Thursday, December 31, 2009

mira's favorites of 2009

This will be my attempt to narrow things down to only ONE...

Favorite New TV Show: Glee

Favorite Old TV Show: Grey's Anatomy

Favorite TV Episode: The Office, Pam & Jim's wedding

Favorite TV Dance: Top 20 dance, choreographed by Wade Robson (to The Revels's "Comanche.")

Favorite Movie: 500 Days of Summer (keep in mind I only saw like... 6 movies in the theater this year...)

Favorite Song: "I Gotta Feeling," Black Eyed Peas

Favorite CD: Everything, Ingrid Michaelson

Favorite Book: (that I read this year) Water for Elephants

Favorite Videogame: tie -- Rockband 2 (PS3) & New Super Mario Bros (Wii)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance Season 6 Postmortem

And you thought the blog was dead....of course So You Think You Can Dance brings us out of dormancy. Although, I mean, the last two posts here were about SYTYCD too!

First of all, congratulations to Russell! I personally was more a fan of Kathryn/Jakob/Ellenore but I predicted his win and am not at all disappointed. Overall, I thought this season actually had really a lot of great dancing. Sonya did some great stuff, Jason Gilkison was a welcome addition to ballroom, they finally brought Sean Cheesman and Afro Jazz onto the show (from the Canadian version) and Travis Wall is really growing nicely as a choreographer. If nothing else he has totally fantastic taste in music though...I loooooved that he used the Stars song "My Ex-Lover is Dead" and Portishead's "Machine Gun."

The dancers had more personality and I grew to like, or at least appreciate, all of the top 10, even Mollee. Kathryn/Legacy was probably my favorite couple since Katee/Joshua and I think Kathryn's actually my favorite female dancer of all time on the show. This was a huge surprise since Vegas Week cast her as the annoying squeaky crying girl that would probably be kicked off early. But I don't think she had a single bad routine, and I wish we had gotten to see more of her solos. The 2 she did I LOVED, which is odd because usually I think contemporary girls are all kind of the same, but I found her poise and grace to just be really gorgeous. I also really grew to really like Ashleigh, though I still contend that most of her partnership with Jakob involved posing gracefully while Jakob did all the jumps and turns and such.

Oh, and I really liked the "Meet the Top 20" performance show. It was really great seeing everyone in their own styles before beginning the competition. I hope they keep that idea going in future seasons.

But honestly, this season was really kind of a mess. There were just so many weird/bad/disappointing things that happened...
- Mia Michaels quits
- Ryan Kasprzak eliminated in Vegas
- Paula Van Oppen turns down Top 20 spot
- Billy Bell falls ill and drops out (hopefully we'll see him in Season 7 though!)
- Brandon steps in for Billy and promptly gets kicked off. (At least Nigel said he could come back too)
- No rotating judge (I do like Adam Shankman, but I'd like to see Debbie Allen and Lil C once in awhile)
- Noelle injured
- Ashleigh injured
- Russell injured
- No results show and voting for the first 2 weeks because of baseball
- Three tappers make it to the Top 20...and all are voted out by Week 3. So much for the season of the tapper
- Top 6 finale. Performance show was only 1 hour long, had no solos, no girls/guys routines, no rehearsal footage
- So there were only 6 voting weeks, as opposed to the usual 9
- Technical difficulties and taped replays during results finale (though Cat handled it all quite well)
- And last but not least, NOT A SINGLE MENTION OF TOUR! I don't know if they haven't settled the dates yet or if they're afraid the bad ratings means people won't buy tickets or what, but I mean, how are they going to advertise it now? I can't believe they would just cut it out completely, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see? I do follow basically everyone SYTYCD-related on Twitter so it's not like there's any danger I won't hear about it...

So still a great show, but in terms of programing, in general, this fall season experiment was kind of a failure and I hope they put it back in the summer where it belongs...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

sytycd season 6 - top 14

I am seriously starting to really like Ashleigh and I really loved her and Jakob's NappyTab dance tonight. Ashleigh performed the heck out of it in my opinion. My only issue with her -- she keeps talking about this life-threatening illness that took her away from dancing for 6 years... WHAT WAS THE DISEASE?!?!?!?! I want to know!! :)

Kevin and Karen doing broadway was soooo awkward to watch. Plus, her underwear was a bright blue that didn't match her dress at all and didn't match his pants either -- very distracting! And his pants went up to her neck. It was weird; when they were dancing together, she didn't look so tiny, but when they were dancing separately in unison he looked like a giant!!!!! (I have a feeling Kevin may be going home.)

Noelle and Russell -- he got ballroom/foxtrot again!!! (At least without fat Melanie!) BTW, on Noelle and Mollee's former best friendship -- they used to tweet about loving each other and missing each other and that good best friendsy stuff, but that's stopped and they barely even hang out with each other according to Twitter!!! I believe it was all a gimmick to get more camera time going into the Top 20!!! Anyway, forget them, I still love Russell!!!

I really adore Tyce. I dunno why cuz he's so bitchy sometimes, but it cracks me up. I liked the blackbird routine, and I was totally expecting this song when Tyce talked about them being blackbirds, but definitely not THAT musical representation of "Blackbird." :) Tyce can be so weird and yet it works for me. I would've called for this routine. Victor actually showed personality this week though!

Oh no... So if Legacy and Kathryn got Paso Doble... That means Mollee and Nathan got Travis's contemporary and that's who Travis has been raving about on twitter. DAMN. That means they're safe yet again. Wait... No Ryan and Ellenore have yet to go, too. I really hope Ryan-Ellenore got Travis...

Okay onto Kathryn and Legacy... Pretty good. I much prefer the Paso Doble without crazy wigs or weird hair... And Legacy seriously cracks me up! I'm so glad the dancers this season have personality! Oh, but he's super duper skinny with nice arms.

Yay! Cat Deeley imitates Travis's Fozziebear voice. Travis's choreography is seriously filling a void I thought Mia's departure would leave. And I need to go download that song on iTunes now!!! :)

Mollee and Nathan... Meh, it was good but nothing special for me. Plus I hate Lady Gaga. I am starting to feel sorry for Nathan. I feel like he's such a little boy, but you can see that he is just that young and it hurts him emotionally!! Aww, what a cutie. :) But, I was really expecting them to scream during the dance... Hmphh.

Bottom 3 predictions? Kevin-Karen. And... I have no idea.

My favorite dances tonight: Ellenore-Ryan. Ashleigh-Jakob.
Next tier of dances I liked: Channing-Victor. Russell-Noelle. Legacy-Kathryn.

