Sunday, May 31, 2009

Strong Women In Plain Sight

Mary Shannon Mary McCormack In Plain Sight screencaps images photos pictures
While roles for women in film continue to be of low value--or completely non-existent--roles for women on TV have been showing some bright, shiny signs of improvement. TNTs successful police dramas The Closer and Saving Grace not only have women as leads, they have complex female characters over 40 who are strong and sexy and damn good at their jobs. These tough lady characters no doubt owe something to their ensemble drama predecessors on CSI, Without a Trace, and especially Cold Case.

In that same police drama genre, we have USA's offering of In Plain Sight. This quirky series that balances comedy, snark, adventure, and heavy drama kicks it up a notch when it comes to female characters. We have the central character, U.S. Marshall Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack), but then we also have her alcoholic mother Jinx (Lesley Ann Warren) and trouble-magnet sister Brandi (Nichole Hiltz).

Brandi Shannon Nichole Hiltz In Plain Sight screencaps images photos pictures
What's startling about the Shannon family dynamic is that Mary's mother and sister are more than just cliches or props to insert a monkey wrench into her daily life as a marshall. Over the past and current seasons, we've gained insight into who these women are and why they act (or act out) the way they do. Warren does a perfect job melding the infuriating irresponsibility and painful vulnerability of Jinx, a lost and lonely woman who passes her suffering on to her children. At first glance, Brandi is just a dumb blonde who dates losers and sponges off her sister, but over time we see how she's been scarred by her family's past and present troubles. Hiltz also adds a sweetness and naiveté to Brandi's well-intentioned bumbling that slowly wins us--and Mary--over.

This season I was skeptical when In Plain Sight added an "office manager", Eleanor Prince (Holly Maples), to the U.S. Marshalls' office. It seemed, at first, that she was just going to be an annoying biddy who would be a thorn in Mary's side. I should have had more faith in In Plain Sight, because Eleanor has turned out to be so much more. At first blush she's an old school proper lady with an obsession for organization and procedure, but she's also got this tough, street-wise side that has been coming out more in each episode. She's got more skills than Mary expected, like calling in favors (or political blackmail) to get information out of other police divisions, or placing a well-timed phone call to an obnoxious district attorney's boss. Eleanor is clever and savvy and doesn't take crap from anyone.

(*SPOILER ALERT* I'm less happy about Eleanor's romantic ties to Mary's boss Stan McQueen (Paul Ben-Victor), though I called that one from Eleanor's very first appearance on In Plain Sight. I would have rather she was a more mysterious character who stood on her own, apart from any male influence, but I'll reserve full judgement until I see how the series plays out for her.)

In Plain Sight is a quality step forward for women's roles on TV. It's not a "chick show" in the sense that it only focuses on women's issues or traditionally female themes. Mary kicks ass without in any way diminishing her male partner Marshall Mann (Fred Weller) or other men in the series, so it can't be dismissed as anti-man. The adventures of the witness protection program offer mystery, action, comedic elements, and drama that appeals to both genders. In Plain Sight is just a flat-out entertaining and quality show that respects women enough to actually give them something to do.

Watch In Plain Sight on USA Sunday nights, at 10/9c.

PHOTOS: Mary McCormack as U.S. Marshall Mary Shannon, Nichole Hiltz as Brandi Shannon, In Plain Sight screencaps, c2009 UMS, USA Network.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pushing Daisies New Episode Tonight

Lee Pace Ned Pushing Daisies strawberry screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs stills
Don't forget, Pushing Daisies fans, the first of the last three episodes airs tonight on ABC, at 10/9c. Tune in for the next two Saturdays to finish up the series.

I've never watched the unique, cult fave Pushing Daisies, especially since rumors of its cancellation began almost as soon as the series did. You all will have to let me know if the last episode ends on a blood-boilingly frustrating cliffhanger, or if it's an ending I could live with if I decided to take in Pushing Daisies on DVD.

On Saturday, June 20, Eli Stone will pick up ABC's 10/9c timeslot, to air its final episodes.

