Wednesday, August 22, 2007

America Has Taste - Or Does It?

Huzzah, American TV viewer, I didn't think you had it in you.

After sitting through the first 45 excruciatingly boring minutes of "On The Lot," in which all was accomplished was eliminating the most talented filmmaker left in the competition in Adam, I assumed it meant we were being set for a Jason victory.

But despite Fox's screwing up the Internet voting, America came through, giving it to the guy I was pulling for all along in Will Bigham. Although I don't think Will was the best filmmaker in the competition, he was awfully good and a genuinely nice guy who you wanted to root for. Had he not won, he likely would have given up filmmaking in order to support his family.

As for Jason, here's a note that the judges never gave: Dress like a grown-up, already. Yeah, we get it - you think you are cool with your hip-hop bling and sideways cap. But if you are trying to convince a producer to give you millions of bucks to make a movie, you may want to give the impression that you are the slightest bit responsible by not wearing the haute couture of a 13-year-old.

But back to Will, who I think has much more game than any of the "Project Greenlight" winners. In fact, I'd love to see a PGL-styled show in which we follow Will on the set as he makes his movie for Dreamworks.

Of course, "On The Lot" was kind of the exception to the rule for reality programming on Fox. Tonight's offering of "Anchorwoman" (Fox, 8 p.m.) is more in tune with the tastes of reality czar Mike Darnell with its "Simple Life" tone.

Former swimsuit model/WWE diva Lauren Jones is hired to jack up the ratings to a Texas TV news station, and I'm betting it has little to do with her skills as a journalist (considering she has no background in journalism). The series follows her efforts to make it in front of the camera while her colleagues debate whether she is worthy of her assignment.

Actually, I'm not even mad at Fox at this point, because its reality TV philosophy has become white noise at this point. No, in a time when quality journalism is under siege from all sides with the struggles of the newspaper industry and the decline of TV news in favor of the average blogger (ahem) who can pretty much post anything he or she wants about anything.

I do find it interesting that in a summer of fantastic new cable fare ("Mad Men," "Burn Notice," "Damages," "The Bronx Is Burning" et. al.) that the only thing the regular networks can come up with to counter it is so-called reality programming.

WARNER ROBINS LITTLE LEAGUE: Our plucky area baseballers are making up their rainout at 11 a.m. this morning on ESPN. With all of the schedule up there screwed up because of the weather, I'll update later if they win as to when they play again.

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BET: I had generally been disappointed with "Rescue Me" (FX, 10 p.m.) this summer, but last week's was a return to glory, IMO. The Gavin family intervention, the parts with Gina Gershon, Lou and Franco's brief conversation with the chief - all were inspired. So here's hoping the show continues on track the rest of the season.


zodin2008 said...

Phillip, considering how passionate you clearly are about "On the Lot", I am happy for you that a good director won. And if the guy you thought might win was voted out because a) he wasn't very talented and B) he wore bling and wore his cap sideways, like he's some hip hop kid, then I say even BETTER. I couldn't agree more...if you're going to dress like that, you have no business being taken seriously. GROW UP. (and that goes to anyone who wants to dress like they're in a gang rather than be an adult).

I totally agree about "Rescue Me" as well. The show is easily having its worst creative year but last week was a return 9for at least 1 week) to former glory. I say MORE Gavin family, less on Franco's romantic foibles or on the 2nd Shawn proving himself. Been there done that a few years ago when Diane Farr was the only woman. (and thank GOD she's now on a show I don't watch...Farr's voice is the most heinous thing in the history of television).

Still, I can't say I am overly excited about an all new "Rescue Me" because its had too many weeks of completely stinking up the joint.

By the way, you continue to praise "Damages" like it's the best thing ever on Cable and many of us think it's a steaming pile of doggy doo. I don't get it. Phillip, I have come to think that any kind of shock factor show on Cable impresses you, but thankfully you weren't impressed with dreck like "Dirt", "The Riches" or "John from Cinncinati".

In an effort for cable to always be edgy, in many cases they just make stuff that's ridiculous, over the top and downright offensive.

The critics have been savaging Holly Hunter's new TNT show, "Saving Grace", because apparently her character is going out of her way to cuss and have as much extra marital sex as humanly possible. Look, you can't force the Vic Mackey thing with everyone...I think every edgy Cable show wants a Vic or a Tony Soprano and either it's done with credibility and you can buy it, or it's a farce like what TNT is doing with Hunter.

