The Vampire Diaries: The gang’s all here!

Yup, Elena’s (Nina Dobrev) a vampire for sure now.

How good was last night’s episode of The Vampire Diaries?  I know some people aren’t fans of the fact that Elena is now a vampire, but let’s be honest, it was bound to happen sometime.  I really appreciate the fact that the writers took the chance and made her a vampire this early in the series.  (Especially if it means we’ll eventually see a Katherine/Elena show down – I know, Katherine is older therefore technically stronger, but Elena has love on her side. . . oh who am I kidding, Katherine would kick her ass.  I still want to see the fight though.)  Last night’s episode proved that this was a really great decision.  Making Elena a vampire has made it necessary to put the love triangle on hold for the moment, has given Damon and Stefan a new way to have the same philosophical disagreement about what it means to be a vampire (Stefan wants to get Elena started on an all-animal diet immediately, Damon thinks she needs vampire food AKA human blood from the vein in order to survive), Caroline is no longer the baby vampire on the block so it gives her a chance to take the lead instead of always being in Elena’s shadow, and it has given Bonnie and Jeremy a chance to make googly eyes at each other again which makes me very happy. Continue reading

The CW 2012-13 Schedule

Ah, the CW.  It’s sort of the also-ran network, isn’t it?  Of course it is also home to my favorite show on TV (The Vampire Diaries) and the former home of my guiltiest pleasure (One Tree Hill).  The CW fits a niche and it usually does it pretty well.  It also ends up making loads of scheduling changes every year because the shows that it goes with tend to be a bit flash in the pan-y.  However, I think they’re making some positive moves for next season.

#1 Killing off Gossip Girl is a total blessing.  The show hasn’t really been good since the kids graduated from high school 2 years ago and lately, it feels like all of the actors are just barely going through the motions of pretending to be other characters.  Plus, Penn Badgley is clearly rebelling against the confines of being on network television by growing his hair into an unruly, ugly mop.

#2 The Wednesday block of Arrow and Supernatural could earn The CW some male eyeballs and that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.  I think the network’s bread and butter is definitely females between 18-34, but I think it’s good of them to branch out a bit.  I have sort of given up on Supernatural this season (the whole Leviathan thing was just confusing and annoying) but the Arrow trailer looks promising so I’ll give it a shot.

#3 Ummm, I don’t really have a third thing.  I’m glad the net kept Hart of Dixie because I think it’s adorable and harmless and might eventually settle into being this generation’s Gilmore Girls.  But really, as long as the CW doesn’t get rid of The Vampire Diaries before it’s time, the net and I are all good.

Check out all of the CW’s new shows here.

Saying Goodbye to One Tree Hill

Four or five years ago I got a nasty cold that kept me in bed for a week which just so happened to coincide with the delivery of the first disc of One Tree Hill from my Netflix account.  I don’t know where I was when OTH premiered, but I never watched the show before then – The O.C. probably had something to do with it.  You will never hear me claim that One Tree Hill is a “good” show.  For the most part the writing was stilted, the acting a bit wooden from time to time, the plots ridiculous and every single scene was practically drowned out by the undercurrent of indie music.  However, in watching the series finale last night, I made a few observations that have given me a sort of appreciation for it.

- It was addictive.  That first week, I watched basically the entire first and second seasons back-to-back – I couldn’t stop.  One episode after another went down like candy.  This was before Instant Netflix, so I even walked myself over to my local Blockbuster and rented the discs I didn’t have.  I was hooked immediately on this little story about two half brothers who played basketball.  I didn’t even like basketball.  Or Chad Michael Murray (he of the very questionable hair choices and ever-present squint).  But for some reason, I just couldn’t stop until I’d seen all the episodes.  I recently had some time on my hands and decided to go back and watch the school shooting episode and it sucked me in all over again (no joke – I literally cannot stop watching). Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries: Returning to 1912

Old timey boxing with Sage the Vampire (Cassidy Freeman)

It’s BAAAACK!!!  I can’t believe it’s been a month since the last episode of The Vampire Diaries.  Like Stefan for human blood, I was definitely jonesing.  However, something felt just a little bit off about the episode last night.  Maybe the long break (and the fact that my DVR died during the hiatus and took all my saved episodes with it) got me out of the show’s rhythm but it felt like the writers were trying to cram in more story than necessary and the whole episode felt a little forced because of it. Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries: Mother, May I?

Mama Original's spell in action.

