Showing posts with label CBS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CBS. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

SUPERGIRL: 5 Things We Learned from Episode "Stronger Together"

Supergirl Stronger Together Episode Review

The second episode of "Supergirl" focused on Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Hank (David Harewood) letting Kara (Melissa Benoist) know that she'd taken the training wheels off of her superheroism a little too early. Like your average 20-something, Kara rolled her eyes at all this concern over her tactics. After all, when you can save a plane from crashing with your bare hands and mad flying skills, what could any mere human possibly teach you?

Since it's still so early in the series, we're discovering lots of new things about the characters and the show itself. Here are 5 Things We Learned from "Stronger Together":

Supergirl Cat Grant Calista Flockhart Kara Melissa Benoist

1. Calista Flockhart is not bad as media mogul Cat Grant. She wasn't an obvious choice as a domineering and successful woman, but she's managing it better than expected. She's haughty, sarcastic, and plays the part as if any woman (including Supergirl) who doesn't live up to her standards is deeply offending her. It's a combination that works.

2. Mehcad Brooks needs to turn down Teh Sexeh. As Jim Olsen, famed Superman photographer and Kat's newest confidante, Brooks is smoldering so much in Kara's direction that it's surprising her hair doesn't catch on fire. Considering the doe-eyed, hair-twirling tone this show has taken so far, Jim looking like he wants to take Kara up against a glass partition where everyone can see them seems a bit...erm...out of place. We know you're hot, dude, you can dial it back a bit.

Alex Danvers Chyler Leigh Supergirl Stronger Together photos screencaps pics

3. Alex is a pretty kickass agent. It's difficult for characters in authority positions to seem impressive when they're standing next to a superhero. So it was nice this week to see how Alex's tactical skills and experience far outweighed the naive Kara's, meaning she has plenty of valuable things to teach her sister, plus she can handle herself in a fight.

4. Alex's relationship with Kara is still a bit of a head-scratcher. In the pilot Alex yells at Kara for saving her life, then tells her to embrace her superhero side, then don't, then do. She talks her through a tough battle, saying she believes in her, and then episode 2 is all about whether Alex actually believes in Kara or not.

There are obviously some layers of secrecy and personality differences that may have kept them at arms-length, but it still feels like their interactions lack the necessary warmth. The actresses supposedly get along well in real life, so it's strange that the two don't seem to have much sisterly chemistry yet on the show.

5. HANK HAS GLOWING RED EYES. Is that ever a good thing? Surely it can't be, considering he doesn't seem to have told anyone about a condition that no amount of Visine can fix. This may also explain his reluctance to have Supergirl in his cool bunker, considering she might be more likely to discover his secret.

Then there's that added revelation that he "used to have" a family, which might be something he and Kara could bond over, if he doesn't turn out to be completely evil.

What things did you learn this week? What were your favorite parts of the episode?

"Supergirl" airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

'The Mentalist' Finale -- Why Am I So Disappointed?

"The Mentalist" fans have been waiting for Patrick Jane to find happiness from the very beginning, and we all hoped it might be with Teresa Lisbon. So when the series finale ended [SPOILER ALERT] with a wedding and baby news, many longtime fans were ecstatic. While I was pleased to have a happily-ever-after with no painful twist for our lovely duo, it still didn't strike me as a worthy ending to seven seasons of romantic tension.
For one thing, that romantic tension seems to have slipped away in this final season. Way back in 2010, I was deeply moved by a moment when Jane and Lisbon merely touched hands. There was a huge well of emotion in Jane back then, and Lisbon seemed this perfect steady and compassionate soul that could meet all that emotion unflinchingly.

When the writers finally allowed our couple to be an actual couple, they decided to make them as chaste as possible. Suddenly Jane and Lisbon were sitting on park benches and smiling sweetly at each other, like a teenage couple in a wholesome 1950s TV show. The chemistry between them seemed totally zapped, their romantic moments always a little awkward. When we got to the big reveal that Lisbon was pregnant, I actually for a moment wondered how that had happened.

The first half of the finale, and the pursuit of a serial killer, was entertaining in a vacuum. At this point it didn't seem right to dredge up the past so keenly, with Jane as a faux psychic drawing out the killer, which once again turned out to be an extremely dangerous idea. Though I didn't appreciate the heavy-handed parallels to the start of the series, it was good to see Jane being the resourceful, insanely clever and calm Jane we know so well.

When the serial killer somehow survived a GINORMOUS EXPLOSION AND FIREBALLS, though, things got a bit ridiculous. They at least gave him some serious burns on one side of his body, but he strolled around town buying supplies, with no one reacting particularly strongly. When Jane and Lisbon discovered that the killer was still alive, they decided to trick him by GOING TO A REMOTE LOCATION and ditching all of the FBI protection, and friends and family Lisbon invited to their wedding. Um, okay.

Of course, they end up catching the killer and then go on their merry, marrying way. Somehow they get all the wedding guests over to Jane's new creepy shack in the woods, to celebrate amongst the weeds and mosquitoes. Magically they got a mansion-sized dance floor and electricity for twinkling lights into the middle of nowhere in time for the reception. Never mind all the catering and lovely flowers that Abbott paid for back at his gorgeous home. It's only money, right?

If they'd wanted to illustrate Jane's carefree nature and Lisbon's willingness to go along, I would have rather they eloped to some lovely island paradise and got married on the beach. They could have had a party with their friends either before or after they wed, in order to give us that joyful reunion. And the serial killer should have stayed blown up; all that faux drama just got in the way of the happy ending.

