Friday, October 14, 2011

This week in television...

Just some notes on some of the shows I watched (and didn't watch) this week:

  • Pysch is back! Love, love, love this show - oh show, I how I missed you! Still hating the the Shawn-Juliet hook-up. They might be dating in real life, but I don't see any chemistry between the characters and there was never an organic reason to put them together. That being said, if they can keep that storyline to a minimum, and focus instead on the much superior, sparks-flying pairings of Juliet-Lassiter's partnership and Shawn-Gus's bromance, then I'll still be a happy camper. Plus, it was about time someone questioned whether or not Shawn is really psychic. And of course Henry taught him how to beat a polygraph!
  • Monday night's episode of Castle was much darker than usual but still oh so compelling - I don't think I've ever seen an episode with so few quips and wise-cracks from Castle, but mad props to Seamus Dever as Detective Ryan for stepping into a more prominent role in this episode and totally knocking it out of the park.
  • What else, what else...this isn't actually from this week, but I watched it this week, the wedding episode of New Girl. I kinda hated the second episode. But the final scene of this third episode, with the four roommates doing the chicken-dance to "Groovy Kind of Love" actually made me tear up (that's a sentence I never thought I'd say) and may have been the moment I officially fell in love with this show.
  • Have I mentioned Suburgatory yet? While I HATE that Jeremy Sisto is playing the father to a high schooler because it just makes me feel sooo old (he'll always be Elton from Clueless to me!), I love him, Jane Levy is adorable and fantastic as Tessa and needs to be cast in something with Emma Stone where they play adorable, sardonic sisters, like, NOW, and it's actually funny.
  • Maya Rudolph is starting to grate on Up All Night but loving Christina Applegate and Will Arnett more and more each week. And that baby who plays Amy, I just want to eat her up she's so cute.
  • So many shows to watch last night, the Best Night of Television Each Week...special shout out to Parks and Recreation. This show makes me want to move to Pawnee, Indiana. Loved every storyline, love that this show has characters who actually like what they do and the people they work with, and love love love Ron and Leslie. I am totally a Ron and Leslie shipper, not in the romantic sense, but in the sense that they have the most chemistry and the most believable and hilarious platonic relationship I've ever seen on television. Kudos to Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman for making their mutual respect and yes, even friendship, one of the things I look forward to watching the most every week.
  • TVD rocked hard as usual. Booo to no Alaric, but props to tying characters together in overlapping storylines much better than they did last year - not sure yet how I feel about Tyler becoming a vampire-werewolf hybrid, but loving the reversal in Stefan and Damon's roles, and thank you, TV gods, for not killing Matt (at least not permanently). This show has taken books that I loved and thought were awesome and just developed that story into such a much more rich, complex, satisfying one steeped in history and mythology - the writers on this show have done an amazing job making a good thing even better.
  • The Secret Circle, however...I haven't been watching because there's no room on my DVR, so I was planning to catch up at some point in the future, and have been following the story in summaries and reviews online. After reading what happened to Nick in last night's episode, I will not be watching this show after all. Nick Armstrong was not only my favorite character in The Secret Circle books, a quiet but decent and loyal (and hot!) guy, but he was an extremely important part of the Cassie-Adam-Diana storyline. You can change a tv show's storyline from that of the book - sometimes you have to, sometimes it just works better - but this was a serious misstep that just changes the story too much in too fundamental a way. See TVD for how to do it right - details and storylines have been changed, but the essence of what the storyline has always been is still the same. Sorry, TSC. I'm going to stick with my paperback copies of the books instead.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"The League" takes a long, hard, serious look at fantasy football

Yeah right.

If you've ever dated or been married to a guy who participates in a fantasy football league, you should watch this show.

If YOU'VE ever want to or have actually participated in a fantasy football league, you should watch this show.

If you have ever met a man and been driven nuts by a man and wish there was something on television that reflected their misplaced passion and focus, their obsessions, their childish behavior and pranks, their some-time stupidity, and their complete arrested development and extended adolescence, you should watch this show.

If you think all that stuff I just listed is only somewhat annoying and actually a little funny, you should watch this show.

If you like a down-and-dirty, raunchy, frat boy tale that is legitimately hilarious, you NEED to watch this show! Like, now! :)
The third season of "The League" premieres tonight at 10:30 p.m. on FX.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

And the annual chopping block has commenced...

Less than a month into the new television season and we already have our first victim - announced today that after only three episodes, NBC's "The Playboy Club" has been cancelled. I never saw an episode so I can't say from experience, but I had no interest in watching that show. It, like "Pan Am," were obviously jumping onto the "Mad Men" bandwagon and trying to recreate the magic of that amazing show, but I would guess both will fail - first, because you don't have as much freedom with storylines on the major networks as you do on the cable networks; second, because there is an air of authenticity that surrounds the stories and characters of "Mad Men" that is missing in "Pan Am" at least (like I said, never saw "The Playboy Club") and third, because nothing that ever tries to mimic the magic of having the write actors, writers, network, producers, et al at the right time (and this goes for books and movies as well) always fails. The point is, I'm not surprised by "Playboy Club"'s demise, and even though I watch "Pan Am," it's really just too idealistic and has potential but just doesn't deliver.

