Friday, September 28, 2007

Pale 'Moonlight'

When I first heard about the series "Moonlight" (CBS, 9 p.m.), about a vampire who becomes a privated investigator to help people with supernatural problems, my reaction was like everyone else's.

I really liked it the first time when the series was called "Angel."

But I was determined not to give the series such a flip review once I got the pilot, and at least try to judge "Moonlight" on its own merits.

The pilot, which was entirely recast except for lead actor Alex O'Loughlin and reshot, follows the vampire detective Mick St. John, a 90-year-old vampire who was turned by his bride (Shannyn Sossamon) on their wedding night. St. John's only guide is one of the oldest vampires around, Josef (Jason Dohring of "Veronica Mars"), who concerns himself more about day trading and staying anonymous than helping humanity.

Mick has kept watch over a girl for most of her life (Sophia Myles), who has grown up to be a reporter for a Web site. She becomes interested in a murder when it appears to have been committed by a vampire, which also raises Mick's interest.

So the verdict?

I'll say this: It made me really miss "Angel."

There's nothing about "Moonlight" that we really haven't seen before on lots of other series - the superhero, the mentor, the plucky reporter who constantly needs rescuing and can't seem to put the hero's identity together.

In trying to distinguish itself from "Angel," which was one of the best-written shows on TV while it aired, "Moonlight" hurts itself by taking out the best bits of what made "Angel" so special.

Angel was a centuries-old vampire cursed by gypsies to have a soul, so that he might feel his victim's pain. He must spend the rest of eternity trying to repent for hundreds of years of murder and mayhem, and can't experience a moment's happiness, lest he lose his soul.

Mick carries none of that angst. He never wanted to be a vampire, and has seemingly always been a good guy.

In Angel's world, there are demons, werewolves, warlocks and other creatures of myth, many of whom were presented in a wickedly funny way. In Mick's world, there are only vampires, which I would think would handcuff the producers for future storylines.

It may not be fair to compare "Moonlight" to "Angel" or even a show like "Forever Knight." But the producers are targeting essentially the same audience, who will watch "Moonlight" and make their own comparisons. And "Moonlight" won't be able to stand up under that.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: "Moonlight" will be anchored by two returning shows tonight, "Ghost Whisperer" at 8 p.m. and "Numb3rs" at 10 p.m. "Numb3rs" has a very strong premiere, directed in the unique style of producer Tony Scott and with guest-star Val Kilmer, the premiere picks up with last season's cliffhanger of FBI agent Colby Granger (Dylan Bruno) an apparent spy for China. Or is he? That's what Don (Rob Morrow) and his team have to find out.

Also airing tonight is the two-hour season premiere of "Las Vegas," (NBC, 9 p.m.), which welcomes new cast member Tom Selleck and bids adieu to star James Caan.

John Simm ("Life On Mars") guest stars as the Doctor's old enemy, The Master, who attempts to conquer the world in the second part of the three-part season finale on "Doctor Who" (Sci-Fi, 8 p.m.) It's folowed by a new "Flash Gordon" and "the season premiere of "Stargate Atlantis" at 10 p.m., which features former "Stargate SG-1" star Amanda Tapping as a new cast member.

"Torchwood" (BBC America, Sat., 9 p.m.) is all-new.

Sunday marks the season debuts of "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, Sun., 9 p.m.) and "Brothers & Sisters" (ABC, Sun., 10 p.m.)

The best bets for Sunday, however, are the season premieres of "Dexter" (Showtime, Sun., 9 p.m.) and "Brotherhood" (Show., Sun., 10 p.m.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

ABC: The Agony And The Ecstasy

I've got to wonder who is making the programming decisions at ABC, but it's got to be more than one person. It's the only way to explain how the same network could produce both the absolute worst and very best new shows of the season.

Tonight marks the debut of steaming pile of dog poo called "Big Shots" (ABC, 10 p.m.), which for some unfathomable reason has earned the coveted post-"Grey's Anatomy" time slot.

I won't waste valuable bandwith on "BS" (the world's most appropriate initials) except to say it tries to pass itself off as a clone of "Desperate Housewives" and "Sex & The City" for men, and fails spectacularly. Despite what would normally be considered a talented cast - Dylan McDermott, Christopher Titus, Michael Vartan and Joshua Malina - the four leads are so unlikeable and the storylines so inane that I'd only watch another episode of "BS" at gunpoint. Even then, the bullet might be preferable.

The four leads are rich, powerful businessmen who all have women troubles. They spend a bunch of time discussing them at fancy clubs or the golf course, whining endlessly. Then they go attempt to solve their problems in the most stupid ways possible.

Anyone who reads this blog knows my biggest pet peeve as a writer is having characters perform actions that don't make any sort of sense in the real world. The McDermott character does this in spades in a ridiculous plotline involving a transvestite hooker.

And the pilot may have set a TV record for using the word "penis" the most times within 43 minutes. "BS" explores a lot of the same themes as "Dirty Sexy Money," only "DSM" does it a lot better and is worth an hour of your time.

What makes "BS" so especially irritating is that the same network bigwigs that OK'd "BS" also have given us flat-out the best new show of the year.

"Pushing Daisies" is so beautiful, so clever, so brilliant that I actually feel bad for you, the viewer, that you still have to wait a whole week to see it.

"Pushing Daisies" (which will always get the full title treatment here from now on) is not only the best new show of the year, it may also be the most inventive, creative pilot ABC has ever produced (and yes, I realize I am talking about the same network that gave us "Lost").

"Pushing Daisies" is essentially a fairy tale, about a man named Ned (Lee Pace) who discovers he has the power to raise the dead with a single touch. But the power comes at a terrible price - if he touches the person again, they die; and if he doesn't touch the person a minute after reviving them, someone else dies.

While this may sound like a somber theme for a TV show, it's witty and funny and sad and wonderfully executed. It co-stars Anna Friel as Chuck, the love of Ned's life; Chi McBride as Emerson, a private detective who knows Ned's secret and uses it to his advantage; and Kristin Chenowith as Olive, a waitress in love with Ned who can't understand why he won't pet his own dog. Jim Dale provides the best voice-over narration to any show since Ron Howard's work on "Arrested Development."

I'll preview "Pushing Daisies" more when it debuts next Wednesday, but this is not only the best new show of the year, it's one of the best shows overall for the year.

NASHVILLE DONE: The Fox reality series "Nashville" has already been yanked, at least temporarily, from the lineup. Replacing it Friday nights will be reruns of the new series "K-Ville."

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Before ABC offends our senses with "BS," it premieres two of its top shows with "Ugly Betty" at 8 p.m. and "Grey's Anatomy" at 9 p.m. I was disappointed with the heavy-handed tone to "Betty's" finale, but the show was so good the rest of the time that I'm anxious to catch up.

I've seen the season premiere of "My Name Is Earl" (NBC, 8 p.m.) and while it does drag a bit at some points during it's hour-long premiere, there are still quite a few great moments, especially as both Joy (Emmy winner Jamie Pressley) and Randy (Ethan Suplee) have to deal with Earl's incarceration. It's followed by the hour-long season premiere of TV's best sitcom, "The Office" (NBC, 9 p.m.) and the season premiere of "ER" at 10 p.m.

"Smallville" (CW, 8 p.m.) picks up where last season left off, with Lana and Chloe facing death and the Bizarro version of Clark flying around. Fortunately, Clark will have the help of his cousin, Kara, aka Supergirl. It's followed by a rerun of the "Reaper" pilot, a show I highly recommend.

Summer may be done, but there are still new episodes of two of the best series to come out of that season with "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" (FX, 10 p.m.) and "Mad Men" (AMC, 10 p.m.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dirty Sexy Fun; Practice Not Perfect

ABC made up for the year it didn't put me on its critics list by sending me a bunch of DVDs for preview. So much so that I've enlisted help to review them all in time.

Yes, loyal dozens, you not only get the word of the TV Guy, but you get special guest star Stephanie, the Cherry Blogger as well.

First up is me, though, because I've been fortunate to catch the first two episodes of one of the best new shows of the season, "Dirty Sexy Money." (ABC, 10 p.m.)

Quite simply, "DSM" is everything that "Desperate Housewives" was in its brilliant first season: biting dark humor mixed in with an overarching mystery. (Hopefully, "DSM" won't devolve the way "DH" did after the first season, though).

Peter Krause ("Six Feet Under") is Nick George, the hapless attorney to the richest, most famous family in the U.S. — the Darlings (who are anything but). Nick doesn't want the job, which his late father previously held, but the patriarch of the family (Donald Sutherland) makes him an offer that seems too good to be true.

Five minutes after he takes the job, Nick quickly finds out there isn't enough money in the world to make it worthwhile. The Darling clan is constantly causing fires for Nick to put out: Patrick (William Baldwin) is an aspiring senator with a secret that definitely can't be leaked; Karen (Natalie Zea) is still in love with Nick years after the two grew up together, and makes no secret about it; Brian (Glenn Fitzgerald) is quite possibly the world's meanest and worst priest; Jeremy (Seth Gabel) is a party boy with no direction in life, while his twin sister Juliet (Samaire Armstrong) is a Paris Hilton clone.

Nick tries to keep all of the Darling issues at bay while investigating the death of his father.

"DSM" is never dull, deftly mixing Nick's real-world outlook with the antics of the Darlings. And while each of the Darlings could be written off as caricatures, by the second episode, they are shown with enough depth that it keeps the viewer interested.

Also airing tonight is the premiere of the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff "Private Practice" (ABC, 9 p.m.), which debuted last winter as a backdoor pilot during an episode of "Grey's." Since I didn't watch that episode, nor do I watch "Grey's," I turned the premiere over to the Cherry Blogger, who had this to say:

'At the beginning of the pilot episode for "Private Practice," Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) tells Chief Richard Webber that she is resigning from Seattle Grace and moving to California because she needs a change, she needs to start fresh, and she wants "to dance naked." Addison is looking for a lot less drama, and that's what "Private Practice" delivers. Anyone looking for the same fast-paced agnst-filled ups and downs of "Grey's" won't find it in "Private Practice" - at least not if the rest of the season follows the same pace as the pilot.

One thing about the show that bothered me from the start was the swap-out of actress Merrin Dungey for Audra McDonald in the role of Addison's best friend, Dr. Naomi Bennett. I was a huge fan of "Alias," and therefore a huge fan of Dungey, who played the Francinator. I read that she was swapped out because producers felt she didn't have enough chemistry with the cast. Boo! McDonald seems to take the role as her own well, but I do hope to see more development of her character, as well as the others, throughout the season.

The writing was fine for the first episode, but I'll need a reason to get behind these characters and stay hooked to "Private Practice," something I didn't find in the pilot. But I'm hoping writer Shonda Rhimes can pull it off.'

I can only add that "Private" is one of the more interesting shows on ABC's schedule. The network could have put it on Thursdays after "Grey's" to practically guarantee it a huge audience, but instead is gambling that enough "Grey's" viewers will head over to Wednesdays, establishing a beachfront there. It's a big gamble, one worth following.

MACON ACTRESS ON HOUSE OF PAYNE: Ed Grisamore reports that Macon actress Sylvia Boykin will appear on "Tyler Perry's House of Payne," (TBS, 10 p.m.) Boykin, a graduate of Stratford Academy, will be playing an attorney.

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: One of the most buzzed-about shows of the summer was "Bionic Woman" (NBC, 9 p.m.), which debuts tonight. British actress Michelle Ryan takes on the role of Jamie Sommers, a bartender who is rebuilt with bionic parts after a devastating car accident. But she's not the first woman to undergo this procedure, and the original bionic woman, Sarah (Katee Sackoff) isn't the friendliest super-being around.

Having watched two versions of the pilot, I was a little underwhelmed by it, but there is enough good possibilities - especially with producers like David Eick and Jason Katims - that I'll be sticking with it for a while.

I enjoyed the first two episodes of "Life" (NBC, 10 p.m.) a lot more, and so did my parents. I think Damian Lewis ("Band of Brothers") is one of the best actors working and I loved his quirk-filled performance about a cop who returns to the job after being framed and sent to prison for 12 years. Some critics and fans, however, find the character too quirky and have been turned off by it, so I deliver the warning that this will be a show with little middle ground: you'll either love it or hate it.

CBS airs the season debuts of "Criminal Minds" and "CSI: NY" after a new episode of "Kid Nation" (CBS, 8 p.m.) Fox is also all-new, with the Kelsey Grammer-Patricia Heaton comedy "Back To You" (Fox, 8 p.m.) leading things off. I was very underwhelmed by the pilot, but with all the talent associated with the show in front of and behind the camera, I'm giving it another shot.

Finally, the next installment of Ken Burns' "The War" (PBS, 8 p.m.) airs tonight, an extra-long segment that focuses on D-Day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More TV Goodness

Well, if you haven't heard, Ken Burns' World War II documentary miniseries "The War" (PBS, 8 p.m.) drew a whopping 18.7 million viewers for its debut Sunday night, unheard of for the network except for all the other times Ken Burns has a documentary airing.

Whether the numbers hold remains to be seen as "The War" continues to go head-to-head with all of the network season premieres, but odds are, "The War" has its own built-in, loyal audience. It just goes to show that there's no way to predict the tastes of the average American.

COUCH NOT SO UGLY: Former Maconite Christina Stefano Wood's couch was ugly, just not ugly enough. It made it to the final three of the "Ugliest Couch" contest to earn a spot this morning on "Live With Regis & Kelly," but fell short of the ultimate prize of $5,000 and a selection of seat covers.

