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Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Show: Alcatraz

Fox, Midseason, Mondays at 9:00 p.m.

Starring: Sarah Jones (Ugly Betty, Big Love) and Jorge Garcia (LOST, the cover of the last horrible Weezer album)

Plot: A police detective finds fingerprints at a homicide scene that belong to a dead Alcatraz inmate, Jacke Sylvane. She teams up with Alcatraz expert Dr. Diego Soto, and they find out that Sylvane is alive and killing people in San Francisco, and he hasn’t aged since he was in Alcatraz. They discover that there is a much larger threat, because Sylvane won’t be the last Alcatraz prisoner to reappear.

Why We Are Excited: Hurley and J.J. Abrams are going back to an island. To us, that’s like a crack addict hearing that there is free crack around the corner. Elizabeth Sarnoff is a writer, and she’s from LOST. It’s also a pretty original, creepy premise.

Why We Are Not Excited: We don’t trust J.J. Abrams as much after the very boring Undercovers. This could be boring too. Critics who have seen the pilot are disappointed (but shows like this need a few episodes to get into things, right?). Also, that premise had better be backed up with something remotely believable, because that’s a far-fetched series of events. It needs to make sense in the world of the show. Fortunately, J.J. is usually up to the task of creating mythology/backstory. And even if its good, it might be too weird to get a huge audience, and we know from tragic experience that FOX is the king of giving us amazing shows and then snatching them away before their time.


Anticipation Score: 8/10

Be sure to click on the "##Upcoming Shows## link in the cloud so you can stay apprised. And let us know if you think you will be watching any of them!

Today is the the Most Blessed of TV Days since..well, the TVD premiere, but still

Make It or Break It was renewed for a season three!

Go here for info on the character Emily and the chances that she will be back.

With Emily or without her, we can't wait to watch more of the soapy sports show.

The Nine Lives of Chloe King Won't Get a Season 2

Turns out Chloe King only had one life (wah wah wahhhh). The series is canceled, and probably doesn't deserve to be. But it was well-advertised and got few viewers. People don't like to see human nails turn into cat claws. That's villain stuff and it's a little gross. Wolverine can get away with it, because his are metal and out of his knuckles. Also, the show had a weak beginning.

One of us is sad. One of us is already over it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Vampire Diaries - The Birthday (beware of spoilers)

Raise your hand if you got teary during the phone call? We totally did. Too bad Katherine, witches, the Vampire Council, Damon, Klaus, and various other creepies are always getting in the way of Elena and Stefan living a normal life together, because that is one functional, strong, and loyal couple. They make the vampire dating a teenage girl thing look almost healthy.

Almost, because Stefan is a ripper now. We finally got to know what “ripper” means. It means that Stefan blacks out and rips his victims’ bodies apart when he feeds, because blood has a power over him that it doesn’t seem to have over his brother Damon and other vampires. Yikes. We got a shot of his victims that he had reassembled out of remorse. That was pretty gory, CW! But we liked it. Call us…”pleasantly horrified.” To think this is the romantic lead of the show…and they made him the ripper!

As sad as this whole thing is, this storyline is an incredible idea. It’s about time Stefan gets a turn to be bad. We were a little afraid that Damon would turn into a complete saint to counteract his brother, but he is the same Damon. Impulsive, funny, temperamental, secretive, and (sometimes) naked. And (always) hot.

One of us has always been a diehard Matt/Caroline shipper, but even she had to admit that Caroline’s hook-up with Tyler was awesome. They made such cute friends during the first half of the episode and seem to have a good chemistry that will make them a watchable TV couple. While we like Matt, we don’t think he had that chemistry with Caroline, and that actor can come across as wooden at almost all times. He has good moments though. Also, their sex scene…whoo! Someone call the PTC! (No, don’t, because we want a repeat scene.)

And a special thanks to Tyler for bringing up the Damon/Elena kiss. Elena affirmed that it was only a “goodbye kiss” that shouldn’t have given Damon any false hope. Yeah, and asking Damon to put your necklace on for you when you can totally do it yourself isn’t leading him on either? This girl is unconsciously going after this guy.

We got a new character: Werewolf Ray (oh how the mighty Camdens have fallen). He protected his pack by holding up against Stefan’s game of “truth or wolfsbane,” so we respected and pitied him. It looks like he is going to be the first of Klaus’ hybrids though. Hopefully he retains his will to rebel. This show knows what we like and gives it to us: Specifically, the continuation of the Damon/Alaric bromance. They were teaming up to track Stefan over the summer but keeping it a secret from Elena. We think this is to protect Elena, because that’s all the Salvatore brothers ever do. Klaus still thinks Elena is dead, and Damon would like to keep it that way.

Of course Elena found out about Damon’s activities before the end of the premiere (it’s Elena and it’s this show), and she reacted in just the way she always does when her boys make plans behind her back. We got a flash of evil Damon again as he shouted to Elena, “Stop it…Stefan is gone and he’s not coming back. Not in your lifetime.” He also told her about Stefan’s killing spree. Obviously, Damon is upset that Elena is still hung up on Stefan when it’s hopeless and she should be with Damon instead. He’s not even a second choice!

One of other things upsetting Damon was the death of his long-term thrall, Andie, who he actually seemed to like and allow to keep a lot of her intellect and awareness. Killer Stefan is so bad ass. Stefan was able to deliver the message to Damon that he was not coming back to Mystic Falls and that he wanted Damon to stop looking for him. Damon went home and trashed his room in revenge. This was a test from Klaus, who believes that the reason Stefan still has some of his humanity is his love for his brother and his (ex?) girlfriend. Call it a victory for Klaus tonight, but Stefan and Elena’s phone call lets us know that there is still hope.

It was a little depressing when Alaric left Elena and Jeremy’s house. Dude, even if you drink a little and allow a high school party to get out of control, any adult presence is going to be stabilizing in a house with an 18-year-old legal guardian and her pot-smoking younger brother. Also smoking pot? Matt. It’s about time, considering what he’s been through and his older sister’s example. That strikes us as realistic. It looks like Matt is going to be the person finding out about and helping Jeremy through his hauntings—even though it sounds like Matt wants to remain in the dark about it for now. When Jeremy tried to tell him, Matt wasn’t a believer. Matt does not want the supernatural up in his biz, and that’s probably why he and Caroline are caput. That, and all the secrets she kept.

Worst outfit of the night? Elena’s nightgown straight from the Little House on the Prairie wedding episode (or something). First of all, it’s after labor day. Second of all, you look like a dweeb partying in that. Best line of the night? “Just because I tell you things doesn’t mean you’re allowed to know them!” – Caroline. Best move of the night? When Caroline stalked through a party, picked a guy up with one hand, and moved him out of her way. Worst move of the night? Mrs. Lockwood shooting Caroline full of darts. Those pesky in-laws.

A heart-wrenching, entertaining, funny, sexy, dark, violent, and twisty premiere. We are so glad this show is back and that the teens are growing. Elena has gone from 16 to 18. We’d like to be around to see her become a young woman (or vampire?). The writers of True Blood need to watch this show. Sometimes trying to stick to the books and dragging things out in order to do that is not a good idea. This show has taken the main things from the series and just done its own thing after that, and we approve (especially since one of us finally got around to reading the books - thank goodness they've diverged significantly now). Too bad it features teens and not college students or young adults. Everything's a little more immature in high school, and that probably keeps a lot of adults from watching. True Blood fans: If you're not watching TVD as well, you've picked the wrong vampire show.

Episode grade: A

The Secret Circle, pretty perfect for what it is

This post is rife with spoilers.

The Secret Circle’s pilot did everything that Ringer's tried and failed to do, which was deliver a fast-paced, twisty pilot with pretty people and intrigue that would grab audience attention quickly. The Secret Circle didn’t have Ringer’s silliness or holes. Obviously, it reminded us of The Vampire Diaries, because a lot of the same people are involved in making it. We are pretty sure it will never be as good as TVD, because how is that possible? But it had a good start last night.

Britt Robertson returns to the CW screen, and it’s nice to see her being a nice girl again. She plays the brat thing a little too believably, so people hate her in those roles. She’s good as the lead in this show, even if her eyebrows don’t match her hair. That’s a little pet peeve of ours. Cassie is a cute dresser. Did you see that lacey get-up she wore on her second day in town? Straight out of a catalogue.

We chuckled when another character called Cassie “delicate.” One of the great things about this young actress is that she usually comes across as strong and too smart for her britches, even when she’s being quiet. That’s good if you are going to have blonde hair. It bucks the stereotype. The character isn’t delicate; in fact, she has the witch juice that the others are lacking, as shown by her act of stopping the storm.

We want to mention the opening. That’s exactly how you open a show like this. With a supernatural murder. Not a flashforward to your most dramatic moment and then a flashback. Come on. That’s cheap.

Guy comparison: Too bad Cassie is going to end up with Adam (as was obvious the first time we met his dad). Nick is cuter. Nick’s swagger and attitude makes him seem like he’s gonna be the Damon of this operation. Adam looks like a runty My Chemical Romance reject. From some angles he also looks a little pudgy. Adam's looks grew on us though.

Adam is boyfriend to the only nice teenage girl in town, Diana, the leader of the group. Too bad there is going to be a rift between Diana and Cassie when Cassie steals her BF. Cassie has a great comeback: “Your dad killed my mom! Even.” The kids are secretly practicing witchcraft in their circle, thus, the name of the show. Uh oh. They must have gotten a hold of those daggum Harry Potter books. The fundies were right!!! The show dropped hints about an interesting back-story for the town that actually sounds a lot more personal and fun than The Vampire Diaries’ back-story with Katherine.

When Cassie was being told by Adam to chant and try to make a drop of water float, she did it a little too quickly, we thought. We would have thought we were being filmed looking stupid in an elaborate prank. They almost kissed, but they are good people and stopped.

We are kind of obsessed with Faye and her directness. We also like the fate element. What if Cassie falls in love with someone else? And although it is common, we loved when Cassie found out that her father was a “bad man.” Ten bucks says he’s still alive. We hope he’s a grey-area character, like Snape in the aforementioned Harry Potter books. That would be more interesting than if he were involved in the evil plot with Diana’s dad and Faye’s mom. We’re gonna need him to bring more of a pay-off than Elena’s mom on TVD.

We liked the set-up and exposition. It felt natural, not clunky, and they didn’t show everything in the trailer. We’ve got the supernatural, high-schoolers, and a small town that we wish we could live in. How pretty was that town? It was on the water with the cutest little pier and buildings. Ugh, even with witches living in Chance Harbor, we would move there. We also want Cassie’s bedroom. We think we’ll settle for putting stars on our ceiling. Shut up, we’re not too old for that.

Episode grade: A-

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Song at the end of the Vampire Diaries Season 3 Premiere

We've seen enough reader search terms in our stats to ascertain what you guys want to know. The song was "Drop in the Ocean" by Ron Pope.

Annoying, there are several versions of this song, and you know you want the TVD version. This is that version. This is where you can buy that version.

Review tomorrow :)

New Show: Apartment 23

Apartment 23
ABC Midseason, Tuesdays at 9:30

Starring: Dreama Walker (Gossip Girl, Gran Torino) and Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad, Gilmore Girls)

Plot: Two roommates who don’t get along at first. One is kind of a sociopath.

Why We Are Excited: It was originally titled “You Can’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23” and we think that title shows a lot of spirit. People who have seen the pilot are raving, saying it’s better than 2 Broke Girls, which is already supposed to be good. Krysten Ritter was great on Breaking Bad.

Why We Are Not Excited: Can’t think of anything. What’s not to love? Watch the trailer. It looks funny.


Anticipation Score: 10/10

Be sure to click on the "##Upcoming Shows## link in the cloud so you can stay apprised. And let us know if you think you will be watching any of them!

Up All Night and Free Agents

Last night we got two new comedies, and we watched both of them.

First, there was Up All Night, a show with a great cast, and the first episode felt like a pilot. They were trying to get the theme in there so much that there wasn’t time for any plot. Just a set-up, some jokes, and some people having trouble handling their baby. The upside to this one is that the characters are already likeable. This is the first time Will Arnett has played someone who isn’t horribly arrogant, and while we find the ego shtick funny, we were pleased to see him as a charming, loveable doofus. Christina Applegate was cute, and Maya Rudolph may be the funniest character so far. We love her frequent use of the word “y'all,” even though her character isn’t Southern. We weren’t blown away or laughing our heads off, but we want more of this.

Next, there was Free Agents, a show that critics seem to think is just awful. This wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny, and we still don’t like Hank Azaria in this role, but it was mildly amusing and pleasant. It's not awful enough to drop after one episode. It has a weaker, colder premise than Up All Night's sweet one: Co-workers sleep around to “get back in the game” and forget about real love, which they lost. One of the reasons it’s getting panned is that it’s based on a British show that was apparently better. But that’s what they said about The Office at first too. The American version needs time to become its own show and to make the characters well-rounded joke producers.

Also, the British version was allowed to be dirtier, and since a lot of the humor is about sex, that would be a plus. But we are stuck with broadcast television here, so we get a slightly sleezy, uncool, watered-down version. It’s like Ally McBeal: A little ridiculous with characters we don’t like yet, and it feels like something for older people. Maybe it’s the older leads? But we enjoyed this show way more than we thought we would. The picture of Kathryn Hahn’s dead fiancé over her bed was pretty funny, as was Kathryn Hahn. We also liked the assistant who hates the male lead. More of her, please. Less of the boss who wants his employees to tell him about their one-night stands. He was not funny. The ABBA stuff was pretty funny. We didn’t know that’s what that song was really about…. The leads need more chemistry, but maybe that will develop has they work together more.

We want to give both shows a few more episodes to find their footing, because that’s what comedies need. Always remember that Parks and Recreation had a really rough, unfunny, unoriginal first season. Then it became one of our favorite comedies of all time. Community was also hard for one of us to get into, and now that blogger would scream and rend her clothes like an ancient prophet if it were cancelled. You have to give comedies at least five episodes, unless you absolutely loathe them.

Right now, Up All Night is better, but Free Agents isn’t as bad as everyone says it is. We think American TV watchers are going to be more into watching the cute little family than the slutty will-they-won’t-they-oh-wait-they-already-did twosome. Yet Free Agents feels more familiar, and people love sex jokes, as shown by Two-and-a-Half Men. Only time will tell, but our money is on Up All Night.

Up All Night grade: B (although parents should enjoy it more than we did)
Free Agents grade: C

America's Next Top Model - Nicki Minaj

When this show isn’t on for a while, we forget how crazy Tyra Banks is. So the intro where Tyra imitated past contestants (badly) in dream bubbles was extremely jolting. Tyra, do you not see yourself? Then she described the All-Star cycle to come. Bigger prizes, live judging, and celebrity guests. Hey, this sounds all right. She said that these people were “our” favorites. But we think, for the most part, these are just the girls that were remotely memorable and could come back. Because who really wanted Shannon from season one back? Both bloggers are modestly dressed virgins who love Jesus, and even we were annoyed by her.

But the girls have to make their own music video and co-write a song, make their own perfume, act, and generally be likeable personalities. Kayla for the win! But let’s talk about the other contestants, in the order they came in. 1) Angel a Preston, Cycle 14. Do we remember her? No. (Well, one of us does). Funnily enough, her first words were about how she knows that everyone remembers her, because she was the star of Cycle 14. But we’re blanking completely. Angelea informs us that she’s “classy ghetto.” Ok, this woman is hilarious. We love her so far. (Sidenote: the other blogger loved her in her original season and thinks she got a bad shake.)

2) Laura Kirkpatrick, Cycle 13. Do we remember her? No. She’s a country girl and she actually got a modeling contract after the show. 3) Bianca Golden, Cycle 9. Do we remember her? Vaguely. Her intro on the all-star cycle made her seem like a b*tch. 4) Lisa D’Amato, Cycle 5. Do we remember her? Yes, she’s fun. She peed in a diaper, and one of us actually respects that. It’s ballsy and hilarious. Since season five, she’s recorded a music album. She's also been on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, so ... 5) Bre Scullark, Cycle 5. Do we remember her? No. She tried to surprise Bianca, her best friend who she lived with, but Bianca was angry and greeted her with a “don’t touch me.” 6) Brittany Brower, Cycle 4. Do we remember her? Of course, and we love her. She remembers how things work, as evidenced by her use of the phrase “the next level.”

7) Dominique Reighard, Cycle 10. Do we remember her? Yes, she was draglicious. By some medical miracle, she just had a baby. 8) Sheena Sakai, Cycle 11. Do we remember her? No. But she’s apparently had a lot of work hosting and modeling. 9) Isis King, Cycle 11. Do we remember her? Umm, duh. She has had gender reassignment surgery, and that was a big deal back when she was on the show. 10) Kayla Ferrel, Cycle 15. Do we remember her? Yes, she’s the sweet little lesbian who cried a lot. We like her. She’s adorable, but we seriously miss the bright red hair and bangs.

11) Alison Harvard, Cycle 11. Do we remember her? Yes. Weird is cool. We wish oddballs were in style more, but that would kill it, wouldn’t it? 12) Camille McDonald, Cycle 2. Do we remember her? Yes, and we’re pretty sure she was only brought back for drama. 13) Shannon Steward, Cycle 1. Do we remember her? Ugh, yes. She made a huge deal about skimpy clothes, but then flashed a judge, which everyone thought was a tad hypocritical. She still looks amazing though, after so many years. 14) Alexandria Everett, Cycle 16. Do we remember her? Yup. More people were searching her name on Google than any of the other contestants. We know, because about 500 people got to our blog looking for comments about her. We like her, but she’s a difficult person.

The first photo shoot was appropriate and fun for the first episode. We really hope that the All-Star stuff they have to do won’t get in the way of cool photo shoots, which are what we like about this show in the first place. Shannon is still the same. She won’t wear the lacy underwear they are giving her, even though they are so huge that they are pretty much boy shorts. The bathing suit bottoms she chose were smaller, but at least they weren’t underwear, right? We don’t follow her logic.

Despite our earlier post dissing Nicki Minaj’s new album, we both love her and were really excited to see her be a guest judge. She called Shannon out for the bathing suit bottoms, saying (rather dramatically) that they looked like panties to her. Nicki also changed her accent a lot during the judging, which was annoying, but when she raps, it’s cute. Overall, Nicki was harsh, but right on. Nigel has hair now?!!! We don’t know how we feel about this…except that we’d still like to bone him. Most of the girls got applause from the audience, but Alexandria got some booing and cursing. Poor Alexandria! That’s mean, people. It’s not like she did anything really bad. It made her cry when she talked about it later.

Then the judges interviewed the fans, who apparently get a say. What?!! Ugh. Only if it’s for this cycle. It makes sense in this cycle. But if this becomes a thing in the regular cycles, we won’t approve. Watching the judges deliberate was nice, because they had a good chemistry and interesting/accurate comments. Isis got best photo, but we weren’t digging her face and body language. It should have been Alison. It was down to Brittany and Alexandria to go home. What?!! Predictably, between those two, Alexandria stayed because of her polarity.

We don't know about this All-Star theme yet. It might have been nice just to see a new cycle. Or have a cycle with men and women. We like some of the girls, but some of the choices for a return are perplexing. What about Elyse Sewell, the atheist? She actually has a real career in Asia that she might not want to leave. Same thing with Analeigh Tipton, who was just in Crazy Stupid Love. Does anyone remember polarizing Melrose Bickerstaff? Or Kahlen Rondot, who should have won her season? What about Jade Cole? We could have used another hilarious Jade poem about how great she is. We also would have recommended Natasha Galinka, the mail-order bride who took great pictures, had a sweet heart, but whose language barrier made her clueless. We guess we will take what we can get from this show.

Right now, we are pulling for Kayla or Alison or Lisa or Alexandria (because we love the underdogs), in that order. Who do you want to win? Who would you have liked to see back on the show?

Episode grade: B-

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Parenthood - I don't want to do this without you

We’re caught up on Parenthood! What’s so great about this show is the cast’s chemistry and the characters’ believable interactions. The four grown siblings seem to genuinely love each other and their parenting problems are doubtlessly relatable to anyone who has older children.

When we first see the Braverman family this season, we see Kristina is still pregnant, and she’s further along. Adam is still looking for a job. Haddie is still with her boyfriend, Alex (yay!). Max still has Asperger’s, something that becomes more interesting as he ages and we see the effect of Asperger's on his family life and personality. Julia and Joel still plan to adopt and are making an adoption video about how much Lady Gaga they have playing in their house.

Sarah receives a cane from Zeek as a joke about her age (40). Lauren Graham is 44 in real life, and she’s looking it in this premiere. She’s still beautiful, obviously, but what would really help is some lipstick and blush. Crosby, the only character on this show that we couldn’t care less about, is hitting on his elderly neighbor and claiming he has her same sweater. But he is still having Jabbar over, so that’s nice. Jasmine did not take him back, which that’s even nicer.

Amber and Sarah go to visit Amber’s new apartment, which is eclectic, old, creepy, and bare looking. It scares Sarah, who says, “Honey, this is like a scene from Shutter Island.” Amber, however, loves it. We’re with Sarah on this one. We’re usually with Sarah, actually.

Haddie, we know bangs are in style, but curly bangs? Yuck. Amber's hair change is much better. While Haddie goes to school, her father is at home living what we think of as a perfect day. He watches TV, eats, juggles proficiently, shows himself to be quite the paperclip sculptor, and scores a job interview over the phone. Meanwhile, Julia is at her office and notices that the slick-mouthed girl peddling coffee is pregnant. We are pretty sure that Julia is going to want to adopt that baby. We hope so, because we could do with more Snarky Coffee Girl in our TV lives.

Amber puts a deposit down on the apartment, because she needs some immediate space and feels like she disappointed everyone. She just needs a new start. We get that. Sarah needs to let go, but after last season's image of her in the hospital, we can imagine that will be hard. Adam’s job interview is depressing, because the job is not creative or fun or anything Adam can be passionate about, but he is nearly begging to have it. This economy…sheesh.

Sarah goes to Amber’s school to try to get her diploma, which they are holding because of unreturned library books. After hollering at the librarian, Sarah gets invited to coffee by that cute younger teacher from episodes past (Mr. Cyr!!). He assures Sarah that Amber will go to college someday, when she is ready. He’s right that some kids go too early. Then she randomly kisses him and it is awkward, but cute.

Adam eats pancakes with Crosby at a diner, and it turns out that Crosby boned the waitress and didn’t call her back. She’s still into him though. Why? We don't think he's cute. Crosby wants to go into business with Adam, and start their own music studio. The next day, Julia finds out that YES, coffee girl is not keeping her baby. Oh, this is ON.

Max warns Alex not to go to a high school party with Haddie, because there will be alcohol there, and Alex is an alcoholic. Alex loves Max’s honesty, and we really do too. Alex decided not to go to the party and just meet up with Haddie afterwards. Cut to Crosby playing football with his adorable spawn. The waitress shows up, clearly stalking him. Sandy the Waitress loves that Crosby has a son and introduces herself as “Your Daddy’s Special Friend.”

Nearly the whole clan comes over to the Braverman home for Sarah’s birthday barbeque. Amber drives up in the most adorable car ever. Believable family bonding and conversations ensue. Especially sweet is the short conversation between Drew and Amber about Amber's move. Haddie is at one of those high school parties that only seems to happen on TV, complete with people making out on the staircase. Thank God she’s straightened her bangs. She is peer-pressured into doing shots. We know where this is going…

Alex comes to the party to pick Haddie up and she is drunk. No, wasted. Alex punches a kid for trying to stop him from taking Haddie home. Alex is arrested and Haddie runs after him and the cops, crying. Ok, we did NOT know that this was going to go THERE. We thought there would just be a fight between Alex and Haddie, not an arrest.

Crosby drops Jabbar off and Jasmine reveals that she has started to date. Julia gets a call from Haddie and Julia has to go bail Alex out. (Does anyone else wonder why Julia's husband doesn't get many story lines or much screen time?) Alex tells Julia that this is not his first offense and asks her not to tell Haddie. Back at the Braverman’s, Cute Teacher shows up with Amber’s high school diploma, which he stole for Sarah. They eat birthday cake together. Kristina is offered a full-time job. Crosby shows Alex the music studio. It’s pretty cool, but Adam tells Crosby that he was offered the boring job. Crosby tells Adam that he “wants to do this” but he doesn’t want to do it without Adam. Awww.

Sweet premiere. This continues to be a realistic, character-driven show that's so much better than Brothers and Sisters that it isn't even funny.

Episode Grade: B+

Checking in on Sons of Anarchy

We loved the season premiere, which did a time jump that got all the boys out of prison. We mentioned that we were ecstatic over Tara and Jax’s engagement. We didn’t mention that we were also happy about Clay realizing his time is almost up, but we are. It will be interesting to see how Clay handles that. The violence at the end of the premiere was well-used. Nothing but love for that premiere, yes sir.

The second episode wasn’t as good, but that’s alright. It’s a second episode. The premiere is supposed to be better. We can’t believe Clay would get involved with the drug trade in any way, even if he does need money for retirement. At least Jax got something good out of that… We are surprised the whole gang wasn’t against it. We all got to spend the whole episode rooting against Gemma. Good luck getting out of SAMCRO now, Jax.

We haven't mentioned this show much this season so far, because the only thing to say about it is "it's good." It's always good. It's always tense. Etc. If it's ever bad, we'll let you know. Until then, discuss specifics in the comments of the short posts and keep watching.

“Out” grade: A-
“Booster” grade: B

Ringer pilot - It has be either good or really, really disappointing

This is spoiler-free, but stay out of the comments

Ringer is a crowd-pleaser. If your crowd has ADHD, doesn't look at things closely, and doesn't care about the thought processes and feelings of characters. The show has many twists, a pretty blonde lead, the makings of a decent love triangle, danger, and fast pacing. The scenes are very short, like in Sex and the City or X-Men First Class. The showrunners know that the viewers’ attention span is short before they are hooked on a show, so the pilot did a lot of jumping around between characters and did a lot in a short period of time. While some might have found this distracting and confusing, we liked it.

You know what's going to happen in the set-up of this show, so it's best that they get on with it as quickly as possible. If you saw the preview or have been reading anything about this one, you pretty much know everything about the pilot. If you haven’t seen the preview and if you are completely lost as to what happens on this show, you will be entertained by the pilot, but underwhelmed by the flat characters. We hope they become interesting later on. It’s not just plot that needs to have layers.

We wouldn’t say this is high quality, artistic stuff. It’s guilty-pleasure mystery/noir. We liked the presence of Richard Alpert from LOST, and Sarah Michelle Gellar is more than fine. A commenter pointed out earlier that she played both characters too similarly, but we think we haven’t seen enough of Siobhan to determine that yet. Siobhan was clearly putting on an act for her sister, and her reputation with her family is completely different from the Siobhan we saw interacting with Bridget when the reunited for the first time in six years.

We wonder if many people would like the idea of trading lives with someone else. You know how it’s so much easier to give advice about other people’s problems than do the right thing in your own life? Someone else’s life would be less painful and easier. The people wouldn’t grate on you like the people you’ve have to live with for years or grow up with. The problems would be simpler, if only because you wouldn’t care as much and the emotions, good and bad, would be gone. You’d have a little more freedom. You wouldn’t be too worried about messing things up, because it’s not even your life. Everything would be new and exciting. Of course, for Bridget, things aren’t going to be easy or fun, or that just wouldn’t make a good TV show.

This show really needs to find its emotional center, fast. Soapy intrigue and twists are nice, but we need to genuinely care about the characters, eventually. Also, we seriously question Bridget’s decisions and their logic. She does some dumb stuff for dumb reasons. (We explain more about this in the spoiler-y comments.) The show is unoriginal and the dialogue is bad so far. The writers said that they want to be like the Breaking Bad writers, but Breaking Bad’s genius isn’t just in its twists, but in its atmosphere, imagery, foreshadowing, characters, dialogue, and just scene-by-scene precision and excellence. We should really hold off our final judgment of Ringer until seeing a few more episodes though. Pilots can be clunky.

We wouldn’t say this was a great episode, but it does get the ball rolling with lots of action and set-up. We won’t have to wait around and watch things we already know are going to happen when next week rolls by, because the pilot got through most of the exposition early (like most pilots do). It definitely made us want to tune in again to see what happens next, and what more could you really ask for in a pilot? Maybe better special effects on the boat scene, but we don’t care that much about special effects. Maybe a better opera singer in the fundraiser scene? Because that wasn’t pretty and was every negative stereotype people associate with opera, except that the singer was thin and pretty.

Ringer has some big problems that will take talent, effort, and taste to fix. They aren't easy problems to fix either. Just putting five twists in an episode won't make up for everything else being sloppy. We hope the writers were just trying to sell a dumb pilot to the networks, who usually underestimate the viewers' intelligence. We hope they dig deeper next week and in the coming weeks. We really want to like this show and we want it to succeed and get better.

Episode Grade: C+
But it has earned a pass for the next couple of weeks.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Breaking Bad- Bug

Did that just happen? Sure, it was a long time coming and their relationship was probably building toward this explosion of frustration, but we were still shocked. Jesse and Walt beat the crap out of each other. Jesse technically won, but he used a sucker sweep of the leg (when Walt’s back was turned) in order to do it, so we’re calling it a tie. Plus, Walt is an old man with cancer.

Walt’s paranoia and Jesse’s failure to poison Gus, coupled with Walt’s putting a tracking device on Jesse’s car, have split the pair for now. For good? Only time will tell, but we hope not.

We never thought that it would be Jesse eating at Gus’ house, but Walt and Jesse have really switched places this season. Jesse is the cool one trying to keep Walt out of trouble, and Walt is the irresponsible mess who keeps getting his butt kicked (first by Mike, now by Jesse). Walt is the disposable one, and Jesse is the one Gus needs, now that he is giving into the cartel.

Hank is a much better detective than he is a singer. (Who doesn’t know the words to “Eye of the Tiger”?) Hank deduced that Gus’ main chicken distribution center is where Gus is cooking his meth. Walt called Mike and told him, so Mike and Jesse had to make sure the warehouse was clean. The rival cartel started shooting Gus’ employees. Mike saved Jesse’s life. Jesse had to watch a guy get shot in the head. Gus walked out, offering himself, and the sniper backed off. They want Gus alive and Gus’ operation. It’s no good without him running it.

A troubling event came to Skyler’s attention. Ted Beneke, her old boss, is getting into trouble for not paying his taxes and he’s facing prison time. And if the IRS looks too closely, it will start looking into Skyler too. Skyler, with the fake business and bags of money under her house, remember? So Skyler rushed into Ted’s office with her boobs hanging out, pretended to be stupid, and convinced the IRS agent that the irregularities were due to her incompetence. Being a pretty woman has its perks, and not just the obvious ones. It’s always nice when you’re underestimated.

But this is only a stalling tactic. Ted still needs to pay the IRS everything he owes, plus fines, but he doesn’t have the money and already has a lien on his house. We predicted (and a preview of the next episode confirmed) that this will lead to Skyler giving Ted some of Walt’s money, and we don’t think Walt is going to be too happy about that, even if it’s for his good as well.

Jesse was then invited to Gus’ house for a talk. Jesse thought about poisoning the stew but realized that he would have to eat it for two hours with Gus. Gus wanted to know if Jesse could cook Walt’s meth. Jesse freaked out, thinking that this meant Gus was going to kill Walt. Jesse said, “If you’re going to kill Mr. White, you’re going to have to kill me too.” Aww. But what Gus really wanted was to cave into the rival cartel and stop the war.

The rival cartel wants Walt’s formula, and Gus wants Jesse to go down to Mexico and give it to them by training the Mexicans to cook Walt’s meth. After the trust died between Jesse and Walt, Walt told Jesse to go to Mexico, screw up, and wind up in a barrel somewhere. That’s what started the physical altercation. At the end of the fight, Jesse made it clear that he never wanted to see Walt again.

Where is this season going? Seriously?

Episode Grade: A-

New Show: Allen Gregory

Allen Gregory
Fox. Sunday, October 30.

Starring: Jonah Hill (Get Him to the Greek, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad, Knocked Up)

Plot: This is a cartoon about a genius seven-year-old who has to go to elementary school with kids his own age. He’s got a smart mouth, two gay dads, and, weirdly, a libido already.

Why We Are Excited: Shockingly, the trailer is really funny. This looks like a show about an older version of Stewey, kind of, and he is by far the best thing about Family Guy.

Why We Are Not Excited: People from Family Guy are involved.


Anticipation Score: 6/10

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True Blood Finale - And When I Die

Be careful what you wish for, True Blood fans. Last night, we got something we’ve all been wanting for a long time: a dead Tara. Of course, it was mixed with so many things we didn’t want that we didn’t get the enjoyment out of it that we anticipated.

Things we didn’t want: Sookie to pick NO ONE (dumb, and it’s all Gran’s fault), Sookie to be so brokenhearted and holding Tara’s body, Sookie shooting someone in the face (let’s face it, that character would have let Debbie live to terrorize another day), Jesus dead (nooooo), and the Marnie thing being anticlimactic and easily solved. The thing about Tara’s death was that it was just so freaking sad that it made us feel guilty for wishing for it.

How did Lafayette/Marnie even subdue Jesus after stabbing him in the hand with a fork? Jesus seemed pretty strong. And how did Lafayette/Marnie get Eric and Bill chained to a wooden post? You could say, “Magic, duh” but vampires are pretty strong and pretty fast. It seems like we should have gotten to see those fights.

It was also rude the way Sookie made both of her guys think that she was going to pick them, but then turned down both. We know it was for the benefit of messing with the viewer, but in reality, it would have been cruel of Sookie to draw it out like that. It pulled us out of the fiction.

We did like that the Marnie and witches stoylines are wrapped up going into season five. Marnie is such a whiner. It was cool to see Gran again, but was she always that scary? She’s totally misleading too. She told Sookie there was nothing to be afraid of regarding being alone. Ummm, what about growing old, being lonely, getting sick and having no one to take care of you, no one who has to have your back no matter what you do, and no sex with hot supernatural creatures? How could you not at least bone Alcide?

We liked the killing of Nan by Eric and Bill, because she had found out about Sookie’s fairy blood. We also approved of Pam’s hilarious lines about Sookie ("I am so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her unbelievably stupid name!”) and Eric calling Nan’s henchmen “gay stormtroopers.” Nan’s death was one of the nastiest on this show, with all her sludge underneath her still slightly intact head.

The most interesting thing to us about this finale was the Terry/Rene/Marine friend thing. Ghost Rene showed up to warn Arlene that Terry is about to get crazy again. It sounds ominous and we don’t think he is lying. The boring? Jason telling Hoyt about his sex with Jessica, getting punched in the face, and then having sex and pillow talk with Jessica for most of the episode.

We’re pretty sure no one cares about Jason’s love life at this point. He is never going to pick the right girl. And Jessica really just needs to slut it up for a while. We did like the way Jason iced his eye with a popsicle. We’ve done that! What single person has an ice pack who doesn’t have chronic back problems or sports injuries? (Other than the other blogger, who thinks the original blogger is wrong).

We left Sam about to be attacked by a werewolf and Jason about to be attacked by that reverend fellow from season two, only the reverend is a vampire now. Lafayette is really sad over the stabbing of Jesus, and he also has Jesus’ demon face (that’s a weird sentence for a Christian to write, haha). We left Bill and Eric with a bounty placed on their heads by the Authority AND someone dug up Russell Edgington.

We know some baddies who are going to be back for season five and we’ve had a few crazy warnings about some of the drama to come. We feel bad that Terry is going to bring some darkness, because we’ve always loved him, and not just because he was on Gilmore Girls. But mostly because he was on Gilmore Girls.

This season was a huge step up from season three. The show got rid of a lot of dead weight and stupid plots, and it seems to be bringing back the things that can scare us. Sookie is single and ready to fall in love with all of her guys all over again (which is dumb but probably best for the show). We were entertained and amused, and we are looking forward to season five. And few people weren't surprised by the events of the finale.

Episode Grade: A-
Season Grade: B-

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Show: Hart of Dixie

Hart of Dixie
The C.W. Mondays, September 26 at 9:00 pm

Starring: Rachel Bilson (The O.C., The Last Kiss) and Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights, The Good Wife)

Plot: A young, overachieving doctor has to move to a small town in Alabama when she can’t find the job she needs in New York City.

Why We Are Excited: Rachel Bilson is really good. The trailer was cute, and the small-town thing works for us. Plus, one of us loves Sweet Home Alabama, and this show reminds us of that movie.

Why We Are Not Excited: It could end up being trite and boring, unless the writers are at least half as good as the ones on Gilmore Girls (fat chance). Also, the “he was your father” revelation in the trailer was lame.


Anticipation Score: 7.5/10

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Contagion ... In which Gwyneth Paltrow Ruins More Than a Glee Episode

Contagion is a movie about what realistically would happen if there were a huge disease outbreak, killing millions in the modern world. There are no zombies or supernatural elements. There is some gore, but it’s really not as scary as you would think. Some were too disturbed by the trailer and the idea of the movie to go, but we think that’s a mistake. It's a lot like the beginning of The Stand by Stephen King, only better (because we all know the 2nd half of that book was the superior half).

There were some intense moments, but we wouldn’t call it a thriller. It’s just intelligent and interesting. We think this was falsely advertised as a scary and super-exciting. We kind of wish it had been more disturbing and edge-of-your-seat. Unless you have a germ phobia, you'll go back to your life as usual, worry-free, within five minutes. But the movie is good and never boring.

The movie has a great cast, as you probably know. Contagion is well-paced and entertaining, and while you don’t spend much time with each character, the time you get counts. It’s like Love Actually, only with disease instead of Christmas and romance, haha. It’s not all doom-and-gloom though, and it didn’t leave us feeling scared or depressed. We liked it, but we wish the trailers didn’t give us such a wrong idea of what we were going to see.

Movie Grade: B+

New Show: Charlie's Angels

Charlie’s Angels
Thursdays at 8:00 starting on September 22

Starring: Annie Ilonzeh (General Hospital), Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights), Rachael Taylor (Dr. Lucy Fields on Grey’s Anatomy), Ramón Rodríguez (The Wire)

Plot: A thief, a cop, and a street racer get into trouble, but Charlie gives them a second chance. They solve crimes for their new employer, whilst looking sexy. Come on, you know the drill.

Why We Are Excited: Drew Barrymore is producing and we like her. This is one of the most anticipated shows for most of the American audience. It’s a reboot of something popular, and girl spies are fun.

Why We Are Not Excited
: It looks stupid, and Minka Kelly isn’t a good casting choice. She’s too stiff and boring to be likeable or edgy. Plus, we already have Hawaii Five-O, and we stopped watching that a long time ago (even though that was alright). This is a little too “usual” for us. We want original.


Anticipation Score: 3/10

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New Show: I Hate My Teenage Daughter

I Hate My Teenage Daughter
Fox, Wednesday, November 30 at 9:30 after The X-Factor.

Starring: Jaime Pressly (My Name is Earl, Joe Dirt, I Love You Man) and Katie Finneran (Wonderfalls, Broadway Shows, Night of the Living Dead)

Plot: Two moms are afraid that their daughters are becoming just like the mean girls who bullied them in high school. One daughter is just a spoiled brat and the other is a master manipulator. The fathers are no help.

Why We Are Excited: Katie Finneran and Jaime Pressly are usually excellent. It seems pretty mainstream, so putting it after The X-Factor is going to help it.

Why We Are Not Excited: It looks like that same old, tired sitcom formula, complete with a laugh track. The girls can never improve, or the premise will be gone, so it's gonna be a lot of the same thing every week. Unless Tina Fey is writing the mean girls’ lines (and she’s not), we don’t think this is going to be very funny.


Anticipation Score: 2/10

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New Show: Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time
ABC Sunday, October 23 at 8 pm (ET)

Starring: Jennifer Morrison (House, How I Met Your Mother, Star Trek), Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love, He’s Just Not That Into You, Something Borrowed), Joshua Dallas (Thor), Lana Parrilla (24, Spin City), Jamie Dornan (Marie Antoinette), Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting), Giancarlo Esposito (Gus on Breaking Bad), Alan Dale (24, The O.C., Ugly Betty, LOST, and The Killing).

Plot: Classic fairy tales are set in the present day in a town that’s a parallel world to the fairy tale world. The fairy tale characters obviously have important shoes to fill/missions to complete, but they don’t know who they are.

Why We Are Excited: We like fantasy, and it has plenty of familiar faces. This looks pretty epic for a fairy tale show. We were pretty revved up by the trailer. Also, it looks unique and we like the premise. It looks a lot better than the procedurally minded Grimm. Finally, it's from the writers of LOST. We will watch anything they write.

Why We Are Not Excited: A girl has the last name “Swan.” Unless she turns out to be the swan princess, that surname is lame. Also, the show might be too weird. If it’s good, it might get cancelled.


Anticipation Score: 9/10

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