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  • Great Cast but Mr. Sunshine is Mostly Cloudy

    February 11th, 2011

    By Danny Manus (the TV Whore)

    This week I watched the premiere of two new comedies on ABC. Matthew Perry and Allison Janney’s “Mr. Sunshine,” and the relationship comedy with the oddest title ever, “Traffic Light.” First up – Mr. Sunshine.

    How can a comedy with favorite “Friends” star Matthew Perry, the insanely talented and watchable Emmy Award winner Allison Janney, the hilarious Andrea Anders (Joey, Better Off Ted), and the affable Nate Torrence (Studio 60) that’s directed by Tommy Schlamme (West Wing) go wrong?

    I don’t know…but it did.  Badly. And here’s the awful part…I don’t care. I’m going to keep watching.

    I take that back – I know why it doesn’t work. It’s just a really, really bad concept and setting. Matthew Perry’s character, a 40 year old island of a man who doesn’t remember people’s names and doesn’t care about anyone but himself (in other words – ME in 10 years) and runs a rundown stadium. It’s just not a very interesting set up or location. There are only so many concert jokes or sporting event jokes available.

    His relationship with Andrea Anders character is sweet and we get it – they are going to try to be friends for a while but eventually wind up together. And she is so pitch-perfect funny, it’s hard not to like her. I do appreciate the odd incestuous Hollywood connection that she used to play Matt LeBlanc’s friend/love interest on “Joey” and now she’s traded him in for a different “Friend.”

    My friend pointed out that Matthew Perry can’t act if his hands are in his pants. He has to constantly be moving his hands. I watched every single episode of Friends probably 10 times over, but I never noticed it…until now. His gesticulations make what he’s saying funnier and help his comic timing, but man is it distracting now for some reason. I’ve never seen someone use their hands as actual punctuation marks – but he does.

    James Lesure – I don’t get him. I didn’t like his smarmy too-cool-for-the-room shtick on Vegas and I don’t really like it here, especially since it’s a much less cool room he’s in. And Nate Torrence – I feel like I’m just as funny (and fat) and therefore could have played this role and probably better.

    But allow me to take a moment to kiss the feet of Allison Janney, one of my favorite actresses. And as a West Wing superfanatic, and someone who has followed her career even before West Wing (and most certainly after), it’s nice to see her on TV again. And she does play this over-the-top, in-her-own-reality character of Crystal with reckless abandon and clueless perfection. But I’m not sure for how long that character will continue to seem funny even with her wide-eyed, sharp-tongued portrayal.

    Allison Janney guest starred on an episode of Studio 60 with Matthew Perry (and he guested on several episodes of West Wing) and they had great chemistry on both shows. And I would normally have killed to see them together again, especially on a sitcom. And their relationship in Sunshine seems to be the most interesting of all, but I don’t think it’s enough to keep the show fresh and funny for more than a few weeks. There was only one good laugh in this pilot – and that came from Janney’s character launching a child at an ax-wielding clown. A physical gag to say the least, but her reaction made it work. But other than that…it was pretty bad.

    But as I said, I will stick with it. Why? Because actors like Perry, Janney and Anders deserve our support and have made us laugh enough that we owe it to them to give them a shot. Plus, I really do feel like Matthew Perry’s character might be a foreshadowing of my life to come (minus the elephants and clowns), so is suppose I should keep watching to see how I turn out.

    Overall Grade: C – (would be a D without the cast)

  • Respecting The Chicago Code

    February 11th, 2011

    By Danny Manus (the TV Whore)

    Shawn Ryan, creator of one of the best cop shows of all time, “The Shield,” is back with a new network cop show set in Chicago, aptly named “The Chicago Code.”  Though originally titled “Ride-Along,” it’s clear why the change was made. This new cop drama is very much about the code that police, criminals and politicians in Chicago live by and how they all seem to intersect.

    It follows Det. Jarek Wysocki (played by the powerful Jason Clarke) and the new Police Superintendent (the almost pitch-perfect Jennifer Beals) as they try to bring down the man who seemingly runs their city (the deliciously evil Delroy Lindo).

    Now let me say this – I loved The Shield. I loved it a lot. And I’ve met Shawn Ryan and he’s a great guy. And not only am I a sucker for cop shows, but I am a huge fan of Jennifer Beals, who I think is such an underrated actress and who was one of my main reasons for watching The L Word all those years (other than the naked girl-on-girl action and Kathryn Moenning – but that’s another story). So, this was easily the most anticipated show of the year for me.

    And I know a show is good and has promise when the morning after it premieres, my mother, my best friend in NY and my best friend in LA all text me to tell me how much they loved it. That’s never happened…ever.

    And here’s the thing – if I had never watched The Shield, like my parents hadn’t, and I just came into this show without any preconceived notions or expectations – I’d probably think it was the best new drama of the year. But since I had…I was just SLIGHTLY disappointed. I know – it’s a network show. And the brilliant Ryan didn’t WANT to write another disturbingly gritty, all hand-held camera shot show. And he doesn’t have the luxury of the colorful language he was able to use on FX. So, taking those things into consideration, I thought the show was great. It pulled me in, it made me interested, and it makes me want to keep watching. But…it’s not The Shield.

    Beals has this fantastic Chicago accent that she must have worked really hard on, and I appreciate that. And I do love a girl in uniform. From Shield’s Catherine Dent to Third Watch’s Molly Price to Homicide’s Melissa Leo – I’ve always loved female cop roles. And I think Jennifer Beals’ Superintendent Colvin has the potential to be the next great one.

    Clarke has this hardened exterior that he’s perfected on some other great shows and really gets to show it off nicely here.  His new partner, the fresh-faced but all-business Caleb Evers (played by Friday Night Lights star Matt Lauria), is a strong supporting character, though all the other supporting players will hopefully be better defined in the next few episodes.

