Friday, October 30, 2009

Survivor: Samoa: Who Are All These People?

Well, that was a disappointing Survivor.

I really liked Liz. I really liked Jaison. But Liz got voted out, and Jaison, arguably the fittest of the bunch, got "tired" right in the middle of a challenge and phoned the rest of it in. Lame!

I also like the rocket scientist. I forget his name. But now that my two favorites are gone (one physically, one mentally), he's all I have to hang on to.

Speaking of the rocket scientist, is anyone else finding a hard time keeping track of all the contestants? I could pick Shambo and Evil Russell out of a lineup. But the rest of the cast? They could be sitting right next to me, wearing their tribe buffs, plus name tags, and I still wouldn't know who they were.

I'm looking at a cast photo right now, and there remain (besides Shambo and Russell):

-Two blonde girls. I think one of them is named Courtney.
-Two handsome dark-haired guys, one of whom looks like Eli Manning (at least in the photo).
-A guy w/ a receding hairline who keeps his hair cropped short.
-A guy w/ shaggy long brown hair. Where did he come from?! I don't remember him AT ALL. Did he get voted out/injured and I didn't know it?
-Two dark haired girls. One of them is Laura (as I discovered only last night).
-Wait. I found a third handsome dark-haired guy.

Not that this season is boring or unmemorable. It seems Survivor can either be all about the contestants or all about the game. This season, it's all about the game. How lopsided it is with Galu stomping all over Foa Foa. How dangerous Samoa is that two men would get so ill, medical takes them out of the game before the season's even half over. How miserably cold and rainy it is for days on end. Yeah, let's not ever have another Survivor in Samoa.

Oh, wait. Next season (the 20th) is reportedly taking place in Samoa too, with an all-star cast. Well, never mind, then.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

24 Has a Premiere Date. Get Excited!

Today I saw the trailer for my favorite shoot-out drama, 24. I watched it on mute because I was at work, but I don't think I missed anything. It's the same dang show every year, and I love it for just that reason.

For the uninitiated, here is a handy synopsis of every season of 24 to date:

-Jack Bauer is going through inner turmoil or coming off a terrible experience when the season begins.
-Terrorists strike.
-Jack tries to find them.
-Jack finds them. Commence torture.
-Feds try to stop him.
-Feds can't stop him.
-Kim Bauer shows up. Ugh.
-Someone important dies.
-Jack finally gets the Feds to listen.
-Someone in the Fed/CTU/government is a rat!
-Jack kills the rat.
-Lots of shooting. Good guys win.
-The sun rises with the dawn of a new day. All is well.
-...Or is it?! Dun dun dun.

This season's 24 takes place in my hometown of NYC. (Yes, we are so over LA!) It premieres Sunday, January 17. Jack and Chloe, how I've missed you so!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NCIS: Who's Watching This Show? No, Really. Who?

There's this show on CBS called NCIS. You might've heard of it. No?

Well, 17 million people watched a rerun of it last night. A rerun. Seventeen million viewers.

To put it in perspective, the show EVERYBODY talks about, Glee, pulls in only about 8 million. With original episodes.

I don't get it. Who's watching NCIS?

I'll tell you who's not watching. 1) Me. 2) Everybody I know. 3) Everybody they know. 4) And everybody they know.

But somewhere out there in the good ole U.S. of A, there are 17 million people who passed up new episodes of So You Think You Can Dance and The Biggest Loser to watch an old episode about navy people solving crimes.

The star of NCIS is a guy named Mark Harmon. You may know him as that guy in that movie, you know, the one w/ that woman. Mark Harmon. Everybody knows him. Right?

There is also a couple on the show whose names mash together to form Tiva. Like Brangelina, but more succinct. I don't know Tiva's actual names. I just know Tiva sounds like Tivo. Did you know Tivo sends you cookies when you sign up?

Where was I going with this entry? Oh, right. NCIS, the show nobody talks about, regularly delivers 20 million viewers with new episodes. So a rerun took in 85% of the audience a BRAND NEW EPISODE delivers.

Grey's Anatomy would kill for that kind of audience loyalty. I've never watched a Grey's rerun in my life. I see one second of a familiar scene, and I'm diving for the remote.

Has anybody out there watched NCIS? If so, I would like to interview you and ask you all about this show. Why is it so great? Why would you watch it twice? What else has Mark Harmon been in?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mad Men: Next Time Joan, Use a Titanium Vase.

I've heard Mad Men described as "the best movie I see each week," or something to that effect. And it's true. The show, in all its exquisitely shot time period glory, carries all the weighted drama of a Best Picture contender. Beautiful costumes. Glamour. Gorgeous cast. Superb writing. And tension, tension, tension.

This past Sunday's Mad Men was one of the best episodes of the series by far. It's a pivotal episode--that episode where, from that point forward, everything changes, and there's no going back.

