Friday, March 30, 2007

Shows that I watch but never seem to blog about:

1. Ugly Betty: I'm still really loving this, should definitely write about it more often.

2. How I Met Your Mother: Am super glad that Ted and Robin decided not to move in together. I'm not sure how long they're planning on dragging this relationship out, but the show has been extremely funny and innovative this season and the cast just has great chemistry that gets better every week.

3. The Amazing Race: All Stars. I was pretty thrilled when Rob and Amber got kicked off, not because I hate them with a passion like some people, but because it was just a great twist. Am not so thrilled that somehow Charla and Mirna have somehow taken their place as the frontrunners. I just don't understand their crazy antics and accents coupled with their eerily serene and controlled interview segments in which they seem convinced that they're the only nice and honest people on the show. I'm rooting for Danny and Oswald because they're funny and generally positive and pretty good racers on top of that. Also wouldn't mind seeing Dustin and Kandice do well...I didn't like them all that much last season but they've been floating under the radar this time around despite a few dumb moves.

4. Jericho: This falls into the category of not very good dramas that I watch because I want to know what happens. I still think the show has a great premise, it's just that the execution is kind of nothing special. It's in the same timeslot as Friday Night Lights and Bones, and I really feel bad for not watching Bones, but oh, well...

5. Heroes: So I like this show too. But I'm not super invested in it, like I am with Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars and Friday Night Lights and Battlestar Galactica (the shows I seem to be blogging about most this season). It's entertaining enough but a few things are holding me back. The first is all that Niki/Jessica nonsense. And the second is Sylar. I don't know, sure, he's creepy, but I don't find him to be all that great of a bad guy.

6. Brothers & Sisters: I've been meaning to do a "second chance" blog on this because I went back and watched the entire season to date on and I've gotten really into it. I think I go through this sort of process with every Greg Berlanti show (Everwood and Jack & Bobby before this). I think the first couple of episodes are pretentious and sentimental but then later on I somehow get lured back to it and discover that it's actually really good.

7. Top Design: I know, I know, I said that I probably wasn't going to watch it anymore, but it's kind of interesting. No way near as good as Project Runway or even Top Chef, but it's still pretty watchable. I don't care who wins but the designs are fun to see.

8. The Hills: Ummm yeah. For some reason I just love this packaged reality stuff that MTV does. This season has focused a lot on Heidi and her beyond-irritating boyfriend Spencer, but I think Lauren's been growing up a lot and has started standing up for herself, which is really nice to see.

9. Wildfire: Yeah, even more ridiculous teen TV shows. I'm not sure why I subject myself to this one, considering I can't stand Kris anymore and Matt and Kris are boring together, but well, I blame the DVR. In fact, I blame the DVR for most of this list. I don't know if and when they're having a 4th season but I should really seriously consider not watching it. Enough is enough, right?

10. Instant Star: ....or not. It's official, I watch too many teen shows. Anyway, this season seems to be THE season for Jude and Tommy, since she's finally turning 18. It's still a bit ick when you think about it because Tommy's got to be in his mid-twenties at least, but they're kind of hot. Jude's always been pretty self-righteous and I feel like it's been getting worse lately, but the show is still fun.

11. Dancing with the Stars: Well, I watched the first two episodes this season. I don't know why, considering I didn't watch any of the previous two seasons. I'll probably drop it eventually now that a lot of other shows are returning after March hiatus.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Friday Night Lights in the Mud

Pretty much everything I know about Texas high school football I learned from this show, but do games really get played in such awful conditions? I could barely see what was going on, and I can't imagine trying to actually PLAY. That said, those game scenes were just shot beautifully. I know some people hate the shaky-cam stuff, and I've read that they've tried to cut down on that but I really love the camera work on this show. I found it slightly cheesy that they started the game off so badly but ended up winning and going to the state championships, but on the other hand I'm sort of weirdly invested in this fictional team and was obviously "rooting" for them to win.

Other things that made me happy: Jason coaching Matt and Matt finding his confidence to kick ass on the field. I still find Lyla to be somewhat irritating in general but her smackdown of Jason was definitely what he needed. I'm also really glad that the lawsuit is resolved, because that whole plotline just seemed kind of unnecessary to me.

How awesome is Landry?? A couple of episodes I would have agreed with everyone on the show and said that he had absolutely no chance with Tyra, but their chemistry was just so strangely believable. Also loved Matt snarking on Landry for once...that barber shop scene was classic.

