Monday, July 30, 2012

The CW to Air Dr. Horrible

Looks like the good ... er, evil ... Dr. is moonlighting on the Evil League of Evil ... and don't we just love that!

It's no secret I'm a huge fan of the CW.  After all, they've kept my beloved Supernatural on the air for a soon-to-be eight years, renewed the kick-ass Nikita and a majority of what I watch network-TV wise is on it.

Now they earn even higher praise by signing a deal to air the fantastical, Emmy-winning, cult online hit Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, directed and co-written by fantasy-genre mastermind Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Angel, Dollhouse) and starring Neil Partick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Nathan Fillion (Castle), Felicia Day (Eureka) and Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory).

In case you're new to the world of this web sensation, here's the low-down:  Shy, unassuming Billy (Harris), in the form of his alter ego, Dr. Horrible, relates his ongoing efforts to join Bad Horse and the Evil League of Evil through a video blog, sharing emails, future operations and plans to rule the world.  But Billy has another mission - to find the courage to talk to his longtime crush and laundry buddy Penny (Day), a quirky do-gooder who strives to establish a homeless shelter and who is unaware of Billy's double-life.

He also must contend with his nemesis Captain Hammer (Fillion), a self-absorbed, pompous superhero who saves Penny from a botched attempt by the Dr. to obtain Wonderflonium to power his freeze ray. To Billy's dismay, Penny and Hammer begin dating, driving Horrible to step up his efforts - with the support of sidekick Moist (Helberg), very appropriately named - which lead to an unfortunate, heartbreaking tragedy.

Mind you, all of this is done with Whedon's trademark humor, wit and snark and glorious original songs you'll be singing again and again.  Harris is brilliant (hell, when isn't he?) in the lead role, the loveable Fillion plays a fantastic douchebag, and Day is authentic, charming and sweet.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog will air Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 9 p.m. on the CW.  It is also available on iTunes and DVD.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

64th Annual Primetime Emmy Nominations

The nominations for the 64th annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced this morning.  While there some of the the usual suspects (Alec Baldwin again?) and wrongful omissions (John Noble on Fringe), and there is very little non-cable network representation, there are actually a lot of new contenders, which is a nice surprise (Claire and Julianna, it's yours to lose...)

I know who I'll be rooting for (my choices in Bold).  Who do you like for Emmy Gold?

And the nominees are:

Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Mad Men

Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland

Kathy Bates, Harry's Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland 
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Juliann Marguiles, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Jared Harris, Mad Men
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad

Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

The Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Modern Family
30 Rock

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation

Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Ed O'Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives
Sofie Vergara, Modern Family
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live

American Horror Story
Game Change
Hatfields & McCoys
Hemingway & Gellhorn
Sherlock: Scandal in Belgravia

Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: Scandal in Belgravia
Idris Elba, Luther
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Bill Paxton, Hatfields & McCoys

Connie Britton, American Horror Story
Ashley Judd, Missing
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Emma Thompson, The Story of Lunch

Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys
Martin Freeman, Sherlock: Scandal in Belgravia
Ed Harris, Game Change
Denis O'Hare, American Horror Story
David Strathairn, Hemingway & Gellhorn

Frances Conroy, American Horror Story
Judy Davis, Page Eight
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Sarah Paulson, Game Change
Mare Winningham, Hatfields & McCoys

The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice

Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Betty White, Betty White's Off Their Rockers

The Cobert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

The Emmy Awards will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and air on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST on ABC.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Comic-Con 2012

Had another amazing time at Comic-Con, beating the odds and getting a re-sale pass to Sunday, the day panels for two of my favorite shows, Supernatural and Fringe, were on. SO much goodness!

I have to say - as humbly as I can - that I have a fated connection with Supernatural.  From day one I have managed to get into nearly every event featuring members of the show - conventions, panels, book signings, talk shows - I have gone after, sometimes last minute, sometimes against the odds, and this weekend was no different.  If you could have seen the line for Hall H at the San Diego Convention Center and the thousands of people on it waiting to go in (a great deal were for Dr. Who but Fringe and Supernatural fans made up a grand number), you could see why not everyone who wanted to got in.  But because I went with CC veterans who had a solid plan of attack, we were able to get seats.  We were toward the back - the panelists looked like tiny little specs - but we were in and had a great view of the very large screens, had our Fringe fedoras atop our heads and were among friends, so party on! 

Please do forgive the quality of my pictures.  I know I could go online and find professional ones, but darnit, I was there and I have my own and am choosing to share them with you!
So, we just missed the beginning of the Fringe panel, which opened with an incredible preview of the upcoming fifth and final season.  We were busy just trying to find seats in the nearly pitch black, but it looks incredible.  The panelists included executive producer J.H. Wyman and cast members Anna Torv (Olivia Dunham), Joshua Jackson (Peter Bishop), John Noble (Walter Bishop), Lance Reddick (Phillip Broyles) and Jasika Nicole (Astrid Farnsworth). 
 Topics included how the show will end (from a possible two and a half ideas, the chosen one became very clear to Wyman, and the cast has already been informed of it and what will happen to their characters). Also discussed was what the cast and writers believe the show has always been ultimately grounded in:  love.  "It's the thing that holds Fringe together," said Noble.
Not many spoilers were given because Wyman wants the fans to enjoy the ride to the end as it happens without knowing anything ahead of time. Jackson agreed that that's how he would want it if he himself were a viewer.   Jackson added that he thinks "Peter and Olivia will get the final chapter of their story" and Torv concurred. 
Nicole - who at one point broke into tears talking about Torv's talent, causing Torv herself to break down, followed shortly after by Reddick (sorry, Lance, know you asked us not to mention it but it was a lovely moment...) - talked about how she fully expected to be killed off early on and that since this is her first show she'd have been okay with that, but is thrilled to still be around for season 5.  This woman is a gem and I can't wait to see what she does next.  She spoke of the natural chemistry she has with Noble both on and off screen and that, being a comic book author herself, would love to continue Fringe's story - though it would be "The Adventures of Astrid."  She also added that she has read some of the racier Fringe fan fiction that has been written and, with a playful finger wag, called the authors "scandalous."
 The cast was asked about their favorite scenes that they were not in.  Many spoke of Nicole's incredibly touching scenes when her two characters, the Astrids from both universes, finally interacted (the cause of the aforementioned tearfest).  Noble expressed his love of the scenes where Peter cut off a man's fingers and Olivia shot 17 men.  Then he and Jackson talked about the losing-your-lunch moments Fringe has often created.

If you haven't watched this show, do.  It's an incredible, fantastical adventure with terrific characters and a compelling mythology.  And Noble's performance as Walter has been and continues to be Emmy-worthy.
Next it was my beloved Supernatural panel.  The panelists included new showrunner Jeremy Carver, writer/consulting producer Ben Edlund and cast members Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester), Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester), Mark A. Sheppard (Crowley), Misha Collins (Castiel) and Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer).  I had thought I had recorded their entrance - Ackles acted like a giddy schoolgirl upon Padalecki's arrival - but alas I have a new camera and obviously need more practice cause I don't have it.  But it was hilarious.
Hell, the whole panel was a laugh riot, and that's not bias.  These guys are hysterical! This team is so comfortable with each other that the teasing and comraderie is non-stop and because they had a great time, we did, too.  I have to say - and this is the fan girl in me coming out - Ackles looked gorgeous as ever and, while he's an equally good-looking man, Padalecki is in desperate need of a haircut.  Perhaps it's a character choice for the upcoming season.
On to the panel.  Here as well, no one wanted to give away too many details of the upcoming season, but we did get a few juicy tidbits, the main being that the Winchester brothers will be reunited very quickly (when last we left them, Dean was in Purgatory and Sam was topside and very much alone) and the season will feature many flashbacks to their time apart (about a year in their time).  We will see how each coped with their time apart - which Carver says has a profound effect on them both and which each will carry with them throughout the season - and the relationships built during that time.