Oh well, we'll find out tomorrow. And GLEE tomorrow night, too! Yay!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

sytycd fall 2009 - initial thoughts

Channing & Phillip: The Jitter. I felt this looked so amateurish. Kinda what I expect on DWTS, not on SYTYCD! Not a huge fan of Phillip, he seems so... I dunno, but like he likes himself a lot. I liked Evan's brother Ryan way more. :( I think I could like Channing, but to me it looked like SHE was leading the dance sometimes.

Ashleigh & Jakob: I've disliked Ashleigh from the beginning because she seems so fake and one-dimensional. But I gotta say, she was really, really awesome in this dance. This DANCE was amazing (love Tyce!) and... Jakob was incredible. I think I definitely have my season favorite already.

Ariana & Peter: I actually really liked the dance. It made me happy to see better hip hop already this season from NappyTabs. But I do agree that the two looked like they were doing different dances, but man... that was really fun choreography!!! Yay for fun hip hop! The two dancers I may not remember. (But I do think they danced better than the first couple!)

Russell &... Fat Melanie?!?!: Okay Noelle has the most annoying voice ever, though she's not as bad as hysterical girl. Is she the one that's precocious Molly's new best friend? Russell was my favorite coming into the Top 20's, and he's STILL one of my favorites. He was awesome. I really don't like this Melanie filling in business though!!! (Foxtrot was yawn for me, though.)

?!?! I'm MISSING FOUR DANCES!!! (My DVR screwed up somehow...)

Victor & Bianca: (watched on It's really interesting how talented the guy contemporary dancers are this year, but it's not a in your face Brandon/Will type of incredible but a quiet, beautiful lines and amazing movement incredible. Makes me happy. I really liked a LOT of elements that Travis used in this dance, way more than the necklace dance last season. Like Bianca tumbling in sync with Victor walking; the lift where he was holding her perpendicular from him; I don't even know how to describe some of the dance movement, but I liked!!

Karen & Kevin: Truthfully, I probably won't remember them much when next week rolls around. She got lucky cuz it's her genre and she definitely reminds me of Anya. But still, nowhere near as awesome as Chelsie Hightower was, in my opinion. :)

Ryan & Ellenore: Ellenore was my favorite female going into Top 20. Truthfully she just got lucky to get yet another dance with Sonyah... It was good, they were awesome, I enjoyed it... but I probably won't remember this one. Just nothing by Sonyah has particular seemed awesome to me since The Garden with Courtney & Mark... :) BTW, I didn't even realize who Ryan was until the end -- quite impressive, Mr. Ballroom/Husband-guy.

Pauline & Brandon: Haha, I totally agree with Nigel... That was totally prom couple... I feel bad for Brandon because he totally had everything stacked against him, since he wasn't supposed to be in this Top 20. Hopefully Nigel can get him a fair chance back next year.

(And now the rest was on my DVR...)

Kathryn & Legacy: Hysterical Girl. I'm amazed she was able to talk a full sentence without breaking into tears. Legacy irritated me during auditions because he kept talking about himself in third person, and his name isn't even a name!!! Legacy got so lucky getting hip hop his first week, but man Kathryn DEFINITELY surprised me. More fun hip hop, YAY!!!!

Molly & Nathan: Haha, they look so young, and I know they ARE young... but they look their ages which is kinda funny for me watching them disco. Disco on this show has become quite a thing to watch. Lotsa fun. But I felt like I was watching HSM does disco...

My bottom four would've been: Phillip, Brandon... uh, I don't know what girls. I guess, who they picked. NOT RUSSELL! It's not his fault he danced with FAT MELANIE!!

Anyway, not particularly sad by results. First few weeks are just kinda "huh?" weeks anyway. As in, "Huh? Who was that?" :)

Yay for SYTYCD! (Sorry for the long, boring post...)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

fall 2009 - initial thoughts

My DVR is still full of shows that I need to catch up on (both from last season and this season) but because it was getting so full, there were many shows I had to catch up on to open up space for more recording... :) In any case, I had a few initial reactions to shows, old and new, that I've been following this season.

-- 90210: So very angsty! I think it's because Darcy... or whatever her name is, Annie?, is so very angsty this season and she was all sunshine and optimism last season. I'm not sure I like it, but I do like the strong bond forged between Naomi-Adrianna-Silver. Actually I've gotta say that as a whole I kind of hate it, but there's something about high-school angst tv shows that draws me in... Oy.
-- So You Think You Can Dance: Having to watch audition episodes week after week after week is kinda getting sucky. Plus, it's so weird to have a new season of it SO SOON. Especially since last season, while it had its moments, for the most part it was underwhelming. But, I'm glad to see that there are breakers and well, non-contemporary and non-ballroom dancers auditioning! Plus I'm still waiting for Natalie to come back!!
-- How I Met Your Mother: This show is so reliably fun. I really do hope we finally get to meet the damn mother this season. I'm not sure how many more seasons of NOT meeting the mother I can go through. But I do love Barney. And it'll be interesting to see how Barney-Robin develop, but I really hope that doesn't become the focus of the show.
-- Greek: I caught up with all the old episodes right before this season started. SO much fun. This is my happy show of the moment.

-- Melrose Place: Not really sure why, but I'm enjoying this show. Maybe it's just that I never get to watch soap operas anymore and this show is the perfect night-time soap opera: psychotic characters, tons of secrets, murder, betrayal, and good-looking people. Plus the character that's the most fascinating to me is Ella, who I sort of see as a new generation Heather Locklear. BTW, I didn't actually watch the original MP when it aired back in the day, though I've caught a few episodes of it here and there on Soapnet in the past few years.
-- Glee: I was expecting this to be my happy show of the moment, but no, it's definitely a lot darker than a happy show can be. I love the musical numbers and truthfully, I watch just in anticipation of those. I like the main teacher-guidance counselor romance undercurrent, hate the psycho wife, love the psycho cheerleader coach, and am very amused by the awkward football coach. I could care less about the kids, but the gay kid is the most interesting by far.
-- The Beautiful Life: This show has already gotten canned, thank goodness! Well, it's mostly a thank goodness because if it didn't get canceled, I would probably continue to watch it. So, I really am glad that the network is taking this off of my insane list of tv shows I watch. :)
-- Community: I had high hopes for this show but so far it's been amusing at spots, still has good potential, but hasn't really delivered. We'll see.
-- Accidentally on Purpose: One episode was enough, I do believe I have the willpower to stop watching this show.
-- Eastwick: Uh, I might continue to watch this, but mostly because it kinda satisfies the part of me that was sad to lose Cashmere Mafia and Lipstick Jungle (and yes, I may be the only person in the world that was sad to lose those shows).

