Check out the Sopranos Preview

March 30, 2007

If you’re as excited as I am about the new season of The Sopranos then check out this exclusive preview that MSN has released.  It will make you count the hours.

What Show Will You Save? An E! Online Poll

March 30, 2007

E!Online is running a poll asking people to vote on the one show they would save from a list of programs that are “on the bubble”.  According to Ain’t it Cool News the show that has received the most votes the last five years running has been renewed.

Of the 17 shows on the list there are 5 that I’m pulling for: 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights, How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs and Veronica Mars.  But according to the rules I can only choose one.  Last year my vote would have gone to Veronica Mars hands down but this year I have to vote for Friday Night Lights, especially after watching last night’s amazing hour  It’s not that I don’t want the rest to make it but rules are rules.

Click here to vote for your favourite and feel free to comment below and let me know your pick.

Back to your regularly scheduled program

March 30, 2007

Sorry I haven’t written in a while.  Truth be told there hasn’t been that much on worth writing about and I’ve been out the last bunch of nights.  I plan to catch up over the weekend with my thoughts on the finales of Battlestar Galactica and What About Brian as well as what’s been happening with the Lost castaways. 

All of this is of course a mere appetizer before the TV events we’ve all been waiting for: the final 9 episodes of The Sopranos starting a week Sunday and the premiere of The Shield on Tuesday. 

Off to watch last night’s Friday Night Lights and some of The Office marathon (can you say Foreman Grill?).  Back in a few.

Avi’s Reading Ramblings: My New Blog

March 21, 2007

You might notice on the side bar that I’ve added a feed from another blog.  This is my new place to track books that I read.  It won’t be updated as frequently as this blog but given that I read about a book a week I expect to post an update at least as frequently.  I also may review arcs from good comic books that I read as well.

Let me know what you think.

American Idol – March 20 – Top 11 Perform

March 21, 2007

Tonight is British Invasion night and I’m expecting to be able to compress the 2 hour show into 37 minutes of viewing time.  Here’s how the contestants fared this week:

Haley – Her voice sounded nice enough, fun song, she’s definitely cute and I think she did a good job working the crowd but there’s something missing in the vocals.  I can’t put my finger on what exactly is bothering me about her performance.  It just didn’t seem genuine to me.

Chris R – The acoustic performance was a much better showcase for him than the ballads of the past few weeks and he sounded okay.  Still I found him a little boring and he’s definitely not to my taste.  The guitarist was good though.

Stephanie – She sounded great but it wasn’t my favourite of her performances.  I have to agree a bit with Simon that she was missing the passion and soul that could make her a great new Macy Gray or Lauryn Hill.  Still I’m a big fan and think she could make a kick ass album.

Blake – Great choice of song.  Good showcase for his voice and fits really well with his style.  A cool, controlled performance.  I really like how he has been able to do good modern rearrangements of classic songs and this was week was no exception.

LaKisha – I keep hoping to hear something new to change my mind about LaKisha as the critics continue to rave about her.  This week I thought we got a little closer.  There’s still no doubt she has an awesome voice and this was a cool performance.  She will be a great Broadway star, just not a pop star.

Phil – This is the first performance of Phil’s that I think I’ve liked the entire competition.  Not much singing but at least this wasn’t painful and featured a good memorable performance.  I agree with Simon though – he has no grit especially if you try and compare him to Chris Daughtry from last season.

Jordin – Sounded great.  Excellent stage presence.  Lots of charisma.  I’m a big fan.

Sunjaya – At least he sang a song I recognized, one of the few this evening.  I just fast forwarded to the end.  Too hard to listen to.

Gina – Definitely the right song for her.  It has the right amount of edge to suit her style but it was a bit off in a few places.  Loved the change up of the song near the end.  With Gina at least we know what kind of album she would make and I think she could sell.  It wasn’t as good as the Canadian Idol performed versions of the song the past few years though.

Chris S – Wow! Two Zombies songs in one night.  Good performance and great vocal but definitely inferior to Blake’s Zombie tune.