And there were some definite happy moments. Cho helping Lisbon pick out a wedding dress seemed sweet but crazy at first, until we realized he was the perfect person to give a truthful, straight-to-the-point opinion. The deadpan delivery of determinations like "snow cone" just made it all the funnier.

I'm totally blaming him for the bad dress she ended up with, though. We've seen Lisbon be va-va-voom before, and something a little more dramatic would have suited her better. This get-up seemed plain and kind of dumpy, and I don't know what was up with that netted headpiece.

We should forgive our fave stoic agent, however. Cho was also great with Wylie, literally smacking some sense into him and asking the kid to stay on instead of hiding in some new desk job. A Cho-led FBI force with Wylie on board--we would totally watch that spin-off show.

All in all I'm happy that Jane and Lisbon are together, but I sure would have loved something that resonated with deeper emotions. But considering the tears and cheers I've seen on Twitter, maybe I'm just too cynical.

What did you think of the series finale, "Mentalist" fans? Loved every minute, or did you feel a bit let down as well?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Elsbeth Tascioni on 'The Good Wife' -- Too Much or Not Enough? Twitter Reacts...

The Good Wife Elsbeth Tascioni Old Spice Season Six Episode Six Carrie Preston photos pics

Fans of "The Good Wife" wait excitedly every season for a guest appearance by the quirky, whip-smart, and lovable Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston). With her bright red hair, frenetic approach, and hilarious non sequiturs, Elsbeth grabs your attention in every scene. What has always been the thread of her appearances on the show is that she is clever, sneaky, and the best secret weapon Alicia and her friends and colleagues have ever known.

Season Six of "The Good Wife" has taken a slightly different approach with Elsbeth. We got a peek at all the swirling thoughts and wallpaper clowns residing in her mind, a revealing if perhaps overly comedic view of her unusual intelligence. She appeared across the aisle from Alicia for a case, and we saw that subtle distraction tactics can work to diffuse her brilliance. And her biggest distraction of all came in the form of AUSA Josh Perotti (Kyle MacLachlan), who continued to ramp up his aggressive wooing tactics.

AUSA Josh Perotti Kyle MacLachlan The Good Wife Old Spice episode photos pics screencaps images

In Episode Six, "Old Spice," Alicia and Elsbeth join forces against Josh, and so begins the delightfully crazy dance of business and pleasure between the AUSA and his ginger love. Josh and Elsbeth's flirtation on the street, which included sniffing each other for their signature scents of baby lotion and Old Spice, Elsbeth jamming to "Call Me Maybe," and the duo's passionate office sex had Twitter buzzing over this whacky and wonderful couple.

"The Good Wife" has forayed into the absurd before, something which gives the show part of its enticing charm, and a lot of the tweets scrolling for Josh and Elsbeth this week were positive:

Many were feeling the love so much, they wanted more:

The Good Wife Josh Elsbeth romance sniffing Old Spice and baby lotion

But not everyone was as impressed with the over-the-top portrayal of an iconic "Good Wife" character. Part of Elsbeth's greatness came from her mysterious genius, a feeling that you never knew whether you'd get the daffodil or the demon, or if her mind was even there at all. While there has always been an element of comedy to Elsbeth, "The Good Wife" has definitely pushed the envelope this year:

And those dreaded three words of condemnation...

My biggest concern was they were de-fanging our dear Elsbeth, but thank goodness there was a light at the end of the tunnel of love...or, erm, something like that.

Thankfully, the dalliance with Josh didn't make Elsbeth lose her edge after all. She had us terrified that she'd fallen for the same trick again, but no, she was as sneaky as ever. And her battle-winning mystique at least continues with Alicia, who stared at Elsbeth in wonder when the AUSA suddenly dropped the case.

Another thing that had me still believing in Elsbeth's magic was that she made me really feel the painful absence of Will, something that hadn't yet happened for me this season.

Diane Will Elsbeth The Good Wife screencap

The joy of Elsbeth was that despite her slightly cray personality, everyone that worked with her came to love her. Alicia had worried how Will in particular would mesh with Elsbeth when she first recommended the unorthodox lawyer to defend him. How he both admired and was amused by Elsbeth created some of the best Will moments on "The Good Wife."

One can't help wondering if that was the writers' plan all along, because we were already feelin' it when Alicia had that incredible moment taking over Will's old office. This is probably the right moment for the hashtag #AllTheFeels.

What do you think, "Good Wife" fans? Has this just been a fun romp with Elsbeth and her integrity is preserved? Or was it all a bit too much of a good thing?


Monday, October 20, 2014

Matthew Goode of 'The Good Wife' -- Wait, I Know That Actor From...

One of the best parts of "The Good Wife" is its extraordinary range of interesting, complex characters that you love to watch interact. We first met Finn Polmar, played by Matthew Goode, in THAT episode of Season 5, when he shared a bloody courtroom with Will. Out of this tragic circumstance, Finn and Alicia have formed a friendship, a warm relationship that has just the tiniest but deliciously intriguing hint of flirtation.

The interaction between these two is a joy to watch, as they playfully banter with intelligence, challenging each other whether they're on the same side or not. And no matter how tense the situation, they are always a wry smile away from laughing at the absurdity of everything around them.

Finn also has fun duking it out with Diane...

As Goode has gradually gained more screen time on "The Good Wife," you may have wondered where you'd seen this man with the hypnotically soulful eyes and impish smile before. One of his best-known roles is on the big screen, in the 2009 film "Watchmen".

