Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I think I'm over American Idol

Somehow I've continued to watch Idol for years even though I'm completely not a fan of the type of music they sing on this show nor the type of music that the finalists put out after the show. I mean, last season my favorite was Blake, but I didn't want him to win because I didn't want him to get saddled with the dreck that the winner has to sing as his/her first single but then I wasn't really interested in his album when it came out anyway.

This season though...I seem to have lost my patience. The fact that they had a 60s theme during the Top 24 was just ridiculous...I didn't watch most of the auditions so I didn't know who most of these people were or what their personal style was and it was really hard to get to know them when they weren't in their comfort zones. And that's besides the fact that I'm just not into 60s music...or at least the kind of 60s music they were all singing. I just didn't care!

So unless someone informs me that there actually is someone awesome to root for or maybe a halfway decent theme (I don't know how I suffered through those terrible celebrity themes from last season...Bee Gees anyone?)...I'm out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Truly starting to love Kyle XY

I feel like I'm only one of handful of people watching this show, but you know, I'm really loving it this season. I'm kind of glad they've scaled back a bit on all the evil corporation stuff and are focusing more on Kyle and Jessi just learning more about themselves. I've said this before and I'll say it again: Matt Dallas is doing such a phenomenal job as Kyle. Kyle is such a genuinely good and loving person and it never comes off as fake or boring (like say, Clark Kent?) And even though it's sometimes hard to see why...I'm really glad that he refuses to give up on Jessi.

As for Jessi...sometimes I get the feeling that the writers don't really know what to do with her but maybe that's the point...she's really impressionable. Last season she was being told to get closer to Kyle and take his secrets, so she did. And this season she's being told by Taylor that she's special and extraordinary and now she's believing that. I do really like that what's pushing Jessi to stretch her abilities is her wanting to be the best while Kyle is always about other people. He couldn't heal a small cut on his own hand but it kind of looked like he healed Andi's cancer at the end of last week's episode?? At first I was wondering why the two of them were even talking at all, never mind hugging, but I can really believe Kyle just has that affect on people. And the actress who plays Andi did that scene perfectly...she looked a little confused but was just letting herself go with it.

But like any good show, it's the details that really make it all fun. I LOVE that Andi is really short for Andromeda. I love that Declan is all sad that's he's not a part of Kyle's adventures anymore (and did Lori actually reference "Keclan"??). How psyched was he saw that could get back into the action at the bar. And I totally love Hillary. I always like it when TV Shows manage to turn formerly bitchy/jerky characters into lovable ones, and she's just hilarious. Her "reporting" at the bar fight was totally classic. Also really liked that Amanda brought up the fact that Hillary slept with Charlie...she might have a personality after all.

Full episodes of all of season 1 and most of season 2 are online at ABCFamily so for anyone who was a fan of Roswell or even the early seasons of Smallville, I definitely encourage you all to go watch this show!

Equal opportunity TV watching

There's definitely a lot of TV out there that I just don't care for (e.g. all Law and Orders, CSIs, medical shows, etc.) but sometimes I'm really amused by the wide range of random stuff I do watch. Here are two shows that I've been following lately that are pretty much on the opposite sides of the spectrum from each other:

iCarly: I'm pretty sure I'm completely out of the target audience for this show as a) I'm not a preteen, and b) I'm not the parent of a preteen. But for some reason I just find it really funny. It stars Miranda Cosgrove (who I remember as the little band manager girl from School of Rock, but who's apparently more famous in the Nickelodeon world from Drake and Josh, which I've never watched) as Carly, a middle-school aged girl who makes a web show called iCarly with two of her friends, Sam and Freddie. Carly's really nice and sweet and normal but somehow manages to not be boring, Sam's kind of obnoxious troublemaker but somehow manages to be kind of lovable, and Freddie's kind of neurotic geek who has a huge unrequited crush on Carly but somehow manages to be really funny. Oh and Carly lives with her wacky artist older brother Spencer because her dad is in the military or something. Um, yeah. I don't know, I think I like it because it's just upbeat and uncomplicated and predictable. Although I suppose my watching this show isn't that much of a surprise considering I watched things like Even Stevens and yes, Lizzie McGuire through college and did watch and enjoy the High School Musical movies as well...