At least in this case, it seems NBC has axed a show that deserves it - sometimes, in the interest of ratings and money over allowing an excellent, quality show that gets off to a slow start the room and time to grow and build an audience, you lose a Great Show that Coulda Been - see Firefly or Wonderfalls, just to name two off the top of my head. So let's hope that the next few weeks, which will surely see more shows fall, sees the right shows fall.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sean Maher...a gay dude playing a gay dude trying to pass as a straight dude

So according to Entertainment Weekly, Sean Maher, who apparently plays a closeted married gay man on "Playboy Club," came out as gay in real life. Whatever your personal thoughts and feelings about men and women who are gay, the fact that people still think a person's sexual orientation has anything to do with his or her skills as an actor is positively archaic. As a writer, no one cares if I'm gay or straight. All they care about is that I do my job well. And sometimes, they don't even care about that. So, I'm glad Maher finally felt comfortable coming out of the closet, but I'm sorry that he felt like he couldn't just live his life without giving us, people he's never met, an explanation.

But on the bright side of all this, I think as fans of television, especially good television, we can all appreciate any story that continues to bring attention to the late, great "Firefly" (on which Maher played Dr. Simon Tam)...

Monday, September 26, 2011

New show review: "Pan Am"

This was not on my original list of new shows to watch. It didn't get great reviews from everyone, but it didn't get terrible ones, either. It's no Mad Men (nothing is, of course) but I'm a sucker for a period piece.

And actually, here is where I will say one of the very few bad things I will ever say about Mad Men - for all the show's appeal, it's a show about men. Yes, women figuring out their place in the world during the tumultuous 1960s is very well done in the characters of Peggy, Joan, and yes, even Betty, but Mad Men's ensemble cast boasts about triple that number in main male characters. I feel like Pan Am might be the women's answer to Mad Men, exploring what it was like to be young and single and in an exciting career in the 1960s.

I hate flying, so I could never imagine actually wanting to be a stewardess, but flying has become so commonplace and mundane nowadays, I think we tend to forget, at least those of us my generation and younger, that back in the 1960s, flying was new and it was exciting and it was glamorous. Sure, the women were eye-candy for wealthy men, but it was a way for young women to support themselves not as secretaries at the advertising firm of Sterling Cooper Draper & Price, but in a way where they also got to see the world.

Also, I love Christina Ricci and Michael Mosley is my secret television crush...

Wow, I'm getting vertigo just watching people fly on tv. And not even in a real airplane. And I KNOW it's not a real airplane. This may become a problem...

Wow, I just teared up a little bit at the failed-wedding scene with Kate and Laura. I totally dig sisters who don't like each other but who love each other...

Okay, final verdict: I could do without the Cold War era spying subplot. It's a little too melodramatic. And kind of unneccessary. And even with that pseudo-darkness, the pilot was bit too bright and shiny...not to beat the dead horse that is comparing Pan Am to Mad Men (even the TITLES sound similar!) but whereas Mad Men makes me feel like I've actually dropped into the 1960s, or like I'm watching a documentary about that era, Pan Am's pilot (ha ha...get it?) made me feel like I was watching a 21st century idealized drama about the 1960s. But, despite all that, I think I might be hooked. At least for a little while...

"Pan Am" airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My main problems with Grey's Anatomy at the moment...

I finally caught up on the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy yesterday, and here are my two main problems with this show right now.

A, the cast is too big. There are characters, like Teddy or April or even the Chief right now, that do very little to further any of the main storylines right now. I find appealing characteristics in all of them, but I missed having, say Lexie Grey on my tv screen for more than 30 seconds. I say, cut the fat. And if Derek is going to keep being such an ass, then they should just write Derek and Meredith off right now instead of waiting until Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo's contracts expire. The show has evolved beyond needing the two of them as the stars. It really has become mostly an ensemble piece, and if they still need a Grey to keep the title making sense, Chyler Leigh is still there.

B, the unbelievable drama. Let me clarify. Grey's Anatomy is a soap. So it's going to be somewhat unrealistic at times. And it's going to be full of melodrama all the time. But I'm talking about the non-organic, let's just throw a monkeywrench from out of left field into this storyline to shake things up. I'm thinking of one storyline in particular - Cristina Yang's unplanned pregnancy and subsequent abortion. Her not wanting a baby drove a wedge between her and Owen, it created more of a parallel between her character and the character of Meredith's mother, and all of that is good and compelling, but the thing is, it was too much of a stretch. It really asked me to suspend my disbelief, like, a crazy amount. Considering Cristina has already had one unplanned pregnancy (with Burke in Season One), is a doctor (so she knows all about medicine and biology and whatnot) and is realllllly opposed to having a child...shouldn't she know some more effective form of birth control than whatever she's using that allowed her to get knocked up not once, but twice?

That is all. Oh, Jackson Avery is so pretty. Now I'm done.

Friday, September 23, 2011

When will people learn? HIMYM climbs on board the Katie Holmes love train

I just read an article by Michael Ausiello here in which he shares that Katie Holmes has been cast in the pivotal How I Met Your Mother role of the Slutty Pumpkin (long-time fans will know what I'm talking about). What the showrunner's seem to not realize is that Katie Holmes can't act. To be fair, they're not the only ones who have Katie Holmes blinders on...but really? When will people learn??

