Friday, November 30, 2007

October Round-Up

OK. This is the last day to get this up before December--which in itself is completely freaking terrifying. December? You mean to tell me another year of my life is almost over? And I am that much closer to 40?

But there's Christmas coming up too, so all is well. Except for the fact that OH MY GOD IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS AND I HAVEN'T EVEN BEGUN TO SHOP!

Ahhh. October...things were so much simpler then.

Movies Seen: Twelve, with two in theaters. One of those two was "The Darjeeling Limited," which I liked a lot. As far as Wes Anderson movies go, I'd put it above "The Life Aquatic," but below "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tenenbaums." Not sure where "Bottle Rocket" fits in...The other, "A Skin Too Few," hardly counts as a movie, as it was quite short, and several years old, and can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube. But I wrote a brief review of it, if you want to read it. As for the movies on DVD, I think I most enjoyed "Crazy Love" which is a completely entertaining documentary about the most fucked up romance in the history of fucked up romances.

Books Read: Four. I went on a classic horror lit kick--if two books can be called a "kick"--reading both "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Psycho" for the first time. I think the version of "Body Snatchers" I read was a revised edition, because it took place in 1976, and was set in Mill Valley and not "Santa Mira." Why they felt the need to revise it, I have no idea. The other books were “Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style”--Tim Gunn would have a heart attack if he took a look inside my closets--and "Lost and Found," which should be read by any fan of "The Amazing Race."

Fancy Dinners Out: Sadly, none.

Live Shows Seen: None. Although I did go to the race track. Went in with 60 bucks. Bet on two races, bought two drinks, two hot dogs, and left with 62 bucks. Not bad. Even if the hot dogs were only a buck each. And I had to wait in line 45 minutes to get them.

Shoes Bought: None. Jeeze. What the hell did I waste my time doing in October anyway?!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Coming Soon to the Circle Star Theater

This week's Streets of San Fauxcisco post is now up on the SFGate: Culture Blog!

There won't be a post next week because the shows aren't airing Friday or Monday. In the case of "Journeyman," it's possible the next episode may be its definitive last (as opposed to just the last episode they've got in the can) because it hasn't officially been picked up for a full season yet. I'm hoping it does get renewed; as silly as it is, I've still been enjoying it more than most of the new shows that premiered this year...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I've Called This Meeting to Discuss What Happened Last Night at Kenneth's Party

I was just granted beta access to yet another online video site, called Hulu. It's got Fox and NBC programs, and that's about it for now, but I wanted to test out its embedding feature, which allows you to create your own clips from episodes to embed. Here's one of my favorite moments from "30 Rock" this season.

It looks like the whole episode is actually up there, it just jumps to the part I specified when you play it. But I think you can then jump around the whole episode or watch the whole thing by going back on the time bar. Which, is cool. I guess.


I watched "Battlestar Galactica: Razor" and really don't have much to say about it, but I just had to comment on the Quizno's spots that ran before the commercials. After something important plot-wise was revealed in the movie, they'd recap it in commercial form, and this one was just too, too funny.

I suppose it's a spoiler, so if you haven't watched the movie yet, you've been warned....

He Himself--the Grinch!--Carved the Roast Beast

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is on at 8:30 tonight on ABC, preceded by a new "Shrek" Christmas special, if you like that sort of thing.

"The Grinch" tends to be repeated a lot during the Holiday season, so if you miss it tonight, I'm sure there will be other opportunities...

Or you could just watch it all right here!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Never Thought It Was Such a Bad Little Tree

Let the Christmas TV season begin! "A Charlie Brown Christmas" airs tonight at 8pm on ABC.

(And for those who don't believe the Christmas season begins until December, it will be repeated next Monday the 3rd at 8.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fashion From the Basement

This week's reality TV locals/"Project Runway" recap is now up on SFist!

Warning: fabric imbibed with spit and essence ahead.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dog Show!....Dog Show!.....Dog Show!

Dimey watching the traditional Thanksgiving Dog Show.

I tend to react the same way whenever I'm watching "America's Next Top Model."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's (Almost) Turkey Lurkey Time!

Oh boy! I can almost taste the stuffin' 'n' gravy! I can hardly wait! In honor of the holiday, here's a song that's really more about Christmas, but they sing about turkey, so what the hell. It's extremely catchy. I dare you not to not sing it the rest of the day after listening to it. It was originally in the Burt Bacharach, Neil Simon musical "Promises, Promises," but this version is from the movie "Camp," which is a really good little indie movie about a summer camp for theater geeks.

I hope every one has a terrific Thanksgiving! If everything goes as planned, I should end up like this come Thursday night.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Popcorn, Jelly Beans, Pretzels, and Toast

Turkey TV alert! "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" is on tonight at 8pm on ABC!

What About That Poor, Sad, Lonely Rose?

Can I just say that I LOVED the finale for "The Bachelor." Finally, a guy had the guts to admit he didn't love either of those women, instead of faking it for the finale, and then for a few months, before breaking up with the chick like all those past bachelors have done.

Bravo Chad, or Brad, or whatever the hell your name is. Bravo!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fabric Poo

The week's reality TV locals post is now up on SFist, and it's totally "Project Runway"-centric, which is a welcome relief from the likes of "The Bachelor," believe you me.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

State of TV: In Conclusion

So, there you have. My TV watching habits in several nutshells. Of course, what I talked about are not the only shows I watch. I chose to focus on the major networks, but there's a ton of crap on cable I also manage to consume every week including such gems as "I Love New York 2," "America's Most Smartest Model" and "The Real World," to name just three.

I think the main point I wanted to make about this TV season is that none of it is very exciting to me. There are only one or two shows I genuinely look forward to watching every week, and many more that I could see end forever and not care a bit. As much as "Lost" was pissing me off last season, I'm finding I'm really missing it this season. Even when it bugged me, it was a show I cared about, and that's lacking this year. The writer's strike means I may have to wait even longer to see the new season start up. The same thing might happen with "Battlestar Galactica," but at least there's that "Razor" movie to look forward to on November 24th. This coming weekend! Set those TiVos! And if you've never watched "Battlestar Galactica" before, I think it's safe to watch this since it's a prequel. So no excuses! Watch it! It's bound to be better than most of the crap the networks have been feeding us this year...

Friday, November 16, 2007

State of TV: Fridays

Fridays. A relatively calm night for TV.

At 8:00 there's "Men in Trees," which continues to be an extremely guilty pleasure, which is strange because I was never a fan of "Northern Exposure" and it's basically the same show. I suppose it's the "Sex and the City" influence that keeps me watching.

Also at 8 is "The Next Great American Band," which I don't think anyone else is actually watching. It's "American Idol" but in band form, and while some of the bands suck, it is nice to finally see a talent-based show where the performers actually play their own instruments and songs. Don't get me wrong. They're still required to play through "Billy Joel Night" and "Elton John Night," but at least they're allowed to do their own arrangements of the covers. So far my fave is Tres Bien, which, despite the stupid name, is a fun band full of young guys totally enamored with 60s pop.

I also like the Clark Brothers from Tennessee. I don't think any of these bands are poised to take America by storm, but I'm still finding it as entertaining as "American Idol," if not more, although the judges leave a lot to be desired.

At 9 there's "Women's Murder Club" which I really only watch because I have to for my Streets of San Fauxcisco posts. It's a dumb show. Really dumb. And like many a dumb show, it's very, very easy to watch; your basic crime procedureal with female bonding thrown into the mix.

And that's it really. "Meerkat Manor" has gone into reruns, thank god, because I couldn't take any more of the heartbreak that show was throwing at me. I didn't think they could top the death of Flower as far as pathos goes, but then Mozart, the sad outcast who was trying to make it on her own up and gets killed while all by herself one sad night--after a day in which she was able to finally partner up with a potential mate. *SOB*!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

State of TV: Thursdays

Lordy. Thursday is another ridiculously crowded night of television. To wit:

At 8 there's "Ugly Betty," which I continue to watch with much indifference. In fact, I just realized I haven't watched last week's episode yet, and that's not a good sign. "Survivor: China" has the problem I knew it would have the minute the location was announced: the show's not nearly as watchable when it's not set on a deserted island surrounded by clear blue water. A camp next to a dingy lake in China just isn't quite as picturesque, so there's nothing to distract from the annoying castaways. Lastly there's "My Name Is Earl," which I continue to watch to just to hear lines like, "The only reason I haven't cut this baby out myself is because the Cesarean scar and my prom scar would make a weird little crucifix right above my landing strip!" come out of the mouth of Jamie Pressley.

At 8:30 is probably the only show this season I eagerly look forward to week after week, and the only show I will be truly sad to see go on hiatus because of the writer's strike. I am speaking, of course, of "30 Rock." If you aren't watching this show I just don't know what's wrong with you, but perhaps this clip can help persuade you to give it a go. I think it will be hard to top that moment this season, although the aftermath of Kenneth's party last week came damn close.

Which brings us to 9:00 and "Grey's Anatomy." I find it hard to talk about this show without filling with rage at the whole Gizzie fiasco. I just hate that they put Callie through such hell just to have that stupid George and Izzie relationship crash and burn. But I probably feel that way because I think the actress who plays Callie, Sara Ramirez, is fracking awesome. Have you seen any of her songs from "Spamalot"? Wow.

I can't wait until "Grey's" starts to tank in the ratings and they do a musical episode, so Sara Ramirez can just blow all those whiny twits out of the hospital.

Also at 9 is "CSI," but there's not much to say about that. It's the same as it ever was, with or without the presence of Jorja Fox. Which brings us to "The Office." I'm still digging it, but am especially pleased that they haven't (as of yet) tried to drive some kind of contrived wedge between Pam and Jim, instead allowing the workplace stuff be the center of the show, and letting Pam and Jim just be a happy couple. It's awfully refreshing. Alas, the writer's strike seems to be hitting this show first, and there aren't any more new episodes to look forward to after tonight...

Another show that might get hit kind of hard by the strike is "Scrubs," which is on at 9:30. This is its final season, and NBC wants to end the series a lot sooner than the writers of the show do, and I think they even had some non-union people edit the last show that had been shot, and want to use it as the series finale. That's pretty sad.

Moving on to the 10 o'clock hour and "ER." They're putting Abby through the ringer again, having her fall back into alcoholism and a really, really bad one night stand with her boss. This will probably prove disastrous for her marriage to Kovach, which is a shame because I was really hoping she'd finally found some peace. But, this is a drama, and "dramatic" things must happen. Doesn't mean I like it, though.

Finally, there's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." And am I missing something or have they not mentioned at all yet this season the fact that Goren's dad might be a serial killer? That was revealed at the end of last season, wasn't it? Regardless, the show hasn't really changed much since moving to the USA Network, which is good. Although I would be much happier if Vincent D'Onofrio got some kind of spin-off that just featured him walking around crime scenes making impossibly accurate deductions. For an entire hour.

New San York

This week's Streets of San Fauxcisco post is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

State of TV: Wednesdays

I just got back from a fancy dinner with a friend that involved a few cocktails, so apologies if this isn't the most coherent or comprehensive of posts. My desire to get this up before Thursday compels me to finish it!

OK. Wednesdays. 8pm. "Pushing Daisies." This show suffers from two major flaws. First, it is just way to twee. Every time the two leads beam at each other like the love sick fools they are, I roll my eyes so hard that sometimes my eyeballs don't face front again until the show is almost over. I usually see enough of an episode to know, however, that the second thing wrong with this show is that most of the plot each week tends to focus on a crime, and it is therefore just another damned crime procedural, and I am sick of those...I do like Chuck's wardrobe every week, though.

Also at eight is "Kid Nation," and if you need some explanation as to why I watch this show, just check this out, (skip ahead to about 3:30 for the real awesomeness):

Jared is my hero.

Lastly at 8 there's "America's Next Top Model," and it's the usual stupidity, but this time they have a model with Asperger's syndrome, and she's kind of rad.

Nine is another one of those hours of TV in which I watch something on more than two channels. Four, in fact. "Private Practice" is one of those shows, and the main reason I tend to watch it--and the main reason it seems to exist at all--is because of the inherent likability of its lead, Kate Walsh. There are a few actresses who have that quality--I think Maura Tierney and Jenna Fischer are two others--and I find it kind of refreshing. It's not just that they're attractive (and all three of them are, but not in an obvious sexpot kind of way) or that they're funny (although, again, they are). It's that they are...likable. And there's just no other way to put it.

Slightly less likable is Michelle Ryan, AKA the "Bionic Woman." I take that back. She's not unlikable, she's just boring, and I think the show's creators realized this shortly after they began, and thus increased the screen time for the far more interesting Katee Sackhoff as Jamie Sommers' nemesis...But the show still suffers considerably from a real lack of spark.

I couldn't begin to tell you what's going on on "Gossip Girl," although I make an attempt to watch it every week. Something about rich teenagers in New York, I think. And finally at the 9 o'clock hour we have "Kitchen Nightmares," which is not nearly as compelling as the BBC version of the show. I'm not sure if Gordon Ramsey is just afraid to be quite so mean to the people in his own country, of if Fox just doesn't know that a little of Gordon is often more than enough. Either way, if you have BBC America, be sure to watch "Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares" instead of the Fox version.

At 10 is "Project Runway" which premieres tonight, and I haven't watched yet so I can't comment on it, and "Dirty Sexy Money," which I've found I only watch for the brief moments when Donald Sutherland appears on it. He's by far the most dynamic actor on the show, and the most compelling character.

And there you have it. Now pardon me as I go pass out...

Oh Sweet Merciful Jesus!

Women used to douche with Lysol?!??!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

State of TV: Tuesdays

I'll let you in on my dirty little secret about Tuesday nights: I watch both "The Biggest Loser" and "Beauty and the Geek." I find it very motivating to watch "The Biggest Loser" while I'm working out on my step machine, and as for "Beauty and the Geek," what can I say? I have a soft spot for geeks. And stupid women. And while I'm admitting to watching crappy TV, I'll also admit I watch "Carpoolers." The thing that got me to watch in the first place it it was created by Bruce McCulloch of "The Kids in the Hall," so I figured it was worth at least one viewing. It's not nearly as funny as anything on "Kids in the Hall," but it does have a small dose of absurdity that I appreciate.

At nine there's the "Dancing with Stars" results show which I usally don't watch at all, instead skipping to the very end to see who has been eliminated. And then there's "Reaper." That show had so much potential, and it's fallen short week after week. It's painfully formulaic, offering the same story structure week after week. (Weird things start to happen to Sam; he soon realizes what that means in regards to the soul he needs to recover; he gets the recovery vessel, which is usually something wacky; he can't tell the girl he likes what he does, and she gets pissed about his secrets; after several attempts and near death experiences, he captures the needed soul. Oh, and the devil makes an appearance at one point or another.) The one time they kind of strayed from the formula, in the episode with Patton Oswalt, it worked really well, so I don't know why they don't keep doing that. And Ray Wise continues to be the highlight of the show, which tempts me to say they should have more of him per episode, but I think that could also ruin it; too much of a good thing and all that. In all, the show has failed to meet the promise of the pilot, which is ironic since that episode was directed by Kevin Smith, and is thus the only thing Kevin Smith has ever done that didn't annoy the hell out of me.

Finally at 10 is the return of "Nip/Tuck." The doctors have moved their practice from Miami to Los Angeles, and so far that's been an improvement. They've been able to inject a lot of Hollywood satire into the show, which has been a welcome change from the personal craziness that had been the focus the past few seasons. And if you like seeing Julian McMahon partially naked, there's still plenty of that going on, although he seems to have put on a few pounds since arriving on the left coast...

Monday, November 12, 2007

State of TV: Mondays

Mondays are INSANE with the TV. There's no time for an introduction!

8:00! First there's "Dancing with the Stars." I got to see Marie Osmond faint without knowing it was coming, so that was fun. But truth be told I watch the 90 minute show in about 20 by just watching the dancing numbers and seeing the scores.

Next is "How I Met Your Mother," which has had some rocky episodes this season--the numerous post-break-up of Ted and Robin storylines to be specific--but it still manages to make me smile most of the time, though outright guffaws are few.

"Everybody Hates Chris" is another sitcom that doesn't make me laugh all that much, but I still think it's worth watching. But I have the same complaints I had last year, which is too often Chris Rock's narration announces jokes that should really just come organically from the story and the actors.

"Prison Break" is just ridiculous and is one of those shows I usually have on in the background while I'm doing other things, so I couldn't begin to tell you the plot this season. But I think it involves a prison break.

Lastly at the 8 o'clock hour is "Chuck," which I really wished I liked more, but it just isn't cutting it for me. It doesn't manage to make the whole secret spy thing very entertaining, the way "Alias" was able to, I don't care about Chuck at all, and his obnoxious best friend is just...obnoxious. Adam Baldwin is also completely wasted on the show.

At 8:30 there's only one show, and it's "Aliens In America" on the CW. It's at heart a sweet sitcom, but is often marred by these moments of vulgarity that seem wildly out of place and take me out of the comedy thinking, "Um. Ick."

At 9:00 the main show is "Heroes," and boy oh boy, has it sucked this season. While last season was certainly stupid, it was saved more than once by cliffhanger endings, and moments that just made you go, "Whoa. That was awesome." This season has had none of that, and instead the show just seems to be repeating season one, minus all the cool stuff. Come on. Didn't we deal with the post-apocalyptic New York thing already? What the hell? And why bring all the heroes together at the end of last season just to have them all completely separated again if you're not going to do anything new with the story? And can the black tears twins just die already? I want this story arc to just finish and I hope Tim Kring's promises to make things better come true.

Shockingly, "K-Ville" is still on, and it continues to disappoint. The only reason to watch it is to see the New Orleans scenery, because it certainly ain't because of the stories the show is telling...

At 9:30 is the sitcom "Samantha Who?" starring Christina Applegate as a girl with amnesia. It's made me laugh a few times, so I tolerate it. My favorite line of the season came after her boyfriend told her whenever she tried to explain her job to him, she would start to talk really slow, like he was a monkey, and she says, "There's no reason to talk slowly to to a monkey."

Finally at 10:00 there's "Journeyman," which I would probably still watch even if I didn't need to for my Culture Blog posts. I have a feeling it's going to be one of many victims of the writer's strike, and we may never find out just why Dan keeps hoping back in time, and why Livia is right there with him, which will be a shame. I will say this, though. It feels like the writers had a lot of the show's mystery planned out ahead of time--Livia turning out to be a time-traveller even before she met Dan; that weird science guy--and I appreciate that. I'm tired of shows that feel like the writers are just pulling stories out of their asses. (See "Heroes," above.)

Lastly, there's "The Bachelor," and while I'd like to say I only watched it because there was a local girl on it, and I therefore I had to watch it for my SFist posts, I can't because that would be a lie. Doesn't mean I'm not happy the season is ending soon, though.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

State of TV: Sundays

Last year I did a series of posts about how TV seemed to be holding up with the new season, and I suddenly realized if I want to do that again this year, I'd better step on it, as many of the shows currently on TV won't be on for much longer if the writers strike isn't settled soon. For instance, this week's episode of "The Office" is the last new episode they finished before the strike hit. Kinda scary how fast these things can take affect, huh?

So, anyway, here's what I think about the shows I currently watch on Sunday nights (which is a surprisingly empty TV night).

First is "The Simpsons" on at 8pm, and I'm sorry, but I still think it's hilarious. Yes, it has had funnier seasons, but it's a hell of a lot better than "Family Guy." I mean, COME ON!

Also at 8 is "The Amazing Race" which I've only watched one episode of so far, and so far, it's your standard "Amazing Race" awesomeness. Especially last week when one of the detours involved donkeys who refused to move when they needed to. And many racers were just incredulous that a donkey could be so stubborn. LOVE it.

At 9 it's nothing but "Desperate Housewives," a show I continue to watch even though I really kind of hate it. The strike can't affect it soon enough for me.

Finally, at 10 there's "Brothers & Sisters," which I like more than "Desperate Housewives," but is not a show I would ever tell someone they should totally make the time to watch.

I also watch "60 Minutes," but what can be said about that, really?

So there you have it. Sundays: A whole lotta meh.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Stryker...Strike Her!

I can't remember where I first saw this linked to, but this is a pretty good explanation for why the Writers Guild has gone on strike. It's too bad it's hampered by one of the worst audio mixes I've ever heard. And that's saying a lot for a YouTube video.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Scab. Picket. Don't! It Might Get Infected

I guess I should say something about the writers strike, huh?

I'm for it.

The end.

But really, I am all for the writers and what they want. I'm sure it's a lot more complicated than just "Studios = greedy = bad," and "Writers also = greedy, but not quite as bad." But I do think it's pretty obvious that if writers get residuals from reruns, they should also get residuals from any other kind of re-airing of their work, be it online or on DVD....

But more importantly, I'm actually kind of grateful for the break it's giving me in my daily viewing obligations in the late night TV realm. "The Daily Show," "The Colbert Report" and Letterman are currently in reruns. Letterman might come back on the air and try to wing it without a writing staff, which I think is a good thing because the bad thing about all this is that (for the most part) people who work on shows who AREN'T writers aren't getting paid while this strike is going on...

It's also interesting to see that many shows that would have probably been cancelled a long time ago because of bad ratings are remaining on the air because the networks can't afford to pull shows that are already written and filmed when they don't have anything that can go into production to replace them with. But on the other hand, it could also mean that new shows will be cancelled once their episodes run out because why reinvest in shows that could lose their audience after a long hiatus? Might as well start fresh...

Which means only one thing: Get ready for more reality and game shows. And I say: Bring it on. I have a lot of movies in my Netflix queue I'd like to watch.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Holy Crap, It's November!

How did that happen?

I was going to hype "Mad Men" once again because AMC will begin to air reruns of the season tonight, but it looks like they will air episode one tonight, and then for some unfathomable reason will be skipping to episode four next week. Well, I guess that's better than nothing?

In other TV news, Joss Whedon is reteaming with Eliza Dushku for a series on Fox. Hopes are high, but then again I am one of the few people who really didn't go for "Firefly" at all, so Whedon has yet to impress me post-"Buffy"...

Oh, and this week's Streets of San Fauxcisco post is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog.