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Monday, January 30, 2012

Mindy Kaling's New Show...

Is Mindy Kaling moving to FOX?

It looks pretty likely. No, 'The Office' isn't switching channels, but NBC did lose out to FOX in a recent bid for a new show starring Kaling.

Kaling would serve as writer, producer, and star of the new show, which would focus on the trials and tribulations of an OB-GYN.

FOX has ordered a pilot, so Kaling may well be switching shows (and networks) in the Fall.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Watch This on Netflix: 'Dance Academy'

Guess what Netflix currently has available on streaming? 'Dance Academy'. The Australian show focuses on young teenage dancers who attend Australia's prestigious National Dance Academy. Think 'One Tree Hill' mixed with 'Dance Moms'. It's teen angst mixed with competitive dancing and Australian accents. Basically, it's pretty close to perfect.
Scroll down to watch the trailer.

Monday, January 23, 2012

UK vs US Netflix

I got really excited earlier this week when I read that Netflix had signed a streaming deal with BBC Worldwide. Turns out, my excitement wasn't really warranted. Yes, Netflix did sign a deal with the BBC, but if you're in the United States don't expect it to have any impact on what you're able to watch anytime soon. The deal was actually for their new platform in the United Kingdom. The UK Netflix launched earlier this month. That's all very good and well, but I wish that the US Netflix had the same number of UK shows available (you'll know why if you read my last post about British television). Would you watch more foreign TV shows if they were available on instant view?

Monday, January 16, 2012

'Castle': "Dial M for Mayor"

Finally what we've all been dreading is coming true...the writers on 'Castle' are awakening the side-story dealing with the mysterious male caller. This man called Castle shortly after Beckett's shooting, and threatened Beckett's life if she didn't stop investigating her mother's murder. For months and months, Castle has kept this phone call from Beckett. In tonight's episode he received a second call, suggesting that this episode's murder is somehow connected to Beckett's mother's murder.

The episode began with a murdered woman discovered in the passenger seat of a car. The car is registered to City Hall, so her death is linked with the Mayor's Office. If you recall, the mayor is a close friend of Castle's, and he is also the reason that Castle is allowed to work with the police.

The murdered woman used to be a successful English professor, but had put her career on hold to (we later learn) write an investigative book. One of her undercover jobs was as a sex call worker.

Beckett is torn about investigating the case not only because of Castle's friendship with the mayor, but also because she knows that if the mayor is kicked out of office her captain won't let Castle work with the police anymore.

Of course, Beckett is always a police detective first (not necessarily a bad thing), and she continues to investigate the murder and the mayor's connection to it. It turns out that the murdered woman was a volunteer at one of the mayor's charities; the charity is being investigated for embezzlement.

They find video footage of the murdered woman and the mayor at the same event; he is wearing a camel-colored coat. Because the body was found wrapped in a coat Beckett and Castle ask the mayor to hand his over. He refuses, claiming that the murder and embezzlement are conspiracies created to hurt his bid for governor.

Unfortunately, this means that Beckett has to go ahead and subpoena the mayor's coat, which arguably ends his political career.

Castle contacts the mysterious man via a phone number that he was given. He asks for information about the conspiracy involving the mayor. The mysterious man actually meets him in a (mysterious) underground parking structure, and tells him to "listen" to the evidence.

Despite the fact that Beckett and Castle left each other on a bad note re: the subpoena, he calls her and claims he had a brainstorm. He listened to videotapes of the mayor with one of the sex call women, and she identified a voice as one of the people who was a regular caller of the murdered woman. Turns out it's the Assistant to the Chief of Staff (it's also Wendell from 'Bones'! When I saw he was in the episode I knew he'd prove to be connected to the murder, he clearly wasn't just an extra).

Anyway, Assistant Wendell is interrogated by Castle and Beckett, and is about to reveal the name of who he was working for when a lawyer bursts into the room. He has been asked to represent Assistant Wendell by some unnamed power (we assume the same people who were pulling the assistant's strings).

Castle meets in the mysterious man in the same shadowy location. He admits that the called because the mystery is not resolved. He also asks the mysterious man why he helped the investigation. The man tells him that he did it because he needs Castle to keep working with Beckett, because if he doesn't he won't have anyone to stop her from looking into her mother's death. He states that, "there are times when a well placed pawn is more powerful than a king," insinuating that he considers Castle a pawn.