His purple-costumed Ozymandias was gorgeous, powerful, and more than a little morally ambiguous. "Watchmen" was no fluffy comic film, and Goode's performance was as mesmerizing as his molded abs. In the following vid you can hear him discuss taking on such an iconic role, and get a glimpse of the intellect, charm and humor that inform his current character on "The Good Wife":

Colin Firth was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his role in "A Single Man," though surely it wasn't too difficult for him to appear to be so in love with Matthew Goode's delectable Jim:

Though lesser known, Goode's film "Leap Year" is an adorable romantic romp with the lovely Amy Adams that's definitely worth a watch (or rewatch). This time Goode's character has an Irish accent and gives Adams' stuck-on-the-wrong-guy Anna a really hard time, but let's just talk about how steamy the couple is--even when they're just pretending to be married:

What else do you know Matthew Goode from? You can see his whole credits list over at IMDB.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Will 'The Mentalist' Be Cancelled Just as It's Getting Good Again?

Back in Season 5, "The Mentalist" fans were worrying if the show would make it to the Red John reveal before the cancellation ax fell on it. We noted that creator Bruno Heller planned on "two seasons or so" to finish out that Red John plot. The show got that Season 6 renewal, and then the next question was whether the end of Red John would mean the end of the series.

Many viewers had grown tired of the years-long serial killer plot, but the diehards were still watching/waiting for the joy of that Patrick Jane roguish charm and his warm, often comedic bonding with his coworkers and friends. The show did, in fact, reboot itself after the whole Red John saga.

There were some growing pains as the series integrated the former CBI team into the FBI, but it seems to have found its footing now. We're getting back to the procedural style of "The Mentalist" we fell in love with back in Season 1, where Jane's brilliant mind and unconventional methods help solve crimes, to both the appreciation and exasperation of those around him.

Remember when? Relive the early days of all that yummy Lisbon/Jane romantic tension on "The Mentalist."

Now the word is buzzing once again that "The Mentalist" may finally be cancelled. No, for realz this time. Bruno Heller is moving on to work on a "Batman" series for Fox. CBS, who regularly throws away viewed-by-millions shows that other networks would kill for, has already renewed a bunch of dramas, limiting the spots available. We've been here before, but "The Mentalist" is a six-season show that's been in danger for at least two years--eventually those dire predictions are going to be true.

The possible light at the end of the tunnel is that the show could move to another network, like "Medium" and "Law & Order: CI" did successfully in the past. Now that the Simon Baker drama has shed its darker serial plot and returned to its episodic, more whimsical roots, it's an easier show to shop around. After all, 11 million viewers is not to be taken lightly, and there are definitely going to be some cable networks at least who will be interested in trying to nab this one.

What do you think? Is "The Mentalist" worth saving in its rebooted form, or has it run its course? Would you follow it to another network?

**UPDATE: CBS decided to hang on to "The Mentalist" for a while longer...

PHOTO: Screencap from "The Mentalist," Season 6, Episode 17, "Silver Wings of Time," 2014, CBS, fair use.

Friday, September 20, 2013

'The Mentalist' Season 6 Spoilers: An Ending or a Reboot?

Fans were nervous during Season 5 of "The Mentalist," as Red John had yet to be revealed, and the show's future remained uncertain. CBS eventually decided to renew it for a 6th season, but it's not yet clear if this will be the end of our favorite show or the start of something completely different.

A wedding for Rigsby and Van Pelt
The see-saw relationship between Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) and Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) is finally where longtime fans want it to be. Recent news has it that in the midst of a case involving a wedding in Episode 3, the two agents will get the idea to plan some nuptials of their own. "The Mentalist" creator Bruno Heller calls the eventual wedding the couple's "happy ending," but considering how that whole "killing Red John" thing turned out after the Season 3 finale, fans should be wary.

Additions to the regular cast?
The wedding for Rigsby and Van Pelt means the characters will be departing "The Mentalist," whether because of those pesky rules about dating fellow CBI agents or more sinister reasons. Filling the void on the show could be two new characters appearing in Season 6. One is FBI agent Dennis Abbott (Rockmond Dunbar), another of those prickly higher-ups that isn't all that impressed with the quirky methods of Patrick Jane (Simon Baker).

The other will be ex-homicide detective Kim Fischer (Emily Swallow), who's described as "an enigmatic woman who is going to have a profound influence on Jane's life." Showrunner Heller adds that the character will motivate Jane to keep working when he wants to walk away from it all, which sounds ominously like more angst for our favorite consultant.

Can the show move on after Red John?
According to CBS, "The Mentalist" will reveal Red John's identity by the end of the year. This does not necessarily mean that they will capture him, however. This could be the best of both worlds for a Season 7 storyline. Fans wouldn't have to put up with the mystery being dragged out, but Red John could remain a threat lurking in the shadows.

Reading through fan comments, it's clear that many are hoping for more of a focus in future episodes on solving individual cases, rather than the constant pursuit of an elusive serial killer. To return to the more whimsical tone of earlier seasons, this year would have to tie up the Red John case with minimal emotional damage to our main characters. If Jane has to suffer more loss of those close to him, it's tough to imagine the character realistically continuing in any enjoyable way for future seasons.

A truly happy ending for Van Pelt and Rigsby is a fine way to close the book on their characters. It's not an insurmountable loss, and Grace, in particular, never seemed cut out to be a CBI agent anyway. With these two characters gone, however, a potential Season 7 could be straying away from the more lighthearted plots many fans are looking for.

