Thursday, September 30, 2010

life of my dvr...

Baseline: 3% occupied with a movie I intend to watch at some point but will not get around to for a few months; 5% (8% total) -- 1 episode of Outlaw that Boyfriend may get around to watching one day soon; 10% (18%) -- 2 episodes of Chuck that we will put off watching until we can't afford the space anymore; 30% (48%) -- 2 episodes of The Event, Hawaii Five-O, Undercovers that we will put off watching until we're inspired to try out a new show; 10% (58%) -- 2 episodes of Lone Star that we will put off watching until the DVR runs out of space and automatically deletes it... then the week starts.

How I Met Your Mother
, 3%
Lone Star,
The Event, 5%
Hawaii Five-O,
Chase, 5%
(total 76%)
Watch How I Met Your Mother because it takes 20 minutes to get off, -3% (total 73%).
(Watching off of the Internet: Gossip Girl, House)

Glee, 5%
No Ordinary Family,
NCIS: Los Angeles, 5%
The Good Wife, 5%
(total 98%)
Watch Glee as soon as I get home from class, cuz I can't wait. -5% (total 93%)
Boyfriend gets NCIS and Chase off the DVR to make room for Wednesday, -10% (total 83%)
(Watching off of the Internet: NCIS (bf), Running Wilde--maybe, Detroit 1-8-7 (bf))

Outlaw, 5%
Undercovers, 5%
Criminal Minds
, 5%
(total 98%)
Boyfriend watches Outlaw, Criminal Minds to make room for Thursday, -10% (total 88%)
Watch No Ordinary Family as soon as I get home from class, -5% (total 83%)
(Watching off of the Internet: The Defenders (bf))

Grey's Anatomy,
Private Practice,
(total 98%)
Get some of the earlier TV off the DVR, such as Parenthood, Hellcats -10% (total 88%)
Watch Grey's Anatomy, Nikita pretty much right away, -10% (total 78%)
(Watching off of the Internet: My Generation, Outsourced (bf))

Blue Bloods, 5% (total 83%)

Over the course of Friday and Saturday nights Boyfriend watches Blue Blood (total 78%) and we figure out a way to watch enough TV to get the DVR down to <60% so that we can record Michigan football on Saturday (and delete it soon after) and NFL football on Sunday (and delete soon after) and then on Monday.... We start all over again.

Managing the DVR is HARD!

Thursday Talk: Best Buds

M: Inspired by a comment on House and Wilson's "bromance" on House, M.D.: favorite fictional best friends?

Jennifer: For some reason or another, most of my favorite books and TV shows and movies have to do more with family or romance and don't have many great well-developed two-person friendships. Too often the best friend of the lead character is just there to be supportive or the comic relief/scene stealer. Or there's a group of friends where the individual friendships don't always make sense (like on Sex and the City) or they're just better altogether (like Harry and Ron and Hermione.) So the only pairs that come to mind right now are Seth and Ryan on The OC and Blair and Serena on Gossip Girl (hm, both Josh Schwartz shows). With these pairs, I feel like they took the time to explain why they were best friends and gave them conflict and didn't just take it for granted. Both shows are probably more known for their merry-go-round of relationships but Seth/Ryan and Blair/Serena, rather than any romance, are actually more the heart of each show. (Honorable mention to Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro...just because.)

Yeah, for me, too, I think Blair & Serena instantly. Only problem is Gossip Girl just wouldn't stop with the Blair/Serena fighting, best friends, fighting crap and now I don't care about them anymore. But for the first two years they were the true heart and relationship to root for on the show. Favorite fictional best friends -- I love Meridith and Cristina on Grey's Anatomy. It's funny how they're referred to by their significant others (now husbands!) as the "twisted sisters." But I love how they're so perfectly twisty and negative and competitive together. Honorable mention to Kurt & Mercedes on Glee, just because.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall TV: My Generation

I graduated from high school in 2001, and the characters in My Generation graduated in 2000. I didn't really have a typical high school experience but I came into this show thinking that I'd be able to relate to it in some way, even if it was just the pop culture references from the late 90s that were going to be inevitable. But despite using specific dates and events in the last ten years as part of the storyline, I didn't find too much here to latch onto. There are nine characters from the class of 2000 that some documentary crew interviewed during their senior year of high school and are now catching up with, and I didn't identify with any of them in particular.

