Monday, December 31, 2007

Letterman - Robin Williams Leno - Mike Huckabee

Eh, could be worse for Leno, Huckabee's a pretty good guest, as "Daily Show" fans already know.

Here's the complete story from the AP:

NEW YORK (AP) — Robin Williams will be David Letterman’s firstguest upon the return of his “Late Show” on CBS Wednesday.
The appearance of a Hollywood A-lister who can talk a mile aminute may be Letterman’s way of quickly trying to draw adistinction between his show and his late-night rivals, who arewithout writers and may also have trouble booking majorentertainers as guests.
NBC’s “Tonight” show said Monday that Republican presidentialhopeful Mike Huckabee will appear on Jay Leno’s first show backWednesday.
Letterman announced Friday that his production company,Worldwide Pants, had reached an agreement to have his show returnwith writers despite the continuing writers strike, which beganNov. 5. The deal also allows writers to return to Craig Ferguson’slate-night show, also owned by Worldwide Pants.
The late-night shows hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brienare also returning Wednesday but have said little about who will beappearing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


The NFL is finally showing a little humility to go with its hubris. I'm not sure that game really merits being shown on three networks, but, hey, I guess it solidifies their claim to be the nation's game.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

I'll be watching "It's a Wonderful Life" for the next 24 to 36 hours.

No, that's not true. Actually, I've got "Children of Men" from Netflix at home, which doesn't seem very Christmasy at all (depending on how one views the religious subtext of that film). But I'll get in the spirit somehow. The pile of presents under the tree is likely to help.

Enjoy the holiday, everyone.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bad news for fans of the good ol' USA

USA Network, that is. Just in time for the holidays, USA is axing "The Dead Zone" and "The 4400."

Merry Christmas, each and every one!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This should make me happy, but it's making me queasy instead

NEW YORK (AP) — “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “TheColbert Report” will resume production on Jan. 7 without theirstriking writers, the Comedy Central network announced Thursday. Both late-night shows were shuttered after the Hollywood writersstrike began seven weeks ago.

I can see Leno and Conan and Letterman going writer-free - for better or for worse - but the Daily Show and Colbert are much more heavily scripted, much more dependent on staged interviews and sketches and, not coincidentally, much funnier.

As much as I want to hear Stewart dissect the Iowa caucuses, this just seems like a big, honkin' mistake.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A little Christmas cheer

A shred of good news on the strike front. It looks like David Letterman will be back soon, with writers, and "The Daily Show" could follow (in time for the Iowa caucauses!).

And "Lost" is coming back with the eight episodes it has in the can on Jan. 28 - Thursday nights.

NBC has "Medium" and "Law & Order" in early January. CBS still has "Jericho." There's a few other things kicking around, if the thought of "American Gladiators" has you crying in your eggnog.

UPDATE: The return of NBC's late-night talkers (sans joke writers, if you're a fan of Leno's monologue) is now official:

NEW YORK (AP) — Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien’s late-night showswill return to the air with fresh episodes on January 2 after two months of repeats due to the writers’ strike, the network said Monday.
The night” show and “Late Night” will return without writers supplying jokes. NBC said the decision was similar to 1988,when Johnny Carson brought back the “Tonight” show two months into a writers’ strike.

A little Christmas cheer

A shred of good news on the strike front. It looks like David Letterman will be back soon, with writers, and "The Daily Show" could follow (in time for the Iowa caucauses!).

And "Lost" is coming back with the eight episodes it has in the can on Jan. 28 - Thursday nights.

NBC has "Medium" and "Law & Order" in early January. CBS still has "Jericho." There's a few other things kicking around, if the thought of "American Gladiators" has you crying in your eggnog.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Talk amongst yourselves

I was at a holiday party last night, so I haven't had the chance to watch the last "30 Rock" of the season. Apparently, I didn't miss much.

I think I'll go skiing now.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Another one bites the dust

Not even Ned's magic touch can bring "Pushing Daisies" back without a conclusion to the writer's strike. A good episode to go out on, though: homeopathic drug mules. That's gold. Ah, I'll miss it.

So, "Pushing Daisies" is done. "The Office" is done. "Heroes" is done. "Big Bang Theory" is done. "How I Met Your Mother" is done. "Bionic Woman" is done (although not actually canceled yet). "Private Practice" is done. "Chuck" technically isn't done, but won't be back until the strike is over.

Yay! Merry Christmas each and every one. Actually, we'll have another dozen shows to add to the list before the end of the year.

There will still be TV to watch come Jan. 1, 2008, though. I'm planning to write about that stuff for my Dec. 27 column. It's not all reality shows, either. Although if the strike lasts through February, you'll be lucky to get "According to Jim" reruns.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fort Carson goes British

Well, sort of. This is very late notice, but this just came in about a BBC News special airing at 5 p.m. today:
Tonight, BBC World News America presents a special feature on Iraq, Promise and Peril.

