Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bloody Brit TV News

For this Halloween, I bring to you news about a vampire, a ghost, a werewolf, and a doctor.

It was announced earlier this week that the American network SyFy (formerly Sci-Fi) has picked up the rights for an American version of the BBC series Being Human. I talked about this show about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost as roommates two months ago and how much I really enjoyed it. With that said, I am of two minds about this acquisition. I love it since it will open up the great stories and the cool concept to a wider audience, but I'm more than fearful that the American version will pale in comparison or worse, butcher it all together. I mean how many American shows have matched the quality of its British original? You can probably count it on one hand.

But I'll certainly keep an open mind. Getting the cast right will be key since they need to have chemistry with each other from the get go and their individual personalities need to pop. They should also focus on getting the perfect writer. And since I likened this to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, why not Joss Whedon? Anything to take him away from his sad relationship with FOX.

The other news has to do with another BBC property, Doctor Who. The Waters of Mars, the second Doctor Who special to air this year with David Tennant, who will step down as the Doctor in 2010, now has an air date. It will be shown in Britain's BBC One on November 15. BBC America, who has the American distribution rights for Doctor Who, will air the same special closer to the holidays on December 19.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Looking Forward To...

Up in the Air
Release: December 4, 2009
Distributor: Paramount
Director: Jason Reitman
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Danny McBride, George Clooner, Melanie Lynskey, Vera Farmiga, and Jason Bateman

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Captain Tightpants on Castle

I think we can all agree that Joss Whedon's Firefly was canceled way too soon, but its characters live on forever in the hearts and minds of its small, but very loyal and rabid fanbase. So it was a nice treat for us fans when a character from Firefly re-appeared on the small screens, more specifically on last night's Castle. Nathan Fillion, playing the titular character, dressed up as Capt. Mal Reynolds for Halloween!

Alexis: What exactly are you supposed to be?
Castle: Space cowboy.
Alexis: Okay, A, there are no cows in space, B, didn’t you wear that like five years ago?
Castle: So?
Alexis: So, don’t you think you should move on?
Castle: I like it.

The only thing that would've made the episode better was if he ended the episode dressed as Captain Hammer, or better yet, Dr. Horrible.

And then led the whole cast in a rousing song about vampires. Or something.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grading the New Fall Shows

Lots of new shows this year and surprisingly most of them are actually good! Better yet people are actually watching them meaning, most of them have already gotten full season pick-ups. Here are my general thoughts on the new shows I've seen at least one episode of:

Accidentally on Purpose - I am not a fan of Jenna Elfman and I pretty much started watching this because it's on right after HIMYM. But the cast is likable enough and it's not THAT bad. It's definitely not on par with sitcoms I watch now like Big Bang Theory or the aforementioned HIMYM, but good enough for me to keep watching. B-

NCIS: Los Angeles - I have this friend who LOVES NCIS so I pretty much checked this show out to appease her. I only ended up seeing the first episode and even though I thought it was a solid show, I just realized I'm more than okay not getting into it so I stopped watching. N/A

Melrose Place - Not sure why I was compelled to see this. But I did and I didn't really like what I saw. Some of the cast were likable enough, but the dialogue was excruciating. Still I saw about 45 minutes of an episode vs. the 15 minutes of 90210 I saw last season. D

The Good Wife - The good reviews online made me check out this lawyer show even though I told myself I wasn't going to go there. But I'm quite glad I did, because the journey of Julianna Marguiles' character is really quite compelling and you are just really rooting for her. B+

Modern Family - Other than Glee, was there any other show that had so much hype before it aired? In any case, this show lived up to the hype and then some. It seems as if every episode is stronger than the next and the cast... the cast is perfection, every single one of them. A

Cougar Town - Like Accidentally on Purpose, I started watching it because it was on after another show I watch (Modern Family). Unlike with Jenna Elfman, I *love* Courtney Cox so it was easy for me to get hooked on the show. Again not on par with other comedy shows I watch, but pretty damn funny at times. B

Eastwick - This show SO would be right up my alley as a guilty pleasure except this show is a stinker. I managed to see three episodes, but the female characters are so one dimensional, it hurt watching them on screen pout and whine. The Halliwell sisters would've kicked their ass. C

The Beautiful Life - Remember that CW show that got cancelled after two episodes? Neither do I. But seriously, I saw the first episode and didn't feel compelled to watch a second episode especially since it was on Thursdays. N/A

