Sunday, June 29, 2008

Kevin Smith and "B-Star-G"

Last night, I was flipping channels and saw some of Superman Returns. That put me in the mood to hear Kevin Smith talk about his experiences with a prospective Superman film (Superman Reborn at the time) .......and a giant spider.

In looking for that, I stumbled across some videos of Kevin moderating a panel about Battlestar Galactica, with Tricia Helfer and James Callis. If you haven't seen them, enjoy:

And of course, if you want to hear the Superman story, you can check that out here:

43 Random Things

  1. For about 2 years, every Bosconian video game machine in the greater Chattanooga area had my initials atop the high score list.
  2. I prefer typing, chatting, emailing and texting to talking.
  3. All my pets have been named after fictional (or close to fictional – I had a cat named "Elvis") characters.
  4. "Flavored" coffee is okay, but I loathe flavored creamer.
  5. My longest "continuous" relationship was for two and a half years.
  6. I'm still kind of a picky eater, but I used to be really picky. Until college, I had never eaten any "ethnic" dishes or any seafood; never put anything on a burger except ketchup and never had a topping on a pizza.
  7. I've written two screenplays and almost an entire book, that no one ever saw, that were eaten by a computer crash.
  8. I've got 109 MB of rantings about an ex.
  9. If you were to count up the number of televisions shows that I've seen in their entirety (every single episode), it would definitely be over 100.
  10. I've balanced my checkbook to the penny every single month for over 22 years.
  11. I've had 13 different cars since I started driving. 2 Dodges, 1 Pontiac, 2 VWs, 1 Buick, 1 Toyota, 1 Eagle, 1 Ford, 1 Mazda, 1 Lexus and 2 BMWs. But you always remember your first.
  12. I've visited 7 different countries.
  13. Since I've been smoking, I've only bought three brands: Lucky Strikes, Vantage and Marlboro.
  14. Though I've probably said it a couple of more times, I think I've only been in love 9 times. At least as far as I can recall. These things are always hazy. And with an "adult mind," I've probably only really felt it twice.
  15. I've talked my way out of a BUI by saying my ABCs backwards.
  16. I always played shortstop, and I slept with the third "baseman" on my softball team. (note: it was a co-ed team).
  17. I've always had the same cell phone number.
  18. I shot even par once. But it should have been a 69, and I got greedy on the last hole.
  19. I hate vegetables, except for green beans.
  20. My first real kiss was from my babysitter.
  21. I've never lost my car keys. Or my wallet. Or my cell phone. Or sunglasses. Or pretty much anything. Except for my way. And my self-respect.
  22. I think eating with chopsticks is idiotic. Why not write with a quill pen or walk over to the TV to change the channel?
  23. I hate riding roller coasters. I've only ridden them 3 times: Once with Sam, and I cried. Once with my most prominent significant other, and I whined. Once, stoned to the bejesus, with a red-headed and spectacularly endowed college girlfriend. That one was worth it.
  24. I used to write and illustrate my own comics when I was a kid. I didn't understand why the copier in my dad's home office couldn't make them exactly like "real" comic books, so I could print them and sell them.
  25. I've been arrested twice.
  26. I QB'd my relatively small frat intramural team (which was coached by the "Mountain Fox") to the semifinals of the all-campus flag football tournament. Signatures: scrambling and last minute heroics, pinpoint accuracy, the pre-game hooka, a slightly deflated football (I have small hands), halftime ciggies and Captain America socks.
  27. I've always eschewed and been puzzled by the idea of reproducing (the result, not the participatory act, mind you) and parenting. I got a chance to do it (the latter) for a year, and surprised many (and myself) with how naturally it came, and how adept at it I was.
  28. In every sporting event I've ever played, I've worn number 13.
  29. With a delightful and beloved partner, I've completed and won a game of Trivial Pursuit in one turn. It was against my parents, trivia gods in their own right. They went first, missed the question, and we went next. We proceeded around the board, answering every single fucking question and gathering every single pie piece, before moving to the center for the win in one turn. My parents picked "geography" as the subject, since I can't find my way out of my parking lot without a GPS (though if the geography questions relate to movies, TV, literature or sports, I'm golden. I could probably compute the distance from Stars Hollow to Caprica), but my partner knew the answer. I forget the question, but I still remember the answer: The Liffey.
  30. In two score years of dating, I've only cheated once. And I regret it to this day.
  31. In my personal life, I'm horrible about returning phone calls. But I listen to every single message, ponder their implications and sentiment, and write them down (or make a note in the crackberry) and really mean to call back.
  32. I've won many games of skill, but I've only won one thing in a "drawing." (Sadly, not mega-millions). When I was a kid, I won a Darth Vader mask/helmet from a magic shop.
  33. I firmly believe that the best beginning to an album of all time (and the best "linked" or "segued" song trifecta) is from Robert Palmer's "Sneaking Sally Through the Alley," which opens with "Sailing Shoes," "Hey Julia" and "Sneaking Sally Through the Alley."
  34. I've only sung karaoke once in my entire life, and it was at an x-mas party that involved a lot of whiskey and a lot of the Devil's parsley. It was a medley of Sinatra that involved "My Way" and "The Lady is a Tramp." For such an innocuous and isolated event, that really says a lot.
  35. If you see some type of retro commercial or website about a toy from the 60s or 70s, chances are I had it.
  36. When I was in journalism school at UGA, I took several broadcasting classes. One of the exercises we did was intended to "loosen us up" on camera, so we would appear less robotic and have more personality. It involved picking a song of the day, and filming a music video in the studio with you lip synching. Unbelievably, my two choices were George Thorogood's "You Talk Too Much" and Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up." (I had desperately wanted to do the aforementioned "trifecta" from Robert Palmer -- "Sailing Shoes," "Hey Julia" and "Sneaking Sally Through the Alley" – but we had to use something "contemporary"). This, of course, was before I realized I could have digitized that video and "RickRolled" my friends, so I chose Thoroughly Good George. Somewhere out there, captured in the emulsion, is a video of a whacked out, drunk in the morning, skinny version of me in black jeans, a gold sequined jacket, greasy hair and wayfarers duckwalking and shaking my ass with a Strat.
  37. One of the weirdest experiences of my life was having cocktails with my dad and his mistress.
  38. I've often thought of checking out of The Hotel Existence (right after running up a big room service bill), but I've only come close twice.
  39. My first two or three computers were Macs. There's probably only a very small group of us who switched to PCs and never went back.
  40. I don't believe in the concept of "life insurance." Why should death be about profit?
  41. I can't recall the last time I met someone I've dated that I didn't meet online.
  42. I've had a car stolen or broken into five times. Three of those times it was a VW.
  43. I like making lists.

C'mon, it's my birthday....

...put it on sale already!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Damn Good Dawg

Rest In Peace, UGA VI

I'll take potpourri for $1,800, Alex

Think you know grammar? Well, I do. Or rather, I did. Check out this ass-kicking grammar quiz. Ouch.

A fun look at "The Measure of a Robot" in chart form.

Dish on the new season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

TV Squad has been revisiting Buffy and Angel this week. A few highlights:
Buffy even helps in Baghdad.

A cool collection of "War of the Worlds" book covers.

Bruce Wayne, as seen through the cable news tabloids. Then go check out the rest of the stories and videos at Gotham Cable News (yes, it's a joint promotion with my mortal enemy, Comcast, but all the Dark Knight stuff rocks).

