Saturday, October 04, 2008

First Impressions: The Ex-List


The cast of The Ex List

Number one on my most anticipated list for fall television was The Ex-List. Of course that was mostly by default, thanks to the writer’s strike it looks like most of the quality shows won’t show up until mid-season while the fall is mostly populated by easy to put out shows. And really the main reason why The Ex-List stood out from the rest was that is was being ran by Diane Ruggiero who wrote some of the best episodes of Veronica Mars who bolted after some created differences.

Elizabeth Reaser of The Ex ListBut six episodes were in the can before Ruggiero so I figured that it would at least start strong. And apparently I figured wrong. Where to start with what is wrong? I guess you start with the casting most notably the lead Elizabeth Reaser (The Family Stone) who is really miscast. The show is built to be this quirky drama but Reaser just doesn’t have a handle on comedy. Bella needed to be portrayed by an actress that can walk the line chronically clumsy but never actually crossing the line and Reaser just cannot find the rhythm.

The supporting cast is just not likable. First there are Bella’s roommates and companions Alex Breckenridge (Dirt) and her obscenely oversized bangs and Adam Rothenberg (Mad Money). Then there is Amir Talai (Mad TV) who just seems like a throw away character that seems to have no reason to be there. The most unlikeable is most recent ex-boyfriend Mark Deklin (Herbie - Fully Loaded) who is only around because he shares custody of a dog with Bella.

Rachel Boston of The Ex ListThe only good thing about the show so far is Bella’s sister Rachel Boston (American Dreams) who is a lighting bolt on screen and may have been a better choice for Bella. What’s odd is even though he bachelorette party is the catalyst for Bella getting her fortune of she has one year to find her soul mate of spend the rest of her life alone, we actually do not meet her fiancee in the first hour.

The worst casting award goes to Bella’s first chance encounter with one of her exes in Eric Balfour (Can't Hardly Wait) who is right up there with the dudes from Heroes in the How Does This Dude Still Find Work category. Without him in future The Ex-List has room for improvement but I don’y see how it can get much more better especially with the exit of Ruggiero.

The Ex-List airs Fridays at 9:00 on CBS. You can stream recent episodes over at Innertube. You can also download The Ex-List on iTunes.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Cleaning Out My Inbox vol. IX


A plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on Miracle at St. Anna, Chuck, When Weather Changed History, Gemini Division, The Comedy Festival, The Office, Harry Potter, Crash, and Estate of Panic.


- Miracles of St. Anna is getting a lot of buzz and for those that have not seen it yet, as it is currently in theaters, here is a synopsis along with two clips from the film.

Directed by Spike Lee from a screenplay written by James McBride, the author of the acclaimed novel of the same name, the film chronicles the story of four African-American soldiers who are members of the U.S. Army as part of the all-black 92nd Buffalo Soldier Division stationed in Tuscany, Italy, during World War II. They experience the tragedy and triumph of the war as they find themselves trapped behind enemy lines and separated from their unit after one of them risks his life to save an Italian boy.

Miracle at St. Anna explores a deeply inspiring story that transcends national boundaries, race and class to touch the goodness within us all.


video

video


- Fans of Chuck should definitely check out insidebuymore.com where viewers can join up as employees of Chuck's workplace and get the latest insider news about the show, and connect with fellow fans.

- For this history buff, the first season of When Weather Changed History was very entertaining and the second season starts up this Sunday October 5 at 9:00 on the Weather Channel with the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. For the second season, also look for episodes on The Great Chicago Fire, the Titanic, the Hindenburg, Killer Smog of 1948, the Dust Bowl, the D-Day Invasion, Floods of 1993, Greensburg, Kansas, the Heat Wave of 1995, Katrina, Valley Forge, and the Super Outbreak of Tornados of 1974.

- When I last talked about Gemini Division I mentioned how it was odd that they would debut the web show during the Olympics and because of Olympics I completely forgot about it until I was recently sent a reminder and of a re-cap the show recently did. Head over to GeminiDivision.com for that recap.

- The Comedy Festival is taking place November 20-22 at Caesar’s palace in Las Vegas featuring Jerry Seinfeld, Katt Williams, a roast of Cheech and Chung (naturally), and many more. If you are in the area you can find ticket information at thecomedyfestival.com. If you cannot make it, keep your eye out on TBS who will be airing many of the events.

