The Herald-Dispatch |

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, March 31, 2009

"CSI: Miami": HUH?!

For the past few weeks, I have been saying that “CSI: Miami” is on a hot streak.

I would say that streak ended last night with an episode that made very little sense to me.

It’s possible, however, that I was still reeling from last night’s “24,” so since I know there are a lot of “Miami”/Ryan Wolfe fans out there, maybe you can help explain it to me…

When last week’s episode ended, the team had just learned that the Russian mob was watching their every move and that they were all in danger. Delko was trying to get a hold of Wolfe, but he had already been captured by the Russians after they made sure his Hummer would have a flat.

But when last night’s episode opened, it was the next day. Ryan was trying to clean himself up after his ordeal while in another home Delko and Calleigh were enjoying their morning like they didn’t have a care in the world.

So, within the first five minutes, things already didn’t make sense. What happened to Horatio’s concern for Wolfe? Did no one notice that Wolfe didn’t arrive wherever he was going? He was in his CSI Hummer, not his personal vehicle. Didn’t anyone notice it by the side of the road? And then what happened to it? Did the Russians move it and then bring it back?

And was that house supposed to be Wolfe’s? YIKES! I think he’s spending too much money on those suits…

As the scenes unfolded, we learned more and more about what happened to Wolfe. We had been led to believe this whole thing was all about the Russian mob getting back at Horatio and the team, but instead the show went down that same old road with Wolfe’s gambling. Apparently, Ryan had taken on his sponsor’s debt and thus far had been unable to pay it off (That was all explained in an earlier episode. Probably the last episode in which Wolfe got any real camera time.). So when the Russians’ threats and tooth removal didn’t get Wolfe to go along with them, they threatened his sponsor’s son’s life which made Ryan agree to interfere with a murder investigation.

Here’s the next thing that didn’t make sense. When Ryan showed up at the crime scene, wouldn’t Calleigh or Delko have asked him where he was when they were trying to call him? Or at least given him the heads-up that the Russians were after them? And since they’re forensic investigators whose job is to look for the smallest details, wouldn’t they have noticed Ryan’s lip and wondered if that had something to do with him going missing?

But no, not even a “Mr. Wolfe [sunglasses off], is everything okay, son?” from Horatio.

So, of course, Wolfe goes into full-on shifty mode—a mode he has used WAY too many times on the show before—and starts messing with the crime scene, including hiding a key piece of evidence in his coat pocket.

But when the evidence leads to one of the Russian henchman being arrested, the mob ups the ante and kidnaps Wolfe’s sponsor’s son.

Now we move on to the next thing that didn’t make sense. Wolfe’s sponsor, Mark (the usually yummy Josh Hopkins), left Miami with his son, Billy, because they were in danger from the Russians. But when he hears Wolfe has taken on his debt, he feels guilty and comes back, yet doesn’t tell Wolfe he’s back. And, even though he is in danger from the Russians, Mark takes his son to a public school and just drops him off without making sure he gets into the building safely.


The kidnapping forces Wolfe to blatantly sabotage an interrogation making him look absolutely ridiculous in front of Delko, who has never been much of a Wolfe fan anyway.

However, if Delko is as great of a CSI as we’re led to believe then wouldn’t he have put a few clues together? Wolfe does something completely idiotic that damages a case the day after he disappeared and then reappeared with his lip cut up and a tooth missing? Sounds fishy to me…

Now, I should say that Calleigh did start putting some of the clues together after Ryan made another completely boneheaded move, but her presumption was that Ryan was gambling again. It never occurred to her that there could be something more sinister at work, even though one of the Russian mobsters tried to kill her the day before.

Finally, when Mark shows up to find out what happened to Billy, Horatio gets clued in on what’s going on and starts trying to find him. Fortunately, Wolfe had done some actual CSI work in addition to his sabotage and was able to help Horatio out. Why Wolfe didn’t just go to Horatio in the first place, I have no idea seeing as how he’s Superman and would no doubt have found a way to help Wolfe. But then we wouldn’t have gotten to see the shifty Wolfe that the writers are clearly so found of showing us.

But Horatio didn’t take Wolfe off the case or order him not to do any more sabotaging, so Ryan kept it up. But when the Russians decided that Wolfe hadn’t done enough they called him so he could hear Billy die.

If there was one saving grace of this episode it was this scene as Wolfe could only listen in horror to what was happening. Jonathan Togo made the most of his camera time as he conveyed the moment beautifully. And when Horatio picked up the phone to let Wolfe know that Billy was alright, Wolfe’s slump to the floor with everyone watching was a classic moment.

But did Calleigh and Delko witness that scene so they could know what Wolfe had been going through and why he had screwed up their investigation? No. That would have made too much sense.

Which leads me to this. With Billy safe, Wolfe gave Calleigh and Delko the missing evidence they needed to solve the case. Understandably, they were furious with him for hiding it. Wolfe told them there were “extenuating circumstances” but he didn’t tell them what they were. Why not? Did he think they wouldn’t understand? And why was Wolfe so surprised when Delko threw him out of the lab? I would’ve done the same thing.

At the end of the episode, we learned that this was indeed the Russians trying to get back at Horatio’s team—just like the Mala Noche in previous seasons. They had gone after Ryan because they suspected him to be the weak link. But Horatio said, “They underestimated you, didn’t they?”

But did they? Yes, Ryan gathered evidence from his own clothing that allowed Horatio to find Billy and yes, he did keep the evidence he took instead of destroying it. But he still helped the Russians and in the process turned Calleigh and Delko against him—AGAIN!

So now what? Will Ryan have to face another review board? Will all of his cases get reopened

again? Will he lose his job again? Will we have to watch him and Delko face off at every crime scene again?

If you haven’t figured it out, Ryan Wolfe is my favorite character on this show and has been since he took over for Tim Speedle in season three. So I’m getting really tired of the show constantly picking on him and recycling old storylines to do so.

Why didn’t the Russians go after Horatio by kidnapping Kyle? Or why didn’t they go after Delko by kidnapping Calleigh? Why did the writers once again have to make Wolfe the outsider by forcing him to go against the team?

I mean, do they want him to be a part of this or not?

Honestly, I think I’d rather he not get any screen time than to have to keep seeing this…

You can watch the episode for yourself at…
Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Monday, March 30, 2009

"24": I Am Not Happy...

When the final seconds of tonight’s episode of “24” ticked away, I just quietly turned the channel to “CSI:Miami.”

There was honestly nothing to say…

Warning: If you have not seen tonight’s episode of “24,” stop reading now…

The big reveal was so nonchalant, you almost missed it. Yes, Jack Bauer tested positive for the disease caused by the bio-weapon.

And no, I am not happy about it…

Not only am I not happy about it because it creates the real possibility that Jack could die, but I’m also not happy about it because it puts Jack on the sidelines. Though I appreciate Tony getting into the action, I would rather he team with Jack, not Larry.

And the previews showing Jack starting to show symptoms? I am REALLY not happy about that.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought this week to the “24” endgame and whether infecting Jack with this bio-weapon could actually play into it. Honestly, I’m not sure but I’m starting to think it’s a distinct possibility.

In the meantime, there are eight episodes remaining in this season, and I can’t believe Jack will spend all of them waiting to die. The show went that route in season two when Jack had a heart attack every five minutes. It was ridiculous then and it would be ridiculous now. This has been an outstanding season and I’d hate to see it run off the rails.

But more than that, I hate to see Jack as a victim. The Jack Bauer we know and love is the one that kicks butt and saves the world, not the one who needs to be saved.

I’m hoping that somewhere at Starkwood there is the cure and Jack will have to decide how far he’s willing to go to get it. Personally, I’m willing to forgive him for going as far as it takes.

And if he does it in that long-sleeved black shirt, that would be even better…

Hey, I’ve got to find some positive out of this, don’t I?

“24” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX…

Photo Credit: Kelsey McNeal/FOX

"My Boys" Review: A Group You'll Want to Hang Out With

I’m honestly not sure why I’ve never watched “My Boys.”

The cast is adorable and there’s that wonderful element of star-crossed romance I’m all about.

And after watching the first two episodes of the new season, I’m thinking I’m going to finally add the show to my must-see list…

If you’ve never seen it, “My Boys” is a comedy following P.J. (Jordana Spiro), a Chicago sportswriter, and her guy friends Bobby (Kyle Howard), Brendan (Reid Scott), Kenny (Michael Bunin), Mike (Jamie Kaler), her brother Andy (Jim Gaffigan), and her best gal pal Stephanie (Kellee Stewart Star).

When last we left the gang, Bobby was getting ready to marry Elsa, but was having second thoughts. P.J. hooked up with Bobby’s brother, although she has feelings for Bobby. Mike also hooked up at the wedding with a friend of Bobby’s mother and Kenny hooked up with Stephanie.

In the premiere, Brendan works to open his nightclub, Andy struggles with being a new father and Mike discovers the magic of a moustache. Plus, the whole Bobby-P.J. thing gets resolved.

I am sworn to secrecy by TBS about how it all turns out, but I can tell you that it’s pretty satisfying—even for a non-fan like me.

In fact, it’s so satisfying I think it might have turned me into a fan…

If that didn’t do it, the second episode did because it is absolutely hilarious as the boys go on a stake out to spy on P.J. and Mike starts to think he’s a cop. I laughed out loud through most of the episode.

With an adorable cast, funny characters and a romantic story, “My Boys” are exactly the kind of group you’ll want to hang out with.

“My Boys” premieres Tuesday, March 31st at 10:30 p.m. on TBS…

Photo Credit: TBS

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pick of the Week: An "ER" To Cherish

Anytime a series comes to an end, it’s an important occasion.

But when a series comes to an end after 15 seasons on the air, it’s a major event…

My Pick of the Week is the series finale of “ER.”

The team at County General will say goodbye as Carter (Noah Wyle) opens a facility for the underprivileged and a few old friends return to show their support, including Dr. Lewis (Sherry Stringfield), Dr. Weaver (Laura Innes), Dr. Benton (Eriq LaSalle) and Dr. Corday (Alex Kingston).

Plus, if reports are true, we’ll get the return of another cast member that will allow the show to come full circle in a beautiful way.

The two-hour finale will be preceded by an hour-long retrospective with clips and cast interviews.

I really hope they show more of Paul McCrane (Dr. Romano) than all that helicopter nonsense. He deserves better…

The NBC promos for “ER” were always the most dramatic on the air as each week they told you this was the one you could not afford to miss. But this time, I have to say it truly is “an ‘ER’ to cherish”…

The series finale of “ER” airs Thursday, April 2nd at 9 p.m. on NBC with the retrospective at 8 p.m….

Photo Credit: NBC

This Week's Sweeps Schedule

Here is what you can expect from the last three days of March sweeps, remembering—as always—that schedules are subject to change…

Monday, March 30th
Chuck—8 PM—NBC
**Tricia Helfer (“Battlestar Galactica”) guests.
Greek—8 PM—ABC Family—Season Premiere
CSI: Miami—10 PM—CBS
**Last week’s Russian mob story continues as Wolfe is tortured and forced to betray Horatio and the team.

