Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band on The Today Show

September 30, 2007

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve watched any of the morning shows. Partly it’s because I have job and go to work but also because I just don’t care that much about celebrity guests, flavour of the month interviews or for that matter Regis’s or Matt Lauer’s opinions on world events.

However, when I got the call Friday morning from my mother-in-law letting me know that Bruce Springsteen was performing to promote his new album Magic, I had to record the show.

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Gossip Girl – Season 1, Episode 2 –

September 29, 2007

I got excited about this show for the sum total of 30 seconds.  Then I remembered that despite the voiceover it wasn’t Veronica Mars.

It’s Strike 2 for this show.  One more episode I don’t care about and the show is off the list.  When you’re as behind on your watching as I am only one week into the season I’m going to be extra discriminating this year and be a lot quicker to drop shows that bore me.   Oh yeah, in case I’m not being obvious enough, Gossip Girl is a show that is really boring me.

Outside of Blair who I really enjoy watching and is the only real, complex character on the show, the rest are very forgettable.  I can’t believe Serena was ever the queen bee of the Gossip Girl world.  She demonstrates the personality of a piece of wood.  Blair’s boyfriend actually seems a good match for Serena as he fades into the background in every scene he’s in.  In the first episode alone Chuck has tried to rape two different girls which makes him out of the gate completely unsympathetic which is not the mark of a good soap villain.  A good soap villain needs to have a hint of redeemability and this guy doesn’t have it.  Dan is funny and has good comic timing but he’s just not believable as being interested in this world or if he really liked Serena why would he care what she did before she met him.  His sister, however, is actually not bad as she balances innocence with her desire to be like Blair or Serena.  Her story is the one interesting one on the show but seems more backburner than front burner.  The parents are fine but not as good as on the OC.

I’m not going to spend more time writing about this show.   It’s got one more week to convince me that this should stay on my list.

Avi’s Episode Rating: C-

Getting Closure on ABC’s Cancelled Traveler

September 29, 2007

How many times have us TV lovers been burned by shows that have been cancelled too soon? Particularly when it comes to serials where we start watching, get engrossed in the characters and stories but never find out what happens at the end of the story. This is not the situation with the summer’s great drama Traveler.

If you missed it, Traveler was a big sweeping conspiracy story where 2 former students are set up as terrorist bombers by a third who they thought was their best friend. The 2 friends go on the road and try and unravel the mystery and clear their name. In the show’s short 8 episode season, we got to see parts of the puzzle but it ended on a huge cliffhanger where one of the apparent masterminds was blown up. Unfortunately that’s all we’re ever going to see because the show got cancelled and we’re never getting a second season.

But finally we get a creator who gets that the fans need to know what was going to happen. David DiGilio posted to TV Guide’s Traveler blog pretty much his whole bible for the show answering questions like: What is the Fourth Branch and Who is Will Traveler. Definitely worth checking out if you were a fan of the shortlived series and want to know not only what would have transpired in the second season but also what ultimately would have happened to the characters and the endgame of the series.

Mr. DiGillio, I promise to reward your true commitment to your fans by watching your next series. Thanks for “getting it”.

ER – Season 14, Episode 1 – The War Comes Home

September 29, 2007

14 years is a looooong time for a show to run but for the 14th year my wife and I sat down to watch the premiere of ER. Sure all of the characters who started with the show are long gone but the producers have done a decent job in rotating interesting characters through from year to year.

This season, we’re treated to the latest heavy hitter addition to the cast, the almost always brilliant Stanley Tucci. After last season’s crappy 3 LBS (I watched 1 episode and thought my brain was going to die of boredom) and an episode or 2 at the end of last season, he’s now joined the cast full time as the new head of the ER, replacing Luka. I generally liked his balance of philosopher, mentor, a-hole and leader – very similar to Weaver when she joined the cast. That being said they seem to be trying to show so many dimensions of him at one time that I’m not sure we got any real meaningful insight into his character. I guess we’ll see which direction they take him from here.

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The Office – Season 4, Episode 1 – Fun Run

September 28, 2007

How great is it to finally sit down and watch a new episode of my favourite show. I’ll tell you how great by doing what I always do when I review The Office, share what I learned. So without further ado….

Here’s what I learned from this week’s The Office:

  • If I buy milk for my wife, I might get credit for making breakfast.
  • Don’t click on Internet offers for celebrity sex tapes.
  • Beware office detectives who like to ask “Are you kidding me” or repeat what you say in the form of a question.
  • The duties of the Chairman of the Party Planning Committee are extensive and far reaching so don’t volunteer if you aren’t prepared to make sacrifices. Read the rest of this entry »

Grey’s Anatomy – Season 4, Episode 1 – A Change is Gonna Come

September 28, 2007

Not a bad start to the season. Although the voiceover is still in place it’s definitely a time of change for the former interns who now have interns of their own. Or at least most of them. As you may remember from last season, George is still a resident, which has him moping around most of the episode, at least until he’s able to say to Izzie the three words we’ve been dreading. I thought the writers listened to the fans who despise the prospect of an Izzy-George hook up. Oh well, I guess Izzy could always turn him down.

Meanwhile, to the shock of no one who follows TV news, Burke isn’t coming back leaving Christina to behave to her interns pretty much as we would expect. Derek and Meridith are still broken up but that doesn’t stop them from having a quickie in the on call room and funny enough I still don’t care about either of them. In contrast, new intern Lexie Gray, Meredith’s sister actually is likable and might be a great addition to the show. Lucky for Lexie they are only 1/2 sisters which (besides this being a TV show) would explain the disparity in character.

