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).

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.

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.

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.

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.”