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.

Big Brother 8 – The Finale

September 21, 2007

I know this write-up is a little late but I thought I’d chime in on the final episode of Big Brother 8 where the Dinatos, Dick and Danielle, were pitted against each other for the $500K.  After Thursday’s eviction episode I was pretty convinced that Danielle would win seeing as how she really outplayed everyone and was the behind the scenes manipulator behind many of the evictions.  By the time Tuesday came around and saw 5 minutes of the show I knew it was all over for Danielle.  As much as everyone hated Dick they seemed to really resent Danielle more.  Personally I didn’t like either of them much and from what I’ve read about some of Dick’s actions on the feeds he’s actually even more dispicable.  Still at least it wasn’t Amber the ignorant anti-semite.

Bring on Big Brother 9.

Avi’s Season Rating: B-

What I Watched on my Summer Vacation – Part II – The Summer TV Season

September 6, 2007

It truly is incredible how much TV was on this summer and even more incredible is how good a lot of it was. With so many shows to cover I’m only going to write short blurbs to get across my 2 cents on each. I’m going to start with the truly horrible and move progressively up from there.

John From Cincinnati – After the heartpounding and slightly mystifying (yes, I rewound my PVR many times) conclusion to one of the greatest shows ever, HBO unloaded this piece of garbage on a still numb public. It took me, someone who is willing to give the benefit of at least 3 episodes to all kinds of shows, one episode to conclude that I didn’t want to watch this show. Clearly I wasn’t alone given HBO’s decision to cancel it after just one season.

Avi’s Series Rating: N/A

Californication – 3 episodes in and I just don’t care. Still nothing compelling to bring me back week after week. As much as I like David Duchovny generally his character is just not likable and I don’t buy the “every woman he meets wants to sleep with him” approach they’re taking with his character. The 16 year old with the right hook affair isn’t working for me either. I think I’m done.

Avi’s Series Rating (to date) – C-

Big Brother 8 – I don’t know what it is about this train wreck of a show but despite every TV loving bone in my body telling me to run the other way I still watch it 3 times a week. From Kail the racist to Amber the anti-semite to Jen the Teflon amazon to Dick the dick to Jameka the Chosen One to America’s loser Eric to Danielle the one true player to basically anonymous Jessica and Zach I must see what happens. I’m still pretty sure that if this was on during the regular season I wouldn’t watch and I stay far away from the feeds but still 3 times a week I’m there watching. Danielle is the clear favourite to win at this point.

Avi’s Season Rating – B-

Canadian Idol – I generally find the talent on Canadian Idol to be far superior than on its US counterpart not to mention the actually constructive and relatively articulate judges. This year unfortunately many of the candidates haven’t been that memorable. Still until last night I held out hope that the lovely and unique talent Carly Rae would win but nope we’re down to the one trick pony but cute if you’re under 14, Jaydee Bixby with his bad Elvis imitation and the decent singing but kind of bland Brian Melo (who still gets extra points for his selection of Radiohead, The Watchmen and Live). You can probably guess which I’m pulling for.

Avi’s Season Rating – B-

Rescue Me: Season 4 – I’m still a few episodes behind but this season I’m just not feeling it. I like the show and I love Dennis Leary and the rest of the crew (sad about Jerry though compounded by the way he went out) but it’s just seeming too repetitive. The plotline with Tommy/ Johnny’s no name son is just silly (and not in a good way) and even worse I’m a little bored. It might pick up in the back half of the season but for now the best I can do is give it:

Avi’s Season Rating (so far) – B

The 4400: Season 4 – Another show I’m pretty far behind in. I like this show a lot and find the stories pretty interesting and the characters very likable from week to week despite pretty poor acting almost across the board. My only problem is that as much as I enjoy individual episodes, I’m not convinced the writers know where the story is going. It just seems like a loose collection of plot devices without direction. I’m still hopeful though and will continue to watch to see where it goes.

Avi’s Season Rating (so far) – B

Entourage: Season 4 – I know there’s been some backlash at the boys this summer but not from me. Entourage is like the best snack foods – tastes great going down, easily digestible and in generally forgettable after it’s gone. If the show was a full hour I too might feel that the increasingly silly stories they get involved with may be too much. However, at 25 minutes the show is always entertaining, the characters (including the fabulous Mrs. Ari) are a pleasure to watch and the “adversities” they have to overcome always fun. Glad to see that Medellin was the bust it looked like it was destined to be and that the boys don’t win ’em all.

Avi’s Season Rating – B+

Big Love: Season 2 – This show really hit its stride in the second season. At least twice in every episode I turn to my wife and let her know how happy I am that there is only one of her. Bill’s life sure doesn’t make polygamy look appealing and that’s not even taking into consideration the prospect of a 4th wife or Horace Green or treacherous Alby. The wives are amazing actresses and each one stepped it up this year carving out their roles in the family. Can’t wait for season 3.

Avi’s Season Rating – A-

Mad Men – I’m finally caught up and have to say that this show has taken the premise of ad men in the 50’s, mixed in some great character actors and put together a show that may not be fast paced but is brilliant in its execution. I’m not really sure what direction the show is moving in with the mysterious Don Draper but I’m on board to find out.

