Tag Archive for TV

Rescue Me

In recent weeks I’ve watched all of Rescue Me, a show that airs on FX. I have the first and second seasons on DVD, and the third season I downloaded from torrents (but I’ll pick up the DVDs when they come out). And, damn, this show is good.

If you have never heard of it, the simple premise is Denis Leary plays Tommy Gavin, a New York City firefighter. His house lost four guys on 9/11 and when the show begins its 3 years later but the tragedy still lingers.

As the show unfolds, it follows the lives of Tommy and his crew. Tommy in particular is interesting to me because he is a hero, really. His character is that when he’s on the job he is perfect, almost superhuman, in his duties. He saves lives. Meanwhile, his personal life is in the shitter. He is separated from his wife, he’s an angry beligerant asshole, and he begins seeing ghosts. Not really, this isn’t some Sci-Fi show, he’s obviously just halucinating, but it begins to make him unravel even further. Denis Leary plays the character superbly, from scene to scene he makes you love him, hate him, root for him, root against him… as Tommy fights his demons, you really want him to straighten out but at the same time when he knowingly takes the low road, you completely understand why he does it.

I can’t wait for season four.

If you haven’t seen the show, I seriously recommend picking it up.

Night Stalker

Last TV season, I got hooked on Night Stalker, an update to the old Kolchak series. The new show had Stewart Townsend as the lead in the place of Darren McGavin, and went for a younger and hipper style. But despite that skew, it was still a dark, violent and brooding collection of stories about a reporter trying to understand why his wife was killed.

I was really pissed when they cancelled the show, because I felt it was just getting started… that and the fact that the last episode they aired was part one of a two part story. Man, I hate that.

Luckily, they put out the six episodes they aired plus four episodes they didn’t out on DVD.

Over the last couple days, I’ve watched all ten episodes and the commentaries, and I plan to read all the unfilmed scripts they included on the DVD-ROM section. All that brings me to one conclusion… damn, I wish they hadn’t cancelled this show. But then, hey, I’m used to stuff I love getting canned. So, if you like horror/thriller/mystery type stuff, pick this up when you can, it was worth the watching.

Blade: The Series – Revisited

I have never been someone unwilling to admit mistakes. Over a month ago, closing in on two, I put up a little review for Blade: The Series.

From the perspective of the two hour pilot, I stand behind my review. It was crap. However… as the show has progressed, the creators of the show did something interesting and unexpected: they pushed Blade into the background. Now, the show is still about him fighting vampires, trying to foil their nefarious plans, but they realized, as most people have, that telling that story from Blade’s point of view is boring. He finds vampires, he kills them. Dull as dirt. Instead, the show introduced a young woman who was turned, but Blade got to her and has put her on his serum. She’s not a daywalker like him, but the serum keeps her mind clear of the hunger for blood. Blade then sets her the task of infiltrating the vampires to get him information, to destroy them from the inside. And she’s got good reason, the vampires killed her brother.

At this point, the show becomes more about the vampires, interactions among the clans, the divide between then infected and the pure bloods (born as vampires)… in other words, it actually becomes watchable, even enjoyable, and in some episodes it is down right good TV. It harkens back to Kindred: The Embraced in some ways, and I’m certainly getting a kick out of it.

And thankfully, Randy Quaid hasn’t returned as of yet… Let’s hope it stays that way.

Blade: The Series

I have two words for you: Randy Quaid.

Now, I’m not going to denegrate Mr. Quaid because he is a decent actor given the right material, but he is certainly not an “A” lister. I loved him in the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies, and to be honest his performance in Category 7: The End of the World was one of the few watchable things in it. Here, he plays a vampire expert, and like the rest of the show it is just not worth it.

Blade without Wesley Snipes is… well, its pretty much the same because Wesley Snipes is one the most wooden actors in existance, and the man they got to fill his shoes is like a fake wood made of fiberglass.

Trash… complete trash. So help me I’ll probably watch the whole damn season.

The 2006 Fall TV Season

All this week, networks were unveiling their fall line-ups for the upcoming season. The following are my thoughts, as they progressed through the week, so don’t complain when I speculate about things that by the time you see this are already known.