Yes, she was the star of Dawson's Creek on the now-defunct WB network for, like, a million years, but many of the actors on that network and its current manifestation, the CW, are cast for their looks, not for their mad acting skillz. I don't find her line readings believable and I really hate that half smile thing she does - Katie, you didn't have a stroke. Use the muscles on both sides of your face!

Anyway, I get that she has a super famous hubby and so that gives her some cache in Hollywood circles, but I'm really disappointed in HIMYM for this. Although to be fair they have a history of giving guest spots to people who can't act (Britney Spears, Rachel Bilson, Stacey Keibler, I'm lookin' at y'all!) and also to be fair, HIMYM isn't really Must See TV for me anymore. So maybe I'll just go ahead and skip those episodes and watch my DVDs of the first season instead.

Some reasons why Thursday night television is awesome...

So, I haven't even finished watching all my Thursday night shows, THAT'S how awesome Thursday night television is, BUT...let's break down what we did watch...

Community...sometimes veers tooooo much into the absurd. But my brother was very psyched to see Omar from The Wire (who? I know, a tv-phile who has never seen The Wire!!!) and I think this premiere veered into the absurd to loop it on back into a bit of reality. Greendale is a weird place. You never know what's going to happen. As lovers of Britcoms, though, my bro and I both cracked up at Abed's reaction to the end of the 6-episode run of Cougarton Abbey...hopefully his new love (based on a show the bro and I agree we just do NOT get at all) will continue for a million, trillion years, like its Doctor Who counterpart has....

Parks and Recreation premiered exactly as I thought it would...sweet, quirky, touching, funny. I do a lot of genealogy work, and a lot of that work involves researching and discovering the world in which your ancestors lived. Well, P & R, like I've said before, is not just our characters - it has become a fully developed world in which they live. And our main characters - they don't always do the right thing or make the right choices, but they are fundamentally good people, which is not something you can say about a lot of characters on tv today...I just rewatched the first season of P & R, so watch for a post on that soon, but the thing is, it wasn't sappy when Ben broke up with was exactly what Ben would do. It almost makes me want to live in one of those fly-over states...and Ron Swanson? Rocks. Hard. His and Leslie's pseudo-bromance, their completely platonic respect for and understanding of each other, has become one of my favorite parts of this show...
The Office was almost like watching a new show. Yes, Steve Carell left before the end of the season last season but they were sort of treading water till, they have direction, and because of that, it's almost like watching a new show. Am I surprised Andy got promoted to regional manager? Yes. But when I think about it, he was the most ridiculous guy in the office besides Michael Scott. He's the most bumbling, eager-to-please in that place. He's got a funny, funky relationship with Darryl, which I adore (Darryl for regional manager! That was my vote!!!), a somewhat respectful yet highly competitive relationship with Dwight...he really stepped up in the end standing up for his co-workers. I can see this playing out in some funny scenarios. Plus, he ditched the pink pants. But thank god he held on to the pink tie...

And last but not least....The Vampire Diaries!!! First, and I meant to write this last week but I got deathly ill, the girls on this show are too thin. They've always been too skinny, but it's beyond noticeable now...if Nina Dobrev loses any more weight, I will boycott this show...I will!!

So...they actually went with bad-ass Stefan. Not surprised. This show has never shied away from storylines that might initially upset the fans, which in my humble opinion, is what keeps it so fresh and clever...although we've learned that everyone Stefan has killed is a werewolf, mortal enemy to vampires. So, not quite so badass. Bonnie has yet to make an actual entrance...I like how they're incorporating Matt more into a main storyline. He got totally lost last year. And this show could go to shite and I would still watch cuz of Steven R. McQueen. Cougar much? Uh, yeah.....

Good to see Alaric re-embracing his vampire slaying roots. That's what made him totally badass to begin with and they're definitely gonna need those skills now. Also, good to see him, like Matt, being incorporated more into the main storyline. His and Damon's bromance and unlikely but funny alliance is one of my favorite parts of THIS show... I feel like Klaus should know by now that he did NOT in fact kill the doppelganger...TVD may be a teen show, but it does NOT treat the viewers as stupid, which is awesome. At 32, it makes me feel less dumb for watching it...

But really, TVD and CW, let the actresses eat. I WILL boycott.
Did I mention before? Best. TV night. Ever!!!!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Best. TV night. Ever.

That's right, folks. Tonight marks the return of the best night of television in its entirety. Last week we saw the premieres of The Vampire Diaries and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but tonight we add to that mix the returns of Community, Parks and Recreation, a revamped The Office featuring the newly added James Spader, and Grey's Anatomy.

So much tv to watch, so little time.

Now, those of you who read this blog have heard me argue before that, as the title of this blog asserts, television is in fact more than a vehicle for commercials and consumerism - there are times it can be considered art. Most of the time my arguments rest on well-written, well-acted, beautifully shot shows like Mad Men. Or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Yes, I went there.

But let me tell you that the comedies can bring it as well, and anyone who argues that television can never be considered art has obviously never watched a paintball episode of Community or Community's stop-motion animation Christmas episode, "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas," which in my humble opinion, is such a well-written (earnest and poignant without being cloying or cliche), well-acted (yes, even in animation form), and beautifully shot piece of art that it should become part of the classic Christmas television staples. Just sayin'.