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet III: So, moving on from happy, clean preteen fare to...PURE TRASH. I've never actually watched any of Road Rules and I stopped watching the Real World a couple of seasons ago but somehow I still manage to get sucked into these challenges. And I mean, it's just ridiculous. The number of times some of these people keep coming back is crazy...according to wikipedia, Beth's been on SEVEN of these challenges and Coral and Katie have been in six?? And the funny thing now is that most of the people on these challenges haven't even been on either RW or RR...they were originally from the Fresh Meat season. And they keep coming back. These people know the deal, and they're completely shameless. I mean, the number of hookups this season is totally unbelievable...from the very first episode! And of course, there are the fights...really stupid and intense fights. And yet I can't stop watching it all. I suppose what keeps me is the fact that while the Real World is now pretty much ONLY hookups and fights, at least this show has the challenges, and at least there's the possibility of getting rid of annoying people. Last week's episode had Coral and Beth facing each other in the Gauntlet, which I have to admit was kind of awesome...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

i still blog -- seriously!

Here's a book post. (Since Jenn does a fantastic job of keeping up with the TV posts -- especially since I take forever to catch up on shows. Perks of a DVR life, I s'pose.)

Jasper Fforde's, well, everything.

I've recently finished The Eyre Affair (A Thursday Next novel) and The Big Over-Easy (A Nursery Crime Division novel) and am currently reading the follow ups to both, Lost in a Good Book (Thursday) and The Fourth Bear (Nursery).

These books are definitely worth giving a try -- I don't think they're for everyone, but I think that if you're someone who enjoys a good murder mystery novel every once in a while, then you may be pleasantly surprised and quite entertained by these books. Fforde has created a very cleverly thought out and interesting universe with unconventional characters, themes, and detectives. In the Thursday Next series you have a detective, Thursday Next, who works as a Literary Detective in SpecOps-27; she solves crimes related to literature and great literary works. In the Nursery Crime series you have detectives in the Nursery Crimes division who solve crimes that are related to, well, Nursery Crimes. Based on face value alone, the two seem to be very similar, and while the two worlds do intersect ever-so-slightly, they are in fact, completely different. Believe me.

So read 'em! They're fun, I promise. :)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Project Runway: nearing the end

I realize I haven't been blogging too much about this season of Project Runway...I'm still loving it as much as ever but somehow things haven't really been all that exciting. I speculated that Christian, Jillian, and Rami would be the final three almost 6 weeks ago, and I think really the only surprise this season has been Chris. Of course we don't know who the "official" final three are (even though all of them, as well as Sweet P, presented collections at Fashion Week), but things have been almost predictable. I've tried not to look too closely at photos of the collections online...I want to judge them walking the runway during the actual finale (which isn't going to be for a little week is the reunion show). But I think it's really anyone's game...

Here's where I think the designers stand up until this point:

Christian: I definitely see why a lot of people think he's annoying and arrogant but I actually find him really amusing. And he's kind of brilliant. He's really only had one bad week (the prom challenge) and I feel like he always does something that's just a little different. I love that he does more sportswear and separates and pants while everyone else seems to endlessly do dresses. I think some of my favorite looks of the entire season are his: his outfit from the weight loss challenge, his denim look, his avant-garde look...I wouldn't at all be surprised if he won.

Jillian: I don't know, she's not one of my favorites. She's made a lot of really great clothes but I still don't necessarily get a sense of what kind of a designer she is. And whenever I think of her, all I can see is her getting all frazzled because she yet again bit off more than she could chew. I mean, I definitely commend her for always pulling it out in the end, but I actually think she can be more annoying than Christian. Randomly I think I like her model the best though.