Cliches are abound here. Things like the Bush/Gore election, 9/11, Enron, etc. were obviously huge things that happened, but they're used here as direct catalysts in the characters' lives. The "[blank] days later, [character] makes this drastic change" construct is used several times. Brenda ("the Brain") enters college as a science major but switches to pre-law days the election fiasco. Rolly ("the Jock") signs up for the army days after 9/11 and is now in Afghanistan while his pregnant wife Dawn ("the Punk") waiting for him in Texas. Steven ("the Overachiever") has to drop out of Yale because his father was an Enron executive and ends up a surf bum in Hawaii. Kenneth ("the Nerd")'s father shoots himself because his money was tied up in Enron. Then there's Anders ("the Rich Kid") whose high school relationship with Brenda (who's Hispanic) was apparently so disapproved by his parents that he ended up marrying Jackie ("the Beauty Queen") even though he's obviously still hung up on Brenda and Jackie's flirts with everyone else on sight. And Caroline ("the Wallflower") slept with Steven on prom night and got pregnant and had a son and is just now telling him about it.

Oh and then there's Falcon ("the Rock Star") who doesn't yet seem to have a storyline of his own but is just generally annoying.

It's just like, oh, of course the high school couples got mixed up! But of course they're still hung up on their high school loves! Of course no one ended up where they thought they would! Of course their worlds are all now colliding ten years later! You want predictable, you got it, and you're going to get knocked over the head with it!

But you know, despite all this, it was really all very watchable. A lot of the acting was actually pretty good. Rolly and Dawn, the unconventional couple, seem like they really love each other despite only seeing them interact over the Internet. Caroline is pretty believable as the Asian wallflower who gains self-confidence through having a son. And Kenneth -- he's kind of the strangest case, a quiet nerd who declares upon graduation that his goal for the future is to have lots of kids -- I actually got a little misty when he finds out that he's infertile and will never have kids of his own. (Of course it doesn't help that he's letting Dawn, his high school girlfriend who he probably still has feelings for, live with him during her pregnancy. Thanks show, for making everything so obvious.)

I don't know if people are going to like this or not. Critics have blasted it for the problems that I totally agree with, but it's the kind of lazy, soapy television that has the same appeal as like those MTV and Bravo reality shows. These characters are ridiculous and stupid and predictable but you still want to know what happens next. Thursday is an incredibly crowded night for TV so it's off my DVR but it streams online at ABC and Hulu so if I'm bored, it'll be there. Unless it gets canceled that is...

Fall TV: Undercovers

So, what's with all the spy shows? I mean, I like them and all, but is there nothing else to make a show about?

Undercovers is the latest from J.J. Abrams, which most people probably see as a positive but I approach with huge skepticism. Abrams has proved to be good coming up with concepts that are great in the beginning but are hard to sustain and tend to devolve into total crap, e.g. Felicity, Alias, Lost (partially). Maybe he should stick with movies or something?

Anyway, the first season of Alias was pretty fantastic, so I thought maybe at least Undercovers would be good for a little while. But from watching the pilot, this seems to be a totally different kind of show. The two stars, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kojoe (such exotic names!), are ridiculously attractive as married couple Steven and Samantha Bloom, former CIA operatives who are brought back into the spy game after having left to become caterers, of all things.

There's style and action and all that you expect from a J.J. Abrams-direction spy show but it's missing...consequence. There are just no stakes. I get the impression that there isn't going to be too much of an ongoing storyline outside of their relationship and that week-to-week it'll just be fun missions while trying to maintain their cover. I wouldn't want any crazy and stupid mythology like Alias had, but I need a little something more than just pretty people jetting off around the world to banter and fight the bad guys.

Fall TV: The Event

Over the summer, NBC's The Event had the most annoying advertising of all the new fall shows because it basically told you nothing. And guess what? The pilot told us nothing too!

For years, all the networks have been trying to come up with the next 24  and the next Lost. And so far, they've pretty much all tanked. I'm pretty sure this is going to be the latest in that line of failures.

The problem with the pilot was that it somehow managed to be all plot but no substance. All these different characters that aren't connected were introduced but we don't really get anything on what their purpose is or who's good or bad. I assume that the ordinary guy, Sean, played by Jason Ritter who I generally do like, is supposed to be the audience surrogate/hero, but they don't even give us enough on him for us to want to really care.

