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"…

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Don't Be Tardy for the Party"

Can’t wait until tomorrow night to see Kim’s musical debut on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”?

Never fear, you can hear the entire single, “Tardy for the Party,” here as it aired on “On Air With Ryan Seacrest."

Even with the song being autotuned within an inch of its life, it’s still fairly obvious Kim has some singing issues. But it is daggone catchy…

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on Bravo…

UPDATE: The track is now available on iTunes. And yes, I downloaded it...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Hank"/"The Middle" Review: Grammer and Heaton Are Back

A couple of weeks ago in my “Herald-Dispatch” print column, I said that sitcoms built around big names made me wary…

Too often shows spend so much time promoting the star that they forget to worry about the scripts. The early days of the failed FOX sitcom, “Back To You,” starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton is a perfect example of that (although the show did get it together just before it was cancelled).

Now both Grammer and Heaton are giving it another try in separate ABC sitcoms—“Hank” and “The Middle.” I was sure I had reason to be wary about “Hank.” So imagine my surprise to find the show was actually funny.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Grammer is playing the same snob that he always plays. The only difference is that this snob has a family and is poor…

Grammer is Hank Pryor, the CEO of a sporting goods retail chain. When he’s forced out by his board, he has to move his family back to his hometown of River Bend, Virginia. Now, not only must he face life without being the boss, he must also get to know the children he has never spent much time with—his teenage daughter, Maddie (Jordan Hinson), and his geeky son, Henry (Nathan Gamble). Hank’s wife, Tilly (Melinda McGraw), is also having a tough time adjusting to life outside of New York City. Also around to complicate Hank’s life is his brother-in-law, Grady (David Koechner).

As I said, Grammer is playing the same character he always plays, but since I find that character funny, I find “Hank” funny. McGraw is perfect as his wife and Koechner—who has been known to get on my nerves—actually works pretty well here.

The biggest problem with the show is the laugh track. A little laughing is fine, but this one goes way overboard laughing at every single line. I REALLY wish everyone would recognize that the laugh track’s day is over…

In all honesty, there’s nothing very original here when it comes to story, but I’m not sure that really matters if it’s funny…

Unfortunately, I can’t really speak as highly of “The Middle.” There are some funny moments, but they’re outnumbered by the fairly awkward moments…

Heaton is Frankie, a working mother of three—Axl (Charlie McDermott), the teenage jock; Sue (Eden Shur), the awkward pre-teen; and Brick (Atticus Shaffer), the oddball youngest. Her husband, Mike (Neil Flynn), is a manager at the local quarry, while Frankie sells cars at the town’s last surviving car lot.

In the premiere, Frankie and Mike must deal with Brick’s teacher wanting to get him special help and Sue wanting to try out for the show choir.

Heaton and Flynn are great. And Chris Kattan provides nice support as Frankie’s co-worker, Bob. The problem here are the kids. The show tries so hard to give each of them an interesting character quirk that they’re just not funny. Rose failing at everything she tries is okay, but Axl continually walking around in his underwear is stupid. And Brick’s weird whisper that “soothes” him is really stupid.

“Middle” has promise if it fleshes out the kids a little more and cuts back on the annoying narration. And, since it’s single-camera, there’s no laugh track, which is always a good thing these days…

But even if “Middle” wasn’t my thing, I have to admit that ABC has built a pretty solid comedy block that could prove to be very successful for them. And Grammer and Heaton are always a welcome combination...

“Hank” and “The Middle” premiere Wednesday, September 30th beginning at 8 p.m. on ABC…

Photos Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

"Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" Review: The Return of the Voice

In one of the special features on the latest DC Universe movie, “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies,” Kevin Conroy says, “I’m just the voice guy.”

But for diehard DC animation fans like me, we know that is the furthest thing from the truth. For us, Conroy is the voice of Batman—the standard by which all others, including Christian Bale, are judged.

So it was great news to hear that Conroy was returning to the role in “Enemies.” And he brings with him Tim Daly, who voiced Superman in “Superman: The Animated Series.” Plus, Clancy Brown is back as Lex Luthor, the role he played in “Superman: TAS” and both “Justice League” animated series.

And it is that core trio that really makes “Enemies” work. Although all three of them pretty much get upstaged by the most fight scenes I’ve ever seen in one of these things. In fact, I would say that “Enemies” is 60+ minutes of butt-kicking action with a little bit of story periodically mixed in…

In “Enemies,” which is based on the graphic novel by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness, Lex Luthor has just been elected President. And understandably, Superman is having a hard time dealing with it—especially since Luthor seems to be doing a good job.

But when Luthor appears to extend Superman an olive branch, Superman goes to accept it—against his friend Batman’s wishes. However, as usual, Luthor has a hidden agenda—an agenda that puts a bounty on Superman’s head. Now, Superman and Batman must fight off both villains and superheroes while trying to save Earth from a Kryptonian meteor.

The interplay between Superman and Batman is really the highlight of the movie, as the two trade quips back and forth. And Daly and Conroy are great together. It’s also great to hear the always awesome Xander Berkeley as Captain Atom, one of Luther’s superhero soliders. And CCH Pounder is another welcome return as Luther’s associate, Amanda Waller.

It’s very difficult to condense a graphic novel into a 60-minute movie, and quite frankly, “Enemies” doesn’t always succeed in doing so, as the action and desire to bring in as many characters as possible sometimes overshadows plot. But overall, the movie is pretty entertaining and often quite funny.

And it’s Superman and Batman together. Can you really go wrong with that?

As with the other DC Universe movies, the real treats are the Special Features and the two-disc special edition is chock full of them. Psychologists examine the relationship between Batman and Superman in “A Test of Minds: Superman and Batman.” And Executive Producer Bruce Timm shares two episodes of “Superman: The Animated Series” featuring Batman.

The coolest thing however, is the featurette, “Dinner with DCU and Special Guest Kevin Conroy,” in which the voice of Batman discusses the role over dinner with the DC Universe creative team. We hear all kinds of great Batman nuggets, not only about “Enemies,” but also about “Gotham Knight” and other Conroy Batman projects. It’s a real treat that I could’ve watched for hours.

Plus, as has been the DC Universe movie tradition, we get a sneak peek at the next film, “Justice League Crisis on Two Earths.” And I have to say I was a little disappointed to see that Conroy is not returning to the Batman role—especially after hearing the creative team gush all over him in the featurette. But the trio of William Baldwin (Batman), Mark Harmon (Superman) and Chris Noth (Lex Luthor) should be very interesting...

“Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” is available in one and two-disc editions and on Blu-Ray now…

Photo Credit: SUPERMAN © Warner Bros. Ent Inc. BATMAN © Warner Bros. Ent Inc. “SUPERMAN” and “BATMAN” and all related characters and elements aretrademarks of and © DC Comics. © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Trauma" Review: A Total Surprise

I have to be honest and tell you that NBC’s new drama, “Trauma” starts out pretty boring.

Paramedics get their rigs ready and go out to work. One team actually takes an uneventful morning as an opportunity to create some action of their own. But then a call comes in and they all come together—along with the sarcastic, cocky flight medic—to save a life.

Like I said. Boring.

But then, the show kicks into high gear in a major way, serving up a little twist that sets the tone for the rest of the hour, and probably the season…

“Trauma” follows the trauma team from San Francisco City Hospital. Rabbit (Cliff Curtis) is the cocky flight medic with the terrible bedside manner. Boone (Derek Luke) is the devoted father who seems to have lost some of his devotion to his wife. Nancy (Anastasia Griffith) is the tough paramedic who is always trying to help the doctors—even though they don’t listen to her. Marisa (Aimee Garcia) is the new helicopter pilot who is forced to deal with Rabbit’s recklessness. Tyler (Kevin Rankin) and Glenn (Taylor Kinney) are EMTs and Dr. Saviano (Jamey Sheridan) tries to help them all out.

We learn much more about each of them as they respond to a multiple casualty incident on an interstate bridge. And as they deal with another more personal trauma they all shared.

“Trauma” reminds me a lot of early “Third Watch” and I mean that as a compliment. Griffith anchors the show much like Kim Raver did “Watch” and she is great at it. And she gets great support.

Plus, the special effects in the pilot are incredible. But something tells me we won’t get those every week, so enjoy them in this first hour.

After being so bored by the show’s opening minutes, it totally surprises me to say I will most likely give “Trauma” another look.

At least until I get bored again…

“Trauma” premieres Monday, September 28th at 9 p.m. on NBC…

Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Pick of the Week: A Favorite Looks to Avoid a Slump

One of last season’s best new shows is back for its second season, which makes it an easy choice for my Pick…

My Pick of the Week is the season premiere of “Lie to Me.”