At the end of the episode, Castle says, "I have your number if I need to reach you". The mysterious man replies, "you don't reach me Mr. Castle, I reach you". Well, that doesn't sound good.

I want them to deal with the investigation into Beckett's mother's murder because it is so unresolved, but at the same time, I don't want them too. I am very attached to Beckett and Castle's current flirtatious sparring. All of that is bound to end when she finds out about the mysterious man. What do you think? Should the writers deal with it this season, or should they let it continue into Season Five?

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All New 'Castle' Tonight

My day was just made when I realized that there's a brand new episode of 'Castle' on tonight.

(I know, my life's a little sad at times)

Check out "Dial M for Murder" on ABC at 10/9C.

Friday, January 13, 2012

'30 Rock' Returns!

Dear '30 Rock',
Thank you for coming back to us. I missed you severely while you were gone. 
As Liz Lemon said, "Happy Two Thousand Twelve!"
P.S. "Are you touching the phone because you're a baby and you're developing your fine motor skills or...because you're trying to tell me something?"
P.P.S. Read my full review below (with spoilers), after the baby.

'30 Rock' returned to NBC last night after an extended hiatus. The characters on the show were also all coming back to work after being gone for the winter. Over their break Jenna had become a judge on a singing competition for kids (bascially an 'American Idol' for the tot set--the fact that this isn't already a real show is pretty shocking), Kenneth had decided the Rapture was coming, and Liz Lemon had some interesting developments in her own life. But lets not get too far ahead of ourselves.

The episode opened with Liz and Jack interacting for the first time since the holidays, and Jack trying to prove how well he really knew Liz. Almost everything he quoted was accurate, which clearly gave Jack the normal sense of superiority he always craves (come on, why else would he be friends with her?).

Despite the  fact that Jack failed to see it (a hint of things to come, perhaps), everyone else on the staff noticed that Liz was not at all like her usual self. She ignored Tracy's threats to "do something crazy", gave Kenneth the day off because he believed the Rapture was coming, and was way more laid back than normal. Tracy decides to investigate why Liz is acting differently.

Meanwhile, Jack is concerned because Jenna is making children cry on the singing kids TV show. Normally he wouldn't care at all, but his daughter is skewing his perspective (Or maybe making it the right one. Nah, let's go with 'skewing', capitalist Jack is way more fun). He tells Jenna to tone down her mean talk, but when he sees the audience's reaction (they likes mean Jenna!) he changes his mind. This decision is solidified by a scene in which Jack's daughter, Liddy, asks for "money" (actually she says "mommy", but Jack chooses to hear what he wants). Jack is thrilled that his little girl is growing up to be a capitalist, just like him.

Since Kenneth has been given free rein to do whatever he wants, he decides to do his chore list (this is actually what it sounds like). Pete tries to inspire him to do better things before he dies, but he's uninterested. Toofer, Frank, and Lutz mess with Kenneth throughout the episode, encouraging his belief that he's going to die.

During his investigations Tracy sees Liz buying some pills, and becomes concerned that she has become a "crack whore". He brings her bizarre behavior to Jack's attention. Jack looks at one of the pills and realizes that it's for joint pain. He then uses his wealth of Liz Lemon knowledge to figure out what she's been doing...she's dancing. In a middle-aged cheerleading WNBA team.

Jack thinks he has everything figured out at the end of the episode: money is everything, Liddy is a budding Capitalist, and Liz Lemon is so happy because she's dancing. He's wrong. He drops Liz off at a movie theater, declaring that she must be going to the 9:10 show alone, and reiterating that he knows her as well as she knows herself. But, just as his car begins to leave, Jack notices Liz kissing a man. The look on his face is priceless, as though he's suddenly afraid that he's lost something. I think it will be fascinating, and hilarious, to see how Jack will function if Liz Lemon is not a complete mess.

Is it next Thursday yet?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

'Bones' Goes Back to Basics

I know this is going to sound a lot like my recent 'Castle' post, but it's good to see a show go back to its roots. And 'Bones' did just that in "The Crack in the Code".

If you've read any of my previous posts, you know that I've been disappointed with 'Bones' so far this season. That being said, I thought that tonight's episode was the best one of the season.