Johnny Miller had to apologize for referring to Rocco Mediate as "Tiger's pool guy?" Because it offended Italian-Americans? Wha? Huh? That doesn't even make sense from a racial or ethnic stereotyping sense. This "pool guy" thing could get out of hand, and give people the wrong idea about Italian-Americans.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Reasons I hate my life, Vol. LVXII

I drink something cold every day. Diet Coke, Diet Mountain Dew, Water, Iced Coffee, whiskey, you name it. Hey, I need hydration. My favorite way to enjoy cold beverages is over crushed ice. Must be a family thing, as I distinctly recall that as a kid, my parents were so excited that some company finally offered a standalone "ice crusher." (No, it wasn't as cool looking or sleek as this one, since this memory springs from the late 70s or early 80s. And of course, the 1979 version of a countertop ice crusher was much preferable to the "old school" way Sam and Bettye used to make crushed ice prior to the arrival of this technological marvel: cubes from the ice tray dumped into a towel, which was wrapped up and then banged with a hammer. Ahhh, the good old days).

So I love my crushed ice, filling each and every glass, for each and every beverage. When I bought my first home, and bought my first fridge, having a built in ice crusher was simply a "mandatory." And when I bought my second (and I presumed final) home, I got another in-door ice crusher and used that thing incessantly. So much so, in fact, that the GE repairman had to visit twice over 6 years to replace the unit.

Well, here I am stuck in apartment hell, storing perishables in a plain white "cooling box" that I refuse to call a proper refrigerator, because A. it's a top and bottom design, which I hate, and B. the motherfucker's got no ice crusher. Yeah, it has an "icemaker," and that's a step above filling ice trays (which in the early college days, was just one of many bones of contention between me and less OCD roomies), but I have to insult my chilled beverages with these graceless, lumpy "cubes" and not the beautiful tiny particles of shattered frozen water that I love so.

And the "cubes?" Jesus fucking christ, they're not even "cubes." They're the weird, crescent shaped "slices" of ice that almost every ice maker puts out these days (which were only made more palatable by, you guessed it, being crushed). Of the many, many reasons I hate these despoilers of drinks, let me offer two: First, their rounded shape on one side fits perfectly into the curve of the cup or glass, meaning that when you tilt the beverage to take a sip, instead of getting a perfectly mixed whisky and water, gently making its way way through a "filter" of tiny ice particles to arrive expertly chilled in your mouth (and allowing you to chew on a few random pieces of ice along the way), you get a huge fucking "ice dam" that takes up the entirety of the glass to mouth area, not allowing your cocktail to pass, or if it does, to only do so only after a stop and start "lurch" that makes you dribble like the village idiot. No smoothness, precision, control or consistency to the drinking experience there. Second, when you're trying to grab some ice "crescents" out of the freezer to fill up your glass or cup, if you get more than one or two in your hand at a time, they slide out of your grip like a mound of jello covered in bacon grease and wind up back in the freezer, or more likely, on the goddamned floor, skittering across the (now) cheap vinyl flooring. Six handfuls and a whisk broom and pan later, you finally have a cup ready for the main event (only to look forward to the aforementioned "ice dam" to exacerbate the tension said cocktail is supposed to relieve).

Fuck. Maybe it's time to make my weekly pilgrimage to BB&B to pick up a sleek new standalone ice crusher, and find a place for it amongst the 12 coffee makers on my tiny, faux formica countertop.


The Mad Men Season 1 DVD set is out. Of course there is the top shelf quality of the show itself, with stellar acting, writing, directing, set design and production values. But check out the DVD packaging. Brilliant!

As I've said before, this little show that came out of nowhere is definitely one of television's best. In fact, it made the "short list" of 10 dramas up for an Emmy. I completely agree with the author there, Alan Sepinwall, about Dexter, Lost and Mad Men deserving inclusion on the list, and that House is not a bad choice either. I also agree that there's one startling omission -- Battlestar Galactica. I'll have much more on the Emmys when the final nominations come out.
A great, in-depth piece on Mad Men from the NY Times can be found here.

Chris Noth (Detective Mike Logan), will be leaving Law & Order: CI, and replaced by Jeff Goldblum. If the world was perfect, Goldblum would reprise the quirky character he played on last year's underwatched and underappreciated cop show Raines, but I'm not sure the tone of those two shows would mesh. However, I'm sure he'll still play quirky; it IS Jeff Goldblum.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Is there anything that would convince me...

...of the existence of a higher power? Well, maybe this.

Praise be.

The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!

Okay, not really. (Does anyone really even use a phone book anymore? I can't recall the last time I actually looked in a phone book)*

But the same sense of excitement once experienced by Navin Johnson is reverberating throughout the country, as college football preview mags start to hit the newstands. For example, there's this one.

And don't be like Walter Donovan, Nazi sympathizer in the 3rd (and regrettably, not last) Indiana Jones movie: "Choose....Wisely." Choose Region 5.

*I typed that sentence, and then realized that a little over two years ago, I DID use a phone book. It was about 6:30 in the morning, and I walked out of my bedroom and down into my kitchen to find out that my entire house had turned into Ruby Fucking Falls. Local plumbers in suburban Georgia don't really put up extravagent web pages with their hours of operation, so I turned to "old yeller" to find someone to come stop the madness. And bring a bucket or 200. Needless to say, $50,000 and a lot of booze later, I had forgotten the use of this archaic reference until just now. Recalling that memory makes me feel like Walter Donovan above.

A tale of two Perrys

A rare music post for me. Occasionally, I'll have fun boarding the WayBack Machine to discuss one of those VH-1 "Greatest Songs of the ...." specials (my countdown starts here), but generally, I stay away from the topic. I enjoy music, and my recent hop onto the iTunes/iPod train (and new albums from REM and the B-52s) has rekindled my appreciation for songs, but at the end of the day, I'm definitely more of a TV guy than a music guy. Part of it probably has to do with the extended ways of showing your fandom, beyond just downloading a tune or playing it in the car. I really don't enjoy crowds (with the notable exception of Saturdays 'Tween the Hedges), and think that once you hit certain milestones (such as passing 30, or procreating), it's a little silly to find yourself in a mosh pit or hopping around from bar to bar to hear the next big thing. Plus, there is absolutely nothing more annoying than the hipster poseur attitude thrown off by music snobs who revel in championing the latest obscure indie band, only to cast them aside and brand them "sell-outs" once more than 73 people have figured out who they are. (see: anyone who worked at a campus radio station, or posts on the AV Club's music boards). Of course, your mileage may vary, as I spend an unreasonable amount of time wandering around the interwebs, looking for deeper meaning about a "frozen donkey wheel." So everyone has their passions and judgments, I guess.

Anyhoo, I stumbled across two things this weekend related to music. First, did you ever hear a song that instantly you couldn't get out of your head? A perfectly crafted, peppy pop tune? I was looking at the top downloads list on the iTunes store, and usually, I just skim right across it without sampling anything, because almost all of the songs have a "featuring" in the credits, and I generally eschew those. But I checked out Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" and was instantly hooked. It's a fun, catchy little tune, and it doesn't hurt that the singer looks exactly like Zooey Deschanel with a bigger rack. You can check out the video here.

Second, I heard that 80s band Journey had gotten another new lead singer. Journey hasn't really been "newsworthy" since the series finale of The Sopranos, but this story is just too amazing to believe. Apparently, band founder and guitarist Neal Schon was scouring the youtubes, watching videos and looking for a "sound" or a "voice" that might make a good lead singer for Journey (the fact that a multi-platinum band is looking on youtube for a lead singer is not even the most interesting part of the story). He found some videos of a Filipino band called The Zoo, with a singer who could belt out the tunes with the best of 'em. When he saw some of The Zoo's Journey covers, he couldn't believe how much the singer sounded like a modern day Steve Perry. A few emails and phone calls later, Journey had a new lead singer, in the form of a 40 year old formerly homeless dude from the Philippines. You can read all about the search here, and watch a CBS This Morning special about the discovery here. The new singer (Arnel Pineda) has an unbelievable voice, and sounds uncannily like vintage Perry. Search for his name, or The Zoo, on youtube and see some of the other performance videos, that brought him to Schon's attention. A true rags to riches story.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Feel the music

Great article here from Alan Sepinwall on two of television's best and most iconic composers, Lost's Michael Giacchino and BSG's Bear McCreary. Music plays such a key role on both shows (there's even a quote in the article from Damon Lindelof that calls the music the "fourteenth regular" castmember) and it's an interesting and in-depth look at the process that goes into shaping the mood, atmosphere and character of the score.

