Friday, August 29, 2008

Clever Promo

There's a new series on the UK's ITV that looks pretty good, call "No Heroics." It's about four rather lame superheroes and the regular lives they lead (very reminiscent of the live-action version of "The Tick" on Fox.)

It debuts in September, though I have no idea when it is coming across the pond. Here's the clip:

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: Sorry for the short postings this week, but with the holiday weekend, I have a lot of work to do in a very short time. Besides, there's really nothing new on, thanks to the holiday. Shows like "Monk" are being pre-empted for the US Open, while AMC is re-running the first few episodes of Season 2 of "Mad Men" Sunday night.

On the bright side, I'm finally getting my screeners from the networks. I'll have reviews of "Sons of Anarchy" from FX and "Privileged" from the CW for the new shows, and hopefully "The Shield" and other returning shows, depending on the mail service. I'll also have a posting on Monday.

In the meantime, go to your favorite sports bar to catch Georgia-Georgia Southern on satellite or on the radio this Saturday and have a safe holiday weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama's Big Night

Just a brief update today, since there is little else on ("Burn Notice" is on hiatus for three weeks, unfortunately).

Not playing partisan politics at all, but tonight marks Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democrat National Convention. Along with John McCain's speech next Thursday, this is usually the only interesting parts of the conventions for me, regardless of party.

The networks, once again, are downplaying the conventions as a whole, beginning their coverage at 10 p.m. on the East Coast. You can catch the entire night's coverage if you wish on PBS beginning at 8 p.m. or on cable.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sports And TV Continue To Mix

Thursday marks (potentially) one of the most important dates in baseball history, as Major League Baseball begins the use of instant replay during games. The new rules allow umpires to check on a TV monitor whether a ball was a home run or not as opposed to a foul ball or a ball that didn't clear the fence.

The rules' proponents argue that it will help ensure accuracy by clearing up any disputes over balls that are too close to call, and will help out umpires who have to make a call in a fraction of a second about a ball that is several hundred feet away.

People opposing the rule argue that the beauty of baseball factors in human error, that instant replay will slow the game and that the process is a slippery slope. Whose to say MLB won't enact replays for balls and strikes or close plays at first base?

As much as I am a baseball purist, I have to say that while I don't think replay is necessary, I don't think it will harm the game, either. How many balls are really that close where replay is necessary? A few, but not that many. The one thing I oppose is making the change during the season. Baseball has been around more than a century; we could have waited until next spring training to make the switch.

In a completely unrelated story, the SEC and ESPN signed a mega-deal earlier this week for a 15-year partnership that begins in 2009. Every SEC football game (except for those that fall under the CBS deal) will be broadcast on an ESPN network, such as ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

In addition, the deal allows for ESPN to carry men's and women's basketball games, as well as other, non-revenue sports.

Considering the athletics success in various sports that Georgia, Florida, LSU and others have enjoyed over recent years, this should be a sports fan's dream. Of course, if it turns out to be bad somehow, we're stuck with it until 2024.

ABC PICKS UP PILOTS: According to various media outlets, ABC has ordered five pilots (three dramas and two sitcoms) for next year.

Among them:

—"Cupid," re-introduced by creator Rob Thomas with actors Bobby Cannavale and Sarah Paulson taking over the original roles of Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall. Sorry, but this one is going to have a hard time living up to the '90s version, one of the most original TV shows ever produced.

—"Castle," starring the always-fun Nathan Fillion ("Firefly"), about a novelist who assists the NYPD. It's from Andrew Marlowe ("Air Force One").

—"The Unusuals," a cop drama produced by Peter Tolan ("Rescue Me") and Noah Hawley ("Bones"). Included in the cast are Amber Tamblyn, Harold Perrineau and Adam Goldberg.

—"Better Off Ted," produced by Victor Fresco ("Andy Richter Controls the Universe"). No idea what this one is about.

—"Single With Parents," starring Alyssa Milano, about a single career-girl. It's produced by Kristin Newman ("How I Met Your Mother").

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: The penultimate night of the Democratic National Convention features speakers Bill Clinton and VP candidate Sen. Joe Biden (PBS, 8 p.m.).

"Mythbusters" (Discovery, 9 p.m.) tackles the myth that the 1969 lunar landing was a hoax.

I caught "Greatest American Dog" (CBS, 8 p.m.) last week for the first time. It's not bad and easy to get into even at this late stage.

Finally, the US Open (USA, 7 p.m.) continues for all you tennis nuts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Psst...'Gossip' Back Next Week

With all of the new shows about to hit the air beginning next week, I'm trying to pack in a few reviews early.

The first is "Gossip Girl," which returns to the CW on Monday.

Because I don't watch this show, I asked Keith Demko, The Reel Fanatic, to review the first three episodes of Season 2. Here's what Keith had to say:

"For the record, I do realize I'm far too old, male and, well, straight to be in the target audience for the CW's "Gossip Girl," but I just can't help it. The show is just the most addictive kind of trash.

When these teen shows work for anyone who hasn't seen a high school hallway in many years, they have to play out almost like a really dishy Jane Austen novel, a comedy of manners starring kids so bratty-but-perfect-looking you just want to sock them in the nose. "Gossip Girl" achieved this mix in season one by being just tawdry but also witty enough to keep viewers coming back, and judging from the first three episodes of season two that isn't going to change.