The fate of "The Mentalist" characters once again comes down to ratings. Season 6 could be a big-bang series finale or the "game-changing" season that reboots the whole show. What are you hoping for? Are you ready for Jane's journey to come to an end, or are you hoping for more adventures from the CBI team?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

'The Mentalist': Will Jane catch Red John before the series is canceled?

With "The Mentalist" now in its fifth season, fans of the series have been watching CBI consultant Patrick Jane pursue the serial killer Red John through a multitude of murders, tantalizing clues, horrific setbacks, and epic red herrings. Rumors of cancellation have been stirring since the fall, however, and many viewers are worried that, despite all the time invested in the series, they'll be cheated out of a final Red John reveal

On the chopping block?
The success of dramas on CBS actually makes it difficult to be the staff on one of those dramas. Ratings for the network's top shows are incredibly high, and any series that fails to meet or exceed those stellar numbers often gets cut in favor of something new that might do better. Even though "The Mentalist" boasts viewers in the range of 10 million, at CBS, that puts it in danger.

Back in October, CBS announced that two of four shows -- "CSI: NY," "Vegas," "The Mentalist," and "The Good Wife" -- would be canceled. These days it's looking pretty likely that "Vegas" will get the ax, but speculation is still swirling about the other three. Spoiler TV gives "The Mentalist" a slightly more positive outlook than the rest, but most entertainment experts are placing the series in "on the bubble" territory.

Why the ratings dip?
Moving a series in the schedule is always a risky proposition, and shifting to Sundays on CBS is particularly problematic. With frequent delays from sports programming pushing the primetime shows back, "The Mentalist" often airs as late as 11 p.m. on the East Coast, a big ask for people who have to get up for work the next day. Viewers on the CBS message boards confessed to skipping the show because they couldn't bother to wait, with even the DVR option causing frustration since it doesn't automatically allow for delays.

Thoughts on the whole serial killer arc also vary. While some fans feel "The Mentalist" would collapse without it, others find all the constant setbacks and false leads exhausting. A large part of the series' success also comes from the quirky charm of Simon Baker's Patrick Jane. Fans were already wondering in Season 3 if the show hadn't gotten so dismal that it had lost that charm, and our hero has gone to even darker places since then. When a show changes its whole vibe, fans can tend to drop off.

Red John revealed in Season 6?
Before Season 5 began, "The Mentalist" creator Bruno Heller said he had "two seasons or so" to work on the eventual reveal of Red John. This year, Lorelei let it slip to Jane that he's already shaken hands with the killer. He's been slowly compiling a list of clues from the cold case murder in Episode 13, "The Red Barn," which helped him narrow the pool of suspects considerably. Jane is hoping to get more information out of Lorelei, but fans of the show know it's not likely to be that easy.

What happens if there is no Season 6? Heller insists that viewers won't be left hanging. "A show that's been running this long with the degree of success it's had -- we'll know well in advance of that sort of outcome, and we'll adjust accordingly." With the haphazard way the short-lived series "Last Resort" tied up loose ends for its finale, we have to hope Heller is right, and "The Mentalist" will get at least a partial season to wrap things up in a way worthy of the series.

What do you think, "Mentalist" fans? Do you think the show will be renewed? Are you hoping for more Red John drama, or are you ready for it to end?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Unforgettable," "Rob," "A Gifted Man," "NYC22," and "CSI: Miami" Cancelled

It's tough to be a TV series on CBS these days. The network is so successful that a show with millions of viewers will still get cancelled--as it doesn't have as many millions as the series ranked above it. More importantly, there's the almighty ad demo, and most of these shows unfortunately lost ground on that coveted younger audience as time wore on.

"Unforgettable" fans aren't happy, and they're a pretty sizable bunch, considering the show was averaging about 11 million viewers per week. It's tough enough letting go of a favorite show, but the mystery of Carrie's (Poppy Montgomery) sister's murder will now go unanswered. While I feel for the viewers who enjoyed this drama, the show was lacking some important qualities, which I discuss over on Yahoo!TV: "Should CBS's 'Unforgettable' Be Forgotten?"

My only regret about the loss of the rookie show about rookie cops, "NYC22" is that poor Adam Goldberg just can't seem to catch a break. First there was cancelled series "Relativity" back in '96, which ironically also starred Poppy Montgomery. Then there was short-lived "The $treet" with future movie star Bradley Cooper in 2000, followed by the blink-and-you-miss it comedy "Head Cases" with Chris O'Donnell.

Goldberg also appeared in "Friends" spin-off "Joey," and 2009 series "The Unusuals" with Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner. Goldberg has practically made a career out of quickly-cancelled series. Once again he brought that intriguing blend of dark comedy and pathos to "NYC22," but the show just seemed to be trying way too hard to be "edgy" and "cool" and we literally forgot to watch it after 2 episodes. The Sunday night timeslot couldn't have helped its viewing numbers, either. Plus we want to smack the person who thought Leelee Sobieski made a believable policewoman.

"A Gifted Man" never quite gelled with audiences either--it was an odd premise that wasn't executed very well. "Rob" actually had decent numbers, but since it lost a lot of its "Big Bang Theory" lead-in, CBS will be looking for something better. And I think we can all agree that "CSI:Miami" has had a good run. Eventually three versions of the same show gets to be too much for any network (see "Law & Order").

PHOTO: "Unforgettable" finale screencap, c2012 CBS.

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.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Katie Couric to Guest Star on "Glee"

In an interesting move by the Glee showrunners, CBS news anchor Katie Couric will be turning up as a guest star on Glee. Will she be joining a Cheerios pyramid? Interviewing Sue Sylvester for a special report on Cheerleading Coach of the Universe?

