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Archive for the ‘New Shows’ Category

 

Arrested Development ruined me. Since that show was prematurely ripped from the airwaves, I’ve started to assume that every show with a dash of creativity and quirk won’t make it very far, especially on network TV (See: Better off Ted, Pushing Daisies, Worst Week). Nothing gold can stay, and if it’s really gold, it will be gone way before its time.

Mr. Sunshine is a living, breathing example of this. But I hope I’m wrong this time.

Haven’t heard about this little gem? It’s a surprisingly good single-camera comedy about a 40-year-old guy (think Will in About A Boy) who’s in charge of operations at a medium sized catch-all arena in San Diego (think Circuses, Motocross, semi-pro hockey).

It’s not too smart for the room but it doesn’t need a laugh track and prop gags to keep it going (I’m looking at you Two & A Half Men). The tone reminded me a bit of Scrubs but without the voiceovers and some of the schlock. It’s packing some serious star power with leads Matthew Perry and Allison Janney and it’s got a premise that could effectively run forever.  Plus the writing is sharp, and particularly irreverent. *Yep, that’s a quote from the pilot.

Ratings wise, the show got some help from a Modern Family lead in last night so hopefully people will make a habit of sticking around.

Catch it now before you’re watching it on Netflix, sobbing and asking, “WHY VIEWING PUBLIC? WHY?”

Next chance to watch: Wednesday, February 16 9:30/8:30C  And while you’re at it, go Hulu the pilot.

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I’m happy for Conan. He had the chance of a lifetime, and his own network screwed him over. Fresh off a nationwide tour, and a quick stop at folk hero status, he got a great deal at a new network and things will finally be, “back to normal.”

I will watch his premiere tonight, but that’s probably it. Here’s why:

Call me crazy, but I never thought he was very funny on the Late Night, or the Tonight Show. He talks over the guests, and his schtick just doesn’t work for  me I suppose. But I wish him all the best. And finally, his fans can stop their whining. They took this really personally. Hopefully they stop their talk and follow him to TBS.

Image: TeamCoco.com

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Ooh, ooh me, right here! The series premiere of AMC’s latest drama, The Walking Dead, was awesome. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the show follows a wounded Sherrif’s Deputy who wakes up in the hospital to find his whole community’s been taken over by zombies. It sounds ridiculous, but writer Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption) tells the story like no one else can. It’s gut-wrenching, intense, and when you’re not a little scared, it’s kind of fun.

I didn’t notice much buzz about the premiere on Twitter last night, and I was a bit worried that no one tuned in. Boy was I wrong. The show boasted AMC’s strongest numbers ever for a dramatic series. You know what that means? It’s probably already headed for a second season.

Even after only 90 minutes of material, that’s amazing news. The Walking Dead just bought itself a season pass on my DVR, and a tiny space in my zombie-loving heart.

Series Premiere Spoiler Alert: See that picture above? The zombies ate his horse people! They ate his horse! I haven’t been that upset about a horse’s death since Artax died in The Neverending Story.

Image: bloginity.com

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Huge Fail TBS!

I’m watching Seinfeld and I see a commercial for TBS’ new comedy Glory Daze. It’s about a group of students at a college in the 1980s.

What do I see one of the characters wearing? A Callahan Auto shirt. Callahan Auto is a fictional brand from the movie Tommy Boy. When did Tommy Boy come out? 1995. That’s one huge anachronism.

I wanted to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, so I watched the Glory Daze promo online and there it was. I screencapped it for posterity.

And here’s the shirt up close:

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It’s unfair to compare siblings to each other, but it’s difficult almost inevitable when  reviewing Mitchell Hurwitz’ two babies. Hurwitz is the brains behind Arrested Development and Fox’s latest Sunday night offering, Sit Down, Shut Up, an animated look at the lives of teachers at a Florida high school, which premiered last night.

The comparison’s to AD are numerous in nature. Both shows ran on Fox Sunday nights, both feature the talent of Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Henry Winkler and finally both are probably too ridiculous and smart for their own good.

Sit Down, Shut Up is to high school what Reno 911 is to the police officers; you know that’s not what it’s really life, but part of you can’t help but wonder if it’s close. The fictional Knob Haven High School has pervy German teachers, a take no-prisoners Principal (last name Sezno) an overly religious science teacher, and a other wacky characters too absurd for words.The cast is a mix of AD favorites and SNL folks including Cheri Oteri, Will Forte, and Kenan Thompson.