If you’ve never seen it, “Lie” follows The Lightman Group, a team of experts who help authorities solve their toughest cases. The group is led by Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) the world’s leading lie detector who studies micro expressions (shrugs, licking the lips and other signs that show people’s feelings) to find the truth. He’s assisted by his partner, Foster (Kelli Williams), the tough talking Torres (Monica Raymund) and the way too honest Loker (Brendan Hines). At the end of last season, they were joined by FBI agent Ben Reynolds (Mekhi Phifer).

The show is based on the real-life work of Dr. Paul Ekman and after you watch it, it’s hard to look at things the same way again…

In the premiere, the team is challenged by a woman with multiple personality disorder (Erika Christensen).

The show was good from the get-go, but when Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”) became the showrunner, it became even better. If that momentum continues, there is no reason to think that “Lie” will suffer any kind of sophomore slump.

But I’ll be watching all of the signs just to be sure…

“Lie to Me” premieres Monday, September 28th at 9 p.m. on FOX…

Photo Credit: Sam Jones/FOX

This Week's Premiere Schedule

The majority of the premieres have already happened, but there are still a few stragglers coming at you this week…

Monday, September 28th
Lie to Me—9 PM—FOX
Trauma—9 PM—NBC
**New Show

Wednesday, September 30th
Hank—8 PM—ABC
**New Show
The Middle—8:30 PM—ABC
**New Show

Thursday, October 1st
Private Practice—10 PM—ABC

Friday, October 2nd
Til Death—8:30 PM—FOX

Sunday, October 4th
America’s Funniest Home Videos—7 PM—ABC
Three Rivers—9 PM—CBS
**New Show
Photo Credit: George Holz/FOX

“Cold Case” Review: All Style and No Substance?

When it comes to shows that look good and sound good, I’d have to put “Cold Case” right at the top of that list.

If you’ve never seen it, “Case” uses music from the proper time period to help set the scene for its flashbacks that tell the story of the unsolved case. The flashbacks are seamlessly integrated to show the witnesses then and now.

The season premiere gets a nice boost with the music of Ray Charles being featured exclusively in the episode (You’ll recognize the original “Golddigger” instantly.).

The case is the murder of a young woman on an ocean liner. In the B story, Lilly must deal with the man who tried to kill her last season.

As I said, the show looks and sounds great. But at least in this episode, the substance isn’t completely there. I actually had the murderer pegged from the get-go. And there were a few too many holes in the story.

However, I have to say that the B story, with guest star Daniel Baldwin, is interesting. And there’s a dash of unexpected romance to shake things up as well.

“Case” will never be a show I’ll add to my must-see list, but it’s nice to check in on it every once in a while…

“Cold Case” premieres tonight (Sunday, September 27th) at 10 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/CBS

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Desperate Housewives" Review: Time to Get Out of the Shower

At the end of last season, I said I thought I might be outgrowing “Desperate Housewives.”

Now, after seeing the season premiere, I’m sure of it…

When last we left Wisteria Lane, Gaby and Carlos had taken in Carlos’ teenage niece. Bree was getting friendly with Susan’s ex, Karl, while her husband Orson blackmailed her into staying married to him. Lynette found out she was pregnant with twins and Mike was marrying either Susan or Katherine…

Because I have been sworn to secrecy, I cannot say anything about the Mike/Susan/Katherine storyline. But I can talk about the other storylines, which unfortunately, are completely familiar to anyone that has ever watched the show.

Lynette is her usual whining, selfish self, even making another expectant mother cry. It doesn’t help that I completely despise this story, because I think it’s totally wrong to saddle Lynette with another pregnancy.

Gaby is showing a little less selfishness, but that’s because Carlos’ niece, Anna, has soaked it all up. I understand that they’re trying to give Gaby a chance to see herself at that age, but again, it’s a little annoying.

And of course there are some mysterious new residents on the Lane, the Bolen family. The son, Danny, befriends Susan’s returned daughter, Julie, and instantly begins acting strangely. And the dad is sufficiently creepy, while the mother tries to befriend the other ladies.

As I said, it’s all familiar since the show has done it all before…

The only saving grace is Bree and Karl, thanks to the always welcome Richard Burgi (Karl). Even though Karl is as slimy as they come, you still want Bree to give into him—especially when you get a look at the six pack Burgi is sporting these days (He would have been perfect as the lead in “Eastwick,” but he’s probably better off where he is.).

All long-running shows repeat storylines, but it seems like “Desperate” is in permanent “lather, rinse, repeat” mode.

And I’m starting to think that I’m ready to get out of the shower…

“Desperate Housewives” premieres Sunday, September 27th at 9 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: Danny Feld/ABC

"Brothers" Review: Was It Really That Bad?

Every review I had read told me it was bad, but I just couldn’t stay away from FOX’s new sitcom, “Brothers.”

I have been a fan of Daryl “Chill” Mitchell since “The John Larroquette Show,” but with Michael Strahan—the former NFL great, with very little acting experience—as his co-star, I didn’t hold out much hope.

So imagine my surprise to find that the show is not that bad. Some of the jokes were actually funny. Granted, many of them were not…

But honestly it was hard to tell the difference since that horrendous laugh track laughed at everything equally. And that—not Strahan’s lack of acting experience—is the show’s biggest hurdle…

Strahan is Mike Trainor, a former NFL great who returns home to visit his family after his dad (Carl Weathers) has a stroke. Mitchell is Chill, Mike’s brother, who harbors a great deal of resentment toward Mike. CCH Pounder is Adele, the matriarch of the family.

As the half hour unfolded, we learned just exactly what the source of Chill’s resentment is. Mike was supposed to pick him up from a party once but he didn’t show and Chill got in the car with a friend who had been drinking. There was an accident and Chill ended up in a wheelchair. Now Chill is struggling to balance his anger over the accident with the true admiration he feels for his brother’s success.

Of course, because this is a sitcom, things aren’t entirely what they seem. Mike learns that his mother lied about his dad having a stroke (although he does seem to be slipping a little) and that Chill lied about his restaurant being successful. And Chill learns that Mike is now broke.

And in the end, Mike and Chill give their Mom what she was going for to begin with—her sons back at home and getting along, as they agree to be partners in the restaurant.

Mitchell is playing the same sarcastic character he always plays, but he’s so good at it, you really don’t mind. And he gets a lot of the funny jokes. But the majority of the laughs come from Pounder, who is probably best known for dramatic roles. She’s got good comic timing and it’s in full effect here—if those hideous fake laughs didn’t keep stepping on her lines.

I despise laugh tracks anyway, but I really despise tracks that laugh at every single thing, even when they’re not funny. I half expected there to be laughs when Chill revealed how he ended up in the wheelchair. That’s how bad it was.

But even without the track, “Brothers” is not the funniest show on TV. However, I’ve seen much worse—especially on FOX. I’m not going to add it to my must-see list, but it might be worth checking out if there’s nothing else on…

“Brothers” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on FOX…

Photo Credit: Michael Levine/FOX

Friday, September 25, 2009

And The First Casualty of the Season Is...

Since we're just now finishing the traditional premiere week, it's usually a little early for cancellations...

But when a show is this bad, why wait?

According to "The Hollywood Reporter," The CW has cancelled the Ashton Kutcher-produced "The Beautiful Life: TBL" after last night's second episode only had one million viewers. The network has made no announcement about its replacement.

If you read my review of the show, you know that I thought it was terrible. Clearly, I wasn't alone...
Photo Credit: Richard Phibbs/The CW

Friday Free-For-All: So what did you think?

“Don’t be tardy for the party. Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh. Don’t be tardy for the party…”

Sorry. I cannot get that song out of my head this morning. Stupid “Real Housewives of Atlanta”…

So we’ve almost made it through Premiere Week with just tonight and Sunday to go and I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. And I didn’t even see everything…

That’s where you come in. It’s time for a Friday Free-For-All…

So what did you see that I didn’t? Were you impressed with the talent on “Dancing With the Stars,” or are you disappointed in this year’s cast? Did any of your favorite returning shows disappoint you? Leave a comment and let’s get started…

And feel free to jump in and agree or disagree with my reviews. The Paul Gross fans have certainly spoken up about my review of “Eastwick,” so be sure to share your two cents as well.

The reviews will continue over the weekend as I post my thoughts—barring any technical difficulties—on “Trauma,” “Cold Case” and “Desperate Housewives”…

“FlashForward”: Was that...

I can’t believe I forgot to mention this in my review of “FlashForward,” because it totally stunned me…

There among the FBI agents investigating the case was none other than Seth MacFarlane, the guru behind “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and the upcoming “The Cleveland Show.”

According to, MacFarlane is a friend of one of the creators, Brannon Braga (who I love from his days as a producer on “24”) and Braga invited MacFarlane to be in the pilot “as a lark.” But according to the article, this isn’t the last we’ll see of him as he’ll be “popping in and out.”

