Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall TV 2010 - New Shows and Season Premieres Part 1

Dexter - Ooh boy. What a great season opener. Especially after the heart-wrenching finale last season. I love Bryan Cranston and all, but dammit, if Michael C. Hall doesn't get an Emmy next year I'll be pissed.

Amazing Race 17 - Watermelon face girl! I was happy to see that this famous viral internet clip happened in this episode, even if CBS chose not to show the melon actually exploding on the woman's noggin. I guess the FCC didn't want to scare the children? Anyway, it was a fairly enjoyable premier, from the start in Gloucester, MA to the aforementioned watermelon noggining. I was surely disappointed to see Team Wiz eliminated first though. I'm holding my judgement on this new "express pass" until after it's used. Does this mean that there won't be a Fast Forward?

Hawaii 5-0 - I went in with pretty low expectations, especially considering that Alex O'Showkiller was starring. But my love for Scott Caan is so strong, I thought I'd get through it anyway. And I was right - Caan is the best part about the new 5-0; but he's not the only good part. I really enjoyed the premier and am looking forward to the whole season. And I was so happy that they kept the original theme song.

Grey's Anatomy - A pretty flat season premier; especially considering how awesome and adreneline-filled last season's finale was. The was a bunch of good set-up for some story lines that could be pretty great though.

Bored To Death - gawd I love this quirky, whacked-out show so much.

Undercovers - Eh. I'll watch it because I like cheesy spy shows, JJ Abrams, and hot boys like Boris Kodjoe. But I think I was expecting something a little darker and heavier; the premier at least was a little too Nick&Nora frothy for me. But then again we got to see Boris shirtless which is NEVER a bad thing.

Glee - The 2nd season premier had the funniest opening 3 minutes of any tv show I've seen in quite some time. Way to make fun of yourselves and turn the negative criticism into your advantage Ryan Murphy and crew! I love the addition of Coach Bieste, and am looking forward to my boyfriend John Stamos showing up in the coming eps. I like this new kid played by Chord Overstreet; and I hope that's not the last we'll see of Charice or Cheyenne Jackson. Also, anytime you have a performance of one of my favorite guilty pleasure jams in the first 15 minutes you've kind of won me over for the season. Take note other shows that have disappointed me - all you need to do to win me back is to sing "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.

Nikita - I'm a sucker for anything connected to the awesome French film La Femme Nikita. I even loved the Bridget Fonda remake; and I LOVED the Peta Wilson tv show of the same name that ran for 5 seasons on USA. So I was going to watch this new remake of the television show anyway. I like the new Nikita (Maggie Q - seriously, what's wrong with your real last name Quigley?), and it's nice to see Xander Berkeley working again, but there's a lot to this new version that I hate. Like Shane West as Michael. Why does this dude bug me so much? With the exception of maybe half a season on ER, I have pretty much hated everything that West has ever done. Anyway, I'm in for the long haul because again I like cheesy spy shows and their ilk.
Law & Order: LA - Y'all know I love Skeet Ulrich. And Alred Molina. And the Law & Order franchise. So why don't I love this new show? Yet. I'm going with yet. I'm definitely going to give it a chance to grow on me; much like Corey Stoll's mustache. Terrance Howard continues his scenery chewing acting methods which I usually find amusing but not so much here. I miss Sam Waterson. I also don't understand why this series is so heavily weighted on the "Order" side? Do we really need 4 of the 6 main characters to be DAs or ADAs? No, no we do not.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Burn The Floor!

Tonight was opening night in Seattle of the Burn The Floor tour. What an amazing show it was!
My friend Robert and I were in the first row. And when I say "first row" I mean in special chairs set up over the orchestra pit so that we were literally just a yard and a half from the dancers on stage. AWESOME.
This touring cast was full of dancers that had been in the original West End and Broadway productions. The cast features So You Think You Can Dance alumni - season 3's Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis, Janette Manrara from season 5, season 6's Ashleigh and Ryan Di Lello (and Ryan's chest, which is its own entity), and Karen Hauer who seemed so flat and dull during season 6 but who was the most captivating female dancer on the stage tonight. What a surprise she was!