Still waiting to be watched on the DVR:
-- Grey's Anatomy
-- Gossip Girl
-- Heroes
-- House
-- The Good Wife
-- Cougar Town
-- Modern Family -- have high hopes for this one!!
-- Flash Forward

Friday, September 18, 2009

Inspector Lewis - Masterpiece Mystery!

As a huge Anglophile, sometimes I wonder if I like things just because they're British. Take Inspector Lewis, the current series airing on Masterpiece Mystery on PBS. On American TV, I've never been the least bit interested in police procedurals (though I did kind of start liking Castle last season, mainly because I love Nathan Fillion) but give me a British one and I'm totally loving it. And I mean, now that I think about, I claim to like reading mystery novels, but honestly I think the only mystery writer I've really gotten into is Agatha Christie, also British! Am I being too...snooty? Do I need to give like CSI and Without a Trace and Criminal Minds a chance?

One of the things I love most about Inspector Lewis is that it's set in Oxford, which makes for just a really beautiful setting that I don't think any of the American shows can beat. All the wonderful old buildings of the university are pretty spectacular; I definitely need to go visit someday. And being a university town, many of the characters involved in the mysteries are students and professors, which makes a lot of the cases pretty intellectual, dealing with history and literature and religion, which I guess appeals to me more than drugs and gangs and stuff like that. Or am I being snooty again?

I do also love the team of Inspector Lewis and Sergeant Hathaway. I never saw any of the series that this one was spun off from, Inspector Morse, where Lewis was the sergeant/sidekick, but I imagine I would probably like that too. I gather Lewis comes from a more working-class background, and he doesn't feel like he really fits in with the intellectuals that populate Oxford and is often frustrated by their entitled and morally questionable behavior. His sergeant, Hathaway, is also a little bit of an outsider, but for different reasons. He is a Cambridge graduate, is very well read and knowledgeable, and was studying to be a priest, but left to join the police. As the series goes on, we learn more of why he gave up that career path. Hathaway comes off as cool, unflappable, and a little acerbic, so it was really interesting to get a little deeper into his character. Also I think Laurence Fox is kind of hot (I know, crushing on a British actor, what else is new?)...

So what do you think? Maybe I'm just as bad as the Oxford intellectuals that Inspector Lewis can't stand!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My favorite songs of the 2000s

Isn't it crazy that 2009 is nearly over, and in turn, the first decade of the 2000s is coming to a close? Pitchfork and a lot of other blogs have been putting together lists of the best songs/albums of the 2000s so I thought I'd give it a shot as well.

I didn't start caring about music much until late in high school (I graduated in 2001) so the 2000s actually represent most of my music-listening life. Of course, not everything I've listened to has been released in this decade, though, so I've limited this list to the songs that were.

I wouldn't say this is a list of what I'd consider the "best" songs, as I don't claim to be any kind of music expert, but more the songs that at one point I listened to over and over and didn't get tired of, and more importantly ones that I still love years later. I had enough trouble picking these out, so I didn't bother ranking them, they're just listed chronologically. I apologize for the random number in the list also...I thought I was going to get to 50 but fell short. I'll probably add/edit the list as I remember others...

1. New Found Glory - The Glory of Love (2000)
2. Midtown - No Place Feels Like Home (2000)
On a post-high-school-graduation trip to Six Flags, a friend of a friend that I met for the first time that day told me I should listen to New Found Glory. For some reason I took this recommendation seriously and I ended up being very into pop-punk/emo for through the first half of college. And yes, The Glory of Love is a cover of the Peter Cetera version from the movie The Karate Kid, neither of which I'm huge fan of, but I think the cover is awesome.

3. Modest Mouse - 3rd Planet (2000)
4. Radiohead - Idioteque (2000)
I started getting into more indie type music my sophomore year of college, and I found out that there was just SO MUCH to catch up on. I'll admit took me awhile to "get" Radiohead but now they're one of my favorites.

5. Bright Eyes - I Will Be Grateful for this Day (2001)
Yes, I started listening to Bright Eyes because of Seth Cohen (the OC)...

6. Weezer - Island in the Sun (2001)
I remember playing this in my dorm room all the time first semester of college. It was one of the few things me and my roommate actually agreed on.

7. Brand New - Jude Law and a Semester Abroad (2001)
This song cracks me up, the anger in it is so random and ridiculous.

8. Sigur Ros - Untitled #3 ("Samskeyti") (2002)
I didn't actually listen to Sigur Ros at all until I heard it used on the British show Skins. This one is gorgeous.

9. The Flaming Lips - Fight Test (2002)
The song that led me into "quirkier" types of music.

10. Dashboard Confessional - Hands Down (2003)
Even back then I sometimes got annoyed at Dashboard's earnest angst thing but this song is an exception. I always have to sing along to this one.

11. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Hearts of Oak (2003)
My friend Ann and I sort of made the transition from emo to indie music together. Ted Leo was one of our early favorites and we got to see them live at a show at our college and say hi to Ted Leo afterwards!

12. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps (2003)
One of my all-time favorites, as I'm sure is true for a lot of people. Just a really beautiful song.

13. The Format - The First Single (2003)
14. Jimmy Eat World - Kill (2004)
15. Jimmy Eat World - 23 (2004)
Bleed American was released in the 2000s also and I know it's their most popular album, but nothing on it really stood out for me like these two. I saw them live in 2005 and it was pretty amazing. The Format was one of their openers.

16. The Killers - Mr. Brightside (2004)
17. Modest Mouse - Float On (2004)
Both ridiculously catchy.

18. Arcade Fire - Wake Up (2004)
I was completely obsessed with Arcade Fire for a pretty long time. I got to see them live at my college before they really got big and it remains to this day the best show I've ever been to. It was in this relatively small multi-purpose room above a dining hall, the "stage" (just a raised platform) was too small for all the members and their instruments, and Richard Reed Parry was pretty much right in front of my face going crazy. At one point he started banging his drumsticks on the ceiling and pieces of plaster were coming down. I saw them again a couple of years later at the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia, and while the music was still great, I don't think anything will compare to that first time I saw them.

19. Tegan and Sara - I Know I Know I Know (2004)
I didn't actually start listening to Tegan and Sara until I heard this song on an episode of Veronica Mars.

20. Death Cab for Cutie - Marching Bands of Manhattan (2005)
I had a hard time picking a Death Cab song from the decade...

21. Bright Eyes - I Believe in Symmetry (2005)
For awhile, every time I heard this song I would think to myself, "I really like this, what is it?"

22. The Bravery - An Honest Mistake (2005)

23. Mates of State - For the Actor (2006)
I have this distinct memory of being stuck in traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) in Philadelphia and being pepped up by this song.

24. TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me (2006)
25. The Killers - When You Were Young (2006)
26. The Album Leaf - Always for You (2006)
27. Band of Horses - The Funeral (2006)
28. Hot Chip - Boy From School (2006)
29. Midlake - Roscoe (2006)
30. Ratatat - Gettysburg (2006)
31. +/- - Leap Year (2006)
Apparently 2006 was a good year for music. I guess it helped that I listened to Internet radio pretty much all day every day at work.

32. The Veronicas - Untouched (2007)
Not ordinarily my kind of music but I first heard it on So You Think You Can Dance and loved it. (Not as big a fan of their other songs though.)

33. Lavender Diamond - You Broke My Heart (2007)
34. Blonde Redhead - 23 (2007)
I guess 2007 is the year I finally started to like more female voices.

35. Frightened Rabbit - The Modern Leper (2008)
Just a really great rock song. I love the emotion in the vocals.

36. MGMT - Time to Pretend (2008)
37. Passion Pit - Moth's Wings (2009)
38. Phoenix - Lisztomania (2009)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance season 5

It's still my favorite reality competition show but somehow I haven't found myself as excited about Season 5 of SYTYCD. Nigel has mentioned it on occasion, but there haven't been many breakout personalities and as we're going into the finale next week, I can't really say that there are any dancers that I really LOVE. Last season I was a huge huge fan of Joshua and Katee and Mark and Chelsie and season 3 I was all about Pasha and Sara and Sabra. I recently watched So You Think You Can Dance Canada season 1 and LOVED Vincent and Nico and Allie.

But this season? I think Brandon and Kayla are hugely talented but their personalities aren't the most engaging to me. Phillip and Evan have great personalities but proved to be not as versatile. I think overall my favorites have been Jeanine, Janette, and Ade, but I haven't really been particularly attached to or rooting for anyone. Seeing the four routines from last season on the results show tonight really hit it home...I was so excited to see those routines and those dancers back on the stage. I'm going to the tour again this year but not sure who/what specifically I'll be excited to see.

Also, I feel like the choreography this season has been a little underwhelming, especially in terms of variety. In the Canadian series they debuted quite a few new styles like house, dancehall, African jazz, Go-go, capoeira...some were more successful than others but it was refreshing to break out of the contemporary-jazz-ballroom pattern. This season in the US, they did do an African group routine, the classical ballet (specifically for Melissa though), and the Russian folk dance (that crashed and burned) but nothing else new. And they haven't even done styles that have been regulars in the past like krump, West Coast swing, lindy hop, salsa, mambo...what gives?

Oh and I think I'm kind of over Tabitha and Napoleon. I really loved No Air and Bleeding Love last season but their literal interpretations of music and all the props are just getting old. Hip hop was in a pretty sad state this season overall. I was glad to see Dave Scott and Shane Sparks return but unfortunately they had to choreograph for a lot of the weaker dancers. Can JabbaWockeeZ come and choreograph?? I don't know how hard popping and locking is to learn but their performances are always SICK.

Which brings me to another complaint - the dancers themselves have been kind of a lot of the same. A lot of the specialists were kicked off early so the top 10 was almost entirely contemporary. I know that contemporary dancers tend to be the most versatile and it's harder to expect "street" dancers to pick up other styles (see Phillip) but I guess I was just a little disappointed that there was no Dominic or Gev or Joshua or Twitch or Miles (popper from the Canada series) in the bunch. I know the talent pool can't be controlled though so I guess I can only hope that season 6 brings some more hip-hop/b-boying/ballroom talent.

Of course it hasn't been all bad. Cat is as wonderful as ever, and it's a travesty she was snubbed AGAIN for the Emmy for Best Reality Show Host. Wade Robson came back to do a couple of really great routines, Doriana and Tasty Oreo have actually done some pretty good work for a change, and Travis, Louis Van Amstel, and Stacey Tookey have been welcome additions as choreographers. And of course, in the end, it's still just about a great group of dancers working hard and it's still a thousand times better than American Idol. And it doesn't end here...Canada season 2 starts in August, and then US season 6 in September. Still lots of dancing to come...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Candace Cameron uhh... Bure? Whatever her name is now. So she's playing a character named Summer on Make it or Break it who is dating Lauren Tanner's dad. If Summer does in fact marry Lauren's dad, she'll become Summer Tanner. DJ Tanner... Summer Tanner... Interesting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

10 things i hate about you... kinda painful

Sigh. Now this is a show I wanted to enjoy... but I really can't. Between the Bianca who isn't popular but so desperately wants to be popular and tries WAY too hard. Especially cuz she's actually pretty and typical popular girl-type but so, so, so desperate... Ugh! Then there's Kat and her obsession with the "bad guy" who really is a horny pretty boy. He's obviously only minorly interested in Kat, because she's a girl, but he's not dangerous in any way and well Kat's seriously obsessed with him. I really should stop watching this... like NOW.

Monday, July 27, 2009

make it or break it -- lovin' it!

I knew I'd get sucked into a teenage drama on gymnastics... but I didn't expect to REALLY, REALLY enjoy it as much as I do. The characters are a great mix, the storylines are unique, and well it just draws me in. Plus all the gymnastics in the background doesn't hurt. And the hot guys. (Some of whom are actually older than me even if they're playing high school boys, *whew!*)

There are surprising returns to the small screen by actresses such as... uh, Candace Cameron something aka DJ Tanner. And Roz from Frasier. Odd, but surprisingly not super strange either. I love that they have character appropriate cars on the show -- Lauren's pushy, power-hungry, money-throwing-around dad drives a hummer; Emily's poor mom drives a beat up station wagon; and I think that Payton's typical soccer-mom mom (Roz) drove a minivan.

I think that they need a show about ice-skating next. :D

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rewind: American Idol

Given my personal taste in music, I really shouldn't care about American Idol at all. I'm more into the indie/alternative kind of music that doesn't play on the radio, or appear in celebrity gossip, or well, get covered on Idol. Plus, it's the kind of music where vocals aren't necessarily the most important thing. And when Idol first started, it definitely was primarily a purely vocal performance talent competition.

But now, with song choice and song arrangement starting to take precedence, and especially with the contestants allowed to play instruments...the show's been attracting some different kinds of talent. Ones that I might actually listen to in my normal life! I mean, I still detested David Cook last season and think Daughtry is horribly unoriginal, but they're definitely closer to what I like than past Idols like Jordin Sparks or Carrie Underwood or Taylor Hicks.

And this year, three of the top four were on the rock side of things. Kris and Adam especially made me like them just because of their song choices, namely "Mad World" from Adam, and "Falling Slowly" and "Heartless" from Kris. So I'm actually looking forward to what kind of albums they're all going to put out. Allison I think could possibly go the Kelly Clarkson route, maybe a little less pop, Adam I see doing a My Chemical Romance/Muse type of thing (or be the frontman for Queen?), and Kris is definitely the Jason Mraz/John Mayer singer-songwriter type. But we'll just have to wait and see!