There's also the president, played by Blair Underwood (who's now apparently Hispanic...I guess we've moved on from black presidents on TV), who's dealing with some weird detention center in Alaska where Laura Innes (of ER) appears to be the leader. These people seem to know something about "The Event" and the CIA is involved somehow too but basically none of it makes any sense. Something happens at the end with a plane and a flash of light or something but I can't even really describe that. It really doesn't help that half of these bits and pieces came in the form of flashbacks.

So what is the Event? Is it alien-related? Science fiction-y stuff? Government conspiracy? Guess what? I really don't care! Needless to say, I lost interest in this very very quickly. I've definitely been hard on Lost for a lot of things but all these wannabes are much, much worse...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

fall 2010

My life has been especially nutso this semester with school and work and, well, trying to keep my DVR percentage low enough to record all the shows in the coming week (it's a hard life!), so blogging has been difficult... But here's a quick little run down of my opinions on Fall TV thus far:

Shows I've already dropped:
- $#*! My Dad Says -- The comedic pauses are just awkward and annoying. Shatner is not the most annoying actor on the show, which already speaks volumes in my mind. One last thing, the show had one funny line and it was not shit said by the dad. Shatner is at the DMV taking the eye exam and is asked to read the large E at the top of the chart. Shatner: "I've never been rear-ended by a large letter E." DMV employee: "You've never driven on Sesame Street."
- Running Wilde -- I love Keri Russell but even she can't keep this show on my priority watch list.
- 90210 (though I dropped it halfway through last season) -- I know I already dropped this, but seeing the stuff going on and reading the spoilers on what is to come... Good riddance!
- Life Unexpected -- Jenn's entry sums it up perfectly. Forced dramatic story lines are just too much! Though it cracks me up that a Melrose Place (new, not old) reject has landed over here.

Shows I'm already committed to:
- Nikita -- Somehow this show became an immediate watch show for me, but I really like the complexity of each character and the fact that they all contribute layers of depth to the show.
- Hellcats -- I like peppy tv shows.
- Grey's Anatomy -- I forgot about the season ending with the shooting spree and the new season dealing with aftermath of that has been built up brilliant so far.
- Private Practice -- I still like the characters on the show enough to keep watching it, though the storylines aren't captivating.
- Parenthood -- This show just keeps getting better for me. The best family drama.

Shows I meant to watch but forgot about:
- Better With You -- Like Jenn, I really like Joanna Garcia.

Shows still sitting on my DVR:
- Lone Star
- The Event
- Hawaii Five-O
- Undercovers
- The Whole Truth
- My Generation
- Chuck

Shows I'm still looking forward to:
- No Ordinary Family
-- But the stupid show is on at the same time as Glee and NCIS! Sigh, so this may end up going the route of Modern Family, where I mean to catch up online but forget to. Hopefully not!
- Glee, Episode 2 (cuz Episode 1 was a bit disappointing) -- Cannot wait for Brittany (my favorite character!) and BRITNEY (Spears)!
- The Good Wife
- Friday Night Lights, the final season! :(

On the cusp:
- Outlaw
- How I Met Your Mother -- We better meet the stupid mother this season. And that wedding in the season premier better be Barney and Robin's wedding.
- Gossip Girl

BTW, an awful lot of weddings in the season premier this year -- Grey's Anatomy had one, Private Practice had one, HIMYM had one!

Fall TV: Lone Star

Without question, Lone Star had the best pilot this season. A lot of times, I feel like I need a couple of episodes of a new show to really get a feel for the setting and the characters, but once in awhile, a pilot just completely immerses you into what feels like a fully realized world. This was definitely the case with Lone Star. The cast, the writing, the music...everything just immediately worked for me.

Relative newcomer Josh Wolk plays the lead, Robert Allen, a con man leading a double life. As "Bob" he's married to Cat, the daughter of a wealthy Houston oil magnate, and as "Robert," he's living with his girlfriend Lindsay in suburban Midland while running her family and neighbors in some investing scam. It appears he's been doing this for years, having been taught everything by his father since he was a young boy. But there's a problem: he's let himself fall in love with both Cat and Lindsay. When Cat's father offers him a huge job at his company, and when the con in Midland starts to fall apart, he decides that he wants to get out of the con game and have a real life -- or rather, two "real" lives.

