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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall TV review: Raising Hope

Trailer trash comedy that I actually like (sorry MY NAME IS EARL). At times HOPE can be cruel, but in the pilot every negative situation ends on a funny, endearing positive. A funny, inspired pilot with lots of growth potential and a very funny cast led by Cloris Leachman. A

Fall TV Review: Mike & Molly

Just like I expected, M&M relied totally on fat jokes in the pilot...and not very funny ones at that. I think the girl who plays Molly is really good, but the male lead doesnt impress me. As pilots go, this one set at an Overeaters Anonymous group is contrived, and the laugh track is way too noticeable. But given Chuck Lorre's track record (TWO AND A HALF MEN and BIG BANG THEORY), I'm willing to see where M&M goes in the next couple weeks to come. C-

Fall TV Review: Lonestar

Here's a drama unlike any show on network TV (which is probably why it was the first new fall show canned). I won't go into the plot because at this point, it just doesnt matter. All I WILL say is that I enjoyed it for the most part, and am totally whetted to see what TNT does with the new DALLAS remake that was just picked up to pilot. B

Fall TV Review: CHASE

YAWN! After a terribly uncomfortable opening where a father is murdered, the mother brutally wounded, and the lucky (?) little girl who saw it all after being popped through the chest with a bullet, CHASE continues the trend in TVLAND of yucky crime procedurals. Damn you, CRIMINAL MINDS! D+

Fall TV Review: Hawaii Five-O

Even though there's much to love about this CBS reboot of the '68 to '80 original, the sum of the parts don't quite live up to the hype. The best parts are the opening (as was true of the original) and Scott Caan as 'Danno' character. I think Alex O Loughlin is yummy eye candy, but he doesnt quite nail what I expected the lead to offer. I also felt Grace Parks' role was underdeveloped. But hey, it's just the pilot, right? And it also says a lot that I will be watching the second episode (something I hardly ever do for a crime procedural). OH, and the visuals are top-notch. Hawaii has never looked so beautiful (sorry, LOST). B+

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall TV Review: THE EVENT

A for AWESOME! Not since the pilot of LOST have I been so entertained with a first episode. Great production values and an immensely appealing lead in Jason Ritter springboard this new mystery thriller. To be careful though, pilots can never be true triggers to the success or quality of a show, and it will be the next few weeks that will either seal the deal or send this one to the graveyard (ahem, FLASH FORWARD). But rich locales in Hawaii and the Antarctic (?), plus snazzy drama on planes and cruise ships, and perhaps an alien hook? - make THE EVENT a show I will be definitely be tracking. A+

Monday, September 20, 2010

FALL TV REVIEW: BOARDWALK EMPIRE

There is no doubt that Martin Scorsese's new HBO drama is a scrumptious winner that take place during Prohibition, a time period I knew little about before the pilot. The show is well-written, well-acted, well-filmed and, well, might fine! It's like a feature film. But the continuing storyline worries me because I don't know if I will want to return to this time period once a week. I think EMPIRE is one of those shows that will work best taking in 3 or 4 episodes at a time, because if one waits once a week to watch, then you are pulled out of the moment and have to re-charge to get back into it. Still, this show will surely make some noise come awards time. A-

Thursday, September 16, 2010

FAll TV Review: OUTLAWS

Snazzy production values can't save this Jimmy Smits law procedural. Terrible writing and a contrived cast help to create this NBC mess of a show. It's only the third reviewed show of the young fall season, and just may be the one to beat... for worst show of the year. D-

Monday, September 13, 2010

NETWORK TOP FIVE's 2010

ABC:
1. DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: After a lack-luster sixth season, DH feels rejuiced as the seventh year on Wisteria Lane nears closer. I am super excited to see Vanessa Williams joining the cast, not to mention Brian Austin Green as some man-candy. I don't know what Sunday nights would be like without these Housewives to entertain.
2. THE MIDDLE: To me, this is the most underrated comedy on TV right now. How did it not get any Emmy love? I am almost always smiling when I see a new Middle pop up on my DVR. It's a smart and funny family sitcom that only gets gooey with sentimentality after someone's been humiated (usually middle daughter Sue).
3. MODERN FAMILY: This one grew on me as last year progressed, and I'm now fully on board to see these three distinct family units bring home the funny. But, alas, I think GLEE was robbed of the comedy Emmy.
4. COUGAR TOWN: Much like The Middle, C.Town is an underdog comedy that's just begging to become a hit, and deservedly so. After ditching the, um, cougar storylines from last year, C.Town developed into quite the ensemble. Busy Phillips as Laurie steals every scene she's in.
5. V: Of ABC's two sci-fi shows that premiered last year, it was FLASH-FORWARD that was supposed to make it to season 2, not V! Well, leapin lizards, look who's back! I am still mixed, though, on the execution so far. Its not nearly as fun as the cheesy original. So here's high hopes for Anna and her crew to reach new scales of excitement come November.

