Monday, June 18, 2007

Bringing Out 'The Closer'

Chances are I don't even need to tell you "The Closer" (TNT, 9 p.m.) is returning with new episodes beginning tonight.

The crime drama, starring Kyra Sedgwick as deputy police chief Brenda Johnson, has been the highest-rated original cable drama during its run, and Sedgwick usually garners Emmy attention in the role.

For me, I watched the first season of the series, but wasn't blown away by it. Having seen the much-superior "Prime Suspect" on PBS — a series "The Closer" is often compared to because they both feature women in authority roles who often butt heads with their male colleagues in the police — the American series doesn't really stack up, at least for me. Judging by the ratings, I'm in the minority.

"The Closer" gets a new companion series in the medical drama "Heartland" (TNT, 10 p.m.), which stars Treat Williams as a midwestern transplant surgeon. Also in the cast are Kari Matchett ("24," "Invasion") and Morena Baccarin ("Firefly").

If dramas aren't your thing, PBS has a terrific alternative in "Simon Schama's The Power Of Art," with two episodes running from 9-11 p.m.

Schama is the English historian who created the fantastic series "The History of Britain" for The History Channel a few years ago; on a personal note, it was the series that launched my screenwriting hobby.

What makes Schama's stuff so good is that he takes these erudite topics and makes them accessible to the average person. You don't need six degrees from Cambridge to understand what's going on. If you want to learn anything about art, this is a good chance to jump in.

DON'T STOP BELIEVING: Many people might have hated "The Sopranos" finale, but you can expect the band Journey isn't among them. The group's song "Don't Stop Believin'," which was featured so prominently in the final scene as Tony played it on the jukebox, has gotten new life since the episode aired. Sales for the song jumped an astonishing 482 percent (that's not a typo) on iTunes, according to an Atlanta radio station.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: Assuming you don't go with the above choices, there are a few other new things tonight. "Creature Comforts" (CBS, 8 p.m.) is all-new, as is "Hell's Kitchen" (Fox, 9 p.m.)

So I don't incur the wrath of Zod, "Kyle XY" (ABC Family, 8 p.m.) airs a brand-new installment tonight.

In one of the freakier new reality series, tennis star Mark Philippoussis seeks a new girlfriend from a group of women selected by network producers on "Age of Love" (NBC, 9 p.m.) The twist? You've got a group of hot 40 year olds squaring off against hot 20 year olds for the affections of the 30-year-old tennis star.

Finally, I rarely highlight repeats, but tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS, 9:30 p.m.) is the brilliant "Price Is Right" parody as Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) is led to believe Bob Barker is his biological father.

1 comment:

zodin2008 said...

You still incur my wrath, because you failed to mention (again) an all new episode of the fantastic HBO series, "Big Love". Maybe they can resuscitate a lost 80's band in their finale. Thanksfully, the series isn't going anywhere.

And I don't know you don't the series, Phillip (or maybe you have caught on), but as a budding screenwriter, I really wish you'd go back to the first 2 seasons of DVD's (the 3rd season ended 2 weeks ago and those DVD's won't be out for a while) of HBO's "Entourage".

In last night's 4th season premier, I think you would have particularly enjoyed this episode as the whole half hour was done faux documentary style from the troubled set of Vincent Chase's new film, "Medallin".

It mainly stems from the hilariously insane performance from Rhys Coiro as insane director, Billy Walsh, who continues to wreak havoc on the set with all sorts of asinine behaviours and re-shoots and goes into a deep depressing because he wants to sleep with Vince's smokin' hot Colombian co-star and he can't function because he's wondering who on set is sleeping with her.

The show is so funny, so satirical, not to mention the overlooked but Emmy worthy comedic performance of Kevin Dillon as Vince's older and less successful brother, Johnny Drama Chase. If you don't find yourself holding your sides at every scene Dillon is in, you probably aren't watching then!

As many know, the Vince Chase character is loosely based on Mark Wahlberg, and apparently the character of Billy Walsh (who was around in Season 2 a lot directing Vince's "Queen's Boulevard") is based on infamous hot head director, David O. Russell ("Three Kings", "I Heart Huckabees", "Flirting with Disaster" and "Spanking the Monkey"). 2 of these movies had Wahlberg in them so that lends further credence.

Anyway, I just felt I should do "Entourage" a service and talk a bit more about this brilliant series for thos ewho are missing out.

Re: "The Closer"

I have no interest in this show.

Yes, I realize it's the most nsuccessful show on Cable, but I am not at all a Kyra Sedgewick fan.

My main issue is that as someone who grew up in Georgia (like Phillip and many of the readers on here), her portrayel of an Atlanta lawyer is over the top and unflattering and makes it seem like this is the norm for people from Atlanta. It's not. The majority of the people I know from Atlanta don't sound they are doing Rhett Butler/Scarlett O'Hara dinner theater in Mississippi. Sedgewick's portrayel of a southern lawyer to me is offensive and very steroetypical.

But this is what people on the left coast think of Georgians...a bunch of hayseeds who all sound like we were in "Gone with the Wind". This is simply a falsehood of course.

I am much more excited to try out the new Glenn Close FX series, "Damages". Now there's an actress who doesn't have to chew scenery to get her point across.

That's OK, at Emmy time, the Hollywood idiots have gotten it in their heads that Mariska Hargitay can act her way out of a paper bag on "Law & Order: SVU" (she can't, still) and yet continually chose to ignore more tour de force performances like Close on "The Shield", or Mary McDonnell for "Battlestar" or Kristen Bell for "Veronica Mars". As long as edie Falco has lived and breathed, no should ever take away that woman's Emmys.

Kyra Sedgewick and Hargitay cannot hold a cancle to any of these women...ever.