You can’t vote for the Emmys, but you can vote for E! Online’s Tater Tops awards here. Refreshingly, they include shows overlooked by the Academy of We Make Television But We Don’t Bother Watching It.
Here’s a sampling of my votes:
Moment That Made Me Want to Throw Out My TV: Meredith and Derek fizzle out in the finale, Grey’s Anatomy
Best Fight: Roy versus Dwight’s pepper spray, The Office
Best Bitch: Vanessa Williams as Wilhelmina Slater, Ugly Betty
Best Kiss: Matt & Julie, “Black Eyes and Broken Hearts,” Friday Night Lights
Best Show of Skin: Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) shirtless, Veronica Mars
Best Chemistry: Kyle Chandler & Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Show I’ll Miss the Most: Veronica Mars
Best Reality Show: The Amazing Race
Best Comedy: 30 Rock
Best Drama Ensemble: Battlestar Galactica
According to Gold Derby, Friday Night Lights is still in Emmy contention, but Battlestar Galactica got ignored again. Also, 30 Rock got some serious love from the judges. This is great news; now that Kevin Reilly has jumped from NBC to Fox, Friday Night Lights is in danger, and could use some Emmy buzz.
Here’s the lowdown on NBC’s new and returning series:
Heroes: Staying at Mondays at 9 pm after Deal or No Deal. I don’t really get what’s going on here, but NBC is doing the regular season of Heroes, plus a spinoff called Heroes: Origins, where a new character will be introduced each week, and then viewers can vote online to pick which one will join the regular cast next season. This sounds … needlessly complex.
The Office: It’s a good thing this show is awesome, because it’s going to be on all the time — 20 regular episodes and 5 one-hour episodes. It’s staying at Thursday at 9 pm, so sucks for you, Grey’s Anatomy fans.
My Name Is Earl: 25 episode renewal. I love this new “we’re not going to be restricted by the 22-episode paradigm” attitude, but sheesh. Will stay at Thursdays at 8 pm.
30 Rock: A full renewal, hurray! It’s moving up to Thursdays at 8:30 pm, another vote of confidence.
Scrubs: Renewed, but only for 18 episodes. Amazingly, it will actually air in the fall, staying at Thursdays at 9:30 pm.
Friday Night Lights: Unfortunately, Friday Night Lights will now be airing on Fridays at 10 pm, after a block of game shows and Las Vegas. That’s usually when I’m out with a beer in my hand, but luckily I’ve got a DVR. This is kind of a depressing move, at least it’s a renewal, and perhaps it will take some of the ratings pressure off.
Notice how I didn’t mention Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip or Crossing Jordan? That’s cause they’re canceled.
Journeyman: Stars Kevin McKidd (Vorenus!) as a newspaper reporter who travels through time and changes lives. Somewhere in time, he bumps into an old girlfriend, but he’s already married, awkward! Does he get tomorrow’s newspaper on his doorstep every morning like Early Edition? We’ll have to wait and see. Airing Mondays at 10 pm, so maybe it’ll catch some of the Heroes crowd.
Chuck: A “comedic spy thriller” about a geek who gets secrets embedded in his brain and is persuaded to become a government agent. The premise sounds funny, but that lame Sarah Lancaster is in it, so I’m marking this one down as suspect. Tuesdays at 9 pm after The Biggest Loser.
Bionic Woman: From the folks who brought you Battlestar Galactica. These guys are great at “reimagining” series, but … seriously, Bionic Woman? Wednesdays at 9 pm. (Make sure to check out Katee Sackhoff in the trailer here.)
Life: A police detective returns to the force after serving time in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, hopefully with a Life sentence. (Honestly, they couldn’t come up with a better title than Life?) Wednesdays at 10 pm.
Lipstick Jungle: Based on the book, which I did not read. Has Brooke Shields, Kim Raver, and Lindsay Price as a bunch of career-oriented Carrie Bradshaws. Or I guess that makes them Miranda Hobbeses. Sundays at 10 pm.
The IT Crowd: Like The Office but with Joel McHale. Luckily, he has plenty of office experience from doing those Burger King commercials. Not currently on the schedule, so it might get plugged in wherever the first cancellation is, or just fill in on Thursdays for Scrubs.
We’ve already covered the fall TV season’s major contenders, but here’s a look at some other interesting pilots floating around on The Futon Critic:
The Call: Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle) and Danny Comden (Pretty Persuasion) star as two wacky paramedics — sounds like Scrubs with more action.
Cashmere Mafia: One of two new Sex and the City clones (the other is Lipstick Jungle with Brooke Shields), this one from Darren Star. Sounds like a bunch of “ambitious” (read: bitchy) women complaining about their problems. It stars Bonnie Somerville (Kitchen Confidential, Mona on Friends), Frances O’Connor (Mansfield Park), and Lucy Liu, but that doesn’t really matter. I’ll only watch if the boys are hot.
