the first because what's her name shows her boobs a lot more."

These are the precious moments I will carry with me forever.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Good-night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

(spoilers for Doctor Who: The End of Time Parts I and II below!)

I suppose it is only appropriate to bid farewell to David Tennant as The Doctor with a Hamlet quote; after all, we received five Doctor Who specials instead of a complete season this year because of his run as Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company (available on DVD in the UK but not in the US...yet).

Alas, poor Doctor Who fans...

But this is it. The end. The Tenth Doctor is no more...he has regenerated into a younger Eleventh Doctor who, frankly, seems to have even wackier hair. If such a thing is possible.

So what did I think of The End if Time? After the end of Part I, I couldn't wait for Part II, obviously. I mean you can't tease something like the return of the Time Lords without giving me an almost heart attack, but overall, I thought Part I was kind of lame. So...the Master comes back and he has all these wacky powers like super jumping and then he rewrites the genetic code of all humans to turn them into him? LAME. Although seeing John Simm in drag was kind of hilarious.

But Part I managed to make the grade for me for two scenes. The Doctor and Wilfred in the cafe and the Time Lords at the end. Other than those two scenes, frankly I could take it or leave it. But the cafe scene and the very end were just amazing, even though they couldn't be more different. One was quiet, consisting of nothing more than a conversation between two people, while the other showed thousands of Time Lords cheering for the end of time. But each one struck a nerve and were collectively the highlight of the episode.

And so we come to Part II, which basically caused me to freak out the entire time. I knew what was coming, and unless you were living under a rock for the past year you have known what was coming too. Even the Doctor knew what was coming, and despite his best efforts to avoid it, when he heard Wilf knocking on that glass you could practically see his hearts break. I think I cried about three times during this episode, which might be a record for me.

When I initially read that David Tennant's time on the show was ending, I was sad of course, but I also thought it could be for the best. He'd had a good run, but it did feel that his story arc was coming to an end. But actually watching it happen...yeah, maybe I wasn't as ready as I thought. When the end finally arrived, I didn't want it to happen, I was begging for it not to happen. I was literally sitting on my couch talking to the television saying, "don't go!" And apparently the Doctor felt the same way, for when he whispered, "I don't want to go" that's when I really lost it. Well, actually I had really lost it when Wilfred was locked in the nuclear chamber thingy and the Doctor was ranting about the unfairness of it all, but still, David Tennant made me cry all over again.

And then....he was gone.

"Even if I change, it feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away. And I'm dead."

He had enough time to say goodbye to his friends (bonus points for including Sarah Jane and Alonzo), and there were still some shocks to be had. Martha and Mickey got married?! The Doctor tracked down Joan Redfern's granddaughter (who was named Verity, natch). Luke's gotten that tall?! But mostly it was just sad. Especially seeing old Rose and Jackie. But I think it made for a fitting tribute, not just to the Tenth Doctor, but to Russell T. Davies' characters, after all, this was his swan song as well.

I wish I could do better about summing up how the episode affected me beyond describing my reaction as "sad," but I'm not sure I've got the talent. There's no denying the show is a cornerstone of sci-fi culture, and as someone who has embraced that genre wholeheartedly, it's hard when great change comes. While Christopher Eccleston was my first Doctor (and I thought I would hate David Tennant at the beginning), David Tennant has come to represent the Doctor for me. I've spent the last two days rewatching some of my favorite Tenth Doctor episodes on DVD, but now he's gone. It's almost like grieving for real, which I guess is pretty pathetic since it's just a television show. But I suppose tv has become as much a ritual as anything else in our culture these days, and being without David Tennant as the Doctor just feels wrong. At least for now.

So here we are. New Doctor, new season, new show-runner. But I don't think I'm ready for it yet. I guess that puts me in the denial grief stage, eh?

In case you are ready to see what's next, check out the Series 5 trailer. I'm cautiously optimistic. After all, with Steven Moffat in charge, it can't go that wrong. Especially since I spy weeping angels. Eek!