Wednesday, December 26, 2007

jumping on the bandwagon...

Here are my entertainment favorites from 2007...

1. So You Think You Can Dance -- hands down my favorite reality tv show, EVER.
2. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows -- yay for closure!
3. How I Met Your Mother -- quickly becoming one of my FAVORITE tv shows. My favorite episode of Season 3: "Spoiler Alert"
4. The re-release of My So-Called Life on DVD!
5. Internet broadcasting of TV shows -- special thanks to ABC (Pushing Daisies, Samantha Who), CBS (How I Met Your Mother) and The CW (Gossip Girl). My DVR is already working overtime and I can't record all the shows I want to watch along with all the shows Russ wants to watch, so it helps to be able to catch the shows on the computer. :)

Honorary Mentions: Pushing Daisies (favorite new tv show of the 2007-8 season), Twilight/New Moon/Eclipse (favorite new series), the writer's strike (gives me a chance to catch up on tv)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My favorites of 2007

Pretty much everyone who blogs about anything entertainment related likes to make "Best of" lists at the end of the year, but I don't think I'm really qualified to do that. I mean, I've probably only watched a total of less than 10 movies in theaters this year, I haven't been keeping up with new music very much as I would have liked, and the truth is that with the exception of TV, I'm just not a very immediate consumer of media. So these are my "favorites" and not "bests" of 2007.

1. Friday Night Lights (season 1)
2. Gossip Girl
3. So You Think You Can Dance
4. 30 Rock (just caught up and realized how much it RULES)
5. Mad Men and Damages (tie)

1. Once
2. The Namesake
....aaaand I didn't see anything else that I found worth mentioning

Songs (released in 2007)
1. Blonde Redhead - 23
2. Arcade Fire - No Cars Go
3. Radiohead - All I Need
4. Tegan and Sara - The Con
5. LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends

Songs (released before 2007 because most things get to me late)
1. Lavender Diamond - You Broke My Heart
2. Mates of State - For the Actor
3. Midlake - Roscoe
4. The Album Leaf - Always for You
5. Bright Eyes - I Will Be Grateful for this Day

Books (read in 2007, not necessarily released in 2007)
1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
3. Encylopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krause Rosenthal
4. Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
5. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

1. North & South on DVD
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8 comics
3. Wonderfalls on DVD
4. Jane Eyre on Masterpiece Theatre
5. All things Anthony Bourdain

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


So cute.
So good.
A very, very happy movie.

I wanna buy it when it comes out on DVD. :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

golden compass

The first mistake I made was re-reading the book *right* before the movie came out. I should've known better than to do that -- it didn't work with Harry Potter, it definitely wasn't going to work with this. But oh well, it's too late now.

The second mistake was expecting it to be good. Seriously, I was NOT a fan of this movie at all. Maybe I'm in the minority, (Rotten Tomatoes has it at 45%, so apparently reviews are split) but I really did not enjoy The Golden Compass AT ALL.

But here's the good: The actors/actresses were excellent and well-represented the characters as I imagined them. The daemons were created extremely well and I loved how they put to screen something I could barely grasp in my imagination. The world created was beautifully and fantastically created.

But the bad: The storyline strayed far from the book too often for my liking. And, in my opinion, the plot development was poorly done. Okay, I understand there's a lot in this book, too much for a 118 minute film, but seriously -- there were a lot of things that could've been left out and a lot of things that simply could've been included instead. PLUS, the movie wasn't even complete! It just ends of in the MIDDLE of the story! (Okay, not really, but I was still angry.) I know that this is an issue with trilogies in general -- that the story will inevitably be halted almost abruptly, but at the very least finish the journey of the golden compass! ::sigh::

Seriously, not a fan. (I asked my friends who I went with and the ones who hadn't read the book(s) felt the story was choppy, but the one who had read it a long time ago enjoyed it as is.)

Side note on the religious aspects of this film: Seriously, not all that present. The religious themes are a lot stronger in Books 2 and 3 of the series anyway, and I really think that the little in Book 1 was toned down A LOT in this movie.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Friday Night Lights leaving me a bit cold...

I know that every December is a hiatus month but with the strike and all it's been making me kind of extra sad hearing all the "[insert show here] will return with new episodes in the new year" announcements after shows...

So things I liked about our last new FNL for 2007:
- Everything with Jason. I'd been kind of unsure of where the writers were going with him, but I love him when he's around Herc, his scene with Lyla was really nice, and his date was hilarious. I'm glad he's moving out of his parents' house...and I'm glad that his parents are evidently supporting that decision.
- Everything with Riggins. That gymnastics scene cracked me up. Tim's one of those people who seems like they wouldn't care about anything except drinking but the way he lets himself really get into stuff like football and Powderpuff and girls' gymnastics is so funny. Also glad that the writers remembered that Coach Taylor is now the school's athletic coordinator.
- Everything with Buddy Garrity and Santiago. This storyline seems much more Season 1 to me because it's very football-centered, and about how football kind of has that power. I feel like we've really been missing that elsewhere.

And now for the things that I kind of hated:
- The wrap-up of the Landry/Tyra murder plot nightmare. I don't know, in a way I'm relieved that it's over, but the resolution was just...blah. The charges being dropped because of self-defense? I don't know a lot of about law but that doesn't seem exactly applicable. They filmed it in a way that made it seem kind of questionable and I don't know how Landry could have gotten off that easy. Plus what about his dad destroying evidence? I think this storyline has allowed the actors involved to give some really outstanding performances but I still hated it. I want funny Landry back. I want sassy, confident Tyra back.
- The Gracie christening storyline. I really liked that Coach and Mrs. Taylor were such smart parents last year, to both Julie and the other kids in school. But I feel there's been almost none of that this season...I get that the writers want to shake things up and all but Tami's been pretty annoying and Coach has been kind of a doormat. I didn't think that the family getting back to normal was all that convincing but I hope that it's true.
- Matt and Carlotta. Ugh. I hate when shows portray couples as being cute THAT AREN'T CUTE.

You know, I think I've finally realized what it is about this season that just seems off to me. Dillon doesn't feel like a small town anymore. I thought during the first season they did a pretty excellent job keeping all the storylines and characters tied together...a lot of times through football. But this season it seems like a lot of the characters are just sitting in their own little worlds. I was reading through the thread for this episode on TWOP and one of the posts really hit the nail on the head. Like, why does no one else in the town seem to know or care about Landry and the murder? Why hasn't Billy come looking for Tim? Why wouldn't Tim at least talk to Jason or Lyla about his housing situation? Why hasn't Lyla been continuing to help Santiago? Why haven't we seen the town react at all to the fact that the Panthers' defense has been apparently been sucking?

FNL has always been really good about packing a lot into an hour, but I feel like I'd be totally okay with them scaling back a little if they could make the episodes a little more cohesive. I know there are a lot of characters to deal with, but there were no less than 6 separate storylines going on in this episode, with hardly any crossover...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Gossip Girl: Chuck or Nate?

So I guess I should never start complaining about how TV hasn't been compelling right before November sweeps.

Up until recently Gossip Girl has kind of just been a fun guilty pleasure but now it's totally sucking me in. And interestingly, it's not at all the Dan and Serena storyline that's hooked me. I mean, don't get me wrong, I think Dan is completely awesome and I would have loved to have had a boyfriend like him when I was in high school (or college...or now...?) but I find him and Serena to be kind of boring as a couple. And all the parallels with them and their parents is just...weird. And now with Rufus basically admitting that he's not really over Lily? I don't know, I liked the idea of Allison coming home and having one functional family on the show but so far I've been underwhelmed by her. But I can't really root for Rufus and Lily either...oy.

Anyway, what's really sucked me in is Blair. Leighton Meester is totally killing in this role. She started off being a little too queen-bee-bitchy but she's quickly become probably the most interesting character on the show. Along with Chuck. And in that way, it's totally fun and crazy and kind of perfect that they ended up hooking up. But as an actual relationship? public? That just seems a bit...wrong. Especially since Chuck's, uh, predatory past still creeps me out. Not that Nate's really right for Blair either. But for some reason I do kind of have a soft spot for Nate, even though we've really never seen him be in all that into Blair until this episode really...he's been perpetually preoccupied with Serena and his dad and all that. But after the Thanksgiving episode I now believe at some point that they were really good together. Generally I'm kind of meh on love triangles but this one kind of intrigues me because really not a single one of them knows what they want. It's all messy and confusing and unpredictable, which makes for some pretty great TV.