PHOTO: Lee Pace as Ned in Pushing Daisies, screencap c2007 Jinks/Cohen, ABC, Warner.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

V New Series Preview Trailer

V remake TV series ABC ship screencaps pictures photos screengrabs trailer stills
ABC has released the new trailer for the V series remake. On the plus side we've got the awesome Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet from Lost), lovely Morena Baccarin (Firefly), and cutie Scott Wolf (The Nine, Party of Five). On the negative, we don't seem to have anyone as hot as Marc Singer or Judson Earney Scott were in the original. And Morena Baccarin is still too thin, and with a short pixie do, instead of the uber feminine, long- haired voluptuous beauty she was on Firefly.

I'll no doubt give the new remake a try. The effects look great, and Baccarin will make for an excellent evil, smooth-talking villain. For me, whether I keep watching depends on whether V will be non-stop angst each episode, or if there'll be enough action, romance, and hopefulness to keep it from being an endless downer.

V wasn't listed on ABCs fall schedule, so it looks like it will be a midseason replacement early next year.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Canceled Primetime TV Shows

Kings King Silas Ian McShane David Shepherd Christopher Egan screencaps images photos pitures screengrabs stills caps
NBC: Not that it's a surprise, but Kings has been officially canceled. My heart is broken, as this could have been one of those great epics like Lost that everyone gets so invested in--the fanfic was already being written, people!

Less tears are shed for canceled NBC shows Kath & Kim, My Name is Earl, and Medium. The latter got picked up immediately by CBS, and My Name is Earl has a good chance of getting renewed life from FOX or even ABC.

NBC gave up on Life, which was also somewhat expected, though no less disappointing. At least we got something of an end for Life, in one of the finest primetime TV esisodes of any show ever. Just remember, One + One = One = Love.

ABC: I never watched finally-ended series According to Jim, and In the Motherhood and The Unusuals got about 15 minutes total of my attention before giving up. Samantha Who? had its moments, but just couldn't hang on. And ratings-challenged Cupid got canceled as well, despite my personal objections. Bobby Cannavale has a power of charm that gives even Nathan Fillion a run for his money, and I'm hoping he can swing another show.

CBS: The loss of mini-season serial drama Harper's Island probably won't upset too many people, but some surprise cancellations have hit fans hard as CBS said goodbye to The Unit, Without a Trace, and Eleventh Hour.

CW: Cult fave Reaper got the sharp end of the scythe, and CW also canceled Everybody Hates Chris, The Game and Privileged.

FOX: I reported earlier that FOX had canceled Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but they also axed King of the Hill, Mad TV and Sit Down, Shut Up. King of the Hill was actually canceled last year, but then there was practically an entire season of episodes left to air--not all of which have seen the light as yet.

PHOTO: Ian McShane as King Silas, Christopher Egan as David Shepherd, Kings screencap, c2009 UMS, NBC.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

CBS Drops Without a Trace, Picks up Medium for New Fall Schedule

Without a Trace Anthony LaPaglia finale gun Jack Malone screencaps images screengrabs photos pictures stills
CBS is switching things around for their new fall schedule. With the renewal of Cold Case, it's not a surprise that CBS canceled on the bubble show Without a Trace. While Anthony LaPaglia has done some incredible dramatic acting on this show, I feel like it jumped the shark a while back. Without a Trace still had pretty solid ratings, but it was an expensive show and CBS apparently doesn't need it to remain successful.

CBS also canceled The Unit, but renewed two other on the bubble shows, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Gary Unmarried. For some reason, CBS chose to split up The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, pushing Big Bang to follow Two and a Half Men and letting HIMYM lead the night and into a new comedy. Seeing as I refuse to watch Two and a Half Men, I hope there'll be another half hour show I can watch on another network.

Teresa Lisbon Robin Tunney Patrick Jane Simon Baker The Mentalist screencaps images photos screengrabs caps pictures stills
As for good moves, CBS is shifting The Mentalist to Thursday nights, to follow CSI and take advantage of NBCs drama-free Leno timeslot. I usually hate when they shift shows around, but this doesn't seem like a bad idea.

The other good news is that CBS picked up NBC cast-off Medium, grouping it with Numb3rs and Ghost Whisperer on Friday. That's a nice line-up that could gather a strong viewer fanbase. Granted, that's how I felt about Friday night guilty pleasure vampire drama Moonlight, and we see what CBS did with that.