Fan reaction so far has included plenty of "Bzuh?" responses, but Katie could be a surprise on Glee. I give you all the scoop about the appearance and Katie's glee club credentials over on Yahoo! omg! with "Katie Couric to Appear on 'Glee' with Coach Sylvester".

Katie Couric's Glee guest starring role should take place on FOX February 6, after the Super Bowl.

PHOTO: Katie Couric making her entrance on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show last year, screencap c2009 Mad Cow Productions, Comedy Central.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Defenders Pilot

 Jerry O'Connell Pete Kaczmarek Jim Belushi Nick Morelli The Defenders pilot prison window
I have to say, I liked the pilot of The Defenders more than I thought I would. This Jim Belushi/Jerry O'Connell buddy lawyer show was feisty and fun, and smarter than expected. There are wisecracks and testosterone-y posturing, but the court case was handled seriously, with some good detective work by Morelli (Belushi) and lawyer newbie Lisa Tyler (Jurnee Smollett). It's nowhere near as wacky as Boston Legal, but it finds a similar balance between drama and comedy that's enjoyable.

Belushi is great here, with a combo of seasoned, smartass Vegas lawyer and broken-hearted man devastated by an impending divorce. Jerry O'Connell once again finds a way to make being a sleazy arrogant jerk somehow adorably charming. The two have a good rapport, and it'll be fun to watch the bromance develop on The Defenders as they work through cases and personal issues together.

Jurnee Smollett (Friday Night Lights) is also likable in The Defenders, though her role felt a little underdeveloped. O'Connell's scenes with her felt like he was doing a drive-by on the way to getting back to the good stuff with Belushi, and I'm hoping that changes.

For the other women characters on The Defenders, we have 80s-eyeshadowed receptionist Zoe (Tanya Fischer, who you may remember as free spirit Windy on the excellent Life on Mars). Zoe is a bit flaky and hands everyone their messages on heart-shaped post-it-notes, but she's got it together--enough to even scam the wily Kaczmarek (O'Connell) out of hard-to-get show tickets.

Kaczmarek also has a hate/sex relationship with D.A. Meredith Cramer (Natalie Zea), which was the weakest aspect of the show. Cramer is a cliche hardass woman character, a Barbie doll lawywer with vacant eyes, and so thin she looks like she might break in half. The only plus for this male-centric show is that she's at least not a teenager, but they're going to have to make Cramer a lot more interesting for me to accept this part of The Defenders plot.

All in all, The Defenders is definitely worth pursuing if the pilot is indicative of the rest of the series. It looks like it might be a nice breezy antidote to the rougher, gorier procedurals that are the norm these days. If Smollett gets more action, the bromance flourishes, and the court cases stay sharp, this will be a fun mid-week guilty pleasure.

Watch The Defenders on CBS, Wednesdays at 10/9c.

PHOTO: Jerry O'Connell as Pete Kaczmarek and Jim Belushi as Nick Morelli in The Defenders pilot, screencap c2010 CBS Paramount Network Television.

The Best Lisbon / Jane Moments on 'The Mentalist'

A highlight of successful series "The Mentalist" is watching the developing relationship between by-the-book CBI Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and irreverent, eccentric consultant Patrick Jane. With a constant exchange of heated banter, wry looks, and friendly competition, Lisbon and Jane gradually show us their mutual respect and affection for one another. Lisbon's professionalism and Jane's tortured past prevent this from developing into a true romance, but if you watch carefully, these five episodes of "The Mentalist" give us tantalizing moments of both sweetness and flirtation between our two heroes.

Season 1, Episode 6: "Red-handed"
While investigating the death of a casino owner on "The Mentalist," Jane manages to rake in a fortune by counting cards at blackjack. His newfound wealth and generosity leads to a fun scene at a bar, with the casually dressed agents sporting a quarter million dollars worth of jewelry. The practical Lisbon has an attack of conscience over the extravagance, but Jane smoothly protests: "I know those emeralds look lovely with your eyes." Lisbon blushes like a schoolgirl but relinquishes the necklace, gently laying a hand across Jane's back in thanks before she takes off.

Season 1, Episode 11: "Red John's Friends"
When a convict with a link to Red John is discovered dead at the serial killer's hands, Jane is devastated by both the loss of life and the loss of a lead to his wife and child's killer. As he sits on a hotel room bed near the crime scene, staring vacantly, Lisbon visibly struggles with how to comfort him. With the look in her eyes and just the slightest brush of her hand against his arm, we sense the tenderness she feels for the emotionally walled-off Jane.

Patrick Jane Simon Baker Teresa Lisbon Robin Tunney The Mentalist

Season 1, Episode 16: "Blindness"
Lisbon and Jane barely escape a car bomb with their lives, and the explosion blinds Jane temporarily. Fearing the disability might be permanent, Jane lashes out at everyone and insists on working despite orders to rest. It becomes evident how close Lisbon and Jane are becoming, as Lisbon is able to maneuver through the minefield of Jane's personal boundaries to take care of him. We get rewarded with a pure moment of Lisbon and Jane affection on "The Mentalist," with a sweetly sensual scene where the blinded Jane reaches out to gently trace the smile on Lisbon's face.

Season 2, Episode 1: "Redemption"
Jane takes his bluntness about the futility of police work too far this time, and Lisbon's angry enough to take off in the SUV and leave him behind at a crime scene. Jane later apologizes with a conciliatory gift of fresh strawberries, and a desperate plea to work: "I have nothing else to do." Moved by the intensity of his declaration, Lisbon concedes. "The Mentalist" viewers, and Lisbon, get a pleasant surprise as Jane warmly embraces her with heartfelt thanks.