This week’s episode of The Vampire Diaries was all about Mama Original’s spell to kill her children – in other words, this show has turned into a comedy (just kidding!).  I’m not sure how clear I am on how the spell works, so I’m going to try to break it down.  Last week, at the ball, Mama Original infused her children’s champagne with Elena’s doppelganger blood, linking their lives together – if one of them was killed, they would all die.

Mama Original with Finn (AKA "creepy lurky guy") in the background.

With her favorite vampire son Finn at her side, Esther got Bonnie and Abby to join her at the house of 100 dead witches and drew a circle with a pentagram inside of it, surrounded by candles.  Her intention was to tap into Bonnie and Abby’s ancestral line of Bennett witches and use their power to augment her own along with the power of the full moon to complete her spell.  However, she was thwarted by Elijah who had confronted Elena about lying to him about his mother’s intentions and kidnapped her in order to get Stefan and Damon to help him stop Esther’s spell.  Elijah seemed particularly pissed when Elena told him she wishes there was something that she could do – I mean, he did stomp a hole in the ground and drag her down into it with him.  Continue reading

Friday Nights Next Fall: All About Fringe For Me

Typically, Friday nights are where shows go to die, but the networks seem to be trying to change that.  After Fox moved Fringe from Thursdays to Fridays this season, there was a huge fan uproar, but that didn’t stop them from following the show and the ratings held steady enough that Fox renewed it for a 4th season.  Next fall, CBS and NBC are launching new shows on Friday nights in an effort to dominate a pretty lackluster night for TV.  The question is, will it work?I hardly ever watch Friday night shows on Friday night.  Usually I watch those shows Saturday morning or hoard a bunch of episodes for when I’m sick.  Outside of Fringe (and Friday Night Lights which is ending this season) nothing that airs on Friday nights is so intriguing that I must watch it right away.  I don’t think that’s going to change next season.  NBC is giving Chuck 13 episodes to wrap up the series which is pretty generous.  Though I loved Chuck at the start, my fervor for it has died down over the course of this past season, but this final season is a great show of respect to the fans on NBC’s part and I give them credit for that.  Grimm looks ok, but could get very tedious and I suspect it will be cancelled fairly quickly.  While I enjoy The CW’s Nikita and Supernatural, they aren’t the kind of shows that I stay home for or rush to watch (I still have the last 5 episodes of both shows waiting for me on my DVR) and it’s my opinion that Supernatural should have been over two seasons ago.  That show, while entertaining, has run its course and it feels like the writers are really trying to come up with new stories to tell rather than letting them come about naturally.  It’s like when you’re watching someone dance.  You don’t want to see the effort behind the movement.

Patrick Wilson in A Gifted Man

I have no interest in the reality shows that ABC is airing next fall on Fridays, but they are easy viewing so could possibly do ok.  CBS has me totally hooked on Blue Bloods (it is much better than I had originally anticipated) but A Gifted Man looks atrocious.  I really wish it didn’t look so awful because I’ve always been a fan of Patrick Wilson.  I just don’t think I can stomach a sappy Ghost Whisperer re-do.  It also seems oddly partnered with CSI: NY and Blue Bloods.  Both of those shows are supposed to be gritty procedurals while A Gifted Man looks to be far gentler in scope.  Looking at the schedule, I have a feeling that CBS will easily win the night, with ABC coming in second, but that’s only because they have the least challenging, easiest digested shows airing on Friday nights and viewers who are home aren’t likely to seek out something different.  Despite what other people might want, Fridays, for me, belong to Fringe.  Fringe is definitely one of my top five favorite shows (maybe ever) and had the only cliffhanger of the season that has really kept me salivating for more (WHERE’S PETER?!?!).

Thursday Night Line-Up This Fall: an overabundance of shows I want to watch

Thursdays are a big night in the TV world.  Traditionally, it’s where the networks try to stick their biggest ratings getters in order to entice advertisers who are trying to get people to show up to their car sales or movie premieres that weekend.  But since NBC lost its 90′s era “Must See TV” line-up, Thursday nights have been up for grabs.

