Tag Archives: Fox

Best & Worst of the New Fall Shows (2011)

Yeah, I know…I’ve been gone a long time. Sorry for that. Between working like mad on a new script (remember when I used to do that?) taking care of Greta and watching just about every new show out there, well, let’s just say it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Whew…

I’ll start with the worst of the new shows. And let me say from the get-go that I am only judging these shows by the pilots, you know, like the networks do. I’m sorry, but, if you can’t grab me from the first episode, I’m done with you. I mean, I wasted two seasons watching “Glee” and all it did was get worse and worse, so, sorry, new shows, I do not have time for lameness.

That said, I gotta tell ya, most of the shows I sampled weren’t that bad. I mean, even the one’s I’m not gonna watch for whatever reason were way better than some of the crap from season’s past, so, good on you, networks! OK, back to the worst of the bunch…

“The Secret Circle” (The CW) This show was just plain old boring, I’ve seen teen witches done better elsewhere, and aside from the presence of the always sexy Natasha Henstridge as the school principal with a secret, I could barely stay awake to the ending. Yawn…

“Free Agents” (NBC) I don’t even know why I watched this show to begin with. I absolutely loathe Hank Azaria and after watching the pilot, I like, double-triple loathe him. Yuck!

“2 Broke Chicks” (CBS) This show really bummed me out, man. I was so looking forward to it and really expecting a lot from the crackling-good cast, but, the writing was just not there to back them up. And on top of all that, the jokes were really gross. And not even clever gross, just gross and crass for crass-ness sake. Urgh…soooo disappointing!

“Whitney” (NBC) Same thing here. Gross humor, crude jokes, yawn. I will say that the lead actors grew on me as the half hour progressed, but, wow, that supporting cast felt like the table scraps from some long-forgotten 90’s sitcom: couple with pushy wife and mousy husband…check. Drunk and single best friend…check. Crazy, self-centered mom…double check. Oy…who needs it?

“The Playboy Club” (NBC) Dear NBC, just because you set a show in the 1960’s does not make it “Mad Men”. It’s not even that the show is that bad, it’s just kinda…eh. And when you think about how much dough NBC spent making and marketing it, “eh” is probably not the reaction they were going for. And for the love of God, please lose the Hugh Hefner voice overs…you weren’t changing the hearts and minds of America, Mr. Hefner, you were peddling smut. Classy, well-lit smut, but, smut nonetheless, so, please, get over yourself.

Now, before we get to the best new shows, I’d like to start with some honorable mention winners. You know, shows that I might watch if there was nothing on, but, not necessarily shows I’d add to my Tivo Season Pass anytime soon. Let’s call them the shows I’d watch if I had all the time in the world to watch TV…

“Pan Am” (ABC) Glossy, juicy, sexy, this show is really a lot of fun. The cast is great, the story possibilities are endless and those planes are so damn sexy, I mean, seriously, did ya see the couches in that French chick’s section? Amazing! I wanna live in that world, but, sadly, I just don’t have time to watch it.

“Charlie’s Angels” (ABC) Same thing here, the show is surprisingly good, with a totally game cast and a premise that, thirty some odd years on, still works. Hot chicks, guns, karate, pretty sunsets…it’s all there and it still works like gangbusters, but, I just don’t have the time. Sorry, Angels…

“The X-Factor” (FOX) OK, now this show was downright awesome! Fun, pithy, emotional…all the things that “American Idol” used to be. And best of all, Paula and Simon are back where they belong…together! The only problem is that it’s on every freaking night, and we are already committed to our returning favorite, “The Sing Off”, so, we might jump back into this one in a month or so, but, for now, it’s a pass.

“Up All Night” (NBC) We’re still kinda on the fence with this one too. Christine and I love all of the parenting stuff — I mean, whoa, some of the shit they joke about is like, ripped from our headlines! — but whenever they cut to Maya Rudolph (who I normally love!) the show goes all kinds of crazy…and not in a good way. We are regular viewers for the moment, but, one of two more wrong moves by Rudolph might just send us packing.

And now, for the best of the best, the shows that we will watch every week until they end, or, you know, get canceled before their prime like the late, great “Swingtown”. Anyway, they are…

“Prime Suspect” (NBC) Only “Whitney” has more billboards down here right now, so, I had a huge awareness of the show going into the season, but what I didn’t know was how totally fucking awesome it would be. Seriously, it’s like, pulse-pounding, truly groundbreaking-television. Fantastic acting, directing, writing, whew…mark my words, amigos, this is gonna be the show to beat at next year’s Emmys. AMAZING!

“New Girl” (FOX) OMG, I can’t tell you how pleased I was that this show didn’t totally suck. I’m not always a fan of Zooey Deschanel, but she lights up the screen with her goofy, sexy charm here. And her supporting cast is also totally awesome. Cute, funny, seriously-sweet…I kinda wanna marry this show.

“Revenge” (ABC) As dark and twisted and soapy-weird as “New Girl” is cute, this show puts the “j” in juicy, baby. And, man alive, is it good! I don’t know how they’re gonna stretch the premise over five years (or beyond), but if the acting, writing and totally cinematic sweep of the show is gonna be this good, well, sign me up! “Revenge” rocks!

So, that’s what I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks…what have you guys been watching?

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2009 Fall TV Season Report Card

Seeing as the Fall TV season has been up and running for a couple of weeks now, thought we’d finally weigh in on the crop of new shows. The good news is that, so far, most of the shows we’ve watched have been good. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time we added this many new shows to our Tivo Season Pass!

"The Beautiful Life: TBL" on The CW

"The Vampire Diaries" on The CW

"Melrose Place" on The CW

And though some of the most heavily-promoted new shows kinda sucked (I’m talking to you, “Cougar Town”) some of them are actually totally deserving of the hype (“The Vampire Diaries”, “The Good Wife”, “Modern Family”, etc.). But rather than bore you with long, detailed descriptions of the shows in question, we felt an annotated report card would be much more to the point.

So, without further ado, I give you our first annual Fall TV Season report card…enjoy!

Letter Grade: A+

“The Vampire Diaries” (The CW) – Long-lost loves, family secrets, dark, brooding vampires in high school…what’s not to love here? “Twilight” be damned, this show is the best of the crop so far…and the fact that it stars mi “The American Mall” amiga, Nina Dobrev, certainly doesn’t hurt. If you haven’t already, you must Tivo this show!

“Modern Family” (ABC) – This show has only aired twice and we laughed our asses off and cried during both episodes. A really sweet, heartfelt and hilarious look at one crazy extended family. Awesome!

“Glee” (FOX) – Best new show that started airing last season. It’s like co-creator Ryan Murphy threw his old WB show “Popular” in a giant pot, boiled away the fat and cheese and created something truly magical. “Glee” is a pleasure to watch from start to finish.

“The Good Wife” (CBS) – This show looked like such a snooze when it was announced, but it is so much more than meets the eye. The cast is superb, particularly Julianna Margulies’ mouthy sidekick, Archie Panjabi, who truly electrifies every scene she’s in. I’m not kidding, these gals have onscreen chemistry to burn. And seeing Josh Charles, Chris Noth and Christine Baranski back on a weekly series is never a bad thing either.

Letter Grade: A

“Melrose Place” (The CW) – Already a hundred times better than the original series, and a million times better than the hideously-lame “90210” remake that debuted last year, this “Melrose” is juicy, campy, sexy and best of all, crazy fun to watch. And unlike the new “90210”, the classic characters actually have a story and a reason to be there when they show up. Ooo, and speaking of, Heather Locklear is checking back in soon…so, bring on the awesomeness!

“Mercy” (NBC) – Didn’t expect this show to be good at all, but caught a few minutes of it in passing and am now totally hooked. Quirky characters that don’t annoy, zippy writing and a first-rate cast in a medical show about nurses? Wow, almost makes me forget that “ER” was canceled…

Letter Grade: B

“Accidentally On Purpose” (CBS) – I normally loathe Jenna Elfman, but it seems that I’ll watch anything to do with babies and pregnancy these days, so, I Tivoed the show. And, you know what? It’s not nearly as bad as it looks. I won’t Tivo it again, but you could find much worse ways to pass a half hour.

“The City” (MTV) – I know this show — a spin-off of the far-more-popular ‘The Hills” — is technically in it’s second season, but, wow, with two new alpha bitches on board, this is a brand new show in my book and it rocks!

Letter Grade: D

“Cougar Town” (ABC) – I am not easily offended, but the onslaught of crass, unfunny, gross-out jokes on this show made me wanna stop watching before the first commercial break. Yuck…just, yuck.

“Eastwick” (ABC) – Three charming female leads does not a series make. I don’t need a crystal ball to see that this mediocre reworking of an already mediocre movie is headed nowhere fast. Yikes…

“Trauma” (NBC) – The show opens with a kick-ass head-on collision between two helicopters in San Francisco, but it’s all downhill from there. Yawn…

Letter Grade: F

“The Beautiful Life: TBL” (The CW) – Models, runways, drugs, and a skeletal, strung-out Mischa Barton badly playing herself? What’s not to love? Well, amigos…everything. I don’t know what’s funnier…the fact that someone at the CW actually thought this show would be popular enough to warrant a cheesy nickname (“TBL”??) or the fact that it was deservedly canceled after two episodes. Urgh, what a train wreck…

Oh, yeah, and just for the record, these grades are for the episodes that have aired so far. So, if a cool show starts blowing chunks and getting all “Alias” or “Heroes” on us midseason, we reserve the right to change our grades. I mean, hello, it is only October…

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Paula Abdul quits “American Idol”

According to the Los Angeles Times (and her own rambling Twitter feed) Paula Abdul announced this evening that she is not, I repeat, not returning to “American Idol” next season. Whoa…big mistake, FOX! I mean, love her or hate her, losing Paula is the beginning of the end for “Idol” in my book.

Paula Abdul hiding her tears with crazy shades...

Sure, Abdul is straight-up insane most of the time, and her comments as a judge literally make no sense, but I firmly believe that Paula’s brand of Coked-out crazy is a vital component of “American Idol’s” success. And with “Idol” glut sullying the pop landscape, does anyone really watch that show for the singing anymore? Hell, no! For me, “Idol” is and always will be, Simon, Paula and Randy talking trash. Oh, and Kara’s a’ight too.

I don’t know what the execs at FOX are smoking…but letting Paula slip away over money is just plain stupid. It’s even more insulting when you consider the fact that Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest just got gignormous raises. Cowell I understand…he is the show, but Seacrest? Please, anyone could do that job. And yeah, I’m talking to you, Brian Dunkleman!

But Paula’s brand of bat-shit crazy is one of a kind, man. You simply cannot replicate it, and all the new judges in the world won’t be able to replace the whacky little gem you’re losing today. So, for the love of all that is holy in reality TV, pay the woman what she wants and get Paula back to the “Idol” judging table where she belongs!

Long live Paula Abdul, and more importantly, long live the crazy!

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Quentin Tarantino on “Idol”

The cheesy, Brian-Adams-heavy song selections aside, this week’s “American Idol” kinda rocked…and with the exception of Kris Allen, Adam Lambert and Lil Rounds, it had nothing to do with the show, and everything to do with our favorite guest judge in recent memory…Quentin Tarantino!

Yep, the badass filmmaker was back for another visit to “Idol”, and even though he didn’t get much screen time — neither did the judges in that horribly misguided effort to streamline the show, yikes! — QT did seem to have a blast “tutoring” the contestants. So, yay for that.

Tarantino on AMERICAN IDOL 8

And though the show was just as gloriously over-the-top as any true Tarantino fan could have hoped for, our biggest gripe with this week’s “Idol” is that they didn’t show a trailer for QT’s upcoming flick, “Inglorious Basterds”. Huh?

I mean, hello, why else was he there if not to promote his new movie? I don’t know if it’s because the movie is rated R and might offend the delicate sensibilities of the “Idol” audience or whatever, but I know we wanted to see a new frigging trailer! Man alive, you missed the boat again FOX

So, until a longer trailer pops up online, you can check out the rocking teaser spot for “Basterds” here. Enjoy!

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The “American Idol” Truth Tour

This Wednesday, the Writer’s Guild of America launched its first ever “American Idol Truth Tour” with a fiery press conference at WGA headquarters in the Fairfax district. Designed to promote awareness of the gross mistreatment of workers on Fremantle Media’s top-rated “American Idol”, the Truth Tour will follow this year’s “Idol” auditions from city to city to promote the cause.

And what a cause it is. Since “Idol” is a defiantly non-union show, the producers routinely break California and Federal labor laws by forcing many of their workers to pull 36 hour shifts with no breaks, no overtime and worst of all, no health benefits or residuals for the work they do on the show.

One former “Idol” production assistant revealed to the crowd on Wednesday that after factoring in all his time spent working on the show, he averaged about $4 an hour. That’s less than half the California minimum wage!

And as several of the Teamsters in the crowd pointed out, “Idol” is also one of the only shows in Hollywood to use non-union drivers. I think WGA Vice President David Weiss said it best when he scolded Fremantle for preying on the starry-eyed new-to-Hollywood crowd when hiring and then systematically using these people up and spitting them out at the end of each season.

Not only is this practice morally wrong, but it’s also illegal and with scores of pending lawsuits and labor board cases against Fremantle and several other producers of so-called “reality shows”, the heat in this kitchen is about to get pretty damn unbearable.

I guess the thing that really galls me — and I am a huge “Idol” fan by the way — is the fact that Fox and Fremantle spend so much time and money touting their massive “Idol Gives Back” charity each year, while at the same time denying their own workers the most basic of benefits. It’s just kind of mind-boggling that the same people that raise millions of dollars every year for charity could be so goddamn greedy when it comes to paying their own workers. Insanity!

So, though I did not get my act together in time to get on the Truth Tour bus to San Francisco — the site of this year’s first round of “Idol” auditions — my friend Patty and I did attend the early-morning press conference on Wednesday to show our support for our WGA brethren.

And I mean to tell ya, that crowd was fired up, baby! Slipping on our new Truth Tour t-shirts, swapping war stories with my fellow WGA strike veterans…man, it was like old home week at the WGA. And even though I didn’t bring much more than a camera with me to the press conference, I have to admit, I was pretty tempted to jump on that bus at the last minute and call it a day.

But to the hardy souls who did get on the bus and staged a rowdy protest at the “Idol” auditions yesterday at the Cow Palace, I say, rock on, writerly soldiers! Here’s to showing the world what really happens behind the scenes at the top-rated show in America!

All we can hope for now is that the press actually covers the Truth Tour events — stories about the press conference were virtually non-existent on the local news last night — and that maybe, just maybe, the soulless bastards at Fremantle will do the right thing and go union.

I know it’s a tall order, but hey, sometimes a little bad publicity is all it takes to make these corporate robots quake in their boots…so, for now, que viva la WGA Truth Tour!

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“The X-Files: I Want To Believe” countdown begins…

Yes, the first movie sucked hard, but despite that cinematic misfire, and the fact that it’s been six long years since Mulder and Scully last graced our airwaves, I am still dying to see the new “X-Files” movie when it comes out on July 25th.

I should note here that Christine is also mildly excited about the movie, but, seeing as she’s not usually as insanely fanboy-ish about stuff as I am…well, she’s not dying to see it as badly as I am. But, hey, that’s OK, I still love her.

And speaking of love, even non-fans of the original series have got to admit that “The X-Files” is totally responsible for many of the super cool TV shows that we all love so much today, I mean, seriously, do you think there would have ever been “Buffy” or “Angel” or hell, even “Lost” without “The X-Files”? Hell, no!

Series creator Chris Carter and company broke major ground with “The X-Files” and even though it lost focus a bit when David Duchovny left the show, Gillian Anderson held down the fort quite admirably for those last couple of seasons, so, rock on Agent Scully!

Story-wise, there is not much to report about the new movie yet, as, true to form, the producers are keeping the plot details of “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” a closely-guarded secret. But the online trailers do give you some rather juicy clips to look forward too. And when that classic “X-Files” theme kicks in, forget about it…goosebump city, baby!

Anyway, having watched/dissected the different trailers way too many times for my own good, I can tell you exactly three spoiler-free things about the upcoming “X-Files” sequel…

One, it takes place somewhere really cold and creepy looking. Two, Mulder and Scully act like they have not seen each other in a while, which is a bit odd considering how the series ended. And finally, three, the supporting cast — Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, etc. — looks really cool and yes, that is rapper Alvin “Xzibit” Jones playing an FBI agent. Wow…who knew?

Oh yeah, and the movie’s official website is finally up and running, so check out the trailers for yourself, read up on the cast and crew, add an “X-Files countdown widget” to your blog — I tried and it just looked weird — or if you’re like me, just keep checking the site every few hours to see when those sweet-ass desktop wallpapers are ready to download.

Whoa…did I just write that? Lord in heaven, I really am a geek…

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David Cook wins “American Idol”

Wow…if you told me last night that I would be typing the words above tonight, I would so not have believed you. I mean, seriously, any true “Idol” historian will tell you that traditional wisdom totally favored David Archuleta to win…but traditional wisdom was thankfully nowhere to be seen last night at the Nokia!

And in a stunning upset over his elfin, 17-year-old rival, Archuleta, David Cook, the 25-year-old former bartender from Tulsa, Oklahoma won the title of “American Idol” last night in Los Angeles.

Not only did our boy Cook win, but he won BIG…to the tune of 12 million more votes than Archuleta. And when you consider that a whopping 97 million votes were cast on Tuesday night — an “Idol” record! — the victory is even sweeter. Sure, Archuleta was a good-to-great singer, and as I said earlier, I will totally buy his inevitable cheesy Christmas CD when it comes out, but, as far as I’m concerned, America finally got their “Idol” picking right this time!

Christine and I were out last night and got home so late that we had to fast-forward through much of the show — especially those shameless Mike Meyers promos for his lame-ass new movie — but even in our hyper-tired state, we were both left kinda breathless by the show’s stunner of a twist ending. Christine was like: “Did he just say…David…Cook?” We literally had to rewind to make sure we heard Ryan Seacrest correctly. And as luck had it, we did!

So, bravo, David Cook…you deserve it, brother! And another huge shout out to everyone who voted on Tuesday night — shockingly, we did not vote as we kind of figured Archuleta had it in the bag — for making the last few minutes of the traditionally-bloated season ender so f-ing thrilling!

Seriously, “Idol” hasn’t had a switcheroo ending this big in years! And while the bartenders of America scramble to concoct a drink in Mr. Cook’s honor — come on, you know they will, he’s one of them! — I’ll sign off with a line from our favorite creepy, soft-core billboard for “Gossip Girl”…OMFG!

Que viva el idolo nuevo, David Cook!

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