Sociable

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Not for review: Fox's "Ride-Along"




"Not for review" is an occasional series of pieces in which I offer my thoughts on the pilots for this year's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Not for review: NBC's "Outsourced"



"Not for review" is an occasional series of pieces in which I offer my thoughts on the pilots for this year's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Not for review: Fox's "Mixed Signals"


"Not for review" is an occasional series of pieces in which I offer my thoughts on the pilots for this year's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows.

Not for review: NBC's "The Event"



"Not for review" is an occasional series of pieces in which I offer my thoughts on the pilots for this year's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows.

The show: NBC's "The Event"
The premise: Sean Walker (Jason Ritter) finds himself embroiled in a vast conspiracy that might also involve his future father-in-law (Scott Patterson), the U.S. President (Blair Underwood) and a shadowy sect of detainees in Alaska. They're all linked to some earth shaking "event" -- but what is the event? Damned if I know.
My thoughts: Um, OK. I have no idea what to say about this show. The version that I saw jumped around in time so much -- and leap-frogged from character to character so frequently -- that it was tricky to follow. But even if it had been linear, I'm not sure that would have helped. The pilot for "The Event" is maddeningly cryptic. In fact, it makes "Lost" look like a "Dick and Jane" book. What does Walker have to do with this conspiracy? What about the creepy figure played by Laura Innes? What is "The Event"? I don't know!
Sure, the show is suspenseful and contains a cast full of likable actors. But it better find a direction -- quickly -- before it goes the way of other secret-keeping sci-fi shows like "Flash Forward."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Mad Men" recap: A conversation about why there is no table

Spoilers on the season 4 premiere of "Mad Men" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

"True Blood" recap: It is unwise to upset Talbot


Spoilers for this week's episode of "True Blood" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Not for review: Fox's "Lone Star"


"Not for review" is an occasional series of pieces in which I offer my thoughts on the pilots for this year's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not for review: ABC's "Better With You"

  
"Not for review" is an occasional series of pieces in which I offer my thoughts on the pilots for this year's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows.

Not for review: ABC's "Mr. Sunshine"


"Not for review" is an occasional series of pieces in which I offer my thoughts on the pilots for this year's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Mad Men" season 4 preview: All I can tell you is that it's good

The arrival of a new season of "Mad Men" is always marked by two things: excitement and secrecy. Those like me, who love the show, are positively atwitter with hope for each new season and the show's fourth season, which starts Sunday at 10 p.m., is no exception.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"True Blood" recap: All about the teasing, never about the pleasing


Spoilers for this week's "True Blood" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Not for review: Fox's "Running Wilde"


"Not for review" is an occasional series of pieces in which I offer my thoughts on the pilots for this fall's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows.

Not for review: Fox's "Raising Hope"


This is the first in what I hope will be an occasional series of pieces of my thoughts on the pilots for this fall's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Announcing the 2010 I Screen You Screen Alternative Emmys

Look folks, I've been thinking a lot about last week's Emmy nominations, and, frankly, I'm still conflicting. Sure, there were a lot of great nominations I never thought I'd see (hello Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton!). But there were also many snubs. I mean, Mariska Hargitay gets nominated over Katey Sagal of "Sons of Anarchy" and Anna Gunn of "Breaking Bad" (the latter of whom had her best season to date)? Jon Cryer getting another nod for "Two and a Half Men" while Ed O'Neill's awesome work on "Modern Family" goes unheralded? Clearly, this will not do. So, I've created my own list of nominees in each of the main categories. Some choices are my own personal favorites; some were culled from lists of snubs I've seen mentioned by other writers and fans.
But all are shows and performances that have captured the heart of many people...none of whom, apparently, belong to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Just click here and cast your votes. Your favorites not there? Write in your choices below! I'll announcing the winners in mid-August, a couple of weeks before the "real" awards come out. So be sure to vote, and invite your friends!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Spies just wanna have fun: Reviewing "Cover Affairs"

"Alias's" super-spy Sydney Bristow was a lot of things -- smart, strong, capable of looking great in a ridiculous red wig. But you know what she wasn't? Happy. Girlfriend smiled, like, 4 times a season. Of course, her misery was understandable. I mean, she did find out her beloved dead mother was not only very much alive, but also an enemy spy. Talk about baggage.
Annie Walker (Piper Perabo), the rookie spy who is the central character of USA's charming new show "Covert Affairs," (debuting tonight at 10)  is like Sydney in many ways. She's tough. She digs disguises. Heck, Perabo even sounds remarkably like "Alias" star Jennifer Garner.
But, unlike Sydney, Annie is fairly cheerful. She smiles. She flirts. She does everything -- breaking into buildings, lying to local police about a mission, jumping out of a plane -- with tremendous glee. It's hard to tell at this early stage if Annie Walker is as good a character as Sydney, but one thing's for sure -- she's a heck of a lot more fun.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"True Blood" recap: Cruel to be kind, or just kind of cruel?

Spoilers on this week's episode of "True Blood" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The value of dependability: Reviewing the new season of "The Closer"


Dependability is an undervalued quality in a TV show. It's certainly not a sexy quality. No writer, producer or actor would thrill to have his or TV show assessed as "dependable," "reliable," or "consistent." They'd prefer "gripping," "original," or "ground-breaking."
But there's nothing wrong with being dependable. For instance, whenever I tune in to "The Closer," (returning for its new season Monday at 9 p.m. on TNT), I know what I'm going to get: a solid (but not terribly complicated) murder mystery, spiced with some decent melodrama and/or a little wacky comedy. I know Kyra Sedgwick, playing sassy deputy chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, is going to drawl and mug, and probably scarf down a boatload of chocolate. I know what to expect. And that's not really a bad thing.

Friday, July 9, 2010

"The Glades" strikes a blow for crappy TV


In a TV landscape where even the failed shows have at least some redeeming qualities, it's rare to find a show as singularly uninteresting as "The Glades," the cop drama that premieres Sunday night at 10 on A&E.
Look, I love me a good cop show, and, despite the prevalence of such series on TV, I still think there are interesting things to be done with the genre. But "The Glades" does none of them.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Some extremely brief thoughts on the Emmy nominations

Don't have much time to recap this morning's Emmy noms, so I'm going to do a brief break down of the things about the nominations that made me happy, the things that made me mad and the one thing I can't understand.
Things that made me happy: Well of course I, and everyone else in TV nerd world, was THRILLED to see Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton finally get recognized for their stellar work on the stellar "Friday Night Lights." It only took four seasons, but the academy finally got that right. So yay.
Also, I know a lot of people were polarized by the character of Jack on "Lost," but Matthew Fox was always excellent, so it was good to see him get recognized, along with this season's undisputed scene-stealer, Terry O'Quinn, who got a supporting nod for playing the Smoke Monster and John Locke.
It was nice to see another scene stealer, Andre Braugher, get a nod for his work on the surprisingly fine new TNT series "Men Of A Certain Age." A little disappointed at no recognition for his co-stars Ray Romano and Scott Bakula, but Braugher was obviously the stand-out and the male drama categories are always tight.
And a nice surprise nod for Sharon Gless for her excellent work as Jeffrey Donovan's mom on "Burn Notice!" She's a dark horse (I'm pulling for either "Mad Men's" Christina Hendricks or "The Good Wife's" Archie Panjabi to bring it home), but a lovely choice.
Things that made me mad:Surprisingly few of those this year, though I was upset to see that, once again, Tracy Morgan was passed over for his hilarious work on "30 Rock." Yes, his character is kind of close to his personality. So what? I'd rather see a nod for his fresh, crazy work than another nom for Jon Cryer (don't get me wrong -- I love Cryer. I'd just like to see a little fresh blood here). Also, it's a little sad that Ed O'Neil was the only major cast member of "Modern Family" not nominated.
And my other big pet peeve is kind of due to a high class problem over at "Lost." I love Michael Emerson's work as Ben, but he had only one real showcase episode this season. I would have liked to see that spot go to a "Lost"-ite with more screen time -- preferably the underrated Jorge Garcia, whom I don't think has ever gotten a nomination.
Thing that made me nuts:Look, I love "True Blood," but are they kidding with that Best Drama nomination? "Friday Night Lights." "Men of a Certain Age." "Justified." Even "Damages." All would have been excellent choices for that spot. I don't get it.
You can view a complete list of the Emmy nominees here. The Primetime Emmy winners will be announced Aug. 29.