For a while, CBS dominated Thursdays with Survivor and CSI, but both of those shows have moved to Wednesday nights and CBS is trying something new.  Anchoring the night with The Mentalist is a total no brainer.  That show does huge numbers and is predictably solid every week.  Putting the new show, Person of Interest, at 9pm is a riskier move.  It will have a new comedy, How to be a Gentleman (which looks awful) as a lead in and if that comedy doesn’t hit or the show gets bad reviews at the outset, it could spell a very quick death.  Outside of How I Met Your Mother, I’ve never been a huge fan of CBS’ comedies, therefore I never really got into The Big Bang Theory.  I am assured that it is funny, but I don’t like to start watching shows this late in their runs.  I do applaud CBS for trying to build a Thursday night comedy block to compete with NBC.  It makes them look more like they’re on the offensive rather than the defensive and gives them a stronger appearance as a network.  However, nothing beats Community and Parks and Recreation in my mind and, selfishly, I could not be happier that they are being paired up.  It seems like a pretty big risk for NBC to take though.  The Office has had sliding ratings and I have a feeling the full impact of the loss of Steve Carrell won’t be felt until next season.  Pairing it with a new multi-camera show like Whitney, seems like a mistake.  Not only is the buzz surrounding Whitney not good, but The Office is going through a huge transition period and may have trouble retaining viewers because of it.  If I had been NBC, I would have put Whitney in the 8:30 spot, followed by Parks and Recreation and ending the comedy block with The Office.  But, I am not NBC.  I do like the night being capped off with Prime Suspect.  I think the show has a lot of potential if it becomes more than just another procedural. Continue reading

This Fall, Wednesdays Belong to Simon Cowell and The X Factor

Wednesdays have slowly become one of my favorite nights for TV, thanks to ABC, but some of the changes to the fall schedule have me doubting that it will keep its place on the podium.  First of all, ABC’s decision to hold Cougar Town until mid-season is devastating.  Not for the show, for the show it could be great.  It’s devastating to me because I will greatly miss the Cul-De-Sac Crew and all their “pounding grape”.  Luckily, ABC has decided to stick with Happy Endings which may have started out not-so-great but has rapidly improved over its two month mid-season run.  I think having Modern Family (a sitcom that seems to be a in a bit of a rut and not feeling as fresh as it once did but still garners great buzz) as a lead in will be great for it.  As far as the rest of ABC’s schedule, until I found out that Suburgatory stars Jeremy Sisto and Cheryl Hines I had little to no interest in it, but now that I know, I’m totally stoked.  Even the 10 o’clock sudser Revenge looks like it has potential.  It takes place in the Hamptons which means lots of glamour and stars Emily Van Camp which means lots of beautiful tears (seriously, no one cries as prettily as she does).  The rest of the shows airing at 10pm hold no interest for me in the least.  But both Law & Order: SVU (which will be losing one of its stars, Chris Meloni) and CSI (original flavor) have pretty solid audiences and I predict that CSI will see a resurgence of sorts in its new time slot.

Christina Applegate and Will Arnett from Up All Night

NBC wins big cheers from me for putting three of my favorite comedians on the same show: Up All Night starring Christina Applegate, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph.  The preview clip looks totally kooky and utterly enjoyable and I really can’t wait.  However, the rest of NBC’s schedule looks atrocious.  Free Agents seems misogynistic and patronizing and Harry’s Law is a brand of David E. Kelley that I was never quite able to get behind (although I do sort of miss Brittany Snow’s performance.  She was definitely the one bright light on the show).  Likewise, I have no interest in any of the shows on CBS on Wednesday nights, which doesn’t surprise me, but they are sure to pull fairly large numbers as they are right inside the box of what viewers like: aging reality show Survivor and typical procedurals Criminal Minds and CSI.  I’ll definitely be skipping The CW’s H8R (just for the name alone) but I’m looking forward to the all star cycle of America’s Next Top Model.  It’s sure to be just as mind-numbing as the regular cycles but with contestants who should no better.

Will Simon Cowell rule the airwaves again? Probably.

But really, none of this matters.  Simon Cowell’s return to TV with The X Factor is going to dominate everything.  It will definitely win in the ratings at least for the first few weeks until audiences decide whether or not they like it and will most likely be all anyone in the media is talking about because there is so much hype surrounding it.  From what I can tell, it sort of sounds like a mash-up between American Idol and The Voice.  Taking a singing competition, allowing groups or duos or solo artists, and using the judges as mentors.  But that’s all I really know about it.  It’s really all going to depend on the chemistry between the judges, the level of talent they find and whether or not the format is distinctive enough to not be exhausting.  I am sort of hoping that Fox uses whatever happens with The X Factor to ease American Idol off of their schedule.  Idol has had a great run, but it’s feeling sort of dead and ready to be taken off the ventilator.  Hopefully The X Factor will dominate everything this fall and make Idol totally moot (or moo – “you know, like a cow’s opinion”).  I’ll definitely be tuning in to see what it’s all about and see how the judges gel, but I’m hoping not to fully commit to another singing competition.  They really wear me out.  Pairing it with the new sitcom I Hate My Teenage Daughter won’t really have any affect.  I predict that the comedy will fail pretty quickly which is a bit unfortunate because Jamie Presley is pretty great, but the clips that I’ve seen just look miserable.  I have a feeling it’s going to struggle to hang on to The X Factor’s audience.

Tuesdays This Fall – Sort of Random

A couple of things happened to my TV schedule this year and it all began with deleting The Biggest Loser from my season pass.  I have just gotten bored with it.  As inspirational as it is to watch people whittle their bodies down to the size of toothpicks, the contestants are too concerned with playing the game to focus on who they are and actual transformation.  Plus the bloated two hour episodes just felt excessive.  Deleting The Biggest Loser has opened up my Tuesday nights to embrace some of the new shows on the schedule, specifically Ringer and New Girl.  I am so excited for Ringer and the return of Sarah Michelle Gellar, you have no idea.  And New Girl looks like it could be an adorable ensemble show (if a terrible match for Raising Hope, which I adore).  So from 8-9 I’ll be watching Glee and 90210 (it’s a habit I just can’t kick); 9-10 I’ll be watching Fox’s comedy block and Ringer and from 10-11 I’ll be reaching for the tissues while watching Parenthood and falling asleep to Body of Proof (which was a nice mid-season surprise from ABC this year).

Sarah Michelle Gellar from Ringer

As far as time-slot wars go, it is NCIS (original flavor) and NCIS: Los Angeles‘ night to lose.  They are huge ratings grabbers and it’s unlikely that that will stop now that they’re on the same night.  Glee will win the younger demographic and I predict that Body of Proof will dominate the 10 o’clock hour.  Unforgettable might be able to retain some of NCIS: LA’s audience, but I think the Dancing With The Stars viewers are more likely to just stick with ABC than change the channels.  To me, this night is a mess.  None of the shows really flow into one another (except for CBS’ schedule) and I’m particularly dismayed with The CW’s decision to pair the soap-y 90210 with the more ass-kicking Ringer (in my opinion the new show would have been better off paired with Nikita – which will air on Fridays next year – but that show did not put up good enough numbers to warrant an opening time slot).  Fox’s comedies are good counter programming for the night, but, like I said, they’re pretty mismatched so it’s possible that the audience for one won’t watch the other.  In the end, NBC has no chance of winning Tuesday nights in my opinion.  The Biggest Loser is a huge behemoth of a show that’s sort of gone stale and a terrible lead in for Parenthood which is more adult, complicated fare.

Mondays This Fall: Light on Watchable Shows

I love the chess game that is my TV schedule.  Now that we know what shows the networks are airing and when (although nothing is set in stone) I thought I’d size up the competition.  Here is the schedule for Monday starting this fall.

The Monday schedule seems a little all over the map competition wise.  Other than The Sing-Off and Dancing With The Stars (both reality competitions) and Castle and Hawaii Five-O (both procedurals), there’s some pretty great counter-programming going on across the board.  For comedies, turn to CBS from 8 – 10, for dramas Fox, for teen fare, The CW.  While none of those genres holds their audience exclusively (meaning there’s plenty of cross-over viewing), it just sort of feels like the audience for each show is going to seek out that particular brand of programming.  I predict big numbers for Terra Nova right out of the gate with Dancing with the Stars eventually winning the night.

Rachel Bilson from "Hart of Dixie"

There are quite a few new shows to work into my schedule, but Mondays actually look relatively calm.  Thanks to AT&T U-Verse (I swear, they don’t pay me) I can record 4 programs at a time which will be necessary in the 8 o’clock hour as I plan to watch The Sing Off, How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, Terra Nova and Gossip Girl.  9pm will be relatively light with just Hart of Dixie to contend with and at 10pm I’ll continue watching Castle and give The Playboy Club a shot at season pass-dom.  Here’s the thing: I readily expect to get sick of The Sing-Off (which made for excellent holiday viewing but could get really old really quick when viewed against new episodes of my favorite shows) and The Playboy Club (which has a great look, but didn’t interest me substance-wise) fairly quickly.  And while I have high expectations for 2 Broke Girls, it could very well not be funny which will get it deleted faster than you can say “not funny”.  The only new shows I can see myself sticking with through thick and thin are Terra Nova (because it’s from Steven Spielberg and also looks awesome) and Hart of Dixie (because it stars Rachel Bilson).  This is actually a fairly light TV viewing schedule for me (as you will see when I post the rest of the week’s comparisons) which is kind of a relief.  As much as I love television and writing this blog, there are days when it can be exhausting to keep up with everything that’s out there and I really won’t be sad if most of the new shows fail to hold my interest.