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Showing posts from April, 2006

Stray Bullets: No Lucky Charms for One of Veronica's Gang?

I knew the janitor had something to do with it! Well, okay, I didn't, but Veronica Mars doesn't often pointedly introduce a character in an episode just to have them fade back into the ether. Like, say, for example, Neptune High's tarnished golden boy, Lucky, who was last seen sweeping the halls of Veronica's school. Since his first appearance, I've been wondering when we'd see Lucky--the Neptune Varsity player turned injured soldier turned high school janitor--again. And it ends up that he's not only stalking Gia Goodman, the daughter of decidedly crooked Mayor Woody Goodman, but he's also tangled up with Meg Manning's evangelical and abusive father... and quite possibly the bus crash mystery as well. Which would be exciting in and of itself, but if the UPN promo department is to be believed, next week's episode appears to depict an armed Lucky terrorizing Neptune High. And it's quite possible that his rampage might very well have a vict

Channel Surfing: 4.28.06

"Battlestar" to Travel Back to "Caprica" Sci-Fi Channel unveiled its development slate this week, which included a Battlestar: Galactica spin-off of sorts called Caprica . The project, from NBC Universal TV, executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick ( Battlestar: Galactica ), and writer Remi Aubuchon ( 24 ), will bet set over fifty years prior to the events in the current Sci-Fi Channel series Battlestar Galactica . Below is the series' concept, from the official press release from Sci-Fi Channel: "The people of the Twelve Colonies are at peace and living in a society not unlike our own, but where high-technology has changed the lives of virtually everyone for the better. But a startling breakthrough in robotics is about to occur, one that will bring to life the age-old dream of marrying artificial intelligence with a mechanical body to create the first living robot - a Cylon. Following the lives of two families, the Graystones and the Adama

Reality Check: Sayonara to "Top" Sommelier Stephen

It was with special glee that I watched last night's episode of Top Chef ("Wedding Bell Blues"), hoping--nay, praying--that arrogant sommelier Stephen Asprinio would be the one to pack his knives this week. After last week's disastrous performance (in which he left the kitchen to fend for themselves while he "educated" the dinner guests endlessly about the appellation of the various wines he was serving), I'd run out of any patience I had left for the spiky-haired condescending Stephen, whose talents seem to lie in making a successions of itty bitty little tastes on a plate and droning on about the differences between rose glasses and white wine glasses. The challenge last night was a difficult one and fraught with missteps: the chefs had 16 hours to plan and execute a 100-person sit-down wedding reception for gay couple Scott and Scott (no, not a typo there: they were both named Scott) from a menu designed by Lee Anne, whose inspired take on Pan-Asian

TiVo Times Two

I got a wonderful email yesterday from the good folks at TiVo alerting me to their latest offering: a dual tuner TiVo Series 2 unit that can record two programs at the same time (a feat largely diminished in my mind now that Lost and Veronica Mars aren't in the same timeslot). While the combination DirecTV-TiVo units have had this capability for some time, it's the first time that a stand-alone TiVo unit has been able to simultaneously record two shows. The TiVo Series 2 DT DVR with 80-hour recording capability is available now for current TiVo customers with a 1 year pre-paid service for only $254. The new unit, which also has built-in-Ethernet and USB ports, will be released to the general public May 1st. While I love the new features and the capability of recording more than one program at a time, I am still itching for the release of the TiVo Series 3 unit (hopefully) this fall; I'll be saving my pennies!

"Girls" Interrupted

Last night's Gilmore Girls ("Super Cool Party People") brought us the first episode written by inbound Gilmore Girls showrunner David Rosenthal since the announcement that he would be taking over for departing showrunner/executive producers Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino. It's also his second writing credit on the show to date. So how did the new showrunner do? I really, really tried to go into "Super Cool Party People" with an open mind. But was it just me or did the episode feel as awkward as the beginning of April's birthday party? The way that David Rosenthal wrote the episode reminded me of how Luke was barking out orders and rules to those poor girls attending newly-discovered daughter April's fete: he wanted them to have fun and have a good time but in the end only made everyone miserable. Poetic justice? I was completely baffled by the scene in which Luke and Lorelai finally begin to even talk about the awkwardness that is th

DVD... On Demand?

