September 28, 2004
Upcoming Recordings 09/28 - 10/02
Before I get to the list of things I plan to record this week, I'll share a few thoughts on UPNís VERONICA MARS (Tuesdays, 9pm).
Veronica Mars is like Angela Chase with street smarts, blonde hair and an after-school job as a private detective. It turns out that Veronica Mars isnít like the main character from MY SO-CALLED LIFE at all. But VERONICA MARS, the show, picks up where the young female-centric shows of last year left off (all of which, while featuring strong female leads not trusting that strength and questioning their roles in the universe, owe a debt to MSCL).
Iíve got my fingers crossed that VERONCIA MARS will survive the fall and see eventual renewal by the end of the season. I want this show to succeed. Itís not as quirky as last yearís WONDERFALLS, which met a swift fate with cancellation just as it was gaining storytelling steam. The adults on VERONICA MARS serve the story better than the adults on JOAN OF ARCADIA (I cannot believe that the blue hue is still so prominent whenever Joe Mantegna is on screen and at the office). Like Georgia of Showtimeís DEAD LIKE ME, Veronica Mars is a bit of a loner who is just now finding her way and starting to make friends (except her new friends are just other high school rejects, not the Grim Reapers Georgia meets with every morning at the Waffle Hut).
When I first saw commercials for VERONICA MARS I thought the show starred Allison Mack (Chloe from SMALLVILLE). It turns out Kristen Bell is the lead but shares that same blonde hair, inquisitive nature and inner confidence that Mack brought to SMALLVILLE as Clarkís newspaper buddy. As in DEAD LIKE ME, the young protagonist narrates each episode. In the first episode of VERONICA MARS there was a lot of back story to relay and I imagine that the intro to each show will summarize everything in very succinct fashion. Basically, Veronica lives in a ritzy California town with her father, who used to be the local sheriff. He lost his job ten months ago when he was accused of seriously botching the investigation of the death of a high school student (who happened to be Veronicaís good friend, the sister of Veronicaís boyfriend, and the daughter of the local software billionaire). During that ordeal Veronicaís mom left the family and disappeared. And Veronica lost her virginity while passed out at a party she attended to prove that she could handle all of her old ďpopularĒ friends talking about her behind her back.
During the pilot the audience learns that Veronica now helps her father who now works as a private investigator. Veronicaís much better at her job than any high school student has the right to be. As we do with so many things, itís time for the oleí ďwilling suspension of disbelief.Ē VERONCIA MARS is like a trashy dime store novel for THE O.C. generation. Itís inventive and fun. Thereís a hint of that mystery that you find in all those CSI shows but I also think thereís a larger narrative arc at work in VERONICA MARS thatís going to make the show compelling all season. Of course, maybe the only reason I like the show is because Iím happy Kyle Secor (Bayliss of HOMICIDE) plays the software billionaire.
CRASHING THE PARTIES 2004 (WNET (PBS, 10pm) Ė Before getting all excited about Thursday nightís debate, donít forget that there are third party candidates out there. This PBS documentary examines the leading candidates from various third parties.
THE BEACH BOYS: GOOD VIBRATIONS TOUR (Ovation, 6pm) Ė Check out the review I linked to that suggests this footage from 1976 hasnít aged well. Precisely the reason I intend to watch the show! By the way, this is the first time in eleven months that Iíve seen a show on Ovation that I havenít seen listed before. Iím happy theyíre finally acquiring some new programming. If I have to skip past a listing for 1 GIANT LEAP one more time Iím going to throw the remote at the TV, smashing something.
THE MUSIC SEEN (WNYE channel 25 in NY, 9pm) - This looks to be a show that features local music from Richmond and Charlottesville, VA. I donít know which episode will actually air, but according to the website a previous episode featured Heath Haynes and the Crying Shames.
LOST (ABC, 8pm) Ė The first two episodes re-air back to back, recreating the two hour pilot as it was meant to be seen.
September 27, 2004
the status of late night
i'm sure everyone is anxiously awaiting the list of the things i plan to record this week (hint: THE MOUNTAIN is not on that list), take a few moments and read jamie's entry about the conan assuming leno's place at nbc. mitch makes some great late night tv observations in the comments.
September 20, 2004
20th century wsop
espn classic is airing old world series of poker tournaments at midnight all this week. tonight look for the showdown from 1993. tomorrow night, 1994.
and here's a resource that lists all the poker on tv for the coming weeks.