Of course, if you saw the couch that actually one, it was pretty much no contest. The winner could have won the "Ugliest Couch of All-Time" award.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: CBS kicks off the night with the season premieres of "NCIS" at 8 p.m., followed by "The Unit" and the debut of "Cane." "Cane" is probably worth a look, although it will require a major commitment from the viewer to stick with it. But the cast, including Jimmy Smits, Hector Elizondo, Rita Morena, Nestor Carbonell and Polly Walker, is stellar and the pilot was better than I expected.

Fox programmers are showing a lot of common sense, moving "Bones" to Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and pairing it with its top-rated drama, "House." Both shows carry that same sort of tongue-in-cheek charm in a procedural form, so the audiences for both shows should be similar. "House" picks up with House all alone after his staff rebels and leaves him, forcing him to hold a cattle call of young doctors to be the new team. Poor saps have no idea what they are in for...

Tonight marks the debut of the male dancers on "Dancing With The Stars" (ABC, 8 p.m.) (Go Wayne Newton!) It's followed by inexplicable Emmy darling "Boston Legal" (ABC, 9:30 p.m.)

NBC is also all-new, with a two-hour "The Biggest Loser" at 8 p.m., followed by the season premiere of "Law & Order: SVU" at 10 p.m.

Finally, the pick of the night is TV's coolest and cleverest new show, "Reaper" (CW, 9 p.m.) Though the comparison to shows like "Buffy" are apt (though "Reaper" is much more tongue in cheek), this should appeal to a variety of ages. I watched the pilot with my mom, who loved it. In fact, the only possible nitpick for this show is that Ray Wise is so brilliantly cast as the Devil, you actually find yourself pulling for Satan, and I'm not sure how good a thing that is.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Welcome to the best week of the year - fall TV premiere week.

You've got new shows galore and old favorites returning. Which ones will fail? Which will succeed? Which shows are you rooting for?

Of course, last week saw the premieres of two Fox shows, "Prison Break" (Fox, 8 p.m.) and "K-Ville" (Fox, 9 p.m.), but this is the week that pretty much everything is new.

As I've posted previously, right now, NBC has the most interesting slate of new shows, followed closely by The CW. Of all the new NBC offerings, I believe "Chuck," (NBC, 8 p.m.) has the broadest appeal. Following the misadventures of a geeky store clerk, Chuck (Zachary Levi) finds himself having the entire American intelligence network downloaded into his brain by his former college rival.

Now operatives from both the CIA and NSA want the knowledge in his head and are keeping a close eye on him.

What makes "Chuck" different is that we actually get insight into the protagonist's home life. We're not just pulling for Chuck to not get killed, we're also pulling for him to get that assistant manager's job at work.

Oh, and "Chuck" also has perhaps the best-ever Ninja-vs.-geek combat sequence.

"Chuck" leads off an entire night of fantasy-based shows for the Peacock, with the season premiere of "Heroes" (NBC, 9 p.m.) and "Journeyman" (NBC, 10 p.m.) For more insight into "Heroes," you can check out this week's edition of "Entertainment Weekly," which has a great cover story on the show.

"Journeyman" is a show a lot of viewers may find confusing at first, but I think that's partly deliberate from the show's writers to reflect the confusion the lead character Dan (Kevin McKidd) is experiencing. Dan, a journalist, suddenly finds himself bouncing around through time, following the life experiences of a single family Dan accidentally meets. By the second episode, things get a bit clearer for Dan, though obviously how and why he is bouncing around through time will remain the season's big mystery.

There are plenty of other highlights tonight for a wide range of viewers. CBS kicks off its lineup with the season premieres of returning comedies "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS, 8 p.m.), with guest stars Mandy Moore and Enrique Iglesias, "2 1/2 Men" (CBS, 9 p.m.) and "Rules of Engagement" (CBS, 9:30 p.m.), followed by the premiere of "CSI: Miami" at 10 p.m. The Eye also premieres the new comedy, "Big Bang Theory" at 8:30 p.m. Feel free to skip it.

ABC goes the so-called reality route, with the season premieres of "Dancing With The Stars" (ABC, 8 p.m.) - go Wayne Newton! - and the 11th edition of "The Bachelor" at 9:30 p.m.

UGLY COUCH TIME: On Tuesday morning's edition of "Live With Regis & Kelly," (WMAZ, Tues., 9 a.m.) former Maconite Christina Stefano Wood will appear as a finalist in the national Ugly Couch Competition.

MORE VIRAL MARKETING: A couple of items e-mailed to me from helpful publicists may interest you. If you want to check out the season premiere of one of TV's best shows before it airs in "Friday Night Lights," it is currently running on Yahoo! at:

Also, for fans of MTV's "Jackass" (I don't count myself among that group), Dr. Steve-O is getting his own show on USA. You can check out a preview at the official Web site,

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: There's not much I haven't already listed, but I should point out that the excellent "The War" (PBS, 8 p.m.) is continuing tonight. There are also new episodes of "Weeds" (Showtime, 10 p.m.) and "Californication" (Show, 10:30 p.m.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Free Downloads? Huzzah!

The NBC vs. Apple battle over the cost of downloading TV episodes off iTunes took an interesting turn yesterday, as NBC announced it would be putting episodes of shows previously only available on iTunes on its own Web site for free.

NBC will hope to make money off the episodes by embedding commercials within the downloads, but it's a good deal for the average viewer, who now won't have to pay $1.99 for reruns of shows like "Heroes" and "The Office."

The question is, will NBC make more off the advertisements than it did off iTunes? Certainly, other networks such as ABC have had a good run with embedded commercials on their Web site, as viewers have been able to download the likes of "Ugly Betty," "Lost," and "Grey's Anatomy" for free.

It is a curious move, though, for NBC in this sense: Should they ever try to settle with Apple, or try a different format for downloads, how many viewers will start paying again to download an episode that they're now about to get for free?

Meanwhile, I feel NBC continues to be the cleverest in terms of its use of viral promotions. To wit, check out this Web site devoted to "Heroes" -

This is also a good one, promoting the new season of "My Name Is Earl" -

As a consumer, I was always resentful of having to pay to download reruns, so I find this move from NBC to be pleasing.

DOESN'T ANYONE STAY DEAD ANYMORE?: It was announced this week that two popular supporting actors previously thought dead will return to their popular series at some point this season.

Earlier this week, "24" producers let slip that Carlos Bernard, aka Tony Almeida, would be returning this season to the show (presumably not as some long-lost twin). I'm a bit curious to see how they producers explain this, what with Tony being shot in the neck and bleeding to death and all two seasons ago.

Also, Cynthia Watros, aka Libby, will be back on "Lost." This is perhaps a little more reasonable, because it's probable that Libby will only be appearing in a flashback sequence. (Or will she? Hmmm....) Libby was last seen being shot to death by the idiot Michael (Harold Perrineau), who was last seen himself sailing away from the island. Perrineau is also scheduled to return to "Lost" this season.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: Capt. Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) returns to "Doctor Who" (Sci Fi, 8 p.m.) in the first episode of the three-part season finale. It's followed by a new "Flash Gordon" at 9 p.m. and the series finale of "Painkiller Jane" at 10 p.m.