For example, that Grey's Anatomy two-parter where Meredith is holding a bomb in someone's chest? Pivotal. With that, Grey's established itself as the best show on TV, the one everyone talked about. Of course, now hardly anyone talks about it anymore, but that's beside the point.

Mad Men was pivotal this Sunday because finally, finally we saw Don Draper break down. And those ten minutes or so where he is explaining his past to Betty? Painful to watch, and yet I hung on his every word. The hardest part was watching him talk about how and why his brother killed himself. Poor Don. I think in that moment, Betty could see herself truly forgiving all his infidelities. Only in that moment, though. I'm sure when she finds out about him and the teacher, the sh*t will hit the fan again.

Also in the episode, the craziest thing happened: Don dropped a cigarette, he was so nervous. Don is the kind of guy who never drops anything. He is just too cool. In fact, he is the kind of guy who looks at you and makes you drop YOUR cigarette.

Another great moment in the episode came out of nowhere, as all the great moments on Mad Men are wont to do. Joan and her husband Dr. Rapist, I mean Greg, are arguing. Well, Dr. Rapist is arguing about how he can't get a break and how his life is crap because first he tried to be a surgeon but he failed at it and then he tried to be a psychiatrist and he changed his mind because that's not even a real science or something (ouch) and blah blah blah waa waa waa. We're all sick of his whining by this point. That "we" includes Joan.

So what does she do? She goes behind Dr. Rapist, picks up a vase, and BASHES IT OVER HIS HEAD.* Then she walks out the door. WOW. I officially love Joan.

Roger Sterling also had his own storyline this episode involving some woman from his past, but it was far outshadowed by Don and Betty and Joan. There are only two more eps of Mad Men this season, and I cannot wait to see how it ends.

*No, sadly, he didn't die. By the way, the actor, Sam Page, is slated to guest star on Greek, playing Rebecca's dad's colleague on Capitol Hill.

Monday, October 26, 2009

NBC: Sinking Faster Than My 401(k)

I just read an article from Ad Age comparing Jay Leno to a bag of stale Funyuns. I'm not kidding. Here's the direct quote:

"NBC used to offer substantive entrees at 10 ("ER," "Law & Order"), and figured that viewers could be forced to switch to comfort food. But Leno at 11:35 wasn't ever really even meatloaf; he was more like that stale bag of Funyuns in the back of the cupboard you were willing to settle for because mindless late-night snacking is ... mindless."

Now, I'm not a huge fan of Funyuns. I'm more of an Utz Cheddar and Sour Cream girl. Nevertheless, I feel bad for Jay.

I used to watch him all the time, back when my VCR still worked. I'd tape him every night between 11:37PM and 12 midnight (I generally don't watch celebrity interviews). What I liked about Jay was his monologue--just the right amount of corny, and never, ever mean-spirited--and his interactions with Kevin Eubanks. I also loved his Celebrity Jeopardy segments. The hilarious Gilbert Gottfried somehow made his way into almost every one, with his requisite "Son of a b*tch!"

When my VCR broke from overuse, I couldn't watch Jay anymore. Then NBC announced Jay was coming to primetime. "Yay," I thought. "I can watch Jay on the off night that there is nothing to watch at 10PM."

That never happened.

What I ended up doing at 10PM on Tuesdays-Fridays (Mondays being rescued by CSI: Miami) was either A) catch up on other shows or B) read.

Good for the publishing industry, but bad for NBC. Thanks to giving Jay 33% of its primetime lineup on weeknights, the Peacock Network's 10PM ratings are crap. NBC finishes #3 (last place) in the hour almost every night of the week. The only show doing worse than Jay is ABC's Eastwick. (I'm still waiting for ABC to wake up and smell that stinker.)

NBC affiliates all around the country are also crying foul, because low ratings at 10PM mean lower ratings for their 11PM news.

It's time, NBC. Time to admit Jay Leno five nights a week at 10PM was a bad idea. Time to admit not renewing his contract for The Tonight Show was a bad idea. Look, there will be major egg on your face for shoving those "Comedy at 10. It's about time" ads down our throats all summer. You had high hopes for Jay, and it didn't work out. Okay, it BOMBED. But as any addict knows, the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem.

I know you have a contract with Jay for at least a year. But I don't have a solution for you to get out of this mess. It's just a terrible, terrible situation for all parties involved.

Eck. No more entries on the state of NBC for a while. Writing about the network is making me depressed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Private Practice: Possibly Better Than Grey's.

I watched the last two episodes of Private Practice today, and they were terrific. One was about a woman who needed a kidney transplant (thanks to Izzie effing up the whole thing on Grey's Anatomy) and the only kidney available was her HIV-positive sister's, and the other episode was about a woman who was raped and got pregnant and she wants to keep the baby but her husband doesn't. Holy sizzling plotlines, Shonda Rhimes!