Melinda – I have a soft spot for Oliver which was a favourite of my family’s growing up.  As far as Melinda goes I’m a broken record, there’s still nothing to convince me that she isn’t going to be anything but a Broadway singer, maybe a great one but that’s it.  And let me tell you choosing a Broadway song isn’t going to change my mind.  I’m not sure how this qualifies as a British Invasion song by any stretch of the imagination.  She just refuses to break out of the box she’s in and it’s a box that I think will prevent her from selling albums.

I have to admit I’m shocked at how many of the song choices weren’t well known songs given the huge catalogue that could encompass the British invasion.  So as much as I’d like to say it will be Phil or Sunjaya going home tomorrow, my pick is Gina.  I can’t see her having the fan base of the others on the program.

Midseason Replacements or Wow, Do These Shows Suck

March 20, 2007

What’s the deal with the current crop of midseason replacements?  It’s like the networks took their second tier shows that didn’t make the cut for the new season and released them all at once.  I’m going to walk through them one by one.

The Wedding Bells – 2 episodes in and this dramedy about sister wedding planners is neither funny nor dramatic.   I’ve liked Teri Polo since she played Rebecca on Sports Night and it’s good to see Kenny from Picket Fences again but this show is garbage.  The characters are uninteresting and the show’s device where the characters gain insights into their characters and lives by seeing the people who come through their wedding business is a cliched device for sloppy storytellers.  I won’t say I was offended by this week’s effeminate groom as much as I was bored.  Basically, another show from the David E Kelly who gave us Ally McBeal, Girls Club and even Boston Legal rather than the genius who gave us Picket Fences, The Practice, Boston Legal and Chicago Hope.

Avi’s Show Rating: C-

October Road – If The Wedding Bells was garbage this show is a whole garbage dump.  Boy leaves his hometown to go to Europe and doesn’t return abandoning all ties with his girlfriend, friends and family.  10 years later after writing a book using his old friends as characters (and not in a good way) he goes back home to find out that many of his friends hate him, he might have a son and shock of shocks their lives have moved on.  Oh yeah, and he has writer’s block.  Any one want to bet that he starts writing his next novel by the time this show concludes its initial run.  The dialogue is terrible and makes me yearn for the poetic conversations on Beverly Hills 90210.  The constant music-over (like a voice over but with music) is distracting.  I counted no fewer than 10 songs in the hour.  The one saving grace is Laura Prepon.  She looks great and it’s good to see her moving on from That 70’s Show and I hope she finds a better show than this next season.

Avi’s Show Rating: D+

The Black Donnellys – I get the sense that there’s a good show somewhere in this story of four brothers, one of whom is the Michael Corleone of the family.  The problem is that when you strip away the bloody murders and the posturing between the Irish and Italian mobs, there’s nothing here of interest.  The brothers aren’t really that sympathetic and the stories are just kind of boring.  If The Sopranos moved the mob story into the 21st century with its complexity, this one sets the genre way, way, way back.

Avi’s Show Rating: C+

Raines – The premise of a detective who solves crimes aided by the dead victim was too silly to get me to watch even one episode.  It may not be as bad as I think but I will never know.

Avi’s Concept Rating: D

With all this bad TV there’s one silver lining – April and May is right around the corner with the final Sopranos ever, the return of Entourage and The Shield and more Heroes, Lost, The Office, Friday Night Lights and Veronica Mars.

March Madness is Helping Me Through this Horrible Mid-Season Lull

March 20, 2007

I’m generally not a sports fan.  I don’t usually watch football, baseball, hockey, basketball.  As someone who loves TV as much as I do, I just don’t find the drama of an individual game compelling enough to hold my attention.  I crave story, characters, humour, drama – which I don’t find in sports.

The exception is March Madness.  There is something exciting about games that are winner take all, where the players are making or breaking their careers, where it can all come down to a single 3 point shot 1.8 seconds before the buzzer sound and a game where even the team with the best record in the league can lose to a team that had a much more inferior record.

I’ll admit that being in a charity pool doesn’t hurt either.

Most of my TV viewing time this past weekend was spent watching and I’m already looking forward to next weekend.