Rami: He's definitely this season's one-note designer. All of his clothes are very beautiful but new or fashion-forward? I'm not so sure. I, like everyone else on the planet, including Tim and the judges, knew he was going to be doing some Grecian draped dress AGAIN in the last challenge, and truthfully I think it was probably my least favorite of all his drapey things. Oh well. But I think he still has a good chance of winning...a collection is a very different thing from just one look with specific boundaries and I think he's in it to win it.

Chris: Who would have thought that Chris would still be here? His getting auf'd and then given a second chance made him realize what he did wrong and what he needed to do to stay. He's definitely had some close calls, but overall I've really liked his work. I did totally love his WWE winning outfit. I think I'm kind of a sucker for hoodies...

One final thought: I wonder if the designers felt gypped that they didn't get to go to Paris or anywhere exciting like last season. I really hoped they would, but oh, well.

Back to Jericho

You know, I was definitely disappointed when Jericho was canceled last season, but really, of all the shows to be saved by a fan campaign? I wouldn't have picked this one. I still don't really get where all those fans came from...this show had no buzz, and no cult following as far I could tell. Don't get me wrong, I think the show has a really interesting premise that's very different from everything else on TV right now, and I was really starting to get into the story at the end of the season, but I wasn't at all ranking it at the top of my list due to a few problems. For one, the acting and dialogue is pretty mediocre, even laughably bad at times, and the stories are sometimes just stupid...

So I wasn't really sure what to expect from this surprise second season. I really only had two hopes: 1) More Heather, because she rocks. (Jake choosing her over Emily would be awesome but I realize that's probably not going to happen.) And 2) little, if any, Dale and Skylar, who I HATE. The first episode did deliver on those two...Sprague Grayden, who plays Heather, was only listed as a "special guest star", but she's been set up for a larger role (or a death??), and Dale and Skylar were nowhere to be seen (crossing my fingers that it stays that way).

As for the episode it self...I think I was a little underwhelmed. The New Bern storyline was what really started to hook me last season and I wasn't expecting it to be wrapped up so quickly. I know that the finale set up the military to come into Jericho to deal with the situation, but I didn't think we were only going to get to see the rest of the battle in a flashback. Then they skip ahead 4 weeks and the town is all peachy? I'm also really missing Johnston. Gerald McRaney brought such a nice sane, stability to the show. I guess Jake is supposed to be filling that void, but we'll have to see how that goes. I thought him wanting to actually go and assassinate Constantino was just stupid...I guess they wanted to work his grief into a storyline but it was obvious that he and Eric were going to come to their senses and realize that's not what their father would have wanted.

Other than that, I'm glad they're keeping Stanley and Mimi in the mix to lighten things up. I really hated Mimi at first but I started to kind of come around in that episode where she talks to the chicken (you had to be there) and they're kind of cute. I don't really have much to say about all the new government stuff that's developing...I think Esai Morales as Major Beck is a nice addition to the cast, but the new flag and president are a bit creepy. And of course the stuff with Hawkins and the actual perpetrators of the attacks is still ongoing. There are only 7 episodes this season and I wonder how much is going to get resolved...obviously the writers and producers are hoping to get renewed again but I don't want that to mean that if the show does get canceled again we're left with another cliffhanger...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Complete Jane Austen: Miss Austen Regrets

Wow, this whole Complete Jane Austen has been kind of a roller coaster, huh? First, Persuasion was alright but ultimately disappointing, then Northanger Abbey was tons of fun, then Mansfield Park was horrible, and now, the latest installment, Miss Austen Regrets was actually really good.

Not based on any of her novels, but a fictionalized biopic of Jane Austen's life, I thought this was really well done. I haven't yet seen Becoming Jane, but I think that movie was more about her younger years, while this one focuses on the last part of Jane's life. She's already a successful author, and while giving advice to her niece, Fanny Price, she looks back on why she herself never found love. It's actually a bit depressing, since we know she never married and died really too young, but I liked the writing and pacing, and I thought the acting was really superb. Olivia Williams plays Jane with a nice wit and independent spirit and you can really see how Austen's novels could have come out of someone like her. There's this part where she reads some lines from Persuasion which I thought was really wonderful. I've never been one for audio books, but I kind of want to hear her read the whole thing!

