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The Shows of Summer

By on Jun 14, 2012 in Previews | 0 comments

Feeling a certain malaise now that the traditional broadcast TV season is dormant until September? Feeling reluctant to crack that copy of Infinite Jest on your bookshelf? Unenthused about taking in the sunshine and warm weather outside? Have no fear: summer TV is here! And here’s your handy breakdown of the estival new shows (“estival: appearing or belonging to summer”—thanks, Merriam-Webster!), each listing complete with the official description and with my pithy remarks. Never mind the fact that some of these shows are already on the air. Just keep thinking that my blog is the timeliest of all blogs. May 11: Common Law (USA) This series is “about two cops with a problem—each other. Despite their differences, they are incredible detectives. When things come to a head during their ‘seven-year itch’ as partners, their captain forces them into...

“Newsroom” Preview Suggests Sorkin Masterpiece

By on Apr 5, 2012 in Previews | 0 comments

Aaron Sorkin is an idol of mine—a true wordsmith whose whip-smart writing has exalted Sports Night, The West Wing, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on television and A Few Good Men, The American President, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Social Network, and Moneyball on film. (And now he’s even getting in the Broadway game, teaming up with Hugh Jackman and Wicked songster Stephen Schwartz for a musical about Houdini.) So imagine my unbridled glee when I heard that he was coming back to television. (I wasn’t sure he would after the untimely demise of Studio 60). And I was even more psyched when I found out that he’d be berthed at HBO, where he’d presumably have more creative freedom and less pressure to deliver instant ratings. Add to that an interesting cast including Jeff Daniels, Jane Fonda, Allison Pill, Dev Patel, Sam Waterston, Olivia Munn, and Emily...

“Glee” gets better, and “It Gets Better”

By on Mar 7, 2012 in Raves | 1 comment

It should be no surprise that Glee has fallen in the ranks of my favorite shows. What used to be appointment TV is now Hulu-days-later TV. I feel like it doesn’t have the same pizazz, the same bite, the same freshness. So imagine my surprise when I found the most recent episode, “On My Way,” to be one of the most important hours of television of this season… or maybe of any season. In the story, Karofsky—whose bullying of Kurt stemmed from his own closetedness—becomes the target of physical and cyber bullying himself, and he tries to take his own life. The students and faculty at McKinley then grapple to empathize and to process their guilt. Finally, Kurt visits Karofsky and helps him imagine a happy future—one worth living to experience. The episode aired with public service announcements from The Trevor Project, an organization whose mission is “to end...

2012 Pilot Watch

By on Feb 8, 2012 in Previews | 0 comments

I’ve barely had the opportunity to check out this current season’s new shows (damn you, full time job!), but it is indeed February which means the networks are busy ordering pilots for next fall. After studying the lineup provided by EW.com, I’ve made the following observations. Warning: harsh and perhaps unfair first impressions ahead! Remakes are no longer en vogue but are still extant: NBC has producer Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies) putting his own spin on The Munsters in a pilot called Mockingbird Lane, and ABC and the CW are both developing Beauty and the Beast adaptations. Some pilots’ titles are very literal, which can either be a good thing (Fox’s comedy Prodigy Bully) or a bad thing (CBS’s drama Widow Detective and ABC’s drama Devious Maids). Other terrible titles abound throughout the list. I love the idea of ABC’s...

2011 Emmys: My (Overdue) Recap

By on Oct 11, 2011 in Recaps | 0 comments

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. It’s been months and months since my last blog post. And in that time span, the Emmys broadcast came and went, uncommented on—until now! Yes, though it may be ridiculously belated, I’m here to opine, ruminate, and wax poetic on all things Emmy. Hey, at least I’m doing so before next year’s broadcast… Even though the opening number didn’t wow me (until the Mad Men bit, that is), I still think Jane Lynch made for a fine Emmy host, and I hope the producers continue to make unexpected choices for the hosting gig for future ceremonies. All hail Modern Family. Not only was it chosen as Outstanding Comedy Series, but Phil and Claire Dunphy themselves, Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen, were chosen as the comedy world’s best supporting actor and actress. Plus, the show also took home awards for its writing and...

Not Just the Obligatory Musical Episode

By on Apr 16, 2011 in Raves | 0 comments

Regardless of what you thought of the result (if you happened to see it), you have to admit that putting on a musical episode of Grey’s Anatomy—and doing so sincerely without a sense of parody or irony—indicates that Shonda Rhimes has some pretty major creator-balls. It certainly wasn’t Glee, and jazz hands were nowhere to be seen. It took a different tack to the trope of the musical episode, and it succeeded as much as it failed. I get what Shonda tried to do, and I loved the idea of commemorating the songs that Grey’s made famous. But here’s the rub: a show’s music supervisor usually chooses songs whose tone sets the right mood for a certain scene and does so without much regard for the actual lyrics. So while the refrains of the songs fit in with the storyline (e.g. “Breathe,” “Wait,” “How We Operate,” “How To...