    And it’s going to be interesting watching their take-down of Delroy Lindo’s character play out, though you have to wonder how long it could take. If it takes all 13 episodes of the first season, does that mean the show gets a new villain for the second season (assuming there will be one – and there will be)?

    The storyline I’m not convinced of yet is Det. Wysocki’s affair with his ex-wife when he has a girlfriend, and the whole niece/uncle connection he has with another young officer…not totally on board yet. But his friendship and former partnership with Beals’ character is what’s driving the ship for me

    The pilot was strong and had a fresh, exciting feel to it mixed with just a bit of emotion at the end. I am definitely looking forward to episode number two. Frankly, I’m just happy that there’s finally a good combo-show with House on Monday nights so I never have to watch The Bachelor ever, ever again, since that was the only other thing on besides Two and a Half Men (no thanks) and The Cape (definitely no thanks).  So, good for Fox for finding a cop show that stands out amongst the rest and feels both serial and procedural at the same time. Tune in Monday night on Fox at 9pm and judge for yourself.

    Overall Grade: B+ (with definite A potential)

  • The Best Love Story on TV

    February 11th, 2011

    By Danny Manus (the TV Whore)

    Television is home to some of the greatest love stories ever told – past and present couples that define and defy love to create moments that audiences hold dear for eternity.

    Lucy and Ricky, Sam and Diane, Ross and Rachel, Carrie and Big, Homer and Marge, Jim and Pam, Dan and Roseanne, Al and Peggy, Will and Grace, Luke and Laura, Mulder and Scully, Meredith and McDreamy…

    But for my money, my favorite love story CURRENTLY on television is the budding romance between Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic’s work and sparring partners on CASTLE, one of the most enjoyable shows on ABC.  Producers planted this tiny little seed in the first episode of how Katic’s Beckett may have this secret hang-up for Castle’s books, but she played it really straight with him the first season,  not letting on (to him) at all, which led to some great banter and the feeling like it would take 4-5 years for them to get together.

    But this season, after some very personal and moving episodes (especially the search for Beckett’s mother’s killer), their relationship has turned more personal – more connected. Their walls seem to have come down very quickly. Their across-the-room glances and hidden smiles aren’t so hidden anymore. Their eyes meet now. They thank each other, they hug. And as of a couple weeks ago, they had their first kiss…and it was hot.

    Sure, it was disguised by a case and an undercover ploy, but it satisfied audiences goading for them to finally connect physically in some way

    The other difference is that instead of it going unsaid, their actual love and attraction for each other has been brought up and discussed by tons of other characters on the show, so it has been brought to the forefront. We know she’s the only reason he’s still at the precinct and we know she doesn’t mind having him there. But they still have a great working relationship and that great Moonlighting-style banter that keeps the show going.

    It doesn’t hurt that Fillion is incredibly charming and disarming. He’s written as funny and smart with just the perfect amount of bumbling and perhaps just a tad too much cheese. Katic is written as a smart, sexy take-control type – very Alpha Woman – but she has a huge heart and a clear soft spot. And it doesn’t hurt that she’s insanely beautiful – easily one of the 3 best looking women in television.

    And the show itself, though formulaic and procedural, is still original and literate and fun. While I think it’s weird that Beckett seems to boss around all the other detectives in her squad like she’s in charge, it still seems to work and I like how the supporting players get their moments to shine in comedy and drama. And in case you don’t care about the cops, the cases or Castle himself, the stunning 18-year old red-head Molly Quinn, who plays Castle’s teen daughter, is enough reason to watch. Even though her dialogue is the most unauthentic and saccharine cheesy of any character, she’s so ridiculously hot that it doesn’t matter.

    So, if you’re looking for comedy, drama, and the best love story currently on TV, storm the Castle 10pm Mondays on ABC.

  • TV Review: SKINS – Scripted Kiddie Porn Comes to MTV

    January 20th, 2011

    I had seen the ads everywhere. The commercials filled with quick cuts and flashy lights and the print ads filled with layered teenage bodies all ready for a good time. And in the season premiere of this UK remake on MTV, Skins proves one thing…if you’re young teenager isn’t snorting coke, smoking weed, ditching school, partying hard, ignoring their parents, getting into fights, talking in abbreviated Juno-speak, and fucking everything that moves like they’re Charlie fucking Sheen…apparently, they should be. Because then they will be cool.

    Now I’ve never seen the UK version of Skins, but from what I hear, it’s much better than the US version (not a shocker). And surprisingly, the US version has cut out the gay character – because teenagers giving tons of head and taking it in the ass is fine – unless it’s two teenage dudes.  

    And I know this review makes me a bit hypocritical, as I used to rally around the fact that TV doesn’t desensitize or influence kids that badly…but I was wrong. And now, at age 30, I wonder what my teenage years would have been like if there were things like this on TV. There was “Real World” and shows like that when I was a teen – but that was adults doing adult things (or at least college kids). Let’s call Skins what it really is – scripted Kiddie Porn.

    It takes those Abercrombie and Fitch ads…and puts words into the models mouths.  In case boys and pedophiles didn’t have enough material to masturbate to…thank God for Skins.

    On the technical side, the directing is nicely done without too much frenetic movement. And the acting itself is OK. The first episode featured the character Tony, played by James Newman, 18, who apparently was a boxer who just happened to show up at the auditions. If this kid is a nice guy in real life, then he’s a great actor, because he plays a douchebag with utter conviction.  The other actors are all OK, and I look forward to seeing more from the girl who plays Tea…who is a lesbian…and crazy hot.

    That’s the other problem with this show…since the actors actually ARE teenagers (not like in my day where the 90210 stars were actually 26) – I kind of feel bad watching them makeout and writhe against each other and wear clothes that some strippers wouldn’t be caught in. And yet part of me likes it. And that’s the whole point of the show…

    The show is completely glorifying teen sex, drugs, parental negligence, and illegal behavior. I’m far from a prude – the opposite actually – but how many shows can MTV put on that glorifies the WORST in teen behavior?

    From Jersey Shore to TEEN MOMS (the downfall of society) to My Sweet 16 to now Skins – how are teens supposed to TRY to do the right thing or TRY to do well in school or TRY to resist peer pressure when every single show targeted at them is about anything but? They are all about getting laid, getting high, and how stupid and disconnected their parents are…well DUH.

    When I was a teen (and it really wasn’t THAT long ago), if a 16 year old chick got pregnant – guess what – she was a stupid WHORE who was driven to the clinic. She wasn’t a fucking reality star. Maybe – just MAYBE – if networks like MTV and even ABC Family to a degree would stop making all the really bad behavior seem like such a good idea, teen girls might stop whoring themselves out on webcams and teen boys would stop killing themselves over being gay. It’s not THE reason these things happen certainly, but it can’t help.

    And going back to the 90210 comparison – that show dealt with similar topics like teen suicide, teen pregnancy, sex in high school, cheating, fighting, rape, drug use, etc. BUT – they showed the consequences to the characters’ actions.  It wasn’t all fun and games. GLEE does a similar nice job trying to show consequences to actions and words (with the exception of that whole teen pregnancy thing which seemed to go away without a problem).

    But Skins is unabashed in taking those consequences out of the equation. And that’s the biggest issue with teenagers today – they don’t think about consequences. And why should they? Parents and teachers don’t hold them responsible for anything, and TV shows are telling them not to worry – it will all blow over in 60 minutes or less.

    Good luck Skins, I hope you inspire plenty of 14 year olds girls to rush out and get their first STD. Hey, that sounds like an idea for a spinoff…instead of Skins…Lesions!

  • TV Review: AMERICAN IDOL Premiere

    January 20th, 2011

    That’s right, I’ll admit it. I watch American Idol. I have since season one and at one time, I was a total fanatic. To this day, I have a total Kelly Clarkson fetish. And Carrie Underwood too. But besides those two and perhaps Daughtry and Adam Lambert (both of whom didn’t win), what has American Idol done for music lately?  It took me a minute to remember who won last year, and we haven’t heard from Lee Dwyze since (which I’m okay with). So can they go back to finding true superstar talent now that Simon’s not there?

    I based my business model after Simon Cowell – naturally, I was a fan. And while on occasion he was too cruel, sometimes people need to hear it. And for me, along with some good singing, Simon was the reason to watch. I also really liked Kara (I think I was the only one though) – I thought she was blunt and cool and just a bit high strung and pretty hot and that’s how I like my judging. But with both of them gone (and thankfully Ellen too), the new panel of judges of Steven Tyler, J-Lo and the “Dawg” Randy Jackson are missing something – and I hope they find it before it’s too late.

    I realize it was only the first episode, so I’m not going to judge the whole season yet and I’m going to give them some time to adjust to their new jobs, but the judges were just SOOO nice. It was like watching Paula Abdul times 3, but with less medication.  And perhaps it is the cynical asshole in me, but while I don’t like watching 2 hours of the WORST singers ever, I do like watching people get told the truth. And last night, the judges sent 51 (!!) people thru to Hollywood in the first 2 days of audition. This is about DOUBLE the amount they usually send from each location. At this rate, they will have 500 people go to Hollywood instead of the 200ish they usually bring.

    I know part of this is due to editing, but it really seemed like EVERYONE got a golden ticket and that’s mostly because they were solely going on voice and didn’t know how to say NO. And American Idol isn’t just about voice – it’s about having IT, it’s about having the ability to be the “American Idol.”

    And that trashy Jersey Shore reject with stars on her tits and her Snooki-gut hanging out – wasn’t Idol material. But because she could put a few notes together, she got through. Same for a couple others like the off-the-wall chick that sang show-tunes and wants to be the next Liza. I liked her – I thought she was a friggin’ hoot and for some reason, I think the ‘white-trash sexy’ look is hot – but come on – she’s not the next American Idol so why put her through?

    Same with a bunch of other contestants who were OK singers but certainly don’t deserve to be on AI. For me, there were only a couple of standouts include Robbie Rosen from Long Island, who was wheelchair bound and now isn’t. He was probably the best of the bunch.

    The other thing that stood out this year is the number of 15 and 16 year olds was WAY higher than any year before. This is the first year 15 year olds have been allowed to compete, and there were a few good ones, but it makes me feel like a dirty old man because some of them were…well…really hot (like that girl whose dad had throat cancer).  Luckily Steven Tyler is there to hit on them for me.

    Unfortunately, I think MOST of the 15 year olds will flame out at Hollywood week. Yes, they can sing, but I’m guessing many don’t know how to arrange music and sing with a group and sing music that they haven’t been rehearsing for years.

    I’m still waiting to see what Jimmy Iovine brings to the show in the mentor capacity, but I’m happy that they have done away with bringing in a different star to mentor them every week – that was pointless and they often gave conflicted notes to the contestants. And thank God the theme weeks are gone too – no more disco! I respect exec producer Nigel Lythgoe a lot – he’s talented, he’s got personality, and I think he does an awesome job on So You Think You Can Dance. And he did a great job on the first 5 seasons or so of Idol, so I think he’s going to shake up the show well. But for now, he just needs to get his judges to have a stronger backbone.

    I think J-Lo brings a personality to the show and I don’t hate her, she just needs to toughen up. Everyone knows (or thinks) she’s a bitch, so I understand her wanting to go the total other way to improve her image and become profitable again (let’s face it, the girls’ movie and music career is pretty much over), but she has to lay the smack down every once in a while. Randy’s doing a better job as the heavy, but he still needs to stop reaching his neck out like a damn peacock and he needs to say more than 5 words if he’s going to be the Simon of the bunch.