You can also catch Capt. Jack on his regular series, "Torchwood" (BBC America, Sat., 9 p.m.)

Staying in a fantasy frame of mind, "Family Guy" (Fox, Sun., 9 p.m.) kicks off its new season with an hour-long parody of "Star Wars." It follows the season premiere of "The Simpsons" (Fox, Sun., 8 p.m.), featuring guest-star Stephen Colbert.

Also on Sunday are the season premieres of "Cold Case" at 9 p.m. and "Shark" at 10 p.m., the latter of which featuring new cast members Kevin Pollack and Kevin Alejandro ("Ugly Betty").

Finally, one of the most anticipated TV events of the year kicks off Sunday night as PBS airs the new Ken Burns World War II documentary, "The War," beginning at 8 p.m.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Raising 'Cane'; Big 'Bomb'

I've been busy the past few days catching up with the newest CBS dramatic offerings for the upcoming season. All in all, the Eye's newest shows don't rank favorably with its sister network, the CW.

But in fairness to CBS, the CW may have two of the best new shows of the fall in "Reaper" and "Aliens In America," so it's not surprising that CBS' mediocre new series fall short.

I've watched "Cane," "Big Bang Theory" and "Moonlight," the last of which I'm giving its own separate view tomorrow.

Of the remainders, "Cane" was better than I thought it was, though I don't think I'm going to commit to watching it on a weekly basis.

"Cane" tells the story of a multi-generational Cuban-American family headed by Hector Elizondo and Rita Moreno, who have made a fortune in both the rum and sugarcane business. His son (Nestor Carbonell) and son-in-law (Jimmy Smits) are vying for control of the future of the company.

I figured the show might have a "Dallas" type of feel, and to an extent, it does (minus the camp), but "Cane" actually aims a lot higher, with Shakespearian overtones. You definitely see the influence of "Romeo & Juliet" and "King Lear" and even "The Godfather" in the pilot.

Despite all that and the stellar cast, "Cane" came off a bit flat. (Perhaps if CBS had included a bottle of Duque family rum...) There are so many characters introduced in the first half of the pilot - each with varying story threads - that it's very difficult to follow.

Probably the biggest thing working against "Cane" is that the American viewership has shown over the past couple of years that it is losing interest in serialized shows, but hopefully, enough viewers will stick with "Cane" that the show can develop itself a bit.

On the other hand, "Big Bang Theory" deserves a quick death. It's ironic that CBS has two of the best-written sitcoms on the air in "How I Met Your Mother" and "New Adventures of Old Christine," yet the network almost axed both in favor of dreck like "Bang." ("Christine" is still on the bench for the fall, despite another Emmy nom for star Julia Louis-Dreyfus).

Anyway, "Bang" follows two nerd roommates, earnest Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and clueless Sheldon (Jim Parsons). Their world is altered when a gorgeous girl not in their IQ range (Kaley Cuoco) moves in next door. Leonard falls for her, but Sheldon thinks he is wasting his time.

Of course, the sitcom is playing on the idea of opposites attracting, but Galecki and Cuoco don't really display any sort of chemistry that you believe something could actually develop between them in the future. The punchlines are fairly dense and pretty much telegraphed. Only a small subplot of a fellow nerd (Simon Helberg, "Studio 60") who thinks he is suave and attempts to woo the girl made me laugh at all, and that's unlikely to be played as much more of a side joke.

With the flat "Bang" and the disappointing "Back To You" on Fox, no wonder some people are saying the sitcom is all but dead.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: The 10 p.m. hour of Thursday nights remains the week's best in terms of quality, at least for one more week until the new shows start.

Actually, one of the summer's best, "Burn Notice," wraps up its season tonight with a two-hour finale (USA, 9 p.m.), but don't worry, the numbers were so strong that it was renewed for a second season early on.

The other big hit of the summer, "Mad Men" (AMC, 10 p.m.) is also all-new and also earned a second season renewal just announced this week.

Finally, making me program my VCR very carefully, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (FX, 10 p.m.) airs two episodes tonight. "Sunny" is everything "Bang" isn't, proving there is still life in the sitcom genre.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lord Of The Flies, Revisited

In a true case of "there's no such thing as bad publicity," the new so-called reality show "Kids Nation" (CBS, 8 p.m.) debuts tonight.

It's hard not to have heard about this one. Forty kids are dropped off in a 19th century town and most perform all of the daily chores necessary to survive. Groups have already been protesting the show for things like child cruelty, and some of the parents have sued even before the first episode airs.

Honestly, I don't know what people were expecting. Shows like this only survive through controversy, and those parents who are suing had cartoon-like dollar signs in their eyes wen they let their kids audition in the first place, so they aren't going to get a lot of sympathy from me.

Anyway, I can't tell you if "Kids Nation" is any good, because I didn't get an advanced tape. But this is the same network that keeps bringing us "Big Brother," so do with it what you will.

PUT YOUR HOME ON HGTV: HGTV’s “If Walls Could Talk” is coming to Macon to film enthusiastic homeowners who have made surprising discoveries while they were moving in and fixing up their homes. The show is looking for historic homes with fascinating stories and artifacts found inside and around the home. The homes need to be privately owned with owners living on the property.

If your house has a story to tell, or you know about one that does,contact Mindy Christiansen at (303) 712-3148 or e-mail to be considered for the program. Include a brief description of the history of your home, artifacts found, and send a photo of yourself and your house.

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: One of the most eagerly anticipated new sitcoms for the fall is "Back To You," (Fox, 8 p.m.), starring perennial Emmy winners Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, and featuring the likes of Fred Willard. With a top cast and a crew that has shows like "Frasier" and "Cheers" on their resumes, this should be a winner for Fox. But I'm worried because I haven't laughed once during a single promo, and the idea of TV news programs as comedy has already been mined pretty heavily, from "Mary Tyler Moore" to "Murphy Brown." It's followed by the season premiere of "Til Death."

"Gossip Girl" (CW, 9 p.m.), reviewed yesterday, debuts tonight.

Also debuting is "Kitchen Nightmares" (Fox, 9 p.m.), in which chef Gordon Ramsay tries to turn around failing restaurants.

Finally, "Last Comic Standing" (NBC, 9 p.m.) airs its two-hour finale.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

CW - The Network To Watch?

The CW tends to be the forgotten stepchild when it comes to network TV, but it's new fall roster, combined with some returning favorites, may shake that label if enough people start watching.

Yes, the CW killed off "Veronica Mars," but it returns shows like "Smallville," "Supernatural" and "Beauty and the Geek," all of which have developed their own followings.

Now, the CW has a chance to improve that roster. One of the shows that has gotten the most praise by critics for any network has been "Reaper," and having seen the pilot this weekend, let me tell you, most of the hype is justified.

"Reaper" tells the story of a slacker (Bret Harrison) who is forced to become the Devil's bounty hunter. If this show succeeds, Ray Wise, portraying Satan as almost a smarmy game show host, may be an early front-runner for the 2008 Emmys. The show has drawn comparisons with "Buffy," and it will appeal to that crowd, but "Reaper" is a lot more tongue-in-cheek.

