Saturday, May 21, 2011

Best of the Week - 5/21/11

Quote of the Week: Wack ‘em if they ever got out of line. That’s smart; Reagan smart. (Casey, Chuck)

Song of the Week: Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice (as sung by Raj, The Big Bang Theory)

Big News of the Week: Networks Unveil their Schedules: I talked about the five shows I most want to see and what I will be watching next fall. Here some other thoughts on the schedules of the big four (and The CW). Click on the title to be taken to a promo of the show.

The Sing-Off (Mondays at 8:00 on NBC): I am glad NBC took my advice and made The Sing-Off a weekly show, but two hours seems a little cumbersome (I know NBC is in trouble, but why are all their reality shows an unnecessarily two hours long?). At least the show should up it’s credibly now that the Pussycat Doll is not available as a judge. Since there are down a judge, may I suggest Sara Bareilles.

Last Man Standing (Tuesdays at 8:00 on ABC): So Loretta McCready goes from the best show on television to this? I put the over / under on the number of episode it takes before she called up Raylan Gibbons looking to be rescued by him at three.

Ringer (Tuesdays at 9:00 on The CW): There is a lot of talk of Sarah Michelle Gellar returning to get WB roots but let’s face it she is a horrible actress and unless her words are written by Joss Whedon, she is unwatchable. And if The CW was taking other network’s leftover’s, why did they not take NBC’s Wonder Woman to replace the departing Smallville?

Revenge (Wednesdays at 10:00 on ABC): There seems to be a lot of new shows that made me go, that would make for a good idea for a movie, but I do not see how they stretch it into a television show. Revenge tops that list. Sure Amy Abbott may get me to tune in, but where exactly does the show go after she exact her revenge.

H8R (Wednesdays at 8:00 on The CW): In this year’s installment of “Seriously, they canceled Veronica Mars for this crap” goes to H8R where “celebrities” confront people who talk smack about them on the internet. No word on when my episode where I get ambushed by The CW executives for hating on H8R airs.

And my prediction of first show canceled goes to I Hate My Teenage Daughter.

Bonus Big News of the Week: The ten year old version of myself would be remised if I didn’t wish a melancholy happy trails to the Macho Man Randy Savage who suffered a heart attack while driving yesterday.

Gratuitous Token Hot Chick Picture of the Week:

Yvonne Strahovski at her wedding

Free Download of the Week: Don't Give Up On Me Now – Ben Harper (iTunes)

Deal of the Week: Over 1,500 Albums $5 Each Through May: Only one more week to get these albums for $5. Here are some Greatest Hits selections worth picking up from The Steve Miller Band, John Mellencamp, The Temptations, and David Gray.

New Album Release of the Week: Torches - Foster the People

New DVD Release of the Week: Gettysburg: Director's Cut (Blu-ray Book Packaging)

Video of the Week: Too Big to Fail is not the only HBO debuting next week. How to Die in Oregon will air Thursday (5/26) at 8:00. The documentary looks at the controversial Death with Dignity Act, which legalizes physician aid-in-dying for some terminally ill patients. Below is a promo:

Next Week Pick of the Week: The Event, Monday at 9:00 on NBC: Poor The Event, it was probably doomed from the start. I guess when you name your show The Event, it is probably a good idea to clue the audience in on what The Event is in the first episode. I did not even realize what The Event was until NBC started airing ads for the midseason premiere, granted I am not entirely sure if the potential extermination of the human race actually is The Event named in the title. Oh well. After the series finale, NBC can bring on the Playboy Bunnies.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Around the Tubes - 5/20/11

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on Too Big to Fail, When Aliens Attack, Area 51 Declassified, The Sing-Off, Rescue Me, Johnny Carson, and TBS and TNT Upfront news.

- Remember how the taxpayers had to shell out billions of money to banks because they were Too Big to Fail, well three years later they are now even more bigger to fail. HBO takes a look at the banking crisis with Too Big to Fail based on the Andrew Ross Sorkin book of the same name and features Oscar-winner William Hurt. seven-time Emmy-winner Edward Asner, Billy Crudup, Emmy-winner Paul Giamatti, Topher Grace, Matthew Modine, two-time Emmy-winner Cynthia Nixon, Michael O’Keefe, Bill Pullman, three-time Emmy-winner Tony Shalhoub and two-time Emmy-winner James Woods. Too Big to Fail airs this Monday at 9:00, check out a promo below:

- Just in time for the anticipated TNT series Falling Skies next month, the National Graphic Channel is premiering When Aliens Attack this Sunday at 8:00 which shows via CGI what would realistically happen if we were really invaded by aliens. Check out a clip below. Then at 10:00, the channel will stick with the alien theme with Area 51 Declassified which interviews more than 50 scientists, pilots and engineers.

Most Powerful Gun in the World

- The Sing-Off is airing earlier this year from its previous pre-Christmas slot, but do not worry, you still have time to grab your friends from the barbershop and tryout for this Fall’s season by going to

- Rescue Me is returning for its final season Tuesday July 12, here is a promo:

Fade Away

- Fans of Johnny Carson will want to head over to which just added an exclusive collection of skits and monologues from his tenure on the Tonight Show. And if that enough classic videos for you, the site also recently added 1,001 classic television commercials

- In the midst of the network Upfronts, TNT and TBS had their own this week. Some highlights include Mary McDonnell getting her own The Closer spin-off entitled Major Crimes after The Closer finishes up its last twenty-one episodes this and next summer.

TNT is launching The TNT Tuesday Night Mystery featuring original movies set to debut in November; six are currently set to air.

Brian Austin Green and Harold Perrineau are teaming up for The Wedding Band about, wel, the title pretty much sums it up. Look for it to premiere summer 2012.

Also ordered foe 2012 is Perception starring Eric McCormack as a neuroscientist who works on criminal cases.

While over at TBS, recently acquisition Conan O’Brien has two series currently in development for the network while sidekick Andy Richter is developing a modern day take on The $10,000 Pyramid.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Five Most Anticipated Shows of Fall 2011

Looking at their list of new shows you have to wonder if NBC and ABC did a bit of spying on each other, they both have fairytale based shows and shows about iconic hot chicks of the fifties (there was almost a third of seventies retreat starring Friday Night Lights Alums but the Peacock decided not to pick up Wonder Woman). But only one of each nabbed a spot on my most anticipated shows for next fall.

1. Once Upon a Time (Sundays at 8:00 on ABC) – When I first saw the description for this I was hoping for something whimsical like Pushing Daisies and after seeing the promo I was a bit disappointed with the visuals in the fairytale world but the show still tops the list of shows I most want to see. Plus it will be nice to see Diane Snyder back on free television.

2. The Playboy Club (Mondays at 10:00 on NBC) – Sure it will be easy to call this a Mad Men rip off, Eddie Cibrian certainly gives off that Don Draper douchebag vibe, but I am intrigued by the murder subplot in the promo. And seeing Amber Heard in a Bunny outfit every week does not hurt at all.

3. Two Broke Girls (Mondays at 8:30 on CBS) – Whitney Cummings is executive producing two new shows this fall and she probably choose the wrong one to star in. Whitney looks like a bland retread while 2 Broke Girls is a better bet and looks to be greater than 2 and a Half Men (at least in quality). Really nobody does snark better than Kat Dennings. Hopefully the chick not named Kat Dennings finds her comic timing because she looks a little too ridged in the promo. Though not in the promo below, bonus points for casting Garrett Morris in the role of Mel Sharples.

4. Free Agents (Wednesdays at 8:30 on NBC) – Here is something that really was not on my radar until I watched the trailer, who new Rupert Giles could deliver a punch line?

5. Apartment 23 (Midseason likely during Dancing with Has Been’s and Nobody’s hiatus) – Ever since seeing her go head to head with Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, I thought Dreama Walker had star potential and she is finally getting a starring role on television and looks primed to breakout. And Krysten Ritter is the perfect evil foil. It should make for a great pilot, but I am not entirely sure how they stretch it into a series. And I am not sure how James van der Beek as James van der Beek plays into this all. In the clip that ABC show they reference Paula Cole and a whip cream bikini, isn’t that his whole career? Where do you go from there?

Honorable Mention. Work It (Midseason-ish): I would have put this at number one but let’s face it, this will not air for very long, if at all. But for the three episodes that air I will enjoy it. It has been too long since Bosom Buddies has left the air.

There were some notable changes in network schedules next season, after trying to launch a three hour comedy block, NBC and ABC went back to two hours their signature nights and launch another hour block on Wednesday and Tuesday respectively. As I predicted, Chuck gets shuttled off to the Friday death slot (paired with the other fairytale show Grimm which looks like it may be this years The Cape). But the more surprising move is for the first time in recent memory; a network is airing new scripted programming on Saturdays. Granted it is only for a half hour and it is Rules of Engagement for CBS. But it should be interesting how it does and if any other network follows. Here is what I will be watching next fall:

8:00 – How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
8:00 – The Sing Off (NBC)
8:30 – Two Broke Girls (CBS)
10:00 – Playboy (NBC)
10:00 – Castle (ABC)

10:00 Parenthood (NBC)

8:00 – Survivor (CBS)
8:30 – Free Agents (NBC)
9:00 – Modern Family (ABC)
9:30 – Happy Endings (ABC)

8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
8:00 – Community (NBC)

8:00 – Chuck (NBC)

8:00 – Once Upon a Time (ABC)

Awake (NBC)
Work It (ABC)
Apartment 23 (ABC)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Mirror Is a Trigger and Your Mouth’s a Gun

Rome - Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi featuring Jack White and Norah Jones

Danger Mouse has an amazing track record making experimental pop music. He arguably brought mash-ups to the masses with The Grey Album (which landed in at number six on my list of The 100 Greatest Albums of the 00’s). Went on to produce music ranging from Gorillaz to The Black Keys. Then teamed up with Cee Lo Green to create the Greatest Song of the 00’s and most recently released an album with James Mercer of the Shins.

His latest work may be his most ambitious. Rome is a collaboration with Italian composer Daniele Luppi, with vocals contributed by Jack White and Norah Jones which is inspired by music from spaghetti westerns. If sounding like the soundtrack to a spaghetti western was their goal, the certainly achieved it with haunting strings and choral arrangements seen through the spectrum of Danger Mouse’s weird pop sensibilities. But therein lies the problem with Rome: it sounds like a movie score and movie scores really only work with the accompanying visuals of the movie. The instrumentals by themselves are a bit of a bore.

The album is salvaged by the vocals with Jack White and Norah Jones getting three songs each and bother were an inspired choice. There is no other voice you can imagine than White’s on Two Against One where Jack brings a much needed bravado to the song. You can just picture him in a cowboy hat singing the song to an old-time mirror in an actual western.

But Jones is the standout as she goes into full cabaret mode for Season’s Tree and Black getting sultrier than of the songs off her albums to the point you will hope that she makes a full record featuring this persona she created for Rome. Yet mostly after listening to Rome, you will wish that Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi had released an accompanying short film because most of the album is just missing something that will make you listen to it multiple times.

Songs to Download – Black

Rome gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Score.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Russians, So Many Russians

The winds of change were blowing this season on Chuck. Sarah and Chuck got engaged, Casey and Chuck (re)connected with long lost family members, Ellie and Awesome had a kid, even Buy More got a CIA make over after getting destroyed last season. But the more things change, the more things stay the same as the Buymorons Jeffster stay unevolved (and that is a good thing as they performed Push It while Ellie was delivering her kid).

This season though belonged to one man: Timothy Dalton as this year’s big bad, a CIA handler turned arms dealer turned English scientist. He commanded every scene he was in with vigor which was a grand contrast to last year with Superman’s boringness (and this year’s Sarah Conner blandness). Superman aside, this was really the first real singular big bad after Chuck and his team battled institutions like Fulcrum and The Ring. There has never been anyone on television that could effortless switch between menacing and humorous like he did this season most notably during the Thanksgiving episode.

The season built up to one last battle between Chuck and the family Volcoff after Vivian poisoned Sarah at their rehearsal dinner. And the episode delivered as Chuck went on a search for an antidote against the wishes of the wishes of the dude from Desperate Housewives (I geeked out when originally I thought it was Lost’s Man in Black who popped up on the screen until realized my eyes deceived me), one of the few men who strikes fear into Casey.

The episodes had so many chill moments that seem to have been missing since the second season including when the Russian army dropped in on at the hospital. Although the actual wedding was a bit disappointing in its subtleness compared the Jeffster infused nuptials of Awesome and Ellie. They could at least have performed at the reception. Oh well.

But all that good will was lost with the cliffhanger (silly me thought the title Chuck vs. the Cliffhanger was going to be homage to the Sylvester Stallone film). Sure Team Bartowski going rouge was telegraphed when Chuck gave his secret identities to Vivian and that should lead to some freshness next season (though how they will get cases is yet to be seen, but if The A-Team could find clients it should not be too hard or maybe General Beckman will be looking for work, and I assume the C.A.T. Squad may be out of jobs too). But what disappointed me was Morgan downloading the Intercet. I always hope for less screen time for Morgan and this probably means more screen time next season. I am already dreading it. Why couldn’t it been a member of Jeffster to find the glasses?

Chuck 4.x gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I Guess You Forgot My Title: Undercover Specialist

The cast of Survivor: Redemption Island

I’m a purist at pretty much everything, I hate the designated hitter, David Lee Roth is the only lead singer of Van Halen. So when Survivor announced not one, but two twists for this season I cannot say I was thrilled. Make things worse is not only was one of the twists bringing back two past contestants, they were two of my least favorite of all time, Russell Hantz and “Boston” Rob Mariano. But surprisingly Redemption Island started out watchable enough with entertaining contestants such as Federal Agent (!) Philip Sheppard, Chewbacca impersonator Ralph Kiser, and two of the more attractive contestants in the history of the game, Andrea Boehlke and Natalie Tenerelli.

But then the Zapatera tribe had to go and anger the Survivor Gods and threw a challenge just to get Russell out after taking a quick 9-7 tribe advantage. But after quitting at a challenge they only one more after that, seeing their torches get stuffed eight straight times (if you do not count Matt getting his snuffed for the second time). This let Boston Rob and Manson Family style disciples to take hold on the game and made his reign the most boring stretch of episodes on any season of Survivor.

As for the other twist, Redemption Island also turned out to be an epic fail. Matt Elrod reenters the game and promptly gets voted out. Andrea reenters the game and promptly gets voted out. Redemption Island was an interesting concept, but the problem with introducing it into a game like Survivor where you almost always go with the easiest vote at tribal council and there is no easier vote than the person you already voted out.

In the end, a guy who played four times, half the time could not even make it to the jury, was the easy winner because he was saddled with the dumbest tribemates ever, lucked out that the other tribe was stupid enough to throw a challenge, and somehow competed in the season where all the immunity challenges had puzzles, even the last one which is always an endurance challenge (yes I am suggesting that Survivor helped Rob win). But congratulations to Rob, you won the most boring season ever. You join Barry Bonds as the least worthy person in the record books. Hopefully Survivor looked at the ratings, their lowest ever and never invites Rob back again. Also do not bring back Russell (which I was surprised Jeff flirted at considering it was revealed Russell leaked the outcome of his seasons. They should be suing him, not bringing him back).

But Rob is not the biggest problem with Survivor these days, after two of the three worst seasons back to back, the biggest problem with the show is casting. Seriously whoever did the casting these past seasons need to be fired quick. How does someone like Natalie get through the casting process? She got less screen time this season than the first person voted out this season and we saw why at the final tribal council when she could barely form complete sentences. Sure she is moderately attractive, but surely you can find token hot chicks that actually play a competent game much like former winners Parvati and Jenna. I would rather see a season full of Shambo’s than one full of Natalie’s.

Even though both twists were massive fails, Survivor is bringing them both back for next season. After twenty-two season, I may be out. I will give next season one episode but it is hard to think I could sit through another season like the last two. Maybe if the two they bring back are Coach and Philip for a showdown of the crazy people, which will up the comedy for the first three episodes, because I do not see either lasting longer than that unless they go on a Matt style Redemption run.

Survivor: Redemption Island gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

P.S. Is Vegas taking bets on how long the engagement of David Murphy and Carolina Eastwood will last because I would like to take the under. She definately wanted to say no.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lyrics Quiz: As Seen on TV 2011

As we wind down the television season, I am going to run down the best music placement of the past twelve months and as an added twist, I am going to do it in Lyrics Quiz form so you have to guess to see the actual list. As usual, place your guesses in the comment (or e-mail me), both artist and song title, and if you are correct I will un-bold the lyric. You can also get a bonus point is you correctly guess which show the song was featured on and double bonus points if you correctly guess the character how sang the song on the show if it was not performed by the original artist (you can steal the bonus point if and only if someone correctly guesses the lyrics).

1. Now I’m looking at a flashback Sunday, zoom lens feelings just won’t disappear. Close-up darkroom sweet talk in my ear.
2. Now every time I go for the mailbox I gotta hold myself down cause I just can’t wait ‘til you write me you’re coming around.
3. A little bit softer now. A little bit louder now.
4. Watergate does not bother me, does your conscience bother you. Tell the truth.
5. I am so in love with you. Whatever you want to do is alright with me. You make me feel brand new.

6. Close your eyes, give me your hand darling. Do you feel my heart beating? (Eternal Flame - The Bangles; guessed by Doug; Bonus Not Guessed)
7. I’ll be your non-stop lover, get it while you can. Your non-stop miracle: I’m your man.
8. Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man. Though my mind could think I still was a mad man.
9. After all it was a great big world with lots of places to run to. And if she had to die trying, she had one little promise she was gonna keep.

10. Go on now go, walk out the door. Just turn around ‘cause you’re not welcome anymore. Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye? (I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor; guessed by Doug; Bonus Not Guessed)
11. You’re motoring. What’s your price for flight in finding Mr. Right? You’ll be alright tonight. (Sister Christian - Night Ranger; guessed by Doug; Bonus Not Guessed)
12. Worry, why do I let myself worry? Wondering what in the world did I do.
13. It sort of like, well another way to call a cat or kitten. There’s five little letters missing here. (O.P.P. - Naughty by Nature; guessed by Doug; Bonus Not Guessed)
14. Anybody could be that guy. Night is young and the music’s high. With a bit of rock music, everything is fine.
15. I came in the door, I said it before: I never let the mic magnitize me no more. (Eric B. Is President - Eric B. and Rakim; Bonus Not Guessed)
16. Think I’ll spend eternity in the city. Let the carbon monoxide choke my thoughts away.
17. We don’t want nothing, not a thing from you. Your life is trite and jaded, boring and confused. If that’s your best, your best won’t do.

18. Sometimes everything is wrong. Now it’s time to sing along. When your day is night alone, if you feelin like letting go, when you think you had too much of this life, well hang on. (Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.; Guessed by Doug; Bonus Not Guessed)
19. It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you. There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do. (Africa - Toto; guessed by Doug; Bonus Not Guessed)
20. If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall. And the mountains should crumble to the sea. I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear. (Stand By Me - Ben E. King; guessed by Doug; Bonus Not Guessed)
21. Son can you play me a memory I’m not really sure how it goes, but it’s sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete When I wore a younger man’s clothes.
22. Take me to the magic of the moment on a glory night where the children of tomorrow dream away. (Wind of Change - The Scorpians; guessed by Doug; Bonus not Guessed)
23. You, You belong to me now. Ain’t gonna set you free now. When those girls start hanging around talking me down. Hear with your heart and you won't hear a sound.
24. There’ll be no strings to bind your hands. Not if my love can’t bind your heart. There’s no need to take a stand for it was I who chose to start. I see no need to take me home, I’m old enough to face the dawn.

25. This dance ain’t for everybody, only the sexy people. So all you fly mothers, get out there and dance. Dance I said! (Push It; guessed by Doug; Bonus Not Guessed)