Speaking of Moonlight, Alex O'Laughlin's new medical drama Three Rivers, will air on Sundays at 9/8c, followed by Cold Case. I haven't really watched a medical drama since Julianna Marguiles left ER, so I'm not sure if I want to sign on for another one, but I'll give it a try for O'Laughlin's sake.

Stay tuned for more news about this fall's new schedule. Thanks to The Hollywood Reporter for CBS fall schedule info.

PHOTOS: Anthony LaPaglia as Jack Malone, Without a Trace screencap, c2009 Jerry Bruckheimer TV, CBS; Robin Tunney as Teresa Lisbon and Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, The Mentalist screencap, c2009 Warner Bros. Television, CBS.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

NBC Cancels Medium, Calling Patricia Arquette Drama "An Aging Franchise"

Medium Patricia Arquette Allison Dubois screencaps images pictures photos screengrabs stillsMedium has been canceled. Apparently NBC co-chairmen Ben Silverman considers Medium to be "an aging franchise, without a single fan letter, with no passion", according to The Hollywood Reporter.

CBS TV Studios, the creators of Medium, told Silverman he was full of it, though with more polite phrasing. Medium has been bounced around the schedule like crazy, and still manages to attract better ratings than some of the shows NBC decided to review. Personally, I think this may just be a smoke screen to cover up the fact that Leno being on five nights a week takes up slots where these otherwise fine shows would have been residing.

The possible good news is that if NBC doesn't reconsider, CBS may pick up the series, pairing it with Ghost Whisperer on Fridays. That doesn't sound like a bad idea at all. I'm certainly not tired of Medium, especially if they keep finding ways to work Anjelica Huston into the plots.

PHOTO: Patricia Arquette as Allison Dubois in Medium, c2009 CBS Paramount, NBC.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cold Case In, The Unusuals Out: Renewed and Canceled Shows Update

News keeps rolling in about renewed and canceled shows, with confirmation coming at tomorrow's upfronts. Recent word was that Without a Trace and Cold Case were both in danger of getting the boot due to the high costs of location shoots and cast salaries. now reports, however, that Cold Case is in the clear, renewed for the fall. The fate of Without a Trace remains to be seen. My only hope is that Kathryn Morris, a wonderful actress and the heart of the show, can find a way to regain a few pounds and the luminous glow she had in previous seasons.

Unsurprising to me, who could only get through 12 minutes of the pilot episode, The Unusuals has apparently been shelved. I'm a little frightened that ABC seems to be doing things right (after canning four excellent dramas this season) by renewing Castle and Better Off Ted and letting go of The Unusuals. Sadly, I fear they will not mind my wishes about Cupid, and I'm holding my breath until tomorrow when the Castle and Better Off Ted news will be confirmed for sure. Cross your fingers with me, folks.

In other news, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is definitely gone. Bones has been renewed for two seasons, despite some shaky plot decisions that have been annoying longtime fans of the show. The Big Bang Theory, one of the funniest comedy shows in recent history, has been renewed for two seasons. Two and a Half Men, one of the most sexist shows in modern history, has been renewed for three.

According to, Law & Order and Law & Order: CI are still up in the air, but Law & Order: SVU is returning. Supernatural and Gossip Girl are renewed, and Reaper's fate is yet to be determined.

A huge surprise to me is that Scrubs will be coming back. The new season will no doubt focus on the new interns. Zach Braff is set to return for a partial season to transition the show into its new format.

Tomorrow we should have confirmation on all those on the bubble shows, and find out if our favorites have been renewed or canceled. There are also some new shows to look into, including a new vehicle for Moonlight hottie Alex O'Loughlin.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chuck, Better Off Ted, Castle, and Dollhouse Renewed for New Season

Chuck Versus the Suburbs Zachary Levi Renewed Shows screencaps suit pictures photos images screengrabs stills
NBC heard your pleas, Chuck fans: our favorite geek spy Chuck is back for another 13 episodes starting this fall. The Hollywood Reporter conjectures that Chuck may have been saved due to fan support that included patronizing the sponsor Subway (good move, fans) and Zachary Levi's own support of the network by fulfilling all his publicity and PSA duties. Whatever the reason, it's good to see this smart, funny, action comedy has been renewed.

