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...