Aaand a quick small plug for Parks and Recreation. Watch this show. Please. You will not regret it. This is a show that has created a whole world of both endearing and annoying but always funny characters, not just our mainstays in the opening credits, and the citizens of Pawnee, Indiana are the quirkiest, most sincere characters you'll find on tv today. In a television lineup that features so many killers and drug dealers and dark twists and so much cynicism, it is, as Rob Lowe's character would say, LITERALLY the most refreshing (and honest-to-god funny!) show on tv.

That is all. Watch it, ya heard?!?!?!

Friday, September 16, 2011

New show review: "The Secret Circle"

My god, Thomas Dekker's eyelashes are long! He looks like a teenaged Casey Affleck...

Ok, I'm back.

I really, really, REALLY want to like this show. Like The Vampire Diaries (which came back last night - woo hoo! Show, I missed you!), The Secret Circle is based on an L.J. Smith book series, but even moreso than TVD, The Secret Circle was near and dear to my heart growing up. I read those books over and over again until the pages fell apart, and then I went to the bookstore and bought them again.

The books and show have basically the same premise: Cassie Blake moves to a new town where she's befriended by a group of teens who reveal that they are all witches, descended from a long line of witches. They have all lost at least one parent because years ago, when the parents were practicing witchcraft, something went wrong and people died. Cassie's mom fled town and never revealed any of this to her daughter. There's also a strong emphasis on destiny, fate, and soulmates.

I like Britt Robertson as an actress, although I feel like the CW is pushing just a little too hard to make her into the next CW star, and I have loved Gale Harold since his Queer as Folk days, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him on my screen, even though he's apparently evil. There was potential for a good story in the pilot, but I couldn't help but feel that the story made sense to me because I already know the books forward and backwards - they rushed into certain storylines and glossed over other parts and were just sort of confusingly cryptic about other things that, I think did I not already know what was going, I wouldn't have a single clue what was going on.

But a lot of pilots are clunky. Is there potential? Definitely. Did the pilot have me squealing with surprised delight like The Vampire Diaries pilot did? Not even close. Will I watch again? Of course. Unless they completely butcher my beloved story, I will be along for the ride.

The Secret Circle airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on the CW.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New show review: "Up All Night"

I love Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. Let's just get that out of the way right now. I think they've both got great comedic skills and I like them personally as well, so I want them both to find a vehicle in which they might actually succeed. So "Up All Night," which premiered last night, was definitely on my Must Watch list for this season.

Most of the time I love Maya Rudolph although when she was on SNL, she, like Molly Shannon, sometimes lost sight of the line between funny and excrutiatingly grating.

Sitcoms that add babies tend to be on their last legs and spiral quickly downward after that. But sitcoms that begin with babies? Well, let's watch and see!

Oh. My. God. I have never seen Will Arnett play this understated, ever. I love it.

And while I am not yet married and do not yet have kids, I see my friends who are and do trying to segue (I wanted to spell that Segway, like the one GOB used to ride in Arrested Development...) from their pre-marriage, pre-kids partying, young adult days to the whole responsible, grown-up, parenting thing, and trying to balance work and spouses and babies... I like that this show is showing that...

Okay, I'm not laughing yet but Will Arnett holding that adorable baby up to his cheek is totally tugging at my heartstrings and making my uterus cry...

And oh my God. I didn't laugh. But my eyes started tearing. Maybe it's hormones, but the last scene of this episode, when Christina and Will and that cutie pie are lying on the blanket outside and Christina is talking to her daughter was so touching without being cloying...

I'm not sure what type of show "Up All Night" wants to be yet - it seems to be leaning into Bill Lawrence territory of the half-hour comedy that also plays the drama and serious very well, like Scrubs and now Cougar Town, but I think I will be checking this show out again.

"Up All Night" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC. And if you miss an episode, check it out on or Like I did. Because even though I love television and have a Must Watch list, I also have a life...


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New show review: New Girl

Okay, so the new show "New Girl" is available to watch on Hulu ahead of its Sept. 20 premiere. This was one of the shows on my check-out list, but I'm going into this with almost no information - I know that Zooey Deschanel plays a newly single girl who moves in with three dudes, and that every review I've read has either liked or disliked the show based solely on whether the reviewer likes or dislikes Zooey Deschanel. So, let's get started!

So first off, my opinion of Zooey not hate her, thinks she talks a little weird, but am also not aboard the Zooey Love Train. So, I'm probably a good, unbiased person to give this show a go. Aaaaaaand....go!

Oh my God, that theme song has to go. I don't care that it's supposed to be a theme song for herself that the character made up cuz she's a little weird. No,

But oh yay - Max Greenfield! Oh, I have loved this guy ever since he was Officer Leo on the dearly departed and sorely missed Veronica Mars. Aaaand...Damon Wayans Jr.? He's been growing on me lately, but isn't he already on the show Happy Endings, which got picked up for a second season? I'm confused...

Ok, I laughed...I like that they're incorporating her singing as a dorky quirk of hers and I like that her character is, well, geeky and dorky. And that the guys aren't falling all over her. And that's she's weird. I think the guys have good chemistry together, and Wayans and Greenfield are both cracking me up. Zooey's playing up the quirk a little too much for my taste, but overall, I liked it. Pilots are tricky. They have to set up in - in this case - half an hour what the entire series is going to be about. Sometimes that changes along the way, but the pilot has to introduce a storyline and characters and so it can be rushed and exposition-y, so I actually feel that a second episode can give you a better feel of whether or not you're going to like a series, but let's just say that based on this pilot, I'm going to give that second episode a shot...

Hooked? You can check out "New Girl" Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox starting Sept. 20.

Monday, September 12, 2011

2011-2012 TV season: What to keep an eye out for this week!

The 2011-2012 television season is upon us, folks - let's take a moment of silence to thank the TV gods. It's been a long summer.

While some shows started last week and many more will start next week, this week we have a few old favorites returning and newbies to check out. Here are the ones on my schedule (and since I've been watching a lot of Britcoms on in the interim, yes, I am pronouncing that with a "sh" sound in my head!) forewarned, if you consider episode descriptions to be spoilers and you don't want to be spoiled, stop reading now!:

Tuesday, Sept. 13: On the CW at 9 p.m. we have the new Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle, Ringer. The TV Guide description reads: "In the series premiere, ex-stripper Bridget (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a recovering addict slated to testify in a murder trial, flees protective custody and reunites with her wealthy identical twin Siobhan, who soon disappears while on a boating excursion. In a desperate effort to avoid the feds and mobsters now hunting her, Bridget passes herself off as Siobhan, but as she soon learns, the new pose hasn't made her any safer: someone is apparently targeting Siobhan for elimination."

I don't usually do dramas, and while I love some CW shows there are others that I can't help but roll my eyes at - too soapy and I guess I've just finally outgrown the teen angst. But I've missed Buffy on my tv and the premise sounds slightly intriguing, so I'm going to at least check out the pilot.

Wednesday, Sept. 14: At 10 p.m. on NBC we have the new show, Up All Night, starring Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, and Maya Rudolph. Description: "New mom Reagan Brinkley (Christina Applegate) returns to work while her husband, Chris (Will Arnett), takes on the role of stay-at-home dad in the premiere of this comedy series about learning the ropes of parenting. Reagan's zany boss, Ava (Maya Rudolph), meanwhile, doesn't quite acknowledge the changes in Reagan as she welcomes her back to the office."

This show has gotten terrible reviews so far, which doesn't mean it won't do well or that it can't improve. All I know is that I LOVE Applegate, Arnett, and Rudolph and am thinking this show can't be worse than Arnett's last outing, Running Wilde, so I will be giving it a chance. At least for one episode.

Thursday, Sept. 15: Ohmygodohmygodohmygod! At 8 p.m. on the CW we have my Favorite Drama returning, The Vampire Diaries. If you've never seen this show, watch it. Like, now. Rent the DVDs, watch it online, set your DVR because this is one of the best-paced, tightly written, compelling shows on television. Don't let the vampires and high school setting fool you. The premiere description reads: "The third season begins with Elena and Damon searching for Stefan, who is with Klaus tracking a werewolf. Meanwhile, Caroline plans a party for Elena's 18th birthday, and Jeremy sees the ghosts of his late sister, Vicki, and his former girlfriend, Anna." (The description is actually wrong - both Vicki and Anna are late flames of Jeremy's).

Which leads us to the new show at 9 p.m., The Secret Circle. This series is, like The Vampire Diaries, based on an L.J. Smith book series - lesser known to many people but equally as beloved to this reader and TV viewer here. I am just as apprehensive, if not more so, about this show's premiere as I was for TVD - with TVD, because it was based on one of my favorite book series growing up, I wanted the show to do well. Now that it has, I'm afraid that The Secret Circle won't be able to capture that same spark, that it will be a cheesy, boring, poorly acted, badly written adaptation. I want it to be as successful as TVD, but I feel like TVD captured lightning in a bottle and The Secret Circle won't be as lucky. Still, I will be checking it out. Description: "In the series opener, teen Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) moves to a seaside Washington town, where she learns she is a witch and meets a circle of friends who inform her they are also witches. "

And last but not least, at 10 p.m. on FX, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia finally returns aftering being off the air since last December. Description: "Frank wants to marry a prostitute and the gang can't talk him out of it. While Dee sets out to burnish the hooker's heart of gold, Charlie takes a different tack: He tries to set Frank up with another woman. Meanwhile, Mac has put on a lot of weight. "I'm cultivating mass," he tells Dennis. " I have no words. Oh wait, yes I do - I can't wait! :)

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

While we're spreading the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" love...

...this was a post I wrote in my sports blog awhile back, but it's one of my absolute favorite scenes from one of my absolute favorite episodes. (Don't tell my best friend - she HATES the Phillies!)

Mac writes a love letter to Chase Utley

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Friday, September 2, 2011

My Dwight Shrute bobblehead...

...he's hard at work. You know, stapling and answering phones and whatnot. I think this guy works harder than I do. He came free with the boxset of one of the seasons of The Office but I think they have other bobbleheads now.

For some reason, I really want one of Oscar.

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone! Celebrate (like I will be doing) by making sure this bobblehead works harder than you do! :)

True Blood: Are we there yet?

I feel like this season is dragging on and rushing along, all at the same time.

