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

Fringe: My weekly dose of gross returns

EWWWWW!

All this week, I’ve found myself feeling very tepid about the return of some of my favorite shows from the past few seasons.  That all ended Friday with the return of Fringe.  I had butterflies in my stomach as Olivia and Faux-livia exchanged fringe division files across the bridge that Peter created between their universes.  The action this week was set in our universe and we got the return of Lincoln Lee (who I know showed up on our side at some point but I can’t for the life of me remember when it was) whose FBI partner was killed by a sort of translucent guy and it’s SO awesomely gross.  You can see his bones and blood vessels through his skin!  SO cool.  In the end the fringe division discovers that the translucent people are actually a new form of shape shifters.  No need to plug these guys into the wall, though I’m not quite sure I understand how they work.

Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) follows Olivia (Anna Torv) after she tries to give him the brush off at his partner's murder scene.

The case leads Lincoln to Olivia and fringe division where he is initiated into those “in the know”.  Overall, Lincoln is fairly calm about the whole thing, only really freaking out when he realizes that fringe division is telling the victims’ families that their loved one is missing instead of giving them the closure they need by telling them that they’re dead.  (This led to my favorite line of the night.  From Walter:  ”People die.  It happens.  Sometimes they even die twice.”)  I think I really like Lincoln.  I will hate him if he comes between Peter and Olivia, but right now, I like him.  He’s got principles.  And in the end, he proves to be an asset to the team, bringing a new sort of out of the box thinking with him.  I liked the way that Olivia matter of factly showed him the ropes not only in the lab, but on the bridge between the worlds.  It was so simple and shocking and yet not all at the same time.

The observer shops for some "Peter erasing" materials but ultimately doesn't use them.

There was a lot of talk of holes in lives and missing pieces and there were flickerings of “Peter” every now and then.  Those flickers lead the observer who saved Peter when he was a boy to create a device that will erase him from time entirely.  Poor Walter is all alone (Olivia makes the best observation, saying that he’s not always there because he never had anything to tether him to the world) and living in the lab.  In the end, the observer does not actually use the device, looking saddened by the idea of definitively erasing Peter, which gives me hope that Peter will return quickly.  I am also emboldened by the fact that Walter is seeing visions of Peter in mirrors and televisions.  Come back to us Peter!

First Impressions: Prime Suspect

Maria Bello surrounded by her fellow (meanie) officers.

Maria Bello is such a badass the rest of Prime Suspect almost doesn’t even matter.  Except that it sort of does.  I love the character that Bello plays, Jane Timoney, and I don’t mind that she has a lot of obstacles standing in her way to become a lead detective, but I have a huge problem with the sexism within the NYPD that she has to face.  First of all, it feels completely dated.  Men haven’t behaved so overtly anti-woman in years thanks to sexual harassment lawsuits.  Secondly, she’s a good detective.  Why isn’t it ok for her to be a woman too?  Thirdly, I feel like we already saw this kind of story at the beginning of The Closer when Brenda took over the Special Crimes Unit.  She had to win over her all male (and at that point one female) team and eventually they all bonded like family.  I feel like that’s where this show is going and I kind of wish it was just starting there.  I really liked the way that Jane went all in as she chased down the suspect at the end and I liked that the show showed her bruises and cuts from the fights letting us know that Jane is not some superhero but a normal cop.  I liked Jane’s relationship with her boyfriend and father as well (especially the moment when she returns after the fundraiser for the dead cop’s family and asks her boyfriend just to listen to her for a minute even though he’s still mad at her).  I just think the overt sexism of the rest of the cops is completely unnecessary and over the top and needs to be dialed down before the show will really feel honest.  I’ve said before that pilots have a big job to do and I think this one set up the characters and general plot and storytelling mechanisms well, but I think the rhythm was a bit funky and I’m hoping it finds its pacing and a softer tone for the rest of the cops that surround Jane.

Project Runway: ANOTHER team challenge (BOO!)

Team Nuts and Bolts

Ugh, another Project Runway team challenge however in this situation there’s no leader.  Team Chaos consists of Anthony, Anya, Viktor, Olivier, and Bryce.  Team Nuts and Bolts is Josh, Laura, Kimberly, Becky and Bert (THAT team is a recipe for disaster).  There’s a lot to this challenge: creating their own print, a video backdrop and music for the runway show.  I loved the print challenge last year, but I think it sucks that they have to create the prints as a team.  The worst part about it is they only have two days to do all of this and come up with a cohesive collection and pulled together runway show. Continue reading

Project Runway: What exactly is Avant-Garde?

The designers are introduced to the art students they'll be collaborating with.

The Project Runway challenge this week is to collaborate with some student artists and use their painting and 2 days to create an avant-garde design.  This is a fantastic challenge.  I’m super excited to see what the designers come up with.  Avant-Garde literally translates to “advanced guard” so I am choosing to read the definition of avant-garde fashion as being something that is innovative and ahead of the times.  Something experimental and different.  One of the main aspects of being avant-garde is using new techniques or materials.  Viktor defines it as something that’s edgy; Laura’s definition is super boring – something that can’t be worn in real life (which I don’t think is really necessary.  I think it would be kind of cool to see some of the avant-garde fashions in real life).   Continue reading

Holy Crap, Breaking Bad is good.

