Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy Endings: "Blax, Snake, Home"


Unlike a lot of people who got into this show last year, I actually fell in love with it from the get go. Yes, its pilot episode was not its strongest outing, but the choice to show a second episode right after was the right one since that's when I knew this show had something special. The thing is, no one can seem to really pinpoint why this show just works. There are enough sitcoms that revolve around a group of adults in their late-20s/early-30s hanging out and doing stuff and this show is no different. Maybe it's the chemistry of the cast or the witty writing, but I'd rather not analyze a gift horse. All I know is I couldn't stop smiling and/or laughing from beginning to end last night.

It's difficult to pick a favorite moment from last night's season 2 premiere. The hilarious cold open with the gang in the honeymoon suite with Brad getting stabbed, Dave and Jane having allergic reactions, Max and Alex freaking out, and Penny saving the day set the tone for the rest of the episode. The continuing saga of Brad and Max negotiating their African American and gay identities respectively with each other was also a highlight for me since it's done in such a harmless and fun way. Penny's fear of becoming a spinster was also gold, but that's because Casey Wilson is just A-MAH-ZING as Penny. Even the weak links of Dave and Alex worked last night since I found their annoying quirks quite funny. Alex's hula hoop dance made me snort louder than it probably should have.

Basically, I'm very happy to have this show back. Is it crazy and messy? Possibly, but like I said on twitter last night, this show is like a piñata filled with candy and crack and I'm sticking by that assessment. A-

Pilot Thoughts: Person of Interest, A Gifted Man, & Suburgatory


Catching up on the last few pilots I've seen this month. After today though, the next new shows aren't debuting until sometime in October.

Person of Interest - This show has a lot going for it. It's created by Jonathan Nolan and produced by J.J. Abrams as well as stars Michael Emerson and Taraji P. Henson. Unfortunately I found the setup just a tad less ridiculous than the Loom of Fate in the film Wanted. The way Finch (Emerson) and John (Jim Caviezel) started working together felt a bit clunky as well. I may continue watching, but the pilot really needed to blow me away for me to make a commitment to a show that's on a VERY busy night. It just didn't hold my attention enough. B-

A Gifted Man - Like the show above, there are reasons to see it. For this one, the cast is aces. Patrick Wilson plays Michael Holt, a very rich and successful doctor who sees his dead wife (Jennifer Ehle) who then proceeds to change his life by showing him what's most important. It's very Ghost Whisperer meets Ghost meets Everwood. I'm not sure that's a combination I personally like yet, but Margo Martindale (as Michael's no nonsense secretary) and Julie Benz (as Michael's sister) in the supporting cast make me smile. B-/B

Suburgatory - Another point for the two shows above is that they take place in New York City and uses the city well. This show starts of in the city, but then moves to its real home in the scary world of the suburbs. As expected hilarity ensues as the Shay father-daughter duo played by Jane Levy and Jeremy Sisto tries to navigate the mall moms, the fake tans, and the energy drinks. Here's the thing, it's really funny and probably my favorite comedy pilot this season. I love me some good suburban satire a tad reminiscent of the first season of Desperate Housewives. Also, I'm already looking forward to the great supporting cast--Alan Tudyk, Ana Gasteyer, and Cheryl Hines. B+/A-

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Looking Forward To...


50/50
Release: September 30, 2011
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Director: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Anjelica Huston, Bryce Dallas Howard, Matt Frewer, Philip Baker Hall, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pilot Thoughts: Terra Nova


Anyone remember the ABC miniseries Dinotopia from about a decade ago? It was about two brothers who crashed on a mysterious island where dinosaurs and humans coexist in harmony and adventure ensues. While watching Terra Nova, I randomly started reminiscing about the older show even though other than dinosaurs both shows have nothing really in common. In any case, I finally did get around to seeing the much talked about pilot, which some critics have seen a handful of times already due to the delays and the tinkering that were done, and I liked it just fine with some reservations.

The production values and special effects are quite topnotch especially for TV and you can tell that's where most of the money went. I do worry for how they expect to keep this quality up, but at least in the pilot, they all looked wonderful. The concept itself--humans traveling back 85 million years for a fresh start after Earth has nearly reached its breaking point--is not only interesting and somewhat relatively original, but also risky. Of course, it could still become one big fail (some people feel it's failed already), but I'd rather TV, especially when it comes to science fiction, take a more adventurous route. The possible conspiracy and how it relates to the mysterious markings and the off-shoot rival colony feel a bit Lost-esque, but I say that in a good way. It definitely adds more intrigue than if the settlers had to only fight with dinosaurs.

My big complaint about the show is the Shannon family who becomes the audience surrogate seeing this world for the first time. They are dull or, in the case of the son, very grating. Apparently one of the producers of the show remarked that if you didn't care about the family in the first hour, then the show didn't do its job. Well, they really didn't. I'm hoping this part gets better as the season progresses and we learn more about them as individuals. The teen son also needs to be less Stereotypical Rebellious Teenager, because in those great scenes with the dinosaurs attacking all of the teenagers, I was cheering on the dinos to kill them all. B

The Good Wife: "A New Day"

My pick for best ensemble last year returned on a new night and time this weekend and oh how I've missed them. The episode actually wasn't subtle at emphasizing the newness of the show down to its title...

The credits are tweaked, Alicia gets a new haircut and office, Will and Alicia handle their new secret relationship, Eli is settling in to his new offices at Lockhart & Gardner, Peter and Cary are in a new alliance, and Kalinda is adjusting to her situation as Alicia's frienemy. On the other hand, there's Diane who is thankfully still her same ol' self wondering why she's the only damn adult left in the office. Christine Baranski was great.

As you can see from above, navigating through all of their new relationships was a big part of the episode. A few others I haven't mentioned: Kalinda/Sophia/Cary, Alicia/Peter, Alicia/Eli/Peter, Will/Kalinda, etc. The case of the week was quite a tale weaved from the minds of the writers involving Israel/Arab relations, a hate crime, MMOG, secret gay affair, a new quirky judge, and some classic head-to-head between Alicia (and Kalinda) and Cary (and Peter).

I'm very much looking forward to seeing how all of these new relationships evolve and change throughout the season. At the very least, Will/Alicia's relationship, which never really interested me in the past, suddenly became hot hot hot especially with their choice to keep it a secret. B/B+

Pilot Thoughts: Pan Am


Pan Am is better than The Playboy Club. Everyone and their mothers already seemed to know this before both shows premiered, though of course it didn't hurt that critics who saw both shows months in advance kept repeating this mantra throughout the summer. It's probably not fair to compare the two shows since they are both airing on different days and on different networks, but when there are two 60s era shows with a focus on women liberating themselves by taking on "sexist" jobs coming out in the same season, it's inevitable.