Glee - How do you explain what's so good about this show? How about how it's just so different from anything out right now? Yes, the plot and its heavy use for autotune are its most jarring weaknesses, but the strength more than make up for them. Love most of the songs and the cast are a delight. Oh and give Jane Lynch an Emmy now! A-

FlashForward - Here's the thing about this show. It's good. In fact it's really good, but I don't feel passionate about it. I remember when Lost premiered I just ate it all up and I *still* do. Would I feel the same way about this show after four seasons (hell, after this season)? Still the mystery continues to intrigue me and the cast is worth it. B+

Community - Love Joel McHale and really enjoyed all the promos for this show which is why I watched it. The show is still pretty damn awkward, but it does provide moments of absolute hilarity. The character of Abed is a standout. I think they need to find their footing. B-

The Cleveland Show - Oh Seth McFarlane. Was this show REALLY necessary? I mean I enjoy Family Guy from time to time (okay most of the time), but I don't watch American Dad. This show is very much made in that same vein so it all feels a bit passe. C

Stargate Universe - It's hard for me NOT to compare it with either Battlestar Galactica or the previous installations of Stargate. When I do that, it falls short. By itself, it's not too bad, but it has a long ways to go. My biggest problem though is the general joylessness exhibited by every character with one exception, the Eli character. B-

The Jay Leno Show - I refuse to watch He Who Is Ruining Television. I still think this is the worst thing to happen to television since MTV stopped playing music videos and started airing reality crap. F

Still Looking Forward To: ABC's remake of V starring Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), Scott Wolf (Party of Five), Joel Grethsch (The 4400), and Morena Baccarin (Firefly). It will premiere on November 3rd and will run for four weeks and then take an extended break until Spring 2010.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Birthday Hotties: Ryan Reynolds & Cat Deeley

So there aren't really a lot of famous people who share my birthday. Johnny Carson is probably the most famous unless you count soccer legend Pelé. But there are two other people (as well as a few million) celebrating my birthday with me today...

Happy Birthday to Ryan Reynolds, movie star and Mr. Scarlett Johansson, and Cat Deeley, British import and host of So You Think You Can Dance! Both are celebrating their 33rd birthday today while I'm celebrating my 25th.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

WTA: Year-End Championship

The field is complete for the WTA Year-End Championship set to take place at Doha in a couple of days. The only 2009 Grand Slam winner/finalist to not make it into the Top 8 is US Open champion Kim Clijsters. She is currently ranked 18 and has only played three tournaments since her fairy tale comeback.

The elite eight women vying for the end-of-year prize are:

1. Dinara Safina - Still without a Grand Slam title to her name, Safina won three titles and made another five finals this year including being runner-up at the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

Grand Slam Results: F, F, SF, 3r
Titles: Rome, Madrid, Portoroz
Runner-Up: Australian Open, Roland Garros, Cincinnati, Stuttgart, Sydney

2. Serena Williams - Serena only won two titles this year, but those two were Grand Slams at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. And while she didn't make much of an impact on the regular tour (no titles and just one final), her strong performances at the other slams lifted her up.

Grand Slam Results: W, QF, W, SF
Titles: Australian Open, Wimbledon
Runner-Up: Miami

3. Svetlana Kuznetsova - From out of nowhere, Svetlana was able to dig down to claim her second Grand Slam win after winning her first nearly five years ago.

Grand Slam Results: QF, W, 3r, 4r
Titles: Roland Garros, Stuttgart
Runner-Up: Rome

4. Caroline Wozniacki - A smashing year for the young Swede, Wozniacki reached a tour-high eight finals including her first Grand Slam final at the US Open. She also won three titles matching her results from last year.

Grand Slam Results: 3r, 3r, 4r, F
Titles: Eastbourne, New Haven, Ponte Vedra Beach
Runner-Up: US Open, Madrid, Charleston, Memphis, Bastad

5. Elena Dementieva - With three titles and winner of the US Open series, Dementieva posted very solid results this year. She also came within a win to reach a Grand Slam final twice this year, but was thwarted both times by Serena.

Grand Slam Results: SF, 3r, SF, 2r
Titles: Toronto, Sydney, Aukland
Runner-Up: Paris

6. Victoria Azarenka - Azarenka had a breakthrough year on the tour this year winning her first three titles, reaching her first (and second) Grand Slam quarterfinal, and rising to the Top Ten.

