Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Kellie Pickler Award- Female Reality Contestant

Named For: Kellie Pickler, finalist on American Idol Season Five
Awarded To: The best female reality competition contestant from
June 1, 2009 - May 31, 2010
Last Year's Winner: Sugar Kiper- Survivor

Place. Contestant (Show) Points (My Vote)

10. Laura Crosby (Big Brother) 2 points

9. Sandra Diaz-Twine (Survivor) 2 points

8. Joanna Krupa (Superstars) 2 points

7. Crystal Bowersox (American Idol) 7 points

6. Amanda Kimmel (Survivor) 7 points (4th)

5. Caite Upton (Amazing Race) 11 points (2nd)

4. Susan Feniger (Top Chef) 13 points

3. Didi Benami (American Idol) 15 points (5th)

2. Jordan Lloyd (Big Brother/Amazing Race) 15 points (3rd)

and the Poolie goes to...
1. Parvati Shallow (Survivor)
27 points (1st)

Here with his thoughts on Parvati Shallow is Poolie voter Tyson...

It’s rare that someone I voted for ends up winning one of these awards, so I will give you the four reasons she got my vote, which, I assume, are the same five reasons she got other’s votes:

1. I am a huge fan of people who use physical attractiveness to get what they want and Parvati managed to bewitch several of last season’s males. Everyone kept saying that Russell had fallen under Parvati’s spell and really who can blame him. She’s definitely island hot, not sure about real world hot, but island hot…definitely. Note: If I were ever to go on survivor I would require all female alliances to spend one night of naked cuddling with me…let’s see where your loyalties really lie.

2. Her name is spelled Parvati but is pronounced poverty. The “r” has cast off all pronunciation rules and decided to make its presence felt right before the “ti”. Parvati has a rogue “r” and that definitely does not grind my gears.

3. During the challenge where survivors had to hold their arms straight out in order to push two cylinders against some wood, several of the female challengers were sporting enough armpit hair to make 12 year old boys everywhere green with envy. But, when the camera panned to Parvati…smooth as a Siamese cat.

4. She used to box while in college. Punching people in the face is cool and if you don’t think so then I’ve got a fresh knuckle sandwich with your name on it.

by Tyson Brazell

if you would like to hear Tyson's fifth reason for voting for Parvati feel free to ask him for it as it is too inappropriate for the Pool.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Cheers Award- Best Opening/Theme

Named For: Cheers (NBC) 1982-93
Awarded To: Best opening credits/theme song from June 1, 2009 - May 31, 2010
Last Year's Winner: no award

Place. Show (Network) Points (My Vote)

10. Parenthood (NBC) 2 points

9. Bored to Death (HBO) 4 points

8. Jonas (Disney Channel) 9 points (5th)

7. Hannah Montana (Disney Channel) 11 points (3rd)

6. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX) 12 points

5. Treme (HBO) 13 points (2nd)

4. Saturday Night Live (NBC) 14 points

3. How to Make it in America (HBO) 22 points (1st)

2. Community (NBC) 23 points

and the Poolie goes to...
1. Sons of Anarchy (FX) 23 points (4th)
Here with his thoughts on the Sons of Anarchy theme song/opening credits is Poolie voter, T-time...

Curtis Stigers has been singing jazz since the seventies. You know him best, though I doubt you know him at all, for his tune from the soundtrack for The Bodyguard. As such, he was an unlikely choice to pen a theme song for a series about an outlaw biker gang. The lounge singer channeled Ronnie Van Zandt and cooked up a southern rock tune that meshes perfectly with the accompanying images of bikes and guns. Stigers lends his own voice to the sequence and lets us know how the crow, and presumably the Sons as well, flies: a perfect line.

by Tim Forcella

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Flintstones Award- Best Animated Series

Named For: The Flintstones (ABC) 1960-66
Awarded To: Best animated series from June 1, 2009 - May 31, 2010
Last Year's Winner: Family Guy (FOX)

Place. Show (Network) Points (My Vote)

5. Archer (FX) 4 points (3rd)

4. The Simpsons (FOX) 6 points

3. The Ricky Gervais Show (HBO) 6 points (1st)

2. South Park (Comedy Central) 12 points

and the Poolie goes to...
1. Family Guy (FOX) 15 points (2nd)
Family Guy is what it is. It was once ridiculously hilarious. It is now ridiculously hilarious, in spurts. Whether McFarlane and company have spread themselves too thin through three animated series, or they've just run out of jokes for certain characters, Family Guy has slid in its quality.

Oh, this is supposed to be a positive review right? Well Family Guy is still funny. Between Peter and Stewie you have two of the funniest characters on tv right there. It's just too bad that the schtick has worn thin on me. The wild tangents and constant allusions have gotten tiresome. Shoot! Did it again.

Yeah sure it's not that stacked of a category, but it should still be proud of this win. I think the second Star Wars spoof helped its cause quite a least in getting my second place vote. Something, Something, Something Dark Side wasn't as good as Blue Harvest, but this Star Wars fan will tell you that Empire Strikes Back isn't as good as the original Star Wars so they had less to work with. Yeah, yeah. I know what you're saying. Empire Strikes Back is well known as the best Star Wars movie. Agree to disagree. Back to the matter at hand. The season finale was a great punctuation on a subpar season, as their full fledged parodies are always better than trying to fit a bunch of spoofs inside of one ep.

Quiet Pool at TV Fanatic- Hung's 'Just The Tip'

As a way to get more than the eight of you to read my obsolete thoughts on television, I reached out to a few entertainment websites about writing for them. The result? This summer I will be writing reviews on HBO's Hung for the TV Fanatic. If everything works out, this fall I will continue with a One Tree Hill column and as luck will have it reviews of Sons of Anarchy.

This morning I wrote up a review and recap of last night's season two premier of Hung, 'Just The Tip.' Although it's not anywhere near my favorite shows list, I somehow found the ability to think of a few good things to say about it. A series listed as a comedy, but rarely if ever gets me to laugh, Hung follows the dark life of a high school teacher turned male prostitute.