Oh, and I KNOW that I'm way past high school but hearing that Blair wants to be a member of Yale's class of 2013 make me feel really old...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Project Runway does menswear

I'm so glad they decided to do a menswear challenge this season. Despite the fact that nearly no one had experience with it and none of the resulting designs were anything that new or interesting, it just made for a really really entertaining episode. Ever since the makeover challenge from season 2 I've been kind of intrigued by the idea of doing menswear. I don't sew, but I can kind of imagine myself making a skirt or dress (hey, Jenny from Gossip Girl did it) but tailored pants or a collared shirt? Definitely not. But these are actual designers and it was kind of crazy to see how much trouble so many of them had. I mean, Chloe won that makeover challenge and it was her first time doing menswear. I guess it was more of a time management thing, as nearly everyone was trying to do three or more pieces.

But like, I totally can't get over Sweet P's shirt. How the heck did she get the proportions SO WRONG? And Carmen's pants really were, in the words of Michael Kors, insane. I'm not entirely sure how Jack won...his pants and shirt were well made and fit well, but I thought the stripes were kind of too much. I preferred Kit's design...even though it was a little boring too. I think Kit's jumped to the top of my premature favorites list. She's got a bit of that alternative/fashion-forward edge, but she has common sense too.

Some random bits:
-Steven totally reminds me of one of my professors from last semester. It's really weird.
-Line of the episode: "I love Asians. Asian are fierce." Usually these kinds of blanket statements come off as being kind of offensive but this just made me giggle.
-Speaking of which, Tiki Barber's wife seemed kind of out of place. Not that I would have anything interesting to say in that situation either, but I think her job is actually fashion-related?
-I don't know anything about sports either, but it kind of surprised me to learn that Tiki Barber is only 5'9". For some reason I'd been under the impression that football players were generally taller than that.

Dirty Sexy Money makes me eat my words

So of course just as I write that post about not having much to blog about...I now have stuff to blog about! Funny how these things happen...

Anyway, this stuff I'm speaking of? Dirty Sexy Money was awesome this week. I've definitely been enjoying the show so far, because all the characters are really amusing in their own way and it's amazing what kinds of hijinks all these rich people can get themselves into. But this week, somehow it just all came together. I'd been waiting for the reveal of which of the Darling kids is actually Dutch's and not Tripp's, and wow, was that a payoff! I know a lot of people had guessed that it was Brian, and you know, it really is perfect.

This was definitely Brian's episode. He's still a pretty ridiculous human being but I completely felt for him this week. His line about losing two fathers and one son all in one day was kind of heart-wrenching, and I was totally getting misty in the scene where he was saying goodbye to Brian Jr. (That little kid has been doing such an awesome job.) At least he gained a brother? The kind of one-sided Nick and Brian rivalry has always been a highlight of the show, and I imagine it's only going to get better. I also loved that little flashbacks showing Dutch...his absence is strangely a huge presence in the show and it was nice to finally see a little bit of who he was. I thought the flashback of that last time he and Nick talked was really could totally see what he was trying to say.

And you know, I even liked Jeremy's little storyline. How funny was the look on Nick's face when he realized that Lisa had been helping out Jeremy on her own accord? It's totally believable that the Darlings have no problem calling on anyone and everyone who can help them out of their little self-imposed jams.

I am getting a little wary of Patrick's storyline though. Can politicians really hide these kinds of things?? I kind of liked Ellen agreeing to sharing Patrick with Carmelita because it was just crazy enough to make sense, but with Ellen shooting him in the leg with a hunting rifle and giving him an ultimatum and Patrick refusing to make that seems like we're kind of back to square one.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I do unashamedly watch and kind of love the Hills, but this is so awesome beyond words. James Franco (and a crazy wig) as Justin Bobby and Mila Kunis as Audrina. (If you haven't watched the show this season then you won't get it though...)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blogging blues

One interesting consequence of the writers' strike is that there have been nearly no early cancellations and shows that in other years would have been axed by now are getting to play out their entire first runs. Shows that were initially panned by critics and viewers (including myself) have reportedly improved, and like Life, have even been given full season pickups. It kind of makes me a little sad about season past...maybe if shows like The Nine and Kitchen Confidential and Love Monkey had been given a chance to stay on the air a bit longer they could have made it.

Because well, I don't know, this season's shows have left me sort of...uninspired. I never intended this blog to be a place for weekly recaps or was born mostly because I felt like I had so much I wanted to talk about and no one in real life to tell it to. But lately? I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm still watching and enjoying quite a lot of TV, but in terms of shows I want to dissect and discuss and vent about? Not so much. I think the trend this season has been more towards the light and fun, which there's nothing wrong with at all, but nothing has been like...compelling enough to really get me wanting to blog.

I guess you're asking, so what am I watching? Of the returning crop, Ugly Betty, Scrubs, and Brothers & Sisters continue to be fantastic, but somehow they've never been that blogworthy to me. (But maybe I should start?) The Office and Friday Night Lights have been kind of uneven, How I Met Your Mother still has moments of brilliance, but I'm getting seriously tired of waiting to meet the "mother," and Heroes got off to a pretty terrible start. It's gotten better but the fall finale is already next week. Of course there's the always reliable Amazing Race and Project Runway, but they're only just gotten started. Of the new shows, Gossip Girl, Chuck, and Dirty Sexy Money are favorites, but they're not exactly nail biters. Kid Nation is my guilty pleasure, and I'm actually kind of enjoying Samantha Who? and Life is Wild even though they're kind of silly.

And finally...this might be kind of an unpopular opinion, but I'm starting to get a little less sold on Pushing Daisies. It's definitely been this season's critical darling, and normally I'm all about these types of quirky shows, but my enthusiasm has kind of waned since it first premiered. It is really wonderfully different and unique, but's just a little too much, even when that's the point. I think the mystery-of-the-week stuff can be especially hard to swallow. I mean, it's strange, I totally loved all the wacky stuff on Bryan Fuller's other shows, Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls, but here, amongst all the perky and sunny and's sometimes just an overload. I do love Emerson Cod and Digby and Charlotte's aunts (I can't call her Chuck...there are too many else where on TV right now) but the combination of it all doesn't always work for me. I crazy? Or am I like, growing out of my tendency to get obsessed with TV?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

blog may seem abandoned, but we're still watching tv... ;)

... at least until the shows start running out of episodes.

I'm probably in the minority, but I'm kinda glad this writers' strike is going on because it means I have a chance to catch up on all my shows. I'm still a few episodes behind, but here's what I'm still watching...

Every week:
* Heroes
* Chuck
* How I Met Your Mother
* Samantha Who?
* House
* Gossip Girl
* Pushing Daisies
* Private Practice
* Project Runway
* Grey's Anatomy
* October Road

* Shark
* Dirty Sexy Money
* Las Vegas
* The Unit
* Numb3rs
* Friday Night Lights

Monday, November 12, 2007

Playing catch-up

I know, I know, I've been a bit delinquent with the blogging lately. So here's some random stuff on the shows I've been watching:

Gossip Girl: My favorite new show of this season, hands down. And I'm not afraid to admit it. New York Magazine loves it too, and their weekly recaps are totally hilarious. I'm kind of disappointed in what they did with the Vanessa character though. I might be completely making this up but in the books I thought she was a bit more...dark and sullen and edgy. The TV Vanessa is positively sunny, and she's not different enough from Serena to really be a good alternative for Dan. And the way they've set up Dan and Serena to be the like "it" couple for the series...I'm kind of not sure what she's even doing there besides giving random sage advice to Jenny. Oh well.

Friday Night Lights: I'm so glad Coach Taylor's back in Dillon. I thought the first couple of episodes of the season were just kind of too depressing but they've returned to more of a balance. I'm kind of meh on the whole Landry storyline...both Jesse Plemmons and Glenn Morshower are acting the hell out of their roles but I liked Landry better when he was the comic relief. And I'm sort of meh on him being on the football team...the episode where he saved the game and everyone was chanting his name was a bit much for me. I am glad that Julie has gotten over her heinous rebellious stage and apologized to Matt. But I'm also glad that Matt hasn't given into her. That new cheerleader is so just a random rebound though. Loved Smash inviting Riggins over for dinner, though I kind of wished we got some wisdom from Mama Smash. I don't really know what they're doing with Jason though...he keeps diving into things that he thinks will give his life meaning: first quad rugby, then coaching, but I guess he's still looking for something else. I did kind of like him as a coach though...