Then again, I am also NO fan of TNT's previous Drama success, "The Closer". I think that's a steaming pile of doggy doo as well. As i think I stated previously, as a southerner born & raised in Georgia, I know what a real southern accent sounds like and a fake one that's Scarlett O'Hara and insulting to us. Kyra Sedgewick faalls in that category. Like Holly Hunter, she's taken her character to extremes and given the west coast TV crowd what they THINK passes for a southern attorney.

Jonathan said...

I enjoyed Sam's work as well, and was pulling for him out of the three, but once I started thinking back to Will's overall output, he actually probably was the most consistently entertaining; even more so than Zach. And as you said, he was the least likely to keep up the pursuit if he didn't win, so for that reason alone, it was probably well worth it. Jason, Sam, and Zach especially are probably going to be able to find some work either way.

As for "Rescue Me," I've actually gotten a good 2 weeks behind, so I will be catching up on that this weekend. Good to hear this past one was such a good episode.

And both you and Zod were so high on "Ugly Betty," my wife and I picked up the first season on DVD yesterday and will probably be digging into that tonight. I was able to catch a couple of episodes in the middle of the season this past year, but it felt like something that needed to be watched from the beginning. So, I'm looking forward to seeing what all the hype is about.

Jonathan said...

Oh, and replace Sam w/Adam. I'm getting my names confused.

zodin2008 said...


Not only did "Ugly Betty" have an excellent Freshman season, but unlike "Heroes", "Betty" had an emotionally packed and hilarious season finale. Yes, I think you'll very much get into "Betty", making your Fall Thursdays even more crowded.

Phillip Ramati said...

Ugly Betty is a good pickup, and now is the perfect time to catch up with it. I'm certain America Ferrera is a lock for the Emmy.

Zod, no way Damages is as bad as something like Dirt. C'mon, I can perfectly understand if you don't like the show, but that comparison is way off. I never said it was the best thing on cable, and i definitely don't watch a show because it has shock factor.

Saving Grace doesn't work because the shock factor seems to be all there is. Same thing with Californication.

Shows only work if they use the shock factor to accentuate the drama, like The Sopranos.

zodin2008 said...

Phillip, your quote from today's Blog:

"I do find it interesting that in a summer of fantastic new cable fare ("Mad Men," "Burn Notice," "Damages," "The Bronx Is Burning" et. al.) that the only thing the regular networks can come up with to counter it is so-called reality programming"

If you're calling something "Fantastic", then you're saying it's one of the best things on Cable. I thought "Damages" was a complete mess, the writing, acting, the characters--even many critics have jumped on board.

Again, I am just using your quote...

Phillip Ramati said...

And I think it is one of the best things on cable. It may not be quite on par with the other shows I mentioned, but that doesn't mean it's bad.

I've seen plenty of critics come out in praise of Damages as well.

But that doesn't really matter to me. In the end, I'm the only critic I listen to, and I enjoy the show. If you don't, that's perfectly fine.

Angel Collins said...

On the Lot... I was glad Will won as well. Even though he wasn't the most talented, like you said, he was the most consistent. I liked Jason's movies, but he will be able to find work much easier than Will, who needed this to jump start him. I'm glad he won. As for Adam, his best film was the first and the last but I don't think he was consistent. But when his storytelling was on, it was good.

Zodin... how can you not like Damages? I love Glenn Close in this role. And I am a big fan of The Closer, southern accent notwithstanding. As a southern girl, I too know how fake it sounds, but if you can get past that, the show is very good. Good character development. I think the writers did it right with that series. The conflicts, the relationships and the humour turn into real things because it has been set up so well. But what else can I expect from a Prison Break lover??? (j/k by the way, even though I really dislike Prison Break) and you really can't classify Damages with such horrible shows as Dirt and The Riches... anyway, I've written more than I was going to write. Go Will!

Phillip Ramati said...

Angel, good to hear from you again. I don't agree with your assessment that Jason will find work more easily than Will would have - I don't see a lot of producers giving Jason tons of money when he dresses like a 12-year-old.

Of the three, Adam was the most technically proficient, so I think he will be able to make a go of it.

And I agree with you on Damages. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I think it's one of the better shows of the summer.