30 May 2010

TV Rewind: Everybody Loves Raymond, The West Wing & Mad About You

I am currently alternating watching three old TV programs. Call this my "TV Homework", but I still do have a long list of shows, long cancelled, that I really need to check out and finish COMPLETELY.

The first one is Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Series, which aired from 1996 to 2005.  I used to wonder why this show would always get a lot of nominations from the Emmy's before. I didn't use to get its appeal. But the husband and I have been watching it, beginning with the first season. We started sometime October last year. We're almost down to the final episodes. And after what we've  already seen, I've no doubt now this show deserved all of their awards. I also like that it mirrors a lot of what many couples are going through, with the Barones being married for years and years. Only in this series, they poke fun at plenty of stuff husbands and wives fight about. And on hindsight, it actually helps to see that marital challenges can also be handled funny, especially when there's too much tension in real life. Sometimes, my husband and I end up slapping each other silly after watching an episode that we can relate to, as if to say, "See....see? THAT's what marriage is about!"

We're also watching The Mad About You Collection. Now, I used to like this show when it was on television for the longer part of the '90s. I thought of Jamie and Paul Buchanan as a cute couple. Maybe I grew up and my preferences are constantly changing, but re-watching the series today made me see how utterly unrealistic and unbalanced this marriage is. No, they're not cute. They're annoying. We started with the first series about a month ago and guess what? We haven't been watching any more after four episodes since. Boring. But we're gonna get to it sometime again....if only to finish off something in our "list of shows to watch".

And finally, I've picked and decided to watch The West Wing: The Complete Series Collection because I've been feeling the election hype here, after May 11. I've always meant to watch this show, but figured seven seasons with 24 hour long episodes each is such a chore to go through. But, I'm now kicking myself for not having checked this series a lot earlier.  I looooooooove Aaron Sorkin's work (Sports Night, Studio 60). And West Wing was one of his finest, if not THE finest. The West Wing is written so smartly and acted out so effortlessly. And I would like Jed Bartlet as my President. :P  The show ran from 1999-2006 and I really feel I've missed out on one of TV's best from those years. Good thing we've got tons of media readily available for watching shows we've missed, huh?

So, what about you? What's on your list of cancelled programs to watch and have you started out with them already?

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29 May 2010

New Show: 100 Questions

Was able to check out this new comedy series, 100 Questions, from NBC early today. It makes sense to have this show on during the Summer season because if pitted against the heavy weights of Fall TV? 100 Questions would be eaten alive.

This is your typical dating series, where one person wishes to find "the one" and needs to consort with a troop of friends to survive every dating horror she goes through.

You know the drill. You've seen the formula on Friends, How I Met Your Mother and just about any relationship-angled single camera "friendship" series you've ever watched.

It's called 100 Questions because, apparently, if you enlist a dating service to find you the right mate, you would have to answer 100 compatibility and dating questions that will be logged into your profile.

With only one episode aired so far, I can't decide whether to see through this show until it's pulled off the air. I don't even know how far this is in production although I believe it's only a summer filler, with less than 10 episodes.

Anyway, here are 15 questions I've come up with to assess my first impression of the pilot episode. I originally thought of coming up with a 100, then realized that would be hard, so I figured...25. Then I found that is so hard to do, too. (I guess that should tell you something!) So, I'm down to 15:

1. Where have I seen the lead character, Charlotte?
2. Why is her aura so snotty?
3. Is it because of her British accent?
4. Why does this series remind me a lot of Coupling?
5. Why is this show painfully un-funny?
6. Who is Christopher Moynihan?
7. Why are people looking forward to this series coz of him?
8. Why is his character the least funny?
9. Why do they have that annoying laugh track?
10. Why did James Burrows direct this average series?
11. Why is the pilot episode's storyline so old?
12. Am I watching a show from 1994?
13. What's with New York, where the show is set?
14. Can't people in New York find love?
15. What a cute intro! (Alright, not a question!)

Here's a peek. This is an old clip, I gather, since some actors have been replaced in the pilot episode that aired the other day:

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TV Show Ranking 2009-2010 (Broadcast Network)

Despite the slump, American Idol is still the #1 show on TV, as this finale series ranking from Neilsen proves it.

This ranking is composed of two parts. The first one is the audience share (demographics) and the second is for total viewers. Each part is very significant to how networks decide on which shows are staying or going.

Based on this list, Undercover Boss, a reality show where CEO's disguise themselves to join their workforce, emerges as the #1 new series of the season, while Glee has the distinction of being the #1 new scripted series, along with NCIS LA.

The #1 comedy to beat is The Big Bang Theory. While NCIS (the original one) wins it big for its network. I'm glad The Mentalist is still ranking on top and that 24 left the boob tube with very high ratings overall, as well.

The list, after the cut.

Sneak Peek: Hellcats

This 6-minute preview of Hellcats, which will premiere in the Fall, had me convinced I should check the series out when it airs. I was totally going to write it off as a tween series and forget about it. It's about a cheerleading team. A 30something mom like me would have no interest in it. Supposedly.

But I always have this thing for stories about people out to prove something and prove naysayers wrong.

And so, I'm going to check it out.

You should to. And you begin this by watching this sneak peek:

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Why You Should be Watching 24

Missed out on watching 24? If you've got about less than 30 minutes to spare, here's a short video essay of this groundbreaking series, as done by folks from The Slant Magazine, which will probably convince you why you need to see all eight seasons of it.

The video essay series "5 on 24" examines various aspects of the show, including its real-time structure, its depiction of torture, and the psychology of its hero, counterterrorist agent Jack Bauer.

Follow the rest of the videos here.

BLOG PROMO: I'm Giving Away Cougar Town's Complete Season 1 Original DVD

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28 May 2010

How Did Lost Really, Really *REALLY* End?

What the writers of Lost didn't want coming out. This top secret was breached!

The actual ending is after the cut....

Sneak Peek: Nikita

As pointed out earlier, here's a three minute peek into this new spy show on The CW called Nikita. The new series has Maggie Q in the lead.

Nikita is a rouge agent who is rescued from death row by the government. They faked her death and kept her away from the outside world, promising a new life for her. But the government actually trained her to become an assassin against her will. Finding a way out of the system, she vows vengeance and is running after the people who have done this to her.

Nikita's storyline has been played out so many times in TVs and movies. My favorite is actually that of Bridget Fonda in Point of No Return.

There was also a TV series called La Femme Nikita from 1997.

I can't tell how Nikita 2010 is going to do... but this, I think, is the first time The CW's picking a story that has nothing to do with affluent teens flaunting their designer items and talking like 28 year old sex starved ladies (yes, I'm pointing out Gossip Girl and 90210, in case you can't tell. :P ).

Anyway, here's Nikita's teaser:

Like what you've seen so far?

Maybe I found my new Sydney Bristow right there.

BLOG PROMO: I'm Giving Away Cougar Town's Complete Season 1 Original DVD

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"OMG My Life Is Ruined!"

This viral video has been going around humor and pop culture sites since this morning, featuring a viewer's reaction to Lee's win on American Idol. The lady in this video is a Crystal fan and suffice to say, she wasn't very pleased when Ryan Seacrest announced the winner.

I'd like to think I don't react the same way when I watch some of my favorite programs. But, shamefully, I do freak out in front of the TV, too (albeit a tad milder than this!).

Watch the drama below:

I didn't follow this year's Idol Top 12, unfortunately (fortunately for me?). After Alex Lambert's surprising boot during Top 24, I just lost interest. I've pegged Crystal to win it though, because very early on she was already peaking. But Lee was someone I also rooted for during the initial rounds. So, none of the results surprised me anymore.

I think I've had enough of this show.

BLOG PROMO: I'm Giving Away Cougar Town's Complete Season 1 Original DVD

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An Alias Reboot?

Although details are still unconfirmed, there is a report about a possible reboot of the early 2000 spy series, Alias, which starred Jennifer Garner. Created by JJ Abrams, who has another spy series set to premiere this fall (Undercovers, NBC), Alias ran for a good five seasons before it was canceled in 2006. The series had earned quite a few recognition while it was still on, including acting nominations for Garner and one writing nomination for Abrams for the pilot episode. The series ran on ABC, which this week, loses Lost and Flashforward in their line-up. (Lost ended its six season run, Flashforward has been canceled after one run).

The report goes on to say that the network (ABC) is focused on "holding on to its Lost audience" with this apparent rework. FACT: JJ Abrams used to be tied to Lost in the earlier seasons, which is probably why they are banking on this marketability.

What do you think of this reboot? I actually haven't seen all of Alias' episodes and while I long to see more of these ass-kicking female secret agents on TV, I would much rather watch something new than a reboot.

Speaking of kick-ass female secret agents, The CW has Nikita in their line-up this fall. More on that in another blog post later.

BLOG PROMO: I'm Giving Away Cougar Town's Complete Season 1 Original DVD

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26 May 2010

New Show: Pretty Little Liars

Kicking off June 8, Pretty Little Liars, is based on this young adult book series written by Sara Shepard. There are expected ten episodes for this, filling up the summer schedule for Tuesday nights via ABC Family.

The series stars four 16 year old girls played by Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Janel Parrish and Lucy Hale, who I last saw on Privileged. Holly Marie Combs is also in this show, and she will play Lucy Hale's character's mom.

The story is a lot similar to countless of teen stories you may have already watched or read ---- a group of young girls, all popular and cliquish, loses one of its members tragically. She is presumed dead and with her dying, she has supposedly kept all of the girls serious and mundane secrets.

Fast forward to three years later and those who remain all receive mysterious messages from an equally mysterious person who threatens to expose the secrets that they keep. Some of these secrets are apparently very controversial.

Here is the trailer to Pretty Little Liars:

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25 May 2010

Shutting Down Jack Bauer

I'm still reeling from the fact that Jack Shepherd and the rest of the Losties have "gone and made peace" or something so after watching the final episode of 24 today, my chest is still tight with grief.

I've been watching this series since Day 1. Though I admit, Days 5, 6 & 7 were not this series' best stories, and Day 8 started off shaky and uneven, these final moments were excellently played out.

I know there might be a movie in the works, so it was a good thing Jack is not actually dead or is going to that special place to meet everyone who's died on the show.

But dead, alive,  limping, on the run or otherwise? Thank you very much, 24 writers, for the hero that is Jack Bauer! It will be awhile before someone as kick-ass as him comes to wow me on television again.

BLOG PROMO: I'm Giving Away Cougar Town's Complete Season 1 Original DVD

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24 May 2010

Bravo, Lost, Bravo!


Glee Gets Picked Up For Season 3

...when Season 2 is still about to premiere in the last quarter of this year!

I think this is the first time I've heard of  a TV series getting picked up for another season when the immediate one's still coming up. Some people haven't even seen Season 1 (which has not actually finished airing!).

Can you believe this?

The full report is from EW. Excerpts below:

“In just one year, Glee has transcended the television landscape and emerged as a global pop culture phenomenon,” said Peter Rice, the Fox Networks Group Entertainment Chairman, in a statement.

Added Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly, “Everything about Glee – from the concept to the characters to the marketing – has been innovative and risky, but with [series creator] Ryan Murphy tapping into the zeitgeist, the risk has paid off with this truly remarkable series. Glee has one of the most active, devoted fan bases I’ve ever seen, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to give Gleeks a third season of their favorite show.”

Murphy also released the following statement: “It’s been a whirlwind year – from shooting the pilot to performing at the White House to the concert tour that began last week – and yet we all feel like we’ve just begun this amazing musical journey. We think our Gleeks worldwide are going to love what we’ll have in store for them in seasons two and three.” 
Along with the positive message it sends about the network’s commitment to the show, there are numerous financial benefits to giving a series like Glee a two-year pickup. Not only does it help cut production costs over the long haul, it allows Murphy and his writers a chance to plan ahead (if not breathe a much-needed sigh of relief). Most important, it gives the studio a head start in taking the episodes out into the syndication marketplace.
Well, congratulations Glee!

BLOG PROMO: I'm Giving Away Cougar Town's Complete Season 1 Original DVD

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23 May 2010

Lonestar and James Wolk: Buzzwords for Fall TV 2010

With 24 out of their list this fall, Fox is determined to keep their viewers tuned in to their drama shows by bringing a series everyone's saying is inspired by Dallas.

I was too young to be into Dallas when it was still on TV and although it ran for about two decades (till '91), it wasn't what I wanted to watch ---  a soap opera involving old people and rich families. But yes, Dallas was big, especially in America. And so, banking on familiarity, it made sense to do a show like it today.

This new show is called Lonestar, which, like Dallas, is also set in Texas. It's about this good-looking, charming, charismatic con artist who also happens to be a bigamist.

To make things interesting, the series also stars Jon Voight, who, if I remember reading correctly, really wanted to do this TV series.

The series is also directed by Marc Webb, who is critically hailed for his film, 500 Days of Summer.

The icing on the cake to Lonestar is this newcomer, James Wolk, who is described as a young George Clooney, a good-looking leading man material. In the next few months, James Wolk will probably be a name and a face you will constantly see in magazines and websites.

Check out this trailer to Lonestar and tell me if you don't find this man magnetizing. As we say it over here - "Smile pa lang, ulam na!" (Translation: YUMMY! LOL!) ---

Those who know TV well are already predicting this will be a hit, given all the spices I've just enumerated above. Personally, I don't know what to make of this yet. I find it will be heavily serious, dramatic and dark.

Lonestar will air alongside House on Fox.

BLOG PROMO: I'm Giving Away Cougar Town's Complete Season 1 Original DVD

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22 May 2010

I interrupt the program for... some outpouring of my sentiments... :P

This should be my very first entry for Team Carnival. I'm choosing to post on the topic of online friendships here on my TV blog because this is where my friendship with some of the most fascinating, admirable, caring, sensible and nicest people I've met on the internet started.

You don't exactly expect to click with online strangers or people you only know through usernames and alter-egos. You spend your time on the internet thinking that life offline is so much different, so you compartmentalize between the two.

But, as it was the case with mine, some of these strangers became more than just people's nicknames I exchanged thoughts, likes and dislikes about TV shows. Eventually, our discussion and exchanges diverted to other things like family, relationships, fashion, food, angst, politics and anything under the sun.  In five or so years of chatting up with these faceless people....I got to know more about them and they got to know more about me.

The biggest measure to our "friendship" online happened when, during those times when I almost had a breakdown, they were there for me. Seriously. All I needed to do was send some of them an email or a private message and they listened. I wouldn't know how I would be able to cope, if not for their messages of encouragement and support left inside my inbox or the comments section of my "getting through it" journal. They've been partly the reason why I'm still sane after all that I've been through. :) These people are my cheering squad and I'd like to believe I'm also part of their own cheering squad.

Genuine friendships can happen online. I used to not believe in this so much because everyone knows there are a lot of loons on the internet. These online friends I have? They prove that it's not always the case.  They are no longer faceless people with mysterious usernames.  And our relationships are no longer limited to talking about why we think Lost is the greatest show on T, or Jack Bauer is the coolest, or why we cheer for our bets on Idol, or cry with the Walkers, and so and and so forth.

These online friends are now people I truly care about.

I wouldn't need to mention it, but you know who you are. All of you are on my Plurk and some are in my Facebook. :)

I'm very grateful for each and everyone of you. So very, very grateful! You're all the reason why it's good the internet was invented.  If not for it....then it might take me awhile to learn there are cool people like you out there for me to befriend.

BLOG PROMO: I'm Giving Away Cougar Town's Complete Season 1 Original DVD

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