Thursday, December 8, 2011

'Glee': The Return of 'Trouty Mouth' Sam

chord overstreet sam hold on to sixteen glee pictures photos trouty mouth red lips screencapsOh Sam, how we've missed you. Chord Overstreet returned to "Glee" for Episode 8, "Hold on to Sixteen," and it was all we hoped for and more. We may never know why Chord left the show in the first place, but it was good to have him back. "Glee" gave Sam a funny Toby Keith tune to perform called "Red Solo Cup," which is sort of a cross between country and beat poetry. You can have a listen on the "Glee" music site here. Sam's always had one of the strongest male voices on the show, so it was a treat to get a solo about Solo from him on his first episode back.

One of the sure-to-be-most-talked-about highlights of this "Glee" episode was, of course, Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel (Lea Michele) discovering that Sam's new after-school job was as a stripper named "White Chocolate." Any excuse to show off Sam's abs again, right? This was also just another opportunity for Chord to get harassed by his fellow castmates, and yes, the pic below is of Cory's phone with a blackmail-worthy photo of the blond hottie in his underwear.

Cory Monteith phone picture blackmail stripper Sam photo picture screencap Chord Overstreet Hold on to Sixteen GleeSam's abrupt departure left Mercedes (Amber Riley) without a boyfriend once again, which the "Glee" writers compensated for by just as abruptly finding her a new guy. That slapdash storytelling was one of the weaknesses of an otherwise greatly improved Season 3, so it's been a relief to see Sam reintroduced to Mercedes' love life. His plan is to win back her love after their "summer fling," and it looks like Mercedes isn't too upset about this new development. What girl doesn't want two boyfriends fighting over her?

One more bonus of the return of Sam's ruby red lips is, of course, Santana's (Naya Rivera) famed monologues about his "trouty mouth." "Glee" had fun with the snarky cheerleader's obsession with Sam's pout, having her whip out a list of fresh "OMG your mouth is so big" insults she'd been jotting down ever since he left. Sam's good-natured response showed he'd missed Santana's clever jabs as much as we did.

The bad news in all of this is it appears Sam may not be in for the long haul. The early reports on Overstreet's reappearance noted he'd be on "Glee" for a "multi-episode arc." How long Sam sticks around may be contingent upon how well his storyline goes over and what the ratings say about his return. Judging how fans reacted after the first time he left, I would suspect that even if Sam isn't a regular on the show, they'll leave it open enough for him to return for future episodes.

Want to know more about "Glee" episode "Hold on to Sixteen"? Check out: "New Directions and Troubletones: Are Two 'Glee' Clubs Better Than One?"

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'The Vampire Diaries' Tops List of Best TV Series with Worst First Episodes

Vampire Diaries Damon Salvatore Ian Somerhalder Bonnie Bennett Kat Graham photos pics premiere reviews

Some TV shows, like long-running series "Friends" and cult fave "Firefly," are captivating right out of the starting gate. (And yes, Joss Whedon's sci-fi western series was amazing whether you count the actual pilot or the later episode FOX aired first.) Many television shows operate on a slow burn, however, and take awhile to overcome a clunky pilot or even several episodes of their debut season. Considering the "good ratings or die" attitude of most TV networks, it's amazing some of these entertaining series survived after their dismal beginnings.

"The Vampire Diaries": This CW melodrama still has its flaws, but it's transformed from an eye roll extravaganza to a truly entertaining guilty pleasure. The pilot's problems were numerous, the big offender being obviously adult actors woodenly reciting chirpy Valley Girl "OMG!" dialogue about deep things like having a "kick-ass" school year. Moody, diary-writing vampire Stefan (Paul Wesley) came across as a dumb jock who would scrawl "Duh!" at the start of every entry, if in some universe a guy like that would actually keep a journal.

Luckily for this fledgling show, there was enough of an intriguing mystery buried in the plot, and "Lost" actor Ian Somerhalder showed up at the end of the pilot to add some smoldering, hypnotic bad boy goodness that female viewers were willing to tune in again for. As the season progressed, the writing tightened up and the acting appeared more natural. Wesley warmed up to his character, no pun intended, and Nina Dobrev upped her skills to give us two distinctive doppelgangers, Elena and Katherine. If we'd given up after the pilot, we never would have been able to enjoy the enticing vampire/human love triangles and suspenseful, angsty adventures of "The Vampire Diaries."

"Without a Trace": It was yet another cop show from CBS in 2002, and this one was really bad. The pilot episode tried way too hard to be hip and edgy, and dumped way too many "married to the job veteran detective" and "hothead Latino" stereotypes on us at once. Lead Anthony LaPaglia looked uncomfortable, and Poppy Montgomery's acting ranked right up there with Paris Hilton. The whole series seemed stilted with largely unlikable characters, and if CBS had killed it after a few episodes, it wouldn't have been missed.

The show's main advantage was its focus on tracking down missing persons, rather than uncovering murderers and violent offenders every week. The chance for a happy ending made "Without a Trace" stand out from its more depressing counterparts, and thankfully the series smoothed out into a solid drama with some truly standout episodes. Montgomery improved dramatically and LaPaglia turned in some of his finest acting performances, earning him both an Emmy nomination and Golden Globe win in 2004.