So while the talent and performances this year were actually more enjoyable for me, the show itself was even more of a hot mess. First of all, there was Kara. I guess she was supposed to bring a songwriter's perspective or something, but that's just laughable, considering that piece of steaming crap that she co-wrote for the finale, "No Boundaries." And I thought that most weeks she didn't have anything different to say at all, strangely agreeing with "for you, for me...but you can SING" Randy Jackson most of the time, amidst all sorts of erroneous pop culture references (Studio 57? Saturday Night Live disco? Early Aerosmith?). Plus, a fourth judge, good or not, just means more time devoted to the critiques.

Which brings me to the next problem: the show running over. It's ridiculous how much time was wasted on things that were NOT SINGING. There was one week where Adam's entire performance aired after 9PM. That's ridiculous. Back in seasons 2 and 3, they managed to have time for the top 5 to perform two songs each. But this year, in the top 4, we only got one each, and those stupid duets. What is going wrong here?

I also thought the judges were being too obvious with their desire for an Adam-Danny finale. I didn't get the Danny pimping at all -- while the judges were constantly ragging on the others for not knowing what kind of music they were about, Danny was never questioned at all. I felt it was so obvious that he was the least current and the least marketable of everyone. Then when it came down to Adam and Kris, Kris was sort of being treated like "Nice try, thanks for showing up," and the finale was so obviously structured around Adam, with Kiss and Queen and everything. Don't get me wrong, I liked Adam and would have been happy to see him win too but I liked that the Kris win was kind of a slap in the face for the judges/producers.

Finally, this isn't new, but Ryan Seacrest sucks. I can only imagine what the show would be like if it had a host like, say, Cat Deeley...

Oh, and the stupid judges' save isn't even worth discussing.

What does make Idol so much more fun to watch though, is the Idolatry videos on I highly recommend watching the Kris, Adam, and Allison exit interview segments because they're just awesome. (You can watch Danny's too, if, you know, awkward babbling and colossal cluelessness are your thing.) Also check out Anoop's and Matt's...I wasn't really fans of them on the show but they both came off as just really cool guys.

Until next season...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Don't judge a DVD by its cover: Shanghai Kiss

Just a quick post about a movie I watched the other day: Shanghai Kiss. I'm pretty sure I actually saw this in some stores and, judging by a big smiling Hayden Panettiere on the cover, dismissed it as being some dumb direct-to-DVD teen romance. But I was looking up Ken Leung on wikipedia (he plays Miles on Lost, which I've actually been catching up with...I'll write about that more in a later post though) and saw that he was actually the lead in this movie. Which, it turns out, is neither a star vehicle for Hayden Panettiere nor a teen romance. It's actually kind of an indie film about Chinese-American identity. I guess they figured that with Hayden being in Heroes putting her on the DVD cover could help sales but it kind of misrepresents the movie, and I feel like it could turn off a big portion of the audience that it should be targeted to.

Anyway, I actually really enjoyed this. There aren't too many films with a Asian-American male in the lead, and Ken Leung's sort of refreshingly different from the usual kind of Asian-American actors that are out there. It is sort of a romantic comedy, but it has some smart commentary on being Asian-American -- Ken Leung's character is an actor in LA who gets asked if he knows martial arts or speaks Chinese while auditioning for a toothpaste commercial. When he's in Shanghai, at first he feels like he's somewhere he finally belongs but is later accused of not knowing anything about being Chinese. It's really too bad this went straight to DVD and too bad that the marketing has probably deterred a lot of people who I think would enjoy it from checking it out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rewind: Little Dorrit

Confession: I'm not a big Dickens fan. Actually, let me clarify that: I've never been a fan of reading Dickens. I've really only made it all the way through Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities. I don't know what it is exactly, because his stories are pretty fantastic and have made for some really great TV and film adaptations. There was Bleak House a couple of years ago, and this year, there was Little Dorrit, which I LOVED. Like Bleak House, I don't think I'd ever even heard of the book before, but it turned out to be such a delight. So maybe I do need to go back and try reading Dickens again...

Anyway, as for Little Dorrit, I think one of its biggest surprises for me was Matthew Macfayden. I wasn't impressed with him at all in the Keira Knightley Pride & Prejudice...he just wasn't right as Darcy. (And I'm not one of those Colin Firth fangirls who doesn't find any other Darcys acceptable. While Colin Firth is my favorite by far, I did really like Elliot Cowan in this other P&P-related series called Lost in Austen, which I also highly recommend--it's hilarious.) But here, I fell in love with him instantly. Arthur Clennam isn't very Darcy-ish at all...he's friendly and loyal with a good heart, intelligent and determined, and Matthew Macfayden was just perfect for that. He's also a little clueless when it comes to love which kind of makes him even more endearing. His romantic counterpart is Amy Dorrit, played wonderfully by Claire Foy. Amy is supposed to be good and sweet but Foy manages to make her sort of quietly strong and not irritating or boring. Their story is very sweet.

Arthur and Amy are the moral center of the story, but like in all Dickens, they're surrounded by a huge number of richly drawn supporting characters, all with their own subplots weaving in and out of each other. Some of my favorites were Amy's sister, Fanny, who starts off as a kind of mean girl but turns out to be pretty smart; John Chivery, the son of the gatekeeper at the Marshalsea debtors' prison where Amy and her father live, who's in love with Amy (Russell Tovey was excellent in this role...he broke my heart several times); Pancks, a rent-collector and aspiring detective; Cavaletto, an Italian ex-con who gets taken in by the Plornishes, a well-meaning family with lots of children and not a lot of money; Arthur's rigid and cold mother and her cruel servant Flintwinch (gotta love the names Dickens comes up with!); and of course there's William Dorrit, Amy's father. A lot of reviews pointed out how timely this production seemed, given that there's a a remarkably Madoff-like Ponzi scheme on many of the characters. Mr. Dorrit goes through a number of reversals of fortune, and he never really adjusts. He's a really complex character--proud but childish, a loving father but somewhat deluded and Tom Courtenay does a excellent job with the role.

It aired as a five-part series which seems like it would be enough time, but I really wanted even more. Some of the storylines were not really resolved, not having read the book I'm not sure if that's the case in the source material too, and I was left with a couple of questions. But overall I think it was the best Masterpiece series this season. I'll definitely be adding this to my growing DVD collection of British period dramas.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rewind: Battlestar Galactica

I'm not sure why, but I just haven't felt the inspiration to blog these past couple of months. I guess it's my inclination to want to do these sort of long, composed posts with organized, complete thoughts about stuff which require me to sit down and really harness my brain energy. It's kind of opposed to the trend of the web these days, what with facebook status and twitter being the new blogging, and it's also kind of strange for me, considering I used to hate writing essays in high school English class, but I don't know, that's just the way I am!

