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"…

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Emmys: Who's Got a Shot?

Next Thursday, the Emmy nominations will be announced. And this year, there’s an interesting twist. For the first time, the acting and series nominations will be chosen by a panel instead of the entire Academy. In years past, the panel only chose the winners, while the nominees were chosen by popular vote. This year, the panel will view tapes of those actors who place in the top 10 of Academy voting and then choose the nominees. This change is meant to open up the nominations so we don’t get the same people nominated over and over.

This means that shows like “Rescue Me” have a better chance at nominations. But it also may mean shows unable to correctly choose their best episode could be shut out.

Most magazines and websites predict the nominees or give their dream ballot. I just like to give you a rundown of who’s in the running and then predict the winners before the ceremony.

So, here goes…

I’ll start with this year’s toughest category—and the one nearest and dearest to my heart—Best Actor in a Drama Series. I don’t think I have to tell you who I’m rooting for, but I will say I’m worried. The reason Kiefer Sutherland has never won an Emmy is because no single episode can capture his acting abilities or his importance to his show. He always sends his best episode, but it’s a little hard for voters to notice Kiefer’s acting with all that action; or in the case of this year’s possible submission, it may be hard to get past Sean Astin convulsing and foaming at the mouth. And since the nominees will be selected based on the tape they submit, Kiefer could be in trouble. Hugh Laurie (Dr. House, “House”) is a lock for a nomination, as is James Gandolfini (Tony, “The Sopranos”). The new system may help Denis Leary (Tommy, “Rescue Me”) finally break out. Patrick Dempsey (Derek, “Grey’s Anatomy”) has a good shot; and many critics are championing Edward James Olmos (Adama, “Battlestar Galactica”). Past winner Michael Chiklis (Vic, “The Shield”) is a contender and some magazines have his co-star Forest Whitaker (Kavanaugh, “The Shield”) in this category. Plus, you can’t count out the king of episode-picking and the reigning winner (two years in a row), James Spader (Alan, “Boston Legal”). And I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention Matthew Fox (Jack, “Lost”) and last year’s surprise, Hank Azaria (Huff, “Huff”).

The Best Actress race is a little weaker, with Kyra Sedgwick (Brenda, “The Closer”) and Edie Falco (Carmela, “The Sopranos”) leading the pack. Mariska Hargitay (Olivia, “Law & Order: SVU”) should also make the cut. The popularity of “Grey’s Anatomy” will probably garner Ellen Pompeo (Meredith) a nod and “Big Love” is getting a lot of buzz, which may help Jeanne Tripplehorn (Barb). And critics are championing Mary McDonnell (Roslin, “Battlestar Galactica”). Plus, there’s the possibility that Geena Davis (Mac, “Commander In Chief”) could earn a nomination even though her show was cancelled.

The supporting actor in a drama race begins and ends with Gregory Itzin (Logan, “24”). Forest Whitaker (Kavanaugh, “The Shield”) will probably fall in this category. T.R. Knight (George, “Grey’s Anatomy”) has a good shot, as does at least one member of “The Sopranos” cast (Take your pick.). Perennial Emmy favorite Alan Alda (Vinick, “The West Wing”) should also be in the mix. As for the “Lost” ensemble, I would go with Terry O’Quinn, even though Locke had less to do this year; but his co-star Michael Emerson (Henry, “Lost”) could be a dark horse. And, of course, I can’t forget two-time (consecutive) winner William Shatner (Denny, “Boston Legal”). Plus, there may be an outside shot that Donald Sutherland (Templeton, “Commander In Chief”) could still get nominated.

Leading off the Best Supporting Actress candidates is Itzin’s “24” counterpart, Jean Smart (Martha). Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe, “24”) is also getting some buzz. A quartet of “Grey’s Anatomy” ladies have a shot: Kate Walsh (Addison), Chandra Wilson (Miranda), Sandra Oh (Christina) and Katharine Heigl (Izzie). Also look for Candice Bergen (Shirley, “Boston Legal”) to be in the mix.

The lack of network sitcoms hinder the comedy categories a little. The Best Actor category will most likely be led by Jason Lee (Earl, “My Name Is Earl”) and Steve Carell (Michael, “The Office”). Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen (Alan and Charlie, “Two and a Half Men”) are possibilities, as is Zach Braff (J.D., “Scrubs”). And don’t forget Emmy faves Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”) and Eric McCormack (Will, “Will & Grace”). I’d really like to see Jason Bateman get a nod for the late, great “Arrested Development.”