Wow, FOX will let that guy do anything, won’t they?

Photo Credit: Vince Bucci/FOX

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Grey's Anatomy" Review: Something's Just Not Right

If you’ve even just walked past a newsstand in the last few months, you know who dies in the premiere of “Grey’s Anatomy” tomorrow night, so I’m not really telling you anything that’s not already out there.

But if you don’t want to know, stop reading now…

The first hour of the two-hour premiere (which is all ABC provided to the media) begins right where last season’s finale left off, with both George and Izzie coding. But only Izzie wakes up as George passes away…

The rest of the hour shows the other characters trying to deal with his passing while also trying to continue saving lives at the hospital. Plus, the chief must deal with trouble from the hospital board.

I was completely expecting a big tearjerker, but it never happened. Instead, the hour came off as totally choppy and disjointed. I thought that most of the attempts at injecting humor fell completely flat—especially some of the inappropriate comments from Sloan. I appreciate the writers trying not to weigh us down with too much mourning, but discussing George’s sexual prowess is really not the way to do it.

I’m not a regular viewer of “Grey’s,” so maybe I just don’t understand the characters and their rhythms. But everything just seemed off and I really didn’t think that George, or T.R. Knight, really got the goodbye he deserved (Of course, Knight not agreeing to come back for any episodes really didn’t help that any.).

The two medical cases in the episode also seemed a little off—with one of them being completely pointless other than to give Arizona something to do since she didn’t really know George, and to give Chief Webber something else to yell about. And I understand that people handle grief in different ways, but the way the writers have Callie handle it by taking things out on the Chief was really weak…

Killing a major character is a really difficult thing for a show to do, and unfortunately “Grey’s” doesn’t get it quite right. But there’s no reason to think this isn’t just a bump in the road and that the show will get back to normal in an episode or two…

Otherwise, it might be a long hard season for “Grey’s” fans…

“Grey’s Anatomy” premieres Thursday, September 24th with back-to-back episodes beginning at 9 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: Michael Desmond/ABC

"Flash Forward" Review: Too High of Expectations?

Anticipation can often be a new show’s worst enemy.

People so anticipate a show that they get in their minds how great they think it will be. And then, if it doesn’t live up to those expectations, they come away disappointed—possibly even disappointed enough not to tune in again…

That’s kind of what happened to me with “FlashForward.” It’s good, just not as good as I expected. So at the end of the hour, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed…

It’s a normal day for FBI agent Mark Bedford (Joseph Fiennes) and his partner Demetri (John Cho) as they pursue terrorism suspects. Mark’s wife, Dr. Olivia Bedford (Sonya Walger) is in surgery. Their daughter is at home asleep while her babysitter, Nicole (Peyton List), messes around with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Olivia’s colleague, Bryce (Zachary Nighton) contemplates suicide.

But before any of them can finish what they’ve started, they black out for two minutes and 17 seconds. And while they’re blacked out, they see a vision of a day in the future—April 29, 2010. But they’re not alone as everyone around the world blacks out at the exact same time. Yet not everyone has a flash forward…

Now each person must deal with what they saw—or didn’t see—and figure out whether anything can be changed. Plus, the FBI must figure out what caused this phenomenon and whether it will happen again…

As far as mysteries go, you really can’t get any better than this as we try and figure out how everyone gets to the future they saw. But the reveal of those futures comes off a little clunky at times. And I can’t help but think there may be one too many mysteries going on here and someone’s story will get shafted.

Some of the special effects are very good, but some of them come off a little cheesy. But more than that, some of it is just really hard to watch. I know it’s been eight years since 9/11, but I question the decision to show a helicopter exploding into the side of a high rise…

Again, “FlashForward” is a good show, it just has a lot more holes than I thought it would. And in all honesty, I think the constant revelations of everyone’s flashes will start to get old after a while…

And what in the world will happen after April 29th if the show gets picked up for another season?

“FlashForward” premieres Thursday, September 24th at 8 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

"Eastwick" Review: Everything Falls Apart...

I’ve never seen the movie, “The Witches of Eastwick,” which is based on the John Updike novel of the same name. I can only speak to the new ABC series, “Eastwick,” which is based on both the book and movie.

And to be honest, I’m not really sure what to say about it…

It all starts out fairly harmless, as we meet the three female leads and get to know them. I actually started to like them. But then the big baddie shows up and ruins the whole thing…

Rebecca Romijn is Roxie, the carefree artist whose work some consider pornographic. Jamie Ray Newman is Kat, the overworked and underappreciated mother of five. Lindsay Price is Joanna, the mousy newspaper reporter. The three live in the town of Eastwick, which is filled with legends of witches and magic. The three women never really liked each other all that much until a mysterious circumstance brings them together and they start to hang out and get to know each other.

That’s when the mysterious Darryl Van Horne (Paul Gross) enters. Darryl knows a great deal about the three women and he uses that knowledge to convince them to start using the special powers they didn’t even know they had.

A show like this is only as strong as its leads and Romijn, Newman and Price are all strong in their roles. The problem is Gross. Darryl is supposed to come off as sleazy and scary, while also coming off as charming and sexy. I’ve seen enough Kiefer Sutherland movies to know how well that can be done and Gross is no Kiefer Sutherland. Darryl doesn’t come off as sexy or scary. Just blah…

From the moment he hit the screen, the show fell apart. Scenes that should have helped better expand his character just rang false. So when you see Roxie becoming increasingly attracted to him, you can’t help but wonder why.

It’s possible that Gross could grow into the character a little more, but I’m not going to stick around and find out. If I want to watch a guy turn women on while he completely creeps them out, I’ll watch “The Lost Boys,” or “Taking Lives” or…you get the idea…

“Eastwick” premieres tonight (September 23rd) at 10 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

"Cougar Town" Review: Is It Worth the Trip?

I think you all know that “Friends” is my favorite show of all time. So I really wanted to like “Cougar Town” with Courteney Cox.

But when it started, I got worried. It just seemed more annoying than anything else. A desperate divorcee looking for some action had been done SO many times before…

However, by the halfway point, the show had started to click, and by the end I was actually laughing and smiling. I wouldn’t say it’s the funniest show on TV, but it’s definitely appealing…

And most of the credit for that goes to Cox, who never lets her character become as sleazy as she could…

Cox is Jules, a forty-something woman who after being divorced for six months, finally accepts the advice of her co-worker Laurie (Busy Phillips) to get back onto the dating scene. But Jules quickly realizes that men her age seem to only be looking for younger women, so she decides to try younger men for herself…

Which leads to total embarrassment for her son, Travis (Dan Byrd), and a little alienation of her married best friend, Ellie (Christa Miller). Plus, there’s her slacker ex, Bobby (Brian Van Holt), to worry about. And the newly divorced neighbor across the street, Grayson (Josh Hopkins), who dates an endless string of younger women, much to Jules’ chagrin…

Actually, now that I think about it, it was probably about the time Hopkins first appeared on the screen that the show really started to turn around for me. I have adored him since “Pepper Dennis,” and he is completely adorable here—even though he’s supposed to be sleazy…

And I have been a fan of Byrd’s since “A Cinderella Story.” He’s so cute you can’t help but feel sorry for him when he finds his mom in a compromising position with a younger man…

But this is Cox’s show and she makes the most of it showing us all sides of her character. Plus, she’s not afraid to put herself out there and show us her flaws—which makes her that much more endearing…

And by the way, in case you’re wondering, “Cougar Town” actually refers to the high school’s mascot, but you get the double meaning there…

The supporting characters need some serious development, but right now Cox is enough to give this one a passing grade. I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt because of her and because I watched it right after “Modern Family,” and anything was going to pale in comparison…

Which may not bode well for its chances since “Family” is its weekly lead-in…

“Cougar Town” premieres tonight (September 23rd) at 9:30 p.m. on ABC…'

Photo Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

"Modern Family" Review: The Funniest New Comedy of the Season?

The only thing trickier than TV pilots are TV promos for TV pilots…

They either give away most of the best stuff (like “Community”) or they don’t tell enough about what the show actually is (like “The Good Wife”).

And in the case of the promos for ABC’s “Modern Family,” they miss the boat entirely. Because what looks like a tired old sitcom slightly updated for today’s times, is actually a very funny show and one you really shouldn’t miss…

“Family” follows the lives of three couples in a pseudo-documentary style. And yes, that means the characters talk to the camera. But what could come off as hokey in a lesser show is only a nice plus for this one.