Anyway, I've suddenly become more inspired to blog, and I realize there were quite a few "big" TV events that I hadn't written about and wanted to record here, for posterity or whatever. So I'm planning doing a couple of these "Rewind" posts to catch up with my thoughts.

First up: the final season of Battlestar Galactica. It's pretty hard for me to sum up my feelings about the show as a whole...I do know that it's definitely one of the best shows I've ever watched. I really wish the stigma of sci-fi (the genre and the network) and the silly title hadn't prevented it from getting a lot of the recognition and the large audiences that it deserved, but so it goes.

Of course, the show had its ups and downs, and there were some things I kind of hated, like all the dreamy, Moonlight-Sonata stuff on the Cylon baseship, the terrible Dualla-Lee-Kara-Anders love quadrangle, Tigh and Caprica Six being all happy couple, Baltar's religious cult or whatever it was...and really, the very end of the series, with Hera being our mitochondrial ancestor or something (meaning we're all, like, half-Cylons)? I could have done without that. And Kara as a ghost/angel/supernatural entity? That wasn't so satisfying either.

But overall, I did really love the last season. Maybe I was just drinking the Kool-Aid, but I was pretty impressed with how they managed to answer so many questions and tie up so many storylines, all with the same quality of storytelling and character development that's defined the show. A lot happened. So instead of trying to sum up everything, I think I'll just list some of the moments and scenes that have stayed with me from the last season, even as it's been a couple of months. In a way, it's sad that the show is over, but I'm glad that the writers were able to end it on their own terms. I know, I sound like a broken record when it comes to this, but so many shows out there would benefit from a similar approach....

- The flashback where Lee and Kara first meet. I was never a huge Lee/Kara shipper, but this scene just really got me. It was just so obvious that he basically fell head over heels for her the minute he saw her, and it was easy to see why. Their attraction, the tension, was so unreal. And how they almost sleep together with Zak (her fiance, his brother) passed out on the No wonder their relationship was doomed to be messed up.

- Zarek massacring the Quorum. I knew that something bad was going to happen, but that was just chilling. I thought that whole storyline was really pretty surprising. I mean, Felix Gaeta, of all people, the mastermind? At first I didn't understand why this was happening, with so few episodes left in the final season to wrap up everything, but it really did make sense. For the whole series, we've really been only seeing things through the eyes of the government and the military, and very little from the perspective of the civilians. Step outside of that all that we knew personally about Adama and Roslin and the Final Five and things really were crazy and out of control. At times, I actually even found myself sympathizing with Gaeta and Zarek.

- Dualla killing herself. Again, I knew something was up--Dee hadn't been featured much at all and she was the focus of the episode. But the actual suicide scene was so sudden, and the fact that she had been reconnecting with Lee, and was seemingly was haunting.

- When the crew splits in two, and Romo Lampkin is left as President and Hoshi as Commander? Both hilarious and horrifying at the same time...

- Ellen as the Fifth. Honestly I always thought she was kind of annoying and didn't mind when Tigh "killed" her, but on her return, I thought she was great. It was a bit of an off-the-wall choice, I thought, but with Tigh, it fell into place pretty nicely. Kate Jackson did a really great job keeping her Ellen, but as the Fifth, calmer, wiser, empathetic AND sympathetic.

- Tyrol strangling Tory at the last second, breaking the connection among the Cylons, and effectively voiding the deal they had made with Cavil. Poor Tyrol. He was one of my favorite characters, and I felt like the writers were constantly dumping on him. I was actually probably the only person who liked Cally, and was pretty bothered by Tyrol's angry tirade against her where he basically says she was second best after he lost his true love, Boomer, so I was secretly really excited that he got so angry when he found out that Tory killed her. Besides which, Tory was a bitch and she deserved it, especially the way she was trying to bargain before they shared their memories.

- There's always been plenty of action on BSG, but the battle scenes at the Colony and on Galactica during the finale were so super intense. Good stuff.

- Basically all the scenes with Adama and Roslin together, and especially their last one. You gotta love that on a show with plenty of hot younger actors, the most compelling romance is between two of the older ones.

- Athena, Helo, and Hera, our happy little family unit at the end. I was so sure that they were going to kill off Helo...

As a final note, I watched the pilot for Caprica which is a BSG prequel of sorts, with Bill Adama's father on Caprica and the beginnings of the Cylons. I thought it was pretty intriguing...very intense and dark and with all the rich characters that we're used to in the BSG world. The series won't be airing for real until next year, but I'll definitely be checking it out. There's also the TV movie, The Plan, which will be airing this fall, and is from the Cylon perspective. I think it'll actually be a little weird to delve back into all of it after the finale, but I'm looking forward to that as well.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

kids books vs. adult books

As a whole, I love fiction. I love immersing myself in a really good story. (and even better when that story is extended into a whole series! Well, as long as the series has an end and doesn't drag on forever.) I love character development; I love good stories and great relationships; I love new and interesting worlds different from the one I know. So... why is it that I find that this is more easily found in children's literature rather than in adult literature?

I recently read a book called The Lightning Thief by... some guy. Oh, Rick Riordan. It was fun in a Harry Potter kind of way but much different, too. The premise is that there are these children who were born of a human parent and a Greek god parent, thus demigods. When these children are made aware of their non-full-human state, they become a threat to other non-humans. Many classic Greek mythological themes are thrown into a cute storyline making for a fun read. But as mentioned earlier, this left me wondering why it had to be in a children's book context that this fun read worked. Plus, if this type of premise were created at an adult-level, it probably would be nothing more than a fantasy story or a trashy romance novel. Why can't something like this be simply literature?

I definitely have no answers, but it means I will continue to look for fun literature in the children's section for years and years to come. :)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Top 20

So many unfamiliar or uninteresting faces in Top 20. Was hoping that the older brother of the bow tie-straight tie duo would make it on. :(. But glad the older sister of the combined-Leann Rimes lookalike duo made it. Super duper mad that Natalie didn't make it. She seriously was gypped yet again! The arthritis girl made it through all those rounds and she was TERRIBLE in all of the choreography, but Natalie just got cut like that?

Not too many of the other dancers stood out but truthfully I didn't like Katee much during audition rounds of last season and I grew to LOVE her so... There's still hope. Yay for SYTYCD!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

i still heart SYTYCD

My favorite time of the tv year is here -- SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE! Plus, it's on for TWO seasons this year. Summer and Fall!