Also, you should check out McCreary's blog, particularly this entry on the mid-season finale, "Revelations." It's fascinating reading, and I only wish I could read music to get the full impact of the thinking that went into each choice.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

"Which leads me to the inescapable conclusion that Cylons are, in the final analysis, little more than toasters... with great-looking legs"

I just took a "what Battlestar Galactica character are you?" quiz. Any guesses how that turned out?

Doctor Gaius Baltar

You are "Doctor Gaius Baltar".
Often paranoid and feel that your peers misunderstand you.
Are extremely intelligent, but can't handle power well.
You get into relationships which you are unsure about
and show emotion too much.

I'll take potpourri for $1,700, Alex

Ever wanted to see a $400 Lego Death Star? Now you can.

Here's an actor who really digs a comic book character, so much that he filmed a makeup test all on his own. Cool.

I didn't realize Gnarls Barkley had covered the Violent Femmes.

Now you can see all of Scarface, using just the world "fuck."

Where can you find hot chicks that smoke, who also have an affinity for robots?

Geek trophies from yesteryear. Yep, I had some.

A toaster that produces toast with an image of a "toaster?" If I had room between all the coffeemakers on my counter, I'd order one.

Looking for something to pass the time until S2 of Mad Men starts? How about checking out lots of video interviews and highlights over at the AMC site.

A great compilation of the Top 30 "WTF?!" moments from Lost.

Funny. An amusing look at recent sporting developments at UGA, through the tear-stained eyes of a bug. Make sure to click the link to the actual message board post.

Are these really the Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies of All Time? I would put Empire Strikes Back over Star Wars, though the first one should get credit for being the original and starting the saga. And Back to the Future is a classic comedy and all, but at the expense of other Sci-Fi? If you're treading these waters, how about Eternal Sunshine? Can you have Alien, and not Aliens? No Wrath of Khan?

"Intelligent Design" (a misnomer if there ever was one) morons won't like these t-shirts. Which means I love them.

This sounds like an awesome movie game. Sigh. I need someone to play with.

An interesting theory on Lost's time travel. Complete with a handy chart.

David Sedaris has quit smoking, but doesn't "suggest that anyone quit smoking." Okay, I agree.

The founder of the Weather Channel has some interesting views on "global warming." Here's another take worth reading.

What do you call it?

How do you refer to soft drinks? Do you call them "Soda?" "Pop?" "Coke?"

Typically, this is a regional choice. Growing up (mainly) in the south, I just assumed everyone ordered a "coke." Then you specified what kind of coke you wanted. However, as I traveled around, I realized people actually use the terms "soda" and "pop."

Finally, someone has taken the time to compile data on this matter of national import. Check this out.

You can mouse over the little boxes below the map to see the distribution across the map. Here's another version, that looks more like a "county by county" political map.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Your vote counts

One of the TV columns that I enjoy reading is Amy Amatangelo's "TV Gal" over on Zap2It. She's hosting her annual "Amy Awards," which features categories and nominees for the awards submitted by the readers. The categories are kind of fun, so I encourage you to check 'em out and let me know what you think.

Here's my take:

1. If Loving You is Wrong, I Don't Want to Be Right or Best Villain

As much as I love Ray Wise's Devil on Reaper (another Emmy-worthy performance that, sadly, will be ignored), I had to choose Ben Linus.

2. My DVR Won't Ever Let You Go or Best New Character on either a new or returning series

Wow. This one is hard. I could make a case for every single one, except for the dude on Ugly Betty, which I don't watch (I'm a guy and straight). I had to go with Sheldon, who I think is right up there with (and in a geeky way, similar to) Niles Crane as the best persnickety co-star to emerge from sitcoms in recent memory.

3. You Never Know What You've Got Until It's Gone or Best Cancelled Show

Though it was ersatz Angel, I did enjoy Moonlight.

4. I Think I Need a New Watercooler or Show You are Sick of People Talking About

I tried, I really tried to follow Grey's for a couple of seasons, because of the stellar writing (at least initially). But at the end of the day, I hated every single fucking character on that show. They're all self-absorbed whores, and we all get enough of that in real life.

5. Hey It's That Guy/Girl or Best Guest Star

This was a toss up for me, between the completely adorable Sarah Chalke and James Marsters. But I had to go with Captain John, if only because I'm currently wearing a Torchwood Institute t-shirt and who else could make me tune in when two guys are making out?

6. Wait This Isn't a Dream Sequence or Worst plot twist

Bones for sure. I don't mind the twist, but strike-truncated or not, this just didn't have time to gel properly.

7. Anyone Need the Rest of My Seat, I'm Only Using the Edge or Best Plot Twist

Jeremy Bentham, anyone? Wha - huh? Holy shit, I need some Resolve on my couch.

8. I Know You're Fictional But Would You Marry Me Anyway (male) Or Hottest Actor

Okay, my Captain John comments not withstanding, this isn't really my area of expertise. But Sawyer went to UGA briefly, so we gotta show some solidarity, right?

9. I Know You're Fictional But Would You Marry Me Anyway (female) Or Hottest Actress

Blergh. Tough choice. The brainy, bespectacled and nerdy charms of Liz Lemon? The Weinerlicious appeal of badass Sarah Walker? Love triangle and bizarre insta-mom Kate Austin? Damn. I've got to choose sexy, smart, snarky and low key Pam Beesly.

10. Is It Next Season Yet Or Most Anticipated Return/Most Missed Show

You're kidding, right? The only motherfucking choice here is Lost. (of course, we would also accept "none of the above" write in votes for BSG or Dexter).

11. You Had My DVR at Hello or Best New Show

Due to the fucktards at and technological incompetence of Comcast, I missed all of Pushing Daisies, so I can't properly evaluate that one. Despite the "supernatural" (not the good kind, like Mulder and Scully deal with, but the more intellectually inept kind, like Ralph Reed and James Dobson handle) overtones, I enjoyed the hell out of Eli Stone, but I gotta choose the adventurous, romantic, funny and engaging Chuck here.

12. You Bring the Skis, I'll Bring the Shark or Most Deteriorating Show

I gave up on the narcissistic trollops on Grey's long ago. Idol got rid of Carly (fuckers! Recognize the eyeliner!) and had the Koala bear and Psychlo Terl, but the right man won in the end. Heroes, despite the presence of Veronica Mars and Julian Sark, conjured up a shitstorm Flip Spiceland couldn't forecast. But I clicked "none of the above" for Scrubs, which I completely deleted from my season pass list once it became all about birthin' and babies and shit.

13. Where's The Kleenex or Most Heartbreaking Moment

Yowza. This is a toughie, between Sun's primal screams when Jin blows up (or does he? Methinks not), Cutthroat Bitch's passing and Desmond and Penny's tear jerking story in "The Constant." Damn. I fucking loved Amber, but "The Constant" was pretty much a perfect hour of television, so I'll give that the choice in a photo finish.

14. Where Is The Love? or Show Amy Never Talks About

Yeah, I'm in the tank for USA's character-driven and entertaining Burn Notice and Psych, but christ on a cracker, is there any other choice? You know what the answer here is. So Say We All.