I thought Josh Wolk was pretty fantastic. He's got the easy smile and boyishly handsome looks that make it easy to see how he charms everyone around him. In fact, he did an awfully good job of charming me. When he turns down the advances of a woman at a hotel bar, I thought, "Aw, he's not going to cheat!" Well, not with someone who's not his wife or girlfriend! And when he goes back to Lindsay at the end of the episode to marry her, half of me was like "That's so sweet!" while the other half was like, "You bastard!"

The supporting cast is great too. Adrienne Palicki of Friday Night Lights stays in Texas but transitions easily from girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks to privileged, confident Cat. I think Bryce Johnson and Mark Deklin actually even kind of look alike as Cat's brothers, Drew and Trammell, and Jon Voigt is, well, Jon Voigt in a very Jon Voigt role as their father. Eloise Mumford is sweetly naive as Lindsay, and David Keith as Bob's dad hits the right notes as a man who clearly loves his son but is basically a scoundrel.

But there's a problem that worries pretty much everyone, including possibly the showrunners. How can this really be a series? Like Bob's dad says, "This is a house of cards, you don't get to live in it." It's clear Bob is not going to be pulling off this plan without a hitch -- from a TV drama standpoint that's not desirable anyway -- so how long until it collapses? And where do they go from there?

The sad thing is that we may not even find that out. The ratings for the pilot were kind of terrible, and FOX is notorious for canceling shows -- regardless of critical acclaim -- after just a few weeks. I don't know if the show can be sustained creatively but I sure would like them to have the chance to figure it out. So everyone out there, please watch!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday Talk: Reality show winners

J: Two reality shows I watch ended their seasons recently (Top Chef and the Great Food Truck Race) and I wasn't very excited about the winner of either. Which reality show wins have you found most deserving/satisfying? Which were the most disappointing/lame?

Jennifer: In terms of deserving, Christian Siriano of Project Runway season 4 comes to mind. I also loved Harold and Stephanie of Top Chef seasons 1 and 4, Aarti on this season of Next Food Network Star and Jeanine of So You Think You Can Dance season 5. For most disappointing, I'd say Ilan and Hosea of Top Chef seasons 2 and 6, most of the recent Amazing Race winners (love the show but somehow I'm never enthusiastic about the winners) and Poreotix of the most recent season of America's Best Dance Crew. I could think of many other examples because clearly I watch too much reality TV...

Mira: I don't watch too much in terms of reality competition. Just the talent oriented ones sometimes. I'll go with most of the winners of SYTYCD and Kristy Yamaguchi on DWTS. That may have been the only season of DWTS that I may have watched.

Fall TV: New comedies

Better With You (ABC) - I didn't have very high expectations for this, but I actually thought it was pretty funny. Joanna Garcia and Jennifer Finnegan play two sisters, Mia and Maddie. Maddie is the older, a lawyer who's been with her boyfriend Ben for nine years but has never gotten married ("a valid life choice"), and Mia is the younger, apparently more free-spirited sister who gets engaged to doofy but good-natured Casey after less than two months of dating. Rounding out the cast are the girls' parents, Joel and Vicky (welcome back to TV, Kitty Forman!).

The pilot gets a lot of laughs out of comparing the three couples, which I don't know how long they'll be able to keep up, but the writing seemed sharp enough and the cast played nicely off each other. But I can't help but feel like Joanna Garcia is just...better than this. She's so natural and likable and just a great actress that I want her to be in something truly great and not just okay, which is what this is. I'm willing to give it a few episodes though.

Raising Hope (FOX) - I laughed at this one too, but it was kind of an uncomfortable funny. I mean, the setup for the show is incredibly wacky - Jimmy has a one-night stand with a girl who turns out to be a serious wanted criminal; she gets pregnant (of course) and soon after giving birth, is executed by electric chair, leaving Jimmy with the baby. Uh...yeah.

Jimmy's family is...lower class? His parents had him when they were very young also, and his great-grandmother (Cloris Leachman, in various stages of undress...yes, this is supposed to be funny but is really kind of disturbing) and cousin Mike also live with them. So none of these people are really suited to raise a baby and I guess there's the show?