I expected to merely pass over "Aliens In America," especially when all the press kits kept describing it as "sweet." Then I watched the pilot, about an unpopular high school kid who gets an Islamic Pakistani exchange student as a roommate, and laughed a ton. "Aliens" is reminiscent of "Malcolm in the Middle." And it has lots of charm, not sweetness, to go along with the humor.

Finally, as the critic of the people, I endured the pilot of "Gossip Girl." I found the pilot to be uneven and confusing, with too many characters and too much backstory crammed in. Based on a series of popular teen books, however, this show may find its own niche audience, especially since it was created by Josh Schwartz ("The O.C.") And it does have Kristen Bell as the show's titular narrator.

This might be the season the CW finds its footing. Hey, I'd be happy if two-thirds of the other networks' offerings were as good.

TASTE OF 'HEROES': No show on TV does a better viral marketing campaign than "Heroes," which returns with new episodes on Monday. But to get a taste of the upcoming season, click here: for a look into Hiro's storyline for the upcoming season.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: After two Fox premieres on Monday, the networks take a night off once more. But you still have new episodes of "Eureka" (Sci-Fi, 9 p.m.) and "Damages" (FX, 10 p.m.) on cable.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Emmy Aftermath

Well, the Emmy voters have spoken.

And they said, "Boy, we have no clue what we're doing!"

James Spader?!? Seriously?!? (Taking a deep breath...)

OK, except for the bewildering selection of Spader, I can't say the Emmy voters did a terrible job. Of course, I should, since I went 2 of 10 for my predictions. But I qualify my choices by pointing out that trying to read the mind of the average Emmy voter is nearly impossible. (And, in the last Oscar pool, I only missed two picks in the ENTIRE list.)

More importantly, the Emmy voters weren't representative of the fan choices in my rather unscientific poll. Here are the results:

Best Drama
Winner: The Sopranos
Prediction: The Sopranos
TV Guy choice: Heroes
Fans' choice: The Sopranos (38%)
The only reason why I didn't pick The Sopranos was because of the uneven final season, and the pop culture impact of Heroes.

Best Actor
Winner: James Spader
Prediction: James Gandolfini
TV Guy/Fans' choice: Hugh Laurie (49%)
No comment. Why anything from Boston Legal earned a nomination is beyond me. Laurie's vote total was the highest in any category from you guys.

Best Actress
Winner: Sally Field
Prediction: Edie Falco
TV Guy pick: Falco
Fans' choice: Kyra Sedgwick (35%)
In hindsight, I was just dumb. I should have remembered than any voter in any award show likes Sally Field, really likes Sally Field. And my heart breaks for Edie for yet another year.

Supporting Actor
Winner: Terry O'Quinn
Prediction: Michael Imperioli
TV Guy pick: Michael Emerson
Fans' choice: T.R. Knight (37%)
OK, so I overestimated the love for The Sopranos. Didn't realize the blog has so many Grey's lovers. ...

Supporting Actress
Winner: Katherine Heigl
Prediction: Rachel Griffiths
TV Guy/Fans' choice: Heigl (25%)
This one really pleasantly surprised me, with so many Grey's actresses in the field.

Best Comedy
Winner: 30 Rock
Prediction: Ugly Betty
TV Guy choice: Ugly Betty
Fans' choice: The Office (30%)
Right instinct on the voters going with something new, just the wrong choice.

Best Actor
Winner: Ricky Gervais
Prediction: Alec Baldwin
TV Guy choice: Ricky Gervais
Fans' choice: Tony Shalhoub/Charlie Sheen (27%)
In this case, you readers thought more like the average Emmy voter than the average Emmy voter did. Go figure. Glad to see the win for Gervais, obviously. I think Baldwin might have been hurt by his off-camera drama with his ex-wife and daughter. That shouldn't be a factor in voting, IMO, but on the other hand, off-camera stuff probably cost Isiah Washington a shot at an Emmy nomination, so I guess it evens out on a karma scale.

Best Actress
Winner/Prediction/TV Guy & Fans' choice: America Ferrera (32%)
This one was close to a mortal lock, though the field was pretty strong.

Supporting Actor
Winner: Jeremy Piven
Prediction: Rainn Wilson
TV Guy/Fans' choice: Neil Patrick Harris (42%)
I can't really argue the Piven pick, but it's hard to pick an actor when they are going against a co-star, no matter what the category.

Supporting Actress
Winner: Jamie Pressley
Prediction/TV Guy pick: Jenna Fischer
Fans' choice: Vanessa Williams (33%)
In this case, I was more surprised by the readers than the voters. Pressley should have won last year, so it's nice she got it this year.

I'd have more to say about the Academy's voting, but a' la Ray Romano during the Emmy telecast, it'd just get bleeped out.

MONDAY'S BEST: I don't know if you can consider tonight the official start of the fall season or not, but Fox is all-new tonight with the ridiculous "Prison Break" (Fox, 8 p.m.) followed by the underwhelming "K-Ville" at 9 p.m.

"PB" seriously over-reached last season with its ridiculous conspiracy plot, and by getting rid of Sarah Wayne Callies, it leaves itself open with some major plot holes. Plus, Michael breaking his crew out of another prison seems a bit repetitive.

I reviewed "K-Ville" several posts ago, so you can look that up, but the short of it is the pilot seemed too familiar and awash in cop show cliches despite the potentially very interesting setting of post-Katrina New Orleans.

Donald Trump puts in a guest shot as the banker on "Deal or No Deal" (NBC, 8 p.m.)Hopefully, he doesn't try to fire Howie Mandel midway through the episode.

Finally, "Saving Grace" (TNT, 10 p.m.) is all-new.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Emmy Picks

Here is the proverbial it, the Emmys (Fox, Sun., 7 p.m.), which kind of serve as the unofficial kickoff to the fall season.

Don't forget to vote for your picks at the top left corner or here: Click here to vote in The TV Guy's Emmy Poll

Here's the complete list, along with predictions:

Drama Series: ‘‘Boston Legal,’’ ABC; ‘‘Grey’s Anatomy,’’ ABC; ‘‘Heroes,’’ NBC; ‘‘House,’’ Fox; ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ HBO.
WHO SHOULD WIN: "Heroes," TV's most original drama from last fall. Yeah, some people complained about the ending and so forth, but "Heroes" was watercooler TV in the best sense of the word.
WHO WILL WIN: "The Sopranos." The final year of one of TV's all-time great shows, this is a near-lock even though it didn't measure up to seasons' past. And talk about people complaining about the ending...

Comedy Series: ‘‘Entourage,’’ HBO; ‘‘The Office,’’ NBC; ‘‘30 Rock, NBC; ‘‘Two and a Half Men,’’ CBS; ‘‘Ugly Betty,’’ ABC.
WHO SHOULD WIN/WILL WIN: "Ugly Betty." This show was a lot of fun and pretty consistent in its output. I doubt enough voters consistently watch "Entourage," and the NBC shows tend to always be overlooked.

Actor, Drama Series: James Spader, ‘‘Boston Legal,’’ ABC; Hugh Laurie, ‘‘House,’’ Fox; Denis Leary, ‘‘Rescue Me,’’ FX; James Gandolfini, ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ HBO; Kiefer Sutherland, ‘‘24,’’ Fox.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Laurie. No actor is more central to his show, and he steals every scene while creating one of TV's most compelling characters.
WHO WILL WIN: Gandolfini. Expect a big night for "The Sopranos."

Actress, Drama Series: Sally Field, ‘‘Brothers & Sisters,’’ ABC; Kyra Sedgwick, ‘‘The Closer,’’ TNT; Mariska Hargitay, ‘‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,’’ NBC; Patricia Arquette, ‘‘Medium,’’ NBC; Minnie Driver, ‘‘The Riches,’’ FX; Edie Falco, ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ HBO.
WHO SHOULD WIN/WILL WIN: Falco. This is one "Sopranos" pick I can get behind, especially considering the competition.

Supporting Actor, Drama Series: William Shatner, ‘‘Boston Legal,’’ ABC; T.R. Knight, ‘‘Grey’s Anatomy,’’ ABC; Masi Oka, ‘‘Heroes,’’ NBC; Michael Emerson, ‘‘Lost,’’ ABC; Terry O’Quinn, ‘‘Lost,’’ ABC; Michael Imperioli, ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ HBO.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Emerson. OK, sure, he's the only actor on this list who I know has read this blog, but that's not why he gets the nod. He is, without a doubt, TV's best villain. (Or most misunderstood hero, if you ask him....)
WHO WILL WIN: Imperoli. Emerson and O'Quinn likely cancel each other out, and the rest won't steal enough support away from "The Sopranos" lovefest. Still, Shatner has won before. ...

Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Rachel Griffiths, ‘‘Brothers & Sisters,’’ ABC; Katherine Heigl, ‘‘Grey’s Anatomy,’’ ABC; Chandra Wilson, ‘‘Grey’s Anatomy,’’ ABC; Sandra Oh, ‘‘Grey’s Anatomy,’’ ABC; Aida Turturro, ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ HBO; Lorraine Bracco, ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ HBO.
WHO SHOULD WIN: I'm going with Heigl, because she proved to be such a great comedienne in "Knocked Up." Seriously, this is a weak list.
WHO WILL WIN: The most wide-open field, Griffiths will win because everyone else will cancel each other out.

Actor, Comedy Series: Tony Shalhoub, ‘‘Monk,’’ USA; Steve Carell, ‘‘The Office,’’ NBC; Alec Baldwin, ‘‘30 Rock,’’ NBC; Charlie Sheen, ‘‘Two and a Half Men,’’ CBS; Ricky Gervais, "Extras," HBO.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Gervais. "Extras" was pure genius, but odds are Gervais only leaves with a writing Emmy.
WHO WILL WIN: Baldwin. Despite his off-camera drama, Baldwin absolutely made "30 Rock."

Actress, Comedy Series: Felicity Huffman, ‘‘Desperate Housewives,’’ ABC; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, ‘‘The New Adventures of Old Christine,’’ CBS; Tiny Fey, ‘‘30 Rock,’’ NBC; America Ferrera, ‘‘Ugly Betty,’’ ABC; Mary-Louise Parker, ‘‘Weeds,’’ Showtime.
WHO SHOULD WIN/WILL WIN: Ferrera. Her absolute charm and deft comic touch makes this as close to a mortal lock as any award of the night.

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Kevin Dillon, ‘‘Entourage,’’ HBO; Jeremy Piven, ‘‘Entourage,’’ HBO; Neil Patrick Harris, ‘‘How I Met Your Mother,’’ CBS; Rainn Wilson, ‘‘The Office,’’ CBS; Jon Cryer, ‘‘Two and a Half Men,’’ CBS.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Harris. His Barney is fast becoming a TV classic. Should I say legendary?
WHO WILL WIN: Wilson. I don't know why, but that's what I'm feeling, perhaps because the "Entourage" duo cancels each other out.

Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Jaime Pressly, ‘‘My Name Is Earl,’’ NBC; Jenna Fischer, ‘‘The Office,’’ NBC; Holland Taylor, ‘‘Two and a Half Men,’’ CBS; Conchata Ferrell, ‘‘Two and a Half Men,’’ CBS; Vanessa Williams, ‘‘Ugly Betty,’’ ABC; Elizabeth Perkins, ‘‘Weeds,’’ Showtime.
WHO SHOULD WIN/WILL WIN: Fischer. She's one of Hollywood's rising stars.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: USA wraps up it's summer fare with "Monk" and "Psych." Neither has been especially great of late, so I really won't miss them all that much.

Sci-Fi is all-new with its lineup of "Doctor Who" at 8 p..m., followed by "Flash Gordon" and "Painkiller Jane."

"American Idol" meets "The Real World" in a country-western setting as "Nashville" (Fox, 9 p.m.) debuts as good-looking young people try to become the next country superstar.

On Saturday, "Torchwood" (BBC America, 9 p.m.) is proving as much fun as its parent show, "Doctor Who."

I'd like to be able to recomment "Highlander: The Source" (Sci-Fi, Sat., 9 p.m.. boasting the original cast of the TV series, but it's an unbelievable mess and almost unwatchable.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's Always Funny In Philadelphia

Tonight marks the return of one of TV's most innovative sitcoms, "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" (FX, 10 p.m.)

In the past, I've previously compared this show to "Seinfeld," with Gen-Y performers in the traditional roles. Because what makes these people so funny is the awful things they do and awful way they act. We've seen the guys check out simultaneous pro- and anti-abortion rallies cruising for women; siblings Dennis and Sweet Dee get addicted to methadone in order to collect checks from the government; Charlie and Mac trying to sell the war memorabilia of Dennis' grandad — a Nazi; and so forth.

I was worried that when Danny Devito joined the cast last year as Dennis and Dee's dad, it might throw off the balance of the show, but the writers (also the male members of the cast) never missed a beat.

"Sunny" isn't going to be for everyone, but once you get hooked, you'll stay that way.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Of course, the downside of "Sunny's" return to TV is that it's on at the same time as new installments of two of the summer's best shows, "Mad Men" (AMC, 10 p.m.) and "Burn Notice" (USA, 10 p.m.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bionic, Revised

I caught up with the revised pilot for "The Bionic Woman," and I can't say it's too different than the original.

About 80-85 percent remained pretty much unchanged. The big difference was the recasting of Lucy Hale as the younger sister of Jamie Sommers (Michelle Ryan), replacing Mae Whitman, and that the character is no longer deaf.

It's actually a positive change for a couple of reasons. Hale looks a whole lot more like Ryan than Whitman does, and by giving the character spoken dialogue instead of sign language, there's much more interaction and chemistry between the two.

Other than that, the show is largely the same. The show has undergone significant changes behind the camera, with showrunner Glen Morgan ("The X-Files") departing and "Friday Night Lights" showrunner Jason Katims joining as a consultant. David Eick ("Battlestar Galactica") and Jason Smilovic ("Kidnapped") are still running things, but writer Laeta Kalogridis ("Birds of Prey"), who wrote the pilot, is no longer with the show.

It's been an interesting process to watch, because this is one of the biggest shows on NBC's schedule, but has undergone a lot of behind-the-scenes turmoil. I realize there is only so much of the pilot that can be re-done at this stage, so it will be interesting to see what new direction the show might take.

The pilot itself remains solid, as bartender Jamie Sommers is involved in a terrible car crash. To save her life, her scientist boyfriend subjects her to highly experimental bionics surgery that leaves Jamie with enhanced strength, speed, and other abilities.

But Jamie isn't the first bionic woman. A previous experiment, Sarah (Katee Sackhoff) has similar gifts and is decidedly unhappy with the group that experimented on her.

"Bionic" is a big piece of NBC's fantasy-oriented lineup with shows like "Heroes" and "Journeyman," and it has some potential, so the pilot is worth checking out.

EMMY POLL: Don't forget to vote, lest the "Grey's Anatomy" fans have their way. Click on the box in the top left corner of the screen and vote for who you want to win the Emmys this Sunday. Final poll results will run with the winners on Monday.

BIGGEST LOSER: The show kicked off last night with a two-hour launch, and you can post your thoughts about the show on the official blog at

SEX DOESN'T SELL: Less than a million people tuned in for the debut of "Tell Me You Love Me," the HBO series noted for its very frank portrayal of sex and relationships. Those numbers are even worse than the premiere of the since-cancelled "John From Cincinnati."

But some cable shows are doing far better. "The Closer" set a record for original cable series with its season finale Monday night, drawing some 9.2 million viewers.

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: Speaking of season finales, "Rescue Me" (FX, 10 p.m.) has been on such a roll for the past month that it's a real shame that tonight is the final first-run show of the season.

For a change of pace, "American Masters" (PBS, 9 p.m.) has a 90-minute special featuring the incomparable Tony Bennett.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Naked Girls On The Internet

Catchy headline, huh? Sorry to disappoint, but we won't be posting any photos of any naked girls here.

No, this posting is dedicated to "High School Musical" star Vanessa Hudgens, who had a rather unfortunate weekend when nude photos of the 18-year-old star were released online.

Hudgens, to her credit, didn't deny it was her in the photos. But it didn't stop speculation that the photos would damage her career or get her kicked off the forthcoming "HSM 3" when Disney starts production next year.

It would be a mistake on Disney's part to drop her. Yes, this is embarrassing for the Mouse's squeaky clean image, but odds are, most of the target audience for "HSM" isn't aware of the photos (and if they are, then parents need to do a better job of regulating the Internet). "HSM" is a gold mine for Disney, and odds are it won't mess with the formula of a good thing, and Hudgens is a big part of that.

You just hope Hudgens learns a lesson in discretion from this. If she doesn't, here are a couple of names of celebs who got their starts as part of the Disney empire: Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

MTV MUSIC AWARDS: Speaking of Britney, the first 10 minutes of Sunday's music awards show may have been the most God-awful, cringe-inducing sequence on TV in a long while. The lip-synching was just plain embarrassing, and the show didn't get any better from there. I'm not one of the biggest Sarah Silverman fans anyway, and the audience seemed just dead during the few minutes I forced myself to watch.

EMMY VOTING: Our Web guy, Ryan, has helpfully put up a big, giant link in the top right corner for you to vote. Remember, vote for who you think deserves to win the Emmys. We'll post the results of the poll and compare to the actual winners next Monday.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: While commemorating 9/11 today, you may want to check out "Nova" (PBS, 8 p.m.), which is about building on Ground Zero.

"The Biggest Loser" (NBC, 8 p.m.) kicks off its new season with a two-hour premiere.

On cable, there are new episodes of "Eureka" (Sci-Fi, 9 p.m.) and "Damages" (FX, 10 p.m.)

Finally, while I don't normally plug reruns, if you want to catch up on one TV's best comedies, you can catch "The Office" reruns on TBS, beginning at 10 p.m.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's Emmy Week

It's Emmy Week, and we're celebrating it big here at the TV Guy. At some point today or tomorrow, our Web master should have the online poll ready for you to vote for your Emmy favorites. Note that this is a poll to see who you think is the most deserving, not who you think will will.

After you submit your votes, my picks will come up (if the tech works right; I know nothing of such things). On Friday, I'll list my predictions on who will win and tell you who I think should have won.

Submit your votes here: Click here to vote in The TV Guy's Emmy Poll

In that spirit, these are the biggest Emmy snubs in my opinion:

Best Actor: Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights" - I almost went with Michael Chiklis of "The Shield," but opted for Chandler instead for two reasons. One, Chiklis at least has an Emmy (not a reason to snub him, though), and 2) I've met more high school football coaches than any TV Critic in America and believe me, Chandler absolutely nails it in terms of realism.

Best Actress: Connie Britton, "FNL" - The loyal dozens who regularly read this blog will pretty much have already guessed this one. Britton took what could have been a thankless role and turned it into one of the most compelling on TV. I've always liked her as an actress, but this year, Britton blew me away. Honorable mention to the always remarkable Mary McDonell of "Battlestar Galactica."

Supporting Actor: Walton Goggins, "The Shield" - I'm going with Goggins here because he took his game to a whole new level and because "The Shield" snubs were among the worst by the Emmy voters. Honorable mention to Jack Coleman of "Heroes," who I would have picked slightly ahead of Masi Oka, who ended up with a deserved nomination himself. But Goggins' portrayal of the agony his character was going through even though he was betraying those close to him was certainly something to behold.

Supporting Actress: Elizabeth Mitchell, "Lost" - I've already devoted an entire rant to this snub appropriately entitled, "I'll See You In Hell Emmy Voters (Part 1)," back in July.

Show: "Friday Night Lights" - Ratings shouldn't count in awards. "FNL" is the sort of quality family programming networks claim to shoot for, yet they totally ignored this gem. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.


Best Actor: Zach Braff, "Scrubs" - Hey, "Scrubs" has pretty much been ignored throughout its run, so why start honoring them now? But Braff is one of the best things on one of TV's best comedies.

Supporting Actor: (tie) Jack McBrayer, "30 Rock" and Michael Urie, "Ugly Betty" - It's really hard to pick between the two scene-stealers, but I don't want to be accused of hometown favoritism for the Macon-bred McBrayer.

Supporting Actress: Becki Newton, "Ugly Betty" - In my suggestions to the Academy, I noted that it was very difficult to choose between the scene-stealing Newton and co-star Vanessa Williams, who is more of a lead in terms of plot, and Williams got the nod, so I can't complain. But Newton is a supporting actress in the truest sense of the word, and I'm always delighted every time her Amanda appears on camera.

Show: "How I Met Your Mother" - That CBS scores with "2 1/2 Men" and not this is truly mind-boggling, but at least Neil Patrick Harris scored a nomination as Best Supporting Actor. This is one of the few shows on network TV that got better during it's sophomore season. Emmy voters ought to be on the receiving end of a slap bet for ignoring this one.

So, why no lead actress in comedy? Because I can't really quibble with the picks in those categories, and no one really leapt out as a snub.

Which actors and shows do you think were the biggest snubs?

L&O PREVIEW: My favorite publicist of my favorite network publicity department sent me a link for "Law & Order: SVU" fans who want to check out footage of the upcoming season:

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: "My Boys" (TBS, 10 p.m.) wraps up its season (Man, already? That seems quick) with an hour-long run tonight as PJ (Jordana Spiro) tries to choose among three suitors. I'm hoping it isn't Jeremy Sisto; his episode was the only weak one this season.

Also wrapping up are "The Closer" (TNT, 9 p.m.) and "Greek" (ABC Family, 9 p.m.) "Saving Grace" (TNT, 10 p.m.) is also new.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Fired Up For 'Torchwood'

Ever since "Doctor Who" spinoff "Torchwood" debuted on the BBC last year, sci-fi fans have been eagerly anticipating seeing it across the pond.

The wait is over. "Torchwood" (BBC America, Sat., 9 p.m.) kicks off Saturday night.

The show is built around two storylines from "Doctor Who" - Torchwood is a super-secret British government agency established by Queen Victoria in the 1880s to combat alien menaces, and the project is currently being led by Capt. Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), a time traveler last scene being killed by the Daleks thousands of years in the future only to be revived by the Doctor's companion, Rose Tyler.

"Torchwood" (an anagram of Doctor Who, by the way) is described as having a more-adult tone than its predecessor, especially since Capt. Jack seems to find himself attracted to pretty much anyone - woman, man or alien.

What "Torchwood" shares most with its predecessor is its sense of whimsy; neither show takes itself too seriously when telling a story, and you get a sense that the cast and crew are having a lot of fun in their work.

You also get a bonus, since BBC America is debuting the second season of "Doctor Who" the same night, beginning at 7 p.m.

CALLIES OUT: TVGuide is reporting that actress Sarah Wayne Callies, who played Michael's love interest on "Prison Break," is done with the show. Her name is no longer on the credits, and a body double is used in the one scene she does appear. Callies is pregnant, so she would have had to leave the show for a stretch, but the reports are that this is a permanent move. ....

"Bionic Woman" and producer Glen Morgan ("The X-Files") have parted ways, not a good sign for a show that basically had to re-shoot its pilot and recast certain characters. Considering that David Eick ("Battlestar Galactica") is still running things, I still have high hopes for this show, but it'd be nice to hear some positive news from the set these days. ...

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: Speaking of "Doctor Who" (Sci-Fi, 8 p.m.), the second part of a two-parter that began two weeks ago airs tonight. Probably not Sci-Fi's best move to air a break between the two parts. It's followed by new episodes of "Flash Gordon" and "Painkiller Jane."

With the U.S. Open down to its final rounds, USA's schedule returns to normal tonight with new episodes of "Monk" and "Psych" at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively.

If fashion is your thing, "Fashion Rocks" (CBS, 9 p.m.) is a mix of pop music stars and the latest trends in fashion.

On Sunday, HBO is all-new with the season debuts of "Tell Me You Love Me" (HBO, 9 p.m.) and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 10 p.m.) I reviewed both shows earlier, giving high marks to "Curb." I was pretty disappointed with "Tell Me," but this is one of those shows you should probably watch for yourself and judge. They are followed by the documentary, "Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq" (HBO, 10:30 p.m.), a moving documentary about troops who were wounded in Iraq and what their lives have been like since returning.

"Mystery" brings back a new series of "Inspector Lynley Mysteries" (PBS, 10 p.m.), which has been one of my favorite imports from across the pond.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I Haven't Forgotten You Guys

So, I have a really, really good excuse for the lateness and brevity of this posting: I was covering a hostage situation in another county. (Very few other TV critics have to deal with hostage situations on a regular basis, at least not professionally.)

But I'll make it up to you by giving you a heads up that next week is Emmy Week at The TV Guy. The TV Guy and Web master Ryan Gilchrest are working on an interactive poll where you can vote for who you think should be the big winners at the Emmys. (Not who you think will win, but who ought to win in your point of view).

Actually, Ryan is doing all the heavy lifting on developing the poll (I'm the ideas guy), but it should be fun. I'll be posting my predictions and personal choices as well next week in time for the awards show Sept. 16.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: The U.S. Open continues to deny us one of my favorite new shows, "Burn Notice" for another week, but I should be satisfied with one of the other top shows of the summer, "Mad Men" (AMC, 10 p.m.)

Football fans can enjoy the season kickoff as the defending champion Indianapolis Colts face the New Orleans Saints tonight (NBC, 8:30 p.m.). Both teams are among the favorites to reach the Super Bowl, so it's a good way to start off the season.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


So, Whoopi Goldberg's debut in the post Rosie O'Donell era of "The View" didn't exactly go off that smoothly.

Most people hailed Whoopi as a positive choice to replace the always-controversial Rosie, and she still might be.

But she didn't exactly get off on the right foot Tuesday, appearing to defend Michael Vick by saying dogfighting is part of the Southern culture. (FYI, I've lived in the south my entire life, and I've never been to a dogfight. Just sayin')

Anyway, Whoopi and company spent the first five minutes of Wednesday's show backtracking from the comments, saying the media quoted her out of context and such. (We apparently do that a lot).

Maybe Whoopi's comments were misconstrued, but at this stage, it's almost beside the point. "The View" is taped live and discussions are frequently political in nature, so there is a possibility each day of any hostess or guest saying something that will be taken the wrong way.

Here's hoping Whoopi learns that lesson quickly.

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: Man, if anyone knew that Amy Sedaris and Gina Gershon would be this brilliant as guest stars as they have been, the producers of "Rescue Me" probably would have brought them in much earlier. As it is, both scene-stealing ladies return tonight (FX, 10 p.m.) simply to provide Tommy more aggravation than usual. This show is at its best when Tommy is aggravated.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

'10' Times The Excitement

Hope everyone had a good holiday.

One of the newest game show sensations has been "The Power Of 10" (CBS, 8 p.m.), which has performed well enough in the ratings that it helped net host Drew Carey the coveted "Price Is Right" gig.

Tonight, there's a local angle, as Bolingbroke's Haley Heath, takes her shot at $10 million in potential prize money.

For more on Haley's experiences on the show, you can check out my interview with her in today's edition of The Telegraph, or click here:

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Wow, finally a Tuesday without "The Bronx Is Burning" and my life is feeling emptier.

Still, there is a new "Damages" (FX, 10 p.m.) this week (yes, this time I checked the local listings).