Notes on the first episode:
-- So happy to see Natalie (Katee's roommate and friend from Season 4) is back.
-- Nigel's hair is a lot browner than I remembered.
-- Brandon Bryant should be exciting to watch this season. He seems like a hybrid Joshua + Will. He's got the power and muscles of Joshua, with the lines and technique of Will. Mm, he'll be exciting to watch.
-- A note from Jennifer (we were chatting throughout): There is a serious lack of breakers in the first 2 cities of tryouts. Which is surprising cuz one of the cities was Brooklyn, the second was Denver. Perhaps next week?
-- I heart Cat Deeley. And she's become a better dancer it seems?? She looks less awkward than she did in previous seasons when dancing with the audition crowds.

I'm so excited about the upcoming season!!

Fox Stealing NBC actresses?

I'm giving Fox's new show Glee a try. It's not bad so far, but I noticed two familiar faces: Jessalyn Gilsig and Jayma Mays. And coincidentally, both are from Heroes. Jessalyn is the psycho, over-princessed, controlling wife on Glee; she played the biological mom of Clair, the cheerleader on Heroes. Jayma Mays is an uptight, germaphobic teacher at the high school; she was Hiro's first love, the waitress, Charlie. (Incidentally, Jayma also played a character named Charlie on Ugly Betty, on ABC. So a) she gets around, and b) she seems to be "name"-casted.)

Interesting. I'm not sure how I feel about this show, but it's quirky so far. We'll see how it progresses...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Nope, still can't watch cop procedurals

It's been awhile since I've blogged...for some reason I've kind of lost patience with a lot of the shows I watch and have been either falling way behind or giving up on quite a few shows. But there have been a lot of midseason shows starting up so my DVR hasn't exactly been empty. I guess cop shows are the thing again because there were three new ones this spring: Castle, The Unusuals, and Southland. Even though I've pretty much never been able to get into crime procedurals, I checked all of them out, mainly for certain actors that were in them. And well, nothing's changed, I still can't really get into procedurals...

Castle: Nathan Fillion is in this, who I love. The pilot was actually a lot of fun, Nathan Fillion plays Richard Castle, a bestselling crime novelist (who plays poker with James Patterson!), who is called in by the NYPD to consult on a string of murders that are copied straight out of his books. I like the cast--Fillion is really funny and charming, Stana Katic as Beckett is convincing but likable as the tough detective, and Castle's 15-year-old daughter, Alexis, is cute and smart and gives a nice other dimension to Castle. She's more of an adult than her dad, sort of a Gilmore Girls type situation, but as she's a side character she probably won't get as annoying as Rory.

Anyway, after Castle helps solve the case, he decides that the detective he worked with, Detective Kate Beckett, is going to be the inspiration for the main character in a new series of novels and he uses his connections to be allowed to do "research" by tagging along with her on homicides. And so the procedural is born. I watched the second episode and it was interesting but not sure how long before I lose interest. Out of the three this is probably the one I'd be most likely to keep watching though.

The Unusuals: Amber Tamblyn (of General Hospital, Joan of Arcadia, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants...) is in this. It's the NYPD again, homicides again, and has a quirky sort of comedy angle to it also. The pilot was not very good at setting up what kind of a show this is going to be...except that the characters all have a "thing." Amber Tamblyn is Detective Casey Shraeger, a former Upper East Side princess who dropped out of Harvard to join the police academy; her partner is a former first baseman for the Yankees, Harold Perrineau (of Lost) plays a detective who's terrified of death and wears his bulletproof vest at all times, while his partner (Adam Goldberg) is ignoring a medical condition and is instead trying to get himself killed on the's all really odd. I think it's supposed to be partly about how all the cops have their secrets or something but then there's all the murder cases too...I'm not sure if I really get it.

Southland: Ben McKenzie (of The OC is the reason I checked this one out. It's funny, on the OC, he was the "fish out of water" as the kid from Chino in Orange County, and here's he's the reverse: the "fish out of water" as a privileged kid in the LAPD. That's one similarity among all of these shows...I guess TV writers are fascinated with the idea of upper-crust people deciding to become cops (Detective Beckett in Castle has a similar backstory too). Anyway, while the other two shows are trying to be a bit more light, Southland is really serious. I mean, it's from the people who created ER, so it's got a similar sort of heavy, emotional, dramatic, urgent feel to it. There was some interesting stuff in the pilot, but I just don't find these kinds of shows...entertaining?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Masterpiece Classic: The Season of...Misery?

I'd never read Tess of the d'Urbervilles before it aired on Masterpiece Classic early this month, although I had a vague idea of its storyline. I'm planning on reading it now but reading the book after seeing an adaptation generally isn't that ideal. Regardless, I did really enjoy this production...well, as much as one can enjoy something that's this relentlessly depressing.

Of course, this isn't the fault of the adaptation. It all starts all happy enough, with a teenaged Tess dancing in the fields and glimpsing a handsome young man. But it really all goes to shit pretty fast. The "villain" in the story is manipulative, obsessive, and stalker-ish Alec d'Urberville, played pretty creepily by Hans Matheson, who the New York Times (of all publications) called an "19th century Chuck Bass." (More like pilot Chuck Bass though, not Blair-and-Chuck Chuck.)

But the supposed good guy, Angel Clare (ok, did clergymen back then really give their sons ridiculous names like Angel??), isn't all that wonderful either, as he's obsessed with the idea of Tess being "pure" despite the fact that he had a premarital affair too. Angel is played by Eddie Redmayne, who's not really all that conventionally good-looking but he was alright. Tess is played by Gemma Arterton, and I was pretty impressed by her for the most part. At the end though, when Angel returns, she was a little less convincing and I'm not sure I really bought her rage, but the story is just so devastating at that point anyway. Depressing!

Moving on to another destructive love story, a new adaptation of Wuthering Heights aired for the past two weeks. I actually read this book for the first time last year without ever having seen any movie versions of it. The book was actually pretty surprising to me, especially knowing that it was written by a young single woman in the 1800s. The characters are just all so passionate and wild and living by their own rules, it's kind of jarring.

I thought this adaptation brought the story a little more down to earth, which was both good and bad. The supernatural stuff was nearly all cut out, but the characters were slightly more likable. In the book, I found Catherine to be really willful and a little crazed, Heathcliff vengeful and bitter to the max, Edgar kind of a wimp, and Isabella very naiive. But this adaptation tempered all that a little. It also changed around the narrative structure a bit, starting with the second generation's part of story before flashing back to the "main" love story.