So head on over to my review at TV Fanatic and leave a comment about how awesome (or terrible) I am. Because here at the Quiet Pool we don't care if you watch the shows, or even read the reviews, as long as you comment.

Hung 201- 'Just The Tip'
Review at TV Fanatic
Recap at TV Fanatic
Quotes at TV Fanatic

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Johnny Carson Award- Late Night Talk Show

Named For: Johnny Carson, host of The Tonight Show from 1962-92
Awarded To: Best late night talk show from June 1, 2009 - May 31, 2010
Last Year's Winner: Saturday Night Live (late night/variety)

Place. Show (Network) Points (My Vote)

5. The Colbert Report (Comedy Central) 7 points

4. Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC) 8 points (3rd)

3. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC) 10 points (1st)

2. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central) 15 points

and the Poolie goes to...
1. The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien (NBC) 18 points (2nd)
Although I voted for Jimmy Fallon first in this category, I find it only fitting that Conan O'Brien and the rest of the Tonight Show crew took the second annual Jonny Carson Award. Named after the king of The Tonight Show, Coco receives this recognition after taking the big stage and losing it shortly after.

By this point we all know the ins and outs of what happened between Conan, Jay Leno, and NBC this year. Having said that, it's worth noting that Conan came out smelling like roses, while the other two have garnered much hatred from fans all over. That is surely a credit to Coco's personality on and off of late night.

Sure his Tonight Show wasn't as good as his longer stint as the host of Late Night, but he was certainly good enough to earn this award. And as an award that (as chairman of the Poolie Awards) I might scrap next year, I will be pleased to know that Coco won the only true late night award of the Quiet Pool Television Awards.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Party Down- Reading Departure Signs

Spoiler alert...Below are some thoughts on last night's season two finale of Party Down, 'Constance Carmell Wedding'. So watch the ep, eat a tenth of an ounce of marijuana, and read what I had to say.

Patrick Duffy- "After making love in a glider plane over the rain forest...and then again in the waterfall where we crashed."
Constance Carmell- "That was you?"

For me Party Down is sometimes funny, rarely hilarious, mostly clever and occasionally cringe-worthy. It's a comedy that I enjoy, but can't remember a time I laughed out loud during it. Last night's episode was no different in that sense, but everything seemed to come together nicely for a season finale.

Because of Adam Scott's departure to Parks and Recreation and Ryan Hansen's pilot Friends With Benefits getting picked up, it is hard to imagine a third season would be a good idea. Scott's Henry Pollard isn't the funniest of characters here, but he is the glue that holds the whole thing together. It doesn't make much sense to replace him with a similar straight man that we have yet to meet. Party Down really isn't about a bunch of struggling artists who have to work in catering. It's about a struggling artist who has to work as a caterer and deal with this strange assortment of characters.

If this was the last Party Down we are blessed with, I'm happy with the way it went out. The fact that Henry is going to attempt to get back into the acting game is great. I'd really like to see this kid make it out there in this tough world.

As far as the episode itself, the highlight was Jane Lynch returning as Constance to get married to some old dude who croaked immediately following the ceremony. She's no Sue Sylvester, but Constance seemed much more enjoyable than any of her first season episodes. The fire between her and Lydia was fantastic.

What didn't work for me this week? Ron and his ridiculous search for love and success. I really liked this dude in season one for complaining about his employees, but this year he has taken a fall because all he does is fawn after numerous ladies. Not nearly as funny.

I guess I'd say this season was better than the first, but neither one was that great. I want to say that comedies need to be more than ten episodes, but Curb Your Enthusiasm does 10-12 and knocks it out of the park. Party Down is just an average series, I don't care what the high brow critics say.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Top Chef- This Banana Pudding Is Extra Runny Tonight

Spoiler alert...Below are some thoughts on last night's episode of Top Chef, 'Back to School'. So watch the ep, mix your dessert with a vegetable, and read what I had to say.

Timothy Dean- "Who got high and came up with this idea?"

As the cooking crew returned to the kitchen to take on their second quickfire challenge, they were informed they would be doing it in pairs. Each pair would don siamese aprons and use one hand a piece; hence Tim's crack about the producers doing drugs.

Angelo, the man who wants to win every single challenge, made it three straight as he teamed up with Tracey to make a fantastic sandwich. Tracey seems to be gay and have a crush on Angelo. Pretty strange, but I'll buy it for now.

So these two won immunity during the ensuing elimination challenge. I like how each quickfire produces a different reward for the following elimination. Sometimes immunity, sometimes first pick, sometimes choice of food, etc.

And then finally they got to the elimination of the week. 140 dollars for 50 school lunches. A tight budget for sure. The highlight was Kelly, Arnold, Tiffany and Lynne. These people fought the entire time, arguing over who was or wasn't getting credit for each dish, and then ended up winning the whole thing. As Kelly said, "Kids f*ckin' love tacos." Apparently she was right because her taco dish won her the overall prize of the week and took down Angelo's streak of three straight victories.

Speaking of Angelo...did he absolutely sabotage his group in the elimination? Peanut butter and a celery stick? Nice dish guy. You won three in a row and then came up with that? I'm all for gamesmanship, but if you think you're real nice, why not win every single time?

In the end it was Jacqueline going home for her terribly starchy and awfully unhealthy banana pudding. It was too bland and too sugary all at the same time. Tough to do, but disgusting bananas whipped up with two pounds of sugar can do that to you. I'll make a note for the next time a make a batch.

See ya next time at the judges table.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Memphis Beat- I'm Going to Graceland

Spoiler alert...Below are some thoughts on last night's series premier of Memphis Beat, 'That's All Right, Mama'. So watch the ep, turn on your boob lamp, and read what I had to say.

Charlie White- "He may not always do things by the book, but I for one have learned to trust Dwight when he's got one of his feelings."

One of the problems I have had recently with watching new tv series is that it is almost impossible for me to go in with a blank slate. Whether it's some review or a bunch of tweets, it's terribly hard to not hear a bunch of people's opinions of a show before it even airs.

Take Memphis Beat for example. Going into my viewing of the series premier, I knew that all the critics said it was nothing more than garbage. The Chicago Tribune's Mo Ryan tweeted the above quote complaining about how the writing was terrible. Now, on the one hand, this does help me and others figure out which series to give a shot and which to skip. But, on the other, sometimes I'd like to go in fresh and come up with an opinion that is completely my own. So even if I end up liking the series premier of this TNT drama, I'll be asking myself it is only despite said critics.

Well I tried my best to form opinions of my own here. I think the first ep was decent to good, as far as procedurals go. I've always liked Jason Lee. From his roles in the Kevin Smith movies, to his quick stint in romantic comedies, and most recently in My Name Is Earl. If Memphis Beat is going to work, he's going to have to carry it. And I think he pulled it off, for the most part. Going from a sitcom to a drama seems to be an easy transition, and his comedic chops help to build up the charm of his Dwight Hendricks.

The writing was a bit sloppy in parts, and some of the supporting characters don't appear to be too promising, but other than that I don't see many negatives (other than the fact that it's going to be a straight procedural). As far as the supporting roles go, Dwight's partner Whitehead seemed pretty useless in the premier. Then there was the Alfre Woodard sighting. After killing it as Butch McCray's mom in Blue Chips she has had quite the sketchy tv run. First she was brought on and sent home in Desperate Housewives. Then she was a part of two short-lived misfires, in My Own Worst Enemy and Three Rivers. This is not a good sign for the Beat.

If this show is about something other than Jason Lee's character, it is the city of Memphis and his relationship with it. I can't remember exactly what I read about the series's portrayal of Memphis, but I know it was negative. I wanna say I heard someone complain about it seeming like the city was just Elvis impersonators. Well I've been to Memphis twice, and that is almost it. There were the run-down dumps of the city and there was Elvis land. I thought this first episode did a good job or showing that.

I'm still considering whether or not to stick this out for a whole season. Jason Lee deserves the love, but I don't know if TNT can be trustworthy enough. I guess we'll see what happens.

A few more notes from Beale Street

-I liked some of the editing styles used, like the transitions that brought Jason Lee's voiceovers to the next scene.

-The bad guy's name was Ray Pruit? And he was beating on someone? This sounded all too familiar. I was just waiting for this dirtbag to break into an acoustic version of 'Hold On.'

-There was some good music in this premier, especially the montage with Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come.'

-Dwight is already getting commended by the big bad boss in the first episode? Isn't that something we need to work towards throughout the season?

-Nice ending with Dwight performing Elvis's 'If I Can Dream' in front of all of his co-workers. What a great song. Justin Gaston needs to get his act together if he's gonna let Jason Lee show him up like that.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Treme- Showdown on the Street

Spoiler alert...Below are some thoughts on last night's season one finale of Treme, 'I'll Fly Away'. So watch the ep, order a 40 dollar high life, and read what I had to say.

Davis McAlary- "You can't get these in New York City."
Janette Desautel- "They have sandwiches."

Albert Lambreaux- "I'm playin' the changes. You're playin' that Chinese sh*t."

Two episodes ago, I thought 'All on a Mardis Gras Day' would have been a great season finale because of the epic nature of the event that had all of the characters out and about in New Orleans. Although I knew tonight's ep wouldn't have the same feel, I assumed it would wrap everything up awesomely due to the legend that is David Simon.

To get right at the point, I was disappointed with that part of the finale. I guess it has to do with the problems I had with the series from the beginning. There may be some plot lines, but they don't seem to be interesting like I assume they were in The Wire. Janette moving to New York, Ladonna's brothers funeral, or Sonny and Annie breaking up for the second time didn't have that much of an effect on me.

Maybe some of these life changing events aren't affecting me the same way as say an awesome teen soap, because they're not melodrama enough. Maybe it's more realistic to you. But to me, it's just boring and forgetable at times. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a big fan of the show. I love the city, I love the music, and I love Steve Zahn's Davis. But the story telling could still use some work.

The one full season story arc that really clicked for me? Big Chief Albert Lambreaux's. He kept slowly but surely getting his Indian suit ready. He kept fightin' with the police throughout. Tonight it all came together as he finally (kinda) finished his big chief suit, went out singing in the street, and had a nice run in with the cops. I still have no idea what the whole indian thing is about, but the showdown with the rival tribe was fantastic regardless.

And then there is Creighton. Did that just happen? I will give credit for surprise of the year on that one. Maybe I'm very dull, and yes it's a small maybe, but I didn't see him killing himself at any point while watching this. He was having trouble writing his book, but really? Jumping off a ferry? "Welp, that's it for me."

And in the end we had another second line. Just the way we started this first season. When it began it was after the Kartina catastrophe. When it ended it was for Ladonna's brother's funeral. In New Orleans it's what they do, and they do it well.

Additional notes from the Treme

-Maybe he's selfish. Maybe he's just a nice guy. Davis was awesome as he courted Janette to stay in New Orleans and then welcomed Annie to his home with open arms after the cook left for NYC.

-Speaking of Annie. She's real sweet. Do we need Sonny on this show anymore if they aren't going to be involved? Maybe we do. Who else can order 40 dollar high lifes like he does?

-How pointless was Antoine's story this week? All of the sudden he's addicted to poker? And bad at it to boot. Loved him early, but he's not getting much to work with recently.

-Davis taking the job at the radio station should satisfy T-time. It now brings back the fantastic way of integrating music into the show seemlessly, as demonstrated by the song he dedicated to the indians.

-I love how many times, the actresses that critics adore, are the characters I want to slap the most (case and point Tami Taylor/Connie Britton on Friday Night Lights). In this case it is Melissa Leo as Toni Bernette. If Big Creighton really is gone, I would love to see this whole family leave New Orleans.

-And finally there was the gigantic flashback to just before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Really? If I wanted to see how all these people were hit by the storm, I wanted to see it in the season premier, not the finale. I think it's a clever idea, but didn't work for me. I'm sure many peole loved it.

See ya for the next season of Treme. I'll bring the beignets.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Top Chef- Desert the Dessert

Spoiler alert...Below are some thoughts on last night's season seven premier of Top Chef, 'What's Your Constituency?'. So watch the ep, pickle some beats, and read what I had to say.

Angelo- "I actually wanna be the first contestant to win every single challenge."

Even though a couple of my pals were fans of Top Chef and recommended it to me, it took last season's Top Chef Masters cooking for the cast of Modern Family to get me to watch an episode. After seeing Susur Lee and company cook for Cam and Manny, I was in for the long haul.

Tonight was my first viewing of the original Top Chef, and although it doesn't seem as appealing as the Masters edition, it still should live up to the hype I heard about it in the past. The structure is more or less the same in this version and many of the judges are the same that I got to see last spring. The one major difference...Padma. And it's a good difference.

Three dudes proved themselves to be tough competition as all three were in the top four of both the Quickfire and Elimination challenges this week. Ken and Kevin should prove to be here until the end based on their talent. Angelo won both the competitions and plans on winning all of the rest. His arrogance was prominent throughout the episode and should provide plenty of entertainment through the season.

So somebody had to go home first. It was tall, long-haired, hippy-looking John. For the first dish of the show he decided to make a little dessert. It was supposed to be a maple napoleon but according to the judges it had no maple taste. Go home pal. It's bad enough you made a dessert for your first dish, you didn't even get a maple taste in your maple dessert.

How about a new twist to Top Chef? If you are one of the first three out of the competition, you also have to get fired from your job in the real world. That would put a lot more pressure on all of the contestants. What do ya think?

See ya next time at the judges table.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Persons Unknown- I Gotta Get Outta This Place

Spoiler alert...Below are some thoughts on last night's episode of Persons Unknown, 'The Edge'. So watch the ep, sneak a gun into someone's hotel room, and read what I had to say.

Blackham- "What Rambo movie did you just pop out of?"

After two episodes, Persons Unknown continues to be a nice summer escape. Last night's ep was non-stop mystery with a touch of action and finally some characterization on the side. We're slowly learning a bit about each character, which always you feel for them as they get tortured in this mysterious ghost town.

We start the hour with Moira, who we later find out to be a psych patient and not a psychologist, performing surgery on her friends in order to take out the tracking implants. The Persons figure that they will now be able to leave this God forsaken place. Of course this is misguided because there is an outer fence around the town that is simply a microwave emitting forcefield that fries your skin when you try to leave. Something the marine knows a ton about apparently.

Charlie's plan to get past it? Watch as the hotel manager goes through it and then follow him out because the bad guys aren't going to let one of their own fry to pieces. But as the manager escapes their clutches and sprints through the fence, Charlie chases him and hits the microwave fence like a ton of bricks. Out cold.

So the question is, did the microwave thing get turned off and back on quickly to let the hotel manager out? Or could he just go right through it because he's not a real person. He seemed eerily like some sort of robot or hieroglyphic figure.

Oh but once they figured out how to get past this second fence it would be home free right? Of course not. After a lightning bolt destroyed the microwave fence, the Persons jumped in an empty van and drove past the line they thought would set them free. What did they find as the next obstacle? Just your run of the mill bright light transportation field that sent them back to the center of Ghost Town.

Now this is starting to make sense. This is a sci-fi show? Either way, the new development is a combination of awesome and ridiculous.

So what about Janet and the gun that was so nicely left for her in her room? Even though her fortune read 'Kill Joe and you'll go free', she declined the offer and shot up one of the thousands of cameras watching them. So what is the Big Bad's deal here? Is he just testing these people? If so, what if she had just killed Joe right then and there? Would that have been ok? If it's not a test, and the killing of each other is okay, then what is the point of this whole experiment?

I still have a lot of questions, the most disconcerting being why is Janet's mom such a scary old lady? According to the promo "everything will be answered by the end of the summer" so we should all look forward to that.

See ya at the Chinese restaurant for dinner...again.

Monday, June 14, 2010

True Blood- Everyone For Themselves

Spoiler alert...Below are some thoughts on last night's True Blood season three premier. So watch the ep, put on your shiny red robe, and read what I had to say.

Jessica Hamby- "I am a freak of f*cking nature."

As much as I like to see everything that goes on in the characters lives that I am watching, sometimes I'm not sure a show like this works well when opening a premier just seconds after the last season's finale. Because everyone in Bon Temps was doing something different and crazy at the end of last year, it was a bit difficult for me to get myself into the mindset of what the heck was going on in this supernatural southern town.

When you start the next season like a month or too later, and the viewer is forced to try and figure out what happened since the last time we saw the characters, that nine month hiatus kind of makes sense. When your forced to get right back in the thick of the events you witnessed last August and September, it's a little more tiresome to grasp.

I'm about to get into some more complaining about the show, so I'd like to quickly add that I really enjoyed the premier and I'm real excited that it's back. I thought the second season was a great step forward from what was already a good first season and I'm hoping that it only gets better with age.

Something I see as a detractor in True Blood, and maybe just more so in this third season premier, is the use of their ensemble cast. There seems to be no depth to anything when everyone is off doing their own thing. Bill was being captured, Sookie was searching for him, Sam was looking for his family, Lafayette, Jason, etc. On occasion it's hard to get a good feel for the show when everyone is off on their own.

What was so great about a show like Lost was that it used it's ensemble so well. They were always in groups. Most of the time a single character got the spotlight of an episode, but everyone else was in factions and I think that is a tactic that worked really well.

When I start a season it's always interesting to see who jumps off the page right away as great or terrible. I mean Eric was my favorite character last season, but I didn't like his start last night. Who did impress me? Andy Bellefleur! This dude was such a whiny chump back in season one, and his transformation to an authoritative figure telling Jason Stackhouse exactly what to do, was really awesome. He doesn't get much screen time, but I hope that can change.

Who came up on the other end of the stick after one ep? Tara f'in Thornton. What a terribly annoying cry baby. Oh boo hoo, you're hypnotized boyfriend killed a bunch of people. Waa waa. Get over yourself and do something productive. She's making an early push for a Teri Bauer Award nomination. And to top it off, they brought her mother right back into the fold with all of her religious blabber. This story line should stop immediately.

See ya next time at Fangtasia.

Breaking Bad- A Gale Storm

Spoiler alert...Below are some thoughts on last night's Breaking Bad season three finale. So watch the ep, sing along to a foreign song, and read what I had to say.

Jesse Pinkman- "We had a good run."

I hate to repeat myself, but this season three finale of Breaking Bad gives me no choice. The first three quarters of the episode did hardly anything for me. Not only was it slow, like Breaking is quite a lot, but none of this down time was enhanced by major tension.

Having said that, the final couple acts of the episode were once again amazing. When it was revealed that Gus's plan was to try and get Gale ready enough to run the lab by himself, and kill off Walt, no one could have been surprised. This is exactly what we all assumed after seeing how good Gail was as an assistant.

The surprising part, for me anyways, is what Walt's plan of attack ended up being. Killing Gale so that Walt himself was the only cook Gus had available? Interesting strategy. When Walt and Jesse first started speaking in code about what they actually had to do to get this done, my first thought was kill Gus himself. Take out the big guy. But this plan actually makes more sense, since Gus truly will need to keep Mr. White around if Gail is no longer around.

I loved Jesse, after admitting that he could not do it, continuing to attempt in talking Walter out of this whole thing. And then in the end being the one who had to do it in order to save his buddy's life. The two guys back together again! Looking out for each other as their main goal. I felt really bad for chipper, singing Gail as he stared down the barrel of Jesse's gun. He didn't deserve to go out like that, but I'll take that loss over the death of our favorite meth cook any day.

So we had quite the cliff hanger to end this season and I can't imagine it went down like anyone expected. Was there really no Skyler or Hank in this final episode of the season? I'm curious as to what next season will be about. You gotta figure this show can't go on much longer, and it has to end with Hank catching Walt right?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lost- Top 10 Episodes

10. Exodus (Eps 123-124)
The first season finale was so momentous at the time. Sure Walt being captured by Mr. Friendly and Locke et al. opening up the hatch are extremely trivial moments looking back on them, but at the time they were huge deals. When Sawyer, Michael and Jin set off on the raft it was the first of many times the castaways thought that getting off the Island was what they needed to do. They were wrong, but it was fantastic television.

9. Tricia Tanaka is Dead (Ep 310)
Just an extremely fun episode which highlighted the four dudes hanging out with the Dharma Van. There was Sawyer teaching Jin how to say "You don't look fat" in English while chugging Dharma beer. We got Hugo driven to get that darn van to work, even if it took Sawyer and Jin to push him down a gigantic hill. And once it worked the elation that ensued has been hard to top.

8. The Long Con (Ep 213)
This Sawyer ep was outlined beautifully in my opinion. In the flashbacks we followed Sawyer pulling a really long con on his then girlfriend, Matt Saracen's mom or Janette from Treme. On the Island we witnessed a similar long con on all his castaway pals, but we never really saw him doing it. That's why when James revealed that he had all the guns and there was "a new sheriff in town," we were all a bit surprised.

7. Happily Ever After (Ep 610)
At the time it seemed like Desmond was figuring out some sort of way to converge the sideways and the Island universes during this ep. Now we know that he really didn't have a good understanding of what was going on, but that doesn't mean it was an awesome ep as it happened. Any ep that surrounds Des and Penny is gonna be great, but when Sideways Des and Sideways Penny meet at the stadium I almost lost it.

6. Through the Looking Glass (Ep 322)
The third season finale was the first time that the audience really got a sense that this show wasn't about the castaways leaving the Island. The trickery that was the flash forward put Lost on another level. Add the chilling death sequence of Charlie Pace and you have a fantastic hour and twenty minutes of television.

5. Pilot (Eps 101-102)
The one that started it all. Gigantic in scope. Thrilling in action. Touching in moments. The Pilot was a broad idea of what Lost could be. In and of itself it was a great two hour watch. We got one of the most quotable lines of the series in Charlie's "Where are we?" And thankfully we didn't get the death of Jack Shephard, which was the original plan for the series premier.

4. The Incident (Ep 516)
You start the episode with the infamous conversation between Jacob and the Man In Black on the beach, and you end it with Juliet attempting to explode the bomb after falling to her death after losing grip of Sawyer's hand. And in between we got a whole lot of Fake Locke goodness, Jack and company mirking a bunch of Dharmas, and Bejamin being tricked into killing the sacred Jacob.

3. The Constant (Ep 405)
This was probably the first time I completely freaked out about how crazy Lost was and how crazy emotional it could be all in the same episode. Desmond flashing between consciousnesses in 2004 and 1996 really tripped me out. But it was after he went to the love of his life Penny in 1996, told her to pick up the phone eight years from now, and then called her immediately after flashing back to 2004 when I lost it. Truly fantastic.

2. LaFleur (Ep 508)
Sawyer was my guy on Lost. It was in this middle fifth season episode when he got to showcase himself as the absolute stud that he was. A guy that started out as an outcast with the group became the leader. Sure Jack and Locke had left, but Sawyer was getting it done. After nudging his way up the Dharma ranks we see him as the head of security in 1977 and he's living the life. What makes it all that much better is when Jack, Kate etc. come back to the Island and find him taking care of business.

1. The End (Ep 616)
It would be real easy to hate on the final episode of a series you loved because it didn't live up to your expectations. Lucky for me, The End did. It answered all the questions I need from it, it pulled at my heartstrings on numerous occasions, we got to see many of our old friends from seasons past, and the entire group of main character castaways got a fitting send off as they left our tv sets for good.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lost- Top 20 Episodes

My favorite show is now long since retired and it's time to do a bit of reflecting. Below is the list of my 20 favorite episodes of Lost. I have seen every episode for at least the second time (many of them for a third) in the last four months so I've got the memory to pull this off. Having said that, the later seasons seem to have more eps on this list. Not only do I (being in the minority) like the last three seasons better than the first three, but the further along in the series we went, the more each 42 minute segment meant to me.

20. Par Avion (Ep 312)
If you're a Claire fan you'd probably really like this ep where she tries to catch seagulls in order to send out a message on their tagged legs. It makes my list for the final scene. Jack playing football with The Others is one of, if not the best scene in television history.

19. Orientation (Ep 203)
It was our first introduction to the Dharma Initiative. Desmond, with the help of the orientation video, explain to Jack, Locke and Kate that the button must be pushed every 108 minutes or the world will end. Locke wanting to run it back immediately after it ended was just classic Locke.

18. Dr. Linus (Ep 606)
He who began as a awful human being started his road to redemption in this early final season episode. Linus put forth an awesome performance as both a purgatorian high school teacher, and a fallen leader ready to accept any group that would have him. His cry for help to Ilana was one of my favorite Ben moments of the series.

17. A Tale of Two Cities (Ep 301)
A world that I for one was not expecting. The Others were not scrambling around in the jungle, but living a normal life in houses with bicycles and cookouts. This is when were introduced to my favorite female, Juliet, and we got to see what the crash of Oceanic 815 looked like to Ben Linus.

16. Across the Sea (Ep 614)
The most polarizing episode in Lost history, and maybe one of the most in tv history. I personally loved the episode as its own entity. Maybe it came a little too late in the final season, but I was a big fan of the back story and mythological download that came from watching this ep about Jacob and the Man In Black.

15. The Man Behind the Curtain (Ep 320)
Another ep focusing on Benjamin Linus (these seem to be prominent here). This late third season ep gave us our first look at Linus's back story. How he came to the Island as a nerdy four-eyed kid and how he helped rid the Island of the Dharma Initiative were revealed. In present time Ben put on quite the show for Locke in Jacob's cabin.

14. LA X (Ep 601)
After the huge fifth season finale, and the constant theorizing about what would happen next, the season six premier did not disappoint. We got our first look at the sideways universe and we all had our own ideas about what this world was. On a more personal level, we got to see a lot of old friends (Boone, Charlie, etc.) well and good.

13. There's No Place Like Home (Eps 412-413)
Sure we all knew that the Oceanic Six would eventually get off the Island, but how it happened (the Island disappearing into thin air) was no less than epic. We also knew that Penny was searching for her beloved Desmond for a long time, but that didn't make their reunion any less fantastic.

12. Ab Aeterno (Ep 608)
Richard Alpert was one of my favorite characters throughout the middle seasons, peeking in season five when he was in both the 1970s and the 2000s. Ab Aeterno gave all us Alpert fans what we had been waiting for, a Richard-centric ep. Add in all of the Island/Jacob/MIB information that flooded our brain like a bottle of wine and you got a sweet ep in the middle of the final season.

11. Some Like It Hoth (Ep 513)
Some of the best work we got from both Hurley and Miles. In what could have been a filler ep, where it was basically about Hugo and Miles going out to the the Swan build site, we got one of the funniest eps of the series. Between Hurley writing the script for Empire Strikes Back and all of the interactions between Miles and his dad Dr. Chang, it was incredible.

Top 10 coming soon...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Glee- Mr. Finn, What Grade Are You In?

Glee has been a huge pop hit in its first season on FOX. Whereas some recent musical shows have failed miserably (see Viva Laughlin) because of the singing, Glee seems to be succeeding because of it. The acting isn't very good, the writing is nothing special and the overall feel of the show has been inconsistent as it gets. But the musical numbers have been sweet for the most part, hence I've stuck around even though I'd like to slap almost every character on the show.

Last night's season one finale was good. It had a lot of good performances, my favorite being Vocal Adrenaline's Bohemian Rhapsody, and it featured the right people. Whenever Sue Sylvester gets to showcase both her unadulterated cruelty towards Mr. Shue as well as her sincerity towards the kids of Glee, it's a win-win. Mercedes, Kurt, Tina and Artie took a back seat, while Rachel, Finn, Puck and especially Quinn were the students of focus in this finale. We should keep it that way from this point forward. No more eps featuring Artie or Kurt please.

Speaking of Jesse's Bohemian Rhapsody, every Lost fan should have loved it that much more because of how much it resembled the final scene of the series with the screen flashing between Jack in the church and on the Island. In this case we were seeing sideways flashes of Quinn getting rushed to the hospital and then having her baby.

So where do they go from here? The students have the summer off so this is obviously the end of a school year. What grade are most of these kids in? If they're going to do a year per season they will quickly run into the problem Friday Night Lights did where they had to start changing characters grades ridiculously. You know how Tim Riggins was best friends with Jason Street and was obviously in the same grade as him in season one? Well he was still in high school come season three, so that means he was a sophomore during the first season? The same grade as Matt Saracen, who was an outcast because he was a young gun? Lot of plot holes in the continuity of that show.

Haven't they already been given a third season? Are they going to say that all these kids are sophomores? How likely is that? Will they get rid of some of these actors to make room for new students? I doubt it. It should be interesting to say the least.

As long as Sue Sylvester is the coach of the Cheerios I'm on board for another season, even though I get angry at the screen any time Mr. Shue, Artie, Kurt, Mercedes, Tina, Emma or even Finn says anything. How bout focusing more on Santana? She seems pretty awesome.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Persons Unknown- Where Are We?

Persons Unknown premiered last night on NBC and after one episode I would recommend it as a quality summer show. It seems to be a one season phenomenon a la Harper's Island of last year. Although it's lacking in the soapy quality of last season's island thriller, it has all the suspense.

Sure Harper's Island had some mysterious elements, but in the end we knew there was a serial killer on the loose. With Persons Unknown, I have no idea what is going on after one episode. Seven people have been kidnapped and brought to a made-up looking town in the middle of nowhere. They have all been injected with a tranquilizer that goes off as soon as they try to leave the enclosed center of town.

Sure that part is self-explanatory, but who is doing this? And for what reason? Later on in the episode a group of Chinese cooks greet the seven persons and invite them into their restaurant for a dinner. Are these people also being held against their will? They said that they were only here "to cook." There's also a hotel manager that doesn't seem to know what the heck is going on while acting a bit zombie-esque.

Are any of the seven Persons one of the people responsible for this? Could be a possibility. I'm curious to find out what the heck is going on and I'm ready to watch more.

Like any show, this only works if the characters seem interesting from the jump. With Jason Wiles and Alan Ruck as first billed I was hooked. Wiles is of course Colin, Kelly's druggy boyfriend from Beverly Hills, 90210, and Ruck is Ferris Bueller's best buddy that just finished a great appearance on Justified. The main girl also seems pretty good after one ep.

I don't see this being as good as Harper's Island, which I still say was highly underrated, but I can see this being terrific for a summer fling. Check it out.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Breaking Bad- Going Half Way

I can definitely see why some people think that Breaking Bad is the best series currently on tv. I completely disagree with them, but it makes sense. It is extremely well written, directed and acted. But there is something to be said for pure entertainment value, and sometimes Breaking Bad just doesn't have it. That was not the case this week during the penultimate episode of the third season, which was awesome.

Breaking Bad has become the king of leaving episodes with a bang. Earlier in the season it was the ridiculousness that was 'One Minute' and this week it was a fantastic finish for Walter White, Sr. There really is something to be said for this strategy. Even though a lot of Breaking Bad can be really slow, finishing eps with such energy makes people think the episode was better than it actually was. Even now I'm thinking that this entire 45 minutes was fantastic, when maybe it was just that the final three were so good.

When Walt finds out about the kid getting killed by Gus's trusted employees he leaves his family immediately so that he can go help out his buddy, Jesse. As we watch Jesse get out of his car and creep closer and closer to the two gangsters the tension was crazy high. I had no idea what was going to happen but I was not ruling out Jesse getting killed and him being off the show. What I was not expecting was for Walt to pull his best Hugo Reyes impression and drive in out of nowhere and run over the bad guys in his Aztec. One was straight up dead and Walt straight up shot the other in the head before telling Jesse to run.

I guess Mike the Cleaner's speech to Walter earlier in the episode paid off. He definitely didn't use a half measure when he mirked those two dudes. Going halfway, in putting Jesse in jail, would have been a mistake by Walter. But so was the halfway move by Gus in just telling his employees to stop using kids to sell their drugs. All that accomplished was the employees capping the 11 year old kid in the middle of the street. And kudos to Jesse for sticking up for both the kid and his own opinion when he went toe to toe with big Gus Chiggins.

Only one more episode in the season and I heard it got extended by some minutes. Always an exciting factor.

The CW Upfronts- Gut Reactions

Not much to see here as The CW doesn't have that much programming.

Canceled: A couple of reality shows I never heard of and the new Melrose Place. This was never really any worse than the rest of The CW's dramas, but it got a terrible wrap early. It didn't help that it's actors weren't nearly as good looking as those on 90210, Gossip Girl and the like.

Returning: You got the three sci-fi joints in Smallville, Supernatural and Vampire Diaries. And then there are the four soap dramas. 90210 and Gossip Girl got renewed early but veteran One Tree Hill and newcomer Life Unexpected had to wait til the last minute to get word that they were back for another year. Life Unex had both good ratings (for CW) and good critical reviews, so I'm not sure why it took so long to make that decision.

New Shows

Nothing much here. Another reality show called Plain Jane? Then there is the fourth or fifth remake of Le Femme Nikita, titled Nikita. And finally we have another teen drama, this time about cheerleaders, called Hellcats. None of these sound good.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

CBS Upfronts- Gut Reactions

If you've ever read this blog you know that I'm not a fan of CBS scripted shows. Their dramas are all of the CSI procedural model and I could care less about them. The comedies, for the most part, aren't funny. CBS reality, on the other hand, is still at the top. Between Survivor, Big Brother and The Amazing Race, they are at the top of the field. Let's see if next season looks any different.

Canceled: The only one that matters to me (and albeit very little) is the loss of Gary Unmarried. Not only because I liked to make T-time think I liked it more than I really did, but because it actually was entertaining from time to time. Even if it was big and obvious most of the time, the son Tommy and Rob Riggle as brother Mitch did more than their share to keep it funny. Also out are comedies Old Christine and Accidentally on Purpose, long time dramas Numb3rs, Ghost Whisperer and Cold Case, and brand new mistake of a drama Miami Medical. Ho hum. Getting rid of garbage procedurals.

Returning: Four sitcoms, including the only CBS comedy I will be watching Rules of Engagement, are back for the network. The three big gun reality shows are still kicking around, as are a boatload of procedural dramas that I could care less about. That is, except for The Mentalist which is one of the best of its kind due to its stellar cast.

New Shows

With most of their garbage returning because of such high ratings, CBS doesn't have much new programming on its slate. Having said that, there are two that I will give a try. Hawaii Five-O has a bunch of things working in its favor. It has both Scott Caan and Daniel Dae Kim as its leads. It is set in Hawaii. And they used the "Book 'em Dann-o" line in the trailer. CBS is trying Alex O'Laughlin as a tv star for the third time in four years, but it's obvious the other two lead guys will outshine him.

After realizing that The Defenders also intrigues me, it came to my attention that location sways my preference a good deal. It is set in Las Vegas which almost immediately gets me on board. Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell star as an almost Odd Couple pair of lawyers. It seems very much like a dramedy-action hybrid and I'll give it a try.

The only other that looks remotely interesting is Blue Bloods starring Tom Selleck. The Criminal Minds spin-off, and comedies Mike and Molly and Sh*t My Dad Says don't look good.

Friday, June 4, 2010

ABC Upfronts- Gut Reactions

ABC came into the year knowing that they were losing one of their most beloved shows, as Lost was in its sixth and final season. There was a good amount of hype around two new serialized science fiction series and neither of them really panned out the way the network wanted. In 2010-11 it seems they are going in different directions. Let's see what is going down.

Canceled: Of course there's Lost, although not canceled is still out of our lives. And then one of the two Lost replacements, Flash Forward also got the axe to the dismay of a few readers of this blog. Long running comedy Scrubs also came to an end as did the short-lived, but critically acclaimed, Better Off Ted. Romantically Challenged, The Deep End, Happy Town and The Forgotten basically were done before they started.

Returning: Well there is the quartet of ladies shows in Grey's, DH, Bros and Sis, and Private Practice that are all back. God help us all. The three sitcoms return, with Modern Family being the only one I consistently watch, but the other two seem to be on the decent side. And to round things out Castle and V are back. Castle seems to be airing this summer though so that's not a good sign, and V isn't on the fall schedule so who knows if it makes it back on the air.

New Shows

I never saw The Shield but have heard good things about Michael Chiklis in it. Him as the head of a superhero family definitely has potential here in No Ordinary Family. Add Rita from Dexter in a role that doesn't seem as annoying and I think we might have something.

Then there are a trio of what some may call comedies that look...interesting. Matthew Perry's Mr. Sunshine may have the most potential, if only for Matthew Perry. Better Together has Joanna Garcia in a starring role, and after her stint on Priviliged I don't think I can say no to that. Then there is Happy Endings with Elisha Cuthbert and the guy I couldn't care less about in Flash Forward. From the trailer I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be a comedy or not, but again, it has Elisha Cuthbert.

My Generation looks like a valiant attempt at something quasi-different, but I believe it is a fail. Then there is the garbage that is Detroit 1-8-7, The Whole Truth, Body of Proof and Off the Map. No thanks.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

NBC Upfronts- Gut Reactions

Oh NBC, how you are the current laughing stock of John Q. Public. Because of the Jay Leno Show disaster that was the 2009-10 season, the Peacock has a ton of new shows set for next year. Let's take a look at how it all shapes up.

Canceled: Heroes, after a terrific first season, has failed to churn out anything of quality since and has finally gotten the axe. Thank God, because I was too invested to stop watching, and it was killing me to watch such garbage. The original Law and Order is finally off the air, while Mercy and Trauma didn't make it past one season.

Returning: Despite all the trash talk, NBC has a lot of quality programming returning to its lineup. All four Thursday comedies are back for the first time in a while, but Parks and Rec has been sent off to mid-season to leave room for a terrible-looking new sitcom. Chuck is back for what I bet is its last season, while Parenthood will get a second year and Friday Night Lights' final season will get run off some time in the spring.

New Shows

With the multitude of newbies on NBC's plate, there are four that I will give a shot at early on. The Event seems to be the only one that they are showcasing at this point that could be good. It stars Simon Elder from Dirty Sexy Money as the President and is pretty confusing as to what it is actually about. There's an assassination plot, a kidnapping and a CIA cover-up in the trailer so it seems pretty exciting.

I also really like the looks of The Cape. Anything that eerily resembles Batman Begins is worth a look in my book. The main character is framed for murder, fakes his own death and then trains to fight crime as a vigilante in a crime-filled city. Awesome.

And on the comedy side of things, The Paul Reiser Show looks good. I never watched Mad About You, but this Curb Your Enthusiasm-type show shows promise with its trailer. I will also give Perfect Couples a try.  The only notable is Janice from Flash Forward, but the character that likes to leave rooms with his own depressing music seems golden.

Then there are a couple that are in limbo for me. Outlaw is airing on Fridays, but it stars Jimmy Smits as a retired supreme court justice turned renegade so it could be decent. Friends with Benefits seems to be a sort of sitcom starring Kyle from Party Down and Daneel Harris so it could be decent, but the trailer doesn't make it seem that funny.  The Undercovers is a spy show from JJ Abrams.  It is about a married couple a la Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

And then there are a bunch of new shows that don't look good. Love Bites seems to be a mess of a romance show at this point. Another Law and Order, this time in LA. The Chase and Harry's Law are standard cop and law shows, respectively. And then there is Outsourced, which is taking Parks and Rec's spot in the fall and looks absolutely terrible.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

FOX Upfronts- Gut Reactions

The network upfronts were a while back, but now that the true tv season is over I have some time to look over what got canceled, what's coming back and what's new at FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS and The CW.

First up is FOX.

Canceled: 24 is the only cancellation of note. After some up and downs the past few seasons, they finally pulled the plug on Jack Bauer and company after eight seasons. Dramas Dollhouse and Past Life also got the axe, while another sitcom attempt by FOX ended terribly. Brothers and Sons of Tucson were both theoretically gone before they got through five episodes. Also the way too long running comedy 'Til Death is out of there.

Returning: The four animated shows are back on Sundays. Other FOX staples American Idol and House, MD are also still kicking around as they digress in quality year after year. Fringe will be in its third season, while Glee and Human Target return for sophomore seasons. Human Target likely won't make it further than that as it is set to air on Fridays this fall.

New Shows

I already reviewed The Good Guys when it aired a preview event this spring, but it still looks promising if for Bradley Whitford alone. Two others that could be good for FOX are Lonestar and Running Wilde. Lonestar seems to be a family drama of the Dallas/Dynasty ilk. The lead guy is somewhat of an unknown, but it has Jon Voight and Adrianne Palicki from Friday Night Lights so it doesn't lack in star power. Running Wilde comes from the creator of Arrested Development and stars Will Arnett as a similar character as he played in the earlier FOX hit.

Others that I might give a try include Mixed Signals and Terra Nova. Nova has no trailer out so I'm not quite sure what it's about, but heard it was from Steven Spielberg so that has to be a plus. Mixed Signals is another sitcom, this one starring Roy from The Office.

Bob's Burgers, Raising Hope and Ride-Along all get the pass-aroo vote from me.