Thursday, August 4, 2011

2011-12 Fall Preview: NBC.

You know how I always say, "Life's too short to watch bad TV?" Well, today I discovered something: Life's also too short to watch bad TV previews.

NBC has a ton of new shows coming up this season. Most of them were just aiiight. Not terrible, but also not terribly original. You know, some workplace comedies, some yuppie comedies, some detective dramas. Snore.

And then I saw It. You know, It. The show that makes you sit up and say, Wow. I've gotta watch that RIGHT NOW.

That show is the midseason drama Awake.

Here is the plot: A guy gets into a car accident with his wife and his son. The guy wakes up and his wife is alive, but his son is dead. He goes about his day with his wife, trying to cope with his son's death. Then he goes to sleep, and wakes up, and...he is now living in a world where his wife is dead, but his son is very much alive. He goes to sleep, wakes up, and he's back in the first world. Back and forth.

I am stunned by how terrific this show is.

Just think about it. In one world, he cannot tell his wife that he wakes up in an alternate world where their son is alive but she is dead. She'd think he was crazy. In the other world, he is trying to raise his son as a single parent. No matter which world he's in, he can never properly grieve for the loss of either his wife or his son, because technically, they are both still alive. Wow!

To make things more interesting, the guy is a detective. (On NBC, there are only two professions: Detective and Office Worker.) He solves crimes in both worlds, and sometimes the clues overlap, and he has to piece together what he knows from both worlds to figure out the clues in the world he's in. Neat, huh?

I'm not sure why NBC is holding this winner back until midseason. I mean, why put us through Free Agents when you don't have to?

(Pictured: The promo photo for Awake. Are you as excited as I am?)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

2011-12 Fall Preview: Hits and Misses, Part III: The CW.

I really shouldn't like the CW this much. I'm too old to watch most of their shows. Should I really be watching Gossip Girl? The Vampire Diaries? I am a decade older than Elena! But I am also 135 years younger than Stefan. Whew. I feel better already. Without further ado...the new CW shows!

Hart of Dixie (Mondays at 9pm): Summer from The OC takes a little break from peddling chocolate ice cream bars to apply to med school! Except she doesn't get into school in New York like she wants, so she decides to move to...Alabama. I think I missed something there. How is Alabama the #2 alternative to New York? I suppose we'll find out in the premiere. The show looks like One Tree Hill--southern, and with soft lighting around the edges, like a Barbara Walters interview. Change the title, though--this isn't the Hallmark Channel. Grade: B-.

Ringer (Tuesdays at 9pm): Buffy is back! And she's multiplied! Sarah Michelle Gellar returns to TV playing twins Bridget and Siobhan. Bridget is a recovering drug addict. She witnesses a murder and flees to New York, where she finds her estranged twin. Siobhan is filthy rich and married to a shady guy. Suddenly, Siobhan disappears (it's an apparent suicide), so Bridget decides to take over her sister's identity. Except...someone is trying to kill Siobhan, too. One of the must-watch shows of the fall. Grade: A-.

H8R (Wednesdays at 8pm): Upon seeing Snooki in the first few seconds of the trailer, my expectations plummeted. my surprise, I kind of liked it. This show, hosted by the ubiquitous Mario Lopez, follows celebs as they confront random people who have dissed them. Then the celebs spend some time together with their "hater." For example, Snooki cooks an Italian dinner for her hater. Then everybody kisses and makes up. I will probably not watch this show, but if you're seriously bored, and this is on, I would recommend not changing the channel. Grade: B-.

The Secret Circle (Thursdays at 9pm): Lux, how I've missed you. Britt Robertson plays a girl whose mom is killed, so she has to move in with her grandma. Then she finds out that there are five people at her new school who are witches, and Britt is the sixth witch, and that without her to complete the circle, the other witches can only do lame spells. Turns out Britt and the other five are descended from witches dating back hundreds of years. Based on the book series I never read. Looks like the next Vampire Diaries, only with better lighting. Grade: B+.

Coming midseason...

Remodeled: A modeling industry veteran named Paul Fisher brings together a bunch of small agencies to form The Network, which will "make sure agents in small towns no longer get screwed," and "empower models to take control of their careers and lead healthier lives." I'm pretty sure world peace was next on that agenda. This one's not for me. Grade: D-.

The Frame: Other than Top Model and Beauty and the Geek, the CW is a major fail when it comes to nonscripted shows. I didn't see a trailer for this show, but here's the gist: teams of two each live in a separate home, and home viewers vote on things like eliminations, rewards, and punishments. So basically, it's like Big Brother, only way less good because: 1) the contestants live separately, which means way less drama, and 2) no Chen-bot. Grade: C-.

One last thing: The CW is bringing back Nikita (hooray!) but booting it to Friday nights (no!). CW, what did Maggie Q ever do to you?!

Not a bad lineup, CW. Just stick to the scripted stuff from now on, okay?

(Pictured: The cast of The Secret Circle. Is there a way we can add Bug to this show?)

Monday, July 18, 2011

2011-12 Fall Preview: Hits and Misses, Part II: CBS.

Wow. I've got to say, I've never been more disappointed in CBS's new crop of shows. And this includes the year where they previewed that Alex O'Loughlin medical drama. That preview brought me to tears, and it was still a terrible show that got canceled after 3 weeks. So, I hate to think how this year's new shows will fare. Let's begin.

Person of Interest (Thursdays at 9PM): Stars Jim Caviezel and Benjamin Linus from Lost. Benjamin plays a rich guy who teams up with Jim to prevent violent crime. The show looks like it takes place in NYC. Thanks for making my hometown look so bleak and violent, CBS! This show is definitely not my cup of tea, but it'll definitely find a home among CBS viewers. Grade: B-.

A Gifted Man (Fridays at 8PM): The Doctor Whisperer. It's about a doc whose ex-girlfriend died and is now haunting him as a ghost. The ex wants him to help her do something, but I'm not sure what. Something involving finding files on her computer. Zzz. The doc thinks he's going crazy, but he falls in love with her anyway. I think this ghost is selfish for doing this. Really, ghost? You can't let this guy move on with his life? But since there's a pretty cast, and a sad love story, people just may watch. Grade: C.

2 Broke Girls (Mondays at 830PM): I'm starting to see a trend here. Wait, it's not a trend if it's always been the case. But basically, this is the third straight pilot starring all white people. C'mon, CBS! Anyway. This comedy, aside from having a terrible title, looks boring. It's about a poor girl (Kat Dennings, wearing way too much makeup, as usual) and a rich girl (some blonde) who ends up losing her trust fund or something so she's stuck working as a waitress alongside the poor girl. The rich girl has been sleeping on the subway, so the poor girl feels sorry for her and invites her to live in her apartment. So they move in together. It's rich meets poor, blue collar meets fur collar (I came up with that one myself! on the fly!), yada yada, someone shoot me now. Grade: D.

How to be a Gentleman (Thursdays at 830PM): Another comedy, this time starring two men. One writes a magazine column called, you guessed it, "How to be a Gentleman," and the other is a total buffoon. The columnist is over-the-top when it comes to manners, so he's socially awkward. Think the most British guy you can think of, only without the charm and the accent but with the sport jackets and plaid shirts. The buffoon is played by, naturally, Kevin Dillon. Chloe from 24 is in this show. Another one I'll be passing on, but I'm sure people will watch. Grade: B.

Unforgettable (Tuesdays at 10PM): Well, at least I learned a new word: Hyperthymesia, the medical condition whereby people remember every. single. detail. Only 6 people in this country have it. At least that's what CBS tells us, anyway. This show is about a woman who has it, and she's a cop, and she solves crimes with her ex using this ability. She can remember everything, but she cannot remember what happened the day her sister died. Could be interesting. Reminds me of Medium. Grade: B-.

And coming midseason...

Live to Dance: The Paula Abdul dance show we've all been hearing about. Just what America needs, another show about dancing. I am too lazy most days to even leave the apartment, so even watching this show will exhaust me. Grade: D.

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior: Forest Whitaker, Janeane Garofalo. Police fighting crimes, solving mysteries. No originality whatsoever. But also no reason it won't do well on CBS. Grade: B-.

The 2-2: Follows six NYPD rookies as they patrol the gritty streets of upper Manhattan. Which gritty streets? Harlem? Fort Washington? That super-sketchy block by Lincoln Center? Stars Leelee Sobieski. Zzz. Grade: D.

CBS, I am surprised at you. More of the same old crime procedurals, and even a Ghost Whisperer redux. What gives? The only one with any stand-out potential is How to be a Gentleman, and I'm not even watching that one. How about a little friendly advice: Don't bother with any of these new shows, just save your money and use it to convince the casts of The Good Wife and The Big Bang Theory to make five episodes a week each. You're welcome.

(Pictured: The stars of 2 Broke Girls. Their expressions sums up my thoughts on the entire CBS new fall lineup.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

2011-12 Fall Preview: Hits and Misses, Part I: ABC.

For the first time in three years, I missed the upfronts entirely. HUGE bummer. I think watching the upfronts made me like the shows more. There's something about seeing a preview on a ginormous screen in surround sound, and then having that show's stars come out on stage and smile and wave and the network president coming out and putting his or her arm around them like they're great friends and crack an awkward joke or two that nobody catches except for the people sitting in the first three rows... Wait, where was I? Oh yes, the new fall schedule. Without further ado, my opinion of the new fall shows. Let's start with ABC.

Charlie's Angels (Thursdays at 8PM): I knew this remake was coming, and yet, I'm still disappointed that it's here. I was really hoping this wouldn't be made, because I never watched the original, and the Drew Barrymore movies were just okay. As for the show, the trailer looks meh. It's about 30 seconds long, because you're already supposed to know what the show is about. My notes: "will probably go the way of that show about the four women detectives, Women's Murder Club: moderate viewership, followed quickly by oblivion and then cancelation." Grade: C-.

Last Man Standing (Tuesdays at 8PM): Two words: Tim Allen. Guh. Grade: F.

Okay, to be fair, let me actually watch the rest of the trailer. It looks like a family comedy a la According to Jim- you know, hapless, bumbling father with three daughters and a harried wife. This formula has worked for ABC many, many, many, (kill me now) MANY times. Almost a guaranteed renewal, even if it totally sucks. Grade: Still F.

Man Up (Tuesdays at 830PM): Another comedy with "Man" in the title. By the way, this show should get an F on title alone. Man Up? Seriously, ABC? Why even bother making a trailer, since I already know what this show is about: buffoonish manchildren married to attractive women who somehow put up with them. I watched the trailer (one minute, 55 seconds I will never get back) and it's about: buffoonish manchildren married to attractive women who somehow put up with them. ABC, a bit of advice: Abort! Abort! Grade: F.

Once Upon a Time (Sundays at 8PM): A fairy tale series. I'm with you so far. A mom moves into a town called Storybrooke. According to her creepy son, nobody can leave this town, or else bad things happen. Jumby wants to be born! The townspeople are all fairy tale characters but they don't know it. Ginnifer Goodwin is in it. Jennifer Morrison (House) plays the mom. Interesting twist: Turns out the mom is in this fairy tale, too. She is from an alternate world and is Snow White and Prince Charming's missing daughter. According to the ABC description, her parents "sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen's curse, which trapped the fairy tale world forever, frozen in time, and brought them into our modern world." Ooh. Sold. Grade: B+.

Pan Am (Sundays at 10PM): My notes, verbatim: "Christina Ricci. Stewardesses back in the 1960s. Mad Men set at an airport. Lots of potential." Grade: A-.

Suburgatory (Wednesdays at 830PM): Right off the bat, the narrator (a sarcastic outcast girl) is very funny. Reminds me of Emma Stone's character in Easy A. The show is about a girl who gets into "condomgate" in Manhattan and her dad forces her to move to the 'burbs (it looks like somewhere upstate). The people in her new town are plasticky and fake. This comedy looks really good. And it's got a great time slot between two other very funny shows, The Middle and Modern Family. Did I mention the narrator is awesome? Grade: Easy. A.

Revenge (Wednesdays at 10pm): Emily Van Camp plays a girl who was dragged out of her house kicking and screaming when she was a young child. Now she's all grown up and has moved back to the Hamptons and she's out for revenge on all the rich people. Don't know why she wants revenge- ABC only tells us "something bad happened that ruined her family and their reputation." Seems to have potential, and Emily is always a solid bet. Grade: B.

And here are the new shows coming in midseason:

Work It: A comedy about men who dress up like women so they can get jobs as pharmaceutical reps. (Why is that the only job available?) Looks funny, but has zero chance of succeeding- which were my same thoughts about Cavemen. Grade: B. Clever title, though!

Apartment 23: What on earth is this show about? I watched the trailer twice and still have only a vague idea. Basically, it's about these two roommates who don't get along, and they play pranks on each other. Or something. By the end of the trailer, they've made up. Okay, so where does the show go from here? Random: James Van Der Beek plays himself in the pilot. Grade: D.

Good Christian Belles: Kristin Chenoweth's in this! The show's about a former mean girl (Leslie Bibb) who returns to her hometown and the girls still hate her, but the guys are in love with her. Seems okay, but this trailer, like Apartment 23, feels hurried- like they crammed the whole show into two minutes. I'm wondering how long the series can last. Grade: C+.

Missing: ABC did not provide a trailer on its website, so I am going on the description alone. It's about a mom (Ashley Judd) whose son goes missing while studying abroad, and she goes to find him. Zzz. Haven't they made 87,000 movies with this exact plot? Also, how long can the son be missing before they find him? And what if they find him, will someone else go missing? Shows that have one-season concepts make me nervous that the writers will come up with ridiculous ways to stretch out the plot into another season. Not bothering with this one. Grade: D.

Scandal: Shonda Rhimes's new show. Stars Kerry Washington and Meredith Grey's alcoholic dad. Kerry is a consultant who handles political scandals. Trailer looks pretty good. I love a good political drama, and this one reminds me of The Good Wife, only way less classy (and that's awesome by me). Grade: B+.

The River: This is the one I am most excited about. It's about a nature explorer who disappears in the Amazon, and his family goes to find him. The thing is, creepy stuff starts to happen- seriously creepy stuff. The show is shot documentary style, like Paranormal Activity. And oh look, the guy who made Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli) is exec producing this one, along with Steven Spielberg. Leslie Hope (24) is in this. Love her. Love this show already. Grade: A-.

So there you have it, the enormous crop of new shows from the Alphabet Network. Some real stinkers in the bunch, but also some shows that have real potential. Next up, CBS! Stay tuned.

(Pictured: The cast of Pan Am. How hot does this show look? Am I the only one who suddenly wants to be a stewardess?)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Killing: Whodunit? Who Cares?

I know The Killing ended a few weeks ago, but I'm still thinking about the season finale. Long story short, we still do not know who killed Rosie Larsen. We know who got framed for killing Rosie, but we don't know if that person actually did it. SPOILERS AHEAD, if you still haven't seen it.

We learned in the final seconds that Holder lied when he gave the police a photo purportedly showing City Councilman Richmond driving over the bridge the night in question, but the photo was actually faked. Holder got into a car and told an unseen driver, "The photos worked." So who was he talking to?

That is a much more interesting question than who killed Rosie Larsen. The fact of the matter is, all season long, this show has toyed with us, leading us in all different directions. It was equally plausible that it could be the teacher, the councilman, the creepy coworker, the Polish mafia (whatever the Polish equivalent of a mafia would be called), etc. I even started suspecting Rosie's mom. As a result, by the end of the 13 episodes, I no longer cared who killed her. I just wanted to know how the show would end.

And surprisingly, I liked the ending. I liked that there was no tidy bow to the end of this mystery. I liked that there was a twist nobody expected. I liked that Linden practically crapped herself on the plane when she found out Richmond had been framed.

What I think a lot of people are hoping for is that they resolve this next season and tell us who Holden was talking to in the car, and who really killed Rosie. And I don't blame them. But I don't want to know. I like this messy ending. Life is messy, and child killers sometimes go free (I'm looking at you, Casey Anthony). So, my hope is that next season, they start over with a new mystery.

My hope is that they also move to a new city. Might I recommend Miami, or Los Angeles, or Arizona? Someplace the sun actually shines? Or at least someplace where the people pay their electric bill so that they're not sitting in the dark all the time?

(Pictured: Billy Campbell, who plays City Councilman Richmond. Who framed him? Did he really kill Rosie? More importantly, is there any chance of ABC bringing back Once and Again?)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Big Brother 13: It's Like 2007 All Over Again.

I watched the season premiere of Big Brother 13, and holy moly! Jeff and Jordan! Brendon and Rachel! Dick and Daniele! I can't believe how much I've missed these people I used to hate! (Except for Jeff and Jordan--they were awesome.)

Oh, and there are eight other people in the house. My reaction to them so far: Meh.

Don't get me wrong, they are kinda interesting. There is a flamboyant guy who is singlehandedly keeping the lime-green suit industry afloat. There is a sleazy youth preacher. There is a self-proclaimed Carrie Bradshaw (a curvy and black version of Carrie Bradshaw). There is a 25-year-old virgin who still lives at home with his mom and still has his mom cook for him (stay away from him, ladies). There is a metal-head looking bald guy who roars a lot and is obsessed with 90210. These crazy cats are rounded out by two younger girls and a mom figure. About half the cast is lying about what they really do for a living and how much money they earn. Yawn. This is Big Brother, folks. Everybody lies.

But these newbies are nothing compared to the returning houseguests. You guys remember Evil Dick? He tormented the houseguests back in season 8. He would chase after random people screaming hateful things at them. And to pay him back, the houseguests voted for him to take home the $1 million prize. I wish I were kidding. Evil Dick appeared on BB8 in order to spend time with his estranged daughter, Daniele. He told everyone if he won the million dollars, he'd share it with her. I think I read somewhere that after the show, he bought her a car. And they made up and lived happily ever after. Not.

Fast-forward to 2011, and we learn...THEY HAVE NOT SPOKEN IN THREE YEARS. So when I say this is like 2007 all over again, I'm not kidding. They walked into the house and did not say a word to each other. Daniele stood off to the side looking angry. She has also dyed her hair black. I'm worried about these people.

As for the other returning pairs? Jeff and Jordan are as adorable as ever. Jordan is still dopey, and Jeff is still head over heels in love with her. I love it. Brendon and Rachel are still annoying. They are also engaged. I am trying not to think of their future offspring.

There are two other twists (and Big Brother is known for its great twists) to this season. First, everyone has to play as a pair. And they have to get nominated as a pair--which means they have to campaign against the person who's supposed to be their partner. Second, and this is the truly awesome one...the nominee who does not go home is automatically given a spot in the final 10. Just think about that for a second. Think of the ramifications. Is your mind blown? I know mine is. At this point, I cannot wait to see what happens.

(Pictured: The eight newbies of Big Brother 13. I know what you're thinking: CBS put three black people on TV? On the same show? I know, I can't believe it either.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hell Has Frozen Over: I'm Watching Fringe.

Hey, everybody. Did you miss me? I know I missed this blog like crazy. I kept wanting to post, because yes, I did watch an unhealthy amount of TV during my first year of law school (which could explain my Civil Procedure grade). But I didn't want to let you guys down (all ten of you) by starting to blog again but not doing it consistently. I figured I'd blog during the summer. So here we are. Back for a limited time only. Let's get right into it...the new show I'm watching this summer.

While in school, I saved up a ton of shows to watch over the summer. Surprisingly, the husband refuses to watch One Tree Hill, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and Hellcats. It's tough finding shows we both like, especially now that it's the summertime, and the networks have all gone to sleep. So we decided to try out a show that's been out for a while: Fringe.

I don't remember if I've ever mentioned Fringe on this blog. But I've always been aware of its existence. My impression of the show had been that it was like the X-Files (which I never watched). Basically, it's about this group of people who solve weird scientific mysteries. And there is an alternate universe with the same people living in it, except they're the alternate version of the people in this universe. And people can cross from one universe to the other. I don't know why, but I never had any interest in Fringe. Just never did. Can't explain it.

And now...I like it. I don't love the goriness, the grossness, the gunshots straight into the head, and all that violent stuff. But I like the story of Peter and Walter. Basically, Walter is a scientist, and he invented a way to travel from this universe to the alternate universe. Years ago, Walter's little boy Peter died, so Walter crossed to the other universe to save the alternate Peter from dying (the universes don't match up temporally, but they are close). And some bad stuff happened but the result was Walter decided to bring the alternate Peter into this universe to give him the cure and then take him back. The only problem was, Peter's mom saw the fake Peter and missed him too much and convinced Walter to keep him here. Meanwhile, in the alternate universe, Peter has disappeared forever, and the alternate mom has no idea what happened to him. Peter got the cure and grew up in this universe thinking his mom was his real mom and his dad was his real dad. Fast-forward to the present, and Peter finds out Walter stole him from his mom in the alternate universe. I'm up to the part where Peter is still not speaking to Walter. It's a very sad story. But I can now see why people at my old job were pushing me to watch this show. It's pretty great.

The other show I wanted to discuss was Big Brother. But that show deserves its own post, because HOLY GUACAMOLE, it's gonna be a good season. And I can't wait to write about it. Stay tuned!

(Pictured: Walter and Astrid, one of the FBI agents whom everyone treats like a glorified assistant. Walter is holding a worm thingy that the Chinese were incubating in people's bodies. When the worm got too big, it would force itself out through the person's mouth. Remember, I watch this show while eating dinner.)