Dirty Sexy Money: With this title, you’d think it was a reality show. Instead, it’s a drama from Greg Berlanti, billed as Dallas meets Dynasty — though the description sounds more like Arrested Development meets The Godfather. Peter Krause (Six Feet Under) stars as the family’s Michael Bluth. Donald Sutherland’s the patriarch, also with Billy Baldwin and Samaire Armstrong (The OC). Donald Sutherland seriously annoys me, but I’m willing to overlook it.
Eli Stone: Another Berlanti project. A cutthroat lawyer starts having visions, and he starts thinking he’s a prophet. As if you weren’t already convinced this dude is psycho, he starts working pro bono. Jonny Lee Miller (Aeon Flux, Mansfield Park, former Jolie spouse) stars as your Crazytown lawyer-prophet, also with Natasha Henstridge and Victor Garber. With a cast this good, I’ll at least watch the premiere. Maybe that means I’m crazy.
Football Wives: A remake of the British show Footballer$ Wive$. First alteration: no dollar signs! The Brit version is over-the-top hilarious (example plotline: a devious lady steals a baby then uses fake tanner to make the kid look half-Indian). But will US audiences embrace the outrageousness? ABC’s giving it the old college try, with Bryan Singer directing and a strong cast: Gabrielle Union (Bring It On), Eddie Cibrian (Invasion), Lucy Lawless, Ving Rhames, and James Van Der Beek. That’s right, I said JAMES VAN DER BEEK. I can’t miss Dawson’s triumphant return to the small screen, I just can’t.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith: A remake of the movie. These aren’t always bad — Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Friday Night Lights come to mind. Another strong cast here, with Martin Henderson (The Ring) taking over for Brad Pitt. Also with Jordana Brewster, Julia Ormond, and Bridgette Wilson-Sampras (Billy Madison).
Law Dogs: Once upon a time, he stole my heart as Zack Morris. Now Mark Paul Gosselaar is a public defender, presumably saving the world from injustice and getting in all sorts of delicious romantic entanglements. Also starring Janeane Garofalo, who will presumably be in charge of the Sardonic Remarks department.
Los Duques: Family drama with an all-star cast: Jimmy Smits, Hector Elizondo, Rita Moreno, Nestor Carbonell (Suddenly Susan), and some very pretty guy named Eddie Matos. Also featuring Alona Tal (Meg from Veronica Mars) and Polly Walker (Atia from Rome).
Swingtown: Appears to be about swingers in the 1970s. Gross premise, but it has Grant Show (Melrose Place) and Jack Davenport (Coupling (UK), Pirates of the Caribbean). Jack Davenport’s tall, funny, and has a British accent, so I’ll watch him in anything.
Business Class: Another high concept single-camera comedy for NBC. Mark Valley (Boston Legal) plays a traveling soda salesmen with dubious ethics who’s showing fresh-faced innocent Horatio Sanz the ropes of the biz. That’s right, I said Horatio Sanz. Valley’s character sounds very Thank You For Smoking, while Sanz sounds a little Andy Barker, P.I. Definitely has potential.
Zip: Yet another high concept single camera comedy. This one’s got Rob Huebel, the Inconsiderate Cell Phone Man himself, playing a con artist who believes in the power of positive thinking. This sounds like a funnier version of The Riches minus the gypsies, and Rob Huebel is hilarious, so definitely looking forward to this.
We’ve got a month to go before the May upfronts, but the networks have already presented some pilots to media buyers. Here’s a rundown of some contenders, organized by network:
Action News: Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, also starring Fred Willard (yay!) and poor dead Billy from Battlestar Galactica. Grammer plays a hot shot news anchor whose career goes down the drain and ends up back at his former local news station with Heaton, his old co-anchor. In a TV first, they will share a tempestuous love-hate relationship. Aw, I kid. This sounds pretty cute.
The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Lena Headey plays Sarah Connor. She is very pretty. Basically, this picks up where Terminator 2: Judgment Day leaves off. John Connor’s played by that Zach kid from Heroes.
The Apostles: About cops or something. Both the cast and the description makes me yawn.
Canterbury’s Law: Julianna Margulies is a rebellious defense attorney. Eh.
The Cure: Oded Fehr (the Egyptian guy from The Mummy who wasn’t the Mummy), Esai Morales and Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon are doctors, but they’re like radical guerilla doctors raging against the machine.
Gossip Girl: I hate it when a CW pilot looks good, because that means it might bump Veronica Mars off the schedule. Anyway, this one features Carrie Bishop (Leighton Meester) from Veronica Mars and other pretty no-names in a fancy Manhattan rich kid school. I love a good rich kid high school drama, and actually, that Meester girl is really talented, so … dammit.
Wild at Heart: Brett Cullen has been everywhere lately (Lost, Tim’s dad on Friday Night Lights, that Beau-Mart guy on Ugly Betty), and now he’s a veterinarian who moves to a game reserve in South Africa with his undoubtedly brooding kids.
Dash 4 Cash: Jonathan Chase (murder suspect Josh from Veronica Mars) and a bunch of nobodies star in a fake racing reality show. Could be a lot of fun.
Aliens in America: Two teenagers, one Muslim, one Whitey, engage in some sort of wacky hijinks.
Reaper: A slacker becomes the devil’s bounty hunter. Seriously.
CBS didn’t meet with buyers, but two possibilities:
I’m in Hell: Stars Jason Biggs (remember him? American Pie, anyone?) as a Wall Street type who dies, then gets sent back to live life as a schlub.
Twilight: Amber Valetta, Rade Serbedzija (Eurotrip and tons of other stuff) and others in a show about a vampire private investigator. So basically, Angel.
The only project mentioned in the article is the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff (tentatively titled “Private Practice,” ew), but I wanted to highlight at least one other project …
Untitled Jon Feldman Project (a.k.a. Bedrooms & Boardrooms): Michael Vartan, Dylan McDermott, Josh Malina and Christopher Titus star. What a fantastic cast! A bunch of male CEOs who gossip Sex and the City-style. Vartan’s the lead, naturally. Dylan’s a “cosmetics CEO who can’t resist sex with his age-defying ex-wife,” just like Dr. Cox from Scrubs. Josh Malina’s a cheater. Titus is totally whipped by his wife (I’m giggling just thinking about this one). If this isn’t on ABC’s fall schedule … well, then it probably sucks, but it can’t suck! It’s got Vartan!
With only a few months of regular season programming left, now’s as good a time as any to reflect back on this season. Here’s my current top five tv shows:
1. Friday Night Lights
At first I was mildly curious, now I’m completely addicted. The acting is incredible, the stories are compelling, and the boys are good-lookin’. It all adds up to near-perfect television.
2. Veronica Mars
I can’t believe I’m ranking my perennial favorite in the number two slot, but the twists were just less jaw-dropping this year. Plus, Wallace was MIA, Logan was declawed, and Lamb was offed by Richard Grieco, of all people. It’s still awesome, but it’s got some work to do.
3. Ugly Betty
I shouldn’t like Ugly Betty as much as I do. A secretly undead trannie fighting for control of the family business? That’s way too campy over-the-top soap opera … but I can’t get enough of it. The klutzy heroine, the gorgeous scoundrel boss, the hilarious dialogue — it’s Bridget Jones’s Diary! (And that’s a good thing!) And it just keeps getting better.
4. Battlestar Galactica
This show’s also taken a hit. The past few episodes were — dare I say it? — boring. Then, they killed Starbuck! This could be the show’s shark-jumping moment, depending on how it all plays out. Is Starbuck a Cylon? Is she some supernatural guide to Earth? Or is she just gone for good? Eh, I don’t love any of these possibilities. That being said, Matt Roush says good things are in store, and I trust him.
Folks don’t gossip over this show like Sex and the City or The Sopranos, but I still adore it. Even though the major plot twists have been spoiled hundreds of years in advance, it doesn’t lessen the anticipation. I knew Marc Anthony was going to marry Octavia, but I didn’t think Atia would be alive to see it, much less standing by her side. Plus, it’s got the best credits of any TV show ever.
Honorable Mention: The Amazing Race: All-Stars. I couldn’t bring myself to put a reality TV show in the top five, but I’m really obsessed with this season. I’m rooting for Danny and Oswald or Rob and Amber, because they’re competent racers, funny, and more importantly, having fun. Charla and Mirna are some of the most appalling villains on reality TV, and it’ll be sweet, sweet justice when they get the boot.
The Rest: NBC’s comedies, particularly 30 Rock, are still must-see TV. Scrubs and The Office can be uneven at times, but 30 Rock just keeps getting better. A hilarious exchange from last week:
Kenneth: You need to take some of your own advice! Aren’t you the man who told me to live every week like it’s Shark Week, and who told me that nothing’s impossible except for dinosaurs? Don’t give up on life, sir!
Tracy: Wow. The manatee has become the Mento.
Of course, House is still awesome, and South Park. And I’m still watching Grey’s Anatomy and Lost, even though I can’t remember why sometimes. (Thank goodness for TiVo, otherwise I’d never get anything done.)
Michael Ausiello’s reporting that Battlestar Galactica has been renewed for a fourth season — but only for thirteen episodes. You know who I blame for this? Cylons.