"Star Trek: The Next Generation": The pilot episode, "Encounter at Farpoint (Part I)," was a truly clunky start to what would become a beloved series amongst "Star Trek" fans. The most jarring element was that Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) was not only the anti-Kirk, but he was a rather unlikable jerk. The pilot episode also crumbled under the weight of combining a space plot, gratuitous CGI (including some less than stellar SFX) and introducing a parade of characters.

The entire cast seemed lost in space, searching for their characters' vibes and motivations, with Marina Sirtis (Troi) falling victim to the "shout out obvious things" role. Stewart himself later said that he had no idea how to portray his character at the start, and thought he would get fired.

Luckily for us, he didn't, and the series eventually found its stride. Picard retained his practical, intellectual, and cultured personality, but warmed considerably. The characters developed into a family, and "The Next Generation" successfully melded entertaining space adventures with forays into philosophical and forward-thinking debates that "Star Trek" fans have always loved.

"Doctor Who": The first "Doctor Who" TV series, like the original "Star Trek," had a rep for low budgets but intriguing sci-fi storylines and beloved characters that earned a rabid fanbase. With a 2005 reboot, excited viewers were hoping those good stories would now be accompanied by better effects and a little more sophistication. Instead, our new doctor and his future companion faced off in the pilot episode with an attacking mannequin arm--that mostly involved the actors holding a plastic arm and pretending to fight with it. Then there was the unbelievable scenario where our heroine's boyfriend turns into a mannequin, and she doesn't notice the difference.

"Who" fans aren't really afraid of a few corny scenarios, however, and Christopher Eccleston successfully combined charm and childlike whimsy with a mysteriously dangerous vibe to create a Doctor worth watching. Billie Piper added the fiery passion and heart to the duo, and each successive episode became richer in storytelling and presentation.

The series truly took flight when David Tennant took over as Doctor Number 10, and the series began to weave the individual episodes into larger, overarching plots that spanned one or more years. Though it started small, "Doctor Who" is now one of the finest, most thoughtful series on television.

"Castle": This series still isn't brain surgery by any means, but it's definitely upped its game since the first episode. With a pretty contrived scenario to base a series on, "Castle" immediately struggled to make the idea of a crime novelist helping out the police a believable one. It didn't help that Castle was a bit too much of a caricature, the sexual tension got ramped up to 11 from the moment he met Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), and the other guys in the police squad were merely a peanut gallery behind the two leads' banter.

The ridiculous amounts of charm Nathan Fillion possesses helped keep "Castle" on the air, hobbling along on good will until the series finally started to gel. The writing helped develop all of the characters into actual individuals we cared about, and the weekly mysteries became more intricate and less predictable. The series writers also found a way to better balance the macabre nature of a crime with the jokes that inevitably accompanied it.

Which of your favorite series had terrible pilots, or even terrible first years?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Up All Night" Like a Bad "Saturday Night Live" Episode--A Really Bad Episode

Christina Applegate and Will Arnett look as depressed
as we feel watching Up All Night.

Thanks to Up All Night, Will Arnett now has the distinction of starring in two sitcoms I turned off before they were over (the other was Running Wilde). At least this time I made it halfway through episode "New Car," but it was a painful 12 minutes. It's sad when you take Saturday Night Live writer and Parks & Recreation producer Emily Spivey and put her together with Maya Rudolph, Christina Applegate, and Will Arnett and you get this painfully awkward mess.

The beginning of the episode focused on Chris (Arnett) trying to bring the sexy back to his relationship with Reagan (Applegate). He's frustrated that she goes from attractive power-suited woman to a new mom in white sweats who thinks it's hilarious when she drops a spaghetti meatball in her lap. It's amazing I was able to contain the laughter.

There were a few funny moments, mostly supplied by guest star Will Forte, who appears as a relaxed, hippie-esque dude who offers Chris some advice on a sexy Dad makeover--and generally steps over personal boundaries.

Sadly, fellow SNL alum Maya Rudolph doesn't fare so well. Starring in Up All Night as a talk show host and unstable crazy woman, in "New Car" she finds out a destructive ex-boyfriend is getting married. Rudolph was one of my favorite performers on the late night sketch comedy show, but no one really seems to know how to cultivate her talents outside that realm. Once they got into the bad 80s flashback of her music video with her boy band boyfriend, my hand went for the remote.

Like many a Saturday Night Live episode, some of the set-ups seem like they should be funny, but they just aren't. The actors look uncomfortable, like they're trying to force the humor, and the whole thing becomes way too painful to watch.

There seemed to be a lot of hype and expectation for this show, which was the reason I tuned in to watch. I was sadly disappointed, and it looks like other viewers are as well. HitFix reports that the show's ratings have been sliding downward, and if they keep slipping, Up All Night could get relocated or removed altogether.

With the talented cast, maybe the show has the potential to get better. I just couldn't wait.

Up All Night currently airs on NBC, Wednesday nights at 8/7c.