While the best parts of The Playboy Club were the women and the surprise gay subplot, both of those seemed to play second fiddle to the uninteresting mob/Eddie Cibrian plot whereas in Pan Am the women are front and center while the show does an even better job integrating its surprise subplot (spies!) in the pilot. Pan Am also seems to benefit from having more nostalgia power than that other show. Everywhere I look there seems to be a story about a mother, an aunt, a grandmother who used to be a Pan Am stewardess or numerous tales about flying when it was super pleasant and high class.

I admit, part of why I saw this show is because I am intrigued by not only the period, but by the world of travel back in those days. I got even more excited by the spy subplot that looked to be a strong part of the series giving the show somewhat of a genre edge that nicely complements its more traditional drama elements. Another reason why I was looking forward to this show is, of course, Christina Ricci. She was my childhood crush back in the days of Mermaids, The Addams Family, Casper, and Now and Then which evolved into fanboyism after her sexy turn in The Opposite of Sex. Unfortunately, she hasn't done much since then, which is why I'm hoping for big things from her on this show. I already love her character of Maggie (professional in the uniform, beatnik out).

My one worry is the flashbacks, which I think if I remember correctly from reading somewhere online, would be used throughout the season. This worked for the pilot as it was a nice way for us to learn more about the four main stewardesses and the captain, but it could get a bit messy or gimmicky if not done right later on. Still, it's a high flying start for me. B+

Monday, September 26, 2011

TV Report: Supernatural Weekend

Monday is already almost over and I still haven't talked about some of the TV shows I saw over the weekend! So here are my thoughts on two season premieres and a penultimate episode. Interestingly enough, I pretty much felt the same for all them: good, but not overly exciting or even noteworthy. Basically, I'm hoping for better next week!


Fringe:
"Neither Here Nor There"


A bit of a messy premiere, but the strong acting and some intriguing hints of the things to come made me hand wave some of the flaws. I wished that the premiere was a bit more action-packed and a little bit less cerebral and heavy handed. The audience is expecting some forward movement on the whole "Where did Peter go?" and we didn't really get it except for some clunky commentary from the Observers and some weighted phrases from Walter and Olivia. The Monster of the Week, a different breed of shape-shifters, was a bit on the dull side, but it offered the show to reintroduce us to Agent Lincoln Lee. Through his new eyes, the show was able to recap what the Fringe division does as well as show the gateway that connects the two universes together. I'm hoping Peter comes back sooner rather than later because as much as I like seeing how our characters would've been liked without him, we've already fallen in love with them and changing their core this far out is a bit frustrating. That said, I do have to repeat how great the acting was, especially by last year's MVPs, John Noble and Anna Torv. B-


Supernatural:
"Meet the New Boss"


I should probably tell you right off-the-bat that I wasn't a big fan at all of the meandering-to-nowhere previous season and that the only redeeming parts were Castiel-related including the finale where he turned into God. That's where the show opens up in the new season with Castiel thinking he's God and confronting, smiting, and giving vengeance. He leaves the boys alone with Dean going straight to the bottle and anime porn and Sam dealing with his hellish hallucinations. Death makes a welcome and refreshing appearance, but in the end Castiel becomes the star of the episode deadpanning himself to crazy town. We find out that the souls inside, most notably the age-old Leviathans, are killing him. His last act as Castiel is to apologize to the Winchester and give up all of the souls he took. He promptly dies (making me scream) also for the Leviathans within him to raise him back (make me scream). Unfortunately, it seems good ol' Castiel and in his place are the Barty Crouch-like Leviathans. No idea where this is going, but color me intrigue, especially as a Misha Collins fan. B-


Doctor Who:
"Closing Time"


Many are calling this a filler episode and they aren't wrong, but I believe that's not exactly a negative thing. With a season full of River Song mythos and a lot of hearbreak involving Amy and Rory, a "light" episode in between last week's goodbye and next week's epic finale is probably just what the Doctor ordered, pardon the pun. Plus we get to re-visit one of the Doctor's more fun "partners" in Craig now with baby in tow (named Alfie but liked to be called Stormageddon). The episode is a preamble to the Doctor finally accepting his destiny which is apparently to die by an impossible astronaut in Lake Silencio. So he hangs out with his buddy, solves his baby issues, and his little problem with Cybermen, etc. We even get a little bit of man-on-man-sorta action which was well done by the two actors. The surprise appearance of Amy and Rory in the mall was nice as it let the Doctor see that they are moving on. The very end with River was just a bit too... easy. I'm expecting a twist in there somewhere. Is she really the impossible astronaut that kills the Doctor? Can't wait to see what Steven Moffat has up his sleeves to tie up, really two season's worth of plot build-up. B-

Firefly's Sean Maher Comes Out


One of my favorite actors, Sean Maher, has publicly come out as a gay man by giving a touching interview with Entertainment Weekly detailing what it was like for him as a young Hollywood actor deciding to stay closeted for the business. By the way, if you're asking yourself who is he and where is from then we're not friends since it means you haven't seen him play Dr. Simon Tam in Joss Whedon's canceled-way-too-soon show Firefly and made-too-little-money cult-hit Serenity. Simon was my favorite character and I'm sure at least some of that is due to Maher.

Since Serenity, he's done a few bit guest roles on TV more notably in Drop Dead Diva, The Mentalist, and Warehouse 13, which I all saw. Most recently, he stars in NBC's new show Playboy Club which I didn't really like, but his storyline as a closeted gay actor was one of the highlights of the pilot. He also starred in the TV movie Wedding Wars with John Stamos where they played a gay couple.

A few choice quotes from his talk with Entertainment Weekly:

“I’m thinking, What is the potential that if they caught wind that they had cast a gay lead actor that they would fire me? I was young, I was 22. I didn’t know anything. So that sort of started the idea of, okay, well, I’m working a lot, I guess I’ll just keep that gay part of my life on the back burner for now. I went so far as to sleep with women a couple times. It was a very confusing time for me.”

“I didn’t really have any life other than work and this façade I was putting on. So I kept my friends from college [where he was out] separate from my work friends, and that was very confusing. I just kept going on and on painting this picture of somebody I wasn’t. I didn’t have time for a personal relationship anyway. And you just don’t realize that it’s eating away at your soul.”

“Looking back, on Firefly for instance, I do wish on day one I had told them because these are some of the most amazing people who are still like family to me. I am so grateful for that show because they saved me. I was so unhappy and lonely and to come to work everyday with that group was wonderful. It really was all I had at that point in my life.”

Click through for the entire article which is highly recommended. I'm suddenly feeling protective over Playboy Club just to see where his character's story goes, but if/when the show is canceled I hope Maher will be given more opportunities to appear on screen.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

TV Report: Thursday Night Sitcoms

I was so good writing down my thoughts on the TV shows I watched the past week and a half until Thursday hit and suddenly there was way too much stuff to watch and way too little time to write about them. In any case, onwards to the Thursday night sitcoms...


Community
: "Biology 101"


They opened up the episode with a big song & dance number that proclaimed that they'll be less weird and more mainstream this season. Thankfully, by the end of the episode, neither would be true as they are just as weird and just as esoteric (relatively) as they have been. The show last night was full of pop culture callbacks that required just a little bit of knowledge from the viewer. There was Abed's continued obsession of little-seen Cougar Town as well as Britta's viewing suggestions of Cougarton Abbey and Inspector Spacetime to Abed until Cougar Town is back on air. While popular enough in their niche, how many Americans are down with both Downton Abbey and Doctor Who to get these references? There's also Jeff's visual journey ala 2001: A Space Odyssey and even new guest cast member Michael K. Williams as their Biology professor came from a critically-loved but audience-anemic The Wire. Would the episode have been enjoyable without knowing all of these? Probably, but I'm glad I knew about them! Also, MVP honors to Jim Rash. His Dean Pelton is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters in the show. B/B+


Parks and Recreation
: "I'm Leslie Knope"


I have so many feelings about the best comedy on TV right now. After a season where they didn't have a single weak episode and where they ended in a cliffhanger, there was a lot of expectations over this season opener and I think they did awesomely. It was great seeing all of the characters again after the summer hiatus, but for me it was all about Ron Swanson, Leslie Knope, and Ben Wyatt. Ron hermitted himself in the beginning of the episode to escape from his first ex-wife Tammy expertly played by Patricia Clarkson who we see in the end as working for the IRS. Leslie, in the meantime, struggled to tell Ben about their possible break-up due to running for public office. But of course, Ben already knew and she has his full support (which made me happy and so utterly sad at the same time). I'm so very glad that Leslie is following her dreams and Ben knows to support her even at the cost of their relationship, and I may have applauded at Leslie's first campaign speech, but as Ben/Leslie shipper I hope they find themselves together again sooner rather than later. A-


Big Bang Theory
: "The Skank Reflex Analysis" & "The Infestation Hypothesis"


Not much to say about the two episodes only to say that I quite enjoyed them and found them really funny at times. I was a bit down on last season especially when it came to the guys' (minus Sheldon), but I'm glad to see that the ensemble cast is feeling a bit more ensemble-y and that the guys are holding their own against the show's proven MVPs of Sheldon, Penny, and dare I say it Amy. In fact, Amy is just delightful and a fantastic addition to the power duo of Sheldon/Penny especially in the second episode where both Amy and Sheldon used their friendship with her to help them out. Someone I know brought up the fact that both episodes seemed more sexualized than others with the first focusing on Penny/Raj's supposed tryst while in the second we get Leonard trying to Skype cyber with Priya. I think it's just coincidental and if not, people sometimes forget that Big Bang's creator also created Two and a Half Men. 1st ep: B/ 2nd ep: B+


The Office
: "The List"


So here it is, the first season without Steve Carell. Fortunately for them, I think it worked. For now, at least. James Spader's role as CEO and not the branch manager is MUCH better in the long run especially as it creates an us vs. them between the branch and the higher-ups which is exactly the kind of thing that Andy would need to transition from salesman to new boss. I actually love the choice of Andy since he has shown to be quite competent with bouts of insanity, but the most important trait he has is he believes in the family that Michael Scott has cultivated all of these years. Hearing Andy stand up to Spader's Robert California was quite touching and very Michael Scott. I had every intention of not watching this season and I reserve the right to do that later on, but with the premiere, they bought themselves some time with me. B

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Circle of Life


From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pilot Thoughts: Revenge


ABC's new soapy TV show Revenge aired last night and I checked it out despite it not being on my list of new shows I was looking forward to. It just didn't seem like the kind of show that a) I would like or b) audiences would actually accept. Favorable buzz from critics, my generally good feelings for lead star Emily Van Camp, and the fact that nothing else was on convinced me to at least take a peek at the pilot. The ratings for the show were solid for the time slot and I actually liked it, too.

The plot is spelled out in its title as Emily Thorne (not her real name!) played by Van Camp gets herself ingratiated to the Hampton's social elite but only to better plan her vengeance over the Grayson family who ruined her dad and thus her and her family's life when she was younger. The matriarch of the family, nicknamed Queen Victoria, is juicily played by Madeleine Stowe and fierce doesn't begin to describe her. One of the most surprising thing about the show though is how much Van Camp lends herself to be the cold vengeance-minded lead character. I honestly didn't think she had it in her. I'm thinking the back-and-forth between these two ladies will be the highlight of the show and I can live with that.

That's not to say that the rest of the show isn't as engaging, but there's nothing too noteworthy about it. I did appreciate the fact that despite a flashforward prologue to begin the episode and all of the flashbacks throughout, the pilot never felt overstuffed or confusing. Though I do wish that it took itself just a little bit less seriously, but I see I'm definitely looking forward to this show now. Sad to say, but this is probably the show that Ringer wishes it was (despite me liking Ringer still). B/B+

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Modern Family: "Dude Ranch" & "When Good Kids Go Bad"


As much as it pains me to do, I have no choice but to give Modern Family a mixed review for its one hour premiere tonight. I just didn't like the opener with the family going on location to Wyoming for a family outing donning cowboy hats and riding horses. I probably didn't outright hate it because I did miss this crazy family so much that it took me longer to realize that this episode was one of their weaker efforts. Did I chuckle when Gloria kept screaming in that great accent of hers? Sure. Did I smile when Phil was absolutely beaming over Hank giving him the nickname "Buffalo Phil?" Yes. Did I snicker at everything Dylan did? Of course. But I think all of that was more out of my love for the characters that has grown over the past two years rather than me actually enjoying the storylines in the episode.

With that said, I really liked the second half of the premiere with the family being back home and doing what they do best: bicker. I sometimes felt last season that Cam and Mitchell fought a little too much, but I think with Lily 2.0 now able to talk the dynamic changed just so that I didn't find their fight grating. Speaking of, I still need to get use to a talk Lily, but I laughed so hard when she uttered "Kill the baby" or something similar. Gloria and Jay disagreeing about Manny's "crime" was also great, less so because of the way the adults dealt with it, but how they affected poor conscientious Manny. And finally, love love love the fight between Phil and Claire (congrats on your much-deserved Emmys) especially with Claire taking it just a little too far in the end over there. In fact that end scene was too perfect for words with everyone fighting, Mitchell accidentally blurting out their adoption plans, and Jay obliviously asking "What the hell is going on?" Loved it all. 1st ep: C+/2nd ep: A-

Davis Cup Recap and Draw


This past weekend, less than a week from the thrilling and physical Monday US Open final, the top men had to play Davis Cup prompting a few players, namely Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, to comment on the crazy scheduling issues that has plagued the tour for years. Maybe it should've been top seed and US Open champion Novak Djokovic who spoke out since his incapability to play cost the defending champions Serbia to default against a determined Argentinian team. Led by Juan Martin Del Potro and David Nalbandian, Argentina took a 2-1 lead on the third day that forced the hand of Djokovic and Serbia. Motivated by hubris or carelessness, an injured Djokovic was substituted in and promptly had to retire in the middle of the second set giving Argentina the win and Djokovic his only third loss for the year.

Argentina will look to get its very first Davis Cup championship by facing Spain in the finals. Led by a superb Nadal at home on his beloved clay, Spain dominated their semifinal clash with France over the weekend. The French did well to handily take the doubles with the help of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but Spain was just impenetrable in the singles.


Roger Federer
led his Swiss team against a very tough Australian team in one of the World Group Play-off matches that also took place over the weekend. Federer needed to win both of his matches, which he did, to level 2-2 after Stan Wawrinka lost his first match and both of them lost their doubles. The final match between Wawrinka and Lleyton Hewitt would determine the winner of the tie and it was literally down to the wire with the epic match being suspended at 5-3 in the fifth set due to darkness. When they reconvened the next day, Wawrinka was able to break Hewitt's serve to put Switzerland back to the World Group next year.

Speaking of, the draws for next year's World Group ties were held today at Bangkok, Thailand. Nadal-led Spain will meet first-time World Group contender Kazakhstan at home while Del Potro and the Argentinians will travel to Germany for a tricky match-up with them. Djokovic will take on Robin Soderling when the Serbians travel to Sweden while the American team of Mardy Fish, John Isner, and possibly Andy Roddick will go to Switzerland to face Federer and his team. Other first round match-ups include Russia-Austria, France-Canada, Italy-Czech Republic, and Japan-Croatia.

Pilot Thoughts: New Girl


I had actually planned on posting my thoughts on the new FOX comedy New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel last night, but since I didn't fall in love with it or her the way everybody seemed to have, I felt I needed to sleep on my thoughts a bit. Unfortunately, I still felt the same way. There was just something off about the show that I can't exactly pinpoint. It's not the cast certainly since I am a fan of Deschanel and her quirky persona and all of the guys seem to have great chemistry with each other and with her. I think my feelings can be summed up with this: I've seen better.

Maybe if I saw the show last year it'd be something new and great, but the quirky mix of guy-girl friends was done better in ABC's mid-season offering Happy Endings* last year and the whole quirky girl thing was done a little better by 2 Broke Girls earlier this week. And while I'm ready to proclaim Deschanel as being the epitome of the oft-marketed word "adorkable," I think they could've toned it down just a tad in the premiere. I read somewhere that Deschanel's adorkableness works because there's something deeper, something with an edge, at the core of it and her New Girl character didn't have this.

*It's funny since the actor who played Coach in the Pilot won't be in the second episode since he's on Happy Endings which I don't think is a huge loss since his character in the ABC show is better suited for him.

I am quite optimistic though since the cast is good and Deschanel is a pro. Plus the pilot was all about her being too emotionally heartbroken and vulnerable and when the show focuses less on that and more on her interactions and relationship with her guy roommates, I have a feeling that the edge that was sorely missing in the premiere will come. I also want to know more about all of these characters and that's always a good thing when it comes to new shows. With all of this said, the Douchebag Jar is simply inspired. B-

Looking Forward To...


Moneyball
Release: September 23, 2011
Distributor: Sony/Columbia
Director: Bennett Miller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt, Chris Pratt, Tammy Blanchard, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kerris Dorsey, and Robin Wright Penn

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Glee: "The Purple Piano Project"


Oh, Glee. Here's the thing about this show and my relationship with it. It's not a good show, but I keep watching anyway. There are way too many things I just do not like about the show that I will never like. Sue Sylvester has become increasingly one-dimensional, Will Shuester is earnestly annoying, and the writers have absolutely zero idea what to do with the majority of their characters. Maybe things will change, but I've rather gotten used to this pessimism when it comes to this show that I fear they'd really have to do a complete 180 for me to feel any differently.

All of the backstage off-season drama doesn't help either with the controversy of who is leaving the show, when, and why. It's just always better as a fan to believe that everyone in charge of making a show you enjoy are getting along and everything is rainbows and lollipops. I'm not sure how I felt about them pretty much addressing all of this right from the get go with the characters awkwardly letting us know what year in high school they are currently in and telling us their future plans. Rachel and Kurt plan on going to New York, of course.

The problems I list earlier are still present in the 3rd season premiere, but there's some hope on doing stuff with the characters if handled right throughout the rest of the season. Mercedes now has a boyfriend and hopefully a lovely storyline to go alone with that. Quinn is rebelling from years of "pressure" but you can tell she miss Glee club. Finn looks to go into a season-long self-discovery thing that sounds absolutely dull to be honest while Rachel and Kurt are encouraged to be even more of the Type A personalities they were after getting a dash of reality that they really aren't "hot stuff." They were in one of my favorite scenes of the premiere, when they both sat with their jaws on the floor as they watch a group of their peers sing and perform the hell out of "Anything Goes." The other performances in the episode were fine, but nothing too noteworthy though I love their choice of "You Can't Stop the Beat" for the final song though they didn't really do it justice.

One final thing though, Glee writers, let's not make this the Darren Criss show, okay? I like Criss and I'm okay with Blaine (unrelated, but thank goodness the insufferable Warblers and that stupid uniform are history!), but this is an ensemble show. I didn't like it when season one was The Rachel Show and season two was The Kurt Show. Let's do a little better spreading the love, mkay? C+/B-

Pilot Thoughts: 2 Broke Girls & The Playboy Club


From the pilots I've seen so far, 2 Broke Girls is the best of the bunch. Granted many more new shows are premiering this week and the shows I've already seen aren't exactly masterpieces, but all of those shouldn't take away the pleasant surprise this show gave me. For one, I am a fan of Kat Dennings and in the show, as Max, she's pretty much playing Kat Dennings. I was already sold on that aspect when I first heard about the show. But the show has two leads and I knew that if I didn't end up liking Beth Behrs or her character Caroline or if the chemistry between the two leads just wasn't there, then the show would quickly be disposable. Thankfully that didn't happen and in a space of 23 minutes, we got to really sympathize with and see Caroline as a three dimensional character. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this odd couple relationship develops. My one complaint about the show is the terrible supporting characters in the show with the exception of the horse and Noah Mills' abs. The rest are drawn just a tad too broadly and yet were also largely forgettable. Not a good combination. B/B+


Based on its premiere ratings, The Playboy Club is not meant for this world and I'm not exactly crying over it. The show revolves around the lives of the people who work at the Chicago-set Playboy Club back in the 1960s aka men in suits and women in bunny costumes. Comparisons to the better realized Mad Men are inevitable, but it's just not fair to this show despite making us want to believe that Eddie Cibrian, as pretty as he is, has the charisma that could hold a show like this the way Jon Hamm can. His character, Nick Dalton, and the whole mob storyline is my least favorite aspect about the pilot. I was much more interested in what the various bunnies were up to especially Laura Benanti who plays the Mother Bunny Carol-Lynne who seem to have the men wrapped around her fingers and Leah Renee Cudmore who plays Alice who is harboring many secrets underneath her cutesy and ditzy facade. Amber Heard plays the lead female Maureen and she's actually not bad considering what she is being saddled with (aka Nick Dalton and the whole mob storyline). It's telling that all of my favorite scenes with her is when she's interacting with the other female cast members. The show isn't as bad as I feared, but it's definitely not a must-see for me unless the surprise gay twist ramps up and/or the Bunnies take over. C+

Castle: "Rise"

When I was looking over Emmy submissions a couple months back, I was taken aback (though not completely shocked) to see that Castle was listed as a drama. I mean it's not exactly a sitcom, but it definitely feels funnier than some of Showtime's half-hour offerings. With that said, when they do ramp up the drama such as last season's finale and last night's season's premiere, they do it just as well as anybody on TV.

The premiere opens up at the hospital moments after the big cliffhanger finale last season when Beckett was shot at Montgomery's funeral, drifting off into unconsciousness as Castle told her he loved her. The opening scene before the commercial hit all of the right emotional beats with a distraught Castle and Lanie, a fired-up Josh, a worried Martha and Alexis, an anxious father, and an angry-focused Esposit0 and Ryan. All of their emotions were real and paid heed to all the while the audience are treated to an ER-esque hold-your-breath surgery that ends in Beckett flatlining.

Manipulative? Probably a little especially since as the lead female character, everyone knows she would always survive. And that she did, albeit a bit worse for the wear. The show jumps three months with Beckett taking some time for herself not talking to any of her friends and more important not talking to Castle. In her absence, her boys try to track down the shooter, but after months of no viable leads and a new more restrictive boss (played awesomely by 24's Penny Johnson Jerald), the case has been closed. Upon Beckett's return, the team comes back together to do what they do best and more importantly for Beckett and Castle to reunite. He's angry she didn't call him and secretly frustrated that she doesn't remember him confessing his love to her. She needs to put all of this whole drama behind her before breaking down the walls around her that make it impossible for her to get involved with anyone.

The case of the week is an afterthought, which I actually was okay with especially with all the emotions and setting up that needed to be done to the characters. It did enable Beckett to slowly get back into the field and confront yet another gun pointed at her. This new character who warns Castle to steer Beckett away from her mom's case is pervasively creepy and I'm looking forward to seeing where that goes. Of course, the twist ending is that while Beckett has stopped, Castle will continue to dig. Little does he know that she has a secret of her own... she remembers everything. That sound you heard last night was a bunch of shippers fainting and/or screaming at the top of their lungs. B+

Monday, September 19, 2011

HIMYM: "The Best Man" & "The Naked Truth"


At this point, I view How I Met Your Mother as chicken noodle soup. It's comfort food television that doesn't need to be amazing or outrageously different. Sure, there'll be times when it WILL be the best thing I've ever put in my mouth and other times when it'll be glorified chicken stock. With that said, I thought the 1-hour premiere was a solid hour making me realize how much I've missed these characters.

All of the Robin/Barney stuff will always, always hook me. Those two actors have such a great chemistry that I pretty much hand-waved the ridiculous, and frankly a bit forced, dance sequence. I also rolled my eyes that Nora would choose to call Barney just as Robin was about to express her true feelings, but was okay by that because Cobie Smulders acted the hell out of the scene that followed. Her Cyrano-like love confession broke my heart in a billion million little pieces. Now I really like Nora and Barney/Nora works for me, but I just can't imagine a scenario where Robin/Barney aren't endgame. It's not exactly Ross/Rachel, but come on it needs to happen. This whole "who will Barney marry?" might get tiring especially since it seems it'll be a season-long arc, but I hope that Robin isn't moping all season. She's done that enough last season! I ship Robin/Happiness most of all.

Speaking of shipping, Victoria is back and I am simultaneously shocked and delighted. I'm far from a Ted-hater, but bro does need better storylines and/or love interests and I think Victoria's return will bring both. She's definitely one of my favorite Mosby exes and she already has a history with the gang. Yes, she's not the mother and some might get frustrated by this, but I'm not. I don't care about the titular mother. I care about an entertaining show.

Which brings us to the final couple, Lily/Marshall. The whole "waiting to tell your friends you're pregnant so you have to pretend to drink but really you're husband is drinking your alcohol" has been done in other sitcoms before. But it still brought a smile on my face to see Jason Segel pretty much be drunk for the whole hour. It'll be interesting to see how these two transition to becoming parents. Can you image Lily as a mother? I'm already laughing thinking about it. B+

My 2011 Fall TV Schedule

The Emmy Awards have been given out, the temperatures are cooling down, and a few shows have already premiered, but starting tonight the fall TV season gets into another gear as Premiere Week begins with most of the shows coming back in the next seven days. Below are the shows I'm planning on watching and which is unsurprisingly as packed as always. Last year, most of the new shows I checked out either got canceled quickly or didn't hold my attention after a few episodes. It could happen again this year. I'm remaining cautiously optimistic though.

MONDAY

Even though I'm going to check out Terra Nova (FOX) at 8PM, I'm still going to keep my appointment viewing of How I Met Your Mother (CBS). Since I'm on the network already, Ill also check out 2 Broke Girls (CBS) airing right after. While the 9PM hour is oddly empty for me, it's a battle of old and new at 10PM as Castle (ABC) and The Playboy Club (NBC) will try to get my attention. I have a feeling it won't be a real contest in the end.

TUESDAY

This day is pretty sparse with me reluctantly returning for a third season of Glee (FOX) to start off the night. At 9PM, it's adorkable Zooey Deschanel versus slayerific Sarah Michelle Gellar. New Girl (FOX) and Ringer (CW) are new shows I'm definitely interested in so I'm going to give each other a long leash. There's also Raising Hope but sadly I just never got around to finishing the first season.

WEDNESDAY

It's all about comedy on this day and perhaps a helping of horror. Since I'm not crazy enough to check out X-Factor, for the first two hours of primetime, I'll be watching new sitcoms Up All Night (NBC), Free Agents (NBC), and Suburgatory (ABC) as well as some favorite returning shows Modern Family (ABC) and Happy Endings (ABC). At 10PM, I may check out Revenge (ABC), but I may not. Same goes for Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story (FX).

THURSDAY

There are a few options on this day even after I decided, sight unseen, that Charlie's Angels and Prime Suspect just aren't worth my time. Which means at 8PM I'll continue last year's struggle of Community (NBC) up against Big Bang Theory (CBS) with Parks and Recreation (NBC) at 8:30. In the 9PM hour, I have to make touch choices since I still watch Grey's Anatomy (ABC), want to check out Persons of Interest (CBS), and already liked what I've seen of The Secret Circle (CW). And there's also my indecision of whether or not I'll keep watching a Steve Carell-less The Office (NBC) in that same time slot!

FRIDAY

Remember the days when there was nothing to watch on this day? Well no more! The 8PM hour has A Gifted Man (CBS) which I may or may not watch and Chuck which I randomly stopped watching last season. But the real story on this day is at the stacked 9PM genre hour when two of my regular shows Fringe (FOX) and Supernatural (CW) go head-to-head with intriguing new show Grimm (NBC) which thankfully is getting not-so-hot reviews.

SUNDAY

This is a bit of a packed day which starts off at 8PM where the fairy tale new show Once Upon A Time (ABC) goes up against The Amazing Race (CBS). The 9PM hour has the ratings-starved The Good Wife (CBS) going up against Family Guy and Desperate Housewives, both shows I don't really watch. All of those also are up against The Walking Dead (AMC) and Dexter (Showtime). Finally, the 10PM hour slows down as new show Pan Am (ABC) is the only one I'm interested in watching.

Returning Shows I'm Most Excited About: Fringe, Parks and Recreation, The Good Wife, Community, and Happy Endings

Returning Shows in Danger of Getting Cut: Glee, Grey's Anatomy, and Supernatural

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Emmys: The Winners


What a weird night. That's pretty much all I can say about the Emmy Awards tonight. It felt like there was no overwhelming theme. Jane Lynch did an okay job hosting, but some of the technical aspects and skits of the show fell flat or were too clunky. The awards themselves went to a mix of expected and shocking winners, mostly deserved.

The big winner of the night has got to be Friday Night Lights which won two surprise awards in Writing and for its lead actor Kyle Chandler in its farewell season. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose indeed! Julianna Margulies, Margo Martindale, and Peter Dinklage took home the other Drama acting awards. All four winners made me smile. The supposed front-runners, Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men, had to settle for Directing (Martin Scorcese!) and Drama Series respectively.

In the Comedy side, Modern Family ruled with five wins including book-ending the show with two acting awards for TV married couple Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen at the beginning of the show and Comedy Series for the final award. Jim Parsons and Melissa McCarthy won in an upset in their lead categories with Steve Carell and Laura Linney largely expected to win. In one of the best moments of the show though Amy Poehler (who should've won) led McCarthy, Linney, and the other lead actress nominees on stage when their names were called up. Brilliant! The other winners are...

DRAMA
SERIES: Mad Men (AMC)
ACTOR: Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights (NBC)
ACTRESS: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife (CBS)
SUPP. ACTOR: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HCO)
SUPP. ACTRESS: Margo Martindale, Justified (FX)
DIRECTING: Martin Scorcese, Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
WRITING: Jason Katims, Friday Night Lights (Direct TV)
GUEST ACTOR: Paul McCrane, Harry's Law (NBC)
GUEST ACTRESS: Loretta Devine, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)

COMEDY
SERIES: Modern Family (ABC)
ACTOR: Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory (CBS)
ACTRESS: Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly (CBS)
SUPP. ACTOR: Ty Burrell, Modern Family (ABC)
SUPP. ACTRESS: Julie Bowen, Modern Family (ABC)
DIRECTING: Michael Spiller, Modern Family (ABC)
WRITING: Steve Levitan & Jeffrey Richmond, Modern Family (ABC)
GUEST ACTOR: Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
GUEST ACTRESS: Gwyneth Paltrow, Glee (FOX)

In the other side of things, Downton Abbey ruled with four wins including Best Miniseries over Mildred Pierce, which still saw two of its actor win in Guy Pearce and Kate Winslet. Winslet is now a Tony Award away from full EGOT status. The Amazing Race and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart also walked away with Emmy trophies once again.

MINISERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIALS
MINISERIES OR MOVIE: Downton Abbey (PBS)
ACTOR: Barry Pepper, The Kennedys (Starz)
ACTRESS: Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce (HBO)
SUPP. ACTOR: Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce (HBO)
SUPP. ACTRESS: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PBS)
DIRECTING: Brian Percival, Downton Abbey (PBS)
WRITING: Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey (PBS)

VARIETY, MUSIC OR COMEDY PROGRAM
SERIES: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
DIRECTING: Saturday Night Live (NBC)
WRITING: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)

REALITY
COMPETITION PROGRAM: The Amazing Race (CBS)
PROGRAM: Deadliest Catch (Discovery)
HOST: Jeff Probst, Survivor (CBS)

In terms of my predictions, I went a dismal 7 for 19. And really the less said about that bit of statistic, the better.

Doctor Who Thoughts: "The Girl Who Waited" & "The God Complex"


Never did get around to writing about last week's gut-wrenching Doctor Who episode "The Girl Who Waited," but it worked out just fine since this week's "The God Complex" played off quite nicely with the previous episode.

From the surface, both episodes are exactly like every other Doctor Who episode wherein he and his companions are transported to a place where danger and adventure go hand-in-hand. In last week's episode, Amy is separated from her boys and becomes trapped in a place where time is quicker and thus has to spend 36 years waiting to be rescued. In this week's episode, all three get trapped in a mysterious hotel where the rooms contain people's greatest fears and a monstrous Minotaur roam the place killing people. The episodes, however, quickly become a more intense study on the nature of the Doctor's relationship with his companions, more specifically with his current ones, Amy and Rory, and the difficult choices that have to be made.

The girls who waited and waited...

The phrase (not the episode) "the girl who waited" has been oft-repeated during Moffat's tenure to refer to young Amelia Pond waiting for her Doctor all those years ago. It's a touching, yet somber, reminder of how much the Doctor has already affected this young girl's life. This season alone, she had to wait for the Doctor to save her after being kidnapped by the Silence and then to wait for him again all summer before getting news regarding her stolen baby. This last point also reiterates that Rory has been affected by this as well and in fact he became "the boy who waited" (although willfully) at the end of the fifth season. All of this is to say that as affected as they both have been, they do continue to travel with the Doctor, to explore all of the wonders of space and time with him. With the episode "The Girl Who Waited" and "The God Complex" though, it seems that time is coming to an end.

The Amy who waited for 36 years for Rory and the Doctor to rescue her was someone who lost all of her faith. It was telling, however, that she focused most of her anger at the Doctor because he took them there, he should've known better. It was very difficult to see one of the Doctor's companions to so harshly and quite rightly criticize and berate him and once Rory had realized the extent of the fucked-up-ness of the situation, he too, explodes at the Doctor's carelessness and selfishness. The end was heartbreaking with the Doctor forcing Rory to choose between old Amy and young Amy knowing that with either choice, he'll be breaking Amy's heart and that was just something that Rory never thought he was capable of doing and surely he blames the Doctor for this. In fact, the one thing that bothered me initially during this week's episode was that Rory seemed just a bit too forgiving of the Doctor after last week's traumatizing experience. But in one scene where Rory talked about traveling with the Doctor in the past tense, which the Doctor pointed out to him, it was clear that this is something he carries.


With Rory's faith the Doctor shaky, this week's episode focused on Amy's faith and where better to test one's faith than in a hotel where a Minotaur consumed people's faith? The specifics of the episode weren't as important as the end result of Amy realizing that the Doctor is simply a bastard and despite the wonders he has shown her and all of the times he has saved her, there are also moments of nightmarish hell and a future time when he might not be able to save her. She had to be reminded of that time he abandoned her when she was a young child. It was a learning experience for the Doctor, too, who seemed at the end to realize that the best thing he could do for Amy and Rory was to bid them farewell (basically, him owning up to his obvious god complex). In the past, he never really confronted this separation head on. For Rose and Donna, he had no choice but to leave them and Martha made that choice herself. For Jack and Sarah Jane, he didn't even say goodbye. It's fitting that Toby Whithouse wrote this latest episode since he also wrote "School Reunion" where the Doctor did meet up with Sarah Jane again after all these years and they finally got to say their goodbyes. I don't think it's truly goodbye for Amy and Rory, at least for this season, but with two episodes left, the end is definitely nearing.

Other random tidbits:

- Rory in glasses is the best thing in the history of best things. Seriously, I was distracted by the hotness throughout the episode.

- I find it ridiculously cool that Amy and Rory's house is painted in a shade of blue and their door is most definitely in TARDIS blue.

- That scene with Rory and old Amy talking through the TARDIS door was heartbreaking and I'm sure not coincidentally reminiscent of the Ten/Rose scene in "Doomsday."

- Old Amy crafting a robot and naming him Rory is probably the saddest detail in that episode.

- The Doctor calling Amy "Amy Williams" was a gasp-worthy moment. Others might see it as anti-feminist or giving into some kind of patriarchal system, but I think it was more the Doctor finally seeing Amy as an adult and not the child he met all those years ago.

- Rory's quip about wanting to inform the next of kin of those people who the Doctor gets too close with was hilarious as it is spot-on, right?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Emmy Nominations and Predictions

The new TV season is already underway and we're just now getting to the Emmy Awards, which airs tomorrow night. The nominations themselves were announced a couple of months ago so it has been quite a long wait for this. Last week was the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony and you might be able to suss out the general feeling of the voters by some of the wins. It's probably still a crap-shoot overall, so here's my input...


BEST DRAMA SERIES

Boardwalk Empire
Dexter
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Mad Men
Friday Night Lights

Is anyone really predicting any other show than Boardwalk Empire to walk away with the win this year? After nearly sweeping in the technical categories last week, it should definitely be seen as the favorite over 4-time winner Mad Men. Funnily enough, it's the only show out of the six that I haven't watched. Of course.

Prediction: Boardwalk Empire
Alternate: Mad Men
Should Win: The Good Wife

BEST ACTOR, DRAMA
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Timothy Olyphant, Justified

With 3-time winner Bryan Cranston out of the running this year, it's the perfect time for a few veterans to swoop in and get their long-deserved win. By this, of course, I mean Jon Hamm, Hugh Laurie, and Michael C. Hall. Unfortunately for them, new kid on-the-block Steve Buscemi is the supposed frontrunner.

Prediction: Steve Buscemi
Alternate: Jon Hamm
Should Win: Michael C. Hall

BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA
Kathy Bates, Harry's Law
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Last year, I was 100% sure that Julianna Margulies would win until she didn't. With last year's winner Kyra Sedgwick inexplicably left out this year, Margulies' biggest competition may be Elisabeth Moss. Both submitted great episodes so it'll really be who they like better. Then again if one were to really ask that, they'd probably go for Kathy Bates.

Prediction: Julianna Margulies
Alternate: Elisabeth Moss
Should Win: Margulies or Moss

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Walter Goggins, Justified
John Slattery, Mad Men

I think other than Andre Braugher and Walter Goggins, the rest can conceivably win this. I'm not just saying this because it's the four performances I've seen, but that's where the buzz is at the moment. In my head though, I think the two top contenders are Alan Cumming and Peter Dinklage, but I refuse to believe that the TV Academy is actually that cool.

Prediction: John Slattery
Alternate: Alan Cumming
Should Win: Cumming or Peter Dinklage

BEST SUPPORTING DRAMA, ACTRESS
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Kelly MacDonald, Boardwalk Empire
Margo Martindale, Justified
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife

Archie Panjabi's win last year was a complete surprise for me and for everyone I knew. This year, I think another "shock" win will happen, this time for Margo Martindale. Though it won't be a complete shock since critics can't stop talking about her. Her biggest competition will be from Panjabi or Kelly MacDonald (if her show sweeps, watch out).

Prediction: Margo Martindale
Alternate: Archie Panjabi
Should Win: Panjabi or Michelle Forbes


BEST COMEDY SERIES

30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory
Glee
Modern Family
The Office
Parks and Recreation

As much as I like most of these shows, I really do think only ONE show here DESERVES the win THIS season and that is the brilliant Parks and Recreation. Of course, it's probably too "small" for the Academy and thus it'll probably go to last year's winner Modern Family. Glee was more of a threat last year, but I think its rose has lost its bloom a bit this year.

Prediction: Modern Family
Alternate: Parks and Recreation
Should Win: Parks and Recreation

BEST ACTOR, COMEDY
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Louis C.K., Louie
Steve Carell, The Office
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

I was tickled when I predicted Jim Parsons' win last year, but I hope that the Academy will finally give Steve Carell the win for his iconic Michael Scott considering this is their last chance to do so. Other than Galecki, everyone else has a shot to upset him, but for the love of God, just give it to him already. That's what she said?

Prediction: Steve Carell
Alternate: Alec Baldwin
Should Win: Steve Carell

BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Laura Linney, The Big C
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation

Showtime ladies will make it three in a row when Laura Linney wins this year after Edie Falco won last year and Toni Collette won the year before. It's a formula that works. Though if I had a ballot, it'd go to Amy Poehler who actually stars in a legit situational comedy and is actually damn fantastic in it.

Prediction: Laura Linney
Alternate: Amy Poehler
Should Win: Amy Poehler

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Chris Colfer, Glee
Jon Cryer, Two & A Half Men
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O'Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

I'm still smarting over the unnecessary snub for Neil Patrick Harris who should've won this category a couple of years ago. With that said, there's a good chance a Modern Family man will win just by the sheer number of them. If I had to pick from the lot, it'd be Ty Burrell. For a spoiler, look to Golden Globe-winning Chris Colfer.

Prediction: Ty Burrell
Alternate: Chris Colfer
Should Win: Ty Burrell

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Jane Lynch, Glee
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live

While the nominees are all lovely, it's still quite a frustrating category since the top two contenders (Betty White and Jane Lynch) probably deserve the award the least out of all the nominees. From the other four, I can't even pick one I would like to see win over the others. Maybe I'd pick Julie Bowen since her character isn't as flashy as the others (which is the opposite of what the TV Academy would do).

Prediction: Jane Lynch
Alternate: Betty White
Should Win: Julie Bowen

OTHER CATEGORIES
Best Miniseries or Movie: Mildred Pierce
Best Actor, Miniseries: Edgar Ramirez, Carlos
Best Actress, Miniseries: Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Best Supporting Actor, Miniseries: Tom Wilkinson, The Kennedys
Best Supporting Actress, Miniseries: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Best Guest Actor, Comedy*: Matt Damon, 30 Rock
Best Guest Actress, Comedy*: Gwyneth Paltrow, Glee
Best Guest Actor, Drama*: Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Best Guest Actress, Drama*: Joan Cusack, Shameless

Last year, I think I predicted all of the Comedy categories, but horribly butchered the Drama categories. So we'll see if this stays true this year. It's probably why I'm picking alternates just to cover my bases! Make sure to check out my conversations with Andrew this past week talking about each of the acting categories and a few of the actors' episode submissions (lead / supporting / guest).

*The Guest categories were all given out at the Creative Emmy Awards ceremony last week with Justin Timberlake (Saturday Night Live), Gwyneth Paltrow (Glee), Paul McCrane (Harry's Law), and Loretta Devine (Grey's Anatomy) taking the trophies, which meant I got 1 out of 4.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pilot Thoughts: The Secret Circle


I've always been a fan of witches and witchcraft. In my youth I was all over witch-centric films and TV shows like The Craft, Practical Magic, and Charmed. Hell, my favorite character on my favorite show played a witch! So when I heard that the CW was going to do with witches what they did with vampires (The Vampire Diaries) and upper East Side spoiled brats (Gossip Girl) then I knew I would give it a chance even though I'm probably a decade and a penis away from their prime demographic.

And thus how I came to watch the premiere of The Secret Circle. Here's the thing though, I think I liked it. I found the main girl (played by Brittany Robertson) not as blank or cloying as would be typical in a show of this nature and I, as a viewer, felt connected to her pretty quickly. It helped that the opening scenes featured her mom dying in a fire (shades of Supernatural) and then the rest of the episode was her trying to make it in a new school with people wanting her to reluctantly face her destiny (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). There's even a cute boy (Thomas Dekker) she may like, but he has a girlfriend who isn't a total bitch so she can't hate hate her.! THE HORROR! Okay, that last part was me poking a bit of fun, but there's definitely something I found fascinating about the show. Maybe it's the adults and their secrets. Of course, I was less than shocked to find Natasha Henstridge's character team up with "evil" Gale Harold (does he play any other kind of character) in the end and I'm looking forward to seeing what their endgame actually is. Their mysterious and violent past intrigue me enough to the point that I think I'll be able to handle all of the teen drama stuff.

So while it wasn't love at first sight, if they don't forget about the adults and the main character remains engaging, and they don't shy away from frequently featuring magicks then I'm tentatively in. B

Birthday Girl: Amy Poehler


The beautiful and generally kick-ass Amy Poehler celebrates her 40th birthday today. This weekend, she'll no doubt be walking down the red carpet with husband Will Arnett at the Emmy Awards where she's nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series alongside best friend Tina Fey. She'll probably lose to Laura Linney, because they like their comedy dark and edgy preferably given by a movie star. Do I need I remind the TV Academy that Poehler too is a movie star? Remember how she played the "cool mom" in Mean Girls or how about her breakout role as Susie in the cult classic Wet Hot American Summer?

But hey even if she loses, her fantastic show Parks & Recreation starts its 4th season in less than a week! That pretty much means that everyone wins! Happy Birthday Amy!