The Best Actress category will no doubt be dominated by the “Desperate Housewives,” unless the panel system recognizes that really only two of them deserve nods—Marcia Cross (Bree) and Felicity Huffman (Lynette), although I think Huffman should drop to supporting. Mary Louise-Parker (Nancy, “Weeds”) will no doubt get a nod and critics are hoping the new system will earn their darling, Lauren Graham (Lorelai, “Gilmore Girls”), a nod. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Christine, “The New Adventures of Old Christine”) may also get a look. And though the show bombed, Lisa Kudrow (Valerie) is getting raves for “The Comeback.” Plus, don’t count out the nostalgia factor with Debra Messing (Grace, “Will & Grace”).

The Supporting Actor may be dominated by the cast of “Arrested Development”—or at least that’s what I’m hoping. Will Arnett (GOB), David Cross (Tobias), Tony Hale (Buster) and Jeffrey Tambor (George) all deserve shots. Rainn Wilson (Dwight, “The Office”) is getting a lot of buzz, as are two guys from “Scrubs,” Donald Faison (Turk) and John C. McGinley (Dr. Cox). One of the “Two and a Half Men” guys (most likely Jon Cryer) could drop to this category as well. The favorite would have to be Jeremy Piven (Ari, “Entourage”), but Sean Hayes (Jack, “Will & Grace) should be back to possibly play spoiler.

The Supporting Actress category could have some “Housewives” in it if any of them drop down. I would definitely include Jaime Pressley (Joy, “My Name Is Earl”) and Megan Mullally (Karen, “Will & Grace”). If Emmy finally shows “Scrubs” a little love, Judy Reyes (Carla) will get a nod and Jessica Walter (Lucille) could keep “Arrested Development” alive.

As for the Best Drama Series, I truly believe this is the best chance “24” has to win, but it will have to get past “Grey’s Anatomy” to do it. “Lost,” “The Sopranos,” “House,” “Rescue Me” and “The Shield” will also be in the mix. And because Emmy tends to get nostalgic, don’t count out “The West Wing.” “Big Love” could be a dark horse here.

As for comedies, “My Name Is Earl,” “The Office,” “Entourage,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Two and a Half Men” and hopefully, “Arrested Development” will be in the mix and don’t be surprised to see “Will & Grace.” And I think you can bet that “Desperate Housewives” will get a nod—even though it doesn’t deserve it.

So, if I had to choose my favorites right now? Kiefer Sutherland, Kyra Sedgwick, Gregory Itzin, Jean Smart, Jason Bateman, Marcia Cross, Will Arnett, Felicity Huffman, “24” and “Arrested Development.” But if “Arrested” receives no nominations, I’ll be rooting for “Scrubs” all the way just so they can make NBC cringe.

We’ll find out if any of these made the cut bright and early on July 6th as Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Garrett reveal the nominees.

Stay tuned…

Thursday, June 22, 2006

"American Idol": Just a Thought

As I congratulate Taylor Hicks on debuting at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Do I Make You Proud,” I offer up this thought…

How about next year they let the ad wizards at Ford write the “Idol” singles?

Taylor’s “Possibilities,” which is featured in Ford’s current ad campaign, is perfect for both his singing and dancing styles and “Go,” performed for the “Bold Moves” campaign by Kelly Clarkson, is the catchiest song I’ve heard in a while.

Just a thought…

"America's Got Talent"...Or Does It?

More out of curiosity than anything else, I watched “America’s Got Talent” last night. “Talent” is NBC’s new talent search show produced by Simon Cowell and hosted by Regis Philbin.

And as cheesy as it was, the show was somehow strangely entertaining (despite NBC’s attempts to sabotage it with CONSTANT commercial interruptions).

Basically, it follows the “Idol” formula: Talented—and not so talented—performers audition in front of three judges in hopes of making it to the next round to compete for the prize of one million dollars The judges also mirror their “Idol” counterparts. Piers Morgan is Simon (thought not nearly as good with the putdowns), Brandy gives us the Randy vibe with her constant use of the phrase, “That’s hot,” and David Hasselhoff fills Paula’s shoes with his giddy enthusiasm and strange comments. Regis takes over for Ryan, chatting with the contestants after their auditions.