Tuesday, March 31st
90210—9 PM—CW
**The show returns after a hiatus to its new timeslot.
The Osbournes: Reloaded—9:25 PM—FOX
**The Osbournes’ new variety show gets a tryout after “American Idol.”
Cupid—10 PM—ABC—Series Premiere
**Bobby Cannavale and Sarah Paulson star in this remake of a failed 1998 comedy (starring Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall) about a man who may or may not be the real Cupid.
The 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s—10 PM—VH1
**Part two and three air Wednesday, April 1st, part four Thursday, April 2nd and part five on Friday, April 3rd. A marathon airs Saturday, April 4th from 4-8 p.m.
My Boys—10:30 PM—TBS—Season Premiere

Wednesday, April 1st
Pedro—8 PM—MTV
**This TV movie tells the story of Pedro Zamora of “The Real World: San Francisco” who was one of the first openly gay TV personalities.
I Get That A Lot—8 PM—CBS
**In this April Fool’s Day special, celebrities work ordinary jobs and try to convince people they aren’t celebrities. Among the celebs is Jessica Simpson who works at a computer repair shop.
Real World: Brooklyn—10 PM—MTV—Season Finale
Damages—10 PM—FX—Season Finale
Life On Mars—10:02 PM—ABC—Series Finale
Reno 911—10:30 PM—Comedy Central—Season Premiere

Photo Credits: Cliff Lipson/CBS and Sonja Flemming/CBS

Welcome Back, Tiger!

I hope you guys will forgive me for one more sports-related post…

How awesome was it to see that Tiger Woods fist pump after he nailed the winning birdie on the 72nd hole after all that time away from the game?

If you missed it, let me tell you it was pretty awesome.

And coming back from five shots down? Even more awesome.

Welcome back, Tiger. We’ve missed you.

Now, on to the Masters…

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Midnight Bayou" Review: Too Much Undeveloped Potential

In all honesty, “Nora Roberts’ Midnight Bayou” is not all that easy to describe, but I’ll give it a shot…

Jerry O’Connell is Declan Fitzpatrick, a Boston attorney who broke up with his fiance and moved to New Orleans to buy Manet Hall, a haunted antebellum mansion that Declan felt a connection to when he visited eight years before.

But soon, Declan is feeling another connection to Lena Simone (Lauren Stamile). But Lena has a stormy past that she can’t seem to shake and even with her grandmother’s (Faye Dunaway) urging, she’s hesitant to start something with Declan.

However, Declan doesn’t give up, especially when he starts to think that he and Lena are more connected to Manet Hall than either of them would have ever thought—a realization he comes to through mysterious visions he sees in his home.

There’s no doubt that “Bayou” is out there as it deals not only with spirits, but also reincarnation and—since it is New Orleans—voodoo. But there is also a genuine mystery as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always quite work since the resolution depends on the spirits, the reincarnation and the voodoo.

But probably the biggest problem is that the movie spends too much time on the build-up and not enough time for the payoff. And because it does spend so much time building up the mystery, there is barely any romance whatsoever. Plus, the story of Lena’s mother is so undeveloped, I was surprised to see her play such an important part in the resolution. Maybe that’s why it didn’t make a lot of sense.

O’Connell is adorable as always and Stamile is good as his love interest. And Dunaway is as mysterious and creepy as you can get. But they’re not enough to save the movie’s inconsistencies.

That being said, “Bayou” is not a terrible movie as it has a lot of potential. It’s just that the potential doesn’t really get developed. I’ve got to believe that the book is better.

Maybe the people who made this movie will be reincarnated as other TV movie producers and get another chance to make it right…

“Nora Roberts’ Midnight Bayou” premieres tonight (Saturday, March 28th) at 9 on Lifetime with encore presentations tonight at 11 and Monday, March 30th at 9 p.m.

Photo Credit: Skip Bolen/Lifetime

Congratulations to the State Champion Oak Hill Oaks! UPDATED

Forget the NCAA Tournament. If you’re into March Madness, I hope you were watching the Ohio Boys Division IV State Championship earlier today.

In one of the most exciting games I think I’ve ever seen, the mighty Oak Hill Oaks won the state title 48-43 in TWO OVERTIMES! My neighbors had to be wondering what I was watching…

Yes, boys and girls, Coach Norm Persin is bringing home his first state title.

I’m not going to lie to you guys. I got more than a little teary-eyed…

Congratulations to the Mighty Oaks for bringing home their first state championship.

And congratulations Coach Persin. I know I couldn’t have been the only Chesapeake alum rooting for you today. You truly deserve this…

I just wish the announcers would have bothered to get your name right…

You can watch video from the game here.

You can also catch a rebroadcast on SportsTime Ohio Sunday at 6 a.m. and Saturday, April 4th at 6 p.m…

I now return you to my regularly scheduled blog…

UPDATE: Check out an 8+ minute compilation of WSAZ's excellent coverage on their website here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Mighty Oaks Roll On...

If you haven’t heard the good news, let me be the first to share it with you…

The king of Ohio high school basketball is headed to the state championship.

That’s right. The mighty Oaks of Oak Hill won their semifinal game today. You can see video of the game and the post-game press conferences here.

The Oaks will take on Kalida at 10:45 a.m. (!) Saturday for the Division IV State Championship. You can watch Saturday’s action here or on SportsTime Ohio.

So let me say it one more time…


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Has “Dancing With the Stars” Found Its Own Sanjaya?

There was plenty of shock in the “Dancing With the Stars” ballroom last night as Apple co-founder and billionaire genius Steve Wozniak stayed in the competition after scoring a 10 from the judges.

In fact, Woz was quite surprised himself. And I’m guessing that Maks never dreamed he’d be going home before his fiancé, Karina…

Clearly, there are A LOT of people voting for him since he didn’t even make the bottom two.

So has “DWTS” found its very own Sanjaya? Will the judges score Woz even lower next week to try and combat his popularity?

Of course, the real reason to watch last night—other than to see Denise Richards eliminated—was the performance from the amazing Daryl Hall and John Oates. Daryl was in as great of voice as ever, but those sunglasses were a little weird. I think he was trying to keep himself from being distracted by Karina’s outfit.

And why didn’t they get him an omnidirectional microphone so he wouldn’t fade out when he backed away for the big notes?...

You can see the performance here. Daryl added some new wrinkles that I’ll have to learn before I take this one to karaoke again…

Photo Credit: Kelsey McNeal/ABC

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Desperate Housewives": I've Truly Outgrown These People

You guys are no doubt wondering why I haven’t said anything about “Desperate Housewives” recently. I haven’t said anything, because I haven’t been watching…

As I’ve told you before, Sunday night is usually date night for me. So, it was always a given to tape “DH.” But over the last couple of months, I just haven’t even bothered. I just didn’t really care enough to put in the time of watching it.

However, due to a schedule change, I have actually been home to watch the show these past two weeks. And since I knew there was a big event coming up, I wanted to see how it unfolded.

But sadly, I think I have to stick with my thoughts in my last post about the show. I really think I have outgrown “Desperate Housewives.”

Of course, any growth at all would outgrow these characters…

Warning: If you have not yet seen this week’s “Desperate Housewives,” stop reading now…

Remember that five years have passed. So why is Lynette just as selfish as she ever was? One more time she swooped in to take away Tom’s opportunity. If the show wanted her to be a working woman, why did it ever take her out of that role to begin with? I do have to say, however, that I enjoyed her power play this week as she managed to get Carlos’ new VP fired. But that stuff needs to be a rarity, not the usual.

And what in the world have they done to Orson? Yes, I can understand why he would be upset over Bree’s business. But what did he expect her to do while he was in prison? Sit around and knit all day? It’s really something when Andrew is the voice of reason. He was right that if Orson loved Bree he wouldn’t take her business from her. And Orson expressing his frustration through stealing is just ridiculous.

But the one that ticked me off the most this week was Karl, Susan’s ex-husband. I’m a big fan of Richard Burgi, so I couldn’t believe the show was asking him to continue playing such a jerk. Obviously, no one at the show remembers that Susan almost got back together with him, so they continue to play the jerk card. They’ve both been married since then! Stop it! Thankfully, the show did redeem Karl somewhat when he finally admitted the reason he had been so flip about his child’s disturbing drawings was to hide the fact that his wife had left him. And Susan showed a little growth herself, when she responded with sympathy as opposed to happiness.

When Gaby told Carlos that they were becoming who they used to be and that she didn’t want to go back to that, I wanted to scream, “Hallelujah! Somebody gets it!” Is it possible that Gaby has actually grown the most of all of them?

But someone who won’t have a chance to grow is Edie, who in the worst kept secret in TV, was killed Sunday night after she ran off the road to avoid Orson, hit an electric pole and then was electrocuted when she got out of the car.

Seeing as how Orson has experience in running people over with cars, you’d think he would have known to get out of the way…

I think Edie taught us a very valuable lesson this week. If you suspect that your husband is a psychopath trying to hurt someone else, you shouldn’t respond to the knowledge by waiting alone for him to get home, while enjoying some wine. You might think about calling the person you think he’s trying to hurt or—even better—calling the police. That way when he confesses to you that he is a psychopath, the police can emerge from another room in the house and take him away.

But then we wouldn’t have had any story, would we? Then again, maybe that would have been better…

Now, I will no doubt watch the remainder of the season to see how this whole Dave thing plays out, but after that, I really think I’m done with “DH.” I’m sure there’s something else for me to watch that will better suit my new maturity.

Maybe like another edition of “Rock of Love”…

Photo Credit: Ron Tom/ABC

Monday, March 23, 2009

"CSI: Miami": Some More Monday Frustration

Wow! Tonight was a little frustrating...

I've known for weeks that Ryan Wolfe (Jonathan Togo) was going to end up in the clutches of the Russian mob at the conclusion of tonight's episode. But that didn't make it any easier to see--especially when the previews show Ryan giving in to their demands...

Why, oh why, must they always make Wolfe the bad guy? First, he got kicked off the team for a gambling problem. Then, he ticked everyone on the team off by becoming a CSI expert for the TV news. And then, just when Wolfe finally got himself back together, he was the main suspect when Horatio was "killed" in last season's finale, thanks to an ominous cliffhanger.

I appreciate the show giving the underused Togo some more camera time, but couldn't the show pick on someone else for a while?
Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

"24": I Don't Like This...

I was upset enough that Jack abandoned Tony on tonight's "24" because Jack just had to save the guy with the sob story.

But then...

Jack told Larry Moss that he had been exposed to a deadly toxin. Now, I knew that because I saw it, but I just presumed that they'd brush it aside and say Jack shut off the valve in time. But the look of concern on Larry's face told me they're actually going to tease us with this one for an hour or so.

At that point I let out a word that I can't write in this blog...

Now, of course, I don't think for a second that anything is actually going to happen to Jack, but it still upsets me nonetheless.

I'm just glad that the deadly toxin didn't keep him from jumping that fence, because that was seriously cool...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Presidential Press Conference Schedule Shuffle

I’ve got to believe that the TV networks are wondering when President Obama’s economic recovery program is going to help them out.

Sure, the President threw NBC a pretty big bone with his appearance on “The Tonight Show,” and his interview on “60 Minutes” tonight no doubt helped out CBS, but even they can’t be happy about the President’s press conference Tuesday night in the heart of sweeps.

Not only does it cost the networks millions of dollars in ad revenue, it also completely messes with their schedules and causes ratings confrontations they really don’t want.