Avi’s Season Rating (So far) – A-

Damages – No question Glenn Close is a little over the top in her portrayal of Patty Hewes the aggressive lawyer pursuing corporate thief Arthur Frobisher (the meatiest role for a certain actor since an ex-baseball player ran a bar) but in true FX fashion, one can’t turn away. On top of the core plot you layer in murder and bloody book ends and you have the best new show in a long time. Who watching this show can possibly say that the serial drama is dead!

Avi’s Season Rating (So far) – A

Greek – I left this one for last and had trouble categorizing it as a comedy or drama. I stuck it in comedy but probably could be swayed either way. After a bit of a drought I now have my 90210/ Dawson’s Creek/ OC replacement which deftly blends humor, great characters, snappy dialogue and fine acting to provide me with my surprise pick of the summer. Each new episode is more fun than the last and what started out as basically a collection of stereotypical characters has led to the development of some truly interesting people who are a pleasure to spend time with each week.

Avi’s Season Rating (so far) – A

That’s it for part II of my return to blogging for Fall Season 2007-2008. Tomorrow is part III which will review all the big TV news I missed over the summer.

American Idol – May 22 – The Final 2 Perform

May 23, 2007

I haven’t written about the show in a few weeks.  A lot has been written of the demise the past few weeks of the 2 who were most likely the best singers in the competition.  As my regular readers know I don’t disagree that LaKisha and even more so Melinda had killer voices but I don’t think either deserve to win Idol.  It’s not that they won’t have careers but we have to go back to the show’s roots in the UK when it was called Pop Idol.  That’s what the show is supposed to be finding – the next chart topping pop idol and a great voice isn’t enough to be that.  It requires stage presence and ultimately an ability to display something unique in the songs they put out.

Kelly Clarkson is still the best example of someone who was able to use her presence and her voice to cut loose from the crap Idol mold singing songs like “A Moment Like This” to put out one of the best pop albums in years with fans who never watched her or anyone else on Idol.  Chris Daughtry is another example of someone who didn’t win but stuck to what made him unique to kick Taylor Hick’s butt on the chart.  You may respect Jennifer Hudson for winning an Oscar but be honest with yourself – she won for being a good broadway actress on film which doesn’t mean she’s going to be selling albums anytime soon.  Melinda and LaKisha will sell albums (likely on an R&B chart or on Broadway) but will anyone who is upset that they didn’t go on to the finals actually buy them.  My guess is no.

Enough of my ranting.   Let’s talk about tonight’s show.  After fast forwarding through the fluff we finally got to the first performance 15 minutes in.

Blake kicked it off with his still rather cool version of Bon Jovi’s You Give Love a Bad Name.  I think the beat boxing is a little over done by him already but there’s no arguing that he probably the most original person ever on an Idol show and he’s brought something unique to every song he’s performed.   A good producer and some sound editing will help him put out a pretty interesting album.

Jordin did some Christina Aguilara song and let her great voice do the work for her with some amazing vocal gymnastics with a pretty complex song.  This is the kind of song that will sell albums for her.  Simon, enough with the young comments – they add no value.

For me the first round is a draw.

Blake did She Will Be Loved and showed good professional restraint by knowing not to beat box in every song (something I was concerned he would do).  To me the vocal was a little rough with the song sounding a bit out of his comfort zone in parts.  Still, Randy’s right it’s good to hear how he handles diverse songs and Simon’s right that it wasn’t distinguishing enough for a final performance.

Jordin sang A Broken Wing and again showed off her pipes.  This is what I like about her, even her voice showpiece songs demonstrate something marketable that I just didn’t see in Melinda or LaKisha.  She doesn’t just hit the notes but she also has the star quality that the judges often talk about.  Randy’s right – age has nothing to do with anything.

Second round goes to Jordin.

Blake’s final song was the obligatory Idol song This is My Now written by some guy in the audience who won a song writing contest.  I hate to say that this song was no better than any of the other Idol songs the contestants get stuck with.  It lacked what I think The Sopranos’ Hesh called the She Loves You principle.  Have to agree with the judges – the song was completely wrong for Blake and makes you wonder what they were thinking giving it to him knowing he would suck at it.  Way to screw him Idol producers.  If he loses he really does have grounds for appeal.

Jordin sang the same song and did a better job with it.  Still, a crappy song is a crappy song.  If the producers can’t find better songs for them to sing and release as singles, they should change this part of the competition.

Third round to Jordin by acclimation.

I guess Jordin is going to win.  I won’t know though.  I’ll be watching Lost.

Survivor: Fiji – Finale

May 14, 2007

I stopped watching Survivor pretty early during the fall season.  The formula just stopped working for me and I’ve been pretty uninterested the past few seasons.  I started watching Survivor: Fiji at the beginning of the season and after a few episodes decided to drop the show.  Then something happened.  I decided to watch an episode mid-way through and found this season to be one of the most entertaining in a long time.  A good cast really does make the difference and a few new twists like multiple hidden immunity idols and some remixing of the teams didn’t hurt either.

I’m not going to write too much except to say congratulations to Earl with a unanimous win.  Once Dreamz screwed over Yau-Man and presuming Earl wanted to have a shot there was no other outcome.  Yau Man would have beat anyone so it’s hard to blame Earl for not keeping him in at the end.  Cassandra wasn’t going to get points for not doing anything and Dreamz lied to everyone.  I liked the twist of 3 finalists and I think the final jury presentation was one of the best in the show’s history.

I also have to say congrats to Survivor for giving us a hell of a season – the likes of which we haven’t seen since the show’s heyday.

Avi’s Season Rating: B+

The Past Week in TV

April 27, 2007

This week has been a little crazy for me and I haven’t had much time to write so I’m going to instead give some quick hits on what I’ve watched and what I thought.

24 – That’s it.  Despite writing last week that I was likely going to stick it out for the last few episodes of the season after this week’s borefest I’m done.  There is nothing redeeming remaining about this show and there are enough good shows to watch that I don’t have to distract myself with this crap.  Avi’s Episode Rating: C-

Heroes – The reason I don’t feel a need to waste cycles on 24.  After way too long a hiatus (that felt even longer because of the amazing previews) Heroes finally returned with death, action, answers and another crazy cliffhanger.  As a comic geek I have to admit that I let out a “cool” when I heard Linderman give us his Watchman-esque plan to save the world.  I followed that with a “wow” as Linderman and Mrs. Petrelli alluded to their time as heroes likely in some form of Golden Age Justice League (or Justice Society for you fellow comic fans).  The death of Isaac, Claire meeting her father, Nathan as the future president – all great moments that set us up for the final scene of Hiro in the future and next week’s glimpse into the future.  Avi’s Episode Rating: A

The Sopranos – I liked the first 2 episodes of the season better but I enjoyed Tony and Paulie’s amazing adventure although it does sadden me to see Junior’s story really coming to an end.  I’m still going to stick with my prediction that Tony is going to retire before the season ends.   Avi’s Episode Rating: B+

American Idol – I didn’t watch the performances this week and only saw part of Wednesday’s telethon but I have to question the decision to bring back Kelly Clarkson.  Backed by the legendary Jeff Beck she pretty much puts all of the contestants on this season (and most of the previous ones) to shame.  The only one with any commercial potential to be the next Kelly Clarkson is Jordin.  End rant.  Another good moment was the Simpsons scene where they judge Simon which had me crying I was laughing so loud.  Annie Lennox was pretty good too.

I’ll get back to writing more regularly for the next couple of days.

American Idol – April 10 – Top 8 Perform

April 11, 2007

I haven’t done a live blog on American Idol for a few weeks but tonight I’m back.   The special guest is JLo who in my estimation is probably one of the biggest stars the show has had in terms of modern mainstream appeal.  Without further ado here’s my 2  cents on tonight’s performances.

Melinda – I thought she was marginally better tonight in terms of demonstrating at least some ability to move beyond show tunes and torch songs.  Still, as much as I like her voice my opinion on her ability to produce a mainstream album hasn’t changed.  She won’t be able to.

LaKisha – Finally some personality from LaKisha.  Like Melinda she moved from her standards based self.  The first time in my opinion that she’s shown that she might actually have a little bit of an album in her.  Not sure why Paula and Simon are calling it safe the first time she does something slightly more upbeat and fun instead of showcasing her inner Broadway self.

Chris – A good performance but I thought his singing was off.  The voice lacked some edge or passion.

Haley – She really is hot and a good performer to boot.  Her voice isn’t as good as the others and I’m not sure she is going to be selling albums any time soon but she’s got personality and actually looks like she has fun up there.

Phil – I still don’t get how the judges even tolerate Phil.  This guy has a terrible voice.  He’s painful to listen to and I cringed with every high note.  How can they call Haley bad and give this guy a pass week after week.  He’s far, far, far, far worse.

Jordin – By far my favourite female in the competition.  Consistently great voice, great performances and she brings a cool, modern vibe that says “I will sell albums on an actual pop chart” unlike early favourites LaKisha and Melinda.

Blake – My favourite guy in the competition.  Same exact comments as I have about Jordin – great voice, great performance and a cool modern vibe that will sell records.

Sanjaya – Well he embraced the theme – good for him choosing to sing in Spanish.  His young girl fan base will love it.  He wasn’t as painful as usual because he didn’t really sing but rather spoke in a tune.  He’s not going anywhere this week.  I agree with Randy – he knows how to play the game.

After watching tonight’s episode, I have to say that I’m still shocked and dismayed that this is the best they could find in all of America out of tens of thousands of prospective singers.  Maybe it’s time for some new judges because these ones don’t seem to be able to sniff out talent any more.

So without further ado, my picks for bottom 2 are Phil and Haley with Phil most deserving to go home.  I’m done picking Sanjaya.

My choice for the final 2 are Jordin and Blake.