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Showing posts from April, 2007

Televisionary Rant: CW Fails to Amuse with "Hidden Palms" Promo Campaign

Remember a time when network promos made you want to watch a show? When they didn't just spoil everything in a single episode (thank you, ABC promo-meisters!) or just... confuse you? I'm talking about the blink-and-you-missed it 15-second promos that CW has begun to air for its summer series, Hidden Palms , which kicks off on May 30th at 8 pm. For those of you who haven't seen the mind boggling awfulness that are these promos, I urge you to check out the series' "grassroots" site at 08nova.com . Having seen the series, I can say that these promos fail to capture the tone, characters, or mystery in Hidden Palms . Instead, they confuse, irritate, and bore... all at the same time. I'm all for mystery and intrigue. The more the better when you only have an eight-episode summer run to entice people with before disappearing off the schedule once the temperature starts to drop. But unlike the Oceanic site launched by ABC and Touchstone for Lost (which intrigu

"Teletubbies Go to War": Teams Enter the Military on "The Amazing Race"

Oh, Team Cha Cha Cha, I will miss you. For the second time, Danny and Oswald have placed fourth overall in the Amazing Race , just as they did back in Season Two. I was really hoping Danny and Oz would make it to the final three, but instead we have two of my least favorite teams (Eric & Danielle and Charla & Mirna, if you're keeping score) racing for $1 million against the Beauty Queens. Dustin and Kandice, I've been rooting for you this whole time, so don't let me down! Last night's episode of The Amazing Race featured the Beauty Queens at their finest, as they managed to stay ahead of the other teams the entire time, even when the other teams managed to get on the same flight as Dustin and Kandice. Though I am still not entirely sure how Charla and Mirna showed up at the airport so quickly behind the Beauty Queens as they were on a ferry that departed an hour later. Color me confused. In any event, I was whooping and hollering as the girls continued their

"Ungrateful Beyotch Hotline": Product Recall for Dunder-Mifflin on "The Office"

It's always so satisfying when an episode really hits its mark and last night's episode of The Office ("Product Recall") was no exception, delivering an installment that featured several zany storylines without feeling contrived or forced, as Dunder-Mifflin Scranton goes into damage control mode when an obscene watermark appears on a shipment of paper, Creed sets up one of the paper mill supervisors to take the fall, and Andy and Jim travel to the high school, where they learn that Andy's new girlfriend is, er, under age. Cold Open/Tag. Before I say anything else, I have to comment on what was possibly one of the funniest cold opens ever on this series. I was laughing so hard I nearly choked when Jim came into the office dressed as Dwight, complete with mustard-colored short-sleeved shirt and tie and the $4 drug store glasses, before ratting off some of Dwight's favorite topics ("Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica ") and then engaging him in a batt

"Make Me a Smoothie and Let's Go Clubbing!" It's Hiatus Time on the Season Finale of "30 Rock"

With all of the hoopla lately surrounding a certain voicemail heard 'round the world and Alec Baldwin's current issues , I was concerned that the Baldwin overload will overshadow this week's season finale of the brilliant and smartly comic 30 Rock . However, I'm happy to report that I easily pushed the entirety of Baldwin's "parental alienation" issues right out of my mind and was able to focus on the fact that we now have several months of 30 Rock -less television ahead of us. Damn you, NBC, for getting me hooked on this series only to stop producing new episodes during some lame hiatus. Why can't Tina Fey and the rest of 30 Rock 's talented cast and crew work year-round for our amusement? Last night's season finale of 30 Rock ("Hiatus") neatly wrapped up several dangling storylines from the last few weeks, including Tracy's disappearance (the Black Crusaders are after him), Liz and Floyd's relationship, and Jack's imp

The Staff of Life: Sun Learns the Date of Conception on "Lost"

Say what you will about the first half of Lost 's somewhat uneven third season, but this most recent run of episodes has been fantastic and recaptured that magic that was lost (no pun intended) during the awkward scheduling choices last fall. This week's episode of Lost ("D.O.C.") actually answered some questions while focusing on one of my favorite Losties: the beautiful Sun, who proved that the gritty determination that she displayed in "The Glass Ballerina" wasn't a one-time phenomenon. Preggers. We've all been wondering what the fate of Sun's pregnancy would be, given the fact that we learned that all of the women who have gotten pregnant on the island have died before their third trimester. Meaning that either (A) the island managed to cure Jin's infertility and he is the father of Sun's baby or (B) Sun got pregnant before she arrived on the island, courtesy of her lover. Either way, Sun loses. So it was with bated breath that we

Baldwin Wants Off of "30 Rock," NBC Balks

Say it's not so. Could Jack Donaghy want off of 30 Rock ? Actor Alec Baldwin, currently embroiled in the controversy stemming from his voicemail-heard-round-the-world in which he allegedly verbally abuses his daughter Ireland, has asked NBC to release him from his contract on the comedy series , which was recently picked up for a second season (and which wraps its freshman season tomorrow night). NBC has publicly denied the request, stating that Baldwin, along with the rest of the cast, will be returning for Season Two of 30 Rock . Baldwin meanwhile, wants off the series so he can spend time dealing with his "parental alienation" and with his ongoing legal battles with ex-wife Kim Basinger. Furthermore, Baldwin reportedly wanted to leave 30 Rock so that the cast and crew of the comedy would not "be hurt by the situation." He'll appear in a pre-taped segment on this Friday's edition of The View (set your TiVos now!) talking about the voicemail messa

"Drive" Screeches to a Halt; Series Pulled from FOX's May Schedule

Looks like FOX has pulled Drive onto the shoulder. After announcing that it would take the rather unusual tack of intentionally breaking up Drive 's 13-episode run into two chunks (thus limiting any momentum the series would have built up), FOX has now announced that it is in fact benching the series for the entirety of May sweeps . Four hours of the freshman series, about an illegal underground cross-country race, have already aired. FOX will fill Drive 's Mondays at 8 pm timeslot with (you guessed it!) repeats of House . While there's been no official word of the c-word (that would be cancellation, people!), it's not a good sign for a series that's already had its share of odd scheduling and plummeting ratings. Oh well. It's not as if I didn't already make the turn for the exit ramp last week .

Who's Crazier: Dale or Alby?

While watching this week's episode of FX's The Riches , in which the Molloy clan returns to the Traverlers camp to attend the funeral of the murdered Earl (and nearly attends the wedding of DiDi to Ken Dannigan), I couldn't help but reminded of the commune on HBO's Big Love (which thankfully returns to the airwaves after way too long on June 17th). The two series are definitely distinct in their own ways, but they do share some similarities in the familiar theme of outsider families pretending to be something they're not, in suburbia, no less. While the series' leads couldn't be more different from one another (I don't, for example see Dahlia and Boss Lady knocking back drinks together), it's impossible not to compare the two series' most insane characters. Yes, I'm talking about examining the crazies: Big Love 's Alby (Matt Ross) and The Riches ' Dale (Todd Stashwick). Name: Alby ( Big Love ) Occupation: Commune enforcer Likes: K

Our Lady of the Sensible Pantsuit: Why Karen Hayes Keeps Me Watching "24"

Oh, 24 , I keep giving you chances and you keep biting me. I finally got around to watching this week's episode of 24 last night (blame it on the fact that I was out Monday night and, well, hardly find the show that interesting anymore) and was shocked to learn that there's only a handful of episodes left. This season has been plagued with such stop and go storytelling (guess we'll never learn if Charles Logan lived or died after being stabbed by a knife-wielding former First Lady) and such an over the top beginning (after detonating a nuclear bomb in Valencia, where do you really go from there?) that it's hard to take the show seriously. And don't even get me started on the Very Special Episode where Jack bonded with a mentally disabled guy in a plot to ensnare the dead-and-forgotten "Mr. Grendenko." Still, it's a telling sign that a series is getting a little old and creaky when the most exciting thing about 24 that week isn't Jack's dar

FBI Angle Not Dead for "Veronica Mars" Season Four

More twisty than one of the Dharma Initiative's orientation films. More needlessly confusing than the current season of 24 . Just what am I talking about? If you've been following the on-again, off-again future of the CW's Veronica Mars , you know exactly what I am talking about. It seems as though a day can't go by without someone from the cast or crew making a comment in the press about the show's fate. Then there was the previously reported new story angle, with the action for a potential fourth season taking place several years in the future, with Veronica an FBI trainee. (An angle that Rob Thomas confirmed here on this very blog .) An interesting gambit, the pitch presented the opportunity for Thomas to present two very different avenues for a potential next season to the network. Then on Friday, co-star Enrico Colantoni (a.k.a. Papa Keith) told the Toronto Star that the FBI angle had been vetoed by the network and was now as dead as poor Sheriff Lamb: &quo

Set Your Sonic Screwdrivers: Sci Fi Announces Season Three Launch Date for "Doctor Who"

After months of rampant speculation as to when the US public would finally get to see Season Three of British sci fi series Doctor Who , Sci Fi has finally announced that the TARDIS will be arriving in the States this summer. Sci Fi announced that it plans to launch Season Three of Doctor Who , starring David Tennant and Freema Agyeman (replacing the departed and much missed Billie Piper), in July. The third season kicks off with the most recent Christmas special, entitled "The Runaway Bride," starring Catherine Tate as a, well, runaway bride of sorts. (Don't look for Agyeman's Martha Jones, however. Her character doesn't show up until the third season's actual premiere episode, "Smith and Jones.") Among the highlights that the Doctor and Martha will reportedly face: William Shakespeare, a 1930s Dalek plot, vampiric aliens, and some stormtroopers called the Judoon. (For a trailer, click here .) While I saw "The Runaway Bride" last Dec

ABC's "Traveler" to Start Road Trip Early

Remember Traveler , that little 8 episode action drama that was originally ordered for the 2006-07 season? The series, which stars Matthew Bomer, Logan Marshall-Green, Aaron Stanford, William Sadler, and Stephen Culp (a.k.a. poor dead Rex from Desperate Housewives ), follows two grad students (Bomer, Marshall-Green) forced to go on the run after their friend (Stanford) frames them for a terrorist act (namely, the blowing up of one NYC museum). Together, they must find a way to prove their innocence while tracking down the man responsible for the crime (the titular Will Traveler). ABC announced a few weeks back that it would burn off the series (earlier chopped from its 13 episode initial order to 8 eps) in its entirety this summer, a rather unceremonious dumping of a show that I found eminently more engaging and suspenseful than, say, the current season of 24 . To counter-balance any negativity to the summer scheduling, ABC has now announced that Traveler will in fact kick off on i

Caution, Yield Ahead: Eric and Danielle Get Paused Again on "The Amazing Race"

Last night's episode of The Amazing Race was another one of those way too stressful installments, where I found myself perched on the edge of my couch hoping for the defeat of one of my two least favorite teams while hoping that, somehow, Danny and Oswald would make it to next week's leg. Whew. I feel somewhat conflicted that the producers staged yet another non-elimination round so soon after the last one (that would be, er, last week) but, as it managed to save Danny and Oswald's skin after they arrived at the pit stop in dead last (after encountering the world's worst taxi driver in Macau), I can't be all that angry. Me, I was hoping we'd finally seen the last of the shrilly irritating Danielle and Eric. Alas. The Yield. Nothing has been more contentious this season on TAR than the usage of those dreaded yellow Yields. The Beauty Queens rightly surmised last night that the Yields are in fact part of the race, a tool to be used as teams see fit. Would it f

"By The Hammer of Thor": Liz Considers a Move to Cleveland on "30 Rock"

Can you believe there's only one episode left of 30 Rock this season? I'm in such complete and utter shock that we've reached the end of Season One (thank god there's already been a renewal) that my bones feel as hollow as those of Jack's latest paramour, the deceitful Phoebe. Ouch. In any event, it's been a wonderful, magical, surreal ride this season. In the penultimate episode of the season ("Cleveland"), Floyd and Liz took their relationship to the next level, namely a trip to the destination vacation hot spot, Cleveland. Unlike Manhattan, where Liz is tired of having to explain every item in her purse every time she gets on a subway and where a drunken bum spits... in her mouth (ick), Cleveland is the magical place where she can sit in ZZ Top's car, have lunch with Little Richard, and where everyone thinks she's a model because she's so thin. In other words, it's Lemon's idea of paradise. Floyd. Poor Floyd (Jason Sudeikis) d

After Daniel's Ugly Behavior, Betty Finally Punches Out on "Ugly Betty"

Oh, Betty, I've missed you. It seems like forever since we've been able to sit down and watch a new episode of Ugly Betty . Well, maybe not as long as that but I've missed the show's wacky charms enough to feel a twinge of separation anxiety every time I notice there's a repeat on Thursday. Fortunately, last night's episode of Ugly Betty ("Punch Out") brought us to new levels of loopiness while closing the door on some grating storylines (Constance, anyone?) and it showed us (finally) that Betty had gained enough confidence to not only tell off Christina for accepting Wilhelmina's help (especially given the price) but to tell Daniel that she was off the clock when he once again turned to her for help (after telling her off earlier). Brava, Betty. Constance. I've loathed this whole Ignacio immigration storyline since its inception way back when in the lousy HMO storyline. But I do have to say that last night's episode did offer one unexpe

"Future Crap": Demond Finds Himself in a Catch-22 on "Lost"

Ah, Desmond. I don't envy you in the least. When you're not spending your time trying to save the life of Driveshaft former member Charlie, you're experiencing some weird "flashes" that would drive any lesser man insane and which may cause you to sacrifice someone else's life in order to achieve a higher goal. But that's the nature of a prophet, I suppose. We learned a bit more about the former monk on last night's episode of Lost ("Catch-22") that featured the arrival of a mysterious new castaway, Naomi (played by Marsha Thomason of Las Vegas ), who was not--as Demond had hoped--his former fiancee Penny Widmore. (Damn!) Last night's episode was written by Jeff Pinkner and new staff writer Brian K. Vaughan (yes, the creator of Runaways and Y: The Last Man ). Hence all of the fun Superman vs. Flash moments between Charlie and Hurley, which added some nice levity, along with the campfire ghost stories, into a rather ominous episode. Nao

CBS Sets Sail With "Pirate Master"

Ahoy, maties. CBS has finally announced a launch date for their latest Mark Burnett-produced reality series, Pirate Master , which will set sail this summer on Thursday, May 31st at 8 pm. Personally, I can't wait for this series, a pitch perfect blend of pirate lore, high camp, and brutal elimination-style reality television. (A preview can be found here .) " Pirate Master breaks new ground in that it's the collision of fantasy and reality," explained creator and executive producer Mark Burnett. "This is a show where, in true pirate fashion, anything can happen with a group of people that live by their own set of rules and usually break them. It's adventure, excitement and loads of treasure. Anyone who ever wanted to be a pirate will love this show!" The series will follow 16 Americans as they search for $1 million worth of buried treasure on the high seas, around the Caribbean island of Dominica. Players will live and travel as pirates on a massive

Can "Veronica Mars" Be Saved or Is it Curtains for Our Intrepid Sleuth?

April and May are always rollercoaster rides of emotion for television junkies like myself, as networks begin to shape up their schedules for fall and tease us with a few series renewals and cancellations ahead of the network upfronts in mid-May. It's quite easy then to fall into a state of constant guessing as to whether your favorite shows will return next season. I was stunned to learn that, according to USA Today 's Robert Bianco, the still-on-hiatus Veronica Mars (which, thankfully, returns to the airwaves May 1st and obliterates those dreadful Pussycat Dolls) is already a goner : "San Francisco, CA: How come Veronica Mars wasn't included on the USA Today "save or axe" survey? Has its fate already been decided? Robert Bianco: Yes. According to our reporter Gary Levin, the show has been cancelled. And he's almost always right about such things." Shock, horror. But fret not, Neptune fans. This morning, Kristin at E! released the results of