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

New Show Reviews: Go On, The New Normal, Revolution, Last Resort, The Mob Doctor

I guess that the official start of the Fall TV season has come and gone since both NBC and Fox have premiered both new and returning shows over the past couple of weeks.  Although, I think it would be epic if no premieres occurred until after the Emmys (which are this Sunday 9/23 – mark your calendars).  I mean, what a great kick off to the season that would be!  Anyway, that’s not the case.  On top of the fact that NBC used the summer Olympics to give a sneak peak at Go On and Animal Practice, multiple premieres have been available online for a few weeks and I have watched them all.

Last Resort: Technically, Last Resort doesn’t premiere until next Thursday, but I caught it online earlier this week (on Hulu – love that site!) and I loved every second.  That doesn’t mean it’s perfect – far from it – but I am totally hooked.  I am so glad to see Scott Speedman back on TV and in a character who is far different from those I’ve seen him play before.  While, like Revolution, there are a lot of characters and different threads being set up in the pilot, I am interested in where these stories are going and intrigued about who these characters will turn out to be.  I think one thing that really separates the handling of such large casts of characters is that on Last Resort they are compartmentalized very definitively and separately – there is the submarine crew (headed by Andre Braugher), the island inhabitants, the NATO workers, and the people in DC.  I’m excited to see all of these threads weave together and split apart.  But, I’ll be honest, like with the beginning of Fringe which I basically stuck with simply because I am a big fan of Joshua Jackson, I watched Last Resort mostly for the Scott Speedman factor and that will probably keep me coming back until the show itself finds its legs and grabs me. Continue reading

I LOVE UPFRONTS! (AKA Zach Gilford is coming back to my TV Screen)

Oh how I've missed you Matt Saracen

The best part about upfronts is getting to see which of my favorite actors are going to be back after long absences.  Yesterday, Fox announced that it was picking up The Goodwin Games starring my old fave Scott Foley.  They also announced that they were moving forward with a show called The Mob Doctor starring Jordan Spiro (of the late, lamented My Boys).  I didn’t really have much of a reaction to this.  I give every show a chance at the beginning of the year and I always liked Spiro so I knew going into it that The Mob Doctor would at least get one viewing on my DVR.  Then I read this description from The Daily Beast:

From creators Josh Berman (Drop Dead Diva) and Robert Wright (Knight Rider) comes this medical drama, which revolves around a young female thoracic surgeon (My Boys’ Jordana Spiro) who juggles her workload with another job: she’s secretly a mob doctor who is working off a debt incurred by her ne’er-do-well brother. The pilot episode was directed by Michael Dinner (Justified), who also serves as an executive producer on the drama, which also stars Jaime Lee Kirchner, William Forsythe, Zach Gilford, James Carpinello, and Jesse Lee Soffer.

Yes, you read that correctly.  A Friday Night Lights alum is coming back to TV after a way-too long absence.  ZACH GILFORD!!!  YAY!!  Now, this show is going to turn into something that I actually root for.  God, I hope it’s good.

 

A Tribute To Friday Night Lights

Clear eyes, Full hearts. . . CAN'T LOSE!

Friday Night Lights is ending its five season run tonight on NBC and despite the fact that the finale aired on DirecTV months ago and the DVDs of the final season have been available, I have yet to be spoiled at all and could not be more grateful.  Of all the shows that have come and gone in these five years, FNL is by far my favorite.  I have loved its highs (the season one finale parade set to “Devil Town”) and felt saddened by its lows (the misguided attempt at melodrama with the Tyra/Landry murder plot during the second season) but my devotion never wavered.  As much as it sucks that FNL never got the ratings or kudos that it deserved (it took four stellar seasons for it to be nominated for an Emmy), NBC did its best to show its faith in it by partnering with DirecTV to give it another chance.  They never really capitalized on the opportunity that DirecTV gave them, but at least the writers got a chance to end it on their own terms.  I will miss this show and all of the characters more than I can say, but I guess that’s what DVDs are for.   Continue reading

Pilot Pickups & Cancellations – Did any of your favorites get cut?