Ugly Betty: much as I like Henry, all the Betty and Henry angst is getting kind of boring, and I almost want him to just go away so that Betty can get over him. I mean, that whole Wicked episode was kind of just terrible. (I'm actually still waiting to see Wicked on Broadway but I really didn't need to watch all those clips of the show.) Otherwise though, the show is still pretty awesome. I LOVE Marc and Cliff! It's just so cute and sweet and I'm just eating it up. And Victoria Beckham was actually pretty funny in this past week's episode. Oh, and did anyone else flash back to Caleb Nichol when Bradford keeled over at the altar??

The Office: I know that Michael's antics are kind of like the basis for this show, but I have to say that it's almost always the other stuff that I enjoy more. Sometimes the stuff that he and Dwight do is just so preposterous and stupid that I don't find it terribly funny. That said, I really liked the little tag at the end of this past week's episode where Michael and Jim have that really normal conversation. It was really refreshing to see that Michael's not insane all the time, and it was still funny.

Heroes: Finally got somewhere last week. And interestingly, Tim Kring, the show's executive producer has gone on record admitting that the beginning of the season pretty much sucked. Let's hope things get better from here on out. Although with the writers' strike thing there's a possibility of no new episodes after December...

Chuck: This show has really been growing on me these past couple of weeks. I don't know why nobody, including me, can stop comparing it to Reaper, but while Reaper's been suffering from bad pacing and repetitive storylines, Chuck's been getting more enjoyable by the week. Each episode has Chuck and Sarah and Casey going on some mission or whatnot, but the variety so far has been pretty great. Even the B-stories at the Buy More have been entertaining. This past week's episode we got to flash back a bit to when Chuck was at Stanford and how he got kicked out, which I really loved. I remember in the pilot I was having trouble buying Chuck as this socially inept person but now I totally see how he was really a pretty happy average guy at Stanford and it was him getting kicked out that just messed him up. I mean, I know that we've been told this all along but now I finally believe it.

The Amazing Race: It's back! I can't believe how long it took for me to get hooked onto this show...NINE seasons aired before I starting tuning in. This season has some interesting pairs, including those requisite bickering dating couples that you wonder how they ever decided that going on the race would be a good idea, and a pair of Goths who I wonder how long are going to keep up with their makeup. Fun times.

And finally, Project Runway Season 4 premieres this week! Am excited beyond words.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A few odds and ends

  • You've likely heard this elsewhere, but Joss Whedon reportedly has a new deal with Fox for a show starring Eliza Dushku, called Dollhouse. Incredible, right? Kristin from E!Online did a short interview with him about more of the details. I'm not sure I really get what it's about yet, but I'm definitely excited.
  • TV and movie writers are going on strike starting Monday. I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about how this going to affect production, but it definitely doesn't sound good.
  • I got the new My So-Called Life DVD set over the weekend, and it's wonderful! The packaging is really beautiful, with a great booklet with little essays written by Winnie Holzman and some others (including Joss Whedon, who's everywhere lately) and tons and tons of extra features and commentaries. I love that the series obviously had such an impact on everyone involved that they were willing to come back 10 years later to reminisce and make this box set happen. I had rewatched the entire series two years ago but I'm so glad I now have my own copy.
  • I also got the Veronica Mars season 3 set this weekend, and there are a few good extras, including the Season 4 presentation that I blogged about earlier, and a series of interviews/commentaries with Rob Thomas and Dan Ethridge that are pretty interesting. Rob's always talking about the fan's reactions to things and it's kind of nice to know that a showrunner takes those things into consideration. But it's an interesting contrast to what Winnie Holzman said in the MSCL extras about how part of the magic of the series was they really made the entire series kind of in a bubble with no outside inputs or pressures which gave them the freedom to do things exactly as they wanted...
  • I watched a couple of random episodes from VM season 3, and I was surprised to see that Sam, the male beauty from Beauty and the Geek, was a guest star in the third episode of the season! He's actually an actor that's been in quite a lot of things. Is it just me or has Beauty and the Geek really not mentioned that at all? I believe they're tagged him as a "party promoter." Hmm.

Catching up with the Walkers

With all the hoopla over the new fall shows I've been neglecting to cover some of my returning favorites, so let's check in with Brothers & Sisters:

Nora: She spent the first couple of episodes just worrying and fretting over Justin, which is totally understandable but was starting to get a little one-note. I think I like her best when she has a mix of comedy and drama to work with...she was hilarious during the little girls' trip to Ojai and then this week with the pantry and Kitty possibly being pregnant, but then on the other hand I really loved how she went over to Sarah's to be there for her when Joe came to pick up the kids. Her quiet strength was really visible there. I hope she gets a storyline separate from her kids soon though.

Sarah: You know, part of me kind of wanted Joe and Sarah to work it out. I know they'd be having trouble since pretty much the beginning of the series, but I don't think they ever really hated each other or couldn't get along so it seemed like it was a possibility. And I guess as the audience, we're really only seeing it from Sarah's side, because that's how she felt as well. And now with Joe filing for sole custody of Paige and Cooper? I kind of feel like we never knew Joe at all. Because that was pretty shitty of him to be planning it and collecting references a MONTH before he let her know of his intentions. I get that divorce can be ugly but that really shocked me. And I don't know, letting a mother see her children only every other weekend when there's nothing obviously wrong about her except the fact that she has a career? Not sure how that's stability. I mean, does Joe even have a job?

Kitty: She seems to be the only one on the show right now with a generally happy relationship and storyline, and I'm kind of glad for it. Yeah, there's little frustrations and spats, but it's generally been pretty upbeat, which the show definitely needs to balance out all the melodrama. Kitty getting pregnant is definitely must be so bizarre having to deal with all these kinds of things looking at how the public and media is going to react. I kind of have to admit though, I don't see how Robert could possibly win this election if the writers want to keep the show going. I wonder how far he's going to go.

Tommy: Sigh. I think this is the storyline I'm most kind of unhappy with. Is it Balthazar Getty's limitations as an actor, maybe? I know Tommy's supposed to be sort of a strong, silent type (or at least that's what I got from last season when he didn't really have anything interesting to do) but I'm just not buying this Lena thing. There wasn't any buildup at all, it just kind of dropped out of nowhere, and Tommy just doesn't seem guilty enough over it. It's not an unrealistic situation or anything, but I just don't get it. That said, I hope that Tommy and Julia do work things out...

Kevin: I'm really glad that he's doing the long-distance thing with Jason. It's about time he commits to a relationship, and with Eric Winter no longer being tied up with Viva Laughlin, I have a feeling that Jason will be back from Malaysia sooner rather than later. Scotty's been back as well, which is interesting. I really like them as a couple last season, but I'm kind of glad that they're just friends now. I hope they don't go down a different road with that though.

Justin: I wasn't too thrilled with them rehashing the addiction storyline again with Justin, but I'm withholding judgment for now. I hear a big intervention is coming up? Oh, and Dave Annable is definitely just as hot as ever!

Rebecca: So Rebecca's been living with Nora all summer. Does she...have a job? Go to school? I've always been a little confused with her character in general...last season she was always referring to more troubled past and did show some shades of being manipulating but Emily Van Camp is just so likable and earnest. And she hasn't done much this season except help take care of Justin and get her friend Lena a job. The show does a remarkably good job at balancing the numerous members of this family but sometimes Rebecca's presence just kind of confuses me.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

AUGH the Veronica Mars FBI "pilot"

So earlier this year, when Veronica Mars was teetering on the bubble of cancellation, there was this rumbling that if the show returned for a fourth season, they would skip ahead 5 years or so and make Veronica an FBI agent. I didn't really like this idea. But apparently they actually shot a "trailer" for this reworked version, and it got released on the season 3 DVD (which I've ordered but haven't received yet).

But of course it's on youtube.

Part 2 is here.

And man, this is an unpopular opinion, but I am SO GLAD that they didn't go ahead with this version. I know Kristen Bell is in her late twenties in real life, but after 3 years of Veronica the teenager it's just too much of a mind jump to think of her as a real FBI agent. And of course they have her go undercover at a high school, which makes it even more confusing. It's just too weird! And for the life of me I don't know how this was supposed to attract new viewers. It cuts out the backstory of the first three seasons I suppose but I don't know, teen detective sounds a lot cooler than snarky FBI agent.

I've had my peace with Veronica Mars being over, so man, it was really weird watching this. But it really just made me miss the old Veronica Mars of like, first season. And Logan. Augh, I miss Logan! Haha, yes, I am pathetic.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Summer season finales

I know, I know, it's fall now (and the weather is finally agreeing with the calendar here in the Northeast) but two really awesome series that ran this summer recently had their season finales. It's funny, summer series never used to be a big thing at all, but with the cable networks producing their own original series and not adhering to the regular broadcast seasons, things have gotten a lot more interesting. These two shows, Damages and Mad Men each had 13-episode freshman seasons and they were both just phenomenal in their own way, really way better than any of the new fall shows, in my opinion. Looking at my TV schedule this fall, I have a mix of quirkiness, guilty pleasures, and geeks of all kinds but not too much of what Damages and Mad Men were: thinking shows for grownups.

Let's talk about Mad Men's big finale twist first: Peggy hasn't just been gaining weight, she was pregnant. And she gave birth. And seemingly rejected her baby. Pretty much all in the last couple of minutes of the show. WTF? It was definitely a shocker, and a lot of people have been buzzing about how that just strains the credibility of the show. And I'd really been liking Peggy, as she rose in the ranks from secretary to junior copywriter based on her talent. It's just so bizarre that they went in this direction. I can't speak firsthand, but it seems to me that gaining weight because you're pregnant is entirely different from just plain gaining weight. And I mean, was she so clueless that she didn't realize she wasn't having her period? She didn't feel kicks? Or was she in colossal denial? The writers have got some serious explaining to do.

But outside of that, the episode (and entire season really) have just been excellent. Jon Hamm, who I don't recognize from anywhere really, has been so incredibly good as Don, and I've loved the slow reveal of his past. Betty's storyline has been a roller coaster too...she has this weird sort of creepy quality about her that makes her and Don the craziest couple on TV that I'm actually rooting for. Don's slideshow presentation with all the photos of his family really got me a bit misty. And how sad was it when he got home and saw that they had already left? It's weird, this slick, composed guy whose whole life is kind of a lie and who cheats on his wife...I'm totally sympathetic with him.

There's tons more to say but I really encourage everyone to go and check out this show before it returns for a second season. The time period is almost a character in itself, and it's really unlike anything else on TV.

Now onto Damages. Talk about a show that knows how to plot! The show had two timelines that were inching closer to eachother as the episodes progressed, and it was just really thrilling, with all the twists and red herrings and mini-mysteries. It's been really unpredictable and exciting, but not to the point where unbelievable things are happening. It's kind of hard to sum up the entire season, but it's been an incredible ride.

And things have been kind of set up for a second season, though it seems it'll have to be a very different kind of show. I originally thought this was going to be an extended mini-series of sorts, with only one season, but there have been rumblings otherwise. This season has been very tightly structured and plotted, revolving around the Frobisher case. Ellen's whole induction into Patty's world was really based solely on her connection to Katie and the case. But now with the case wrapped up, Frobisher presumably dead (shot down by crazy was that?)...we're going to be delving into Ellen working undercover for the FBI to find out more about Patty? The writers are definitely going to have to come up with more than that. And I'm a bit skeptical. Patty's a really great character and Glenn Close is amazing and I'm sure there's tons that can be done with her, but I don't know if I necessarily want more. Again, it's the whole thing with letting a story end where it ends logically. I mean, some shows just aren't meant to go on indefinitely...right?

all the medical shows jennifer doesn't watch.. :)

I figured I'm long overdue an update, but Jenn has done such a thorough job in covering Fall TV, really all I could possibly write about are, well, the shows she DOESN'T watch. :)

Grey's Anatomy - This season is nowhere near as terrible as last season was, but it's still not all that interesting. When will they learn that Meredith and Derek are just not that interesting of a couple and leave their storyline alone. They're far less annoying when they're happy and together, so just let them be! I don't know how many more Meredith-Derek breakups I can sit through. I like the addition of Lexie Grey, because I like the actress from her Reunion days (though I only liked the high school version of her character), but everything else is just sorta the same old stuff.

Private Practice - Terrible. Well, I'm giving a few more episodes a shot. Mostly I'm rooting for Judging Amy's Amy (the Psychiatrist) and Prison Break's Secret-Service-Agent-with-a-conscience man (the Pediatrician) to get together. I have no idea, nor do I care to remember, what their names are, if that's any indication of how much I do not particularly like this show.

House - Hands down the best medical show on TV right now -- if not ever! At least IMHO. I adore Hugh Laurie as much as ever, but mostly I love the new season's gimmick. All of House's assistants were fired/quit at the end of last season, so now he is eliminating "potential" assistants from a class of 100 or so applicants every week. I also enjoy how Cameron, Chase, and Foreman continue to be mixed into the storyline even though they're definitely not working under House anymore.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A couple of stragglers: Life is Wild, Samantha Who and the Next Iron Chef

Life is Wild - When I first heard about this show I wondered how it could possibly have the budget to set up filming on location in South Africa with actual animals and how they managed to get all these American actors to ship over there. It seemed a whole huge production for something that didn't even sound that great. But apparently it's based on a popular British TV show called Wild at Heart that pretty much had everything set up so both shows film at the same site, which really is a game preserve. So if it gets'll still suck but hey, at least the British version is doing well.

Anyway, the show's not really too bad. I think it's supposed to be the CW's replacement for 7th Heaven: a nice clean family show, this time with beautiful scenery and wild animals. The writing and acting is kind of terrible, but I mean, it's not really aiming to be groundbreaking or anything. 7th Heaven lasted for 11 freaking seasons without doing anything the least bit interesting and I think they're hoping this show could possibly do the same. Except for the fact that the family is only supposed to be in South Africa for one year, and the two older kids are nearly done with high school. Um...yeah. They'll have to do something about that.

After watching the pilot I thought I would probably just drop it but there's really nothing else to watch in its timeslot (Sundays at 8PM) so I found myself checking it out again this week, and I don't know, it's just kind of mindlessly entertaining. And that lion cub is so cute!

Samantha Who? - Amnesia's a pretty tried and true TV/film plot device but for some reason watching this show made me really wonder about it for the first time. I mean, retrograde amnesia? How weird is that? Having "general knowledge" but no memories or sense of yourself? At first I thought that Sam was being way too casual about it all but then I realized that I mean, obviously I don't know how I'd behave in that situation anyway. It's so WEIRD! Haha, anyway, I thought this was pretty cute and fun. It reminded me a lot of 13 Going on 30, which I love. I was surprised to see Barry Watson here, and even more surprised to kind of like him. I've found it difficult to block out his 7th Heaven days but I think he kind of looks different now. Has he lost weight or something? Christina Applegate is likable, Jean Smart is hilarious as her mom, and Melissa McCarthy (Sookie from Gilmore Girls!) and Jennifer Esposito (from I the only one who watched that show?) play her "angel and devil" friends. It's fun stuff.

The Next Iron Chef - Alton Brown did some interviews kind of slamming Top Chef saying that the chefs on that show didn't have any skill or talent as compared to this new show that he's hosting. I've always liked Alton Brown, but that was really extremely harsh, considering that a lot of the Top Chef contestants lately own restaurants or work at places like Guy Savoy. And really, Top Chef is a serious show. The drama might be kind of overblown at times, but the Next Iron Chef is...kind of hokey. I mean, if you've watched Iron Chef America, you know what I mean with the Chairman and all the faux dramatics with the "secret ingredient" and all. It's all part of the fun, which I enjoy, but really Alton, no need to be so nasty.

Anyway, I love my cooking reality shows and this is no different. It's a short series, having only started with 8 chefs, and the challenges are really good. This week was a mystery-box-type challenge, but the fun was that they got to choose ingredients for eachother. And they had to cook outdoors on grills, so a double whammy. I can't really say I have a favorite...being an Iron Chef doesn't necessarily mean you need to have personality, and honestly, I think all these people would do just fine. I remember seeing Aaron Sanchez as a challenger on ICA, and he did extremely well. I guess they're just looking for something who'll have a winning record and be interesting to watch?

On a related note, during the show last night I saw a commercial for Amy's new show, the Gourmet Next Door. It has some random weekend daytime slot, but I'll definitely be checking it out. I did vote for her and all...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Checking in with the new fall shows

I've been swamped with work and school these past couple of weeks, and with a week or more of TV backed up on my DVR, it's interesting to see which of the new shows I find myself wanting to watch first. So far, there have only been two shows that I've been watching live or almost immediately (Gossip Girl and Pushing Daisies), a couple more that I've been genuinely enjoying, and the rest are either still on trial or I've already given up. Here's the rundown, from best to worst:

1. Gossip Girl: I can't help it, I LOVE this show. Blair and Serena are just so perfectly cast and are really believable as those best friends that really are close but find themselves alternately warring and hugging. Also really loving Dan and Jenny and even boring Nate and jerky Chuck are watchable. The little romance with Dan and Serena has been cute, but I'm not getting too least based on the books, though I don't know how closely they're going to following them. I'm totally addicted.

2. Pushing Daisies: I actually didn't really like the second episode...I thought the whole dandelion car thing was just too much and it all looked a little too Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But this week's episode really won me over. The Ned-Chuck romance is so sweet and I love all the funny ways they're getting around the touching thing: holding hands with gloves, kissing through plastic wrap...I'm also glad that Ned came clean with Chuck about some of the details of his power. I was a bit worried they'd drag that out too long, though of course he's still yet to tell her about her father. I figure that's a sweeps type storyline. I'm also totally loving Emerson Cod. He knits! And the Pooh thing from this week was genius. Chi McBride's done a lot of dramatic stuff and I never expected him to be so funny, but he's really stealing a lot of scenes here.

3. Kid Nation: Um yeah. I don't think it's really getting good ratings at all but for some reason I just really love this show. Obviously I'm susceptible to getting hooked on reality but I find it to be really entertaining. A lot of it is extremely contrived but the kids are an interesting mix...much more diverse than any other reality show.

4. Dirty Sexy Money: I think what I like about this show is that every character was introduced really well. All the wild and crazy things rich people do are really entertaining, and Peter Krause does a great job keeping it down to earth a bit. There's a little bit of a mystery going on too. It's just really a lot of fun and I hope they keep it up.

5. Aliens in America: The only sitcom on my list (though I've yet to check out Samantha Who? about which I've heard some good things). It's short, sweet, and satisfying, and all the characters are really likable.

6. Reaper: This is where things start to get a little questionable. I did think the pilot was funny but the next couple of episodes had me a little bored, and honestly, they kind of remind of all the bad episodes of Buffy. I mean, even the bad episodes of Buffy had good things about them, and it's the same here, but...yeah. They're still kind of bad. Sock continues to amuse, Sam's pretty easy to root for, and Ray Wise as the Devil is perfect, but I wonder if maybe they need a little bit more of an ongoing storyline.

7. Chuck: I'm a couple of weeks behind with this one, and maybe it's gotten better but I kind of it's just a little too silly at times. And I don't know, Chuck just seems a little too Seth Cohen 2.0 for me. I guess his dorkiness is kind of endearing but I found myself thinking he was just lame a lot of the time. Adam Baldwin is pretty hilarious though. It's not all working for me yet but I'm willing to give it a few more weeks.

8. Journeyman: Really makes absolutely no sense but I kind of like Dan, the main character. I'm kind of afraid to get too into though because it sort of seems doomed for early cancellation.

9. Bionic Woman: I want to like this show, I really do, but it's just so heavy and humorless. And Jamie still has no personality. I guess it's the butt-kicking babe thing but I can't help comparing Jamie to Sydney Bristow. Sydney might have gotten a little cold as the series progressed, but she kind of instantly made you care about her. Jamie's just...blah. I'm still liking Sarah Corvus and Jae though. Oh, but was I like not paying attention during the pilot and Will is already dead? That's maybe a plus because I thought he was annoying. I'm trying to stick it out, really, but it's getting tough.

Off the DVR: Moonlight (boring), Cane (boring), Private Practice (bad/uninteresting), K-Ville (uninterested), Life (boring), Big Bang Theory (uninterested), Big Shots (stupid).

Sophomore slumping?

A bunch of the shows I'm watching are in their second seasons now, and that brings up the question, are they facing the sophomore slump? Here's my verdict so far:

Heroes: Definitely slumping. I think part of what was exciting about last season was that we were just meeting these characters in their separate worlds and there was this anticipation of their storylines converging and everyone meeting up. But now everyone's separated again and I don't get a sense of where things are going at all. Some of the stories still interest me, like Claire and her flying boy, West, and I'm actually liking Micah and his peppy cousin Monica. And thank goodness Mohinder and Matt and Molly in New York are actually doing something productive.

But Hiro? The thing with Kensei was amusing for maybe one episode but why are they dragging it out? And Peter in Ireland? Milo Ventimiglia does look kind of hot in all those shirtless scenes, but the whole memory loss thing is so not working for me. And I KNEW he wasn't going to want to open the box. Stupid Peter. And finally, our two new heroes, Maya and Alejandro...after watching them on the run for three episodes and having basically nothing happen to make us want to care about them, they run into Sylar. Whom, by the way, I despise. Yeah, he's the bad guy and I'm supposed to hate him, but bad guys should be entertaining to watch in some respect, and for me, he's just not. I don't want to watch him. I DON'T.

So...yeah. I mean, even last season I didn't think Heroes was as great as people hyped it up to be, but it more than held my attention. So far this season I've just been kind of bored. The promos are hyping Kristen Bell joining the cast in next week's episode but I don't know that I'm necessarily excited about that. Obviously I was a huge fan of Veronica Mars but I get the feeling her character is one of those smartass sarcastic chicks that I usually find kind of grating. We'll see...

Friday Night Lights: Umm...I hate to say this, but I'm worried. Things just aren't right with Coach Taylor not in Dillon with the Panthers. I know that this shakeup with pretty much every character is intentional but I can't say that I've been really enjoying it. I'm especially not enjoying the fracturing of what last season was one of the best families on the TV (the Taylors) and the end of my favorite couple from last season, Matt and Julie. I mean, when the scenes I enjoy the most involve Buddy Garrity of all people, something's got to be wrong. It looks like Eric will be back in Dillon pretty soon, but he's going to have an uphill battle getting things back to normal both at home and on the field.

Let's start with Julie. In my review of the premiere, I said that I was kind of okay with her and Matt breaking up and exploring other things, but I didn't want them to make her too unlikeable. But it's happened. I mean, even outside of her love life, she's just being HORRIBLE to her mother. Last night when she told Tami "your baby's crying" I pretty much wanted to kill her. And even though Tami slapping her was probably a little over the line, I'm kind of glad she did. I really hope this little rebellious stage of Julie's is going over soon because if it keeps going then she's not even deserve to have Matt back (assuming that's the plan...which I suppose it might not be). Although I don't know about Matt either now. I thought it was so cute how he was apologizing to Coach about the breakup when none of it was really his fault and Coach didn't even know about it, but then I'm really afraid of where they're going with him and Carlotta. What is up with these Dillon Panthers and older women??

I mean, it's not all bad. I was worried about the Landry-Tyra thing but oddly enough that's really been the least of the show's problems. I liked how Landry's father reacted in this week's episode. I thought he was going to confront Landry in some cliched TV parent way but instead he goes to see Tyra and asks why she's into his son. (BTW, Glenn Morshower aka Agent Pierce from 24, is so the perfect casting for Landry's dad...LOVE him!) Somehow I'm actually finding the Landry/Tyra dynamic to be pretty believable, but I kind of miss the old goofy Landry.

I don't know, I'm hoping that once Coach Taylor is back with the Panthers things will seem more right again, but that really remains to be seen. I want so badly for the show to continuing being as awesome as it was last season, but maybe my expectations are a little too high?

Ugly Betty: Definitely NOT slumping. I really consistently enjoyed this show last season although I never really blogged about it. But this season so far has just been AWESOME. There was a bit too much melodrama in the first episode for my taste but things since then have been back to all crazy wacky fun. This week's episode had a ton of incredible guest stars, including my favorite SpyDaddy Victor Garber as Betty's snobby writing teacher, John Cho as Henry's fellow accountant, and James Van Der Beek as one of Mode's top advertisers. Yes, James Van Der Beek. As you may know, I have this bizarre love/hate thing with Dawson's Creek but the sight of Dawson Leery himself cracked me up.

Also beyond awesome this season is Justin. First he's all fashion elf-y at Mode, then he asks Daniel to play basketball with him (totally classic), and now he's trying to be Santos, complete with sullen attitude, beer, and making out with a Queens girl! (I'm actually from Queens, but you can't really get offended by the stereotypes on this show.) And...Ugly Willy! And Alexis waking up from the coma not knowing she's a woman now! And Amanda and Marc! And Henry! I LOVE THIS SHOW!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Friday Night on Fridays!

I actually watched this episode a week ago on Yahoo!TV but I decided to hold off on blogging about it until it actually aired so I could go more into detail about some of the stuff that happened...if you've watched the show then you probably know what I'm referring to by this point. But I'll get to that a little later.

It's weird, I absolutely loved the show last season and was thrilled when it was renewed but at the same time, I felt like last season's story was so nicely self-contained with a nice beginning, middle, and end...and I was strangely unprepared to be dropped into it all again, especially since what, 8 months have passed, and things are definitely not as we left them.

Coach Taylor has indeed been living and working in Austin, and I don't know, in the finale they managed to convince me that it was going to somehow be okay but now it just seems like a colossally bad situation. I mean, being away for weeks at a time pretty much the whole time your wife is pregnant? And then with a newborn? I think they'll be dealing with it all a bit more in the upcoming episodes but I wonder how a good resolution can come of it all. Obviously the sentimental solution would be to have Coach Taylor back with the Panthers, that's how we grew to love him after all, but in terms of his character, that just seems like it would be a step down. I hope the writers haven't dug themselves into a hole here.

Also a lot unhappier than we last left them are Matt and Julie. Now, I'm not going to lie, I LOVED Matt and Julie together and would prefer that they be kind of left alone but I realize that's not realistic. And I sort of get why Julie's acting out...they are only 16 after all. It's the whole perfect couple syndrome. She was lucky enough to have kind of the perfect first high school relationship but she doesn't really want that to be IT for the rest of her life. I'm guessing they're going to be breaking up and seeing other people for awhile, but I really do hope they end up together in the long run. And that their characters don't become too unlikable in the process. Julie was being pretty insufferable this episode. (Sigh, the shipper in me is missing all the cute Matt/Julie scenes from last season...good thing I now have the DVDs so I can go back and be nostalgic.)

In other news, Lyla seems to have turned into one of those annoying Christians who's always telling everybody that they need to be saved. Now, I'm a Christian, but I can't stand people who act like that, and I don't know, maybe it's the acting, but it definitely strikes me as being pretty fake. I was starting to maybe like Lyla a little bit at the end of last season but now we're back at square one. Or square minus one.

Okay, so finally we get to Landry and Tyra. As unlikely as they were and still are, I was happy to see that they stayed friends, and it totally made me laugh that after 8 months, Landry was STILL trying to make his first move. But man, having her attacker come back? And Landry accidentally killing him? And dumping the body? This just seems like it's out of another world. This makes me worried. I do have faith in the writers to take what seems like a cliched bad teen movie plot and elevate it but I hope I'm not going to wish they never went there in the first place.

Pushing Daisies!

When I first heard about this show I was a little afraid that it was going to be one of those quirky but brilliant shows that gets canceled prematurely because it never quite finds the right audience, like Bryan Fuller's last show, Wonderfalls (which I really need to blog about's beyond awesome). Usually I blame these kinds of situations on the networks. But this time around, I'm happy to say that ABC has done an extremely good job promoting the show. In the Philadelphia area where I live I've been seeing ads for it on buses for weeks now and on Wednesday, I was walking to class in University City and there were people on the street handing out daisies with little tags advertising the premiere that night! So cute!

And cute really is an operative word here when describing the show. The look of the show is quite different...the only thing I can think of comparing it to is Big Fish. And it is sort of fairy-tale-ish, thanks in part to the narration by Jim Dale, who does the Harry Potter audio books. Lee Pace plays our protagonist, Ned, the lonely pie maker with the strange gift, and I love him! I loved him back on Wonderfalls and I'm so glad he's leading his own show now. Anna Friel, yet another British import, plays Chuck, his childhood sweetheart. I really like her too...I just recently saw her in Our Mutual Friend (a BBC miniseries...yes, I'm still obsessed with those) and despite initial misgivings, she really won me over. Also in the cast are Kristin Chenoweth, who's SO TINY next to Lee Pace (though I guess I'm not one to talk...I'm probably only a inch or so taller than her), Swoosie Kurtz and Ellen Greene as Chuck's aunts, and Chi McBride (bouncing back from last season's doomed The Nine) as a private detective and Ned's "business partner." I really like that the cast is more varied and not just a bunch of pretty people like a lot of the other new shows this season.

I don't really want to recap the episode since I really encourage everyone to go watch it themselves, but there's a really sweet but kind of doomed romance, lots of quirky characters and details (uh, honey for the homeless?), and enough of a procedural element that will give the show structure but not overwhelm it. I do already have some questions about Ned's "gift" but I'll hold off to muse on them since well, it's only one episode.

So definitely yes to Pushing Daisies. I'm eagerly awaiting upcoming episodes, and I hope you all will check it out too!

Friday, October 05, 2007

And the new Top Chef is...


I'm totally okay with this outcome. I think I might have been a little more excited if Dale or Casey won, but it's not that I disliked Hung at all. And being really all about the food, Hung definitely deserved the win. Congrats to him.

There were a bunch of changes to this year's finale, and I thought they really were for the better. First of all, they revealed the winner live, presumably because of last season's Food and Wine website debaucle where the winner was spoiled before the finale aired. It was very Survivor-Apprentice-esque, though thankfully we weren't subjected to boring clip show recaps or interviews with family members. I imagine they'll be keeping it that way. The other changes involved the final challenge itself. For one, all the chefs would be serving their courses at the same time. I think there are advantages and disadvantages to this. While it allows for more direct comparison, I imagine it would be a little more difficult to keep track of the progression and cohesiveness of each of the chefs' menus. Although these more sophisticated eaters can probably handle it.

Also, the chefs' were each given a surprise sous chef: Rocco DiSpirito, Michelle Bernstein, or Todd English. Now that was a fun idea, and added a short of interesting dimension to it all. While they were all assured competent, professional help and none of that sabotage stuff that can come with former competitors, it was obviously a little intimidating. I could tell that the bigwigs were finding it really hard not to offer their input.

And lastly, taking a page from Project Runway Season 2, they were thrown a curveball and told to create a fourth dish with only an hour left. Here's where the former cheftestants came in. The pairings worked out surprisingly well: no drama here. And finally, Brian, the last chef kicked off, got to join the judges for the meal. I thought this was a bit bizarre, but Tom's blog indicates that Brian was still stuck in Aspen after getting kicked off and they figured they might as well invite him. Lucky guy.

So onto the food. I was kind of disappointed to see that Casey just didn't do well, and she knew it. Maybe had she more time to plan things it could have been different, but after the second course it was kind of obvious that it was going to come down to Dale and Hung. I've been saying all along that I thought Dale was a really thoughtful and creative chef and he really showed it here, with lots of interesting flavors and concepts that he'd never even done before. But while he he had two excellent dishes, his gnocchi course was called inedible. Ouch. Hung, on the other hand, is the technical master, which he displayed with full force, but he finally brought in some of his Asian influences and it really paid off. I actually thought the chocolate cake was a good idea. I mean, on the one hand, it was going to impress anyone, but in terms of a menu it made sense.

So Top Chef Season does it stack up as a whole? There were less personalities this time around, but a lot more likable people and a whole lot less drama. Which was maybe a little boring at times, but a heck of lot better than last year. And I think that the top 3 were really extraordinarily strong, definitely better than last year, and really right up there with Season 1, possibly even better. So yes, the show redeemed itself this year, and obviously I'll be here for next season!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thursday night favorites

The Office: So how cute are Jim and Pam? (Or as Kevin has dubbed them, PB&J.) I was a little surprised at how the camera crew got involved to get them to reveal they were dating, but I liked how after awhile Pam just figured she had to admit it. I don't know where they're going with this, I read in some interview somewhere that it's not going to be exactly what we expect, but for now the shipper in me is happy!

Outside of all that, I think that what makes the Office so great is all the bits and details, but sometimes I'm kind of iffy on the main storylines, especially when it revolves around Michael doing something stupid and Dwight backing him up. So I really don't know about these hour-long episodes because they just kind of seem dragged out. Oh well. I can't possibly remember all the little things that made me laugh in the episode to recap, but I liked it. I am hoping that Darryl gets more screentime this season though because he really cracks me up.