The Presidential Press Conference will air Tuesday, March 24th at 8 p.m. on all four networks. Here are the scheduling changes as a result…

FOX will air a rerun of “House” at 9 p.m. The “American Idol” performance show will move to Wednesday at 8 p.m. and the results show to Thursday at 8 p.m. “Lie to Me” and “Bones” will both be preempted this week…

On Tuesday, CBS will bump “NCIS” to 9 p.m. and “The Mentalist” to 10 p.m. preempting “Without a Trace”…

NBC will move its two-hour episode of “The Biggest Loser: Couples” to 9 p.m. and preempt “Law & Order: SVU”…

ABC’s schedule will see the least harm as it will only be forced to preempt the “Dancing With the Stars” recap show…

This sets up a very interesting week ratings-wise for “American Idol.” On Wednesday, it will compete with “Survivor,” which relocates to Wednesday for the week because of NCAA basketball; and on Thursday, it will take on NCAA basketball. I look for it to have one of its lowest-rated weeks ever, which is a shame because I look for it to be the best show of the season so far…

I understand the President wanting to get the word out about his economic recovery program, but I think he could have waited one more week until sweeps was completed. He will need the networks to help him sell this thing and if he does this to many more times, he’s going to lose them…

Photo Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Pick of the Week: Some Juicy Reality Drama

What started out as an occasional time filler for me has now turned into must-see-TV. And so this week, I’m passing it on to you…

My Pick of the Week is: “The Millionaire Matchmaker.”

There’s no one on TV like matchmaker Patti Stanger. She’s fun, full of life, and as blunt as it gets. But her bluntness is only due to her passion for her job. Patti strongly believes in love and she’ll use whatever means necessary to help people find it.

This week, Patti takes on two guys—one who seems deadset against following her rules, and one with a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease. So you know that Patti will be in rare form with both of them, which is always a lot of fun to watch.

However, be warned that Patti’s bluntness is not of the PG variety since she often curses and she loves to mention a certain part of the male anatomy. But when she makes the right match, you’ll look over that stuff and just appreciate her raw passion for what she believes is her calling in life.

And you’ll appreciate that she lets us be a part of it…

“The Millionaire Matchmaker” airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on Bravo…

Photo Credit: Evans Vestal Wood/Bravo

This Week's Sweeps Schedule

Sweeps enters the home stretch this week, but there are still plenty of guest appearances and special episodes to go around.

Here is a sample of what you can expect this week with the warning that schedules are always subject to change…

Monday, March 23rd
House—8 PM—FOX
**The episode unfolds from the point of view of the patient (Mos Def).
The Secret Life of the American Teenager—8 PM—ABC Family—Season Finale
How I Met Your Mother—8 PM—CBS
**A new episode airs at this earlier time, with a repeat of the NCAA basketball themed episode, “The Bracket,” following at 8:30 PM.
Heroes—9 PM—NBC
**Swoosie Kurtz guests.
Roommates—9 PM—ABC Family—Series Premiere
**Tamera Mowry is one of the four roommates navigating life in NYC in this new series.
Rules of Engagement—9:30 PM—CBS
**Brian Dennehy guests.
Sophie—9:30 PM—ABC Family—Series Premiere
**Natalie Brown stars as a talent agent in this new comedy.
Medium—10 PM—NBC
**The phenomenal Kurtwood Smith haunts Allison (Patricia Arquette).

Tuesday, March 24th
Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood—8 PM—TCM
**TCM salutes the father of “Looney Tunes.”
The Biggest Loser: Couples—9 PM—NBC
**NASCAR’s Clint Bowyer guests.
Bad Girls Club—10 PM—Oxygen—Season Finale

Wednesday, March 25th
Survivor—8 PM—CBS
**The show moves to its annual NCAA basketball timeslot.
Important Things with Demetri Martin –10:30 PM—Comedy Central—Season Finale

Thursday, March 26th
In the Motherhood—8 PM—ABC—Series Premiere
**Megan Mullally and Cheryl Hines star in this comedy about motherhood based on the Internet series.
Smallville—8 PM—CW
**Serinda Swan guests as Zatanna and Justin Hartley returns as Green Arrow.
Samantha Who?—8:30 PM—ABC
**The show returns to its new timeslot after an extended hiatus.
Hell’s Kitchen—9 PM—FOX
**Eric McCormack and Robert Patrick guest.
**Tom Arnold guests in the next-to-last episode.

Friday, March 27th
The Suite Life on Deck—8 PM—Disney Channel
**Gavin MacLeod (“The Love Boat”) guests.

Saturday, March 28th
Kids’ Choice Awards—8 PM—Nickelodeon
**Dwayne Johnson hosts.
Nora Roberts’ Midnight Bayou—9 PM—Lifetime
**Jerry O’Connell stars in this gothic romance. I’ll have a review later this week.
**Cheech and Chong guest to appear in Bobby Lee’s latest “24” sketch.

Sunday, March 29th
The Simpsons—8 PM—FOX
**Kelsey Grammer returns to voice Sideshow Bob.
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency—8 PM—HBO—Series Premiere
**Jill Scott stars in this adaption of the best-selling novel.
Family Guy—9 PM—FOX
**The cast of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” guests.

Photo Credit: Randy Holmes/ABC Family, Michael Courtney/CW, FOX

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Northern Lights" Review: More Mystery Than Romance

If you’ve never read the book and have only seen the promos, it would be easy to think that “Nora Roberts’ Northern Lights” is a sweeping romance.

But you would be wrong, as “Lights” is actually a murder mystery with a little romance on the side. And thankfully, the mystery is a good one, because the romance doesn’t always make sense…

Eddie Cibrian stars as Nate Burns, the new police chief of Lunacy, Alaska. Nate was a homicide detective in Baltimore, but he’s come to Alaska to run away from something that happened to him in Baltimore.

He ends up running right into the arms of pilot Meg Galligan (LeAnn Rimes), who has a truckload of baggage herself, including a tumultuous relationship with her mother (Rosanna Arquette) stemming from being abandoned by her father.

But when Nate stumbles on to the truth about Meg’s father, things take a dark turn in the normally peaceful town. And Nate realizes that some of the things he tried to escape may have followed him across the country…

Cibrian is solid as always and Rimes is pretty good, but the duo is not given enough to really make the romance work. I understand that condensing a novel into a two-hour movie means taking some liberties with story development, but I think this one goes a little too far. We’re expected to invest in the romance before we even really know who the characters are. And when Meg gives Nate her first ultimatum, it completely falls hollow since we hadn’t seen them together enough for her to earn the right to give him one. Cibrian and Rimes’ strong chemistry almost makes you go for it, but not quite.

Poor Rosanna Arquette is saddled with a character that you’re supposed to feel sorry for, but you can’t quite do it. And her issues with Meg don’t quite make sense since Meg is angry that her mother is a slut, but then asks Nate to sleep with her when she barely knows him…

As I said, it’s the mystery that makes this movie work because it does a great job at casting suspicion at all the wrong people. I was sure who the killer was up until the very last moment when they showed us who it really was. And the victim that kicks the mystery off—which I won’t reveal here—is a great twist that affects all of the characters and shakes up the entire town as they must come to terms with the fact that there is a killer among them.

If you’re looking for a sweeping romance with a couple struggling to get together, you won’t get that here. But if you’re looking for an interesting mystery with an attractive couple thrown in for fun, then you’ll want to give this a look.

“Nora Roberts’ Northern Lights” premieres Saturday, March 21st at 9 p.m. on Lifetime…

Photo Credit: Dan Power/Lifetime

Congrats to the Mighty Oaks!

I know that this blog is about television, but sometimes there are other things that just need to be talked about.

This is one of those things, so I hope you’ll forgive me…

Last night in Athens, the Oak Hill High School boy’s basketball team defeated Newark Catholic to win the Division IV regional title.

So why do I care about that? Because that means the king of Ohio high school basketball is headed to Columbus.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Norm Persin is going to state—finally.

If you’re a longtime reader, you know what high regard I hold Coach Persin in. When I was his student at Chesapeake High School, he taught me everything I know about American History—which at one time was quite a lot. Too bad I can’t remember most of it now. It might come in handy sometime…

There were a lot of frustrating basketball seasons for the Panthers when I was in school. When it came to the boy’s team and state, it was just like the Hall and Oates classic, “So close, yet so far away.” One year we were so close we were already trying to figure out how we were all going to get to Columbus. But that trip never came.

My senior year we didn’t even make it to Athens—even though we were ranked #1 in the state. I guess that’s what we get for having “2 Legit 2 Quit” as our theme song.

But now, the Oaks have given Coach Persin what all those Panthers teams couldn’t—no matter how hard they tried—a trip to Columbus and an opportunity at a state title.

And even though I have never set foot in the Oak Hill gym, I couldn’t be rooting for them any harder…

The Oaks are back in action Thursday, March 26th at 2 p.m. at Value City Arena…


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Favorite Natasha Richardson Moment...

Before I turn off the computer for the night, let me just take a minute to say something about the death of Natasha Richardson…

I know she wasn’t known for television, but she did appear in one of the movies I always watch whenever it’s on TV, even though I’ve seen it a billion times—“The Parent Trap,” the remake of the Disney classic starring the then unknown Lindsay Lohan.

Richardson was fantastic in the movie and it’s her chemistry with Dennis Quaid that gives the movie much of its charm…

Here’s a great compilation of romantic moments from the movie including one of my favorite romantic moments of all time.

Richardson did appear on TV this season on my beloved “Top Chef” as a guest judge on the holiday-themed episode. However, that episode is never included in the Bravo marathons because no one was eliminated. I’m hoping they’ll make an exception and show that episode as a tribute to Richardson’s class and generosity.

She will truly be missed and my thoughts go out to her family…

Monday, March 16, 2009

Remembering Ron Silver

There was some sad news in the world of entertainment today…

Ron Silver died yesterday of cancer at the age of 62.

Silver was brilliant as a Republican campaign strategist in the final season of “The West Wing.” But when I think of Silver, I will always think of my beloved “Skin,” the brilliant gone-too-soon 2003 FOX drama.

“Skin” was a contemporary retelling of “Romeo and Juliet” starring Olivia Wilde and D.J. Cotrona. Wilde played the daughter of a porn king, while Cotrona was the son of the District Attorney determined to bring her father down.

Silver played Larry Goldman, the porn king with the heart of gold. One minute he was casting innocent farm girls in his movies, the next he was donating millions of dollars to a children’s hospital. Silver was brilliant, and if the show had lasted a full season he would have no doubt received an Emmy nod for his work.

But “Skin” only lasted three episodes, despite FOX’s constant promotion of it during the World Series. Of course, if those promos had focused a little less on the love story and a little more on the drama surrounding Goldman’s porn business, it probably would have lasted a little longer.

It’s been over five years and it still upsets me…

Here’s Silver being brilliant in a scene from the show alongside Wilde and Pamela Gidley. He will be missed…

Jay Gets a Presidential Visit

With all the talk about Jimmy Fallon taking over “Late Night” and Conan O’Brien getting ready for “The Tonight Show,” Jay Leno has been a little lost in the shuffle.

Thankfully, our Commander-In-Chief hasn’t forgotten about him…

President Barack Obama will appear on “The Tonight Show” this Thursday night. It will be the first time a sitting president has appeared on a late night talk show.

“The Tonight Show” airs at 11:35 p.m. on NBC…

Photo Credit: NBC (2006)

"Kings": Don't Get Too Attached

If you’re planning to follow my recommendation and start watching “Kings,” you might want to do it quickly…

Sunday night, only six million viewers tuned in to see the two-hour premiere. If those numbers keep up, NBC will be forced to pull the plug.

If you didn’t see it, I encourage you to go here and watch the premiere. And if you did see it and were disappointed, I promise you it gets better.

Just don’t get too attached...

Photo Credit: Eric Leibowitz/NBC

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pick of the Week: Goodbye to a Cult Classic

It’s rare for me to pick a show that I’ve never watched or that I know so little about, but in this case I really had no choice.

My Pick of the Week is the series finale of “Battlestar Galactica.”

I’ve never seen a single episode of “BSG.” Maybe because I’m a purist and I didn’t like the thought of a remake of a show I loved as a kid—especially one that starred my beloved Dirk Benedict.

Or maybe because by the time I finally got cable, I was too behind to catch up. Either way I never watched.

But I know a lot of people do and I know the pain of having to say goodbye to a beloved series. So I had to make it my Pick.

Since I don’t watch, I don’t know what would make a good ending, but whatever that is, I wish it for all of you “BSG” fans out there.

It’s what you all frakkin’ deserve…

“Battlestar Galactica” airs Friday, March 20th at 9 p.m. on SciFi…

Photo Credit: Anthony Mandler/Sci Fi

This Week's Sweeps Schedule

Premieres, finales, specials and guest stars galore. It must be sweeps…

Here’s a look at some of what you can see this week, remembering that all schedules are subject to change…

Monday, March 16th
House—8 PM—FOX
**Judy Greer guests.
Kyle XY—9 PM—ABC Family—Series Finale
The City—10 PM—MTV—Season Finale
Battlestar Galactica: The Last Frakkin’ Special—10 PM—SciFi

Tuesday, March 17th
Dancing With the Stars—9 PM—ABC
**First results show
The Mentalist—9 PM—CBS
**Patrick must adjust his skills when he’s temporarily blinded.
Law & Order: SVU—10 PM—NBC
**Carol Burnett guests.
Without a Trace—10:01 PM—CBS
**Vanessa Marcil begins a multi-episode arc.

Wednesday, March 18th
Lie to Me—8 PM—FOX
**D.W. Moffett guests.
Better Off Ted—8:30 PM—ABC
**Jay Harrington and Portia De Rossi star in this workplace comedy.
Criminal Minds—9 PM—CBS
**C. Thomas Howell guest stars. Maybe if he gets a few more gigs he’ll stop doing bad celebreality shows that make me want to cry.
Life—9 PM—NBC
**Gabrielle Union begins a multi-episode arc.
**Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and Pete Wentz guest star.
Law & Order—10 PM—NBC
**Keith Carradine guests.

Thursday, March 19th
My Name Is Earl—8 PM—NBC
**Betty White guests.
Ugly Betty—8 PM—ABC
**The last new episode before an extended hiatus ER—10 PM—NBC
**Parminder Nagra’s last episode
30 Rock—9:30 PM—NBC
**Meredith Vieira guests, along with Jon Hamm.
Taking the Stage—10 PM—MTV
**A new “docudrama” that follows teens at Cincinnati’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts executive produced by Nick Lachey, a SCPA grad

Friday, March 20th
Battlestar Galactica—9 PM—SciFi—Series Finale
Star War: The Clone Wars—9 PM—Cartoon Network—Season Finale
Head Case—10 PM—Starz—Season Premiere
Party Down—10:30 PM—Starz
**Rob Thomas created this catering comedy.

Saturday, March 21st
**750th episode Nora Roberts’ Northern Lights—9 PM—Lifetime
**Eddie Cibrian and LeAnn Rimes star in this movie adapted from the book. I’ll have a review later this week.
**Kathy Griffin hosts this special honoring former cast member Mike McDonald.
Talkshow with Spike Feresten—Midnight—FOX
**Crista Flanagan talks about the upcoming MADtv finale.

Sunday, March 22nd
Big Love—9 PM—HBO—Season Finale
Family Guy—9 PM—FOX
**Lois gets a job at FOX News exposing the liberal media.
Cold Case—9 PM—CBS
**An episode featuring the music of John Lennon
American Dad—9:30 PM—FOX
**Seth Green lends his voice.
Flight of the Conchords—10 PM—HBO—Season FinaleEastbound and Down—10:30 PM—HBO—Season Finale

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/ABC Family, Craig Sjodin/ABC, 2008 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved & Lacey Terrell/HBO

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Kings" Review: All Hail King Ian McShane

In all the time I’ve been doing this, I don’t remember ever having to consult my Bible before writing a review.

But that’s exactly what I had to do after watching “Kings.” That’s because it’s a contemporary twist on the story of David and King Saul.

In First and Second Samuel, we read about Israel’s first king, Saul, who was chosen by God and anointed by Samuel. But as time goes on, Saul falls out of favor with God and God has Samuel anoint Saul’s future successor—a young shepherd boy named David. But in the meantime, David actually finds favor with Saul. And then David gains favor with the entire country when he slays the Philistine giant, Goliath.

Of course, Saul ends up getting jealous and eventually tries to kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son and David’s best friend, steps in on more than one occasion to help David get away. Eventually, Saul and Jonathan both die in battle and David becomes king.

In “Kings,” Israel is now the fictional country of Gilboa. But Gilboa is a modern country, as evidenced by its capital, Shiloh, which looks just like Manhattan (mainly because it is). King Saul is King Silas Benjamin (Ian McShane) who has been chosen by God to rule. His advisor on spiritual matters is Reverend Samuels (the phenomenal Eamonn Walker) who is greatly affected by a chance encounter with a young mechanic, David Shepherd (Christopher Egan).

Two years later, David is fighting in the war against Gath. When he learns that Gath has taken hostages, he bravely decides to face the Goliath tanks and rescue the hostages—one of which turns out to be Jack Benjamin (Sebastian Stan), Silas’ son.

That act catapults David into the spotlight as Silas decides he can use him in his court. David also catches the eye of Silas’ daughter, Michelle (Allison Miller). But Jack harbors nothing but jealousy and resentment for David—especially when his father gives David a promotion.

But problems for both David and Silas arise when Silas is forced to choose between what’s best for his people and what’s best for his supporters—namely his powerful brother-in-law William (the wonderful Dylan Baker).

And when Silas starts making the wrong choices, he may lose the favor of his most important supporter—God.

I admit that the very first time I heard the concept of the show, I snickered a little bit—okay, a lot. I couldn’t believe that NBC was going down this road. But something happened on the way to me writing a snarky review…

I fell for the show.

Now there’s no doubt that the pilot is a little uneven (The slightly off direction doesn’t really help.) as the show tries to balance its contemporary sensibilities with its inspiration. When the balance tips the wrong way, the dialogue can get a little verbose. But when it tips the right way, we get a real honest to goodness primetime soap opera. And you all know how much I love those…

Having seen the first three episodes, I can tell you that more often than not the balance tips in the right way as Silas continues to make more tough choices as he tries to do what’s best for his country and what’s best for his relationship with God.

As good as newcomer Christopher Egan is—and he is good—the real reason to watch this show is for Silas, played to the hilt by Ian McShane. McShane was born to play royalty as he gives just the right air of authority and arrogance necessary to be a king.

The only person who can come close to stealing a scene from McShane is Eamonn Walker, whose performance only makes me want to cry some more about the way too early cancellation of “Justice.” Walker is perfectly cast as Reverend Samuels as he plays both spiritual and foreboding beautifully.

And I have been a big fan of Dylan Baker since “Murder One,” so it’s great to see him in such a smarmy—and important—role.

The further the show gets away from its Biblical inspiration to come up with its own story, the better it is. And with such a rich cast of characters, there’s really no stopping where it could go.

And isn’t that what a good soap opera is all about?

“Kings” premieres Sunday, March 15th at 8 p.m. on NBC…

Photo Credits: Andrew Eccles/NBC & Eric Leibowitz/NBC

Friday, March 13, 2009

Catching Up With "Lost"

So while I’m playing catch-up, let’s talk “Lost”…

First of all, let me address the obvious question—why a rerun in the middle of sweeps? I honestly don’t have the answer, but my guess is that they needed to do a bit of a reset to make the episode count work or they decided to just give the first night of the “Idol” vs. “Lost” battle to “Idol.”

Now, let’s ask some more questions about the episode…

First and foremost, who is Amy’s baby? I was sure it was going to be Charlotte because of the resemblance between Reiko Aylesworth and Rebecca Mader. But then Juliet said it was a boy, so now I have no idea…

We do know however that Charlotte was on the island in 1974, because Daniel saw her. But then what happened to Daniel? We did not see him in 1977…

Where is Ben? According to ABC, we’re going to get an answer Wednesday…

Is this what the whole thing is all about? That the Oceanic Six is supposed to help stop the purge and Ben’s ascension and he just used them to get back to the island?

And finally, are they really going to break up Sawyer and Juliet? I thought they were way more awesome together than Sawyer and Kate or Jack and Juliet…

So what do you guys think? Are you liking this new 70s twist?...

Photo Credit: Mario Perez/ABC

Catching Up With Manic Monday: “Bang,” “Mother,” “24” and “Miami”

Some of you guys have been with me long enough to know that after January, this blog gets neglected a little.

I don’t mean for it to happen, but with most of my week eaten up with “American Idol,” it usually takes me a while to get to things I want to talk about.

Like I’m sure you “24” fans out there are wondering what I have to say about the show’s latest casualty. Or you “CSI: Miami” fans might be wondering what I thought about the return of Elizabeth Berkley.

So please allow me to play a little catch-up and combine all of those thoughts into one super Manic Monday post…

Monday’s episode of “The Big Bang Theory” was hilarious, as I predicted, but not for the reasons I thought. Summer Glau was adorable as she tried to fend off the guys’ various advances, but honestly, can anyone compete with Jim Parsons (Sheldon)? The guy is a comic genius and had better get a little Emmy love this year. His exchange with Penny (a perfectly cast Kaley Cuoco) as he tried to tell her how to find his presentation was hysterical.

And would Penny just realize she should have never pushed Leonard (Johnny Galecki) away already? He’s adorable…

And speaking of adorable, is there anyone more adorable these days than the great NPH? Neil Patrick Harris is the reason to watch “How I Met Your Mother” so it was a little disappointing to not see more of him in this week’s episode. “Entertainment Weekly” promises us that we might get some more insight into who the mother is in the season finale, but, honestly, do we really care anymore? I think all we care about is seeing Barney and Robin (Cobie Smulders) together (And “EW” promises us more with that story too.)…

After laughing through two comedies, things took a dramatic shift for me as I prepared to watch an old friend die on "24." I knew who it was before the show even started. And if you read my blog, you did too, because the show pretty much spelled it out for us.