Grand Slam Results: 4r, QF, QF, 3r
Titles: Miami, Brisbane, Memphis

7. Venus Williams - With Venus' finals appearance this year at Wimbledon, she has made the finals at Wimbledon 8 out of 10 times this decade with 2004 and 2006 the only years she has failed to do so. She is the defending year-end tournament champion.

Grand Slam Results: 2r, 3r, F, 4r
Titles: Dubai, Acapulco
Runner-Up: Wimbledon, Stanford

8. Jelena Jankovic - It's a great effort for her to make it into the year-end championship, but this year has been rocky for the former world no. 1. She did win two titles this year and has at least done better than fellow Serb Ana Ivanovic.

Grand Slam Results: 4r, 4r, 3r, 2r
Titles: Cincinatti, Marbella,
Runner-Up: Tokyo

With injuries and general fatiguesness on both the men and the women's tour, it'll be somewhat of a miracle if all of the players show up healthy and ready to play considering most of their recent results (after the US Open) have been quite abysmal. For this reason, Vera Zvonareva and Agnieszka Radwanska will also fly to Doha as alternates.

Fun (Sad?) Fact #1: Other than Serena Williams, each of the top eight players has lost in the 3rd round or earlier in at least one Grand Slam this year.

Fun Fact #2: This is the first time that Serena and Venus Williams have qualified to play doubles in the Year-End Championships. It's no surprise however, since they bagged 3 of the 4 Grand Slams doubles titles this year.

Fun Fact #3: Depending on their results, either Dinara Safina or Serena Williams will end the year with the number one ranking.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

SYTYCD: The Top 20

It was just less than three months ago when the fifth season of So You Think You Can Dance ended and here we are already with another 20 dancers fighting for the crown in this first-ever fall edition of the show. Since I was a bit disappointed last season, I have generally high hopes this year and from the looks of it, it seems as if the judges picked really talented and dynamic dancers.

So without further a due, here is the list of the Top 20 and my very preliminary thoughts on a few of them:

[x] Phillip Attmore, Tap
[x] Billy Bell, Contemporary - He made Adam Shankman cry during his final solo in Las Vegas. He's quite young, but I think I'm looking forward to see how he grows in the competition.
[x] Channing Cooke, Contemporary
[x] Ariana DeBose, Contemporary
[x] Ashleigh Di Llelo, Ballroom - She makes it in on a technicality and she has yet to impress me unlike her husband. I do hope they are not partnered up. That would be unfair.
[x] Ryan Di Llelo, Ballroom - Way better dancer than his wife and a personal favorite of mine.
[x] Russell Ferguson, Krump - He's the first ever krumper to make it in and he's so much fun. Can't wait to see him excel.
[x] Mollee Gray, Jazz
[x] Karen Hauer, Ballroom - She was one of the first auditions this season and I immediately fell in like with her. Haven't seen her much since, but yay for being in top 20!
[x] Kevin Hunte, Hip-Hop
[x] Jakob Karr, Contemporary
[x] Noelle Marsh, Contemporary
[x] Pauline Mata, Jazz
[x] Kathryn McCormick, Contemporary - Don't know much about her, but does she cry! I hope that doesn't happen too often.
[x] Jonathan "Legacy" Perez, Hip Hop - I'm sure he's a nice guy, but for some reason I'm not really warmed up to him yet. His solos are sick though. Sick.
[x] Bianca Revels, Tap - She's 1 of 3 tappers this season, a SYTYCD first. She's my favorite out of the lot, though...
[x] Peter Sabasino, Tap - I really like him, too!
[x] Ellenore Scott, Jazz
[x] Victor Smalley, Contemporary
[x] Nathan Trasoras, Contemporary - A fantastic dancer and my early pick to win and to root for to the end.

So right now I already have "favorites," but I won't really know who to cheer for until their second-week performance. Here's hoping for an exciting season full of unforgettable routines and someone I can obsessed over the next few weeks (or months).

Though I'm already missing Mia Michaels. Sigh.

Monday, October 19, 2009

ATP: The Sleepy Season

It's been a month since Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Roger Federer in the US Open finals. Traditionally, this signals the start of tennis' sleepy season where the top players take a break after a long and grueling season while others (those on the cusp of the top 8 and below) try to rank as many points/money as they can while the big dogs are away.

The first big tournament took place this past week in Shanghai where all of the top players were slated to return. Instead, Roger Federer and Andy Murray withdrew beforehand due to fatigue and injury respectively. Then during the tournament, four of the top 16 seeds retired due to injury including two of the top four, Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Roddick. The results have got to be just a bit disconcerting especially for Del Potro as he has lost in his first two matches he has played since winning the US Open.