The humor is a bit different than the typical Animation Domination block. There are jokes that break the 4th estate, extremely dry quips, and names involving puns. It’s truly the “thinking man’s cartoon,” something you’d be more likely to find on Adult Swim as opposed to Fox.

Speaking of which, If it’s true that the medium is the message, than this program may be lost in translation for lots of folks. Not only is it animated, but it’s cartoons mixed with live-action backgrounds. It’s a lot to absorb for adults not used to this style. People may focus too much attention on the animation itself as opposed to the witty dialogue.

I’m definitely planning on watching Sit Down, Shut Up again. I laughed out loud more than once and it’s one of the better new comedies I’ve seen this season. It will still take some getting used to, and it’s no Arrested Development, but maybe that means it will stick around for awhile.

Image: http://www.watchtvsitcoms.com/

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MTV is finally premiering a little show called College Life tonight. Four college freshmen were given handicams and told to document the happenings of their freshman year. Normally, a show like this wouldn’t warrant a write-up on this blog, but this is a special case…these kids attend the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

I graduated from UW in 2007 and I’m getting ready to graduate again (grad school) in just over a month. I work on campus, I live a quarter block from the dorms and I’ve considered (more than once) getting a Motion W tattoo. When I heard MTV was taking a crack at this place, I instantly thought bad things.

Editing is a vicious mistress, and even if these students were shooting the footage themselves, they can’t control the end product.

I’m not expecting a crystal clean version of this place, we’re far from perfect. I know showing world-renowned stem cell research and gorgeous lakes don’t make for compelling TV, at least over at MTV. It just sucks that people who don’t know this school, may only see this side of us.

When I tell people I graduated from Wisconsin, I don’t want them to think I vomited for six-years straight. Is that too much to ask? After reading some early reviews,  a kind of angry statement from UW communications, and watching this clip, I have a feeling this will not end well.

I’m starting the ep now.

Cue damage control.

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Last week I DVR’d the premiere of HBO’s newest offering, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Don’t let the two-hour opener scare you off. It’s an excellent program with a heart and a ton of potential.

The show is based off the novels of Alexander McCall Smith. Like the books, the show revolves around Mma Ramotswe, (played byR&B songstress Jill Scott) a young woman born and raised in Botswana. After the death of her father, she leaves  her small rural community and opens up a detective agency in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital city.

Mma is a unique and intriguing character. She left her abusive husband after suffering physical abuse that lead to a miscarriage. Despite her challenges, she is a survivor. She’s witty, confident, and headstrong. She’s complemented by her uptight, dedicated, secretary Grace Makutsi (played by Anika Noni Rose).

It’s nice to see Black women (not to mention Africa) portrayed in such a positive light. Representations like this are not easily found on television. I found myself just as absorbed in the ornate fabrics, customs and landscape of Gaborone as I did with the mysteries of the pilot episode.

This could be a result of the late Anthony Minghella’s beatufiul direction. This was one of the last projects he worked on before his death last year. In fact, he wrote, produced and directed the pilot. The fingerprints of this exceptional artist coupled with the beautiful locations in Botswana make for a truly engrossing viewing experience.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency has a little something for everyone. The mystery and intrigue you’d expect from a detective show, an adorable blossoming romance, some witchcraft, some solid one-liners and some incredibly engaging backstories.

After one episode, this show definitely proved itself DVR worthy, and I look forward to making it a permanent addition to my Sunday night line-up.

Image: Jamati.com

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Its been awhile since we had a big TV weekend hasn’t it? It’s snowy here so the timing is perfect. A little sledding, a little hot chocolate and then hunkering down for the night with some big TV. Here’s what I’m watching:
 
Tonight: This one is probably only relevant to the fellow Sconnies who read edubTV but a family from Evansville is featured on tonight’s episode of Supernanny. It shook things up in the tiny little town and I am excited to see how the family and Wisconsin gets represented. We looked pretty awesome on Extreme Makeover Home Edition but then again who doesn’t? And for those of you with a Wisconsin connection (who also kind of hate yourselves), Howie Do It premieres tonight.
 
Saturday: Neil Patrick Harris is hosting the first SNL after the “winter break.” He can sing, he can dance, he’s hilarious, and he’s easy on the eyes. It’s going to be legen…wait for it…dary. Plus I could really use an NPH fix. I’m going through some serious withdrawl following my HIMYM marathon last week.
 