The Jennifer Ehle-Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice is going to be airing for the next three weeks. This is totally ridiculous as I own it on DVD and can watch it whenever I want, but I'm kind of considering watching it live. I mean, I do want to see what kind of intro Gillian Anderson is going to give for the installments. After that, the series will be finishing up with an old adaptation of Emma with Kate Beckinsale, and a new version of Sense & Sensibility, which I've heard some good things about. So until then, happy P&P viewing!

Catching up with the midseason shows

Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles: Confession: I've never watched any of the Terminator movies. I know, I know, I've been meaning to watch at least the first two for years now but they've just been buried deep down on my Netflix queue of 150+ (getting trumped by things like Avonlea and various BBC productions) and I just haven't gotten around to them. That didn't stop me from watching this show though...and with a little help from wikipedia, I think I sort of know what's going on? And so far, I've been enjoying it, though maybe not blown away. Lena Headey is much more convincing at the ass-kicking than say, Michelle Ryan of Bionic Woman, and I always love Summer Glau. Thomas Dekker as John is kind of the weak link for me, although it seems like they've been trying to show more that he's going to grow up to be a hero. I'm not that interested in the FBI part of the show, and the time travel part kind of confused me, but overall it's been a pretty entertaining show.

Eli Stone: I'm not that much of a legal drama fan (although I was really into The Practice for a few seasons during its earlier seasons) but two things attracted to me to this one: Greg Berlanti and Jonny Lee Miller. Thanks to Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, and Dirty Sexy Money I am officially a huge Greg Berlanti fan. And I kind of have a thing for Jonny Lee Miller. Anyway, the gimmick with this show is that Eli, the main character, learns that he has an inoperable brain aneurysm that's causing him to have hallucinations that seem to be pointing him towards taking on cases to help everyday people rather than the big corporations that his firm usually defends. The visions are really kooky...the first episode featured George Michael, of all people, and it seems that he'll be making more appearances. It's all pretty amusing, and it's made even better with Victor Garber, another favorite of mine, who plays Eli's boss, and a funny acupuncturist who thinks Eli is a prophet. I'm not too sure about Eli's fiance, Taylor, though, and whether we're supposed to like her or not...she's been kind of blah so far. Also in the cast is Julie Gonzalo (Parker from Veronica Mars but with brown hair now), who might end up being competition for Taylor? But overall the show is definitely being carried by Jonny Lee Miller, who I think I now love even more. He's awesome!

Lipstick Jungle: A comparison to Cashmere Mafia is inevitable because the two shows are just stupidly similar. People seem to be divided on which they like better although most think both are generally pretty bad. Maybe because I've already seen a few episodes of Cashmere Mafia now but I think I liked that one better. Part of my problem with Lipstick Jungle is that I've never been a big fan of Brooke Shields, and I completely cannot buy her as the head of a big movie studio. I guess her character, Wendy, is supposed to be "nicer" than your stereotypical businesswoman, but she seemed so frazzled in the pilot that I didn't get any sense of power at all. And I mean, do head of movie companies really work in New York? Plus, the deal she was trying to work with Leonardo DiCaprio and a Galileo movie? Just random. I also have a problem with the Lindsay Price character. Victory is kind of a terrible name and she seems like she's at least 10 years younger than the other two so I don't get why they're all friends. And her little storyline with the Andrew McCarthy character is really terrible. I've never been a big fan of Andrew McCarthy, even back in the Pretty in Pink days, and his super billionaire here is just annoying. Their stupid banter with Victory not wanting to be rescued by his money, and him saying that he's losing $20,000 by talking to her in person...blech. I thought the only bright spot here was Kim Raver, but she really deserves to be on a better show...