Friday, July 27, 2012

Every Four Freakin' Years...

Yes, the Olympics have returned for another go around. A strange time in TV viewing where we all sit and watch hours of events that we typically wouldn't watch, even under the threat of death. Seriously, if you were to ask your friend what they were doing this weekend and they answered, "there's 16 hours of equestrian on the NBC Sports Network." You'd either have them institutionalized or mercy kill them.

That said, guess what I'm doing this weekend? What's terrible is that I'm not even that big of a fan of the summer games. I'll watch some soccer, some swimming (we'll see if Phelps can break a record or two) and perhaps the 100 meter dash with some interest, but beyond that I could care less and yet, "Oh. Look. It's the 60 meter archery prelims on at 2 in the morning....Ok, let's do that."

I don't know if they drug us or what? Maybe it really is that Olympic spirit that overcomes our usual instincts and we become these optimistic, hopeful creatures waiting for a good story? The thing is, it does mean something when someone wins a gold. To see them up on the platform, tears in their eyes as their national anthem plays... it's not just winning a game. It means something bigger. I may even be watching more this year just to insulate myself from all the crap stories I might have to deal with if I change the channel. Mitt Romney's pre-Olympic appearance aside (yeah Mitt, you're not repairing any relationships... you're the perfect sitcom President... too bad you're running for the real thing), the Olympics are going to be about stories of achievement, overcoming odds and triumph against adversity.

The opening ceremonies are tonight. It will be hard to beat China, but the man in charge directed such films as Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire. I hear Danny Boyle has included cows, grass and rain... so there's that. Does it sound exciting? Not really. Will I be watching. You bet. Damn you Olympics.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm Just Here To Help: Perception

People love their damaged detectives. Whether it be Sherlock Holmes and his Asperger Syndrome, Monk and his OCD or Detective Goren’s mental fragility on Criminal Intent, these detectives have engaged audiences with their quirk, charm and singular ability to solve crimes with the aid of their issues rather than despite them.  TNT is hopping on that train with the new Eric McCormack vehicle, Perception.

McCormack plays Dr. Daniel Pierce, a brilliant neuroscientist and college professor who is also a Paranoid Schizophrenic. That, of course, makes him the perfect person for FBI agent Kate Moretti (played by Rachel Leigh Cook) to call in and help solve crimes.  Right? What’s the best way to put together a solid case? Make sure the crime is solved by someone who isn’t quite sure what is real and what isn’t.

One of the main characters in the first episode is Natalie (played well by Kelly Rowan) and she appears as someone who knows Pierce well. She’s a point of stability in his life, calming him when he gets a bit too frenzied…except that we soon learn that she too is a figment.

While Pierce reads suspects well, he is also prone to seeing people who aren’t there, like Natalie and also witnesses who often provide him with answers. Pierce suffers from periods of paranoia which are only calmed when he listened to classical music on a 1986 era Sony walkman… on cassette.  Honestly I’m not really sure what the use of a cassette says about the character. ? Get the poor guy an Ipod for crying out loud.

Honestly, the show is a bit of a mess. I wish the writing was a little stronger and the structure a little different. I really like watching Eric McCormack. He’s always engaging and does a decent job with Pierce, but I can’t help but wishing he was a little less put together. Rachel Leigh Cook, who still looks 18 and cute as heck, does an ok job as an FBI agent, but I wish their relationship was a bit more contentious.

Here’s my fix:
Pierce can keep his job, but he’s much less stable than portrayed in the actual show.  The only person who can keep him on task is his teaching assistant (who appears on the actual show only to confirm is someone Pierce is talking to is real or not).   He is brought into the show because one of the people he profiled in his book on forensic neuro-psychiatry (which he wrote four of according to the show) is suspected of doing illegal things and Cook’s Moretti is forced to work with him to solve the case. Of course she has a hard enough time being taken seriously because of the way she looks and the fact that she’s a woman that she really doesn’t want to be saddled with the crazy man, but despite her protestations that he is crazy, Pierce is hired as a consultant. And there you go. A little Sherlock with Watson keeping him in line, a little Castle as Pierce reluctantly charms Moretti as he teeters between stability and nuts.
This, isn’t the show we’ve got. Not yet anyway. I will give it a chance because I like McCormack, but we’ll see how TNT develops things. 
Perception: Mondays on TNT

Oh Emmy Will You Ever Get It Right?

While on occasion the Emmy nominations surprise, for the most part they are like a clingy girl, forever hooking up with the security of ex-boyfriends rather than venturing out to find someone new to break their heart.  Is that too sexist of a analogy? Sorry. Feel free to switch out girl with boy. It doesn't really matter, you get the idea.  Out came the nominations today and frankly, they feel rather familiar and less than shocking.

