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"…

Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Super Hero": A Major Farewell

So if “Who Wants to Be a Super Hero?” is just a silly reality show, why was I bawling like a baby at the end of last week’s episode?

There can only be one reason. Major Victory, my favorite, turned in his costume.

Let’s face it. Last week was not a good one for me in terms of my favorite reality stars. First, Robert was cut from “Project Runway” and then the next night, it was farewell to Major Victory.

And what a farewell it was.

First, though, there were the challenges. Fat Momma, Feedback and Major Victory had to talk about their powers to a group of young school kids, who then picked their favorite. Feedback talked over their heads about electric pulses, Major Victory made them laugh, and Fat Momma gave them a speech about self-esteem. In the end, Fat Momma was the kids’ choice.

But she didn’t have time to celebrate as Stan gave them another challenge—locating the Dark Enforcer at the crowded Universal Citywalk. The heroes had to follow the clues until they reached his location. I thought there would be a hidden twist to the challenge, but one never materialized. Major Victory had the fastest time, followed by Feedback—who lost time while trying to pick up a penny he dropped—while Fat Momma ate people’s food and got a massage in between clues.

When the heroes returned to the lair, they began sharing how much the experience had meant to them. Suddenly, Fat Momma became upset and locked herself in the bathroom, vowing not to come out until she could speak with one of the show’s producers. When he arrived, she told him she was worried about Feedback being eliminated and what he would do if he was. “I don’t want it as much,” she told him.

Personally, I think she should have been eliminated right then. What made her think that Feedback was going to be eliminated? She was the one that was eating and getting massages when she was supposed to be saving people from a super villain! And who’s to say the entire thing wasn’t a ploy on her part?

After conferring with a producer and the other heroes, Fat Momma agreed to stay in the competition. And with that, it was time for another elimination.

I just knew in my gut that it wasn’t going to turn out the way I wanted. However, after seeing the commercial for the show’s DVD with Major Victory on the cover, I thought there was a chance I was wrong…

Stan congratulated Feedback for properly explaining his character to the kids—although Stan agreed he was talking over their heads. He also complimented him for taking the time to pick up the penny he dropped. It was clear that Feedback—despite Fat Momma’s concerns—wasn’t going anywhere.

Which left Fat Momma and Major Victory. Stan praised Fat Momma’s inspiring speech to the children, but criticized her for taking 40 MINUTES to complete the Dark Enforcer challenge, telling her that if she thought it was more important to stay in character, she was wrong. He then complimented Major Victory on being so entertaining, but then expressed his concern that he was becoming a parody of a super hero, instead of becoming a hero.

There was no question then that Major Victory was going home. I started to yell at the TV when Stan said, “Major Victory, turn in your costume.”

Suddenly, Feedback stepped back onto his cube, presumably to protest Stan’s decision. But Major Victory wouldn’t let him, telling him to “get down from there and tell me goodbye.”

But after Chris threw his Major Victory costume in the trash, Stan called him back. I was hoping he was giving him a second chance; but Stan had another surprise—a phone call from his daughter. Throughout the entire show, Chris had said he was doing this so his estranged daughter could be proud of him. So it was an emotional moment when he picked up the phone and heard his 16-year-old daughter’s voice. I couldn’t help but cry, especially when she said, “You’re my hero, daddy.” Even Stan cried at that one.

After cracking one more joke and flashing one more killer smile, Chris left the roof. And I was left to wipe the tears off my face and yell at myself for bawling over a stupid reality show.

Don’t worry, though. My tears didn’t last long once I discovered that Bravo was showing “The Lost Boys” for the umpteenth time.

So, do I agree with Stan’s decision? Yes and no. I agree that Major Victory was becoming more of a parody, but I think that Stan should have been harder on Fat Momma for shirking her duties in favor of staying in character. And besides, Chris was highly entertaining. I’m guessing he’s a pretty good DJ.

I can’t help but wonder if Stan regrets his decision now since Major Victory basically became the face of the show.

So who do I think is going to win? I think Feedback, without a doubt. How can you do an entire comic book and movie about a hero who can’t fight crime without eating a donut? Plus, Feedback has the more interesting backstory with the death of his father and he’ll appeal to the video game generation. And of all the contestants he took the show the most seriously. He probably deserves it.

The season finale of “Who Wants to Be a Super Hero?” airs tonight (Thursday) at 9 on the SciFi Channel.

"Duets": A Second Chance

If you missed the premiere of "Celebrity Duets," you have another chance to catch it tonight (Thursday) at 8 on FOX.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Runway": Family Affair, Part 2

The previews for tonight’s “Project Runway” promise some interesting developments.

If I’m not mistaken, Angela has a purse on the runway, which hints that the designers are designing for each other and the ads give the impression that Tim Gunn is going to be a judge! I hope so, because Tim has been disagreeing with the judges a lot lately (as have I) and that would give things an interesting twist.

One thing that Tim didn’t disagree with the judges on was who had to go last week. I agree too, but that didn’t make it any easier. Three times now Robert has designed boring clothes. This time, he even said himself that he was picking boring colors, so why didn’t he change them? The challenge was to please the client, but also to show the designer in the design. Robert didn’t come close to doing the latter and he was out.

That’s not to say Robert’s design was the worst, because it wasn’t. Jeffrey’s was. His dress for Angela’s mother, Darlene, looked like a giant tent draped over her. But there was no way he was going to be out after his blow-up with Darlene. Seeing her mother cry made Angela hate Jeffrey all the more, which is bound to lead to much more drama.

In other words, Jeffrey is better TV. I have to think that’s why Heidi was SO hard on Robert on the runway. She knew she had to defend the decision she had already made.

But even Jeffrey was emotional after the elimination. As he told his mom, “They’re not all good people and Robert is.” Even Tim Gunn got a little emotional—which is what made me lose it. I was fine until then.

So who am I rooting for now? I’m almost afraid to root for anyone for fear I will jinx them, but my favorite has to be Michael. I’m also rooting for Laura because I want to see how she’ll handle Fashion Week while nine months pregnant (or just having given birth depending on the show’s timing). And how can you not love Kayne? I was a little disappointed that he wasn’t more emotional at Robert’s ouster. They were SO cute together.

You can still catch an encore of last week’s episode tonight (Wednesday) at 9. Even though I’ve told you how it turns out, it’s still worth watching if only for the reaction of Laura’s mom to the news she’s going to be a grandmother for the SIXTH time.

The new episode of “Project Runway” will air tonight at 10 on Bravo.

An "Idol" Wonder Woman?

There are some stories that just beg for me to comment on, and this is one of them.

The "NY Post" is reporting that Katharine McPhee is now on the list of women being considered for the role of Wonder Woman. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

According to the "Post," Katharine's upcoming "Shape" magazine cover in a bathing suit may be seen as kind of a tryout for how she would look in the costume.

Personally, I think this is all just a big PR story, but Hollywood has done stranger things.

"Celebrity Duets": Hooked On Another One

Sometime around 9 o’clock last night, it happened. I was just innocently watching TV, when the thing I feared the most occurred.

I got hooked into another TV show.

And not just any TV show—“Celebrity Duets.”

I figured I’d tune in just out of curiosity, but before I knew it I was critiquing performances and speculating on who would be eliminated.

Simon Cowell, what have you done to me?

In my defense, it’s hard not to get sucked in by this show, which wisely follows the “Idol” formula almost to the letter. If you missed it, here’s how it works. Each of the contestants performs a song with a recording star. Some of the songs are actually duets, but most of them are songs made famous by the recording artist turned into duets.

Which is what makes this show interesting. Not only do you have celebrities that have never performed in front of an audience before, but you also have singers who are not used to singing duets of their songs. So, some of the singers (Yes, I mean you Michael Bolton.) were struggling as well. Because this was a two-hour premiere, each contestant got to sing two songs with two different artists and the judges decided who to eliminate. Beginning next week, the show will be down to an hour and viewers will decide who goes home.

Which brings up an interesting question. Will viewers vote based on voice, or will they vote based on which celebrity they like best?

If they vote on voice, the early frontrunner is without a doubt Jai Rodriguez (“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”). I would buy his CD in a heartbeat. Plus, he uses his drama skills (He appeared in “Rent.”) to make some electrifying performances. His duet with Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child was so sizzling, I almost forgot he’s gay.

My favorite, though, is Hal Sparks (“Queer as Folk,” VH1 “I Love” specials). He’s got a good voice (kind of like Chad Kroeger meets Ozzy Osbourne) but I love that he puts his heavy metal touch into every song he does—even Motown. If Sparks would have been eliminated (which I was afraid of), I would’ve thrown this show back.

And last night’s best recording artist? Gladys Knight was fierce, but James Ingram has still got the pipes. I wanted to immediately download every song he’s ever done.

Here’s a recap of who did what, in case you’re curious…

Lucy Lawless
“Time, Love and Tenderness” with Michael Bolton
“Ooh Baby, Baby” with Smokey Robinson
Michael didn’t do Lucy any favors by not even trying to sing with her, but she and Smokey were smokin’.

Alfonso Ribeiro
“I Knew You Were Waiting” with Michelle Williams
“Yah Mo B There” with James Ingram
Alfonso may be the only one that can give Jai a run for his money.

Carly Patterson
“Somewhere Out There” with James Ingram
“I Hope You Dance” with Lee Ann Womack
Both James and Lee Ann helped an extremely nervous Carly out tremendously. Lee Ann even took the harmony on the chorus.

Cheech Marin
“Love Your Way” with Peter Frampton
“Diggin’ Up Bones” with Randy Travis
I’m afraid that Cheech is going to be the contestant that the recording artists are going to dread getting stuck with. He’s got a decent country voice, though; he just has trouble with everything else.

Lea Thompson
“Forever and Ever Amen” with Randy Travis
“That’s Life” with Michael Bolton
Lea took a chance by doing harmony with Randy (She was good.) but she has a real tendency to oversing.

Jai Rodriguez
“Since I Fell For You” with Gladys Knight
“Say My Name” with Michelle Williams
Jai was absolutely the best. And turning “Say My Name” into a duet was pretty inspired, but Ricky Minor and the Band went a little overboard (as usual).

Chris Jericho
“Mendicino County Line” with Lee Ann Womack
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” with Peter Frampton
I have no idea who’s picking these songs, but they didn’t do Chris any favors. And Frampton doing Motown? It didn’t work.

Hal Sparks
“Tracks of My Tears” with Smokey Robinson
“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” with Gladys Knight
If Paula were a judge, she would say he made both these songs his own—and I loved it. He showed more vocal chops on “Tears,” though.

In the end, the judges did the right thing and eliminated Chris Jericho, who—despite Cheech’s attempts—was definitely the worst of the celebrities. However, I didn’t think they’d actually eliminate Chris since he’s so popular. I guess Cheech will have to be the sentimental favorite now.