September 19, 2004
Upcoming Recordings 09/20 - 09/24
Letís wrap this up quickly. Nothing too exciting or out of the norm coming up this week Ė just a few series premieres. Here are a few shows Iím excited about recording:
SPACED (Trio, 10pm) Ė I mentioned this a few days ago. Itís a British comedy that the only British guy I know loves. He says heís seen it a million times. If this show isnít any good, Iím never going out drinking with him again. Two episodes air each night this week on Trio.
GILMORE GIRLS (WB, 8pm) Ė If youíre a fan of this show you donít need to be reminded how good it can be. Sujan and I had a brief conversation Saturday night about how Rory better be a much more interesting character this year. If that doesnít happen, Iím going to be yelling and screaming for cancellation.
SMALLVILLE (WB, 8pm) Ė Three years ago I raved that SMALLVILLE was the best show youíre not watching. I saw a brief teaser for this season and it looks like Clark Kent is about to start flying. So much for that ďno tights, no flightsĒ mantra I heard over and over again when this show was introduced.
LOST (ABC, 8pm) Ė LOST is the new show from J.J. Abrams, creator of ALIAS. What kind of programming decision is ABC making here? It seems to me that LOST is the kind of show thatís going to compete with SMALLVILLE for audience share. Iím expecting good, episodic storytelling mixed with a bit of the bizarre and slightly supernatural. I donít have a program grid in front of me, but from the commercials Iíve seen, LOST does not look like an 8pm show. I canít wait to watch and judge for myself, though.
VERONICA MARS (UPN, 9pm) Ė I read a brief headline earlier today saying that VERONICA MARS is good TV. Iím counting on it. I need a new show thatís interesting and smartly written. I didnít actually read the review, though. I attempted to find it again but was unsuccessful. Iím a completely unreliable guide for the coming week of television. And Iím not ready to spoil things for myself. Itís about a kid whoís a detective, I think. Sort of an Encyclopedia Brown for the Americaís Next Top Model set?
FRIDAY (9/24) Ė but I really should say THURSDAY at midnight
SOUNDSTAGE (WNET 13, 12am) Ė Tonightís episode of SOUNDSTAGE (the well done PBS music program) features a performance by Russell Croweís band, 40 Odd Foot of Grunts. How in the world can you not record this? I have no interest in seeing Billy Bob Thorntonís Band, or Dogstar or any other celebrity band, but a band called 40 Odd Foot of Grunts is something that deserves ten minutes of my time. And Kris Kristofferson is also featured on this episode!
September 14, 2004
Alex B. can't stop writing about how much he loves a British show called SPACED. And guess what? All of us can share his enthusiasm. I just read that Trio has acquired the rights to air SPACED in the US. It stars a guy who's in the upcoming film, SHAUN OF THE DEAD.
Set your magical devices for record starting September 20th at 10pm.
September 13, 2004
Upcoming Recordings 09/13 - 09/18
For the next week I think Iíll preface every conversation with a reference to THE SURREAL LIFE. Anyone not watching the VH1 show is out of his mind. The interaction between Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielsen is truly surreal. The casting for season three of the show is better than anyone had any right to expect. Dave Coulierís constant inability to understand Charo is fantastic and mesmerizing. Ryan Starr's dislike for all of her castmates is totally unwarranted. And Jordan Knightís assholeness is comparable to Corey Feldman's, yet totally distinct. If you watch just one reality show this year, THE SURREAL LIFE is the one you should watch.
I will also throw in a quick note about the WBís JACK & BOBBY. I liked it. It is a little schmaltzy, but itís got promise. The conceit of the storyís narration (as told by various people who knew the adult Jack & Bobby) is way heavy handed and I think it will get old by the third or fourth episode. Right now, Iím willing to hang with it (the narration) and see where the show goes.
HOME MOVIES (Cartoon, 4:29am) Part of Adult Swim, HOME MOVIES is good stuff. Alex got me hooked on the show. I like it more than AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE and SEALAB 2021.
THE BENEFACTOR (ABC, 8pm) I have yet to read a good review of this show. Maybe one or two will appear Monday morning. Mark Cuban is an interesting guy and Iím completely hooked on his blog. The idea of him giving away a million dollars is sort of enticing and Iíve got my fingers crossed that the casting is as good as he says it is (but heís a salesman, so maybe I should lower my expectations a bit).
EVERWOOD (The WB, 9pm) Season premiere. Are we already onto the third year of this show? It really is one of the best dramas on television.