Phil and Claire (Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen) have three kids, including a teenage girl that causes Claire nothing but stress. However, Phil prefers to think of himself as the cool parent and he and Claire often clash over things like punishment strategy…

Mitchell and Cameron (Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet) have been together for five years and have just adopted a daughter from Vietnam. Now they must deal with the implications of their “amazing next step”…

Jay and Gloria (Ed O’Neill and Sofia Vergara) are as different as can be. She is a passionate, fiery Colombian and he is as laid back as they come—not to mention considerably older than her. She has an 11-year-old son who is just as passionate as Gloria, which drives Jay crazy…

It’s not until the last part of the show that you realize there is a connection between these three couples, so I won’t give it away here. Just know that it works…

And what else works is the great cast. Burrell was always the funniest part of “Back To You,” and he continues that streak here as he gets at least two laugh-out-loud moments. It’s nice to see Bowen in a comedy for a change, because she does it quite well. And O’Neill is always a welcome face. Vergara is good, but watching her just makes me mourn “The Knights of Prosperity”…

If you’re looking for a very different take on the family sitcom that isn’t always original, but comes pretty close, then “Family” is definitely for you. I’m interested to see if it can sustain its momentum enough to become the funniest new comedy of the year.

It’s definitely on top of that list right now…

“Modern Family” premieres tonight (September 23rd) at 9 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

Monday, September 21, 2009

"CSI: Miami" Review: No Cheese, Just Goodness

When I made “CSI: Miami” my Pick of the Week, I was expecting some of that classic “Miami” cheesy goodness.

But instead what we got was a well-crafted episode with solid performances.

Who knew?

If you missed it, the team found Delko and for the second time in three seasons, he required brain surgery. While the surgery was happening, we got to see how the team came together for the first time. Horatio was a detective trying to introduce science into his investigations, Calleigh was a new arrival from Jacksonville, Tripp was a beat cop buried in paperwork, Boa Vista was a tech in a FBI lab and Delko was a tow truck driver/salvage collector. But they all converged to help Horatio solve a woman’s murder.

The show did a great job with makeup and hair to make everyone look younger. And the cast even acted younger to help make it look authentic. Emily Proctor playing Calleigh as a wide-eyed innocent was a real hoot. And David Caruso dialed back enough of Horatio’s mannerisms in the beginning that we could actually see him create them before our eyes.

And how could you not smile when Delko told Horatio, “I thought you were going to invest in some sunglasses?” At the end of the episode, it was Delko who presented Horatio with his classic shades. I have to admit that it was a little weird watching him without them for most of the episode.

Granted, watching Delko just wake up from yet another brain surgery was a stretch, but at least he didn’t wake up talking this time. And Jonathan Togo (Ryan) got ripped yet again by the writers (They could work Boa Vista into the flashback, but not Ryan?), but at least we got to see him.

I also liked the way that Eddie Cibrian (Jesse) was worked into the premiere so we would be familiar with him when he joins full time next week. And I know that a lot of people don’t really like him right now because of all of his personal issues, but I have to say that guy really knows how to wear a suit…

But the show was not entirely without cheesy goodness tonight. I know I couldn’t have been the only one that laughed when Horatio broke down in Delko’s hospital room…

I have to say that it was nice to see “Miami” come back so strong. Now let’s get those sunglasses on and get back to the show we know and love, okay?

“CSI: Miami” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

"the forgotten" Review: Getting In Its Own Way

When the premiere of the new Jerry Bruckheimer drama, “the forgotten” begins, you can’t help but roll your eyes a little…

It begins with the dead person narrating the story. You hope that’s just the way the show chooses to introduce itself, but unfortunately, it’s a device used throughout the hour, along with weird ghost-like flashes of the dead person.

I presume the show is trying to set itself apart from the other crime dramas out there, but the gimmick doesn’t work and it actually takes away from what is otherwise a pretty decent show.

“the forgotten” follows The Forgotten Network, a team of citizen volunteers who work to identify murder victims when the police have given up. Christian Slater stars as Alex Donovan, a former detective who leads the team. He is assisted by Lindsey (Heather Stephens), a high school teacher; Candace (Michelle Borth), who works a day job that bores her; Walter (Bob Stephenson), a phone company worker; and Tyler (Anthony Carrigan), an artist who is court-ordered to work for the Network. Also assisting is Grace (Rochelle Aytes), a homicide detective and the Network’s liaison to the police.

In the premiere, the team works to identify a murdered young woman who kept some less than scrupulous company in the Goth scene.

The case itself is solid and takes some pretty good twists and turns, but the show just keeps getting in its own way with the cheesy narration device and its constant need to tell us why the team exists. After the billionth “people deserve to leave this world with their name” speech, it gets a little old…

The cast is good, led by Slater, who appears to have found a TV role that suits him. I don’t know how the original was in the role (Slater is a recast.), but I think the producers made the right move. Donovan has a lot of mystery surrounding him and Slater plays that well, but he manages to do vulnerable too. And Stephenson provides just the right touch of comic relief as the overzealous Walter.

If “the forgotten” would forget a few of its bad habits from the pilot, I think ABC could really have something here…

“the forgotten” premieres Tuesday, September 22nd at 10 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/ABC

"The Good Wife" Review: CBS Finds a Winner

If you’ve only seen the promos for “The Good Wife,” you probably think it’s a drama about a wife of a disgraced politician and how she puts her family back together.

But you would only be half right as it is also a smart courtroom drama. So smart in fact, that I think CBS may finally have the show that will break its Tuesdays at 10 p.m. jinx…

Julianna Marguiles is Alicia Florrick, a loving wife and mother until the day her husband, Peter (Chris Noth) is forced to resign as the Cook County State’s Attorney as part of a sex scandal. To support her family and restore her dignity, Alicia returns to her career as a defense attorney after a 13-year absence. But she finds it won’t be easy since she has to compete with an attorney half her age for the firm’s only position. And she learns that the mentoring offer from the firm’s top litigator, Diane (Christine Baranski), comes with the condition that Alicia do things Diane’s way.

Plus, Alicia quickly runs afoul of her husband’s replacement when it appears that Peter may be giving her inside information about her first case.

Alicia does find some allies, though, in her former law school classmate and firm partner, Will (Josh Charles), and in the firm’s investigator, Kalinda (Archie Panjabi).

The pilot is strong from start to finish with not only good personal drama, but also a solid courtroom case. This is Marguiles’ second go-around at playing an attorney and it’s no wonder because she is great at it. And as much as I hate Noth playing a sleazeball, he’s pretty good at it himself. And it’s great to see the always adorable Charles back on TV in a good show. Plus, you throw in the great Christine Baranksi and how can you possibly go wrong?

CBS has struggled to find a show that will stick in this timeslot for years, but with such a great combination of good story and great cast, I think they’ve found a winner…

“The Good Wife” premieres Tuesday, September 22nd at 10 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/CBS

"NCIS: Los Angeles" Review: Does It Measure Up to the Original?

In my column in Saturday’s print edition of “The Herald-Dispatch,” I said that I didn’t know how “NCIS: Los Angeles” could lose.

Well, after seeing the pilot, I think I know how it can…

“NCIS: Los Angeles” follows the division of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service known as the Office of Special Projects and they do nothing like the NCIS that we know. They assume fake identities and carry all of the latest technologies to bring in the most dangerous threats to national security.

Chris O’Donnell is Special Agent “G” Callen. When last we saw G, during the “NCIS” episode that introduced his character, he was being riddled with bullets. When the premiere opens, he is coming back to work and dealing with the effects of being shot. LL Cool J is Special Agent Sam Hanna, G’s partner.

Much like “NCIS,” the team is made up of a motley crew of individuals who each bring their own expertise to the situation. Kensi (Daniela Ruah) is tough but tender, Nate (Peter Cambor) is a psychologist, Dominic (Adam Jamal Craig) is the newbie and Hetty (Linda Hunt) makes sure that all the bills get paid and that the team has everything they need.

In the opener, the team must figure out why a naval officer was killed in a police shootout with members of a drug cartel.

The problem with a spin-off is that you can’t help but compare it to the original. And it’s hard not to compare each character in “Los Angeles” to a character from “NCIS.” But when you do that, you realize very quickly that they don’t measure up. And at least in the pilot, the story doesn’t quite measure up either. The show is trying so hard to be hip with all of the new technology and trying so hard to throw in the trademark “NCIS” humor that it forgets to worry about the actual story.

Plus, it doesn’t help that O’Donnell is not always convincing. He plays vulnerable and tortured quite well, but he doesn’t always sell tough. And LL Cool J can often come across as too tough. The duo really needs to find the balance in order to work. Hunt is priceless playing the same type of role she did in “Kindergarten Cop” and countless other movies, but again the show tries too hard to make her funny. And it doesn’t always make sense—like when she insists that G try on new clothes when he wasn’t dressed any worse than anyone else.