One of the biggest problems with the seventh season of 'Bones' has been the lack of interaction in the field between Booth and Brennan. Obviously, I completely understand Emily Deschanel's decision to reduce her time in each episode due to her pregnancy. However, her decreased screen time has hurt the quality of the episodes. So much of 'Bones' is based on Booth and Brennan's chemistry.

I'm not sure whether or not Deschanel was featured more heavily in tonight's episode than she has been in the last several weeks, but it felt as though she was around a lot more. The scene at the very end of the episode, when Brennan is able to see the beauty in the house that Booth has purchased because "the bones are there" was touching.

The addition of a new villain also helped make the episode stronger. I've always thought that the best episodes were those where the characters were dealing with complex cases, and challenges that had a sense of severity attached to them. The idea that this new serial killer is intelligent enough to rival Brennan is interesting, and it will be fascinating to see how she deals with this in future episodes (in tonight's episode she unequivocally refused to believe that anyone could be smarter than her). 

We are six episodes into season seven of 'Bones', and FOX has stated that this season will have a minimum of 17 episodes. That means we do still have at least 11 episodes left to go (I say "at least" because FOX did make the statement that if they had enough production time they would make a total of 22 episodes, we'll see what happens there...). However, the show is now on hiatus for several months, with no set release date so far. And just when the episodes were getting good again.

'Are You There, Chelsea'? No, not really

I love Chelsea Handler. I think her late night show is pure genius, and I am just as impressed by her stand-up and her books. She manages to talk about risque, dirty, and often socially inappropriate topics in a hilarious manner that isn't too, too low-brow. That being said, I don't understand her new sitcom at all.

'Are You There Chelsea', which premiered last night on NBC, stars Lauren Prepon as a twenty-something Chelsea. Handler plays her older sister, Sloane.

The show included scenes drawn from Handler's successful, New York Time's bestseller, 'Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea'.

The book is hilarious, but once the scenes were placed in the context of the sitcom there was a big problem: they just weren't funny.

I think a lot of it has to do with the wit that Handler is able to translate into her writing, a snarky attitude which doesn't come across on the screen.

Yes, the television show is incredibly crude, and full of drunk/sex/vagina jokes, but I don't  think that was it's main problem. After all, Handler uses these sorts of jokes all the time in a variety of other contexts and they're actually funny. I think the problem was that the show didn't build up their version of Chelsea enough; she came across as incredibly one-dimensional. Featuring one or two early childhood scenes, as Handler's book does, might have made the character more understandable. A show based solely on innuendo, without any kind of depth, just doesn't work.

I laughed one time during the pilot, when Chelsea's new roommate started acting like a cat. I know it's kind of ridiculous that I found that funny, but that character may be the best defined one on the show. We know she loves 'The Bachelor', is obsessed with animals, and is way too enthusiastic about almost...everything. I'm vaguely excited about seeing her attempt to become friends with Chelsea, especially if they take it down some of the paths that the book does.

Unfortunately, I think that 'Are You There, Vodka' just doesn't translate well into a sitcom, or network television. The story doesn't fit well in a candy-colored world with a laugh-track. I honestly wish that it had been picked up by a cable company instead....if it was darker, could take the dirty jokes further, and established the characters better, well, then I think it would be a show worth watching.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

People's Choice Awards

The awards start in fifteen minutes! Switch on over to CBS to watch the show.

Read the nominee list HERE.

Tina Fey, 'Bones', etc.

No, Tina Fey isn't appearing on 'Bones', although I'd probably be super excited if she were. Instead, this is a combo post about two of my favorite things.

1) Fey appeared on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon' and was pretty darn funny. If you missed it check it out on Hulu. Fallon and Fey proved (once again) that they have a friendship perfectly designed for an interview setting. They don't see each other often enough to share every detail of their lives ahead of time, so the stories that get told seem genuine, and they're good enough friends that the interaction feels like you're watching a conversation between two people who actually like each other. Plus they seem to care about what the other one has to say. I'm sure this should happen during all late night show interviews but, lets be honest, it doesn't.

2) I almost forgot that 'Bones' is all new tomorrow! Considering my obsession with procedural dramas, and 'Bones' in particular, I have no idea how this happened. It's the winter finale, people! At this point I really should have developed some sort of internal clock for these things. Regardless: 'Bones'. New tomorrow. Watch it on FOX at 8/7C. Michael Ausiello claims it's going to "change the course of the series".