- For those that cannot get enough of The Office or are already going through Harry Potter withdrawal with the final book already out, be sure to check out Atom.com’s two part episode J.K.’s The Office and Salesman’s Stoned. Click for Episode 1 and Episode 2.

- With HBO and Showtime battling over the title of best original programming, Starz has thrown its hat into the ring with a Crash based on the movie. I cannot say have much excitement with the show because I do not get Starz and I thought Crash was one of the worst movies ever in the history of the world. But those interested you can watch the premiere episode online now before it airs October 17. Head over to starz.com/crash to give it a look.

- The upcoming Sci-Fi Channel reality show Estate of Panic recently got its host in Steve Valentine of Crossing Jordan fame. The show is set to premiere Wednesday, November 12 at 10:00.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

First Impressions: Pushing Daisies Season Two


Pushing Daisies on iTunesWhere Chuck took the approach to a lengthy layoff after a quick minute recap before starting something new (see Previewing: Chuck), Pushing Daises took the opposite approach and devoted almost half of its premiere to recapping the first season. The Pushing Daisies approach may be better to in bringing in new viewers, but they could have recapped a little faster.

Giving so much emphasis on the narration and the flashback, my boy Emerson Cod seemed to get the short stick in terms of a storyline. But they planted a couple more seeds about his missing in action daughter which he is apparently trying to find via a pop up book, a new hobby he picked up last season.

Then there is the head scratching plot twist with Olive heading off to a nunnery because she hated hiding all the secrets she accumulated in the first season. I totally did not get why Olive had Aunt Lily take her to the nunnery if she was one of the people she was trying to escape. I wonder if there is a deleted scene out there somewhere that explains this. Or explain why Lily stuck around to keep her tabs on her.

The mystery of the week with the bees may have been the weakest of the series, but that could have been because it didn’t have the usual twist and turns due to all the time dedicated to bring people back up to date. Hopefully now that everyone is caught up, Pushing Daisies can get back into the groove starting next week.

Pushing Daisies airs Wedsdays at 8:00 on ABC. You can stream recent episodes over at ABC.com. You can also download Pushing Daisies on iTunes or through Amazon Video on Demand:



Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Darkness Falls Across the Land, the Midnite Hour Is Close at Hand


Thriller - Michael Jackson

Say will you want about the alien that currently is Michael Jackson and his inching closer to a confrontation with Chris Hansen, but the music still stand up and October shows exactly why because even with the circus surrounding Jackson, twenty-five years after the release of Thriller, you will still hear the title track at every Halloween party this season and lands itself into the Scooter Hall of Fame.

The reach could also be seen when iTunes first started selling videos on its service and Thriller remained a mainstay at the top of its chart for months and will most like make a return to as the holiday approaches. And the epic song surly produced an epic video which was an event when it premiere. Lasting thirteen minutes, Jackson reinvented the music video into mini movies with plots and stories and massive budgets. And don’t tell me the song comes on you don’t feel an urge to do the zombie dance.

Just when you think Thriller, the song or video, couldn’t get any more menacing, along comes Vincent Price in what could be considered the very first rap cameo in a pop song. To this day in the right context, Price’s words can send shivers up my spine. See for yourself:






Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Playing the Percentages vol. II


It is time for another rousing round of Playing the Percentages, again along for the ride is the good people from TV on the Brain. If you want to play the home game, just drop your thoughts in the comments or leave a comment on a question you would like to be answered at a later date. Now let us play the game where I will play the role of the House Republicans with Jo playing the role of George Bush.


What are the chances that Pushing Daises has a sophomore slump?

Scooter: 10%. Where someone like JJ Abrams is high concept, low results, Bryan Fuller has proven to be high concept, high results, well at least when people turn in. Plus it is had to have a sophomore slump when your freshman year is cut in less than half.

Jo: 0%. Bryan Fuller and crew didn't even get a full season one thanks to the strike. So he's had nearly a year to think about it. And even though this show has a very specific premise, there is a rich well of story to tell in this beautiful fantasy world he's created.


What are the chances that the best show of this season will be a mid-season replacement?

Scooter: It is not a good sign when the best new show of the season I have seen is Raising the Bar with Zack Morris and his absurd hair. I was looking forward to Ex-List until Diane Ruggerio left unceremoniously. She just happen to get quick work with Rob Thomas on the reboot of Cupid. Thrown in mid-season shows by Mike Judge and Joss Whedon plus the much buzzed Kings I’ll go a high as 92% on this.

Jo: I haven't been paying attention to the new material coming out, but my money would be on proven show runners Joss & Rob as well. So I'll toss a 75% out there for good measure.


What chances does Gary Unmarried have to be this year’s The Big Bang Theory?

Scooter
: Despite being much beloved now, The Big Bang Theory got crushed by critics, professional and armchair alike much like Gary Unmarried has when they first aired. But even their first were not completely unwatchable. With that said I will only give it 33% chance because The Big Bang Theory had Sheldon to build around and Gary Unmarried doesn’t have that potential break out character to lift them into bankable sitcom. Although if tweaked, Ed Beagley Jr., who I think is just currently recurring, could be that.

Jo: 25%. Jay Mohr is a bit of a love 'em or hate 'em actor. I happen to hate. And as much as I seriously adore The Big Bang Theory, they need to better balance the story telling out among all the characters because, yes Scooter, even Sheldon will get old with his schtick.

Scooter: As someone with some of Sheldon's quirks, there is plenty of of schtick left before Sheldon gets old.


What is the percentage that you will not be watching Friday Night Lights until 2009?

Scooter: 25%, I deleted all my torrent programs years ago out of security reasons (and the fear of being sued) but I am holding out hope that NBC still steams new episodes on Hulu the day after they air on DirecTV which would be the smart thing to do from a business standpoint to combat the torrent. But NBC has proved not to be the smarted network (*cough* Knight Rider *cough*)

Jo: ? 50%? I don't even know when FNL is supposed to come back. I figure since NBC is barely keeping the show alive anyways that if all else fails, I'll rent the DVDs.

Scooter: For the record, Friday Night Lights season three premieres tomorrow at 9:00 on DirecTV channel 101 (and repeated Fridays at 9:00) uncut and commercial free. Then sometime in 2009 the episode will re-air on NBC at a time and day to be determined later. I'm not sure the "uncut" is a marketing ploy or if DirecTV will be throwing in a swear word and gratuitous nudity that will be cut out for network broadcast or maybe some extra scenes. Now if only I knew someone with DirecTV so I could find this out (anyone in Northeast Ohio with DirecTV, shout me a holla).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Previewing Chuck


You would think after only a handful of episodes under its belt and a eight month hiatus that Chuck would take its time reintroducing itself, but beside a quick minute recap from our protagonist, the show hits the ground running with its second season premiere. Well not literally as it actually starts with Chuck being hung Vanilla Ice style with the dude from The Green Mile playing the roll of Suge Knight.

The show doesn’t seem to start too far into the future than we left off and the new Intersect is nearly complete and Casey’s boss is still keen on having him eliminate the old one once. Sadly most of the best scenes were repeated from the promo that has been in heavy rotation since the Olympics like the car crash, Chuck finding Awesome and his sister in the shower, Casey’s man love for Ronald Reagan, and the Token Hot Chick in her underwear. Well, I guess that is something worse seeing again.

There is some good new and bad news about the cast. The good being that it has ballooned up to now include Awesome as a full fledged cast member as well as Big Mike and the Nerd Herd triad of the Indian, the hot Asian and the soon to be meeting Chris Hansen looking guy. The bad is that unfortunately to make room for them they did not decide to cut loose Morgan who is as annoying as ever.

Chuck airs Mondays at 8:00 and you can always steam recent episodes over at NBC.com. You can also download Chuck on iTunes or on Amazon Video on Demand:



Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pay Off Your Debts You Morons


Ted Stevens and Larry Craig in the same picture, we were just a Mark Foley away from the trifectaIt is never a good sign opening up an article entitled, Senate Sends Big Spending Bill to Bush with a picture of these goons attached. For those that cannot pick out their Congressmen in a line out, that is from left Ted Stevens, John Barrasso, Larry Craig, and Sheldon Whitehouse. What, was Mark Foley on the next elevator? And no, the bill had nothing to due with the much ballyhooed bailout package that has been talked about for the last week. Nope this is a separate bill that gives $25,000,000,000 of taxpayer money. Also included was a record setting 70,000,000,000 to the Pentagon while the Defense Department (um, isn’t the Pentagon defense?) got a six percent increase to 488,000,000,000. Gotta pay for those wars. And despite all the talk on earmarks on Friday, the bill also contained 2,322 pet projects costing taxpayers $4,900,000,000. The article also had this to say,
“Democrats also wanted to avoid an election-year clash with Bush that would have played in his favor. They are willing to take their chances that Democrat Barrack Abeam will be elected president in November and permit increases for scores of programs squeezed by Bush each year.”

And yes I copied and pasted that, the typo isn’t mine.

But I want to go on the record that I am completely against the bailout plan for Wall Street. You know, the one that was quickly thrown together by George Bush (who has been sporting an “Is it January yet” face all week) and the Senate Democrats. You know when those two entities agree on anything it cannot end well on principal alone. It was interesting that when John McCain called out Barrack Abeam for being the most liberal person Obama shot back that he was just voting against Bush’s boneheaded ideas yet he was quick to get on board with Bush on the most important legislation of his tenure in the Senate.

To get off track for a second, what is with this “call me if you need me crap”? Say what you want about John McCain but at least he showed up to do his job that he was elected to do. The people of Illinois, Arizona and Delaware did not elect these guys to run for president. Why is Congress the only place in America where if you do not show up for work not only do you not get fired but you may get a promotion for skipping. Congressmen have successfully cut their work week down to three days while taking six week vacations after every four weeks of work.

If you are running for president and are still collecting $169,300 of our tax payer money per year, you better show up for work. Which of course none of them actually do. In my life time only Bob Dole had the common courtesy to actually resign from the Senate to run. Speaking of Senators McCain and Obama doing what they are paid to do, both in the past days said they had previously warned on the floor of Congress of the impending economic crisis. Well you are both legislator, if saw this coming why didn’t you write any legislation to stop this from happening instead of grandstanding in front of Congress. Well I guess we know why Obama wasn’t willing to write legislation to regulate Freddie, Fannie and AGI because he was number two in donation received from both. Then you have Chris Dodd number one and he is the Finance Committee Chair who just happens to be the lead Senate Democrat in trying to rush bailing out those that were so generous to him.

But back to this horrendously stupid bailout plan. Having Bush and the Dems actually agreeing as a sign of a horrible things to come, I am against it because it benefit two types of people: the greedy and the stupid. The greedy is obvious, these fat cats gambling with your savings in hopes to buy a third yacht. But one group of people you don’t hear about is the stupid because the Congress doesn’t want to put blame the people that will be voting in about a month.

To clarify the stupid, these are the people that kept on accumulating debt (college loans, mortgage, car payments, credit cards) but instead of paying those off debts you thought that buying an HDTV, sound system and a Playstation 3 would be a better investment than paying off stuff you already owe. And because you all just had to have a bigger house than you could I am stuck with a $24,000 bill which is how much each American will have to pay when you divie up the 700,000,000,000 bail out figure tossed around, even though I paid off my student loans ahead of time, on the path to doing the same for the mortgage I’m paying, pay off my credit card in their entirety all the while being what the government likes to label as poor.

Seriously people, it is not hard to create a budget. The next (or first) time you buy a house take you current income, subtract all you monthly debt you may have (loans, credit card minimums), factor in monthly expenses like grocery and if the number is bigger than the suggest monthly mortgage payment then go ahead and buy. If not, keep house hunting for something more in your price range, and if that number turns out to be less than zero, it may be time to cancel your Netflick subscription and get out of the red (I know someone whose phone number changes every other month because she cannot pay the bill yet has yet to cancel her Netflick, so I know very well just how stupid people are when they come to their finances).

Keeping a budget is simple third grade math people, it isn’t hard. Or maybe this is why a show called Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader is so popular. I do understand that some people were unable to keep up with their mortgages for various reasons and they do deserve help, but a majority of that 700,000,000,000 is just people who feel they should live in houses bigger than they can actually afford.

What is really scary is the people behind the bailout plan are keep on trying to sell their plan by saying that the American taxpayers can actually make money on all the bad mortgages over time. Are these people serious? This would be like losing your life savings at the blackjack table, having your parents bailing you out only to go to the roulette table and telling your parents they may get they money back with interest This bailout cannot happen and certainly cannot be handled by the likes of George Bush and Chris Dodd.

And just when you think it couldn’t get worse for Americans last week, on Thursday Fred Durst announce that he was getting Limp Bizkit back together. God help us all.