But where that whole thing went...I was pretty shocked, because it was really completely unexpected and out of the blue. When Landry's car didn't start, I thought that it was going to turn out badly for him, not Tyra. I thought that Tyra was going to end up hanging out with that other guy when Landry showed up and then Landry would have his dreams crushed. But what happened I kind of wish the writers hadn't gone there...I don't want Tyra to become one of those interminably tragic characters for whom nothing goes right (e.g. Marissa Cooper on the OC). I mean, she was just starting to get her life on track. But they did go there, and it was very raw. Cut in with the muddy football scenes, the effect was just extremely intense.

So my random thought of the week: this show kind of has a lot of weird similarities with Degrassi: the Next Generation. Angel mentioned the connection during the TVGuide Talk podcast last week, about how on Degrassi, Jimmy, the star basketball player who gets injured and confined to a wheelchair also starts coaching. Jimmy also did the whole using drugs to help his athletic performance, like Smash. And now with Waverly being bipolar...Craig is bipolar! And Tyra's attempted rape reminded me of Paige. I even used the phrase "go there" a few times in the previous paragraph...that's Degrassi's motto! I guess the similarities aren't so weird when you consider that both shows aim to portray high school realistically but then again it's also interesting how different the resulting shows are. Degrassi, despite its heavy subject material, still maintains a sort of silly, afterschool special air about it, while Friday Night Lights feels more like a movie or even a documentary. Regardless, I love both shows. What is it with me and teen TV??

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Buffy Sing-A-Long??

So remember the brilliant musical episode of Buffy? Apparently someone out there came up with the idea of having Rocky Horror Picture Show-like screenings of the episode with a live cast acting out the roles on stage and with subtitles turned on so the entire audience can sing along. Apparently this goes on every month at the IFC in New York and has traveling shows throughout the country!

Um...I don't really enjoy singing but I kind of want to go to this, if only to be in the company of other crazy Buffy fans!

More info here.

Gwen Stefani does American Idol

One reason that I don't always enjoy American Idol is that the singers always tend to choose all these older, classic songs that I'm kind of just not interested in. So when I heard that it was Gwen Stefani week, I was super excited, not because I'm a huge Gwen Stefani or No Doubt fan, but this meant that everyone was going to have to sing some more contemporary songs. Overall, I really enjoyed the performances last night, I recognized and/or liked nearly every song (except for one, but I'll get to that later). Anyway, here are my verdicts:

Lakisha: Sang Donna Summer's Last Dance. Was really glad to see her sing something more upbeat, and she showed that she can move pretty well on stage too. But I still don't really see much personality in her. Her vocal chops are obvious, but I feel like that star quality is sort of absent.

Chris Sligh: Sang the Police's Every Little Thing She Does is Magic. Oh, Chris. He was kind of a frontrunner early on but he's kind of slipping more and more every week. His vocals sounded ok here, but everything was just off. Off the beat, that is. I feel like he's kind of in danger here.

Gina: Sang the Pretenders' I'll Stand By You. I've been a Gina fan for a couple of weeks now, and I thought she was really great last night. Absolutely the perfect song for her. I voted for her!

Sanjaya: Sang No Doubt's Bathwater. This was the one song I didn't recognize. Was it a single? Channeling Simon Cowell, this was dreadful. And I'm not even gonig to go there with the hair. Nice kid, but please get him off my TV.

Haley: Sang Cyndi Lauper's True Colors. There wasn't anything really wrong here, it was just boring. Kind of reminded me of whenever Joey Potter sang on Dawson's Creek.

Phil: Sang the Police's Every Breath You Take. Biggest surprise of the night, I thought it was actually really good. I don't think he has any chance of winning but I'll take him over Haley or Sanjaya any day so I voted for him too.

Melinda: Sang Donna Summer's Heaven Knows. As with Lakisha, it was nice to see her do something upbeat as well, but with both of them doing Donna Summer this week, these two need to start distinguishing themselves from eachother. I still think she's got the best vocals here, but she's so consistent it is kind of getting boring.

Blake: Sang the Cure's Love Song (311's arrangement?). I really appreciate what he's trying to do but I'm not always blown away by the results. Not really a difficult song, but I liked it and I'm glad he cut out the beatboxing this week.

Jordin: Sang No Doubt's Hey Baby. A very curious choice for AI, but I really liked it. It was just really fun and I'm just glad she's gotten away from the cloying Disney-Land-Before-Time stuff.

Chris R: Sang No Doubt's Don't Speak. I don't think he's horrible but honestly he's probably my least favorite after Sanjaya. His boy-band-R&B-Justin-Timberlake thing really really just doesn't work for me and I find myself cringing every time he opens his mouth.

Monday, March 26, 2007

More coherent Battlestar Galactica season finale thoughts

Okay so I've now had some time to absorb last night's Battlestar Galactica finale and have come up with some thoughts.

While I found last year's finale mind-blowing in every way and completely unexpected, this year things were shocking in a very different way. For one, I found the actual progression of the episode to be pretty predictable. I started getting worried about the people that were hearing the music and figured they had to be Cylons pretty early on. As soon as Lee got on the stand, I knew that Baltar was going to be found not guilty and that the Admiral was going to vote in his favor. And as soon as Lee said he was going to go after that bogey, I knew it was going to be Starbuck. I mean, we all knew that she couldn't just be dead and gone. Really, no surprises there.

What I was more shocked about was the impact of it all. I mean, Anders, and Tyrol, and TIGH?? (And Tory, I guess, but we don't care so much about her...meaning she's probably going to end up being really important). These are three of my favorite characters! Sam, I can kind of understand, as he only showed up on Caprica after the attacks. But Tigh and Tyrol...weren't they tested back in the first season? I suppose that their being part of the final five could mean that they're "different" from the other models. But Tigh...isn't he OLD? He and the Admiral have been friends for an extremely long time, way before the other humanoid models started showing up. He's AGED. So was he like reconfigured as a Cylon? Or replaced sometime over the past couple of years? And Tyrol...he has a child! If Hera being a human/Cylon hybrid is so important, then shouldn't Nicky be similarly important? Also, is it a coincidence that these three guys basically led the resistance on New Caprica? I mean, I guess we don't really know anything...I'm assuming that they're members of the final five, but what does that even mean? And who's the last one?

Other questions: what was up with Laura sharing dreams with Sharon and Six? And All Along the Watchtower...really? How does hearing a rock song lead to deducing that you're a Cylon? Where were those groupies taking Baltar? (Speaking of which, I totally loved the moment after the trial where Lampkin and Lee pretty much just abandon Baltar and he gets that horrified/helpless look on his face.) And of course, is Starbuck alive or is she some weird spirit guide or something like that?

UPDATE: If you care to be semi-spoiled, there's an interview with Ron Moore here. It makes me a little afraid, but they've got a loooong time to work it out, so I'm withholding judgment for now...

Sunday, March 25, 2007


So I totally lost it after last season's Battlestar Galactica finale, and once again this year I'm rendered speechless. All I have to say is....


(We have to wait until 2008??)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

No surprise here, Friday Night Lights hits me straight in the heart

First off, there's a Stonehenge II in Texas?? That is strange and ridiculous and funny and awesome all at the same time.

With that out of the way, I can return to my regularly scheduled gushing. Seriously, this is as good as it gets on TV. (On a side note, I know how annoying it can get when people gush about a show and you just don't get it (that's Grey's Anatomy for me), so if you've given FNL a try and you don't like it, I apologize!) Even this week's episode, which was kind of just playing catch-up after the hiatus, was pretty much pitch perfect.

Wasn't surprised that Jason didn't make the team for Beijing. I'm not sure why he thinks everyone in Dillon hates him because of the lawsuit though...did you see how Smash and Matt literally jumped out of the car to invite him to hang out with them? Speaking of which, the scenes with the boys on the football field were classic. I wonder if they're setting up Jason to be part of the team's coaching staff next year. Also wasn't all that surprised at him kissing that tattoo girl. I kind of liked her. Sucks for Lyla, I suppose, but they kind of never should have gotten engaged in the first place.

Speaking of Lyla, Minka Kelly is still the only actor on the show that I don't always buy but I think she's improving. The scene with Lyla and her mother inside the house and Buddy outside was seriously intense. Was surprised that she decided to get all destructive at Buddy's dealership though I guess now she's "angry chick."

Also dealing with the fallout from Buddy's indiscretions were Tyra and her mom. Glad to see that Tyra is starting care more about school and believe that she can get into college, even though this storyline is pretty typical bad girl territory. I think that one of the best things about this show is that they can be predictable without being boring. I mean, speaking of predictable, we all saw the Tim/neighbor hookup from the second they met, and we pretty much all know where it's going to go, but somehow I'm still ok with it. Plus it got us the best Riggins line in the episode: "I just tried to make out with my next door neighbor who's in her mid-thirties at least...I win." (Runner up: "That's so Brokeback.")

