Tag Archives: Fox

Alcatraz! Hurley!!

If you read my column on Friday about my frustration with TV shows getting the quick hook, you’ll no doubt wonder why I’m a little geeked about Alcatraz. After all, a show about prison breaks, time travel and mysterious missions can’t survive, right? Otherwise I’d still be watching Life On Mars.

But this is J.J. Abrams we’re talking about, and the trailer for Alcatraz makes me think I can forgive him for Undercovers. If the network has any kind of patience – and if the show is as good as the trailer looks, of course – this one might slide alongside Fringe and Lost, a sweet spot that Abrams can hit with regularity. And unlike Lost, it appears the plot is already outlined:

Fox wanted to know what they were getting into, they did not want to get into a situation where it was a completely up-for-grabs scenario,” Abrams said. “They asked for the explanation of what’s going on to a large degree. Obviously they didn’t say, ‘Give us every script synopsis and tell us what happens in the series finale,’ but they wanted the main headlines of what the show is about, what the backstory is.” (Showrunner Elizabeth) Sarnoff wrote a document, which is obviously being kept secret from public eyes, explaining everything. Abrams says those revelations were “actually the key to getting the show on the air.” Producers will still be free to take detours and things could always change, but the fact that Alcatraz has a firm backstory — and one compelling and sensible enough to convince Fox to buy into the program — ought also reassure fans who get frustrated when they sense TV writers are completely winging it on serialized shows.

And it not only stars an always-creepy Sam Neill, but Jorge Garcia is back.

Hurley? On an island?

Good year for J.J..  –  see for yourself!

Video: Alcatraz Trailer.

Fingers crossed. And did I mention Hurley? One down, two to go.

I see dead people

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Tanked TV Shows

I just found out that The Chicago Code was cancelled, and I’m pissed. Sure, Jennifer Beals might have floated a bit more cleavage than a Police Superintendent would do in real life, but the cast (led by Jason Clarke) was pretty strong, including the amazing Delroy Lindo as the oily, corrupt Alderman. Pacing was good and stories weaved well, like any Shawn Ryan project. But I guess we needed more space on the network for celebretard reality shows.

What else is new? Seems like when TV takes a chance, the American public is hesitant to accept it. But really, how do they know? And wouldn’t a loyal core audience not be more valuable than a flighty larger one that will only move along to the next carbon copy?

So enjoy your umpteenth Kardashian expose knowing these Ten Tanked TV Shows bit the dust.

(01) – Dark Blue – Sure, s bit sullen and somber, but good action.

(02) – Human Target – A mix of cartoon and drama. Jackie Earle Haley!

(03) – The Event – Sure, not official yet, but they killed the momentum.

(04) – Lights OutFX was the one with the quick hook here.

(05) – The Cape – Ludicrous, but that was the point.

(06) – Terriers – Like I said, not Shawn Ryan’s year. Brilliant show.

(07) – The Good Guys – Campy, broad comedy in a police setting.

(08) – Rubicon – Sorry for trying to make you think, people.

(09) – The Bridge – Jumped before it had a chance.

(10) – Running Wilde – Thankfully Will Arnett is on three other shows.

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USA – (PBS + NPR) = WTF?

Really? We need to cut spending and this is where we start?

Why is this even a left vs. right issue anyway? Isn’t it appalling enough that your elected officials – supposedly representatives in the full sense of the word – align and vote according to party lines rather than for their constituents? Are there really communities of people who don’t want the availability of television (PBS) and radio (NPR) that is not owned and operated by a corporation’s political contributions? FOX shills for the right, MSNBC shills for the left, and those seeking unbiased reporting about America have to turn to the BBC?

PBS is a proven source of educational programming whose effects upon participants is well documented. Programs like Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow revolutionized the way television could be used to jump-start a child’s ability to grasp and learn fundamental skills. Granted, the issue is not targeting specific programs but the funneling of public money to arts channels. But those matching grants and supplemental contributions are often the difference between whether a program gets made or not. And with the economy in the toilet, public contributions are down, because people cannot afford to be as generous.

But those people aren’t buying twelve hundred dollar hammers or giving themselves lifetime perks of retirement funds and health care (that they deny to the very people who elected them to serve). These contributors are mostly people like you and me trying to heat our homes and put food on the table.

I’m sure I could find fat on the bone somewhere else. So can you.

I mean, what has to be done to convince these political dunderheads that our failing educational system is an integral part of our fall from grace (right alongside corporate greed, public indifference and the insistence on propping up governments around the world to support our corporate interests while our own population is underemployed, hungry and in need of basic human services)?

Do I have to type shorter sentences?

Do I have to sign yet another petition?

Does LeVar Burton have to appear on Community to remind us how we didn’t save Reading Rainbow?

Or can we perhaps just get it through our thick skulls that the very name “Corporation for Public Broadcasting” is an oxymoron? Maybe we don’t need to cut funding, but to fund better?

Maybe Congress should be spending some time figuring out how to better fund and manage an institution that is supposed to service the entire country by providing funding to “promote ideas and perspectives that are ignored or underrepresented in the commercial media“.

Of course that would mean Congress has less time to pointlessly witch-hunt Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, but dammit, sacrifices must be made.

If you want more information or want to get involved, click here.

Today’s topic was brought to you by the letters E-L-I.

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Tips For Sanity

Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” (JFK)

You’d probably guess that I’m not a staunch right-wing Republican, but if you have me pegged as a radical left-leaning Democrat you’d be just as wrong. I’ve been an Independent since the age of 18, and while that prevents me from voting in the primaries for the two major parties, it hasn’t stopped both of them from peppering my phone, my email, and my daily life with a flood of nonsensical negative advertising. Really, people – is anyone swayed by these ridiculous scare tactics? If anything it makes me want to avoid the booth on Election Day…but I suspect that’s just what they want.

How sad is it that the only rational bi-partisan discussions of the issues are occurring on a comedy channel? And how ironic is it that the most trusted newsman in America – a title long held by Walter Cronkite – is now Jon Stewart…who is not a newsman?

While I’m no hardcore conspiracy theorist, I do believe that corporations have become more powerful than countries, for they are single-minded beasts focused upon their own survival and they will eat their young to accomplish this. And yes, in a world where money doesn’t talk – it screams – I firmly believe that there are many movers and shakers perfectly content to keep us fat, drunk and happy in front of our televisions and game consoles. The literacy rate in America is frighteningly low, and the isolation of our people through the very technology that was supposed to make our lives better is absolutely terrifying. And there are many who will feed on that weakness to instill fear and panic. And yes, they will eat us if we let them.

I’m amazed at how brazen some of our political crooks have been, and almost as shocked at how dim-witted some of our most popular political wanna-bes are. The job of President has changed from trusted leader to blame victim, where the rocks fly at the pedestal before the winner is even sworn in. I don’t believe that George Bush was an evil man, just a guy in way over his head who was being controlled by more sinister people on the background. And no, Obama is not the Anti-Christ, just a guy trying to solve a dozen crippling problems at once with a lack of support and not enough time. Our problems didn’t appear overnight, and it will take a while to rectify them.

But there is Fox News, spouting hyperbole through the mouths of con artists like Limbaugh and Beck and religious zealots like Hannity. And on the other side, Olbermann and Maddow swat down their foolishness with the same slanted logic and carefully chosen arguments, just from the other side of the coin. Both Fox and MSNBC trot out a legion of experts and analysts who are simply echoing the party lines, and this madness is just escalated to that much more white noise when elections draw near.

Enough!

If you made it this far, you can read and think, and that’s a lot more credit than you are getting from the panic media. So as we approach this important mid-term election, I encourage you to do just that – read and think – and make up your own mind. Refuse to honor these negative ads. Look at a candidate’s statements and accomplishments. Challenge blanket bullshit statements like “I will cut taxes” and “I will create jobs” – ask how! And then when you get in that booth, enjoy that freedom that our forefathers fought so hard to attain.

