Saturday, September 29, 2007

In the Blood

Dexter 1.x

Around this time last year, the good people over at Showtime were nice enough to hook me up with an advance screening of their new show Dexter (see my First Impressions) and my biggest problem with the show is that it was a great hour of television. This was a course a problem due to lack of actually subscribing to the premium channel and really too cheap to do so. So I had to wait for the DVD of the show to come out about ten month later to see how it turned out. What, you didn’t expect me to actually read the book that the show was based on did you. (Note to those that have read Darkly Dreaming Dexter: my sources tell me that the show does deviate from the book including fleshing out some of the secondary characters and a different ending).

Some of you may be thinking “Scooter, just last week you said you don’t watch Nip/Tuck because of your low tolerance for blood, how is Dexter any different?” Well I was a little hesitant to check the show out at first, but all the blood is done artistically and the show is definitely in the gore porn of something like Hostel. Plus it helps that Dexter’s arch-nemesis, the Ice Truck Killer, happens to drain his victim’s blood. And even when Dexter succumbs to his own killing temptations, it usually goes from Dexter with his victim tied up to him cleaning up; we never get to see him do his dirty except for his last of the season.

Author Jeff Lindsay set up a fine blueprint for the Dexter character which it translated great to screen thanks in part to Michael C. Hall. The problem with the show is that the other characters just are no where near as good as the title character. In the first episode Sergeant Doakes seemed almost like a sitcom version of a gruff cop, but that got grating when he was put in more situation with his own storyline. Even though the girlfriend was a good diversion, many of her scenes seemed a little forced. Talking about forced, Jennifer Carpenter looked like she was always trying too hard as Dexter’s foster sister. But the best secondary character was the just as weird lab technician Masuka who was always good for some comic relief who can now be seen as Chuck’s co-worker on, you guessed it, Chuck.

Dexter 1.x gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

There are many ways you can catch the first season of Dexter aside from the usual DVD set (see below left). You download the whole season through Amazon Unbox (see below middle) or download Dexter on iTunes. And if your cable provider has an On Demand function, look for your Entertainment On Demand channel and you can watch the firs season for free on demand. For those already caught up through the first season, you can catch the second season premiere tomorrow thanks to the Showtime free preview. Of course if you are like me, you will then have to wait another ten months until the second season DVD comes out. Although if you have some disposable income, I would assume that the episodes will end up on Unbox and iTunes after they air.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I Want My Music Television vol. V

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form so here they are courtesy of YouTube. I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available, if not the link goes to YouTube where you can watch the video in full screen). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

No One - Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys has put out two good albums and after a four year hiatus she is finally back with what hopefully will be her first truly great album. After hearing the first two songs from the album it may just be. The first single No One is a song that could be a hit at any point in time had it been released by a Motown act in the 60's, Pointer Sisters in the 80's or Babyface in the 90’s. And I wonder if the over the shoulder sweatshirt is a nod that the song could have been a hit in the 80's.

So Small - Carnival Ride

From the sound of her first single, we shouldn’t expect too much change on the second album from Carnival Ride, Carnival Ride. Here we have basically Jesus Take the Wheel part two complete with a car themed video. I’m guessing they are holding the Before He Cheats retread for the second single. The special effects in the video would have been cool if we haven’t see them before in a couple other videos and thanks to Hiro on Heroes. And is that the dude from Angel driving one of the cars?

Hot In Herre - Jenny Owen Youngs

There is no better way to make an absolutely horrible song better than to turn it into a folk song (see Mandy Moore's version of Umbrella). That is just the case with Jenny Owen Youngs version of the, um, "classic" Nelly song Hot in Herre. Plus the accompanying video is just hilarious. Seriously, how can you not be down with dancing polar bears?
Rock Star - R. Kelly, Ludacris and Kid Rock 

