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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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