15. You Were Worth Waiting For or Best Return from the Writers Strike

Reaper had an awesome pilot, then was borderline awful for a few weeks before finishing strong. HIMYM survived the guest shots from the world's second worst mother, but was....well....awesome. House had a tight season and several classic episodes, culminating in a fantastic, heartbreaking and extraordinary two-part finale. But really, y'all, was anything better this year than Lost? No fluff, no filler, just 100% rock your fucking world fantastic.

16. You Were Not Worth Waiting For or Worst Return from the Writers Strike

I appreciated the odd detours My Name Is Earl took, but of the shows listed, I would have to say this was the most disappointing, despite getting occasional chuckles along the way.

What say you, TNRLM readers? How would you have voted?

Birds peck out Barbie's eyes, and other entertainment musings

HBO's addictive nightly-airing psychology drama In Treatment has been renewed for a second season. That's fantastic. This is a great show, with outstanding performances. You wouldn't think that people sitting around a room talking for half an hour every night of the week would be that compelling, but it is. Both Gabriel Byrne, and the revelatory Mia Wasikowska, should be remembered at Emmy time (and everyone else was good, too, mind you). I didn't realize this, but apparently Paul's practice is in the DC 'burbs. I think I'll give him a call and see if he takes my insurance. Based on season 1, he'll "fix" me, fuck me or I'll kill myself. He's not my type, so the odds aren't bad.

I get a blog from the Eureka team in my RSS feed, but their posts are all fucked up. Headlines, body copy and pix all come across as separate posts. Weird. Nonetheless, the show is returning soon (w00t!) and they've cast one of my favorite "under the radar" actresses as Carter's sister, Ever Carrdine. (See the separate elements of the post here). I originally noticed her in one of FX's first attempts at original programming, Lucky. Hell, I'm a huge fan of the whole Carrdine clan. John was one of the first Draculas I recall. David was Kwai Chang Caine, and of course, Bill. His brother Keith was most recently on Dexter's superb second season as an FBI agent romancing Deb and looking for the Bay Harbor Butcher. Another brother, Robert, was in Revenge of the Nerds, and is Ever's father. (Interesting trivia I just found on Ever's imdb page: her babysitter as a child was Anne Lockhart, who geeks will remember as the sexy Viper pilot "Sheba" on the original Battlestar Galactica. And Anne's mom June was the Robinson matriarch on Lost in Space).
If you've never watched Lucky, you should check it out, if you can find it online or on DVD. It was a 30 minute dramedy about a gambler in Vegas, and featured John Corbett, Billy Gardell and Craig Washington. Good stuff.

An early look at JJ Abrams new FOX show, Fringe. Yep, I'll be setting the season pass for this one.

The international trailer for the must-see Coen Brothers movie, Burn After Reading.

Birds peck a Barbie that looks like Tippi Hedren. Buy it for the girls!

Smidge has good taste in male roles to play. Dexter Morgan? JR Ewing? Thomas Magnum? Eric Cartman? Alex P. Keaton and Hank Moody? Awesome.

With Burn Notice returning next month, here's an interview with Bruce Campbell. And a bit more about Burn Notice can be found here.

Tyler Durden, and uh, the narrator, sing about Penis, the goddess of love.

The Spider-Man cartoon theme song. Yeah, if you read this blog, you probably know it by heart. But did you know The Ramones covered it, too?

In Plain Sight is growing on me. I enjoyed the pilot, but the second one, about a kid, left me flat (that almost always happens when urchins are on my TV). Last week's, featuring Missy Pyle as a con artist bride who scams her husbands out of their money (wait - is there another kind?) was funny, well acted and well constructed. Mary's partner, Marshall, is a master of the deadpan. Where has this guy been? He's great. The only thing that continues to annoy is Leslie Ann Warren as Mary's mom. Does she play anything other than "Leslie Ann Warren?" She's always the same ditzy, trashy, sexpot character (most recently on Desperate Housewives). Hey, good work if you can get it, but the exact same bug-eyed, breathy and over the top performance time after time grates.

A list of the 10 best sci-fi television shows. I read this because in a previous post, the author named the 10 best sitcoms of all time, and put Arrested Development at #1, so that earns some DAP in my book. I could quibble about the ranking and order (and is Buffy really "sci-fi?" And if so, where's Angel on this list?), but I totally <3 the top choice, and it also includes several of my favorites. Check it out. Whatcha think?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Reverse Sophie's Choice

Which makes you want to vomit more?

Hey, on the upside, at least it doesn't feature orange.

Glad to be stuck in the "Middle."

Remember my summer TV preview about new shows? Well, the pickings were pretty slim. Of the four shows that I thought might be interesting, I've watched two thus far, USA's In Plain Sight and last night, ABC Family's The Middleman. (Thus far, In Plain Sight is okay, mainly coasting by on the appeal of the lead character and her amusingly abrasive ways, but hasn't yet risen to the same level as the network's other cops and robbers shows).

When I tuned in to The Middleman last night, a few things instantly struck me:
  • The budget is somewhere in the neighborhood of community theatre, and they've taken this constraint and embraced it with a delightfully cheesy tone.
  • There are mouthfuls of dialogue being spouted by the characters, almost all of which is pop culture savvy and amusing.
  • Even the onscreen "setting" graphics are dryly funny: "the illegal sublet Wendy shares with another young, photogenic artist."
The basic premise of the show follows young slacker artist Wendy, who gets by on various temp jobs. After coolly encountering a monster during one of her gigs at a lab and being saved by a straight arrow "hero," Wendy finds herself recruited by a supersecret organization to be the apprentice to the hero, AKA "The Middleman."

The Middleman himself is your prototypical square-jawed hero, who often sounds like Ward Cleaver and likes to drink milk while solving "exotic problems" to fight evil, supplied with high tech gadgets by a mysterious benefactor. The "exotic problem" in the pilot gives you a taste of what's coming: the Middleman and Wendy must track down a genetically altered and brilliant gorilla who has watched too much gangster TV (The Sopranos, Scarface, The Godfather) and decides to take over the local mob. Yep, an intelligent monkey carrying around a machine gun being controlled by an evil (and deadpan) mad scientist, played by 24's Chloe.

The dialogue riffed on everything from comic books, to James Bond movies to the lyrics to "Shaft." And it was all delivered with a knowing (but not entirely smirking) poker face that perfectly straddled a difficult tone between satire and homage. The leads are extremely appealing, and The Middleman is a frothy, entertaining confection that's like a hybrid of The Tick and the old Batman TV series for a new generation.

Although I'm worried about the long term viability of the show (usually, things this geeky, smart and funny in an offhand way don't hit a huge demographic), I'm definitely on board for the ride. You'll want to check this out. If you didn't catch the premier on ABC Family, I'm sure they will repeat it, or I've heard rumors that the full pilot is available for free on iTunes.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I'll take potpourri for $1,600, Alex

Here is a fantastic interview with BSG's Baltar, James Callis. A funny, insightful and brilliant dude.

An interview with BSG (and Whedonverse) scribe, Jane Espenson.

Someone has done Grand Theft Auto in the style of the Police Squad/Naked Gun opening credits. Funny. (h/t Wil Wheaton's blog)

Kobe Bryant gets mani-pedis. We're a lot alike I guess. Except that I'm not an NBA MVP. And I've never had improper relations with a hotel employee. Well, I did tell a desk clerk to go fuck himself when my smoking room turned into a non-smoking room. Does that count?

Nikki Stafford, who has authored a few books (which I have) on the Buffyverse, comments on her blog about the recent Slayage conference. In the second paragraph, there's a brief reference to the gorgeous frat houses at my alma mater.

Buffy makes an "essential summer viewing" list at yahoo. (Along with other TNRLM faves Arrested Development, Mad Men, Sports Night, Weeds and Lost).

Cool guest stars slated for Chuck next year.

I was watching UGA's win over top ranked "the U" last night in the College World Series, and missed the premier of this classic.

Star Trek: TNG rap. Not safe for work, but hysterical.

Here's a movie I think I'll go see.

TV Squad has been doing a retrospective on Arrested Development
. Always good to revisit the best sitcom of all time.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Be careful what you wish for

This is about the mid-season finale of Battlestar Galactica, which aired last night. Needless to say, if you haven't yet watched it, SPOILERS follow.

Holy Frak.

"Revelations" was a simply spectacular and heart-rending episode of television's best drama. Stuffed with Emmy-caliber performances, breathtaking special effects, jaw-dropping plot development and stellar writing and directing, BSG saw the rag-tag fleet of colonials (and Cylons!) reach their final destination: Earth.

Yep, after three and a half seasons, and no assurances that Earth was anything more than a myth developed just to keep hope alive, the fleet jumped into orbit with a clear view of Big Blue, and sent a group of ships down to the surface, only to find things weren't quite what they, or we, expected. In a beautiful tracking shot, with only one spoken word (Roslin's "Earth"), we see the reactions of all the primary characters to being on the planet they were all seeking and the supposed home of the lost 13th tribe. Instead of a lush paradise, or pre-civilization world, or a modern-day reception, we see scorched earth and a post-apocalyptic nightmare. Radioactive dirt and the hollowed out remains of what looks like our not too distant future society. Were they standing in New York? It would be only fitting, given the many allusions to our culture shaken by 9-11, and that last shot would seem to suggest (in a nod to the end of Planet of the Apes) the carrion of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Before you think about the implications of this, which I'm sure we all will for at least the next six month (remaining eps not coming back until early 2009!), let's just appreciate all the beautiful moments that brought us to this horrific image.

The scene with Lee and Kara, where she tells him Leoben's quote about children only reaching their full potential once their parents die? A perfect set up for gut-wrenching scene where Adama completely breaks down following the revelation of Tigh's true Cylon nature, and has only Lee to comfort him and tell him that everything's going to be alright. While Bill didn't literally die, it was a spiritual death and the demise of his ability to continue to hold things together even in the darkest of hours. For the entire show, Bill has been the rock and the strength of the fleet. And then, in just a matter of hours, he realized and acted upon his feelings for Laura and then found out that his lifelong best friend was a frakkin' skinjob. Olmos, as usual, was fantastic. His primal howl after Saul's confession was chilling, and his breakdown in Lee's arms was excruciating. Bamber was also top-notch. Too often, he's given the "stick in the mud" role as Lee has bounced around the plot without truly finding his footing. But in "Revelations," President Adama acted intelligently, decisively and with conviction. Qualms about the exact mechanics of how he got to the presidency aside, I'm glad he was able to take the reigns here and show a sureness of character.

As usual, how awesome was Saul MotherFucking Tigh? Frequently standing still, with his face hidden behind an eyepatch, Michael Hogan brilliantly showcased a powerhouse performance, summoning all of Tigh's conflict, guilt, self-loathing and duty. Once he realized D'Anna was going to kill the hostages, including his best friend's true love, unless the rest of the Final Four (not counting the mysterious Fifth) revealed themselves, he stepped up and told Bill what he really was. And that he'd gladly sacrifice himself. Part obligation, part end to his torment, part tactical reality, Tigh was mesmerizing. And in a sly wink to the fans (much like when some of the Losties ask Hurley about his weight or question other happenings on Craphole Island), Bill peppered SMFT with queries about his "Cylon-ness:" "You're bald! You're old! How is this possible?"

Though they didn't get quite as much to play as last week, James Callis and Mary McDonnell rocked the house, too. Laura has regained some of her strength and now seems more at peace, following her tour through the subconcious cancer ward in "The Hub" and her acceptance of Baltar for what he is and what he's done. On one hand, she wasn't afraid to tell Bill to blow the baseship out of the sky, and yet on the other, she's quick and nimble enough to realize that Gaius might be able to actually get through to D'Anna. Which he did, of course.

D'Anna continues to be great, snarky fun. Her self-assured, "I've got a secret" cockiness and single-minded ruthlessness was wonderful to watch, and if anything, she's less about the doctrine and more about the pragmatism.

The scene with Tyrol, Anders and Starbuck was also masterful. Searching for answers in Kara's viper, with Anders and Tyrol both knowing what they were, yet not quite able to bring themselves to say it out loud to Kara. And once the soldiers burst in and let the cat out of the bag, both Cylon actors portrayed it beautifully, from Sam's heartbreak to Galen's relief. I'm not quite sure what to make of the Deux Ex Machina about the Easy Earth GPS on Starbuck's ship, but I was so caught up in the captivating performances and breakneck pace of the revelations that I was willing to let it slide for now.

The "we've found Earth" montage was also well done, touching on a number of background characters (like the new chief and the refinery ship inhabitants) who made the joy and release at the culmination of the search palpable.

Really, this was just a top shelf episode and one of the best in the history of the show.

So, what do we have to think about for the next few months?
  • When exactly did they arrive on Earth, and what happened to it?
  • When and how did the "13th tribe" arrive on Earth?
  • What the hell is up with Kara's viper, and how did it signal the way to Earth?
  • What about the hybrid's prediction of Kara as the "harbinger of death?" Could you interpret that statement about her leading the human race to its destruction as what just happened? That she led them to a world where they find out that the rest of their race had indeed destroyed itself, or will Kara bring about another apocalypse of her own?
  • Will D'Anna and her crew of Cylons truly exist in peach with the humans?
  • Did Cavil have a chance to resurrect after D'Anna snapped his neck, but before the Hub blew up?
  • What's up with Tigh and Six's child?
  • Does D'Anna really know who the final Cylon is? Why did she "apologize" to him/her during her vision on the algae planet? And last night, she said that "four of the five were in the fleet." Does this mean that the other one was actually on the basestar (Roslin or Gaius?), or that it was elsewhere? (I'm still guessing that it's Zak Adama).
  • How the hell did Kara come back from the dead, and is that really Kara?
  • If Cylons couldn't have children, don't we now have three examples of them doing it? (Tigh, Boomer and Tyrol)
  • What is the story behind the Final Five? How are they different? Why can they age? Why were they "sleepers?"
  • What's the deal with "All Along The Watchtower?" And what was the "signal" the Four heard last night?
  • What's up with the book that Roslin and Adama keep reading, and is there more to this than meets the eye?
  • What's up with "Head Six" and how does she appear to Baltar?
  • The opera house vision and Hera - what's the deal?

I'm sure there are many, many more questions to ponder, but I can't think of a better way to send this "half-season" off with a mind-frakkin' capper.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Anyone else excited?

Just over two hours until the "mid season finale" of BSG. After a logic and credibility straining outing a couple of weeks ago (though to be fair to Romo Lampkin, I'm probably a year or two away from carrying my expired cat around in a carrier and using a handgun to force people to make the the decisions I want them to), the show rebounded spectacularly last week with "The Hub," a complete showcase for the Emmy worthy Mary McDonnell, a squirrelly and funny Gaius Baltar and the writing talents of Jane Espenson.

Tonight's ep is supposed to provide another "shocker,"(already being compared to the "one year later" moment from S2) and I'm totally, completely and delightfully unspoiled, despite my voracious appetite for pop culture and television news, and the fact that the ep showed earlier this week at an event and streamed all day on Skiffy. One thing I have read, is that the show runs a minute or so long -- so if your DVR doesn't adjust to these things automatically and you're not planning to watch it "live" (with, of course, the 15 to 20 minute buffer to 86 the commercials), make sure you take that into account.

So say we all.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I can handle the "thong rule," but this is fucking ridiculous

Came home to the crappy apartment today, and found one of those rolled up pieces of paper tucked between the doorknob and the door, which meant another note from "management." Usually, these missives are dry announcements, along the lines of "we're testing the alarm system today. Don't be alarmed." (Redundancy, and possibly dry wit, is actual). Or a note about where to park, or how to receive packages after hours, or what to do if you're so impossibly stupid that you lock yourself out of your apartment (which I cannot possibly fathom).

So as I was pouring a cocktail and deciding whether or not to go on the Karen Carpenter diet plan tomorrow, I started perusing the scroll handed down from on high.

It starts off innocently enough, addressing the Pool Rules and Regulations:
  • Proper swim wear in required, which does NOT include jeans, cutoffs, or thongs. Okay, that makes sense. After all, we're not on a campus in Gainesville, FL, so who the hell wants to see jorts? And since Charlize Theron, Carla Gugino, Kristen Bell and Kate Beckinsale don't live in my apartment complex, I'm okay with the thong rule, too.
  • NO PETS are allowed in the pool or on the pool deck. Again, that's fine. I tried to give one of the kids a bath last weekend, and if she had claws, I would have looked like an epileptic in a fencing class.
  • NO GLASS, ALCOHOL or TOBACCO is permitted anywhere in the pool area. Possession of alcohol will result in immediate expulsion. EXCUSE ME? WHAT THE FUCK?
Look, "no glass" makes perfect sense in an area where people are walking around without shoes, and has long been a rule at pool big and small. I'm increasingly aware that the world isn't very welcoming those of us who choose to partake of the sweet, sweet smoky treats. So I can live (perhaps a day longer?) with that rule, too. But NO ALCOHOL? Isn't this a frakkin' POOL? What else is there to do at a pool besides sit in a lounge chair, listen to your iPod, read a book and knock down a few cold ones?! The pool is only a short walk from my front door, and I'm not that good with geography, but I didn't realize that in about 50 paces, I could wind up in Provo.

Are you fucking kidding me? How else to drown out the squeals of the unsuccessful contraception that even Led Zepplin blasting through the earbuds can't diffuse? Doesn't "pool" and "beer" just go together? Isn't this a seemingly inalienable right? What kind of nonsense is this, and where the fuck have I moved? When I signed the lease, I didn't see a creationist mural painted on the walls of the office, or notice a wrought iron "AA" on the security gate.

I guess if I should decide to drag my ass out to the pool, and avoid the harpoons, I'll have to go to plan B, which is a delightful concoction of lemonade and vodka, toted in several several plastic bottles, and masquerading as an innocent and refreshing summertime elixir. Come "inspect" my thermos, LifeDouche, and I'll cut a bitch.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lost Morsels

I say this today on Defamer and laughed.

Also, here's a cool article from Pop Candy about Lost viewing parties.

Speaking of the bunnies, I heard an interesting theory today (on a podcast, I think). Remember this video? Well, they make a big freaking deal about the two "15" bunnies not being in close proximity to each other. So are the two bunnies "identical" bunnies? Clones or duplicates of each other, perhaps? Kind of a matter and anti-matter deal? Could it be that the "Bentham" in the coffin in the end is the same as one of these bunnies -- a "clone" or "duplicate" of the original, who may still be on the island? And if that's the case, what creates the duplicate? Could it be that turning the "frozen donkey wheel" drops the duplicate (or the original) off the island, much like Ben was dropped off the island into the Sahara? And if that's the case, is there another Ben roaming around the Orchid? And what happens if the O6 (and other unknown to the public survivors) are convinced that they need to return to Craphole Island? Would the Ben and Bentham duplicates cause some kind of cataclysmic reaction by getting near their dopplegangers? And could THIS be why Ben says that after turning the wheel, that he can't return to the island? (of course, the more you think about this, you start wondering "how could a bunny turn a frozen donkey wheel, but still....).

Ahhh, yes. Days have passed and still more questions.

Monday, June 9, 2008

An important announcement

Well, after careful consideration and a lot of thought, I've, uh...........I'm going to.......soon I will be..............

Oh damn. What was I talking about?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summer Lovin' Part Deux

Previously, in my guide to good summer TV, I looked at the returning shows.

Now here's an overview of new shows that have potential.

New Shows

First out of the gate has been another quirky law-enforcement officer on USA, In Plain Sight. About halfway down this post, I offered a reason to watch that really won't apply to many, or any, of y'all. Having just watched the pilot this weekend, I can say IPS is an entertaining addition to the USA line up, and an enjoyable way to spend an hour. When you're taking on another cop show, they key is to build the show around a character (or characters) you want to come back for, even if the familiar elements and trappings of the genre are completely recognizable or tired. In Mary Shannon, IPS has an interesting and saucy character and I'm more than willing to give the show a chance. Here you can find two more takes on the pilot.

Swingtown debuted on Thursday, but I was having satellite issues, so I don't know if it recorded properly. (Hellacious storms knocked out my splitter. However, the good folks at DirecTV were kind enough to come fix that on Friday. If this had happened last Thursday, when the Lost finale was scheduled, I would have been suicidal). The set up sounds intriguing: couple moves into suburban neighborhood and gets involved in the sex and swinging of the 70s. Kind of The Ice Storm meets Desperate Housewives. What's not to love (other than the fashions, and liberal doses of brown, harvest gold and avocado in the set design)? Great music, organized by Liz Phair. The sexy Molly Parker, last seen on the late, modern classic Deadwood (and doing interesting things with a lollipop in The Center of the World), and the Pirates' movies underappreciated Norrington, Jack Davenport. If the show recorded properly, I'll check it out today, or try to find it online. I don't hold out hope that it will catch fire on CBS, so you should probably enjoy this while you can.

Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Yeah, I "read" this diary for about year in real life, but the television version offers much more promise. The show, imported from the UK, will air on Showtime and be paired with Weeds. Sounds like a good matchup. It stars Billy Piper, best known here as Doctor Who's Rose Tyler, as a high priced call girl, and is based on the real blogs of a London hooker known only as "Belle de Jour." You can check out the official Showtime site here, and it debuts on June 16.

Over on ABC Family, we have The Middleman. Javier Grillo-Marxuach, a writer for Lost, had the idea for a television show about the adventures of a chain of heroes known as the "Middleman," who "fight evil, so you don't have to." When the idea didn't immediately turn into a pilot, he executed the concept in comic books before ABC Family later decided to put it to film. From the descriptions, it appears to be good, tongue-in-cheek fun, and sort of an X-Files meets 50's serials. See more at the official site, here. It also premieres June 16.

Did I miss anything you're excited about?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I'll take potpourri for $1,500, Alex

I enjoyed last night's Doctor Who, though like most Who, it's probably best not to think too hard about the plot mechanics. The fish faced "Hath" were cute, and a decent alien design, weren't they? And what's with all the shots this season of the Doctor's "extra" hand? Surely this is leading somewhere, along with the split second glimpses of Rose we get from time to time. Reminds me of the "Bad Wolf" clues dropped a couple of seasons ago. Here's something to think about: the adorable actress who winningly played the Doctor's "daughter" in the ep last night is the real-life daughter of Peter Davison, who played the Fifth Doctor. And also in real life, she's dating the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. Maybe the Tardis needs a visit to Cleveland, Georgia and a consultation with McNamara/Troy to help them sort all this out.

The Onion AV Club is going through Buffy, starting at season 1.

Pajiba declares the 15 best TV seasons of the past 20 years. Hello, Firefly! Howdy, Buffy Season 2! Greetings, Farscape Season 3! Nice to see ya, Six Feet Under Season 1! There's four I wholeheartedly agree with. There's got to be some room there, however, for Dexter, The Sopranos and Mad Men, no?

I just finished up with Dexter Season 2, and holy shit, what a ride. I watched it all over the course of a week or so, and it was positively electric. The voice overs were dark, deadpan hilarious, and the acting and writing were superb. I've hated few characters on my TV like Lila, though she was a perfect catalyst for the story this season. And though she needs to eat a sandwich, I think I love Debra Morgan, all emotional confusion and shockingly foul mouth. I thought the show would have a hard time topping S1, but this may have done it. Outstanding.

Speaking of Dexter, Jimmy Smits will be joining the cast for the next season

Always nice to see Julianne Moore talking about fellatio.

Nice roundtable discussion from the showrunners of Lost, Pushing Daisies, HIMYM, House and Mad Men.

More good stuff about How I Met Your Mother here.

Cool sketches of the ships on BSG.

Weird. Torchwood is coming back in 2009, but for only 5 hours. What's up with that?

Buster Bluth coming to Chuck? Yeah, that works.

This poll sums up how I feel about Narnia.

Could Tim Burton direct Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in a big screen Dark Shadows? Awesome.

"It must be weird, not having anyone cum on you."

That, my friends, is a quote from that cinematic classic, Showgirls. (of course, I'm also sure that line has been uttered frequently about 1,996 miles east of the movie's setting). I'm starting this "news roundup" off with that because of the rumors percolating that our most recent ex-president and wannabe "first gentleman" has been schtupping Cristal Connors herself, the liptastic Gina Gershon. Both Bubba and Gina vehemently deny it, of course, and I have absolutely no problem with it, since he's not doing it in the people's office nor on my nickel. If being a chubby, bitter and opinionated know-it-all scores you points with Ms. Gershon, perhaps I should give her a call. Here's the original Vanity Fair article that caused all the commotion, and it's interesting reading.

Speaking of the campaign, here's an absolutely hilarious clip from the Daily Show that pefectly encapsulates my feelings about the primaries, (of which I've watched entirely too much). Hillary Widmore, indeed.

Gallup's early look at the McCain - Obama matchup. Interesting graphs. It would seem Obama's core supporters are blacks, singles, people who don't go to church, people who have a post graduate degree, young'uns, and people who don't make enough money to worry about the government stealing it from them. I fall into a couple of those categories, but I don't have a dog in this hunt, as policy-wise, both candidates offend my sensibilities. The first, and most important, litmus test is always who is going to stop confiscating my personal income. After that, it becomes an exercise in holding your nose and pulling a lever, though sadly, here in the middle of socialist country, my vote probably won't add up to much.

Funny newspaper headlines.

I guess I don't have to worry about my joints anytime soon.

A scathing critique of celebrity campaigns against children's vaccines. "University of Google" is just too pithy and laugh out loud funny not to appreciate. And of course, you're going to get cogent scientific analysis from a pair best known for talking out of his ass on film and showing her taco for money.

"Investigative journalism" done by a former pitcher unequivocally proves a carpenter has risen from the dead, and that Jesus can really get you a better sneaker contract.

Scott McClellan fesses up for Catwoman.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Summer Lovin' Part One

"Summer lovin' had me a blast,
Summer lovin' happened so fast"
Seems like just yesterday the fall TV season ended. Oh wait. That's almost true. I'm still getting over the strange adventures of Jeremy Bentham, and some shows, like BSG and Doctor Who are continuing their first pod of episodes for the year. But it's time for the Summer Season to start, and here is TNRLM's handy guide to the shows you should make out under the dock and get friendly down in the sand with.

Returning Shows

There's USA's stable of quirky detectives: Monk, Psych, Burn Notice and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
At this stage of the game, Monk is what it is. Most of the plots have a "been there, done that" feel to them, and the real reason to tune in is for the chemistry of the characters, which thankfully, still amuse and entertain me. I will be curious to see how the show handles the sad passing of noted character actor Stanley Kamel, who played Monk's long suffering shrink Dr. Kroger. Plus, Traylor Howard is cute as a button.

Psych seems for some to be a love or hate proposition. Personally, I think it's good frothy fun and the relationship between the two two main characters, Shawn and Gus, keeps me watching. I like the supporting characters, too, and now that they've dialed down the "fake psychic" histrionics, I no longer roll my eyes once an episode. And with the passing of Gilmore Girls last year, few shows have the obscure pop-culture reference/minute ratio that Psych does.

Burn Notice was a pleasant surprise last year. I had enjoyed Jeffrey Donovan's take on a fucked up detective in the US remake of Touching Evil (also on USA, but canceled after a year), and think he brings the right amount of wry bemusement, secret agent cool and general bad-assery to the role. Fi's accent was all over the place for the first few eps (until the former IRAer decide to "go natural" with an American accent), but any show with Bruce Campbell as a shifty "sidekick" is okay in my book. Plus, Six (Tricia Helfer, from BSG) will be joining the show for an extended arc this year as a connection to Michael's Burn Notice.

And finally, L&O: CI gears up for another season. This has always been the stepchild of the L&O machine, as more people would rather watch the ham-fisted, Emmy reel scenery chewing over on SVU, but I like the brilliant-but-damaged scenery chewing of D'Onofrio on this version of the show better. Plus, Mr. Big's red headed partners are hot.

Eureka. Occasionally, the wrap ups can be a bit too tidy, but the show doesn't take itself too seriously that often, and Colin Ferguson as the "normal" sheriff is a terrific comic actor. It's a fun premise and the rest of the show is filled out with a likable ensemble.

Mad Men. Off the top of my head, if I had to name the best shows on television, I would say Dexter, Lost, Battlestar Galactica and Mad Men (with a few others, including House and Big Love, right behind). This show came out of nowhere last year to quickly establish a presence as one of the best written, best acted, best directed hours on TV, on any channel. An unflinching and dramatic look at the life of an advertising agency in the late 60s, Man Men is essentially the story of lead character Don Draper, a mysterious and smooth operator with a portfolio of personal problems and a knack for reinvention. The show was created by Matthew Weiner, a former writer and producer for The Sopranos, and the pedigree is readily apparent. There are twists and turns in the plot to be sure, but the real joy in this show is peeling back the layers of the characters, all of whom are superbly portrayed. Besides, where else can you find chain-smoking on TV?

Due to the big move and the problems getting Showtime, I missed out on Dexter, Weeds and Californication last summer. However, thanks the power fo the almighty TiVo, I'm currently getting up to speed. I think Dex won't be back until the fall, but I believe everyone's favorite pot-peddling MILF will be back this summer. Not much to tease here from me, as I'm only a couple of eps into the previous season. Same with Mulder's new show about an oversexed and narcissistic writer.

One of the better procedurals on TV is Kyra Sedgwick's The Closer (unless you've watched any of the NBA playoffs on TNT, and refuse to watch the show because of the incessant and annoying commercials and screen hogging snipes). Yes, as a native Georgian, her accent is over the top and not entirely accurate nor consistent, but the power of the performance the subtle depths she brings to the character give you more than enough reason to appreciate this strong, female lead character. The rest of the cast is great, too, including the perpetually entertaining J.K. Simmons as her boss (and one time lover).

I can't say too much about the other chick detective show on TNT, Saving Grace. I adore Holly Hunter (who I should note, in comparison to Sedgwick, has a perfect Georgia accent. Since she is from Georgia. However, I don't think she's actually playing one here). If the spirituality was played differently, I might be intrigued. But it's all a bit heavy handed, despite the presence of Deadwood's Leon Rippy as an actual angel. I'll tune in occasionally, if nothing else is on, but it's not one I'll actively make time for. If anyone else is passionate about this show, let me know. I tuned out after 4 or 5 eps last year, so it might have found a suitable tone and become more entertaining.

Stargate Atlantis also resumes this summer, with a couple of interesting cast changes for geeks. Star Trek: Voyager's best actor, Robert Picardo, comes aboard as the new head of the Atlantis expedition, replacing the sexy, humble and awesomely appealing Amanda Tapping (who will be heading up another supernatural show on Skiffy later in the year). Everyone's favorite dirty mechanic from Firefly, Jewel Staite, will become a series regular as Dr. Keller. I look at the Stargate franchise like comfort food. It's entertaining and winningly acted sci-fi, much like many episodes of the Trek franchise, without the achingly good ambition and emotional wallop of BSG or Farscape. There are worse ways to spend an hour.

And if you're eagerly anticipating the next season of MTV's The Hills, I hope you're wearing bangs to cover the lobotomy scars.

A few summer staples, like Big Love and Entourage, were put off schedule by the writers' strike, and will return in the fall.

There you have it. Command your TiVos accordinly. I'll be back later this weekend, with Part Deux, looking at summer's new television offerings.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Vain plastic surgeon spotted in Georgia mountains

Many faithful readers remember this post about Nip/Tuck, where I blathered on about a throwaway line regarding a character's place of origin, the small southern hamlet of Cleveland, Georgia. This character, who had a sweet, naive charm and innocence about her, came to see the plastic surgeons of McNamara/Troy to fix a port wine stain on her face. Through an impossibly complicated series of events, the character winds up up sleeping with the biological son of one of the surgeons, the amusingly vain and insensitive Dr. Christian Troy (who got his MD from the University of Miami), only to find out that the same plastic surgeon is also HER father from a one-night stand a couple of decades ago, which means.....she just fucked her brother. In that post, I posed this question to my friends in Cleveland:
Ever see a swaggering Miami doc driving a Ferrari in town, stopping at the Piggly Wiggly to buy faulty condoms?
So, tonight I get a call from The Freebird, who was having dinner in a restaurant in Cleveland that happened to be located in the same "shopping center" with the Piggly Wiggly. In the parking lot, he had noticed an exotic luxury car there, with a "The U" license plate on the back. I found this extraordinarily amusing, in that Freebird remembered this obscure bit of television observation regarding his hometown and actually called to tell me about it, and that there actually was this car and license plate in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot. Many of you may not know about Cleveland, but it's a really small town and the odds of finding a high-end car -- with a University of Miami plate in the heart of UGA and SEC country, no less -- are astronomical.

So, the only reasonable conclusion you can come to based on this is that everything you see on television is absolutely real, and all the characters that make up your prime time shows do exist in "our" world. I firmly believe Dr. Troy was there tonight to see his sibling-fucking daughter, who was possibly there with his sibling-fucking son.

With that knowledge of the worlds of entertainment and day to day existence sufficiently blurred, I'll keep one eye open tonight waiting for my toaster to kill me in my sleep, on orders from its Cylon overlords.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

All is right in the universe

Dawgs put epic smackdown on bugs to earn trip to NCAA Super Regional.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Features Update

Howdy, y'all. From time to time, I adjust the "features" here at TNRLM, and thought I would provide a quick update on what's going on over the "right side" of the blog (including the new email feature, noted in red below).

  • Twitter Updates: posts from time to time, in 140 characters or less. (Now with more letters and words, now that I don't have to put an extra space after a period!)
  • Previously, on TNRLM: That should list the titles of the last 20 posts I've made here on the blog. However, it's been acting wiggy the past few days and not constantly updating. Of course, the easiest way to read the past 20 items is just scroll down the page. And get carpal tunnel rolling past the Lost posts.
  • About Me: really, who cares?
  • Subscribe Now: if you don't already get TNRLM in a reader, you can by clicking here. Or on the little orange icon up on the right of your browser's address bar.
  • Subscribe Via Email: want to get postings delivered right to your email address? Here is the place.
  • Send a Message: don't want to post a comment, but have something to get off your chest? Want to send a personal message? Have some feedback you don't want the rest of the interwebs to see? Want to suggest new features or topics I should blog about? Compelled to send mash notes or hate mail? Just send an email to I won't check this as slavishly as I do other accounts, but I will check it and respond as needed.
  • My iTunes: curious what I've been purchasing at the iTunes store? See the latest downloads here, and mock my taste in music.
  • Places You Should Go: a very incomplete list of some of my favorite sites.
  • Blog Sponsors: if only this was like NASCAR, and I could retire on these endorsements. But basically, a list of a few of my favorite things.
  • Archives (by month): has it really been a year and a half, and about 500 posts, since this little blog got started? Wow.
  • Search: want to find every time I used a particularly colorful profanity? Or referenced a topic that didn't get its own label?
  • Regular Topics: being OCD, I try to label each post as best I can. Browse the posts that address your favorite topics. A quick perusal tells me that my most posted about subjects include Personal, Battlestar Galactica, American Idol, Lost, Movies, News and College Football. On the other side of the coin, I don't seem to address TSA Can Eat Me, Zombies, Random Noises in my Head or 900 Miles of Diaper very often (but I probably should, no?). I often forget the labels I've created, so some may seem redundant or even ridiculous. So your best bet, if you know what you're looking for, is the Search function above. Also, though I haven't done one in a while, you might want to check out "The Canon," my definitive list of various things.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

The "Extra Space" is really dead

Like many of my generation, I learned to type on a typewriter. And it was drilled into my head that after a period, you typed TWO spaces.

Well, I was having this discussion with one of our copywriters / proofreaders recently, and she informed me that you are not supposed to put two spaces after a period anymore -- one is the new standard.

What the hell? When did this change? Why was there not a massive memo sent out to the world which communicated this new piece of information?

Supposedly, the change was due to the fact that with all our newfangled technology, this archaic practice was no longer necessary. Hell, HTML doesn't even recognize the second space, unless you specifically code it to do so. Who knew?

Still, because I'm a skeptic, I did a little digging of my own, and lo and behold, this is correct. Check it out:

Modern Language Association
Chicago Manual of Style
Writing 911

I found it on the interwebs, so it must be true. This is going to be a tough habit to break. I think I've already done it reflexively after every single fucking sentence I've typed in this post.

Was anyone else aware of this? And for younger readers, was this the way you've always known?

Holy shit, I feel old. (space, space)

I'll take potpourri for $1,400, Alex

Not quite sure how this makes me feel. The AJC's Mark Bradley picks UGA to go 11-1 and win the Mythical National Championship.

IO9 has a cool comparison between the fandoms of Doctor Who and Star Trek, complete with charts and graphs!

Save Dollhouse before it gets cancelled by FOX. Or before it airs on FOX!

Screw Obama and McCain. You want change? Vote this way.

Just got my EW with the summer TV preview. (Don't worry, TNRLM will tell you what to set your TiVo for this summer shortly). But Mad Men, and the gorgeous and voluptuous Christina Hendricks on the cover? Wowza. Nice to see our Mrs. Reynolds on another top shelf show. And when Mad Men comes back, it will be on Sundays.

The Coen Brothers are back in funny territory, and I couldn't be happier. This looks sensational.

Reasons the underrated SOAP was a groundbreaking show.

Shirley Manson from Garbage is joining the cast of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Harper's Bazaar does a fawning profile of Clooney's girlfriend
, a former Vegas skank who was attracted to him because he "cares about Darfur." Oooops. Maybe that article wasn't such good timing.

Awesome photo of the Watchmen from the 40s. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you haven't read Watchmen, get yourself to a Barnes and Noble now and buy it. It's not just for comic book geeks. That shit is literature, y'all.

The perfect birthday cake for geeks. From a bakery up here!

Braves play another one-run game, suffer another loss. This is causing ulcers.