Friday, September 29, 2006

Pilot reviews continued

Heroes - This was the show that I had been most excited about when word of pilots starting leaking out, but it's somewhat mixed reactions from upfronts and Comic Con and TCA press week made me sort of wary. But I really liked last night's premiere. I mean, yeah, a lot of the narration is laughably cheesy, although it helps that it's a voiceover from an actual character who I buy really just talks like that (and who's kinda hot). And the whole concept of the show isn't anything new at all (i.e. X-Men, the 4400). But I'm okay with all of that, because they introduced the characters so well. Masi Oka as the nerdy Japanese guy with the most appropriate name ever (Hiro) was my favorite (as I'm sure is the case with many others). Amidst all the angst, it's nice that they have one "hero" who's just really excited about his newfound powers (which I think are the coolest so far). His babbling and geeky references are incredibly endearing. Milo Venitmiglia as Peter is next. I'm a huge Milo fan (ever since that short-lived sitcom on Fox called Opposite Sex with Allison Mack and that chick from Saved by the Bell: The New Class plus Jess is still my big for Rory's soulmate) and I'm glad he has a new show. They set up the dynamic between him and his brother extremely well, and the twist at the end was AWESOME. Hoping that Peter really does has a power of his own too though. Ali Larter has the most intriging power, which I don't really understand, and Hayden Pannetierre was perfect as the popular cheerleader who's basically indestructible. Not sure about the painter dude but we'll see where that goes. And more characters are yet to be introduced (Greg Grunberg in a non J.J. Abrams show for once, and Leonard Roberts, who was Forrest on Buffy). I'm excited.

Brothers & Sisters - I didn't really enjoy this. There are a ton of really great actors in the cast (including a couple of Alias alums, my favorite guy from Reunion, Rachel Griffiths, and of course Calista Flockhart) but I don't know, I guess there just wasn't enough concept to hook me. I mean, I've watched my share of family dramas, but I think it was more because they were also teen shows. Now that I'm out of college you would think that this might be a logical next step, a family drama with all adult children. But somehow I just couldn't get into it. Maybe it's because even though I'm definitely not a teen anymore, but I still don't really feel like an adult yet. It was interesting that they made Kitty an active right-wing conservative, and made a big deal out of it. I guess it's supposed to drum up all sorts of drama, but all the political talk doesn't interest me either. There was some good acting, I guess, and the pilot set up quite a few storylines but I don't know, I guess I'm just not in the target audience for this show.

Ugly Betty - Ever since Gilmore Girls went off the deep end, I've been lacking a "happy show." You know, that show that's fun and a little ridiculous and just makes you happy. I think Ugly Betty might be it. Everything was really predictable and over the top and campy but that's what made it so fun. America Ferrara was adorable, Eric Mabius was hot (and a Jamie Bamber look-alike), and Vanessa Williams and Gina Gershon were hilarious. Also LOVED the fake telenovela with Salma Hayek. I know that this is going to be compared to the Devil Wears Prada, but it has a very different feel, and Betty is much more convincing as a misfit in the fashion world that Anne Hathaway could ever be. Also Daniel isn't anything like Miranda, it looks like he'll be trusting and leaning on Betty quite a bit, despite the disastrous situations she'll inevitably find herself in. Really promising. The only problem is that it conflicts with both the Office and Survivor (which I've found myself hooked on again). What to do??

Project Runway Episode 11

Okay, it's official, this season of PR is just INSANE. I still love the show, but all the twists and breaking convention just isn't sitting well with me. I do understand why they decided to let all four designers compete during Fashion Week, but come on people, sometimes you just have to choose! Although I guess they don't HAVE to do anything and that's the point. Bah.

Anyway, I would like to take this opportunity to stick up for Uli. She's been getting a lot of flack from the judges and the media and even viewers because nearly all of her designs have similar elements: the patterns, the colors, the floor-length skirts, the halter tops, etc. But those are the things she does well and she knows it. So it's completely fitting that she won this challenge, because it was all about representing who they were as designers. They weren't supposed to do something completely different. Jeffrey did and the judges were confused. Despite that I did kind of like his dress. And it kind of was a preview to the collection he made for Fashion Week. What I don't understand is why he decided to whip out this "I'm a romantic" thing at the very last minute. As for Laura, she's also very sure of who she is as a designer, but I didn't see ANYTHING new in her dress, whereas Uli did mix it up, albeit just a little.