Here's Pasha and Anya performing a number they do in the show. The charisma and pure sex appeal that pours off of Pasha and the Lativian Diva is palpable.

Other notable standouts (besides Ryan's chest, did I mention that?) included world-renowned ballroom couple Damon and Rebecca Sugden, and Irishman Tristan Macmanus who was so hot and I swear, checked my friend Robert out twice during the performance.

All in all it was a phenomenal performance. If these guys are coming to your town don't hesitate to go see the show!

Edited to add:
I forgot to say that "hot tamale train" Mary Murphy herself was in attendance on Tuesday night's opener. I practically brushed shoulders with her coming out of the theater.

TV Round Up - September season finale edition

Remember that True Blood season 3 finale I was so jazzed about? Well boy, was I disappointed. I've been complaining this whole season about the way the show's writers have chosen to interpret destroy change the character of Calvin Norris, one of the best people in the books, but last night's finale really took the cake. I won't spoil it for those who haven't watched yet, but Alan Ball and Co. really screwed the pooch with the whole "Hot Shot" storyline. Jason as inbred hillbilly messiah? PLEASE spare me.
Other parts of the third season ender that irked me?
The continuation of the destruction of Sam Merlotte. Would he really shoot his brother? C'mon now.
The lame way they've introduced the Faeries, and the cheeseball last scene with Sookie and Claudine (and where the hell is Claude?!).
The fact that Alcide didn't remove any clothing in the episode. Not even his shirt. The hell?
The True Blood finale wasn't a total wash; there were some intriguing parts to it. I was wondering how they were going to introduce the whole witch story arc, which is a major part of the books. And even though they've hinted about it for the past several episodes, the reveal of Jesus as a witch was a surprise to me, and kind of perfect. I'm looking forward to the adventures that he and Lafayette will have next season.
I liked the way they set up Sookie finally finding out about Bill and all of his big lame secrets. And I also liked that they didn't leave Eric in cement all hiatus - and Pam didn't get hurt (hooray!).
Finally I loved that they allowed Hoyt and Jessica to be happy for at least 5 minutes. That creepy old, gross baby doll foreshadows trouble ahead for these too I suspect. As does Mrs. Fortenberry buying that big ol' rifle.
So long True Blood, see you next Spring/Summer. Bring on Dexter!

The Closer -
A very well done season ender. Kyra Sedgwick is truly phenomenal as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson. She deserves every Emmy and Golden Globes nomination she gets.
The TNT shows are strange because they have these summer and winter mini-seasons. Sometimes it's hard to build momentum up to a big cliffhanger in such a short time. This summer the main focus was on who would become Chief of Police. Would it be Pope, who wanted it so bad? Or would Brenda succumb to peer pressure and finally admit that she wanted the job? I wasn't sure that they would actually wrap this up in the finale, but they did, and in a great way by giving the job to Chief Delt, played by the awesome Courtney B. Vance. So now we're left wondering what's to become of the major crimes unit. Fans don't have to wait long - the new season starts in December.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

TV Round Up - last week of August/early September

I've been embroiled in a bunch of family drama these past several weeks (don't you just love family sometimes?); so I haven't had any time to watch television. My poor Tivo and Tifaux have been working overtime and their little memories are filled to capacity.
But let's talk about some of the things I managed to watch this week. Keep in mind, most of this stuff aired days ago and in this day and age of Twitter and live blogging, none of my comments are really that fascinating. That's not stopping me from sharing them though.

Project Runway from 8/26
The team challenge episode for this season was superb television. Gretchen's spectacularly crazy spiral on the runway, the appalling treatment of Michael C. by the rest of his team, and best of all the AMAZING smackdown of Gretchen from one Tim Gunn were some of the best moments this show has had in some time.

Huge - 1st (and hopefully not last) season finale
You guys? I loved this quirky gem of a show so much. Yes it's a teen drama on the ABC Family channel. And yes, it was about teens at a fat camp for the summer. But boy oh boy it was so much more than that. The stories, dialog, and the characters that were created for this show was some of the best written stuff for tv that I've seen in some time. The tv show is better than the book. And the book is great! Teens talked and acted like real teens. The actors playing the kids at the camp were, guess what Hollywood?, actually overweight, and not some weird slightly bloated thin person or someone thin in make-up and prosthetics. No fat suits! Nikki Blonsky who was in the film version of the musical Hairspray was one of the leads, and she was so great; she has real dramatic talent. And I loved that they didn't really showcase her singing talent in a forced way (like some shows could've/would've done).Sure, her character and another one end up writing some songs together, but it was done in a very organic way, that made sense with the character development. And the singing was not at all canned, produced, or auto-tuned. 
You really cared about every single person and I really can't tell you the last time I experienced television characters, especially teen television characters that were so, well, deep.
The finale was just as superb as the whole season has been. My only complaint is that it really left me hanging. I'm dying to know how everyone fairs by the end of summer camp. Will I have to wait until next year?! I don't know how ABC Family does their seasons. Or if the show was even picked up for a second season; but if that dumb show they have about gymnasts can get a 2nd season, certainly Huge can right? They totally deserve it!

Memphis Beat season finale
Another quirky freshman drama; another cop drama on TNT, but hey if it's working for the network why mess with the formula? This one starred Jason Lee as MPD detective Dwight Hendricks who moonlights as a blues singer who has an affinity for Elvis songs. It also starred the always good Alfre Woodard, Celia Weston, and a surprisingly good DJ Qualls who finally found the right character and balance for his inherent weirdness. Jason Lee sure does have a beautiful singing voice. Who knew? No seriously, did people know this? I know about Lee being a former pro skateboarder, and a Scientologist etc. But I did not know that he could sing; and play guitar and bass. He should consider putting an album out. Maybe he already has and I'm just out of the loop; that would mean I'd have to give up my Jason Lee fan club membership card I guess. The show's writing was a little inconsistent throughout the season, but I can't say that there was any episode that I hated.
Which can't be said about another TNT drama HawthoRNe. This show and I had a very dramatic dvr-breakup last month because I hated Jada Pinkett-Smith's character so much. You know when the power of shirtless Michael Vartan can't save a show for me, there's something wrong.

Big Brother -
Sigh...the people I had picked to win in my office pool all got eliminated, the last being Brendon who really played an excellent game and just barely missed staying in the house (as HOH no less) for another week. Oh well, I really don't want anyone left in the house to win but if I had to choose I guess I'd go with Britney.

2010 Emmys -
I'll quickly just say that I was over the moon about Eric Stonestreet and the Modern Family wins. Can't wait for that show to come back into my life.
And that opening number from Jimmy Fallon et al was effin' brilliant.

True Blood
Season 3 has been better than I could've hoped for. I've said it before, Alan Ball and the rest of the writers are doing an excellent job of incorporating various plots and characters from the books into the television show, while creating totally new and interesting characters. Case in point the two men pictured above, Kevin Alejandro and Joe Manganiello. They play Jesus and Alcide respectively; Alcide is a beloved character from the book and Joe was the top choice from fans of the book who emailed and tweeted Alan Ball with suggestions to have him play Alcide. He's perfect in the role and I can't wait to see what next season brings. Jesus on the other hand is a brand new character created for the show and such a welcome addition. I love Alejandro's chemistry with Nelsan Ellis who plays Jesus's love interest Lafayette.
Speaking of my beloved Lafayette and Nelsan Ellis, how cute is he in this picture from a cast Emmy party with actor Marshall Allman who plays newcomer Tommy Mickens/Merlotte.

Needless to say, I'm super psyched for the True Blood season finale happening in a couple of weeks. And then it's time for all of the new and returning Fall tv shows. It's my favorite time of the year!