3) Oh right, this reminds me that 'The Finder' is premiering after 'Bones'. I love Hart Hanson, and I'm often pleased with the quality of shows that FOX chooses to produce, but I have mixed feelings about this show. I guess I just don't really understand the premise. Or, rather, I do understand it, but I still don't get the point of it. That being said, I'll be sure to watch it tomorrow and dissect it here.

Check out a promo for tomorrow's 'Bones' episode, "The Crack in the Code":

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Remember 'Cougar Town'?

'Cougar Town' is coming back!

At some point.

Paul Lee, ABC's President, promises it's true.

Is it sad that I'm almost as excited about this as Abed will be?
(Yeah, it probably is)

Now, if only NBC would bring back 'Community'. Right now.
(How else am I supposed to know what Abed thinks?)

'Castle' Wedding Time: "Till Death Do Us Part" Recap

Things finally feel right in the world after last night's 'Castle' episode. It seems as though the writers are taking the show back to its roots: a nice light, frothy murder with just a hint of sexual tension between our two main characters. Last night's episode also featured the original cast, so we didn't have to deal with the new captain and the tension she keeps bringing.
The episode opened with Castle, Beckett, and Esposito watching in disgust/admiration as Jenny and Ryan fawned over their upcoming nuptials. There was some cutesy baby-talk, and Ryan admitted to the rest of the gang that he had agreed to do a cleanse before the wedding (honestly, who in their right mind thinks it’s a good idea for the bride and groom to stop eating before their wedding? Apparently planning a wedding isn't stress provoking enough for Ryan and Jenny).

Evidently Ryan doesn't like to be stressed out by himself, so he decides to tell Esposito that Lanie is bringing a plus one to the wedding. Since Espositio and Lanie broke up a hot second ago he is upset.

Beckett and Castle head off to investigate a potential murder. A man fell several stories out of a window. Lanie is already there, and she proves that the man wasn't alone at the time of his death: he has recent scratch marks on his back. Oh, but he wasn't pushed, they're from sex.

Later on, in the autopsy room, we find out that the dead man had sex with two different women within hours of his murder. Both Castle and Beckett instantaneously assume that this probably has something to do with his death (revengeful girlfriend etc.).

Beckett mentions having sex with "a lot" of men, and Castle pounces on this, asking her to give him a number. Kate asks him if he'd really want to know if they were getting married (can this please be some kind of foreshadowing!?). Anyway, Castle claims he would, and states: "you tell me your number, I'll tell you mine". Kate doesn't want to play.

Another Castle/Beckett moment occurs when Esposito mentions bringing a date to the wedding. He explains that he doesn't want to go solo when Lanie has a guy with her. Beckett says that she's going by herself, and that she'll dance with him if need be. Castle then states that he does have a date, and it's clear that Kate is a little concerned about who he's bringing. She attempts to ask him nonchalantly, and he admits that his date is "beautiful…intelligent…funny", and that "the way she smiles at [him] melts [his] heart". As he's describing this woman Kate looks more and more worried, and I think it's clear that she purposefully decided not to bring a date to the wedding. Luckily, Castle quickly admits that his date is Alexis.

Back to the murder: it turns out the man has lots and lots of girlfriends, and that he was poisoned (probably by one of them) shortly before his death. When Ryan and Esposito reveal that he had a complex fake identity (including a fake driver's license, and websites backing up a false persona), Castle immediately decides that he's a spy. Beckett often shoots down his crazy ideas, but in this case she doesn't have a better one, and she asks the guys to contact government agencies to see whether the murdered man was working for them.

They quickly find out that he wasn't, but they are told by one of his many girlfriends that he was kidnapped right in front of her, in the middle of the day, on a busy street. When Beckett and the rest of the team discuss this she laughs it off, claiming it isn’t possible, and explaining that it fits too much into one of Castle's crazy theories. Turns out she's wrong (for once! Normally Castle's the one who’s wrong). They find video footage of the kidnapping.

Except, they soon learn it wasn't a kidnapping. They find the two men who did it, and they explain that it was an  "exstalksion", designed to get the woman out of their friend's life. He wasn't a spy, he was a pick-up artist. They tell the police that the murdered man kept a diary of all of his conquests.

Back in the office the guys laugh over the conquest diary, which includes photos of hundreds of naked women. Kate gets annoyed at their immaturity (ahh, it’s just like the good old days in Season One). Shortly after Ryan and Esposito leave, Castle asks Beckett when Ryan first started dating Jenny. For some reason she has a incredibly specific time-line in her head (I know, I know, he wore a special tie after their two week anniversary, but why is Kate remembering this?) and she tells Castle a specific date. She also seems really puzzled about why he wants to know (shouldn't she realize by now?). Anyway, he shows her (gasp!) a photo of Jenny in the conquest diary.

This sparks an interesting conversation between Castle and Beckett, as he is emphatic that Ryan needs to be told before the wedding, while Kate insists that some secrets are necessary to have a healthy relationship. I wonder if she'd feel the same way if she knew that Castle is hiding the threats he received during the investigation into her mother's death. I'm guessing no. Esposito later learns about the entry, and also thinks that Ryan should be told. My guess is this has less to do with his morals, and more to do with the fact that he doesn't want his best guy friend to get married.

Anyway, I want to jump past a lot of the rest of the plot, because I think it's sort of irrelevant. Suffice to say, Esposito tries to pick up a woman so that he can get a date to the wedding (this irritates me about 30 seconds after it starts). Lanie is apparently dating some doctor. Alexis and her grandmother go dress shopping for the wedding, but Alexis ends up meeting a cute boy, and decides that a private Lady Gaga concert is more important than going to a wedding with her father (at least she has priorities).

The murder gets solved: apparently the man was trying to use his skill as a pick-up artist to steal corporate secrets, aka take part in "sexpionage". One of the women at the company, who he was also sleeping with, realized this and got mad/poisoned him.

Ryan finally caves and eats solid food (since the cleanse was starting to piss me off, I was relieved). It's Chinese food (excellent choice). Once he has eaten he realizes that he forgot to ask something, "is Jenny in the book?". Everyone else is shocked to learn that a) Ryan and Jenny were not exclusive the moment they started dating and b) that Jenny told him she might be in it.

At the wedding Esposito gets introduced to Lanie's date, and she explains that the good doctor is actually gay. Esposito admits that his date is actually his cousin. Neither of them wanted to show up alone, and they share a moment which indicates that maybe their relationship isn't truly over. I know there's a reason they broke up, but I can't remember it (time to read Wikipedia!).

Castle, dateless now that Alexis has abandoned him for a pop icon, shows up at Ryan's wedding alone. Kate calls him over, referring to him as a "lost puppy". They agree to be each other's dates. Castle admits that Ryan's wedding is making him happy, and Kate tells him that "maybe third time's the charm". They then walk into the church, and down the aisle (okay, you're not supposed to do this during a wedding, but it's still adorable) arm in arm.

Monday, January 9, 2012

'Castle' is All New Tonight! (Promo & Sneak Peeks)

'Castle' is finally back from hiatus tonight!!
(Clearly I'm very excited)
Scroll down for the promo of "Till Death Do Us Part" and some sneak peeks.

Here are some clips from tonight's episode:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What If Sunday: Lisa Kudrow, Roz, Frasier and Friends

Way back in 1998, when I was a lot younger than I care to admit, I became obsessed with a little show called 'Friends'.

'Friends' was the first show I truly loved, and it is the series that ignited my fascination with television production.

When she was just starting out as an actress, Lisa Kudrow was cast to play Roz on 'Frasier'. But during the filming of the pilot episode the role was recast with Peri Gilpin.

Luckily Kudrow didn't have long to wait before she was recast in a different series, 'Mad About You'. She played Ursula Buffay, a recurring character, on the hit NBC show.

Even more luckily, Kudrow auditioned for and was cast in 'Friends'. The show, also set to air on NBC, was given the timeslot immediately following 'Mad About You'.

The network was concerned that viewers who watched 'Mad About You', and stuck around to watch the premiere of 'Friends', would be confused by the same actress playing different characters in the two shows. Because of this the script of 'Friends' was altered specifically for Kudrow, and the character of Phoebe on 'Friends' was given the last name Buffay and made to be the twin sister of Ursula (from 'Mad About You'). Kudrow even occasionally played her own twin on 'Friends', allowing Ursula and Phoebe to act out parts of their sibling rivalry.

What if Kudrow had never lost the role of Roz on 'Frasier'? Not only would the role of Phoebe have been played by a different actress, but the character, and key aspects of her motivation, would have been completely different--she wouldn't have had a twin sister.

Kudrow speaks about 'Frasier' and 'Friends' during Vassar's 2010 Commencement address:

'House of Lies' Premieres Tonight

I love Kristen Bell. I love Don Cheadle. Oh, and Ben Schwartz is pretty awesome too.

If you feel the same way I do, you'll definitely like 'House of Lies'.

It stars Don Cheadle as Marty, the leader of a team that is part of a large consulting firm. The team he oversees includes Jeannie (Kristen Bell), Clyde (Ben Schwartz) and Doug (Josh Lawson).

I recently watched the pilot episode (premiering tonight at 10/9C on Showtime) and was pleasantly surprised. The show is intelligent and fast-paced, despite the fact that it has some unusual editing techniques that take a bit to get used to. One such technique is the constant breaking of the fourth wall; Marty talks directly to the viewer, giving definitions of consulting terms, while all the action around him completely freezes.

The pilot episode is not particularly strong, and it doesn't come across as a comedy, despite the fact that it is advertised as such. Despite this, I believe that the characters are interesting and complex enough that 'House of Lies' shows great promise

Kristen Bell's character is an interesting addition. Jeannie is well-educated and as manipulative as the men on her team. Maybe we're finally getting a portrayal of a strong woman whose strength isn't made more 'reasonable' by some other flaw in her character. This is rare in television.

One of the most interesting aspects of the show is the chemistry between Marty (Cheadle) and Jeannie (Bell). Marty's states throughout the pilot that he will ultimately sleep with Jeannie. Of course, Marty sleeps with three different women in the first episode, so it's unclear how much sex with Jeannie would mean. The fact that he calls her to discuss actual issues in his life suggests that if he were to enter into a sexual relationship with her it would mean much more than meaningless sex. I think that the will they/won't they aspect of the Marty and Jeannie relationship will prove central to the plot (and the appeal) of the series.
With Occupy Wall Street going on, the timing of a show examining the dirty work involved in corporate consulting couldn't be better.
'House of Lies' premieres tonight (Sunday, Jan 8th) at 10/9C.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

'Shameless' Second Season Premiere

I know I'm a little behind the curve, but I finally got around to watching 'Shameless' on Showtime.

I like it all right, but I like the original series a lot better.

For those of you who don't know, the American series is based on the British version of the same name.

The plots aren't identical though (much like the plots of the American 'Office' are not complete copies of the British original), so you can certainly watch both series.

If you like 'Shameless' on Showtime, then head on over to Netflix Instant and watch the Channel Four British version. You can also catch up with the first season of the U.S. version of 'Shameless' on Showtime OnDemand.

The second season of the U.S. version of 'Shameless' premieres tomorrow 
(Sunday, Jan 8th at 9/8C)
UK version
US version

Thursday, January 5, 2012

'Grey's Anatomy': "

'Grey's Anatomy' is finally returning from hiatus tonight (ABC at 9/8C).

The episode is entitled "Suddenly", and I assume this signifies the fact that things are suddenly changing in numerous characters' lives.

Since it's been so long since the last episode (56 days!) let's recap: Teddy doesn't know about her husband's death, Owen and Cristina's relationship is on shaky ground since they disagreed about her abortion, Meredith and Derek don't know if they will get Zola back, and Meredith and Alex are still caught in a storm with a very sick baby and several seriously injured adults.

Here's the lengthier recap:
1) Teddy's husband needed immediate surgery, and she begged the new Chief, Owen, to let Cristina do it (awkward, since Owen is Cristina's husband).
2) Owen agreed with Teddy, provided that her husband's face remain covered so that Cristina did not know who she was operating on (again awkward, because Owen is Cristina's husband).
3) Teddy's husband died on the operating table, and Cristina was devastated (Owen, why didn't you see this coming? You're her husband!).
4) Meredith and Derek waited for news about their court case involving custody of their adopted daughter, Zola. It seemed more and more likely that they would not regain custody.
5) Meredith and Alex took an ambulance to a rural hospital to retrieve a baby who could only receive proper medical attention at Seattle Grace.
6) A huge storm raged outside, and the ambulance broke down on a curvy road. Shortly after Alex and Meredith had picked up the baby.
7) Because the ambulance was full of oxygen tanks, it could explode if hit, so Meredith and Alex argued about whether they should take the baby out of her incubator outside and into the storm.
8) The ambulance ended up getting hit by a car just as Meredith agreed that they should move outside.
9) The ambulance didn't explode.
10) Meredith and Alex were still spurred to move outside, and when they did they saw that they car that had hit them had rolled over, and ejected all of its passengers.

What might happen?
There's a chance that Cristina will ultimately blame Owen for allowing her to operate on Teddy's husband...and she may assume that part of why he caved to Teddy is that she is his ex-girlfriend.

Since Teddy's husband just died, and that will become a major plot issue, there's a chance that the writers might decide to give Zola back to Meredith and Derek.

And maybe the episode will try to be a little less depressing and allow the new baby and/or some of the ejected car crash victims to survive.

Oh, plus, promos have told us that Lexie (who was just dumped by her boyfriend because she's still in love with Mark), will be forced to work with Mark's new girlfriend on tonight's episode. Great.

TV Flashback: 'Twin Peaks'

Technically it's still TV hiatus time, so I decided to watch a series that I'd never seen before. I have an extensive list of shows that I'm planning on watching sometime in the future, but no matter how diligently I add them to my Netflix Instant queue, they never get viewed. There's just too much new television to watch and talk about.

That being said, I occasionally make time in my schedule to watch shows that are no longer on the air ('My Boys'!). This almost always results in a ridiculous time commitment as I realize, "yes, this show is good. Now I have to watch all 4 seasons".

'Twin Peaks' gets mentioned every so often in Television Studies classes, or by popular culture/entertainment publications (it's cited in 506 'Entertainment Weekly' articles), so of course it's been on my "must watch this soon" list for the past five years.

I started watching it last week. Even though I haven't finished all the episodes yet, I like it so much that I feel the need to recommend it right now. Especially since it's currently available on Netflix Instant.

Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, 'Twin Peaks' is set in a small town where everyone has a secret. These secrets begin to come to light as the local sheriff and an oddball FBI agent investigate the rape and murder of a teenage girl.

If you've seen Lynch's 'Eraserhead' (which is assigned to Film students everywhere) you know that he has a specific film style, which tends to be surrealist and dream-like, with great attention paid to sound. 'Twin Peaks' is more mainstream than 'Eraserhead', but it does still have aspects of the Lynchian style. It takes a little bit to adjust to, but by the end of the pilot the style of editing and sound that is used becomes less jarring.

'Twin Peaks' was popular with many critics, but was not wildly successful while on the air. The show only lasted two seasons. But, if we're learned anything in the last ten years from 'Freaks and Geeks' and 'Arrested Development', it's that canceled shows are sometimes better than those that are renewed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

'The Biggest Loser' Season 13: Where are the Female Trainers?

The thirteenth season of 'The Biggest Loser' aired last night, and I was disappointed.

The game has a new twist (players entered as 'pairs', only to be told they would all be split into different teams), but that wasn't what bothered me.

What bothered me was that there are only two trainers this season, and both of them are men.

Anna Kournikova clearly wasn't a home run (or a match point) last season; the contestants didn't seem to take to her as quickly as they did with Bob and Dolvett, and she occasionally insulted them without even trying (remember her conversation with Jen and Ramon last season?). 

While I think that Bob is a veteran of the show, and absolutely needs to stick around, I don't care quite as much about Dolvett. At the same time, the fact that he's still around doesn't bother me. 

I was initially going to say that it seems bizarre to have only two trainers, but when you think about 'The Biggest Loser' in its infancy, it started out with just two: Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper.

Jillian disappeared for a little while (I don't remember this absence, but Wikipedia claims this is the case), and was replaced by Kim Lyons. By Season 4 Jillian was back, as were Kim and Bob.

We then entered 7 seasons of just Bob and Jillian, but in Season 11 they were joined by Brett Hoebel and Cara Castronuova. My reaction to Brett and Cara is identical to my reaction to Dolvett...I didn't much care either way.

Jillian had something special which Bob also has; she pushed players hard, she didn't take excuses, but she took the time to get to know them. Even when she was angry and yelling, and even being a little bit mean, she wasn't strongly disliked. In fact, I think Anna's main problem was that she didn't yell enough.

This is the first season with only male trainers.

I think the female (and male!) players shouldn't just have men encouraging them, they should have women leading by example as well. I know that 'The Biggest Loser' is the only reality show which has always had a woman as a host, and that's certainly nice. But just because they have one woman in the main cast doesn't negate the need for a female trainer.
Kim, Bob, Alison, and Jillian

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Hate Hiatuses

If you’re read my blog before you know that there’s one thing I really, truly hate: hiatuses.

Obviously, I completely support the fact that people in the television industry deserve holidays too, and I can even be persuaded that it makes sense for TV shows to not be on the air for a bit. After all, it would be pretty tricky for me to watch a show live if I was in an airplane flying to visit family. I’m assuming the same is true for all of us!

That being said, now that I’ve been back at work since the end of last week, it would be nice to have a favorite show to look forward to at the end of the long day. I wish that TV shows didn’t disappear from our screens for such an extended period of time (sometimes as long as three weeks!). Most people working average, run-of-the-mill jobs would never get that long off work.

Lucky for me (and you!), there are a few shows returning, and new shows starting, tonight:

CBS has new shows starting at 8/7C, so ‘NCIS’ and ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ are both new.
NBC is also new starting at 8/7C, with a brand-new season of ‘The Biggest Loser’ starting off the night (for two hours!), followed by a new ‘Parenthood’.
ABC starts with ‘Last Man Standing’ at 8/7C, followed by the premieres of ‘Work It’ and ‘Celebrity Wife Swap’ (Gary Busey, anyone?).

FOX is only airing re-runs.

In a weird sort of twist, just because four networks are airing new shows tonight, do not expect all of your shows to be back on this week. I’m not sure what in the world most of the networks are thinking, but for the next two weeks some days they’ll have all new shows, some days they’ll have all re-runs, and some days they’ll do (what seems to me to be) a random mix.

Tomorrow (Jan 4th) and Thursday (Jan 5th) NBC and CBS are both once again airing reruns, and ABC will be the only channel airing all new shows.

Friday (Jan 6th) NBC, CBS, and ABC will all air new shows again, but FOX will still be showing re-runs.

Monday, NBC and ABC will be new, but don’t expect anything from CBS or FOX.

Finally, starting next Tuesday (Jan 10th), almost all of the networks (NBC, CBS, and ABC) except for FOX (why do you keep holding out on us?) will have new episodes.

After which, on those channels at least, your shows are most back. Oh, except for Wednesday (Jan 11th), when CBS shows the ‘People’s Choice Awards’ instead of their normally scheduled programming.

Thursday, January 12th is really the day to look forward to: FOX finally has shows on the air again, and ’30 Rock’ returns to NBC from its extended hiatus.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What If Sunday: Nathan Fillion, Joss Whedon, Angel, and BTVS

What if Nathan Fillion had been cast as Angel in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'?

It could have actually happened. The first time he auditioned for a Joss Whedon television show he was trying out for the part of Angel. According to Fillion (pictured on left) he didn't make it far enough through the auditions to actually meet the producers, so Whedon didn't see him then. Years later Whedon told him he wasn't even aware that he'd auditioned for the role (see clip at end).

It's clear that Whedon loves Fillion (as an actor, and I'm assuming also as a person). He's used him in multiple projects: in the final season of 'Buffy' (as Caleb), in 'Firefly' and 'Serenity', in 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog', and in 'Much Ado About Nothing'.

Because it's clear that Whedon loves Fillion's talent (which I'm in no way disputing he has), I'm secretly glad that Fillion didn't make it to the final casting round for Angel.

Fillion is a brilliant actor, and he's definitely multi-faceted. He's also attractive or, as they say on 'Castle', "ruggedly handsome". But he doesn't have the dark, brooding handsomeness that helped David Boreanaz fill the role. Everyone uses "dark" and "brooding" as adjectives for Boreanaz (image on left). Seriously, just try Googling those words with his name.

If Fillion had been cast as Angel it would have impacted the entire tone of the Buffy and Angel relationship, as well as many of the show's central plots. I know that looks are in no way the most important factor of an actor's performance, but they do matter.

Considering the fact that Fillion and Boreanaz are on quite similar shows now ('Castle' and 'Bones'), I wonder if their careers paths would have still followed the same trajectory if Fillion had been cast as Angel instead of Boreanaz. Luckily, we'll never know.