And then we come to Michael. Oh, Michael Knight. If they really did kick someone off, I'm sorry but it probably should have been Michael. The problem is that I don't think that Michael really knows who he is yet at all. He's done amazingly when given specific constraints for the challenges, but leave it open and he doesn't know what to do. Remember his audition? He brought in clothes that he had made in response to last season's challenges, and the reason the judges were hesitant was that he wasn't representing himself at all. I think he's just too young. The talent and skills are there, I just think he needs to mature a bit more.

I'm not sure who I think should win it all. It seems that the judges are looking for someone who combines a strong, fresh point of view with the right amount of versatility and I don't know who really represents that. Michael is definitely versatile, but he hasn't presented a cohesive point of view. Jeffrey has the freshest ideas, but sometimes he goes a little too far. Laura has a strong point of view but it's not really all that fresh. Uli also has a strong point of view but her versatility is in question. So who wins? Guess we just have to "watch what happens"...

The reunion next week looks juicy.

The return of the Gilmore Girls

You knew it was coming.

I've been watching this show since I was in high school. Isn't that a little scary? That means that I've known these characters for longer than most of the people I currently know in real life. Due to this fact, it seems that no matter how horrible the show gets, I can't get myself to drop it. At this point I'm just too invested in these characters. And honestly, if the writers know what's good for them they'll end the series with Luke and Lorelai together and if I have to suffer through massive amounts of dreck to get there, I'm going to do it dammit.

Last season my main gripe was Rory. I hated her like no other, which is a shame because back in the Chilton days I probably would have counted her among my favorite characters on TV. She was okay in the premiere, but she didn't do anything to really redeem herself either, which at this point I think is impossible anyway. But this season I think my hatred is probably going to transfer over to Luke or Lorelai or Christopher or maybe all of them. They're obviously going to really explore the possibility of a Lorelai/Christopher relationship, which I find to just be stupid. Honestly I've never really had that much of a problem with Christopher because I figured he was never really a serious threat. But watching them be in a relationship is just going to suck, period. And what is Luke going to do while this is going on? Not be sympathetic I'm sure. Sigh. Anyway, Lorelai really bugged in this episode, and I hated all the stupid prattle and the raquetball crap they did to avoid talking about the real issue at hand. I know it's very in line with her character but it was frustrating anyway. I don't really have a lot to say about the rest of the episode. I did love that Paris is opening up an SAT tutoring business though. That's classic.

A lot of people were worried about this season because there's a new executive producer and the creators of the show are longer working on it. Personally, I didn't really feel a difference. I think that people who did are probably just thinking about it too hard.

Pet peeve: Rory has some pretty unproductive summers. I didn't know anyone in college who didn't plan out their summers with internships to pad their resumes or just jobs to make money. Whatever happened to her internship at that Stamford paper anyway?

Friday, September 22, 2006

More new shows

Man do I watch a lot of TV or what? In my defense, most of my regular shows have not premiered yet and well, the DVR is a miracle machine...

Men in Trees - The best way to describe this show is Sex and the city in Alaska. A lot of people have also compared it to Northern Exposure and EVerwood because of it's small mountain town feel, but I've never watched Northern Exposure and it's definitely not a family show like Everwood was. What it is is a show about a relationship coach/writer, Marin Frist, learning about men (and doing voiceovers a la Carrie Bradshaw) in a town in Alaska when men outnumber women ten to one. It's kind of a cute premise but it all hinges heavily on the likeability of the main character, who's played by Anne Heche. I liked her, but I can see how others could find her annoying. I liked the supporting players though: a crazy fan who decides to move to Alaska when Marin does, Marin's super efficient editor, the owner of the local bar, the owner of the only plane in and out of town, and the fish-and-wildlife guy that Marin will obviously be hooking up with. I'm glad that there's another romantic comedy type show on the air again, but honestly I just wish that Miss Match had stuck around.