Speaking of which, who’s the Cylon? (I hope it’s Dualla.)
Lots of funny noises, crazy faces, and wacky hijinks here.
Oh, this just makes me upset. Apparently Michael Vartan (currently occupying Spot Number One on my Top Ten list) almost joined the cast of one of Michael Ausiello’s “five current favorite shows.” This makes a lot of sense, since Michael Vartan was the subject of a huge pilot season bidding war according to the New York Times. I really miss not seeing him on TV every week … but which show? Can’t be Friday Night Lights, I seriously doubt it’s Battlestar Galactica, and I don’t think Ausiello digs Studio 60. Probably not ER, Veronica Mars, or Gilmore Girls … could it have been Grey’s Anatomy? Now that would have been amazing. Ah, what might have been.
Updated: More from Ausiello:
Question: You are such a tease, Ausiello! What show was Michael Vartan going to join (Ausiello Report 10/27)?!— Joseph Conner
Ausiello: One of the producers on this show worked with Vartan on his last TV gig.
So, that makes it either Lost or Heroes. Or am I forgetting another show with Alias alums? Brothers and Sisters?
I just caught Friday’s Battlestar Galactica episode, and all I can say is: whoa. Wait, I have another thing to say: President Roslin was an IDIOT for not killing that baby when she had the chance. It sounds pretty heartless, but it’s true.
If Cylons ever invaded The Office, it would probably look a little something like this:
I’m so disappointed with myself. I usually spend September watching all the new television shows, hoping to find new favorites, but this year I’ve been way too busy, dang it. That being said, I still managed to fit a whole lot of TV in.
I did get to watch Ugly Betty, and I really liked it. Sure, it’s a little over-the-top, but endearingly so. (Desperate Housewives, pay attention. You could learn a thing or two.) Plus, I’m a sucker for anything Bridget Jones’s Diary-ish. Eric Mabius is adorably clueless. He’s been on my radar since Cruel Intentions, and was great on the short-lived series Eyes. I’m a fan!
I figured that Heroes would be kind of “eh,” but it exceeded my expectations. The premiere was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait until Greg Grunberg shows up next episode. It’s like the X-Men, but with a spooky, Unbreakable vibe. Which is a good thing. (I’m like the only Shyamalan fan left, I think.) That being said, I hope the writers have a really good plot charted out, because while all the destiny mumbo-jumbo is intriguing at first, it can get old really fast. (I’m looking at you, Alias.)
I tried to watch The Class and Shark, and didn’t like either of them. James Woods is creepy.
As for the returning shows, let’s start with Grey’s Anatomy. The season premiere was lame, I thought, except for the McDreamy speech at the end. I wasn’t in love with the second episode, either. Burke’s mom pissed me off excessively. And don’t get me started on Patient Eats-a-Lot shoplifting and racing a damn wheelchair all over the hospital. It’s a place of healing, not a hotel! Not that I’m condoning shoplifting in hotels. Let’s keep it legal, kids. But I loved drunk Addison and I loved Chris O’Donnell being all hot, and I loved McSteamy showing up. More McSteamy!
I have yet to watch the second episode of The Office, but that premiere was killer. Oscar and Michael … there are no words. Oh, wait, I thought of one: awkward! I liked the resolution to the Pam and Jim situation, although it irritates me a little that after basically turning down Jim, she called off her wedding anyway. What’s she doing, having a little “me time”? She could be hooking up with Jim, and instead she’s wasting time. Sigh. I like seeing Jim in the head office, with a whole new bunch of freaks to contend with. Another Pam and Jim interview here.
The Amazing Race is as fun as ever, although I’m feeling some guilt at not rooting for the 3.5-legged couple. They’re just too intense for my liking. An interview with the cheerleaders here.
And there’s a lot to look forward to in October: season premieres of Lost, Veronica Mars, and Battlestar Galactica, as well as The Nine. I may never leave my couch.
So, the Veronica Mars season three premiere is streaming at MSN.com, and I’ve watched it. Twice, in fact. My thoughts on the episode are after the jump, so go watch it, then come back and let’s gossip about it!
Michael Ausiello has seen the Veronica Mars season premiere, and the word is: it’s amazing. Well, I wouldn’t expect anything less. And guess what: apparently there’s a little Battlestar Galactica crossover action! Love it. Those two shows are probably my favorite two dramas on tv (with Lost at number three), so I’m getting giddy just thinking about this.
SciFi is streaming ten webisodes of Battlestar Galactica on their website, and you can watch the first one right now! Um, I mean, if that’s your thing.
Battlestar Galactica returns October 6. But until then …
This made me giggle uncontrollably. It’s just so perverse.