The news of pilot pickups has been coming fast and furiously this week leading up to the network upfronts next week.  Earlier this week, Fox announced the cancellation of 4 shows and the pick up of 2 comedies and 2 dramas. Today, CBS announced it would be picking up JJ Abrams’ Person of Interest (that makes two pick ups for Mr. Abrams for those of you playing along at home), the comedy Two Broke Girls starring Kat Dennings.  They’ve been a bit slow to get out of the gate and haven’t announced any big cancellations as of yet.  However,  in a shocking turn of events, they passed on the Sarah Michelle Gellar drama The Ringer, but gave it to their sister network, The CW, so all is once again right with the world now that Buffy will be back on TV.

ABC announced that it is cancelling Brothers & Sisters, Off The Map, V, Detroit 187, No Ordinary Family, Better with You (BOO!) and Mr. Sunshine while picking up 12 new shows: Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen, Apt. 23 (formerly The Bitch in Apt. 23 starring James Van Der Beek as himself – awesome), Work It (which sounds like an updated Bosom Buddies), the sitcom Suburgatory, Man Up, Charlie’s Angels, Pan Am (about flight attendants in the 60′s), Good Christian Belles (formerly Good Christian Bitches from Darren Starr), Once Upon A Time (a fairytale drama), Revenge (a Hamptons-set take on the Count of Monte Cristo), Scandal (from Shonda Rhimes), and thriller The River.  They also announced second seasons of Happy Endings and Body of Proof.

Meanwhile over at NBC, we have seen the last of The Event, Outsourced (definitely not a surprise) and Law & Order: LA.  The peacock network renewed Parenthood, Harry’s Law and Chuck (for a final season) as well as greenlit Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea (based on Chelsea Handler’s book), Bent starring Amanda Peet as a divorced single mom, Free Agents about PR execs, BFFs (which sounds stupid already), The Playboy Club, Awake (described as Inception for TV), Grimm (a fairytale cop drama), the Prime Suspect remake, and Smash (a musical drama from Steven Spielberg).  Also, despite all the fanfare, NBC did not pick up the Wonder Woman pilot from David E. Kelley (after seeing the costume and stills, I can’t say I’m surprised).

There’s a lot of blood in the streets of Hollywood this week, but I’m particularly disappointed about any of these decisions (except for Better with You.  BOO! ABC, BOO!!).  I’m excited by almost all of the pilots and other than Off The Map (which I only want to continue because I adore Zach Gilford) and Better with You (which, who knew I was so involved with?) I’m not upset about any of the cancellations.  I’m a little disappointed that the networks made all of these announcements ahead of next week’s upfronts.  It will certainly detract from the drama of the week, but I’m sure there will be much more to come and this is all very exhausting.  As it stands, I feel like there is some real potential in these new shows (and I’m sure there are going to be some fantastic bombs as well).  Next week each network will get the chance to trot out all of their stars, new and old, when they present next seasons shows to advertisers, and hopefully I’ll have a chance to really dig my teeth into their new schedules.  Let’s hope the networks still have some scheduling surprises in store to reveal next week, otherwise it’s going to be kind of a let down.   [Vulture] and [EW.com]

Network Pilot Possibilities: What looks good

I am not such an insider that I get to preview pilots or scripts before a show gets picked up by a network.  I, like the rest of the TV watching world, have to wait until upfronts in May to learn which new shows are being produced and wait until the fall season premieres to actually see those shows.  The people at Vulture/New York Magazine are not so unlucky and have done a slide show of some of the most promising pilots. After reading through their list, I’m not as sad about the prospect of having to lose shows that I love (bubble shows like Chuck and Better With You) in order to make room for them.  Here are the eight shows I’m most excited about from this list and the reason’s why the networks won’t pick them up.

Please note: this analysis is based purely on what I read in the linked Vulture slideshow and my personal opinions.  I have not seen anything else about any of these shows. Continue reading

Wednesday What I Watched: America's Next Top Model, Off The Map, Breaking In

Molly is CAH-RAZY for accessories.

America’s Next Top Model (The CW) – How cheesy was Nigel’s intro to the photo challenge this week?!?!  I know it’s a good cause, but take it down a notch dude.  The winner of the challenge won the chance to be in a national ad which is a great prize.  I love that Britanni actually admitted that she didn’t think when she looked in the camera.  It’s the exact opposite of what the judges and Mr. Jay are constantly harping on the models about doing (meaning that the judges are constantly telling the models they have to actually think in order to emote).  Congratulations to Alexandria, I guess.  She’s so lame (I love how she described winning: “I end up winning the challenge and Mr. Barker gets to shoot my ad.”  All about her).  When she found out she won the car, all the girls just looked entirely gobsmacked and pissed.  It seemed pretty stupid of Britanni to start that melodrama with Alexandria in front of Nigel (especially because Alexandria didn’t take the bait) and it was definitely unprofessional, but I also feel like Alexandria is just a really good actress because it was clear that Nigel was only getting a bad impression of Britanni.  The photo shoot this week had all the girls crazy for some aspect of fashion.  None of them really stood out to me as either complete disasters or total stand outs while on set.  I loved Molly’s shot (she is quickly becoming my favorite of the season), I thought Jaclyn had the worst item to be crazy for (make up) but she totally pulled it off, and Kasia really pulled off the crazy part of the shoot.  Of course Britanni’s little temper tantrum came back to bite her in the ass, but her loss of control at panel really just screamed stress and exhaustion.  It’s sort of a tough situation because Britanni was definitely in the wrong and I think Tyra and the judges were right to call her out on her behavior, but I don’t necessarily think that she should have been reprimanded the way she was.  It was sort of appalling to watch Alexandria play the victim after so many weeks of being heinous.  In the scene in the break room while the girls were waiting for the judges to decide made it pretty clear that Alexandria was playing the victim in front of the judges.  Best photo went to Jaclyn, but I liked Molly’s better (I feel like this is happening a lot) so that’s the one I posted.  Mikaela went home basically because she only made one face for the entire competition and was totally boring. Continue reading

“Friday Night Lights” Premiere Date – The Best News I’ve Heard All Day!

Man, just seeing this title card makes me choke up.

NBC announced today that Friday Night Lights’ fifth and final season will premiere on April 15th meaning I’ll have something to look forward while I get my taxes ready this year (although I’ve just been made aware that taxes aren’t due until April 18th this year).  FNL is one of my favorite shows of all time so prepare yourself for many more posts extolling its virtues.  I have been super-vigilant about not seeing any spoilers and I CANNOT wait for the season premiere.  In case any of you are in need of a little taste, you can catch Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen) on ABC’s Off The Map, Scott Porter (Jason Street) on CBS’ The Good Wife, and Minka Kelly (Lyla Garrity) starring opposite Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester in the new movie The Roommate which premieres this Friday, February 4th. [TV Line]

Off The Map: Still Very Much ON The Map

Mamie Gummer, Catherine Dhavernas, & Zach Gilford - ABC Photo by Mario Perez

I wanted to quickly jot down my thoughts about Off The Map, ABC‘s new medical drama from Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, before the internet critics get in my head.  Basically, it was a typical medical drama from Shonda Rhimes.  There are hot doctors who bring way too many of their personal lives into their jobs, an interesting location that will provide numerous site-specific maladies, and gross/poignant medical cases that always tie into the doctors’ personal troubles.  Off the Map has a couple of things going for it in my book: Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights) and Catherine Dhavernas (from the gone-too-soon Wonderfalls).  I will follow the cast of Friday Night Lights pretty much anywhere they go and I’m really excited to see Dhavernas in something else after her quirky-cool performance in the short-lived Wonderfalls.  But this show is really just more of the same.

At this point my biggest complaint is that none of the doctors (except for one) speak spanish.  In the pilot that aired last night, Martin Henderson’s character (whose soft Australian accent and washboard abs are lovely) claimed that he had thoroughly checked out the three newbies (played by Gilford, Dhavernas and Mamie Gummer) and picked them about thousands of other applicants. My question is: if he had so many applicants, why did he choose three who didn’t speak spanish to practice medicine in a spanish speaking country?  I actually think that’s a really big fail on the writer’s parts and it totally took me out of the story.

I’ll keep watching because of Gilford and Dhavernas and because, frankly, I like Rhimes’ writing style.  I like the rhythm of it and enjoy listening to her made-up words and character meltdowns.  I don’t have high hopes for Off the Map to move much beyond soap opera territory, but I think I’ll enjoy it all the more for that quality.