NBC

I was happy to see the return of Las Vegas, Medium, and My Name Is Earl. Good shows all three, and they will continue to be on my watch schedule. Scrubs, as usual a fan favorite but not well rated, managed for the first time in 5 seasons to not be cancelled, but will be held off until mid-season (likely to fill the hole of some show they cancel within the first couple of weeks). I’m sad to see that Surface isn’t returning as it was the best, most exciting of all the alien invasion TV shows from last season. Heist is gone, which sucks because frankly it was more exciting to watch than Thief on FX (Thief has a better cast, but it was so slow in its plodding storyline). Teachers bids farewell as well, a shame because it was pretty funny, in my opinion, as was Four Kings (also not returning). Conviction is missing from the line-up, which is too bad because I was really enjoying it. As for new shows… Heroes looks great to me, which means it should last exact three episodes, nine tops. Kidnapped also looks interesting, in the vein of all the other mystery serials, this one could be good. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip has a stellar cast, and Sorkin is a good writer/creator (see the first seasons of The West Wing). 30 Rock, well, I like Tina Fey, she’s a good comedy writer, I’ll watch the show, but I’m iffy about its chances. I really want to see Andy Barker, P.I., but its been relagated to mid-season status, so I’ll have to wait. Raines might be good, but as much as I like some of the actors the plot seems like it could be a bit too hokey for me. As for the rest of NBC’s line-up, I really don’t care… ER I gave up on long ago, though I’ve heard its been decent. The various Law & Orders, I catch those on TNT, USA and other stations when I’m trying to go to sleep. Friday Night Lights? Didn’t enjoy the movie, I’ll probably not enjoy the show. Deal Or No Deal? I’ll care when they come to Atlanta and I get to be on. America’s Got Talent? Like the Deal, only care if I’m on it. NBC also got the contract for Sunday Night Football, which means at least one night a week I don’t have to even bother checking to see what’s on that channel.

ABC

Lost is sticking around (Yay!), as is Grey’s Anatomy (Woot!). Freddie is gone (Boo!), and The Night Stalker got axed early this past season, as did Emily’s Reasons Why Not. I’ll miss In Justice, The Evidence and Commander-in-Chief. Invasion is out… however, I know the CW has expressed interest in picking it up, and I’m conflicted about this show. Previously I wrote that it was the worst of last season’s three alien TV shows, and for about the first 9 or so episodes, it clearly was. The pacing was godawfully slow, and it made me want to scream at the TV, but seeing as how I was a huge fan of American Gothic years ago, I wanted to give Shawn Cassidy a chance, so I stuck with it. Now, at the end of their season, Invasion has gotten alot better. There is action, and plot movement, and stuff makes more sense now. If the CW doesn’t pick it up, I won’t be too upset, but if they do, I’ll keep watching. So, on to the new shows… Day Break, eh, not so interested but I’ll watch it for Adam Baldwin. The Nine sounds interesting, but I’m willing to bet it gets cancelled rather quick. Six Degrees will get some attention from me if only because J.J. Abrams (creator of Lost) is involved. I refuse to watch Traveler, because it sounds kind of lame, and I don’t think it will last long at all (Best Buy, however, will sell exclusively the complete series that contains as many as six unaired episodes). I’m going to pass on most of their comedies… I might watch the Ted Danson one, Help Me Help You, if enough people tell me its good, and Let’s Rob… might be a winner, but then I love Donal Logue (only not in a gay way). Every show I didn’t mention, I have no interest in. Betty the Ugly and Men in Trees have to be the two worst named TV shows ever. And American Inventor? This season was so horribly crappy that it won’t sucker me in again… what a hunk of garbage!