Jericho - I thought this show had the most intriguing premise of the season (yes even more intriguing that Heroes). A small town in Kansas sees a nuclear mushroom cloud appear on the horizon to the west and is suddenly cut off completely from the rest of the outside world. They soon learn (from an interrupted answering machine message) that there was a similar incident in Atlanta, to the east, and they're left wondering if they could be the only people left in America. Intriguing, right? I found the pilot to be a bit odd though. First of all, they used a lot of pop music on the show, like the Killers and Snow Patrol. I think this is okay in most circumstances, but for some reason I prefer my serious sci-fi dramas to be dramatic underscore only. Second, they introduced a ton of characters and none of them seemed too fleshed out. I mean, I know that character development takes time but I didn't "get" even one of the characters, especially not the supposed lead of the show, played by Skeet Ulrich. I think it'll take a couple of episodes before I can make a real judgment.

Kidnapped - I didn't watched Vanished but it premiered early and hasn't gotten all that much buzz so I assume I'm not really missing anything. I did check out this one though, and I liked it. I thought the pilot did a really excellent job setting everything up and I like mystery shows. From what I've read, I believe that the plan is to solve this case this season and have another kidnapping case next year if the show is renewed. I think this is smart, but that would really only work if Knapp and/or King are enough to carry the show (a la Jack Bauer). The pilot didn't really set them up to be the main characters, but we'll see. Hopefully this won't be cancelled before the mystery is solved though (like Reunion which yes, I am still a little bitter about).

Smith - I hate heist movies. I find the idea of them to just be really irritating because we're supposed to be like rooting for these people to pull off these great heists when they're really just CRIMINALS! So why did I decide to watch this show? Because the cast includes Simon Baker (who's hot), Jonny Lee Miller (who I have an inexplicable crush on), Virginia Madsen, and Amy Smart. Interestingly the only one I'm not all that familiar with is Ray Liotta, who's the lead. But I was bored. So I didn't even finish watching it.

Six Degrees - I know I said that I wasn't going to watch this show because J.J. Abrams has burned me too many times (Felicity, Alias, Lost) but I couldn't help myself. My DVR makes it waaaay too easy to watch anything and everything on TV. Anyway, I watched it and I was pretty unimpressed. Usually J.J. Abrams shows start off great and then spiral into messes of too many loose ends but this one was just kind of...uninteresting. The cast is really great, I liked Hope Davis and Bridget Moynahan, and Jay Hernandez is totally totally hot. Erika Christensen bugs though, and her "secret box" thing is so Meghan from Felicity. But the only storyline I cared at all about was the photographer dude. And once the whole six degrees thing works out, won't it just end up being a show about six people who all know each other? Wasn't ever going to put this on my schedule and watching the pilot just confirmed that. I do love an opportunity to bash JJ Abrams though.

The Office is back!!!!

The funny thing about cliffhanger season finales is that you're always left thinking that something HUGE has to happen to resolve it, but that's really rarely the case. The Jim/Pam kiss from last season's finale had me itching all summer to find out that was going to happen but what happened was actually...not much. But I'm alright with that because ultimately I wouldn't want Jim/Pam to be EVERYTHING on this show. So I'm glad that Jim went to work in Stamford. And of course I'm glad that Pam didn't go through with the wedding but didn't immediately go for Jim. The scene where they revealed that was pretty genius, though, with Roy bringing Pam lunch as if they were married but then Pam not looking all that happy and then Roy's earnest small-talk and then the flash of Pam's hand and then the reveal. It's also interesting that neither Pam nor Jim mentioned eachother once during the episode. I definitely like how this is playing out.

Actually the thing I'm most impressed with about this show is how many great moments they can pack into a half hour (really 20-something minutes). Ryan's "I'm no longer a temp", Phyllis is engaged (yay!) to Bob Vance (of Vance Refrigeration), the girl in Jim's office imitating his camera face, Dwight's fake "I miss Jim" act, Pam trying to laugh at Michael with Ryan but Ryan not getting it, Roy's mugshot, Stanley's two toasters story, "Big Tuna," the stapler in Jello...and that's not even getting to the main plot of the episode. That stuff was seriously cringe-inducing and completely inappropriate, but had me cracking up like no other by the end. I really thought Oscar was going to leave the office for a minute there but I'm glad he didn't and that moment where Oscar forgives Michael was really believable because Steve Carrell pulls off that offensive-and-rude-but-really- just-clueless thing so ridiculously well. And not to mention the Michael/Oscar kiss that followed. Most uncomfortable conference room ever! And the ending with the gaydar!

Yay for the Office!

Project Runway episode 10 and Fashion Week

This post is pretty late but there is no new episode this week so I figured I would go for it. Plus this past Friday was the PR Fashion Week show so there's that to talk about as well.

This week's episode was alright. I liked the challenge a lot, make a black and white cocktail outfit and use ALL your fabric. But the return of Angela and Vincent? Not so much. This season just seems to have waaay too many gimmicks. One of the things that hooked me to PR in the first place was its straightforwardness, but this season things have been much less consistent. Seemingly random model usage and selection, immunity that comes and goes, flying to Paris? And now this return of past winners? I guess it could have been a good idea and the producers had no reason to expect that two of the weakest designers (in my opinion) would end up coming back. Anyway, I spent most of the episode terrified that Angela or Vincent would miraculously come up with a win, but thankfully that didn't happen. And Kayne went home, which was pretty much how I'd been expecting thigns to go anyway. Also really happy that Laura got her first win.

So, final four: Michael, Uli, Laura, and Jeffrey. They all showed their collection at Olympus Fashion Week on Friday. One is a decoy (I think), but I can't even really begin to guess who it is. I perused photos of the collections and there were more than a few surprises. Michael was originally my pick to win, but I was kind of disappointed by his pieces. They all kind of reminded me of the Pam Grier outfit he did, which I loved, but kind of only as a Pam Grier outfit. Jeffrey's seemed kind of all over the place, and it reminded me a bit of Santino's collection from last season which was considerably more subdued than the stuff he did on the show. Laura and Uli I loved and I thought each had a very specific point of view. But I really don't know anything about fashion so who knows. Next week is the last regular episode, followed by the reunion show, and then two weeks of finale.

(And then a new season of Top Chef!!!)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Short takes

The Amazing Race: I don't why I've never watched this show before, considering I've watched almost every other reality show on the planet, but I finally checked it out and I can see why it's so popular. It's really fun and because everyone's running around the world (literally) I don't think there'll be quite as much time for alliances and backstabbing and all that stuff that competitive reality shows usually drum up. And since I'm not watching anything else on Sundays, I might stick with it. Sad that the Indian couple got kicked off so early though, they were so cute!

Survivor: It's obvious they came up with the whole teams-separated-by-race thing for ratings, and honestly it kind of worked because I haven't watched the show in years but I made time for the premiere of this one. It's just so ridiculously un-politically-correct that you have to be curious. It's horrible though, I feel like I can't really talk about any of the people without being afraid of drawing stereotypes. It was interesting though, especially seeing how they themselves reacted to the whole situation. I most likely will be dropping this from my schedule soon though, because Thursdays at 8 are a crowded timeslot.

The Class: I think this is from the creators of Friends, which I never really liked all that much. This one has one of the more bizarre premises I've ever heard of, but it's a sitcom and sitcoms are always full of contrived situations. I think this one is set in Philly though, which is fun because I got all the references to towns and stuff they were talking about. Anyway, Lizzy Caplan is always totally cool (I've like her in basically everything she's ever done) but I'm not sure about the rest of the cast. And I also have no clue what the show is going to be like because it wouldn't make sense for the people they called out as the main characters to end up all being friends....

How I Met Your Mother: I was getting a bit tired of this show last season mostly because I just didn't care about Ted and Robin. I'm not even so much bothered by the fact that Robin is not going to end up being Ted's wife. They just don't interest me as a couple, I guess. That said, I'm glad that the premiere was mostly about Marshall. But I'm not so sure about Lily and Marshall not being together because they were my favorite thing about the show.

Dancing with the Stars: This show is like crack. It's unbelievably cheesy and the B-list celebrities they always manage to get is hilarious, but somehow you just get sucked in. Mario Lopez kind of knocked it out of the park and I thought Emmitt Smith was really good too. But Ashly, my favorite professional dancer, got stuck with another dud partner, Aaron Echolls himself. (I'm never going to see Harry Hamlin as anyone else ever again.) These audience participation reality shows are too much of a commitment though since I generally don't watch much TV live anymore. But I'll watch it (when I remember) until my other shows kick in.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

The TV season has begun! Look for my premiere reports on every new show I can possibly watch and of course, all of my returning favorites. Up first: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

For most of my TV-watching life I've kind of shunned the ratings giants (and often Emmy hogs), almost on principle. I mean, I watched ER in the early days and I was a big fan of The Practice at one point and I like House, but Law and Order, Friends, Will and Grace, CSI, the West Wing, Grey's Anatomy...blech. I can be a counterculture snob and I know it. Studio 60 kind of has ratings darling written all over it (or so I predict, but TV can be pretty unpredictable, look at Commander in Chief) but in spite of myself I kind of loved the premiere.

I mean, it kind of makes sense. I loved Aaron Sorkin's short-lived Sports Night, and really the only reason I didn't care for the West Wing was because it was about politics, which I'm not interested in. And even though I'm not a big fan of SNL or sketch comedy, Studio 60 actually isn't so much about that. It's about TV! About people who love and really care about TV, so geez, I almost have to love it. (Man does this show make me want to work in TV...)

Matthew Perry + Bradley Whitford = genius. I predict best pair of buddies since JD and Turk and the Entourage boys. And I also love Amanda Peet and Sarah Paulson (Jack & Jill reunion!). The pace and the writing were sharp and just pure Aaron Sorkin. I guess it is always kind of hard to tell from pilots where shows are going to go, but this one definitely hooked me. And since it doesn't conflict with any of my other shows it is definitely on my preliminary TV schedule. My first addition!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mystery solved?

Augh! So a couple of posts ago I said that I didn't really care whether Lonelygirl15 was real or staged. But I was lying, apparently I do care because yesterday this cropped up, a confession by "The Creators", and man was it disappointing. The fun part of it all was the mystery, not knowing whether it was real or not. I mean, we don't know for sure whether this message is for real or not, and even if it is, it doesn't explain if Bree is a real person or an actress or if the storyline is fictional or not or anything. The message states "Lonelygirl15 is a reflection of everyone. She is no more real or fictitious than the portions of our personalities that we choose to show (or hide) when we interact with the people around us." I mean, what the crap is that? I don't know, I guess part of me was really hoping that Lonelygirl15 was just an innocent home-schooled girl with a webcam. No "show," no "filmmakers, no "birth of a new art form."

Ah, well. I'm going to keep up with it, I mean, watching a two-minute video blog every couple of days and reading a few message board posts isn't a very big commitment.

My LG15 sources: Virginia Heffernan at the New York Times and various articles at the LA Times.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Reality roundup

Rock Star Supernova - I'm pretty bummed that Storm was kicked off. She did Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" which I thought was amazing whereas Dilana butchered "I Want You to Want Me" and she's still in? Bah. Anyway, yeah, I'm really not feeling Dilana or Lukas anymore so I'm hoping that either Toby or Magni wins it all. Toby's version of "Mr. Brightside" was kind of underwhelming (which was disappointing because it's one of my favorite songs) but his original was pretty awesome. I think I want to download it, haha.