I still think that “Los Angeles” will be a big hit and I think it has a great deal of potential, but it will need to rely a little less on flash and a lot more on substance…

“NCIS: Los Angeles” premieres Tuesday, September 22nd at 9 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

"The Big Bang Theory" Review: Still the Funniest on TV

As you know, I named “The Big Bang Theory” the best show of 2008.

So I am thrilled to tell you that there is not one indication in the premiere that anything this season would keep it from being in the running again this year…

When last we left the gang, they were headed to the North Pole for a Sheldon-led expedition. And Penny was regretting not telling Leonard that she didn’t want him to go.

As the premiere opens, the guys are back and Sheldon is excited to share his great research with the world—until he discovers a secret the rest of the guys have been hiding from him. So, of course, Sheldon’s reaction interrupts Leonard finally having his chance with Penny. Or does it?

As I was at the conclusion of the first season, I was a little worried about the prospect of Penny and Leonard getting together. But the writers handle it so smartly in the premiere that those concerns are fading quickly.
I seriously doubt my love for this show will do the same. Until someone proves me wrong, I still consider it the funniest show on TV…

“The Big Bang Theory” premieres tonight (September 21st) at 9:30 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

"How I Met Your Mother" Review: Robney Rules!

Star-crossed couples can be a funny thing in the world of sitcoms.

You desperately root for a couple to get together, and then when they do, it often screws up the whole show.

Remember Maddie and David on “Moonlighting”? What about Niles and Daphne on “Frasier”?

Thankfully, that doesn’t seem like the case for my new favorite TV couple, Barney and Robin of “How I Met Your Mother.”

When last we left the two of them, they were admitting their feelings for each other in the most manic scene of the year. When the premiere opens, however, it appears that the two have moved on.

But not to worry Robney fans (Don’t worry, I’ll work on that one.), the duo is just pretending to move on to hide their relationship from Lilly, who they know will make them define their relationship, which they don’t want to do…

The rest of the episode is about Lilly trying to get the two of them to do just that. We also get to see how Ted meets the mother. But don’t get excited. We don’t get to meet her, we just figure out how he did.

Last season was a pretty strong one for “Mother” and all indications from the premiere are that the show is picking up right where it left off. It never ceases to amaze me how the show I once called the most frustrating on TV is now on my must-see list.

Stupid Neil Patrick Harris and his unending awesomeness…

“How I Met Your Mother” premieres tonight (September 21st) at 8 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Eric McCandless/FOX

"Accidentally On Purpose" Review: If You're Looking For A One-Night Stand...

I have to say I didn’t expect to like “Accidentally On Purpose.”

I just didn’t think it seemed like a very good premise and I’m not that much of a Jenna Elfman fan.

So imagine my surprise to hear lots of laughter while I was watching the pilot. I was especially surprised when I realized that laughter was coming from me…

Jenna Elfman is Billie, a successful movie critic who has just dumped her longtime boyfriend (and boss), James (Grant Show), after he refused to make a commitment. To feel better about herself, Billie goes home with the younger Zack (Jon Foster) after he hits on her in a bar. But her plan for just a one-night stand goes out the window when she ends up pregnant. And because she thinks it could be her last chance for a child, she decides to keep it.

And when Zack decides he wants to be involved, Billie lets him move in with her. But she doesn’t just get Zack, she also gets all of his slacker friends invading her apartment and her life.

Elfman is playing her usual character here, but it works and Foster is completely charming as Zack. Most of the show’s funniest lines, however, go to Ashley Jensen, who steals the show as Billie’s friend, Olivia.

The pilot is funny, and it makes “Accidentally” seem like the perfect fit between “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men.” But I honestly don’t see how it can sustain itself for a whole season without giving us a bunch of tired old jokes about older women, younger men, pregnancy and commitment phobes. Plus, Zach’s friends already annoy me and they barely said two words.

I have a feeling that when it comes to this show, it really is best to keep it a one-night stand…

“Accidentally On Purpose” premieres tonight (September 21st) at 8:30 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Art Streiber/CBS

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pick of the Week: The One Show I Wouldn't Dare Miss

There is SO much going on this week, that this Pick was a little tough.

But then I asked myself, of everything airing this week, what is the one show I would absolutely not miss…

My Pick of the Week is the season premiere of “CSI: Miami.”

When last we left the gang, Delko was missing after his girlfriend and colleague Calleigh shot at him while he was escaping a crime scene with his Russian mobster father.

And yes, it was just as confusing as it sounds…

Now, Delko’s life hangs in the balance, which causes Horatio to reflect on how the team first came together. We’ll get to see the first meeting between Horatio and Delko, and Horatio and Calleigh, and Delko and Calleigh, plus we’ll learn how Horatio got his famous sunglasses.

And seriously, how could you possibly miss that?

“CSI: Miami” premieres Monday, September 21st at 10 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

This Week's BIG Premiere Schedule

This is the big one, kids—premiere week.

So make your viewing and taping plans now, because it’s going to be crazy…

Here are the premieres scheduled for this week…

Monday, September 21st
How I Met Your Mother—8 PM—CBS
Heroes—8 PM (2 hrs.)—NBC
House—8 PM (2 hrs.)—FOX
Dancing With the Stars—8 PM (2 hrs.)—ABC
Accidentally On Purpose—8:30 PM—CBS
**New Show
Two and a Half Men—9 PM—CBS
The Big Bang Theory—9:30 PM—CBS
CSI: Miami—10 PM—CBS
Castle—10 PM—ABC

Tuesday, September 22nd
NCIS: Los Angeles—9 PM—CBS
**New Show
The Forgotten—10 PM—ABC
**New Show
The Good Wife—10 PM—CBS
**New Show
*Also note that “Dancing With the Stars” airs at 8 PM on ABC for two hours tonight as well.

Wednesday, September 23rd
Mercy—8 PM—NBC
**New Show
The New Adventures of Old Christine—8 PM—CBS
Gary Unmarried—8:30 PM—CBS
Criminal Minds—9 PM—CBS
Law & Order: SVU—9 PM—NBC
Modern Family—9 PM—ABC
**New Show
Cougar Town—9:30 PM—ABC
**New Show
Eastwick—10 PM—ABC
**New Show
*Also note that the “Dancing With the Stars” results show airs at 8 PM. It will move to its regular time on Tuesday nights next week.

Thursday, September 24th
Flash Forward—8 PM—ABC
**New Show
Grey’s Anatomy—9 PM (2 hrs.)—ABC
The Mentalist—10 PM—CBS

Friday, September 25th
Ghost Whisperer—8 PM—CBS
Law & Order—8 PM—NBC
Smallville—8 PM—The CW
Brothers—8 PM (1 hr.)—FOX
Dollhouse—9 PM—FOX
Medium—9 PM—CBS
Numb3rs—10 PM—CBS

Saturday, September 26th
48 Hours Mystery—10 PM—CBS
Saturday Night Live—11:30 PM—NBC
**Megan Fox hosts with musical guest U2

Sunday, September 27th
60 Minutes—7 PM—CBS
The Amazing Race—8 PM (2 hrs.)—CBS
The Simpsons—8 PM—FOX
The Cleveland Show—8:30 PM—FOX
**New Show
Desperate Housewives—9 PM—ABC
Family Guy—9 PM—FOX
American Dad—9:30 PM—FOX
Brothers & Sisters—10 PM—ABC
Cold Case—10 PM—CBS

Photo Credits: Chris Haston/NBC, Craig Sjodin/ABC

So How Did I Do?

I’ve got a premiere schedule and several reviews to post for you before I hit the bed tonight, so let me recap the Emmys by simply taking a look at my scorecard…

In the Will Win category, I got four: Glenn Close, “30 Rock,” “Mad Men” and “The Amazing Race.”

In the Wild Card category, I got four as well: Alec Baldwin, Bryan Cranston, Toni Collette and Jeff Probst.

And three won in the Want to Win category: Michael Emerson, Kristin Chenoweth, and Cherry Jones.

The only category where I didn’t get anything was Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy. I’m going to have to go back and see what episode NPH submitted. Clearly it was the wrong one, because I really thought this was his year…

I’ll have more on the Emmys tomorrow after I catch up on what I missed…

It's a Wrap...

Wow, Sigourney Weaver looked classy, didn’t she…

I’m totally distracted now, because I just read that Jon Cryer beat NPH for Outstanding Supporting Actor. I like Jon Cryer, but seriously?!

And “Mad Men” wins. Big shocker there…

Anybody else notice that NPH said we’ll see you again on “broadcast television” next year? Was that a dig at cable?

Still can’t believe he lost. He’s like another Hugh Laurie…

More in a moment…

More Guys In Glasses...

How super cute did Michael J. Fox look? I am all about the guys in glasses for some reason tonight…

If it seems like the presenters are CBS heavy tonight, that’s because they are. That’s the privilege you get when you’re the network airing the ceremony…

And you know I’m going to say it. Simon Baker looks hot in his glasses too…

When is Hugh Laurie ever going to win this thing? I’m happy for Bryan Cranston, though, because he lost so many times in the Comedy category for “Malcolm in the Middle”…

I’m not sure what I think about breaking the ceremony up into genres. That’s an interesting way to do it but I can’t believe they did Comedy before Variety…

Oh, okay, so they did leave Comedy Series until the end. I was wondering…

Who doesn’t love Bob Newhart? Great choice to present the Comedy award…

Oh that was terrible direction. You knew that Tina Fey was going to kiss Bob Newhart since he mentioned it. And the director cut away. Was he not paying attention?...

Now let’s give “Mad Men” its award and we’ll call it a night…

Yea For Two Deserving Winners...

Yea to Michael Emerson! He totally deserved the award and he gave a very classy speech…

WOO-HOO for Cherry Jones. She deserved it as well, and it gave us another chance to see Kiefer in those glasses. I like that he already ditched his tie…

Could’ve used a better segue to the In Memoriam segment, though. And do we really need Sarah McLachlan there live?...The segment was good, but I think it showcased her a little more than it should have…


Okay, you know I was going to say this…

What is up with the “24” splitscreen? Did they think that would be cool or something?

And it’s interesting that they moved the Original Music and Lyrics category to the main show. I’m thinking that’s probably because they thought Justin Timberlake was going to win…

So if they can move that category to the main event, why can’t they move the guest star categories too? I’m thinking we might actually care about that one more…

Yes, I Am Here...

For those of you who have been wondering where I’ve been tonight, I must admit that I blew off the first hour and a half of the Emmys to have my birthday dinner with my fiancé. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me…

But don’t worry, I came in just in time to see Kiefer Sutherland put on his glasses to read the winner of the category he was presenting. He should seriously wear those more often…

Feel free to use this spot to comment on what I’ve missed until I can catch up…

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Emmy Predictions

So Sunday is the Emmys. That means it’s time for me to make my predictions on the winners in the major categories.

Usually when I do this, I’ve spent a week reading insiders’ columns to determine who has the best shot based on the episode they submitted and the analysis of industry experts.

But this year because of time constraints—and because there are so few categories I actually care about—I am just going to go with gut instinct. We’ll see if that makes my predictions any better.

As you may recall, I always choose who I think is going to win; the Wild Card, i.e. the person who has the best chance of upsetting my pick; and who I want to win in each major category.

So without further ado, here are my picks…

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons (Sheldon, “The Big Bang Theory)
Jemaine Clement (Jemaine, “Flight of the Concords”)
Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”)
Steve Carell (Michael, “The Office”)
Alec Baldwin (Jack, “30 Rock”)
Charlie Sheen (Charlie, “Two and a Half Men”)

Will Win: Shalhoub. I just feel like the Academy will go with an old standby this year—especially since this will be one of their last chances to honor him.
Wild Card: Baldwin, because he is a Wild Card.
Want to Win: Parsons, of course. He is absolutely the most deserving.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston (Walter, “Breaking Bad”)
Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”)
Hugh Laurie, (“House”)
Gabriel Byrne (Paul, “In Treatment”)
Jon Hamm (Don, “Mad Men”)
Simon Baker (Patrick, “The Mentalist”)

Will Win: Laurie. I just believe this is finally his year.
Wild Card: Cranston. Last year’s winner will be hard to overlook.
Want to Win: Baker. I just think that would be a real surprise. But I would be okay with Laurie or Cranston winning as well.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Christine, “The New Adventures of Old Christine”)
Christina Applegate (Samantha, “Samantha Who?”)
Sarah Silverman (“The Sarah Silverman Program”)
Tina Fey (Liz, “30 Rock”)
Toni Collette (Tara, “United States of Tara”)
Mary-Louise Parker (Nancy, “Weeds”)

Will Win: Fey. Honestly, can anyone stop her?
Wild Card: Collette. She is playing a woman with a split personality after all.
Want to Win: Applegate. I love it when stars of wrongly cancelled shows get honored.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama
Sally Field (Nora, “Brothers & Sisters”)
Kyra Sedgwick (Brenda, “The Closer”)
Glenn Close (Patty, “Damages”)
Mariska Hargitay (Olivia, “Law & Order: SVU”)
Elisabeth Moss (Peggy, “Mad Men”)
Holly Hunter (Grace, “Saving Grace”)

Will Win: Close, because she’s Glenn Close.
Wild Card: Moss, because “Mad Men” is so beloved by people in the industry.
Want to Win: Sedgwick, because she deserves it.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Kevin Dillon (Johnny, “Entourage”)
Neil Patrick Harris (Barney, “How I Met Your Mother”)
Rainn Wilson (Dwight, “The Office”)
Tracy Morgan (Tracy, “30 Rock”)
Jack McBrayer (Kenneth, “30 Rock”)
Jon Cryer (Alan, “Two and a Half Men”)

Will Win: NPH. This has got to be his year, right?
Wild Card: McBrayer, since everyone loves “30 Rock”
Want to Win: Do you even have to ask? NPH all the way!

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
William Shatner, (Denny, “Boston Legal”)
Christian Clemenson (Jerry, “Boston Legal”)
Aaron Paul (Jesse, “Breaking Bad”)
William Hurt (Daniel, “Damages”)
Michael Emerson (Ben, “Lost”)
John Slattery (Roger, “Mad Men”)

Will Win: Hurt, because he’s William Hurt.
Wild Card: Slattery, because of “Mad Men.”
Want to Win: As much as I would love to see “BL” get some last love with a Shatner win, Emerson totally deserves it.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Kristin Chenoweth (Olive, “Pushing Daisies”)
Amy Poehler (“Saturday Night Live”)
Kristin Wiig (“Saturday Night Live”)
Jane Krakowski (Jenna, “30 Rock”)
Vanessa Williams (Wilhelmina, “Ugly Betty”)
Elizabeth Perkins (Celia, “Weeds”)

Will Win: Poehler since “SNL” is on an Emmy hot streak.
Wild Card: Wiig, since “SNL” is on an Emmy hot streak.
Want to Win: I’m okay with Poehler, but I’m also a fan of Chenoweth. Plus there’s that whole cancelled show thing.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Rose Byrne (Ellen, “Damages”)
Sandra Oh (Christina, “Grey’s Anatomy”)
Chandra Wilson (Miranda, “Grey’s Anatomy”)
Dianne Wiest (Gina, “In Treatment”)
Hope Davis (Mia, “In Treatment”)
Cherry Jones (President Taylor, “24”)

Will Win: Wiest, because the Academy can’t resist her.
Wild Card: Davis, because “Treatment” is just Emmy bait.
Want to Win: Jones, of course.

Outstanding Host For a Reality or Reality-Competition Program
Phil Keoghan (“The Amazing Race”)
Ryan Seacrest (“American Idol”)
Tom Bergeron (“Dancing With the Stars”)
Heidi Klum (“Project Runway”)
Jeff Probst (“Survivor”)
Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio (“Top Chef”)

Will Win: Keoghan, because the Academy loves “Race”
Wild Card: Probst, since he won last year
Want to Win: Lakshmi and Colicchio. I love Seacrest and would be fine if he won. But I would really love to see Bravo have something to rub in the Weinsteins’ faces for that whole “Runway” debacle. If Klum wins, you will be able to hear me screaming.

Outstanding Comedy Series
“Family Guy”
“Flight of the Conchords”
“How I Met Your Mother”
“The Office”
“30 Rock”

Will Win: “30 Rock.” It is the critics’ darling, after all.
Wild Card: “How I Met Your Mother.” You can’t count out the NPH factor.
Want to Win: “Family Guy.” I think this would be a real slap in the face to some people and you know Seth MacFarlane will give a great speech.

Outstanding Drama Series
“Big Love”
“Breaking Bad”
“Mad Men”

Will Win: “Mad Men”
Wild Card: All of them
Want to Win: I honestly don’t care. I was going to go with “Lost,” but that just means that we’ll have to hear Team Darlton brag about it and badmouth all of the other shows.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
“The Amazing Race”
“American Idol”
“Dancing With the Stars”
“Project Runway”
“Top Chef”

Will Win: “Race.” It’s won every time so why stop now.
Wild Card: “Idol.” You have to consider the Adam Lambert factor.
Want to Win: “Top Chef.” It didn’t have a very strong year, but it would still be great for Bravo. I don’t want “Idol” to win because I don’t think it should be rewarded for its blatant attempt to manipulate the results. And if “Runway” wins for that dreadful season, well, I’ll be screaming at that too.

So what do you think? Who do you think will take home the big prizes Sunday night? Be sure to post a comment and let us know.

Don’t forget the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards air Sunday, September 20th at 8 p.m. on CBS…

And I’ll be checking in periodically throughout the night with my thoughts right here, so…

Stay Tuned…

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"The Big Bang Theory" DVD Review: The Funniest Show on TV

“The Big Bang Theory” was already a very funny show.

But something clicked in its second season that made it the funniest show on TV. And now you can see that for yourself with the release of ‘The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season” on DVD…

Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Howard (Simon Helberg), Raj (Kunal Nayyar) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) experience a lot during the season. Leonard gets a girlfriend. Raj hits on a Terminator. Howard runs the Mars Rover into a ditch. Penny dates the owner of the comic book store. And Sheldon learns to drive.

All that happens while the guys learn about life, love, relationships and a bunch of scientific stuff I don’t understand. But fortunately, you don’t have to understand it to find it funny.

The Christmas episode, “The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis” was the funniest half-hour of the entire TV season and the main reason I named “Bang” the best show of 2008. I’ve seen it three times now and I still laugh hysterically every time…

And as if the episodes weren’t funny enough, the DVD has a hysterical Gag Reel that will leave you rolling. There’s also a look at the real-life physicist who consults for the show and a featurette that highlights some of the season’s best moments—of which there are many.

Plus, with “Bang,” you get a bonus joke with each episode—the title card. Executive Producer/Co-Creator Chuck Lorre writes each title card at the end of the episode. And he’s not afraid to use them to rant at anyone he pleases. Just hit pause and enjoy…

If you enjoy a funny, traditional multi-camera sitcom, then you have to check out “Bang.” Not only will it bring out loads of laughter, but it will also bring out your inner geek.

Of course with me, it doesn’t have to reach down that far to pull it out…

And just for the record, Sheldon is right. Dick Grayson was absolutely the right choice to be the next Batman…

“The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season” is available now…

Photo Credit: Warner Home Video

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" DVD Reviews: For the Sexy Medical Drama Fans

This week is a big one in the world of TV on DVD…

And two of the biggest releases are “Grey’s Anatomy Complete Fifth Season More Moments” and “Private Practice: The Complete Second Season.”

This was an interesting season for “Grey’s” as fans were so angry about the Izzie-Denny story, but then they were so on board for the emotional cliffhanger (It was really good.). And honestly, watching it all together in one set like this, eveything does play much better.

Helping explain things even further is “Heaven Sent,” a featurette about the character of Denny Duquette with interviews with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Denny), Executive Producer Betsy Beers, Creator/Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes and more.

However, there are no commentaries on any of the episodes, which I think would’ve fleshed out the writing process a little further. And it would’ve allowed us to hear interesting tidbits I’ve read other places, including Rhimes’ last minute switch of Denny for George in the finale cliffhanger.

There are some good special features on the set, though. We get a look behind the scenes of the 100th episode, which features lots of interviews with the cast. Hearing Kevin McKidd (Owen) speak with his native Scottish accent is really something to see (and hear).

There are also bloopers, unaired scenes with commentary and one extended episode.

Since “Private Practice” and “Grey’s” are so tied together, it only makes sense that they would be released on the same day. “Practice” changed a little this season by focusing more on the moral dilemmas doctors must face.

And there are lots of them during this season including abortion, pre-teen pregnancy and the controversy surrounding vaccinations. But as we find out in the Bonus Features, the cast loves the dilemmas and loves to argue about them—even when the cameras stop rolling.

In fact, it’s obvious that this cast just loves doing this show and that’s always something I like to see. Watching Paul Adelstein (Cooper) and Amy Brenneman (Violet) talk during the featurette, “Patient Confidentiality: Examining Season 2” is a real treat.

The set also has extended episodes, deleted scenes with commentary, bloopers and a special look at the amazing photography of Chris Lowell (Drew).

But the coolest feature on both sets is the Start Kit, which gives you a quick catch-up on the shows so you can really enjoy the sets—even if you’ve never watched a single episode.

Fans of both shows—as well as fans of sexy medical dramas—will want to add these sets to their collection…

“Grey’s Anatomy Complete Fifth Season More Moments” and “Private Practice: The Complete Second Season” are available now…

Photos Credit: Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

And the First Emmys Went To...

Saturday, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences handed out the Creative Arts Emmys.

And although Kathy Griffin got the pleasure of hosting the show, she went home a double loser as her Emmy win streak for “My Life on the D-List” was stopped at two by “Intervention.”

Here were some of the other major winners from the evening…

“South Park” took home Outstanding Animated Program (Less than one hour)…

“Wizards of Waverly Place” took home Outstanding Children’s Program…

Justin Timberlake won Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live.” Tina Fey won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her guest appearances as Gov. Sarah Palin on “SNL”…

Ellen Burstyn won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role on “Law & Order: SVU,” while the great Michael J. Fox won for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role on “Rescue Me”…

And “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” won for Outstanding Special Class: Short Format Live-Action Entertainment Programs…

Of course, the main event is this Sunday night. I will not be doing my usual live-blogging, because I don’t want to miss a single word Neil Patrick Harris has to say. But I will be chiming in from time to time with my thoughts, so be sure to drop by with your thoughts…

And on Friday I will be posting my Emmy predictions. Normally, I do a lot of research about what episodes were submitted for judging, but this year I’m going completely on gut instinct. We’ll see if that works any better for me…

"Community" Review: A Passing Grade For Now

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know full well my philosophy on TV pilots.

They’re tricky because you have to introduce all of the characters, but you also have to make it entertaining enough to get people to tune in again. Personally, I think sitcom pilots are even trickier, because it’s only a half hour and most of the best stuff has already been given away in the promos.

Probably the most successful sitcom pilots just jump right in there and try and introduce you to the characters along the way. That is certainly what the pilot of “Community” does, although I’m not sure how successful it is…

“Community” stars Joel McHale (who is best known for “The Soup”) as Jeff, a lawyer who has just had his license suspended because the state bar discovered his degree was from Colombia (the country not the school). Now he’s at Greendale Community College trying to earn a degree the easiest way he can.

He also wants to find a way to impress the attractive woman in his Spanish class, Britta (Gillian Jacobs). So he pretends to be a certified Spanish tutor and invites her to a fake study group. But when she invites Abed (Danny Pudi) and he invites several others, the fake study group turns into a real one. And the group learns much more about each other than they do Spanish.

Rounding out the group are Pierce (Chevy Chase), Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), Annie (Alison Brie) and Troy (Donald Glover). Each of them has a reason to be in community college. Shirley is a divorcee looking for a second chance, Annie is recovering from a breakdown, Britta is a drop-out with something to prove, Abed has some serious family issues, Troy lost his football scholarship because of injury and Pierce is, well, we’re not really sure about him yet.

And honestly, I’m not really sure about the show yet either. The pilot is funny (although it is terribly disrespectful to community colleges), but I think that’s mostly because Joel McHale is so funny. But how many times can you laugh at him using his fast-talking ways to get him out of trouble? The rest of the characters will have to step up to the plate and at this point, I’m just not sure they can.

But I’m willing to give it a passing grade now with future re-evaluations throughout the season…

“Community” premieres Thursday, September 17th at 9:30 p.m. on NBC…

Photo Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"The Beautiful Life" Review: A Beautiful Mess

Probably the only thing you have heard about “The Beautiful Life” (which The CW is now calling “The Beautiful Life: TBL”) is the headlines Mischa Barton made with her hospital stay.

Sadly, that story is much more exciting than anything you’ll see on “TBL.” In fact, those letters should stand for Totally Blah and Lame…

“TBL” is meant to follow the dramas of high fashion models. Raina (Sara Paxton) is the up-and-comer who steals the spotlight from the supermodel of the moment, Sonja (Mischa Barton), who has just returned from a mysterious hiatus. Chris (Benjamin Hollingsworth) is the newly discovered fresh face from Iowa trying to adjust to the big city. Cole (Nico Tortorella) is the hotshot male model, while Isaac (Corbin Bleu) is struggling to make ends meet.

But instead of real drama, or even good soapy drama, we get lame and tired stories. One of the models deals drugs. One of them is a backstabber looking to trample anyone she can to be the best. One photographer, one modeling agent AND one booking agent insist on the models sleeping their way into the jobs. The only difference is that one of them (the modeling agent) is gay.

That story might work once, but three times in the same episode?

And of course, the doe-eyed farm boy with the disapproving parents is falling for the up-and-comer with a mysterious past. It’s all been done before, but so much better.

And it doesn’t help that Mischa Barton is really not a good actress. I guess I must have let my love for “The O.C.” overshadow that fact before…

About the only good thing I can say about “TBL” is that it has a good soundtrack…

“The Beautiful Life” is a beautiful mess and it’s really not worth your time…

“The Beautiful Life: TBL” premieres Wednesday, September 16th on The CW…

Photo Credit: Richard Phibbs/The CW

The "Light" Will Go Out This Friday

I have not seen a full hour of “Guiding Light” that I can ever remember, but I will still be sad when it goes off the air this Friday.

Why? Because I know what it’s like to lose a show you’ve loved for so many years. I have never gotten over the cancellation of “Another World,” which is probably why I’m so obsessed with the “World” role playing game.

But whereas “Another World” was cancelled out of stupidity (Well, it was.), the cancellation of “Guiding Light” is unfortunately based solely on economics. And that’s even sadder…

“Light” did everything it could to try and save money and stave off cancellation, including giving itself a whole new look with handheld cameras and outdoor shoots in New Jersey. Personally, I didn’t care for it—and I know a lot of fans didn’t either—but you have to applaud them for trying…

And now with another soap gone, all the other soaps are no doubt holding their breath a little as they wait to see if they will be next.

I personally hope none of them are…

The final episode of “Guiding Light” airs Friday, September 18th at 3 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: George De Sota/jpi studios

"The Jay Leno Show" Review: Call Me Crazy, But I Like It

You’re welcome to tell me I’m crazy if you want to, but I like “The Jay Leno Show”…

And why wouldn’t I? I always loved “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and basically this is the same show.

And that’s where things get a little sad…

My biggest concern with the new show was that NBC would screw it up by trying too hard to make it different from the old show. But now it’s not different enough which just reminds us how much we miss Jay in late night and how badly he was screwed by NBC.

Sure, there were some different elements. The set was slightly different—but not in a good way. Whoever decided to have those dayglo colors behind Jay during his monologue have clearly never sat back and watched what it looks like. And all that glass was just pointless. I guess guests coming through a glass door is supposed to remind us that this is not “Tonight.”

The intro was different—and again not in a good way. The announcer was cheesy and actually made me miss John Melendez. And I love Kevin Eubanks and am so glad that he’s back, but what was that theme song? It didn’t even have a tune! The pictures of Jay through the years were cute, but the rest of the intro was just one big mess.

The timing of the show was also different as the comedy bits were spread throughout the hour with the trademark bit—in last night’s case, Headlines—coming at the end to lead into the late local news. But some of the stuff was stretched out way further than it should have been—mainly the Dan Finnerty bit that started out funny but then just got so painful I almost turned the channel.

And the desk was gone, which I thought made Jay look totally uncomfortable. But maybe that was just me.

But the rest was the same. And call me crazy, but I think this could just work…

Jay’s audience is not young people—although they gave him an enthusiastic welcome last night (I wonder what NBC was pumping through that studio?). Jay’s audience is the older crowd. The ones that watch the monologue and then turn off the TV to go to bed because they have to go to work the next day. With Jay at 10, they can watch the whole hour, catch the late local news and then go to bed.

But of course, if that happens, there is no reason for people to stay up late and watch “The Tonight Show with Conan O’ Brien” and “Leno” will end up completely destroying Conan’s ratings…

And wouldn’t that just be devastating…

I still, by the way, can’t believe Jay went there last night and asked Kanye West if his mom would be disappointed in him (I really wanted him to go with his classic Hugh Grant question, “What the h—l were you thinking?”). And I have no idea how Kanye’s anger over his mother’s death made him jump on stage and tell the world that Taylor Swift didn’t deserve her award, but God bless him for showing up and helping Jay out.

And clearly Jay returned the favor by trying to make Kanye look human. Not sure it worked, but Jay sure tried…

I feel quite confident that “Leno” produced a pretty solid rating last night, but I hope someone is telling the NBC publicity department that this thing is far from over. It will be one of the most interesting stories of the TV season…

“The Jay Leno Show” airs weeknights at 10 p.m. on NBC…

And be sure to share your thoughts on the premiere...

Photo Credit: NBC

UPDATE: “The Jay Leno Show” brought in 17.7 million viewers last night, which is darn good. And let me take a minute and congratulate the NBC publicity department for showing real restraint in their press release and not declaring Jay the king of anything…

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bravo For a Real Treat for "Family Guy" Fans!

Any of you who question my undying love for Bravo need only tune into its longest running show tomorrow night…

On “Inside the Actors Studio,” host James Lipton has interviewed hundreds of actors over the years giving us real insight not only into the actors, but into the art of acting itself. But what makes the show really special is that it knows no network or company boundaries.

So even though the show is on Bravo, which is a part of the NBC Universal family, it is not afraid to showcase a signature show from another network—in this case, FOX—as the cast of “Family Guy” sits down to answer questions, both as themselves and their characters.

And what ensues is a real treat not only for fans of “Family Guy,” but also for people who appreciate real talent.

Unfortunately, a DVD problem kept me from seeing the entire episode, but what I did see was extremely entertaining. Watching the cast perform the “Family Guy” theme song was a real highlight.

There’s no doubt that “Family Guy” is not for everyone, but watching Seth MacFarlane switch back and forth between his numerous creations is pretty awesome—no matter what the words may be.

Bravo to Bravo for giving us this rare look inside some of TV’s most creative minds. You won’t want to miss it…

“Inside the Actors Studio” with the cast of “Family Guy” airs Monday, September 14th at 8 p.m. on Bravo…

Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/Bravo

Pick of the Week: NBC's Grand Experiment

After months of speculation, the night has finally arrived for the premiere of the most hotly anticipated new show of the season.

And that show is, of course, my Pick...

My Pick of the Week is the premiere of “The Jay Leno Show.”

The reason the show is so hotly anticipated is because we’re all wondering if NBC’s grand experiment will work or fall flat on its face. And even though I’m a little sore at Jay for canning his longtime director Ellen Brown and replacing her with a veteran of Conan O’Brien’s old show, I still really want this to succeed.

NBC actually did something smart (I know. I’m shocked myself.) to help make that happen by having the show premiere this week so it can have a week without a lot of competition from the other networks. I hope it helps…

The premiere will feature Jerry Seinfeld and a performance by Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West…

“The Jay Leno Show” premieres Monday, September 14th at 10 p.m. on NBC…

Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

This Week's Premiere Schedule

Next week is the BIG week of premieres, but there are some big ones coming in the next few days.

Here is this week’s premiere schedule…

Monday, September 14th
One Tree Hill—8 PM—The CW
Gossip Girl—9 PM—The CW
The Jay Leno Show—10 PM—NBC

Tuesday, September 15th
The Biggest Loser—8 PM—NBC

Wednesday, September 16th
The Beautiful Life—9 PM—The CW

Thursday, September 17th
Bones—8 PM—FOX
Survivor: Samoa—8 PM—CBS
Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday—8 PM—NBC
Parks and Recreation—8:30 PM—NBC
Fringe—9 PM—FOX
The Office—9 PM—NBC
Community—9:30 PM—NBC
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Picks of the Week: Hello and Goodbye

The new show I have been looking forward to the most premieres this week and a comedy stalwart says goodbye…

My Picks of the Week are “Glee” and “King of the Hill.”

If you guys read my review of the preview episode of “Glee” that aired in May, you know I loved it. And although I haven’t seen this premiere episode, I have heard nothing that will take that love away. FOX has big expectations for this one and so do I…

“Glee” premieres Wednesday, September 9th at 9 p.m. on FOX…

And while FOX says hello to a promising newcomer, it says goodbye to one of its comedy veterans. “King of the Hill” ends its run after 13 seasons.

This show really never got the love it deserved from FOX—especially after the network fell in love with Seth MacFarlane. But it is often funnier than most of the comedies on TV and it deserves a last look…

“King of the Hill” airs its hour-long series finale Sunday, September 13th at 8 p.m. on FOX…

Photo Credits: Matthias Clamer/FOX and FOX

This Week's Premiere Schedule

So just as I was wrapping up this whole moving thing and getting geared up for the most wonderful time of the year—the start of the fall TV season—I realized that The CW and FOX were getting a jump on things.

Now I’m playing some serious catch-up, so I apologize for the tardiness of this post…

But here are the premieres you can see this week, beginning tonight…

Tuesday, September 8th
90210—8 PM—CW
Melrose Place—9 PM—CW
*New Series

Wednesday, September 9th
America’s Next Top Model—8 PM (2 hrs.)—CW
So You Think You Can Dance—8 PM—FOX
Glee—9 PM—FOX
*New Series

Thursday, September 10th
The Vampire Diaries—8 PM—CW
*New Series
Supernatural—9 PM—CW
NFL Football Kickoff: Tennessee vs. Pittsburgh—8:30 PM—NBC

Sunday, September 13th
Football Night in America—7 PM—NBC
Sunday Night Football (Chicago vs. Green Bay)—8 PM—NBC

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles/CW