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Back From Blighty

Whew. After a particularly whirlwind trip to London involving a few days worth of television-related meetings, parties in private clubs, luxe dinners in the nation's capital, and more than a few nights of champagne-fueled debauchery, I'm back in the States again and recovering from some sleep deprivation. I'm blaming it on a week of excess living. (Thanks, guys!)

Special thanks first of all to Televisionary guest star "Christine Fortune" for pitching in whilst I was away and writing two superlative pieces on the latest edition of Bravo's Project Runway and the premiere of CBS' latest installment of The Amazing Race. If you haven't swung by to check them out and leave a comment or two, please do so now and make the lady feel welcome.

So what did I learn from this particular crazed visit to my favorite city on the planet? Putting aside all of the work-related information I gathered, I just couldn't travel all the way to England and not catch some telly... and I'm happy that I managed to shoehorn some TV time into my trip. Granted, it wasn't all that much, but more than I expected, thanks to the on demand television personal panels on Virgin Atlantic flights. Here's to Virgin Atlantic, making a 10-hour flight much less intolerable thanks to oodles of programming possibilities, like being able to watch all six hours of the BBC's brilliant mini-series State of Play.

I was happy to see that the second season of Doctor Who, featuring the new Doctor played by Viva Blackpool's David Tennant, nearly made me forget Christopher Eccleston ever inhabited the role (bless him). Tennant's Doctor is filled with a madcap energy and exuberance that instantly made me fall in love with him. I managed to squeeze in an episode from Season Two (the third episode, in fact) and was instantly captivated by the charm and ease in the relationship between Tennant and Billie Piper's Rose. Plus, you can't go wrong with Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Anthony Stewart Head as an, um, voracious school headmaster, an appearance from the Doctor's old K-9 unit, and a blast from the past in the form of former Assistant, Sarah Jane Smith. Whilst the US premiere of the second season is only a few weeks away, I'm nearly overwrought from anticipation. (And, no, I didn't succumb to the instant gratification of downloading the episodes months ago.)

While it might not be Alan Partridge, I was just as taken in with Steve Coogan's latest television offering, Saxondale, in which he plays a former roadie turned pest control specialist. Look for an "Across the Pond" review of the comedy series, which kicks off Stateside on BBC America this fall, later in the week.

I managed to catch the finale of reality competition series How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? about Andrew Lloyd Weber and the always deliciously outrageous Graham Norton attempting to find their Maria for a new West End production of The Sound of Music. While Weber was as interesting as a three-day-old kipper, Norton's zany wit and sincere interest added some much needed energy and enthusiasm to the proceedings. I can't imagine this ever crossing the pond and I only discovered it because I was flipping around the channels, but there's something completely quintessentially British about the program(me). Plus, damn catchy title.

While it may not be television-related, I do need to put in a good word for the upcoming feature film release The Queen, starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II and Michael Sheen as Tony Blair. The film, Stephen Frears' follow-up to Dirty Pretty Things, charts the tense relationship between Her Majesty and the PM in the days following the untimely death of Princess Diana in 1997, shortly after Blair formed his government. Helen Mirren is a dream to behold and I can safely say that she is a lock for an Oscar nomination for her flinty performance as the monarch. The film, a brilliant mediation on power and popularity, is set to be released in the States in a few weeks' time and I urge you to run to your nearest cinema to catch this witty masterpiece.

That's all I've got for now, except to say that, in between dealing with the mountains of work that have piled up back at the office, I've got to catch up on some telly that I missed while I was away, including the controversial Project Runway returnee episode. (Why would anyone in their right mind bring back Vincent and Angela over, say, Alison?) Any TV-related news I might have missed while I was away? And what's up with the spinach recall?

What's On Tonight

8 pm: NCIS (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); Gilmore Girls (WB); Dancing with the Stars (ABC; 8-10 pm); House (FOX); Desire (MyNet)

9 pm: The Unit (CBS); Law & Order: Criminal Intent (NBC); ET Presents the CW Launch Party (WB); Standoff (FOX); Fashion House (MyNet)

10 pm: Smith (CBS); Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC); Boston Legal (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

9 pm: Eureka on Sci-Fi.

The whimsical new sci-fi drama that's more Northern Exposure than Stargate. On tonight's episode ("Purple Haze"), Carter investigates the cause behind the strange behaviors the townspeople of Eureka are suddenly experiencing. Is it just me or does something always seem to go wrong in Eureka every week?

10 pm: Smith.

While I've already seen the series' original pilot a few months ago, I'll be giving it a second viewing to see what the network has cut out. On tonight's premiere episode ("Pilot"), Bobby's crew is tasked to break into a museum to steal several paintings while Hope becomes suspicious about just what Bobby is up to. It's stealing, right? Right?


Anonymous said…
Damn you, Comcast, for not carrying BBC America! Maybe I'll just go to England, too...

(P.S. Yeah, Eureka is definitely keeping it fun, even if it is a bit formulaic.)
Anonymous said…
I'm so glad you liked David Tennant as the new Doctor Who. I love him as an actor but was worried that he wouldn't be able to live up to Christopher Eccleston's performance. Now I really can't wait for the new season!
Anonymous said…
At least you're not watching Gilmore Girls. The new season looks awful. Way too formulaic and ernst. The jokes were like awkward gags completely lacking any trace of humor. Warner Bros. made a huge mistake by getting rid of the creator of this show.
Anonymous said…
re: PR, they only brought back people who won a challenge in the past. Alison never did.

re: How do You solve a problem like Maria - I am so bummed that isn't airing here (any plans to?). At least we have "You're the one that I Want" !
Daniel said…
"The Queen" is mostly on Stephen Frears' follow-up to "Dirty Pretty Things" if you want to pretend that "Mrs Henderson Presents" never happened...

Jace Lacob said…
It's not that I didn't like "Mrs Henderson Presents" or want to pretend that it didn't happen, but "The Queen" is Frears' first more "serious" film since "Dirty Pretty Things." Hence, "follow up."

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