And believe it or not, we did see some actual talent. The ventriloquist with the Godzilla act was BEYOND talented, eight-year-old stand-up comic, Sid the Kid, is clearly a Chris Rock in the making and Simon is probably already in talks with All That, the “boy band” that wowed the crowd with their four part harmonies. But there was plenty of quirky stuff to balance it out like “professional fingersnapper,” Bobby Badfinger, Vladamir, the hand balancer, and Rapping Granny.

But if you’re looking for people to make fun of, like on “Idol,” you’re going to be a little disappointed. Simon has given the judges a buzzer (which I’m sure he’d love to have on “Idol”) which lights up an X on the stage. If all three judges buzz, the audition is over. Though I’m sure the judges are encouraged to let interesting acts get through their audition, the buzzing can rob us of some of those squirm-inducing moments that “Idol” is known for. Not to mention that Piers is way too quick on the draw. He actually buzzed the ventriloquist I mentioned. If David and Brandy had not let him continue, we might not have seen the show’s funniest performer (Piers actually asked to take his buzz back).

The show’s best moment came during the audition of the Bernie, the world’s oldest stripper. Bernie had removed everything but his pants and had already been buzzed by Piers and Brandy; but David leaned back in his chair and propped his feet on the desk, daring Bernie to finish. As he was about to remove his pants, Brandy and Piers threw themselves at David’s buzzer so the audition would end, much to David’s chagrin. And much to everyone’s chagrin, Bernie made it through to the next round, thanks to Brandy and David.

The problem with the show is that even though it follows the “Idol” formula, it’s not “Idol.” Regis is no Ryan Seacrest, and in my book, that’s a bad thing (That shocks me too.). Regis tries way too hard to make the show seem exciting and his interviews with the booted contestants come off a little stilted. Plus, the judges have no flow—or chemistry for that matter.

However, I have to say “Talent” is rather endearing in a weird kind of way and worth checking out—if only to satisfy your curiosity for professional fingersnappers and senior citizen strippers.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Best and Worst of the Season That Was

Because I know you’ve all been waiting, it is now my pleasure to present—in my humble opinion—the best and worst of the 2005-2006 TV season.

However, like John Madden used to do with his “All-Madden Team,” I can only pick shows I actually saw.

So without further ado, here are the winners (and losers)…

Best Cliffhanger: “Invasion”
It’s just such a shame that we’ll never see how this one comes out. While trying to defend his family, Sheriff Underlay accidentally shot Russell’s wife, Larkin. In the chaos after the alien-caused hurricane, Underlay was unable to get her help and Russell was with Underlay’s wife (Russell’s ex) trying to save others. Knowing the aliens were the only thing that could save her—though she would never be the same—Underlay carried Larkin to the ocean (where the aliens were) as Russell approached. But when Russell got out of his car, Underlay was standing in the ocean, no longer carrying Larkin. Seeing the look on Underlay’s face, Russell screamed at Underlay to tell him what happened. It was both a chilling and satisfying ending.
Honorable Mention: “Lost”

Best Season Finale: “24”
Though the sight of Jack’s swollen face put a little damper on things (Seriously guys, was that totally necessary?), this was an outstanding conclusion to an outstanding season powered by the phenomenal Gregory Itzin and of course, the-more-phenomenal-than-words-can-say Kiefer Sutherland.
Honorable Mention: “Lost”

Worst Season Finale: “Desperate Housewives”
Though the Orson-Mike thing was an interesting twist, it just wasn’t enough to save those dreadful two hours.

Best Series Finale: “Arrested Development”
Yes, there was talk of resurrecting this show on Showtime; but after the finale, there’s no way you can convince me that creator Mitchell Hurowitz ever had any intentions of going along with it. The show totally destroyed everything we knew about the Bluth family. Lindsey was revealed to be adopted and made a play for her brother, Michael (as did her husband, Tobias); and Lucille was revealed to be the real mastermind behind everything. Plus, the episode completely echoed the season premiere. It was a beautiful way to end the show.

Best Series Finale That Wasn’t Meant to Be One: “Commander In Chief”
Templeton declares his candidacy! Dickie shifts to Templeton! Jim stakes his claim to the Vice-Presidency! Sarah Clarke makes a winning guest turn! It was all so good I almost forgot the show was cancelled…almost.