Season 2, Episode 11: "Rose-colored Glasses"
While investigating a case at a high school reunion, Jane tries to guess what sort of girl Lisbon was -- and what instrument she played. Lisbon is amused that Jane keeps getting it totally wrong. At the end of the reunion, Jane asks Lisbon to dance, and urges her to pretend he was the boy she crushed on back in high school. Lisbon won't give in to his baiting, but she agrees to the dance. It's the sweetest and most romantic moment between the pair yet on "The Mentalist," as the two hold each other close and sway to the music. "Trombone?" Jane asks, his final guess. "Nope," Lisbon replies, and then she closes her eyes and nestles into the crook of his neck.

We're left wanting more.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Best Superbowl Ad Videos

Killer Whale Bridgestone Tires Truck bachelor party screencaps images commercial ad Super Bowl pictures photos best
Tonight was a fantastic Super Bowl game, with the underdog New Orleans Saints surprising the hell out of everyone who said the Indianapolis Colts were going to easily win. Sometimes the Super Bowl ads entertain more than the actual game, but this is one year where that was definitely not the case. This was not only because the close score for more than half the game was exciting football, but because the Super Bowl ads just weren't all that overwhelming.

One ad that gets kudos for originality, sight gags, stuntwork, and selling your product well was Bridgestone tires. They put together this little nugget entitled "Killer Whale".

I really really liked this Super Bowl ad for Google, entitled Paris. Maybe it's a mushy girly girl thing, but you still have to give them credit for the idea. Not only is it sweet, fun, with a little bit of mystery, it very quickly and accurately tells you all the cool and informative stuff you can get on Google--from the practical to the silly. Rarely has a simple text ad been so effective.

You can't have a Super Bowl without a Budweiser Clydesdales ad, and they didn't disappoint us this year. While this doesn't measure up to the dalmation training the young horse, it's still really cute and sweet and those Clydesdales are gorgeous as ever.

I'm not normally a fan of the whole male neanderthal vibe of Super Bowl ads, but this Megan Fox Super Bowl ad for Motorola does have some pretty funny stunts in it that were at least worth a laugh. (*Click* pic to see video.)

Motorola - Megan Fox @ Yahoo! Video

I like that Coke ads are usually the gentle giant of the ad race, and this funny Super Bowl ad "Sleepwalker" is another example of how to be amusing and entertaining without being offensive. It's also got some awesome effects. (*Click* pic to see video.)

Coke - Sleepwalker @ Yahoo! Video

Other honorable mentions are: The Hotel Hell Vacation Super Bowl ad for HomeAway with the Griswolds, the adorable Kia Sorento Super Bowl ad "Joyride", the funny "things men do for women" Dodge Charger Super Bowl ad (particularly that bit about the vampires), and the kickass Robin Hood trailer.

And of course, who can resist Betty White and Abe Vigoda playing football in this Super Bowl ad for Snickers?

ETA: I just want to say that I find it personally annoying that women in their underwear in commercials look like Victoria's Secret models, but when we finally get guys in their underwear? We get pudgy guys in loosey whities. Talk about inequality.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Grammy Awards Winners, Recap & Review

Taylor Swift Grammy Awards Grammys win album best country single screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs video capture
Last night's 52nd Annual Grammy Awards has to be one of the better awards ceremonies we've seen of late. Though it felt a bit odd to have so few actual awards presented, it was nice to have such a performance-driven show, where acts like Lady Gaga (with Elton John), Pink, and Beyonce pulled out all the stops.

After all the jabs at Adam Lambert's sexy AMA performance, it will be interesting to see if anyone mentions Pink's near nudity, Lady Gaga's revealing costume, or Beyonce's crotch-grabbing with the same disdain. I'm guessing not. Certainly Lambert's performance was overtly sexual in places, but it also occurred after little kids' bedtimes, unlike tonight's ladies.

Despite my jabs at the girls, however, they did put on some spectacular Grammy Awards performances. Pink's high wire act was apparently a repeat from the VMAs, but I hadn't seen it, so it was jaw-droppingly amazing to me.

Taylor Swift nabbed some top honors, including "Album of the Year". I don't really get what the fuss is about this still-very-green performer, but apparently a lot of industry people see potential in her as much as her fans adore her. So hopefully she'll develop into an extraordinarily talented powerhouse.

Looking for more Grammy goodness? Read up on the Grammy Awards winners, or check out my full recap and review for extensive details of the televised Grammy Awards.

PHOTO: Taylor Swift accepting a Grammy at The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, screencap, c2010

Monday, November 9, 2009

Barbie Ruins Three Rivers and White Collar

Dr. Doctor Andy Yablonski Alex O'Loughlin Amber Clayton Dr. Lisa Reed Three Rivers Where We Lie screencaps images photos smile grin pictures
Why, Three Rivers, why? After I just talked about episode 5, "Code Green", and how much I enjoyed the lack of "blonde Barbie" doctors, Three Rivers introduces a...blonde Barbie doctor. And as a love interest for Dr. Andy Yablonski (Alex O'Loughlin), no less.

I knew we were in trouble two weeks ago, when they got rid of Andy's wife as soon as they introduced her. Now in "Where we lie", they throw Dr. Lisa Reed (Amber Clayton) into his arms, in the midst of one of the worst scenes I've seen on TV in awhile. Now admittedly, the cliche-ridden dialogue of Reed's childhood trauma was bad enough, but Clayton's delivery was awkward and completely unconvincing.

