Stay Tuned
Reviews, previews and much more on "The Real Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother," "NCIS" and many more of your favorite shows. This is the place to talk about all of the things that make us "Stay Tuned"…

Friday, April 28, 2006

May Sweeps--What to Watch This Weekend

Thursday was the start of May sweeps, a time when networks roll out their best stuff so their stations can set high ad rates for the coming year.

For TV lovers, May sweeps is a magical time of big-name guest stars, big-time storylines and even bigger specials. It can be hard to keep track of, but I will do my best to let you know what events you need to tune in…

If you’re a child of the 80s, then you’ll want to catch the beginning of the “Daytime Emmy Awards” tonight (Friday) as Rick Springfield performs a medley of his hits. Springfield is winning rave reviews for his recent return to the soap that started his career, “General Hospital.” The “Daytime Emmy Awards” begin at 8 p.m. on ABC with hosts Tom Bergeron (“Dancing with the Stars”) and Emmy nominee Kelly Monaco (“General Hospital,” “Dancing with the Stars”)…If sappy drama with a creepy twist is more your speed, “Ghost Whisperer” begins its two-part season finale with a DOOZY of a story. Melinda (Jennifer Love-Hewitt) is haunted by the spirits of a pilot and a flight attendant whose plane hasn’t crashed yet. If you’ve seen the previews, you know this one is EXTRA spooky. “Ghost Whisperer” airs at 8 p.m. on CBS…

This Saturday’s edition of “Saturday Night Live” pays tribute to one of TV’s most twisted writers, Robert Smigel. He’s probably best known for “Triumph the Insult Comic Dog” and his other sketches on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” (He’s usually the guy who’s lips are moving behind the pictures of President Bush and other celebrities.). But on “SNL,” he’s the man behind “Saturday TV Funhouse” and Saturday, we’ll get a 90-minute look at some of his best cartoon shorts. “Saturday Night Live: The Best of Saturday TV Funhouse” airs Saturday at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.

Sunday, ABC’s killer line-up of “Extreme Makeover Home Edition,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy” returns with all new episodes. Over on NBC, Ann Curry has an exclusive interview with Angelina Jolie (if anyone still cares) on “Dateline” at 7 p.m. and the final three episodes of “The West Wing” begin at 8 p.m. with the return of Alan Alda. Over on CBS, Tom Selleck returns for his third go-around as Jesse Stone in “Jesse Stone: Death In Paradise” beginning at 9 p.m.

Looking ahead to Monday, a former brat packer returns to TV and the guys get one step closer to FINALLY breaking out…

Stay tuned…

Thursday, April 27, 2006

"American Idol": This just in...

Since I know you're all wondering, next week's "Idol" theme is: a song from the year they were born and any song from this week's Top 10 Billboard Charts. That's right. We're now into the two performances stage.

Singing a currently popular song is always a bit of a trap, so this should be interesting.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"American Idol": Wrong Again!

Man, I’ve been wrong a lot this week.

And I was wrong again tonight about who was going home. I guess I should really have more faith in America.

I did, however, correctly predict that Paris would be in the bottom two. So give me some credit.

But back to Kellie. There’s no doubt that she deserved to go, I just didn’t think she would. She has so many fans, but I guess even they realized how bad she was last night.

Almost as shocking as Kellie’s departure was Simon’s apology to Katharine. He actually admitted that he was unfair to her. I was worried that it would be too little too late, but Katharine ended up being one of the top two vote-getters (along with Chris). I’m guessing that the thrashing by the judges actually worked in her favor. Could that have been the plan?

Sorry, I’ve been watching way too much “24.” I’m starting to think everything’s a conspiracy.

Interestingly, Ryan did not announce what next week’s theme will be. Maybe he planned to, but Kelly’s farewell speech ran too long. For the first time that I can remember, a contestant was cut off without singing. In this case, I kind of appreciated that. Not sure I could have listened to that again.

So now who’s the favorite? Is it Chris or Katharine?

Stay tuned…

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"American Idol": Kellie Chokes Again

For the first time, a guest arranger got harsh with the contestants as David Foster took a few of them to task (I’m guessing Ace is glad he’s gone.). And one of the contestants choked for the second week in a row. Not that it will make a difference.

To the scorecard…

Katharine McPhee, “I Have Nothing”: 23 (out of 25)
Wow! The judges were seriously harsh; but I actually liked the intensity of the performance. I agree with Paula that she was pushing it, but I thought it was still solid. And she had a lot of pressure on her because Andrea Bocelli loved her.

Elliott Yamin, “A Song for You”: 23
The judges and I are totally out of sync tonight. I thought Elliott’s performance was good, but not as good as they thought it was. It was nice to see Elliott so calm and cool, but those runs he adds are his downfall. And after all that work, I don’t even think he did David Foster’s change.

Kellie Pickler, “Unchained Melody”: 18
You just know this was the song Ace was going to sing. It was gutsy for her to sing one of Simon’s all-time favorite songs, but that country arrangement guaranteed he’d hate it. And it didn’t help that she didn’t sing it very well. She started in a lousy spot in the song that was too low and then (just as David Foster warned) she didn’t show any emotion—even when she hit the high note.

Paris Bennett, “The Way We Were”: 23
Boy, the band was strange tonight. Andrea said she was spectacular. I don’t think it was that good, but it was good.

Taylor Hicks, “Just Once”: 21
David Foster said he had the most charisma, but he really didn’t show it with this one. He brought it home at the end, but he missed a lot of notes along the way.

Chris Daughtry, “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman”: 24
Of all the rocker love songs out there, he chose this one? But it did work and man, did he look good. Simon said it was very sexy.

So who’s going home? I think it’s obvious that Kellie gave the worst performance, but as I just texted to a friend of mine, there is no chance she’s going home. People love her. So, in my opinion, that leaves Katharine and Paris. Katharine got blasted by the judges for singing a well-known song and Paris seems to have worn out her welcome. I’m guessing of the two, Paris is the more vulnerable.

Don’t forget the results show will air tomorrow at 9 and will include a performance by Andrea Bocelli.

"24": Seeing the light...

So while everyone else at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington Saturday was trying to find a way to get to Matthew McConaughey, I was wondering how I could get to Kate Mara and ask her what’s going to happen on “24.”

What can I say? I’ve got my priorities.

I didn’t talk to her, of course, which is a shame since maybe she could’ve given me some insight into her character, Shari, who may possibly be the oddest character in “24” history.

Shari, again, played a key role in last night’s story as she gave Karen the clues she needed to help her see the light (aka realize Jack is right).

But Karen wasn’t the only one who saw the light. Remember how I said last week that I was worried the wheels were coming off the story? Yeah, I’m not so worried anymore.

Although the prospect of Jack taking an airplane hostage does worry me a little…

And there are still some questions to be answered, like where is Wayne Palmer and what did President Logan do to Aaron Pierce? If Logan really did just transfer him, is there a chance he could be on the plane with Jack?

And most importantly, how in the world could I have actually been worried about Audrey’s safety when I have hated her since the first time she appeared on screen? Only a show as good as “24” could make that happen.

Of course, I still believe Chloe is the only woman good enough for Jack, but I can see Audrey’s appeal a little more now.

The other question to be answered is where in the world is this all going and for that question I have no answer…

And that’s what makes “24” so much fun!

Stay tuned…

Quick Notes: "The O.C.," "Commander," "The West Wing"

I never liked Anna on “The O.C.” That’s probably because she was a stumbling block to Seth and Summer. But her return Thursday gave the show a zip that it had been missing. Buy why, oh why, did the writers find it necessary to have Kirsten fall off the wagon? I know the show was missing a villain, but did they have to make it Sandy? Also, how quick was that resolution to the Theresa baby story? I still can’t believe Kirsten told Ryan about the baby over the phone…

When Alan Arkin, as MacKenzie Allen’s Attorney General nominee on “Commander In Chief,” asked Mac if he could win confirmation, I couldn’t help but answer, “Of course you can. The bad guys never win!” But they did get a little closer this time as Mac had to resort to some of Templeton’s tactics. And didn’t you just know that Mac’s VP was bad news (Actually, he’s good news if you’re a Templeton fan like me.)...

“The West Wing” is the last show I would’ve expected to give us a major twist; but if the previews are correct, we’re going to get one next week. It appears that Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) is going to ask Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) to be his Vice-President.

Now there’s always a chance the promos are being deceiving; but…

Is it totally unrealistic? Absolutely, but it would be a good way to include the dynamic Vinick in the wrap-up of the show. However, it could also be the one false note in an otherwise melodic final season.

And how many of you wanted to jump off your couch and scream “Finally!” when the camera revealed that Donna was accompanying Josh on his vacation. Let’s just hope he doesn’t screw this up…

Friday, April 21, 2006

Clear your throat and put on your dancing shoes!

If you have a preteen in your house, then no doubt you know all about Disney Channel’s runaway sensation, “High School Musical.” Every time the movie airs it gets blockbuster ratings, and thanks to digital downloads, the soundtrack has dominated the “Billboard” charts for the last two months.

But if you don’t have a preteen (or even teen) running around the house singing “Start of Something New” or “Breaking Free,” then I highly recommend you check this one out yourself because you’ll be singing along in no time.

At 8 p.m. tonight (Friday), Disney Channel will air a special dance-along version of “High School Musical,” with cast members teaching you some of the dance steps (The movie is beautifully choreographed by Kenny Ortega of “Dirty Dancing” fame.). At 10 p.m., the movie will air again, but this time it’s a sing-along version.

If you miss this chance, don’t worry. “Musical” hits DVD May 23rd…

Coming Attractions...

So I know this isn’t a movie blog, but since movies and TV are so interconnected these days, I figured I could make the stretch…

I don’t think there’s any doubt that “American Dreamz” will be the number one movie at the box office this weekend, but if you’re going to see a harmless parody of “American Idol,” I think you’re going to be disappointed. The movie is more precisely a parody of American culture as a whole as it shows a country more caught up in a televised singing contest than what’s going on at the White House. Kudos, though, to the movie’s marketing machine for advertising it solely as an “Idol” parody during “American Idol.” If only the “Idol” machine had as shrewdly advertised “From Justin to Kelly”…

It’s official. The “Dallas” movie is going to be made with John Travolta as J.R. Ewing and Jennifer Lopez as Sue Ellen. WHY?! Why, Hollywood, do you insist on taking our iconic shows and butchering them? If you wanted to do a film about oil barons in the 80s, why couldn’t you just write one without throwing together some characters that are nothing like the originals (but with their names) and call it “Dallas”? Look for “Dallas” to hit theaters in 2007—and look for me to be nowhere near it…

There’s been a lot of controversy over “United 93” and now that the television advertising has been stepped up, my only question is why? Why is this film necessary? Television has already done an outstanding job paying tribute to these heroes, so why did we need something on the big screen? Last September, A&E aired a fantastic documentary, “Flight 93: The Flight That Fought Back.” It was insightful and beautifully done (with the outstanding narration of Kiefer Sutherland) and in my opinion, should have been the final tribute to these amazing men and women. But obviously Hollywood has other plans. As good as “Flight 93” was, it was above all incredibly painful to watch. I can’t imagine seeing that pain on a larger screen. Maybe some of you are ready for that, but I’m not…

"Alias": Coming Back From the Dead

So I had absolutely no idea who anyone was or what they were doing, but it was nice to see “Alias” back on the air (However, a lenghtier “previously on,” like they did for “Invasion,” would have been nice.).

I loved that we were supposed to believe Sloane is a good guy because he was wearing those cute glasses. Jennifer Garner was fantastic during her labor scenes. And how could you not love watching Jack Bristow (Victor Garber) go all Jack Bauer on the mole from the CIA?

But the biggest moment of last night’s two-hour episode occurred in the last two minutes.

In the season premiere, after Vaughn’s funeral service, Sydney gave a look to her father that made me think there was more to the story than met the eye. Now, we know that’s the case as it was revealed that Vaughn is alive and in hiding and Jack and Sydney have known it all along.

Even though we only got about 20 seconds, the sight of Michael Vartan had to give “Alias” fans hope for a happy ending for their favorite spy.

Maybe she’ll get that walk on the beach after all…

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"American Idol": Don't say I didn't warn you...

In my “American Idol” post yesterday, I told you that Ryan would divide the Idols into two groups of three and then make the seventh choose which group was safe. I told you that method was known to produce surprises.

Looks like I was right on both counts. But because of time constraints and a contestant who refused to play by the rules, it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as it could’ve been—or as Ryan wanted it to be.

In case you missed it, Taylor Hicks, who was safe, was asked to choose which group was the top three. Was it Elliott, Kellie and Katharine? Or was it Chris, Paris and Ace? I couldn’t believe that Katharine would be in the bottom three, but how could Chris possibly be? He was awesome!

Taylor walked over and shook Chris’ hand and Ryan said, “I’m sorry” as Taylor walked over to the other group, which forced Ryan to change his dramatic announcement that Chris’s group was the bottom three. Obviously, Ryan expected Taylor to choose Chris’ group, but Taylor knew better. The quick change gave the audience little time to react to Chris making his first appearance in the bottom three.

And the audience had even less time to react to Chris being in the bottom two with Ace. Now, no one said that Chris got the second lowest number of votes, so I can’t help but wonder if his appearance in the bottom two was merely some manufactured drama to keep people guessing—and maybe to get his fans to rally. I was certainly regretting not voting for him more.

But any possible surprise was quickly extinguished as Ryan sent Ace home. Though he wasn’t the worst performance last night, Ace did deserve to go. His good looks (as good as they are) could only carry him so far.

So what happened to Paris and Chris? As I said last night, the audience might have been turned off by Paris singing an older song in that jazz voice of hers. But as to why Chris was in the bottom three? I have no idea. Maybe my instinct about people forgetting him since he went first was right.

Next week’s theme is the greatest love songs of all time. Maybe this one will be the snoozefest we’ve been waiting for. Or maybe it will be yet another hard choice for America.

Stay tuned…

The Return of "Alias"

Tonight marks the long-awaited return of “Alias”—just in time for it to say goodbye.

I have to say that I have never been an “Alias” fan, but I did check it out occasionally. I watched last season’s fantastic “My name is not Michael Vaughn” cliffhanger, only to be completely disappointed by this season’s premiere in which Vaughn was “killed” and the complicated Prophet Five storyline was introduced.

But as ABC keeps telling us every 15 minutes, one of those problems will be fixed tonight.

We’re going to see other old friends (and enemies) in these final episodes too, including Will, Weiss, Irina and Anna.

Though I was never a fan, a lot of my friends are, so I hate to see the show go; but it had a good five-season run, which is more than many shows get. It catapulted Jennifer Garner into Hollywood stardom and introduced us to the brilliant J.J. Abrams, who would later bring us “Lost” and this summer will bring us “Mission Impossible III.”

And, I can’t help but be sad to see “Alias” leave because it came into the world with “24” in 2001. The two shows were often linked together and have many of the same fans—which just adds to the travesty of ABC scheduling the series finale smack dab in the middle of this season’s “24” finale, but I digress…

You can catch the two-hour beginning of the end of “Alias” tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC.

And yes, “Lost” fans, this means there is no new episode tonight as “Invasion” returns at 10 p.m.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"Great American Songbook," Great Show

Usually the standards nights are some of the most boring “American Idol” episodes. But I have to say that last night was one of the best I’ve ever seen.

Before we get to the heart of the matter, let me answer one question from last week. According to “TV Guide,” Mandisa was going to sing “Who Wants to Live Forever” for Queen night; but when she was eliminated, Katharine picked it up. If only Mandisa had went with the torch song on country night, she might still be around.

To the scorecard…

Chris Daughtry, “What a Wonderful World”: 25 (out of 25)
The biggest knock against Chris is that he could only do rock. Now with that obstacle out of the way, I think he is without a doubt the favorite.

Paris Bennett, “Foolish Things”: 24
The performance was pitch perfect, but her outfit looked like she was a stewardess—or maybe a news anchor.

Taylor Hicks, “You Send Me”: 23
Everyone loved the ending, but I wasn’t totally sure about it (Of course it was a little hard to hear over the screaming.). It was still a good performance.

Elliott Yamin, “It Had to Be You”: 22
Sorry, Elliott, but you’re no rat packer. I agree with Simon that the performance lacked personality.

Kellie Pickler, “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered”: 19
I appreciate her not walking, but she was way too stiff. And even she recognized that she messed it up by getting ahead of the music, though, I wouldn’t totally agree with her assessment that she butchered it. However, she did pick a bad night to be off.

Ace Young, “That’s All”: 23
It was a nice change after the whole Queen debacle to see Rod Stewart hand out so many compliments to Ace; but he just lets his nerves get the best of him. And I loved the suit!

Katharine MacPhee, “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me”: 24
I didn’t think it was nearly as great as Simon did; but it was good. She could be moving up the ranks.

So, who’s going home? My first instinct is to say Elliott, even though Kellie gave the worst performance. I think Kellie has enough fans to carry her over this rough patch and Elliott’s appearance in the bottom two last week shows he’s vulnerable.

Since we’re down to seven, I would look for Ryan to do his two groups of three with the seventh person having to choose which group is the safe one. It’s known to produce some surprises. I think the bottom three will be Elliott, Kellie and Ace—but don’t be surprised to see Paris in there. The audience may have been turned off by the maturity of her song.

And by the way, I did vote tonight—for Chris, because I was concerned that since he went first, people would forget about him.

The results show airs Wednesday night at 9 with a performance by Rod Stewart.

"24": Are the wheels coming off?

The first rule of “Fight Club,” is, of course, never talk about “Fight Club.”

Well, the first rule of “24” is Jack’s way is the right way.

Secretary Heller didn’t follow that rule and now his daughter’s spilling blood all over the place…

Don’t worry. He’ll see the light soon enough; but it may be too late for him. In fact, his bleeding daughter is probably much safer.

What isn’t safe is this season’s claim to the title of the best season of “24.” Until two weeks ago, it was a lock for that distinction, but ever since Logan’s complicity was revealed, it feels like the wheels are coming off a little.

And now it appears there may be someone else involved, which reminds me of the conclusion to season two.

Did I mention that I hated the conclusion to season two?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I still love the show and I’m still enjoying the ride, but that ride’s getting a little bumpier (Especially now that they’ve apparently offed Aaron!).

I’ll withhold my final judgment until it all wraps up. But I can’t shake the feeling that I’m not going to like where this is going.

Stay tuned…

Catching up with "Christine," "Pepper," "Lost," "The O.C" and "Commander"

So, if you were like me, you had a busy Easter weekend.

Now that things have slowed down a little, let me catch up on some things…

A few weeks ago, I finally caught “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Is the “Seinfeld” curse really over? It may just be. “Christine” was funny with good supporting characters; but I hated the way this episode ended. Matt Letscher, who has made a career playing sleazebags (“Good Morning, Miami,” “Joey”) finally played a decent guy and Christine dumped him! As far as sitcoms go, though, it’s not bad…

Why do the critics so despise “Pepper Dennis”? Yes, Brooke Burns steals the show right out from under the star, Rebecca Romijn; but I think it’s the first romantic comedy to come along in a while that’s actually worth watching. Loved the “X-Men” homage when Pepper ended up covered in blue paint…

Wednesday’s “Lost” was so sweet and touching as we saw what a loving couple Rose and Bernard are. But then, of course, it had to get all creepy on me as we learned the island healed Rose, like it did Locke (She’s the only one who knows he was in a wheelchair.) and Michael returned from going after The Others. I’ve got a feeling things are going to get really ugly on that island…

I should be really mad at “The O.C.,” but for some reason, I’m not. I think it’s because I just don’t care anymore. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am definitely not happy about this whole Seth and Summer break-up thing, or Anna coming back, or Teresa coming back, or Marissa and Volchek, or—Why am I still watching this show again?...

Speaking of shows I have no idea why I bothered to watch, why did ABC even bother to bring back “Commander In Chief”? Steven Bochco was still listed as the Executive Producer, but it was clearly not his show. We went back to the original premise of Mack trying to accomplish something while Templeton tries to undermine it. Then, the two face off and in the last five minutes, Mack finds some way to defeat him.

Someone should tell these people that the good guys don’t always win.

There were other quick changes as well as Rod moved out of the West Wing and back into his First Gentleman duties. The planned date between Dickie and Jayne didn’t happen as Jayne seemed to rekindle her flirtation with Jim Gardner. And I’m still not sure whether or not Mack fired Dickie (Recent commercials suggest that she did not.).

But the worst part of “Commander In Chief” was the ridiculous storyline that a Democratic operative slipped a pill in Rod’s drink to make him appear drunk. Then that same operative made it look like Rod fondled her. With all those cameras around, no one captured the fact that it was an accident? And what does that say about the Secret Service?

It was just totally unrealistic. And I’m a “24” fan. Realism means nothing to me…

Did you see something this past week that you want to talk about? Just drop me a comment…

Friday, April 14, 2006

"American Idol": Did editing nearly doom Ace?

A report in this morning’s “NY Post” tipped me off to the online diary of Queen guitarist Brian May, who was apparently miffed at “American Idol” for some of their editing. So, I checked it out.

The editing May is specifically upset about is their piece with Ace. May says he feels it looked like he didn’t like Ace, but that he was totally impressed with him. He explains that the arrangement we heard Tuesday was a direct result of Ace and Queen’s collaboration. May says that he thought it “rocked” and applauded Ace’s personalization.

This is interesting because I believe that the Queen piece probably helped Ace land in the bottom three. It’s hard for the voters to support someone that the original artist doesn’t support. But, you have to admit that it made for good television, which is why the producers edited that way. However, if this is true, I’m glad that Ace did not end up getting voted off.

May also says that Queen was never scheduled to perform on the show. They decided they only wanted to help the Idols prepare and did not want to “advertise” themselves. I say good for them.

One other interesting note from May. In his diary, he asks for Mandisa to give him a call, which confirms what I told you earlier from “TV Guide.” May does not say what Mandisa sang, but does say he regrets we didn’t get to hear it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"American Idol": Finally Bucky!

As the late great Jerry Orbach said in “Dirty Dancing,” when I’m wrong I say I’m wrong.

And I was wrong last night about who got killed by “Killer Queen.” After listening to them sing again, it was definitely Bucky who should have went home.

And FINALLY, he did. But we did get one surprise before that happened as Elliott joined Bucky and Ace in the bottom three instead of Katharine. I’m guessing the vote on that one had to be close because there’s NO way that Katharine’s performance was better. Elliott was REALLY good last night, which he showed again tonight with a performance clouded by tears and confusion (He actually asked Ryan what he was supposed to sing.).

Darn those stupid sentimental family messages…

I guess I said Ace because I was so totally disappointed with his choice of song. And Queen’s lack of enthusiasm about it didn’t help.

Speaking of which, where was Queen tonight? Why didn’t they perform? Maybe that lack of enthusiasm about several of the performances kept them away.

One performance they apparently were enthusiastic about was Mandisa’s, which of course, we didn’t hear. According to next week’s “TV Guide,” Queen has expressed interest in her (along with Barry Manilow and Kenny Rogers).

Next week’s theme is “The Great American Songbook” with Rod Stewart as the guest arranger and CD promoter. Personally, I would rather they sing actual Rod Stewart songs. Can’t you just see Ace singing “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

Or maybe that would be Kellie’s choice…

Stay tuned…

Hail to the Return of "Commander In Chief"

It’s nice to see ABC promoting the return of “Commander In Chief” during shows like “Desperate Housewives.” It makes me think that maybe ABC hasn’t completely given up on the show.

Those of you who are fans of “Commander” have probably been wondering where it’s been. The answer to that question is one of the juiciest stories of the entire TV season.

First, “Commander” premiered and became the highest rated new show of the season. But behind the scenes, creator and Executive Producer Rod Lurie was late with shows and causing problems for the network. So, ABC replaced him with a producer it already had on the payroll—Steven Bochco (“NYPD Blue,” “Hill Street Blues”). But these were characters that Bochco didn’t create which made him end storylines quickly causing some characters to take total 180 degree turns that didn’t make sense. Then, to give Bochco time to play catch-up, the show went on hiatus. By the time it returned, the ratings were nowhere near what they had been.

Bochco tried to add his own touches, making the show more of a political drama than a family one. But apparently, ABC didn’t agree with the changes and continued to make suggestions Bochco ignored.

Finally, ABC decided to pull “Commander” off the schedule again. During this hiatus, Bochco was replaced as Executive Producer by the only remaining member of Lurie’s staff, Dee Dee Johnson, who has been given total control of the show by ABC. Johnson has reportedly reworked some of the completed episodes and has turned the show back into the family drama it was.

This little saga opens up a whole host of questions. Like, if the family drama was what ABC wanted, why did they bring in Bochco, knowing that wasn’t his style? Why didn’t they just go with Johnson originally?

So now we will probably say goodbye to some of the stories Bochco had planned—and maybe some of the characters too. It was Bochco that changed Rod from the First Gentleman to a political adviser and put Mack’s mother in charge of White House social matters—a move many critics have cited as the beginning of the show’s downfall. And we can probably say goodbye to Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s Dickie (Boo Hiss!) since Gosselaar was a Bochco hire.

But what I really hope we’ll say goodbye to is the nice Nathan Templeton. When the show premiered, he was the best TV villain since J.R. Ewing. But in the last few episodes, I kept waiting for him to hold hands with President Allen and sing “Cumbaya.” Donald Sutherland deserves better and I hope Johnson gives it to him.

However, the truth is that any changes could come too late. Fans have moved on to other shows and they may not come back. And the tough timeslot ABC has given it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

“Commander In Chief” returns Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"American Idol": Did "Killer Queen" kill Ace?

I’ve been doing commentary on “Idol” for my friends for almost three years now and I have to say that this was the hardest one ever to rate.

And am I the only one that got the feeling Queen was wondering what the heck these kids were doing to their songs?

Plus, did Ryan really need that sweater vest with that suit? And, let me just say how much I appreciated the Constantine shoutout during the Queen package. After all, he dared do it when no one made him.

Now, without further ado, to the scorecard…

Bucky Covington, “Fat Bottomed Girls”: 19 (out of 25)
Bucky picked a good song for his voice and it did get better as he went on. I’m just SO ready to see him go.

Ace Young, “We Will Rock You”: 17
I just really don’t know what to say. I told you earlier today that he picked the wrong song and I was right. Not only is it not a singer’s song but it’s one of the few Queen songs “Idol” fans would recognize. So he needed to bring it and he didn’t. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it wasn’t good either (Again, the score reflects a high appearance score.). I have to wonder though if he could have done more without Queen stopping him. They REALLY didn’t like his ideas.

Kellie Pickler, “Bohemian Rhapsody”: 23
This was the shocker I promised you. However, if the rumor one of you told me about her and Constantine being a couple is true, it would make sense. Kellie is no Constantine (though the lighting guys sure tried to make her look like him), but it was pretty good. However, I really wish someone would make her stop walking! And what was up with those huge bags under her eyes? Did her look remind anyone else of Bonnie Tyler?

Chris Daughtry, “Innuendo”: 24
Chris got the biggest compliments from Queen and he earned them. I’m not really sure about the song (which not even Queen performs), but it was a great showcase for his voice. I didn’t give him a perfect score because of all that eyeliner.

Katharine MacPhee, “Who Wants to Live Forever”: 20
I think she made the right decision to switch to a big ballad, but there were some real pitch problems.

Elliott Yamin, “Somebody to Love”: 24
FINALLY! I finally saw in Elliott what all of his fans see. This was a great performance, even with the band overpowering him.

Taylor Hicks, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”: 24
This was the first song I thought of when I thought of Taylor, but his first choice was “We Are the Champions.” I’d like to think he read my blog and realized I was right. I didn’t give him a perfect score because he missed the mike stand with his kick.

Paris Bennett, “The Show Must Go On”: 25
Okay, go ahead. Tell me it was too theatrical and that she looked like a poorly fitted Pussycat Doll; but I really liked it. I knew Simon wouldn’t agree, but those key changes were flawless—even with the bad transitions by the band. Paris truly is growing on me.

Okay, so who goes home? Do I even have to tell you?

Yes, Ace has a lot of fans; but there’s no way around it. “Killer Queen” did indeed kill Ace.

Who will join him in the bottom three? My gut says Bucky and Katharine. If anyone goes home besides Ace (which will completely surprise me), I think it will be Katharine because of her pitchy performance.

HOWEVER, there is a possibility that the audience will turn against Paris for her perkiness and her theatrics.

Don’t forget that the results show airs Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. It’s another hour-long one so look for a group sing, a performance by Queen and tons of other filler.

Stay tuned…

Talk about a buzz kill...

Leave it to the "NY Post" to kill my buzz from yesterday.

After EVERY media outlet in the world reported that Jack Bauer will be around on "24" for three more seasons, this morning's "Post" quotes a FOX executive as saying that even though Kiefer Sutherland has been signed for three more seasons that does not automatically mean Jack is safe.

Now, are we really supposed to believe that or is FOX just backpedaling because they feel they may have taken some suspense out of the show?

Either way, why couldn't they have just let me have my moment?

Thanks a lot.

Which Idols will do which Queen song? I could tell you, but I won't...

How was that for a cruel headline?

Tonight's "American Idol" setlist has hit the Internet, but since I'm not a fan of spoiling people's fun, I won't tell you who sings what.

What I will tell you is: I was right about one of my predictions in last week's post, Ace has totally chosen the wrong song in my opinion, and you will be stunned at who does "Bohemian Rhapsody." In fact, I'm so stunned about it, I'm wondering if the report I read is wrong.

Stay tuned...

Monday, April 10, 2006

"24": How does it all fit?

If you’re new to “24,” tonight’s episode is what I like to call a travel episode. There’s no big action to speak of because everyone’s trying to get somewhere so we can have some big action.

And yes, there will be BIG action. After all, as Jack said, we’re talking about taking down the President of the United States.

Now, I still think that Logan as the bad guy is a great plot twist; but it does have its problems. First of all, now that he’s been exposed to us, he’s only acting like a bad guy with the evil looks and the strange phone calls. He’s not even attempting to act like the idiot any more, which is kind of disappointing because that was fun. But that’s typically how it goes when a “24” mole is exposed.

The bigger problem is how this all fits together. Let me take a stab at it. Logan and Henderson concocted a plan to protect the country from terrorists by destroying their camps with nerve gas. They sold the gas to a group of Russian terrorists who planned to release it in Moscow, only unknown to the terrorists, it would never get there because it was timed to release in central Asia. Logan and Henderson allowed Walt Cummings and Nathanson to run the operation without either knowing the President was involved. David Palmer discovered information about the operation, so Henderson ordered him killed. But he needed a good cover story that would also serve as a distraction. So he framed Jack for the murder. However, the Russian terrorists discovered the double cross and targeted the U.S. instead. Seeing that his operation had failed and that the terrorists would need to be stopped, Logan reinstated Jack, knowing that he could do the job. But when Jack got too close to the truth, Henderson had to take drastic measures to cover up the operation—including working with Collette Stenger to throw Jack off the trail. Now, Logan has been forced to take drastic measures to stop Jack as well.

What do you know? It does make sense after all.

This is a new twist for “24.” Usually, the final episodes involve the elimination of the terrorist threat; but this time, the threat has already been neutralized. These final seven hours will focus on bringing down the men responsible.

I hope that Henderson’s death is especially painful.

"24": A time to kill Jack?

Since I’m new to a lot of you, let me tell you something about myself, or more specifically, my apartment.

When you walk in the front door, you’re immediately greeted by the 24” x 36” face of Kiefer Sutherland. Head toward my end table and you’ll see the latest issue of “Cigar Aficionado” with Kiefer on the cover. Enter my bedroom and you’ll find on the wall the Kiefer Sutherland collage my fiancé made me for Christmas (Yes, that is indeed true love.). I don’t want to completely scare you so I won’t mention my mouse pad or my screen savers (both computer and cell phone) or…you get the point.

So when I see magazine covers with headlines like “Is Saving the World Killing Kiefer Sutherland,” I get a little worried.

And when I read the article in this week’s “Rolling Stone”? Even more worried, because reading about the strain the show is putting on Kiefer made me ask the question I never dreamed I would ask: Is it time for “24” to kill Jack?

I needn’t have worried.

Today, Twentieth Century Fox announced a deal that will keep Kiefer on “24” three more seasons to the tune of $40 million, making him the highest paid actor on a TV drama series.

So, what happened here? Did the people at Twentieth Century Fox read the interview and decide they needed to sweeten Kiefer’s deal, or did Kiefer pull a Jack Bauer on them and use the magazine as a negotiating ploy?

Obviously, I have no idea; but I have to say that before today’s announcement, I already had a strange feeling about the “Rolling Stone” article. Even though the article begins with the somewhat shocking statement that Kiefer is “longing” for the death of Jack Bauer, he never actually says that himself. Now, I’ve been out of journalism school for a while now, but I would think that if one of TV’s hottest stars said he wanted his show to kill his character, you would make that a direct quote. And in every other interview I’ve seen Kiefer do (and I’ve seen most of them), he’s never been anything but gracious about his “24” experience.

And I’m pretty sure that even though none of my journalism professors covered this in class, going drinking with an interview subject is not the best way to get information.

So, here’s another question. Can “24” actually go three more seasons? As much as I love the show—which is A LOT by the way—I really don’t think it can. But there are possible movies in the future and this contract could be to lock Kiefer in for those (FOX has only signed the show through the 2006-2007 season.).

Now, I should probably be mad at Kiefer or more precisely “Rolling Stone” for making me think about the possibility of Jack’s death. But how can I be mad when I’ve been given the gift of Jack Bauer for a possible three more years?

Something tells me my fiancé will not be as happy...

"The West Wing": And the winner is...

After dominating the final two seasons of “The West Wing,” the Presidential election is finally over and Congressman Matt Santos has been declared the winner.

But after almost two years of drama, the only think I can think to say is who cares.

First of all, it’s no real surprise that Santos won since Jimmy Smits was given way more storyline than Alan Alda and the Santos campaign had series regulars. However, the show did its best to make it as dramatic as possible, holding the results until the very end (I certainly hope someone was doing the math to make sure all those electoral votes added up since I find it hard to believe that you could lose California and Ohio and still win.).

But the lack of suspense is not what is keeping me from caring about the result. It’s the lack of John Spencer.

Let me say it one more time. I miss John Spencer. And I know I’m not the only one, because it was pretty hard to watch the cast as they dealt with the death of Leo when you know they were still dealing with the death of John.

But they handled it with dignity, grace and respect. It was the kind of goodbye I wish “Law & Order” had given Jerry Orbach. When Josh looked at the picture of Santos and Leo at the Democratic National Convention and said “Thanks, boss,” I just bawled.

You can guarantee I’ll never make it through next week’s memorial service without a lot of tissues.

Still, I can’t help but wonder what the writers had originally planned. I know that Leo and Annabeth (Kristin Chenoweth) were headed toward romance, but how would the election results have played out differently? No doubt Santos would have still won, but what obstacles would have stood in his way?

I have to say if the show was going to continue another season, I would be disappointed in the results—not because of Senator Vinick’s politics, but because I found his character much more fascinating, thanks to a great performance by Alan Alda (I would be VERY surprised if we didn’t see his name among the Emmy nominees come August.). It was nice to see Vinick go against his advisers and refuse to challenge the election on the basis of Leo’s death.

So now we head into the home stretch of both the Bartlett administration and “The West Wing” itself, as Santos prepares to take office. Of course, the first thing he will need to do is find a new Vice-President. Could this be another position C.J. takes that she’s not qualified for?

And will Leo’s death convince Josh that life is too short to not finally admit his feelings for Donna?

Stay tuned…

Sunday, April 09, 2006

TV on DVD Review: "Full House"

I think I’m probably one of the few people in the world who would include on their list of all-time favorite shows both “24” and “Full House.”

I didn’t remember how much I loved “Full House” until I started watching the reruns on ABC Family. But now I remember being hooked on Joey’s impressions, Jesse’s singing and Michelle’s cuteness.

Yes, I realize the show is overly sentimental and the morality endings are over the top, but how can you not smile every time Michelle says, “You got it, dude.”

In the third season, which was just released on DVD, Michelle (Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen) is at her very cutest. Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) is in second grade, D.J. (Candace Cameron) enters junior high and Jesse (John Stamos) and Becky (Lori Loughlin) continue their relationship.

Among this season’s highlights: The whole family gets stranded on an island in Hawaii, Danny’s mother (Doris Roberts) tries to move in, Joey (Dave Coulier) goes on “Star Search,” the Tanners get a dog, and in one of my favorite episodes, Stephanie drives Joey’s car through the house (I still laugh every time Michelle says “There’s a car in the kitchen!”).

The morals are terribly corny and the hijinx have been done hundreds of times on dozens of other shows, but it’s nice to go back to a simpler time with John Stamos’ belted pleated pants and Candace Cameron’s big hair. A time before Mary Kate Olsen and Jodi Sweetin entered treatment facilities and before Bob Saget decided he was better off as an R-rated comic.

“Full House” is not for everyone, but if it’s for you, you’ll want to pick this one up since it’s one of the show’s strongest seasons.

Other new shows on DVD this past week include: the fourth seasons of “Knight Rider” and “Magnum P.I.” and the fourth season of another of my all-time favorite shows, “The A-Team.”

"Lost": Only a Dream?

At the risk of upsetting anyone from “Lost” who may be reading this, let me say it again. “Lost” creeps me out!

Take Wednesday night. How many of you, just for a second, believed that everything on the island was Hurley’s dream? You have to admit it was a pretty convincing story.

We learned that Hurley’s friend, Dave, was only a hallucination. Hurley had managed to lose him after a breakthrough at the hospital, but he reappeared on the island, trying to convince Hurley that nothing was real. Luckily, Libby was able to talk him off the ledge with her counseling skills (The kiss probably helped too.). However, based on the final scene, it appears that she may have acquired those skills as a patient in the same hospital as Hurley.

It was an interesting twist, especially since there was rampant speculation that Libby was an Other. This appears to disprove that theory, or at least I hope it does for Hurley’s sake.

Next week, we get a look into the lives of Rose and Bernard. Rumor has it that Rose has a secret connection to someone on the island.

And I’m sure whatever it is, it will be creepy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Your Mornings Will Never Be the Same

Don’t look now, but soon your mornings will never be the same…

And your evenings too, for that matter…

Has it really been 15 years since we welcomed Katie Couric as the co-host of “Today”? I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was getting ready for school when the familiar “Today” show credits rolled. And then, Bryant Gumbel (who was my idol at the time) looked into the camera and said that Deborah Norville was no longer with us. I yelled so loud that I woke up my dad (I couldn’t stand Deborah Norville because she pushed out Jane Pauley).

However, as the years wore on, I learned to dislike Katie too and I stopped watching “Today” all together. But for the millions of you who still watch, not waking up with Katie will take some getting used to. If you missed it, Katie is moving to CBS to take over the “CBS Evening News” and contribute to “60 Minutes.” She’ll be the first permanent solo female evening news anchor in TV history.

So who will you be waking up with now? If the flashing bulletin that just came across my computer is to be believed, it will be Meredith Viera, of “The View.” Campbell Brown, the co-host of “Weekend Today” was thought by many to be the frontrunner, but in the last month, Viera has taken the lead. She has the journalistic chops (and the Emmys to prove it) and she’s able to handle the fluff with ease. And who could blame her for wanting to get away from Star Jones? The only problem is her “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” gig which doesn’t end until next year. NBC has apparently agreed to let her continue that show if she can’t find a way out of her contract.

But all of this leads to some interesting questions—especially for ABC. “Today” has long dominated the morning news ratings, but ABC’s “Good Morning America” had been gaining ground with its team of Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer. But with the injury to Bob Woodruff, Gibson has been moved to “World News Tonight.” With Couric gone, ABC has its best shot at catching “Today,” but how will they do it without completely sacrificing their evening newscast and Charlie Gibson’s sanity?

Stay tuned…

"Idol"s Three Groups of Three

After a strange performance by Kenny Rogers where he treated the microphone like it was contagious, Ryan eliminated another contestant on “American Idol.”

And he used his famous three groups of three technique that usually produces a shocker—and tonight was no different.

It was no surprise that Taylor, Kellie and Chris were the safe group and logic would say that Ace, Katharine and Bucky were the bottom three. But I just knew that wasn’t going to be the case—and I was right. The bottom three were Mandisa, Elliott and Paris. And after that grouping, there was really no surprise to me that Mandisa went home (The studio audience apparently didn’t agree because there was total silence after she got the news.).

But did she go home solely based on her performance? Maybe not.

Mandisa caught some flack last week, not for her choice of a gospel song, but for what she said before her performance: “This song goes out to everybody that wants to be free. Your addiction, lifestyle or situation may be big, but God is bigger.” Her use of the word lifestyle and her listing of a conservative Christian lecturer as her personal idol angered some fans. I can’t help but think that had some impact.

As for why Elliott and Paris were in the bottom three, I think people are either tired of hearing “How Do I Live” or they’re tired of Paris’ cutesiness. And maybe there are other people out there who find Elliott as boring as I do.

And again, Bucky proves he has an amazing legion of fans.

So, next week it’s the music of Queen. Personally, I think this album hawking has gone too far. I mean, do we really want to hear someone else sing “Bohemian Rhapsody”? That’s Constantine’s song!

And did Queen actually have eight songs? I guess we’ll see.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"Pepper Dennis": Adding Spice to Your Wednesday

Television newsrooms are an easy target for TV comedies—usually a parody of the competitiveness of investigative news. But rarely do they produce as smart and sophisticated a show as “Pepper Dennis,” the new dramedy starring Rebecca Romijn.

Romijn is Pepper Dennis, the ace reporter for a Chicago TV station. She thinks she’s next in line for the anchor chair, but instead, they hire Charlie Babcock—the man Pepper just had a one-night stand with. She tries to break it off with him, but he continues to pursue her, even flirting with her on the air. Meanwhile, Pepper’s sister moves in with her after leaving her husband (at Pepper’s suggestion), turning Pepper’s world upside down, especially after she almost burns down Pepper’s apartment and gets a job at the TV station.

After Charlie uses her real name (Patty Dinkle) on the air, Pepper uses a four letter word that gets her suspended. But when Pepper gets a lead on a hot story, Charlie paves the way for her to get back on the air. Of course, Pepper decides Charlie’s not so bad, but when she goes to make her move, she finds him with the weather girl.

Romijn has found a good role here, and the show has wisely surrounded her with a great supporting cast. Brett Cullen as her boss and Rider Strong (“Boy Meets World”) as her photographer are two standouts, but I was most impressed with Brooke Burns as her sister. Seeing Burns on “Dog Eat Dog” and “North Shore” would have never given me the idea that she was so good at comedy. She almost steals the show.

Now I admit that I’ve been snowed by pilots before, but I think this one could actually be a keeper—and that’s a big story right there.

You can catch “Pepper Dennis” Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the WB.

"Country roads, take me home..."

So since I’m new to most of you, I wanted to ease you into my world.

But I think you’re ready now, so this week I’m unveiling the official “American Idol” scorecard, which is found in “American Idol: The Magazine.”

It works like this. Each contestant is scored on a scale of 1-5 in five different categories: vocal ability, appearance, song choice, personality and stage presence. These categories get added up for an overall score, with 25 being the highest possible.

If you’re thinking I have a problem, you’re probably right.

So, how did country night go for the top nine? And does Teri Hatcher actually like Ryan’s beard? Maybe he’s trying to look older.

To the scorecard…

Taylor Hicks, “Take Me Home, Country Roads”: 18
Taylor would have been the last one I would’ve expected to stumble on country night, but this just wasn’t the choice for him. Kenny Rogers was right. He just seemed completely unsure. Hope he didn’t lose all his West Virginia fans with this one.

Mandisa, “Any Man of Mine”: 17
I know she already did “Cry,” but there has to be another country power ballad she could have done. This was a lousy choice and I hated her outfit.

Elliott Yamin, “If Tomorrow Never Comes”: 20
I know Elliott has a good voice, but he just doesn’t do it for me.

Paris Bennett, “How Do I Live”: 22
Don’t look now but I think Paris is growing on me. The arrangement gave her some really bad transitions, but she worked them out. And she was finally wearing a decent outfit.

Ace Young, “I Wanna Cry”: 21
I wish that Ace would find a way to fight those nerves. This score would have been lower, but I always give him a 5 in appearance. How could I not? And Ryan pointing out he’s “officially single” probably earned him a few more votes.

Kellie Pickler, “Fancy”: 23
I love this song and it was a good choice for Kelly, but the arrangement was lousy. And whose idea was it to have her walk around the studio? It made her come off stiff.

Chris Daughtry, “Making Memories of Us”: 23
Regardless of what Simon says, I think the softer side of Chris rocks! And kudos to him for doing a straight country song, instead of a rock version of one.

Katharine MacPhee, “Bringing Out Elvis”: 23
It’s nice to see Katharine having fun, but it almost came off like it was just a big joke to her. Maybe last week’s trip to the bottom two has made her rethink some things.

Bucky Covington, “Best I Ever Had”: 17
So Bucky’s finally in his element, able to rock some Garth Brooks or Toby Keith and he picks this one? A song that most of us probably know better by Vertical Horizon? Sorry, Bucky. It is way past time for you to go.

So who’s going home? Obviously it should be Bucky, but since he seems to have a limitless amount of fans, I honestly have no idea. The most vulnerable? Taylor, Mandisa and Ace—especially since I didn’t vote for him and he has ended up in the bottom three every time that happens. Sorry, Ace. You’ve got to bring it to earn my vote.

Tomorrow night is going to be VERY interesting.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I'm scared...

When was the last time you watched a show that made you want to jump out of your seat and run around the room screaming until you realized your neighbors probably don’t like that?

If your answer is not just a few hours ago, then clearly you’re not watching “24” and I can’t tell you how bad that makes me feel for you…

When our hero Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) said tonight, “I’m scared,” I knew there was BIG trouble ahead. And boy was there.

If for any reason, you don’t want to know what happened on tonight’s “24,” stop reading now…

After quickly dispensing with any thoughts that Jack might be dead, the show took off as we learned that the First Lady’s assistant had some important information about who is behind everything; but she couldn’t share it because Henderson had kidnapped her little girl.

Meanwhile, Carl Edwards and his cronies at Homeland Security were taking over CTU by order of Vice President Gardner. In order to keep Chloe from getting fired, Audrey agreed to sign a report blaming everything that happened at CTU on Bill Buchanan. After a season and a half, it was kind of disappointing to see Bill only walk away. He deserved a dramatic death too. I hope this isn’t the end for him.

Jack put two and two together and decided that Gardner must have some connection to Henderson and that was why he wanted to dissolve CTU. We spent the rest of the episode second guessing Gardner’s every move, but that was way too easy.

As the episode ended we saw Henderson talking to the real mastermind—President Logan.

Okay, so I know what some of you are thinking. There’s no way President Logan can be the bad guy. It just doesn’t add up, right? If you’re one of those people, you’re violating the first rule of watching “24”: Don’t think, just watch.

However, for those of you who still need an explanation, let me just say I think it’s completely possible and it answers a whole list of questions we’ve been asking about Logan all season. How could a President be that incompetent? Apparently he was faking it. How could Logan let the Vice President run over him like that? He could if he wanted him to look like the bad guy. Why would Logan appoint an idiot like Lynn McGill to run CTU? He would if he was trying to undermine their operation. Why would Logan authorize Jack’s murder last season? Maybe, because he had something to hide. And finally, why would Logan ask Jack to help him stop the threat when it would be easier for him if Jack just disappeared? What’s the old saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer?

Get the picture?

Now, do I think there are holes in this scenario? Absolutely. But I’m willing to forgive them because this twist is completely AWESOME! President Palmer was a bastion of truth, justice and morality for years. Isn’t it time “24” had a twisted evil genius as the president?

Now, I’m scared.

Stay tuned…

"Race" races to a new night and other schedule changes

Some of your favorite shows are moving around this week, so here’s a quick reminder…

Tonight, “Two and a Half Men” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine” will be seen an hour earlier (8 p.m.) on CBS to make room for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Also tonight, “Deal or No Deal” is two hours, so “The Apprentice” will be seen at 10 on NBC…

“The Amazing Race” is racing over to Wednesdays at 8 p.m. beginning this week on CBS. Tuesdays at 10, we’ll see repeats of the “CSI”s and any other procedurals CBS decides to stick in there…Also on Wednesday over at NBC, “Law and Order” will move back to its original timeslot at 10, while “Heist” moves to 9. So, NBC takes a surprisingly promising show and puts it up against “American Idol” and “Lost.” Yeah, that makes a lot of sense…

One other note, those of you in the Huntington area wanting to catch Ace Young’s appearance on UPN’s “Half and Half” tonight will have to wait a little longer. It is scheduled to air on WHCP Sunday at midnight.

Sunday Night Notes: "The West Wing," "Desperate Housewives" & "So Notorious"

Now, because I’ve just gotten hooked on “The West Wing,” I haven’t rooted for Josh and Donna as long as true fans. But even I felt cheated by their long-awaited hookup last night.

It seems that the stresses of Election Day lead to interesting couplings, so Josh and Donna joined that phenomenon so as not to be left out. But of course we know there are real feelings there; and I hope that before the show ends, they’ll actually deal with them. It would be really disappointing if this was it.

I actually felt a little cheated by the whole episode. I guess I was hoping the writers would make number crunching seem a little more exciting. I did, however, enjoy the interplay between Will and his girlfriend Kate (the National Security Adviser) as they contemplate their future after the Bartlett presidency, and Will’s horror that Kate voted for Vinick, the Republican.

But was there anyone who didn’t get chills when Annabeth walked into Leo’s room and screamed for help? I can only imagine how hard that must have been for her portrayer, Kristin Chenoweth. I already miss John Spencer terribly, so these next few episodes (especially the April 16th memorial) will be pretty tough. And NBC’s overly dramatic promos aren’t helping…

So, what to say about “Desperate Housewives”? This season has definitely had its ups and downs and I would rate last night’s episode as a down. It just seemed like none of the reveals came off right—Edie’s discovery of Karl and Susan’s marriage, Felicia outing Paul as a murderer, everything surrounding Gabi and Carlos’ baby. The only thing that did work was Lynette’s trickery with Andrew, but even that ended too abruptly. There needed to be some follow up between Bree and Lynette…

The best thing I watched last night was “So Notorious,” the new VH1 show starring Tori Spelling as herself. Instead of turning to a reality show to make a comeback, Tori has chosen a sitcom mocking her own life. Her mother sells her old clothes on eBay, her father (who we only hear, a la “Charlie’s Angels”) tries to cast her in more of his shows and men only want to go out with her because of her dad, or because they have a “90210” Donna Martin fantasy. Everything and everyone are fair game. I loved the parody of Kabbalah in the second episode as Tori pursued “Wholeness” to impress a guy.

You have to give Tori props for playing to her strengths. And the show is actually funny—which is a real rarity on TV these days. You can see “So Notorious” Sundays at 10 p.m. on VH1.

So yes, I missed “Grey’s Anatomy,” but I taped it and will catch up later.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Election Day

“‘The West Wing’?”

That was the response I got from my mother when I told her I loved that show.

And who could blame her after all the years I made fun of it when she was a big fan (Too much talking, I always said.).

But this season I’ve been riveted by the show’s look inside a Presidential campaign, as we see the race between Congressman Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Senator Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda). There have been many great moments along the way that have really captured the nature of politics: The Santos campaign celebrating Vinick’s cold. Vinick fracturing his hand doing so much handshaking. The power struggle in the Vinick campaign. And last week when Santos’s son threw up in front of the press because he had done so much trick-or-treating for photo opportunities (and because Jon Bon Jovi let him eat ice cream).

In tonight’s episode, we’ll get part one of Election Day. We won’t find out the winner until next week—although I think we all know it’s going to be Santos—but it should be fun watching all the last-minute posturing.

Tonight we’ll also get the start of how the show will deal with the death of John Spencer (Leo). I think it’s a good thing this is the show’s last season, because there’s no way the show could go on without him. These last few episodes without him will be hard enough.

It’s a shame that NBC has not given much love to the show in its final year, because I think a lot of people are really missing out on a good thing.

You can catch “The West Wing” Sundays at 8 p.m. on NBC.