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Joe Don is Gone: A New Captain for the Crew on "Pirate Master"

Is anyone out there still watching Pirate Master ? I have to say that last night's episode of the, er, pirate-themed adventure show was a little better than the previous week's installment, if only because we got to see tyrannical captain Joe Don get booted from his position of authority and the power structure shift completely. (Of course, the crew is happy when you're making them equals, Azmyth!) But I was hoping for more conflict when the deposed despot was forced to join the rest of the crew in hard labor and penury. Instead, the contestants seemed to really pay him no heed and the new captain, Azmyth, and his officers didn't even give him a black spot. Additionally, I had hoped that this series would combine the scheming and treachery of Survivor with the sort of expeditions found on, say, The Amazing Race , but instead the "expeditions" are far too brief (I feel they should comprise the majority of the episode) and, well, rather lame. Find a skull in

Silent Witness: Showtime's "Meadowlands"

It's always hard when you watch a new series and find yourself WANTING to like it rather than, you know, actually liking it. That was the experience I had with Showtime's new eight-episode British series Meadowlands , an eerie and suspenseful glimpse into the dark underbelly of suburban life that ends up buckling like a house of cards once a sharp wind blows against it. The premise is an interesting one: a family--lead by State of Play and Blackpool 's David Morrissey as Danny Brogan--is forced into the witness protection program and hustled off to a new town, Meadowlands, with new identities. There to start their lives anew, they're forced to deal with the past, both the reasons they've ended up in the Program as well as the struggles they've had as a family unit. Wife Evelyn (Lucy Cohu) finds herself going out of her mind as they're told by their handler Samantha (Nina Sosanya) repeatedly not to leave Meadowlands; she finds herself suddenly the object o

First Impressions on the Season Premiere of "Top Chef"

It's pretty clear within the opening moments of last night's season premiere of Top Chef , this time set in Miami, that it blows FOX's Hell's Kitchen right out of the water in terms of talent. Looking at any of these contestants, they all have more creativity, skill, and passion in their little fingers than any of the Hell's Kitchen competitors do in their whole beings. There's no sobbing during service or fainting in the kitchen going on here. No, instead its bravado, culinary know-how, and heaps of training that's on display and I wouldn't have it any other way. In its third season, Top Chef remains a stylish and slick production without the whiff of manufactured "reality" that dogs every minute of Hell's Kitchen . These are some serious chefs that the Top Chef crew has assembled this time around; one can't help shake the feeling that this current crop of competitors outshine even their comperes from the first two seasons and pr

HBO Soars with "Flight of the Conchords"

I'll keep this short and sweet, rather like HBO's Flight of the Conchords itself. If you've never seen New Zealand folk parody band Flight of the Conchords in action, you're in for a real treat. I've seen the duo--comprised of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement (as " New Zealand's fourth most popular digi-folk parodists ")--several times, most notably at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen and right here in Los Angeles at a little place called Largo. They always manage to make me roar with laughter, with their understated comedic stylings and their hilarious pop/folk/parody songs. So imagine my surprise when I learned last year that the duo would be shooting a 12-episode series for HBO entitled (quelle surprise!) Flight of the Conchords . Conchords the series kicks off on Sunday night with a brilliant pilot episode that I've rewatched about a dozen times since I first saw it in early January. (Can't wait for Sunday to watch it? You can

CW to Lose "Hidden Palms" Earlier Than Expected

You've got to love when a network obviously shows so much pride in their product that they push a launch date for a series endlessly, dump the thing during the summer months (read: burnoff), and then mess around with the scheduling. In a move, post- Veronica Mars cancellation , that surprises no one, the CW has announced that it will "condense" the airing structure of newbie drama series Hidden Palms and wrap the series on July 4th. The CW will therefore air back-to-back episodes of Hidden Palms on Wednesday, June 20th and June 27th, from 8-10 pm ET/PT, with the series finale (a.k.a. Episode Eight) planned for Wednesday, July 4th. Because the CW's teen audience will doubtlessly be inside watching the network rather than, you know, watching fireworks or being outside on the Fourth. Additionally, effective immediately, the CW will drop the Sunday night replays of the teen drama, replacing it with repeats of, yes, Seventh Heaven . ( Seventh Heaven 's slot will

The Axe Has Swung: Noir Drama "Veronica Mars" Is Dead

It's official. No matter how many marshmallows grieving Veronica Mars fans manage to send to the CW , the netlet is not reconsidering its decision to axe the noir drama. Yes, ladies and gentleman and VM fans, the Blonde One has left the building. Veronica Mars is no more. In a statement to TV Guide , Rob Thomas acknowledged the series' demise : "I'm afraid I have to report that Veronica Mars is officially dead," Thomas told Michael Ausiello. "At least in TV show form. There's really no way that it can happen now. I'm not sure the CW should've given the glimmer of hope. I think Dawn Ostroff genuinely would have liked to have continued on with a version of the show, but there was too much resistance around her. At the end of the day, it would've been kinder had the band aid simply been ripped off rather peeled away in than this agonizingly slow manner." While I do think that Thomas is being far too kind in believing that Ostroff wan

Damage Control Time for the Henricksons on the Season Premiere of "Big Love"

I can't tell you how happy it makes me that HBO's Big Love is back on the air again. Always a favorite in the Televisionary household, it's an insightful and keen look inside the nature of modern families, seen through the prism of a closeted polygamist clan in sandy Utah. Last season's finale left the Henrickson family in emotional turmoil. Barb had been outed as a polygamist at the Beehive Mother of the Year reception, in front of her family and curious onlookers; Nicki nearly had a breakdown at the thought that they had to flee before they were dragged from their houses by irate townspeople. Bill had a snake in his midst as well as employee Wendy figured out that he and Don Embry were polygamists; Bill wrongfully believes that it was Wendy who ratted Barb out (nope, it was all Roman). And Bill's sister-in-law, the delightfully cuckoo Wanda poisoned commune enforcer Alby and conspired with Bill's mother Lois to move the body. Whew. That brings us up to date