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Dirty Sexy Money – Season 1, Episode 1 – Pilot

September 28, 2007

Now this show is fun. It’s everything I might have thought Gossip Girl or Private Practice would be but isn’t. Sure it’s silly, frivolous and over the top but it has a great cast and made me laugh many, many times.

The premise is pretty simple: Moral lawyer’s father dies and he takes over his father’s job as family attorney to the wealthy Darlings all of whom have secrets and messes that he needs to clean-up. Oh yeah, and his father may have been murdered. And so begins what could be a great nighttime soap.

I’m a huge Peter Krause fan and as Nick George he makes a great straight man to the family of Darling crazies. No question he was great on Six Feet Under, despite getting increasingly unlikable in the show’s last couple of seasons, but his character here is much closer to the good, moral but at times flawed family man Casey McCall on Sports Night. It was enjoyable watching his changing expressions as he dealt with family crisis after crisis. Even the voiceover doesn’t bother me too much.
Unlike Private Practice which has a great cast but no chemistry and frankly little to no personality, Dirty Sexy Money knows how to use its talent to perfect effect. From Donald Sutherland as the patriarch of the family who seems stable but has an underlying menacing vibe to him to Jill Clayburgh is the matriarch who had an affair with Nick’s father to Billy Baldwin as the politician with a secret to the scariest Reverend with 2 families on TV. Watching the Darling family interact with each other as they fall immediately into a dependence on Nick is a pleasure to watch.

It truly is the little touches that show how carefully the show has been crafted. The individual ringtones for each member were classic. The horse as the anniversary present and Tripp’s response to seeing it. Ethan Hawke’s yacht filled with illegal aliens. Karen’s visit with Nick in his office. The “I hate you”s from the Reverend. Samaire Armstrong’s play. Each scene not only told you a little about the characters involved but also set up the premise.

I’m a little on the fence about the “who killed Nick’s father” mystery. I’m not sure whether in a show that already seems so rich in storylines (pun intended) requires the extra level of story. At this point I’m not going to judge, I’m just going to watch and enjoy the ride.

Avi’s Episode Rating: A-

Prison Break – Season 3, Episode 2 – Fire/ Water

September 27, 2007

I actually enjoyed this week’s Prison Break.  I know I sound surprised but the show has been so hit and miss you never know which side it’s going to lean toward.  Before I jump into what I like about the show, I’m going to get what I disliked out of the way.  One word – Sucre.  With all the new characters and still so many of the old around, he seems completely unnecessary.

Enough of the bad, on to the good.  First, the show looks great in high-def.   It really enhances the experience when it looks this good and takes advantage of the widescreen.  As for the storyline, the show feels like it’s raised the stakes this season.  Unlike last season’s disjointed chase across America, the Panama jail feels serious – from Bellick in a diaper to the lack of water to the absence of guards to Lechero, the informal head of the prison (the amazing Bunny Colvin from the Wire) who keeps these hardened criminals in line.  The events set up a feeling of danger, and the possibility that anything can happen which shows like Prison Break require to stay interesting.  Even the conspiracy story which has Michael trying to break a man named James Whistler out of prison in order to save Sara and Linc’s son is actually interesting and seems challenging.

For the first time in a long time I’m feeling like the decision to continue with a third season may not have been a mistake.  Bring on episode 3.

Avi’s Episode Rating: B+


Private Practice – Season 1, Episode 1 – In Which We Meet Addison, a Nice Girl From Somewhere Else

September 27, 2007

Like pretty much everyone else who watched the pilot of this show last season in Grey’s Anatomy, I thought it sucked. (Check out my review if you don’t believe me.) They took the best character on Grey’s Anatomy and turned her into Meredith, one of the worst characters on TV. Taking the summer to retool, we are presented with the newly reworked real pilot episode and I’m unconvinced and even a little bored.

Unfortunately there are many things I dislike about this show. I need to be clear – It isn’t the cast who individually are great actors. Unfortunately, they just don’t seem to gel as an ensemble. The back and forth banter which is supposed to imply a relationship between the characters seems a little too scripted and not very natural. The relationship between Taye Diggs and Naomi (good recasting by the way) lacks chemistry. Although they haven’t changed Addison as drastically as they did in the previous pilot, she definitely isn’t the calm, cool professional she was on Grey’s.  That Addison, the “world class neonatal surgeon” would never have taken a job at a clinic like this with its group of disfunctional adults (and I use that word loosely) or be dancing naked in her window.

Beyond the character issues, the stories aren’t working either.  It’s way too early in the season for me to feel burned out on medical drama situations but I’m already feeling the “been there, done that” with the stories.  Was anyone surprised that the girlfriend would want the sperm after the boyfriend had died?  Not me.  Did anyone think the 17 year old girl who came to the clinic would have a smooth pregnancy?  Nope, not me either.

On the plus side, there was no Grey’s voice over but on the downside, same old Grey’s music.  I don’t think I’m done with the show yet.  Given the amazing cast I’m going to give it a few weeks but at this point I’m not feeling hopeful.

Avi’s Episode Rating: C-

Fox Cancels Nashville? – Is this the first cancellation of the season?

September 27, 2007

As reported in Zap2it, two weeks was all it took for Fox to decide that Nashville wasn’t meeting expectations and removed it from Friday’s schedule replacing it with reruns of K-Ville.  Personally I didn’t watch it.  An unscripted, pseudo-reality show about trying to make it in country music hits absolutely no buttons for me.  It’s not officially cancelled.  Fox says it will come back at a later date but as all of us TV folk knows the more likely case is that the show is dead.