CBS:
1. THE BIG BANG THEORY: So happy to see Jim Parsons win his first Emmy as Sheldon, but where was the Emmy love for Best Comedy? Going into its fourth year, TBBT is one of the best comedies on the air, and CBS has faith in it by relocating it to Thursdays to kick off the night.
2. HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: This is one of my all-time favorite shows, and for anyone who loved FRIENDS, they should check out MOTHER. Neil Patrick Harris continues to impress in the role of Barney, the womanizer. I hear that the first episode of the season is supposed to be a game changer. Hopefully it will revolve around the mother of the title.
3. RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: One night I got bored last year and I checked out RULES. Then I DVRed it, and next thing I know, I'm enjoying this low-key, but funny sitcom starring the polarizing David Spade. It's not brilliant, but it's also not nearly as bad as it was when it first premiered 4 years ago.
4. TWO AND A HALF MEN: After Charlie Sheen's personal life nearly derailed this long-running sitcom, it will be interesting to see how the public accepts or rejects this snarky, though often times very funny, adult sitcom. I'm most curious to see if son Jake outgrows the top of the TV screen in the intro of the show.
5. SURVIVOR: With the above 4 sitcoms, that left very little for me to like about CBS. I hate their crime procedurals, which eats up 75% of the Eye network's real estate. So this season I am going to give SURVIVOR another shot, something I havent done since the reality show went to Africa.

FOX:
1. GLEE: If anyone asked me a year ago if GLEE would become the sensation it has, let alone survive the initial first 13 episodes, I would have lost bet after bet. No other musical drama has ever succeeded, with FAME coming the closest, and even that was a struggling show that barely made into syndication. GLEE is my favorite new show from last year (sorry MODERN FAMILY and MIDDLE)
2. AMERICAN IDOL: Aside from GLEE, I don't watch any other FOX show on a regular basis. However, last year I did follow IDOL up until Tim Urban was cast off. Sad to see Simon go, glad to see Ellen go, and don't really care either way about the Dawg or the departed Kara. Still, it will be interesting to see how the new crew of judges do their thing. But something tells me that IDOL has lost it's edge for good. Its best days are now well behind it.
3. HUMAN TARGET: Mark Valley is HOT! He alone is going to make me take a second look at this mediocre in the ratings action drama.
4. SIMPSONS: Never count out this long-running animated, dominated sitcom.
5. AMERICAN DAD: Move over FAMILY GUY and CLEVELAND BROWN. Of the three Seth MacFarlane shows, AMERICAD is my favorite.

NBC:
1. CHUCK: I am so proud of CHUCK, one of the most underrated shows on TV. It is consistently funny and exciting all at the same time: a very hard tone to achieve week to week, yet CHUCK does it in spades. Look for Linda Hamilton to now play Chuck's long-lost mom. As for the Buy More store...wahhhhh!
2. COMMUNITY: Fans of COMMUNITY need to be afraid now that BIG BANG is trying to gun it down on Thursdays. I hope NBC stands behind COMMUNITY, though. It was one of the funniest new shows to air last year.
3. PARENTHOOD: Every summer I find one show that aired the previous season and fall in love with it. This year it was all about PARENTHOOD, a warm and fuzzy, yet also dramatically satisfying one-hour pleasure. NBC needs more bright spots like PARENTHOOD on its sked to get it out of 4th place. And judging from ABCs lineup this year, I expect NBC has a good shot at taking third.
4. 30 ROCK: Remember four years ago when Aaron Sorkin's STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP was the big show of the fall, and NBCs other show about a sketch-comedy series, 30 ROCK, was only expected to last a month? It's so amazing to still see 30 ROCK on the NBC line-up. I cherish every season its on, especially when I remember only thinking it would be only 13 episodes and then canceled.
5. THE OFFICE: I joined THE OFFICE last year, so it was a late love affair with the show that will boast Steve Carrell in his final year as Michael Scott. I will hate to see him go, but I am also excited to see how THE OFFICE juggles management...just like in the real world.

CW:
1. SMALLVILLE: CW doesn't have the pool of shows that the other nets do. With that said, only two qualify as shows I will watch this fall, and both are on Friday nights (and used to be together on Thursday nights). I'm going to give the edge to SMALLVILLE which, in its final season, is bringing back TONS of past characters in what should amount to a wild, nostalgic final year of the Tom Welling great.
2. SUPERNATURAL: The Winchester brothers are back, and the whole Armageddon is, thank God, finished (no pun intended). Eric Kripke is gone as the showrunner, but don't fret: his replacement promises a new mythology of vampires, werewolves and other creepy creatures.

