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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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