So, where are we when season two begins? For Serena (Blake Lively), of course, summer means the Hamptons, and we find she's still broken up with Dan (Penn Badgley), though not completely. Blair (Leighton Meester) returns from her summer in Europe with a new "boyfriend" in tow whose main job is to make Chuck (Ed Westwick) insanely jealous, but of course brings his own baggage across the pond to liven things up. And Jenny (Taylor Momsen) finds that working as an intern for Blair's mother's fashion house isn't as rewarding or fun as she had imagined.

The only difference you'll notice is that Georgina, played by a woefully miscast Michelle Trachtenberg, doesn't make an apperance in the first three episodes, but I understand she will be back soon and possibly become a regular. Even if she can't really manage to play the bad girl the role demands, it's just nice to see anyone from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" getting steady work.

The bottom line: If you liked season one of "Gossip Girl," tune in when it returns at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 1, because it's still just the nearly perfect kind of trashy fun you've come to expect."

It will be interesting to see how the CW's strategy of "Gossip Girl" and "Beverly Hills, 90210" - unavailable for preview - pays off. The guy caught in the middle is "GG" creator Josh Schwartz, whose show "Chuck" will also air Mondays at 8 p.m.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: More political coverage from the Democratic National Convention, airing on PBS, MSNBC and CNN beginning at 8 p.m. and the networks at 10 p.m.

Also new is one of the minisodes of "The Shield" (FX, 10 p.m.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Political Convention Season: Celebration Of Democracy Or Boring TV?

For those of you in the record audience that watched the 2008 Olympics that are already in withdrawal, fear not - there is plenty of spectacle left on the tube.

Tonight marks the four-day commercial for the Democratic Party, to be followed by next week's advertisement for the Republicans.

Once upon a time, the conventions were vaguely important because of all the backroom deals to pick a candidate, but with the candidates already picked and Barack Obama having announced his running mate over the weekend, there's not a whole lot of suspense. I'm guessing we'll know John McCain's VP pick before the Republican Convention begins next week.

So it becomes four days of speeches, speeches and more speeches, followed by endless analysis and spin doctoring.

In the UK, of which I'm also a citizen, the conventions actually decide the party's stand on a variety of issues and they set their annual agenda, so the conventions mean something. Here, not so much.

My colleague, Travis Fain, has pointed out that both parties would do better to donate half the $100 million or so it costs to put on a convention to the city that would be hosting it, which would still be a boost for the local economy, and donate the other half to some worthy cause.

But the networks are finally fixing something that I've been complaining about for years - giving the viewers other options. This year, the conventions will be shown live and in full on CNN, MSNBC and PBS, while the networks will only broadcast an hour of highlights and commentary at 10 p.m. each night.

Really, this is how it should be. We don't need every dial on the tube broadcasting the same speech. It's overkill. Ditto for things like the State of the Union. I'm not against broadcasting these speeches - on the contrary, it's very important - but really, this is what PBS is for. It's public television that's available to everyone.

So please, feel free to watch either convention or both, or neither. Now you have that choice.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: OK, admittedly, not a whole lot on the tube, so you may as well watch the convention, since everything is pretty much repeats. (That won't be the case next week during the Republican Convention).

Still, one can catch new episodes of "The Closer" and "Saving Grace" on TNT, beginning at 9 p.m.

HBO is premiering the documentary "The Black List: Vol. 1" at 9 p.m., profiling the lives of notable African-Americans. "Weeds" (Showtime, 10 p.m.) is also new.

Finally, the US Open (USA, 7 p.m.) runs virtually ad nauseum beginning tonight.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Olympics Close Out

It seems like the Olympics just started, and yet the Games will be finishing up with the closing ceremonies Sunday night.

Generally, the closings have as much, if not more, fanfare than the openings, and considering the visual spectacle China put on two weeks ago, expect a good show.

NBC has done a fairly solid job with its coverage, though it could have used some more variety. If you wanted to watch something other than volleyball, track, swimming, gymanstics or men's basketball, you were pretty much out of luck. And if you wanted to watch some of the great athletes from around the world, you needed to hope they were facing a highly rated American.

Considering all of the buildup heading into the Games, the events themselves seemed a bit anticlimactic, save for the swimming, of course.

But if you haven't gotten your fill of spectacles yet, fear not - the Democratic National Convention kicks off Monday.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: Monk finally begins to show interest in another woman besides his late wife as he tries to prove guest star Joanna Pacula innocent on "Monk" (USA, 9 p.m.), followed by a new "Psych" at 10 p.m. "Stargate: Atlantis" (Sci-Fi, 10 p.m.) is also new.

On Saturday, catch a new "Primeval" (BBC America, 9 p.m.) and last week's at 8 p.m., always useful if you are like me and accidentally erased it before watching it on tape.

On Sunday, tear yourself away from the Olympics for an hour to catch an all-new "Mad Men" (AMC, 10 p.m.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Still On Blogger...

It looks like we'll be here for a few more days, but I'll let you know when you can switch over to the new site.

Meanwhile, check out our redesign on

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Sorry, just a quick update today.

The Olympics, of course, are still going, though I have to admit everything else seems like a bit of a letdown post-Phelps.

Thursday's top pick, as always, is "Burn Notice," (USA, 10 p.m.) which is all new. Also new is "Flashpoint" (CBS, 10 p.m.), though why anyone would watch this over "Burn Notice" is a bit of a puzzle.

Finally, football fans can catch what is sure to be thriller (note the sarcasm) with the preseason matchup of the 49ers and the Bears (Fox, 8 p.m.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


In the next day or so, you'll be noticing a new look to this and the other Telegraph blogs as we move off Blogger and onto the main site at In TV parlance, think of it as us getting a new timeslot.

I'm not quite sure how this is going to work - I leave all the technical stuff to our Webmaster - but it should only affect you in the sense that you may have to put in a new address for your bookmark and homepage. (What?!? This site isn't your homepage? What is wrong with you?)

The switch will allow us to better manage the blogs and log the incoming traffic (who knows, I might be getting loyal baker's dozens of Web surfers) and give all of our blogs a more uniform look.

This specific Web page on Blogger will still be good for a while as the Web people try to figure out how to transfer the other 500-plus previous posts to the new site, so you will still be able to go through and peruse my previous postings at your leisure (which I know all of you do regularly).

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Just a few bits of TV news today.

Laurence Fishburne made it official this week and will be stepping into the lead role of "CSI," sort of replacing William Petersen, who will still appear in a recurring basis.

Speaking of changes, Annabelle Wallis has replaced Anita Briem in the Jane Seymour role on "The Tudors" for Season 3. The two actresses look a lot alike (and both are drop-dead gorgeous) so it shouldn't be too much of a distraction.

Speaking of gorgeous, Charlotte Sullivan ("MVP") has been cast as Maxima on "Smallville." If the writes do the character any justice and write her the way she was in the comics and on the Superman animated series, she should be a fun addition to the series.

Also, Courtney B. Vance ("L&O: CI") will join his real-life wife, Angela Bassett, for a multi-episode arc on the final season of "ER."

Finally, a get well shout out to Christina Applegate ("Samantha Who?"), who had a double mastectomy to treat her breast cancer. Applegate said doctors were able to get all of the cancer, which hopefully means a good prognosis. This should serve as a reminder to all women about the importance of breast exams each year.

90210 SURPRISE: We're supposed to not take this as a bad sign, but the CW is not sending out an advance copy of the new "Beverly Hills, 90210" pilot to critics.

In a statement released to critics this week, the CW said: "The CW and our studio partner CBS Paramount Network Television have made the strategic marketing decision not to screen "90210" for any media in advance of its premiere. We're not hiding anything . . . simply keeping a lid on 90210 until 9.02, riding the curiosity and anticipation into premiere night, and letting all our constituents see it at the same time."

Um, yeah. I suppose it's a smart move strategically - critics are more likely to be unkind in talking about the BH revival, which should draw pretty ratings for the network built around marketing very pretty people.

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: We used to have a reporter at The Telegraph who was obsessed with Ninjas. I don't know if he's reading this, but tonight's "Mythbusters" (Discovery, 9 p.m.) explores the legends of the Japanese assassins, such as the ability to catch an arrow in mid-flight. I can do that, but I choose not to.

"Greatest American Dog" (CBS, 8 p.m.) continues on CBS, while the Olympics continue on NBC.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


A couple of quick items from the world of the World Wide Web today that may be of interest.

First, has posted its Fall preview online. It's your one-stop shop for all things TV for the upcoming season, including a calendar listing of debuts, a daily schedule grid and photos from your favorite shows.

You can find it here:

Also, the Emmys are letting people vote for their favorite TV moments ever. Go to and vote for which shows you want to see have clips presented during the Sept. 21 broadcast.

CBS FOOTBALL: CBS has apparently accidentally leaked its SEC/college football schedule this season. According to Web sources, here it is:
09/13 - 2:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Georgia @ South Carolina (CBS HD)
09/20 - 2:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Florida @ Tennessee (CBS HD)
09/27 - 2:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Tennessee @ Auburn (CBS HD)
10/04 - 2:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Florida @ Arkansas or Kentucky @ Alabama (CBS HD)
10/11 - 2:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Tennessee @ Georgia (CBS HD)
10/11 - 7:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m. LSU @ Florida (CBS HD)
10/18 - 2:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. LSU @ South Carolina (CBS HD)
10/25 - 2:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Georgia @ LSU (CBS HD)
11/01 - 2:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Georgia-Florida (CBS HD)
11/08 - 2:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Alabama @ LSU or Georgia @ Kentucky (CBS HD)
11/15 - 11:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Notre Dame @ Navy (CBS HD)
11/15 - 2:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. South Carolina @ Florida or Georgia @ Auburn (CBS HD)
11/22 - 2:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Ole Miss @ LSU or Tennessee @ Vanderbilt or Arkansas @ Mississippi St. (CBS HD)
11/28 - 1:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. LSU @ Arkansas (CBS HD)
11/29 - 11:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Georgia Tech @ Georgia (CBS HD)
11/29 - 2:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Auburn @ Alabama (CBS HD)
12/06 - 11:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Army @ Navy (CBS HD)
12/06 - 3:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. SEC Championship

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: More Beijing Olympics goodness (NBC, 8 p.m.) and another "Rescue Me" minisode (FX, 10 p.m.)

