Monday, May 31, 2010

Lost Vs. FlashForward: Which Finale Was More Frustrating?

Last Sunday, I watched the Lost finale live.

And by watched, I mean I saw the first two minutes, grew rapidly confused, and gave up. I was on the computer a lot, and only glanced up every so often. Just enough to know that they kept doing these reunion thingies. And my closed-captioning kept saying there was a little zap when the characters *realized* who they were on the island, but I never heard the little zaps. Whatever.
By the end of the episode (and the series), about a dozen of them are hanging out in a church and Jack shows up and everyone treats him like a king and Jack's dad walks out through the double doors into the light. And then we're back on the island and Jack is laying there bleeding from his side and Vincent lays down next to him and Jack closes his eye. The end.

I've read different people's theories, as well as their frustrations and raves, and I am no closer to, well, closure. The show ended in a crazy mishmash of people's stories, and somehow Jack is Jesus. And as my friend said, "Apparently, black people aren't allowed in heaven." Which is sad, but then again, we all knew Lost has not been kind to black people, or most people of color, for that matter. So it shouldn't be surprising.

I guess what I am saying is, I didn't like the Lost finale. The creators of the show who said it would provide answers to the fans were lying. Liars!

Now, the FlashForward finale. It aired last Thursday, and the husband (yes, I am now married!) and I watched it Friday afternoon. The episode was okay, that is to say, it wasn't that different from every other FlashForward episode. The only thing that made it different was knowing this would be the last episode ever of the show, which meant they needed to wrap things up in 42 minutes. That so didn't happen.
In fact, they set it up for a second season, one that would never come. I still don't get what happened with that Simon character (like, what was he DOING?), but I was rooting for that guy Bryce and the Japanese girl to finally meet. And I really wanted Mark Benford to be killed off, which we didn't actually see happen, but the building he was in exploded, so we're to assume he's dead. And John Cho can finally be the lead character. But wait...the show's been canceled. RATS.

Oh, and in the second round of flashforwards, we saw creepy Charlie as a teenager. She says something vague, I forget what it was, but I guess it's supposed to make us think her dad is still alive. Blah, who cares. We'll never find out.

So what we have here is an interesting comparison of series finales. For the first one, the show lasted six seasons, and the creators knew the end date, and they wrote the last two seasons with the end date in mind. And the finale sucked. In the other, the show lasted one season, and the creators didn't know it would be canceled until the show had already finished shooting, so they didn't write it with any closure. And the finale sucked.

What can we conclude here? That shows should have clear end dates? That end dates mean crap? That I am hard to please? Probably all of the above.

Here is what I propose, for the makers of future science fiction-y shows, and their respective networks:

DO set an end date.

DON'T add new characters and plot twists in your finale season.

DO answer every single question you ever raised. I still don't know why there was a polar bear in Lost and a kangaroo in FlashForward.

DON'T create a complicated show unless you're willing to put out a clear, easy-to-understand ending. I don't like open-ended finales that raise lots of questions and theories. What is the point of arguing about what a show meant? It's OVER.

DO shoot every single season finale with cancelation in mind. That means you wrap up everything from the current season.

(For networks) DON'T wait until the last minute to tell a show that you're canceling it. Either pick it up by March or don't pick it up. In other words, sh*t or get off the pot.

Last but not least...DON'T put a show on hiatus for four freaking months!!!

(Pictured: Bryce and Keiko finally meeting (above) and Jack and Vincent in the final scene from Lost. Okay, we can now officially stop caring about these characters.)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Glee Concert: Now I Can Die Happy.

So. The Glee concert. Off the chizz-ain!

I didn't know the set list going in, so part of the fun was listening to the opening chords and trying to guess as fast as possible what the song would be. And you would think, since I listen to these songs all day long at work, I would be great at this. Nope. But that's what made it fun.

Something else that made it fun: Screaming and singing and dancing and clapping and swaying along (yes...I swayed) with an entire auditorium full of crazed Gleeks. We all knew all the words, and we all knew all the characters, and it was just a collective euphoria.

The highlights:

-Like a Prayer. You guys know this was one of my favorites from the Madonna episode. And hearing Mercedes and Rachel and Kurt and that choir singing it live... Let's just say I almost passed out after this number. It was that good.

-Sweet Caroline. Bah bah bah! This was SO much fun. The whole audience was on its feet, singing the lyrics right back to the Glee cast. Best karaoke song ever. Out of the dozens and dozens of Glee songs they could've picked for the concert, this was one of the smartest choices.

-True Colors. Tina C. (okay...Jenna Ushkowitz) got a little choked up near the end, right before the last line, "Your true colors...true colors...are beautiful like a rainbow." It was an emotional moment for her, and for that reason, for the audience, too. And then, after she sang the last line, she gave the audience a sheepish grin like, "Yep, this song makes me tear up." After that, some lady near me said, "She's so cute." Yes, she is. Tina, I mean Jenna, you have at least two fans for life.

-Bad Romance. The COSTUMES. They were the same ones on the show! I thought the only way Kurt could dance in those shoes was creative editing. But nope. There he was, on that stage, moving up and down on those bleachers, rocking the crazy Gaga shoes.

-It's My Life. Now you may have guessed already, but I'm a little obsessed with Harry Shum Jr. Particularly the way he moves. And I don't know if I've told you this, but I've watched that YouTube clip of the Glee boys' mashup of It's My Life/Confessions oh, about 10,000 times. My FAVORITE part is toward the end, where Harry gets front and center and basically levitates himself up off the floor. Every time I watch the video, I wait for it. And then I die of happiness. So, back to the concert. The opening chords to this number start, and I almost pull my sister's arm out of its socket, I am so ecstatic. And then, when that part comes up, and I see Harry dart to the front, I almost lose my mind. "OMG OMG OMG HE'S GONNA DO IT HE'S GONNA--" and then Harry goes and does his levitating thing and I become so spastic, my sister thinks I have lost my mind.

So that's it, in a nutshell. My first concert ever, and it was pure euphoria. I nearly lost my voice, and I must've sweated off five pounds, but it was so worth it. SO worth it. Thank you, Glee cast, for one of the greatest experiences of my life.

(Pictured: Me in my new Gleek hat. The Glee merchandise stand was a mob scene. Some girl tried to order ahead of us, but my sister talked right over her and very firmly gave OUR order to the cashier. My sister doesn't take any guff.)

Friday, May 28, 2010

O Be Gleeful.


Yours truly is going to the Glee concert tonight!

Words cannot describe.





Wednesday, May 26, 2010

American Idol: The End Of An Era.

The American Idol finale is on right now, and I'm watching while typing this. Which is to say, I'm not really watching at all. Just half-listening.

I don't know what it is exactly. The fact that Crystal and Lee are similar in music style and taste? The fact that they're equally matched in stage presence, voice, and guitar skills? The fact that they are both likable and modest? The fact that Lee is probably going to win, so the suspense factor is sorely lacking?

It's probably all of the above, and then some. You know what else? The Simon Cowell factor. Tonight is the last we'll see of him on Idol, which means it'll also be the last time Idol does decent ratings, and it won't be long before a) Idol hires a serious game-changer as a judge, or b) Idol is canceled altogether.

I didn't think I'd be saying it just one year after 2009, the year Adam Lambert shook up Idol and made it a must-watch show every week. But the fact is, I think Idol's heyday is over.

Oh, and for the record: I'm rooting for Lee.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CSI: Miami: They All Fall Down. Literally.


The CSI: Miami finale.

Are they all dead?

I can't stand the suspense!

I can't wait until December to find out!

Oh, man!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Glee Renewed For Season 3!

Breaking news: Glee, which has not begun its second season, has not even finished its FIRST season, has just been picked up for a third season. Jump! Sing! Rejoice!

A McStunning Finale.

I just watched the Grey's Anatomy finale, and I am blown away.

I don't think I exhaled once during the two hours.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Network Upfronts 2010: And My First "A" Grade Goes To...The CW's Nikita!

This was my first time at a CW upfront, and here is what I will take away from it:

-It was very loud. I had to take an ibuprofen afterwards, I got such a headache.

-It was hip, young, fun. Katy Perry came out and performed "Hot N Cold" and "California Gurls." The latter will be the CW's theme song running all summer long. Katy also dropped the F bomb, and I wanted to shield the ears of the little girl sitting next to me.

-Who was the little girl sitting next to me? Only the daughter of the CW president of entertainment, Dawn Ostroff. Here's how I found out: Me, to the lady next to her: "Do you work for the network?" Lady: "No, but her mom does." Girl: "My mom does. My mom is Dawn Ostroff." Me: [jaw drops] "Yeah, you could say she works for the network!"

-Naomi from 90210 came onstage, and she was Well, it's five o'clock somewhere.

-Maggie Q, the star of Nikita, is adorable and funny: "I don't think any of you understand how good-looking it is backstage. It's really intimidating. I had to push the A-cups up a little bit." Love. Her.
The CW, for the first time ever, will have an all-original line-up this fall. That means no more reruns of America's Next Top Model on Friday nights. Crazy, huh? The network also tweaked its schedule so that compatible shows air on the same night: 90210 and Gossip Girl on Mondays, One Tree Hill and Life Unexpected on Tuesdays, etc. There was no mention of Melrose Place (R.I.P.). The schedule looks solid overall, and there weren't many holes to fill. I think this may be the CW's best year yet.

Here are their new shows (there are only two!):

Hellcats (Wednesdays at 9PM)--A cheerleading drama set in college. Think Bring It On. It's produced by Tom Welling of Smallville. Hellcats stars Aly Michalka and Ashley Tisdale, both from the Disney Channel. Aly is a pre-law student who loses her scholarship and then she finds out there is a cheerleading scholarship so she tries out for the team and makes it. It's a little contrived, that plot, but the show looks really good. Oh, and it also resurrects two people from One Tree Hill: Psycho Derek and Q. Grade: A-.

Nikita (Thursdays at 9PM)--An Asian-American headlining a TV show? Perish the thought! Maggie Q kicks some serious butt in this remake of the 1990 movie, La Femme Nikita (which spawned two remakes and a TV series). This is also the first time the role of Nikita has gone to a non-Caucasian actress. The show is about a female assassin trying to take down the government agency that trained and then betrayed her. If the show is anything like the preview we saw, the CW may have a huge, action-packed hit on its hands. Grade: A. (My first and only solid "A" grade for any show of the 2010-11 season. And it's on the freakin' CW.)

(Pictured: Maggie Q in Nikita. Sad about the departure of 24? Here's your new Jack Bauer.)

Network Upfronts 2010: Holy Scheduling Changes, CBS!

Man, it's been busy lately. On Wednesday, I went to the CBS upfront (my last one! sob) and yesterday, I went to the CW one (my first and last). More on the CW upfront in the next post.

The thing that CBS is known for is stability. It rarely changes its schedule. But this year, CBS is making huge, huge moves.

The two that stick out the most are 1) the move of CSI: Miami to Sunday nights at 10PM and 2) the move of Survivor to Wednesdays at 8PM. I know Survivor USED to air on a Wednesday, but as far as I'm concerned, Survivor and Thursdays are synonymous. This will take some getting used to. Or not, since I won't be watching any TV this fall (but I will be downloading everything to watch in December). And what will Monday nights be without Horatio and his sunglasses?

The other huge moves are CSI: NY on Friday nights (in other words...R.I.P. CSI: NY) and a comedy hour on Thursday nights where Survivor used to be. I'm not sure why CBS felt the need to switch their Wednesday comedy hour with Survivor. But I'm sure Nina Tassler has her reasons.

Without further ado, here are CBS's new fall shows:

Mike & Molly (Mondays at 930PM)--Sookie from Gilmore Girls and some bald dude play an adorable overweight couple who meet at Overeaters Anonymous. Sookie is a fourth-grade teacher and Mike is a cop. Their scenes together are funny and sweet. Did I mention they are adorable? I see real potential here. Grade: B+.

Hawaii Five-O (Mondays at 10PM)--CBS is replacing one sexy, sun-drenched show with another. I guess that's okay. Hawaii Five-O stars showkiller Alex O'Loughlin and consistent Daniel Dae Kim. And Grace Park from Battlestar Galactica and some dude who plays Danno. I never saw the original--it was before my time--but the theme song was familiar to me. All in all, the preview was forgettable, and I still don't understand the appeal of O'Loughlin. Grade: C-.

The Defenders (Wednesdays at 10PM)--According to Jim and Jerry O'Connell star as Las Vegas defense attorneys. O'Connell's character is such a cliche--he's described as someone "whose passion for the law is matched only by his love of fast cars, beautiful women and expensive clothes," barf. The plot bores me to tears, mostly because there IS no plot, it's just about lawyers who are buddies. Whoop-de-doo. Grade: F.

$#*! My Dad Says (Thursdays at 830PM)--Pronounced "Bleep My Dad Says." The PTC is pissed and wants everybody to boycott this show. That alone is reason to love it. Also, I subscribed to the Twitter feed way back when so I was already on board with the concept. And the third reason to watch? William Shatner as the dad. He's curmudgeonly, yet endearing. Everything he says is comic gold. Grade: A-.

By the way, here is what the PTC president, Tim Winter, had to say: "CBS intentionally chose to insert an expletive into the actual name of a show, and, despite its claim that the word will be bleeped, it is just CBS’ latest demonstration of its contempt for families and the public." What's with this "intentionally"? IT'S THE FRIGGIN NAME OF THE TWITTER FEED UPON WHICH THE SHOW IS BASED. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?

Blue Bloods (Fridays at 10PM)--New York City cops. Aren't there enough shows about them? No? Okay. Blue Bloods is headlined by Jesse Stone himself, Tom Selleck. He's the family patriarch and all his kids are in law enforcement. One (Donnie Wahlberg) is a crooked cop (not a cliche at all), one (Will Estes) is a rookie officer who graduated Harvard Law but decided he'd rather be a cop, and the other (Bridget Moynahan) is an ADA. Oh, and Tom Selleck's dad used to be a cop, too. The preview looked okay, but too dark for me. Grade: B-.

Criminal Minds spinoff (Midseason, TBA)--Forest Whitaker stars. This show has been in the making for more than a year now, and they still don't have a title for it. How about Criminal Minds: Same Show, Different Cast? Yep, that'd work. Grade: B.

The CBS upfront had a LOT of stars in the audience. We saw Neil Patrick Harris, LL Cool J, Chris O'Donnell, the cast of The Big Bang Theory, and the cast of Hawaii Five-O, just to name a few. By the way, I sat about 10 rows behind Daniel Dae Kim. The man wore a white sport jacket and he looked stunning. For me, seeing him was the highlight of the whole thing. Long live Jin!
(Pictured: Daniel Dae Kim. The most beautiful thing to happen to CBS.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Network Upfronts 2010: ABC Says, "More Shonda Rhimes, Please!"

Yesterday, I watched the ABC upfront. ABC has apparently adopted the philosophy of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And if Shonda Rhimes wrote it, order it."

ABC has something going for it that NBC doesn't: First-place status. Not total-viewer status--that's CBS. But ABC and Fox have been dueling it out in the adults 18-49 demographic in recent years, especially during the spring when Fox has American Idol. Both ABC and Fox attract the kind of young, upscale viewers that NBC used to have with Friends and Seinfeld. Okay, I'll stop with the industry-speak.

Sidenote: NBC will tell you it's got the #1 show in the fall, but they're really just talking about Sunday Night Football, which doesn't count. It's a sporting event, not a television show.

Anyway. Regarding the first part of ABC's philosophy, the network is leaving most of its schedule alone. Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice and Dancing with the Stars and the entire Sunday night lineup are staying put. ABC does have a couple of holes in its schedule--it needs something to replace Hank on Wednesdays and FlashForward on Thursdays.

Here is a rundown of ABC's new shows:

No Ordinary Family (Tuesdays at 8PM)--Julie Benz from Dexter and Michael Chiklis from The Shield are parents whose family discovers they have superpowers after their plane crashes and they fall in a pond filled with magical shiny water. This one actually looked okay. Not knock-your-socks-off, but definitely potential. Grade: B-.

Detroit 1-8-7 (Tuesdays at 10PM)--It's a documentary-style drama following homicide detectives in Detroit on their jobs. It looked gritty and depressing. As I watched the trailer, one question kept running through my head: "Why would anybody WATCH this show?" I'm not even asking that sarcastically. I genuinely want to know. Grade: C.

Better Together (Wednesdays at 830PM)--A comedy about two sisters, one of whom is in a longtime dating relationship (we're talking 9 years) and the other is in a 7-week relationship and gets engaged. And their parents have been married 35 years and are totally wacky. Better Together looks cute and funny. And Joanna Garcia is in it, so you know it's good (R.I.P. Privileged). This show will fit right in with the rest of the Wednesday comedies. Grade: B+.

The Whole Truth (Wednesdays at 10PM)--I'm calling it now: The first canceled show of the season. At least on ABC. The Whole Truth is about telling both sides of a legal case, from the defense and the prosecutor. And, like, the defense attorney and prosecutor are totes BFFs from Yale Law! Oh, the drama! Grade: D.

My Generation (Thursdays at 8PM)--If you combined the Fox show Reunion and the ABC show Life As We Know It, you'll get My Generation. Wait, I just described this show using two shows that got canceled after the first season. Yikes. But fear not--this one's decent! It follows the lives of a bunch of twentysomethings, comparing who they are today to who they were in 2000, when they were seniors in high school. There's no other way to say it: It just. looked. good. Definitely worth checking out. Also, there's an Asian American actress in it named Anne Son. She plays a woman who, as a shy and geeky senior, slept with the high school jock and got pregnant by him and never told him...until ten years later. Dun dun dun! I don't even care that they totally ganked this plotline from Life Unexpected. I'm really hoping the show takes off. Grade: B+.

Secret Millionaire (Fridays at 8PM)--Fox aired it, and now ABC bought it. I don't know why. The concept is nice--rich people go into poor communities and live and work anonymously amongst the poor and decide to give $100,000 to the most deserving people. I'm already watching Undercover Boss. Sorry, Secret Millionaire. Grade: C.

Body of Proof (Fridays at 9PM)--Dany Delany, I love you. So I don't know why ABC is punishing you by giving you your very own show...and scheduling it on Friday nights! This show looks good--it's about a medical examiner solving crimes. And from the looks of the trailer, Dana can definitely carry her own show. Hey, ABC, I'd move this one to Tuesday nights at 10PM and get rid of that Detroit show. Grade: B.

Happy Endings (Midseason, TBA)--It's about couples. I actually forgot what this show was about (what with the glut of new couples comedies), so I just looked up the description from ABC. Okay, it's about what happens when a couple breaks up but they remain friends but not really because one of their mutual friends starts to like the guy and now everyone has to choose sides or something. Elisha Cuthbert from 24 is in it. I don't have anything else. Grade: D. Also, please change the title.

Mr. Sunshine (Midseason, TBA)--Matthew Perry plays a guy turning 40 and he runs a sports arena and his boss is Allison Janney. And there's a blond girl in it who he likes, but the girl is dating his boss or whatever. Blahh... I can see why this one's on the back burner. Grade: D.

Off the Map (Midseason, TBA)--The long-awaited eighty-seventh medical drama from Shonda Rhimes, the goddess behind Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. Off the Map, which needs a fresh title ASAP, is about three doctors who decide, screw this cushy life in NY/LA/Wherever We're From. We're going to South America! And of course, they're all fishes out of water, just like that episode of Chuck where Ellie and Awesome go to do Doctors Without Borders in Africa and it's pouring rain when they arrive and Ellie is miserable and Awesome contracts malaria but then it turns out the FBI guy was the one who made him sick. Wait, where was I? Oh, right. Off the Map. The trailer looked bleh. Also, I don't like the jungle setting. I'll give this one a shot, because Shonda has been 2-for-2, but I just don't know if this one will work out. Grade: C.

All in all, not a bad crop, but no standouts either like last year's Modern Family. Oh, well.

(Pictured: The cast of No Ordinary Family. Tom Shayes, you're alive! Rita, you're alive! Lady from CSI: Miami who got blown up by a car bomb, you're alive!)

In Memoriam...

This year, it seemed an unjustifiably high number of big-time shows left us after successful runs on TV. Shows that changed the face of television. Shows that had an impact on society. Shows that left their imprint in our lives. Here they are, in no particular order:

24 (8 seasons): Jack Bauer. Jack Bauer once bit a chunk out of a guy's neck. Chloe. Edgar. President Logan. President Dennis Haysbert. Jack Bauer once bit off a man's ear. Tony Almeida. Michelle Dessler. Jack Bauer once cut off a man's head and put it inside a bowling bag. The CTU ring tone.

Ugly Betty (4 seasons): I still think about the Suarez family and wonder what they're up to. How are Hilda and Bobby? How is Betty in London? And I will forever miss Wilhelmina's one-liners and withering glares.

Lost (6 seasons): I will not miss this show. As well-written and nicely shot as it was, and as epic as the whole story was, there was a lot that aggravated me about the show. Kate and her love triangle. Juliet and her lack of facial expressions. The killing off of almost every minority. The appearance of random new characters late in the final season. The sheer arrogance with which the finale was written, like the creators were spitting in the face of every fan who had questions about the show.

Law & Order (20 seasons): The granddaddy of all law dramas, one that tied Gunsmoke's record for the longest-running American TV drama. I didn't watch Gunsmoke, and I didn't watch Law & Order. I should tip my hat to this show, because without it, there would not be a Law & Order: SVU.

So there you have it. However you felt about these shows, and whether you even watched them, you know that TV will not be the same without them.

Goodbye, Dell.

I watched the Private Practice finale this weekend. It left me in tears. R.I.P. Dell.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Network Upfronts 2010: NBC, Better Get Used To 4th Place.

Today I watched the NBC upfront at my office. It made me want to bash my head on the table, and not just because it ate into my lunch hour.

The new shows (and there are 13 of them) mostly ranged from bland to blander to OMG ARE THERE NO CREATIVE MINDS LEFT IN HOLLYWOOD?

Only one show made it onto my "maybe" list: The new Kathy Bates lawyer drama, Harry's Law (coming midseason). Kathy Bates plays a spunky patent lawyer named Harry (Harriet) who hates her job. So she starts up her own firm inside a former shoe warehouse. Or something. And she becomes a trial lawyer...a really good one. It doesn't sound like much, but it was the only show that didn't make me want to put a bullet through my eye.

The other new shows:

Undercovers (Wednesdays at 8PM)--Remember how I said I might check it out based on the casting alone? Well, the casting is still great (wow, black people who aren't just sidekicks!), but the show itself...meh. The trailer spent a LOT of time on the boring marriage of the lead couple, and how the marriage gets spiced up once they start going on spy adventures and killing people and running from explosions. It's like Chuck with married people, and not as funny. Grade: C.

Law & Order: Los Angeles (Wednesdays at 10PM)--Out with the old [L&O], in with the new. NBC didn't tell us much about the show. We don't even know who's going to be in it. Grade: TBD.

Outsourced (Thursdays at 930PM)--It has the most potential to be funny, and indeed, the clips we saw were pretty funny. Then I started thinking that it was offensive-funny, or at least dangerously close to being so. A whole sitcom poking fun at Indian accents and Indians trying (and failing) to act American? And it's one thing for Indians to poke fun at themselves; it's another thing to have a couple of white actors leading the show and the Indians are just there for comic relief (at least, that's what it seemed like). It made me uncomfortable. I'm hoping I'm completely wrong and reading WAY too much into this. Which I sometimes do. But I'm just sayin'. Grade: C.

Love Bites (Thursdays at 10PM)--NBC showed us a very long clip of this hourlong comedy. They called it a "vignette." I call it 15 minutes of not laughing. Basically it featured Greg Grunberg as this dude, and Craig Robinson from The Office as, what else, his sidekick. They're about to get on an airplane when they meet Jennifer Love Hewitt, who is on Greg's celebrity cheating exemption list. Long story short, it was entertaining for what it was, but not anything more than that. I like Greg Grunberg, though. Grade: C-.

Outlaw (Fridays at 10PM)--Jimmy Smits is back. He plays a Supreme Court justice who leaves the bench to become a lawyer. My coworkers seemed to like this one, but I was just bored. Grade: C.

Perfect Couples (Midseason, TBA)--I hate the concept of this show. It's about three couples (all white and hetero, of course) who hang out and play Charades and have awkward sex. I'm BORED just typing this. Grade: F.

Friends with Benefits (Midseason, TBA)--Another winner. This time, instead of COUPLES, it's a bunch of twenty/thirtysomething SINGLES. And the title is self-explanatory. Don't bother with this one, even though Riley from Melrose Place is in it. Grade: F.

The Cape (Midseason, TBA)--It's about a dad who reads comic books featuring a superhero called The Cape with his son at bedtime. Then the dad (a cop) gets framed for murder and is presumed dead and he goes into hiding and becomes The Cape and fights bad guys and abandons his son. But don't worry, he still finds ways to visit his son (incognito, of course) and share fatherly advice with him, like "Study math." This show looks less promising than Heroes, and that one died a most unceremonious death. I have no hopes for this one to save NBC. Grade: C-.

The Paul Reiser Show (Midseason, TBA)--I never watched Mad About You. So I don't know who Paul Reiser is other than his name, which occasionally appears in crossword puzzles. He has a new comedy which may/may not be based on his life (it was hard to tell based on the trailer, and also, I didn't care enough to pay attention). Grade: C.

Due to technical difficulties, we were unable to view the trailers for The Event and Chase, the two shows following Chuck on Monday nights. So I can't comment on how they look, only their descriptions. Also, NBC didn't talk about its new Friday night reality show, School Pride, so I won't comment on that either.

All in all, a most disappointing crop of new shows for NBC. Looks like it's a return trip to fourth place, Peacock!

(Pictured: An ad for the new "comedy", Friends with Benefits. "Hoho, let's stand on a rooftop drinking beers and gaze off into the distance/check our PDAs!" Meh.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Network Upfronts 2010: Pickups, Cancelations And Renewals, Oh My!

With the network upfronts next week, TV news is coming faster than I can post it, so I'll just run through a quick few things that stick out in my mind:

-Chuck has been renewed for a 4th season. Hooray! Subway sandwiches for all!

-V has also been renewed for a 2nd season. I can't believe I'm saying this, but...hooray again! The show has actually been getting good. Almost good enough for me to watch a whole episode while not reading Entertainment Weekly/working on my 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

-FlashForward has been canceled. Thanks for nothing, Joseph Fiennes! I said it once, and I'll say it again: John Cho should've been the lead. Then the show might've had a shred of a chance. Sorry, Penny Widmore.

-NBC's Rockford Files remake is DOA. Thank you, there must be a television god who doesn't like remakes either. Now, about that Hawaii Five-O...

-CBS ordered its first new show for fall: Mike & Molly. It's a sitcom about a chubby married couple. Sookie from Gilmore Girls is playing Molly. Hey, can we get Michel a show? He was pretty awesome.

-The Wanda Sykes Show has been canceled, giving network execs another excuse to say a late-night show starring a person of color will not work. Dang it! Wanda, you're one of the funniest ladies around. Fox's loss.

-The original Law & Order has been canceled. No wait, it hasn't. Wait, it definitely has. Actually, there might be a chance that it won't be. Eh, does anybody under the age of 87 really care?
Law & Order is officially done. But not to fear--NBC just ordered Law & Order: Los Angeles. I'm still waiting for Law & Order: Newark.

More to come as I hear about it...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Bachelorette: Sponsored By The State Of Arizona.

I just checked out the cast photos of the latest crop of bachelors vying for Ali Fedotowsky's heart. Out of 25 bachelors, almost all of them are white. Again.

Readers of this blog know by now that I am sick of this shiznit. Like, beyond sick. Just tired at this point.

I don't know how ABC chooses its bachelors (or bachelorettes). Maybe the chosen bachelor/bachelorette gets to describe his/her ideal mate, maybe he/she doesn't. Maybe the only people crazy enough to apply to be on this show are white, maybe not. But the fact of the matter is, season after season, the show ignores minorities, ignores gays, ignores anybody who doesn't fit a certain mode.

Sorry. I've been a little riled up lately with the whole Arizona thing. And I know I shouldn't let it, because it's the same old stuff every season, but The Bachelor/Bachelorette casting still finds a way to drive me up the wall.

I just had a random thought: Instead of the bachelorette handing the men roses, why doesn't she hand them cans of beer? Or, okay, something classier? Maybe a cuff link or something? I mean, what are men supposed to do with a rose? How come nobody else is talking about this?

(Pictured: Ali Fedotowsky, the newest Bachelorette. I like this picture. It's very Runaway Bride.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

NBC's New Fall Shows: How Do They Stack Up?

So far, we know NBC has picked up the following five new shows for 2010-11: Chase, Outsourced, Love Bites, The Event and Undercovers. We'll be hearing more about them after the upfronts.

Here's how I rank them: Cliche, Potential, Cliche, New FlashForward, New Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

I like Outsourced because it just sounds funny: a white guy whose company makes random stuff (like whoopee cushions) has to go to India and run the call center there. He has to train all those guys on all things American so they can handle the customers. This show has potential, but in all likelihood, I'm not going to watch. The premise sounds like it'll get old fast.

I'm mixed on The Event, because after ABC introduced Lost, the networks have all had a terrible time trying to get similar conspiracy theory/time traveling/supernatural/worldwide disaster dramas off the ground. I want to give The Event a try, but it'll probably go the way of Jericho, and Daybreak, and Invasion, and (probably) FlashForward and V: Cancellation city.

Undercovers, about married spies, is interesting (to me, anyway) for behind-the-scenes reasons: The casting was done colorblind. That's practically unheard-of in Hollywood! And what ended up happening? They cast two leads who were both biracial. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is South African and English, and Kodjoe is German and Ghanaian. Because I support this crazy newfangled notion of colorblind casting, I will be checking this show out.

I classified Chase and Love Bites as cliches because no matter how hard I looked at their descriptions, I could not find one shred of originality in either of them. Chase is about U.S. Marshals hunting down fugitives. It's basically the American version of Flashpoint. Love Bites (worst title ever) stars the hugely talented and funny Becki Newton from Ugly Betty (R.I.P.), but the premise is so tired: two single gals try to find love as their friends settle down and get married. It's Rules of Engagement minus David Spade.

(Pictured: The stars of Undercovers, Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Two of the most gorgeous people walking this earth. Eat it, Brangelina.)

Network Upfronts: A (P)review.

Next week is my favorite time of the year: the TV upfronts.

Since I work for a company that owns TV stations, I get to go to some of them. This year, I am definitely going to CBS's upfront on May 19, and there is a possibility of the CW's on May 20.

I have been to CBS three years in a row, and they always put on a good show. Last year, we saw Neil Patrick Harris and LL Cool J. I think Simon Baker came on stage, too. He's hot--I can see why CBS gave him a show. I think at some point, a person's hotness is so overwhelming, it doesn't matter if they can act or not, but if they can, that's icing on the cake. That's Simon Baker. One year, they trotted out Alex O'Loughlin and let the audience moon over him (get it? moon? as in Moonlight?). Last year, they told us about Undercover Boss, which had the whole audience sobbing. I always like the CBS upfronts, because they treat us so well. It really feels like an event.

I went to NBC's upfront a few years ago. My boss and I had terrible seats, all the way in the back. The upfront was mostly forgettable. I vaguely recall them talking about this new show Chuck. It was the only one I liked out of the 5 or 6 new shows they had that year. That was also the year they introduced that show with the cop who ate fruit. (Life. I just Googled it.) Another show they introduced was Journeyman. I'm not bothering to Google that one.

The CW. I have never been to their upfronts, but I did go to one of their events a few years ago. One of the sponsors (which shall go unnamed) gave us a bunch of goodies, one of which was a thing that shall also go unnamed, and I sold it on eBay for $300. That was awesome. I don't remember anything else from that event other than the room was very cold. I'm excited to (possibly) go to my first CW upfront this year. I love their programming.

ABC. For some reason, they haven't invited us to their upfront in years, at least not since I've been here. The closest they let me get was watching a live feed of the upfront at ABC headquarters a few blocks away from Lincoln Center, where the event was. They set us up in a conference room with a little TV in the corner up by the ceiling. I remember that was the year of Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, Big Shots, and Cavemen. A terrible year for new shows on ABC, as you can tell. The only one that made it out alive was Private Practice. I fell in love with Pushing Daisies from the get-go. R.I.P. Pushing Daisies. After that year, ABC decided we should just watch the upfronts at our own offices in our own conference rooms. Next year, I anticipate ABC will just send us a link to their website telling us about their shows. I keed, I keed, ABC! You know I love you.

The only upfront we never get to go to is Fox, because my company does not own any Fox affiliates. Which totally sucks monkey balls, because I bet the Fox upfronts are awesome. I mean, if tame, safe, older-skewing CBS can knock my socks off each year, I can only imagine what Fox does. Does Jack Bauer come out and kill the entire first row? Who knows!

My favorite thing about these upfronts is finding out which TV pilots made the cut. It's also fun to see how the networks schedule their shows around each other. Everyone likes to think they are the network to beat. Except for NBC. They're just trying not to be in 4th place every year.

Next week, I'll be posting my thoughts on the upfronts. Right now, my predictions: CBS will keep its lineup mostly intact (if it ain't broke...), ABC will add a ton of comedy (to try to expand on its Wednesday night success story), NBC will unleash a bazillion new shows and see what sticks, Fox will try to convince us to watch The Good Guys, really, it'll be great, and American Idol will be fine without Simon Cowell, really, it will be, and The CW will brag about Life Unexpected while pretending Melrose Place never existed.

(Pictured: Simon Baker at last year's CBS upfront. Yum.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Amazing Race Cowboys: Winners In My Heart.

I was so disappointed last night. On The Amazing Race, the argumentative, petty, temperamental brothers Dan and Jordan beat the funny, friendly, idiot-savanty cowboy brothers and best friends Jet and Cord.

I loved those cowboys so much. They were fishes out of water in just about every challenge, and yet they found a way to enjoy all of them, no matter how clueless they were about what to do in them.

They were gentlemen through and through. They had two understandable chances in last night's finale to knock a brother to the side--when Dan and Jordan cut them in line, and again when Jordan was holding up Jet during the Star Wars challenge.

Unlike the quarreling brothers, Jet and Cord got along great. They never yelled at each other. They also never tried to steal anybody's cab (a TAR cardinal sin, IMO). They were just good guys, good people. I wish I knew them in real life.

Jet and Cord, it was a great run. Thank you for being a genuinely nice team in a season full of contentious brothers, lesbians, and models. It was a pleasure watching you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hey, Glee? Don't You Want Us To Actually Like Rachel Berry?

Some episodes of Glee are all about the music, and others focus more on the characters.

Last night, it was the latter. My absolute favorite moment of the episode: Sue and her mentally disabled sister talking and reading in the nursing home. It was moving and sweet, and it brought a tear to my eye. Not that any of us ever even disliked the character of Sue Sylvester, because she is so caustically funny, but now we have another reason to worship her: She is a wonderful sister.

And then you have Rachel Berry. Disliked by her fellow glee clubbers, and now well on her way to being disliked by us, the viewers. Not good. I want to like her. The series started off with her as the underdog, the one with big dreams, the Plain Jane we were rooting for to get the guy. Basically, the heart of the show. Now, not so much. She was so abhorrent last night, breaking the hearts of Finn, Puck and Jessie in an attempt to feed her own ego. Oh, it killed me. "Eclipse of the Heart" was a terrific closing number (as all Glee closing numbers tend to be), but it was tainted by the fact that Rachel's self-absorption was the impetus behind it.

Glee, I know you've finished shooting for this season, and I know that it's too late to go back and change things. But I can't help but hope that sometime soon, and I mean within-the-next-episode soon, we'll see Rachel redeem herself.

Other highlights of the episode:

-"Run Joey Run." Hysterical. I can't believe someone actually sat down and wrote this song.

-Olivia Newton-John. The writer(s) who decided to make her an egomaniac inserting her own sales and career statistics into every sentence: Genius. And the "Physical" video? Funny, though not nearly as good as "Vogue." Sue, more music videos, please!

-Artie's line: "Maybe if we seemed more dangerous people would stop flushing my glasses down the toilet." I love Artie.

Oh, and a note to Fox: Can you please cancel your plans to air that horrendous-looking new buddy cop show, The Good Guys? I have no plans to watch it, nor, I imagine, does anyone else on this planet. Every time the commercial comes on playing that song "Slow Ride" and that mustachioed guy (I hate mustaches) says "It's not a toy, it's an orange gun," I die a little inside. I am actually offended that you would put something like that on TV. So please, never air that show. Or at least, stop showing the ads during American Idol and Glee. Thanks!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lost Progress Report: Midway Through Season 6.

This weekend, the fiancé and I finally started watching the current and final season of Lost. We breezed through the first 8 episodes before The Amazing Race started. (Go Cowboys!)

Nope, I still don't know what's going on on Lost. I really don't have a clue what everyone's doing on the island. The Smoke Monster is Locke (but not really). Jin and Sun are still apart. Juliet set off a bomb and died. Claire is a crazy hag. Kate is on the island and... um...who's taking care of Aaron? Did I miss something?

Oh, and why is Tina Fey suddenly on Lost?

The only thing I understand and am enjoying about this season of Lost are the flash sideways, or as I like to call them, alterna-lives. They show what would've happened to all the characters had their plane not crashed in the ocean. And instead of leading separate lives, the characters still manage to cross each other's paths in very neat ways. My favorite alterna-life is Linus, who is a high school history teacher. His favorite student: Alex Rousseau. I also love that Hurley is Mr. Lucky. And he's still the same sweet, generous, funny guy. Shirtless Sawyer, Schmirtless Schmawyer. Hurley's the one for me.

The fiancé says he likes the island stories better. Screw the island! I much prefer the real world of the alterna-lives. After 5 seasons of coconuts and dirty faces and raggedy clothes, I'm loving the pressed suits and real furniture and real food. Can we get a Lost spinoff that consists of just the alterna-lives?

(Pictured: Tina Fey filming a scene at Central Park for 30 Rock? Or the new character Zoe (played by Sheila Kelley) on Lost? Which is it???)