In a first for the newscast, the first half of the program will be devoted to a single in-depth report.

The BBC's Diplomatic Correspondent Mark Urban presents a fascinating report on the dramatic changes brought to one area of South Baghdad by the recent U.S. troop "surge." Seven months after his first visit with them, Mark returns to Doura with the 30 men of 2nd Platoon, 12th Infantry from Fort Carson, Colorado.

Where once there was chaos and frequent killings, now a degree of normality has been restored. Mark goes on patrol, sees the sectarian peace walls, speaks to Sunnis and Shias, and considers whether the security gains brought by the "surge" can be sustained. We also hear from the troops on the ground as they end their 15 month tour of duty. Was the loss of their comrades in arms worth the relative peace now secured in Doura?

Executive Producer, Rome Hartman comments:
“It is the best close-up view I have yet seen of the impact of the recent U.S. strategy in Baghdad, and I just think it’s worth giving it what is, for us, a remarkable amount of time.”Airs tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT on BBC America and BBC World News.

Journeyman is not on a neverending journey

Yeah, it's canceled. The good news is that NBC will air the final two episodes next week, which creator Kevin Falls said should wrap things up in a halfway decent way.
We can only pray that this means that star Kevin McKidd will soon find his way away from an American accent and back into a toga.

Paranormally Stiff

Had the chance to catch A&E's new "Ghost Hunters" rip-off "Paranormal State" last night. It's noteworthy for two things: It's slavish adherence to the "Ghost Hunters" formula and, despite that, for being really, really annoying.

Head spook hunter Ryan Buell, who has apparently been attending Penn State since 2001 - a fact that doesn't speak well for his book smarts - does all the voiceovers - and does them all speaking into a tin can. I have no words to describe how fingernails-on-chalkboard that effect is. It doesn't help that Buell is loaded with that Bear Grylls' style phony "look-at-me" bravado that makes you want to hit him. You can so tell he started this club just to meet gullible girls.

The biggest difference from "Ghost Hunters" is that the Paranormal Staters don't even make a pretence at debunking their hauntings. Instead, they treat every creaky door like they're shooting an "Exorcist" re-make. Just the idea that any rational person would let a bunch of college underclassmen in to solve a problem more vexing than leftover pizza is utterly laughable.

Other than that, it's a swell program.


Oh and while I was watching that travesty, there were ads up for A&E's next big reality show: "Parking Wars," which will evidently follow the triumphs and travails of the brave warriors of the parking police and their loyal henchmen, the tow truck drivers.


That sound you hear is the very bottom of the reality barrel being scraped.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Advertisers serving Peacock for Christmas dinner

Things are not looking shiny and bright for NBC this holiday season.

Keep in mind that these troubles come before the network has run out of new episodes. We can expect that things will get worse come January. Or - an unfortunate but real possibility - running "Deal or No Deal" 20 hours a week may actually improve NBC's ratings. In which case, "Friday Night Lights," "30 Rock," "Journeyman," and maybe "Chuck" and "Scrubs" and who knows what else will be on thin ice indeed.

HIMYM: See you on the other side

Although "How I Met Your Mother" is one of my favorite sitcoms, I don't usually blog about it. The show has fanatic fans that often pick up on layers of humor that sometimes escape me - there's a whole subtext of in-jokes and continuity humor going on that's easy to miss.

Since that was the show's last pre-strike episode, at least it was a good note to go out on.

The wheels-within-wheels plot, with multiple flashbacks layering the same joke over and over, was classic "HIMYM." The show's committment to its own stylistic universe is what makes it a great show. "Slapsgiving" and "How I Met Everyone Else" and "Showdown" were, on the merits, funnier episodes this season, but this was the one that really captured what "HIMYM" is all about.

Now contrast that with "HIMYM's" more successful Monday-night mates: "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men."
"Big Bang Theory" is often a very funny show - the closing shot of the glowing goldfish last night was great - but it's totally straight. Sex jokes, nerd jokes, more sex jokes... repeat for 22 minutes and there's your show. It's well-crafted, but hardly art, you know?
And "Two and a Half Men" is the same thing, but with fewer nerd jokes and a cruder sense of humor. It's funny, but it's never funny in a rewarding way. If you think a little harder about either of those shows, you don't get more for your trouble.

"30 Rock" might be the dense-est show on the air, comedy-wise, but "HIMYM" is the one that most rewards loyal fans. And it'll be missed.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Home movies?

One idea I've had kicking around for a long time is to gather a collection of local reality show applications. You know, the 2-minute videos people shoot for "The Amazing Race" or "Survivor" or "The Apprentice" or whatever.

I'm not sure if we'd do it as a contest, or just put together the best ones and throw them up on the Web site.

