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Stay Tuned
Reviews, previews and much more on "24," "Lost," "The Real Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother," "NCIS" and many more of your favorite shows. This is the place to talk about all of the things that make us "Stay Tuned"…

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Last Night's "Heroes"

If you have not seen this week’s episode of “Heroes,” stop reading now.



For those of you who are still with me, did Nikki really die? Is Hiro going to go back and save her during his do-over?

Let’s discuss…

VH1 is "Totally Awesome!"

All this week, VH1 is going back to the 80s with “100 Greatest Songs of the 80s.”

Tonight (Tuesday) at 10, you can catch #60-#41. Wednesday at 10, it’s #40-#21 and Thursday at 10 it’s #20-#1. You can catch up on the rest of the countdown each night before the new episode airs. Tonight’s countdown begins at 8 p.m., Wednesday’s at 7, and Thursday, you can catch up on the entire 100 beginning at 6 p.m.

This jaunt through the music of the 80s is a warm-up for Saturday’s premiere of “Totally Awesome,” a VH1 original movie that spoofs all the classic movies of the 80s like “Pretty in Pink,” “The Breakfast Club” and more. The movie stars Chris Kattan and Tracy Morgan and will debut Saturday at 9 p.m. VH1 will release a DVD of the movie November 7th.

Question of the Week: Who will die?

“Lost” has been down ratings-wise this season, and based on what I saw of last week’s episode, I can see why.

This whole storyline about the Others doing psychological experiments on everyone is starting to really bug me. What was up with them lying to Sawyer about giving him a pacemaker? Why do they care whether he loves Kate or not?

However, my tiring of that story will not stop me from watching Wednesday as I always tune in when it’s time for a character to die. That’s right. According to the promos and my favorite columnists, that time is upon us once again.

I should probably explain that I don’t tune into these episodes because I enjoy watching people die. I tune in because the writers usually find some clever way to kill them off. Shannon’s death was beautifully staged and Ana-Lucia’s was one of the best moments of last season (I still think they messed up by killing Libby, though.). Since there was no early buzz about this one (or drunk driving arrests), I’ve got to believe it will be a good one.

So who will die? I honestly have no idea. Usually, there are some kind of indications, but since I don’t watch the show very closely, I don’t know what they are. I know that it’s not Sawyer or Kate, and I think we’re safe to presume it’s not Jack. My guesses are Mr. Eko, or in a bit of a shocker, Locke…

So who do you think? Post a comment with your answer…

Monday, October 30, 2006

A "Small Town Girl" doesn't make good...

If you had told me at the conclusion of “American Idol” last season that Kellie Pickler would be the first finalist to release a CD, I would’ve said you were crazy. But here it is, the release of her CD, “Small Town Girl.”

I really hope this isn’t a preview of what’s to come from the rest of them.

I should preface this review by saying that I am not a country music fan. However, good music is good music. Carrie Underwood’s CD is good music. Josh Gracin’s CD is good music. Kellie Pickler’s CD is not.

The problem is that all the songs sound the same—like a bad Reba McEntire tribute album. Kellie’s big ballad “I Wonder” was such a Reba rip-off, I actually did an Internet search to see if it was a cover song. It wasn’t, that I could find, but the writers of “Whoever’s in New England” should probably sue.

Even though Kellie is clearly trying to emulate Reba, Martina McBride, and maybe even LeAnn Rimes, her voice packs nowhere near the necessary punch. It doesn’t help that she’s saddled with lyrics like “Didn’t I rock you when I loved you, baby” and her endless complaining about not having the right clothes or shoes.

If you’re a fan of Kellie, you’ll probably enjoy the CD, but if you’re looking for good country music, you won’t find it here.

You can listen to the CD for free at http://music.aol.com/songs/new_releases_full_cds.

Idol Update: Release Dates and TV Appearances

So, here’s what “American Idol” news I’ve got for you this week…

Kellie Pickler’s CD, “Small Town Girl” hit stores today. Be sure to check out my review on a separate post. Kellie will perform her first single, "Red High Heels" on "The Tonight Show" this Friday...

As you’ve probably heard, Carrie Underwood will perform at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium December 9th. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m.

Speaking of Carrie, I caught her video for “Before He Cheats” the other day. Though she’s come a long way from her robotic “Idol” days, I still can’t buy her as a girl who would bash her boyfriend’s headlights in with a baseball bat…

Ace Young’s new single, “Scattered” is now available for download on iTunes. The first time I heard it, I thought it was a little cheesy, but it grows on you. And yes, his falsetto is on full display. As far as I know, though, Ace has not signed with any record label…

Looks like Katharine McPhee’s a little gutsier than I gave her credit for. Katharine was scheduled to sing “Over the Rainbow” at the Carousel of Hope Gala, but when she saw Whitney Houston in the audience, she changed to “I Have Nothing.” Considering the lackluster performance of that song that she gave on “Idol,” that may have been more stupid than gutsy. However, Whitney reportedly nodded her head in approval at the performance…

Taylor Hicks’ CD release date has been moved to December 5th, which means he will be after Katharine (November 28th) and on the same date as Fantasia

Chris Daughtry’s release date is still set for November 21st, but it will be from Daughtry, his new band. Howard Benson, who has worked with All-American Rejects and My Chemical Romance, is producing. Chris says that he now realizes not winning was actually better for him…

Josh Gracin’s next CD, “All About Y’all” will be released in early 2007. I was a little worried about Josh since his original release date came and went and his website had not been updated in months. His new single, “I Keep Coming Back” is from the same songwriting team that wrote “What Hurts the Most”…

Kimberley Locke’s second CD, “Based on a True Story” will hit in March 2007…

Clay Aiken is scheduled to appear on “The Megan Mullally Show” this Thursday, November 2nd. Clay will also appear on “Days of Our Lives” as himself December 22nd, as he serenades Steve and Kayla with “Everything I Have.” Clay’s version of “O, Holy Night” will also be featured in the episode (I smell a montage.).

Speaking of Clay, there is a lot of anger among Claymates over his new CD. Most of the anger is aimed at RCA’s head honcho Clive Davis, who made the decision to go with the cover CD. I don’t think there’s any doubt that it was a bad decision. The question is, why didn’t Clay try to fight it, as Kelly fought against her producers when she made “Breakaway”?

And one last note about Clay. You may have seen a comment on one of my previous posts that a local promoter had the chance to bring Clay’s Christmas show to Huntington and chose Kenny Rogers instead. I don’t think I have to tell you how big a mistake I think that is. I’m sure the promoter will agree if Rogers cancels again…

Is "Prison Break" a true story?

Last week, I said that “Prison Break” was one of the most unrealistic shows on TV, but apparently two brothers from Missouri don’t agree.

Robert and Donald Hughes have filed a lawsuit against FOX and the show’s executive producer/creator Paul Schering, claiming that the show was stolen from their manuscript chronicling their real-life experiences.

According to the Associated Press, in May 1964, Robert Hughes was wrongfully held in juvenile detention after his mother falsely accused him of threatening her life. His older brother, Donald, broke him out and for the next four years, they were on the run. The two were exonerated in 1968 after The Kansas City Star published their story.

In the AP story, the Hughes say they’ve noted more than 30 places, names or events from “Break” that are similar to their manuscript, which they say FOX passed on in 2001.

FOX had no comment to the AP about the lawsuit.

Stay tuned…

"The Nine" drags on...

There’s no doubt that “The Nine” is high drama at its highest. I’m just not sure whether that’s good or bad.

I hadn’t seen an episode since the premiere, so I took the opportunity this weekend to catch up on the three episodes I’d missed. I couldn’t find one of the tapes, so I only saw the third and fourth episodes.

But fortunately for me, I didn’t miss much. And that’s the show’s biggest problem: It just moves too slow.

Wednesday will be episode five, but we know very little about what happened in the bank. We know that Felicia called 911 with help from Frannie. We know that Lucas had a chance to escape, but came back into the bank to help his brother. Nick nearly locked them out, but Malcolm distracted him before he could. And we also know that Lucas and his brother had a big fight in the bank that nearly got Lucas shot.

But that’s it. That’s all we know.

To tide us over until we know more about the hostage crisis, we follow the personal lives of those involved. But in order to keep the group in each other’s stories, the writers must force some relationships that don’t necessarily work. I understand that this horrible experience has bonded these people together. I’m just not sure I buy how much they’ve bonded.

For example, Lizzie has pretty much glued herself to Kathryn and Kathryn is more than happy to help—even at the expense of her career. We later learn that Kathryn feels a special bond with the pregnant Lizzie because she once terminated a pregnancy, but it still doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s because Kathryn and Nick have been reduced to being the mom and dad of the group, as the others continually come to them for help. They both have their own problems as Kathryn struggles to deal with the standoff aftermath and Nick struggles with his gambling problem. Unfortunately, they’re too busy taking calls from the others for their stories to develop.

I’m not ready to give up yet though, since it looks like we may finally get some story movement as suspicion begins to fall on Eva (who was killed in the standoff). And it’s hard to turn off a show with that great of a cast. There are no weak links, although John Billingsley’s Egan Foote is starting to get a little annoying (but that’s a character problem). Kim Raver is solid (as usual) and Chi McBride has toned down his usual bravado to give a heartwarming performance as a concerned father and bank manager.

But no matter how good the cast is, the show will have to pick up the pace or risk not only losing me, but also losing its spot on the schedule.

Crossing the Line

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t engage in political discussions. It’s not because I don’t have anything to say—because I do—it’s just that political discussions are just too volatile for me. You never know who you might offend.

But something happened last week that I have no choice but to comment on…

As you probably heard, Rush Limbaugh accused Michael J. Fox of faking his Parkinson’s symptoms for a political ad supporting a pro-stem cell research candidate. Limbaugh later apologized, but the damage was already done.

There is no doubt that if I were to make a list of my all-time favorite actors, Fox would be near the top. But regardless of how you feel about Fox, or Limbaugh, or even stem cell research, I think you can agree that Limbaugh crossed a line.

As a big fan of Fox, I can see the effects that Parkinson’s has had on him. On “Boston Legal” the past two seasons, his performance actually came off a little stiff as he was obviously trying to control his body movements. In fact, Fox has been working hard since the day he was diagnosed to hide his symptoms (During his “Inside the Actors Studio” interview, Fox actually had to leave for a short time.).

So to drive home a point for a cause he deeply believes in, Fox allowed us to see his worst symptoms for the first time—and he got slammed for it.

Now, forced to defend himself, Fox has had to show his symptoms even more, which he did Sunday on “This Week with George Stephanopolous.” It made me want to cry.

Limbaugh has every right to attack Fox’s stance on stem cell research. But to accuse someone struggling with a debilitating disease that has robbed him of his livelihood and certain moments with his family of faking symptoms is just wrong.

Maybe Limbaugh found Fox’s argument a little too convincing…

A "Grey's" Update...

Here’s an update on the backstage happenings of “Grey’s Anatomy”…

After rumors of script changes and a recast (with Eriq LaSalle of “ER”), Isaiah Washington finally issued a public apology last week, saying that he had personally apologized to everyone involved and he truly regretted his choice of words.

Series creator Shonda Rhimes denies that there were any rewrites or talks of a recast and says that everything is now fine. But Michael Ausiello of “TV Guide” reports that things are not hunky-dory on the set at all.

So what actually happened? This week’s “People” reports that T.R. Knight (George) was late to film a scene and Patrick Dempsey (Derek) insisted on waiting for him, which led to the confrontation between Dempsey and Washington (Burke). Washington then used a homophobic slur against Knight, though Knight was not present at the time. Apparently, reporters from “The National Enquirer” witnessed the entire argument, which probably led Knight to publicly announce that he was gay.

I have a feeling that this one isn’t over yet, so stay tuned…

Has Bravo Gone Too Far?

You know I love Bravo, but I think they’ve taken this reality competition thing too far.

First, there was “Project Greenlight,” which gave birth to “Project Runway,” in my opinion, the best reality show on TV. That gave birth to “Top Chef,” which is now in its second season.

Now, Bravo is working on “Top Hair” and “Top Designer.”

Am I the only one who thinks that’s a little too much?

Coming Attractions

As I’ve mentioned before, November is a magical month for television, and it will also be a good time for you, my dear readers, as I unveil some brand new stuff here at Stay Tuned…

Mondays, I’ll continue to give you my choices for your best viewing of the week with the Pick of the Week, but I’ll also give you a heads-up on all the special events that the networks have planned for November sweeps with the Sweeps Schedule.

Tuesdays, we’ll get set for the return of “American Idol” with Idol Update. November will be a big month for CD sales and I’ll keep you up to date on that and more. Of course, in January, Idol Update will recap all of the action from that night’s episode.

Wednesday’s we’ll have the Question of the Week and Thursdays, it’s the Soap Spotlight to give you the chance to discuss your favorite soaps. Fridays, it’s the Friday-Free-For-All as you get your chance to talk about whatever’s on your mind.

Plus, since the Christmas shopping season is getting underway, I’ll keep you up to date on the latest TV DVD releases and make my recommendations for the best TV-related gifts this season.

And as always, I’ll have the latest news and reviews.

So in other words, stay tuned…

Picks of the Week: Death and Halloween!

As we get ready to crank up the November sweeps machine. Here’s the best TV has to offer this week…

McGee and Tony get a nice treat on “NCIS” as the normally Goth Abby dresses up as Marilyn Monroe for Halloween. This is one of the best shows on TV, but for some reason, I never watch. “NCIS” airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on CBS…

It’s time for someone else to die on “Lost”—or at least that’s what the promos say. I don’t know who it is, but I’ve heard it’s a shocker (We’ll talk more about it later.). “Lost” airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ABC…

Speaking of death, someone is also going to die on “Desperate Housewives,” as a familiar face causes a hostage crisis in a supermarket. If my source is right about who dies here, it could only help the show—but since this is a spoiler-free zone, I won’t tell you who it is. “Desperate Housewives” airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on ABC…

Plus, don't forget the return of "Vanished" Friday at 8 p.m. on FOX. It should really happen this time...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday Free-For-All: October 27, 2006

Let me start off your Friday with the news all of you have been longing to hear...

Menudo is making a comeback! MTV is producing a reality show to find the next members of Menudo. No word yet on an airdate.

And since I can't tell you any news bigger than that (I hope you detect the sarcasm in my typing.), it's your turn. What's on your mind this week?

Important Scheduling Change!

For those of you who were planning to take my advice and check out the return of "Vanished" tonight (Friday) on FOX, there is this important scheduling change...

Due to a rainout earlier this week, game five of the World Series is now scheduled for 8:05 p.m., meaning that "Vanished" will not air.

I have no idea what FOX will do if it rains tonight, but I'm guessing they will save "Vanished" until it can make a proper return.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Soap Spotlight: Luke & Laura

As you may have noticed, there’s one segment of television that I have yet to cover in this blog—daytime soaps.

So please allow me to remedy that oversight with a brand new feature: “Soap Spotlight.” Every Thursday, I’ll provide some of the latest news from the soap world and you can jump in and comment on whatever soap you wish.

It’s only appropriate that I start this new feature with a post about one of the biggest moments in daytime history—the wedding of Luke and Laura on “General Hospital.” “GH” will celebrate the 25th anniversary of that event with the limited return of Genie Francis (Laura), who made her first appearance today. If you’re a fan, you know that Laura has been in a catatonic state at a psychiatric hospital since she killed her father four years ago [According to “USA Today,” this storyline turn came after Francis left the show, apparently upset she was not given the same perks as Anthony Geary (Luke).]. Thanks to a miracle drug, Laura will wake up and speak her first word in years: “Luke.” The story will culminate in a “commemorative” episode November 16th.

Next week, I’ll have good news for “Days of Our Lives” fans as we talk about the better “Days” ahead. For now, though, it’s your turn.

You know you love them, so let’s talk about them!

The Return of "Must-See-TV"?

Just as I was losing all faith in NBC, they go and do something that actually makes a lot of sense.

But it may be too late…

NBC is trying to revive “Must-See-TV” by bringing back its Thursday comedy block. You may remember that we saw the end of that when NBC sold its soul to Donald Trump and moved “The Apprentice” to Thursdays (the beginning of NBC’s downfall, in my opinion).

Starting November 30th, “Scrubs” will return Thursdays at 9 p.m., followed by “30 Rock.” “My Name Is Earl” and “The Office” will stay where they are to lead off the night. “Twenty Good Years,” is being shelved, although it could return.

I really think this is a good schedule and it’s about time NBC gave “Scrubs” the respect it deserves. The problem is NBC should have done this at the beginning of the season, which would have given the comedies more of a fighting chance against the two top-rated shows on TV (“Grey’s Anatomy” and “CSI”). By waiting until now, it looks like they’re just throwing “Scrubs” and “30 Rock” under a bus.

As you know, I’m not a fan of “30 Rock,” but I think it fits well in this block. However, Tina Fey had better step it up or the hilarious “Scrubs” will expose just how not funny her show is.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen...

Imagine this scenario if you will.

Your boss comes up with a plan to save the company money. You know it will cause a lot of anxiety, so you plan to phase it in gradually over the next few years so that people won’t notice too much of a change.

However, your boss has a different idea and announces the plan to the world. Now, it’s your job to try and explain it and calm everyone down.

Nice, isn’t it?

Well, that’s exactly the scenario NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reily found himself in, thanks to his boss, NBC-Universal Television’s Chief Executive Jeff Zucker.

Zucker, in detailing NBC U’s cost-cutting plans, announced that NBC would no longer have scripted shows weeknights between 8 and 9, allowing them to cut costs and focus their money on more watched timeslots. The announcement instantly sent everyone into a tizzy, including those people behind the scripted shows NBC has at 8 now, like “My Name Is Earl.” The 8-9 announcement was all anyone could talk about, even though 700 people lost their jobs. The press started a feeding frenzy as NBC went into, what they considered to be, full retreat mode.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

It was not too long ago that NBC was the king of primetime. But as its hits aged and went off the air, there was nothing to replace them. The execs ignored trends and refused to recognize their situation. It has cost them dearly, right where it hurts the most—GE’s bottom line.

So is NBC out of the scripted business from 8-9 p.m.? Yes and no. As Reilly is now trying to spin it, NBC will put more of its resources into reality programming, but it will not get out of the scripted business all together in that timeslot. Reilly promises that it will not be a drastic departure from what they’ve been doing. In fact, the other networks have already headed in that direction; they just didn’t declare it to the world like Zucker did.

Ironically, it was NBC’s resistance to reality TV that got them in this mess to begin with. And who was the head honcho during that time? You got it—Jeff Zucker.

So why is it that he gets to keep his job?

I’m thinking there’s one more layoff that needs to be made…

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Has "Boston Legal" Jumped the Shark?

There’s a phenomenon in the world of television known as “jumping the shark.” It comes from an episode of “Happy Days” where Fonzie jumped over a shark while skiing. It refers to the moment when a show starts to go downhill. For example, most people agree that “Frasier” jumped the shark when Niles and Daphne got together.

It’s an extremely overused term, so I don’t say it very much. But I think the time has come to apply it to one of my favorite shows—“Boston Legal.”

I’ve given up on “BL” before. Last season, when it started to get a little too serious, I stopped watching; but it found its sense of humor again and I came back. This time, however, I’m not so sure…

The main problem is Craig Bierko, who joined the cast as Jeffrey Coho. Bierko is annoying in every way. Even his case (especially the creepy peeping tom neighbor) was annoying. Instead of humorous, Coho comes off as an unlikable version of Alan Shore.

But why did we need another Alan? James Spader is still there. And more importantly, why did the show need another male lawyer at all? I mean, why do they even have Mark Valley (Brad) on the payroll if they’re not going to use him?

Because of the emergence of Bierko, Spader is forced to play second fiddle in the secondary storyline, which is now all about sex. First, he hired a sex surrogate for Jerry Espenson. Then he hired her for himself to measure him for pants—and that’s not a euphemism. Alan was always a little perverted, but now he’s just becoming weird.

I’m hoping now that Coho’s big case is over, things will get back to normal. But I have a bad feeling that “BL” jumped the shark the minute Craig Bierko opened his mouth.

“Boston Legal” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

I do not feel better...

I’m currently in the midst of trying to find a house. For any of you who have done that, you know how all consuming the process can become.

So, it was after 3:30 Tuesday before I realized I hadn’t seen the “24” trailer yet (My priorities are all messed up!). I rushed to my computer and pulled it up on the screen, nervous with anticipation.

But my adrenaline rush soon subsided after I saw on the screen the four words no “24” fan wants to see:

Jack Bauer must die.

Granted, the bad guys say that about Jack every season. But this time, according to the trailer, if Jack doesn’t die, America won’t survive.

I’m going to need a minute to think that choice over…

If you haven’t seen the trailer, season six will open with America under siege by terrorists. In order to stop the attacks, CTU will make a deal to get Jack away from the Chinese and ask him to sacrifice himself. Jack agrees so that he can “die for something,” instead of just dying in a Chinese prison.

See, I told you the trailer wouldn’t make me feel any better…

Now, of course, I don’t think that Jack is going to actually die. I just don’t like putting that idea in the universe. Without Jack, there is no “24.” Period. I know that Kiefer always says that the time format is the star, but he’s wrong. HE is the star and the show wouldn’t be worth watching without him.

There were some good points about the trailer. D.B. Woodside looked great behind the Presidential desk as Wayne Palmer. And Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) looked fabulous with a new ‘do, which I’m hoping Jack will notice. I’d hate to think she was wasting that on her loser ex-husband.

But it’s those words and the accompanying scenes of people trying to torture Jack (again!) that resonate (not to mention the full beard he sports at the beginning). I still haven’t gotten over his puffy, bloody face at the end of last season. This is Jack Bauer after all. That’s not supposed to happen to him.

But after seeing the trailer, I think it’s only going to get worse.

I can feel my stomach turning already…

"30 Rock": Hearing Doesn't Make It Funny

I held off on my critique of “30 Rock” for a week since a technical glitch kept me from hearing the entire first episode.

Unfortunately, my original assessment turned out to be correct. And being able to hear it didn’t make it any funnier.

I’m beginning to realize that my idea of funny and the critics’ idea of funny are two totally different things. I shouldn’t be surprised since I didn’t think “Mean Girls” (which Tina Fey wrote) was nearly as funny as everyone else did either.

But in Fey’s defense, she doesn’t get much help here, as the supporting cast can be a little annoying. Jane Krakowski’s over-the-top performance just proves that Rachel Dratch would have been so much better in the role (I’m still a little miffed at how that change was made at the last minute.). And Alec Baldwin chews so much scenery I’m surprised there’s anything left to act on. Plus, was anyone else bothered by the plug for GE’s new oven right in the middle of the premiere, followed by a commercial for the actual oven?

I guess that because Fey was so good on “Weekend Update,” I’m just expecting to laugh out loud—and that’s not happening.

Maybe critics are frightened by the sound of their own laughter…

Question of the Week: Your Viewing Schedule

As we head into the wondrous time known as November sweeps, you’ve no doubt made up your mind as to what shows are worth watching and which ones aren’t.

So here’s your Question of the Week: What’s your viewing schedule?

Here’s what mine looks like. Of course, remember that it will all change in January. Plus, I’ve italicized the shows that I’m considering dropping…

Sunday
7 PM—“Football Night In America”
8 PM—“Sunday Night Football”
9 PM—Desperate Housewives (tape)

Monday
8 PM—Prison Break
9 PM—“Heroes,” “Justice” (tape)
10 PM—“CSI: Miami”

Tuesday
10 PM—Boston Legal

Wednesday
10 PM—The Nine

Thursday
9 PM—“The O.C.” (beginning November 2nd)

I usually fill in the blanks with “Friends” re-runs on TBS (although, regrettably, there are a lot less of those this season) and whatever is on Bravo.

So what shows do you plan around?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More Scheduling News...

CBS has given a full season order to “Shark.” This makes “The Class” the network’s only new show that they have yet to make a final decision on. However, CBS is not giving up on “Class.” They’ve ordered four more scripts. I’m glad CBS is not giving up; but I’m afraid I have. That Richie’s girlfriend is Lina’s office janitor twist was just too much for me…

CW has given full season orders to “The Game” and “7th Heaven” despite the drop in “Heaven” ratings. Earlier last week, CW pulled the plug on “Runaway”…

NBC has picked up nine additional scripts for “Friday Night Lights.” Again, this doesn’t mean a full season pickup, but it’s pretty close. And NBC’s decision to test out “Lights” Monday at 10 p.m., shows their confidence in the program. There has been no word on the fate of “Studio 60”…

Speaking of “Lights” and “Studio,” a friend of mine told me that he heard this morning on a local radio station that both shows have been cancelled, sending me into scurrying mode to check all of my sources. Neither has been cancelled as of this writing (as you can see from the above item), so “Lights” and “Studio” fans can breathe easy—for now…

"California, here we come"...a week early

For those of you who can’t wait to see what “The O.C.” has in store (like me), I’ve got great news.

You can watch the season premiere online at MySpace.com beginning October 26th. The second episode will also be available a week early online.

I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about the show this year, so I’m really anxious to see the premiere. Killing one of your main characters can often kill a show; but in the case of killing Marissa, I think it may have freed it.

I’ll let you know after the 26th.

Stay tuned…

"Get'cha Head in the Game" in a city near you!

The phenomenon that is “High School Musical” is going on the road.

“High School Musical: The Concert” will hit 40 cities across the country, beginning November 30th.

But if your child’s fave is Zac Efron, they’re going to be disappointed. Efron is the only star of the movie that will not participate. He’s busy filming the movie, “Hairspray” (Can’t imagine Disney’s too happy about that.). Efron will be replaced by Drew Seeley, who sang on the “HSM” soundtrack and co-wrote “Get’cha Head in the Game.”

Tickets go on sale November 4th. The tour stops in Pittsburgh January 6th, Cincinnati January 13th, Cleveland January 14th and Columbus January 18th.

Has Everyone Given Up on "Studio 60"?

Saturday, while watching “A Few Good Men” on Bravo for the third week in a row (Gotta love Bravo!), something occurred to me. Where are the “Studio 60” promos? Isn’t that why Bravo picked the movie up to start with? To promote Aaron Sorkin?

Last week, NBC announced that it will replace an October 30th re-run of “Studio 60” with a new episode of “Friday Night Lights.” NBC says it’s a “one time only” thing, but more than likely, it’s a tryout for “Lights” in that timeslot.

It’s starting to look like I’m not the only one giving up on “Studio 60.”

That’s right. Last Monday, I decided I am done with “Studio.” I went back to the cheesy goodness of “CSI: Miami” (And boy, was it cheesy last night!).

I really wanted to love this show, but it’s making it really hard. I didn’t like Sorkin’s “The West Wing,” but I could still recognize that it was a good show. I can’t do that with “Studio.” The show has no zip and the characters are starting to get annoying.

Worst of all, the skits from the show within the show are just not funny. Last week’s Nancy Grace skit had some promise, but no punchline. It’s hard to show the behind-the-scenes workings of a sketch comedy show without showing the sketch comedy; but it’s a little insulting to the audience to hear all the characters talking about how funny something is when we know it isn’t.

However, the last straw for me last week was turning five minutes of the show over to a performance by Sting. For a show that’s supposed to be about strong writing, that was pretty lazy.

Maybe Aaron Sorkin’s giving up too…

What Goes Around Didn't Come Around...

In the unpredictable world of TV, you can usually count on one thing: what goes around comes around.

And if anyone was due for something to come around, it was Jeffrey Sebelia of “Project Runway.” He was rude and insulting to his fellow contestants most of the season; but his treatment of Angela’s mom during the “Everyday Woman” challenge just begged for retribution.

So when Laura claimed that Jeffrey outsourced some of the sewing on his final collection—which is against the rules—I thought Jeffrey was finally going to get his.

Or at least I was really hoping he would. Because based on pictures from Fashion Week that I had seen, if Jeffrey wasn’t disqualified, he was going to win.

Which, of course, is what happened.

And, I’m disappointed. But Jeffrey did have the best collection. Ironically, the investigation into Laura’s claim actually helped Jeffrey because it found him to be over budget, which forced him to eliminate his stupid blonde wigs.

Now, do I think Jeffrey sewed his clothes? Believe it or not, I actually do. I think that the restraints of the challenges kept Jeffrey from showing his true skills.

Much like the challenge restraints kept Michael from revealing his true nature as a designer—completely tasteless. Under the rules and time constraints, Michael flourished and was clearly the favorite. But when given complete freedom, he produced a collection of tawdry sportswear, dresses and bathing suits. Ironically, they were exactly the kind of designs that nearly kept him from getting on the show to start with (Tim Gunn had reservations about his portfolio.). The title was his for the taking and he choked.

As for Uli and Laura, they both had good collections as well. Uli had the best designs, but her collection was not cohesive. Laura’s was the most cohesive of the four and the most well-made, but the designs were a little too similar. And she may have gotten a little “what comes around” herself after her accusations against Jeffrey.

It’s always kind of hard to swallow when you follow a show for an entire season and it doesn’t end the way you’d like. But that’s the risk you take with any show—especially a reality one.

And even though I’ve got a bad taste in my mouth now, I’ll be back for season four.

Because despite the outcome, I still love this show.

Has McDreamy Mania Gone Too Far?

You may have heard last week that T.R. Knight of “Grey’s Anatomy” (He plays George.) admitted he is gay.

But to me, his sexual orientation is not the story. The story is the timing of his announcement…

No doubt you heard about the on-set fight between Isaiah Washington (Burke) and Patrick Dempsey (Derek). There are varied reports as to what actually happened, but more than one says that Washington referred to one of his co-stars by a derogatory term used to describe a gay person. However, the reports did not mention which co-star he mentioned. Now, speculation is that it was Knight and he made his announcement since Washington effectively outed him anyway.

Having two of your stars come to blows is bad enough, but the Knight wrinkle makes it even worse. I can’t imagine he’s happy about having to reveal something he may have not been ready to.

So what was the fight about? Some sources say they were fighting over people showing up late to the set (maybe Knight?). Other reports say Washington finally exploded over his jealousy of Dempsey.

Which begs the question: Has McDreamy mania gone too far? Dempsey has been on the cover of nearly every magazine in existence—including “Good Housekeeping.” I knew that I was starting to get sick of him, but now it looks like I may not be the only one.

Actors are quite capable of pretending to be friendly to someone on-screen they can’t stand off-screen (Look at George Peppard and Mr. T on “The A-Team.”)—it’s what they’re paid to do. But these kinds of problems ultimately can’t be good for the show.

ABC may want to take the McDreamy mania down a notch or two, before it’s “Grey’s” that starts going down.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Let the "24" hype begin!

The success of NBC’s “Heroes” is causing some problems for its competition. But probably the competition with the biggest problem isn’t even on the air.

That would be a little show called, “24.”

By the time “24” premieres January 14th, “Heroes” will be well on its way to becoming TV’s next great cult hit with a solid core of loyal fans—many of whom are probably also “24” fans (like me). It might be difficult for some viewers (but not me, of course) to make the switch.

Which is why FOX is wisely cranking up the hype machine—and what a machine it will be.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) at 3 p.m., FOX will premiere the “24” season six trailer (with a special introduction from Kiefer Sutherland) on the giant Panasonic screen in Times Square. For those of us who are not in New York City, we can see it on-line at www.24trailer.com also beginning tomorrow at 3.

Those of you who have been reading my blogs for a while know that I avoid “24” promos like the plague. But if you’re thinking I’m not going to be sitting in front of my computer at three o’clock tomorrow, you’d be mistaken.

So why would I risk having the entire season premiere spoiled for me by an extended trailer? Because, quite frankly, I’m extremely worried about my show.

The stakes are bigger that ever for “24.” It’s coming off its best season both creatively and ratings-wise. Plus, it won five Emmys, including best drama. But the details that I’m hearing about this season have not given me a lot of confidence. Co-creators and Executive Producers Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran are starting to work on other projects, and that generally signals bad things for a show creatively.

But let’s face it. The real reason for my nerves is that darn season five finale. Every time I think about it I get sick to my stomach. I truly appreciate the writers not forgetting the Chinese story, but I can’t help but think they backed themselves into a corner that only a completely unrealistic story will get them out of.

Of course I thought that at the end of season four too and I couldn’t have been more wrong.

So, I will watch the trailer Tuesday—although I’ll probably regret it later. However, I’m willing to bet money that it won’t make me feel any better.

Stay tuned…

"Prison Break": Asking For Too Much

It seems like every year, it happens to me. I tell everyone I know to watch a show because it’s so good; and then the show comes apart.

This year, that show is “Prison Break.”

As you may recall, I was all excited about how this was becoming a different show. It is definitely a different show—the most unrealistic I’ve ever seen.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve missed two or three episodes; but because of the show’s ludicrous pace, I haven’t really missed much. I say ludicrous because some stories creep painfully slow while others move way too quickly.

For example, Governor Tancredi finally getting wise to The Company was a good development, but he was killed way too quickly. Why not let him do some further investigation?

Meanwhile, to extend the escapees’ pursuit of the money as long as possible, we had to sit through those painfully icky scenes between T-Bag and the woman who owned the house. I would rather have seen T-Bag stab her in the throat than to see him flirt with her for such an extended period of time (I actually turned the channel.). Why couldn’t they have extended the story by making it take longer than two episodes to get from Illinois to Utah?

One of the reasons I was excited about the shift from prison to the outside was because I thought it would end all the tattoo nonsense; but it only got worse. The tattoo actually contained directions to the bridge where Lincoln and Michael would fake their deaths. But worse than that, it contained the actual mileage marker where they would need to stop the car to push it off the bridge. They couldn’t figure that out by just looking at it?

I still love William Fitchner as Agent Mahone, but he’s starting to get a little too weird. Why did he just blow away Tweener? Does he also work for The Company?

But probably the biggest problem with the show is its biggest storyline hole—the absence of President Reynolds (Patricia Wettig). I respected the show’s decision to not recast the role after Wettig joined “Brothers and Sisters,” but now that the show has decided to continue the conspiracy storyline, her absence is sorely felt. It just doesn’t make sense that she would completely alienate Agent Kellerman after everything he did for her (although it could set up an interesting betrayal).

For the record, I’m not ready to abandon the show just yet—especially since we’ve been promised a Michael-Sara reunion in November—but the show is truly trying my patience. I’ve got no problem with suspending disbelief (I’m a “24” fan, after all.), but I think “Prison” may be asking for too much…

And those “Friends” re-runs on TBS are starting to call my name…

“Prison Break” returns tonight (Monday) at 8 on FOX.

Picks of the Week: The Return of FOX

As the networks start to think about airing repeats for the first time this season, the picks are getting harder to make. So this week’s picks are two shows that are returning after their baseball hiatus.

The Picks of the Week are: “Justice” and “Vanished.”

As you know, “Justice” was my early pick for the best new show of the season. Then “Heroes” came along. Doesn’t it just figure that they’re now airing opposite each other? Better catch this one while you can, although FOX deserves a lot of credit for turning up the promotional machine on this one. “Justice” returns tonight (Monday) at 9 on FOX…

I had pretty much given up on “Vanished.” But then they killed Agent Kelton and added Eddie Cibrian and I was hooked. The bad news for fans is that this show is pretty much dead. The good news for fans is that there should be some kind of resolution to the story before it dies completely. I hope that the producers of “Reunion” are somewhere taking note: FOX is willing to work with people who are willing to work with them. “Vanished” returns Friday at 8 p.m. on FOX.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Free-For-All: October 20, 2006

TGIF!

Okay, hit me. What's on your mind this week?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Question of the Week: "Heroes"

This week's question is not really related to television, but it is inspired by my new TV obsession, Heroes.

The Question of the Week is: If you could have a super power, what would it be?

For me, I think I would want telekinesis--you know, the ability to move things with your mind--like Jean Grey of the X-Men (the comic Jean Grey, not the weak movie one). I could do without being telepathic, though, because I don't think I could stand all those voices in my head!

So what about you? And would you use those powers for good or for your own personal gain?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More Scheduling News...

ABC became the first network this fall to give a full season order to more than one new show, as it gave the greenlight to 22 episodes of Brothers and Sisters.

I did catch the season premiere of this one, but I thought it was so serious, I couldn’t stick with it. Plus, I found the whole “I haven’t spoken to my daughter in two years because she’s a conservative Republican commentator who talked her brother into fighting in a war I don’t believe in” story to be a little too preachy for my taste…

CBS has given its second year drama, Close to Home the greenlight for the entire season. If you haven’t seen this one lately, it is definitely not the same show it was last year, but Jennifer Finnigan is solid. And who doesn’t like David James Elliot in a suit?...

NBC has decided not to move ER after all. You may recall that the show was going to go on hiatus from January to April to make room for The Black Donnellys. But since ER has been doing so well this year, it’s going to stay put until spring. In fact, NBC may increase the number of episodes…

Scheduling Alert!

NBC has postponed Friday's heavily hyped season premiere of Las Vegas until Friday, October 27th.

I have not heard the official reason for the delay; but I'm guessing NBC wants another week to promote the timeslot move of its new game show hit, 1 vs. 100. 1 will move to 8 p.m. when Vegas returns at 9.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pick of the Week: Are you in or out?

Lately, I've been giving you multiple picks, but this week, it's all about one thing...

This week's Pick of the Week is the "Project Runway" season finale. And I know you're all totally surprised...

The finale airs Wednesday, October 18th at 10 p.m.

And yes, I know that Bravo will re-run it a ton of times afterward, but this is a show you'll want to see the first time around.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Change Will Do You Good

Sheryl Crow sang “A Change Will Do You Good.” Well, CBS and NBC certainly hope so…

CBS has now officially confirmed that “3 Lbs.” will replace “Smith” Tuesdays at 10 p.m. beginning November 14th. “3 Lbs.” stars Stanley Tucci and the adorable Mark Feurstein (“Good Morning Miami,” “The West Wing”) as surgeons. The shows title refers to the weight of the human brain…

What was bad news for “Kidnapped” fans is good news for “Medium” fans as the Patricia Arquette drama will fill the Wednesdays at 10 p.m. void beginning November 15th. “Medium” was not expected to return until after football season. In my opinion, this is an excellent move by NBC as “Medium” will be good counter-programming to “CSI: NY” and “The Nine”…

If you haven’t got on board the phenomenon that is “Heroes,” you’ll have an excellent chance Sunday, October 22nd as NBC will repeat three episodes beginning at 8 p.m., while the NFL takes a break during the World Series. This is good news for people who are fans of “Heroes” or would like to be fans of “Heroes,” but it’s bad news for fans of “Friday Night Lights,” as NBC had originally planned to air repeats of “Lights” in this slot. “Lights” has struggled out of the gate, and this move may show a lack of confidence from the network…

And in the category of shows that are not going anywhere, CBS has given a full-season order to its surprise hit, “Jericho.” I’m thinking I’m going to have to get back into this one. “Jericho” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS…

Breaking News: A Star Quits Dancing

According to "People," Sara Evans has quit "Dancing With the Stars" for personal reasons. According to Evans' spokesperson, she filed for divorce from her husband Thursday and wants to spend more time with her family.

Evans will make her final appearance this Tuesday, October 17th. There is no word yet from ABC on how this will effect the show's elimination schedule.

Friday Free-For-All: October 13, 2006

Happy Friday the 13th!

There’s lots to tell you, so let’s get started…

NBC is working on a pilot called “Bad Judge” starring Jon Lovitz. Lovitz would preside over actual cases deciding how he sees fit. The promo line is: “The cases are real. The decision is final. The judge is nuts”…

FOX is developing a pilot based on “The Devil Wears Prada.” They promise that the series will not be exactly like the movie or book, but will incorporate some elements of both…

NBC is getting into the poker game with “Poker After Dark.” “Poker” will air at 2:35 a.m. Monday-Friday and will air at 1 a.m. Saturday/Sunday after “Saturday Night Live.” The show will debut January 2nd. I personally think NBC might be a little late jumping on the bandwagon with this one…

CBS is bringing back “Name That Tune” with Donny Osmond. The show would incorporate live performances from well-known artists and a bonus round where players can win $1 million. A pilot will be taped in December with a decision about a series made after that…

The “Bionic Woman” may be returning to TV, but in a totally different way. NBC is working on a pilot that would use the title as a starting point, but then totally reconceptualize it. According to “Variety,” the show would “explore the role of professional women in contemporary society and how they juggle their various roles.” David Eick, who reworked “Battlestar Galactica” for SciFi is the executive producer…

“Baywatch” will be making waves again in syndication beginning next fall. The show would air twice a day. “Baywatch” was last seen on TV in 2001, when it was a weekly show. And haven’t we all missed it terribly?…

And finally, I have to mention the reconciliation of Paris and Nicole. Interestingly, it looks like the riff was healed because they both hated the concept for the new season of “The Simple Life.” Producers had planned to put them on a desert island with a bunch of survivalists, but they will now film scenes together as camp counselors. The show will air on E! next spring. Something tells me the reconciliation won’t last long after Nicole once again steals the show…

So what’s on your mind this week?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Wednesday Surprise

A lot of critics have been raving about “30 Rock” being the best new comedy of the year. So imagine my surprise when most of my laughing happened during “20 Good Years.”

Now, in defense of “Rock,” I can’t really judge it fairly since an audio glitch kept me from hearing a good portion of it. And what I heard was funny, I just didn’t laugh out loud.

So why did I laugh out loud at “20 Good Years”? Because John Lithgow is funny. Granted, he’s playing the same arrogant and overbearing person he did on “3rd Rock From the Sun,” but that doesn’t make it any less funny. Jeffrey Tambor is a good straight man and quite honestly, the show had some funny jokes. Plus, Heather Burns (Sandra Bullock’s favorite sidekick) is great as Lithgow’s daughter

If you missed it, Lithgow is John, a highly regarded surgeon. Because he has just turned 60, the hospital forces him to go part-time before he retires in two years. Devastated by this turn of events, John decides he is going to live the next 20 good years of his life to the fullest. He enlists his friend, Jeffrey (Tambor), to go along for the ride.

Jeffrey, however, doesn’t do anything spontaneous since his wife passed away 20 years ago. When his girlfriend of three years insists that he propose, Jeffrey decides that John is right and he breaks up with her. Finding himself with a lack of funds due to going part-time and having to pay three alimonies, John moves in with Jeffrey.

I have to admit that I absolutely hate the laugh track, but since this is a traditional sitcom, it might not be the same without it. The story will probably get old quickly, and I’m not even sure I’ll keep watching, but it was a nice Wednesday surprise.

I’ll give “30 Rock” another week before I make a decision on it.

Is Jeffrey Going Down?

This has absolutely been the most controversial season of Project Runway yet.

Just witness last week’s incredibly awkward reunion show. I think the producers made a big mistake bringing Keith in from the beginning, because it made everyone uncomfortable for the entire hour.

And how about his explanation? First, he claimed that no one ever said he couldn’t have pattern-making books. But when the other designers shot that down, he changed his story, saying they were taken away from him when he came on the show and then they mysteriously appeared again in his room. What a jerk!

And speaking of jerks, what was up with Vincent slamming Tim Gunn? On his post-reunion rant on BravoTV.com, Vincent calls Tim a trashmouth. What?! Tim Gunn rocks!

Which is why I know he’ll do the right thing with the latest Runway controversy. Last night on part one of the season finale, Laura accused Jeffrey of outsourcing some of his sewing. When I first heard about this, I figured it wouldn’t amount to anything; but the fact that Tim took the accusation so seriously makes me think that he suspected it as well. Plus, we saw Tim ask for the designers’ receipts—something he has never done on-camera before—which makes me think they will come into play later.

But the most telling sign of all is the preview which shows Jeffrey crying on Uli’s shoulder. Those could be tears of relief, but since we hear Tim say “unfortunately,” it doesn’t look good for Jeffrey.

Is Jeffrey going down? Man, I hope so! He deserves it for the way he treated Angela’s mom—especially since he didn’t apologize during the reunion show when he had the chance.

But whatever happens, I’ll be watching because I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!

And I’ve got the Tim Gunn bobblehead to prove it!

Still Living on Wisteria Lane...For Now

I finally caught up with my Desperate Housewives viewing yesterday; and I’m a little surprised to say that I’m still into it.

I was actually kind of hoping I wouldn’t be so I could mark another show off my viewing list.

That’s not to say that DH is back to its old self, because it isn’t. But I think we all need to face that fact that it never will be…

I still hate Lynette’s storyline, but I have to admit I enjoyed it when Nora put Lynette in her place. And I wish someone would make up their minds about Gabi. Clearly they don’t want her with a baby, so why did they even bother? But it was nice to see John get a decent goodbye.

I’m not happy to see Andrew back, but I like Orson’s role in the whole thing. Marcia Cross (Bree) has said that she thinks Orson will turn out to be a good guy. I hope so, because he’s starting to grow on me. But considering he apologized to that dead body (in French, no less), I kind of doubt it.

I actually found myself laughing out loud at Sunday’s episode more than a few times—which I haven’t done while watching DH in quite awhile. Most of it was at Susan’s story (Dougray Scott is such a cutie!). However, I have to say I’m not really thrilled with where it’s going since I’m not a big fan of Edie.

The one thing that is similar to the first season is there’s a good mystery and it once again involves all of the housewives, which helps to make it more compelling. And it’s only fitting that Mr. Twin Peaks himself, Kyle MacLachlan, would be driving it.

As I said, I plan to stick with DH for now, but I’m keeping my expectations low. That way I don’t get as disappointed in the end.

Desperate Housewives airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Notes From Monday Night...

Here are some comments on Monday night’s viewing…

You know that I’m a fan of “The Class,” but it ticked me off pretty good Monday night. I understand that the show wants to inject new blood by bringing in Sara Gilbert (though I don’t think it’s necessary), but making her Richie’s girlfriend? He tried to kill himself twice, went out with Lina twice, and we never knew he had a girlfriend? Sorry, I don’t call that a twist. I call that a dirty trick…

I liked the plagiarism story on “Studio 60,” but I found the latest twists in the Matt-Harriet story to be a little melodramatic/ Plus, Aaron Sorkin already did this story on “Sports Night”—only Felicity Huffman was the producer and Peter Krause was the talent. And they never got together—which I’m still mad about—because of Sorkin’s increasingly inane ways of keeping them apart. I certainly hope he’s not planning the same tactics here, because that will get old…

How about that “Heroes” ending? HOLY COW!!! That show seriously rocks! I’m more confused than ever about Niki, but it looks like we’ll get answers (and some interesting connections) very soon. By the way, Monday night’s episode was written by Jeph Loeb, who is one of the most talented writers in comics today. You can see the episode again at www.nbc.com. Trust me. It’s worth it—if only for those last five minutes…

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Question of the Week: "The A-Team" Movie

In honor of tonight’s premiere of Mr. T’s reality show; and because I am still on a high from The A-Team marathon over the weekend, I am going to ask the question I said I would never ask.

This week’s Question of the Week is: Who would you cast in an A-Team movie?

You know from previous posts that I am totally opposed to any movie, so I really hope no production companies are reading this, but here goes…

Hannibal—George Clooney. And, of course, there’s the one choice that would actually make me get behind this movie—Kiefer Sutherland.
Face—George Clooney or Hugh Jackman
Murdock— Jim Carrey
B.A.--Michael Clarke Duncan or Ving Rhames

So let me hear from you. Who do you think?

Monday, October 09, 2006

"Heroes": Flying High For Now

Friday, I was talking to a friend of mine about TV and I asked him if he watched “Heroes.” He said that he did and we started talking about how much we liked the show. But the more we talked, the more confused we got. It wasn’t long before we realized that neither one of us had any idea what was happening on the show.

And that is the biggest problem with “Heroes.” However, it’s also one of its best qualities as you try to figure out exactly what is going on with each character and how it fits into the big picture.

If you haven’t been watching, let me do my best to quickly catch you up…

In India, we meet Mohinder Suresh, who has just discovered his geneticist father was killed in New York City. Dr. Suresh was researching normal people with extraordinary abilities and was working on a way of locating them. But apparently, other people are interested in this research as well as Dr. Suresh had suspected he was being followed and Mohinder finds in his father’s apartment a creepy man with glasses—who he later encounters in his cab in New York City. In New York, Mohinder meets a woman who befriended his father who helps him find an important part of his research and an answering machine message from a man named Syler. From the message, it appears that Syler had the extraordinary abilities and Dr. Suresh was working with him, until he started to get out of control. Mohinder decides that he needs to finish what his father began…

Then there are the heroes…

Claire is a popular high school cheerleader who discovers she’s indestructible. She uses her ability to save a man from a fire; but not wanting to admit her ability, allows another cheerleader to step forward and be called a hero. Looking for answers, Claire tells her mother she wants to meet her birthparents. When she tells her father, he is revealed to be the creepy man with glasses. Later, a videotape of Claire using her abilities turns up missing. We later see it being watched by her father…

Matt, a cop who continually gets passed over for promotions, suddenly discovers he has the ability to hear people’s thoughts. He uses his ability to locate a missing girl at a grisly murder scene where the girl’s parents were decapitated with their brains missing. Matt suspects the crime is the work of someone named Syler; but when Matt can’t explain where he heard that name or how he found the girl, he is arrested in connection with the crime himself…

Niki is an Internet stripper who starts seeing strange images of herself in her mirror. She takes out a loan from the mob to put her genius son, Micah, through private school. When the two goons come to collect, they attack Niki. But when Niki comes to, the goons are dead and the image of herself in the mirror warns her to be quiet. Niki takes her camera (that recorded the incident) and bolts to pick up her son. At a red light, Niki watches the video, but when it gets to the part she doesn’t remember, it goes to static and she only hears men screaming. The videotape ends and she is in a different place wearing different clothes. Her phone rings and it’s Micah asking her where she’s been for the last four hours. Niki decides that they need to go on the run, so she takes Micah back to the house to get some stuff and so she can clean up the mess in her garage. But when she goes in, the dead men are gone and everything is spotless. A set of keys hangs from the ceiling that belong to a car outside. In the trunk are the two dead men and a map with a point circled on it. Niki drives to the place on the map (with Micah asleep in the car), finds a shovel and starts to dig. In the ground she discovers a rotting dead body…

Peter is a nurse who has been having dreams that he can fly. He decides to jump off a building and test his flying skills and he invites his brother, Nathan, to witness it from the ground. But as Peter freefalls, he is stopped by Nathan, who is flying. Peter, however, wants to prove his own skills and works his way free from Nathan’s grip and ends up in the hospital. Since Nathan is in the middle of a Congressional campaign, he doesn’t want anything to do with this and he tries to convince Peter that it never happened. Finally, when Peter threatens to do the jump again, Nathan admits that he was flying. Peter is angry because he feels like Nathan has one-upped him again, until he looks down and sees he is walking on air.

Isaac is an artist who is disturbed to discover that while high on heroin, he can paint the future. His girlfriend, Simone, convinces him that they’re just drug-induced hallucinations and he decides to quit using cold turkey to make them stop. Simone asks Peter (who is her father’s nurse) to help detox Isaac, but when they get to Isaac’s apartment, he’s apparently overdosed and is mumbling, “We have to stop it.” On the floor is his newest painting of an apocalyptic explosion in downtown New York.

Hiro is a bored Japanese office worker who discovers he can reverse time and teleport himself to other destinations. When he teleports himself to New York, he finds a comic book that details everything that has happened to him in the last few days. The comic was created by Isaac and Hiro decides to go visit him. But when he gets there, Isaac is dead and has been decapitated with his brain removed. The police come and question Hiro, who tries to explain to them his ability. But when the police call his friend in Japan, they discover that Hiro has been missing for quite some time. When Hiro shows disbelief, the cops show him that day’s newspaper which shows that Nathan has won the election in a landslide. Hiro looks out the window just in time to see the beginning of the apocalyptic explosion that Isaac painted. Quickly, he closes his eyes to teleport himself away and ends up on the subway in Japan—right where he started.

See what I mean about confusing? But for me, it’s a good kind of confusing as we try to sort things out:

Will Hiro realize he has seen the future? And if he does, what will he do about it? Is Syler responsible for the coming apocalypse, and did he kill Mohinder’s father (He apparently kills Isaac in the future.)? Does Peter actually have a power, or did Nathan use his to make it look like Peter could hover? And who is Syler? Could he be the creepy guy with glasses? Or is he Claire’s biological father (I can’t take credit for those last two questions. They came from the Internet.)?

And just what is up with Niki? She is the most complex of the characters as she appears to have some sort of Hulk-like dual personality—which doesn’t come off as all that heroic. But you presume she’ll use her powers for good in the end—or will she?

The big risk with a show like this is that it could start to come unraveled before we get any real answers and since it is from the creator of “Crossing Jordan” (which has come unraveled more than once), I do have that fear. But I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt for now as the writers continue to find ingenious ways to tie these people together and eventually unite them to save the world.

Or at least I think that’s what they’re going to do…

“Heroes” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

Quick Takes: "Smith," "Kidnapped," and "ER"

CBS has officially dropped “Smith” from its schedule, however, no one at CBS is calling it a cancellation (but you know it is). It will be replaced beginning this Wednesday with repeats of "Criminal Minds." Rumor has it that "3 Lbs.," a drama starting Stanley Tucci will debut in that slot in November...

NBC has officially moved “Kidnapped” to Saturdays at 9 p.m. beginning October 21st. “Dateline NBC” will take its place beginning this Wednesday. I applaud NBC for promising to air all 13 episodes so that fans can see how everything turns out—even if it is on the dead zone known as Saturday nights…

And here’s an interesting story I saw today in “Broadcasting & Cable.” Apparently, “ER” is making a comeback for NBC because of its lead-in from “Grey’s Anatomy.” Network executives are theorizing that fans of “Grey’s” are turning to “ER” for more hospital drama after “Grey’s.” There are no actual statistics to back that theory up other than the rise in ratings points from "Deal or No Deal" to "ER." I bet ABC just loves hearing that...

Picks of the Week: Comedy, Drama, Horror and Reali-T

Without further ado, here are this week’s Picks of the Week:

One of this season’s most highly anticipated comedies finally premieres this week. Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin star in “30 Rock,” NBC’s second new show that goes behind the scenes of a late-night sketch comedy. Some critics have called this one the best new comedy of the year, but considering how I feel about critics lately, I’m not going to hold my breath. “30 Rock” premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.

After seeing the incessant promos over the weekend, I feel I have no choice but to pick “I Pity the Fool,” the new reality show from TV Land. Basically, Mr. T is traveling the country to “mo-T-vate” people who need his help. “I Pity the Fool” premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. on TV Land…

I can’t possibly write this post without mentioning part one of the season finale of “Project Runway.” After the awkward—and somewhat nasty—reunion show, things aren’t going to get better as Laura accuses Jeffrey of cheating. Boy, I hope she brings him down. “Project Runway” airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on Bravo…

And speaking of Bravo, my favorite cable network is dusting off one of its classic reality shows (and the inspiration for “Runway”) for a special Friday the 13th marathon. “Project Greenlight” was created by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to help nurture young filmmakers, but the third season just didn’t produce the ratings Bravo was looking for and the show was banished from the schedule—which is unfortunate, because some critics called it the best yet. I had not yet discovered the magic of Bravo when this show was airing and only saw bits and pieces, so I am especially excited that they are giving me another shot to see it. The movie that was created as a result of this season was the horror film, “Feast,” which hit theatres for a limited run on September 22nd. The “Project Greenlight” third season marathon airs Friday, October 13th beginning at 1 p.m. Be warned, however, that the marathon begins with episode four, so you’ll miss the director fighting with the producers about casting his girlfriend in the main role; but you should still see Krista Allen show up for work drunk…

Friday, October 06, 2006

"American Idol": See how it all began

If you’re one of those who jumped into the “American Idol” phenomenon a little late, you can see how it all began on the new syndicated show, “American Idol Rewind.”

Last week’s premiere gave an overview of all of the seasons, but this week’s episode goes back to the beginning when we first met the judges and the hosts (Brian Dunkleman co-hosted with Ryan in the first season). There will be new interviews with some of the contestants and season one runner-up Justin Guarini will introduce the episode.

You can catch “Rewind” in the Huntington area on FOX 11 this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. “Rewind” can also be seen on WGN Sundays at 8 p.m. (replacing “24”—but I digress).

Is "Studio 60" in trouble?

I’m sort of shocked to be writing this, but yes, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” is in trouble.

And if I’m this shocked, I can only imagine what the executives at NBC are thinking.

“Studio 60” is easily the year’s most hyped new show; but it has now lost 32 percent of its audience since the premiere (according to “Variety”).

So what’s going on?

Honestly, I don’t know…

The first place I could look for an answer is the competition—and it is fierce with “CSI: Miami” and “Monday Night Football—but I’ve got to believe there’s something more at work here.

Here are a few questions…

Was “Studio 60” too hyped before its premiere? Yes, it was. When people who are interested in the show get sick of watching the promos, that’s too much. People may have been turned off by the incessant reminders.

Is NBC over-saturating the market with the show? Yes. Constant re-runs on Bravo and USA (which NBC-Universal owns) only water down the original airing.

Was the show marketed wrong? Yes. Every promo tried to mention every star instead of just focusing on the heart of the show—Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford. I would’ve made a big deal about the two of them (especially Perry) “coming home” to NBC.

Has TV passed Aaron Sorkin by? Maybe. “The West Wing” was a drama where his preachiness wasn’t so obvious. In the confines of a show about a comedy, his liberal views tend to bang you over the head. Maybe people just don’t want that anymore.

“Studio 60” fans shouldn’t worry. NBC is not going to pull the plug anytime soon (They can’t afford to.), but they’re going to have to take some action if they want to keep this one around. My suggestion would be to give it a shot Wednesdays at 10, when “Kidnapped” goes off the air. That would put two “SNL”-inspired shows on the same night, but since they’re so different, I think it could work.

In the meantime, if you’re not watching “Studio 60,” I highly recommend it—especially if you’re a Nielsen family.

"Celebrity Duets": A Fitting Finale

The season finale of “Celebrity Duets” was only seen by 4.1 million viewers. But I have to say that those who didn’t watch missed quite a show.

Following the “Idol” formula very closely, each finalist performed solo for the first time plus there were group sings and other special performances. One of the best was the group performance with David Foster of “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” Hal Sparks sounded great, but the song belonged to Marie Osmond who can still belt one out with the best of them.

Little Richard sounded pretty good too with “Good Golly Miss Molly,” but then he mysteriously “had to leave” before the winner was announced. Hmmm…

The highlight, however, was the moment I had been waiting for—a performance by Wayne Brady, as he joined Boyz II Men for a medley of “I’ll Make Love to You” and “End of the Road.” Wayne sounded fantastic! I hope David Foster was paying attention.

There was a winner, too; and thankfully, it was Alfonso Ribeiro. But I have to say the announcement was lacking a little. Somebody should have timed that confetti a little better.

I still think “Duets” was a good concept; it just needed some better execution.

And maybe some bigger celebrities…

"Miami" is back!

As you know, I was a little ticked off at "CSI: Miami" after its premiere.

But when I tuned in Monday night, there were plenty of pointless "Baywatch"-type shots, strange split screens with even stranger special effects and David Caruso emoting all over the place.

In other words, "Miami" is back!

Now, I'm not saying that a two minute shot of Ryan walking to a crime scene or the entire cast walking down the beach for no reason are good things. I'm just saying that they're classic "Miami."

And classic "Miami" IS a good thing.

Welcome back!

A Leading Man "Vanish"es

So, this week, “Vanished” attempted its first major “24”-like twist by killing its main character.

I say “attempted,” because in the world of TV gossip, it was the season’s worst kept secret. In fact, I had a post already written about it, but I didn’t put it on the site because I realized that in discussing what was going on behind the scenes, I was probably giving away the show’s biggest twist.

You can thank me later.

If you missed it, or don’t watch “Vanished,” Monday night, Agent Graham Kelton (Gale Harold) was killed after he started getting too close to the truth.

Rumors had been swirling for weeks that the leading man of a new show was being replaced by an actor who had already been announced as joining the show. All clues pointed to Gale Harold being replaced by Eddie Cibrian (“Third Watch,” “Invasion”); and Monday, we finally got confirmation of that.

So what was the reason?

Reps for the show say that they were strictly going for the shock factor and that any rumors of Harold being difficult on the set are totally untrue. In fact, they say it was always their plan to kill Kelton; but they had planned to do it later in the season. However, the baseball hiatus gave them a chance to do a major cliffhanger, so they moved his death to episode seven.

You know that I never really liked Harold so I applaud the change. But I can’t believe that a “storyline dictated death” would have created so many rumors, so I feel quite certain that someone at FOX didn’t care for Harold either.

When the show returns after baseball, Danny Lucas (Cibrian) will take over the Sara Collins case. Unlike the tortured Kelton, Lucas will be much more comfortable with himself and should give the show a different feel.

Plus, where Sara Collins is will be answered by episode 13. As you may know, that’s the number of episodes in an initial series order. So, if FOX chose to cancel the show, there would be some kind of resolution. The producers promise new facets of the Sara mystery if the show continues.

Though I’ve totally lost track of this one thanks to “Heroes” (I haven’t even seen the episode I’m writing about!), I’ll be sure to jump back in when it returns to see where it’s going—and of course, to see Eddie Cibrian (The writers are probably already plotting ways to get his shirt off.).

“Vanished” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. beginning October 27th on FOX.

"The Nine" gets a 10

I’ve been disappointed by so many of the critics’ choices this year that my expectations for “The Nine” were starting to dwindle. Fortunately for both me and the show, they were right about this one.

The pilot of “The Nine” was character-driven drama at its best as the viewer is forced to put the pieces together with only a handful of clues.

If you missed it, “The Nine” are the nine survivors of a bank hostage situation:

Malcolm Jones (Chi McBride), the bank manager

Felicia Jones (Dana Davis), Malcolm’s daughter, who came into the bank to ask if her boyfriend could borrow the car.

Egan Foote (John Billingsley), who came into the bank to ask for a loan to buy a boat that his wife would not allow him to buy. After Malcolm tells him to go home to his wife, Egan goes to the restroom, where he pulls out a gun and contemplates suicide.

Franny Rios (Camille Guaty), a bank teller, along with her sister Eva (Lourdes Benedicto)

Nick Cavanaugh (Tim Daly), a cop with a gambling addiction. He came into the bank to deposit his check and flirt with Eva. He actually asked her out right before the bank robbers took action.

Lizzie Miller (Jessica Collins), a hospital social worker who came into the bank with her boyfriend, who didn’t want to stand in line to use the ATM outside.

Jeremy Kates (Scott Wolf), a doctor and Lizzie’s boyfriend

Kathryn Hale (Kim Raver), an assistant district attorney, who is sleeping with her boss. She came into the bank to help her mother, who claims that someone stole something out of her safe deposit box.

Lucas Dalton (Owain Yeoman), who tried to rob the bank, along with his brother, Randall

When we first meet these characters, they are going about their normal day, while two men wait outside in a car, plotting a robbery of the bank. One of them, Lucas, is nervous about the whole thing—especially when he spots Nick and realizes he’s a cop. However, Randall, convinces him it will be okay and they take out the security guard and hold everyone at gunpoint.

After the commercial break, we rejoin the scene 52 hours later. We know that some hostages were released and that shots have been fired (We’re told that by the reporters outside the bank.). The SWAT team storms the dark bank and Randall turns around to start shooting, but Egan tackles him and the SWAT team is able to bring him down. Lucas yells for them not to shoot him as he is unarmed. Lizzie is also screaming for them not to shoot Lucas. Nick is handcuffed to a post, covered in blood. He tells the team that it’s the blood of a woman, who has been shot. As the camera pans, we see that it’s Eva who has been shot and Franny and Jeremy are with her. The team also finds a dazed Malcolm and a cowering Felicia. Kathryn is behind a table with a chunk of her hair cut off (It’s found with Randall.).

As Jeremy and Franny go to the hospital with Eva, the rest are questioned about the standoff, but none of them have much to say (or at least we don’t hear it). Egan is hailed as a hero, while Nick punches out the negotiator for his handling of the situation. Lucas is concerned more about Eva than his brother and Felicia can’t remember a single thing about what happened.

Eva dies (Poor Lourdes Benedicto. I knew she was a goner from the previews.) and the nine reconvene for her funeral. Jeremy and Lizzie aren’t even speaking, Egan has completely changed his life and Eva’s son wants to know why Nick didn’t save his mom. Afterward, Lizzie decides the group needs to stay together and works with Egan to arrange a get-together. They all attend except Felicia, who her dad says is at a party.

The episode ends with Lucas being told that his brother has survived as he’s taken to meet a visitor—Felicia.

Though most of these people were strangers when the ordeal started, it’s clear that whatever happened to them in the bank has made them all very close. I have to say that it’s kind of fun to try and pick out all of the clues as to what happened. I’m curious if the writers know themselves…

Here’s what we know so far:

Nick somehow managed to get Kathryn’s mother out of the bank before the standoff ended.

Some kind of “moment” happened in the bank with Jeremy that caused Lizzie to stop talking to him and decide not to tell him she’s pregnant. You get the impression it had something to do with Franny and that hunch is pretty much confirmed when Jeremy and Franny apparently sleep together (although we don’t see how far it goes) after Eva’s funeral.

Malcolm and Felicia were separated for at least some of the time during the standoff, so he doesn’t know everything that happened to her.

Unless they had some kind of past already, something happened in the bank between Nick and Kathryn.

The show is clearly taking a few pages from the “Lost” playbook with its flashbacks and the concept of strangers coming together because of a common experience. But there is no mythology here. These situations are totally based in reality, which makes things a little less confusing.

It also helps the show that it has such an amazing cast. Regardless of my feelings about her role on “24” as Audrey, I am a big Kim Raver fan and it’s nice to see that she is truly the heart of the show here. Tim Daly is an excellent counterpart for her, and I can’t wait to see the two of them get together (because you know they will).

At the risk of jumping the gun (as I’ve been known to do), I’ll withhold my final judgment on the show until I’ve seen another episode or two. But right now, I’d give “The Nine” a 10.

Changes, Part 2

First, let me clarify one of the changes I reported yesterday. “Vanished” is moving to 8 p.m. on Fridays beginning October 27th on FOX. November 1st, FOX will debut a new quiz show called “The Rich List” to air Wednesdays at 9…

The CW is also making some major changes to its schedule beginning next week. To try and protect one of its biggest assets, “Everybody Hates Chris,” the CW is swapping its Sunday and Monday schedules. Beginning this Monday (October 9th), “Chris,” “All of Us,” “Girlfriends,” and “The Game” will move to Mondays 8-10 p.m. CW will re-air each of the shows’ season premieres Monday, with new episodes returning the following week. “7th Heaven” and “Runaway” will move to Sundays beginning October 15th. The new Sunday night will kick off at 7 with an encore of “America’s Next Top Model.”

The move was necessary after the new Sunday comedy block performed horrendously in the ratings. Plus, “7th Heaven” has not performed as well as the network had hoped when it brought the show back from cancellation. I’ve never watched “Heaven,” but I’ve got to believe that it’s hard to jump back into a show that you’ve already said goodbye to—especially when it had to take such drastic steps to come back (miscarriages, etc.). As for moving “Runaway” to Sunday nights, I think the CW is just putting it out of its misery, as the show has gotten off to a horrible ratings start…

In the wake of the shelving of “Knights of Prosperity,” ABC is debuting “Big Day” Tuesday, November 28th at 9 p.m. You may recall that “Day” was supposed to air Thursdays at 8, but was pulled in favor of “Ugly Betty.” The show tells the story of a woman’s wedding day over the course of a season (It’s been called “24” meets “Friends.”)…

And allow me to end on a good note and tell you about a show that’s not going anywhere. NBC announced the first full season pickup of a new show this week and it went to...“Heroes,” which is shaping up to be one of the only breakout hits of the year. I’ll have much more to say about it later…

Friday Free-For-All: October 6, 2006

Wow! This week has been a complete blur for me! I love the start of the fall TV season, but it can be pretty hard to keep up.

For those of you wondering why I haven’t commented on the second episode of “Desperate Housewives,” it’s because I haven’t seen it yet. I also have not seen the entire season premiere of “Lost” (I flipped back and forth during the Marshall game), this week’s “Vanished” and “Studio 60” or any episode of “Runaway” or “Men In Trees.” Some of them I think I’m just going to have to skip…

But feel free to talk about any of those and more in this free-for-all…

Here’s one other note for discussion. Alan Thicke has been signed as the host of “The Singing Office,” a reality show in development at CBS. Basically, people are surprised with impromptu singing auditions at their places of work.

I believe the word you’re looking for is anyway…

So what’s on your mind this week?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Time to Say Goodbye...

The TV season is not even a month old yet, but it’s already time to say goodbye to some of the new shows…

Although no official announcement has been made, the first casualty was FOX’s “Happy Hour,” which was put on hiatus two weeks ago. FOX says it may return, but I seriously doubt it. I say good riddance to bad rubbish…

The next series to go looks like CBS’s “Smith.” This show got a lot of hype with two major stars—Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen—but the ratings have been in a freefall since the premiere. I have to say I never got around to watching it, and now, I guess I won’t have to. “USA Today” reports that “Smith” could be replaced with drama repeats as early as next week…

And it looks like the first of the serialized dramas to bite the dust will be “Kidnapped.” NBC has told the show’s producers to finish making 13 episodes and then stop. Fortunately, the producers had a contingency plan to wrap up the mystery by then if necessary (Take that “Reunion”!)…

So what other shows are in trouble? According to “Brilliant But Cancelled,” the show with the best odds of being cancelled next is “Men In Trees.” Of course, they also list the odds of “Smith” being cancelled at 182:1, so what do they know…

I’ll have much more on this later, so stay tuned…

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes...

I hope you put your weekly TV viewing plans in pencil, because there are about to be a lot of changes…

For those of you who were looking forward to the premiere of “The Knights of Prosperity” (including me), you’re going to have to wait a little longer. ABC has postponed the premiere until at least January. This means that “Dancing with the Stars” will remain at 90 minutes through its entire run.

ABC says the change was made because “Knights” did not have enough viewer recognition (In fact, I received a survey from ABC last week on this subject.), so they want to give it a better promotional push. Personally, I think the lack of recognition may have had more to do with the constant title changes than anything else. You may recall that the show was originally called “Let’s Rob Mick Jagger,” but after Jagger refused to appear in any episodes other than the pilot, the title was scrapped. The thieves will now plot against other stars as well, including Kelly Ripa and Ray Romano…

A good sitcom is an extremely rare thing these days. So, thankfully, CBS is taking steps to save one of theirs. Beginning Monday, “The Class” will move to 8:30 p.m. after “How I Met Your Mother.” The switch comes after “Class” posted its lowest numbers yet this week. Ironically, this lineup was the one CBS unveiled in May, but they changed their minds at the last minute in September.

“The Class” is, in my opinion, the best new comedy of the year thus far, so I totally applaud CBS for the move…

The most moves are taking place at FOX, where almost all of their dramas will shuffle after baseball. “Standoff” will move to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, returning “House” to its usual timeslot at 9. “Vanished” is moving to Fridays at 9 p.m. beginning October 27th and “Justice” will move to Mondays at 9 beginning October 23rd.

You know that I’m thrilled that FOX is trying to save “Justice,” but Mondays at 9? Have the people at FOX not heard about a little show called “Heroes”? The “Standoff” switch had always been planned, but I’m not sure what to think about the “Vanished” move. Personally, I don’t think it sounds promising.

Of course, this is FOX, so you shouldn’t get used to this schedule because it will all change again in January…

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Thanks!

I've just seen the Internet statistics for the H-D blogs and it's nice to see that there are people reading mine.

So thank you, one and all, whoever and wherever you are.

If you have any suggestions, questions, or general comments, feel free to post them and I promise to get to them as quickly as I can.

Thanks again!

Another "Runway" Scandal

I know I say this every week, but I just have to say it again…

I LOVE “PROJECT RUNWAY”!!!

Last week, the show gave us another first as it decided to send all four finalists to Olympus Fashion Week (a twist that was semi-spoiled by the promos): Laura, Jeffrey, Michael and Uli.

But the decision wasn’t without drama. As I predicted from looking at the pictures in “Entertainment Weekly,” there was a model switch as Uli snatched Nazri away from Michael, eliminating her longtime model, Lindsey. A stunned Michael chose Clarissa—Angela’s longtime model—putting her back in the game.

The pictures in “EW” showed something else—a strong collection from Jeffrey, with one fashion expert giving him the win. Could Jeffrey actually win this thing?

Not so fast…

Laura is now accusing Jeffrey of bringing in outside help to complete his collection—which is against show rules. Tim Gunn has told the media that a thorough investigation was conducted; but he is, of course, not saying if any action was taken.

You know what I’m always saying about what goes around, comes around. Wouldn’t it be great if Jeffrey finally got his comeuppance for being so rude to Angela’s mother on the verge of his greatest triumph?

Since the reunion special is filmed before the runway show, I doubt we will hear anything about it tonight. But I think you can guarantee this controversy is only beginning.

Stay tuned…

Apparently, I'm just getting too picky...

I’m apparently getting really picky…

All of the critics raved about “Ugly Betty,” and I liked it; but for some reason, I just couldn’t get into it enough to want to watch it again.

If you missed it, “Ugly” is the story of Betty (America Ferrara), a young woman from a working-class Hispanic family who dreams of a job at a serious magazine. But Meade Publishing’s owner, Bradford Meade (the wonderful Alan Dale), decides that Betty would be perfect as an assistant to his son, Daniel (Eric Mabius), because he wouldn’t want to sleep with her (because most people consider her ugly—thus, the title). The problem for Betty is that Daniel is the editor-in-chief of “Mode,” a magazine about fashion—which Betty knows nothing about.

So, of course, Betty is ridiculed by her fellow employees. Daniel tries to get her to quit—which she does—but then he feels guilty about it and gets her to help him one-up Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams), Daniel’s nemesis, who is angry about being passed over for the editor job. By the end of the episode, Daniel has discovered what we knew all along which is that Betty may not be a beauty queen on the outside (although I would not go so far as to call her ugly), she is a stunner on the inside.

Ferrara is perfectly cast as Betty, Mabius (last seen as the dean on “The O.C.”) is a total cutie as Daniel and Williams is really good as the witch. I also love the running joke of Executive Producer Salma Hayek as the star of the family’s favorite telenovela (Spanish soap opera). But the show just didn’t leave me wanting for more—and I don’t know why.

It may have something to do with the strange twist involving Wilhelmina. At the end of the episode, Wilhelmina met with a woman in bandages and traction about how they could stop Daniel and Betty. Presumably, the woman is the former “Mode” editor who was believed to be dead. I know “Ugly” is based on a popular telenovela, but that twist is a little too soap opera for me and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the show.

Plus, I can only take so many jokes at Betty’s expense. Yes, she has bad taste in clothes and wears braces—get over it!

Maybe the entire show just reminds me too much of high school…

But “Ugly” was not the only critics’ darling I couldn’t find myself getting into as “Friday Night Lights” also fell victim to my pickiness. It was just so earnest that it made me cringe.

For the record, “Lights” is the story of the Dillon High School Panthers as they begin their season under new head coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler). Football is life in Dillon, Texas, and there’s plenty of pressure on everyone.

The scenes with the overly involved boosters were fun (“You ever blitz an older woman?”), but so much of the show’s dramatic scenes came off as just corny. In one scene, a player urges on his teammates by saying, “Let’s touch God, boys.” And just about everything out of Coach Taylor’s mouth comes off as way too sentimental. It’s like the show is just trying too hard.

And it’s a tad predictable. I missed the first 15 minutes, but I still knew from the second I turned on the TV that the star quarterback was going to get hurt. And, of course, the unsure backup quarterback led the Panthers to a win.

As with “Ugly,” “Lights” is not a bad show, I just can’t find a reason to keep watching.

Apparently, I really am just getting too picky…

“Ugly Betty” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC. “Friday Night Lights” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Question of the Week: "Lost"

Tonight is the highly anticipated season premiere of “Lost.”

So, in honor of that, here’s this week’s Question of the Week:

What are your theories about “Lost”?

And yes, Marshall fans, you're right. The timing of the premiere really stinks!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Just Like Jack

A few weeks ago, I was shopping at my favorite store, Kohl’s, when I got cracked up at a little girl shopping with her mother.

The girl was proudly carrying around her brand new “High School Musical” t-shirt. She was talking a mile a minute to the adult with her about the outfit she was wearing. “This is the outfit that Galleria wore to her meeting,” she told her gleefully—Galleria being one of the Cheetah Girls.

I got cracked up, not because I was making fun of the little girl, but because I could totally relate to her.

And if you see me heading to work beginning this week, you’ll understand why.

That’s right. I am now the proud owner of a Rothco 9148HW Classic Messenger Bag—the same bag Jack Bauer carried last season on “24.”

And yes, I am just as excited as that little girl.

I think that owning the clothes or accessories of our favorite TV characters make us feel like we’re a part of it all. And let’s face it. It’s just really cool.

Although I’m pretty sure that Jack Bauer never had lipstick in his bag…

Unless he found a way to use it to kill someone.

The "View" is not a pretty one

I had never seen the new and improved “The View” until last week when I taped it to see Clay Aiken.

Wow! What a trainwreck!

I never liked Star Jones. She talked too much about herself and she never let anyone else get a word in edgewise. But she was a sweetheart compared to Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Apparently, Star’s departure flipped some kind of on switch in her. She never shuts up long enough for the guest to answer her question and she’s always talking over everyone else. Poor Clay actually had to move his head back and forth like a pinball to keep up with who was talking (which got a laugh from the audience).

Watching Rosie O’Donnell on the show only reminds me how much I miss “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” Rosie is clearly trying to bring over elements of that show, but with three other people to compete with, it doesn’t always work.

Joy Behar just acts like she doesn’t want to be there (and as little as she gets to talk, she might as well not be). When Clay said he was concerned about anti-depressant drugs being addictive, she immediately jumped in to say that she’s never heard of them being addictive (fortunately Rosie jumped in to save Clay). Then, apparently bored with the conversation, she interrupted Clay mid-sentence to ask if he was going to sing.

I didn’t watch any other part of the show, but if that’s how the ladies act with everyone, I’d have to want to plug something awfully bad to show up there.

The Morning Trainwreck, i.e. “The View,” can be seen weekdays at 11 a.m. on ABC.

"Help" Yourself By Skipping This One

You know a comedy is bad if at the end of it you ask yourself, “Was that supposed to be funny?”

That’s what happened to me Tuesday night after watching “Help Me Help You.” The show was so not funny, I don’t even know what to say.

Ted Danson is Dr. Bill Hoffman, a group therapist. He manages to solve his group’s problems, but he can’t deal with his own separation—especially when he finds out his wife is dating.

And that’s really all I can say other than to say once again that it’s just not funny.

Jane Kaczmarek, as Bill’s estranged wife, is the only bright spot in the show; but she totally deserves better. There would be possibilities with the therapy group if any of those characters were worth caring about.

My advice is to help yourself by skipping this one. There’s no charge for the session.

A "Shark" in Familiar Waters...

I’ve never watched an episode of “House,” but Thursday night I did.

Only House was a lawyer named Stark. And the show was called “Shark.”

There’s been so much talk this season about all the shows trying to copy “24,” that no one’s even noticed this complete “House” rip-off.

Let’s see. Cantankerous older mentor? Check. Young doubting students? Check. Crazy circumstances that help solve everything in the end? Check.

Quite frankly, the only real appeal of “Shark” is James Woods. So, if you don’t like him, you’ll hate this show.

For the record, Stark is a hotshot defense attorney. But when a client he gets off commits another murder, he has a bit of a breakdown. So, the mayor asks Stark to come work for the DA’s office—much to the chagrin of the DA (the underused Jeri Ryan). Stark is given a team of young, inexperienced attorneys that he must school in the ways of being a legal shark.

There’s also a semi-interesting subplot concerning Stark’s relationship with his daughter. But the majority of the show is James Woods chewing the scenery as his co-stars stand around and watch.

Obviously, I’ve got no problem with cocky lawyers since I love Victor Garber’s Ron Trott on “Justice.” But whereas Trott actually comes off as likeable (due in large part to Garber), Stark just comes off as annoying.

And at least Ron Trott doesn’t resort to the Perry Mason-like confession.

If you’re a James Woods fan, you’ll want to check out “Shark.” Otherwise, just let it swim on by.

Friday Free-For-All: September 29, 2006

Please note: I had a Friday Free-For-All written and then didn’t get it posted on the site, so here is the one you were supposed to read Friday.

Here are some of my thoughts from this past week…

Just as I figured, I was more impressed by this week’s episode of “Studio 60” than I was the pilot—even though it took shots at both FOX and Clay Aiken (two things near and dear to my heart). But am I the only one that thought that “hilarious” opening sketch wasn’t funny?...

I warned you about Jai Rodriguez choking on “Celebrity Duets.” So who’s the favorite now? If it’s based on singing, it’s got to be Alfonso Ribeiro (even though I’m mad at him for not knowing “Angel” by Jon Secada); but Lucy Lawless has a pretty strong following. However, her duet with Bonnie Tyler on “Total Eclipse of the Heart” may have done her in. It was pretty bad. I was disappointed with my guy, Hal Sparks, for not bringing back Wynonna, but Dennis DeYoung turned out to be a good choice. I just wish he hadn’t screamed “18 and Life” (Boy, did Sebastian Bach sound good!). The finale airs tonight (Friday the 29th) at 9 p.m. on FOX…

Kudos to FOX for re-airing the “Justice” pilot tonight at 8. If this is a tryout, they’ve picked a good place for it. The only real competition is “Ghost Whisperer”…

So, see anything good or bad this week? What’s on your mind?

Picks of the Week: Lights, Camera, Action!

I love the beginning of the new fall season, because there’s always so much to choose from…until you actually watch the shows and realize they weren’t worth the wait.

But here are some shows that I think will be—or at least I hope so.

Here are this week’s Picks of the Week:

Movies turned into TV shows don’t always work, but it looks like “Friday Night Lights” will. It probably helps that the show can also mine material from the book that inspired the movie. And Kyle Chandler (as the team’s coach) is always a plus. “Lights” premieres Tuesday, October 3rd at 8 p.m. on NBC.

It’s finally here, the season premiere of “Lost.” The episode puts most of the focus on Jack, Sawyer, and Kate as they try to escape the Others and we see more about Jack’s life in the show’s flashback. But “Lost” fans shouldn’t get too used to having their favorite show back. After a month-long run, “Lost” will disappear until February. The good news is that it will return with a non-stop run of new episodes. “Lost” premieres Wednesday, October 4th at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Wednesday is a big night for ABC as we also get the series premiere of the new show I have been most anticipating—“The Nine.” I don’t know that I can make room on my plate for another serialized drama, but I’m going to try for this one. “The Nine” premieres Wednesday, October 4th at 10 p.m. on ABC.

However, as much as I’ve been anticipating “The Nine,” I’m afraid I’m going to have to tape it, because I’ve been anticipating this episode of “Project Runway” even more—the reunion special. These are always fun, and this one looks to be no different as Keith, who was kicked off for cheating, returns, and according to the commercials, he’s claiming conspiracy. This should be good. “Project Runway” airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on Bravo.

Speaking of Bravo, they have apparently finally received all of the telepathic signals I’ve been sending them about adding “A Few Good Men” to their movie library. I was a little concerned that Tom Cruise’s antics had scared all of the cable channels away from this movie, but thankfully NBC-Universal’s need to promote Aaron Sorkin wiped that out. And there’s no better network to show it than Bravo. If you’ve never seen this movie, you must tune in, as in my humble opinion, it is one of the best films ever made. “A Few Good Men” airs Friday at 8 p.m. on Bravo.

And finally, TV Land gives us an entire 48 hours of one of my favorite shows of all time—“The A-Team.” The marathon serves as a promotion for “I Pity the Fool,” the new TV Land reality series starring Mr. T. “The A-Team” marathon begins Saturday, October 7th at 6 a.m. on TV Land.

Playing Catch Up

So because last week was so crazy for me, I neglected you, my loyal readers.

So today is all about playing catch-up. First, I’ll have my Picks of the Week and then I’ll have all of the posts that I’ve written, but have not gotten on the site.

Those posts might include reviews of some shows that have already aired their second episodes, so I hope you’ll forgive me for my tardiness.

There’s a lot to come, so stay tuned…