Private Practice is now in its 3rd season, and it's showing no signs of slowing down, losing creative vision, or jumping the shark. That's more than I can say for a lot of other shows--namely, Practice's parent show, Grey's. I also like that Practice has a relatively small cast for an ensemble show. Yes, Naomi and Sam have the weakest plotlines of the eight or so regulars, but I don't mind them being around. Especially since Naomi has been the "happy" to Addison's "angsty" lately. And Sam is now a surgeon--and a very good one, at that.

Private Practice also managed to expand from its original core group of six without diluting the other characters. I used to think Dell was annoying. Not anymore--I love seeing him in scrubs and taking care of moms-to-be. I couldn't stand Charlotte at first--but since that episode where her father died, we saw that she had a heart, after all. I'm still on the fence about Sheldon, Violet's ex who was one of the possible baby-daddies. I think Sheldon has a shortness complex (I would know) and he's always getting into a huff in every scene he's in. In the moments between his complaints, he is funny and lovable. If the show keeps him around, I hope they find a way to dewhine-ify him.

Grey's Anatomy, on the other hand, has so many new characters now, I can't keep track of them all. Those interns--there are way too many, and they seem to cycle in and out and back in with each episode. They've been around two seasons, and I still don't know any of their names, except for Lexie. She's the only addition I like. Everyone else seems totally incompetent to be a doctor. Was anybody from the original Grey's cast this unwatchable in season 1? I don't remember.

This is the second time this season I find myself liking a spinoff more than the original, the first one being The City vs. The Hills. Network heads: Maybe it's time to retire certain canceled shows forever (I'm looking at you, V) and take a look at spinning off some of the excellent shows you currently have. For example, I would love another subversive comedy like Glee--though Fox, please wait a few years on that first.

Spinoffs, done right, are the perfect mix of risk (new show) and security (proven concept and/or characters). Well done, Private Practice.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Gay Character on Law & Order: SVU. Good or Bad?

I haven't watched this episode yet (it aired last night against Glee), but psychiatrist George Huang, played by BD Wong, revealed in last night's Law & Order: SVU that he is, in fact, gay.

According to, fans have long suspected Huang is a gay man. Wow I must be dense! I have never even thought about his sexuality. SVU almost never deals with romantic relationships--and thank goodness, because they would just detract from the show. We have heard passing comments from Munch about the toils of marriage. And we know Stabler is married and we know Benson is straight and never been married. That's pretty much it.

I have mixed feelings about Huang coming out. On the one hand, it deepens him as a character, so that he is not just that Asian guy who shows up every so often to profile criminals. Also, having a gay main character on one of TV's biggest shows is a strong indicator that the powers that be at SVU are no longer delusional that all of America is straight (I'm looking at you, CBS!).

On the other hand, I'm wondering if making Huang gay will marginalize him even more. He's already a fringe main character--that is, he's not in every episode, and he doesn't have a lot of lines in most of the episodes he does appear in. He shows up, provides his expertise, occasionally interviews a victim/perp, and then it's see ya later, Huang.

So what's up with this trend of making men of color portray gay characters on TV shows? It's not just SVU--there's Entourage's Lloyd, played by Rex Lee. And there's The Office's Oscar, played by Oscar Nunez. Am I the only one who's noticed this?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Terri-less Glee is a Good Glee.

Tonight's episode of Glee was full of slushies, wedding dresses, and that song from My Fair Lady.

Speaking of which, I can't get that dang song out of my head. "I could've daaanced all niiight..."

Anywhosers. Thumbs up to:

1) Puck. Dude can sing. Not only that, but he is a DEAD RINGER for Robbie Williams, the yummiest singer on the planet. I am in love with Puck/Robbie.
2) Emma's wedding dress. So pretty.
3) Lack of Terri. Honestly, this show does not need her at all. Glee could've started out with Will as a heartbroken widower whose wife just died tragically in a car crash and Emma helping him learn love again. Ken could be all, "Marry me, Emma," and Will could be all, "I'm not ready to move on," and then Emma could be all, "All right, Ken, I'll marry you," and then at the altar, right before Emma says "I do," Will could come running in and do a song and dance number (I suggest "(I've Had) The Time of My Life") and lift Emma up and propose to her and maybe the fall finale could end with Emma's panicked, indecisive eyes because she's a kind person and doesn't want to break Ken's heart despite her feelings for...Where was I going with this? Oh, right. We don't need Terri.
4) Finn standing up to Coach Ken with a great speech that invoked Thomas Jefferson and the kid from Terminator.

Speaking of Coach Ken--am I the only one suddenly feeling AWFUL for the guy and starting to root for him? I'm not saying he should get with Emma--they are totally wrong for each other--but the least Emma and Will could do is not prance around together all over the place making eyes at each other. Let's give Ken some requited love. Or at least a little respect!

From the promos following the episode, it looks like Glee is going on a short hiatus until November sweeps. I don't know what I will do with the next few Glee-less Wednesday nights.

Oh, wait.

Of course.

Law & Order: SVU, do we have a date?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CSI: Miami: Hold the Salad, Please.

After watching last night's CSI: Miami, I'm never eating salad again.