Monday, August 18, 2008


More and more, TV networks are looking to come up with Web-specific content. Sometimes, it's to augment shows currently on the air, such as the mini-sodes of "Heroes" and "The Office" that are used to bridge the gap into the upcoming seasons.

But there's also original content being done, Web-only shows that are designed to run in two- or three-minute bits, about the average attention span for the average Web user.

Much in the tradition of "Quarterlife," which ran disastrously on NBC for one episode after building itself up on the Web, the Peacock is having a go online again with "Gemini Division," about a NYPD undercover cop, Anna Diaz (Rosario Dawson).

The comparison to "Quarterlife" is deliberate on my part, because both that and "Gemini" bored me to tears, a remarkable feat considering the installments last about three minutes.

"Gemini" is told through a series of Web phone calls from Dawson to an unknown friend, detailing about her romantic getaway with her boyfriend Nick (Justin Hartley, "Smallville") and the mysterious guy following them (Kevin Alejandro, "Shark"). Unfortunately, the plot device is more annoying than informative, shot this way no doubt as a budget saving measure.

Anyway, the press notes lead me to believe that Anna's personal and professional lives will intersect, causing all sorts of mayhem. Where is this series going? Don't know, don't care.

I'm all for alternative forms of entertainment, and obviously the influence of the Web is only going to continue to grow, but the shows have to be good, at least. Maybe the networks should stick to the Webisodes from series that are already established, like "The Office," where we know the characters already and the plots aren't especially complex.

OLYMPICS RATINGS: It's not all bad news for NBC, which got 31.1 million viewers for Michael Phelps' record-breaking eighth gold medal Saturday night. So far, the Games have gotten 191 million viewers through the first nine days, more than the totals for the previous two Games' entire runs.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: Kevin Bacon directs his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, in tonight's "The Closer" (TNT, 9 p.m.), no doubt helping all those "Six Degree" players out there. It's followed by a new "Saving Grace" at 10 p.m.

Also new is "The Middleman" (ABC Family, 10 p.m.), plus more Olympics, but no more Michael Phelps.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Send In The Clones

With the good TV still weeks away, I'm probably going to be taking in some of the big releases this weekend at the cinema (though not "Vicky Christina Barcelona," which isn't coming to Macon yet).

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" is a continuation of the animated series of shorts that ran on The Cartoon Network a couple of years ago, and tells the story of the years between the second and third prequels. The animation of the shorts was done in traditional, 2-D animation but this new version is CGI 3-D.

Though I'm curious about the project, I've heard enough negative reviews of it (and no positive ones) that I'll wait for it to be re-run on TV — which will be in only a few weeks. In this rather unique deal, the movie gets a cinema release first before debuting on TV.

The other big movie that opens this week is "Tropic Thunder." Earlier this week, I covered protests from people representing groups such as the Special Olympics, who are protesting nationwide the movie's excessive use of the word "retard."

It's tough to judge something to be offensive without having seen it, but from what I can gather, the movie uses the word in a satirical sense and is making fun of the actors who play physically or mentally challenged individuals in order to win Oscars, not those individuals themselves.

Does that make it right? It's hard to say. I remember when "Pulp Fiction" came out and blacks were incensed at the frequent use of the n-word by both black and white characters. And though I enjoyed "Pulp," it did seem use of the word was gratuitous, whereas in a movie such as "Mississippi Burning," for example, the word is used to provide historical context.

I asked one of the demonstrators if she thought that by protesting "Tropic," it would actually bring more people to the film by raising their curiosity. She said that while that is a possibility, the movie could also serve as a forum to teach people that use of language can be hurtful, which may be the most important part of the controversy.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: If you are staying in and not watching the Olympics, you still have some choices of new stuff.

"Monk" (USA, 9 p.m.) must solve a mystery while trapped on a Navy submarine; it's followed by a new "Psych" at 10 p.m. "Stargate: Atlantis" (Sci-Fi, 10 p.m.) is also new, as is "Swingtown" (CBS, 10 p.m.)

On Saturday, I was a little underwhelmed by the premiere of "Primeval" (BBC America, 9 p.m.) The premise is pretty interesting, but the rather poor CGI effects of the dinosaurs proved to be a distraction. Still, there's enough there that I'm going to give the show another chance.

On Sunday, it's a night of endings. Chris Noth departs another "Law & Order" franchise with his final "Criminal Intent" (USA, 9 p.m.), which is followed by the season finale of "In Plain Sight" (USA, 10 p.m.)

On PBS, the last-ever "Inspector Lynley Mysteries" airs on "Masterpiece Mystery" (PBS, 9 p.m.)

On the bright side, we've got a whole lot of season left on the superb "Mad Men," (AMC, 10 p.m.), which has somehow managed to raise its game to an even higher level.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Radio Wars

Hopefully, you've been reading The Telegraph for the past couple of days and have been following the news about the local radio waves.

My story today, about WMAC-AM 940's hire of Chris Krok to replace the morning spot vacated by Shayne McBride a couple of months ago comes on the heels of business writer Linda Morris' piece Wednesday about WPGA-FM 100.9 and The Telegraph partnering up to re-unite former morning talk show hosts Kenny Burgamy and Charles Richardson.

The radio war heating up shouldn't be dull. Krok, in a brief tryout in late July with WMAC, already has made a mark by getting into it with city councilwoman Elaine Lucas. Say what you will about Krok, who previously worked for WSB in Atlanta, but no one is going to accuse him of being shy.

You can hear some of the Krok-Lucas exchange on this audio file:

Already, he has fired the first shot across the bow of his competitors and hopes to use his two-week headstart to get the jump on Burgamy and Richardson. Noting that Burgamy is the vice president of Atlantic Southern Bank and Richardson is The Telegraph's editorial page editor, Krok said he will be living his talk-radio job 24/7.

"This isn't a second job for me," he said. "I believe the people deserve better. I think it's an insult to the people to say this is a second job."

Richardson and Kenny B, as he is known around these parts, took Krok's comments in stride. They both noted their long experience in the Middle Georgia market and the listeners' familiarity with their previous show, which ran on WMAC from 1997-2000, before Richardson left to become the metro editor for The Telegraph and was replaced by Jami Gaudet.

"I wish him nothing but success," Burgamy said. "I hope he gets to the point where he can take on two jobs and do them well."

The formats of the show will likely be pretty different, though both will be oriented around news and issues important to Middle Georgians. Krok will work solo, having only the occasional guest but mostly relying on callers. He describes himself as more of a conservative than a Republican, and noted times when he was in Atlanta when he challenged Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., on the recent immigration bill, and supporting Hank Johnson against Cynthia McKinney in the Democratic primary last year for the Congressional seat in Georgia's 4th District.

Richardson and Burgamy said they will likely return to their familiar pattern of talking about issues from their respective left and right points of view, mixing in guests with callers. They should have a more low-key approach than Krok.

"We can disagree with our guests without being disagreeable," Richardson said.

Richardson said in addition to people already knowing him and Burgamy, their show will enjoy other advantages, such as a more-powerful FM signal in the mornings as well as the fact they will be simulcast on and (for the first hour of each day) on WPGA-TV, leading into "Good Morning America."

With our local political entities seemingly never short of material to provide the talk radio hosts, this should be an interesting battle in the mornings. Stay tuned.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Sorry for not posting yesterday; as I explained to my father, I'm occasionally too busy.

With the Olympics (NBC, 8 p.m.) still going strong, not too many options. Not to worry, the first new shows will be hitting the air in early September, and I hope to be able to review as many as possible beforehand.

Still, you can treat yourself to one of the summer's most fun shows with "Burn Notice" (USA, 10 p.m.)

A much lesser choice, but also new, is "Flashpoint" (CBS, 10 p.m.)

And if you are a sports fans not into the Olympics, you can catch the NFL Preseason when Carolina faces Philadelphia (Fox, 8 p.m.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Old Is New

Who says there are no new ideas in Hollywood?

From varying sources such as The Hollywood Reporter and Variety...

CBS is set to make a remake/sequel to the 1960s hit "Hawaii Five-O." The new series would pick up with Steve McGarrett's (Jack Lord) son running the 5-0 unit in our 50th state. No word if this new McGarrett will say "Book him, Dano Jr."

Meanwhile, ABC is developing a TV version of "The Witches of Eastwick," based on the book by John Updike and the movie that starred the likes of Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer. NBC had tried to pull it off in the early 1990s, making an unaired pilot produced by Carlton Cuse ("Lost") and the late Jeffrey Boam ("Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"), the pair that made "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr," one of my all-time favorite shows.

No word when either series will get things going, but they join the likes of the remake of "Cupid" and the next generation of "Beverly Hills, 90210" as shows getting a new life because the networks apparently believe in recycling. And they wonder why they are losing their audiences to cable.

CASTING NEWS: According to the trades, Kim Dickens ("Deadwood") will appear on "Friday Night Lights" this season as the estranged mom of quarterback Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford).

Meanwhile, on "Heroes," the ever-growing cast adds two more with Breckin Meyer and Seth Green. That's in addition to the new cast members being added through the webisodes on

Speaking of "Heroes," you can now see the series' alternate ending for Season 2 - in which the Shanti Virus is unleashed - (albeit without sound) here:

Without the sound, it's not really worth watching, but they also do show a separate clip in which we see Hiro's dad's (George Takei) power - and it's a pretty cool one. That clip also doesn't have sound, but because the scene is between him and Ando, it's done with subtitles. Both clips and more (presumably with sound) are supposed to be on the "Heroes" DVD set to be released next month.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Olympics, of course (NBC, 8 p.m.), though nothing during the rest of the Games will compare to kicking French butt Sunday night.

The rest of the night is mostly reruns, perhaps most notably "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (Fox, 9 p.m.) as the network tries to catch people up before the series returns. If you missed it the first time around, I recommend it.

"Rescue Me" (FX, 10 p.m.) follows up with another new mini-episode, though I'm not sure they can top last week's, and it's followed by a new "30 Days" at 10:06 p.m.

Finally, "Nova" (PBS, 8 p.m.) discusses the history and significance of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, my personal favorite in terms of scientific theories.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Just Another Manic Monday

Man, you know I must be operating on no sleep if I'm quoting the Bangles.

After the opening weekend of the Olympics, I have to say the coverage has been a mixed bag. As always, there's way too much face time given to the so-called "Redeem Team," especially when they blew out China yesterday (though it was the most watched basketball game world-wide in the history of the sport.) But really, during the parade of nations Friday, did we need constant shots of Kobe and LeBron waving? How about shots of the badminton team or the rowers, athletes who don't get that same sort of coverage year-round as the average NBA superstar?

The coverage of the individual events has been decent, though. NBC's coverage of the swimming, including last night's spectacular relay event, has been top-notch. The boxing coverage, though, was dismal. All this talk about how controversial the US coach is, yet they never bothered to tell us why, even during a 1-on-1 interview. The rest of it has been in-between, though I always welcome the presence of Melissa Stark to my TV.

R.I.P. BERNIE MAC, ISAAC HAYES AND BERNIE BRILLSTEIN: It was a bad weekend in Hollywood as a trio of personalities passed away. Mac, who died after a bout of pneumonia, was best known for his Emmy-nominated sitcom on Fox and his role in the "Ocean's 11" series of movies.

Hayes won an Oscar for his theme song to "Shaft" and was the voice of Chef on "South Park," until a fall-out with the show's producers over their poking fun at Scientology.

Brillstein was a well-known Hollywood power player who helped launch the careers of everyone from Lorne Michaels to Jim Henson to Garry Shandling.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: You know, one thing I hate about so-called reality TV is the way they drag it out. I was perfectly ready for "The Mole" (ABC, 10 p.m.) to be revealed last week. Instead, they drag it out for one more episode in which they put in mostly filler because the actual revealing of the mole and the show's winner will take about a minute. I really don't need these "reunion" shows where they bring back all of the eliminated players to give commentary.

Getting ready for the new season to start in a few weeks, the networks are running reruns for a change, so if you want to catch up with CBS' comedy lineup or shows like "Prison Break" and "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" on Fox, now's your chance.

If you aren't watching the Olympics, your options for new episodes include "The Closer" (TNT, 9 p.m.) and "Saving Grace" (TNT, 10 p.m.), "Weeds" (Showtime, 10 p.m.) and "The Middleman" (ABC Family, 10 p.m.)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Simon Back With HBO

"The Wire" may not have gotten a lot of love from the Emmys over the years, but that hasn't stopped series creator David Simon from teaming up with HBO once again for a new series, to be called "Treme."

Simon also produces the current new HBO miniseries "Generation Kill."

And, in a case of putting the band back together, Simon has signed Wendell Pierce and Clarke Peters from "The Wire" to play the leads in the new series, about New Orleans residents struggling to put their lives back together post-Katrina. Also in the cast is Khandi Alexander ("NewsRadio," "CSI: Miami").

Hopefully, it will do better than Fox's "K-Ville," which fizzled earlier this year following two cops who tried to keep the peace in New Orleans after the floods.

8-8-08: People keep saying the convergence of eights will make this a lucky day. I hope so; Happy Anniversary to my brother, whom I guess you can call the "DVR Guy," and my sister-in-law.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: With the Olympics running the next two weeks, I won't be offering too many highlights. You can refer to the schedule I posted the link for on Thursday to find out when your favorite events are running. Odds are, it will mostly be the so-called "Redeem Team" anyway as NBC short-shrifts the other, less glamorous sports. Tonight's opening ceremony starts at 7:30 p.m. and will run the rest of the night.

If the Olympics aren't your cup of tea, there are a few options. "Monk" (USA, 9 p.m.) and "Psych" (USA, 10 p.m.) are new, as is "Swingtown" (CBS, 10 p.m.)

On Saturday, BBC America kicks off a new series called "Primeval," (BBC America, 9 p.m.), a fantasy series in which dinosaurs mysteriously start popping up in modern-day England. I don't know much about "Primeval," but given the network's recent history with fantasy-oriented shows - "Torchwood," "Life on Mars," "Jekyll" - this series deserves at least a look.

In case you missed it the first time around, FX is re-running the entire season of "Damages," starring Glenn Close and Ted Danson" in a marathon from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. "Damages" picked up 16 Emmy nominations, tying it with "Mad Men" for most nominations.

On Sunday, "Masterpiece: Mystery" (PBS, 9 p.m.) kicks off a new series of "Inspector Lynley Mysteries" as the title hero is arrested for murder.

USA offers new episodes of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" at 9 p.m. and the penultimate episode this season of "In Plain Sight" at 10 p.m.

Finally, the pick of the night is, of course, "Mad Men" (AMC, 10 p.m.)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Five-Ring Circus

Tomorrow night marks the beginning of the 2008 Summer Olympics (NBC, Friday, 7:30 p.m.) in Beijing, games that have already been marked by their fair share of controversies.

Doping, Beijing's pollution, China's abysmal record on human rights - these aren't shaping up to be the happy fun games.

Still, there's something about the Olympics that are unmatched in sports. When a record in track or swimming falls, it still seems to mean something. When you see someone like Kerri Strug perform a vault in gymnastics on a busted ankle to capture a gold medal, you still get chills.

So many great stories usually come out of the Olympics that they are worth watching, especially when all they are up against is so-called reality TV. The Olympics are the genuine deal.

Though NBC will have a small army descend upon China for the games, it's a little disappointing to see the other networks not take advantage of this rare opportunity to report from that country; most are only sending a few reporters. It's a rare opportunity for access to a country that, otherwise, rarely grants it.

Still, there are some problems with the Olympics coverage. For me, most notably, American coverage of the Games usually revolves around Americans, so if an American athlete doesn't have a decent shot at medalling in an event, that event rarely gets shown. In addition, the coverage tends to focus on U.S. athletes who finish in sixth place while some foreign athlete sets a record and barely gets noticed.

And, the Olympics have never quite been the same since ABC stopped covering them, which meant no Jim McKay serving as host. McKay died earlier this year, and no studio host will ever match him in the booth.

NBC has provided a complete schedule of what it is televising: In addition, networks like Telemundo are also providing coverage, and satellite and internet owners should be able to pick up all sorts of broadcasts.

So, let the Games begin.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: The quirky and charming "My Boys" wraps up its second season at a special time (TBS, 10 p.m.) as the gang gets ready for Bobby's wedding and PJ tries to reunite him with his squabbling brother. It follows two new episodes of the "Bill Engvall Show," beginning at 9 p.m.

One of the best shows of the summer, "Burn Notice," (USA, 10 p.m.) is brand-new. It's opposite new episodes of the docu-drama "Hopkins" (ABC, 10 p.m.) and "Flashpoint" (CBS, 10 p.m.)

On the so-called reality front, both "So You Think You Can Dance" (Fox, 8 p.m.) and "Last Comic Standing" (NBC, 8 p.m.) announce their winners.

Finally, I saw the first episode of the HBO vampire series "True Blood," created by Alan Ball ("Six Feet Under") and it's pretty good. I'm going to review it in detail just before it debuts in September (and, I've also interviewed one of show's stars, Macon native Carrie Preston), but you can catch a sneak peek of what it's about with a 15-minute special (HBO, 8:15 p.m.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

My Kingdom For A Horse

Car aggravation is forcing to make today's entry real brief, so just some casting news:

--Laurence Fishburne is reportedly in line to replace William Petersen as the lead on "CSI," according to No word on who will be replacing other departed CSIers Gary Dourdan and Jorja Fox.

--Joss Stone has been cast as Anne of Cleves for the next season of "The Tudors." The real Anne was supposed to have been rather unattractive, and while Stone isn't in the class of the actresses who play Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour, Stone is more attractive than her historical counterpart.

--Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Robert Forster ("Jackie Brown") will be cast as the father of Nathan and Peter Petrelli on "Heroes," a pretty cool bit of casting, actually. The series producers said Season 3 will be a great improvement over Season 2, and judging by the reported reaction at Comic Con to the first episode of the new season, they've taken a step in the right direction.

--AMC's next new series will be a political thriller, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show centers on one of those pesky secret societies that tries to control the world. Considering how good AMC's other two original series - "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" - are, I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of this one.

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: Just another month until all the good TV returns. In the meantime, the so-called reality shows will have to do.

"Greatest American Dog" (CBS, 8 p.m.) continues on its new night, while "The Baby Borrowers" (NBC, 9 p.m.) has a town hall reunion with guest Dr. Drew Pinsky.

Bravo continues its reality run with new installments of "Project Runway" at 9 p.m. and "Shear Genius" at 10 p.m.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Supersize Me

OK, I'm going to admit to be a bit of a hypocrite.

I've often criticized NBC for its "supersized" episodes of its various Thursday sitcoms over the years. Usually, they've been little more than a ratings stunt that began when the NBC brass was looking for a way to counteract the popularity of CBS' "Survivor" by extended "Friends" from 30 minutes to about 42.

With NBC's ratings constantly in flux, it's a trend they continued with shows like "The Office," "30 Rock" and "My Name Is Earl."

Generally, the extra material written and produced for these episodes haven't been anything special or memorable, and much of it has been, and will continue to be, excised when these series hit syndication.

However, the producers of "Battlestar Galactica" announced last week at Comic-Con that they had too much material to try to squeeze into the show's final 10 episodes. The finale had already been extended, but apparently, this means that there will be even more stuffed into the final season.

So, at the risk of hypocrisy, I say Bravo! In this case, you can't have too much of a good thing (well, at least I can't.) "BSG" producer David Eick didn't say how the extra material was going to be added - if this meant more two-hour episodes or just more episodes than the 10 that are planned - but that there was more story to tell than minutes that were being alotted.

It's a nice thing for the fans, who might have had to wait for DVD releases to get "bonus material" of extra scenes. "BSG" was already shooting more than it was using, having the "secret, extra, online" scene it would promote each week at the Sci Fi Channel's Web site. I'm guessing this is more than that.

ONE TO MISS: As a nation, we seem to be obsessed with beauty pageants for little girls. For me, I tend to see these things more at the JonBenet Ramsey end of the scale rather than the "Little Miss Sunshine" source for humor. But that hasn't stopped We TV from announcing a six-episode run for a new series called "Little Miss Perfect," in which 5- to 11-year-old girls compete for a crown, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Personally, I can't think of anything more horrific, but I'm sure it will end up being a ratings grabber for the network. Yeesh.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Tonight marks the finale of "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" (ABC, 9 p.m.) I can't say I survived making it through this series, but I'm sure there's a segment by the image of adults wearing diapers competing for a lot of money.

"Eureka" (Sci Fi, 9 p.m.) is brand new, and I keep forgetting to plug the "Rescue Me" minisodes (FX, 10 p.m.) that lead into "30 Days."

Monday, August 04, 2008

R.I.P. Skip Caray

By now you've probably heard the sad news that longtime Atlanta Braves radio/TV announcer Skip Caray died Sunday at age 68.

Unfortunately, I can't say I was too surprised when I heard the news. Caray had been ill for a while, and I could definitely tell listening to him this year that he wasn't his old self; the vibrance in his voice was gone.

Much like his dad, the late Harry Caray, Skip was oft-imitated and much beloved by the hometown fans. Skip often brought his wry, unique wit to telecasts and made the games fun to watch even when the Braves weren't very good.

I think my fondest moment with Skip came one night in the late 1980s when the Braves, in the midst of another terrible season, were getting pounded in Pittsburgh. Coming back from a commercial break, Skip said, "Well, the bases are loaded, and right now, I wish I was, too." He'd use that line a few more times.

Most Braves fans will likely remember his call of Sid Bream's mad dash in the 1992 NLCS to beat the Pirates and win the pennant.

I was lucky enough to meet Skip a few times back when I covered the Braves, and he was always a decent guy.

The Caray legacy lives on with Skip's son, Chip, a broadcaster with TBS. His younger son, Josh, broadcasts the games for the Class A Rome Braves.

A lot of non-Braves fans would often classify Skip as a "homer," but I think it's a bit of an unfair generalization. (And I'm a non-Braves fan). Skip recognized that he was a Braves employee, so he broadcast the games from their perspective, something pretty much all broadcasters do for the teams' flagship stations.

But he was hardly John Sterling when it came to homer-ism. Caray would often criticize the Braves if they made a bad play or Bobby Cox made a questionable managerial decision. When the Braves were a last-place team in the '80s, Caray's good-natured poking fun at them was often what made the games tolerable to watch.

Caray represents a dying breed of baseball broadcaster. Today's guys are a bit too homogenized for the most part, lacking the distinctiveness that made broadcasters like Caray so memorable. He will be missed.

GET WELL, KELLY BUNDY: is reporting actress Christina Applegate, nominated for an Emmy for "Samantha Who?" has been detected with an early form of breast cancer. The report says it's been caught early and the prognosis is very good, but hopefully, it will serve as a reminder to women out there that early detection is the key and to get yourselves checked.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: OK, enough with the sad news. On a happier note, the scrappy bunch of Little Leaguers from Warner Robins continue their march back to Williamsport, Pa. with another regional game tonight in Florida. You can listen to the broadcast of the game via (See, there are other good things on the site besides this blog.)

The force of nature known as Miley Cyrus hosts the "Teen Choice Awards" (Fox, 8 p.m.), so odds are, you'll know where your 11-15 year old daughter is tonight.

"The Mole" (ABC, 10 p.m.) is revealed tonight. If they show it to be Mark the teacher, well, he was a terrible mole because he won the team more money than anyone. But he's also the least suspicious.

The TNT duo of "The Closer" and "Saving Grace" air new episodes, beginning tonight at 9 p.m.

"The Middleman" (ABC Family, 10 p.m.) is also new, as are "Weeds" and "Secret Diary of a Call Girl," beginning on Showtime at 10 p.m.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Ready For The Weekend

Another light posting today, guys, because of all the work that has piled up for the job The Telegraph actually pays me for.

But with the slate of TV coming up, the weekend is extra fun.

For those who missed the news, "Mad Men," (AMC, Sun., 10 p.m.) drew a 1.9 rating for its season debut, more than double what it averaged last year, a nice tip of the cap to all of the critical praise, Emmy nominations and word of mouth the series generated.

And, in some quasi-related news, actress Christina Hendricks will return to NBC's "Life" for Season 2 next month when she reprises her role as Charlie's soon-to-be new stepmother.

On that note, here's the rest of the weekend's best bets:

Tonight marks the extra-long, 90-minute season-finale of "Doctor Who" (Sci Fi, 8:30 p.m. - note the special starting time). For some of you who caught Sci Fi's unfortunate decision to put spoilers last week's previews, some of the edge has been taken off the cliffhanger you were left with of the Doctor (David Tennant) regenerating. However, I'm happy to report that there are many surprises and guest characters who have yet to make an appearance in what has been a wicked big finale. It's followed by a new "Stargate: Atlantis" at 10 p.m.

"Monk" (USA, 9 p.m.) and "Psych" (USA, 10 p.m.) are also new, as is "Swingtown" (CBS, 10 p.m.)

On Saturday, "Robin Hood" (BBC America, 9 p.m.) finds the gang heading to the Holy Land to rescue King Richard in the second season finale.

On Sunday, the NFL preseason kicks off with the Colts and Redskins (NBC, 8 p.m.)

On the dramatic side, there's a new episode of "Generation Kill" (HBO, 9 p.m.) and new installments of "In Plain Sight" (USA, 10 p.m.) and "Army Wives" (Lifetime, 10 p.m.)