PHOTOS: Up All Night, "New Car" screencaps, c2011 Broadway Video, UMS, NBC.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2 Broke Girls Pilot Episode

Who cares about Two and a Half Men when you have 2 Broke Girls? The premiere of this gal pal sitcom jumped out of the gate and took off running, led by the rapid-fire tough-girl dialogue from waitress Max (Kat Dennings). I kept waiting for her sardonic wit to get old or to fail at funniness, but it was relevant, biting, and entertaining to watch for the full half hour. One of the highlights included her dressing down a couple of rude hipster customers, including a snap at one of my personal pet peeves:

"I wear knit hats when it's cold out; you wear knit hats 'cause of Coldplay."

2 Broke Girls is promising to be a sweet but smart girl power comedy that pairs Max with rich girl Caroline (a charmingly funny Beth Behrs), whose corrupt father landed in prison and landed her in the poorhouse. The two make a pact in the pilot episode to work as many jobs as possible to save up money to open a bakery--Max apparently has mad skills with cupcakes and Caroline went to Wharton Business School.

It's a nice frame for a series that will be finding humor in the opposite lifestyles of Max and Caroline (though they agree on their love of bad boy Robbie's (Noah Mills) sexy abs), the quirky staff and customers of the Brooklyn diner the girls waitress at, and the crazy rich lady Max babysits for.

The best comedies mix great dialogue and funny situations with physical comedy, and 2 Broke Girls is no exception. One of the best surprise laughs in the pilot episode came when Max rode the subway, and a jarring stop of the train car bumped her into an inadvertent kiss with another female passenger. After a lengthy, awkward pause, Max drawled, "Well, I can knock that off my bucket list." The way the kiss happened, and the look these two women share, made this perfect comedic moment work just the way it should. What made it even better was the immediate follow-up incident with Caroline and a pink taser: "It didn't feel pink!"

So far 2 Broke Girls is off to a promising start. The characters are likable and it will actually make you laugh, unlike many other sitcoms out there. Here's hoping the next episodes can keep up with the brilliantly sharp sarcasm and unexpected subway humor. It's too soon to tell for sure, but I expect this Whitney Cummings' show to do better than the one she actually stars in.

PHOTO: Kat Dennings as Max and Beth Behrs as Caroline in 2 Broke Girls; pilot screencaps c2011 CBS Television Network.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

US Open Day Two: Rafael Nadal Fights a Feisty Golubev

Rafael Nadal US Open yellow black photos pictures images screencaps
After Roger Federer took us to a bit of a nailbiter match in round one of the US Open, we fans were hoping to see some stellar Rafael Nadal play to soothe our souls. While Rafa played a pretty clean and solid game, it was also fairly tame, and he ended up playing constant catch-up with a wildly aggressive and determined Andrey Golubev.

Rafael Nadal US Open round one Andrey Golubev screencaps images Tuesday match photos pictures
It's sometimes astounding to see how little difference there is between a number 2 player in the world, and a guy hovering between 50 and 100. These guys all know how to play serious tennis, and Golubev made some beautiful shots on Rafa tonight. So many shots, in fact, that the Spaniard was left shaking his head after many a point.

US Open Rafael Nadal shaking head yellow black round one tennis images screencaps photos pictures
Rafael is where he is, however, because he never freakin' gives up on a game. He doesn't care if the match goes into back-and-forth deuce points for an hour, he'll still keep rallying. If he's down, he'll get back up. While the other guy tires, he keeps right on going. He sweated through two shirt changes, but he didn't slow down.

Rafael Nadal tennis balls autograph win round one Golubev photos pictures images screencaps screengrabs pics
Fans went crazy as Rafael lobbed balls into the audience, and the Spanish hero looked relieved and happy to have climbed over his first hurdle at the US Open. If you want to know how he managed it, you can check out the full analysis:

US Open Day 2: Rafael Nadal Squeaks Out 3-Set Victory Over Andrey Golubuv.

Rafael Nadal press conference US Open day two round one black white jacket grimace screencaps images photos pictures
Rafael's expressive face says it all in the post-match press conference, where he gives plenty of credit to his vigorous opponent: "He didn't help [my nerves] because he played fast all of the time." Now with a win under his belt and not too many mistakes to lament, Rafael can hopefully settle his nerves and play a more finely-tuned second round match.

PHOTOS: US Open Day 2, Round One, Rafael Nadal vs. Andrey Golubev screencaps c2011

US Open Day One: Roger Federer Works on His Game

Roger Federer had me fired up at the French Open, thumbing his nose at all of the naysayers when he broke Novak Djokovic's incredible streak of wins. The Swiss tennis star was pure beauty to behold, sliding all over the bright red courts with the elegance of a ballet dancer and enough power on his strokes to rattle Djoko's cage.

While the eventual loss in the final to both friend and nemesis Rafael Nadal was sad, it was still great tennis and Federer still seemed pleased with himself after the match. The glory was short-lived, however, as Fed went out in the quarters at Wimbledon. He hasn't really recovered since.

