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From Across the Pond: "High Spirits with Shirley Ghostman"

I feel your pain, I feel your shame, but you're not to blame. You don't watch High Spirits with Shirley Ghostman , despite my many attempts to bring an American audience to this British import. I've tried talking about it in my What I'm Watching section, I've tried randomly dropping mentions into other posts, and I've tried sending telepathic messages to you, dear readers, all in an attempt to get you to tune into this hilarious and cringe-inducing show. Currently airing on BBC America, High Spirits with Shirley Ghostman is a spoof psychic show quite unlike anything we currently have on U.S. television. Think Da Ali G Show crossed with Medium with a bit of Waiting for Guffman 's Corky St. Claire thrown in there for good measure, all narrated by ubiquitous Brit actor Patrick Stewart. It should be noted there is no such person as psychic Shirley Ghostman. No, Shirley is a character created by comedian/actor Marc Wootton , who plays Shirley to the hilt as

What's It All About, "Brian"?

Last year, I saw the original pilot for What About Brian , the new ABC drama from executive producer J.J. Abrams ( Lost , Alias , Felicity ). I've spoken of that magical time that occurs each July when we receive the next season's ordered pilots at our office--frenzied days in which we watch and catalogue our thoughts and discuss the hits and misses of the following season. At the office, we were all excited to get the chance to catch a sneak peak then at what we hoped would be a high point in the pilot binge: What About Brian . Suffice it to say, we were gravely disappointed. Perhaps our expectations were high. The show had the pedigree of coming from the production company (Bad Robot) of arguably one of television's current resident geniuses, J.J. Abrams. It had a likeable name-brand cast ( 7th Heaven 's Barry Watson and Rosanna Arquette). Producer-writers Jeff Judah and Gabe Sachs ( Freaks and Geeks ) were attached. And it was being touted alternately as this centur

Rewind: "Battlestar Galactica: The Mini-Series"

Don't ask me why I've resisted the pull of the Sci-Fi Channel drama Battlestar Galactica for quite this long. It might have something to do with the almost religious obsession my co-worker maintains for the show, which knows no bounds. I'm not much of a sci-fi geek. I was never into Star Trek in any of its zillion permutations ( ST: The Next Generation , Voyager , Deep Space Nine , or... the rest) and have only recently discovered Doctor Who as a valid entertainment option. So forgive my ignorance then, as I've never seen the original Battlestar Galactica that the new series is based on. On a whim last weekend, I decided to Netflix the 2003 mini-series of Battlestar Galactica and see what all the fuss was about, as the show recently wrapped its second season on Sci-Fi last month (well, what the network is calling Season 2.5, anyway). And something magical and rather mysterious happened: I was instantly hooked. Not just hooked but sucked into the drama, which was

Messages in a Bottle: LOST Thoughts #7

Okay, so I sort of figured that last night's episode of Lost ("S.O.S.") would be the last episode before sweeps, the one that sort of sets up a bunch of things that will later pay off and which leads up to the season finale. And I wasn't completely wrong, but we did get a touching Bernard/Rose flashback, some sexually tense Jack and Kate scenes, and the return of the prodigal castaway. Bernard decides to build a huge S.O.S. message on the beach (against Rose's wishes), but he can't get much help from the other castaways . Locke feverishly attempts to sketch what he can remember of the map he saw during the lockdown . But the poor guy just can't get completely recall what he saw. Frustrated, he nearly lets the timer reach zero before Jack forces his hand. And a frustrated Locke is never a good thing. (For one, people tend to get killed. See: Carlisle, Boone.) Later, he attempts to get info out of their prisoner(a.k.a. The Other Formerly Known as Henry Gal

Post Mortem: My Favorite Episodes of "Arrested Development"

I am still mourning the loss of Arrested Development , sadly and unceremoniously killed by FOX... and by the departure of creator Mitch Hurwitz, which did in any chance of an eleventh hour rescue from deus ex machina cable net Showtime. But, though the pain is deep, I can't help reminiscing about the good times I shared with Arrested Development 's irrepressible Bluth clan, times in which I was laughing so hard that many around me thought I was drunk. To that end, here are my picks--in no particular order--for my favorite episodes of AD . While there are only five (well, sort of... six) episodes I selected to discuss, there are honestly at least a dozen episodes that could have qualified for my best of Arrested list. So without further ado... "Pier Pressure" Truly one of the classic episodes of Arrested Development that helped further define the show (one other being the truly superlative second episode "Top Banana"). "Pier Pressure" is other

Channel Surfing: 4.11.06

NBC Robs "Heist" of Its Timeslot NBC is sending midseason crime caper drama Heist to TV jail. The series, which starred Dougray Scott (left, looking rather, um, something) as the head of a group of thieves plotting to simultaneously rob three Rodeo Drive jewelers, got off to an extremely rocky start. Originally scheduled in the 10 pm Wednesday timeslot (home to NBC's Law & Order ) and bowing to above-average numbers, Heist was quickly shifted the following week to the much more competitive 9 pm Wednesday timeslot, where it had to go up against ratings behemoths American Idol on FOX and Lost on ABC. According to Variety, the series is not expected to air after showing its fourth episode next week. Looks like those thieves couldn't steal an audience... To Take On iTunes? The Hollywood Reporter reports that ABC will offer some of its most highly rated shows, including as dramas Desperate Housewives and Lost , for free online as part of a two-mont

More Love for "Big Love"

I am officially a convert. Or, given that Big Love is about a polygamist, his three wives, and their many kids, let me phrase that slightly: I am a convert to Big Love , the HBO drama. While I was initially enthralled by the show , I wasn't sure whether the attraction was a passing infatuation or something bigger than that. Now, five episodes into the series, I can honestly say that each week I look forward to the exploits of the Henrickson family with something approaching a growing zeal. The show has managed to juggle several dramatic balls up in the air at the same time. Bill (Bill Paxton), constantly caught between soothing his bickering wives and satisfying them, secretly continues to take Viagra. Speaking of secrets, shopaholic second wife Nicki (Chloe Sevigny) has accumulated nearly $60,000 in credit card debt and when her frightening cult leader dad Roman (Harry Dean Stanton) gives her $3000 to pay for half of one of those bills, Nicki promptly blows it all on clothes. Me