As did those way too revealing previews, but I digress…

Warning: If you have not yet seen Monday’s “24,” stop reading now…

What was shocking was that it happened so quickly. In an instant, Bill (a superb James Morrison) was gone and the silent clock rolled only 12 minutes into the episode. Bill had sealed his fate by disagreeing with Jack’s methods (i.e. stepping out of the light). He knew he had made a mistake and to make up for it, he took Jack’s place and sacrificed himself to save the President.

And yes, I feel totally ashamed that I doubted that Jack didn’t have a backup plan when he came out of the safe room with the President. I hope he can find it in his heart to forgive me…

But there are others who have yet to see the light and their day of reckoning is coming. How cool was it when Jack saved Senator Mayer’s (the fabulous Kurtwood Smith) life? And yes, Larry (Jeffrey Nordling) has stepped into that jerk from district role quite well, but his confrontations with Jack sure are fun to watch. And his arguments with Renee (the-so-good-I-really-don’t-want-to hate-her Annie Wersching) are really starting to crackle as well (Oh yeah. She’s seen the light.).

Something that was not fun to watch was Jack drooling on the floor of the hospital room. That TOTALLY freaked me out. I mean, it was kind of a buzz kill considering just how good Jack looked taking out the bad guys in that suit…

And speaking of bad guys, I know I’m not supposed to, but I am loving Jonas Hodges (Jon Voight). The writers keep lobbing him zingers, and Voight keeps knocking them out of the park. I can’t wait to see what he’s actually up to.

And what in the world is Tony (Carlos Bernard) up to? PLEASE tell me that he and Jack are going to team up now. I mean, where else can Jack turn?

I know, he’s got Renee, but you know I don’t really want him to go there…

It’s not unusual to hear me say, “Man, I did not see that one coming” on a Monday night. What is unusual is for me to say it during “CSI: Miami”…

There’s no doubt about it, folks. “Miami” is on a serious hot streak. The show I once called the funniest on TV is turning in some good episodes with actual storylines that work.

I know, it shocks me a little too…

Monday night should have been chock full of cheesy goodness since it featured the return of Elizabeth Berkley’s Julia, but there was no cheesiness to be had. In fact, Julia was barely seen in the episode—only long enough to establish that she had a drug problem that caused Horatio to get Kyle a job and move him into his own apartment.

Only Julia was not the one with a drug problem. It turned out that the Oxycontin pills missing from the morgue (where Kyle now works) were actually stolen by Dr. Price (Megalyn Echikunwoke), the new medical examiner. It was a great twist—and a completely plausible one considering the injury she sustained in the episode.

The main case itself was also full of great twists as a man with two wives was murdered. The wives were the chief suspects for most of the episode, but the real culprits turned out to be the man’s children (one from each wife) who had just discovered they were related. They had fallen in love and were going to have a baby.

Maybe that was more twisted than an actual twist, but it still worked.

I’m a little worried about whether or not the hot streak can continue, though, because next week marks the return of the Russian mob and in three weeks, Wolfe (the WAY underutilized Jonathan Togo) finally gets some airtime—but not in a good way. But for the first time ever, I’m going to give “CSI: Miami” the benefit of the doubt.

These last three weeks have earned it that much…
"The Big Bang Theory" and "How I Met Your Mother" air Mondays beginning at 8 p.m. on CBS, "24" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX and "CSI: Miami" airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on CBS...

Photo Credits: Michael Ansell/Warner Bros., CBS, Kelsey McNeal/FOX, and Sonja Flemming/CBS

Clooney's "ER" Return: Like He Never Left

If you missed it, yes, George Clooney did return to “ER” last night (Note to NBC: If you really wanted to keep this secret, you shouldn’t have pulled a “24” and put his name so prominently in the credits.). But in my opinion, he had the episode stolen right out from under him by none other than Eriq La Salle, who didn’t get nearly as much attention for his return as Dr. Peter Benton…

When last we saw Clooney’s Dr. Doug Ross, he had reunited with the mother of his children, nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Marguiles), in Seattle where he had taken another job. And that’s exactly where we found him last night, as an attending physician at a Seattle hospital. Carol, now his wife, appeared to be some sort of patient advocate.

The couple was working with a woman (Susan Sarandon) struggling with the decision of when to end life support for her grandson. The decision carried extra importance because several people from hospitals around the country were waiting for organs from the young man, including Neela and Sam (Parminder Nagra and Linda Cardellini) from County, who were waiting on a heart. But the story took an even more interesting turn as Neela and Sam also ended up waiting for a kidney for Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle).

Although Clooney’s return was an actual story that made sense, at times it seemed a little unnecessary. Sarandon seemed almost wasted, as her character didn’t carry nearly the emotional weight that Angela Bassett’s (Dr. Banfield) or even John Stamos’ (Dr. Gates) did back in the County ER.

But honestly, does that matter?

This was about one of the biggest stars on the planet respecting his fans and returning to the place where it all began. He could have just showed up and read the phonebook and it would have been great to see.

But thankfully, we got to see the old Doug Ross back in action. The one that seemed to always care just a little too much about his patients. The one that could soothe people’s grief with just one look from those beautiful eyes. And also thankfully, he brought the love of his life with him so we could see that they are still just as happy as they were the last time we saw them.

One of his best scenes last night was when Doug tried to reminisce with Neela and Sam, but everyone he knew from County was gone—which made both of us shake our heads. I guess I didn’t realize just how long Clooney’s been away. And quite honestly, last night felt like he had never left.

Clooney deserves all the credit in the world for doing this. And Marguiles deserves credit as well for holding out for Clooney before returning herself. It really couldn’t have been any other way…

But last night was a very special episode for “ER” fans as they got the reunion of another duo from the show’s early days—Dr. Carter and his mentor, Dr. Benton. Benton was working at Northwestern, where Carter was awaiting his kidney transplant. Known for being one of the show’s biggest jerks, Benton showed real concern for Carter as he observed the surgery—even catching a life threatening mistake by the brash Benton-like surgeon (a well cast Christian Clemenson, who’s best known as Jerry on “Boston Legal”). Benton actually became the spotlight of the show, as he convinced Carter not to give up on his happiness.

The only thing that would have made that story better would have been for Doug and Carol to learn that “some doctor in Chicago” they helped save was actually Carter…

As I was watching last night, I couldn’t help but think it was a shame that I stopped watching so many years ago because the current cast is a good one. Bassett combines Weaver and Romano’s toughness with Green’s compassion and Stamos is the best replacement for Clooney the show has ever had.

But alas, there are only three episodes left now. However, the return of favorites is not yet over.

In fact, if what I’ve heard about a certain returnee for the finale is true, you will not want to miss it. And you’ll definitely want to have your tissues ready…

“ER” airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on NBC. You can see last night’s episode here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Let's Go "Dancing"

All the talk about “Dancing With the Stars” this morning was about one person—Melissa Rycroft, the last minute addition to the “Dancing” cast.

Do you think Jason and Molly were watching?

You guys know that I don’t watch “Dancing With the Stars.” It is on Monday night after all, but I know a lot of you do…

So what did you think about last night’s performances? Who do you think has a chance at that sacred disco ball?

Photo Credit:Kelsey McNeal/ABC

Miley Cyrus Book Review: Inspiration For All of Us

The first thing you notice about Miley Cyrus’ autobiography, “Miles to Go,” is the style in which it’s written.

It’s in large print, with handwritten notes in the margins as Miley adds additional thoughts or changes her mind about certain things. The narrative is often interrupted with handwritten lists, such as “7 Things That Make Me Sad.” So, it’s rather obvious rather quickly that the book is written by a 16-year-old girl for her even younger fans. It’s not meant for thirtysomethings like me.

Yet, somehow, I managed to find something for me in it. Maybe it’s a sign that my life is seriously screwed up when I get inspirational life lessons from a 16-year-old. Or maybe it’s a sign that we all need a little relentless positivity sometimes…

And positivity is all you’ll get with “Miles to Go.” If you’re looking for some dirt on what happened with the "Vanity Fair" shoot or Miley’s relationship with Nick Jonas, you’re not going to get it. In fact, Miley only refers to Nick as “Prince Charming,” and reveals very little about the two years they dated.

We don’t even get any tales of backstage strife on the set of “Hannah Montana,” even though Miley mentions more than once that she and co-star Emily Osment didn’t get along all that well for a while.

And although that can get a little frustrating (especially since she keeps bringing that stuff up), it’s really not what this book is about. This book is about how a young girl tackled the horrors of adolescence (i.e. “mean girls”) and turned them into life lessons that helped make her who she is today.

I guess that’s where the inspiration comes in.

And boy, I bet those girls feel really stupid now…

Although it seems a little pretentious to write an autobiography at 16, it does allow Miley to give an official view into her life—however small or simplistic of a view it may be. And darn it all if it doesn’t make you want to root for her to turn out okay.

But as she says herself, she’s still got “miles to go”…

“Miles to Go” is available in stores and online now…

Photo Credit:

Monday, March 09, 2009

"Wonder Woman" DVD Review: Doing My Hero Right

To say that Wonder Woman was a big part of my childhood would be a major understatement.

My mom bought me her comics every month. I had the Underoos and the doll. I took blue construction paper and made bracelets for myself. One Halloween, my mom made me the most awesome Wonder Woman costume in the world that I still have. And yes, I watched the television show and then would run around the house spinning around just like Lynda Carter.

So when I heard that Wonder Woman would be the subject of a DC Universe Animated Original Movie, I was pretty excited. But after being a little disappointed with “Superman Doomsday” and “Justice League: The New Frontier,” I lowered my expectations.

However, I should have known that Wonder Woman would come to the rescue…

In short, “Wonder Woman” rocks. The animation is gorgeous, the cast is fantastic and the story is solid from beginning to end.

The story begins with the race of female warriors known as the Amazons living an idyllic life on Themyscira, a secret island paradise shielded from the corrupt “Man’s World.” But when that perfect life is interrupted first by the crash of fighter pilot Steve Trevor (Nathan Fillion) on the island and then by the evil plot of Ares (Alfred Molina), the god of war, Queen Hippolyta (Virginia Madsen) is forced to send an emissary to Man’s World. And, of course, Hippolyta’s daughter, Diana (Keri Russell), ends up being the Amazon for the job.

Detailing the origin of Wonder Woman while telling an interesting story in 74 minutes is not an easy task, but the movie manages to do it quite well. There are plenty of twists and turns—many of which you’ll see coming, but some are so good you won’t. I was a little concerned that the ending would be a little rushed, but it was perfect—and just begs for a sequel.

But what really makes the movie work is its humor. Nathan Fillion ("Castle," "Firefly," "Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog") is priceless as he wisecracks his way through dealing with Diana and the rest of the Amazons. I laughed out loud through many scenes, like when Steve teaches the Amazons the word “crap.”

However, since the movie is “Wonder Woman” and not Steve Trevor, I should say that Keri Russell is perfectly cast as our favorite heroine. Virginia Madsen gives just the right authoritative air to Hippolyta and Alfred Molina, Oliver Platt, and Rosario Dawson provide solid support.

It’s very important to note, though, that the movie is not for young kids. It’s rated PG-13 for a reason as in the first 10 minutes alone there’s tons of blood, lots of death, and even some innuendo.

I highly recommend the two-disc special edition so you can also see two outstanding documentaries: “Wonder Woman: A Subversive Dream,” which looks in-depth at the creation of Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston, and “Wonder Woman: Daughter of Myth,” which examines the mythology behind the character.

If the long talked about live-action “Wonder Woman” movie ever gets off the ground, the writers would do well to check out this animated gem for some tips.

They’ve done my—and many other young girls’—childhood hero right.

Of course, who am I kidding? Wonder Woman is still my hero…

“Wonder Woman” is available in stores and online now…

"Wonder Woman" (c) Warner Bros. Ent Inc. "Wonder Woman" and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and (c) DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Pick of the Week: A Major Return

When a show is in its final year, it’s great to see former cast members return to pay their respects to the show that made their careers.

And this week, you may just see the best example of that we’ve possibly ever seen…

My Pick of the Week is “ER.”

According to the official NBC press release, Ernest Borgnine and Susan Sarandon are guest starring in the episode, along with the returns of Eriq La Salle (Benton), Noah Wyle (Carter), and Julianna Marguiles (Hathaway). But there are no pictures from the episode on the NBC press site, because the network is trying to keep the worst kept secret in television.

This is the episode we should also see George Clooney.

When you’re as big of a star as Clooney, you can blow off things like this. But instead, he has decided to honor his fans and the show that helped make him a star. You have to admire that.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Clooney has made a return to the show. He also came back in a surprise cameo to help Julianna Marguiles leave the show—which in my opinion, is one of the most romantic moments in TV history. It’s kind of a shame that the show wasn’t able to keep it a secret this time.

But then, I wouldn’t have picked it, would I?

“ER” airs Thursday, March 12th at 10 p.m. on NBC…

And you can see Clooney’s last appearance on “ER” here…

It's Time to Return to the Dance Floor UPDATED

"Dancing With the Stars" begins its eighth season Monday, March 9th, but the show has already claimed two competitors…

Last week, ABC announced that Jewel and Nancy O’Dell have both withdrawn from the competition. Jewel fractured tibias in both legs, and O’Dell tore the meniscus in her knee and will require surgery. They will both appear on Monday’s premiere to discuss their injuries.

ABC has not named new partners for Dmitry Chaplin (first season) and Tony Dovolani (seventh season), but rumors are swirling that one of them will get Holly Madison of “The Girls Next Door.”

Here are the pairings we do know for Monday's show:

Belinda Carlisle and Jonathan Roberts (sixth season)

David Alan Grier and Kym Johnson (sixth season)

Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas (fourth season)

Lil’ Kim and Derek Hough (fourth season)

Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke (seventh season)

Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower (first season)

Steve-O and Lacey Schwimmer (second season)

Denise Richards and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (sixth season)

Lawrence Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska (eighth season)

Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough (sixth season)

Steve Wozniak and Karina Smirnoff (sixth season)

So, who do I see doing well? Obviously, Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas should do well since he knows how to work with Olympians (He won with Kristi Yamaguchi.), but I’m going to risk my excellent record of predictions and go with Lil’ Kim and Derek Hough. We know Kim has some hip-hop moves, but she’ll need to tone those down for the ballroom and I think Derek’s creative choreography can pull that off.

As for those who will struggle, I would look no further than poor Karina Smirnoff and her partner Steve Wozniak. Isn’t it about time to give Karina another decent partner? Woz is cool, but he’s going to have zero dance moves. I also think that Julianne might regret returning for her boyfriend, Chuck Wicks.

“Dancing With the Stars” premieres Monday, March 9th at 8 p.m. with a two-hour performance show. The results show premieres Tuesday, March 17th at 9 p.m., during which the bottom two couples will dance off to determine who will go home…

UPDATE: is reporting that Melissa Rycroft is replacing Nancy O'Dell. She is the woman that Jason Mesnick picked then dumped on "The Bachelor."

Photos Credit: Scott Garfield/ABC (Rehearsals) and Craig Sjodin/ABC

"Big Bang" Shows FOX Some Love...

"The Big Bang Theory" is the funniest show on television. But this Monday, it’s also making a case for being the cleverest as well…

In one of the best cases of cross-promotion I’ve ever seen, Summer Glau of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” will guest as herself. Things get interesting for our gang when they discover Glau, one of their favorite actresses, is on the same train they are.

Of course, what makes this cross-promotion extra-special is that “Terminator” is on FOX, so the promotion is of a show on another network. The appearance is possible, however, because both shows are produced by Warner Bros.

The fine folks at CBS scrambled as quickly as they could to try and get me an advanced look at the episode, but due to production deadlines were unable to do so. However, since its’ “Bang,” I can guarantee you it’s going to be a good one even without seeing it.

“The Big Bang Theory” airs Monday, March 9th at 8 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Michael Ansell/Warner Bros.

This Week's Sweeps Schedule

Lots and lots and lots of guest stars make up this week of March sweeps.

Here’s a look at some of what you can see. And remember, that all schedules are subject to change...

Monday, March 9th
Dancing With the Stars—8 PM (2 hours)—ABC—Season Premiere
The Big Bang Theory—8 PM—CBS
**Summer Glau (“Sarah Connor Chronicles”) guests.
How I Met Your Mother—8:30 PM—NBC
**Laura Prepon guests as Ted’s college girlfriend.
Heroes—9 PM—NBC
**John Glover (“Smallville”) guests as Sylar’s father.
CSI: Miami—10 PM—CBS
**Elizabeth Berkley returns as Julia.
Castle—10 PM—ABC—Series Premiere
**Nathan Fillion stars as a crime novelist doing research, while annoying and charming a female cop (Stana Katic).

Tuesday, March 10th
Jeopardy!—Check your local listings
**Elizabeth Perkins, Aisha Tyler, and Tom Bergeron compete on a special one-night-only edition of “Celebrity Jeopardy.”
Trust Me—10 PM—TNT
**This adorable drama that no one is watching moves to Tuesday nights.
Law & Order: SVU—10 PM—NBC
**Stephanie March returns for a multi-episode arc.

Wednesday, March 11th
The Chopping Block—8 PM—NBC—Series Premiere
**Chef Marco Pierre White (UK’s “Hell’s Kitchen”) leads couples through this cooking competition series.
Lie to Me—8 PM—FOX
**The show moves to its new timeslot.

Thursday, March 12th
Bones—8 PM—FOX
**This episode was directed by star David Boreanaz.
Smallville—8 PM—CW
**Tori Spelling guests.
Ugly Betty—8 PM—ABC
**Christine Baranksi guests.
**Ernest Borgnine, Eriq LaSalle, Noah Wyle, Julianna Marguiles, Susan Sarandon and someone named George guest star.

Friday, March 13th
Wife Swap—8 PM—ABC
**100th episode
Ghost Whisperer—8 PM—CBS
**It’s a sweeps staple—the natural disaster—as Sam/Jim must rescue Melinda from a flood and possibly clear up this story a little.
Battlestar Galactica—10 PM—SciFi
**Part one of the series finale

Saturday, March 14th
Relative Stranger—9 PM—Hallmark
**Eriq LaSalle stars as a faded football star trying to reunite his family.
Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome America—9 PM—HBO
**Ferrell’s final Broadway performance of his one-man show parodying George W. Bush.
Saturday Night Live—11:29 PM—NBC
**Tracy Jordan guests.

Sunday, March 15th
Au Pair 3—8 PM—ABC Family
**Heidi Saban and Gregory Harrison return as the nanny and employer who fell in love.
Kings—8 PM—NBC
**Ian McShane stars in this new drama inspired by the biblical story of King David. I’ll have a review later in the week.
King of the Hill—8:30 PM—FOX
**Kate Walsh guests.
Desperate Housewives—9 PM—ABC
**Swoozie Kurtz guests.
Family Guy—9 PM—FOX
**The show totally crosses the line once again with an episode called “The Juice Is Loose,” where Peter wins a golf outing with O.J. Simpson. But no, Simpson does not provide the voice.
Eastbound and Down—10:30 PM—HBO
**Will Ferrell, who is also an executive producer, guests.

Photo Credits: Sonja Flemming/CBS, Michael Courtney/CW, Phillip V. Caruso/HBO

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Behind the Theme of "Lie to Me"...

Tonight, FOX’s “Lie to Me” returns after a one-week hiatus…

I point this out because I wanted to call attention to the show’s opening theme song. It’s called “Brand New Day” and it’s by Ryan Star, who is currently opening for the reigning American Idol David Cook on his “Declaration Tour.”

Last week, I had a chance to ask Ryan about doing the theme song and the show.

“It’s very cool. Tim Roth is a bada--. It’s a very smart show,” he told me. “It’s going to break up married couples, though,” he joked.

“It’s pretty bada—to have the theme song. I work hard to try to get music together.”

You can hear Ryan tonight at 9 on FOX…

"Lost": I Got Something Right!

Tonight is “Idol” night AND the night of the “Top Chef” reunion. So that once again means I have to tape “Lost” and watch it later.

But let me quickly say something about last week’s episode…

I actually got something about “Lost” right! WOO-HOO!

Now, it might have been a completely obvious thing, but still…

A few weeks ago, I theorized that Ben may have had something to do with Locke’s death. And boy, did he ever. How crazy was that? And I think it’s only going to get crazier…

And in all honesty, I’m starting to think that Widmore’s the good guy. Aren’t you?

I was going to post a picture from last week’s episode to accompany this post, but I decided instead to whet your appetite with a picture from this week’s, featuring the fabulous Reiko Aylesworth (Michelle, “24”).

It’s going to be a wild one…

Photo Credit: Mario Perez/ABC

Your Thoughts on "The Bachelor"?

To paraphrase the Joker from “Batman,” what kind of a world do we live in where a man who can’t make up his mind between two women steals all the press from an attack on the White House?

The boldest “24” story yet got completely swept under Monday night by the tale of “The Bachelor,” Jason Messnick.

Now, obviously I didn’t see it, but I’m sure that plenty of you did. So I’m posting this in case any of you have something that you just can’t wait to get out. You can post a comment below, or you can e-mail me at

As for what I think, I think the producers saw a fantastic TV opportunity and jumped all over it. And those huge ratings for all four hours prove them right…

Photo Credit: Matt Klitschner/ABC

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

"Make Me a Supermodel" Review: Let's Get Crazy!

Last year, I got completely hooked on “Make Me a Supermodel” due to the lethal combination of Bravo marathons and the craziest challenges I’ve ever seen on a reality show.

Well now it’s back with a reboot that adds one part “Project Runway,” one part “Big Brother” and one part “Survivor.” But thankfully, the changes do not include eliminating those crazy challenges…

Last year, Tyson Beckford served as one of the judges, but his bonding with the male models really made him more of a mentor. So the show has wisely decided to put him in that role, while also making him the host. Australian model Nicole Trunfio is the mentor for the women.

Serving as the judges this year are fashion designer Catherine Malandrino, photographer Perou, model Jenny Shimizu and casting director/agent Marlon.

The crazy challenges start immediately as Perou pairs the models up and puts them in a glass box suspended in the air to capture an “intimate moment.” This quickly spawns two interesting stories: There’s Salome, who was raised Mennonite (She describes it as Amish with electricity and cars.), who is now draped all over a total stranger in a glass box. And then there’s Brandon, who might as well be wearing a shirt that says, “I’m not gay” as much as he keeps reminding us. His partner is a guy and so he’s pretty uncomfortable.

Which makes me think that he didn’t watch last season because if he did he would have never tried out. Guy on guy is a common thing on this show…

Also new this year is that the winner of the photography challenge gets to go on a job interview to try and book a gig, but there’s an interesting twist I won’t give away…

As before, the models also walk on the runway in front of the judges, but this year, the show has added “24” style splitscreens to pump up the volume a little (It works.). Then, the judges (as opposed to last year’s audience vote) eliminate the contestant they feel they “cannot make a supermodel,” but not without first hearing from their mentors Tyson and Nicole. It’s Tyson’s duty to send them home by giving them back their book.

I kind of miss the audience vote element since it made the show current (Last year’s Britney Spears love quadrangle anyone?), but the new elements are a lot of fun too. And I actually prefer the “Project Runway” style runway Q&A.

It’s easy to dismiss “Supermodel” as a rip-off of a certain other modeling reality-competition, but since I’ve never seen an episode of that other one, I can’t really say. I can, however, guarantee you that Tyra would never ask her contestants to do what Tyson will ask his to do this season.

And that’s what makes it fun…

“Make Me a Supermodel” premieres Wednesday, March 4th at 10 p.m. on Bravo…
Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/Bravo

"24": Welcome Back, Guys!

I’ve been looking for a way to sum up last night’s two-hour “24” ever since the final frame last night, but I just couldn’t find the words.

Thank goodness I have my second favorite Canadian, RT, to help me out…

“I think I need a cigarette,” she e-mailed me. “And I don’t even smoke. That is all.”

Yep, I think that sums it up…

Last night’s “24” was some of the most believability stretching two hours of TV I have ever seen. But they were also some of the most intense, dramatic, and just downright good two hours of TV I have seen in a long time.

The only thing that would have made it better was if FOX had just kept its mouth shut about the terrorists’ target. THAT would have been an OMG! Moment for the ages…

Warning: If you have not yet seen last night’s “24,” stop reading now…

If you missed it, General Juma (an EXTREMELY imposing Tony Todd) and his men invaded the White House—that’s right, a full blown army in the White House. Now, let me say at this point that I hope this is a completely unbelievable story, because the thought of an enemy militia running around the White House scares the holy crap out of me.

In fact, I’m actually hoping that the head of the Secret Service was watching last night and ordered some bigger guns…

But before we got to that, we got an hour of setup that sadly was a little anticlimactic since the previews had already given the target away. That’s not to say, however, that it wasn’t worth watching, because it certainly was as Jack did what he does best with EVERYONE standing in his way—even Bill. When Bill told Jack that he couldn’t use coercive techniques like Jack, it was a real heartbreaker—especially since I think there’s a good chance that statement just sealed Bill’s fate.

But how cool was it when Jack tasered the phone after the President interrupted him torturing Burnett? That sense of duty to the President versus what he knows to be right would be important later on in one of the most stunning moments the show has produced, in my opinion…

After Aaron heartbreakingly failed to protect the First Daughter, Olivia, from Juma’s men (He would’ve managed a lot better if she had cooperated a little more.), Juma threatened to cut out her eyes and tongue right in front of her mother, who was watching from the safety of the Lockdown area with Jack. The President ordered Jack to open the door, and he refused. But when the President confronted Jack with whether or not he would allow this to happen to his own daughter, and then gave him another direct order, Jack had no choice but to open the door.

The sight of seeing the door open and Jack emerge with his hands on his head was like a punch to the gut. And then when Juma slapped the President, drawing blood? Well, that really hurt—especially when Mayer jumped Jack’s case for opening the door.

And it’s only going to get worse, kids…

Especially since the season’s big baddie, Jonas Hodges (a fantastic Jon Voight), has finally emerged. Anyone willing to sell out the President –and with the resources to do it—is definitely a force to be reckoned with. But Hodges doesn’t appear to be your traditional mustache-twirling villain. This guy’s got style and substance. I like him already…

Come on, you guys know I’m always into the bad guys…

Confronting the complaints about the show’s use of torture head-on was starting to feel a little repetitive to me, but now it’s starting to feel a little brilliant as the people ready to fry Jack for his actions are all at risk because they didn’t let Jack take those actions in this case. Kurtwood Smith (who is best known for his comedic roles on “That 70s Show” and “Worst Week”) is turning in Emmy caliber work in his thankless role as Senator Mayer. In fact, he’s so good that I’m almost hoping he doesn’t get killed next week…almost…

But someone—or someones—will die next week and I think it’s a given that at least one of the old faithful we care about (i.e. Bill and Aaron) will be one of them. And yes, that is sad. And yes, I will cry—especially since the previews show us Jack crying—but at least he/they will go down swinging.

In fact, last night, I couldn’t help but break out into a chorus of “Blaze of Glory.” It just seemed appropriate…

In my Pick of the Week post, I warned that the White House invasion story would either be the dumbest thing the show ever did or one of the coolest. Thankfully, it fell into that latter category.

However, I would also call it one of the most frightening. But that, quite frankly, is what “24” does best.

Welcome back, guys. Man, have we missed you…

Photo Credit: Kelsey McNeal/FOX

Monday, March 02, 2009

"Reaper" Review: Good, But...

I liked “Reaper” from the very beginning. But then the show started going down a darker and darker path, so I tuned out.

However, the season two premiere is a little bit of a reset that allowed me to remember what I liked about the show to begin with…

If you’ve never seen it, “Reaper” is about Sam (the always adorable Bret Harrison), who on his 21st birthday, discovers that his parents sold his soul to the Devil before he was born. When the Devil himself (a perfectly cast Ray Wise) shows up to collect, Sam is forced to work for him capturing escaped souls and sending them back to Hell. Sam’s assisted by his friends, Sock (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez). By the end of season one, Sam had managed to get together with his crush, Andi (Missy Peregrym). But then he was forced to deal with the revelation that the Devil is his father.

When season two begins, Sam is on the road with Sock and Ben trying to escape his life. But when he discovers that Sock didn’t mail a letter to Andi telling her where he’s at, they rush home. However, they come home to no job, nowhere to live and an angry Andi. Oh yeah. And the Devil, who’s ready for Sam to get back to work. But the job he gives Sam is not just any job, it’s capturing over 20 souls with a rechargeable cattle prod—a job so difficult that the Devil actually expects him to fail.

Meanwhile, Sock has to deal with his new stepsister—who he happens to be attracted to. And Sam has girl problems of his own as he tries to convince Andi to forgive him.

But an encounter with an escaped soul may hold the key to Sam eventually finding happiness with Andi by breaking free from the Devil.

The magic of “Reaper” is not in the Devil storyline (although Wise is great to watch). It’s in the friendship of Sam, Sock and Ben. Watching them try to capture the souls is the highlight of the show. And Labine is always fun to watch. In fact, I would love to see more of that and less of the supernatural aspects.

“Reaper” is a good show and I applaud The CW for giving it another shot—even if it is just 13 episodes up against “American Idol.” But I’m afraid it’s just not my thing anymore.

I think the whole Devil thing just freaks me out…

“Reaper” premieres Tuesday, March 3rd at 8 p.m. on The CW…

Photo Credit: Eric Ogden/The CW

Picks of the Week: A New Kind of Manic Monday

Even though I’m not taping “Heroes” anymore, tonight will still be a little manic thanks to two big events, which are this week’s Picks…

My Picks of the Week are: “24” and “CSI: Miami.”

Last week was the best “24” of the season as the first arc’s bad guy was captured and Renee and Jack had it out over the consequences. Now, the second arc begins with a two-hour event as the White House itself is attacked.

This brazen storyline could be either the dumbest thing the show’s ever done or one of the coolest. Either way, you won’t want to miss it…

“24” airs tonight (Monday, March 2nd) at 8 on FOX…

Before it went into reruns, “CSI: Miami” had two extremely strong episodes in a row—especially the last new episode that featured the return of Alex (Khandi Alexander) to help save Calleigh’s (Emily Procter) life. But as good as the episodes were, they continued to frustrate us with the constant teasing of a possible Calleigh-Delko hookup.

Now, the teasing is finally over as Calleigh and Delko (Adam Rodriguez) kiss. No “Miami” fan will want to miss that.

“CSI: Miami” airs tonight (Monday, March 2nd) at 10 on CBS…

Photo Credits: Adam Taylor/FOX and Cliff Lipson/CBS

This Week's Sweeps Schedule...

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome once again to that magical time known as February sweeps.

And yes, I’m well aware that we’re now in March, but his is still the February sweeps period. It was just moved to March because of concerns over the digital conversion.

That’s a real bummer for NBC because, as the network of the Super Bowl, they were assured a sweeps victory. Now they’re back to having a snowball’s chance…

Here now are the sweeps events you’ll see this week…

Monday, March 2nd
The Bachelor—8 PM (2 hours)—ABC—Season Finale
24—8 PM (2 hours)—FOX
**It’s two hours of “24.” Need I say more?
How I Met Your Mother—8:30 PM—CBS
**Frances Conroy guest stars as Barney’s mother.
Saving Grace—9 PM—TNT—Season Premiere
Rules of Engagement—9:30 PM—CBS—Season Premiere
The Bachelor: After the Final Rose—10 PM—ABC
CSI: Miami—10 PM—CBS
**Calleigh and Delko FINALLY take that next step.
Medium—10 PM—NBC
**Blythe Danner guests.
Late Show with David Letterman—11:35 PM—CBS
**U2 begins a week-long engagement on the show.
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon—12:35 AM—Series Premiere

Tuesday, March 3rd
The Biggest Losers: Couples—8 PM—NBC
**Rocco DiSpirito guests (What show does he not guest on?).
Reaper—8 PM—CW—Season Premiere
**I’ll have a review of this later tonight.
Nip/Tuck—10 PM—FX—Season Finale
The Bachelor: After the Rose, Part 2—10 PM—ABC
**Apparently, the ending to the season is so “shocking” that one “After the Rose” special is not enough.

Wednesday, March 4th
America’s Next Top Model—8 PM—CW—Season Premiere
Top Chef New York: Watch What Happens Reunion Special—9 PM—Bravo
Make Me a SuperModel—10 PM—Bravo—Season Premiere
**I’ll have a review of this on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 5th
Kath & Kim—8:30 PM—NBC
**Maya Rudolph guests.
**Taylor Swift guests as a murder victim whose story is told in flashback through Nick’s (George Eads) encounters with her.
Randy Jackson Presents: America’s Best Dance Crew—10 PM—MTV—Season Finale

Friday, March 6th
20/20 Special: Siegfried and Roy: The Magic Returns—9 PM—ABC

Saturday, March 7th
Gone Country—8 PM—CMT—Season Finale
Bound By a Secret—9 PM—Hallmark
**Lesley Ann Warren is a terminally ill cancer patient with a big secret to confess.

Sunday, March 8th
The L Word—9 PM—Showtime—Series Finale
Breaking Bad—10 PM—AMC—Season Premiere
Tool Academy—10 PM—VH1—Season Finale

Remember that all of these dates and times are subject to change…

Sunday, March 01, 2009

"Top Chef" Runner-Up Stefan: "I love all bloggers."

While answering the first question during his conference call with several TV bloggers, “Top Chef: New York” runner-up Stefan said, “I love all bloggers. You’re f---ing cool. I love it. I take it like it is, man. I have laughed so hard.”

After that, the entire call was just a laugh fest as we all scrambled to even speak after that admission…

“I know who I am,” he told us. “Stefan is Stefan. I’m never going to change. You can talk about me. You can blog about me. I got it.” Stefan mentioned one cartoon which showed him holding Fabio as a baby that he thought was hilarious.

By the way, Stefan said he didn’t feel like Fabio sold him out when he chose Hosea’s dishes. “I love honesty.”

When it was my turn, I, of course, asked him the same question I asked Carla about that moment at Judges’ Table and if he’s really a softie. “Carla is very sweet. I love her…I am a softie. Look at what I did all season. When I watched what was happening, I had tears in my eyes. I can’t stand to see women crying.”

Stefan said his affection for Carla is what made him pick Marcel as his sous chef, because he knew she couldn’t handle him. “He’s an a--, but I’m an a--.”

I asked Stefan that considering how it all played out with Casey, if that move backfired on him and he agreed that it probably did. He did say that Marcel was a good sous chef for him.

Here are some of the other great soundbites from the incredibly quotable Stefan:

“I’m always very confident. They call it cocky. I call it confident. Stuff like this doesn’t phase me.”

“Hosea won ‘Top Chef.’ He deserved it. I love the guy. We all like each other.”

“I won ‘Top Chef,’ buddy. Read the blogs. You win ‘Top Chef,’ you win a $100,000 egg. You finish second, you win the chicken that laid the egg.” [In an interview with, Stefan admitted he got that line from Richard Blais. I knew it sounded familiar.

“How can you not be in love with Jamie? It wouldn’t be the first time I tried. I love the lesbians. That chick has the best laugh. Leah has a great laugh too. I love Jamie. If she’s ready for babies, I’m ready for it. We would make great babies.”

“Would I like to open a restaurant? Write a check, buddy.” Stefan also said that he’s looking for something that will work in today’s economy and not somewhere you would have to pay “13 bucks for a Bud Light.”

“The most important thing I’ve learned is the public does matter. The public can make you or break you. The bloggers are very important. You’ve got to be on the good side of the bloggers.

“Would I do TV again? I’m working on it. I’ve got a good shot at some things. Maybe a little spin-off like Gordon Ramsay. We’ll see what happens next month…Fabio and I would be hilarious. I think I should do the show with him.”

“Tom is a great chef and THE restauranteur. He’s mostly always right. How can I rat on Tom?”

“[Top Chef] is like “Big Brother” with cooking. You’ve got to deal with the s—t you are getting. I looked like a million bucks. We all do.”

“I’m a chicken. I’m going to lay the eggs—a lot of eggs, hopefully—and make a lot of money.”

“I have made wonderful friends on that show—even Lauren [who was eliminated first]. She’s a sweet chick.”

“I’ve argued in the kitchen for over 25 years. I’m too old for that s—t.”

“I’m not a villain…It is what it is. It’s over. It’s so six weeks ago.”

“The plates [on “Top Chef”] are too f---ing small.”

“Would I make another dessert? Yeah, probably.”

“Toby is a funny guy. There was a lot of funny stuff that never got aired. Padma is smoking hot. Gail is cute, I gotta tell you.”

Several times during the call, Stefan taunted us when we went quiet. “Come on, bloggers. I’ve never known you guys to be quiet.” But we were so stunned—and entertained—by his answers that we just couldn’t come up with anything else to say.

Before he hung up the phone, Stefan urged us to “pump up Hosea a little bit. He doesn’t deserve the crap people push on him.”

And people thought this guy was a jerk…

You can read more about Stefan, including his upcoming book and clothing line at

Unfortunately, because of other commitments, I missed Hosea’s conference call. You can read his interview here.

Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo

"Top Chef" Cheftestant Carla: "I just gave too much power away"

So, it’s no big surprise that the first question Carla would be asked on her media conference call the day after the finale would be about Casey and whether or not Carla listened to her too much.

“I really enjoyed working with Casey…I did not consider it was Casey’s fault. [“Top Chef”] is emotionally exhausting and then all of a sudden you have help. I don’t have to do it on my own. I just gave too much power away.”

Carla said that because she hadn’t completely sold herself on the soufflé, she “wasn’t even present.” She went on to clarify herself even more by adding, “Do not blame Casey at all or give her a hard time.” Carla’s response to anyone thinking that Casey messed her over was an emphatic, “No she did not.”

Carla was, as she described herself, the tortoise in the competition. She started out slow, but turned it on toward the end winning two challenges before the finale. Carla said, “I was starting to be comfortable in my own skin, but then I saw if fall apart…I used Casey as a crutch.”

Carla admitted that the whole thing has taught her to “really listen to that feeling. I’m not going to second guess myself.”

I still think Carla has a great chance to win Fan Favorite—if she can beat Fabio—because of her kooky nature. But Carla said she thinks she’s actually weirder than they made her seem. “I’m going to be me. I wasn’t one-dimensional.”

When it was my turn, I had to ask her about that emotional moment when Stefan comforted her at the final Judges’s Table. “We were standing in front of the judges for hours. So after three hours or so, I was trying to hold it in…I was really touched [by Stefan]. They didn’t realize I was falling apart. I really like Stefan. He is playing the game. He’s not a bad person. He wants to win. I applaud his technique and his ability.”

Later, Carla told us that Stefan is the “paternal grandfather” of the group who keeps all of them together—even though he said on the show he wasn’t there to make friends.

As for the winner, Hosea, Carla said, “Hosea was very smart. Me, not so much, right?”

Carla said she will continue to cater, but hopes to start a “sweet and savory petite cookie place,” as well as a place in her hometown of Washington, D.C…

Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo

"Heroes": Haven't We Seen This Before?

It’s one thing when a show starts to repeat stories after six seasons (a la season six of “24”). It’s quite another when a show starts repeating stories when it’s only in its third season.

But that’s exactly what’s happening with “Heroes.” I guess since everyone is saying they wish the show would return to season one form, they figured they’d just repeat season one.

However, once you’ve already seen something once it loses its impact the second time around—especially when it’s nowhere near as good.

Last week, “Heroes” tried desperately to recapture the magic of the season one episode many call the best of the series, “Company Man,” which told the story of HRG and how he got Claire. But the flashbacks, which were supposed to show us how HRG got involved with The Hunter, really didn’t tell us anything. And what they did tell us wasn’t compelling.

Plus, it didn’t help that the flashbacks came courtesy of Matt reading his mind, accompanied by Peter and Mohinder. If those three are supposed to be some great team, they’re failing miserably.

But the attempt to recreate “Company Man” was not the worst retread the show made last week. That would be giving Matt the ability to paint the future (Isaac’s ability in season one)—which was a huge part of season one’s story—and having him paint an apocalyptic Washington D.C. almost identical to the painting of New York Isaac drew in season one. It was even painted in the floor of Isaac’s loft—the same place Isaac painted his.

I mean, are you kidding me?

And, to add insult to injury, Daphne, who we all saw die in the first chapter of “Fugitives,” was shown to be alive—yet another “Heroes” death that didn’t stick. It’s pretty bad when you want someone—anyone—on a show to die just to recover the show’s credibility a little.

I’m not going to say I’m done with “Heroes,” because I’ll probably still follow it via Internet recaps and blogs; but I’m not going to make the effort to tape it anymore.

After all, I saw all these things the first time, when they were actually worth watching…

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

Photo Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

"Top Chef" Drama: Casey Blasts Carla UPDATED

In reading my guy Blais’ blog on, I found a link to an article on “Sidedish.” Unable to open that one I found another link to a blog that told me what was in the “Sidedish” article and I’m a little bit stunned.

Casey actually badmouthed Carla—badly…

Here it is, courtesy of the blog, “David’s Dust”:
“Carla was not prepared and in over her head. The show did not talk about how the first course (crab) took her half of the friggin’ cooking time that day, I was left to work the rest of HER dishes.”“She also did not have a plan. The ONLY thing she had in mind was a cheese course! I would NEVER do a cheese course. And where in the h--l did French come from!? She is not even classically trained! It (the show) didn’t talk about how I worked on a sauce for 2 days and Carla forgot
to put it on the plate… It didn’t show how the 2nd course (fish) was MINE. It didn’t show how she took the sous vide idea and decided to GRILL it last minute causing it to be tough… And it didn’t show how she WANTED to do the souffles which she does not even know how to make! That was HER food, because it
certainly was me asking her how she wanted to do this and that while she was
busy picking crab the entire time and making a souffle that didn’t rise!... I
did not influence her. She has NO ideas of her own, oh, except a cheese course.”

WOW! My guess is that Casey was trying to jump in and defend herself before everyone trashed her. But as you guys know from reading my earlier post about Carla, she is voraciously defending her. I think if Carla does get that phone call with Casey, Casey owes her an apology.

I honestly would have expected more from Casey, considering how badly she choked in her finale, which she went into as the favorite.

Casey also told “Sidedish,” “I am done with TC.”

I certainly hope it’s done with you too, Casey. I know I am…
Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo
UPDATE: Casey wrote the following on her own blog:
The Top Chef experience has been a good one and everyone there has been
genuine and wonderful. It was nice to return and working the Carla was a lovely
experience. These are truly challenging tests and I am sorry that together we
were unable to secure her victory. As I was once in the same position myself, I
know how she feels and respect her performance. I know she will continue to

Just after the airing, an acquaintance contacted me on facebook and, it
turns out, was seeking to create some controversy. She did not represent herself
as a reporter and did not ask for a quote. Instead, she took advantage of me.

I’m a fan of Carla’s and as disappointed as her fans are that she came
up short. I’m more disappointed that my great experience with a fellow female
chef of Carla’s talent would be damaged by such reckless and unprofessional

I feel hurt and compromised. The publication who is involved has always
treated me well, but in this case– it should be embarrassed.

The "Top Chef" Finale: Lots of Tears

After last week’s “Top Chef,” I started to wobble from the Stefan bandwagon. I was just so put off by his cocky attitude toward the judges at Judges’ Table that I just couldn’t stick with him.

But Wednesday night, at the final Judges’ Table, Stefan was there to comfort Carla when she broke down and even broke down a little bit himself. So I found myself once again, rooting for Stefan.

However, it was Hosea who was named Top Chef. And although I’ve never been a fan of Hosea’s, I guess I can take some solace in the fact that his sous chef was none other than my guy Richard Blais…

I hate it when Bravo does extended episodes of “Top Chef,” because it just makes me have to stay up later. But I wouldn’t have minded this time, because I would have liked to have seen more of the interaction between Stefan and Marcel (season two’s villain) and I would have loved to have seen Casey stumble her way through the sous chef portion of Judges’ Table (Yes, the sous chefs were asked their opinions by the judges. I’m really hoping that Bravo will put some of that on the website, as they have in past years.)

But ultimately, we got another great finale with good food, high drama and lots of tears. But not nearly as many tears as I will shed at saying goodbye to the show for another season after the reunion.

Well done, gang. Well done.

Just one thing. Could you make sure and bring back Anthony Bourdain as a judge next year? I really missed him…

The “Top Chef” reunion airs Wednesday, March 4th at 9 p.m. on Bravo…

Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo