I've been a terrible blogger these past few months, partially because I went to Kansas for ten days, and partially because I've been spending a lot of time working on the new site PopCultureNexus.com with my co-conspirator Mary. But what's to say I can't cheat and post a link to PCN on here, thus making it look like I've actually written something new? It's just crazy enough to work! So if you're interested in reading about my incredibly fascinating lineup of villainous TV actors (it's more fun that it sounds, I promise) here's the link. Let me know if I missed any, and feel free to share which one you think is the most menacing of all. (Keep in mind that Arnold Vosloo was The Mummy.)
With the exception of some shows that are premiering in October, most new shows have been on for three or four weeks by now, so let's take a minute to evaluate which shows are worth sticking with, and which shows you can probably drop from your no doubt jam-packed TV schedule...
The Secret Circle is The CW's attempt to replicate the tremendous success they've had with The Vampire Diaries. Based on a young adult fantasy series written by L.J. Smith (who also wrote the Vampire Diaries books), The Secret Circle is being produced by Kevin Williamson (who also produced The Vampire Diaries). Do you sense a pattern here? As you can see, the two shows share a common lineage both on the page and on the screen. Having watched the first episode (which you can download free on iTunes), here's my breakdown of this new paranormal teen drama...
It's that time of year again. A new crop of TV shows are on the horizon, and the possibilities are endless. Some will disappoint; some will rise beyond their expectations; some will thrive; and some will be canceled before they even have a chance to hit their stride. (With my luck, most of my favorite new shows will fall into the latter category.) But until mid-September when most new shows debut, all we can do is speculate. As of now, my TV schedule is already full to the brim, but that won't stop me from adding ten or so new shows to my plate, although the odds are at least one or two of them will be canceled by Christmas. So here are the new shows I'm most excited for in the upcoming fall TV season...
And with another year of Emmy nominations comes another dozen reasons for me to be disgruntled at the continual lack of appreciation for deserving shows, specifically my three favorite shows: Fringe, Community, and Cougar Town. The casts alone of these shows deserve an Emmy apiece for their brilliant work, especially Anna Torv and John Noble, who each played at least two different characters on Fringe this season, Courteney Cox and Busy Philipps of Cougar Town, and Community's Dani Pudi. At least I got to watch Fringe star Joshua Jackson announce the nominees this morning alongside Mike & Molly's Melissa McCarthy (who earned a nomination in the Best Comedy Actress category).
I was happy to see Friday Night Lights get some attention for its final season, earning nominations for Best Drama Series, Drama Actor, and Drama Actress (Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton). Another show that deserved all its nominations was The Good Wife, which was nominated for Best Drama Series, as well as getting nods for a handful of the stellar cast, including Julianna Margulies (Best Drama Actress), Alan Cumming and Josh Charles (both for Best Supporting Actor), and Archie Panjabi and Christine Baranski (both for Best Supporting Actress). If you've never seen the show, all these nominations might seem excessive, but trust me, The Good Wife deserves every one of them.
The Comedy categories were flooded with Modern Family nominees, which made up four of the six Best Supporting Actor noms (Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed O'Neill, and Eric Stonestreet), as well as two for Supporting Actress (Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen), and a nomination for Best Comedy Series, which is probably theirs to lose. Parks & Recreation managed to get a nomination for Best Comedy Series, which was one of the best surprises of the morning. This past season of Parks & Rec was outstanding, and its great to see them get noticed for it. I'm a little disappointed that the only cast member to get an individual nomination was Amy Poehler, because the supporting cast is fantastic, but Modern Family ate up all the Supporting spots. Another pleasant surprise was Martha Plimpton's nomination for Best Comedy Actress for Raising Hope. Fox's freshman comedy is a hilarious portrait of blue-collar family dysfunction, and I'm glad it got a little recognition, especially for the wonderful Martha Plimpton.
Other noteworthy snubs: The Walking Dead, True Blood, Sons of Anarchy, Treme, Big Love
For a full list of nominees, click here.
Here are some snippets of my stream of consciousness while seeing the latest installment of Transformers: *WARNING: Mild spoilers ahead...
Okay, so the Emmys aren't for another three months, but that doesn't mean we can't take a few minutes in the middle of the summer to give some much-deserved appreciation to some criminally overlooked shows. Frankly, I'm sick of the Emmys (and the Golden Globes) blatantly snubbing what I think are the best shows on television, specifically Cougar Town, Community, and Fringe, none of which have received Emmy nominations (not counting Sound Editing and Visual Effects, both of which Fringe has been nominated for). These poor shows have had to endure the embarrassment of getting moved to Friday nights, being cursed with a terrible name, and having to air on the same night as Outsourced...Can we please just give them a little respect? Cougar Town doesn't even have any cougars in it! And they make ample fun of their unfortunate title. JUST WATCH IT. I guarantee by the fifth episode, you'll be hooked. Abed from Community loves Cougar Town so much, he guest starred on it! And it was so wonderful to see my two favorite comedies collide that I almost wept with joy. Thank God those two little underappreciated comedy gems have formed an alliance of awesomeness, despite being on different networks. And Fringe may not have the strongest ratings, but it has the wrath of the Browncoats behind it (for anyone unfamiliar with the term, "Browncoats" refers to fans of the canceled sci-fi series Firefly), and we are determined not to let Fringe suffer the same unjust fate as Firefly.
As a perpetual champion of the underdogs (and a fan of too many TV shows gone before their time), I was positively ecstatic to see that the winners of the Critics' Choice Television Awards included such fantastic actors as Busy Philipps, who plays the bubbly and hysterical Laurie on Cougar Town; John Noble, whose performance as tortured mad scientist Walter (and his evil doppelgänger) on Fringe gets more spectacular by the week; and The Good Wife star Julianna Margulies, who has already won a Golden Globe for her role on The Good Wife, but she's just so unbelievably good that no amount of awards can begin to adequately honor her greatness. I was also pleased that Community was nominated for Best Comedy Series, and Danny Pudi (who plays the aforementioned Abed on Community) earned a well-deserved nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. This category also included Nick Offerman from Parks and Recreation (whose mustache alone deserves an award), and winner Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother). I would have been thrilled to see any of them win, but NPH deserved it.
Looking at the list of nominees for the Critics' Choice Awards, I really felt like most of them deserved to be nominated. I'm not saying I'm the most qualified person to determine who's worthy of a nomination and who's not, I'm just noting that my personal opinions are very well reflected by the Critics' Choice Awards, while I tend to curse profusely at the Emmy nominations and winners when they're announced. Maybe it's because I'm just more prone to agree with the critics when it comes to TV (except about Mad Men), or maybe it's that I still have hope for network television, which the Critics' Choice Awards seem to vindicate, while the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is busy throwing Emmys at HBO and AMC. Or maybe it's just nice to see my favorite shows finally get some recognition other than being on a list of "bubble shows" or having the lowest ratings in its time slot. So thank you, Critics' Choice Television Awards, for honoring the overlooked, the underrated, and the misunderstood. (Seriously, it shouldn't even be called Cougar Town!) Here's hoping that the Emmys will follow your lead and spread the love to some of the great shows that no one watches.
You can find a full list of the Critics' Choice Award winners here.
As I was sitting in the movie theater waiting for Super 8 to begin, I found myself wondering, "What is this movie about?" And for the first time since I can remember, I honestly had no idea. Typically, when I go see a movie, I already know the opening scene, the "twist" at the end, and which song by a popular female vocalist and accompanying rapper will be played over the final credits (not to mention how they did the special effects, the status of the stars' off-screen relationship, and how many sequels are in the works). What can I say? I like to be an informed movie-goer. Between trailers that leave nothing to the imagination, and the invention of camera phones, it's almost impossible for movies these days to genuinely surprise an audience, at least in terms of plot. Writer/director J.J. Abrams (who also directed the 2009 summer blockbuster Star Trek) did a great job of keeping the mystery alive surrounding the release of Super 8, and this, ultimately, is what makes it unlike any other movie so far this summer.
Things are starting to really heat up as we head toward finale time, and it was a stunner of a week on many of our favorite shows (okay, my favorite shows, but you should really be watching them, too). Let's review the top five TV moments from this week:
#5) The return of the Cockamouse on How I Met Your Mother - Our favorite rodent-insect hybrid was back this week! Apparently the Cockamouse settled down and started a family of cockamice in the Arcadian, the building Ted is trying to have torn down and Zoey is fighting to save.
#4) Donal Logue on House - I'm still not recovered from the loss of the magnificent but short-lived Terriers, on which Donal Logue played the quick-witted, wonderfully tortured protagonist. At least Logue is still getting work as a guest star while he awaits the meaty lead role on a great show that he so deserves.
#3) Sam on Glee - He might be the last likable character on this show (aside from Kurt, whom I often think of as on his own separate show, which has actual character development and continuity). While his storyline about living in a motel with his family after losing their home was sappy and a little predictable, it was still probably the most solid part of the episode (and one of the less annoying plot lines of this season). Seeing Sam try to be strong for his younger siblings, and then break down when Finn and Rachel told him they'd do anything to help keep him in the Glee Club, brought tears to my eyes, and it solidified Sam's position as the most adorable character on the show. I hope they let him stay this way instead of ruining him like they have so many of the other characters on the show.
#2) Julianna Margulies' performance on The Good Wife - Do you smell that? That, my friends, is the rich, shiny smell of Julianna's Emmy, wafting its way from the future. Her performance in this week's episode, in which she told her teenage children that she had separated from their father, was so powerful, it was like a physical blow to the chest. Julianna's fantastic acting is just one of the many things that make The Good Wife one of the best shows on television.
#1) Paintball Part II on Community- Community's epic paintball episode last season was a hard act to follow, but somehow they managed to make this season's sequel to the most intense game of paintball in TV history have a totally different tone, so it didn't feel like we'd seen it before. First off, this episode had a Western theme rather than the action movie homage of the first paintball episode. Secondly, this episode included Lost alumnus Josh Holloway as The Black Rider, a mysterious competitor in the paintball war who flustered Annie with his handsomeness. (Best. Stunt casting. Ever.) And the best part about this episode was that it was just part one. The paintball madness continues next week, and it involves an ice cream company conspiracy. Don't miss it.
Womp of the Week: Why is Chuck ruining everything on Gossip Girl? - The writers have to know that the only thing the fans care about on this show is Chuck and Blair....So why are they making it so hard to root for our dark and brooding (anti-)hero? I realize that, plot-wise, it makes sense to have Chuck hit rock bottom, alienating himself even further from the people he loves (especially Blair). But as a Chair fan who can't stand any other part of the show anymore, it's hard to watch Chuck spiral out of control and become the unlikable character that he should be. Also, the scruffy brood-beard was sexy at first, but now it's just creepy.
Defies Numeric Classification: The Fringe season finale - I can't even talk about it, partially because I still don't understand what happened, and partially because I'm still working on my recap for TheTelevixen.com. But mostly because I'm still in shock. Can it be September now? I need season 4 ASAP.