But no matter what the celebrities or singers do, the star of this show is Little Richard. He makes Paula Abdul seem like the most coherent person on Earth—even on her worst day. Nothing this guy says makes sense, so you can’t wait to hear what he’ll say next. I could see the wheels in Hal Sparks’ head turning as he tried to figure out how to make fun of him.

I presumed that Marie Osmond would be the Paula of the group, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. When David lets her talk, she makes some very astute observations (surprising even some of the celebrities) and she doesn’t take any crap from anyone. When she was booed trying to offer Hal Sparks some criticism, she responded “Hello, I’ve sung before.” She does, however, need to condense her comments a little for time.

David is clearly supposed to be the Simon of the judges, but last night he took it pretty easy on everyone. We’ll see if that changes.

And, I couldn’t write this without giving some kudos to Wayne Brady. He started out a little stiff, but by the end he was becoming the Wayne we all know and love. I wish that instead of letting the eliminated contestant sing (a la “Idol”), they would let Wayne sing.

The good thing about “Duets” is that it’s only an eight week show, so I don’t have to stay hooked long. But if this show does well—and I think that it will—this won’t be the last of it.

“Duets” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m., with the results show Fridays at 9 p.m., on FOX.

Question of the Week: Your Own Duet

So after watching “Celebrity Duets” last night (MUCH more on that later), I was inspired to ask the following Question of the Week:

If you could perform a duet on national TV with any singer, who would it be?

For me, there’s no doubt it would be Daryl Hall—even though he would sing me under the table.

What about you?

And don’t worry. We’ll have plenty of time to discuss “Celebrity Duets” as I’ll have a post on that later.

Stay tuned…

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

TV on DVD: This Week's Releases

I don’t always have a chance to pass on the latest TV on DVD releases, but this is a pretty big week, so I wanted to pass along some of the shows hitting stores today:

The Andy Griffith Show Season 7
Arrested Development Season 3
Criss Angel Mindfreak: Halloween
Darkwing Duck Volume 1
Desperate Housewives Season 2
Flavor of Love Season 1
NASCAR: Driven to Win Season 1
Nip/Tuck Season 3
Roseanne Halloween Edition
South Park Season 8
Survivor: Palau
Tale Spin Volume 1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume 5
The Tick Season 1
Will & Grace Season 5

In case you’re wondering, “Arrested,” “Darkwing,” and “The Tick” should be on my doorstep tomorrow.

Mom Knows Best

When I answered the phone last night, the first thing my mother said was, "You're home. I thought you'd be out celebrating."

Aren't I lucky to have a mom who understands my completely messed-up ways?

"I told your dad when I heard the news this morning that I bet your neighbors didn't get a lick of sleep last night."

"It was 10:45, Mom," I told her. "They shouldn't have been asleep anyway."

Although, I have to say that I halfway expected a letter on my front door when I got home yesterday from my landlord telling me to keep it down. Of course, between Bengals games and episodes of "24," they really should be used to it by now.

And thanks to Bravo running the Emmy awards twice yesterday, I have now watched Kiefer's winning moment four times. It gets better every time (although I wonder if he realizes he forgot to thank the cast).

"Well, I'll let you get to your game," Mom told me as she said goodbye. "Congratulations."

Now, I know there was nothing to congratulate me for, but my mom knows me well enough to know that I would appreciate that. She' s seen the posters, and the cell phone, and the books and the mouse pads, and the magazines, and the screen savers, and...

Well, you get the idea.

Oh, and by the way, the main reason she called? To see if FOX was re-airing "Prison Break" since their electricity was off.

What can I say? She's definitely my mom!

And if she ever figures out how to find this blog, she can read that I love her and dad very much.

A Good Night...

So I know that this isn't an NFL blog, but I just have to say...

How good did Carson Palmer look last night? Holy cow!

Now I can stop least until the opener against Kansas City...

Monday, August 28, 2006

"Runway": Family Affair, Part 1

For anyone wondering why I have so much love for “Project Runway,” you should check out tonight’s encore of last week’s episode “Everyday Woman.”

It didn’t end at all like I would’ve wanted; but it’s a great example of why this show is the best reality show on TV and should’ve walked away with the Emmy last night.

The designers are told that their challenge is to design for the everyday woman. But when the models come out, the everyday women are the designers’ mothers and sisters. The designers are so excited that they don’t notice that Heidi is holding the velvet bag that she uses to draw their names. You guessed it. The designers must choose a model—but not their own relative.

Michael, as the reigning winner, got to choose first and he, of course, chose Robert’s sister, the most model-looking of the group. Not surprisingly, all of the skinnier models were snapped up quickly. And in the most delicious twist of fate I’ve ever seen on this show, Jeffrey ended up with the mother of the designer he hates most—Angela.

I think Jeffrey summed it up best when he said, “God decided to get drunk today” (I would've went with something a little less disrespectful like "what goes around comes around," but you get the idea.).

I can’t help but think there were no names on the buttons Heidi drew from the bag and the producers were actually feeding her the names so that Jeffrey would end up with Angela’s mom, Darlene. It’s not long into the episode before they have a major clash, instigated by—of all people—Tim Gunn.

Meanwhile, the designers with plus-size women struggle to get the proportions right, and one designer accidentally tells her mother she’s pregnant.

It all leads up to a fun runway that ends in tears for more than one designer…and Tim Gunn…and me, for that matter.

The encore of “Project Runway” airs tonight (Monday) at 7 p.m. and again Wednesday at 9 p.m. on Bravo.

Just one more Emmy thought...

Here's just one more Emmy thought...

Wonder if FOX regrets pulling the "24" reruns now?

Now, they have to wait until January to tout having the most honored show (They could still show a little love on the FOX website, though. I mean, come on!)...

Simon Cowell's Newest Experiment

You had to know I’d get to this one eventually; I just needed to catch up.

After watching “Dancing With the Stars,” Simon Cowell was inspired to do the same thing with singers. Thus, “Celebrity Duets” was born.

Celebrities will perform each week, paired with a different recording artist. Just like “Idol,” viewers will vote for their favorite with the outcome announced on a live results show the next night. However, the judges will eliminate the first celebrity. The winner will receive $100,000 for their favorite charity.

If you’re expecting a train wreck, though, you’re going to be disappointed. All of the eight celebrities participating have singing experience and did audition for the show. They are: Chris Jericho (WWE World Champion), actress Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Battlestar Galactica”), actor Cheech Marin (“Cars,” “Nash Bridges”), 2004 Olympic Gold Medal-winning gymnast Carly Patterson, actor/director Alfonso Ribeiro (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “All of Us”), Jai Rodriguez (“Queer Eye”), actor/comedian Hal Sparks (“Queer as Folk”) and actress Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future,” “Caroline in the City”).

The biggest surprise with this show is the list of heavy hitters Simon has gotten to perform. In fact, the singers are much bigger than the celebrities. Here’s a partial list of who we can look forward to: Clint Black, Michael Bolton, Belinda Carlisle, Taylor Dayne, Peter Frampton, Macy Gray, James Ingram, Wynonna Judd, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Kenny Loggins, Richard Marx, Brian McKnight, Aaron Neville, Smokey Robinson, Randy Travis, Dionne Warwick, and Lee Ann Womack. Some of them haven’t had a hit in quite a few years, but it’s still a very impressive list. Apparently, they’ve been paying attention to the power of “Idol.”

But in case you’re worried that this is going to get too serious, Simon has enlisted an eclectic panel of David Foster, the tough producer that berated the Idols last season, Marie Osmond, and Little Richard!

A favorite of mine—and a fantastic singer himself—Wayne Brady will host.

There’s a fine line between compelling and cheesy with this kind of show, but I think Simon will be on the right side of it.

And even if he isn’t, you know you’ll be watching…

“Celebrity Duets” premieres Tuesday, August 29th at 8 p.m. on FOX, before settling into its regular Thursday timeslot September 7th.

Something else to worry about...

Okay, so now that the Emmys are out of the way, I've got something else to worry about...

The second episode of "Prison Break" is airing tonight, but I will be joining Bengals fans everywhere for the moment we've been waiting for since January--the return of Carson Palmer.

Palmer is scheduled to return in tonight's preseason game with the Packers that will air on ESPN beginning at 8. And I'm not afraid to say I'm pretty nervous. The last interview I saw with Carson, he seemed to have zero confidence. I really hope that's not the case tonight, or we're in real trouble--not just for this year, but for many to come.

I just hope tonight goes as well as last night did. I'm still half sick from the last time we saw Carson Palmer on the field...

Pick of the Week: "Justice"

Before my arms fall off from too much typing, let me give you my Pick of the Week.

It shouldn't be too much of a surprise, since I've already told you it's the fall's first must-see.

This week's Pick of the Week is "Justice."

For a complete preview, you can check out my post from last week.

"Justice" airs Wednesday, August 30th at 9 p.m. on FOX.

The Morning After

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by here last night to see if I could actually pull this off. As you know, my original plan was to update every 15 minutes, but I quickly realized it was just easier to really do it as it happened (Although my sore arms this morning probably don’t agree!). I hope all of you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

However, because I was so busy trying to keep up, I didn’t get to put my opinion in very much, so I wanted to take a minute or two this morning to give a little perspective—if that’s possible since I’m still more than a little giddy.

I’ve already read one review this morning that said Conan was the only bright spot in an otherwise “dull” show. I guess we were watching different shows.

I admit I didn’t get the show’s whole impact because I was just trying to keep up, but my biggest problem was that everything seemed a little rushed as it was clear from the get-go that there would be no long speeches—although the director probably gave the longest.

The show got off to a strange start with Conan’s video opening with a plane crash. Considering what had transpired that day in Kentucky, it was a little eerie (The NBC Station Manager in Lexington was apparently horrified.); but that feeling quickly went away as we saw him joined by Hurley from “Lost.” When Conan asked Hurley to come with him to the Emmys, he responded, “Dude, we weren’t exactly invited.” It was a truly inspired way to address the “snubs” without overly dwelling on it. All of the other parts of the video were good too though I wasn’t sure why if every other show was in character that Conan wouldn’t play along by saying Jack and not Kiefer. The “Dateline: To Catch a Predator” was absolutely hilarious, even though it was almost ruined by Chris Hansen’s attempt at acting. The ending, however, lacked a little as there was no real transition from the video to Conan on stage.

Conan’s opening monologue was also strong, but then things went a little overboard as he launched into a song and dance number about how there were big troubles at NBC. This would’ve been a great sketch on Conan’s show, but for the Emmys it seemed inappropriate and WAY too long.

I also thought the Bob Newhart in a glass box bit was funny, but I think they went to it too many times.

The show wisely cut out the tribute to TV’s new “golden age” and instead went with the Aaron Spelling tribute. Though it went a little long and could’ve used more clips, it was quite moving and it was nice to see the “Angels” back together again (Wow, did Jaclyn Smith put Farrah Fawcett to shame!).

The Dick Clark tribute was not too bad itself, but it still rang a little hollow for me because the timing just seemed off. Barry Manilow did come off a little cheesy and his attempt at spontaneity by walking over to Dick Clark didn’t work. It was nice to hear Clark sounding much stronger than he did on New Year’s Eve. And Simon Cowell didn’t do too badly with the cue cards and actually sounded gracious in introducing Clark. And he looked really good…

Unfortunately, most of the presenter banter was downright painful to watch—especially Martin and Charlie Sheen, who were mistakenly sent out too early, cutting off Conan’s introduction. But those moments were thankfully overshadowed by Hugh Laurie’s French translation and Stephen Colbert lamenting his loss to Barry Manilow. This was a good year, however, for acceptance speeches. The best speech award would have to go to Outstanding Writing for a Comedy winner Greg Garcia (“My Name Is Earl”) for naming everyone he didn’t want to thank, like the teacher who told him to sit down and shut up in seventh grade. There were also some great heartfelt ones from Jeremy Piven, Megan Mullally, Mariska Hargitay, and of course, Kiefer. Though some posters on the “TV Guide” blog apparently disagree with me, I thought Kiefer’s comments about his dad were adorable and exactly how any of us would react if we were laying eyes on one of our parents for the first time in months during one of the biggest moments of our careers. Some of the “TV Guide” posters—who were also apparently watching another show—thought Donald Sutherland looked mad. All I saw was pure pride. It was one of the show’s true highlights.

Kudos also to the people backstage who got Kiefer back to the front of the room in time for the best drama category. I was kind of worried.

As for the awards, there were some surprises. Blythe Danner, Tony Shalhoub and yes, even Kiefer and “24” were all surprises. And after thinking about it for a while, I have to agree that “Grey’s Anatomy” not winning anything was, indeed, a surprise. I said last night that the Supporting Actress race would tell us how the wind was blowing for “Grey’s” and boy did it ever! Don’t despair “Grey’s” fans, your show’s time is coming. It’s just that after its best year ever (in its fifth season, no less) and with half of the new fall shows inspired by it, the Emmys just couldn’t ignore “24," giving FOX its first drama series win (Kiefer's win was a first for the network too.).

The biggest disappointment of the night was, without a doubt, the Supporting Actor in a Drama category. It was bad enough that Gregory Itzin lost, but Alan Alda wasn’t even there. I wouldn’t have minded Itzin’s loss so much if “Wing” had been given a proper eulogy through Alda’s speech.

So how did I do with my picks? Not too well—and that’s just fine with me. The final scorecard shows I got two picks (Piven and “The Office”), two of my wild cards won (Mullally and Alda) and—most importantly—two of my Want to Wins (the ones I wanted most) walked away with trophies.

All in all, it was a pretty great night and I’m so glad all of you were here to share it with me!

If you’d like to relive the magic, you can catch an encore of the ceremony tonight on Bravo beginning at 9.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Wrap-Up

Well, that was it.

Thanks to everyone who dropped in tonight. I apologize for taking so long to get some of your comments up but for some reason my e-mail notification wasn't working.

I don't think I have to tell any of you just how unbelievably excited I am right now. If I knew me doing this was what it was going to take for Kiefer to win, I'd have done it years ago.

Yes, the nominations were shocking and controversial; but in the end most of the people who should've won (with the huge exception of Gregory Itzin) won. Congratulations to them all!

I'll have a complete wrap-up in the morning, but right now I need to go watch my tape so I can properly cry at Kiefer's speech...

Henderson, out!

Drama Series

Last year they did the comedy series last because of "Desperate Housewives," but this year it's back to normal. I honestly have no idea what's going to happen now...

Annette Bening is presenting...

And the winner is...YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's "24"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE THE EMMYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow Carlos Bernard looks hot in that tux!

Nice that they recognize Kiefer is the heart of the show...Kim Raver looks kind of uncomfortable...but she looks nice...

And Conan says goodbye...

Comedy Series

Conan is presenting Comedy Series with Bob Newhart, who is out of the airtight container...

Conan says the majority of callers wanted Bob to live and six percent had no opinion...

And the winner is..."The Office"...I got one more! I thought their chances might have been hurt by Steve Carell's loss...

I need a minute...

Okay. I need a minute.

Wow! How awesome was that? His speech was heartfelt and didn't you love seeing the tears in his father's eyes?

Now, I know that I don't know Kiefer personally, but that doesn't stop me from being so happy for him I can't see straight.

Now maybe FINALLY the critics will give credit where credit is due.

AND this significantly increases the chances of "24" to win one as well.

And now I'm waiting for my neighbors to knock on my door and tell me to stop screaming...

Actor in a Drama

Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen presenting Actor...

And the winner is...YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He won! He won! He won! He won! My hands are shaking!!!!!

Kiefer Sutherland won the Emmy!!!!!!!!

Take that all of you who thought the Emmys were messed up this year!

Actress in a Comedy

Okay, let me just be honest and say that it's a little hard for me to type this one because my hands are starting to shake. Yes, I know I said Kiefer wasn't going to win, but since there have been some surprises thus far...

However, it's obvious that Mariska won based on episode choice, so if that's the basis, then Kiefer will lose. BUT when the nominees were announced she got the biggest ovation which means she also has the respect of her peers, which I know Kiefer has, so...

Okay, enough analyzing...

Tyra Banks and Victor Garber presenting...Lead Actress in a Comedy...Oops...

And the winner is...Julia Louis-Dreyfus! I got another one! Why is she so surprised? I'm not!

She says, "Curse this, baby"...Nice!

Lead Actress in a Drama

Callista Flockhart and Craig Ferguson presenting Lead Actress in a Drama...

And the winner is...Mariska Hargitay!!! That's a surprise...

AND it could mean a surprise in the actor category. If she wins, couldn't Christopher Meloni?

Things just got interesting...

Actress in a Mini-Series/Movie

Felicity Huffman and Kiefer Sutherland (slight pause to clean up the drool) presenting Lead Actress in a Mini-Series/Movie...

Finally, they find him an actress shorter than him!! But couldn't his PR woman have told him to straighten his tie?...

And the winner is...Helen Mirren for "Elizabeth I"...No surprise there...

Gonna Fly Now...

It's 10:30 and we've still got both drama lead acting categories, the comedy actress category and both series categories.

We are going to fly now.

In Memoriam

Now it's time for the annual video saluting those we lost in the previous year. Strangely no one introduced it. I guess we're saving time...


Edie Falco and James Gandolfini say they're thinking of our troops...

Now presenting Outstanding Mini-Series...

And the winner is..."Elizabeth I"...No surprise, since it's won so much else...

The lack of voice-over is a little ominous. Don't know why they stopped that...

Writing, Movie/Mini-Series

Now Katharine and Omar present for Writing for a Movie/Mini-Series...

And the winner is...Richard Curtis for "The Girl in the Cafe"...He's not there...

Directing for Movie/Mini-Series

Omar Epps and Katharine Heigl presenting for Directing for a Movie/Mini-Series/Dramatic Special...

And the winner is...

How is "High School Musical" a drama special?

Tom Hoover for "Elizabeth I"

Let's Recap for a Minute

So far, Emmy has been all about repeat winners...

This bodes well for Allison Janney and "The West Wing," but I'm not sure what it does for Martin Sheen...

Outstanding Reality/Competition Show

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert presenting Outstanding Reality/Competition Show...

Yes Harrison Ford is there with Callista Flockhart...

They're really funny together...Colbert is upset he lost to Barry Manilow...Says he could've lost to Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) because he's got claws for hands...

And the winner is..."The Amazing Race"...NO WAY!...That's an upset because everyone thought it couldn't win because of the family edition...obviously Emmy loves those fascinating locales...This is FOUR times in a row!

Where is Phil...Oh, there he is...Looking hot as usual...

Speaking of hot, what award is Kiefer presenting anyway?

TV Movie

James Woods and Eva Longoria presenting TV Movie...

Eva looks cute, why didn't she get any attention on the red carpet? Wow! The "Housewives" really fell out of favor this year...

And the winner is..."The Girl in the Cafe"...No surprise there since it won for Actress...

Aaron Spelling Tribute

Candice Bergen--in a hideous aqua skirt and white blouse that makes her look huge--introduces the president of the TV Academy...

He begins the salute to Aaron Spelling...He introduces Joan Collins, Stephen Collins and Heather Locklear...

Candy and Randy Spelling are in the audience, but Tori is not with them...

Heather looks great...Wonder if she and Charlie Sheen had an interesting chat?...

Tori is in the audience with her husband, but she is not sitting with the rest of her family...

Joan Collins is SUCH a drama queen...

The video...Aaron appeared in an episode of "Gunsmoke"...Wow he did a lot of stuff!

It looks like they nixed the tribute to TV's new golden age that I criticized earlier...good move...

The video dissolves and the original "Charlie's Angels" appear...Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith...Farrah looks totally uncomfortable...

We see Geena Davis for the first time tonight...

Is Kate Jackson going to let anyone else talk?

Candy breaks down...

Finally Farrah gets to talk...and she breaks down...So if she was so grateful to him, why did she leave the show after one season?...Jaclyn looks great!...That was really sweet...

Nice work!

Lead Actor in a Comedy

Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford presenting Lead Actor in a Comedy...

Wow, they're giving this one kind of early. It's only 9:45...

And the winner is...Tony Shalhoub...That's an upset, but it does go back to the whole nostalgia thing since he has won three now!

This could hurt the chances of "The Office" for comedy...

Actor in a Movie/Mini-Series

Conan does a bit about TiVo...

Hugh Laurie and Helen Mirren presenting Lead Actor in a Movie/Mini-series...

Hugh Laurie does a French translation of Helen's words...He's really funny...Why don't I watch "House"?

And the winner is...Andre Braugher for "Thief"...Wonder why I didn't watch that? He's awesome!

Writing for Comedy/Music/Variety Series

Now Megan and Howie present writing for Comedy/Music/Variety Series...

The shows try to outdo each other with their nominee videos...

And the winner is...the team from "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"...again, no surprise. Emmy loves this show...

Jon Stewart announces that he's decided to kill Bob Newhart...

Steve Colbert was listed as a member of the team, but he didn't go on the stage. Stewart gives him a shoutout...

Directing for Comedy/Music/Variety Program

Megan Mullally and Howie Mandel presenting Directing for Comedy/Music/Variety Program...

And the winner is...

First, Howie makes Megan choose a case a la "Deal or No Deal"...

Louis J. Horowitz for the "Academy Awards" and they go to the truck for his speech because he is directing the Emmys...

Supporting Actor in a Mini-Series/Movie

Mariska Hargitay and Tom Selleck (?) present Supporting Actor in a Mini-Series/Movie...

And the winner is...Jeremy Irons for "Elizabeth I" and he's actually there! Good for him!

Let Me Backtrack for a Minute...

Okay, so let me backtrack for a minute...

When Kiefer Sutherland won his second SAG award this year, he gave it to Jon Cassar. Cassar promised that if he won an Emmy, he would give Kiefer back the SAG...

Speaking of Kiefer, every time they've shown him tonight, it's been a tight shot, which tells me he's not with anyone recognizable or they'd be showing the crap out of her...

I'm sorry! I like to know these things!

By the way, if I'm not mistaken, the episode Jon Cassar just won for is the one Kiefer submitted...Hmmm...

I'm happy for the first time tonight!!!

Writing for a Drama

Now Evangeline and Wentworth present Writing for a Drama...

And the winner is...Terrence Winter for "The Sopranos"...


Directing for a Drama

Conan introduces the accounting team like they're a sports team--complete with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar...

Evangeline Lilly and Wentworth Miller (YIKES!) introduce the winners of the Guest in a Drama Emmys...Man does he look hot!!!

Christian Clemenson comes out alone. Patricia Clarkson was unable to attend...

Presenting Directing for a Drama....

And the winner is...JON CASSAR!!!!...My first screaming of the night...He gives Kiefer a big hug...

Now Kiefer gets his SAG back that he gave him.

Individual Performance in Comedy/Music/Variety Series

Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan present Individual Performance in a Comedy/Music/Variety Program...

And the winner is...Barry Manilow for his PBS music special "Music and Passion"...He comes from backstage to accept...

He says the Emmy is going into the operating room with him tomorrow morning for good luck...Huh?...What surgery is he having?

Dick Clark tribute

Simon Cowell kicks it off...Can I just say that he looks hot tonight?...And he's wearing glasses!

It's a good clip montage, but now it's going to get sappy.

Dick Clark appears and he, of course, gets a standing ovation...

Harrison Ford is in the audience. I presume he's with Calista Flockhart...

He does a great job with his speech...

He introduces Barry Manilow to do the "American Bandstand" theme. Hey Barry, you may want to tone down the eyeliner a little...

Directing & Writing for a Comedy

Jennifer Love-Hewitt and Ron Livingston introduce the winners of Guest Actor and Actress in a Comedy: Leslie Jordan and Cloris Leachman...They announce Cloris' record...

They present Directing for a Comedy...

And the winner is...Marc Buckland for "My Name Is Earl"...Apparently the audio went out because there was no voiceover from the voice guy...

Writing for a Comedy...

If "Arrested" won this, it could be a good sign...

And the winner is...Greg Garcia for "My Name Is Earl"

So, let me get this straight. You win for directing and writing, but you don't even get nominated for Outstanding Comedy?

Garcia gives a funny speech where he names all of the people he doesn't want to thank...

Variety/Music/Comedy Series

Conan introduces the Telemundo camera...Bob Newhart is horrified...

Heidi Klum, John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor--yes you saw that correctly--present Variety/Music/Comedy Series. Not sure what that's about...

The nominees are shown on an iPod in the audience.

I'm really rooting for Conan for this one...

And the winner is "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"...No big surprise...

They show a clip as he walks up there and they have to cut it off. Yeah, that worked really well...

Just a reminder...

Just a reminder that you can post comments throughout the night. I'll get to them just as soon as I can.

Supporting Actress in a Movie/Mini-Series

Christopher Meloni does a mock acceptance speech on a segueway...

Dennis Haysbert and William Peterson present Supporting Actress in a Movie or Mini-Series...

They brought back the clips. I guess they think these nominees are bigger stars...

And the winner is...Kelly MacDonald for "The Girl in the Cafe"...No, I don't know who she is either...I'm just glad that Ellen Burstyn didn't win. There may have been a riot...

Rushing for Time...

They didn't waste any time cutting out the clips from the nominees this year. I love Conan, but we couldn't have cut out that song and dance number?

Everything just seems so rushed...

Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Jason Lee and Jaime Pressley present Supporting Actor in a Comedy...

And the winner is...Jeremy Piven...YES!!!...I just saw his submitted episode for "Entourage" and it was truly awesome...

And he gives a great short speech with a touching tribute to his father that makes him break down...

And I get my first one right of the evening...

Supporting Actress in a Drama

Conan brings Bob Newhart out in an airtight container saying that he will die if the Emmys run over...

Charlie and Martin Sheen completely cut off Conan's introduction of them. They're presenting Supporting Actress in a Drama...This one will tell us how the wind is blowing for "Grey's Anatomy"...

Boy were those jokes awkward...They've already stopped shwing clips...

And the winner is Blythe Danner?! What?! That's for "Huff," in case you're wondering...

I think this looks bad for "Grey's" and "24." I think NBC needs to start planning a special "West Wing" airing to brag about their wins, because they're going to get a few...

Supporting Actor in a Drama

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Sean Hayes present Supporting Actor in a Drama. I'm so nervous I can't type!!!

And the winner is...Alan Alda...who doesn't even bother to show up.

It's obvious that nostalgia is going to weigh VERY heavily tonight. If you can still call Vegas, I'd put big money on "The West Wing."

And no, I'm not very happy about that one.

Finally Some Awards...

Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey from "Grey's Anatomy" are presenting Supporting Actress in a Comedy...

And the winner is...Megan Mullally. And the nostalgia begins...

Says thank you on behalf of "Will & Grace" and the music begins. Wow, they're going to be strict tonight!

Conan's opening remarks...

Conan takes his first jab at NBC saying the Emmys will be cancelled halfway through...Mel Gibson joke...Takes on Ellen Burstyn by turning it into a sex joke. Nice. Burstyn is not shown. I'm betting she's not there...

Charlie Sheen joke. At least he didn't touch on the Denise thing...

Gift basket joke. You knew that was coming...

Why is Heather Locklear sitting with Jason Lee?...

Looks like we'll get A LOT more Kiefer shots this year. Thank goodness...

Now, Conan is taking on NBC with a song? What? Did NBC know about this? "We got trouble here at NBC"...Okay, I think we're done with this...

Here We Go...

We open directly with a Conan video...His plane crashes a la "Lost"...He makes a hair dryer out of sticks...He meets up with Hurley...He tells Conan they weren't invited to the Emmys...Conan goes through the hatch and into the office from "The Office"...He calls Chloe from "24"...Jack breaks in to the phone call...Jack makes him hang up...He ends up in the office with Dr. House...House completely insults him...Conan ends up on "South Park," where he won't come out of the closet...Tom Cruise is in there too...Conan ends up in the "Dateline: To Catch a Predator" kitchen...Conan runs out and makes it to the Emmy stage...

Hilarious...Loved how he handled the "Lost" snubbed situation...

And there is a woman sitting next to Kiefer...

Making It Work...

All in all, NBC's red carpet show was pretty sad. However, I give them major kudos for inviting the fabulous Tim Gunn to critique the dresses. And I am SO glad he criticized Sandra Oh for all that jewelry...

Something to look for...

During the red carpet coverage, it was revealed that the Aaron Spelling tribute is on and Joan Collins will take part. But what that means for the Spelling family feud, I have no idea.

The Red Carpet

Welcome to the 2006 Emmy Awards!

First of all, let me say that I hate red carpet shows, but there are some celebrities I really wanted to see—okay, one celebrity I really wanted to see—and finally at the 7:30 mark he appeared in a PATHETICALLY short interview on NBC (Thanks a lot, Nancy.). The segment was so short we didn’t even get to see if he had a date, so if anyone noticed if he was with someone, please post a comment.

That’s Kiefer Sutherland I’m talking about, in case you had to ask.

It appears that the biggest accessory for women this year is, well, let’s just say, the upper body if you know what I mean. In fact, I think that Morgan Fairchild actually forgot some of her dress.

I have a feeling that tonight is going to be very interesting for all of us. I will warn you that we’ve already weathered one storm here, so keep your fingers crossed that there will be no power outages.

Much more to come, so settle in with me…

Happy Emmy Sunday!

I thought that as the Emmy Awards got closer, the controversy would die down and people would concentrate on the actual nominees.

But apparently that’s not going to happen, which forces me to talk about it myself—which I really didn’t want to do.

So here goes…

I am SO sick of hearing how “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” got snubbed by the Emmys. If you’re a fan of either, I’m sorry your show didn’t get nominated; but it’s time to acknowledge the people who did. By constantly mentioning those who weren’t nominated, it makes those who were look like chopped liver.

I know that “Lost” won last year, but this year, they submitted the wrong episode. As for “Housewives,” how can a show with an accused murderer shackled in a basement be considered a comedy? The show was just too dark this season. And show creator Marc Cherry is known to give lousy advice about what episodes to submit. The only reason Felicity Huffman won last year was because Marcia Cross submitted Huffman’s best episode.

Now I know what you guys are thinking. I would feel differently if “24” had not received so many nominations. But as you may recall, I actually thought Kiefer Sutherland would not get nominated because of the new voting system. I recognized there would be omissions, why didn’t anyone else?

Apparently ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson (who is SO on my list) was so miffed at the “snubs” he scheduled “Pirates of the Caribbean” to run opposite the awards telecast. As Emmy host Conan O’Brien said, that doesn’t say much about what ABC thinks of “Grey’s Anatomy,” which has 11 nominations (McPherson denies this was the reason for the scheduling.).

Now there’s talk of revamping the voting system again to avoid these “errors” in the future. Personally, I think the Emmys should give this system one more year with only small adjustments. In my opinion, the new system has given us the most interesting slate in years and so it deserves another try.

Unfortunately, though, the “snubs” are not the only controversy this year. Ellen Burstyn received a Supporting Actress in a TV Movie nod for “Mrs. Harris,” in which she appeared for all of 14 SECONDS! Critics are using that nod as more evidence the system should be revamped. There’s just one problem. The new system was not used for Burstyn’s category. Her nomination was awarded on name recognition only—exactly what the new system was created to prevent.

Just like any other awards, the Emmys have their problems. But I don’t think they should be completely overhauled because a few people didn’t get nominations.

Remember that I’ll be back at 7:45 p.m. to start blogging the ceremony. So come back and join me. You’ll need to refresh the page to see my new posts. I’ll be updating at least every 15 minutes and quicker when I can.

Stay tuned…

Friday, August 25, 2006

One More Emmy Prediction

When I made my Emmy predictions Thursday, I forgot one of the major categories...

Reality-Competition Program
"The Amazing Race"
"American Idol"
"Dancing With the Stars"
"Project Runway"

My Pick: "American Idol." Most critics agree that this is the year Emmy finally acknowledges this phenomenon. "Race" is the two-time defending champ, but it probably killed its chances with the Family Edition.
Wild Card: "Project Runway." It's the coolest (and best) reality show on TV. Emmy may want to acknowledge that.
Want to Win: No offense to "Idol," but I'd love to see Bravo win an Emmy, so I'm rooting for "Runway."

I don't predict any of the movie categories because I don't know anything about them, but of course I'm rooting for Donald Sutherland in the Actor category. And in the technical categories it's all about Jon Cassar winning for directing "24."

We're getting closer now!!!

Friday Free-For-All: August 25, 2006


I thought I would take this opportunity to apologize to those of you who took my advice and watched “High School Musical” last night. I knew that they would use it to advertise “Cheetah Girls 2,” but I had no idea they’d put that stupid countdown clock in the corner of the screen all night. I think we could remember when it airs without seeing how many minutes and seconds away it is! I also didn’t know it would be the sing-along version. But I guess when you’ve shown a movie over a dozen times, they figure you’re able to sing along by now.

So, what’s on your mind today?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The "Teen Choice" Train Wreck

In my previous post, I talked about some of the completely unnecessary special segments we can expect during the Emmy Awards telecast.

But I have to believe that no matter what dumb stuff the Emmys do this year, there is no way they could ever sink to the level of the train wreck that aired Sunday known as the “Teen Choice Awards.”

I was actually on my computer updating this blog with the WGN re-run of “24” playing in the other room when a friend of mine called me to ask if I was watching them. Apparently, Nelly Furtado (after performing “Promiscuous”) had just told the audience to be sure to wear a condom if they were promiscuous. This statement came while three girls in bikinis played around in a hot tub at the front of the stage.

But it got worse. As my friend and I kept watching, we saw Dane Cook grope a mannequin he said was modeled after Jessica Alba (FOX quickly cut away.) and then listened to him tell a girl modeling sponsor JCPenney’s clothes that she would be pregnant by the end of the night. Headliner Kevin Federline’s “performance” was so obscene, most of it was dead silence as the network was forced to censor him (We were probably better off.).

Yes, you read it correctly. These were the “Teen Choice Awards.” And this was FOX, not MTV.

I don’t know which was worse—that 14-year-olds were subjected to this or that FOX was actually airing it. FOX, the home of this year’s most Emmy-nominated series!!!

FOX has always been the maverick of the four networks (which is one of the reasons I love it), but I think this, as Michael Kors would say, “definitely stepped over the boundary of taste.” Let’s hope they find their way back next year before its their turn to host the Emmys.

The Emmys: Just hand out the awards, would ya?!

As far as awards show go, the Emmys are not one of your most memorable.

That is, unless they do something ridiculous like last year’s “Emmy Idol.” In my opinion, the Emmy telecast itself has not been entertaining since the last time NBC broadcast the awards in 2002 when Conan O’Brien was the host.

So then you’ll understand when I say I’m cautiously optimistic that this year’s telecast will be a good one since it’s back on NBC with Conan as the host—albeit a little earlier than usual thanks to the NFL.

So what does Conan have planned for us? Reports are that he taped a segment with Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub on the set of “24” and a segment with an actor from one of the “snubbed” shows. I like the sound of that already; but, of course, there are some additional things planned that will no doubt mess things up. Here’s what we’ll see according to “USA Today”:

A musical tribute to Dick Clark, hosted by Simon Cowell and featuring Barry Manilow singing the “American Bandstand” theme. Clark will also appear.
A tribute to the new TV “golden age.” Candice Bergen will host the two-and-a-half minute segment spotlighting 75 current cable and broadcast shows.
An acknowledgement of technology by showing the nominees for one category on cellphones and iPods held by members of the audience.

“USA Today” did not mention the previously announced tribute to Aaron Spelling, so I don’t know if it’s still planned or if it was scrapped due to the Tori-Candy feud.

None of these things are as stupid as “Emmy Idol,” but I’m not sure they’re all that necessary either. I agree that Dick Clark deserves to be saluted, but the timing seems a little off to me and a musical tribute just sounds corny. As for the “golden age” segment, I could’ve sworn the whole three-hour telecast was meant to acknowledge what’s good about TV. I wonder if this is the producers’ way of appeasing people from the “snubbed” shows. As for the technology bit, why can’t they just hand out the awards!

One of the things I hate most about the Emmys is that they take so long with the stupid “entertaining” stuff, that by the time they get to the final categories, they stop showing clips from the nominees. Since I don’t watch all of the shows, it would be nice to see the actors’ work; but I guess it’s more important to see the cast of “Will & Grace” pretend to be singers and dancers on “Bandstand” (I don’t actually know that’s going to happen, I’m just speculating.).

The Emmys (and every other awards show, for that matter) should take their cues from the Golden Globes. No host, no comedy monologues. Just awards and genuinely heartfelt and funny acceptance speeches with real spontaneous moments.

Not that I don’t love Conan hanging out on the set of “24,” because I do. I just don’t want to have to see Donald Trump singing in overalls again.

The Emmy Awards air this Sunday at 8 p.m. on NBC.

"Super Hero": A "Major" Disappointment?

So last week, the cute and endearing reality show known as “Who Wants to Be a Super Hero?” came very close to seriously ticking me off as my favorite, Major Victory, was nearly eliminated—twice.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if Stan Lee had given an actual excuse for putting him on the chopping block. But instead, he told him he had a problem keeping his clothes on when he took his cape off so two elderly women could walk on it and again to connect with a felon during a challenge. “Would Superman take off his cape?” Stan asked.

Well, I don’t know about Superman, but Batman did it all the time if he needed it as a weapon. Personally, I think Stan was just trying to create some more tension (I know it got me.) before he eliminated the people who actually deserved it—Creature and Lemuria.

The challenges were clever this week as well as The Dark Enforcer interviewed the heroes’ family and friends to get dirt on each of them—which eliminated Creature when she was caught lying (not to mention that she had jaywalked earlier in the show)—and then the four remaining heroes had to perform secret tasks while talking to a convicted felon. Lemuria was eliminated when she failed to perform her secret task of sitting on the female felon’s lap. I kept waiting for the twist on that one, but apparently performance of the tasks (including rubbing shoulders, giving hugs and brushing hair out of the eyes) was what Stan was looking for. I’m willing to bet money that the felons were actors, but Stan never confessed.

With the final three standing alone—Feedback, Major Victory and Fat Momma—they each told Stan how much the experience has meant to them. Feedback got especially choked up as he told Stan, “You’re like a father to me,” since he used Stan’s comic books to help him deal with the death of his father.

At the end of tonight’s episode, there will be only two heroes remaining. The previews show even Stan getting choked up by the elimination. That makes me think it might be Feedback; but since I’m not having very good luck this week (Robert, what were you thinking!), I have a bad feeling I’m going to be in for a Major disappointment.

“Who Wants to Be a Super Hero?” airs tonight (Thursday) at 9 p.m. on the SciFi Channel.

The phenomenon known as "High School Musical"

There are certain words that we use so much they lose their meaning. Phenomenon is one of those.

But there is truly no other word to describe the juggernaut known as Disney’s “High School Musical.”

If you’re one of the few people on the planet who haven’t seen the tale of the jock guy and the smart girl “Breaking Free” to audition for their high school musical, then you have another shot tonight on the Disney Channel. Tonight’s airing will be used to promote the premiere of “Cheetah Girls 2,” the sequel to the 2003 Disney Channel smash.

So how big is “HSM”? According to a NINE-PAGE article in the July 24th issue of “Newsweek” (which should be one indication), in the 12 times the movie aired between January and April, 36.5 million UNIQUE viewers tuned in (That’s not counting people who watched it more than once!). On the day of its release, the DVD sold 400,000 copies (Yes, I have one.) and the soundtrack is the top selling CD of the year (Yes, I have one of those too.). You can buy “HSM” t-shirts, bags and buttons through Limited Too and starting this fall, you’ll be able to buy even more merchandise at stores like Macy’s and Kohl’s.

And don’t be surprised to see “HSM” coming to a local high school near you this year. According to “Newsweek,” when Disney posted word of the coming theatrical licenses, the web site was flooded with 15,000 inquiries on the FIRST DAY! The first printing of sheet music for the movie sold out and is currently selling at a rate of 8000 folios per month!

And don’t expect the hoopla to die down anytime soon as the Disney machine continues to carefully map out the stars’ careers, much like the old studio system in 1940s. Lucas Grabeel (Ryan) and Corbin Bleu (Chad) are already working on new Disney Channel movies, Monique Coleman (Taylor) will compete on “Dancing With the Stars” this fall, Ashley Tisdale (Sharpay) is one of the stars of the Disney hit show, “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” and has a recording contract with Warner Bros., Zac Efron (Troy) will next play Link in the film version of “Hairspray” and Vanessa Anne Hudgens (Gabriella) is working on a music career and will debut her new video during Friday’s airing of “Cheetah Girls 2.”

Plus, they’ll all be back for the sequel next summer, where the action will shift to a country club owned by Sharpay’s grandfather. And, of course, the club will stage a musical so the competition between Troy and Gabriella and Ryan and Sharpay can begin anew. Early word is that Ryan may turn on his sister this time around.

If not for the premiere of “Prison Break,” I would’ve made this my pick of the week. Yes, the movie is aimed at 9-14 year olds, but it’s endearing enough to attract adults too. And the choreography is so good (by the Emmy-winning Kenny Ortega of “Dirty Dancing” fame), and the songs so catchy (especially the basketball-themed “Get Your Head in the Game”), you’ll want to join right in.

For you parents who are worried the movie may too be adult for your child, don’t. Though the movie is primarily a love story, Troy and Gabriella don’t even kiss. Ryan and Sharpay do sing a song about “shaking their booty,” but it’s all innocent fun; and they look ridiculous anyway.

“High School Musical” airs tonight (Thursday) at 8 on the Disney Channel.

My Emmy Predictions

Wow! Is it Thursday already? Where did this week go?

I had intended to have this posted by last night, but I ended up going out. And then I had to watch “Project Runway.” And if you saw that last night, then you know I was too upset to do anything else.

But I’ll have more on that later. This post is all about my predictions for the Emmys.

Since most of you have never seen my predictions before, here’s how I do it. I pick who I think will win, a Wild Card (i.e. the spoiler who could upset my pick) and then who I want to win.

My big achievement last year was correctly predicting that Felicity Huffman would win for best actress in a comedy, when everyone thought it would go to Teri Hatcher.

So after scouring over all of the critic’s opinions and episode submissions here are my predictions for the major categories Sunday night…

Actor, Comedy Series
Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Kevin James, “The King of Queens”
Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”
Steve Carell, “The Office”
Charlie Sheen, “Two and a Half Men”

My Pick: Steve Carell. In my opinion, this is one of the few sure things this year.
Wild Card: Charlie Sheen. He’s gaining momentum in a more traditional sitcom.
Want to Win: Sheen. I’m a big fan. Plus, the last time he won an award, Kiefer won too (Golden Globes)!