With the boring Same Girl video that tried to capitalize of Trapped in the Closet absurdity, followed but the latest installments of the Closet anthology which was a complete let down I thought R. Kelly’s well had gone dry. Then came this video for Rock Star and the beginning was so inane I may think Kells may be back to his fine form. My favorite part is that he had to clarify that it was written by R. Kelly. Seriously, what was there to write? Love it. I starting to get excited for Trapped in the Closet 23 now.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

First Impressions: Life

The cast of LifeThere are a few shows that I don’t watch: ones with doctors, lawyers, cops or anything on Fox. Granted there have been a few exceptions like The Joband I will occasionally catch whichever Law and Order Ice-T is on. Life looked different from the thousands of cops show because of the usual case of the week episodes, the show looked like it had an overarching mystery and Sarah Shahi (Teachers) is what I like to refer to as moderately attractive. So since it was free and commercial free though many different outlets I gave it a try.

The show follows Charlie Crews (Damien Lewis, Band of Brothers) as he rejoins the police force as a detective after being cleared on murder characters that landed him eleven years in jail. Why come back to work after being awarded millions of dollars settlement for wrongful incarceration? Where that is where the overarching mystery as Crews is using his connection on the job to try find out who set him up in the first place.

No seriously, Sarah Shahi is actually hotBeing the black sheep of the precinct, he is teamed up with someone very low on the totem pole in the form a Shahi, someone battling her own demons (which leads to the best part of the pilot, but in a unintentionally funny way). The cast is then rounded out my Adam Arkin (Chicago Hope) as Crews’ financial advisor and white collar criminal he met while in the joint. Then there is Brooke Langton (Swingers) as Crews’ lawyer yet there seems to be more to that relationship than we see so far on screen.

An interesting take on your bland procedural shows but the big problem is Crews is written as a complex person with many eccentricities than an actor like Lewis just can handle (some of which is the writers fault). Most of his lines and actions come off as forced in the hands of Lewis and you just can’t help to think how much better the show could be will a better skilled actor in this role like what people have me to believe as a Hugh Laurie type actor (I really can’t vouch for him because House breaks two of my previously mentioned rules).

Another problem with the show is that they make Shahi look a good decade older than what she is and fairly unattractive (as seen in the picture above. One can take from it that they are doing so because it will eventually turn out that she will figure the conspiracy further down the road and if she played someone her age she would have been in high school when the crimes occurred. And if that is the reason, it is just another case of bad casting and really Langdon and Shahi really should have switch characters. But on the bright show they did manage to get Shahi out of her clothes.

Verdict: In a word: pass. Life airs Wednesdays at 10:00 on NBC. You can also download the episodes after they air through Amazon Unbox (see below). You can also steam the episodes after they debut on

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

First Impressions: Bionic Woman

The new cast of Bionic Woman circa 2007My sources tell me that long before the Bionic Woman debuted tonight that there was another version of the television show that was on the air decades ago. But since I have a hard time believing anything interesting or important happened before my birth, I have tended not to listen to these sources which is good thing because then I can go into watching this show with any predisposed thoughts on the show.

For those also born sometime after the original, the plot is devised a of a woman who after a life threatening accident is kept alive by replacing some vital, and not so vital organs with machine parts including an eye, and ear, an arm, and both legs. This is all thanks to her boyfriend who works for some secret government agency that may or may not be in charge with creating cyborg type soldiers. And of course instead of testing the procedures on mortally wounded soldiers, they instead perform clinical trials on two random chicks. Yeah, okay.

Your new Bionic Woman Michelle RyanThere are major flaws with the first episode the lesser being for a science fiction series there are way too many long stretches of boredom and sci-fi shows should never be boring. C’mon, they exist out of the realm of possibility, if you notice a lull in the script; just start shooting flames out of their eyes. The problem with this is the show looks like it wants you to think that show could possibly be happening as we speak so except for some super hearing, strength and speed there really isn’t anything out of the ordinary.

Okay, maybe there are some things out of the ordinary like before a big showdown, the evil doer calls timeout to explain everything is Austin Powerian type fashion with the good guy just standing there, letting her. And so what during the fight the Bionic Woman has her none bionic arm broken but shakes it off like it were a WWF match.

Annoying little sister in the form of Lucy Kate Hale: checkBut the biggest flaw is that none of the character we are introduced are all that likeable. The boyfriend, who moonlights as a college professor, comes off as creepy by dating someone old enough to be his student and selfish foe what he has done. All his coworkers are cold and without emotion and pretty much all have the same personality but are just of a different age and sex. The little sister is just your token teenage brat. Worst of all is the Bionic Woman herself considering she has all the trapping of someone we should care about, someone who works hard to take care of her sister after her patents left them only to be part of a horrific accident. Yet with all that I could care less about her and that should never happen even with the most flawed main character.

Verdict: There are some major wrinkles in the show that need to be ironed out but for some reason it could turn around quickly. I am currently putting the show on a week-by-week basis before giving it up for good. Bionic Woman airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on NBC. You can download future episodes on Amazon UnBox (see left). You can also stream episodes after they air over at

One more thing that has nothing to do with the Pilot, but there is something else about this show that is really bugging me. You cannot see a Bionic Woman review these days without the obligatory Isaiah Washington bashing and I just want to say to everyone still piling on him almost a year later, seriously, lay off the guy. Yeah the dude said something stupid, but he didn’t electricity your dog, eat your kids or used the word it in a tirade after getting pulled over for drunk driving. The guy has a family to feed and if you think someone should get fired and not be able to provide for his family for saying something you are just as bad as Washington himself or Don Imus for that matter. Seriously, if everyone got fired for saying something stupid the unemployment rate in this country would be as high as Iraq’s.

I hate to go all third grade teacher on you but sticks and stones may break your bones but words should never hurt you. I get called the name in question on a monthly basis (back in college it was up to a weekly basis) but instead of whine to their superiors to get that person fired I just insult them right back with something like, “Wow, you just used the go to insult that every fifth grader uses. Congratulations, you are as smart as a fifth grader.” (I have yet to have an opportunity to break out my latest insult in my arsenal in these situations, “If you hate gay homosexuals so much why don’t you just move to Iran?” Feel free to try it out and tell me how it goes over if you can use before I can.) And then the person always goes away mad because they know I’m right, because only juveniles and the unintelligent use those types of words.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I’m Finished Making Sense, Done Pleading Ignorance

Echo, Silence, Patience & Grace - Foo Fighters

On my iPod I have a playlist called Heart Pumpers, and much like the title suggests it is full of songs whose main purpose is to get the blood flowing while on a run, exercising or getting ready for a competition. Featured in this playlist are multiple songs from the Foo Fighters including My Hero, All My Life and Best of You. I may just have to add the band’s latest single, The Pretender which in no way embodies the characteristics of the album’s title, Echo, Silence, Patience & Grace, with its crushing guitars and unconformist lyrics that could get anyone ready to go into battle after melodic start of song.

The guitars don’t get turned down after the bombast of The Pretender as it is followed by a few more straight ahead rockers that should get plenty of play on rock radio over the next year including Let it Die and Erase/Replace. It is then almost a relief when the more melodic Long Road to Ruin, think a pessimistic version of Times Like These, shows up. From there the album goes back and forth between songs that would be on opposite disks of the double album In Your Honor and definitely benefits from the blend over the previous outing.

There are some curveballs on the album including the tongue in cheek title of Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make Up Is Running) that takes pot shots at the emo bands that dominated radio the past years. Of course Dave Grohl and company are having the last laugh as they are still relevant as the emo fad seems to be fading. But the oddest of them all is Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners written by Grohl after meeting a survivor of the mine’s collapses and swore to him he would record the song and being a man of his word, here it is. Some might complain the finger picking instrumental but it is a good diversion for the album.

What is missing from Echo, Silence, Patience & Grace a slowed down more poppier song in vein of Big Me, Walking After You, or Next Year. There are some attempts here but Stranger Things Have Happened, Summer’s End and the album closer Home just fall short of the greatness of previous tracks except But, Honestly with its slow build to an all out rocker. They do try to switch it up a little with a song like Statues which sounds like an American response to the British Invasion of the sixties. But the second half of the album as a whole just suffers from not having any songs to connect to.

Song to Download - The Pretender

Echo, Silence, Patience & Grace gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Chuck and Journeyman on iTunes

So I was perusing the iTunes for new stuff like I do every Tuesday and was extremely surprised to see Chuck front and center when I flipped the the TV section. And NBC other debut last night, Journeyman also popped up on the site. But, unless I am blind, I did not see the second season premiere of Heroes there. But the inclusion of Chuck and Journeyman of course is surprising because NBC said a couple weeks ago they were not renewing their contract with iTunes which ends in December. And since it ended in December NBC said they would not be adding any new shows because they didn't want to pull the shows from the site mid-season. But there are Chuck and Journeyman, complete with the option of buying a season pass. So either NBC and iTunes kissed and made up like I predicted it would before the television season started or someone made an extremely huge mistake. If they did make up, I wonder which side caved because, as I am writing this, I have not seen any news reports on it. Either way, if you are interested in buying either show, click the link below:



I was going to save my Heroes commentary for my 57 Channels post this weekend, but since I wrote it last night after the show and have this very special two day post, here it is a couple days earlier:

Heroes: Darn you Heroes for once again teasing me that you killed off Absorbing Guy just to reveal once again that he wasn’t in fact dead like everyone thinks. For the love of good acting, the next time you kill him off make sure he stays dead. Of course it would be pretty apropos if Kristen Bell is the one that finally does the deed by having one of the best actors today kill off one of the worst. But anyways.

Horrible acting aside, I could also complain how uninteresting the Spanish people are or how they have created so many Heroes that they have already started to recycling abilities (flight) but I want to talk about how funny the premiere was. No seriously, I think I laughed more during Heroes that I did How I Met Your Mother (you will have to wait until this weekend on my thoughts there except what was with all the bad hair on that show last night?), The Big Bang Theory, and Chuck combined. First, despite starting to be grating during the end of last season, Hero meeting his hero, who just happened to be a drunk British guy. Yeah the premise sounds like a cheesy blockbuster film that should star Martin Laurence or Tom Cruise, yet somehow the actor somehow made it work. Then there was Noah’s boss whom I hope turns out to be a hero himself and much like Samson have his powers being drawn from his moustache. And I’m not even sure why I found it funny but the Bennett family dinner, complete with Mr. Muggles, was so inane I just busted out laughing during the whole scene.

Sigh, when is Kristen Bell going to showing up again?

Monday, September 24, 2007

First Impressions: Chuck

The cast of ChuckIn a story I broke this weekend, tonight sees the debut of two nerd oriented shows. Of the two, The Big Bang Theory (see my First Impressions) by far handled the nerd culture better than tonight’s other debut, Chuck. But if we want to get technical, the guys from The Big Bang Theory are actual nerds while Chuck and his co-workers, despite working for something called the Nerd Herd, definitely fall under the label of nerds. And if you have to ask what is the difference between a nerd and a geek, you are definitely not either.

What’s worse Chuck even calls himself a nerd in the pilot. Seriously whoever is Chuck’s nerd advisor needs to fired (or possibly they need to find one if they don’t already have one) because Chuck and his best buddy Morgan are completely one note and clichéd and it was almost like the writers got the inspiration for their jokes out of a Nerds for Dummies guidebook. And while they are firing people, the cinematographer and all his uber-close up shots need to go. It is not often I am thankful for not having a high definition television, but this would be one of those cases because I bet anyone who does could count the number of nose hairs the actors had in those shots. I also have to question the musical adviser too, yeah Jet’s Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is was a great choice for the seen with the Token Hot Chick getting dressed, but they didn’t even feature the best line in the song, “You’ll be the sinner and I’ll be the sin.” Then the big emotional scene at the end features a song by The Shins; how Zach Braff of them.

But all that is knick picking, my biggest problem with the first episode has to do with the main plot. So Chuck is e-mailed sensitive government information which is downloaded to his brain. That isn’t as close to being as farfetched to how they portray our government employees so ruthlessly. We have in one episode we witness an NSA agent kill an unarmed CIA agent (albeit a rouge one), then give the okay to kill another CIA agent, which he almost does with his car, who is just following order from the superior. Then we have a CIA agent stabbing multiple NSA agents. Really, if I wanted to hear how inept and corrupt our government is I’d listen to Air America.

Hottest Token Chick Ever?That is not to say the whole show is flawed. The two saving graces are the two government agents sent to look after Chuck. First for the NSA there is Adam Baldwin (My Bodyguard) who steals every movie or television show he has ever been in and the plot twist with his character at the end shows that the series has much potential after the Pilot. But more importantly the show could possible feature the hottest Token Hot Chick ever in the history of television in the form of a CIA agent. Her dance sequence could be the sexiest thing you will ever see on network television. Her twist at the end can also put a major monkey wretch in the future of the show.

Even though Morris is extremely annoying, the background geeks of the Nerd Herd could prove to be more entertaining, led by archenemies Harry, who was also a great source of comic relief as horny forensic guy on Dexter. Surprisingly even though the easiest scene stealer to write, the geek, turned out extremely annoying in the form of Morris, the breakout scene steal is token perfect dude (who typically is the most annoying character), Chuck’s sister’s boyfriend Captain Awesome.

Verdict: A pretty lackluster Pilot but they do set up things nicely for the show to improve considering the two twists at the end. But I still a little worried because for something labeled a dramady, the laughs were not all that funny. Really the only thing that got more than a chuckle out of me was Chuck’s choice of ringtones. So they may want to add a comedy writer to the already long list of people I said they need to bring on. Chuck airs Mondays at 8:00 on NBC. You can also download the Pilot for free on Amazon Unbox.

Also I would like to mention with premiere week in full swing for the credible networks, the good people over at Tapeworthy and The TV Addict round up a group television blogger and myself to rate this year’s new shows and you can find a grid of all our responses here. For those that find graphs too complicated, below I took the averages of all the show and put them in order below as well as the rubric and the list of who participated:

1. Pushing Daisies: 5.00
2. Chuck: 4.67
3. Dirty Sexy Money: 4.56
4. Reaper: 4.31
5. Gossip Girl: 3.92
6. Aliens in America: 3.75
7. Journeyman: 3.67
8. Bionic Woman: 3.54
9. Private Practice: 3.33
10. Cane: 3.20
11. Samantha Who?: 3.17
12. Sarah Connor Chronicles: 3.00
New Amsterdam: 3.00
K-Ville: 3.00
15. Life Is Wild: 2.75
Life: 2.75
17. Back to You: 2.70
18. Women's Murder Club: 2.50
Big Bang Theory: 2.50
20. Carpoolers: 2.43
21. Viva Laughlin: 2.00
Big Shots: 2.00
23. Cavemen: 1.63

1 - Don't waste your time unless you find ACCORDING TO JIM 'funny'
2 - Not great but at least doesn't offend me.
3 - Fun to watch if nothing else is on.
4 - Has potential. Worth a second look.
5 - Set your TiVo to Season's Pass!
N/A - Haven't watched yet.

BuzzSugar, DaemonsTV, DuckyDoesTV, GiveMeMyRemote, GlowyBox, MikeyLikesTV, ScooterMcGavin, SillyPipeDreams, Seat42f, TapeWorthy, theTVaddict, TiFaux and TubeTalk

I was a little surprised of how high people ranked Reaper and I am beginning to think either everyone else saw something different than I did or I am the only one not on the CW payroll. It weird that everyone “in the know” thinks the show is great yet not actually saying what is so great about it yet every normal person I talk to say it would be kind to call it mediocre. The best description I have heard about the show was that it was in a word underwhelming. My only other theory is that everyone else is grading on a curve because lets face it, if you take Pushing Daisies out of the equation, none of the other shows would have even ranked in the top five of last year’s list.

Now if happened upon the 9th Green from one other other TV blogs, you may want to check out my contest where I am giving away the fourth season of Nip/Tuck on DVD. Click the banner on the top of the sidebar for details.

And I would be remised if I didn’t mention that I am up for an award for Best TV Blogger. Yeah so technically I shouldn’t win this award because I’m not a TV Blogger. And really I don’t want to win. I just want to come in third, fourth or fifth because they win t-shirts, and winning a t-shirt means one more day I can procrastinate doing laundry. So if you have too much time on your hands (you do have to sign up to the site), please click the badge below and vote for me. Well unless of course I am in first or second then vote someone else to bump me down to third.

Vote Scooter McGavin's 9th Green

Sunday, September 23, 2007

First Impressions: Journeyman

Lucius Vorenus, err, Dan VasserEvery new television season you inevitably hear shows being called the “new” this or that. This is done to get fans of previous shows to tune in. But whenever I hear the “new” tag I usually think why would watch Moonlight just because it is a lesser version of Angel. I watched Angel because it was great not because it was a second rate version of something else. Another new show this season that gets a lot of comparison to a past show is Journeyman with everyone talking about it is like Quantum Leap thanks to the time travel to fix things in the past.

But really, that is where the similarities end for good or for bad. There is no hologram there to give the time traveler any hints on what they should do and the Journeyman always comes back to the present at the end of the day which brings in a whole new dynamic because he has a wife, kid, brother, and job he has to juggle while unexpectingly being taken into the past. And Journeyman is certainly not done tongue in cheek like a bulk of the predecessors episodes were.

Kevin McKidd plays the time traveler in question and for anyone who has watched Rome it may take a little time to get used to his new accent. And maybe it will show up in future episodes but it is somewhat disappointing that he wasn’t able to inject any humor into the role because as seen on Rome he can make something seem funny even in a serious setting. Not only does McKidd has to deal with leaving his family without notice while whisked into the past, while in the past he always seemed to run into his ex-girlfriend who later died in a plane crash.

Moon Bloofgood, she may not act well but at least she is prettyBut to say the Pilot was mediocre would be kind. It is hard to follow at time; it took me three “journeys” to realize he was going back at different points in time. And I am not sure if Moon Bloodgood, the ex-girlfriend, could be a convincing actress even if she were playing Moon Bloodgood in The Moon Bloodgood Story. But then again her poor acting won’t seem that out of place considering the show follows Heroes and she does get as naked as any censor would allow on network television, so that is a plus. On the good side, the episode had a twist so surprising I had to rewind to see if I saw what I thought I just saw (see spoiler section at end of the post). Plus the episode ends with an emotional moment that gave me goosebumps and that just doesn’t happen that often. Darn you The Fray and your melodic tunes.

Verdict: Here is a show that can go either way. The twist seen mid way through the episode could make the series very interesting. But it could also fall into a Quantum Leap retread. If offers the show to stream on their website I may continue to watch the show. Journeyman airs Mondays at 10:00 on NBC. You can also download the first episode for the show for free on Amazon Unbox (see below for the ad and below the ad are some spoilers so be warned).

Spoiler Section

Okay, I try to avoid major spoilers for show that haven’t aired but the major twist was so shocking I just had to write about it. From the beginning I was convinced that the ex-girlfriend wasn’t dead, but I was completely blown away when it turned out that not only was she not dead but she herself was a Journeywoman. Which brings up so many questions like is she the reason why he is now journeying? Did she go in hiding in the present after her first journey or is she constantly leaping through time like Sam Beckett? This twist alone makes the show another shot for at least a couple more episodes. But I have to wonder if him journeying back to San Francisco, where he lives, was a just a plot point for the first episode for him to run into his ex-girlfriend and will be going other places in future episode or if he will go back to San Francisco exclusively because that can cause way too many conundrums for the show.