How great were the scenes with boys on the football field?? I actually really liked the way they had Smash talking about Waverly. I'm glad he didn't bottle it all up inside or even react unnaturally well. He's a teenager, and yeah, what he said was a bit harsh, but I think it was a little "roughed up" for the guys. That story's not over yet. Also liked Matt's little freakout over the playoffs as well. It's his first year as QB, and he's never had the self-confidence that the other guys have. Loved when Landry called him Coach's "little engine that could" and "Seabiscuit," haha. Good thing Julie was smart enough to not have told him about her possibly moving, that would have made the poor boy even more conflicted.

Finally we come to the Taylors, who are quickly becoming my favorite TV family ever. I suppose you could say that Julie was being a brat by saying she didn't want to move when obviously it's a great opportunity for her dad, but I think at 15 you're allowed to be a brat. I really liked the talk Julie and the Coach had in the car. The Taylors have obviously been moving around a lot, but I think that always being the new kid is especially hard during high school, and if Julie finally feels like she's found a home, then that's worth considering. Of course, putting this in the context of TV land, if there's a Season 2, of course they can't move!

Next week looks AWESOME.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Veronica Mars, FBI Agent?

So if you care about Veronica Mars, you've likely heard the very strange reports that there's a possibility that the show will come back next season in completely new form, skipping 4 years ahead to Veronica as a full-fledged FBI agent. (The other possibility is that the show will be cancelled.)

I don't get this at all.

I mean, true, Veronica Mars has crappy ratings. It hasn't ever done well and it's not likely that that it'll ever do well in its current format because new viewers just aren't being attracted. And since its audience is so small to begin with, they might as well basically start all over with a new concept. But this? Really?

Basically this would be a spinoff. Except it would be a spinoff with the main character. It's assumed that none of the current cast besides Veronica will remain, even Keith, which I suppose makes sense because she'd be an adult, and you don't expect her dad and her high school friends to be around all the time. So it'd be Veronica, a whole new cast, and...what? Some kind of hip, young, crime procedural? I mean, yeah, we've seen Veronica solve some real murder cases and such, but mostly she's been doing quirky favors for her classmates. And her style has been kind of anti-establishment: she's very much PI, going behind the Sheriff's back at least. I'm not sure I can see her having to do everything according to proper protocol...

I guess that's what's confusing me about this new concept. I know that Rob Thomas and co. have said that they really just want to keep making the show, no matter what form it's in, but it seems to me that this would really be an entirely new show. Really, they might as well give the show an entirely different name. But I mean...will it be the same Veronica? 4 years is plenty of time to change, I suppose, but the old viewers are still going to have 18-year-old Veronica fresh in their minds and that's going to be a weird adjustment. Yes, other shows have done the jump-ahead-in-time thing, but I don't know that any of them have been all that successful...

I don't know, I'm conflicted. Despite my disappointment this season, I'm still pretty invested in the show, and it's probably going to be hard for me to not watch it next season, if it gets renewed. Of course I can't rule out the possibility of it actually being good, but without Keith, without Logan? I'm not sure cancellation would be such a bad thing.

Edited to add: I found this blog post that talks about the implausibility of Veronica becoming an FBI agent. She makes a lot of really good points. VM has always required a good dose of "suspend your disbelief" but this just might be too much to swallow.

In related news, it's looking more and more likely that Gilmore Girls will not be returning next season. I really hope that's true, because this is really the perfect time to end the show. Luke and Lorelai are on the road to a reunion and there won't be any time to mess it up again, and Rory's graduating from college and probably moving onto some fabulous, unrealistically perfect job. Seriously, just leave it be.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Save Internet Radio!

I rarely get up on my soapbox about anything, but I recently learned that the Copyright Royalty Board announced new licensing fees for Internet radio stations that will make it extremely hard for most Internet radio stations to continue operating. According to SomaFM, my favorite station, their fees will increase from $20,000 a year to over $1 million, plus back fees to cover 2006!

As there's a dearth of actual alt/indie rock stations in my area (and in the country in general, I feel) I rely on internet radio to discover new music. I listen to it every day at work and I've blogged about it several times on here. I'd be extremely sad if they were forced to be shut down.

So what can you do? Save Our Internet Radio has a list of suggested actions. I signed the petition and sent emails to my congressmen. Also make sure to support your favorite listener-supported Internet radio station. I made a donation to SomaFM this week.

Ok, PSA over.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Buffy's 10th anniversary!

Today is the 10th anniversary of the premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! "Welcome to the Hellmouth" first aired on March 10, 1997 on the WB as a midseason replacement. Can you believe it was that long ago?

For those of you who don't know, Buffy was and probably still is my favorite show of all-time. I started this blog well after the series ended so I haven't had much opportunity to talk about it, but I was a huge HUGE fan, right from the very beginning right up until the very end. It was my first and biggest TV obsession, and I also think that it's what really got me into the Internet and fandom and all that in the first place. I was a regular at the official posting board, the Bronze (which actually still exists in slightly altered form handle was/is WinterRain) where I analyzed the show, started writing my first TV reviews, and got to know Buffy fans from around the country and the world. It was an interesting period in my life, and one that I have a lot of fond memories of.

But you know, even three years after the series finale, Buffy still lives on: Joss Whedon is writing a "Season 8" comic book series and the first issue comes out next week! I always felt like the show ended with a lot more story to tell and I'm really glad that we get the chance to hear more of it. I probably watch more TV now than I did back then, but I've yet to find a show that I love nearly as much as I loved Buffy. I probably never will.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

American Idol keeps chugging

So last night was perfect proof of why even though I enjoy watching American Idol, I'm never going to be a huge fan. The first singer up, Blake, sang 311's "All Mixed Up," which the none of the judges recognized but praised for being "modern."

First of all, wasn't this song popular what, 10 years ago? I'm not a huge fan of 311 or anything, but really, if the judges have never heard of this song, it shows that they've been completely out of touch with "modern" music for a really long time and it shows that they'll probably never be that interested in it.

Blake's been my favorite so far, but I'm not sure that he even really belongs here. I appreciate the variety he brings and he definitely is talented, but I can't see him winning at all. It's the same way I felt about Chris Daughtry last year. Although even though Chris got kicked off early, Idol did basically launch his band into instant success (although I find his music to be kind of laughably horrible, actually, though pretty much what I expected from someone who chose to sing Creed and Shinedown on the show). So maybe Blake can do that too, because he's definitely someone who needs a band. I mean, can you imagine him singing one of those sappy cookie cutter songs that the show makes the winner sing? You couldn't imagine Chris Daughtry singing something like that either.

Anyway, due to DVR conflicts, I've seen the guys sing a few times so far but I haven't seen the girls yet. Not too many of the guys have been that impressive so far, excepting maybe Chris Sligh and Sundance, though the latter really should not have attempted to sing Pearl Jam last night. I'll watch the girls tonight, but I think what I'm really waiting for is Top 12 and the theme nights (which will hopefully be good this year).

Catching up with Battlestar Galactica

It makes me kind of sad to say this, but I've been a bit disappointed with Battlestar Galactica this season. I guess it's inevitable for any show that's been brilliant in its early seasons to come down a bit, but that doesn't make it any less disappointing. I liked the first couple of episodes involving the resistance and the rescue from New Caprica, but once everyone was returned to the ships, things got...well, a little tiresome. I hated all those dreamy scenes on the Cylon ship with Baltar and the Moonlight Sonata background music, and the ridiculous Lee/Kara/Dee/Anders love quandrangle took up entirely too much time. Yes, there have been episodes that I loved, like the boxing/flashback one (even though that's the one that spawned the evil love quadrangle), and I've enjoyed the standalone character-centric ones, with Kat and Helo and Tyrol, but overall, I don't know, I'm not as excited about the show as I used to be. Probably because I didn't pay much attention to the dreamy Cylon scenes, but I don't know what they're up to, and I feel like there isn't as much of that sense of urgency that the first two seasons had.

And then we come to this week's episode. I'd heard spoilers and rumors of Kara's demise, but I didn't know what to make of them, and honestly even after watching the episode I still don't know what to make of it. Yes, the acting and writing and all was superb, but I just really don't get it. Ok, she had a tortured childhood and a tortured adulthood, for that matter, and everyone's always been telling her that she has some "special destiny." And at the end she tells Lee that she's not afraid anymore. Of what, death? Her special destiny is death? Plus all of this happened so quickly. We've always known that Starbuck's kind of a messed up person, but to bring up these issues and then kill her in the same episode? I felt like it could have been a bit more convincing had there been some slower buildup over the season.

This episode left me feeling like she died for nothing, but that can't be right. Is her death going to trigger some chain of events that makes it important? Or did she not die at all? Did she eject? Is she a Cylon? Truthfully none of these options sound all that great. Plus, the fact remains that even though Kara wasn't always the easiest character to like, but I'm having trouble thinking of the show without her in it.