Ugly Betty: During last season's finale, I thought it as pretty much a foregone conclusion that Santos was dead, so I was really super happy to find out that he was alive. I thought that it was a bit odd that Hilda and Santos were just like holing up in her room for weeks, but with Betty and Justin acting pretty much normal I kind of brushed it off. But then as the episode progressed...I knew it was a sort of dream sequence fake out thing, and man. That was sad. And I felt just a little bit manipulated...

I mean, it almost made the rest of the episode seem a bit...weird. Like Justin (the fashion elf, haha) was totally adorable as usual and I wonder if he's just not dealt with the fact that his father died just a few weeks ago. And all of Betty's moping over Henry...the little telenovela bit at the beginning was hilarious but the rest of it was a bit overdramatic, especially her little outburst at the fashion shoot. Shrug. I did love the parts with Amanda and Marc, of course, and I really always love the friendship bits with Betty and Daniel. And there was a classic Ugly Betty-esque twist at the end involving Alexis which should makes things interesting. But I hope we're done with the emotional wringer for a little while and get back to the wacky fun that we all know and love.

On a side note, I just discovered that Becki Newton (Amanda) and Michael Urie (Marc) host an official Ugly Betty podcast. They're completely awesome so I figure this podcast has to be as well. Are there any other TV-related podcasts out there that I should be listening to?

Top Chef goes into the wild

Last week I said that I didn't know who I was rooting for, and the first part of the finale didn't help me make up my mind at all. Going into it I thought that Dale and Brian were the weaker of the four, but Dale really stepped it up and even won the Elimination. That left Brian to be sent home. He was a funny guy and I think he made a good showing, but he was just the worst this week and that's all there was to it. And you know, I think the second part of the finale is going to be the same: whoever has the best dishes is just going to win, and I'll totally be ok with it. I would probably say that Dale's my favorite, but that doesn't necessarily mean I want him to win because I don't know how the final challenge is going to go. While all this means that this season's competition has been overall pretty fair, it kind of makes things less exciting.

I thought the Quickfire was a little cruel. Seeing them hunched over those tiny outdoor areas was a little painful, especially with the awesome Eric Ripert looking on. And man, 20 minutes is not a lot of time, especially since they had to clean the fish. I was surprised to see seafood man Brian all frazzled, and what was this about trout not really being considered seafood?

The Elimination was a little narrow I this point I think the chefs should be allowed to choose their own proteins, so having them ALL do elk was a bit weird. I've never had elk before, but I have had antelope once, and I'm not so sure I'm a big fan of game meats. (I know, I know, if really want to be a foodie I should be more open to exotic meats, but I mean, I don't even like dark meat chicken...) I liked seeing more focus on the sauces though...Dale's blackberry sauce and Casey's smoked sauce both sounded really awesome.

Anyway, this season has seemed somewhat long and I'm definitely ready for it to be over. Plus, this means that Project Runway will be returning soon. November 14th, mark your calendars!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pilot reviews part 5: Journeyman and Reaper

For some reason or another I hadn't been expecting to like Journeyman at all. I guess it just seemed kind of vague and another weak sci-fi attempt by a major network. And um, it also might have had something to do with Gretchen Egolf, who I seriously despised back when she was on Roswell playing that awful Vanessa Whitaker. (I know, I know, I need to stop judging actors based on one bad role.)

But you know, I found myself really liking this pilot. I mean, it was pretty confusing and a lot of things make no sense, but it is a time travel show and I think you can kind of make up your own rules for these kind of things. The beginning of the episode was a little crazy because you barely find out who this guy is before he inexplicably starts time-traveling. And at first I thought Dan, played by Kevin McKidd, was kind of bland, but I found myself kind of liking and caring about him by the end.

There's a bit of complicated romance thing going as well...Dan in the present is married (to his brother's ex-girlfriend?) with a young son, but before that was engaged to Livia, who's now dead. Dan figures out that he's supposed to help someone during these little "trips" as he calls them, but he's always crossing paths with Livia as well. And one encounter is especially strange, as it seems to be a time-traveling Livia as well. I don't know, I'm intrigued, so I'm definitely going to stick it out for a few episodes at least.

I kind of had the exact opposite thing with Reaper; I was pretty sure I was going to like it. And I did. It kind of reminds me a little bit of the good old days of the WB when their schedule was chock-full of teen sci-fi with Buffy and Angel and Roswell and Charmed and such. The pilot was directed by Kevin Smith, and it really shows...there's a lot to like here.

The concept of the show is pretty silly...on his 21st birthday, Sam learns that his parents sold his soul to the devil before he was born and now he has to work for the devil sending escaped souls back to hell. Sam (Bret Harrison) is yet another one of this season's lovable slackers who works at a megastore (this time, a Home Depot clone called the Work Bench), but it's almost not his fault. His parents, fearful of his inevitable fate, have been way too easy on him (he quit college because it made him sleepy), so he's been kind of a wimp his entire life. So in a way this new job is finally giving him some purpose and confidence. Like to go after Andi, the cute girl at work (played by Missy Peregrym). Yeah, we kind of all know where this is going.

But this show does have two really great things going for it: Ray Wise and Tyler Labine. Ray Wise is kind of brilliant as the devil, playing him with a big, slightly creepy smile and a kind of quirky sense of humor. And Tyler Labine (who I remember from back on Breaker High, the most ridiculous teen show that's ever existed but that also produced Ryan Gosling) is Sock, Sam's wacky coworker. And Valarie Rae Miller's in the cast too, who's a welcome face since I haven't her seen in anything since Dark Angel.

A lot of people have been comparing this to Chuck, but I don't think that's really a bad thing. The characters and tone of the shows are pretty similar, but Chuck has the spy thing and Reaper has the supernatural thing. I'm not sure that either of them is really going to be appointment TV but they're fun and for now that's good enough.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pilot reviews part 4 - Private Practice, Big Shots, and Dirty Sexy Money

So I was definitely kidding myself when I thought that there was a chance I might like Private Practice. Because I DON'T LIKE MEDICAL SHOWS. I just don't. All those wacky cases just do not interest me. And having those cases being worked on by doctors with messed up personal lives? I don't know, it seems that all the doctors in the group are in their thirties or forties, but they all seem to be single and unhappy and that's kind of...depressing? I don't know, I just wasn't into it at all. It's really a shame because there's so many great people in the cast, including Tim Daly (my irrational crush), Amy Brenneman, Paul Adelstein, Taye Diggs...oh well. Looks like I'll be able to fit Bionic Woman into my schedule for now after all.

And when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I decided to watch Big Shots. UGH. Michael Vartan is as hot as ever but that really doesn't make up for the meh that is this show. It's been described as the male version of Sex and the City, and that's the problem right there. Maybe this is sexist, I don't know, but I don't find men sitting around discussing their relationship problems to be kind of pathetic. Plus I don't think it's really all that believable that these guys are even friends. I like Joshua Malina but he seems out of place, and Christopher Titus doesn't even get to be that funny, which is a waste. Blah. I mean, I was kind of expecting this to suck, but I'm still a teeny bit disappointed because I wouldn't have minded a reason to see Michael Vartan on TV every week again. Sigh. I miss Vaughn.

Thankfully not all of ABC's new dramas are turning out to be a waste, because I really kind of loved Dirty Sexy Money. (And remember, Pushing Daisies is coming next week...although I worry that I might be a little too predisposed to like that one.) Usually it takes me awhile to warm up to Greg Berlanti shows, even though I always end up getting pretty infatuated with them (e.g. Everwood, Jack & Bobby, Brothers & Sisters), but I was happy that this time was different. Hopefully it won't go the other way and get worse from here though, because it's really a lot of fun. It's kind of like Gossip Girl for grownups. Definitely a little trashy but totally a guilty pleasure. Peter Krause plays Nick George, lawyer to the rich and wild New York family, the Darlings. Parents Tripp and Leticia seem normal enough, but their children are all crazier than the next. Patrick is a rising politician who's having an affair with a transexual; Karen is working on her fourth marriage (and an old crush on Nick); Brian has hated Nick since childhood, has some anger management issues, has a illegitimate son, and oh, is a minister; Juliet (played by OC favorite Samaire Armstrong) is a ditzy aspiring but hopeless actress; and her twin, Jeremy, seems to be perpetually trashed and getting himself into trouble. At first I was like, what kind of family really needs a full-time lawyer? Apparently this one does, especially since everyone seems to have no qualms about telling Nick even embarrassing stuff when they need help, which is evidently often. I have a feeling this is going to be a fun ride.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fall TV charts

Variety has this handy chart of all the new fall shows and their staffers' opinions.

