Thursday, September 25, 2008

My First House

Like most Americans, I’ve been spending my evenings with one eye on the TV and the other eye on this blog so I knew what new shows I wanted to watch this year. Dice is one member of a very short list of people who’s opinion I trust when it comes to what’s good and not good on TV and at the Movies.

Only 2 times have I not listened to his advice, and I paid the price.

Things are tough for me this year. I have to be extra selective because I’m “gazelle intense” in my battle against debt (see so I’ve given up my DishNetwork and my DVR, for a 40-foot antenna and an analog DVD recorder.

That’s right . . . I’m practically Amish.

So, now that I’m technically limited, I need Dice more than ever.

I had a few moments to myself the other night, and I finally watched my first episode of “HOUSE.” Wow, what a show!

“House” has always been on Dice’s list, and it’s one of those shows I’ve always meant to watch, but never have. Well I watched like the first episode of Season 4, or something like that, and I fell in love with this show that perfectly blends the suspense of “Matlock,” the attitude of “Becker,” and the political correctness of “Archie Bunker,” wrapped in the medical reality of “Trauma in the Emergency Room.”

I’m hooked, but troubled.

What should I do?

> Start this season fresh?

> Go back to the beginning?

> Give up and watch it on TV Land in 15 years?

Dice and company, Help me please.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

On America's Got Talent Not Having Talent...

OK, so that's a bit harsh.  Certainly all 10 of the finalists have some form of talent.  But talent I want to watch on a week to week basis?  Talent that could handle a Las Vegas stage?  Not a chance.  Add to this fact that it is consistently (even last year when the incredible Terry Fator made it worth watching) the most poorly put together show on TV and I just had to rant a bit.

Reason's AGT is just not worth my time anymore:

1) It's Bloated

2 HOURS!?  You really need 2 Hours to showcase 10 acts?  My guess is that it could fit into an hour if need be but that 90 minutes is way plenty.  How many times do we have to see the same reactions/comments/previous tryouts/sob stories in different colors and slow motion.  We get it, they can't believe their here, they would love to play Vegas, and no ones going to stop them.  Also can we just quit with doing the phone number thing over and over.  We can't vote until the end of the show anyway and we will be plenty aware of the number we want to vote for (as if any of us vote in the first place.)  They should replace Springer with a stage announcer and have act, judges comments, next act, etc.  Throw in one or two WELL PRODUCED vignettes featuring the contestants doing something DIFFERENT, and you have something possibly worth watching (if not for a few other things).

2) All 3 Judges are out of Touch

Piers is closest to making any sense whatsoever occasionally but even he has put through some wildly ridiculous acts.  Week after week I am astounded by what lame thing they consider talent.  I'd cut them a little more slack if it was "America's Got Entertainment" in which case it could be argued that some of these acts are entertaining (even if not to me), but talent?  The freak show contestants could swim in a pool of talent guacamole and still not come out green.  The fact that these type of acts routinely get advanced over some truly interesting talents (jugglers, acrobats, contortionists, illusionists, etc) infuriates me every year.  It's as if the producers think that they get to be the reality show to continue to feature William Hung and not lose their integrity, when in fact most of us might laugh once at the silliness of it all, but still hold them accountable for allowing people through that obviously deserve to go home.

3) Singers and Kids

It's been my opinion since I heard of this show that there should be only two rules.  No singers and no kids.  It's just not fair to the contestants and honestly as a viewer I'd prefer not to see it.  First off, I get my fill of great singers with American Idol  I don't need another singing talent show to fill my time.  Also, there is a reason singing is one of the most respected talents in entertainment, because it is emotionally engaging.  An illusionist doesn't have half a chance at connecting with you emotionally in the way a singer does, and it completely skews the playing field.  Ask yourself why 9 of the 10 finalists are singers (yes 9, I give the two impressionists a bit of a break but at the end of the day their talent is still singing.)  Just call the thing America's Got Vocal Talent and get it over with.  Terry Fator (last year's winner) is an amazing ventriloquist and even an amazing impressionist, but do you think for a second he makes it anywhere near the finals if he doesn't sing? (Side note:  I don't think singing+ acts should be forbidden, but straight singers, yes)  Secondly the kids.  Sigh...  What to say about the kids (2 kid acts in the 10).  OK if cuteness is a talent, then vote your heart out for that little girl, but if you could for one second, in fairness, set aside their age you will see they cannot sing well.  Someday maybe, today not even close.  This was no more evident in the final 10 performances when both kid acts chose Jackson 5 tunes.  I literally shook my head at the screen, wagged my finger and said, "Oh, no they didn't".  MJ was the one 5 year old who could pull it off because he was an amazing singer, not just for his age, but for any one's age.  These kids are great singers FOR THEIR AGE, but it's not fair to other contestants to have to compete with the root for cute gene we are all born with.  The only kid I saw all season who I thought had genuine talent (that could even come close to holding a Vegas show) was the contortionist girl, and she disappeared fairly quickly.