CBS

Of the shows I watch How I Met Your Mother will be back, so will The Unit, Numb3rs, and Ghost Whisperer. Yes, Ghost Whisperer is a stupid show, but for some reason (and it couldn’t possibly be Ms. Love Hewitt’s breasts) I keep watching it. Threshold, of course, got axed early this past season, and won’t be returning. CBS is actually renewing 18 shows, more than anyone else, so there isn’t alot to complain about in the cancellation department. New shows… sitcom The Class sounds like it might be okay, but the appearance of Lizzy Caplan in the cast doesn’t bode well for the WB’s Related, which I can now assume is not getting picked up for the CW. Smith is another “people stealing stuff” drama, Heist didn’t last and I found Thief kind of boring, so I’ll give this a try but I’m not holding out much hope (though the cast is stellar). Jericho sounds like it might be interesting, Skeet Ulrich as the lead isn’t a big draw for me though. With the possibility of real nuclear war looming in the Middle East these days, either people will heartily embrace this story, or flee from it, I don’t see much middle ground. Shark… well, since I lost Conviction, I suppose my TV line-up is missing a court drama, so I’ll give it a shot. If the world didn’t so love all the various CSIs, I’d say can them and pull a couple of the midseason replacements out… Waterfront sounds promising, but then I’ve always had a soft spot for Joey Pants (and, really, not in a gay way). So it looks like I’ll be trying all of CBS’s new offerings, how many stick is another story.

FOX

Prison Break, Bones, The O.C., and The Family Guy all return (though I’m getting less enthused by The O.C. each season Marisa continues to live). 24 is back, of course, but I’m still many seasons behind and have decided I’ll just watch them on DVD, but as long as they are good, I’ll be happy they keep making them. The Loop is coming back, and probably bringing is crappy theme song with it, but only as a pair with the American Idol Results show on Wednesdays. And yeah, Americal Idol will be back. Reunion died long ago, and the only show they axed I was watching was Free Ride, and I really won’t miss it. Vanished sounds like it might be good, but frankly I’m getting pretty tired of the “you must watch every episode or else you’ll be completely confused because this show is really one 24 hour story” shows. A couple is fine, a few is pushing is, but next season it looks like there will be aboout fifteen of them. Standoff looks better since its more episodic (like Numb3rs, The Unit, and a few others). Justice… well, it’ll be either Shark on CBS of this, I really don’t want too many courtroom dramas on my schedule. Shark may win just because “James Woods > Kerr Smith”. ‘Til Death sound formulaeic, but fun. The Winner might be a winner, except I got burned on Reunion last year, so a time warping comedy drama looking back to the days of 1994 probably won’t make my list unless the word of mouth is extremely good. Yeah, and Simon Cowell has another show, Duets… more singing on TV. On The Lot might be the first reality show I actually get excited about rather than just watch because its on and people talk about it. (New Fox Shows don’t have links because I can’t find links to New Fox Shows)

The CW

Veronica Mars survives the merger! WOOHOO!! So did Supernatural, Smallville, Gilmore Girls, and One Tree Hill (I hate that I’m addicted to this show). Pepper Dennis and Related didn’t make the cut. Neither did Everwood, of which I wasn’t a fan watching every week, but I enjoyed every episode I saw. I honestly don’t know why they renewed 7th Heaven. It wasn’t a bad show, but I never felt it was any good either, it was very bland family happy-happy-joy-joy drama. But I guess I can’t begrudge a network wanting at least one wholesome show on TV. Sadly, they are keeping both the UPN’s and the WB’s reality shows. Runaway seems like an odd plot… its The Fugitive, only the guy doesn’t run off alone, he takes his whole family with him. It could work. They’ve picked up Palm Springs for midseason, which sounds like The O.C. only with really dark secrets. As long as Marisa Cooper isn’t there I’ll be watching. No word anywhere, but I hope that they at least try out Mercy Reef (the Aquaman TV show) to see if people like it instead of just letting it go. And it seems they did pass on Invasion, something about it being too expensive. I wish they’d take the 7th Heaven money and put it in Invasion instead. Well, I got my Veronica Mars, so I guess I’m happy for now.

Other Networks

TNT is starting up another season of The Closer this summer, and it looks like they cancelled Wanted. FX will probably keep Rescue Me and The Shield, even Thief might run another season. USA has a show called Psyche about a private detective who pretends to be a psychic by lying, guessing and using inside information. And beyond that, I don’t really know any more…

Veronica Mars

If you don’t watch this show, you should.

It has been a couple days since I watched the second season finale and I’m still just amazed. The final episode, just like the season before, takes all the clues that you’ve been getting all season long, the ones that you know are related but they don’t all fit into one puzzle, and gives you one last bit that makes everything snap together and the rush for the resolution is on! Holy crap! No wait.. they didn’t just.. oh my.. wait… what… I don’t… jeez… wow… holy fu… NO, THAT DID NOT JUST… YES!!

Seriously… season one is on DVD, buy it. Season two will likely come out soon, buy it also. And season three? Well, we will find out this week if Veronica and company make it on to the CW Network’s fall schedule. And they better, because I want to know what … nah, I won’t ruin it for ya.

Surface, Threshold and Invasion

This Fall TV season saw the premier of three shows about aliens: Surface, Threshold and Invasion. Let me give you a quick rundown on them…

Surface is about a female marine biologist (or something like that) who runs afoul of an unknown invertabrate while in a mini-sub, deep in the ocean; a man goes spear gun fishing with his brother who accidentally spears a huge underwater beast and is dragged really deep after losing his oxygen tank; and a boy finds a weird egg in the water. It turns out the government already knows about the beasts and is quick to start shutting people down… but they don’t want to be shutdown.

Threshold is about a weird 4th dimensional object that appears to a bunch of buys on a Navy ship and messes with their DNA. A woman who consults for the government on contingency plans is called to action as her plan, called ‘Threshold’, that details first contact with aliens is put into play. She assembles a team and starts looking for the missing crewmen while trying to stop them from using the alien signal to bioform and terraform our people and planet.

Invasion takes place in Florida, and during a big hurricane, a bunch of lights fly up out of the sea and it appears that in a bodysnatcher-like way lots of people have been infected or replaced by aliens. As the town recovers from the devastating storm, weird stuff beings to happen.

Okay… from the initial descriptions, I put my money on Threshold for the win. For one, it had no kids. Invasion is practically about families, and one of the three main people in Surface is a kid raising an alien which is just all too ‘E.T.’ for me. Threshold sounded like a solid story about a government organization assembled to face an alien threat. That’s why I’m so disappointed that it has sucked so far. I mean, this week, which is the 7th or 8th episode of the season, finally revealed that the alien signal is terraforming as well as bioforming, something I assumed from the get-go since it was manipulating people on a genetic level and plants aren’t so different. Plus, it had all the actors… Charles S. Dutton, Carla Gugino, Brent Spiner, Peter Dinklage and even William Mapother who did a great job as Ethan on the first season of ‘Lost’, and Brian Van Holt who I just saw on DVD in ‘House of Wax’ where he did an excellent job. It’s these people that keep me watching the show at all… the plot is moving forward so slowly though. Ugh.

I also had good hopes for Invasion. I love a good bodysnatchers movie, and this one had a cool twist in that the people who’ve been ‘snatched’ aren’t really sure what’s going on themselves. Then there is the lynchpin of the story, that the town sheriff is also one of the snatched, but he got snatched years ago, so he’s kinda sheparding the newly snatched into dealing with what has happened. To top it off, the show is created by Shaun Cassidy, whom I gained massive amounts of respect for back in 1995 when a little known show called ‘American Gothic’ hit the air, about a sheriff who might be the devil, a boy who might be his son and the product of a rape, and all the ways in which the sheriff controls the town. I loved that show, so I just knew this one would be good, even if it ended up getting cancelled after one season like ‘American Gothic’. But again, I was let down… again this past week was the 7th episode or so, and finally the story started actually going somewhere. Maybe it’ll get better. In the meantime though I think I’ll go buy ‘American Gothic’ the complete series on DVD.

This brings us to Surface. I would have bet hard earned dollars that this show was going to blow. Dinosaurs in the ocean? Come on, we can do better than that! The whole plot just seems so… silly. And yet, by their 7th episode they are in full swing. We’ve seen the baby alien, we’ve learned some of its abilities, we’ve seen glimpses of the big ones and the wreckage of what they can do, we’ve got a full blown government conspiracy to cover up their existance and even the government turning on their own leading scientist when he begins to feel they need to start going public. We’ve got families being broken apart and the whole thing is spiralling on a collision course with something… I’m not sure what yet exactly, but this show is definately going somewhere.

So that’s my review of the alien shows this season…

Wonderfalls

This is the best TV show you’ve probably never seen. Quick run down: Jaye is a 24 year old college grad who doesn’t know what exactly to do with her life, so she works a retail job (at a Niagra Falls gift shop called Wonderfalls) and lives in a trailer park despite having a rich family, and all is going fine in her uneventful world until a smushed face wax lion starts talking to her. As the show goes on, more things talk to her, and when she does what they say it always starts a wildly out of control chain of events that ultimately ends up with her helping someone, normally against her own judgement. Are the voices God? Are they just her suppressed “inner voice” bubbling to the surface? No one knows, and we never will.

Of this show, only 13 episodes were made. A typical half season order. However, only 4 episodes ever aired. It got pre-emted a few times, then they out and out cancelled it. It just wasn’t doing well (in its shitty timeslot on friday nights), and there was already another show on where a girl talking to something that might be God (Joan of Arcadia, also good, ran 2 seasons before they dropped it). The good news is they released all 13 episodes of Wonderfalls on DVD. Better yet, 6 episodes have commentary, and they included a great behind-the-scenes/making-of documentary. Like watching ‘Firefly’ on DVD, the show is so good it almost makes you cry that it won’t be on ever again (well, Firefly has a movie coming out, but I still rather would have seen it stay on TV for a decade instead).

One of the many good things about Wonderfalls is the theme song. Normally when I watch TV shows I’ve taped or gotten on DVD, I’ll skip the opening because lots of TV themes blow or leave you with that ‘eh’ feeling when you can’t decide if you care enough to bother rating its complete lack of grabbing your interest on either end of the spectrum. But Wonderfalls sports an original tune by Andy Partridge (the front man for the band XTC), “I Wonder Why the Wonder Falls”, a happy little jaunty tune that brings a smile to my face every time I hear it.

Anyway, while the show was rumored to be cancelled and through to the day they announced the DVD planned release, Save Wonderfalls was the home base of the effort to get the show put back on the air, and failing that get it put out on DVD. They report that over 25,000 copies of the DVD had sold by February. On their extras page, they have a link to a copy of the Video done for the song. Needless to say, it never made the charts nor any of the music channels here in the USA, and I have no idea if it did elsewhere.

If you like quirky dramatic comedy type shows, I highly recommend Wonderfalls. Its worth the $30 for the complete series.

Veronica Mars

Every time I watch this show I ask myself, “What the heck is it doing on UPN?” Back when the UPN network started up, they put on some of my favorite shows… ‘Nowhere Man’ is one of those shows that I will definately buy if they ever put it out on DVD, and ‘Marker’ was like an updated Magnum P.I. But as time went on, they cancelled those shows and went with lots of 30 minute sitcoms, most of which were crap.

‘Veronica Mars’ is about a girl, Veronica, who is the daughter of a private investigator. Her dad used to be the sheriff, but got drummed out of the job after he accused the richest man in town of murdering his own daughter, who was Veronica’s best friend. Veronica is on the outside now, all her friends from the rich side of town have turned on her and what she wants most in the world is to know who killed her friend. The show has high school, mystery, and smarts. Its well written and well acted.

I just finished watching the finale for season one that aired last night, and it was awesome. I definately recommend this show to anyone, and I can’t wait until next season.

Superman on TV again.

Well, I’m late with this. Its a character flaw.

But last week was the premiere of the new Superman TV show Smallville. And boy was it good.

The last show, live action show that is, Lois & Clark was pretty good when it started. Sure they did some lovey-dovey romance stuff, but they focused mostly on the superhero stuff that we all really want to see. That lasted a season or two, then they did the wedding (the absolute worst TV show in the history of TV shows) and it really started sucking even more after that.

I’m hoping that Smallville doesn’t fall into that trap and keeps a healthy level of action with its drama.

In this incarnation, we are taken back (although they did update it to the present day) to the beginning. Clark Kent is a teenager, a freshman in high school. He knows he’s different, and he hides his super powers. In the first episode, they introduce the Kents, Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, and Kryptonite (which I felt they did in a very cool way). The series looks to focus on Clark coming to grips with his true nature, using his powers for good, all the while just trying to fit in and be like everyone else. Teen angst with super villians.

Rock on.

Smallville comes on the WB network at 9pm on Tuesdays. I strongly recommend checking it out. I give it a 9 out of 10.