Hank and Walt Jr. eat at Gus' fast food restaurant so Hank can get Gus' fingerprints. I love that Hank isn't made out to be an idiot. He's a cop using the evidence he has to catch the bad guy. He follows leads until they go dead. He can be mislead, but eventually he'll get Walt. It would be dishonest of this show to not allow that to happen.

I don’t write much about Breaking Bad.  It’s the kind of television show that defies summary in my experience.  It needs to be seen to be believed.  And boy, does it need to be seen.  This season has found a much more “confident” Walter White plotting his boss Gus’ death, bringing his estranged wife Skylar into the meth-making business (she’s running the car wash they bought to launder his drug money), trying to keep protégé Jesse under his thumb, and teasing brother-in-law/DEA agent Hank with insider information on his mythical alter-ego Heisenberg (although Hank doesn’t yet know just how much of an inside track Walt has).  What started out as a way to support his family after his death from cancer (which has been in remission for the past two seasons) has turned Walt into an egomaniacal monster (the scene two weeks ago when he yelled at Skylar that he is the danger, he is the one people should be afraid of, was amazing). Continue reading

MTV Video Music Awards: I feel old

Every year I get all excited about MTV’s VMAs and every year I am just reminded of how much I can’t stand the sound of screaming crowds.  That is all it has become.  While, yes, there are still some iconic performers and performances, the awards themselves mean nothing, the audience looks more interested in seeing what celebrities are nearby than on what’s going on on stage and the banter is beyond stiff and never funny.  All awards shows are fairly hit or miss, but for some reason, the VMAs just always feel like a train wreck from start to finish.  The best part (and only good part really) are always the performances, but even most of those felt a little less than spectacular last night.  I’m not a stick in the mud, I WANT to love the VMAs.  I want to believe that MTV still believes in the “M” part of its name.  I want the show to be relevant and exciting and fun and not make me want to cover my ears throughout the entire thing.  But you can’t always get what you want.

My suggestions on how to fix the VMAs are as follows: Continue reading

Project Runway: Mean Guys Finish First

The designers race for the team captain title

The designers join Heidi and Tim at the New Balance track and field center at the Armory dressed in head to to NB gear (wait, who sponsored this episode?  I don’t think they said the name of the brand enough, do you?).  They learn that they are going to work in teams of three to each create a look to go with Heidi’s New Balance sneakers using denim, suede or both.  The winning look will be sold as part of Heidi’s line on Amazon.  They did this challenge last season and the results were awesome.  The designers raced around the track to determine team captains: Joshua M., Bryce, Anthony and Viktor won the foot-race and got to choose their teams.  Oh, and Cecilia quit the competition (which allowed Josh C. to return), Bert was a total grump, and Olivier worked himself into a panic attack.  All in all, the first few moments of this episode were pretty packed!  They only have like 8 hours for this challenge.  I miss the two day challenges.  Those were always fun and always had more successful designers. Continue reading

The Bachelor Pad: Synchronized Swimming and Failed Takeovers

This show's one redeeming factor of this show is the ridiculous challenges.

I don’t know how much more of The Bachelor Pad I can take you guys.  While I understand that Jake/Kasey/Vienna makes for good drama, their incessant whining and badgering of each other and the rest of the group has pretty much pushed me over the edge.  I cannot stand that none of the other contestants are standing up to Kasey and his massive ego.  I will give him some credit though.  All he really had to do was declare himself the Godfather of the house and everyone else fell in line.  I mean, he hasn’t won a single competition or proven himself to be this incredible leader or mastermind.  All he’s done is say “I’m in charge so listen up” and everyone did.  It’s really pathetic.  Especially because he’s such a ridiculously not-charming person and his partner is a lying fame-whore (even Kasey said that).   Continue reading

The Glee Project Season Finale: Well, that explains a lot

The last four standing: Samuel, Damian, Lindsay & Alex

Theme: Glee-ality  The final four Glee Project contestants are Lindsay, Samuel, Alex, and Damian and they’re all out to win the seven episode guest stint on Glee.  Choice Samuel quote: “Not who’s great, who’s Glee!”

Glee Mentor: Ryan Murphy

While the song definitely needed all 12 voices, I sort of wish the also-rans weren't SO involved in this final episode

Homework Assignment: The final four will be performing “Don’t Stop Believing” which Lindsay calls Glee’s signature song (and I would agree with that statement.  It’s certainly the song that put Glee on the map).  I loved Damian’s reaction upon seeing that Ryan was their final Glee mentor.  There really aren’t enough voices to make this song work completely and Ryan stops them almost immediately telling them that their performance looks really flat and he brings back all the other Glee Project contestants to fill out the song a little bit.  Adding all those voices was like magic for the whole performance.  All of the final four really have a whole new, joyful vibe.  It’s making me really happy to watch them enjoying it so much (although in all fairness a good amount of the credit goes to the song itself which is totally incredible and happy making).  Robert tells them that there isn’t going to be a homework winner today and the four of them look far more disappointed than they should.  We also learn that they’ll be performing P!nk’s “Raise Your Glass” for the video and whatever song they want for their last chance performance. Continue reading