Tom Hardy, who's apparently something of a heartthrob in Britain, plays Heathcliff, and I thought he was very good, though I don't have other portrayals to compare him to. He was best in the scenes that take place after he returns to Wuthering Heights after a 3 year absence during which he somehow made a fortune and became a "gentleman." His wildness is sort of converted to something more sinister and sadistic and it's definitely creepy. Charlotte Riley does an ok job as Catherine...she didn't play her as as crazy as I thought she would be and the famous "I am Heathcliff" speech was kind of underwhelming. But Andrew Lincoln (from Love Actually!) makes Edgar more of a man, and the younger generation makes their story worth paying attention to. And I loved the visuals of the two houses standing isolated out on the moors, though they too, were kind of depressing...

To end with a bit of humor, here's a hilarious post comparing the older generation in Wuthering Heights to the Dwight-Angela-Andy situation on the Office. In a bizarre way it's actually kind of accurate.

Also, there was someone on TWOP who said that she always thought of the younger generation in Wuthering Heights as the older, more damaged versions of the trio from the Secret Garden. I'd definitely never thought of it that way but that's a pretty apt comparison too, espeically if you've seen any film adaptation of the Secret Garden, where people seem to invariably imagine a future love triangle for Mary, Colin, and Dickon. Mary is the orphan (young Cathy), Colin is the spoiled, sickly cousin (Linton), and Dickon is the hardier, less refined neighbor (Hareton). I mean, there's no mention of romance or anything in the book (it's a children's book after all) but I've always been on Team Dickon myself, since I had a little crush on him in my favorite movie adaptation (the 1993 one) where there was this cute little scene with Mary and Dickon making eyes at eachother on a swing in the garden while a jealous Colin is like, "Hey! HEY!" And I mean, Cathy and Hareton end up being soulmates and getting married, so there's precedent, right??

Saturday, January 17, 2009

BSG and 24: they're back!

Watch out, spoilers for Battlestar Galactica and 24 below!

Just some quick thoughts:

First off, Battlestar Galactica. I can't believe that there's only 10 episodes left, but I have to say they're doing a good job of actually providing answers. Of course, so far, those answers only lead to more questions, but it's definitely getting interesting. I actually really appreciated that they revealed the fifth Cylon this early. I think that no matter who it ended up being it would be a little anticlimactic, but the more I think about it, the more I kind of like that it's Ellen. And all the other revelations...the thirteenth tribe was Cylon? The final five lived on Earth 2000 years ago? Kara's actually dead? And then there was Dee. It was obvious something was up since they began the "previously on" scenes with her when she hasn't really been featured in a long time. I kind of knew she was going to die but the way it happened was just...chilling.

As for 24, I wasn't too sure of what to expect from this season, since I hadn't even finished the last one and I didn't like that Tony was being brought back from the dead to be a bad guy, but I have to say I'm pretty happy so far with what's going down. I mean, Jack, Tony, Bill, and Chloe, all my favorite characters in the 24-verse, working together? AWESOME! I'm also pretty amused by the addition of Janeane Garofalo as the FBI version of Chloe. I wonder if a Chloe-Janis faceoff is coming? I'm also liking Agent Walker and hope she gets brought into the plan soon. I'm not so sure about the White House personnel's just all kind of dull compared to what's going on with Jack. Although, that Agent Gedge is kind of cute, is he the new Aaron Pierce?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New winter TV

There is SO MUCH new TV premiering in the next couple of weeks, and an annoyingly large number of them are on Mondays. WTF? What I'll be watching:

1. Battlestar Galactica. Final season, all will be revealed??

2. 24. It's been quite awhile, and I never finished watching the last season of this show, but I kind of liked the Redemption special so I'm definitely planning on watching. I'm a little upset about Tony coming back from the dead and being evil though because he was one of my favorites. I'm secretly hoping he won't turn out to be truly evil?

3. Damages. Originally I wasn't too keen on a second season of this show, but Glenn Close is so damn good I can't complain.

4. Kyle XY. I can't really explain my love for this show...perhaps it's just the teen sci-fi aspect that isn't found elsewhere on TV anymore. In any case, I'm super excited, especially with reports that it'll be more action-packed.

5. Scrubs. Now on ABC, also possibly the final season? What can I say, it's just kooky and fun and the only medical show I watch.

6. Dollhouse. The new Joss Whedon show with Eliza Dushku. It sounds pretty out there, as one would expect from Joss, and it's been doomed to a Friday night timeslot on FOX, which definitely has no qualms about canceling shows right away, and at the same time I wonder if it's been hyped up too much. I remain optimistic though and I can't wait.

7. Friday Night Lights. The season has already been airing on DirecTV but now it's finally coming to NBC. I think it's likely this is the last season but really I'm just thankful we got to a third one at all.

8. The Bachelor. I know, I'm ridiculous. But I really did like Jason from the last season of the Bachelorette....I thought he was truly decent and it sucked that he got down on one knee to propose and then got rejected. I think it'll be interesting to see how he deals with being the one to have to date multiple people now because he seems very honest and genuine. God knows why I still have hope that he found someone for real when the show's track record basically sucks.

9. America's Best Dance Crew. I don't think I mentioned it but I went to the live tour this past fall and it was really pretty awesome. I wasn't a faithful viewer either the first or second seasons but I might tune in this season. Especially with reports that Dominic and Hok from So You Think You Can Dance season 3 and their crew might be on it.

10. Bromance/The City. Yeah, it just gets worse. But I woke up at 3am last night and couldn't sleep and found Bromance on the air. And it was just really kind of hilarious. (Apparently this show and Momma's Boys were both developed by Ryan Seacrest. I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that nugget.) As for The City...I stopped watching The Hills last year because I just couldn't handle Speidi anymore and all of Lauren's self-righteous friendship drama was becoming intolerable, but I always liked Whitney. That said, I'm kind of surprised she agreed to headline her own show because she was always a bit guarded about her personal life. Now she's inviting this weird level of manufactured-ness into her life...I mean, Olivia Palermo is apparently a pretty well-known New York socialite who was basically cast on the show to be Whitney's co-worker, and Whitney met Jay, her Australian musician love interest, on camera and had to kind of ask him if it was ok to have their relationship chronicled on reality TV. Which makes me kind of wonder if he really likes her or if he just wants to be on TV?

11. Big Love. Hm, I haven't finished watching the last season of this show either, and honestly sometimes all the stuff with Roman and Alby and such loses my interest but at this point I'm basically invested in the characters so I will probably keep up.

12. Reaper. Does anyone remember this show? I thought it kind of grew into its own towards the end of its first season and I'm glad it's coming back.

Plus new season of The Amazing Race, Masterpiece Classic, and all the other shows I watched this DVR is going to be super busy and thank goodness for and other online streaming!