thoughts on pop culture

2009 Fall Preview – Thursday

courtesy FX Network

courtesy FX Network


Much like Wednesdays, my Thursday schedule is packed full, with 12.5 hours of programming. Unlike Wednesday, I don’t expect many of Thursday’s shows to wither on the vine.

ABCGrey’s Anatomy and Private Practice stay in the same slots as last year, with Grey’s premiering tonight and Practice joining on October 1st. The new entry from the alphabet network is an apparent attempt to give us Lost fans something to care about until the final season premieres in January. Based on Robert J. Sawyer’s novel, FlashForward’s premise is certainly interesting–a shared vision of the future causes people to question the concept of destiny and whether or not they can change their paths. I’m mostly intrigued by the talented cast, which includes Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love), Courtney B. Vance (Law & Order), Dominic Monaghan (Lost), Sonya Walger (Lost), and John Cho (Harold & Kumar), to name a few. I’ve heard the show doesn’t delve quite deep enough for some early critics, but I think that means the show has a much better chance at winning a large audience than Lost ever did, with its complex mythology. Look for an in-depth review of the premiere episode that aired tonight once I get a chance to watch it this weekend.

CBS – A seriously awesome trio of returning series cover the CBS Thursday lineup including the 19th edition of Survivor, this time in Samoa. CSI keeps its standard spot on the schedule, and now The Mentalist joins in for its sophomore season. At first, I was pissed that they moved Jane and the gang to such a crowded night, but now I see the genius. Private Practice is no match for The Mentalist, FOX doesn’t play in the 10/9 time slot, and Leno doesn’t stand a chance. I can see the CBS press releases now, celebrating their huge ratings victory.

Comedy Central – My love of Tosh.0 is no secret. I’m thrilled Comedy Central ordered more episodes, and I’m confident that Daniel Tosh will continue to bring the funny. There certainly is no shortage of moronic web video to fill his show. New episodes begin on October 8th.

CWI hated Twilight. The only reason I watched the entire movie is so no one could accuse me of giving up before “the best part”. As far as I’m concerned, the best part would have been if vampire guy had let the girl get crushed in the school parking lot 20 minutes in. When I first read the synopsis for The Vampire Diaries, I thought it would probably just be Twilight: The Series, but I’m thrilled to see these vamps don’t sparkle or play baseball in the rain. The series premiered on September 10th, but it’s not too complicated to join midstream.

FX – What’s the funniest current show on television? That’s a tough question to answer, but for me I think the answer is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which has now entered its fifth season. Based on the premiere last week, it’s lost none of its edge.  FX attempts to round out the rest of the hour starting October 29th, when The League premieres. I’m not sure what the title implies for you, but I was surprised to find out this show focuses not on superheroes or villains, but a group of guys and their fantasy football league. It certainly sounds more believable than last year’s Testees, and I have faith that FX wouldn’t buy into just any old sitcom.

FOXFringe baby! The first season left us wanting so much more, so I was thrilled when FOX had the brains to renew this kickass trip through the multiverse. If you’re interested in all kinds of details on the show, I recommend a trip to, While you’re there, be sure to keep an eye out for Adam Morgan’s weekly episode recaps, which are great for catching up if your DVR screwed you and you missed one.

LifetimeProject Runway premiered back in August, and continues airing its nearly-lost season on its new network. There are some seriously talented designers this year, and I would definitely recommend tuning in, especially now that some of the really shitty folks are gone. Personally, I’m looking forward to the next season, which will be able to air on time now that Lifetime is through with all the legal battles it took to win the show.

NBC – Joel McHale stars in Community, the only new show being added to NBC’s Thursday lineup–filling the hole left by last year’s dreadful Kath & Kim. The show premiered last week and my full review can be found here. Returning series include SNL Weekend Update Thursday, Parks & Recreation, The Office, and 30 Rock. Everything premiered last week, with the exception of 30 Rock, which joins the schedule on October 15th after SNL transitions off the schedule.


September 24, 2009 Posted by | Banished, Comedy, Drama, Internet, New Series, Premiere, Reality, Renewed, Scifi, Technology, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2009 Fall Preview – Thursday

The Mentalist Season 1 Episode 18: Russet Potatoes

I haven’t written about The Mentalist since October, but don’t think that means I haven’t been watching.

I’ve seen every episode, and while I may not have the names of all the characters memorized yet, I am definitely in love with the show.  The way the creators have taken a dry police procedural and injected the fun-loving character of Patrick Jane has left us with a fresh new look at an old genre.  On top of that, tonight’s episode was a great example of just how good the writing is, and why The Mentalist has the potential to be a part of our Tuesday nights for years to come.

As you may or may not know, I got my nickname from my wife because I was constantly predicting the outcome of shows like CSI, then making a big fuss (albeit a joking one) when I ended up being right about the endings.  Well despite my best efforts, tonight I was fooled no less than three times.

When the man brought the body to police in the opening sequence, I immediately ruled him out as a possible suspect.  Then, when Jane and the gang went to the hypnotherapy school and we were introduced to Dr. Daniel, I ruled him out because it was just too obvious.  However, when he left class and had his assistant take over, I recognized to things–One, the oldest plot in the book, where the pupil seeks to prove mastery over the teacher; and Two, I recognized the young actor playing the assistant, and young character actors are usually a shoe-in to be an eccentric killer on these shows.  Once it was revealed that the assistant had also been hypnotized and awoke at the murder scene, I was proved wrong.  Then when Detective Rigsby was also hypnotized I was sure I had it solved.  Carl, our opening sequence body deliveryman, was obviously the killer after all and he had put Rigsby under when they were left alone.  As it turns out, I was only half right.  Eventually we discover that the dead girl’s sister planned it all.  She killed her sister, hypnotized the assistant, who in turn hypnotized Carl to deliver the body, then she took advantage of Rigsby’s kind nature when he was interviewing her and put him under as well.  Lucky for us Patrick Jane is the true master and foiled her in the end.

Best moment of the episode – Rigsby in a trance is encouraged by Jane to do the thing he most wants to do, so he proceeds to make out with Grace instead of just secretly wanting her.

Best line of the episode – During the moment described above, the camera pans across the shocked faces of the other officers, stopping with Jane who says, “Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.”

On a side note, Owain Yeoman (Beerfest, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles) turned in an excellent performance tonight, specifically in the scene where Jane is trying to break Rigsby’s trance at the playground.

March 31, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Television | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Mentalist Season 1 Episode 18: Russet Potatoes

The Mentalist Episode 1: Pilot

Know-it-all smartass is probably the simplest way to describe Patrick Jane, the central character in this new CBS drama.  I definitely like the idea of an investigator who outwits his suspects, rather than simply using unbelievable technology or relying on murderers who are stupid enough to get caught.

The biggest issue facing this show may be its time slot.  It is going up against the Dancing with the Stars juggernaut as well as the new scifi show Fringe.  I like to think that with DVRs penetrating more homes that time slot isn’t a big deal anymore, but I know that the reality is most tv watchers don’t spend the kind of time I do seeking out new shows and planning recordings to avoid DVR conflicts.

Time slot aside, the first episode was stronger than many pilots so far this year, and I would definitely say it’s worth a look.  I’m sure you could hop on at episode two with no problem, but if you’re a completist, you can catch the first episode on or you could always find a commercial free high quality download via the Googles.

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Drama, New Series, Premiere, Television | , , , , , , | 1 Comment