Still trying to get his groove back, Rafael Nadal was able to reach the finals at Shanghai only to be taken out in straight sets by Nikolay Davydenko. Nadal has been without a title for more than five months, the last in Rome back in May. A week before he managed to reach the semifinals at the China Open, but loss terribly to Marin Cilic 6-1 6-3. It's like one step forward, two steps back for him.

With all the injuries and retirement, the usual end-of-season cry of the season being too long has once again reached a fever pitch. Who knows if anything will actually get done to resolve it. The next big tournaments are the Paris Masters starting November 8 and then the World Tour Finals a month from now.

As for the WTA? Don't even get me started on them. They're even more of a mess than the ATP.

Audience Reactions

I saw Where the Wild Things Are Sunday morning this past weekend so I expected families with kids to be the bulk of the audience and I was right. Since I rarely see movies with this type of audience, I wanted to see how they reacted to the trailers that were shown.

There were four trailers shown, three being animated films. The first trailer was for Astro Boy. The kids ate it up and laughed a good amount. I heard one parent say "They really are running out of material aren't they?" which I didn't get. Was there a prior Astro Boy film I have never heard?

The second trailer was for Fantastic Mr. Fox. This time the kids were more subdued, while most of the laughter came from the adults (and me). There were some ooh and ahhs from the adults when Meryl Streep's name came up. I chuckled at that especially since it was George Clooney's voice that was the star for most of the trailer.

Finally, we get to Disney's 3D version of A Christmas Carol. Even before the trailer proper started I overheard a parent say "Oh, it's Disney? Shame." Heh. When we see The Grinch Scrooge for the first time, a group of young kids clapped and yelled out Jim Carrey's name. Weird. Didn't know he had such a young fanbase. After the trailer, a mom and her daughter talked about whether they were going to watch it.

Mom: Looks nice doesn't it?
Daughter: Yeah, but let's not watch it in 3D. It gives me a headache.
Mom: Okay, honey. [audible contented sigh]

What's the point of this post? Nothing really. Just thought I'd share. Though I did learn that Astro Boy is so passé, Meryl Streep can still rock it even as an animated fox, and 3D is such a migraine.

Oh and BTW just in case you were curious, I really liked (love? not sure yet) Where the Wild Things Are.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Going Viral for Buzz

With the proliferation of social media and digital distribution of primetime television, it seems every show is looking for that one viral hit that will essentially help increase their ratings (or more importantly create much-needed buzz).

Think about Saturday Night Live earlier this decade as its ratings and buzz factor were dwindling fast. In 2005, Andy Samberg joined the cast and he along with his comedy troupe The Lonely Island brought the idea of Digital Shorts to SNL. One of their first shorts "Lazy Sunday" became an instant internet success and suddenly SNL was back on the pop culture map. Since then they followed it up with Emmy-winning viral hit "Dick In A Box" and now it's expected that every episode of SNL have a Digital Short.

Other recent examples off the top of my head has been the success of Joss Whedon's Emmy winning Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and the fact that the only thing people remember about this year's VMA Awards is Kanye West award-blocking Taylor Swift as the clips ran wild in the internet.

How I Met Your Mother has been able to use internet tie-ins effectively in its show. Most notably was the music video they released to highlight one of its character's secret Canadian pop singer past. And thus Robin Sparkles and her viral hit "Let's Go to the Mall" was born. More recently i.e. this past week, the show led viewers to where they showed a music video of Marshall singing "Best Night Ever."

Just wanted to highlight this because this week also featured music videos from two other shows that I watch. ABC's new hit comedy Modern Family ended this past week's episode with a character singing a highly inapproriate, but funny song in front of his girlfriend's family about how he wanted said girlfriend to do him in the moonlight. Entitled "In The Moonlight (Do Me)," of course, ABC posted the music video online.

The other show has been using music videos and songs to promote itself and in fact was probably greenlighted into production because of that basic premise. As a musical, Glee is able to preview songs and videos to its fans days before an episode would air to create buzz and then, here's the key that probably made the suits smile, sell the music/videos on iTunes and other digital outlets.

Speaking of viral, this past weekend on Twitter, one of Glee's more memorable character, Coach Sue Sylvester, became a trending topic as she became the new Chuck Norris (or Jack Bauer).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Looking Forward To...