Best Guest Appearance: Daryl Hall and John Oates, “Will & Grace”
My favorite music act of all time joined the “W&G” guest parade this year; but their appearance was actually funny. The duo poked fun at themselves with John serving water to the guests and Daryl saying they were “Oates and Hall” now because they agreed to change it every 20 years (“I didn’t think we’d be together that long when I agreed to it.”). I still laugh at the “old lyric” money jar joke.
Honorable Mentions: Peter MacNicol, “Boston Legal” and Kevin Bacon, “Will & Grace”

Worst Guest Appearance: Britney Spears, “Will & Grace”
Her storyline was stupid and her acting was atrocious. If “Will” wanted Britney so bad, she should have just played herself so Jack could have some real fun. Remember Jack and Grace dancing to “Oops, I Did It Again”? That was when the show was actually funny.

Show With the Best Guest Stars: “Boston Legal”
“Will & Grace” would like to think it’s them, but this award goes to “BL” hands down. Michael J. Fox, Tom Selleck, Jeri Ryan, Ed Begley Jr., Joanna Cassidy and Peter MacNicol all made memorable appearances with roles that actually made sense.

Most Shocking Plot Twist: Andrea is dead, “Ghost Whisperer”
If you would’ve told me at the beginning of the season that I was going to put anything from “Ghost Whisperer” in the best of column, I would’ve said you were crazy. But I must give credit where credit is due; and this is how good twists should be written. Looking back at the episode, all the clues were there (The FAA agent ignoring her, Andrea only talking to Melinda). I was just convinced it was her brother who was dead. And quite frankly, I didn’t think this show had this kind of twist in it.

Most Shocking Moment: Jack shoots Henderson’s wife, “24”
You’d think I’d be used to it by now. But when Jack turned the gun from Henderson and instead shot Henderson’s wife in the leg to get him to talk, I jumped off the couch. Honorable Mention: T-Bag slices Abruzzi, “Prison Break”

Creepiest Moment: T-Bag threatens his girlfriend, “Prison Break”
Everything about T-Bag (beautifully played by Robert Knepper) is creepy. But during the flashback episode, we learned that T-Bag actually had a normal girlfriend—until she found out he was wanted for the brutal molestation and murder of a child. The creepy T-Bag we all know came out as he told her he wouldn’t forget what her front door looked like. It still makes me shudder.

Most Dramatic Hour: “Fault,” “Law & Order: SVU”
This was the episode the promos said we had to see, and they were right as everything about Benson and Stabler’s relationship came to a head. When Stabler paused to check on Benson after she was wounded, a child lost his life. Then Benson paused to shoot the perp because it might have meant Stabler’s life. The episode ended with Benson asking for a new partner.

Most Welcome Return: Michael J. Fox. “Boston Legal”
Though watching his struggle can sometimes break my heart, the guy’s still awesome.

Worst Exit: Tony, “24”
As one of only two original characters remaining, Tony Almeida deserved more than just an afterthought death. But unfortunately, that’s what he got. However, after reading the original idea Carlos Bernard (Tony) pitched the writers to have Jack kill Tony, I like this exit a whole lot better. But it was still wrong to not give Tony the silent clock.

Best Character: Jack Bauer, “24”
I’m afraid I just don’t have the room to tell you all the reasons for this one.
Honorable Mention: Alan Shore, “Boston Legal”

Worst Character(s): The Applewhites, “Desperate Housewives”
Can anyone tell me what their purpose was?
Dishonorable Mention: Johnny, “The O.C.”

Best Couple: (tie) Seth and Summer, “The O.C.” and Pepper and Charlie, “Pepper Dennis”
Even though the show did its best to screw them up, Seth and Summer were still a great couple. “Pepper” did everything in the world to keep Pepper and Charlie apart, but the crackling chemistry between Rebecca Romijn and Josh Hopkins still made them great, even if they weren’t together.
Honorable Mention: Josh and Donna, “The West Wing”

Worst Couple: Marissa and Volchak, “The O.C.”
Seriously, what were the writers thinking? Marissa first met Volchak when he threatened her friend, Johnny. But for some reason, she found that attractive and after Johnny died; they started dating—which led her to start skipping school and snorting coke. The relationship would eventually lead to Marissa’s death.

Best Duo: Alan and Denny, “Boston Legal”
No two people on television have more chemistry than James Spader and William Shatner. They’re flamingos, after all (You had to be there.).

Best Supporting Character: Aaron Pierce, “24”
After languishing in the background for four seasons, Aaron finally came into his own this season by helping Jack and saving the First Lady’s life. And he survived!

Best Scene Stealer: Brooke Burns, “Pepper Dennis”
Who knew that the woman who couldn’t read cue cards on “Dog Eat Dog” was such a good comedic actress?

Best (Creepy) Villain: Christopher Henderson, “24”
I still haven’t forgiven the writers for giving Tony’s killer my last name, but Peter Weller was an excellent foil for Kiefer Sutherland.
Honorable Mention: Henry Darius (James Badge Dale), “CSI: Miami”/"CSI: New York"

Best Villain: Nathan Templeton, “Commander In Chief”
Templeton (Donald Sutherland) was TV’s best villain since J.R. Ewing—until Steven Bochco screwed him up. Fortunately, he made a comeback before the show ended.

Performance Most Worthy of an Emmy (Besides Kiefer): Gregory Itzin, “24”
Logan’s transformation from bumbling, insecure fool to bumbling criminal mastermind was totally believable thanks to the brilliance of Gregory Itzin. It would be a total travesty if Itzin does not at least get a nomination.

Best Cast: (tie) “24” and “Prison Break”
This was the year the ensemble cast of “24” really broke through and it’s the ensemble that keeps “Prison” believable. Now if only Peter Stormare (Abruzzi) would pick an accent.Honorable Mention: “Lost”

Biggest Disappointment: “Reunion”
Ah, where to begin with this one that still makes me angry just thinking about it. The premiere was outstanding, but eventually the unique time element of the show (each hour was another year in the life of six friends) got the best of it as the stories dragged and got more and more implausible. Eventually, FOX was forced to cancel it; but the network did give the show the chance to wrap up its murder mystery in 13 episodes. However, the producers passed and FOX pulled the plug before the remaining episodes had the chance to air. FOX’s Entertainment President later revealed that Sam and Will’s daughter was going to be the killer, which completely flew in the face of the show’s original premise that one of the friends was the killer. And then, in one final disappointment, reports surfaced that the writers changed their minds and decided that Craig’s father would be the killer, which made absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Honorable Mention: “Commander In Chief”

Worst Sophomore Slump: “Desperate Housewives”
As over-hyped as “DH” was, it was inevitable there would be a letdown, but I don’t think anyone was expecting this. The stories were completely inconsistent and the characters became almost impossible to care about.

Best Reality Show: “Project Runway”
A show has to be good if I watch the same episode 10 times. You gotta love Bravo’s constant reruns!
Honorable Mention: “American Idol”

Worst New Drama: “South Beach”
I’m all for cheesy soap operas (I loved “Sex, Love and Secrets.”); but this one was so bad I can’t even describe it.
Dishonorable Mention: “Killer Instinct”

Best New Drama: “Prison Break”
There’s no doubt that “Prison” was a little implausible—especially when it was stalling for time—but it was the most solid of the new dramas with an outstandingly creepy cast.

Worst New Comedy: “Sons and Daughters”
This was one of those times the critics and I were watching two different shows. They loved it, but for me it was just painful to watch.

Best New Comedy: “Pepper Dennis”
I’m apparently the only person alive who loved this show; but loved it I did. Rebecca Romijn was surprisingly adept at physical comedy and her chemistry with Josh Hopkins was first-rate. Unfortunately the death of the WB (and a delayed start) meant the end of “Pepper.”
Honorable Mention: “Kitchen Confidential.” Apparently this year I had a real affinity for doomed comedies.

Best Comedy: “Boston Legal”
You can try and tell me that “BL” is a drama, but Denny shooting that fish when he couldn’t catch one was the funniest thing I saw all year.

Best Drama: “24”
Did you even have to ask? This was the show’s best season so far. In fact, it was so good, I’m a little concerned that anything they do next year will pale in comparison.

Now it’s your turn. Post a comment and let me know what I left out.

And yes, I know I didn’t give anything to “Grey’s Anatomy” but I only saw 1½ episodes, so cut me a little slack...

Friday, June 16, 2006

The clock is ticking again...

Remember the old days of television during the summer, when it was nothing but reruns? So, if you missed an episode of your favorite show during the season, you knew you could see it in the summer when the rerun came around.

Well, those days are gone. Now, networks give us cheesy reality shows and series that weren’t good enough for the fall schedule. It’s a rarity to catch actual reruns of shows, unless they have “CSI” in the title.

Thankfully, FOX is bucking that trend by—for the first time—showing reruns of its best show. Beginning tonight (Friday), FOX will re-air the entire season of “24,” showing two episodes each Friday. As I’ve said before, this season was the best “24” season ever, and now everyone will get a chance to see why. Plus, it helps us fans who have to wait an eternity for the DVDs.