Project Runway - This week's episode toned down the drama a bit and focused more on the designers working, but it wasn't really all that fun. Good things included: Catherine Malandrino (soooo French and soooo funny), Michael's "sweating like a whore in church" comment, Uli's deadpan "that's quite something" after saying that she wasn't using crazy colors or prints, and Vincent's finally out!!! I was getting really tired of all of his gross "it gets me off" comments and honestly his designs have been mostly mediocre. I was getting a little worried that he was going to somehow make it to the final three, so his getting kicked off was a HUGE relief. As for Jeffrey's win...I'm kind of not that bothered even though he's an ass. His dress was exactly what I've always thought of couture as: crazy and definitely only runway-appropriate but somehow just works. Plus his model Marilinda was really amazing. She's got the right look and attitude to work Jeffrey's aesthetic, which is at least something different and not just "pretty."

Laguna Beach - I had been under the mistaken impression that Breanna was supposed to be a main player in the new season given that she's LC's sister but we've barely seen her until this week. And I can of see why. She's just super immature and has even more of a victim complex than Lauren. I kind of give her credit for taking the initiative to call up Raquel and open up the lines of communication. But her behavior after the lunch and during the party was just lame. And yeah, Rocky might have been a little harsh, but she wasn't anywhere near as horrible as Breanna made her out to be in her conversation with Lexie. And then she was obviously trying really hard to avoid Rocky at the party she invited her to and pretending not to care. LAME! In other news, Kelan was so cute and shy at the awkward date, Rocky's boyfriend Alex seems totally cool, and man is Lexie an ice queen...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

tv tv tv...

Desperate Housewives (9PM, ABC)
Brothers & Sisters (10PM, ABC)

24 (January, Fox)
The Class (8PM, CBS)
How I Met Your Mother (8:30, CBS)
Vanished (9PM, Fox)
Heroes (9PM, NBC)
What About Brian (10PM, ABC)
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (10PM, NBC)

House (8PM, Fox)
Gilmore Girls (8PM, CW)
Friday Night Lights (8PM, NBC)
The Knights of Prosperity (9PM, ABC)
Veronica Mars (9PM, CW)
The Unit (9PM, CBS)
My Boys (10PM, TBS)

30 Rock (8PM, NBC)
Justice (9PM, Fox)
One Tree Hill (9PM, CW)
The Nine (10PM, ABC)

The OC (9PM, Fox)
Grey's Anatomy (9PM, ABC)
6 Degrees (10PM, ABC)
Shark (10PM, CBS)

Numb3rs (10PM, CBS)

odds and ends

I've recently gotten a little sucked into the lonelygirl15 mystery. Bree, aka lonelygirl15, is a teenage girl with a video blog on youtube. She's pretty, smart, and funny, but that's not enough to fuel a web phenomenon. First and foremost, the videos are a little too well lit and edited (they're all shot by a webcam in her bedroom). Bree claims that her friend Daniel (her only friend it seems) is the computer genius that edits them, but often the videos contain things that it seems Daniel wouldn't really want to be posted. There's a little drama between Bree and Daniel, half of which is normal teenage stuff and half of which is kind of shrouded in mystery. Bree is homeschooled, with very strict parents, and follows some undisclosed religion (she's stated that she's not a Christian though). Anyway, all of this adds to up people all over the Internet wondering if this is "real" or a hoax of some sort. There has been lots of speculation and lots of investigating but nothing's really been proven yet. I don't know if I really care, it's entertaining so I'm going to go along for the ride.

Have you seen this Nike commercial with Maria Sharapova? I think it's hilarious. She's getting ready for a match and everyone around her is singing "I Feel Pretty" (from West Side Story) and then she gets on the court, hits her first shot with a trademark scream/yell/grunt, which shuts everyone up. I've always found it funny that yeah, she's pretty and all that, but I find her to be kind of unwatchable when she plays because of the noise. Haha. Actually I've enjoyed quite a lot of the US Open commercials this year. I also really like the Roddick vs. Pong one for American Express too.

Was at the mall this weekend and noticed that Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey are featured in New York & Company's new ads. There were a couple of huge posters of them in the store windows. And the Gap also has a bunch of actors featured in their new ads also. It seems like actors/celebrities are doing more and more print modeling...

And my requisite Emmy award reactions, a week late. Really thrilled for 24, Kiefer, the Office, and Jeremy Piven. That's really about all.