Tomorrow is the Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear at the Mall in Washington DC. Maybe there’s one final chance for people to stop listening to the fringe maniacs and realize what we already know – most of us are sane, logical, caring people who love our country and way of life and are tired of being lied to and taken for granted. Whether you learned the lesson 234 years ago or you learned it this decade, remember that we stand together or we perish.

Here are Ten Tasteful Themes for your rally signs…don’t fall for those political Jedi mind tricks!

Let’s keep the scares limited to Halloween where they belong.


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The Teabag Party

Maybe the way to defeat a stupid idea is with a stupider idea.

That’s what the Tea Party seems like to me. Hey, I’m no fan of lame politicians who get free lifetime health care benefits yet can’t seem to understand that affordable healthcare for the rest of us is an important issue. Or the radio zealots who twist and turn everything into an urgent problem because that’s what gets ratings and lines their pockets. I’m an Independent; I think the function of the Republican and Democrat parties has devolved to the point where they exist just to battle each other. Both have forgotten who they work for – you and me.

So the premise of flushing out lazy incumbents is a good one, but unfortunately the Tea Party is not ambivalent in their cause; they’re simply focused upon a hardcore right-wing agenda. These are the people who think Ronald Reagan was the greatest President in American history rather than an emasculated B-movie actor who consulted psychics but succeeded only because he was an actor who could read the cue cards.  (The Republicans apparently forgot the value of this gimmick in recent years.)

I just can’t believe so many people take the drivel they’re given and follow it like sheep. But no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American Public.

America has a long legacy of brilliant, inventive women leaders, yet the first female presidential candidate might be one of the most ill-informed pinheads ever to walk the Earth. And I’m not sure what’s more frightening – the fact that she could actually win or that a large percentage of the population doesn’t realize that she is as dumb as a rock when it comes to foreign policy, economics, world culture or any critical issue facing our country.

So if I’m going to wallow in political hysteria, at least I’m going to get some laughs out of it. Enter Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who (along with a staff or crack writers and performers) probably bring more sanity to the whole damned thing despite the comedy than Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann do with their passionate yet slanted perspectives.

So I’m going to side with what I will refer to as the Teabag Party. See you on October 30th in Washington DC! If all else fails, and we don’t restore sanity to the masses, at least the day after the rally is Halloween. Then we’ll have two reasons to have the shit scared out of us.

And as for America and the elections? We’ll get what we deserve. To paraphrase Tiny Tim…”God help us, every one“.

Jon Stewart’s Rally To Restore Sanity

Stephen Colbert’s  March To Keep Fear Alive

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T.G.I.F. – Ten TV Tips

 

OK, couch potatoes – Fall Season is here

Not that I’m actually going to have time to watch all of these – some will actually be better as weekend marathons on DVD – but at least I could find ten new shows that seem to be worth checking out. And sure, the networks are still cloning cop shows and lawyer shows and even sinking one new program’s hopes immediately by casting Jerry O’Connell in it. He is the Ted McGinley of his generation…now that Jason Gedrick isn’t making pilots anymore. 

Yeah, I’m skeptical – and I’m not alone. Before it even aired, Outlaw was savaged by the press, despite the presence (and publicity efforts) of usual favorite Jimmy Smits; the premise was just too preposterous. And despite the always alluring Dana Delaney and Jeri Ryan, their show Body Of Proof might be its own cadaver

I’m not going to get too excited if a show starts out great, because I’ve seen some of the best shows get shot down in their infancy despite stellar writing, casting and performances. I still wince when I think about EZ Streets and Better Off Ted, and there’s a laundry list beyond those two. But before I throw my glass at the television, it’s always half-full. 

So here are Ten TV Tips for the upcoming Fall season, in random order. Remember, there’s no gambling, these suggestions are for personal enjoyment only; we do not guarantee ratings. In fact, you might not want to blink or you could miss a couple of them entirely… 

  

01) Boardwalk Empire – A prohibition-era gangster show on pay cable with Steve Buscemi and Marty Scorcese? Are you kidding me? Reason enough to buy HBO, but I’ll probably wait to watch it all in one weekend. 

02) The Event I’ll admit it, they’ve hooked me with the promos. And anytime Zeljko Ivanek is on a show – especially if he’s a little on the corrupt side – that show is worth following

03) Lone Star Con men rule. Jon Voight rules. Texas rules. I’m in. 

04) Running Wilde – Will Arnett playing an asshole. Do you really need any more information than that to tune in? 

05) Detroit 187 Michael Imperioli back as a cop after the unjustly cancelled Life On Mars. Perhaps the modern clothing and the lack of a porn stache will work this time. 

The next great epic, Boardwalk Empire

 

06) The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret – I’m still pissed at IFC for cancelling Jackie Woodman, but if they are putting David Cross on television I almost forgive them. 

07) Terriers – Already airing and after two episodes I’m liking it. At first I thought it would mimic The Unusuals, but it’s more Elmore Leonard-ish. 

08) No Ordinary Family I’m only thinking of watching this because I can’t picture Michael Chiklis following up The Shield with a crap series. Yes, I saw The Fantastic Four… 

09) Lights Out It’s boxing and redemption. It’s FX. It’s gonna rock

10) Shit My Dad Says – What if Captain Kirk slept with Denny Crane? Yeah, this could suck out loud, but I’ll give William Shatner a chance. 

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Emmy Time

Jimmy Fallon proves he is *not* a Vulcan.

I’ve really turned the corner on Jimmy Fallon. 

Truthfully, he used to annoy the hell out of me on SNL, but then most of that regime usually did. Jimmy always seemed sloppy and amateurish, laughing at this own jokes, but then again I hated Tina Fey always repeating the punch lines to her jokes when doing the news. Time heals

It’s refreshing to see someone who knows he has a long road to the top be willing to take some chances and be genuinely thrilled to be in the late night hunt. I got that from Conan O’Brien when he first started under duress, and it’s one of the characteristics that has made Craig Ferguson so endearing. 

So I’m excited to see what Jimmy will bring to the big stage at the Emmy Awards  tonight. I’m hoping a good dose of irreverence, since this is such a self-congratulatory event. But there has been a pretty big paradigm shift in television, from the power struggles in late night to who is behind the successful money-making comedies. The dynamic is younger and hipper, and that’s his audience and his peer base. 

In the meantime, some wishes for some of the major categories – my ballot for whom I’d like to win, not who I think will win. 

It’s going to be interactive tonight – tweets, emails, IMs, live blogs. Since I have a life, I’ll defer my reactions to it all until tomorrow

 

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper
Larry David as Himself
Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester
Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk
Steve Carell as Michael Scott
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy  

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Bryan Cranston as Walter White

Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan
Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House
Matthew Fox as Jack Shephard
Jon Hamm as Don Draper  

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Lea Michele as Rachel Berry
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon
Toni Collette as Tara Gregson  

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson
Glenn Close as Patty Hewes
Connie Britton as Tami Taylor
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick
Mariska Hargitay as Det. Olivia Benson
January Jones as Betty Draper  

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson
Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker
Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper  

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman
Martin Short as Leonard Winstone
Terry O’Quinn as John Locke
Michael Emerson as Ben Linus
John Slattery as Roger Sterling
Andre Braugher as Owen  

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester
Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy
Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett
Kristen Wiig as Various Characters
Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney
Holland Taylor as Evelyn Harper  

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Sharon Gless as Madeline Westen
Rose Byrne as Ellen Parsons
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma
Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart
Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson  

Outstanding Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO
Glee • FOX
Modern Family • ABC
Nurse Jackie • Showtime
The Office • NBC
30 Rock • NBC  

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad • AMC
Dexter • Showtime
The Good Wife • CBS
Lost • ABC
Mad Men • AMC
True Blood • HBO 

Remembering Katrina, five years ago. People *still* need help.

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