The poisoning of a young girl takes the CSI gang to a farm that supplies "organic" vegetables (in quotes because we later find out some of the veggies are genetically engineered) to a restaurant where the girl ate and contracted E. coli.

It doesn't take long for Wolfe and Eddie Cibrian and Walter (who is one of my favorite new additions to the show) to find the source of the E. coli. Basically the plants were being irrigated with water from a well. The well water was being contaminated by water from a drain pipe which came from a field in which a bazillion cows were pooping all day long.

The best part of the show was the really cool montage showing the path of the E. coli (shown as ominous magenta fuzzies) from the drainage pipe to the well to the irrigation to the illegal immigrant cutting the greens from the soil and loading it in the truck to the restaurant worker cutting up the greens to the waiter bringing it to the poor unsuspecting girl. Bon appetit!

Also, the girl's boyfriend, who had been about to propose to her, also died of brain failure. The cause? He had eaten corn on the cob, which had been genetically engineered to be easier to digest. (I've never actually found it difficult to digest corn, but maybe my intestines know something I don't.) Unfortunately, crossing the corn with the bacteria that digests it creates a botulism gene in 1 out of 100 cases. Something like that. So the guy got botulism poisoning from eating corn.

Moral of the story: Don't eat your vegetables.

The end of the episode was really weird. It showed Eddie Cibrian running along the beach with a surfboard. Along the way, he picks up a couple of empty cans and throws them in the recycling bin nearby. (Because in reality, recycling bins are always exactly where you need them, especially on a beach.) Then he runs into the surf. At first, I thought it was a gratuitous shot of Eddie Cibrian shirtless. Boy, that CBS sure knows its audience, I thought.

Then there were a couple of shots of Natalia (or Calleigh, I forget) watering plants at a community garden. And that's when I remembered something I had read earlier yesterday, about the networks all coming together to promote volunteering.

Now, I'm all for volunteering. But two things: 1. A random montage that makes no sense in the context of the episode will only serve to confuse the viewer, not inspire him/her to volunteer. 2. Why, why, why would they show a volunteer watering plants when the previous 40 minutes of the episode was about E. coli poisoning from watered plants? All I could think was, Gee, I hope they tested the water source at that community garden.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Am I the Only One Skeeved Out By Dexter?

No, I'm not referring to the horrific, bloody goryness that is one of my favorite shows, Dexter. I'm not even referring to the appearance of John Lithgow's naked booty on the season premiere.

I'm talking about actress Jennifer Carpenter and her alter ego, Debra Morgan. Deb Morgan is Dexter's sister. Dexter was adopted by Deb's dad, so there's no blood relation. But in real life, Jennifer Carpenter is married to Michael C. Hall, who plays Dexter. So to sum it up, an onscreen brother and sister is married in real life.

I know, I know. It's just TV. It's FICTION. And actors who work in close proximity tend to get, well, close. And sometimes they hook up. I get that.

But still. I cannot help but be skeeved out every time Deb and Dexter appear in a scene together. All I can think is, You married your brother. And you married your sister.


Friday, October 16, 2009

A Likeable Meredith Grey?

I just watched the Grey's Anatomy episode from last week, the one where Meredith's dad needs a liver transplant, and I am pleased to report that for the first time in what feels like forever, I actually really liked Meredith.

For far too long, she has been written as a whiny, self-absorbed character who can't get out of her own head. I know you know you were sick of watching her go back and forth on McDreamy. We all thought he deserved better. Well, in this episode, we finally got to see a wonderful, empathetic side to Meredith.

The episode begins with Meredith's estranged dad stumbling into the hospital puking blood. He is a recovering alcoholic, and he needs a liver transplant. Lexie gets a blood test and finds out she's not a match. Everyone expects Meredith to do the blood test, too.

Everyone except Meredith. She's all, "Well, that sucks, guess he'll be dead soon." Everyone is horrified that Meredith is refusing to help her dad.

And that's just the thing. He is not her dad. He left her when she was a kid and married another woman, Lexie's mom. He also popped Meredith in the face once in the hospital, right in front of everybody. JERK. Not to mention he drank himself to a failing liver. Meredith did not want to give him her liver, and I for one agreed one million percent.

Then Lexie made her big plea. That even though Thatcher was a terrible father to Meredith, he was a great dad to Lexie, and by the way, she stole Meredith's files and Meredith is a blood match so won't she do this for Lexie, if not for their dad? It's a great, moving moment. I'm sold.

And so is Meredith. She goes to tell Thatcher the news, omitting the fact that she will be the one donating the liver. I love that she did that. If I were giving part of my liver up I'd be broadcasting it in sky writing. But Thatcher asks some more questions and Meredith finally fesses up that it's her liver. Thatcher says nope, not taking it.

Eventually, the doctors and Lexie and Meredith wear him down. The operation goes off beautifully. Meredith wakes up a chunk of liver lighter, and Lexie, who has been sleeping at her bedside, wakes up.