A friend of a co-worker did a good one for "Amazing Race" and I showed it to my wife and she knew of like a dozen people who had done one, so I know they're out there.

So if you apply every year - or if you did a really great one once, let me know about it. There may be great prizes involved, or possibly just the chance to have your willingness to eat worms admired by thousands.

Give me a shout at or 636-0275.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"Dexter" coming to CBS

And maybe "The Tudors," too. This should be an intriguing experiment. Both are good shows with elements that could attract mainstream audiences, but both were also conceived and executed for pay cable audiences. Will viewers glued to "NCIS" and "CSI" be able to wrap their minds around "Dexter," which basically inverts the conventional "CSI" plot? And will the viewers that Fox didn't trust to hear Hugh Laurie's native accent flock to an English melodrama?

I'm thinking no, but I'd love to be proven wrong. It's not like they'll have anything else to watch.

Tin Man rusts

I'll pass this post to Eli, who actually watched Sci Fi's "Tin Man" without being paid:

"I'm now 3 hours into the show. While I agree with Warren that it's "clever, imaginitive and occassionally thrilling"...I know I've seen Zoe on something else... but if this is the best this gal can act I will intentionally go out of my way to avoid anything else she's in from here on out. She is a TERRIBLE actress! I've seen cardboard cut outs that act better than her! It got so bad last night I cringed... almost turned it off a few times.

"But I want to see where this goes now.I like every other actor/character... 'cept maybe for Raw. The guy playing Glitch is far and away the best of the bunch, but the gent playing "Tin Man" isn't bad. I've seen him a few things before too.

"Once you get past the crappy FX, and take it for the cheese that it is... it still remains clever and imaginative. I don't understand how any actor/actress can be picked for a role in this and not do their best to uphold the respect of the source material given it's legendary status.It's starting to - sadly - teeter towards all the other dreck (aside from BSG) that Sci-Fi puts out."
I'd add to the Mad Man's thoughts that everyone involved in this gives the overwhelming impression of not being committed to the material. Maybe the material isn't worthy of any kind of commitment, but the fact everyone's doing it half-assed comes through loud and clear. People collecting paychecks will never produce memorable art.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Arrrrrrgh! Heroes, why do you taunt me so?

That was.... underwhelming.

Pathetic. Boring. Uninspired. Lame... I'm actually too underwhelmed to continue coming up with adjectives for how tepid that "season" finale was. Tepid, yeah, there's one.

Leaving aside that Hiro parking Adam six feet under was the only remotely interesting thing in the entire episode (and that must have been a truly roomy coffin to fit all three of them, if only for a moment), the fact that Nathan's been "shot" - as in, "shot," not dead - and Nikki is merely missing means that once again Tim Kring and his half-wit cohorts fail to understand anything about drama.

It's OK if the heroes don't die. Really it is. Buffy the Vampire Slayer never died (OK, she died a few times, but it was always understood that she'd be back, what with the name in the title and all). Heck, Magnum PI never died and Gus Grissom will never die and, well, maybe everyone on "ER" will die, but we will long since have stopped caring.

My point is that it's fine that TV producers want to keep their star characters around, but in order to do that, you have to off someone else. I mean, with finality. Sylar? Bob? Adam? Mama Petrelli? Peter's dangerously slow-moving brain? Last I checked all of those villains were all still doing just fine.

Is Nikki really dead? We can only hope. I'm just assuming Nathan's not, because he's one of the only interesting characters on the show, which is all the more remarkable given than he's never had a single interesting thing to do.

That Nikki and Monica denouement would have been embarrassing on "All My Children," much less a primetime "hit." Sylar getting away was as predictable as the tides, and far less interesting. Nathan rambling for half an hour before getting to his point? I wanted to shoot him, too.

Nothing ever happens on this show. Ever! Sure, maybe nothing ever happens on "Two and a Half Men," either, but at least we get a couple yucks along the way. I'm not sure there's ever been a series in the history of television that spun its wheels as obviously and as futilely as this steaming pile of poo.

Kring wants us to believe that there are costs and consequences in his little fantasy world, but there never are. He wants us to believe that all of this is leading somewhere, but it never is. He wants us to care about his characters' fates, but there's no reason to.

I guess this was "Heroes'" Christmas present to me: Another 60 minutes to do something worthwhile on Monday nights.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mike Jones talks about fun with Larry Craig on KVUU

Denver male "escort" Mike Jones, of Ted Haggard infamy, is back in the news with a story about a tryst with Idaho Sen. Larry Craig. Jones will be giving his version of events at 7:40 a.m. Tuesday morning on the KVUU (99.9 FM) morning show with Darren and Coba.

Should be entertaining.

Knight Rider revs up

Jalopnik has the scoop on the new KITT.