In other good news, ABC has renewed the wickedly absurd corporate parody show Better Off Ted. Perhaps the modern sitcom isn't dead yet. The ensemble cast of Better Off Ted each week takes the Scrubs-like off the wall humor and runs with it. The show writers aren't afraid of any issue, as illustrated by the Better Off Ted episode that dealt with the new motion sensors in the office not registering black people. It wasn't considered "cost-effective" to replace the sensors, so corporate policy instead decided to install separate drinking fountains, and then hired white people to follow the black employees around the office to set off the door, elevator, and fountain sensors. Both horrifyingly funny and a terrifyingly accurate jab at corporate inanity, Better Off Ted doesn't pull any punches.

For all you Nathan Fillion fans, the good news keeps coming. Castle has also been renewed for another season, hopefully boosted by the last couple weeks' lead-in from Dancing With the Stars. While still a bit rough around the edges, Castle has its charms, most of them in the form of Fillion himself. Here's hoping they can tighten up some of the supporting cast.

Dollhouse Echo Eliza Dushku renewed screencaps pictures photos images screengrabs stills capsThe biggest surprise thus far, even to Joss Whedon himself, is that FOX has renewed Dollhouse for another season. While I wasn't a fan of this show, word is that it improved as the season progressed. The big news is that FOX actually listened to what fans of all niche shows have been saying for years--they looked at DVR, streaming vid and iTunes downloads numbers and realized there were actually a fair number of viewers tuning in. The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan questions if this means the end of Nielsen ratings dominance, and I hope it does. I'm glad that FOX took a chance on an independent and unique show, but I sure wish they'd gotten their act together for Firefly instead.

Stay tuned to TV News and Reviews for more info on the upfronts. Confirmation of these renewals should come on Tuesday when many of the networks announce their full fall schedules.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lost Finale -- "The Incident, Part 1 and 2"

John Locke Terry O'Quinn Lost Follow the Leader The Incident finale screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs stills
Well, after tonight's Lost season finale, "The Incident", you can pretty much scoop my brain out with a spoon. Like those aliens over at Hulu, the Lost writers have turned my mind to mush. While tonight's episode pretended to answer questions, it really just created more, and left us with a big banging cliffhanger that will gnaw at us until fall.

*SPOILER ALERT* I liked some elements of this episode, but others grated on my nerves. Like the equally infuriating Heroes, Lost writers chose to have characters repeatedly shifting loyalties and motivations every five minutes. And except for the very end, no one seemed all that concerned that their lives would be soon over in a giant nuclear blast.

But let's start with Jacob. The invisible leader of the Others, Jacob has been mentioned, spoken to, and his orders heeded all this time, but no one has ever seen him. Except for Richard, of course. We finally see Jacob in the Lost finale, in the present as well as many past events, where he literally touches the lives of our plane crash survivors. So, this adds credence to the theory that all these people were on that plane for a reason.

But what reason? No sooner do we learn who Jacob is than he ends up skewered on the end of Ben's knife. We know that Jacob is ageless like Richard, and that he's responsible for Richard being ageless. We now know he doesn't live in the scary cabin in the jungle, but in the remains of the statue on the island's shore.

It appears Jacob's been around awhile, and long enough to acquire a nemesis. A nemesis who has taken a long journey just to kill Jacob--a long journey that shockingly includes becoming John Locke. Not the John Locke we've known, but some sort of evil doppelganger. This is now starting to sound a bit like The Mummy. I'm waiting for Richard to appear with the Book of the Dead under his arm.

Ilana, traveling with the group that originally tried to get Miles to go to the island with them, brings Richard the body of John Locke to show him the truth of who he just let in to see Jacob. Ilana finally gets the answer she wants to hear about what stands in the shadow of the statue, but Richard answers in a different language, so I have no idea what that answer is.

I have three questions about Jacob: 1) Why did he provoke Ben when he knew Ben was there to kill him? 2) Why did he warn his nemesis about the coming danger with his last breaths? 3) After living all this time, was it really that easy to kill Jacob?

Elizabeth Mitchell Juliet Burke Lost screencaps Follow the Leader The Incident pictures stills photos images screengrabs caps
Flip over to the other side of things and we get Jack, determined to follow Daniel's instructions and blow the island to bits. Juliet is all raw emotion and rash decisions because of her fear of losing Sawyer to Kate. I don't deny that Kate and Sawyer still have chemistry, but to me they don't seem ready to just dump all over Juliet. Kate even makes an extra effort to not be a jerk to Juliet, which maybe makes Juliet more suspicious.

Either way, the whole back and forth with Jack, Kate, Juliet and Sawyer was not my favorite part of the episode. Only Sawyer seemed to be acting in a rational manner--selfish, maybe, but at least you could follow his logic. And he truly does love was agony watching him lose her into the magnetized tunnel.

So here we are at the end of the Lost finale. Everyone's condition in 1977 is irrelevant because Juliet detonated the bomb. They will all either be dead, or will reappear in a different time loop. The question is, will they remember the experience or will they be strangers to one another? Will fate guide them all once more to the island, even if the plane doesn't crash? Will what happens in the past affect the future timeline we've been watching with Sun, Ben, Locke II, and Richard?

Extra moments that I liked in the episode: Rose and Bernard enjoying their retirement in the woods. I loved that Rose sounded like a Lost skeptic, completely disinterested in the crazy antics of the other survivors and their continuing missions to shoot stuff and try to save the world. I think this is where Juliet lost her mind a little, seeing how happy Bernard and Rose were and wishing she and Sawyer could have had that kind of contentment.

I also liked Miles dryly pointing out that detonating the bomb might be the actual "incident" they were trying to avoid. Miles spent enough time with Daniel to know how risky playing with time could be.

When Sun saw Aaron's cradle at the beach camp, the first thing I thought was, "Good, is someone finally going to find Charlie's ring?" I'd always thought that was a bad place to leave it, and there it is at last.

The Lost creators apparently decided with the season finale they would give fans enough material to fight and lose our minds over for the approaching summer months. I think they've succeeded. Anyone got a spoon?

PHOTOS: Terry O'Quinn as John Locke, Elizabeth Mitchell as Juliet Burke, Lost screencaps, c2009 ABC Studios.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Castle Bumps Surviving Suburbia Into Cancellation?

Nathan Fillion Richard Castle Stana Katic Kate Beckett detective author Castle screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs caps stills
Last week ABC put the Bob Saget sitcom Surviving Suburbia on hiatus, giving the Nathan Fillion/Stana Katic dramedy Castle the benefit of the Dancing with the Stars lead-in. While Surviving Suburbia has had pretty impressive numbers in comparison to other primetime TV shows, apparently it was losing a lot of its lead-in from DWTS. After Castle's jump in the ratings last week, ABC kept Surviving Suburbia on hiatus this week for Castle's season finale.

A schedule shuffle isn't necessarily a kiss of death for Surviving Suburbia, but it's probably not a good sign that the rest of the season will air between May 27-July 1, leaving a couple of episodes left over that ABC as yet has no plans to show. It seems kind of crazy to kill a show with good ratings, but this is ABC we're talking about, so I can't even muster the energy to register surprise at this point.

The good news is that Castle's jump in numbers, and Nathan Fillion's ridiculous amounts of fan love (and critic love), definitely adds some points to the column in favor of renewing the series. Let's hope ABC doesn't ruin every single one of our primetime TV hopes this year, and gives a few of these series a fighting chance to gain their footing.

Read more on Castle and Surviving Suburbia at, TV by the Numbers, and TV Series Finale.

PHOTO: Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle and Stana Katic as Kate Beckett, Castle screencap, c2009 ABC Studios.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Star Trek's Karl Urban Brings Dr. "Bones" McCoy to Life

Karl Urban Doctor Leonard Bones McCoy Star Trek bridge screencaps images screengrabs photos pictures stills capsKarl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in the new Star Trek.

When the cast list started making it into the press for the new Star Trek film, I thought many of the choices were excellent. Zachary Quinto, in particular, seemed made to play Spock. The casting looked to be following the age ranges correctly as well.

While his age was right, I was skeptical about Karl Urban as the choice to play our favorite space doctor "Bones" McCoy. Sure, Urban was striking, powerful, and menacing in macho roles for Lord of the Rings, Bourne Supremacy, and Chronicles of Riddick. How was he going to play the wiry, crotchety, spiky doc who rolled his eyes at Kirk, grumbled his exasperation at his green-blooded antagonist Spock, and most often supplied the moral center and voice of reason against his more rash and analytical friends?

The answer is: brilliantly. Karl Urban breathed new and exciting life into McCoy, reminding all of us who watched the original Star Trek series (either when aired or in reruns) why we loved Bones so much. His first growly meeting with James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) is a joy to watch as he complains about his divorce-induced poverty and then energetically rants about all the ways one can get killed while on a space shuttle (the perfect nod to our doc's fabled fear of using the transporter and tearing himself into tiny molecular bits).

Urban gives McCoy his lovable crankiness and passionate rages against Spock's icy demeanor, and doesn't skimp on his intellect, quick thinking, and loyalty to his friends. His rapport with Pine's Kirk is an instant reminder of the emotional and diehard friendship we've always loved in the series. And of course it wouldn't be McCoy without derisive mutterings about Spock's green blood, and Urban lands the snarky jibes perfectly.

The New Zealand native doesn't try to imitate DeForest Kelley's distinctive accent, but there's a hint of a twang to his ascerbic wit that hits the right notes--and after all, if you check a map, Kiwis are pretty much the Southerners of the whole world.

To put it simply, Karl nailed it. In an interview with, Urban admits to being a Trekkie who watched the whole Star Trek series when he was a kid, and then again with his own son. It shows in his performance how much he knows and loves this character.

And if you don't trust me, just ask Leonard Nimoy:
"When Karl Urban introduced himself as Leonard McCoy and shook hands with Chris Pine [as Captain Kirk], I burst into tears. I thought that performance of his would be so moving, so touching, so powerful, as Dr. McCoy that I think [DeForest Kelley] would be smiling, and maybe in tears as well." --, May 7, 2009.

PHOTOS: Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy and Chris Pike as James T. Kirk, Star Trek screencaps, c2009 Bad Robot, Paramount Pictures.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How Will Jay Leno's Move Affect Primetime TV?

Jay Leno chats with President Obama on The Tonight Show, 3/19/2009.

With the cancellation of Life, we've already seen one of the consequences of NBCs decision to add Jay Leno to primetime TV. Once the fall season starts, Leno will take over the 10/9c slot, effectively removing all adult dramas from NBCs line-up--or moving them to an earlier timeslot. As if kids don't get enough violence on TV, we're making sure the more graphic shows get on the air earlier so they can catch them before bedtime.

It's a money-saving venture for NBC. Last year Entertainment Weekly reported that Leno will be getting $30+ million a year, whereas a scripted drama generally costs at least double. So Leno will be producing twice as many new episodes of primetime TV for half the price of a scripted show.

EW seemed to think this will be a good thing for the other networks--and subsequently us, as well. After all, there is now less competition at 10/9c, so the dramas on the other stations may rack up bigger numbers and not get canceled after four episodes. One can only hope.

Conan O'Brien, who takes the reins of The Tonight Show this year, can't be all that pleased. After all, if a new movie's coming out on Friday, will the actors want to be seen with Leno on primetime, or with the former late late night guy at midnight? There's bound to be some friction there.

And is this really a great move for NBC viewers? Do we need hours and hours of late night talk shows? If they keep cutting scripted shows from the networks, who will there be left to interview?

Lost -- "Follow the Leader"

Richard Alpert Nestor Carbonell Daniel Faraday Jeremy Davies Lost Follow the Leader screencaps images photos pictures stills screengrabs gun dead shotAgeless Others "advisor" Richard Alpert is shocked as the gun-wielding Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) gets shot in the opening of tonight's Lost episode "Follow the Leader".

*SPOILER ALERT* Tonight's episode of Lost, "Follow the Leader", brought us two incredibly jaw-dropping events, both involving the recently reincarnated John Locke (Terry O'Quinn). The first event was that Locke's return, precise knowledge of when time loops would occur, and his decision to bring all of the Others to see Jacob completely freaked out the freaky ageless man himself, Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell). Seeing Richard actually frightened, confused, and apparently out of the loop of information was more disturbing than smoke clouds and polar bears in the jungle, I can tell you.