Actress, Comedy Series:
Lisa Kudrow, “The Comeback”
Jane Kaczmarek, “Malcolm in the Middle”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “The New Adventures of Old Christine”
Stockard Channing, “Out of Practice”
Debra Messing, “Will & Grace”

My Pick: In probably the weirdest category this year, I’m going with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who will be honored for finally breaking the “Seinfeld” curse.
Wild Card: In this one, they’re pretty much all wild cards but I’m going with Lisa Kudrow who is a past winner that is getting A LOT of buzz for this one.
Want to Win: Jane Kaczmarek. This is her last chance so she deserves it. Plus, she really wants to win because she got the writers to write her an Emmy bait episode.

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series:
Will Arnett, “Arrested Development”
Jeremy Piven, “Entourage”
Bryan Cranston, “Malcolm in the Middle”
Jon Cryer, “Two and a Half Men”
Sean Hayes, “Will & Grace”

My Pick: Jeremy Piven. He was upset last year, but he’ll take it this year.
Wild Card: Sean Hayes. Nostalgia always weighs heavy at the Emmys.
Want to Win: Will Arnett. He was the funniest thing about the funniest show on TV.

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Cheryl Hines, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Alfre Woodard, “Desperate Housewives”
Jaime Pressly, “My Name Is Earl”
Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds”
Megan Mullally, “Will & Grace”

My Pick: Jaime Pressly. I’m going with her because she’s the most deserving and I’m going to have a little faith in the panels this year.
Wild Card: Megan Mullally. There’s that nostalgia thing again. Plus, she had some genuinely funny episodes.
Want to Win: Even though she played the character that brought the show to a grinding halt, the evil part of me would like to see Alfre Woodard win just for fun.

Comedy Series
“Arrested Development”
“Curb Your Enthusiasm”
“The Office”
“Two and a Half Men”

My Pick: “The Office.” It’s getting the most buzz from critics and anything with Steve Carell is really hot right now.
Wild Card: “Arrested Development.” The fact that it was even nominated shows that there are still people out there who want to honor it. But are there enough?
Want to Win: “Arrested,” of course. However, I would be okay with “Scrubs” just because it would be funny to see NBC scramble to honor a show they didn’t even bother to put on their fall schedule.

Actor, Drama Series:
Denis Leary, “Rescue Me”
Peter Krause, “Six Feet Under”
Kiefer Sutherland, “24”
Martin Sheen, “The West Wing”
Christopher Meloni, “Law & Order: SVU”

My Pick: Martin Sheen. It hurts to even type his name, because without James Gandolfini or James Spader, it should have been Kiefer’s year. But I feel nostalgia weighing very heavy here and Kiefer picked the wrong episode.
Wild Card: Denis Leary. Leary is a comedian handling meaty dramatic stuff (In his episode, his character deals with his son dying.) and Emmy loves that.
Want to Win: Do I even have to tell you? I’m still disappointed that Kiefer submitted the season premiere, but maybe he knew it wasn’t going to matter. However, if some of the same voters choose Actor and Supporting Actor (which is possible), then his chances will greatly improve. If he does win, it will be because of the respect he has earned from the acting community—not his episode.

Actress, Drama
Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”
Geena Davis, “Commander In Chief”
Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order: SVU”
Frances Conroy, “Six Feet Under”
Allison Janney, “The West Wing”

My Pick: Kyra Sedgwick. She’s got the buzz and the respect.
Wild Card: Allison Janney. There’s that nostalgia thing again. And she’s won for lesser work.
Want to Win: No offense to Kyra Sedgwick—because I really like her—but I would love for Geena Davis to win and then tell off ABC in her acceptance speech.

Supporting Actor, Drama
William Shatner, “Boston Legal”
Oliver Platt, “Huff”
Michael Imperioli, “The Sopranos”
Gregory Itzin, “24”
Alan Alda, “The West Wing”

My Pick: Gregory Itzin. I hesitate to pick him because I don’t want to jinx his chances, and I’m a little afraid that he’s such a favorite; but he’s a respected character actor in the role of his career and I think Emmy will acknowledge that. I think one of his episode choices may have been the wrong one, but it’s still good enough to get him the win.
Wild Card: Alan Alda. A former winner with the nostalgia factor and actual talent? That’s pretty hard to beat. However, Alda did not submit the debate episode and I think that will cost him.
Want to Win: Itzin, even though I think it’s wrong that someone other than Kiefer will win “24”s first acting Emmy.

Supporting Actress, Drama
Candice Bergen, “Boston Legal”
Sandra Oh, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Blythe Danner, “Huff”
Jean Smart, “24”

My Pick: Jean Smart. Her chances are not as strong as Itzin’s, but they’re still pretty good. However, I think she may have made a mistake by not submitting one of the early “Martha’s crazy” episodes.
Wild Card: Sandra Oh. “Grey’s” is red-hot right now and Oh submitted an episode with an emotional breakdown.
Want to Win: Smart, of course.

Drama Series
“Grey’s Anatomy”
“The Sopranos”
“The West Wing”

My Pick: “The West Wing.” This really should be the year of “24,” but I think nostalgia is going to win out. Plus, any voter who sees the “Election Day, Part 2” episode of “Wing” (but not all of them will) cannot possibly vote against it.
Wild Card: “Grey’s Anatomy.” The only thing that can beat nostalgia is red-hot buzz. Plus, they rolled out the big guns for their submission tapes with the post-Super Bowl episode and the finale.
Want to Win: “24.” But since it carries the curse of being the most nominated series, it doesn’t stand a chance.

So who do you think is going to win? Let me know your thoughts.

Don’t forget that I am scheduled to start blogging Sunday night at 7:45, so be sure to join me!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Question of the Week: TV Theme Songs

I had a lot of fun last week reading your all-time favorite shows, so I thought I would stick with that same line of thought.

So here’s the Question of the Week: What’s your all-time favorite TV theme song?

I ask this question without even knowing my own answer. I am a HUGE fan of Mike Post (“The Rockford Files,” “The A-Team,” “Law & Order” and hundreds more) so it would have to be something by him. I would probably go with “Murder One,” but I always loved the theme to “Doogie Howser, M.D.” and the last version of the “Hunter” theme.

If I had to pick a theme with lyrics, I would definitely go with “Full House.”

So what theme song do you sing (or hum) around your house (Come on, you know you do.)?

And no show is too obscure. You’re talking to someone who still knows all the words to the theme to “The Hogan Family.”

“Life is such a sweet insanity…”

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"First On FOX"

Though the official start of the fall TV season is not until September 18th (Happy Birthday to me!), FOX really got things started last night with the return of “Prison Break” and the premiere of “Vanished.”

I was a little surprised at some of the negative reviews “Prison Break” got from some TV critics—especially since the episode was better than anything they did last season (which was generally reviewed favorably). I guess all of the totally unbelievable plot twists to postpone the breakout (like part of Michael’s tattoo getting burned off in the tunnels) finally got the best of some people.

That’s why I really liked last night’s episode because it gave us “Break” fans the promise of something different.

Obviously there’s some concern that every week will be the same old “the FBI’s just around the corner” scenario, but I think the escapees going their separate ways will help diversify the story (especially when you see what they’ve got in store for Tweener).

I’m so glad the show decided not to kill off Sarah. I loved Michael leaving Sarah the origami swan (his calling card) with a message promising to make things right, opening the possibility of an actual romantic moment between the two. The chemistry between Wentworth Miller and Sarah Wayne Callies is nothing short of sizzling and the eventual reckoning between them will definitely be worth waiting for. When I watched the episode again last night, I noticed the dots underneath his words. My guess is that he’s left Sarah a coded message.

One couple that will not be reunited is Lincoln and Veronica (I promised you a shocker in the last five minutes.). I’ve never liked her, but watching Lincoln break down after hearing her death over the phone (You have to admit that was clever.), I almost shed a tear myself. I should have seen it coming because the rough cut of the premiere I saw did not have Robin Tunney in the opening credits (I went back and checked.). Apparently someone realized that and corrected the error for last night’s airing.

Veronica’s death does two things. Number one, it gives Lincoln no one on the outside (i.e. a non-felon) to help clear his innocence. Number two, it helps put aside the show’s worst storyline—the conspiracy to frame Lincoln. Whenever Veronica was on screen last season, the show ground to a halt. Her story made absolutely no sense most of the time and Tunney’s hushed attempt at a dramatic voice didn’t help any. “Break” has always been compared to “24,” so it’s nice to see the show use a “24” trademark (killing major characters) in such a good way.

I wouldn’t say that the conspiracy theory is over just yet, though, because I have a feeling that Agent Mahone is somehow involved with The Company. And what was up with that pill he was popping in the cemetery? You know that Michael’s all over that one.

Plus, I’ve got to believe that one of those government agents would check to see who Veronica was talking to on the phone.
Next week’s previews show Lincoln and Michael trying to break Lincoln’s son, L.J., out of Mahone’s custody. See what I mean about a whole new show?

As for “Vanished,” you’ll notice that I was pretty vague in my preview because I didn’t want to give anything away. It’s unfortunate that FOX did not follow my lead.

Every major clue that was uncovered in last night’s premiere was given away in a promo—especially the ones that aired during “Break”—except for the identity of the frozen body (although we did see the body in the previews and see the prayer card that was with it). Just by watching the promos you know that Sara Collins had disappeared before and she was pregnant, even though she had been told that wasn’t possible. And based on that, you knew it was only a matter of time before someone recognized her as another person (I was just glad that it was “Pepper Dennis” hottie Josh Hopkins that did.).

Now you know why I don’t watch “24” promos during the season.

The thing that sets “Vanished” apart from NBC’s “Kidnapped” (or at least we think) is the “Da Vinci Code” elements behind Sara Collins’ disappearance. So, FOX wants everyone to know that as soon as possible—even touting the “centuries-old conspiracy” in the promos when nothing like that (other than the prayer card) was introduced in the premiere.

As I said before, I’m going to give “Vanished” another couple of episodes before I draw any other conclusions. But if the mythology gets too complicated, it will vanish from my viewing schedule.

So if you watched either of these, tell me what you think. If you didn’t and I’ve peaked your curiosity, you can catch an encore of “Vanished” tonight (Tuesday) at 9 and an encore of “Prison Break” Wednesday at 9 p.m.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Some early congratulations...

Let’s start out our Emmy week coverage with some congratulations as the Creative Emmys were awarded over the weekend.

Most of these Emmys are for technical categories, but for some reason, the guest acting categories are also included in this one. I’ve never felt that was fair—especially since some of the guest actors are better known than the lead actors.

But nevertheless, congratulations to Leslie Jordan, who played Beverly Leslie on “Will & Grace,” Cloris Leachman, who played Ida on “Malcolm in the Middle,” Patricia Clarkson who played Aunt Sarah on “Six Feet Under” and Christian Clemenson, who played Jerry “Hands” Espenson on “Boston Legal.” Leachman’s win makes her Emmy’s most honored actress, passing Mary Tyler Moore.

I am especially happy with Clemenson’s win. I thought Michael J. Fox was a lock to win, and I would’ve been happy with that, but Clemenson’s performance was actually stronger. It gives me hope that the Emmys might actually know what they’re doing this year.

Also congratulations to “The Simpsons,” which beat out the Tom Cruise episode of “South Park” to take Outstanding Animated Program (less than one hour), and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” for winning Outstanding Reality Program. They’re saving the Reality Competition Program award for the main telecast (which isn’t very fair either).

Congrats to the phenomenon known as “High School Musical,” which took home two awards: Outstanding Children’s Program and Outstanding Choreography.

And BIG congrats to David Latham of “24” for his win for Single Camera Picture Editing for a Drama (I’m hoping this bodes well for Jon Cassar since he directed the same episode.) and the fabulous Sean Callery for winning Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) for the “24” finale. This is his second Emmy for his amazing work on “24.”

If you would like to see the Creative Arts Emmys, E! is showcasing them in a two-hour special Saturday, August 26th at 8 p.m.

You're Invited...

As you know if you read this blog on a regular basis, Emmy night is a big night in the Henderson household. I mean, I don’t put on a formal gown or anything, but I get pretty revved up about it.

So, I thought this year I’d invite all of you to join me.

No, I’m not throwing a giant party at my house—my apartment is WAY too small for that. I’m inviting you to join me right here on-line as I blog the Emmys as they happen!

This could very well be the craziest thing I’ve ever done, so I’m still not completely sure how it’s going to work. My plan is to at least update the blog every commercial break, which would be about every 15 minutes. And when I can, I’ll update it after each award.

As always, you’re welcome to join in at any time by posting a comment. I’ll get to it just as soon as I can.

Now remember, this plan is barring any cable or electrical outages (which will force me to go Jack Bauer on somebody) or any problems with Blogger. If during the telecast you don’t hear from me for a while, then you know that either Blogger is down or Kiefer Sutherland has just appeared on screen and I’ve lost all train of thought.

And if the critics are right and Kiefer really does win Best Actor in a Drama, there will be a long pause as I jump around the room.

To get us in the mood, I’ll have plenty of preview stuff this week, including all of the controversies, what we can expect from the show AND, of course, I’ll give you my predictions on Thursday so you’ll still have plenty of time to place your bets in Vegas (or at least the office pool).

The Emmy Awards begin at 8 p.m. this Sunday, August 27th. The red carpet coverage begins at 3 p.m. (!) on both E! and TV Guide Channel, but NBC will have an hour special that should have all the major stars at 7 p.m. I’ll start blogging around 7:45 p.m., so be sure to join me then!

Do I even have to tell you?

Stay tuned…

Sunday, August 20, 2006

"Justice": Fall's First Must-See

The press releases for the new fall shows have given us some interesting descriptions. So, I’m going to try one myself.

If “CSI” and “Law & Order” married, and then went to the dark side, their child would be “Justice.”

And since it’s too early to declare a best new drama, I’ll just tell you that “Justice” is the fall’s first must-see new show.

From the hit-making mind of Jerry Bruckheimer, “Justice” follows the law firm of Trott, Nicholson, Tuller and Graves as we see the inner workings of what it takes to mount a defense. The show adds a special twist as at the end of the show, after the verdict is read, we see what actually happens and whether or not the client is really innocent.

Ron Trott (Victor Garber) is the face of the firm. He uses the media to spin their case and makes sure that all of the little psychological details get taken care of. Trott’s a brilliant attorney, but he’s not a people person. Juries hate him so Tom Nicholson (Kerr Smith), the “All-American face of not guilty,” leads the team in the courtroom. Alden Tuller (Rebecca Mader) handles the forensic evidence and Luther Graves (Eamonn Walker) pulls it all together with strategy and research.

In the premiere, TNT&G defends Kevin O’Neill, who is accused of murdering his wife by beating her in the head with a golf club. The firm’s first task is to deal with the DA turning the high profile case into a media circus (which they do quite cleverly). Then they get down to business as we see them search through the discovery documents and compose their arguments. Next they test those arguments with a focus group to see what kind of jurors they want. Then they try and pick those jurors with the help of a consultant. It all comes together in the courtroom with the help of a shadow jury who give their opinions as the case unfolds.

This case, though, gets tricky as the DA tries to sneak some evidence past the firm. Nicholson makes a risky move during jury selection and Tuller tries to get her favorite forensic witness to speak so a jury can actually understand him.

Helping fit all the pieces together is “American Justice” anchor Suzanne Fulcrum, who helps fill in the gaps by recapping all of the evidence and theories. She also has an interesting relationship with Trott as they use each other to help enhance their individual success.

The show is nicely put together as it moves quickly between each phrase of the defense’s case. Following the “Law & Order” format, there’s very little extraneous story though there’s plenty of potential for that later.

But “Justice”s greatest asset is its outstanding cast. After five years of playing good guy Jack Bristow on “Alias,” Garber is right at home playing a slick media hog (a more intense version of the character he played in “Legally Blonde”). This role was custom made for Garber and he knocks it out of the park. Walker is beautifully cast as the super slick Graves and Smith adds just the right touch as Nicholson, the firm’s conscience. Plus, Smith’s excellent chemistry with Mader just screams office romance for Nicholson and Tuller.

A show like “Justice” is nothing new for Jerry Bruckheimer, but in a fall season full of new serialized shows, it’s actually a breath of fresh air.

If you’re a fan of crime procedurals or you just like your shows to wrap things up in an hour, you’ll love “Justice.” But even if you’re more of a serialized fan (like me), I think you’ll love it too.

“Justice” premieres Wednesday, August 30th at 9 p.m. on FOX.

Pick of the Week: "Prison Break"

My previous Picks of the Week have been solely based on critical buzz and what I think sounds interesting. So sometimes it’s a little hard.

But this week’s pick was easy since it’s something I’ve actually seen and I know you won’t want to miss.

This week’s Pick of the Week is “Prison Break.”

If you didn’t watch “Break” last season, don’t worry, because the show is now completely different. Plus the premiere finds a way to cleverly catch everyone up within the first five minutes (or you can just scroll down for my recap of last season).

If you tuned out “Break” last year because of all the stalling, you’ll want to jump back in this season. Don’t believe me? Just catch those last five minutes.

“Prison Break” airs Monday (August 21st) at 8 p.m. on FOX. For a complete preview, scroll down to my post, “Join the Manhunt!”

Is "Vanished" Worth a Look?

The reviews for “Vanished” have not been all that strong, so quite frankly, I didn’t expect to like what I saw.

It was nice to see I was wrong.

Now I’m not ready to declare the show the next “24” or anything and compared to the season premiere of “Prison Break,” it’s a bit of a letdown. But I found the characters and story interesting enough to keep me watching.

The show wastes absolutely no time getting started as we meet Sara Collins, the wife of Senator Jeffrey Collins (John Allen Nelson). She’s acting mysterious and then tells her husband she has something to tell him. But before she gets the chance, she vanishes from an event in her honor.

FBI Agent Graham Kelton (Gale Harold) is brought in to head the investigation in his first case since he lost a young kidnapping victim in a rescue attempt. It’s not long before he and his partner (Ming Na) realize there’s lots more to the case than meets the eye.

Senator Collins’ daughter Marcie adds to the intrigue with her mysterious boyfriend and by the end of the hour, even his son Max appears to have a secret.

The best (and most interesting) character is Judy Nash (Rebecca Gayheart), a television reporter, who plans to use the story to further her career. She and her cameraman (who she’s sleeping with) help provide the exposition as her reports recap the clues.

The premiere is so chock full of action I can’t help but wonder how the show plans to sustain itself for 22 episodes. But unlike NBC’s “Kidnapped,” “Vanished” creates a lot more possibilities for making that happen by introducing the shadowy conspiracy behind it all right away.

The glaring problem I see is some of the casting. Ming Na is a little too stiff and Harold just doesn’t strike a chord with me. One TV critic said that if “Vanished” had the cast of “Kidnapped,” you’d have a great show and I agree—with one exception. John Allen Nelson acts rings around Timothy Hutton and this role may finally make me forget he was Paul the Wine Guy in the first episode of “Friends” (No, not even his role as Walt on “24” did that.). And I would definitely keep Rebecca Gayheart.

Unfortunately for both “Kidnapped” and “Vanished” because of their similarities, they will always be linked. FOX is wisely premiering “Vanished” first and it clearly has the stronger pilot. I hesitate to say it’s the stronger show because I’m still recovering from the burns I received from “Reunion” last season, when I declared it the year’s best new drama after only the pilot.

Which is the danger of getting involved with a serialized show. You can never know if it’s headed in the right direction. But I’m willing to give this one the benefit of the doubt—for now.
“Vanished” premieres Monday, August 21st at 9 p.m. on FOX

"Fantasia": Definitely NOT a "Fairy Tale"

When I said that the reviews of “The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life Is Not a Fairy Tale” had been mixed, I was actually being kind. All of the reviews but one were extremely negative.

I’d like to know what that one critic was watching.

Robert LoBianco of “USA Today” compared it to “From Justin to Kelly.” I consider that a huge insult to Justin and Kelly.

There’s no way around it. This movie is horrible. Yes, Fantasia had a hard life which is probably worthy of a Lifetime movie—but not this one. The writing is lousy, the direction is sloppy and it’s poorly edited together.

But the biggest problem is Fantasia herself. I can’t believe Debbie Allen (the director) would allow this movie to be made with someone who can’t act. Apparently, Fantasia thinks that speaking in a hushed voice is more dramatic and apparently Allen did nothing to convince her otherwise.

It’s fairly obvious now why she didn’t get the role in “Dreamgirls.”

However, in Fantasia’s defense, Allen didn’t assemble the best supporting cast to help her out. Kadeem Hardison starts out okay as her dad, but as the character gets darker, his “frightening” rage comes off as ridiculous, as Hardison is not able to handle the meatier material.

Buzz for the movie was created by the controversy about whether or not “Idol” producers asked Fantasia to quit. That’s not exactly how it happens in the movie (They just give her the option.), but it’s clear to me the writers were only taking dramatic license. The bigger controversy should have been the complete waste of the “American Idol” clips. We saw her performance of ‘Summertime,” but not the original where she cried and Simon told her she was the American Idol. And though we got to see Ryan name her the winner, we did not see her performance of “I Believe,” which really could have been the perfect ending to the movie.

The ending we do get makes absolutely no sense. We see Fantasia come home to North Carolina where she gets a nice pep talk from a potential new boyfriend and then the scene immediately cuts to Fantasia singing a clip of “God Bless the Child” with movie clips playing behind her. Then it cuts back to her reading Dr. Seuss to her daughter in her pre-“Idol” apartment. As I said, no sense. If this was the story of her triumph, it should have ended with her triumph.

I don’t think this movie will hurt Fantasia’s career, but I think it should make her realize her career is in singing and not acting. And it should make Lifetime realize it should never work with Debbie Allen again.

“The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life Is Not a Fairy Tale” airs again Monday, August 21st at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Join the Manhunt!

After seeing the final two episodes of “Invasion,” I was bummed that it was cancelled. But after seeing the season premiere of “Prison Break,” I am thrilled that ABC pulled the plug.

Because if they hadn’t, William Fichtner would have never joined the “Break” cast and that would have been a crime worthy of time in Fox River.

Fichtner is FBI agent Alexander Mahone, who we meet in the opening moments of the premiere. He immediately clashes with Captain Bellick, Warden Pope, and everyone else at the prison who believe it is their responsibility to bring the escapees back. But Mahone quickly establishes that he has the inside track as he starts to get inside Michael Scofield’s head and put the pieces of the escape plan together.

Meanwhile there’s friction among the escapees as Michael is forced to implement his back-up plans while he tries to stay ahead of both the authorities and the rest of the gang. Plus, T-Bag tries to deal with his Abruzzi-induced handicap on his own.

The fate of Dr. Tancredi is also revealed as her story takes a new, kind of unexpected direction. And we get some answers and some more questions about Terrence Steadman and the conspiracy that framed Lincoln.

If it feels like I’m being a little vague with my description, it’s because I don’t want to say anything that will give away the episode’s big twist. Taking a page straight from the “24” playbook, we get an ending that you won’t see coming and that will completely change the direction of the show.

What I can say is that within the first ten minutes of the episode, the entire tone of the show is changed—and that’s not a bad thing. Though the show was solid last season, it tended to drag as it looked for ways to postpone the inevitable escape. It’s clear that this season won’t know the meaning of the word drag as it gets off to a running start—literally.

I can also tell you that an arch nemesis for Michael is exactly what the show needed to take it to the next level and Fichtner is brilliant as he manages to majorly improve a cast that is already one of the best on television. I love the slightly sinister edge that he gives Mahone, which gives you some pause to question his real intentions.

The whole feel of the episode is good as well as they pepper quick flashback bursts throughout the hour. The direction, lighting and locations are all perfect and help add to the show’s new tone.

I enjoyed “Prison Break” last season, but this episode is better than anything they did last year, so I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

If you’re looking for a little excitement in your viewing schedule—or you’re just having serious “24” withdrawal—join the manhunt from the beginning. You won’t be sorry.

“Prison Break” premieres Monday, August 21st at 8 p.m. on FOX.

A "Fairy Tale" Reminder

Just a reminder that “The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life Is Not a Fairy Tale” will premiere Saturday (August 19th) at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.

The reviews have been a little mixed—especially when it comes to Fantasia’s performance—but in her defense, I can’t imagine it was easy to relive some of the brutal things that happened to her (I’m not sure I would have.).

Personally, I’m still horrified that Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison) is playing her father! That makes me feel so old…

Previously on "Prison Break"...

Before I give you a preview of the season premiere of “Prison Break,” I wanted to give you a quick recap of last season so you can jump right in—and believe me you’re going to want to.

Lincoln Burrows fell into the wrong crowd trying to get enough money for his brother, Michael Scofield, to attend college after their dad split on them. To pay off the debt, he was told to kill Terrence Steadman, the brother of the Vice President of the United States. Lincoln called Michael for help, but Michael was hanging out with Lincoln’s ex-girlfriend, Veronica (nothing happened, by the way). So, Lincoln agreed to do the job, but when he showed up at the parking garage to commit the crime, Steadman was already dead. However, the garage security tape showed Lincoln actually shooting Steadman and so he was convicted and sentenced to death.

After discovering that Lincoln had paid for his college, Michael vowed to find a way to get him out. A structural engineer, Michael worked for the company who built Fox River Penitentiary where Lincoln was imprisoned. So, he devised a plan to end up in Fox River himself so he could break Lincoln out. Inspired by a tattooed pizza delivery girl, Michael hid the prison blueprints and other elements of his escape in an elaborate tattoo that covered most of his body. Then, he committed an armed robbery and was convicted and sentenced to Fox River (He never actually robbed anyone, he just fired the guns so he would definitely get time.). Once inside, he started carrying out his plot and meeting up with the other prisoners that would become his fellow escapees...

Fernando Sucre was Michael’s cellmate. Michael let him in on the plan so he could be a lookout while Michael went through the tunnels at night. At first, Sucre was reluctant to play along and actually got switched to another cell; but when he discovered that his fiancé was pregnant and planned to marry another man, he got back in on the plan.

John Abruzzi was a mob boss convicted on the testimony of a mob informant named Fibonacci. To get Abruzzi to put him on PI duty (to allow him to roam more freely) and to provide transportation away from the prison, Michael offered him Fibonacci’s location—but only after the escape.

Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell was the leader of the white supremacists of the prison, who liked to stay in the company of younger inmates. During a prison riot that Michael helped to start, T-Bag discovered Michael’s plot and Michael was forced to let him in on the plan. When Abruzzi tried to threaten T-Bag into backing out, T-Bag slit his throat, sending Abruzzi to the hospital and presumed death.

Benjamin “C-Note” Franklin was dishonorably discharged from the army after he reported an officer for improper conduct. He was arrested for transporting stolen goods, a job he took to support his wife and daughter. To hide the truth from them, C-Note told them he was shipped to Iraq, even sending Iraqi postcards from prison. He was also not part of the original plan, but was let in after he figured out what Michael was doing.

David “Tweener” Apolskis was an expert pickpocket who helped Michael get his watch back from one of the guards. One of the Prison COs, Bellick, used Tweener to try and get information on Scofield (who Bellick didn’t trust) but when he didn’t give him anything worthwhile, Bellick had Tweener transferred to a cell with a “friendly” cellmate. Michael, feeling sorry for him and owing him for the watch, let him in on the plan; but Tweener told Bellick, almost ruining the escape.

Charles “Haywire” Patoshik was Michael’s cellmate when Sucre was transferred. Mentally unstable and refusing to take his meds, Haywire was able to see the plans in Michael’s tattoo. Michael was able to make it look like Haywire was beating him and Haywire was put into the psych ward. But when part of Michael’s tattoo was burnt off in a freak accident, he got into the psych ward and convinced Haywire to reconstruct the tattoo for him after tricking him into thinking he’d be part of the escape.

Charles Westmoreland was Fox River’s longest serving inmate. Michael was convinced that he was the famous D.B. Cooper and tried to convince him to go along with the escape for his money. Westmoreland convinced Michael that he was wrong. However, when Westmoreland’s daughter became terminally ill and he was denied the ability to visit her, he revealed that he was indeed Cooper and joined the escape plan.

There were also prison employees that were part of Michael’s plan…

Henry Pope is Fox River’s warden. Seeing something in Michael that he liked, Pope asked Michael to help him construct a replica of the Taj Mahal for his anniversary, which allowed Michael both leeway and access.

Captain Brad Bellick is a CO at Fox River who despised Michael from the beginning, even getting the scoop on Michael’s green card wife (also part of the escape plan). He kept Abruzzi the head of PI because of bribes he received from Abruzzi’s mob friends.

Dr. Sara Tancredi was the doctor at Fox River. The governor’s daughter, Sara is a recovering drug addict. Because the infirmary was key to Michael’s plan, he faked diabetes so he could go there every day for insulin shots. Sara ended up falling for Michael and tried to help him whenever she could—including asking her father for clemency for Lincoln.

Outside the prison, the conspiracy began to unfold as Veronica investigated Lincoln’s case with the help of Nick, a fellow attorney. At the heart of it was The Company, a shadowy group that framed Lincoln to get back at his and Michael’s father, who once worked for them. The Company was trying to get Terrence Steadman out of the way after his company started causing trouble for them

As part of their operation, The Company killed Lincoln’s ex-wife and her husband, framing Lincoln’s son, L.J. L.J. was able to get away and join Veronica and Nick. But eventually he went after the Company agent that killed his mother and stepfather and was caught by the police.

Also involved was Vice President Reynolds, whose Presidential campaign was backed by The Company. But when she fell out of favor with them, The Company tried to have her killed. However, it was the President who died and Reynolds ended up taking over, leaving The Company scrambling to get back into her good graces.

Nick was revealed to be keeping tabs on Veronica for Abruzzi so he would have leverage on Michael. But when Nick balked at delivering Veronica to Abruzzi, he was killed. Veronica continued to follow their lead on a house in Blackfoot, Montana, where she came face to face with Terrence Steadman.

After a botched escape attempt and a near execution of Lincoln, it was time to make another run for it. This time, however, Bellick was hot on their trail because of Tweener, but Westmoreland was able to get him out of the way by trapping him in the escape tunnel—seriously injuring himself in the process.

To get Lincoln out of solitary, Michael threatened Pope into having him moved to the infirmary, and then tied him up in his office closet. Michael asked Sara to leave the infirmary door unlocked. Disillusioned by her father’s failure to intercede on Lincoln’s behalf due to his own political ambitions (He was on the VP candidate list.) and her feelings for Michael, Sara complied. However, she felt so guilty that she later overdosed.

This time, the guys had to go through the psych ward, where they, of course, ran into Haywire. So as not to hinder the escape, Haywire was allowed to join the gang, which now included Michael, Lincoln, Sucre, Sucre’s cousin, C-Note, T-Bag, Westmoreland, Tweener and the newly returned Abruzzi. Westmoreland, though, realized he wasn’t going to make it and before he died, told Michael (and most of the others who were in the room) where the money was buried in Utah.

Pope and Bellick were discovered and the alarm was sounded, but all of them got over the wall except for Sucre’s cousin. The group headed for the airstrip where they would board Abruzzi’s jet, not realizing that Abruzzi had never planned to take all of them. However, Michael told Tweener to go another way as his punishment for ratting them out to Bellick. The group was also able to leave Haywire behind. T-Bag, fearing that Abruzzi would seek retribution, handcuffed himself to Michael and swallowed the key. In a tool shed along the way, they tried to find something to cut the handcuffs apart but were unsuccessful. Abruzzi, angry for the delay it was causing and wanting to get revenge on T-Bag, took an ax and cut off T-Bag’s hand. Not being able to deal with T-Bag’s situation, the group left him in the shed.

Meanwhile, the police were hassling Abruzzi’s men at the airstrip, and getting nervous, they took off, just as the group approached. With Bellick and the other authorities hot on their heels, the gang started running…