Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Studio 60.2

You've Been Sorkined Still mourning the probable death of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip after last night, but this is pretty damned funny ...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Orange Alert

The O.C. Thursday 2.22 (Fox) Series Finale: Chrismukka, The Ironist, Dead Coop, “Karl Rove” Taylor, Hippie Summer, Parallel-Universe Ryan, Saint Sandy, Vodka Kiki, Madame Julie, the last known sighting of Rooney—how are we ever gonna live without The O.C.? Plenty of you have for the last two seasons, even though the series has experienced a major creative rebound recently, thus reinforcing my argument that Marissa should have been killed off looong ago, perhaps trapped in a Bait Shop fire with The Killers. But, how’s it all gonna end? Kiki’s baby arrives miraculously? The whole gang moves outta Newport? Zombie Marissa shows up and no one can tell the difference? Luke makes a surprise return to utter the series’ closing line, “That’s how it was done in the O.C., bitches”? A couple of these are true …

Ace of Cakes Thursdays (Food Network) Usually, I have as much use for the Food Network as I do non-disposable dishes and utensils—but then I ran across Ace of Cakes, the American Chopper of culinary shows. Baltimore baker Duff Goldman and his boho crew of artists (not chefs) craft crazy cakes that require as much architectural skill as frosting finesse; sometimes power tools even come into play. Reality “docu-soaps” (think every series on A&E; Food Network just has this one) are only as good as their characters, and Ace of Cakes is loaded with ‘em—most notably Goldman’s right-hand man Geof, who seems to be living his own internal Seinfeld episode. The tattoo-shop shows are so over—bring on the pastries.

The Black Donnellys Monday 2.26 (NBC) Series Debut: Otherwise known around NBC as The Show That’s Gonna Save Monday Nights! Seriously! Yes, despite giving Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip a full-season pickup and letting it bleed Heroes’ ratings for months, NBC has finally yanked the show (tonight, Feb. 19, is your last chance) and given no indication what’s going to happen with the remaining unaired episodes (how about a DVD combo package with the last season of Joey?). Anyway, The Black Donnellys … it was better when it was a ‘90s indie flick called Southie—co-starring Studio 60’s Amanda Peet! The four lovable Irish Donnelly brothers get caught up with the New York City mob (oh, Southie was Boston, big difference), and they’ll do anything to protect one another because it’s Family Above All or some such catchphrase. It’s hack work, but at least it’s great-looking hack work—a Paul Haggis (creator/director; Crash) specialty.

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? Tuesday 2.27 (Fox) Series Debut: Mentioned this show a few weeks ago and everybody—and I do mean everybody—thought I was making it up. No, it’s for real: Adults are sent back to class and tested on fifth-grade material which, of course, they’ve long since forgotten since none of it applies to reality (or reality TV). It’s hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, who’s contractually bound to say “You might be dumber than a fifth grader if …” and it’s preempting House, because Fox is all about building goodwill with viewers.

Veronica Mars Tuesday 2.27 (The CW) Last Episode Before Hiatus: Veronica’s going on vacation and The Search for the Next Pussycat Doll is taking her CW slot through March. That’s right: One of the strongest young female role models in the one of the smartest and best-scripted shows on television is being sidelined so a pre-fabricated group of talentless skanks can find new a talentless skank to shake her moneymaker on the tube so middle-aged businessmen too cheap to spring for pay-per-view can spank away in the hotel room. Way to go, CW!

American Hardcore
Despite the glaring shortage of Dead Kennedys material (!), Paul Rachman’s punk-doc still covers the titular scene of ’79 to ’86 well, with rare live footage of Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, DRI, The Adolescents, 7 Seconds and more … plus the obligatory Rollins rants. SonyPictures.com

For Your Consideration This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best In Show—no, For Your Consideration doesn’t quite live up to the rest of the Christopher Guest canon, but it’s still light years beyond Norbit, fergawdsakes. And it’s arriving just in time for Oscars weekend! Wha happened? WarnerBros.com

Shut Up & Sing Those wacky Dixie Chicks just don’t like Dubya, and who can argue? Not so much the case back in 2003, when Natalie Maines blasted Bush and became a country-music pariah. Shut Up & Sing documents the hysteria that followed … in case you missed it in the news every day. WeinsteinCo.com

More New DVD Releases (Feb. 20) Alias Smith & Jones: Season 1, Flushed Away, The Journalist & the Jihadi, Man of the Year, Night of the Living Dorks, Penn & Teller: Bullshit: Season 4, The Prestige, Walking Tall: The Payback