    And Steven Tyler…what can I say? I love the guy. Aerosmith is in my top 5 favorite bands of all-time. But he reminds me a little bit of what would happen if Gary Busey was also a musical genius and could hit on 16 year olds girls without seeming like a total rapist.  But, I’ve got hope. And the chance to hear him sing on Idol is worth the wait.

    So, I’m going to give this season a shot. The first episode was…NICE. Not bad, not great…just NICE. Hopefully, the talent gets better than the first two days. And hopefully the judges get a bit tougher. And despite ratings being down another 10% from last year, that’s pretty good considering its shining Simon star is gone. I think people will stick around as long as Idol keeps hitting the right notes.

  • TV Review: Harry’s Law

    January 19th, 2011

    By Danny Manus

    I tell my writers that creating their own voice is what’s going to set them apart, get them noticed, and give them a longstanding career. There are very few names in drama television – as far as writer/producers go – where their voice is known throughout the land and their names truly mean something to the viewing public (and not just those of us living and working in Hollywood). Sorkin, Milch, Chase, Wells…and Kelley.

    Their voices live on in some of the greatest characters and lines of dialogue ever written. Their names are to be revered. They are to be studied. They are to be loved. 

    But sometimes…some of these names need to be told …No. And this is much the case with David E. Kelley’s new show “Harry’s Law,” which premiered to pretty decent numbers on Monday night and as number 1 in the demo in their hour.

    Let me say this first – “Doogie Howser” and “LA Law” were two of the first adult shows I remember watching with my parents (along with “Dallas” and “Three’s Company”) and it made me not just love television – but love law as well. “Picket Fences,” though not as flashy as his other shows, was the one my family used to gather together to watch and I always loved it (and it launched Don Cheadle’s career). Then came “Chicago Hope,” which began my love affairs with Mandy Patinkin, Peter MacNicol and Christine Lahti and launched the career of Peter Berg among others. I can still remember singing along with Mandy and bawling my eyes out in the episode where (ten year old spoiler alert) Peter MacNicol’s character dies.  

    “The Practice” is in my top 10 all-time favorite shows without a doubt – total appointment television – and made me a huge Camryn Manheim fan. “Ally McBeal” will always have a fond Vonda Shephard place in my heart. Even “Boston Legal,” my least favorite of his shows, was still entertaining and quirky. And “Boston Public,” was my network television debut as I was an extra in two episodes and got to meet the cast (my friend worked on the show), but it made me love TV even more being a tiny part of it.

    So it’s with great sadness and reverence that I say that David E. Kelley has jumped the shark and I think someone needs to tell him…NO. His newest rehashing of old quirks and gimmicks and verbose leftwing soapbox rhetoric just doesn’t live up. Despite a convincing performance by Academy Award winner Kathy Bates, the rest of the show is just….silly. And not GOOD entertainment silly like Ally McBeal. Not SO over the top silly that it’s actually funny like Boston Legal. It’s just….silly.

    First off, he moved the show’s location to Cincinnati and yet the streets look exactly the same as his Boston sets. And I kind of feel the city’s location was whispered as it gave Kelley a pain in his heart not to say Boston in the first few words of dialogue. And there’s nothing interesting about Cincinnati

    Second, while I love Brittany Snow and I was a fan of Nate Cordry’s when he was on Sorkin’s “Studio 60”, I don’t think either of them have the depth of talent or consistency of timing YET to pull of Kelley’s awkwardly paced quirky dialogue and this was most evident in Cordry’s courtroom scene where he just keeps going on (louder and louder) without realizing he’s trying too hard. And we can see it.

    The beauty of Peter MacNicol, Greg German, John Larroquette or Camryn Manheim is that their characters’ quirks and ticks, mannerisms and timing were just…natural. They didn’t feel like they were trying to hit the mark how Kelley told them to. And the actors of Harry’s Law have not worked out the kinks yet. Now, Nate Cordry took over for Ben Chaplin (who was in the pilot when it was bought and whom I can’t see being funny at all), so perhaps it will just take some time.

    But the quirks themselves – guest star Paul McCrane’s double speak stammer, Cordry’s rapid fire courtroom shtick, Bates’ gun-toting potty mouth, Christopher MacDonald’s grandiose flashyness, Snow’s love of fashion, and every black thug character’s heart of gold – he’s done it all before. And the whole Law Firm/Shoe Store gag – it was done much better with the bowling alley law firm on NBC’s “Ed” a few years back (which btw launched the careers of Justin Long, Gennifer Goodwin and Julie Bowen and was a more heartfelt show).

    And this time around, it feels like David E. Kelley would rather grandstand about his favorite issue of the day then tell a story and make us laugh or care or think. He’d rather pummel us with liberal bias, the same types of rants that got Studio 60 cancelled after one season.

    So if I was NBC, I’d tell Kelley to take a week off and go observe people who are different from him – not liberal, not lawyers, not in Hollywood – and come back with some new stories, new quirks, new characters, and new ideas. Otherwise, Harry’s Law is going to be found guilty of the worst crime in television – unoriginality. And the sentence is one 13-episode season.

  • TV Review: Off The Map

    January 13th, 2011

    Last night, the new Shonda Rhimes executive produced medical/romance/drama premiered on ABC, a network that had big hopes for the show and have advertised the hell out of it the last couple months. And coming from Grey’s and Private Practice creator Rhimes, and her protégé writer/producer Jenna Bans, it seemed like a no brainer.

    I’m manly enough to admit that I love Grey’s Anatomy. I’m sorry, but I do. And every time I start to lose interest, they do something awesome like last season’s shoot-em-up finale that pulls me back in. I used to watch Rhimes’ Private Practice too, only because I like Kate Walsh, but then lost interest after its second season (however, I recently started watching again after the whole rape attack storyline gave us one of TV’s best performances of the year from Kadee Strickland).

    So, I was happy to give Off the Map a shot. And with acting talents like Caroline Dhavernas (who was so likeable on Wonderfalls), Martin Henderson (who was in some good and bad movies), Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights) and my new obsession Mamie Gummer (from The Good Wife, but better known as Meryl Streep’s daughter), it seemed like a good recipe for success.

    Unfortunately, other than Caroline and Mamie’s likability factor, and it’s pretty location (shot on the “Lost” set in Hawaii), there’s nothing new to this show. And everyone’s worries that Off the Map was just Grey’s Anatomy in the jungle – were fully realized and then some. From the same lines of dialogue to the same characters and relationships, the show is nothing but a completely unoriginal ripoff, and a more superficial one at that.

    Zach Gilford’s character is Justin Chambers’ Karev character to a tee. Martin Henderson’s character is Patrick Dempsey with a slight poorly-hidden accent. Caroline Dhavernas has the same doe-eyed whiny yet relatable quality as Ellen Pompeo, and her developing friendship with Mamie Gummer’s character is exactly the same as the Meredith/Christina friendship on Grey’s, which was slow to develop into TVs strongest friendship bond. It’s all been done before.

    Rachelle Lefevre’s barely seen character in the pilot seems like the natural bitch foil that we’ve seen come through Seattle Grace in plenty of incarnations, including Kate Walsh’s Addison, except Rachelle is not NEARLY as likeable of an actress (probably because she’s so young and seems more like a brat than a scorned woman). And in case that’s not enough, there’s the demanding Latina “Nazi” character and the experienced black doctor (Isaiah Washington, anyone?) to round out the cast.

    Even the set ups and payoffs of the medical problems they face are the same. Two minor medical stories and two major medical stories per episode. A sting ray was used in the pilot, which was pretty cool, but is it really any different than the things we’ve seen on Grey’s? No.  And the major love stories in the show were obvious from the second scene. Gummer’s characters’ dismissal of Gilford’s character as a love interest made it obvious that their Izzy/Karev connection is written in the cards. And Caroline’s characters’ divulging of her dead fiancé to her boss, Martin Henderson’s character, who is also clearly suffering from losing a love, just hit us over the head too soon and made it too obvious that he’s her McDreamy.   

    I really like Caroline and Mamie.  But do I like them enough to keep watching a completely unoriginal show? Maybe for 2 more episodes. But unless they do something to convince me this isn’t Grey’s in the jungle, this show will be Off My Map.

  • TV Whoredom – Premiere Week Recap: Tuesday

    September 23rd, 2010

    Day Two of Fall TV Premiere Week….and I was all Gleeked out and ready.

    As an addendum to Monday, the trades are all reporting that Lone Star will probably get cancelled after next week…toldja! Now here’s your Tuesday cheat sheet…


    So, Tuesday saw the launch of Fox’s new comedy block, headed by its returning juggernaut GLEE! Now, I have a love-hate relationship with Glee. As a former music theater dork and high school choir cult member, I love the show. I love the music and the singing is great and Jane Lynch is so pitch perfect I could watch her read the phone book. BUT, some of the cast and some of the editing is really bad when it comes to the lip synching! Lea Michele is fantastic, but if she overacted with her face any more, she’d deserve to get slapped. Stop blinking so hard! And she’s already clearly lost about 15 lbs since the first episode, so I’m gonna start to worry pretty soon.  But, the show was great, the singing –especially by Lea and guest star Charice (Jesus Christ, this girl is awesome!) – was great. And it premiered HUGE! So, congrats!

    RAISING HOPE – The trailer for this new comedy was hilarious and the show didn’t really disappoint. It dropped off by almost half from Glee, but still performed better than shows in the timeslot the last couple years. And…it’s really funny! I think this will stick around for 8 episodes before Fox makes a decision, so tune in – you’ll laugh!

    RUNNING WILDE – In the hands of lesser comedic minds than Mitch Hurwitz and Will Arnett (both from Arrested Development), this show would suck. But, Will Arnett is so damn funny and Keri Russell so damn cute that I found myself liking the show. I’m not sure it has enough material to keep going more than one season, but I’ll keep watching to find out. It won’t be for everyone, but I thought it was good enough.

    CBS –

    The return of NCIS and NCIS LA….umm….who cares? I’ve never seen either of these shows as I don’t live in the Midwest and I’m under 50 years old. But they were both down over 20% from last season. How NCIS became the number 1 show on TV…I don’t know. I like Mark Harmon and all, but…it’s as procedural as procedures get. But they are both here to stay for at least 2 more seasons.

    NBC –

    Biggest Loser’s latest season started and as someone who is going to a trainer and been eating right, I really wanted to be inspired…but I was left depressed. (You can check out my Losing Weight in LA Blog on Facebook). But these people couldn’t even walk/run a MILE. I’m not talking sprinting a mile – they couldn’t WALK a mile! 3 of them had to be seen by doctors after collapsing!  Seriously? And everyone had such a fucking sob story to tell – cancer, dead parents and siblings, anorexic children, botched surgeries – why do fat people need a heartbreaking story to get on the show? Isn’t being morbidly obese heartbreaking enough?  Biggest Loser premiered down 7% from last season, but it’s here to stay.

    Parenthood…I didn’t watch it last night because I usually watch it On Demand over the weekend. This show has quickly become a total yawn though. That little Autistic kid needs a good smack and Dax Shephard proves how unwatchable he is week after week. I like Lauren Graham and Peter Krause, but I’m not sure I like them enough to keep watching much longer. I tune in for Allison Pill and Mae Whitman, who I’ve had a crush on for years. It premiered down from last year and doesn’t seem to be getting better, but it will stick around for the season (unless it starts totally tanking).

    ABC –

    Dancing with the Stars had its results show and The Hoff was the first to get the boot…I’m pretty surprised and pissed about this. I thought he’d be around for quite a while actually. I was sure that pudgy black kid or The Situation would be the first to go. Oh well. If casting agents are reading, someone give Hoff’s daughter a show because that girl is f’n gorgeous! I’d watch her dance anyday. Lambada! Anyway, it was still one of the top rated shows of the night, so DWTS is off to a great start.

    Detroit 1-8-7 – This is one of the more controversial new shows and it’s all about the murder rate in Detroit (which is higher than the rate of fat people in Wisconsin).  In the vein of NYPD Blue – and also starring alum James McDaniel – alongside Sopranos star Michael Imperioli, the show was….good. It had some levity, some real dark stuff, and some nice acting. I DO miss NYPD Blue, so if this show can become that – great. I love that they have real CURSING in the show (bleeped out) which works for me because that’s how people actually talk. It premiered OK, strong enough not for execs to freak out yet, but the second and third week will determine its fate. I’m gonna root for this show, at least for a while. Tune in and check it out if you were a fan of the Blue. I give its chances for a full season at about 50/50.

    Okay, that was Tuesday – a slower night than Monday and tonight’s Wednesday night line up is VERY important, so I’ll be back tomorrow walking you through what happened!

  • FALL TV PREMIERE WEEK: Summer Recap & Monday!

    September 22nd, 2010

    It’s that time again! When all the TV whores of the world stop returning phone calls, decline invitations to weekday gatherings, card games and bowling leagues, and ignore their children’s pleas for help with their homework to sit down, get comfy and enjoy the Fall TV Premiere Week.

    And as one of their leaders, I feel it is my responsibility – nay, my God-given duty – to give all the others out there a day-by-day breakdown of the new TV season.

    I know this summer has been rough. Even I started going to the gym on Wednesday and Friday nights because of the lack of anything on television. However, I found quite a few bright spots in TV Land this summer that kept me glued. First, there was Big Brother – which became my nightly addiction. Not only did I watch Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesdays at 8pm, but I went to sleep watching Big Brother After Dark on Showtime most nights at 2am. And I was very happy with the outcome of that show!

    But the real guilty pleasures of mine this summer were TNT’s awesome Monday night combo of The Closer and new favorite show Rizzoli and Isles. I’m a sucker for a hot chick who can kick my ass, and Angie Harmon has been a crush of mine since her Law and Order days. I think it’s because she’s genuinely a nice person and she has really good comic and dramatic timing. Best new show on TV this summer (and better than pretty much any show that premiered on the networks last year!).  Can’t wait until next summer when they are back (though The Closer will have 7 or 8 new episodes starting in December I think). Covert Affairs was OK, and got another season, but was too light for me. Memphis Beat – Sorry, not for me. Ever since Jason Lee became a scientologist, I just don’t find him watchable. But it got renewed for a second season too and will return next summer.

    I’ve also been watching the new season of Weeds and The Big C, though usually catching it at odd times or On Demand.  Mark my words now – Laura Linney wins the Emmy. It’s not even close. And of course, there was Entourage and True Blood. I was all ready to hate True Blood this season as I kinda thought they jumped the shark, but it was still really good. Even though it’s sad what they did to Stephen Moyer’s vamp-hero character, next season should be pretty cool.  If you’re not watching this show, go rent the DVD and give it 4 episodes and you’ll be hooked! Thank me later.

    My other summer addiction/guilty pleasure– and this one I’m not so proud of – is anything Bravo. Yes, that’s right – I don’t have a vagina, but I do watch Bravo. And I don’t just mean the okay-for-men-to-watch Top Chef – which is awesome even though this season was its weakest in years. But no – I don’t stop there.  I love those damn Housewives! And I have a ridiculous crush on Bethenny Frankel, so you can bet I was watching her solo show. Kathy Griffin? Pure Gold. Rachel Zoe, yup – ba-nanas. Flipping Out? You bet I do. It doesn’t matter what it is, I’ll watch it…that’s what makes one a true TV whore.

    Okay, so that was summer…but as the leaves turn, so do the stations…

    Monday night saw the official premiere of a bunch of new shows. Was I excited? You betcha! So, here’s the breakdown by show along with my guesses on how long the show will last. And of course, my recommendation for if it’s worth watching…

    ABC –

    DANCING WITH THE STARS– Brisol Palin, America’s youngest whore hottie, put on some dancing shoes and shook her stuff. But the night belonged to Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey who mentioned Patrick Swayze more times than People Magazine. I’m not saying it was a cheap grab at the emotional vote, but it worked on me. Plus, she was pretty good. Combine that with The Drunken Hoff, Kurt Warner, Vehicular homicide’s own Brandy, Audrina Patridge, and the disgusting excuse for talent known as The Situation, and this season is already ahead of last fall’s season! Obviously this one ain’t going anywhere, so give in and watch it…If you don’t, Sarah Palin will hunt you down and shoot you from her helicopter.

    CASTLE – One of my two favorite new shows from last season (along with The Good Wife) is back and better than ever. While I thought the tension between the two stars was solved too quickly and easily and could have been played out over 2 episodes, I just love Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic and together, they are just good fun! If you’re not watching Castle, you’re missing a great show. It premiered very well, so this one’s here to stay for the season. And by the way…if anyone knows the girl who plays Castle’s gorgeous red-headed daughter…I want to marry her.

    CBS –

    MIKE AND MOLLY – It’s this decade’s version of Roseanne except it starts when Roseanne meets Dan instead of after they are already married with kids. It’s funny and self-deprecating and Melissa McCarthy is so damn likeable. But the whole goal of the show is for these two people to fall in love as they try to lose weight. Chuck Lorre, the CBS God (who was also behind Roseanne) knows what makes fat people funny. And it premiered well enough, so expect this one to stick around the whole season, but second season will depend on if people tune in to watch 2 fat people make out. Without Jillian Michaels yelling at them.

    HAWAII 5-0 – I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch this one (yet) because I find that I have an overwhelming urge to smack Scott Caan in the mouth. But Alex O’Laughlin has had 3 cancelled series in 4 years and he needs one to stick. It premiered VERY nicely in the timeslot and will definitely be around til midseason (too much promotion behind it not to stick for a while), but after that, who knows. Reviews have been great and it seems to be a good show.

    FOX –

    HOUSE – One of my favorite shows despite coming off a largely lackluster season. After Amber and Kutner died, I’m not sure the show didn’t jump the shark. But House is sober, he’s bangin’ Cutty and all is right with the world…right? Well, not really because Olivia Wilde and Jennifer Morrison both left the show leaving the painfully bland Jesse Spencer and the bored-to-still-be-on-the-show Omar Epps. The only bright spot? Peter Jacobson! Plus Hugh Laurie’s always awesome. So, hopefully this season will pull it out!

    LONE STAR – You hear that? That’s the sound of a Fox executive getting fired for thinking this show was a good idea! Not only did it BOMB last night worse than the lowest expectation, but it got the lowest ratings of ANY show on ANY major network. And no, I didn’t watch it, because it looked AWFUL. Here’s an anatomy of a stupid idea for a TV show: A con man (played by a no-name actor) who is two-timing two women – a wife and a girlfriend – and bilking them both out of their family’s money to make his asshole father happy. And all of a sudden, he gets a conscience – and we’re supposed to care!? Did Fox execs REALLY think that in this economic climate, men would want to watch a show about a guy who cheats people out of money in a con man scheme? And that WOMEN would want to watch a show about a guy who is cheating on his wife and girlfriend? And Keith David and Jon Voight are great actors, but neither of them make the top 200 most likeable actors list. This show had NOTHING going for it. I give it ONE more week. Don’t bother tuning in.

    NBC –

    CHUCK – I’ll be honest, I never got into this show. It was brought back from death twice now and looks to be around all season, but unless it posts huge gains (unlikely), this will probably be its last season. I know it’s fun, but opposite DWTS and House, it’s just not good enough to make the must-see list for me.

    THE EVENT – This was one of the biggest, most hyped, most advertised show of the new season. It’s supposed to be the new big serial like Lost or Flashforward (hopefully more like the former than the cancelled after 1 season latter). It’s Jason Ritter (who is likeable enough and I really enjoyed him on the too-short-lived comedy “The Class”), Laura Innes (love her from ER), Blair Underwood (seriously – does EVERY President on TV have to be Black just to make the point that no one is racist?), and the sublime Zeljko Ivanek (from Damages, but I’ve been a fan since the early 90s when he was on Homicide!). It was good – it made me want to watch another week. It’s got a sci-fi twist (sci-fi like Lost) and lots of interesting plot lines and it debuted BIG for NBC – best ratings in the time slot in years. So, with all the money behind this show, it’s here to stay for a while. Tune in and check it out. I’m not TOTALLY hooked yet, but I’ll keep watching until it unhooks me. Or maybe like Lost, I’ll be crying at its series finale 7 years from now.

    CHASE – Seemingly completely procedural action-packed show in the vein of The Fugitive but with a kick ass blond chick doing the hunting and the fighting. Despite the always completely assholic Cole Hauser by her side, Kelli Giddich did a nice job and she’s likeable and easy to watch. I’m not sure it’s got enough steam or originality to last, but I give it 10 episodes until the network pulls it. It did perform better than Trauma and Mercy last season, but not by much and they only got full season pickups because of the Leno debacle. So, now without Leno in the way, NBC has no one to blame but themselves.

    OTHER – How I Met Your Mother and Two & A Half Men (which, now that the kid is bigger than Jon Cryer needs to be retitled 3 Friggin Men) came back on…It’s unreal – Charlie Sheen could literally take a shit on a baby and post the video on YouTube and people would still tune in to watch him knock out cheesy one-liners and swarmy looks at the camera. It had HUGE ratings– biggest show of the night. So since he won’t – I’ll thank the fly-over states for Charlie. Thanks!

    Ok folks, that was just Monday…I’ll be back tomorrow with Tuesday’s wrap up! Stay tuned!

  • The Emmys 2010: Winners, Losers, Upsets and Analysis

    August 31st, 2010

    By Danny Manus


    As I said before, the Emmys are like my Christmas…if I wasn’t Jewish. And they are even better now that they are LIVE on the West Coast, which wasn’t the case until 2 years ago. This year, since the show aired on NBC, Jimmy Fallon was the host. And the network was counting on big ratings this year with new popular shows Glee, Modern Family and True Blood up for big awards.


    But alas, even the Gleeks couldn’t save the Emmys, which posted basically the same ratings as last year, and even went DOWN 2% in the young demo. After watching the telecast I honestly don’t know what more the show could do to get people to tune in besides fill it with musical numbers – oh wait, they did that. Well perhaps they could get big stars like George Clooney to – oh wait, they did that too.  Hmm…maybe they should have just built a boxing ring and let Conan and Jay go at it. Eh, maybe not. Hey, maybe we can just make Justin Bieber the star of every fucking show on Earth…and then watch me kill myself. Or maybe they should just take out some of the miniseries and TV Movie awards which are so utterly boring – and no one in the targeted demo watches them anyway. And instead, put in more comedy.


    The first 90 minutes of the show were possibly the best Emmys I have seen in years. I know some people didn’t like the graphics flashing in the background, and maybe purple wasn’t the BEST color palette choice, but I think it was better than the Oscars bland white design. Besides, this was a big year for gays on TV, and the biggest demo to watch awards shows like the Emmys are the gays, so perhaps purple was the perfect choice.


    Speaking of which, I loved Neil Patrick Harris last year and would love to see him again, but Jimmy Fallon did his thing and his musical interludes and opening were fantastic. His ode to the shows that have passed on – 24, Law & Order and Lost – was great. If the second half of the show gave him more to do, perhaps the fun could have lasted. But alas, as soon as HBO started winning things, the air was sucked out of the show like a hoover was attached to the roof. 


    But let’s rewind. First up was comedy and Modern Family ruled the night with wins for Best Comedy and Eric Stonestreet (I called it!) for best supporting. While he wasn’t the favorite to win (and personally I would have voted for Ty Burrell), he is a straight man playing lovably flamingly homosexual and he does it so hysterically that he deserved the win. Sorry, Chris Colfer, you’re just as gay but slightly less huggable. But if 3 years from now, you’re still on Glee, I think you’ll win. I say that because next year, it’s Ty Burrell’s to win and the year after it will be Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Much like West Wing, they will award a different star every year til they all have one!


    Voters went for Modern Family rather than fellow newcomer and odds-on favorite Glee because, well, Glee isn’t a straight comedy. The only 60 minute dramedy to ever win the award is Ally McBeal, but something tells me Glee will see gold in the next two years.  Jane Lynch did win for her role in Glee (also called it!), and she deserved it! I know Kristin Wiig IS SNL these days and Julie Bowen is fantastic on Modern Fam, but Jane Lynch is just pure comic gold on Glee. Kudos! It was obviously the end of the line for 30 Rock. Partially because voters didn’t want to award NBC anything (they only won ONE for their shows this year), but also because it’s time to bring in the new blood.


    Jim Parsons picked up his first trophy for Big Bang (I was right again!). All I can say is thank God Tony Shaloub didn’t win. Sorry, Alec but there’s a new kid in town. Bazinga! And Edie Falco (an upset which I predicted!) picked up an awkward statue for Nurse Jackie, which is even less of a comedy than Glee. Voters just like her and perhaps this will give the show some much-due notoriety and press. But I don’t think she’ll win again.


    Then came the reality portion. WOOHOO TOP CHEF! In what was the best season in years (100 times better than the current DC season), Top Chef FINALLY de-throned Amazing Race. The upset was that if a show was going to beat Race, people thought it would be American Idol, but the last 2 seasons of Idol have clearly gone downhill and were the weakest musically and in overall entertainment since Cowell mentally checked out and Paula physically checked out. And I am thrilled that Top Chef took the gold. Can we all agree now that Amazing Race is no longer as interesting or casted as well as it used to be? They just take OTHER reality stars and send them on an all expenses paid trip around the world. BORING.


    But the real acting surprises were saved for the Drama category, where I have to say…I was wrong. I was SURE that Julianna Margulies would win for The Good Wife and she had all the momentum, but in her 5th year as star and producer, Kyra Sedgwick got the gold. Now, I LOVE The Closer and she was great last season on it, so I’m actually very happy with this upset. Don’t worry, Julianna, you’ll win it next year!  And I’m pretty sure January Jones’ dress this year will stop her from being nominated again. Same for Lauren Graham – what the hell was she thinking?


    But I digress…Bryan Cranston won (3 times in a row now) for his leading role in Breaking Bad, beating out heavy favorite Michael C Hall, who had an incredible season and beat cancer in his spare time. And for me, Hugh Laurie is the biggest continual snub in all of TV other than Bill Maher, who after 12 nominations is still coming up goose eggs. Hugh had an emotionally powerful year, even though the show itself was not up to snuff. And hello – he’s BRITISH and does a pitch perfect accent! At least next year, because of the scheduling of his show, Bryan Cranston won’t be eligible, so it will be up for grabs.


    The supporting awards went to 2 first timers – Aaron Paul for Breaking Bad and Archie Panjabi for Good Wife. I am thrilled about Archie’s win – she’s a revelation on that show. And while I don’t watch Breaking Bad, I know Aaron is good. But seriously…how do you not give the award to Terry O’Quinn for playing TWO very different and difficult characters at ONCE on the last season of Lost? Come on, voters! That was disappointing. And perhaps if Martin Short’s wife had died 2 months earlier, he would have gotten the sympathy vote. What, too soon?


    And of course Mad Men won the big award…whoopee. Look, I’m sure it’s a great show, and no, I don’t watch it. But I already want to punch Matthew Weiner in the face and his “assistant writer” whom he put up for the Emmy and WON (that lucky bitch isn’t even 30!). I was really disappointed that Lost (in its final season), Good Wife, Dexter and True Blood all lost to an overrated show that no one watches.  Look, I’m a TV whore, but I never said I was a TV snob. Please, let this be the last year it wins.


    In other news, Conan didn’t win. But on the upside, neither did NBC. This year’s voting really shined the light on two things – what wonderful shows there are on cable and what hatred the industry has for NBC and those that run it. And after seeing the comedies they have coming up in their new season, I don’t think they will be garnering any more love anytime soon. I’ll cover TV Premiere Week in a couple weeks…stay tuned!


    For mini-series and TV Movies…eh…who cares? I didn’t see any of them except “You Don’t Know Jack,” which was OK. The Pacific won, as predicted. Though I could have thought of a better way to spend $200M! In a slight surprise, Temple of Grandine won all the MOW categories. I’m happy for Claire Danes, who deserved it, but could someone tell that retarded lesbian cowboy to please sit down?


    Okay, so those were the Emmys. I laughed, I cried, I screamed in frustration. This year, I was 6/7 for comedy (I guessed Glee would win), but the TV Movies and Drama category screwed me. Damn you, AMC! Damn you!!!


    Until next time, keep watching! It’s good for you!

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