Sunday: The Golden Globes! Fancy clothes, drunken celebrities, awards for TV and Film? What a lovely way to spend a Sunday evening. In a GG pool? You can check out my TV picks from a few weeks ago.  Hopefully I do better than I did for my Emmy pool. That was a little embarassing.

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January is basically the new September. Not only do you have to welcome brand new shows into your previously established and well-honed TV line-up (Damn you Trust Me!) but you have to find spots for old favorites that are just getting started like 24 and Lost. Without some organizational wizardry it can get pretty ridiculous. Thank heavens The TV Addict has come to my rescue once again and put together a calendar of the premieres and returning shows so you won’t miss anything.

You can download a copy for yourself right here!

And take a look at January 18th. My brain might explode from premium cable awesomeness.

january18Image: theTVaddict.com

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100,000 folks lost their jobs this month. People are dying all around the world. Food banks don’t have enough donations and more people need food. The only thing left to smile about? Lauren Graham is returning to television in a leading role.

ABC just greenlit the half-hour comedy pilot. Graham will play a self-help whiz who can’t seem to manage her own life after her boyfriend leaves her.  Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development) and Alex Herschlag (Will & Grace) are signed on as Executive Producers so the show already has a little street cred in my book.

Let’s hope it does well. I won’t be able to handle another Jezebel James.


Photo: http://www.hollywood-celebrity-pictures.com/

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Today I decided to peruse through my On Demand menu to find something enjoyable to watch while I ate lunch. I stumbled into the HBO Series section and decided to watch the pilot episode of The Life & Times Of Tim. I have never been so instantly rewarded in my life.

TL&TOT is an animated comedy about an average guy who finds himself in some painfully awkward situations. The humor is bone-dry but fans of shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Home Movies will fall in love with Tim despite his constant slip-ups.

However, if you’re one of those people who  can’t make it through an episode of The Office because you think Michael is “so weird” then chances are you won’t get this show either. Seriously people, when I say the humor is dry, I mean it. You could start fires with the pilot.

The show is receiving mixed reviews from critics but I’m hoping it will stick around for awhile, especially since HBO has nothing left to lose at this point. The only wrinkle for the show may be the network actually. TL&TOT might find a better home on Cartoon Network’s late-night block Adult Swim, or even Comedy Central. Should the worst happen and HBO decides to bump it, I can definitely see one of those networks scooping up the re-runs.

But do your part and watch the show now. Need more convincing? Get started with some clips. I’m telling ya people, it’s my best find in a long time.

Photo: http://dyn.ifilm.com

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ABC’s new cop-drama Life on Mars is a BBC rip-off about a cop who gets hit by a car and wakes up in the thick of the 1970s. No cell phone. No DNA. No clue as to whether this is all a figment of his subconscious or whether he’s some sort of time traveler.

I missed last Thursday’s premiere but I caught up last night on ABC.com. After one viewing, I encourage all of you edubbers to do the same.

Like LOST, Life on Mars takes what might otherwise be a pretty ridiculous concept (man goes back in time) and does some really innovative things with it. They not only explore the challenges of learning how to adjust to life in the past, but the much more difficult aspect of living in a world where no one believes you and seemingly, no one can help you escape.

Unlike LOST, this show doesn’t warrant a lot of clue tracking. No pause button required, no ridiculous mysteries, no wayward polar bears. It’s a pretty groundbreaking show that doesn’t require a PhD or a ridiculous amount of time to kill.

The cast is also a treat. Jason O’Mara plays our protagonist, Det. Sam Tyler, a brooding, silent type with a kind heart. Michael Imperioli (formerly of The Sopranos) returns to TV as one of Sam’s 70’s cop colleagues. He’s joined by the legendary Harvey Keitel who plays Lietenant Gene Hunt, a take-no-prisoners, kick- him-in-the-face-ask-questions-later kind of guy. Judging by how many fistfights there were in the first episode, I’m guessing he’s not alone.

The ladies of Life on Mars are also superb. Gretchen Mol and Lisa Bonet add some great balance to this testosterone heavy cast. We only see Bonet for the first few minutes of the pilot, so hopefully she makes a return in the second episode.

Life on Mars is already getting some very positive reviews and was just selected Number 1 on Metacritic’s Top 10 new shows this fall.

Not too shabby for a BBC knock off.

Photo: http://seat42f.com/

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