In Comedy the old standbys; The Big Bang Theory, Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock and Modern Family were joined by HBO's Girls (which was only loosely a comedy, but there's no category for awkward) and Veep (which was just ok). Where was Louie? Where was Wilfred? Community? Parks and Rec? Where was Sean Hannity... oh, really.. It's sorry, my bad. Curb had an ok season, but no where near it's prime and 30 Rock too seemed to be feeling it's age a bit (although it's still better than most).  Louie really deserves the nod in my book. Of those nominated, Modern Family is still the strongest, but Big Bang had a really consistant year last year, they could take it.

In the acting categories, there were no shocks there either other than the fact that Louie C.K. actually got a nomination and Don Cheadle made it for House of Lies (on Showtime... no, you never saw it). Otherwise it's Larry David, Jon Cryer, Jim Parsons and Alec Baldwin. Louie should win.

On the ladies side of things it is a bit more diverse with Girl's Lena Dunham, along with New Girl's Zooey Deschanel making their first appearances. They'll compete with Edie Falco, Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (first time for Veep, but not her first), Melissa McCarthy and Amy Poehler. It will be a tough shot here, because Lena and Zooey are both so much indie darlings, the Emmys love Edie, Tina and Julia and Amy rocks Parks. Hell Melissa gives good speech too when she wins. Who knows?

The Drama nods are really shocking in no way at all, except one... let me list them off and you can see if you notice anything similar about them... Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland and Mad Men.... yes that's right, excepting Downton Abbey from PBS, none of the shows are from the broadcast networks. I know you are up in arms right now asking where's that great show.... ummm...the show from....ahhh.... did CSI have an ok season last year? Wasn't Ted Danson on? Oh well, moving on, I kinda see this as a race between Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Homeland... with both Bad and Homeland having the most momentum right now.

Far as the actors in a drama are concerned... eh... I think Damian Lewis deserves it for Homeland, but Bryan Cranston is so good in Bad... either could win it... Hugh Bonneville (Downton), Steve Buscemi, Jon Hamm and Michael C. Hall round things out.

On the ladies side of things we see the Emmy's old habits coming out as Kathy Bates got a nomination for Harry's Law (yes, it totally sucked this year as they gave it a little Practice: Year Two makeover and destroyed the whole feeling of the show) as well as Elisabeth Moss for Mad Men (she was just ok this season, it really was so much more Hamm's show). Also getting nods such familiars as Glenn Close (Damages-- only seen on Directv) and Julianna Marguiles (The Good Wife). Claire Danes gets a nod for Homeland and Michelle Dockery for Downton Abbey. Danes was outstanding on Homeland, but with all the favorites, it's a toss up.

I'm not going to go over the supporting actors and actresses, but needless to say, everyone, aside from the kids was nominated from Modern Family, while Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey seemed to fill up all the drama slots.

The movie or mini-series is a bit confounding to me. HBO's Game Change and Hemingway and Gellhorn were both fine movies and Hatfield & McCoys was most certainly a mini-series, but the other three nominated in this category are actually series... FX's American Horror Story and BBC's Luther and Sherlock.... whatever.... at least it's still better than the confusing categories for the Grammys. I love Sherlock. It's amazing and I'd love to see it win. Luther too is well written and acted and Hatfield was drawing nearly 13 million for History so they could steal this one. Then again, the Emmys still love themselves some HBO.

Other tidbits: Probably another battle between Colbert and Stewart for Variety Show (although SNL continues to be nominated even though they haven't been cutting edge since Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase went at it in that name calling sketch.
There are so many good animated shows on television, how American Dad, The Penguins of Madagascar and Bob's Burgers got nominated, I just can't answer. Hopefully Futurama wins. Emmy fave The Simpsons also got a nomination.
Best Category: Best Non-Competition Reality Show has Shark Tank, Antiques Roadshow, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, Mythbusters, Undercover Boss and Who Do You Think You Are. For me, it's a clear showdown between Mythbusters and Antiques Roadshow, which, if you think about it, kinda do similar things, though with fewer explosions on Roadshow.

I'll have more as we get closer to the show with will air in September on ABC.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Change Is Not Just A Political Theme

I had a long post explaining just what it was I was hoping to accomplish with this blog. I threw it in the trash. You'll get what you get here. Everything from entertainment, politics, sports and whatever else might come to my mind. Enjoy. Or don't. If you've got something to share, email me at