PARKING LOT (Trio, 9pm) A new episode of PARKING LOT Ė Michael Jackson Parking Lot. Iíve seen the other episodes of the show and Iím sort of a completist on that front. One more episode wonít hurt, but my level of enthusiasm is incredibly low for this one.
GROWING UP GOTTI (A&E, 1:30am) This is now a regular on my list of things to record. I watched two episodes earlier today and as much as I didnít want to get hooked, I couldnít resist. Twenty minutes of this show once a week is the perfect dose.
THE ALTERNATIVE (VH1 Classic, 11pm) Have I already mentioned this show on VH1? Itís like 120 Minutes Ė same music videos and everything. Itís just that itís 60 minutes shorter and it airs earlier in the evening. Best watched in group settings.
RAY DAVIES: THE WORLD THROUGH MY WINDOW (Trio, 6pm) I know absolutely nothing about this. I scoured the internet and couldnít find a single review. If anyone knows anything about this, please leave a comment. Is it a documentary? Is it a recording of a live performance? I have no idea. Iím willing to take a chance, though.
THE O.C.: OBSESS COMPLETELY (Fox, 8pm) Iíve already stated to members of my OC watching club that I wonít be watching this teaser about whatís to come this season. Iíd feel remiss if I didnít mention itís existence, though.
BURT REYNOLDS (TCM) TCM is having a Burt Reynolds five movie marathon on Thursday. If youíre in the mood to record a film this week, take your pick of WHITE LIGHTNING, SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, DELIVERANCE, FUZZ and THE MAN WHO LOVED CAT DANCING. Anyone have any favorites among these? Which one should I record?
WHOLE (Sundance, 12:30am) This documentary is about a small group of the population who feel the need to cut off one of their limbs in order to feel ďwhole.Ē I donít think thereís any way this could not be fascinating.
DEGRASSI: UNSCRIPTED (The N, 8pm) This show is sort of like MTVís Cribs, but not at all. The show is just promotional filler before the new season of DEGRASSI starts. When you fast forward most of it, you can watch it in ten minutes.
FILM SCHOOL (IFC, 10:30pm) I watched episode one this week and found myself very relieved that I never went to film school. The show follows four students as they work on creating their ten minute shorts. The potential for dullsville is pretty high with this one.
DESIGNER FINALS (HGTV, 1am) This show returned to HGTV a few weeks ago. Because I loved the first episode last January, youíd think that I wouldíve watched every additional episode. Unfortunately, thatís not the case. Iíll record it this week and see what Iíve been missing.
September 12, 2004
coming this fall...
he runs through the good shows, the mediocre shows, the bad shows and the shows he hasn't seen. he also offers his predictions for renewal and cancellation.
the two shows i'm most excited about are LOST (from Alias creator JJ Abrams) and LIFE AS WE KNOW IT (promoted as being from the Freaks & Geeks camp, but it doesn't look to be from Apatow or Feig). cancellation is predicted for both of them.
September 06, 2004
Upcoming Recordings 09/07 - 09/12
I just spent a fair amount of time in front of the DVR and I'm excited for the upcoming week. The fall season feels like it's about to get underway and it makes my retinas tingle with glee. Until that time, I plan on checking out the following:
WORLD SERIES OF POKER (ESPN, 9pm & 10pm) An attempt to seem ďflakyĒ and ďwildĒ is the real season I went bust so early the other night when we were playing Texas Hold ĎEm. Iím not ready for my friends to know that I can win every time we play. Of course, I donít know that yet, either. I continue to watch a ridiculous amount of televised poker. ESPNís telecast of the WSOP continues Tuesday night with two hours of play before the final two-hour event next week.
THE REAL WORLD Ė PHILADELPHIA (MTV, 9:30pm & 10pm) I guess the real first episode airs at 10pm. Maybe the thing at 9:30 is some sort of casting special? I watched REAL WORLD SAN DIEGO and when doing so told myself that I was only going to watch every other episode. The odds are 50-50 Iíll delete this before actually viewing it. (Look! Iím mentioning oddsÖIím still hung up on gambling!)
C+. The Flagship show, the crowned jewel, the bestseller. I grade hard because of expectations. Let me say, this is a positive C+. There is much to like as Franken is master comedy writer with enough performance skills to be in front of the camera/mic.
Starting Tuesday night the Sundance Channel will be airing parts of the show on television. Somehow I imagine this will be a little different than Howard Sternís show on E!.
PILOT SEASON (Trio, 12:30am) All six episodes air this week and the show may be worth checking out. Sarah Silverman is in it! Itís a sort of follow up to a movie called Whoís the Caboose? that also airs all over Trio this week.
SANDWICHES THAT YOU WILL LIKE (WNET 13, 1am) I caught this a year or two ago and it gave me the idea that I wanted to eat sandwiches at every meal. And for dessert. Sandwiches. Exclusively. Shawn (previously of Philadelphia) read about my idea and she and a roommate actually tried to do this for a few days. This show is awesome and if you live in New York, make sure you catch it. I wrote a huge review in my blog but the archives have yet to be recovered, so youíll have to imagine me going on and on about the crazy sandwiches in Louisville, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and everywhere else.
WORLD POKER TOUR (Travel, 9pm) A normal guy takes on the ďBad Boys of Poker.Ē
BIG IDEA WITH DONNY DEUTSCH (CNBC, 11pm) CNBC doesnít have the best website in the world. Iíve raved about this show before and it seems like new episodes are airing. Donny Deutsch loves complimenting women and thatís sort of weird and creepy now that Iíve seen him do it so much. But it comes from a guy who seems especially friendly and knowledgeable and as part of a good interview. If you like talking heads and or interview shows, this is a show you canít miss.
GROWING UP GOTTI (A&E, 2am) I have yet to watch this show and I feel like itís one of those cable semi-hits that Iím missing. There are a select few out there who have seen it and rave about it.
JOEY (NBC, 8pm) Spun off from the popular movie Kangaroo Jack, this half-hour NBC comedy mines the same fish-out-of-water material covered just three years ago in Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles.
THE APPRENTICE (NBC, 8:30pm) Like The Real World, the odds are good Iíll delete this before watching it. I loved most of the first season, but I think weíre all going through a reality overdose. A guy who Jamie went to high school with is on the show, though.
THE VIDEO GAME REVOLUTION (WNET 13, 1am) This looks cool.
JACK & BOBBY (WB, 9pm) This doesnít look very cool at all but Iím contractually obligated to watch and love everything on THE WB.
September 03, 2004
no feldmans this time
just a quick reminder - the third season of THE SURREAL LIFE starts sunday night at 10pm on VH1. i'm sure it'll be rerun a hundred million times during the week.
this time the show features:
jordan knight (NKOTB!)
dave coulier (cut. it. out.)
flavor flav (that clock guy?)
brigitte nielsen (she devil with a sword!)
ryan starr (who?)
charo (you loved her on LOVE BOAT!)
interested in reliving the first season of the show? jeremy did a great job viewing and interpreting every episode. check out what he had to say.
September 01, 2004
roy horn...tiger...blah blah blah
I am guilty of recording and then actually watching the entire episode of Father of the Pride.
It is "believed to be the most expensive first-year TV comedy ever created." Yowza. I can see the care in the animation, but I don't know if anyone bothered to actually write the comedy.
Here are a few outtakes from some reviews:
This series isn't unfunny and unwatchable or a waste of assembled talent merely because it pushes the stupid button like a kid pushes a doorbell, or for the fact that it tries to parlay sexual innuendo into adult hipness. "Father of the Pride" isn't bad because it's trying to be bad. That's too easy. This late-to-the-party, wannabe modern-day version of "South Park" is bad because it shoots low and misses. (San Francisco Chronicle)
too risque for kids and too dumb for adults. (The Chicago Tribune)
Unfortunately, as even the Discovery Channel has discovered, you can only get so much entertainment mileage out of animal sex. (USA Today)
And that's it. I can't find any deliciously trashy reviews! Where are all the television journalists? Has the Fall TV Season started too early for them? Has all their venom been left at the beach waiting to be collected on Labor Day? I certainly hope so. I don't imagine FATHER OF THE PRIDE (NBC, Tuesdays @ 9pm) will be around next year for them to viciously attack.
UPDATE: Aaron Barnhart doesn't let me down. He doesn't go after FATHER OF THE PRIDE, but he does have some not-so-nice things to say about NBC's HAWAII. He concludes:
Speaking of horrible, the last action series I can recall getting this kind of buildup was ďSouth of Sunset,Ē which starred Glenn Frey of the Eagles and was canceled after just one airing on CBS in 1993.
Thatís quite an achievement, but with a little luck I think ďHawaiiĒ can match it.
As for Mr. Barnhart's take on FATHER OF THE PRIDE, it can be found here.