I LOVED the first season of True Blood, in spite of the usually crappy make-up jobs on the actors. I thought the story was interesting and well written. Unfortunately, it's all kind of gone downhill from there. I hear a lot of people complaining because the show has really started to diverge from the direction the book series took and Alan Ball definitely seems to have a different vision of the True Blood 'verse than Charlaine Harris does, but I've only read one book, so that doesn't bother me so much - plus, television is a completely different medium than books and so requires a different storytelling technique and therefore sometimes a change in story.

Anyway, I've already mentioned the whole down-with-faeries attitude I have, so maybe that's part of it, but I just feel like on the one hand, this season of True Blood is wandering dangerously close to the territory Big Love unfortunately landed in, where because of the limited episode run, storylines were brought up, rushed through, resolved in one episode, or dropped altogether. I mean, c'mon writers - a little drama and suspense never killed anyone. At the same time, I feel like there are whole storylines, boring, unneccesary ones like Arlene's baby and Tommy the skinwalking brother that have just sucked up so much time in this limited episode run. It's called pacing people. And self-editing.

I guess I get frustrated because I can see glimmers of good story and good characters in this show and I hate to see them get mangled or lost so badly. Really now I'm just waiting for this season to end so I can borrow my sister's DVDs and rewatch the first season all over again.

Do Bad Things. Shop True Blood at the HBO Store

Some of my noteworthy fellow alums you can see on "the tube"

And I don't mean the London Underground.

So, I'm proud of the schools I graduated from, but sometimes people will ask me where I went to college, and I'll reply, "The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.," and they'll shrug and go, "Whatever. Never heard of it. I think you're making that up."


So, as my 10-year reunion from a very real college quickly approaches this fall, here are a few notable alums who have made a name for themselves on tv. I've never met any of them, but I did used to stalk their yearbook photos when I worked for my college newspaper. And just for the record, we're going to limit this "notables" post to only actors/writers, and only those who have done television...

Ed McMahon
Ed McMahon, known primarily for his work with Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show."

John Carroll Lynch

John Carroll Lynch - for me, he will always be the husband from "Fargo" whose duck picture got picked to be on a stamp, but you might also know him from recurring guest roles on "The Drew Carey Show," "Carnivale," "Big Love," and "Body of Proof," which is still on the air but which I have never watched.

Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon has done mostly movie work, but she did a guest stint as a fading soap star on "Friends," and also had recurring guest spots on both "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Rescue Me."

John Slattery

John Slattery has become much more of a household name as Roger Stirling, that ole' tom-catting, silver-haired fox on one of my all time favorite shows, "Mad Men," but some part of him will always be the creepy politician boyfriend who asked Carrie to pee on him in "Sex & the City."

Jon Voight

Jon Voight is another actor who is better known for his movie roles...and also for his estrangement from arguably more famous daughter Angelina Jolie, but he's done several tv movies, which I won't name since I don't watch made-for-tv-movies, as well as recurring guest roles on several tv shows, such as "Gunsmoke" in the 1960s and more recently, "24."

Audrey Wasilewski

Now, I only just discovered today that Audrey Wasilewski graduated from CUA - you really DO learn something new every day! Audrey is one of those character actresses who is never the star but who is in EVERYTHING and who you see EVERYWHERE. She played a French-Canadian maid in one episode of one of my all time favorite shows, "Wonderfalls," which you should all watch on DVD IMMEDIATELY, but you may know her from some of the same shows as fellow alums John Carroll Lynch (she played neighbor Pam on "Big Love") and John Slattery (she plays Peggy's disapproving older sister Anita).

Siobhan Fallon
 Siobhan Fallon has done various guest spots, but most people will remember her from her time on "Saturday Night Live."

Alfred Gough

This next guy you might not recognize just by looking at him, because he's not an actor, but Alfred Gough is, more importantly and more fittingly for me, a television writer. You might know him as one of the co-creators and executive producers of the once awesome, recently departed "Smallville."

Brian Williams

Last but not least, let's mention Brian Williams, anchor of "NBC Nightly News." He attended Catholic University but left before graduating. Still, he's a fairly familiar television presence, especially to those of you who, unlike myself, watch the news. Also, he has surprisingly great comedic timing and is always funny whether he's hosting "Saturday Night Live" or doing a guest spot on "30 Rock." And my college roommate used to have a crush on him when we were in school, so she might kill me if I don't include him... :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Royal Pains ends its summer run

Sometimes you want to watch a show that really makes you think, a show that blows your mind with its twists and turns, that's edgy, that takes risks, where no one is safe, where bad things happen to good people, and the good guy doesn't always win.

Sometimes you want to watch something that has you in stitches for hours even after it's over, just from thinking about it, something that leaves you giggling to yourself like a slightly mentally retarded individual, something that makes sight gags and physical comedy look like an art.

And sometimes you just want to watch something fun.

Royal Pains has become one of my guilty pleasures - it's just a bunch of nice people running around the Hamptons, helping nice people in need of medical care. Sometimes people have SERIOUS ILLNESSES, but Dr. Hank Lawson always figures it out in the end. Mark Feuerstein just seems like such a likeable actor, and he's found an equally likeable character in Hank; Paulo Costanzo as his brother Evan was perfect casting. It's not a badly written show by any means - it's like a perfect summer meal - light and pleasant.

Tonight was the summer finale, which makes it sound like it'll be back in the winter, which should be interesting, since it's such a summer show. It takes place in the Hamptons after all, and maybe that's another reason I love it, because I love New York, I love Long Island, and I love that they actually film what is supposed to be Long Island ON Long Island and not, say, Vancouver...although I would love it more if for the winter season, they filmed down my street again.

