Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TV Fall Preview - NBC Dramas

To start off with, a reminder of the cautionary words from NPR's Linda Holmes about just how useful any of this speculation will really be. In short, speculating based on upfronts is not much different than throwing a dart at names on a board, in terms of predicting quality and/or success.

Which won't stop me from doing it. While I'm a regular reader of Alan Sepinwall, most of my thoughts are based on this article from NPR's Monkey See blog: new dramas.

This post covers NBC dramas. I may or may not write about ABC, CBS, and FOX shows in later posts.

Upsides: From the creator of Lone Star. Interesting premise. Great cast. Nice production values.
Downsides: Has "critics' darling, quickly canceled" written all over it
Likelihood of Watching More Than The Pilot: 95% chance I'll watch as much as they air... hope that means more than the two episodes Lone Star got

Upsides: Creators from Angel, who know how to handle this kind of material.
Downsides: NBC hasn't done well with genre programming (The Cape, The Event, etc.). This is one of two shows that sounds like it should have just been Fables the TV show
Likelihood of Watching More Than The Pilot: 50%, depending on the execution

The Playboy Club
Upsides: Playboy Club in the '60s? Interesting.
Downsides: Trying to do "Mad Men" on network TV seems like a fool's errand
Likelihood of Watching More Than the Pilot: 50%

Prime Suspect
Upsides: Maria Bello. Show that it's remaking is apparently great source material.
Downsides: It's another cop drama. And NBC's history with British remakes is mixed at best.
Likelihood of Watching More Than the Pilot: 25%, given my general disinterest in cop dramas

Upsides: I'm not against a musical show, per se.
Downsides: It's just NBC's attempt to do Glee
Likelihood of Watching the Pilot: 25%

Monday, May 16, 2011

TV Fall Preview - NBC Comedies

*blows the dust off*

Huh. Been a while since I've blogged at all. Will probably be just as long between future posts. But the network upfronts are starting, and while I'm sure we'll cover a lot of this on TV Dudes in the next couple weeks, I had a desire to write about them.

First of all, cautionary words from NPR's Linda Holmes about just how useful any of this speculation will really be. In short, speculating based on upfronts is not much different than throwing a dart at names on a board, in terms of predicting quality and/or success.

Which won't stop me from doing it. While I'm a regular reader of Alan Sepinwall, most of my thoughts are based on three articles from NPR's pop-culture blog Monkey See. One on NBC's new comedies, one on NBC's new dramas, and one on FOX's new shows.

This post covers NBC comedies. I may or may not write about NBC dramas and FOX shows in later posts.

ABC and CBS will come later, and I may or may not write about them, although honestly I don't watch a ton of shows on either network. I definitely won't have anything to say about the CW, which programs at a frequency that might as well be invisible and inaudible to me, as I am not a teenage girl.

NBC Comedies:

Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea:
Upsides: Laura Prepon (pretty and funny), funny title
Downsides: Laugh track, showrunners from Dharma & Greg, I have no idea who Chelsea Handler is
Likelihood of Watching More Than The Pilot: 25%

Upsides: Amanda Peet (pretty and funny), Jeffrey Tambor (just funny), executive producer helped run Scrubs
Downsides: Unfunny trailer, boring premise, executive producer also helped run Samantha Who? and Perfect Couples)
Likelihood of Watching More Than The Pilot: 25%

Best Friends Forever
Upsides: Uh... you never know what might be funny?
Downsides: Head writer's list of credits not wildly impressive, don't know the cast, don't care about the premise
Likelihood of Even Watching the Pilot: 25%

Free Agents
Upsides: I love both Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn, the leads. The promo image that so offended Linda Holmes kinda cracks me up. The showsrunners include John Enbom of Veronica Mars and Party Down.
Downsides: NBC's track record with comedies is spotty at best
Likelihood of Watching More Than the Pilot: 75%, unless it's terrible

Up All Night
Upsides: Will Arnett & Christina Applegate is a likable pairing. Trailer is funny.
Downsides: Don't know much more about it, and both Arnett & Applegate have had weak sitcoms in the past
Likelihood of Watching More Than the Pilot: 50%

I neither know nor care who Whitney Cummings is, and the show looks pretty dull and by-the-numbers.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Blog Recap - January 24th, 2011

On Friday, I took Aaron with me to early breakfast at IHOP. I ate, he picked a little at his pancakes and mostly watched Toy Story 3 on my iPod. Which kept us from having any fits thrown or boredom-induced antics. Technology is cool.

TV Dudes Episode 114

Wow. Season finale of Mad Men Season Two has some *intense* moments. Probably the best episode of the show I've seen so far.

Anytime I even *think* of Parks & Rec, this song pops into my head. Fair warning, it's that addictive. But funny as hell, I think.

OK, 30 Rock, I totally want a Queen of Jordan spinoff now.

Hey, ABC... a shot of Matthew Perry giving a wry smile is not really selling me on your new comedy Mr. Sunshine. Seriously, you don't even have one good joke for the teasers?

Fringe: If that was the show I had been watching when episode one aired, I would have kept watching it. Time to borrow some DVDs.

Cyclops (Archaia) #2: So far kinda familiar corporate/military sci-fi territory disappointing compared to The Killer by these creators.

Dungeons & Dragons #3: Orc kissing, Dwarven murder forts, banter, thoughts on the foolishness of plans & Shadar-Kai. Nice one, Rogers!

Jason Murphy & I talk Heroes for Hire in the second episode of Loose Canon.

Getting a little annoyed seeing the comics bloggerati lumping Borders in with comics retailing and drawing conclusions about retailing as a whole. Borders may sell graphic novels, but they are *not* a comics retailer. They do not do what we do, and our fortunes are only tangentially linked. (Ditto for the death of Wizard magazine, by the way.)

Batwoman #1 orders cancelled. Delayed until April. I know JH Williams' art takes some time, but this kinda thing is gonna kill the momentum.

I love Anne Hathaway, but she hasn't been in any movies I've wanted to see. So this is great news for me. Not so sure about Tom Hardy as Bane... I kinda like Dixon's original take on Bane, and didn't want a skinny, re-invented version, I thought Hardy would make a great Hugo Strange.

DC's new ratings system is very heavily based on videogame ratings... which makes it much more useful than Marvel's arcane system they introduced a few years ago.

On Thursday, my D&D players successfully defeated a Cult of the Dragon Below, found the only Warforged only bar in Sharn and the warforged made new friends and got herself some bling.

Logan Bonner, WOTC designer, analyzes the success of 4E mechanics like Magic Items, Epic Destinies and Paragon Paths... great stuff.

I'm going to miss new minis more than this writer, but he makes some great points about tokens being a bit easier and more affordable. I would have loved to have both options, but this is a good eulogy for D&D minis.

This is a brutal takedown of outgoing douchebag Joe Lieberman. And Greenwald's point about Lieberman's support of repealing DADT makes sense, and makes his support much less impressive.

Well, this blows. I know many on the right hate Olbermann as much as I hate Beck, and so I was kinda glad to have him around.

I watch this and I feel like it's not the politicians that matter. Comedy may be what saves the world. The Daily Show has imitators... broadcasting in Iran. *That* is fucking awesome.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blog Recap - January 17th, 2011

I've given up any pretense that these are weekly.

I *love* the extras on the new Toy Story 1 - Toy Story 3 Blurays.

New Year's Resolutions:
Resolution #1: Don't strangle any bloggers this year. (Note: Good so far.)

Resolution #2: Read more awesome samurai rabbit comics. (Note: Read *all* of Usagi Yojimbo. Every trade in print. So check.)

Resolution #3: Watch a lot more Kids in the Hall in 2011. (Note: Check. Thanks, Netflix!)

Resolution #4: Use all seven words you can't say on TV in a sentence. (Note: Diamond screwed up my comics shipping two weeks in a row. You can bet this was done.)

Resolution #5: Continue to hate Outsourced based on the 10 minutes I've seen of it. (Note: Check.)

Resolution #6: Finally read all of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol before Flex Mentallo comes out. (Note: None yet. But soon.)

Resolution #7: Eat Dim Sum before the end of the year, eat a steak before the end of the week. (Note: Steak accomplished. At Outback. And then again at Texas Roadhouse. Dim Sum is planned for February.)

The pilot episode of Lights Out is currently available for free, in HD or regular definition, on Amazon Video On Demand. I highly recommend checking it out.

John Landgraf may be the smartest executive in TV right now. It makes me sad that it sounds like they were already writing the obituary for Lights Out one episode in.

I'm not sure it would be possible for me to love Dan Harmon more.

The TV Dudes dropped in on LEOG for the second act here, and it was a lot of fun!

Early into season two of Mad Men, it's still not quite in my Top 5... but I can see why it's so beloved. There's more subtext in this show than almost any other, the writing and acting are incredible.

Finally watched the third BBC Sherlock. Damn, Moriarty is scary as hell.

This was probably my favorite Always Sunny sequence in a very funny season.

If you are not reading Chris Sims & David Uzumeri's weekly recaps of Smallville, you are missing the only good thing Smallville has ever given the world. This one is particularly awesome.

Heroes for Hire #2: Fantastic use of lower tier characters, great action, complete in one issue with more arc for future. Near perfect.

Dark Sun #1: The banter's a little forced, but Berting's art is fantastic, and story definitely captures the fatalistic tone of the world.

Who Is Jake Ellis? #1 Very intriguing, great action, Tonci Zonjic art is minimalist perfection. Possible heir to the Milligan Human Target.

Detective #872: Snyder, Jock & Francavilla are doing modern pulp Batman. Love it. New villains, great use of Grayson, Gordon & Oracle.

Thanos Imperative Devastation - Essentially Annihilators #0. And I am just fine with that. More Abnett/Lanning cosmic is always good.

Here's the problem with Doomsday: He's a one-trick pony. And his one trick is killing Superman. Which is a trick that gets old.

So I'm reviewing comics again! Well, sort of. The plan is for this to be a weekly short video with Beau and Jason, posted up on Lounge Geeks. I thought Jason did a nice job editing this together, and don't worry... I promise we'll get more interesting as time goes on. :)

The first LEOG (Best in Comics 2010) I've been on the whole thing for in a long while. Fun, if exhausting to record, hopefully fun (but not exhausting) to listen to.

Top Shelf's 2011 line-up looks *amazing*. New Kids stuff, Gingerbread Girl, another volume of Change-Bots, Korgi & Owly, Infinite Kung-Fu and a new book from Venditti (with art by Mike Huddleston!) are only a few things I'm looking forward to.

Working on the D&D adventure for next week, and my recap notes remind me that my Sharn-based inquisitives bought a crappy rundown bar in a crime-infested neighborhood. This oughta be fun.

It Gets Better is a great campaign, and this is a really fun song and video. But the vindictive part of me wants a complementary "It Gets Worse" campaign for the bigots and bullies whose lives are going to get sadder and sadder as the world leaves them behind.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Best of 2010: Books (and Comics)

1. No Country For Old Men (Cormac McCarthy)
2. Sex, Thugs and Rock & Roll (Edited by Todd Robinson)
3. Road Dogs (Elmore Leonard)
4. Earth: The Book (Daily Show Staff)

Wow, book reading fail. I read four books this year. Three of them were in the crime genre, one was a comedy book. I'm reading through Elmore Leonard's westerns and The Gun, a history of the AK-47, right now, but those are going to have to go on 2011's list. Less "a book a month" that I managed last year and more "a book every quarter."

It's a good thing I'm not ashamed of being a lover of television and comics, because that's where most of my free time was spent.

I wrote up a Top 5 Graphic Novels feature for the Round Rock Leader, but I'm having trouble finding the link at the moment. In the meantime, here's my extremely subjective Top 20 Graphic Novels of the Year:

1. Absolute All Star Superman
2. Chew Omnivore Edition Vol 1
3. Two Generals
4. The Unwritten, Vols 1-2
5. Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman Vols 1-2
6. Parker The Outfit
7. Crogan's March (Crogan Adventures 2)
8. Brody's Ghost Book 1
9. Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites
10. Afrodisiac
11. Bloom County: Complete Library Volume 2-3
12. Amulet Book 3
13. The Killer Volume 2
14. Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, Volume 8-12
15. Copper
16. Fluorescent Black
17. Tower of Treasure
18. The Amazing Screw-On Head HC
19. The Coffin
20. Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour

And my even more subjective, relying solely on my aging memory, list of best single issue series of 2010:

Single Issue Top 10:
1. Chew
2. Sixth Gun
3. Unwritten
4. Guardians Of The Galaxy
6. Dungeons & Dragons
7. Usagi Yojimbo
8. American Vampire
9. Walking Dead
10. Nova