Friday, September 10, 2010

FALL TV REVIEW: NIKITA

The CW is 2 for 2 in new shows this season as their second newbie premiered after THE VAMPIRE DIARIES on Thursday night. I had mixed feelings about this Maggie Q as a rogue agent series, but the final minutes really got me charged. I also like how the show is giving almost equal attention to Lindsey Forenca's role as Alex, a younger version of Nikita (as well as a character for the CW young female demo to identify with). Still, CHUCK is my spy show to beat, and with UNDERCOVERS and COVERT AFFAIRS on the air, I fear I will grow tired of NIKITA on a weekly basis. B-

FALL TV PREVIEW: My Anticipated TOP TEN

Here are the 10 shows I am most looking forward to seeing this fall:

1. BETTER WITH YOU (ABC) I am a HUGE Joanna Garcia (REBA) fan, and with THAT 70's SHOW's Debra RUffman (Kitty) on board as the mom, that's just icing on the cake. I also think BETTER WITH YOU has a strong shot at being successful, since it is sandwiched between the buzzy THE MIDDLE and MODERN FAMILY on Wednesday nights.

2. THE EVENT (NBC) Again, casting is what initialy drives me to THE EVENT. I love, love LOVE Jason Ritter (THE CLASS and PARENTHOOD). His father would be so proud of Jason's accomplishments, and I know that he will bring a likeability to the lead actor in THE EVENT that Joseph Fiennes failed to bring to FLASH FORWARD last year. With LOST also gone, I am jonesing for another sprawling piece of weekly entertainment. I have high hopes that THE EVENT will deliver.

3. LONE STAR (FOX) This one from FOX was pretty low on my Must-See list until I started reading from critics how GOOD it is. I miss the days of DALLAS (though TNT is working on a revamp..YAY!), and this Texas-based show could provide some really tasty moments of fun. Go Texas!

4. BLEEP MY DAD SAYS (CBS) I read the book, it was funny. But will Shatner translate well as the Dad in the title? He can be polarizing, but with a position following the hot BIG BANG on Thursday nights, BLEEP has every chance to succeed...so long as it is funny.

5. NO ORDINARY FAMILY (ABC) Do we really need another superhero show? I cant stomach HEROES, sorry. But this one promises to be lighter in tone. That will help.

6. HAWAII FIVE-O (CBS) I'll be watching for the theme song alone. Oh, and the eye candy provided by Alex O Laughlin.

7. RAISING HOPE (FOX) Great early reviews moved this comedy up the line. Cant wait to see what Cloris Leachman brings to the table.

8. MIKE & MOLLY (CBS) If Chuck Lorre's new comedy has a heart like his BIG BANG THEORY, then I will love MIKE and MOLLY. But if the fat jokes are snarky and mean-spirited (as seen in Lorre's TWO AND A HALF MEN), then I will tune this one out.

9. OUTSOURCED (NBC) It'a all in the tone, and so far critics havent been too impressed with OUTSOURCED. Then again, they hated PARKS & RECREATION, too, until Amy Poehler's show found its grooeve.

10. UNDERCOVERS (NBC) JJ Abrams cant go wrong (LOST, ALIAS, FELICITY). Or can he? (SIX DEGREES)

FALL TV REVIEW: HELLCATS

Rah Rah Rah! THE CW kicks the Big Network season into gear with HELLCATS, a one-hour drama that follows a feisty co-ed who has to join the cheerleading squad in order to get a scholarship and stay at fictional Lancer College. Much like GLEE did with musical numbers, HELLCATS has some terrific cheerleading productions. If anything, HELLCATS is a lot like the BRING IT ON movies, and I'm sure the storylines will reflect those themes. I mean, how could they not? As per the pilot, it was fast-paced, if not predictable. But with a show like this on THE CW, did you expect anything less? B+

Thursday, September 9, 2010

FALL TV ROUND-UP 2010

Here is a listing of all the new shows premiering from Sept 1, 2010 thru Dec 31, 2010, affectionately known as the fall tv season. ALL shows on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and CW will be graded, as well as all scripted shows on the other cable networks - including, but encompassing reality shows.

