Tuesday, December 26, 2006


New Year’s Eve TV Staying in on Amateur Night Sunday? Here are your TV-and-cocktails choices: Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (ABC), with the ghost of Clark himself, heir-apparent assclown Ryan Seacrest and musical guests Christina Aguilera, Fergie, Ludacris, KT Tunstall and … Meat Loaf; recommended cocktail: Jim Beam & Nyquil. New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly (NBC), hangin’ with C-Dawg and Panic! At the Disco; recommended cocktail: Bacardi! Silver, or any “cheerleader beer.” The Adult Swim Metalocalypse Marathon (Cartoon Network), the clear and obvious choice with eight (!) straight hours of the world’s heaviest/densest metal band on through till the dawn; recommended cocktail: Smirnoff & Liquid Wrench.

Dirt Tuesday 1.2.07 (FX) Series Debut: The FX promos run six times an hour 24/7, but how does Courteney Cox’s return to television stack up against previous post-Friends tube attempts like Lisa Kudrow’s The Comeback (tops), Matthew Perry’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (getting there) and Matt LeBlanc’s Joey (oh, the humanity). Fortunately, she’s not carrying Dirt on her own; the cast and recurring guest list tops a dozen, and not one of ‘em is as insidiously annoying as David Schwimmer (I’ll be there for you, Dave—in pure irrational hatred). In fact, Cox’s Lucy Spiller, editor of Hollywood celeb-rags Drrt (the newsier/edgier one—just look at those dual “r”s) and Now (the fluff ‘n’ the puff), is only half as interesting her star photographer (Ian Hart), a schizophrenic schlub prone to hallucinations and ass-kickings from disgruntled celebrities. On the FX oh-no-they-didn’t shock scale, Dirt is up there with Nip/Tuck, with extra helpings of sex and glam to make up for the relatively scant plotlines (the show is too fast and furiously scene-packed to establish much of anything, at least in the pilot) and the possibility that you may not actually care about the “problems” of pretty showbiz folk. Nonetheless, it’s addictive and carb-free—but why are all of the Friends’ post-sitcom TV projects set “behind the scenes of Hollywood,” anyway?

Poker After Dark Tuesday 1.2.07 (NBC) Series Debut: It sounds like a cleverly-titled late-night Cinemax flick—until you remember that there’s nothing clever about Cinemax. No, NBC’s inexplicable attempt to program something even later than Last Call is simply poker champs playing cards in Las Vegas casinos, hosted by Shana Hiatt, “one of poker’s most recognizable faces” (have to take NBC’s word for it). What’s next? Shuffleboard Before Lunch? Then again, KSL will probably just run infomercials and color bars instead of Poker After Dark, so never mind.

The Knights of Prosperity, In Case of Emergency Wednesday 1.3.07 (ABC) Series Debuts: Originally called Let’s Rob Mick Jagger (c’mon, who wouldn’t watch that?), The Knights of Prosperity (uh …) stars Donal Logue as New York janitor who assembles a motley crew of likeminded blue-collars to pull a heist on Jagger’s swank apartment to cash in on … what? Scarves and tiny jackets? Jagger, playing an hysterically hyper-camp version of himself in the Cribs-y TV profiles that set Logue’s harebrained scheme into motion, almost steals the show (pun, yes), but there’s a My Name is Earl-esque underdog tone to Knights that might click for a few episodes, until the robbery still hasn’t been pulled off or the gang moves onto a new target (like, say, David Schwimmer). After that, it would become as sad as In Case of Emergency, about four former high-school mates (David Arquette, Greg Germann, Kelly Hu and Jonathan Silverman) who meet up in the twilight of Gen X-hood and realize their lives didn’t quite turn as they’d planned: “We’re all whores—I was gonna be Kurt Vonnegut, and now I write greeting cards.” Actually, that’s pretty funny … and yet a little close to the bone …

The Descent
Chicks in a Cave! This year’s surprise no-budget horror hit, about a group of women on a cave expedition gone wrong that plays on every phobia imaginable—including Underground Girl-Eating Monsterphobia—is way scarier when you don’t think too hard about it. So don’t. LionsGate.com

Dane Cook’s Tourgasm Dane Cook onstage: funny (not universal with the comedy intelligentsia, just everyone else). Dane Cook on tour with three lesser comics sucking up to him relentlessly for nine episodes: not. Life on the road in a luxury rock-star bus is tough, especially with all those lips on your ass HBO.com

Factotum Matt Dillon as Charles Bukowski’s Henry Chinaski—if you were lost after Matt Dillon, best move along. His role as a boozing writer (like there’s any other kind) has all the Actor Buzz, but Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei (yes, her) deliver at least as many goods in smaller roles. IFCTV.com

The Simple Life: Season 4 The season where America’s skankhearts, Paris and Nicole, weren’t speaking and their celebutard antics had to be filmed separately—and yet the integrity of The Simple Life somehow remained intact! Just remember: They can’t fade into well-earned obscurity until you let ‘em. FoxHome.com

More New DVD Releases (Dec. 26) Air Wolf: Season 2, The Black Dahlia, Jackass Number Two, Trans, Two-a-Days: Season 1

Rock & Awe Indie-rock heroes The Decemberists in a guitar-solo showdown with “all-yearist” Stephen Colbert—whom to root for? If you missed the guitarmageddon action on The Colbert Report last week, well, you sir, are no fan. But, Comedy Central’s Motherload has the ShredDown footage, including Henry Kissinger’s (yes, him) edict that, in the end, “America won.” Indeed.

Monday, December 18, 2006

True TV's Xmas Cop-Out, Uh, Xtra!

Tooned Out Click the image for the full-sized effect:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jesus Crispies

Preachin' Punk Wednesday Dec. 13 on the Sundance Channel, One Punk Under God (that punk being Jay Bakker, son of fallen televangelists Jim & Tammy Faye) debuts. This is notable because it's the first time I've ever been remotely interested in anything on the Sundance Channel. The six-part reality-doc follows Jay's relocation of his alternative congregation, the Revolution Church, from Atlanta to Brooklyn; his sermons are held in bars for crowds of fellow tattooed rockers: "Praise the Lord, tip your bartenders." Check out the promo and tell me this ain't David Cross ...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Merry Frakkmas

The Office Thursday 12.14 (NBC) One-Hour Christmas Episode: What? You say The Only TV Column That Matters™ writes too much about The Office? Well, merry damn Christmas to you, too! Do I come to your job and slap the Nutcracker out of your mouth? Anyway, on tonight’s Office Christmas party—which may or may not top last year’s glorious, vodka-soaked “Yankee Swap” episode—Michael finally gets dumped by Carol and goes boozing at Benihana with Stamford Andy (look out, Dwight), while Angela, Pam and Jim’s new girl Karen (oh, quit hissing) are locked in a holly-jolly smackdown of rival festivity planning. And no, Jim and Pam aren’t getting back together … or are they? Sorry, written too much about The Office …

Battlestar Galactica Friday 12.15 (Sci-Fi) Fall Finale: Despite the ratings dip and the shark-jump calibrations that disaffected geeks are angrily typing away on the Internet with their Cheetos-caked stubs, the third season thus far of Battlestar Galactica has arguably been the best yet—and we’re only 10 episodes in. In this last new installment till January, Team Galactica happens upon the Temple of Five on the algae planet, legendarily told to hold the Eye of Jupiter, a cosmic OnStar guide to Earth. The Cylons are coming for it; Commander Adama says he’ll blow the planet up real good if they make a move; Sam tells Apollo that Starbuck is a psycho ‘ho, but she’s his psycho ‘ho; Grace learns her Cylon baby is still alive … hmm, maybe this is turning into a space telenovela. I’ll reconsider your thesis, FrakkHead632.

Breaking Bonaduce, Celebrity Paranormal Project Sunday 12.17 (VH1) Season Finales: Further proof that VH1 can drag two seasons out of anything, Danny Bonaduce’s train-wreck tour concludes its second run with the Red Menace turning to the only cable subscriber he hasn’t annoyed with his myriad problems, Jesus. (What, you thought the Prince of Peace was a dish guy?) On Celebrity Paranormal Project, Debra Wilson, Evander Holyfield, Julio Iglesias Jr., Wee Man and Nikki Ziering … OK, we seriously need to reclaim the definition of “celebrity.” Take back the night!

Dexter Sunday 12.17 (Showtime) Season Finale: The Ice Truck Killer has kidnapped Dex’s whiny sister—for some reason, he wants to get her back. Alive, even. Showtime’s lovable serial murderer (Dexter only kills bad, bad people; pirating Showtime probably doesn’t count) has become the network’s most left-field hero since Weeds’ pot-dealing mom, which means their next original series will likely be about a jovial realtor/cannibal (casting call: Jim Gaffigan) who targets only Republicans and steroid-juiced former child actors. Until then, Michael C. Hall’s Dexter is the coolest cat on TV.

Identity Monday 12.18 (NBC) Series Debut: A game show hosted by Penn Jillette—after Shatner, it was only a matter of time. Compared to recent pinhead play-along fare like Deal or No Deal and Show Me the Money (I still have no idea how 1 vs. 100 works, nor do I give the eensiest rat’s ass), Identity is relative rocket science: Contestant tries to guess the professions of 12 strangers and win piles of money for each correct answer, all under the psychological duress of ominous time-padding music and Jillette’s ominous-er chin weed.

A Perfect Day Monday 12.18 (TNT) An author (Rob Lowe) writes a mega-bestseller about the importance of family, then proceeds to bask in fame and neglect his wife (Paget Brewster), kid and agent—that’s right, agent! Is nothing sacred? Naturally, there’s a TV-movie Dickens twist (ouch) when Christopher Lloyd appears to show him The Error of His Ways, just in time for Christmas and turtlenecks. Based on Richard Paul Evans’ book of the same name, the only real surprise here is that Richard Paul Evans wrote a book besides The Christmas Box. I mean … heart-warm-ing!

Black Christmas
The 1974 Canadian slasher classic is back! A young (and sane) Margo Kidder stars as one of several sorority sisters being stalked by a mysterious killer over Christmas break; the movie’s twists and scares are on-par with critical genre-definer Halloween, which arrived four years later. ItsMeBilly.com

The Devil Wears Prada Anne Hathaway and her bangs carried the promos, but The Devil Wears Prada is Meryl Streep’s movie all the way—and a few crumbs for Stanley Tucci. The fizzy fashion comedy celebrates the runway world rather than pissing on it, which is what separates it from, say, Ugly Betty. FoxHome.com

Stacked: The Complete Series It wasn’t hailed as one of the great Fox sitcoms a couple of years ago, but in the wake of ‘Til Death and Happy Hour, Stacked looks damned funny in retrospect. Taste in men aside, Pamela Anderson is smarter and savvier then she’ll ever get credit for; Stacked and VIP are the proof. FoxHome.com

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Anchorman does NASCAR? Shoulda been a classic, but Talladega Nights’ true laughs are outnumbered by (admittedly killer) track-action shots and WTF? moments that probably seemed like genius during filming. Still, Will Ferrell’s too good at this stuff to make a completely worthless flick. SonyPictures.com

More New DVD Releases (12.12) Full House: Season 5, Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Season 2, Material Girls, World Trade Center, The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006)

That Girl
Marlo Thomas’ ABC sitcom predated the influential Mary Tyler Moore Show by four years—without Marlo, maybe no Mary. Thomas’ saucer eyes and sparkling comic delivery carried That Girl’s entire 1966-71 run, especially charming in the initial episodes online now. Oh, Donald!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Classical Ass

My Bare Lady Thursday, Dec. 7 (Fox Reality) Series Debut: The rerun-riffic Fox Reality cable channel (go ahead, try to find it in your listings) hasn’t been much of a contender in the original series arena—unless you count the misadventures of a pair of vineyard-buyin’ millionaires in Corkscrewed: The Wrath of Grapes … which, let’s hope, no one does. But now, get ready for My Bare Lady! Adult-film actresses Chanel St. James, Kirsten Price, Sasha Knox and Nautica Thorne (all tops in the field—I’ve researched their work, extensively) fly across the Atlantic for three weeks of proper theatre—that’s “re”—training before debuting on London’s West End in a classical drama. Can the porn queens prove themselves as real thespians? How many thespian/lesbian jokes can be squeezed into an episode? Is there a money shot in Medea? Will Falstaff need a fluffer? Can the ladies rise from creampies to the crème de le crème? Could I gone on and on like this? Yes, but I’ll need an hour or two turnaround.

The Wire Sunday, Dec. 10 (HBO) Season Finale: First Heroes (off till January), now The Wire (back for Season 5 in late 2007)? What are TV critics going to have to talk and giggle about amongst themselves for the rest of the month? How about …

Sleeper Cell: American Terror Sunday, Dec. 10-Sunday, Dec. 17 (Showtime) Miniseries: As if domestic criminals weren’t enough to worry about, Showtime’s miniseries about Islamic terror cells in Los Angeles is back—and with Jack Bauer currently on a slow boat to China, no less! Chloe!

The Lost Room Monday, Dec. 11-Wednesday, Dec. 13 (Sci-Fi) Miniseries: Doesn’t get much more high-concept than this: A cop (Six Feet Under’s Peter Krause) comes into possession of the key to a motel room along Route 66 in New Mexico—a supernatural motel room full of powerful objects, like a comb that can bend time and an electricity-shooting pen, if not a decent air conditioner (yeah, all motels are the same). When his daughter (Elle Fanning) suddenly disappears within, he realizes Room 10 of the Sunshine Motel is the center of unearthly power—also because a mysterious woman (Julianna Margulies) tells him so, and mysterious women are always right in science fiction. Naturally, all kinds of nefarious figures are out to collect the objects to Control the World, and now Cop and Mysterious Woman are in the thick of it. The Lost Room is on the dazzling, high end of the Sci-Fi quality scale—more The Triangle and Taken than FrankenFish and DinoCroc—so expect much talk of it becoming a series but never panning out.

Nip/Tuck Tuesday, Nov. 12 (FX) Season Finale: Not only did Nip/Tuck finally jump the shark this year, it gave it a sex change and a new nose before bending it over a gurney and having its way while crying “Mommy!” Seriously, this season would have been effdup even without naked Rosie O’Donnell (eww), the lobster baby (sheesh), Larry Hagman’s sag-sack (yikes), the dwarf nanny (zoinks), lesbian Alanis Morissette (oh, sure), the nipple-eating dog (ouch), the kidney thieves (damn) and Scientology (that’s just going too far). In the season closer, tattooed mofo Escobar Gallardo is back again, and Christian’s “love” life is in jeopardy … again. Ah, at least some things never change.

The Broken Lizard crew (Super Troopers and other lesser movies that make you want to keep referencing Super Troopers) takes on the most sacred of all subjects: Beer, and the voluminous guzzling of same—oh, and boobs. There’s also a “story” involving a competition, if you’re into that. WarnerBros.com

Miami Vice Other than Collin Farrell’s mullet, not much ‘80s action going on here—they didn’t even bring back the Jan Hammer theme! Still, the modern Miami Vice remake is a passable action-cop drama with more plot than required for the multiplex, hence a more satisfying ride on DVD. But why so serious? NBCUniversalStore.com

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest A stunning feat of trilogy filler between original and finale, Dead Man’s Chest at least seems like it’s going somewhere even though absolutely nothing is happening during the six-hour (or whatever it is) running time. It’s The Cap’n Jack Sparrow Show, for sure, which saves it from absolute suckage. Disney.com

24: Season 5 Easily the most thrilling season since the first, with the best villain the series has ever had: President Logan, a magnificent weasel of the highest order (face it, President Palmer was a snooze). Also more Chloe and more kills, not to mention a hijacked-to-China cliffhanger that’ll resolve … uh, how? FoxHome.com

More New DVD Releases (Dec. 5) Cheyenne: Season 1, The Dukes of Hazzard: Season 7, The Oh in Ohio, Pinky & the Brain: Vol. 2, Pulse, Rosanne: Season 6, Saturday Night Live: Season 1

CBS’ apocalypse soap is on vacation until February, but the website is loaded with enough catch-up content (including all episodes streaming to present and a full-on Wiki section) to maybe justify jumping on the Jericho bandwagon next year. Missing: Lil’ Jon doing a “Skeet-Skeet-Skeet” parody.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Smackdown Galactica

Apollo, No Creed Last night's flashback-whiplash episode of Battlestar Galactica, "Unfinished Business," climaxing with a bloody boxing match between Starbuck and Apollo (dude, you got your ass handed to you by a girl) was, all together now: Frakking awesome! No Cyclons, no Baltar, no bullshit—just good ol' violence and backstory embellishment. Not to mention some Kara Trace buttcrack action. You know it's a good episode when the geeks on the BSG Forum are pissing and moaning about how the season is slipping into the abyss—suck it up, pinheads. And I'm sure everyone will be all nice and healed up by next week ...

Ay Yi Yi Not sure how many times I've woken up hungover and accidentally flipped to the local Univision channel, but it's always something called Muevete, a bizarro variety show with an apparently unlimited confetti budget and half-dressed Latinas galore ... oh yeah, that's why I "accidentally" land there. Today, however, it was a stage full of shirtless dudes in game of "Macho Chairs," where teen girls from the audience dance around the beefcake and then jump on one when the music stops. Spanish TV's Saturday-morning family programming is way better than what I had growing up, for sure. Now if only Muevete would lose this creepy ponytail guy in the Body Glove ...

Friday, December 01, 2006

But Will The Real SNL Still Suck?

Tina Slays NBC announced today that the other behind-the-scenes-at-a-Saturday-Night-Live-ish-series, 30 Rock, has been picked up for a full season. Why? Somebody actually saw it last night in NBC's big-ass comedy block, apparently. Great news, but I have questions: Why is 30 Rock funny one week (like last night) and painfully lame the next? How many more jokes about Tina Fey's clothes do we have to endure? What exactly does Jane Krakowski bring to the table besides a pair of tits? How can I even notice those with that freaky-plastic face above? If I mention the GE Trivection Oven here, will NBC give me one? Proud, like Peacork, baby!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Brain Salad Surgery

What About Brain? As expected/hoped, CBS has canceled the craptastic House rip-off 3 Lbs. after (how coincidental) three weeks. Sure, they're calling it a "hiatus," just like a coma is an "extra-extra-long nap" in acerbic doctor talk. Since 3 Lbs., Smith and Love Monkey have all failed in the Tuesday 9 p.m. timeslot recently, CBS will now only run the cheap-o animated CSI Babies there.

Throw Drunky From The View Don't judge Danny DeVito: If you had to appear on a Satanic hen-party like The View to plug a shitty paycheck movie like Deck the Halls, you'd probably want to be loaded, too. Watch before it gets yanked by the Internet police:

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Axl Rose: Assclown

Use Your Delusion Pt. 284 Not really TV-related, but what the hell: The Eagles of Death Metal, probably one of the best live rock & roll bands featuring a lead moustache working today, were kicked off the current Guns N' Roses after one performance Friday night. Why? Because Axl Rose and the crowd of burnouts (who loved the other opener, The Man Who Ate Skid Row's Sebastian Bach) didn't quite "get" the Eagles' ironic champagne jams. From FMQB: "A lot of opening bands don't get a great reception from an audience that is ravenous for the headliner, but is that really a reason to kick them off the tour? Apparently to Axl Rose, it is. After making the crowd wait for two hours, Rose came onstage and dissed the Eagles, asking the audience, 'So how'd you like the Pigeons of Shit Metal? Don't worry, that's the last show they're playing with us.'" Oh, fuck you, Captain Cornrows ...

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Life With The Kill Rachel Cult

Flay Ray K-Fed thinks he's America's Most Hated? Think again, dumbfuck: It could be TV foodie Rachel Ray, who's inspired a website called Rachel Ray Sucks. Now, any idiot can start a website (ahem), but to get it featured in The Boston Globe? Damn: "Gathering by way of the blogging and social-networking site LiveJournal, this group has more than 1,000 members, who are quite active in posting their latest thoughts and observations about the various shortcomings, flaws, and disagreeable traits of Rachael Ray, the television food personality. 'This community,' the official explanation reads, 'was created for people that hate the untalented twit known as Rachael Ray.' The most important rule for those who wish to join: You must be anti-Rachael!" You've arrived, Ray-Ray!

Nein! ABC has subtracted Six Degrees (woo-hoo!) and The Nine (oh, man) from its current schedules, which more or less means they're canceled. The network is blaming the viewer-slip from The Nine on the lack of Lost; I'm blaming the impending death of Six Degrees on the fact that it sucks complete ass.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bringing Back Sexy ... Back

Scrubs Thursday 11.30 (NBC) Season Premiere: It’s taken six years for Scrubs to land a regular spot on NBC Thursday—too bad the property’s been devalued from Must See to Maybe I’ll Download It From iTunes. But, the new two-hour lineup of My Name is Earl, The Office, Scrubs and 30 Rock is the strongest comedy block NBC has stacked since the Clinton era (with the hit-or-miss 30 Rock occupying the traditionally weak pre-ER slot), and not one of ‘em has a canned laugh track … yeah, let that sink in.

The Librarian 2: Return to King Solomon’s Mines Sunday 12.3 (TNT) In 2004’s not-bad The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, Noah Wyle (ER) starred as Carson Flynn, a brilliant academic who takes a job at a library that secretly houses fabled objects like the Holy Grail, Excalibur, Pandora’s Box, the next Guns N’ Roses album, et al. The gig required the geek to travel the world, Indiana Jones-style, and recover such items—with a gorgeous female adventurer who owns nothing but tank tops handling the rough stuff. This time around, Flynn is slightly more cocksure (uh oh) and his original tough-Girl Friday (Sonya Walger, perfect in Quest) has been replaced by a whiney archeologist (Gabrielle Anwar, barely registering). Even worse, half the movie is just them walking endlessly through National Geographic scenery. Consider this the Temple of Doom to Quest’s Raiders of the Lost Ark—Part 3 has to be better.

Big in 2006 Awards Sunday 12.3 (VH1) A pop-culture brain-drain trophy toss that at least acknowledges that Paris Hilton is a “celebutard” guilty of “crimes against intelligence” and less repugnant/more talented JonBenet “killer” Mark David Karr is a “daffy creep,” Big in 2006 is as utterly useless as, well, 95 percent of the rest of VH1’s schedule (still love ya, Best Week Ever—but please have Paul Scheer killed). I’ll only be tuning in to watch Fergie kick out her skanktacular new hit, “Daffy Creep” (“Daffy Creep/ He’s all up in my Jeep/ And he makes my Underoos go leaky-leak/ My Daffy-Daffy-Daffy Creep!”).

Billboard Music Awards 2006 Monday 12.4 (Fox) But make no mistake: Big in 2006 is the Nobel Laureates Pageant compared to this. Oh look, there’s Fergie again …

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Tuesday 12.5 (CBS) Surprisingly Fergie-free: This year’s musical guest is Justin Timberlake, whom, it’s been reported, is bringing sexy back—how fortuitous! This edition also marks Tyra Banks’ final clomp on the VS runway, as she’ll be devoting most of her time to recruiting a new generation of malnourished sticks and further lowering the IQ bar for daytime TV on America’s Next Top Model and Tyra, respectively. Secret Embrace push-up bra: $45. The collective joy of thousands of teen boys flogging the dolphin in their rooms at 9:45 p.m. Mountain Standard Time: Priceless.

The King of Queens Wednesday 12.6 (CBS) Season Premiere: I know, I know—I thought it was canceled, too.

Wicked Wicked Games, Watch Over Me Wednesday 12.6 (MyNetworkTV) Series Debuts: Now that Desire and Fashion House are dead (MyNetworkTV’s sole redeeming idea: planned obsolescence), here comes the next wave of gringo-ized telenovela sex romps—and they’re even worse! In Wicked Wicked Games (that’s double the wickedness), a woman dumped by her husband 20 years ago schemes to take over his powerful business … by having her two sons marry his two daughters. Huh? On Watch Over Me, it’s a love triangle between a powerful businessman (as they always are—can’t one of these guys ever just run a Little Caesar’s franchise?), his beautiful fiancée and the hunky bodyguard he hired to, yes, watch over her. Even better, this wholesome family fare is being cross-promoted with Wal-Mart, which is providing the wardrobe (!) for the series’ actresses. Guess it needs to rip off easily.

Bones: Season 1
The forensics procedural with a heart—and a brain and good looks. Bones strikes a balance between creepy-gruesome CSI-isms and tentative office romance (Bones & Booth are just Jim & Pam with better clothes), and David Boreanaz has effectively buried Angel. Sarah Michelle Geller, take note. FoxHome.com

Criminal Minds: Season 1 On the other end of the TV spectrum, the most idiotic (and inexplicably popular) new cop show since Numb3rs and whatever else CBS has coughed up lately. Mandy Patinkin’s Shatner-riffic acting aside, there’s little else on Criminal Minds remotely original or memorable. Oh, that’s why it’s a hit! Paramount.com

Joan of Arcadia: Season 2 Canceled by CBS three years ago, the story of a young woman who talks to God (or a reasonable facsimile) still inspires rabid fan chatter. Never suggest Joan jumped the shark in Season 2 by trying to become “deeper” than it probably should have, but try the snarkier/funnier version, Wonderfalls. Paramount.com

See No Evil A horror film produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (damn, I miss the Federation)? How could it possibly suck? Yeah, anyway: Kane stars, in the loosest sense, as an ax-wielding goon who dispatches teens in admittedly comic ways, but when does Chris “Y2J” Jericho get his shot, WWE? LionsGate.com

More New DVD Releases (11.28) Angel Rodriguez, The Ant Bully, Clerks II, Dane Cook: Vicious Circle, Flavor of Love: Season 2, Seventh Heaven: Season 3, St. Elsewhere: Season 1, Superman Returns, Touched by an Angel: Season 3

Significant Others NBC/Universal never released the two brilliant Bravo seasons of Significant Others on DVD (indie Shout Factory did), but least they’ve posted a good number of scenes on the otherwise corporate-useless new DotComedy.com Website. Even two or three minutes are better than any relationship comedy (or drama) series produced since.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Like Friday

Malled to Death More "news" stories about pinheads lined-up (or camped-out, even) to fight off other pinheads for post-Thanksgiving "bargains"? Yeah, bring 'em on! This video from Monday's hysterical How I Met Your Mother (really, you should watch this show) is dedicated to all you Wal Mart Warriors who rolled up to the doors this morning when I was just going to bed, most likely drunk (me, but could apply to you, too). I'm sure it was totally worth it, Cletus ...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Heroes & Horatio

Panty Power? Why does NBC’s Heroes continue to kill in the ratings on Monday nights while Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip keeps on losing half that lead-out audience to crap like CSI: Miami and What About Brian? Sure, this week’s Studio 60 piled on the art-vs.-commerce sanctimony while delivering only slightly more real laughs than a Frontline special on quadripeligic poets, but it at least had some near-nekkid Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson) nonsense (teased heavily in NBC’s increasingly misleading promos for the show: “Come for the lofty exposition; stay for the topless blonde”). Maybe America just likes ‘em younger and peppier—less time on the field and more scenes in the cheerleaders’ locker rooms could probably do wonders for NBC’s other ratings dog, Friday Night Lights.

Yeeeaaah! Speaking of CSI: Miami, this David Caruso remix of dumbass opening lines from a stunning real number of episodes may or may not explain why CBS’ Baywatch-With-Blood-‘n’-Semen is the most popular show on the planet. Where’s the Rapture (no, not that cowbell-happy band) when you need it?

CSI Miami - Endless Caruso One Liners

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Trick Is Something a Whore Does For Money, Michael

Re-Arrested If you don't get the G4 network or own the Seasons 1-3 DVD sets ... then what the fuck kind of Arrested Development fan are you? You still have a chance to watch the most-lamented dead TV series ever, thanks to some obscure company called Microsoft:

"Redmond, Wash., Nov. 21: MSN announced that beginning today episodes of the Emmy award-winning comedy Arrested Development will be streamed on demand on MSN Video and at no cost to viewers. The first five episodes are available today at ArrestedDevelopment.msn.com and, starting Dec. 15, three new episodes will be added every three weeks. All 53 episodes from the three seasons of the show will be rolled out within the next year."

And about Gob's new movie, Let's Go to Prison? There must be an Arrested curse. Just ask Jeffrey Tambor.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cold Serial

Basilisk: The Serpent King Saturday 11.25 (Sci-Fi) When last True TV left Yancy Butler four years ago, angry fanboy e-mailers were pummeling the servers with righteous vitriol over an innocent little drinking game I’d dreamt up to go with her TNT sci-fi series of the time, Witchblade. So she’d just entered rehab for alcoholism—therein laid the funny, people! Now, she’s back in the supernatural saddle with Basilisk: The Serpent King, the Sci-Fi Channel’s latest no-budget Saturday-night suckfest—as in, sooo bad it’s great! Doesn’t matter what it’s about, just stock the liquor … and here come the e-mails …

Prison Break Monday 11.27 (Fox) Fall Finale: Problem No. 1 with serialized dramas: They tend to get canceled before anything resolves. Or happens. Just as NBC did Kidnapped, Fox has pulled Vanished (same show, prettier people) off the old-fangled broadcast schedule and repurposed the remaining episodes to the exciting new world of broadband Internet video—instead of only being able to ignore it on Friday nights, you can now ignore it at your convenience at MySpace.com/Vanished. Problem No. 2: Serials don’t repeat well, so shows that launch in the fall have to take a winter break to stretch their season till May—like Lost (back in February; suppress that bitterness) and Prison Break (after tonight, returning in January). Now, ponder the irony of Fox using the convicts you’re rooting for as a lead-in to the non-convict you despise … O.J.? Oh, never mind.

The Bachelor Monday 11.27 (ABC) Season Finale: And you shouldn’t be watching truly reprehensible programming like this, either. Dude’s not even a real Italian prince.

Big Day Tuesday 11.28 (ABC) Series Debut: Believe it or not, it’s 24 (OK, cool) meets Father of the Bride (holy Steve Martin’s grave, no!), chronicling an a-dor-ably chaotic wedding day one half-hour a week—but wait, there’s more! The advance press also drops references to Wedding Crashers and Bridezillas, but Big Day (starring The Practice’s Marla Sokoloff and Josh Cooke of failed sitcoms galore) plays more like an innocuous Oxygen movie—yes, redundant—than a decent lead-in to the comparatively edgy Help Me Help You. When this tanks around brunch, maybe ABC will finally roll out the real new comedy gold of the season, Notes From the Underbelly.

My Boys Tuesday 11.28 (TBS) Series Debut: Speaking of romantic-comedy fluff (weren’t we?), dig this setup: 20-something Chicago Sun-Times sports reporter P.J. (Jordana Spiro) pals around with a lot of men—mainly, her brother (Jim Gaffigan) and various jock-types who tear through bad relationships like Jim Gaffigan tears through bad sitcoms. But when the gang of “guys” adds a member and potential new love interest for P.J. (yes, it’s a man—this ain’t Showtime) who happens to be a sports reporter for her rival Chicago Tribune [record-scratch sound effect], it’s a whole new ballgame. Or something. Mostly, she just hangs out in bars and drinks. Finally, a show that gets newspaper life right!

Jericho Wednesday 11.29 (CBS) Fall Finale: Another serial that has to take a month or so off to keep the storyline afloat through May—why don’t the networks just start these series in, like, November? Because nobody listens to me. Than again, The Only TV Column That Matters™ declared this heartland apocalypse drama as good as dead when it debuted in September, and now here’s Jericho as a hit and America has fallen in love with [record-scratch sound effect] Skeet Ulrich. Since I haven’t actually been watching Jericho, I turned to the experts for an It’s the End of the World and Skeet’s Hair is Fine progress report: The Blog of the Apocalypse. The feeling there? Not a high enough body count—exactly my problem with CBS’ The Class.

Da Ali G Show: The Complete Series Just in time for the tail end of Borat mania, it’s the Ali G collection! Sacha Baron Cohen was more in his element on the HBO series, working three characters (Ali G, Borat and the coming-to-theaters-next Bruno) in shorter pieces where they were far more effective (and funny). Booyakasha! HBO.com

How I Met Your Mother: Season 1 Can’t hammer it home enough: How I Met Your Mother is the best new network sitcom to come along in years, a deftly-written ensemble comedy that’s more Coupling (the acclaimed BBC original) and Tarantino (the time-shifting storylines, not the blood) than Friends and Raymond. Catch up now. FoxHome.com

So Notorious: Season 1 Tori Spelling’s semi-autobiographical VH1 “reality” sitcom bit so close to the bone, ex-90210 pal Shannen Doherty flipped and pop Aaron expired. OK, Tori probably can’t be blamed for both, but So Notorious so hysterically satirized Hollywood and her own stardom, you wonder … Paramount.com

You, Me & Dupree Kate Hudson … any reason to go on? With the exception of The Skeleton Key, she hasn’t made a funny movie yet. Sure, Matt Dillon and Owen Wilson have, but here they’re just sucked into that Hudson Vortex from whence no laughs ever return. Maybe it’s time to reconsider The Break-Up. NBCUniversalStore.com

More New DVD Releases (11.21) Alias: Season 5, An Inconvenient Truth, Boston Legal: Season 2, Dr. Katz: Season 2, Perry Mason: Season 1, Scoop, Seinfeld: Season 7, Thin

Mullet Hunting Set mostly to the lilting strains of Wesley Willis’ “Cut the Mullet,” Edward Pultar’s four-minute “Mullet Hunting Episode 2” (where’s “Episode 1”?) documents various species of Salt Lakers and their “business in the front, party in the back lifestyle.” It was shot in 2001, but you know the Mullet People are still out there.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Truth or Err

Ugly Grey Trees Not that, as a dude, I should admit to watching ABC’s Men in Trees—but it’s moving from Friday nights (the domain of shut-in cat ladies) to Thursdays (pre-weekend safe zone), so all’s cool. Beginning Nov. 30, Men will follow Grey’s Anatomy and displace spiraling serial suckfest Six Degrees, which should rightfully never be heard from again. Men in Trees is a relative hit on Fridays; lined up with Ugly Betty and Grey’s, ABC just might take Thursdays for the first time since, well, ever. Wondering how much more mileage can ABC squeeze out of that Anne Heche-does-Northern Exposure storyline? The Only TV Column That Matters™ thought Grey’s Anatomy ran out of plot in its first episode—as long as you’ve got dreamy/stubbly guys around, anything can happen.

My Name is Earl, The Office, 30 Rock Thursday 11.16 (NBC) Super-Sized Sweeps Episodes: For the second time, My Name is Earl and The Office get the 40-minute treatment—and, for the first time, someone might actually see 30 Rock. On Earl, Kaptain Karma tracks down a stoner (Christian Slater) he once robbed, and Randy gets bumped on the noggin and starts seeing everything in claymation (courtesy Rob Ronning of Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken and Morel Orel). On The Office, the Scranton and Stamford branches of Dunder-Mifflin merge—yes, it’s The Jim & Pam Show again. As for 30 Rock, it’s more actual NBC/GE product placement posing as mockery of NBC/GE product placement. Oh, Tina, Tina, Tina …

Reba Sunday 11.19 (The CW) Season Premiere: Fake-out canceled during the WB/UPN merger for not being “young” and “edgy” despite having “ratings” and an “audience,” Reba finally makes her CW premiere, paired up with the flagging 7th Heaven (brilliant plan, bringing that dog back). Can she save Sunday nights for a network that should seriously cut back on its green-graphics budget? Don’t care, as long as there’s …

Family Guy Sunday 11.19 (Fox) Season Premiere: OK, follow me here: The fourth-season finale was last week, the DVD of which was released this week—and now, right in the midst of the current fall TV frenzy, Family Guy’s fifth season is launching (with guest voices Gary Cole and David Cross). This is almost as confusing as that time Peter went after the hockey coach … No clip? Nope? No clip? Thought we had a clip …

Madonna: The Confessions Tour Live Wednesday 11.22 (NBC) It’s that “controversial” concert special with Madonna being crucified on a disco-ball cross. No, NBC isn’t going to show the scene, thus guaranteeing that even fewer people are going to tune in to Madge’s first-ever network TV special, which will likely repeat far better on NBC’s gay cousin Bravo—just sayin.’ “Madonna is one of the greatest artists of our time and never fails to generate excitement,” NBC gushes in the press release, which was apparently faxed from sometime the early ’90s. “We think this is going to be a big event for television.” Yeah, especially when she sings “Vogue” riding across the stage on a Rascal decorated with rosaries and dildos. Run, Baby David, run!

Family Guy: Season 4 Technically, Part 2 of Season 4, not including this fall’s episodes—Fox programming is as scattershot as Family Guy’s marketing is DVD-savvy. This set (kicked off brilliantly with Peter pissing on the FCC) sagged creatively in the middle, but closed freakin’ sweet (Peter pisses on The Godfather). FoxHome.com

Reba: Season 4 Reba rarely gets its due as a funny series that’s not only for the NASCAR demo—mostly, but not only. Despite a penchant for Very Special Episodes (this particular season, Cheyenne’s an alcoholic—as would you be if your name were Cheyenne), it’s as solid as the dying breed of laugh-trackers gets. FoxHome.com

Six Feet Under: The Complete Series All 63 episodes of five seasons, plus two soundtrack CDs, character obituaries and a deluxe box topped with Astroturf and a tombstone—trade in those individual season sets; this is the one to be buried with (or in). Though 6FU wasn’t always perfect—Season 4 was, well, dead—this collection is. HBO.com

Strangers With Candy The film adaptation of the long-canceled Comedy Central cult series about a 46-year-old “junkie whore” who returns to finish high school continues the most twisted After-School Special ever imagined, but doesn’t really build on it. Who cares? Amy Sedaris’ Jerri Blank is the anti-heroine. ThinkFilmCompany.com

More DVD Releases (11.14) Accepted, Boffo! Tinseltown’s Bombs & Blockbusters, CSI: Season 6, The Da Vinci Code, John Tucker Must Die, NCIS: Season 2, Northern Exposure: Season 5, Quantum Leap: Season 5, Who Killed the Electric Car?

Mel Gibson Blues He’s had more timeless musical hits (“I’m an Asshole” is one for the ages), but actor/comic Denis Leary nails Malibu’s most wanted with this live clip: “I blame it all/ On alcohol/ My lawyer’s name is Joshua/ My agent’s name is Saul/ I like tequila.” MySpace.com/DenisLeary

Thursday, November 09, 2006

No Sunset on the Strip

The House! The Senate! The Studio! NBC has announced a full-season pick-up of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, but denied rumors of merging the hella-expensive Aaron Sorkin series with the even less successful 30 Rock (a little Scranton/Stamford reference for you Office fans). This means Studio 60 will at least make a nice Season 1 DVD set sometime next year—and if ratings don’t improve, it can go directly to your One Season Wonders shelf (yes, some of us have those … don’t judge). “I am pleased to show our support for this outstanding and ambitious effort from executive producers Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme,” said NBC Entertainment Prez Kevin Reilly. “From the start, they have delivered the superb show that we wanted. The critical support has been rock-solid and there is a passionate core audience. We can’t wait for what’s going to come in the remainder of the season.” Just as long as it stays on the Sunset Strip and the hell outta Pahrump.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Yes! Yes! What? No! Sure, the overall Blue-flip outcome of the midterm elections was nice (unless you live in the perma-freeze Republitopia of, say, Utah), but the now best news of the week has really broken: FX has renewed It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (only the best comedy series ever) for a third season, 15 new episodes set to premiere Summer 2007. Great, right? Yeah … here comes the taint-kicker: Deadweight guest star Danny DeVito will also be back. Season 2 was funny as hell despite him, but another? And ponder this from Variety: “Should Sunny last beyond next year, DeVito has agreed to remain as a cast member through Season 6.” Six seasons! But with DeVito! I’m so torn … and where's the damn Sunny DVD set, anyway?

The Real Calvin & Hobbes From Robot Chicken—can’t stop watching this, sober even …

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Big F

You mean "Fuck"? Tomorrow night on IFC, The Only TV Column That Matters™ suggests checking out The F Word, a faux documentary as reported by a guy who's racked up $1 million in FCC fines and, naturally, decides to spend his last day from the belly of the beast in the 2004 Republican Convention in NYC. Funny/weird stuff combining real protests and slumming actors, but I'll be watching for a glimpse of Callie Thorne (Rescue Me's Sheila; also currently appearing on Prison Break). Hey, Rescue Me may have killed her off—I'll take whatever I can get.

Or Just "Foxed"? Fox has pulled the plug on the craptastic game show The Rich List after one virtually unseen episode; same goes for how-did-it-last-this-long? sitcom Happy Hour. This means you'll get an extra ep of The O.C. on Wednesday and a second helping of 'Til Death on Thursday. Celebrate/lament accordingly.

Gay Up! How I Met Your Mother's Neil Patrick Harris (or, for those of you who haven't yet discovered that funny-ass CBS sitcom, Doogie Howser M.D. and/or the guy named Neil Patrick Harris from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) has come out of the closet. His Barney on HIMYM is/was an inspiration to serial-womanizers across the land ... I don't know what to believe anymore ...

The Lost Hit List The only other TV columnist that matters, The San Francisco Chronicle's Tim Goodman, has assembled a rambling list of Lost characters who should die next, now that Eko's has been (here it comes) smoked: Pretty much everyone but Sayid and Charlie. Great, but Season 4 would be nothing but the fucking flashbacks. Isn't that already The Nine?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Man Candy

Nothin’ But Cancelled NBC, apparently stunned that the already low-rated series failed to attract viewers after being dumped in the Saturday-night dead zone, has finally killed Kidnapped—but hey, it’ll at least conclude on NBC.com! Meanwhile, the John Lithgow/Jeffrey Tambor crapfest Twenty Good Years was as good as gone when NBC announced the return of the Thursday comedy block (you can’t make me use the term “Must-See”) on Nov. 30, which will consist of My Name is Earl and The Office, joined by returning champ Scrubs and Tina Fey’s wildly uneven 30 Rock (seriously—what the fuck, Tina?). That’s two full hours of sitcoms sans laugh tracks, followed by ER, which really should have one. No word on the possibility of Twenty Good Years finishing out on NBC.com, but if you ask nicely the network might fax it to you.

Nail-Biting Curiosity And no, NBC has not—repeat, not—cancelled Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip … yet. Despite reports to the contrary (namely from Fox News, so there ya go), NBC entertainment prez Kevin Reilly says the network plans to stick with Studio 60, 30 Rock and the ridiculously overrated Friday Night Lights (sucked when it was called One Tree Hill) until somebody notices they’re still on. Possible strategery: Move FNL to Mondays after Heroes—where it scored big as a fill-in last week—and plant Studio 60 on Wednesdays opposite ABC’s unfortunately drooping The Nine (which will only worsen when Lost goes on vacation—more on that later) and whatever CSI redundancy CBS runs at 9. Or just replace the real Saturday Night Live with Studio 60.

Show Me the Money Tuesday 11.14 (ABC) Series Debut: Ready for a new game show that combines Deal or No Deal, Dancing With the Stars, William Shatner and a decade-old catchphrase? Me neither! Next …

3 Lbs. Tuesday 11.14 (CBS) Series Debut: Dr. House is now a neurosurgeon—and he’s Stanley Tucci! The title, currently the 84th numerical reference on TV (not counting—ha!—Numb3rs) refers to the weight of a human brain before sitting through a hackneyed medical drama wherein two doctors with wildly different techniques (One’s acerbic! One’s compassionate!) must somehow work together to Save That Patient. After, not so much.

Medium Wednesday 11.15 (NBC) Season Premiere: Oh yeah—can’t move Studio 60 to Wednesdays at 9; it’s occupied by Patricia Arquette now. The Season 3 opener of Medium bears an eerie stalker-riffic similarity to the season premiere of Ghost Whisperer back in September: A former lover of Our Heroine (in this case, Arquette’s real-life husband Thomas Jane) wants back into her life/pants … and he happens to be dead. Naturally, instead of crossing over, he decides to take up intangible residence in her house and mess with the husband. Meanwhile, Arquette’s daughter, who also sees dead people, starts dreaming in cartoons—fortunately, it’s Johnny Bravo, not 12 Oz. Mouse. No coming back from that.

Dancing With the Stars, Day Break Wednesday 11.15 (ABC) Season Finale/Series Debut: Will self-deposed dancer Sara Evans make good on her promise to return for the big finale? Could Joey Lawrence be any creepier? Is Mario Lopez cheating? The Answers: Yes, no and … cheating what? The readers of Man Candy Quarterly? As for ABC’s new sci-fi-ish serial and Lost sub Day Break, just pretend Tru Calling, Groundhog Day, The Fugitive and Brown Sugar (no plot relation, just a shit movie) never happened: Taye Diggs stars as a cop framed for a Murder He Didn’t Commit who keeps living the same day over and over again—will he set things right, or just make matters worse? At least for The Nine, probably worse.

Beverly Hills 90210: Season 1
Finally! It was only the most important series of the ’90s! Fox’s fabled tale of fishes-out-of-water Brenda and Brandon Walsh could be considered the original O.C., just with a longer trajectory into ridiculousness and even longer sideburns. Ah, the high school years—why did they have to graduate? Paramount.com

Melrose Place: Season 1 Finally! It was only the other most important series of the ‘90s! The 90210 spin-off got deliciously soap-opera stupid in quicker fashion, but only click through the cloyingly dull early episodes for backstory purposes. Does this mean a DVD of ill-advised Melrose spin-off The Heights is coming? Paramount.com

The Sopranos: Season 6 Actually, Part 1 of Season 6; Part 2 won’t even air until ’07, as Sopranos fans are painfully aware. As divisive as this season was/is, plenty happened after Tony returned from Gunshot Dreamland—Gay Vito was the buzz, but the major characters (particularly Drugstore Christopher) got the best play. End? Near. HBO.com

The West Wing: Season 7 Too bad most (justifiably) bailed when Aaron Sorkin did a season before, because The West Wing regained most of its shine in the last lap thanks to a new presidential race (Jimmy Smits and Alan Aldam, almost rising to Sheen-ness). Maybe this DVD will generate some interest in Studio 60WarnerBros.com

More New DVD Releases (11.7) Cars, Grounded for Life: Season 4, JAG: Season 2, Little Man, LoudQuietLoud: A Film About The Pixies

Dexter Like the HBO of five years ago, it’s getting tougher to put off getting Showtime, thanks to cool original series like Weeds and the dark new Dexter, currently the premium net’s No. 1 show (yeah, people are twisted). Still not convinced the story of a lovable serial killer is for you? Watch the first two episodes online for free; you’ll come around. Sho.com

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Chino 411

The O.C.
Thursday 11.2 Fox

Season Premiere: Now facing off against CSI and Grey’s Anatomy, right after the returns of ‘Til Death and Happy Hour—can’t spell obviously canceled without O and C. Despite the timeslot of doom and last season’s looming shadow of suck, how’s the O.C. gang holding up? Not as well as the rest of us after the death of Marissa: Mom Julie’s in a pills ‘n’ power tools funk, broodier-than-ever Ryan’s joined a fight club, Seth’s on a narration kick, Summer’s become a stringy-haired college hippie (!) and, worst of all, some music intern apparently just loooves Placebo’s “Running Up That Hill.” Still, the fourth-season premiere (which debuted on MySpace last week) really does feel like that series “reboot” creator Josh Schwartz has promised is coming … so we’ll address the Taylor Townsend problem later.

Totally Awesome
Saturday 11.4 VH1

A “lost” movie from the ‘80s that’s actually a parody of every ‘80s movie VH1 has already analyzed ad nauseam through about 395 too many Weren’t the ‘80s Fucking Great? specials. Me, I’d prefer a Saturday night with a bottle of Smirnoff 100 and a (preferably VHS) marathon of Private School for Girls and Avenging Angel. Know what those two flicks have in common? Write/comment now and you might win something cool.

The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XVII
Sunday 11.5 Fox

Once again, five days after Halloween. This year’s trilogy: “Married to the Blob,” with Homer as an expanding fat-mass who can’t stop eating people—who else talk sense into him but raging pantload, er, guest star Dr. Phil? “You Gotta Know When to Golem,” wherein Bart spreads mischief via a Jewish folklore monster (Richard Lewis). “The Day the Earth Looked Stupid,” featuring the voice of Maurice LaMarche (The Brain of Pinky &) broadcasting The War of the Worlds to 1950s Springfield before real aliens Kang and Kodos take over … again. Yeah, South Park’s “Hell on Earth 2006” Halloween episode last week was better. Biggie Smalls, Biggie Smalls, Biggie Smalls …

American Dad, Family Guy
Sunday 11.5 Fox

Post-Baseball Returns: Stan joins forces with gay Republicans, then Chris and his rock band score a hit single with “Evil, Evil Monkey.” Sold!

Frisky Dingo
Sundays Cartoon Network

From the twisted melons behind Sealab 2021: The toxic tango of Killface, a supervillain whose plot to destroy the earth hinges on the execution of a killer branding campaign and pricey media buys, but after expenses can only afford postcards (“The dry-hump of marketing strategies”) and Awesome X, a superhero who needs a new nemesis to justify draining the assets of his billionaire playboy alter ego’s corporation (trés Iron Man). Frisky Dingo just might be Adult Swim’s first true love story. Or something.

Election Coverage
Tuesday 11.7

Only real political junkies care about tonight—it’s the SAG Awards to the presidential election’s Oscars (substitute the Source Awards and the BET Awards if you must). ABC, CBS and NBC are each bumping an hour of programming; Fox and The CW, not so much. The real coverage, though, is happening on cable—no, not CNN, Fox News or MS-whatever: HBO’s Hacking Democracy doc about the “security” of electronic voting repeats tonight, followed by a four-episode marathon of Da Ali G Show to make you feel even worse about being an American. As always, the most incisive election reporting is happening on Comedy Central, this year with The Daily Show & The Colbert Report Present the Midterm Midtacular. Seriously. Courage.

Acapulco HEAT: Season 2
The Hemisphere Emergency Action Team (based in, natch, Acapulco) launched the syndicated action-jiggle genre in ’93 with a hottie cast that included Fabio (!), but lasted only one gloriously stupid season—until it returned as a Serious Drama. Mitigating factor: Still had Alison Armitage.

Ghost Whisperer: Season 1
First impressions painted Ghost Whisperer as Touched by an Angel 2.0, but Jennifer Love Hewitt’s supernatural drama skews slightly more creepy than weepy (hey, could have gone the tears/fears route, so shut up). Not as results-driven as Medium, but Season 1 ended on a doozy. Shhh!

Kissology Vol. 1: 1974-77
Or, the only years that matter. Most hardcore Kiss Army members have seen at least some of this classic concert and TV footage (including the infamous ’76 Paul Lynde Halloween Special), but as a DVD package it’s about as definitive as that tightwad Gene Simmons is ever going to allow.

Mission: Impossible 3
Before Tom Cruise jumped the crazy train, he had a killer action flick in Mission: Impossible 3—even if he’s almost upstaged by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Sure, there’s barely a story (a lost Weapon of Mass Destruction … where have we heard that one before?), but who cares? Happy retirement, Tom!

More New DVD Releases (10.31)
Baywatch: Seasons 1 & 2, CSI: Miami: Season 4, The Kids in the Hall: Season 5, The Hitchhiker Vol. 3, Party at The Palms: Season 1

The Daily Show: Indecision Flashback

Election Day is upon us—take a Motherload trip though The Daily Show’s coverage of the 2000, 2002 and 2004 races while telling yourself it can’t possibly happen again. Of particular note is an ’04 report on electronic voting, “combining the confusion of a 1700s electoral system with the utter lack of accountability of 21st century technology.”

Sunday, October 22, 2006

And You Will Know Fall By the Trail of Dead

Didn’t fire up the True TV Fall Death Watch this year; I let the hundred or so geeks who fake-bet at BrilliantButCancelled.com handle that. CBS’ Smith (Ray Liotta as Master Criminal, Virginia Madsen as Unsuspecting Wife) became the first cancellation of the 2006-07 season; Runaway (Donnie Wahlberg and family on the lam) became The CW’s first cancellation ever; Happy Hour (Fox) and Kidnapped (NBC) are dead shows walking. The odds at BrilliantButCancelled.com say Anne Heche’s still-on-this-side-of-annoying Men in Trees (ABC) will drop next, even if the still-on-this-side-of-sucking ratings don’t back ‘em up. Can we get NBC’s Twenty Excruciating Minutes—I mean Twenty Good Years—up on that board already?

Not Canceled!
On the flipside, excellent new shows Heroes (NBC) and Ugly Betty (ABC) have already been given full-season pickups, as have CBS’ middling Jericho and Shark, The CW’s middling-er The Game and ABC’s perfect storm of cheese-grating melodrama and dartboard casting, Brothers & Sisters. Also picked up was second-season CBS “vet” Close to Home, which segues nicely into …

CBS Friday Night
Ghost Whisperer, Close to Home and Num3rs: Same lineup block as last year, same damn-good-for-Friday ratings, same storylines far as I can tell—who’s watching this three-hour thrilla in vanilla? Ghost Whisperer killed off sidekick Aisha Tyler at the end of last season, presumably to give more screen time to the dynamic threesome of Jennifer Love Hewitt (ah, boob jokes—good to have ya back); Closer to Home killed off star Jennifer Finnigan’s husband around the same time; Numb3rs hasn’t killed off anyone, but I have a prime number of at least five candidates should they get around to it.

Fridays (BBC America)
Like his previous outings Knowing Me, Knowing You and I’m Alan Partridge, Steve Coogan’s Saxondale wrings hilarity out of nowhere-fast situations—and this is the most nowhere yet. His Tommy Saxondale is a burnout roadie retired to suburban life as an exterminator, but still kicking against the pricks with a sweet banana-yellow Mustang and jaw-dropping jags of outrage that careen wildly from scholarly articulation to blithering rock-damaged blather. Knowing Alan who?

ABC Monday Night
The good news: Not many are watching Wife Swap and The Bachelor, and even fewer of those pinheads are sticking around for What About Brian. The WTF? news: Brian, even with that drop-off, is still beating NBC’s far superior Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which is now losing half (!) the lead-out audience of new mega-hit Heroes. Didn’t The Only TV Column That Matters™ predict that Heroes would be too high-concept to catch on, while Studio 60 would become the new smart-sustaining West Wing? Another reason to ditch the Death Watch—I suck. And, I’ll admit to keeping up with What About Brian, but only through ABC.com, where they digitally distill an entire episode into three easy-on-the-brain-cells minutes. Give me convenience or give me …

Monday 10.30 (Showtime)
Season Finale: While Showtime’s serial-killer serial Dexter (which I hear is killer) completely snuck by me, I’ve at least kept tabs on Weeds. The funny has been there for most of this second season, if not much focus and direction … oh yeah, it’s a TV show about marijuana … deep … where was I? Mary-Louise Parker can do no wrong, and the fact that a dramedy about a pot-dealing soccer mom has gone this long with so little outrage either proves that Mary Jane is now mainstream, or Showtime still isn’t. Me, I like Showtime under the radar—where else are you going to get drug dealers and murderers as charming protagonists? Besides C-Span?

DVD This Week

Beavis & Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection
As in, the Special Collectors Edition: Vols. 1-3 and the timeless theatrical classic Beavis & Butt-Head Do America. If you bought any before, you’re a dumbass—says so on the shiny gold box: “To own it is to know the satisfaction and peace of mind of never having to pay for Beavis & Butt-Head again.” Paramount.com

The OC: Season 3
Usually, Jumping the Shark is reserved for individual events or episodes—The OC did it every week for an entire season! The rehab scammer, the psycho Dean, Julie in a trailer, Marissa in the ‘hood, surfin’ Johnny, Taylor Townsend, where to begin? Next season, maybe. WarnerBros.com

Could a horror flick with cameos by Lloyd Kaufman, Pam from The Office and musical-theater-literate zombies suck? Hell no, as Slither—a bloody/funny buffet of B-movie camp and circumstance—proved to a dozen theatergoers in March. Nathan Fillion is God. Or Bruce Campbell. NBCUniversalStore.com

That’s My Bush! Season 1
President Dubya as a bumbling sitcom star … laugh or cringe, citizens. Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s brief 2001 series was more a satire of TV comedy clichés than the presidency (could have been That’s My Gore!), but just imagine what they could have done with five more years of material … scary. ComedyCentral.com

More New DVD Releases (10.24)
I’m Alan Partridge: Season 1, The L Word: Season 3, Mini’s First Time, Nacho Libre, Nightmares & Dreamscapes, SNL: The Best of Saturday TV Funhouse


Gore/Robbins 2008
Around six minutes into a speaking appearance taped in February, motivational guru Tony Robbins (on a loose, profane roll) tosses out the excuses for not achieving goals: “Didn’t have the time, money, contacts …” A voice from the front row adds, “the Supreme Court.” It’s Al Gore. Robbins then says Gore, with more of that Inconvenient Truth passion, “could have beat his ass.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Frisky & Friskier

Country MILF Sara Evans quits ABC’s Dancing With the Stars to direct her attention to reaming soon-to-be-ex-husband Craig Schelske, who would apparently really enjoy it. Allegedly, Craiggers has stored thousands of JPEGs of himself throttling his turgid manhood on the family computer, solicited backdoor sex through CraigsList (you really can get everything on there) and gotten boozy and abuse-y with Evans on occasion. Coincidentally, he’s also a (wait for it) right-wing Republican crusader. On the upside, Evans’ next release should be the best country album ever.

Best New Show (This Minute)
Frisky Dingo
on Adult Swim: Why would an evil supervillian need a marketing plan (and all the receipts) for the annihilation of the planet and mankind? And why the hell is it called Frisky Dingo? Who cares? At least I’ll miss Sealab 2021 a little less …

Full-Season Jacket
ABC’s Ugly Betty (cool show) and Brothers & Sisters (melodramatic crapola) have been granted full-season pickups, along with CBS’ Jericho (I’m still rooting for the apocalypse) and NBC’s Heroes (great series that gets better every week—thus increasing that Jump the Shark dread). Meanwhile, the odds at BrilliantButCancelled.com say the next network kill (besides Smith, Kidnapped and Happy Hour, all virtual goners) will be … ABC’s Men in Trees. Sigh. Not that I watch it on Friday night like a big girl or anything—I TiVo it and watch it Saturday morning over a heaping plate of manly bacon while doing curls with one hand and pounding a beer with the other.

The season premiere of Las Vegas (see 10.13 entry below) has been pushed back from Oct. 21 to the following Friday so NBC can squeeze more mileage out of tardfest game shows Deal or No Deal and 1 vs. 100. Fine with me, since it would conflict with Men in Trees, anyway … I mean, bring on the titties and dice!

Why YouTube Kicks So Much Unholy Ass

The Office’s Jim & Pam on the Rated-R tip.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Weekend TiVo Drain

Monday 10.9
How I Met Your Mother/The Class:
CBS flipped ‘em and Mr. TiVo skipped the first 15 of Mother—luckily, CBS’ InnerTube had the full episode, because this show’s all about the details. It’s like Pulp Fiction with a (well-earned) laugh track. As for The Class: From critical Fall Season darling to Monday-night liability in under a month? Kill off some characters, this boat is too crowded—start with the newswoman, her gay ex-boyfriend and her even gayer husband (Sam fucking Harris! The original ‘80s Star Search winner! Miss the mullet, Sam).

Heroes/Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: On Heroes (continues to be a hit; I continue to be happily stunned), Supercheerleader got jacked. Hard. Gotta be tough to bounce back from your own autopsy. Studio 60 seems to be inching closer to the shark-tank ramp every week, but it still blows away everything else on network TV right now (including kindred NBC cousin 30 Rock—more on that in a few clicks). This ep about a stolen joke and scrambling to cover ass for “The West Coast Feed” was probably the most inside-baseball yet, and it still dazzled. Laughed every time at “The bear said, ‘Raaar!’”

Tuesday 10.10
Gilmore Girls/Veronica Mars:
Yes, Lorelei is phoning it in—maybe even texting it in. She’s completely given up on everything but her hair, apparently. And the fact that post-teen Lane is really played by a 30-something actress is becoming waaay too obvious. Gonna be a long, desperate final season. Prospects are brighter on Veronica Mars, which is as strong as ever despite subliminal dumbing-down for The CW audience (there is one … somewhere).

Wednesday 10.11
30 Rock/Twenty Good Years:
May have been premature in declaring that 30 Rock would outlast Studio 60: The latter pulls such an upscale smarty-rich demo that it’ll probably coast for a couple of years on NBC even if the ratings slip; the former tanked ratings-wise on its Wednesday debut, but mostly because everyone thinks NBC quit programming Hump Day after moving Law & Order Classic to Fridays (“They just do an MSNBC news-crawl all night, don’t they?”). It’s still funny, though—and Twenty Good Years is still pure shit. Just so we’re clear.

Lost/The Nine: The Lost: Season 3 DVD isn’t out yet—we’re only three goddamn episodes into it, so quit asking (only a slight exaggeration). The Nine is clipping along at a frighteningly fast pace, like ABC knows something we don’t but can easily guess: It’s dark and it ain’t holding the Lost audience, so let’s get it over with by the holidays so we can trim down the Christmas party guest list.

Thursday 10.12
My Name is Earl/The Office:
Sadly, My Name is Earl seems to be losing it as quickly as The Office is becoming Legendary (capital L, suckas). Earl wasted a slam-dunk guest in Amy Sedaris (Amy! Sedaris!), but The Office killed with the same ol’ cubicle folk. Without Jim around, Pam seems to be getting more diabolical just to keep herself amused/sane (the Million Dollar Baby “grief” story, so left-field perfect it hurt). But, this Tale of Two Offices can’t go on forever; bring Jim back to Scranton. Hell, bring Karen, too—Pam’s obviously ready to throw down.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Vegas Throat

Major League Baseball
All the Damned Time (Fox)

Nobody’s watching it (well, slightly more nobodies than are tuning into The CW), so I certainly hope Fox gets an assload of cash from Major League Baseball to throw this annual October beanball straight at their “hot” new fall shows. Actually, no I don’t: Vanished? Title says it all. ‘Til Death and Happy Hour? Didn’t even expect ‘em to make it through September. Justice and Standoff? Uh … which one had the Office Space guy and the Firefly chick? That one sucks only moderately. And don’t forget Spike Feresten … oh, you already have.

Desire, Fashion House
Weeknights (MyNetworkTV)

When new syndication fare comes along that makes you fully appreciate the masterful writing and production of daytime soap operas (tune in sometime; it’s amazing how many veteran characters still look better than you did back in the Bush 1 days), maybe it’s time to consider The Greg Behrendt Show … OK, nothing that drastic. MyNetworkTV’s telenovela knockoffs Desire and Fashion House (about desire and fashion, I believe) are almost as sexy as giving yourself a late-night “stranger” after chugging a pint of peach schnapps. But only almost.

Las Vegas
Friday 10.20 (NBC)

Season Premiere: Speaking of soap operas, what’s going to happen on the fourth-season opener of Las Vegas? Yes, it’s really been on for four years—focus, people! At the end of last season, Ed (James Caan) had taken a bullet before Delinda’s sham wedding, but the more pressing question (Ed’s not dead, baby) is: What’s going become of those implausible Boston-to-Vegas crossovers with Crossing Jordan now that NBC has bumped Jordan for yet another game show, the short-bus hit 1 vs. 100? Perhaps I’ve put far more thought into this than the network. Scary.

Saturday 10.21 (NBC)

New Timeslot: Saturday night’s all right for … nothing but reruns. The last time any network bothered to program Saturday primetime with new material, some chubby young thing was going down on Bill Clinton—that’s right, this weekend (Bubba’s still got it). NBC has kicked new under-performer Kidnapped to the Saturday-night curb; Medium will take over its vacated Wednesday slot in November. Why let Kidnapped play out its remaining 10 episodes instead of just canceling it? Brace yourself: They’ve run out of Law & Order repeats! The end is nigh!

Breaking Bonaduce, Celebrity Paranormal Project
Sunday 10.22 (VH1)

Season Premiere/Series Debut: Hey, I’m just as surprised as you are—what’s left to break, Bonaduce-wise? In “sober” Season 2, says VH1, “Danny transfers his obsessions with substances to an obsession with his wife, Gretchen.” You may have been better off with the curbside Screwdrivers, Dan-O: Gretch and Dr. Gary are just bringing you down, man! Embrace the darkness! And bring the cameras! As for Celebrity Paranormal Project, if you can’t wait to watch Rachel Hunter, Gary Busey, Gilbert Gottfried, Traci Bingham and David Carradine pile into the Mystery Machine and chase ghosts, Mr. Bonaduce would like to make a discreet purchase from you.

House of Carters
Mondays (E!)

Here’s an idea: Fuck the Carters. Fuck Nick, Aaron, the sisters, fuck the whole stupid, spoiled, talentless, screechy family. And especially fuck those two pinheads who psychoanalyze each episode in the “Carters on the Couch” section of EOnline.com. Most of all, fuck me for actually going there and watching it.

South Park, Freak Show
Wednesdays (Comedy Central)

The first two episodes of the second half of South Park’s 10th season, “Make Love, Not Warcraft” (tweaking online gamers) and “The Mystery of the Urinal Deuce” (ditto, 9/11 conspiracy theorists), were pure genius; no other series—animated or not—can touch it for sheer pop-cultural immediacy. Comedy Central’s other new cartoon, Freak Show (which debuted along with the latest South Park batch on Oct. 4), is somewhat weak-sauce in the writing and animation, but features quite possibly the greatest superhero “freak” ever conceived: The Log Cabin Republican. Does he have power-texting abilities?

American Dreamz
A dark comedic hit-piece on American Idol and President Dubya? How was this not a hit? American Dreamz is almost up there with Wag the Dog in terms of brazenly nailing a political system and a pop culture gone annoyingly dumb; maybe it’ll become a cult item when it all finally goes to hell.

Big Love: Season 1
Catch up on all the fuss, Utah! HBO’s intro season of a Sandy polygamist (Bill Paxton) and his three secret wives is surprisingly tense and comic, if not yet up to Sopranos levels of family-on-the-fringe drama. But, once Deadwood is gone (sigh), Big Love will become the Buzz TV Series. Mark it.

The Break-Up
Vince Vaughn. Jennifer Aniston. Jason Bateman and Jon Favreau. Shoulda been hysterical. What the fuck? The Break-Up plays like an Oxygen TV movie with higher star wattage, long on Relationship Drama and short on actual laughs—hell, even Mr & Mrs. Smith was funnier. Upside: An Old 97s concert.

La Femme Nikita: Season 5
The final season, as demanded by the fans: The 1997-2001 cable series was sleeker and darker than hot-spy successor Alias, and star Peta Wilson was more icily intimidating with a single look than Jennifer Garner ever was with an AK-47.

More New DVD Releases (10.17)
Cheaper by the Dozen 2, CSI: NY: Season 2, Starsky & Hutch: Season 4, That ‘70s Show: Season 5, They All Laughed, Wanda Sykes: Sick & Tired

Nobody’s Watching
For a sitcom that never was, Nobody’s Watching is generating as much Internet noise as any currently on the air (sorry, Tina Fey). “Derrick & Will” may never make a great TV comedy, but the Webisodes are time-killing office gold. NobodysWatching.tv

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