I do like the cast....Lucas Neff, who I've never seen in anything before, is suitably dim but kind of endearing as Jimmy, Martha Plimpton is pretty great as Jimmy's mom, and I always like Garret Dillahunt. But I have this slight guilty feeling laughing at these characters and this sort of lowbrow humor. This show is from the same creator as My Name is Earl, which had a similar sort of appeal. I lost interest in that show after a few episodes, and it's not hard to imagine the same thing happening here.

Running Wilde (FOX) - I was a big fan of Arrested Development. So like many others, when I heard that the people behind that show were creating a new one with Will Arnett (who was hilarious as Gob Bluth and in various other things) and Keri Russell (who I've always loved despite the terrible last season of Felicity), I was pretty excited. But early reaction wasn't very good, and I understand why. The show's just...not very funny.

The premise is that Will Arnett plays Steve Wilde, a rich, spoiled heir to an oil fortune, who, with the help of his loyal driver, decides to change his life and go after his childhood sweetheart, Emmy (Keri Russell), a humanitarian who has been living in the Amazon jungle with her daughter, Puddle. (Yes, these are clearly the same people who came up with the name Maeby.) Puddle hates the jungle and wants to be a "normal" kid so she and Steve come up with a plan so she and her mom can stay in the States.

I like Will Arnett and think he's really funny, but he just doesn't really work as a romantic lead. And while Keri Russell is still gorgeous and does fine with what she's given, Emmy isn't very relatable either, and I didn't find any reasons to want to root for these characters to get together. The humor is clearly very Arrested Development-esque but feels strangely tired. I did like Puddle, and they were smart to have her also be the narrator, but that's not really enough. I can see how this might be the kind of show that needs a little time to grow and figure out what it wants to be but I wonder if that'll actually happen, and if FOX will even allow it to.

Mike & Molly (CBS) - Just like Running Wilde was clearly from the producers of Arrested Development, Mike & Molly is clearly a Chuck Lorre CBS sitcom. It manages to feel slightly fuddy-duddy despite the many sex jokes, it has a laugh track, and is respectably funny. Melissa McCarthy (Sookie from Gilmore Girls and Dena from Samantha Who? among other things) and Billy Gardell are the leads, a Chicago school teacher and police officer who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. Unlike with Running Wilde, these two have a really natural chemistry and it's not hard to imagine years of their relationship if the show is a success.

Mike's "side" is populated by his partner, Carl, and Samuel, a waiter at their favorite lunch spot, while Molly's contingent is her mother, the always fabulous Swoosie Kurtz, and sister Victoria (who looks and acts like a younger version of Chloe from Make it or Break it...). There are a lot of references to weight and diets, obviously, but I hope that it doesn't devolve too much into making fun of Mike and Molly. They're the leads, but I gather they're going to be more the "heart" of the show, trying to make their relationship work despite their own demons and the craziness of their friends and family. It's really not that bad an idea of a show. I can't stand Two and a Half Men, but The Big Bang Theory eventually really grew on me, so we'll have to see if this show can win me over or not.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday Talk: Sidekicks!

M: We focus so much on main or title characters in books, movies, tv shows; but really, it's the sidekick(s) that really make a good book/movie/show a great book/movie/show. So who's your favorite? (And yes, please imagine the voice of Boomer, the teacher in Sky High: "SIDEKICK!")

I prefer the non-people companions, such as Dug the dog in Up! or Inspector Gadgets's dog. I also like Pinky from Pinky and the Brain. :) For people sidekicks, well, I love Sky High and I thought the whole sidekick vs. heroes aspect of the story was brilliant. I loved all of the sidekicks and their quirky superpowers such as glowing, turning into a guinea pig, melting into a puddle... I also want to give an honorable mention to the Scoobies because they really were the support team Buffy needed to defeat all sorts of weird evils. :)

Jennifer: I LOVE this question! There are so many great sidekicks to choose from, but I'm going to pick two that are actually played by the same actor, Adam Baldwin: Jayne Cobb from Firefly and John Casey from Chuck. Adam Baldwin is a big, intimidating guy so he naturally fits in the roles as the "muscle" but he's also incredibly funny. The "Jaynestown" episode of Firefly, where Jayne finds out that he's somehow become a folk legend in this small town, is HILARIOUS. And while I usually dislike Jeffster on Chuck, put them together with Casey and it's comic gold. You want Adam Baldwin on your side!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Life Unexpected: Viewer Disappointed?

Before it even premiered, I really wanted to love Life Unexpected. The premise sounded like a lot of the WB shows I loved back in the day, and it even had Shiri Appleby and Kerr Smith, both of whom I really liked from Roswell and Dawson's Creek, respectively. And it started off pretty great, maybe a little emotionally overwrought, but I could tell its intentions were good. Things did get rather repetitive towards the middle of the season, but I liked the finale a lot and you could really see how far the characters had come.

So I was definitely happy that the CW renewed the show for a second season. But after watching the premiere...I'm worried. I think there might have been a little network meddling, a push for more "juicy" storylines, because what else can explain why Lux was subject to two of the most cliched teen plot points? 1) Getting proposed to at 16, and 2) meeting a new guy she likes only to have him turn out to be a teacher at her high school (this is a storyline shared with Pretty Little Liars for crying out loud! I know that show has its fans but I didn't think this was supposed to be the same type of show).

Cate and Ryan and Baze don't fare much better...Cate gets fired (rather harshly) in favor of a ridiculous self-help book author, Ryan seems to have a secret something named Julia that he doesn't want Cate to find out about, and Baze's bar burns down, thanks to a new, careless bartender who turns out to be Ryan's sister?

Show! I thought you were better than this! I still like all the characters and there are still some of the heartstring-tugging moments, but I'm disappointed in where this season seems to be heading. I'm not giving up on it yet, but I am concerned...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Reminder: Watch Vampire Diaries!

The Vampire Diaries had its second season premiere last night and I'm happy to report that it has not lost any steam and is just as fantastic as we left it last season. The show is somewhat mythology heavy so I don't know if you necessarily would want to pick it up cold now but the last couple of episodes from season 1 are streaming on the CW's website so that would be better than nothing. The first season is also out on DVD for you Netflix-ers.

If you haven't already, go read my my post on the show from last spring. Watch this!

Fall TV: Nikita

The CW's Nikita is actually just the latest entry in movies and TV series about this character. I think the first was a French film and then there was a TV series back in the 90s called La Femme Nikita. I haven't seen any of those so I'm can't comment on how this new series compares. But I have watched plenty of these female spy/action type series so obviously I'm a fan of the genre, and I have to say that I rather enjoyed the pilot.

Maggie Q is Nikita, a former spy and assassin for Division, a shadowy government organization whose recruits appear to be taken involuntarily, mostly from the streets. When the series begins, Nikita has already escaped and is working to bring down the organization from the outside. I have to say that it's kind of nice to see an Asian (well, half Asian anyway) woman as the lead of a network series, and Maggie Q brings a certain exotic glamour and a good dose of maturity to the role. She's definitely not your girl next door like Sydney (Alias) or Annie (Covert Affairs) and makes the show feel much less "CW." Maggie Q has a martial arts background and is apparently doing her own stunts too.

Even though Nikita is the lead, the rest of the characters are inside Division, so we get to see both sides. We're introduced to the world through Alex (played by Lyndsy Fonseca, also known as Ted's future daughter on How I Met Your Mother), a brand-new recruit. The head of Division is Percy (played by Xander Berkeley of 24 season 1), and his number-two is Michael (Shane West, questionable casting but I'm willing to give him a chance). There's also a requisite computer nerd, Birkhoff, and the always fabulous Melinda Clarke as Amanda, who I guess trains the recruits in manipulation and seduction and stuff like that. There are also two other recruits (I'm not sure what else to call them) that may end up friends or enemies, not sure.

The pilot doesn't necessarily offer anything new, but there's plenty of style and action here, and as Nikita has no personal connections (all of the recruits are officially "dead") it didn't have any of that cheesy stuff that seems to be standard with spies trying to lead double lives. It also ended with a nice twist that sets up a formula for future episodes. I think it might fill the girl-power-action hole left by Dollhouse's cancellation and not much satisfied by Covert Affairs (whose season is ending next week anyway). Thursday is a crowded night for TV, but I think this has potential. It's on my schedule for now!

Fall TV: Hellcats

There's actually really no reason for anyone to read a review of pretty much already know if you're going to like this show or not. Considering I'm a fan of such movies as Bring it On (which this show borrows from pretty liberally) and Stick it and ABCFamily's Make it or Break it, I obviously had to watch it. I'm actually kind of surprised it took this long for someone to come up with a cheerleading show...there have been what, three straight-to-video/TV sequels to Bring it On already?

Alyson Michalka is the lead, and she's pretty perfect for this. She's fun and sassy and doesn't look stupid or like she's trying too hard. Her character is Marti, the new girl on the fictional Lancer University's squad, and from her leather jacket and bike-riding, I gather she's supposed to be kind of an edgy outsider. The pilot was all set-up getting Marti onto the squad and was probably more complicated than it needed to be...all this random stuff with scholarships and her mom and gymnastics that didn't all make sense but this isn't the kind of show you should be thinking too hard about.

The rest of the cast is pretty well filled out. Ashley Tisdale plays Savannah, the team captain, and Marti's new roommate in the cheerleading house. We didn't get too much on her but I guess she's supposed to be a slightly uptight and prissy Southern belle. Also on the team are Lewis, who will inevitably be in a love triangle with Marti and her townie friend Dan, and Alice, who's been sidelined by an injury and is supposed to be the "villain." There's also a few adults...Sharon Leal (who for some reason I remember from this short-lived UPN show Legacy) as coach and former Hellcat Vanessa, who it seems will be having her own little love triangle with her current boyfriend, team doctor Derrick (played by D.B. Woodside, aka Principal Wood from Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Wayne Palmer from 24) and former flame Red who coaches the football team.

There's a lot of Bring it On here, obviously (Marti even preps for her tryout by watching the movie), and also maybe a little Glee in that the Hellcats have to place at Nationals or else their funding will be revoked. So I expect there will be periodic competitions and probably rival teams and such along with the usual teen drama.

Oh, and um, I think I'd be remiss to not point out that Alyson Michalka has a pretty rockin' body. She's tall and thin but actually looks toned rather than bony. The Hellcats' midriff-baring cheerleading outfits are definitely done justice by those abs...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Thursday Talk: Viral video

J: With the advent of youtube, a whole new form of media is now out there: viral videos. What are some of your recent favorites?

Jennifer: The reason I thought of this question is because of "Bed Intruder Song" which is one of the most hilarious things I've seen in awhile. Most viral videos get overplayed and annoying really quickly but I do remember enjoying David after Dentist and yes, the wedding dance one when I first saw them. And for you Lost fans, this Hurley tribute is pretty great. I always hear about these things too late or never though, so what have I missed?

Mira: My favorites include the Numa Numa guy... The Evolution of Dance guy... The Pachelbel's Canon Rant guy... Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd the cutest thing ever: little kid on ukelele. (I also enjoyed the wedding dance one when I first saw it. And I enjoyed The Office spoof of it.)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Thursday Talk: Happy 90210 Day!

M: In the spirit of today's date (9.02.10), what was your favorite and least favorite memory of Beverly Hills, 90210?

: I watched the original 90210 on and off, mostly in reruns, and mostly just the high school and early college years. So my knowledge of the show is somewhat scattered but a few random moments stick out. There was that episode where Brandon and Clare are competing against each other to get onto College Jeopardy! but then Andrea demolishes both of them, which I thought was hilarious. I was always kind of unhappy with what they did with Andrea's character...she should have gone to Yale and left the show but instead we were subject to all of her somewhat depressing marriage problems. Least favorite memory? I remember all this bizarre drama with Dylan's half-sister being kidnapped to Mexico or something? Oh, and every scene with David dancing was really cringeworthy...

Mira: I feel like I remember the high school years much more fondly than the college years; though, that's true for most shows that attempt to move a high school show into college. But I did kind of love and hate the Dylan-Kelly-Brenda triangle. Oh, I also really liked Brenda's character, which was another reason to like the college years less. And I hated Valerie's character, who came in to sort of make up for the hole left by Brenda's departure. More reason to hate the later years. But one thing that I did love in the later years was the Brendon-Kelly relationship. And I hated, hated, hated when he almost proposed to her and didn't and she had the miscarriage, too. Agh! Hated that! I felt and still feel gypped of a perfect 'ship. Oh, and btw, the new 90210 on The CW blows.