Also, can we keep Kyle Howard on the show? I always liked him on My Boys and his Dr. Paul Van Dyke is just enough of a douche to be different and edgy, bring a bit of a different dynamic to the show, and he's super cute (he kinda looks like my boyfriend)! :)

Click here to shop USA TV - Monk, Psych, Law & Order, and more!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

For anyone who misses Edina and Patsy as much as I do...


- Chill the Champagne, sweetiedarling: BBC America and Logo are teaming up to produce three new "Absolutely Fabulous" specials to mark the 20th anniversary of the comedy's debut. Airdates haven't been set.

This is, dare I say it, "absolutely fabulous" news!

'Castle' Season 4 promo: Rick takes the news hard - From Inside the Box - Zap2it

This show is my guilty pleasure...

'Castle' Season 4 promo: Rick takes the news hard - From Inside the Box - Zap2it

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Walking beside, not sitting on, the bandwagon

30 Rock and Modern Family are both television shows that have won the Emmy for best comedy. Both have been lauded as brilliant and ground breaking sitcoms.

I just don't get it.

Don't get me wrong - I watch both shows and I enjoy aspects of episodes in particular and the shows in general, but neither has ever been must-see tv for me. This could just be my "Mary Mary Quite Contrary" side coming out, where I don't like to do what everyone else is doing, but there are just so many shows I enjoy so much more. Take a show like Parks and Recreation for example - for me, that show is funnier than 30 Rock and more heartfelt than Modern Family.

Maybe it's because both 30 Rock and Modern Family have characters that irk me beyond belief - on 30 Rock, I have never found Jenna funny and I don't think she adds anything to the show, and Tracy Jordan is also now rising to Jenna levels of annoying. And on Modern Family, things that are supposed to be funny, like Claire's uptightness and Phil's cluelessness, just fall flat for me.

But don't get me wrong. While neither show is must-see for me, I do still watch. There are some good jokes and lines and there are characters that I think are very well written and really are funny - I love Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock and I think the platonic work relationship between Jack and Liz almost always works; also, I really enjoyed Matt Damon in his guest role as pilot Carol Burnett. Hee hee. And on Modern Family, there isn't anything I don't love about the Jay-Gloria-Manny family unit. Although Gloria is by far my favorite, which is nice, because I didn't like Sofia Vergara on any of her other shows.

And thus endeth my rant of the day :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, and... Firefly? (which doesn't have "game" in it's title, but is still applicable)

At the insistence of my best friend, I just finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

I wanted to like it, I really did, and there were parts of it I did enjoy, but mostly the book just drove home the fact that for the most part, fantasy and sci-fi are just not my cup of tea. (Some people may argue with me here that The Hunger Games is not in fact sci-fi, but it takes place in the future and features hovercrafts. 'Nuff said.)

That's the reason I couldn't get into HBO's Game of Thrones earlier this summer. I watched the first episode and it was beautifully shot, the actors were all great, and I was kind of excited about the similarities to the medieval War of the Roses, because I love, love, love history. (I may not be a sci-fi geek but I am totally a history nerd.) Anyway, there was so much I did like about it, but first, I can never get on board with the ridiculous names these writers come up with for their characters (I'm looking pointedly at you, Hunger Games, even though right now I'm talking about Game of Thrones). And as soon as they started talking about dragons and these elaborate made-up histories of countries that don't exist in our world, and The Others...well, they lost me after that first episode. I guess it's just a matter of personal preference, but I really did love the way everything looked on Game of Thrones. I just wish I had found the content as interesting.

Of course, there is always an exception to the rule. For me, that would probably be vampires. Give me Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, The Vampire Diaries, or True Blood any day and you will not see me again until I have made my way through each and every episode of every one of those series. (Although True Blood is starting to enter the realm of too much fantasy with this fairy world and Sookie-is-part-fairy story line...please keep that to a minimum!)

Which brings us to one of my all time favorite shows, Firefly, which one could argue is as about as sci-fi as you can get. To which I would argue that Firefly, like Star Wars, a seemingly sci-fi movie series I love, only seems to be sci-fi. It's actually a western. Or a space western, as I like to call it. And I just love me a cowboy... :) God, I miss that show!

Anyway, for those of you who DID like Game of Thrones, then you probably already know that it's been renewed for a second season. While you wait for that to come around, though, my best friend of the aforementioned Hunger Games is making her way through the book series on which Game of Thrones is based, A Song of Fire and Ice, and highly recommends it.

And for those of you who miss Firefly as much as I do, I assume you have the DVDs, so go watch it! That's what I plan to do as soon as I go home! :)

Happy weekend everyone! For anyone on the East Coast in the path of Hurricane Irene (like myself), please stay safe!

Game of Thrones T-Shirts & Gear at the HBO Shop

USA renews 'White Collar' for 4th season


Yay! Now I just have to find them while they're filming in Manhattan...

The importance (or not) of dialogue in television

My brother finally started watching Mad Men a few weeks ago and just powered on through every single season - yes, it's that addictive. But it got me thinking about the place of dialogue in television.

The writers on Mad Men amaze me in how they use minimal dialogue on the show, but the few words they have their characters speak convey everything necessary. And as a writer, let me tell you, it's always harder to get across what you want to say in fewer words, unless those words are chosen carefully and deliberately, as they are in Mad Men.

I wrote a paper in college - my senior thesis in fact - in which I quoted someone who said that the fewer "channels" used in a piece of art - a channel being words, graphics, music, visual, etc. - the more artistic the thing is. And my editor at work is always telling me "show, don't tell." Now, that's hard to do with words. But television is visual, so it's easier, yet it's surprising how few shows actually "show and don't tell." Amy Sherman-Palladino, who created the show Gilmore Girls, always said how proud she was about how long each episode script was due to the amount of dialogue her characters spoke. But that was the tone of her show, and it worked for it. A show like Mad Men is, in my opinion, art, and a show like that should be a show you have to watch. I multitask a lot and will "watch" a show while checking my email or vacuuming or whatever, but Mad Men I have to sit and watch or I'm lost. But even a comedy like, say, Friends was a show you had to watch, because there was so much physical comedy in it. Show, don't tell.

I watched the movie Limitless last week with the boyfriend and he loved it, and it was more decent than I expected, but I was almost completely taken out of the movie by the voiceover. First, it wasn't done well (although to be fair, a lot of actors don't know how to do a good voiceover - just watch the first season of Grey's Anatomy, although Ellen Pompeo definitely improved). Second, it was CONSTANT. I could've listened to that movie on my iPod and had the same impression. Movies, like television, are a visual medium, and it's lazy story telling to depend so much on a voiceover.

Anyway, I'll step down from my soapbox now. It's just a pet peeve of mine that I had to get off my chest, but mostly it just really made me miss Mad Men and get impatient about the show's return - soon, please!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What Jobs Do Emmy Nominated TV Characters Hold?


Thought this was kind of an interesting break-down.

For anyone who still watches the Emmys (and yes, there are still some worthwhile actors and actresses getting nominated, if not winning), they air Sunday September 18 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.

This season of True Blood might not be the best...

...but if my lunch tote is any indication, I'm still a True fan! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stuck in television limbo....

It's that time of year, folks, when summer programming is coming to an end and the regular fall schedule has yet to begin. USA Network has kept me busy with the likes of Royal Pains (still two more episodes to go! But no episodes filmed down the block from me this :() and White Collar, always light, entertaining summer fare and In Plain Sight (getting oh so bad unfortunately - thank God next season will be its last!) ... Too bad Psych didn't have a summer season, although maybe that'll mean we'll get more episodes in the winter...

True Blood on HBO has been hit or miss. There's not much that would keep me from watching Alexander Skarsgard but some of the writing and storylines this season (schmoopy Eric? Bleh) has really stretched the limit.

I've been reading up on some of the new fall shows previews on which is giving me a bit of a heads up on what to check out, though really, launching and maintaining new shows on television, at least on the major networks, is a crapshoot.

Thank God we live in the 21st century and have Netflix, On Demand, and Hulu to keep us connected to our regular favorites during this downtime - I've been watching and rewatching in particular Community, Parks and Recreation, Cougar Town, and Modern Family. These wondrous technologies also keep us connected to those shows that have been gone for oh so long and need to come back, stat, like Mad Men and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (about as far across the spectrum as two shows can get from each other, which just goes to show how broad my taste range is).

And it's also a good time of year to catch up on all those shows we wanted to check out while they weren't on but couldn't fit into our television viewing schedule, even with a DVR - for me, two of those shows were The League (awesome! Must post about this one soon, what with fantasy football and the football season starting soon) and Raising Hope. This is also where I checked out a few episodes of Running Wilde, which was excrutiating...I never thought I would hear the names "Mitch Hurwitz" or "Will Arnett" and run screaming for the hills, but that show totally did it.

And of course I'll be grateful for all that tv viewing technology when I finally work up the nerve to watch the series finale of Friday Night Lights - I still don't think I've stocked up on enough tissues for that one...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Shows that create rich, layered worlds: A thought about Community as I rewatch it on Hulu

All shows have main characters that we grow to either love or hate. Or I guess sometimes we don't care about them either way, but the fact remains, that all shows have their core, main characters. Some shows, however, populate their fictitious universes with secondary and even tertiary people that over time evolve into well-developed, rich characters in their own right that add to the story and become people you look for in episodes, who play the roles in stories that in the past might have been a one-episode stint for someone, but who can now turn these bit additions in the storyline into recurring work, who make that world feel a little more, well, real.

One show that always did this well was Scrubs, as nameless interns and bit players got names and backstories of their own - for example, Snoop Dogg Intern (then Snoop Dogg Resident) and Dr. Hooch, both who were one-note jokes and ended up being notes that could play again and again. This is why I am not surprised that Cougar Town, from Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence, is also becoming one of those shows, with creepy and needy neighbor Tom and some of Travis' friends.

My Name is Earl is another show that populated its world with secondary and tertiary characters you saw again and again. And now I'm really seeing the same thing in NBC's community, as Greendale College isn't just a place for our main players to act out their stories but where we see their fellow students, like Garrett and Leonard and Starburns and Fat Neil and Dr. Rich, again and again. It gives us viewers other people to root for. Or root against, should that be the case. It's fun, and a great evolution in the sitcom world, I think.