And some TV bloggers put together their own version of the chart (links to tapeworthy, it's floating around quite a few other blogs as well).

I haven't seen all the pilots yet, but it helps to know that yes, Cavemen and Carpoolers are as bad as they sound...

Pilot reviews part 3 - The Big Bang Theory and Cane

The Big Bang Theory: Or, Beauty and the Geek: the sitcom. This show was introduced as being from the creators of Two and a Half Men, so yeah, I wasn't expecting much. So in that respect, it wasn't really too bad. There was some funny stuff and all, but I mean, if I want to see geeks saying geeky things and pretty girls not understanding them, then well, I'm already watching Beauty and the Geek. So...Big Bang Theory = unnecessary.

Cane: I guess CBS was trying to go for something glamorous here but I'm not sure it really worked. There's a lot of great actors in the cast, like Jimmy Smits and Hector Elizondo and Rita Moreno even, and plenty of pretty people, and the setup is pretty generous: a large extended Cuban family, business rivalries, sibling rivalries, pretty teenagers, etc. But I don't know, maybe this is just me being stereotypical, but I was kind of expecting it to be...uh, hotter? I mean, it's South Florida, the rum business, nightclubs, Latino music...and yet the pilot managed to be pretty plodding. There was a pretty lengthy preview at the end of the episode that outlined a bunch of upcoming plot points (a lot of business dealings that turn violent, it seems, and an appearance by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger?) and it seems that things might get more exciting but I'm not sure if I'm interested enough. It's not really in a competitive timeslot though so I think it has an ok chance of sticking around.

And now, the continuation of Heroes...

(Huge backlog of shows to post about, bear with me as I catch up!) it just me or is Heroes a really big downer?

I mean, I know it's a drama where a lot of heavy stuff happens and along with the special abilities come danger and burden and loneliness and all that, but really, it's one thing to be serious, but it's another to be positively somber. All the mournful theme music isn't helping and the characters on this show seem to spend an inordinate amount of time actively sulking. Somehow I just always end up feeling thoroughly depressed after watching this show.

At least Hiro is still Hiro. He seems to have dropped himself into 17th century Japan, where he meets his idol Kensei, only to discover that this legendary figure is not even, but an Englishman (played by American David Anders, aka Sark from Alias), and not so much a hero after all. Plus the timing of Hiro's little drop-in seems to have messed with history. Who knows where this is going...and isn't Hiro curious about what happened with Sylar? Back in the present, apparently he's been gone for 4 months.

As for our other heroes, Claire, HRG, and their family seem to have moved to California, where Claire attempts to be "ordinary" but immediately meets a cute boy who turns out to have the same power as Nathan: he can fly. This is kind of interesting, as we haven't seen any heroes with duplicate powers before. I hope this doesn't mean he's evil. Matt Parkman is now divorced and taking care of Molly, and he finally makes detective with the NYPD. Mohinder is traveling around giving lectures about the heroes to people who don't really care but it seems he's actually trying to bait HRG's old employer. Nathan is bearded and sulking. Ando is waiting around for Hiro to come back. (Ando's part of the main cast now though, yay!) And Peter somehow ends up in Ireland? No mention of Niki or DL or Micah or Sylar.

We also get introduced to two new heroes, Maya and Alejandro, who are making their way to New York to find Mohinder. I'm not sure that it was such a good idea to introduce them in the season premiere. We all want to know what's going on all the existing heroes, and I found myself pretty much not caring about them, especially since they didn't interact with any already existing characters.

The season's first big mystery was also setup: something to do with that symbol that was popping up everywhere, a helix. This is pretty standard sci-fi/fantasy stuff...secret groups really like their symbols. Apparently it was all over the place last season too but I had no idea. I'm trying not to analyze the show too much because that generally gets me in trouble.

Anyway, they definitely packed a lot into the hour, but there was nothing too mindblowing. What do you suppose the next catchphrase is going to be?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Beauty and the Geek mixes things up

I've actually always wondered whether switching things up on Beauty and the Geek and having male beauties and female geeks would ever work. As a female geek myself, I usually find myself relating more to the guys on the show (and sadly enough understanding pretty much all of their geek-speak) and finding the girls to be ridiculously alien. But I think a full swap would probably have been too much...geeky guys are kind of endearing and cute but I don't know what the American public's reaction to geeky girls would be. So it's smart that they decided to just have one opposite couple. It's be interesting to see how that changes the dynamics in the house.

The little casting special they ran before the show actually started was pretty funny. I love how there were no geeks whatsoever in Las Vegas. I don't know what's going on with Nate and Jennylee but it was cool seeing them and a few other past geeks as well. I do kind of feel like they chose the geeks with more potential in terms of looks, but I think the girls seemed more skanky and ditzy than actually pretty.

Did anyone else feel like the "this season on the Beauty and the Geek" clip show was really overly long and gave too much away? All those crying clips seem like elimination interviews, they showed one of the geek makeovers, and even a few of the hookups. Not that anyone's going to really sit and analyze the clips to figure out who gets eliminated when, but I was kind of surprised that they were giving so much away.

Here's an interview with Nicole, the female geek. It's funny how I related to quite a lot of what she said.

Pilot reviews part 2 - Bionic Woman and Life

A couple more early reviews thanks to Comcast OnDemand.

Life - I'm usually completely uninterested in cop shows but I checked this one out mostly because of Damian Lewis, who I'm a fan of thanks to his awesome performances in Band of Brothers and the Forsyte Saga. Unfortunately I think his talent is a bit misplace here. First of all, why do people keep insisting on making TV series based on concepts that are more suited to a movie or miniseries? Here we have Charlie Crews, a cop who was wrongly committed of a crime and spent 12 years in prison for it. Newly exonerated and released, he returns to the force with a side motive of finding out who framed him. Now, I'm all for crime procedurals having a twist, because that's really the only reason I'd watch one. But I mean, how long are they planning to take in uncovering the mystery behind his framing? Because will there be a show after that gets solved?

Regardless, though, I don't really think that they're going to get to the point where that's going to be a real concern. Maybe Damian Lewis is supposed to be NBC's answer to House or something but his American accent here is a little strange and his character is quirky in a not so likable way. Like his obsession with fruit...random much? I don't know how this show is being targeted to, but somehow I don't think it's going to attract them.

Bionic Woman - I know next to nothing about the original Bionic Woman, but some of the people who remade Battlestar Galactica are behind this one as well, and it's been getting a lot of buzz in general. After watching the pilot though, the jury's definitely still out.

Our Bionic Woman is Jaime Sommers, a bartender who never finished college and has custody of her teenage sister, Becca. She seems kind of unextraordinary in general, but when she gets into a horrible car accident (which might not have been an accident after all), her boyfriend, a professor and surgeon, "rebuilds" her as the Bionic Woman. Or well, a bionic woman, because she's the second one. Katee Sackoff of BSG plays Sarah Corvus, the original Bionic Woman, who was presumed dead after snapping and killing dozens, but is now confirmed to still be alive.

It's all pretty intriguing, but the pilot was really all setup and it definitely remains to be seen how the show progresses. The characters' personalities aren't really clear yet, especially Jaime's. I'm not yet convinced that I can buy her as kickass. And if she's going to carry the show we need to care about her, which I was actually having trouble with. After the accident and finding out that she was bionic...I thought her reactions were a bit off. (I'm kind of reminded of the pilot of Alias, which got all of this stuff right, even though though it did eventually all go downhill.) Jaime's sister, Becca, is cute and plucky, but I wonder how her computer hacker skills are going to play into the story. I kind of already hate Will, Jaime's boyfriend, although I don't think he's supposed to be one of the bad guys. I was kind of intrigued by Jae, one of the operatives that trained Sarah and was romantically involved with her, but the rest of the people at the biological research company are still just faces.

Katee Sackoff was awesome and pretty much stole the show, though it's not clear how much of a regular role she's going to have. Although maybe that's a good thing because next to her, our supposed heroine Jaime just seemed extremely bland...