Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Top 9

I still don't really know what the theme of this week is. Popular digital downloads...

Gonna speed through tonight, have a lot of other stuff to watch tonight (and just got home form a three hour script session... yay, so many notes... but mostly in a good, inspiring way)

Anoop - "Hung Up" - Not the Usher song I'd have chosen if I were choosing to sing an Usher song. Why doesn't Anoop smile while performing? He seems to sneer when going on runs. Kinda odd for me. I love Kara's take on Anoop's take.

Megan - "Turn Your Lights Down Low" - She loves the song. I don't know the song. I'm so over her nasally atonal voice. And her "dancing." She should've chosen "I'm Like A Bird" by Nelly Furtado. Just saying. Oh, Kara's suggestion for Adele's "Chasing Pavement" is a good call! I love that Kara is becoming the audience's new Simon! Yay! Boo!!!! I'm convinced the show could fire Randy and Paula and the show would not only be just fine, but would be better. Okay, leave Paula because Simon needs someone to berate.

Danny - "What Hurts The Most" - I want him to sing the Cascada version of the song instead of the Rascal Flatts'. I'm so tired of these contestants being genuine. Can't someone have a good, uptempo fun time AND be a great singer? Danny sings it very well, but I'm kinda over his schmaltz (maybe it's because Scott has drained my patience).

Allison - "Don't Speak" - Didn't know/remember she played guitar. Brilliant song choice. Not-quite-up-to-par performance. I wanted it to be haunting. It was good, but not haunting. I wish when the chorus kicked in she had stayed with the guitar and left the percussion out of it (that would've been very a David Cook move). Simultaneously, the ending worked for me, so just the transition from subdued-guitar-performance to rock-belting was rough. Love ya, Allison, but this wasn't your best. Paula calls Allison's guitar an "ax" and I die. I. Die.

Scott - "Just The Way You Are" - ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. I can't even watch the performance. I must fast forward. The judges liked it. Dammit. Whatever. OVER IT. Who painted Scott's hair, like, orange, and made it stand up like that? FIRE THEM.

Matt - "You Found Me" - If you're going to choose a Grey's Anatomy soundtrack band, why not go for the big hit ("How To Save A Life") or, like, the be-all-end-all of Grey's music ("Chasing Cars", yes, I know, not The Fray)? Anyway. He's singing and playing the piano in the middle of a group of girls. The wha~!? Like Anoop, this was karaoke with a couple riff-ish things. It's better than Anoop simply because he's playing the piano and honestly doing more interesting things with his hands than with voice (until the end when he dares to go falsetto). Paula uses the word "aborted" and I die. I. Die. Shockingly, I agree with Paula, after Matt was eviscerated for singing Coldplay, why sing Coldplay-lite? Matt should've sung JT's "Cry Me A River." Agree with Simon/Randy on OneRepublic's "Apologize" (though, again, I wish people would sing "Say (All I Need)" which is an AWESOME song that never got US attention).

Lil - "I Surrender" - Wig #2! At least her hairpiece choice is right on. Our first Celine take in the finals this season (and, blissfully, by the only female finalist who has the chops to maybe pull it off). Why didn't she bust out Mary J Blige's "No More Drama"? That could've been a "Summertime" moment (I think MJB's Grammy 2002 performance is AMAZING). Yeah, I know, she auditioned to MJB and has been compared to her... so what!? Man, Simon mentions MJB's cover of U2's "One." Damn, I love that cover.

Adam - "Play That Funky Music" - This is a Most Downloaded? Loves it. Sweet Jesus, Princess is wearing bell bottoms (or at least some big-ass-boot cut slacks). Not loving the hair tonight. It doesn't fit with, um, "funky." Paula puts Princess in the same league as Steven Tyler and Mick Jagger. So, basically, the screeching-high-pitched-rock-belters. Compliment, what?

Kris (PIMP SPOT) - "Ain't No Sunshine" - OMG we're already done! I love that the show isn't 120 minutes any longer. YAY. Kris plays the piano, too. Matt and Scott, consider your territory encroached upon! So, tonight, thanks mostly to Adam just having fun instead of trying to fully knock it outta the park... Kris wins the night (though Adam is close... c'mon, folks, we all know who wins this season, right...?)

Bottom 3: Anoop, Matt, Megan (going home)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blasts From the Past

Within the next week and a half the following events will take place:

- Cupid, a remake of the 1998 ABC series of the same name, will premiere (3/31)
- Slayers Evolution-R will air its final episode in Japan (episode 13 of 13 airs on 4/6, or if you include Slayers Revolution as it ought to be included, 26 of 26)
- Dragonball: Evolution will be released in the US (4/10)

These events seem to have little to no connection. Here's why I'm posting about them together.

I'm a huge fan of the original versions of all three of these series. I loved Cupid 1.0. I think Slayers (1996), Slayers Next (1997), and Slayers Try (1998) are some of the best written anime from the 90s, not to mention some of the most entertaining. And, well, Dragonball (and Z) was among the reasons I, as a teenager, learned to read and speak Japanese (a skill I, sadly, no longer have complete retention of). Of course the language skill eventually became unnecessary because translated versions of the manga and subtitled versions of the anime eventually made their way to America.


Cupid 2.0 premieres tomorrow. The pilot is shorter, bigger, faster, different from the Cupid 1.0 pilot. It takes getting used to, seeing Cannavale and Paulson in the Piven and Marshall characters... but it works. No idea about subsequent episodes, but the pilot works in some ways better than the original did, in some ways not as well. One of the interesting things about it is how you kind of grow more attached to the couple of the week than you do to some / all of the regular characters. I'm excited, though, for this series that ABC has, until the very last minute, basically seemed uninterested in publicizing.

Slayers is a seriocomic fantasy-adventure anime from the mid-to-late 90s. When I heard it was returning (the first half of the season, Slayers Revolution, premiered in September), I was overjoyed. I feel like this is how people who watched Sex and the City from the beginning felt about the movie coming out last summer. Dear friends were returning with fresh stories (and better animation!) And, well, then I saw the episodes (all but the finale). And, let me tell you, I wish the series had stayed "dead" instead of being resurrected, like Cupid, ten years after its death. The characters are all there (even if Lina Inverse has barely threatened use of her Dragon Slave spell and there haven't been many occasions where she and Gourry Gabriev fight over who gets the last morsel of food), but the stories are not. Why bring something (that I, at least) cherished back if you have nothing new to say? And if the way you say what you have to say is so inferior? Seriously, I rewatched the best of the series (Slayers Next... go rent it!) this weekend and the storytelling is still SO good, the season's arc so delicately placed and expertly laid in, even the bulk of the "stand-alone" episodes are on-theme and eventually have something to do with the main plot. Not so much Slayers Revolution/Evolution-R.

Which brings me to the Dragonball motion picture. This was never going to be "adult" entertainment. While it's true that, especially in the middle of its run, Dragonball Z left the silly kids jokes aside and intermixed some very dark themes with the oh-so-extended episode-upon-episode of the same martial arts sequence and energy explosion being fired between opponents... Dragonball was a kids show. Especially at the start. So my expectations were not "high" when I screened this (in fact, they were quite low). But I think there's barely one single thing went truly "right" with this motion picture adaptation. Obviously, things had to change and things that work in animation don't work in live action. Dragonball starts with a seven year-old protagonist (Goku). The really young characters were aged up 10 years and put into, um, high school (to be played by 20-somethings). Whatever. That's the business. But, seriously, folks, this "movie" doesn't even approach the kind of "fun for kids and kinda sorta the family" that, say, Spy Kids, provided. Mainly because even the altered backstory the movie uses instead of the manga/anime one DOESN'T MAKE SENSE and THINGS DON'T GET EXPLAINED. Not even remotely. Why mention how Piccolo was imprisoned 2000 years prior if you're not going to explain how he got out? Everything, and I mean everything, is paced wrong. The one thing that the movie gets right is the "capsule" technology (that, instead of the manga-ized cloud puff, uses Transformers-esque special effects to expand from a tiny capsule a, say, motorbike). And the movie almost gets Goku's hair right (which, um, kudos for getting close!) and the blue string in Bulma's hair is appreciated. But so many things are wrong. So many. And while it always was going to be silly and kid-targeted, this property could have been good, too. Dragonball: Evolution, in fact, should be the prime example that writers /directors / producers look at when thinking of adapting comic book or video game material for how not to do it (take that, Super Mario Brothers the Movie).

Sigh. Rant over. It's such a weird coincidence to, almost simultaneously, have new versions of these old favorites back in my life. Here's hoping the best of them, Cupid, manages to overcome the promotion shortfall and pull decent numbers.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

First Night

Susanna Thompson was a revelation as Queen Rose Benjamin on tonight's Kings.

Her conversation with Princess Michelle about how and why she "designed every inch" of the monarchy the way she did... wow. "You think I care about ballet? They didn't wait in line to see dancing. They came to see us. The royal family, we are the performance!"

I know this series isn't long for this world. It's unfortunate. Some very interesting, thoughtful work going on here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Just What I Like In My Fantasy TV

Tonight's Legend of the Seeker ("Deception") had it all (except Zedd, who I honestly think brings the series down so he frankly wasn't missed).

The show finally showed it could break through the faulty, banal source material from whence it sprang. Morally gray areas, turncoats, the question of revenge versus justice, questioning a soldier's worth, interesting (if still predictable) turns...

I won't go so far as to say it was thoroughly brilliant television, but as far as this series has gone, it was DAMN good. I highly recommend you find a way to watch it. This episode is completely stand-alone and mythology-free (aside from the broad strokes of "Richard is the Seeker, he's fighting some big evil guy named Darken Rahl, and he travels with a woman named Kahlan who is a 'Confessor,' (and her purpose in addition to all of her powers are established within the episode so you don't have to know going in)."

For fanboys of the novels, it probably won't be as high on the list as "Denna" (which was certainly the best episode of LotS before tonight). But I think on a purely "this is an adaptation of a series of novels and it breaks away from those novels" POV, this was the superior episode.

Too bad the show goes into a few weeks of repeats now!

Pilot Script Reviews... Forthcoming!

I've completed reading (at least) one draft of all of the drama pilots being shot for Fall 2009 contention (okay, almost all... some were not available to me). I'm not a comedy writer, so haven't really looked at the comedies (though, once pilot screens roll out, I'll certainly weigh in on them). As time allows over the next week or two, I'll be doing a more detailed review of each script. But, too whet your appetite, here is a very cursory overview. Remember, these reviews and rankings are based ENTIRELY on the script. Things change both (a) after the draft I may have read - and I will note what draft I'm basing my review off of, and (b) once casting and production is taken into account.

This overview will consist of three categories (though, once I do my detailed reviews, it'll be obvious that there are different degrees within each broad category):
- Thumbs Up (liked the script / looking forward to the screener / in my perfect world it would have a good shot at the schedule)
- Jury's Out (didn't think it was terrible, but have some issues / need to see the finished product to make a decision because the script wasn't enough to sell me / didn't like the script but can see it being improved upon once filmed)
- Thumbs Down (oh, hell, no / terrible, why is this even being shot / will be sucking my thumb asking myself why I'm such a masochist when watching the screener)

Thumbs Up
- Eastwick (ABC)
- Empire State (ABC)
- Flash Forward (ABC)
- The Good Wife (CBS)
- House Rules (CBS)
- Parenthood (NBC)
- Washington Field (CBS)

Jury's Out
- Beautiful Life (CW)
- Day One (NBC)
- Eva Adams (FOX)
- Happy Town (ABC)
- Human Target (FOX)
- Inside The Box (ABC)
- Limelight (ABC)
- Maggie Hill (FOX)
- Mercy (NBC)
- See Cate Run fka I, Claudia (ABC)
- Trauma (NBC)
- US Attorney (CBS)
- V (ABC)
- Vampire Diaries (CW)
- The Body Politic (CW)

Thumbs Down
- A Marriage (CBS)
- Back (CBS)
- Brothers & Detectives (ABC)
- The Eastmans (CBS)
- The Forgotten fka The Unknown (ABC)
- I, Witness (CBS - cast contingent pick up not met yet, so may not get shot)
- Legally Mad (NBC)
- Light Years (CW)
- Lost & Found (NBC)
- Masterwork (FOX)
- Miami Trauma (CBS)
- Past Life fka The Reincarnationist (FOX)
- Three Rivers (CBS)

Not Read / Not Available
- Confessions of a Contractor (CBS - project on hold because of cast contingent pick up not being met)
- Legend aka NCIS Spin Off (CBS - I don't watch NCIS, I wouldn't be able to comment on this)
- Lily aka Gossip Girl Spin Off (CW - script not available)
- Melrose Place (CW - script not available)
- Untitled Dave Hemingson Lawyer Project (ABC - read this script last year and thought it was terrible, so despite redevelopment with a reportedly more dramatic tone... I just couldn't bring myself to print and read it)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Things That Are About As Equally Unfunny

- Dying Puppies (actual, not theoretical)
- Cancer
- In the Motherhood on ABC

Wow, I wish I'd watched any of ITM before watching 30 Rock. It would've seemed infinitely more funny...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

30 Suck

If it weren't for the muppets, Adam West, and Liz's commercial, tonight's episode of 30 Rock would've been entirely unwatchable (I know that those three things sound like a lot, but it amounted to all of about 30 seconds). Ugh. What a shadow of its former self this show has become (and even at it's peak, the show was very hit-or-miss... just hitting a lot more often...)

In other NBC news, The Chopping Block was just pulled. NBC's poor performance this season (Chopping Block, Superstars of Dance, Mamma's Boys, Life, Kings, Lipstick Jungle, Knight Rider, My Own Worst Enemy, Kath & Kim... god, so many failures... plus Friday Night Lights but that's pretty much contingent on DirecTV putting up some more money) may just save Chuck in the wake of the Leno 10pm stripping.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

He's Our You

Sayid-centric!? We're still doing character-centric episodes? Yay/shock.

Young Sayid was a stone killer, yo.

Does it count as a flashback episode if the events on-Island (1978) are taking place roughly at the same time as the off-Island events (or perhaps even, chronologically, before the off-Island events?)

Hm. 11:40pm. I'm wiped (damn you, humpday). I'm gonna sit this commentary out and just watch the show and get to sleep. Here's hoping for a good one!

EDIT: I was worried when the episode seemed to be an all-encompassing series of flashbacks of Sayid. Worried that he was going to die for some reason. That didn't happen. The cliffhanger with him shooting Ben? Awesome. Really wondering about the repercussions of that (did it "already" happen?) But the episode as a whole... lacking. C'mon, Lost.

Wednesday. Too Much Wednesday

I know it's only an extra hour of Idol tonight, but because it's the performance show and not the easily-skipped-through results show... tonight just seems so much more daunting (what with Lost and South Park and Damages etc).

Anyway. Motown night.

Matt Giraud - "Let's Get It On" - Oh, man, Marvin Gaye. How many Marvin songs are we gonna sit through tonight? The problem with Motown night isn't the quality of the songs, it's, as Simon said (sigh), making them your own instead of doing the karaoke version (or at least doing a respectable carbon copy of the original as opposed to "karaoke"). Anyway, to Matt's performance... I like that he steps away from the piano (NOTE TO SCOTT MACINTYRE... YES, I KNOW, YOU'RE BLIND). The growls and falsetto breaks just make him more of a Justin Timberclone, though. But nothing wrong with that (plus, he's a far better singer and performer than Chris Richardson). The TD has a sense of humor after "beat around the bush" there's a cut to Kara and Paula. Lulz. I'm dirty tonight! Yay! Paula compares Matt to a great pair of worn in jeans.

Kris Allen - "How Sweet It Is" - Marvin Gaye... 2 for 2! Okay. I'm going to say it. Kris is the far-better (and far-hotter) version of Jason Castro from last season. The almost-entirely-stripped-down-to-acoustic guitar thang he's got going on in nice and different from the original. The performance doesn't feature a ton of notes, but interestingly with Motown music, the more acoustic version actually shows Kris' voice off because of not doing it like the original. Dammit, Jason Castro fans, if you flame my comment section again, I'm going to be so angry. Oh, Simon-Ryan banter.

Scott MacIntyre - "You Can't Hurry Love" - Oh, COME ON, SCOTT. I have nothing to say about this. It's all very predictable. I'm over Scott. Blandsville. At least it was more uptempo (er, after the opening). Paula uses the word "rubato." OMG. Paula's crayons and coloring book gift for Simon when he does the weekly "answer the question answer the question answer the question" bit is WIN. EPIC WIN.

Megan Joy Corkrey Joy Megan - "For Once In My Life" - This should've been Megan's week to shine, with her bluesy voice. Though I was totally feeling the brass instruments. Megan makes me sad that Alexis is gone. Because Megan... well, she sucked tonight (maybe she should recontract the flu?) There're only two other girls left in the competition. And Alexis was such a better vocalist (even if she had bad song choices). I guess the judges and producers knew something when the Top 13 was made from 8 men and 5 women. Megan's voice, at this point, is like nails on the chalkboard. I dunno what Megan the judges know, but she's always hitting bad notes and giving weird phrasing and rhythm (and WEIRD dancing). I'm really having trouble getting over how similar she looks to Nelly Furtado tonight. NEXT!

Anoop Desai - "Ooh Baby Baby" - Okay... I must admit that when I hear the title of the song, all I'm thinking is Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It." Anyway. Obviously I don't know the song (sorry!) But I do have a knee-jerk, uninformed reaction! Too slow. Too high for Anoop. Take those two together and you have... hotel lounge (at, like, 4am)? No, they already used that on Scott... wedding? No, they did wedding for Lil Rounds last week. Cruise ship? Do we have our first cruise ship of the Top X of this season's Idol?? Hm. The judges liked it (Simon did give it a "musical"). Maybe it's my unfamiliarity with the song.

Michael Sarver - "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" - Aw, he had the flu. Not gonna save you tonight, Michael. Sorry. Much like Scott, I'm over Michael and have little to say. Maybe the judges will provide some entertainment? I have a feeling "indulgent" will come up in the critique? Looks like Megan will be safe this week. Witness Michael's heart breaking as the camera goes close up on his face as Simon says "you are participating in this competition but have no chance of winning" etc etc.

WOO GLEE PROMO. Hm, they changed the line from Jane Lynch that was in the version I saw ("You think that's hard? Try living with Hepatitis, that's hard." became "Try being waterboarded, that's hard." Weird!)

Lil Rounds - "Heat Wave" - Do it, Lil. Do it! Also, extensions? Weave? Hi! I'm kinda surprised by Lil's song choice. Yes, it's uptempo and it's not the obvious song, so kudos for both of those aspects (perhaps too uptempo, though). Why is shying away from a song (or arrangement) with a string of glory notes? This should've been her week not to shine, but to OWN. And she just kinda borrows? She's still gonna make it to the Top 3. Love the flapper dress.

Adam Lambert - "Tracks of My Tears" - Oh, princess. I'm captivated. Way to change it up. Just me or did the slicked back hair and suit thing = Elvis (the, y'know, hot years)? Or maybe it was more Matt Dallas...? I'm worried that Adam overuses his falsetto... but, y'know, when a performance is like this WHO THE EFF CARES? Dear Kara, "One of the best performances of the night" is eight words, not six. "The best performance of the night" is six. That's what you meant, no? This was like, the super awesome Robin Thicke version of "Tracks of My Tears."

Danny "Why Does Ryan Have a Trumpet While Introducing Me" Gokey - "Get Ready" - Hm, the Black Eyed Peas covered this a couple years ago. Smokey gives great advice in the video package. If Danny didn't sing the "You're alright" and "You're outta sight" this would've been... um, what he sang. Bad Gokey! Bad! Listen to the mentor! Yes, I know you need to breathe at some point, but... well, you figured it out in the rest of the song. WTF was Danny doing marching with the backup singers?

Allison Iraheta (PIMP SPOT) - "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" - Ooh, we like the bluesy, smoky quality in her voice tonight. I kinda want her to take the jacket off. And the lace-tablecloth-leggings. Why was this girl in the Bottom 3 last week (or, in the words of Kara... "what? America are you kidding?") That was the soul we expected from Lil given this week's theme. SIMON DREW A MOUSTACHE ON PAULA'S FACE WITH THE CRAYONS. Yayz. Loves it.

Can I be honest? Much as I've grown to enjoy Matt, Kris, and Anoop... I really want the last four singers tonight to be the Final Four.

Why did the judges rush through Danny's critique? They didn't seem that in danger of spilling over past 10pm. There certainly seemed like there was time to tell him to work with someone on, um, what to do with himself while performing (wink! point! march! fail!)

Bottom 3: Obvs. Sarver (going home). Megan. Scott.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Creative Direction

Over the last week, two series have had episodes that touted a change / return to better storytelling.

Dollhouse had it's "Fox threw up it's hands and gave up trying / Told Joss Whedon to do whatever he wanted" episode in "Man on the Street" and it made me want to forget the first five episodes of the series and just consider "MotS" the new pilot.

Heroes, which I haven't really been watching, had it's "Bryan Fuller is back, ya'll!" episode last night called "Cold Snap." Now, again, I haven't really been watching a ton of this fourth volume, so I don't know what's really happened in the interim between the suck of the volume's premiere and this. Not a ton, it seems. Though the cheerleader was blissfully absent. Anyway, Fuller's return did seem to help, from what I could tell. The characters were pretty much acting with some degree of intelligence... at least enough to prove they had a brain on their shoulders. And, sadly, that's a big change from when I stopped caring. Unfortunately, Bryan Fuller rejoined the show in the middle of a failed, heavy-serialized plotline. I didn't expect MAGIC from him. And he didn't turn in another "Company Man." The episode was almost entirely watchable (curious what Masi Oka did to the producers to have them saddle him with this weird Super Powered Baby storyline), though, and there were moments of very cool special effects (Tracey telling Micah to put the sprinklers on so she could freeze the parking lot) as well as actual emotion (Daphne's death... even if the Parkman-as-Superman dream he put her in to ease her passing was utterly derivative). Don't know why they killed Daphne. She was actually an enjoyable character.

I may just bring myself to watch to the conclusion of the season to see if Heroes can keep this level up (it's still nothing compared to the first season, but, hey, enjoyable TV is better than unenjoyable TV so I have to wish for it and support it when it comes along). I do hope the brass at NBC see fit to get rid of Tim Kring, who obviously was the real problem at Heroes, not the scapegoats Jesse Alexander and Jeph Loeb, and make Bryan Fuller the actual showrunner next season.

Also, go figure, Bryan cast Swoosie Kurtz in a bit part in the episode (nice to have her on TV, even if she isn't kissing Teri Hatcher). I'm so very looking forward to the Paley Festival Pushing Daisies event where I'll get to see the last three episodes of the series (that, despite its considerable flaws, I do find myself missing the longer I've been without it).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Finale Finals

Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi, 9pm, 131 minutes)
- 2.364 million viewers
- 1.4/3 HH
- 1.1/3 A18-49 (#1 cable program of the night in A18-49)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

And They Have A Plan

Dave Williams' plan, per the teaser of Desperate Housewives, is really, really, really, really dumb. Would he really need YEARS to plan that? And how could he have spent years planning to kill Katherine Mayfair when Katherine and Mike only recently started dating? Dammit, show, get your continuity straight!

... still not as dumb as the Cylons' plan.

Dammit, Bree, you shouldn't need a pep talk from Andrew to realize Orson is being a dickwad and you shouldn't sell your company. C'mon, Bree, you were always a strong woman. This "I believe in traditional values" defense is so very flimsy. Yes, Bree, by referring to you, I mean the writers. This plot is ridiculous and I'm sad that Bree is saddled with it/Orson.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Joss Wants What It Wants

I don't understand why Fox would fuck around by altering what Joss Whedon had in mind for Dollhouse. As far as I'm concerned, the series started last night. Yeah, there's a bit of backstory and character connections that were made in the first five episodes, but "Man on the Street" felt, played, unfolded so much more like a pilot than, well, certainly the first episode of Dollhouse that aired.

Was it "game-changing"? Nah. Because there wasn't a lot of game going on to change. It was "game-starting".

I'm very pleased that I stuck with Dollhouse. Though I wish I could get the first five episodes wiped from my memory.


I really ought to sleep and mull and then comment.

I really ought to.

In talking with fellow BSG fans pre-finale, we actually discovered how little mythology stuff actually needed to be answered (as compared to, say, Lost which has oh-so-much blank filling in to do and is actually doing it at a measured pace). We came down to three things, really.

1) WTF Kara Thrace.

2) WTF Gaius Baltar (and to that end, WTF Chip/Angel/Whatever Six and Chip/Angel/Whatever Baltar).

3) WTF Opera House.

And all three were certainly acknowledged and, to a certain extent, all three questions were answered. Even if that opera house thing felt like a MAJOR cheat, and the other two wound up in religious rumbling territory.

I love the twist that Tory's misdeeds basically sends things back to the shitter after things seemed to be on their way to peace (provided either side of the equation could trust each other... which they obviously couldn't... though the pre-Tory solution smacked of "this has all happened before and will happen again").

I need more time with the back half (or quarter, or whatever... the denouement) of the finale. Because it worked. It worked in tandem with the flashback stories that were inserted into the three-part finale. It worked as a message of hope. It even worked in connection, obviously, to our modern day world.

But it also didn't work.

I mean, the last two minutes alone (with Special Guest Star RDM) were just a horribly cheesy winkfest of "MESSAGE MESSAGE MESSAGE." And I think having that cheesy messagefelt actually tarnished my opinion of the series as a whole.

It also took away from one of the show's best major twists, IMHO, which was the fleet arriving at "Earth" and finding it desiccated. Such a cheat, reversing what was such an amazing shock to the senses and jolt to viewer expectations.

I definitely need to rewatch the denouement section to see where characters ended up and why... because certain things were definitely unclear (as stuff like Kara's instantaneous disappearance were probably meant to be).

And, not to skip over the first section of the finale... there were some MAJOR geography issues in that chaotic final battle. I mean, seriously. Who was where when and why... shrug? Especially the Helo of it all (I was really surprised to see him alive at the end... but more of a "hm, that seems unnecessary and yay he's alive, but um how?"

Finally... it was a lot happier an ending than I expected out of the show, given, um, the show. I don't know if it tonally fit (though, with the show as a barometer of current affairs... yeah, the whole ending with hope being realized was appropriate?)

There's plenty that I'm forgetting to complain about... and, really, you wouldn't get the sense from this post, but I did thoroughly enjoy it (more than I can say for the bulk of Season 4.5). The show needed to end. I'm glad it did. I'm just really not on board with all of the OMG OMG RDM GENIUS BEST THING EVER OMG OMG that I'm seeing / hearing.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Izzie Stevens

You guys. I have a problem.

At this point, Grey's Anatomy is so heavily stacking itself towards the expectation that she won't survive, and with all the "Heigl is leaving the show" rumors... all I can think is that she's going to survive, but is going to quit medicine or something like that.


Despite the near-character assassinations of Izzie (sleeping with George... sleeping with tumor-vision-ghost-Denny... the deer)... I haven't felt so attached to a patient on the show since, well, Denny (because, really, Meredith's Ferry Arc near-death thing... not the same deal as this).

Whichever way the case goes, I'm going to be a wreck.

Damn you, Shonda.

Who Is Really Getting Screwed By Obama's Primetime Speech Next Week?

ABC. That's who.


Well, because Obama is speaking on Tuesday, Idol is moving its performance show to Wednesday and the results show to Thursday.

Meaning week two of ABC's new Wednesday comedy block will face Idol instead of just Lost on hump day.

But, more importantly, the debuts of ABC's new Thursday night comedies are directly against the Idol machine.

So, good luck to you, In the Motherhood and relocated Samantha Who? We'll be paying more attention to your second week's ratings that your first week's... at least, I will.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Country Idol Night

I'm not the biggest country music fan. But that's not the reason I'm not doing a detailed liveblog of tonight's Idol. I'm in hardcore writing mode and, you wouldn't think it, but commenting on Idol is actually kinda time-consuming.

Anyway, back to pilot writing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Beautiful Day In Gilboa

Well, not much difference between the rough cut I saw months and months ago and the aired version of the Kings pilot. Y'know, except the special effects which, yay.

I still contend that the script was one of the most magnificent, enthralling reads I'd have in years. And that the script was intended for an hour-long pilot, but it was extended (by 8 minutes, entirely at the opening with that semi-clunky prologue to the actual story) and somehow made a two-hour pilot, so the two-hour pilot feels more long-winded and pompous than it would've.

Anyway. I'll always take the flawed execution of an ambitious concept over the perfect execution of an unambitious one. It's good to have something that attempts a reach at quality on NBC. We'll see how the ratings are in the morning.

... I still love/hate when McShane's King Silas breaks into the first-person plural. I mean, it's so pompous it's laughable, but, well, that's why it's called "the royal We."

... I also still love/hate that the show exists in an epic world with a romanticist POV (see David's speech near the climax). I mean, really, they don't fire at him? Really?

As the series goes forward, I'm going to pay attention to Jack/David subtext (as apparently some Biblical interpretations puts the future King David in a more-than-friends relationship with King Saul's son Jonathan). Although I'm going to guess it's going to be just that: subtext. Oh well, it's been a while since we've had any decent new HoYay on TV.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Old Times

I haven't watched ER in years.  I think I stopped right around the time Romano got his arm chopped off by a helicopter.

Watching on hulu now.  Given the wind down to the finale, I was going to try and jump back in at some point via the internet and then make the decision about whether I was going to record the remaining episodes left in glorious HD.

This episode is certainly making a strong case.

I missed Nurse Carol and Dr. Ross.  Nice to know, 10 years later, what they're up to.  And it's interesting to see so many familiar background faces (mostly the nurses) despite the doctors all changing.

I hope the show doesn't will Carter off.  That would be very depressing.


Why is Grey's Anatomy good again?  Not fair.  NOT FAIR.  I mean, it was effective and moving and happy and sad and... okay, the boiler room hair blowing train tunnel thing is still weird and I hate Derek but what else is new and... NOT FAIR.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Take That, House of Mouse

Last night's South Park was HILARIOUS.  Seriously.  I was so worried because the first 5ish minutes were kind of lame, and it's the third episode in a row of making fun of a teenage trend (previously: High School Musical and Twilight).  But wow.  Hilarity.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

All's Right With The (Idol) World

Two of the three people who should've gone home based on Tuesday's performances did (I'll admit, I did need a bit of convincing from friends that Jasmine would be eliminated, but in watching her performance again and the critique and taking into account the fact that America didn't vote her through the first time... "meh" just ain't enough).  Jorge versus Anoop... Anoop was obviously going to win in viewers between those two.  Glad that I was wrong about Michael's decent early performance would be forgotten and people wouldn't feel the fervent need to vote him forward.

... how many pairs for glasses does Danny have?

BTW, Kelly Clarkson's new album has a bunch of filler, but just as many radio-ready hits (in both uptempo pop and power ballad forms... including a song co-written by Judge Kara DioGuardi and Katy Perry that is pretty rocking and has a really sweet message you wouldn't expect from Ms. I Kissed A Girl).  Yay, Original Flavor!  And I know she's totally not into the whole "stick figure pop starlet" thing... but, honey, you could kinda stand to lose 20 pounds... I mean, you're beautiful.  But... anyway. I hope the contestants were taking notes. Kelly even schools Pretty Princess with that signature breathy-throaty-growl and her sheer power, control, tone, and presence.

Wait, so they're going to bring back former Idols every week to perform?

... does that mean we're going to have to listen to TAYLOR HICKS!?  DEAR LORD NO.  Hopefully it's just former Idol contestants who have made a music career.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Jackson 13

Yay, main stage!  Awkward judge introductions!  Right off the bat live technical mistakes!

So, um, who's the unlucky contestant who sings "Billie Jean"?  And Kris obviously can't sing "Man In The Mirror."  Amusing that someone (can't remember who, they didn't make it through) was heavily criticized for daring to sing a Michael Jackson song and... it's Michael Jackson catalogue night!  Yay!

One request: let Adam Lambert sing "Scream."  He can sing both the Michael AND the Janet parts.

I think it would've been better to hold the Double Elimination episode for later.  That's just me.  Maybe it's a budget / airing duration thing.

Lil Rounds - "The Way You Make Me Feel."  Did she steal Paula's asymmetrical one-shoulder ruffle thing?  Whatev, Lil makes it work... ish?  She's a little intense with the camera stares a couple times.  This isn't a big song, vocally... but she finds a way to work with it.  And I kinda enjoyed her dancing?  Better than the Megan Corkrey... whatever she calls that hand swaying motion.  Great way to start the evening.  We've got a semi-lucid Paula, who compliments the glam squad then says it's like angels singing.  And we've got slip-of-the-tongue Simon who wants 5 minutes with Lil to sort her out (she'd be better with the same colors without that GODDAMN RUFFLE SHOULDER).  And Ryan has started to address the IDOLS00/IDOLS13 sex phone line controversy by saying "be extra careful."  Lulz.

Scott MacIntyre - "Keep the Faith."  I recently read something that said if Scott weren't blind, he wouldn't be in the Top 13.  After this performance (yay, piano), I kinda agree?  Glam squad... where are you?  DO SOMETHING WITH HIS HAIR.  Kara mentions that it's not the most obvious Michael Jackson song, but it's about the message... on that, I disagree.  It was too schmaltzy for me.  But I am impressed he learned the piano in one week, with everything else going on with being the Top 13.  Paula is lucid about the song's composer... and then loopy with remembering a conversation with Simon that didn't take place!  Loves it.

Danny "Stop Talking About My Dead Wife, Please" Gokey - "P.Y.T."  Now this is a Jacko song you can sing the crap outta.  Is it just me or is he kind of shouty-not-quite-gospel?  That said... it's awesome.  And boy is using the stage and the audience.  Energy!  On my feet!  Fun!  Wow!  WTF is Paula talking about?  Agree with Randy that the uptempo was a surprise... and a welcome one.

Michael Sarver - "You Are Not Alone." Sucks to follow that act, let alone without a commercial break!  Also, sidenote, I know there are a lot of contestants, but where are the REALLY BIG HITS?  This isn't going to be another of those stupid "using the other half of the same artist's songbook next week" like last season's Beatles disaster for the Top 11, is it?  Michael misses a couple notes throughout, unfortunately (surprisingly, Simon doesn't directly call him on that... though, yes, Michael is very heartfelt).  He's one of the mid-range people I just like... but this didn't do it for me.  By "one of the best so far," I assume Randy meant "better than Scott"?

Jasmine Murray - "I'll Be There."  Jasmine's mom seems so much more supportive and less of a stage parent than David Archuleta's dad was.  Back to Jasmine... I was hoping she'd do something uptempo.    But after last week getting the compliments that she can handle big songs, I understand her wanting to power ballad belt.  She's a bit pitchy, but I loved the falsetto note at the end.  If Jasmine makes it through (Randy's "Not that bad, really" is such a non-compliment), she MUST sing something modern and uptempo... and if the theme doesn't allow it, she MUST make a song modern and uptempo.  Listen to Simon!

Kris Allen - "Remember the Time."  OMG what's that thing on his cheek.  MAKE UP!  Chris's video package says he has a wife (of five months!  wow!)... and there goes the female fan contingent voting for the cute guy (only not because, women out there, you can totally steal him... :eyeroll:).  Anyway.  Guitar!  This is so much better than his "Man in the Mirror"!  Kris is growing on me as a dark horse.  He wasn't featured at all, but he can make this all very fun!  His voice isn't the best of the bunch, like Michael, and I don't see him winning.  But perform like this and he'll make it pretty damn far and certainly score some major-Indie contract.  I hope Kris sabotaged the other contestants.  What did he help them with??  OMG what is going on between Paula and Simon??  Randy: "Very well job done, baby."  Snerk.

Allison Iraheta - "Give In To Me."  Love the teased hair.  Allison is transforming herself into Rock Chick.  Yay, glad there's going to be one of those this season.  Question... where are the REALLY BIG HITS?  Love that Allison is responding to Simon's "it's a bit serious" with "it's not a very happy song."  Nailed him!

Anoop Desai - "Beat It."  Ah.  Here are the big hits.  I adore his parents.  He's got personality in his video packages... but honestly besides some showmanship walking around like a rockstar, his voice is pretty pain?  Patrick Stump did this song better in the Fall Out Boy cover.  I predict a "karaoke" critique?  OMG AND THE KARAOKE CRITIQUE COMES FROM PAULA.  PAULA GETS A BOO.  AND SHE RELISHES IT.  And the critique goes downhill from there.

Jorge Nuñez - "Never Can Say Goodbye."  The opening of this performance has the EXACT same tone and tempo as Elton John from last week.  PLEASE.  Someone call this out for hotel lounge/cruiseshippery, or at least, like, Barry Manilow opening actness.  I feel like the show has de-Latin-ed Jorge.  Where was the passion the judges loved from him.  Jorge said he had no choice for the week (which he means he was forced into a theme, as he later said he picked the song).  Hahah, Simon says "You sort of did" when Jorge says "I wasn't going to sing 'Bad' by Michael Jackson."  BRITISH WIT YAY.

Megan (Joy) Corkrey - "Rockin' Robin."  Fun but hokey.  I have nothing else to say.  Okay, the graphics on the background screen were SO retro-kitsch.

Adam Lambert - "Black or White."  Oh, sad, he's not doing "Scream."  Still, this'll be fun.  Dear lord, please let the best shot we have at an openly(ish) gay American Idol TONE IT DOWN from two weeks ago.  I'm so glad he's not wearing all black again.  Go glam squad!  Yay, making a big deal of the "equality" lyric!  Okay... he toned it down... a bit... Much less camera mugging for one.  Far fewer rock shriek intonations.  Adam is a consummate performer and I refuse to fault him for that.  Oh, don't make the pretty princess cry, Paula.  After Kara says "I hope Michael Jackson is watching tonight" Adam mouths "I love him!"  Aw, princess!  The show (er, Paula...) has now predicted, tonight, a Danny vs Adam finale.  We'll see... but that's a probable pairing.

Matt Giraud - "Human Nation."  Yay, piano!  Wait, I already said that.  There's a MARKED difference between Matt behind the piano and Matt not behind the piano.  Smooth, solid, but kinda unmemorable... maybe I just haven't turned on Adam Lambert's performance yet.

Alexis Grace (PIMP SPOT) - "Dirty Diana."  Glad they gave this slot to Alexis, since they couldn't give it to Lil/Danny/Adam again (yet).  She performed so long ago it's hard to remember her!  Wow, so all three of the women on the show (Jasmine and Allison are girls at 17 and 16...) are mothers.  I'm loving the purple/pink backlighting semi-silhouetting Alexis.  There are some moments where the backing vocals are too loud and it sounds like Alexis is off the beat (though she's not).  Kara: "You're a naughty girl, and I liked that."  Give out the sex phone line numbers!  IDOLS36... ok... lame...?

DVR cut off before the clip reel.  Whatevs!

Ringers: All did as expected.

Also: Allison gets this week's "top of the rest of the pack" award

Bottom three: Anoop, Jorge, Michael.

Going home... by performance it'd be Anoop but I just don't know.  I don't think so.  I also don't think Jorge leaves yet.  So... Michael?  He went early in the program and wasn't critiqued to the point that fans would vote for him thinking he was in danger (not that Michael is as good, but see Carly Smithson last season, after weeks of poor critique, she gets a good critique and is eliminated).

EDIT: I forgot about the double elimination.  Jasmine will certainly be in danger tonight, as well as the above 3.


Well, DWTS was much stronger than I expected.  It actually did BETTER (5.9 average) than its last cycle premiere (5.3 average), which hasn't happened since, what, cycle two with the move from summer to regular season?  Maybe season three with its first fall premiere?  So... shut my mouth re yesterday's predictions that the 9:30pm half-hour would be lower than The Bachelor finale's 6.3!  DWTS got a 6.7

Overall from 10pm-11pm, Castle got a 3.3, which is above my line of "complete failure sure to be cancelled" but that was under the assumption of a low 5 rating, not a high 5 rating.  This is still very borderline as a result for the premiere.  Finals will drop because DWTS ran until 10:02pm.  But regardless, the 10:30pm dropoff is concerning (22% left, 3.7 to 2.9) and retention of 56% overall is never a good thing.  We'll see which direction the ratings/retention go next week (I'm 99.9% positive the DWTS lead-in will be lower...) and my guess for Castle based on these half-hours is down, down, down.

Unfortunately, the return of DWTS laid the smackdown on the other networks, with shows that were showing some great momentum losing it (Big Bang Theory at a 3.6, How I Met Your Mother at a 3.5).

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Monday is the DWTS/Castle premiere on ABC.  Last week ABC hit off the charts with the finale of The Bachelor.  There's no way Castle is hitting the 6.7 A19-49 the After the Final Rose Special scored.  Frankly, there's not a shot in hell the final half hour of DWTS gets anywhere close to the 6.3 the Bachelor got at 9:30pm, though it will almost certainly have a couple million more viewers (closer to 21 than The Bachelor's 17.48)

So, what is successful for Castle?  Boston Legal "failed" in the timeslot and its season premiere after the last cycle's DWTS premiere did just shy of 10 million viewers and a 2.4 in the demo.  Castle, given the LARGE promotional push, must do more than that.  A good deal more.  ABC has mad marginal success at 10pm.  A 3.0 is a tough get on ABC at 10pm.  Yet, less than a 3.0 really must be deemed a failure here (I wouldn't be surprised to see 10 million viewers drop off, but for the demo retention to be better... so I'm not even going to pay attention to the overnight numbers... unless, of course, a bunch of the 50+ set looks at Castle and gets confused and thinks ABC brought back Murder, She Wrote).

I'm not sure the same barometer applies later this season to the Cupid and The Unusuals' premieres.  Cupid will have the lower rated DWTS Results show as a lead-in, which will be lucky to get 16 million viewers and a 3.5 on Tuesday, March 31st, and even if it does, it'll be number two or three in either measure (The Mentalist will be higher in both, and who knows what that Osbourne family special is going to do on Fox after Idol).  A 3.0 for Cupid would be a startling success (Eli Stone did, what, a 2.0 at the max?  Primetime has been in the mid-2s).  And The Unusuals... well, we all know Lost's audience doesn't stick around.

Meanwhile, the return of Desperate Housewives tonight could've given The Office a run for its "let's mine comedy out of some awkward situations until there's nothing left to mine... then let's mine some more!"

As soon as Bree invited Lynette to dinner at her place for Tom to meet her publisher, we knew Lynette was eventually going to put herself up for the job.  But the way it went down... Tom is an asshat.  Used to love him.  Can't stand him anymore.  Playing the C-card... that's lowest of the low.  Lynette's stories and problems have always been the most real-world, and the "Tom's restaurant closes because of the economy (and some other things)" has been no exception.  But it really doesn't seem to have much of a place in the far more over-the-top world of Desperate Housewives.

Also Orson's kleptomania is LAME.  Remember when Buffy had no idea what to do with Dawn's character so made her a kleptomaniac?  And it sucked?

But... yay, murder!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hot Woman In Skimpy Fantasy Costume Alert

I quite liked Jessica Chapnik as Anna, Richard's ex from Hartland.  The show should find a way to add her into the rest of the regular cast.  She's attractive and different enough from Bridget Regan's Kahlan.  Plus, I'm always a fan of strong-willed female characters.  Oh, well, perhaps the people in charge of the show will realize this and create a way to bring her back into the mix.

A Thought on Dollhouse

So we're four episodes into this series (waiting for episode six to see what the difference is).  And a central, important question persists (okay, several do).

Why hire an Active?

Why not hire, say, an actual midwife?  Or an escort?  Or a hostage negotiator?

Why spend what is implied to be a LOT more money to hire an Active through the Dollhouse?

I understand, actually, when you're doing something illegal, because no memory would be left of the crime committed (I haven't actually watched a ton of last night's episode, yet, so I dunno what the rationale behind hiring Echo-as-safe-cracker was).  Or have, like, a rape fantasy you want to carry out so you give certain instructions for an imprint, rape the Active, 

... apparently, I'm a horrible human being with a very dark imagination.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Thursday Ratings

Nice retention for 30 Rock out of The Office.  The Tina Fey show even won the 9:30pm half-hour in A18-34 (of course, no original Grey's)!

Fox is a big mystery until later today because of the (massive) Idol overrun.

And then there's CSI, which had a really big uptick from the last several weeks.  The culprit?  Taylor Swift.  There was a huge promotional push advertising her guest spot.  It paid off.  Kudos, CSI, for (temporarily) stopping the bleeding of the post-Grissom episodes.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Oh, And

It would be nice if, when something live airs, say, 10+ minutes long on the east coast, if Time Warner Cable would change the recording time for the west coast airing 3 hours later... that'd be great.

I'm talking to you, American Idol (which didn't even air the final TWO wildcard selects until the 9pm hour) and America's Best Dance Crew (which I couldn't record at 10pm, so started recording at 11pm, but the 10pm airing ran long... and right at 11pm was the "crowning moment" ... finale suspense ruined!)

Incidentally, sorry Beat Freaks!  You ladies kicked butt... however based on last week's two performances, it was Quest Crew.  And they've been amazing, too, pretty much all season.  We'll get a girl crew as the winner of this competition, yet!




But I'm alright with all four of the peeps who got through.  8 guys and 5 girls.  Feels a bit off after two seasons of 6-and-6.


Glee promo!  WOOOOOOOO!  And OMG I totally said "they're going to premiere it after the Idol performance finale."  AND THEY ARE.


They're saving the REST of the series for fall.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?

It's a risky move.  It has a lot of potential to pay off and a lot of potential to fall flat on its face.  I gotta hand it to Fox, though.  It's different.  And it's probably better than a summer season that would be ignored / treated as burn off.  This way, potentially, people fall in love with Glee on May 19th, Fox promotes it all summer, releases a DVD of the pilot in early September, and commits a significant amount of its fall launch muscle to relaunching the show in a regular timeslot (a thought... Tuesday @ 9pm, so that it stay in the same timeslot when Idol returns in January 2010? or if House is staying on Mondays @ 8pm, then Mondays @ 9pm in the fall, then when Idol and 24 return in January, it moves to either Tuesday or Wednesday after Idol).


Oh, yeah.  We haven't really visited the on-Islanders since Locke went down the well and Charlotte died.  Thanks a lot, Ajira 316.  Anyway.




I've been haven't some e-mail discussions with friends about when the on-Islanders are (how long ago did they skip to) and there's been some who thought it was 1954 (when the US Army came), some who thought the 1970s because of Jack/Kate/Hurley seeing Jin and the Dharma Bus at the end of 316, and others who thought it took them very, very, very far back.  It's looking like the "long, long ago" wins (sidenote: yay! I win!)

So Locke turns the donkey wheel (which had been going back and forth, much like Daniel analogized, like a needle skipping on a record player).  Presumably that "fixes" things.  But since we've seen Jin (and Daniel) in the 1970s, has everyone been launched to the 1970s?  Forever?

HAHAH, the well is filled in when Sawyer tries to jump in.  That was awesome.

So, the on-Islanders are going to wait "as long as it takes" for Locke (et al) to come back.  If time runs at a constant rate, then... oh, shut up, Travis and watch the damn show.  There's a "Three Years Later" card anyway.  Which brings us to the 1970s!  Dharma!  Pearl!  Not-Blowed-Up-Barracks!  LaFleur = SAWYER.  He shaved, he did!  REIKO AYLESWORTH!  I miss Michelle Dessler.

OMG, Charlotte died and her corpse was left in the Ancient Island Time.

The last two episodes were very linear.  I'm curious to see why the writers chose going back and forth between 1974 and 1977 instead of just doing a linear episode again.

"Thanks anyway, Plato."  Oh, Sawyer.  I've missed your nicknaming.

The Truce!  Is this is episode where we finally learn about Other/Dharma politics/history?

Damn, you've think Daniel, even in his grief-stricken state, would know to not cross a sonic fence when he saw one.  Love Juliet using her knowledge of the future to her advantage.  Go, character, go!

Touché, Reiko.  Touché.  Earplugs.  Genius!  Also kind of lame for a way to foil the sonic fence?

Love that Juliet, after 3+ years, can just jump right into natal specialist mode.  Also, I'm super curious to find out what happened to make it so that women can't bring babies to term in the future... present... past?

Jin speaks perfect English (finally).

Juliet delivered the baby.  She has hope!  Yay!  Now I'm even more super curious about what happens to make that nigh impossible (I'm using the word "nigh" a lot lately...)

Aw, Young Charlotte!  When do we see Young(er/ish) Ben?

Miles is very eager to leave.  Wasn't he all "I'm staying on the Island" at the end of S4?

What *did* happen to Jughead?  Officially?  It's buried and that's where the Swan was built, yes?  No?

We'll see how over Kate Sawyer is... won't we?  Also... Sawyer/Juliet!

Why is there no Lost next week?  Boo-urns, DWTS?  Also, funny that the ABC announcer says "back to the 70s" for a new Life on Mars.  Y'know, considering...

Let's Go Over This

Don't go into modeling unless you're down with Dorothy.  I really hope Branden's right-off-the-bat nervousness that his partner in the photo is gay and thus will make him teh geh was for show.  I mean... come on, fool (and, yes, you can get "more gayer than that").  I'm not seeing Bronnie happening this season.

I'm confused (perhaps because of a lack of casting / semifinals round the way Top Model does it, or the way this show did it last year).  Perhaps because the first thing that happens even before we know any of these people's names (and before THEY know the other people's names) is a photo shoot?

Who picked these people?  They totally suck!  They know nothing of finding the light for the camera.  Last season had such a range of guys and girls with experience and lack thereof, who were hot-hot or ugly-hot... this season I think MAYBE Salome and Sandhurst could be working models?  Amanda is girl next door hot.  Gabriel almost has that heroin-ed out ex-rock star appeal.  He looks similar to one of the models who won The Amazing Race 10 a couple years ago.

Nicole brings the photos to the contestants.  They, for the most part, love their pictures.  But most of the pictures SUCK.  Why is she not critiquing them?  She's supposed to be a mentor.

The winner of each photo shoot gets a go see.  That's a good prize.  Except Salome is apparently a retard when it comes to strategy.  Don't announce out loud that you're picking someone you think you can beat.  Also, this is before the contestants have done any runway walking for the judges.  They haven't gotten a critique yet.  This will be a problem for this go see.  And, shock, it is!  Double-edged sword, winning that first prize.

Yay, measurement time!  AMANDA HAD A SON 10 MONTHS AGO!?  Wow.  Hey, we're learning!  40" is the standard male model chest measurement.  A quick look at Branden's "bod" demands that he stop being so happy with it.  He wants to be a male model, he needs to get more cut.  He's paunchy.  Sorry, is it wrong to hate on the homophobe?

Ken, though his face is not quite symmetrical and his jaw juts out oddly so I honestly can't see him lasting in this competition, is my hero for saying that he doesn't want to be 175 lbs when he's told he's too big (not too fat... although by model standards, yes, he is).  MY HERO, DAMMIT.

Okay, I'm glad not all of the guys on this show at 5'11" with a 40" chest.  But shouldn't they have chosen people will bodies slightly CLOSER to the "supermodel" norm?  I know, I know, the title is "Make Me A Supermodel," but I'd always considered that to be, y'know, the audience voting and such (which obviously isn't happening this season.  See the lack of snow on the ground).

For the runway show, they are wearing clothes inspired by a set of überdesigners' collections.  Not the designers' lines themselves.  Okay...?  Oh, honeychild (by which I mean the show), the walks are not great.  Incidentally, I heart the dresses Amanda and Salome wore, and kudos to Kerryn for tolerating that headpiece thingy.

I can't understand the words that come out of Catherine Malandrino's mouth.  But she's right about Salome being very lucky having the standout dress, and it was an easy dress to wear and walk in.

Hm.  At the start of the episode I was lost and was thinking of turning the show off.  It's still not the fun guilty pleasure it was last year.  Hm.  Maybe after one more week of getting to know these characters?  I feel like the only character I've gotten to know, remotely, is "I'm uncomfortable with teh gehs" Branden.  Where are the big personalities?  Where is, um, ANY PERSONALITY?

Sigh.  Color me disappointed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

9 of 12

I'm cool with the voting results.  I think that Jorge was a surprise to the judges.  I think they expected Felicia.  A lot of people did.  I also think that if Felicia had gotten through Jorge would have been a wildcard contestant (in place of Jessie, who as the judges said, was a commercial break change... based on the voting results from last night).  Even though the judges said they finally noticed Felicia and that she proved she had a right to be there last night, they didn't give her the wildcard (again... they didn't put her through to the Top 36 or put her in a sing-off, so there's stuff they saw that we didn't... after all, she didn't get a ton of screentime... that didn't make them want to put her through).  Anyway.  /bitter (kinda)

Let's talk wildcard people.

Anoop - d'uh.  He was barely the 4th place vote getter behind Michael Sarver in Group 1.  And the judges love his vibe and personality.

Megan - Very pretty girl who didn't pick the correct song in the semis, but we've seen her be much better.

Jasmine - Very pretty girl who didn't pick the correct song in the semis, totally choked, but we've seen her be much better.

Matt - Good looking guy who, like Jasmine, previously wowed but choked with song choice.  Plus, he plays an instrument, which if he makes the Top 12, mixes things up.

Brady - Good looking guy who got no screentime, sang early in his Group semifinal, and got screwed.  An obvious choice for a second shot.

Jessie - IIRC, she was told by Simon that she wouldn't win the competition in her sing-off.  However she did surprisingly decently in her semifinal performance and she proved she knows music by being specific and asking questions.

We here at Travis Yanan Watches TV are cool with all six of the above wildcard picks.

And then there were the head scratchers (for me).

Von Smith - He shouts.  His style is lacking.  But Kris occupies the "cute male who is an extreme longshot but will get by for a while on a decent voice and his looks" category.  Also Kris is much cuter than Von and has a better fashion sense.  And compared to the other people in the middle of the pack from Group 3 (here comes the bitter), he would NOT have been my pick.  In fact, that he's the ONLY ONE from Group 3 who got a wildcard pick SHOCKS me.  We're clearly missing stuff about Von and about girls like Kendall and Kristen that puts Von over those two (not to mention Felicia).

Tatiana del Toro - I have to admit, she surprised by singing well in Week 1... she was the second best female out of a DEEP pool of SUCK.  But she didn't get voted through because she's SO GODDAMN ANNOYING.  A friend of mine lives on the same floor of her apartment in LA (I've discovered since her apparently temporary elimination) and the crazy, annoying Tata is COMPLETELY the real Tata.


Let's be honest.

The Top 12 right now has 6 guys and 3 girls.  The 8 wildcard picks are 4 guys and 4 girls (which is a potential reason any/all of Kendall, Kristen, and Felicia were passed over).  The judges won't be forced to pick 3 girls.  But, tomorrow night's performances unheard, I suspect that 2 of the people moving forward will be women, and the guy is going to be Anoop (unless he is epic fail, in which case probably Matt Giraud?)  Again, tomorrow's performances unheard, I'm guessing Megan and Jasmine.

What does the Top 12 need on the female side?

We've got Alexis Grace, the small girl with the big voice.

We've got Allison Iraheta, the young girl with the big voice.

We've got Lil Rounds, the R&B ringer.

We're lacking a country singer (would've been Kendall, but... Megan comes close?  I just don't think Jessie's going to make it).

We're lacking a pop princess.  Here's where I think Jasmine can fit in, though her wheelhouse sort of coincides with Allison (young girl) and with Lil (R&B).  Jasmine has to sing something Pop tomorrow night.  I recommend Beyonce's  "Halo" or "If I Were A Boy," or Rihanna's "Take a Bow".

We're lacking a rocker chick (would've been Kristen, but... well, no one based on what we've seen... oh, hell, I'll go there, Adam Lambert is our female rocker LULZ).  Okay, Allison is a little rock.

Models Inc.

TV is getting slightly more fabulous and about 1000% more catwalk/catfighty tonight with two-hours of Top Model and the second season of my not-so-secret guilty pleasure from last winter, Make Me a Supermodel.  There've been some changes to MMaS and the few things I've read seem to imply that the viewer voting element is out (by saying that the whole thing has already been shot).  Which stinks because that was what made it unique last season... even if it also caused a slew of problems because of the not-quite-live format.  We'll see.

Also tonight: Idol, Lost, and Damages.  Lordy loo that's a lot of TV.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3rd 12 of 36

Yay, the end is almost nigh!

Von Smith - Kris Allen has filled the "obscure white guy" role, thank you for playing.  Also, Kris is cuter.  Just saying.  Marvin Gaye's "You're All I Need To Can Get By."  Whatever, let's talk style.  Suit pants and jacket.  Red tinted sneakers to color match with an American Apparel red sorta-stripped V-neck shirt that IS NOT TUCKED INTO THE PANTS.  Oh, my (later: yes, Simon is right about style... never thought I'd say that...)  The only thing worse would be if he were wearing flip-flops.  I enjoyed the performance, and in last week's sh!tshow he may have had a shot... I doubt it this week.  But the judges loved it enough for wildcard.  I'm not getting a ton of personality off of Von.

Taylor Vaifanua - I remember this girl from auditions!  She's the one who needed to wash her hair.  "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys.  Nice song, but, um, the verses are pretty monotone / mellow, right?  This is a really pretty, soulful song when Alicia does it.  And I can tell from the first line that Taylor doesn't have the experience to understand WTF the song means and the emotion that should be behind it.  It's not a disaster like a lot of the performances from weeks 1 and 2 of the semis... but there's no glory in that song.  Not sure how I feel about those leather legging things (I think those alone say what it's like to go shopping with Taylor, Kara).  Were they connected to heel boots?

Alex Wagner-Trugman - Um, he obviously wasn't paying attention to Brooke last week!  Don't google yourself!  Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues."  Remember when song titles were that long?  Oh, lord, his video package is just screaming "please, teen girls, worship me!  Love me! ... please?"  Homeboy needs to learn to work a mic stand.  And a stage.  He has an... interesting growl note right before the first chorus.  Seriously.  Needs to work on working with that mic stand.

Ariana Afsar - WHOM??  And she's doing ABBA?  And "The Winner Takes It All," well, at least it's not "Dancing Queen..."  I don't get this choice, and there were some problems in the beginning (and a flat note or several near the end).  But I'm digging the dress.  That's a win, right?  Oh, wait, I saw straps.  I thought it was strapless.  Sigh, we have our first unqualified disaster and disturbingly silent audience.  I mean, Alex was bad, but I have to be honest I wasn't expecting much of anything and the judges were really disappointed with Ariana.

Ju'not Joyner - Plain White Ts' "Hey There, Delilah" is so not the song I expect to come from this guy.  And it's already a really slow song.  He makes it slower and softer than it needs to be, and I'd rather have an acoustic guitar than the piano.  I predict Simon will say he was put to sleep.  I kind of was, but at the same time I get that it was a different interpretation and that in and of itself warrants some positivity and getting used to instead of snap judgment.  What's with the handcuffs hanging from his pants?  Is that a thing now?  There are a lot of pitch problems.  But the judges were very happy with it.  Hm.  Ju'not is very, um... overshare (NOT "TMPI," Ryan...)

Kristen McNamara - "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman.  Holy hell, a *fun* retro song that my friends sing at karaoke!  This was the girl Simon completely disagreed with the other judges about in the "sing off" between her and some other blonde girl (because, y'know, they can only have so many?)  Those shoes don't go with that dress (yes, I know, I'm kind of in a sartorial place right now, please forgive me in the morning).  Kara... I'd love to see this girl sing "So What" by P!nk.  Paula remembers what this girl sang in Hollywood Week, gives cogent feedback, yet can't pronounce ABBA correctly.  Loves us some Paula.  I enjoyed this.  Hope to see more of her.  And when she comes back for the wildcard... sing "So What" by P!nk.  Oh, her post-performance / panel critique interview is precious.  PRECIOUS!

Nathaniel Marshall - DRAMZ DRAMZ DRAMZ DRAMZ DRAMZ DRAMZ DRAMZ DRAMZ.  I don't want to see goofy, good-natured, humble Nate.  You were put here for TEH DRAMZ.  "I Would Do Anything For Love" by Meatloaf!  WTF, Nate?  That's totally the other hammy queen's wheelhouse (seriously, Adam is so going to be belting out a Meatloaf song one of these weeks).  Good lord, I can't even talk about what he's wearing (including not wearing his nose ring).  I CANNOT.  I liked the opening... ish?  But as soon as it went more uptempo, the song overtook Nate.  Why didn't Nate sing The Killers?  Hm?  HM?  And now Paula is remembering something ELSE specific from Hollywood Week?  Did someone give her Adderall during the commercial break before Kristen sang?  Now *I'm* remembering Nate's "Disturbia," or at least the snippet we heard of it, and I remember being quite stricken by it in a good way.

COMMERCIAL BREAK - Jay Karnes is guest starring on House!  DUTCH!  And he was on Burn Notice last week!  DUTCH!

Felicia Barton - They really do need to explain Felicia's presence here... though they're going to have to do it in the context of "she was the 37th choice and someone got disqualified so she's in on a technicality."  Interestingly, she wasn't part of any sing-off.  Hm.  Odd, right?  Alicia Keys song number two for the night... alrighty then.  "No One."  This girl has the pain in her voice.  She sang the song the way Alicia does.  Until the chorus when she can't, apparently, because her voice breaks perhaps?  This girl has underdog written all over her sequined shirt and I want to love her.  I do.  It's probably top of the female stack for the night... thus far.  But the ringer hasn't gone yet.  Felicia's earned a wildcard performance, no?

Scott MacIntyre - Okay you guys, I know, I know.  He's blind.  But can someone fix his teeth PLEASE?  I mean, I know vampires are in and all but the FANGS ON THIS ONE.  And while we're at it... the hair?  PLEASE?  Bruce Hornsby's "Mandolin Rain?"  What song dat?  Alex should take notes from Scott on how to work a stage.  Scott's good, ya'll.  Looking forward to Scott being able to perform with the keyboard.

Kendall Beard - HOT GIRL HOT GIRL HOT GIRL.  We don't have a "traditional" hot girl in the Top 12 yet.  And she's got all the "aw, shucks" I can handle.  Martina McBride's "This One's For The Girls."  Yellow is clearly Kendall's signature color.  The babydoll works on her figure, but I feel like just about anything would?  I can't tell with country whether someone is flat, sharp, or just twang.  Vocally she loses it towards the end and I feel she kind of gives up?  But she has fun doing it?

Jorge Nuñez - Elton John "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me."  And a second Elton song!  The rules of "selections from the Top 100" baffles me.  Y'know how last season all I wanted was for David Archuleta to open his eyes while he was singing?  All I want is for Jorge to stop looking directly into the camera.  I'm horrible, he has a lazy eye, I know.  He's obviously got a good voice, but I don't know what this song says about him as an artist.  Where was Simon's cruise ship / hotel lounge comment?

Lil Rounds (PIMP SPOT) - So, um, not only am I predicting who has been getting into the Top 12... but I'm predicting performance order?  Go me... also, I'm scared.  Okay, not really.  They put the three ringers from auditions / Hollywood into the three semifinal weeks and then gave each the pimp spot.  Anyway.  The performance.  Mary J Blige "Be Without You" I LOVE THIS SONG.  GO LIL.  But if you were gonna sing Mary J for me, could you do "No Drama" next time?  Kthxbai.  SHE EVEN SELF-CENSORS THE CURSE WORDS.  She didn't carry the final note out, but, y'know what... WHO THE EFF CARES!

Top Female: Lil Rounds

Top Male: Scott MacIntyre

Next best... I want it to be a girl from this round to even the genders out a little more.  I'd love for it to be Felicia Barton, and I think she has the underdog element, if not the screentime fanbase, to pull it off.  We can get Kendall and Kristen (the show needs a female country singer and doesn't have it yet) in the wildcard round.  If it's gonna be a guy... Jorge or Ju'not.  But I'm hoping for Felicia.  I dunno.  This week there's only one standout in Lil, and no one even coming close.

Wildcard choice recap (we only get 8 or 9 total, but here's 4 from each week that I suspect covers the field)

Week 1: Ricky Braddy, Anoop Desai, Ann Marie Boskovich, Tatiana del Toro (lulz...?)

Week 2: Matt Giraud, Megan Corkrey, Jessie Langseth, Mishavonna Henson

Week 3: We'll see, but... Ju'not Joyner, Kristen McNamara, Kendall Beard, Jorge Nuñez

2 Hours of Nothing

What was The Biggest Loser this week?  I mean, a misleading promo from ABC about a character death is one thing, but a TWO HOUR episode of a reality show ending on a cliffhanger before we find out if (a) no one is getting eliminated, or (b) one person from each team is getting eliminated?  WTF.  Especially because they're all weighed in before the ceremony and brought up to the scale in the order of maximum drama.

Oh, and re last week's episode... Aubrey is officially an idiot.  How did she not vote with her old teammates?  Dane went home because of that instead of Zoidberg.  Not cool.  Not smart.  Especially because now she and Mandi are the only two people left from Jillian's original team versus three from Bob's original team.  They're effed in the A.  Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.  Can't these people do math?  Not even, like, exponents.  Percentages.  Addition.  SIGH.

The Jillian/Laura stuff was nice.  But I don't really care... it's all about Tara.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Chalk Up Another Victory For The Misleading Promo Department

So, wait, who died on Brothers & Sisters' 2-hour movie event that promoted a "shocking death"?

Um, no one.



Thanks to the promo department I was expecting NOTHING to happen to Robert and for the whole thing to be one massive mislead until someone else bit the big one.  And then I was thinking that the incumbent governor spiked Robert's drink with something (yay, poison).  And then I was thinking that Holly would smother Baby Elizabeth Walker while "babysitting" for Julia as she was lured away to the hospital because of her husband's sister's adopted child's birth / her husband's sister's husband's medical incident.

Whatever.  The show itself, on its own merits and without the promo department evil, was better than the series has been much of this season, what with the big, overly dramatic musical montages and the constant heart-string-tugging.