The Lovely Bones
December 11, 2009
Distributor: Paramount
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Stanley Tucci, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Michael Imperioli, and Saoirse Ronan

Friday, October 9, 2009

Santa's Bringing Movies

Seems like there will be something for everybody in theaters this Christmas season.

It was recently announced that Nine is being moved from November to smack dab in the month of December going into a limited release on the 18th. A week before Christmas, this musical drama along with similarly limited released period drama The Young Victoria will try to serve as alternative programming against James Cameron's much anticipated and much hyped sci-fi adventure epic Avatar.

On Christmas Day, Nine will go wide but will have to share space with a lot more movies. A lot more movies. The sequel to Alvin and the Chipmunks will cater to the family audience while older audiences looking for a laugh will most likely flock to Meryl Streep's comedy It's Complicated. For everyone else there is also Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. and in limited release, Heath Ledger's final film, the fantastical The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Not enough for you? Oscar potentials Up in the Air with George Clooney, Peter Jackson's literary thriller adaptation The Lovely Bones, and A Single Man with Colin Firth will all expand.

Whew. I'm exhausted just writing this.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

HIMYM: Swarley and Sparkles

I said it during the premiere episode, but I'll say it again. This season in How I Met Your Mother, the highlight will be to see how the Robin/Barney relationship develops. In the first episode, they decided to "pretend" to be boyfriend/girlfriend. In the second episode, Robin acted very girlfriend-like (re: angry) when she sees Barney in a strip club. And now tonight we see that Barney is actually putting up the effort to be a better boyfriend.

Robin of course still doesn't know what to think, but then Ted who's usually pretty douchey tells Robin:

I will say this though. I've seen Barney work very hard to get women. I've seen him work very hard to get rid of women. I've never seen him work this hard to keep one around.

Very nice, Ted. Very nice. So now it's just a matter of picking a mashup name for this couple. Barnobin? Brobin? Robarney? Barnackles? BrOTP? Swarlin? Swarkles? I like the latter since it combines both of their alter-egos, Swarley and Robin Sparkles.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Ten Year Old Angel

Can you believe that it's been ten years since the spinoff of the greatest show ever premiered and developed into a not-too-shabby show itself?

Man, I feel old all of a sudden.

Birthday Girl: Kate Winslet

Academy Award winner Kate Winslet celebrates her 34th birthday today!

How good is it to finally say Academy Award winner next to her name? I mean we all knew it would happen someday, but she finally got it earlier this year playing Hanna Schmitz in The Reader.

Unlike other people, I actually liked the film and her performance it in, but for me she should've gotten an Oscars in 2004 playing the inimitable Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And who can forget Rose Dewitt Bukater? I still can't.

Quick TV Thoughts

I guess doing a nightly recap of my TV viewings only lasted that one week since I didn't do anything last week, but to make up for it, here are some quick TV thoughts from the week that was.

How I Met Your Mother delivered another strong episode with the highlight of seeing the doppelganger's of the gangs (stripper Lily, lesbian Robin, and moustached Marshall). Can't wait to see Barney and Ted's doubles.

Kristin Chenoweth's appearance and the first performance of the complete New Directions were quite delightful in last week's episode of Glee. This week it's Boys vs. Girls. Methinks Lea Michele won't go down quietly.

It seems I'm the only one who thinks this, but I actually found the second episode of Modern Family much funnier than it's much lauded pilot episode. I was in tears when Cam was dancing like a straight guy and was dying by the time he went on his Meryl Streep love rant.

Speaking on Wednesday night, I've decided I like Cougar Town and will continue to watch it while I'm pretty much crossing out Eastwick from my schedule. Something HAD to go.

Testament to how busy Thursdays are, I have yet to see the third episode of Community. I did see everything else and was pleasantly surprised at how much FlashForward and Grey's Anatomy still held my attention.

Dollhouse was nothing special, which makes me sad especially since it's ratings are apparently in the crapper and it's only a matter of time before the suits get rid of it all together. Sigh, what could've been. I did randomly check out the premiere of Stargate Universe. Why? I don't know. But there it is.

Amazing Race continued to kick ass on Sunday nights. I wish Lance/Teri would get eliminated already. Out of all of the teams, they are the only ones that piss me off. So sad to see the elderly couple leave this early.

I watched more shows than I posted here, but it's almost time for the week to begin anew. A new episode of How I Met Your Mother is almost on!