THE EVENT (NBC) A+
RAISING HOPE (FOX) A
NO ORDINARY FAMILY (ABC) A-
BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO) A-
HAWAII FIVE-O (CBS) B+
HELLCATS (CW) B+
MAD (CARTOON NETWORK): B
LONE STAR (FOX) B
NIKITA (CW) B-
RUNNING WILDE (FOX) B-
THE DEFENDERS (CBS) B-
DETROIT 187 (ABC) B-
TERRIERS (FX) B-
MY GERNERATION (ABC) C
MIKE & MOLLY (CBS) C-
UNDERCOVERS (NBC) C-
CHASE (NBC) D+
THE WHOLE TRUTH (ABC) D
OUTLAW (NBC) D-

FALL TV REVIEW: MAD

Not to be confused with the defunct FOX late-night sketch show MAD TV, MAD is the new Cartoon Network show inspired by Robot Chicken. In just 11 minutes, the animated sketches fly fast and furious, often with hilarious results. And like MAD TV, if one sketch doesnt wow, another bit is right around the corner. I also really like the shortened length of each episode, much like CHILDRENS HOSPITAL. It makes watching shows like MAD truly HAPPY. B

FALL TV REVIEW: TERRIERS

TERRIERS is one of those quirky crime procedurals that seem to do so well in the ratings for cable during the summer months. But with this new FX series debuting in the weeks leading into the fall tv season premiere week, TERRIERS is going to need to bark up viewers quickly in order to sustain any momentum going into October. As far as pilots go, TERRIERS has two good leads in Donal Logue and the Renee character from Season 1 of TRUE BLOOD. Still, like the better GOOD GUYS on FOX, TERRIERS is the type of show that just doesnt enthrall me enough to keep watching week to week. So, I say sweet attempt and best of luck, pups! B-

Saturday, September 4, 2010

TOP 50 TV SHOWS 2010 #1: SEPTEMBER 2010

1. True Blood (HBO)
2. Glee (FOX)
3. Big Bang Theory (CBS)
4. The Middle (ABC)
5. Desperate Housewives (ABC)
6. Chuck (NBC)
7. How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
8. Community (NBC)
9. Supernatural (CW)
10. Modern Family (ABC)
********************************************
11. 30 Rock (NBC)
12. Stargate Universe (SYFY)
13. Cougar Town (ABC)
14. Warren the Ape (MTV) NEW SHOW
15. Futurama (Comedy Central)
16. Project Runway (Lifetime)
17. The Office (NBC)
18. Eureka (SYFY)
19. Smallville (CW)
20. Saturday Night Live (NBC)
***********************************************
21. Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
22. Parenthood (NBC)
23. Two and a Half Men (CBS)
24. Persons Unknown (NBC) NEW SHOW CANCELED
25. Parks & Recreation (NBC)
26. V (ABC)
27. Hot in Cleveland (TVLand) NEW SHOW
28. Warehouse 13 (SYFY)
29. America’s Got Talent (NBC)
30. Scoundrels (ABC) NEW SHOW CANCELED
********************************************
31. Merlin (SYFY)
32. Haven (SYFY) NEW SHOW
33. Rules of Engagement (CBS)
34. Friday Night Lights (NBC)
35. South Park (Comedy Central)
36. Rupaul’s Drag Race (LOGO)
37. Ugly Americans (Comedy Central)
38. American Idol (FOX)
39. Caprica (SYFY)
40. Work of Art: The Next Great Artist (Bravo) NEW SHOW
**************************************************
41. The Marriage Ref (NBC)
42. 100 Questions (NBC) NEW SHOW CANCELED
43. Tosh.O (Comedy Central)
44. Last Comic Standing (NBC)
45. Scream Queens (VH1)
46. Family Guy (FOX)
47. American Dad (Fox)
48. Simpsons (FOX)
49. Rupaul Untucked (LOGO)
50. Big Gay Sketch Show (LOGO)
*************************************************
51. What Would You Do? (ABC)
52. Cleveland Show (FOX)
53. Celebrity Apprentice (NBC)
54. Funny or Die Presents (HBO)
55. America’s Next Top Model (CW)

MY FAVORITES GONE FOR GOOD FROM LAST SEASON:
*LOST (ABC)
*UGLY BETTY (ABC)
*BETTER OFF TED (ABC)
*SCRUBS (ABC)
*NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE (CBS)
*MELROSE PLACE (CW)
*FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS (HBO)
*SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM (COMEDY CENTRAL)

FALL & HOLIDAYMOVIE PREVIEW TOP 20 TO SEE

1. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Nov 19)
2. Burlesque (Nov 24)
3. Gulliver’s Travels (Dec 22)
4. Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Dec 10)
5. Tron Legacy (Dec 17)
6. Unstoppable (Nov 12)
7. Tangled (Nov 24)
8. Due Date (Nov 5)
9. Morning Glory (Nov 12)
10. . The Tempest (Dec 10)
11. Paranormal Activity 2 (Oct 22)
12. You Again (Sept 24)
13. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (Sept 24)
14. The Social Network (Oct 1)
15. Skyline (Nov 12)
16. Hereafter (Oct 22)
17. Let Me In (Oct 1)
18. Devil (Sept 17)
19. My Soul to Take (Oct 29)
20. Saw 3D (Oct 29)