Lexie: (thanks Meredith effusively)

Meredith: Lexie?

Lexie: Yeah?

Meredith: You're on my IV.

I haven't seen the most recent ep, but I'm assuming Meredith's monthlong recovery was the writers' way of giving Ellen Pompeo maternity leave. I'm sorry to see her go--just when she got likeable.

Now, if we could just get Katherine Heigl pregnant...

V: I Don't Think So.

We are less than 3 weeks away from the premiere of V, ABC's remake of the 1980s miniseries about aliens who land on earth. I could go further into the details about this show, but I just. don't. care.

There seems to be a trend among the broadcasters to find old shows/movies and make "new" shows out of them. Knight Rider, American Gladiators, Melrose Place, 90210, Eastwick. CBS is even making a new Hawaii Five-O. Yes. Hawaii Five-O.

I don't get it--aren't TV networks all about the younger viewers, ages 18-49? Why, then, would they think we're interested in shows from the Dark Ages?

I know, not all TV remakes are bad. I love the new/old Melrose. But the networks have to take a serious look at what kind of audience watched the old shows, and whether they want that same audience to watch the newer version. If you want to cater to the Grandpa demographic, then go ahead, NBC, remake The Rockford Files. I'll be over here watching fresh, original programming like Fox's Glee and ABC's Modern Family.

I digress. Going back to V--there is a fair amount of buzz surrounding the new ABC version, so I went and downloaded the original. The first episode was just aiiight. So I watched another one. Then I went on vacation with my fiance's family.

Fiance: Should I bring some episodes on my laptop?

Me: We'll just watch them when we get back.

That didn't happen. Neither of us was interested in a time period when women had big hair and wore lots of eyeliner.

The newer version of V stars that blonde from Lost. No, not Sonya Walger. The other blonde, the one who plays Juliet. I don't know why ABC likes to recycle all its blondes on all the other shows on the network--Rebecca Romijn and Julie Bowen, just to name a few others. I'm tired of it.

In short, I have no plans to watch V. The original was eh, the cast is eh, and the plot is unoriginal. Sorry, ABC.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another White Bachelor. Where's the Diversity, ABC?

Google Jake Pavelka. Go ahead.

Who's he? Well, ABC picked him to be the next Bachelor. He's a handsome enough guy, nice smile, muscular arms. He was on The Bachelorette this summer with Jillian Harris. He didn't get picked, and now he's got his own show with his own bevy of women to choose from.

The objectification of women and the microscopic successful match rate in 13 seasons of The Bachelor and 5 of The Bachelorette are actually not my beef. I have only subjected myself to 4 or so seasons of this series, so I won't comment on the content. The show also does very well for ABC, so it's worth the space it takes up on the network, which is more than I can say for Hank.

No, my complaint about The Bachelor is that ONCE AGAIN, they have chosen a straight white guy.

What about the sexy black men? The Asian men? Latinos? And while we're at it, what about the Eskimos? The ratio of unmarried men to women in Alaska is the highest in the country (114 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women). Hook an Eskimo up!

And what about the gay men? As previously blogged, gay characters are on the rise on the broadcast networks, and they are a strong presence in reality shows. I don't know about you, but I would love to see a show full of hot men sitting around a Jacuzzi. So what if they're gay? They're still hot!

You would think that after 18 go-rounds of unsuccessfully pairing up white couples, ABC would decide to do something a little different. Just for giggles, as Jeff Foxworthy would say.

No, "different" doesn't always work--I'm looking at you, The Amazing Race: Family Edition. But what did TAR do after that abomination? Go back to the original format, win a bunch more Emmys, and continue to draw millions of viewers every week. No harm done.

So my plea to you, ABC, is for the 15th edition of The Bachelor, have a very special diversity edition. Have the Bachelor be a person of color. Have him be gay. Heck, have him be both. Have the women (or men) be of all different ethnic backgrounds. It would also be nice to see people with disabilities represented. Hello, this is America. Not Aryan Nation.

And then maybe, just maybe, I will start watching again.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NBC Says No to Glee. Smart Move. Not.

The cast of Glee was supposed to perform at the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year. They were supposed to sing their amazing version of Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. A deal was all but locked into place between Fox and the parade's producers.

But when NBC, which broadcasts the parade, got wind of the deal, they said NO.

No, Glee! You cannot be in our parade! No, Glee, we don't want your singing talent. Or your dancing talent. Or the buzz that comes from having the cast of TV's most-talked-about new show perform on our network.

Hey, I understand that it's business. That NBC does not want to promote another network's show. I get that. But as the #4 network, ahead of only the CW, what did they have to lose?

If NBC had decided to let Glee perform, they'd look like a good sport. They'd look hip and pop-culture savvy. And their audience would've enjoyed the parade even more.

Instead, NBC looks bitter and petty.

Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chuck! Soon!

I just read on (the website of my favorite magazine, Entertainment Weekly), that CHUCK might be back as early as late October.


Heart palpitating.

It's October NOW.

Holy crap!

Chuck could be on my TV as soon as two weeks!

This may or may not be related to the cancellation of Southland. Sorry, Benjamin McKenzie, but here is what Chuck has going and Southland didn't:

-Excellent camera work. And by excellent I mean the camera wasn't handheld and wobbly and made me nauseous. I get that the handheld aspect was supposed to enhance the feeling of immediacy, of being RIGHT THERE with the action. But then your show used a handheld on the HOOD OF THE CAR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HIGHWAY looking through the dashboard at the two cops. Um, people don't actually need to feel immediacy all the time. When I watched that, I felt like I was gripping the hood of the car for dear life. Not a good feeling.

-Zachary Levi. He's comedic and romantic and dramatic. Ben McKenzie is brooding. And brooding. And sometimes extra-brooding.

-Humor and brevity. Chuck features guns and bombs and TONS of action. But it is also one of the funniest shows on TV. Southland, from what I've read, was canceled because of its "dark nature." Hey, I love a dark show. Dexter. Law & Order: SVU. But Southland, from what I saw, had zero sunshine, despite a) two of its leads being blond and b) taking place in a, um, very sunshine-y state.

-Diversity. Chuck features an Indian guy, a weirdo guy, a Chinese chick, a black man, and yes, they are all very much a part of the show (unlike Tina C. on Glee, but that's another conversation) and have very funny and relevant storylines. Southland featured a mostly white police force chasing after black drug dealers. 'Nuff said.

Maybe the sudden consideration to bring back Chuck this month had nothing to do with the axing of Southland. I really hope it didn't, because Southland was supposed to air on Friday nights, and I do NOT NOT NOT want to see Chuck ANYWHERE on the Friday night schedule. That's the kiss of death. Listen, NBC, if you have any hope for Chuck (and I know you do, because you have not canceled the darn show despite its unfortunately low ratings), PLEASE put it somewhere good. And somewhere it won't get killed. I suggest Wednesdays at 8PM.

You're welcome, NBC.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Survivor: Samoa: Victory Goes to Foa Foa...and a Chicken

On last night's Survivor: Samoa, the hapless, heretofore winless tribe Foa Foa finally won an immunity competition!

I am so happy for the yellow team. Prior to their win, the tribes had been so mismatched that Galu had to sit out FOUR members of their team for the reward challenge earlier in the episode.

That reward challenge, by the way, was won by Galu. The prize: a couple of chickens. Shambo, who fancied herself a chicken whisperer by virtue of having lived on a farm, went over to make friends with the chickens, and one of them escaped and flew into a tree. Shambo's excuse: "I didn't know those chickens could fly."

And in case you wondered, nobody got the chicken down. As far as we know, she's living the high life (so to speak). Provided the recent tsunami didn't kill it. Go chicken!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

No, Howard Bamboo, No!

On last night's Glee, Howard Bamboo, played by Kent Avenido (who we now know is Filipino), was arrested for selling pharmaceutical drugs. The police came in and actually tackled the poor guy to the floor. All because of Mr. Shuester's evil wife.

I know initially I said I loved everything about this show, including said evil wife. Well I changed my mind. I can't stand her now. There is nothing redeemable about Terri Shuester. She's not funny, she's not clever, and she is RUINING Mr. Shuester's life. At least the evil cheerleading coach is wickedly funny. Not to mention independent--I LOVE strong female characters. But stupid whiny conniving Terri needs to go. Now.

And how heartbreaking was that final scene when Emma told Mr. S that she accepted Ken Tanaka's proposal? I wanted to cry for them. Saddest moment of the TV season by far.

On a happier note, Mike Chang, played by Harry Shum Jr., got some MAJOR screen time. And he. is. awesome. SUCH a good dancer--and no wonder, he's in the latest iPod commercial, dancing his fanny off. I could not take my eyes off Harry Shum, and that's saying a lot, considering there were 5 other guys dancing alongside him. I just read an interview Harry gave, and apparently, the guy is 100% Chinese (holla) and he was born in Costa Rica and speaks 3 languages (English, Spanish, Chinese). And did I mention how cute he is?

I am loving how my favorite new show features so many Asian characters. Mike Chang, Ken Tanaka, Tina C., Howard Bamboo, Principle Figgins (played by a Pakistani-American). And it's not even a show about martial arts! I just hope they release Howard Bamboo from jail and throw Terri in in his place. That'd be just perfecto.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Um, Can We Get Wentworth Miller on Law & Order: SVU Permanently?

So with the dirth of TV last night, I finally had time to watch the first and second episodes of this season's Law & Order: SVU. I won't go into the second episode, because I'm "eh" about Eric McCormack--never watched Will & Grace.

BUT I was beyond thrilled when I settled on my sofa to watch SVU and the first person who pops up is the glorious Wentworth Miller, whose face is so handsome it hurts my bones to think of it. Ouch. Ouch. OUCH.

Sidenote: When I first started dating my fiance, I told him that he sort of looks like Wentworth, if he turns his head at a 45 degree angle and it is semi-dark out. He had no idea who that was. Whatever.

Even better than Wentworth appearing on my favorite crime procedural (okay, tied with CSI: Miami) is Wentworth appearing as a bad-boy cop. This is what he did during the episode (and this is just what I REMEMBER):

1) Yell at a rape victim. Passive-aggressively blame her for what happened to her. At one point, the victim got up to leave, and Wentworth said, very coolly, "Park it." Aye aye, Officer.

2) Run over a suspect Benson and Stabler were chasing. Hey, when legs aren't fast enough, use a car. That was actually his excuse after B & S yelled at him.

3) Shove a rapist out the window and have him splatter all over the pavement. This occurred while the rapist, who was in custody at the police station, said, "I need to use the bathroom," and Officer Wentworth volunteered to escort him. You knew trouble was a-coming.

Man, what a good episode. I have not seen a more awesome cop since Horatio Caine. Wentworth broke more rules than there are rules to be broken (seriously, I don't think there is an actual rule in the police manual that says "When pursuing suspect in foot chase, do not get in your car and stomp on the gas").

Please, NBC, please with a thousand cherries on top, will you bring Wentworth back for more episodes? I promise to give Trauma a try if you do.*

*It'll be canceled soon anyway.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

10 Things I Love About You

What is an addiction, in TV terms? It's a show you have to watch every single episode of as fast as you can because they are just. too. good.

Now some shows, you need a weeklong break between. I'm looking at you, Mad Men.

Other shows, you don't NEED that break, but you also don't mind waiting a week. This is true of every show on TV except for Big Brother.

However, unlike Big Brother, ABC Family's 10 Things I Hate About You does not make me feel like humanity is going down the toilet. Actually, it is a very funny, sharply written show with some very likable characters. I can't decide who I like more: Kat, who's smart and political and can fix a car with instructions she printed off the internet. Or Bianca, who's sorta dumb but in a not-dumb way. Or the dumb male model, who's actually dumb. I also like the overprotective dad, the not-gay friend Cameron, who's hopelessly in love with Bianca, and Patrick Verona, who looks and sounds absurdly old for a high schooler (for the record, he's 23 in real life).

I just watched 5 episodes in a row of 10 Things, and paused from my mini-marathon only to tell you how great this show is. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back in. Withdrawal hurts.

Monday, October 5, 2009

FlashForward: John Cho/Demetri Noh for the Lead!

After watching the second episode of FlashForward this weekend, I am convinced that John Cho should play the lead role. Not Joseph Fiennes. Why?

1) John Cho is hotter. Joseph Fiennes is handsome, yes, but sorta bland (for my taste).

2) John Cho is more charismatic on screen. He moves with determination. My eyes are drawn to him no matter what scene he's in or who he's with in those scenes.

3) John Cho's character has a cooler name--Demetri Noh. (And no, it's not "Mongoloid.") Joseph Fiennes' character's name didn't even register with me until the middle of episode 2. It's Mark, for the record. And his last name? Beats me.

4) John Cho's character is unique, compelling, and memorable. He's the guy who had no flashforward, yet instead of sitting around moping, is every bit as determined to find the cause of the blackouts as everyone else. He's the guy who's engaged to be married, but knows he will die, and doesn't know whether to tell his fiancee. He's the guy who just found out his death date from the amazing Shohreh Aghdashloo. What does Mark bring to the table? a) He is a recovering alcoholic who found out he will be drinking again in the future. Meh, they haven't really delved into this. b) His wife will cheat on him in the future. Okay, but this is really about his wife, not him. c) He leads the FBI in investigating the flashforwards. Okay, not fair, because he told everyone he saw this in his flashforward, so everyone accepted it and let him do it. Besides, Demetri and that FBI lady Janis (the one who finds out she's pregnant in the future) are doing most of the work. I don't know what Mark contributed to the investigation other than "Pigeon is a city in Utah."

Am I the only one who thinks John Cho is underrated? Am I the only one annoyed that a more compelling character was relegated to the #2 lead--probably because he's Asian American, and there is not a single Asian American lead role on television and there hasn't been in years and years?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gay TV Characters On the Rise

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation says that LGBT representation is improving on TV--up to 3% now, or 18 out of the 600 series-regular characters on scripted shows. Holla!

ABC has the most LGBTs on TV--eight, or 5% of its total characters. Two on Ugly Betty, two on Brothers & Sisters, and two on Grey's Anatomy. And how about that hilarious Mitchell and Cameron on my new favorite show, Modern Family?

Fox is second with 4 characters (up from none two years ago). Thank you, Glee!

NBC has three gay characters. I have no clue who they are, since I don't watch this network (except for Law & Order: SVU, and there are no gays on that show).

The CW has two gay characters. Two and a half, if you count Chuck Bass.

And guess how many CBS has? Yup. ZERO. In the world of CBS, everyone is straight. That's not delusional.

It is estimated that between 5-10% of the U.S. population is gay. Networks, you've got to step it up!

Violet's Alive!

After watching last night's episode of Private Practice, I think I officially need therapy.

To say nothing of what Violet herself needs. Holy crap! Getting a baby cut out of you by a psychopath mother-wannabe right on the floor of your living room! And then dying on the surgical bed and being shocked back to life.

And boy, that Addison. Kate Walsh gave the performance of her life. I wish Addison Montgomery was a real surgeon because then nobody would die. Ever.

Back and forth she went: save Violet's uterus, go over and sew up the baby's spleen, Violet's bleeding out her nose, okay, give her a shot of that, go back and work on the baby, bing bang boom, everybody lives.

All in a day's work!

Grey's Anatomy: Don't Chop Off My Baby's Arm!

Last night on Grey's Anatomy, the freakiest thing happened. A doctor was performing a C-section and was trying to cut the umbilical cord when she accidentally CUT OFF THE BABY'S ARM.



Right then and there, I turned to my fiance. "When I give birth, you had better be standing right there watching the doctors!"

Him: "I don't think they let people in anymore. Besides, I don't want to see...that."

Me: "You'd better be there. I'm not kidding!"

Luckily, McSteamy managed to reattach the arm. All in a day's work. I love McSteamy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Call to TV Networks: Spread Out the Good Stuff!

I can't tell you how often I only end up watching one show on a night when there are THREE that I want to watch...except they are all on at the same time.

I know, I know--that's why they invented the DVR box. But most advertisers care only about what's watched LIVE--because then you have no choice but to let their commercials play out.

The best way around this, I believe, is a TV schedule that spreads out all the best shows so that none of them conflict with each other. Keep in mind, this schedule is tailored to my needs, and I'll be the first to admit I watch a lot of crap. But hey, to each his/her own.

Also, I'm only focusing on broadcast TV because I don't have cable.

8PM: One Tree Hill
9PM: Gossip Girl
10PM: CSI: Miami

8PM: The Vampire Diaries
9PM: Melrose Place
10PM: Law & Order: SVU

8PM: America's Next Top Model
9PM: Glee
10PM: Ugly Betty

8PM: Survivor: Samoa
9PM: Grey's Anatomy
10PM: Private Practice

730PM: Modern Family
8PM: The Amazing Race
9PM: Desperate Housewives
10PM: FlashForward

As you can see, this wouldn't be a huge adjustment for the networks. I even kept most of the shows in their current time periods. The networks just need to spread the good stuff out a little. Wednesdays at 9PM are currently insane. You have four hit shows all airing together: Modern Family, Glee, Law & Order: SVU, and Criminal Minds. Thursdays at 8PM also presents a conflict for fans of Survivor and FlashForward, not to mention Vampire Diaries and Bones.

It's impossible to watch it all, even on the same night.

Even for TVholics like me.

Jon & Kate Plus 8 Minus Jon, Now Minus Entire Show

I used to love Jon & Kate Plus 8. I thought the kids were adorable. I took mental notes of Kate's money-saving tips, like freezing soup. I spent the entire first season trying to tell the kids apart. By season two, I had a favorite--Leah, the one who looks most like I did when I was little. I enjoyed seeing the kids playing dress-up at their Aunt Jody's house and making lollipops from scratch. Those were the best episodes, because those were the ones I could relate to. Growing up in a too-small home with parents who sometimes bickered, and fighting for their attention with my younger sister.

Then this show made Jon and Kate got rich--really rich. The episodes featured trips to a ski resort and Disney World and horse beaches and Hawaii. Kate got a free tummy-tuck and Jon got free hair plugs. The kids got to go to a baseball game and sit in box seats and take a picture with the Phillie Phanatic. They got to meet the Harlem Globetrotters and go to the Ace of Cakes bakery.

I stopped watching Jon & Kate back in August. Not because of the whole divorce drama, but because so few people were seeding this show on BitTorrent that I was unable to download any episodes.

Back when I was still watching the show, I didn't have too many questions about this family other than the usual "How does Kate not want to pull her hair out?" and "How many times a day does she have to clean those potty chairs?" Normal questions about things most parents go through. In the later seasons, I'd watch the show and have questions like "I wonder who's paying for those souvenirs the kids are picking out--Kate or TLC?" and "Oh, they showed the name of that barber shop for two seconds, the kids probably got their haircuts for free." That sort of thing.

When people watch a show, they don't want to analyze everything in it. They don't want to know think about the motives behind all the stores, brand name products, etc. that end up on the show. (Maybe that's why I don't watch 30 Rock.) People watch TV, even reality TV, to escape.

And now TLC has suspended production of the show (again), thanks to Jon's cease-and-desist letter. If it were one year ago, I would've been sad. Now, I don't miss this show at all. I only miss what it used to be.