"[These characters] are emotional shut-ins that have to learn to deal with other people," commented Edlund.  One such relationship will include Sam's new love interest (the recently cast Liane Balaban).
Other topics included:
  • Ackles' directing of his third episode (currently shooting), which will be a one-off and a bloody one at that.  
  • The question of whether Beaver's dearly and recently departed character, Bobby Singer, will return.  "It's Supernatural, so anything's possible, which I've said about 7,000 times this weekend," he commented.
  • The theme of season will be a la Raiders of the Lost Ark - several parties all going after one big power source.
  • How exactly do you pluralize the word Apocalypse?  Padalecki went with Apocali while a fan came up with Apocalypticai.
  • Ackles is a master at milking the audience.  Upon a comment, the crowd cheered and whooped and he proceeded to alternate signals of "no, stop" and "keep it coming" with subtle brilliance for about a minute. Adorable.
  • Which deceased character would they like to see brought back? Beaver emphatically raised his hand, while Richard Speight, Jr.'s Gabriel and Rob Benedict's Chuck were mentioned.  Ackles pointed out that both men were in the audience and hence warned them that they were now "not getting out of there."  He also outed attendee Sebastian Roche (Balthazar).
  • According to Ackles, "when you show up to wardrobe and your outfit includes plumbing (for blood spewage), it's not gonna be a good day."
Carver left us with this:  they are going to pull back from the heavy, heavy mythology and give the brothers a chance to come out from  the crushing amount they've been subjected to in past seasons and open them up to new areas.  And Ackles thanked the fans for the show's move to Wednesdays this fall.  "Friday is where shows go to die and our move is because of you."  Happy to support and you're most welcome. Here's to many more seasons!

Seriously, folks, watch these shows.  They are both winners and quality TV entertainment.  Fringe will air Fridays at 9 p.m. on FOX starting Sept. 28, Supernatural at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays on the CW starting Oct. 3.

Oh, and I did have one more awesome CC moment: 
A surprise Nathan Fillian spotting!  Gorramit, did I HATE missing the Firefly 10-year reunion.  Will definitely be catching the Science Channel special that will air this November.

Oh, and this was cool, too!
Yes, I was a fan of the original and that car is friggin' sweet!

Thanks always for tuning in!  Always more to come.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review - Trust Us With Your Life

Improv is back in prime time!

Fans of the hilarious classic Whose Line is it Anyway? can rejoice that their favorite improvisers - including Wayne Brady, Greg Proops, Colin Mochrie and Jonathan Mangum - are back for more on the fly, off-the-cuff fun (no Ryan Stiles yet, but it's early...).

In this new format, a celebrity guest (tonight's double-ep premiere featured tennis great Serena Williams, then Kelly and Jack Osbourne), who has been pre-interviewed, is then asked by host Fred Willard to elaborate on select highlights and funny moments from their lives.  The players are then called upon to act out the scenes, implementing various improv gimics and games:
  • "Rap It" - during the scene, the announcer calls out "Rap It!', causing the players to break into rap until the announcer calls out "Word!", then the scene continues normally.
  • "Sideways Scene" - the players are lying on the ground with the camera positioned above them, making them look like they are floating in mid-air.  Visually hilarious.
  •  "Change It!" - the players perform a scene, then Fred gives them a different theme (like a Jerry Springer episode, like Elvis) which is incorporated in the re-performance. 
  • "Bell/Horn" - a scene is acted out and if it goes as the celeb remembers (as close to it, anyway),  the bell is rung ... if not, they get the horn and must change the scene until they get the bell.
Being an improviser myself, I am thrilled to have these guys back on TV!  This is and always has been good, clean, laugh-out-loud fun and it's a welcome return of old friends we get to enjoy all over again.  I still like the Whose Line format best, but this is a cool rendition, too.   Reminds me of a game we play in my weekly show, called "This Is Your Life", and it's a fan favorite. 

Toward the end the celeb is pulled into a scene and the show closes with "Special Messages" from "people" in the celeb's life, of course performed once again by the players.

Everyone, be it the guest, players or audience, all look like they are having a blast and its incredibly infectious.  I know this is a short lived summer series, but it's one I'll look forward to for however long it's on.  Hope these guys won't stay away so long next time.

Bottom Line:  Trust this show with your viewing time!

Trust Us With Your Life airs Tuesdays at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on ABC.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review - Perception

TNT's new procedural series Perception stars Eric McMcCormack (Will & Grace, Trust Me) as Chicago neuroscientist and college professor Dr. Daniel Pierce, whose unique ability to see things - behaviors, lies, etc. - is used to help the government solve complex criminal cases.

Here we have yet another male/female crime-solving partnership (think Castle, Bones, Fringe): Daniel is recruited by former student-turned FBI agent Kate Moretti (Rachel Leigh Cook, Psych), knowing that his expertise in forensic neuro-psychiatry (he's written four books on the subject) can prove invaluable in finding the truth and solving the case.

Moretti's story is this:  she's been demoted and transferred back to the Windy City because she "has a tendency to go beyond the scope of [her] assigned investigation."  And perhaps for crazy pursuit tactics like jumping off a second-story fire escape to tackle a fleeing suspect (I know TV is all about suspension of disbelief but come on!). 

Then there's the leeway she affords Daniel:  he's allowed full access to all aspects of a case - viewing of police files, interrogating suspects by himself while Moretti and others watch from the next room - with nary an objection except by the stereotypically gruff, bullish detectives who are unsurprisingly, verbally skeptical of Daniel's abilities.

The reason for the skepticism is not a secret - Dr. Pierce is clearly not playing with a full orchestra (though he does "air conduct" to calm himself in stressful situations) He's paranoid, twitchy, socially awkward and above all, prone to hallucinations.  Think a less overt, more functional John Nash in A Beautiful Mind (I would guess the show's creators are a fan of the film - they make use of a trick used in the movie to show how Daniel pieces together things - scrambled words visually unscramble to reveal a hidden anagram). 

These hallucinations, however, actually help Daniel to piece info together to get to the truth, and herein lies the selling point of the show:  an eccentric, brilliant, functioning nut with a unique gift helps make a difference in the world.  Daniel's insecurities may inhibit him from living a normal life and having normal relationships (as a colleague puts it, he is "petrified of anything remotely resembling an intimate connection with another human being"), but he does have a place and a purpose.  Question is, where will the show take us?  Will it just continue on even keel as in the pilot, or over the course of time will Daniel's mental issues break him down, as Claire Danes' Carrie did in Showtime's brilliant Homeland?  As he states in a lecture to his students, "if what we perceive is often wrong, how can we ever know what's real and what isn't?"  Fortunately, he does have help and support from the college dean, played by Levar Burton (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and a personal assistant named Lewicki (Arjay Smith, Malcolm in the Middle, 24).

Alas, Perception doesn't work for me.  I appreciate the unique twist to the procedural formula it's trying to make, but there's more weakness here than strength.  It's nice to see McCormack in this different type of role, but he doesn't completely break away from his iconic "Will" here as he did in the more recent advertising drama Trust Me.  Daniel's neuroses are very similar to Will's.  And Daniel's rattling off of inane information and random facts isn't done nearly as charmingly as Sasha Alexander does with her character Maura Isles in TNT's highly entertaining Rizzoli & Isles.

The weakest element of Perception is Cook.  I just don't buy her as an FBI agent at all.  I applaud her for getting the chance to try and depart from the roles of the sweet girl-next-door she's so often cast in, but let's face it, that's who she is, what she does best.  She just doesn't have certain stature, grit or attitude I feel is needed, even if the character of Moretti is supposed to be a softer agent.  I still think you need some of that when playing an FBI agent (see Gillian Anderson's Dana Scully in The X Files), and Cook just doesn't. Additionally, her reactions to Daniel, who often says wildly inappropriate things at inopportune moments, miss the mark.  Be it shock, anger, appall - it all looks the same, the same expression for all.  Wide eyes just don't cut it here.  For better examples of strong females in the law enforcement persona, see Castle's Stana Katic and Fringe's Anna Torv.

Bottom Line:  I don't perceive this show as a winner.

Perception airs Monday nights at 10 p.m. on TNT.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hot Picks for the Week

Here's What's Good to Watch This Week:


Final Season Premiere 9 p.m. on TNT

Series Premiere 10 p.m. on TNT


Season 4 Premiere 9 p.m. on USA

 Season 3 Premiere 10 p.m. on USA

 Final Season Premiere 9 p.m. on DirecTV


Season 5 Premiere 8 p.m. onTNT

1st Half of Final Season Premiere 10 p.m. on AMC


Monday, July 2, 2012

Hot Picks for This Week

Here are some hot picks to watch this week:


12-Hour Marathon of Most Explosive Episodes, Starts at 11 a.m. on ABC Family

Sharon Lawrence Guest Stars,  9 p.m. on TNT


Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, 9 p.m. on NBC


Season 3 Preview Weekend (Includes All 19 Previous Episodes, Talking Dead Special and Premiere of the Pilot in Black-and-White), Starts Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on AMC

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