If you’d like to jump on board—and I highly recommend that you do—here’s a quick catch-up to get you started…

The Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) is a special government agency that tracks down terrorist threats and neutralizes them. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) was once the director of CTU Los Angeles, but left CTU after his wife was murdered while he fought to save presidential candidate Senator David Palmer from assassination. Jack later returned and eventually became the head of field operations at CTU. But after Jack became addicted to heroin while undercover, he was fired by the new director who was intimidated by Jack’s presence. Jack took a job with the Secretary of Defense and fell in love with the Secretary’s daughter, Audrey Raines (Kim Raver), who was separated from her husband, Paul...

When Audrey and her father were kidnapped by terrorists, Jack was sucked back into CTU. After rescuing them, he continued pursuing the terrorists. When he was forced to use torture on Paul (His name had come up in connection with the terrorists.), Jack’s relationship with Audrey became strained. Paul was innocent and ended up helping Jack, but later died due to a choice Jack made—which only further damaged his relationship with Audrey. Eventually, Audrey decided she couldn’t be part of Jack’s world and broke it off with him…

After Jack saved his life, Senator David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) was elected President and over the years he and Jack became friends. Palmer planned to run for re-election, but the murder of his ex-wife and the related scandal forced him to withdraw from the race. His opponent, Senator Keeler, went on to win the election. However, his term would not last long as he was on board Air Force One when it was shot down by terrorists. Vice-President Logan (Gregory Itzin) was sworn in as the President, but he was unable to handle the terrorist threat and called in Palmer to help…

Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard), a CTU agent, resented Jack’s presence at CTU, but eventually became his right-hand man. Tony fell in love with a fellow agent, Michelle Dessler—who he later married. When Michelle was kidnapped by terrorists, Tony was forced to commit treason to save her. He went to jail, but Jack later convinced Palmer to pardon him. When Jack felt like he couldn’t trust anyone at CTU, he called Tony back in. Eventually Tony was reunited with Michelle (who he had divorced while in prison) and after a brush with death, Tony convinced Michelle to retire from CTU and start a new life with him…

While pursuing the terrorist Habib Marwan, CTU was led to a Chinese scientist with connections to Marwan who had taken asylum at the Chinese Embassy. After failing to convince the Chinese to turn the scientist over to the U.S., Palmer authorized Jack to lead a mission—not officially sanctioned by the government—to kidnap the scientist from the embassy. However, during the mission, the Chinese consulate was killed. The Chinese, looking for revenge, were able to track the mission back to Jack and because the U.S. could not admit responsibility, Jack had to turn himself in to the Chinese. But one of President Logan’s aides, Walt Cummings (John Allen Nelson), worried that Jack may give secrets to the Chinese, and ordered the Secret Service to take Jack out (with Logan’s blessing). Palmer discovered the plot and called Jack to warn him. Tony, Michelle and CTU analyst Chloe O’Brien (Mary Lynn Rajskub) helped Jack fake his death, making it look like he was killed in a shootout with the Secret Service agent. Only Tony, Michelle, Chloe and Palmer (who Jack later called) knew the truth. Even Jack’s daughter, Kim, was kept in the dark. Jack was left to live a life on the run—at one point hiding in Chicago before he was discovered by someone who had been nosing around Jack’s death…

The clock starts ticking again tonight at 8 on FOX…

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Templeton For President!

As I write this, it’s 11:30 on Wednesday night and since my blog is currently having technical difficulties, you probably won’t see this for a few days; but I’m so worked up I have to write this now.

There’s no doubt that “Commander In Chief” has been the most frustrating show of the season and tonight’s season/series finale was the most frustrating yet…

Why? Because it was the best episode yet. In fact, I actually cheered out loud twice.

The first time was when Nathan Templeton (Donald Sutherland) finally announced his presidential candidacy in a shrewdly planned “spontaneous” announcement designed to steal the President’s thunder. The second time was when the newly-fired-by-the-President Dickie MacDonald (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) strutted into Templeton’s office. “Aren’t you in the wrong room, young man?” Templeton asked. Dickie’s response, “Am I?” as Templeton gave him a sly smile, setting up a wonderful partnership.

There were other great stories too as Becca, the President’s daughter, finally met her cyber-boyfriend, who happens to be Templeton’s intern. We met Kelly’s ex-boyfriend and his new wife and Jim told the President he was interested in being her Vice-President.

Plus, as a bonus, we got a guest appearance by Sarah Clarke, who played Nina on “24.” She joins Leslie Hope (Teri, “24”) as the second of Kiefer Sutherland’s co-stars to appear with his father on “Commander.” You have to like their style.

In fact, I was so wrapped up in the episode, I almost forgot that none of these stories are going anywhere because the show is dead—murdered by the executives at ABC. I still can’t believe they renewed “What About Brian?” and let this one go. Did they not see how good those last three episodes were?

There’s talk that the show will be resurrected through one or two TV movies, and I certainly hope that’s the case—but only if the entire cast comes back to do them.

Especially now that Dickie has come over to the dark side.

Stay tuned…

Monday, June 12, 2006

"Windfall": Does it hit the jackpot for NBC?

Against the advice of just about every TV critic in America, I watched “Windfall” Thursday. After all, it seems like a lot of the time, critics and I are watching different shows.

Sadly, this was not the case here.

The premise is a good one. A group of friends (and some strangers) contribute to a lottery pool at a party. Then, we see how their lives change after they win the $396 million prize. But the characters and their circumstances are so ridiculous, it’s impossible to care about them.

Almost before we’ve sat down, we learn that college professor Cameron (Jason Gedrick) and his wife Beth (Sarah Wynter) are moving and their friend, Nina (Lana Parilla), is not happy about it. Apparently, she and Cameron were once an item, but he left her to marry Beth; and Nina married Peter (Luke Perry). Though both Nina and Cameron appear to have moved on with their lives, on their trip to buy the lottery tickets, Cameron tells Nina that he’s still in love with her and that he’s no longer happy with Beth; but he’s going to leave town anyway to try and make their relationship work. It makes Nina so sentimental that she plays Cameron’s birthday on one of the lottery tickets. And of course, those numbers end up being the big winner. So, Beth decides that the money will allow her and Cameron to stay in town; and Nina tells Peter that he is the man in her wildest dreams (which he later doubts when he realizes the inspiration for the winning numbers). Meanwhile, a former student of Cameron’s shows up claiming that he is the father of her son. Cameron says she’s just interested in the money, but Beth insists he have a paternity test.

Sean, another winner, apparently harbors a dark secret that may involve murder. The secret prevents him from claiming the winnings, so he makes a deal with his one-night stand (a woman he stole from a customer at the floral shop he works at with Beth) that if she collects the money for him, they will split the winnings.

Damien, a high school student, is unable to claim his winnings because he is a minor. But opportunity falls into his lap when a family friend brings his Russian mail-order girlfriend to dinner (I wish I was kidding.). After seeing how badly she’s treated, Damien makes her a deal. They get married in Florida, making Damien an emancipated minor and she gets $10,000 to go back to Russia with. But just as Damien is striking up a flirtation with the daughter of one of the other winners, his Russian bride returns.

The most interesting story was Elizabeth, the single mother, who participated in the lottery when she delivered pizzas to the party. But because she didn’t put her name on the list of people who contributed, no one knew she was one of the winners until they discovered her name and number on her dollar. And by that time, she was so behind on her rent, she was moving out of her mobile home to live with her sister. It’s always nice to see a winner who deserves it. But next week’s previews show someone challenging Elizabeth’s claim, thereby ruining the best story of the show.

I realize this is a serialized drama; but it’s just too much. The love triangle would be enough for the two couples, but to throw in a paternity suit? And I was almost ready to buy the whole unrequited love thing with Cameron and Nina until I saw the age of Nina and Peter’s kids. Unless those kids are her stepchildren, she and Peter have been married a long time and that makes the whole scenario a little hard to swallow.

Jason Gedrick (who is probably best known for “Iron Eagle”) has starred in a lot of quality shows that didn’t get a chance to score an audience—including one of the best shows ever made, “Murder One.” But in this case, Gedrick picked a stinker.

This show was originally developed by FOX, who decided to pass on making the show. It’s easy now to see why.

Some disturbing news from the world of sports...

Okay, I know I’m not the sports blogger, but some stories just need to be commented on…

I have to admit I’m still reeling from watching Jeff Gordon slam into the wall in Sunday’s NASCAR race (He was okay, thank God.). But now I’m MAJORLY reeling from the latest news out of Pittsburgh.

Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback of the World Champion Steelers was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. He is in serious but stable condition. Though he did have surgery for an undisclosed reason, reports are that his injuries are not life-threatening and he did talk to the doctors before surgery. It is not known if Roethlisberger was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, though he usually rides without one.

Can you say, YIKES!

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Bengals fan and the mere mention of the Steelers can make me sick to my stomach as I picture Carson Palmer writhing in pain on the field. And I will admit that I did think some bad thoughts about Kimo Van Oelhoffen. But I would NEVER wish for something like this to happen; and I completely feel for all of you Steelers fans out there who are wondering what will happen next for your team.

It’s ironic, really, that we Bengals fans are in that same boat.

I hope for nothing but the best for Roethlisberger. He’s a talented guy and this is no way for him to go out, if in fact his injuries are that serious.

And I send this message to all of you reading this: If you ride a motorcycle, please wear a helmet.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...

If you're a Superman fan, be sure to tune into A&E tonight (Monday) for "Look Up In the Sky: The Story of Superman." This documentary was produced by Bryan Singer who directed the upcoming "Superman Returns," so look for a lot of special previews.

"Look" airs tonight from 8-10 on A&E.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Catching Up: "CSI:Miami"

In looking over my blog, I realized that I forgot to post anything about the season finale of “CSI:Miami.”

In my post “Deadly Monday,” I warned that the resolution to the mole story would be a disappointment. “Anytime ‘Miami’ tries to do an actual storyline,” I wrote, “it blows up in their faces (Raymond’s alive, anyone?).”

But guess what? “Miami” actually tried a twist—and it worked.

Don’t get me wrong, the Mole storyline was a little disappointing. The writers briefly toyed with the possibility that Dan was the culprit; but of course, it was Natalia, the obvious choice. The writers did throw in some intrigue about Natalia sleeping with Delko and Wolfe (which was new information) to get more scoop on the lab, but I missed that because I turned the channel out of disappointment.

But I turned back just in time to see the twist on the Mole story that actually made the whole thing work. It seems that Monica, the Assistant State Attorney, who had been after Horatio all season, planted Natalia in the lab. But when she grew frustrated at Natalia’s lack of information, she used her fiancé, Peter, to create cause for an FBI investigation of the lab. The bonus is that Peter had been Calleigh’s crush (He had been interested too.) and he chose to turn the tables on Monica to help Calleigh. I hope this means that Peter will return to finally start their relationship (even though Calleigh would be a great girl for Ryan).

So I was wrong about the actual storyline blowing up, right? Sadly, no. It’s just that the messed up story was the Mala Noche one. Horatio and Delko stopped just short of going totally Jack Bauer on the guy who killed Marisol, which they later regretted when he was extradited to Brazil. So, at the end of the episode, Horatio announced, “We’re going to Brazil.”

What?! Does that make any sense? Is the show actually going to go to Brazil?

I know it’s the number one show in the world (No kidding.), but this may be pushing it too far.

But with “CSI:Miami,” I wouldn’t expect anything less. I just make sure I’m prepared for the disappointment, so I “don’t get fooled again.”

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"Commander In Chief": The Shocker of the Year!

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.

With 10 minutes left in last night’s episode of “Commander In Chief,” I braced myself for the convenient plot twist that would allow President Mackenzie (Mac) Allen to come out on top. But it didn’t happen.

It was the shocker of the year: Templeton won one.

That should’ve made me happy. And it did for a minute or so. But then it made me mad. Mad at ABC for screwing up the show and then canceling it just before it got good.

I told you this would be a good episode and it turned out to be everything I hoped. Donald Sutherland was his usual outstanding self, playing to the press and making snide remarks to the staff as he took on the “ceremonial” role of Acting President when Mac was forced to have emergency surgery. Seeing an opportunity, Templeton took action to end an airline pilot’s strike—action Mac refused to take. Templeton finally got his moment when he announced to the press that the strike was over. I have to say that it was pretty awesome.

But even Templeton’s victory didn’t compare to the ending as Mac vowed she would do everything possible to keep Templeton from becoming President and then told him to get out. In that moment, the mess that Steven Bochco (or whoever) made was erased as Mac and Templeton once again became enemies. It set the stage for some big showdowns to come.

Unfortunately, we will never see those showdowns.

ABC showed no previews for next week’s episode, but their website says the show will air next week. To tell you the truth, though, I would actually be happy if they didn’t show any more of the episodes. That way Templeton could go out a winner.