Sorting through the DVR: Animal Practice, Emily Owens M.D. bite the dust; Last Resort & Nashville get a season pass

Why can’t you be on a GOOD show? (Jordana Spiro & Zach Gilford)

Today NBC officially cancelled Animal Practice, but I cut it out of my DVR schedule two weeks ago.  Not only was it painfully not funny, but it was making me start to dislike two actors whom I normally like very much: JoAnna Garcia Swisher and Justin Kirk.  They deserve better.  Over the years I’ve learned the difference between giving new shows a chance and watching them despite the fact that I hate them.  So, after one episode Made in Jersey got the boot (both on my personal DVR and the CBS schedule) because it was just atrocious.  I tried to stick with Mob Doctor (another show that I was watching mostly due to the likability of Jordana Spiro and Zach Gilford) but after three episodes of crappy mob stories combined with even crappier cases of the week, I just couldn’t anymore.  Other shows that were swings and misses for me: 666 Park Avenue (which I found SO boring and slow), Emily Owens M.D. (which makes me so sad because Mamie Gummer is so great whenever she guests on The Good Wife but this show is no good), Revolution (which may have suffered for not having ANY actors that I wanted to watch and definitely suffered under the weight of Tracy Spiridakos’ bad acting) and (though I’m still watching because I’m pretty convinced it’s going to be canceled sooner rather than later and I want to get all the man-candy in while I can) Chicago Fire is just a glorified rip off of Third Watch which wasn’t great to begin with. Continue reading

Wrapping up: The Highs & Lows of the 2011-2012 Television Season

Now that the television season has officially ended, here are the highs & lows of the 2011-2012 season.

The Vampire Diaries wins everything this season.

High: The Vampire Diaries proves that you don’t ever have to have a slump returning for season 3 with fresh ideas, the same quick plotting and awesomeness all around.  The season finale blew my mind and proved that the writers are in complete control of their narrative and writing the show on their own terms.

Low: Despite the presence of Sarah Michelle Gellar Ringer never really seemed to get off the ground, hampered by terrible green-screen effects, slow action and terribly oblivious characters.  It is a blessing that it was cancelled. Continue reading

Fox 2012-13 Schedule

Fox made more scheduling changes than anything else.  Of course, they do only have 2 hours of primetime to schedule so there’s not a lot of room for new shows, but the new shows they have don’t look completely awful.  In fact, a couple of their mid-season shows look kind of good (The Following and The Goodwin Games especially).  They do have a few big changes, but I pretty much agree with them.

#1 The Tuesday night comedy block was something they seemed to be leaning towards this year and have committed to 100% for the fall.  I’m totally on board with this decision.  Especially because new shows Ben and Kate and The Mindy Project actually look both funny and like they will fit well with Raising Hope and New Girl as lead-ins.

#2 Moving Touch to Fridays.  First of all, I think it was actually kind of stupid to give Touch a second season seeing as that show is lame.  However, I think that putting it on Fridays and pairing it with Fringe just makes sense.  And let’s all thank whatever God spoke to Kevin Reilly and convinced him to give Fringe 13 more episodes of awesome.

#3 Outside of the fact that I think that X-Factor is totally noisy and not at all good, it makes total sense to pair it’s result show (and American Idol’s come mid season) with Glee.  I don’t know why no one had done that before.  Glee is kind of on its way out (at least it is if it’s being smart) so it could definitely use the boost of the music competition audience (because even though X-Factor didn’t do as good as was expected, it still held it’s own ratings-wise).

There’s really not too much to say though.  I’m a little disappointed that The Following and The Goodwin Games are being held til midseason but that seems like something a lot of networks are doing now.  And regardless, the Fox Tuesday comedy block is totally going to become a thing – like NBC’s Must-See Thursdays or ABC’s TGIF block from the early 90′s.  I wonder what catchy name they’re going to give it.

DVR Overload – House of Lies, The Voice, The Amazing Race, The Ringer, Fringe, Justified

I have a total backlog of new episodes on my DVR.  I was away for a few weekends and try to actually live my life during the week instead of worrying about catching up on my favorite TV shows (oh the horror!) and there are a few shows that I let sit there, collecting dust.  Here’s what I was dealing with and how I handled it:

Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell from House of Lies

House of Lies - last 2 episodes.  They’re still there.  I know it’s a little weird to DVR a show that is available On Demand almost immediately, but it reminds me to watch.  Honestly, I wouldn’t watch this show except I love Kristen Bell.  I kind of find the show itself gross and not in a good/funny/interesting way.  Just in a “I feel gross after I watch it way.”  I’ll probably watch the last two and if nothing really sinks in, give up the show entirely. Continue reading

Bits and Bobs: TV is still awesome

TV is as good as ever (LOVED the twist on The Vampire Diaries last night that when an original dies their whole bloodline dies with them) but I’ve found that when the TV I love is really good, I have less of a need to blog about it.  Here are a few bits and bobs that I’ve been thinking about anyway:

- Nothing makes me happier than seeing So You Think You Can Dance alum in new projects – last week I pointed out that Alex Wong is in Newsies on broadway (along with Jess LeProtto from season 8 and Evan Kasprzak from season 5), this week it has come to my attention that Kathryn McCormick from Season 6 is starring in Step Up: Revolution out this summer.  Not only that, but Travis Wall is going to be choreographing a few of the dances.  Dude.  This is going to be the best (dance-wise) in the series yet!

- Do you think America is ready for a black Bachelor? If ABC/Mike Fleiss go with Lamar Hurd from Portland, OR I think the answer is ABSOLUTELY!  Check out his audition video in which he comes across as sincere, well-spoken, actually interesting and also adorable!  That smile!  Seriously, ABC.  You should do this.

Show pickups for next season are starting to trickle in from the networks and so far there haven’t been any major surprises.  I’m still holding out hope for a Fringe renewal from Fox though.

- I have finally watched Terriers, the FX series from 2010.  It is awesome.  I still have 1 episode to go but it is so worth checking out on Netflix if you’re looking for a great show.

 

TV Resolutions: Time to say good-bye

I’ve been thinking a lot about my TV resolutions for 2012 but let’s take a look back on how I did with last year’s resolutions first:

1. Watch The Sopranos.   I did not do this.  I think it’s still on my list, but I’m not sure.

2. Catch up on Breaking Bad and Justified before their season premieres.  SUCCESS!  I not only caught up on both of these shows, I continued to watch them and could not have been happier.  Both shows turned in fantastic seasons and I can’t wait for them to start up again – Justified begins again on January 17th!

Continue reading

What I Watched on my Christmas Vacation: Sons of Anarchy

Why didn’t anyone tell me that Sons of Anarchy is amazing?  Because I  needed something to watch last week while I was home and decided to give it a try and I honestly couldn’t stop watching.  I finished the entire series (well, so far) in a week and have started to watch it again from the beginning because I loved it so much.  I can’t remember the last time I felt this good about discovering a new show to love.  Well, perhaps when I discovered Battlestar Galactica, but that show was over by the time I got around to watching it.  With Sons, I have more new episodes to look forward to – though not soon enough. Continue reading

End of the Year TV Exhaustion (AKA Sorry so few new posts)

Shane might be an ass, but it was about time someone took care of that barn full of zombies.

The last 4-6 weeks of the year are always a weird time for me and my TV.  First of all, I become exponentially busier around the holidays and secondly, there are so few new episodes of my favorite shows airing (and they air so sporadically) that keeping caught up feels like less of a priority.  This is not a bad problem to have, but it does explain my absence over the last week.  It’s not that I haven’t been watching TV, it’s just that so little of what I’ve watched has made much of an impact.  Yes, I thought last night’s Walking Dead mid-season finale was great (especially compared with the glacially paced episodes that came before it) but to be honest, I wasn’t all that shocked at the ending and had been actively waiting for Sophia to crawl out of that barn for weeks.  Homeland was probably the best show I watched in a week, but I’m so conflicted about the ways that the writers are manipulating Brody’s character (he’s a terrorist, but he has a good reason to be a terrorist) that the show leaves me feeling a little woozy.  And while I still enjoy the travelogue that is The Amazing Race, I am increasingly uninterested in the top four teams (good bye Bill and Cathi.  You will be missed) that I’m kind of just waiting for the season to be over. Continue reading

TV Reruns: I have nothing new to add to this conversation

I would be much happier if baseball didn't interrupt my fall TV programming.

Last night, the only show that I watch that aired a new episode was Body of Proof and other than having some pretty bad acting by American Idol’s Crystal Bowersox, the episode was nothing of note (though there were horses.  Can’t forget those).  Why?  It’s only the last week in October, why are we seeing so many repeats this week?   Look, I know it’s the week before November sweeps begin and there are plenty of new episodes to catch tomorrow night, but I could really use something great to look forward to tonight.  I’m a total anger-ball (quick!  Name that movie!) and having a grumpy week and I am choosing to place the blame for my crankiness directly on the shoulders of my blank DVR.   Thankfully, there are new episodes of Happy Endings, The Vampire Diaries and Fringe this week or I might just abandon my TV and curl up with a book!

Fringe: An Indelible Mark

Broyles and Olivia discover that John still has the lessons that Marjorie taught him, if not the actual memories of her.

You guys, I love this show so much.  What started out as a purely sci-fi creepy crawly fest has turned into something with depth and emotion and heart.  At the end of last night’s episode of Fringe, Broyles (on our side) tells Olivia that he believes “there are people who leave an indelible mark on the soul” and no other show has shown this in a more poetic way.  There have been other characters on other shows that go missing without a trace, and their presence is always felt, but never with the subtlety that Peter’s is felt right now.  Yes, Walter is having visions and hearing Peter’s voice, but beyond that, it’s the noticeable changes in Olivia and Walter as characters that are really interesting.  We see how Peter loving Olivia has softened her up and made her more vulnerable and open.

Dr. John reacts to the two Olivias.

On last night’s episode, Faux-livia and the Fringe division from the other side asked Olivia to help them with the case of a serial killer (we’ll call him Killer-John) who freezes his victims from the inside out.  The other side wants to bring our version of the serial killer, a psycological profiler and professor (we’ll call him Dr. John), to their side in order to get inside the killer’s mind.  It’s all kept very under wraps, they drug him before they take him across Peter’s bridge and make sure that he doesn’t see anything that would indicate where he is, but when he starts to see little clues that are the same as his life – a photograph of his father in particular – he freaks out and Olivia is forced to tell him the whole truth.  In doing so, we see one of the ways that Peter has affected her without her even being aware – she opens up to Dr. John about her abusive stepfather in a way that we have never seen her do before (even Faux-livia thinks it’s an act).

While I'm glad we have the red hair on Faux-livia to help tell them apart, Anna Torv's performance almost renders the wig unnecessary.

I am loving the contrast between our Olivia and Faux-livia.  Our Olivia is so fragile and quiet and cautious whereas Faux-livia is all bravado and ego and eye rolling.  The way that Anna Torv is portraying them is brilliant.  We can see their similarities and see them recognize certain things about themselves in each other, but also see the ways in which they are constantly surprised by how their other half acts and problem solves.  It is really subtle and yet totally clear.  (Sarah Michelle Gellar could learn a few things from Torv for her performance on Ringer.)  I also like seeing the way that the alternate versions of the fringe division react to one another – Alt-Lincoln telling Olivia that he knows she must hate being on their side because that’s how Faux-livia would feel – they know each other and yet don’t know each other.  I like watching them eye each other skeptically.

Faux-livia walks Dr. John through Killer John's house.

Dr. John can relate to Killer John because he has those feelings inside him as well (fantastic performance by John Pyper-Ferguson in the scene when he’s telling Olivia about relating to killer John).  He has the same urges to kill, to take people’s happiness, the same struggles to relate and yet, when he was a boy a woman found him and accepted him and taught him how to step into the light so Dr. John thinks that he can help Killer John, the alternate version of himself (and it was definitely an alternate version.  Dr. John got a chance to see what would have happened to him had he not run away from his abusive father and found Marjorie.  It was pretty powerful).

Killer John and Dr. John come face to face with their alternate realities

Killer John was jealous of Dr. John’s ability to “step into the light” so he hooked him up to his antifreeze machine (which also hooked into him; I think it allowed him to drain his victims of their happy feelings and feel them himself) and asked Dr. John to tell him about his happiest memories.  Only, in doing so, in taking in all of Dr. John’s experiences, he learned what Dr. John had learned that stopped him from becoming a serial killer: empathy.  And that empathy for his victims was too much for him to bare and he shot himself in front of Olivia (this is the second suicide on TV this week – the other was in Prime Suspect – can we please do away with this trend?).

Walter reenacting Steve Steigman's "Blown Away" poster while trying to drown out Peter.

The draining left Dr. John without memories of his little trip to the other side or Marjorie.  Killer John sucked them out of his mind.  But what she taught him, about stepping into the light and feeling compassion and empathy, that stayed with him.  Which is what led Broyles to his statement about people leaving imprints on our souls.  It’s these subtle reminders that Peter is there, somewhere in all of the people he touched when he “existed” that I love.  I’m not as big a fan of what’s going on with Walter – hearing and seeing visions of Peter – but at the same time, I find it intriguing that the more that Walter tries to shut him out, the louder and more prominent Peter gets.  Like Walter’s inability to believe in him makes his presence stronger.  I don’t know why that’s striking me, but it really does.

 

“Kennedy, help me.” – Walter   “Lincoln!” – Lincoln Lee.  Total LOL moment.