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! 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, 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?

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?

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.

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

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.

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.”