Thanks for allowing me a bit of a rant (OK a lot of a rant) today, after watching the Final 10 performance show last night I had to get it off my chest.  It's such a shame that a show with such a winsome premise (to find and highlight unique and extraordinary talents) has become so predictably banal and offensive.  I just hope that Nothing But Strings can pull off the win this year since I consider them the only act that truly belongs on that stage.

Friday, September 12, 2008

21 Hours of TV, Fall Preview (The Weekend and Final Analysis)...

Ah, the weekend, where network execs across the land throw their refuse hoping that maybe someone will accidentally leave their TV tuned in while they are out at a movie.  The problem is that this old idea of appointment scheduling is quickly becoming completely outdated.  The first network that realizes DVRs are getting pretty common and that people don't really care anymore what night a show is on will have a hit show on Saturday night.  Are you telling me seriously that a new season of Jericho or Journeyman wouldn't pull more viewers on Saturday than say, "Crimetime Saturday" or "Drama Repeats"? Really?!  ...sigh...


Lots of game show and reality on Friday's this year.   Fox has 5th Grader and Lyrics back to back.  I watched both for a while but game shows get old for me pretty quickly.  Same thing goes for Deal or no Deal, even with the promise that two people will win a million this year.  ABC does the reality thing with Wife Swap and Supernanny, neither of which are interesting to me (guess I'm happy with my wife and children as is).  In fact, the only show I will be checking out of Friday is the new show Crusoe, which looks to be a unique offering worth at least a taste.

The color coded breakdown:

Green = Will be programmed on my DVR
Blue = Not for me, but feel free. 
 = Move along, nothing to see here.


ABC - Wife Swap
CBS - Ghost Whisperer
CW - Everybody Hates Chris
Fox - Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?
NBC - Crusoe


CW - The Game


ABC - Supernanny
CBS - The Ex List
CW - Top Model (repeats)
Fox - Don't Forget the Lyrics!
NBC - Deal or No Deal


ABC - 20/20
CBS - Numb3rs
NBC - Life



Move along, nothing to see here.

The color coded breakdown:


ABC - Saturday Night College Football
CBS - Crimetime Saturday
Fox - COPS
NBC - Dateline NBC


Fox - America's Most Wanted
NBC - NBC Drama Repeats


CBS - 48 Hrs.



The Simpsons begins its 20th(!) season this year and despite what you may have heard it continues to be as funny and fresh as it's ever been.  King of the Hill is the animated show with a heart and Amazing Race will win it's annual emmy for best reality show at the Emmys here soon.  Speaking of shows that have been around forever, America's Funniest Home Videos enters it's 19th season, cracks Wipeout over the head with it's cane, and mutters something about young whippersnappers thinking they invented laughing at people falling down.

The color coded breakdown:


ABC - America's Funniest Home Videos
CBS - 60 Minutes
CW - In Harm's Way
Fox - The OT
NBC - Football Night in America


CW - Surviving Suburbia


ABC - Extreme Home: Makeover
CBS - Amazing Race
CW - Valentine
Fox - The Simpsons
NBC - Sunday Night Football


Fox - King of the Hill


ABC - Desperate Housewives
CBS - Cold Case
CW - Easy Money
Fox - Family Guy


Fox - American Dad


ABC - Brothers and Sisters
CBS - The Unit

Weekend's Total: One hour drama, Two half hour sit-coms, Two 1 hour Reality, 4 Hours

Final Total: 10 hours of dramas, 3.5 hours of comedies, 4 hours of reality, 17.5 hours


Woo-Hoo! 4.5 hours to spare... well, sorta.  Add in SNL (it's an election year, it's required viewing), Monk (the best show not on network TV), and Mythbusters (endlessly amusing and somehow educational) and I have one hour to spare.  So I can put off any pruning until January when LOST, 24, Reaper, American Idol, and new shows Dollhouse and Merlin premiere, at which point my eyes will glaze over and my mind will shut down trying to solve the complex equations necessary to decide what is worth my DVRs limited space.

Enjoy the new season!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

21 Hours of TV, Fall Preview (Thursday)...

Thursday continues it's reputation as the best night on TV.   The greatest shows in the history of television inhabited this hallowed day and it's a lot for these shows to live up to.  Do any of them make the grade? Well, not really.  I guess CSI has earned it's place in the history of the medium, but I can't decide if I'm exicited for the Peterson for Fishburn swap or fearing it.  I would also make the case that Survivor has changed television forever, but whether or not it was for the good is a hotly debated issue even today (for the record, I think TV would be a much more boring place without the Reality movement).  As funny as The Office is, it hasn't quite earned enough stripes to stand alongside Cosby, Sienfeld, and The Simpsons as Hall of Fame Thursday night shows... yet.  In addition to these three I will also continue to stay with Earl and 30 Rock, both very funny and well done shows.  If my DVR would record a third show I'd probably still be watching Smallville as well, but admittedly it was getting a bit over the top when I gave up on it 2 seasons ago.  Among the shows I wont be watching the only ones I think are genuine loser shows are the should have been canceled when I was in college ER, the no interest whatsoever Life on Mars, and the morally reprehensible and poorly produced Moment of Truth.

The color coded breakdown:

Green = Will be programmed on my DVR
Blue = Not for me, but feel free. 
 = Move along, nothing to see here.


ABC - Ugly Betty
CBS - Survivor
CW - Smallville
Fox - The Moment of Truth
NBC - My Name is Earl


NBC - Kath & Kim


ABC - Grey's Anatomy
CW - Supernatural
Fox - Kitchen Nightmares
NBC - The Office


NBC - 30 Rock


ABC - Life on Mars
CBS - Eleventh Hour

Thursday's Total: One 1 hour dramas, Three half hour comedies, 
one 1 hour reality, 3.5 hours

Overall Total: Nine 1 hour dramas, 2.5 hours of comedies, Two 1 hour Reality, 13.5 hours

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

21 Hours of TV, Fall Preview (Wednesday)...

Well if you can do any simple arithmetic you will realize that having 9 hours of TV in 2 days will not equal 21 in 7.  The good news is that apparently the networks have decided that Wednesday will be light on the "things Dice likes" sauce.  Lost will be here come January, but what's available now? 

Pushing Daisies.

That's it. One show, but what a show it is.  In a sea of dark procedural crime dramas it stands out like purple suit at a funeral.  If you watch this show you know how fun, well written, and poignant it is on a week by week basis.  If you don't watch it, I beg of you, give it a shot.  These are the kind of shows that need to succeed in order not to see an all CSI line up every night of the week.

The color coded breakdown:


ABC - Pushing Daisies
CBS - Old Christine
CW - America's Next Top Model
Fox - Bones
NBC - Knight Rider


CBS - Gary Unmarried


ABC - Private Practice
CBS - Criminal Minds
CW - Stylista
Fox - Til Death
NBC - Deal or No Deal


Fox - Do Not Disturb


ABC - Dirty, Sexy, Money
NBC - Lipstick Jungle

Wednesday's Total: One 1 hour comedy,
 1 hour

Overall Total: Eight 1 hour dramas, One 1 hour comedy, One 1 hour Reality, 10 hours

21 Hours of TV, Fall Preview (Tuesday)...

The 21 hour challenge continues with  a Tuesday lineup that features the one-two punch of one of my favorite shows already on TV and the new show I'm most excited about.   House continues to be the best character on television and the stories remain compelling and the surrounding cast continues to do thier part.  It also remains one of the most thought provoking shows on a week to week basis.  FOX follows up House with the buzzed about Fringe which should be a modern day X-Files from the mastermind brain of one JJ Abrams.  I'll also be checking out "The Mentalist" on CBS and giving it 3 episodes to impress me, and the Biggest Loser should be even more fun to watch this season knowing that I'm living it this year.  There's nothing else to really comment on, the rest of Tuesday is filled mostly with shows that might be ok but I just don't care to get into.  Yes, I know I'm ignoring a certain relaunched zipcode, but honestly, did you think I would even give that show a second thought?
The color coded breakdown:


ABC - Opportunity Knocks
CW - 90210
Fox - House
NBC - The Biggest Loser


ABC - Dancing with the Stars
CBS - The Mentalist
CW - Privileged
Fox - Fringe


ABC - Eli Stone
CBS - Without A Trace
NBC - Law and Order: SVU

Tuesday's Total: Three 1 hour dramas, One 1 hour Reality, 4 hours

Overall Total: 
Eight 1 hour dramas, One 1 hour Reality, 9 hours

Monday, September 8, 2008

21 Hours of TV Fall Preview (Monday)...

Welcome to the 2nd annual 21 hours of TV Fall preview.  Everyday this week we will look at the current day of the week and what will be on that night (Friday, we will look at the weekend). It's my self imposed task every year to limit my TV viewing each week to 21 hours (14 without commercials), so in going through the schedules I will rate each show red, blue, or green. Green means I will be watching (at least initially), blue that I won't but I won't hold it against you if you do, and red that I refuse to believe anyone of sound mind could be interested. At the end of the week I will add my total hours up and cut what I need to get down to the required 21.


5 hours of TV for me on Monday, all of it drama.  I know most people will be watching "Dancing with the Stars" at 8 but I gave that show 3 episodes last year and it was just as bad as I imagined.  Maybe if I hadn't been such an avid "So You Think You Can Dance" follower before checking it out I'd think differently, but to be honest what passes for dancing on "Stars" is a joke.   Instead I'll be watching the sophmore seasons of "Terminator" and "Chuck" at 8 and hoping they live up to the promise of the first.  "Chuck" is a blast and "Terminator" was just good enough to keep me interested.  At 9, I'll be once again avoiding the travesty that "Prison Break" has become and instead be giving "Heroes" a second chance at keeping me around.  The first season of Heroes showed too much promise for me to abandon it yet, but make no mistake, season 2 was really bad.  The good news is that creator/writer Tim Kring has admited as much and seems poised to make good on his promise to get it back to what made it great.  Finally at 10, I'll be DVRing "CSI:Miami" if for no other reason than to see if Lt. Caine really is dead and how he will manage those witty one liners if he is.  The only new show I'll be checking out on Monday's is also on at 10 (inheriting dearly departed Journeyman's slot) and it is called "My Own Worst Enemy".   I'm interested in seeing if Slater can pull it off and if the concept is as interesting in motion as I find it on paper. 

The color coded breakdown:


ABC - Dancing with the Stars
CBS - The Big Bang Theory
CW - Gossip Girl
Fox - Terminator: Sarah Conner Chronicles
NBC - Chuck


CBS - How I Met Your Mother


CBS - Two and a Half Men
CW - One Tree Hill
Fox - Prison Break
NBC - Heroes


ABC - Samantha Who?
CBS - Worst Week


ABC - Boston Legal
CBS - CSI: Miami
NBC - My Own Worst Enemy

Monday's total: Five 1 hour dramas, zero comedies, 5 hours Monday, 5 hours total.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sorry, Not Old Enough Yet...

Apparently my campaign is gaining momentum.

Thanks to Sara the Intern for alerting me to this disturbing trend.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On Battlestar Going Rebublican...

This is probably either old news to you or something you couldn't care less about, despite that I found it amusing enough that I had to post.  I'm not a big Battlestar Gallactica fan (I tried a couple episodes and it just didn't hold me.) but it's hard not to notice the amazing similarities in this compilation photo.  Pretty amusing, especially considering both pictured characters are well established major characters with political ties.

Check it out:

Also, as a side note, I have gone full circle in the last 4 days from thinking Palin was a politically expedient bone head move, to wishing her name came first on the bumper sticker. 

I'll be back on Monday with my day by day look at the Fall TV season and what will be filling up the newly empty (my son Christian no longer has remote control privleges) DVR O' Dice.