thoughts on pop culture

Fall Premiere Week is dead, the networks just won’t admit it

Michael Schneider wrote this great article for Variety explaining exactly why the broadcast networks’ model for Fall Premiere Week is long overdue for cancellation. I can’t state the case any better than Schneider, so I’ll simply add this:

Incredible Cable Shows that debuted on a non-traditional schedule

  • Damages
  • Rescue Me
  • Leverage
  • Mad Men
  • Royal Pains
  • Raising the Bar
  • True Blood
  • Breaking Bad
  • Nip/Tuck
  • Burn Notice
  • Monk
  • Psych
  • In Plain Sight
  • The Tudors
  • Weeds

September 11, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Drama, New Series, News, Premiere, Renewed, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fall Premiere Week is dead, the networks just won’t admit it

True Blood Season 2 Episode 1: Nothing But The Blood

I’m a recent convert to True Blood, not because I didn’t want to watch, but rather because I was too cheap to order HBO last year when the show premiered. I’ve seen the error of my ways, and watched the first season a couple weeks ago in preparation for tonight’s premiere.

I realize the show is based on the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris, but I’ve decided to focus solely on the television series and avoid any kind of spoiler information that is included in the books. I’m mentioning this to explain why my speculation about the direction of the show may sometimes be obviously wrong to anyone who has read the books. I’m okay with sounding like an idiot–I figure that’s at least 25% of what writing a blog is all about.

Spoilers follow, although the last paragraph is safe.

The action in the premiere picks up exactly where last year’s finale left off, so it worked very well for me since I just had the marathon viewing. I was hoping that the corpse in Andy’s car wouldn’t be Lafayette, so I was thrilled when it turned out to be fake exorcist Miss Jeanette. I’m very impressed at how good they’ve gotten with making fake bodies that look like real people. The gaping hole in her chest was pretty great, and the look on her face was priceless. Staring at the chest cavity made me wonder who might be interested in a whole heart.  Sure it could be a vampire thing no one has told us about yet, but I was wondering if it has something to do with Maryann (Michelle Forbes). She seems very interested in Tara’s well-being, and after all, Miss Jeanette did con Tara and countless others. I’m still not sure what Maryann’s ability is (vibrating?) but perhaps she has a use for a human heart.

As the season previews indicated, Jason began his spiritual awakening thanks to the very cult-like Fellowship of the Sun. I have a strong feeling that Jason’s storyline is going to be my least favorite of season two. While I love the idea of Jason straightening up his life, I think it’s a cheap plot device to turn him into an anti-vampire crusader just to pit him against Sookie.

Speaking of contrived, I don’t think I can tolerate the off/on/off/on relationship between Sookie and Bill. One minute he’s sucking her carotid, and the next minute she’s written him off for good. Ultimately I think the only way they can be together is if Sookie becomes a vampire, and I don’t see that happening. I do think that we will at least get some laughs out of the added complication of having Jessica live with Bill. It already cracked me up when Bill was laying down the rules of the house and made sure to mention the recycling bins.

At the end of the episode, we found out exactly where Lafayette has been chained up–it appears to be the basement of Fangtasia since Eric comes downstairs to visit, apparently in the middle of getting some highlights (below). Redneck AIDS-burger guy makes the mistake of sticking some silver in Eric’s face, which just pisses him off and encourages him to take a big bite out of the guy. I don’t think Lafayette will meet such a nasty fate, although being chained to a donkey wheel and shitting in a bucket isn’t exactly a great existence.


I’m definitely hoping that season two will be able to deliver the weekly excitement that the first season gave us. I also hope we’ll get a big mystery like murderous René in the first season. The spin they gave us on a classic serial killer mystery was one of the main things I like so much about season one. More than that though, I was thrilled that after a year filled with teenage girls being way too excited about Twilight, we have a real vampire story to watch, even if it’s only on the small screen. Let’s be clear, Twilight is a vampire story for pussies who don’t like vampires. True Blood is the real deal.

June 14, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Premiere, Renewed, Scifi, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Summer TV Preview Part 5: Sunday

Here is the fifth and final part of my Summer TV Preview.




NBC – As part of NBC’s continued effort to lower their production costs, they have partnered with the BBC to co-produce Merlin, a re-imagining of the classic tale that takes place when the magician is a young boy. The second season of the program is set to premiere in the UK, so we know at least the British viewers like it. We’ll find out what Americans think at 8/7c on June 21st.


HBO – Our favorite alternate-reality bloodsuckers are back for more when True Blood premieres its second season on June 14th at 9/8c. On June 28th at 10/9c we will get a chance to see Thomas Jane in Hung, the new show about a man who decides to take up the world’s oldest profession. Then the boys return on July 12th at 10:30/9:30c for a sixth season of Entourage.


HGTV – Home improvement meets reality tv with the fourth season of HGTV Design Star, in which a group of potential host battle through a series of do-it-yourself challenges to see who gets a show of their own. The group will strap on their toolbelts on July 19th at 10/9c.


WE – She doesn’t know it yet, but I’m putting this one on the list for my wife. Amazing Wedding Cakes combines a competition atmosphere with the joy of creating cakes for each couple’s big day. The show airs at 10/9c starting June 7th.


101 – DirecTV’s exclusive HD showcase channel will be hopping this summer with complete series runs of Deadwood and Oz (link contains spoilers), two beloved shows that many wish could have lasted longer. For DirecTV subscribers, this certainly beats taking up slots in your Netflix queue or paying big bucks to buy the DVDs.


BBC2 – Jeremy, James, and Richard are back to create more automotive havoc when the 13 series of Top Gear premieres on June 21st. While I understand that we are stuck with BBC America and the edited series 12 episodes that are currently airing, I know that intrepid viewers will look for other alternatives to see the most current episodes as soon as they air.


This concludes my summer preview, so I hope you find it helpful as you plan your tube time for the next few months. I only included the things I’m going to watch, so if you want to see everything, check out the comprehensive grid over at The Futon Critic.

May 31, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Drama, New Series, Premiere, Reality, Renewed, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Summer TV Preview Part 5: Sunday