It hasn't been the best year for Roger Federer, though of course that's all relative. With all the records he has to his name, anything less than constant perfection is considered a disappointment--but we're sure his opponent in round one of the US Open would love to have had Fed's year of consistent quarter, semi-final and final visits.

Despite his solid skills, fans can't help worrying when it takes Fed so long to dispatch a lower-ranked player like Santiago Giraldo. The headlines are taking the 3-set victory as a cake walk, but anyone who watched the match knows there were some times when we wondered where the real Roger Federer was.

Here we see Federer scratching his head, trying to figure out why it's not going as easy as it should. Eventually he found his stride, and we discovered there was a method to his madness. You can check out the full analysis of the match here on Yahoo!.

Roger was his usual calm, mildly superior self during the post-match interview, though he did admit to the fact that he should have dispatched his opponent faster. While he's still a little spiky about press questions, Federer has been making some changes over the last couple of months. You can read more about that here:

Roger Federer US Open Series: Can He Move Past Losses to a Slam Victory?

While we're on the subject of tennis and the top players, you might also be interested in: 3-Way Rivalry: Are Djokovic, Federer and Nadal the Rock-Paper-Scissors of Tennis?

PHOTOS: US Open Round One screencaps, Roger Federer vs. Santiago Giraldo, c2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

5 Ways a 'Sex and the City' Prequel TV Series Could Work

The Carrie Diaries Sex and the City prequel screencaps

Rumors have been circulating for awhile about a possible film prequel to the "Sex and the City" TV series, but nothing has been confirmed. Now word is out that the prequel may in fact be a CW TV series with writer and producer connections to that network's hit show "Gossip Girl." Based on Candace Bushnell's novels that begin with Carrie Bradshaw in high school, the new series could potentially be a success with diehard fans of the original HBO series as well as new teen CW viewers. Prequels have their pitfalls, but there are five ways the new "Sex and the City" could be a new television hit.

1. Go a little more gritty. Over the years, "Sex and the City" got to be more about the clothes, glamor, and outrageous sex rather than the realistic stories of friendship and dating in New York. If the new series could adopt more of a "My So Called Life" real-person, real-life vibe rather than a "Gossip Girl" super chic sheen, it could pay tribute to the start of the original series as well as creating its own signature style. Candace Bushnell's prequel book series gives Carrie and her friends plenty of character quirks, insecurities and drama to deal with, so the new "Sex and the City" would definitely work well with average and awkward teens rather than perfectly styled 24-year-olds pretending to be teens.

2. Add cameos from our favorite characters. So far, the early days of Carrie only include an appearance by Samantha Jones. A treat for fans of the HBO series would be to include glimpses of other characters in the new show. Bushnell's storyline has Carrie in New York City after high school, so it wouldn't be at all unrealistic for her to brush past Stanford on the street or hear Anthony making a scene at a club. Carrie wouldn't have to recognize them at the time, but the fans would. Of course the ultimate gift would be a near-miss of a meet cute with young Mr. Big, which would be a treat for viewers while still preserving their eventual meet-up in the original "Sex and the City" series.

3. Show Carrie's transformation. When "Sex and the City" began, Carrie was the most level-headed and easy-to-identify-with character on the show, so it's not tough to imagine a smart teenager with a sharp wit we'll enjoy cheering on each week. Since she wasn't born with a cool writing gig, designer wardrobe and expensive shoe collection, however, there's great potential to watch our favorite aspiring author slowly find her confidence and style. There's got to be that important moment when she buys her first pair of high-end, hot pink '80s stilettos.

4. Stay true to the time period. The "Sex and the City" prequel would be set in the '80s, which gives the costumers and make-up artists plenty of fun style to work with. Eighties fashion is slowly working its way into current fashion, so there's the danger that the characters might end up looking like modern CW girls rather than properly preppy or New Wave fashionistas, with a little '70s style lingering on from the previous decade. Showing Carrie's experimentation with a quirky mix of '80s fashions and some personal innovation will help keep the show fresh, and also prevent it from looking like some stereotypical neon and spandex style explosion.

5. Create compelling characters. The problem with prequels is that we know how the story ends. While it could be entertaining and enlightening to see Carrie's origin, it could also be tougher for viewers to care about her relationships when it's obvious the guy won't be The One. Anyone who's watched repeats of the original "Sex and the City" series, however, knows that it's still fun to see Carrie's dating misadventures because the characters she meets are interesting and funny--and in a lot of cases, extremely hot. Hook Carrie up with some gorgeous guys we actually care about, and we won't mind taking the journey with them, no matter how short-lived it might be.

What do you think, Yahoo!TV readers? What elements would make a "Sex and the City" prequel succeed?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Torchwood -- Miracle Day, 'The New World,' Episode 1 Review

Torchwood Miracle Day New World baby screencaps Gwen Cooper Eve Myles gun photos pictures imagesOne of the first things that's enjoyable about Torchwood -- Miracle Day is that Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) kicks serious butt in this premiere episode, "The New World." The pic above is my favorite scene from the premiere episode, the new mom holding her baby with one hand and firing with the other--and yes, she remembered to protect the baby's ears with ear muffs...hah. Probably not entirely realistic, but it's a great sort of graphic novel heroine shot.

I also liked that the Gwen we have here is consistent with the Gwen of the first season of Torchwood. That Gwen was curious and always on the hunt for answers, which is what got her hooked up with Captain Jack in the first place. Now we see her hiding away, trying to protect her family, but the instinct to ferret out answers to the world's (universe's) great mysteries is still strong.

Torchwood Miracle Day New World Esther Drummond Alexa Havins screencaps images photos pictures
The bad news is that the American version of Torchwood chose to balance Gwen's tough mother role with the CIA employee Esther--a so typically American TV star who is tiny and frail and blond, but who we're supposed to believe is all tough and ready for danger. Soap star Alexa Havins really does a fine enough job with her role, and she's not too squeaky as the damsel-in-distress at least, but it would have been nice for a Brit-based show to think outside the box on casting the American version. At least Havins is 30 and not 18, so I'll give them that.

There's also Dr. Vera Juarez (Arlene Tur) who does well as the doctor who treats CIA agent Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer), and then explains how everyone in the world seems to have stopped dying--regardless of their injuries. She loses a bit of her credibilty, however, considering the fact that at one point she's dispensing treatment while wearing her white coat open over her red cocktail dress and stiletto heels. Very professional.

Torchwood Miracle Day New World Mekhi Phifer Rex Matheson stabbed car screencaps images photos pictures
(Alert: Spoilers for Episode 1) The premise is intriguing, and one of the things Torchwood has always done well is to pursue an idea to its limit--whether for good or bad. Here we see what most would initially consider a "Miracle Day"--no one dies. Loved ones return to their families, accident victims get a second chance at life. People start thinking about the potential for immortality.

But then there are the terrifying downsides that most wouldn't have considered. Like the fact that these people live through their ordeals--but are still suffering in agony from their injuries or illnesses. A guy gets blown up by a bomb--but still lives. Not such a good thing after all. Never mind sudden population explosions.

Torchwood Miracle Day New World Captain Jack Harkness John Barrowman Esther Drummond Alexa Havins water pool fall crash screencaps pictures images photos
Captain Jack (John Barrowman) is a little bit more like his old self, and gets to have a cool, spooky entrance into Esther's life--and then gets to turn on the charm just a bit. He's obviously still shrouded in what happened to him during "Children of Earth," but reuniting with Gwen puts a little sparkle back in his eye. These two are definitely good together, and Barrowman's and Myles' enthusiasm for the project shows in their performances and in the glow of their reunion.

Captain Jack gives us an added bit of drama to this Torchwood -- Miracle Day storyline. The entire world has turned immortal, and the already immortal Jack is now...mortal. This is a pretty scary time to be flesh and blood, when all the world feels--and is--invincible.

Eve Myles Gwen Cooper Torchwood Miracle Day New World dream nightmare images photos pictures screencapsThe story is compelling, and the mystery of who/what caused this sudden "Miracle Day" is delicious enough to make me want to tune in for more. I'm also happy to see Captain Jack and Gwen back in action with rocket launchers and a ready-for-anything attitude.

What doesn't quite work yet is Russell Davies' approximation of how Americans talk and act. I guess American writers probably portray Brits as too stuffy and stiff, and saying "mate" all too often, but in Davies' case, his "I'm so tough and cool, I swear and stuff and don't give a crap about anyone because I'm American" version of Rex is kind of annoying and a bit...'80s Lethal Weapon. I mean, heck, his name is "Rex." You can't get anymore '80s than that.

Captain Jack Harkness machine gun Torchwood Miracle Day New World John Barrowman images photos pictures screencaps
Davies has also had a problem with overindulgence on the Torchwood series. Because Doctor Who was considered more of a family program, I guess he perhaps felt limited when writing for that show, so he turns all of that desire for "adult" and "arty" vibes onto Torchwood. Therefore you get overdone innuendoes, gory close-ups of mutilated bodies, and some really corny soliloquies and melodramatic emotional outbursts that seem more suited to an Off Off Broadway play.

It's a good thing Captain Jack is so cute, and Gwen so kick-ass.

Watch Torchwood -- Miracle Day on Starz, every Friday night at 10/9c.

PHOTOS: Torchwood -- Miracle Day screencaps, c2011 BBC Wales, BBC Worldwide, Starz.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

American Idol: Haley Gets Zeppelin's Blessing; Doesn't Let a Fall Get Her Down

Haley Reinhart American Idol Top 3 photos pictures screencaps images Led Zeppelin What Is and What Should Be guitar dad fringe
Haley Reinhart had a tough time on American Idol Top 3 performance night. Saddled with the night's toughest songs and questionable arrangements, she nonetheless stole the show with what mentor Beyonce dubbed a "ballsy" move--to sing Led Zeppelin's "What Is and What Should Never Be." While Haley's performed Zeppelin before with her family band, the real motivator behind choosing the song was that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant offered their songs to her--after hearing her sing "The House of the Rising Sun." How can a gal say no to that?

Check out my full Top 3 performance night recap!

Of course, in true American-Idol-hates-Haley fashion, there was no mention of the band giving up their catalog to the young singer. If it had been James, you know they would have done a whole segment on it--James, who even got his Top 4 homecoming shown on performance night.

American Idol Haley Reinhart screencaps images photos pictures Top 3 Led Zeppelin fringe dad guitar
Haley started the Zeppelin tune at the top of the stairs, peeking out over swinging doors before stepping through them. The audience collectively held its breath as she sauntered down the infinite length of stairs, and exhaled a sigh of relief as she made it confidently and safely. Haley sang her heart out through the complicated shifts in the song's tone, and did a quick rocker turn around the judges' table--before falling back up the two stairs in front of them.

Haley's dad, who was playing guitar with her, shifted forward out of reflex, but kept playing. Haley got herself up, barely missing a beat, delivering the next line to the audience with a smile and earning a whoop from them and the judges. As you see above, she launched into her trademark one-arm "sing it!" wave, which doubled as an "I'm okay!" acknowledgment.

Haley Reinhart Led Zeppelin American Idol Top 3 dad guitar fringe
Haley looked amazing, jammed with her dad, and just had an amazing time up there. She did Zeppelin proud, and I hope they liked her version, because I thought it was a damn good tribute to their song and style. You can watch her entire performance here:

Check out my full review: "Ranking the American Idol Top 3: Who's 'In It To Win It'?"

PHOTOS: Haley Reinhart singing Led Zeppelin's "What Is and What Should Never Be," with her dad on guitar, American Idol Top 3 performance night. Screencaps c2011 FOX.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lady Gaga Night on 'American Idol' Top 4--Haley Gets a Raw Deal

There's a good possibility that Haley Reinhart will go home on American Idol Top 4 results night, and it will be one of AI's biggest crimes if that happens. While the Lady Reinhart has not always been perfect, she's had about four performances now ("Bennie and the Jets," "Rolling in the Deep," "The House of the Rising Sun," and last night's "I (Who Have Nothing)," that have blown the competition out of the water. Lady Gaga was beside herself with glee last night during Haley's mentoring session, announcing, "You're going to kick so much ass!"

Haley has also gotten backing from other musicians, including American Idol alums like Adam Lambert, who last night tweeted: "Haley gets criticized cuz she's the best and SO not cookie cutter. She was Fiesty 2n b/c she's a strong, smart woman. my fav kind o woman," and David Cook, who tweeted "Catching up on tonight's idol. These judges are getting somewhat infuriating."

It's probably not best for Haley to win, since the powers-that-be would probably give her the Kris Allen treatment and punish her with artistic and promotional apathy for not being their favorite. She does, however, deserve to be in the American Idol Top 3. She's grown the most in this competition, with probably James as a close second in that department--though he's faltered a bit of late.

As unfair as the judges have been to Haley, they've also been unfair to the other contestants, who are constantly told that they're awesome and never given any valid criticism. So they keep making the same mistakes, only to be occasionally given some revisionist critique from the judges about how they "didn't do so well last week"--which only serves to confuse them further. All four contestants in this race are talented, and they've all been ill-served by the Idol machine, which is unfortunate. It would have been nice to see these kids really go head to head, at their best, without all the ridiculous producer manipulation and sabotaging of Haley (and honestly, I think they sabotaged Jacob near the end of his run as well--and I wasn't even a fan of his.)

You can read my full write-up of last night's performance night at Yahoo! TV: Lady Gaga on "American Idol" Top 4: Gaga Scares Scotty, Lauren Stands Up for Haley.

You can also find all of my American Idol recap links here on the TV News and Reviews blog.

PHOTO: Haley Reinhart performing "I (Who Have Nothing)" on American Idol Top 4 night. Screencaps c2011, FOX.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Captain Jack Is Back--on Starz in July

No, it's not Captain Jack Sparrow of POTC fame, it's Captain Jack Harkness of Doctor Who spin-off, Torchwood. After the last, heart-breaking and offensive "Children of Earth" season, I've been cautiously hopeful about the upcoming American reboot. TVLine reports we've got only a few months wait for the new Torchwood premiere, which lands on Starz on Friday, July 8.

There are two new pieces of info that leave me even more conflicted about the new series. First, is that the season's plot will revolve around the entire planet becoming immortal. I really would have preferred a return to individual stories per episode, and seeing the new team at work, rather than another epic, global arc. Plus this seems to be another of those types of stories that's going to lead to "mountains of agony" as drama. I realize Torchwood has always had a darker edge than Doctor Who, but I preferred the scary and sexy stuff to the gut-annihilating existential angst.

Second is the news that Bill Pullman has been cast as a regular on Torchwood. I LOVE Bill Pullman, but in my head he is and always will be the delicious romantic leading man in Sandra Bullock film While You Were Sleeping. Why this man didn't have a big career in similar parts confuses and annoys me--though I think possibly that was his own doing. Deadline describes his character Oswald Jones as a "dangerously clever convicted murderer." Ack. The only part that's keeping me happy is that the character is also "genuinely repentant." If we get an intriguing, conflicted, sympathetic character arc, Pullman could be brilliant.

Because of John Barrowman and his beautiful, charming and adventurous Captain Jack, I'll be tuning in to the new season of Torchwood on Starz. But I hope creator Russell T. Davies doesn't make me regret it--again.

Get more info on the new season of Torchwood here.

PHOTO: John Barrowman as Captain Jack, Torchwood Season 2, screencap c2010 BBC.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

American Idol Top 13

This week we get to see what the "American Idol" contestants, that we and the judges voted in, can do. I was spot on with my prediction of the top guys that were chosen (I had Casey, Jacob, James and Scotty as the Top 4, with Stefano Langone and Paul McDonald rounding out the 6), and was pleased that the GlamNation backlash against James Durbin didn't prevent him making the Top 5 guys. I hope James continues to rock out and prove my--and Steven Tyler's--faith in him.

On the girl's side, things took a crazy turn. I'd expected producers' favorites Lauren Alaina and Pia Toscana to make it in. But my favorites of the night were Naima Adedapo, Kendra Chantelle and Lauren Turner. They kept me sweating over Naima until the very end, and I didn't get Kendra or Lauren "Bette Midler" Turner. I'm not surprised that America voted for bland over quirky, but I found it irritating that the guys are allowed to be different and the girls aren't.

While I think this year is a vast improvement over the last, I'm worried that the girls might just descend into homogeneous pageant queens belting out ballads. Haley Reinhart has possibly the quirkiest style left--her growling bluesy tone that skitters into breathy sex kitten within a single phrase seems to either entice listeners or drive them completely mad. But love her or hate her, you can't say she's boring.

I'm hoping that the wildcards aren't the first to go home. I'm also hoping that the lovely Naima gets a chance to prove how awesome she is and win people over. She'll have to try to modernize her song choices a bit to get that teen vote going, but I hope she doesn't change her lovely and unique style. We don't need another girl in a tulled square dancing dress and 10 inch platform heels she can't walk in.

Want to look back on the "Idol" journey? Head over to Yahoo!TV to find out Why Your Favorite Didn't Make the Top 24, and Was Clint Right to Throw Jacee Out of Group? And are we still feeling the same way about the three judges? Simon Who?

And as always, you can check in on all of my "American Idol" Season 10 recaps here.

PHOTO: James Durbin on Top 12 Guys night, screencap c2011 FOX.

Friday, February 25, 2011

American Idol Top 24: Who Are Your Favorites?

American Idol contestant Ashley Jones wows the judges during Hollywood Week.

Last night we learned which remaining contestants would be joining the American Idol Top 24. There were a few surprises, a few major sighs of relief, and a couple "Bzuh?" decisions. From comments on sites like EW and TVLine, I'm sensing that James Durbin might not make it in the voting rounds, which I think is unfair. Much of the unrest seems to be because he dares to compare himself to Adam Lambert. Durbin is decidedly less glam and more Guns N' Roses, so it'll be interesting to see if maybe the dudes at home watching with their girlfriends might be compelled to vote Durbin in. I know the kid isn't perfect, but most AI contestants aren't. I'd love it if Durbin got the chance for some lessons with the vocal coaches and producer Jimmy Iovine on maintaining his control of the scream. But hey, Steven Tyler really seems to like him, so that's got to say something, right?

Personally, I'm loving Ashton Jones, and not just for her amazing hair. She's got great pipes, in a traditional American Idol belter way--but so far without all the insane stylizing that can quickly get on my nerves. She's got good stage presence and fashion sense, and is what Jennifer Lopez calls "the total package." I don't think she's quite at the vocal richness of an 80s Whitney Houston, but I think she could get there.

I also love Naima Adedapo, and every gorgeous flower she adorns her dreadlocked hair with. Unlike many of the contestants in their "Cowboy Barbie" dresses who are trying way too hard, Naima seems to know exactly who she is and what she likes. And she's got a killer voice. If you're looking at the row of American Idol Top 12 gals, your eye is going to go right to her. Once she's got your attention with her unique look, she reels you in with her powerful but controlled vocals. American Idol is known for ditching "quirky" at the outset and sticking with bland (see all last season), so here's hoping that Naima's sweet nature and colorful dresses lure some teen girls into voting for her.

Want to know all about the Top 24? Read my complete rundown of the finalist American Idol contestants--12 Girls and 12 Boys. As always, you can find all of my AI recaps here.

PHOTO: Ashton Jones performs during Hollywood week; screencap c2011 FOX.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Merlin: The Tears of Uther Pendragon, Screencap Recap Part II

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Morgana Katie McGrath cloak
We continue with screencaps for Merlin, season three, episode one: "The Tears of Uther Pendragon." We left off with Morgana (Katie McGrath), showing her evil side. Now she skulks off into the dark night, draped in a luxurious cloak. Once again Merlin excels at visuals, with the beauty of the cloak against the dark, dampness of the night...

(*Click* all pics for bigger versions.)

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Morgana Katie McGrath cloak Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Morgana cloak Katie McGrath darkness evil

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Morgana cloak Katie McGrath purple blue Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Morgana Katie McGrath cloak blue purple

And who is Morgana off to meet? The sorceress Morgause (Emilia Fox), of course.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps Morgause witch Emilia Fox images photos pictures screengrabs
Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps Morgana evil witch Katie McGrath images photos pictures screengrabs(screencaps continue below)

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble...

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Morgause Emilia Fox Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps Morgana Morgause Katie McGrath Emilia Fox cauldron mandrake root images photos pictures screengrabs's a mandrake root...

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs cauldron mandrake root
And it screams...just like in Harry Potter...

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs mandrake root screams Morgana Katie McGrath Harry PotterMore evil cackling from the conspiring witches...

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps Morgause Emilia Fox images photos pictures screengrabs Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Morgana Morgause Katie McGrath Emilia Fox

The evil goopy root is placed under Uther's bed to help drive him mad...

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Uther's bed mandrake root magicMeanwhile, Merlin (Colin Morgan) observes as his master Arthur (Bradly James) shows off his sword-fighting skills.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Colin Morgan Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Colin Morgan Arthur Bradley James sword fighting

Watch Merlin and Arthur right now with Merlin Video OnDemand from

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Arthur Bradley James sword fighting blindfold chainmailAs usual, the prince makes fun of Merlin's lack of fighting, not knowing that Merlin has saved his arse a million times already.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Colin Morgan Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Arthur Bradley James

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps Arthur Bradley James taunting chainmail images photos pictures screengrabsLaugh while you can, Arthur. It's not wise to taunt a warlock.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps Colin Morgan eyes magic images photos pictures screengrabs Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Colin Morgan yellow golden magic eyes

Oof. Sword gone, opponent gets you right in the stomach.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos Arthur fight hit Bradley James pictures screengrabs Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Arthur Bradley James falling sword fight magic

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps Arthur mud pile puddle fall Bradley James images photos pictures screengrabs
All is right in the universe.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images Colin Morgan smug smile victory magic photos pictures screengrabsAt a feast celebrating Morgana's return, everyone his happy and drunk...especially Uther (Anthony Head.)

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon Anthony Head Arthur Bradley James Morgana Katie McGrath drunk celebration crown screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Anthony Head crown drunk celebration
Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Arthur Bradley James smile grin Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Morgana Katie McGrath smile

But of course we know Morgana's just going through the motions.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Anthony Head crown celebration Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon Anthony Head Morgana Katie McGrath hug screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs

And there it is, the wicked scheming look:

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps Morgana Katie McGrath wicked smile smirk images photos pictures screengrabs
Uther takes a little stroll to walk off some of his drunkenness, but suddenly his merriment turns to terror...

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon Anthony Head happy drunk screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon Anthony Head terrified hallucination magic vision dead wife screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs

as he sees his late wife in the well...

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon Anthony Head vision hallucination dead wife well screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs
Uther breaks down in the courtyard, and the guards bring him inside, where Gaius (Richard Wilson), Morgana, and Arthur fuss over him.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs bed Anthony Head Arthur Bradley James Morgana Katie McGrath Gaius Richard Wilson mandrake crazyArthur wants Gaius to tell him what's wrong with his father...
Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Colin Morgan Arthur Bradley James Gaius Richard Wilson hallway Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon Gaius Richard Wilson screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs

Gaius confesses that Uther was talking about seeing Arthur's the well. Arthur is disturbed, and fears the people will get wind of his father's condition and all hell will break loose.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Arthur Bradley James worried Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon Gaius Richard Wilson Colin Morgan Arthur Bradley James screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs

Gaius assures him that the people will merely think the king had been will and he's better now. Neither Merlin nor Arthur look all the convinced.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Arthur Bradley James Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Gaius Richard Wilson Colin Morgan

Morgana touches base with Morgause, and they rejoice over their plan to drive Uther mad and weaken the kingdom. Morgause brags about her hold over Cenred, who will help them with their plan to overthrow Camelot.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps Morgana Katie McGrath images magic photos pictures screengrabs Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon magic screencaps Morgause Emilia Fox mandrake root cauldron images photos pictures screengrabs

There's some more cackling, and then Morgana tries to sneak her way back into the castle. But a guard sees the evil dripping mandrake root and thinks she's bleeding...
Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Morgana Katie McGrath cloak castle night guardAnd so she kills him. Morgana is officially Evil.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon Morgana kills guard cloak Katie McGrath screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps images photos pictures Morgana kills guard castle Katie McGrath screengrabs

Morgana quickly hides the mandrake in her room, but almost gets caught in her muddy cloak by Gwen (Angel Coulby)--whom she sends away brusquely.

Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon Gwen Angel Coulby Guinevere screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs
Merlin The Tears of Uther Pendragon screencaps Morgana red dress Katie McGrath castle images photos pictures screengrabsCrisis averted. Now she can cackle away in her room, plotting the next step...

See also: Merlin, "The Tears of Uther Pendragon, Screencap Recap: Part I

PHOTOS: Merlin, "The Tears of Uther Pendragon" screencaps, c2010 Shine, BBC Wales, BBC, SyFy.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin