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.