How Rob Thomas Will Stop Veronica Mars From Being Cancelled

March 17, 2007

Answer: Veronica Mars, FBI.

Rob Thomas is pitching the CW that if they pick up Veronica Mars for another season he’s willing to fast forward a few years and change up the show by (depending whether you read Yahoo or TVGuide) making our favourite sleuth an FBI agent or a trainee at the FBI academy.  The assumption is that if they make this change most of the cast will likely not be returning, except probably her father and maybe Logan. 

Still I like the idea a lot.  Lately I’ve been feeling like the writers are stretching every week to create on-campus mysteries for Veronica to solve and to weave in a larger campus centric extended mystery arc.  By putting her in the FBI academy or making her an agent this should really broaden the ability to solve mini-mysteries while working within a cool season long arc (picture her as a Clarice chasing her Hannibal Lecter).

Truthfully, I don’t care what they do.  As long as the show isn’t cancelled and I get me some more Veronica next season.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 8, Episode 1 – The Long Way Home Part 1

March 16, 2007


It’s been a long 5 years but the Scoobies are back and they look and sound better than ever. As much as seeing the cast reunite on screen big or small would have been fantastic, that possibility is long dead as the cast has moved on to other things, some bigger and better, others not so much. Fortunately Mr. Whedon is not one to take resistance lying down – cancel Firefly on Fox, resurrect it on the big screen; Buffy ends and the cast isn’t interested in TV movies – continue the story in comics.

This was a hard book to find.  I went to a whole lot of stores yesterday until I finally found a copy.  I’m not surprised that with the huge number of Buffy fans out there that the entire 100,000 print run is now sold out and going into a second print.

So how was it.  Excellent.  First let’s start with the look since comics after all are a visual medium.   The artwork by Georges Jeanty really captured the look of the characters and at the same time did a great job with the widescreen moments like the crater that once was Sunnydale, the Slayer aerial assault or the Dawn Giant.  Each page was a treat to look at.

As for the story, it really is a bit too early to tell.  Like all good first episodes of a new season, this one caught us up on what has happened to some of our favourite characters and launched a few new storylines.  Buffy is now the leader of an army of slayers fighting evil across the globe supported by her new watcher – Xander.  As an aside, that was perhaps my favourite moment of the issue, seeing Xander in his new leadership role, a natural evolution of his character and extension of his place in the Scoobies.  Dawn has turned into a giant after having what was apparently a Season 2 Buffy-Angel moment.  We haven’t seen Willow or Giles yet but we know they’re still involved in the fight.  Angel fans will appreciate the reference to the Immortal mentioned in season 5.

The fight scene wasn’t that exciting but it was only a lead in to what is sure to be the real battle.  I’m not expecting the real big bad to show his or herself for a few more issues but we have a few good contenders in a pair of floating feet, General Voll and an old friend-enemy who survived the collapse of Sunnydale.

Unfortunately with comics the weight between episodes is more like a month than a week but I can’t wait.

Avi’s Episode Rating: A

American Idol – How I Did This Week and the Delusions of Simon Cowell

March 16, 2007

Whoo, hoo.  I finally got it right.  Brandon got booted last night just like I predicted.  He definitely wasn’t the worst but between forgetting the words, generally sucking and going first and not having the “fan base” of Sanjaya he was toast.

Now on to Simon.  He’s being interviewed on 60 Minutes this week and check out this excerpt as reported by the Orlando Sentinel:

In the interview, Cowell tells Anderson Cooper: “I sell more records than Bruce Springsteen.”

The rock star has a contract with Sony BMG  reported to be in the neighborhood of $100 million.  “In the last five years, I’ve probably sold over 100 million records,” Cowell says. “If [Springsteen] got 100 [million dollars], I should have got 500.”

Awesome.  Let me make sure I understand this, Simon is the judge of a talent show and Bruce is one of the greatest singer/ songwriters ever (listen to The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle and then come back and disagree).  I see how it would be possible to confuse the level of talent between the two.  I think the marketing guy at Sony BMG, the Fox editors and camera people on the set and have almost as much claim as Simon.  Silly, silly man.