And I hate to bang on the same drum, but it would be nice if they could hook up Yablonski with a more substantial woman. O'Loughlin is a decent-sized guy, and yet you can see in the photo above that Clayton barely makes it into the frame with him. Add to that the fact that all I could focus on in their "emotional" scene was how her collar bone was jutting out of her baggy clothes. Could Hollywood PLEASE let women eat already?

Three Rivers has so many good qualities and good characters. It's a shame they feel they have to ruin it with a love interest storyline that is flimsy, cliched, and unsatisfying in several different ways.

Neal Caffrey Matt Bomer Lauren Cruz Natalie Morales White Collar Flip of the Coin screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs capture glasses agentThen we have White Collar, the new Matt Bomer (Chuck) vehicle from USA. White Collar had a delightfully slick, sexy, and fun pilot episode. There was an intriguing plot, interesting characters, and a wonderful rapport between Bomer's white collar criminal Neal Caffrey and Tim DeKay's FBI agent Peter Burke.

I liked that even though Burke was the straight man to Caffrey's charming con man, Burke was smart and cunning and worthy of respect. He's also got an attractive and intelligent wife at home (Tiffani Thiessen), and had a no-nonsense, efficient right-hand woman in Diana (Marsha Thomason). I say "had", because after the pilot, Diana disappeared.

So now, instead of having a cool, classy woman who is immune to Caffrey's charms, White Collar introduced Lauren Cruz (Natalie Morales)--the Barbie FBI agent who first appears in a hooker outfit showing off her impossibly tiny figure. And then we get the obligatory flirting with Caffrey, which just plunges the show into typical cliche.

Tim DeKay Peter Burke Agent White Collar Flip of the Coin screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs captureMorales at least seems to be an okay actress, but her believability as an FBI agent is seriously strained. Word is that Thomason had scheduling conflicts that prevented her from doing the full series of White Collar, but her IMDB page only lists a guest spot on General Hospital, which doesn't seem like that big of a conflict.

It's more likely that USA decided Matt Bomer's attractiveness was skewing the audience too much to the female side. The antidote: add some eye candy to bring in the men. Unfortunately, they also seem to have diminshed the slickness and intelligence of the plotlines, focusing more on flirting and sexual antics. We don't need 12 characters telling us how hot Caffrey is--we can figure that out on our own, thanks.

White Collar is also in danger of making Burke the foil, instead of an equal partner to Caffrey, and that will be a HUGE mistake. DeKay is charming and sexy, too, and it's more fun to see the two boys taking down criminals as a team instead of clever boytoy and bumbling FBI lackey. They haven't taken it that extreme, yet, but I worry they're heading in that direction.

USA and CBS, please listen--dump the Barbies and cliches and focus instead on what's awesome about the shows and characters you're creating.

Watch Three Rivers on CBS, Sunday nights at 9/8c. Watch White Collar on USA, Friday nights at 10/9c.

PHOTOS: Alex O'Loughlin as Dr. Andy Yablonski, Amber Clayton as Dr. Lisa Reed, Three Rivers "Where We Lie" screencap, c2009 CBS; Matt Bomer as Neal Caffrey, Natalie Morales as Agent Lauren Cruz, White Collar "Flip of the Coin" screencap, c2009 20th Century Fox, USA network.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Give Three Rivers a Chance

Alex O'Loughlin Dr. Doctor Andy Yablonski screencaps images pictures photos Three Rivers video
Wow. Three Rivers, the CBS medical drama starring Alex O'Loughlin and Alfre Woodard was truly excellent tonight. The episode, "Code Green", centered on a bus crash involving high school football players. Three Rivers actually began with an entire scene devoted to the team, the dynamics between a few players and a nerdy assistant "wannabe". I was impressed because the scene wasn't just some quick random sketching of characters. They actually gave the nerdy kid a great sardonic wit, and captured perfectly that stupid high school crap we all went through.

Three Rivers combines the action and suspense of the high pressure environment of the ER and transplant units with the rollercoaster of human emotion and drama. While it's got plenty of realistic surgery shots, it doesn't focus on the gore or just the big life/death situations. In "Code Green" we also see the struggle of deciding whether to keep a permanently damaged leg or replace it with a fake one, and we learn why you should never break protocol and tell the family a heart is on the way before you're certain that it is.

Dr. Doctor Sophia Jordan Alfre Woodard Three Rivers screencaps images photos pictures video
One thing that's happened a lot this TV season is that I see talented actors in a show and wish that they were back in their previous canceled series. I confess that when I saw the pilot of Three Rivers, I thought it was respectable enough, but wished O'Loughlin were back in Moonlight, and Woodard back in My Own Worst Enemy. While I still miss both those programs, after tonight I feel Three Rivers has a lot more going for it than I originally expected.

Daniel Henney Dr. Doctor David Lee Three Rivers screencaps images photos pictures video
O'Loughlin, as Dr. Andy Yablonski, offers a nice center for Three Rivers to revolve around. He's steady, capable, caring, and very human. Woodard's Dr. Sophia Jordan has a little harder edge to her, and there was an excellent scene with her and Dr. Lee (X-Men: Wolverine's Daniel Henney) in "Code Green", where she tells him the cold hard truth about what factors into life and death in the ER:

Three Rivers aims to be realistic, and thoughtful, but it also harkens back to old school doctor shows where you admired the docs and cared about the patients and a lot of times things work out well. With all the bloody horror and bad news on TV (both in TV dramas and on the real life news), it'd be nice to have something that tries to see some good in all the bad.

The main cast and guest stars on Three Rivers have been excellent. I really like Katherine Moennig (The L Word) as Dr. Miranda Foster. I'm sick of all the empty-eyed hair-flipping Barbie doctors on medical shows, and it's refreshing to see a no-nonsense, intelligent, and interesting female instead. Foster is good at her job, but sometimes has difficulty with the social skills required to deal with the tricky emotional situations that occur. What Moennig does so well is show what's inside--that Foster probably cares more than anyone about her patients, even if she doesn't always know the right thing to say.

Recent articles have been somewhat grim on the fate of Three Rivers. The ratings haven't been stellar, which could be due to a number of factors--too many doctor shows, the flawed pilot, or the ridiculously annoying way the shows get backed up due to the preceding football game overrunning its alotted time.

There haven't been any murmurs from CBS about cancellation, luckily, so here's hoping that by the end of the 13 episode initial run, Three Rivers will have found an audience. If tonight's episode "Code Green" was any indication, Three Rivers deserves it.

Watch Three Rivers on CBS, Sunday nights at 9/8c.

PHOTOS: Alex O'Loughlin as Dr. Andy Yablonski, Alfre Woddard as Dr. Sophia Jordan, and Daniel Henney as Dr. David Lee, Three Rivers "Code Green" screencaps, c2009 CBS Television Studios.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Mentalist Season 2 Episode Recaps

Simon Baker Patrick Jane The Mentalist The Scarlet Letter leather couch thinking Elvis screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs captures
Just wanted to let you all know that I'll be doing The Mentalist recaps all season for TVOvermind. I'll keep links for "The Mentalist Recaps" in both sidebars, and you can always bookmark this post for up-to-date direct links for each episode.

The Mentalist is a fantastic show about a California Bureau of Investigations (CBI) team and their eccentric but effective consultant, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker). A former charlatan psychic, Jane nonetheless possesses extraordinary skills of perception and intuition that help him notice and interpret small details others might miss. His years of pulling the wool over people's eyes has also given him insight into the many ways to read and manipulate both witnesses and suspects into giving up what they know.

Jane is a complex character, goofy and irreverant on the surface, but vulnerable, angry, and tortured on the inside. In his former life, he made the mistake of taunting the serial killer Red John, which got his wife and child murdered. Jane bides his time helping the CBI with murder investigations, all the while working to bring Red John to justice.

Robin Tunney stars alongside Baker as Jane's boss Teresa Lisbon. She's one of the few believable female law enforcers on TV, and her push and pull working relationship with Jane is fun to watch. There's also just a whisper of occasional flirting, enough to keep it interesting without being a sappy romantic distraction. The rest of the cast is also strong, with characters that bring smarts and humor to The Mentalist.

Watch the show on CBS, Thursday nights at 10/9c. And check out my recaps each week at TVOvermind:

Mini Recap -- The Mentalist 2.01 "Redemption"
Full Recap -- The Mentalist 2.01 "Redemption"

Mini Recap -- The Mentalist 2.02 "The Scarlet Letter"
Mini Recap -- The Mentalist 2.03 "Red Badge"
Mini Recap -- The Mentalist 2.04 "Red Menace"
Mini Recap -- The Mentalist 2.05 "Red Scare"
Mini Recap -- The Mentalist 2.06 "Black Gold and Red Blood"
Mini Recap -- The Mentalist 2.07 "Red Bulls"
Mini Recap -- The Mentalist 2.08 "His Red Right Hand"
Mini Recap -- The Mentalist 2.09 "A Price Above Rubies"
Mini Recap -- The Mentalist 2.10 "Throwing Fire"
Full Recap -- The Mentalist 2.11 "Rose Colored Glasses"
Mini Recap -- The Mentalist 2.12 "Bleeding Heart"
Full Recap -- The Mentalist 2.13 "Redline"
Full Recap -- The Mentalist 2.14 "Blood In, Blood Out"
Full Recap -- The Mentalist 2.15 "Red Herring"
Full Recap -- The Mentalist 2.18 "Aingavite Baa"
Full Recap -- The Mentalist 2.19 "Blood Money"
Full Recap -- The Mentalist 2.23 "Red Sky in the Morning"

PHOTO: Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, on his "thinking couch", The Mentalist, "The Scarlet Letter" screencap, c2009 Primrose Hill Productions, Warner Bros. Television, CBS.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Good Wife Pilot Review

Julianna Margulies Alicia Florrick The Good Wife Pilot screencaps images pictures photos screengrabs capturesI was almost afraid to review The Good Wife, because I didn't want to jinx it. This new political/courtroom/family drama has ER alum Margulies at center stage, along with "Mr. Big" Chris Noth (Sex and the City, Law & Order), Sports Night and In Treatment vet Josh Charles, and wonderful comedy actors Christine Baranski and David Paymer.

The Good Wife pilot gives us a wonderful mix of intrigue, scandal, workplace and marriage struggles, the troubles of a working mother who also happens to be a humiliated public figure, and a compelling retrial of a murder case. If The Good Wife can manage to keep juggling all of these elements well, it could be a hit. The humor is smart and well-placed, and keeps it from being too stuffy like Margulies' previous failed law drama, or too overwrought like TNT's Raising the Bar.

I've written at length about the story and strengths of the pilot in my TVOvermind The Good Wife review. Please do check it out.

The Good Wife airs on CBS, Tuesday nights at 10/9c.
PHOTOS: Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, The Good Wife pilot and promo screencaps, c2009 CBS Television Studios.


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