And then after Locke makes all the right noises to reassure Sun of his efforts to reunite her and her husband, he casually tells Ben (Michael Emerson) that he has no interest in reuniting with anyone. He's going to see Jacob to kill him. And in that moment of utter shock and horror on Ben's part, we the audience actually fear Locke more than Ben--and we actually wonder if we should be siding with Ben on this one. Now that is some stellar mind-frakking TV.

Speaking of mind-frakking, "Follow the Leader" definitely made the brain twitch with having Richard appear in three separate time lines--the "present", the 70s, and in one of Locke's time jumps. The fact that he magically appeared when Locke needed his help with his bullet wound is due to the fact that future Locke told him what to say and do...again, watch the brain cells fry.

Kate Austen Evangeline Lilly Lost Follow the Leader screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs stills caps
Our other journey in "Follow the Leader" was the split between Jack (Matthew Fox) and Kate (Evangeline Lilly) over whether to follow Daniel's advice to detonate the hydrogen bomb. Jack is in a big hurry to erase the last three+ years of his life, but Kate is rightly worried about making important relationships just disappear. Never mind the fact that if the plane had landed as scheduled, she'd be going to prison.

Jack seems to convince Eloise (Alice Evans) that Daniel was in fact her son and that she might be able to undo killing him by following his orders to alter this timeline. Sayid (who pops out of the jungle long enough to save a departing Kate from getting shot by the Others) suggests to Jack that Eloise's only interest in the H-bomb is to blow up all of the Dharma folk. Jack doesn't really care--he's a man on a mission, now. Sayid's more of a fatalist about it all, and goes along with the plan.

James Sawyer Ford Josh Holloway Lost Follow the Leader screencaps images pictures photos stills screengrabs
Then we have Sawyer (Josh Holloway) and Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell), held captive by the Dharma security personnel. Once they started beating on Sawyer, and asking for Kate's whereabouts, I could see it all coming. Sawyer had to make a choice between Juliet and Kate. As he should, Sawyer chooses Juliet, bargaining a spot for them on the departing submarine in exchange for information. I realllly didn't like this, but I guess it follows one of two paths--one is that the Sawyer we knew from the beginning was always out for his best interests, and now it's his and Juliet's interests, and second is that we don't actually know if Sawyer gave them accurate information or if he just played them to get a ride off the island.

Sawyer and Juliet had a nice scene together, of renewed faith and trust in one another, and then of course--who drops in but the newly returned/recaptured Kate to throw a wrench in the works. So the love triangle complications continue.

Juliet Burke Elizabeth Mitchell Lost Follow the Leader screencaps images pictures screengrabs stills caps photosAnother item of note is that Miles (Ken Leung) finally sees for himself that his father Dr. Chang (François Chau) sent him and his mother away to save them--and that the only way he could get her to leave was by being cruel to her.

Next week is the season finale of Lost, and I'm not sure my brain can handle it. We've got a possible murder of Jacob, the detonation of an H-bomb, a submarine heading to the real world in the 70s, and Hurley, Miles, and Jin at a loss for their next move out in the jungle.

And we'll see how freaked out Ben and Richard are...

Watch the three hour season finale event of Lost, next Wednesday night on ABC starting at 8/7c.

PHOTOS: Nestor Carbonell as Richard Alpert, Evangeline Lilly as Kate, Josh Holloway as Sawyer, and Elizabeth Mitchell as Juliet in Lost, "Follow the Leader", c2009 ABC Studios.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cupid Pulls All the Right Heartstrings

Cupid Bobby Cannavale Trevor Heather Amy Schumer screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs stills The Tommy Brown AffairTrevor, aka Cupid (Bobby Cannavale) sits with new drunk friend Heather (Last Comic Standing's Amy Schumer) on Cupid.

While it seems that Cupid's chances of survival on ABC are slim, I still can't help watching this flawed but eminently charming show. Sure it's cliched and silly and sometimes has holes of logic that you can drive a truck through, but like paperback romances and fluffy summer movie rom-coms, sometimes it's the thought that counts.

I was actually thinking the other day that Cupid is in the same sort of genre as that old ship o' cliches, The Love Boat. Sure it was corny and ridiculous, but you got to see all of these great character actors every week, have a few laughs, and leave with a happy sigh for the happily ever after couples who solved their problems with the help of the perky and quirky staff on a cruise.

With Cupid we have the super cool and ridiculously endearing Bobby Cannavale as Trevor, a man who may be an actual Greek god, or just a handsome, lovable guy with personal problems and delusions of grandeur. We also have his psychiatrist Dr. Claire McCrae, played by Sarah Paulson with a mixture of exasperation, cynicism, and occasional reluctant bemusement. It's often a thankless role, as she has to play hardass to Cannavale's playful imp, but this week's episode "Shipping Out" allowed us to see more of her fun and sexy side--which gave us the best chemistry we've seen so far between her and Cannavale.

Trevor is all lust and romance with no thought of consequences, and Claire is all consequences with no passion, but when the two of them work together they manage to bring deserving couples together from meet cutes to destiny. It's syrupy and silly, but the snappy dialogue and the dips into realistic drama help keep the show from going completely off the rails.

"Shipping Out" was worth it just for Trevor's theory that how people dance illustrates the way they have sex--his demonstration of these various dance moves was all at once sexy and disturbingly familiar and hilarious. And then Claire (who has shunned dancing since being made fun of as a teenager) finally gets to have her star moment when she lets loose and pulls out some sexy moves of her own--and captures Cupid's immediate attention. The little number they do together is just the sort of thing that has you grinning even after the show is over.

So sure, Cupid's not perfect. But I'm going to enjoy my little slice of cheesy romance pie as long as it's being offered.

Watch Cupid on ABC Wednesday nights at 10/9c.

PHOTO: Cupid, "The Tommy Brown Affair" screencap, c2009 ABC Studios.

Monday, May 4, 2009

What's Up, Chuck? -- Canceled and Renewed Shows Update

Chuck Bartowski Zachary Levi Chuck screencaps photos pictures images screengrabs capsLooks like we'll all have to wait for the fate of Chuck, as well as NBC drama staples Medium and Law & Order. All three shows are still on the bubble, and NBC won't be letting us know their fate until May 19, according to both Zap2It and (Although Worst Previews reports Medium was picked up over the weekend, so our favorite ghost whisperer may be back after all.)

What NBC did decide on for sure is that Heroes, Southland, and Parks and Recreation will be back. Heroes is a hot mess this season, with just a few flickers of promise, but apparently it does well overseas and is worth it to NBC to keep. reported a huge ratings slippage for Southland over the course of a month, but apparently the network thinks it's still a good gamble. I wish they would have gambled on Kings instead.

My Name is Earl is still up in the air, but if canceled, word is that FOX might pick it up. The Office, 30 Rock, Law & Order: SVU, and Celebrity Apprentice are all renewed. Coincidentally, I don't watch any of these shows. Apparently I am just not in tune with the average Nielsen TV viewer.

Damian Lewis Detective Charlie Crews finale Life One plus one equals one love screencaps photos pictures images screengrabs stills caps
The biggest hearbreak of all is losing Life. I'm not sure why this Damian Lewis/Sarah Shahi detective/mystery/dark comedy story didn't take off the way The Mentalist has. Part of it can be blamed on the writers' strike that interrupted Life's first season, and it's somewhat darker and odder tone may have also contributed. When you can't slap a simple label on a show, it's harder to sell to an audience. While The Mentalist straddles a couple different genres, it still has a basic format of crime solving procedural each week, so it's easier for the average viewer to grasp.

The only good news is that Life at least got a proper ending, with one of the finest episodes of TV drama I've ever seen on television. There's enough quality and foundation there to get out a decent film if they wanted to, and I'd love to see it.

I'll keep you posted on this year's network upfronts news as I hear it.

PHOTOS: Zachary Levi as Chuck on Chuck, c2009 College Hill Pictures, NBC and Damian Lewis as Charlie Crews on Life, c2009 NBC.


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