So does this mean that I can finally get Andy Richter Controls the Universe on DVD? Okay, probably not, but it is a step in the right direction for many under-rated shows that might not warrant a DVD release... or even for programming that studios are looking to make direct-to-DVD (hint, hint). Cable companies have been heralding the advent of On Demand programming for a while now and the next logical step is DVD On Demand. The Hollywood Reporter announced a new initiative called DVD on Demand, a collection of titles from A&E Home Video, NBC Universal, and PBS, that will only be manufactured when they are purchased. The program was unveiled by CustomFlix Labs and will be available through Amazon.com. According to Dana LoPiccolo-Giles, co-founder and managing director of CustomFlix, the DVD on Demand service "works perfectly for the massive amount of content that network and cable channels have yet to make available on DVD and other digital formats. Our service enables co

From Across the Pond: "What Not to Wear"

Let me preface this by saying that I don't often watch makeover shows, of the personal or home variety. It's not really my bag. But I can't get enough of British import What Not to Wear , which inspired its own (blandly derivative) American adaptation on TLC. While I can't stomach the Stateside makeover (heh), I find myself itching for the next episode of this British style series. Much of that has to do with the intelligence and spunk of the British original's hosts, authors and style experts Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine whose "cruel to be kind" approach to fashion makeovers has made them infamous. They are both beautiful, highly intelligent, and fashion savvy and complement each other perfectly. It also helps that they both have completely different body types--Trinny is tall and skinny, Susannah shorter and more curvy--and neither is above doffing their own clothes in order to prove a point to their makeover victims. In fact, the show's

Fans to Get "Lost" Over Summer

Looks like fans of Lost won't have to wait all summer long to get their fix. The New York Times is reporting that network ABC has announced the upcoming launch of an interactive multi-platform game called The Lost Experience , which will begin in May. The game is described as "a multimedia treasure hunt that makes use of e-mail messages, phone calls, commercials, billboards and fake Web sites that are made to seem real." The Lost Experience will launch a new storyline--while remaining consistent with Lost 's ongoing mythology--that focuses on the mysterious Hanso Foundation and its relationship to the island's shadowy Dharma Initiative. It won't be necessary for players to have watched Lost prior to playing, but given the show's twisty plots and subliminal clues, it would certainly help. (Understatement of the century.) Additionally, it may become necessary for players to team up online in order to solve a number of the game's clues. The idea fo

Kendall Casablancas: From "Angel" to Murderess?

Is it just me or can you not get enough of Veronica Mars ' Kendall Casablancas (Charisma Carpenter)? Spoiled, catty, and icily beautiful, Kendall is like Buffy 's Cordelia on crack: a few years older, far more cunning, and certainly more dangerous. Originally introduced early in the season as a former pro-cheerleader and minx--one who was cuckolding husband Dick Casablancas with Veronica's ex-boyfriend Logan, Kendall has morphed into something else altogether in recent weeks and has become more of a femme fatale than the eye candy she originally appeared to be. Kendall spent the first part of the season sleeping around behind her real estate mogul husband's back and then, when he fled the country to avoid prosecution for some real estate fraud (uncovered by Veronica, natch), she somehow managed to avoid being indicted for the fraudulent deals she helped her hubby carry out. And then before you know it, Kendall somehow managed to become a front for a corporate venture

"Gilmore" Guy: Who is New Showrunner David Rosenthal?

A few days later and I am still processing the news that Gilmore Girls showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino--and her exceptionally talented husband, writer and producer Daniel Palladino-- announced their departure from the whip-smart drama after six seasons. The news wouldn't be such a blow, save for the fact that Gilmore Girls is as much about Amy and Daniel as it is about Lorelai and Rory. In their capable hands, the show explored a supremely complicated family dynamic through the beautiful friendship of mother and daughter Lorelai and Rory... and did so with smart dialogue usually found in a Nick & Nora film rather than on television. Zany subplots abounded as did quirky, beloved supporting characters. And now, after six seasons (including this most recent--and very shaky--season where Amy and Daniel wrote less episodes than usual), Amy and Daniel are passing on the showrunning torch to... Dave Rosenthal?!? For those of you in the audience unfamiliar with David Rosenthal ,

"Big" Mystery: What's Up With Alby?

What the HELL? That's the question that went through my head as I watched the latest episode of Big Love . That shock and confusion was directed squarely at the character of Alby Grant and the swirl of mysteries that seemed to surround him in this episode. Alby's always been a creepy one (see: threatening Teenie, grabbing Ben by the throat), but this episode took him to a whole new level of creepiness. Is Alby a misunderstood soul... or a cold-blooded killer waiting to strike? You decide. Clue #1: Papa Roman sends Alby off on a "holy mission" and says that he'll be gone for two days. But before that, he made it clear that Alby was to stay away from the Henrickson family. So the mission then had nothing to do with Bill? Clue #2: Alby breaks into Home Plus and is rifling through Bill's office when he's caught. But if he's supposed to stay away from Bill, is breaking into his office the best approach? Something tells me that Alby's break-in was hi

Pilot Inspektor: Gossip from the Tracking Boards

Well, it's crunch time here in Hollywood when the networks have to decide which pilots are going to get ordered before the May upfront presentations of their schedules to advertisers in New York. It's getting down to the wire and all over town producers are biting their nails as each waits to receive word on the fate of their latest TV opus. Those in the know will drift onto one of the ubiquitous tracking boards --the online equivalent of a gossipy coffee klutch--to find out the no-holds barred low-down on their pilots. These boards can make or break a project and, in the case of a feature script, determine whether a writer is going to end up with a seven-figure purchase price or yet another pass. Through a top-secret contact, I was able to gather some information--unsubstantiated but reliable--about many of the pilots in contention for the fall schedules of the major networks. It's far from a complete list, but below is a sample of what's being said about the current

"Scrubs" Resuscitated by NBC?

It seems as though rumors of Scrubs ' death may have been greatly exaggerated, after all. The latest rumor in the back-and-forth about the show's future has Scrubs , the beleaguered (but hilarious) NBC sitcom which stars Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Donald Faison, Judy Reyes, and John C. McGinley, returning next season, despite many naysayers who predicted just the opposite. It's still too early to tell if the show will make a full recovery, however, as NBC has yet to issue an official statement on the pickup. (However, TV Guide's Ausiello seems pretty darn sure of himself.) Fingers crossed that the little comedy that could pulls through... and manages to find a timeslot on the schedule that sticks.

Channel Surfing: 4.21.06

HBO Renews "Love" Vows Cable network HBO has renewed its freshman series Big Love-- Televisionary's favorite new drama--for a second season, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The news comes as the series, about a polygamist and his three wives and their family, hits its halfway point this week. Production on the second season of Big Love will begin in August, with the second season expected to air on HBO sometime in 2007. However, it is doubtful that Big Love will be paired with its current lead-in, The Sopranos , which will air its final eight episodes beginning in January 2007. Big Love is expected to return later that year, possibly in The Sopranos ' current 9 pm timeslot on Sundays. As for the early pickup, HBO president of entertainment Carolyn Strauss told the Hollywood Reporter, "We all just felt the show was really solid and only getting better... It's gathering momentum with subscribers and critics." And with me, as I've become ob

"Gilmore Girls" Creator Sherman-Palladino to Leave Stars Hollow

In a move that is less surprising than it is depressing, Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has announced that she is leaving the show that she created and guided over the last six seasons, reportedly turning down what was a nearly $5 million paycheck, according to Variety . Sherman-Palladino's husband, Gilmore Girls writer-producer Daniel Palladino, will also be departing. The studio behind Gilmore Girls , Warner Bros. Television, immediately announced Sherman-Palladino's successor, Gilmore veteran Dave Rosenthal , who will step in as the showrunner for the long-running drama when it moves to the new CW network this fall. (Well, that bit hasn't been officially announced yet, but Gilmore Girls is pretty much a lock for the CW's fall schedule.) Warner Bros. TV reportedly offered Sherman-Palladino and her husband a one-year deal worth nearly $5 million if she signed on for the seventh season of Gilmore Girls , most likely the drama's final season. Howeve

Reality Check: Hippies "Race" to Last Place

Something strange is in the air this season on The Amazing Race . Last week, the hippies barely squeaked by elimination and Phil instead sent home the completely irritating and borderline abusive (think Jonathan and Victoria) team of Lake and Michelle. I was stunned and then exhilarated that the hippies managed to escape sudden death and that had Lake and Michelle arrived a few minutes earlier, they still would have had to wait out their 15-minute time penalty (for also failing to complete clue directions as indicated). Fast-forward a week and the situation has gotten even more tangled. Somehow the team that many viewed as dead weight--that would be oldies Fran and Barry--managed to climb from the back of the pack all the way to first place while the two strongest competitors have sunk to the bottom. Is this trend permanent? Or will we see yet another shake-up on the next leg of the Race ? (1st) Fran and Barry. I am amazed at how well Fran and Barry performed in last night's ep

Tuning Out: Why I Stopped Watching "Alias"

Let me start by saying that I was originally obsessed with Alias with a zeal that approached my current love of fellow J.J. Abrams series Lost . I loved that at the heart of this spy drama there was a story about a deeply dysfunctional family (distant dad, dead mother) all of whom happened to be in the deadly business of high stakes espionage. While there were crazy costumes, wacky wigs, and fierce fights each week, I kept coming back because I cared deeply for Sydney Bristow ( Jennifer Garner ) and her colorful cast of co-workers. But then something happened... Before we get to that, let's recap first. Alias launched in the fall of 2001, shortly after the events of 9/11 and around the same time that a similarly spy-themed show was launching over on competitor Fox (that would be 24 , natch). I instantly found 24 to be too eerily realistic, too stressful in a world that had just seen a real life terrorist attack. Alias , on the other hand, had a certain gleeful campiness along w